This article was contributed by Heather Wheeler, Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner. You can find her on Facebook or at www.wheelerwellnessmo.com.
Nowhere in the history of ANY culture did anyone eat the way the majority of Americans eat today. Let that sink in a moment … We have NEVER created this science experiment before.
The variables are:
- Unclean, over processed foods
- Contaminated water and air
- Stress; a word we carelessly throw around but can be catastrophic to a body
The results are in and they are not good.
We are not eating real food, drinking water that is basically contaminated with medication, and forcing our bodies to endure chemical, emotional and physical stress daily. Usually when we say we are ‘stressed out’ we assume emotional stress, but the ibuprofen you take every day to manage back pain, or the EMF’s from WiFi at home and work can also be stressors on your body.
We eat for pleasure, socialization, stress, fun, boredom – but rarely for nutrients, health benefits or for the notion that ‘food is medicine’. Other cultures, especially traditional Chinese eat for the value of food – the vitamins, minerals, and healing that certain foods bring.
What if, WHAT IF….we could combat, reduce, or even ELIMINATE the majority of disease by changing what we put into our body. The food, or more accurately “food like products” that most people consume are sending the wrong messages to our cells and DNA. They are sending the message to over act, under act, act out! We have children diagnosed with ADHD at a rate of 6.1 Million (9.4%) in 2016 and 66% of those children are medicated and have a co-occurring condition. (www.CHADD.org) We are giving these kids drugs that are permanently altering the way their brain works. Dr. Kelly Brogan, a leader in psychological functional medicine believes that even the temporary use of medications can irreversibly alter the way a body and brain will function forever; so much so that she quit prescribing medication several years ago and only works on healing the body through functional medicine and food.
Functional medicine is the how and why something happens, as opposed to:
- What are your symptoms?
- I’m going to name your symptoms – a diagnosis
- I’m going to eliminate your symptoms with a drug
You are now taking a drug that is essentially overriding your body’s check engine light – basically you have chosen to ignore that first warning sign that something is not right in the body. Some time passes and typically more symptoms appear or the drug is no longer controlling the original issue. Have you fixed the problem?? No way!!
Instead, what if we:
Listened to ALL of your health history and symptoms
- Considered how they may be related
- Take into account your genetics and lifestyle
- Figure out what triggered these symptoms
- TEACH you how to heal your body – correct what has gone wrong and steer you away from the path of degenerating health
That is functional medicine. Not so complicated after all – I’ll even let you in on a secret….
Virtually every disease can be either managed or eliminated by what you eat.
Yes – almost every single chronic disease:
- Alzheimer’s – considered to be Type 3 Diabetes
- Multiple Sclerosis – Dr. Terry Wahls completely reversed hers through diet
- Hashimoto’s – triggers are inflammatory foods and gut infections
- Infertility – inflammation and hormone imbalance
- Celiacs – inflammation and genetics
- Type 2 Diabetes – I have personally seen people come off insulin in a week and A1C levels come into normal range in 8 weeks
- Seizures – feed the brain fat instead of glucose and seizures disappear
- Cancer – eliminate sugar and cancer cells cannot grow
Sounds crazy, right? Not really. Think about it…the food you eat begins getting absorbed into your bloodstream right in your mouth. If you can take medications under your tongue then of course the preservatives and dye in those fish crackers and red chips are going to enter your bloodstream and your body has to deal with it. It has to decide – what does this chemical do? Oh, I see, it excites my neurotransmitters and makes me a little hyper, ok. The candy given out at school for good behavior hits the bloodstream with a bunch of sugar triggering an insulin response, so that kid is bouncing off the walls, then goes home with a bad attitude and craving more sugar.
Then, you eat a homemade taco salad with dark leafy greens, avocado, tomatoes, and grass fed beef. Now what are you telling your body? Here is some folate and B vitamins – go ahead and boost the methylation cycle and create glutathione to detox the VOC’s I breathed in from the fresh paint in my living room and some good healthy Omega 3 fats to make my brain remember words, clear up brain fog and understand the book I’m reading.
What a difference. Who knew you could feel so good and have so much CONTROL over it.
That’s the thing – so many people walk around thinking that a bowel movement every 3 days, heartburn, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, depression and pain are normal. It may be common for you because you have had it for years or your mom has it too or you are just “getting older”, but it is not NORMAL. Your body has been sending you emails asking for help and you have been filtering them over to spam.
So how do I eat correctly – what is the food plan??
Here is where the individualized functional medicine approach really shines – because it is not the same for everyone. Don’t let that frustrate you – let that be a relief that you will finally get the individual care that your body requires based on YOUR specific genetics and YOUR specific lifestyle and habits.
You know the basics – whole organic foods, but you may need to take it a step further and heal the gut, add probiotics, flush out bad bacteria or infection. Maybe you need to manage stress levels, balance hormones or correct a nutrient deficiency. The answers are out there and you have the potential to be your own best advocate. It does not have to be scary or overwhelming – and no one expects you to be perfect overnight. It is about balance and knowing that all those little decisions throughout the day can add up – and you can decide if they add up for health or disease.