4.21.20 Why I care about Nutrition
This is Nancy Walker, founder of The Wellness Kitchen in Templeton, CA
Nancy taught me that love can be a nutrient in food. She taught me that food is more than simply good or bad. She taught me joy in vibrant colors of whole foods. She infected me with her passion of preparing nutrient dense, whole foods for anyone and everyone, and especially those who are ill or run down.
I worked at The Wellness Kitchen for one and a half years. While I didn't regularly work in the kitchen with the chef, Evan Vossler, and the many volunteers, the joy, the love, the compassion, and the delicious smells always overflowed the kitchen and spilled over to my desk in the corner!
Through classes taught by Nancy, Evan, and Haley Garrelli I learned more about nutrition and the importance of properly prepared whole foods. A patron would come in with a question about some condition she was dealing with and Nancy or Stephanie Gibson would give us a glimpse of their wealth of knowledge on foods, herbs, teas, spices that might be beneficial. Changing my diet had already changed my life in dealing with a skin rash autoimmune condition, and seeing how powerful it could be in everyone's life pushed me down the path of learning more for myself.
Let's rewind a few years...
I grew up in Newfoundland, Canada in a small community where I was home schooled with my three older brothers. My youngest brother struggled with a bad rash on his hands. The doctors gave him progressing strengths of cortisone cream until the highest safe dose was no longer effective. When I started to break out in the same rash, my mom decided to go a different route. Homeopathy with some dietary guidelines provided some relief at times but other symptoms kept coming up like migraines, diarrhea, anemia. Then my dad got very ill after some stressful months. All his blood work came back normal and the doctors had no answers for why he could hardly get dressed and have breakfast before needing to take a nap, much less go to work. He went to see a holistic doctor, Eddi Boyd, who gave him strict dietary recommendations as well as a supplement protocol. He booked an appointment for me before he left her office! After getting my personalized, bio-individual recommendations the next week, I started to see a dramatic reduction in my symptoms. Within a few weeks my rash was almost gone, I could walk my dog again, I was maintaining a healthy, stable weight and rarely experienced headaches any more.
A few years later, when visiting the west coast, I met a handsome young Atascadero man who stole my heart! 10 months later we got married and I moved almost 5,000 miles across the continent to a different country to be his wife! I loved life here and being married to my best friend but had a lot of personal stress going on. Within a year my rash started coming back. I did all the ‘right’ things that I’d learned before, but it only got worse, slowly spreading to my arms, legs, neck and face. People constantly asked where’d I’d run into poison oak. I went to see a Naturopathic doctor, Jamie Kirkpatrick, who worked with me on what I was eating, stress management, and supplements. Our biggest breakthrough was finding out that I was allergic to coffee. I was working at Joebella’s at the time, and Joe supported me in leaving as soon as possible, even though I loved working there. Within a few weeks of no longer being exposed to coffee, most of my rash had healed.
From there I looked for a job for a few months before I called The Wellness Kitchen on the recommendation of a friend. And they were hiring! That's when I met Nancy and the team at The Wellness Kitchen.
Though I moved on to a new job in January of 2019, I'd already committed to learning more about food and its power in our bodies. The next month I started a 9 month course through the Nutritional Therapy Association.
The NTA is a private vocational school in Washington, founded in 1997 by Grey and Joy Graham. Their Nutritional Therapy program qualifies graduates to sit for the National Association of Nutritional Professionals board exam. We are not registered dieticians or licensed nutritionists and do not diagnose or treat disease. We do not take the place of your doctor or health care professional but prefer to work in tandem with them for your benefit. Our training prepares us to educate people to build a foundation of wellness with properly prepared, nutrient dense, whole foods. Then we build on that with the 5 pillars of health, Digestion, Blood sugar balance, Fatty acid balance, Minerals, and Hydration. The result of bringing these areas into focus and optimizing these processes in the body, addresses many underlying health concerns. The NTA always emphasizes bio-individuality. We take into account what has brought the person to this place and what their unique needs are. A huge part of the NTP course is learning the Functional Clinical Assessment.
The Functional Clinical Assessment (FCA) is a series of palpations that uses the body's innate intelligence to assess organs and systems. Using different known points on the torso, hands, feet, and legs, as well as other simple evaluations, we get feedback from the body to understand what foods and supplements might benefit the client the most. This concept is the lingual-neuro test. In this part of the assessment, the client will put a food or supplement in his/her mouth. The practitioner re-palpates the point of concern to see if that particular intervention is what the client needs to support the organ or system. The client gives feedback of tenderness on a 0-10 scale. Once we find something that brings the hot points down, we know what that particular individual needs to best support that organ or system.
This has been my journey and some of the people that have influenced me to take action and learn more about my body and how food can positively or negatively impact me. And while I don't always follow all my recommendations for myself, I'm thankful for the health and resilience I've come to take for granted! If you want to further your health journey by getting nutrition on board I'd love to help you! I can do consults through video chat and email at this time of being sheltered at home. Visit my website or reply to this email!