“Getting back on the road to health can be very frustrating, but it’s also the best thing you can do for yourself. Having the energy to live your life, take care of your family and do whatever it is you desire to do – without feeling depleted and comprised is what it’s all about.”— Julie Brar
Holistic Nutritionist & Business Coach
After the sudden and unexpected death of her husband in 2012, Holistic Nutritionist & Business Coach, Julie Brar, became passionate about health and began focusing on her own quality of life. Today she’s dedicated to educating others about hypothyroidism, gut and immune health.
Can you tell me something that stands out about your childhood and how it relates to your life today?
“I would say life has always been pushing me in this direction. When I was a kid my parents did not bring junk food into our house. I have many parents who complain to me about not being able to get their kids to eat healthy food. I try to remind them that they are the parent. My parents went to the grocery store and would only bring home fruits, vegetables and healthy, whole, foods. At lunch time, I’d go home and I remember cutting up all types of fruits and to make myself fruit salads. Like many immigrant families, my grandmother lived with us and she was always around, watching what we were doing – so I always made healthier choices. We did not go to fast food restaurants or do any of that. My mom also had us kids helping out in the kitchen when we were very young. I remember helping my mom meal prep for the week – which exposed me to healthy living from the beginning.
The other, more tragic memory I have as a child, was the sudden passing of my grandfather – he passed away from a heart attack. This pushed me toward learning about nutrition and health. It was a Friday evening – and it’s weird what sticks in your memory…he dropped dead in front of us. Because of what happened to him, I started learning about cholesterol and health. I was reading things as a teenager that kids my age weren’t reading.”
How did you decide that being a Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach was the path for you?
“It started initially with my husbands death. Going through that really made me realize that we’re on this planet for a finite amount of time and we could go at any point. It got me thinking about my own personal health, at that point I hadn’t really been paying attention. During that time, I was going through such a heavy grieving period that I went back to what I knew and began teaching yoga again. I ended up being diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
Five years ago, I was juggling auditions, teaching a lot of classes and trying to get through what I was getting through. It all stopped because I got injured, I was in two casts and I feel like this was the sign that I needed to stop. I had debilitating symptoms from my hypothyroidism and nothing I was doing was working. I decided that it was time to go back to school – and shift careers. Then and there, I realized it might be a good idea to study nutrition and I began juggling school and work. Two years later, I launched my online nutrition business. Everything that I learned in those years, I use when I share with others. I lean on my real-life experiences.”
What does it look like balancing real-life with career changes…like the ones you made. How did you get the courage to take the leap of faith and change your path?
“It’s funny because now when I look back, I was like holy smokes I did a lot. At the time, my back was against the wall and I was recovering from the car accident. I realized when something happens, it’s an opportunity to go inward and do some exploration. I shifted my schedule around and thankfully, online learning worked for me. I put the pedal to the medal and I did it – it was time for me to make a change. I was tired of running from studio to studio. I wanted something that was my own, I was tired of working so hard for other people.”
How does the thyroid influence overall health and well-being?
“The thyroid sits in your throat and is a butterfly shaped gland. There are two classifications – hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
1. Hypothyroidism – when your thyroid becomes sluggish. You start to put on weight, you might get constipated and a few other symptoms.
2. Hyperthyroidism – occurs when your thyroid speeds up. You might lose weight quickly, have body sweats, an accelerated heart rate, etc.
A lot of people think of the metabolism when they think of the thyroid, but it’s deeper than that. The thyroid regulates, digestion, breathing, and so much more. Millions of Americans have undiagnosed thyroid related issues that aren’t being treated. Being left untreated is very serious. If you don’t continue to support your thyroid, symptoms will remain persistent. Women with untreated thyroid challenges often experience challenges getting pregnant.
Every thyroid issue is related to poor gut health.”
How common is it for kids to experience thyroid issues?
“It’s becoming more common for kids to have thyroid issues. I do get messages from parents regarding their kids diagnosis and it could be related to a number of things, poor diet, poor gut health, stress, and a number of underlying factors. Stress plays a huge role in thyroid health.”
How do you define “chronic stress?”
“Well, the thing is, in nature – if you observe a dog or cat, when they are in a state of stress, they react to whatever it is – and then they shake it off. For human beings, often times what’s happening, they are in a state of low-grade stress all the time. Especially with women, they are juggling so many things – from their household, to careers and they don’t consider it stress but it really is. Their bodies are never relaxed, they can’t sleep properly, etc. When you’re not sleeping properly, getting six hours or less of sleep per night, your body pushes into insulin resistance. When you’re in a state of not getting enough sleep on a consistent basis, is automatically perceived by your body as a state of stress.”