Discover Your Body’s Missed Healing Opportunities with Functional Nutrition -Episode #014 Interview with Sarah Clark
In this show, we get deep into the power of Functional Medicine and Functional Nutrition, to address core imbalances in the body with a highly personalized approach based on considering all aspects of our health and lifestyle.
Sarah Clark, founder of Fabulously Fertile, uses functiional nutrition to help women struggling with infertility to uncover missed opportunities to heal their bodies.
And while Sarah and her team specialize in pre-conception health, her strategies are 100% applicable to all who want to better navigate any hormone related challenges. This information packed show is all about helping you connect the dots of the health issues that might be going on in your body so you can see you have many more options to create the health outcome you desire.
To Learn More About Sarah Clark and her team’s natural fertility solutions: www.fabfertile.com
Listen to Sarah’s podcast: “Get Pregnant Naturally” on Apple, Spotify
If you like this show, please Subscribe and leave a rating or review.
Thank you so much for listening!
Click this weblink to Sign Up to Receive the Latest Episode directly in your Inbox as soon as it’s available.
Welcome to the Soul Science Nutrition Podcast, where you’ll discover that when it comes to your health, you’re so much more powerful than you’ve been led to believe. And now your host, she’s a holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach, chef, author, and Yogi, Christine Okezie .
Christine Okezie (23s):
And welcome to Soul Science Nutrition. Thanks so much for tuning in today. I’m Christine Okezie and just want to take a moment to express some gratitude for all the wonderful support that I’ve received. Thank you so much for listening, leaving your ratings and reviews and subscribing, and just a gentle reminder. If you haven’t already please hit that subscribe button. You can do that right on your phone and just so you don’t miss any future episodes. They do release once a week, every Thursday. So let’s dive in. I am so excited for today’s show.
Christine Okezie (53s):
Today’s show is all about functional nutrition. Functional nutrition is a targeted, customized approach to our health challenges, where we treat the whole person and go way beyond the diagnosis, looking for root cause. Functional nutrition takes a very detailed health assessment of you as the whole person. It incorporates lab testing using functional versus conventional ranges, looking at diet, lifestyle, taking emotional health seriously. And from this, we develop a personalized treatment plan at the heart of a functional approach to our health issues is the understanding that there’s an imbalance in the body, a missed opportunity, an overlooked situation going on in our food, in our lifestyle, in our thoughts and emotional body as well.
Christine Okezie (1m 42s):
That’s causing inflammation, that’s causing stress related symptoms. And the idea of a functional approach is to really peel back the layers of our self care, really peel back the layers of what, how we’re nourishing ourselves or how we need to be nourishing ourselves. And that’s why I love this conversation today with Sarah Clark. Now, Sarah Clark is the creator of Fabulously Fertile and her approach with her team of health practitioners employs the functional nutritional approach to working what we call preconception health.
Christine Okezie (2m 15s):
So she supports couples who are been struggling with fertility or with an infertility diagnosis, and she offers a beautiful, truly genuinely holistic functional approach to helping women who are really struggling with this with functional lab testing, nutrition and lifestyle changes and emotional and mental support today’s conversation is a beautiful opportunity to explore how important it is to get to the bottom of why we’re struggling with any particular health issue.
Christine Okezie (2m 49s):
And today we’ll be talking about the ability to carry a baby or conceive a baby with Sarah. This is her area of expertise and the team that she’s built. What I love about today’s show is even if you are not necessarily looking to conceive or this part of your life, your childbearing years are behind you are well behind you, as in my case, there’s still so much value to this conversation because really it’s all about connecting and understanding the other health issues that might be going on that you might not be aware of when it comes to any kind of food related or metabolic imbalance.
Christine Okezie (3m 26s):
You know, whether that’s chronic fatigue or unwanted weight or poor, you know, digestion at the end of the day, this is a conversation that really ties in and validates the importance of looking at the whole picture when it comes to your food and your lifestyle. And if after listening to the show, you want to go even deeper. I suggest you check out, Sarah’s get pregnant naturally podcast available on Apple podcast, Google, Spotify, wherever you listen to your podcasts, where she shares her natural fertility solutions in great detail.
Christine Okezie (3m 59s):
Hey Sarah, welcome to the podcast. Thanks so much Being here, excited to be here.
Sarah Clark (4m 3s):
Thanks for having me.
Christine Okezie (4m 4s):
This is Awesome. How are things in Toronto?
Sarah Clark (4m 8s):
So it’s been, you know, we’re just coming out of, as we’re recording this right now, we’re starting to go into like a phase three. So we’ve been very slow to open around here. So I I’ve worked from home and do all, I’ve always done all my calls via zoom. So there hasn’t been a huge giant shift for me. I’ve just continued on going with the flow on planet, zoom, the way we all need to be. Right.
Christine Okezie (4m 34s):
Awesome. So I want to dive into is what compelled you to do the work that you do now?
Sarah Clark (4m 40s):
Yeah, so I had my own journey with infertility. I remember my early twenties, I was joking and I was having menopausal hot flashes. And I remember like interviewing people. I was in HR at the time I was interviewing people and they were like flat going, Oh, it’s menopausal hot flash. Ha ha ha. It turns out that it was so I had a time. I had a regular cycle as I had back in my twenties. I had great skin. Then all of a sudden, my early twenties, it started getting acne. I had a weird fungal rash on my chest and then I had some yeast infections. And so for that, I went on the pill.
Sarah Clark (5m 11s):
That was the first line of defense, which the bandaid approach didn’t get to the, the other, the reason why those things were there in the first place from the pill. And then I have a slight plan you’d marry at 25, which it did now. Don’t have the kids at 28. Well at 28 was still on the pill. So one went off cause I was in my life plan at 28 and then went off the pill. And then I was, then I was given the diagnosis of premature ovarian failure or premature, very insufficiency as it’s now called, which is the loss of function of the ovaries before the age of 40 until the, the only way I’d ever have children is by using donor eggs.
Sarah Clark (5m 43s):
And I remember her like, you know, grabbing the IVF brochure and saying off, off you go on. I didn’t even figure out those symptoms were connected. I didn’t even get a second opinion, which is I look back and I’m like, I know you got a second opinion, but didn’t do that to the clinic. One on the list for a donor. A and we were lucky enough on the first fresh transfer to have our daughter. And she’s about to turn 19. So it’s many years ago when you said donor eggs. And I was telling my friends and family, people were like, I don’t know what that is.
Sarah Clark (6m 13s):
Science can do some really cool stuff. So fascinating. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Yeah. And so then yeah, so then I had two, we had two embryos leftover wander kids close together, wait a year. And then, and then those that didn’t work when I wanted list for another donor egg. And then we’re lucky enough to our have our son and he’s he’s 15. And then really after that, my health took a nose dive and we were having, after I had my daughter, I had nine colds. Every cold went into a science infection, thought it was a great idea to take antibiotics every size, if I should not a great idea.
Sarah Clark (6m 44s):
I had vertigo, I had chronic bladder infections, chronic sinus infections, chronic yeast infections, seasonal allergies, dandruff irritability, all of these, you know, signs that my immune system was off. And I, but I kept going. I’m still functioning as on the corporate world. And then I decided to take a life coach, a coaching course wanted to bring that into the corporate environment, have my own personal, my own personal wake up call. So I really want to do health wellness, coaching, health coaching course I, and, and then that’s where I discovered to have these food sensitivities.
Sarah Clark (7m 17s):
So for me, sensitive to dairy and gluten later corn, then I discovered I also, and then lo and behold, when I changed the diet, then the bladder infections eScience infection started to go away yeast infections and then found out later I had some gut infections. So streptococcus, fungal infections address those then the chronic stress. But I was 40 at this point. Like it was too late for me. So if you’re still cycling naturally there’s things, there’s things we can do. And we use a, we use a functional approach, really digging deeper as to why is it not working in the first place?
Christine Okezie (7m 48s):
Yeah, thank you. Okay. So it, you know, it always, it’s a lovely thing when we come into the health field through our own journey, through our own path, because as we say it, that’s kind of the inspiration for being able to share Pete with what you know, now with people who they don’t have to struggle so much, take a shorter version to arrive at some opportunity for healing. How does it feel to kind of be able to look back on that journey now, you know, 15, 20 years and, and kind of know what, you know, I mean, you know, what is it that lights you up when you, when you founded Fabulously Fertile? Like what did you, what was the mission that you were on essentially?
Sarah Clark (8m 26s):
Yeah. I literally, when I discovered this, I’m like, why doesn’t everybody know this? Like what is going on here that, you know, I made these dietary changes. Cause at that point I had taken multiple antibiotics. I was became an allergic to all of them, was getting hives and antiotics, nothing was working. And they were telling me that I had for, cause I was peeing blood for bladder infections. I thought, what am I going to do? And now like there’s simple steps I can take if I feel one coming on and they, they rarely do, but it’s foods, food issues typically will it for me and also chronic stress as well if I have.
Sarah Clark (8m 58s):
But yeah, so I started fab fertile cause I wanted to really, I didn’t want other people that had people who had been diagnosed with an infertility diagnosis like myself to, and didn’t even get a second opinion. And there’s other things going on in your body. It’s not just the diagnosis. And again, myopically focused on the diagnosis. And so looking at the whole body, I want people to kind of go, Oh, Oh I have that. I have that. And dig further.
Christine Okezie (9m 21s):
Yes. Thank you. You’ve said in, in some of the things that you’ve written and spoken about, nothing happens to you in a vacuum. I love that. Right. So whether it’s infertility, whether it’s, like you said, a whole myriad of symptoms, you know, or in one major symptom, like you said, I’m just getting all these chronic bladder infections, right. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Can you tell me a little bit about that and how you, that puts you on the path to the functional approach?
Sarah Clark (9m 48s):
Yeah, it’s basically really not like I, when I basically got that diagnosis of premature ovarian failure, I didn’t think these other little symptoms were related, but when you look at the whole body and you start to, and then you there’s healing opportunities that are missed all the time. So for me, I was on hormonal birth control for over 10 years, which then predisposes you to food. Sensitivities got infections. And also then you can be in this beautiful nutrient dense, organic diet, but you’re not able to absorb the nutrients. So that’s the birth control pill. And I see that all the time, you know, I ask people, well, why and people are coming to me obviously for infertility.
Sarah Clark (10m 22s):
And if they’ve been on the pill, I’m like, well, why were you, why did you go on it? Most people say it wasn’t for prevention. It was for heavy periods, light periods, PMs things with their skin. And the first line of defense is, Oh, let’s put you on the pill. So that, that’s a huge, a huge flag to like dig deeper. Not a lot of us know our blood work. It’s really about education. So you like, you know, your body best. And a lot of times we will give it over to the person in the white coat. We know what’s best for us. And we assemble our team. You know, we can consult with them, but they’re not on telling us what to do.
Sarah Clark (10m 55s):
They’re part of our team. And I think that grassroots patients are gonna move in as it’s to change. Things has to come from from us. And it’s interesting because my daughter just had an appointment with a doctor last week. And he literally was like so conscious, like when she told me how he tricked, treated her, it was disgusting, like she’s 18. And he was like condescending and he was making her feel guilty and was like, just talking to her in this just a disgusting manner. And I’m like that.
Sarah Clark (11m 27s):
So you don’t need to take that crap. Like you need to have someone talking to you that way. Who does he think he is trying to intimidate and try to intimidate you. They are there as part of your team. And you’re to say, this is how I’m feeling. And he, you know, he can consult. But like, and when people, as part of our program, we have people get their blood work and some doctors will, will know I’m not going to run that blood work. I won’t do a full thyroid panel. Your thyroid looks fine. So right to me, that’s when you want to, you know, be switching the doctor, if they’re, if they’re not able to give you the information that you’re requesting, because they’re either, you know, they feel they know best.
Sarah Clark (12m 4s):
That’s, that’s an interesting, you know, to me, a functional doctor can, the motto for the conventional side of things is a pill for an ill.
Christine Okezie (12m 15s):
Yeah. Yeah. And it’s not about empowering the patient, as you just said, you know? And, and I, I hear ya on, on the interaction between, we’re learning more and more as if we need more information on this, but the relationship between a health practitioner and a patient can make or break, you know, the healing process, because it’s such an important relationship. And I love the fact that you do have a team. You have a great team at Fabulously Fertile, but addresses again, all these integrated components of what it creates to prepare the body, to carry, you know, a baby healthily and to, for us to kind of be at our optimal health.
Christine Okezie (12m 53s):
Can you talk to me about your team and maybe how you, I know you have a great signature program and just walk us through the, the steps there. I’d love to hear everybody’s role in that.
Sarah Clark (13m 4s):
Yeah. So I really assembled the team in the beginning. I was like, Oh, I got to get trained in all these things. And like, no, I don’t, I let’s assemble the team and get like experts in different spaces. So basically, so, so we, we take a functional approach to fertility. So I work with a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner. So they’re the ones that are running the functional lab testing. So basically for our program, our couples coaching program in the beginning, I was just coaching women. But even if it is female factor in fertility, there’s, there’s always things the man that the male partner can do to optimize his health and his from health.
Sarah Clark (13m 37s):
Yeah. So it’s, it’s, it’s an infertility diagnosis itself. You know, typically women are, they, they may deal differently than, than men. So it’s like they could and tell a few friends and family members, typically a man will won’t say anything and just he’s equally in pain. So it’s important for both people to give voice to what’s going on. Basically we run the, the tasks. So we’re doing food sensitivity testing, we’re running the Dutch test and that looks at your hormones using urine. We’re doing stool testing.
Sarah Clark (14m 10s):
Most people that we work with, there’s been sort of a parasite of bacterial infection, a fungal infection going on. So gut infections are huge stressors. And then also the hair tissue, mineral analysis testing, and that’s looking, you know, you can eat that beautiful, healthy diet, and maybe you’re not absorbing those, those nutrients. So you can make small tweaks with food and some supplements. So we use those that the functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner will run those tests and then develop a protocol. And then I, as the health, the health coach fertility coach will then coach the couple through implementing those changes. There’s a lot of times we see that you’ll get the testing and then, Oh, great.
Sarah Clark (14m 42s):
I was invested in this testing, but then rubber hits the road is the implementation of that. So being able to coach people through, you know, to making those changes. Yeah, we do that. And then depending on where they are, if they’ve had a number of failed cycles, I have a therapist on the team if she’s experienced in fertility, herself, and also as expert in mindfulness, which is really important as well. And I’m also got another course that I’m just launching with a therapist/shaman, which is really cool. So that one is, yeah, that one is like the shamanic perspective.
Sarah Clark (15m 14s):
So energy and spirit, we all have those spiritual nudges. I just did an Instagram live. We were talking about your dreams. You know, what are your dreams? Meaning when you’re on the fertility journey, if you have a pregnancy or if you’re you see your baby in a dream, like, what are those, what’s the healing or the medicine you can extrapolate from the dream and think of the emotion that, that dream, how you feeling, and then what healing do you need on, on the, this, this realm when you’re in the spirit realm. So that sounds like super cool because yeah, many people on this journey have they maybe can’t even see themselves, you know, getting pregnant or having a baby they’ve just lost hope and they can be in this very dark space.
Sarah Clark (15m 55s):
So we’re, you know, doing, doing the, you know, doing the testing and you can eat the best diet for you and working on those gut infections and throw out the plastics and all the environmental toxins. But the mental, emotional side of things is equally as impactful as, as that’s why it’s we take a very holistic approach. And then we also do a blood chemsitry review where we’re looking at the blood chemistry through functional reference ranges. Those are for healthy people. Our whole thing is to educated. The tests will tell a story, the health history, the blood chem, talking to the client, of course, and then, okay, here’s the story here.
Sarah Clark (16m 33s):
Here’s what it is for you. And then developing a protocol and then looking at diet changes, looking at movement, looking at sleep with auto sleep is huge for people like optimizing sleep and then looking at stress. So being able to reduce the physical and the mental, emotional stressors is the key.
Christine Okezie (16m 53s):
There’s so much emotion that goes into the particular clients that are, you know, you’re working with and is really struggling with conceiving. As you said, you, you, there’s a lot of hopelessness. There’s a lot of despair. There’s a tendency to kind of focus on this diagnosis. Right. I see what your team is doing is helping people kind of say, well, what else can I see? Right. Taking sort of this wider perspective of, you know, okay, well, what’s really, you know, where can I work now?
Christine Okezie (17m 25s):
Right. And you mentioned your timeline. I think it’s really important. You know, this isn’t an overnight process, but you actually know that you can make some real wonderful changes, meaningful changes in the body to stabilize their health, to optimize their health and what three months,
Sarah Clark (17m 39s):
Right? Yeah. It’s a, it’s a six month a couples coaching program. But yeah, and like the life cycle of the egg is 90 days then sort started the, it takes the a to renew. It takes 90 days for the Adrian you in the life cycle. The sperm is 70 minute to 80 days. So in a very short period of time, you can make massive change for your health and your sperm health, but then the whole, but the body as a whole, like, we start people off by doing the elimination diet, just taking out. And most people come to me saying, I don’t have a food sensitivity. And most people you work with actually do.
Sarah Clark (18m 9s):
So it is those, you know, taking out those inflammatory foods and you can, and I was just talking to someone yesterday and he wasn’t really planning on it, but he had dropped like 27 pounds. So yeah. And it just, just by making some of these changes and there’s, it’s not about starvation for him. It was just, you know, he, he was, he’s a firefighter and he got, you know, eating kind of he’s like, I was eating at the hall with all the guys and I was eating this, this food, and now I’m just eating a cleaner diet.
Sarah Clark (18m 40s):
That’s, that’s, that’s targeted for him
Christine Okezie (18m 43s):
That makes them feel more balanced, gives them more energy. And all of a sudden his body kind of expresses in a different way. Right. Giving you different feedback. That’s right. That’s right. And that’s really what this is, is your, I love that you’re getting folks to really pay attention to their whole body taking care of, you know, all aspects of their wellbeing. So when it comes to the emotional and the energetic piece, how important is it for women too, that you’re working with to see themselves healed, to see themselves, as you said, you know, having, you know, having a healthy baby, having a healthy pregnancy.
Sarah Clark (19m 22s):
Yeah. That is, that is really key. Being able to like having work with people, to help them visualize this working affirmations, like from a, like a spiritual and a mindset issue, it is like to, to slow down, but just because you’re slowing down, doesn’t mean you’re not moving forward, but you don’t have the freaking gas pedal on your head. And I rammed the floorboards and you’re just like panicked. And you’re like, is there’s a, it doesn’t matter if they’re 28 or 38, everyone’s past their point of when they want to have their child.
Sarah Clark (19m 55s):
So it is, yeah. Like they’re very, and it’s, so it can be a lot of panic, biological clock. And then that uncertainty, that’s why I developed the step into your power course with a shamanic therapist, because the uncertainty drives people like bananas, the uncertainty, the ambiguity, I don’t I don’t really know. Like, I don’t know if it’s going to work and no one has a crystal ball, but then it’s like that real pushing energy. So that it’s like, okay, I don’t know what’s going to work. So I’m going to just try to control, like every part of this thing, a lot of times people have put joy on hold.
Sarah Clark (20m 31s):
I’m not able to even do things that they, they enjoy. Like they’ve, they’ve, they’ve separated themselves from their family and friends. There’s a lot of triggers. There’s a lot of pain, which is suppressed. So we work to release that and get it out.
Christine Okezie (20m 48s):
Yeah, that’s huge. Okay. So dealing with the uncertainty, dealing with the despair, and you said going a hundred miles an hour and always feeling coming from this belief, that things should be different. I shouldn’t be here. I’m already behind. Right. I failed. Or my body is failing me. I mean, these are very powerful beliefs that really, we just ruminate and, and for women, you know, when it comes to the health of our bodies, I mean, could you think of an even more kind of, you know, triggering area for us, you know, we’re supposed to be able just to have babies and our bodies are, you know, so there’s this, you know, not belonging and not right.
Christine Okezie (21m 27s):
I mean, and so I love the work that you to help women prioritize that that’s a powerful place to start because then the body can relax and then your nervous system can calm down.
Sarah Clark (21m 39s):
So I typically will coach a type, a busy professional. And so they’re coming in and they’re like, give me the stuff. And they’re like, sometimes they’re jumping into the screen, give me the supplements. And we’re like, we got to work on the basics. So it is working on the diet, the sleep like sleep is key you’ve meant and stress and focus on your, like things that can shift the needle for your, for your health. And, and it might just be like a simple thing of making sure you go to bed before 10:30.
Christine Okezie (22m 9s):
Sarah Clark (22m 10s):
And so that’s like, we work with couples for months on sleep, being able to like a sleep routine with having a sleep mask and using blue light blocking glasses, you know, darkening the room using, you can use magnesium oil to put on your feet to, to help with sleep. And there’s my magnesium, all that has melatonin to have that if that’s can be helpful, but the, the sleep piece is key.
Christine Okezie (22m 37s):
The one who doesn’t meditate, someone who’s just, you know, can’t deal with the monkey mind. What are your goals?
Sarah Clark (22m 44s):
Yeah. Yeah. So for that would be like, how do we incorporate mindfulness into our daily activities? So we all eat three times or more a day. Like, how do we do mindful chewing? I remember like years ago and doing a macrobiotic retreat. And then somewhere in there, it was chewing like a hundred, a hundred chews per, per, per a hundred chews per bite of food. And that’s a little extreme because it’s completely liquid when you do it. But I remember at that point doing 30, so aim for 10 and I’m like, and then you feel more satiated. So instead of so used to, and I still find myself doing it, like, you know, Pat, you know, throwing the food down, how do I get get going?
Sarah Clark (23m 21s):
And then when you’re, you’re doing your eating to not have phones or our screens, you know, be present with the people in the ER at the table and even eat at the table. I always eat. At least my dinner. My dinner is always eaten at a table, not in front of a screen or at an, a TV it’s at a table with, even if I’m by myself, it’s at a, so that mindfulness, you know, we’re in the, the hand era right now, we sell sure my, we should have been before, but we, we, we are now you’re more mindful hand washing instead of rushing off or even like walking up and down the stairs.
Sarah Clark (24m 1s):
And I am like, I have to remind myself of this, like all the time to do. And I’m by no means perfect at it at all. But cause I used to literally remember in high school, like rushing down the hall, I was like rushing down the freaking hall. I don’t know why, why I was trying to get there where I was going or trying to get there so fast. But I was always like, I gotta do it fast. I gotta like get there fast. So how do you like be present in that moment? And for me that really, I like, I am, there’s a strong desire for me always to get into nature.
Sarah Clark (24m 35s):
I’m like, how do I get outside? How do I like just be outside? Cause that just I’m listening to the birds and not being outside. Like I go for walks, I don’t take my phone. Like, it’s beautiful. It’s a lot of my clients they’re walking in nature and they got the earbuds in and I see people out there like walking by themselves and then talking on the phone and I’m like, what? Like you’re not even present. You’re not even present where you are. So I make sure I do that. And that’s just not for my clients do so it’s just incorporating some of you sitting on some mountain, top and meditating all day long.
Sarah Clark (25m 8s):
It’s like, how do you incorporate those things into your daily routine? And then if you can’t sit, you can do the, you can do the yoga, like more of a yoga side of things. And the fertility, yoga is part of a fertility yoga therapist on my team or practitioner. And it’s like the hat. It’s like the slow yoga though. You’re like, it’s Hatha, it’s yin yoga. It’s restorative yoga. The kind that you may, you’re holding a pose for like four minutes and you may just want to run out the room. Cause it’s so slow. That is the point.
Sarah Clark (25m 38s):
And to like open up some of those emotions, stuff like that. Cause a lot of times we’re like, Oh, how do we we’re numbing ourselves? We don’t want to feel it. But when we feel it, that’s when you can, you know, it’s cause we’re preloaded, we’re prolonging the suffering by keep pushing it down and we get it out. Sometimes when you even know it’s been there, it’s to releases it and we can start to heal.
Christine Okezie (26m 2s):
Yes, exactly. And when it’s released, we were able to release those blockages and the body starts to come into that natural state of balance. I can understand how your clients are experiencing relief and all these other issues, whether that be excess weight or an autoimmune issue issue or digestive health, any sort of chronic health conditions start to resolve through the work of working with food, the nutritional piece, the sleep piece, certainly the stress and the mind emotional piece.
Christine Okezie (26m 38s):
And that essentially is the same exact path, which creates the opp to optimal conditions for fertility, for a healthy baby, for a healthy pregnancy. It’s so beautiful because again, it really is getting at the root cause and seeing the body and all the surrounding health issues as interconnected, which is so freeing and so much more empowering than being stuck on diagnosis, being stuck with one size fits all, you know, treatment options or things that we have been told are the only options when it comes to creating the health outcome that we are desiring.
Sarah Clark (27m 23s):
Yeah. So it’s, you know, we’ve helped people that get pregnant naturally when they’ve been told donor eggs are for you. So it’s just, you know, releasing those stressors. So we’re looking at the stressors, basically the physical stressors, be it a food sensitivity. So we’re having people do the elimination diet and then having them, depending on, we may also recommend AIP diets. So autoimmune protocol diet, there’s some research in the journal of American medicine, the efficacy of that diet for Hashimoto’s and for IBD.
Sarah Clark (27m 57s):
So if there’s an autoimmune disease, for sure AIP, and even even POM or premature, ovarian failure, premature, ovarian insufficiency, or low UNH demit, demission, we’re very reserved, potentially doing an AIP diet. So really reducing that, that inflammation from the food.
Christine Okezie (28m 15s):
Right? Right. So we’re bringing down inflammation and, you know, inflammation that we’re, you know, resulting from the foods that we’re eating or the foods that we need to be eating more of. Right. The emotional factor in the chronic stress response that’s happening, you know, triggering our inflammatory response on that level. And you mentioned sleep a lot. So talk to me about sleep. What are your best tips for optimizing sleep?
Sarah Clark (28m 40s):
So many times it’s like a tweak to like, okay, let’s stop your liquids before six or seven, or maybe there’s a blood sugar imbalance going on that, you know, so you can have a healthy fat before you go to bed. So maybe an Apple was mom and butter to keep your blood sugar stable or some, some nuts. And then also a lot of times we’re looking at screens and stuff before bed. So basically at sunset putting on, so there’s blue, blue, light blocking glasses. You can have those on.
Sarah Clark (29m 11s):
So, or put your, put your screens on night mode is it helps with your melatonin production. So when we’re exposed to this blue and green light, that impacts your melatonin production and which then impacts your, your cycles, your employment implantation of the egg, all of the melatonin is key. A lot of people will supplement with it. We see like supplementing again, that’s a bandaid approach not to supplement. Let’s see, you know, why is it, why is it low? And it could be, you know, are there, are there getting infections?
Sarah Clark (29m 44s):
We’re seeing that too. Sometimes if your, your sleep is off and you know, they’re the, the gut bugs are more active at night. So yeah. So then addressing those parasites, bacterial infections, fungal infections, that’s, that’s really key. First line of defense is to take the phone out of the room. Don’t have it be the first thing you look at. And the last thing you look at before, before bed, you’re on someone else’s agenda. And so on in the fertility thing, I typically will recommend coming off social media for a period of time and just see how you feel.
Sarah Clark (30m 15s):
Cause there’s a lot of triggers, definitely with the phone and then even for the phone and putting it on flight mode because all the EMS that we’re exposed to sleep for
Christine Okezie (30m 25s):
The sleep is really, you know, you correct some of like your sleep hygiene and you and the habits around sleep and you get both the biology, right. As you said, your hormone production get in your circadian rhythm comes into, you know, it’s able to come into balance and you certainly get into better behaviors, right? Because if you are well rested, it’s a lot easier to go up and make a healthy breakfast. And it’s a lot easier to not fly off the handle. Just have more resilience in general in your day to day. So I mean talk about root. Cause I mean, right there, right.
Christine Okezie (30m 55s):
We certainly know, you know, when you eat better, you feel better, but when you sleep better, Oh my gosh. You know, I think, I think for so many clients who are struggling with any kind of food related or lifestyle related issue, if people know right away, if you’re not sleeping, it just throws everything off. Right. So how do we expect our bodies to function optimally?
Sarah Clark (31m 17s):
And I think we know that. So it’s like, if you’re, if you’re up and sometimes, you know, we don’t get home from, or now we’re, most of us are working at home, but we’re not stopping work until seven or eight. And then we want to have our dinner and we want to have our quiet time and then we want to relax. And then it’s one of the mornings. A lot of times I have to back everyone’s day up. And so you can do, and like it is looking at some of the things that you need to have and they’re potentially going to bed late because, because of those, they need the wind downtime and the wind down time is TV.
Sarah Clark (31m 48s):
And then that goes into show after show. And yeah, it is. And this is kind of backing up that, that, that whole day. And if you can get to the, to the 10 30, but if you’re at one, you don’t want to say, I’m going to go to bed at 10 30, you wanted then go back to 1230 and 12. So that kind of thing, it does take a little bit of time. And also like if you’re snoring to looking at like sleep studies, either as a snore, and there’s an app called snore lab, you can listen to you and your partner, if you’re snore and it’ll give you some data on that.
Sarah Clark (32m 18s):
And then there’s a sleep cycle app where you can listen to, you know, how deep is the sleep that you are getting and it’ll track it before you. And then also if you are snoring, as long as you don’t, you’re not having sinus issues, you can do mouth taping and yeah, the, the, the milk taping. And then, because if you are a mouth breather, that’s impacting all like your whole, your whole body. That’s interesting too, to dig into the snoring piece. And that was breathing,
Christine Okezie (32m 44s):
Oh my God. So many again, getting to the root cause, working with, you know, our common habits. And sometimes we’re not even aware. I love that the way that in your system, in your approach to infertility preconception health, you’re focused on educating the patient. Right. And again, we were just talking a little while ago, that seems to have been lost in the practitioner. Patient relationship is, you know, giving you the information that’s relevant to so that you can actually implement it. And then of course the support that you give them, which I definitely appreciate because sometimes we go to a doctor functional or conventional and they say, okay, your make these 12 things happen.
Christine Okezie (33m 22s):
And you’re in the, and it’s like deer in the headlights, right. So I can see that when you work with your patients, it is very step-by-step you hold their hand, you say, okay, you know, you’re here. You can just make this little adjustment modification here
Sarah Clark (33m 36s):
And then you’ll still feel better and you’ll still get some results. Right.
Christine Okezie (33m 39s):
Is that step by step process?
Sarah Clark (33m 42s):
Yeah. And still empowering them. Like they, they have the information, they know their body best. And really being able to it’ll get to the point when you you’ll know why you have the headache. You’ll know why you’re being a pain in the ass is because you didn’t take the time to, you know, prioritize your sleep or actually get that alone time that you know, is key for you. You’ll, you’ll start to know why, instead of just, you know, yelling at your spouse or feeling like super frustrated or dealing with some of these health issues, you’ll just get to really know your own body, which is like super empowering.
Sarah Clark (34m 14s):
Christine Okezie (34m 14s):
Yeah. And that’s really kind of where, where we take off, right? Because that’s ultimately the more in tune we are, the more we are able to listen, you know, those cues, those signals, then we’re a lot more conscious. And if we’re a lot more conscious, you know, we’re, we’re not, we’re, we’re taking, we’re able to make informed decisions and do things that feel right. And let go of things that we know are making us, you know, that aren’t off track. So it’s really key. You talk about the healing opportunities that might have been missed. So we’ve talked about gut health, gut health and infections, chronic inflammation.
Christine Okezie (34m 47s):
You’ve talked a lot about blood sugar, too. Insulin resistance is a huge epidemic. A lot of people don’t even know that they have blood sugar issues.That’s true, you know, at the root cause of a lot of their hormonal issues, weight issues you mentioned, you know, so talk to me about blood sugar. Like what are some things that you see as red flags?
Sarah Clark : First of all, if your sleep is disrupted, then that can dysregulate your blood sugar the entire next day. So that’s, that’s a red flag, you know, if you’re, you’ve got your blood sugar tested, if they’re, if it is high, then you know, there’s things you can do as far as diet. Like you might want to, we start people off by doing a food diary and it’s really, this is what you eat, but how did you feel?
Sarah Clark (35m 26s):
Did you feel like, were you shaky? Did you feel hangry? Do you feel like your mood is, or you’re bouncing all over the place because, and it might be, you might be eating too many carbs. So a carb thing can be helpful for people when really the food diary is the first key. And then you can do a, a blood sugar monitor too, to see what’s happening after you’re eating, as far as your, your, your blood sugar. Cause that can then impact your, your sex hormones too. Yeah.
Christine Okezie (35m 54s):
Yeah. It’s true. So again, you know, the food, you know, is important, but how we’re able to recognize the effects of our food choices on our body, how they affect our mood, our energy, our digest in our sleep. Right? All of it, all of that information again is you said, you know, educating people on how to listen to their bodies and how to understand how everything’s connected, you know, and that’s the basis of functional nutrition. You do a wonderful job of educating people on is the limitations of generalizations, right?
Sarah Clark (36m 27s):
Generalized recommendations. Oh, it said it on Google. Oh, I read something. You know, what can we do? That’s bad.
Sarah Clark (36m 35s):
Yeah. Like for the basic supplements, we’d recommend her fertility would be making sure that you have a good prenatal. We want to make sure it’s a methylene to prenatal in case you have the MTHFR gene. Yes. There’s 60% of us have that. So I’ll make sure it’s methylated. We like Seeking health or Thorne. You want to have a good probiotic. We like MegaSpore, but that’s practitioner brand there’s thrive. You can get this the same for consumers. Also magnesium, 85% of us are deficient in magnesium, our soil doesn’t doesn’t give us the magnesium we need anymore.
Sarah Clark (37m 9s):
So Thees would be a basic one, Omega supplement and then a COQ10. So that’s good for basic health. It’s from health. So yeah, those are like the basic ones. So most people that come to me are taking some of those. Oh. And also vitamin D because a lot of us are low in vitamin D. But with that, you want to make sure you get your vitamin D tested. We regularly see it. And like the single digits or teens they want, it has to be in 60 or 80. So, and then you’d, you’d work with your physician to get that, that monitored.
Sarah Clark (37m 39s):
The other target ones, many people are taking like heaps of supplements, spending a lot of money on it. They don’t really know why they’re taking it. They’re taking maca. They’re taking ashwagandha, they’re taking, you know, all these, these different supplements and ours is we use the testing, develop the protocol. There’s the supplements. It’s for a target amount of time, typically three to four months. And then you start to improve your gut health address infections, eradicate whatever’s there, and then start to re you know, start to repopulate it.
Sarah Clark (38m 9s):
So, cause I had, for years, I’d go out with bags of supplements, spending all this money. I didn’t know why I was taking them all these Herb’s who knows what those are for. Cause there could be dyes, fillers, chemicals, you know, heavy metals in, in some of those be supplementing. You know, if your sleep is off, Oh, let something with melatonin. Well then your melatonin goes sky high. The self prescribing thing is just not recommended to that’s when we do the testing and then develop the protocol, especially in the fertility space.
Sarah Clark (38m 42s):
It isn’t just an internet in general, but there’s so many different, Oh, you should take this. You should take that. And most people come with like a laundry list and, and a lot of them have fillers. They have dyes, they have the top allergens such as soy, gluten dairy, and they’re taking that. And we find there, you know, most people, we work, we work with a high percentage of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. So very sensitive to gluten and then they’re taking wheat grass. And if you, even though when people say wheat grass is gluten free, if you have, you know, if you have a high sensitivity to gluten wheat, grass is not recommended, they’re doing wheat grass shots every day.
Sarah Clark (39m 16s):
So those kinds of things we see just all the time, like a lot of mistakes done around generalized supplements that could be harming your fertility.
Christine Okezie (39m 26s):
Thank you. Yeah. Again, it’s, it’s, there’s a limit, right. And again, we have to view it in the whole context of all the other habits that we’re using, you know, our sleep, what we’re eating, you know, what, what we’re thinking and all of it, you know, because otherwise the supplements I found become that, you know, pill for every ill, you know, it’s kind of just, you’re swapping out, you know, conventional medicine for sure. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. So, So what is a myth, a common myth about the work that you do that you want to debunk?
Sarah Clark (39m 59s):
I think with the functional approach, sometimes people do think it’s, they do think it’s some just supplements. You know, they might not realize that it’s, it is addressing all of those stressors. So it’s like, Oh, give me your protocol. Let’s what’s the protocol. I want the protocol. Now you cannot out supplement a bad diet. Can’t out supplement, poor sleep. You can’t out supplement like a toxic workplace, bad relationship working 50 hours plus a week. You know, all of that has to, has to be addressed. So it is, you know, we look at the whole, the whole body.
Sarah Clark (40m 31s):
So I think, I still think it’s, it is a growing set of people and help practitioners. Then instead of prescribing medication, they’re moving to root, to root cause approach and looking to prevent. And then, you know, doing that personalized medicine approach, it’s still in the infancy and other conventional doctors. Like if I go and say that I’m gluten free, for whatever reason, and you just get those blank stares and like you’re crazy.
Sarah Clark (41m 3s):
And that’s quackery. I literally, my son has a mood issues. So found a psychiatrist that actually gave a long, long speech on gluten. And I almost was like, Oh, damn, I almost like cry when he was giving the speech about how inflammatory it is to the brain and all this sort of stuff. Cause I’ve been talking to him about this for years and he’s just like, Oh, mom place. But so just to find people that speak the same language as you like practitioners to build your team with that kind of stuff, like minded stuff, listen to podcasts like this the way you’re you hear people talking about stuff that cause otherwise you start to S you know, even you start to self doubt and not even know that you’re on the right right path.
Sarah Clark (41m 47s):
So it’s like to the doctor doesn’t know your body better than you. And to really be like a strong, a strong advocate for yourself and as a huge educate and empower yourself is key.
Christine Okezie (41m 58s):
That’s really key. Yeah. Thank you. And yes, it is a growing movement. I think in the more that more and more people find out that they have other options when it comes to infertility, you know, any range of symptoms that you’ve just presented, you know, show up when we have any kind of hormonal imbalance. And just to understand that they’re more, you know, we can dive deeper and have a broader tool bag to deal with them, I think is huge. But to your point about functional the functional approach, I will share that I’ve had a number of clients who have worked with functional approach and unfortunately, the emphasis has not been as well rounded as it should be.
Christine Okezie (42m 35s):
It’s been very, very much about the supplements and not enough as the, what your team does, which is a whole person approach. So just kudos to you really that’s all I want to distinguish is is you guys, you know, at fallacy fertile really get it, but you guys are really doing the mindset stuff. You’re really doing the energetic, the emotion, the gut healing, the lab testing, the implementation support, which makes all the difference. So Bravo. Yeah.
Sarah Clark (43m 2s):
Yeah. It was literally it’s, it’s all like use ourselves as like the guinea pigs of like, wait, I did all these things and then, Oh no, I still had chronic stress. Cause I hadn’t set boundaries. I didn’t slow down. I, you know, I, I didn’t listen to the signs. Like I, you know, little synchronicities, I didn’t listen to my gut when I knew I was gonna do something and I’d asked 20 people, what do you think I should do? Like all those things it’s like, and then, you know, you, hopefully then lead by example is always what I hopefully try to do. Yes.
Christine Okezie (43m 32s):
Yes. I get that. I definitely get that. Are there any resources that have really helped you in your journey?
Sarah Clark (43m 38s):
I love the book by Dr. Ben Lynch. He was on my podcast, Get Pregnant Naturally and yeah. And then Dr. Kelly Brogan, she’s really cool with a Mind of Your Own from a, from a mood side of things. I love the Amen clinic. So Dr. Daniel, Amen. His book is right here, The End of Mental Illness. The one that I’ve loved the most is Dr. Mark Hyman. Like he’s the guy and he is the guy, he is his podcast. So the Doctor’s Farmacy with a FAR macy, that those are some great resources.
Christine Okezie (44m 9s):
I’ll put those in the show notes, but yeah, for sure, Dr. Mark Hyman was, you know, kind of what set me on the path to understanding functional nutrition and root cause and all of it. So, and he, he makes it really easy and enjoyable and he gives you so much wonderful information. And again, what I love is that you, your, your passion I can see from the work that you do is to really educate and empower, You know, women in their bodies. And that is such beautiful work. So thank you so much. Is there anything that I should have asked you maybe, but didn’t like, you want to talk about an upcoming program that you’re excited about or anything else?
Sarah Clark (44m 46s):
Yeah. So we’ve got our Step Into Your Power Program. That’s the one where I’m with the therapist and the shaman really taking that shamanic approach to fertility and kind of the spiritual nudges and, and that the signs are all around us. It really, yeah. Like my, my passion on all of this is my Couples Coaching Program. I’m really helping. I just, because for me, as I dig deeper, you, you just discover more things all the time with a functional approach. I just want people to be like, okay, you know, here’s my infertility diagnosis, but there’s other things going on in my body.
Sarah Clark (45m 17s):
I want people to go, Oh, wow. Really what I can, what there’s things I can do here. I’m going to really be empowered. And it’s not just, Oh, by the way, I have, I have an autoimmune disease. That’s a huge healing clue. Oh, by the way, I’ve been on birth control for 10 years. Oh, by the way, I have acne that I’ve had for years. Like all these healing opportunities that are, are missed. I’d recommend people to check out my Podcast. Get Pregnant Naturally and it’s on iTunes and Spotify. It’s just cool to speak to people that think differently.
Christine Okezie (45m 48s):
It’s, it’s a really beautiful language when we’re in the business of educating, empowering, and, and as you said, uncovering our potential to heal, uncovering the body’s potential to heal. Right. And isn’t that just, just a completely different paradigm shift, right? Yeah. So missed opportunities to heal physical and emotional stressors that have been overlooked. This is your work at Fabulously Fertile. Thank you so much, Sarah. All are all your information will be on the show in the show notes and our listeners can find you at fabfertile.com.
Christine Okezie (46m 18s):
So thank you so much for being here. It’s been a gift to have you on the show.
Sarah Clark (46m 23s):
Thanks so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
Christine Okezie (46m 25s):
Okay. Thank you.