Russell Mariani is a Health Educator and Digestive Wellness expert who has been in private practice since 1980. He is the co-founder with his wife Megan Moore of The Center for Functional Nutrition in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He is the author of the book, Principle Eating, The No Diet Way to Complete Health and several other health-related books and ebooks. He can be reached at 413-536-0275 and via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Functional Nutrition is the term I use to describe a set of very specific biological principles at work inside our bodies and in evidence in the natural world around us. It is also a very specific set of complementary dietary and lifestyle habits that, when practiced consistently, have the ability to restore normal functioning to the human body. Normal internal functioning is the first and most basic definition of health according to the rules of Functional Nutrition.
The human body is a marvelously designed living organism with the ability to grow, regulate, repair and defend itself when given organic quality, full spectrum, whole food nutrition.
This means that: A well-nourished body doesn’t make mistakes. A well-nourished body is capable of protecting itself from sickness and disease and fully capable of producing all the symptoms of health: energy, flexibility, creativity, optimism, compassion, laughter, cooperation, vision, wisdom and more. Creating a well-nourished body requires our personal commitment to self-healing, our conscious attention to the details in our diet and lifestyle and our proactive participation in the habits that nourish us best. I call this approach to health, Functional Nutrition.
Here’s how it works:
The quality of our physical health is determined by the quality of the life of our cells.
Each and every human body is composed of trillions and trillions of cells. Each cell is like a little factory. Each cell requires very specific nutrients or raw materials. Each cell produces products essential to our overall metabolism and health. Each cell produces toxic waste products that must be neutralized and eliminated on a continual basis. Our cells compose the tissues, which compose the organs, which compose the systems that make up the whole human body. Our cells constitute the biological foundation of our lives. There is nothing more important in the process of regaining, maintaining or improving the quality of our physical health than taking proper care of our cells. Health is the result of the proper care of our cells.
Every manifestation of the life of our tissues, organs and cells, our thoughts, our nerves, our affections, the cruelty, the ugliness, and the beauty of the universe, even its very existence depend upon the biochemical state of our blood and lymph; and these fluids depend upon the quality of our daily nutrition. Nutrition is synonymous with existence. (Alexis Carrel, Man The Unknown)
When the cells of our body are functioning properly, our biological foundation is strong and we thrive. When the cells of our body are not functioning properly, our biological foundation is weak and we suffer.
Much of this suffering is preventable and correctable through the daily practice of better and more complementary nutrition habits.
The proverbial “gaps” in everyone’s biological foundation fall into three categories:
1. Nutrition Gaps
2. Information Gaps
3. Integrity Gaps
Nutrition Gaps are caused by eating too many junk foods and processed foods and not enough organic quality whole foods. Nutrition Gaps are caused by the inefficient processing and digesting of the foods we do consume. Nutrition Gaps are caused from the ineffective use of nutritional supplements, or the non-use of effective supplements. Nutrition Gaps are caused by the practice of too many insulting habits and not enough complementary habits in our diet and lifestyle. Nutrition Gaps show up in our biological foundations after years of nutritional deficiencies, toxic overload, dehydration and stress.
Information Gaps are caused by the constant flow of misinformation from print, radio, television, internet and other sources. Billions of advertising dollars try to persuade us to eat this food, or drink that beverage, or use this medicine. These billions of advertising dollars are corporate advertising dollars. These corporations have a binding mandate to generate profit, not human health. Put 100 health and nutrition “experts” in a room and you will get 100 different opinions about what constitutes the ideal human diet. What is the result of all this misinformation? Uncertainty. The constant flow of misinformation has caused a massive river of doubt. This uncertainty and doubt erodes our confidence and is at the root cause of so much suffering in our world today. Look at how much stress is caused by the uncertainty about what to eat and what not to eat and why. Do you think our ancestors a few generations ago were so constantly confused and set upon by so many experts about the connections between their food and their health? Not a chance. It is a travesty of unprecedented scope and scale that educated adult human beings are confused about what to eat and why. If this situation weren’t so tragic, it would be funny.
Throughout history, most people have not been in conflict on a daily basis about what to eat and why. They may have suffered from a lack of food, but not from a lack of knowledge about what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. Food was food! By and large people ate what was available to them according to the harvest season, their specific geographic location, and their particular ethnic traditions and cuisine. That’s the way it has been for at least the past ten thousand years, since the dawn of civilization. What we call civilization begins with the seasonal planting, growing and harvest of whole grains, root vegetables and other staple foods. Culture begins with agri-culture.
Today, all of that has changed. Our modern scientific and multi- cultural marketplace of ideas, goods and services has simply given us too many choices. Nobody seems capable of creating agreement on the topic of what to eat and why. This uncertainty runs contrary to one of our deepest and most basic of all human instincts and emotions: the desire to nurture ourselves and others through food. This uncertainty creates negative stress at a very deep level of our being. I believe it is a stress that rarely gets identified. As a result, it eats away at us, as all negative stress does, and we begin to manifest the ill-effects of a kind of strange internal erosion, leading to gaps in our physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual foundations.
Integrity Gaps are caused when we actually know what to do to be healthier, but we don’t do it! We know we should exercise more regularly. We know we should eat more slowly, chew better, not eat late at night. We know we should not drink so much coffee and alcohol. Since we are weakened by the ill-effects of Nutrition Gaps on the one hand and Information Gaps on the other, is it any wonder? It is difficult to maintain discipline and integrity in the area of diet and nutrition when you are feeling overfed, undernourished, misinformed, uncertain, stressed-out and more than a little bit frustrated about the whole subject of nutrition and health.
The purpose of our work together in the days and weeks ahead is to learn what habits and influences in our diet and lifestyle have caused the gaps in our own biological foundation to occur, and then to take the corrective actions to restore them. By doing this we will make our biological foundations healthy and strong and whole again. This is the purpose of the Functional Nutrition approach to health. This is the program of intestinal regeneration described in this book. To facilitate this ongoing process of learning and doing we will focus our attention in two key areas:
1. Biological principles that regulate the functions of our physiology, and
2. The habits in our diet and lifestyle that either complement or insult these principles and basic functions.
Russell Mariani is an Author, Speaker and Pioneer in the field of Functional Medicine. He is the founder of The Center for Functional Nutrition (1980). The Center has been a virtual HealthCare Practice since 1999 and has guided health and healing to people all around the world. Russell is the author of the book, Principle Eating, The No Diet Way to Complete Health. For more information including booking Russell for his live webinar The Roots of Health or his private consultation services contact email@example.com or visit our website www.thecenterforfunctionalnutrition.net