What does an Integrative Dietitian Nutritionist do?
When people ask me this question I first explain the principles of integrative or functional medicine.
Integrative Medicine (IM) is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle in mind, body, spirit and community. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, it is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapies - as defined by the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine.
In this patient centered approach, the patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process and all factors that influence health, wellness and disease are taken into consideration. There is an appropriate blend of conventional and alternative/integrative methods to facilitate the body’s healing response. The approach is informed as evidence based, open to new paradigms and makes use of all therapeutic approaches to achieve optimal health and healing.
Integrative Dietetics or Nutrition is client centered nutrition care within the integrative medicine construct. I follow the principles outlined by Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine (DIFM) which is a specialty practice group of nutrition practitioners. The core philosophy centers around using a holistic, personalized approach to health and healing to integrate a variety of nutrition therapies including whole foods, tailored supplements and mind body modalities in clinical practice.
Becoming an Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner
I have earned my certification through The Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy™ (IFNA™). This training program is based on a medical nutrition model that combines the very best of modern science, clinical wisdom and integrative therapies. A central theme of IFNA™ training is learning to identify “root causes” of disease in a methodical and systematic fashion rather than the mundane prescription of medical nutrition interventions based on a diagnosis. This requires a deep understanding of function, not just pathology; networks of physiology, not just “silo” organ systems and an organized, integrated nutrition assessment. The IFNA™ trained clinician is able to critically assess a patient using a “whole systems” approach and personalize a holistic nutrition care plan to restore function and improve patient outcomes.