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You Are What You Digest: 5 Strategies for supporting your digestive system

You Are What You Digest: 5 Strategies for supporting your digestive system

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You Are What You Digest: 5 Strategies for supporting your digestive system

You are what you digest: 5 strategies for supporting your digestive system

They say you are what you eat, but the reality is that you’re really made up of what you digest. These may sound the same, but unfortunately, they are not always. If our digestive systems are not functioning properly, our bodies are unable to fully break down and absorb the nutrients we consume.

If we are prioritizing a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet, we want to make sure our cells are able to use all the wonderful nutrients we are providing. We’re going to give you five strategies to help you support proper digestion, but first, let’s discuss how digestion works.

How digestion works

Before we jump into solutions for supporting digestion, we think it’s important to have a baseline understanding of how it works. This understanding will connect you to why we recommend what we do, so we’re not giving you a random to-do list of behavior modifications. Let’s get to it.

Brain 

Digestion is a north to south process that begins in the brain. The sight and smell of food triggers the salivary glands to begin producing saliva.

Mouth

The mouth is the physical gateway to the digestive system where mechanical and chemical breakdown of the food begins. One solute in saliva is the enzyme salivary amylase, which begins carbohydrate digestion.

Stomach

Food enters the stomach as bolus. The stomach continues the mechanical breakdown of the bolus, along with a number of chemical activities and turns it into chyme.

Small Intestine

Chyme enters the duodenum and travels through the small intestines and stimulates the production of other enzymes. This is where the bulk of nutrient absorption happens.

Large Intestine

The large intestine recycles water and waste material, which nourishes the colon cells. It captures any lost nutrients that are still available (with the help of the bowel flora) and converts the nutrients to Vitamins K/B1/B2/B12 and butyric acid. Then the remnants form and are eliminated as feces.

5 Strategies for supporting your digestive system

The strategies below are powerful tools that can help you support your digestion. Implement them into your life to keep things moving properly and fuel your cells with all the goodness that nutrient-dense, whole foods have to offer.

1. Reduce stress

Digestion works best when we are in a relaxed (or parasympathetic) state. Avoid fight-or-flight hormones like epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline), which interrupt proper digestion. You can do this several ways, including taking a few deep breaths before eating. For more ideascheck out this blog post on reducing stress. 

2. Slow down and chew your food

This one is vital. Eat meals slowly and chew food thoroughly in order to break down carbohydrates and activate other enzymes before moving onto the next stage in digestion. Try not eat in the car or in front of the television as these activities tend to make us eat more quickly. Sit down and make your meal the main event!

3. Hydrate

It is important to stay adequately hydrated throughout the day so that your body can properly transport nutrients through your digestive tract. If you have trouble doing this, try finding a water bottle you love (we’re talking pretty colors, fancy straws, the whole nine yards!). It may sound silly, but if you love your water bottle, you might be more likely to carry it around with you and drink throughout the day.

4. Eat fermented foods

Besides being a delicious and fun way to variety to your diet, fermented foods also support your gut. They increase bioavailable nutrients and are easier to digest. The microorganisms they contain support overall gut health. (We wrote this blog post to help you increase the fermented foods in your diet.)

5. Take a walk

Movement is useful not only for reducing stress but also for stimulating the muscle contractions necessary for digestion. If you suffer from slow digestion, a 15-minute walk after each meal is a great way to improve digestion.

Digestion is one of the NTA’s foundations of health. If you’re interested in learning more about digestion and the other foundations, check out the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Online program. 


 

 

Join us for a Live Webinar with one of our Instructors and Admissions Advisors!

During this call, you’ll explore and learn:

  • How to create a rewarding career in holistic nutrition that will give you the confidence and competence to replace your full-time income (whether you’re new to nutrition or or using it to enhance your current services)
  • How our unmatched education and instructor support sets our NTP program apart from other nutrition programs​​​​​​​
  • How graduates are successfully using their education and the many career opportunities available to you
  • If the NTP program is the right fit for you and how to move forward in financing your education

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How to Cope with Stress (In a Stressed-Out World)

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How to Cope with Stress (In a Stressed-Out World)

How to Cope with Stress (In a Stressed-Out World)
Ah, stress. That sensation we reluctantly know so well. Stress as a concept is so ubiquitous in our modern lifestyle it almost needs no introduction.
You know what it is; it’s what makes your neck tense up when you’re drowning in work. It’s the exhaustion you feel when there’s too much to deal with around the house or you’re under a lot of pressure. It’s the way you drag a little after watching the news for too long.
Stress has a way of affecting us, and in fact, it has profound implications regarding our bodies and overall wellbeing.

What exactly is stress?

Stress as a set of symptoms was a term first used by a researcher named Hans Selye in the early 1930s. He defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” Selye’s work was built on the foundational work of Claude Bernard and Walter Cannon, who proposed the ideas and terminology of “homeostasis.” Triggers that can provoke a stress response include physical, mental, and emotional challenges.
The most common types of stress are psychological or emotional stress and the physiological stress that comes from the body doing its best to function optimally against all the odds stacked against it, such as overwork, toxicity, and overly processed foods.
However, stress is not inherently bad. It’s a life-saving mechanism our bodies use to turn on our alarm systems — the nervous system’s fight or flight” functionsand alert us to a situation that needs our attention. The problems arise when those alarm bells never stop ringing.

How does stress affect our bodies?

Living in a state of chronic stress puts a burden on each of our body’s systems.  During times of stress, the body will use all its energy to focus on the stress response.
Depending on the intensity of the stress, this may cause digestion to take a hit. Stress impacts several necessary players in optimal digestion, including saliva production, hydrochloric acid production, the pH of the stomach, the ability of the valves and sphincters to open and close, and so on. Think of it this way: when stress is off, digestion is off.
Because stress requires blood sugar changes, chronic stress can lead to blood sugar dysregulation. It can also contribute to mineral balance issues and other consequences.

How to cope with chronic stress

Here are some strategies for dealing with stress, particularly chronic stress that can lurk in the background of daily life. As you read this list think about ways you can practically and regularly implement some of these strategies in your day-to-day.

1. Mindfulness

Many find it helpful to practice meditation, deep breathing, or breathing exercises. These can help to bring awareness to the present moment, allowing for a state of mindfulness where judgments and worries can melt away. Spending time in nature can also be also a wonderful and effective way to cope with stress.

2. Movement

Adding movement to your day can help to offset stress and bring balance back to your nervous system, and ultimately, your life. There are many forms of movement to choose from, and everyone has different lifestyles, preferences, and levels of accessibility.
When it comes to movement, the most important thing is not what you do but that you do it. That means do what works for you— whether that’s Olympic lifting or jumping rope or vacuuming or dancing or taking a walk. It’s all beneficial.
Everyday actions can be both a mindfulness and movement practice. For example, when you sweep the floor, sweep with your whole body. When you stir a pot, stir from the hips, not just your wrist. When you reach for something on the top shelf, use it as an opportunity stretch from your feet on the floor through the reach of your fingers. When you walk, swing your arms and smile.

3. Nutrient-Dense, Whole Foods Diet

As we’ve discussed, chronic stress is detrimental to the body. Stress depletes several important nutrients that our bodily systems need to function properly. One way we can use nutrition to manage the consequences of chronic stress is by ensuring we include a variety of nutrients in our diets, especially the ones we use up in times of stress.
These nutrients include: 
  • Vitamin C 
  • B Vitamins 
  • Magnesium 
  • Zinc 
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids 
  • Antioxidants 
Remember, some stress is normal part of lifeStress is also a life-saving response that your body uses to protect you.  
However, our nervous system’s stress response is not meant to be activated 24/7. Chronic, never-ending stress is detrimental to human health.
There are a number of lifestyle techniques that are useful in reducing stress, including mindfulness, movementand nutrition. Stress involves the whole body, so in coping with it, we must think holistically.
The next chance you get, take some time to do something that helps you de-stress.
Want your recipe or article to be featured on our blog? Email our team Marketing@nutritionaltherapy.com with your full name, article, a short bio in third person, and a headshot. We may feature you in an upcoming blog post.
   

   

Join us for a Live Webinar with one of our Instructors and Admissions Advisors!

During this call, you’ll explore and learn:

  • How to create a rewarding career in holistic nutrition that will give you the confidence and competence to replace your full-time income (whether you’re new to nutrition or or using it to enhance your current services)
  • How our unmatched education and instructor support sets our NTP program apart from other nutrition programs​​​​​​​
  • How graduates are successfully using their education and the many career opportunities available to you
  • If the NTP program is the right fit for you and how to move forward in financing your education

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Q&A with an NTP featuring Lauren Curry

Q&A with an NTP featuring Lauren Curry

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Q&A with an NTP featuring Lauren Curry

  Lauren Curry is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Restorative Wellness Practitioner, and ICU Nurse. After graduating from the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner program, Lauren launched her 1:1 consulting practice. Through Your Balanced Belly, Lauren helps clients get to the root cause of their digestive dysfunction and chronic fatigue.

 

Tell us about yourself and your business:

Hi, I’m Lauren! I’m a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and an ICU Nurse. Through my practice, Your Balanced Belly, I work 1:1 with clients struggling with digestive issues and chronic fatigue. We start each initial client consultation with blood work analysis and a personalized intake process in order to help identify root causes. My goal is to not only educate clients regarding where the imbalances lie, but also HOW to restore balance to the body. In addition to functional nutrition, I also work in the ICU at one of the Top 10 hospitals in the US. I am deeply honored to work in both functional health and critical care. My goal is always to work with, and empower clients to take charge of their health at every step – whether it’s identifying microbiome imbalances or caring for someone on life support. ​

What made you decide to become an (F)NTP?

I was first introduced to functional nutrition after going through my own health struggles. I was experiencing chronic digestive issues, acne, fatigue, hypothyroidism and interstitial cystitis. Unfortunately, I was continually told by conventional medicine to, “keep an eye on it” and felt let down by the very field I work in. Thankfully, I started working with a functional nutritionist and experienced a HUGE improvement in my health. That was when I knew I had to share this field with others. It is so important to advocate for your health and find others who share that belief. It shouldn’t take a healthcare crisis for someone to take charge of their health. I chose to enroll with the NTA over health coaching programs because I wanted to dive deeper into the physiology of digestion, identify the pillars of health, and understand what can happen when imbalances occur. I knew early on that I wanted to focus on digestion and loved that the NTA supports the body’s innate ability to heal. It was a perfect fit. ​  

What is some advice you would give students who are going through the program while working full time?

Be INTENTIONAL with your time! I love that the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Online program is fully online and that the modules are divided into 1-2 week increments. The schedule allowed me to divide my time accordingly; some days were spent mostly on functional nutritional therapy, while other days were spent working 12hr shifts at the hospital. This program is 100% doable while working full time but you have to work. This program is no cake walk!

Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome and if so, how did you overcome it?

Of course! I think it’s safe to say that we ALL experience imposter syndrome. But one thing I always remind myself is that, “Your ordinary is someone else’s extraordinary.” Don’t underestimate how much value you can bring to others. When I started school, I made it a goal to post consistently. I knew the material could educate others and help build trust and rapport with my audience. It was a win-win!

How is your life different now than it was before the NTP program?

For starters… I have a business. It still feels so surreal to say that! After graduating in July, I immediately launched Your Balanced Belly. The NTA equipped me with the tools I needed to feel competent enough to launch a business. The NTP program also connected me like-minded practitioners. The entrepreneurial world can be incredibly overwhelming and lonely at times… community is key!

What goals do you have as an NTP?

I want to continue helping as many people as I can who are struggling with digestive and energy concerns. Side note – there are A LOT of people who need help from NTPs! I absolutely love nerding out with blood work analysis, stool tests, and creating bioindividual protocols with clients. It’s so rewarding to see clients feel better and more importantly UNDERSTAND how to keep it up. Nutrition and lifestyle changes take work but they are so worth it. One of the things I like to say is, “Solutions over band-aids.” You deserve to feel your best!

Follow Lauren on Instagram @yourbalancedbelly or visit her website: yourbalancedbelly.com. Have more questions about becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, what to expect from the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Online Program, or your next steps? Join us at an upcoming Info Session! NTA Instructors and our Admissions Team go LIVE every week to answer your questions and share everything you need to know about the program. See you on the webinar!
Want your recipe or article to be featured on our blog? Email our team Marketing@nutritionaltherapy.com with your full name, article, a short bio in third person, and a headshot. We may feature you in an upcoming blog post.
   

   

Join us for a Live Webinar with one of our Instructors and Admissions Advisors!

During this call, you’ll explore and learn:

  • How to create a rewarding career in holistic nutrition that will give you the confidence and competence to replace your full-time income (whether you’re new to nutrition or or using it to enhance your current services)
  • How our unmatched education and instructor support sets our NTP program apart from other nutrition programs​​​​​​​
  • How graduates are successfully using their education and the many career opportunities available to you
  • If the NTP program is the right fit for you and how to move forward in financing your education

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Q&A with an NTP featuring Autumn Best

Q&A with an NTP featuring Autumn Best

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Q&A with an NTP featuring Autumn Best

 

Autumn Best is a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Restorative Wellness Practitioner, and Business Mentor. Just months after graduating from the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Online program, Autumn was able to take her business full-time and accomplish her goal of being her own boss. For the last year, Autumn has helped many people get to the root cause of their digestive issues and supported many NTPs on the road to building their own businesses. Check out what Autumn has to say about her experience becoming an (F)NTP and the advice she has for people ready to take the next step in building the career of their dreams. 


 

Tell us about yourself and your business:

I help women conquer annoying and debilitating digestive issues like reflux, bloat, constipation, excess gas, and so on. We get to the root cause and then support the body. It’s the most rewarding work I’ve ever done and after a year of being in business, I still wake up every morning having to remind myself that this is the full-time job I GET to do.  

When I’m not helping other women feel their best, I’m spending time outdoors in Seattle with my 11-year-old dog Maxie, paddle boarding, taking and teaching hot pilates classes, traveling whenever and to wherever I can, and cooking up amazing nutrient dense food.

What made you decide to become an (F)NTP?

This was a very long time coming for me! My spark for holistic health and nutrition started over a decade ago, but I got wrapped up in the corporate world and my passion fell to the back burner. Fast forward to years of being told everything looked “fine” but knowing I could feel better – and the straw that broke the camel’s back was when I developed reflux a few years ago and I knew that PPI’s were just a band-aid and not the answer. I was determined to find the answer and I did when I got to the NTA’s digestion and elimination module. WOOHOO! 

I also knew that I was always meant to own a business and be my own boss. I was never quite sure how I’d get there but once I started class at the NTA, I knew this was it. This was the career for me. It all came together so seamlessly.

 

Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome and if so, how did you overcome it?

I think this is something that most of us experience during and immediately after completing NTA training and there’s nothing wrong with that. My best advice for overcoming it is to graduate from the program knowing that you know more than you think you do and reminding yourself that you know more about holistic health than 99% of the population. Remember when you learned that adding sea salt to your water was important? The majority of people don’t know that tidbit or that they need to chew their food 20-30 times per bite. Scale back to what you didn’t know before the NTA and then teach people everything you’ve learned from that point forward. That’s a lot of amazing info!

How is your life different now than it was before the NTP program?

My life has changed in so many beautiful and unexpected ways since becoming an FNTP. I have a community I never had before of fellow nutrition geeks and holistic healers, a full-time job that has me pumped to spring out of bed every morning, and a freedom that I’ve never experienced before. Last, I have the knowledge to heal myself and my family, and that is invaluable.

What is some advice you would give students in the program working on building their business?

It’s OK to feel overwhelmed and not know where to start. You just have to start! If you need guidance, that’s OK. Own that! Starting and building a business is hard work and there are a lot of moving parts. Sign up for the NTA’s career development course, or hire a business mentor to guide you through the process. I do 1:1 business mentoring and am happy to help. The more of us out there with successful businesses = more people getting the proper care and help they need to THRIVE. Know that the world needs NTP’s now more than ever. You’ve got this!

What goals do you have as an NTP?

Right now, I just want to help as many women as possible and continue to take my education and expertise deeper along the way. I’m a lifelong learner and I love to enhance people’s lives! A big project that I’d like to start soon is developing a guide or a course so that I can help even more people. There’s only so much time for 1:1 calls each day and the ability to reach more people with a course or guide would be insanely fulfilling to me.

Follow Autumn on Instagram @pilatesandpapaya or visit her website: crusadingwellness.com

Have more questions about becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, what to expect from the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Online Program, or your next steps? Join us at an upcoming Info Session! NTA Instructors and our Admissions Team go LIVE every week to answer your questions and share everything you need to know about the program. See you on the webinar!

Want your recipe or article to be featured on our blog? Email our team Marketing@nutritionaltherapy.com with your full name, article, a short bio in third person, and a headshot. We may feature you in an upcoming blog post.

 

 

 


 

 

Join us for a Live Webinar with one of our Instructors and Admissions Advisors!

During this call, you’ll explore and learn:

  • How to create a rewarding career in holistic nutrition that will give you the confidence and competence to replace your full-time income (whether you’re new to nutrition or or using it to enhance your current services)
  • How our unmatched education and instructor support sets our NTP program apart from other nutrition programs​​​​​​​
  • How graduates are successfully using their education and the many career opportunities available to you
  • If the NTP program is the right fit for you and how to move forward in financing your education

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The Nutritional Therapy Association: On a Mission to Support Lasting Wellness

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The Nutritional Therapy Association: On a Mission to Support Lasting Wellness

The Nutritional Therapy Association: On a mission to support lasting wellness

What started as small nutrition school in the picturesque city of Olympia, Washington has billowed into a global force of nutrition professionals harnessing the power of real food, reconnecting individuals to the unique needs and innate wisdom of their bodies to support lasting wellness.

Today, there are over 6,000 Nutritional Therapy Practitioners all over the world. NTPs are prevalent in holistic and allopathic medical practices and are sought after practitioners, chefs, personal trainers, authors, and advisors.

The Nutritional Therapy Association is a leader in the health and wellness landscape and has shifted the nutritional paradigm by delivering a holistic perspective with integrity that’s rooted in the power of real food and scientific function of the body.

How did we get here? For that answer we must go back a few decades.

The history of the NTA 

Gray and Joy Graham founded The NTA in 1997 in order to teach nutrition to health care practitioners from a holistic perspective. It was incorporated as a vocational nutrition school dedicated to Nutrional Therapy and reconnecting people to healing foods and vibrant health.

In the early years, the NTA’s instructor team taught nutritional seminars to thousands of medical practitioners throughout the United States and Europe. Students included medical doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and naturopaths.

What became apparent to Gray Graham was that in addition to teaching nutritional therapy to doctors, what we really needed was a whole new profession dedicated to the power of whole foods and nutrients to restore and maintain health.

In 2001, in a cooperative effort with South Puget Sound Community College, we launched our first Nutritional Therapy Training (NTT) class and graduated our first class of twenty-seven Nutritional Therapy Practitioners (NTPs). A new profession was born.

What exactly is Nutritional Therapy Practitioner? 

Nutritional Therapy Practitioners are trained nutrition professionals, capable of identifying and correcting nutritional imbalances and deficiencies through targeted dietary and lifestyle changes.

NTPs are equipped to support the body’s innate ability to heal by addressing the importance of nutrient-dense food, lifestyle choices, culinary wellness, client coaching, and how social and personal components influence health.

An NTP’s job is to help address the ill effects of poor dietary and lifestyle habits while supporting the physiological foundations.

The Foundations

What makes NTPs different from many other practitioners is that they look at the big picture rather than focusing on the symptoms accompanying an issue. This means that a symptom is not viewed as the actual “problem”, but as an indication of an imbalance in the physiological foundations.

They take the time to look deeper and help their clients figure out what works for them.

While NTPs are equipped to work with clients 1:1, either in their own practice or under another practitioner such as a functional doctor or chiropractor, that is not all they can do. NTPs also use their skills and knowledge to run group programs, write books, host podcasts, and create recipes.

What is the NTP Online program like?

The Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Online Program is a ten-month, instructor-led, fully online program encompassing the NTA’s foundational and bio-individual approach to functional, holistic nutrition.

The program takes an in-depth look at the function and dysfunction of each body system, food quality and sourcing, culinary skills, meal planning, health and wellness barriers and influences, emotional well-being, environmental factors, the importance of sleep and movement, as well as stress and its effect on the body.

Students are empowered with the necessary motivational interviewing techniques, clinical and practical skills, and cutting-edge knowledge to become a highly recognized nutrition and wellness professional in their community.

If you’d like to get a taste of what students learn in the NTP Online program, sign up for our FREE, 8-day Nutritional Therapy 101 course!

The mission of the NTA

We are dedicated to delivering a science-based education that fosters a community of confident holistic nutrition professionals who harness the power of real food and empower people to reconnect with the innate wisdom and unique needs of their bodies, thereby supporting lasting wellness.

In 2013, we expanded our offerings to include a fully online program for the first time, making our transformative program accessible far and wide. Now anyone from anywhere can be a part of our mission.

In the fall of 2017, the NTA launched an eight-week Career Development Course designed to give graduates and other wellness professionals the resources they need to launch successful careers working with clients, building thriving practices, and helping the world heal.

The NTA is constantly growing and adapting to meet the needs of its students and graduates—as well as the global landscape at large so NTPs are equipped to go out and make a serious impact. Together, we can help our communities find lasting wellness.

Want your recipe or article to be featured on our blog? Email our team Marketing@nutritionaltherapy.com with your full name, article, a short bio in third person, and a headshot. We may feature you in an upcoming blog post.

 

 

 


 

 

Join us for a Live Webinar with one of our Instructors and Admissions Advisors!

During this call, you’ll explore and learn:

  • How to create a rewarding career in holistic nutrition that will give you the confidence and competence to replace your full-time income (whether you’re new to nutrition or or using it to enhance your current services)
  • How our unmatched education and instructor support sets our NTP program apart from other nutrition programs​​​​​​​
  • How graduates are successfully using their education and the many career opportunities available to you
  • If the NTP program is the right fit for you and how to move forward in financing your education

Categories

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