Women in Wellness: Aimee Hockett, MS

Britt Reuter, MS: Hi to everyone who is joining us! This is another Conversations with Women in Wellness where I get to introduce all of you to a female professional with a heart to serve others, and talk a little bit about what it is that they do, who they support, and what resources they may have available for you to explore.


I’m Britt Reuter and I’m a Functional Medicine Nutritionist serving women experiencing gut issues, hormone imbalances, and autoimmunity. I run an online virtual clinic from my home in the Boston area. If you want to learn more about me and what I do, you can visit my website www.brittreuter.com or find me on Facebook or Instagram @nutritionbritt.


Today my guest is my friend and colleague Aimee Hockett. Aimee has a Master’s of Science in Clinical Nutrition from Maryland University of Integrative Health. Her unique background in philosophy and anthropology allows her to focus on different cultures of eating and wellness relating that to the individual. Through a Functional Medicine lens, she goes deep with clients helping them to pinpoint the root-cause of their imbalances. Aimee’s approach allows her to go deep with clients, beyond just eating healthy by actually creating a complete wellness lifestyle. She is located in Hudson, NY and sees clients locally as well as virtually via webcam or phone.


Welcome Aimee!


Aimee Hockett, MS: Hi!


Britt Reuter, MS: Thanks so much for joining me and us today. I just want to get started by asking you to share a little bit about how you discovered nutrition as a career. What is it that led you to study that?


Share a little bit about how you discovered nutrition as a career.


Aimee Hockett, MS: This is a conversation I always love because I feel I’ve always been destined for this job. I realized a couple of years ago at my grandparents’ funerals that a lot of my siblings learned to cook and learned to be in the kitchen just as a family through my grandfather, my mom is one of seven. All of her siblings that love to cook really got their children involved in the kitchen and cooking. They grew up in California, there’s a lot of wellness involved in that. I think I’ve always just been in the kitchen.


I knew I wanted to pursue some kind of science or culinary degree when I went to college. I actually looked at nutrition and I suppose culinary school, but decided, after my education in high school that I really wanted to focus more on what I was not good at, which was reading and writing and just finding more and poetry and stuff like that. I ended up going to college just figuring out really what I wanted to do. Because being 18, I really wasn’t sure exactly I was ready to make the choice. What I decided when I was in college like I said why loved focusing on culture and reading and just the basics of what it means to be a human being and have thoughts about being a human being, I realized that everything always tied back to health and wellness and our health systems. Just the conversations we have about eating and the cultures of eating, I really focused a lot of myself led projects on it.


I ended up having some sort of open house that I went to that was invited to the master school I went to and I just sort of became really enamored with the things they were saying and how much it tied into my education in college. I found my way back to nutrition. I was like, “Wow, this is really validating. I thought about doing this as an undergrad. But here I am now and I’m really strongly wanting to do this still.” That’s why I pursued it. All the while I had gotten mono when I was in college, I was really sick. In my senior year, I had gotten another virus and I had been really sick. During that time, I was miserable. I just remember laying in my bed thinking to myself, “Somebody, please save me. Somebody help me. I really can’t believe how much I’m suffering.” And I really want to do something about this so that nobody else has to feel what I’m feeling right now. It was a really extreme, monumental shift.


After going to so many doctors and not getting the answers I wanted I decided, “Okay, well going into this graduate program will help me help people, but also help me help myself.” That’s really what I needed. It was sort of a mixed storm of wanting to find myself and just learn about all of the topics I loved growing up: science and cooking and art. It’s amazing! Along the way in my graduate program I discovered blogging and food photography. I had taken years of photography in high school and college. Everything just fit together. I was like, “Well, I get to have creativity, I get to focus on science, I get to teach people about food.” It’s just a perfect storm of everything I love to do my entire life in one job. It just kind of made sense.


Britt Reuter, MS: That’s awesome. I love it when the stars just seem to align. It just feels so good and validating, like you’re saying to just have doors open up and things fall into place, and you just feel good about a path that you’re following.


Aimee Hockett, MS: Well, there’s nothing better than finding yourself in what you’ve been doing all along.


Britt Reuter, MS: Yeah, absolutely. I’m kind of biased myself, but I feel the best practitioners always have, some sort of personal story or personal health struggle that led them into the industry. I think that that just infuses your practice with so much more empathy and relatability, which I think is something that clients really crave.


Aimee Hockett, MS: Yeah, absolutely.


Britt Reuter, MS: That’s such a good story. Thank you for sharing that with us. Tell us what type of clients it is that you’re most passionate about serving. Is there specific issues or concerns that you come across that get you especially energized?


Aimee Hockett, MS: I think I tend to attract a lot of people with multiple health conditions, or a lot of different concerns, many different systems with different symptoms going on. I really like helping people just figure out the root-cause. But my biggest passion is working with women, especially, who really want a better understanding of how their whole body is working. Maybe you just want to eat healthier, or maybe you have a couple of health conditions. But what I’m finding is the most common type of client that I work with is women with hormonal imbalances, digestive issues, just many different problems, but focusing in on how they connect, and not just like, “Okay, well, let’s take this for your digestive health problem.” It’s really like everything is one system. We’ve got to focus in on that. Going back to my background in philosophy and having consciousness, you don’t just have thoughts about your symptoms, your brain is keeping tally of them all the time, when you’re not even thinking about them. You have to connect those two voices of your unconscious-self and your conscious-self. I love working with people who want to have that understanding of their body and their self and just have a total mind-body connection.


Everyone thinks that to be healthy and to be based on wellness or have a wellness focused lifestyle that you need to change everything. No, you can live your own life, you just need to tweak a couple of things.


Britt Reuter, MS: Yeah, that’s such a good way to look at it too. You and I can relate having been on this health journey for a long time, we remember what it’s like to have that earlier perspective before we learned as much as we have now, where you kind of just assume that everything is separate. It’s like, “I’ve got PMS going on over here. I’ve got IBS going on over here. I’ve got migraines happening over here. I’ve got acne happening over here.” They’re really not in those buckets. Like you’re saying, it’s one big bucket because it’s all interrelated.


Aimee Hockett, MS: Yeah, absolutely. I was raised out our health system, you’re like just saying. “Oh, I have this symptom, and I have that symptom.” When we experienced the symptom, our body only wants us to have one signal at a time. We hear it loud and clear. When that happens, we just think, “Oh, I’m feeling this, I’m feeling that.” We don’t actually realize that one symptom can cascade onto another and that if we’re not necessarily experiencing them all at the same time, because our body is trying to send those warning signals in each place loud and clear enough, but then we get lost in translation and think that they’re not repeated.


Britt Reuter, MS: Yeah, because it’s a migraine issue isn’t necessarily a head issue. Sometimes it’s a gut issue. Maybe you’ve got me leaky gut and some food sensitivities going on there, some gut dysbiosis. Through Western medicine there’s that very symptom-based approach, so we’re taught to think, “I have a migraine therefore I need to go get some Excedrin to address this migraine.” But it’s really like, “No. That’s your body reaching out and saying ‘Yo, some gut issues here’”. It’s just funny and a bit counterintuitive, until you get into it, and then you’re like,” Oh, this is actually really intuitive.”


Aimee Hockett, MS: The thing I think that is obvious that nobody ever connects, is that if you’re having inflammation in your brain and you have a migraine, we think that that inflammation is just there in that right place. But if you take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen it’s supposed to be anti-inflammatory systemically. So, in that case that means your inflammation is also systemic and not just in the one place you’re experiencing it.


Britt Reuter, MS: I love how you broke that down because I feel that just takes what we said which maybe sounds a bit complex and just really simplified it. We’ve all taken ibuprofen in response to that headache all thinking it’s something located in this region like, “Oh, my temples are throbbing. I’m going to take ibuprofen to address my throbbing temples.” But, like you said, that is a systemic anti-inflammatory. Just proves your point.


Aimee Hockett, MS: The inflammation cascade is one cascade. We don’t have different information throughout our bodies, just one biochemical process.


Britt Reuter, MS: This is a little science lesson today, for everybody watching. Biochem 101.

You’ve been working with clients for a couple years now. Is there a client story that stands out to you that you can share with us?


Is there a client story that stands out to you that you can share with us?


Aimee Hockett, MS: My very first client. I just love working with her! We hit it off, right off the bat. But I want to say that it’s been an interesting journey with her and me. She was my very first client and when I started working with her, there was so much that I had no idea about. Having a nutrition practice, guiding people, they really give you a crash course. But it is another thing to see somebody for over a year, and really work with them, back and forth consistently. And not only just the learning how to hold the sessions, but it’s really going in with her and learning about her life. She’s a real person and a real case. It’s been such an amazing journey, because she has taken so much time and learning and we’ve both taken a step back at different points. But when she comes back to me, she remembers like, “Okay, my next-door neighbor is really inspiring, she grows her own food, and she has so much energy, and I just don’t understand. It’s like she’s a poster child of being like holistically well. She inspires me so much.” The thing that I think really love about her is that she recognizes that her inspiration isn’t a negative thing. It’s sort of like, “I want to be like that and I will do what I have to get there. But I don’t feel badly for not already knowing what she knows. I’m going to sit here and I’m going to listen, I’m going to put in the work.” For example, she was having a hard time. She works 12 hours a day. She has two hours to herself when she gets home, and most of that time is chores, eating, all these activities that we have to do to be well, but she’s still carved out time. She had some boundary issues with our family, because she’s so busy that she when she gets home it’s like, “I don’t want to talk and socialize.” She’s like, “Look, I’m taking this desk from here, I’m putting it in my bedroom, putting it in this one spot, this is my spot, I’m closing the door, unlocking it. I’m putting headphones on and I am going to learn about health and wellness so that I can be the person that I see next door every day because I want that life and I want to be healthy like she is.” It’s amazing to me that every excuse that she’s had for why she didn’t succeed, she did something about it. Not everybody can say that. She didn’t change everything in her life. She’s still living within her means of her lifestyle and her normal routines, she just found a more practical way to do it.


Everyone thinks that to be healthy and to be based on wellness or have a wellness focused lifestyle that you need to change everything. No, you can live your own life, you just need to tweak a couple of things. She really took ownership of the things that she realized, “Oh, I need to stop letting these people in on my very precious time for myself. I did that work, I separated my time, my space, and I recognize where I was falling short.” That’s really been inspiring for me to see her put that in and really harness that mind-body connection, and just how the motivation for it, like 90% of it is showing up. But the other 10% is not getting in your own way.


Britt Reuter, MS: I just love how her attitude allows her to take action, versus that paralysis that we can feel when we compare ourselves to other people. It’s like that saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I can tell from what you’ve said that your client experiences joy, and she enjoys learning about health and wellness. This is how she practices self-care, by setting those boundaries and dedicating herself to learning more about the stuff that you’re helping her to grasp. I think that’s so commendable. I can’t say that I’ve always been there myself. Because I feel like I’m falling into the comparison trap. I’m taking a lot of inspiration from her story, too.


Aimee Hockett, MS: Yeah. And I think to part of it is she recognizes that some of the lessons she was learning we’re way outside of her understanding. Like, I gave her a whole packet on detox and I said, “Hey, I don’t expect you to learn everything in here. I don’t expect you to read every single thing in here.” She’s like, “No, but I want to learn it and I understand it. If I learn it once, then I know it. If I forget, I can go back and relearn it, but it will be easier because I’ve already exposed myself to the material. And once I’ve done so much work, and I’ve taken so much of my time now, that later on, if I need to refresh my memory, it won’t take nearly as long as all of these things that I’ve tried to set in place will just become second nature.”


Britt Reuter, MS: I mean, she sounds like an optimist which is a wonderful quality in any person and maybe especially a client.


Aimee Hockett, MS: I think that’s something she’s worked on. When we first started working together that definitely wasn’t the case. I think it’s something she’s worked on. Somebody said to me recently, “Everyone has their own changes of life.” I recently had some bad news in my life and somebody said, “Just be obsessively grateful because the more you do that, the more things will turn around, and you’ll get what you’re looking for.” Maybe this just wasn’t the right thing. I think that’s what she’s sort of learning is just be obsessively grateful for what you do have and keep pushing forward.


Britt Reuter, MS: Wow. Yeah, that’s so powerful. I saw a post earlier today, I think Mark Hyman. Dr. Mark Hyman posted talking about gratitude and about how it impacts our immune function and how all the cells in our body are listening to our thoughts. There’s even more, another whole layer of an incentive to be grateful and to practice that ‘attitude of gratitude’, which is such a corny thing to say. Like you’re saying, she wasn’t even maybe a natural-born optimist, like what I was kind of hinting at. But that she’s worked at it. It kind of gives all of us hope.


Aimee Hockett, MS: I think you’re right and there’s truth in that. Like you’re saying that your organs don’t just exist in one place, your symptoms don’t just exist in one place, your thoughts don’t just exist in your head, they become chemicals that get fed through the rest of your body. When you are constantly thinking, “I am nourished, I’m happy, I’m whole” your brain will literally pump that into your organs and make them more nourished then if you’re just going to be negative and eat all of the healthy food.


When you are constantly thinking, “I am nourished, I’m happy, I’m whole” your brain will literally pump that into your organs and make them more nourished then if you’re just going to be negative and eat all of the healthy food.


Britt Reuter, MS: Right? Oh my gosh, yeah. You aren’t what you eat, you are what you digest. Just having that right attitude, it’s going to change even how you’re interacting with your diet. That’s kind of what informs your whole approach. You are wellness-lifestyle focused where you’re not just like, “Yeah, go eat the salad.” You’re just like, “Let’s mix it up from the ground up. Just rebuild it.” That’s awesome and so important. I’m glad that you do the work that you do.


Aimee Hockett, MS: I know, I think there’s not enough of us. And I know you definitely focus on that as well. It’s not just about instructing to eat healthy, it’s a “Feed yourself healthy thoughts, feed myself happy thoughts and be obsessively grateful for just life itself.”


Britt Reuter, MS: That’s, that’s going to be a definitely a featured quote, when this gets published. That is just great. I love that. I want to throw me rapid fire questions at you. Are you ready?


Time for rapid fire questions!


Aimee Hockett, MS: Yes!


Britt Reuter, MS: She’s ready. All right, favorite supplement?


Aimee Hockett, MS: I had a hard time thinking about this before, but I chose Innate Response Multivitamin One Daily. I like it because the brand is really good. Everyone talks about adaptogens, all these different vitamins, but as a practitioner, I get online and I see literally thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of medical grade supplements that are really good quality. I’m just like, “I don’t know what that one does. I don’t know what that one does.”, because there are just so many of them. But I find that most people, they’re really slacking in their choice of multivitamin, and they’re gonna say, “Oh, I eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. And I take all these adaptogens, and I drink all this tea.” Well, I’m sorry, but that’s just not enough. Our soil is massively depleted. And if you want to be healthy, if you want to achieve your health goals, a lot of people will come to me for weight loss. And I say, “Okay, you can do this really nutrient depleting plan, or you can just give yourself enough nutrients, and your body’s going to be like ‘Great, we have what we need, we’re ready to lose weight.’” I chose this as my favorite vitamin, because I recommend it a ton. I find that everybody that comes to me that takes a multivitamin their choices are really poor and it’s not overly expensive. They do add herbs in there for women’s health. It really does support you, more than just giving you quality nutrients that does take into account a lot of typical widespread problems in our country’s health for women. That’s why I love it because it really does take into account, our culture and our widespread social need and not just like, “Oh, everybody needs vitamins.”


Britt Reuter, MS: Yeah, it’s more tailored you’re saying.


Aimee Hockett, MS: Yeah, yeah.


Britt Reuter, MS: Cool. What is your favorite midday snack?


Aimee Hockett, MS: Midday snack, uhh. This changes probably every season, every week, every month, but the one constant is probably chocolate, because I can never get enough chocolate. If I don’t have a snack that I’m obsessed with then it’s usually just my go to, chocolate.


Britt Reuter, MS: I had a cousin growing up who did not like chocolate and I remember as a kid being very confused.


Aimee Hockett, MS: Yeah, I’ve met a few people were like, “I just don’t like chocolate”, and I’m like, “More for me!”


Britt Reuter, MS: Yea, well then I’m like, “I’m not coming to your birthday party cuz I don’t want your vanilla cake. Sorry.” So boring.


Aimee Hockett, MS: I know! Chocolate is life.


Britt Reuter, MS: Yeah, I’ll come over to your house for some snacks. That sounds delicious.

What’s your favorite road trip food?


Aimee Hockett, MS: Probably Larabars or Simple Mills just because they’re more nourishing and go with many different things. They’re easy to grab and go and now they’re so popular that you can find them even in gas station. That makes me happy is I can find it when, if things don’t go well, like my fresh fruit gets smashed in the car or something, it’s always there. It makes me happy to see that the food industry is growing in a way that allows for different types of eating if you have food allergies like myself it makes me feel secure to have the Larabars and the Simple Mills because I know it’s a little bit more nutrient dense that the crackers I used to choose when I didn’t know much about healthy eating.


Britt Reuter, MS: I’m just curious what your favorite Larabar flavors are, because I love those too.


Aimee Hockett, MS: Um, I like the chocolate chip cookie dough.


Britt Reuter, MS: Yeah, that’s good one. I love mint chocolate chip one.


Aimee Hockett, MS: The carrot cake one is good.


Britt Reuter, MS: Oh my god, that one’s really good, too. And banana bread. That’s also really good. Cashew cookie. They’re all good. I eat them all. Oh yeah, they’re delicious. What’s your favorite remedy?


Aimee Hockett, MS: I really herbal medicine. But again, like we were talking earlier that people really abuse it. The thing that people fail to recognize, really, it’s like Eastern medicine is a new age thing in the Western world. But Eastern medicine and Chinese herbal medicine has years on the modern medical model. It’s ancient knowledge at this point and there’s a lot that goes into choosing what’s right for a person. An herbalist is going to know you don’t choose these two together, you don’t know if this person has this problem, you don’t choose that. People are just over-prescribing herbs. But personally, I found that tinctures like lavender or catnip, some of these things that are more accessible and you can make up in your own kitchen, I really find them to be powerful for relaxation. In my health history, I have depression and severe, severe anxiety. One thing that really helped me was a lavender tincture, as opposed to just using essential oils or taking lavender tablets, I found that actually drinking it really kind of soothes the whole system. That goes back to having digestive health issues and abdominal spasming and just having something to calm the whole system really has worked for me. Those are my favorites for anxiety or stress or not being able to sleep.


Britt Reuter, MS: Yeah, I love that. That’s so interesting that you notice the difference between a tincture and the capsule form or even just the aroma therapy. It makes sense, but I never would have thought about that.


Aimee Hockett, MS: Yeah and to me it’s more powerful for me to do that hands on when the symptom arises, as opposed to going through and taking ten adaptogens every day, hoping to reduce my stress. It’s sort of like, “Here’s the episode of stress, I know why it’s bothering me, I’m really focusing on the why and the lifestyle aspect.” And then just doing something mild that is more culinary based, like the lavender, and just using that as a symptom management for the time being.


Britt Reuter, MS: That kind of reminds me what you said about the overuse of botanicals. I’m curious what you would think about this, I don’t know if you’ve seen it or not. But there was an ad on Instagram, and I think it was by Gaia herbs, and it was for their elderberry syrup – which has really specific uses. People think it’s good for anything, but there’s this really specific application. They were advertising that you should eat it on ice cream. What do you think of that?


Aimee Hockett, MS: I think that’s amazing. I instruct all of my clients that if there’s an herb or something that can be used in a culinary application that’s going to be more nourishing for you than just taking a pill. I had a client asked me, “Well, I need to get more fiber. I was thinking about just taking some brand supplements.” And I said, “Well, your body’s not going to recognize that you’re putting that fiber in as food, and it’s not going to do anything for you, when you put it in an eating setting, your brain maximizes the power because there are is a huge chain of events that go your brain goes through when you’re eating that involves many more enzymes and organs to actively absorb these nutrients. Whereas if you’re just taking a pill your brains not sure what’s coming at it.


Britt Reuter, MS: Right. Oh, that’s a good point. Like, maybe you’re not in that place to really make the most of it.


Aimee Hockett, MS: Yeah, exactly. At that point, you’re just kind of wasting your money and hoping something sticks.


Britt Reuter, MS: I don’t like wasting money.


Well, this has just been such a blast, so much fun. Where can people who are watching this and learn more about you and connect with you?


Where can people who are watching this and learn more about you and connect with you?


Aimee Hockett, MS: Yes, thank you so much for having me! I have loved doing this. It’s such a blast. You can find me at www.theakkitchen.com , my initials are AK. And you can find me with the same handle on Instagram, @theakkitchen on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. I share a ton of free sources, mindfulness tips. Right now, I do have my mindfulness journal handouts available for free for a limited time. You can check that out on my website. Definitely want to make sure you download it because it is much more than just meditation techniques. It’s a serious mindful eating, sitting down and connecting your mind with your body in the process of eating and grocery shopping and all that good stuff.


Britt Reuter, MS: Oh my gosh, that sounds amazing. Thank you so much for sharing those resources with all of us. I feel like you’ll see a spike in your web traffic after this.


Aimee Hockett, MS: I hope so. I use them myself sometimes when I’m not feeling good. Like, “Hmmm, what’s going on? Let me sit down and really think about that.” I really created it out of my own need. But I decided “Okay, this actually is helping people. I’m going to share it.”


Britt Reuter, MS: I love that. Yeah, I always use my resources too, or I go back to my blogs like, “Oh, this is some good stuff. Who wrote this? Oh, wait.” Ha-ha.


Aimee Hockett, MS: Yeah, and that’s part of the reason why I started the blog too. People were asking me so many questions and I’d keep answering them. Like, “Let me just put it all down because I can’t remember all of this every single time.”


Britt Reuter, MS: Gosh, yeah. No, that’s so efficient of you Aimee. So smart!


Aimee Hockett, MS: Oh, thank you!


Britt Reuter, MS: Okay, well, this has just been great. Thank you so much again. That’s it for this edition of Women in Wellness. Thanks again to Aimee Hockett for joining me here today. And thank you to all of you for sharing this conversation with us.


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