We’re so pumped about our conversation with Paula Sturm. Paula is a Registered Dietitian, Functional Medical Nutrition Therapist, Master Mindset Coach and is also a content partner. Content partners help Voyage in so many ways from spreading the word about the work that we do, sponsoring our mission and collaborating with us on content like this. Check out our conversation with Paula below.
Hi Paula, so great to have you join us again. For folks who might have missed our earlier conversations, can you please take a minute to briefly introduce yourself?
Hi! I’m a Registered Dietitian, Functional Medical Nutrition Therapist, and a Master Mindset and Wellness Coach. I love helping women overcome digestive and hormone issues through nutrition, functional medical testing, strategic supplement use, and neuro-linguistic programing (NLP). My approach to wellness encompasses the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of health, I’ve found that only focusing on the physical doesn’t get to the full depth of issue someone is struggling with. There is always a mental/emotional aspect to every condition and at the bottom of every goal, so addressing those layers is equally important as the physical. What sets me apart from many other dietitians is that I’m certified as a functional medical dietitian so I’m looking for root causes of the conditions people come to see me for. I dive deep into someone’s history and address everything from mouth health, stress, sleep, chakras, and toxic exposure. Health is multifactorial, you can’t address one thing without addressing all the others. I believe if you are looking to feel better, it’s best not to waste time, I do the necessary testing and symptom evaluation to make sure we get right to the heart of the issue! A little personal background, I moved to southern California 10 years ago from Wisconsin and live with my 10 year old son and boyfriend in the Carmel Valley area. I enjoy hiking, taking walks at the beach, travel, and visiting local farmers markets for unique food finds. Cooking is a joy for me and I love reinventing recipes to make them healthier and tastier. I’m a huge fan of chocolate and cashews and have a slight obsession with green tea.
Why would it benefit someone to see a Functional Medical Dietitian?
First of all, let me clarify a difference between dietitians and nutritionists because I think that can be confusing on it’s own. A dietitian can be a nutritionist but a nutritionist can’t be a dietitian. Dietitians have to have graduated from a university with a degree in nutrition then further their education with a year long internship either at a hospital or other qualifying organization, then pass an extensive registration exam. In order to maintain those credentials, 75 hours of continuing education must be completed every 5 years. We are regulated by a governing body and have rules and regulations to maintain. We are trained on how to address medical conditions with diet and are able to recommend evidence-based diet interventions with Medical Nutrition Therapy. A nutritionist, on the other hand, doesn’t usually have the extensive medical background a dietitian has and can’t prescribe diet interventions, they can only suggest and coach. Where you have to be careful, is that most nutritionists aren’t regulated, so almost anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. Many have had only a few month certification they completed or a short course where they got some general background but not a complete understanding of how nutrition really impacts the body. They usually don’t have continuing education they have to meet so it’s unclear how updated their knowledge. Now, where seeing a functional medical dietitian is beneficial is when you aren’t feeling like yourself but your doctor says “your fine, all your tests are normal” but you don’t feel normal. See, you don’t have a disease to diagnosis but your physically know your body is telling you something. This is exactly the time to see someone like myself because this is the moment where we can address what’s going on BEFORE it can get to the state of disease. Functional Medicine deals with optimal function, getting you feeling as best as you can no matter what stage of life you are in. We address inflammation, optimize hormone function, and support optimal gut health, all of which has a profound impact on how you feel and your overall health for years to come. Another benefit of seeing a functional medical dietitian is we naturally spend a lot of time with our clients. So, you’re being supported and cared for consistently to help you reach your goals more efficiently.
Why is gut health central to your well being and overall health?
We can trace so many things back to the gut. There is the gut-brain axis, 70-80% of our immune system is housed in our gut, a majority of our hormones are also produced in our gut, if we suffer from leaky gut we likely have other membranes that are “leaky” as well, our bone health even depends on a healthy gut! If your gut isn’t right, so too are many other things. This is why I focus the majority of my practice on gut health. I have personal experience here too, so I know the power of a healthy gut and how debilitating an unhealthy gut can be. I’ve seen people lose weight, improve their mood and skin, reduce their anxiety and carvings, and improve symptoms of autoimmune conditions by supporting their gut health.
Why does your doctor say you are totally fine, your labs are normal, but you still don’t feel well?
Your doctor is there for important things: to diagnosis diseases, prescribe meds, address emergency situations, and do necessary surgery. They really aren’t there to support your optimal health and well-being. Often times when just a few “things” (hormones, digestive function, inflammatory markers) are a smidge off, we start noticing symptoms. These symptoms can start compounding and pretty soon we are fatigued, bloated, depressed, gaining weight, and can’t think straight but we can’t pin down why. We seek help from our doctor but none of those things fits a diagnosis, usually. I can look at specialty labs that aren’t met to diagnosis a disease but look at where imbalances can be. This is where we can make diet changes, introduce some supplements and change some lifestyle habits to bring those areas back into balance.
Why does a dietitian also focus on mindset, stress reduction, and emotional wellbeing?
Not all dietitians do this. I choose to do this because I found all of these things are important for ultimate health. I’m not looking to help you feel a little bit better….I want you to feel your very best!!! In order to do that, we need to address YOU as a whole. We are more than just physical beings, we are spiritual, emotional and thoughtful, creative beings. If we fail to look at the whole we miss some key components that can lead us to feeling our best. Not only that, diet and lifestyle changes are hard things to do. Giving up sugar, eliminating cravings, going to bed earlier, reducing our portions, and eating more veggies can be really challenging and I realize that. So I chose to further my education so I could support people in these areas. I want people to feel like they CAN do this if they have the proper tools. To make a note about stress reduction specifically, I feel if you don’t have a way to properly manage stress you’ll never fully receive the goals you are trying to achieve. Stress is inevitable in the world we live in, however, we can be resilient against stress and learn how to cope so it doesn’t impacts our health and well being quiet so much. This is why I focus on stress management in my practice, if I don’t, results won’t be as dramatic.
It was so great to reconnect. One last question – how can our readers connect with you, learn more or support you?
Please go to my website where I have all the packages I offer: www.radicallynourished.com You can also follow my at @radically_nourished on Instagram Radically Nourished on Facebook Join my Facebook Group: Meal Planning for Hormone Balance
- Website: www.radicallynourished.com
- Facebook: Radically Nourished
- Linkedin: Paula Sturm
- Youtube: Radically Nourished
- Yelp: Radically Nourished
- Other: FaceBook Group: Meal Planning for Hormone Balance
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