Alumni Spotlight with Cecilia Blanco, RWP, FNTP, & Founder of The Healthy Gut Club
“I didn’t feel seen or heard by my doctors.”
This is what propelled Cecilia Blanco into the world of functional nutrition.
A graduate of Boston University’s College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, Cecilia has always had an interest in health. While she studied speech-language pathology in school, she became known amongst friends and family as an expert in fitness and nutrition and – within a few months of graduating – built her own personal training business where she was coaching individuals on how to achieve peak fitness performance and helping them optimize their nutrition…or, so she thought.
On the outside, everything looked great – Cecilia was as fit as ever, was successfully competing in bikini competitions, and running a thriving business. But, it wasn’t long until Cecilia’s health started to deteriorate. By the time she turned 24, she had a whole host of frustrating symptoms including acne, hair loss, uncontrollable bloat, and extreme exhaustion. She couldn’t figure out what was wrong – “I was eating spinach, broccoli, and chicken breast. I was working out regularly. I was doing all the things I thought I should be doing.”
Cecilia knew something was wrong and she was determined to get to the bottom of it. She tried cutting out gluten, but didn’t see any real results. She decided to forgo dairy, but that didn’t make a big difference. She enlisted the help of her doctors, but that didn’t get her far…
“To them, I looked healthy. I was young and in shape, so they refused to dig deeper or do any real testing. It was at this point I started to explore nutrition from a more functional lens.”
Cecilia’s first step was to enroll in the Nutritional Therapy Association’s NTP certification program. She started to apply what she was learning right away and, by the time she finished the program she was starting to experience some positive results. “I realized that my focus on nutrition had been on manipulating my physique, but now I was learning how to use food to actually support my body.”
Still, Cecilia felt something was missing and, motivated by her science-based background, she enrolled in Restorative Wellness Solutions in an effort to get to the root cause of her health issues as well as those of her clients.
“NTA taught me how macronutrients work. RWS taught me how the body as a whole – and all the systems within it – work together, which allowed me to connect the dots and help me and my clients actually heal.”
When asked what the biggest impact her RWS training has had on her practice, Cecilia notes that it is hands down testing – specifically, the way RWS taught her to read and comprehend the testing and how to act on the results. “I knew that being able to test and identify exactly what was going on inside my body would be key to my own healing journey and, after completing RWS, I can say with confidence it was. I also saw a discrepancy in my clients who were doing testing vs. those who weren’t. Every client I ran a GI-MAP test on was getting better, quicker. Today, I run testing on all of my clients – no exceptions.”
Determined to help more individuals get better results, Cecilia set out to make these powerful healing practices more accessible to others – which is when The Healthy Gut Club was born. “I always had a vision that I wanted to serve more people, more than I could handle as an individual practitioner. And, I really wanted to create a space where women who were not being seen or heard by their doctors could get the support they need and deserve.”
Focused on gut and hormone health, The Healthy Gut Club offers two keystone programs – their foundational 6-month gut healing program, which leverages GI-MAP testing to help identify and address the root cause of gut imbalances, and their 3-month proactive program, which incorporates comprehensive blood panels and salivary tests to offer more preventative support. Each client works 1:1 with a dedicated RWS-certified practitioner to follow a personalized protocol. And, all clients have access to The Healthy Gut Club community. “This is really the best part as the healing journey can be really isolating. Our community support is in addition to 1:1 work with practitioners, so our clients can get perspective and support from others and don’t have to travel their healing journey alone.”
This approach allows The Healthy Gut Club team to provide a greater level of 1:1 support to members than a traditional practitioner/client relationship. Backed by a team of 12, including 7 practitioners, Cecilia has found The Healthy Gut Club model has been so successful because it naturally creates more accountability and improves client compliance. “Our goal is to offer a really high-touch, engaging experience during our programs so that our clients don’t need us at the end of the 6-months – at that point, we want them to be thriving.”
Another key difference in The Healthy Gut Club model is its commitment to making this work more affordable to clients. Clients are able to opt for payment plans over the course of 12 months, inclusive of all testing and practitioner costs. “I really wanted to make this a more affordable solution – something that everyone, regardless of their income or stage in life, could access.”
When asked what the future holds, Cecilia is looking forward to continuing to grow The Healthy Gut Club team so they can serve more people. Additionally, the team will be introducing a scholarship opportunity next year as another way to give back to the community and help more individuals heal.
“For me, this work isn’t just about getting rid of symptoms. It’s about improving one’s quality of life. With The Healthy Gut Club, I look forward to being able to provide that for thousands of more people.”
Cecilia Blanco is a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Restorative Wellness Practitioner, and CEO & Founder of The Healthy Gut Club. You can also find Cecilia on Instagram at @thehealthygutclub.