Here at Vibrant Health, we believe health is an inside job, unique to you. After all, you’re one-of-a-kind and your needs are complex – that’s why your supplements should be too.
To celebrate all of the beautiful complexities of our lives, over the next few months we’re going to be highlighting individuals in our community – taking a peek into the behind-the-scenes of their work life, wellness rituals, and all the wonderful things that make them who they are.
In this month’s Vibrant Health series, we got to catch up with Boston-based Kerri Axelrod, an Integrative Health Coach, yoga teacher, and dietitian in training. In this inspiring interview, we chat with Kerri about why bone broth is a winter staple in her kitchen, her passion for educating clients about gut health, and non-negotiables when it comes to her self-care. We hope you enjoy our series…and remember, keep being you!
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Goal-oriented, intuitive, and kind.
What’s a day in the life as an Integrative Health Coach, yoga teacher and RD in training look like?
I think today is a really good example of a day in the life! This morning, I just put up a brand campaign on my instagram stories about this new matcha product I’ve been using that contains ayurvedic herbs, talking about how I’ve been incorporating it into my morning routine. Then I have some business stuff I’m working on – outreach to clients and scheduling emails for my Mind Your Gut program.
I’ll do some recipe testing that will come in the second half of the program, and then I have class this afternoon. After that, I will squeeze in a quick yoga class for myself, and then I teach two yoga classes after.
I try to leave my mornings open; I find that I’m actually most productive in the mornings so I can have a slow morning – meditate, journal, drink hot water with lemon – and dive into computer work. Then I’ll do more creative tasks or class in the afternoon!
What’s your special sauce or something that makes you unique?
I think what makes me unique is that my brain has this natural ability to filter complex nutritional science and research information and make it really accessible for people. I try to find common similarities between what we’re seeing in research/nutritional science and mirror that with ancient, time-tested practices. This softens the science and makes it more relatable.
We have these time-tested practices that are really amazing but sometimes we need more in our lives, and science and medical information is really amazing as well. Sometimes we need something a little bit softer too, so it’s a nice balance to bring those two practices together to really transform people’s lives.
You help your clients become calmer & more joyful through nutritional science, Ayurveda, yoga, and meditation. What’s one simple tip you want to share with our readers to get started on their own wellness journey?
I think transforming your morning and giving yourself a few minutes in the morning! Even just starting with five minutes in the morning to sit and just breathe and maybe drink some hot water with lemon, rather than frantically getting out of bed starting your day off to the races.
Having those few minutes in the morning to really ground yourself can transform the energy you bring in the rest of the day. If you start your morning calm and grounded, the chances are that energy will flow into the rest of the day. If you start your day feeling frantic and anxiety-ridden, it’s going to be hard to come back from that energy.
Do you have a favorite go-to meditation?
I lean on going into what my body really wants. So over the summer, I had like an hour Kundalini meditation practice that I did in the morning; that felt really good to have that structure to go to every single morning. Right now, my body is asking to sit in my bed in the morning and just breathe. I do deep belly breathing, focusing on my breath and just calm that down.
I think what happens with meditation is we think it has to look a certain way or be a certain way, and we’re failing if it’s not a certain way. What I like to teach is that meditation practice can change depending on our current needs. When we can connect with the needs of our own body and have that come out in your meditation practice is when we’re really connecting to our own magic.
Gut health is really important to you. You recently ran a free 5-day Gut Health Reset and have another new program about to launch. Tell us more about your newest program offering, Mind Your Gut.
Mind your Gut is a program that really maps out my own eight-year journey into figuring out how to live more harmoniously with my own anxiety and depression. I bring in my training in yoga, meditation, holistic nutrition, Ayurveda, and nutritional science. I then created a nutrition and mindfulness program that gets to the root of what’s happening in your body – that could be causing us to be overwhelmed, anxious, chronically exhausted, or stressed out all the time.
It’s an eight-week program where we start with a gut health reset with slow, implemental habit changes and I show people how to incorporate foods that promote the healing of their gut while removing foods that could be damaging their gut. Once we’ve healed the gut, we add in really nutrient-rich, brain foods – like omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin D, and foods that boost the immune system – and there’s also a really big mindfulness component to it. How do we create a lifestyle for ourselves that helps us feel more grounded, more centered, more at ease?
This is the program I needed desperately eight years ago, and it took me 8 years of training. Through all of this, I’ve come to realize that so much of our healing begins in our gut and that we truly can’t begin to heal our anxiety or depression without addressing our gut. It’s the seed of our intuition and who we are. It doesn’t have to be an either-or approach either. Medication has a time and place too, but we also need to address the root causes. We will never feel 100 percent unless we also address diet and lifestyle.
Mind Your Gut is launching the end of January, and I will be launching it again in the spring. If you sign up for my email on my website, you’ll get all the information!
What’s one simple practice you recommend your clients implement when it comes to loving up their gut?
Incorporating a fiber-rich breakfast is a really great way to start your day! Fiber contains prebiotics, which also feeds the good bacteria in our gut. Making a green smoothie or throwing some vegetables in your blender and drinking that with the actual fiber is a great place to start!
Do you have a favorite gut-healthy recipe you’ve been loving lately?
It’s the winter right now, so one of my favorite easy hacks is if you’re making a soup, try adding bone broth to it instead of just a chicken stock or vegetable broth. You can make the exact same soup; just add your bone broth to the soup.
Soup is energetically super grounding and great for the gut, so then you’ll add your bone broth in which is extra healing for the gut too. Throw all your ingredients into a crock-pot, and make your favorite soup like this Slow Cooker Chicken Soup recipe from my blog!
You talk a lot about the importance of checking in with your mental health and taking care of you. What do you do to practice self-care, especially when life gets hectic or anxiety creeps in?
I think the biggest thing is it’s not about eliminating any type of stress or anxiety from our lives because we can’t, but I think it’s good to have a list of non-negotiables. What are the things we know make us feel better that we’re not willing to negotiate on? For me, that is having a morning where I can check in with myself – it’s slow, I can journal, drink my lemon water, and meditate. Movement is another key component. It doesn’t have to be intense movement, but moving my body is a non-negotiable for me. Those things help me anchor and bookend my days. I have a slow morning and then usually do some sort of movement in the evening. Even if life gets super crazy during the day, I know in the evening I’ll come back to myself.
Another self care practice I learned is only doing the most important things for that day. Since I’ve been in school, that just means I’m not posting on Instagram or blogging as much. I’ve just had to let those things go because when those things go on my to-do list I know those are the most important things for that day.
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