A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME.
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Why would you want to listen to me?
I have a passion to help you improve your health by working with your body, not against it
I believe approaching our modern chronic health problems with fresh insight and understanding from history coupled with modern scientific research shines a light on a way forward for each person. I believe in a holistic approach, meaning all health problems impact the whole person - the physical, mental/emotional and need to be addressed on all levels. A person's environment is also a huge factor in any health issues and needs to be assessed and addressed accordingly.
I am continually researching and expanding my knowledge base so that I am up to date with the latest health-related research, relevant to all kinds of health conditions.
I keep things simple enough that your eyes won't glaze over with all the "medical" jargon but provide enough detail to give you those "Aha!" moments that will help you get to the bottom of your health issues and deal with them from a holistic perspective.
I understand the diverse health needs and challenges faced by people in all kinds of geographic and economic situations around the world, having lived in Asia, Africa, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and now Switzerland and I tailor my approach accordingly.
I offer simple, practical solutions that work within your specific budget and lifestyle constraints.
There is always something you can do to improve your health and get you started on a path towards optimum health, where you have energy to spare and feel fully alive!
So get started today! .
I am a bit of a broken record when it comes to harping on about the basics.
Because I stick to these. (On purpose!)
If you don't get your foundations right, it doesn't matter how many other ways you try
to address the problems, you won't fix the roots.
I am very practical about what is possible and doable for each person.
I am not a purist. (Although I used to be!)
I distil things down to the simplest way forward for you and what is practical and achievable given your particular situation.
I work with everyone's personal dynamic, willpower, and budget
to achieve what is possible.
My goal is to show you the direction to go and guide you on your journey.
Think of me as your own personal catalyst - giving you the tools to fix your health problems yourself.
Then it's up to you to actually walk the journey.
Let's start today!
A little more about my background...
My family moved to the Philippines to work with an NGO when I was 2 years old, and we lived there until I was 16. I relished the excitement and adventure that went with the freedom of childhood in the 80's, and living in a place where adventure was the norm! My sister, brother and I were very active kids and ran wild in the hills around where we lived, oblivious to the many times we could have died from our crazy antics and risk from snakes, and other things! It was awesome and free!
Some of my first food memories are of being forced to eat sugar-laden mud pies by my sister when I was 4, collecting all the dried fish eyes from everyone's dried salty fish at the community meals we attended and eating them like candy when I was about 5! Eating Balut (google it!) without really understanding what it was until I was about 6, and being forced to eat peanut butter sandwiches while drinking juice on a trip! Food was interesting and fun.
Water was often unsafe to drink when we were away from our house, so soda was a much safer alternative. We ate a lot of traditional Filipino food as a child and I loved most of it. Except for Okra. I drew the line at okra, and pigs blood sausage...and any meals with internal organs for that matter...oh well you get the picture!
I considered myself pretty healthy as a kid, hardly got sick, had an iron stomach, was wiry and athletic and was always told I had way too much energy! Fast forward into my teenage years and something wasn't quite right. I didn't hit puberty quite like the rest of the girls my age, and I knew something was wrong. I was miserable with gut pain most days and was skinny as a rake and starving so much that I would often eat a 1/2 baguette in the middle of the night! I lived on sugar and carbs. My favourite food was white bread, rolled up into a ball and eaten plain just like that.
When I was 17 I was diagnosed with a "textbook case" of PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome) according to the doctor, who seemed quite proud of her discovery and the obvious signs of it in my body!
Well, I was horrified after discovering more about PCOS and the thought of never having normal periods, terrible acne, weight gain, crazy hair growth everywhere (except my head - and maybe even going bald later on!) and especially infertility devastated me and left me feeling truly in despair. I took the contraceptive pill for a couple of years in the hopes of regulating my hormones, but it didn't help much and I couldn't tolerate the side effects so I stopped and just ignored the problems. My acne was pretty bad, energy levels were crazy high and I was emotionally all over the place. It was not a fun time in my life healthwise!
Fast forward a few years and I met a wonderful man, fell in love, and got married. I wasn't really doing anything at that point to help my body though - I didn't know or understand how much of an impact diet was having on my health. I was still a major sugar junky, and would drink coke, and eat candy bars all day long! We were even eating ice cream for breakfast on our honeymoon calling it the "breakfast of champions!" I was clueless to the damage I was doing to my body.
Everything came to a head when my husband and I had been trying to have a baby for 2 1/2 years, but nothing was working. I was starting to get really depressed at the idea that it would never happen, or at the best be a very difficult journey of IVF and who knows what else! I had a lovely friend who was a trained Naturopath/Nutritional Therapist/Homeopath etc. in England who started to see me and work with me to get my diet sorted, and put me on supplements to boost my hormones and fertility. That was when I really started getting serious about nutritional health and began to study Nutritional Medicine formally.
One month after taking a couple of very specific high-dose supplements, and going low carb, I found myself pregnant. Naturally.
I was ecstatic, but also very cautious as I had told myself not to get too excited as it was very likely (statistically) that I would have a miscarriage (or a few) before managing to carry a baby full term, as my hormones had been so messed up for so long. But miraculously (due to my diet and the supplements I was on I am sure!) I was able to carry the baby to full term and since then have gone on to have 3 more kids (with only 1 very early miscarriage in the middle).
Our kids are naturally spaced about 2 -3 years apart, simply because I could not get pregnant any sooner, and only when I would retake my supplements and get strict with my diet again, would things work. I think I may have proven the point that nutrition for fertility is key!
After those early days of my nutrition journey, when I was very much focused on nutrition and hormone balance/ fertility I branched out and studied many other areas of health through my Nutritional Medicine studies.
Over the years, I have helped people around the world deal with many health issues, not just hormonal ones. I love dealing with digestive problems and specific health issues that people have come to the end of their ropes over, as I usually can find a way forward for them that they haven't tried before, which makes all the difference.
I've had success with dealing with hypothyroidism, digestive disorders, hormone imbalance, anemia, cholesterol problems, infections, arthritis, malnutrition, diabetes, auto-immune disorders, etc. And I have had the privilege of using my family members all as guinea pigs for many of my out-there ideas and natural therapies, and the success we have had at treating them has been so personally rewarding to help those, even so close to me!
When I work with anyone, I always focus first on establishing a basic foundation of health through ensuring proper vitamin/mineral balance, the right ratios of fats/proteins, and healthy carbohydrates in the diet to support the body's general functions and then work to alleviate any specific problems the person is having in whatever area. This helps to prevent or reverse different symptoms which would otherwise progress towards named diseases, depending on the person's inherited or acquired weaknesses.
Many people come to see me with all kinds of issues, and there are so many different approaches out there, so many different herbs, nutrients, diets etc. that they are often confused by all the hype and information that they have heard on their journey towards health. I work to dispel many of the "fad" diets, supplement advice and "hype" and bring them back to a solid understanding of what constitutes healthy living. I like to distill things down to the easiest way forward for them, to get the best benefits with the least amount of effort.
The body was designed to heal itself, given the right nutrients it needs to work properly, and a huge amount of natural healing can take place simply by getting this first step right.
I look forward to being a part of your journey towards better health!
Rachael van der Gugten
If you've heard me talk and are wondering about my accent, you're not alone!
I am originally a New Zealander but my accent was permanently altered from 5 years of American school when I was a child and have never really lived long in NZ while growing up. Being married to a Swiss/American with German background and moving quite a bit since then has also permanently impacted my accent.
Have fun figuring it out ;-)