Episode 28: Get To Know Your Nutritionist

 

People should remove any guilt, shame, or blame from eating food. Don’t stop eating just because you’re following a very strict dietary plan. Eating is still on the table as long as it has the proper nutrients and health benefits. Join your host, Haylie Pomroy as she talks about the importance of making peace with food. Find out why she is against food with chemical additives and learn a few healthy lifestyle hacks.

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Get To Know Your Nutritionist

Hi, Haylie. We are excited to have you with us. Could you start by giving us a little bit of your backstory?

I always had a puny immune system. I had strep a lot as a kid, systemic eczema, and terrible food allergies. I was very puny. I had an extreme passion for animals and science. At an early age, I decided that I wanted to go to vet school. I had my sights set on Colorado State University's Veterinary College. It was an amazing school. In my junior year of college, I had gotten an ultimate position and acceptance to CSU for veterinary school. At the same time, my health was not good. I was sick all the time, strep all the time, and my eczema was out of control. I ended up having a tonsillectomy. I hemorrhaged pretty severely from the tonsillectomy.

At that time, they couldn't figure out why I hemorrhaged. They started running a lot of labs. It turned out that I have a rare autoimmune disorder, a bleeding disorder called ITP, which is where the body attacks its platelets. I took a medical leave of absence from school. I took 60 milligrams of prednisone and a lot of anti-rejection drugs. It was a couple of years of this process of trying to get my immune system in control.

I ended up hospitalized with a strep infection on my right kidney and losing a part of my right kidney function. I'll never forget not getting to be in the barn. I was in a hospital bed. The barn was my heaven and being in the hospital was the opposite of that. I remember laying there and thinking, “I've got to do something else. This path of treatment is not working for me. It's keeping me out of vet school. It's keeping me off my horses. It's keeping me out of life.” I laid there. It’s one of those moments where you say, “If I make it through this, I'm going to do something different.”

I started studying biochemistry and the chemistry of the body, the chemistry of the blood, and all the nutrients that were associated with that. I changed that. I started studying homeopathy, herbology nutrition, and everything I could get my hands on that were therapies that would help promote health as opposed to trying to control the disease. In my early twenties, I was able to nourish my body to the point where I was off all medications. I have not been back on them since. Thank goodness.

At a young age, I decided that I would open my first integrative health care clinic. I brought all kinds of experts that I had met and learned from along the way under one roof. I started that first clinic in Fort Collins, Colorado. It was an amazing experience. I started opening and consulting for a lot of other clinics and therapy practices. I had a practice in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Encino, Valencia at one point, and in Colorado. I started flying all over the United States and even out of the country with clients and helping them navigate their own health crises and health journeys. Bringing the experts to the table and creating this philosophy of the clinic without walls.

I've made phone calls to every medical establishment in university. It feels like seeking knowledge and information on behalf of my clients that are struggling with their health and wellness. One of my clients asked me to write a book. I thought he was kidding because I'm dyslexic. Books are a touchy subject for me in feeling less than or not as capable as many other people are consuming knowledge in the written form. I'm an ear reader. I do everything audio.

I wrote a book. It was an instant number one New York Times bestselling book. That happened because I was super candid and transparent about my journey, the struggles that I had been through, the struggles that I've witnessed, and participated with my clients are going through. The science and the fact that you can nourish your body, food is medicine, and that a healthier body is going to respond to anything, to surgery, drug therapy, and even natural therapy is better.

I've been in practice for many years in clinical practice and in a state of outrageous health, which feels good. I am honored and privileged to have created this incredible community where people can go for resources, zero judgment, 100% embrace them on their health journey, and their decisions along the way in their health journey. To be able to teach people about the power of micronutrients, supplementation, food, and the power of being curious about what's going on in your body, and gentle with yourself when you're struggling. Doubling down on what's getting you in a positive health direction. I came from the barn. I always say that I got dragged out of the barn and into a hospital bed. I was determined to get myself back into a barn. Along the way, I have had the extreme privilege of creating this incredible community, clinic, and walk with some of the most brilliant people on their journeys that are similar to my own.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

A crazy story that happened was I was asked to work with Cher as her nutritionist. She was doing a residency in Las Vegas at the time. First, let me tell you that in our family, Cher is the ultimate icon. I did not know her personally when I was first asked to work with her. All the women in our family held her at this iconic status. Being asked to work with her, I was nervous going to the first appointments that you could ever imagine. She has been and was incredible to work with. She was a lovely human being. She had genuine kindness to her team, her staff, and her family. I had a professional relationship with her.

At the time, my mother's brother passed away. I had to cancel an appointment and reschedule an appointment. I apologized for having to cancel and I told her that my mom's brother passed away. We were trying to get her ready for a big, amazing event. Right there, she stopped everything. She said, “Let's get your mom on the next flight for the next show to Vegas. Let’s have her sit in the front row and let's take her backstage.” The generosity was unbelievable. Cher gave so much to my family and me. She didn't need to do that because we had a professional relationship.

With someone that's iconic and has such a large responsibility and doing this huge show and a lot of demand on her, It means so much to stop and connect with someone on a personal level and help people have joy in their lives during difficult times. I reflected on that. As you can imagine, my mother felt like the queen of the world. We had some awesome pictures together and we got to hang out in her suite at Caesars. We flew on the Caesars plane.

No matter how busy you are, how large you grow, or how important your work is, there is nothing more important in life than a human connection with another person and reaching down and picking somebody up when they're struggling. I think about how I felt at that moment and how she made my family feel. I use that as an inspiration for our community. People in our community are dealing with health issues and the loss of a loved one. I think about that kindness and giving what you have to bring joy every day. That was a life-changing, crazy story. No one would believe the event that happened changed the trajectory.

The cool thing was after the curtains went down and the show was getting ready to start, one of Cher’s assistants came down the aisle and started calling out my name and saying, “Haylie?” My mom and I turned around and we thought we were going to lose our seats. Sometimes when you go with an individual and you get to jump into some amazing seats, if someone buys them, you end up having to hang out backstage. I said to my mom, “We may end up having to go backstage.” Instead, she leaned over and she said, “Cher wanted me to tell you to stay in your seats. She'll send someone for you when the show is over.” Not only was my mom front and center. Everybody that was sitting around us knew that Cher was waiting for her when we were done. That reaching down and lifting someone when they're struggling, I have carried that with me every single day in our community.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

To create a nutrition plan for a celebrity that they had hired to endorse this large weight loss company. I created a nutrition program. I designed all their meal map. They did phenomenally and lost a bunch of weight. The spokesperson for this huge weight loss company said, “I lost all this weight because of this other company.” I have compensated and everything but it hurt my heart to feel something that I had worked hard on and fundamentally said to the person healthfully and nursed their body.

They looked amazing and they had this incredible glow. They were out promoting this diet program that was about fake food and diet food. It broke my heart to see this huge corporate weight loss company perpetuating negative food and negative food behaviors based on a person that I had nourished and helped look incredible and glow. People wanted to look like this celebrity but what they were saying she did to look like it could not have been further from reality or the truth.

When I was offered the job, I didn't understand the ramifications of someone standing up and saying, “Look at me. I lost all this weight.” They were all over TV. I didn't understand the ramifications of all these people seeing this beautiful person that looks healthy and vibrant because we fed them well and we nurse them well and we helped to heal their metabolism, so they lost a bunch of weight. The commercials were all around what I feel like detrimental weight loss or something. That was early in my career. I still have a lot of personal angst about it and my heart hurts because I wonder how many people may be adopted this other unhelpful eating style because of how amazing this person that I worked with looked.

What I learned from that is to try to be aware of where and how your efforts in life are going to be used. I learned that everything isn't always as it seems. In marketing, especially in the diet space, there's a lot of misinformation, abusive language, guilt, and shame. This is why I'm saying it was a big mistake or something I grieve a lot about. It lit a fire within me to go after the diet industry and say, “Fake foods slow the metabolism. Counting calories are a lie. Fall in love with food. Put power on your plate.” It gave me a lot of conviction. Even though I was a small brand at the time, I wasn't afraid to take on some of the shame and abusive language and behavior that was going on in the diet industry.

PYP 28 | Proper Nutrition

 

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you get to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I would probably say the most influential person that I could credit my success would be my mother. Like many moms, she's encouraging and supportive. She's also inspirational in her journey. She's dyslexic like me. She is a collective like myself as well. Having an education in optical physics, fertility, acupuncture, political science, and religious studies. She's always believed that I could figure things out. When I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, I was nineteen. She told to me, “I'm not worried because I know you'll figure this out.”

That feels like a lot of pressure for a young woman to try to figure out an autoimmune disorder and how to not survive it but thrive in the face of that. It was that blinded belief in my ability to problem-solve that has allowed me to be successful in the publishing world despite being severely dyslexic. Being successful in business and my health journey. It's that blind faith that I have some magical ability to solve problems. Whether that's true or not, I've walked with that reality because my mom constantly said so.

Let's jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you're doing helping to make a bigger impact on the world?

Why our work has made such a profound impact and will continue to make a profound impact is threefold. It's science-based. There's no fad dieting. There's no extreme starvation or extreme biochemistry reaction like a keto or fasting. Most importantly, it's based on the foundation that food is medicine. You can nourish a body to help. It is about making peace with food, cherishing the relationship, and healing some of the negative feelings and emotions that people have around food. People become empowered by working through our program. They become knowledgeable. They become in control of their health and their lives. It also makes a generational shift.

All of the foods that we prepare together in our community are things that we would be proud of and feel proud of ourselves to feed our children and our grandchildren. That's not common in the diet space. As a community, the ability to embrace the power of food and how it can positively impact our lives in a strategic plan that makes the clinical change is empowering and enriching. That’s how we're changing the world. I'm out to completely alleviate guilt, shame, and blame from the eating process. I want people to fall in love with food and celebrate what it can do for our bodies when we have the knowledge and the power to know how to use it to achieve health.

Could you share your top five lifestyle tweaks that you believe will help support people's journey towards better health?

My top five lifestyle hacks will completely change your life and put you on the path to wellness. Number one is to eat five times a day, three meals, and two snacks. Number two, when you eat, make sure that it's food. My definition of food is something that was once alive that came from the land, the sky, or the sea. Number three, eat within 30 minutes of waking up. You want to set your metabolism, your rate of burn as early as possible in the day.

We are putting a lot of expectations on our bodies all day long. We want to nourish it right out of the gate. Number four, dilution is a solution for pollution. You can support your body's ability to detoxify by drinking half your body weight in ounces of spring water every day. Number five, put power on your plate by adopting the philosophy that you can use foods strategically to speed up the metabolism, reduce inflammation, balance hormones, reverse disease, and have an abundance of energy.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

PYP 28 | Proper Nutrition

 

The movement that I would start with is that food could not be called food if it had a chemical, additives, or preservatives anywhere in it. We would call it anything or something other than the word food. It is insane that we are allowed to market tartrazine, yellow 5, blue dyes, red dyes, aspartame. We're allowed to market that as a food product. It is not food. The largest movement would be taking that word back as a nation. We can only call the name food if it is only food. That would get rid of diabetes, reverse the majority of autoimmune disorders, change our risk factors for cancer, and increase fertility rates. It would be profound.

What are five things that you wish someone told you before you started?

You can do anything in the world but you don't have to do everything. I can't tell you that I believe that. Maybe if I would have heard it younger, I would have believed it. Sometimes when you're forging new paths, you're going to get whacked in the face with branches. When you decide to go out against a large, highly monetized industry, like the diet industry, even though the science supports you and the outcome proves that your belief system will help people, large companies can be vicious. I wish somebody would have told me that. Maybe I would have had a little thicker skin a little younger. Number four, I wish somebody would have told me to buy as much agricultural land as I could in my twenties because the ability to grow your food or have control over what is put in your food, how your food is grown is going to be a huge determinant in longevity, quality of life, and your overall health.

When I was first starting out, I wish that someone would have told me earlier on that everything that I'm going through with my health challenges had a purpose so that I was going to be able to help other people ultimately. It completely makes sense now. When I was going through it, I was on medication, and struggling, I felt alone. I felt that there wasn't a strong support community that I could go to. That's why I have such conviction about our community because I don't want anybody to feel the way that I felt at that moment in time. Now, I understand why I needed to go through that. I wish somebody would have whispered in my ear back then that this purpose was to come.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics. Which one of these causes is the dearest to you and why?

All of them are valuable. Where I see myself playing the strongest role is more in mental health when it comes to self-love, appreciating your body, and having a positive relationship with food. One of the things that I tell our community all the time, especially when your body is struggling, make sure that you're kind and gentle with your body. Make sure that you're nourishing it in a way that feeds your body to health. Oftentimes, when we’re struggling whether that with depression, anxiety, or fatigue. Kids have issues where they're having a hard time self-regulating with frustration, aggression, or any of that. There is nothing more powerful than food to help soothe and settle the body. Creating that healthy relationship with food and the body is where I see us making a huge impact.

We received thousands of letters and comments about weight loss or health improvement or reduction in cholesterol. We are maybe the most touched when people share stories about having dieted all their life, self-loathing of their bodies, anxiety or fear of going into a grocery store, or stress around preparing a meal. We hear the stories of that changing where they feel empowered and in power. Their relationship with food is the ultimate love affair. It is truly till death do we part. It’s life-sustaining and health-giving in a healthful way. That area is where we make the most impact and something important to me.

Why is it important to me? Being a person that has an autoimmune disorder, especially I have ITP, which is a bleeding disorder, there are those dark moments where there's a lot of frustration and anger around why the body has turned on itself and the fear of what we call FLARe where there's a lot of anger and anxiety around having an autoimmune FLARe. Understanding the biochemistry of how our food and our bodies engage and interact together helped me not have to stain for my body because it was doing the best job that it could do. Not having anxiety about a FLARe because I know how to empower my body through food. It was a personal journey through a lot of anxiety and a lot of darkness that I came through. That's why I want to empower, put people in power, and putting power on their plate.

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