What Does "Holistic" Even Mean?
Ever since I decided to go back to school to join this industry, I have gotten mixed reactions when I mention the word "holistic". Whenever I mentioned that I was going back to school to study "holistic nutrition"... I was always faced with questions, but if I simply said that I was studying nutrition, that was the end of that! Now that the word "holistic" is a part of my business, I don't think that the questions will be stopping anytime soon.
Holistic is a bit of a buzz word, and it has been popping up everywhere in the wellness space over the past few years. The problem with it (in my opinion), is that it really means nothing to most people. It's like the other buzz words - all natural, organic, even "wellness" itself! They sound great, but are they being used simply to stay on trend?
One of my goals is to bring more attention to this industry, and to my specific designation, so that people understand what sets it apart. One thing that I have found is that the most common word that most people link to holistic is alternative. Yes, I technically focus on alternative approaches to achieving optimal health, but when we're strictly talking about nutrition, there is absolutely nothing alternative about it. Any C.H.N.C. will focus on getting the nutrients that your body needs in order to operate optimally through food first. My personal beliefs lie in a diet that is full of a variety of whole foods, and that is extremely low in processed foods, chemicals, and other additives.
Isn't it a sad world when the idea of going back to basics with our food, and speaking up against the harmful additives that large companies have been feeding us for decades, is considered alternative??
Although nutrition is the largest component of what I address in my practice, there are other components that are just as important as well. This is finally where the word holistic comes in.
1. characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.
The "holistic" factor is really what sets my profession apart, and it is why I am so excited to be a part of it. As humans, we are complicated. We are not defined by one disease, or one symptom, and contrary to popular belief - we are not simply what we eat. There are so many factors that come together to make us who we are, and that benefit (or damage) our health.
Our personality type. Are we overly sensitive?
The way we think. Are we sabotaging ourselves on a daily basis?
Our core beliefs. What have we been taught from an early age?
Our lifestyle. Are we constantly stressed?
Our upbringing. Did we experience significant trauma early on?
Our self-worth. Do we take time to give ourselves what we need?
Our relationships. Are they beneficial or are they toxic?
Our current health. Are there issues that are preventing us from absorbing the nutrients that we require?
Our daily routine. Have we physically made time for the things that we need to do?
This list is just a snapshot of what we need to consider when looking at our health and well-being. A holistic way of thinking looks at all of these things as important - the mind, body, and spirit of an individual. It makes a self-care practice just as important as supplements or medications. It turns nutrition into not only what you're eating, but how and when you're eating as well.
Holistic is not alternative. It is well-rounded, and it is thorough. And I truly believe that if we all took more of a holistic approach in our own lives, we would see massive benefits.
What do you think? What does holistic mean to you?