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Porch & Parish

Katey Slaughter's Holistic Journey to Wellness

Jan 25, 2024 12:51PM ● By Jen Gennaro

For some, the path to finding purpose in life is a long and winding road. Others, like Katey Slaughter, find it without ever setting out to look in the first place. In her quest to heal her children, the 35-year old mother of four and owner of the Ruby Salon in Zachary discovered a passion for holistic nutrition and is now on a path to earning a nursing degree.

Katey's interest in health took a significant turn five years ago when her youngest son, Tyler-James, was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE), an allergic reaction affecting the esophagus triggered by various foods. The journey began with symptoms like severe stomach pain and fatigue, leading the family to the Mayo Clinic.

Worried about the side effects of medications used to treat EOE, Katey started researching nutrition, specifically how certain foods can heal from within, prompting the family to start making small changes to their way of eating. Tyler-James is now in remission and no longer requires daily medication, and the family settled into a more moderately healthy eating pattern.

Then, last year, her older son lost the function of his hand, leading to a surprising diagnosis.

“Last week John-Michael had the flu,” begins her Facebook post from November 2022. “On about day five he complained that his hand was falling asleep. I thought nothing of it…By Tuesday he said mom my fingers are curling up…” Fast forward a few days to the scans revealing lesions on the brain, and ultimately, a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. 

Katey and her family had to travel as far as Texas and Pennsylvania to find specialists familiar with childhood MS. No local doctors were familiar with his treatments and the side effects of those treatments. "I started to feel like medication was just a band aid on the problems and not really fixing them,” she says. She started educating herself and advocating for her child. “That’s when we got serious about nutrition as a family. I want to help John-Michael not have to take meds the rest of his life.” 

Katey once again turned her attention to nutrition as a healer. “We have seen such a difference over the last year by focusing on nutrition,” she says, adding that the entire family is now on board. They shop consciously at places like Sprouts and Thrive Market, adhering to the mantra, "If you can't read the words, don't buy it." They have a small working farm, with chickens for eggs and a pig raised for slaughter. Katey makes homemade biscuits and bacon for breakfast; they haven’t bought cereal in ages, and they no longer drink milk. 

The more research she did, the more Katey realized how passionate she was about nutritional education and advocacy. Katey's dedication to holistic health led her to pursue a certification in Holistic Nutrition, which she will complete in August. 

However, she realized the need for more comprehensive education to make a lasting impact. Katey has started her journey toward a bachelor's degree at Baton Rouge Community College, balancing family, work, and school with the support of her husband, Cody.

"I want to be able to help people before they get in a situation where their health is already in trouble," she says. Katey envisions herself becoming a Nurse Practitioner, especially focusing on rural areas where health resources may be scarce.

Update: On Monday, January 22, 2024, Katey sat in a classroom for her first day as a college student!