In this increasingly digital age, there are more opportunities than ever to diversify how you practice, or use your health care qualifications.
In today's podcast, Naturopath Jules Galloway shares her journey of how a wayward, homeless teenager with a penchant for partying went on to become an entrepreneurial naturopath following her dreams.
Jules discusses how she strategically took her business online after burning out in the corporate world and how embracing both her light and dark sides have made her a more empathetic and capable practitioner.
Covered in this episode
[00:34] Introducing Jules Galloway
[05:37] How Jules upbringing shaped her views on health
[08:46] Working in drug and alcohol rehabilitation
[13:11] Finding the motivation to change
[14:52] Evolving into an online business
[21:25] Evaluating clients in a ‘virtual house call’
[22:58] Creating a collaborative referral network of peers
[24:26] Keeping online patient records secure
[26:42] Giving back through mentoring and volunteering
Andrew: This is FX Medicine, I'm Andrew Whitfield-Cook. Joining us on the line today is Jules Galloway. Jules is a passionate naturopath, speaker, and podcaster. Health wasn't always Jules' priority though. She lived a party lifestyle for over a decade, but when it began to take its toll on her mind and body, she ditched the busy inner-city life for a fresh start in the Byron Bay Hinterland.
Diagnosed with pyrrole disorder, adrenal fatigue, and a couple of pesky gene mutations thrown in for good measure, Jules has learned the importance of nourishing herself using wholefoods, supplements, happiness, gratitude, and a good dose of humour. With over 10 years of clinical experience, Jules has made it her mission to help women find their shine again. She's guided hundreds of women through her e-courses and also sees clients individually. You can find Jules at julesgalloway.com, on Facebook, and Instagram, but firstly, I'd like to warmly welcome you, Jules, to FX Medicine. How are you?
Jules: I'm really good. Thank you so much for having me on the show today.
Andrew: We met you, or I met you first at the BioCeuticals Symposium 2018, and you were on a panel speaking about the importance of things that you need to do to take your business online. But first of all, I want to get a little history from you. So how long have you been a naturopath and was the party lifestyle an integral part of that?
Jules: No, I think I kind of smoothly transitioned from one to the other. But yes, it was in my...especially in my early 20s, it was a fairly hectic lifestyle. I was the kind of person who went out on Thursday night and might not come home until Saturday or Sunday. And obviously, that didn't agree with my body after a while, and I started to suffer a lot from that. And even though it was fun at the time and I'm glad that I did it, you can't do that stuff forever.
And I had a couple of, you know, a couple of rude awakenings where I realised my body wasn't going to hold up, and I was also living on a lot of junk food and alcohol, and I had to become interested in order to sort myself out. I had to become interested in eating well. I gravitated more towards organic foods, whole foods. I learned about gluten free, I learned about dairy-free, sugar-free. And I had to because otherwise, my body was just going to crash and burn.
Jules: So that was, you know, the misspent youth.
Jules: And then as I started treating my body and as I started to become more interested in that way of life, and I was taking some herbs and some supplements, and I realised that I wanted to be able to help other people to get better as well because...
Jules: ...yesah, as my body started to heal I realised my mind started to heal as well. And I didn't realise that all of that was connected. But, you know, the anxiety went away and the depression started to ease. Then I thought, "There's something to this." And once I sorted myself out, I wanted to help others. So I did what any good person would do and I, you know, signed up to study naturopathy. So, off to the Southern School of Natural Therapies in Melbourne I went and I graduated, I finished at the end of 2005. So I've been a naturopath since the start of 2006.
Jules: And I was a naturopath in Melbourne for a good few years. And I worked in clinic, I worked at a place many would remember called Macro Wholefoods in the dispensary there. I worked in drug and alcohol rehab at a place called the Raymond Hader Clinic, as their naturopath.
So I did lots of very interesting things. Then I moved into corporate naturopathy so I was working for a couple of key vitamin supplement companies, I've done research and development, I have led sales teams, all of that sort of stuff. And I started to burn out working in corporate, and I ended up with adrenal fatigue. I ended up feeling very sick and ill again and I didn't understand why because I was still taking all the right supplements, but I was feeling worse and worse.
And it wasn't until we moved up to Byron Bay for a bit of sea/tree change that we discovered, my husband and I discovered farmers markets and whole foods and I realised that all of those beautiful, wonderful, high-quality practitioner-only supplements that I was taking every day can only do so much if your diet isn't quite right or if you're not eating the right foods for you. And then when we came up here and discovered all the beautiful produce up here and I got back into cooking because I had time on my hands again...
Jules: …I realised that if I'm going to move forward as a practitioner, I need to encourage people to eat well and discover cooking from scratch and all of those sorts of things as well as just prescribing herbs and supplements.
Andrew: Can I ask, Jules? So, I just want to go back to like, you know, the childhood, the family stuff and were you in your, you know, your angsty phase of teenage and young 20s, presumably you're working, and I understand you were in Melbourne at this stage?
Andrew: So was it this real disconnect or did you have...did your family have an original affinity...an affinity for good food and healthy eating that you just went?
Jules: Oh, God, no.
Andrew: So you just went off?
Jules: It was an interesting mix actually because I grew up in a very 1980s white bread, Weet-Bix, you know, margarine family. My dad got diagnosed with high cholesterol, so then we were skim milk with our Weet-Bix. And then my mother and my brother got diagnosed with coeliac disease, which was incredibly unusual in the 1980s. But it was at the point where some doctors said outright to them, "We don't believe in coeliac disease," which we now know it...
Andrew: Oh, you're kidding?
Jules: No. So I've seen all of this stuff before. So, you know, now when I see doctors who say, "We don't recognise pyrrole disorder." I'm like, "Yeah, you'll come around." I've seen this before. I've seen this. I've been there.
So yes, we...it was an interesting lifestyle, but I also had...it wasn't the greatest situation growing up, and I actually left home when I was 16. So I was actually homeless for a little while and made for a very colorful end to my teenage years, shall we say.
Jules: So going back to me to study naturopathy, it was a really, really big thing for me because I'd been out of that loop for a very long time. And obviously, my teenage years didn't make for a very good, shall we say, conducive environment for studying your VCE, or your year 11 and 12.
So yes, it was a very interesting upbringing that I had and it paved the way for a lot of things to come. And yeah, it also...I inadvertently also got to have that healthy questioning of the conventional medical system because I saw what happened with my mum and my brother…
Andrew: Got you.
Jules: … with their digestive issues and their… you know, the way that they had to go about getting diagnosed with coeliacs. And meanwhile, my mum was having, you know, whole areas of her bowel removed in operations and surgery.
Andrew: Oh, my goodness.
Jules: Because the damage to her digestive system was so great.
Jules: And there were gastroenterologists and doctors along the way who were like, you know, "No, coeliac disease is not a thing. You can continue to eat whatever you want."
Luckily, they did go gluten free and it did help them somewhat. But back then we didn't know about gut healing, we didn't know about the mind-gut connection in a way that we're doing now. So, you know, there were a lot of issues. If I could go back 30 years, there are a lot of things that the family would probably have done differently.
Andrew: I've got to ask you about your drug and alcohol work because I remember my drug and alcohol part of nursing and I absolutely adored it, met some fantastic people. But can you explain to our listeners how you got into drug and alcohol work and indeed what you saw the people you met in that work?
Jules: Yes. I kind of just fell into it. The opportunity arose and I nearly didn’t take it because it was my first year out after graduating. And the person that I was taking over from, the person who’d done the job at this particular place before me, I knew him as a lecturer, I thought he was amazing. And I thought, "I cannot fill those shoes" like, "who am I to fill those shoes?" It was like massive imposter syndrome going on like that. I can't do that job. He's been doing that job.
But I decided that it was a good opportunity, so I've put on my big girl pants and off I went and I absolutely loved it. It was one of the best things I've ever done. I'm not intimidated in those sorts of situations. I've worked in bars. I was like, you know, when you've had a bit of that kind of misspent youth going on you see a lot of things. So I think I actually was the right person for the job because I walked in and there were people coming off heroin, there were people coming off ice. And I was like, I wasn't that fazed.
So I loved communicating with all the different people who came to rehab. We had a massive mixed bag. We've had kids straight out of Toorak college mixed with, you know, blokes who were up for armed robbery and the magistrate said, "You can either go to jail or rehab. You choose."
Jules: And they chose rehab. Then we had everything in between. We had a lot of chefs, funnily enough, we had a lot of...we've had people from every walk of life, all living under the same roof, all coming off the same substances, and I loved working with, you know, with all those different shades of grey in life. And I think it sets you up to be able to talk to anyone as well going forward.
Andrew: That's interesting. I think one of the main things though, Jules, is that being down there, having done that, you know better than most people what it's like to be a patient.
Andrew: And so this is something that it's really hard for somebody who's lived the pure life all their life to know what people are going through, to know what challenges they're facing.
Andrew: And I think this is real key to being a successful carer or practitioner, whatever. Even a parent. So were you always cognizant, though, of, "I've been there. I've done that. So this is nothing fazes me," like when you were studying naturopathy?
Jules: I think having lived the colourful life before I went back to study, I think I kind of… I'm one of those people I guess you would call a sampler of life. I just wanted to try everything that life had to offer. You know, good, bad, ugly, whatever. It's like, "Yes, I'll try everything."
And I think that sets you up for seeing what… when you see what life has to offer, you often meet a lot of different people along the line. I think that helps with empathy. A lot about being a good practitioner is about having an open mind and having empathy for your patients. And so… because that helps you to be a supportive practitioner. I think patients can tell when they're being judged. They really can. And if someone's feeling judged they don't open up and tell you the thing, that might be the one thing that you needed to know to put the last piece in the puzzle to be able to know exactly what that person needs, or to know what to do.
And so if you...you know, for me getting out and living my life in that way before knuckling down and, you know, straighten up and fly right, it's, you know, being able to go out and live the colorful life before all of that, it allowed me to have empathy for people no matter what their situation is.
Jules: No matter where they're at.
Jules: I can have an appreciation for how they got there and why they're stuck.
Andrew: Yes. And indeed, you can teach people to change because you have yourself.
Jules: Yep. Yep, absolutely. But…
Andrew: So, here we go. How did you... What was the thing that made you change? You were speaking earlier about the attraction that you had to the organic food and lifestyle and the sort of, you know, the forest sea-change of the Byron Bay Hinterland. What was the awakening to say, "This is good"?
Jules: I went out and had a really big night out and got to a point where I realised that I was going...if I kept going down that path, that I was going to seriously hurt myself.
Andrew: Right. So it was that rock bottom point?
Jules: Well, I don't have addictive genes. I've done all my...I've done my gene testing and I don't...yeah, I don't believe that I have addictive genes so to speak, but not like when I was working in rehab and I saw people who could not stay away from something.
Jules: No matter how hard they tried, they kept going back and kept going back, and I don't have that. So I think there are worse rock bottom’s. I think the rock bottom that I hit is not as bad as the rock bottom that some people hit.
But I got to a point where I had a massive awareness one evening of exactly...you know, and it wasn't just the partying. It was like the cigarettes and the junk food…
Jules: Like I was eating crap food. I was eating McDonald's, I was smoking all of those things. And I remember that night I was having a cigarette thinking, "I know what this is doing." It was like I had this moment of clarity, "This is really harming my body and is this the part that I want to walk down because at some point it's going to make me sick to the point of no return."
Jules: Yes. Yes, most of it is online.
Andrew: And how did you move over? I mean, obviously, you started off seeing patients on a physical basis. How did you move over? What was your initial attempts like and what things did you learn from, perhaps some mistakes that you made?
Jules: You know what? When I moved up to Byron Bay I had no intention of seeing patients one on one. I was so burned out from working in corporate as a naturopath in Melbourne. I was so tired. I was so adrenally-fatigued. I was right at the end of my tether, and I came up here for a rest. And I thought, "I'm just going to, oh I don’t know, work in a health food shop or something and figure out what I'm going do later." Like I was that far gone.
Jules: Like a lot of people move to Byron, they come here to heal, and they come here to rest. That's why people are drawn here sometimes.
Jules: I got here and the last thing on my mind was private practice, the last. I wanted to start a blog. Through a series of events where a cousin of mine contacted me about her two year old daughter, who had complete failure to thrive, reflux, was throwing up after every meal. Was about to have a gastroscopy for the full ‘what's wrong.’ And she rang me because she asked me, she wanted to know, "What can we do? What can we give her over the next few weeks to help her get the least side effects from having this procedure done because she's two and she's weak and even if gastroscopy was scary."
And I said to my cousin, "Listen, how many weeks have we got?" And she said, "I think we've got… actually make it three or four weeks before she's going to have this procedure." And I said, "All right. Can we just get her off the gluten, dairy, sugar and the eggs?" And there was a big conversation around that and they didn’t want to do it but they did. I said, "Just do it a couple of weeks. No gluten, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar for just a couple of weeks. Let's just see what happens."
And within 48 hours she rang me back and she said, "It's a miracle." She stopped throwing up. She doesn't throw up after…" She’d thrown up after every single meal. Three times a day for two years.
Jules: And she said, "She's no longer throwing up." It's 48 hours after starting. Like, seriously, I still get emotional thinking about it. Because if it wasn't for that, I don't think any of my online business would have happened.
Because in the end what happened is now...but we got here, we ended up getting her to a local naturopath to work with. But the first step was getting off those foods and my cousin said to me, "Why isn't this information out there? I've been Googling, I've been looking for answers, you know, looking up reflux in children and blah, blah blah. Why didn't anyone tell me to take her off of the gluten, the dairy, the sugar, and eggs? You need to start a blog."
Andrew: That's how it happened.
Jules: Thanks, cousin. That was in 2013, 2012, late 2012, early 2013? And I was sitting here with my slightly too early midlife crisis because I was only in my late 30’s. Sitting here in Byron Bay going, "Mmm, what am I going to do with life? I don't want to go back into private practice. I know I'll start a blog that's all about food intolerances."
And from there, I did a business course called Marie Forleo's B-School, which is an online business course that teaches people how to take their passion and turn it into an online business.
Jules: And then from there everything just started to gradually explode. And I still wasn't seeing patients one on one. I was like, "No, I'm going to sell e-books. I'm going to do e-courses. I'm going to monetise my blog. I'm going to do anything apart from private practice."
And then the requests started coming. Like, the more the blog grew and the more readers I got, the more people who were following it, the more requests I got. "Can you take clients? Can you see clients? Can you see clients? Can I see you? Can we see you?"
And I was like, "Oh, my God, I'll have to get my insurance up to date. I'm going to have to do all this stuff again. It's really... I'm so burnt out. I didn't want to do this." But the requests kept coming. "Can you see clients? Can you see clients? We will pay. We'll pay lots of money. We really want to see you because we liked the way that you write on your blog and now we feel like we've got this connection. We really just want to see you."
And I thought, "I wonder if I could see people via Skype…" Because the last thing I wanted to do moving to a new town from Melbourne, was to stick a shingle out the front and, you know, and be ‘in competition,’ with the other local naturopaths. I didn't know the lay of the land. I didn't know who these people were yet. I didn't want their first experience with me, to be me trying to get clients in their country town. Because I didn't want them to think I was cutting the grass basically.
Jules: So I kept a low profile and I focused on seeing people via Skype because I thought if Byron Bay was a bubble, and Byron Bay is often referred to as the bubble, right? Because we've got a very high incidence of turmeric lattes, coconut milk, coffee, you know, acai bowls and naturopaths, right?
So if Byron Bay is a bubble, what if I just fish outside the bubble? And so I started running Facebook ads to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, mining towns…
Jules: Like there’s mining towns who don't have naturopaths.
Andrew: I know a couple of naturopaths that have had a very successful and satisfying career looking after miners. Because nobody looks after them.
Jules: And miners' partners.
Jules: There's people and places out there that are in great need for naturopaths who don't have anyone locally. And also because I was on my blog speaking a lot about chronic fatigue and adrenal fatigue, and all that stuff at the time, I was also getting people in capital cities who were too tired and too broken to really be able to get in the car and drive to a naturopath.
So it was like a virtual house call. They can sit in their pajamas on their couch, on Skype, with their two kids running around who are under five years old, who they're like, "Oh, thank God, I didn't have to bundle them in the car to come and see you." That’s who became my client.
Andrew: Can I ask you about the responsibility though of things like diagnostic tests? And indeed, let's go back to the first patient that you painted. You know, if you're talking about, let's say something like Eosinophilic oesophagitis, like it's a really horrible disease even to try with an expert to try and diagnose. What do you do about diagnosis?
Jules: I encourage them to go and see somebody locally if it's something that I can't diagnose online.
Jules: Skype is amazing. You can look them in the eye, you can see their skin tone, you can see their hair, you can get them to send the photos of their nails, you can get photos of their tongue. A lot of that stuff that, you know, they think, "Oh, in Skype you can't look at their nails and all that." Well, you can. You just got to be prepared and organised and get them to send you pictures.
But when it comes to something that you need, that clinical hands-on evaluation, I send them back to their GP.
Jules: Yep. Or on occasion, if I think that it's outside the scope of what I can do online, I have a network of naturopaths that I will refer them to.
I have absolutely no problem with referring someone to another naturopath because I know that over time what goes around comes around. And I have an abundance mindset now. Rather than that closed-off competitive mindset that I think some practitioners fall into.
Jules: And, you know, that serves me well. I've got some very wonderful practitioners in, you know, there’s… For example, I refer people to Carla Wrenn down at Peninsula Herbal Dispensary in Melbourne. She's got someone working with her called Kimberley Taylor, who does a lot of paediatrics. I don't see children via Skype. Will not ever. Right?
So if someone's in Melbourne who needs help with their child, straight to Kimberley. So if someone is down that way and wants to see a naturopath face to face, or if, you know, if it's an oncology or really complex autoimmune case, I know that's something Carla is the name there. No worries. Carla has sent people to me. There are things she knows I can look after well. You know, if there's a client that she feels would be better served by me, she's got no problem sending them to me. We've literally shared clients with each other.
That's how it should work. And I'm starting to find that I can do that in other states with other people. So I love connecting with naturopaths and finding out what they do. And then if I need to send someone to them, I've got no problems referring on. Because I know that in time, that'll come back to me as well. And it creates that collaborative environment where everyone's starts to thrive more.
Andrew: Jules, I've got one last question to ask you. And that was that at the 2018 BioCeutical’s Symposium, we dragged you up on stage to attend a panel. And one of the other people there was Robbie Clark, who was speaking about online security.
Andrew: And he brought up some really, really good points. Indeed, I've recently just podcasted with him about this security online issue. What’s your thoughts on what you heard from that with regards to patient records? What's actually yours and what's not? And, indeed, what could be hacked?
Jules: Yeah. It's a bit of a minefield and the Australian guidelines for how the data is meant to be kept I don't think are strict enough. So at the moment we don't… we almost, on my...the way that I see it, I think it needs to be stricter in Australia. I know in America there's different guidelines for how the data is meant to be kept and I think they're onto it a bit more. That reminds me, actually, thank you for bringing that up because I need to hunt Robbie down.
Andrew: In a nice way. He’s a nice bloke.
Julie: I've got his business card in my bag somewhere I'm sure of that. Because I want to try out his platform because it sounds like he's got something. He's got a cracker of an idea going on there. And yes, I think that just about anything can be hacked if someone really wanted to get in. I mean if people can hack, naturally they can hack just about anything, right?
Andrew: Oh, yeah, heck yeah.
Jules: So it's up to us at the moment that, you know, we need to keep those files secure. But at the end of the day, it's a giant electronic filing cabinet, isn't it?
Jules: And I mean I remember back in the, you know, back in just also being freshly graduated, I had patient files in manila folders in a filing cabinet with a lock. But if someone wanted to come and pick that lock they could.
Andrew: They could. Yes, that's right. That's exactly right.
Jules: Yes. But I don't see it as being that different. But I do think at the moment, the way that it's set up in Australia, the onus is almost more on us.
Jules: To go over and above what the regulations are and to keep that data as safe as possible.
Andrew: Yes. Jules, Just as last couple of questions. Firstly, now that you've grown your business, you're now doing the majority of it online, people are seeing you, but you're a person that gives back. And I can see this. You're a carer from your genes, from your bones. So what are you doing to give back to the naturopathic community?
Jules: Do we have a gene test for that coming up? Look, there are a couple of things that I do to give back. And yes, I am... because I was homeless when I was 16 and because I did have a very rough start and because there were people along the way who helped me out, I've always wanted to...when I got to a point when I could, I always wanted to give back. And now is the time that I can do that.
So, look, there are a couple of things that I do. I do occasionally mentor people, a small amount of people at any given time. But rather than the usual naturopathic mentoring, it was, you know, here’s my cases, "Can you help me tell them what...tell me what to give these patients." It's more I help people who are looking at taking their businesses online, or if they're interested in starting a podcast. But also I have mentored people who've got patients with pyrrole disorder as well. Because that's something that I'm particularly interested in and have done a lot of research on. So they're the things that I offer to other practitioners.
Also, I am involved with a group called Involvement Volunteers International. And we run trips to Fiji four times a year and I'm their Fiji nutrition coordinator. So four times a year I go over to Fiji and I take groups of, not just naturopaths, but we've got doctors, nurses, nutritionists, dietitians, physiotherapists, you name it. If you're an allied health practitioner and you've got first aid and you want to go and help out in a beautiful community in Fiji, then definitely, definitely be in touch with me. Because we're doing Fiji at the moment, but we're also looking at other areas as well. So I think we're looking at going over to Samoa probably the end of this year and possibly I'll be involved in some projects in Bali next year as well. So yes, definitely get in touch with me and we can put you in the loop for that one as well. So, yeah, they're the things that I'm doing at the moment.
Andrew: So people can find out more information and if they wanted to join you on these expeditions, julesgalloway.com, is that correct?
Jules: Yep. I really should put some more up there about the volunteering stuff. There's not a lot up there for the volunteering at the moment. That website is kind of more aimed at, you know, clients and lay people. But I will put something up there. I really should.
Jules: But, yeah, look up Involvement Volunteers International or just send me an email at [email protected] and we can just chat there.
Andrew: Jules, thank you so much for taking us through and sharing a lot of your life experiences and where it's taken you and indeed what you're giving back. We'll definitely be putting this information up on our FX Medicine website. So, fxmedicine.com.au and julesgalloway.com.
Thank you so much for taking us through what you've done, what you've been through, and what you're giving back on FX Medicine today.
Jules: Thank you so much for having me on the show. It's absolutely an honour. So yeah, it was really enjoyable. Thank you.
Andrew: This is FX Medicine. I'm Andrew Whitfield-Cook.