Dr. Bay of Innate Wellness Group
New York, New York
DC: Doctor of Chiropractic
CDN: Certified Dietician Nutritionist
CNS: Certified Nutrition Specialist
Dr. Kelly Bay practices functional medicine in midtown Manhattan and specializes in treating chronic illnesses, in addition to her nonprofit work with HIV positive individuals. Dr. Bay is being honored in December 2019 by the LGBT Network for her work in the HIV+ community.
Brief Introduction/Tell Us About yourself (where you are from, etc)I'm originally from Philadelphia, but have been in New York City for over ten years now. Before becoming a doctor, I was a baker/cook for about seven years. After going through some serious health obstacles, I pursued all avenues I could to be able to practice nutrition based functional medicine. I really realized the immense potential for nutritional interventions to help with the chronic illness epidemic and thought my background in cooking could be a really powerful tool. I still really enjoy cooking and throw a lot of dinner parties. I regularly practice meditation, HIIT training and some yoga to try and keep myself balanced. I'm also an animal lover and have two dogs and an elderly cat.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in nutrition?In my late teens I had several health problems and recurring symptoms that no one had any answers to. I saw eleven practitioners, who gave me medications which seemed to make me worse and were still unable to explain the cause of my symptoms. After seeing a nutrition based, functional medicine practitioner I got a proper diagnosis and felt like a brand new person 6 months later, after being on a supplement protocol and changing my diet. I knew I had to do whatever it took to get the education required to help people in the same way, so people wouldn't have to go through what I did. Nutrition and functional medicine has really become my passion. You wouldn't believe the amount of people out there who never get answers about their health problems or are just dismissed and told "it's all in your head". Those are the people I'm really trying to help.
How did you become passionate about healthy eating?I realized that although we don't always have control over the things in our life, we do have control over what we put in our bodies. Changing your diet can drastically change your health status. With the chronic disease epidemic in the US, it's more important than ever to remember the causative factors of chronic illness; lifestyle choices and diet being the largest contributors. These factors are also what can trigger epigenetic factors linked to these conditions. Shifting our perspective to a more preventative nutritional model, rather than the conventional model of throwing drugs at symptoms after the fact, can really help reduce the rates of chronic illness.
What kind of training did you undergo/certification you received?My undergraduate was in natural sciences and mathematics and then I went on to do my doctorate, before taking things even further with my masters in human nutrition. I then got my certifications as a certified dietician nutritionist and certified nutrition specialist. I like to go to seminars as much as I can to stay well informed of the rapidly changing techniques and protocols available to my patients. Apex Energetics seminars are really excellent for continuing education for nutrition. I'm also a bit of a research junkie. I love reading emerging research from medical/health journals.
What do people look for in a nutritionist or dietician?I think they want someone who is knowledgable of course, but also understanding. Someone who can relate to what they're going through and really comprehends the challenges that come along with changing habits. Often times there are many factors contributing to a person's health problem and they aren't just physical ones.
If you could persuade people to change three things about their diet, what would they be?
Eat real food. I always tell people to ask themselves if the food they are choosing came from nature or from a factory. There are so many processed food choices with chemical additives and nutrient negative hyperpalatable foods that can negatively impact our health. Choosing natural, unprocessed options can really eliminate a lot of these problematic choices.
Avoid sugar. The average amount of sugar consumed 200 years ago was about 2lbs of sugar per year. Now the average person consumes 152lbs a year. It's no wonder that we have an obesity and chronic disease epidemic. Think about how much harder your pancreas has to work to make insulin and the prevalence of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a major causative factor when it comes to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia and more. Just eliminating sugar can be a powerful tool in improving your health.
Choose organic foods when you can. Pesticides have a real impact on your gut microbiome, which we now know is very important when it comes to staying healthy. Various chronic illnesses such as Parkinson's disease, depression, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disorders and more have been shown to have decreased diversity when it comes to the gut microbiome. One of the most common pesticides contains a chemical called glyphosate, which disrupts the shikimate metabolic pathway. This pathway does not exist in human cells, but it does exist in the trillions of microorganisms in your gut, which means this pesticide can negatively impact your microbiome. The microbiome helps with nutrient delivery to your body, helps maintain your gut barrier, immune function and even genetic regulation. The shipmate pathway is also very important for neurotransmitter and hormone production. This is why I'm a huge proponent of organic produce.
What would you make as a quick and healthy dinner option, if you have 30 minutes of preparation time?
My favorite quick meal is a simple veggie bowl. I switch up the base with whatever I have on hand and usually use either quinoa or cauliflower rice. I top it with whatever veggies I have in the fridge and an egg. I typically use sautéed brussel sprouts, mushrooms, kale, collard greens and broccoli. I love using pesto or cilantro jalapeño sauce on top for extra flavor. If I'm feeling REALLY lazy, I'll throw a piece of chicken or fish with veggies on a sheet pan in the oven and bake them for 25-30 minutes. You can season it however you'd like and it's super quick and easy.
What is your favorite snack?I love hardboiled eggs and nuts. They're rich in protein and beneficial fats that give you energy, while keeping you satisfied. When I'm craving sweets, my go to is mango. It's full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Plant based living is becoming more and more popular. When eating a mostly plant based / vegetarian diet, are there certain foods to focus on to make sure we’re getting enough nutrients and protein?
If you are eating mostly plants, you will be optimizing your nutrient dense foods, which is great in reducing your risk of chronic illness and improving your health status. I still do believe that most people can benefit from additional supplementation, even with a plant based diet. This is because of the problems with monoculture farming and nutrient depletion. Research has shown that produce is just not as nutrient dense as it was even 50 years ago, because of nutrient depleted soil. However, you will be optimizing your health by choosing plants rather than processed foods. As far as protein, I do promote free range, grass-fed, wild animal products in moderation. I'm a fan of flexitarian and vegetarian diets that use humanely sourced animal products in appropriate portions. We definitely over consume protein/animal products in this country and often times eating a portion that is the same or slightly smaller than the palm of your hand is plenty. Protein is easily acquired from plant based foods if you make an effort to eat nuts and legumes. If you are a reproductive age female, it's important to be mindful about iron sources in particular. Plant based foods such as lentils, spinach, broccoli and beans do have iron, but it's non-heme iron which is not as easily absorbed as the heme-iron found in animal products. It must be transformed in the body in order to be used. You can increase absorption by consuming iron rich plant foods with vitamin C rich foods. B12 is also a concern with being plant based, because it is found in animal products. Getting sufficient amounts is very important because it is necessary for an array of important metabolic processes in the body. Fortified foods and nutritional yeast have small amounts, but it's usually not enough. B12 tends to be a big problem for my vegan patients, which is why I'm partial to vegetarian and flexitarian diets.
Speaking of plant based, what are some of the benefits of drinking chlorophyll water / benefits of liquid chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll is a beneficial source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It has some anti-inflammatory mechanisms such as inhibiting TNF-α. There are also some preliminary animal studies showing some promise for its anti-cancer properties when it comes to stomach and liver cancer.
What’s one of your favorite organic/natural supplements or vitamins you recommended?
I love bringing awareness to fulvic and humic acid. It's one of my favorite must have products that I think everyone should be on. It aids the body in detoxification pathways to help eliminate glyphosate (the active ingredient in the pesticide Monsanto produces: RoundUp) and other toxins from the body. It has even been shown to be effective against heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury. It binds to these toxins in the digestive tract and helps your body eliminate them. It also helps support the tight junctions in your gut and your human micro biome.
Any favorite health / nutrition podcasts or books you recommend to our readers?
I love the broken brain podcast series and I've also been into the art of eating podcast. Both really great with excellent guests.
Where can our readers find you? (Instagram, Facebook, etc)My instagram: @drkellybay
My Facebook: www.facebook.com/drkellybay
My website: www.drkellybay.com