Green Circle Wellness: Chicago’s Center for Functional Medicine

In July, I was able to visit Green Circle Wellness in the West Loop to learn more about functional medicine with the aSweatLife Ambassadors. As someone who grew up in doctors’ offices and still hates doctors, I was blown away by this approach to holistic wellness.

The founder, Dr. Pavilonis, created this facility with other medical professionals that were fed up with the current healthcare system. She felt that she wasn’t able to deliver quality care with limited time and insurance constraints. She and others felt pressured by pharmaceutical companies to prescribe more medicines than solve problems.

At Green Circle Wellness, each patient is an individual. You meet with professionals 1:1 to discuss nutrition and stress, and how those affect your daily life and health problems. They seek to cure symptoms and avoid any “quick fixes,” enabling them to change patients’ lives. They do not accept insurance, but they also hope to see patients as little as possible. Functional medicine focuses on education — the more you know about your health, the healthier you can be and with fewer medicines.

Our workshop was specifically focused on nutrition. They believe that everything starts in the gut, and everyone is individual. They believe that there’s no goal set of macros, micros, or calories because everyone has different needs, even on different days. It’s not about how much you eat, but what you are eating!

For example, we discussed some myths from the vegan documentary What the Health. While informative, it uses strong scare tactics. With all the fake news in the world, ain’t nobody got time for that. Their main myth is that meat does not equal diabetes. Diabetes is correlated with unhealthy carbs and sugar. Processed meats are not healthy — Green Circle Wellness instead focuses on high-quality meats that are organic, grass-fed, and hormone-free.

Additionally, the USDA is sponsored by food manufacturers. While they may give recommendations and guidelines, it’s difficult to determine how trustworthy they are. They are likely encouraging processed foods with many additives and preservatives.

Their final claim against veganism is vitamin B12. Vegans can’t absorb the vitamin since it is only available in good meats. As a result, vegans are definitely deficient in vitamin B12. Thankfully, Green Circle Wellness and many other practices have B12 injections readily available.

Faith, Green Circle Wellness’s nutritionist, shared her story about how healing from the gut helped her overcome anxiety. Taking their Nutri-Eval test and determining deficiencies helped her realize what vitamins she was missing. She realized she was severely deficient in B6 and is now taking short-term digestive enzymes before every meal, B6 injections, a multi-B vitamin, and probiotics to help. Now, her anxiety and panic attacks are 90% better. Nutrition healed her, and now she wants to help heal others.

When people consider a new diet, Faith encourages everyone to ask why. Why are you going paleo, gluten- or dairy-free? Because you read it or saw your fav Instagram blogger post about it? Because one diet works for one person definitely does not mean it will work for you. Even elimination tests like the Whole30 are not as accurate as food immunology tests. Instead of guessing and dealing with a bunch of other variables, you may as well spend your time and money on testing. The post-Whole 30 reintroduction can be misleading and frustrating.

Allergy testing at Green Circle Wellness is $224 and the Nutri-Eval is $159. While insurance is not accepted, lemme tell you from an ol’ pro that that’s the cheapest allergy testing I’ve ever seen! They offer 1:1 consultations, including body composition analysis. They seek to help you reach your goals with patience and intention.

Even if you don’t visit Green Circle Wellness, healing from the gut is an important part of functional medicine that anyone can work on. Chewing food properly stimulates everything else in the body to get ready to digest. Eating with friends and family is good, helping you relax while eating. Your digestive system can’t function in fight-or-flight mode, so try to not eat on-the-go. Errrr, I’ll do my best!

We did receive complimentary B12 injections and body composition analyses. I didn’t notice a difference with the shot, but I will say for someone who hates shots, it really wasn’t bad!

What are your thoughts on functional medicine? It all makes sense to me, so I’m excited to incorporate this into my health journey. I wish holistic medicine wasn’t viewed as so hippy-dippy, and I hope that Green Circle Wellness can help to change that attitude in Chicago.

++ Mary K

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