“Functional nutrition encompasses the importance of high quality foods and phytonutrient diversity to address clinical imbalances and move individuals toward the highest expression of health. Advanced nutrition assessment and a thorough Functional Medicine based history leads to a personalized therapeutic intervention created to promote optimal health and prevent diet- and lifestyle- related diseases.” – The Institute of Integrative Medicine
Functional Nutrition is one of the core pillars of our philosophy here at Functional Fueling Nutrition. I was introduced to functional nutrition when studying nutrition in my undergraduate degree. My program director and professor had just become a functional medicine practitioner and began to implement her knowledge into our curriculum. I learned that so much of the conventional nutrition guidelines are led by politics, not health metrics. I learned that food was about so much more than calories. That so much of our population is over-fed and under-nourished. I made a decision from that point forward to never recommend a dietary practice or food based on these harmful guidelines. I stopped looking for funded nutrition research studies and instead starting diving more into the biochemistry, physiology and chemistry of how the body and food science works. When we approach nutrition from this angle, we can understand how so many of the current American food guidelines have it all wrong. Food isn’t meant to be heated to extremely high temperatures, to be filled with man-made preservatives and to taste hyper-palatable. It is meant to program cells, provide the building blocks for chemical reactions in the body and to help us achieve a well nourished body.
I made the decision to stay at that University so that I could continue to study functional nutrition and earn a master’s degree. During this time I also pursued the supervised practice internship to become a Registered Dietitian. During my master’s degree I learned from the research and from hands-on practice by studying under functional registered dietitians and functional medical doctors. I spent my hours commuting to my internship sites listening to Khan videos and podcasts or anything that would help me unlearn conventional nutrition and relearn science so that I could better apply nutrition education and counseling.
After completing my master’s degree and becoming a Registered Dietitian I founded Functional Fueling Nutrition on the premise that I would share this message of functional nutrition and help people heal with food-as-medicine.
After seven years of continuing to refine my practice of functional nutrition, here are the core pillars of how we implement it:
- A whole food, whole person approach
We utilize thorough assessments that go from childhood through adult years to understand major physical and psychological events that could influence your present health. We learn about your food culture in your family, your relationship to food, food availability and even food preferences. This information helps us ensure that we create recommendations that are truly individualized to you as a whole. Although we recognize the need for convenience with your busy life, the base of our recommendations are always built around finding ways to implement more whole quality nutrition into your diet.
- Holistic and evidence based
While we embrace holistic healing and ancient methods, we also value the importance of scientific evidence. Our approach combines both, ensuring that every recommendation we make is backed by reliable data and safety. We seamlessly integrate conventional and functional medicine principles into our approach.
- The functional properties of food
Certain foods contain functional properties. This means that these foods contain properties other than just nutrients that positively impact health. We follow what we call a Metabolic Mediterranean diet approach. Metabolic meaning that our nutrition philosophy supports positive metabolism, digestion and hormonal responses in the body and Mediterranean to describe the types of food sources. This includes organic vegetables, fruits, pulses, herbs, olive oil and nuts. When appropriate for clients, we recommend quality animal proteins in moderate quantities.
- Find the root cause with advanced testing
Functional nutrition utilizes advanced diagnostic testing to guide the individualization and to identify the root causes of your health imbalances. We use both conventional and functional labs that may include stool, saliva, urine or blood testing. These tests help us identify your underlying cause to your symptoms or health condition so that we can individualize your nutrition and lifestyle healing plan.
Functional nutrition has changed my own life and the life of so many clients we have had the pleasure to work with through the years. Here’s a few things our clients have to say about this approach:
“Lauren taught me more about my body & how it works in the 3 months that we worked together than any of my doctors have before. From the labs she ordered to the specific supplements and recommendations, you can tell how truly knowledgeable and invested she is in helping you. I loved how each check in would focus on a new goal or protocol to implement, instead of piling all of it on you at once. I’ve been able to make many changes, both in my diet and lifestyle, that supports my body because instead of just being told “do this”, I know why and how it’s helping me.”
“I began working with Lauren because I needed to find a solution to my terrible, painful acne after stopping birth control, GI issues and upset stomach. I also wanted to lose weight. Traditional medicine could only take me so far. I was diagnosed with IBS and told to manage my GI symptoms as best I could and take. After 3 months of working with her my acne had cleared to the point where I no longer had new breakouts, I have significantly less GI issues, and I had lost about 20 pounds. I was a really healthy eater before working with Lauren, but she gave me new knowledge about portions and eating the right kinds of foods for my body. She gave me a new relationship with food and a new confidence in myself.”
“Lauren is the most informed dietician that I have ever met. Her passion for what she does shines so bright, she truly cares, and that’s really what you want when seeking out professional help.”
Maybe you are reading this blog because you’re searching for alternative approaches to your health. Or maybe because you are an aspiring functional nutrition practitioner. Whatever your reasoning, I hope this blog provides hope of another way to approach your health. I am so passionate about functional nutrition and have many ways you can learn for free with my Podcast, Blog or Instagram. We offer a course, private community and private nutrition coaching- all based on this functional nutrition approach.