During the last 25 years, we’ve certified over 110,000 professionals. To celebrate our 25th year in business, we’re selecting 25 grads to showcase this year. Meet our next featured grad, Kayla Chandler, a certified holistic nutritionist.
Tell us about your story and how you got into health, nutrition, and wellness.
Growing up in southern Mississippi, I was raised on fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, and pecan pie! My mom was like the local Paula Dean, so we were practically eating a stick of butter with every meal (not kidding). In my teenage years, I began focusing on getting healthier; however, my version of getting healthy back then was counting calories and working out excessively. I was still consuming diet sodas, artificial ingredients, gluten-filled foods, and any other “diet” food you can name. I call it the unhealthy “healthy” diet because the thought of actually focusing on nutrition never crossed my mind. I only cared about my weight.
Fast forward to my early twenties - 21 to be exact. I was working a highly stressful job, and the stress, sleep deprivation, and bad diet eventually caught up to me. At 22, I ended up in the hospital with unbearable stomach pains. I went to four different doctors, racked up hospital bills, and still, none of them knew what was wrong with me. After 3-4 days of excruciating stomach pains, my gynecologist finally kept me overnight and gave me an anti-inflammatory steroid via IV until the inflammation went down. Even then, she still didn’t know the root cause.
This traumatic experience began my mission to figure out why my health was suddenly declining so quickly. As luck would have it, I was watching the Dr. Oz show one random day, which was odd because I rarely watched it, and a doctor was discussing Celiac Disease. Now, keep in mind, 10+ years ago, the whole food allergy topic wasn’t mainstream yet. So, most doctors never addressed this issue or were even aware of it.
I made a trip back to the doctor and told her to test me for a gluten allergy. She ran the tests, and sure enough, I was allergic to gluten. I immediately cut gluten out and felt better instantly. But, I was still experiencing other negative symptoms, which led to more research.
Long story short, over the course of several years, I was on a mission to learn as much about health as possible to cure myself. If the doctors didn’t know how to cure me, I was determined to take matters into my own hands. As I began this journey, I eventually discovered that not only did I have Celiac Disease, I also had hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue, heavy metal toxicity, and nutritional deficiencies. I was a mess.
One by one, I began to address these issues via natural and holistic methods. And, now at the age of 33, I feel better than I ever have!
Why did you choose to pursue a certification in health and nutrition?
After years of doing my own research to heal myself naturally and struggling to find others to give me answers, I gained a deep desire to share my knowledge with others. I knew that if I could turn my health around via holistic methods (and I was a complete mess), then there must be others out there just like me who needed answers!
I had never been so passionate about any other topic than that of nutrition. It was always on my brain, and I was constantly sharing tips and advice to family and friends, which is why I eventually made the decision to make it a career.
Why did you choose the Holistic Nutrition Certification?
I chose to get the Holistic Nutrition certification because at the root of my personal health issues was nutrition, and I wanted to expand my knowledge in this area. I firmly believe that most people nowadays eat a diet void of nutrients, which leads to nutritional deficiencies and negative health symptoms. And, my desire was and is to help educate people in this area of nutrition and guide them toward changing their nutritional lifestyle to one that is healthy and energizing.
I knew that acquiring a certification in this field would give me the extra knowledge needed to take my health education to the next level so that I could help more people.
Why did you choose AFPA?
I chose AFPA because of its great reputation and quality education. I had researched other organizations, but none of them compared to AFPA, in my opinion. As far as completing the program, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process! The educational material was exactly what I needed to expand my knowledge.
What was your favorite part about the program?
My favorite part was the fact that I could take the course at my own pace. In addition to working my main job at the time, I was still able to complete the program in my spare time without feeling too overwhelmed.
What is your current career?
Before receiving my certification from AFPA, I had another job in an entirely different industry. But, in my spare time, I started my health blog, sharing healthy recipes and lifestyle advice.
After receiving my certification in Holistic Nutrition in 2016, I not only continue to run my health blog, but I also have a YouTube channel and work with clients one-on-one, creating nutrition plans and meal plans. Having my certification in Holistic Nutrition has changed my life entirely. I now get to turn my passion for helping others into a full-time career, and I wake up every day feeling extremely blessed and fulfilled, knowing that I’m doing what I love!
I’ve found that having this certification helps to establish more credibility with clients and has certainly helped me to attract more business. Thanks to the knowledge I’ve gained from my certification, my clients always achieve great results and feel satisfied with their experience of working with me.
What has your experience been like with the AFPA customer service team?
My experience has been phenomenal. My emails have always been answered in a timely fashion. And, while taking the course, I always felt confident I could reach out to my education advisor if I ever had questions or needed help.
How did this certification impact your overall life?
Having this certification has changed my life entirely. Not only did it give me the extra education, tools, and confidence I needed, but it helped me to establish credibility with new clients.
Because of this certification, I’ve been able to build an entire business around helping people achieve optimal wellness!
Do you have any advice to others who may be thinking about getting certified?
If you’re on the fence about getting a certification from AFPA, all I will say is, do it! Not only is it a great learning experience, but if you’re trying to make a career in the health field, then it’s a great way to establish credibility.
If you would like to keep up to date on Kayla's newest adventures, check out her social media pages:
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/kaylachandler2
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/kaylajchandler