I have been a dietitian for 20 years and when I tell people that, it never surprises me that they think my job is to tell people how to lose weight and design meal plans. Sure, the majority of people that come to see me have some weight concerns and need a guide on how to eat. However, the way I look at weight loss is it happens as a side effect of making healthier food choices, reducing inflammation, and correcting imbalances. Weight loss should not be the only goal. The goal is to optimize health for a more resilient body and to feel your best.
Your Issue is in Your Tissue
A prescription for nutrition goes beyond fork to mouth and you have to understand the underlying issue and root cause before you design a treatment plan. My favorite saying is “your issue is in your tissue” and in order to heal the body you need to evaluate the whole body to find the underlying cause for the dis-ease. Before I even meet with an individual I have them fill out a 13-page questionnaire. I ask unique questions to understand which avenue to explore in the body. I am hunting for oxidative stress, compromised detox pathways, heavy metal burdens, dysbiosis and leaky gut, parasites, nutritional deficiencies, stress, hormone imbalances, and metabolic issues. I even take a look at your fingernails because the outside body is a result of an imbalance inside. It is not only about food, it is about mood, sleep, energy, vitality, mental health, metabolism, hydration, exercise, and toxic burdens to name a few.
What Do the Symptoms Really Mean?
Do you have ringing in your ears or grind your teeth? Yes? Then we start with parasites. Do you have food intolerances? Yes? Then I start exploring dysbiosis. Are you hungry all the time and feel blood sugar drop between meals and can’t seem to lose weight? Yes? Then you may be metabolically compromised. Are you tired and fatigued, have brain fog, acne or rashes? Yes? Then I explore a sluggish liver or heavy metal toxicity. Are you having trouble sleeping? Yes? Then we check for hormone imbalances. Do you have cancer? Yes? Then we look for all of the above! What about those fingernails? That may give me a clue for an iron, folic acid, protein, or vitamin B deficiency.
Your Program is Customized and Individualized
If you come into an appointment with me and think I am going to hand you a cookie cutter meal plan and send you on your way, then you don’t know what an Integrative & Functional Nutrition Specialist has the capability to do for you. I have the fortunate ability to spend a full hour with you dissecting each part of your health history, asking questions that can even stem back into your childhood. The first question I always ask is, “When do you remember feeling your best?” and we go from there. Did you have a tragic event happen to you? How many amalgam fillings do you have? How do you handle stress? And the most important question – how many times do you poop a day? Yes, the dreaded poop question, but also one of the most important questions to ask. Over 80% of our immune system is housed in the gut and the majority of inflammatory diseases begin there. I could honestly say about 90% of my clients with a dis-ease state will discover it all started in their gut.
As you can see I have many more layers of evaluating an individual beyond what is on their plate. I like to consider myself a “Dietitian Detective” because not only do I hunt for the problem, I solve it.
Betsy Opyt is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator, Integrative & Functional Medicine Nutrition Therapist, and RYT200 yoga teacher. She specializes in nutrigenomics, gut health, food sensitivities, detoxing, inflammatory diseases, and longevity living. She understands the importance of living a mindful life and incorporates her background of mindfulness and yoga teaching to her practice. Betsy is a professional speaker and advocate for healthy living and is available for individual consultations, group programs, and speaking engagements.