Functional Medicine – The Way of the Future

by Leisa on June 18, 2010

Just last weekend I spend three days at the Metagenics 2010 International Congress, and as I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I loved every  minute of it.

Metagenics is a company which produces naturopathic grade supplements – and even though I like to use food as medicine as my main treatment plan – what Metagenics are doing for natural medicine is just unmatched in the industry.

I have a very challenging dichotomy within me, in regards to my passion for health.  On one hand I love everything natural.  I like to use a mainly vegetarian, mainly raw food diet alongside other lifestyle and emotional healing supports, and often feel that there is no need to delve into the depths of biochemistry to ultimately figure out what we already know – that nature (and ourselves) are our greatest healers.

However, when I get in a room with some of the most premier scientists in the world who are studying what is now termed “Functional Medicine” and are presenting the absolute latest in cutting-edge scientific research into the effect of foods and herbs on our biochemistry, I am enthralled.

The complexity, yet harmony, that exists within our bodies is astounding, and we are only scratching the surface of this field.  But what a field it is!  To start to grasp the effects of different foods and herbs on our genes, our cellular function, our hormones, our neurotransmitters brings another level of understanding to how we can use food to modulate different processes within the body to achieve healing outcomes.  I was very impressed that even though incredibly complex science was being presented, it was always bought back to food.

I wish that some of the people who are opposed to natural medicine such as those in the Skeptics Society and the ignorant ones who run Quackwatch and Quackbusters who are very vocal against what we do – were in the room this weekend.  Let them debate with Dr. Jeffrey Bland PhD, and see how far they get in dismissing the evidence that what we do works.

Dr Bland also talked about Functional Medicine – treatments that work on the underlying dysfunctions within the body and correct them using food, herbs and supplements – as being the way of the future.  And I totally agree.  There is no more room for the old style of orthodox medicine using drug approaches based on fraudulent studies by their own in-house scientists, covering up symptoms rather than treating the causative factors, and causing enormous damage to millions of people’s health.

The other point that really hit home over the weekend, is the difference between  a naturopath and a raw food enthusiast.  I have met many raw foodies who are out there trying to give advice to others on how to heal chronic diseases with raw food, and although they have the best of intentions, without the proper training, their advice is going to have limits.  Yes, changing to a raw food diet is going to have a huge benefit towards healing most health problems, but within that, there are many, many other biochemical factors that may need addressing through specific elements of the diet, or through the use of herbal medicine, that an untrained person is not going to know how to deal with.

So I’ll keep on combining the best of both worlds, bringing the information in the latest scientific research back down to the most holistic level possible and continue to share that knowledge with you.



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2 commentsAdd comment

Jen June 21, 2010 at 4:35 am

How can you survive on raw food only, especially during our cold, snowy winters? What better way to eat healthy with a stew of numerous fresh preferably organic vegetables in on veg stock….. no raw / cold food especially at this time of year for those that live closest to the ant arctic will be acceptable. After all the emotions need to be kept happy as well….. wouldn’t you agree Leisa?

Leisa June 25, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Hi Jen,
I actually live in a place where there is no cold snowy winter at all, so raw all year round is an easy option! For those living in colder climates it is entirely a personal preference as to how much raw food you choose to include in your diet – if you are healing from a serious illness you may choose to be very strict regardless of the weather. If you choose to be mainly raw for the health benefits, then you may use warming foods and spices such as a shot of ginger juice in the morning and cayenne pepper in different dishes to warm you internally. And there is always warming food in the dehydrator – warming to 40 degrees gives food that warmth that many people miss during winter without destroying the health benefits of the food – so there are many ways to do raw in winter! But it’s not my job to convince you of one way of eating over another! Eating good quality organic vegetables is always going to be a better choice than more processed foods, whether they are cooked or raw, so that is always a big positive :-)

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