Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Gayatri Saldivar MS, RDN, CLT, IFNCP, Founder of 23 Nutrition Therapy, located in Berkeley, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a functional medicine dietitian in Berkeley, CA, offering comprehensive functional nutrition consults via my virtual clinic at 23 Nutrition Therapy. I help men and women in their 30's and 40's overcome brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, distention, abdominal pain, and heartburn. Using the Kalish Method, my comprehensive approach integrates diet, lifestyle, functional lab markers, genetics, and tailored therapeutic supplement recommendations.

Tell us about yourself

My interest in nutrition, holistic health, and healing began as a teenager when I wanted to learn more about how I could support my own weight gain issues after puberty. In my search to support my own health and nutrition, I recognized it was essential to focus on optimizing the metabolic functions and nutrient utilization in the body to truly achieve optimal health. After researching nutritional genomics in grad school, I craved to learn more about unique individual nutritional genetics and how that can shape our nutrient needs, making us susceptible to certain deficiencies. I then recognized a problem those with gut symptoms, especially from conditions such as IBS, SIBO, and IBD were not getting the help they needed from conventional medicine. I knew this was an area that was the foundation of our health since 70% or more of our immune system resides in the gut.

My practice drastically changed when I learned for the first time that everyone could benefit from gut testing and optimization regardless of gut symptoms since it is so central to our overall health and immune functioning. Once I saw the imbalances going on in my own stool test results, it reinforced the need for gut testing in all my clients. I was surprised to see how the GI tract influences our physical, metabolic, and mental well-being. I decided to specialize in optimizing gut health because I wanted to be part of this movement to provide real long-term solutions for these clients, getting no answers so they could finally be symptom-free.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My practice uses advanced functional lab data paired with genomic data that helps to identify the root cause of their symptoms. Conventional care does not offer functional lab testing to look at functioning and nutrient utilization. The lab results provide evidence that clients need to take the next step in caring for their health using diet, lifestyle, and therapeutic supplement interventions.

By balancing the three foundational body systems, (gut-hormone-detox solution), I am able to provide a long-term solution that targets the root cause of their symptoms and supports their lifestyle easily and effectively. My clients typically see symptomatic improvement within the first few weeks and continue the improvements once we identify the root cause from lab work and apply therapeutics.

Most functional providers might try to fix everything from the labs all at once, overloading their clients. I provide a systematic approach breaking down the process into smaller incremental actionable steps to guide the client for long-term success. This also prevents overwhelm and increases client adherence.

Not every functional medicine practitioner understands the depth of the functional labs (particularly the individualized optimal nutrition or ION test), which provides an in-depth bigger picture of one biochemistry to personalize interventions designed to move the needle for short-term improvements and long-term maintenance. I have learned from the lineage of the great Dr. Richard Lord, who created the test and wrote biochemistry reference textbooks, from which many practitioners reference.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things is teaching patience to clients. It has been said that it can take up to a month of treatment for every year a person has been suffering. This means that there is no magic pill; though symptoms can start to improve, it is important to have a longer-term plan to support wellness.

Another hard thing as a business owner is learning how to find the people that are seeking the exact help that I offer. Learning all the tools for the trade to attract the right clients can be so daunting, but when the right client do find me, and I help them, it feels like magic for both of us!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. It takes a village to run a business... Do not go it alone! Outsource what holds you back.
  2. Learn SEO or outsource it, but you will definitely need it!
  3. Mentorship helps you grow faster!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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