Ying Yu, MS, a 2007 graduate of the Master of Science in Nutrition and Clinical Health Psychology, is busy with a cutting-edge, rewarding career focusing on an integrated approach to mental health counseling and nutritional consultation. Read more about her dynamic career below.
Briefly describe the work you do now.
I co-own a full-service nutrition counseling clinic, Green Lake Nutrition, which specializes in whole-foods nutrition, functional medicine and psychotherapy for medical health conditions. I work with clients to address weight management, emotional and disordered eating, and mental health issues. I integrate medical nutrition therapy with the psychology of self-nourishment to help clients establish eating and self-care habits that support optimal health and personal growth. Our clinic offers private consultations, educational talks, seasonal cleanse groups and community cooking classes for adults and children.
What is your background, and how did you find your way to Bastyr and this career?
I earned my undergraduate degree in psychology from Amherst College in 1999. I then worked in finance for a couple of years in Boston. I first became interested in nutrition when my own health began to deteriorate due to the demands of my stressful job. That's when I met Halé Sofia Schatz, a self-actualized holistic nutrition expert who is now an international author. I signed up for her 21-day food-based nourishment cleanse, which changed my life. Through that experience, I woke up to just how important food was for my well-being on all levels. Eating the right foods for my constitution not only made my body feel vibrant, but it also stabilized my emotions, kept my mind clear and my spirit alive. I knew in my core that I had found my passion: I wanted to do what Halé did and empower people to live their best lives. For the next two years, I slowly transitioned out of my career in finance into a career in nutrition and health coaching, immersing myself in professional trainings led by Halé as well as at a nearby school called the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I became certified as a health coach during this time, but I yearned for more scientific, academic learning. This is when I found Bastyr and the Master of Science in Nutrition and Clinical Health Psychology program.
What did you appreciate most about your degree program?
Aside from an outstanding education in holistic nutrition, I most appreciate being taught to successfully implement healthy changes in clients' lives through effective counseling techniques. I feel uniquely prepared as a practitioner, as no other program offers this combination of skills and knowledge. It prepared me to work with a wide range of clients, both those whose conditions and life circumstances are simpler and those whose are more complex.
What's next for you? Where would you like to place your energies?
My passion lies in individual and group counseling. It's absolutely thrilling to personally witness clients recover from struggles and illness and blossom into vibrant health while becoming the people they want to be. I'd like to continue doing exactly what I am doing for as long as I can, while deepening my own knowledge and practice along the way. In the future, I would like to reach more young adults and young mothers, as they hold the power to shift generational patterns around our relationship to food and self-nourishment. I would also like to write a book someday about my experience of working with my clients and all that they've taught me.
How did your Bastyr degree prepare you for your career?
Getting my degree at Bastyr allowed to be a pioneer in a new field. Given the rising percentage of Americans who struggle with food and stress-related diseases, merging nutrition with mental health only makes sense. Providers with these skills are desperately needed. Bastyr gave me the education, skills and resources to be effective at navigating this new territory and to help clients whose struggles are not simply nutrition or life stressors, but both.