When I first began my foray into functional medicine, I was pleasantly surprised to hear of this thing called functional foods. As someone who doesn’t like to eat solids for breakfast, who loves the concept of eating but feels it gets in the way
of more pressing matters, and who surely needs some daily nutrient therapy for existing and future medical issues, I found functional foods deserved that heavenly operatic “Ahhhhhh” when I began enjoying all the benefits they provided
me in my day-to-day life.
Like any good follower of something share-worthy, I began to spread the news to my patients. What I didn’t realize was that I subconsciously shared the potential benefit of this form of nutrient therapy before I ever actually told them about the features it had. For example, I routinely opened a patient conversation with why I drink a “shake” for breakfast every day before I listed the turmeric, hypoallergenic protein base or whatever that particular shake had in it. My near 2 ½ cup shake full of nutrients, water and almond milk was daily fodder for conversation, especially with my morning patients. It sometimes takes me three hours to finish my “shake du jour” because of my conversations with patients, so that’s a lot of patients curious about what I’m drinking and why.
Now, you may think it’s rude to drink your shake in front of a patient, but in my office, many of my visits are consultative and last 25 to 50 minutes. We meet over a conference table-type extension of my desk and it seems quite natural to have a beverage at my side. My staff always offers a glass of water or hot beverage when a patient checks in, so the patient and I are having more of a “coffee house” experience versus a transactional, get undressed, wear this gown-type of visit.
In my years of practicing functional medicine, I have found there are five patient personas perfect for functional foods, including “The Gagger” and “The Addict.” I’ll be offering a webinar on this topic, where we will discover how you can get that “Ahhhhhhh” from your patients while enjoying a consistent residual revenue stream from this powerful form of nutrient therapy.
Shilpa P. Saxena, MD is a Board-Certified Family Practice physician whose passion and purpose come to life through sharing her innovative patient education and practice management solutions in her classic ‘keep it simple’ style. She serves as Faculty with the Institute for Functional Medicine, the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the Metabolic Medical Institute at George Washington University and most recently, joined the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center serving as the Clinical Expert for the CM Vitals Program. Dr. Saxena is an expert in the Group Visit medical model, creator of Group Visit Toolkits, and co-author of The Ingredients Matter: India.