Over the years, I’ve witnessed countless times when patients say that they’ve been seeing a “Holistic” practitioner and they come in with a garbage full of “stuff”. True healing doesn’t take place in a garbage bag, it takes place as a result of insight, strategy, and wisdom. I hope this article gives you a moment of clarity to help you know that you are either on the right path towards your best self or if you need to carefully re-evaluate your strategy.
1. Get the right functional lab testing
First and foremost, getting the right functional testing helps you understand where you’re starting points is, each person is going to be different based on an infinite number of variables. So whether your root cause is emotional, viral, chemical, or whatever it is, the right testing can help paint a picture of the road to healing ahead.
You might have nutrient deficiencies due to lifestyle choices, behaviors, environments that you’ve been exposed to, and because of that, you’re not really aware of the fastest path to getting to the top. Yes, you can climb, but if you’re going to climb a mountain, wouldn’t you want to have a map that helps you navigate to the top and take the path of least resistance instead of the path of most resistance or blind faith?
2. Work with an experienced practitioner who takes a careful history
Supplements can help you move towards health faster, the thing is, by doing the right testing, you’re able to know exactly which supplements you should take and which ones you shouldn’t take. The idea behind testing is to identify exactly what tools and equipment you need on your journey but there are limitations to testing. This is where a careful history comes in.
It’s not practical, affordable or possible to test everything, so you have to have a good thorough history. It’s not just giving your history, but who is interpreting your history? Does that person have the empathy required? Do they have the experience your case needs? Have they worked with hundreds of people like yourself or in a similar situation to yourself? With experience comes wisdom, information isn’t the answer. Empathy, experience, and wisdom move you closer to the answer. A good history will lower supplement burden by allowing the practitioner to have a much deeper understanding of what’s actually going on instead of guessing with your health.
3. Change your habits
The third way to reduce supplement need is to change behaviors and/or environments. By going to bed on time, by waking up at a certain time, by moving throughout the day, getting the correct amount and frequency of sunlight exposure, spending time in nature, loving what you do for work, etc. These are factors that are going to lower your supplement needs, so keep them in mind. We don’t want to give you supplements for lifestyle behaviors if that’s the case you’re essentially using supplements and herbs like you would be using a drug, not good!
4. Become more aware
Leverage your lab testing to identify what nutrient deficiencies you have and learn what foods provide that nutrition, and then ask yourself a really simple question, “are these foods part of my diet or were they part of my diet before I came down with this illness?”
Chances are if all of the foods that contain the nutrients you’re deficient in were deficient in your diet, then start incorporating those foods into your diet. If your diet is low in these foods, start eating them, but remember supplements can help you get there faster. If you do it with food alone, it will take longer to really fill in those known biochemical gaps that you have. Food is always the foundation but supplements can aid in faster recovery. If you seem to be eating the right foods but are still depleted, pay attention to the next tip.
5.Choose, chew, chill
Wanna pop fewer pills, make sure that you’re thoroughly chewing and digesting your food. If you’re deficient in nutrients, ask yourself, “where do those nutrients come from?” They come from your food, but not all the nutrients in your digestive system are properly absorbed because you have a certain efficiency of extraction and absorption.
The efficiency of your digestion versus another person’s digestion is going to vary based on their microbiota, chewing patterns, food combining, organ health, how stressed they are when they eat, yeast, fungal parasitic overgrowths (which essentially eat the food first). This is an individual variable that needs to be accounted for if your goal is to lower supplement needs and get healthy as quickly as possible.
As discussed in step one, the right functional lab testing can help you identify these free-loading bugs and any factors lowering your efficiency of digestion.
6. The Bioenergetics of food
Not everything can be supplemented or put into a pill, therefore it needs to be consumed in the diet. It’s not just about the things that we can measure in lab work. It’s also about the things that we can’t measure in lab work, and stuff that’s not going to show up on your food label like the phytochemical content of food, the polyphenol content of food, the antioxidant content of food.
The spiritual and energetic signature of that food is going to vary as well. I argue that if somebody is eating a certain type of food, the energy that went into producing that food leaves an energetic signature on it. For example, if you’re eating animal products and the animal was suffering significantly during its lifetime, it’s going to release stress hormones, and it’s going to leave a certain emotional, spiritual and energetic signature versus an animal who’s treated differently and an animal that’s slaughtered humanely.
If your food is grown, let’s say plant foods, vegetables, fruits, herbs, how those foods were grown, the energy that was put into that food, the intention that was put into raising that food, picking that food, packing it, shipping it, and even preparing it, leaves a signature on that food as well. How that food gets from its source, whatever that source might be, into your body, and the intention that you set with that food, in my opinion, is going to change the way that food behaves and interacts with your chemistry. This is why growing and preparing your own food is one of the most powerful acts of self-love.
7. Stop over-washing your food
This might sound strange but another way to reduce supplement needs is to stop washing your food so much. When we excessively wash our food, especially plant foods, we lose a lot of the biological diversity of the microorganisms that are part of that plant’s contribution to your health. These (yet to be fully understood) microorganisms actually interact with our own gut microorganisms to have a collaborative effort to not only heal the body but also extract and absorb more nutrition from the food you eat. Plants, humans, and bacteria have an ancient and sacred relationship with one another. Sterilizing and overcooking your food destroys this important healing opportunity.
One of the main myths about plant foods is that they don’t contain B-12, but here’s the thing, what plant foods do contain is bacteria that help us make B-12 in our gut. This would help explain why somebody who is completely vegetarian, and in many cases vegan, can have adequate amounts of B-12 if their food isn’t over-sterilized, over-washed, over-heated, or over-prepared. There’s nothing healthier for you than eating raw foods grown in your own garden right off the plant/tree.
I hope these tips help lower your supplement burden, promote much deeper healing for you and create new grooves in your behavior patterns that are going to have amazing outcomes in your overall health. Because you’re leading by example, you’re going to lead the way for your family and other members of your community to change and feel healthy and vibrant as well.
My suggestion to anyone who’s listening to this or anyone who’s reading this is to strongly consider working with a well-trained, well-experienced, and well-intentioned functional medicine practitioner who can help you identify what you need, what you don’t need, and work with you on diet, nutrition, lifestyle, emotional modifications and behaviors to then help you get better as quickly as possible.
It’s your right to be healthy. It’s your privilege to be alive, and if you’re alive, it’s your duty to serve your family and community. Life is about fulfillment, enjoyment, and purpose, not pain and suffering. Work with somebody who can help you get to this path as quickly as possible, and instill behaviors and changes that are going to produce long-term outcomes for you, your family, and those around you.