In order to meet the educational needs of the growing population of nutrition professionals in the Functional Medicine ecosystem, IFM has developed a new online learning course called Therapeutic Food Plans: A Component of Personalized Nutrition. Developed in collaboration with the American Nutrition Association (ANA), this course offers instruction on how to personalize IFM’s suite of therapeutic food plans in order to best meet the needs of clients and patients.
As Functional Medicine practitioners know, nutrition is a critical component of a person’s overall health and wellbeing, and tailoring nutrition interventions to a patient’s unique set of needs is required for optimal results. As part of Functional Medicine’s personalized healthcare approach, IFM educator Elizabeth Boham MD, MS, RD, IFMCP, notes that, “We can harness the power of nutrition to heal our body, balance our energy, and thrive in life.”
Many nutrition professionals, especially those who are new to Functional Medicine, may find that personalizing therapeutic dietary interventions can be difficult when clients present with complex medical diagnoses. Therapeutic Food Plans: A Component of Personalized Nutrition, which is built on the framework of IFM’s three-step process for food plan personalization, simplifies the process for determining the best interventions for clients with specific health concerns and demonstrates how to tailor those plans to meet clients where they are in their health journey.
Unlike other educational offerings from IFM, this new course is targeted to nutrition professionals specifically and is designed with their scope of practice in mind. After completing both AFMCP and Therapeutic Food Plans: A Component of Personalized Nutrition, Functional Nutrition–oriented RDs, CNSs, CNs, and nutritionists with advanced degrees will be prepared to contribute to collaborative care teams with other IFM-trained practitioners. Additionally, physicians and other healthcare practitioners who give nutrition advice to patients may also find this course useful to learn more about personalizing nutrition within the IFM framework. By meeting the educational needs of many different types of practitioners, this course will help diversify the pool of highly skilled practitioners in the Functional Medicine ecosystem and increase the accessibility of Functional Medicine and Functional Nutrition interventions.
General Course Information
Therapeutic Food Plans: A Component of Personalized Nutrition is a 7.5-hour, cohort-based, interactive online learning program that utilizes clinical case–based scenarios to lead learners through the application of personalized nutrition interventions.
With an emphasis on IFM’s three-step framework for personalizing therapeutic food plans (as outlined in Personalizing the IFM Therapeutic Food Plans—Practitioner Guide, one of the flagship IFM tools), this course outlines the specifics of the following IFM therapeutic food plans.
Core Food Plan: This basic, healthy eating plan is appropriate for people of all ages and body sizes and is an appropriate intervention for those without complex medical conditions. Unlike other food plans, the Core Food Plan is available with customized lists for individuals with vegan, vegetarian, and omnivorous dietary preferences.
Cardiometabolic Food Plan: This modified Mediterranean approach was designed for individuals with cardiovascular health conditions or specific cardiometabolic concerns, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, elevated blood fats, and increased belly fat.
Detox Food Plan: As a clinically directed metabolic detoxification protocol, this food plan provides nutritional support for facilitating the pathways involved in the processing, biotransformation, and excretion of toxins. It is appropriate for individuals who have been exposed to high levels of environmental toxins or whose medical symptoms are related to the buildup of toxins in the body.
Mito Food Plan: This food plan is characterized as an anti-inflammatory, low-glycemic, gluten-free, low-grain approach to eating that also emphasizes the consumption of high-quality fats. The plan focuses on supporting mitochondrial health through the use of therapeutic foods that improve energy production in the body. When implemented with mildly ketogenic or therapeutic ketogenic macronutrient distributions, this plan facilitates the production of ketones and improves insulin resistance. The Mito Food Plan is helpful for a wide range of chronic and neurological conditions and symptoms.
GI-Specific Food Plans (Anti-Candida, Low-FODMAP, and Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)): These three advanced elimination diets are interventions targeted toward addressing very specific GI issues. The Anti-Candida Food Plan is best suited for individuals who have an overgrowth of yeast or fungus. The Low-FODMAP Food Plan—which limits foods high in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols—is suitable for individuals who have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, some instances of inflammatory bowel disease, carbohydrate malabsorption, and small intestine bacterial overgrowth. Finally, the SCD protocol has been shown to be helpful for individuals with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, diverticulitis, cystic fibrosis, and chronic diarrhea.
ReNew Food Plan: This food plan is a therapeutic, short-term diet that is useful for ridding the body of the most common foods that cause inflammation and for identifying food allergies, sensitivities, intolerances, and triggers. It is most helpful for individuals who have physical and emotional attachments to sugar and highly processed foods and who are looking for a temporary “systems reboot” before transitioning to a more sustainable healthy eating plan. For individuals who have autoimmune, GI, neurological, and other chronic health conditions, ReNew can be an excellent first step.
Therapeutic Food Plans: A Component of Personalized Nutrition is eligible for CME, CEU, and CE credit through the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), American Medical Association (AMA), Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), and the Board for Certified Nutrition Specialists (BCNS). Qualifying healthcare providers who complete both AFMCP and Therapeutic Food Plans: A Component of Personalized Nutrition are eligible for listing and special recognition on the Find a Practitioner section of IFM’s website, the largest referral network in Functional Medicine. Those eligible for recognition on Find a Practitioner must hold degrees and credentials enabling them to dispense nutrition advice or conduct nutrition counseling, including the following:
- Nurse practitioners
- Nutrition professionals (RD, CNS, CN, and others with advanced degrees from accredited universities)
- Physician assistants
- Physicians (MDs, NDs, DOs)
- Registered nurses
Practitioners completing this course gain several new skills:
- Utilizing IFM tools to recognize and address nutritional inadequacies and dietary patterns that may be impacting health
- Selecting and personalizing the most appropriate IFM therapeutic food plan for an individual’s health concerns and dietary needs or preferences
- Explaining Functional Nutrition concepts to individuals, thereby improving their awareness of the role nutrition plays in overall health and wellbeing
IFM is excited to offer this unique learning experience to nutrition professionals and other practitioners who are hungry for guidance in implementing and personalizing therapeutic dietary interventions for clients and patients. Personalized nutrition is a relatively low-cost, accessible way to implement Functional Medicine, and it has the potential to greatly improve health outcomes for individuals. By training practitioners in IFM’s methodology for food plan personalization, we hope to increase the availability of practitioners who are trained in tailoring nutrition plans to best meet the needs of clients and patients that provide the best possible health outcomes