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What is Nutritional Therapy | Stephgaudreau.com

What is Nutritional Therapy?

Nutritional therapy and consulting has been a crucial transition for my brand and this episode I’m chatting all about it!

What is Nutritional Therapy | Stephgaudreau.com

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What is Nutritional Therapy?

Now that I’m a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I get a lot of questions from curious folks who want to know what it is and why I chose this path. Looking back, this was a crucial step in my brand transition and more importantly, the framework around which I help people understand nutrition in their own lives.

In this episode, I’m explaining what nutritional therapy is, why I became a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, why I chose this program, and more. If you’re curious about what a nutritional therapist does, you want to better understand how to approach nutrition holistically, or you’re thinking about furthering your own career or education in this field, this show is for you!

On Today’s Episode

  • What are the foundations of nutritional therapy?
  • What’s the NTP program like?
  • How much work did it take each week?
  • Why I chose this program / organization over others

Resources Mentioned In This Show

Thanks for Listening!


Steph Gaudreau
Well, hey, welcome to episode 188 of Harder to Kill Radio. It’s the Fierce Love Friday edition. And I’m your host, Steph Gaudreau. Thanks so much for spending some time with me today. I know you have a lot on your plate. So I really do appreciate the time you take to tune into the show and learn some new things and hang out.

Of course, every Tuesday I do my expert guest interviews. And today Friday, I do a solo show. So if you’re a new listener, welcome. If you’re a returning listener, thanks so much for being here. I really do appreciate that.

Today, we’re going to be doing a show about nutritional therapy, which I have gotten so many questions about the nutritional therapy program, the one that I did, why I chose it, you know, what it’s like. And so I’m going to do a whole show today on nutritional therapy. Even if you are not potentially interested in going through this certification, I think this show will provide a lot of context around how I look at food, how I am shifting or have shifted my own approach over the years and why. And I just think is really friggin’ interesting.

So I hope that you’re along for the ride today. I do want to mention some exciting news. On Sunday, I had to stop and think about that for a second, Sunday of this week, I launched the preorder campaign for my upcoming book, The Core Four, which is coming out in July. And you can get the preorder bonuses now for the book. I created new bonuses, they’ve never before been seen. And they really will help your use of the book and help you get the most out of it.

Preordering helps for a few reasons. And I just want to mention them really quickly. It helps to show my publisher that there is an amazing, motivated, engaged community out there who wants to have this book and makes it more likely that there might be a book tour or speaking engagements. And the second thing is that it helps the book gain more visibility on places like Amazon. And it’s not about vanity metrics, although I’ll mention a vanity metric in a minute, but it’s really about helping the book become super visible to people who are not in this community, who have never heard of this podcast.

So it’s really important that if we’re going to share and spread them the mission and really bring the vision of this book to life in the world, that we get it into as many people’s hands as possible. So let’s just a couple of reasons why preordering really, really helps. And I would be so honored if you would preorder the book and your credit card doesn’t actually get charged until the book gets shipped out in the summertime. So you can do that at corefourthebook.com. That’s core, the number four, the book.com or you can just head over to stephgaudreau.com There are links to it all over on the website.

And so an exciting thing happened over the weekend. While so many of you went out and preorder the book, it actually rose to number one in the new releases category for exercise and fitness on Amazon, which is freakin’ incredible. And my wonderful assistant Molly was giving me, kind of she was giving me some shit because I screenshotted this moment of, you know, the book being in the top spot of new releases.

And by the way, number two in all of exercise and fitness books, not just the new release category. I was there next to Phil Knight, which is, between Phil Knight and Chalene Johnson which is like what? Those are two icons in fitness and exercise. It was mind blowing to me. But she I screenshotted it just for posterity sake. And she said did you post that and share that Yeah, with with everybody in the community and let them know this exciting news.

And I was like no, no, I didn’t share it yet. And and because it’s not this book is not just about me. It’s not about stoking Steph’s ego. It’s about sharing this vision, sharing this mission, getting this book into women’s hands. Presenting a new way of looking at nutrition and fitness and changing the conversation like that’s what the whole goal of this book is. So I in order to to try to own that. That’s why I wanted to share that exciting news with you. So please, please, please, it would be so helpful to us to have that preorder. And I would love to share the bonuses with you. I think they’re really amazing. So corefourthebook.com

All right. Now it was a really long intro today. Nutritional therapy, so what is nutritional therapy? So many people have asked me about this. To share my thoughts, to tell them what the program’s like, did I like it? Would I recommend it? What was it like doing the program and I want to cover this today. I just went to the first my first ever nutritional therapy annual conference, it was in Portland. And it was an amazing time.

I got to meet so many fellow nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants. I’ll talk about the difference between those here in a minute, and network and listen to some amazing talks. And it really felt like I finally had a cohesive community of people to get to know, you know what I mean. Working online can be really difficult sometimes for that reason, it feels like we’re all ships passing in the night. And it was really great to just be with people who are passionate about the same things that I’m passionate about.

So really quickly, I’m going to talk about the history of sort of why I decided to get into nutritional therapy, what it is, why I chose the NTA, how much time it took me each week, and the differences between the practitioner and consultant options in the program. So for me, as many of you know, I had a website called stupid easy paleo from 2011 until late 2018.

And for many, many years, I was helping people understand and navigate a Paleo way of eating, albeit not a very strict way of Paleo eating, which over the years started to morph into more of a, well, this is an on ramp potentially, for you to start eating more real, whole nutrient dense foods. But eventually, you’re going to want to customize it for you.

And as I got closer to the rebrand, and you can kind of go back and listen to some back episodes about why I changed and rebranded. I think the one that stands out to me is I think it’s goodbye, hello, is what it’s called. I’ll put it in the show notes, where I kind of explain why I decided to rebrand.

But suffice to say, and I’ll just say it, wrap it up this way, that bio individuality. I started to realize just working with so many people in the community, talking to so many people online, I started to realize how important bio individuality is when we’re dealing with things like nutrition, when we’re dealing with things like fitness. And one of the one of my favorite things to say when we’re like, just give a shout out to my girl Kristin Kashuk. This too, because she, this is one of her favorite things to say, and she’s also an NTP, is it depends.

There are so you know, quite often I get questions from the community, like what’s the best way to do x? Or how should I approach why? And my answer is always It depends. We can throw out some best practices. But ultimately, we’re all so different. And we have to take that into consideration. So I really wanted to further my, gameplan isn’t the right term, but I really wanted to further my framework, if you will, around helping people understand a bio individual approach to nutrition. And believe it or not, my desire to actually get involved with the Nutritional Therapy Association goes back to 2014.

When I first learned about it, and I wanted to do the program, and I remember talking to Diana Rodgers, we were walking around New York City, of all places in July of 2015. And talking to her about the program saying I wanted to do this. And it just was never quite the right time. So 2018 rolled around, I knew I wanted to step into this rebrand. And I thought okay, now is the time. So in January of 2018, I enrolled in the Nutritional Therapy Consultant Program, and started in February. And by the way, was doing the program alongside writing a book and in running my business.

So there’s no, there’s never a right time. I also don’t believe in lumping more on your plate than you really can handle. And I felt like because we were coming to the tail end of, I was coming to the tail end of writing the majority of the big chunk of the manuscript, it was where I was almost done with that and I thought okay, well I can, I think I can do this at the same time. And it was hard, but ultimately managed to make it happen and then in the fall became a Nutritional Therapy Consultant Certified. So that was sort of my my quick story there.

So what is nutritional therapy? Nutritional therapy is really a way of approaching nutrition and helping people understand how holistic nutrition and lifestyle factors play into how they feel every day. And there are six main foundational sort of pillars in the Nutritional Therapy Association. The first one is properly prepared whole foods nutrient dense diet. Now notice it didn’t say high fat or lots of, you know high carb or keto or paleo or whatever.

There’s really no name to what’s given, you know what, what the diet is, quote unquote, because it varies depending on the person and what their needs are. So it’s always about assessing the individual and what does the individual need. But that properly prepared whole foods nutrient dense diet is really key.

Properly prepared refers to the idea, for example, that grains, seeds, legumes, which are basically beans, that those foods do better when they are, you know, for example, soaked and sprouted. So that’s what properly prepared refers to.

The second pillar is digestion. And those of you who are in the Harder to Kill Club know that my favorite thing to talk about is digestion and poop. And for good reason. Because if we eat a properly prepared whole food, nutrient dense diet, we have to be able to digest and assimilate those nutrients and nutritional therapy, we really take a deep dive into the process of digestion, how were, you know, when does digestion start? What should good digestion look like? What are some of the implications when digestion goes wrong, and how we can support digestion through food and then sometimes supplementation.

The third pillar is or foundation is blood sugar. So blood sugar management also, again, very important, especially in our modern diet, where we have lots and lots and lots of refined carbohydrates and sugars, and nutritional therapy doesn’t vilify those, doesn’t vilify carbs. First of all, it doesn’t vilify natural sugars. But it does aim to help the client understand how too many, again, contextual for that individual, how too many refined carbohydrates, too many simple sugars, for example, could impact their blood sugar regulation.

After that, we have mineral balanced. So understanding how things like calcium are balanced in the body, magnesium and how all that works. Next is fatty acids status. So a lot of people are very, very deficient in omega three fatty acids. And we learn how that impacts other things like hormones in the body.

And then lastly, hydration, and how hydration is so important and how we can help support that and what good hydration, what the outcomes of good hydration are, and so on and so forth. So those are really the key foundations of nutritional therapy. And then after that, we learn the consequences when those six things are not balanced.

And so very often the way I see it is when people come to nutritional therapy, they have some kind of complaint. And the complaint is something like my hormones are imbalanced or I think I’m having adrenal issues, or I am experiencing female reproductive problems, menstrual problems, infertility, etc. and on down the line, thyroid problems. And oftentimes, we’re very, very focused on the problem and not and how to just make the problem be eased.

And sometimes that means taking medicine and a western approach. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those things. And sometimes it means really taking a step back and looking at the the root, the foundations and using nutrition to support those things, to then create more balance in the body so that those complaints end up being eased. In a nutshell, that’s nutritional therapy.

And there are lots of tools that we use and assessments and working with a client in terms of client motivation. And it’s a really cool way, it’s a really systematic way of helping people improve their, their health and how they feel every day.

Why did I choose? Well, first of all, what’s the difference between the nutritional therapy practitioner and consultant? The easiest way I can explain this is that in the practitioner level, you also learn something called the functional evaluation, which is an extra added tool. It’s quite in depth that has to do with essentially palpating different points on the body to make assessments about function related to food and nutrition. So that’s an extra added add on.

And I think if you have the desire to work with people in person or you just are absolutely desiring that extra level of detail and information than the functional evaluation is really awesome. And I think most people who end up going through the nutritional therapy association because some practitioners, myself, and some of the other folks that I know, have gone through the consultant level program, which is simply, essentially, in a nutshell, the same thing as the nutritional therapy program for practitioners without the functional evaluation.

So it winds up being a little bit less intense in terms of volume of material that you have to learn. And certainly you don’t learn the functional evaluation, which means that in theory, you could still work with people in person. However, you just would not administer the functional evaluation to your clients.

I know a lot of people like myself that work primarily online opt for the consultant level program, but they’re both amazing programs, I don’t think you can go wrong with either one, you just have to decide what may fit better for your demand, you know, the demands of your lifestyle, perhaps the potential clients that you may see yourself working with. So I’m a nutritional therapy consultant.

In regards to the program, I the program that I did last February has been slightly revamped. Most of it’s very, you know, very, very similar in terms of those foundations that I mentioned, and the overall idea of bio individuality and how we approach that and so on and so forth. But the program has been slightly improved, and altered in in So in so far as it used to be that we would meet as consultants, we had a one person one, a one weekend in person, sort of workshop. And for that, I went up to the Portland area last May, and we met as a cohort, and it was amazing.

Now, the Nutritional Therapy Consultant Program is completely online, which I think is amazing, gives better access to people who perhaps don’t have the means to travel. So it’s now completely online and has been revamped, really with an increased focus and emphasis on things like lifestyle factors, it’s nine months long. It is designed to help increase awareness of lifestyle factors, how sleep and stress affect the foundations, providing hands on culinary interventions, using real food solutions, et cetera, et cetera. So it is more online now, which is amazing. And I think that’s a huge benefit for people.

In terms of how much time did it take? So oftentimes, people then will ask, well, how much time did it take? How much time did you spend every week, because there may be some of you who are looking to get into this field, or perhaps you’re a health and wellness professional, and you want to enhance your current career with more understanding of holistic nutrition and culinary knowledge, and so on and so forth.

And these tools that I’ve been talking about, you know, how much time is it gonna take every week, and I will say it’s different. I mean, I can imagine it’s going to be different for each person, for a variety of reasons. For example, I am an extremely fast reader, I read very quickly, actually little known fact about me, I took a speed reading class in college, where I learned how to speed read, and I don’t read quite as fast as I did back then. But I am a quite a fast reader. So for me to read books, and to read any other supporting material was probably faster than someone else.

I would say, on average, I probably spent between 5 and 10 hours a week on my coursework, the course is very is rigorous. This is not a one weekend course, or certification. This is a nine month program. So there is a volume of work that you will have to do and the way it works. There are internal due dates and deadlines, which certainly helps against procrastination, so that you don’t get to the end of the term. And you think, oh, no, I haven’t done anything, that you’re working on it a little bit at a time a little bit at a time.

And so for me, it really helped to develop a routine, where each week I would do the same things. And normally I went to town on a Sunday where I had more time, I would look ahead to the next module, I would download the relevant materials, I would get an idea of what the activities and assignments were for each module. And at least for the program that I went through last year, the first half is much more front loaded because you’re learning about the foundations.

And I’m assuming that that’s also the case in the current program where the foundations are really going to occupy a huge chunk of that time and there is a very deep dive and understanding the physiology, how the food factors in how nutritional therapy as a practice works and so on and so forth. We had client practice clients, so we had practice client caseload where we had to work on those things throughout a year, we had books that we had to read that were supporting, there are lectures that you listened to.

And there are some tips for making that stuff easier. But I would sit down and think about what are the things I want to get done this week, what is the time that I have, I would try to sit down and knock out the lectures together or, you know, sit down for a couple of hours and go through the lectures and then move on. And so I just found a workflow that really worked for me, I’m sure there are lots of other people that had workflows that are quite different to mine.

But just to know that it is going to be something you have to devote some time to each week, so that you don’t fall behind. And it’s manageable, for sure. You just need to be sure that you will be diligent and stay on top of things. Because I think the worst is where you start to fall behind. And you know, you’re slipping, and life just piles up on top of it. And then you end up feeling a lot more stressed out than you anticipated.

And so why the Nutritional Therapy Association. For me, I was really looking for an association that provided ongoing education opportunities, ongoing trainings, in annual, you know, in this case, a huge annual conference with opportunities to learn, to gather more knowledge and information, to network and connect with people.

The NTA offers a ton of online trainings and webinars that are free and available to anybody to learn about this stuff, whether you want to look at the practitioner, or consultant level, or you just are in a curious individual who wants to improve their health, there is actually some some great resources on their website that you can dig into on your own.

So I was really looking for that, that continued activity, that vibrancy, and frankly, I didn’t want to spend big money on doing. There are other, you know, holistic, I’m using air quotes here holistic nutrition programs that are, you know, quite expensive, and they don’t focus around kind of a central unifying theme, or a central set of ideals. There’s lots of different things that you learn. And while I think that can be super helpful, if you really want to get a broad look at holistic nutrition, I was looking for something that was really cohesive.

So that’s why I ended up choosing the NTA, because I knew that they have a very cohesive point of view, they have very cohesive tools, and education and training behind that was very cohesive. And I looked at the people in my community who I respect, who are doing this work in terms of nutrition, and I saw that many, many, many of them, were nutritional therapy, consultants or practitioners. So to me that said a lot. And that’s why I decided to to look into and pursue ultimately, the NTA.

Their classes start, or I should say cohorts enroll in February, May, and September. So if you’re listening to this now it’s getting on to be the end of March. Perhaps this episode was helpful if you’ve had your eye on joining one of the NTA programs, like the NTC program to help you gather more information about whether or not this is the right move for you and your career, or you’re just curious and you want to learn more.

So as always, if you have questions, feel free to reach out and ask me. I know several people from the community have reached out and I kind of said, Hey, I’m gonna be doing a podcast about this. So look out for more information. But if you feel like there’s something I didn’t cover, then feel free to DM me and I can try to answer your question. I’m also working on a blog post about this, which takes a lot longer to write a blog posts than it does to do a podcast. So that will be forthcoming hopefully, very, very soon.

And the last thing I just wanted to mention is that if you do decide that you’re you want to sign up, you’re excited, this is a step you want to take with your career. When you sign up, it will ask if you’ve if anybody referred you and I would really be honored if you would add my name to that list. I may make a small commission on that, full disclosure as always, but it does, really does help to support this show and all the other things that I do online with my business, so you just put my name there in the referral or refer box when you sign up. That would be super awesome. And I would really, really appreciate it.

All right. There you go. That’s quick show on nutritional therapy, what it is, what it’s like and why I chose the NTC program. So if you have questions like I said, feel free to reach out if not, have a great rest of your week. And until Tuesday, be well.

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Steph Gaudreau

Hi, I'm Steph Gaudreau (CISSN, NASM-CPT)!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


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