Women In Wellness: Dr Kellye Schab of Balanced Wellness On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
You don’t have to know it all to get started. Perfectionism is a weakness and can stall you along the way. So, remember that even the greatest of greats don’t know it all but they know where to find the answers and will get back to you later.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Kellye Schab.
Dr. Kellye Schab is a Functional Medicine Specialist™, owner of Balanced Wellness LLC, Doctor of Pharmacy, speaker, upcoming author, patient advocate, hormone health expert, and independent Compounding Pharmacist who has improved lives working with aging women for 20+ years. She empowers busy women to say goodbye to overwhelm, exhaustion, hormone imbalance and weight gain to achieve sustainable energy, whole-body balance, and effortless weight loss.
Besides advising hundreds of practitioners on hormonal prescribing options, Dr. Schab has spoken at a virtual summit, lectured to a university audience, and developed professional events to bring awareness to options for better health, aging, and hormone control.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Growing up as a daughter of a Pharmacist, I learned quickly that there was a pill, suspension, or diagnosis for everything. I was raised with a constant supply of vitamins, antibiotics, tablets, and cough medicine. My amazing father, the Pharmacist, used to use medical terms around the house to be silly and educational such as “pass the sodium chloride” or “brush your teeth before you get trench mouth.” This propelled my interests for the sciences.
At the university level, I majored in biochemistry and took my first job at a hospital pharmacy as a technician when I was 18 years old. The excitement of taking classes at the medical school and working alongside many healthcare professionals both inspired and intimidated me. I had a memorable group of classmates that pushed each other to excel with each exam, lab, and lecture. I couldn’t thank them more for the comradery and dedication that we all developed towards being our best and creating the drive to succeed.
When my education started to progress and I was accepted into pharmacy school, I thought I had it all figured out! I would get my Doctorate, go back to my hometown, and work with my dad in hopes of taking over his pharmacy. Oh, how I was wrong. Pharmacy school was very intense and introduced me to so many new areas of pharmacy that I was unaware of. I credit my university with showing me many great areas of the profession and giving me the tools for development.
Once my career started taking off as a compounding pharmacist, I found myself immersed in a world of bio-identical hormones, adrenal care, thyroid function, gut health, and the intertwining dance that these hold with each other. Not only did the basic concepts of hormones make perfect sense, but the practitioners I worked with were not being taught about them and needed help. Let me restate that — the practitioners were taught the basics of hormone physiology but they were not taught how to treat hormonal decline with much more than manufactured, brand named medications that were marketed to them.
Fortunately, a handful of physicians and nurse practitioners regularly reached out to me at the pharmacy for help when their patients insisted on another form of care.
My exposure to the basic building blocks of health kept showing up in many areas of my profession yet very few people seemed to be practicing with those basics. I was determined to help more practitioners and patients open their minds to replace the body with what it was missing instead of covering up a diagnosis with a band-aid.
Over the past 15 years, I have gained experience, education, and practical exposure to the world of functional medicine. Oddly, I hadn’t applied that term “functional medicine” to what I was doing yet. I did, however, feel like an anomaly in my area of expertise, constantly recommending and defending the basics of nutrient replacement, adrenal care, gut health, and hormone balancing to an audience that had not learned of their importance.
Finally, the concept of functional medicine was introduced to me at a conference in 2017 at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. I had found the space, the professionals, and the science that I needed to support the area of medicine that nurtured my professional soul. This was truly the beginning towards my career expansion of a whole-body focus on health and the fire in me is blazing!
So, what is Functional Medicine? The Institute for Functional Medicine states it simply as a “biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease.” Finding the actual cause of an illness, symptom, or disease is quite different from using conventional medicine that only treats the problem.
And who is a Functional Medicine Specialist™? I am! I acquired my certification in December of 2021 and am ready to share my story, my message, and my advice to aging women everywhere!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
Over the years, I have worked with many women in the same capacity of saliva testing for hormone imbalance. So, when I started doing something new, hair tissue mineral analysis, I found some shocking information about my own family’s health!
We tested three of my household family members hair for nutrient depletion and heavy metal toxicity and all three results came back high in uranium!
What I find most fascinating about testing is that you discover things you may have never known about your health yet it can explain some of the most basic symptoms that you have been experiencing and written off as “normal” or “age.”
This new knowledge about uranium toxicity prompted my research into the issue and how to resolve it. I discovered that the city water system in my area is elevated in uranium due to it being a naturally occurring metal in our soil and that there is an acceptable level of it in many municipal systems. Excess uranium exposure can lead to kidney issues and coincide with elevated radon exposure.
We promptly changed the water filters in our house, which was long overdue, and will test for radon exposure in our homes air. Additionally, we are focusing on increasing our movement and improving our vegetable and water intake to better detox our bodies. We plan on retesting in 3–6 months to reevaluate our process.
The biggest lesson I learned is this: If you don’t know, you may not try to do better. But if you know, you have the incentive to do your best.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I am a huge advocate for both partners in a relationship to understand what struggles the other may be experiencing. For this reason, I often encourage the partner to hear what measurable results are out of range to support the journey towards health. But not all relationships work that way!
One couple stands out in my mind that I worked with years ago. In retrospect, the husband may have thought he was helping his wife get over an aging obstacle that was affecting their marriage.
I reviewed her hormone results to both of them, explained the reasoning, and suggested lifestyle modifications, stress relief, and submitted prescription recommendations to her physician.
She was silent. He answered all of my questions, thanked me for my time, and they went on their way. The eeriness of that moment still haunts me.
If I had been more mature and able to read the room better, I would have insisted on having some alone time with her. My heart tells me that their relationship required more than labs and a symptom questionnaire for evaluation. She needed a safe place to talk, or encouragement to find that safe place.
What I learned is that it takes more than lab work and a scale of 1–10 to truly understand a person. Emotional connection, safety, mental clarity, and resources are essential for the whole picture. Again, functional medicine takes all of these aspects into account!
Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Years ago, I decided that I had to find a way to help women learn that there is a better way to grow up hormonally sound. They also needed to know that menopause doesn’t have to be a sentence that ends with a period!
I am fortunate to have a career that has me surrounded with knowledge, evidence, and clients to learn from but I needed a platform to share this information. I dabbled in a Facebook page and developed a website in hopes of blogging about the conversation. Unfortunately, I needed more guidance to reach a bigger audience and a plan to do that.
Upon becoming a Certified Functional Medicine Specialist™, I finally have the platform to share my voice. By regularly sharing knowledge bombs, allowing my audience to know and trust me, creating programs, and developing webinars, I will better be able to reach those women out there that didn’t even know they needed me. I feel that as humans, we can complicate situations and make them confusing but I am here to make the journey simpler so that we can all grow up feeling healthy, vibrant, and sexy.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
Doing what is best for our health is not always a simple task. I firmly believe we need reminders and reasoning to refocus us along our journey. My lifestyle tweaks may seem basic, but they hold great value. Hopefully, they will redirect someone towards a simpler, more balanced way of living which in turn will benefit the body, mind, and spirit.
- Create your sleepy time oasis. If I just said, “get better sleep,” then you would probably turn the page. Boring! Instead, make your bed and bedtime routine a destination that you can’t resist because sleep is essential for health. Purchase new bedding and a new pillow, try some relaxing essential oils, get comfortable with a guided meditation app, improve the darkness in your room, dust your headboard, add a plant to your room, and reevaluate the wall décor. Bedtime supplements are also essential: Melatonin, magnesium, or chamomile to name a few. Lastly, stretch! Sit on the floor and do 5 minutes of simple stretches to melt away the day.
- Think about your food as medicine — Nourishing goldmines! I can tell you how to eat better but I bet you have a good idea about what is good and bad for you. So next time you prepare your meal or order off the menu, think with each bite! Is this something that my body will use as fuel? Is this serving a nutritional purpose? Am I giving my body a nutrient gift with this meal? It can feel powerful knowing that your meal is serving a purpose.
- Manage your stress by simplifying your life. Many of us have complicated lives because of all of the demands we put on ourselves. Think about ways to narrow down your daily decisions and tasks to lessen the impact stress has on your life. Clean out your closet, get rid of excess belongs that clutter your decisions, say “no” to someone who asks to add to your plate, say “yes” to someone who offers help, decrease social media use, plan your meals for a weak, unclutter your home, and finally, declutter your mind and focus on the important things.
- Move that body daily. I hesitate to say “exercise daily” because that is not the point. Getting up off of the office chair/couch, and moving your legs, arms, and torso, and leveraging movement every day is another daily dose of medicine. Movement helps maintain balance, strengthen bones, keeps your joints flexible, and motivates the mind. Movement is multifactorial and your future body will thank you.
- Cultivate connections with real people, with your own eyes, in person. Our new world has become so skilled in the online space. Even I, the former extrovert, loves staying in my bubble and doing my own thing. Yet, humans need connection for our moods, self-worth, and health. Spending time with a trusted friend can lower anxiety and depression, improve our emotions, and help our immune system. So, reach out to a friend, maintain your six feet, and share a laugh or two. Your heart, body, and soul need it!
If you could start a movement that would bring the mfost amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I truly wish I could start a movement that normalizes the menopause conversation. I want a new way to say it so it doesn’t sound so old, grey, and dry because 50 is not the same 50 as it was 50 years ago! I believe pre- and menopausal women are beautiful and strong. They are powerful, capable, wise, and adventurous! Every woman, if given enough time, will experience menopause either naturally or surgically and we can live many valuable years beyond that transition. The younger generations need to know that growing up as a woman today means that they have more life to enjoy and thrive in.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- You don’t have to know it all to get started. Perfectionism is a weakness and can stall you along the way. So, remember that even the greatest of greats don’t know it all but they know where to find the answers and will get back to you later!
- It’s easier than you think. This reflects back on my issue of cluttering our thoughts. If you put all of your thoughts out on the desk, it looks overwhelming, but with the right guidance and processes, you can make big things happen.
- Just take that first step. You can’t get started if you never step out of your comfort zone! Challenge yourself and know that even if that first step doesn’t work out, it is one more step toward reaching your dreams.
- Not everyone will support you and that’s ok. The people who matter to you most will cheer for you and support your vision. If someone doesn’t stand alongside you, you have then learned a powerful lesson about their character. Their reasons for not celebrating you may never be known, but at least their response will help you declutter acquaintances that you didn’t know you didn’t need. Surround yourself with good energy and you will be unstoppable!
- You won’t regret it. Perspective is everything. Did you succeed? Awesome! Did you crash and burn? You are closer to success than you were if you had not tried. Every situation we encounter, every experience we participate in, brings us closer to victory and creates character along the way. You can’t live with regrets but you can live with wisdom that you earn along the way.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
In today’s new world, with all of the changes we have faced as a society, mental health is everything! My family had a very unfortunate year of loss which led me to find talk therapy for my teen daughters. They needed to learn tools for coping with loss and navigate through these new, detached lives that were forced upon us all. Mental health counseling helps us get away from that sometimes-unreasonable voice in our heads that doesn’t always serve us well. Also, mental health awareness is a gift of its own. Knowing that there are better, healthier ways to deal with situations is often a positive start. If you don’t know you have options, you can get stuck in a negative spiral that can hold you down. Additionally, recognizing that someone is struggling, then acknowledging their pain, can make a difference in their life. Helping one person might not change the world, but it could change the world for one person.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
If my philosophies resonate with anyone, I would love to connect! Visit my website at https://drkellyeschab.com/ , LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/drkellyeschab/ , or book a free 15 minute call at https://calendly.com/drkellyeschab/get-started .
Thank you for these fantastic insights!
Women In Wellness: Dr Kellye Schab of Balanced Wellness On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.