Last week I shared my own personal journey with health, disease, death, and ultimately the birth of my life’s purpose. In the years of fighting for my husband Isamu’s life, and later in the months of midwifing him to death, I knew that I had to take a stand for the patient. (And remember, we’re all patients!)
Navigating the healthcare system with my terminally ill young husband showed me that there were vast GAPS in our healthcare system. I decided then that I would dedicate myself to filling them.
At that time, I didn’t yet know the answers to filling the GAPS, but I did know that the current model was leaving four hugely important factors out of the equation:
Each person is biologically unique, and one size never fits all. Yet the current model gives everyone with the same signs, symptoms, condition or diagnosis the same treatment. This has to change.
There are modifiable lifestyle factors that have an enormous effect on health outcomes when we match the appropriate changes to the circumstances. It’s not just pills and surgery that work miracles. Doing something as simple as altering bedtime, or eliminating soy from the diet, if that’s what the particular person’s body needs to heal, can have a measurable impact. Deducing which factors to modify for each individual’s needs is something that, with your help, only the patient can do.
We’ve gotten so far away from recognizing what’s going on (or should be going on) in the body, and how our bodies function, that we don’t even know why we’re experiencing the symptoms that we do. (We laugh when we watch shows like Masters of Sex that show women didn’t know where or what their cervix was, but most people don’t know the difference in the location or function of their stomach vs. their intestines.) I knew this too had to change. The patient needs education about their body to make sustainable diet and lifestyle modifications.
There is always a GAP between what the doctor knows about a patient’s condition and what the patient knows about their own condition. Sure, the doctor went to medical school, but they don’t know what the patient does at home and what they know to be true about their unique body and history There needs to be a process for closing this GAP. Without methods of communication, the full spectrum of tactics for healing can hardly match up. There are critical ingredients that have been left out of the healing recipe.
Whereas we value individuality, independence and self-awareness in other aspects of our lives (our Spotify playlists, our self-chosen career paths, our outspoken politics and even half-size bras and mattresses custom designed to conform to the way our body meets the bed), we’re surprisingly ready to relinquish our healthcare to the conventional or trendy approach, without rhyme or reason for doing so.
In addition, we have stopped believing that we have any aspect of control over our health, and have therefore stopped taking action. We maintain our homes and vehicles, with the clear understanding that time and elements take their toll, and that without maintenance these structures will begin to degrade.
Yet we feel entitled to a body that works without the same type of upkeep.
This is a dangerous bias that we must change if we’re going to heal (and help others come into their true healing potential.) Put simply, we must start doing the work to take care of our bodies, and we must do the appropriate work for our very own body.
This is where the millions of chronically ill need your help. They need someone with a keen understanding of biology, a toolbox of truly Functional tools, and the ability to create individualized recommendations for their specific body and circumstances.
When we as practitioners work this way, we fill the GAPS left by the reigning system, empower our clients to be the agents of their own change, and ultimately, we change healthcare itself.
That’s why I created Functional Nutrition Lab. To give you the tools and techniques you need to help the people who just aren’t getting better in the current system, and position yourself as the provider who can do so Truth be told, that’s good business.
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.