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Author Katarina Todorovic
Katarina Todorovic
Updated on Aug 13th, 2023
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Holistic Health and Wellness 2023: Support For Finding and Addressing the Root Causes of Gut Symptoms So You Can Be Free and Thrive!

In a world inundated with quick-fix solutions and surface-level approaches to health, one individual is leading a profound revolution in holistic wellness. Meet Kaytee Hadley, the visionary founder of Holistic Health and Wellness—a guiding light on the path towards understanding and healing the intricate interplay between gut health and overall well-being. With a steadfast commitment to uncovering the underlying triggers of gut symptoms, Kaytee empowers individuals to break free from the shackles of discomfort and embrace a life of true vitality. In this exclusive exploration, we delve into Kaytee's transformative journey, her unique approach to addressing root causes, and how her expertise is paving the way for countless individuals to not only find relief but to truly thrive. Get ready to embark on a voyage of self-discovery and renewal, as Delivery Rank uncovers the wisdom and insights of a trailblazer dedicated to your holistic health journey.

Can you tell us more about your signature 6 pillar approach for addressing gut symptoms naturally, and what inspired you to develop this unique methodology?

This entire journey began, I believe, like it does for many functional medicine practitioners, with my own health struggles or those of a loved one. Functional medicine isn't something you stumble upon out of nowhere; it's a path you must actively seek. For me, it started with gastrointestinal symptoms from a young age, and despite being told it was just stress or growing pains, the condition worsened over 15 years. At certain points, I found it challenging to live a normal life due to the debilitating stomach and abdominal pain, which also took a toll on my mental health.

Driven by the desire to heal both physically and mentally, I explored nutrition and fitness. This exploration opened up a whole world, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive, whole-person approach. Our society tends to lean towards quick fixes and relying on pills, but that approach doesn't truly promote healing; at best, it manages symptoms, and even that often falls short.

Hence, the six lifestyle pillars were born through digging deep and understanding various strategies within our control. When you've struggled for so long, it's easy to feel hopeless, thinking there's little you can do. However, I always tell people there's so much potential for improvement, and that's what these six pillars represent.

The first pillar is individualized nutrition, recognizing that even so-called "healthy" foods might not be suitable if they trigger symptoms or contribute to imbalances in your body or just aren’t realistic or enjoyable for you. It's essential to identify the best eating pattern for your unique body and lifestyle. 

The second pillar focuses on functional fitness—a movement pattern tailored to allow you to perform the activities you want to do in life, whether that’s getting on the floor to play with your grandkids or being able to take the dogs on long walks after work. This type of fitness also fosters health long term by protecting your body physically and even mentally. 

The third pillar focuses on circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle. This crucial aspect of lifestyle often gets underestimated, but it significantly impacts our overall health, including our gut and mental well-being. By aligning the circadian rhythm appropriately, you can expect more energy, better sleep, improved gut health, and hormonal balance.

The fourth pillar involves reducing our toxic load. This includes eliminating exposure to toxins from our environment and supporting our body in getting rid of those that may have accumulated in our bodies or gut. Cleansing our system from harmful substances is essential for finding healing.

Mindfulness constitutes the fifth pillar. We used to treat the mind and body as separate entities, but they are inherently interconnected. To focus on physical health, we must also address our mental well-being. Mindfulness plays a vital role in calming our nervous system and managing stress, which, in turn, influences gut health through the gut-brain connection.

The sixth pillar emphasizes community. Many individuals lack sufficient support on their health journey. While some may have someone to confide in for emotional support, they often lack personalized guidance and encouragement. As a healthcare practitioner, I never impose lifestyle changes or supplements on someone. Instead, I present options, explain their potential benefits, and support the person's decisions.

These six pillars form the foundation of supporting gut health. However, they are also applicable and transferable to overall wellness, encompassing various aspects of our lives.

As a functional medicine dietitian, holistic health coach, and certified personal trainer, how do you combine these different disciplines to provide comprehensive support for your clients' gut health?

I initially began my journey as a personal trainer because I believed exercise was a key aspect of health. However, I soon realized that fitness alone does not equate to overall well-being. This realization prompted me to pivot towards health coaching during my undergraduate studies, with a focus on health psychology. I wanted to understand why people often struggle to implement seemingly simple health principles, such as eating vegetables, despite knowing their benefits.

As adults functioning in society, adopting and maintaining healthy habits can be challenging. Thus, my approach as a health coach is not merely about telling people what they should do but rather providing support to help them make sustainable changes. It's essential to consider not just what needs to be done but how I can assist individuals in achieving their health goals effectively.

One thing I strongly oppose is diet culture, which involves continuously following the latest fad diets or trends. Such practices can negatively impact our mental well-being. Instead, my focus lies in encouraging sustainable practices that are beneficial both in the short term and in the long run.

Throughout this journey, I have various aspects of wellness, including movement, health coaching, and psychology, searching for answers to better support individuals on their path to improved well-being.

I also earned my Master’s degree in nutrition, healthspan, and longevity which emphasized how food plays an integral role in preventing and even reversing the chronic diseases that plague millions of people today. So many people spend their last two decades of life grappling with multiple medications, debilitating symptoms, and underlying diseases that are quite literally killing them, which is simply not a fulfilling way to live. That's why I pursued postgraduate studies in functional medicine, which aims to uncover the root cause of symptoms and not just manage them, but instead reverse them by restoring balance to the body.

Bringing all these aspects together, I don't merely offer generic advice or quick fixes. Instead, I approach each individual's health needs with a comprehensive view, considering not only what changes they can make to restore their vitality but also why and how to implement them. This is where health coaching plays a vital role, as it involves diving into the individual's unique situation, understanding their motivations and lifestyle, and providing ongoing support.

This is what really sets me apart from other healthcare practitioners. When discussing changes that can support someone's health, I don't just provide a list of instructions and leave it at that. Instead, I explore the reasons behind the changes and work collaboratively with them to ensure the approach is sustainable and tailored to their specific needs. Each individual's requirements are unique, and some may focus more on particular pillars of health than others, but the ultimate goal is to achieve lasting and sustainable improvements.

What are some common misconceptions about gut health that you often encounter, and how do you help your clients overcome these misconceptions?

The most significant misconception, not only among the general public but also within the healthcare system, is a lie - a lie they tell people because they lack understanding. Individuals dealing with chronic symptoms, impacting their daily lives, are often told that there is nothing wrong, or that there is nothing that can be done. I see this all the time when I work with folks who have been given the diagnosis of IBS. This diagnosis doesn't offer real answers; it simply labels the symptoms. Unfortunately, many people are given this diagnosis without further investigation, without discussion of what is causing the symptoms, how they can heal their gut, and often without even basic symptomatic support.

Physicians may advise managing stress and doing yoga, but such generic solutions fall short because they are not addressing the whole person or the root cause of the disease. It's frustrating for individuals who have been struggling with symptoms for decades, only to be told repeatedly that there's nothing they can do about it.

The truth is, symptoms don't appear out of thin air; they are signals that something in the body is out of balance. We need to dig deeper to find the root cause of these symptoms, as they are indicative of an underlying issue. Many individuals I work with have been living with chronic symptoms for years, some even since childhood. They have been told for decades that they must accept these symptoms and live with them, but this is far from the truth.

The biggest lie is the claim that there's nothing wrong when those experiencing the symptoms know that something is off. There is much that can be done, and by identifying the root cause, we can work towards addressing and resolving these long-standing issues.

Could you share a particularly memorable success story where your approach made a significant impact on someone's life?

I worked with a woman in her 20s, shortly after starting my practice. She suffered from significant GI symptoms, severe anxiety, and chronic fatigue, making it difficult for her to function normally. Some days, she could barely get out of bed and had a hard time keeping up with her university studies. Her social life was virtually non-existent due to the fear of having to cancel plans because of her condition. She wanted to exercise, but her lack of energy prevented her from doing so. All these issues had piled up, and throughout her life, she was told that her GI symptoms were a result of her anxiety. She was advised to manage stress to alleviate the symptoms.

From the beginning, I emphasized the mind-body connection to her, explaining how our mental health influences our gut. I also highlighted that the gut sends more signals to the brain more than the brain sends to the gut – a fact many people are unaware of. This led to an eye-opening realization that her gut health was significantly impacting her mental well-being.

To address her issues, we used the six pillars as a framework. We conducted functional testing, specifically stool testing, which revealed inflammation, poor digestion, and imbalances in her gut microbiome. Armed with this knowledge, we developed strategies to restore balance and address the underlying causes of her symptoms. The journey involved implementing various changes to improve her gut health and overall well-being including dietary changes, nutraceuticals, and gut healing protocols.

We also discovered several significant food triggers through our investigation. It's common for food sensitivities to develop when the gut is out of balance over time. Once we identified these triggers, removing them from her diet allowed us to expand the range of foods she could enjoy without fear of triggering her symptoms. We also incorporated more colorful, anti-inflammatory foods and medicinal foods to promote healing.

To make the process more manageable, we introduced small wellness practices or "snacks" that she could easily incorporate into her daily routine. For instance, going outside in the morning to get sunlight directly to her eyes positively impacted her circadian rhythm and helped improve her fatigue. As she began to feel better, we could gradually add more strategies to her regimen.

In a matter of months, the positive changes were remarkable. She had an abundance of energy, and her GI symptoms completely disappeared. Her anxiety improved with each passing day, giving her the freedom to live the life she had always desired. She could finally exercise, enjoy a social life, and excel in her university studies.

The transformation was profound, and I always emphasize to my clients that restoring your health is the key to living the life you want. Many people are held back by health issues, but with the restoration of balance and holistic healing, they can regain control over their lives and pursue their dreams.

How do you help your client’s separate fact from fiction and empower them to make informed decisions about their health?

First of all, there are a few important points to consider. One of the key aspects is helping people understand the significance of an individualized approach. Much of the information in the media consists of blanket statements like "this is a good food" or "this is a bad food," "this food will make you gain weight," or "this food will make you lose weight." We need to throw this model out the window and recognize that we need to find what works best for each person's unique body. So, if you come across sweeping generalizations and supposed "facts," it's often better to look elsewhere for reliable advice that takes individual differences into account.

It's crucial to be cautious about where you get your nutrition advice from, as this issue extends beyond just the media. Most healthcare professionals, conventional doctors included, only receive a few hours of nutrition education, yet many people rely on them for nutritional guidance. Similarly, online influencers and many so-called ‘experts’ present themselves as nutritionists with zero credentials, so it's vital to be aware of who you are seeking advice from. I recommended consulting with a registered dietitian who is certified in functional medicine – these are reliable credentials and are the foundation for a well-trained nutrition expert.

Furthermore, be mindful of the perspective and goals of those offering advice. For example, if you're aiming for overall health and longevity, advice from someone primarily focused on weight loss does not align with your objectives. Ensuring that the advice you receive is tailored to your specific needs and goals is of utmost importance. Take the time to understand what your body truly needs and seek guidance from reputable sources that can offer an individualized approach.

If you would like to find out more about Kaytee Hadley and Holistic Health and Wellness, visit https://kayteehadley.com/

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