Functional Nutrition/Medicine

Functional nutrition is a type of integrative medicine that focuses on bringing balance back to all body systems rather than treating each individual symptom separately. It uses functional diagnostic lab testing to discover hidden stressors. 

Functional Nutritionist Toronto

What is a Functional Nutritionist? 

 

It is a type of nutritionist that looks at your entire body as a whole to bring the body into balance. It is often used interchangeably with a functional medicine practitioner. Functional nutrition is all about discovering one's root cause and reversing it using natural methods. We often use functional tests like the GI Map stool test, DUTCH hormone panel and a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis to find and analyze dysfunction in the body. This allows us to discover the WHY behind your condition so you can overcome it once and for all. 

This type of integrative medicine focuses heavily on nutritional practices as well as lifestyle choices and strategic supplementation. It is a patient centred approach where we give YOU the tools and knowledge needed to regain your health. A functional nutritionist does not diagnose or treat. 

 

Instead of waiting for your symptoms to turn into a disease, we take preventative measures to build your body back up from years of stress, poor diet and a toxic lifestyle before it’s too late. We do not offer generic meal or supplement plans because this is a personalized method to optimizing health. You have your own unique genetic makeup so we believe your nutrition plan should as well! 

Key Principles of Functional Nutrition:

  • Acknowledgement that each person is biochemically unique and has their own needs

  • The importance of addressing the mind, body and spirit in each individual 

  • The promotion of whole, nutritious foods and the necessity of living a non toxic life

  • Acknowledgement that supplementation is a helpful addition to whole, nutritious food

  • Respecting the contribution of other health care providers and the need to collaborate

What is the Difference Between Functional Medicine & Western Medicine? 

Functional medicine is complementary to western (conventional) medicine and is fully backed by science. Western medicine is necessary for acute sudden illness/injuries, whereas functional medicine is better for disease prevention and reversing chronic illness. There are many studies showing connections between different systems/organs in our body and how they all collectively play a role in disease. Therefore, one type of medicine should not override the other. 

 

For example, the following conditions have all been shown to correlate back to a disrupted gut microbiome and poor digestion; hypo/hyper thyroidism, anxiety/depression, autoimmunity, heart disease, skin conditions, chronic fatigue, migraines etc. None of these conditions are directly apart of the gastrointestinal tract but it still plays a massive role. This is what functional nutrition is all about; looking at your body from a broad perspective to piece together your health puzzle and rebalance from the root. Rather than prescribing drugs for each disease, a functional nutritionist investigates why the disease has occurred in the first place and works to reverse it. 

 

Western medicine tends to look at disease from the 'germ theory' perspective whereas functional medicine takes a hybrid approach but understands that keeping a healthy environment (terrain) in your body is most important for disease prevention. Let's look at acne for example. If you go to a dermatologist, they will likely say you have a bacterial infection on your skin and will encourage a heavy dose of different topical anti-bacterial agents. They do not see acne as an internal issue like we do. However, we know that acne can be caused from internal or external stressors, poor detoxification, hormone imbalances, nutrient deficiencies and poor eating habits as well as gut dysbiosis. We see it all the time in our practice and have got our clients transformational results by addressing acne from the inside out. The topicals you put on your skin do have the ability to aggravate your acne and make it worse or better but an infection on the skin is never the cause. This would be a very narrow minded, 'germ theory' approach. 

 

What you eat probably plays the biggest role in the health of your skin. This is why we are trained to use food as medicine. Medical doctors are only trained to use pharmaceuticals as "medicine" and are not taught much about nutrition in school. Functional nutritionists honour the fact that food is fuel for our bodies and will always play a substantial role in healing. Of course, nutrition is very bio-individual especially if you are suffering from a specific condition. Generally speaking, we recommend a balanced whole food diet similar to our ancestors. We should not be consuming processed foods that were not around 500 years ago like vegetable/seed oils for example. We never recommend cutting out large groups of healthy food as that is very damaging to your thyroid and metabolism. Diet culture tends to be very toxic and contributes to imbalance in the body as you go from one extreme to another. Instead, we recommend all of our clients get a balance of saturated fats, animal protein and whole food carbohydrates with every meal. We view cravings and other symptoms as valuable information our body is trying to communicate with us. Although food is not our entire focus by any means. Keep reading to learn about all of the aspects of health we look at. Functional nutrition is not only a customized approach but very integrative. 

What To Expect When Working With Us: 

Our intake period for 1:1 clients can involve many different things. When we are onboarding new clients, we immediately ask and record the following: 

 

  • Medical History 

  • Symptom Analysis

  • Systems & Organs Review 

  • Medication & Supplement Use

  • Nutrition Review 

  • Sleep Review 

  • Exercise Review 

  • Toxicity Levels

  • Menstrual Cycle Review (if applicable)

  • Stress Timeline 

  • Digestion & Bowel Review 

  • Conventional Lab Review (if applicable)

  • Micro & Macro Nutrient Analysis

  • Skin Assessment 

  • Emotional/Trauma Assessment 

 

Once we have analyzed this information, we start creating their custom healing program. This protocol will vary depending on the person and their situation but often includes: 

 

  • Individualized Nutrition Advice and/or Personalized Meal Plans

  • Sustainable Strength Based Exercise Program (Katie is also a Certified Personal Trainer)

  • Topical Recommendations for their Skin 

  • Gut & Hormone Healing Recipes 

  • Strategically Phased Supplement Protocols 

  • Lifestyle Suggestions (sleep, toxicity, stress, water/air quality, healthy habits, trauma etc.)

  • Functional Testing Recommendations (if needed)

 

As we go through the healing plan along side our clients, we keep a close eye on symptom improvements and shifts. Functional nutrition is a dynamic process where we continuously listen to your body and adapt as we go. You may require different phases of healing and refinement to our nutritional and lifestyle suggestions. Sometimes, symptoms are far removed from the cause and we need to investigate further with functional testing. Unfortunately, conventional medicine does not have the capacity to do all of this. Medical doctors are unable to develop this close and ongoing relationship with their patients. We often hear complaints of doctors playing whack-a-mole with their patients symptoms, prescribing drug after drug with no true healing plan in place and no transparency of the drugs long term effects. It's either that or they refuse to validate your symptoms and how you feel. They simply overlook non life-threatening illness. 

 

This is where functional nutrition / functional medicine comes into play. If you are interested in pursuing a similar career path as Katie, we highly recommend studying at FDN and becoming a Functional Diagnostic Nutritional Practitioner. Katie had an amazing experience studying online and gained valuable information she uses in her practice on a regular basis. Make sure to let them know you were referred by Katie McKersie! Even if you don't want to become a functional nutritionist, this course helps you understand your body on a deeper level and is truly empowering for all. 

 

If you are suffering from acne or any chronic illness, check out our 1:1 membership. We offer in-person appointments in Toronto, ON and online worldwide!