Functional Nutrition 



Understanding Functional Nutrition

Many of you may have never heard of Functional Nutrition or do not know what it is. It is a relatively new specialty which looks at the way our body is affected by food on a cellular level. Josh Gitalis is on board with us today to expound on what Functional Nutrition is all about.

Getting Into Functional Nutrition

For someone as young as Josh Gitalis, his impressive resume blew me away! He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario in 2004. In 2006, he became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).

Pursuing further studies in the Holistic world, Josh Gitalis graduated with honors from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in 2007.  A notch on his Functional Nutrition belt is becoming a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner in 2016.

However, Josh Gitalis’ list of accomplishments doesn’t stop there. Aside from Functional Nutrition, he has varied interests. His interests include working in the past as a personal fitness trainer and health coach. Josh Gitalis, however, decided to focus on Functional Nutrition after attending a conference on Holistic Nutrition and soil health.

Soil Health

Before we think of just eating organic foods, Josh Gitalis says we must consider soil health. He says that when we have conventional food, the soil used to grow those plants are depleted. Hence, it makes us more susceptible to disease.

How exactly are we depleting the soil? Apparently, because plants can’t protect themselves, farmers need to use massive amounts of chemicals to fend off disease and pests.

“Food is our sustenance. It is nature’s way of taking the power of all those elements and putting it in a package by what we call food,” explains Josh Gitalis. “We need healthy soil to do that because it is where our food derives all of its nutrition.”

Eating The Right Organic Foods

Now that organic food is getting popular, what are the best organic foods? For one thing, we can look at foods in the grocery store that most resembles the original food.

Josh Gitalis advises people to look at what is the most nutritious option, like wild foods. Search for foods that most resemble their ancestors. It’s not hard to look for wild foods. Wild foods have more medicinal properties. And antioxidant is a perfect example.

“Ever since farmers first planted seeds 10,000 years ago, humans have been destroying the nutritional value of their fruits and vegetables,” said Josh Gitalis. “Unwittingly, we’ve been selecting plants that are high in starch and sugar, low in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants for more than 400 generations.”

For those wanting to explore a diet of wild foods, Josh Gitalis recommends an excellent book entitled, ‘Eating On The Wild Side,’ by Jo Robinson. The book provides a list of wild foods that can easily be found in groceries and supermarkets, as well as their nutritional content.

Essential Supplements

Josh Gitalis offers a plethora of nutrition and health programs suited for your needs. A big part of his wellness programs is making sure patients benefit from four supplements as a base. These include multi-vitamins, probiotics, a healthy essential fatty acid combination, and Vitamin D. Like Vitamin D; Josh Gitalis says many people are likewise deficient in Vitamin C.

“Everyone should be taking Vitamin D,” advises Josh Gitalis. “Research shows many people are deficient in Vitamin D. It doesn’t matter where you live because most people are not outside all the time. The only way to check is through blood work.”

Consequently, he says symptoms are the language of the body. And we need to understand what that language is, so we don’t get to a point where the body is trying to yell at us. That’s what this middle ground is all about.

“Each organ, gland, and cell in our body has about four to seven times the capacity of what it needs to run its system,” Josh Gitalis explains. “The body has some resilience, and it can work both ways. We can break down our resilience until we get to the point of dysfunction or we can build resilience.”

Dealing With Stress

Josh Gitalis likewise encourages meditation to help patients cope with stress. Yoga is also an excellent way to relieve stress. According to him, all types of stress is registered in the body in the same way. The body can’t distinguish the types of stress. Hence, it is important that we have a system in place to be able to process that stress.

A good reference to help one understand the mind and body connection is the book, ‘Molecules of Emotion,’ by Candice Pert. The book provides surprising revelations about how our body is linked to our thoughts in a biomolecular point of view.

“Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A small dose can be good,” said Josh Gitalis. “Exercise is a stress on the body. A little bit is good, too much is bad. If you can recover from your exercise, then you’re on the right track.”

Success Stories

Josh Gitalis claims that most of his patients attested they could handle stress better after signing up for his programs. Mostly, Josh Gitalis says this is because his programs focus on body awareness and the ability to look within.

“We all have this intuitive ability within us to know what the body needs,” said Josh Gitalis. “Health Coaching and Functional Nutrition is the future medicine. Consequently, we see results that some people might call miracles.”

Josh Gitalis has seen many sides of the health care system. He worked as part of the sports medical crew for the University of Western Ontario football team, tending to acute and chronic injury. 

Josh Gitalis then went on to work as a fitness coach and subsequently qualified as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach with the National Strength Conditioning Association. He realized that the key to optimal health is targeted nutrition and lifestyle interventions. This inspired him to gain further training as a Certified Nutritional Practitioner. 

Wanting to learn more about combining the best of conventional medicine and functional medicine, Josh Gitalis completed his Functional Medicine certification with the Institute of Functional Medicine based in Washington DC.

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