Perched atop a shelf in my office is the hefty “compact” Oxford English Dictionary that my late husband bought me for Christmas many moons ago. In thinking about the word “symbiosis” I hoisted the tome off its perch, grabbed the domed magnifying glass that just barely allows me to make out the tiny print, and looked up the true meaning of the word that I use to explain the unique place where “food meets physiology.”

Generally, the term symbiosis means to “live together” and “in association with one another.”

From a biological perspective, symbiosis refers to the “interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.”

Symbiosis and the understanding of these interactions—between the outside and inside worlds—is the fourth pillar in my Practitioner Mastery Paradigm. The Paradigm was born through my teaching in Functional Nutrition Lab, as I gained a deeper understanding of the myriad aspects needed for practitioners to have true success in practice.

While we may think that one more skill or this next bit of information will catapult our ability to practice with excellence, it’s truly a synthesis of different techniques, expertise and proficiencies that add up to both clinical and professional advances.

I’ve studied these.
I’ve taken them apart and dissected them.
I’ve looked at them from every angle so that I can teach more coaches and clinicians to become true masters in the field of functional nutrition.

I’m committed to doing so because I want to see less patients suffer and more practitioners prosper.

The 8 pillars of the Practitioner Mastery Paradigm include:

  • empathy
  • leadership
  • nutrition skills
  • symbiosis
  • anatomy & physiology
  • problem solving
  • intuition
  • mastery

One trap I see many practitioners fall into is thinking that understanding dietary theories is enough to help them help others get well. Similarly, a mere comprehension of biochemistry, no matter how deep and detailed, will not translate to clinical benefits.

Instead, symbiosis is the answer.

Symbiosis is where bioindividuality comes into play. It’s where we recognize how food meets the patient’s unique physiology. Our job is to understand our client’s unique body, and match the particular foods that will act as medicine for that individual. When we grasp the interplay, we can initiate both healing and harmony.

That’s symbiosis.

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