Why Integrative Nutrition Isn’t Just a Buzz Word


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Integrative nutrition is more than food. It looks at wellness holistically from a lens of prevention, improvement and overall life enjoyment. And the movement towards integrative nutrition is gaining momentum.

Integrative nutrition is more than food. It looks at wellness holistically from a lens of prevention, improvement and overall life enjoyment.

News articles and magazines are always touting the next big diet or health trend with the latest buzz words. Words like paleo, vegan, jackfruit, turmeric and microbiome, among others.

But lately I’ve been hearing that something quite simple – wellness – is going to be a top trend for the next 10 years. Yep, little old wellness. And to be honest, I had to scratch my head at that one.

First, because I find it sad that wellness is only now becoming a priority. I mean, it makes you wonder what we’ve been focusing on up until this point, right? And second, because I honestly don’t think wellness is going to trend for 10 years. Nope. I think it’s here to stay.

The Future of Integrated Everything

To understand why wellness isn’t going anywhere we must first understand integrative medicine and integrative nutrition.

As a former executive for healthcare companies, I’m quite familiar with conventional and western medicine. Having worked for companies world renowned in cancer research and diagnostics, I’ve spent countless hours with amazing scientists, researchers and physicians. Utterly brilliant people. But people focused on fixing you after you’re broken, to put it in simple terms.

Thankfully, healthcare has been slowly changing over the last decade and today we’re hearing more about personalized and integrative medicine.

So what exactly is integrative medicine? According to WebMD, “Integrative medicine pairs traditional medicine with other treatments to care for your mind, body, and spirit. For example, your doctor may suggest chemotherapy to fight cancer as well as acupuncture to help manage its side effects.”

Integrative medicine is a huge step forward that focuses on the patient in a holistic manner, making use of all appropriate therapies including traditional pharmaceuticals and alternative or complementary treatments.

But the crux of integrative medicine is still on treatment – after you’ve been diagnosed with something. And for most people (myself included), that’s simply not enough.

The Rise of Integrative Nutrition and Wellness

Some say that the world is getting sicker. And that may be true. But instead of focusing on the negative, let’s focus on the positive, shall we?

Wellness is trending because people are now looking for dietary and lifestyle tweaks to prevent getting sick in the first place. And I say bravo to that! It’s the concept of nourishing our bodies to perform their absolute best with the genetic landscape we’ve been given.

Genetics, heredity and predispositions absolutely play a role in wellness, but many conditions are drastically increasing at a rate that can’t be attributable to genetics alone, as genetics don’t change that fast.

So what’s going on? Well, a lot of things. But let’s simplify them to the realm of diet, environment and lifestyle. As I’ve mentioned before, I love these because they’re variables we can control or at least influence.

Integrative nutrition is more than food. It looks at wellness holistically from a lens of prevention, improvement and overall life enjoyment.

Integrative Nutrition Goes Beyond Food

Several years ago I became immersed in wellness when I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I obtained my health coaching certification. At the time, I saw that this wellness trend wasn’t really a trend or a buzz word, but rather a whole new perspective on living a good life. It was something with staying power.

So I pivoted in my career and studied concepts likes “primary foods” – seemingly simple topics of nourishment that aren’t on your plate. Healthy relationships, physical activity, emotional wellness, career happiness and stress reduction. And let me tell you, they’re life-changing.

Nutrition is the science and study of nutrients in food and how those nutrients fuel the cells in our body. So nutrition, theoretically, should turn our bodies into a well-oiled machine. But food alone, as we’ve seen, isn’t always able to do that.

That’s where integrative nutrition comes in. Integrative nutrition looks at wellness holistically from a lens of prevention, improvement and overall life enjoyment.

It’s more than food. And I believe, it’s even one step ahead of integrative medicine. It’s what you can do to stay well. It’s what you can do to stay happy and thriving. It’s individualized. And it sure isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Because people are slowly learning that so much more is in their control than they ever imagined.

That’s the beauty of integrative nutrition.

More Health Coaching Information

If you’d like to learn more about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), the health coaching program I attended, take part in a sample class.

About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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  1. Hi Lisa! I’m curious – what made you choose integrative nutrition instead of functional medicine?
    IIN has been on my radar for over a year now and I was just recently introduced to the idea of studying functional medicine instead. Thoughts?

    P.S. Huge fan of yours! Just found you a few weeks ago.

    1. Hi Katie – I wasn’t interested in practicing medicine, just inspiring people to adopt healthier habits. So health coaching versus functional medicine was a better fit for me. :) I’m happy you’re loving all my content!