THE FUNCTIONAL APPROACH
The practice of functional nutrition addresses the person as a whole and takes into account the intricate relationship between the body’s various systems. For example, the digestive system works to break down the food we eat and is responsible for absorbing the macro and micronutrients the body needs to function properly. Those nutrients then enter our cells and provide the mitochondria (the energy-producing machines within the cells) with fuel to make energy. Additionally, the quality of our food directly impacts the health and diversity of the gut microbiome, which has an undeniable impact on our metabolic, immune and cognitive function.
A functional nutrition practitioner takes into account the holistic nature of the human body as well as each person’s unique health history, genetics, lifestyle and dietary habits in order to uncover the root causes of ill health. The focus of functional nutrition is not on specific dietary theories or current fads, nor on counting calories and calculating macronutrients. Instead, the focus is on designing a targeted and highly individualized diet & lifestyle protocol to help the individual shift their environment in a way that supports optimal health and wellness.
Functional nutrition is concerned with optimizing whole-body function through appropriate diet and lifestyle interventions. We all carry genes in our DNA inherited from our parents, which may sometimes predispose us to disease, but our internal and external environment is ultimately responsible for the expression or suppression of those genes. This is a well-established concept called Epigenetics: the idea that no matter our genetic makeup, we have the ability to maintain good health and quality of life through modulating our living environment and the foods we consume on a daily basis.
When we eat, we consume information, as the nutrients in our food orchestrate the rhythm of function within our entire body. In other words, we are in a constant dance with our environment, and how we take care of ourselves on a daily basis, the relationships we engage in, and what we choose to put at the end of our fork is what ultimately determines our gene expression and quality of life.
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