Strong words but someone has to say it.
I’ve been trying – really trying to get through the AFPA Holistic Nutritionist Program. I’ve always been a great student and I was eager to learn more concrete facts about the human body and the nutritional requirements we have. I was particularly interested in how diet plays a central part in disease, mental health, and healing.
And gut health, of course!
And I had personal reasons for being curious.
Over my life, I have struggled with weight, acne, blood sugar, digestive problems, endometriosis (though never diagnosed) and painful periods, Candida, and the list goes on.
Why not finally get this all sorted and see if I can help others with similar issues as well?
However, the program choice turned out to be not so great – but maybe not for the reasons you’re thinking.
And disclaimer, this will not be an in-depth review of the program. I do have all the materials and read about half of them and looked over the other half but I did not finish. I will not claim that the program is worthless.
It just isn’t for me.
I purchased the AFPA Holistic Nutritionist program at a time where I was still eating a plant-based diet and confused about nutrition. I was sure I was just doing something wrong. That I was missing some key food or rule specific to my body. I just had to find the answer!
But really, it was the whole diet. It’s society’s delusions about food and the pervasive myths surrounding nutrition that I had to break through.
And unfortunately, this program falls prey to those myths.
Plants Alone Will Save You?
Meat seems to be demonized and thrown in the same ugly category as processed foods.
Now, those of you who have been following my journey lately know that I had been vegan for a few years and plant-based for almost 20 years. So I have been in that world.
This also means I know the pitfalls.
Plants are powerful medicine.
They are cleansing to the body.
But they are not the best at repairing or rebuilding the body.
I don’t think it’s fair to keep telling people who only eat a whole-food plant-based diet that they should just eat more plants or different plants to solve their problems. Adding more greens, berries, beans, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, oats – more fiber – only made my issues worse.
What do you do when you are sensitive to most plant foods? What happens when your gut has been so damaged by consuming way too many plants that you now have gastroparesis? Do you make people feel guilty and afraid of eating meat?
Well, that’s what this course does.
Dr. Greger. Just Stop.
The second book on the reading list is by Dr. Micheal Greger. He is well known in the vegan and plant-based world and puts out “Nutrition Facts” YouTube videos that are also assigned material in the course.
I find his condescending tone and the cherry-picked evidence he proudly provides as he advocates a plant-based diet to be nauseating in his videos and I couldn’t help but hear his voice as I read his book, How Not To Die.
He shares some good points but completely ignores certain research on soy and blames meat consumption for nearly every single disease. It would be more helpful if we could get some studies done that didn’t lump a Standard American Diet in with health-conscious clean eating omnivores who steer clear of donuts and McDonald’s.
Because I just left the plant-based diet for an animal-based diet, and all my symptoms are disappearing.
Please explain, Doc.
The way he skips over certain studies that disprove his opinions seems disingenuous.
For those who are interested in an actual critique of Dr. Greger’s book, Denise Minger wrote a great one here.
Pushing Through It
Book #3 I’m finding to be just as bad. So difficult to read when every sentence is based on lies and myths perpetuated by Big Agriculture and Big Food Corporations.
And is it really written by the founder of the Whole Foods chain that benefits from promoting a plant-based diet?
Yes. Yes, it is.
How can you call kale a nutrient-dense food? How much do you actually have to eat in order to get the same amount of nutrition from red meat? Are those nutrients bioavailable? Meaning, are we actually able to absorb from it? And what is it absorbing from us?
Where is the balance?
In my opinion, eating only plants is not balanced. You are not able to get all the nutrition you need from a vegan diet. And you definitely can’t heal your gut by eating plants that contain tons of antinutrients, rip up your gut, and create an overgrowth of bacteria.
I decided that it’s not honest to go through the entire program that I feel is misleading just to earn the certification at the end – just for the title of Holistic Nutritionist.
I’d rather get certified through a program I believe in and that promotes a lifestyle that has actually worked for me.
I know you may be thinking, “Well, you’re no doctor or nutritionist so why should I listen to you anyway?”
My answer is: I do have an almost 40-year-old body and over half of my lifetime I have spent eating exactly the way this program recommends and my health still suffered.
I was not able to heal myself through all of the information that this course puts forth.
And I do believe in the power of diet. I believe gut health is central to our overall health. Our guts are ground zero for almost all diseases. And yet by following all the guidelines proclaimed by the doctors in the program, I only made myself worse.
I started eating an animal-based diet and I started healing. Immediately!
Perhaps they have painted the enemy of good health with too wide a brush.
The Standard American Diet usually includes meat within it, yes. But perhaps meat is not the reason that it’s so unhealthy.
Perhaps it’s all the processed foods, fried foods, white flour, and vegetable oils that tend to go with said diet. What about the sugar?
Three books in, this course doesn’t talk about the importance of fat-soluble vitamins, the bioavailability of essential nutrients, and the real dangers of antinutrients in any meaningful way.
It seems to boil things down to: plants good, meat bad.
This is way too simplistic and naive black and white thinking.
Many of the doctors in the course cherry-pick studies instead of following the facts. This was frustrating and very disappointing.
So, What’s A Good Holistic Nutritionist Course?
The program that I recommend is the one I should have taken:
Now, I haven’t taken the Primal Health Coach Institute course yet, so I can’t say much about it. I do believe, however, that based on what I’ve read of the founder and author Mark Sisson, this program will be based on an ancestral way of eating that makes sense for humans.
It will not be clouded by the false information that keeps getting circulated ever since Proctor & Gamble started demonizing real butter and successfully shoved Crisco – aka partially hydrogenated seed oils – down our throats around 1911.
It won’t be based on the lies that meat causes cancer or that eating fat makes you fat. Or that eating more plants more often cures diabetes.
I’m officially quitting the AFPA course. They do have a ton of different courses and I can’t speak to all of them. I’m sure their physical fitness courses are wonderful but I can’t recommend their Holistic Nutritionist course.
I just can’t deny the evidence of my own body’s healing while on a carnivore diet. This is not to say that I think all people should eat this way forever. But when you take your body so far out of balance with an overabundance of plants, carbs, and sugar, sometimes the pendulum needs to swing in the extreme opposite direction until it can come back into a healthy balance again.
I don’t feel that this program advocates a balanced point of view.
I guess taking the AFPA course was the inevitable nail in the coffin of my past ideas of what is healthy and what isn’t. I can look at it as a stepping stone into closing the door on my plant-based journey and into a healthier animal-based, nutrient-dense, and balanced way of eating.
A way of eating that more closely aligns with the way humans have eating for millions of years. Not just the last several decades when all of our chronic health problems started!
So, yes, I’m a little angry that I spent money on a course that promotes only a diet that made me sick over the long term. If I hadn’t followed my gut and just kept following this path I would have never found the answers I needed!
But I’m moving on.
I am really excited to be dropping the AFPA program that goes against what my body tells me is true.
Now I can plan to take a course that I have confidence in.
Let me know in the comments what other programs you’ve been looking at that are more ancestrally based. I have only heard of Primal Health Coach Institute but it sounds amazing.