Today I wanted to take a moment to talk a little bit about the NTA (Nutritional Therapy Association). They are an organization based in Olympia, Washington and they run Nutritional Therapist training programs all over the country, educating students about the importance of whole food nutrition and the fundamental problems with the Standard American Diet. I completed their Nutritional Therapy Practitioner program in Seattle a little under a year ago, which is organized in a 10-month distance learning format. As students, we completed homework in modules that were released through an online classroom portal and then we met up for three long-weekend workshops every few months to take tests and engage in hands-on training. I originally found out about the program three years ago and it finally fit into my life to do it last year and I am so glad that I took a leap and made it work. It was such an empowering sense of community and camaraderie. We were supplied with a lot of information and worked hard over the course of the program and it was 100% worth all the effort. I credit the NTP program with pushing me along my current life path.
I’m starting acupuncture school in a month and I don’t think I would have ever come to that decision had I not been in the NTP training. My Nutritional Therapy education helped me realize that I can learn and retain scientific information, which I didn’t always believe. I was an English major in college and had labeled myself as “not a science person” from the time I was in high school. I had some bad experiences with physics classes and wrote the whole thing off. But my experience re-enforced my study skills and reminded me that any academic pursuit is possible with proper motivation. After learning about blood sugar regulation, fatty acids, hydration systems and more in the NTP program, I realized that while further education in the sciences will be a challenge, it will not be a prohibitive one. The other aspect of NTP training that really pushed me toward acupuncture was the foundational element of the functional evaluation which is the hands on portion of the course. Students learn to palpate points on a client’s body that correspond with different functions in order to evaluate health and test supplements. When we were practicing the functional evaluation with our partners in the workshops I had an “aha” moment in which I realized that I am meant to be working hands on with clients. Actually up until that point, until about a year ago, I thought that I wanted to go into counseling in order to combine counseling and nutrition, but after going through NTA and doing this hands on evaluation, I realized that I feel called to practice on the body side of the mind-body connection, rather than working on the mind side. I truly believe from all the science that we learned and from what I’ve experienced in my own health journey and the health of my friends and family, that if you heal the body, the mind will follow.
My education as a Nutritional Therapist has also had a tremendous effect on my overall health and well-being. It has shifted the way that I eat and has helped me increase my daily energy and helped me be able to have a healthy sense of control about what’s going on in my body. I’ve also seen the way the information I’ve gained has helped my friends and family as I share it. I’ve helped my mother lower her blood sugar through education about sugar and carb consumption, helped friends by giving them shopping lists and having them fill out a Nutritional Assessment Questionnaire (our initial intake form for clients) to evaluate their health and give them feedback. So while I haven’t yet been working as an NTP for income, I have certainly been using this knowledge to help those around me in small, everyday ways as well as incorporating nutritional knowledge into my cooking and recipes. I had been blogging for a while before I went through the program and I have been cooking my whole life and certainly love cooking desserts and carbs (and I still do), but now I have been focusing more on recipes that are whole foods based and use healthy fats and proteins as their cornerstone.
I highly recommend the NTP program through the Nutritional Therapy Association to anyone who has been interested in nutrition, food or cooking and wants to take it to the next level. You can go on to become a practitioner and share this knowledge that becomes second nature to you but really isn’t second nature to most of the population. Nutritional Therapy Practitioners are at the forefront of a movement that our world really needs.
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