Cleveland dietitian named 'Next Great Nutritionist,' credits work at Center for Functional Medicine

Cleveland dietitian named 'Next Great Nutritionist,' credits work at Center for Functional Medicine
Published: Sep. 27, 2017 at 10:38 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2017 at 8:08 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Food keeps our bodies going, but can also cause a lot of trouble if we're not making smart choices.

Brigid Titgemeier, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, was recently named "Next Great Nutritionist." The honor came from Mind Body Green, an online health and wellness publication.

"I think the future of nutrition is really using nutrition as the first line of intervention for disease- instead of just thinking of it as calories or a way to manage your weight," Titgemeier said.

It was that answer to a question that grabbed the attention of the Mind Body Green team. Titgemeier attended a conference with top nutritionists and health experts. She also wins a year-long mentorship with leaders at Mind Body Green.

"Tap into their expertise," Titgemeier said.

It will build upon her life-saving work she's doing at the Center for Functional Medicine.

"Last week, I had a patient say to me, 'You know it's so incredible the power of food can have on your body," Titgemeier said. "Her arthritic symptoms is what she was referring to, and I just got chills. I know- it's true."

The center has been around three years. Its programs tackle digestive disorders, diabetes, immune/autoimmune disorders, women's health disorders and weight management.

"The entire model of it is to help people understand why they have the diseases that they have, and to try and use lifestyle interventions to improve their symptoms and possibly rely less on medications," Titgemeier said.

Lab testing, health information, and dietary guidance from a team of physicians, dietitians and heath coaches work on reshaping patient's habits.

The fastest way to get into the program is through the 10-week group medical appointments called "Functioning for Life".

"We know that reported outcomes are much better when people are not in it alone (and) when they feel like they have the supportive community," Titgemeier said.

She's hopeful the national honor and its connections will give her innovative ways to help patients.

"It's amazing to see their progress, and see them transform," Titgemeier said.

MAKING HEALTHIER CHOICES

Titgemeier said there shouldn't be a rule book when it comes to nutrition, because each person should develop habits to best match their body's needs.

"There's so many variables to a person's health," she said. "I believe that the center of it is really the nutrition, and whether you're getting the nutrients your body needs to really allow for it to function optimally."

Titgemeier said there's a few things we all can be doing to make better choices.

She said we should shy away from processed meats (bacon, ham, hot dogs), artificial sweeteners and added sugars.

"Really common sources of added sugar would include things like cane syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses, agave nectar (and) maple syrup," Titgemeier said. "These are ingredients that some people don't perceive to be added sugar."

She said we should also limit refined carbohydrates. "So, anything that's white that isn't 100-percent whole grain," Titgemeier said.

7 Simple Swaps That Will Transform Your Diet

WHAT SHOULD WE BE EATING?

"Look at the balance of your plate- whether there's enough color on it," Titgemeier said. "Whether you have half of your plate as non-starchy vegetables. A fun activity that you can do with your family is to try and encourage your kids to get one color of the rainbow every day."

She said taking these steps reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

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