While we at In2GREAT are proud of every team member, we wanted to take some time to specifically highlight the accomplishments of our very own Eli Trave, who has recently followed her passion to become a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner! Eli dedicated herself to expanding her knowledge in health, and as a result, she can now provide in2GREAT’s patients with a much needed in-depth service on nutrition. We wanted our patients to get to know Eli better, so we sat down together and asked her some questions. Here’s what she had to say.
Meet Eli Trave, Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (FNTP)
Question: Tell us a little about yourself. Why is this your passion and why should we trust you?
A little about me, I am a mom of two, one on the way, a runner, and a foodie! I have always pushed myself hard to learn more, know more, take the road less traveled, and not settle for the status quo. Food has always been a passion of mine. As a young teenager, my favorite TV shows to watch were on the Food Network. I loved to cook and loved to learn about food. In college when my peers were eating typical college food I jumped on the health food wagon. My roommates teased me about it, but I didn’t care, I knew I was onto something that would benefit me for a lifetime.
I worked for 20 years in the food industry and at one time even thought about becoming a chef, but realized that was not where my passion truly was. In the past 11 years of working with Dr. Priest and learning about Functional Medicine, I realized that food and nutrition play an enormous role in health and that this was an area where many people struggle. Many adults don’t know what it means to eat healthily, and how to source healthy foods, and then how to go home and cook. That is when a light bulb turned on for me.
I have a passion and skill for healthy eating and cooking! How can I take this and help people? So, last September I enrolled in the Nutritional Therapy Association’s Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner course. I thought, this will be easy, I already “know so much”… I was quickly humbled and realized that while I did know a lot, there was so much more to know. In June 2020, I completed the course, passed my tests, and can now put my passion for health and good food to use to help others!
Question: What is Functional Nutrition and what does a Therapy Practitioner do?
The Nutritional Therapy Association (NTA) teaches a holistic approach to nutrition, relying heavily on the body’s innate wisdom, on the fact that our bodies are constantly striving to achieve homeostasis, and by properly nourishing it, we can do just that! While the approach is holistic, it is also founded in science. Each of the modules of the course addressed how the systems of the body SHOULD work, why dysfunction happens, and how to bring balance via a food first approach and foundational support.
Nutritional Therapy is not one-size-fits-all, we take your bio-individual needs into consideration when addressing your health concerns. Bio-individuality means what may work for one person may not work for another. FNTPs believe that when the foundations are out of balance it can cause health-related consequences. These consequences are expressed by the body with vitamin deficiencies, hormone imbalance, adrenal and HPA axis dysfunction, inflammation, and immune system dysfunction. Through a series of consultations and a comprehensive intake questionnaire, we can discover where your deficiencies are.
FNTPs are also trained to perform the Functional Clinical Assessment. The Functional Clinical Assessment is completed by palpating a series of points identified to correlate to specific organs or systems in the body. When an organ system becomes stressed, blood and/or lymph is shunted to these networks in an effort to draw the necessary nutrients to support the organ. This collection of fluid takes up space at the organ system and registers as tenderness in the body. The Functional Clinical Assessment gives Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioners the ability to communicate directly with our clients; bodies and understand what they need and customize a nutritional plan to support optimal health.
Question: Who might benefit from working with a FNTP?
As an FNTP, I can help you with nutrition, rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach to diet, I will help you by working with your unique needs into account. I can help you improve your diet and lifestyle for general health, and for preventative care to help you prevent health problems. Many of these problems can be prevented by addressing lifestyle changes and optimizing your diet today.
Besides prevention, an FNTP can also help you get to the root cause of a litany of conditions like bloating, digestive distress, constipation, gut dysbiosis, chronic health conditions, stress levels, energy levels, and more. FNTPs cannot treat or heal specific conditions. However, I can provide education and advice to those who have or are experiencing conditions such as these. Together, we work to support the body’s nutritional needs, offering it a chance to effectively care for itself through proper nutrition, appropriate movement, stress management, and quality sleep.
Question: What are some side-effects of people who benefit from FNTP?
When you look at the root causes of health issues and support the foundations of health (digestion, blood sugar regulation, fatty acids, minerals, and hydration) through diet and lifestyle modifications, and balance out the body, many symptoms will begin to heal on their own. Your healing journey is unique to you. There are some factors that are similar for everyone while going through functional nutritional therapy.
- Learn what a truly healthy diet looks like for you
- Identify and eliminate food sensitivities
- Focus on proper digestion
- Manage blood sugar dysregulation
- Support your endocrine functions and adrenal health
- Work to rid your body of exposure to harmful chemicals
Question: What are the pillars/foundations of FNTP?
The NTA teaches that the underlying foundations of optimal health are eating a diet that is whole food-based, nutrient-dense, and properly prepared, having healthy digestion is fundamental to nutrition. Eating a properly prepared, nutrient-dense diet is step one, but we must also be able to breakdown the foods we eat AND absorb the nutrients they contain, blood sugar regulation, mineral, and fatty acid balance, and hydration.
- a properly prepared nutrient-dense diet
- blood sugar balance
- fatty acid balance
- mineral balance
Question: What can I expect from working with an FNTP?
I prefer to meet in person, however, I am totally capable of having virtual consultations via Zoom. First, you will fill out an initial intake and health history form and a nutritional assessment questionnaire. I’ll also have you fill out a three-day food journal, which will help me see where you are and where you can make modifications. There is no judgment with these food journals, it’s important, to be honest when filling these out, to get the best recommendations from me.
Then, you will receive a graph that details which parts of your body’s foundations and symptoms need to be addressed, in order of priority. We will go over these together and discuss your health concerns and history in detail, along with your nutrition and lifestyle habits.
We will also talk through how we can work together to reach your wellness goals. We can do this in person, or via zoom. If we are meeting in person, I can conduct the Functional Clinical Assessment (FCA), which I will explain during the first consultation. It isn’t required – and some clients prefer to just use interviews and food journals to get diet, digestive, and lifestyle recommendations. That’s totally okay, however, the FCA allows me to tap into your body’s innate intelligence via a series of palpations to gather information about any organs and systems in the body that may be struggling. This may also include testing for the proper nutrient and supplement protocol to support your needs, called lingual neuro testing.
From there, I will develop your individualized protocol and recommendations. We will use follow-up appointments to assess your progress and make any necessary protocol updates or adjustments. You can either purchase a package or pay for sessions a la carte. During nutritional therapy, you should expect to be diligent and invested in the process for at least 6 months. This is not a quick fix.
Work With Eli, FNTP
Are you ready to work with Eli? At in2GREAT Eli offers 3-month programs called TotalNutrition or a la carte consultations that are one-on-one consultations. She also offers Supermarket Strategy and Pantry Revamp consultations. Soon Eli hopes to offer cooking tutorials as well! Stay tuned as this service evolves.