It’s a simple idea that is often overlooked: What you put in your body often determines the outcome of your health.
This concept led nutritionist Kim Baehman to create Nutritional Healing, a service for people who need help regaining control of their health and lives. What started as a one-woman-show in 2010 has grown into a 10-employee company serving more than 1,000 clients in Wisconsin. Nutritional Healing’s top- line revenue grew 434 percent over 2014. Baehman is now implementing the dream she had just a few years ago.
“I knew what my vision was and when people told me I should think about being a dietitian back in college, that wasn’t the route I wanted to go,” says Baehman, who is the owner and a clinical nutritionist. “I wanted to do a program where we can get to the root cause of why someone is experiencing the health problems they are, and to create a program that goes far beyond starting a new diet.”
Whether someone is looking to lose weight or needs advice on what type of foods to eat if they have allergies, Baehman says her team can create a program to help anyone.
“The fact is, everyone is different and that is why we create a personal approach for our clients. They want to see results, and we want to be the ones to help give them the results,” she says.
Melissa Jones suffered from migraines before coming to Nutritional Healing. The migraines caused a chain reaction of health issues, and the customizable programs helped get her health back on track.
“One thing I learned is eating is psychological, so they help you find ways where you don’t feel like you are missing out,” Jones says. “Instead of eliminating food altogether, they teach you how to eat in moderation.”
Like Jones, Kris Peterson says part of her success comes from the atmosphere the employees provide.
“The one-on-one interaction is something that makes them successful, since they customized a program that worked directly for me,” Peterson says. “They don’t hide anything from you and their judgement-free zone is truly the key to their success and the success of their clients.”
Instead of competing with other local small businesses, Nutritional Healing embraces a smaller community atmosphere by working with them. Baehman says there are bulk-priced food stores in the area that help promote her business by labeling food as “NH Approved,” a star approach her clients look for when shopping.
In an effort to educate more youth about healthy eating, Nutritional Healing is growing a presence within local high schools. Appleton West’s summer sports program is working with Nutritional Healing to ensure its athletes and parents are educated about what foods are effective when preparing for practices or big games. Baehman says healthy living often starts with the parents.
“If a nutritional program is in place at an early age, that child will be more willing to learn how certain foods affect their athletic abilities when they enroll in high school sports,” Baehman says.
As part of the summer program at Appleton West, Baehman and her team cook breakfast for students before they start their activities. The cost for the food is covered by the Appleton West Endowment Fund, which is composed of donations from private parties. They also bring recipes for students to give to their parents. Kerry Evers, who works for Nutritional Healing and organizes the breakfast program, says the approach they are using to inform students about proper foods to eat is working.
“Very rarely is anyone talking to kids about whole foods and true nutrition, so I think that is a unique experience in itself,” Evers says. “This program is unique because these kids are learning how to use whole foods to fuel their bodies instead of protein shakes and bars or sports drinks.”
The person behind the idea of bringing the breakfast program to the school is Terry Gross, a teacher and the head cross-country coach at Appleton West. Gross says the breakfast strengthens the athletic program by including an important and sometimes overlooked component to proper training: nutrition.
“The main goal we want students and parents to realize is that eating the right kind of nutritious foods is important for participating in certain sports,” Gross says. “With Nutritional Healing’s help, our students realize that cooking a nutritious meal is quick and cost-effective.”
Gross says roughly 40 percent of Appleton West students are on free or reduced lunch. A lot of the families might not have nutritious food in their cabinets, or have much of it. Gross and Baehman agree that parent inclusion is a key factor for the success of the program.
Nutritional Healing’s growth and success were recognized in June when the company was awarded the Rising Star Award from the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce. According to the chamber, this award recognizes new up-and-coming small businesses with a unique blend of vision, energy, perseverance and skill.
“It is such an honor to have been recognized,” Baehman says. “Without everyone’s support, there is no way we would have the success we do right now.”
The road to success for Baehman and her team will not stop here. They are working on creating a new chapter for the company by expanding into the Milwaukee market, a move Baehman expects will take place in the next two years.
“We want to branch out and make nutritional programs more recognizable across the state, and we are taking the success we have gained here, and hope to have the same positive impact on other communities as well.”