My Health Journey
Updated: Feb 17, 2021
Hello! I’m Kate Barry, a Functional Nutritionist, Holistic Health Practitioner and Science Educator/Researcher from Sydney, Australia. I believe that a functional approach is the answer to our healthcare crisis, so I created the Holistic Health & Nutrition Clinic as a way to provide functional solutions for patients and clients alike.
My road to understanding the power of nutrition in healing began with personal illness. After eight long years of study, I was finally working in my dream job as a Nutritional Ecologist at a prestigious University. Life was grand. Not only was I kicking goals at work, but my personal/social life was full and exciting. I travelled often, played competitive sports, tutored high school kids after work, and had no shortage of invitations to BBQs/parties/restaurants etc. Then in 2016, seemingly out of nowhere, I began to feel dizzy and off balance to the point that I could not walk or think straight. Doctors put it down to an inner ear issue, but a week later I noticed that my limbs and face felt intermittently numb in areas - I knew something was very wrong.
The next two years saw me visiting three ERs, seven GPs and five specialists, often being told I was depressed or stressed and that eventually the symptoms would resolve on their own. When scans and tests continued to come back 'normal', I took things into my own hands and borrowed many many books from my local library about diet and lifestyle. After reading A LOT about inflammation, I decided to try a strict Auto Immune Protocol to see if that had any effect on my symptoms - a huge leap of faith considering I had been vegan for 15 years! I definitely noticed some improvements, but did not get anywhere near the full resolution of symptoms I had been hoping for. Within those books I also read about Functional Medicine, and decided to take another leap of faith to search for a practitioner in my area. I'm so thankful I did! I was eventually diagnosed with Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (AKA Mould Illness), realising that my workplace was riddled with mould and it had been building up in my system for years until I'd hit a tipping point. It was so good to finally know what was causing my symptoms, and even more importantly, to feel acknowledged and heard by somebody in the medical profession. I started on a CIRS treatment protocol, and after about six months I could feel myself coming back to life.
Unfortunately, the story does not end there. Since then I have struggled with fatigue and been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a debilitating condition that is under-diagnosed and poorly understood. In the latter half of 2018 I was bed-bound, and it seemed even the Functional Medicine doctors were at a loss to help me. My gut feeling was that even though I had detoxed from the mould, it had done some serious damage to my system over the years and my body was having trouble recovering. Again, I decided there must be more I could do in the diet & lifestyle realm. I enrolled in online courses, listened to podcasts, attended virtual conferences, and read many many research papers about health & nutrition. Implementing many of these new strategies, I started to improve to the point that I could work from home and do basic housekeeping activities like cooking and vacuuming. I have had many "dips" since then, but each one teaches me something and tells me where to go next on my journey.
Once I attained a certain level of wellness, my brain came back on line and I realised I had a choice — to let this illness define my life in a purely negative way or to find the opportunities hidden within. I became determined to understand the mechanisms that lead to chronic disease, to understand how and why the body reacts as it does, and to discern the aptitude that we have to unlock our healing potential using the keys that nutrition can provide. This inspired me to return to formal study.
I trained at the Health Coach Institute to become a certified holistic health & life coach, learning about healthy eating habits for an energized body and life and how to share this knowledge with others. But that wasn't enough - I wanted to help people like me that were struggling with chronic illness, and I instinctually knew I needed to take the training further. More recently I’ve completed training in functional nutrition through the Functional Nutrition Alliance, and hope to continue on this path with the advanced Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Practitioner training in mid-2021. This intensive functional nutrition training has had me deep diving into the systems of the body, revisiting all that I learned in my undergraduate Biology training but in a more practical and functional way that is much more relevant to human health.
What I have learned is that when practitioners take a functional approach — asking questions, fostering therapeutic partnerships, and taking the time to find unique root causes — people can find levels of health & vitality they never thought possible. I never want my clients to feel unheard, to feel like a burden or a lost cause. The Holistic Health & Nutrition Clinic is where patients can empower themselves with nutritional insights and connect with a Functional Nutritionist for dedicated one-on-one support. We need to change the way healthcare is addressed on a global scale and HHANC is my contribution to the healthcare revolution.
Although my University work and healthcare mission very much define my life at the moment, I do have a few other loves. On my days off, you can find me reading novels in the sun, tending to my veggie patch, cuddling my two Staffies, watching nature docos with my partner, listening to podcasts, learning to play the ukulele, and dreaming about future white water rafting adventures!
This pic represents two of my favourite things - nature and white water rafting :-)
If any of this resonates with you and you'd like to chat some more, please leave a comment or shoot me an email at email@example.com
In health and wellness,