Working with a functional nutritionist can help you be most effective at implementing your nutritional treatment plan, avoiding common pitfalls, and optimizing your health outcomes. With your own personal nutritionist, you will be able to:
– Utilize the most effective single or multi-layered (combination) therapeutic diets
– Simplify the implementation of complex, layered food plans into a single, personalized plan to follow
– Ensure that the plan is nutritious and do-able, that restaurants and favorite snacks are included, as possible
– Request menu plans and recipes that match your own food preferences, cooking style and ability, equipment, and lifestyle
– Identify what roadblocks are getting in the way of your success and gain the knowledge, skills, and motivation to overcome them
– Assistance with dietary expansion after the therapeutic stage is complete
– Regular contact and support. Your nutritionist walks your journey with you!
Follow a case example – Ally
14-year-old Ally (not her real name) and her Mom approached our nutrition team looking for support in implementing her nutrition prescription, after seeing Dr. Fitzgerald.
About Ally: Ally was suffering from significant abdominal pain and bloating, food cravings, frequent headaches (3-4 per week), and anxiety. Her growth had been tracking low, and as a competitive runner was feeling hugely frustrated that her performance was declining relative to her peers. She also had not started her period yet and was having hot flashes at night. She had been a candidate for growth hormone therapy but was looking for alternative options before she and her family made the decision to go ahead.
Functional Medicine assessment: During her meeting with Dr. Fitzgerald, and through specific laboratory assessments, she was found to have Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), candida, and low estrogen. Her Medical Symptom Questionnaire score (an evaluation of the frequency and severity of symptoms) was 63. Optimal scores are less than 10.
Ally’s Mom was already a nutrition student and had done some great groundwork for Ally. On their own, they had initiated a gluten-free, whole-foods diet, removing all processed foods. A long-standing history of sinusitis subsequently resolved, and the stomach pain improved, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.
Her dietary prescription: Ally’s dietary prescription was to follow a low FODMAPs, gluten- and dairy-free elimination diet, including high energy, candida-safe carbohydrates. She was to emphasize ‘good fats’ and potassium foods. She needed electrolyte replenishment and tailored pre/post workout smoothies. She also had several identified nutrient insufficiencies that needed addressing, and specific amino acids that would enable her body to make more growth hormone by itself.
Starting work with a nutritionist: To help her implement all these components of the dietary prescription, Ally and her Mom met with our nutrition team. They discussed the significant anxiety that Ally was having around being able to implement the plan, especially since she was concerned about feeling further deprived and socially isolated.
Our nutritionists helped her and her Mom break down the plan into do-able pieces, with a big emphasis on foods she could eat rather than those she couldn’t. Ally agreed to a 2-week trial in which she’d be impeccable with what she was eating. Dr. Fitzgerald agreed that, while brief, if would be enough time for us to identify her main problem foods. Ally agreed to try journaling to help her through the process.
Making progress: Over the next few weeks, Ally and her Mom met with her nutritionists several times. After 2 weeks, she reported she was already feeling a lot better and had decided to continue the diet longer. Her headaches had stopped and her digestion was improved. She felt her mood was more stable and her athletic performance was picking up. Ally was inspired and on-board with her health care regimen, feeling empowered rather than isolated and alone.
At five weeks, Ally had already gained 3.5 lbs and her height had increased a little over 1 inch. She met with her endocrinologist who felt comfortable that if she could maintain that growth rate she would successfully catch up with her peers and that her menstrual cycle should begin within 6 months. Ally was also happy that all her symptoms had now resolved, including the hot flashes, and delighted that she was now setting new personal best times during track sessions each week.
Long-term success: The nutrition team coached Ally and her Mom through careful food challenges to expand her diet. Together, they made plans for successfully navigating her upcoming travel as well as summer parties and sleep-away camp. Ally told us “I feel like I’ve really matured and now understand how to take charge of my health… I can’t believe 10 weeks ago I was in this same body!”
We are delighted to have had the privilege to work with Ally and wish her and her family every success!