Functional vs Integrative vs Lifestyle Medicine?

science & research Aug 12, 2022
The image shows an assortment of medical and health-related items spread out on a white surface. There's a stethoscope, various bottles of pills, blister packs of capsules, a mortar with herbs, loose herbs, and a syringe, juxtaposed with natural remedies like dried flowers and berries, indicating a theme of both conventional and alternative medicine. This could be illustrative of the holistic approach taken in functional, integrative, and lifestyle medicine.

I had someone reach out asking for my thoughts and recommendations on a proposed treatment course by their functional medicine doc.  It is not uncommon that this happens in my clinical practice too. Perhaps, it's a bit of their inner knowing, that gut feeling, telling them to get a second (or third) opinion.

Because I cannot practice medicine outside of my position at “The" university, we agreed to use their experiences, de-identified, for some group teaching.  I have combined their questions along with a mix of other scenarios I am frequently asked about in my practice.

I thought the best way to do this was by writing a series of emails (and now a blog!) over the next couple of weeks to share my thoughts, tips, and pearls on a holistic approach to health and healing. Along the way, I will also share helpful tips on supplements and testing because I LOVE giving helpful tips - it's my love language.


What is different about this series of blogs? 

I am going to do my absolute best not to bite my tongue. Filter AND gloves off. 

The thing is, for the longest time I have worried about not upsetting people… 

Avoiding haters and negative Nancys (sorry Nancy I know it's not YOU specifically) 

But when you walk on eggshells, nothing changes. 

Our brains prefer status quo. 

But then the world remains status quo.

And let's be honest, status quo isn't cutting it. 


My NY resolution was to make sure 2022 was not about the status quo and we are already halfway through this crazy year so here we go. 

I thought this would be a perfect introduction to what the Crunchy Allergist is all about and a great resource that you might want to share with a loved one or friend. If you have someone in your life that you think would find this blog helpful, please forward this page to them. If you were sent this blog link by a friend and would like to ensure the rest of these blog series arrive in your inbox, click below to subscribe to our newsletter.

Before I dig into the juicy bits in I always do my best to share my disclosures and biases. The reality is every single one of us views the world through our own reality, our own set of lenses as it were. Taking a few moments to bring awareness to these biases is critically important. This is a part of academic & “conventional” medicine through the Sunshine Act. This law ensures that all payment docs received from big Pharma are recorded and available for the public to look up.


Curious about my Sunshine Act data? Click here to view.

Unfortunately, these disclosures are not required in the greater health and wellness industry. 


So let’s start off by saying I am not a functional medicine doctor. If you are curious about my training path, I discuss it more here on the Blog and Podcast.


Why is that? 

Although I strongly considered training in functional medicine, I decided it was not a good fit, and here is why:

  1. Training consisted of a series of weekend courses each costing ~$2000.  Total training was around $20K. 
  2. When I dug into specific related to my area of expertise I found science that was categorically wrong. None of the immune system experts had fellowship training in immunology. For instance, I saw that food sensitivity testing is frequently touted as necessary. But, it doesn’t work.  
  3. Seeing what I recognized as problematic in my area of expertise, I reached out to trusted colleagues in gastroenterology, endocrinology, infectious diseases, and other specialties to get their input. Unfortunately, it was a similar story-.
  4. I questioned the emphasis on these tests and supplements…I mean it does set them apart from “conventional medicine” and the ideas behind the testing at the surface seemed pretty novel, cutting edge, and frankly, cool BUT they also make for a great way to increase your profit margin. Did you know that most labs and supplements provide around 25-30% kickback to the ordering provider?
  5. Anyone with any type of medical background could become a certified functional medicine provider as long as you paid the fees…


So here we are…

I am not going to lie.

Looking at the list they sent gave me palpitations. 

Mostly because it is so long…

and complicated…

The list had NO FEWER than 16 different products listed.

(The same story with another patient I saw in the clinic just this week)

I mean I am ALL about doing things naturally (when safe and effective)…

But I am also pretty practical… 

And aim for simple & sustainable. 


Next, I will dig into some of the data behind specific supplements and tips that will save you money! 

Keep an eye on your inbox (if you have subscribed to the newsletter!).

In the meantime, send me the questions that you would love to have answered in this blog series! Email me at [email protected]

I can’t wait to dig in. 


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