Fruit and jars of juice on a table.

What is Integrative and Functional Nutrition?

Do you ever wonder why your aches and pains, fatigue, gastrointestinal issues or any other global conditions arent getting any better? ?Well, the answer may be right underneath your nose.

Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine stated, let medicine be thy food and let food be thy medicine. ?It was his belief that eating wholesome food is the basis of good health. ?Hippocrates also said almost 2500 years ago Leave your drugs in the chemists pot if you can heal the patient with food.

What is integrative and functional nutrition? ?Integrative and functional nutrition utilizes a systems-based approach to evaluate the many factors that can interact to block health and wellness. ??It searches for the root causes of conditions. ?These may include stress, toxins, adverse food reactions, infections or the nutrition plan you have been on. ?As an integrative and functional nutritionist, I strive for a holistic approach that incorporates lifestyle, foods, labs, and supplements to create a nutrition care plan. My comprehensive assessment helps me design a personalized treatment plan, tailored to each patients unique needs and lifestyle to support the fullest expression of health and healing. ?This integrated approach can dramatically improve patient outcomes and quality of life.

What is health?

You deserve to be healthy, right? ?But what does health mean to you? ?To me, being healthy is priceless. ?Who wants to spend more time in the doctors office due to being sick or having to pop more pills? ?I encourage you to assess how you really feel and ask yourself, could I be feeling better? ?We as humans do adapt to our environment and the way we feel. ?I have heard from many patients that their illness or condition has been a part of their life for years and its normal for them to feel sick or have aches or pain. ?My philosophy with each patient I meet with is, this is unacceptable. ?You only live once, and you dont want to look back and wish you would have done something in order to have better health. ?So, I encourage you to see how you can make a change in your life to feel better, have more energy and be pain-free.

Whos the expert?

When I went to school, I studied nutrition and dietetics and learned about treating disease. ?I also learned about the food guide pyramid (FGP) and it seemed appropriate at the time. ?The FGP recommended 6-11 servings of grains, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruits, 2-3 servings of dairy and protein each, and fats, oils and sweets sparingly. ?The FGP was a balanced approach or so we thought. ?Now, Im not saying that anyone of the food groups on the FGP are bad. ?In fact, Im not even saying a food or food group is bad or good, for the most part. ?But some people may need restrictions on certain foods, or simply to de-emphasize a food group.

Currently, the path to health is a patient centered approach that takes lifestyle and genetics into consideration. ?The scientific study of the interaction of nutrition and genes, especially with regard to the prevention or treatment of disease is nutrigenomics. There has been big emphasis on learning more about how genetics plays a part in health. ?Just because you may have specific genetics doesnt mean you will get a particular illness or disease. ?Depending on ones lifestyle and the environment can determine if illness or disease is expressed or not. ??This is known as epigenetics and leading a mindful life that entails some quietude, limiting exotoxins, and moderate exercise enables the human body to function as it was intended to. ?This evolution on integrative and functional nutrition goes to the root causes and gets people feeling better throughout their life.
As a registered dietitian I deal with many different nutrition-related conditions. With each patient I work with their biochemisty. ?Sometimes, I put patients on food restrictions but for only a short period of time unless long-term restrictions are advised. ?Take for example if someone has celiac disease, they should avoid gluten, or if someone has a lactose intolerance they should avoid lactose in dairy products. ?Public awareness of these conditions is becoming fairly high. ?But what if someone is sensitive to beef, broccoli, strawberries, oats, soybeans, corn, or sodium metabisulfite (SM). ?Most people have never heard of someone being sensitive to these foods. ?And what is SM, and what is a food sensitivity? ?These are things I will delve into in a post to come. ?For now, its enough to note that you have a good chance of having sensitivities to foods, and those sensitivities are not the same as a food allergy. ?By the way, you are consuming SM and a bunch other ingredients you cant pronounce. ?SM is a preservative in a wide range of prepared food products. ?It can cause problems for people that are asthmatic such as wheezing, congestion, anaphylaxis and shortness of breath. ?For the normal person, excess SM can cause nausea, diarrhea, gas and headaches. ?If you feel like you may have food sensitivities or excess inflammation in your body, an integrative and functional nutritionist can help decrease your symptoms, calm the immune system, heal the gut and decrease inflammation.

  • I met with Taft to find a nutrition solution that would increase my energy levels and reduce my weight by approximately 20 lbs. I hike, kayak, cycle, and mountain bike and need lots of healthy fuel to power it. I followed his suggestions and within 8 weeks I achieved my weight loss goal, with a dramatic increase in energy. Listen to Taft’s advice and it will pay off. I feel fantastic now!!

  • Taft is excellent, I have lost 10lbs of body fat and gained 17 lbs of muscle in the 2 years that I have been seeing him. I am a avid cross fitter, mountain biker, and whitewater kayaker and everything has improved due to my nutrition! Thanks Taft.

  • My experience with Taft Draper has been nothing but successful. I came to see Taft with multiple chronic illnesses and what I found has been life changing. Taft introduced me to a new testing service that allows me to know what foods my body is sensitive to. By eating these sensitive foods my body continues to yo-yo. Once I got my results Taft was able to support me in starting a new diet that began calming my immune system down. I am currently 4 months into this diet and have reduced my symptoms by 90%. Taft has been a great support. Thank you for your services!

  • Taft Draper began helping me with anemia and IBS. Taft had guided me through changes to my nutrition to reduce the symptoms of IBS and enrich my nutrition to increase my iron intake/absorption. Taft’s expertise allows me to use the Mediator Release Test/Lifestyle Eating and Performance information to improve my life through better health.

  • My visit with Taft put me on the path to lose over 45 lbs. I now better understand how I process foods and how food affects my body.  With Taft’s help, I’ve become a healthier version of myself!

Contact Taft


Hendersonville ObGyn
27 Doctors Dr. Hendersonville NC 28792

Henderson County Wellness Clinic
100 N. King St. Ste 500 28792

Crestview Recovery Center
90 Ashland Ave Asheville NC 28801

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