I’ve been talking a lot lately about functional nutrition – are you curious? It’s probably safe to say that most people don’t really know what a functional nutritionist is. After all, functional nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all discipline. We are all unique, with our own genetic make-up, health history, lifestyle and emotional profile- therefore, we each require a customized strategy to achieve and sustain optimal health.
With functional medicine the main goal is to asses the person as a whole and find the root of the problem. So now that we have an understanding of the basics, let’s delve into the details a bit more.
So what is the job of a functional nutritionist? Well rather than simply treating symptoms, a functional nutritionist:
- understands the whole person
- addresses the terrain within which those signs, symptoms or diagnosis manifested
- educates the patient on why their health challenges arose and on how to take back control of their own health
- and to use specific skills to fill the GAP that exists between the physician and the patient
What exactly is the GAP between physicians and patients? Well in simple terms, it has to do with misunderstandings and a lack of empathy. After all, doctors have a tendency to speak in medical terms that most of us probably don’t understand. All we can do is tell them how we feel, but sometimes this creates misunderstandings. So a functional nutritionist makes sure to take all of these things into account, including how the patient feels.
The Functional Nutrition Approach
The functional nutrition approach involves a series of steps to determine the most customized approach. Some of the steps may include:
- A comprehensive evaluation looking at medical history, with particular attention paid to the timeline of symptom development
- Organ system review
- Medication and supplement history
- Review of diet, lifestyle and exercise habits
- Review of conventional lab results (often the testing a client has already had done).
- Functional nutrition testing to gauge various nutrient levels and/or genetic markers to ensure there are no underlying deficiencies.
Once the data has been collected and analyzed, we move onto the customized program. Let’s say a patient has digestive upset. In that case we would recommend:
- Cleaning up their diet, eliminating processed foods, gluten, dairy, and any other foods that appear to be reactive.
- Educating the client on how to manage stress
- Strategies to prepare the nervous system for mealtime.
- Specific supplement protocol to improve digestion of foods, restore good bacteria, and decrease digestive spasms.
One of the best things about functional nutrition is that it’s flexible. If you improve after the changes, then we know we have addressed the root of the problem. However if you don’t see results, we will try something else.
Functional nutrition is a dynamic process, which involves refinement of diet and lifestyle, to restore optimal health. If we like the results, we keep on doing that. If we don’t, then we make adjustments. Our main goal is to make sure we take everything in account and formulate a plan based on that. We want to find the cause of the problem and fix it, not just treat symptoms.
In short, functional nutrition is a dynamic process that takes everything into account. It’s main goal is to address the root of the problem and make changes in ones lifestyle to fix these problems. We strive to understand you as a whole, and not focus solely on treating symptoms.
Interested in learning how to best explore in an effort to experience the vibrant life you desire? If so, I encourage you to check out my website. I offer a variety of programs all dedicated to helping you live a healthier life, from the inside out. My approach is positive and compassionate, my practice is based on the principles of Functional Medicine. Together we’ll take the deep dive into learning WHO you are as an eater, addressing the underlying cause of your symptoms. You’ll learn how to master the skills needed to Live the Change…Be the Change…See the Change.