I am a registered dietitian, but I also have a passion for integrative and functional nutrition, which is why I founded Sustained Roots.
How is that different? Integrative nutrition is an approach to health that looks at the body as a whole system and recognizes the impact of all areas of your life on one another. Assuming that your health can be summarized by what you eat and drink is an oversimplification, and it is why you may have been frustrated by not seeing the results you had hoped for.
Instead, a dietitian specializing in integrative and functional nutrition looks more inclusively at all of the factors that influence your health and wellness. This includes your current lifestyle habits like mindfulness and physical activity as well as other important considerations, such as your usual stress levels, your budget, your access to healthy foods and more. They all have an impact on how you’re feeling right now!
There are many reasons why people choose to work with me in this capacity, such as wanting to relieve digestive symptoms, improve skin, or boost energy. What sets my practice apart from others is that I specialize in helping clients get to root causes rather than just treating symptoms of their issues.
In today’s blog post, we’ll discuss how having an integrative nutrition coach can help you live your best life!
What is Integrative Nutrition?
When working on your nutrition goals, I recommend working with a registered dietitian (RD) – they’re the nutrition experts. But did you know that not all RDs have the same approach to nutrition counseling? Just like two different doctors might recommend different treatment plans, dietitians can approach a nutrition issue differently.
Integrative nutrition is an approach to health that looks at the body as a whole system and recognizes the importance of healthy lifestyle habits like mindfulness and physical activity. Rather than simply offering a plan for symptom management, you and I will keep looking until we understand why the symptoms started in the first place.
How is that better? It is a more thorough approach to seek solutions. My goal is always to have a more effective, comprehensive plan so that your symptoms are gone for good.
Let’s apply this difference with GI issues such as constipation. A traditional registered dietitian (RD) might work with his/her client to increase fiber and water intake, and increase movement. This is great, and might be an exact match for what the client was looking for.
My clients are different. As an integrative and functional dietitian, I will take things further to also address possible food intolerances/sensitivities, nutrient deficiencies, gut health, and stress levels to further improve regularity. We may test for signals of inflammation and leaky gut and I might offer some suggestions for vitamin and herbal supplements. Boosting fiber is absolutely important for the effective management of constipation, but other tools can be used too.
Finding the root cause
There is a big difference between treating symptoms and digging towards finding the root cause, or causes, of why they happened to begin with. Together, we will work to find the root cause of your health concerns.
One way is to look at what’s happening in your life and relationships: are you stressed out? Are you sleeping poorly? Is there a relationship conflict that has reached a boiling point or been going on for years without resolution? Do you have chronic inflammation or a thyroid issue that has gone unnoticed for years and just started showing up in the past few months? These can all contribute to how you’re feeling today. And you’re not going to achieve your optimal wellness if they continue to be ignored.
Rather than just looking at your eating in isolation from the rest of your life, I find that solutions are more effective when we consider everything else. Are you bloated because you ate too much, or because your gut bacteria is imbalanced (or both!)? Are you not exercising because you lack motivation and willpower, or are your vitamin D levels depleted causing low energy?: same problem, two different solutions based on the root issue.
An Integrative Dietitian can recommend additional testing
Have you ever gone to the doctor with strange symptoms, gotten the testing he or she recommended, only to have everything come back normal? Not finding answers is frustrating: what is really going on?
An integrative dietitian can recommend additional testing and will also help you make sense of the results. Traditional testing might not have the ability to measure what’s going on with you and your body. The right test can give you and I the right data.
Why keep digging?
Why do I love digging down to the root cause so much? Because it gives us the best opportunity to find personalized, lasting solutions for you to heal and thrive. This usually involves addressing gut health and improving leaky gut – did you know that gut health is the foundation to all health?
Symptoms offer clues to what may be going on…but truly finding the root causes gives us the full picture. Only addressing surface-level symptoms does not offer the same potential for radically improved health and wellness.
You and your Integrative Dietitian are partners
Sometimes folks only have the ability or interest to work with an RD for a single visit or two. The dietitian provides a plan, some healthy recipes and resources and will wish you well (like I used to do when working in a hospital). What makes what I do now different is that we are partners; we want to get in there and see how you are feeling, what your life is like and work together with you.
We work together long-term. Gut health is generally not a quick fix. In order to cultivate your best health and wellness, we need to work together long enough to address the root causes of why you were suffering to begin with.
Along the way, when we do find something that needs attention or tweaking, then we have the opportunity to do that at each counseling session. With this partnership, the focus becomes more than just a quick fix; it’s about continuous improvement.
Without this integrated approach, some folks might not know where to start or even how to keep going if they get stuck. By working longer term with me, you get the support and troubleshooting to feel confident with your new lifestyle goals as well as the chance to celebrate wins. I love getting to celebrate progress with my clients!
Know your why
It is really common to have different motivators to work on lifestyle goals. Maybe physical activity helps to manage your anxiety, or maybe it allows you to play with your children on the floor without worry about getting back up again. Whys are deeply personal: as we work together, we will explore and understand what drives you to make changes.
Your whys are the fuel for your journey; I am here to help you uncover them and to help you to craft a personalized plan to work towards them. Your lifestyle, stressors and joys are different from anyone else; your plan towards wellness needs to match who you are and your priorities!
Key takeaways: The benefits of an integrative nutrition approach
As an integrative and functional registered dietitian, I consider your whole health history, specific labs, your usual eating patterns, stress levels, budget, and goals all together when crafting nutrition goals with you. As your nutrition partner, we will work together to achieve your best health and wellness by first starting with addressing the root causes of your symptoms. By understanding the root causes, we get to craft the solutions that work.
Are you ready to feel your absolute best, by partnering with an integrative nutrition health coach? Reach out to schedule a call – I can’t wait to meet you!
Do you want to stay in-the-know on how I can help you find the root cause of your symptoms and heal your gut? I would love for you to join the Sustained Roots email list! Join HERE. I promise no spam, only useful and thought-provoking info 🙂