Megan Kelly is The Realistic Holistic, a holistic nutritionist helping ambitious babes with digestive & autoimmune disorders to use nutrition and self-love so that they can heal their guts and kick butts!
Straight out of her undergrad from the University of Toronto, Megan attended the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, where she received her diploma to become certified as a holistic nutritionist. She continued her studies by enrolling in the first class of the AIP Coaching Certification course so that she could specialize in addressing autoimmune disorders with nutrition and lifestyle. Megan is now a certified holistic nutritionist, AIP coach and self-love leader!
Megan currently works out of the Durham Natural Health Centre in Pickering. She also works independently in Toronto, Hamilton and online as The Realistic Holistic, helping boss babes who want to beat their autoimmune diseases and start owning their lives!
Having struggled with both Celiac Disease and Hashimoto’s herself, Megan knows what it’s like to live with autoimmune disease. There was a time when she felt like her autoimmune diseases would hold her back from everything she wanted to do with her life, but with focused nutrition, the AIP, and a heck of a lot of self-love, Megan was able to take control over both her autoimmune diseases and set up a successful business helping other women do the same. Megan works closely with each of her clients to find a realistic nutrition strategy for them and integrate self-love so that they can put their autoimmune diseases to rest and start making all their dreams come true.
I caught up with Megan and asked her a few questions that I thought you’d love to read!
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Megan, please share a little about your personal health journey and the role that the Autoimmune Protocol has played.
Like many of my fellow autoimmune warriors, my personal health journey has been a long and winding one. I was in my first year of university. I had accidentally lost over 50lbs in a couple of months (reaching a low of 85lbs at 5’5”), lost my period, and became clinically depressed. After eating bowls and bowls of pasta to try and gain weight, I was finally diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Needless to say, the bathroom was also a stressful place for me.
As most newly diagnosed celiacs are, I was sent out of my doctor’s office and told “just go gluten-free and you’ll be fine”. So, I bought all the books, immersed myself in that community and went 100% gluten-free. I gained some weight back, had a bit more energy and came off my anti-depressants. Amazing! HOWEVER, I still didn’t get my period back, I was still bloated all the time, and unfortunately the bathroom was still a scary place to be for me.
Eventually, I decided I needed to take my health into my own hands. I attended The Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto, Canada to become a certified holistic nutritionist in hopes of healing myself and then, once I figured it all out, helping others do the same.
While I was in school, I was also eventually diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I had been really struggling to get through the work (the brain fog is REAL!) and I am someone who spent my whole life settling for no less than a 90% so this was really challenging my sense of self. I would drag my butt to school, go home, sleep, rinse and repeat. I also used to be a personal trainer and have LOADS of energy so this drop off was excruciating. I would wear sweaters to school in July because I was freezing all the time. I just wasn’t myself and I wanted my life back.
I was learning a lot in school but it wasn’t until one of my teachers introduced us to the concept of the autoimmune protocol that I finally started to feel hopeful again. I couldn’t believe there was such a targeted nutritional strategy, specifically designed to address autoimmune disease! I immediately grabbed Dr. Ballantyne’s book The Paleo Approach and read it through three times taking notes as I went. When I felt I had a good grasp on it, I dove into the protocol myself and… my period came back and became regular, my energy came back, my brain came back, I no longer needed to have a blanket and extra woolen socks with me everywhere I went. It really felt like a miracle… it still does.
What made you want to be a health coach?
I always knew that whatever I ended up doing I wanted to help people. I wanted to change lives. When I went through this health journey, I became so enveloped in the world of it. I struggled, of course, but through it all I learned so much. I read every book, I learned to read the scientific literature and draw my own conclusions, I tried and failed and tried again and finally when I healed and realized it wasn’t just a fairytale and that you really could conquer your autoimmune diseases with serious nutrition & lifestyle approaches… I knew I had to share it. I wanted to go around shouting it from the rooftops! So since then I’ve kind of been doing that in my own way by speaking out on social media, running support groups and, of course, working 1:1 as a nutritionist and AIP coach both in naturopathic clinics and independently as The Realistic Holistic.
What certifications do you have and why did you choose that program?
I am a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP) through the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. I chose this program because of their impressive reputation, and their co-op program. As part of that program, I was able to work with a brilliant naturopath in the community, Dr. Christal Blanchard, while I was still in school. I learned so much from her and gain practical experience before I even graduated. Since graduating, I have continued to collaborate with Dr. Blanchard at the Durham Natural Health Centre. We commonly work together to create an integrative & realistic approach for those with autoimmune disease, and especially when there are complications like SIBO or parasites.
As soon as I graduated from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, I was ELATED to see that there was a brand new (at the time) AIP Coaching Certification course offered by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne herself!!! I signed up immediately, without a doubt in my mind that this was my calling and became a part of the first ever graduating class.
Share a little more about your practice. How can my readers contact you to work with you?
Since receiving my diploma and certification, I have continued my work in the naturopathic clinic but have also established myself and my own business as a nutritionist, AIP-coach and self-love leader. I go by The Realistic Holistic because I have seen from both personal and clinical experience that the two most important keys to success are that a protocol (no matter how seemingly difficult) be made realistic for a person’s individual circumstances. To me, this is essential to one’s success. It must be sustainable and not more stress than it is worth because, as we know, stress is an enormous trigger in itself. I believe the holistic part is also essential for that reason. Diet took me a long way, but it wasn’t until I addressed stress, sleep, movement and mindset that I really gained CONTROL over my autoimmune disease.
I work independently in Toronto (soon moving to Hamilton!) but am working to take my services completely online so that I can serve anyone, anywhere! I have already been lucky enough to work with people in the UK, Australia and Dubai!
You can find me at www.therealisticholistic.com and reach out at [email protected] anytime! I am also very active on social media through Instagram (@realistic.holistic) and Facebook, where I run and contribute to several groups supporting autoimmune warriors.
Keep your eyes peeled on these channels as I will be launching The Realistic Holistic AIP Experience in the new year! It is my signature coaching program designed to provide individualized coaching, meal planning, support and community to those who are looking to gain control over their autoimmune disease and reclaim their life in a realistic, holistic way!
What is your #1 tip that you give all of your clients?
The #1 tip that I give all my clients is to be kind to yourself first and foremost. Not only do I believe that if we are mentally attacking self, that our autoimmune conditions might take that cue, but I also see that self-critical thinking, perfectionism, and never feeling good enough are the biggest things that get in the way of the protocol and ultimately healing.
If you are a healthcare professional interested in this high-value certification, join my Healthcare Professionals e-mail list by clicking here (I send a monthly newsletter with content relevant to health & wellness providers). I will e-mail you with more information on how to become an AIP Certified Coach.