As I mentioned in my previous post, holistic nutrition is all about looking at the body as a whole. How nutrition affects our body is only one piece of the puzzle. We also focus on the emotional, social and environmental aspects of life, that contribute to our overall health and well-being.
In this post I will be speaking of the social and environmental aspects of holistic health.
Social and Community Aspect of Holistic Nutrition
As holistic nutritionists we also strive to help our clients to live happier lives, which can be achieved by addressing the emotional aspect as I just mentioned above, but happiness and a sense of satisfaction in life is also linked to having a sense of community.
Have you ever heard of blue zones? Blue zones refer to areas of the world in which people have low rates of chronic disease and live longer than anywhere else. What these areas have in common is that people have a sense of community and a healthy social network, they have a sense of purpose, the incorporate exercise into their daily lives and primarily eat a plant-based diet, but not exclusively.
People in Blue Zones generally live happier and longer lives, because they incorporate all aspects of holistic nutrition in their lives. Having a sense of community is a large aspect of this.
I find that in our western culture, we have learned to be so individualized and have in a way, lost our sense of community. Some tangible ways on how to create a greater sense of community are: connecting with neighbours, sharing meals together with family and close friends, joining a group that that shares your same interests, and actively participating in them.
A holistic nutritionist can help you uncover your interests and seek the things that bring you joy, so that you can find a community group that suits your needs.
Environmental aspect of holistic nutrition
In the practice of Holistic Nutrition, we also look at the individual as part of a whole ecosystem. We are not single beings in a bubble, we are human beings that are a part of a whole network and there are many environmental factors that affect our health and wellbeing, one of them being community, as I just mentioned.
In holistic nutrition we look at our food systems and we promote eating food that comes from the earth, instead of food coming out of a package. That is why my company is called Raiz, which means root in Spanish. Back in the day, there wasn’t wide-spread chronic disease, the people lived off the land and didn’t eat processed and pre-packaged food. Raiz is just that, is focusing on going back to our roots, connecting with our food sources, our farmers, eating seasonally and/or growing our own foods.
There are so many environmental factors that affect our food sources, like pesticides and gmo crops, as well as factory farming. If we look at our body like a bucket, we can think about all the things that we put in it and the things that we absorb as a result of our environment, such as:
· Antibiotics and hormones from factory meats
· Refined sugars and preservatives
· Emotional stress, trauma
· Chemicals from household products
· Gas fumes
· Skin products
· Heavy metals
· Birth control (women)
· Synthetic fabrics
· And more
The idea of this bucket analogy is that if we keep filling it with all these different things, eventually it will get full and overflow. This overflow is symbolized as disease manifesting in the body. That is why in holistic nutrition we work together to mitigate all these environmental factors and help the body reach optimal balance and prevent disease.
Some of the ways in which we can be more aware of our food sources and mitigate the toxicity of what goes in our bodies is by going to farmers markets and connecting with our farmers. Buying organic foods that are not sprayed with pesticides, I know that sometimes this is more of a luxury, I would encourage you to look at the dirty dozen list and the clean fifteen, which show which fruits and vegetables to be more concerned about to buy organic.
Factory farming is a big environmental and ethical issue affecting our food sources due to animal cruelty, deforestation and the use of antibiotics and hormones. In the last years there has been a significant shift of people going vegan and vegetarian for these reasons. It doesn’t mean that if you see a holistic nutritionist, they will make you go vegan, no. But as holistic nutritionists we will educate you on why its important to not support factory farming, for ethical and environmental reasons, but also for your health. Eating grass-fed and pasture raised meats and wild caught fish, you are not supporting factory farms and you are ensuring that you are putting the best quality animal proteins in your body, that are antibiotic and hormone free. I would recommend connecting with your local butcher and finding out more about where their meat comes from and what it is being fed, and whether it is antibiotic free.
These are just some resources and ways in which you can mitigate what goes into your body and foster a healthier you, from the inside out.
I hope that this post helped you understand a little bit more about what holistic nutrition is and how a holistic nutritionist can help you. We work with you on all aspects that make you a human being and we understand that the body is highly connected, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually to help you live a healthier and happier life.