Nutritional Therapy with Ally Milligan
Earlier this week, Ally Milligan shared her story with Hashimoto’s and how nutrition played a large part in feeling better. So much so that she’s gone on to study and get certified as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner while also running her business Loveleaf Co., which is a digital media and lifestyle brand aiming to simplify health, nutrition, and wellness. Today, she’s sharing more about what a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner does as well as practical advice on how we can implement a positive mindset when it comes to health and nutrition. Her approach is, well, approachable, and I’m excited for you to learn more from Ally. There’s even some recipes at the end, too. ;)
Can you explain what a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner does? As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, my goal is to help women create a clear roadmap for restoring optimal health so they can feel good again — without the overwhelm.
Most commonly, I work with women suffering from hormonal and digestive issues. In my practice, I use a foundational, holistic, and evidence-based approach to assess nutritional imbalances in the body. From there, I help clients create an actionable plan (keyword: actionable!) tailored to their body’s specific needs and their personal goals that weaves together nutrition, lifestyle recommendations, and therapeutic herbs.
“nutritional therapy is bio-individual; because no two people are the same, protocols are very specific to each client depending on their body’s needs, their lifestyle, and their goals. ”
What is Nutritional Therapy like from the patient’s point of view? I really believe that nature provides the best resources for bringing the body back to health. But in today’s world, there is SO much information out there that it can be confusing to know what “healthy” means, much less heal from a health issue. Most clients come to me completely overwhelmed and discouraged.
So in our first session, we dive deep. We put everything on the table — their entire health history, what their symptoms are, what they’ve tried so far, and where they are now — so we can tease out what’s working and what’s not. And then we start by going back to the basics. We make sure the foundations are in place if they aren’t already (Eat real food! Sleep! Drink pure water!) and then we gradually introduce a specific healing protocol with simple, actionable steps. This process empowers clients to take control of their own health by accumulating small wins with ongoing support.
Nutritional therapy is bio-individual; because no two people are the same, protocols are very specific to each client depending on their body’s needs, their lifestyle, and their goals. Because of this, the time I work with clients varies considerably too. Sometimes, addressing just a few basic foundations, like digestion (I’m very serious about the power of good digestion!), and removing some inflammatory foods can literally change someone’s life very quickly. For others, it’s a slower process because reversing years of physical and mental stress can take time.
Are there any “universal” tips you can share as far as nutrition is concerned? My philosophy on healthy eating is pretty simple: eat real food when your body is actually hungry. Instead of worrying so much about calories or macros, I encourage clients to focus on quality and nutrient density. Because even your favorite (maybe not-so-healthy) foods can be upgraded in a real-food way and fit into a balanced lifestyle. In the context of a healthy diet, stressing about eating perfectly can be more detrimental to your health than enjoying a glass of wine with friends.
To get more specific, I’m obsessed with digestion. It’s not the sexiest topic, but it’s usually where I start with my clients. Even if someone is experiencing a health issue that doesn’t seem to be directly related to digestion, like skin issues, hormonal imbalances, or sugar cravings, it can usually be traced back to digestive dysfunction. Every cell of the body depends on nutrients, so proper digestion is necessary for everything the body does. Eating healthy, nutrient-dense foods is great, but pointless if those important nutrients aren’t being absorbed.
Some tips for healthier digestion:
Relax while eating: The body needs to be in a parasympathetic state to properly digest.
Chew thoroughly: Chewing stimulates an adequate production of saliva, which triggers other digestive functions. Chew about 30 times per bite!
Increase stomach acid: Many people don’t have enough stomach acid! Without adequate stomach acid, food does not fully break down and this partially digested food stays in the stomach longer than it should, causing a host of digestive issues. One way to naturally increase stomach acid is to drink a small glass of warm lemon water about 30 minutes before meals.
Hydrate: Drink half your body weight (lbs) in ounces of pure water each day. If you drink diuretics (alcohol, coffee, caffeinated tea, soda), drink an extra 12 ounces for every 8-ounce diuretic beverage in addition to your baseline ounce requirement.
Add in fermented foods: Naturally fermented foods help strengthen the gut microbiome because they are full of beneficial probiotics and digestive enzymes. Sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, organic raw yogurt, and kefir are all great options for most people to include in their diets.
Eat whole, nutrient-dense foods and avoid processed foods. If your digestive system is already impaired, remove inflammatory foods from your diet, like gluten, dairy, low-quality fats (processed vegetable oils and all trans fats), alcohol, and all refined carbohydrates (including sugar!) so that the digestive system can heal.
“in the context of a healthy diet, stressing about eating perfectly can be more detrimental to your health than enjoying a glass of wine with friends.”
What would you say to someone who is skeptical about making dietary changes to help heal or better a health problem they’re facing? There is a quote by Anais Nin that a yoga teacher of mine used to say at the end of each class: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I can’t convince anyone to make dietary changes; they have to want that for themselves. What I can do — and I hope I do through Loveleaf Co. — is show people that food is powerful and that being healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. So that when they’re ready to escape that bud and heal, they have a platform waiting to support them.