Q&A with our Nutritionist, Caitlin Self, MS, CNS, LDN

Meet Caitlin Self.png

Caitlin is the licensed nutritionist here at Charm City Integrative Health, and we did a little Q&A
with her to help our CCIH family get to know our newest addition!

What is your nutrition philosophy?
Keep it simple! Start with the simplest foods that your grandparents would recognize and tweak
from there based on how you feel. Nutrition is super individualized, so oats might be great for
one person, and awful for someone else. We say everyone needs more veggies, but
recommending a high-vegetable diet to someone with SIBO or Crohn’s can make their condition
worse, and a daily kale salad can be damaging to someone with thyroid issues. Every piece of
nutrition is individualized. The basic tenets for most of us are pretty generic: drink water, eat real
food, limit sugar (in all forms), and limit toxic exposure.

What is your least favorite nutrition myth?
Fat makes you fat. I hate this myth! Fat is super important for brain health - and so many of my
clients, especially women, are dealing with moodiness, anxiety, and depression. Sure, the root
cause can be lots of things, but oftentimes we can correct some of this with appropriate levels of
healthy fats, like avocado, cold-pressed olive oil, and grass-fed animal fat.

What’s the biggest nutrition mistake you see?
Too much, too soon. It’s easy to get caught up in all the things that we can “do better” that we
forget to focus on the one or two things we can do right now. Starting small is super important
for long-term behavioral change. Most of my clients get started with this great can-do attitude,
reporting they’re 100% committed to change, and then they try to implement half a dozen
interventions all at once, which is a true recipe for failure. When you’re re-learning a skill or
habit, you don’t start off with a decathlon of 10 events, you start with a 5K and you build from

What brought you into nutrition?
A lot of triggers and exposures throughout my life led me here - in high school, I noticed how
much faster I ran in cross country when I didn’t have chocolate chip granola bars for lunch, and I
learned how sugar can slow the recovery from injuries during a sports nutrition talk in high
school. Since then I’ve had my share of health issues, and when I started digging into solutions,
nutrition was always a major component. I started a food blog in 2013, and then eventually
decided to dive head first into nutrition with the Master’s program at MUIH. And I haven’t
stopped since!

What does Integrative Health mean to you?
It means treating the whole human with a variety of modalities - not just a single approach. We
are so individual, made up of both our genetics and our experiences, and integrative health
acknowledges this by providing a number of different approaches for the same conditions.

For example, some of us can reduce joint inflammation by healing the gut (nutrition), adjusting
energy meridians (acupuncture), or correcting skeletal imbalances (nervous system
manipulation). It’s the same diagnosis, but with several different root causes and treatment
options. And here at CCIH, we have supporting treatments like cryotherapy to treat systemic or
idiopathic inflammation. It’s a great multifaceted approach. The same is true for other chronic
conditions, such as endometriosis, SIBO, or chronic fatigue; nutrition is an important spoke on
the wellness wheel, but we should take advantage of all the approaches available to us to
improve the health and wellbeing of our clients.

What gets you up in the morning?
Client work! A lot of practitioners get bored with paperwork or bogged down with client
communications, but I love it! When I see emails from my clients, I get so excited that they’re
being proactive and taking their health seriously, and I don’t mind providing extra support. That,
and warm weather - it’s a lot harder for me to get out of bed when I know it’s cold outside!