Nat Kringoudis' happy hormones

Take charge of your own wellbeing

Nat Kringoudis is on a mission to help people de-stress, heal their hormones and live happier and healthier lives, writes Tianna Nadalin.

Natalie Kringoudis is changing the way women think about health. The 36-year-old – a traditional Chinese medicine doctor, acupuncturist, motivational speaker, self-confessed hormone revolutionist and founder of women’s wellness clinic, The Pagoda Tree – is part of a new breed of health advocates who empowers and educates women on how to take charge of their own wellbeing.

One scroll through her social media and it’s immediately clear health is not just a passion for Nat, it’s her life. Her Instagram and Facebook feeds are filled with motivational quotes, inspiring messages, happy snaps and food porn, giving her followers a glimpse into her life behind the scenes. It’s this open and honest approach that has seen Nat connect with and inspire women to heal themselves – mind, body, and spirit.

“There is no magic bullet so we have to get that out of our mindset,” Nat says. “Good health takes time, and that’s okay. Healing is a journey and we just have to live each day to the best of our ability. It’s so important – if you don’t look after your own health, who will?”

Nat, who specialises in women’s reproductive health, believes the contraceptive pill, stress, and our busy and high-pressure lifestyles are at the centre of a fertility epidemic that is seeing a huge increase in the number of women being diagnosed with reproductive issues such endometriosis and polycystic ovaries.

As a doting mum-of-two, teaching women to love themselves – and their bodies – is an integral part of her unique wellness philosophy.

“Our bodies are so clever,” she explains. “I often say to women, ‘you know your body is doing what it needs to do, right?’ You have to trust that.

“We are living in a time when stress is the biggest influence on our health and we are not being taught how to deal with it. As far as I am concerned, it starts with being conscious. A lot of women tell me that their body is failing them, but I think it is more that we are failing to recognise what our bodies need.”

That is exactly what Nat is helping women do – understand in the most basic sense what’s going on so they can make decisions based on knowledge, rather than out of fear.

Debunking the myths

At the top of her list is debunking the myths about stress, endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

“I call them lifestyle illnesses,” she says. “They are conditions that are partially inherited but very much a result of diet and lifestyle. “The bottom line is they are treatable.”

Too often, Nat explains, we are given these diagnoses and there is no mention of needing to make changes. It’s just you’ve got it and that’s that. But the saying: do nothing, nothing changes is very appropriate. If we don’t change what we are currently doing, we can’t expect our bodies to produce a different outcome.

“We get told we have endometriosis or PCOS or have trouble ovulating and we fear the worst, often seeking out the most extreme solution,” she says emphatically, stressing that when it comes to medicine – logic has gone out the window.

But instead of taking harsh medications, or jumping on the pill, Nat is urging women to start at the beginning – to get their diet and lifestyle back on track, and heal from the inside out; starting with the mind and the gut.

“You might be a 19-year-old living your life, carefree, with no issues. But if you’re a 19-year-old with polycystic ovaries or endometriosis, that’s when it’s time to step back and think, ‘Right, this is my body telling me to pay some attention to it; what can I do to fix it?’”

Often when things go wrong, the pill is prescribed as a quick solution, but all it does is mask a deeper underlying issue.

“The pill was designed as a contraceptive, it was never designed to fix,” says Nat, who is on a mission to enlighten women about its harmful effects on the gut and hormones. “Sure, it might be as short-term breath of fresh air, but it’s not a long term solution – it never will be.”

Wishful thinking

This is the inspiration behind Nat’s new #just1wish initiative – a campaign urging women to share the advice they wish they had received in their teens to raise awareness of women’s health issues.

It is a cause close to her heart, having suffered from excruciating period pain and low self-esteem as an adolescent.
“When I was 19 I didn’t really care about my health and I thought I could cover up my period by using painkillers,” she recalls. “But I was overweight, I was unhealthy and I was unhappy. And I guess that was a turning point for me.”

Nat, who was studying health science at the time, began to question the impact of diet and lifestyle on health and started cleaning up her life. She was so interested in the mind-body link that she went on to study Chinese herbal medicine, and it’s been a rollercoaster ever since.

At just 26 years old, and fresh out of university, Nat took a leap of faith and opened The Pagoda Tree in Melbourne with her then-business partner, Sara. Through hard work, sacrifice and many sleepless nights, she has built the clinic to where it is today – a leading provider of natural treatment for women’s health and fertility.

She has also become a thought leader and revolutionary in the field of developing happy hormones.
“It was a really scary investment,” she says of going out on her own.

“We started with nothing and were diligent about not getting into debt, so every cent went into the business.

“But I feel very privileged. I got to make my mistakes when nobody was watching and have been able to learn and grow from that.”

After buying her business partner out around four years ago, Nat got really specific abound her goals and her vision and from there, everything began to fall into place.
“I never anticipated being a pioneer and it’s a surreal experience to be honest,” she says. “We are at the start of a new wave – I can feel it.”

But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, and Nat admits that in the beginning she wasn’t sure the business would last.
“I didn’t have a wage for seven years,” she says. “I was constantly buying time with my husband and saying ‘I just need six more months’.
“It’s really hard in the wellness space to bring money in as a factor and to be comfortable with that.
“For me it’s about helping people, so turning that into dollars and beating that drum of – we’re here to create wellness, not fix sickness – it was a really difficult thing to do.”

Destiny calling

Though Nat’s career was born out of a passion for helping people, it wasn’t until the birth of her son, Geordie, that her true calling became clear.
After an 18-hour, drug-free labor – that ended with an emergency caesarean – Nat, and her husband Chris, received news that would lives forever.
Georgie was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

“People say to me all the time, ‘well he picked the right mum’,” says Nat, whose eyes light up at the mention of her healthy, and happy-go-lucky son, now three. “I feel like something had to change in our family and that’s what it was. We had to get conscious about where we were investing our energy and we had to focus on the positive.
“We’re all human, we all divert back to the negative sometimes, but if we focused on the negative, we were going to create more of that. And that’s not who we are.”

Though his diagnosis was initially a shock to the system, Nat says her son has been a beautiful gift.
“Everything in life happens for a reason and he has definitely given us a new perspective,” she smiles. “He has taught me so much. It’s one thing to know Chinese medicine and treat someone on both an emotional and physical level. But a lot of the things I have learnt along the way have been what we’ve implemented for Geordie.
“Mindset, attitude, the power of positive thinking – I would not have known about those things if it wasn’t for him. It comes back to focusing on the positive and showing people it is possible.

Finding her tribe

Nat credits her husband, Chris, their six-year-old daughter, Olivia, and her family and friends with helping them through the difficult eary days.

She says she could not have gotten to where she is today without their unwavering support, love and generosity.
It’s this sense of compassion and community that she is fostering through her social media and website,, through which she is embracing and shining a light on women in the wellness industry.
“We’re not against each other, we’re with each other,” she says passionately. “In the last 20 or so years, we’ve been told we have to toughen up and go it alone. But the more I think about it, the more I know that mentality is not realistic.
“The saying that it takes a village to raise a child, well it takes a community for you to be who you are and if you don’t have that community, I don’t know how you do it.”

Nat also wants to remind and reassure women that they don’t have to suffer in silence – that it’s OK to ask for help.

She says traditionally – and a lot of cultures still do this – women would come together and create a beautiful meal while the men were off hunting or working. They would’ve talked about everything under the sun – from childbirth to babies to their crazy hormones.

“Now the only time we do that is when we’re in trouble or when we’ve been out on the town, had a little too much to drink and poured our heart out to somebody. But that shouldn’t be the case – we shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about these things,” she says.
“In a way, all these diagnoses women are getting today – PCOS, thyroid problems, endometriosis – they are reconnecting us again as communities.”

Nat, who laughs as she describes herself as a perfectionist, is also the brains behind Health Talks TV, has co-authored two cookbooks – Eat Fat, Be Thin and Eat Fat, Be Lean – with friend Andi Lew, written an e-book, Fertilise Yourself and this month self-published her first solo title Well & Good, a comprehensive guide to living healthfully and happily.
“It’s teaching people to come back to basics,” she says. “Natural medicine has stood the test of time. It’s about trusting that everything we have around us – what is in our natural environment – can have a massive influence on the body.”

Glowing future

Now, with a growing number of women turning to natural medicine, Nat is excited to see what the future holds and to be a part of the positive change.
“I think people have always looked for alternatives to traditional medicine but it was always a bit taboo, a bit woo-woo, and there wasn’t hard evidence that it worked,” she says. “But wellbeing and wellness isn’t daggy anymore. Ten years ago it was brown, and everything that was good for you was not vibrant. Now, it’s beautiful and there are enough people doing it that it’s not scary anymore.
“(Natural medcine) is not witchcraft, it’s not voodoo – it’s just health care from a different perspective.”

So, if she had her time over, what would Nat tell her teenage self? That fertility is a gift, not a given, and that you only get one life, so don’t waste it.
“Living your truth is the key to happiness,” she says. “We set so many boundaries for ourelves that sometimes it’s stepping out of those bounadries that makes us happy.
“So go out and have fun, drink a bottle of wine with your husband or your girlfriends, and just let yourself go.
“Find your happiness and your truth and live it, without hesitation.”

For more information on Nat Kringoudis visit her website.

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