Prioritize Your Body's Needs: Functional Nutrition and What to ExpectApr 15, 2021
The body unravels in predictable and orderly ways, even though to experience an unravelling, a loss of mental or physical function, can feel incredibly frantic and out of control.
When I create healing protocols for my clients, I systematize the process based on the specific order that things happen in the human body. I create healing priorities based on the sensitive interrelationships between the organs and systems in the body and their relationship to internal and external stressors.
In functional nutrition, we view the body systems and the ways they can become dysfunctional as part of a north-to-south process. We address the problems happening at the north end (or the top) of the process first and that often resolves the problems furtherer south (further down the chain).
For example, from north to south:
- We need to eat good quality, wholesome food to fuel every function in our body and build healthy cells.
- When we eat, our brain needs to be calm in order to send signals to the digestive organs.
- We need to chew our food thoroughly.
- The stomach needs to secrete the correct digestive juices to continue the digestive cascade and to instigate the next steps.
- The liver, gallbladder and pancreas need to be healthy to secrete their digestive juices.
- Our intestines need to be healthy to absorb nutrients.
If any of these things are not happening in the elegant and complex ways that they should work, then we will see problems with the digestive system itself, but it will also spiral into additional health problems.
These more northern breaks in the system will spiral into all kinds of health issues like immune system dysfunction, blood sugar handling disorders like diabetes or hypoglycemia, allergies and food sensitivities, hormonal imbalances, chronic pain, autoimmune disease and more.
When analyzing a client's needs, I look into where in the process things have gone wrong. If they are eating good quality food but they aren't digesting it, we will investigate exactly which part of the digestive system is broken.
If someone is experiencing high blood sugar and pre-diabetes, we look at what the problem is further upstream. We always want to know, "Why is this happening?"
Is it a diet too high in starches and sugars? Are they eating a nice diet but they are under immense stress? Is their liver failing? Is something broken in the digestive system causing them to only absorb sugars and not digest proteins, fats or fibers?
If someone is having hot flashes or PMS pain, we don't dive right in to supplementing with hormone boosting nutrients if the problem is really in the liver or elsewhere in the system. Is there unexplained stress like inflammation causing the hormones to become out of balance?
An Integrated View of Your Body Systems
As you can see, I take a very sensitive and full systems approach to healing. If you come to me for help with your Thyroid, we might have to support healing in the digestive system first. If you come to me for chronic pain, we might have to address food sensitivities first. If you come to me for diabetes, we might have to address liver health first.
In the first meeting, we will dissect your symptoms, medical diagnoses if any, typical food strategies, and health history. From here we begin to see what body systems are struggling and where in you lifestyle you may be struggling with food, toxic exposures or other stressors. We will discuss what you have tried, what has worked and what has not worked.
From there, we will decide whether deeper investigation through functional lab testing is advised.
We always identify your body's top priorities and address those though food, supplements and lifestyle upgrades specifically targeted to your health conditions and needs.
Every person is different and healing protocols will be tailored to wherever you are on your journey. The pace of change will be set by you and your comfort level with the work, along with how your body actually responds to the new support systems we will introduce.
I'm so excited by the depth of healing we can accomplish. My clients consistently surprise their doctors by healing, feeling better, reducing symptom presentation, changing their need for medications, and dramatically improving their lab markers more than is generally recognized as possible.
What happens when someone's body heals?
It's truly breathtaking to see what happens when the body is supported in these ways. When we tap into the innate wisdom of the body and we understand how to give it what it needs to function better, it's pretty amazing to witness people alight and unfurl back to life after times of immense struggle.
When we support the body in a clear and systematic way, people are able to reclaim their lives.
As much as I love the science and the nuts of bolts of functional healing, the real win is in seeing people reclaim their spark, become excited about life again, become hopeful for their future, become able to plan and engage in life in ways they couldn't when they were being overtaken by illness and dysfunction.
Life is a glorious opportunity and a bit of focus and attention to our healing needs can give us the best chance at enjoying it, thriving and feeling good.