Believe it or not, I don’t believe real food is the end-all-be-all. Yes, you heard me.
I focused on a real food diet--for years. Personally and professionally.
I even wrote, researched, self-published, and marketed a book about real food that achieved bestseller-status multiple times (back before there were courses and coaches about self-publishing on every corner): Eat Like a Fatass, Look Like a Goddess: The Untold Story of Healthy Foods.
Yes, I started my natural health and wellness journey with real food. Yes, I wholeheartedly committed to my meticulous, scientific exploration of real food.
But I kept spinning my wheels. I still struggled with a slew of nagging health issues.
So I resorted to what so many of us resort to: something I've come to call nutritional gymnastics and nutritional contortionism. Basically, I attempted all manner of creative nutritional twists and turns and stretches to "fix" my issues. More of this, less of that, out with that old thing, in with this new thing. Try this new food/supplement because I read some compelling research. Stop this old food/supplement because I read some other compelling research.
Some negative health issues cleared up, while others persisted. Some were minor annoyances. Some compromised my quality of life. Some became life-threatening.
And this wasn’t simply because I wasn’t eating the “right” real foods (one of the seemingly “progressive” health-expert angles that still narrowly focuses on food).
No. I was doing everything right. Or so I thought...
A functional approach to health and nutrition:
- Sees health and healing as a process, not a destination, and emphasizes continuously growing your edges.
- Investigates the root cause of imbalances.
- Encourages a test-don't-guess approach.
- Takes into account a narrower reference range of optimal functioning in lab results and of the body's systems, and is thereby better able to detect disease-risk via “subclinical” patterns--even when symptoms are not yet present.
- Takes into account a holistic picture of a person: symptoms, history, personality, lifestyle, lab results, genetics, and more.
- Views lab results inter-relationally.
- Focuses on preventive, natural, and/or minimally invasive solutions with minimal to no side-effects when possible.
- Emphasizes Terrain Theory and optimization of the host’s (your) resilience, instead of fearing pathogens. Sees the mainstream perception that pathogens/parasites are inherently dangerous as reductive.
- Accepts some degree of disease (i.e. the flu or common cold) as an opportunity to condition and strengthen the body, to observe why/how resilience was low enough to create a welcome environment for disease, and become more self-aware and proactive.
In contrast, a conventional approach:
- Sees health and healing as a destination to rush towards.
- Does not target the root cause of imbalances.
- May test (vs. guess), but often does not test enough (both in frequency and types of markers).
- Relies on broad reference ranges that often overlook “subclinical” patterns in lab results, thereby overlooking disease or disease-risk.
- Often dismisses the significance of symptoms if the labs or the practitioner is unable to interpret imbalances.
- Views lab results in a linear and more isolated manner from one another.
- Focuses on symptomatic relief whether with “natural” or pharmaceutical drugs (with common side-effects from the latter).
- Emphasizes Germ Theory, fearing pathogens, and an aggressive approach to eradicate them inside and out.
- Fears disease, seeks to make it go away at any cost.
Even seemingly "progressive" approaches to natural health and wellness also often do not dig deep enough.
Many of my clients who have previously worked with a slew of functional practitioners (doctors and coaches) say my approach to functional health and nutrition is revolutionary and more incisive.
"I got more beneficial, concrete information from Erika than any of the doctors I've worked with.
In my work with Erika, I discovered that what even the 'top' doctors and practitioners I was working with were telling me to do was actually making me sicker.
Erika is the expert who cut through all the noise to nail down what was being totally overlooked in my labs and symptoms, and set me on the path to true healing."
JENNIFER KATZ | YOGA + MEDITATION TEACHER | M.A. HEALTH + SOCIETY