Q & A with Kristen Blake, IIN, Integrative Gut Nutritionist

Hi, please tell us about yourself and practice.

I’m Kristen Blake, founder and CEO of Kristen Blake Wellness. KB Wellness is a functional nutrition practice where we fully come alongside our clients in their health journey using a team approach. I have two RDs that work alongside me as well as a health coach and together we help our clients lay the foundations for lasting health by working on their diet, lifestyle and behaviors to work towards optimal health and wellness. I have a BA in Psychology, a certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a certification in the AutoImmune Protocol, and am currently completing a MS in Clinical Nutrition and Human Performance. I’m also a busy mom to three preteen and teenage boys and wife to a former professional athlete so while my focus is women’s health and wellness, I have a soft spot in my heart for sports nutrition as well!

You specialize in digestive health & nutrition, what are some of the common myths around this?

One of the most common myths I encounter in my practice in regards to digestive health is that you can just take a pill and fix everything. Unfortunately, the body is far too complex to take one or more supplements or pharmaceuticals, and often people end up wasting time and money taking random supplements that aren’t getting to the root cause.

This is why I always take a comprehensive systems approach. All of the body systems need to be addressed in order to get to the root cause of an issue and truly thrive. For example, if you are always eating in a state of fight or flight and aren’t addressing stress, your digestion will suffer no matter how many digestive enzymes you take. Another example is with SIBO, you can’t just take rifaximin or oil of oregano and hope the bacteria will go away for good, the root cause must be addresses or the problem won’t go away…or it will but it will come back! Some examples of SIBO root causes are addressing adhesions, motility, stomach acid production and more.

One of the most common myths I see with nutrition is that there is a magic one size fits all diet and that could not be further from the truth. As individuals we all have different genetics, microbiomes, health histories, sensitivities, and more. As such, nutrition should be customized to each individual.

What do you think the most common mistake people make when trying to treat their digestive issues?

The most common mistake I see people make when trying to treat their digestive issues is not getting to the root cause. Going back to the SIBO example, if someone has SIBO the root cause of that might be slow motility….but the root cause of poor motility might be Hashimotos…so you have to dig all the way down to the very root of the root of the root to address issues at their core, otherwise you’ll always be triaging and dealing with symptoms management through bandaids!

What tips would you give someone to manage digestive issues?

My first tip in better managing digestive issues is to CHEW your food fully. Most people think they chew…until they actually sit down and pay attention to their chewing and it’s usually abysmal! We should chew until our food is the consistency of applesauce, no chunks. This jump starts the entire digestive process and is a step you can’t afford to miss, yet is so often missed!

Before someone goes to see you, do they need to do any preparatory work, e.g. complete a food & symptom diary?

Nope! We jump right in when we get started so I can guide them in data collection!

Where can people find you?

 Connect with Kristen here.

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