Holistic and functional nutrition focus on addressing the root cause of physical, mental and emotional health concerns through diet and lifestyle modification. These practices are a lens that enable the practitioner to view health from a whole-person perspective, meaning that everything about the body is connected ‒ from physical to mental and emotional well-being.
Holistic and functional nutrition use evidence-based practices to incorporate the latest scientific findings with a client’s lived experiences and biochemical individuality (i.e. genetic differences). This form of holistic care emphasizes the influence of nutrition and lifestyle on core body systems such as digestion, immunity, energy, detoxification and transportation of blood, lymph, nutrients, hormones and neurotransmitters.
Holistic and functional nutrition practices incorporate a nutritionist’s training and ideals with a broader view of health, which encompasses much more than solely dietary needs. Additional elements of a nutrition and lifestyle assessment include mental, emotional, and spiritual influences on health outcomes. Antecedents, triggers, mediators, and modifiable personal lifestyle factors (i.e. sleep and relaxation, exercise and movement, nutrition, sleep, stress, and relationships) influence well-being, and the inclusion of these data points in an assessment help to re-tell a patient’s story and improve health outcomes.
Holistic and functional nutrition emphasize a whole, organic, and nutrient-dense food-first approach with a deep understanding that not all foods are created equal. Complimentary lifestyle recommendations, herbal remedies, and targeted supplementation are often included with assessments to enhance client outcomes and to improve quality of life.
Reasons to see a Holistic Nutritionist
Holistic Nutritionists work with people holistically on a wide range of concerns including:
- Food allergies or intolerance
- Insulin resistance
- Depression/low mood
- Immune system optimization
- Children’s nutrition
- Digestive concerns (gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, cramping etc.)
- Chronic pain
- Hormone imbalances
- Pre/Post natal nutrition
- Weight gain/loss
- Low energy
- Specialized diets (such as vegetarian or vegan)
- Pre-natal/post-natal nutrition
- Disease prevention
- Skin health
- Poor sleep
- Noncommunicable diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease)
- Reconnecting to our bodies + nature (soil health and human health)
What Do Holistic and Functional Nutritionists Do?
Intake and follow-up evaluations: A series of questions to better understand our clients’ previous experiences with nutrition/health and wellness, current health concerns and goals, past medical history, eating habits, dietary requirements and various lifestyle factors. Holistic and functional nutritionists typically also ask non-food-related questions about their clients’ lives such as career, spirituality, and relationships. All these questions help determine the direction of the client-practitioner partnership, and ultimately serve to guide the practitioner towards the best diet and lifestyle solutions for a client’s care.
Dietary recommendations and meal plans: Working with clients to make specific, evidence-based dietary recommendations and/or meal plans that address their specific health and wellness concerns. May include healthy swaps, recipes, grocery lists, and sometimes “kitchen raids.” Herbs and supplements may also be recommended in conjunction with dietary changes.
Lifestyle guidance: Along with food, holistic nutritionists help identify which areas of the client’s life impact short and long-term health and create a roadmap to address their health concerns and reach their goals. Areas such as physical activity, stress management, sleep, daily habits, relationships, career, and nature/environment
Holistic and Functional nutritionists empower clients to transform through the natural available resources within everyday life. Whether using herbal remedies, evidence-based findings, whole foods, movement or exercise, they help to support the natural healing systems of the body, showing people their own innate capacity to heal.