You may be going along, feeling just okay every day. You do your best to eat clean and make time for exercise. But perhaps your digestive system isn’t running as smoothly as you’d like nor are you achieving your weight loss goals or boosting your nutrients properly. Maybe you don’t really know why you are not feeling well, happy and vibrant. The same way you might schedule a dental or a chiropractic appointment is the same way you should probably include a functional nutritionist in your calendar.
What is a functional nutritionist?
A functional nutritionist is someone who adopts an integrative and holistic approach to achieving optimal health, crossing traditional barriers between conventional and functional medicine disciplines. Here are some examples of this approach.
1. Functional nutrition is a natural approach to improving your health with the help of evidence-based techniques for diet, lifestyle, and detoxification. 
2. A functional nutritionist will work with you to get a comprehensive and thorough understanding of the root cause of your health issues and symptoms.
They will conduct an in-depth assessment of your current health and your health history, your emotional state, lifestyle habits, and current diet habits to determine the root cause of your health issues i.e. why your body is functioning less than optimally. This comprehensive process allows the evaluation of the whole mind and body connection.
3. Upon gaining a thorough understanding of the root causes of your ailments, a functional nutritionist will work with you to design a complete diet and lifestyle plan that can work sustainably for you. Using food and lifestyle changes to heal your body from the inside out.
What does a functional nutritionist do?
Here are a few reasons to consider going with a professional functional nutritionist.
1. You have food allergies or sensitivities/intolerances
A functional nutritionist can help you understand and determine whether your symptoms are due to an allergy or something else. For example, you may not have allergies to foods like gluten or dairy, etc. but your personal nutritionist can help you determine if that is indeed the case or you might actually be dealing with a food sensitivity or intolerance. The symptoms and reactions from a food allergy can be quite different from that from a food sensitivity or food intolerance. Therefore, it is helpful to understand in depth the root causes in order to effectively treat these type of issues.
2. You suffer from chronic digestive issues
If you are skipping days without going to the bathroom, something is not right. One or two bowel movements a day are necessary to keep you healthy and keep your body properly flushed of toxins. A functional nutritionist can help you with some dietary changes you might need to make or suggest supplements to help you get your intestinal health back in order. These recommendations, of course, come after the root causes of your digestive issues are determined.
3. You struggle with weight loss and keep failing
Have tried every diet possible and you never seem to get real lasting results? A professionally trained functional nutritionist can help you address your weight loss roadblocks and guide you onto the path of the appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes that can help you achieve not only weight loss but also overall health and wellness.
4. Your nutrition is off kilter
If you have severely increased or decreased appetite, it could be a sign that something could be very off in your body – anything from nutrients deficiency to abnormal blood sugar levels and more. Seeing a functional nutritionist can help you obtain proper assessments and testing to see what is really amiss. Sometimes you just need to dig deeper to see why you are off kilter.
Often, your lab results can shed light on what might be going wrong. Knowing the root cause of your symptoms can eliminate the guesswork and get you started on the right plan that is customized to your needs.
5. You need a diet plan to eat yourself healthier
Everyone is unique. Your body composition is also unique and so why shouldn’t your diet be? A functional nutritionist can work with you to develop a customized food plan tailored to YOU.
- They will consider your individual needs, lifestyle, and goals.
- They will help get you off of processed foods and onto more whole foods, plant-based nutrition, and clean eating.
- They will get to the root cause of your health issues and guide you to consume foods that will heal your body.
- As an advocate of using food as medicine, your diet plan will be your path to not only reversing diseases but preventing diseases as well.
- You will get guidance from start to finish.
6. You’ve been diagnosed with specific health conditions
Have you been diagnosed with a specific health condition that needs your attention recently? Are you looking to avoid prescription drugs and manage your health issues using whole foods and natural remedies like dietary supplements and lifestyle changes? Issues such as diabetes, high cholesterol, hormonal imbalances, digestive issues, and high blood pressure are among many health symptoms that can be managed and reversed with natural approaches such as dietary and lifestyle changes. For instance, lowering cholesterol and reducing your chances of heart disease can be easier with the help of a trained functional nutritionist that will educate and encourage you on which foods to choose or steer clear of and what lifestyle changes to make.
You may complete lab tests for one of several health symptoms such as food sensitivities or intolerances, digestive dysfunction, hormonal imbalances and other relevant tests.
7. Your stress just got kicked up a notch
Adjusting through life’s more difficult times is a good reason to see a nutritionist because they can be like a psychologist for your body. Whether you just found out that you are pregnant, just got diagnosed with diabetes, or have decided to train for a marathon, a skilled nutritionist understands how the right diet can bring proper balance in different situations and life scenarios to help your body better cope with life challenges that every day brings.
You may complete lab tests for hormonal imbalances, adrenal issues, and your stress response to determining your specific needs.
What a functional nutritionist can do for you
This is one of the top questions I’m often asked by prospective patients. I think it is a great question because what a functional nutritionist does is unique and not as straightforward as some other health-oriented professionals.
I usually answer by saying this – I can help you…
• figure out where you are with your health ailments.
• figure out where you want to be with your health goals.
• figure out how to get there with a specific roadmap.
The goal is to inspire, inform, counsel and support you in finding your way to your best self. It is a passion for helping people understand their bodies better, love themselves more and stay physically active and emotionally engaged in their lives in a positive way.
Why work with a functional nutritionist?
If you want a customized program just for your body and mind, engaging a functional nutritionist with a holistic and integrative approach is the way to go. Here are a few reasons why:
1. They have a full picture of your needs
Functional nutritionists are thorough and make sure they have a full picture of your needs. They do not work from a cookie cutter model. I can assure you that not all diets work for all, not all exercise styles work for all and not all supplements work for all.
2. Use a comprehensive approach
When developing a plan for patients, the functional nutritionist’s philosophy is to use a comprehensive approach gets to the root cause that treats the whole person, not just symptoms.
3. Cover a wide range of modalities
A functional nutritionist will cover a wide range of topics when working with their patients. Things like the fundamentals of nutrition including macronutrients, micronutrients, energy expenditure, and food labels. They go deeper into exploring the proper foods and diets that can help in healing the body physically and emotionally. They develop customized protocols that treat the patient from all aspects. That can include looking at:
How do specific foods, supplements, or both affect depression, irritability, emotional eating, and behavior?
Food cravings and addictions
How to identify food cravings and to evaluate the type of food, the timing of the craving, what’s going on in the brain during a craving, the events surrounding a craving, the client’s emotional status, and the release of specific brain chemicals related to cravings and addictions.
Assess and explain the different diet plans and which one is best for you. There are so many diets available today such as the Paleo, Keto, Plant-based, Elimination diet, Intermittent fasting or whatever diets which may or may not work for you depending on your body’s needs.
Why they can play a role in your plan at a cellular level and what overall effect they have on the body and mind. Knowing what supplements you really need can help make sure that you do not overdose on certain supplements and only spend your hard-earned money on the ones that your body really needs. Too often people come in with a bag full of supplements but none of which are what they need to address their symptoms.
Both conventional blood tests from your doctor and functional medicine tests have their place when assessing what might be the root cause of your health issues or symptoms. This helps to take the guesswork out of the equation and allow you and your nutritionist to develop a meaningful and targeted program for you from the start. No one likes to waste time trying to figure out what is the cause of the problem. Sometimes testing is not needed, and this part of the treatment plan is not always necessary to deal with your problem.
Eating habits and preferences, exercise habits and preferences, work schedules and daily obligations, etc. can have a significant impact on your health as well as what natural remedies can be sustainable for you. A functional nutritionist will seek to understand all of these about you so that the program that you both work together to develop will get you lasting results.
Some evidence-based treatments for health ailments
A functional nutritionist uses evidence-based treatments as a more precise way to diagnose, assess, and treat health conditions especially those chronic ones that people commonly seek natural remedies or treatment for. These can include:
- Food cravings and yo-yo dieting
- Nutritional deficiencies and food requirements
- Digestive issues
- Hormonal imbalances
- Autoimmune diseases
- Heart disease
- Sugar imbalances
- Lack of energy and vitality
- Mood disorders and depression
- Inflammation and Infection management
- Weight loss and lasting weight management
- Toxic overload
- and more.
Getting started with a functional nutritionist
You will likely complete a nutrition assessment which includes information about your weight history, current and past medical history, family medical history, food allergies or intolerances, food likes and dislikes, eating, sleeping and exercise habits, past weight loss attempts, emotional and social ties to food and much more.
Then you will meet them in person or by Skype to discuss goals and get feedback as to what is a good starting point and destination for your game plan and exactly what you can expect so there is no guesswork or confusion.
Finding a skilled functional nutritionist near you
Do you have any questions about functional nutrition counseling? Remember that not all nutritionists practice in the same way. A functional nutritionist trained in Functional Medicine has an approach that goes much further and can include advanced laboratory testing, therapeutic dietary and supplement plans like detoxification or anti-inflammatory steps, and lifestyle interventions. It is a multifaceted approach that takes into consideration your whole person – mind, body, and spirit as they are all connected.
As a result, you will get a powerful and highly personalized approach, not a one-size-fits-all approach.
A skilled functional nutritionist can really help you
As a functional nutritionist, I work to create a process that will guide and transform you for the rest of your life. This sense of control and empowerment is a huge bonus and extremely rewarding as you begin to change your life towards optimal health and vitality.
I work with people who are looking for my services and are ready to make positive changes. I call it “readiness to change” and time to let go of roadblocks that are holding you back.
CONTACT ME today and let me answer any questions you might have about my functional nutrition programs and how they deliver the best results for you to attain optimal health and wellness.
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1. PubMed.Applying functional nutrition for chronic disease prevention and management: bridging nutrition and functional medicine in 21st-century healthcare.
2. The National Library of Medicine. Form Follows Function: A Functional Medicine Overview.