Here's how I think about it.
Salt is my favorite seasoning. It enhances just about everything it touches, even sweet things. It's been used for centuries as a means of both flavoring and preserving precious food.
Light changes everything. Morning is my favorite time of day, when the sunbeams start piercing through the blinds and everything is illuminated in fresh, pure light. It signifies the cleansing hope of a new day.
Functional nutrition embodies the two elements of Salt & Light - it preserves, enhances and regenerates optimal health, so we can be Salt & Light to this world.
Functional nutrition specifically looks at how food acts as "information" in the body. It is so much more than calories in and calories out - it looks at how deficiency or excess affects systems across the whole body; how things like micronutrients and phytochemicals in food affect hormones, neurotransmitters, detoxification, genetics, and so much more. It considers your life stage, family history, lifestyle, preferences, and environment to help you eat in and live in a way that sets your body up to functional optimally for now and for years to come.
"Functional medicine" as a whole describes this philosophy of healing that considers the whole person, the way the systems of the body interact, and the dynamic relationship between mind, body, and spirit in order to renew from within and preserve balance. The understanding of these complex relationships allows practitioners to uncover the origin of illness or imbalance and gently remove it to allow the body to the heal on its own, rather than masking the symptoms.
A functional approach digs deeper and asks not only "what?" but also, "why?"
A striking analogy for this came from an acupuncturist that helped me heal my own gut issues. He explained that "the body is like a stream. When the water gets murky, you have to go upstream to see where the dirt is entering in. Once you remove that, the water will eventually run clear downstream. In the same way, our bodies are designed by God to heal. If you remove the sources of inflammation, toxins, and disruptors, your body can do its job from the inside out." With each client, I imagine myself walking along the river bank, for as long as it takes, until I find the source of the murky water.