Food is life. Well, food nourishes life. Our food can feed us physiologically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
We obviously cannot live without food. And we cannot live or stay healthy if the food is not providing the nutrients, micro and macro, that we ned.
How and what we eat is an integral part of who we are, how we grew up, what gives us comfort. It is integrated into how we shop, where we grow up, our community of origin and where we are today. Every person’s journey is different with food and nutrition.
What is Integrative Functional Nutrition?
Integrative Functional Naturopathic Nutrition is the practice of considering every aspect of your health, illnesses, medications, surgeries, past medical history, diet, nutrition sources and availability and overall lifestyle and giving you recommendations based on evaluations and assessments.
I look at your health systems holistically to see where there may be nutritional deficiencies due to a number of reasons. And also to see if there are nutrients out of balance. I also sometimes start with a diagnosis and utilize supplements and diet to treat that condition.
I use many tools to assess and analyze dietary needs and deficiencies including, but not limited to:
Diet Diaries and apps that monitor dietary intake – This looks at general overview and gives me an idea of macronutrients (like fats, carbohydrates, proteins and kcal) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals)
Supplement Lists – to take into account what has been tried and is being used
Medication Lists – to look for nutritional deficiencies caused by medications
Laboratory analysis that may include blood work, saliva, stool and urine analysis
Clinical symptoms that indicate a concern with specific nutrients.
I also take into account your philosophy and rhythm around foods and the types of foods to try to ensure that what we do is not isolating or a shock to your whole lifestyle.
It is important to remember the official RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance). It is important to remember that it refers to a minimum, meaning you will get sick if you don’t get this amount. For instance, you can get Rickets if you do not get enough Vitamin D. Or scurvy if not enough Vitamin C.
The RDA has nothing to do with optimal health. Some people may take in the optimal level of nutrients but not absorb. Some people functionally use up some nutrients faster. So, my tools take into consideration the RDA but are much more clinically oriented and functionally oriented.
I use Supplements for optimizing nutrition and for treating deficiencies, whether overt or covert or functional
I make sure to look at macro nutrients (fats, carbohydrates and proteins) as well, and personalize individual treatment plans. Athletes have different needs on this level than a person struggling with different health conditions. I adjust as needed for each individual. People who have had bariatric surgery have different dietary needs. And I am conscious of eating disorders as well.
I make suggestions for dietary changes
I usually start with small changes unless there is an urgency. I am conscious of trying to make these changes blend with your culture and lifestyle and family needs. It is stressful and often isolating to have a separate diet and rhythm from the rest of your family and/or friends.
I work with you to make lifestyle changes to optimize nutrition and digestion and absorption.
I sometimes utilize herbs to optimize absorption and sometimes incorporate foods as well.
I will refer out for Vitamin injections or sometimes IV nutrients if indicated.
I help problem solve dietary quandaries in order for you to move forward making changes in your diet and life.
The Quality of Supplements Matter
It is important to ensure that you take high quality nutritional products.
The FDA has established good manufacturing practices (GMPs) that companies must follow to help ensure the identity, purity, strength, and composition of their dietary supplements. These GMPs can prevent adding the wrong ingredient (or too much or too little of the correct ingredient) and reduce the chance of contamination or improper packaging and labeling of a product. The FDA periodically inspects facilities that manufacture supplements.
Several independent organizations offer quality testing and allow products that pass these tests to display a seal of quality assurance that indicates the product was properly manufactured, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants. These seals do not guarantee that a product is safe or effective. Organizations that offer quality testing include,