The word “holistic” seems to be tossed around these days. It’s like a new cool phrase often used inaccurately.. like “all natural” or “superfood”.
But what does it really mean? And what do other people THINK it means?
We know that when we tell people we’re Holistic Nutritionists, a lot of people don’t know what that means. SO we usually just give them a brief explanation. But does brief really get the point across?
The Meriam Webster dictionary defines Holistic as:
<relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts> <holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body> <holistic ecology views humans and the environment as a single system>
Which sums it up pretty nicely!
In western culture, we’re so used to being given pills and quick fixes for our problems. Have a headache? Here’s an aspirin! Upset stomach? Take Pepto Bismol! Flu? Get the Flu shot! Can’t get it up? Pop some viagara!
Our culture has become so entwined with covering up problems with pill-popping, that we think that this is solving our problems. Meanwhile, we’re suppressing our body’s symptoms and causing harm to other organs. This is why we get side effects from medications.
Holistic Nutrition is basically like being a health detective. We want to find out WHY these things are happening, and work to solve the real problem using the system as a WHOLE. Because YOU are a whole being. All your different systems work simultaneously – your digestive system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, lymphatic system, immune system… ALL of it. When you take a pill or medication, your whole body – all of your systems – is taking this pill or medication; it is not isolated within the part of your body having the problem.
But these problems can also come from many different causes. It may not be simply from environment, genetics, what you’re eating, pills you’re taking, smoking, etc. Problems may also arise from mental states (like stress, anxiety) or from emotional states (sadness, anger, suppressing emotions).
Have you ever been so worried or stressed that you felt sick to your stomach? Or so sad and bruised that there has been a lump in your throat? These are our emotions coming into play in our physical systems. Emotions are not visible, but they will manifest themselves into our physical body.
The kicker is that all these things can combine to create health problems: environmental toxins and pollutants, genetic susceptibilities, poor eating habits, medications, stress, fear… the whole bit! This means that even if the pollutants in your home or work environment aren’t enough to make you sick on your own, or if the stress you are feeling isn’t enough to make you sick on it’s own, each of these things can weaken your system enough that the next small infringement on your health – a liiiiitle extra stress, say, or an unhealthy food that you eat too much of – becomes more than your body can handle properly, and then you become sick: allergies, a cold, digestive issues, an autoimmune problem, inflammation, disease, etc.
Do you see now why it’s so important to take everything into consideration? If one part of your body is overworked for some reason and becomes run down, then other parts of your body have to start working harder to compensate; then those parts can get run down too. It becomes a cascade of problems in most cases, and it can take a while for things to get out of hand enough that we start experiencing problems that we can’t ignore any more. The most recently run down part is the one to usually get immediate attention, ignoring all the other things going wrong that brought you to that point.
Holistic nutrition looks for the root cause of your problems, and takes into consideration the power of your thoughts and emotional well-being as well as your physical self, and how these can impact each other. When you picture someone who is thriving, do you think of someone who is in great physical shape, but feels down all the time? Or do you think of someone who is happy, but plagued with sickness? No: someone who is thriving is both happy and physically healthy, feeling good in mind, body and soul. And THAT’s where we want to get YOU. It’s the Feel Good way. And it’s holistic-as-heck.
Stay holistically healthy, friends!
-the FGF team