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Hidden Gems: Meet Lauren Papanos of Functional Fueling Nutrition

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Papanos.

Hi Lauren, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. I have both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nutritional sciences and have extensive training in functional nutrition. What that means is that I use advanced lab testing to get to the root cause of your symptoms and diagnoses and use nutrition, lifestyle and supplements to help you heal. I started my practice, Functional Fueling Nutrition when I was in graduate school. During this year in school, I became ill with many complex hormone and digestive health issues. The director of my program was also a functional medicine practitioner and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She worked with me individually to complete advanced lab testing and to get the root cause of my health issues. This experience opened my eyes to a completely new way to practice nutrition. After seeing firsthand how I was finally able to get answers to my health issues and start feeling better, I knew that I wanted to do the same for people. I went on to build Functional Fueling Nutrition over the years as I worked as a collegiate performance dietitian at universities like UCLA, Texas A&M and Texas Tech University. While working in these settings, I aspired to bring a functional approach to performance fueling. I then took the leap in 2020 to fully open the doors to my practice, Functional Fueling Nutrition. For the last 1.5 years, I have been in full-time practice in West Los Angeles and across the nation through virtual care. I specialize in women’s hormones, digestive health, and exercise performance.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
As a traditionally trained Registered Dietitian and Sports Dietitian, practicing with a functional approach was not always well received. Unfortunately, much of our food system is driven by big conglomerate food companies that don’t have our best interests in mind. Despite countless research studies on the harmful effects of things like pesticides, artificial ingredients and toxic chemicals, there are far too many decisions made within our food industry based on money and not on truly helping people. However, I was determined to teach my clients a different way to approach their health. I wanted to help people look at health holistically, to understand that the entire body is connected and to eat food grown from the earth. I knew that this was the best way to help people and refused to waiver on my philosophy. I saw the impact that practicing functional nutrition had on my clients and knew that this was how I could really help people.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Functional Fueling Nutrition is a nutrition practice specializing in women’s hormones, digestive health and exercise performance. We take an integrative approach to helping clients get answers to their symptoms and heal, using food and lifestyle as medicine. We start with advanced laboratory testing. With the information from thorough testing, we build an individualized treatment plan and coach clients through their unique healing process. This includes ongoing retesting paired with individualized nutrition, lifestyle and supplement recommendations. Where someone may say I have trouble eating this specific food, “I will just eliminate it,” we say, let’s find out the reason behind not being able to eat that food. We like to consider ourselves someone’s personal health detective, committed to finding out the why behind their symptoms and helping them heal naturally. Unlike traditional models of healthcare that see hundreds of patients per week, we keep our client base very limited to ensure that each client’s case receives the most comprehensive care. We let testing guide all treatments and don’t subscribe to any dietary trends. Each recommendation is based on someone’s unique needs.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
To never stop learning and unlearning! So often we get stuck in our way of thinking because that’s what we learned in school or what worked with one person. However, it’s important that we also have the ability to unlearn and stay flexible in our methods as each client is so incredibly different.


  • Membership – $57/month
  • 1:1 Functional Nutrition Coaching- $1,000+/month

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Halli Makennah Photo

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