Integrative Nutrition HEALTH Coach
The focus is not only on nutrition but on all other aspects of wellness and well-being; looking at how the relationship between lifestyle and food is affecting all areas of your health and wellness.
What is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach?
A professional coach that will help people understand how to nourish themselves holistically:
Guide clients to explore areas that need attention
Make recommendations for healthy lifestyle habits and health-supportive behavioural changes
Support clients to achieve their wellness goals
Help people find balance through holistic healing
An Integrative Nutrition Health Coach not only focuses on nutrition but also on other aspects of health and well-being such as physical activity, relationships, career and spirituality (known as the Circle of Life). These elements can impact other signs of health such as stress, mood, sleep, weight, and energy levels to name but a few. The relationship between food and lifestyle and how they both affect health and well-being is the primary focus of an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.
There is currently a global healthcare crisis and the actual system is failing to address the epidemic of chronic disease that is crippling its citizens as well as the economy. Over 80% of preventable disease risk factors are influenced by lifestyle behaviours and diet.
With millions of people suffering from preventable lifestyle-related diseases, Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches are uniquely positioned to bring about lasting changes in the lives of individuals around the world. Health Coaches help clients develop strategies to enact real, lasting lifestyle changes that enhance overall wellness.
It is important to note that a Health Coach does not diagnose or treat but guides and supports the development of and progress toward personal health and lifestyle goals.
Coaching involves open communication with an emphasis on emotional intelligence and a willingness to go deep.
Good dietary nutrition helps build the foundation for wellness but it’s not the only pillar. Nutrition extends far beyond food – nutrition comprises all things that nourish the body, mind and soul.
Health is not only about diet and exercise. You can eat a perfect diet and work out daily, but if you have a stressful job or are in a relationship that doesn’t serve you, you won’t reach your potential for health and wellness.
Primary food is everything other than nutrition. The four most important areas in the Circle of Life are physical activity, relationships, career, and spirituality. There are many other areas which are: creativity, finances, education, health, home cooking, home environment, social life, and joy. It is what nourishes us as human beings.
Research continues to support the use of lifestyle changes involving exercise, spiritual practice, diet, and other behaviours for a multitude of conditions such as bloating, gas, constipation, heartburn, fatigue, headaches, skin conditions, chronic stress, addictions, cravings and many more.
Primary food feeds us but it doesn’t come on a plate.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ~ Hippocrates
You are what you eat. Good health depends on a healthy diet.
I have studied more than 100 dietary theories but what really matters is eating high quality nutrient dense food that works for you as an individual. Everyone is different! Each client is unique and therefore each diet needs to be tailored accordingly.
There are traditional diets and fad diets. Today there is so much confusing and contradicting information that it is hard to make heads or tails on what one should eat or not. Nutrition information is often taken from the Internet or media and when a specific diet doesn’t work for one person it often provokes a sense of failure. There is not one right diet that works for everyone.
As a Health Coach I will help you find what works best for you. You cannot fail at a diet that you devised just for you!
The body doesn’t make mistakes – it’s an outstanding biocomputer. Your body knows how to maintain a healthy temperature, your heart never misses a beat, and your lungs never forgot to breathe. I will help you learn how to listen to your body and be in tune with it.
Dietary nutrition is an important component but a focus on primary food is also assessed to evaluate a clients’ overall well-being.
Is the theory that one person’s food is another person’s poison.
Bio-individuality is the concept that no one diet or lifestyle works for everyone. People have their own unique needs and will have a way of eating and living that works best for them. Your perfect diet could make someone else gain weight or feel lethargic, while someone else’s morning run could leave your body feeling weak and depleted.
In addition, your needs will likely change over time. Depending on the season, your age, your external environment; what works for you now might not work in the same way for you as you life evolves. You’ll have to keep checking in to see what’s working for you as you go through changes like moving, getting a new job, or having children.
Some factors to consider when seeing what works for your bio-individuality are lifestyle, occupation, geographic area, available resources, body type, age, culture, and religion.
These concepts are all unique to IIN (Institute of Integrative Nutrition).
Healing the root causes
Along with your primary foods, there are several aspects of your health that need to be addressed if you want to feel and look your best. There are many pillars but the main ones that need to be looked at are:
- Gut health
- Immune system
We are an ecosystem, every part of us is linked in some way, from our brain to our gut to our immune system to our liver and therefore it is essential to look at ourselves as a whole; as a complete entity; body – mind – soul.
“All disease begins in the gut.” ~ Hippocrates
The trillions of microbes that inhabit the human body, collectively called the microbiome, weigh up to twice the weight of the average human brain. Most of them live in the gut and intestines but recent research on the microbiome has shown that its influence extends far beyond the gut, including to the brain, the immune system, the mouth (oral microbiome), the skin as well as the respiratory and urinary tracts.
Our body is therefore a microbial environment, home to trillions of bacteria that help keep us healthy -100 trillion single-cell organisms- outnumbering human cells 10 to 1! Just as our genome is a collection of all our human genes, our microbiome is the collection of genes from all the microbes in our body.
Our gut bacteria regulate many of our bodily functions, from controlling our immune system, our weight and metabolism, to creating vitamins to even governing our brain function. They are critical to our long-term health. However, bad lifestyle choices, certain foods, environmental toxins and modern living have ruined our gut bacteria.
More than 500 different species of microbes live within us – some say we are only 10% human! Many of them help us but others are harmful. Apparently our defective microbiome in our gut could be causing up to 90% of all chronic diseases. Many of us have too few bacteria in our intestines, which is where we need the good bugs. Others have an overgrowth of the bad kind, which causes all sorts of problems. Not enough of the good bacteria or too much of the bad – this is where the real problem lies.
There are many components that create this imbalance in the gut, known of dysbiosis. Lack of sleep, not enough movement and chronic stress contribute significantly to gut imbalance. Did you know your gut flora listens to and becomes influenced by your thoughts and feelings? This is where meditation can be such a compelling tool. Simple changes can make a big difference; changing a few lifestyle habits, adding in certain foods and removing others would be a great start, and so easy! The great news is that we can rapidly switch the state of our health via our gut and this flexibility manifests in the diversity of our diets and lifestyles.
During the past 10 years, studies have linked the gut microbiome to a range of complex behaviours, such as mood and emotion, appetite and satiety, and even learning and memory. Not only does the gut microbiome appear to help maintain brain function, but it may also influence the risk of psychiatric and neurological disorders, including anxiety and depression. It has become increasingly evident that the gut microbiome and the brain communicate in a bidirectional manner, each affecting the other’s functions.
It is therefore our job to encourage the good microbes by feeding them the things they need and avoiding the things that damage them. We have to starve the bad bacteria by avoiding certain foods (and removing other factors) that allow them to thrive.
This is where Harmonious Health can help. I know what you need to eat and do to feed the good bacteria and what to remove to reduce intestinal inflammation and help eliminate the bad bacteria. From a specific diet plan to new lifestyle habits to a gut cleanse, we can improve your microbiome gut health and optimise your overall health and well-being. This could literally mean you start feeling not only healthy but happy as well, given we are one interconnected system.
“Inflammation… appears connected to almost every known chronic disease.” ~ Dr. Mark Hyman
Inflammation is the body’s natural defence mechanism. It is your immune system’s response to a perceived threat or injury. Inflammation is a complex process but basically protects you from hostile microbes by eliminating toxic agents and repairing damaged tissue. While inflammation is essential and even beneficial to your body, it can also be harmful. Inflammation acts as both friend and foe in the body depending on the type of inflammation you have.The friend is acute inflammation. The foe is chronic, low-grade, systemic inflammation.
Acute inflammation is a vital component of your immune system. It is your body’s essential survival response to illness or injury. It protects you against damaged cells, viruses and bacteria. Acute inflammation usually starts within minutes, and generally disappears within a few days. Possible symptoms of acute inflammation are pain, redness, swelling, heat, and in severe cases, possible loss of function.
Chronic inflammation is systemic and can last for months or even years. This inflammatory state is associated with a wide range of health conditions and is caused by an excess of stress on the body. This can include physical, emotional, and chemical stress. As a result, inflammatory mediators are produced throughout the body and can overwhelm the immune system. This type of inflammation can be extremely harmful to your health. Research shows that an unresolved inflammatory response is likely to be cause of the early stages of disease development.
It is not just one thing that causes inflammation in the body. An inflammatory diet, sleep issues, stress, environmental toxins, are all factors that lead to chronic inflammation and it is critical to understand and address these factors to achieve optimal health. Harmonious Health can help you identify where the root of your chronic inflammation might come from and put a programme in place for you to be inflammation free!
The immune system is a collection of structures and processes within the body and its role is to protect against disease or other potentially damaging foreign bodies. When functioning properly the immune system identifies a variety of threats as well as playing a very important role in controlling inflammatory responses that help our body heal.
When the immune system is under or over-activated, there can be many side effects. The immune system needs to be balanced otherwise it will not respond effectively which will make you vulnerable to various types of infections.
The immune system is under constant attack by the forces of nature. On top of this, there are many common things people do daily that cripple the immune system and make us more susceptible to illness. Our responsibility to ourselves is to use our lifestyle to strengthen our immune system so we can overcome the stressors of life. Working with an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach can help you identify them.
In addition to a weak immune system, there can also be a complete dysregulation of the immune system. This is where the immune system is highly active, but targeting the body’s own tissues rather than invading pathogens. This results in chronic inflammation and destruction of tissues around the body. It is these conditions that are classically referred to as “autoimmunity”.
Addressing both simultaneously is where you will really start to notice a shift in your health. Consequently, these are also basic strategies to maintain general well-being and working with Harmonious Health will help you achieve an optimal immune system.
Hormones are special chemical messengers in the body that are created in the endocrine system (a complex network of organs and glands that enable daily bodily functions; that work together to create, distribute, and regulate the hormones your body needs to function properly).
Every single thing we do in our lives has some sort of hormonal response in our body. It’s up to us to make sure we make the right connection. Hormones help explain the root cause of many symptoms.
Whether you’re male or female, your endocrine system includes your hypothalamus, pituitary gland, pineal gland, thyroid, thymus, parathyroid, adrenal glands, and pancreas. If you’re a woman, your endocrine system also includes your ovaries and if you’re a man, it includes your testes.
One just needs to look at the endocrine system to realise that the human body is a super computer – a marvel of engineering. When functioning perfectly your endocrine organs and hormones work together seamlessly in an intricate, fascinating dance every moment you’re alive.
Hormones help the body thrive, however if you’re not in harmonious health, our entire system is disrupted. Small problems with hormones can cause serious and life-altering symptoms.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals (either human-made or manufactured) that damage your body’s hormone-making organs or processes. This can happen when a chemical mimics a particular hormone, keeps your body from using or absorbing a particular hormone, interferes with the way your hormones talk to each other, or hijacks your hormone-producing organs.
Hormones affect every function, organ and tissue in the body, both directly and indirectly. They react to each other as well as respond to conditions in the body in an intricate and highly sensitive balancing act. Each hormone sends specific instructions to every organ and helps determine your mood, energy levels, weight, temperature, digestion, and many other aspects of your health.
Hormones interfere in so many areas of our lives such as stress, our moods, cravings, to name but a few, which become so crippling in our day to day lives.
Use Harmonious Health to get your hormones under control.
You can eat all the healthy organic food in the world and take all the best supplements, but if you’re stressed, it will undo it all. Chronic stress keeps stress hormones elevated, suppresses the immune system, disrupts your sleep and therefore increases your exposure to certain illnesses. You will have a higher risk for many diseases and your lifespan can be shortened if you have high levels of stress over an extended period of time.
The tension that characterises stress can be mental, physical, or emotional and may be brought on by demands that are either inside or outside the body. Once activated, the stress response decreases growth, reproduction, metabolism, and immunity.
Elevated stress hormones will interfere with the body’s ability to properly digest and assimilate food and also lowers insulin sensitivity, which can lead to a number of problems. Factors like mental or emotional stress can create a physical reaction.
Also, the interaction between the brain and the adrenal glands connects with various other glandular systems, among them those producing hormones. What is called adrenal fatigue really is chronic taxing of the entire stress response system. It has a lot more to do with the adrenals and can create a huge amount of disturbances from sleep to digestion to physical problems, which all have a negative ripple effect.
The adrenals are like receptors of anything that is stressful to you, emotionally, mentally and physically. They respond to everything and even if you think you have it under control, they might disagree!
Allow Harmonious Health to coach you to a stress-free life.
The saying that cravings are “all in your head” has been proven by research to be true. It is all in our heads: several specific areas of our brains, actually. Cravings are caused by the regions of the brain that are responsible for memory, pleasure, and reward.
Three regions of the brain — the hippocampus, insula, and caudate – are activated during craving episodes. When a behaviour accomplishes a hard-wired goal, your brain releases dopamine in specific areas including the ventral striatum, and this causes you to become more likely to execute the same behaviours the next time you find yourself in the same situation.
Cravings kick in when you’re stressed or anxious. With food cravings, carbohydrates boost your levels of the hormone serotonin, which has a calming effect and the combination of fat and sugar also have a calming effect. Emotions are also involved in producing a food craving, especially if a person eats for comfort. It is also possible that food cravings are due to endorphins that are released into the body after someone has eaten, which mirrors an addiction. An imbalance of hormones, such as leptin and serotonin, can also cause food cravings.
Cravings are very common. In fact, more than 50% of people experience cravings on a regular basis and they play a major role in food disorders such as binge eating disorders, bulimia, food addiction and create a range of health and wellness issues.
Use the guidance of an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach to overcome your cravings.
Most people are well aware that consuming a lot of sugar isn’t healthy, but many people do not even realise how much sugar they are consuming and a lot may not even understand just how dangerous sugar can be. Sugar addiction is a real thing! Research shows that sugar is directly linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, alzheimers, psychological and behavioural issues as well as many other health problems.
You’re very likely to be eating a lot of sugar simply because it’s so hard to avoid these days. Also, many other refined grains and processed foods act just like sugar once you eat them – the insulin spikes your blood sugar and the nasty sugar craving cycle begins which in turn creates a myriad of problems. Once you understand the cycle, you realise just how powerful sugar addiction is, and how crippling it is!
If you are looking for a process to help you break your sugar addiction, your cravings, remove the stress from you life, then you have come to the right place.
Get in touch to see how to improve your life with Harmonious Health.
The first 50 minute consultation is free as this allows us to identify your needs and how I can help you.