Part 3: What’s Functional and what’s NOT? | by Andrea Nakayama

Part 3: What’s Functional and what’s not

It’s my mission to bring you the TRUTH about practicing Functionally.

If more of us practice Functionally (for real, and not just in theory) we’ll change so many things…

  • More people will get well, instead of the chronically ill being stuck with “solutions” that just don’t work
  • You’ll have the confidence that you really do know enough to help the people you want to help—no matter how complex their symptoms or diagnoses are, and no matter your scope of practice
  • We’ll create a movement—a community of people working together, in partnership to create better outcomes for practitioners and patients alike

But in order to practice Functionally for real, you need to know what Functional means.


What’s Functional and what’s NOT? (Part 3!)

Part 3: 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 formulas and templates in favor of solid systems and tools. (Read the rest of Part 2 HERE)

Functional Tenet #3: Therapeutic Partnerships

In order to practice tenets #1 and #2—to use proven systems and tools to get to the root causes of your clients’ symptoms—you must do something else FIRST.

Before you bring out your Functional Nutrition Matrix, you need to establish a relationship with your client.

No tool in the world is going to give you the results you want unless you’ve first created a therapeutic partnership with the individual seeking your help.


Because your client isn’t going to tell you all the juicy details you need to fill out the Functional Nutrition Matrix unless she trusts you!

And she won’t follow the recommendations that the Matrix allows you to uncover unless she feels like you get her, and you’re on her side, and you understand what she wants.

So before you get out your Matrix and start hunting for the root causes—

You must create a therapeutic partnership.

I know this step seems obvious. Yet you’d be surprised how many practitioners are missing it. And you may be shocked that you’re one of them!

(Tip: The way you can catch yourself missing this step is if you find yourself researching a client’s symptoms or diagnosis, or creating a therapeutic plan with stages for intervention before you even meet them!)

Once you make this connection and gain an understanding of the factors that will inspire them to make change, you can then use the Matrix to deepen your therapeutic partnership, and map the details that you uncover together.

If we go back to our example of the two women with IBS…

You may want to see them both have 2 solid bowel movements each day as an indicator that your recommendations are yielding results. Yet one woman is motivated by avoiding embarrassment of public accidents. The other wants desperately to be free of pain so she can play with her grandchildren and not spend the time doubled over. (These are their Motivating Factors, something we dive deep into in Reframe Nutrition.)

What’s NOT Functional…

Creating identical treatment plans for both women, and stressing that they need to do the work so that they can have the outcome you want&mdashldecreased inflammatory markers, diminished pain, different elimination patterns.

What IS Functional…

Remembering that your clients are people with stories, and recognizing that each individual has specific hopes and dreams that she is longing to fulfill and that her illness is keeping her from.

You see, it’s not just her illness that’s the problem.

It’s what it prevents her from doing.

Once you connect to your client as a real person with real hopes, dreams, pains, and desires…

THEN you can bring out your Functional Nutrition Matrix and map her story, her symptoms, and your recommendations for moving her towards wellness.

Just imagine what this Matrix will look like when it contains all that information for the next person you’re ready to help.

The functional nutrition matrix by Andrea Nakayama

Learn to use the Functional Nutrition Matrix

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.

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

It’s not #FunctionalNutrition unless you’re using the Functional Nutrition Matrix. Click To Tweet

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 if you missed Part 1 or 2:

Functional Tenet #1: Root Cause Resolution

Functional Tenet #2: Systems and Tools

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 2: What’s Functional and what’s not
The truth about compliance
The web of interconnections
The power of story
Functional Nutrition Matrix
Therapeutic Partnership

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 Holistic Nutrition Lab. Learn more about Andrea here.

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I’d love to find a functional medicine practitioner who takes Medicare Advantage in my area. I do believe it’s the medicine of the future, which is here. Thanks!

Andrea Nakayama
Andrea Nakayama

I agree KG! I don’t know of anyone off hand, but we’ll continue to search for this information.