The Secret to Using Functional Nutrition to Strategically Achieve Health Goals

February 20, 2024

The secret to using Functional Nutrition to strategically achieve health goals is to get rooted in YOUR personal experience! Functional Nutrition, born from the principles of Functional Medicine, fills a major gap in healthcare and may be the missing piece in your health and wellness plan. As the Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Practitioner here at the NH Health and Wellness Center, I am sharing this blog to introduce you to Functional Nutrition and what it can do to help you finally achieve your health goals.

Functional Nutrition is grounded in the three core principles of Functional Medicine:

  1. valuing the therapeutic relationship,
  2. working with systems and frameworks, and
  3. addressing root causes rather than merely treating symptoms or diagnoses.

As a Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Practitioner (FNLP), my practice operates within a specific scope, excluding the direct diagnosis, prescription, or treatment of patients. I lead with food and lifestyle modifications rather than expensive lab testing and supplements, so the cost of working with me can be substantially lower than starting with a Functional MD --you may prefer to start with an FxMD for diagnosis and a plan or you may prefer to start with an FNLP for a comprehensive assessment and work on your unique foundation. My approach embraces holistic and bioindividual principles, emphasizing:

  • Understanding the Whole Person:
  • A holistic consideration of all aspects of your health and history, i.e., you are more than your symptoms. Who you are today is a result of the chicken pox you had when you were ten and the car accident, the food poisoning, the antibiotics for an ear infection, the stress of leaving home, the hormonal changes of pregnancy, etc.
  • Addressing the Terrain:
  • Focusing on the environment where signs, symptoms, or diagnoses manifest.
  • When you hear the word “terrain” you think about a landscape, like rough terrain, mountainous terrain, etc. In Functional Nutrition, we consider your biological terrain or your internal environment. Those “root causes” that we look for exist in your internal terrain. In the same way that a tree rooted in poor soil may not thrive as well as one in rich, deep soil, the roots of health issues manifest when the terrain is conducive to that problem. So, we assess the “soil,” add missing elements or remove harmful ones and in this way, we can alter the roots. Make sense? This is how we can bring lasting results -- by changing the terrain (i.e., diet and lifestyle.)
  • Educating the Patient:
  • Empowering you with an understanding of the origins of your health challenges and potential paths to restore balance and health. Understanding what is happening, why it is happening and what you can do about it can help make it easier for you to take charge and make necessary changes to shift your health.
  • Bridging the Gap:
  • Utilizing a unique skill set to fill the communication gap between physicians and patients, where necessary. As a FNLP, my role is to be part of your wider healthcare team. Diagnostics and the treatment of any disease is deferred to your MD, ND or DO. Supporting specific therapeutic goals and addressing the terrain that has permitted the imbalance or dis-ease is where we do our work!

The 'Special Sauce' of Functional Nutrition:

In a Functional Nutrition model, partnership is the ‘special sauce.’ Your story, your experience, your intuition, and your needs are key. You are unique and the secret to unlocking your health is also unique. My role and responsibility is to capture your current experience and frame it using the context of your history. Knowing how you have gotten into the state of imbalance helps us curate a plan to get you out. Did your symptoms start after a car accident, or did they come on gradually after pregnancy? Have you always struggled with headaches or had difficulty losing weight or sleeping through the night? Your UNIQUE STORY matters most! But the Functional Model provides structure to the way we approach things. ART is the acronym we use -- Assess, Recommend, Track -- and this is the process I use:

Step 1: Assess -- before a Functional Nutritionist can offer suggestions, there is a thorough assessment of what is going on with you.

     We look at your health history and personal experiences.

     We look at your current routine for sleep, hydration, nutrition, movement, stress management, etc. AND we talk about what you were doing in those areas when your symptoms started or flared.

     We categorize your symptoms and the ways your body is expressing your current imbalance and identify what systems are having the greatest impact. For example, you may be experiencing symptoms that are related to the Immune system, Digestion and Absorption, Hormones and Neurotransmitters, Detoxification and Elimination, Oxidative Stress and Energy Production, Physical/Structural issues, Spiritual and Emotional processing.

Step 2: Recommend -- After a comprehensive assessment, we can recommend both dietary and lifestyle modifications designed to support your unique needs. This can include recommendations to optimize the foundations of health: digestion, nutrition/hydration, sleep, blood sugar balance, hormone balance, and stress response. Your unique plan can include a list of foods that are good sources of specific nutrients you need, recipes and meal plans that leverage nutrients and that can teach you how to create balanced meals, and meals that are quick, easy and tasty. Always included are strategies for building healthy habits and specifically addressing your stressors. 

Step 3: Track -- Remember that the center of the Functional model is YOU! Because we individualize our solutions and focus on YOU and YOUR terrain, we ditch the standard “X for Y” Paradigm (meaning we do not solve for symptom (X) with remedy (Y)). You are unique and it is your unique response to the recommendations that matters because your terrain may shift in unexpected ways and we need to shift based on that. We typically see results within 3 months, though more complex issues can take longer.

The take-away here is that this is exactly how we turn up your innate healing ability. We lean into the knowing that you are unique, and everything is connected. We remove obstacles to healing, provide missing supports and shift your terrain to one that is designed for balance so you can thrive.

Consider this your invitation to explore what Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching can do for you! Schedule a free discovery call with Sarah and let’s talk about your health, your goals and how we can partner to get you there. Click here or call Sarah at 603-391-1230 to schedule. You deserve to feel better, and Sarah would be honored to support you.

Sarah Lawrence has over 15 years of experience and certifications as a Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Practitioner, Holistic Health Coach, Aromatherapist, Reiki Master, and Laughter Yoga Teacher. Embodying the essence of "Partnership with a Purpose," Sarah blends her extensive expertise and passion to inspire transformative health journeys. She believes in the inherent right to not just exist but thrive, and with a client-centric approach, she crafts personalized strategies to optimize your relationship with food and everything else that nourishes you.

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