5 Things You Need to Know About Holistic Nutrition

What is holistic nutrition, anyway? We talked to Matt D’Amour, owner of Inside Out Wellness and holistic health and fitness consultant, to find out.

It’s Very Individualized

“It’s having someone develop a personal relationship with food that feeds their dream while taking into account their emotional, mental and physical state. Seeing food as medicine is a simple way of seeing it.   

Food is an important part of holistic health. It’s not one-size-fits-all—it allows that one man’s food is another man’s poison. The concept has been around for ages, [but] more people are becoming aware of the fact that there are alternative methods to work with symptoms, diseases and problems.

Holistic health and alternative health are synergistic. Something like acupuncture, for example, is part of holistic health. Holistic is just the umbrella over all of those individual health practices.”

Holistic Nutrition Isn’t About Treating, It’s About Coaching

“I coach people on the six foundational principles of health, which are nutrition, hydration, sleep, thinking, moving and breathing.
I talk about using the last four doctors you might need: Doctors diet, quiet, movement and happiness.

I do personal training and diet plans for people. I don’t treat the disease; I work with the person that has the ailment. And I’m going to make sure their body is as clean as it can be. When you clean up there are lingering [issues] that might subside or go away.

A big thing I see are skin issues. Instead of getting topical creams for your face, we’ll talk about getting more sleep and eating better, which will detox your body. We want to figure out the root cause.”

Organic Is Key

“All organic foods are important. If you’re looking at how you can [break it down], first look at meat and dairy. The reason why these are important to purchase organic is because they’re the most nutrient-dense, so they can carry the most herbicides and pesticides, and have the
highest potential for carcinogens. I advocate switching those to organic first.

Look for eggs, butter, milk, cheese and free-range, grass-fed local meats. Next you should pick up fruits and veggies with the thinnest skins, like grapes and berries. Body-care items are important, like shampoo, toothpaste, detergents. It’s very important that if you can’t eat it, don’t wear it. Your skin is just as big of an organ that’s interacting with your internal environment as much as the food you eat. Things with thicker skin like bananas and pineapples are last, and then condiments.”

Weight Suprisingly Is Just a Number  

“[When someone comes to see me] I’ll see if their goal is realistic. A lot of women have an unrealistic weight goal that’s unhealthy. So we take
it full circle and go back to holistic—maybe they are ten pounds overweight, but do they have balance in their life? Balance is more important than that extra ten pounds. The difference between health and wellness is a big part of what I teach. I also teach the 80/20 rule—80
percent of the time if you honor the principles, 20 percent of the time you can indulge. That might mean you can go out and have wine or dessert, or stay out late, but you have to make sure you’re doing the other principles 80 percent of the time.”

Eat This, Not That …

“People think there’s this one-size-fits-all approach to food. There’s a massive amount of information out there. I always do an initial health and lifestyle assessment when we begin, asking things like, ‘On a scale of one to ten, how is your sleep, stress levels, energy, are you recovering from your workouts, what’s your emotional state?’ We look at body fat percentage and body composition, too.

The only solution for pollution is dilution. If you can drink good water and get good sleep and get proper movement, that’ll take care of your hormones and energy. Regarding movement, people need to know what type of movement to do in relation to stress.

I tell clients to stay away from mostly processed stuff. I like nuts, dried fruit, vegetables and bars. I [started] Food Your Body Likes, which are gluten-free, organic whole-food snacks, and Yumbutter (with business partner Adrian Reif), organic homestyle churned flavored peanut butters (Editor’s note: go to myinsideoutwellness.com to learn more about D’Amour’s snacks). They’re sold at Willy Street Co-op, Metcalfe’s Market, Whole Foods and Bloom Bake Shop.”

If you're interested in learning more about Inside Out Wellness, check out their open house on Friday, February 3 from 5:30-9 p.m. myinsideoutwellness.com

Shayna Miller is multimedia and style editor of Madison Magazine.

Read more Healthy Living features here

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