At Eat Drink Live Well we use a Functional Medicine approach in our nutrition clinic and we quite simply couldn’t conceive of practicing any other way. We firmly believe it’s the most effective approach and set of tools available to allow you to understand and take ownership of your own health.
Functional Medicine is a different way of viewing health and disease. It’s a sensible, logical approach where we spend time understanding your history and health journey, researching before we even meet you. We pay attention to your individual interactions between genetics, diet, environment and lifestyle – all factors that can influence long-term health and chronic, complex disease. It’s based on the latest medical research, rather than dubious studies or anecdotal evidence. The result is a personalised approach to health – one that is unique to you and only you – based on your unique genes, diet, environment and lifestyle.
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine simply asks ‘why?’
Why are these symptoms here right now, at this point in your life? (Isn’t that something you’ve asked yourself before: why this and why right now?).
If leaves on your favourite plant drop off, you wouldn’t pick them up and stick them back on? You’d want to understand why they’ve fallen off, so you’d see if it’s in the right place (assess it’s environment), feed or water it differently and maybe even look at what’s happening where we can’t see – under the soil, where it’s roots are.
A functional medicine approach allows us to ask you the right questions and to connect the dots together. It’s not the conventional route to tackling health conditions but it’s the functional medicine route – and it works. It’s exciting because our ‘roots’ are influenced by simple factors that we can modify:
- Social interaction
If we feed our ‘roots’ properly, our ‘leaves’ have a much higher chance of being healthy. So a Functional Medicine Approach really just involves three simple steps. Using our clinical experience, analysis of your Functional Medicine Analysis intake forms, listening to you and discussion with you in consultations and by using targeted laboratory testing we simply:
- Figure out what’s out of balance
- Identify and remove dietary and other modifiable lifestyle or environmental factors that are taking the body further away from balance (work out what you need less of)
- Add in dietary, lifestyle and environmental changes that can help the body move back into balance (work out what you need more of)
And then we come up with a personalized, therapeutic, unique programme for you. Functional Medicine is empowering, and is a partnership between practitioner and patient. As a result, you can feel in charge of your own health and disease outcomes, rather than reliant on a multitude of different medical professionals. You have the power to enhance your own health – we’re just there to guide and support you.
Functional Medicine doesn’t compete with Conventional Medicine, but can instead be complementary. For the diagnosis of illness and trauma that is of short duration and when you’re in need of urgent care, such as an acute asthma attack, appendicitis or a broken leg, conventional medicine is a lifesaver and a necessity.
However, our society is seeing an unprecedented rise in complex chronic conditions: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic fatigue, mental illness, dementia, food intolerances, skin conditions, hormonal imbalances, pain, IBS and autoimmune disorders including Coeliac Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Hashimotos.
These chronic conditions have clear dietary and lifestyle components. A functional medicine approach, including use of the latest functional laboratory tests and food supplements, can help to target and pinpoint dietary and lifestyle-related interventions (alongside traditional Western medical practices where appropriate).
So in Functional Medicine we ask ‘why?’. We look for root causes. We look at how to prevent chronic disease. And we work with you to connect the dots across multiple systems and symptoms.
Nutrition is the core modality of Functional Medicine. We’re both fully accredited and experienced Nutritional Therapists and as such Nutritional Therapy and Functional Nutrition will be at the very heart of your Eat Drink Live Well Clinic FM Programme.
From completion of your Functional Medicine Analysis Intake forms, from specific laboratory testing and using our clinical experience throughout our discussions during your consultations, we are able to identify clear priority areas of nutrition to focus on.
We are highly trained in integrating nutrition assessment at the molecular and cellular levels with emerging research in nutrition and nutritional genomics. These advanced practice skills are essential for preventing and managing complex, chronic disorders.
The Eat Drink Live Well Clinic Approach
An individual Approach: Our programmes are for you and only you. How many times has a friend or colleague recommended something that has worked for them (and they’re sure it will work for you too)? But they are not you. What keeps one person healthy simply isn’t the same as for another so it makes no sense at all to prescribe one healthy ‘diet’ that we should all be following. That’s why googling a diet for your ‘condition’ works for some, but not others. You’re unique and you need a personalised approach to your own health.
You and the next person we see in our clinic may both have the same ‘condition’. But each of you will have different lifestyles, different root causes and factors underlying your ‘diagnosis’ and therefore the approach for each of you will be different. As an example, you, and two other clients may arrive with an IBS diagnosis. Your IBS symptoms may have been triggered by chronic stress, in the second client a parasitic infection and in the third post-infectious SIBO (Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth) following a bout of food poisoning. The same ‘condition’ yet for very different reasons.
There is no ‘one-size fits all’ IBS or indeed any protocol that we follow. Our approach and recommendations are different for every person that comes into our clinic.
We’ll spend time listening to your story, and looking at the interactions between your own genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that may influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. Factors such as:
- Diet – what you’re eating but also how well you’re digesting and absorbing the food you eat
- Lifestyle: exercise, stress and relaxation and sleep
- Environment: the air you breathe, the water you drink, toxic exposures and how well we detoxify
- Mind/Body Connections: psychological, spiritual and social connections can all have a profound influence on health
- Genetic makeup – your DNA is not an unchanging blueprint for your life. Emerging research shows that genes may be ‘expressed’ (turned on and off) by environmental, dietary and lifestyle factors. Understanding your genetic makeup also gives valuable guidance as to nutrients that you may have higher requirements for, systems that may require support, and the type of diet you personally are better suited to.
We look at how this interplay of factors may have influenced your own, unique health journey to date, and importantly, how it may influence your health journey going forward. We look at the impact this interplay may have had on your key body processes:
- Digestion and absorption of nutrients
- how your cells are functioning
- how well you’re producing energy at the molecular level
- how you’re regulating hormones and neurotransmitters
- how well you’re detoxifying
- your inflammatory responses
- your immune system function
And then we work with you to figure out how and where can we best intervene. Our mission is quite simply, to help you connect the dots.
Caroline and Emma are both Institute for Functional Medicine registered practitioners. Emma has completed the IFM AFMCP foundational course and Caroline is one of a handful of Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioners in the UK.
We’d be happy to talk to you about how the Eat Drink Live Well Clinic functional medicine approach may be right for you in a free 15 minute Discovery Call which you can book right now here
To learn more about Functional Medicine and the Institute for Functional Medicine check out the IFM website www.ifm.org