Gut health importance has become a hot topic, and for good reason. Most of this content surrounds the connection between gut health and mental health, but there’s so much more to it. We talked to two trailblazing, holistic health professionals about their gut health experiences, knowledge on the gut in relation to the brain, their own personal journeys, and communities. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of gut health with Asha Walker and Jules Rabelo., as well as highlight brands we love to love.


Jules Rabelo

I’m Jules Rabelo, a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P), board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). I’m also a holistic health educator, microbiome nerd, student of life, and nature lover. I currently live in Miami and run my Functional Nutrition practice online, Essencia Wellness, which is accessible to anyone through virtual consultations. To learn more about me and what I do, you can visit me on my website or on Instagram.

How long have you been practicing a holistic lifestyle? Have you always practiced this lifestyle? If not, what made you switch?

I have been practicing a holistic lifestyle for nearly a decade and improving yearly. What made me shift into leading a holistic lifestyle was when my father became severely ill and passed away. So to be completely transparent, I began fearing getting as sick as my father did because my health started to deteriorate soon after. By turning 21, I was experiencing many frustrating symptoms, including chronic bloat, heartburn, extreme fatigue, brain fog, hair loss, eczema, and anxiety.

When I first began, I thought I was doing everything ‘right’, such as working out regularly, eating whole foods, going gluten-free, dairy-free, and going vegetarian at some point. However, it did not completely solve my health challenges. I knew something deeper was wrong and was determined to figure it out. At this point, I started to explore nutrition from a more functional and bio-individual perspective.

What does healthy gut health mean to you?

A healthy gut means whole body wellness because you’ll find that once you improve your gut health, other health issues also often clear up. Your gut is the epicenter of true wellness and can significantly influence the health of your skin, hormones, brain, and metabolism.

After healing my gut, my health completely transformed for the better; my energy, digestion, memory, mood, and skin improved. The gut is connected to so many other systems in the body. Without good gut health, other sectors of our health suffer and become imbalanced.

However, to be more specific, a healthy gut means:

  • Proper digestion of food and absorption of nutrients
  • Practical gut barrier function and immune system
  • Daily bowel movement and elimination
  • Absence of gastrointestinal issues (i.e., bloat, acid reflux, gas, belching, stomach pain, constipation, gastritis, inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer)
  • Stable and balanced gut microbiota or harmony between the trillions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses living in our GI tract

Essencia Wellness

Essencia Wellness is my online Functional Nutrition practice. I started Essencia Wellness with a vision to transform lives through nutrition and empower bio-individual wellness. The concept of bio-individuality recognizes that each individual has unique circumstances, challenges, deficiency, genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors which influence what particular nutritional and healing approach may serve someone best at the moment.

That’s why I take a bio-individual approach with my clients. Through a comprehensive health assessment and functional lab tests, I factor in their unique circumstances with lab results in our work together to help simplify health and get the results. An essential aspect of my practice is gut health.

Through organizing a community using health, what have you seen as a result?

When I started building a community around health and nutrition, I thought I would only help people eat better, feel better physically and lead a healthier lifestyle, which is all true! I’ve also found that when I help people improve their health, it also helps them improve their relationship with themselves.

The health journey is also a journey back to your authentic self because as you start correcting nutritional and gut imbalances, you’re also releasing old parts of who you were, parts of you that no longer serve your highest good. And that is how we can cultivate a holistic lifestyle.

Asha

I am Asha Walker, Miami native, CEO, and Founder of Health in the Hood, a non-profit organization based in Florida. I am a forever practicer of holistic health and a recent, certified holistic health coach. In college, I was a theatre major, and even though I took a deviation, I apply the skill sets I learned when discussing wellness and sustainability. My husband and I will celebrate our five years in February alongside our 22-year-old cat. You can learn more about me on my website and Instagram!

How long have you been practicing a holistic lifestyle? Have you always practiced this lifestyle? If not, what made you switch?

I come from two very healthy parents that made fitness, home cooking and cooking with natural ingredients my norm. When I got into practicing holistic Health and learning and sharing my findings, I was shocked that everyone already didn’t know about this lifestyle. My family was generationally always educators, community activists, and wellness-focused people, so I come from everything I do naturally. Because of my father’s values, it is important to me to give back and take care of myself. It wasn’t until I was already developing Health in the Hood that I decided to organically take my holistic wellness practices to the next level to amplify my practices with more people.

What does healthy gut health mean to you?

I have always practiced a healthy lifestyle, but it wasn’t always holistic. My definition of Health has evolved over the years, especially as I learn more about my evolving body. This has made my practices more intentional and nurtured throughout the years, especially with my soul and spiritual care. I always say my fatal flaw is I’m constantly looking for the following wellness bio-packing activity. Once I made the connection, I could never go back, it really clicked for me.

Health in the Hood

Health in the Hood is a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide equal food access for all through urban farming, wellness programs, and healthy food distribution. We have found a sweet spot serving food in secure families in an extremely dignified and empowering way where we are creating sustainable, attainable, and fun ways to eat healthy forever. For us, going into a community and converting land into edible gardens, teaching residents from children to seniors how to grow their own food, access local grocery stores, how to close the gap is at the core of our work. We also implement wellness programming, creating a holistic approach to Health outside the food you eat. This includes the books you read, what processed food does to your body, your sleep habits, and other components that bring that wellness curriculum based on nutrition, fitness, and urban farming.

When COVID hit, we completely amplified and evolved our programming. We’re already in the food space, so we called on our partners and launched a large-scale food distribution model. Two years later, we are still operating this new niche. Right now, we feed about 500 families a week at a drive-through pantry. In the next chapter for Health in the Hood, we’re rolling out a National expansion model where we’re moving into new communities, including three cities, in the next five years. This new chapter also entails a new app we’re currently fundraising towards. Health in the Hood has been ten years of nurturing and figuring out all the components that work to serve and amplify communities in this way.

Through organizing a community using health, what have you seen as a result?

The biggest takeaway is the ripple effect being so honest and immediate. We are all so connected to our Health and want to be healthy, so when we can provide that through our organization, for me, it is incredibly satisfying to be a part of this ripple effect that vibrates the world. The connection you see to people’s food source as well. When a kid plants a seed and watches it grow, there’s an immediate connection and ownership that comes with it. You see people’s lightbulbs light up and watch these rapid shifts happen. This ripple effect makes it feel like we are changing the world.

Affiliates

Base

Base is helping you lead your best life through their at-home testing kits aimed at improving your diet, stress, fatigue, general health, and more. Once you take their test, they will give you answers on your hormone and vitamin levels, what needs improving, and how to improve based on your results. These personalized improvements will be sent to your Base app and will help you track your progress!

Use our code CADA20 for 20% off!

Viome

VIOME is a team of scientists, nutritionists, doctors, and more, helping people lead healthy lives. Their health and gut intelligence tests provide an in-depth analysis of your microbial, human, and mitochondrial gene expressions. This test reveals how your gut microbiome health impacts other areas in your body.

Use code CADACONSULT for 20 dollars off!

We want to thank Jules and Asha for their insight into gut health!

What did you learn from this blog? How will you apply this information to your daily life? Are you going to test your gut health using Base or Viome? We want to hear from you! Let us know in the comments or on our Instagram @cada_culture and @cada_consult. Check out our last blog on Fall Sustainable Shopping!