Is Your Internal “Check Engine” Light On?
Is your “check engine” light on? Our cars have a nifty way of telling us that they need attention by lighting up and alarming us to bring the car in. Our bodies also have warning signs that we need some attention. Those signs can be inflammation, chronic stress, thyroid problems, pre-diabetes, weight gain, stomach issues and/or chronic pain.
So let’s say you take yourself to the doctor. The doc may order some labs, do some bloodwork, ask you to watch your diet more carefully, or prescribe a pill. Will that path lead to getting to the root cause of the problem?
Diet and lifestyle factors are not addressed by general practitioners in general. This does not mean that general practitioners don’t have our best interest in mind: they just have not been taught nutrition and lifestyle factors in their medical training, and are hustling between patients and simply do not have time to dig into all these areas. The course of action, generally, is a metaphoric band aid to the problem, which is called symptom treatment.
The term Functional Medicine came across me years ago. I am a restaurant trained chef, and have always lived a healthy, active lifestyle. When the term Functional Medicine entered my world, I became deeply inspired. Functional Medicine looks at how our bodies are functioning, and looks to root cause treatment, rather than symptom treatment.
For example, if you have stomach issues such as Gerd, IBS or acid reflux (a whopping 30 percent of our nation has stomach issues, or 6 out of 10), you will most likely be given a pill to help calm the symptoms. You may feel relief immediately — but when you opt to stop taking the pill, the symptoms are right back.
What about your diet? Could fried foods, too much gluten, sugar, dairy, or not enough vegetables all play a part in your stomach issues? What would happen if the diet was looked at (first) and changes were made?
Lifestyle factors also come into play with our health issues. If people are not getting enough rest, if the stress level is too high, if they are not hydrating enough, if they are not eating the right balance of healthy foods… All of these factors cannot be overlooked!
I am here to make the point that we are more intricate, more delicately made than a car. We have an amazing brain, mind and will. Sometimes we get in our own way: we knowingly eat bad food, we don’t have a good exercise routine, we go to sleep with our phones in our hands.
Looking at life with an integrative approach, bringing in all the factors listed above, is the first best step. Have a good listen when your body’s “check engine” light is on. It most likely is due to many factors, not just one.