Passion for nutrition: Experience leads to dietary health focus

June 2018 Posted in Other
Gabi Smith (2)

Gabbi Smith, Nutritional Therapy Practicioner

By Melissa Wagoner

In high school Gabbi Smith was continually sick. On her blog ( she describes sleeping with a bucket beside her bed as a precaution for the crippling nausea that plagued her. It took a while but she eventually discovered the culprit – Smith, like a growing number of Americans, is gluten intolerant.

“It does that to a lot of people – where they will be fine in their childhood,”
she said.

Smith’s experience spurred her to take a closer look at the science behind nutrition and why she, and so many people like her, are becoming sick because of the food they eat.

“I used to struggle with panic attacks,” she said. “Those are the kind of things that are really about balancing your blood sugar.”

As her interest grew, Smith began following several food blogs. Noticing one of the bloggers was a certified nutritional therapy practitioner, she became inspired to enroll in classes through the Nutritional Therapy Association based in Olympia, Washington.

“I’ve always been interested in health and wellness,” she said, “and I loved learning about nutrition.”

Now, 22-year-old Smith is a newly certified NTP and has opened an office at Ort Chiropractic Clinic in Silverton.

“I work primarily with women who maybe have anxiety or they’re stressed out and they want to feel better again, and then I also work with kiddos,” she said. “But anyone can benefit. That’s just kind of my niche.”

Smith, who currently has office hours every Wednesday, suggests new patients plan to attend a series of at least five appointments aimed at helping them reach their nutritional goals.

“A lot of people will want to come in once,” she said, “but it’s a process.”

The treatment series begins with a lengthy questionnaire and food journal
Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 2.20.38 PMto determine each client’s health history and goals.

“The first appointment is feeling out what changes they are ready to make,” Smith explained. “I always focus on digestion first.”

Often those initial digestive changes include an increase in hydration and a decrease in diuretics like coffee. Next, once the client’s initial goals have been established and a baseline is determined, Smith moves on to a method called lingual-neuro testing – a biofeedback tool she uses to establish each individual’s needs for specific nutritional supplement.

“It’s not muscle testing but it’s similar,” Smith said. “We place a kind of food on the tongue and then test the point.”

Smith admits skepticism in this type of therapy is common, but said she is generally able to overcome any initial doubts once the client experiences a decrease in pain – which she says may happen in as little as 15 seconds.

Although Smith knows first-hand how powerful a change in diet can be, she stresses that she is not a medical doctor.

“I don’t diagnose mental illness or anything like that,” she said.

What Smith can help with, she explained, are a host of issues common in both the women and children she sees. These include: digestive issues, insomnia, poor appetite, constipation, bed wetting, eczema and lack of energy.

“Around two or three in the afternoon people will hit that wall and have no motivation,” she described.

“It makes a big difference when you don’t have that anymore and realize how bad you felt. I’ve seen a lot of improvement with dietary changes.”

As well as meeting with private clients on a weekly basis Smith also occasionally offers educational courses including a series of four week-long summer camps called “Spiced and Diced Kids’ Cooking.” These camps, which are hosted by the Silverton Grange, are for children aged seven to 11. They run Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to noon July 9 through Aug. 3. Every day Smith will work with campers to create an entire meal, which they will then eat together.

“I focus on vegetables,” Smith said. “We don’t do any sugar except one dessert to establish that balance.”

Educating people – both young and old – about the importance of a healthy diet and the impact it can have on the body is where Smith’s passion lies, whether it is working with children in the kitchen or counseling clients in her office.

“It’s a great investment on your health,” she said.

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