When we think of metabolism, our initial reaction is thinking of weight loss. However, more than that, our metabolism plays a very important part of our health and affects every aspect of our lives. Joining Melanie Parish to shed light on the topic is Haylie Pomroy, a #1 New York Times bestselling author, leading health and wellness entrepreneur, celebrity nutritionist, and motivational speaker whose "Food is Medicine" philosophy resonates deeply with her fans. Through her latest book, Cooking for a Fast Metabolism, Haylie helps us understand the metabolic pathways that make the body tick and offers some great advice to improve our food choices. She also addresses the current global health crisis by sharing some of her biggest challenges as a leader now and how she is experimenting in her business.
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Improving Metabolism In This Pandemic With Haylie Pomroy
I’d like to welcome Haylie Pomroy. Haylie Pomroy is a number one New York Times bestselling author, leading health and wellness entrepreneur, celebrity nutritionist and motivational speaker whose "Food is Medicine" philosophy resonates deeply with her fans. Her community includes real people who have lost millions of pounds and gained immeasurable energy and health. Her book is Cooking for a Fast Metabolism: Eat More Food and Lose More Weight. We’ll be talking with Haylie about how she leads in tough times and how she uses nutrition to help support her health.
I'm here with Haylie Pomroy. Welcome, Haylie.
Melanie, thank you so much for having me. I am excited to be doing this.
I'm looking forward to talking to you a little bit about your leadership and a little bit about how you're experimenting. First, can you tell me a little bit about your business?
I'm a clinical practitioner in the nutrition world and what we call a Wellness Consultant. I do a lot of advocacy for clients that are looking to maybe come out of not being outrageously healthy. That's what I want for all of my clients. I own integrative healthcare practices. I also am the CEO of Haylie Pomroy Group, which is a company that has a direct to consumer website that does everything from providing organic top of the line supplements to interactive monetized support or membership group. We also have a whole recipe section. We host virtual challenges. I do speaking events and engagements either through other associations along with these conventions. We even hosted a cruise. Thank goodness everybody was healthy. I also am now a seven-time author. I consider myself an entrepreneur in the health and wellness space, and I try to be a leader in individuals seeking health and wellness, being outrageously healthy.
You have a new book out, Cooking for a Fast Metabolism: Eat More Food and Lose More Weight. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
I actually came in from the Animal and Agricultural Sciences. My original degree is in Agricultural Sciences where I studied soil sciences, animal sciences, development of plants and crops, and development of animals either for consumption or for dairy production. In that process, I saw how nutrients were used to enhance development of crops, of soil to enrich the soil. I have an autoimmune disorder. I was diagnosed at nineteen, but I got sick in my early twenties. I felt like, “Why am I only being offered drugs and pharmaceuticals and why am I not being suggested or recommended to use micronutrients to help change the soil, the environment of my own body?” I started to study biochemistry and the metabolism. The metabolism affects every aspect of your life.
When our metabolism gets out of balance, we will do things like create disease like diabetes, hypertension, autoimmunity. We also store fat for fuel or fat because we can't process the toxins that are found in our fat cells or adipose sites. My whole concept and how I’ve been in practice for years is understanding the metabolic pathways that make the body sick, feeding the ones that promote health and wellness and in that process, igniting the metabolism. We burn fat for fuel, food for fuel and we create these healthy bodies. This book is full of hundreds of recipes, plus a bunch of amazing tips on how to make like dairy-free cheeses and your own broths and stocks and dressings and whipped creams and things like that, of course all dairy-free. This cookbook came out of wanting to make something where the kitchen is my pharmacy, the kitchen is my classroom for our community, but I wanted to make food delicious, easy, and accessible. That's how this cookbook A to Z came about.
I want to shift and talk about your own leadership. What are some of your biggest challenges as a leader? I know these are uncertain times.
One of the biggest challenges of being a leader, whether it's as a mom, as a partner, as a practitioner, I'm sitting in these large groups with physicians from all over the world and we're brainstorming on the best motive of health. As a business owner, the biggest challenge is feeling that you're worthy of being a leader. I’ve accomplished a lot in my life. The kids are always commenting when we talk openly about self-doubt and being afraid on your journey. When I talked about it with my kids or my students, they go, “How could you even feel that way? You've got all these types of books. You run a successful company, you employ a lot of people. They're very cared for and happy. How can you feel that way?” That's the biggest challenge and I share that with a lot of individuals in leadership, I believe, which is saying, “This is tough times. How could I possibly have something to contribute when the problem feels so big or so insurmountable?”
I try to put it in two buckets. One, inspirational and two, aspirational. Inspirational meaning telling people, “You can do it, I believe in you, I love you. I know this deadline is a big deal. I know this health crisis is a big deal, but I know you can do it.” Believing in someone. The other one is aspirational, which is not being afraid to show who you are and hoping that through my personal struggles with autoimmunity, with going through a divorce, with having a blended family, with waking up. After I get all my family back in one state with this health viral crisis right now, waking up and all I wanted was potato chips and chocolate chips and saying, “I'm going to experiment with this.” Like you always say, Melanie, “I'm going to experiment with this and see what the outcome is.” About three days of that, my inflammatory hormones are being elevated, my rash being there, my eyes being swollen. I went, “That was an interesting experiment, but I'm going to pivot and feed myself in a more healthful way.”
In leadership, being vulnerable and saying like, “I'm going to share that I went through that experience and I'm going through that experience.” That's for me the biggest challenge, I would say, in leadership. It’s saying, “Is what I'm going through going to help somebody else?” When I check in with myself and I decide to pivot or make a decision like, “Potato chips and chocolate chips aren't what's going to keep me healthy or staying in a marriage that didn't work isn't going to keep me healthy,” or whatever those decisions are. Once I trusted myself that somebody else can benefit from me being willing to be candid about it.
How are you experimenting in your business right now?
We did something that is probably a little bit crazy. I am still working on my Master's in Public Health at George Washington University. Because of that, I feel like I’ve had a lot of early access and I'm also a scientist. I’ve had a lot of early access to data and information. Also being in the animal industry, the group of viruses called Coronaviruses, we're very familiar with them in the animal industry, but a lot of people don't realize is we’re all vaccinating our dogs against a type of Coronavirus. This was called Novel because it's a new variation on it. When you vaccinate your puppy, DHL PCPV is what the puppy shots are called and the C in that thing is Corona. I was familiar with the virus.
I was getting early data and I felt right away people were going to need to be on probiotics. People were going to be on foods that were anti-inflammatory. People were going to be on nutraceuticals, need to be on nutrition posts that were anti-inflammatory because there's a big inflammation piece to COVID, which is the disease caused by Coronavirus called cytokine storm. Having autoimmune disorders, studying a lot of those aspects, I went, “This is going to hit us and this is going to hit us hard. A lot of people are going to get infected.” We looked at our product line and I started to develop a program that I was going to put my family, my friends, colleagues on right away called Immunity Shield.
That was our first experiment. I sat down and I said, “I’ve got hundreds and thousands of recipes on my website. How can I distill this down to source whole foods?” Easy to make foods, recipes that can be multi batched and frozen because everybody's having shortage issues. Food that you've packaged in your freezer instead of packaged foods. The other thing, and this was the crazy part from a business perspective, is I was watching individuals in the supplement world increase the prices. Quite frankly, I was pissed because I knew what was going to happen. The studies were going to come out, the data was going to come out and everybody was going to be rushing to get probiotics and white willow bark and all the bioflavonoids, quercetin rutin. Vitamin C actually went out right away with a 25% discount on anything that was anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting, and our organic whole food shake that we have, our meal replacement shake, and people said, “You're crazy.”
As a matter of fact, two of our raw ingredients come out of Spain and out of Milan. We've got a price increase on those because of what's going on. A lot of my business associates said, “You could probably increase somewhere between 15% to 20% of your price and still have the same exact sell-through.” I felt like experimenting with that. We sold out of a bunch of stuff. We replenished, we sold out, we replenished. Why I did that was threefold. One, I felt like people were going to be financially strapped and needed to have access to this. Two, I wanted my team to feel like we could flourish in the face of adversity. I don't want them worrying about the bottom dollar. That's my job as the leader. That's what I have to worry about. I needed to keep their spirits up because we run a community where people come to us with their stressors, their problems and their feelings of defeat. I had to keep my team feeling successful.
The other piece of it was I feel strongly about the products that we carry and not only from a financial perspective, I wanted people to feel justified in being able to put themselves on their to-do list right now. I felt like by providing it at even a better value, if they were starting to consider not taking care of themselves in this crisis, that they would feel like how could they resist if there was such a great value there. That was what I would call the definite experiment. We have team meetings and we have science meetings. We've talked a lot about the science of the disease and we've talked a lot about the data that's coming forward, and how each of them can feel like they're having a leadership role in the community. Whether it's our product manager making sure that he's sourcing or our customer service team, making sure that they're helping people during this time be able to achieve their orders or find their packages or things like that.
I'm curious, Haylie, how do you decide in your business when it's time to experiment with putting profit first, and when it's time to experiment with putting other things first? How do you make that distinction?
Fortunately, I feel like I'm savvy on the financial end because I place value on what I do, but I don't feel like I'm savvy on the financial end because I don't necessarily spend a lot of time looking at the profit aspect of things. I want to have a viable business. I want to keep everybody employed, don't get me wrong. I keep people around me that give me good advice about that. I don't spend a lot of time in a place where I don't feel like I'm good at and I don't feel like it's my place where I contribute the most. I feel like I contribute the most as a scientist and as a communicator.
I do a lot of communications between physicians and clients where I help everybody come together for the good of the client. I feel like I'm good as an innovator, distilling down what data is out there and creating innovative programs and innovative products. I'm not the best in the profit margin business aspect of things, although I run a successful business. The experiment for me is finding people that I trust, that I value and more than anything, that respect me in the process in a way in which I have to receive the process. I'm very dyslexic.
One of my superpowers is I can distill a ton of information and make it very intuitive for myself to absorb it and then communicate well. Because of that, I have to have a person that maybe looks at the world a little bit differently than I do, but delivers the data in a way that I can process it very quickly. Weeding out people that don't serve you so that you can serve other people, I would say that's been the biggest experiment at that decision-making. If someone questions the way in which I need data, they need to be on a different team. Not a better team or a worse team, just a different team.
Haylie, leadership can be lonely sometimes. When do you notice it and what do you do for self-care?
There have been many different times that leadership's been lonely. It's very lonely. You actually told me one time, and I was going through a process in working through some of your workbooks on this very task. One thing that helped me was I said, “Not only does it feel lonely, I feel like I'm getting smacked in the face.” You had shared with me this visualization and it changed my life quite frankly because I’ve shared it with everybody and I use it all the time. It’s when you're forging new paths, if you imagine going out in the woods and you can stay in the same path, and I consider myself in the health and wellness space a big-time innovator, I want to always be on the cutting-edge. I have to be from my clinical practice.
You had given me this analogy of forging a path that had never been taken before. That path is full of shrub oak and branches and prickly thorns and bushes, and that is what happens when you go on a totally different and new adventure. The best thing is like that philosophy of sharpening the sword, making sure that you have a good hatchet with you. That stuck with me so many times. When I feel like metaphorically I'm getting scratched by the thistle or I contracted poison oak from venturing out or I'm getting whacked in the face with branches, I’ve got to take a step back and sharpen my sword.
For my self care, I have horses. I do horseback riding. That's a big one for me. Brushing my horse. Sometimes I'm so exhausted that I think, “If I sit on him, I might get hurt.” Sometimes they will suggest to me, “Get out and brush your horse. Smell your horse, walk with your horse.” That's a big one. I will say food because of having an autoimmune disorder because it's metabolically-related because it's blood-related, food and micronutrients are like night and day for me. When I practice self-care by putting power on my plate, I am a different human being. Those are the two things. It's horses and food.
I'm glad you remember that metaphor. I have no recollection of this conversation. That's one of the fun things about deep conversations is somebody hopefully remembers them. Tell us where we can find your book.
You can find my book at Amazon. Costco has given me a ton of love. They put me in their circular. You can find it at any of the indie books that are still open. They've always been super supportive. The Tattered Cover, they've been phenomenal to me. I’ve tried to also be phenomenal to them. I am good about going out and signing books. We're in a crazy time right now. Every book so far has been in front of the bookstore, circular at Barnes and Noble. If by chance there's a store that's still open in your area, you might see it there. Definitely you can order it on Target, any of the online platforms right now.
The thing is if you order it, we have this very cool incentive giveaway. We'd like everybody to have it. We have a challenge that we're running together as a virtual community. You get entered into that challenge for free. You get a 30-day free pass to my support group, which is normally $99, so that's great. I forgot to mention, I have my own instructional institution called Metabolism University. We pay your tuition to our first course, which is awesome. It's great. We've done well with that. People are fired up about online learning and we do a lot of practical applications in our courses. You also get what I call my homemade cheese making guide. One of the things about being a dairy-free household and using alternative cheeses is having them taste good and having them not have what we call obesogens in them or things that slow the metabolism. We've got how to make cheesecake, cottage cheese, sliced cheese, whipped creams, sour creams in there with all kinds of dairy-free options. When you order the book, make sure you go to my website. No matter where you ordered the book, go to HayliePomroy.com and download all of those free gifts because they’re awesome.
Haylie, thank you so much for coming on the show. It's been such a pleasure to have you.
Thank you so much. Melanie, thank you for what you're doing. Being a woman in business, running a business always has its challenges. I will tell you, being a scientist, one thing that we know is that feedback is all good feedback. Your workbook has been a godsend and I share it with all of my business groups that I'm involved in. Thank you so much for putting your book out and for the workbook because it's practical applications. It's not just theories. It's actually what you can do to better your business.
Thanks so much, Haylie. Enjoy experimenting out there.
I’ll talk to you soon.
I’ve been talking with Haylie Pomroy about how she experiments. I want to draw your attention to one of the things that Haylie talked about. It’s the idea that she took a risk and put her products on sale during a time that everyone else was thinking about raising their prices on their probiotics and their products that would support people through COVID-19. That’s interesting. It was a principled approach. She tried it because she had a belief that it was the right thing to do based on her mission for her company of helping people with their health. The experiment that she did by doing that has deepened her relationship with her community. It will have long-lasting impacts far beyond the immediate profit that someone could make by selling products on markup during COVID-19. It’s a great example of how experimental leadership informs what we do. Go experiment.
About Haylie Pomroy
Haylie Pomroy is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, leading health and wellness entrepreneur, celebrity nutritionist, and motivational speaker whose "Food is Medicine" philosophy resonates deeply with her fans. Her community includes real people who have lost millions of pounds and gained immeasurable energy and health. Her latest book is Cooking for a Fast Metabolism: Eat More Food and Lose More Weight.
A public speaker, consultant, workshop leader, author, and Master Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation, from whom she received the Prism Award, Melanie is an expert in problem-solving, constraints management, operations, strategic hiring, and brand development.