What is Functional Nutrition?
Functional nutrition is about looking "up-stream" to determine the root cause of an individuals symptoms. I then take that information and use a systems-oriented approach, taking your specific needs and goals into account as part of the process as I develop a customized program for you. I work in therapeutic partnership with all of my clients.
How does your practice differ from most naturopathic and nutrition practices?
My relentless search for answers as to the origin of disease, and subsequently the implementation of healing protocols, has lead me to believe that educating my clients and spending the time needed with them is vital for their success. My protocols are not just about telling my client what to do, but explaining why they're doing it and how it works in their body. I use pictures, books, graphs, anatomy texts, and easy-to-understand language to help my client understand their protocol. As a result, my clients feel both empowered as they know what they need to do, and also understand their role as active participants in their own health.
What training have you had that has enabled you to practice in such a unique way?
I've seen many sides of the health care system. I worked as part of the sports medical crew for the University of Western Ontario football team, tending to acute and chronic injury. I then went on to work as a fitness coach and subsequently qualified as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach with the National Strength Conditioning Association. I realized that the key to optimal health is targeted nutrition and lifestyle interventions. This inspired me to gain further training as a Certified Nutritional Practitioner. Wanting to learn more about combining the best of conventional medicine and functional medicine, I completed my Functional Medicine certification with the Institute of Functional Medicine based in Washington DC.
My studies never stop. I continually attend webinars, seminars, courses, and workshops to ensure that I am working with the most up-to-date evidence based research. Constantly expanding my knowledge base gives me a "big picture" of health, and helps me to provide my clients with the most current information available.
What would you say is your key area of expertise?
My specialty is in being able to support my clients with effective personalized evidence-based therapeutic protocols that include specific dietary interventions, lifestyle recommendations, and nutraceuticals. I support clients that are being treated concurrently allopathically, and those who opt for a completely natural approach. I have also successfully worked with clients and their primary care physicians and specialists to ensure we are all working together for our client/patients optimal results.
What is the most rewarding part of the work you do?
The successes of my clients are the greatest rewards in the work that I do and I am truly honoured. When a 6-year old client sends me a drawing they made of me as a thank-you note because they are doing better in school. Or a couple sends me photos of their newborn, where we had been working together on fertility challenges. Clients whose Crohn's symptoms come under control, cancer that goes into remission, chronic inflammation that goes away, and clients whose health improves so much that they can go off their medications- are truly the greatest rewards. I love that I can be a part of someone's healing process, and it's remarkable to see the transformation in my clients- not just in their health but in the positive effect their improved health has on every aspect of their lives.
You also teach several courses. What inspired you to start offering this type of training?
Most of the courses that I've created came about because there was a need. My clients and students would ask me where they could get more information in specific areas. As a result I created my Advanced Clinical Focus Courses- education that I wish I had access to when I was in their shoes. These are part of a full Functional Nutrition Certification program (www.FunctionalNutrition.ca), where I offer a range of courses that include topics like supplementation, digestion, hormone balance, reading blood work and detoxification. These courses are taught to people who have a keen interest in learning more about their own health, as well as a range of practitioners- nutritionists, naturopathic doctors, pharmacists, and MDs- professionals looking to improve the results they get with their clients and patients.
When you're not in your clinic, where can you be found?
I enjoy being outdoors - in my garden or out in the woods foraging and working with the remedies that I recommend. I spend quite a bit of time seeking out wild foods and herbs and learning how to work with these plants. My keen interest led me to participate in an intensive herbal medicine internship at the United Plant Savers Herbal Sanctuary. My wife, Meghan Telpner, who is also a nutritionist, and I enjoy travelling and exploring other parts of the world, giving us first hand knowledge of other foods, remedies and traditions. I have a curiosity for the natural world that keeps me constantly interested in learning more and discovering ways that I can apply this knowledge to my work.
Most of all I love spending time with Meghan and our son Finley.
Bio For Media Use
Josh Gitalis, Clinical Nutritionist and Functional Medicine Practitioner, runs a Toronto-based private practice, with a worldwide client base. He is a recognized expert in integrative healthcare, merging the best of functional medicine and integrative therapeutics. As a leader in his field, Josh has taught Clinical Nutrition for several natural health colleges and runs the Functional Nutrition Certification Program. He is the first Canadian nutritionist to become an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner (IFMCP).