What Are YOU?

Nicole Hodson Photo“What ARE you?”

In high school this question generally meant, “What group do you belong to? Are you a 'rocker?' A 'preppy?' A 'jock?'” I didn’t hear this question for years after graduating from high school.

Then I entered the nutrition industry, and the question resurfaced. “What ARE you?” At first, it stopped me in my tracks. What does that mean, ‘What ARE you?’ After many years now I’ve learned that the question really is, ‘What diet do you eat?’

Today when I think of this question, I chuckle a bit to myself. The answer is that I’ve been many things over the years, including vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, Keto, Paleo and Intermittent Faster. But since finding my way to holistic nutrition I’ve committed myself to some fundamental eating standards from which I’ve never strayed.

I eat real, whole foods, free of chemicals, pesticides, herbicides (and any other “cides” you can think of), locally-sourced, sustainably grown/raised, and in season, whenever I can. I don’t drink soda pop, eat fast food, or “foods” developed by people in lab coats. I prepare most of my food at home with fresh ingredients I’ve carefully sourced, with love and intention. I savor the eating experience, maximized by a selection of varied items, with little in the way of repeats. And with a mind toward food as my primary medicine I strive each day to put the most nutrient-dense foods I can find into my body.

 Okay, so that’s a long answer to the short question of, “What ARE you?”

(Ironically, a dear friend just called me with concerns that her spouse eats too much meat in his Paleo diet, and to tell me how her parents had recently made great strides in their health by becoming vegans).

Here’s the thing… holistic nutritionists represent a wide-ranging list of eating styles and disciplines. There is no one central dogma amongst members of our NANP family. We have vegans, vegetarians (of all types!), Paleos, Ketos, Intermittent Fasters, and the list goes on. But I think we all agree that real, whole, nutrient-dense, seasonal, and consciously raised/grown foods are the way to go.

As the executive director of the NANP I often hear members comment that their chosen way of eating should be the choice of the organization; that the association should dictate one diet and only one diet. We don’t see it that way.

We believe that diet diversity is one of the strengths of our industry. That we don’t adhere to a one-size-fits-all approach makes us unique in the marketplace and offers a broad range of options to our clients. We trust you, the professionals in our industry, to know what’s best for you and your clients, and we leave these decisions to you.

Our job is to provide you with the support you need to do the work you do and to provide you with stellar educational opportunities. That’s why we offer a variety of perspectives at our annual conferences and through our schools and continuing education learning options. You do the work; we’re here to support you.

I'm still trying to refine my response to the question, 'What ARE you?' For now, I say, "I am what I eat, so I eat real, whole, organic, local, seasonal, sustainable foods." Yep, still a mouthful... but worth it!

Nicole Hodson, NC, BCHNTM
NANP Executive Director

P.S.  As we look to next year’s conference, and exploring the Ancient Path to Modern Health, you can expect we will continue to offer educational sessions on a variety of diet perspectives and approaches. Stay tuned for more of what’s to come.

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