When I started in nutrition, my interest was mainly how to help people lose weight. I knew that we had an obesity epidemic in this country, and it seemed that helping people diet better was the way to change that. Only it isn't. Partway through my education I found myself disillusioned with nutrition. I was disappointed at how much I was taught that nutrition couldn't change, and the answer to the problem of obesity was to simply eat few calories or exercise more. But the more I learned and experienced, the more I realized that the weight gain that leads to obesity is really just a symptom of other problems. More importantly, simply losing weight may not solve those problems, and for many people, they are never able to lose the weight at all regardless of how much they calorie restrict or exercise.
At the same time, my own health was failing, despite eating what I believed was a healthy diet. Doctors wouldn’t listen to me, and I was simply told that most of my problems were in my head. The turning point for me was the day I sat in a nutrition class and realized that I had nearly all the symptoms for a particular vitamin deficiency as my professor lectured in the background about how nutrient deficiency was extremely rare in the US and only existed in sick or food scarce populations. I realized that something didn't add up.
Over the next several years, I made many changes in my diet and lifestyle--some drastic, some minor, all in the quest for better health. Every aspect of my health and my daily lived experienced changed dramatically, and I began to realize that nutrition might be more powerful than many medical professionals give it credit for. I am not alone, and sadly my experience is not unique. Many people are given bad answers regarding their health. They’re told that the only treatments are lifelong medication, costly procedures (with questionable results), and managing symptoms. In fact, they are often told that “natural” or “alternative” treatments are unscientific and don’t work. But I am also not alone in my experience of healing from changing my diet, restoring nutrient sufficiency, and modifying lifestyle and environmental factors. We are the is in the people who are living healthy, thriving lives where before there was only disease and dysfunction.