Monday, 10 September 2012

Inside the mind of a nutritional therapist

The inner workings of my mind are probably not something I should be sharing! But when it comes to food I and all other nutritionists are constantly making choices based on a myriad of factors.

I'm sure that alot of nutrition clients start out the process wanting someone else to make their food decisions for them. Certainly someone else telling you what to eat every day for every meal, or even better delivering the food to your house, makes life easy and takes away the agonizing when it's time to make a selection.

But any good nutritional therapist won't want their client to have that kind of dependency on them. Instead the objective should be to teach the individual how to make a good decision every time they are faced with a food choice.

For me there's quite a few factors at play when making food choices;

- presence of allergens or hard to digest ingredients: gluten, dairy, chocolate, soy (depends on your sensitivities)
- animal fat content (high is bad), I don't tend to look at labels, generally fish good, meat and dairy bad, unless I've cooked the meat at home so know the fat content
- essential fat content - a plus
- level of processing (brown rice good, easy cook white rice bad), this usually goes hand in hand with:
- glycemic index (how quickly food digests), fibre content can be used as a good proxy
- sugar content (I avoid added sugar whenever possible)
- fruit/veg content
- freshness, how recently was it prepared
- any added nasties -e numbers, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, all bad
- is it organic? Can I get an organic version?
- what are my macronutrient needs for that meal/snack, do I need protein, do I need carbs, have I had enough essential fats?

So as you can see it's fairly complex, but actually much like learning to drive - it seems super difficult at first, but becomes second nature with practice.

Tomorrow I'll give some examples as to how it works in practice.

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