gut health, gut, people, life, feel, eat, health, food, megan, digest, healing, business, nervous system, stress, bit, autoimmune disease, world, week, day, brain
Chelsea Haines, Megan Swan
Welcome back to energetically you. I'm your host Megan swan. I'm a wellness coach and consultant and the founder of Megan Swan wellness and the sustainable Integrated Wellness approach. Here on the podcast we talk all things healthy habits, abundant mindset and optimal wellness. I hope you're having an amazing day. I'm excited to interview Chelsea Haynes. She was recently featured in the gut health coach by Yahoo. Chelsea Haynes has a unique way of helping high performers heal, she doesn't claim to know best Hermitian to remind you that you are the expert on your body who we have that in common. Only you know precisely what you need and you are not quote unquote crazy for feeling how you feel her expertise stems from personally healing autoimmune disease, paired with formal degrees in psychology, gut health and mindfulness. She's the founder of the gut health agency, where a team of health coaches and registered dietitians merge health coaching with clinical testing for increased patient compliance and lasting habit change, change, a needle moving combination not otherwise seen in the gut health space. I bet her motto is her motto for peak performance, trust your gut and digest your life. So looking forward to this, let's dive in. Welcome, Chelsea, I'm so excited to get to know you a little bit better and hear about all things gut health, and you're really truly unique kind of practicing approach to this. So let's get started. How are you? And what's new? Let's start there. Yeah,
I'm great. Megan, thank you so much. I really appreciate you having me on here. I'm excited to dive in and talk about gut health and entrepreneurship and how they they connect and relate to each other.
Amazing. So let's start with your journey. Like what got you so personally passionate about gut health?
Yeah, started with autoimmune disease. And it was very long journey. That moral the story after high school, I finally decided, excuse me, after college, my symptoms started showing up in high school, which ultimately, what I learned later, basically stemmed from childhood trauma and abandonment. And then after high school, after college, I hired my first health coach, and she put me on a got healing journey. And that was in 2009. So fast forward, it's been a lot of learning, a lot of mentorship, a lot of continued education, and really trying to get this information into the hands of as many people as possible because ultimately, no matter how much mindset work we do, or therapy do, which is is all extremely important. If there's a virus or infection or parasite living in your gut, then a lot of the other mindset work and therapy and healing that people are attempting to do may fall a little bit short. If there's actually something going on deep in the gut, we really need to address that infection or dysbiosis. So that way, natural levels of serotonin and dopamine can all be optimized. And then that's really where the magic happens when it comes to the mindset work and deeper layers of self development and healing.
credible. Yeah, I remember from my certification as a health coach, one of my favorite takeaways was this fascinating reality that the micro with the macro, right? So where you're having issues on a gut level with boundaries, and what's coming in and out of your system. There's an emotional reflection, like there's there's a human psychological connection there. So I don't know if you can touch on that a little bit, either personally, or with the work that you do.
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. You know, I always kind of bring it to just straight up a concept of constipation. If you're not releasing physically, every single day, and many people will say, Oh, I've only ever pooped two to three times a week. That's just normal for me. And that's where I say, well, that's typical for you, but it's not at all normal. And we really need to address that. And if your body is holding on to everything in your life that you're consuming, literally, then there's probably an emotional component to that, you know, our tagline at the gut health agency is to trust our gut and digest your life because if we consider consuming our life experiences, our traumas, our turmoils, and even our joys and those moments of a lot of opportunity for learning. If we're not discerning of those things and absorbing the life lessons or in other words, absorbing the nutrients of Have those things and eliminating the toxins or the things that are keeping us stuck in our mind, then it usually ends up manifesting as these really awful self sabotaging loops and patterns. So there's a huge emotional component to gut healing. And that's actually part of the biggest piece of the pie that we work on at the gut health agency. And what kind of differentiates us from, say, just going to a functional medicine doctor, where as much as we love functional medicine, and we incorporate it in what we're doing, because of course, we do have to address those underlying dysbiosis and infections or parasites or viruses, whatever it may be. Again, if we're not properly digesting the things that we're consuming literally and figuratively, then all of the doing is going to fall short. So the subconscious and emotional healing aspects are very important and very correlated. If you look at leaky gut, oftentimes people also have very loose boundaries in their life.
Yes, it's so fascinating. All right. Well, before we get into some more sort of technical questions, can you kind of deconstruct this? I don't know, reality or myth that it is, you know, the good food, good mood, to what degree? Because as far as I understand, yes, a large component of the production of serotonin happens in the gut, but that isn't necessarily the serotonin that crosses into the brain. So can you explain that a little bit?
Yeah, so backing it up to the good food, good moods. So you'll see people on social media having different controversial conversations about that. And I think, partly is that because controversy is really catchy, it gets a lot of likes, it gets a lot of people's attention. And I think there's value to that. But at the end of the day, food doesn't have morality, I mean, just like money, you know, whatever morality we see in these objects, these neutral things in life is really just our own perception, projected onto those things. And understanding that food is either nutrient dense, or not nutrient dense, is really how we start to separate our relationship with food or even on a deeper level, how we're managing stress in our lives, and how that steps forward into our relationship with food. And at the end of the day, food absolutely can either increase inflammation or decrease inflammation. But ultimately, I mean, we have to look at a deeper layer than that, Megan, if you are consuming whole foods and vegetables, or even dairy that's coming from happy animals or meat that's coming from animals that are you know, fed grass, then it's not a food problem anymore. It's a gut problem. You know, these these foods that are so nutrient dense, FODMAPs, and, and fats, and you know, all this fiber that we need in our lives, if you're not able to process it or digest it. That's not the foods fault. And these are really nutrient dense foods, it's a gut problem. So understanding that, yes, of course, there are foods that could, again, aid in sickness or aid in health. But before we even talk about food, we have to talk about the state of your gut. So what we do at the gut health agency is the foundations of the gut health of gut health. Before we even look at the clinical side of what's happening inside your gut, we look at your lifestyle and habits around stress and your nervous systems response. And and at the end of the day, we could be doing all the things eating dogmatically healthy foods, exercising all day, all the things that we think are that we've been taught are good for us, or are going to equal good gut health. But believe it or not, most of the clients that walk through our virtual doors are doing all those things that still feel like crap. And the reason for that is because their nervous system is so out of whack, right? And that's not even really their fault. It's essentially the subconscious mind has created these scenarios of survival, because we're living in this really stressed out world of productivity and masculine energy, which we all I need is just like stress, we need stress, there's a level of healthy stress that we need for good orgasms and other functions in our body that are that are really pleasurable and really important. But without that recovery phase, I mean, ask any bodybuilder without the recovery phase, your muscles will never heal and grow. So before we even look at or talk about what to eat, we really look at how to eat and when to eat. And that really starts the conversation in a completely different level. That is why we're getting such powerful results for our clients because we're no longer looking at what to eat. This is no longer a diet. This is really a lifestyle of self reflection, and nervous system management. I'll round that question up with an example because I think it's really, really helpful especially after What we've been through collectively, in the world over the last three years, we went through a state of crisis during the pandemic, what did we do to to mitigate that crisis as we closed the doors of non essential businesses? In our body when our body is in a state of crisis? In other words, every single time our nervous system goes into a sympathetic state of fight or flight, what do we do to mitigate that crisis? Same exact thing, we closed the doors to non essential businesses. So we think, okay, what are the non essential businesses in our body? What are the systems that are non essential? And you think, Well, of course, digestion is essential? Absolutely not. I can survive for days and even weeks without food. I mean, look at some of the history of human beings, there have been plenty of times where humans have survived for a very long time, without food. And that's because the actual essential organs, the essential businesses in our body, our brain, our heart, and our lungs, you know, if you go to the Arctic, and you're stuck out in the snow, you're going to start losing your fingers and your toes first, and all of the energy is going to go straight to your brain, your heart and your lungs, your digestion is going to shut right down. And that's again, it's another survival thing. And this is where science backs up the emotional component to gut healing, we have to look at, again, our relationship with stress, how often or how much we are, how much time we're spending in a survival state. And what is our baseline operation of of health? Are we operating in this place, which trust me, Megan feels really good. Stress hormones are really addictive, cortisol and adrenaline, man, we love it. We love it. And a lot of people when they go on, for example, a ketogenic diet, they're going to start pulling from these resources. And that's why they feel really good for a period of time. I have plenty people I can live with. I went on the keto diet, and I felt really good for a really long time until I didn't anymore. Well, yeah, that's because you went into a ketogenic state, and you were living off of cortisol and adrenaline for all those weeks, which, again, feels really good. But ultimately, you crashed and burned because now your microbiome is suffering, you're not feeding all the different opportunities, excuse me, all the different good, also good gut bugs that we need. In order to keep our body in homeostasis and balance, we have to reassess that who we are being in order for the doing of gut health to really be potent, and and to last.
So I'm curious, do you prescribe or recommend Pro or prebiotics? Or do you go more with the foods that support those two things,
it completely depends on the results of the GI map tests that we run. So a GI map is a comprehensive stool sample that gets dropped, shipped to your front door, and you take it in the comfort of your own throne in your bathroom, you got to do you got to dig through your poop a little bit. It's a little bit you know, if you if you're ready to self reflect, you got to get nitty gritty with with the uncomfortable things and aspects of our lives. But you can call FedEx or DHL depending on where you are in the world. And they'll pick it up from your front door the same day, and you never even have to leave your house. It's amazing. It uses top qPCR technology to analyze the different levels of DNA and of the bacteria that are in your gut. So it really pumps out this super valuable information that we need. Because, for example, we have clients that come in saying I'm taking probiotics and taking prebiotics, I'm doing all the things I'm eating healthy, I'm exercising every day. And I feel awful. Even looking at broccoli, I bloat you know, I am not going to the bathroom, but maybe maybe two times a week. And that's if I take a laxative. Well, usually the first thing we'll do is say stop taking your probiotics because too much of a thing is too much. And dysbiosis happens on all levels if you if you consider the the gentle environment of a coral reef. If you have too much algae, even though that algae is feeding all of the good fish that are keeping it alive, it's going to overgrow and take over. Similarly, if you have too many sharks, the opportunistic bacteria that are eating all the good fish that are now not able to eat the algae, you're you're gonna have imbalance there as well. It's the same thing in our gut, too much of a good thing is just as bad if sometimes not even worse than too much of the opportunistic or quote unquote bad bacteria because we're now supplementing it on top of feeding it already. So pulling back on the supplements, getting an assessment of actually what you need and creating a curated protocol is game changing for people because now you're no longer spending hundreds of dollars on all these Ayurvedic herbs and supplements and expensive probiotics from whole foods that you don't even need. Now you're really just targeting the function of your gut, which then allows you to more ease easily digest, in other words, absorb the nutrients from your food and eliminate the toxins. So now we can take it a step forward and say, Yeah, food is medicine, because now you have a balanced microbiome. Now we can feed those good gut bugs, which are going to help keep everything else in balance, which is why you were out of balance before, which is why when you even look at broccoli, you bloat just thinking about it. Now we can slowly start reintroducing broccoli, because we've got everything back in balance.
Okay, and I'm curious, because you brought it up of your opinion of, of the Keto trend. I mean, I have my strong opinion, but I was curious what your health angle what it might be.
I mean, I just think diets in general, are just never sustainable. And there's studies that back that up, you know, I think over 95% of people that go on any diet for any period of time are relying on willpower. And once they get off, I think within six months, it's shown that they gain back not all not only the weight that they've lost, but more. So you know, I, I don't operate in a place where I need to bash anything in order to like, prove ourselves as anything else, whatever, just at the end of the day, if something is not sustainable, there's a reason for it. And why put yourself through all that pain and suffering and effort because let's keep it real diets are a lot of effort. And this is something that even in my own personal life, the way we do one thing is the way we do everything, I've had a really really reassess my limiting beliefs when it comes to making money. And with being healthy, right, those two things, oftentimes we have a deep correlation with, if you believe that it's you have to work really hard for the money, it's pretty sure it's even a song about it, or you have to work, you have to work really hard in order to lose weight, or in order to be your optimized health, then that's gonna carry over. And if you're relying on straight up willpower, now, you're not tapping into your natural sources of dopamine, like, let's hit that button of happiness and get to a point where we're feeling good in our body, we really live in this either or world. And we're here to rewrite that and remind you that actually, it gets to be and, and more. And how we do that is through the science and studies of the subconscious brain, and correlating to the physical assessment of your gut.
Yeah, we're very similar thinking all those fronts. So let's jump a little bit. Because I feel like you might have some very interesting and powerful connections that you will win between gut health and entrepreneurship. So tell me, tell me that all the things.
I mean, at the end of the day, if I don't feel good, nothing is happening. You know, if I can't get out of bed in the morning, and feel excited for what's ahead of me, then my family is going to suffer, my clients are going to suffer, suffer, my business is going to suffer hell, even my cat is going to suffer because I'm not even interested in hanging out with her right? The people in my life and the things that I've made promises and commitments to deserve the best version of me. And if I'm not giving them the best version of me, then I'm doing everybody a disservice. And when I'm thriving, and when I'm aligned, and when things feel expansive, and exciting for me, personally, then my business is a direct reflection of that, you know, for anybody on an entrepreneurial journey, you know, there's, of course going to be highs and lows and ups and downs. But that's where I like to say this is where it gets to be experimental. This is where we get to get curious about the journey in health and in business, what are the things that I actually love to do? One of the things, what are the foods that I love to create and to eat? Maybe there's something there? What are the things that I absolutely, absolutely hate doing in business? What are the foods that I absolutely despise? But somebody told me that it was good for me, so I need to eat it? Or the opposite, what are the foods that I love, but someone told me that those natural flavors are going to cause inflammation in my body, so like, I can't go near it with a 10 foot pole, it's like, let's for a second, take a step back and weigh those pros and cons is the stress of thinking about either doing or not doing that thing in health or in business, outweighing the benefits of doing or experiencing the thing that you actually love to be doing? Surrender is a little bit different than Well, I'm gonna say, it's, it's about surrendering to what you already know to be true, but I think there's a lot of like baggage that comes with that, especially our brains are going to start going, What do you mean, surrendering doesn't mean to not show up? Right? Consistency, and showing up and aiming for a 1% change every single day and celebrating that is the new paradigm. It really is. Because even for the people who go through our program, right, you're gonna have a high you're gonna have a bump in the road, you're gonna now have to put your new lessons and learnings to The test because that's what the universe does. It provides opportunities and chances to put this self reflection and healing to the test. And it's not to test you in a bad way. But it is an opportunity to say, all right, honey, let's do the damn thing. Like you're saying you want this, let's do this. It's the same thing in business, showing up consistency, checking yourself at the door and noticing when it's when it's a an ego driven decision or a gut Driven Decision, and really attuning and practicing to what you know, I always say my husband and I have this conversation all the time. The gut instincts are always right. But the ego instincts always want to come in the next morning or the next day, because the ego instincts are actually what are trying to keep us safe. But ultimately, if I'm a lizard safe under a rock, but I actually desire to bask in the sun and eat the creepy crawlies walking by without having to try very hard, I have to risk being scared of the Hawk that's gonna fly over. But I can implement new tools to learn how to camouflage. That way. I can have it all in more, if I'm a little chameleon, for example.
Alright, so I love all your analogies.
Yeah, I mean, I think analogies are really great ways to like, digest and understand, you know, the science and the correlation between our brain and our gut and how it all plays into not just our health, but also entrepreneur entrepreneurial journey. Yes.
So let's kind of bring it back full circle. And you mentioned the client experience. And I'm very familiar with helping people, you know, get clarity on everyday toxins and doing detoxes. And there's definitely this sort of early phase, which is not necessarily comfortable when you're coming back into harmony in your system. So what do you tell potential clients that the journey is going to look like to prepare them?
Yeah, I watched a movie on a plane last week, I was traveling back to Panama. I can't remember what it's called. But it was with Meryl Streep. And it was a it was a therapist, a marriage therapist who helps people who've been married for a long time find their spark again. And the example that he gave on the journey was, you can't fix a deviated septum without breaking it first. I thought Damn, that's good. Right. So it's just like with the brain, right, our subconscious mind. You know, we use terms like self sabotage, I like to use the term self preservation, your brain is always going to keep you safe, loved and accepted. These are this is a writer downer, the three main needs of every single human being, to feel safe, to feel loved, and to be accepted into the community, or your peers, or your family, or whatever it is, if one of these things are threatened, you're going to do some crazy shit that you never thought you would ever do in order to get those things, period. You may even do things that are outside of your moral compass. In order to get those things if we're not getting our basic needs. We're really savvy at figuring out ways to get them. So to break that down and look at okay, what do I have to do to start changing these habits everyday, we first got to look at those shadow sides of ourselves, we got to look in the mirror. And this is something that which you know, Megan, as health coaches we do we hold the mirror for you. We help you look at yourself in a different light with curiosity rather than judgment. I'm never going to say Megan, look at me. And let me tell you all the things that are wrong with you, no, honey, we're going to do the deep work and you're going to look in the mirror. That's going to be a little hard. Because sometimes looking at our true selves is not always comfortable, because we've been taught that it's not safe, right. So same thing with our health. We first got to break the deviated septum in order to be able to breathe clearly. So when we go through protocols, say for example, somebody does have a parasite or massive dysbiosis, or a very common infection that we see in like 95% of GI maps is called H. Pylori, which if unaddressed, if unaddressed can, at best cause some serious heartburn and some other problems, at worst lead to cancer. So like this is something that needs to be addressed. And most, most maps come back positive for this. And in families, it's easy to pass and saliva. It's not something to be afraid of, but it's something to look at. When we kill that thing in your gut. It might not feel super good. So we call them die off symptoms. You may experience some die off symptoms. This is what it looked like what it looks like. I think just being totally honest and straight up and setting the expectations from the beginning allows people to feel safe because guess what, we are resilient. We are awesomely smart. We are amazingly I'll say resilient. Humans are resilient. If you look back at your Life, you survived every single day up to this point. And guess what, there's been a lot of hardships in those days and weaved into those years. And you've made it, you've made it. So if laying out the expectations, number one is really helpful, there's gonna be bumps in the road. And that's okay. Because guess what, now you have a support system with three experts that you've never had before, in your back pocket, we meet you where you're at, we're never going to expect to pull you out of the mud prematurely. In fact, we're gonna get down in the mud with you, and we're gonna dance around, and we're gonna have a good time doing it. And when you feel like throwing up, we're gonna hold your hair back. But we're also going to cheer you on. And we're going to remind you that this too shall pass. And we're gonna give you tools along the way. So that way, hopefully, I mean, I use that term as like an effectually. Hopefully, you don't throw up along the way that's like, that was that was a theoretical term, right? Like your best friend at a college party holding your hair back, right? We're gonna give you tools along the way to support your liver to make sure that your die off symptoms are not extreme. And if they are a little bit extreme, you send us a DM right away, and we're gonna pull back and we're gonna slow it all down. Because we're not in a rush here. It didn't take four weeks for you to get sick, it probably took you almost four decades to get as sick as you are. So we're going to do this slowly and incrementally and at your pace where you feel safe and where you feel comfortable. Knowing that on the other side, like we're going to theoretically numb, numb the nose to break it as we go. Knowing that on the other side, you're going to be able to breathe clearly and easily without all the pain and suffering along the way. So yeah, die off symptoms are not always fun. But there's ways that we can get through that hump, one of which is community. Second of which is having the experts in your back pocket 24/7. And third of which are the tools in your toolbox that are now shiny and new, rather than those old and outdated ones that you learn in your first seven years of life.
So what surprises clients the most?
How easy it is? Seriously, it's you know how easy it actually is. And I think I'm always going to say this blessed that medicine and we believe in symptom management on the healing journey, we will never say to stop taking your meds. In fact, we're going to say bless that medicine because that medicine is helping you go poop every day or or get out of bed in the morning or whatever it may be bless that medicine. And as we go through the journey of healing, maybe we can start weaning off or shifting certain things that you just told me you no longer desire to be a part of your life, right. And maybe certain pharmaceutical heartburn medicines or laxatives that you just know, intuitively, are not really a way of living for the rest of your life. There's something else going on. And you know, Western medicine is beautiful for what it is I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world in the case of a broken bone or, you know, an emergency operation. And when it comes to long term chronic care, Western medicine just really isn't there. I have an autoimmune disease, the only answer any dermatologist ever gives me is let's kill your immune system. And that for me is just not an option. I travel the world, I'm an expat, killing my immune system is not an option for me. And steroid creams for life is also not an option for me, because as soon as I stopped taking him, the rash has come back with full force and a vengeance. So let me dig a little deeper, you bet your ass if I have a big flare up, I'm going to use some steroid cream to help those symptoms and to help calm my nerves because the stress of it doesn't help anything. And simultaneously, I'm going to reassess my nervous system health, I'm going to rebalance my gut, I'm going to look at what I'm eating, who I'm hanging out with what I'm consuming on the television, and I'm going to hit the reset button. So that way I can get back to a place of homeostasis where my skin is. in remission, I have psoriasis, that's my autoimmune disease, I'm in remission without having to kill my immune system. So I went off on a little bit of a tangent, a tangent there.
Beautifully said I appreciate that. What you were saying that the surprise that it's not impossible or Yeah, painful.
Yeah. And I think you know, when it comes to, that's what I was gonna say the good intention of Western medicine is to have you feeling better. And ultimately, it falls short because you feel better for a short period of time. But then in the long term with chronic symptoms, it just misses the mark a little bit. And I think when it comes to the doctors who are such good people and desire to help people heal, it's not their fault. It's truly a system of 15 minute appointments and you know, a financial situation that people aren't able to have access to the experts on a longer term basis. And that's really what we're trying to do at the gut health agency is bridge that gap between access to experts and getting you feeling better for the long haul. So that way, you're no longer having to outsource your intuitive wisdom and your knowledge about yourself because you already have all the answers. We're just here to help kind of fill in some of the missing pieces for you.
Yes, we are very aligned on this. Alright, so how can people work with you? What's the best way to reach out,
go to the gut health agency.com, you can read through our six month signature program, there's the button to apply there. You know, the only thing I do ask is that, take a moment and do some self reflection before you book a call with me. At the end of the day, you know, before we even talk if this program is right for you or not. So I'm going to honor your time by answering any questions that you have. And I'm just going to ask that you honor my time and not come to the call looking for me to convince you. Because I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to convince you that this program is right for you. That's that's not at all what this is about. I'm going to help you answer your questions. And then I'm going to process your first month's payment, and we're gonna get started the same week. That's it. So have a look at the details on our website. Send me a DM on Instagram, Chelsea Haynes coaching or gut health agency are our two accounts on Instagram. And you know, get to know us get to know the practitioners, which you can also find on Instagram, we're in the stories all day every day, and then book a call. If it feels right, and we'll get you started right away. It gets to be that easy.
Yeah, well, it makes a lot of sense that if no other decision in life needs to be instinctual.
Yeah. And I believe that fear is, we believe that clear is kind over here. So the website outlines the outlines the pricing, the logistics, you know, I don't believe in getting selling you on a on a program and then having to do a free five minute call with you just at the end of drop a financial bomb. No, it's all laid out for you all the information logistically that you need is there. So if there's something that you just need clarity on book a call with me, I'll answer your questions. And then if it all lines up, we'll get you started.
Beautiful, any last bit of gut health wisdom you want to leave us with?
Yeah. When in doubt, remember, it's not what you're doing or what you're eating. It's how you're doing it and how you're eating it. It goes for sleep, it goes for exercise, it goes for food, it goes for all the efforts you're putting in and your email list and your content that you're sharing for your business. Realign yourself and just start taking note of your nervous system. If you do anything, and your nervous system is in a state of survival, it won't stick, it won't stick. So do what you got to do operate, do what you got to do in order to operate again and rest and digest. Many of us don't even know that term is the parasympathetic response in the central nervous system. And you will notice that the actions that you take even the tiny tiny ones from that state of rest and digest are so much more potent than anything that you tried to hustle or fight your way through.
Hmm, brilliant. All right. Well, it's been wonderful getting to know you better. I enjoyed the conversation. And thank you so much for being here, Chelsea.
Thanks so much, Megan. I so appreciate you. You hold space beautifully. Thanks