WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE? how will it work for me?
That there are two types of foods:
"Foods That Feed Us" (Lifestyle Choices) & the "Foods On Our Fork" (Nutritional Choices)
That when these two types of foods are "balanced" we have:
"Fire Within Us" (The feeling of Living Life on Purpose with Passion)
I believe that: Foods That Feed Us + Foods on Our Forks = Fire Within Us
That "Illness is an Imbalance" between the Foods that Feed Us + the Foods On Our Fork.
This "imbalance" causes the Fire Within Us to become nothing more than a Faint Flicker.
That when we understand how "Food Meets Function" (how these two types of foods, meet the way our bodies function), then we can rebalance our bodies, and we can learn to turn our "Illness Into Wellness"
That we all want to Get Well, Stay Well, Look Good & Feel Good! 'How about you?
I Believe that Functional Medicine
is the Medicine of the Future
All of my training is based in Functional Medicine - which is a new and exciting way to approach and practice Medicine!
If you haven't heard of it yet, stay tuned, because you will soon see that everyone will be asking to work with those of us who study and practice with Functional Medicine! As you most likely know we are currently facing a health crises! I once heard the definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get different outcomes! That is the situation that we are in now; we are treating people the same way, and getting the same results, and yet, we as a nation are getting sicker and sicker!
In Functional Medicine, we are doing things differently! And, we are getting different results! As a matter of fact, we are getting great results! Functional Medicine is a partnership between you, the patient and your practitioners (That includes me. I will be on your team!)
Functional Medicine is focused on wellness - not illness. We look for the underlying causes of your "dis-ease" rather than handing you another diagnosis or treating your ill with a pill. We are swimming upstream and looking for the root causes of your illness, rather than simply suppressing your symptoms. We treat the whole person, listen to their whole story, and create an individualized and personalized plan for wellness.
As a Functional Medicine Nutritionist & Lifestyle Practioner, I understand and appreciate that "Illness is an Imbalance". I support my clients in helping them to create a balance in their lives, in both the "Foods that Feed them" (Lifestyle) and the "Foods on their Forks" (Nutrition). I teach my clients how their bodies function. When we understand how our "Food Meets Function" - how these two types of foods, meets the way our bodies function, then we understand how to turn "Illness Into Wellness".
Back in 460 B.C., Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, once said "Let Food be thy Medicine" and he was spot on! Hippocrates also wisely said, "Our bodies have the ability to heal themselves if given the right circumstances".
Would you like to know what the right circumstances are for you and your body? I would love to teach you. That is why I created my proprietary system, "The Seven Stepping Stones Signature System". I created this to help you, to heal your health, by walking through these Seven Stepping Stones. I serve and support my clients who are just like me and just like you. I will be your bridge that will take you to where you want to go. Allow me to teach you the tools of how to walk your way to wellness. I would be honored to be your Functional Medicine Nutritionist & Lifestyle Practitioner. Let me be that person for you, that I wish I had there for me.
SEVEN STEPPING STONES signature system
The Seven Stepping Stones
Begin with Balance
because imbalance creates illness
THE FIRST STEPPING STONE
You know when we have a really great day and everything just seems to click and to fall into place? And you know when we have those days when sometimes things don't seem to go our way? Or maybe, we seem to feel as though we are having those days now, all the time. Maybe our lives are out of balance. When we become out of balance, our bodies subtle signs and symptoms, suddenly start to scream and shout. Turns out these symptoms are our bodies greatest gifts for us! That is our bodies way of telling us that we are getting out of sync - that we are becoming imbalanced.
The good news is that our bodies have an amazing ability to rebalance and heal themselves if given the right circumstances. This is exactly how The “Seven Stepping Stones” Signature System works. It teaches us the right circumstances, so we can walk step by step, back into balance.
If you think about it, we are either becoming healthier or we are becoming sicker. The more out of balance our bodies become, the sicker we become. Imbalance creates illness. When is the last time that you had a good laugh or a good cry or a great orgasm? How are your career, your finances and your friendships? Does your sense of spirituality support you? Are you passionate about what you are doing? These circumstances are the "Foods that Feed Us", but they are not the foods on our forks. These foods are considered "Primary Foods".
Do you sit down and slow down to eat a home cooked meal, or do you seem to gobble on the go and eat packaged foods? Do you eat lots of colorful fruits and veggies or foods mostly made with white sugar and flour? Do you tend to eat raw foods or cooked foods? Do you drink lots of clean, clear, filtered water or do you consume mostly caffeinated beverages? Are you on the low fat or no fat diet? What types of proteins are you eating? Are your foods serving you? These are considered the "Foods on our Forks" and are known as our "Secondary Foods". It's a balance between the the "Foods That Feed Us", and the "Foods On Our Forks" that allow for ultimate health. We can eat super healthy foods, but if our job is exhausting us, then we will feel out of balance. If we live an amazing life but we are eating the "drive thru diet", then eventually we will become out of balance, as well. We need both types of food, to be balanced, to be our very best.
Our bodies can be compared to an orchestra. If a few of the flutes miss a note, we might not notice it, but if the trumpet section is off key, we will hear it loud and clear, and that is how it is with our bodies. If we are out of balance, our body will begin to whisper to us with subtle symptoms and symptoms, if only we are listening. And if we push past our symptoms, then our bodies start to scream and shout! And this is when our imbalances start to become illnesses.
Let’s dive deeper, and learn how to connect the dots. Let's learn how to listen to what our bodies are trying to say to us! What you body might be saying to you might be different than what my body is saying to me. We are all different. We are bioindividual. No matter who we are, or what we may need, we always want to start from exactly where we are now, with no blame and no shame. We Begin at the Beginning. We BEGIN WITH BALANCE, BECAUSE IMBALANCE CREATES ILLNESS.
Always go Back to Your Gut
our gut is the gateway to our health
THE SECOND STEPPING STONE
No matter who we are or what we may be experiencing, everything always goes back to the health of our gut. It does not matter whether we are having tummy troubles or not, because, whether it's acne, allergies, arthritis or Alzheimer’s (and these are just the “A’s”), everything is always connected back to the health of our gut! We know that: "One man's food is another man's poison." We hear that: "We are what we eat." But now, we understand: "We are what our bodies can do, with the foods that we eat."
So when our lives become out of balance, or stressful, our body is going to suffer, and usually the first thing that goes down is our gut. This is because our gut needs to be in the "rest and digest" mode, instead of the "fight or flight" mode, in order to work well. Our gut can be effected suddenly or slowly over time. When our guts go down, then we can not digest and absorb our food as well. If we can't absorb our food, then we can't feed our cells, and therefore, we can't function well. So you can see it's not just the food that we eat, but what our body can do with the foods that we eat. This is how "Food Meets Function" This is how Functional Medicine is different. We want to understand how the body is functioning, so we can give our body exactly what it wants!
It makes sense. We always need to go back to our gut, and we need to go from the top to the bottom of our digestive system. This means we want look at what’s happening from the moment we fantasize about ingesting our food, to the moment of the final flush! (Oh... and I need to warn you that I use the four letter word a lot when we talk about our guts! We say the word “poop” often!)
Let's look at an example of osteoporosis. Is it that we don't get enough calcium, from what we are eating, or is it that our bodies can't utilize the calcium that we are taking in, because our gut is not working well? We don't just want to treat the ill with the pill, but we want to swim upstream to understand why we don't have enough calcium to build our bones in the first place. And we want to look at what else needs to be in balance with the calcium in order for the bones to be strong.
And what our about our moods and our ability to sleep. Do you know where almost 70% of our happy hormone, serotonin, comes from? You guessed it, it's made right here in our gut. And what does our body need so we can make melatonin, so we can sleep? You guessed it. We need serotonin first, in order to be able to make melatonin. So if our gut is not working well, then we can not make serotonin well either. So if your grumpy or you can't sleep, then you might want to do some digging, and see what is happening or not happening in your gut, for sure!
In order to heal our health, we want to treat the whole person, not just suppress the symptoms, and so we start by balancing the foods that feed us and the foods on our fork and then we always, always, ALWAYS GO BACK TO OUR GUTS, because OUR GUT IS OUR GATEWAY TO HEALTH
Tame the Flame
pull out the splinter, put out the fire
THE THIRD STEPPING STONE
We might wonder, what is inflammation? Technically, it is our immune systems' response to a stress. Stress can be caused by anything, whether it is caused from our diet and lifestyle choices, or from our environment surroundings. Time magazine called inflammation “the Silent Killer”. Left unchecked, inflammation can lead to all sorts of symptoms and diseases.
Point is: we need our immune system in there, working well, like a swat team! We want it to be on alert, and on call, attacking foreign invaders - because that’s what it’s designed to do! Technically, our immune system should turn on... and then it should turn off again. More than not though, these days, our immune system is stuck in the "on" position - all of the time! Our immune system can start to become overactive. When this happens, the pedal is to the medal in our immune systems, and sometimes our immune system gets so confused, that it starts attacking things that it should not attack, like our own bodies tissues and organs. This is what is happening in the case with autoimmune disease, like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, or Celiac Disease or Rheumatoid Arthritis. Our body begins to attack these tissues mistakenly.
And, if our bodies immune system starts to become worn out or suppressed from what is happening inside of our bodies internally, or externally, from medications that are taken to suppress our immune system intentionally, then our swat team is no longer working and then we can’t fight off what we really need to fight off, like viruses and cancer cells.
So our job is to become a sleuth and find the "splinter", that is creating the inflammation in our bodies, that needs to be removed. Think about it and imagine the relief that we feel when we remove that splinter from our finger!
Do you know where most of our immune system is located? Well, 70-80% of our immune system is located right in our gut as our first line of defense, because, this is where most of the foreign invaders enter our bodies. We want our security cameras looking at everything that enters! So, If our gut goes down, then our immune system will go down too. See how interesting and interrelated our bodies are? When we want to heal our immune system, we always need to check back to see what is happening in our gut!
Something you hear quite a bit about today is “Leaky Gut”. Leaky Gut is when our foods leak out of our gut and into our bloodstream before it is thoroughly digested and broken down. Simply put, the body does not recognize these bigger pieces of food, floating by, that have prematurely leaked into the bloodstream, and so the body attacks the food as though it were a foreign invader. We can see the symptoms of Leaky Gut ranging from runny noses and migraines to much more serious situations such as autoimmune disease. A Leaky Gut triggers our immune system to go haywire! So we really want to discover what is "pissing off" our immune system so we can learn how to TAME THE FLAME and our irritated immune systems. We want to learn how to PULL OUT THE SPLINTER and PUT OUT THE FIRE!
Love Your Liver
lighten your load
THE FOURTH STEPPING STONE
And that is exactly what I will teach you to do, is to love your liver! Our livers play a huge role in our bodies, which we are not going to delve into now, but just know that our livers do a whole heck of a lot! As a matter of fact, our liver has over 500 job descriptions! Let's give our livers a little love-hug right now, and rub the area right under our right rib cage.
Everything that comes into our bodies (though our skin, our lungs and into our gut.. think perfumes, cleaning supplies, plastic bottles, dry cleaning, toothpaste, new car smell....) goes into our blood steam and stops at our liver for some loving and some filtering. Our livers filter all of the blood, that circulates in our body every three minutes! Our livers are super forgiving and can even grow back if they are given the right circumstances. What are the right circumstances so we can love our livers? It consists mainly of cutting out as many incoming toxins as we can, that overtax our livers, and, giving our livers the right nutrients they need, in order to work properly - which of course requires a working gut!
So if we are not "detoxing" our toxins, then we are "re-toxing" our toxins, and we are getting exposed to them over and over again! Think about what will happen to these toxins, that are supposed to be pooped out of our bodies, if we are constipated. That's right these toxins just sit there like a 20 car pile up on the highway, and can harm our bodies as well as damage the lining of our intestines.
When our livers get overloaded, it thoughtfully gift wrap our extra toxins into tidy packages and store them inside of fat cells, because our bodies try to stop the toxins from touching and harming our tissues and organs. Think of all the extra fat on our bodies that contain toxins!
Unfortunately, we can’t live in a bubble and always eliminate everything that we are exposed to, but we can learn how to LOVE OUR LIVERS and LIGHTEN THEIR LOAD.
Stop Singing the Blood Sugar Blues
and riding that blood sugar roller coaster ride
THE FIFTH STEPPING STONE
Many of us are singing the “Blood Sugar Blues” and don’t even know it. Statistics are showing that currently, one out of three of us already have some form of Diabetes. Newer statistics are predicting that by the year 2020 one our of two of us will be effected. This is a staggering statistic! What most of us don't realize, is the far reaching effects that Diabetes has on our entire body, and that Diabetes is treatable, preventable and or reversible.
Despite the fact that we are counting calories, skipping meals and choosing low fat foods, our bellies are still looking like beach balls (Been there, done that!). Maybe you notice your moods are all over the place and sometimes you feel “hangry”? Yup, this is what I’m talking about! We tend to eat excess amounts of sugar, and our blood sugar levels soar way up high, and then dips down low. This swing in our blood sugar level is what I call the "Blood Sugar Rollercoaster Ride".
Now, having the right amount of blood sugar in our bodies is a good thing because every single cell in our body needs blood sugar or "glucose" for energy. Our brain can not work without it. But, we only need the right amounts. When our blood sugar level rises too high, our body responds and sends out a signal to clean up the mess. It's like ringing the doorbell. When the body senses lots of sugar, it rings the doorbell, so the cells will open the door, and let the sugar in. Normally, the cells let the sugar in, and this will bring our blood sugar level back down, and all will be well.
This is a great system, except, that when we eat too much sugar, or foods that easily convert into too much sugar, then our body rings the doorbell all day long. After a while, the cells in our body stop answering the doorbell and opening the door. Our cells are overstuffed, in the same way our bellies are overstuffed on Thanksgiving day. The cells become "resistant" and don't get up to open the door, and so the blood sugar sits outside of our cells, and floats around in our bloodstream. While the excess sugar is sitting there, it damages our blood vessels, which is why diabetes is linked to Heart Disease!
Since our body is designed to balance, what does our body do? Well, it so nicely stores the extra sugar as fat. Remember, our livers love to gift wrap toxins, and put them into fat cells? Well, now we know that our bodies love to gift wrap the extra sugar, as well! It becomes simple to see that we surely need to learn how to stop riding this BLOOD SUGAR ROLLER COASTER RIDE so we can STOP SINGING THE BLOOD SUGAR BLUES!
THE SIXTH STEPPING STONE
What is important to appreciate is that stress, is stress, is stress. Our body does not differentiate between a tiger standing there, skipping meals, skimping on sleep, being fired, or being stuck in traffic. Every time the body senses any kind of stress, a few things happen. Let's look at how stress effects all the rest of the body.
First our digestive system shuts down, because after all, who is gonna sit down to enjoy a leisurely meal if our body is sensing danger. No one, right? And so our body is not going to warm up our oven and turn on and dial up our digestive juices when we sense danger. We are either in the "fight or flight mode" or the "rest and digest mode", but we are not in both at the same time.
When we are stressed, our adrenals alert our immune system. It signals our immune system to turn on, to fight the foreign invader. Unfortunately, if our immune system is turned all the time, because we are stressed all the time, eventually our adrenals will collapse and our immune system will go hay wire. As we know our immune system can be overactive and attack our body parts or it can be under active and allow things like viruses, bacterias and cancer cells to go undetected.
In addition, when our alarm system gets turned on, our body creates chemical and hormonal signals to communicate the danger. With all of the "messengers" our body is producing, our liver has an even bigger load of toxins to detoxify, in addition to the extra toxins that keep coming into our bodies, from our outside environments.
And, wait! There's more! Every time our body is stressed, in any way, shape or form, our body sounds the alarm, that sends out the signal, to dump even more sugar into the bloodstream to feed the cells, so we have energy, so we can run from the danger! That is how our bodies are designed. We are designed to pump out extra sugar, into our bloodstream, to feed the cells to deal with our emergencies. But now we know that the cells get tired, of answering the doorbell and eventually stop letting the sugar in.
And, as if that's not enough, our adrenal's affect our thyroid, and our thyroid in turn, affects all of our sex hormones. (Think more exhaustion, hormonal issues, reproductive issues and more.) It's like a set of dominoes! Everything in our body is interrelated, like the orchestra we talked about!
When one part of the body is out of balance, the rest is too. Remember I mentioned that our bodies are complex? Now you can clearly see that they are complex, but once you understand how our bodies work, it will not feel as complicated for you.
Ninety percent of all office visits are related to stress. Stress is very serious and nothing to laugh about! Is it time for us to take a big belly breath and understand how to STRESS LESS and SMILE MORE? The answer is clearly a "yes"!
Do The Dance
step to the left, step to the right
THE SEVENTH STEPPING STONE
I hope that you are beginning to see a pattern here. Everything is connected, and everything is interrelated. So we need to look at the whole picture and at the whole person and listen to the person's whole story. That is how Functional Medicine works and this is why I LOVE supporting others as a Functional Medicine Nutritionist & Lifestyle Practitioner, where we look at how "Food is Medicine".
Remember we have two types of foods- the foods that feed us (lifestyle choices) and the foods on our forks (nutritional choices). We need both types of foods and we need a healthy balance between the two. What you may need will look different than what I may need.
In order to heal our health we want to take full responsibility for ourselves and for our results. We need to have a constant curiosity and a deep dedication to connecting the dots. We want to have a gentle awareness to hear what our bodies were once whispering and are now shouting out to us. We need to be willing to do the work.
We always start from exactly where we are now, with no blame and no shame. What works for one of us, may not work for another. We are all different. We are all bio-individual. We need to learn how to "Do The Dance". We need to try on something new for size, and see how it looks and feels for us. Functional Medicine is individualized and personalized. Every persons dance steps will be different.
I think of our work together much like growing a pearl. It grows in "Little Layers", and eventually, it turns into a beautiful pearl. This is adding our layers in. I think of what we need to remove much like an onion. We need to peel off what is no longer serving us. We add in what feels yummy and we crowd out what is no longer serving us, and we need to understand and prioritize what is most important to us individually.
We all have our own Story to Share and our own Timeline to Be Told. We are all the way we are now for a reason, and that will be different for each one of us. We want to learn how to DO THE DANCE, and STEP A LITTLE TO THE LEFT AND A LITTLE TO THE RIGHT.
One More Time!
We Begin at the Beginning With Balance, We Always Go Back To Our Gut, we Tame Our Flame, we Love Our Livers, we Stop Singing the Blood Sugar Blues, we find ways to Stress Less, and we learn how to Do The Dance. These are our Seven Stepping Stones, and you already know them!
The good news is, that as we walk through these Seven Stepping Stones, there is a domino effect. When one thing starts working well, soon there will be another, and then another, because remember, we are all a web of interconnected parts. All of a sudden we can look back into that mirror, and we will notice that we have learned how to Get Well & Stay Well so we can Look Good & Feel Good, and we can Live Life on Purpose, filled with Passion. We can Step Into Our Spotlight and Stand in our Power and Become the Woman we are meant to be! We can Experience life in full- and that's what I call The Fire Within Us! Let's Feed the Fire!
Why not set up a Complimentary MEET & GREET Session with me today?
DIVE EVEN DEEPER into my book...
Illness to Wellness
If you would like to learn about my proprietary system and these Seven Stepping Stones, perhaps you would like to read my book ILLNESS TO WELLNESS that goes into much greater detail on these steps. I wrote it just for youl. I believe that education equals empowerment.
Kathleen's New Book
This Book was written for those of us who suffer in silence with symptoms and don't know what to do, where to begin, or whom to trust.
When we understand how the "imbalance in our bodies creates illness”, then we can consciously choose to make choices that will return us, from lllness to Wellness.
It has been my privilege and pleasure to write this book for all of us. Functional Medicine finally offers us bright, shining hope and a new way to take back our health.
Where Food meets Function & Illness turns to Wellness
KATHLEEN RILEY MITCHELL, RDH, CHHC, CFN
Functional Medicine Nutritionist & Lifestyle Practitioner