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How do you know what YOUR body needs?

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When it comes to nutrition, there is SO much controversy.  What foods are good and healing?  Which foods are poisonous, cancer-causing or otherwise problematic?  What food program is best?  (Keto?  Low carb?  Whole food?  Vegan?  Organic?)  What about supplements?  Is vitamin D the cure for everything?  What if you’re an athlete?  Pregnant/nursing?  Nourishing young children?  … You get the idea.  There is so much confusion and misinformation.

But what does the research show us?  How do we know what we need?  

Part of the reason that this is such a tricky subject is because the answer is PERSONALIZED nutrition!  Yeah, that means that although there are some general principles that almost always apply to all people, what YOU need will likely be different than what I need (or what your kids, parents, friends, or neighbors need).  

So how do you know?  There are a few things we can look at to hone in more specifically. But first… It’s important to understand the nuances that change your nutritional requirements and how they change over time…

What factors alter your nutritional needs?

  • Gender. Men and women have different needs.
  • Age. Your nutritional needs change greatly across your life span.
  • Stress levels. Stress of all kinds can dramatically change your nutritional needs. This could take the form of:
    • Over-exercise or a sedentary life (both are stressful for different reasons)
    • A broken heart
    • A job that you hate
    • Fear/worry (about anything— money, losing a job, kids, health, etc.)
    • Living or working in a loud environment
    • Living or working in an environment with poor air quality (cigarette smoke, near traffic, around paint fumes, other chemicals, etc.)
    • Never getting good sleep
    • Dietary choices (good or not so good)
    • Intense academic work
    • Vacation/time off or the lack thereof
    • Having a major life change (even a good one)
  • Pregnancy/nursing.
  • Intense training/athletic performance/high activity levels.
  • Medications. Some can cause nutrient depletions and can alter needs dramatically for certain micronutrients.
  • Other conditions (such as anemia, diabetes, cancer, liver disease, etc.)

All of those things (and more) can alter how much you need to eat, drink, supplement, rest, sleep and so on.  

To get a better and more accurate idea of what you need, here are 4 important factors to consider.

How do you know what you need?

  1. DRIs– DRI stands for Dietary Reference Intakes (also referred to as RDAs, recommended dietary allowance).  They are (supposedly) the amount that is needed for 97-98% of healthy people.  The main argument against the RDAs is that they are low standards … perhaps the amount you’d need to avoid disease states but not necessarily what you need to achieve optimal health and vitality.  I agree.  However, they do have their place in that most people are NOT meeting these standards.  It’s at least A STANDARD, albeit low.  If you are new to nutrition, this is a good starting point.
  2. Quantum Reflex Analysis (QRA) testing– This is a powerful form of applied kinesiology that I use clinically.  This type of testing gives us energetic feedback in real time from your organs and glands, so we know what areas need nutritional support (or mud packing).  There is nothing else like it for dealing with immune stress, digestive concerns, or any weird symptom that you can’t seem to get to the bottom of.  It’s my go-to for my work as a health detective when I need to track down the cause of a person’s symptoms.
  3. Nutrigenomics– This is the study of how your genes interact with specific nutrients, including many vitamins, minerals and macronutrients as well as substances such as caffeine, gluten and dairy.  This test will also give us some guidance on what is best for you for macronutrients (carbs, proteins and fats) for optimal health and weight loss.  This is a test that you only need to do once in your life because your genes don’t change.  This simple cheek swab test can give us priceless and timeless information that will serve you in laying a foundation for having a long and healthy life.  Click here to learn more or to order a Nutrigenomix test for you or your family.
  4. SpectraCell– This is a micronutrient test that looks at what vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that you are potentially lacking INSIDE your cells.  This is incredible technology.  Here’s the bottom line when it comes to this test: It doesn’t matter what you eat or take if it’s not able to get into the cells!  If you have any health problem, there is most certainly a nutritional deficiency.   SpectraCell is a blood test that you would do initially, adjust and then repeat every 6 months (although of course there’s no obligation to repeat if you choose not to).  Click here if you’d like more information or to order your SpectraCell test.

So where do you start?  Well first, if you’re not eating a diet that is mostly whole food, plant based, know that you’re likely getting FAR less nutrition than you require.  

Next, if you really want to know how well you’re doing on your current diet, there’s really only one way to know this.  It’s a bit arduous but it works.  You need to use a program like Cronometer (it’s an app and a website that is free).  You need to accurately enter every single thing you eat or drink for at least 3 days.  Longer is better … at least 7 days would be ideal.  The key here though is to enter it exactly.  For some foods, it won’t make a huge difference. (Ex: If you enter that you had ½ cup of chopped cucumbers on a salad, but you actually had a full cup, the calorie difference is negligible.)  However, for other foods, that would make a huge difference. (If you said you had ¼ c. of walnuts, but you actually had ½ c., the difference there is about 180 calories).  Also, when entering things like rice, you will want to specify if your measurement is taken cooked or dry.  The better and more precise you are at entering your foods, the more accurate the feedback will be.  The information this program gives will not be perfect, but it will give you a good idea as to how you’re doing.  You can start to see patterns in what areas you may be lacking or over consuming.  From there, are you at least meeting the DRIs?  You might be surprised.

There is, however, a bit of a caveat to doing your own check through Cronometer.  You can be eating enough of a given nutrient but that doesn’t mean you’re getting it into your cells (that’s where SpectraCell comes in).  Or perhaps you’re getting enough for an average person of your height and weight, but not enough for what you need because of a specific digestive or immune issue (that’s where QRA comes in).  Or perhaps you are having trouble losing weight because you don’t have the genetic makeup to effectively digest or assimilate a given substance (gluten, dairy, etc.)… That is where Nutrigeniomic testing comes in.  

At New Hope Health, our motto is, “we don’t guess, we test!” I would consider all 3 of these tests.  They all have great value, and none takes the place of the others.

This is especially important if you have persistent health problems that don’t make sense or that you can’t figure out.  This could include trouble losing weight, acne, bone loss, headaches, chronic anxiety, gas/bloating and more.

Don’t wait for things to get worse.  You and your future are so worth getting ahead of these things!  If you have questions on your next steps, feel free to call the clinic for support:  269-204-6525.


Nothing said or implied in this post is intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease.  It does not take the place of a health care practitioner.  It is for educational purposes only.