Holistic nutrition: a path of healing and self-discovery

Holistic nutrition as a path of healing

Meet Cecilia Betolaza, a young, beautiful woman with a Bachelor in Nutrition. In this first article, she will tell us how her focus on this area has been transforming and evolving. She will also explain why and how she approaches nutrition as a way of self-discovery and personal healing.

Physical, mental, and spiritual harmony

Hi! For the ones who do not know me, and for the ones who do -but do not know my professional background-, I will tell you a little bit about my career as a nutriologist.

I am a follower of Holistic and Integrative Nutrition. I used to execute Nutrition as we know it traditionally, since this is the discipline in which I started my career. Today, when somebody comes to me for a consultation in order to lose, gain weight, or heal a pathology, I work alongside my patients to reach their goals through the use of different tools and a well-balanced diet. I strongly believe that my patients’ different circumstances carry much more than just a nutritional issue, which is why a customized diet will be just one of the many mechanisms we would have to use in order to heal.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “(…) a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”. To this simple but very complex definition, I would probably add that it is also “A complete state of harmonious physical, mental, spiritual, and social well-being”: This, because of the strong belief that a body, mind, and spirit that is in total harmony opens the gates to health.

EVERYTHING we do, we do it to feel happier

Once upon a time, I remember somebody told me that “EVERYTHING we do, we do it to feel better and to seek happiness.”. With this, this person meant that this quote came from things such as raising well our children, doing our work correctly, and even having an adequate weight. We do all of this and much more in life in order to fulfil our well-being cravings, and I think it is true.

A first step towards it will be to feel good with what we have in order to -later on- seek self-improvements in every stage of our life; it is completely useless to have a perfect body or the best-paid job if we are crumbling on the inside.

I want to transmit to the ones who walk through my path that I don’t believe in a single, almighty nutritional recommendation that fixes a given problem. There are general suggestions that I do not follow anymore. Today, I prefer to discover and adhere to customized nutrition and lifestyle counseling, which will vary a lot from one patient to another.

“Everything works out for everybody, and nothing works out for anybody”

My short path through nutrition has taught me -and keeps on showing me- that, in order to heal, it is vital to achieve a physical, mental, and spiritual balance. Any type of professional advisor, whether he/she comes from the health area or not, will have to put into practice different types of approaches and always treat the patient as what he/she is: a unique person.

We are all human beings, with different personalities, dreams, goals, issues, neurochemical waterfalls, and nutritional needs, which is why I don’t follow the global and traditional way of giving nutrition counseling. This applies to calorie intake needs, different types of food, as well as its preparation methods, and how, when, and with whom to consume them.

Even though it might look like I am only stating my personal beliefs about this topic, I like to have a scientific backup on Psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology , as well as I prefer to base my knowledge on millenary cultures, such as and the Aryuvedic medicine, which has a very wise moto:

“Everything works out for everybody, and nothing works out for anybody”.

In other words and in the nutritional context: there are some people who feel good when eating certain kinds of food and spices, and there are others who don’t feel the same way when eating the same thing as others. For example, there are some people who will feel alright when intaking food with a high amount of carbs, and there are others who will feel quite the opposite.

We have to put aside myths, such as the one that states that we should avoid carbs all the way or that we should completely eliminate certain kinds of food from our system. Instead, we should start asking ourselves: Which are the kinds of food that really make me feel good?

Why do we get sick?

You might have asked yourself this question at some point. Although this might seem like a very difficult interrogative to answer, the truth is that it is not a hard question at all. There are many possible answers to this inquiry. For example, if we have the traditional medical approach, we would answer :”We get sick due to the pathogens that enter our bodies”. The same question might be explained by a nutritionist as the result of a poor diet or malnutrition, while a spiritualist might say we get sick because we are immersed in an energetic disharmony. While all of them are valid answers, they do not explain -on their own- the specific cause of a given disease or pathology.

It is important to bear in mind all of the possible answers that our doctor, nutritionist, psychologist, gymnastic professor, yoga teacher, and our reiki mentor might offer. We cannot -and we should not- conform ourselves with a single answer, because there is not a single cause that is responsible for a certain pathology.

Life itself is a system, and each action will generate a reaction, whether it is physical, mental, energetic, or spiritual. The imbalance of any of these parts will lead to a chaos inside all the system that forms the body.

I do not share the concept of something that is classified as “chronic” or “terminal” (such as a chronic disease, chronic obesity, or terminal cancer). Science has already proved that our neurons have plasticity and neuroplasticity, meaning that they can modify and get altered on their own. Our bodies are not destined to be in a certain way just because we inherited something from our ancestors, but also because we chose to be and transform ourselves in a certain way. Everything starts in our head: thoughts, feelings, affirmations, and denials.

Therefore, a pathology -even if it comes from a given genetic base- persists only due to our attitude and our approach towards life. This phrase sums up this concept:

“When you decide to change the crystals that you use to see the world, the world will then change for you”

Start your own journey towards healing

Some may ask themselves why I decided to talk about all of this if I am just a nutritionist. Nonetheless, I might answer that, actually, thinking the way I do, makes a lot of sense. My role as a health professional is to guide and aid people who need it, and to always remember that each one of them are body, mind, and soul, as well as I find it necessary to understand the life of each one of my patients.

In order to help somebody through their weight-loss journey, or their fight against a given pathology or disease, I have to take the time to get to know them, and give each of my patients as many tools as I can to help them through their road to happiness. This will be possible by helping them to accept and love themselves, as well as by aiding them to approach happiness with the things that they already are and have. Afterwards, we will start focusing on the parts that will help us reach the goal in order to get going with a life-changing healing process.

Words: Cecilia Betolaza

Photography by Meri Slinger

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