Holistic Practitioner Spotlight with Olivia Neely, a Functional Health Dietitian
We are speaking with Olivia Neely, RD,IFNCP, on the topic of fertility and the healing power of using food as medicine.
Tell Us a Story About a Client with Fertility Issues and How You Helped
Tara, a 27 year old female had been trying for several years to quit birth control pills so that she could conceive a pregnancy. She had been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in her teens and had from that time on been taking birth control pills to manage her symptoms.
Tara came to me because she couldn’t get through the subsequent symptoms of post birth control syndrome on her own. Her cycles seemed “all over the place”. At times she experienced amenorrhea (lack of any period) for over 6 months; and then there was the occasional heavy withdrawal bleed. Added to that was severe acne and Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS).
What had Tara tried for her symptoms and fertility issues before seeking you out?
In Tara’s mind, the intention of starting a family within the next year was becoming less and less of a positive pursuit. The solution her doctors offered was to “go back on birth control to manage symptoms” and then worry about getting pregnant in a year. She knew there was more that could be done to prepare her system for fertilization and improve her overall health for years to come.
What modalities or therapies did you implement for her fertility issues and symptoms and what was the outcome of the services you provided?
The objective of stabilizing normal periods and increasing the likelihood of fertility took several steps.
- Healing her gut
- Replacing nutrients that were diminished with long term birth control and acne mediation
- Tracking her own body’s cues like cervical fluid and temperature shifts to confirm her ovulation
- Stress Management Techniques
After working together for 6 months, Tara’s periods have returned to normal. Her acne is gone and her PMS is not only under control but now used as tool to understand her unique hormone shifts throughout the month.
Since establishing a normal cycle and feeling physically and emotionally healthy, Tara is now entering the next family planning step with confidence and knowledge about what her body is telling her.
Why and When Did You Choose the Holistic Path?
I chose to purse functional health and specialize in optimizing fertility because our future generations depend on it. Our modern stressors, changes in the food we eat, and the toxins that we are exposed to are exponentially more now than ever before in history. This demands a whole-body approach to balance hormones and optimize fertility in order to set the entire family unit up for success for generations to come.
What Lessons Have Your Work and Personal Experiences Taught You?
As a functional health dietitian most of my focus is (of course) on using food as medicine, however, I have learned this is only one critical piece to the puzzle. The body must be addressed from a multi-system approach including the psychological, physical, and chemical signals that communicate either health or (dis)-ease in the body.
This is why I have created my three-pillar approach to functional fertility. This addresses body systems of the liver, the gut microbiome, the hypothalamus and pituitary axis (HPA) and hypothalamus ovarian axis (HPO). Also the psychological piece must be considered since it directly affects these systems. I have learned that each of these pieces have to work together for optimal health and healing.
What Would You Like Your Clients to Know About Your Services that They May Not be Aware of?
No matter where you are in your journey: whether you are just beginning to think of having a family or want to do things differently this time around, every one should know how to work with their hormones and not against them. There are program options that suite each individual, teaching you how to understand your body and cut through the non-stop noise of nutrition information out there today. You are unique. Shouldn’t your wellness journey be too?
I’m Olivia, an Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner (IFNCP™) and founder of Let’s Get Real, RD. I have worked in functional nutrition for the past 5 years and have seen first hand the healing power of using food as medicine.
I work with women, ages 25-40, who struggle with PCOS, post-birth control syndrome and other hormone imbalances who want to optimize their fertility with diet and lifestyle. I also work with anyone wanting to live a more vital life by using food as medicine in the wellness half of my business. This is for anyone looking to optimize their health and that of their family’s.
Other professional pursuits include:
- Dietitian in Integrative Medicine
- Mentor and Coaching Chair
- CFO of the top family health referral network in Philadelphia
- Wellness coach for On the Goga
Olivia Neely, RD, IFNCP
Functional Health Dietitian
Let’s Get Real, RD, LLC
1939 Fairmount Avenue #56202
Philadelphia, PA 19130
See Olivia’s Profile
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