Over the last few years, “holistic nutrition” has been a popular topic in Canada. But despite being used a lot, this term is hard to define. When faced with the question “what is holistic nutrition?”, every practitioner usually has a different idea of what it actually means.
To give you the best overview possible, we asked 9 professional nutritionists, all graduates from the biggest schools in the country to give us their own definition. To add to the challenge, we limited them to 175 words per definition.
After reading this article, you will have a better understanding of what the term “holistic nutrition” actually means. You will also get a chance to share your own definition in the comments!
Holistic Nutrition Definition
Constantina Gravalos, CNP
“Holistic nutrition is a complete, natural approach to health, from eating the right foods for your body to healthy lifestyle practices to achieve optimal health, but there is much more to it. It is about connecting with individuals on a whole level. By whole level, I mean we want to get to the root cause of an individual’s health concerns by considering their diet, lifestyle and their physical and mental being.
When I think of holistic nutrition I think of it as a space. A safe space where individuals can come and really be heard. It is a welcoming space that is free of judgment and criticism. It is a space filled with affection, warmth, and understanding. Finally, it is a space where you can take the next step on your health journey and be supported all the way.”
Learn more about Constantina here
Regan Gray, CHNC
“Being informed, understanding how to make the best choices with the resources that you are given. Holistic is the whole body approach ( body, mind, and spirit). It’s so much more than being a nutrient-seeker, it means identifying how to personalize your approach to health and wellness, by finding what works for you on a cellular level, and tailoring it to your likes and needs. It means knowing when to reevaluate. Because what has worked in the past may not work for you now.
Holistic Nutrition also goes beyond food, focusing on all aspects of your life. Mindset, self-care, stress, sleep, and community. It’s the whole body and lifestyle approach to living a really nourished life inside and out.”
Learn more about Regan here
Sarah Steward, RHN
“While mainstream medicine is often looking for that one size fits all method, Holistic Nutrition takes into account that each person’s experience with health is unique. I love how the Holistic approach recognizes biological differences and the many factors that affect each person’s experience with health. This recognition can build the bridge from someone’s current state, to their health goals. I believe everyone wants to be seen on an individual level; the Holistic approach sees the individual.
It appreciates that the body, mind, and spirit work together as an integral part of optimum wellness.The difference between covering someone’s pain and imbalance, by only focusing on one system or treating symptoms, and seeing someone’s pain and imbalance, by working to uncover the root cause, is displayed in the Holistic approach. Holistic Nutrition gives you the tools you need. It gives the power back to the client, educates them about their unique needs and unveils what could be causing issues in the body.”
Andrea Szabo, RHN
“Holistic Nutrition to me means the whole shebang all of it together: the body, mind, and spirit. There needs to be a balance amongst them. The human body is a remarkably capable of maintaining optimal health or bringing it back into balance if it becomes misaligned. It is essential to nurture our whole self and understand that each one of us is unique. There is no cookie-cutter approach that can be applied to everyone.
Feeding ourselves with whole natural foods that grow in mother earth, drink pure water (with a minimal amount of processed ingredients) and strive to calm our minds as a regular practice we are serving our bodies holistically. Spiritual practice and being comfortable in our own skin and knowing what makes us happy and content and allowing ourselves this joy contributes to the overall balance and enjoyment of our lives. Holistic nutrition takes a look and all of these components and strives to find a balance amongst them.”
Learn more about Andrea here
Randall Heilik, CHNC
“Holistic nutrition fulfills the gaps in our health and medical system, in my opinion. Many people have the presence of nagging symptoms but because they are not life-threatening and don’t meet diagnostic standards they are rejected. People are often told it’s all in their head, that they just have to cope, and ultimately are left on their own to figure things out for themselves.
It’s not about telling you what foods are healthy (or not). It’s not just about the micro and macro-nutrients, and it’s certainly not about evaluating calories. Everyone knows what foods are “healthy” and “not-so”, but how does someone customize a way of eating to specifically move them through their health challenges/goals? Depending on your present symptoms, or which phase of the menstrual cycle you are in, what lifecycle you are in, what climate you live in, your genetic make-up, and so forth all define ‘what’ and ‘how’ you could be eating for your benefit, and that will forever be changing and evolving.”
Learn more about Randall here
Ashleigh Grange, RHN
“Holistic nutrition is an integrated holistic look at the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. It explores how diet, supplements, lifestyle choices, mindset, spirituality and other complementary practices can help contribute to or prevent disease of all kinds.
Holistic nutrition examines each person on a unique and individual basis to offer recommendations that will help them recover and re-establish optimal health. A foundational principle is that there is no one single diet for every person on the planet.
Holistic nutrition practitioners aim to act as teachers and provide relevant, empirically based knowledge, support, and guidance so that their clients can make the best choices for their personal circumstances and goals.”
Learn more about Ashleigh here
Kathleen Calwell, RHN
“Holistic Nutrition is a natural, back to basics approach to health incorporating modern science evidence-based techniques for diet and lifestyle. Instead of focusing on just one aspect of health, holistic nutrition assesses the complete health history, emotional state, lifestyle habits and current nutritional habits of an individual to determine the root cause of his or her health issues. I am happy to say that in my many years of practice as a holistic nutritionist, I am beginning to see a shift in how individuals view nutrition as they begin to realize that they are what they eat and that ultimately, they are in control and know what is best for them.
Holistic Nutrition stresses the fact that wellness approaches in the holistic field are wholesome, healthy and not harmful or toxic to the individual or the environment. It promotes balance and harmony for the individual, society and the planet. Natural nutrients have properties that are best described by these words: “live, natural, good quality.” These simple words can serve as a guide to everyone wishing to improve their health.”
Learn more about Kathleen here
Jessica Mitton, RHN
“To me, Holistic Nutrition means a whole perspective on life. Since discovering Holistic Nutrition, I have seen my life change completely. Not only in terms of what I eat, but in my approach to, and understanding of life, my body, my mental wellbeing, and my spiritual needs. It’s all about connecting the body, mind, and spirit, and living life to the fullest.
It’s taking a preventative approach to health and being the healthiest you can be. This will help you get the most out of life – right now and in the future. But it’s about providing yourself with real, whole and delicious foods, nourishing your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its optimal potential. It’s about clearing the mind with meditations, exercise, and daily affirmations, creating healthy habits to be your very best!”
Learn more about Jessica here
Milka Milicevic, RHN
“Holistic nutrition is a great tool for empowering the individual to live a healthier, happier, balanced life. Along with focusing on a natural approach to a healthy diet, it considers the person as a unique whole (looking at the interplay between the physical body, thoughts, and emotions). This helps to create a state of optimal well-being and energy.
Holistic nutrition encourages the use of whole, live, natural, nutrient-dense foods. This is the best way to prevent many health problems and restore balance back to the individual. It essentially encompasses the Hippocratic philosophy of, “let food be thy medicine” and shows each of us how to tap into our power within.”
Learn more about Milka here