Functional Nutrition: 101

Posted on July 01 by
in Blog
Among the many buzz words in nutrition you’ve probably heard about is “functional nutrition.” You may have wondered, “what is it?” ans "how is it different from regular nutrition?”

Functional nutrition has been growing in popularity over the past few years. Understanding what it is and who can practice it can be confusing.

In this month’s article, you’ll learn about what functional nutrition is and how it can help you achieve your health goals.
Functional Nutrition 101

In traditional medicine, and often in nutrition, the body is broken apart based on the body’s systems. Treatment is based on the symptoms or disease of the individual system rather than looking at how the systems work together.

In traditional medicine, you see a specialist based on the system in the body that is not working right or experiencing a disease. The list below is of some of the body’s systems and the medical area that covers them:
  • Skeletal and muscular: orthopedic doctor
  • Nerves: neurologist
  • Endocrine: endocrinologist
  • Cardiovascular: cardiovascular doctor
  • Lymphatic: venous and lymphatic doctor
  • Respiratory: pulmonologist
  • Digestive: gastrointestinal doctor
  • Urinary: urologist

Functional nutrition takes a different approach. It looks at the whole person, the body’s systems, and any symptoms or diseases being experienced. These are looked at as a whole before making recommendations about changes in what you’re eating.

A functional nutrition practitioner not only looks at your body and health, they may also look at your:
  • Environment
  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Toxin exposure
  • Anything else that may affect your health

Functional nutrition also looks for the root causes of disease rather than treating the symptoms. Often, figuring out what is going on in your body is like playing whack-a-mole. This is where functional medicine and functional nutrition can really help.  When using a holistic approach, the practitioner may be able to identify the root cause(s) of the symptoms and diseases you’re experiencing.

A functional nutrition practitioner will work with you on ways to optimize your health based on your unique situation and needs. For example, if you have diabetes, a functional nutritionist will not only look at your blood sugar and A1C levels, they’ll also talk with you about:
  • How well you’re sleeping
  • Your stress levels
  • What kind of exercise you’re doing

They will then take all of this information, and more, and work with you to develop a plan to improve your blood sugar and A1C levels. You should also experience improvements in your sleep, stress, and exercise you enjoy.

At its best, functional nutrition practitioners use science-informed approaches and testing to enhance their client’s health. However, some practitioners use approaches that are not backed by science. That’s why it’s important to find a dietitian who is trained in and has experience treating clients with functional nutrition
Setting the Foundation: Sleep

Looking at sleep is an important part of functional nutrition. Many practitioners believe that sleep forms the foundation of your health. If you aren’t sleeping well, then many other aspects of your health may suffer.

After the time change and having light later in the evenings you may have difficulty winding down to sleep. Here are 5 ideas to help you get some shut-eye.
  1. An hour before going to sleep, start your wind-down routine. Consider sipping a cup of tea, while reading or journaling for a bit. Be ready to turn the light off at your designated time to go to sleep.
  2. At least one hour before bedtime, get away from screens - TV, phone, tablets, etc. If you use them for reading set them to dark mode or have a blue light filter on them (there are physical filters or apps or your device may have a blue light blocking mode). The blue light from screens interferes with your ability to sleep.
  3. Darken your bedroom using blackout curtains. If you can’t get it dark, consider using a sleep mask.
  4. Meditate or do some deep breathing five to ten minutes before turning out the lights. This will help both your body and mind relax.
  5. Turn out the light promptly at the time you want to go to sleep. Seems simple, and is also sometimes hard. Make and keep the commitment to yourself to go “lights out” at a certain time each night.
Featured Recipe
Tuna and White Bean Salad

  • 2 cups mixed greens, stemmed
  • 1 medium cucumber, sliced
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 6-ounce cans of tuna packed in water, drained
  • 1 - 15 ounces can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 eggs, large, hard-boiled, sliced into wedges
  • 1/4 cup black olives
  • Fresh ground black pepper (as needed)

For Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons shallot, minced
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon, zest of preserved lemon peel, minced

For the lemon vinaigrette: Purée shallot, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and honey in a blender until smooth. Place in a bowl and add the lemon zest and preserved lemon; mix to combine.

In a bowl, add mixed greens, cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes, tuna, white beans, eggs, and olives. Season with black pepper. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.

Naturally Sweet Summer

Posted on June 01 by
in Blog
Summer! Is there a favorite summertime fruit or vegetable you look forward to each year?

When thinking about sweets and produce, does your mind automatically go to fruit?? While summertime fruits are plentiful, did you know that some vegetables are also sweet?

In this month’s articles, you’ll learn about including sweet fruits and vegetables on your plate.
Naturally Sweet Summer

Bell Peppers: Do the Different Colors Taste Any Different? - Delishably

Including sweet vegetables in your meals and snacks gives you a burst of flavor and often provides some different textures. Here are some ideas:

Podded Peas: There is a wide variety of podded peas, including sugar snap peas and snow peas. You might think that having “sugar” in the name means the sugar snap peas are high in sugar. In a ¾ cup serving, you only get 3 grams of sugar.

You also get 3 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein. As a bonus, the fiber in sugar snap peas is a prebiotic, which helps feed the bacteria in your microbiome.

Carrots: Bright orange and full of flavor, carrots are known to help your eyes. One cup of carrots has over 300% of your daily Vitamin A needs. Vitamin A helps protect your eyes. They are also high in Vitamin C, which helps your immune system stay strong.

One cup of carrots contains 5 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber. (Remember, we’re talking about whole carrots, not carrot juice that has the fiber removed.) The fiber helps slow down digestion, meaning that your blood sugar stays stable.

Jicama: You’ve probably seen this roundish, brown root vegetable in the produce section and thought, “What the heck is that?” When you cut away the rough brown exterior, you’ll discover refreshing and slightly sweet, crisp, white meat.

You might have encountered this vegetable in salads as white, crunchy sticks. It’s easy to prep and include in a salad or enjoy as a snack. One cup of jicama slices has 6 grams of fiber and just 2 grams of sugar. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin C, which helps your immune system.

Bell Peppers: Red, yellow, and green bell peppers are an easy way to add color, crunch, and a little sweetness to a dish or snack.

Using different colored bell peppers also gives you a variety of antioxidants. One cup of bell peppers provides 4 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fiber. They are also rich in Vitamin C, with one cup giving you almost 200% of your daily needs.

When looking for something a little sweet, remember you’ve got more options than fruit and candy. Including more sweet vegetables gives you fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants in amounts you can’t get anywhere else. Try adding some of these to your pate and let me know what you think!
7 Ways to Sweeten Up Your Summer


1. Start the day with a berry smoothie! Add a scoop of protein powder and flaxseed for an extra nutritional boost. Blend blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and your choice of milk or a non-dairy alternative.

2. Snack on red bell peppers. Nutrient-rich, high in fiber, and the perfect snack when craving a crunch! Try dipping them in fresh hummus or Greek yogurt for additional protein.

3. Making a salad? Forget the iceberg lettuce and toss together spinach, kale, red cabbage, arugula, and romaine lettuce instead.

4. Add “juicing” to your nutrition regime. Juicing is a quick and convenient way to pack in 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables! Kale, spinach, apples, berries, carrots, cucumbers, and ginger are among the most popular ingredients. They make an excellent juice blend, but they also provide a variety of colors to maximize the nutritional benefits you get from this one drink!

5. Freeze fruit for a sweet treat! Frozen grapes, cherries, and berries make a great snack or after-dinner treat.

6. Make a hearty sandwich. Transform the traditional sandwich into a summer sensation. Add spinach, red bell peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, shredded carrots, and avocado for a nutritious and delicious meal.

7. Brighten up your plate with a pop of color. Watermelon or kiwi slices added to a meal of grilled chickenand steamed broccoli can do wonders for the overall appearance and presentation.
Featured Recipe
Sweet Summer Splash!

It’s no secret that staying hydrated is essential, especially during the hot summer months. Here are some easy steps to give your water some flavor without unnatural additives.

Step 1: Fill a pitcher or water bottle with water.

Step 2: Infuse with a few fresh slices of fruit such as cucumber, watermelon, lemon, lime, or berries. Make sure to wash the produce before adding it to the water.

Step 3: Enhance the flavor with fresh herbs such as mint, rosemary or basil.

Step 4: Enjoy!

A few combos that are sure to make a splash include:

  • Cucumber + Mint
  • Strawberry + Lime
  • Strawberry + Basil
  • Raspberry + Mint
  • Grapefruit + Rosemary
  • Watermelon + Mint
  • Lemon + Lime


You may find after the first day the flavor starts to diminish. You can change it daily or, for cucumber water, it usually holds flavor for about three days.

Fresh tip: Change water every 2 - 3 days!

Blue Cheese Deviled Eggs

Posted on May 31 by
in Blog

Looking for a new twist on an old classic for your BBQ this sumer? Try these deviled eggs.....


  • 1 dozen hard boiled eggs, peeled
  • ¼ cup mayo
  • 3 tablespoons chunky blue cheese dressing
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons buffalo sauce (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Crumbled blue cheese, for garnish
  • Chopped celery leaves, for garnish



Halve each boiled egg. Place the whites on a platter and place the yolks in a food processor. Process the yolks until they look like coarse sand, then transfer to a mixing bowl (you can also mash the yolks with a fork if you don’t have a food processor).

Combine the egg yolks with mayo, blue cheese dressing, buffalo sauce and chopped celery. Season with salt and pepper and stir again.

Scoop the yolk mixture into a piping bag (or resealable sandwich bag) and pipe into each egg white. Garnish with crumbled blue cheese and chopped celery leaves. Serve immediately or keep cold until ready to serve.



Posted on May 12 by
in Blog
I love to make spaghetti squash, but it is time consuming. I saw this at the store recently and bought it. I cooked as directed in the microwave but then sauteed garlic in grass fed butter in a skillet and tossed the squash in with salt, pepper and a touch of cayenne. I added left over chicken and it was so good and easy!
Keep an eye out for frozen vegetables when your are limited with time.
I ate the whole bag for only 14 grams of net carbs!
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