This post hits really close to home for me. Guess what? I wasn’t one of those lucky people that ate Paleo for 30 days and all my problems were solved. However, I did feel a lot better and I was able to start navigating my way to optimal health with the help of some very knowledgeable functional practitioners. I’ve invited my good friend, Toréa Rodriguez FDN to talk a little bit more about how to know that you need more testing and support beyond dietary changes. Read more about it her at the bottom of this post!
You’ve made huge changes to how you eat. You’ve learned to source your grass-fed meats, organic veg and cook up batches of bone broth. And perhaps you have taken it a step further and have started to eradicate the chemicals found in household cleaners and personal care products. Yet, still you are not feeling better. All this effort should have worked, right?
Many people can simply switch to Paleo and perhaps clean up their lifestyle a bit and they feel great! For some of us, we remain stuck with lingering symptoms: digestion is off, bloating continues, skin issues are still present or even nagging fatigue that you just can’t seem to shake – you know, the fatigue that you endure while dragging yourself out of bed and over to the coffee pot. I get it – I’ve been there! For me, my autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto’s and Reynaud’s) were still very present. And while adopting Paleo had turned things around for me in a huge way (maybe to about 80%), it also became critical to sometimes dig a bit deeper to understand the underlying dysfunction and disease process.
This is where functional lab tests come in. There are many tests that you can do to get a glimpse into what is happening on the functional level. But there are a gazillion of them that each look into a specific function. So much so that it can be sort of overwhelming to know which tests you need, and which you may not need. This is where its key to start working with a functional practitioner. They come in many flavors from Medical Doctors (MD) and Naturopathic Doctors (ND), to acupuncturists, chiropractors, Registered Nurses (RN), Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN) practitioners to name a few.
Once I had done functional testing and really dug into healing the underlying root causes, I started feeling TONS better. It really was what brought me that last 20% to feel 100% better than I did before. In fact, I was so blown away by the experience, that I went back to school so I could be trained to be a practitioner (FDN & Transformational Coach) and help others see the same amazing results in healing!
If you have had no testing done at all, or if you have had testing done but it was over 6 months ago (meaning no longer relevant) – you are going to want to get several tests that give you a broad range and a good overall view. This could include blood, saliva, urine and stool tests. Often times, it will be a combination of all of those. This sounds super inconvenient – but the lab kits are sent to you so you can do them in the privacy of your own home (blood is usually the exception of course). So really its super easy.
Once the lab results come in, your functional practitioner will sit down with you to review the test results and likely craft additional changes in your diet and supplement plans. These are meant to be temporary protocols that you follow ranging anywhere from 90 days to 6-8 months depending on the findings. Results, of course, vary – but usually clients start feeling better with in a matter of weeks with the additional “boost” from the protocols.
But what if it’s too hard? The only time the protocols don’t work is if they are not adhered to. However sometimes you may discover something through testing that requires an extensive protocol. For example, you may be asked to do Autoimmune Protocol Elimination Diet (Paleo + nightshades, nuts, seeds and eggs) or take a bunch of supplements 3-5 times a day for several months on end. This is where finding the right practitioner is critical. Let’s face it – making lasting habit changes is hard enough when its just a few of them but making a ton of them all at once is brutal! A practitioner that can also coach makes it all that much better.
There are 3 things that every program, no matter which practitioner you choose, needs to have in order to be sustainable and effective. This is how I designed my programs which have been so successful with my clients. It’s like the 3 legged stool. if you cut one of the legs off, the stool collapses! All three are critical to success. So those 3 things (or legs) are: the right System, the right Support and the right Accountability.
• The right System – using functional lab testing and building custom protocols
• The right Support – you can think of me as your cheerleader to keep you going
• The right Accountability – you can also think of me as your coach to push you when you need it
So if you find yourself doing all the right things, yet still not feeling better – its time to take a functional deep dive! You can work with me, or you seek out your own practitioner. But having knowledge is power. Once you know where the dysfunction is, you have the power to change it!
Toréa Rodriguez is a biochemist by training, former professional pilot and Silicon Valley executive. She’s returned to her biochemistry roots as a certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® practitioner and Transformational Coach. Her interest in health and wellness came from her own struggles with autoimmune disease. You can read more from her at torearodriguez.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instag
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Livi @ Eat, Pray, Work It Out says
Awesome and inspiring post, thanks for sharing!
Seriously, there should be a website for the tough-case success stories, because I’m so sick of the 30-day miracle ones.
This sentence really bothered me though: “The only time the protocols don’t work is if they are not adhered to.”
I’ve lost track of the number of practitioners who weren’t knowledgable enough to help me and I wasted a lot of time and money following their protocols that made me no different. Even as I seek out better ones, I’ve had to learn that my ability to absorb many things through my digestive tract is so impaired that no pill supplement protocol will work for me – most of my supplements I have to get parenterally. I also require the most active form of most substances, as my body’s ability to metabolize most things usefully is pretty impaired.
So yes, there are plenty of “doctors” out there who will put you on a protocol that won’t work, sometimes through no fault of their own (I get that there’s a lot of trial and error and sometimes you only know if you’ve found the whole problem via response to treatment) but sometimes because there are many practitioners out there who are too egotistical or greedy to know when to say, “I don’t know how to help you.”
I’m glad you put this out there. I’ve done paleo at my endocrinologist suggestion. I also went gluten free. I’m now thinking dairy is a culprit. I still don’t feel 100% and I go up and down. You may have this on your blog, but are you gf? I’ve had several tests done and found I was hypothyroid as well as b and folate deficient. I take a methylated vitamin supplement for that. I’m being tested this month for autoimmune issues since I have joint pain. I’m glad to know it isn’t going to be the only thing I need to do – paleo I mean in order to feel better.