When Victoria La Font was growing up in rural Kentucky, she remembered her mother making Crisco and white bread sandwiches with sugar sprinkled on top.
“I grew up on a giant GMO corn farm — I was always sick as a child, and I had trouble paying attention,” she said. “I remember hearing my kindergarten teacher whisper to my mother, ‘Put her on Ritalin.’”
As early as preschool, doctors suspected La Font might have lupus or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. She tested positive for the Epstein-Barr virus, but nothing was definitive.
“I always had the feeling that something was not right — I was constantly fatigued,” said La Font. “As I got older, I became interested in the nature/nurture aspect of health — the notion that your health isn’t necessarily predetermined by genetics. I came to realize that a huge part of being healthy has to do with lifestyle — that there are huge environmental factors.”
When she reached college age, it was no surprise that the study of nutrition would interest her. After studying more traditional approaches, a new world opened up to La Font when she discovered medical anthropology.
“I started getting interested in eating foods from a more traditional era,” she said. “Food that people ate before the introduction of processed foods — whole foods. What most people consider food today is not food.”
Upon graduation, La Font moved to the Big Island of Hawaii, where she became even more committed to eating the foods that clearly seemed to improve her health and sense of well-being.
“That was 10 years ago, and changing my diet changed everything,” she said. “I was finally eating nutrient-dense foods. Suddenly the fatigue and anxiety was gone, and I had a new kind of focus.”
La Font’s dramatic improvement in her own health inspired her to further her studies in nutrition. She became interested in the Nutritional Therapy Association, known for addressing nutrition from a holistic perspective. The NTA courses offered an alternative to the grain-based, low-fat “official” diet of modern America.
“I realized that — for many of us — it’s like we’re putting diesel in a gas car because we don’t know any better,” said La Font. “Through the NTA, I was determined to learn about nutrition down to the atom. Today, my approach is 100 percent science based.”
NTA’s philosophy asserts that many modern-day health issues are a result of poor nutrition, and its aim — as an educational organization — is to help people and train health care professionals to “understand and reverse the tragic and unsuspected effects of the modern diet on their patients and clients.”
Today, in addition to her bachelor’s degree in medical anthropology, La Font is a certified nutritional therapy practitioner as well as a gut and psychology syndrome practitioner, or “GAPS,” both of which were earned through the NTA. GAPS is a natural treatment approach for autism, ADHD/ADD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression and schizophrenia.
La Font’s office can be found at Healing Alternatives for All Locals in Nevada City, better known as HAALo.
La Font says she meets her clients where they are in their lives and initially only suggests incremental changes in diet or lifestyle. She also teaches nutritional classes, such as an upcoming three-part cooking class in November designed to help alleviate symptoms associated with autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, ADD, dyslexia and dyspraxia.
“It’s so rewarding, even to see small breakthroughs in clients and see them excited about the changes,” she said. “There’s nothing like seeing them experience a shift.”
La Font says she feels lucky she discovered the right nutritional tools so early in life and is eager to help people not go another day without examining potentially negative habits.
“Victoria is the best thing that’s happened to me,” said Nevada City resident Kathie Mathiesen. “I used to have allergy shots once a month — no more. I used to be more susceptible to illness. Now I don’t have the lack of energy and sickness I had before. She gave me the right tools.”
La Font’s eagerness to learn more continues. She is considering going back to school to study nutrigenomics, or the study of the effects of foods on gene expression.
“I am a dork, a biochemistry nerd – and I love people — the perfect combination for this type of work,” she said. “My interest in diet has always stemmed from a strong desire to heal lifelong health problems for people without continuing to rely on prescription drugs. There’s nothing like finally putting gas in a gas car and have things finally working right.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com or call 530-477-4203.