It's time for another inspirational practitioner spotlight! We're delighted to be featuring the delightful Katy Haldiman, MS, RN, NTC, and we're grateful for her sharing some of her wisdom with us.
How did you get to where you are today?
As a young adult, I had a keen interest in health and science. I was inspired to work in a caring profession and that led me to pursue education to become a nurse. After I graduated and began working as a registered nurse, I became quickly disillusioned with the broken health care system. Of the course of several years, I gained experience in a variety of different specialties and I obtained a master’s degree in nursing and health care administration, but I remained unsatisfied with working in conventional health care. I had always had a love for herbal medicine and holistic health, but I wasn’t quite sure how to integrate these interests with my nursing career.
In 2012, I was diagnosed with three autoimmune diseases (Crohn’s disease, myasthenia gravis, and seronegative inflammatory arthritis) and that led me to discover food as medicine. I was quite ill and I was desperate for hope that the conventional health care system wasn’t able to give me. I knew that there had to be a better way beyond medications with numerous side effects and the poor prognosis that doctors gave me. I started researching nutrition and lifestyle factors in managing autoimmune conditions and I haven’t looked back since that moment. Eventually, I was able to put my autoimmune diseases into remission by following an anti-inflammatory/traditional diet, healing my gut, and making major lifestyle changes. It was that experience that prompted me to obtain additional education as a nutritional therapist and a movement educator and make it my mission to help others make healing changes in their own lives through the power of real food and natural movement.
How do you find clients?
My practice is primarily long-distance/online. My clients find me through word-of-mouth from current or past clients, my blog, or social media.
What has been most effective to get clients to commit to working with you long-term?
When clients first start working with me, I am often the only practitioner that has ever really listened to them and heard their concerns. This active listening and reflection is critical to building trust and establishing a strong therapeutic relationship. I work with my clients to set realistic goals and help them to understand that healing is a process, not typically something that happens overnight. That being said, clients continue to work with me because they do get results and they can feel the positive changes taking place in their bodies.
What’s some good business advice you have received?
“If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.” [Editor's note: The original article is by Derek Sivers and can be read here: No more yes. It's either HELL YEAH! or no.] I’m not quite sure where I first heard of this, but it has helped me to make better business decisions, embrace better time management, and align my practice with the things that I’m truly passionate about. When deciding whether to take on a new opportunity that presents itself, I evaluate my gut feelings about the opportunity using this filter. If it’s not something that I’m initially excited about and looking forward to, I consider that it may not be a good fit for my business and me.
What’s the hardest thing about being a practitioner?
Many people in our society have been conditioned to desire the quick fix to health concerns. Whether it is a medication, a supplement, or some other modality, they are hoping to correct their imbalances with a minimal amount of time and effort. It can be difficult to navigate clinical practice with this prevalent cultural mindset.
Also, being self-employed in private practice can be isolating, especially with a long-distance practice.
How do you overcome those challenges?
I tend to attract clients that are willing to invest significant time and effort into healing their bodies. They have already been “through the wringer”, so to speak, and they are prepared to undergo major lifestyle changes to regain their health. Also, I educate my clients to prepare them for what it takes to heal the body through functional health care.
To overcome professional isolation, I participate in a mastermind group with fellow nutritional therapists. I also find connection with other holistic health practitioners through social media to be helpful.
What is a book that changed your life when you read it?
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. This is so much more than a book about de-cluttering your home. It allowed me to break unhealthy patterns surrounding consumerism (a rampant issue in our society) and I eventually discovered minimalism as a lifestyle. This book has also given me the courage to pursue those things (and only those things) that spark joy in my heart.
Where would you travel if you had an all-expenses paid trip?
There is still so much of the world that I would love to explore and it’s difficult to choose only one location! However, I am especially fascinated with marine life and exploring the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is definitely on my bucket list.
Tell me about a memorable meal you’ve enjoyed.
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because of the focus on family and food. Three years ago, I prepared the Thanksgiving turkey (local and pastured, of course!) and the meal for my family for the first time after I had been quite ill with autoimmune disease. The entire meal was completely compliant with my dietary restrictions. I was so happy and proud to be able to share with love for real food with my family. It was a special memory on the path of my own healing journey!