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The Healing Power of Functional Nutrition

Meet Andrea Nakayama

As the host of the 15-Minute Matrix Podcast and the founder of the Functional Nutrition Alliance, Andrea is leading thousands of students and practitioners around the globe in a revolution to offer better solutions to the growing chronic illness epidemic. By highlighting the importance of systems biology, root cause methodology, and therapeutic partnerships, she helps historically underserved individuals reclaim ownership of their health.


What is Functional Nutrition?

Functional Nutrition was born in the 1990s as a way to fill in the gaps in medicine and healthcare. It was founded on the premise that there are three important components to address with each patient:

  1. Embrace the therapeutic partnership – the relationship between a functional medicine expert and the client is symbiotic, and it’s crucial to see your client as the expert of their body

  2. Root causes – which is about asking, ‘Why is this happening?’

  3. Systems biology – this is the understanding that everything in the body is connected.

  4. Functional medicine and nutrition take the approach that everybody is unique and that everything is connected. Most of the medical field puts different parts of our body into boxes, whereas functional medicine is about a systems approach.


The 3 Roots to Healing Your Body 

Andrea likes to look at healing and caring for your body, especially if you have a chronic or inflammatory illness from a ‘3 roots, many branches’ perspective. Here’s an excellent analogy that illustrates this philosophy. Imagine you’re in a field, and you see a gorgeous tree. You get closer to the tree and notice that a few of the branches are dry and dying, and some of the leaves are not as healthy. You wouldn’t get on a ladder and start to chop off branches; you’d want to go down to the trunk and the root system. Human beings are the same— it’s imperative to analyze and address the whole system by looking at the roots, soil, and terrain. 


The 3 roots to address are as follows:

  • Genes

  • Digestion

  • Inflammation


Managing Your Genes

Andrea talks about the 4 influences on your gene expression: mindset, movement, environment, and food. All of these can influence turning on or off genes and genetic predispositions, so understanding the importance of each of these is important. For example, mindset means your belief system and how you are processing events, life experiences, and your way of looking at the world. Having a growth mindset, for example, will be helpful in supporting you to look for lessons, deeper meaning, and growth opportunities in every situation.  


Understanding digestion

The 2nd main root is digestion, and the circles of influence within digestion are mechanical, chemical, structural, and microbiol. Digestion is really about growth, metabolism, and repair. 


Here are a few helpful tips Andrea shares that can enhance your digestion:

  1. Be sure to chew your food thoroughly. So many of us eat while being distracted, on the run, or in a rush, and we eat our food without fully or properly chewing before swallowing. Over time, this is just one issue that can lead to digestive problems. 

  2. With digestion and finding the best plan of eating,  it’s not about being on a diet or what’s ‘right,’ but more about what’s best for your body. The ideal balance is a diet that has fat, fiber, and protein in the correct amounts for each individual body.  

  3. Stress is one of the culprits that affect both digestion and the immune system. Finding ways to reduce stress will help your overall gut health.

  4. Eat the rainbow to keep as much diversity as possible in your diet. 


Reducing Inflammation 

The third root is all about inflammation, and the four circles of influence are clear, calm, modulate, and enhance. Aspects of how you’re managing stress and your life can affect inflammation, such as having clear boundaries and saying no when you mean it versus being a people pleaser and saying yes even when it’s a no. 


Other ways to reduce inflammation:

  1. Be clear about your needs, boundaries, and what works for you.

  2. Incorporate mindfulness and calm every day, be it meditation, yoga nidra, a walk in nature, or breathwork.

  3. Be mindful of what you’re saying to yourself, give yourself enough downtime, and get proper rest. 


You Can Reclaim Your Health

What I love about the power of functional nutrition and what we discussed in this conversation is the sacred focus on the mind, body, and spirit as a dynamic system where everything is connected. Here’s hoping you are inspired to slow down, say no when you mean no, eat a color palette, and take time to chew and enjoy your food and life. Here’s to your ‘You-est You’! 


To learn more about Andrea and her work, go to




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You-est You Intention Cards

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Sacred Connection

As always, this community is a sacred, safe place built on love and acceptance. It was created to help you evolve and expand into your highest self. Please share your wisdom, comments, and thoughts. I love hearing from you and learning how you are being your truest, you-est you. Please join us in our Facebook group: The You-est You Podcast Community.

Join host Julie Reisler, author and multi-time TEDx speaker, each week to learn how you can tap into your best self and become your You-est You to achieve inner peace, happiness, and success at a deeper level! Tune in to hear powerful, inspirational stories and expert insights from entrepreneurs, industry thought leaders, and extraordinary human beings that will help to transform your life. Julie also shares a-ha moments that have shaped her life and career and discusses key concepts from her book Get a PhD in YOU.

Here’s to your being your you-est you!

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