Holistic Wellness for Women: Embracing a Multifaceted Approach to Health and Empowerment with Katie Wells (Episode 208)

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Holistic Wellness for Women: Embracing a Multifaceted Approach to Health and Empowerment with Katie Wells (Episode 208)

It's inspiring to see so many women stepping into their power and making choices for themselves and their families around health and wellness.
Wellness expert Katie Wells joins Dr. Doni to talk about how women and families can take charge of their well-being by embracing a multifaceted approach to wellness that encompasses physical, mental, and emotional health.

In this episode I get to introduce you to Katie Wells, who is known as the Wellness Mama. She runs and hosts the Wellness Mama podcast, has written books, and created her own product line, all with the goal of helping moms and families with their health and wellness.

Defining a Wellness Mama

When Katie first started her podcast in 2014, which now has over 700 episodes, she had no idea that it could become such a significant resource for people and that so many would be drawn to what she’s offering. Despite a lot of advice from business circles to expand her audience, for her, the mission has always been women and moms especially. 

Katie has long believed that women and moms are such a force of nature not only superficially in that they make all the purchasing decisions, but more importantly they’re hands-on with the next generation. They’re helping younger generations form their foundational habits that will stay with them for their whole life.

Katie got into health and wellness because she was having health problems. That’s a very common story for those of us in health and wellness; we go into it seeking answers for ourselves.

She realized that so many other women were in similar positions and even kids were facing higher rates of chronic health conditions, and she realized moms are the changemakers.

She wanted to support moms while she also went on that journey for herself, and she mentions that for a lot of years she was maybe overemphasizing only the physical side. Of course, the physical part of our health is very important – what we put in and on our bodies and how we move and if we get light, those are so important.

The recent part of her journey has become more multifaceted and realizing wellness is a holistic, whole-person term. That has to include our mental wellness, our spiritual, our emotions, all of those aspects working together. 

Women are so multifaceted. For many of us that includes things like talking about business or at least finances and our financial wellness. 

Many women are now operating from the belief that we are each our own primary healthcare provider at the end of the day, and we are each our own healer. We can have partners in that process, but at the end of the day, the responsibility stays within us. 

To see so many women relate to stepping into their power and making choices for themselves and their families is so inspiring. 

Conscious Parenting

A lot of times in our cultures and our society, there isn’t the space for women to get support, and so women feel very alone. It’s amazing to be able to have digital platforms like podcasts and blogs and books, where women actually feel supported. They then find themselves saying, “Hey, it’s okay. We’re not alone and we can do this and figure this out together.”

While being the mother of six, Katie has advocated for redefining parenting. On her podcast and in her books she shares tips about how we can become more conscious about our parenting. She creates the space to ask: “How could we maybe do it differently and based on information we’re learning on the go. Why repeat the same patterns that aren’t working?”

This is an important aspect of wellness because we know that our relationships are actually a tremendous key to physical health and to longevity. Having solid, close relationships in our lives is more important than quitting smoking. It’s more important than exercise or diet. It’s actually more important than those things combined.

So, to some degree, we are the product of our relationships and we are only as healthy as our relationships with people around us. For moms, of course, kids are paramount in that hierarchy of relationships. Partners as well of course, but kids are the ones that really depend on parents for a lot of that early emotional growth and nervous system regulation and how they learn to exist in relationships.

So many women, and men too, seem to be really waking up to being just a little bit more aware of theirintention and words and how they put that into their interactions with their children.

This starts from the first principle that each of our children is their own infinite, autonomous human. We should not think of kids as “ours.” They don’t belong to us. Our role is to help them discover who they are and how they’re going to help the world.

Coming from that perspective allows you to, in relationship with kids, hopefully hold space for their emotions which are valid, hold space for their purpose and their desires and their lives, which are valid, and to help sort of hold their hand on that journey, but not lead them on that journey; to let them have their own journey.

There are of course things that fall into the tactical realm. Katie, for example, has a rule where she won’t do anything for her kids that they’re capable of doing on their own, not because she doesn’t love them or doesn’t want to help them, but because since they are their own infinite, autonomous humans, that would be an insult to their agency and to their ability and to their capability and to the respect that she has for them.

That doesn’t mean we’re not going to work with our kids to learn those skills or make sure they feel confident in their ability to do them. But it means we should not take the emotional responsibility from them, because that would actually be a disservice to them in the long term.

It means in interactions with them, we’re responsible for our own emotional regulation. That’s not our kids’ fault; they can’t make us mad. No one can make us mad without us being complicit in that. So if there are moments in parenting that arise where you feel angry or stressed or triggered, it’s about taking a breath, taking ownership for that, still hold space for their emotions, which are equally valid, and using that as a point of connection and conversation to hopefully build a stronger foundation versus letting that escalate into something that could be stressful for both kids and parents.

Kids pay attention to what we say, but they pay so much more attention to what we do. So to the degree that we can model that, it gives them the capacity and the permission to hopefully do that as well. Of course, that extends to the things we hope for them in health and wellness as well, in modeling those good habits and them seeing us put time and energy toward working out or to movement every day, or toward choosing healthy food or getting sunlight.

Our example goes a lot farther than our words. Of course, they need both, and of course they’re capable of understanding when we help them understand why those things are important. But to the degree possible, based on their ages, those things can become their choice. It’s so much more powerful and has such a greater likelihood of sticking for them when they get to initiate the choice.

Wellness as a Family Value

It’s a beautiful and amazing concept, this idea of leading by example. Sometimes people may feel like they’re starting on a health or wellness journey themselves, making diet changes or adjusting the products they use in their home. However, they might also feel like the rest of their family is separate and not connected to that journey. 

What’s being described here is a foundational approach of coming together as a family and declaring, “We’re here to be there for each other, to support one another with wellness as our shared value and priority.” From there, each family member can navigate their own individual paths while still supporting each other along the way.

We have to think about how we can go on the journey together and not, “How can you go on my journey?” Any mom would know, if phrased this way, we can’t force our kids to eat what we want them to eat, short of truly abusing them and forcing food down their throat. We can’t do that. It does rely on their autonomy and their choice.

So, to the degree that we can help nurture confidence in their decision making, and let them have guardrails to fail sometimes within safe bounds within our homes and feel the consequences of the failure of their actions in a natural way, it helps them to shape their decision making. So that in adult life, they have the foundation to make good choices.

And like all of us, they might still make choices we wouldn’t have chosen for them sometimes, and that’s okay too. Because humans are resilient and adaptable and there are great lessons in those decisions as well. Wecan always learn from whatever we go through.

Health as a Journey

We have to analyze how can we be our own friend and support and care for ourselves in a way that really can’t come from someone else; that needs to come from within and it’s a beautiful lesson.

Katie also created her own brand of wellness products because she saw that there was a need. It was hard to find wellness products she could trust. So she decided to create what she was looking for. 

When Katie started on this path of healing, a lot of the things available now were not available, especially inthe rural area where she lived at the time. You couldn’t buy grass fed meat in the grocery store and you couldn’t buy coconut oil in a grocery store. She was having to meet up with Amish farmers in parking lots to buy the products she wanted.

It was the same way with natural personal care products. They didn’t exist in the stores, and there certainly was not a wide selection like you can find on the Internet. So she started making most personal care products at home, just to have clean and healthy options. 

Moms are some of the busiest people on the planet, and most moms don’t have the time to make laundry detergent and lotion and shampoo and toothpaste and all the things from scratch. She realized she could help more moms have access to healthy options. 

Katie also realized that in order for people to make sustainable shifts, they need products that work as well as the conventional alternatives. They also need products to be easily available and not exorbitantly expensive.

80% of exposure to harmful ingredients and personal care products comes from 20% of inputs, which are mainly hair care and oral care, because those both are absorbed so easily into the body. So if families only switched those, they would be making a sustainable and noticeable shift in their toxic burden by eliminating the products that are most likely to have toxic ingredients in them.

Katie has been researching oral health products for over a decade. What we put in our mouth enters our body very rapidly and profoundly impacts the body. There are medications we put under our tongue because they get into our system so quickly.

Yet many of us are putting different oral care products in our mouth that are not only destroying our oral microbiome, but they are also rapidly absorbed into our bloodstream. Fluoride, for example, carries a poison natural warning, and yet it’s in most toothpastes. even microplastics found in toothpaste and all kinds of unsavory ingredients. Yet we want to prevent cavities.

The answer, just like in the gut, is not to destroy the microbiome entirely and kill all the bacteria. It’s actually to promote a healthy microbiome in the mouth that can handle and keep opportunistic bacteria in check.

The goal is to find microbiome friendly, non-toxic products that we can safely put on our skin and our hair and in our mouth and on our kids, and know that we can feel good about those choices and that we’re not going to have to call the poison Control Center if they happen to ingest them for some reason.

Perfection is not possible, and it’s not even the most desirable goal, because it’s not only unattainable, but the stress that we create while trying to strive for perfection is actually more harmful than the things we’re encountering and creating the stress about.

It’s about finding balance. But within doing that, making the choices that are not going to be overwhelming or difficult, but that can lead to a noticeable difference. We can reduce the load as we go on the journey of trying to get a little bit better each day, without the stress of trying to be perfect.

We have to figure out how to live our lives without stressing ourselves more, and making choices to really, ultimately, prevent illness and, and extend our healthy lifetime.

Conclusion – Becoming Aware

Perhaps the most profound thing one can do for their health, even in the physical realm, is to audit. Be aware of and start changing the stories and language used internally. An example of this can be seen in the journey of recovering from an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s. Upon diagnosis, it’s common to be told that the condition is lifelong and incurable.

However, it is possible to reach a point of no longer needing medication and having completely normal lab results. During the phase of the illness, it’s easy to have internal stories about the body attacking itself or the thyroid. Questions like “Why is this so hard? Why can’t I lose weight? Why can’t I heal?” can arise, and the subconscious mind will answer them with thoughts like “It’s because you have thyroid disease” or “It’s because you have six kids,” and so on.

When one starts to change the way they talk to themselves and make friends with their body, the body can become a partner in getting better. Asking better questions, such as “How can I make healing fun? How can I do this with grace, ease, and joy? How can I get a little bit better every single day?” can lead to the body responding positively.

Even the language of saying the body is attacking itself can be shifted to the realization that the body is always on our side, always moving toward healing, and never out to get us. Symptoms can be seen as messengers and gifts, the body’s way of directly communicating what it needs. 

Reframing the situation and learning to listen from a place of curiosity and humility can lead to much better answers.

As a starting point, it’s certainly important to do things like get morning sunlight, quality sleep, hydration, and nourishing food. However, it’s equally important to pay attention to the language used internally and to use it as a way to partner with and befriend the body. 

Creating habits out of self-love and the desire to nourish the body, rather than fighting a disease, fighting oneself, or punishing oneself to look or feel a certain way, is crucial.

These internal shifts can make external shifts much easier. It’s not always recognized that internal shifts can make a difference in autoimmune conditions or other physical aspects of health, as the connection is not often taught.

While making this shift in conversation and internal dialogue is not always easy and can require deep self-reflection, the story of how powerful it can be is one that is seen in patients every day. It’s an amazing phenomenon.

It’s important to remember that this is not an overnight process; it’s a journey and likely a lifelong one. However, even becoming a little more aware and catching oneself in moments of negative self-talk, reframing thoughts with something more positive, or putting up reminders of positivity can lead to small shifts over time.

This ties into the universal principle of compounding. Just as in the financial world, where investing in a compounding framework leads to growth and bigger results over time from the same initial investment, the same applies to health and inner talk. Making small changes can compound over time and lead to truly profound changes.

In a recent conversation with a patient, they expressed waiting for the big “aha” moment. However, it’s important to recognize that progress may actually lie in the small, incremental steps. Looking back a year or five years later, one might realize they’ve climbed an emotional mountain, achieved through little steps over time.

While everyone may want the lightning bolt or the silver bullet, it’s easy to miss the million tiny glimmers while looking for that lightning bolt.

If you would like to learn more about Katie check out her Wellness Mama website here and her wellness products here. You can also find her on Instagram @wellnessmama or Facebook @WellnessMama. You can tune in to her podcast “The Wellness Mama Podcast” here. Thank you so much for joining me here today, Katie! 

If you would like to learn how to do a detox to improve your overall health and wellness I definitely encourage you to check out my New 14-Day Detox Program. This program includes two protein shakes per day with 18 grams of protein, and two meals per day with a meal plan that I created based on making sure you get at least 20 grams of protein in each meal. I also teach you how to eat mindfully and how to detox gently but effectively without feeling worse. This can all be done without pushing yourself too hard and stressing you out, and while carrying on with your daily activities and routine. 

To learn more about my approach using my Stress and Trauma Recovery Protocol® which involves optimizing cortisol and adrenaline levels to heal the adrenals, as well as neurotransmitters, using nutrients, herbs and C.A.R.E.™ – my proprietary program to support clean eating, adequate sleep, stress recovery and exercise – I encourage you to read all about it in my latest book Master Your Stress Reset Your Health.

It is possible to eliminate the effects of stress and trauma by resetting our hormones and helping our body and mind to recover.

For the most comprehensive support, even with the most difficult health issues (physical or mental), and for access to the tests I mentioned in this episode, it is best to meet with me one-on-one, which is available to you no matter where you are in the world (via phone or zoom). You can set up a one-on-one appointment here.

We’re here to help you!

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