Sera Kim

Interview with medical nutritionist Sera Kim

About gut health and her concept of medical nutrition counseling

Would you like to introduce yourself briefly? Who are you and how did you get to what you offer now?

Hello, my name is Sera Kim. I am an anesthesiologist and have been working in this area for more than 16 years.

Like most of my clients, I consulted a number of doctors for my many small complaints, all of which were not impressive enough to be treated from a conventional medical point of view, or I had nothing to offer that could be treated with medication.

The thought occurred to me that I am a doctor myself! Nutrition, digestion and its effects were not my speciality - yet! My own level of suffering was the motivation to familiarize myself with the matter. Since then, I have dealt with the subject of gut health with ever increasing passion.

I have completed further training in nutritional medicine, I am a certified orthomolecular therapist and have successfully completed a course at the University of Colorado Boulder on the subject of the microbiome. I have also studied countless articles, especially in the field of functional medicine.

I tried out many methods on myself and, after my own successes, I then started advising friends and acquaintances. Since the beginning of 2016 I have been working as a medical consultant.

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What do you think is most important for health?

Sleep. Well, seriously now. Getting enough sleep regularly is absolutely essential for your well-being and functionality. I don't want to go into too much detail here because sleep is not my expertise, but I can say that without good quality and quantitative sleep you basically don't work - neither physically, mentally, and certainly not emotionally. I can warmly recommend Matthew Walker's book “Why We Sleep”? On this subject.

And second is nutrition? 

Hmm, if you ask me like that, there are even more factors that I would put before a healthy diet ...

...what would that be?

For example: Connection! Family, friends, a sense of belonging. It is important to have a social network and to be part of a community. When it comes to health, it comes way ahead of the right diet.

What else comes before nutrition? 

To spend time outside in the sun - in nature! Basically the connection to mother nature. Get out of the digital world, out of the big city, away from noise, exhaust fumes, sensory overload ... and into the tranquility of nature. Be it the healing forest or the wide view over the mountains or the ocean, the main thing is to connect with nature.

At what point does nutrition come into play?

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Hahaha ... actually I don't want to rank at all. In fact, the right diet is not everything, but I would add one more thing: the right mindset. Your attitude. You can follow the best diet - according to the current scientific status - if you are full of emotions such as hate, sadness, guilt, guilty conscience and envy or resentment, then you will make your body really sick. 

Here comes another book recommendation: Dostojevsky‘s “Crime and Punishment”. This classic is usually seen as heavy going, but I found the book very easy to read. It describes the entire psychology of a crime. The guilty conscience literally eats up the protagonist physically.

The psyche can be very strong, both in promoting health and causing disease. Which leads to the next and last book recommendation for this interview: "Mind over Medicine" by Lissa Rankin. She writes about the placebo and also the nocebo effect. So, about the power of your thoughts and emotions over your body, in a positive as well as a negative sense. The subtitle is "Scientific proof that you can heal yourself".

But your consultation is about nutrition? 

Primarily yes. However, other factors in your daily routine are taken into account, such as your sleep hygiene, time on the move and outdoors, as well as possible external toxins in everyday life - to name just a few. I have a focus on nutrition, but the view remains holistic.

Okay, and what exactly is it you offer? 

It starts with an initial conversation to get to know each other and checking whether we want to work together. The chemistry has to be right for coaching, otherwise it won't be effective. And of course, based on your medical history and current symptoms as well as your goals, I have to see whether my concept is likely to be of use to you.

What if you do everything that you advise, but it doesn't work?

This is extremely unlikely and has never happened so far. That's why the first interview is important, in which I assess whether I can help. If I think I can improve your situation, then I usually can! Provided you’re invested, I can only inform and consult you - you have to act yourself. In the end it is your own responsibility to change something in your situation. Many people want that and are ready, but don't know how. This is where coaches come into play. I have specialized in problems that can be solved nutritionally.
My clients often have an odyssey of visits to doctors behind them, and not infrequently over many years. You go from general practitioner to gastroenterologist to dermatologist to allergologist to neurologist to rheumatologist and what do I not know which disciplines are all involved...

In the end there was no help at all or only temporarily. My clients often have normal laboratory results, they’ve been checked from heart to kidney, and to conventional medicine they appear healthy... it is always desperate for those affected if nothing is found and one is labeled as healthy - although there are clear and objectifiable complaints given. These are symptoms that are difficult to grasp, such as abdominal pain and indigestion, skin irritation, head or joint pain, or frequent colds, exhaustion, tiredness despite adequate sleep... the series of complaints can be very long and broad.

If the complaints are so diverse, how can it be that the solution for everything possible lies in the gut?

And why does a defective bowel not show up in all people with the same symptoms? How does that make sense?

The solution does not always lie in the gut, but if no other solid diagnosis can be made, the first thing to do is to restore gut health. Only if you still suffer from other complaints after resetting your gut, then it makes sense to go on a more specific search. You will not believe what’s connected to your gut wellbeing! 

Due to our individuality, symptoms may look very different from person to person. Every body speaks through its weak points. One has a weak skin barrier while the other has joint pain as an indication of their impared gut health, and a third person gets a headache.

I am not a skin, eye or joint doctor, but I am an expert in how the intestinal lining is rebuilt.

How do you find out what the causes are and why didn't the other doctors whom the patient consulted before you manage to do that?

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This is due to our health system. The gastroenterologist, for example, is there to see if something serious is hidden behind your symptoms, such as a malignant tumor. Or something acutely life-threatening like a stomach bleeding or an inflamed appendix. If this is not the case, and if nothing can be done medically, surgically or otherwise interventionally, then you are often left alone with your, from a medical point of view, not-so-bad ailments. They ask you to get in touch again if things get worse.

And the average dermatologist or rheumatologist often does not even think of a connection between your symptoms and your diet. There is an ointment for eczema - which does help - but only acutely, if the cause is not resolved, the eczema will keep coming back. And there are pain relievers for joint pain ... but should you now take them every day for the rest of your life? Doesn't sound like such an appealing solution - after all, every drug also has undesirable side effects.

And anyone who, from the health insurance perspective, has slight complaints that do not yet represent a complete clinical picture, is left on their own.

A health insurance company once informed me that preventive measures were not being paid for because it is my own job to be or stay healthy. The health insurance only pays if you are sick already. It's a sick insurance and not a health insurance actually.

The mild complaints must first become severe, and you have to be officially ill before you get help. Sometimes the pain is subjectively to be taken absolutely seriously, but in the opinion of the health insurance company, treatment still falls under preventive measure because it is not impressive enough from a medical point of view.

I once read the following sentence, which I like very much: "A good doctor shouldn't measure himself by how many drugs he prescribes, but by how many people he can stop prescribing drugs."

And I heard that in some countries a doctor is paid to keep you healthy. I like these approaches very much, but in the western system the work of a doctor is not really understood in that way, which is why I found my path to medical consulting.

How long does it usually take until your concept shows results?

We usually get significant improvements within 3-4 weeks, if not complete freedom from symptoms. The consequences of bad habits that have been dragged on for many years can take longer. However, the way to go should be clear after 6 weeks at the latest. During our cooperation, you will have learned so much about nutrition and yourself on the way that you can navigate further on your own. It is seldom necessary that the coaching goes beyond 6 weeks ... after that it is just a matter of sticking with it and not slacking off. It is now up to you to make the right decisions. You will have the competence to make informed decisions, what you make of the knowledge is ultimately up to you. You can flourish and prosper, or continue to suffer, the difference will be that in the future you will know why you are suffering.

Why do I need a coach or consultant? Can't I do this on my own?

Even the most motivated people with painful symptoms, who are ready to be active themselves, can usually not become symptom-free on their own.

Experiments, dangerous half-knowledge, the latest trends full of hope and determination regularly encounter frustrating setbacks. With a bit of luck you will come across a hidden gem every now and then, but there is always the uncertainty that the good condition will not last.

Only people with a structured strategy, who know how to get their gut health under control, can find their way out of this mess. But where do you get the knowledge from? Who has this strategy, the plan?

The world is teeming with misinformation and there are so many contradicting statements. You really don't know who to trust anymore, right?

Are fats good or bad now? How much sugar is okay? Proteins, definitely proteins, but not too many? Excuse me, red meat is carcinogenic? Eggs! Just don't have too many eggs! And eat your vegetables, except tomatoes ... huh? Who can see clearly here? 

In summary: It’s possible you find your own path, but probably not within 6 weeks. There are two factors that most people lack: discipline and structure. A coach or consultant will help you to remain accountable - to remind you of your responsibility to yourself. However, I see the second factor as much more important: I have already successfully accompanied many clients to their goal. I can offer you the competence and structure from several years of experience.

Thank you for the informative interview.

If you want to work with Sera Kim, you can book an appointment online.

"You don't get health in trade, but through lifestyle."

Kneipp

Medical Nutrition Consulting: FAQ

Frequently asked questions about my concept for medical nutrition consulting

You have come to the right place if you seriously want to change something in your situation. You show me determination. Openly spoken: I want to dedicate my time and expertise to those who are ready to do their work in changing their situation. The financial investment creates commitment - and it’s crucial for success. With me you will actually get stuff done.

If it can be arranged in terms of time and location, sure. Primarily, however, the coaching takes place regardless of location by phone, WhatsApp (or similar) and email.

Rechnungen für Ernährungsmedizinische- und orthomolekularmedizinische Beratungen werden nach GOÄ geschrieben, und können somit bei privat Versicherten eingereicht werden. Coaching fällt nicht unter ärztliche Leistung und kann nicht von der Krankenkasse übernommen werden. Gesetzlich versicherte Personen tragen die Kosten als IGeL Leistung generell selbst. 

Ja, es können individuelle Pakete geschnürt werden – Ihrem individuellen Bedürfnis und Geldbeutel entsprechend. Selbstzahlern räume ich gerne einen Rabatt ein. Kontaktieren Sie mich gern. Wir finden sicher eine Lösung!

Without a smartphone or computer working with me will be difficult or even impossible. Nonetheless: Where there is a will there's a way. In this case, too, just contact me and we'll see if we can still find a way to work together.

Do you have more questions? Contact me.