Why Functional Medicine is Not Enough With Autoimmune Disease

Have you tried ‘all the things’ and worked with ‘all the practitioners’ only to find that you still are suffering? You’re not alone. Obviously I LOVE functional medicine. I’ve spent the past 2+ years studying it, and believe it’s what helped save my husbands life when he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. But, functional medicine alone is just not enough.

I saw that because I have clients come to me who are on 20+ supplements and have been on restrictive diets for months or even years without results. They are stressed out, frustrated, and at this point, angry at their body. At what point do you realize that something is not working?



Going beyond pills

Supplements certainly have their place- I take several a day myself. But there comes a time when we must get back to the basics, and realize that supplements don’t heal the body, just like medications don’t. The body heals itself. So supplements are meant to be supplementary. They are there to help fill in gaps that are missing, but the ultimate goal is to target mind, body (with food), and soul and not rely on supplements. If you’re to the point that you’ve been on multiple supplements for longer than you can remember, it’s time to give the body a rest and identify what it truly needs.


Using food as medicine

As a nutritionist, duh, I talk about food. Sadly though, I see women who are on super restrictive diets for very extended periods of time. That’s not how it’s meant to be. AIP, Wahl’s, all of those therapeutic diets are great. But they’re meant to be short-term while lowering inflammation and ‘puzzle piecing’ what else may be going on in the body.

You may be asking- why is it bad to be on a super healthy diet for an extended period? Well, those diets are pretty restrictive. After a certain point, I see women develop nutrient deficiencies because they aren’t getting enough variety. and are relying on about 10-15 foods to sustain them. Dr Terry Wahl’s tells her patients to eat 200 different plants a year, and I tend to agree.

The other piece of this is the relationship with food. When you avoid certain things for so long, you start to view them as ‘bad,’ or not good for your body. Then when it’s time to reintroduce things, there’s a fear aspect and even the development of an unhealthy relationship with food. Fear should not be experienced around food. Especially not food that comes from the earth. So if you’ve been on a restrictive diet for a long period of time, work on improving your relationship with food and start reintroducing things slowly.


Love your body

The other components to healing come from within. When was the last time you appreciated your body? And I mean truly appreciating it? Showing gratitude for your heart beating, for your legs that allow you to walk, for your fingers that help grasp things, and for your brain? Or are you constantly beating yourself up by saying things like “this stupid body of mine won’t get better,” or “I’m so fat, my body hates me and I can’t ever lose weight.” As silly as it sounds, your body is listening. Just like another human won’t try to please you if you’re being rude to it, nor will your body.

Healing also comes when you work through trauma, emotions, and limiting beliefs. I have a blog on that HERE that you can check out if you need more strategies.

And finally, trusting your body. Not just loving it, but feeling safe within it. If you feel like you have to rely on supplements, a new diet, or anything other than yourself, do you really feel safe? Probably not. Or if you constantly find yourself triggered by things that people say or do, are you safe? Also not. It’s the inner work that will bring you the most bang for your buck when it comes to healing. Functional medicine is great (certainly we need to know what’s going on in the body), but we can’t forget about these aspects that greatly impact the healing process.

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