This article is the first in a series of posts exploring the Essential Six Elements of Whole Health, the core of our health philosophy and the foundation for our work with our nutritional therapy clients. Learn more about the Essential Elements and find the rest of the series here.
This probably comes as no surprise, but in our nutritional therapy practice, we often work with our clients to help them make changes to their diet.
I know, shocking, right?
Of course this makes perfect sense; the diet is an enormously important foundation of health, because the food we eat actually becomes us. It builds our entire bodies- right down to the cells. Skin, hair, nails, blood, brain, organs, hormones…all of it was once food. So, the old saying is true- we literally are what we eat. If it weren’t for the nutrients that we get from food, we would cease to exist.
So it stands to reason that simply changing your diet from the modern “Standard American Diet” (SAD), which is full of sugar, processed junk foods, hydrogenated oils, genetically modified foods, and heavy on grains, refined carbohydrates, antibiotic and hormone injected feedlot animal products, to a real food/traditional food diet, that consists of unrefined whole foods like vegetables, fruits, pastured and sustainably raised animal products, properly prepared nuts/seeds and grains (if desired/tolerated) would bring about miraculous healing.
And, in fact, it can. For many people, simply changing the diet can eliminate many health challenges and in some even bring about a level of wellness that they have never experienced before because of a lifetime of ill health.
But is diet the whole story?
Slightly more than half of our clients are people who were already eating a real food/traditional food, GAPS or Paleo style diet before coming to see us. Despite their healthful diet, they still experienced nagging health issues.
While some health problems or unpleasant symptoms clear by changing the diet- by removing gluten, for example, or throwing out the sugar and processed foods, the fact is, that for many people, some health problems refuse to clear from diet change alone.
As a result of our work with hundreds of clients over the past decade in various areas of holistic health, we now know that:
Real food is only part of the story…
WHOLE HEALTH requires the balance of
“The Essential Six Elements”
These Six Elements are:
- REAL FOOD DIET– Eating a properly prepared, nutrient-dense diet consisting of real, traditional foods, appropriate for your body & health status
- THE PHYSICAL BODY– (Organs, systems & structure) Achieving proper digestion, blood sugar handling, fatty acid, hormonal and mineral balance, optimal hydration, adequate sleep and structural alignment
- NON-TOXIC LIFESTYLE– Opting for personal care & household products that are low in chemicals, making conscious health-care decisions and reducing electromagnetic radiation exposure
- MOVEMENT & NATURE– Engaging in proper movement, getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine, and spending time in nature
- THOUGHTS & EMOTIONS– Eliminating negative thought patterns, balancing stress, inspiring creativity and addressing the energy system of the body
- CONNECTIONS– Fostering social relationships, nurturing your spiritual side and adopting a conscious cultural mindset
It’s the balance of these six elements that truly leads to a state of health. When there is an imbalance in one or more of the Essential Elements, the health of the whole body suffers, leading to the increased risk for further degeneration in the future.
For example, a very common issue that we see with our clients is compromised digestion, with symptoms ranging from heartburn to diarrhea. They could be eating a healthful, real food diet and may have even taken steps to reduce the toxins in their environment. But, if the body physically can not digest the food, perhaps due to reduced hydrochloric acid levels or impaired fat metabolism secondary to gallbladder issues, then the body can not be healthy.
All the Elements must be in balance for whole health to be realized.
Throughout the rest of this series, we will be expanding upon each one of the Essential Elements, explaining them in further detail and providing tips to help you improve your health. Learn more about the Essential Elements and find the rest of the series here.