I finished my baccalaureate over 20 years ago. Even 20 years ago, I found that something was wrong with the way of seeing chronic diseases. So, I did a master’s, then a doctorate to try to understand better. It was in 2010 that I discovered functional medicine when my young daughter was full of eczema, my health was declining, and my mother was diagnosed with autoimmune disease. It was then that I realized that I didn’t know much about how the body worked and the metabolism, despite having completed 10 years of university studies. It took me years to unlearn what I took for granted and build a new foundation.
In 2016, I decided to quit my research position to found my private practice in functional naturopathy. So, I enrolled in the Functionnal Medicine University program while working in a clinic. But all the protocols of supplements, tests, etc., are beyond me, because I tell myself why not just go back to the basics? What good are all of these supplements if the foundation is not good? After all, doesn’t extinguishing a fire by throwing oil on it work?
But what is functional medicine?
Functional medicine is based on science. It is an approach that seeks to better understand the underlying causes of health problems, using a holistic approach that engages both the client and the therapist. Rather than being disease-focused, the functional medicine therapist addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. The therapist examines the interactions between genetic, environmental and individual lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health with the goal of supporting each individual’s unique expression of health and vitality. This whole person approach is fantastic, but what about the reality?
Despite a certification in functional medicine and several diplomas, I still wonder what the best approach is. Who are we as humans and what do we really need? Why do so many people have chronic illnesses? Despite all the scientific advances, our health continues to deteriorate. What did we do to get to this point? By trying too hard to compartmentalize health, we ended up forgetting the human behind it all.
Did you know that only 12% of Americans are in good metabolic health? 12% is so little. It is the result of our excess food, work, stress, consumption and the lack of care and time that we offer to ourselves. You don’t eat anything by accident, it’s a decision you make every time you eat. Gradually over the years I have helped thousands of clients change their lifestyle. My observation is as follows: no supplement can compensate for poor eating habits or lifestyle habits (physical activity, stress management, etc.), but when the conditions are right, a well-targeted capsule can make all the difference.
If the house is on fire, is it time to paint? NO! We must put out the fire.
Despite all the protocols and supplements in the world, nothing can compensate for poor lifestyle habits. You cannot negotiate with nature. We cannot compensate our real needs with something else. It’s like going on a 3-week vacation and leaving your plants in the sun, telling yourself that at least, even if they won’t have water, they will get sun. Obviously, a disaster awaits you on your return. It’s the same for us, if we spend our time masking our symptoms with anti-this or anti-that, we will only remove the battery from the smoke detector, but the fact remains that the fire is still there.
We are told that cooking is long and complicated, we run out of time for everything, and we spend so much time watching social media, television, etc., but that does not feed us. We all have the same amount time and what we decide to do with it is a choice.
Why not call it: “medicinal education in lifestyle habits”? Because, until you take the time to educate people on what isn’t working for them, it’s hard to make changes. It is high time to change the way we think about things to put people back in control of their health. It is about educating people about their health and to make them see health as their most precious commodity. As my mentor Sachin Patel would say: “The doctor of the future will be the patient”.
What if instead of waiting for illness, we created better health?