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A new business in Castle Rock aims to help people battle chronic illnesses and autoimmune diseases, lose weight or simply feel better, mostly through nutrition, but also through evaluating a person's lifestyle as a whole.
Tori Taggart, an integrative clinical nutritionist, opened Rooted Health & Wellness in January after previously working from her home, coffee shops or doing house calls as an independent nutritionist. She now works from a downtown Castle Rock office.
Her clients come to her for numerous reasons and for different levels of care. Some want to try a new approach to health care, and others want to supplement the care they receive from doctors with Taggart's services. If clients do receive care through other doctors, Taggart said, she doesn't recommend they stop following doctor's order, but tries to complement their current health regimen with additional recommendations.
Her goal, Taggart said, is to identify the root causes behind a person's condition. Oftentimes it's related to their diet, she said, but could also be a result of poor sleep, lack of exercise, unmanaged stress, or all of the above.
Taggart has new clients complete a 13-page intake form asking about their lifestyle, what they eat, how they cook, and if they exercise, take medication or have any medical conditions. She also meets with them for a 90-minute interview. Between the two, she tries to build a timeline leading to a person's ailments and makes recommendations based on the information.
“I like to meet people where they're at,” she said. “I don't want to put people on a diet. I don't like that concept, that you shouldn't enjoy your life.”
With some clients, she encourages them to start by drinking more water or eating more vegetables. Others are looking for more drastic changes, she said, like trying a paleo diet or going gluten free.
Teegan Braun, a 33-year-old Castle Rock mother of four, said Taggart has helped her in times she was ill but also worked with her 10-year-old daughter, Jayden, who is diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, a thyroid condition that can lead to fatigue, pain, depression among other symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Braun said her daughter mostly suffered from brain fog and anxiety. By working with Taggart, she's now gluten and dairy free, and she focuses on eating healthy fats and foods low in sugar.
Darin Narayana, who moved to the U.S. from India nearly 50 years ago, still eats a largely Indian diet, which he said is lacking in certain nutritional areas. Indian food is often low in protein and heavy in carbs, he said, which doesn't bode well for his diabetes.
Taggart showed him how to adjust his recipes, like adding quinoa to his rice, and offered 15 different options for protein. Despite having worked with doctors and two other nutritionists in the past, Narayana said Taggart offered common-sense advice he hadn't gotten elsewhere.
“She's the best because, my goodness, she listens, and her approach is more holistic,” he said.
Taggart said her passion for the business stemmed from personal experience.
Years of fatigue and pain that resulted from digestive issues also led to anxiety, Taggart said. She was eventually diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease and was told steroids would be her best option. Medication, however, didn't help, and today she focuses on healing through a holistic approach.
“I manage it completely through diet, exercise, sleep and stress management,” she said. “I figured out that what I ate made a huge impact in what I felt and to this day I'm not on any medications for my condition.”
She follows a paleo diet and sticks to organic vegetables and moderate amounts of grass-fed proteins, she said. No grains. No dairy. No soy.
“That isn't for every one of my clients, that's for sure,” she said.
Like her own care, she tailors her recommendations for each client to their wants and needs, drawing from personal experience along the way.
“I'm not a doctor. I don't diagnose people. I don't cure conditions like a doctor does, and I would of course never encourage a person to get off their medications or not follow what their doctors says,” Taggart explained. “My goal is to find the root cause behind what is causing dysfunction in people.”
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