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What’s Alternative About What We Eat?

When I qualified, I was amazed that my practice came under ‘alternative’ or ‘complementary’ therapy. As a naturopath and nutritionist, the treatment I prescribe is based on hydration, food, purposeful supplementation and naturopathic techniques. Why does this come under ‘alternative’? What is alternative about what we eat?

Now, let’s have a conversation about food…why do we eat? You may say things like for energy, for enjoyment and to socialise. But the truth is that we eat to make us. Our cells are constantly renewing themselves and they make new cells from the food we feed our body. It’s simple. If we put processed, damaged, chemically laden, jet-lagged food into our body, are we really going to be able to make vibrant and healthy new cells?

Allopathic medicine looks at prescribing medication that covers up symptoms with a band-aid. When the medication is stopped, the symptoms are still there. In the process of taking the medication, you usually have to contend with new symptoms that are a result of trying to suppress the initial symptoms. Then, guess what – you are given another medication to suppress that, and on it goes. Allopathic medicine can, at times, make you feel as if there is nothing you can do and can leave you feeling really disempowered. The good news is that many doctors in the allopathic world are now deciding to continue their training and look more at lifestyle medicine, nutrition and naturopathy.

So, what exactly is naturopathy? It simply means nature cure. Let’s use the famous goldfish bowl analogy to explain the difference between treating someone in a naturopathic way and using allopathic medicine (known as Western medicine).

If you had a goldfish and you woke up one morning to find its fin was flopping and it looked a bit pale, you would take the fish to the allopathic vet. There, they would take it out of the water, look at it, give it an injection, maybe cut off a bit of the fin, put it back in the water and send you on your way with some antibiotics and painkillers. However, if you took the fish to a naturopathic vet, yes, the fish would be examined, but the vet would also look at the water in which it was swimming and ask about the food it was eating and the position of the bowl at home.

Naturopathy goes deep. It looks beyond the symptom to the environment, and discovers why that particular symptom is being expressed and what elements of the environment need to change.

The two major differences between these worlds are that generally in the allopathic world we are given something to take or rub in, and we don’t have to make any changes, but in the naturopathic world it is up to us to change the environment in which we are forcing our cells to live. This includes focusing on lifestyle medicine and looking at what we eat, drink, think and excrete.

So, I invite you to look at your own goldfish bowl. What environment are you putting your cells in and what are you feeding your cells?

2 thoughts on “What’s Alternative About What We Eat?

  1. I know we met when I too was a teacher, but after 18 years of that I was able to make the leap to working as a psychotherapeutic counsellor. Your explanations here make complete sense and I owe it to myself (years of tablet steroids to deal with chronic asthma and then causing their own issues) to think about my food the way I would work with a client and their environment. Thank you. This is very inspirational. Not sure I can make the changes you have, but I can make new changes every week and get there slowly and meaningfully. Xx

    1. We were both teachers in schools and have both made the leap and made AMAZING changes. I love that you have made the link between working with foods and the way you work with your clients. With the right information, support, inspiration and motivation you can make sustainable changes that suit your lifestyle. I totally agree with what you said it’s a marathon not a sprint xx

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