Bridging the gap between the doctor’s office and everyday life.
With diseases such as mental health disorders, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, and cardiovascular disease on the rise, Western medicine is recognizing that treating isolated symptoms of individual conditions is not working. There is a shift taking place, away from the disease-centered approach, to a patient-centered approach.
We now understand that in order to achieve lasting health and wellness, we must treat the person as a whole; not just their physical state, but their mental, emotional, and environmental states as well. Rather than working to eliminate symptoms, a functional nutritionist looks at the symptoms and thinks about what part of the body’s anatomy and physiology is causing those symptoms to manifest.
A functional nutritionist thinks: what is the ROOT cause of this problem?
Everything you put into, onto, or around your body will influence how your cells function, and, ultimately, how your body functions. Functional nutrition looks at the way food affects your body at its most basic cellular level. Because every body is different, there is no one list of foods that work for everyone. This is why a functional nutritionist assesses your unique internal environment, from your blood chemistry to the condition of your micro-biome and even genes. In doing this, we are able to identify the specific nutritional, environmental, and lifestyle factors that could be provoking your symptoms.
Functional nutritionists are a crucial part of the healthcare team. We work alongside medical practitioners to educate patients on how food can and should be used as medicine. This way the doctor, patient, and nutritionist, work together to stop the momentum of disease, and delay, or even reverse, the illness. But the fact is:
Lasting health cannot be achieved if nutrition is left out of the equation.
In many cases, a doctor’s role ends when you leave their office, but a functional nutritionist’s role is just beginning. Instead of taking a pill to alleviate a symptom, you will be using food to heal your body from the inside out. A functional nutritionist is there to be your guide, teaching you what foods work for your body, how to prepare these foods to maximize their nutritional value, and how to turn these healing foods from symptom-fixers, into tools that put the state of your health back in your hands.
I began learning about health and nutrition while battling my own health issues. For many years, I struggled with debilitating eczema. Doctors and specialists helped me alleviate symptoms short-term, but I wanted to learn what was causing the eczema in the first place. When the doctors had no answers, I turned to food. I thought I was eating the perfect, “healthy” diet: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. But after learning about the elimination diet approach to discovering food allergies, I decided to cut grains and dairy for a few weeks. Shortly after, on a trip to Switzerland, I decided to enjoy a bowl of pasta. I finally got my answer. My symptoms returned with a vengeance. I realized that I had simply been eating the wrong foods for my body. That’s also when I realized there is no one, perfect diet for everyone. While certain foods can be healing for some, those same foods can be extremely harmful to others. This is the foundation of my nutrition practice. My goal is to teach others that food is a critical piece to their journey back to heath, and there is no one-size-fits all answer. We need to create partnerships with doctors so that people can achieve healing not just on the surface, but from their roots within.