What exactly is integrative and functional nutrition?
From the Integrative & Functional Nutrition Academy, “Integrative and Functional Nutrition (IFN) therapy is a leading-edge evidence-based, systems biology approach to patient care that focuses on identifying root causes and imbalances to significantly improve patient health outcomes. This emerging medical nutrition model combines the very best of modern science, clinical wisdom and critical thinking and is being driven by increasing consumer demand, advancing technology and the changing healthcare landscape.”
To put it more simply, IFN therapy looks at an issue from a “whole body” perspective. The belief is that many factors, such as nutrition, sleep quality, exercise, and stress levels, play a role in the development of chronic disease. IFN therapy aims to target these root causes and provide interventions that will provide long-term healing.
I’ve heard integrative and functional nutrition approaches can be rigid and require restrictive eating. Is that true?
Unfortunately, this is a common misconception! In IFN therapy, nutrition is just one piece of a larger puzzle. While some diagnoses may require a more rigorous nutrition intervention, most conditions can see dramatic improvements with interventions relating to stress management, self-care, quality of sleep, joyful movement, and gentle nutrition. As a dietitian specializing in both IFN and Intuitive Eating, I create individualized plans that consider a client’s physiological and psychological health. We have to have both! Restrictive diets are never the answer; it’s about finding authentic health through ways of eating that nourish mind, body and soul.
I have an eating disorder and gi issues. Can you help me with both?
Unfortunately, eating disorders and GI complications often go hand in hand. As the body is put through such physiological and psychological stress, the GI system takes the brunt of the trauma. I work very closely with my clients to determine the root cause if the GI distress as many factors can play a role. Whether it is due to inconsistent nourishment, anxiety (one of the major contributing factors!), or something else, I am highly trained to determine the cause (in collaboration with your physician) and provide interventions that align with eating disorder treatment.
Can I benefit from integrative and functional nutrition approaches while eating intuitively?
Absolutely! IFN is about so much more than just food! Stress management, sleep quality, joyful movement, and gentle nutrition can have a significant impact on our ability to be intuitive eaters. And truthfully, the more we prioritize reducing stress, improving quality of sleep, incorporating joyful movement and eating in a way that provides authentic and autonomous health, the better our ability to become intuitive eaters.