I cannot contain my excitement for today’s Women Who Flourish post from Kate—her words are going to stop you in your tracks and fill you with abundance and joy and have you excited to create rituals in your own life! Kate and I connected on Instagram and she is truly a joyful account to follow in the sea of social media. Her approach to combining Western medicine with holistic practices just warms my heart up—we are so similar in our ideals of cultivating a positive relationship with how we pursue healthy living that I found myself literally smiling as I read her interview!
< Catch the other Women Who Flourish spotlights! >
Women Who Flourish: Kate Eskuri
Tell us about yourself?
*for accuracy please read all of this in a thick Minnesotan accent* 🙂
Hello, hello! I’m Kate. I went by Katie until 4th grade and then my 10 year old self thought I needed to become more maaature *pinkie up*
Me in a nutshell: I live in the most magical “middle of nowhere,” in the Minnesota Northwoods with my sweet hubs and our lil pup, Summit. I am a RN by trade and am actively going back to school to get my doctorate in Integrative Health & Healing. Most recently, I have taken my passion for all things wellness and turned it into The Foundation Blog: a one stop shop for all things slow living, integrative health, and holistic self-care…. And it’s quickly gaining steam which is wildly exciting!
To sum it up: I’m a firm believer that life is created to be ENJOYED, and my ultimate goal in life is to switch off the autopilot “robot human” mode and fully fully fully live this one juicy, bursting, vibrant life of mine.
First off Kate, I have loved following your journey this past year of starting a blog and growing a following! To anyone just getting started, wanting to start a blog or even thinking this market is saturated, what would be your best advice?
K: Mmmm, this is an interesting question because I 100% had similar thoughts in the years before I started my blog! However, my viewpoint differed slightly– I wasn’t so much worried about how many other people were blogging but more so what I would blog about or what I had to offer. I had wanted to start a blog for years– but the idea of “what kind” of blog felt limiting to me. It felt that everyone that was blogging was incredibly niched down in their focus (clothing, home decor, business branding, healthy recipes, etc.) and that narrowness did NOT vibe for a multi-passionate girl like myself.
I delayed starting a blog because I couldn’t pick one topic that felt “right”. Which led to many brainstorming sessions until all of a sudden, I KNEW in my gut– I didn’t have to niche down. I was passionate about more than just nutrition or nontoxic skincare or mindset or home decor- I was passionate about all of them. And I was ready to bet that other women were too.
Insert The Foundation Blog: a one-stop shop for all things slow living, integrative health, and holistic self-care. This is for the modern woman who is ready to feel more grounded in her life. Where we cover everything from all-natural ways to grow your eyelashes to “The Millenial’s Guide to Saving Up for a Down Payment” allllll the way to 4 Acupressure Points for PMS and armpit detoxes 101. It’s been launched less than 7 months and already we have hit 250,000 views… the response has been so encouraging! This blog was created as a space where the modern woman has a place to press pause, invest in herself, and just be.
And to have received such a positive response with its launch just reaffirmed that there IS more room at the blogging table- just listen to your gut and be purposeful with how you enter the blogging space! There really is no rule book- just a lot of limiting beliefs that YOU can break through in order to find your blogging sweet spot!
You are currently getting your doctorate in integrative health & healing—tell us a bit about why and also what are some of your favorite holistic ‘healing’ practices you incorporate into your life?
K: As a registered nurse that has worked in many areas of healthcare (from Mayo Clinic’s ICU to a clinic setting all the way to a college campus wellness coordinator), I felt a void in traditional healthcare. I deeply respect traditional Western medicine and how incredible it can heal bodies—- but there is so much missing. I feel that Western medicine can address emergent/acute events very, very well (broken bones, heart attacks, trauma, etc.) but it tends to skim over the “everyday” components that make up health: nutrition, stress management, sleep, etc. I am getting my doctorate in integrative health so that I can use my background in Western, scientific physiology and merge it with the more natural, gradual, everyday form of wellness. I want to help women care for their bodies through lifestyle changes, nutrition, natural interventions, and alternative medicine— instead of “there’s a pill for that”.
Some of my favorite “healing” practices are sooooo simple and small you may laugh that I consider these to be true habits of healing. But there is such power in the small decisions, and it really is the cumulation of the mini moment throughout every day that combine and pile up to create wellness. A few simple things I love: drinking a huge glass of water first thing in the morning when I wake up, journal/spend time in stillness, always, always some form of movement throughout the day, reading before bed, investing in local, organic food. It’s nothing dramatic or flashy– which is the point of my blog! In current blogging culture, I feel that people often focus on romanticized, small components of health (Example: this one herb will transform your gut health, this ONE ingredient in your skincare can get rid of blemishes, blah blah.). I’m not about quick fixes — I don’t believe ONE thing can do much of anything if you’re not already grounded in the basic components of wellness: nutrition, sleep, stress management, movement, environment.
I firmly believe that healthy living and eating isn’t just about calories in and calories out—but about our mindset, our emotions, our movement routines, the products we use, the environments and people we surround ourselves with. How have you seen these other aspects of healthy living play a role in your journey?
K: Absolutely, 100%. It is alllll connected to me, but it’s also been gradual. For sooooo long I just tried to “force” health. Restricting. Obsessively counting. Rigid control. Taking away my favorite things. Taking away my favorite snacks. Taking away time. Taking away nights out with friends…. all for the goal of getting “healthy”. And guess what: this “deprivation” mindset rarely works. we try really stinkin’ hard…. only to find ourselves burnt out and in the exact same position a month later.
SOOOOO WHAT IF we stopped depriving ourselves, and instead ADDED health to our life. What if “getting healthy” didn’t mean subtracting our favorite things but instead meant adding health to our day? Adding one more nourishing meal. One mini meditation at our lunch break. One quick yoga workout in the morning. One more serving of veggies. Swapping out one toxic beauty product for a clean one. One choice at a time. and then another one, and another one…. one step at a time. One day at a time. Gradually adding + adding one mini moment of health to our day…. until all those small decisions cumulate into big impact. THIS is sustainable health.
I just wanted to pass along this idea to you—just in case you are feeling stalled or frustrated or lost in your wellness journey. Just in case you needed a reminder that your health is worth it. that your vitality is worth it. Your spirit + energy is worth it. Friend, YOU are worth it.
What is one practical action step someone can implement today to get more intune with their body, eating and mindfulness practices?
K: One tangible step I recommend is start recording/journaling your MOOD before you eat and after. Now, keep in mind, I don’t mean to track every calorie, nutrient, portion size, etc. because I don’t think that is necessary. But just the BASICS: what did you eat (ex: a piece of sourdough toast with avocado), how did you eat it (rushed, peaceful, etc.), how hungry were you before you ate (not really hungry physically, but emotionally wanting to eat), how satisfied were you with the meal (really satisfied, still hungry, good energy, bad energy, etc.). Asking yourself how did you feel before this meal? Where you emotionally hungry? Physically? Where you eating while distracted at your desk? Or mindfully at your table? With time, by recording these things, you’ll organically find what foods and situations bring about the most joyful, nourishing choices for yourself.
There is a trend nowadays to “whittle our food list” down to practically nothing and focus on all the foods we don’t eat or can’t eat—I know that only produces guilt and negativity and can be really damaging long term! How do you approach food and living from a positive perspective rather than a spirit of restriction?
K: It’s taken me many years of self-work to say this, but I FINALLY have a beautiful relationship with food after years of obsessive restriction. Since I was in high school, I was keenly aware of food and what it did to my body. I would rent books from the library about nutrition, macronutrients, different diet plans, etc. All of this to say, in the beginning, my “passion” for nutrition was rooted more in control, restriction, and an obsessive desire to lose weight. Food was not an area of joy our nourishment– it was an area of counting, shame, and outside opinions. To fast forward through years of really difficult self-work, I am very happy (and proud!) to say, eating is now effortless to me. I eat when I am hungry, I fuel with real, whole ingredients, and eating is one of the most joyful areas of my life! For me, nutrition was my catalyst towards integrative medicine– the first thing that truly showed me the power of nature and the simple, foundational building blocks of health. My prayer for women is to find a relationship with food that is uplifting + natural + intuitive… that nourishes you emotionally, physically, and spiritually! I believe there is a LOT of work to be done as we are constantly bombarded with messaging and the “newest” fad– but really, food should be simple. Real, whole ingredients that nourish our bodies. And that’s exactly the style recipes I whip out on The Foundation Blog—AKA do you want “cookie dough” that’s all-natural, gluten free, and grain free? You’ll never guess what the main ingredient is…. *wink*
PSSSST: it feels quite limiting to simply type about my relationship with food– because I could ramble about this complex relationship for hours! If you want a more organic look into my views on nutrition, you can tune into this podcast I was a guest on!
I personally am very thankful for modern medicine, in fact it keeps me alive each day—you are someone with traditional medical training but also very holistically minded, how do you see these two worlds blend together in a beautiful way?
K: Mmmmm, first of all, I am so glad you asked this question. In this polarized world I feel that people are so often “one side or the other”– with no openness to the other side. Examples: people ONLY wanting “all-natural” treatments and completely disregard “traditional” doctors or pharmacists OR people thinking that ONLY a pill can help. But for me, I believe of a world in the middle. I have my feet firmly planted in Western medicine, but seek for a world with more Eastern, complementary medicine.
Which is exactly why I am getting my doctorate in integrative health. I want to bring CREDIBILITY to the more natural side of medicine (mind-body connection, energy work, functional nutrition, aromatherapy, guided imagery, etc.) and my program is the most perfect blend of integrative and science. Because not only am I taking classes like acupressure, real food cooking, — but I am also taking pathophysiology, pharmacology, etc. Because not only am I learning about reiki and acupuncture, I am learning about the data and research behind them. Because it is not enough to loosely understand integrative therapies, you have to know how to look up the research on them, validate them, and promote them in a HEALTHY way. I cringe at some of the “all-natural” information that I see promoted online. Just because something is “natural” does not mean that it can’t have consequences or side effects, and I take the responsibility of blogging about health very seriously.
I want the Foundation Blog to empower people in their everyday choices: slow living, integrative health, and holistic self care. I strive for The Foundation Blog to be a place where people can TRUST. You’ll often see scientific journals cited in my blog posts, backed up by research. I don’t recommend ANYTHING unless I have looked into thoroughly. No bold or overexaggerated claims here– just finding MY sweet place– right smack dab in the middle between the science and the woo woo 😉
How would you define healthy living?
K: I find health in the “in between” — not being overly obsessed or ritualistic, but also not settling or being passive. It’s crucial to be INTENTIONAL (but also flexible) in your health. The end goal of health is to have a body, mind, and spirit that are alert, joyful, and vital!
What are some practices or routines you do each day that you believe are directly tied to your success?
K: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. I am OBSESSED with my journal and my planner– it is where I brain-drump, organize, visualize, manifest, inspire myself, set goals. Basically, it’s the place where I set the stage to get bleep done 😉 Lately, I am head over heels obsessed with this planner. It takes me literally 5 minutes to set up in the morning, but it creates the most free-flowing structure to my day. If you are someone that feels scattered or like you’re spinning your wheels, grab this now! (I have a coupon code “KATE10” if you’re ready to get plannin!)
Also, if you are craving some other self-care hacks and tips, I think you’ll love this podcast that I was on:
- The Natural Girl’s Guide to Periods
- 14 Holistic Hacks for Deeper and Dreamier Sleep
- Incorporating Self-Care into a Busy Schedule
What does it mean to you to flourish?
K: To be more engaged with my life than my to-do list. Reaching a place where responsibilities are handled with ease + grace. To be living (and giving) in a state of financial abundance. To be authentically connected to my loved ones. To have vivid and natural health.
If you were a taco, which flavor and toppings would you be and why?
Guacamole. Because i’m always a juuuuust a little bit “extra” 😉
What is one quality you look for in a friend?
Hands down, authenticity.
What is one thing you say no to and why?
Anything that doesn’t feel right. If it’s not a “hell yes!”, it’s a “no, thanks”
Favorite time of the day?
Early morning! Sipping my coffee, doing my journal ritual, quiet time. Ahhhhh, my bliss.
Your word for 2019?
Intention. I am a multi-passionate person who can get a liiiiiitle bit scattered by over-committing…. This year has been allllll about focusing in and leaning into rituals and routines that keep me grounded. It has been so. FREEING. to clear some of the clutter and get really, really clear on my priorities. By focusing on what truly matters to me, I open up the space to not only accomplish my goals but to truly rest and play and live life.