I believe that the future of healthcare is all about this concept – refining our diet and lifestyle as a kind of “intervention” to restore and enhance optimal health. This is what functional nutrition means and it is a dynamic process that can truly change your life and, in some cases, even — save it. Functional Nutrition, therefore, goes hand in hand with Functional Medicine.
About Functional Medicine
Functional Medicine is an evolving, modern look at addressing the underlying causes of disease by pairing patients and practitioners in actively looking for a truly therapeutic and systematic approach to healing – together. I also see it as the 21st-century healthcare’s perspective of how we get diseases and where they arise from – be it genetic, environmental or from lifestyle factors. And beyond the basic knowledge that food provides fuel for our bodies, we need to look at how certain foods also help generate what we need to get healthy every day. Enter the Functional Nutritionist. 
What is a Functional Nutritionist?
The job of a Functional Nutritionist is to closely look at how food “functions” in your body not just to make sure you are getting full on nourishment but also to see what kinds of foods are influencing your overall health on a daily basis and beyond. After all – we eat every day and what we eat impacts our biochemistry. They become your advocate of finding out the root cause of why you are not feeling well instead of just helping you deal with the symptoms you are experiencing. 
The Benefits of Functional Nutrition
Functional nutrition is essentially flexible, individualized care that you can get based on your unique needs and body composition. As a functional nutritionist, I will apply the key principles of functional nutrition and work with you and your unique situation to uncover the underlying causes and triggers of your disease and discomforts that you are experiencing.
Using a set of customized protocols based on each of my patient’s needs, I will work with you to manage your ailments through better nutrition and lifestyle changes.
With a holistic diet plan and lifestyle plan that is sustainable for you, functional nutrition aims to:
1) Treat you as a whole person, not simply a set of symptoms.
2) Functional nutrition is a patient centered-approach that seeks to educate and empower you the patient to take a major role in bettering your health.
3) Together with me as your functional nutritionist, we will forge a lasting partnership towards your goal of achieving optimal health and wellness.
4) Finally, if you are experiencing multiple symptoms, they are literally clues to the exact ways your body is NOT functioning the way it should be.
When you are guided to the underlying causes of your physical dysfunction (e.g. insulin resistance, high blood pressure, inflammatory conditions), you can suddenly see the full picture of what may be causing your dysfunction and what can be done to get back to optimum functioning.
What I love most about the functional nutrition approach
is that it is not a one-size-fits-all way to look at your health.
1) It considers each person’s own unique, genetic makeup, health history, lifestyle and emotional profile.
2) I believe it is the most personalized and customized strategy of all to help achieve and sustain optimal health for everyone — men and women of all ages and children too.
What are Functional Foods?
- satisfying your appetite
- easing your cravings
- giving you more energy
- completely nourishing your body
- potentially reversing health ailments and disease
When your food choices become all about fresh and unprocessed foods, you can be sure you are on your way to completely reverse the negative effects of your SAD (Standard American Diet) with all its highly processed, nutrient-poor foods and move into a balanced whole foods diet that is actually therapeutic and healing.
a. It is important to be sure that the foods you are choosing for your daily diet are the real deal.
I often see so-called “functional food” marketing claims about a food having some great health benefits but sometimes they only have a very small amount of beneficial food ingredient and are processed with food additives and added sugars.
b. Functional Nutrition can also make you more resistant to life’s stressors that can over time affect your sleep patterns and your physical and mental health. 
c. While age-related functional decline is quite inevitable, you can still have a ‘better-than-average’ life if you put some effort into shifting your relationship with food. In many instances, certain foods can actually be considered the medicine needed to ease symptoms and even keep some of the more common lifestyle diseases at bay.
Below are some of the top Functional Foods a Functional Nutritionist would recommend:
- Probiotics – as defined as live microorganisms – mostly bacteria
- Prebiotics – promote the growth of bacteria in the large intestines that are beneficial to intestinal health
- Stanols and sterols – naturally occurring in plants and fruits
- Plant-based diet – fruits and vegetables
- Omega-3 rich foods – like fatty fish and eggs
- Nuts and seeds
- Red wine and grapes – resveratrol
- Herbs and spices
- and more
Read more about the Top 25 Functional Foods For Health that you should add to your diet today.
What does a Functional Nutritionist Do?
When you begin to really dig for the reasons you are not feeling your best, finding a functional nutritionist is that important next step. Then lab tests may follow to see what can be easily treated through nutritional therapies. For example, if you have an inflammatory condition or your blood work shows higher than normal inflammatory levels, you will not only want to be sure to avoid inflammation-promoting foods but also take advantage of anti-inflammatory foods.
As a Functional Nutritionist, I will help you find what specific choices can be personalized just for your unique situation. I can also help you identify and avoid certain foods that are not as beneficial as you may think.
The goal of a Functional Nutritionist is also to be someone who will listen attentively to your needs, understand your symptoms and look at your health history to find “the story of your body” so to speak. 
The Functional Nutrition Approach
A step-by-step experience with a Functional Nutritionist may look something like this:
- A comprehensive evaluation looking at your medical history
- Review of medication and supplement history
- Review of diet, lifestyle and exercise habits
- Review of conventional lab results you may have already done
After the comprehensive review and analysis of the above information, a customized plan is set up with recommendations that may look like this:
- Suggestions on how to clean up your diet, eliminating processed foods, gluten, and dairy as well as suggestions for food preparation.
- Determine the best diet plan that suits your needs and health issues.
- Recommendations on lab testing to see various nutrient levels and/or genetic markers to reveal deficiencies if there are any.
- Strategies on how to manage daily stress and other lifestyle factors.
- Specific supplement protocol may be necessary (can take into consideration what your lab tests reveal).
Finding a Functional Nutritionist near You
When looking for a functional nutritionist who can work with you, begin with these simple steps:
- Start in your local area with a Google search.
- Check out their website to see what conditions they specialize in.
- Look at the reviews on online like on their website and google.
- Narrow down your search to one or two practitioners.
- Call to get specific information.
- Make an initial appointment.
By now you should be comfortable with your decision and the final step to this process is to act and follow-through on your treatment plan.
I hope this helps you find the functional nutritionist that is right for you.
Ready to get started?
If the time is right for you and you are looking for a Functional Nutritionist to guide you, let me help.
CONTACT ME today, so we can begin the process. I am committed to working with you until we find the answers related to your health issues. If you are committed to your journey, together we can figure out a perfect balance for you and your body to carry you through your life feeling your best.
Take the first step and book a FREE 10-minute discovery teleconference where we can discuss your “uniqueness” and determine if we’re a good fit!
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- Functional Medicine.
- American Nutrition Association: Functional Foods.
- Mayo Clinic: What are Functional Foods?
- IFT: What is a Functional Food?
- Center for Functional Nutrition
- What is a Functional Nutritionist?