The build-up of small things. A beneficial accretion of actions repeated.
This is how I have experienced nutritional therapy in my own life.
I remember several years ago, when I was told it might take anywhere between a couple of months to a couple of years to recover from my quite severe health problems. I was horrified. I wanted a fix and I wanted it FAST!
My regime was to stick to an incredibly restrictive diet for a while. Granted, this did provide immediate relief of all symptoms. And granted, the majority of my clients don't have to put up with what I did!
But in my state, I could only reintroduce foods once I felt fully better. And each time I tried and had a setback, it meant it was still not time to reintroduce. The regime rumbled on.
Why is this all incremental? Because when you're really ill, sticking to a nutritional healing plan requires a choice every single day. You have to pursue a 'new normal'. This is because, where normal medical practice often patches a prescription 'onto' one’s existing lifestyle, nutritional therapy tweaks the lifestyle itself.
I imagine it like mending a ship. On the whole, people tend to just patch up evident damage, and not interfere too much in everything else. Nutritional therapy, on the other hand, does interfere in everything. It asks where the ship is going, why it is going there, how it is going there, what cargo it’s carrying, what is its history.
And in my experience, this approach works remarkably well. Diet and lifestyle changes can carry significant benefits and they don't come with a list of side-effects. I've also observed that slower, gentler changes are more long-lasting and they're kinder to the body.
For me, it was as though I very slowly shed my unnecessary cargo – and suddenly found myself moving again. A short while in, I noticed that I’d stopped getting spots. I’d thought my spots were just the type of skin I had.
Then, I realised how much calmer I felt. It was actually a physical feeling, that calm. It was as though old anxiety levels just didn't have the option to get as high as they once did. These were my side effects. Thankfully the main problem, my stomach, also stopped cramping up. Things progressed.
This is how nutritional therapy often works: you commit to small, do-able tasks. You do the small tasks every day. Very gradually, new habits create an obvious shift, an intrinsic rearrangement: the small movement of the ship's rudder gradually moves the whole ship in a completely new direction.
My stomach is now well, and I can eat anything again. But the beneficial, healthy changes I made before, have stuck - in a good way. I instinctively enjoy many of the foods I felt I 'ought' to enjoy before. Which I never thought would be possible.
This is partly my inspiration for becoming a nutritionist in the first place. Today, my aim is to introduce my clients to the joy of incremental changes and a build-up of health gains, as well as a multitude of pleasing side-effects.
To your best of health,
Clare Backhouse, dipION, Registered Nutritionist MBANT, Registered Nutritional Therapist CNHC
Consultations in London, in West Sussex, and online