I wanted to take some time to write about the Nutritional Therapy Association and the program I am currently enrolled in, which is the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Program. I am sharing this information for anyone who is also interested in the course or maybe just interested in what I am learning about.
Why did I choose the Nutritional Therapy Association?
I looked for over a year and a half at different courses and options. My focus was purely on the content of the program. I didn’t want to simply be “health coach” or “nutritional consultant”. Motivated by my own stomach problems and an interest in children’s health, allergies, and women’s infertility issues, I wanted something that really got down to the nuts and bolts of optimal health and healing. I found that with the Nutritional Therapy Association which is why I chose to enroll in their Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Program.
The foundations are based upon digestion, blood sugar regulation, fatty acid balance, hydration, and vitamin/mineral balance. The process is really about discovering what is going on within the body based on signs and symptoms (the body’s biggest communicators) and figuring out how to restore health and balance with nutrition.
In addition, it’s not a “wham-bam-thank-ya-ma’am” kind of a program. To stay current, each year, you must pursue continuing education credits from a source of your choosing. Nutrition is a field that is constantly changing, evolving, and being studied. It’s imperative to stay on-top of your information and practice.
Another thing I love about the program is that it teaches us to honor the body’s innate intelligence (we instinctively know what we need). In addition, it takes into account biochemical individuality–meaning each and everyone of our bodies are different as is our heritage, nutrient needs, and even sensitivities. There is no one-size-fits all approach that will work for everyone.
What does the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Program consist of?
The course is 9 months long and is broken down into two parts: online classes and intensive hands-on workshops. The workshops teach us more of the clinical aspects as well as how to perform the functional evaluation. The functional evaluation is definitely NTA’s secret weapon (I’ll get into more information about that below).
The course is chopped up into several different modules. Within each module there are several videos to watch, audio recordings to listen to, phone calls to join, quizzes to take, essays to write, books to read, and books to review (there is a LOT of reading).
The course is fairly intensive as there is a lot of scientific information to absorb in a rather condensed amount of time. I would say it is crucial to be a self-starter and somewhat technologically savvy. The work takes around 20 hours per week to complete, give or take a few.
The primary instructors are the ones presenting the information in the videos and audio lectures whom you have no real interaction with. Then, there are secondary instructors assigned to each region who act more like facilitators. They grade your work online, host the conference calls, and during the hands on training will act as teachers.
What does Nutritional Therapy Look Like From a Client Perspective?
Nutritional therapy is based on the foundations I mentioned above. When we meet with a client, we will give them an extensive questionnaire based on the signs and symptoms they are experiencing. This questionnaire will provide us with information based upon various organ systems within the body. The next part is composed of evaluating a food journal done by the client (checking for quality, proper preparation, adequate water intake). Thirdly, we will perform the functional evaluation and maybe even do some lingual neuro testing.
The Functional Evaluation & Lingual Neuro Testing
It’s all based on biofeedback. The way it works: there are several reflex points within the body that with a small palpation (a little pressure) will tell us what the body needs based on a tenderness scale provided by the client.
The last portion of the process involves something called “Lingual Neuro Testing/LNT”. The premise of LNT is that the body knows what it needs (back to that innate intelligence). So when we find an area that needs our immediate attention and supplementation, we provide the client with a supplement and see if it will be well received by the body.
Next, we will re-palpate the area for tenderness. IF that is a good supplement that will work well for the client, the pain usually decreases drastically or completely disappears. On the flip side, if it is NOT a good supplement for the client, the tenderness may increase a bit. Regardless, it’s all based on the biofeedback of each client.
What is My Favorite Part So Far?
Each day I learn something new. Before I started this program, I was reading all sorts of various books without any real direction. The way the program is designed, it leads you into each module building upon the information from the last. The education is far beyond learning only about macro/micro nutrients. It is strongly science based in the anatomy and physiology of the body and how all systems interact together. I love that. Being enthusiastic and interested in what you’re learning (like I am) certainly helps.
Who is this class not for?
Someone who doesn’t like to read. It is common to have to complete an entire book within a module and then review it in addition to all of the other course work and reading. I am an avid reader, so it hasn’t been too big of a challenge, but you must stay on top of it.
Someone who needs constant direction. You really need to be a self-starter capable of directing your education. You have to decide how you will stay organized, and what approach for this style of learning works best for you.
Those who believe in quick-fixes. Healing the body takes time.
Diet Obsessed. I was once diet obsessed, but that was when I knew the least. When you are healthy and eat healthy food, when you’re body is satisfied–you will find that you don’t need to diet ever again.
Those who have no interest in cooking or food preparation. The key to the program is a properly prepared, nutrient dense diet. This takes work. It’s damn well worth it…but if you’re not into it then this program is not for you.
Those who may be skiddish about touching others. This particular program does require that you touch other people and sometimes in a slightly invasive way.
Hard Core Vegans. Our program is strongly based on the teachings of Weston A. Price and his discovery of fat-soluble vitamins via his extensive world travels and studies. If you aren’t familiar, read more here (and scroll on down to the Fat Soluble Activators Section). While a vegan diet may be beneficial for cleansing purposes, our program teaches us that for optimal health, we really do need to consume animal products so that we can get fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K which are vital for brain and organ function. The program does not diminish how beneficial eating a plant based diet is–and actually encourages the consumption of large quantities of fruits and veggies.
And to be clear, not just any animal products and not with voracity, but properly prepared, nutrient dense foods from humanely raised animals. In other words, grass fed meats, raw unpasteurized milk, bone broths, animal fat/skin, organ meats…products containing maximum nutrition. If you have concerns in regards to cholesterol and what not, please read here. The problems we have today with cholesterol are actually caused from eating a diet high in sugar, hydrogenated oils, and processed carbohydrates.
“Imagine if we had a food system that actually produced wholesome food. Imagine if it produced that food in a way that restored the land. Imagine if we could eat every meal knowing these few simple things: What it is we’re eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what it really cost. If that was the reality, then every meal would have the potential to be a perfect meal. We would not need to go hunting for our connection to our food and the web of life that produces it. We would no longer need any reminding that we eat by the grace of nature, not industry, and that what we’re eating is never anything more or less than the body of the world. I don’t want to have to forage every meal. Most people don’t want to learn to garden or hunt. But we can change the way we make and get our food so that it becomes food again—something that feeds our bodies and our souls. Imagine it: Every meal would connect us to the joy of living and the wonder of nature. Every meal would be like saying grace.”
― Michael Pollan,