How Nutrition and Gut Health Improve Mental Health with Hally Brooke | POP 921

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How does your gut health impact your mental health? What can clients (and therapists) do to continue eating and living healthily despite food inflation? What is a brain issue versus a gut issue that leads to mental health issues?

In this podcast episode, LaToya Smith speaks about how nutrition and gut health improve mental health with Hally Brooke.

Podcast Sponsor: Alma

A photo of podcast sponsor, Alma is captured. Alma is an insurance company for therapists. Alma sponsors the Practice of the Practice podcast.

Going in-network with insurance can be tough. Filing all of the right paperwork is time-consuming and tedious, and even after you’re done, it can take months to get credentialed and start seeing clients.

That’s why Alma makes it easy and financially rewarding to accept insurance. When you join their insurance program, you can get credentialed within 45 days, and access enhanced reimbursement rates with major payers. They also handle all of the paperwork, from eligibility checks to claims submissions, and guarantee payment within two weeks of each appointment.

Once you’ve joined Alma’s insurance program, you can see clients in your state of licensure regardless of where you’re working from.

Learn more about building a thriving private practice with Alma at

Meet Hally Brooke

A photo of Hally Brooke is captured. She is the founder of Lived Nourished Coaching. Hally is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Hally’s self-education in nutrition and exercise began in 2011 when she battled and overcame her own serious GI issues including IBS and SIBO. Her experience lead her to pursue official certifications and launch her own personal training and wellness company (Playful Fitness) in 2016.

Through the process of finding wholeness and healing for herself as well as leading clients to wholeness and health, Hally learned that living nourished takes more than just “eating healthy” or working out and that, in fact, sometimes health means enjoying a burger, taking a nap instead of going on a run, and resting instead of pushing hard. So, she went back to school for nutrition and functional medicine, and rebranded Playful Fitness to Live Nourished Coaching.

Visit Live Nourished Coaching and connect on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

In this Podcast

  • The importance of gut health
  • The best way to start taking care of your gut
  • Be committed to your overall health
  • Helping clients through inflation and food costs
  • Hally’s advice to private practitioners

The importance of gut health

Almost all of the time when a person is sick, they go to the doctor. This is a great plan, however, many of your bodily functions – including your immune system – relate to your gut health as well. Going to the doctor is great, but if you find that your health is permanently lacking, you are perpetually getting ill, or even your mental health is constantly struggling, consider going to a nutritionist as well.

  • 95% of serotonin is created in the gut, so if your gut health is poor, then you are more likely to struggle with anxiety and depression.
  • 75% of your immune system lives in your gut, so for a fully functioning immune system you need to have a healthy functioning gut.

For example, your gut – large intestine – lining is one cell thick and is in charge of keeping all food particles, bacteria, fungus, yeast, and fecal matter contained so that it doesn’t leak into the body cavity.

When you get holes in that gut lining, now you have poop particles, food particles, and bacteria leaking out into your body cavity which creates an immediate immune response … Akin to a cold or the flu every single time you eat … from autoimmune diseases to rashes to chronic fatigue … All of those are immune responses because your body is attacking stuff. (Hally Brooke)

If you have a leaky gut, it can turn into a serious issue.

The best way to start taking care of your gut

How to take care of your gut on any given day:

  • Eat clean food that is as organic as you can get
  • Remove or avoid overly processed foods
  • Eat foods that are pre- and probiotic

How to heal your gut from underlying issues: The five Rs of gut repair;

  • Remove damaging foods that are upsetting your gut health
  • Repair the damaged gut wall by adding to the mucal lining
No one on the planet, no doctor or nutritionist can actually make your body heal, we can just set your body up to heal. (Hally Brooke)
  • Reinnoculate the gut with healthy bacteria
  • Rebalance the gut and body health by reducing stress
People don’t think about stress as causing gut health issues but cortisol which is your stress hormone physically changes the makeup of your microbiome. (Hally Brooke)
  • Reintroduce all the things you first removed from your standard diet

Be committed to your overall health

You have to condition yourself to do it [and make the right changes] but the benefit on the backend is so big, like why wouldn’t you just do it? (LaToya Smith)

The nutritionist’s ability to create the perfect plan for a client is only as good as their ability is to follow through on it. No doctor, therapist, or nutritionist can magically repair and recover a client on their terms – no matter how much you can want to do it!

The client has to want to put in the effort themselves, because only then is there going to be any sort of positive change.

Their ability to actually implement that plan on a Tuesday when they’re driving home from work and it’s late at night … That behavior-change piece is 100% more important than the five R’s being perfectly lined out. (Hally Brooke)

Helping clients through inflation and food costs

Even though it’s all good and well to commit to living a more clean and healthy lifestyle, it can be difficult to find the right resources if the budget is tight or if healthier food options are too expensive.

Hally and her team help their clients in numerous ways to improve their relationship and understanding with food and overall health. They:

  • Encourage mindset shifts in their clients so that they understand that their choices today will influence their choices down the line.

Choosing to eat more organic where possible and less processed food now will result in less medical bills or physical or mental health issues later on in life.

  • Encourage clients to be more patient and work on reducing their addiction to the instant-gratification culture that is rife within the modern world.
We as a culture have lost the ability to think about [the fact that] the choice I make today will affect my life 30 years down the road. Unless you are walking with people who are 50, 60, or 70 dealing with these health issues, because usually those people have the wisdom to go, “Man, I wish I had done something different in my 30s!” (Hally Brooke)
  • Teach people how to make food affordable. Real food like fresh produce and meat is relatively inexpensive, but gluten-free and sugar free versions of common snack foods aren’t.

The more full meals you make with real ingredients, the less hungry you will be to snack, and the less money you will spend on casual snack foods that are often not as healthy – or are “healthy processed foods” that are astronomically expensive.

  • Learn about the different food types that have the worst kind of pesticides that can’t be washed off, and avoid them, and opt for the foods that are more easily found and easily cleaned so that you aren’t forced to constantly buy organic.

Hally’s advice to private practitioners

Your work depends on you being able to show up in the room, and that depends on your physical health and wellbeing. You taking care of you is priority number one, for your work, and for your clients!

Sponsors Mentioned in this episode:

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Carol Ryan on Somatics and Why she wants to “Bring the Body into Therapy” | POP 920

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Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners who are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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