Tag Archives: wellness

What You Need to Know About Functional Nutrition

Human body with internal organs, composite by stomach, Great to be used in medicine works and health.

Conventional medicine is very effective if you have an acute problem, which needs immediate treatment. Despite all the advances in science and medicines, chronic diseases are on the rise. Most people suffer from some form of chronic problem (such as IBS, high cholesterol, Diabetes, insomnia, chronic fatigue, anxiety, ADHD, etc). Conventional medicine doesn’t seem to be able to treat these problems successfully. At best, conventional medicine doles out prescriptions to dampen the symptoms. That isn’t ‘treatment,’ and it certainly isn’t prevention. The problem? Neither the individual nor the root cause of the illness is treated.

Functional Medicine and Nutrition is an entirely different approach.

Functional Medicine Nutrition Therapy is a personalized method for getting to the root of your symptoms and restoring balance to your system. It is about promoting health, not just treating illness.

Personalized:

Everybody’s different. We each have different genes, different microbiomes (which influence everything), and different lifestyles. In Functional Nutrition, all information is taken into account: sleep, diet, stress level, activity level, energy level, mood, sunlight exposure, time in nature, and other data. Additionally, using tests that actually reveal what’s going on inside your body down to the cellular level and tests for genetic influences, diet and supplementation can be very targeted.

As the Institute of Functional Medicine explains: “The current healthcare system fails to take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual and the ability of food, toxins and other environmental factors to influence gene expression.”

Treating the problem, not just the symptom:

If you throw drugs at a symptom, without addressing the root cause of the symptom, you are clearing the smoke but not putting out the fire. Left resolved, the cause will continue to persist, and therefore so with the symptoms. The drug will continue to be needed indefinitely (and possibly at greater and greater doses) to treat this symptom.

Chris Kresser articulates this: “In conventional medicine…they mostly focus on symptoms and diseases. If you go to a doctor and you have high cholesterol, you get a drug to lower your cholesterol…and there’s often little investigation into why your cholesterol is high in the first place. The intent is to just bring it down, and that’s generally the end of the story. In functional medicine… Symptoms are important in as much as they can give us clues as to what the underlying mechanisms might be that are contributing to the problem, but they’re not as important because when you focus on the underlying mechanisms and causes and you address those, the symptoms tend to resolve on their own, so you don’t have to worry about going after each and every symptom individually. You just address the root causes and the symptoms resolve.”

Dr. Mark Hyman, one of the leaders in Functional Medicine, articulates this point very well in the foreword he wrote for The Disease Delusion (a book written by Dr. Jeffery Bland, the father of Functional Medicine):     “Depression is not the cause of misery, it is merely the name we give to a constellation of symptoms. The actual cause of depression may vary greatly from patient to patient…knowing the name of a disease tells us nothing about its true cause; nor does it lead us to the right treatment”

Final thoughts:

Conventional medicine has its place. It has saved my life more than once. However, in other instances, it also left me disappointed. I know my clients have felt the same way before coming to see me.

Dr. Fitzgerald, another leader in the field, sums it up: “Simply, functional medicine is an individualized, systems-based, patient-centered approach to care. We look at the whole person, their environment, diet & lifestyle and genetics/epigenetics. An individual’s history is carefully mapped to a timeline, which we use to gather clues to the cause(s) and promoter(s) of disease/imbalance. Sensitive laboratory assessments help us “look under the metabolic hood” for contributing biochemical/genetic/microbial/nutrient/inflammatory/toxicity issues.”

For all these reasons, I am very excited about Functional Medical Nutrition Therapy. I am a Certified Integrative and Functional Nutrition Practitioner and have been practicing it with my clients (and on my own health) for several years.

Because patients are unique. Symptoms are not.

 

The Powers of Turmeric

gorgeous setting with cooking spices and herbs (bay leaves, cumin, coriander, chili powder, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, paprika, piri piri, salt, turmeric) on a wooden mat (shallow DOF)

Turmeric (that bright orange spice that turns your cutting boards and dishes yellow) is amazing.

Curcumin is one of the phytochemicals (natural healthful plant chemicals) that is in turmeric, and curcumin is thought to be the reason for turmeric’s healthful benefits (see below). But don’t get too bogged down in this; the benefits of turmeric, which contains 300 phytochemicals, come from all the phytochemicals working together synergistically. Not only that but curcumin is not very bioavailable and turmeric is. Another example of that a whole food is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

You can buy turmeric in its whole form (it looks a little like a ginger root and can be found in that same section of the store) and then cut it or grate it. Or you can save your fingers, cutting boards, graters and plates, and buy it as a spice in a container in the spice section. You can also get it as a supplement, in pill form. This last option is particularly good if you want to use turmeric for health reasons and need a higher amount than just a few sprinkles on your chicken.

Why is turmeric so great?

  • Research has showed that turmeric is beneficial in the prevention and management of over 600 health conditions.
    • And turmeric has no adverse side effects (at normal doses), like most drugs that treat conditions.
  •  Anti-inflammatory
    • Chronic inflammation is the reason for almost all disease states including heart disease, Diabetes, Crohn’s and Colitis, Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Inflammation is also what causes or contributes to those un-well diagnoses of IBS and Fibromyalgia.
  • Anti-oxidant
    • Seeking out cell-damaging free-radicals and neutralizing them, helps prevent or treat cell damage, fatigue, aging, Alzheimer’s Disease and Cancer.
  • Anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal

Not convinced? Give me a call and I’ll tell you more 🙂

 

3 Tips to Transform your Health in 2015

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There are many ways to improve your diet. But I think I have narrowed it down to the most important.

1. Decrease your sugar (to as low as possible)

Sugar isn’t just empty calories (tons of calories without any healthful nutrients), it’s down right dangerous.

  • Sugar is half fructose, half glucose. Fructose goes to your liver and glucose goes to your blood stream.
  • Too much fructose, and your liver gets overloaded and packs it into fat and sends it straight to your belly.
  • Heavy loads of glucose causes an insulin spike to be released and if there is more glucose than your body can use at that time, it also goes into your fat cells, and then you’re hungry again. Too much of that and you can not only gain weight, but become insulin resistant.
  • Sugar also doesn’t lead to satiety. So you can get a lot of calories and not feel full (leading to more eating and more calories)
  • And it is addictive. Ever heard of sugar cravings?
  • Sugar feeds the unhealthful bacteria and yeast in your gut
  • (Any one of these topics is big enough for it’s own post, forgive my brevity)

Decreasing your sugar, any amount you can, will improve your health and weight. Period.

2. Decrease your consumption of processed food.

A lot like number 1, processed food gives you a lot of bad and not a lot of good.

  • Processed food has a lot of sugar (see above). They add it in so you will like and buy the product.
  • Processed food has a lot of unhealthful fats.
  • Processed food has unhealthy levels of salt.
  • The trifecta of salt, fat and sugar is very intentional, to get you to love and overeat and re-buy the product.
  • Processed food is missing important nutrients.

3. Eat tons of fruits and vegetables.

Besides being whole real food, loaded with vitamins and minerals, they are the only thing that the research shows unequivocally is GOOD for you.

Here’s to a healthy 2015! Thanks for reading.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net