My name is Chelsea Haines, I am the founder and CEO of the Gut Health Agency. I have years of accolades that warrant me credit to share what I’m about to share with you regarding human behaviour and gut health, including degrees, and extensive furthering education, however, the important take away for your readers is to understand that I am here because of what I have lived through. I’m sure many of your readers can relate. Childhood abandonment, bankruptcy, and our home being foreclosed on when I was 12 created a deep sense of confusion and unknown, which inevitably lead to chronic stress and a diagnosis of autoimmune disease in high school. After years of managing the symptoms with medication, bless that medicine, I was frustrated with the lack of a root cause approach to my symptoms. After college, in 2008 I finally hired my first health coach to dig deeper into the “gut feeling” that I had food sensitivities and something deeper going on. She put me on the gut healing path and my life changed forever. When I was divorced in 2015 an opportunity for a whole new layer of healing to emerge. This is when I specialised my studies in not only gut health but also in the subconscious mind’s role in how we relate to ourselves and the world around us. I’m grateful and honoured to be able to share more of this with your readers today.
It was an amazing Interview with Chelsea Haines!
How did you started your journey as an Intuitive Gut Health Coach?
I graduated college the year of the great housing market crash in 2008 and jobs were few and far between. I sought out on an entrepreneurial venture, and after I got divorced that led me to my “eat pray love moment“when I decided to sell all my belongings and travel the world, teaching yoga on private super yachts. Though that lifestyle was exciting and full of abundance, I knew that it wasn’t my forever path. As I was crossing the Atlantic Ocean, and looking into the abyss of blue sky on Blue water, I asked God what my next steps were and a very clear download came to me that coaching was the next evolution to my career. I hopped onto Google and asked “how do I teach people to heal their gut?” An advertisement came up for the Health Coach Institute, and the rest was written in the stars.
Many of us still don’t know much about Gut Health? Can you brief us about it?
This question made me giggle because a brief on gut health is challenging for me as I am so passionate about it! I am grateful that we live in a world with instant knowledge and information in our pockets, as well as immediate access to each other. Within that world gut health has started to trend. This is a journey that I have been on since the early 2000s and I am grateful that more people are getting curious and catching onto the importance of gut health. With that said, I know that there is still a lot of confusion and misunderstanding of what gut health means, especially coming out of multiple decades in a row of women suffering from diet culture and chronic dieting that has led them down a path of not only heartache, but very uncomfortable symptoms in their body, and not just on a physical level, but also on an emotional and spiritual level. I believe the most important brief that I could give is that the gut and the brain are intimately and physiologically connected through an information highway that is called the vagus nerve. The relationship between our gut and our brain is bilateral. In other words, our gut health effects our mental health, and our mental health effects our gut health. Over 90% of serotonin is actually produced in our gut and over 70% of our immune system lives in our gut. When our gut is struggling, so is our mental health and our ability to fight infection is severely hindered. Simultaneously, if we are dealing with chronic stress (physical, mental, or emotional) or anxiety, our gut health will be hindered. This is why at the Gut Health Agency we have a proven systematic approach that both addresses the infections that are living in our gut as well as the subconscious and emotional components of healing that are so pivotal on the healing journey.
What challenges do you come across, guiding and making people learn about gut health?
As health coaches, we consider ourselves masters of habit change. One of the most challenging aspects of our job is to convince the subconscious mind of our clients that it is safe to make changes in life. It requires a brave and passionate soul to be willing to do the inner work that it takes in order to truly heal. We are not always ready to do this kind of self reflection and self development, especially if we are living with bacteria, parasites, or viruses in our gut. The mindset work and even therapy can feel challenging to do, when you are waking up every day exhausted and in pain. Simultaneously, those symptoms will often make people even more irritable and short tempered. Ultimately, reminding our clients that it is safe to take ownership of how they desire their life to turn out, is the greatest reward and some of the hardest work. In other words, an old dog can learn new tricks, but it has to first be willing to learn – which often requires Unlearning most of what we’ve been taught about health in the Western world. Change often triggers fear. And when we’re afraid, our only focus is survival. This is when self-sabotage happens and it can be a challenging cycle to break. With curiosity and persistence, our clients are experiencing life changing results.
How important is the Gut health in todays lifestyle?
I like to say that optimising your gut health is the worlds best bio hack, in order to keep up with the every day demands of the society and lifestyle that we live in today. Without efficient gut health, it is nearly impossible to keep up with the day to day demands of running a house, running a business, or moving up in a career path. We live in a world where it is challenging to not compare, and despair our way through life. Seeing our peers and the successes of other people can drive us on these forever loops and cycles of stress. If we are also dealing with bacteria, viruses and parasites that are living in our gut, it is going to make that comparison journey even more challenging. For many women, after years and even decades of jumping on and jumping off different diets, it is very hard to show up for the people and the things that they love in life because their gut health is now severely hindered. The repercussions of a weak digestive track will affect every area of our life, including our intimate relationships, how we relate to our finances, and even our ability to connect to that which is greater than us. So yes, I would say that gut health is a pretty big deal!
What factors should one always remember about maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
I’m going to say something out of the box here in regards to maintaining a gut healthy lifestyle. It’s very important to remember this one factor: it does not matter what you eat if who you are being is extremely stressed out. At the Gut Health Agency, we will not put you on a strict diet and that is because it will not serve you in the long term. We may make certain suggestions based on inflammatory levels in your gut that come back on your functional gut testing that we perform, with the intention of healing the gut, reducing the inflammation, and being able to re-introduce these foods that you love so much. Healing is not about restriction. True healing is about diversity and abundance, not just in what we are eating but in how we are acting and who we are being as we are doing the doing in life. If who you are being is chronically stressed and addicted to the busyness of life then it does not matter how “healthy” your diet is. True gut health is about recalibrating the nervous system to feel safe and no longer addicted to stress hormones. And trust me, stress hormones, are very addictive! But if you’re walking around like a ball of emotional reaction and constantly sending your nervous system into a sympathetic, fight or flight state – it truly doesn’t matter what you’re eating because your digestive system is completely turned off when you are in that state. Being willing to take radical responsibility for how you act and react in life is the key factor that will help you to unlock a truly gut healthy lifestyle. Feeling safe to shift these emotional reactions is what we help you do at the Gut Health Agency through subconscious healing tools as well as health coaching.
Do you think it is very important to teach the young generations about the benefits and rather it should be taught in the schools from very beginning?
I believe that a lot could change for the better regarding our education and curriculum in western society. Not only would it benefit children and adolescents how to properly handle and communicate their own emotional needs but as we move into high school, and even beyond, it would be extremely important to teach children how to relate to themselves and the world around them in a healthy way. By “healthy” I mean a productive member of society that does not just lash out at every trigger. Unfortunately, our school systems are not set up to support children in this type of way and as we become adults and have to deal with more responsibility like finances and families, we are still operating with the map that we created within the first seven years of life.
What impact is sedentary lifestyle causing on people’s wellbeing?
There are plenty of studies that show us that a sedentary lifestyle does not benefit us in mind-body or soul. But even more importantly, is to consider how you, the reader, feels after even 3 to 5 days of being sick and bedridden. Your mental health is probably suffering due to the lack of movement in your life. The silver lining of that is that the Microbiome and the human spirit are extremely resilient, and within only 36 hours of making better choices for yourself, we can see measurable and significant changes for the better – not only in our Microbiome, but also and how we are feeling emotionally and spiritually. Our bodies are made to move. Underneath it all, I do not believe the issue lies in a lack of motivation, but rather in a massive disconnection within ourselves and our bodies. Taking that one step further, a disconnection between our bodies and the earth. Modern technology has given us so many blessings like the advancement of Knowledge and the access we have to it, however, it has separated us from what our bodies are designed to do. That layered on top of the chronic messaging from social media and television, sending us messages that we have to hate ourselves or sacrifice something we love in order to be worthy of safety, love and acceptance – combined with coming off of some of the most stressful years of our lifetime and forced solitude – it is quite easy to see why we are dealing with a severe mental health crisis in 2022.