Is There a Single Food Philosophy at Wise Mind Nutrition?

Dr. David Wiss

August 10, 2022


We’re living in an era of toxic tribalism. Historically, tribalism promoted our survival. It’s a natural desire to form communities of like-minded individuals which is a beautiful thing! But nutritional tribalism becomes toxic when it gives rise to dogma and begins to polarize people rather than promote unity.

This has, unfortunately, become particularly pervasive in the nutrition space. The internet has given rise to the era of “diet wars” and has made nutrition feel like an unsafe space for so many people. Our goal is to give you a framework that feels safe and is sustainable over time. Your relationship with food should not be a form of toxic stress in your life.

At Wise Mind Nutrition, our “food philosophy” is that we don’t have one. Instead, we offer many tools and operate within multiple modalities. Our program is designed to work for a wide range of scenarios- to help you develop guiding principles that resonate with you.

We don’t jump on the latest trends, and we never extend a single approach to all people. This mindset aligns with the concept of personalized nutrition, which is emerging as the next nutrition framework.

However, efforts to personalize nutrition have been based on biological parameters and have not yet integrated the importance of mental health. The Strategic Plan for the National Institute of Health Nutrition Research [1] aims to answer the following questions:

• What do we eat and how does it affect us?
• What and when should we eat?
• How does what we eat promote health across our lifespan?
• How can we improve the use of food as medicine?

It’s now obvious that implementing a particular "food philosophy" to all people regardless of their biology, psychology, or social conditions is simply not scientific. One particular approach to eating can be helpful to someone who’s the right fit for that philosophy but can be a disservice to someone who isn’t.

Too often, nutrition providers have their clients bend to their particular philosophy or approach rather than directing them elsewhere. This can be problematic and a significant source of nutritional confusion that is so pervasive nowadays. We’re here to put an end to the confusion and to the toxic nutritional tribalism.

It’s difficult individualizing care. But when everyone gets the same nutrition message, the work becomes mundane rather than sacred. Integrating multiple philosophies at the same time requires more thought, more effort, and more attentiveness in each moment for each person. This is the essence of dialectics and at the core of Wise Mind Nutrition. We’re doing sacred work here.

We strive to do more than has ever been done before and at the same time, not lead you down a path that isn’t right for you. This program comes from Dr. David Wiss’s experience doing one-on-one transformative nutrition counseling over the last decade.

How Are You Individualizing Care?

Before enrollment in the program, you will complete a series of validated questionnaires. This data informs the direction of treatment and guides some of the tailored recommendations. We’ll also be able to track your improvements at the end.

The application of the questionnaires is grounded in extensive research in combination with in-depth clinical experience. Information collected about mental health and health behaviors is used to guide you toward the creation of guiding principles. We also recognize that guilt or shame can create new health problems.

We collect information about ADHD, anxiety, depression, drug use, eating disorders, food addiction, adverse childhood experiences, PTSD symptoms, resilience, social support, and sleep quality to tailor recommendations to you.

Most of our recommendations include options. So instead of feeding you fish, we’re teaching you how to fish. You will often be given multiple recommendations to consider throughout this transformative educational journey. This means that you’ll be an active participant in the process.

This is not passive learning, but rather an action-oriented program designed to guide you toward long-term sustainable change. The decision-making process will strengthen your sense of agency and help you develop guiding principles for immediate implementation.

This program will include a “choose your own adventure” component that will allow for modification as new information and new experiences emerge along the way. At the end, you’ll have created a comprehensive plan for yourself that you can continue to expand as you evolve as an eater. Many people are looking for a plan and here, we create it together!

You’ll get a detailed summary report of everything you worked on. This can become your plan for moving forward. However, at Wise Mind Nutrition, we do encourage growth and evolution. Don’t get too attached to any one way of eating, as it should evolve over your lifespan.

The Wise Mind Nutrition program is fully flexible to meet the needs of vegans, vegetarians, or omnivores. We’re fully adaptable to work with those across the entire spectrum of disordered eating, including those with food addiction. Let’s put an end to the diet wars and make a collective move toward peace.

If you have a history of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and have experienced PTSD symptoms, then you will find this program to be suitable for your recovery needs. Our messaging is compassionate, humanistic, as well as data-driven and focused on eating food for mood and brain health. We’ll be making cutting-edge recommendations across the entire dimension of physical wellness to optimize your outcomes.

We teach you the principles, you identify a strategy, and we gently hold you accountable. And if you run into a scenario that requires further discussion, you always have the option to meet with Dr. Wiss or one of the dietitians on our team. We provide excellent care for individuals looking to use nutrition to improve their mental health.

1. Rodgers GP, Collins FS. Precision Nutrition—the Answer to “What to Eat to Stay Healthy.” Jama. 2020;324(8):735-736. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.13601