I know some folks will think I’ve fallen off my rocker in teaching people how to be their own nutrition coach, but this is really in service of my vision for the world: a place where health and fitness professionals are no longer necessary. This means that it is my duty, my mission, to teach you how to fish. If you simply rely on someone else to tell you what to do and how to do it, then you are always dependent on that person. I’m not in favor of that, and so this is part of that mission.
When I used to coach our old Foundations program at CFG, I would joke with new clients that the three most dangerous topics to discuss with others were politics, religion, and nutrition. Then I would proceed to talk about nutrition on several different levels:
- Why it’s important
- I helped them think critically about all the available info out in the world by discussing the pro’s, con’s, and unknowns of different nutritional philosophies out there
- How to make the best sustainable choice based on where they are and where they wanted to go
To kick off this 4-part series, we will be covering the definition of nutrition, it’s function, as well as the beacon of what great nutrition looks like. Here we go:
Nutrition: Definition –
The biochemical and physiological process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth, through the stages of ingestion, digestion/absorption, assimilation, and excretion.
Nutrition: Function –
Beyond that, I think it’s important to define those last 5 terms as well as they describe the function of what is going on once food/drink enter our body.
Ingestion – the process of putting food/drink into the body, typically through the mouth
Digestion/Absorption – the breakdown of large insoluble food molecules into small water-soluble food molecules so that they can be absorbed into the watery blood plasma
Assimilation – the process of absorption of vitamins, minerals, and other chemicals from food within the gastrointestinal tract
Excretion – a process in which metabolic waste is eliminated from an organism
What is the beacon of great nutrition?
When we say ‘beacon’ in this context, we are referring to the highest ideal. It is not a judgement of good or bad, but simply a lighthouse to provide guidance. It is important to establish this so that you have a frame of reference to work towards. Like a homebuilder is armed with architectural drawings for the home they are constructing, our beacon allows for a roadmap to be plotted. Having said all that, it’s also important to recognize that many folks likely won’t achieve this ideal and that is OK! Circumstances, environment, resources, intentions, and readiness all play a role in how far down this path people choose to walk.
The becon of great nutrition is:
- A personalized plan
- Comprised of whole foods recognizable at the beginning of time
- Made up of optimal nutrient density
- Supportive of vitality and desired physical function
You should notice in this list an infinite number of variables that you can work on. There is no ‘one way’ and thus it gives way to the art of coaching.
In the following posts, we’ll detail: assessing and understanding the consequences of sub-optimal nutrition and finally how to make choices for yourself on what you can do to positively affect this pillar.