Part 2: What’s Functional and what’s NOT? | by Andrea Nakayama

Part 2: What’s Functional and what’s NOT?

You may already know this, but I’m keen on getting the word out about what’s Functional and what’s not.


Because lately I’m seeing the word ‘Functional’ used all over the place. Honestly, I’m concerned that a term that speaks into a real solution will become jargon—that the approach itself will get diluted, and we’ll miss the key benefits and potential of a truly Functional approach.

I want to make sure you’re getting the real deal.

Both the proper definition AND the steps to practice in a Functional way.

When you know what Functional Nutrition really is, and you know how to implement the principles I’m outlining for you here, you’ll be unstoppable!

When you know what #functionalnutrition REALLY is, you'll be unstoppable in your practice! Click To Tweet

If you tuned-in to Part 1 of this series, you know that the first benefit of practicing Functionally is this:

You’ll be treating the root causes of your clients’ issues—helping them feel better, and helping you grow your business.

Part 2 gives you the secret to HOW this is possible. I’ll share what to do (and which tools to use) to become a Functional practitioner who gets the results you want.

And, of course, you’ll learn what’s NOT Functional, and how so many people get this part wrong…

Part 2: What’s Functional and What’s NOT

There are 3 tenets of a Functional practice, and unless the programs you’re taking, processes you’re using, and people you’re following are using these 3 tenets, they just aren’t Functional.

Functional Tenet #1: Root Cause Resolution

Practicing Functionally means that we’re not chasing symptoms. Read the rest of Part 1 HERE.

Functional Tenet #2: Systems and Tools

In order to practice tenet #1—to not just believe in the powers of root cause resolution, but to truly practice it—we need let go of seductive protocols, formulas and templates in favor of solid systems and tools.


Because formulas are one-size-fits-all. And, as you know, NOBODY is the same as anyone else.

Two people with the same symptoms, or even the same diagnosis, do not need the same remedies, because they arrived at their illness in different ways.

If we take our example of the two women with IBS from Part 1 of this series…

They both have the following symptoms: diarrhea, constipation, (yes, both!), abdominal cramps or pains, bloating and intestinal gas.

What’s NOT Functional…

Treating both women with the same “IBS protocol” without first looking at WHY they each have the symptoms they do.

What IS Functional…
When making recommendations to any individual, we want to pay heed to bio-individuality.

To do so, we use the Functional Nutrition Matrix to determine context…

  • familial history of any similar patterns
  • birth context and childhood memories of diet, digestion and elimination
  • history and environment in which the signs and symptoms arose
  • presence of any other signs, symptoms, diagnosis or medications
  • the factors which cause the symptoms to flare
  • and the interventions that have helped now or in the past

Using this system—the Functional Nutrition Matrix—to capture the details specific to each client allows you to see what’s really going on for each of them.

When you know what’s really going on, you’re no longer treating the symptom alone (which leads to short-term resolution at best), but instead, you’re addressing the root causes of the person’s pain point (hello sustainable results and raving fan!)

You’ll no longer be searching for the next miracle protocol for each client you see. Hallelujah! This is because you won’t need to. You’ll have a system that works for everyone.

I'm no longer searching for the next miracle protocol for clients. This system WORKS... Click To Tweet

The Functional Nutrition Matrix is the focus of Reframe Nutrition. It’s THE tool that will make your practice Functional, and Reframe Nutrition is the ONLY place to learn it.

Check it out:
The functional nutrition matrix by Andrea Nakayama

I’m ready to learn how to use the Matrix

It’s not Functional Nutrition unless you’re using the Functional Nutrition Matrix.

Join me for Reframe Nutrition, the ONLY place to learn how to make this tool work for you, no matter your scope of practice.

Reframe Nutrition Audio Course available NOW
FREE Q&A and Practice Session on September 23rd included in your enrollment (If you’re already a part of the Reframe tribe, check your email for details on how to join this free session!)

And stay tuned…

Functional Tenet #3: The Therapeutic Partnership

And if you missed Part 1:

Functional Tenet #1: Root Cause Resolution

Be sure to check back here soon to learn the third and final tenet of a Functional practice. And remember, if the programs you’re taking, processes you’re using, and people you’re following are not using these 3 tenets, they just aren’t Functional.

We can change that.

Andrea Nakayama, FNLP, MSN, CNC, CNE, CHHC, Founder of the Functional Nutrition Alliance




Related Blog Posts:

Part 1: What’s Functional and what’s not
Part 3: What’s Functional and what’s not
The web of interconnections
The power of story
Functional Nutrition Matrix

Functional nutritionist and educator Andrea Nakayama (FNLP, MSN, CNC, CNE, CHHC) is leading patients and practitioners around the world in a revolution to reclaim ownership over our own health. Her passion for food as personalized medicine was born from the loss of her young husband to a brain tumor in 2002. She’s now regularly consulted as the nutrition expert for the toughest clinical cases in the practices of many world-renowned doctors, and trains a thousand practitioners online each year in her methodologies at Functional Nutrition Lab. Learn more about Andrea here.

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Cori Darley
Cori Darley

Hi Andrea, I’m a graduate of IIN and went on to enroll in FDN. I will be done with this certification in january and done with paying my tuition in March. I’ve been following you and would love to take your course but there is no option of monthly payments like IIN and FDN offer. If you ever provide the option of monthly payments please let me know, I will be in!
Thanks so much,
Cori Darley


I love that Functional Medicine truly is holistic and looks at the complete picture of an individual. I’m wondering how much intuition plays a part in working with a patient. Thank you!!


Hi KG,

I LOVE that you brought up ‘intuition’. It’s part of the Practitioner Mastery Paradigm. The more we work with the other elements of the Paradigm, and with more frequency, the more we allow our Intuition to develop.

Love it!