In this case study, I will take you through the journey of my client, a 64-year-old female, who sought my guidance as a functional nutritionist and health coach to address her persistent problems with digestion and adopt a healthier diet. By analyzing her initial interview findings, food and mood journal, severity report, and functional clinical assessment, I will share the steps taken to alleviate her symptoms and improve her overall well-being.
Initial Interview Findings Unveil Underlying Issues
During the initial interview, my client revealed that she had been diagnosed with colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Further investigations showed that she had salmonella and E. coli infections, which were successfully treated with a course of antibiotics. I also discovered that she did not have a sensitivity to dairy, but her diet primarily consisted of processed carbohydrates, and she had limited healthy options when eating out. Additionally, she experienced fatigue after consuming processed carbs and felt energized after consuming lean protein and collagen soup.
Identifying Key Areas of Concern
Reviewing my client’s food and mood journal provided valuable insights into her dietary habits and lifestyle choices. It became evident that she frequently ate out, especially during her travel in November, with a focus on carbohydrates. Snacks were minimal, and she continued to consume caffeine. The severity report highlighted several key indications, including dysbiosis, low thyroid and adrenal function, hypochlorhydria, pancreatic insufficiency, and blood sugar dysregulation. Digestive symptoms such as belching, gas/bloating, and heartburn were also evident.
Developing a Personalized Approach
To address my client’s specific needs, I developed a comprehensive nutritional and lifestyle plan tailored to her situation. The main focus was on improving problems with digestion and blood sugar regulation. The recommendations included:
1. Enhancing Digestion with Supplements:
- I recommended Hydrozyme to increase stomach acid and Dysbiocide to support intestinal healing.
2. Dietary Modifications:
- I advised her to start her day with a glass of water containing 1 tsp of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
- Suggested replacing coffee with roasted dandelion tea or chicory.
- Encouraged her to introduce grass-fed beef into her lunch or dinner twice a week.
- Emphasized the importance of including zinc-rich foods such as organic raw almonds, oysters, and organic pumpkin seeds.
3. Home Cooking and Mindful Journaling:
- I encouraged her to prepare meals at home on her days off, focusing on roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, sautéed kale, and nutritious snacks like pineapple and celery.
- Recommended journaling before bedtime, where she would note three positive aspects of the day and three tasks for the following day.
4. Lifestyle and Behavioral Adjustments:
- I emphasized the importance of chewing food thoroughly (20-30 times per bite) and being mindful.
Progress and Future Steps
Example of Symptom Burden Graph
A visual of health in time, unique to Functional Nutritional Therapy showing dysfunction + progress made in just 3 months.*
Green = start (dysfunction — lots of warning signs!!!)
Orange = 3 months in (great improvement — warning signs gone)
*Each person’s results will vary based on their symptoms and commitment to action.
As my client implemented the personalized recommendations, she experienced significant improvements in her symptoms, resulting in more stable bowel movements and an overall sense of well-being. Throughout our consultations, I tailored the plan to her pace and needs. However, there are still some areas that require attention and further investigation:
1. Food Sensitivity Testing: teach client how to conduct a pulse test to identify potential food sensitivities.
2. Balanced Macronutrient Intake: Ensure a balanced intake of macronutrients (healthy fats, protein, complex carbohydrates) to support overall health.
3. Shifting Perspective: I will guide my client in reframing her perspective to see the glass as half full, rather than empty, fostering a positive mindset and empowering her to make healthier choices.
Additionally, we will explore her challenges with iron absorption and work towards finding strategies to improve it. Furthermore, we will discuss the long-term costs of consuming unhealthy food from the work cafeteria, emphasizing the importance of investing in her health and prioritizing nutrient-dense options.
Through a holistic and personalized approach, we have made significant progress in addressing my client’s problems with digestion and overall well-being. By identifying underlying issues through initial interview findings, food and mood journal analysis, severity reports, and functional clinical assessment, we tailored a targeted plan to address her specific needs. By focusing on improving digestion, making dietary modifications, and implementing lifestyle adjustments, my client experienced improvements in her symptoms and quality of life.
Moving forward, we will continue to fine-tune her nutritional plan, conduct further testing for food sensitivities, and address potential deficiencies. We will work on shifting her perspective to cultivate a positive mindset and help her understand the long-term costs of unhealthy food choices. Together, we will navigate this journey towards optimal health, empowering her to embrace a healthier lifestyle and enjoy the benefits of improved digestion and overall well-being.
*Please note: The Functional Clinical Assessment described in this case study involves a process utilized by Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioners (FNTPs) to identify organ systems under stress and prioritize support accordingly. The assessment helps practitioners understand the body’s response to nutritional deficiencies through palpation and tenderness evaluations. This valuable tool enables personalized interventions and a deeper understanding of each client’s unique needs. The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.