The Health Hubb: Holistic wellness through the lens of 20-year-old Kentucky student Lindsey Hubbard
Lindsey Hubbard sits in the corner of her living room and lights incense before opening the caps on her supplements for the day. She makes a neat pile of the Vitamin D, B-12 and Wellness Formula before swallowing them all in one fell swoop with her chai tea latte with flax milk.
While the 20-year-old is studying business management at the University of Kentucky, she spends her free time preparing herself to someday become a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.
Hubbard said that further formal education will train her as a primary care provider that treats a patient's disease or ailment by encompassing all aspects of the mind, body and spirit.
Her supplements are just one aspect of all that Hubbard said she does each day to nurture her well-being. While on her journey into naturopathic medicine, she said she has greatly shifted not just her diet and fitness but also her views on education, the world around her and what it truly means to be healthy.
“Naturopathic medicine focuses on treating the root cause of illness or disease in a patient by using alternative remedies powered by the wisdom of nature,” Hubbard said. “Overall, we use patient wellness as the main principle in treating the patient in order to promote disease prevention and a healthy way of living.”
However, what it means to be well can vary from person to person. Hubbard described wellness as being able to walk through each day feeling strong, energized and prepared to leave a positive impact on the world by the end of it.
“To me, it's living in ease and flow and feeling abundant in my life. Feeling happy, feeling content,” Hubbard said.
When this sense of wellbeing is disrupted, whether that be in the form of physical, mental or spiritual illness, Hubbard said traditional medicine aims to directly address a patient’s unwanted symptoms to heal them. Naturopathic medicine attempts to do the same while also focusing on prevention throughout this process, she added.
For example, Hubbard said she recently had what she presumed to be an ear infection that she treated with garlic oil and a massage therapy technique called reflexology. Her goal was to use this course of treatment as a way to boost her immune system as opposed to taking an antibiotic that may kill any present bacteria, including the helpful kind that our bodies need.
In addition to treating her external symptoms, Hubbard said she has found that at times like these, it is crucial to hone in on caring for herself, even if that means tuning out distractions from the outside world.
“I think in this country, and especially at our age, it's very easy to get distracted and have a lot of noise around us. Social media is always knocking at your door, people can text you, contact you, just like that. So, it’s easy if you're sick to just pop a pill and continue with your life,” she said.
Across from her table of supplements lies a stack of books that Hubbard describes as her current favorite reads. The titles include “How Not to Die”by Michael Greger and “Anticancer” by David Servan-Schreiber.
Most of her knowledge on this lifestyle is self-taught through resources such as these and educational podcasts like “The Doctor’s Farmacy with Dr. Mark Hyman'' and “The Sakara Life Podcast.” Hubbard said she credits these physicians-turned-mentors for paving the way for students like her to learn more about how adopting this lifestyle can greatly impact an individual's health and well-being.
Hubbard said that despite her focus on natural remedies, she fully recognizes the benefits, impacts and influence of Western medicine.
“As someone who wants to be a naturopathic doctor, I'm very grateful that if I do have a patient who I am trying to treat naturally and it's just not working or it has become high level acute, meaning their condition is life-threatening, then great, we have antibiotics, steroids, the best medical technology in the world to care for them,” she said.
Hubbard's path into naturopathic medicine started in 2019 as a senior in high school. She had always been active throughout her adolescence, so it was natural for her to stop at a drive-thru to get something quick and easy that was accommodating to her busy schedule. It wasn't until she watched “What the Health” on Netflix, a documentary about the factory farming of animals and other conventional farming processes, that she became vegan.
Her vegan lifestyle, which cuts out all animal meats and byproducts, only lasted for a month due to the restrictive nature of the diet. From there she moved towards a pescatarian diet, eating fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, dairy and fish but staying away from meat and poultry.
Today, she said she strives to limit consumption of anything conventionally farmed and instead shifts her focus to solely whole foods. This means more organic items, high-quality, grass-fed meats and farm-fresh eggs.
Hubbard said she believes eggs can be more nourishing when you get them from the farm versus the grocery store.
“Those chickens have been raised terribly and in disease, so it's likely they have been pumped full of antibiotics. And your food notices that. What you're eating came from that animal, so when it goes into your body, with it comes disease,” said said.
Hubbard said that shopping organically does come with a higher price tag.
“If this is something you care about, then it's worth the investment,” she said.
She said she does the majority of her grocery shopping at local markets like Good Foods Co-Op, Misfits Market and Thrive Market.
Hubbard said she believes that the way you look on the outside can directly reflect the work you are doing on the inside. Using this principle, Hubbard also uses nutrition as her primary form of skincare. She said that eating whole foods has allowed her to go through her late teens and early twenties without suffering from acne or other skincare concerns.
“My number one philosophy, the No. 1 thing that brings me back, is thinking about how humans were brought up on things from the land,” Hubbard said. “If it hasn't grown from the ground, humans shouldn't be eating it.”
This doesn't mean that the young student never allows herself any flexibility when it comes to food. Instead, she follows the 80/20 rule: healthy and on track 80% of the time while saving that extra 20% for going out with friends or honoring cravings through the occasional treat — her favorite being dark chocolate. Above all, Hubbard said she values intentionality when it comes to what she puts in her body.
“I think that is what makes you feel satisfied and happy with the food that you are eating. When you cook your food with intention and you consume that food, it gives you the energy to live a life of purpose,” Hubbard said.
In 2021, Hubbard participated in a 200-hour yoga training program to become certified as an instructor. This program consisted of in-depth classes every other weekend in which all prospective students must attend two hours of practice in the morning and an additional four hours of lecture in the afternoon.
The lectures covered topics such as the philosophy of yoga, business practices, anatomy, how to come up with a class style and so on. Hubbard deems her experiences and the time spent with her fellow students as incredibly rewarding.
“In a sense, they're my community. Even if I didn't come out of the course as a teacher, I came out of it with a community,” she said.
Be as that may, Hubbard already has quite a considerable community through her social media and especially her Instagram, @thehealthhubb. Through sponsored posts and stories, she has partnered with large brands like GoMacro, GEM and Sakara Life, using her platform to share how these products can be used to benefit the well-being of her followers.
Hubbard said she hopes to attend a naturopathic medical school like the University of Western States after graduation. She is looking to do a two-year program in which she can receive a Master of Science in human nutrition and functional medicine. Courses in this program will include topics like herbalism, reflexology and meditation while also still maintaining a focus on subjects one would expect from a traditional medical school, like physiology, anatomy and pathology.
Hubbard said the more she learns, the more her perspective changes, and while she thinks these findings are valuable to share with the world, she aims to educate and experience things for herself first before leading others down the best possible path.
“Maybe one day I'll write a book or open a store or have a website when it's time for me to actually have a career. But right now, I'm a student,” Hubbard said. “I mean we are all students. Students of school, students of life, and we are all learning and growing, and I want to know my place.”