Kelly Jevis: From Rock Star to Nutritionist & Wellness Coach

If honesty, wisdom and passion are the qualities you look for in a nutritionist and health coach, then you wont want to miss our next expert, Kelly Jevis. Kelly is an integrative nutritionist and wellness program manager at Alameda Health System. She is also the owner of CultivatedWellbeing.com where she helps others find new ways to tackle old problems.

We: Many people turn to you for help and advice. How do you stay motivated with each new person?

Kelly: Staying motivated is easy because every client is unique with their own set of goals and challenges. I’m working with individuals who are ready to make changes in their lives and are open to learning new ways to tackle old problems. I never get tired of talking about health and wellbeing, so the prospect of helping individuals make lasting changes in their lives by sharing my knowledge and experience is enough to keep me motivated.

We: What is your opinion on the health and wellness field today?

Kelly: The health and wellness field is sort of sprawling out in so many directions – so much so that other entities are coopting the term wellness when it might not quite apply to their practice. While that can be confusing for the consumer, I like the idea that practitioners across the spectrum from allopathic to alternative care are embracing wellness (and preventive care, even if that’s all they’re doing and calling it wellness) in its various forms and encouraging their patients and clients to do the same.

Personal wellness is taking off as the wellness coaching profession is becoming a more mainstream career path, and uniformity in licensure and certification is on the horizon.

Corporate wellness is ever-evolving as research and hands-on experience is teaching us that some of the theoretical work we based our programs on years ago might not actually play out as predicted. I’m on a committee that plans a wellness conference every year for hospitals in Southern California, and I’m able to keep up-to-date on what’s at the cutting edge of the field. I love that hospitals are embracing wellness, both for the patients and for the employees taking care of them.

We: What value are you seeing in the link between social media and the health and wellness field?

Kelly: Social media is a great way to reach large swaths of people with similar interests, but tailoring the message and creating something that stands out (and is accurate and true) in the flurry of information that’s constantly filling our feeds can be a huge challenge. I have friends and clients alike who send me articles they saw on Facebook with subject lines like Does this really work? or Have you ever heard of this? or What are your thoughts on this nutrition guy/protein powder/new fad diet/ etc.? And since this new bone broth explosion has taken center stage on social media (and even old media!), I’m seeing articles pop up all over Facebook and Twitter, and those same people are reaching out to me excited that my pet subjects (bone broth and gut health) are getting some attention. I suppose there are two sides to every coin.

I’m thrilled to have social media at my disposal, because it drives people to my blog in addition to providing me with an opportunity to network, show my work to the masses, and create community. I think social media is playing that role for individual practitioners, wellness bloggers, wellness service providers, and workplaces who want to display the great things they’re doing for their employees to a larger population.

We: Primarily, you offer both health consultations and customized meal plans through CultivatedWellbeing.com. Why would someone benefit from getting both?

Kelly: Clients who choose the Combo Pack receive weekly wellness coaching in addition to their personalized meal plans. They benefit because not only are they receiving a grocery list, recipes, quantities, and instructions, they’re also receiving support through coaching to keep them on track, find the hiccups in the plan, and make adjustments along the way based on coaching conversations. Essentially, adding the coaching component to the meal plan services allows for more effective behavior change and accountability.

Some clients come to me with a relatively rich understanding of food and nutrition and simply need the coaching support to help turn their knowledge into action. Others don’t want a weekly phone commitment and prefer to receive the meal plan without any additional support. The Combo Pack offers the coaching components of accountability, goal-setting, education, and support AND the specific and tailored meal plan, which actually becomes part of the coaching call – what works, what doesn’t work, what time constraints did you find this week that created challenges in the kitchen, after which meals this week did you feel the best, the worst, how hungry are you between meals each day, etc. I’d recommend the Combo Pack to folks who are interested in nutritional guidance, motivation, and accountability for behavior change AND a structured meal plan.

We: What factors do you consider when creating a personalized meal plan for others?

Kelly: I consider the client’s goals above all else. Not every client wants to lose weight, but many do. In that case, I consider their current weight, their goal weight, and a reasonable timeline. Typically 1 to 3 lbs a week is reasonable, but sometimes people will lose more in the first few weeks before tapering down to 1 to 3 lbs/week. This all depends on the state of the client’s diet and overall health before they asked me for help. I also like to know a brief personal health history, especially digestive health, food sensitivities, and allergies, and we talk about activity as well.

Gracious Women, Healthy Women, Lifestyle

We: From a woman’s perspective, what do you think women suffer from most that is directly related to diet?

Kelly: Hmmm, that’s a hard question to answer. What a woman eats is really affected by so many factors, including socioeconomics and accessibility. I think what women mostly suffer from (at least in the US) is a constant focus on our bodies as our main source of self-worth. It might not be a question of ‘diet,’ but it becomes one, because women tend to be the primary shoppers for the household. A lack of understanding of nutrition, an undue focus on calories, and general ignorance of the importance of nutrient-dense foods in popular weight-loss strategies lead to things like 100-calorie packs ending up in grocery carts across the country. Snack foods that make health claims are a huge source of misguided eating for women trying to watch their waste lines. A major focus of my work with clients is to educate them on the importance of eating nutrient-dense foods, creating variety in their diets, and giving them the tools to execute a healthy meal or snack at home with whole food ingredients.

We: As someone who works to initiate wellness programs for companies, tell us why you think they need them?

Kelly: I run a wellness program at one company, but I do hope to consult for other companies in the not-too-distant future. I would say that the two major shifts I’ve seen in my own experience have been an increase in employee engagement and an overall sense of community that has grown out of the wellness program at my current company. The employees truly believe that the organization cares about their health and wellbeing, as evidenced by what we’re able to do for them through our wellness program. Employee engagement is the beginning of a cascade of outcomes that ultimately benefits the employer and every client (patient in our case) that receives care from our employees.

Kelly and Dexter

We: You have an adorable dog named, Dexter. Please, share with us 3 other really cool things about you.

Kelly: Yes, she’s ridiculously cute. Three interesting things…

I’m an avid rock climber. My husband and I have planned our last 4 vacations around the sport of rock climbing, including our honeymoon to Thailand where we climbed in Railay for a solid week at the end of the trip, a trip to Seneca on the East Coast, one to Squamish, BC, and a long Thanksgiving vacation to Red Rock Canyon in Nevada. We also spend between 20 and 40 days a year in Yosemite and other climbing destinations around California each year and recently bought a camper van to use for all our future climbing adventures. We plan to take a month-long road trip at the end of this year and into 2016 where we’ll site-see and climb our way across the American Southwest. Since buying my first home, I have become moderately obsessed with vegetable gardening. We have a tiny property in Alameda, CA, and have managed to create food crops on all 4 sides of the house. In the summer and early fall, we eat almost entirely from the garden spoils. I used to be an indie-rocker. I played guitar and sang from my late teens to my mid-twenties and for a short while led a band called Kelly Jevis and the Beards. I called my music style seriously badass folk-rock and produced 4 independent albums between ages 19 and 27. At least one of them is floating around on iTunes and Spotify I think.

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