I am so excited about the ReNew Program coming up in January. As an FMI Health Coach, of course I would be excited, right? An opportunity for transformation is what health coaching is all about, and I absolutely love being able to be a part of a patient’s journey to wellness. I also have a more personal reason why I love the Renew Program. I love it because it transformed me! 

Just a few years ago I was dealing with depression, fatigue, stomach issues, and some other health complaints that were dismissed by my doctors before I became a patient at FMI.

I was told, like so many people are, that all my symptoms were normal for a busy mom with typical stressors and was only offered medication as an answer.

But I just couldn’t accept that it was normal to be so exhausted that I slept 10 hours at night and still needed a 2-hour nap, or that I was so depressed, I was getting jealous when I heard about someone who had passed away. I knew that was not normal, or okay! I was desperate for some direction. As someone who was interested in nutrition, had a degree in health education and knew how important lifestyle was, I felt like it was important to talk about this aspect with my doctor. However, when I tried to talk to my doctor about taking it from that angle, I felt laughed at. I was doing a lot on my own but something was missing. As a last resort, I decided to try functional medicine.

After I began working with a provider at FMI, besides finally feeling heard, I started seeing improvements as we worked on supporting my body, getting my nutrient levels up, balancing my hormones, and healing my gut.

Progress was slow and I was okay taking it slow because it was really all I could handle with my depression and fatigue. After a couple of months of slow and steady progress, I was ready for more. I heard about the ReNew program and I decided that I was going to do it — and I wasn’t just going to do it, but I was going to do it RIGHT. As a cash pay patient, it was a big investment so I was going to make sure I got my money’s worth, which meant I was all in. I knew that in order to be successful I needed to set myself up for success by really preparing mentally, emotionally and physically.

I sat my family down and explained to them that I was going to take 5 weeks to really focus on myself; that I was going to be following a food program that introduced a lot of recipes that they were not used to eating and that they could either eat it or cook for themselves. I explained that on top of eating nourishing food, I was going to take time to exercise, meditate and go to bed at a good time. I asked for their support – these 5 weeks were going to be about taking care of myself so that I could be the wife and mom I knew my family deserved. 

I cleared out my pantry and did meal planning and grocery shopping for the food on the plan. I planned out an exercise routine, made goals on how much water I would drink, committed to doing an app called The 5 Minute Journal to help improve my gratitude and mind frame, committed to doing daily guided meditation, and chose a bedtime. I also focused on my self-talk and not feeling guilty to take this time to improve myself. I leaned on the Nutritionist / Health Coach and used the group meetings and weekly check-ins for accountability and a sense of community. I knew that improving my lifestyle had to come from every angle – mind, body, and spirit – and that in order to really see if I could improve my health through lifestyle, I needed to give it my all.

After just a few weeks, my health progress skyrocketed! I couldn’t believe it! My depression was almost non-existent, my sleep was improving, my energy was increasing, my digestion improved (TMI – I had regular solid bowel movements for the first time since I was 15 years old). I felt so good and felt so much hope again.

I have been able to maintain the health benefits of the ReNew program and working with my provider over the last two years by continuing with many of the habits I started, and when I feel things shift back towards poor health, I refocus and prioritize again to make sure I am doing the things it takes to feel good.

Yes, these changes take work, but everything worth doing takes work. 

I was so inspired and transformed by the ReNew program that I decided I had to be involved in helping other people improve their health. I chose to become a Health Coach and enrolled in the year-long program through the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy the week after ReNew ended. Now, 2 years later, I have a new career as a Health Coach and get to be a part of the team that helped me heal.

Sometimes I think about where I would be today if I didn’t choose to do the ReNew program. It was the impetus for my good health and a renewed sense of purpose and joy in my life. I know that a program like ReNew will bring anyone’s health up a notch when they really decide to give it their all. 

Our wellness team at FMI is so excited for the next Renew program starting this January and we hope anyone who signs up will find value.

If you are thinking about doing it or planning on doing it, here are a few tips from my experience that will hopefully help you be successful:

1. Get your head in the game!

Decide to go for it 100%- the more you put into a program the more you’ll get out of it. It can be overwhelming but that is why you have the support of providers, nutritionists, health coaches, and other participants. And if you don’t think you need the support, take it anyway, because everyone can use support.

2. Clearly set your vision and goals and your “why” for doing it.

The health coaches and nutritionists can help you figure this out and the weekly appointments will help you stay connected to your goals. Most importantly don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is in a different stage of wellness and healing. Along with nutrition, this program tackles your whole lifestyle and also focuses on exercise/movement, stress management, sleep, and relationships.

3. Align your environment to support your goals.

Prepare by telling your supportive friends and family what you are doing, clean out your pantry, or at least a cupboard just for you. Plan out all your meals and snacks and have the food on hand. If you have a busy schedule, plan out some time to prep, chop, and prepare food. If one of your goals is to do daily yoga, make sure you have a place to do it. If you want to drink more water make sure good, quality water is always available and with you. If you want to go to bed by a certain time, set a timer to remind yourself.

4. Have a positive mindset!

Think of the 5 weeks as an experiment. If I live this way, what benefits will I see? Is it worth it? Did my energy improve, headaches lessen, sleep feel more restful, did my skin clear up, was I more patient? What did I learn? What do I want to continue doing after the 5 weeks are over to support my health?

Stephanie Ritari, PA-C

Stephanie Ritari is a board-certified Physician Assistant who offers primary care for adults at the Functional Medicine of Idaho Meridian Wellness Center. She specializes in Internal Medicine and has spent the majority of her career in the field of cardiovascular disorders.

Stephanie has more than 15 years experience as a Physician Assistant in a variety of medical areas, including cardiology and electrophysiology. Holistic practices have long been a part of Stephanie’s lifestyle, with a particular focus on clean living and nutrition. She has embedded functional principles into her conventional medicine practice throughout her career. After watching family members struggle to find answers for their chronic illnesses, Stephanie became more interested in finding ways to take a root cause approach in her own practice. Wanting to provide a proactive, comprehensive, and preventative scope of care for her patients, Stephanie began studying functional medicine. In 2021, she joined Functional Medicine of Idaho, where she is able to provide evidence based, root cause medicine.

Stephanie earned her Bachelor's of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Montana and her masters in Physician Assistant Studies from Rocky Mountain College. She is currently working towards her certification with The Institute for Functional Medicine. 

In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and dog doing outdoor activities including biking, hiking, and skiing. She also loves interior design and traveling, and is hoping to start her own garden in the near future.

Dr. David Musnick, MD, IFMCP

David Musnick is a board-certified medical doctor who offers in-person and telemedicine care from the Functional Medicine of Idaho Eagle clinic (coming soon). Dr. Musnick offers Functional Medicine, Sports Medicine, Functional Immunology, and Primary Care for adults and teenagers. He specializes in sports medicine, internal medicine, frequency specific microcurrent (FSM), scars, homeopathy, prolotherapy, and low-level laser treatments. 

Dr. Musnick is interested in getting to the root of underlying causes and factors that affect healing, including diet, sleep, exercise, stress, GI health, brain region health, toxins, hormones, infections, and electromagnetic fields (EMF). In medical school, Dr. Musnick spent a year studying nutrition. He has always been interested in the complex interrelationships of different systems of the body. Taking on challenges in the past, he created new treatment programs to heal the brain after concussion, treat chronic pain, arthritis, and tough SIBO and IBS cases. Dr. Musnick wants to help his patients achieve the highest level of health, vitality and function. 

After his internal medicine residency in Seattle, Dr. Musnick completed a fellowship in sports medicine where he became interested in helping patients get back to optimal musculoskeletal health and eventually back to their favorite activities. He quickly learned that many areas of the body were interrelated and started learning more about nutrition, supplements, and other facets of functional medicine. Dr. Musnick has more than 24 years of experience in Functional Medicine and achieved a very high level of both experience and expertise with many health conditions. He is also the author of the book, Conditioning for Outdoor Fitness, and helped in writing textbook chapters on arthritis and concussions.

Dr. Musnick received his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of California, San Francisco. He is certified through the Institute for Functional Medicine as an IFMCP. He also studied in the French school of Homeopathy. He is uniquely rare in that he teaches Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) and how to integrate it with functional medicine. 

In his spare time, Dr. Musnick enjoys hiking, nature photography, cooking healthy food, mountain biking, and skiing.

IFM Certified Practitioner

Aaron Dykstra, DNP, FNP-C

Aaron Dykstra is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. He offers pediatric primary care, including well-child checks and acute visits, in the Pediatric Department of the Functional Medicine of Idaho Meridian Wellness Center.

Functional and alternative therapies were a part of Aaron’s life from a young age, and he has implemented these principles into his conventional medicine practice throughout his career. Aaron has more than 8 years of experience in a variety of medical disciplines, including pediatrics, obstetrics, mental health, and nutrition. He has practiced in rural health clinics in California and Oregon. For the last 5 years, Aaron has had a passion for working with children and implementing positive change through the family unit. Aaron joined the Functional Medicine of Idaho Pediatric Team in 2021. His enthusiasm for educating children and parents about living a healthy lifestyle allows him to provide preventative and acute care for infants, children, and adolescents. 

Aaron obtained his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Brigham Young University. He earned both his Master’s of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice through the University of Arizona. He has obtained a Family Herbalist and Family Nutritionist certifications through The School of Natural Healing by Dr. Christopher. He is currently working towards his certification with The Institute for Functional Medicine.

Outside of work, you will find Aaron spending time with his wife and 5 kids, mountain biking, running, or camping in the backyard. Aaron is a big fan of Master Chef and enjoys cooking.

Nadia Kravchuk, DNP, FNP-C

Nadia Kravchuk is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. She offers functional pediatric primary care, including well-child checks and acute visits, in the Pediatric Department of the Functional Medicine of Idaho Meridian Wellness Center.

Nadia and her family immigrated to the United States in 1989 where they first settled in Oregon and then moved to Idaho in 2001. Complementary medicine practices were embedded into her lifestyle at a young age, and she has implemented these principles into her conventional medicine practice throughout her career. She has more than 15 years experience in a variety of medical environments, including emergency room, intensive care unit, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, family practice, and aesthetics.

Nadia joined Functional Medicine of Idaho so that she can combine functional principles with the foundations of conventional medicine to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. As an avid gardener, beekeeper, and sustainable living enthusiast, she understands the importance and role of optimizing nutrition, sleep, physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being. She has a passion for pediatric functional medicine and understands that early recognition and interventions can correct imbalances, prevent chronic illness, and improve overall outcomes for children.

Nadia obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Northwest Nazarene University. She earned both her Master’s of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice through Frontier Nursing University. In 2017, she was the recipient of the HCA Excellence in Nursing Award. She is currently working towards her certification with The Institute for Functional Medicine.

Outside of work, you will find Nadia working on her urban homestead, hiking, foraging, camping, snowboarding, and spending time with her husband and her dog, Wolfy. She is also fluent in both English and Russian.