Integrative means to “unify separate things” or in this case to bring together different aspects of nutrition and lifestyle to meet a client's needs and goals. RDN stands for Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I consider myself an “Integrative RDN” because I meld the principles of functional medicine with culinary nutrition to help my clients learn what to eat for their unique bodies, how to fit nourishing food into their busy lives, how to meet the needs of their whole family, and strategies for getting out of overwhelm and into action to take back their health.
According to the Institute for Functional Medicine, “Functional medicine is a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual's illness.” Functional nutrition is a sub-set of functional medicine and could be described as food meeting physiology. As functional nutritionists, we look beyond the what and ask why. We use frameworks based on the individual like the functional matrix and timeline versus one-size fits all protocols. We focus on the terrain of the body first- gut healing, sleep, blood sugar, and digestion. We use wholesome nourishing food to support healing and supplements, as needed. We treat individuals as an n of 1 and dig into the root causes of client’s challenges in order to dismantle dysfunction. I’ve trained extensively with thought-leaders in the fields of functional nutrition and functional medicine and apply these principles when working with clients.
Real food is nutritious, delicious, and in its whole form or close to it (aka minimally processed). Real food is food your great grandmother would have recognized as food or grown in her garden (she might not have grown quinoa or tatsoi or salmon but you get the idea). Real food typically doesn’t come in a wrapper or have a nutrition facts label. Examples are: vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans and lentils, nuts, seeds, well raised meat, poultry, seafood, and maybe dairy (depends on the individual). Well actually, all of these depend on the individual. I don’t subscribe to any one dietary theory. I help clients figure out what works for them to support their health and their life which could be anything from whole foods to vegan to autoimmune paleo to low FODMAP and anything in between.
What these foods all have in common are that they are inflammatory and are common culprits for food reactions. The work I do helps clients determine what their personal food triggers are so they know what to eat to take back their health, one meal at a time. This could be through elimination/reintroduction diets (still known as the gold standard as IgG/IgA tests are often unreliable) or functional lab testing. On another note, it’s EASY to find recipes filled with gluten, dairy, and sugar. It’s much more difficult to find real food recipes that do not contain these things- I try to make it easier.
For starters, go to the “contact” page and send me an email. I’ll send ask you to fill out this short survey to find out more and may offer you a complimentary 15 minute discovery session if I feel like I may be a good fit to support you. I currently see clients primarily through Zoom video chat or phone. Meeting with me in-person may be an option for people who live in the Ithaca, NY area. Depending on the nutrition coaching option you choose, sessions could be 45 mins to 75 mins and usually 2-3 weeks apart. I lean on my training as a health coach and registered dietitian to coach clients to achieve their goals. To learn more about my services and what’s included, go to the “services” page.
I do not bill insurance directly. If you would like to submit a claim to your insurance company for nutrition coaching, I will happily provide a Superbill. Insurance reimbursement for nutrition services is based on a number of factors and is not guaranteed. I accept payment by check and major credit/debit cards including most HSA and FSA plans.
Great question. Check out the “About” page to learn more about my story. The short answer though is that the two are more closely aligned than you may think. Biomedical engineering is a framework for looking at the body, seeing it as a system, and working with the body to help correct something that went awry. Nutrition (particularly functional nutrition) uses a systems biology approach with the understanding that everything in the body is connected, and inputs like food, water, and lifestyle factors impact how a person feels and how their body functions.
I love working with kids (and teens) but always with parent(s) present. Why? Parents (yes you) are the gatekeepers. Parents often buy the food, make the food, and plate the food. Kids can only eat what’s available to them so it’s essential that parents and families are on board to support kids with changes to their diets. If your home is filled with overly processed snacks and boxed mac ‘n cheese is what’s for dinner, how can you expect a shift to a healthy way of eating without setting the example? Young kids especially, model their parents at meals. If you eat a salad with dinner, they are more likely to eat a salad with dinner. If your child is experiencing a health challenge and needs to make a diet change, they are going to need your help, support, and encouragement!
Diets fail most of the time because when you “go on a diet” and you accomplish your goal, you “go off” the diet. It’s pretty simple. If you shift your mindset from the diet culture mentality of quick-fixes and extreme measures to a focus on eating for long-term health, magic happens. Building in small healthful habits and repeating them daily over time, leads to lasting results not just in your pant size but also improvements in symptoms, mood, energy, sleep, resilience, and all areas of your life.