What is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist? How is it different from a Health Coach? How can it help me personally?
I’ve been asked these questions many times over and it’s so understandable that there is some confusion over these areas, as Functional Medicine Nutrition was something absolutely new to me a few years ago. I would like to break down how it is unique and how it can help you personally, especially if you have complex health challenges.
The Functional Medicine Nutrition process is very unique. It involves a very deep understanding of who you are as a person, apart from your signs, symptoms and diagnosis. The process respects that you are a very unique individual, whose history has impacted within deeply. You are not just your disease or your diagnosis, that can just be blindly handed a set of protocols. What has occured in your life and within your body is unique to you. A Functional Nutritionist takes a great deal of time to understand your unique life history, genetics, the triggers that have impacted your life and caused your symptoms or disease, and the mediators in your life that contribute to making your symptoms better or worse.
Through a unique process of Intake and Assessment, a Functional Nutritionist maps out your system, understanding the state of each of your body’s systems at the present moment, through the lens of your pain. If you’ve been frustrated moving from one specialist to another, from one protocol to another or from one system of medicine to another. frustrated that you have no resolution, Functional Nutrition understands you. Health is more than just exisiting and going through the motions of your day, isn’t it? Health should be about restoring your energy and feeling full of creativity. Health is not just about popping pills every now and then. A Functional Nutritionist uses tools and frameworks to track your health, and is a therapeutic partner holding your hand right through the process, however slow and gentle you want to move forward.
You might have heard many people talking about a perfect diet, whatever that might be. Perhaps you’ve even tried them one after the other, and found it did not suit you. The fact is, there is no one size fits all diet and there is no ideal diet. Yes, it might work for 80% of the population. But, perhaps you are in the other 20% who have a complex history and an even more complex set of health challenges, like I did. The fact is, no one was able to resolve my complex issues ranging from urticaria to chronic infections. If you are in this population, then you don’t need an ideal diet. You need a healing diet. Finding what works for you takes time and tracking. If you’ve felt frustrated when you tried an ideal diet and it didn’t work for you, don’t be. It just shows that you need to find your healing path. You need Functional Nutrition.
Here are the unique ways in which a Functional Nutritionist will look at supporting you:
- Understanding your history in depth and make sense of how you reached your present state of health
- Analyse your history and symptoms and understand the root causes of your health challenges, in order to resolve them deep within rather than on the surface
- Approach you with deep empathy and respect you as a person, rather than just your disease
- Recommend changes in diet and lifestyle, but continuously track the process, constantly modifying to support your unique body and reactions
- Empower you with the knowledge you require to understand your body and what can support you, so that you become empowered in managing your own health at all times
The fact is that getting to the root of complex health challenges takes time and patience, and it is just not possible to apply a set of protocols or an ideal diet and expect it work for everyone. A Functional Nutritonist is someone with clinical assessment skills, who is trained to read your labs from a Functional perspective. A Functional Nutritionist has the ability to work through complex cases and can problem solve along the way. Clinical assessment and looking at your serum labs from a Functional perspective is an art. Looking at labs from a Functional perspective is very unique, and it allows a Functional Nutritionist to understand the interconnection between all your body systems, and provides you with a targeted approach created just for you. How is Functional Nutrition different from health coaching? Once you know the differences, you will be able to understand better, which option will suit you.
Compared to health coaching, here are some of the ways in which a Functional Nutritionist is unique:
- Helps you to unravel the complex root causes of your signs, symptoms and diagnosis
- Uses clinical assesment skills and functional lab analysis to understand your unique body
- Recommends diets, tests and supplement protocols and tracks your progress continuously using frameworks and modifies constantly
- Is trained in understanding complex health conditions and can problem solve along the way
- Does not recommend a one size fits all ideal diet but recommends the dietery changes you require at the moment in order to heal
- Understands the most complex issues but uses a highly individualised approach, and empowers you constantly with the knowledge you need to then stay healthy and full of vitality