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Rank #57 in Health & Fitness category

Kids & Family
Alternative Health
Health & Fitness
Parenting

The Wellness Mama Podcast

Updated about 1 month ago

Rank #57 in Health & Fitness category

Kids & Family
Alternative Health
Health & Fitness
Parenting
Read more

The Wellness Mama Podcast is a weekly series covering the topics of holistic health, real food, stress, sleep, fitness, toxins, natural living, DIY, parenting, motherhood, and other health tips to give you actionable solutions to improve your family’s life! Brought to you by Katie Wells of WellnessMama.com

Read more

The Wellness Mama Podcast is a weekly series covering the topics of holistic health, real food, stress, sleep, fitness, toxins, natural living, DIY, parenting, motherhood, and other health tips to give you actionable solutions to improve your family’s life! Brought to you by Katie Wells of WellnessMama.com

iTunes Ratings

2699 Ratings
Average Ratings
2471
113
54
23
38

Simple and powerful

By jbemmy - May 07 2020
Read more
Love love love her podcasts!

Highly Recommend

By AZClementine - Apr 18 2020
Read more
Passion, inspiration, and knowledge—that’s what you’ll find in the Wellness Mama podcasts. Enjoy!

iTunes Ratings

2699 Ratings
Average Ratings
2471
113
54
23
38

Simple and powerful

By jbemmy - May 07 2020
Read more
Love love love her podcasts!

Highly Recommend

By AZClementine - Apr 18 2020
Read more
Passion, inspiration, and knowledge—that’s what you’ll find in the Wellness Mama podcasts. Enjoy!
Cover image of The Wellness Mama Podcast

The Wellness Mama Podcast

Latest release on Jul 02, 2020

Read more

The Wellness Mama Podcast is a weekly series covering the topics of holistic health, real food, stress, sleep, fitness, toxins, natural living, DIY, parenting, motherhood, and other health tips to give you actionable solutions to improve your family’s life! Brought to you by Katie Wells of WellnessMama.com

Rank #1: 143: Thomas DeLauer on Reducing Inflammation, Curcumin, Keto for Women, & Easy Weight Loss

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Thomas DeLauer is an author and health expert who is most noted for his own health transformation. He went from a 280-pound corporate executive to losing over 100 pounds and being on the covers of health and fitness magazines worldwide. He is considered one of the world’s leading experts on the proper way to follow …

Mar 08 2018

57mins

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Rank #2: 92: A Holistic Pediatrician Talks Ear Infections, Fevers, & Vaccines

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Many of us dream of finding the perfect holistic pediatrician just a short drive from our homes. It’s not so easy, so today I bring one to you! Elisa Song, MD, is a holistic pediatrician, pediatric functional medicine expert, and mom of two. In this episode, she tackles all the tough subjects for parents and …

Jul 24 2017

57mins

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Rank #3: 160: What the Heck Should I Actually Eat? With Dr. Mark Hyman

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Dr. Mark Hyman just might be a genius. Do you know why? His latest book title puts into words exactly what health-conscious moms in grocery aisles everywhere are thinking… “What the heck should we eat?!” It’s certainly easy to get discouraged when sorting through all the conflicting health information out there. One health book says …

May 07 2018

50mins

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Rank #4: 219: Why Everything We Know About Probiotics Is Wrong & How to Stop Leaky Gut With Microbiologist Kiran Krishnan

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I’ve spent many years researching and writing about gut health, but current research shows much of what we thought we knew about probiotics is just plain wrong. It’s time to get some clarity! Kiran Krishnan is undisputedly one of the world’s experts on probiotics as a research microbiologist who has been involved in the dietary …

Jan 03 2019

1hr 20mins

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Rank #5: 134: Five Benefits of Fasting, Autophagy, Diet Variation & Cellular Healing with Dr. Daniel Pompa

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The first time I heard Dr. Daniel Pompa speak about cellular healing and how to achieve it, I was floored! I knew I had to find out more. In fact soon I’ll be going through Dr. Pompa’s training program and recently completed a 7-day water fast at his recommendation. Although it sounds terrible, I actually felt …

Feb 05 2018

58mins

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Rank #6: 295: Health Foods That Are Actually Making Us Sick With Dr. Gundry of the Plant Paradox

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I am here today with one of the most requested podcast guests ever. Dr. Steven Gundry MD is a renowned heart surgeon and four-time New York Times bestselling author and physician-scientist. He’s a leading expert on the lectin-free diet as the key to reversing disease and increasing longevity, which he explains in his book The Plant Paradox. …

Nov 18 2019

1hr 1min

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Rank #7: 220: The Most Effective Way to Use CBD (& Why So Many Don’t Work) With Ojai Energetics

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Today’s episode is all about CBD, a hot topic in the health world and one I get so many questions about. My guest Will Kleidon founded Ojai Energetics in 2014 with one goal: to provide the purest, healthiest, and most ethically produced cannabidiol or CBD on the market. Four years later, his business is doing …

Jan 07 2019

1hr 19mins

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Rank #8: 76: How to Optimize Your Pregnancy and Birth Experience with Mama Natural Genevieve Howland

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Today I’m talking with Genevieve Howland, the fierce and funny lady behind the super successful “Mama Natural” YouTube channel and blog. I couldn’t be more excited! Genevieve is not only a great friend to me but to so many women she has never even met. Her funny but informational videos have inspired and empowered millions …

Apr 17 2017

57mins

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Rank #9: 132: How to Use Cannabidiol or CBD for Sleep, Hormones, and Health

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I am here today with Lane Kennedy, a truly inspiring mom, female entrepreneur, and health coach with an awesome story. This interview is going to dispel some myths and controversy around one of the most requested podcast topics, which is what CBD or cannabidiol is all about. If it sound familiar, yes, it is related to …

Jan 29 2018

51mins

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Rank #10: 50: Fertility Preparation and Optimizing Pregnancy

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Pregnancy doesn’t have to be hard. With a natural, healthy approach, you can successfully prepare and optimize your fertility, your pregnancy, and your postpartum period. In this episode, I sit down with clinical nutritionist Christa Orecchio to discuss how to make pregnancy easier, healthier and happier. Fertility Preparation Christa is the founder of TheWholeJourney.com and …

Apr 18 2016

38mins

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Rank #11: 127: Using the Dental Diet to Reverse Dental Problems with Dr. Steven Lin

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Today’s interview is about a topic I have researched and loved for years. I think it’s firmly established by this point that I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to health, and no subject makes my heart flutter more than dental health. Yep, see … geek! Dr. Steven Lin with the Dental Diet …

Jan 11 2018

54mins

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Rank #12: 339: Healing Trauma, Releasing Shame, Finding Joy & Becoming a Super Attractor With Gabrielle Bernstein

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The last two years have been a journey for me as I worked through a past trauma to get to a new point of inner healing. The result? I feel happier in my skin and even enjoyed a dramatic 80-pound weight loss as everything else came into balance. One of the heroes I looked up …

May 14 2020

50mins

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Rank #13: 68: The Miracle of Microbirth: What Every Mother Should Know

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Birth. There can be no doubt it’s one of life’s most personal, miraculous, and yet nerve-wracking events. And now thanks to new research in the last few years and a film called Microbirth, we’re discovering even more about the fascinating science behind it. My guest is Toni Harman, documentary filmmaker turned birth warrior turned author. A graduate of Exeter …

Feb 27 2017

1hr 20mins

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Rank #14: 118: An At-Home Approach to Balancing Thyroid Hormones with McCall McPherson

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McCall McPherson is a PA and functional medicine doctor who is passionate about helping others with balancing thyroid hormones. Her cause is personal too … when doctor after doctor failed to help with her thyroid problems, she decided to take matters into her own hands and founded a functional medicine clinic focused on thyroid patients. …

Dec 04 2017

50mins

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Rank #15: 60: Deep Nutrition and the Four Pillars of Health

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Cate Shanahan M.D, author of Deep Nutrition (one of my favorite books), is a board-certified family physician. She trained in biochemistry and genetics at Cornell University before attending Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. For ten years, she practiced medicine in Hawaii, where she studied ethnobotany and the culinary habits of her healthiest patients. Her own health …

Jan 03 2017

1hr 17mins

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Rank #16: 177: Why (Almost) Everything You Know About Dental Health Is Wrong With Periodontist Dr. Al Danenberg

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I cannot wait to share today’s guest with you! Dr. Alvin Danenberg is a periodontist who has been treating patients with gum disease for over 44 years. He incorporates aspects of nutrition and lifestyle change as part of his cutting-edge laser protocol which treats periodontal disease. And we’re gonna delve into that today. In 2015, …

Aug 09 2018

1hr 4mins

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Rank #17: 180: How Hidden Elements in Your Home Affect Your Mood & Health With Branch Basics Founder Marilee Nelson

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If you’ve ever wondered if your efforts to make a more natural home environment are worth it, this episode should convince you! Marilee Nelson is an expert on chemical sensitivity and the founder of The House Doctors, a consulting firm dedicated to cleaner, more natural homes. Due to her long struggle to heal own son’s chemical sensitivities, …

Aug 20 2018

1hr 42mins

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Rank #18: 37: How to Get Glowing Skin at Any Age

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In episode 37, Dr. Trevor Holly Cates addresses many common skin problems like acne, aging, eczema and other and provides actionable tips to improve your skin. Dr. Trevor Cates was the first woman licensed as a naturopathic doctor in the state of California and was appointed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to California’s Bureau of …

Jun 12 2015

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Rank #19: 262: Dr. Andrew Weil on Integrative Medicine, Reducing Inflammation & Most Important Factors for Health

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I’m sure you all know Dr. Andrew Weil, a true pioneer of integrative medicine in the last few decades. Today Dr. Weil shares what he’s learned along the way during his impressive career. Although his list of accomplishments is almost to long to mention, I’ll start with this: Dr. Weil, MD, is a world-renowned leader in …

May 30 2019

55mins

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Rank #20: 156: Natural Ways to Improve Skin With Andy Hnilo of Alitura Naturals

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Not only is my guest today an elite athlete, CEO of a natural skin care company, and a former model, he’s also a walking miracle. In 2011 Andy Hnilo was struck by a car and severely injured — including injuries to his face that should have meant major scarring. Andy vowed to find a way …

Apr 23 2018

57mins

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353: A Chat With My Husband: Healthy Living, Working Together, Parenting & Random Things in the Name of Health

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Today you get the real inside scoop as I sit down with my husband Seth for a long-awaited podcast chat. He’s the mastermind of all things tech behind the Wellness Mama website and podcast, and I couldn’t do what I do without him!

Obviously and most importantly we also tackle the business of raising a family together, and we get into the nitty gritty of parenting, marriage, and all that entails.

Episode Highlights With My Husband

  • How we met under unusual circumstances
  • What my husband thinks of all my health experiments 🙂
  • How he helped me launch the website
  • What made him open to entrepreneurship
  • The values we hold in common (and the ones we don’t)
  • How we solve our differences
  • One thing we always aim for in business and in life
  • Our recent sauna experiment and other favorite health hacks
  • And more!

Resources We Mention

More From Wellness Mama

What did you think? Did you enjoy meeting my better half? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well.

Read Transcript

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

This episode is sponsored by Joovv Red Light Therapy. Like many of you, I am always trying to find different ways to keep my wellness routine in check. I’ve noticed some of the things that are most helpful to me are practicing daily gratitude, a no-phone rule one hour before and after bed, eating healthy and exercising, and if you’ve been listening to me for a while now, getting in my light therapy sessions. I’ve told you before about why I personally love Joovv before: the skin and hair benefits are awesome and I find that I recover faster from soreness after working out. Joovv is my preferred red light therapy device because it has a patented, modular system that lets you build as you go so you can find a way to fit it into your budget. They have full-body devices (Joovv Elite & Duo) and you can keep connecting these pieces together to make it as big of a device as you like. They also have a Desktop model (Joovv Mini), which is great for travel or for spot treating. Remember, when it comes to natural light modalities, bigger is better for optimal benefits, which is why their modular system is so unique. I wanted my listeners to know they offer exclusive discounts on larger devices when you upgrade your system within the first year of your initial purchase. Their unique modular design lets you build a larger, full-body system over time, and their bundle pricing ensures you’ll pay only what you would have paid if you bought the larger system from the start. Find out more at joovv.com/wellnessmama and use the code wellnessmama for a free gift.

This podcast is brought to you by Wellnesse… my new personal care company that is based on the DIY recipes I have been making for years. Many “clean” products simply don’t work. This is why I have spent the last decade researching and perfecting recipes for products that not only eliminate toxic chemicals but also have ingredients that work BETTER than the conventional alternatives by your body from the outside in. I’m so excited to finally share these products with you and wanted to tell you about our brand new dry shampoo, which is our newest product! Our dry shampoo takes care of all your hair needs, naturally. Tousle in clean hair to add volume, sprinkle to absorb oil or sweat, work in to maintain color-treated hair by skipping a wash or two. It contains Oil-absorbing kaolin clay and volume-boosting tapioca work together to refresh hair at the roots. Lavender oil and cactus flower help balance scalp and to keep the hairs natural pH. We even added hibiscus for healthy hair growth. Try it at Wellnesse.com – and TIP: grab a bundle and save with the built in discount or subscribe and save to save on each order!

Katie: Hello, and welcome to “The Wellness Mama” podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com, and wellnesse.com, that’s wellnesse with an e on the end, which is our new line of personal care products that go beyond just safe to benefit the body from the outside in. We’re going to talk about that a little bit today because I’m here with my husband, Seth, to answer questions we got from you guys and talk about his perspective on our shift to healthier living, all the weird things we’ve tried in the name of health, on building businesses together, parenting and many other topics. So, welcome, honey. Thanks for being here.

Seth: Hi.

Katie: This should be a fun conversation. And I’ll warn you guys, we don’t always actually agree on everything. And actually there’s some live disagreements because we did not overly script this and we’re both definitely willing to be vulnerable, especially at the end of the day, like today. So, to start off, we had several people ask how we met and kind of our love story. So we can…I don’t think I’ve ever told this story publicly on the podcast.

Seth: Have you not?

Katie: I don’t think I have. So, do you want to start with the beginning origins of this one?

Seth: Sure. I guess so. Should I take a drink first? Yeah, so I was just out of college and summer, post-college. I was working, bartending, waiting tables, trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life, and on a whim decided to join this non-profit and walk across the country. Just, you know, figured a way to see the country, see the West Coast, which I hadn’t spent a lot of time in, see the middle of the country and the East coast as well, while doing something worthwhile and charitable. And also, hopefully, discover myself and kind of figure out what the world and what life is all about, post-college. Just so happens, I met an attractive blonde on the walk as well. And while we got to know each other very well during the walk, and mainly just had a lot of questions for each other and just learned about each other and developed a friendship, and then started dating shortly thereafter and got married a year later.

Katie: And to add a little bit of color to that, and this’ll kind of give away our age difference a little bit. Seth had finished college and I had just finished high school and was supposed to have this really busy summer of internships and all these programs and all these things I was supposed to do that I decided I didn’t want to do. I was looking for an out and found this non-profit and thought, what better way than to run away than to actually walk across the country. So, when he says we walked across the country, we physically walked from Los Angeles to D.C. over the course of May to August of that year. And I think you would agree with me on this, honey, that we both kind of got there and thought, “Thank goodness, nobody on this walk is really my type. I’m just going to focus on figuring everything out this summer.”

And it ended up that we turned out we were each other’s type, we just didn’t know it yet. But that…all those miles of walking, about 15, 20 miles a day together, we got to know each other really well. And the irony was, we weren’t allowed to date on the walk because there were a bunch of us college students together and that would have been kind of weird dynamics to navigate. So, Seth actually asked me out on the bridge, walking into D.C. to finish the walk. And our first date was in a park in D.C, over, ironically things that we would probably not eat or drink now.

Seth: Hey, speak for yourself.

Katie: You might still. I think it involved soda and sandwiches and….

Seth: Maybe some Captain Morgan’s.

Katie: But that’s how we met. And it was somewhat a whirlwind from there. Like you said, we got married about a year later, and then very quickly had eventually six babies in the course of nine years. And through that, also started businesses. I know I’ve talked to more about that side here on the podcast and how I got really sick and started researching health answers because my background had been in journalism. And that lining up with us having kids kind of became the perfect storm to write about a lot of these topics that ended up being really beneficial for mothers. But from the business side, you were actually a large part of the impetus of why Wellness Mama became a website and not just my diary. So, talk about that side a little bit.

Seth: Okay. Before I do that, I just want to backtrack. You said something about us not being each other’s types and yeah, during the walk and going into it, a relationship was the last thing that I was looking for at the time. I had been in one and had gotten out of it not too long before that. And so, it just wasn’t really looking to get involved in another relationship. But also, I kind of had this idealized idea of what a relationship is supposed to be and what I wanted. And so, then meeting you and you were not that at all, but then realizing everything that you were complimented what I’m not, and vice versa. And so, it completely changed my perspective on relationships and the way those work…the way those work together and kind of that synchronicity of each of us complimenting each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

And I think that has worked very well in business and in life and raising kids and marriage and all of that. But I think that goes into the question that you asked as far as just getting started with Wellness Mama and everything. So, I guess it was 2006, we were newly married, had our first son and… I’d always been a tech early adopter. I was working for a college helping in the collegiate admissions department. And I’d always been a tech early adopter involved with social media. And actually, you were kind of an early adopter too, I mean, one of the first, what 100 people on Facebook ever? Yeah. So, that’s pretty cool stat. And so because of that, I was really into blogs at the time. And I’d seen that there was a huge feature in that, just in self-publishing because it was basically democratizing publishing where anybody could create a website and put their thoughts on paper or digitally on the web and create and write about whatever they wanted.

So, I saw a big opportunity there and realizing… Because you were a journalism major in college and were a great writer, and was already doing some of that on the side, I saw an opportunity where, hey, you could self publish and write about whatever you want. And originally, you know, that was going to be about politics because that’s when all the political blogs were really taking off and doing really well. And you were kind of like, “Ah, no, I don’t want to write about politics. I’d rather write about health and nutrition,” which I’m really digging into the research side right now and trying to figure out, you know, your own health issues and the health for our family. And so, you know, I spun up a little site for you that was on blogger.com and kind of used that as an online journal, just to document your own health progress and what you were learning and researching and studying.

And it kind of went from there. I mean, that’s the very, very, very humble beginnings of Wellness Mama. I mean, we weren’t even using the domain name wellnessmama.com then at all. Because we didn’t even purchase that until 2009, I guess. And that was only because the two other domains we wanted were taken. So, yeah. So, that’s kind of how it got started. And I always handled the tech side, you’ve always handled the content side.

Katie: And to that note, I think that flows perfectly into the first listener question, which is along the lines of, what has our journey to natural living been like, specifically for you? And were you always on board with the changes I wanted to make and how did I handle it when I wanted to make changes and you didn’t want to? Basically, how did we meet in the middle? And at least from my side, I feel like, as I started researching things, because I was sick and because of Hashimoto’s early on, as I learned stuff, I kind of implemented them overnight if I thought it could help because I was desperate to find answers. And the rest of the family, by nature of the fact that I was the one cooking a lot of times kind of got drug along with those changes. But I’m curious to hear your take on what that journey was like for you, because I know it was a whirlwind at first.

Seth: Well, the funny thing is, when we first started dating, and even first married, I was more health-conscious than you were even. I guess, my family was a little bit more into natural health and just figuring things out, whether that was through herbs and supplements or homeopathic remedies, or just more natural things, which is funny because my mother who was an RN, she kind of went the other way and then got super into the natural health side, probably a little bit too far. And because of that I think that I was already a little bit into it. And so, that was kind of… even when we were doing that walk across the country, like I had a bunch of supplements with me and things like that, some herbs and stuff. So when like you were sore, I would give you some of those and kind of help with things like that.

And so, I was already programmed to be open to that. But as far as the actual changes and things that you made when you were really diving into health, I mean…I’d say it had mostly to do with food and cooking. Growing up in an Italian household, you know, we ate a lot of bread, a lot of pasta, cooked with a lot of olive oil, you know, all of those things, kind of more Mediterranean style. And so, basically, you know, you said, no grains, grains are bad, grains are the devil and we’re cooking only with coconut oil. And some of those things and eating more holistically, I guess, and not just as much processed foods… Because growing up, we didn’t eat that healthy. As naturally minded as my mother got into in later years, as far as like herbs and supplements and things like that, food-wise, she was basically trying to out-supplement like a poor diet.

And we ate a lot of processed food, a lot of canned things, but it wasn’t that healthy or nutritious. And so, because of that… I mean, I’ve never been a picky eater. I’ve always been…if you put the food in front of me, I’m going to eat it unless it’s something that’s just so bad that I’m just not going to. I’ve just never been picky. Some people live to eat, some people eat to live. I’ve always just been of the mindset, you don’t waste food. If food is there, you eat it, you consume it, and it’s there for the nourishment of your body and because you’re hungry, right? So because of that, I think it was getting used to some of the things that you changed as far as just cooking and what we would eat. So for example, you never would cook pasta and switching out coconut oil instead of olive oil. And so, I never really cared for that too much, but I just kind of went along with it because you were the one cooking and you’re a much better cook than me. And it made it easier like that.

Katie: A couple of ironic things, thinking back about this. Early on, I know because you were used to more canned food growing up because it was more budget-friendly, I think. A couple of times that I was cooking things like spinach or broccoli, and at first you would balk about it because you were used to eating canned foods. And when we started cooking those things from fresh vegetables, and like you learned, you actually really liked them. And like you really enjoy broccoli now and like raw spinach salads and those kind of things.

Seth: Well, spinach is a great example there because the only type of spinach that I had ever eaten before was canned spinach. Like remember the Popeye spinach and like the cartoon of Popeye, The Sailor Man, you know, he would pop open the can and eat and then would get strong muscles. And that’s what my mom would tell us, “You want to be strong like Popeye you got to eat your spinach.” And it was just the nastiest, grossest stuff ever. And so, I hated spinach. There’s very few foods that I didn’t like or wouldn’t we eat, turnip greens, spinach, but it was always like that raw or the cooked steamed stuff. And so, it was just so gross. And I had never had just raw spinach, just like, you know, the leaves until…I guess until we were married and you would buy that for salads or for whatever. And it was really good. And so, I actually liked it. But to this day, I still don’t like cooked spinach.

Katie: And another ironic fact along those notes, I don’t think I’ve admitted this publicly before either, I didn’t know how to cook anything, like literally anything other than I think I cooked ramen noodles in a microwave in my college dorm was about the extent of my cooking ability when we got married. And I went through this sort of three-week panic phase, it was like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to learn how to cook now that I have to like cook for a husband and then eventually the kids.” And so, I read a bunch of cookbooks from cover to cover and like read the science of cooking and a bunch of these things and learned how to cook, and watched some cooking shows early on. And thankfully, learned how to cook relatively quickly. I just find it funny looking back that now I create recipes somewhat for a living when I didn’t know how to cook a thing when we got married.

Seth: Yeah. And I guess for me, that was never a thought process as far as, “Oh, you got to marry someone who’s a good cook,” because my mother was never a great cook. And again, I would just eat whatever was there and wasn’t a big deal. And so, I mean, I was more concerned with, “Hey, you look good. You’re a lot of fun. And, you know, we get along well and have a lot of the same philosophies on life and the important things.” So, I didn’t realize that you couldn’t cook or had never cooked that much because… And then when you started I was like, “Oh, this is actually really good. You’re a really good cook.”

Katie: Along those same lines, several people asked…and probably the most common question was, advice for people whose significant other might not be on board with the changes and how to navigate. So specifically, has your husband always been on board with such a healthy lifestyle and if not, how do we keep forging forward in that way? How do we find compromise? So, I have my own thoughts on this, but I’m curious from your perspective how you would give advice to A, listeners who are trying to get their significant other on board with health changes for various reasons, or B, to the significant other whose partner is trying to drag them along on these health changes?

Seth: Well, I think like anything, baby steps is always the easiest way to go, especially when you’re talking major monumental changes. If someone has been in the habit of eating nothing but processed foods, just tons of bread and just other food that isn’t that great for you and they’re not used to eating a more raw or holistic diet, you know, just lots of grass-fed meats and fresh vegetables and things like that, or whether that’s taking supplements or it’s getting more sleep or, you know, all of those, the more holistic outlook of just living life, right? So, I think it’s baby steps and it’s not just changing everything overnight. You know, it’s not throwing out all the Doritos or all the candy or everything right away, although you could, but that probably won’t get the best response. But it’s making little changes here or there and substitutions.

So, if someone, say, if the spouse loves tortilla chips and you’re just getting, you know, whatever the run of the mill kind of chips are, switch to like, say, something like Siete which are cassava chips, which are even better than typical corn tortilla chips. So, start making small changes there where it’s slowly changing out those things. And so, it doesn’t seem like such a big shift. And then just realizing, having some of those tough conversations about, “Hey, these things really aren’t good, right? Here’s the science behind it, or here’s why,” and, you know, if you can’t go like a day without having a soda, that’s a problem. You know, I mean, you’re addicted to the sugar in it or switch out soda like regular Coke or Pepsi or whatever to, say, like a Zevia or something that’s a little bit healthier or kombucha or whatever the case may be. And just trying to make some of those changes, very, very small changes at first. But having those conversations as well about here’s why you should consider doing it for the health of yourself, for our family, I want you to live longer. You know, if they’re an athlete or into sports or whatever, you’re going to have better performance, or you’re going to have more energy or your sleep is going to be better. All of those things I think is a good way to kind of go into that.

Katie: And from my perspective, on the side of the one who was trying to get you on board with the changes, I would say…three pieces of advice that would kind of go to, would be. I do think at the end of the day, real food and healthy food can always taste better. I think it took us a while even to find our rhythm of recipes that we loved. But now, we have kind of this seasonal rotating meal plan of recipes that are extremely healthy and real food, but you also genuinely enjoy them. So, it’s much easier to get a spouse on board when they like the food. So, I don’t think I’ve published this one yet, but there’s an egg roll in a bowl recipe that I make quite a bit for us.

Seth: So good.

Katie: It’s one of the healthier recipes we make and you love it. So, I don’t even have to try and get you on board. If I make that and you eat like three bowls and you love it and there’s no friction there.

Seth: So good.

Katie: But it took a while for us to find those recipes. So, I always say, don’t give up and keep trying until you find recipes the whole family can agree on. But also, I would say when it comes to the mindset of getting a spouse on board, I get a lot of questions from listeners of like, how do you make your husband do these things? And my mindset has always been, you’re not my child. Like the two of us are responsible for our children and they don’t have complete food freedom because we buy the food. And so, they have to eat what we cook and we try to cook nutritious food for them.

But you aren’t my child so it’s not my job to tell you how to eat. It’s my job to have adult conversations with you to respect your autonomy and independence, to educate you and explain the things that are important to me. But at the end of the day, how you choose to eat is how you choose to eat. And certainly, when you’re not at home, it’s not truly my business how you choose to eat. But when you’re at home, because I handle most of the food at our house, I feel like it’s my responsibility to provide the food. And thankfully you’re not picky, so typically, when I cook healthy, you eat healthy and it kind of works out for us. And I know that’s not the case in every relationship, but I think it’s an important perspective to maintain that you are not my child.

So, I’m not trying to get you/force you to adopt anything that I’m doing, but it is about finding common ground for our family in the household that we can both be on board with for our kids. And then, I would also say lastly, the third thing that when I was in the worst of the Hashimoto’s, you responded and were on board when I came to you and said, “I’m sick. And I feel like I need to do this so that I can get better. And I’m not expecting you to eat like this all the time, but at home, I need to cook like this right now until I feel better.” And you were so willing to be like, of course, I’ll do this to support so that you can feel better. It wasn’t even me asking you to change your entire lifestyle, it was, can you support me at home…

Seth: Yeah.

Katie: …when our family are doing this? And that I think made it so much easier for you to say yes, because you realized it was important for me and for my health, not just something I was trying to force you into. So, maybe for anybody listening, I don’t know what the case is, and every relationship is so different, but I feel like those three things were helpful for me in navigating that. And I feel like, hopefully, you could tell me if I’m wrong, but hopefully, took some of the friction out of that change for us.

Seth: Yeah, for sure. But again, I think every situation is different. You know, some couples, just depending on the relationship, how they interact and their dynamic between each other, the communication style will play into that as well. You know, we have friends and family members who like the wife makes whatever the husband wants because, “I’m trying to make him happy” even though it’s not healthy or because he’s so picky, he just won’t eat anything, and he’ll just go on a hunger strike or he’s going to go to McDonald’s or whatever if he doesn’t get what he wants. But to me, that’s childish. I mean, come on, grow up. It’s a lot bigger than just, how does this taste right now because this is what I’m used to. This is what my mommy made for me, you know. Okay, well, you’re a big boy now. You don’t just do something because your mom did it for you, you know. We’re all adults here. We’re not kids where we’re forced to do it. So, make a conscious choice about what you’re putting in your body and the food that you’re eating and all of those things because it’s important, not just for you, but for your family, for your kids, if you have children, for your spouse, for your significant other, etc.

Katie: And definitely, correct me if you don’t agree with this, but I would say, I feel like our whole family feels better and notices a difference when we eat this way as well. And I definitely am on the extreme end of systems and logistics and probably being a little neurotic. So, we all ran our genes through Nutrition Genome, which we can link in the show notes. And that generates a report of, based on your genes, your top foods. And so, I took our entire family, all eight of us, and created a spreadsheet and ran similarities. And then I put those foods into real plans and created meal plans based on all the common foods that we had. And then, I just add things in based on… So, some of our kids have a much higher carb need. So, we add in things like white rice or potatoes or sweet potatoes for them.

And so, that was an easy way to kind of standardize the things that we knew we all needed. So rather than just food being about what tastes good it’s actually like, how do we best nutritionally support our family, which is absolutely possible to do on a budget because most of our common foods are vegetables and we can rotate those seasonally. But that helped really simplify it for me as well. And I know…I definitely feel better when we eat this way. I think the kids definitely respond better to it. It seems like you feel better as well, but I don’t want to speak for you.

Seth: Oh yeah, for sure. I mean… And I think that my own health issues over the past eight years or so, and just trying to figure out what works for me, it’s definitely proven that as well. I mean, I definitely feel the best on lots of protein, lots of meat, fish, and fresh vegetables. I don’t do that well with carbs. I don’t do well with many sugars at all. I mean, I’m not a junk food guy at all, and I really don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I think I was when I was younger, but I think a lot of the things we’ve done over the years, a lot of fasting, intermittent fasting, and just kind of cutting out a lot of foods and seeing what works for my body… Because there’s no one-size-fits-all, everyone is so different. And just figuring out what works for you. Because, you know, what works for you, Katie, what works for me, those are different things. What works for our kids, those are different too. I mean, just look at the difference between the way some of our kids react to certain foods versus others. Some need more carbs, some need more protein, some need more vegetables, you know.

Katie: Well, actually that… I have another question. But before we jump into that, I think that leads into another important point to make, which is that I know my lesson of the last couple of years has been that you can figure out what works for you health-wise, you even figured out what works for you health-wise. So, with eight of us and the variables in our house, it’s actually been quite a big job to figure out what each of our kids individually needs and ironically, figuring out what you need. Because the funny part of this to me is like with Wellness Mama, it’s been wonderful to see the information we’ve put out, hopefully help all these families and you have, hands down, been my toughest case with trying to help. And I think…well, we can talk a little bit about maybe some of the factors that go into that.

So, I believe it was 2012, some listeners may remember this if they’ve been with us for a long time, your appendix rupture. And we had like a pretty intense, it was a 10-day period where you had a secondary infection, almost died, had C-diff, were on antibiotics every three hours via IV, basically all the things you would not optimally want to happen. So, you had sort of your own health journey. And then since then, you’ve been one of my tougher cases to figure out. So, a lot of our family and friends that I’ve helped with nutritional stuff and genes and all that, have been much easier to get to respond. And we now know there’s a lot of factors that go into that, including that you are a very rapid metabolizer of essentially everything. So, it’s hard to give you big enough doses of stuff to get you to respond. But that’s been an interesting lesson for me of that finding out what works for me wasn’t, of course, going to be the same thing that worked for you, and each person is so different. But it’s just also been a learning journey for me to try to help figure out the things to fix your gut and to repair your health after that.

Seth: Yeah, totally agree. And I guess, I think one of the big lessons here is that in taking it kind of to the business side, as far as Wellness Mama goes, or just the content side, you know, in the early days you were really dogmatic as far as you have to eat this certain way, this is always healthy and this has always unhealthy. And then realizing, going through your own health journey and then mine, our kids, and working with a lot of other people and having conversations and reading studies and things like that, and seeing that it’s also personalized. Coconut oil is not necessarily a superfood that everyone should eat all the time, you know. It’s not native where people in the Northern hemisphere should be consuming it so much because it’s just not natively grown there. As an example, you know, you had an article, “How Grains are Killing You Slowly.”

And, you know, for some people, grains are, if you’re a celiac, if you have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, you shouldn’t be eating grains, but for other people, they do fine with them, and it’s not a big deal. Everyone is so different and their health, it’s become so specific to them based on your genetics, based possibly on your blood type, based on your climate, where you live, so many factors. And I think that plays into it a lot. But for me, I mean, it’s been really frustrating to see, you know, you’ve worked with so many people over the years, either on a client basis or whether that’s readers or podcast listeners or our family or friends or things you’ve just, you know, just helped, whether it’s consulting or whatever, just helping them with their own nutrition and health things.

And most of them are seeing incredible results like overnight, you know, or within a very short period of time. And I feel like for me, it’s been really frustrating because it’s like you’ve tried so many different things and nothing has worked that well. But I feel like it started to a little bit more because… A little bit more of that backstory. Yeah, in 2012, I had an emergency appendectomy, my appendix partially ruptured and then the doctor screwed it up and didn’t get everything all cleaned out. And so, I got a secondary infection. I was in the hospital for 10 days, like Katie mentioned. I was on all kinds of antibiotics. It basically screwed up my entire gut and so I was just sluggish and didn’t have any energy, couldn’t lose weight. My testosterone was crazy low. It seems like anything that I did, nothing would seem to help it.

And so, I basically had to try…tried everything under the sun, every different type of diet, lots of specialists and things to just try to figure out what was going on and why. And even from the outside, everything looked good other than the fact that I was, you know, somewhat overweight. But it’s only been in the past year or so that I feel like we’ve kind of finally started to get that under control. And I’m finally back down weight-wise where I should be, I definitely have more energy and stuff. And still trying to figure it all of that out. But just realizing that everything is so personalized and that what works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for everyone else. Supplements is a great example, like the different stacks of supplements that you’ll give to different people based on their genetics and things like that. It’s like, “Oh, this works amazing for that,” but you do the same thing for me and it’s like, I don’t notice a difference at all. Like, I don’t notice the difference if I took those or if I took nothing. So, that’s been frustrating, at least on my end, as far as that goes.

Katie: I feel like the genetics were a big key for you and we had to get really granular on some stuff and just pretty big, simple little doses to get some things back in range. But I think we have seen big changes with you in the past year. And to your point, like going back to some of those articles, I look at things…like I do think saturated fat was unfairly villainized in society. And we went through these decades of saturated fat being 100% the enemy. And so, early on in writing, I found that out and kind of made a case for saturated fat is not bad. And I fully still stand behind that, that I don’t think saturated fat is objectively bad. I think many people need more saturated fat than they were getting for a long time, especially when they were replacing those saturated fats with things like vegetable oils. But the irony is, for me, I found out, based on my genes, I don’t do well with almost any saturated fat at all, including coconut oil.

And I think like red meat was unfairly villainized and I still do better without red meat because my iron gets too high. Whereas, you need more red meat, like a lot of red meat. So, there’s just all those really individual factors. And I’m personally really excited for that because I think in the next 10 to 20 years, we’re going to see amazing research and be able to really use this to our advantage with genes and epigenetics, and being able to alter dietary approaches and light. And there’s just so much exciting research, but it does really just all point to the fact that, like you said, we are so individual. And that leads into the next listener question actually perfectly, which is, what are the weirdest things that you’ve made him try in the name of health? And I can throw at you as ideas, if you want, or you can start with some of the ones you think have been the craziest.

Seth: I mean, I feel like my entire life I’ve been a Guinea pig for everything. I was the oldest of six kids. And so, I was kind of always the experiment for everything that…to see what would work. So, I’m pretty much self-taught in everything that I’ve ever done. So, because of that, you know, it’s like, “Okay, what are we going to do? Throw it at me, let’s see where it goes.” So, I’ve always been pretty open to lots of different experiments and crazy biohacking and health experiments and things like that. But, I mean, fasting, just water fasting and dry fasting, when you first mentioned those, I was like, I’m not going to eat for a day?

Katie: I remember that conversation. When I came back from a…basically longevity cancer conference and was like, “I have this great idea. So, we’re going to just not eat for a week.” And you were like, “What now?”

Seth: Yeah. And I was like, “Why would I do that? That’s crazy. Why would I not eat food? I like to eat. Food is good. Starving is bad.” Yeah. So, that would be one, definitely noticed the benefits from that. And so, like I’ll usually do like a three to five day fast once a quarter. And then we usually start off the year with, like a week-long, 7 to 10 day fast as well. And have definitely noticed some increased energy and weight loss and muscle increase from doing that and increased metabolism from doing that for sure. So, that would be one of them. Coffee enemas. That’s a weird one. Yeah, but definitely helps the bowels and the gut and everything. Yeah, that one’s not quite as fun. Actually, neither of those are fun. What am I talking about?

Katie: I was going to say some of these ideas I’ll throw at you I don’t think… We’ve done a lot of various nutrient IV’s. I think the weirdest one I’ve pushed you to try is an NAD, which you can talk about your experience with that if you want, and then I’ll explain the science of it.

Seth: I can’t even pronounce what it stands for. So, you might have to say what NAD stands for because I…yeah.

Katie: Talk about your theory of it and then I’ll explain.

Sean: Well, I mean, it’s basically, you’re getting an IV and it’s some type of supplementation that is going through your entire body and your veins. And depending on the rate of flow that it’s going through, it kind of feels like you’re having a heart attack. You’re like, you feel pressure in your chest and you just kinda double over and you just don’t feel good at all. Afterwards, you feel more energized and really good. And basically, it’s supposed to reverse-age you. So you’re supposed to…instead of your age going up based on whatever those factors are, they’re going down because of it. So, it’s kind of like the anti-aging drug or supplement or whatever you want to call it.

Katie: Okay. And so a little bit about the science of that, because it definitely does not sound fun and it definitely isn’t fun at all. NAD stands for, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, which is essentially, it’s a coenzyme. So there’s two forms, there’s NAD plus and NADH.

Seth: Speak English.

Katie: Basically, it’s an electron transfer. So, as the electrons go back and forth between these two forms, it benefits your body. And essentially, the quicker you get it into your body, the more beneficial it is. Extremely miserable going in. It takes, if you don’t want to be horribly miserable, it takes four to six hours probably, is that what’d you say, to get an IV in?

Seth: Yeah, I think the first day that…because I did it for three days straight, the first day it was like six hours, second day was about five hours and the third day was about a three and a half hours.

Katie: Yeah. And so, you do see noticeable lab changes and there’s some clinical uses for anti-aging and also for certain very specific disease states that you would want to use a doctor’s care with doing. So, we tried this partially for research and then partially we were targeting some specific things we were trying to work through. It definitely is not fun. Like you said, it kind of feels like a general huge feeling of just malaise. I would compare it to like if you have the flu and a hangover at the same time, when you do it slowly. When you started it quickly, so you can kind of control the flow at which it’s going into you, when you turn it up, the first time I was like, “I think I can handle it. I’ve had six kids, whatever.” I turned it all the way up and immediately like felt my whole chest tighten and kind of like, just crawled into the fetal position.

And the doctor who’s a friend of ours looked at me and he said, “Yep. If you ever feel like that and you are not doing an NAD IV, go to the ER, you’re having a heart attack.” That’s what it feels like. So, it’s very not fun experience. I have one time, and I doubt I will ever do it again, done it as a push IV, which means they pretty much just push it, at a really high concentration, directly into your vein. So, instead of doing IV, they just push it in and then you get all of that very quickly within about 20 minutes. But the downside is you can’t get away from it. So, once it’s in your veins, you’re just going to have to ride it out. And short of labor, that’s one of the less comfortable times I’ve had in my life. Kind of just like curl into the fetal position and had to breath and tap my way through that. Don’t recommend it.

Seth: I said, “Screw that. I’m not trying that, that’s awful. No way.”

Katie: But one of those definitely weird ones, would not recommend everybody, definitely recommend a doctor if you’re going to try that one. I think one you’ve done that I have not done is ketamine. One of the few things that I have not tried that you have. Do you want to speak to that?

Seth: Yeah. So I did a round of therapeutic ketamine for like anxiety/depression last year. And that was very, very interesting. It’s pretty much complete ego dissolution where… It’s intravenous as well and it lasts for about an hour. And basically, you know, you kind of close your eyes and you go in. It’s something of a psychedelic, I guess, if you will. You kind of feel like you’re on a roller coaster and you’re seeing colors and shapes and all kinds of things, and you kind of are disconnecting from the ego. And you’re not getting so caught up in your own head and stuff. And I think it did have some very positive benefits. It’s hard to really explain it, to put it into words, very different, but the studies behind it, as far as for anxiety, for depression, for PTSD, for a lot of things like that are incredible coming out. And most states have different centers where you can go and get that type of therapy conducted. That was definitely a very interesting one, for sure.

Katie: Yeah. And the clinical data is really fascinating on that, for like you said, anxiety, depression. I think we’re going to see studies on that as well in the next few years. But to echo what you said, it’s definitely better done with a practitioner/doctor who knows what they’re doing. This is not…it can be abused and can be very dangerous if abused. So, you have to want to do that with someone who knows what they’re doing. I’m trying to think of other weird things we’ve tried. Another one that we did as a family was peak brain. We did a podcast with Andrew Hill. I’ll make sure that’s linked in the show notes where they do acute EEG of your brain. So, they basically map your brain activity and can see different areas light up, whether you’re high delta or beta, or theta, what kind of waves are firing where, and if you are balanced on both sides of your brain. That was a pretty fascinating one. I learned actually, ironically through that test that I am technically ADHD.

Seth: And I’m not somehow, which is really weird.

Katie: But I remember him going, “So has your ADHD ever impacted your life?” “I guess not, because that’s the first time I’ve heard about it.” But yeah, I had even the older kids all do that one as well. What did you think of that one? I thought it was fascinating information.

Seth: Yeah. I thought it was pretty cool because they basically connect your head to these diodes which is run into a computer. And so, you’re seeing it, the scan on the screen. And then based on what the scan shows you and if there’s injury via concussion or head trauma or any number of things or whatever the case may be. Then you play these games and you’re using your head to…your mind, to control the games so you basically have to think through it. And it helps to rewire the brain to an extent. And the way that works, the example that Dr. Hill gave was that, over time, your brain develops ruts. So, think if you’re driving a car down a dirt path and it develops ruts, so it’s hard to get out of those ruts because they’re so ingrained in there.

And if the ground is soft or wet, you know, you get out, you’re just going back, sliding back into the ruts. So, what this does is it basically smooths out those ruts and enables you to create a new path. So, that’s really fascinating. And that’s something that we need to go back and do more of because they have like a system that you can do at home and everything. They have a couple of different centers as well. But that was really cool, I really enjoyed seeing that technology.

Katie: Yeah. And the science there being that they’re using neurofeedback essentially instant, positive feedback from the brain when it does what it wants to do. So if you have too high of certain kinds of brainwaves, you can create a scenario through this feedback, both audio and visual that you’re seeing, where your brain thinks it’s playing a video game. When it does what it’s supposed to do, it gets…the ship flies or the music plays or whatever it is. And the brain is so amazing and adaptable that almost instantaneously, it starts to learn what it’s supposed to do. And then the computer algorithm adapts just outside of your range of ability. So, you’re always just striving, which for me, was very frustrating because you can never actually win or beat the game, but it’s constantly just very rapidly training your brain. And there are some amazing clinical applications for traumatic brain injuries or people who have very specific things that they’re trying to work through.

And again, I’ll link to that in the show notes. But since we just talked about some of the more extreme things we’ve tried in the name of health, I want to also just highlight the fact that some of this is actually our job kind of now, that this is part of the things that we have to do for a living and not all of them are necessary or important to live healthy by any means.

Seth: For sure.

Katie: So, I think before we move on to the next question, I also just want to say, at the end of the day, if anything, over the last few years, I think you would probably agree with me on this. The really important stuff is almost always the really inexpensive or free stuff or things you always have to eat anyway. You make changes to your diet, that makes still the biggest difference.

It just may take a lot of experimentation to really dial in what that is, but you can do it even on a tight budget with seasonal produce or organic, frozen vegetables or whatever it may be. And the end of the day, I think it’s the sleep and sunlight and food, things that are part of all of our daily lives that make the biggest difference. And if you have very specific health issues, that’s when you can look into these other more extreme things. But I think you and I both found that over this last, well, I guess now 14 years of research is that it’s the consistent, healthy things, small things that you have to do every day that make the big difference in the long run.

Seth: Oh yeah, for sure. And I think…didn’t you even come up with an acronym at one time for like the whole system of like those basic core things?

Katie: Yeah, I think it was reset. And it had to do with like real food and exercise and sunlight. I have to go back and look at what they all were.

Seth: It’s probably been simplified since then. But yeah, totally agree. I mean…and you know, like the sleep side, that’s something I’m still trying to work on to improve my sleep and, you know… Like I track it every day using the Oura Ring, and like my weight and all of that stuff. And so, we have like this cool scale that tracks the weight and it connects to my phone and stuff so I can see all that. And like I’m fascinated by the data, probably not quite as much as you, but I like to see those patterns and trends. And I think that’s really interesting. And there’s a lot of opportunity just in health, in the future, as far as whether…that individualized side, but creating like a dashboard where you can get all these different health metrics. What’s…

Katie: I use Heads Up Health for that. I an link to that as well.

Seth: Yea, yea.

Katie: I use it to track both of our lab results, sleep stuff. We test our fasting glucose occasionally. It pulls in metrics from a lot of different thing. And we both use an Oura Ring.

Seth: And you can manually add those things in too, whether that’s, you know, you’re getting your food sensitivity test from Everlywell, you know, your genetics from Nutrition Genome, some of those. That’s always been pretty cool to see.

Katie: Yeah. And again, just to highlight, like, I don’t think all those things are necessary. I think they’re really helpful tools, but… I had Hashimoto’s and then I almost died when our third was born. We were both overcoming some relatively serious things. You almost died with your appendix. Most people, I feel like can 80/20 it and get many of these same results just like with diet, going outside in the morning within 30 minutes of waking up, getting enough sleep and having good relationships. I feel like if you get those things dialed in or you should at least get those things dialed in before you start really delving into the more complicated stuff, really start with those…

Seth: Well, the good relationships can be the toughest part.

Katie: Truly. I think community relationships are the one that are a little life long journey for sure.

Seth: Did you want to talk about some of our favorites of the crazy health things we’ve done?

Katie: Yeah. Do you have any favorites? Go ahead.

Seth: Well, I’d say the sauna and the cold plunge for sure. Those would be two of mine, two of my favorite. Just, you know, getting so…because we have a barrel sauna and that’s fantastic. So, we’re at five days a week, probably, depending on what’s going on or whatever, and then a cold plunge as well. And we’re in that probably three days a week or something, and just alternating between the hot and the cold. I would say that’s been a couple of my favorites.

Katie: I would definitely agree. And actually, this is a probably good time. I haven’t shared this data yet. So, there’s separate benefits from hot and cold and from contrast therapy with just the two of them together alternating on the same day. And so, we alternate those. We’ll do some days with just hot, some days with hot and cold and fewer days with just cold. And you’ll sometimes do cold before bed on its own because that helps with deep sleep. But over the last couple of months, we did an actual experiment using our sauna with some friends of ours, where we lab tested before, and then at the end of this time period, where we followed some of the clinical data that you see in studies. Because there’s all this…when they can kind of did a meta-analysis of the sauna studies that it appears that the most benefit happens with 4 to 7 times per week at a temperature of about 170 degrees for at least 20 to 30 minutes.

So, we standardized that, did 30 minutes minimum. We actually have 45 minutes but we did 30 minutes at 170 degrees, lab testing, a whole of factors before and after. And what we found, even at the end of a very short study, because we know the research says sauna improves longevity, it reduces all-cause mortality, drastically reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia, etc. Even within a short period of time of just over a month, we saw in all of us who did the sauna thing, improvement in immune factors, which is a big deal right now, reduction in inflammation factors like C reactive protein. And even in some of these people that were testing were athletes already in extremely good shape. So, to be able to see changes that quickly from sauna use, to me, it’s one of those things, if it was a pill I think everybody would take it. And I know we both have become big, big fans of sauna. I would agree with you. So, I think one of our favorites.

Seth: Yeah, for sure.

This episode is sponsored by Joovv Red Light Therapy. Like many of you, I am always trying to find different ways to keep my wellness routine in check. I’ve noticed some of the things that are most helpful to me are practicing daily gratitude, a no-phone rule one hour before and after bed, eating healthy and exercising, and if you’ve been listening to me for a while now, getting in my light therapy sessions. I’ve told you before about why I personally love Joovv before: the skin and hair benefits are awesome and I find that I recover faster from soreness after working out. Joovv is my preferred red light therapy device because it has a patented, modular system that lets you build as you go so you can find a way to fit it into your budget. They have full-body devices (Joovv Elite & Duo) and you can keep connecting these pieces together to make it as big of a device as you like. They also have a Desktop model (Joovv Mini), which is great for travel or for spot treating. Remember, when it comes to natural light modalities, bigger is better for optimal benefits, which is why their modular system is so unique. I wanted my listeners to know they offer exclusive discounts on larger devices when you upgrade your system within the first year of your initial purchase. Their unique modular design lets you build a larger, full-body system over time, and their bundle pricing ensures you’ll pay only what you would have paid if you bought the larger system from the start. Find out more at joovv.com/wellnessmama and use the code wellnessmama for a free gift.

This podcast is brought to you by Wellnesse… my new personal care company that is based on the DIY recipes I have been making for years. Many “clean” products simply don’t work. This is why I have spent the last decade researching and perfecting recipes for products that not only eliminate toxic chemicals but also have ingredients that work BETTER than the conventional alternatives by your body from the outside in. I’m so excited to finally share these products with you and wanted to tell you about our brand new dry shampoo, which is our newest product! Our dry shampoo takes care of all your hair needs, naturally. Tousle in clean hair to add volume, sprinkle to absorb oil or sweat, work in to maintain color-treated hair by skipping a wash or two. It contains Oil-absorbing kaolin clay and volume-boosting tapioca work together to refresh hair at the roots. Lavender oil and cactus flower help balance scalp and to keep the hairs natural pH. We even added hibiscus for healthy hair growth. Try it at Wellnesse.com – and TIP: grab a bundle and save with the built in discount or subscribe and save to save on each order!

Katie: So, to switch gears a little bit, we also got a lot of questions about working together as team, what role you play in the business and how to navigate that. I think more and more people are working together, especially as things go more virtual right now. So, they’re asking how we navigate that. So, to start off, talk about what you do in both the businesses.

Seth: Yeah. So, for Wellness Mama, you know, I’ve handled the tech side since the beginning. I built the first five websites, the first five blog designs and everything before outsourcing that and just overseeing it, played more of the project manager side of it. But also, I was so deeply involved in the tech side for so long, and I’m still involved in that day to day, but realizing that I’m not a great coder or a great designer, but I can speak that language. So, overseeing it and other people can do it a lot better than me. So, handling all the tech side, whether there’s something wrong on the site, whether links aren’t working correctly or the site is down or anything that has to do with the technical side. Also the marketing, whether it’s surrounding the content strategy and researching what topics we should cover or write about based on whether that’s reader, listener feedback, whether that’s trends, anything that has to do with the marketing, kind of social media strategy and all that.

So, one thing we didn’t talk about before was I ran a boutique digital marketing agency after I left my last real job. And I was taking on paying clients, doing website design and social media and search engine optimization and everything in digital marketing. And Wellness Mama was the testing ground that I used for these paying clients, because it wasn’t making any money. It wasn’t a business. It was just a little hobby where you’re writing about health for, you know, for the first, what, five, six years or something that it was around. And so, because of that, it was the testing ground and a lot of those tests that I was trying worked really well. And they were all for the paying clients. And then I got really burnt out. This was around 2014, 2015, got really burnt out on just in client services and had a rush of bad clients where, either, you know, they wouldn’t pay or had to fire them or, you know, just different things like that. And I’m like, there’s a lot of potential with Wellness Mama, it can help a lot of people, it’s growing really well. Why am I focusing so much time on all these other little sites that I’m helping build-out or handling for these clients? I need to go all in or a lot more in on the Wellness Mama side of things and focus on that because that’s…it’s a better option for our family and it can help a lot more people.

And so, I did and just focused more on that and really optimized it a lot better, created a lot more content and just helps everything with all of that. And so, we’ve always had duties that have been completely split up. You know, you’ve always handled the content and anything that has to do with that, and I’ve always handled the technical and the marketing side of things on the Wellness Mama side. I mean, maybe you can add a little more context to that, Katie.

Katie: Yeah. I think that’s really accurate. On the Wellness Mama side I think we both had to learn as we’ve grown Wellnesse, the new site of that, because we’ve both taken on those roles in the new company as well. But then there’s all these new things associated with that, that we’ve never had to navigate. I’ve always formulated for Wellness Mama but I’ve never had to formulate on the chemistry side for actual products that we’re going to market. So, I’ve had to learn that, you’ve had to learn like the paid media side, like new worlds that we haven’t had to exist in before.

Seth: Yeah. I think for Wellnesse, because, you know, co-founding a company, a physical product company that is very different than just creating educational material, like a content site that is education and information, very different when you’re actually creating and working with manufacturers to create physical products and learning a whole new software platform, going from WordPress on the Wellness Mama side to Shopify on the Wellnesse side. And so, and I’ve handled the technical side of that as well. And overseeing like the agency that we’ve used to build out the site and dealing with paid media and paid social and things that, you know, we’ve never done before on Wellness Mama. And just learning all of that. And just separating out the duties so that we’re not stepping on each other’s toes and staying in our own silos, those things that we’re good at.

You know, we talked about earlier as far as relationships and realizing that we compliment each other’s skillsets. And I think in business that’s been one thing that’s been really good as well because those things that you’re good at, I’m not necessarily the best at and vice versa. I’ve always said that I’m a much better editor than a writer. And for Wellness Mama, you know, for the first, what, eight, nine years I edited every post that you ever wrote, you know, you would write and put it out. It was great content, but then, you know, you weren’t necessarily so worried about some of the grammatical things.

Katie: No, I was a journalism major, but it’s also very hard to edit yourself. Those mistakes will make you like almost read through them and don’t see them.

Seth: Yeah. So, I think we’ve complemented each other very, very well over the years. Just in business as well as in life and raising kids and all of that.

Katie: Yeah. I think the silos are actually really important for that. Especially maybe a lot of couples who are having to navigate this, when we both switched to working on these businesses full time you were home all the time. And I know I had an adjustment with this because I was used to you at first, when we were first married, going away to an office every day. And then because you don’t like any kind of messes or disorder, we had this…well, you didn’t know this. We had this rhythm where you would go to work, I would deal with the kids and chaos all day. And then before you came home, the house would be clean, food was made, I would have like undone all the messes of the day. So, then when you were home all day, you were like, “Why is everything always just constantly a mess any more?”

And I was like, “Things had always been like that. I just had time to clean it up every day before you came home.” We had to learn how to navigate that. You had to get used to the constant noise of the kids. And I think we also had to learn, because we were together 24/7, how to make sure we gave each other time away from the kids and time apart, and also really learn to be intentional about which responsibilities we each had in the business, that we weren’t stepping on each other’s toes and we weren’t duplicating work. And so, it became these things are your silos that you’re in charge of, these are mine that I’m in charge of. Within our own realms, we have veto ability. And so, like within the content realm, I’m the final call, and on the tech platform, you’re the final call. And that way, we could speed up the decision-making process and everything didn’t have to be like a board meeting. And also, we could like learn to navigate those different roles when we were together all the time.

Seth: And we’d also communicate with each other about those. And I think this is one of the differences in how…our personalities and how we work together, no matter what is. I work much better in a collaborative environment, bouncing ideas off. And even if I already know what I think we should do, I want to get some outside feedback also and how you’d rather just work by yourself, just like alone, just head down and just go deep in whether it’s your writing or researching or whatever, and not deal with anyone else. And that’s completely foreign to me.

Katie: So we kind of had to learn or like I would have set aside times to be collaborative with you and let you bounce ideas off. And you had to learn there were some times when you would just not talk to me so I could get work done. And we’ve kind of had to figure out that rhythm too.

Seth: Yeah. I mean, like, even now, like we’ll set a day aside where you’ll just go to a coffee shop and write or just plan or outline or research or whatever that is, just so you’re away from the noise and the kids and all of that stuff. And I’ll manage that.

Katie: Yeah. Somebody also asked, kind of along these lines, does he like to hear all your exciting, new research about whatever topic you’re researching? And I want to take this one and then hear if you think I’m right.

Seth: I can’t take this?

Katie: Well, I want to hear you first or…

Seth: Go ahead.

Katie: I was going to say I don’t think you’d actually like hearing the super deep science side because I can actually put you to sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, I keep rambling on about studies and you’ll fall asleep, but it’s really helpful to me because I feel like you’re a good barometer and like a good representation of how other people need to hear… Because I get so deep in the science and I think everyone wants to talk about science too.

Seth: Not true.

Katie: So, if I can explain it to you in a way that is interesting to you and get you excited about it, that means I’ve probably gotten to a point where I can write about it because then it’ll hopefully be exciting to other people as well. But I’m curious your take, are you excited to hear my new science?

Seth: You know, I mean, I’ve never been that into science per se. I mean, I like the high-level overview. Give me the cliff notes version and tell me exactly like what this actually means. I don’t really care to dig way deep into the research and understand every little itty-bitty point that is being made. And that’s great that you do, but give me the condensed version, explain it to me in common speak so that I can understand it and get a high-level overview and maybe explain that to someone else if need be. But I don’t need to know every single little detail, but that’s just not where my interests lie. So, yeah. So I think I like hearing about it, but sometimes not quite as deep and nerdy as you like to get with it at times.

Katie: Yeah. I think that’s a good barometer for sure. And that also brings up the next question, which is, somebody asked, what do we most disagree about?

Seth: That is a good question.

Katie: I think I will say we butt heads in business sometimes, which is why figuring out those silos has been important because I feel like we now know like if it’s tech stuff, I’ll offer feedback if you want it, but I know that’s your realm and you know better than I know. And we’ve had to learn kind of how to navigate that and not step on each other’s toes, because we are both firstborns and we are both strong-willed. So, that’s been a little bit tough to navigate. When it comes to kids, I’m grateful we’re very much on the same page for a lot of that. I don’t feel like we have any massive disagreements when it comes to raising the kids. I would say one, is a small one comparatively, but you were raised in a very German, Italian household, and you were used to everything being almost like military clean at all times, and that’s kind of your baseline. And I very much am of the realm… Only growing up with one brother, I wanted to have a big family. And when we had a bunch of kids, I wanted to always be the place where all the kids would feel comfortable hanging out and bringing all their friends all the time, which is definitely the case right now. We usually have what, 12 to 15 kids in our house.

Katie: And that’s not me at all.

Seth: And you kind of go nuts with messes. So, that’s one of our more common disagreements is I’m very much like houses are made to be lived in, of course, you should do handstands against the wall and you’ll be like, “Hey, you’re messing up the paint.” So, we’ve had to figure out how to navigate things like that.

Seth: Yeah. I mean, I’ll be the first admit I’m super anal when it comes to being neat and orderly and having everything clean. I hate messes. Everything has it’s place and it should be in its place at all times. Why are there things on the floor? Why is this not put away? I mean, like I always want things to be neat and orderly. That’s how I was raised and I know you were kind of the opposite, like your family was not very neat, orderly, and still aren’t. And so, just a difference in how we were raised, and I realize there’s probably a happy balance and there somewhere. But yeah, I think the difference, like when I come home, I expect everything should be neat and orderly. You would want to make it neat because I like it neat.

So, as the counterpoint to that, I guess, is that when you travel, when you’re gone, I make sure that everything is spotless, so you don’t have to think about it. So that it’s perfectly neat. And so, you don’t have to worry about picking things up or cleaning things up because when I get home and things are messy, I can’t think about doing anything else except cleaning first, because that’s just how things should be like, you know, it’s just…I don’t know. It’s probably a little bit neurotic, I’ll admit it, but yeah, I mean, there’s probably a happy balance somewhere in the middle there. But yeah, I would definitely much prefer not so many people over all the time, not so many kids running around all the time, and just having things a little quieter and neater.

Katie: Yeah. So, that’s definitely one we disagree a lot on, we’re still working on, probably trying to find balance on. Another thing, they said you guys should talk about natural family planning. I don’t think this one needs to probably turn into a long discussion, but I know we can probably both offer some quick practical tips because we’ve used an NFP for our whole marriage and when to have kids and not to have kids for the last four years. And a couple…like we’ve definitely learned some lessons along the way, I feel like. And there’s so much technology now that makes it easier. I would say my most practical tip… Well, for anyone who’s not familiar, so natural family planning is the idea of tracking one’s cycle and fertility signs to be able to know when you’re fertile and when you’re not fertile. And there’s now some great resources for that. So, there’s an app called My Flow that I have on my phone, and you now have on your phone. And the beauty of that is you can know all of those things too without having to ask me every single day.

Seth: When you remember to update it.

Katie: I do remember to update it. It’s accurate. So, you’re pretty much aware when I’m fertile and when I’m not. And I think that one actually sends the guy emails too…

Seth: Used to, it has been kind of inconsistent. I haven’t gotten an email about it in a long time, but I will get a push notification, but I’ve noticed that it’s not perfectly accurate. But again, I think it has something to do with when it’s synched and how often you sync it up, I think.

Katie: Well, and the cool thing about that one as well is it kind of tells you, like you’re in this phase of your cycle. So, here’s some tips for what kind of workouts are actually going to be most beneficial for you based on your hormones, make sure to get enough of these nutrients. So, there’s some really practical applications beyond just the fertility side as well. And I’ve written about NFP quite a few times in different posts. So, I’ll make sure to include those in the show notes as well for anyone who wants to go into more detail. But I do feel like that has taken some of the stress out of NFP for us, wouldn’t you say? Like, you don’t have to ask me every day, I don’t have to get annoyed with you asking me every day.

Seth: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I mean, that’s, you know, never that much fun dealing with it, when you can and cannot get intimate based on that. I mean, and most contraception, and pretty much all contraception healthwise is terrible for you, and that’s one of the things that we’ve realized or it’s not as good. So, yeah, so you’ve got that side of it too. But yeah, so it’s a balancing act trying to find what to do there.

Katie: We were also asked, what is our philosophy on raising children? How are we similar in this and how do we differ? I’ll link to some posts because I know we’ve written about this before. But if you want to speak to just kind of some of our core ones about independence and responsibility and giving them freedom.

Seth: Yeah. I think we’ve always pretty much been on the same page when it comes to raising kids and how we want to raise them. And that goes down to teaching them all those skills that they’re going to need to know as an adult, and preparing them for life as an adult, which we don’t know what that’s going to look like because the world is changing so fast and technology is evolving so quickly. But basically, teaching them how to think critically, not what to think, but how to think, how to evaluate any idea, any concept on its own merit and looking at the pros and cons, playing devil’s advocate for it and just looking at all the different sides of a subject matter. Also, thinking creatively and being creative. So, whether that’s art, whether that’s music, and playing an instrument or taking a drawing or painting class, also athletically. Because getting the body moving and being active and whether that’s playing a team sport or an individual sport…like everybody used to take traditional Japanese jujitsu, and that was great.

Now, all the kids are doing pole vaulting and that’s been really good. Some of the boys have played baseball. You know, so just trying to get involved in as many different activities like that, within reason, of course, you know, when you’re running around constantly non-stop and everything is about the next kid’s activity that’s obviously…has consequences too and isn’t that balanced. But just encouraging the kids to be active and mobile and not being on electronics, limiting the amount of time they’re on technology, whether that’s an iPad or video games or TV, or what have you. And so, I think those are kind of the core things, as far as creative thinking, critical thinking and being active, and just learning to appreciate athletic sports, movement, all that sort of thing.

Katie: Yeah, definitely agree. Like I said, I’ve talked about this a little bit, or at least the homeschool side I’ve talked about more, but I’m grateful we are on the same page. I don’t think we have any really big disagreements when it comes to the kids, and I know some couples do, so I’m grateful that we’re on the same page for those things.

Seth: Yeah. I mean, there’s, you know, there’s always like minimal things here or there, like sometimes… I’d say the only thing that we would possibly disagree with some is you tend to be a little bit more free with them as far as letting them just run around and do more things that I would necessarily. And not even to a huge extent, but yeah just… And I’m not a helicopter parent at all, but I would say that you are even less of that than me.

Katie: Yeah. That’s really an accurate assessment. But I still feel like we’re pretty close when it comes to those things. I cannot believe we’ve already flown through an entire hour. There might be a round two based on if we get followup questions, I suspect that we will, but I’m going to throw a couple of the ending questions that I always throw at podcast guest at you. The first being, if there’s a book or a number of books that have had a dramatic impact on your life and if so, what they are and why?

Seth: Categorically, doesn’t matter? Okay. So, I guess just a personal, like self-help book “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. I read that in college and that’s always been a great book. I’ll usually reread it every couple of years. Business book, a couple. When I was in high school, I read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. And that was a great one, just to kind of get me thinking outside the box monetarily. And let’s see, what would a third one be? Do I need a third one?

Katie: You don’t need a third one, two is good.

Seth: Okay, we’ll go with those two.

Katie: I will say you just read one that you suggested to me to read. It may not have been one of the more impactful ones of your life, but that you enjoyed, which was “Let Them Go Surfing.” Which is from the founder of Patagonia. You enjoyed that one.

Seth: Yeah. That was a great book, just as far as… That’s by Yvon Chouinard, who’s the founder of Patagonia. And that was just a good business book about kind of his memoir about creating the company and being so all in on creating amazing products, but also doing the right thing for the environment. I feel like that was a great book, just kind of getting me all in on as far as what we’re doing with Wellnesse. And I always have been, but even more so.

Katie: And then lastly, I feel like you know the audience very well from a tech perspective, you know their demographics and their data and the roundup of where the traffic comes from. But if on a maybe like personal level, relationship level, parenting level, whatever it may be, if there’s any parting advice you want to leave with the listeners today, what it would be and why?

Seth: I guess, you know, we’ve covered so many different topics over the years on Wellness Mama based on things that you were interested in, based on reader questions or feedback. So, if you have a health question you have, whether it’s mindset or parenting or things like that, there is such a vast resource on the website. You know, we’re close to 2,000 blog posts and several hundred podcast episodes. You know, just searching on wellnessmama.com you’re going to find probably an answer to a question as far as, you know, your perspective on it, Katie. And not to say that it’s the end all be all, definitely isn’t, but we do our very best just to put out accurate information that is medically reviewed and that is as accurate as it possibly can be. And we’re always updating that content to what the latest science, what the latest info and research. And in the recommendations that we make, we try to use a three-tiered approach of good, better, and best based…whether that’s based on the quality of a product or service or based on the price point or things like that.

And realizing that everyone is a different place, whether that is on their health journey, financially, location, social-economically etc, and just trying to be as helpful as we can to everyone. Because, you know, without someone caring and being interested in these, then Wellness Mama wouldn’t be amazing community that it is.

Katie: I love that. That’s a perfect place to wrap up. And this has been a fun conversation. Hopefully, it’s been helpful to you guys listening. And definitely by no means are we obviously a perfect couple. We have our own share of things that we navigate, but I’m grateful that we got to spend time with you guys today. Thanks honey for taking the time to be here.

Seth: Good times.

Katie: And thanks, of course, to all of you guys for listening. I’m so grateful that you chose to spend time with us today, and your time is one of your most valuable resources. And it’s always an honor that you spend it here. I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama” podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

This podcast is sponsored by Joovv Red Light Therapy. Like many of you, I am always trying to find different ways to keep my wellness routine in check. I’ve noticed some of the things that are most helpful to me are practicing daily gratitude, a no-phone rule one hour before and after bed, eating healthy and exercising, and if you’ve been listening to me for a while now, getting in my light therapy sessions. I’ve told you before about why I personally love Joovv before: the skin and hair benefits are awesome and I find that I recover faster from soreness after working out. Joovv is my preferred red light therapy device because it has a patented, modular system that lets you build as you go so you can find a way to fit it into your budget. They have full-body devices (Joovv Elite & Duo) and you can keep connecting these pieces together to make it as big of a device as you like. They also have a Desktop model (Joovv Mini), which is great for travel or for spot treating. Remember, when it comes to natural light modalities, bigger is better for optimal benefits, which is why their modular system is so unique. I wanted my listeners to know they offer exclusive discounts on larger devices when you upgrade your system within the first year of your initial purchase. Their unique modular design lets you build a larger, full-body system over time, and their bundle pricing ensures you’ll pay only what you would have paid if you bought the larger system from the start. Find out more at joovv.com/wellnessmama and use the code wellnessmama for a free gift.

This podcast is brought to you by Wellnesse, my new personal care company that is based on the DIY recipes I have been making for years. Many “clean” products simply don’t work. This is why I have spent the last decade researching and perfecting recipes for products that not only eliminate toxic chemicals but also have ingredients that work BETTER than the conventional alternatives by your body from the outside in. I’m so excited to finally share these products with you and wanted to tell you about our brand new dry shampoo, which is our newest product! Our dry shampoo takes care of all your hair needs, naturally. Tousle in clean hair to add volume, sprinkle to absorb oil or sweat, work in to maintain color-treated hair by skipping a wash or two. It contains Oil-absorbing kaolin clay and volume-boosting tapioca work together to refresh hair at the roots. Lavender oil and cactus flower help balance scalp and to keep the hairs natural pH. We even added hibiscus for healthy hair growth. Try it at Wellnesse.com – and TIP: grab a bundle and save with the built in discount or subscribe and save to save on each order!

Jul 02 2020

1hr 7mins

Play

352: How Protein Improves Metabolism and Health With Billy Bosch From Iconic Protein

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Today on the podcast we’re talking all about protein: how much do we need, what kind do we need, and how can know our kids are getting enough! I’m here with my friend Billy Bosch, the founder of ICONIC Protein, who knows this area inside and out.

We’ll explain exactly how protein works as a building block of healthy body as well as tips for optimizing your protein consumption depending on your athletic goals, your health goals, and just your overall dietary needs.

Episode Highlights With Iconic Protein

  • What protein does for the body, and why most of us aren’t getting enough
  • The reason more protein is great for weight loss
  • The personalized factors we need to consider to determine how much protein is ideal
  • Myths about protein and women
  • Why your source of protein matters just as much as how much you eat
  • How to load protein when intermittent fasting
  • Time and resource management tips for entrepreneurs trying to juggle it all
  • And more!

Resources We Mention

More From Wellness Mama

Did you enjoy this episode? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well.

Read Transcript

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

This episode is brought to you by Wellnesse. That’s Wellnesse with an E on the end, which is my new personal care company that is dedicated to making safe and effective products from my family to your family. We started with toothpaste and hair care because these are the biggest offenders in most bathrooms, and we’re coming after the other personal care products as well. Did you know for instance that most shampoo contains harsh detergents that strip out the natural oils from the hair and leave it harder to manage over time and more dependent on extra products? We took a different approach, creating a nourishing hair food that gives your hair what it actually needs and doesn’t take away from its natural strength and beauty. In fact, it’s specifically designed to support your hair’s natural texture, natural color, and is safe for color-treated hair as well. Our shampoos contain herbs like nettle, which helps strengthen hair and reduce hair fall, leaving your hair and scalp healthier over time, and scented only with natural essential oils in a very delicate scent so that you don’t have to worry about the fragrance as well. Over time, your hair gets back to its stronger, healthier, shinier state without the need for parabens or silicone or SLS. You can check it out along with our whitening toothpaste and our full hair care bundles at wellnesse.com, that’s wellnesse.com. An insider tip, grab an essentials bundle or try auto-ship and you will lock in a discount.

This podcast is sponsored by Four Sigmatic, my source for superfood mushroom products that are a big part of my daily routine. In fact, about 80% of the dirt under your feet is actually mycelium or mushrooms. And mushrooms have a wide variety of health benefits, everything from immune support, and improved sleep, and they’re also a great source of B vitamins, and vitamin D. Mushrooms are considered anti-inflammatory due to a compound called ergothioneine and are considered safe and beneficial to consume regularly. In my house, we often start the day with Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane and Chaga. It tastes just like regular coffee without as much caffeine and no jitters. The Lion’s Mane and Chaga help with energy and focus, like I said, without the jitters, or the acidity of a lot of coffee. I sip other products of theirs throughout the day, like their Chaga or Cordyceps or Lion’s Mane Elixirs, and I often wind down at night with their Reishi Elixir or Reishi Cacao, and I notice a measurable difference in my sleep when I do that. As a listener of this podcast, you can save on all Four Sigmatic products by going to foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama and using the code “wellnessmama” to save 15%.

Katie: Hello and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com. That’s Wellnesse with an “E” on the end. It’s our new line of personal care products including hair care, toothpaste, and now, hand sanitizer. You can check it out at wellnesse.com.

This episode is all about protein, how much do we need, what kind do we need, and how do we make sure our kids are getting enough? I’m here with my friend Billy Bosch, who is the founder of ICONIC Protein, and who has done a lot of research in this area. You’ll hear a little bit about his story in this episode as well as tips for how to optimize your protein consumption depending on your athletic goals, your health goals, and just your overall dietary needs.

So I know you’re gonna enjoy this episode. Without further ado, let’s go join Billy. Billy, welcome. Thanks for being here.

Billy: Hey, thank you for having me, Katie.

Katie: I am excited to chat because I think we have a lot in common, both in the health research side and learning about our own health, and also in running now health-related businesses. I always love to hear a little bit about someone’s story. I, of course, know yours because we’re friends, but for anybody who’s not familiar with you yet, can you kind of explain how you got into the world of healthy protein?

Billy: Certainly. For me I’ve always had an interest in, we’ll call it, health and wellness to varying degrees, starting out early on in life. I don’t know that it was there. Had a lot of arguments with mom and dad about not eating vegetables. And I was a really picky eater when I was younger. And then when I got into my 20s, I got more into working out and taking care of my body, but I really still just kind of ate whatever I wanted to. I figured, “Hey, look, if I work out, then I have a pass to eat whatever I want.” And, of course, our metabolisms are a lot higher in our 20s. And I found myself in a bit of a quarter-life health crisis. And I’m sure some of your listeners can empathize with some type of health crisis in their life and you have a bit of an “aha” moment and say, “Wait a minute, what’s going on here?” And for me that was going to a doctor for an annual physical and realizing that I have high cholesterol and chronic acid reflux and other health issues related to that. And the doctor says, “Hey, here’s a couple of prescriptions. Take these pills everyday and you should start feeling a lot better.” “Okay, how long should I take this? Why do I need this?” “Oh, just kind of indefinitely.” And I just thought that sounded crazy.

Katie: Yeah.

Billy: Yeah. And from there I went to a dietician because I thought, “If food seems to be my problem, perhaps that could be the solution as well.” And I went to a dietician and she said, “Yeah, this is something that can be resolved with food. You don’t have to take pills. And it starts with more protein and more fiber because those are things that fill you up in a healthy way and curb your appetite, provide nourishment for your body, and help you make better decisions when you do get hungry and are tempted to make the easy choice, which may not always be the healthiest choice.”

Katie: Yeah, exactly. I think for anybody who knows my story, there’s similarities there as well. When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, it was kind of like, “Oh, you’re going to have this the rest of your life. And you’re just going to need to mitigate these symptoms for the rest of your life.” And I wasn’t okay with that. And it led to this whole research path of wondering, “Well, how did I get here in the first place? And whatever caused it, can I undo that by handling those types of things?” And in the last couple of years for me, actually, the protein thing has become a bigger and bigger key because, especially for women, I think like guys tend to have a better understanding of the importance of protein because of the muscle connection, or at least it seems like guys who have ever lifted or been in sports at various times. But I think women can shy away from protein, or at least we’re just not as naturally inclined to consume enough protein as a lot of guys are. And so this is something I learned and have kind of been researching in the last few years, especially, is the importance of protein and all of the ways that supports the body. And, obviously, this is something you researched as well. So, talk about what you discovered of why we need protein and how much do we need.

Billy: Yeah, great question. And I know your story and I know that a lot of the listeners can empathize with, trying to figure out, okay, what’s right for their body and what do I need to put in my body to provide the nourishment it needs? And when it comes to protein, one of the common questions is always, “Okay, is it just for working out? Am I going to start growing muscles everywhere?” There’s this correlation that it’s for the gym. And as someone that has been in this nutrition world for the last 10 or so years I’ve done a lot of events in the public, and that’s one of the common questions I get when we do a sampling or something like that, is people say, “Hey, like, what is this for again? Like protein, is it just for going to the gym?”

And for me, it’s a lot more than that. You know that. And when it comes to whether it’s like curbing your appetite or just like filling you up and providing that nourishment in general, it’s something that people always ask, like, “Hey, what’s the right amount of protein? How much does my body need?” And there’s a lot of kind of false information out there. And it’s hard to say there’s a true rule of thumb per se. A lot of “experts” I’ve talked to, and some of them I buy into more than others, will kind of suggest a certain amount of protein by body weight. And I think that makes sense. But it also doesn’t take into account metabolisms, and everyone’s metabolism is a little bit different and how you process protein and the type of protein that’s right for you varies. So I encourage people to take a step back and understand how much protein is related to a certain food that you process that you know.

So, for me, if I look at like a piece of fish or a breast of chicken or something like that, and I say, “Okay, let me look at what’s equivalent to about 20 grams of protein.” And I look at a portion size of that in a clean animal protein and then I look at a serving of powdered protein. That’s the correlation that makes sense in my mind because I say, “Okay, I need about that much to fill me up, and I’m looking for that nourishment angle versus the muscle recovery.” And so for me, I’m looking to get, I would say, 70 to 80 grams a day, and that’s if I’m not doing some kind of serious training or something along those lines. But it really depends on your body rate. And again, it depends on your metabolism. I encourage people to do some research and do some homework to understand what’s right for them, in particular, because I don’t think there’s like a blanket piece of advice that makes sense for everyone.

Katie: Yeah, I agree. If anything, the last few years have taught me just how personalized health is and how, at the end of the day, we can learn from a lot of different sources, but we really all have the responsibility to test and to experiment and figure out what actually does work best for us. But I think protein is unique in and of itself because people have probably heard the idea, which is actually incorrect, that celery takes more calories to chew than you actually get from consuming it. So it’s like a “negative calorie food.” And that’s kind of been somewhat debunked. But the interesting thing about protein is it does take more energy than the other macronutrients for our body to break it down. And it also supports the body in much different ways because of the amino acids. And you could probably explain this better than I can, but if I’m remembering, there’s something called the thermic effect of food, or they call it TEF, and protein has a higher thermic effect than fat or carbs.

So, if I’m remembering the numbers, I think most protein is somewhere in the 20% to 30% range compared to carbs and fat being more like the 5% to 15% range. And so for this reason, that’s why you hear things like getting adequate protein can support your metabolism or increase the number of calories you burn at rest, especially over time, because, like you mentioned, proteins are important to build muscle and the more muscle we have, the more calories we burn at rest and the more energy we have. And so that’s one change that I would encourage women, especially, to make, is just to up protein intake, even if you don’t change anything else. Like I personally noticed a big difference in that from my energy levels.

And I think beyond there, it’s experimenting with the timing and the type of protein, like you said. Like I’m a big fan of intermittent fasting and circadian fasting, so I don’t eat like all day long. I’ll try to eat in a shorter window, but I found I need to get protein in with whatever food I eat first and then I also need to make sure I get enough protein at night. And I personally seem to do the best eating breakfast and lunch with lots of protein and then actually not eating later in the day. So, the more time I give myself before bed the better I tend to do. But I noticed a drastic change just from increasing my protein intake. And as a woman, especially, I think I overestimated how much protein I was getting before I really paid attention to it and thought I was getting plenty. And then when I actually started tracking, I realized I wasn’t getting nearly as much protein as I thought I was and to actually get close to the amount of protein I needed, I actually had to make a conscious effort to get more protein. I would guess you hear that probably relatively often, that it’s sometimes hard to get enough protein, especially if you’re busy and on the go.

Billy: Oh, yeah. Certainly. It really can be, to try and make sure you’re getting enough protein during the day. It’s really interesting once you actually dig in, like you did. And from time to time, I won’t do it every day, but I’ll add up my calories and track everything, get really specific and understand like what macros are going into my body and how much protein I’m consuming. And it’s a challenge, especially for those of us, and I think a lot of people can empathize with this, is everyone’s busy. There’s a lot going on. Even in these crazy days, it’s like there’s, when you’re stuck at home, there’s just a lot to do. There’s things happening. And it’s easy to kind of bounce around and grab whatever’s convenient in the pantry or the fridge. And it may not always be protein-dense food or other item that you’re consuming. So, that’s one of the things that I found beneficial in going to find products out there that can provide additional nutrients like protein in a compact or convenient format. Because, look, I mean, it’s just a benefit to go out there and have something that can make your life easier. We’re all looking for that easy button.

Katie: Yeah, absolutely. And I know that was part of the impetus for you of creating Iconic, right, is that people would have access to easier, cleaner forms of protein. And I know that through all of this, like not all protein is created equal, especially when you’re talking about protein powders. So, can you talk through some of what you found and what, as consumers, we should be looking for in any kind of protein?

Billy: Yeah. And again, I really encourage people, and I’ve heard you say this over and over again, it’s like, people really need to understand what’s right for them. I’m never one to say like, “Hey, everyone should consume this type of protein because it’s the best and this is why.” Like, come on. In the days of people doing their genetic testing and doing their 23andMe, I think the future of nutrition in general is really like nutrigenomics, which has come come up on your podcast a few times. And I think people understanding how nutrition plays into their genetics is going to be really key in understanding how your body processes different types of proteins. And when I look at it, I look at amino acid profiles, I look at bioavailability. These are things that you can Wikipedia for those of you that are scratching your head and thinking like, “Okay…” I feel like that. I don’t have a PhD. I don’t always feel like I’m a subject matter expert. I know a lot about a number of different things in the protein field. But a lot of it’s just self-taught and a lot of it’s kind of like learning on my own.

But understanding bioavailability, in particular, is just understanding how your body’s going to process a protein. And even as something as simple as a Wikipedia search will show that things like animal protein, specifically whey protein, is going to be synthesized in your body a lot more efficiently than some of the other protein sources out there. And that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. But it means that typically it is synthesized in a more efficient fashion than something like, I don’t know, like a hemp protein or something like that. And again, like, no knock on hemp. But it’s good to understand, “Okay, if I’m going to do this, I need to take a little bit more because it’s not going to be apples to apples on 20 grams of protein to one. I need to take a little bit more because my body potentially won’t synthesize it as efficiently. So I need to kind of make sure I offset that versus going off of the standard nutrition pack funnel recommended daily value.”

Katie: Gotcha. And I think there’s also this myth, especially with women, that consuming too much protein is going to make you bulk up or get too muscular. And I know you mentioned a little bit about, that was one conception is people need to eat more protein if they’re trying to gain muscle. But is that actually the case, especially as women, is that something we need to worry about, is getting too bulky from protein consumption?

Billy: Great question. And again, that comes up all the time. That’s probably the number one thing that comes up in general just with being in the nutrition space and especially with our product line being more focused on protein in general. Look, there’s some truth to, if you’re looking for muscle recovery, then protein will help you build muscle. But if you’re not consuming it in that fashion, then it’s not really something you have to worry about per se. For most people it’s going to provide nourishment and it actually has been proven. There’s a Harvard study out there that we’ve referenced in a few blog posts that shows that protein actually increases your metabolism. So, you can lose… This is like kind of a fun ratio to throw out. Essentially, they took people and they said, “Okay, if you don’t increase your activity level and you keep your calories the same, but you increase the protein level and those calories as opposed to increasing carbohydrates or something like that,” the people that increased the protein in their diet but kept their activity level and their caloric intake exactly the same versus the control group actually lost 5 to 10 pounds a year because their metabolism sped up. And that’s what protein can do for your body. So, it kind of have the opposite effect.

Katie: Yeah, that’s so fascinating. And I think when you actually look at the data, I don’t know where some of these misconceptions came from, but I’ve heard some of these similar ones, and when you actually look at the data, it’s really fascinating that often it’s a completely different story. Like certainly I think sourcing makes a huge difference. And I think, if you’re eating factory farmed meat as your source of protein, like there certainly can be problems there. But when you look at any kind of study, when they’ve actually controlled for those variables and compared higher to lower protein intake, you’re right, we see trials that show that adequate protein intake can help lower blood pressure, especially in at-risk populations. I’ve also seen some of those same studies about protein and weight loss. And that was my experience as well. It wasn’t the only factor I changed, but over the last couple of years I’ve lost a substantial amount of weight. And one of those things was making sure I got enough protein because I actually wasn’t eating enough food for a long time because I was trying to lose weight. And so I had basically sort of downshifted my metabolism and I wasn’t getting enough calories and certainly not enough protein. And so, for me, actually having a target number to hit of protein consumption was one of the keys of not just losing weight but like kind of rebuilding my metabolism after all of those years of kind of dieting.

There’s also this idea, this myth that too much protein can harm your kidneys. And I don’t know if that’s something that you’ve looked into much, but I looked at that because there’s a little bit of a history of kidney issues in my family. And from what I’ve read, it’s kind of actually the opposite. Unless there’s a true preexisting kidney issue and very specific ones like those can be very serious. But other than that, there’s not any evidence that I found that just consuming protein in a vacuum is harmful to the kidneys. Have you found that as well?

Billy: Yeah. To be honest, I haven’t done a ton of research into that. It’s something that has come up here and there. We don’t get a ton of questions on that, but it sounds like you’ve done your homework on that.

Katie: Yeah. I think that’s an important one to address, too. If that’s a reason someone would be not consuming enough protein, that is something to reconsider there as well. So, I’m also curious, I know Tim Ferriss kind of popularized the study about protein consumption in the morning. And if I remember that study, it was, if you consumed at least 30 grams within 30 minutes of waking up, there were certain like metabolic factors that seemed to optimize. Have you done any experimentation or have any data on what time of day for optimal protein consumption and how do you navigate that personally?

Billy: Yeah, great question. One of the things that I’ve looked into personally is, I’ve tested just about everything imaginable on myself in terms of protein consumption at different times. And, specifically, like I’m with you on intermittent fasting. I feel a lot better when I do an intermittent fast. And this morning it went out the window because I did a workout at 7:00 a.m. and was just famished when I got home. I just needed something before we spoke. But generally, I’m a fan of having a longer window without food and having that calorie restriction during the day. And then I’m kind of eating constantly in my feeding window. And I do find that breaking fast with protein for me really kind of like calms my body. It fills me up. When I do something that’s not rich in protein, I find that like I just can’t stop eating. Like, I’m hungry, I’m hungry, I’m hungry. Or it’ll fill me up momentary and then I’ll get hungry again. So, for me it’s important to have more protein. And I feel it’s really impactful on my body when I break that daily fast and start with protein, or from not fasting, making sure that one of the first things in my body is rich in protein because it means I can eat a little bit less or drink a little bit less. And it’s kind of that lighter feeling but still feeling full that makes me feel really my best.

Katie: Gotcha. And this is something else, especially as my kids are getting older and I now have teenagers, which is crazy to say, something I’m paying attention to with them as well, because I know, obviously, the teenage years are a time of rapid growth for kids, both skeletal, muscular. They have hormones which are supported by protein and enough healthy fats. So, I’m trying to be very cognizant of this with my kids and also supporting them with just certain key supplements and then as much as possible nutrients from food. And I know this is important for you as well. I believe I remember you telling me because of your niece and nephew, you also really care about having good options available for kids. And I think kids can be an even tougher market to crack, but you have just released protein for kids. So, talk about that and how you guys innovated it in this.

Billy: Yeah. One of the things that…I’ll be clear, I’m not a parent, I don’t give parenting advice. I have a lot of kids in my family. I’ve got a five-year-old niece and plenty of other nieces and nephews that range from toddlers all the way up to early teens. And so, I’ve got a lot of experience with them. And my brother’s 10 years younger, so growing up I had some responsibility just helping to get dinner together and do all of that. But I know that as a kid sometimes you’re just picky. And like, for me, I was so picky. I would literally take the green things and like take them off my plate. I didn’t want to eat anything green. There’s something about it, right? So, I’m picking all this stuff out of my food. And I organized my siblings when I was younger and kind of wrote this like, dinner manual to my mom. And I said, “Mom, here are the things we’d like to eat,” because it was a battle every night at dinner. And she was always trying to make things healthy and kind of do secret healthy where it was like, okay, as a normal dish she would prepare but make it healthier. Doing like a ground turkey instead of ground beef or subbing in some plant-based ingredients, whatever it may be. And we would just sniff it out and say, “Oh, this tastes healthy. We don’t like it.” So, it’s kind of ironic that I then started a health company.

But when we look at kids, we have a lot of moms that are consumers of our products and we hear a lot of the same things. And some kids are great eaters. Some kids just crush vegetables and love eating healthy. But not all of them. And so, whether the kid’s a “healthy eater” or not, we find is that one of the pain points parents have that they’ve reached out to us about is the kids get a lot of sugar. Kids love sugar. There’s a lot of money spent in food marketing for high sugar kids’ products that target kids. If you look at kids’ products in general, whether it’s, juice or fruit in a pouch, whatever it may be, a lot of them are high sugar. A lot of the products have sugar as one of the first three ingredients. And our crazy idea was, “Okay, well, why don’t we create a kid’s line that has zero sugar, has a full serving of organic green vegetables, and has some protein in it? And let’s start with, those kind of core pillars of this product and see if we can make something that tastes really yummy.”

And one of the things that I remember from childhood is loving cereal. We each had a few boxes of our favorite cereal, and this was not mom approved. It was like the cereal that we just kind of like pleaded and pleaded and pleaded for and finally got our way on, but it tastes really yummy, right? So I thought, “Okay, we’ll do our standard kind of chocolate, really rich chocolate flavor and a vanilla flavor, and then we’ll do one that tastes like Froot Loops.” So we took Froot Loops and Fruity Pebbles and those kind of fruity cereals and we put them in a bowl, put the milk in and tried the milk after. And we made a drink that I’m telling you, Katie, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the fruity cereal, cereal milk and its fruity flavor. It’s like Willy Wonka stuff. It’s crazy. So, we have a fruity fiesta flavor, we call it, and that’s the third one. But yeah, that’s the premise. It was like, “Well, let’s make something that is a pain point for people and really can provide like a shelf stable, clean label, zero sugar snack for kids during the day.”

Katie: Yeah. I love it. I know we have some on the way. My kids are excited to try them and it’s great because they’re also something easy kids can take on the go when school gets back in session, which will hopefully be next year. Or even like kids’ sports. My kids are doing pole vaulting and they definitely come home hungry and wanting protein. So, that’s an easy thing that they can take with them.

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To switch gears a little bit too, I know firsthand now just how much goes into running a physical products company. We’re navigating that as well with Wellnesse, and we’re in the first few months of that. And it’s a lot to juggle. And there’s actually quite a few listeners who run or manage businesses in some way. And I think there’s overlap here as well because as an entrepreneur you really do have to have your health kind of dialed in to be able to operate at the highest level. And I always love to hear from other entrepreneurs kind of what your daily routine is like and how, if you have any tips for navigating that, that also can just kind of transfer to moms who…a lot of moms are juggling a lot more than they normally would right now with kids home and the world being so different. So, I’d love to hear any routine tips you have.

Billy: Yeah. It’s funny. I do a lot of experimenting with my routine and trying different things. And a lot of my close friends and family kind of roll their eyes whenever I’ve got a new addition to my routine or subtraction. But it’s one of those things that no matter the routine, for me, the theme of, whether it’s seeking knowledge on nutrition or seeking knowledge on how to start a business, because how would I ever know how to start a drink and powder company, which turns out it’s a lot harder than it sounds. In my eight years tenure, I thought this would be like year two. I would have achieved the level we’re at now. Turns out it takes a little bit longer, but the theme has really been, if you don’t know something, figure it out. And it gets down to resourcefulness. And that’s a big part of what goes into figuring things out with the business as a whole.

And even for parents, I think the theme of resourcefulness, what I hear from people, is really key. Again, I don’t give advice on parenting, by no means any type of experts in that realm, of course. But my friends that are parents tell me it’s all about constantly figuring things out, whether they have their business or just working on being better parents or dealing with issues with the kids. A lot of it comes down to the resourcefulness. And one of the other things that helps in just managing stress of a business and life in general is really kind of like… For me it’s come down to a daily routine. Right now I’m trying bucketing my days. So, Monday it’ll be marketing, Tuesday it’ll be sales, and then we’ll do supply chain or kind of set things out. And it doesn’t mean that other things can’t come about, but it means that generally I try to stack meetings for those things on those days, and it helps me start to kind of organize and focus.

I think a lot of people, maybe, you’d be able to empathize with a challenge in focusing because there’s still stress these days, whether it be with news or family issues that come up, or things going on with your friends or whatever it may be. There’s just a lot going on in life. And it’s really easy to get in contact with people, whether it’s social media, or just phone and text, whatever. So I think like having focus in your life is beneficial. And for me, that comes down to bucketing my days. It comes down to a 10, 10, 10 in the morning, which doesn’t happen every day, but I try to do it, which is, 10 minutes of meditation, 10 minutes of planning for the day, and then 10 minutes of some type of education. So, I’m working on learning some Spanish right now, so I’m doing a little bit of Duolingo, but it may be reading a few pages in a book. And that really helps me start the day in a fresh way with a calm mindset.

Katie: Yeah, I love that. I’m a big fan of batching as well, especially right now with there not really being…like with all my kids home and there not really being any normal routine and kind of everything running together, we’re having to create that routine and batching has been really helpful. For me, it’s also things like, I’ll cook in batches and work in batches, and then have more and more time outside with the kids right now, which I think is really important as we navigate all of this. But yeah, I love those tips. I think that’s super helpful. Another question I love to ask somewhat selfishly toward the end of the podcast is if there’s a book or a number of books that have really impacted your life, and if so, what they are and why.

Billy: I’m an avid reader and I always take notes. Whether I’m listening to your podcast or other podcasts, I love writing down someone’s book because if you’ve got to pick one book you know it’s going to be a good one. And no matter if I really got into what the person said or not, I’m like, “Look, man, if this person has one book, then I got to write this down.” So I’ve got this massive book list for Audible and Paperback that I’m burning through on my phone. So, I do really enjoy reading and consumption of knowledge. And so, I’ll do something a little bit different. My book is not one that adults would maybe put on their reading list. For me, the book I would recommend is actually one I had when I was a kid, and it’s the first book I remember getting. And it’s called my first book…or, sorry, “My Book of First Facts.” I’m not even sure if they still make it. I checked on Amazon last week because I started thinking about this and I saw somebody listing one.

But there’s a couple of books along this theme now. There’s one called like “My First Book of Why” and some other things like that. But I asked a lot of questions when I was a kid and I still do, but my parents, I think, got a little bit tired of the constant questions, which maybe some parents can empathize with. And finally they got me this book. And this book is essentially like every fact that a kid could want. How do volcanoes work? And how does this work? How does that work? And, why is a dog a dog? Where did canines come from? And I found that just like really engaging as a kid. And that started stimulating my brain to continue to think about why. And it really, I guess, encouraged the discovery of knowledge and finding something out if I didn’t know early on. And that was kind of a fun way to do it because there’s a lot of pictures in the book and things like that. So that would be my one book recommendation.

Katie: That’s a new one. I love it. I’ll see if I can find it on Amazon to link in the show notes. And that brings up another great point that I always love to ask other entrepreneurs, which is, can you pinpoint any things that your parents did that led to your mindset of being entrepreneurial or that were supportive of you in becoming an entrepreneur? Because that’s a big core value in our family, is to at least give our kids the foundation to be entrepreneurs if they want to be and something we think really consciously about. And I’m curious if looking back there were any things that your parents did that you can now look back and say that were helpful to you in your entrepreneurial journey?

Billy: I would say, there definitely were a number of things now that I look back on it that really, I guess, exposed me. The exposure to different things early on led me to start a few different businesses. And my dad is actually a CPA and has a number of small business clients. And so when I realized at an early age that maybe professional sports, which was my dream, was not going to be in my future. And look, I love playing sports. I just wasn’t like, we’ll call it, a gifted athlete. I could hang in with people but it wasn’t going to work out for me. And so I thought, “Okay, it could be cool to try something else.” And my dad said, “Well, look, one of my clients is about to do inventory at a store. Why don’t you go help him for a few weeks?” And I was maybe in sixth grade and it was…you’re in the summer, and the summer when you’re a kid, like you start to get in these like tens and teens and in that age where it’s not cool to go to some like summer day camp thing anymore and you don’t want to just sit around the house.

So I went in and counted inventory at this Christmas store. And this place had sold Christmas ornaments year round. And so I just went and actually really enjoyed it. As monotonous as it was, I thought it was cool to go learn a bit about how a business worked and it really kind of started this early fascination with businesses. And the trend continued. Every summer I would go work for a different business. One was an Italian restaurant, one was a furniture store. And that early exposure, I think, was probably the most beneficial part of my education. And with what’s going on in the current school environment and everything, school’s closed down and things like that, I think it’s a real opportunity to expand the traditional parameters of education for parents. I know that that really lends itself well to me, not just like understanding how to start a business, but knowing that that was possible. I’ve got a lot of friends that never worked for a small business growing up, and so that was never in their realm of possibility. And for me, having that window of my brain open and learning functionalities of a small business and the ups and downs just like lent itself well to me starting a few different businesses.

Katie: That’s awesome and really helpful for parents listening. I mean I’m a little bit biased being one myself, but I think entrepreneurs have a unique power to solve problems and to change the world. And so it’s a big priority for me that my kids get exposed to that mindset and to all that comes with it, including like learning a high tolerance for risk and for failure, and having to work through challenges. And yeah, and all the things you mentioned, I think that’s awesome. I will make sure that links are in the show notes to everything that we’ve talked about, including some of the protein studies we brought up, and also of course to Iconic Protein. And there’s a discount code you guys have given for the listeners, which is WellnessMama15. And the link to check out all the protein and including the kids’ drinks will be in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm. Anywhere else people can find you, Billy, and stay in touch?

Billy: Yeah, certainly. We are in Whole Foods nationwide, so you can find us in Whole Foods. And we’re in a few other stores like Sprouts and a number of other chains. There’s a store locator on the website for anybody that’s interested. And then you can, of course, find us on the social media pages of Instagram and Facebook at Drink Iconic. And look, we welcome any questions people have on protein, any suggestions for products. We do a lot of crowdsourcing for our innovation, so we always love to hear about product ideas. So, I’d encourage people to to reach out to us there or even shoot me a personal message on my Instagram, Iconic Life. We welcome any suggestions for products or ideas people have. I’d love to hear customer feedback.

Katie: Awesome. Billy, it’s always so great to hear your voice. I appreciate you being here today and I’m excited for these kids’ products. My kids are, too. Thanks for the time today.

Billy: Hey, thank you, Katie.

Katie: And thanks as always to all of you for listening and sharing one of your most valuable resources, your time, with both of us today. We’re so grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama” podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

This episode is brought to you by Wellnesse. That’s Wellnesse with an E on the end, which is my new personal care company that is dedicated to making safe and effective products from my family to your family. We started with toothpaste and hair care because these are the biggest offenders in most bathrooms, and we’re coming after the other personal care products as well. Did you know for instance that most shampoo contains harsh detergents that strip out the natural oils from the hair and leave it harder to manage over time and more dependent on extra products? We took a different approach, creating a nourishing hair food that gives your hair what it actually needs and doesn’t take away from its natural strength and beauty. In fact, it’s specifically designed to support your hair’s natural texture, natural color, and is safe for color-treated hair as well. Our shampoos contain herbs like nettle, which helps strengthen hair and reduce hair fall, leaving your hair and scalp healthier over time, and scented only with natural essential oils in a very delicate scent so that you don’t have to worry about the fragrance as well. Over time, your hair gets back to its stronger, healthier, shinier state without the need for parabens or silicone or SLS. You can check it out along with our whitening toothpaste and our full hair care bundles at wellnesse.com. An insider tip, grab an essentials bundle or try auto-ship and you will lock in a discount.

This podcast is sponsored by Four Sigmatic, my source for superfood mushroom products that are a big part of my daily routine. In fact, about 80% of the dirt under your feet is actually mycelium or mushrooms. And mushrooms have a wide variety of health benefits, everything from immune support, and improved sleep, and they’re also a great source of B vitamins, and vitamin D. Mushrooms are considered anti-inflammatory due to a compound called ergothioneine and are considered safe and beneficial to consume regularly. In my house, we often start the day with Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane and Chaga. It tastes just like regular coffee without as much caffeine and no jitters. The Lion’s Mane and Chaga help with energy and focus, like I said, without the jitters, or the acidity of a lot of coffee. I sip other products of theirs throughout the day, like their Chaga or Cordyceps or Lion’s Mane Elixirs, and I often wind down at night with their Reishi Elixir or Reishi Cacao, and I notice a measurable difference in my sleep when I do that. As a listener of this podcast, you can save on all Four Sigmatic products by going to foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama and using the code “wellnessmama” to save 15%.

Jun 29 2020

42mins

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351: A Parent’s Guide to Precocious Puberty & How to Slow It Down With Dr. Anne Marie Fine

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I have a pre-teen daughter now and it’s a whole new world! I’ve been thinking a lot about today’s topic, which is how modern toxins and lifestyle affects our kids during puberty. Dr. Anne-Marie Fine is an award-winning researcher and expert on this topic. She founded a forward-thinking health company called IAMFINE, based on her personal and clinical experience with chronic disease caused by environmental toxicity.

With rising concentrations of 80,000 new chemicals in our environment, it’s important for us as parents to know how to recognize precocious puberty and take proactive steps, from preconception to pregnancy to puberty and beyond.

Episode Highlights With Dr. Anne Marie Fine

  • What precocious puberty is and how to recognize it
  • The stats on the onset of puberty globally
  • Why pre-conception is the time to take action
  • The rising field of environmental medicine and how doctors trained in this can help
  • The chemicals and hormone disruptors shown to affect puberty the most
  • Some free and easy methods to reduce toxin exposure
  • And more!

Resources We Mention

More From Wellness Mama

Did you enjoy this episode? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well.

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Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

This episode is sponsored by Everlywell, at-home lab tests that you can get without a doctor’s order! I’ve used many of their tests and I like to recommend a couple that have been especially helpful. They have an at-home allergy test for 40 of the most common allergens using the same CLIA-certified labs used by Allergists/Doctors. The labs are reviewed by an independent physician and this lab test measures IgE levels of common allergens including pet dander, mold, trees, grasses, and more. But you can do it from your own home and through a finger stick. I also really like their food sensitivity tests that test for IgG reactions. This was a big key for me in my health recovery, as there were foods that didn’t show up as an allergy that were causing inflammation. I used an elimination diet, but this food sensitivity test also filled in the missing piece of the puzzle for me. Through healing my gut, I’ve been able to remove all sensitivities except for eggs. Finding out I was highly sensitive to eggs made a huge difference for me, as I ate them often as an inexpensive protein source. I feel so much better now that I don’t eat eggs and I would never have known that without this test! I also use their at-home Vitamin D test to keep an eye on those levels. Check out all of their tests at wellnessmama.com/go/everlywell. Use code MAMA10 for 10% off orders

This episode is sponsored by Joovv, a natural red light therapy in your very own home. We may not think of light when we think of essential nutrients that our body needs, but light is absolutely necessary! This is the reason I go outside as soon as possible after waking up in the morning, and the reason I spend time in front of my Joovv. Light is energy and our bodies need light in certain forms in order to sustain healthy cellular function. Red light in particular, especially in certain wavelengths, has very specific benefits for hair, skin, and cellular energy. I like Joovv because they are third-party tested for safety and performance and use a Patented modular design which allows you easily treat your whole body in under 20 minute and lets you use anything from a small system to a larger system that you would find in a Chiropractors office. Joovv uses clinically proven wavelengths of light that provide energy to the body. They have Bundle pricing discounts which allow you to save more money when purchasing larger setups. Get free shipping at joovv.com/wellnessmama and use code WELLNESSMAMA for a free gift!

Katie: Hello and welcome to the “Wellness Mama” podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com, that’s wellnesse.com with an E on the end, which is my new line of completely natural and completely effective personal care products like hair care and toothpaste and now hand sanitizer. So make sure to check that out. This episode is a big one for any parents with preteens or kids that are getting close to that age because it’s all about precocious puberty and how we can help make sure our kids don’t go through puberty too early and what we can do to support them when they do.

Dr. Anne-Marie Fine is my guest today. She’s a doctor, award-winning researcher, and best-selling author, and the founder and CEO of IAMFINE, which is based on her personal and clinical experience with chronic disease called by environmental toxicity. And environmental toxicity is a big factor when it comes to precocious puberty. We’re gonna go deep on that today. But she also works with those with autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, brain fog, cancer, etc., and she’s done a lot of research on the rising environmental concentrations of 80,000 new chemicals in our environment and how this expresses in every phase of life, from preconception and pregnancy to precocious puberty, and even to health and hormone problems as adults.

So, a very information-packed episode that I know you will enjoy. And without further ado, let’s jump in. Dr. Fine, welcome. Thank you for being here.

Dr. Fine: Well, thanks for inviting me. I’m happy to be here.

Katie: I am really excited to chat with you about a topic that is coming up more and more with my readers and my listeners, which makes me think that it must be on the rise. And that topic is precocious puberty. And I think that there’s a lot of factors that go into this. And I think a lot of them have to do with an area of research and work that you do all the time. So, I guess, to start, for anyone who’s not familiar with that term, let’s define what the term precocious puberty is.

Dr. Fine: Precocious puberty is a label given to the fact that the boys and the girls are reaching certain signs of puberty, like pubic hair and changes in breast development, and breast budding, and genitalia. It’s really the age at which this is occurring in the boys and girls. And the problem is that the age at which this is happening has been declining pretty much globally. And so, people want to know why because there are implications for early puberty. And the other thing about precocious puberty is that the mainstream conventional medical doctors are just simply changing what’s normal to what they’re seeing in the practice. And so, now they’re saying that precocious puberty is the appearance of any sign of secondary sex characteristics in boys younger than age 9, and in girls younger than age 7.5 or 8. Whereas normal puberty in a girl is what they’re saying now is anywhere from 8 to 13 years of age, when really, 12 to 13 for a girl is, for about the last 50 to 75 years has been more of the norm, not 8 to 13 years of age.

Katie: Wow. And from what I’ve read, that change in age, and the percentage of people who are going through puberty earlier, that’s rising relatively drastically, like you said, compared to previous generations. What do you think are some of the factors in that pretty rapid change?

Dr. Fine: Well, the one that I’m not gonna talk about too much because I wanna really get into the chemical contributors like endocrine disruptors, but one of the other environmental factors involved in earlier puberty is the rise in obesity. And that has been fueling it as well. And our fat cells actually make estrogen. And so, that’s something that has been looked at as well. But there are many chemicals that I want to talk about, like pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, cleaning substances, cosmetic products, dyes, plastic solvents that are termed endocrine disruptors, meaning that they have the ability to change how our hormones work in extremely tiny doses. And this is the key, extremely tiny doses. And that’s how our own hormones work. Very tiny doses of hormones actually have large effects.

So when you have these teeny-tiny doses of chemicals in the environment, particularly at certain vulnerable ages of development, like in fetuses, for example, when certain…when your reproductive organs are actually becoming into being. They’re actually developing and the brain is developing. When you have exposure to these substances, you’re going to get something that may not manifest until puberty, or may not manifest. The breast cancer and prostate cancer increases risk. You may not see that until these people are adults. But some of the origins of these instigators are actually in fetuses. And that’s why it’s really important to do a preconception detox for women who are wanting to conceive because it starts there. We really have to look at where the baby starts.

Katie: Okay. So, let’s go, kind of, almost maybe on a timeline. Because obviously, parents who are dealing with, like, children now are worried about this phase being imminent. They don’t have the ability to go back and do preconception over. I know, I’ve read so much since I had my firstborn kids. I wish I could’ve changed things then. So I definitely want to make sure we see…you know, obviously, we’re not judging or trying…..anyone who’s not there. But let’s start there, like in a perfect world, what would we do before we even conceive to help give our kids the best hormonal start?

Dr. Fine: Before conception, the best thing to do is to see a doctor trained in Environmental Medicine who will take a very thorough history, including an environmental history to get likely exposures and where the person lives. There’s so much we can do with looking at, you know, with the internet, you can look up places by zip code and see what the main chemicals are in that environment. And then those people, and it really should be men and women, the sperm actually does carry environmental contaminant information into the new baby. Traditionally, we have focused on the mother though. And then those prospective parents need to be tested to see what contaminants, what kinds of chemicals is really high in them. And so, the program is going to be designed personally for those people.

So, it’s not… The same people don’t do the same thing. There is no reason to do, like, a heavy metal detox on somebody who doesn’t have a problem with heavy metals, right. So, you want to see what problems, what environmental exposures those people have so that you can really zero in on them and make sure that you’re doing a good detox. And then as far as some of us have already had kids, oh, wow, do I know that? Because I’m a mother too, and I’ve already had my kids. And I had them long ago before women were told anything about what to avoid, even when you’re expecting. And so, when I was pregnant, the only thing we were told was avoid alcohol and caffeine. That was it. And I have to tell you, I ate so much tuna when I was pregnant.

And, you know, that’s high in mercury. And I wound up with these kids who had ADHD, and I’m like, “I wonder what happened because, you know, I thought I was doing a good job.” But I did a course correction in childhood. I tested them for heavy metals and mercury. And when I saw it was high, I was able to go in and do some heavy metal chelation or detoxification. And I was really pleased to do that because when you’re a mother, one thing to remember, because you may have a lot of younger mothers listening right now, is when you have your children at home, that’s an ideal time to work with them. If you’ve missed something, like I most certainly did, to do the course correction and take care of it. Because once they’re 18 and leave the home, you know, your word is not the gospel anymore.

As a mother, it’s a lot harder to be able to go back and to do something. Unless of course, it’s their personal motivation, then, of course, that comes into play. So, I really feel that you made such a good point. A lot of us didn’t have that option. I certainly had never heard about it. And so, you just need to as you have children, and even in your own cells, as you grow, you always have the opportunity to make course corrections and to go back and to test and to really do a deep dive into what could be causing your particular health concerns. And then to be able to, you know, decrease your body burden of chemicals. So, it is not too late.

And also I want to say, I want to make this clear as well because this is what I see in my practice, sometimes, the mothers, they come in when they’re already pregnant. So, that’s not an ideal time, right? Or they’ve waited so long to get pregnant because of career concerns or financial concerns that now they’re concerned about, you know, getting to be too old and not being able to conceive. And they may not feel, you know, the need to take time out before they conceive to do preconception care. And so, those are some real…those are real-life issues that do crop up, but it is something that I do recommend. But, you know, it’s something that you have to, sort of, fix it in your head before the time arrives when you’re already pregnant, or you feel like, “I’m so old. I’ve just gotta get pregnant.” That’s really more important, right?

Katie: Yeah, exactly. And there’s a message of hope too, for anyone listening. I always try to remind everyone, you know, I didn’t figure out most of this stuff, sounds like you as well, until I was an adult and had autoimmune disease, and then had to undo all the damage and figure out what was wrong. And so, if we’re talking about this for our kids, even us starting when they’re children at all is an advantage over waiting until they’re adults. You know, so anytime, like the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is today. We always can start with what we know now.

And so, I would guess also, there’s kind of a spectrum. So, I think of it as like for autoimmune disease, for instance, I’ve kind of explained it that we all have a bucket and you can fill the bucket with any number of things. You could put marbles, or sand, or pine cones, or whatever it may be. But when you reach the top, it’s going to overflow. The idea being when you fill up that bucket and it gets overwhelmed, you’re gonna end up with some kind of problem and it’s gonna manifest differently for each of us. And I think of environmental toxins kind of in the same way.

The body is able to handle small amounts of these things and it’s pretty resilient. But when you reach a certain level of exposure, it’s going to bubble over. And so, you can tell me if that analogy maybe doesn’t work here, but that’s my thought with kids. And so, if we can mitigate their exposure and do things when they’re young to help them avoid filling up the bucket in the first place, that’s an advantage. Or if we can do things to help them take things back out of the bucket, that’s another advantage. And the earlier we can do that, the better. But anytime is a great time to start.

Dr. Fine: Absolutely, Katie. I so agree. We call that the rain barrel theory. And it’s true, it doesn’t matter what’s in there. Lots of things go in there, environmental toxins go in there, but also stress goes in there, and poor nutrition goes in there. And once it reaches the top, the next thing in, no matter what it is, if it overflows, that’s what’s going to trigger the disease. And so, the idea, it can be super specific if you are testing for it and looking carefully for it, but also, the pervading theory is that anything you can do to lower your bucket would be helpful, and to start at any time is helpful.

And by the way, even if you, you know, are super careful with your pregnancy and childhood, as we live and accumulate years, and our earth continues to be polluted, even when we’re careful, we are always accumulating body burden of chemicals. And so, it becomes necessary to make it a part of your daily life, but also, every now and then, to do a detox and lower that body burden before it overflows. Or a lot of people will wait until they have the actual, for example, autoimmune disease or something, and then they will go ahead and do it, or they get cancer or something like that. But it’s not a one and done. And so, it’s something that we really have to put in our toolbox and in the back of our head that this is an area that we need to pay attention to throughout life.

Katie: Absolutely. Okay. So, let’s go deeper on into chapters, especially for the subset of parents listening who are asking me these questions via email or direct message, who want to know, you know, if my kid…maybe they didn’t even expect this, my kid is at these younger ages and starting to show symptoms of potential precocious puberty. Like, what do they need to know about endocrine disrupters so explain what those are and where they are most often found when we’re talking about our kids?

Dr. Fine: Okay. So, let’s talk about specifics with the early puberty. Two of the biggest contributors to this precocious puberty are, I would say, BPA and phthalates which are plasticizers. So, the whole category of plastics is something that I’m gonna focus on here. And I’m gonna talk about them separately, but I’m gonna just tell you a few of the places where they are. Children’s toys contain phthalates, like that rubber ducky in the bath. Those rubber, soft rubber toys are phthalates. The shower curtain in your bathroom, if it’s vinyl, it’s got phthalates. And the problem with phthalates is that they’re not bonded to that underlying material. They are constantly falling off into the air. And so even your dust in your home has phthalates in it.

And so, believe it or not, Katie, this is so easy and free to do for everybody. But we need to dust more often and more carefully in our house, and that will keep environmental toxins down. You would not believe what’s in your dust, okay. And then in our cleaning products, we also have phthalates and our personal care products because phthalates are also used as incense, as scent fixatives. And so, the easy way to know that is to look at the ingredient list. And if you see the word fragrance or perfume on the ingredient list, that’s your cue that most likely those substances contain fragrances. You will never see phthalate on a label of anything. It’s just not required to be listed. Fragrances are a protected trade secret, and the word fragrance can hide up to 80 or 100 different chemicals and you don’t really know what they are, okay. So, let me just go through a few more of these and then we’ll back up a little. So, that covers the phthalates pretty well.

And then also, I wanna talk about plug-in air fresheners. Everyone listening should just after they hear this, they should just unplug them and throw them away because they contain phthalates. They contain formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen. They contain benzene, which is another carcinogen. And they are just emitting these into the air. And so you’re breathing them into your body. Phthalates can also be absorbed transdermally. So, if you have a scent emitter in your house, even those little sticks that you put in the jar of sense, if your skin is bare, and you’re…and it’s…I mean, you can’t even see it, but you are absorbing this stuff multiple different ways.

When you go to a department store and you’re walking in, and you’ve got the perfume sprayers, and I hate that. And so I always say, “No, thank you.” And I feel pretty virtuous about that. But then I discovered probably three or four years ago, that even if you yourself did not put any of it on your own skin, just walking through that cloud of perfume, every inch of your skin that was exposed you are absorbing that which means fragrance is like the new secondhand smoke. If you’re sitting in an office, for example, and you yourself don’t wear scents because you don’t want the endocrine-disrupting effects of phthalates, but let’s say you’re…the other people in the office are wearing scented…and it’s not just perfume, perfume is an obvious one, perfume and aftershave are obvious, but it’s underarm deodorant. It’s body lotion. It’s makeup. It’s hairspray. It’s many other things.

And so, if someone in your office is wearing it, you’re exposed even though you yourself did not consent. And you were educated enough to say “No,” and you’re using unscented products such as laundry detergent, dryer sheets, all of these things have phthalates. Our homes are just pumped through with endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are contributing to many things. Not just precocious puberty, they’re contributing to…they make you fat. They predispose you to diabetes and other health problems.

And also, I wanted to mention that the Endocrine Society, which is the world’s largest professional association of medical and research endocrinologists. So these are very conventional doctors, and even they have come on board and they consider reducing endocrine-disrupting chemical impacts to be one of their highest public health goals. So, when they came out with that a few years ago, you know, that was pretty profound that it’s being recognized everywhere.

So then, the other one that I want to talk about is the Bisphenols, Bisphenol A, BPA. And BPA is also part of plastic and predisposing to precocious puberty. And it’s found in the polycarbonate water containers. It’s found in thermal receipts. Thermal receipts is actually a really large source of this. And just like the phthalates, this chemical is not bound very tightly to the underlying material. And just touching it, this has been proven in studies, within seconds, if you take that person’s blood which they have, within seconds, not very many, you have BPA in the bloodstream. So, things are easily transferred, the BPA transfers from the thermal receipt onto your skin, into your body. And if you have used hand sanitizer prior to handling the receipt, you get about 10 times more BPA into your blood because the hand sanitizer contains things that are known penetration enhancers.

And that’s something to be thinking about these days because the use of hand sanitizer has increased. So, where do you find the thermal receipts? You’re going to find them in pretty much everywhere, the grocery store, the bank, the post office, if you get receipts at the gas station, you know, airline tickets. They’re pretty much everywhere, fast food places, other restaurants. But here’s the thing, we don’t have to accept them. So, just say no. Unless you are buying something that you might have to return, you know, you can just say, do you need the receipt for your restaurant meal? Take a picture of it on your phone or have it emailed to you. It’s no…it does you no good to take those things.

And then the other problem for ladies especially is when we stuff those receipts in our purses, that BPA is just coming off and touching everything in your purse. And when you stick your hand in your purse to find your cell phone, or your glasses, or your wallet, every time you put your hand in your purse, you’re just coating your hands with BPA. And so, I’ll just leave this tip here right now so I don’t forget it. But what I have my patients do is the ladies, I have them empty out their purse at home, get rid of all the receipts, take a cloth that’s wet with hot water, wipe out the inside of the purse, wipe everything off, every…the wallet, the phone, the makeup kit, everything. And then, get a Ziploc bag or something like that and put it in your purse. And if you must take a receipt, put it in your Ziploc bag segregate it from touching anything else in your purse.

Now, for the men, they’re discovering that, you know, same thing happens. The man puts it in their wallet. So, money is now contaminated with BPA and BPS. So, you know, it’s something that avoidance is really key here. You have to be really careful and aware of BPA. It’s insidious. The CDC has been tracking chemicals in our blood for decades. And at last count, it’s like BPA was in 95% of U.S. people, even though their half-life is pretty short. So, if it’s been found in 95% of Americans, that just means we’re exposed so ubiquitously that you could take our blood at any time and we would have it just because, you know, the stuff we were exposed to maybe two days ago, that’s gone. But now the stuff we were exposed to today, now that’s in there.

So, the BPA story I had…you know, I have a patient, we have to be really careful because sometimes I get patients who are looking at certain things in their environment, like the water supply and saying, “I can do better.” Yes, we can all do better, right. So, that’s good. And then they were ordering it from one of the water purification, I’m not gonna name them, who deliver it to your house on a regular schedule. And it’s purified, and then you can look up the water on their website and see what’s in it and what’s not in it. And it’s really interesting. I looked up this particular water, it actually was…it was pretty good water. But all of the containers were made of polycarbonate, BPA. And so, you don’t know how long that water, that good water, you know, about how long it’s been sitting in there touching the BPA which is coming off into it.

When they’re on these hot trucks being delivered, you don’t know how long they’re on there. You don’t know how long they sat on a shelf in the warehouse before it was even shipped to you. And what’s interesting is I called the company to talk about this, basically to ask them were they aware that this was not a good idea, and they basically said, “Yes, we’re aware that our containers contain BPA. However, we don’t feel that there is a health issue there. And so we are…you know, we’re still gonna use it.” And so, they haven’t really caught up to the science. And it’s really, unfortunately, mommas, it’s up to us to be our own FDA and to be able to be more discerning about what we allow into our homes. And so that…so, the idea of getting purified water is a good idea. There’s so much crap in the waters.

I’ve got a whole…I teach doctors environmental medicine. And one of my…one of the talks that I’ve gotten the most positive feedback on is the one that I did on, “What is in our water?” You would not believe it. But anyway, so with water, you do not want to drink bottled water of any kind, no matter how good you think the water is supposed to be on the inside. You want to have water that is in a glass bottle. And that’s really important. And that’s something that as families…and by the way, when I was a young mother, I did not know this. And so that was something that was overlooked. But thankfully, I eventually was able to get a reverse osmosis water system and not worry about that. And so, we have to just…like Katie said, you just have to start where you are. There’s no value in saying “Oh, woe is me….. I did it wrong.” No, you just start where you are. And you make the better decision and then you move forward.

Katie: Exactly. Well, and looks like I’ll just jump in on the water note because I think you’re right. And I have posts about this that I’ll link in the show notes as well at wellnessmama.fm. And I know you have resources as well. So, those will all be linked in the show notes. But when I started learning about this, getting rid of plastic can seem so overwhelming. And I’m a big fan of the 80-20 rule. So, for me personally, I figured out based on the current research, the biggest sources of exposure, like you mentioned, are inhalation via the air, and our water supply, and especially plastic water bottles, which are also horrible for the planet. So, we prioritized getting a water filter, actually a whole house filter we have at this point, and under the sink filter, and switching to using reusable metal water bottles, which is also much more eco-friendly as well. And that’s one change that makes a big, big, big difference.

And so if we can just move away from drinking out of disposable single used plastic in general, that’s a huge thing. We also put air filters in our house and don’t use air fresheners, of course, and switch to things like plastic-free in the kitchen. And I have resources to help walk people through all of that. But again, it’s like any incremental change you can make in this is a big deal, especially when we’re talking about kids. And that doesn’t mean you have to, you know, do it all overnight. This can definitely be a process, but it’s an important one to be aware of, certainly.

Dr. Fine: Yeah. And so, that’s what you wanna focus on when you have the kids at home, I think we wanna get back to how do you…what do you do with these kids who have precocious puberty? You have to look at, “Oh my gosh, I’ve gotta call out this one company.” Well, maybe not by name. But I think we have to take a really deeper look at what is in our homes because that’s where you as mothers, that’s where we make the most difference. The home is our domain. And we are the ones who are able to set it up in the way we want. And so, we really want to…like you said, Katie, we really want to root out all of the plastics, and all of the scented.

Honestly, I think the plastics and the scents in our home, those two…and to dust more, because I didn’t even talk about the flame retardants and all the other things that are in your house dust. But I believe, dusting twice a week, getting rid of plastic, getting rid of all of the scented products in your house, and eating organic, those things together are really going to be important for limiting things in your children that are endocrine disruptors. And we haven’t really talked about pesticides, but I want to add something here. The pesticides have been shown to lower children’s IQs. And in the animal kingdom, they are seeing hermaphrodite frogs, and coming about because of the feminizing effect.

We didn’t really talk about boys too much. But we have a twin problem with precocious puberty in the girls, and the feminization of boys via chemicals in the environment that act like estrogens. And so, pesticides are one of the vehicles that do this. But also, the phthalates are feminizing on the boys. And the studies are showing that the male infants are having changed male genitalia. And the way it’s changed is it’s showing a feminization of that male baby which, you know, in our audience of mothers who already have children, that may not be relevant right this minute, but I’ll tell you where it’s relevant.

Mothers, have you noticed that they are now marketing to our teenage boys? They’re marketing these products, these body scented products. And the marketing is very, very strongly suggesting, for example, that, you know, if the boys use these products, they can get not only one girl, but two girls. I mean, I have this in my slides for my doctors, it’s really wild. And these products, if you look at them carefully, they not only contain phthalates, they are so strongly scented, they have lots of phthalates in them. And phthalates are decreasing testosterone. So, you may not…that problem may not lead to a precocious puberty in a boy, but the lack of testosterone most certainly leads to abnormal male development.

And so, that’s something else that we want to consider in our homes. We want to think about the decrease in testosterone and sperm counts. And, I mean, the reproductive organs and systems in both boys and girls have been under attack for a while. And we are just now starting to see more of this. I wrote an article a couple of years ago for Thrive Global, in it where I basically…the title of it, if you want to look it up, is “The Handmaid’s Tale Becomes a Reality.” Because that is an Emmy Award-winning TV show that shows what happens when they polluted their environment with pesticides and chemicals. And they are now having trouble reproducing.

They have to get the handmaids in to be…someone who has been proven to have been able to carry a child. Basically they’re outsourcing the baby-making, right? And this show is incredibly popular. And it boggles the imagination because people act like it’s entertainment, but it’s really not because this is what we’re seeing in our patient population. We’re seeing a rise in infertility and a rise in assisted fertility techniques. And we’re seeing a rise in birth defects and a rise in, you know, developmental problems in our children. And so, all of this is stemming from these chemicals that have insidious negative implications at teeny-tiny doses, but that we’re getting those teeny-tiny doses all the time.

And that’s why, Katie, I wanna…you did say something that I do wanna kind of pounce on here. Air filters. Love air filters. 20 years ago when I started practicing medicine, I used to recommend them for my asthmatic patients. Not anymore. I think everybody should have them in their homes, in their bedrooms, in their children’s bedrooms. So, at least when you’re sleeping, you are able to filter out many of these things. We do not have good air. And the air in your home is between 5 and 10 times more toxic than your outdoor air, which is super toxic, and that’s because your home is off-gassing a lot of different things.

But that’s…we’re getting a little bit away from what we were talking about. But I wanted to bring that in too because you mentioned it. So, air filters, avoiding plastic, avoiding scented products, dusting really well, vacuuming with a really good vacuum cleaner. Most of them are just, I don’t know if you’re aware of that, they are just…you vacuum and then it’s like the dust just kind of goes out of the bag. You’re not…you’ve gotta have a good HEPA filter in there, so that when you are vacuuming you are truly getting rid and capturing the dust particles because the dust in your home is toxic. And then pesticide-free is something that you want to also focus on.

Katie: Totally agree. And I think, when it comes to endocrine disrupters and hormones in general, you know, getting rid of the bad stuff is a very important, big huge part of the equation. And then once you tackle that step, it’s then figuring out ways to support the body as well. Because I think it’s a balance when you’re talking about holistic health of removing the bad and then giving the body the good. And so, I think that’s another key area I would love to talk about and hear your thoughts. And a few of the things I’ve noticed and I do have kids in the almost puberty age, I haven’t had any, like, make that jump yet, we’re right on the cusp of it.

And so, thinking of things like supporting the body nutritionally with tons of micronutrients during that time, especially we know things like leafy greens bind to extra estrogen in the body. So, we wanna make sure our kids are getting a wide variety of different sources of micronutrients from ideally fresh local produce whenever possible. And just being cognizant of them getting enough nutrients because puberty, of course, is a time of increased demand on the body and very rapid growth. But I’m curious if you have any dietary or supplementation recommendations for both supporting kids from not going through puberty too early, which of course, you know, avoid processed foods and foods that contain plastic, like we talked about, but then also when it is the right time for them to go through puberty, how can we nutritionally support them best through that process?

Dr. Fine: I recommend, and this is kind of an area that I didn’t focus on too much before, but when I said no plastic, that includes processed foods that are packaged in plastic. Because in Puerto Rico years ago, they were finding premature puberty in female girls. They were finding little girls sprouting breasts, and getting their periods at 2, 3, and 4 years old. So, that is way worse than what we’re seeing here, right? And so, they tested these girls in Puerto Rico, what on earth is causing that? And they discovered it was phthalates, okay. And so, what they discovered, they had to kind of be detectives and say, “Well, where are the phthalates coming from?”

And one of the things they concluded was that Puerto Rico is an island, everything is shipped in, and everything is shipped in covered in plastic, plastic, plastic, plastic. So, your food being covered in plastic, your meats, your fat, fatty products like meats are being covered in plastic. You want to eat fresh. Well, okay, let’s just go back to the meat. If you’re buying meat, I recommend buying the grass-fed organic kinds of meats from the kind of place where it hasn’t been sitting there in a case wrapped in plastic styrofoam on the bottom and plastic on top. Go to the kind of store that is just sitting open in a case. And then you can wrap it, or the butcher will wrap it in a butcher paper. And then, you know, you take it home and you cook it. And then that way, it’s not just sitting in all of those wrappings of plastic for so long. So, I do recommend that.

Whole foods, fresh fruits, and vegetables for sure. I see that the children today are not really getting very many. And the problem is, as you alluded to, our detoxification systems in our bodies, they run on nutrients. The nutrients are the cofactors that…we have detoxification enzymes in our bodies, and if you are nutritionally deficient in some of them, they’re just not gonna run. And so, by saturating their diets with the micronutrients and the greens, in particular, I really like the dark leafy greens, but I really like broccoli, garlic is really good for supporting detox enzymes. I’m not a big fan of a lot of kale because kale is high in thallium, which is a heavy metal. And I’m seeing that the people who are eating a lot of green smoothies, because, of course, I test my patients, right? And so, a lot of the green smoothie eaters are coming up super high in thallium. And thallium is a very toxic heavy metal, and it’s in our organic and commercial kale now.

And why is it there? Because certain chemicals are polluting the agricultural water. And when you say a vegetable or fruit is being grown organically, those organic standards do not include the kind of water that’s being used. So, I’m having people be careful with kale right now. But I do love the isocyanides, I like the cruciferous vegetables. I like the cauliflower, the garlic, the berries are always really important, anthocyanidins and berries are really important for detox and good health. And so, your colored, I just said colored vegetables and I just realized cauliflower is white. The colored fruits and vegetables are what you really want to emphasize but cauliflower, it turns out, is a superfood, so don’t let the white color fool you. Just make sure you get plenty of other colored fruits and vegetables in there as well.

And then I have people stay away from sweetened drinks, even fruit drinks. I don’t like…I think having kids drink predominantly water is the way to go, purified water. And by the way, we need…your liver requires water to detoxify properly. And if you are dehydrated, you cannot detoxify properly. And I see a lot of people just not drinking enough water. I would have to say, most of the people I see are dehydrated. And so, let’s not forget that because that’s so simple, make your kids drink water.

So, did you have any other questions about the food? And then, of course…oh, one more thing, I do wanna say this, the food supply has gotten contaminated as well, not just with pesticides and herbicides. Do you know that the almonds are now being fumigated with propylene oxide? And I test for that. And so, I see that in my patients too. I just…it is just kind of criminal, people are eating almonds thinking they’re good, that there’s FDA requirement, that they’ve gotta be fumigated and that’s kind of a nightmare. So, you have to be…you have to really do your homework and find the clean foods.

And sometimes the animal foods are the most highly contaminated with something called POP, persistent organic pollutants like PCBs. And so, you want to make sure that even if you are a meat-eating family, you want to make sure that those meats, like if you’re gonna give salmon, it’s gotta be wild salmon because the farm salmon is the highest source of PCBs in the diet. And butter is the next one. Butter, the epidemiologists, when they go into a new area and they want to sort of get a quick and dirty idea of how much PCBs are contaminating that area, they will test the local butter. And that would be something that’s not dependent on whether or not that butter is organic. Because it’s not a pesticide, it’s something that is, even though PCBs have been banned since the ’70s, they’re in our earth’s soil and water, and the cows are eating grass off of the earth.

So, it’s not something that just getting organic butter is gonna make sure you don’t get any PCBs. So, animal products are the high…and they’ve shown this in all the…when they look at women who are vegan versus women who are not, one of the big differences they see is persistent organic pollutants. The vegans who aren’t eating animal products are really far cleaner from that one thing. So, you wanna make sure there’s plenty of plant foods in the diet. And if you’re going to eat the meat, you want to get as clean as you can with as few wrappings as you can.

Katie: Exactly. Yeah. I think those are all very, very important tips.

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Before we move on, just to kind of piggyback on what you just said. I think a couple of other areas as parents that we can focus on that are really helpful are, one area right now of emerging research is, for instance, light exposure. And this is an area people tend to maybe discount because we can’t see the immediate effects or feel them as drastically as what we can feel what we eat, but there’s all kinds of research about exposure to artificial light at certain times of day impacting hormone levels. And also lack of exposure to natural light, and how that can affect proper hormone patterns. And this is true in adults and also in children.

And so, I always try to mention this to parents because if you were talking about young children, fixing light patterns can really help their sleep quality and how long they sleep. If you’re talking about teenagers, same thing, but it can also have an impact on those hormone shifts. And then for us as adults, we can see, and eye measuring can see differences in sleep quality. So, a tip there, I say is if possible, get outside and get your kids outside for at least half an hour as soon as possible after waking up because that natural light can signal important receptors in the back of the eye that are really important for not just circadian hormones like melatonin, but also for the proper hormone cycles, whether it be in children or adults.

And the same thing with avoiding artificial light at night. So this is another form of indoor pollution that often gets ignored, but when kids are getting exposure to blue light late into the evening, it confuses their body’s natural hormone responses. So, avoiding screens, using natural forms of light that don’t have blue light after dark, that’s been another key that was really helpful to us. I’m curious if you have any tips as well for exercise because we know the stats that kids today are not moving as much as kids in previous generations, but then there’s also evidence that, you know, too much exercise too young can be harmful. So, when we’re talking about balancing hormones and supporting kids in these different ages, any advice for what types of exercise to focus on with them?

Dr. Fine: Oh, the exercise thing kind of plays right into what I said at the beginning of our talk where rising levels of fat and obesity is also contributing to precocious puberty. And so, it’s very true once they took the physical ed out of the school, and the kids got really invested in their devices. Childhood Education has really dropped off a cliff and I don’t think that’s healthy. And by the way, you know, exercise is good for…it’s good for brain development, and it’s good for so many different things. I think, one of the things I’ve seen as a mother too is that the kids who…right now I’m talking girls, most girls and boys do some sort of sport when they’re young like soccer. And what I noticed in the girls who once they hit puberty, they stopped and didn’t pick up anything else, versus the ones who stuck with it or picked up a different sport, the girls who stopped are the ones who, honestly, by the end of high school they were already kind of plumping up, right?

And if you look back over, you know, my childhood, for example, there just wasn’t…kids just played from the time…they had recess at school and then they played from the time they got home till it got dark. There was so much exercise in a day. And I believe, as human beings, we evolved on a lot of exercise. Now, it wasn’t…as you alluded to, it wasn’t like training for marathons every day, that’s too much. But it was movement. And it was outside in the sunlight because I am seeing that research on natural sunlight on our skin. And it is very important not just for vitamin D, but those that full-spectrum lighting from the sun has health benefits that we’re just now beginning to understand.

So, I’m a big advocate of kids spending a lot of time outside playing. It might not even be a sport, but you can play outside when you’re little. It could be a sport. I don’t like sports with the head injuries, like the heading in soccer. I’m not a big fan of head injuries, like, from football or soccer or things like that. But having said that, I like soccer because, you know, there’s running and kicking, I think that’s a good sport. So, I think it should…if they’re not athletically inclined, I think riding a bicycle or playing outside is highly, highly recommended. And by the way, exercise is important for detox as well. It’s part of the things that you’re increasing circulation. Hopefully, there’s some sweating and that’s how you can dump some of your toxins out. But exercise and sunlight are very, very important.

The blue light thing is really key too because the kids are staying on their devices late into the night, and then that messes up their sleep. And you’ve got to have proper sleep. At any stage in your life, you’ve gotta have proper sleep or your body doesn’t work right. Guess what’s one of the things our bodies do in sleep? They detox. There’s no…they don’t have to metabolize or digest your food. They don’t have to, like, send energy to your limbs to move. Your body is working on detox while you sleep. Your skin, your brain is detoxing while you sleep. And so, we have to naturally maximize our body’s ability to detox on its own, as well as avoid the things that we know are gonna make us go in the wrong direction. And then thirdly, we need to buckle down and just, you know, get the proper guidance to do a really good detoxification several times, I would say, in your life.

Katie: Definitely. Yeah, I definitely agree with that. Are there any supplements offhand that come to mind that can help either with avoiding precocious puberty or that are helpful during puberty? And I know, I got one question from a reader. There’s an additive called inositol I think that’s used in certain teen multivitamins, and if that’s safe or recommended or not? I know my default with my kids right now is to focus on just gut health, so I give them high-quality probiotics and prebiotics. And then also, just supporting again from a nutrient perspective with as much whole foods as possible, and making sure they’re getting enough protein which supports proper hormones, but any other suggestions you would make?

Dr. Fine: You know, it’s really difficult to make a broad-spectrum recommendation for supplements. Because when I see children in my practice, it’s like they’re coming to me for a reason, and so everything I do is very specific to that one person. And so, to come up with something broad-spectrum and say everybody should take this. Really, I think, a probiotic is a good idea, Katie. I think gut health is super important. But beyond that, I’m a little bit…especially with the kids, I really like to push the good food, the nutritious food like you are. I really like to push that and not… I remember using, like, powdered greens, you know, with my kids and powdered fruit. I did use something like that. But without knowing what… I mean, the kids today are really having a lot of health challenges. And so, a lot of them could benefit from supplements. But to just say every kid, every preteen or teen needs a certain supplement, I don’t think I would be comfortable with that. Except for probiotics, I think that you could make a strong case for that. And, you know, as long as it was a really good one.

Katie: Absolutely. And I will also say one that I do with my kids, I order at-home tests for vitamin D. So, even if you’re not, can take the kids in for a full workup which I actually would recommend that as well, but I do test all of my kids for vitamin D and then make sure they’re either getting in the sun or getting vitamin D. Because we know vitamin D is actually a pre-hormone, not just a vitamin, and so that one seems extremely essential for proper hormone regulation. I’m guessing you probably see that in your patients as well, low vitamin D levels correlating with hormone issues.

Dr. Fine: Well, what I see, I’ve practiced in Arizona and Southern California for my whole 20-year practice. And I just was so shocked to see how low everybody’s vitamin D was. I just, I mean, we’re in sunny areas, I just can’t understand it, except that nobody’s outside. But, yes. Yes, I have seen that and there are other issues with low vitamin D having to do with immune status and immune health that are also very important. I’m curious with your…well, you probably don’t wanna say, but the vitamin D issue is such a conundrum because I will tell you this, in Arizona, I used to have my patients commit to 10 minutes of sun on as much skin as they could bear around noon, which is a certain time of the day when certain rays were at its highest.

And, you know, 10 minutes, that’s not a lot. And, much to my surprise, when I retested them, it didn’t really bring it up. And I just found that shocking, that the vitamin D level… So, I will say that I’ve had to supplement lots…probably most of my patients with vitamin D supplementation, even though I theoretically and philosophically would rather people get it from the sun. For some reason, I’m not seeing sunlight producing the levels of vitamin D that I would like to see in people. And I mean, I’ve seen levels as low as 17 in my cancer patients, right? You know, that’s pretty low.

Katie: Yeah, I think this is definitely something that’s epidemic. And I know it’s controversial, but I do spend time daily in the sun, not ever to burn, but just to get vitamin D. And I think healthy sun exposure is really important. And I do that with my kids as well. But I’m also, I will supplement with vitamin D, and also along with it, vitamin K at times just if their levels are low. Just because I know how important that one is for the immune system, for hormones, for so many aspects of that. And we’re getting really close to the end of our time. We might have to do a whole other episode just on precocious puberty at some point, but I know there’s a lot…the other aspect of this that’s not just specifically health and lab-related is, how can we support our kids in this age with body image and emerging from puberty with a healthy body image on the other side? And I’m curious how you navigated that with your own kids, especially since I’m still in this phase and haven’t really figured it out totally myself yet.

Dr. Fine: Oh, that’s such a good subject. Oh, that is so, so tricky, because we’re fighting media portrayals of unattainable…especially for the girls, unattainable body images. And the girls are starting to think they’re fat as young as age 8 or 9. So, I have a daughter and a son, so I got to do both. I really…how did I do it? I just never focused on…I tried to build body confidence by looking at and praising how well the body works, like “Look at you run. Look at you go. Oh, you wanna take karate?” Really praising how the body functions as opposed to how it looks. And so, there really wasn’t in my bringing up my kids, there really wasn’t…I didn’t really emphasize, “Oh, you look so beautiful today.” Right? I didn’t really talk about. I didn’t really say that. I focused on other attributes.

And I think I did it on purpose because I know that even when I was growing up, there was all kinds of body image, and anorexia, and bulimia, and all of this stuff, and it seems to start…well, years ago, it started in teenagerhood, but now it’s like preteens and young teens are starting, men and women are starting to have these unrealistic ideas of how their body should look. I think that the media today is more accepting of diverse body types than ever before. And I think that’s really a good thing. But I would just focus on body functionality, body health, you know, other things instead of, “Did you gain weight?” You know, “That dress is looking really tight on you.” I would never point that out to a girl.

Katie: For sure. I have taken the same approach with my daughters and my sons. I’m just focusing on the body being an amazing, incredible tool and like a machine that we can use to do incredible things versus how it looks. And it’s sad, but I had to realize this and learn this lesson as an adult over even the last few years, I would say is when I finally actually learned it and started to love my own body for what it can do and not just how it looks, or what I perceived as how it didn’t look, how it was supposed to. And that’s even after growing six babies from scratch in my body, and all of these other things it had done. It took me being that old and working through a bunch of trauma to get to that point where I could actually appreciate it. So, I think the mindset piece is key as well. And hopefully, giving our kids a foundation to respect their bodies and to treat them well out of respect and love, not to pry them out of lack, it’s a big key.

Dr. Fine: Yes, I agree. Good job.

Katie: Awesome. Well, our interview has flown by. I know that you have a gift that you wanna give to the subscribers which I will put in the show notes that I don’t say your email or anything out loud and that you also have a course all about detoxification for people who this is very top of mind for whether it be preconception or precocious puberty, whatever it may be. So, those links will be in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm. And I know you’re also available online and at drannemariefine.com is that right?

Dr. Fine: Yeah, drannemariefine.com, that’s my website. And, yeah, I’m offering a complimentary 15-minute call to see if this is a good fit for exploring how a personalized detox can work for you. I’m also, on my website, I just wanna point out that my…the book that I wrote and the products that I have are in the realm of clean beauty. So that’s another passion for me, and something I didn’t bring up so much with the boys and girls. But, wow, if they’re putting stuff on their face, the girls’ makeup, especially the teen makeup is very toxic. And you’ve gotta take a really strong look at that. And the boys’ products are, like I mentioned, varying into a very, very disturbing trend. And so, we have to be careful with that too.

Katie: I agree. Well, thank you so much. This has been such an information-packed episode. Hopefully, it helps a lot of parents and a lot of teenagers and preteens as well. And I’m really appreciative of your time today.

Dr. Fine: Well, thanks, Katie. Thanks for having me. It was fun.

Katie: And thanks to all of you as always for listening, for sharing your most valuable asset, your time with both of us today. We’re very grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

This episode is sponsored by Everlywell, at-home lab tests that you can get without a doctor order! I’ve used many of their tests and can recommend a couple that have been especially helpful. They have an at-home allergy test for 40 of the most common allergens using the same CLIA-certified labs used by Allergists/Doctors. The labs are reviewed by an independent physician and measure IgE levels of common allergens including pet dander, mold, trees, grasses, and more. I also really like their food sensitivity tests that test for IgG reactions. This was a big key for me in my health recovery, as there were foods that didn’t show up as an allergy that were causing inflammation. I used an elimination diet, but this food sensitivity test also filled in the missing piece of the puzzle for me. Through healing my gut, I’ve been able to remove all sensitivities except for eggs. Finding out I was highly sensitive to eggs made a huge difference for me, as I ate them often as an inexpensive protein source. I feel so much better now that I don’t eat eggs and I would never have known that without this test! I also use their at-home Vitamin D test to keep an eye on those levels. Check out all of their tests at wellnessmama.com/go/everlywell. Use code MAMA10 for 10% off orders.

This episode is sponsored by Joovv, a natural red light therapy in your very own home. We may not think of light when we think of essential nutrients that our body needs, but light is absolutely necessary! This is the reason I go outside as soon as possible after waking up in the morning, and the reason I spend time in front of my Joovv. Light is energy and our bodies need light in certain forms in order to sustain healthy cellular function. Red light in particular, especially in certain wavelengths, has very specific benefits for hair, skin, and cellular energy. I like Joovv because they are third-party tested for safety and performance and use a Patented modular design which allows you easily treat your whole body in under 20 minute and lets you use anything from a small system to a larger system that you would find in a Chiropractors office. Joovv uses clinically proven wavelengths of light that provide energy to the body. They have Bundle pricing discounts which allow you to save more money when purchasing larger setups. Get free shipping at joovv.com/wellnessmama and use code WELLNESSMAMA for a free gift!

Jun 25 2020

1hr 11mins

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350: The Three Pillars of Healing to Become Your Best Self With Danette May

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Danette May has an incredible story of healing and a complete mindset and lifestyle shift. She’s the best selling author of a book called The Rise as well as seven health and fitness books and programs. Danette brought all of her experiences together to cofound a company called Mindful Health.

Today I’ll also share some of the vulnerable parts of my own mental shifts over the last couple of years. Like Danette, I had to learn how to retrain my brain and make progress out of pain.

Episode Highlights With Danette May

  • How Danette came to terms with paralyzing grief
  • Why movement helps channel our thoughts
  • How to find a way out of depression
  • Why trauma can put the nervous system into overdrive
  • Superfoods to incorporate in your diet every day (hint: healthy fats, cacao, turmeric, ginger, greens)
  • Danette’s three pillars for a balanced life
  • Tips for self-care and how to fit into even the busiest lifestyles
  • And more!

Resources We Mention

More From Wellness Mama

Did you enjoy this episode? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well.

Read Transcript

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

This podcast episode is brought to you by Beekeeper’s Naturals, a company dedicated to protecting the bees while creating sustainably sourced bee products for our whole families. Without bees, our global food supply would collapse, so protecting the bees protects all of us. As a certified B corp, Beekeeper’s Naturals cares deeply about the environment, about the bees, and about their employees, and their customers and consumers, which is us. If you’re new to using bee products, I personally, recommend starting with the propolis spray. This is a delicious way to support the immune system. And if you aren’t familiar with propolis, it’s really incredible. Propolis is the substance that bees use inside the hive to fight bacteria and any other pathogen or invaders that enter the hive. In fact, even if something as large as, like, a mouse should enter the hive, and the bees can’t get it out, they can encapsulate it in propolis to keep that from infecting the hive and creating all kinds of bacterial problems. Propolis is naturally antibacterial. It has a compound called pinocembrin that works as an antifungal, and it’s also an antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. I personally spray it in my throat at the first sign of a tickle in my throat, or the sniffles, and I spray it on wounds and burns for faster healing. You can save 15% on propolis and all Beekeeper’s Naturals products as a listener of this podcast. To get the deal, go to beekeepersnaturals.com/wellnessmama, and use the code “wellness mama” to save 15%.

This episode is brought to you by Wellnesse. That’s Wellnesse with an E on the end, which is my new personal care company that is dedicated to making safe and effective products from my family to your family. We started with toothpaste and hair care because these are the biggest offenders in most bathrooms, and we’re coming after the other personal care products as well. Did you know for instance that most shampoo contains harsh detergents that strip out the natural oils from the hair and leave it harder to manage over time and more dependent on extra products? We took a different approach, creating a nourishing hair food that gives your hair what it actually needs and doesn’t take away from its natural strength and beauty. In fact, it’s specifically designed to support your hair’s natural texture, natural color, and is safe for color-treated hair as well. Our shampoos contain herbs like nettle, which helps strengthen hair and reduce hair fall, leaving your hair and scalp healthier over time, and scented only with natural essential oils in a very delicate scent so that you don’t have to worry about the fragrance as well. Over time, your hair gets back to its stronger, healthier, shinier state without the need for parabens or silicone or SLS. You can check it out along with our whitening toothpaste and our full hair care bundles at wellnesse.com, that’s wellnesse.com. An insider tip, grab an essentials bundle or try auto-ship and you will lock in a discount.

Katie: Hello, and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com. That’s wellness with an E on the end which is my new line of personal care products, including hair care, toothpaste, and now hand sanitizer that are designed to work as well as any conventional alternative without the junk.

In this episode, I talk to Danette May who is one of America’s leading healthy lifestyle experts. But she has an incredible story of moving from a terrible loss of a child into helping people, and into a complete mindset and lifestyle shift. She’s the best selling author of a book called “The Rise” and of seven health and fitness books and programs, as well as co-founder of Mindful Health and dedicated founder of The Rise Movement.

In this episode, we go deep on mindset. And I share some of the vulnerable parts of my own mental shifts over the last couple of years, as well as her simple, and effective, and not complicated at all approach to fitness and to nutrition. She’s also the creator of something called Cacao Bliss which is linked in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm which is delicious and which I really enjoy as well. But I think you’ll really resonate with the mindset part of this specifically, and how she moved from really deep depression to creating the life she wanted and helping other people through her pain. So without further ado, let’s join Danette.

Danette, welcome to the podcast.

Danette: I’m excited to be here. Thank you.

Katie: I am so excited to chat with you today. I’ve been a big fan of your work for a long time and got to meet you, I believe it was last year, in person, and knew I wanted to get to share you with my podcast community. So to start, probably a lot of people are already familiar with you, but for anyone who’s not, can you just, kind of, give us a little bit of your story and how you got to be who you are today?

Danette: Wow. Okay, how far back do you want me to go? You know, for the past six, seven years, I’ve been in this wellness, fitness, nutrition industry, and, really, what I believe, living into my purpose, and into the truth of who I am, and what I’m meant to do. And so, definitely have online programs, and do high-level coaching, and created a superfood company, and really living into the truth, like I said, of who I am. But I have to say that a big part of me was a lot of my mess.

Previous to that time period, my mess became my message. You know, I was a trainer, so I’ve always been into the body, I’ve always been into nutrition, but I was not necessarily teaching the principles that I teach today. I had some ideas around nutrition and fitness that I don’t think were actually very sound. And it took the passing of my son, and me going through a really deep depression, and experiencing brain fog, and complete lack of motivation, and being in a dark place to really understand on a really cellular level, the power of movement and the power of foods to really wake us up, and to get us into that feeling-good feeling that we long for, and that clarity.

And that’s when, really, I believe, my spark came about, was seeing myself shift, and then, helping, like, clients that I had at that time shift, and then, I really had this burning desire to bring it to the world. And that’s where it truly was the catapult for me, was that I was like, “I can’t not have this information that I’ve gained so much from and not share it with the world.”

Katie: Got it. And, probably, there are people listening who can really resonate with parts of that story. And first also I’d like to say, I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine the loss of a child. I think that’s probably one of the most difficult things anyone can ever face, and I’m sure that was very much a journey to come through. I had trauma in my past and I’ve realized just more and more, how much it is a journey and it’s continual. I’m curious, when you were in that darkest part of the depression, walk us through some of those steps that you took. You said movement was a big part of that, but I feel like people who are in there, it can seem, sometimes, like, almost like you can never find a way out. So what were the ways that you started to come out of that?

Danette: Yeah. So I was new to depression so I was in unknown territory, and so, the feeling for me, and I imagine it shows up in a different way, but the feeling for me was I didn’t even want to go outside. I couldn’t even go buy a loaf of bread. I had a little girl at home, and so, I needed to show up for her, but I was literally laying in bed and she’d be like, “I’m hungry,” as all little kids do. And I’d be like, “Can you move the chair over to the…” I’d, like, navigate her on how to serve herself from my bed, and then, I would explain to her what the curb was to explain to her, if she went outside, not to go beyond the curb of the sidewalk. That’s how bad it was.

And, for me, being a trainer, I’d always heard about movement helps with depression, right? Like, that’s not a new concept. I knew, I was like, “I got to get out and just walk.” Because, of course, you know, my body was not in shape. I’d had a baby and so it was, you know, the signs of having a new baby. You’re just like, already super slow, you’re beat up. And so, I was like, “I got to walk. I just need to go walk.” And I couldn’t quite get even myself to go and put on my shoes to walk. And I remember, specifically, the day that I had laced up those shoes because it was the longest lacing of my life, and I got outside and I started to walk. Literally, my goal was to walk around the block.

And just so you guys know, I was a previous runner. I was, like, all into sports. So this was a really weird world I was in. And I just remember going on that walk and hearing birds. And then, honestly, I literally felt like my chest was ripping open. It was like each step was this moment of me reclaiming myself and actually feeling for the first time every breath in, every step. And I was like, “Wow, this is going to be the very thing that helps me,” because it was allowing me to feel. Of course, I was crying and I was feeling everything, but it was better than being numb. And so, that was a really profound day for me, and so, I made a commitment that I would start with around the block and then I would make it two… But I think it’s like, if you can’t find it for yourself, like, borrow mine or someone else’s faith to say, “If you move, you will feel again, and if you move, you will clear out the cobwebs of your soul. You will be able to heal parts of you that no one else can touch.”

So, you know, movement was a big thing, and then, obviously, you have brain fog. And so, after I started moving, you know, I’m starting to lift a little bit, and I was like, “I’ve got to show up for my daughter.” And so, I started playing around with superfoods, and there’s a power in superfoods to really help with depression. And that’s when I fell deeply in love with studying superfoods around the world and how they could really affect your mood, your immunity, and, like, just be like a power punch to your system. So that’s, really, like, my best advice. And then, from there, you know, you have to take little steps, but then from there, I started working on my mindset, and rewriting my story, and looking at my limiting beliefs, and looking at my guilt, and my shame, and rewriting the truth of what those stories were. And they were different, and I really did the deep, deep work around sitting down and writing, and crying it out, and processing it.

Katie: Yeah, I can resonate with so much of that as well. And I’ve heard it said that, you know, when it comes to trauma or like a really intense pain like that, often you need more than just talking it out. You have to connect with the central nervous system and with the body in a way to be able to process that. And I think that’s where movement, like you said, is so key. And I found this in my own journey over the last couple of years, and I’ve talked about this a little bit on the podcast before. But I had sexual trauma in high school and then largely shut down emotionally in a lot of ways, but thought that I had processed it, and I had figured out ways to feel safe in everyday life, and I was extremely high-functioning and could do all these things, but then there was this unresolved trauma. And it wasn’t until I had daughters who were about to be teenagers, and I realized I had so many unresolved body image issues. And I wasn’t comfortable in my own body, I wasn’t accepting of myself, and I didn’t want to pass that on to them. I didn’t want to give them that prison of the mind that I had been in for so long, basically, my entire adult life. And so, it wasn’t until then for me, and it sounds like for you, for the sake of your daughter as well, that I was willing to face that pain and willing to change, because it was such a traumatic thing to have to face and to go through.

Danette: Wow, that’s so powerful.

Katie: Well, and my story involves movement too. Actually, I read the book, “The Body Keeps the Score,” which, I think, has some really profound points. And it talks about how, like, trauma, in a sense, can store in the body, and that’s why movement can be so helpful, and different types of body work can be so helpful. And I did bodywork with, actually, my friend Aaron Alexander, and he, basically, did a mixture of Rolfing and acroyoga, and held me upside down. So that triggered all my control issues, of course and doing body work…

Danette: I love those.

Katie: And it was like reliving the trauma in, like, rewind and fast forward, and then, processing all the emotion of it. And, like, I felt like an animal after being attacked. Like, I shook from all the adrenaline coming out. And it was like that day was a starting point and a huge pivot point for working through my own trauma. And then, it really also, really, drove home that point that you made that you have to connect with the body and movement can, sometimes, be one of the most powerful tools when we’re mentally stuck. And we don’t always make that connection. Like, we think, like, “Oh, I need to talk through it. I need to journal through it. I need to work through it.” Or we get critical like, “Why can’t I work through this, and why am I stuck?” when, really, sometimes that movement breaks the pattern, it seems like.

Danette: Yeah. That’s so powerful, I love hearing about that, yeah. So when you said Rolfing, it’s kind of like deep, deep tissue massage? I love that.

Katie: Yes. That combined with the, I think, control aspect of being… Because, I was like, “Oh, yeah. No, no, I don’t go upside down. People don’t pick me up.” And he’s like, “Yeah, well, that’s because you have trust issues.” And I’m like, “What?” And I had to, kind of, face all of that at once, and I never would have expected that the bodywork, you know, of all things, would have released that much trauma that quickly. It seemed like, you know, when the student’s ready, the teacher will appear. And so, I think that’s why I love your idea of the pillars because I think you give people tangible ways to work in all of these modalities, and that, like, for each person, it may be different, which is the first thing that starts that snowball rolling, or that starts that affect. But you give people…or you encourage people to, kind of, approach them all. So talk about your pillars because I’ve read about this in your work and heard you before, but explain what your pillars are.

Danette: Yeah. We, kind of, hit on them, and I think that you, even, hit on them in your lifestyle and programs but it’s… I think of three pillars like a coffee table, and if you would just have two legs, it’ll tip over, so you’ve got to have three pillars to keep steady, right? And for me, I’m just not about having the perfect body or… I feel like we have these vessels, they’re vessels, to live out a really happy, abundant life. And so, for me, having these three pillars are key for this ultimate journey that I’m on, and I believe every human’s on. And so, the first one is obviously movement. And not movement because you’re like, “Oh, I want to fit into these jeans,” or “I want to look a certain way,” but moving because movement does clear out the cobwebs. Movement is your gateway to releasing trauma. It is this gateway to happiness, and endorphins, and feeling alive, and feeling really empowered.

And then, there’s food. And food is, you know, we’ve heard these things like, “Food is medicine,” and it’s true. There’s so much power in food and how it affects our moods, anxiety, depression, how it affects energy levels, joy in ourselves, obviously, immunity. So food is a big one. And not eating, once again, for the sole idea of either guilt, or… And, actually, there’s so much mind stuff around that which is so fascinating to me.

And then, the third pillar is mindset, because I believe that if you have your nutrition dialed in and your movement dialed in, but you’re living in a state of a mindset of, maybe it’s sadness, or maybe it’s anger, or maybe it’s repressed emotions, then you’re not truly living into your fullest happiness. And I do know this power of the mind, also, can shift your body even quicker than the foods you put in or the movement that you do. It can drive your success when it comes to living in a healthy body or vice versa, so the mindset piece. So those are the three pillars.

Katie: I love that. And I think, especially for women and moms, especially, maybe, like, that mindset piece can get difficult at times. And so, I’m curious, like, how you navigate that. Like, how do you navigate this as a mom, and that balance of time, and prioritizing self-care where… Like, this comes up a lot with my listeners. You know, how do you make time for self-care when you’re a mom? Because, obviously, your kids are a priority, and how do you balance that with family life? Because I know so much of a big part of your mission that I’ve heard you talk about is helping women rise up to become their best selves. And I’ve always said, I think moms are truly the most powerful force on the planet for good. And that if we could all even just unite on a few things rather than focusing on the things we don’t agree on, it would be absolutely astounding how much we could accomplish. Because, not only are we raising the next generation, we control so much of the purchasing power, but I think mom’s just having an incredible amount of influence as well. But moms are also, probably, the busiest, most overwhelmed, often stressed out, people on the planet because we do so much. So how do you handle that?

Danette: Oh my gosh. Okay. I love this quote. It says, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” And, you know, with that being said, though, I have to say, because now I’ve ran two successful businesses, I’ve gone through some crazy stuff in my life, and I have to tell you, I think being a mother is the most hardest job… Like, put me in a room running business numbers or creating a business, yeah, that’s difficult, but nothing compared to the emotion and this whole journey of motherhood, and I think every mother can understand that. So, one is just recognizing that and giving yourself grace to know that oh, you’re showing up and this is the toughest job. It just messes with your emotions, and you’re stressed, and it’s always like you’re as happy as your saddest child, and it just brings in a whole gamut of triggers because they’re the perfect little mirror to you, to all the different things that you need to heal within yourself. It’s beautiful. I’m being a little sarcastic.

But here’s what I do because I do know that children can bring in a lot of triggers, and also, you want, as a mother, for them to be super-happy, and doing well. And like I said, oftentimes, we’re as happy as our saddest child, so it’s like, how do we keep everybody moving and progressing as well as ourselves? And some work that I’ve studied, and if anyone wants to look into this is “The Conscious Parent.” It’s a book called “The Conscious Parent.” And I feel like that book really hit the nail on the head of the underbelly of what’s going on in parenting. And, really, it’s just us getting really awake to the truth of who we are, and when we do that, the children shift. Our external world with our children shift when we get really real with ourselves. So for me, the work that I do in my mental health and as well as just the physical relationship with my children is really around the work I do for myself, and how do I show up for myself, how do I love myself, because they’re just a reflection of that love that you have for yourself.

So for me, personally, you guys, I’m a big tauter of this, I just believe in it so much, and you could do it once they go to bed if you’re totally awake and in a good space. But for me, getting up before everybody else in the morning, it’s not like it’s a new method but it works. And for me, I get up before everyone else and I give that time for me. And this is a time for me to journal, gratitude. This is a time for me to actually enjoy lemon water, maybe it’s a tea, or maybe it’s like hot chocolate or like a really delicious coffee. Like, making sure I take that time for my pleasure, taking that time for gratitude. I journal, I write out the things that I see in myself, I get to know myself during that time.

Some people work out. Now, if I had little kids at home, my kids are getting a little bit older, they’re more in, like, preteen, teen. But if I had little kids, I know for me, if I move my body before I interact with them, I do better, I’m more calm, I’m more steady. And so, if that’s you, then just schedule that in, like, “I’m going to work out before they, like, all emerge.” And, for some of you moms, that’s, like, 4:30. I remember when my youngest was little and I was starting this business, and she was, like, one of those energy seekers. Like, if I woke up at 5:00, she could feel it, and she would come out and want to crawl in my arms. And you have to give grace to that, but can you, like, find some things where you’re like, “Hey,” you’d be surprised what three and four-year-olds can understand. Be like, “Mom’s having soul time.”

How amazing to teach your kids to prioritize soul time? And I would tell her that. And I’d be like, “And here is your space and you can color, or you could…” You know, some people might even say, “You know what, I’m not even going to deal with that. I’m going to let them watch something,” if that gives you your time for soul time if they decide to wake up at 5:00, 5:30 when you did. But, like, letting them know, “This is my time, and I love you, and I’m going to give you a quick hug, but I need you to work on either this coloring,” and have it set up for them. Be ready for it. And if they don’t wake up, great, but if they do, it’s like you have something set up so you’re not, like, all flustered and frustrated that they came into your space. So that, to me, was what I have done and I still continue to do because I know that I’m way less reactive, and I’m way more steady as a mother.

Katie: I agree, I think morning routine is key all of the time, but especially with kids, and also, a great gift to give them, like you said, that example of having a morning routine and having time for yourself. I know, when it comes to shifting mindset, I’ve also heard you talk about things like affirmations. So can you explain how you use those yourself and talk about them for others as well?

Danette: Yeah. So this has my lifeline. So during the time I lost my son, I also, as we all know, when the floor falls out from underneath us, more floors fall, I actually went through a really hard divorce. And I was left with two girls at the time, completely young as a single mom with no financial help and all the money got drained from the accounts and I just was wondering what my life was going to turn out to, and so I sold all the furniture, and we literally slept on the floor, had to, you know, tinfoil, like I said, on the antenna. And I was listening to a lot of speakers and like, people that I looked up to talk about the power of affirmation. And I was like, “You know what, I can barely feed my kids, what do you mean affirmations?” But I did the work. And what I did is I literally wrote out all the opposite of how I felt. For example, “I’m a terrible mother, I’m an amazing mother. I’m a financial ruin, I’m abundant.” And I wrote it out as I am, and then the word. And there’s been research on the power of the word “I am,” and then the words following it, to have a frequency and an energy drive inside your cells. And so, I wrote out a page of “I am” statements around all the things I thought were lies at the time. And I had a commitment that, whenever I got into a funk, we’ve all been there, like, or down on myself, or feeling unmotivated, or feeling unworthy, I would pull out that list and read it out loud, and, literally, there were days I’d pull it out every 15 minutes. And I read, and read, and read those, and I believe it was the lifeline to where I am today. I still do affirmations to this day. I believe in anointing ourselves and claiming the power that lives within us. And, you know, I can talk business, and funnels, and strategies all day long, but these are the under-fibers that I believe never change that can truly change your whole life.

Katie: I love that. And I think you’re right. I think when it comes to mindset, often, we have to say the things, and out loud is a great example, before we believe them. Because, for me, like with weight loss, so I’ve lost, actually, now close to 100 pounds over the last year now.

Danette: Whoa.

Katie: Yeah, so it’s been a dramatic shift. And the funny part was I had this script before that, pretty much my whole adult life, that, “If only I was X, Y, Z, if only I was this size, if only I looked like this, then I would be happy, and then I would accept myself,” in the last year. And when it became more important for me to figure that out for the sake of my daughters, I realized I can choose and need to choose happiness, and self-acceptance, and love right now, and let my body be a way that that manifests, versus expecting my body to be the thing that’s going to make me happy, or forcing my body through deprivation and through punishment to look a certain way and then thinking that’s going to make me happy. And one of the things I used in that journey was tapping. And the person I worked with would have me say things out loud like, “Even though,” whatever the thing was I was struggling with that day, “I love and accept myself.” And, “I love and accept myself when I now choose,” and then, whatever the new thing was. And the first few times that I had to say that, like, I literally almost could not make myself say the words, “I love and accept myself,” you know? And it was, like, dramatic to realize, like, like you, I can talk business, I can achieve in all of these areas, but I have trouble literally saying the words out loud that I love and accept myself. And I realized that like, I’ve got to face this and I have got to be able to be an example of vulnerability, and at working through things with my kids, because where else do they see that if not through us? But I think the speaking out loud is really dramatic, and, often, maybe gets discounted because it doesn’t seem like, oh, just saying that is going to make a big difference. But, I mean, for me, at least, it was dramatic, and it sounds like for you too.

Danette: Yeah. I think a lot of times we’re wired in our minds that we need to pay for something for it to work, or it has to be really complicated or hard for it to actually work. And so, if someone tells us, “Yeah, you basically look yourself in the eye or say it out loud, “I am,” whatever, like, “I am loving and I accept myself,” or “I am enough,” or whatever those words are out loud,” people are like, “It can’t be that simple,” but it is. Like, I love how you said that, Katie, when you barely could mutter the words because most people will feel that. They’ll feel like they’re saying a lie and they’re like, “Why is it so hard for me to say these out loud?” And it’s because, like, the body goes where the mind tells it, so it’s, like, doesn’t even know how to say it because the body isn’t lined up. So the more you say it to your mind, it actually affects the nervous system, and your body and your whole direction in life goes where you’re constantly speaking. So anoint yourself. Speak the truth of who you are.

Katie: I love that. How do you do that? Do you have examples of how you do that with your kids? You said you have preteens plus teenage. How do you help them have the tools to do that from a young age?

Danette: Yeah. I wish I would’ve started… Obviously, my oldest, when I was going through all my hard stuff and I learned about this, she was about eight or nine, and then my youngest was, you know, really young, so I started with them at that time. And I’ve found that the younger one is more willing to do it, like, so I taught them. I was, like, every night, because you can when they’re little. You can be, like, “Okay, say three affirmations.” So I would make him say it at night. And instead of me saying it, I would tell them what I saw in them. And that as a mom, I have to tell you, has been one of the biggest things that I could have offered my kids at night especially if they had a bad day. It was really effective. I would be like, “Can I tell you what I see in you?” And they would be like, “Sure.”

You know, at first, they were like, “What?” and then I would tell them all the things that I saw in them that were beautiful, and powerful, and loving, and they ended up getting to a point where they were like, “Tell me more.” But then, I taught them, I said, “I’m going to tell you what I see in you but I need you to tell me through I ams, and tell yourself what you see in yourself.” And that’s been the most powerful thing for them. And so, they learned it quite young. And so, I tell them, “Do your affirmations.” You know, how we go, “Do your prayers.” Like, we do family prayer, but then, when they go off to bed, I’m like, “Don’t forget your affirmations.” And I hope and pray that they do them on their own now that they’re older maybe because I can’t force that, but that’s where I started when they were young.

Katie: I love that, and we do that with gratitude as well. We’ll ask our kids, either at dinnertime or bedtime, “What are you grateful for today?” And encourage them to be specific because it’s easy to just be like, “Oh, I’m grateful that I have my siblings, or that, you know, we have family time,” whatever. But to have them, actually, be very specific about it just with the idea of training them to look for the good. Because when you know it’s something that’s going to be asked at the end of the day, you look for those good things throughout the day, and same with affirmations. When you are you able to say those things about yourself, you’ll also look for the good in yourself. And I think that’s, like, kind of, the idea of establishing our filters. Like, if we look for the bad and the pain, we’ll find it always, but if we focus on the good, and I’ve heard you say that, “We experience life from a perspective of pain,” I think is the quote. Am I remembering that right?

Danette: Yeah, maybe.

Katie: But, I think, also, it is a follow-up to that. I think it’s a great call as well. You’re such a big voice for women rising into their power and supporting each other in that, which I think is beautiful, and, maybe, that’s another way we can do that as women, is to be that voice of, “This is the good I see in you,” and calling that out, versus, you know, the mom wars that ensue on social media. Maybe that could become the movement.

Danette: I love that.

Katie: And I wanted to start with mindset because I really do think it’s the most important piece. And certainly, for me, the last two years have really driven that home more and more, that I did everything else “right” for so long. I ate a clean diet. I exercised all the time. And it wasn’t until I dealt with mindset and emotions that any of it shifted, so I wanted to start there. But you, also, are very much an expert in the physical side, and the fitness, and the food, and so, I want to make sure we cover this a little bit more in detail as well. And I love that you have, probably, like a very… Not controversial, but you have your own unique approach to this and you’re not preaching the whole, “We need to just work out more and harder, and we need to eat less.” Like, you take such a cool approach to this. So can you go a little deeper on the physical side, the food, and the movement side?

Danette: Yeah. And let me ask, like, what do you think people want to hear when it comes to the food and the movement? I have really simple guidelines because there’s so much out there, right, no wonder people are confused. I’m in the space and I’m like, “Well, the nutrition industry is shifting all the time.” What was once healthy that we learned is healthy, that we finally discover is not like a year or two later, it’s constantly shifting. And what’s projected on media is, most of the time, most of the time, completely false of what is actually true when it comes to nutrition. And so, it is a big mission of mine because I’m like, “I see it.” I see how there are so many different, you know, “Do I need to be paleo? Do I need to be vegan? Do I need to be raw vegan? Do I need to be…? You know, what do I need to be to be healthy?” And there’s so much discussion around it.

So let me share something that I learned from another researcher just recently. So there’s a woman, I’m a Hay House author, and she was writing specifically around cancer. And she had made it her mission, and like over years, to research cancer patients on what they did to survive. Like, she was researching people that had the type of cancer that most people died from, and she was really diving into this concept with them. And I asked her something. I said, “Because everyone thinks they know what’s the perfect nutrition for everyone,” and I said, “Was there a common denominator when it came to food, that these people took on that healed?” And she was like, “You know what’s interesting,” she’s like, “That was the one area where there was not.”

She was like, “Some people juiced. Some people became vegan. Some people ate meat.” She’s like, “The thing was, it’s whatever they believed is what came out.” So if they believed that eating meat was going to help them, it did. They believed they needed to be vegan and they had to juice, then it did. And my point with this is, there are some basic guidelines, and she said that. She was like, “They all followed the basic guidelines.” Like, they didn’t have toxic oils, or they didn’t eat white or wheat, like, flours, and like white sugars. But outside of that, it didn’t really matter when it came to someone who was dealing with health with their life.” And that’s what I want to share with you all is that it doesn’t need to be super complicated, that there are some parameters to follow. Sometimes I’m vegan. Sometimes I’m vegetarian. Sometimes I eat more paleo, like, but I don’t put myself in a label or a box that I’m one or the other. And the reason is because I don’t actually believe one is right for everyone all the time.

The parameters that I would just make it really, really simple is really be looking for…if you want to go as far as I go, look for superfoods. And those superfoods in my mind are really good, coconut oil, avocados, actually, I think are an amazing superfood and not a lot of people are talking about that. Cacao, raw cacao. So raw cacao is different than cocoa powder so make sure you’re consuming raw cacao. Turmeric, ginger, so trying to get ginger in. I think garlic and onions are a great one when you’re adding to your savory dishes as a superfood kick for all of your different immunities. And then, obviously, dark type of greens, so really looking for that leafy…think of it like being like a sponge. If you were going to clean something, you need a little bit of bristle to get it clean. It’s like that inside your system. So when I speak on those, I would try to get those in my diet once a day, sometimes some of them more than once, you know, in there together, but I’m always trying to find one of them a day, always, if not more than one a day.

The things that I avoid are really simple, and they’re meant to be simple because for me, life’s about living. I’m not going to eat a certain amount and I’m not… You know, I’m just going to, like, enjoy my life. I love food and I think that food made with love and the way I think about that food is going to process in my body in a certain way. And we know this scientifically. The way you think about the food in your body is going to affect how it’s digested in your body and how it’s going to show up, and I’ll get to that in a minute. But the food that I would avoid and that I do avoid, if I ever have them, it’s maybe once or twice a year because I’m in another country and I just want to try X, Y, Z or whatever is their famous thing of that place, but it’s white sugar. I absolutely do not have white sugar in my home. I don’t miss it at all. We use coconut sugar. We use 100% maple syrup. You can use raw honey. I have a lot of sweets in my life but I stay away from white sugar.

Vegetable canola oils, super toxic for your system, so I do not have that in my home nor will I buy products with it, I don’t even buy chips that contain that. We have chips on the regular because our whole family loves nacho night. We just buy the kind that are made with other oils. And you can find those. It’s not hard. And then, white and wheat flour, we do not have in our home either. So we just use almond flour or these different types of combinations that make up a gluten-free flour, because it’s super toxic in systems, and, actually, it can… I’m not a celiac or anything and neither are my children, but there has been correlation with anxiety and white and wheat four. So try taking those things away. And that’s, literally, how we are. And so, obviously, we don’t have soda pop in our home because soda pop contains white sugar. So there’s a lot of foods that have those ingredients that we remove and we don’t consume, but we’ve tried to find alternatives, and there are so many when you look for it, you can find them. So, yeah, that’s my basics.

Katie: I love that. I love the simplicity of your approach. And like I found in my own journey, like, the lack of restrictions and dogma, I agree. I think health is so personalized but there are these general rules that are almost universally applicable. And, like, even like superfoods, for instance, unless you have an allergy to them, they’re almost universally applicable, or avoiding the bad things, like you said. I’m 100% right there with you. We have no biological need for white sugar. There are alternatives that work just as well in anything so it’s an easy swap to make. Same with, rather than vegetable oils which are horrible for you, you can actually get nutrients from olive oil, or avocado, or so many other options. And so I love the simplicity of that. I think in a world of overwhelm, it brings such clarity. And you do this with movement as well. Like, I’m a big fan of when you post on Instagram, the simplicity of your workouts. And so, can you, kind of, give us the overarching approach that you take to that as well?

Danette: Yeah. So my overall approach is, “Do what you like.” So once again, there’s no right or wrong way to move your body. There’s Zumba, there’s HIIT, there’s CrossFit, there’s yoga, there’s Pilates, I mean, there’s all sorts of, kind of, movement. And I always say do what floats your boat and do what really lights you up, because that’s what you’re going to end up doing. If you’re moving and you hate it, once again, your mindset truly affects how food is digested as well as how the movement is actually affecting your body. So if you’re moving your body and you hate it, it most likely is translating that way. And I’m going to speak on running, for example.

I know so many people that call themselves runners but they say they hate running, but they run to be lean, that are not lean. And let me just say, have we ever seen a distance runner that we’ve seen on TV that likes it ever not feeling…? No. And I just want to bring to the point that the mind is so powerful. If you’re running and you hate it, like, you’re like, “I hate this,” I guarantee that it’s going to have, like, a backlash. Either you’re going to get injured, or, two, you, actually, aren’t going to see the results that you were going for.

So find the thing that you love because when you are in pleasure is when the body responds. Now, let me say that again because so many women are so afraid of their pleasure. We’re so good at turning off our pleasure, and I’m talking about all forms of pleasure because movement is actually a form of pleasure. Everyone who gets done, usually with a workout, feels a sense of pleasure. It is a rush of endorphins. There’s this euphoria that comes over your system. It’s not fun before, but after, we get that rush, and so, that pleasure center is huge, so find the thing that you really love.

And for me, I like simple, I like quick, I love running, though, too, so I don’t make that quick. For me, running is like moving therapy. So I go out and run, but I can also hike and get the same benefit, or go for a bike ride and get the same benefit. So I need some long steady cardio. For me, I don’t do long steady cardio for fat loss or to fit in my jeans. It’s, actually, kind of, counterintuitive. I do long steady cardio for my mental capacity. I feel that it is a moving meditation. I feel like it’s therapy that’s absolutely free. I work through so much stuff and that steady-state movement is conducive to, really, healing your system when it comes in your mind. And then, I also just like, really, like, harder, I like some intensity for me, but I also need yoga and Pilates. Even though it’s not my favorite form of moving, I always know it’s very needed at times because I’m pretty fiery. So, you know, just change it up, do what lights you up, try lots of different things, and keep it simple.

Katie: I agree. I think I got stuck in that mindset early on too, of, like, trying to find… Like, everybody had their approach and their exact method you were supposed to follow and it wasn’t… Like, with movement, it wasn’t until I actually started doing it just for fun that I ever wanted to stick with it. And so, now, like my movement is I’ll lift weights because I love it and I feel great after, but not for extended amounts of time. I love sprinting so I’ll race my kids and do a bunch of sprints, and that’s fun, or climb a tree, or hang upside down, like, all these things that I feel like I forgot for so long and that my kids have been great teachers in reminding me.

But I think you’re so right. It has to come back to fun. And same with healthy food, like, the mindset shift, the reason I think that has to come first is you have to want to do these things out of love and nourishment for your body. You have to want to move because it’s fun and because you feel great when you do it. You can’t ever punish yourself into that. And it makes me sad to see so much of the diet and fitness industries that focus more on that, like, extreme, punish, deprivation angle. And why I like your message so much is because you keep it in the positive and you focus on the good. And I think that, especially for women, but for everyone is just so important.

Danette: Thank you.

This podcast episode is brought to you by Beekeeper’s Naturals, a company dedicated to protecting the bees while creating sustainably sourced bee products for our whole families. Without bees, our global food supply would collapse, so protecting the bees protects all of us. As a certified B corp, Beekeeper’s Naturals cares deeply about the environment, about the bees, and about their employees, and their customers and consumers, which is us. If you’re new to using bee products, I personally, recommend starting with the propolis spray. This is a delicious way to support the immune system. And if you aren’t familiar with propolis, it’s really incredible. Propolis is the substance that bees use inside the hive to fight bacteria and any other pathogen or invaders that enter the hive. In fact, even if something as large as, like, a mouse should enter the hive, and the bees can’t get it out, they can encapsulate it in propolis to keep that from infecting the hive and creating all kinds of bacterial problems. Propolis is naturally antibacterial. It has a compound called pinocembrin that works as an antifungal, and it’s also an antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. I personally spray it in my throat at the first sign of a tickle in my throat, or the sniffles, and I spray it on wounds and burns for faster healing. You can save 15% on propolis and all Beekeeper’s Naturals products as a listener of this podcast. To get the deal, go to beekeepersnaturals.com/wellnessmama, and use the code “wellness mama” to save 15%.

This episode is brought to you by Wellnesse. That’s Wellnesse with an E on the end, which is my new personal care company that is dedicated to making safe and effective products from my family to your family. We started with toothpaste and hair care because these are the biggest offenders in most bathrooms, and we’re coming after the other personal care products as well. Did you know for instance that most shampoo contains harsh detergents that strip out the natural oils from the hair and leave it harder to manage over time and more dependent on extra products? We took a different approach, creating a nourishing hair food that gives your hair what it actually needs and doesn’t take away from its natural strength and beauty. In fact, it’s specifically designed to support your hair’s natural texture, natural color, and is safe for color-treated hair as well. Our shampoos contain herbs like nettle, which helps strengthen hair and reduce hair fall, leaving your hair and scalp healthier over time, and scented only with natural essential oils in a very delicate scent so that you don’t have to worry about the fragrance as well. Over time, your hair gets back to its stronger, healthier, shinier state without the need for parabens or silicone or SLS. You can check it out along with our whitening toothpaste and our full hair care bundles at wellnesse.com, that’s wellnesse.com. An insider tip, grab an essentials bundle or try auto-ship and you will lock in a discount.

Katie: So as we get toward the end, a couple of other questions I love to ask, the first being if there’s a book or any number of books that have had a really dramatic impact on your life, and if so, what they are and why?

Danette: The one that came to mind first when you just asked that was “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks. Have you read that, Katie?

Katie: I haven’t.

Danette: Oh, it’s so good. And the reason it’s so good is because it lays out why we upper-limit or why we self-sabotage, and how you navigate that. And it really boils down to, like, really fundamental things like, one, the spotlight. You’re afraid of the spotlight. There’s also ones of, like, failure. Like, and it lays it out, and you can totally learn through the examples he lays out. “Oh, my gosh. That’s me and I didn’t even know that.” And that book really helped me to ensure I didn’t self-sabotage in our business when we first started off. It’s helped me not self-sabotage in my relationship because I got into a new relationship and I had all this old story around trust and things from my previous. It has been game-changing for me, so I’d highly recommend that book.

I’m trying to think. That one is the biggest ones that came up. I’m a ferocious reader so I can tell you so many books. I’m going to speak on an author that I really love. There’s two of them. Napoleon Hill, I think most of us know, “Think and Grow Rich.” But try some of his other books out there. He has so many books that are so really built around the mindset, whether it comes to success in your life or finances that crossover into every area of your life, so Napoleon Hill. And then, I love Paulo Coelho. He wrote “The Alchemist,” which he’s best known for but he has so many other books.

Katie: I love that. And your book “The Rise” is also wonderful. I’ll make sure that’s linked in the show notes as well at wellnessmama.fm if you guys are listening. Also, I think we’d be remiss too in the podcast without talking about your products because you mentioned superfoods, and you have, at least one that I’ve tried, Cacao Bliss, that is amazing. So talk about your products too.

Danette: Oh, thanks. I’m so passionate about it. Obviously, superfoods have been this big power of healing for me. And, you know, what was interesting when I was going through, like, my transition of coming out of depression and really claiming who Danette was is, there was this desire within me to travel to indigenous places. And I don’t know if everyone has that desire but for whatever reason, I would dream about being invited where no blonde hair, blue-eyed girl would be invited. And, literally, because of that intention and holding that vision, I started getting invited.

And I found myself in a particular circle with these indigenous tribe, and most of them were men but there was a few, what they would call the grandmas. And we were sitting in a circle, and in the jungle, and they passed out these little, like, cups with dark liquid in them. And at the time, I didn’t know what it was. And they were like, “We’re doing a ceremony and it’s a cacao ceremony. We do this every full moon. We do it on new moons. But it’s a time for us to set intention, and time for us to connect back to our hearts.” And it was this really profound moment for me when I drank the raw cacao, which they infused with some raw honey from their bees, locally. They actually had sprinkled some turmeric in there, and a little bit of cayenne pepper. I thought it was super delicious but after I drank it, I was, like, feeling this almost euphoria high. I was like, “Whoa, what was in that?” Like, I was happy. And then, honestly, that intention that I set manifested, and they’d said it would. And I was like, “Whoa, what was that?”

And so, I started to talk to the tribe leaders and then I also did research on my own, and what they were serving was raw cacao, and, obviously, it was infused with one superfood which was turmeric. But I started learning about the other superfoods that they, sometimes, add to it. So they were adding, in different tribes, like, mesquite and lucuma, which are, like, different types of superfoods growing in the Southern regions. And they would help build up immunity, would help build up stamina for… If they weren’t able to eat, they could drink cacao. And I also found that cacao was built in for the ages. It was so highly revered in the Mayan culture that they literally buried it, and they revered it more than currency. It was so potent for people’s healing and for cognition, like, people would drink it, and it literally contains theobromine to like…

I get so excited, Katie, by this because they’ve been studies on curing all Alzheimer’s. If you want to, like, open your mind and have blood flow in your mind, and have better brain cognition, and remember things, and get into flow state, drink cacao. And there were so many stories of some of the greats of the greats doing this, and so, I was, like, committed to bringing raw cacao, the way it was cultivated, to our modern world. And so, I looked into trying to find a farmer that actually did it the indigenous way, which called ceremonial grade, where they lay it out in the sun and literally let the sun kiss it, and then, they grind it into a powder. And we infused it with lucuma, mesquite, turmeric, MCT oil, which none of them were doing, but they did, sometimes, add a different kind of fat depending on the region. But I just knew that that was going to be, like, a massive carrier of all the superfoods through the cells.

And I was doing that for like two years on my own, making this, and knowing that I was supposed to bring it to the mainstream, but not knowing how I was going to do it. We’d never sold product before. But I was drinking it and I was telling my whole community about it, and I told them how to mix it, like what was the exact percentages of each ingredient. And people were writing into me going, “I’m not depressed. What’s in this? And I feel good.” Because, we also know that raw cacao contains anandamide, which is only two foods in the world do, which literally acts as like a heart opener. So when you’re feeling love or you’re just done making love, that anandamide is released in your body. And raw cacao, not cocoa but raw cacao contains anandamide.

And so, we created Cacao Bliss because, one, I wanted everyone to, one, feel themselves more, like, tap into their heart, but also have every superfood that they could get to really increase their immunity. That, instead of taking greens, if you didn’t want to do greens, you could do Cacao Bliss and have a lot of the potent superfoods right in your fingertips, but then, you also have pleasure because it’s super delicious. So that’s one of our products.

Katie: Yeah, that’s the one I’ve tried. I’ll make sure there’s a link in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm, and I’ll also post it on social the day this airs. It’s delicious. I love it. It’s like an afternoon pick-me-up for me most days, and it’s incredibly just… It’s delicious. So I love that you have created that. Where can people follow you online to learn more and stay in touch?

Danette: Yeah. The easiest way is just my website at danettemay.com. On social, it’s just TheDanetteMay.com, so whether it’s IG or Facebook. But, yeah, we’re constantly putting out content, like, I think it’s three times a week that’s free content, recipes, mindset tools, workouts on the blog as well as on social.

Katie: I love it. And you guys, those links will be in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm. So if you are driving or exercising, you can find all of them there. But, Danette, I’m so glad we finally got to connect and do this, and I just really love you and love your work.

Danette: No, thank you, it’s was so great to connect.

Katie: And thanks, as always, to all of you for listening and for sharing your time with us. We’re both so grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

This podcast episode is brought to you by Beekeeper’s Naturals, a company dedicated to protecting the bees while creating sustainably sourced bee products for our whole families. Without bees, our global food supply would collapse, so protecting the bees protects all of us. As a certified B corp, Beekeeper’s Naturals cares deeply about the environment, about the bees, and about their employees, and their customers and consumers, which is us. If you’re new to using bee products, I personally, recommend starting with the propolis spray. And this is a delicious way to support the immune system. And if you aren’t familiar with propolis, it’s really incredible. Propolis is the substance that bees use inside the hive to fight bacteria and any other pathogen or invaders that enter the hive. In fact, even if something as large as, like, a mouse should enter the hive, and the bees can’t get it out, they can encapsulate it in propolis to keep that from infecting the hive and creating all kinds of bacterial problems. Propolis is naturally antibacterial. It has a compound called pinocembrin that works as an antifungal, and it’s also an antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. I personally spray it in my throat at the first sign of a tickle in my throat, or the sniffles, and I spray it on wounds and burns for faster healing. You can save 15% on propolis and all Beekeeper’s Naturals products as a listener of this podcast. To get the deal, go to beekeepersnaturals.com/wellnessmama, and use the code “wellness mama” to save 15%.

This episode is brought to you by Wellnesse. That’s Wellnesse with an E on the end, which is my new personal care company that is dedicated to making safe and effective products from my family to your family. We started with toothpaste and hair care because these are the biggest offenders in most bathrooms, and we’re coming after the other personal care products as well. Did you know for instance that most shampoo contains harsh detergents that strip out the natural oils from the hair and leave it harder to manage over time and more dependent on extra products? We took a different approach, creating a nourishing hair food that gives your hair what it actually needs and doesn’t take away from its natural strength and beauty. In fact, it’s specifically designed to support your hair’s natural texture, natural color, and is safe for color-treated hair as well. Our shampoos contain herbs like nettle, which helps strengthen hair and reduce hair fall, leaving your hair and scalp healthier over time, and scented only with natural essential oils in a very delicate scent so that you don’t have to worry about the fragrance as well. Over time, your hair gets back to its stronger, healthier, shinier state without the need for parabens or silicone or SLS. You can check it out along with our whitening toothpaste and our full hair care bundles at wellnesse.com, that’s wellnesse.com. An insider tip, grab an essentials bundle or try auto-ship and you will lock in a discount.

Jun 22 2020

52mins

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349: How to Be Your Best in High Stress Situations With Former Army Ranger and CIA Agent Jeff Banman

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I’m pretty sure every one of us has experienced some level of high stress, especially these days! I am here with Jeff Banman, a former firefighter, U.S. Army Ranger, and CIA Counter-terrorism Operator. He’s made a career of studying successful people and discovering which variables allow them to survive or even thrive in stressful situations. Jeff has taken all he’s learned from years of conducting operations and missions all over the world and applied it to all aspects of modern-day parenting.

Jeff is a parent as well, so we also talk about how to foster this mindset of resilience and strength in your kids from an early age. I think you’ll enjoy this super creative and science-based way to look at adversity as much as I did.

Episode Highlights With Jeff Banman

  • What combat situations teach us about the brain
  • Jeff’s three Cs that allow kids (and adults) to thrive: comfort, confidence, and creativity
  • Why parenting may be the toughest and most important leadership role anyone can have
  • What it means to live in a conscious parenting zone
  • Tips and strategies for getting comfortable with discomfort
  • How heart rate variability lets us see stress
  • Ways to find (and create) calm even when there’s chaos
  • How to judge an acceptable and healthy level of risk for kids
  • Why Jeff made it his life’s mission to help people be more resilient
  • And more!

Resources We Mention

Can you relate to Jeff’s life lessons? What was your biggest takeaway from this episode? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well.

Read Transcript

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

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Katie: Hello and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com, my new line of completely natural and safe personal care products that work, as well as conventional alternatives. And in this episode, we’re going to talk all about how to be your best in high-stress situations, which probably a lot of us are experiencing now and over the past few months. I am here with Jeff Banman, who is a former firefighter, US Army Ranger, and CIA Counter-terrorism Operator. And he has dedicated his life to discovering what separates people who are successful from those who aren’t. He’s conducted operations and missions all over the world, including in combat zones and high threat environments. And before you sit and think, “Well, what does that have to do with me?” I have always maintained that parents have a lot in common with special forces and we’re gonna go into that today. In fact, I would put moms up against special forces, at least mentally, quite often, but we’re gonna talk about that and how you can use lessons learned from people who operate in these really high-stress, extreme situations to be better in your own day-to-day life. And Jeff is a parent as well, so we also talk about how to foster this mindset of resilience and strength in your kids from an early age, focusing on what he calls the three Cs of this: comfort, confidence, and creativity. Super fascinating episode and I know that you will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed recording. Jeff, welcome. Thanks for being here.

Jeff: Hey, thanks for having me, Katie. I really appreciate it.

Katie: I am so excited to chat with you because I have listened to a couple of podcast interviews that you’ve done with other podcasts and gained some really useful tips on things we can learn to be our best in high-stress situations. And I feel like modern life certainly has no shortage of high-stress situations these days, especially right now. And so I think this is gonna be a very practical and helpful interview. And for anybody who just heard your bio and is thinking like, “Okay, this guy is amazing. He was a ranger and in the CIA, but what does that have to do with me?” I just wanna preface to all of my parents listening by saying that I actually think I would put moms up against Special Forces in a lot of scenarios. And I’ve joked about this for a long time, but I think there actually are some similarities, not just the joking ones about sleep deprivation which, to my understanding, they actually stopped using as a form of torture but moms still endure.

But just the leadership role of running a family, managing a team, all of the daily challenges that we face and the inability to step back from that as a mom or as someone in combat. You don’t get the option to just walk away and take a vacation. And so I think that there’s a lot of similarities there. And I think that the parents listening can learn a lot from your research and your mindset because of that.

Jeff: Yeah, I appreciate it. I mean, it is. There is a stream that runs through all of us. And for me, I’ve always kind of come to this place where it’s like, it doesn’t really matter what the situation is or whether you’re overseas and doing crazy stuff or running into a burning building or trying to, you know, manage three screaming kids. It’s a matter of fact. I’ve, you know, I will tell on myself. It’s like easier to be in the world than it is to be home some times. So I’m in complete agreement with you that you could take a lot of parents and you could definitely take a lot of moms and you can put them up against some of the ”best of the best” out there and they’d probably come out better on the other end because of the complexities they deal with on a regular basis.

Katie: And I think there was something interesting I learned from you and I’d love to kind of delve into is the idea that hopefully many people listening have never been shot at or been in a really like combat type situation. But from what I’ve heard from you and read from you, the brain doesn’t necessarily know the difference between that type of stress and other types of stress that we encounter daily. Is that right?

Jeff: Yeah. I mean, I think, what we’ve learned over time is the perception of stress is so individualized that you can’t come with, “Oh, they have it harder than I do,” right? You can’t come with this mentality that somehow, you know, but I’m just gonna use the example. Somehow life as a mom trying to run a household and manage kids and do everything they need to do and sometimes probably trying to keep their husband in line or vice versa, or whatever it may be, whoever really kind of runs a household. You know, that that is somehow less stressful or less important or less, whatever than, running into a burning building or chasing bad guys down or operating around the world. It’s not a point of comparison in my book, right? How you perceive and how you process is always so, so individualized.

And so we’ve gotta approach it that way. We’ve gotta give ourselves a little bit of grace to that, you know, and stay away from this, “Well, you know, I only do this.” No, that’s a huge lift every day. That’s a huge accomplishment, a huge task. There’s a lot to that. And, you know, I think sometimes as humans we don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we do and how we do it and the things we have to deal with along the way.

Katie: Yeah, I agree. And there’s a lot of memes and jokes going around in the mom community about like, you know, I kept the tiny humans alive all day. But that speaks to the fact that we have these people who are completely responsible for us, that we do have to keep alive just like in a combat situation and the team is responsible for keeping each other alive and safe. And so our brain, especially as moms, those are very much high stakes, very real world stakes. And so of course, there can be stress that goes with that. I’m curious what you found in your research of what separates those who tend to do well with stress from those who struggle more in such stressful situations.

Jeff: Yeah, it kind of goes into this what I call the operational mindset because of what I do in the community I now serve and what I get to…how I get to contribute now. You know, and I had the opportunity to really dive in and do some deep dive research, look at human behavior in high-stress environments. I tend to say I was doing biofeedback and mindset stuff before they were cool. So you were talking quite some time ago. And, you know, as I began to look at kind of the traits and postures of people, there were three things that I kind of came to and it was very interesting and it came from data and interviews and looking at kind of who, you know, the top 1% of performers in my world.

And you heard it in their language, in their stories and really it came down to three kind of key points. The ability to be highly comfortable in extremely uncomfortable situations, right? And that’s not a model of complacency. That’s like a place of, okay, I’m good and yes, this isn’t maybe a great situation or this is uncomfortable for me, or this is a new experience, or this is just stretching me, but it’s kind of a reminder that me, I’m okay. I’m good here. I can manage this. Which bleeds to the second point around competence, right? So comfort and incompetence. And that’s not arrogance. That’s not like I got this, I can handle that. It’s stepping back to what I call…refer to as like your own power, right? Settling in. Okay. Again, that’s a reminder, I’m good. I can deal with this. I don’t necessarily like it. I don’t necessarily wanna be dealing with this right now, but I’m okay and I have the self-confidence. I’m gonna rely on my own skillset and my own emotional control and my own points of stability to create the competence I need to kind of work through or manage through whatever it may be this kind of high-stress moment in time.

And then the last one is creativity, right? And this is like, I don’t know, but I surely will figure it out. You know, and mothers, I feel like mothers do this far greater than fathers. I’ve watched this, I watched this in myself. They have an instinctive ability to redirect or move or be creative in a moment or find a creative solution. And, you know, that’s one of the key things that I’ve spent years training operators to understand how to bring a unique level of creativity to the environment because nothing is ever gonna go the way we planned it. Nothing is ever gonna happen the way we want it to happen. And if we’re not stepping up our game in that level of flexibility and being adaptive in those situations, you know, then it starts to avalanche, right? It starts the downward slide of I don’t know what to do. No, I don’t know what to do. And then I start beating myself up and then I’m frustrated or I’m anxious for whatever else and I’m not gonna get anywhere at that point in time. So really, the three kind of mastery traits I’ve seen are that comfort, confidence and creativity. That’s what we try to achieve in a lot of ways.

Katie: I love that. That’s so easy to remember and to focus on. Do you have any practical tips for both learning that as adults and then also for fostering that in our kids as a mindset? Because I homeschool my six kids and I’ve basically written my own curriculum because I realized that the school system, I didn’t feel like it was preparing them for whatever the future of technology makes their adult life look like, which would be highly adaptive. And so we focus on core values of creativity and critical thinking and connecting the dots and thinking outside the box so they get rewarded for those things. And so I’ve kind of learned how to do that in a school environment. But I love what you’re saying and I’m curious, how can we as parents learn to do that in the moment when things get stressful and also help impart that to our kids?

Jeff: Yeah, I think, you know, this is Katie, this is always the fun stuff. It feels like there’s a lot of complexity behind some very simple things, right? And so at the end of the day, you know, whether…it doesn’t matter when I’m working with my kids or my, you know, I’ve got a two, I’ve got the gamut of 16, 14 and two and a half. So I went back and did it again, which has been spectacular. We operate very much kind of in the conscious parenting zone in raising the children, pay attention to a lot of things. But at the end of the day, here’s what I feel like we don’t give ourselves or give our kids or give our families a lot of time. And that’s just space.

And so how do we create space, right? The freedom to learn, the space to actually like be present and digest what’s happening. And that to me, the best tool for that is breathing, right? And there’s a million and a half, you know, options for breath work and all kinds of things and different times to use for different things. I always teach people, it’s like, find what works for you. You know, maybe it’s just that four in, four out rhythmic breathing process and maybe it’s 30 seconds, maybe it’s a minute, maybe it’s five minutes, right? But it’s just the breath actually does a couple things for us. It gives us the opportunity to ground ourselves, to anchor in the present moment. You know, you’ll see me, I’ll stick into a breathing cycle and I’ll look around and hear a bird chirp or what’s actually happening now, right? And get hyper present to what’s actually taking place. I’m able to connect with my kids that way, what’s going on for them.

Because when I do that, it settles me, settles them. And then there’s actually this calm space in the environment. My go-to word, and, you know, I say it on my podcast all the time, but I feel like my world, our job and parents’ job is, it’s our commitment to bring calm to chaos. And if we’re not the calm, we’re the chaos. And so that’s like the…that’s the metal check I do, right? And am I creating the chaos or am I the guy bringing the calm to the chaos right now? And so when I use that mental check, I can step back. I can just kind of trigger into an easy float breath cycle and then my energy settles and when my energy settles, everyone else’s energy settles. And then we like, “Okay, what do we need to do now? What’s the next step?” And that has been true, you know, in a burning building, that has been true in combat. That has been true running operations around the world and looking for bad people and all kinds of things. So I feel like that’s like the universal anchor that we can apply.

Katie: Yeah, I love that. That’s such a simple but really, really practical thing we can try. And I feel like another thing that I’ve read or listened to from you is kind of the idea, and you touched on it a little bit, but that people are typically better at handling like direct stressors or things that we identify as stressful or like a lot of people say like, I’m great in crisis mode. And my husband and I even said that like, we’re great in crisis mode, but what’s tough is those little like kind of paper cut annoyances that build up. And I know for moms that’s usually at the end of the day like that 4:00 to 5:00 p.m that’s when the stress hits and you have that just kind of like overwhelming kind of sense of stress and overwhelm. And it’s because of all those little miniature things that have built up all day. So any tips for dealing with that when it’s just kind of nothing huge, nothing massive, nothing cataclysmic, but that like buildup of small annoyances?

Jeff: 100%. So this was probably one of the catalyst points when we were doing research. So we were able to really look at minute shifts in heart rate variability, which is the measurement tool for stress on the system, on the body, right, internally. And we found a very interesting phenomenon. So what we did was we divided up stress into three key categories. So direct stressors, those are things that come at us that we’re kind of prepared for, we train for or we expect to maybe happen throughout the day or throughout the environment. Then we have indirect stressors. Those are things that could happen, but tend to blind side us, right? I often compare it to like you’re driving down the road, you know. Yes, there’s always a possibility being an accident, but you just, somebody just ran a red light while you were in the middle of the intersection totally sideswiped you. You didn’t see it coming. And that’s a level.

And then there’s this third category, which I call indirect or I call satellite or peripheral stresses. These are like annoyance things in the environment. These are I can’t find my keys. These are, you know, the kid stuff the cell phone under the cushion and you can’t find it, right? And what I have found through a variety of things were we watch performance drop minimally a direct and indirect stone, but we watched performance drops significantly when we really ramped up the satellite or peripheral stressors in the environment. And this was very curious to me because we started to see where the inability to recover from small moments in time created what we call the stacking effect.

So literally, it was a nuanced stress, didn’t recover kind of annoyance factor, continued to operate or continue to work. Another one raised the bar, another one raised the bar, another one raised the bar and there was a failure to recover along the way. Or like I talk about being recoverable, like it just exists in you 24/7 where you can actually feel anxiety creep in. You can feel frustration creep in. You can feel the sensation in the body start to build, which is the trigger point to go,”Okay, I need a point of recovery.” And that may be a half a second, you know, behind a piece of cover while you’re getting shot at. And that may be setting the kids in front of the TV for a second and going in the other room and do it, you know, a quick just sit on the bed and okay I’m breathing now and settle down. It could be any number of things, right?

So you have to create what works for you. But really the essence is how well can you recover from the small things and not to let those things compound because it will then result in something significant. You find you almost create the direct stressors yourself down the road if you allow that to just build over time. Does that make sense to you?

Katie: Yeah, that does. That makes total sense. And I can see that in my own life. Just the difference between days when you’d like, you just feel that point and then everything seems just inconquerable at that point. Like you have to cook dinner and it’s the end of the world. And also, it’s a good reminder too, because I think our kids feel that as well. You know, when you have a young child who hits that just complete meltdown point, that’s probably exactly where they are as well. And so remembering, you know, they’re not being a problem, they’re having a problem. And how can we help them go through the same thing and reset, like that’s a great reminder.

Jeff: Yeah. And that’s it, and that triggers back to if you…it can be very easily, like you end up in the chaos without even realizing it sometimes. And that’s the checkpoint. It’s like, wait a minute, I’m actually, I’m being the chaos right now. Maybe and as a parent I’m bringing it cause it is my response. I just read a great book where he talked about energetic consent and so how to be responsible for our own energy in the space and the impact that can have on everyone around us. You know, and I know from my world that was huge. You know, if I’m walking into a high-risk meeting or I’m coming into a space in time, or we’re running a fire or things aren’t going well, how I respond, not just in words but in energy, makes a significant difference in the people around me and it does with my kids, right? How my energy bleeds into the environment is significant.

And so I have to really, you know, I can, you know, lock into command and control Jeff, right? Because that’s just how I’ve lived my life for 35 years. But I have to be really responsible for that and understand and match my energy to the needs of the situation, you know, as it is unfolding rather than fall into the trap of frustration or anxiousness or, you know, whatever it is. And so that’s a… and that’s a daily practice. I mean, I fail at it at least once or twice a day, if not five times. Some days I’m great, some days I’m awful. You know, this is nothing that you’re going to like zen out and be the master of. This is a daily practice of life really.

Katie: Absolutely. And it goes back to something that has been a lifelong journey for me and that I always remind my kids of as well is that we always have the ability to choose our own reaction and our own response. And at least in my own life, I’ve noticed I am infinitely happier to the degree to which I focus on the things that I have the power to change, which is almost often always just my own emotions, my own response, how I’m reacting to any stimulus versus trying to focus on all of the things out of my control that there’s literally no way to impact like current world stuff that’s going on. Or you know, even the behavior of my children. I think a lot of parents, it’s easy to get in that stressful loop of like, why can’t I make them do this? Why won’t they do this? And truly any parent knows.

Jeff: I never do that, Katie. Never do that.

Katie: But you have no control over it, do you? Any parent who thinks they have no control. Try to go to control two-year-old, you know. But going back to that idea that, and I tell my kids all the time, like as a parent that I need to be an example of that, but that also we are all happier to the degree that we focus on that which is in our control. And from a parent as a leader versus kind of like a dictator perspective to touch on conscious parenting, I tell my kids you’ve heard the phrase,”With great power comes great responsibility,” but in our house it’s reversed. It’s “With great responsibility comes great power”. When you take ownership for yourself or the things in your control, that’s when you earn freedom, you earn power because you’re showing that you’re responsible and capable of that.

And I think it’s a lesson for parents as well. And it’s a hard one that certainly it’s not easy to just every day wake up and go, okay, I’m only gonna focus on the things that I can control and I’m gonna stay calm today, obviously. But that’s one tip. It definitely really helps me when I’m able to keep that focus.

Jeff: Well, you know, and the other thing that we find is we are rarely ever present to the conditions, right? We’re rarely here now with what is happening. And, you know, it’s so interesting being able to go back and do this again and watch little man grow up, right, and have this little amazing rad human being running around. You know, he’s not forecasting things. He’s not thinking about, “Oh, am I gonna have playtime this afternoon or what’s the lunch gonna be?” Or, you know what I mean? He has no forward look. It’s all right now. And as parents or as leaders, you know, we get locked into future casting. We just get stuck there and it’s always trying to get somewhere or always trying to go to the next thing. Or, you know, what do I need to prepare for? I need to make sure lunch is set up. I need…it’s always coordination and preparation for something to happen. And rarely do we give ourselves the opportunity to enjoy the moment or be present with what’s going on or be connected to what’s actually happening. And, you know, we get stuck way out.

And so I feel like, you know, and that’s true. Listen, I would have not been successful. There’s times I probably wouldn’t be alive if I had not had the or something or someone bringing me back to what is actually happening right now. And for my world, there is so much freedom in that space when you can actually just calm down and be like where you are with who you are in that moment. There’s like, “Oh, wow.” And just all kinds of new stuff arises. That’s where you get to be comfortable. That’s where you get to be confident. That’s where you get to be creative because you’re actually in it with the people around you and especially your kids.

And I do think that’s a disservice that we create in our children is this future stuff. If we’re always jamming forward, if we’re always like planning and prepping and gotta be this and gotta be that, that’s what they know. That’s what they grow up with. And then so they grow up worrying about like what’s next or later this afternoon or scheduling or this or that. I’m not saying, you know, don’t be coordinated. You can’t, you know, you can’t not be coordinated. You can’t not plan. But being responsible for our own connection to the present moment I think is a game changer for a lot of us.

Katie: I absolutely agree and it surprises me sometimes and fingers pointing at myself as well, but as adult even how hard it is for a lot of people just to be too comfortable, to be quiet. And, you know, there’s all these great books and quotes from all of these philosophers and Stoics about how that’s one of our great works of life is to learn to be just still and how there’s a great book called, ”Stillness is the Key.” And just, I feel like that’s a lost skill in today’s world because there’s constant stimulation. There’s always the next thing going on. And perhaps recent events have actually been a great teacher of this is when all of that’s taken away, we have to just focus on what is and just learn to be and to be present and how hard that’s been for some of us, me included.

Jeff: Yeah. We don’t like to be with ourselves. We don’t like to be quiet. Because then it starts this uncomfortable feeling of, Oh, you know, I should be doing something or, you know, what do I need to be doing right now? Or, you know, we’re just, we were working up society and a culture and a life now that has become about what we’re doing next, not what we’re doing now. Listen, I have the opportunity to train some amazing people and develop some amazing people who are doing things well. You can even pay me, you know, a billion dollars to go do a year. Like no, thank you. And the only way they’re ever successful is when they understand how to be there in that moment.

You know, if you’re thinking about, you know, how am I gonna work this guy? What intelligence am I going to get from him? How’s this going? You know, there’s a time and a place to do all that. But then when you step into the world, when you release into the day, you know, when you start getting breakfast together for the kids and the day has started, that’s your time to be hyper present. You know, we used to have a running joke in the military, which was, you know, the plan never survives first contact with the enemy. You know, you can get up in the morning, here’s the day, this is what we’re gonna do. And then I wake the kids up and plans plain shot, right? But you have some framework top right under, you gotta be flexible with it. And it’s, you know, it’s just all, this is why I love it, right?

This is why I love kind of normalizing this idea of life in the extremes and normal life, right? Because there’s so many similar patterns to it. There’s not, like I kind of said at the beginning, there’s not a judgment back and forth. It’s not like, “Oh, well I have it easier than they do” or “I’m just, you know, a stay-at-home mom.” Nope, sorry, take that out of your language completely, you know. All of those things come into play because, and life can be stressful in any context, in any moment, in any situation. And, you know, the tools and the techniques and the way we look at it, it’s all the same at the end of the day. It’s all the same.

Katie: I agree. And I think to another parenting point that probably has a strong tie in here. So I love that creativity is one of those core things. And as a parent that’s always been a top of mind thing for me is how can I foster that in my kids? Because what I realized both from my own life and now working with all of my kids is you can’t really train creativity nor can you structure creativity obviously. And if anything, boredom seems to be the best teacher of creativity. But so many kids today don’t get the opportunity to be bored. They don’t get the downtime because there is that constant stimulation and the constant desire to learn more and be better in extracurriculars and so much is on their plate so young. So I’m curious both what you’ve seen and if there’s any research on this and then how you navigate it as a parent of helping to foster creativity with kids if you let them be bored on purpose or how that works.

Jeff: Yeah. I think, you know, it goes to the, it’s all going to draw some similarities here, right? So if I have a leader in my environment that’s always telling us what to do, how to do it, how to get things done, you know, I go back to my days in the fire service, I would tell people, listen, you know, if you’re driving the truck for instance, you have a pretty critical role and one of those roles just to get a ladder to the second floor. Because if I’m taking the crew inside, I need to be able to exit the building, right? If it’s on fire, we have a problem. I gotta get out.

And, you know, in the driver outside being alone, kind of out in the outside space there are controlling the exterior environment. And, you know, ladders are not light and they’re not easy to manage. They can be cumbersome and then given the situation and the slope and everything else, and I would just tell my guys, say, “Listen,” tell my people, “it doesn’t matter what it looks like, I just need it done.” You know. Yes, there’s technique and yes, there’s proper way to do that and there’s the correct way to do things. But if I don’t give the freedom and flexibility to my people to operate, right, the ability for them to see what’s going on, make their own choices, navigate their own roads, knowing the result we need to produce, then I’m really failing them as a leader.

And the same thing goes to my kids. If I’m telling them when I need them to do it, how they need to do it. It’s like the girls, you know, the girls were there back to online school. Things are kicking back up this week. There’s a little bit more requirements now in place, even though they’re not physically in school. And we talked about it, how do I support you? What does that look like? And they both said to me, “I don’t need to be micromanaged. I don’t need you to tell me when, you know, what to do. But I do need support in like you being the dad saying, ‘Okay, we’re all gonna, it’s work time now. You guys go work on school and I’m gonna go work, you know, on the business.’” “Okay, cool.”

So creating the parameters and kind of the left and right limits to accomplishing something rather than structuring out what they need to do. And then, you know, did you do this and did you do that? You know, one of the things that we do with little man is we really try to just, again, create space. It’s like, “Do you wanna go play in your room?” “Yeah.” “Okay, cool.” And that’s it, right? I don’t need to go any further. Do you wanna play with this toy or this toy? No, I think we tend to over options are kids, right? What was the book ”Apathy of Options?” Have you ever read that?
Katie: I haven’t.

Jeff: Yeah. We tend to over options our kids and then they don’t know what to do and then they don’t have…they don’t know how to make their own choice. They’re making a choice based on what we’re providing them. And it’s the same in adults. It’s the same in this place. It’s like how do I foster creativity? I give the space for creativity to unfold and that is individualized, that’s not directed, that’s not staged. And I actually take options away from them rather than put more options in front of them. And it’s feels kind of counterintuitive. But when you do that, they really start to like, okay, wait a minute. You know, okay, I need to figure something out here. And they begin to satisfy themselves, not satisfy me as the parent or me as the leader. And that’s a unique space that I’ve seen unfold pretty well, if that translates or make sense to you.

Katie: Yeah, no, that’s…I love that answer. And another like parenting note that I have a feeling has a pretty good tie in here is I’m so curious your approach in what you’ve seen in research on letting kids take risks. Because this is another thing that I think has changed really drastically even since I was a kid and certainly since my parents were kids, is kids being able to do activities that are considered risky or play unsupervised or ride their bikes more than, you know, without the seeing distance of their house. And I’ve written about this a little bit.

Like, my opinion is that it can be a disservice to our kids if we overprotect them and they don’t get those opportunities for learning to work through things on their own for minor injuries, for taking risks and failing because a lot of kids get to adulthood, haven’t had to face actual failure or any really severe natural consequences of natural failure. So I’m probably on the one extreme was the mom who’s sending my kids out to climb trees and encouraging them to climb things and jump off things and whatever. But I’m curious, A, what the research says, and B, how you navigate that?

Jeff: Yeah, so I think the one of the research papers I read, I don’t know, maybe a couple of years ago, came out where they did a whole study on like rough housing and the development of emotional intelligence in children, right? And so, which was, and it didn’t, you know, sex wasn’t, not, doesn’t matter, boys or girls. But really more, you know, timely and proper kind of rough housing play with children actually begins to build their resiliency process, begins to build their decision making skills. They actually begin to establish the boundaries of what’s okay and not okay for them. You know what I mean? And so there’s this listening dynamic and I see this, you know, this is part of like growing up over 12 years, right, between my last one and then, little man, you know. I can see what the girls where I was definitely over protective.

I was always, you know, trying to catch them. If they fell I’m like rushing over, are you okay? Are you okay? You know, and all these things and then it creates this timidness in them, you know. I see where they’re a little bit more anxious and I’ve gotta be responsible for that if I’ve created anxiety in them by me overreacting to them or not giving them the space to kind of sort it out. Whereas today, I only come to the, you know, “come to the rescue” when Decklan’s hurt, you know what I mean? Or the possibility of that. And even then giving him a little bit of space to sort himself out. If he like, I don’t know, falls or something, it’s kinda like I instinctually, I don’t fight my instinct and kind of pause back and wait to see, let him process through what just happened. Do the self-assessment, am I hurt, am I bleeding? You know, there are any leaks going on right now about what’s going on for me right now. And then what do I feel about this?

One of the major things we’ve committed to with him is we never tell them it’s okay. Like we’ve extracted, we just completely removed that from our vocabulary because we don’t know. Well, maybe he’s not okay. I don’t know. He can’t articulate that yet. And I think as parents we often…we wanna come to the rescue, we wanna protect our kids, we wanna create safety for them, but we’re actually not, we’re creating spaces of questionable, I don’t know, am I okay? Is it okay to not to be okay right now? All these fundamental things that go into, you know, what I believe creates confidence in a human being, which is the ability to self-regulate, self-manage, self-assess, and then speak, you know, in some ways speak our truth, if you will. And that may be crying or maybe upset or, and that may just be like, Oh.

I mean, I’m amazed at this kid given the space from a fall that I would be like, Oh, this is gonna be a major one. He gets up, brushes it off, like, you know, trucks onto something else. But I gave him the space to sort it out and the freedom to experience whatever he was experiencing there. And if he’s upset or hurt, then I come over. I give him a hug. I’m like, “I got you bud. You know you’re safe. I got you.” I don’t ever say you’re okay because he’s not. And then if he’s done something and he’s upset at something that I don’t…that doesn’t really have a framework for it or like an anchor point for me, it’s like, okay. And it causes me to now be curious about his experience or what’s going on for him. And that’s an opportunity as a parent to help him maybe begin to navigate things for himself, not through my view or my lens, if that…yes, if that answers your question.

Katie: That absolutely does. Yeah. I think that’s a helpful strategy to have on hand and a good reframing of not trying to tell them that it’s okay or to frame the experience for them, but to help them learn the tools to work through it themselves. I think that’s a really, really important point.

This episode is sponsored by Joovv Red Light Therapy, a natural red light therapy in your very own home. We may not think of light when we think of essential nutrients that our body needs, but light is absolutely necessary for the body. This is the reason I go outside as soon as possible after waking up in the morning, and the reason I spend time in front of my Joovv. Light is energy and our bodies need light in certain forms in order to sustain healthy cellular function. Red light in particular, especially in certain wavelengths, has very specific benefits for hair, skin, and cellular energy. I like Joovv because they are third-party tested for safety and performance and use a Patented modular design which allows you easily treat your whole body in under 20 minute and lets you use anything from a small system to a larger system that you would find in a Chiropractors office. Joovv uses clinically proven wavelengths of light that provide energy to the body. They have Bundle pricing discounts which allow you to save more money when purchasing larger setups. Get free shipping at joovv.com/wellnessmama and use code WELLNESSMAMA for a free gift!

This podcast is brought to you by Wellnesse, a new company I co-founded to bring the best personal care products from my family to yours. Our whitening toothpaste is based on my DIY formula that I have been making and perfecting for over a decade. Now, after almost 100 rounds of tweaking the formula and thousands of positive reviews, I could not be more proud to share this with your family. Have you ever read a tube of normal toothpaste? I did when my older kids were little, and I found a warning that said, “Warning, keep away from children. Do not swallow. If ingested contact Poison Control or seek medical attention immediately.” That seemed a little extreme for something that I was putting in my mouth and my children’s mouth multiple times a day. And I didn’t want my kids using something that often that I would need to call a poison control center if they accidentally swallowed. I set out to create a truly safe and effective alternative. And the Wellnesse Whitening toothpaste is just that. It’s designed to support the oral microbiome and the natural process of saliva and teeth so that teeth can stay white and strong. This dentist approved formula is safe for the whole family and will leave your teeth shiny and your breath fresh. You can check out our toothpaste and our completely natural hair food hair care products at wellnesse.com. An insider tip, if you grab an essentials bundle or try autoship, you will lock in a discount so that you can try everything at a great price.

I’ve also heard you mentioned in past podcast a couple of things I’d love for you to define and walk us through those being the 10-foot rule and the 30-degree rule.

Jeff: Okay. Okay. Yeah. So this goes back to presence, right? This kind of all goes back to absolutely being present, not getting too far out in front of each other. So, you know, I talk about like the 10-foot rule, which is, that’s kinda my span of control. If I get past 10-feet in any environment, you know, I have no control over that. And, you know, if I’m going into a burning building or I’m dealing with a crisis or I’m dealing with things as they are, that’s about the span I’ve got around me to really kind of deal with what I need to deal with. When I creep past that, now I’m in…I can, but I need to be aware that I’m creeping past it. I need to be aware that I’m really now getting into a more predictive state, right? I’m future casting. I’m dealing with things that have not happened or may not happen yet.

And so if I do that too much, if I live outside of 10-feet, then I’m never really present to what’s actually happening and I’m not dealing with the conditions as they exist. I’m dealing with them in some idea of how I want them to be or how I think they should be or how they might happen or how it might unfold. So I’m really dealing with false data at that point in time. When I can stay within kind of my 10-foot rule, then I’m actually present to what’s actually taking place. And then this goes to kind of the 10-degree or 30-degree rule, which I say, you know, you move into the environment and I’m adjusting 10 degrees left or right based on the conditions as they exist.

So for instance, I use this example in my teaching because it was relevant. If I go to a house fire, I show up, I’ve got a two-story single family home, heavy fire from the second floor. I kind of do my walk around. I look outside, I see what’s going on. I collect as much information as I can, but I know the minute I stepped through the front door, the conditions have changed. And now new information coming at me. I now know how hot it is or you know where the fire may be located or how far it may be progressing. I began to really get in touch with what’s going on in the sensations of the environment, what the environment is telling me.

And you know, maybe my job is to locate with seal fire or do a search for victims that that doesn’t change. My mission doesn’t change, but how I go about accomplishing that task will depend upon the conditions and the allowance that I have in the conditions of the environment. Does that, you know, so I’m able to kind of more flow through what’s taking place rather than like, Nope, I gotta do this and I’m gonna push through and I’m gonna drive through and I’m going to own this thing. It’s, if I’m not present, then I can get myself in trouble significantly. In my world, you know, trouble means serious injury, possible death, you know, and then I’m not… and effectiveness is dropping significantly. So if I get outside kind of the 10-foot span around me or the three-foot span around me, depending upon what’s going on or I’m not present and I’m not kind of like, okay, I can go left, I can go right. Minor adjustments. I’m not coming off my mission, I’m not coming off my cast or my purpose or my intention, but I am available to what’s taking place and now I’m working with the environment rather than forcing an outcome.

That’s, I mean I had, so that’s a daily practice with the kids, right? I mean, working with them and not trying to force an outcome. That’s like the…that’s the translation for me. And that’s the, again, kind of the checks. And you can see the reaction of them. I think you see this in your own kids, right? When you step into that place, the more rigid you become, the more resistance you have back at you. At least that’s what I tend to experience and I’m sure, with six, you do as well.

Katie: Absolutely. Yeah. Another thing I think you’ve touched on, but I’ve got on my list to ask you about is the top five fractures in performance that are relevant across the board. So walk us through that.

Jeff: All right. So first one is always and definitely has been a perception of my own abilities and this is a huge breakdown point. This is a place where we often drop the ball almost right off the bat. You know, and if you look from like my world, if you have an operator, you have somebody going out operating in the mission and they’re questioning themselves, right? They’re unsure of themselves, then that’s going to begin to break down their ability to perform, their ability to see things, read the conditions, be open to what’s taking place along the way. And really then, you know, we start to see kind of this fracture and performance.

I mean, I think we all…I’ve never met a person, I don’t care out of what community they’ve come from, whether they’re, you know, a dev group, guys, seal team, six guy, Delta operator or, you know, the best of the best out there. There will always come a point in time where they question their own ability, right? They have a lingering voice in the back of their head. They’re just not 100% sure of themselves in that moment. And that is huge. Just a huge breakdown, right?

Number two, we see fall into complacency or what I kind of call the common state. This is where we take our foot off the gas. We really stopped paying attention to things. We start making a lot of assumptions about the situation or the environment or the people around us. We really kind of just, well, we basically check out of what’s going on.

The third one is always interesting because the third one deals with fear. And so I classify fear that fear can’t exist in the present moment. Fear doesn’t exist. You know, in a firefight, fear doesn’t exist. In a working fire, fear doesn’t exist. I may have excitement, I may have a state of arousal, but it is not fear. Fear only shows up as a future point in time of something that may happen or may not happen.

And then when I allow that fear to collide in the present, I can end up in a point of panic. You know, I don’t make solid decisions. You know, I often related to this and this is I think relevant to all of us. You know, and you too, it’s like, have you ever been woken up in the middle of the night by kind of the noise, right? You wake up, something, somebody banged on the front door just…or it’s a bad dream. You don’t really know what got you up, but you are more alert, more aware, like more ready, you know what I mean. If you’re a mom, you’re like, you know, mama bears coming out of your dad or you’re like me. Like you’re grabbing a gun and clearing the house, right? You’re in it. And there’s something that drew you into that moment that is a, what they would classify as emotional, you know, fear-based response, which I hate this word, but that is a high state of arousal. Your body’s moving into action, giving you what you need in that moment in time.

Now here comes the question. After you validated that there wasn’t anything, everybody’s safe. Everybody’s good. You go crawl back in bed. How quickly can you go back to sleep? And most times we’re kind of stuck. Now, we hear every little creak and crack and noise and we’re hypersensitive the environment. And what we’re doing in that state is we’re generating this kind of fear response. We’re generating this physical response of preparedness in ourselves. And if something then were to happen and this is, you know, relevant to my world, but then if something were to happen, I’ve kind of already put myself in a weird condition and I’m inhibiting my body from doing what it needs to do and then panic collides and then I’m incapable. I can’t function in that space. And so I’m not working with my body.

Number four is not being open to the idea, right? This is a lack of openness. Openness is a huge component of really carrying a powerful mindset or whatever you wanna call it. Open to the idea that things could happen. You know, I say if you’re, if you get in the car and drive down the road and you have no expectation and no idea that you could ever get in a car accident, that’s just like not in your frame of reference. And that’ll never happen. And I’m not worried about it. You know, and then if it does happen, what then physiologically causes, you know, it is a new event. It is an unfamiliar event, and you were unprepared for it. And so you’re caughtoff guard or your reaction time slows or your decision making slows or your perception of that slows. So just simply, you know, the lack of openness in this space and open to the idea that things could happen or might happen without generating fear is really the fourth one.

And then the fifth one is, and this is true across the board, it is how I allow the influencers or stressors of my day to impact me. And it goes back to what we talked about earlier, the lack of being recoverable, the lack of, you know, literally being disciplined enough that when I can’t find my car keys and I find them, I actually allow myself to settle for a minute and be like, okay, I got my car keys and then transition to the next moment. Not, I can’t find my car keys. Where is my car keys? Okay, I got them now let’s keep going, right? It’s that control mechanism. And when I give up that control mechanism of how things were impacting me, I fall into the stacking effect. And then, you know, things compound and I find myself kind of in a crap show at some point in time. I find myself in the chaos rather than, you know, being calm in the chaos.

So those are the five, those are the five that consistently without fail. If I look at a failure performance or a fracture in performance or things not going the way we want them to go almost every time, one of those five or multiple of those five are clearly defined and existing in this space.

Katie: Yeah. That’s so helpful. Yes. To just have a framework to be able to work through like that. And I can’t believe our time has already flown by so quickly. This has been such a fun interview. A couple questions I love to ask at the end, the first being if there’s a book or a number of books that have had a dramatic impact on your life and if so, what are they and why?

Jeff: Yeah, so, you know, you had sent that to me so I had to go back and look because books for me are like timely really, right? They tend to show up when you need them. But I would say probably some of the more recent ones that I think have really helped me make transition between my old life and the life I now live. One was ”Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” by Joe Dispenza. I really appreciated the way he approached looking at ourselves, this idea of calmness, this idea of physiological response because he took both a very scientific and, you know, almost esoterical approach to how we deal with ourselves. And a lot of evidence-based research in there. I guess his first book about the brain was ”Super Brainiac”. I’ve not read that yet. I would probably enjoy it. But you know, from the way he lays it out, most people were kind of like, “Okay, Joe, too much information.” But that was a pretty significant, pretty significant book for me in a lot of ways.

And then early on, early on in my career, I had the opportunity you know, big failure leadership I talked about on my podcast and I use it in all my teaching tools. But I read Daniel Goldman’s ”Primal Leadership” where he breaks down six distinct styles from affiliate of all the way down to the other end of the spectrum of like pace setting and commanding. And at that time I could see where I lived in this pace setting, commanding style of leadership, which we can get into very easily as parents. You know, kind of like, “Hey, we gotta go, here’s the deal. This is what we gotta do.” And I’m setting the pace and I’m commanding environment.

And, you know, it was funny because I had, I mean I virtually had like a mutiny on the crew. They basically came down to Jeff’s a jerk, him or me, we’re out. We’re not gonna deal with this anymore. And the way he articulated when he laid it down in the book, he talked about the great benefits of the commanding style leadership and the pace setting style leadership and driving to the car like, “I’m gonna turn around, I’m gonna sit everybody down, they’re gonna listen to this because I’m right.” And then he talks about all the negativity of it and how it should be used in a very finite point in time and how it should be limited. And I just started to almost tear up at like, “Crap, he’s right, I’m not going back,” you know. And it was a good call out book for me and what I needed to be responsible for and how I needed to kind of shift my architecture.

So those are good. And then like you said, you know, Ryan Holiday stuff, ”Ego is the Enemy.” And even Mark Manson stuff is really great. So I’m avid reader. I love to read people’s research and then I actually look at the research that they found that, you know, built a book around as well. I’m a little bit of a geek that way. But I would say, you know, those are pretty applicable across the board and know those are pretty significant for how we operate in our normal lives as well.

Katie: I love those. I’ll make sure those are in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm for any of you guys listening who went to find those. And for people who want to keep learning more or who are curious about your work, where can they find you online?

Jeff: Yeah, so the podcast is ”Mindset Radio.” It’s mindsetradio.com, and that’s actually provided by, through the Operational Mindset Foundation. So that’s my life now. I really committed to creating a pathway to mentally, physically and emotionally prepare the men and women who choose to place themselves in harm’s way every day. I think we’ve…having come from that community. The conversations you have on your podcast are new to this community, right? I mean they’re still stuck in the old school stuff. And my purpose was really bring a new conversation to the table to talk about consciousness, to talk about the struggles that we have. The things we’re exposed to, how to deal with that, how to really have a full life both on and off the job. And so now the foundation, is it mindset.org and the podcast is a mindsetradio.com are available on all the platforms.

Katie: Perfect. I love that. And lastly, any parting advice you wanna leave with the listeners today based on anything we’ve said or any other advice that you’d wanna give?

Jeff: Yeah, I mean I think the way I treat, you know, I run my show very much like you do Katie, you know, very conversational and I have a belief that people that listen to a podcast, need to have something they can do like the minute it’s over. And so I try to leave my listeners with like the challenge out of that piece. And I would say, you know, today, presence, right? And really work the breath today. Like be hyper present to your breath and what’s going on right now. Be curious, be curious about yourself, curious about your kids, curious about the situation and stay there like just hover there. Just you know, and if you feel yourself getting too far forward, too far to dinner, too far to the next day, too far to the next week, be curious as to why that is, why you need to feel that way, what that provides for you and just no judgment, right? No right or wrong. You’re not doing anything wrong, you’re not bad, none of that. Just curious. Just be curious, be present and see what shows up. That would be what I would say.

Katie: I love it. I think that’s a perfect place to wrap up and I’m really grateful for your time. This has been such a fun conversation and hopefully helpful to everyone listening. Thanks for being here.

Jeff: Thanks Katie.

Katie: And thanks as always to all of you for sharing your most valuable asset, your time with both of us today. We’re so grateful that you did, and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the ”Wellness Mama” podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

This episode is sponsored by Joovv, a natural red light therapy in your very own home. We may not think of light when we think of essential nutrients that our body needs, but light is absolutely necessary! This is the reason I go outside as soon as possible after waking up in the morning, and the reason I spend time in front of my Joovv. Light is energy and our bodies need light in certain forms in order to sustain healthy cellular function. Red light in particular, especially in certain wavelengths, has very specific benefits for hair, skin, and cellular energy. I like Joovv because they are third-party tested for safety and performance and use a Patented modular design which allows you easily treat your whole body in under 20 minute and lets you use anything from a small system to a larger system that you would find in a Chiropractors office. Joovv uses clinically proven wavelengths of light that provide energy to the body. They have Bundle pricing discounts which allow you to save more money when purchasing larger setups. Get free shipping at joovv.com/wellnessmama and use code WELLNESSMAMA for a free gift!

This podcast is brought to you by Wellnesse, a new company I co-founded to bring the best personal care products from my family to yours. Our whitening toothpaste is based on my DIY formula that I have been making and perfecting for over a decade. Now, after almost 100 rounds of tweaking the formula and thousands of positive reviews, I could not be more proud to share this with your family. Have you ever read a tube of normal toothpaste? I did when my older kids were little, and I found a warning that said, “Warning, keep away from children. Do not swallow. If ingested contact Poison Control or seek medical attention immediately.” That seemed a little extreme for something that I was putting in my mouth and my children’s mouth multiple times a day. And I didn’t want my kids using something that often that I would need to call a poison control center if they accidentally swallowed. I set out to create a truly safe and effective alternative. And the Wellnesse Whitening toothpaste is just that. It’s designed to support the oral microbiome and the natural process of saliva and teeth so that teeth can stay white and strong. This dentist approved formula is safe for the whole family and will leave your teeth shiny and your breath fresh. You can check out our toothpaste and our completely natural hair food hair care products at wellnesse.com. An insider tip, if you grab an essentials bundle or try autoship, you will lock in a discount so that you can try everything at a great price.

Jun 18 2020

58mins

Play

348: How to Minimize Your Exposure to Toxins & Effective Detox Protocols With Dr. Sandison From Neurohacker

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Today we’re going deep on two very important topics in today’s modern world: toxins and detox. I’m here with Dr. Heather Sandison, the founder and medical director of the North County Natural Medicine Clinic and founder of Neurohacker and Marama, a unique residential care facility for the elderly. Dr. Sandison specializes in brain health, especially autism, ADD, depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s.

In this episode, we talk about how you can minimize your exposure to common toxins and ways to effectively detox from the three big offenders, all by optimizing your natural detox systems.

Episode Highlights With Dr. Sandison of Neurohacker

  • How naturopathic doctors are trained & what makes them different from conventional doctors
  • Most common toxins in today’s world and how to limit exposures
  • The five organs that detoxify the body (and how to help them do their job)
  • Why we should open the windows every day
  • How to pay attention to what’s in your drinking water
  • What happens to the liver when we drink alcohol
  • Simple lifestyle hacks that help detoxify like rebounding and dry brushing
  • How mycotoxins (mold) might be undermining your health, and what to do about them
  • Advancements in the treatment of Alzheimer’s
  • And more!

Resources We Mention

More From Wellness Mama

Have you ever tried these detox methods? What suggestions do you have for our next episode? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well.

Read Transcript

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic… a company I’ve loved for years for their superfood mushroom based products. They use mushrooms like lions mane, chaga, cordyceps and reishi in delicious all kinds of delicious ways. Did you know that mushrooms are more genetically similar to humans than plants are? And that they breathe oxygen and exhale CO2 just like we do but mushrooms spores can survive the vacuum and radiation of space. These amazing fungi are always a part of my daily routine in some way, usually with Lion’s Mane Coffee or Matcha Green Tea in the morning, Plant protein and mushroom elixirs like chaga and cordyceps during the day and reishi at night to wind down. As a listener of this podcast, you can save on all Four Sigmatic products. Go to foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama and the code wellnessmama gives 15% off

This episode is sponsored by Everlywell, at-home lab tests that you can get without a doctor’s order! I’ve used many of their tests and can recommend a couple that have been especially helpful. They have an at-home allergy test for 40 of the most common allergens using the same CLIA-certified labs used by Allergists/Doctors. The labs are reviewed by an independent physician and measure IgE levels of common allergens including pet dander, mold, trees, grasses, and more. I also really like their food sensitivity tests that test for IgG reactions. This was a big key for me in my health recovery, as there were foods that didn’t show up as an allergy that were causing inflammation for me. I used an elimination diet as well, but this food sensitivity test also filled in the missing piece of the puzzle for me. Through healing my gut, I’ve been able to remove all sensitivities except for eggs. Finding out I was highly sensitive to eggs made a huge difference as I ate them often as an inexpensive protein source. I feel so much better now that I avoid eggs and I would never have known that without this test! I also use their at-home Vitamin D test to keep an eye on those levels and know if I need to supplement. Check out all of their tests at wellnessmama.com/go/everlywell. Use code MAMA10 for 10% off orders.

Katie: Hello and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com. That’s Wellnesse with an “E” on the end. It’s my new line of personal care products like hair care and toothpaste.

This episode is all about toxins and detox. I’m here with Dr. Heather Sandison, who’s the founder and the medical director of the North County Natural Medicine and the founder of Marama, which is a residential care facility for the elderly. The reason I wanted to have her on, she specializes in neurocognitive medicine and neurohacking. And she’s been trained to specifically address things that affect the brain like autism, ADD, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, and she has a really unique system for doing that and her elderly care facility is doing this with patients and seeing incredible results. So, in this episode, we talk about how you can minimize your exposure and how to effectively detox from the three big toxins as well as how to support your natural detox systems in the body. It’s a really fascinating and far-ranging episode. Without further ado, let’s jump right in. Dr. Heather, welcome. Thank you for being here.

Dr. Heather: Thanks for having me.

Katie: I am so excited to jump in with you and talk about different types of toxins and how to effectively detox. But I also always love hearing the background, especially someone I’ve just met and can’t wait to talk to. So, to start off, can you explain a little bit about your background and how you became a naturopathic doctor that specializes in this?

Dr. Heather: Yes. So I had my own personal health issues. When I was an undergrad, I was doing pre-med and then came up against an autoimmune disease as well as TMJ. I couldn’t open my mouth even enough to brush my teeth. And so I went to the medical doctor and had a horrible experience. And then I went to anyone who would listen. I went to the dentist, multiple dentists, I went to acupuncture. I went to the psychiatrist, you know, the psychologist. I went to pretty much anyone who someone said might be able to help. And finally, I ended up seeing a DO, she was actually a doctor of osteopathic medicine. And she and I chatted, she did craniosacral work and then said, “Hey, have you ever heard of naturopathic medicine? If I could do it all over again, that’s what I would do.”

And so she turned me on to naturopathic medicine. And when I heard just the perspective of naturopathic doctors and the approach that they took to medicine, really looking at the cause of disease versus putting a band aid on it in the form of surgery or medication that had side effects, I was like, ah, this is what I’ve been imagining for so long, I didn’t realize that it already existed. I didn’t have to create it, somebody else had already created this system of medicine. And so then at that point, it just became a matter of when I would go to naturopathic school not if.

Katie: Nice. Yeah, and I think there’s…I would guess most listeners pretty well understand what a naturopathic doctor does and how that differs from other types of medicine. But can you just kind of give a little bit of an overview there as well?

Dr. Heather: Absolutely. So we do the same four years of medical school and we have step one boards after two years. Those first two years are deep dives into the biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, we have a gross lab where we have to dissect a human body. You know, a lot of it is the same. And then we take this big exam that lasts for an entire day at the end of two years. And then at the end of four years, we have, you know, multi-day exams to become licensed.

And the second set of two years and the four-year medical program for us is different from conventional medicine. And then instead of doing rotations, we are in a teaching clinic and we’re learning about modalities, things like hydrotherapy, and herbal medicine, lots of nutrition, lots of the foundations of health.

And so instead of learning about surgery and delivering babies, we are in a clinic where we’re talking to people about their diet and nutrition and lifestyle. And then we can also provide, you know, referrals to surgery. We can also write prescriptions. So we’re trained and licensed as primary care providers but our specialty is more in the lifestyle things that can help prevent people from getting on medications or potentially even help them get off.

Katie: I think that’s awesome. And that was a big part of my own puzzle piece, early on after I started having kids I had what I would eventually find out was Hashimoto’s. But it took years and I had been to many, many doctors who tested…I would guess what the standard of care tests were mainly just T3, I don’t remember what else they tested, but they wouldn’t test antibodies or TSH. And it wasn’t until I found a naturopathic doctor that I was able to actually start figuring out what was wrong and working to correct it.

And it blew me away to realize, after being in the conventional medical model for so long, and it being more just lab tests and prescriptive and even being told by doctors, you know, “Your diet doesn’t really have any impact on your health other than weight.” To work with a naturopathic doctor and be asked about lifestyle, and stress, and food, and sleep, and so many other factors. And that was when I was researching as well and learning just how intricately involved all those things are.

So I think for a lot of people, especially someone with a complex health issue, finding a practitioner who’s willing to look at all of those pieces is super important. And I know, from researching for this interview, that you have done a lot of research specifically in the area of toxins and detox and how to mitigate things like that. So let’s start broad and can you kind of explain…I feel like that word encompasses a lot of things. But explain the nature of kind of what toxins are and what’s happening when they interact with our bodies?

Dr. Heather: So for a minute, I just want to take even one more step back. So I talked about being really inspired to go into naturopathic medicine because naturopaths really value treating the cause of disease. So complex chronic disease like Hashimoto’s, or a lot of what I treat, which is like, autism, brain-related things, autism, Alzheimer’s, even depression, anxiety, these things all have…there’s a cause. If we look at the human body, it’s a complex system and these chronic complex disease states come from an imbalance…and really any complex system, right, if it’s the financial system, or if it’s agricultural systems, whatever complex system we’re talking about, if there’s a glitch in the system, it’s usually because of an imbalance.

I would even go so far as to say it’s always because of an imbalance, too much, too little, in the wrong place, or at the wrong time. And if we can help to correct that imbalance, then we can create more harmony in the system, so that it behaves better, right, you get more optimal function from it. And so the five things that I believe cause complex chronic disease, it really can be distilled down to imbalance in these five areas., toxins, structure, stress, nutrients, and then infections.

And I’ve chosen to really dive deep into the toxins. And that’s because, from the conventional perspective, like you discovered with your Hashimoto’s journey, the conventional medicine, they completely ignore this unless it’s extreme toxicity, right. Unless somebody’s like swallowed a can of paint, right, then they don’t really want to hear about any of these long-term insidious kind of low-level toxins that may be disturbing certainly endocrine function.

So I really feel like it’s almost like my responsibility to go deep into these toxins because so many of my patients have been told that conventional medicine has nothing for them. They don’t know why there’s nothing that they can do, but they have all of this fatigue or headaches or insomnia, autoimmune diseases coming up. And so what can we do about that? Well, from my perspective, there are essentially…I call them flavors like ice cream. There’s three flavors of toxins. And I look at them in these categories because it’s what’s easiest to test.

So the first flavor is heavy metals. And I tend to do that using provocation. So I do wanna get some sort of provocation agents so that we know what’s in the system over time because some of these get stored. They’re not alive so they’re not procreating, so you don’t get more and more and more in your system unless you’re consuming, excuse me. So if you’re ingesting heavy metal either through eating copious amounts of like fish, especially the predatory fish, so things like shark or tuna, swordfish, those have high levels of heavy metals in them.

And then the other way that people are exposed to metals is through their dental amalgams, and often getting them out is one of the highest sources of exposure. And so doing that with a dentist who really understands how to mitigate your risk is important. So heavy metals and then mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are like heavy metals in that they’re not alive. So myco is yeast or mold, and it’s the toxins that yeast or molds produce. So again, with that, I tend to provoke…and I’m mentioning this provocation part because there is disagreement in the field. So if you talk to different experts, some will wanna provoke and others will not. But you know, my pattern is to do it, it’s how I was trained, and it’s the way I’ve done it for so long. But when I look at a lab, I know what it means when I’ve done it my way.

So with mycotoxins, we tend to provoke with some glutathione and with some sweating, and you can do that from home. And then you collect urine and we can see how many mycotoxins are in your system or get a sense of how many mycotoxins are in your system. And potentially even which type of mold created that mycotoxin.

So, Stachybotrys, or you may have heard of this as black mold, that can produce certain types of mycotoxin. And then Chaetomium a different type of mold and that produces different types of mycotoxins, as does Aspergillus or Penicilliums. So if that has been growing in a, you know, office building or in your bedroom or bathroom, a building or a room you spend a considerable amount of time in then those mycotoxins can certainly accumulate in your system.

And then the third flavor of toxin that we look for is the chemical toxins. So I look for about 20 of these in a lab test I run and again, we use a little bit of provocation, through glutathione or sweat. And these ones… I’m sure you’ve heard there’s like 80 something thousand chemicals on the planet, at this point. We don’t test for all 80,000 but we get a sense of okay, what are the petrochemicals, or the ones that are associated with gasoline and you know, are burning fossil fuels. So what are the petrochemicals? What are the parabens or PCBs? Some of the things you might see showing up in personal care products, do you have a few?

So we measure a few of the petrochemicals, a few of the parabens, PCBs. We measure glyphosate, which is what we think of as the active ingredient in Roundup. So pesticides and herbicides, we measure a handful of those but certainly glyphosate. And then we can also look at things like styrene that comes from styrofoam and chemicals that might be associated with getting your nails done a lot.

So we look at a handful of these, about 20 of them, but from different categories. And for me, this is often very eye-opening. I have a patient who… She’s just absolutely amazing, very committed to an organic, non-toxic lifestyle in her home. And we ran this test because I couldn’t figure out why she was so fatigued. And sure enough, after doing some digging, after doing this test, I was like, “Why are your pesticides and herbicides off the charts, higher than any ones I had ever seen and you’re eating an organic diet?” And she was like, “Oh, I do Ikebana” which is Japanese flower arranging.

So this amazing woman, she like…for low-income families, she creates these beautiful flower arrangements to send to the hospital for these people who have been hospitalized but couldn’t afford to get like a beautiful flower arrangement, right. So she does that two days a week, she volunteers, and she’s up to her elbows in the pesticides and herbicides that we won’t even spray on food. So we had no idea that this was gonna pop up. I had no idea to like ask her the question, right, do you do flower arranging? But when we ran the test, it popped up. It surprised us both. But she was then able to wear gloves, you know, a very simple intervention that totally reduced her exposure and then changed her symptoms.

Katie: That’s amazing. Yeah, I think it’s important…that’s why testing is so great to realize…like, who would have thought to even test for that, you know? Like, finding those things that can make such a big difference. So understanding toxins, I think, like all of these inputs that can come in, I’ve always thought of the analogy a little bit like a bucket. Like, we all have a point at which things will overflow, and you can kind of put a lot of stuff in, and whatever you put in eventually when you reach the top, it’s gonna overflow and something’s gonna happen. And that’s kind of how I’ve always thought of sort of toxins, and for my case, autoimmune disease that probably a lot of factors went into that for me like stress and exposure to certain environmental toxins and lack of sleep, and poor diet, and a lot of things.

And then for me, it manifested in Hashimoto’s, but I think that part of the equation seems different for everybody potentially. So what are some ways that you see, clinically, this overflow of toxins manifesting in people?

Dr. Heather: You’re absolutely right, and you bring up such a great point, right. It’s not only what’s going out, but it’s what’s coming in. And I would even start with 75% of environmental illness, 75% of my job is identifying what’s coming in and turning it off. So turning…I think of it, like turning off the faucet that’s filling that bucket. It’s such a great analogy. So how I see this manifesting, you know, my… This is my bias, of course, because this is what I do. But I really think that everyone should be sort of evaluating what degree of toxins they’re exposed to.

So looking at, what is all this stuff I put on my skin, you know, what am I choosing to consume in terms of my diet? My mom came… I had a baby about 18 months ago. My mom showed up at my house for six weeks to help me. And she had been complaining about her memory loss, so she was forgetting names that she would have never forgotten before. She was having to write down grocery store lists, when usually she’s so good at that, missing appointments, little things. At this point, she was just joking about it but she was scared, I could tell she was afraid that she was losing her mind.

So she showed up at my house and I, of course, was adamant there was not one thing that wasn’t organic coming into my house. So every single thing in the house was organic. And she was not committed to that beforehand. So she showed up, we ate only really, really good food because, of course, I had a newborn, and my mom stopped complaining about her memory loss by the time she left just six weeks later. So things like anxiety, depression, of course, autoimmune disease, it’s very hard to link them directly to toxic exposure, because it manifests in so many different ways. Toxins, they’re ubiquitous in our environment, right, you cannot avoid all of them.

But there are some certain things that you can avoid, like certainly what you choose to consume in terms of food, what you choose to put on your skin, you can change that. You can educate yourself about that. So there are some things that we can change and others that we can’t. But taking control of the things that we can change is so important and can have a profoundly big impact on our disease states and our wellness state, how good we feel even.

Katie: Absolutely. Okay, so let’s go deeper on that. I’d love to kind of delve into each of the three different types a little bit more because I think they’re not super well understood yet, or at least there seems to be a lot of confusion on some of them and how we’re exposed, and then how to undo the damage if we’ve been exposed. So let’s start with heavy metals first, can you give us a little bit more detailed overview of what are considered heavy metals, and where are we most commonly interacting with these?

Dr. Heather: Yeah, absolutely. So the big ones that you wanna be kind of most afraid of are lead and mercury, and these tend to be very neurotoxic. So lead…like everyone’s heard of Flint, Michigan, and how there was lead in the water and that led to lower IQs in the children who were exposed. So this is really, really, really important that we’re not exposed to lead. Lead used to be in paint. And in the ’70s that was outlawed so that no longer happens. But if you live in an old house, it’s not that I think people are, you know, licking the walls of the house, but it’s every time you open or close a door, open or close a window, it’s the rub, that friction that’s created, that can release a little bit of paint particle into the air and then you can breathe it in.

So, lead also can come from…you know, if you’re someone who makes jewelry, or if you are somehow exposed through some industrial process, right. If you’re working on cars or welding, you know. So most people aren’t exposed at high levels unless it ends up in the water. At least not… Now, I will say that people who were raised overseas because lead came out of the fuel, out of the gasoline also in the ’70s. But it tended to stay around in Central America and India and more of the third world countries, it was in the fuel for longer. And so I have patients who are in their ’60s and ’70s and they have very high levels if they were, say, raised in another country. And some people also of that generation who were raised in the U.S.

And then Mercury, like I had mentioned before, usually fish and then also the metal amalgams in the mouth. And then, unfortunately, coal power plants they produce mercury as well, so it can be in the air. And that’s one of those things we just don’t have control over. Cadmium is another big one and that tends to come from cigarette smoking. And those are kind of the three big one’s. Aluminum, tin, those come up as well. Gadolinium is a heavy metal that’s found in….if you get a lot of MRIs it’s in the contrast dye. And so I’ll see people with really high levels of that if they’ve had a lot of orthopedic MRIs.

And then, getting rid of those…you know, really all of these in terms of getting rid of the heavy metals, what you wanna do is open up your emunctories. Emunctory is the fancy naturopathic word for organs of elimination. And there are five organs of elimination, your liver, bowels, kidneys, lungs, and then skin and lymph. And I would love to go into the details about how to support each of those.

Katie: Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s such an important part to understand is that the body has channels to detox this and how we can support that. And for people listening who are thinking like okay, I don’t think heavy metals are an issue for me, I like that you went into there are common sources of exposure. And I actually had an uncommon one that ended up being part of my puzzle piece, which was in high school, I worked in a stained glass shop. And I didn’t even think about the fact that the metal that we used between the pieces of stained glass, and then the stuff that we would melt to make those stick together had lead in it. So that was something I had to deal with, as part of my own health journey. But yeah, walk us through how we can support all the different organs in that detox system.

Dr. Heather: You make such a great point, I ask people about their hobbies not only because of my patient who was doing the flower arranging, but also ceramics, the glazes often had lead in them. So like stained glass, glass blowing, jewelry making, some of these really fun, creative, wonderful hobbies can lead to exposures if we’re not savvy about what’s in these things.

So the Emunctory, no matter what your flavor of toxin is, that you’ve potentially been exposed to…of course, we wanna identify it, we wanna be able to identify it and get specific about how we get it out. But opening these amantrees and supporting these organs of elimination really is something that anyone can do.

So the lungs, detox breath work, there are lots of, you know, yogic breathing, yoga breath practices, there is online support that will take you through different breathing practices that help you to detoxify, right. If a cop pulls somebody over for driving funny on a Friday night, they are going to do a breathalyzer because one of the ways that we get rid of the toxins that we produce through drinking alcohol is by breathing them out. So this is true for many toxins. And we sort of forget, I think, that we can get rid of so much through our lungs. And it is certainly a pathway to take advantage of.

Now the flip side of that is that we can certainly inhale a lot of toxins. So one of the cheapest interventions and the best interventions is open your doors and windows in your house for at least an hour a day. And if possible, open the window of your office. The indoor air quality, it’s kind of…I think of it like a pool versus the ocean, right. There’s so much more air outside that is diluted of all of these toxins. So if you can open the windows and let that fresh air come in and dilute the indoor air, you’re gonna increase the air quality.

Now, of course, if you live or work right on top of a freeway, then that’s not gonna work as well. But for most of us, if we open the doors and windows, we can really increase the indoor air quality. So what we’re breathing in, again, we can reduce the particulate count in that.

The other thing that you can do is…particularly if you’re concerned about indoor air quality is you can get an air filter. And so I’ve had lots of patients whose symptoms have improved just by adding an air filter. And they don’t pay me but my favorite one is the GC Multi by IQAir, I really think that’s a very high-end quality one. There’s a lot out there that are very expensive, and they don’t work very well. So when given the opportunity, I do like to turn people on to that one, because it works. So that’s the lungs. Some ways that we can really increase our ability to detox through the lungs is one take breaths in and then two detox breath work.

The kidneys certainly water, water, water, water, water, and minerals. So having enough electrolytes in your system. And I don’t recommend distilled water, that doesn’t have enough of those minerals in it, but good high-quality spring water. And even having your water tested. I live in San Diego and we’re at the end of the Colorado River. We don’t have fabulous water quality for what’s coming out of the tap but we do have access to great spring water. So I recommend that people drink good high-quality mineral water that is out of glass, ceramic or stainless, not out of plastic and particularly those soft plastic bottles that have been sitting in the sun. That is a recipe for ingesting a lot of plastic chemicals, so definitely avoid those.

Drinking plenty of water. And if you don’t love water, then adding a little bit of lemon or adding a bit of mint or cucumber is something that makes it more flavorful for you. And detox teas, of course, can be very, very helpful. Certainly dandelion and thistle are good for both the kidneys and livers. So adding that to your daily routine can be very, very helpful. So that’s lungs, kidneys. Liver, so great things for the liver are certainly dandelion, milk thistle, and then we need all of those good nutrients to help the liver to detoxify.

So the liver, in all of its wisdom, if we don’t have enough of the nutrients that are necessary for phase two detox, the liver will slow down phase one detox. And this is because… Alcohol, again, is a really good example. When we drink a glass of wine or something it goes to the liver and the liver converts it in phase one detox into acetyl aldehyde. That acetyl aldehyde is what makes us hang over, that’s actually more toxic than the wine that we first consumed. And so the liver just blows my mind, this divine design, it’s so incredible. The liver stops phase one detox if we don’t have all the nutrients that are necessary to get that acetyl aldehyde, that toxic intermediate, fully conjugated and eliminated from the body.

So having plenty of those nutrients, things like NAC, the B vitamins, minerals, glutathione, can be very, very helpful. All of those things help to make sure that there isn’t a glitch in the system there, that there’s nothing gumming it up. And then the liver… So getting plenty of that liver support is super helpful. And then the livers spits out a toxic sludge called bile. And that goes into the gallbladder, if you’ve got one, and then into the gut. So ways that we can help support the gut are primarily through fiber. Fiber is one of the best things that you can do, as long as you’re getting plenty of water and it doesn’t turn to concrete. Having a bowel movement every day, at least once a day… If you’re not, it’s constipation and needs to be addressed.

So that’s really where I start with most of my patients it’s, if they are not having a daily bowel movement, we do not wanna start mobilizing cellular toxins. So toxins kind of…I think of it like the snow-capped mountains is the cells and then when you have a bowel movement, that’s like releasing it into the ocean, that’s the end of the river. And so we don’t wanna create a flood in the middle. And so opening up the river mouth or having bowel movements, sweating, urinating, all of those things help us to get the toxins actually outside of you. So elimination is what’s so important.

So the bowel movement, if you can take that toxic sludge called bile and bind it with binders, things like chia, flax, psyllium, charcoal, clay, chlorella, there’s a prescription when it will use, sometimes for certain mycotoxins, called cholestyramine. All of these binders it’s…I think of it like they’re giving the toxic sludge a hug and they’re holding on to it so they can take it out of the body and you can fully eliminate it through a bowel movement.

If we don’t have enough of those binders, then a process called enterohepatic recirculation will happen. And that fancy medical term basically is just saying that your gut is meant to absorb things, your colon is meant to absorb things. So if the bile sits in there too long, then your…and it’s not bound, it’s not being hugged by one of those binders, then your body will just reabsorb it. And then guess what? It goes right back to the liver. So now your liver has to take out yesterday’s trash and today’s trash, so it’s doing all this extra work. If you can just have a bowel movement every day, then your liver has much less work to do.

So lungs, kidneys, liver, bowels, and then skin and lymph. These ones are fun because you get to get a massage, okay, for all our mamas out there, you deserve one. So skin and lymph, lots of ways that we can support this, dry skin brushing even a rebounder. A mini trampoline helps to get your lymph going. Hot and cold showers, going back and forth between hot and cold, or if you have a plunge or something like that, absolutely, that’s fantastic. Lymphatic massage. A castor oil pack over the liver can also help with the liver and skin and lymph. There are so many fun things that we can do here. Saunas. Saunas are fantastic and I like…there’s some sauna blankets and there’s little saunas you can sit in that keep your head out. That tends to help people tolerate them a little bit more and they can stay in there longer.

You only need to sweat for about 10 minutes a couple of times a week and you’re getting a ton of toxins out. It is important to wipe those toxins off. So if you start sweating, you wanna either take a quick shower afterwards or use a washcloth or something, get the toxins off of you. Because when you’re hot like that, your pores are open, we’ve got toxins out, what we don’t wanna do is have you just reabsorb them. So really important with saunas to replace your electrolytes using water and then an electrolyte powder. Coconut water is a great one. And then make sure you rinse. And I typically say with cool water because that’ll get the toxins off and then it will close your pores back up.

Katie: Great advice. And a question I’ve seen come through a few times, I wonder if you might have an answer to, is some people seem to have, especially when they first start doing sauna or things that stimulate the lymph system or even from taking certain supplements that can be detoxifying, like magnesium, or greens, or algae, they’ll notice itching on their skin. Is that like a detox reaction or have you come across anyone having that clinically?

Dr. Heather: Yeah, lots. So absolutely, probably, a detox reaction. Although…you know, certainly itching we always wonder if there’s an allergy. And if you have a known allergy to something, then, of course, avoid it. But what I notice with… And I was sort of alluding to this with the analogy of the snow-capped mountains all the way down to the riverbed, out into the ocean. The analogy here is about mobilization at the cellular level, so that’s our snow-capped mountain. And then elimination at the level of the ocean or, you know, our bowel movements, urination, sweating, anything that eliminates it. So the ocean is outside of the body and our analogy of…our river is inside of the body.

So if we start to have too much snow melts, or we’re detoxing too much, at the cellular level, we’re not able to keep up, we’re not able to get enough elimination, not enough is leaving the body and so now we have more in the bloodstream. And what we see are things like rashes, we see headaches, we see fatigue, this is like the keto flu. A ketogenic diet is very detoxifying. And so sometimes people initially will have an increase in symptoms when they start on a detox diet or a detox plan.

My interpretation of that and my professional approach to that is, that is great information that tells us we’re probably on the right track, but what we need to do is slow down. Really, really important, this is not a no pain, no gain situation. This is an opportunity for us to communicate with our body about what it needs. And so if there is an increase in rashes or fatigue or headaches or anything like that, then we take that and we say, okay, let’s take less of the detox provocation agents or even less of the support and just slow things down a bit. Do the gentler approach, so spend less time in the sauna or, you know, focus on water, focus on the detox breath, focus on the things when you don’t have to add anything to the body but you’re really just focusing on elimination.

Katie: Yeah, that’s such a great point. Like I found for me…I think probably that balance is different for everyone. But when I was in the heat of the autoimmune disease, when it was at its worst, I had to be very careful with diet and eat very low inflammation. And then I had to…anything else beyond that, I had to do very slowly and make sure I was getting extra sleep. I didn’t do any really difficult workouts during that time, it was very much a period of rest and let my body rebuild slowly. And I think that’s such an important reminder is, especially when it comes to any of these things which can be very dangerous if you mobilize them too quickly. More is not always better and it’s not always just, you know, you should push through and do more to get through it quickly.

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Obviously, one of these toxins that you mentioned a little bit and I’d love to go deep on is mold, because this one has risen a little bit more to mainstream knowledge, I think, lately. People are starting to be aware that it can be a problem. But there’s still so much confusion about how to test for it, how to find out if it’s an issue, what to do about it if you do find mold, and if it really can actually have that dramatic of an impact on the body. So what are you finding when it comes to mold exposure?

Dr. Heather: Again, you know, the conventional community has really poo-pooed this idea for a long time. And I feel so grateful to people like Dave Asprey, Ritchie Shoemaker, and Neil Nathan, who have brought this to the forefront and really shown people that this can be a big part of what’s driving your symptom picture. And I have people who, you know, we address this, we figure it out, we address it and they go back to normal. And it’s so satisfying and I feel so lucky I get to do what I do when I get to see someone show up for their families again after treating this.

And I don’t wanna say that it’s an easy road by any stretch. Often when people come in and they test for mycotoxins and there’s a significant amount of that going on, I brace them, you know, this is a months to years long journey, not a days to weeks journey. So typically, we’re looking at about two years, maybe more depending on the amount of exposure and whether somebody is currently being exposed.

A lot of it is speculative in terms of why mycotoxins have become such a problem for people. And I don’t know, you know, if it’s a new thing, or if it was going on for a long time and we’re just kind of realizing it, the science is just catching up, or if it is really that we’re being exposed more. One of the theories is that the building materials, so things like drywall, have created more food for mycotoxins. Whereas, like old homes that were made of plaster, say, or brick, that wasn’t something that the molds like to eat as much, right, so you didn’t have as much risk.

And then the other thing that has changed is there’s a lot of fungicides in paint. And what we see is just like antibiotic resistance, you know, you add a bunch of antibiotics to the system and now the biota, the bacteria, it will change and be more resilient to that antibiotic. So with the fungus, what we think may be happening is that having so much fungicide in the paint is creating…molds are making more and more toxins. One of the things that we see is that like Candida, if you use an antifungal, if you swallow some nystatin say, then the Candida when it’s under threat will make a gliotoxin, so it’ll make a toxin. When you don’t have any nystatin in the system, and you can see this in a petri dish. When you don’t add an antifungal, the yeast, the Candida doesn’t make a toxin, right.

So depending on how threatened… From an evolutionary perspective, like if you put yourself in the role of yeast or a mold who’s on a piece wood competing with other microbes for food, then if you create toxins, then you’re gonna win for that food, you’re gonna get rid of these other, whoever you’re competing against. So you can see how adding more toxins or fungicides to the paint might increase the production of toxins for that mold. So this is all very speculative. I don’t wanna, you know, sound like we know for sure that this is going on, but it certainly can be one of those factors that’s influencing the increase in incidents of mold diseases, mycotoxin-related illness.

So for this, the way I test is I tend to use…like I mentioned, I do tend to provoke these and again, the consensus, there isn’t one. So different experts in this field have differing opinions, but it is the way I was trained and what I’m used to looking at, in terms of the results. So we’ll do a provocation using glutathione and sweating. And then people will collect their urine the next morning and send that off to the lab. There’s a couple of different labs that I use. And then, based on that, we create a plan that is very specific to the type of mycotoxin that shows up. So kind of like heavy metals, for mercury, we use certain chelating agents. For lead, we use different chelating agents.

For mycotoxins we have some degree…even though this is very new, we do have some degree of specificity that we can apply to how we treat the different mycotoxins. And so we create a plan together and then, like you said, we just go at the pace the body can tolerate because what we don’t wanna do is flood the system with toxins quicker than it can get rid of them.

Katie: Gotcha. Yeah, that makes sense. And so, for anyone listening just to make sure, because you’ve mentioned that term a couple of times about provoking. So basically, you can use different substances to provoke different things you’re trying to test for in the body. And then you can use, essentially, those same substances to help the body like continually release those things and eventually get rid of them, but you just want to be careful about the amount?

Dr. Heather: Yeah, thank you for clarifying. So, I started looking for mycotoxins years ago, maybe four or five years ago. And what I was finding is people who we knew had mold exposure, so they knew they were in a moldy house because somebody had done the environmental testing and they found the stachybotrys in the wall. They had awful symptoms that were clearly related to mold, and they might even have allergies to that mold. Well, we test their urine for mycotoxins and there would be nothing in the urine. And we were just pulling our hair out going, “Why is this? We know that they have lots of exposure, we can see that it’s in the environment, where did it go?” And what we found is that the sickest people, the reason they’re so sick is because they’re not eliminating, right, they’re holding on to these toxins.

And mycotoxins, they tend to be fat-soluble. So this is part of why they’re so dangerous for the endocrine system is because they can get glommed up in your pituitary or hypothalamus or up in your brain, in your lymph nodes, in your glands, like your thyroid, or your ovaries. So they can wreak havoc throughout the body because of their nature of being fat-soluble.

But what we found was, if we provoked them using something like glutathione, kind of…I think of it just like shaking it up, right. So you’re releasing some toxin from the cells, like the snow-capped mountains, right? And typically, not always, but a lot of times people feel a little worse after that, unfortunately. And if somebody starts to feel worse during the provocation process, we just stop it right then and go ahead and collect. Because what you’re getting is, again, back to that analogy of the snow-capped mountains, you’re releasing the snow, the toxin that’s in those cells, and now you’ve created flood.

Especially if you’re not having regular bowel movements, like you have a dam there, and now you have a flood and you can be causing a lot of destruction. So really important to have those emunctories open. But yes, that provocation process is also important because we wanna get an accurate result on the testing.

Katie: Gotcha. Okay, that makes sense. And I know that you mentioned you use a lot of this in helping people with brain-related potential issues like autism or ADHD, and that we even see links with depression and anxiety. And before we went live, you also mentioned that you do a lot of work with people with things like Alzheimer’s and dementia. So I’m curious, like, obviously, I can see the connections easily for anyone who is dealing with any of those types of issues or with autoimmune disease, but it seems like in health, anytime we find patterns that can help people heal who are in crisis, also there’s lessons we can learn to optimize, even for people who hopefully aren’t dealing with those same kind of problems. So, from your clinical work and your research, are there strategies that we can all use, even if we’re not in health crisis, to help protect and improve our brain and our body using these strategies?

Dr. Heather: Yeah, absolutely. So my work with the Neurohacker Collective we are really focused on optimizing, especially brain function, right. It’s great when we can all show up and be fully present and engaged in our work, we can be contributing. And there are a lot of people I talk to who don’t really have anything going on right now that has maybe inspired them to reach out to a doctor. Like they don’t feel like they have a pathology or nothing’s wrong on their labs, they really just wanna get the most out of their day, out of their relationships, out of their work.

And so there are things that I certainly recommend. And, like we discussed, you know, toxins are relatively ubiquitous so if we can prevent the accumulation of toxins in our body, then we can prevent disease long term. So, absolutely, you know, one of the simplest easiest things people can do, kind of like opening the doors and windows, just take your shoes off at the door. We track in so many toxins. And then if we’re wearing shoes, and then we’re barefoot later on, we can absorb those toxins through our feet. And then if you’re getting into bed, you know, it’s so gross when you start to think about it. But just taking your shoes off at the door, creating that habit, is one of the best ways to reduce the toxic burden in your home and then in your body.

But other ways to optimize, certainly brain function, is exercise, getting your circulation going. Again, it really goes back to those foundations, really good nutrients coming in, getting plenty of good circulation through exercise. Like you mentioned sleep, we do so much of our detoxifying at night when we’re sleeping, particularly in the brain. So getting really good sleep and prioritizing that, especially those hours before midnight. So if you can get to bed by 9:00 or 10:00, and get a few solid hours before midnight that’s when we get most of our deep sleep, and do a really good job detoxifying.

And then, of course, back to having regular bowel movements. You know, regardless of whether or not you’re struggling with toxic exposure, high toxic burden, having a good regular bowel movement. All of our cells eat and poop, right, so we have our basic metabolic toxicity that builds up every day. And if we’re not eliminating that, then we can get all kinds of accumulation of all the nasty stuff.

Katie: Got it. And I’d love for you to talk a little bit about the facility that you run and the results that you’re seeing there. Because that’s really astounding and incredible what you guys are doing.

Dr. Heather: Thank you. So I have had North County Natural Medicine for a handful of years now and I started seeing a lot more dementia patients. I was trained by Dr. Dale Bredesen, who wrote a book called “The End of Alzheimer’s.” And so we’re getting…really, it was surprising to me how good the results were. I had really bought it, hook line and sinker, right, this story that once you have Alzheimer’s there’s really nothing you can do, like good luck with that, right.

So I was trained by Dr. Bredesen after being very impressed by what he had to say, it was very much in alignment with the way I approach any sort of complex chronic disease. And so I brought it back into my clinic, and then sure enough, kind of created a reputation around that. And had people calling and saying, “Hey, my loved one has Alzheimer’s, and I just don’t have the capacity to take care of them any more, where can I send them? Is there a care facility where, you know, they’re incorporating this?” And what I found was that there wasn’t.

So, of course, I was like, “Well, that can’t be too hard, why don’t we just create one?” And that was how Marama was born. And so Marama, I purchased at the end of December of 2019. And we took over…it was a hospice facility so we inherited five residents. And this also completely surprised me, two of the residents did pass pretty quickly after the transition, but three residents are still there. And one of them who was bed-bound is now walking. Another got kicked off of hospice and the other is about to get kicked off of hospice.

And so, what is this? April, so it’s been five, six months. And the only things we did for those residents…because we couldn’t change anything, you know, we can’t change their meds, they have their doctor’s orders. But what we did was we changed the diet, it’s 100% organic diet, and as much as possible, kind of this keto flex or Whole30 kind of paleo diet.

So we got rid of a lot…of course, all of the candies, the Skippy peanut butter is gone, the Wonder Bread is gone. Occasionally, I get complaints about too many seeds in the bread that they do get, but it’s worth it from what we can tell. We changed the food, add lots more veggies even if we have to hide them. And we switched all of the soaps, all of the personal care products, and all of the cleaning products as well. All of that got switched to non-toxic.

And what we’ve seen is amazing transformation in these people. And I’m not suggesting that at 88 or 94 they’re gonna go back to work or anything like that, but even their families have seen how much more alert they are, how much more engaged they are in conversation with them, how much happier they are, really, day to day. So it’s been really gratifying. And especially this guy that’s up and walking, it’s neat, it’s really fun to see.

Katie: I bet that’s incredible to watch. And it makes me think of, you know, this kind of conversation that’s come about the last few years about… You know, we’ve always had studies and related things to lifespan. And now we’re starting to see more of a focus on healthspan. And the idea of not just living a long time, but living well as long as possible, and living in a way that’s healthy and happy and has quality of life as well. And I think all this work that you’re doing is gonna be things that we start understanding all of the pieces that go into that and hopefully can avoid a lot of these problems.

And for those of us who are like navigating an autoimmune disease, there’s links there that are helpful. But also, just for those of us who want to optimize our lives in the best way possible, and create solid foundations for our kids, I think these are all really important keys to that. And with such a focus on neural health and brain health, I’m curious if you have any other tips for just kind of optimizing cognitive function for moms or for those of us working that can help us to be more efficient and effective and focused at work.

Dr. Heather: So meditation and exercise, essentially, moving meditation, I get it. I have an 18-month-old and two businesses, you know, like, there’s a lot going on. And there is, for all of us, and especially right now in this COVID crisis, you know, when our wearing multiple hats all over the place. And yet, it’s never been more important for me to get in a daily meditation and to get in some exercise. I cannot…it’s the best feeling medicine by far. Like, don’t worry about a test, don’t worry about anything else. If you can just do those things get in…and, of course, good food, you know.

There’s nothing more valuable than taking that time to reduce the stress or to really shift perspective, right. The stressors are not gonna go away but what we have control over…and this goes back to toxicity as well, right. Like, toxins are a lot about what we allow in. And we can think about this as food or as media or as, you know, the arts we allow in or the relationships. It’s what we choose to allow in is that first step of making sure we’re not overburdened with toxins. And then second, are we able to digest? Are we able to break it down into the components that make sense for us? Whether it’s a news story or it’s broccoli, right? Like, are we able to break it down? Do we have the capacity to digest it?

And then third, can we absorb the parts that serve us? So can we get the sulforaphanes out of the broccoli? And can we get the really important information from that news article? And can we get the love from our mother in law? Fourth, can we eliminate the parts that don’t serve us, right? So can we let go of whatever nastiness someone said, and take the good of the critical feedback they gave us? Can we get rid of the fiber? Can we have that bowel movement, right? Can we let go of the information that makes us more anxious and crazed?

So allowing that process to take place and giving ourselves the time, so that we have the capacity to fully process is, I think, paramount to being fully optimized whether it’s in our relationships with our in-laws, or our children, or our boss, or our colleagues, or our clients. Taking that time for ourselves away from all of the needs, and all of the hats and roles that we play, is essential. I cannot understate that or overstate that, excuse me.

Katie: I love it. And you mentioned a lot of resources in this episode, I’ll make sure I link to all of them in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm. But specifically, you also have a podcast as well, right?

Dr. Heather: Yes. So I host “Collective Insights,” which is it through Neurohacker Collective, and it’s so fun. I’m sure you have the same experience. I absolutely love…it’s one of my favorite parts of my job just to pick the brains of experts in different fields whether it’s exercise, or diet, or longevity. There was a guy I got to pick his brain about orgasms. It’s just so fun, the people that I have the privilege to talk to and, you know, getting to be on the show with you today. So that’s been awesome. Thank you for having me.

Katie: Oh, it’s been a pleasure. We’ve covered so much. I think, hopefully, helped a lot of people. Another question I love to ask, as we wrap up, is if there’s a book or a number of books that have really dramatically impacted your life, and if so what they are and why?

Dr. Heather: So, right now professionally, I mentioned “The End of Alzheimer’s” by Dale Bredesen and then “Toxic” a book by Dr. Neil Nathan is the other one. So my practice is almost entirely built around putting those things into practice for people. So my clinical practice really relies heavily on the insights that those guys have gleaned and the data collection and research that they’ve done. And those books, they’re designed not just for doctors, but for people who are struggling with toxins or with Alzheimer’s. And there’s some overlap as well of course, because Alzheimer’s one of the things we wanna check for is the toxic burdens. So those books, if anyone is struggling with mycotoxin and illness or with Alzheimer’s, those are great places to start, where you can really get a lot of quality information.

Katie: I love it. I’ll make sure those are linked in the show notes, as well as have links for people to find you and keep learning if they’d like to or find out more about your clinic or your facility. But thank you so much, this has been such a fun interview, and I’m really appreciative of all the work you do.

Dr. Heather: Katie, thank you so much for making this awesome information available to people.

Katie: And thank you, as always, for listening and sharing your time with both of us today. We’re so grateful that you did. And I hope that you’ll join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama” podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic… a company I’ve loved for years for their superfood mushroom based products. They use mushrooms like lions mane, chaga, cordyceps and reishi in delicious products. Did you know that mushrooms are more genetically similar to humans than plants are? And that they breathe oxygen and exhale CO2 just like we do but mushrooms spores can survive the vacuum and radiation of space. These amazing fungi are always a part of my daily routine in some way, usually with Lion’s Mane Coffee or Matcha in the morning, Plant protein and mushroom elixirs like chaga and cordyceps during the day and reishi at night to wind down. As a listener of this podcast, you can save on all Four Sigmatic products. As a listener of this podcast, you can save on all Four Sigmatic products by going to foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama and using the code “wellnessmama” to save 15%.

This episode is sponsored by Everlywell, at-home lab tests that you can get without a doctors order! I’ve used many of their tests and can recommend a couple that have been especially helpful. They have an at-home allergy test for 40 of the most common allergens using the same CLIA-certified labs used by Allergists/Doctors. The labs are reviewed by an independent physician and measure IgE levels of common allergens including pet dander, mold, trees, grasses, and more. I also really like their food sensitivity tests that test for IgG reactions. This was a big key for me in my health recovery, as there were foods that didn’t show up as an allergy that were causing inflammation. I used an elimination diet, but this food sensitivity test also filled in the missing piece of the puzzle for me. Through healing my gut, I’ve been able to remove all sensitivities except for eggs. Finding out I was highly sensitive to eggs made a huge difference for me, as I ate them often as an inexpensive protein source. I feel so much better now that I don’t eat eggs and I would never have known that without this test! I also use their at-home Vitamin D test to keep an eye on those levels. Check out all of their tests at wellnessmama.com/go/everlywell. Use code MAMA10 for 10% off orders.

Jun 15 2020

57mins

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347: The Neuroscience of Calm During Stressful Times With Dr. David Rabin

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In a time when we all probably feel more stress and uncertainty than usual, I invited Dr. David Rabin back for a second episode. Dr. Rabin has made a science of developing simple, non-invasive measures to better handle common emotional states like anxiety, stress, isolation, and overwhelm.

During his research at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Rabin developed a wearable device called the Apollo that uses the neuroscience of touch and vibration to combat the negative effects of stress. I personally use it and I notice a big difference when I wear it. It’s a promising path toward helping kids with conditions like ADD and ADHD, not to mention moms suffering from anxiety and depression.

Dr. Rabin is also helping to organize the world’s largest controlled study of psychedelic medicines at Yale, the University of Southern California, and Mt. Sinai for application like medication-resistant mental illness. He’s one of the most intelligent incredible experts I’ve ever talked to on a lot of these topics.

He does not disappoint in this episode!

Episode Highlights With Dr. Rabin

  • How to increase a sense of calm in a few minutes (wherever you are and whatever you’re going through)
  • The difference between being alone and feeling lonely
  • Ways to find benefits in temporary isolation or loneliness
  • What we can learn from the practice of gratitude
  • Why Dr. Rabin and I love the Four Agreements so much!
  • Emotions that are the “firefighters” of the body and signal a deeper need or problem
  • The one thing that will make all the difference the next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious
  • Benefits and uses of ketamine and other psychedelics (and why it’s controversial)
  • And more!

Resources We Mention

More From Wellness Mama

What did you think? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well.

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Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

This podcast is sponsored by BLUblox. That’s B-L-U-B-L-O-X, which is an advanced light-filtering eyewear company. You’ve probably seen pictures of me on social media wearing orange glasses of various types at night. And here’s why. In nature, we aren’t exposed to certain types of light after dark, specifically, blue light, because that type of light signals the body that it’s daytime. That in turn suppresses melatonin and can interfere with sleep. This is the reason that a really dramatic study found that camping for seven days straight with no artificial light at all could actually completely reset and heal circadian rhythm and help a lot of light-related problems, like seasonal affective disorder. This is also the reason that I wear orange glasses after dark to block these types of light and protect my sleep, which I am adamant about protecting. I also wear certain types of yellow glasses and anti-fatigue glasses during the day if I want a computer to reduce eye fatigue. BLUblox has orange glasses and yellow glasses. Their orange glasses for nighttime wear are designed to block 100% of the wavelengths between 400 nanometers and 550 nanometers, which are the ones that are studied to interfere with sleep and melatonin production, and circadian rhythm. My kids also wear these kinds of glasses at night. And I noticed a difference in their sleep as well, which is a huge win for a mom. This is especially important when we’re watching a family movie at night or looking at any kind of screen as the artificial light, there is a source of blue light and can interfere with sleep. You can learn more, they have a ton of educational content and check out all of their innovative protective glasses by going to blublox.com/wellnessmama and using the code wellnessmama to save 15%.

This podcast is brought to you by Wellnesse, a new company I co-founded to bring the best personal care products from my family to yours. Our whitening toothpaste is based on my DIY formula that I have been making and perfecting for over a decade. Now, after almost 100 rounds of tweaking the formula and thousands of positive reviews, I could not be more proud to share this with your family. Have you ever read a tube of normal toothpaste? I did when my older kids were little, and I found a warning that said, “Warning, keep away from children. Do not swallow. If ingested contact Poison Control or seek medical attention immediately.” That seemed a little extreme for something that I was putting in my mouth and my children’s mouth multiple times a day. And I didn’t want my kids using something that often that I would need to call a poison control center if they accidentally swallowed. I set out to create a truly safe and effective alternative. And the Wellnesse Whitening toothpaste is just that. It’s designed to support the oral microbiome and the natural process of saliva and teeth so that teeth can stay white and strong. This dentist approved formula is safe for the whole family and will leave your teeth shiny and your breath fresh. You can check out our toothpaste and our completely natural hair food hair care products at wellnesse.com. An insider tip, if you grab an essentials bundle or try autoship, you will lock in a discount so that you can try everything at a great price.

Katie: Hello and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com. That’s wellness with an E on the end, which is my new line of personal care products that are both safe and effective including hair care, toothpaste, and hand sanitizer.

In this episode which is very timely right now, we focus on some really relevant topics like dealing with feelings of stress, isolation, loneliness, overwhelm, uncertainty, also things like navigating ADD and ADHD in our kids. And now for many of us who are also serving as teachers for our kids during these unusual times, as well as things like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and many other topics. Because I’m here with Dr. David Rabin who is a board-certified psychiatrist, a translational neuroscientist, an inventor, and an entrepreneur who specializes in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders, and who is doing research right now currently on a device called the Apollo, specifically for ADD and ADHD. Dr. Rabin developed the Apollo which is a breakthrough wearable technology that uses the neuroscience of touch and vibration to combat the negative effects of stress. During his research at the University of Pittsburgh, he developed this. And it’s a device that I personally use and really love and notice a big difference from. And they are in the middle of doing studies on this with like I said kids with ADD and ADHD. It’s a really incredible technology.

Dr. Rabin is also helping to organize the world’s largest controlled study of psychedelic medicines in collaboration with colleagues at Yale, the University of Southern California, Mt. Sinai, and MAPS, which is the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies to determine the mechanisms of the dramatic therapeutic benefits observed following psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in treatment resistant mental illness. He is one of the most intelligent incredible experts I’ve ever talked to on a lot of these topics, and he does not disappoint in this episode. We go deep on a lot of these topics, and I think you will really enjoy as much as I enjoyed recording it. So without further ado, let’s join Dr. David Rabin.

Dr. Rabin, welcome. Thank you for being on the podcast again.

Dr. Rabin: Thank you so much for having me, Katie. It’s a pleasure as always.

Katie: Well, I’m excited to chat with you again. I’m a huge fan of your work. And our first episode got a great response. And I think there’s so much more that we can add in this second episode. I think to start, obviously, all of us are kind of learning to navigate a lot of new uncertainties right now and things that a few months ago we didn’t have to deal with. And so, I would guess that people are under a lot more stress and uncertainty than normal. And so, I’d love for that to start…let’s start broad there and talk about some of these kind of changing turbulent times and ways that we can navigate that stress.

Dr. Rabin: I think that’s a great place to start. I think that we are under, you know, particularly high amounts of stress right now on a daily basis, different than maybe what we’re used to, but still very stressful nonetheless. And, you know, I think you really hit on it, which is that one of the major things that drive stress for us is sort of grappling with uncertainty. And one of the interesting things about that that I talk about with my clients all the time and that was on sort of my own personal journey as well, was learning to not spend a lot of time trying to control things that are completely uncertain and sort of out of my hands because what we realized from the theory of how anxiety management is taught and mental health and as a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist and a neuroscientist, we studied this a lot.

And what we see is that one of the central, most important things to always remember about anxiety, and anxiety being sort of these negative intrusive thoughts, constant worry, feeling overwhelmed and restless all the time, that stems from trying to spend as…you know, are basically allocating energy and resources of our attention, which we only have so much attention. We spend more of those resources thinking about things we cannot control than thinking about things that we can control. And ultimately, the more percentage of our attention we spend on thinking about things that we can control, like our breath, like making ourselves healthy, you know, having meaningful interactions with loved ones and things of that nature. Those things all contribute to us feeling less anxious and more positive on a mood level and also improve our energy and our ability to sleep, and sort of that, you know, creates what we call like reverberations throughout other parts of our lives where our bodies just start to recover better because we’re not spending that time thinking about all the things that are out of our hands.

And so, that is one of the most important things that I think we can all use in this time, myself included. And this something that I have to remind myself of on a daily basis, particularly when things are very busy but over time as we practice techniques like this, like learning to put our attention, which is something that’s really valuable, you know, our attention is something that only certain things deserve our attention. And when we spend our attention giving it a priority to things that really deserve it, like self-healing techniques, self-breath, you know, what we put into our bodies, how we exercise, you know, how we heal ourselves, all of these kinds of things, who we choose to spend valuable, meaningful time with, all of those things start to create these really positive feedback loops that contribute to a sense of happiness and fulfillment in our lives, even at our most stressed out, and overwhelming times.

Katie: That makes sense. And I know, obviously you would know this much better than I would, but from what I’ve read in books and different studies, a couple of the more difficult things to wrestle with from a stress perspective mentally are uncertainty and also loneliness. Like isolation is a really big mental stressor from what I’ve read. In fact, I’ve heard it compared to the physical effects even compared to being a smoker with how much of an effect it can have on the body. And so, there are a lot of people who are in isolation much more than normal and certainly navigating uncertainty much more than normal. Are there any strategies we can use from home that can help with the physical and the mental ramifications of that?

Dr. Rabin: Absolutely. I’m so glad you brought that up because I think that’s something that we often don’t talk about enough. And I think the first place to start is there is a fundamental difference between loneliness and then the concept of loneliness and being alone. And the way that we describe being alone, which is where most of us are. Most of us are alone, physically alone. You know, we don’t necessarily, when we’re isolated and we don’t have loved ones around or our family and friends, we don’t necessarily…we don’t have those people right around us physically, so we’re alone by, you know, by definition or our description of our environment. But we are not necessarily lonely. And I think loneliness starts to tap into this other meaning or connotation of feeling like we are, you know, not necessarily loved or that we may not get love or affection the way we need it.

And not only do we not have it right now, but we also may not get it in the future and we don’t know when we’re going to get it. And I think the reason that’s so important to understand the difference between being alone and feeling lonely or being lonely or lonely person is that being alone is something that is actually very powerful for us in the way that we heal ourselves. Oftentimes, it’s very difficult for us to start making changes to our routine. And like we were mentioning earlier and we talked about in the last podcast that we did together, you know, some of these self-healing techniques like, you know, positive…you know, everyone talks about diet and exercise, which are obviously very important, but there’s other things that are really important that we don’t talk about enough.

Like introspection, looking into ourselves, gratitude, feeling grateful for being able to breathe, being able to control the way that we think about ourselves and about our bodies. Being able to feel our heartbeat to, you know, be able to do progressive, take time to do progressive muscle relaxation to self-massage, right? There are certain parts of the body like putting pressure on our chest and put it with one hand or putting pressure on the inside of the outside of the ear. All of these things are very gentle ways that can pretty quickly improve the sense of calm in the body that can help induce a sense of safety and recovery response. And so, I think that, you know, what’s really important is that if we look at being alone as always being equal to lonely, then we’re missing out on a lot of the opportunity.

That being alone affords us to start to work on ourselves without the influence other people around. And oftentimes it’s easier to change ourselves and to change our behavior, to learn how to adapt, to learn new techniques, new skills when we’re alone actually than it is when we’re with others. And so, being alone can actually be looked at as a challenge to overcome that when we do overcome that challenge, as we are all able to do, we’re all adapters. We’re incredibly adaptive creatures and that’s what makes us human. And that is why we are at the top of the earth food chain, if you will. And so effectively, by approaching being alone as a challenge that we can overcome, then as we start to do things that help us feel better in that state of being alone, then we start to recognize that we are growing from that experience rather than that experience bringing us down or making us less, or actually that challenge forces us to become stronger and better versions of ourselves.

And so, and this is also similar to what we talk about in the psychotherapy space obviously, but also in the psychedelic medicine, assisted psychotherapy healing space, and also in a lot of Eastern and tribal medicine practices that have been used for thousands of years for chronic illness and mental health. I would argue that loneliness is a problem, but loneliness can be what we call reframed as the challenge of overcoming being alone. And that challenge allows us all of these opportunities to start to work on ourselves in ways that we might not have thought of before. And again, you don’t have to look at my work. But if you’d like to go to apolloneuro.com and we have lots of tips about how to work on your health and build resilience when you’re alone.

But there’s tons of other people out there that have done this work, and there’s wonderful meditation techniques and wonderful breathwork techniques in particular, that are really, really helpful to practice. I think above all though, gratitude, which is one of the hardest and most powerful techniques, if you’ve never done it, it is also the most important. And by practicing gratitude, starting with being grateful for being alone, that automatically changes the way that we look at being alone. And we start to separate what being alone is from being lonely. And we separate that from our identity, and that all of a sudden sets us on a path towards feeling like a hell of a lot better.

Katie: I’m so glad you brought up gratitude because I think, you know, this is something that’s talked about in a lot of self-help circles. We hear about it on a lot of, you know, podcasts. It’s been a big topic in books recently and I think it still often gets discounted because people think like it can’t make that big of a difference or like, “Yeah, I should be grateful and optimistic, but also I really need to fix this problem.” And they don’t realize just how profoundly slowly shifting your mindset toward gratitude can be. And like, I’m sure there are studies, and you could speak to this much better than I could, but how that actually manifest itself in psychological changes over time. Are there any other practical strategies that you would give for making that shift? Because I know it can seem overwhelming. If you’re not in that place, the idea of trying to get into a place of gratitude can seem like an uphill battle for sure.

Dr. Rabin: Yeah. So, I think there are a number of techniques. My favorite techniques are actually…and I think we’ve talked about this before. There’s two sets of techniques. I don’t want to overcomplicate it, but these are all sort of thinking and emotional techniques. And I really like these because I use them with everyone and myself and they’re incredibly effective. They’re very old techniques that go all the way back into Eastern medicine that had been used for thousands of years. And I think why they’ve stood the test of time is because they work so well and they’re also free. And so I think gratitude is one of the major foundations of all of these techniques because gratitude is the way that we start to look at a situation or an experience from the “why me” perspective, or the, “Oh God, please make it stop” perspective, to the, “Okay, if I’m grateful for this experience, what could I possibly get out of it that’s positive or constructive along the line of growth?”

And so that is why gratitude is sort of at the foundation. One of the things that I think is the most helpful to think about with gratitude is with anger. When we get angry, we often think of anger as being a very destructive, negative emotion. But anger is just a signal that there’s something off in our environment or something off in us that needs to be worked on. It’s a signal. All emotions are signals in different ways. It’s just easier to feel grateful for joy than it is to feel grateful for sadness or anger. The problem is when we don’t practice gratitude for things like anger and sadness instead of actually working through the anger and the sadness and figuring out what the source of it is, what happens is we oftentimes turn that anger or sadness inward on ourselves and then we start to feel a lot of the stress that goes along with, you know, harboring anger and sadness, like resentment, depression, sleep disturbances, all of these things.

And so, you know, starting to practice gratitude on a moment-to-moment basis as often as we can really, from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed, which can just be as simple as first thing in the morning, write down gratitude, and then just try to think about things that you’re grateful for, even if it’s just being grateful for waking up or being grateful for being able to take a breath. Any of those being a grateful for being able to eat breakfast, any of those things are fantastic ways to start. And then the same before you go to bed and eventually that becomes automatic. I think why that’s important is because gratitude forms this foundation of trust in ourselves that is supported by these four principles called the four pillars. And these are the very old principals that’ve been around for a long time.

And so, it starts with gratitude. And then from gratitude goes to forgiveness, which is really focused on self-forgiveness, forgiving ourselves for mistakes that we’ve made, knowing that we all make mistakes. There’s not a single human on the face of the earth that has not made mistakes. And that when we start to understand that, then we’re able to forgive ourselves for those mistakes. Recognizing that those are opportunities for growth. And then the next step above that is compassion. Compassion is often difficult to understand with respect to ourselves. But I think that the most common, best way to think about it as compassion is like patience for ourselves and patience for the world to allow things to unfold as they will. We often think when we look at the world, we look at ourselves and say, “Why aren’t we here? We’re here but we want to be there. Why can’t I be there right now? Why is this not already moving along the way that I…on the timeline that I expect it to?”

And so, that forces us to rush the process, which actually leads us to make more mistakes. Trying to avoid failure, we rush the process, we make more mistakes, we want things to happen faster. Compassion is that practice of allowing things to unfold as they will and just doing the best we can but understanding that we will make mistakes. Things will come up, you know, and we’re just going to do the best we can knowing that things will come up and things will unfold as they will. And then all this sort of comes together and culminates in the practice of self-love. And over time, as we practice those four pillars, that forms the foundation of trust in ourselves that allows us to overcome very, very difficult times like we’re in right now.

Like loneliness or feelings of loneliness, feelings of consistent anger or whatever it might be that’s bothering us. These four free tools are incredible tools that help us to…and they support each other and it can be practiced at the same time. They don’t have to be independent and they work together to help support that. And I think that there’s the other four, and a lot of these coming fours, which is interesting. The other four tools that are a little bit more obvious about how to practice are called the four agreements, which are the four agreements we make with ourselves to ensure a fulfilling life that’s aligned with growth and healing. And the four agreements are always do your best, which we just talked about. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make expectations, and always be true to your word.

And these things are sometimes difficult. We all know that we’re good at some of those and not so good at others. But these serve as guidelines that when you make an agreement with yourself intentionally and say, “I intend to follow these agreements for myself,” then what happens is the change starts to happen on its own over time. And so, it’s about starting to change the way that we focus our attention and the way that we think about ourselves starts to change the way that other people think about us. And it starts to change the way that we feel. And it can happen in as short as a day or as long as a few weeks. But the point is that as we start to practice these techniques, then the sooner we practice and the more we practice, the more we actually literally retrain our neural pathways in our brain to, instead of feeling upset and angry ourselves every time we feel sad or every time something bad happens, we start to actually feel joy at the opportunity that that challenge presents for us to grow and get better. And it literally shifts the entire neural networks that support the way that we see the world.

Kate: I love that. I’m a big fan of the four agreements as well. And I think you’re right. I think that the shift and focus is so important. And to get vulnerable from it and I can share from my own life. An example of that, when all the shutdowns first started happening that first week, I found that I was like almost completely unable to eat. I was extremely angry. I was working out four times a day and I had this like weird…like I wanted to fight and I had no idea where that was coming from. I ended up exploring it with the therapist and realized that it went back to sexual trauma I had much earlier in life, in high school. And basically what I had done is I had built frameworks to keep me safe so that I would never feel helpless again in any area of life.

So, I had things in relationships that I did to feel safe. I had ways to protect myself physically. So, I felt safe. Like I had systems for everything. So, I never had to feel helpless because that emotion was so devastating in that moment that I never wanted to feel helpless again. And I had spent years processing that trauma and had not been triggered in a long time. I thought I had totally gotten through it. And it wasn’t until there was something much bigger than me that I could not do anything about that it re-triggered that helplessness and that anger. And it really caught me by surprise because I thought I had completely dealt with it. And like you said, that anger can always be a clue as to kind of something that’s going on. And so, I had to like really consciously shift my focus those first couple of weeks.

A, to realize what was going on. And then to shift into gratitude and focusing on the things I did have control over, which was I can spend more time with my kids, I can spend time outside, I can focus on the positive, I can make time for gratitude and movement. But it was a hard thing and I think a lot of people are facing varying degrees of that kind of mental thing to work through right now. And it is difficult. But I think also like to your point, if we make good use of this time and we focus on the positive, we could emerge from this with incredible habits and a focus on gratitude and things like maybe slowing down normal life a little bit, not doing so many activities, spending more time with family, making time for cooking at home more or gardening or, you know, so many of these things that we’re doing now that we maybe didn’t do before that I love that. I love the practical focus on making that a habit because I think it really does have a dramatic impact over time.

Dr. Rabin: Absolutely. And I’m so grateful that you were willing to share that personal story with us. I think that your experience of what you just described is such a powerful metaphor for what we all go through when we have…we’ve all had times in our lives that we may not even remember as traumatizing, consciously, we may not even be aware, but there were always times in our lives for pretty much all of us where we felt out of control and we felt, you know, like we didn’t know what was going to happen and it was extraordinarily scary or threatening. We’ve all been in those kinds of situations and I think that what we often do is we build up these things called protectors, which you very well described. We use these a lot in MDMA assisted psychotherapy and psychedelic psychotherapy where we help people work through and understand, “Hey, this is something that you did when you were a child or when you were a teenager to learn how to cope with this tremendous amount of stress without any one showing you or teaching you how to deal with these emotions.”

So, now you have protectors, you have what we call sometimes firefighters, which might be anger or resentment or these kinds of things of this nature that come out every time we are reminded of that feeling of vulnerability, that feeling of losing control, that feeling of losing hope or losing safety. And what happens is that we forget that we actually are the single most important…the single most important source of safety in our lives comes from within us. You know, we are taught often to believe that it comes from outside of us. And that the source of wellbeing and that our source of healing and health and all of these things comes from outside of us. But that’s actually not true. And that the single biggest source of our health comes from within us and our happiness comes from within us.

And so, when we learn as you have to, and you described it so well, to generate that safety from yourself, that by changing your habits, by changing what you spend your attention and your time on, I mean that is literally life-changing. It’s literally what people are banging on the doors for to get access to psychedelic medicine because psychedelic medicine, in a lot of ways, it’s like a catalyst to rapidly accelerate that process. That is a process that we’re all capable of achieving on our own. As you said, it just takes a lot of time and a lot of work. And without the proper guidance or the proper teaching or the mentorship or the therapist or, you know, whoever it is that we need us to help, you know, at least get us on the right path to recognize this as possible, then we forget.

You know, it doesn’t mean we can’t do it. It just means we’ve forgotten that that ability we have is there. And so, that’s why it’s always such a pleasure and a privilege to be able to have these conversations with you because we really…I mean, we just get down to the raw nitty-gritty of it. I think that when you listen to…when people listen to something like this, they have the opportunity to hear about what actually is possible for all of us, that we do have the capacity, all of us who are listening to this, all of us who hear these kinds of conversations have the capacity to remember that we can heal ourselves and then to take some of these lessons back into their lives so that by the time all of this is…we’re moved on to the next phase of all of this in our lives, in the world, we can emerge so much stronger, so much healthier and so much happier and ready to take on whatever comes next. Not in a weakened, vulnerable state.

Katie: Exactly. And I’m so glad that you brought up psychedelic-assisted therapy. I know we talked about this a little bit in our first episode, which I’ll make sure is linked in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm. But as I would suspect, there’s going to be probably a lot of people who have resurgence of maybe trauma or addiction issues or all kinds of things following this crisis. I’d love to hear an update on what we’re seeing in like right now in medical research with psychedelic-assisted research and therapy, and what you expect to see in the coming months and years, because I think that can be really profound for so many people.

Dr. Rabin: Yeah, it’s a huge topic of interest right now. I think that, unfortunately, as a lot of the studies of MDMA and psilocybin require a lot of in-person visits. Many of those studies are on pause at this time. But the results are incredible for…particularly with psilocybin, which is the active psychedelic ingredient in mushrooms. And then MDMA, which originally comes from sassafras but is derived chemically, and then slightly modified to provide a very powerful empathy and self-acceptance, you know, non-nonjudgmental experience that is radically healing for people with trauma, which is most of us. And so, I think that, you know, these medicines are absolutely coming up.

They will be available. It looks like, you know, sometime between like 2021 and 2023, clients, patients will be able to go in and actually find a physician or a psychotherapist who works with a physician to provide these treatments. And it’s already starting. You know, there’s already a study…right now it’s mostly through studies, but you can actually sign up for a study at Hopkins, MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies runs studies on these medicines. And so, it’s possible to get involved. It’s just difficult right now for most people. And the medicines are expensive and it just requires a lot of effort and dedication to the cause, to the protocol. I think what’s really interesting that’s on the horizon right now is ketamine-assisted psychotherapy because ketamine is a molecule that was discovered in the early mid-20th century.

It was used as an anesthetic and a horse tranquilizer because it’s a very, very gentle anesthetic. But it was found later to actually induce very powerful psychedelic states. And when I say psychedelic, you know, I don’t mean a crazy ’70s dance party, but more a mind-manifesting state. So, the root of the word psychedelic means mind-manifesting. And what this really means is creating an altered state of consciousness, which you can also create with meditation or with breathwork or with, you know, yoga or a lot of other different techniques. But with medicine, it’s like ketamine or like MDMA or psilocybin. It’s a chemical induction of that state. And what ketamine does is it induces that state for about half an hour to an hour in a very safe way. And it allows people to be able to access that state for a very brief amount of time, but it’s enough time to be able to start to do some really interesting work on ourselves.

And so, one of the pioneers of this treatment was Dr. Phil Wilson, who still has a practice in San Anselmo and the San Francisco Bay Area. And he is pioneering this treatment for lots of different approaches, but its main focus is post-traumatic stress disorder and predominantly treatment-resistant depression. And I think what’s so interesting about ketamine above all the other psychedelics is that, is it particularly interesting? It’s interesting, but it’s not that much more interesting than the others. I think what makes it interesting right now is that it’s legal in basically…it’s legal in every state and in almost every country worldwide. And this is incredible because there isn’t any other psychedelic medicine that is legal in every state and every country or almost every country worldwide. So, that creates an enormous opportunity when we already have this technique that can be delivered in person.

Ketamine is also interesting. It can be delivered over the phone or over like a video conference. And people have been doing that for some time very successfully and very safely with some training. And we actually provide this treatment now which is very exciting. And so, there are all these opportunities coming up with medicines like ketamine where people who have very severe symptoms are people who are really struggling with trauma or depression I think is the main two. And there are other things that can help as well, but those two, in particular, can have dramatic benefit from use of this medicine. You know, and they don’t need it…you don’t take it every day. You take it, you know, once every week, once every couple of weeks with a therapist and then you have frequent communication with your therapist before and after, which helps set what we call the set and setting or the intention of the experience and what you hope to get out of it to make it as powerful and meaningful of a healing experience as possible.

So, while we wait for things like silicide and mushrooms and, and MDMA and some of these other very powerful medicines to get through the trials, ketamine thankfully is actually available right now and I think this is going to be a total game-changer for the way that we provide mental health via telemedicine, via remote, you know, remote mental health care and remote therapy over the next several months, especially while we’re under quarantine right now.

Katie: Yeah, I think you’re right. And I’ll make sure the links to find out more about that are in the show notes for anyone who really wants to look into that and to try it more. I know a couple of people I know personally have done ketamine assisted therapy for depression and for other things and had profound results from it. Can you go a little deeper on explaining how…because I think obviously there’s still some stigma surrounding anything in the psychedelic world with certain people. Can you explain how these enables such drastic results even for people who have treatment-resistant forms of these or like, I know people who don’t respond well to talk therapy have seen incredible results from psychedelic-assisted talk therapy. Can you just kind of explain what’s happening that allows that to be so much more effective?

Dr. Rabin: Sure. Again, so going back to what we were talking about earlier, safety is the most critical factor of all of this. Safety is what allows our nervous system that’s responsible for healing to really engage in full force. And this goes back millions of years, hundreds of millions of years actually. And Eric Kandel, who won the Nobel prize in 2002 for discovering the origins of learning and memory, found that we actually learn in our complex brains, you know, a hundred billion neurons or so, our brains learn in fundamentally the same way that 300 million year old sea snail brains learn and they only have 3 neurons in their brains. And the way that they learn is that they increase connections when they’re exposed to intense, meaningful, threatening or safe experiences, they increase the amount of and the strength of those neural connections over time, and we do exactly the same thing.

So, as we practice, and I think the main thing to take home about this is that what our moms always said or what our dads always said, practice makes perfect. This is actually real. It is literally reflected all the way down in our neurobiology to the way that our neurons talk to each other and possibly all the way down to our DNA and the way that our genes are expressed epigenetically in terms of stress and reward response genes. But going back to the way that these medicines work ultimately, that if you think about it, when we are stressed out all the time, when we’re constantly in a fear or threatened state or we just…it doesn’t have to be actual threat, doesn’t have to be actual survival threat. It could just be that we perceive something to be threatening us, like our coworker looking at us funny across the table, or traffic on the road, or our kids or family or friends screaming in the house, or whatever it might be.

You know, all of these things set…our body doesn’t know the difference between that and a survival threat. So, the body responds in the same way. It jacks up heart rate. It jacks up blood pressure, jacks up respiratory rate. It increases blood flow to the muscles, to the fear center of the brain, and to the parts of our brain that are responsible for just getting us out of that situation or fighting that situation or freezing in that so you’re playing dead. And this is what all the animals do, right? This is what we’ve been taught for a long time, evolutionarily. What I think we forget oftentimes is that when that survival system gets all of the diverted to it, because we perceive threat, it gets stronger and tighter and the connections get tighter between certain things in our environment and that threat response and the nerve connections actually get stronger, the neuronal connections get stronger.

And so, what happens is that every time you’re exposed to threat, it’s more likely you’re going to have a survival like response. And it’s less likely that you’re going to calm down quickly and recognize, “Hey, wait a minute, maybe this email is not threatening. Maybe this traffic is not actually out to get me. It’s just the way it is today because I left work too late, you know. And that’s how it is.” So, ultimately the problem with that is that on a neurological level, when we train our brains and our bodies to be in a threatened state all the time, what happens is that’s diverting resources away from our parasympathetic nervous system that is literally responsible for all of our rest and recovery. All of our digestion, all of our immunity, literally managing our immune response so that our immune system is working at its peak level.

Managing our creativity and diverting resources to that, our decision making, all of those things that we care about, being empathic, and caring with our loved ones. Being present with our children and our loved ones, all of these things require the recovery system to turn on, which requires safety. And so, as we retrain our brains with safety techniques, whether that’s gratitude or whether it’s soothing touch from ourselves or a loved one, or whether it’s any number of meditation, deep breathing, the other things we’ve talked about, as we retrain our brains down that path, those networks get stronger. And then we actually become better at recovering and better performing rather than just performing under stress, which means that we’re not recovering enough on a regular basis. So, the reason why psychedelic medicines can be so useful and things like Apollo, which also work in a very similar way, is that when psychedelic medicines are introduced in the proper way with a very safe therapeutic context, what happens is that the safety gets amplified dramatically.

That safety reminds us that we don’t have to be afraid or threatened right now and that we don’t actually have an immediate survival threat around us right now. And so, it’s reminding us that we can start to divert resources like blood, oxygen, energy in general to our recovery response system and allow some of the healing parts to turn on. It serves as a catalyst or an accelerant to speed up that process, which is a process that we activate and train in psychotherapy. That’s sort of the main idea of psychotherapy. Oftentimes, unfortunately, psychotherapy isn’t performed properly for the person who’s receiving it or there’s a, you know, a so-so between the person receiving the psychotherapy and the therapist, usually a lack of trust. And that trust is absolutely essential for us to feel safe. And if we don’t have it, then we, again, don’t allow our healing response to turn on. So, psychedelic medicines kind of provide that little chemical boost that stimulates the brain in a way that amplifies the safety of the therapeutic experience when we have a good therapeutic experience, which is the foundation of a good psychedelic healing experience. And then that literally fast tracks the retraining of those neural networks along a pathway of safety and recovery and away from unwanted stress response. Does that make sense?

Katie: Yeah, it absolutely does. And it puts in perspective why that can be so effective compared to just having talked through something. And I’ve definitely seen that in my own life. I’ve tried various forms with psychedelics as well, and those were really helpful to me in working through my own trauma. So, I can speak first hand to that.

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Another area that I know you’ve done a lot of research on it and that specifically we can talk about Apollo in is the area of ADD and ADHD. And I think this is especially important right now as well because a lot of moms and a lot of listeners found themselves overnight becoming homeschool teachers and home with their kids much more. And so, I’ve heard from a lot of moms who are now navigating, “How do I actually be both the parent and the teacher for a child with ADD or ADHD? And how do I adapt a home learning environment to these specific needs?” And I know that you’ve done a lot of research and study in those areas, so we’d love to hear what’s happening right now. I know you’ve been doing trials with the Apollo in this specifically, so, what are you finding right now that’s helpful?

Dr. Rabin: So, this is a great, great segue, I think. So, for those who don’t know what Apollo is, you can check it out on apolloneuro.com, apolloneuro.com or apolloneuroscience.com. And this is a wearable technology that was developed based on all the research that we’re talking about now today. It was developed by myself and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh. And it is a wearable that delivers very gentle frequencies of vibration to the skin that you can wear on your ankle or your wrist. But it works basically anywhere on the body and these specific vibration patterns that are very gentle, that kind of feel like an ocean wave or like a hug or somebody holding your hand are specifically developed and from our research in the lab to activate the safety response in the body and to activate the recovery nervous system instead of the stress response system.

And when you activate that recovery response system by sending safety signals to the body or basically vibrations that are interpreted by our brains as safe, just like someone you love holding your hand on a bad day, it helps remind us that we are actually not under threat in that moment and that we are actually in control of our decisions in that moment. We have the opportunity, that tunnel vision starts to fade and you have the opportunity to make maybe a different choice than you’ve made the last 1,000 or 10,000 times you’ve been in this situation. And so what’s really interesting about ADD and ADHD, in particular, is that this is a huge problem in our society. Why? There’s lots of reasons, I think, but one of which in particular is that a lot of us don’t remember what it’s like to be children, right? We forget that as a child, you know, it’s a bit confusing at times in the adult world, you know, there’s all this chaos and all this stuff going on around us.

And, you know, many of us feel completely out of control, particularly as we start to get into the adolescent years in high school, middle school. And we just start to feel completely out of control. And what happens is that when we feel as kids out of control, then our attention wanders, we get distracted and we literally will seek anything, anything that will help us feel calm in that moment. And usually, it’s something that’s distracted. So, the most common things that we see in kids with ADD or ADHD is they can’t focus on things that bore them or things that they’re not interested in for more than a minute or two at most. But as soon as you put them in front of a video game that they like, or something that’s constantly changing or an athletic activity or something like that, they’re incredible at it.

Sometimes they’re like the best at it. And so what’s really interesting is that that attention is not dysfunctional the way that we talk about it with the diagnosis of ADHD, it’s actually just different and it requires a little more training than the average bear. And it’s really at the source, the source of that distractibility, that’s the source of the attention deficit as we describe it in psychiatry, really seems to be more of feelings of out of control, feelings of lack of control, lack of being in control of our lives, lack of control of what we eat, you know, lack of being control of what we learn, what we do during the day, our schedule. As a kid, we don’t really have control over most of that. And so, what’s really interesting is that with Apollo, we thought when we made it that it would improve, that there would be certain frequencies that were vibration that reliably improved focus. And we tested this originally in a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled crossover study in healthy folks, adults, at the University of Pittsburgh. And the results were resoundingly good for focus.

We improved focusing cognitive performance on very stressful tasks by quite a bit. And that performance on those tasks increased directly proportionate to the amount that our recovery system turned on. So, the more that our recovery nervous system turned on as measured by clinically validated lab-grade technology like EKG machines and brainwave scans and all of these other things that we did, the more that that recovery system turned on, the more that focus and cognitive performance went up. And then we thought, “Okay, we have adult friends who have ADD and ADHD. What if we just gave them our prototype to try out? You know, it has no side effects, can’t hurt you. It’s just sound waves. So, let’s give it to them, try it out.” And I personally was one of those kids who was very bored and distractible as a child, and I think I would have been diagnosed with ADHD if anybody had put me in front of a psychiatrist at a young age.

And I use it all the time for focus. So, we started giving it out to our friends in the early prototype and they all loved it. It was resoundingly, everyone was like, “I don’t use my Adderall anymore. I don’t use my Ritalin anymore because I can use this.” And that blew me away. So, we started to work with a population of children at a clinic called the Children’s Integrated Center for Success in Allentown, PA, which is run by an incredible nurse practitioner, Amy Edgar, and she’s been working on basically helping to try to treat mental illnesses in particular in children without medicine or in the least invasive way, least risky way possible for many, many years. And our clinic is an incredibly well-run place that really focuses on kids’ safety first. But even with all of their incredible techniques, they still struggle with many kids, not…I mean, I think they have better results in a lot of other places, but they still have children that struggle and adolescents that struggle with symptoms of ADD and ADHD.

So, when I showed her Apollo for the first time, she loved it. She tried it herself, she tried it on her daughter, she loved it. And then she said, “I think that given how safe this is, clearly, I would like to try this in a pilot trial with our patients at the clinic who are treatment-resistant. These are kids who I’ve tried everything I can with them. And the only outcome that we have is that we had to go to medicine because we didn’t have any other luck with anything else.” And she started putting on these kids just in the clinic, in therapy, in front of the parents, in front of the therapist and they put it on, and within minutes they would see a change. The kind of change where the kids would sit up, they would start making eye contact instead of running around the room.

They would start smiling and they would say…they would start talking by themselves. They would start talking about their feelings, talking about their day, talking about things that they’ve had on their mind in ways that they have not spoken about to the therapist in years. Somebody as a therapist would work for hours and hours and hours just trying to get the child or the client to tell them anything. And, you know, a lot of kids are very closed off in these kinds of settings and they don’t want to talk and that’s understandable. And they don’t understand what’s going on a lot of the time. And again, it’s like, you know, it feels like they’re out of control. And they put this on and they just settle down and they realize they’re in a safe environment and they say, “This feels like a hug. And I want to talk about myself.”

And that was so incredible for us to, you know, to see those kinds of results in these kids. And ultimately, after the first 15 kids went through the original pilot, Amy put together an IRB approved clinical protocol, that is a standard protocol for, you know, rigorous scientific clinical trials that can be published. And now she’s running this trial in a much more rigorous fashion that will be published with, I think it’s 40 children and the first 15 have been run through it and they are seeing the same results consistently in these kids. And so, I think this is incredibly promising for us to be able to have alternatives for people where not only…I mean, it’s not only that we have a technology like Apollo that you can buy over the counter that can help, you know, improve something like this that we thought we required medicine for, but also for the kids to understand and for parents understand that there’s hope, that this is based on a theory of neuroscience, right? And neuroscience is psychology of learning and attention.

So, if Apollo was built on that theory and Apollo works this well, then that means that if we work with our children and we work with ourselves to train our own attention better, you know, to work with these techniques and to really learn these strategies, then, you know, we all have the ability to achieve this higher level of functioning that we want and that we all talk about we want, that we all often rely on medicine that we want because we feel we need to. We don’t need the medicine, the medicine is teaching us how to do it. Apollo is a tool teaching us how to do it. But again, going back to the point we were talking about earlier, all of this is pointing to the fact that we can do this on our own.

Katie: Wow, that’s so encouraging to hear. And I think you’re right that…had they tested for this when we were younger, I actually did testing as an adult, separate of just specifically testing for ADD and ADHD and found out I would clinically be diagnosed with ADHD, or I was technically by this test. But I thought it was really funny and I’m really grateful that they didn’t test me as a kid because I probably potentially could have been put on medication. I don’t know if they did that back then. But I think long-term it actually ended up being superpower of sorts. Because my parents gave me an opportunity to exist in a world where I was homeschooled for part of my adolescents and I had the opportunity to move around a lot to express creativity.

So, I didn’t face some of the same challenges that some kids, I’m sure, do in a school environment. But I’m really glad that get kind of managed out when I was young because I think learning from that has been an asset as an adult. So, I think it’s really important how you explain that, kind of reframing that to begin with. And then also using these non-invasive low-risk or no-risk tools that can help kids to focus and to like move through this without having to like to be medicated or to take some more of these extreme measures. That’s really encouraging to hear.

Dr. Rabin: And I think that’s, you know, that’s really what it comes down to is that, you know, had you or I been told when we were children that we had a disorder that required medication, then I’m not sure that you and I would have put in the effort to overcome that when we were given medicine and being told that if you take this medicine, all your problems will go away basically. You know, that is not consistent with healing. That’s like putting a band aid on a broken leg, you know, and the broken leg’s still broken. You might not feel pain as much, you know, but it’s still broken. It’s the same thing with mental and attention and emotional issues that all of us have dealt with at some time. I think as we look at them as challenges that we can overcome and grow from, then we start to learn how to use our own superpowers, as you said.

I think it’s the greatest way to put it. We’re learning or teaching ourselves by overcoming these challenges, how to activate our own superpowers to really become our fullest versions of ourselves. And I also, I think it’s important as a caveat to remind people that this is information for you but I am not your doctor. As much as I am a board-certified physician, I am not your doctor or your child’s doctor, so please don’t just discontinue medicine right away without speaking to your healthcare provider or your physician. That said, it is really important if you’re going to take home anything from this, I think please take home the idea that there absolutely without a doubt is scientific evidence for hope that we can all heal from these things. And that 99% of the people who have ADHD or ADD, 99% of people with these kinds of diagnoses, even things like depression and anxiety are not chronic illnesses that never get better.

On the contrary, they are chronic illnesses that can absolutely get better. And the single biggest factor in whether they get better or not is whether or not we believe that we can do anything about it. Once we start to believe that we can do something about it, then we start to put attention and energy into building those skill sets and figuring out how to overcome those challenges on our own and to learn as much as we can from those experiences so that we work in the…you know, we grow in the direction that we are hoping to.

Katie: Such a great point. And I’ll say also from my personal experience, I’m a big fan of the Apollo and I use it all the time and it really does help with focus. But also for me, there’s one called social and openness setting and I’ve had a little bit of social anxiety when I was younger. It’s gotten better as I’ve gotten older, but I notice a big difference with that setting when I have to be at conferences or like very extroverted forward-facing places. It makes a huge difference. And then also I use the sleep and relaxation settings quite often to fall asleep at night. So, just wanted to give a plug for that, and I’ll, of course, make sure it’s linked in the show notes as well if you guys want to find it and try it out because it really has been helpful for me and for my kids.

But, Dr. Dave, I want to respect your time. I know that you’re incredibly busy, but I love all the research you’re doing. And I appreciate you coming back for a second check-in with updates on where the research is, and especially that exciting news about ADD and ADHD that I think offers a lot of hope for parents.

Dr. Rabin: Yeah, I really appreciate you for having me and it’s always exciting to be able to come back and share positive news, and I think that, you know, we’re on the right track. Things are moving in the right direction, and so, I thank you again for having this conversation. This is great.

Katie: Thank you. And thanks as always to all of you for listening and sharing your time with us. We’re so grateful that you did, and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama” podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

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Jun 11 2020

58mins

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346: Sulforaphane: The “Broccoli Molecule” That Slows Aging, Fights Cancer, & Boosts Immune Health With BrocElite

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Years ago, one of the things my doctor recommended for my Hashimoto’s was to start incorporating broccoli sprouts into my diet. He explained that they contain a compound called sulforaphane with incredible protective health benefits.

To get sulforaphane I’ve been growing and eating broccoli sprouts routinely (in a hot broccoli and mustard smoothie for maximum benefits!). But don’t worry… If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea but you still want to get the benefits of sulforaphane, there is another way!

David Roberts has more than 20 years of experience working in quantitative research. He holds master’s degrees in public health from Johns Hopkins and in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia. His work has helped bring the first bioavailable sulforaphane supplement called BrocElite to market.

Episode Highlights: BrocElite

  • Why sprouts are such a nutrient-dense superfood
  • What is sulforaphane and how it works to restore function and eliminate toxins at the cellular level
  • Best ways to eat and use broccoli sprouts
  • The connection between sulforaphane and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Why all sprouts are not created equal
  • How BrocElite was engineered to work just as well or better than eating broccoli sprouts
  • David’s personal reasons for championing a supplement
  • Possibilities for cancer protection, brain health, and anti-inflammation
  • And more!

Resources We Mention

More From Wellness Mama

Have you ever tried broccoli sprouts? What did you think of this episode? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and it helps other moms find the podcast as well.

Read Transcript

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

This episode is sponsored by Beekeeper’s Naturals, which is my go-to source for all things bee-related. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re an amazing company. They make clean remedies that really work and that my whole family loves to take, no fight required. I’m sure you probably know that bees are absolutely vital to our global food system. And Beekeeper’s Naturals is on a mission to save the bees while creating products that support humans as well. They source all of their bee products sustainably and do a lot to support healthy bee colonies. All of their products, of course, are gluten-free, non-GMO, naturally-sourced, and keto-friendly. My personal favorite is their propolis spray which I use for natural immune support. I never have to fight my kids to take it because it tastes delicious and it’s my first line of defense at any sign of sniffles or cough or any time I’m traveling. I also really love their B.LXR Brain Fuel, which is a caffeine-free way to support focus and energy. I take this on days like today with podcasting when I need a little extra mental boost. As a listener of this podcast, you can save 15% on all Beekeeper’s Naturals products. Go to beekeepersnaturals.com/wellnessmama, and the code “wellnessmama” saves you 15%.

This episode is sponsored by Joovv, a natural red light therapy in your very own home. We may not think of light when we think of essential nutrients that our body needs, but light is absolutely necessary! This is the reason I go outside as soon as possible after waking up in the morning, and the reason I spend time in front of my Joovv. Light is energy and our bodies need light in certain forms in order to sustain healthy cellular function. Red light in particular, especially in certain wavelengths, has very specific benefits for hair, skin, and cellular energy. I like Joovv because they are third-party tested for safety and performance and use a Patented modular design which allows you easily treat your whole body in under 20 minute and lets you use anything from a small system to a larger system that you would find in a Chiropractors office. Joovv uses clinically proven wavelengths of light that provide energy to the body. They have Bundle pricing discounts which allow you to save more money when purchasing larger setups. Get free shipping at joovv.com/wellnessmama and use code WELLNESSMAMA for a free gift!

Katie: Hello and welcome to the “Wellness Mama” podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com, that’s “wellnesse” with an E on the end, my new line of personal care products that are as effective as conventional without all the junk. Right now, we have hair care, toothpaste, and now hand sanitizer.

In this podcast episode, we go deep on a topic that was really helpful to me in my initial recovery from autoimmune disease. So years ago, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, one of the things my doctor recommended was that I start incorporating broccoli sprouts into my life. And when I started doing that, I started researching, and I found out that broccoli sprouts specifically contain a compound called sulforaphane. And this led to a years-long research journey for me about what this is and why it was beneficial. And my doctor recommended it because I had nodules on my thyroid and it was part of kind of a protective protocol to deal with that. What really astounded me about this molecule, and it’s something I’ve incorporated into my life and my family’s life ever since, it’s also something that was not bioavailable via supplement form until very recently, which is why this podcast is so timely.

I’m here with David Roberts, who has a master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins with a focus on epidemiology and international health, as well as a master’s in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s in electrical and biomedical engineering from Duke. He also has more than 20 years of experience working in quantitative research and he’s done public health work on 3 continents. He has a fascinating perspective on what’s going on right now and he has spearheaded research to assess the impact of things like HIV prevention, education programs in various countries, and has been involved in research kind of across the world. Really incredible guy.

And the reason I wanted to have him on today is because he has helped bring a supplement called BrocElite to market. He has a really incredible personal story about how this came about and an amazing scientific story of how they were able to standardize and make this bioavailable in the form of a supplement. Because this is something that has not historically been shelf-stable, and even when it’s been available in compounds like broccoli sprouts, it was very difficult to know how much you were getting and to standardize it. And some sources didn’t even have bioavailable sulforaphane, even if you ate the broccoli sprouts.

So this is a really in-depth and fascinating conversation about this compound called sulforaphane, what it does in the body, and how you can incorporate it. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed recording it. And let’s jump right in. David, welcome. Thanks for being here.

David: Yeah, Katie, it’s a delight to be with you today. Thanks for having me.

Katie: I am so excited to have you here because you are an expert in a topic that I have been researching for a while and I’m really fascinated by, and I can’t wait to really delve into it today and give our listeners a more broad understanding. And that is “broccoli sprouts” and all of the benefits that come from certain compounds within broccoli sprouts. I’ve been growing broccoli sprouts for years and now they’ve become a really hot health trend over the past couple of years. So, from all of your research and experience as well, why broccoli sprouts?

David: Yeah, well, sprouts, in general, are what’s called a superfood, which are nutrient-dense foods. I actually heard recently somebody call broccoli sprouts, sort of, the king of superfoods. Now, I don’t know if that’s true or not, but whether it’s the top superfood or a top-two, I know it’s certainly packed with nutrients. And actually, as far as growing sprouts, I too grew sprouts for about five years and I haven’t actually grown them for about two until recently with the COVID stuff. We try to have a salad every day and we couldn’t find…like, all the stores we were going to, none of them had lettuces. And so time after time we couldn’t get any, so I was like, “Let’s just start sprouting again.” And so that’s been fun to do with my boys, especially because it’s super easy and you can get a crop really quickly.

But broccoli sprouts, specifically, it’s popular and they’re popular because of the chemical in them called sulforaphane. And in all cruciferous vegetables, so like cabbage, or cauliflower, or watercress, radish, all those types of vegetables have these chemicals that are kind of cousin chemicals to each other, like sulforaphane. And they all are slightly different, but they all are really good for your health. And so, there’s sort of a potpourri of those chemicals in each vegetable. And broccoli has the highest level of the sulforaphane, which is probably the most researched chemical in that family. It was discovered in 1992 up at Johns Hopkins. Since then, there’ve been literally several thousand research papers on the molecule. And the reason it’s so good in sprouts is because there are about 50 to 100 times more of this nutrient-dense chemical sulforaphane in the sprout versus the mature broccoli.

The other really good thing about it is you can grow them relatively quickly. As little as three days, you know, your sprouts are tiny at that point, but they’re still pretty dense nutritionally. I like to add radish seed. About 10% of the seeds I put in are radish when I’m growing because, actually, the radish has this enzyme that helps you convert in this chemical reaction to get the sulforaphane out of the broccoli sprouts. And so that’s sort of a little trick. One thing to note, Katie, is not all seeds are the same. So some seeds have more sulforaphane, some seeds have less, and actually, some have none, no ability to get sulforaphane. We actually were looking to get organic seeds and so we bought a bunch of about five different brands off of Amazon last summer, and four of the five brands had no ability to make sulforaphane.

So we were pretty shocked at that. We repeated that in January, the same study, and we did seven brands instead of five. And thankfully, six of the seven you could get sulforaphane from. But one of the organic brands still didn’t have any. So it’s kind of a crapshoot. Because of that, we’ve had people ask us and so we actually do sell seeds on our site for that reason, so you know what you’re getting. So if you buy a half-pound of seeds, you’re getting the ability to convert about 400 milligrams of this good chemical sulforaphane from that amount. And so broccoli seeds are popular because they have sulforaphane, but sulforaphane has a laundry list of health benefits. And so, one of the health benefits you probably heard of is that it’s good for detoxification.

So detox, it’s not just in your liver where detox occurs, but actually, every cell of your body has a mechanism for detoxification. So what sulforaphane does is it provides the ability to have a balanced detox. And so there are three phases in the detox. The first phase is typically what a lot of these detox programs push. And so that can yield something that we call the detox flu, where you’re doing a detox and you feel awful, you feel cruddy. And that’s because you can’t actually get the toxins out fast enough. And so with sulforaphane, you don’t get that because it’s balanced. And actually, sulforaphane is the best natural chemical at stimulating the second phase of detox. And so those are pretty, you know, that’s a pretty important thing to keep in mind.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of that study back in…I was leaving public health school back in the mid-2000s and there was a study that came out on women and their breast milk having flame retardant. And so, you know, we can get more into this, but we’re exposed to a lot of chemicals and the whole idea of detox is super, super important. Not only detox is one of the benefits, but inflammation. So fighting inflammation, it’s a wonderful natural anti-inflammatory. Most people don’t walk around saying, you know, “I’ve taken some broccoli sprouts and I feel less toxic.” But what they do say, and most of our testimonials that come in are actually of people who, you know, whose joints hurt less. And that’s because of the anti-inflammatory effect. So it works in two distinct, they’re related, but there’s different areas of inflammation.

So one is it turns on the anti-inflammatory pathway called NRF2, and then it turns off the pro-inflammatory pathway called NF-kappa B. NF-kappa B is sort of the Holy grail for pharmaceutical companies in their research for a pharmaceutical-grade anti-inflammatory. That’s the pathway that they’re all trying to turn off. And so, what that means is…you know, I think we’ve heard from numerous people who have benefited from their joints that way. So one lady who could not chop vegetables for years because of pain in her hands started taking sulforaphane and had some breakthrough there, was able to chop vegetables. And it happens pretty quickly, actually. And one of the things we did in seeing, you know, how quickly does sulforaphane work?

And so, we looked at something called IL-6, which is Interleukin 6 in urine, and basically gave like 10 milligrams of sulforaphane and saw that that IL-6 decreased 30% in 24 hours. So that’s enough so people can actually feel the difference. Another benefit that you can get from the sulforaphane in sprouts is brain health. And so there’s something called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is best if you exercise, you get that the most. But if you take sulforaphane, you can actually get it as well. And what that does is it actually helps with protecting existing neurons. And then something which a few years ago we didn’t think it was possible, but now we know, you can actually grow new neurons. And so BDNF helps with that. There are numerous papers on Alzheimer’s and BDNF, as well as Parkinson’s and BDNF.

But sulforaphane itself, actually, does cross the blood-brain barrier, so it’s directly impacting neuroinflammation. And on that line, my boys’ soccer coach actually is on the spectrum. He has ADHD, he owns a pizza shop in town and he started taking it and I get a text from him, he’s like, “David, I’ve had the best paperwork day of my entire life.” And so that was pretty cool to hear from him in that way. So it does help with concentration as well. And then, I mean, there are a couple of other things I want to talk about just briefly is anti-aging. A lot of people, a lot of bio-hackers take it for that. So what it does is it helps with something called mitophagy, which is the degradation of mitochondria that aren’t functioning properly.

They’re defective in some sort of way, often from stress or damage. And then autophagy, where the body is basically trying to clean out damaged cells in order to generate new ones and healthier ones. It’s really good for the immune system, which is important for this day and age with all the COVID virus and especially with old people. When you’re aging, your immune system, actually, your ability to protect against different things is decreased because of age. And sulforaphane actually balances both TH1 and TH2, so both sides of your immune system, which is not very common. Typically, if you’re taking an immune booster, it boosts one or the other. So that’s something that we are taking to boost our immune systems now.

And then also with energy, there’s a coenzyme called NAD plus. And so, when you’re trying to convert glucose to ATP, so glucose can be thought of as money in the bank, it’s not the usable form of money, whereas ATP is like cash, is the usable form of energy in the cell. And so to convert glucose to ATP, it’s this kind of complicated system called citric acid or TCA cycle. And NAD is a cofactor in that. And so, increasing that is actually super important. So sprouting, it’s a relatively inexpensive way to get sulforaphane. It’s pretty easy to grow them, it doesn’t take a ton of work. If you’re growing, one person, I mean, you’re growing them, Katie, and you can probably testify more than I can that if you’re trying to grow, every day of the week and get a harvest every day, and then for multiple people, it can actually become a significant production and play on your counter space.

But then if you’re traveling, that can give a hiccup for your growing them as well as, you know, you’ll inevitably get some mold or fruit flies or something like that where the crop…you’ll have to toss. But the other issue is the taste, which some people love it. It’s very pungent to me. It’s a very strong taste and so what we do is we actually juice the sprouts. So we’ll put them in the juicer with some carrots and lemon and ginger. I think doing it with citrus actually cuts that pungent taste, so it makes it much more palatable. So, yeah, those are some of the sorts of highlights on sprouts and specifically broccoli sprouts as a superfood and why they’re so good.

Katie: I’m right there with you on…I’ve always kind of grown them but now with certain vegetables being harder to get and stores being kind of spotty right now, definitely making sure that we’re ramping up our broccoli sprouts and just other sprouts because they grow so quickly and they’re easy to grow in the kitchen. And we’ve also been gardening a lot right now more than we would normally. It’s been a good reminder of that. And I loved the kind of wide-ranging overview of all the benefits because I think few plants have quite so many benefits as you just explained about broccoli sprouts. And I think there’s important several that are just really key right now. So you mentioned Interleukin 6 or IL-6, which has been in the news quite a bit actually because of the immune tie in there.

And people, I think, are actually starting to hear about that even in mainstream media and realizing that’s one of the things that might help keep the immune system healthy, like, we need to watch that range along with a few other tests. And so the fact that we already have studies demonstrating that sulforaphane can help with that, it’s really awesome to know that there are already tools like that. You also mentioned NRF2 and the pathway that goes hand in hand with it. And like you said, this has been a big topic with biohackers already for a while and it’s one that’s just starting to, kind of, creep into mainstream awareness. So I’d love if you could give us a little bit more in-depth of an explanation of what the NRF2 pathway is and why that’s so important.

David: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a very important question and topic. Basically, NRF2 is one of those systems that without it, you die. And if it’s depressed for long enough, you’ll get really sick. And that’s actually one of the things going on with the whole mechanism with COVID-19 is a depressed NRF2. And I’ll go into that a little bit, but like I mentioned, a lot of the benefits that I just listed about sulforaphane stem from how sulforaphane impacts NRF2. So what is NRF2? It’s a protein. It’s typically bound in this complex, and so it doesn’t just wander freely in your body, but it’s bound. And then when you actually take sulforaphane, it releases from that complex and can go into the cell nucleus, and that’s where it can make a big impact in a variety of areas in your health, once it’s in the nucleus and doing some work there.

And so, like I mentioned just before, NRF2 is the best, it actually modulates, it is the way phase two detox is modulated. And so, if you depress your phase two detox, like I said, you just feel crummy, and especially if you’re actively trying to get toxins out of your cells. But, I mean, just to back up a bit too, about toxins, I think this is where we probably share a common passion. There are 80,000 toxic chemicals in our environment, and that’s seen in the food we eat, seen in the air we breathe, it’s seen in the things we drink.

And those are some of the main ways we get exposed. But like I mentioned before, like with that flame-retardant, things that go on our skin, we can absorb toxins that way. So soaps, shampoos, sunblocks, even toothpaste when you’re brushing your teeth, they have the fluoride that can be a neurotoxin or it is a neurotoxin, deodorant. That’s why the do-it-yourself info you’ve been putting out there for years is so important because, first of all, people typically don’t know that all these products we use all the time are chock-filled with toxins. And then it’s also great that you have this new line of products where you can actually have some wholesome options. And so, I’m very excited about both of those. But going back to that story about the flame retardant. So these women who had flame retardant in their breast milk, they were just sitting on furniture.

So basically, all the furniture is required to have a flame-retardant sprayed on them and you sit on them and you have skin that touches them, you get that in the absorption. And so it’s kind of crazy. And so you have to really be careful in that way. Municipal water, you know, we live in a place that has a well, which is great. And so I always give my boys, you know, we always drink well-water that’s been tested and it’s good. But my boys will go to school and they love drinking from the water fountain. I’m like, “Don’t drink from the water fountain,” you know. Thankfully Charlottesville water, where I’m from is good for municipal water. But if you put a particle counter, you still have 200 parts per million of whatever, and so part of some of it is fecal matter or some of it is pharmaceuticals like Prozac, some of it is pesticide and herbicide, and you don’t want that, you know.

And so if you are living with municipal water, get a water filter, like a reverse osmosis water filter. The filters on the fridge are okay as far as taste, but they really aren’t getting you where you need to go as far as decreasing the particle count in your water. So all these exposures are, you know, we’re exposed every day to lots and lots of different things. There’s, you probably have heard in China with all of the industry, all the smokestacks, many, many of the Chinese urban centers, Beijing, one of them, are just super polluted. Like, you can barely go outside without getting your snot black. And so there’s numerous studies about how sulforaphane basically can decrease the amount of toxin. It basically detoxes you from the toxins you’re exposed to in the air.

And so they did this study in China, gave them a broccoli sprout liquid, drank it, and measured the toxins that came out in the urine. And it was pretty impressive how much came out. And then as far as detox, as well, like, we’re a health company, so we don’t promote super-excessive drinking, but I’ll go to a holiday party, Christmas party, something like that and I’ll bring some sulforaphane specifically because if you take it, you won’t have the same feeling of yuckiness the next day. And that’s detox. And so, just as an aside as far as research we are doing, we actually, you probably are familiar with glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in a roundup. And so what we’ve shown is the amount of glyphosate that you can get in a fast-food meal. That can decrease your NRF2 by about 30%, which, you know, may or may not sound like a lot, but it’s a lot.

And that alone can cause a significant disease state. And so, we’ve shown one dose of sulforaphane can actually boost that NRF2 back to baseline. And so I mentioned before too about inflammation. When the principal at my boys’ school was taking it, she’s also the high school tennis coach, she couldn’t play tennis, had a knee injury or just knee pain. And she started taking it and then all of a sudden, her knee pain is gone. Not only or knee pain, but she didn’t even realize her knees were swollen. And so they actually were all puffy. And then that swelling went down and she was like, “Oh, my gosh.” I play guitar. I’m not a very good guitar player, but it’s more therapeutic and just something I enjoy doing. And I stopped for about six months. And when I picked it back up, I couldn’t play for more than about two, three minutes because I couldn’t do it because of my hand pain. So once we developed the broccoli and started taking it, it resolved relatively quickly, which was very good.

The NRF2 is also, I think I mentioned this before, but it’s very helpful with the energy pathway. And so it’s a coenzyme that’s required for production of energy in cells. So the NAD also helps stimulate dopamine and serotonin, and so that also leads to increase in the mental awareness that can come from taking sulforaphane. But in talking about the Coronavirus, you know, one of the researchers that I work with is John Gildea. He’s an expert in kidneys. And ACE2 is the binding site for the coronavirus and it actually is also very important in health span as far as your kidneys go. And so ACE2 is central for kidney research, and so he’s an expert in ACE2. But anyway, the NRF2 pathway is what regulates the expression of ACE2 on our cells. And so if you have high NRF2, then you have low ACE2 on the cells. And that goes back to eating, what I mentioned before, the fast-food meal. If you’re eating poorly, that actually is a huge issue as far as you being…and you get exposed, let’s say you get exposed to the virus or it’s really any virus, but this is what’s in the news, it’s a big deal.

The other way issue is on the coronavirus, it binds the cell with something called a spike protein. And so for that spike protein to be activated in order to bind ACE2, there’s another protein on our cells. It’s a serene protein called TMPRSS2. The name’s not important, but what is important is if you take sulforaphane, that actually gets downregulated as well. So those two things in our immune system, it’s important to modulate. So, I mean, those are some of the highlights of what NRF2 does as far as health benefits. But yeah, it’s central to a lot of what’s going on with health.

Katie: Yeah. That’s super, super fascinating. And I’m curious, anytime there’s something that’s this good and it seems to have this many benefits, are there any downsides or risks or cautions when it comes to adjusting sulforaphane?

David: Yeah. That’s also a very important question and very good question. The question we get a lot is, you know, “If I’m allergic to broccoli, can I take broccoli?” And so the answer’s no because if you’re allergic to broccoli, the supplement is just a concentrate. But as far as sulforaphane specifically, the actual molecule, if you’re on blood pressure medications, you should monitor what’s going on because sulforaphane is known to help improve blood pressure issues. And then also similarly, if you are on blood thinners, you want to coordinate with your physician in order to determine, “Hey, I’m taking sulforaphane and I just want to be careful.” Certainly, if you’re going in for surgery, you should stop beforehand and coordinate with your physician that way. But yeah, I’d say those are the two, like, allergies, blood pressure issues, as well as blood-thinning issues are the ones we highlight as far as cautions.

Katie: Gotcha. Okay. Good to know. So to circle back, you mentioned that when you guys tested the broccoli seeds and broccoli sprouts, there were some that didn’t actually even have sulforaphane. And then I know that even in the literature once, if they do have sulforaphane, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to absorb all that sulforaphane, and we’ve got the whole interphase of myrosinase and glucoraphanin, and this whole thing that has to happen for the sulforaphane to be available in our bodies. So can you explain kind of the science of that? Like how have we in the past gotten enough sulforaphane from food and what things interfere with that process?

David: Well, yeah, this is a very important question because it deals with both the issues of the sulforaphane’s stability as well as, you know, how do you know how much of the molecule you’re getting in your body? So if you think about it, there’s kind of a journey that the supplement takes in order to go from, you know, it’s in your hand and you swallow it to it getting into your cells. So one is how do you know it’s getting from your bloodstream or from your gut and barrier, through your gut barrier into your bloodstream? And then once it’s in your bloodstream, how do you know it’s getting to the cells that it needs? And once it’s in the cells, how do you know that it’s actually making it a functional difference? How do you know the amount is such that it’s making a difference?

So historically, you get sulforaphane by eating broccoli. So you’d have a head of broccoli, in that head of broccoli, there’s a chemical that comes before sulforaphane called glucoraphanin and it’s stable. And so you take a bite of the head of broccoli, you start chewing it, and then you break the cell wall of the plant down that has an enzyme called myrosinase that’s released. It undergoes a chemical reaction with glucoraphanin to make the sulforaphane. You swallow it and you get the benefit. Again, glucoraphanin is stable and so you can actually harness it, put it in capsules, sell it as a supplement. But historically, if you did that with sulforaphane, it degrades quickly, which is why people opted for growing broccoli sprouts because they’re chalk filled with these large amounts of glucoraphanin and analogous amount of myrosinase.

And going back to…we talked about originally throwing in some radish seeds in there too. It has loads of myrosinase that can help convert the glucoraphanin into sulforaphane. Some people also use mustard seed or mustard powder, which is fine. So those are two ways, historically you’ve been getting sulforaphane. One is through the actual sprouts, the other is through the actual extraction of this precursor chemical called glucoraphanin into a supplement. One of the issues with that, with taking glucoraphanin, is how does it get converted, then, into sulforaphane once you take it? And so that’s actually the million-dollar question. So there are a couple of answers. One is your gut bacteria actually can convert glucoraphanin into sulforaphane at a certain percentage. And the percentage is variable, depends on how much of the gut bacteria you have. Some people have none. We have a hypothesis that the people who need to be converting it the most don’t have that gut bacteria to do so.

But you could convert lots of it. And so it’s just that most people don’t go around measuring their gut bacteria composition, but even if you do, your gut bacteria can shift from meal to meal substantially. So it’s not static, it’s very dynamic. So the straight-up glucoraphanin, you know, percentage-wise, again, everybody’s different, but you can convert up 10% to 20% of that into sulforaphane. And then there are some that throw in the myrosinase into the capsule. Again, it’s an enzyme, it’s not stable. That enzyme’s not stable and it’s certainly difficult for it once it hits your stomach acid to still be there. And so, typically, the supplements that have the myrosinase added to it, it does some, but it’s not like the Holy grail. It doesn’t do everything because your stomach acid can denature that enzyme pretty rapidly.

And so, with broccoli sprouts, there’s actually a paper comparing the precursor chemical supplements to broccoli sprouts and the broccoli sprouts, again, just looking at this specific research, I don’t want to down every broccoli supplement out there and get people angry. But in this one paper, the broccoli sprouts blew away the precursor chemicals versus bioavailability of the sulforaphane. Anyway, those are some of the important things in the research, and this was specifically done at Johns Hopkins, so it was a pretty controlled environment. They could put glucoraphanin with myrosinase and get a 40% absorption. We’ve actually tried to replicate that and have been unable to do that. I think that is super high. But the main thing is, is what you’re getting, is it making a difference? And so, the 10% to 20% range, the sulforaphane you’re getting, is not making a huge difference functionally. So I think that’s very important to know.

Katie: Got it. Okay. So what are some of the other things we can do that can make sulforaphane more effective in the body or that could increase its activity? Like, for instance, you mentioned BDNF earlier, and I know that, like you said, exercise can increase that. I believe sauna use could also increase that. So I would guess when you kind of stack things like that, it makes the sulforaphane more effective in your body, or obviously not eating fast food to decrease your NRF2 would make it more effective and other things. Are there other things we can do synergistically with these?

David: Oh, yeah, that’s great. I love that question. Yes, is the short answer. It’s sort of open-ended, you know, it’s something we are researching. In our supplements, we actually put the cousin chemical to sulforaphane, it’s called phenethyl isothiocyanate or a PEITC. And that chemical comes from watercress, which is cruciferous as well. So putting those together you get functionally a synergy of three to five times the functional effect. And, actually, within the broccoli seed itself, there are five other cousin chemicals. Not as high quantity as sulforaphane, but those work in synergy to…it’s because we…we actually put the broccoli head to head with just a lab-grade sulforaphane. You know, you buy 5 milligrams for $300. The synergy between those cousin chemicals is substantial.

And then when you add PEITC, which we got the idea from a paper and the peer-reviewed science, it’s again, three to five times the effect that you would see. The other chemical that this one research paper did was curcumin. So you put sulforaphane in with curcumin and it actually has a similar effect to the PEITC, three to five times. So those are two chemicals, two molecules that work in synergy with sulforaphane. Actually, the reason we have the BrocElite supplement is specifically because all of the glucoraphanin is converted ahead of time and we just figured out how to stabilize it. And so with that, you actually get more like a 70% bioavailability rate. And so that and we have shown like the IL-6 study, Katie, I referenced earlier, it’s making a difference functionally. And so that’s the important thing, is what you’re taking and making a difference.

Katie: Gotcha. Yeah, I think that’s an important distinction to note because I know when I initially started researching this, there was all this data that, like you’ve explained, sulforaphane is hard to get, it’s hard to know what the concentration is if you’re growing it yourself. And then there’s all these things you can do that are supposed to help increase the sulforaphane availability. So some sources say if you soak the broccoli sprouts at, I believe 155 or 158 degrees, then it increases the ability of that enzyme without deactivating the sulforaphane. There are others that say add, like, radishes, or mustard powder or different compounds with it to increase that activity.

But it’s always been kind of speculative and also kind of a pain in the butt. And I did this for a long time. I would drink a smoothie of sprouts that had been soaked in that 155-degree water with mustard powder, and it was really not good at all, but trying to get the most benefit when I had the worst of my auto-immune disease. And when I looked originally there literally was no shelf-stable supplement for this on the market. And the consensus kind of was you can’t even make this shelf-stable. So explain a little bit more of the science, because you guys have actually done that, which is why I was so excited to have you on.

David: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. So, I mean, the story of this shelf-stable sulforaphane called BrocElite, you know, it came from my wife’s cancer journey. She actually was diagnosed in 2012 with breast cancer and she was pretty clear that she wanted to treat it naturally, but scientifically. And so my background’s in the sciences, so we began researching, and there were a lot of papers that were cell line papers or papers on mice and some on humans. Pretty quickly, as we were researching, we realized that every cancer is different. And so the best course of action for her was to grow her cancer cells in our lab and determine what directly killed her type of cancer. So we did that with the help of my friend, John Gildea, who’s an expert in a lot of things but he’s actually written a book on cell culture.

And so we found that sulforaphane was number three. We put 60 supplements on the cells, found sulforaphane was number 3 in directly killing her cancer, curcumin being number 1, and vitamin C being number 2. But unlike pharmaceuticals where the research is already done and you know exactly how much the cells are seeing, we had to sort of begin piecing it together. Like, how do you know what you’re ingesting orally is getting to the cells? And that was important too because it was a treatment for her. And so, again, it goes back to is it getting from the gut to the bloodstream? And once in the bloodstream, is it getting to the cells, and in the cells, is it a large enough amount to make a therapeutic difference?

So with vitamin C for example, it was easy. We bypassed a lot of it by just doing it an IV, Intravenous Vitamin C, and that was sort of the best we could do. With curcumin, it was a lot more complicated because that’s fat-soluble or lipid soluble and not a lot gets in. In fact, if you just take regular curcumin, 99% of it gets excreted. And so we spent a lot of time vetting different brands out there and finally landed on…I think we started with Meriva and then landed on Longvida. But it, you know, just trying to get something that actually gets inside from the gut. Well, with broccoli and sulforaphane, you know, I went out to buy it and found something called Sulforaphane Glucosinolate and I was like, “Ah, sulforaphane.” And so I bought it and it didn’t really seem like it was doing anything.

But you take stuff all the time that does stuff that you don’t think may or may not do something. And my wife was taking quite a bit of it and then come to find out, you know, as I’m reading, Sulforaphane Glucosinolate is not sulforaphane. It’s glucoraphanin. And so on these bottles that you go into the store to buy, it’s like, why do you, like, it’s super confusing. And even physicians that I’ve met or they think they’re giving their patients sulforaphane, I had one lady cry crying because she was like, “What do you mean this is not sulforaphane?” And so it’s confusing for everybody. But at that point, we started sprouting and growing broccoli sprouts to get it. But I asked John, I was like, “John, is this something you can stabilize?” And I even forgot I asked him that, but a few years went by and he actually stabilized it. And in fact, we sent it off to a lab. And the results came back in April of 2017 and my wife was like, “We gotta get this out there because this is a game-changer for people’s health. It’s not just about cancer at all. It has so many health benefits.”

And so she actually began raising money to start the supplement company. But she took a turn for the worst and ended up dying in September of that year. But after that, John and I and a few others started this company as part of her memorial, but also just to make sure people don’t wind up in my situation, to say. It’s much easier to stay healthy than to get a disease and then have to get back to health. And so this is a great tool in the tool belt. Whether you sprout, whether you take BrocElite, the chemical itself is super important. And so we released it, brought the product to market in February of 2018 just for that reason. We want folks to be able to have options in that way.

Katie: Yeah. And like I said, I’ve been eating broccoli sprouts for years and then I still felt a difference when I started taking this. And for me, with learning about sulforaphane and eating broccoli sprouts daily, that actually was at the advice of my doctor when I first found out I had Hashimoto’s and I had nodules on my thyroid that thankfully ended up not being cancerous. But I went into that research before I knew that and was astounded. I also want to say that I’m really, really sorry for your loss. I know that’s heartbreaking and I love that you, to honor her memory, have pushed forward with this to get it to everyone else. I think that’s a really important point, that you do have to, in that height of disease like I have with Hashimoto’s, you are forced to concentrate on health, but it’s so much easier if you can be preventative about it versus waiting until it gets to that kind of crisis point.

David: Yes.

Katie: Yeah. But I’m so sorry for your loss.

David: Thank you. Thank you very much. Yeah, I appreciate that.

Katie: Okay. Like I said, this is the only formula I’m aware of, I think the only one on the market that has bioavailable sulforaphane like we’ve talked about and like you’ve explained. And I felt a noticeable difference from it, which has only happened for me with a very rare handful of supplements in my life. And so I wanted to make sure that anybody listening had a chance to try as well. And I know that we worked out a special deal with you guys. Can you explain where people can find it and learn more?

David: Yeah. Yes. So we have a special, you know, if you’re listening with “Wellness Mama” right now, you can go to brocelite.com/pages/wellness-mama and you can see the deals we have going on there, including a discount on some of the seeds. So yeah, that’s the link and we have up to 27% savings.

Katie: Awesome. And of course, for all of you guys listening, the link will be also in the show notes of wellnessmama.fm, or if you’re on social media, I’ll put the link there as well. That way if you are exercising or driving, you don’t have to worry about writing it down, but the link will be there and how to get the discount and all of that.

This episode is sponsored by Beekeeper’s Naturals, which is my go-to source for all things bee-related. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re an amazing company. They make clean remedies that really work and that my whole family loves to take, no fight required. I’m sure you probably know that bees are absolutely vital to our global food system. And Beekeeper’s Naturals is on a mission to save the bees while creating products that support humans as well. They source all of their bee products sustainably and do a lot to support healthy bee colonies. All of their products, of course, are gluten-free, non-GMO, naturally-sourced, and keto-friendly. My personal favorite is their propolis spray which I use for natural immune support. I never have to fight my kids to take it because it tastes delicious and it’s my first line of defense at any sign of sniffles or cough or any time I’m traveling. I also really love their B.LXR Brain Fuel, which is a caffeine-free way to support focus and energy. I take this on days like today with podcasting when I need a little extra mental boost. As a listener of this podcast, you can save 15% on all Beekeeper’s Naturals products. Go to beekeepersnaturals.com/wellnessmama, and the code “wellnessmama” saves you 15%.

This episode is sponsored by Joovv, a natural red light therapy in your very own home. We may not think of light when we think of essential nutrients that our body needs, but light is absolutely necessary! This is the reason I go outside as soon as possible after waking up in the morning, and the reason I spend time in front of my Joovv. Light is energy and our bodies need light in certain forms in order to sustain healthy cellular function. Red light in particular, especially in certain wavelengths, has very specific benefits for hair, skin, and cellular energy. I like Joovv because they are third-party tested for safety and performance and use a Patented modular design which allows you easily treat your whole body in under 20 minute and lets you use anything from a small system to a larger system that you would find in a Chiropractors office. Joovv uses clinically proven wavelengths of light that provide energy to the body. They have Bundle pricing discounts which allow you to save more money when purchasing larger setups. Get free shipping at joovv.com/wellnessmama and use code WELLNESSMAMA for a free gift!

Another unrelated question I love to selfishly ask at the end of interviews is if there’s a book or a number of books that have really changed your life and if so, what they are and why? I’m always looking for new books.

David: Yeah, no, one of the ones that really made an impact on me, again, going back to the cancer journey and trying to treat cancer naturally, how do you know that these chemicals are going where they need to go in amounts they need to get there to make a difference. And so there is a great book, Linus Pauling, The Linus Pauling Institute is the University of Oregon State or Oregon…excuse me, I’m not sure which, but Linus Pauling Institute. Linus Pauling is the only person to win the Nobel Prize twice in medicine, and he was the one that spearheaded the vitamin C research. And so there’s a book from that institute called “The Evidence-Based Approach To Phytochemicals And Other Dietary Factors.” And that kind of began my journey into…you know, it’s a just wonderful resource that has numerous studies referenced and is very scientific. But it takes the idea of plants as medicine to a new level and it’s a super good resource if that’s something you’re doing with your family.

Katie: Awesome. I will make sure there’s a link to that book in the show notes as well. But David, I’m really appreciative of all the research you’re doing on this. Like I said, I love the product and I’m glad to share it, but for anyone listening, I encourage you to do your own research and learn about sulforaphane, whether you grow it yourself, whether you’ve tried it in a supplement form, or whether you’re like me and you do both because certainly, like I’m sure you would echo David, there’s many benefits to broccoli sprouts besides just sulforaphane. So even if you’re taking sulforaphane, they are a great source of other nutrients and an easy thing to grow even in an apartment kitchen or any type of sprouts.

There’s just so many benefits. But I love that you’ve narrowed down on sulforaphane and done the work to make it bioavailable. Because there are many, many people who are just simply not going to grow broccoli sprouts and drink hot broccoli mustard smoothies like I did. So I think this is a great pilled option that provides real benefits. And I think as we continue to see the research on things like NAD plus and BDNF and IL-6 and all of these things that are now coming to top of mind right now with the focus on immune health, I think things like this are gonna become even more important. So thank you for all the work you do and for being here today.

David: It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me and I’m glad to be here.

Katie: And thanks, as always, to you for listening and for sharing your time with us today. We’re both very grateful that you did, and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

This episode is sponsored by Beekeeper’s Naturals, which is my go-to source for all things bee-related. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re an amazing company. They make clean remedies that really work and that my whole family loves to take, no fight required. I’m sure you probably know that bees are absolutely vital to our global food system. And Beekeeper’s Naturals is on a mission to save the bees while creating products that support humans as well. They source all of their bee products sustainably and do a lot to support healthy bee colonies. All of their products, of course, are gluten-free, non-GMO, naturally-sourced, and keto-friendly. My personal favorite is their propolis spray which I use for natural immune support. I never have to fight my kids to take it because it tastes delicious and it’s my first line of defense at any sign of sniffles or cough or any time I’m traveling. I also really love their B.LXR Brain Fuel, which is a caffeine-free way to support focus and energy. I take this on days like today with podcasting when I need a little extra mental boost. As a listener of this podcast, you can save 15% on all Beekeeper’s Naturals products. Go to beekeepersnaturals.com/wellnessmama, and the code “wellnessmama” saves you 15%.

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Jun 08 2020

54mins

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345: How to Use Circadian Fasting to Improve Health & Slow Aging With Dr. Amy Shah

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Dr. Amy Shah is back by popular demand! This is no surprise to me as I know what a wealth of information she is. Dr. Amy is a double board-certified doctor and nutrition expert with training from Cornell, Columbia, and Harvard University. She also has an extensive background in internal medicine and allergy and immunology, while using the best of integrative and holistic approaches to wellness.

In this episode, we’re going deep on the idea of circadian fasting, which is basically fasting in sync with our body’s own natural rhythm. Even if you’ve never tried fasting or even shudder at the idea, there are so many simple and easy to follow strategies here that can make a huge impact on overall health.

I can’t wait to jump in… here we go!

Episode Highlights: Circadian Fasting With Dr. Amy Shah

  • What the gut, brain, hormones, and immune system all have in common
  • Why every cell in our body runs on a “clock”
  • How circadian fasting improves skin and reduces UV damage
  • Why the time you eat could give you wrinkles (or keep them away)
  • What aging looks like on the cellular level
  • Important guidelines for fasting if you’re of childbearing age or pregnant
  • Symptoms to look for when determining if a health or fasting regimen is right for you
  • Why you might want to consider eating dinner for lunch!
  • Whether some form of circadian fasting could be beneficial for kids
  • Natural ways to get great sleep (even while fasting)
  • A walk through Dr. Amy’s daily routines
  • Her advice for navigating life and health during the pandemic
  • And more!

Resources We Mention

More From Wellness Mama

Did you enjoy this episode? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well.

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Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

This podcast is sponsored by Jigsaw Health, my source for magnesium. You probably know, if you’ve read my blog, that magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It impacts blood pressure, metabolism, immune function, and many other aspects of health, including hormones. It’s known as the master mineral and it’s one of the few supplements I take regularly. And I have found a specific way to take it that works best for me in very specific forms because if magnesium is taken in the wrong way it can lead to digestive upset or if it’s taken too quickly it can cause all kinds of problems. So, I take two supplements. One called MagSRT which is a slow release form of the dimagnesium malate. The slow release technology makes it easier on the digestive system. So I don’t get any of the digestive disturbance that comes with some forms of magnesium. I take this form in the morning and at lunch. So, two capsules with breakfast, two capsules with lunch. And at night, I take a different product MagSoothe, which is magnesium glycinate which is magnesium bound with the amino acid glycine to help sleep. And in combination, I noticed the biggest effect from those two particular products. You can check them both out and save by going to jigsawhealth.com/wellnessmama. And the code wellness10 will give you $10 off any order.

This podcast is sponsored by BLUblox. That’s B-L-U-B-L-O-X, which is an advanced light-filtering eyewear company. You’ve probably seen pictures of me on social media wearing orange glasses of various types at night. And here’s why. In nature, we aren’t exposed to certain types of light after dark, specifically, blue light, because that type of light signals the body that it’s daytime. That in turn suppresses melatonin and can interfere with sleep. This is the reason that a really dramatic study found that camping for seven days straight with no artificial light at all could actually completely reset and heal circadian rhythm and help a lot of light-related problems, like seasonal affective disorder. This is also the reason that I wear orange glasses after dark to block these types of light and protect my sleep, which I am adamant about protecting. I also wear certain types of yellow glasses and anti-fatigue glasses during the day if I want a computer to reduce eye fatigue. BLUblox has orange glasses and yellow glasses. Their orange glasses for nighttime wear are designed to block 100% of the wavelengths between 400 nanometers and 550 nanometers, which are the ones that are studied to interfere with sleep and melatonin production, and circadian rhythm. My kids also wear these kinds of glasses at night. And I noticed a difference in their sleep as well, which is a huge win for a mom. This is especially important when we’re watching a family movie at night or looking at any kind of screen as the artificial light, there is a source of blue light and can interfere with sleep. You can learn more, they have a ton of educational content and check out all of their innovative protective glasses by going to blublox.com/wellnessmama and using the code wellnessmama to save 15%.

Katie: Hello, and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com, that’s Wellnesse with an E on the end, which is my new line of personal care products like hair care and toothpaste that are completely safe and as effective as conventional alternatives. And this episode, I am so excited to have today’s repeat guest Dr. Amy Shah, who is a double board-certified doctor and nutrition expert, with training from Cornell, Columbia, and Harvard University. She’s also one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram @fastingmd. And drawing from her background in internal medicine and allergy and Immunology, as well as her own wellness journey, she has dedicated her practice to helping her patients feel better and live healthier, using integrative and holistic approaches to wellness. She has a list as long as my arm of accolades and awards but she’s also just a great voice for moms and women in health in very practical ways. And in this episode, we go deep on the idea of something called circadian fasting, which even if you’re not into fasting at all, it’s a very easy intro way to get into fasting with a lot of really profound benefits. So she explains how you can use this simple method as a method of anti-aging for a lot of aspects of health. She really goes deep on the research and how you can implement it. Really fascinating episode and I can’t wait to jump in. Here we go. Dr. Amy, welcome. Thanks for being here.

Dr. Shah: Thank you so much for having me again, Katie.

Katie: Well, your first episode was so popular and I loved our conversation that I knew I wanted to have you back on. And I have seen you posting so much right on Instagram and about one of my favorite topics that I knew we had to have an in-depth conversation about it and that is fasting in all of its forms, but specifically, circadian fasting which you are a big proponent of. So to start broad, can you explain what that means? What circadian fasting is?

Dr. Shah: Yes. So, I know Katie, you’re a busy mom. I’m a busy mom. And I know a lot of your listeners are busy in so many different ways. And I was trying to think of a way to incorporate intermittent fasting in my life that made sense into a busy life with a family. And when I found the science behind circadian rhythms, which is basically that every single cell in our body has a clock and if you can tune your body to this clock, everything works better: your gut, your brain, your immune system, your hormones specifically. So I’m combining the science of circadian rhythms with the science of intermittent fasting. And that’s what circadian fasting is. And so it sounds really complicated, but really, it’s super simple.

It’s basically not eating three hours before bed, and then going to bed, and then waking up and having breakfast and so there’ll be a break of between 12 to 16 or 18 hours between the last time you ate food the night before, and the first time you eat food the next day. And so it’s something that’s maybe a little stretch if you’re someone who’s a typical American who eats, you know, 15, 16 hours a day, but it’s not so much of a stressful stretch that you can’t incorporate it into your busy life.

Katie: Yeah, and I think there’s an important distinction here that we can talk about because this kind of lines up with the idea of time-restricted eating or time-restricted feeding. And I know, there have been a lot of studies on this by people like Dr. Satchin Panda, and others. And the data really is compelling when they look at time-restricted eating and different windows from eating in even just like a 12-hour window or an 8-hour window.

I know they’ve done research on cancer patients and all kinds of different scenarios and found that eating and even just a little bit shorter of a window is important, but I feel like circadian fasting is supportive in another degree as well, which is that you’re kind of timing this with the body’s natural rhythm, with sleep and with light in a lot of cases, because typically we’re sleeping when it’s dark. And so avoiding eating after dark and avoiding eating during that time. But what does the data say that you’re seeing about the benefits of time-restricted eating and especially in circadian fasting when you’re timing it with your sleep?

Dr. Shah: Yes, so great questions, and absolutely in the science, scientific literature, this type of intermittent fasting is really considered time-restricted eating or time-restricted feeding when it comes to animal studies. And so the animal studies have been quite robust. Dr. Panda is one of the lead researchers at the Salk Institute and they talk about it’s not, you know, just what you eat, it’s when you eat. You could feed animals, the same exact diet, but you restrict the time that they eat it in. And they have less disease than the animals who are eating all day and all night long. And it makes sense, Katie, because think about it, our bodies are set to have a metabolism time and a repair and renew time and because we can’t be doing everything all the time.

So there has to be a timing a time where we actually repair and renew. And the trigger for that for us is nighttime, and the trigger is no food. So for example, when your body senses that there’s no food coming, it switches on the repair renewal pathways, which we so badly need. But if you think about it, it’s like having guests all the time.

So if in a typical Western diet, we are having guests all the time, all day, all night until the very late into the night, sometimes 11, 12 midnight. So it’s like, how could you ever clean your kitchen, deep clean your house if you’re constantly entertaining guests. And so you think about it the same way, like if you’re constantly eating when are you ever gonna get to deep clean and repair your cell and that’s why they think that timing your food, as well as restricting your food and making good food choices are all equivalently important in long-term health.

Katie: Got it and I know it’s… I’ve done a lot of research kind of a deep dive into this as well in the past few years. And the research in general about fasting really is incredible and there’s so many different types, obviously. And everything from water fasting, which they’ve done studies with chemo patients on, all the way to just eating in a time-restricted window. And then, of course, everything in between. Are there any other benefits that we know from the literature on fasting in general? And can you get these same benefits from shorter-term circadian fasting versus a water fast? Or are there a time and a place for a water fast as well?

Dr. Shah: So you mean like an extended water fast versus kind of the shorter windows?

Katie: Yes.

Dr. Shah: So definitely there’s so many benefits of fasting for 24 hours or even I know you do even extended fasting like 3 and 5 days. And I think that the benefits of those are enormous, you know, because you really get into the autophagy zone, which is basically happening at all levels. It’s happening right now to you even if you’re not fasted, but it really ramps up at the 24, at the 48-hour, so there are life-lengthening benefits, anti-aging benefits, metabolism benefits that happen with longer fasts, but you can get so many of those benefits even with this shorter windows of fasting.

And so I think that what I was really shocked at was Ruth Patterson’s study which looked at breast cancer survivors, and they looked at women who had a history of breast cancer and had them do either like, you know, 13 hours of fasting or no fasting at all, just regular advice because they said, “You know, we wanna give these women who are breast cancer survivors, the least stressful activity, don’t want to bombard them with long fasts because they’re already possibly, you know, suffering in other ways.”

And so they did this short fasting intervals, kind of like what we’re talking about with the circadian fasting and they only fasted about 13 hours a night. And they saw over the long term a 34% decrease in breast cancer recurrence. And for me, that is enough to say, “Hey, you know, even in people who have not had breast cancer that has big implications for us as a society, because it’s one of the first big human trials, looking at shorter fasting intervals.”

Katie: Gotcha. And I feel like my listeners probably do have a pretty good idea, but for anyone who hasn’t heard the term autophagy before, can you explain that to us?

Dr. Shah: Yes, sure. So, you know, there is a process that happens in our cell. It’s basically self-cleaning of the cell. So when autophagy is happening and this happens in certain states. It happens with, you know, intermittent fasting can definitely stimulate it, exercise can stimulate it, heat stress can often simulate. So basically, what happens is, your body turns on this process or turns up, I guess I should say because it’s always happening at some low levels, turns up the process of cleaning up our cells. They take out the garbage, they clean out the cell. It’s actually like a self-cleaning method. And the reason why that’s so important, Katie, is that we know that when you’re looking at aging cells, they’re really not doing as much. Their autophagy levels are just lower and slower.

And as the cell gets older, it’s almost a way you can age the cell. If you look at a cell under the microscope, when it isn’t undergoing that self-cleaning process, it just looks older, not functioning as well as a younger cell that has a robust autophagy process. So if you can boost the levels of how much autophagy you’re doing on a regular basis by intermittent fasting or exercise, like why wouldn’t you do that? It’s like a free anti-aging tool that you can use because that cell, under the microscope looks as young as a younger cell. And you can imagine that there is actually no medication, no cream, no other thing that we have in this world that actually does that. So that’s kind of the very exciting part of autophagy. It’s not just for disease, but also for anti-aging.

Katie: Awesome, I think that’s a good segue too. So let’s talk about the aging component, because hopefully most people listening don’t have something like breast cancer or worrying about that recurring or a serious health problem. But fasting has a lot of implications in the aging process as well, from what I understand. So if someone is just looking to kind of age more gracefully, what can fasting do there?

Dr. Shah: Yeah, so just like I told you every skin cell, every cell in our body has a clock, even our skin cells. So the example of skin seems to hit home for women really well because if you think about it, our skin has cells that have clocks as well. And so what they found in a study was that, hey, if you eat late into the night, your skin actually ages faster, you have more UV damage because your cells never get a chance to do that cleanup process, that sweep kind of repair process.

And so you end up having less UV damage when you are doing time-restricted feeding or time-restricted eating, so circadian fasting, in other words. And so for women, less UV damage means less age spots, less wrinkles, and basically, you know, having younger-looking skin that comes from no cream, but comes from actually activity that you can do for free.

Katie: I love that. And so when you talked about fasting and especially longer fast, I wanted to have a note here specific to women because I know there’s conflicting advice about if women should do long fasts in general, and if so, if there’s any special considerations, and I’ll be the first to say that even though this is something I do relatively regularly, it’s not something I recommend across the board or to anyone.

It’s just I know, what works for me after a lot of years of experimentation. And importantly, making sure my hormones and my gut were both in a really good place before I started doing long fasting. But you mentioned there are some benefits to longer fasting, do you have any special considerations that you would give to women, especially if they’re considering that, and is this something you do as well?

Dr. Shah: Great question. So I am that person who tried, you know, longer fasting and failed and learned the hard way that it wasn’t for me, but that’s not to say that I won’t do longer fasting but what I tell women especially and not every woman, like you said, everybody’s very different, depending on your genetics, depending on your baseline health status, your gut and your hormones.

But for many, many women in childbearing age, they have a hard time with longer fasts because we think that our bodies, hormonally, are designed to protect against long-term starvation because we, you know, in the case of if we were going to carry a fetus, potentially, our body is protecting us, and turning off ovulation or turning off the ability to carry a baby, if it senses that you’re in starvation, or long term starvation. So what happens to many people and what happened to me and what could happen potentially we still don’t understand exactly is that you start fasting too aggressively for your own body, and maybe too fast and what you end up having is hormonal disarray.

Your body starts to turn off the signals for ovulation and then you get, say, a missed period or you get a longer cycle or you get an irregular cycle. And those to me are danger signs when someone is fasting that, hey, this is an alarm that your body is setting off that, hey, we don’t feel like your body is capable of carrying a child. And even if you’re not interested in getting pregnant, that’s a sign that you are going a little too hard on the fasting or a lot too hard. And for me, that actually did happen. I first, you know, started fasting really aggressively. First, I started, you know, 16 hours of fasting every day. And then like day three, I start to get really, really hungry and really tired.

So I tell people that that’s another sign, your hunger, your cravings, your mood, and your energy are great markers, non-invasive markers of how a health plan is going for you. If by day three, four, five, you are feeling exhausted, you’re having cravings, you’re feeling moody, your sleep is disturbed. That’s a sign you need to back off. But say you don’t listen to those signs, like I didn’t listen to those signs. And this happens to a lot of other women. And you just keep going and you’ve tried to even do more aggressive ones like 24, maybe 30, 48, and you notice that now, “Oh, I missed my period, I’m always usually at 28 days. And now, I didn’t have one for, say, 35 or I didn’t have one at all.” That, to me, is a sign that there is something off. The health of your cycles is the health of a woman’s hormones. It’s a sign. So that’s when I back off.

Now, there’s very few studies on this. There’s a couple of animal studies that looked at very aggressive, prolonged fasting in rat studies, and they did see a halt in ovulation. But I tell women, “Listen, this is not something that you cannot do just because, you know, at the extremes, it could be too aggressive for you. Just work yourself up.” So the long answer to your short question is work yourself up to that position, just like you mentioned, you really worked on it and you worked on working your body up to that point.

And so if you have been doing intermittent fasting or circadian fasting or anything, and for, you know, months and maybe years, and you want to try a extended fast, that is something that you could do in a crescendo fashion. So now I’ve worked myself up, so I do a 24-hour kind of a dinner to dinner fast, once a month. According to the research studies that were done on the Mormon population, they do a Sunday fast, and they have found enormous differences in cardiac outcomes in people who do that Sunday fast versus people who do not even when they try to control for all the other health practices that, you know, Mormon population may do differently than the general population. They still found that the Sunday fast was an independent item or independent activity that improved cardiac outcomes in that population.

Katie: Yeah, that’s a great point. And like you said, working up to it, I think is key. And like with any study, we can use studies for good kind of general information. But I’m a big proponent of at the end of the day, we’re all responsible for our own health and we find our best health when we figure out specifically what works best for us based on experimentation and genes and testing. And so if I’m doing a long fast, I’m definitely testing first. I’m letting my doctor know. I know my level is going in. I’m testing coming out to make sure I haven’t messed, interfered with hormones or hurt my thyroid. I’m very cautious of that.

And I know a lot of people like that seems like a lot and something I feel like I need to do if I’m going to do extended fasts and something not everybody necessarily is willing to do and that’s why I’m like, I don’t think long fasting necessarily is for everyone. But that’s why things like circadian fasting are amazing because you can get, like you said, not all but most of the benefits with much shorter fast like that. And I feel like it’s been a common theme in research and even just a lot of experts will say, you know, don’t eat late at night or don’t eat right before bed.

That’s recurring advice. But the research really supports that. Even if that’s the only change you make. Like you said, I feel like you get such a boost by not eating late at night. Are there specific guidelines that are helpful? For instance, like I feel great when I stop eating at like 5 or 6, like pretty early in the evening, even though I’m not going to bed at 8:00. Are there guidelines for helping figure out that kind of sweet spot ratio of how far in advance of either sunset or bedtime?

Dr. Shah: Yes, so I love how you’re phrasing it. There’s so many benefits of, you know, people will criticize me and say, “Oh, my God, you’re promoting this very unhealthy practice that’s restrictive.” And what I come back with them is, you know, actually what we’re doing as a status quo is the unhealthy practice, which is eating late into the night, telling people to eat every couple of hours. Like, that is actually the unhealthy recommendation. So not eating three hours before bed should be a standard recommendation for better gut health, for better sleep, you know, for better mental health.

And what I usually tell people is, when I work with people, I say, “You know, start with that, and do, say, 12 hours in the beginning, if you’ve never, ever, ever tried this before.” That would be a good spot to start. And, you know, of course, check with your doctor because not everybody fits into that category. But many, many people can start at the 12-hour point. So maybe it’s like from 7 to 7. And then, just like you’re mentioning, Katie, I am the same way, like, say you get used to the 12-hour thing and that’s still a big improvement off of what you were doing before. And then three days a week, you push that, so you may push that, meaning eat your dinner even earlier.

So maybe you decide with your family that, hey, we’re gonna eat a very early dinner tonight and, you know, this seems so crazy to some people and so doable to others. So it really just depends on your lifestyle, to maybe eat dinner at 5, or maybe end your dinner at 6, a couple of days a week, maybe non-consecutive days. And see how you feel in the morning. That’s when I think the magic really starts to happen is when you stop eating at 5 and then maybe you don’t eat again till 8 or 9 in the morning after a fasted workout. And that’s when you actually gonna get into that autophagy and into that metabolic switching zone. That’s when you’re gonna see even additional benefits from doing this kind of fasting.

Katie: And another area that I think I’m curious your take on so I’ve noticed I feel better when I eat lunch as my biggest meal because it tends to be higher in protein and just higher in food volume, which then gives me more time to digest all of that before bedtime, even though I’m still eating a smaller dinner. Do you know if there’s any research that backs that up, I know, in some countries lunch is the bigger meal and dinner is lower?

Dr. Shah: Yeah, I think that, you know, the research really does look at 12 to 5 being a good digestion zone. And, actually, very interesting because this is where Ayurveda, like, Eastern medicine and Western medicine kind of agree is to eat the bulk of your meals between that. Exactly what you just said, between the hours of 12 and 5, where you’re, kind of, you know, maybe eating a smaller dinner, and you’re eating a no or smaller breakfast. And that seems to be the kind of strongest digestion and that is something, like, I love when Eastern and Western medicine agree on something.

And that’s one of the places that seems to be really powerful and agree, so exactly when I described the circadian rhythm because people will say, “Give me some guidelines like some bumpers.” And I say, “Okay, well if you ate the bulk of your meals between 12 and 5 and then maybe stopped eating around 5 or 6, a couple of days a week, and then you’re stopping your blue light and I know you’re a proponent of this, too, say, you stop all the blue light 90 minutes before bed because this is all kind of circadian sinking. And as you know, one bout of blue light delays your melatonin by 90 minutes.

So say you stop everything, the blue lights, 90 minutes before bed and you just use, you know, either blue light blocking glasses or you just use no blue light, just a very soft yellow light or no light. And then you read a book, or do your skincare routine, or play with your kids, or whatever it may be to wind down, maybe there’s some meditation in that, and then you go to sleep ideally, say, 10:00, okay? And then 11:00 you get usually one hour after you go to bed, you get this huge burst of human growth hormone HGH, which is the hormone that repairs your injuries. That’s the one that everybody loves for skin and muscle repair and making you feel younger and more energetic, so you get that big burst.

So they call it beauty sleep for a reason because there’s actually is a burst. You get a second smaller burst right before you wake up as well or early in the morning as well. And so say, then you know about all these sleep studies that show that you have, there’s so much benefit in sleeping about eight hours. So you wake up, say, at 6 a.m. and what I recommend people do is get some sunlight. Get some sunlight, if you live in a place that even has some daylight between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. go outside barefoot, if you can, get some daylight and really start your day in a very positive fashion. You will see your energy levels skyrocket.

If you can fast, do a fasted workout before you break your fast even better. So that’s kind of like rough goalposts throughout the day. And I tell people listen, I understand people have different schedules, you know, you may work a night shift, I get it like this is not supposed to be, you know, right for 100% of the population. But if you’re someone who’s like, “Hey, I want some goalpost to figure out how to do this, and try it for my own body,” that would be something I would suggest.

Katie: Yeah, I love everything you brought up. And I think just two important things to echo and to go a little deeper on, the first being, like eating in that shorter window and not snacking. I feel like a lot of adults will sometimes consider that advice. But then they’re hesitant to not give their kids lots of snacks or to not just feed kids whenever they’re hungry, even if it’s late at night.

And so I’m really curious your take on that as a parent because I know, from the research I’ve read at least, even any break that we give ourselves from digestion is really beneficial like you said to the liver, and in so many other ways, including during the day. So while we think we only eat 3 meals a day, when researchers actually look at it, most people in the U.S. eat up to 17 meals a day, because every time we ingest even just like a mouthful of food, our digestive process starts. And we don’t really give our bodies a break from that. So I’m curious, how do you navigate this with your kids and are there any other considerations?

Dr. Shah: Okay, so let’s be honest, Katie. During quarantine, it’s been like a total snack/eating fest in our house. And we had to really curb that exact problem is that, you know, when you’re home and you have access to food, you have access to the kitchen all the time, there’s a tendency to really snack a lot more. And you’re right, in the American culture for children, especially there is almost not more than two hours that go by without someone eating something. And so what I have roughly done with my own kids, and I think it really depends on the age of your children. But what I’ve done is…my kids are 10 and 12.
And they do really well with kind of a 12-hour fast, which basically is not like a stepping stone.

But basically, what we say is after dinner, they have a dessert. And we allow dessert after dinner as their dessert-of-the-day kind of thing. And then they don’t eat anything after that, until the next day. And that way that kinda gives bookends to the day like I always say, we’ll save it for dessert or…you know, because they’ll be asking me for a snack or sweet snack and they’re like, so innocent, these children, of course, for them, their taste buds are going to be lit up. Their brain is going to light up when they eat a processed sugary snack. And so they’re going to want that much more than a piece of fruit, for example.

So the way I kind of navigate around that instead of saying, no all the time, I say, you know what, if there’s something, like, a homemade chocolate dessert that you wanna have, you save it for once you finish your meals for the day, and then we’re gonna basically stop for the rest of the night. So they eat their one snack or whatever dessert after dinner, and then they’re done for the night. And the reason why I say 12 hours is a good benchmark is that it’s basically three hours before bed, and then they wake up and they can eat breakfast again. And that’s, you know, with growing children, you always want to weigh the risks and the benefits of a lot of this stuff.

Katie: I definitely agree. And I also love that you brought up light. Because I think this is an area that we’re just starting to understand the research on and people are kind of finally coming around to, but it can be really, really dramatic. And I think it’s easy to discount because unlike food, we don’t feel an immediate energy boost, or we don’t necessarily feel the immediate change from changing our light habits. But over time, I’ve seen the results of this in my lab work and certainly in my sleep quality and in my kids’ sleep quality.

So I think this is a big one for parents that you touched on. And I’d love to go a little deeper on it because, like you, we’re big fans of the morning sunlight as a family, and I’ll drink tea or coffee outside, often, non-caloric, so I’m still in that fasting window. But that makes a huge, huge difference in sleep both for adults, and especially in kids. And I know for parents, like anything you can do that makes your kids sleep better, you wanna know. So talk a little bit more about how we can use light to our advantage, especially hand in hand with this type of circadian fasting.

Dr. Shah: So exactly what you said, you know, sleep is at, you know, every time I read the research on sleep, and I know that your audience and my audience is so in-tune with this. And we’ve heard all the benefits of sleep ranging from the brain benefits, the gut benefits to the hormone benefits to the, you know, there’s just benefits on benefits. But there’s, children especially, are sensitive to this light, dark cycle. And I think that what we do wrong as a culture is, you know, we don’t do morning sunlight outdoors and get nature time. And then we don’t have an evening wind-down routine. And then the children, just like us, are wound up at bed. And just like I said, you know, one bout of blue light.

So one show in the evening is delaying their melatonin release by 90 minutes, and you need that melatonin release to actually feel sleepy. And so what I usually recommend to people and what I do myself is that about, you know, calculate 90 minutes before their bedtime, and then that’s when the devices and everything turns off. If you do, you know, allow them to have that depending on their age. And then maybe you do an evening routine, just like the adults do an evening routine. My children have an evening routine that they do, and maybe that includes a little bit of reading. Maybe that’s a little meditation practice, maybe that’s just, you know, talking softly, going over your day in the darkness.

And it’s so crazy, Katie, that this is like weird to people. Because, you know, if you think about it for hundreds and thousands of years, that’s how life was. I mean, until, what, smartphones didn’t even come out till, you know, I was in college. I think I started using… No, actually way later than that. It was computers and email that we started using in college. And then so you can imagine that it wasn’t too long ago, that turning up blue lights was standard because there wasn’t, you know, it was really just the TV that you could be using. So we really need to reset the way we, you know, set up our kids for the night so that they can get a restful sleep as well.

Katie: Absolutely, yeah, I think that’s so so important. These little things can make a huge, huge difference. And also when it comes to light is the issue of vitamin D and sunlight. And I would love to hear your take on this because I know that the research shows that vitamin D levels are really important for a whole lot of aspects of health and that it’s not just a vitamin, it’s actually a pre-hormone.

And right now, of course, we’re seeing data about vitamin D being important for good outcomes with upper respiratory infections. We know it’s tied to the immune system. We know for kids and hormones, it’s vitally important and that you definitely don’t want to have very low vitamin D levels. And I’m a big fan of getting moderate sunlight for this reason and also testing vitamin D and supplementing, if necessary. But it seems like you are also a fan of getting sunlight in appropriate amounts and vitamin D through the sun, but I’d love to hear your take on that in detail.

Dr. Shah: Katie, you summarize it amazingly well. Honestly, because I think that what you have to understand is vitamin D is an immune modulator. And that’s a fancy way of saying that it works with the immune system. It works like a hormone. It works in a way that we have not seen any other vitamin work. In fact, when I was in immunology fellowship, it was hormone of the year, because of its effects on the immune system that we’re finding out now are huge. And I do believe that much of the population has a vitamin D deficiency.

In fact, the correlative studies on COVID and vitamin D are very, very interesting. So what they found is that when you looked at vitamin D levels, the people who were deficient, just had very, very much different course of COVID than people who had adequate D levels. And so not only did we know that it stops you from getting respiratory viruses, but it’s sure that it can improve your outcomes once you are infected. And so that has been really interesting in the situation, but we know that it works like a hormone.

So if you’re trying to balance your hormones, vitamin D is imperative, testing your levels is imperative. I do believe, again, like you in getting moderate sunlight and so what people may say is like, “Okay, well, like how do you weigh this against the dermatologist recommendations of sunscreen all the time?” And so what I do for myself and, you know, it’s not perfect, but this is what I like, is if I can get a chance to do sunlight in the morning, which I do most days like you do, I go out without any kind of sunscreen or anything, basically first thing in the morning and get that morning sunlight.

So it’s really good for my circadian rhythms, get a little bit of vitamin D, and then start my day. And then, you know, later in the…if you live in a very hot place like I do, like, you know, the afternoon sun is quite strong in summer. So that’s when I’m wearing sunscreen and not spending more than, you know, 10 minutes bathing in the sun. So that’s basically how I couch both sides of the story here.

Katie: Got it.

This podcast is sponsored by Jigsaw Health, my source for magnesium. You probably know, if you’ve read my blog, that magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It impacts blood pressure, metabolism, immune function, and many other aspects of health, including hormones. It’s known as the master mineral and it’s one of the few supplements I take regularly. And I have found a specific way to take it that works best for me in very specific forms because if magnesium is taken in the wrong way it can lead to digestive upset or if it’s taken too quickly it can cause all kinds of problems. So, I take two supplements. One called MagSRT which is a slow release form of the dimagnesium malate. The slow release technology makes it easier on the digestive system. So I don’t get any of the digestive disturbance that comes with some forms of magnesium. I take this form in the morning and at lunch. So, two capsules with breakfast, two capsules with lunch. And at night, I take a different product MagSoothe, which is magnesium glycinate which is magnesium bound with the amino acid glycine to help sleep. And in combination, I noticed the biggest effect from those two particular products. You can check them both out and save by going to jigsawhealth.com/wellnessmama. And the code wellness10 will give you $10 off any order.

This podcast is sponsored by BLUblox. That’s B-L-U-B-L-O-X, which is an advanced light-filtering eyewear company. You’ve probably seen pictures of me on social media wearing orange glasses of various types at night. And here’s why. In nature, we aren’t exposed to certain types of light after dark, specifically, blue light, because that type of light signals the body that it’s daytime. That in turn suppresses melatonin and can interfere with sleep. This is the reason that a really dramatic study found that camping for seven days straight with no artificial light at all could actually completely reset and heal circadian rhythm and help a lot of light-related problems, like seasonal affective disorder. This is also the reason that I wear orange glasses after dark to block these types of light and protect my sleep, which I am adamant about protecting. I also wear certain types of yellow glasses and anti-fatigue glasses during the day if I want a computer to reduce eye fatigue. BLUblox has orange glasses and yellow glasses. Their orange glasses for nighttime wear are designed to block 100% of the wavelengths between 400 nanometers and 550 nanometers, which are the ones that are studied to interfere with sleep and melatonin production, and circadian rhythm. My kids also wear these kinds of glasses at night. And I noticed a difference in their sleep as well, which is a huge win for a mom. This is especially important when we’re watching a family movie at night or looking at any kind of screen as the artificial light, there is a source of blue light and can interfere with sleep. You can learn more, they have a ton of educational content and check out all of their innovative protective glasses by going to blublox.com/wellnessmama and using the code wellnessmama to save 15%.

Okay, so if you don’t mind, can you take us through… I know you’ve kind of mentioned parts of your daily routine. But for you as a busy mom and a doctor and someone who is up on the research and understands circadian fasting and implements all of this, can you kind of walk us through what a day might look like? I know there’s no like average day, especially right now. But just kind of some of the things that you do daily in what order?

Dr. Shah: Yeah, great. So let’s start with waking up. So I wake up about 6:00 and I did that because I trained my body to start to sync with circadian rhythm. So naturally, I wake up around then. I will go barefoot outside. And I know not everybody has the opportunity to do this. If you live in a high rise, you’re not gonna walk out in your pajamas like in barefoot so just keep in mind that obviously you can change all of this or some of this. So I walk outside if I can, get a couple of stretches in the sunlight, sometimes I will do my gratitude right there. So it’s done for the day. Gratitude statements changes everything even if you just name two or three things you’re grateful for, especially around this time where mental health can really suffer.

And so but you can say, “You know, I know this is happening to me, but I’m so happy to have my health and the health of my family. And I’m so lucky that I have a home to sleep in, and a home to be, you know, quarantined in.” So then I go inside and I get ready for the day. And usually what that means is a workout first. So then I’ll get ready in my workout clothes and my sneakers and I’ll go, if I can do a nature-based workout, I will do that. So there’s studies, Katie, that show that rhythmic exercise is really, really calming for the brain. So rhythmic exercise is like walking or skating or swimming. Something that, you know, you develop a breathing rhythm and a movement rhythm.

It’s almost like moving meditation and so I love to incorporate some of that into my day if I can and I try to do it fasted. And first thing in the morning in nature because, you know, as moms we love to multitask, and this is like getting all of those things in one. And so then after that, I will usually shower and then break my fast and usually when I break my fast I break it first with water throughout but with a tea and nuts. And the reason why I do that is that whenever you’re breaking your fast you don’t wanna like immediately eat a huge meal. And this is more important when you’re doing longer fasts, but I also think that in general I just made it a habit of kinda starting with a smaller meal or smaller snack, I guess I would call it and start with the tea and nuts and I just kind of kinda go slow with that.

And then I will have my full meal. And my full meal in the morning is really not that big. It’s usually a deconstructed smoothie because right now I got sick of having smoothies. So it’s really just berries and veggies and nuts. And what I do is I take it with me to work and basically, you know, I’ll have it. I’ll have the berries probably on the way to work and I’ll have some of the other stuff throughout a little bit in the morning. And then I won’t have anything until about 12 depending on when I break the fast. You know, sometimes I’ll break the fast. Say, so if I’m giving you a typical example and I woke up at 6:00, and I started working out from 7:00 to 8:00, then I’ll break my fast at 8:30 or 9:00.

And I do that because there is some evidence that if you’re trying to maintain muscle mass or trying to build muscle mass, you can time your protein kind of one hour after you break that fasted workout to retain some of the benefits of weight training. And so I do that. And my protein will be something like usually a plant-based protein either black bean sprout, or tofu hummus, or it could be a…sometimes if I’m in a rush it will be like a vegan protein shake or a chia pudding, something like that.

And then I’ll have, I always, always plan to have two big vegetable-based meals a day. So usually it’s at 12:00 and 5:00. And the reason why I do that is because there’s so much benefit in feeding your gut bacteria, prebiotic fiber, so fibrous foods, especially from vegetables can be transformative to your gut health. And, you know, gut health is immune health. And gut health is hormone health. So that’s what I do for those meals. So it could be a stir-fry, it could be a soup, it could be a salad, but something plant-based, vegetable-based, I mean, and very, very heavy on the vegetables. And then I will come home from work and spend time with the kids. And I usually, what I do is about 8:00, I will really, 7:30, 8;00, we really turn off all the blue lights.

So all their computers, iPhones, everything around 7:30, 8:00 go off. And so everybody knows they can’t text me after 8:00 because I probably won’t answer till the next morning. And so I know that if it’s an emergency, they have the home line or whatever. So then basically, that’s when I do my wind-down routine. So the kids have a wind-down routine, I have a wind-down, my husband has a wind-down routine. And then we basically wind-down, I do my skincare, I do my prep for the next day, do a little more gratitude or a little meditation if I can, and then it’s lights out at 10. And that way I know I’m getting about eight hours of sleep every day. So that’s kind of a rough outline of the day.

Katie: I love that. And I love that you mentioned gratitude and just kind of bullet journaling a couple few things a day, I think that also makes a much bigger difference than we ever can anticipate just to shift our mindset like that. And I know you’ve also posted something on Instagram that I loved recently, “That which you don’t change, you choose.”

And I feel like, you have so many great quotes about focusing on the positive and focusing on the things we have the ability to choose and to impact which, especially right now seems ever-important of, you know, because we can feel so uncertain and so helpless at times, but yet, we still all have the power over things like this. Like when we eat and what we eat and who we spend time with. With our family, you know, whether we go outside in the morning. There’s so many small positive changes that we can make that make such a big difference. And I love that that’s your focus in so many of your posts.

Dr. Shah: Yeah, and I think, Katie, and right back at you because I honestly really, really can relate to so many of your posts. They are so thoughtful. And I think that what I’m trying to tell people is what works for me. Like, I was in that dark place once and here’s how I got out. And, like, right now with this whole, you know, COVID thing and quarantine, I also struggled a lot in the very beginning because what we don’t know makes us anxious, like the future and the past are what our anxieties come from, right?

And so what I had to do for myself is I had to say, “I need to focus on what I can control.” And so that’s what I was sharing with people. I said, “Hey, you can control only you and your own practices and your own habits. And if you would do that, that will take your anxiety level way down and bring your happiness level way up.” Because as soon as you finish the task of, say, going outside in the morning and getting some sunlight, as soon as you finish the task of like, hey, I finished my meals at 6 p.m. you feel accomplished, you feel like you are controlling your environment and you feel good about that. And so anxiety goes way down and that’s what I found was so helpful for me and that’s why I share with a lot of people online, too.

Katie: I love that. I’m curious, just on a personal level, any supplements or like beauty routines or things that you’d give advice to women especially?

Dr. Shah: That’s a good question, Katie. I am so anti-supplements only because I just hate having to think about a million things in the morning to take, and so I’m very big on minimizing how much you take every day because these are all things that are modulating your body that can be best done by food. But if for targeted practices like for example, you know, melatonin has been really helpful for me to shift my sleep schedule. So if you’re someone who is thinking about trying the circadian rhythm and trying to get back on track and you’re just so off, you don’t even know where to start, I would say, “Hey, maybe you try taking melatonin about 90 minutes before you want to go to sleep and maybe you just take one milligram,” because most, you know, store-bought melatonin is at very, very high dose and so or you use another kind of natural sleep remedy, chamomile or something like that.

You try that before bed to kind of reset your rhythm and I do that every time I travel or if I’m off schedule because of, you know, other things going on. And I do love vitamin D as we discussed. That’s one of the only supplements that I take on a regular basis. And then I like adaptogens like ashwagandha, I like amla, I like Rhodiola. Because I feel that when you are in the situation, there are certain points in your life and you may be in that point right now where your life feels like you’re doing everything right, but you really need support on the stress-control hormone balancing aspect, that’s when these adaptogens can really be helpful. And I do use them from time to time when I’m in those states.

And that’s really what I’d actually use when I was in my own kind of dark place and I had to take my health back to a different level. I am a fan of omega-3s, but I’ll be honest, I’m not so great about taking them all the time. I really try to eat a very, very good diet and hope that I’m getting, you know, at least some of that from there. And then other than that, sometimes I take magnesium, which is a nice way also to calm the body down in the evenings. Something like a natural calm or whatever. And then, during this time, there are lots of people who’ve been asking me like, “What about vitamin C?” And I am a huge fan of vitamin C.

And I think that if you’re someone who wants to boost up or support your immune processes, and you’re doing everything else, right, and you wanna add some vitamin C, I think it’s a very safe supplement because vitamin C is one of the vitamins that you can pee or poop out if you have too much. Like, there are some vitamins A, D, E, and K where you can overdose because your body is not capable of… It basically stores in the fat instead of being excreted. But vitamin C is quite safe and can be taken at very high levels. And once your body doesn’t need it, you’ll just pee or poop it out and that’s it. So during this time, a lot of people have chosen to do that and I think that is definitely something that’s valid.

Katie: I love that. Any advice just kind of, you know, and when this airs hopefully we’ll be in a little bit different of a scenario right now. But just from like mom to mom, any advice in navigating this kind of constant changing dynamic with families and with all of that brink of health and for just how we interact?

Dr. Shah: Yeah, you mean social aspects or just in general?

Katie: Both. I feel like people are kind of in a definitely increased stress right now, just because of, and when you said uncertainty is one of the biggest factors in stress. So is loneliness. And so a lot of us are having to navigate like isolation plus extra time with kids plus extra chaos. Anything that you’re finding that’s helpful?

Dr. Shah: That’s a great question. And I think from mom to mom, I think my children are in the same situation. I think that being outdoors and, you know, the calming effects of nature has really transformed us and every time someone asks me what to do is get outside, go for a walk, move your body, be in nature, you will feel so much better. And the other technique is that gratitude is like practices with your children like, hey, isn’t it so great, you know, aren’t you so grateful that you’re able to go for a walk right now? Or aren’t you so grateful that you can still learn from home and you don’t have to attend school? And really flip the script so that you’re not always talking about anxiety-producing things.

And now, in the beginning, this is so bad. But, Katie, we would watch like the news every evening, because we were, you know, all of us were in the state of like, constant change. And there was so much going on that we would just like, watch the news. And then, of course, after like, a week of that it got really old and really anxiety-producing and I couldn’t sleep well even if I’ve turned off the TV way before bedtime. And so what I realized is, hey, I need to compartmentalize and only consume the news when my mind is mentally ready for that. And so I only do it like twice a day now. And because for me as a physician, I need to keep up on the science and the literature. So twice a day I check in on what’s going on in the world. And then I don’t look at it after that.

Katie: That’s a great point. I think I’ve had to limit. I actually have done that for probably a decade now. I just like limit exposure to the news and to most aspects of the media. And I realized I am not any less informed about the world or like, the world hasn’t ended, because I’m not aware of all the things going on at all times. And my stress level is dramatically less. And I think right now you’re right, that such an important point is in whatever way it works best for us individually, like limit the sources of that because all of them are stressful right now. There’s always so much uncertainty and we do have control over what we let in and I think that’s a really, really important point.

Dr. Shah: Yeah, I think it makes your mental health better. And, you know, honestly, I think that, for me, I get so much more from discussions with really educated people. And so what I’ve been trying to do is having some real-life phone, or FaceTime, or online discussions with people who are very, very well-versed, so you get the benefits of relationship and get the benefits of conversation without having that scary kind of anxiety-provoking headline of the news. And that’s what I’m trying also when I do my Instagram updates. I try to be really like as if a friend is talking to a friend instead of being like attention-grabbing and anxiety-producing with my headlines.

Katie: I love that. And then lastly, as we wrap up, I know I need to respect your time, you’re a busy doctor, but are there any books, podcast sources of inspiration for you right now that are helping you keep things positive or that you’ve just read and loved lately?

Dr. Shah: Oh, that’s a great question. So I have really, really loved a new book. Have you ever heard of David Goggins?

Katie: I don’t think so.

Dr. Shah: His book is “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins. And it is so, so inspirational because it’s talking about someone who really went through a lot of struggles in his life. It’s kind of a biography. And it’s been so inspirational to me because I just look at his life story, and it really gives us perspective on how to be strong. It’s almost like a combination of biography and self-help. But I really, really have loved it. And I know you love reading, so that’s a great one. It’s right up your alley as well. I love your podcast and I think it’s a really great source of information. And that David Goggins’ book is really life-changing, you should check it out.

Katie: Awesome. I’ll make sure that is linked in the show notes as well as your website and your Instagram, which I’m a big fan of like I said, I follow it. But I really appreciate you being on. I hope this encouraged a lot of people to consider circadian fasting, which I think is the perfect, gentle intro into fasting. And if even if that’s all you ever try, like, Dr. Amy, explained, there are so many benefits. I would love for you guys to give it a try to let us know how it goes on Instagram or in the comments. But, Dr. Amy, thank you so much. I know how busy you are. And it’s truly an honor that you’ve spent time with us today.

Dr. Shah: Oh, Katie, thank you so much for having me on. It was an honor and pleasure.

Katie: And thanks as always to all of you for listening and sharing your most valuable asset, your time with both of us today. We’re so grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

This podcast is sponsored by Jigsaw Health, my source for magnesium. You probably know, if you’ve read my blog, that magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It impacts blood pressure, metabolism, immune function, and many other aspects of health, including hormones. It’s known as the master mineral and it’s one of the few supplements I take regularly. And I have found a specific way to take it that works best for me in very specific forms because if magnesium is taken in the wrong way it can lead to digestive upset or if it’s taken too quickly it can cause all kinds of problems. So, I take two supplements. One called MagSRT which is a slow release form of the dimagnesium malate. The slow release technology makes it easier on the digestive system. So I don’t get any of the digestive disturbance that comes with some forms of magnesium. I take this form in the morning and at lunch. So, two capsules with breakfast, two capsules with lunch. And at night, I take a different product MagSoothe, which is magnesium glycinate which is magnesium bound with the amino acid glycine to help sleep. And in combination, I noticed the biggest effect from those two particular products. You can check them both out and save by going to jigsawhealth.com/wellnessmama. And the code wellness10 will give you $10 off any order.

This podcast is sponsored by BLUblox. That’s B-L-U-B-L-O-X, which is an advanced light-filtering eyewear company. You’ve probably seen pictures of me on social media wearing orange glasses of various types at night. And here’s why. In nature, we aren’t exposed to certain types of light after dark, specifically, blue light, because that type of light signals the body that it’s daytime. That in turn suppresses melatonin and can interfere with sleep. This is the reason that a really dramatic study found that camping for seven days straight with no artificial light at all could actually completely reset and heal circadian rhythm and help a lot of light-related problems, like seasonal affective disorder. This is also the reason that I wear orange glasses after dark to block these types of light and protect my sleep, which I am adamant about protecting. I also wear certain types of yellow glasses and anti-fatigue glasses during the day if I want a computer to reduce eye fatigue. BLUblox has orange glasses and yellow glasses. Their orange glasses for nighttime wear are designed to block 100% of the wavelengths between 400 nanometers and 550 nanometers, which are the ones that are studied to interfere with sleep and melatonin production, and circadian rhythm. My kids also wear these kinds of glasses at night. And I noticed a difference in their sleep as well, which is a huge win for a mom. This is especially important when we’re watching a family movie at night or looking at any kind of screen as the artificial light, there is a source of blue light and can interfere with sleep. You can learn more, they have a ton of educational content and check out all of their innovative protective glasses by going to blublox.com/wellnessmama and using the code wellnessmama to save 15%.

Jun 04 2020

56mins

Play

344: Get Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Yelling, or Losing Control With Amy From Positive Parenting Solutions

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Calling all parents… this episode is 100% dedicated to you! Today I’m having a heart to heart with Amy McCready, creator of Positive Parenting Solutions, on the subject of kids, discipline, and peaceful parenting. She is here with some priceless wisdom to help us figure out how to get our kids to listen without nagging or yelling (or losing control ourselves).

Amy will take us through the 7 steps of her Parenting Success System, a course I’m taking right now along with reading her books If I Have to Tell You One More Time and The Me, Me, Me Epidemic.

You’ve probably seen Amy on the Today Show, CBS This Morning, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, Rachael Ray, Steve Harvey, and The Doctors, so I’m super honored to have her here. I think you’ll be able to tell her greatest joy is helping moms and dads become the parents they’ve always wanted to be.

Let’s jump in!

Episode Highlights: Positive Parenting Solutions

  • How to use one-on-one mind, body, and soul time to drastically change your relationship with your kids
  • Strategies for getting kids to listen and get things done without nagging or yelling
  • The when/then system that takes the fight out of housework
  • Navigating autonomy vs. responsibility with older kids
  • The ways to help kids get homework and schoolwork done without a fight
  • How natural consequences can make kids happier and your life easier
  • A phrase that helps diffuse a power struggle or argument
  • How much time a child needs to feel connected (less than you think)
  • And more…

Resources We Mention

More From Wellness Mama

What’s your hard-won parenting advice? Has your approach changed over the years? Please let me know below in the comments or leave a review on iTunes. I value knowing what you think, and your review helps other moms find the podcast.

Read Transcript

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic… a company I’ve loved for years for their superfood mushroom based products. They use mushrooms like lions mane, chaga, cordyceps and reishi in delicious products. Mushrooms are amazing in and of themselves. Did you know that mushrooms are more genetically similar to humans than plants are? And that they breathe oxygen and exhale CO2 just like we do but mushrooms spores can survive the vacuum and radiation of space. These amazing fungi are always a part of my daily routine in some way, usually with Lion’s Mane Coffee or Matcha in the morning, Plant protein and mushroom elixirs like chaga and cordyceps during the day and reishi at night to wind down. As a listener of this podcast, you can save on all Four Sigmatic products. Go to foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama and the code wellnessmama gives 15% off.

This episode is sponsored by Everlywell, at-home lab tests that you can get without a doctor’s order! I’ve used many of their tests and can recommend a couple that have been especially helpful. They have an at-home allergy test for 40 of the most common allergens using the same CLIA-certified labs used by Allergists/Doctors. The labs are reviewed by an independent physician and measure IgE levels of common allergens including pet dander, mold, trees, grasses, and more. But you can do it from your own home with a finger stick. I also really like their food sensitivity tests that test for IgG reactions. This was a big key for me in my health recovery, as there were foods that didn’t show up as an allergy that were causing inflammation. I used an elimination diet, but this food sensitivity test also filled in the missing piece of the puzzle for me. Through healing my gut, I’ve been able to remove all sensitivities except for eggs. Finding out I was highly sensitive to eggs made a huge difference for me, as I ate them often as an inexpensive protein source. I feel so much better now that I don’t eat eggs and I would never have known that without this test! I also use their at-home Vitamin D test to keep an eye on those levels. Check out all of their tests at wellnessmama.com/go/everlywell. Use code MAMA10 for 10% off orders.

Katie: Hello and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from WellnessMama.com and Wellnesse.com. That’s wellness with an E on the end. It’s our new line of personal care products that are both non-toxic and highly effective. This episode is all about how to get your kids to listen without nagging, or yelling, or losing control because I am here with Amy McCready from Positive Parenting Solutions. And I think you’re really going to enjoy this episode if you have kids. She’s the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the creator of the “7-Step Parenting Success System,” which is a course that I’m going through right now to prepare for this interview. She is also the author of two best selling parenting books. The first called “If I Have to Tell You One More Time” and “The Me, Me, Me Epidemic.”

She’s a regular contributor on the “Today” show and CBS, CNN, “Fox and Friends,” “Rachael Ray,” etc. And she’s helped thousands of families to have a happier home life and many parents to become calmer, happier parents. And in this episode, she gives a lot of really practical strategies for how to navigate a lot of what we’re facing right now. When your kids are home a lot more, how to navigate autonomy versus responsibility in older kids. Her “when then” system for getting things done without nagging around the house. Some tips for getting kids to want to actually do homework and schoolwork without the fight, etc. It’s a really fun and lightning episode. I think you’ll enjoy as much as I did. So without further ado, let’s jump in.

Amy, welcome. Thanks for being here.

Amy: Katie, thank you so much for having me. I’m thrilled to talk with you.

Katie: I am so excited about this interview because almost everybody listening is a parent. Most of my audience are moms. And I think this topic is timely and helpful all of the time. But especially, right now, with so much going on, and with summer starting, and kids home more, I feel like the information you have is just so vital for parents. So, I wanna jump right in. This is the thing I get a question about quite a bit as well, and I think you’re more qualified to speak on. So I have my kids home all the time because I homeschool. And I hear from my friends who are moms this time of year, like, “Oh gosh, the kids are gonna be home for all these weeks.” And they get stressed about it. So let’s start there. What do you say to parents who are kind of struggling to balance having the kids home for an extended period of time?

Amy: Well, I think it’s always more challenging when kids are home, whether it’s summer, or holiday breaks, or whatever it happens to be. And I think for parents, we have to just give ourselves a little bit of grace, and forgive ourselves. We may be a little bit more on edge or we may lose our temper more than we would normally. And that’s okay. But the other thing to know is that there are some concrete strategies that you can use all the time but especially, when kids are home, on break or vacation or whatever, that can make things go more smoothly, help your routines stay in check. And if they can implement some of those very basic things, then they’re gonna enjoy that time a lot more with their kids, their kids will be better behaved. Moms and dads will feel better about that time together and family life would just run a lot more smoothly.

Katie: That makes sense. And I think kind of also to start broad, like, I’d love to hear a little bit of your story because I’ve read a little bit of it and I’m going through the positive parenting solutions course right now. But have you always been this patient calm mom?

Amy: Hardly, hardly. And that’s probably the thing that parents don’t know about me unless they’ve heard my story is that I call myself a recovering yeller. Because when my kids were younger, I wanted to be a great mom. I have great kids and they’re wonderful but I found myself on a daily basis getting into this cycle of nagging and reminding my kids, and nagging and reminding, and nagging and reminding, and then I would just blow. And my yelling occurrences were not a one-off. It was a pretty much everyday thing and many times multiple times a day. And so that’s actually how I got into what I do now, is that I would find myself yelling so much, and I was feeling so defeated and frustrated, and sometimes even resentful of my kids, like these people that I love more than anything in the world. But I wasn’t being my best self. And so that’s when I started studying parenting strategies. And it was just so life-changing for our family, for me, personally, for my kids. And my business background was actually in adult training. And that’s what I did for a living. So I took that training expertise and thought, “I really feel like I could bring these strategies to parents and teach them in a way that was fun and it would be easy for them to implement.” And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. So to answer your question, no, I’m not a calm and very Zen person by nature. I’m Type A, I’m controlling, I’m all of those things that tend to bring out the worst in terms of kids’ behavior. But, again, once you know the tools and the strategies, you can definitely turn that around.

Katie: I love that. And, you know, I always hear that line that parenthood doesn’t come with an instruction manual. And I think that’s really true. But I also found out, for me, just on the household side, I wanna go deep on the parenting side with you but I had a similar experience where I was so overwhelmed and exhausted, and just constantly stressed out at home, and I was running a business, and I was running my household. And I stepped back and went, “Why is it so easy to run my business and I am so stressed all the time at home? And I realized, at work, there were defined expectations. I had systems for things, I had a plan and goals and it was clearly defined. Whereas at home, I was trying to sort of manage everyone’s lives in my head, eight people off the top of my head, plan all the meals, and just keep all of that in my head all the time. So, from a household perspective, I realized if I could put the systems in place for my house, that would take a lot of that mental stress away, and I would still get the same amount done just without the stress of it. And I would guess for parenting, you probably discovered some similar things that if you had the strategies, and the frameworks, and the methods to do this, it actually makes your life probably much easier, right?

Amy: Absolutely. And I was laughing to myself when you said, you know, that your job came so much more easily and that’s what I found as well. I felt like I was very capable in my work job, my outside of the house job, but at home I felt like I was floundering. And I think, yes, you’re absolutely right. When you put those processes in place and the routines, and you have the expectations for everyone, it goes so much more smoothly. But the one piece that tends to happen with our kids is that when we put the processes in place, and when we have the rules, and the boundaries, and all those things, that’s helpful but our taskmaster nature actually tends to undermine things with our kids. So I always talk about, you know, how much time we spend sort of ordering, correcting, and directing. That tends to invite power struggles for our kids. So the piece that we have to remember at home is that we have to make sure that we intentionally create those emotional connection opportunities. We’re filling their attention buckets because if we don’t do those things, all of the systems can be in place but if we’re not doing those emotional connection times with our kids, then we’re gonna fall into this pattern of attention-seeking behavior and power struggles, and it’s gonna feel like so much more effort than it really should.

Katie: I love that. Can you give some examples of what that would look like? Because I feel like a lot of parents or at least speaking from my own experience, I know you can get stuck in that cycle of, my kids actually do need to get these things done. They need to help around the house, we’re part of the family, and then you’re just stuck reminding them and nagging them. So give us some examples of stepping back and reinforcing the emotional connection like that.

Amy: Yeah, so that’s the funny thing is that, you know, kids have these hard-wired needs for emotional connection and attention. But they won’t come to you and say, “You know what, Mom? I feel like my attention bucket is really not being filled right now. I’m not feeling that warm and fuzzy emotional connection from you.” Unfortunately, that need that they have will present itself as being overly clingy, and needy, and whining, and more of these attention-seeking behaviors, which makes us more frustrated. And again, you get into this vicious cycle. And just like our kids have an attention bucket, they also have a power bucket, which means that they need to have an age-appropriate sense of autonomy and control over their own lives. But again, they’re not gonna come to us and say, “You know, I feel like I need more control and decision-making opportunities.” They’re gonna dig in their heels. They’re gonna push back. They’re gonna resist, backtalk, and those types of things. And I always remind parents that kid priorities are not the same as parent priorities.

So the more we want them to do the things we want them to do, if we’re not meeting their needs for that emotional connection, filling their attention bucket and filling their power bucket, they’re gonna continue to resist. So the simplest thing is just spending one-on-one time with your kids on a daily basis, and it can be as short as 10 minutes. But in our positive parenting solutions community, we call this mind, body, and soul time because it reminds us for that 10 minutes, we are fully present in mind, body and soul with that child. And nothing is more important, and you’re doing exactly what that child loves to do. So it might be reading a chapter book, or playing Legos, or jumping on a trampoline, it’s whatever that child loves. But in those few moments, you’re giving them your 100% attention. They’re getting that emotional connection with you. And parents are just blown away, Katie, by how much more cooperative kids are, they’re willing to do all of those things that are parent priorities and not really kid priorities. But the key is when we meet their hardwired emotional needs first, all the other stuff becomes so much easier.

Katie: I love that. It’s such a good reframe. And I’ve seen that quote online as well. Like, you know, we have to remember as parents, especially the adults in these relationships, that when kids act out, they’re not trying to be the problem, they’re having a problem. And if we can reframe it and, like, look at what are their needs, and how can we address this, it totally changes how you look at your child and that totally changes the relationship. And I think that’s encouraging to hear as a parent also is, you know, this doesn’t have to be four hours a day per child, which wouldn’t even be possible in my case. You know, it’s like just having that actual focused quality time goes so far. And I think I did this somewhat intuitively, one of my daughter’s, as she got older, like, I could tell she was pulling back a little bit and just a little bit more moody and reserved. And so to connect with her on her level, I literally had to start pole vaulting. But now she’s, like, opened up and we’ve connected so much more. But it took exactly what you said. It took finding the things she loves to do, and me being willing to try it, and not be good at it, which I think is another important lesson for parents. You know, like, let them see you out of your comfort zone and let them see you work through something difficult because we help them work through difficult things all the time. How does that translate then into when they do need to get stuff done, when they need to do their laundry or the dishes or whatever it may be? Do you find just by the nature of putting that time in, they’re just so much more willing or are there strategies that you use to help them also be more willing to want to do those things?

Amy: Well, just by filling their attention bucket intentionally every day, it is almost, almost like a magic bullet that they are so much more cooperative, and easygoing, and willing to do those things that they’re supposed to do. Now, we all know there’s no such thing as a parenting silver bullet so you need some backup strategies. So one of the strategies that I teach to parents is called the when-then routine. And in a when-then routine, it requires that the yucky stuff is done before the more fun parts of the day. So a when-then routine might sound like this. When you finished unloading the dishwasher, then we can have our special time before lunch. So that yucky thing that they don’t wanna do gets done before the more enjoyable thing or when you’ve completed your schoolwork or when you’ve completed your family contributions, then you can have your 30 minutes of technology time. So we’re always the positioning the yucky stuff before the more enjoyable things. It’s important to note that this is not a reward system. If you do this, then you can get that. That’s something very different. Actually, we don’t advocate that at all.

But it is these normally occurring privileges, like whatever maybe technology time you allow or going outside to play with your friends or even our special time together. When the family jobs get done with the schoolwork or whatever those things are, then you can enjoy whatever that thing is. But that when-then routine is magical. And in fact, all of your routines should be set up in a when-then format. So, in the morning, when kids are going to school, let’s say they’re going out to school, when you are dressed, your bed is made, hair is combed, backpack and lunchbox are by the door, then we’ll have breakfast and we can have some special time before we leave for the bus. In the evenings, when you’ve had your bath, teeth are brushed and flossed, and clothes picked up for the morning, then we’ll have our special time before lights out at 8:00. So sometimes you have to put a time limit at the end there, but all of your routines you can set up in a when-then fashion, and it’s fabulous for parents because they can get out of the nagging and reminding business. It really works so beautifully, Katie.

Katie: That makes sense. And in fact, it probably takes the responsibility of having to do any of that nagging or reminding pretty much off your plate because if they come ask, “Can I do screentime? Can I play outside?”, whatever, all you have to say is, “Well did you do this?” And it’s then their choice and their responsibility. The one confounding thing I’m thinking is with my older kids. What about when you get older kids who don’t want to do the one-on-one time as much or they’re pulling back or, like, you know, just aren’t engaging as much in general because they’re kind of hitting that age is? How do you emotionally connect with them?

Amy: That’s a great question. So, mind, body and soul time, I really advocate for kids of all ages. But sometimes we position it differently. So for all kids, if possible, I like to label it. So call it something, you know, Jason and mommy time, whatever you wanna call it. Now, for older kids, you may not label it. So you don’t want it turn into this big, like, you know, they roll their eyes when you say, “Okay, it’s Jeffrey and mommy time.” You just sort of make it happen without making a big pronouncement out of it. And so sometimes that is just being in their vicinity. So if they’re sitting reading a book, you sit down with your book and read it with them. And then afterwards, you can say, “I love sitting here reading with you. This is so cool.” So we don’t make a big deal about it beforehand, but you sort of just slide your way into whatever they’re doing. But then you book end it with just that little, “Aah, I love spending this time with you. This is so fun.”

And then the other thing is being interested in what they’re interested in. And so if they’re into photography or even social media, like you said before, let them teach you things. So let them teach you how to use new platforms or how to, you know, do photos properly on Instagram and all of those types of things that kids are so much better at than we are. Use that as an opportunity to emotionally connect with them. But the connection time is still really important for teens. We just do it slightly differently. The other little thing, Katie, too, even for teens, I love having some sort of a tuck-in routine with them, if you will. Again, it’s gonna look different than your littles. But just some connection time where you are just spending a few minutes with them, connecting, talking about the day, whatever it is. It’s just so powerful and kids may act like they don’t want it. They really do love it once you get into a good routine.

Katie: That makes sense. I could definitely see that. And from that to the other end of the spectrum, at least, for me, with toddlers, I feel like they’re the easy ones to connect because they’re sponges. And if you wanna read a book, or they’ll play Legos, any of that, they love it. But then you run into more of, like, the tantrum or meltdown phases where it’s like, how do you break that cycle when they’re in that kind of a phase?

Amy: That’s the classic question for the younger ones, that’s for sure. So a couple of things, you will find that when you start doing the mind, body, and soul time consistently on a daily basis, the frequency and intensity of those tantrum episodes will decrease. That is proven time and time again. So that’s the first piece. The second piece is when that tantrum happens, again, recognize that that child is having difficulty. It’s not about you, the child is having a hard time. So the most important thing is to connect, be there, get down on their level. Through trial and error, figure out what’s gonna help that child in that moment, show empathy, work on calming strategies, breathing techniques, all of those things that sort of help recenter the mind and body. We can start to teach those things at a young age. We have to recognize that these are kind of skills that kids have to learn. And it takes a little while, but we can start that process right then and there. But I think if we view it, as you said earlier, “This child is having a hard time,” rather than it being a misbehavior, it puts us in a totally different mindset in terms of how we respond to that child. And it’s gonna completely shift how quickly the child comes out of that episode.

Katie: That makes sense. Okay. So in the very beginning, we started talking a little bit about routine. And I’d love to circle back to that, especially with times like kids being home for the summer and not the normal school year type routine. Do you recommend being rigid and creating a routine to kind of keep through the summer or being more lenient in times like that? How do you navigate those?

Amy: Yeah, so I am big on routine. I don’t think we have to be militant. But I think a routine is important, one, because human beings in general, but especially kids crave a sense of order. And most kids do better when there is a sense of order to their day. And so if there can be a general routine that we follow, things happen in a certain order of events, the day will just go more smoothly. So if you are homeschooling, you know, you kind of have your block schedule in terms of the order in which we do things within those blocks and there can be a lot of flexibility. So if it’s a movement or a creativity block, what we do within that can be very flexible. But you would do less nagging and reminding, Katie, if we can have a routine that we follow, even during the summer. Now we want summers to be fun and all of that, but certain things can remain the same. So kids have family contributions, and I call them family contributions, not chores. We can talk about that later. But they have family contributions that they do every day. I highly recommend that bedtimes remain the same.

And the bedtime can be different, say, during the summer, the time can be different during the summer than during the school year if they’re going out to school, but it should be the same every night because kids internal clocks, they still need the same amount of sleep. Their internal clocks don’t recognize the difference between a Saturday night versus a Tuesday night. So keeping routines the same for bedtime can really go a long way in just easing just a lot of stress and anxiety for the parent. The other reason that’s important is that if the bedtime is 8:00 one night, 8:30 the next, and 9:00 the next, you really don’t have a bedtime routine. You don’t have a bedtime. So it becomes negotiable every night and it can turn into this power struggle. So even during summer vacations or holidays, or when we’re all home for other reasons, the more that we can keep the routine pretty consistent, it’ll just make things a lot easier for parents and a lot easier for kids.

Katie: Gotcha. Okay. And I’m glad that you brought up bedtime because I think that’s another area where parents can have a lot of difficulty and it seems to change. So the little ones, at least in my house, it’s been more of the having trouble getting them to get in bed, stay in bed, and then they need water, and they need to go to the bathroom, and then they had a bad dream or whatever, all the things maybe. With my older ones, it’s more of anything, they just wanna stay up and read longer. But any strategies for navigating bedtime and all the different ages and enforcing it without it being a fight?

Amy: Yes, so that we could talk an entire hour just on bedtime. There’s so much to cover here, but just some general guidelines. So you talked about all the requests, the drink of water, the one more hug, all of those types of requests that you get during the bedtime routine. I recommend that you with your kids revisit what that routine is gonna look like. So all the things that they asked for you build that into the routine. And so we decide that, you know, lights out is at 7:30 or 8:00 or whatever time that is, and then all of those things, that extra kiss, and the drink of water, and the back rub, all of those things happen within the routine. Once you close the door, that’s it. Now, you can prepare ahead. Like, you can keep a sippy cup in the room with just, you know, a little tiny bit of water in it. So if they get thirsty in the middle of the night, they have it there. But once the door closes, that’s it. Now there’s quite a bit of a training process that we help parents with to kind of navigate that so it doesn’t turn into a big power struggle. But what we don’t wanna be in the business of is, you know, just responding all night long with these requests because then parents never get a break. They’re exhausted. They end up dreading the bedtime routine.

And it’s a big power struggle. The other thing that I recommend is that the tuck-in time, be one parent and one child, rather than, you know, we read books with everybody together, we do prayers with everybody together, all of those things. While that’s efficient, it doesn’t really fill their attention bucket. And the other problem is when there’s, you know, two kids and one parent, sort of the pack mentality can set in and they start acting up, and that can be difficult. So the more you can do one parent, one child for the tuck-in routine, which means you’ll be staggering, that’s gonna give you better results. Then for older kids, that is just sort of working with them. You know, if they wanna have more reading time, that’s probably fine. But still having a lights out time that you respect. Certainly, we wanna have a technology lights out time, long before their actual bedtime, just so they’re not doing a lot of technology right before they go to bed. So a lot of things to consider in the whole bedtime routine, depending on the age of the child, the preferences of the parents and what kind of power struggles we’re having in general.

Katie: Gotcha. And I’m glad you brought up technology as well because certainly, this is an area that I think our generation kind of uniquely gets to figure out how to handle with kids. Because, at least, for me, that was just starting to come around when I was a teenager. So it wasn’t really… Like, there was no social media at that point. My parents didn’t really have to figure out how to navigate that. And now, we have kids with these devices and they’re connected to the world through technology, which has many advantages and certainly is not going away. And as adults, they’re going to need to know how to navigate technology. But as parents, we have a responsibility for teaching them to navigate it responsibly and also not letting it take over our family lives. And also, before we jump into any topic like this, I also wanna say I realize this is different, I’m sure in every family and there are times where kids are using technology for schoolwork or for other things. So I’m not trying to, like, poo technology at all. I just am curious, do you have any guidelines for navigating technology appropriately at all the different stages?

Amy: Yes, it is important that you really give some thought to that because you’re right, kids, whether they are doing remote schooling, you know, they’re gonna have technology that they’re using for that. And there’s not much that we can do about that as parents. But there is a lot of what I call recreational technology time that kids are spending and we do have the responsibility to put some boundaries around that. We have the responsibility to do training around that. So, it can’t be a free for all, that, you know, all day long they can have access to the technology. So, again, it’s going to depend on the age of your kids. But first I recommend that you make technology part of a when-then routine team that we talked about earlier. So when your family contributions are done, then you can have your technology time. We also want to be very clear that when technology time is over, we put it away, and then it’s over. If there’s a lot of griping, or groaning, or complaining, or, “Mom, can I just have five more minutes?” And if it turns into a power struggle every day, then that’s not working. And so that tells you that probably that child may not be mature enough to handle the privilege of that technology. And we really wanna back off of it for a while, or we might need more training or whatever it happens to be.

But it cannot turn into a situation where the parent is the technology police and that every day is a battle because that’s not working for anybody. So we’re gonna put those boundaries in place. If kids cannot follow the rules that you’ve set forth based on your wisdom and what you know is appropriate for their emotional well-being and safety, if they can’t follow those rules, then they’re not gonna have access to that technology. And working with parents, I think that’s one of the most difficult things, Katie, because parents fear the wrath of their kids when they limit technology. And so they are fearful of putting the boundaries around it and then it turns into a free for all. So we have to do that. If kids can follow the rules, then they can have access to the technology because it is a privilege. It’s not a right. The other thing is that the training piece is really important. You wouldn’t send your kid out in the car without any training. Well, the same is true for technology. So teaching them how to use it responsibly. And there’s a lot of great online resources for that, how to use social media responsibly, training on your digital footprint. All of those types of things are really important. That’s our job. And so if we’re gonna allow them to have that technology, we need to make sure that we do take care time for training as well.

Katie: Gotcha. Okay. I think those are great guidelines. Another thing that seems to be an issue with certain parent-kid dynamics is back talking or acting sassy with parents. Any strategies for that? I would guess like everything we’ve talked about, probably the one-on-one time helps and just having natural consequences and systems built-in so you’re not constantly nagging, means there’s fewer times for that, but any other strategies or ways that you navigate?

Amy: You’re right, Katie, that’s probably the number one thing that parents bring to me us, like, the problem behavior, it’s that backtalk, and sassiness, and attitude. But the thing that we have to remember and we talked about this kind of at the beginning is that that is the symptom. It’s not the real problem. So if we can think about the backtalk as the symptom and not, like, that’s not the thing that we have to fix, we want to address the root cause of the behavior. And so as you said, we can do that by filling their attention bucket one-on-one every single day. That is essential. And again, if there’s a magic bullet in parenting, that is it. We also wanna be aware of our communication, and how much ordering, correcting, and directing that we do. One of the things that I teach to parents in our program is a parent personality assessment programs so, like, to figure out how your personality brings out certain behaviors in your kids. So for me, my personality is super controlling, naturally. So if I allow my natural controlling Miss Bossypants tendencies to show too much, I’ll naturally get power struggles. So for parents, they can learn how to sort of tweak their natural responses, so they do less ordering, correcting, and directing, and then use other tools that will get better cooperation. That will help reduce the backtalk.

When that does happen, again, remember that the child is having difficulty. There’s something else going on. So to show grace and empathize with that child. “Wow, you seem really frustrated. Wow, I can tell you are really mad about this.” Empathize with whatever it is they’re being sassy about, forget the sassiness for a minute and get to, like, what the theme is that they’re really upset about and show empathy with that. We’re gonna be much more likely to get through that if, again, we connect on that emotional level. The other thing that we can do is recognize that the backtalk, the sassiness, those are power behaviors. So when kids are exerting their power behaviors, it is usually an indication that they’re not feeling enough personal control, power autonomy over their own world. So there are strategies we can use for that. A simple one is giving them more decision-making opportunities. So think about areas in your family life, where you can get kids more involved in making decisions. Maybe it’s meal planning for the week. If the family is taking a vacation several months from now, get them involved in that. The more that they can have real-world decision-making opportunity, that is gonna really help their power bucket. And then the last thing that I would say and this is the hardest, Katie, is don’t take the bait.

When kids kind of serve up that sassy remark, that backtalk remark, it is so instinctive for us to respond with power, “You will not speak to me that way.” You know, “I demand respect,” or whatever the words are that you would say. But when we do that, it totally escalates the power struggle. So instead, if we can refuse to take the bait and just say with a smile and in a calm voice, say, “Sweetie, I’d love you too much to argue about this. Let’s talk about this when we’re both feeling more calm.” But just that smile on your face in a calm voice, “I love you too much to argue about this,” it just diffuses it. It says, “I’m not gonna engage in this power struggle. I’m not accepting your invitation and we’ll talk about this later. Whatever it is that you’re upset about, that’s important to me but I’m not gonna get into a battle with you.” So, again, I keep saying this, but we could talk for just a whole hour on backtalk, and attitude, and sassiness. But just sort of remembering those core issues of why it’s happening in the first place and addressing that will be our best strategy.

Katie: Yeah, I think you’re so right. It’s important to reframe that and I really also liked that you brought up the control autonomy dynamic because I’m just in the early stages of having to navigate this. So I’m by no means an expert. But it is something I think a lot about right now, just having a teenager and soon to have another teenager, and remembering what it was like to be a teenager as well. And I’ve read enough psychology to know, kids in that age, especially once they hit the teenage years, psychologically, they actually are trying to become more independent. And that’s an important psychological stage for them, as they’re preparing for adulthood. And also, as parents, we, of course, want them to be prepared for adulthood, and to have the skills, and the foundation they need to be independent, and to live outside our homes. And I’m seeing firsthand and definitely understand how difficult that is because at the end of the day, like, I still think of my oldest as my baby even though he’s almost as tall as I am. But realizing they do need to learn to have that autonomy and to feel control over and an ability to make their own decisions. In our house, we turn this thing on its head. So most people have heard the saying, “With great power comes great responsibility.” And we tell our kids, it actually works the other way. “With great responsibility comes great power.” When you show us that you’re responsible, we want to give you freedom, and we want to give you the power to make decisions. And so we have constant conversations around that. But just because it’s so top of mind, for me, right now, I’m curious, are there any, like, guidelines or ideas that you have for navigating with teenagers when certain levels of autonomy are appropriate or is it very much case by case based on the maturity level of the child and the relationship with the parent or how do you handle that?

Amy: First off, I just love what you just said, “With great responsibility comes great power.” That’s amazing. The other thing that I just want our listeners to remember is that this issue about needing more autonomy and control is absolutely an issue with teenagers. But it is the exact same thing with your two-years-old, three-years-old, six-years-old It doesn’t matter. Every kid at every stage has a need for autonomy and control. So I just don’t want people to think that we need to wait until the teen years to be thinking about this. But let’s talk specifically about what you asked when we want kids to be prepared to be successful in the adult world. And so we have to do our job to train them. So part of that is on an ongoing basis, always training them on tasks that they’ll need to do in the adult world, whether that’s managing their money, or changing air filters in the house, or car maintenance, or gardening, or whatever those things are, we always wanna be training them on adult tasks, so that when they leave the house, they’ll be prepared. But in terms of taking on more responsibility, one of the tools that I just love is called Convince Me. And this tool would apply when your kids wanna do something. Maybe they want to…you know, it’s a middle school or who wants to go to the mall on their own with friends, or somebody wants to go to a concert in the next town, or start driving, or whatever it happens to be, it is something that your kids wanna do that you’re a little bit, like, “I’m just not totally sure I’m ready for that.”

So you will use the tool to Convince Me. And so the way that works is you would share your concerns. So you would say, “You know, I understand that this is really important to you. Let me share my concerns about you going to the concert, or going to the mall, or riding your bike to school,” whatever that happens to be. These are my concerns. “So why don’t you take some time and think about this, and come back to me with your plan to address my concerns?” And so that’s what the kid does. They take some time, and then they come back, and they try to convince you if you will, but they do it in a way that takes all of your concerns into consideration, and then they share the plan that they’ve come up with. And so then, if you are comfortable with the plan that they’ve put forth, you can say, “Okay, I feel comfortable with that. It seems to me that you’ve thought through all of the possible things that could go wrong, you have a backup plan in place. That sounds great, let’s go ahead and, you know, do whatever you’ve asked to do.” And then you see how that goes. If they do well, then that makes you think, “Wow, yes, you know, he did a really good job by taking on this additional responsibility. And now I feel comfortable giving him more responsibility in the future.” Or if not, if it didn’t go so well, well, then that tells you, you’ve got more training to do.

We have more work to do in terms of responsibility. But the reason that I love this is because it requires the child to understand your point of view. So we’re fostering that empathy. And then they have to use their reasoning, and decision-making, and planning skills to come up with something to convince you that would address all of your concerns, but still, let them get the outcome that they want. And so it’s just a great strategy for adult life, right? We’ll be doing the same thing in our jobs or in group projects in college, or whatever, and you can start doing this really, as young as six or seven. Obviously, the problems and the issues will be different. But you can use these strategies, you know, all the way through into the teen years. And it’s great for kids and it’s great for parents.

Katie: That’s so great. I’m writing that one down to remember for sure because, you’re right, it puts the control actually in their hands. They’re getting to have a chance. And it removes all those things I used to say as teenagers, like, “You don’t understand or you don’t listen to me,” or whatever it is because you are listening as well, like you said, and then you’re having them pull from skills that will serve them their entire lives to develop, and potentially be able to get the outcome they want if they are able to do that effectively, which I love. I think there’s also crossover here when it comes to schoolwork or homework and how to navigate that. I’ve personally always taken the approach that even though I homeschool teach them, I’ll teach the concept but I’m not going to handhold, and babysit, and go through every problem with them. That’s school, that’s actually their work and I want them to learn how to kind of autonomously work through it themselves. And I feel like we have a good rhythm on this because we’ve been home homeschooling for so long, but I hear from a lot of parents who say things like, “It’s just getting to be so much. I have five hours of homework with my kid every single night after school where I spend, you know, three hours trying to get my first grader to do worksheets.” And any advice for parents who are trying to navigate that.

Amy: Yeah, so that can be a real challenge and I totally feel for parents, especially if you have multiple kids, but there are some simple sorts of things that you can put in place to avoid that. First as with all things, you will be successful with homework and schoolwork if you have filled their attention bucket first. So yeah, if your kids are coming home after school, take that time to connect emotionally first before you start being the taskmaster and start with, “Okay, we have to get the homework done and what are your assignments,” and all of that, start with connection first. It makes everything else go more smoothly. The next thing is, have some homework policies in place. So one of your policies can be, “I am happy to help you with anything that you need in your homework, as long as you’ve done as much as you can on your own. And then you can come to me and let me know what you still need help with. Now, when you come to me and let me know where you’re having trouble, I wanna know your thought process for trying to figure this out.” So basically, Katie, I don’t want them coming and saying, “I just can’t do this. This is too hard.” I wanna know, “Okay, on number seven, I see this problem, tell me your thought process for going through it and where did you struggle?” That way, I know they’ve put some time into it. And they’re not just playing the helpless card. The other thing is, have homework help hours. So that means I’m willing to help you with your homework from 5:30 to 8:30. After that, I’m too tired, you know, that’s not gonna work for me. So have homework help hours, like your office hours, if you will.

That gets you out of the situation where they’re coming at, you know, 9:30 at night, “I can’t do this. And it’s due tomorrow.” And so really put your homework help policies in place. Again, I tell parents, “You’ve already done the fifth grade. Your job is not to sit there and you know, side by side with your child, while they complete their homework and you being involved in it.” As you said, you want them to be doing that autonomously. You’re certainly there to support but it’s not your job. I would also have a talk with the teacher and let the teacher know that you are working on training for responsibility in your home. And so you will be there to support your child in doing their homework if they need help, but you’re not gonna cook some prod and that sort of thing. And so that then allows the natural consequences to play out. So if the kid doesn’t get the homework done, then that’s a discussion they’re having with the teacher and you can stay out of it. I think, Katie, where we run into trouble is, parents feel like, “I’m gonna look like a terrible parent if my kid doesn’t get their homework done.” Let the kid experience the natural consequences at school, that’s gonna be much more effective and it’s gonna keep you out of the role of the bad guy. Obviously, if there is a learning difference or an attention difference are other interventions that are required, you can, you know, work with the teacher and the clinicians, and whoever is on your team to do that. But they should be autonomously doing their homework, just as you suggested.

Katie: Yeah, I’m a big fan of natural consequences as well. And I’ve never heard it framed as well as you did with when and then, which I think is that just the language of that is wonderful because it avoids the power struggle and it lets them easily understand it in literally two words, that this happens when you’ve done this. But you’re right, I think that there’s been a shift at least it seems like. Obviously, I’ve only parented this current generation, but it seems like there’s a shift even since I was a kid of trying to protect kids from natural consequences. We’re not wanting them to have to feel the discomfort of not getting a good grade at school or facing something that’s difficult. And it’s funny because I don’t think my parents had those same fears. I always knew I had to get my schoolwork done. And if I messed up at school, I was gonna get in trouble at school. They certainly weren’t gonna save me. And then I was gonna get in trouble when I got home too. But there does seem to be at least a little bit more protecting kids from natural consequences. What other ways can we gently and lovingly incorporate those natural consequences? Because I feel like as adults, that’s something we all deal with very much every single day, if we don’t do our jobs, if we don’t take care of our houses, if we don’t do any of the things that adults have to do. There are very, very real natural consequences. So how can we let our kids start learning that from the earliest of ages?

Amy: Yes, absolutely. In fact, Katie, you’re doing our course right now so you’ll be getting to this in step 3, where we talk about creating a consequential environment. If we don’t create a consequential environment at home, our kids are really gonna struggle when they’re out on their own and have to face consequences for the first time. So, you know, from the younger years, all the way up through the teens, we have to create that consequential environment. And some of those come from, like, natural consequences. Well, if you refuse to take your coat to school, you may be cold outside at recess. It’s the middle of winter, that’s just a natural consequence. But then there’s also consequences around personal responsibility. So you mentioned homework is one of them, that if you don’t get your homework done, then you’re gonna have to face the consequences with your teacher. One of the things that we talk about is implementing a no rescue policy. And a no rescue policy is for areas in which we’ve been through this a million times, whether it’s remembering your lunchbox and remembering the homework, or your sports equipment, or whatever it is, we’ve talked about this, we’ve trained on it, I’ve already rescued you, probably more times than I should have. But now I know that it’s time to implement the no rescue policy. And so that starts with training. And we always kind of position it in a very positive way because marketing is everything. “You know, you are really growing up and you’re becoming so responsible in so many ways. And so now this is an area where you can take responsibility.” So let’s say it’s the sports equipment. “So from now on, you’re gonna be responsible for packing your sports bag and remembering to take it, making sure you have your uniform, and your cleats, and all the equipment.

I’m not gonna get involved in that anymore. I’m not gonna remind you, that is gonna be your responsibility. And if you choose not to take that responsibility, if you don’t have your stuff ready, if you forget your stuff, I’m not gonna be driving it to the field.” So what that means, Katie, is, you know, I’ve taken time for training… Oh, and also part of this has to do with systems. So I would say since I’m not gonna be reminding you about this anymore, what systems do you need to put in place so you can remember what you need to do for soccer or for your homework or whatever it happens to be? So we’ve done the training, we’ve put the systems in place, we’ve sort of set the expectation that we’re not gonna rescue, now we have to let it play out and let the child experience the consequence. Again, bring the coach or the teacher into the loop, if that makes you feel better, so they know you’re not a slacker parent, but in fact, you’re teaching responsibility. And if he shows up without his equipment, you know, you encourage the coach to implement the consequences that he has in place. So it’s implementing that no rescue policy. It’s not for a once in a blue moon mistake, we all make those and as a family, we have each other’s back. We help each other out. But for ongoing consistent issues that we have talked about, then we know it’s time for the no rescue policy. So that’s one example and many examples of how to create a decision rich environment for your kids that are going to set them up to be accountable, responsible for their own choices and to be successful functioning in a teen and in an adult world.

Katie: Got it. And I also wanna hear the explanation because you use the word family contributions, which I love because I think chores has a negative connotation. And adults don’t do chores, we just contribute to the family as well. But I’d love to hear, like, how you first of all came up with that term and how you use that because I think it’s such a great alternative.

Amy: Yeah, it’s so funny you asked how I came up with that term, and I actually don’t have any idea. I don’t remember how I came up with it. But you’re right, the word chores just denotes drudgery. Nobody wants to do chores. That sounds awful. And when you call those things family contributions, it doesn’t make the task any more enjoyable. Nobody enjoys folding laundry or unloading the dishwasher. But it does reinforce to your kids that when you do those things, it makes a difference for our family. And again, part of that power bucket that I talked about is a feeling of significance. We all have a hard-wired need to make a difference, to be significant, to contribute to the greater good. And so for a child or a teenager, the greater good is their family. And so when they are doing those things, they are contributing. So I highly recommend that parents change the language on that. I will tell you, Katie, to this day, my kids still roll their eyes a little bit when I say family contributions. But that doesn’t stop me one bit, I still call them that because when they contribute, it makes a difference. And the other piece of that is that we need to remind our kids what a difference their efforts make. And this applies to your partner too. Even though it’s their regular job, let them know, “When you do that, that makes such a difference for me. That makes our home runs so much more smoothly. That’s a big job that I don’t have to do.” We have to remember on an ongoing basis to let our people know how much we appreciate their contributions because that makes them feel better about it. When they know that their efforts are making a difference for you, they’re gonna be more likely to want to do it in the future.

Katie: That makes sense. Yeah. And it’s a great reminder. A lot of these things, just even our language, and our reframing, and making time for one-on-one connection, those are all such important things with our partner too, not just with our kids. Yeah, I think those are such helpful things.

This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic… a company I’ve loved for years for their superfood mushroom based products. They use mushrooms like lions mane, chaga, cordyceps and reishi in delicious products. Mushrooms are amazing in and of themselves. Did you know that mushrooms are more genetically similar to humans than plants are? And that they breathe oxygen and exhale CO2 just like we do but mushrooms spores can survive the vacuum and radiation of space. These amazing fungi are always a part of my daily routine in some way, usually with Lion’s Mane Coffee or Matcha in the morning, Plant protein and mushroom elixirs like chaga and cordyceps during the day and reishi at night to wind down. As a listener of this podcast, you can save on all Four Sigmatic products. Go to foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama and the code wellnessmama gives 15% off.

This episode is sponsored by Everlywell, at-home lab tests that you can get without a doctor’s order! I’ve used many of their tests and can recommend a couple that have been especially helpful. They have an at-home allergy test for 40 of the most common allergens using the same CLIA-certified labs used by Allergists/Doctors. The labs are reviewed by an independent physician and measure IgE levels of common allergens including pet dander, mold, trees, grasses, and more. But you can do it from your own home with a finger stick. I also really like their food sensitivity tests that test for IgG reactions. This was a big key for me in my health recovery, as there were foods that didn’t show up as an allergy that were causing inflammation. I used an elimination diet, but this food sensitivity test also filled in the missing piece of the puzzle for me. Through healing my gut, I’ve been able to remove all sensitivities except for eggs. Finding out I was highly sensitive to eggs made a huge difference for me, as I ate them often as an inexpensive protein source. I feel so much better now that I don’t eat eggs and I would never have known that without this test! I also use their at-home Vitamin D test to keep an eye on those levels. Check out all of their tests at wellnessmama.com/go/everlywell. Use code MAMA10 for 10% off orders.

I’d also love to hear because I know you’ve worked with probably now thousands of families. For people listening who are wondering like, “This all sounds great, and it makes sense. But does it actually work? And do you really see a big difference? And how long does it take?” So can you talk about kind of what is the typical path that someone’s family will see when they start implementing these things, but maybe tell us a couple of stories of families that have used these strategies and how that changed their lives?

Amy: Oh, my goodness, I could go on forever. But so there are some changes that you see immediately and some that take a little bit longer. So I’ll give you a couple of examples. The mind, body, and soul time that I mentioned, that tool about one-on-one time every single day, you will see a difference in your kid’s behavior in one or two days, promise. Like as I said, if there’s such thing as a magic bullet, that is it because it is getting to their core emotional needs. So that change you see right away. Now in the work that I do with parents, I like to make it really easy for them. So I teach it kind of in a step-by-step pattern. So you implement one tool, and then you build on it with the next and the next. And with each tool that you implement, you are getting better and better results. And that makes sense because all of the tools focus on giving kids the positive power that they have to have. But then also, the other tools are intended to sort of diffuse those power struggles, but in a way that’s more positive than we’ve done before. So the more you use the tools, in general, the behavior gets better and better. So with the mind, body, and soul time, you’ll see that right away. Now with sibling rivalry and fighting, that takes a little bit longer to implement and to see the results. You’ll see some initial results right away, but it won’t solve every single thing in the first week, of course. And the reason for that is so for you, you have a 13-year-old, your oldest is 13, Katie, what’s the age of your next child?

Katie: Eleven, almost 12.

Amy: Okay. So between those two kids, there’s 11 years of baggage or competition, rumblings, that have sort of been baked into the relationship. And so that’s an example that takes just a little bit longer to resolve because we have to teach kids the conflict resolution strategies and we kind of have to work at some of that victim competition that naturally happens because, right, the day that you bring that second baby home from the hospital, there’s some competition that is just baked in. That’s just the way it works. So those types of behaviors may take a little bit longer to turn around. But in terms of transformation, I would encourage your listeners to go and read our Google reviews, our five star Google reviews, the transformation is just amazing. And it’s parents who felt like they were failing at their most important job, they feel like they’re not even cut out for parenthood, they feel like they’re not meeting their kid’s needs like every day. It just is a cycle of frustration and guilt. And they just feel extremely discouraged. And then they start implementing the tools and things start to turn around. So we have so many success stories, whether it’s on, you know, getting your kids to sleep through the night, whether it’s the sibling thing that I talked about, whether it’s just the emotional connection with your kids, reducing the power struggles.

There are so many transformations. But, you know, as a mom of now I have young adults, like, I will tell you, that time just goes so quickly. And you wanna look back on it and think, “Yes, like, I really enjoyed that time with my kids.” You want your kids to look back on their growing up years and think, “Yes, I had a great relationship with my parents. Things weren’t always perfect, but when things came up, we dealt with in a way that was positive, and it was solution-focused, and we want them to have those good memories. So the transformation can absolutely come. The thing that I always tell parents, Katie, is that parenting is not intuitive. Like, just because you’re smart, and loving, and nurturing, and you’re a good person, that doesn’t mean that you have the tools to deal with temper tantrums in Target or, you know, the meltdowns, or the defiance, or the sassiness, or the homework hassles. Like, we don’t have that stuff intuitively. But the good news is, it’s things that you can learn, really simple strategies that parents can pick up and just make such a difference in their day in day out life with their kids.

Katie: Yeah, exactly. And so far, I’m really enjoying the course. And I know you have a couple of books as well, I’ll make sure those are all linked in the show notes. So for all of you guys listening, you can head over to wellnessmama.fm and find the show notes there. But just talk a little bit about the system you have in your course, in the books and what you recommend for parents. Like, where should they jump in?

Amy: Yeah, so our system is called the 7-Step Parenting Success System. And again, it’s kind of a very linear approach because that’s the way my brain thinks. But it teaches parents all of those tools that they need to bring out the very best in their kid’s behavior, but also to bring out the best in the parent’s behavior so they can get out of the nagging, and reminding, and yelling cycle that they have been in. So in the 7 steps, parents learn the tools in the toolbox. But then there’s also the more intensive advanced modules. So if you have a bedtime problem, if you have a mealtime problem, if you have a child, you’re struggling with schoolwork and homework for a child with ADHD, so there are all these very specific advanced modules to tackle specific problems. So parents can just progress through that and learn all of those tools and have the advanced modules. If they want to sort of test drive what that system is all about, they can take a free class that we have, it’s called “Get kids to listen without nagging, reminding or yelling.” I can give you that link too. I also have two books, “If I Have to Tell You One More Time,” and then the other one is called “The Me, Me, Me Epidemic,” which is all about unentitling our kids. So lots different places that parents can get information. I’d say definitely start with a free class because that way they can sort of dip their toe in and see if they like what I teach, and they can put those tools, you know, into place right away with their own families and see what kind of results they get.

Katie: I love it. So again, all those will be in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm so you guys can find them. This was such a fun episode. Our time flew by. And another question I selfishly love to ask at the end because I’m a very avid reader is other than your own if there’s a book or a number of books that have really changed your life, and if so what they are and why?

Amy: Oh, this is such a hard question. I’m sure everybody tells you that. But there are a couple of books that I love. So this first one has been around for a while, you may be familiar with it. It’s called “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Dr. Carol Dweck. And it is a great read. It’s an easy read, but it’s all about her groundbreaking research on a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset. And that applies to everyone, whether it’s, you know, sports, academics, your work life, but so important for your parenting. And there are things that we parents do that sort of undermine a growth mindset for our kids, particularly as it relates to praise. And so her book is really a mindset shift for a lot of parents. I’ve also incorporated a lot of her concepts into what I teach. So that’s a great one. Another one that I love, and again, this is from forever ago, but it is still a classic. It’s called “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids Will Talk,” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. And again, super easy reads, like lots of cartoons. But it’s ways to phrase things to kids so that it’s accepted with an open heart, doesn’t invite a power struggle but allows you to get things done. So, again, as I said, it’s a classic book, but it is one of my favorites and one that I always recommend to parents.

Katie: I love both of those suggestions. And like I said, this has been such a fun interview. I think it’s gonna help a lot of families. And I’m going through your course right now so I’ll make sure that link is in the show note as well. But thanks for the time and for all the research. It’s just been fun.

Amy: Well, thank you. I really appreciate the time to chat with you and thanks for all the important work that you’re doing out there for your community.

Katie: And thanks as always to all of you for joining us today and sharing one of your most valuable resources, your time with us. We’re very grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic, a company I’ve loved for years for their superfood mushroom based products. They use mushrooms like lions mane, chaga, cordyceps and reishi in delicious products. Did you know that mushrooms are more genetically similar to humans than plants are? And that they breathe oxygen and exhale CO2 just like we do but mushrooms spores can survive the vacuum and radiation of space. These amazing fungi are always a part of my daily routine in some way, usually with Lion’s Mane Coffee or Matcha in the morning, Plant protein and mushroom elixirs like chaga and cordyceps during the day and reishi at night to wind down. As a listener of this podcast, you can save on all Four Sigmatic products. Go to foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama and the code wellnessmama gives 15% off.

This episode is sponsored by Everlywell, at-home lab tests that you can get without a doctor order! I’ve used many of their tests and can recommend a couple that have been especially helpful. They have an at-home allergy test for 40 of the most common allergens using the same CLIA-certified labs used by Allergists/Doctors. The labs are reviewed by an independent physician and measure IgE levels of common allergens including pet dander, mold, trees, grasses, and more. I also really like their food sensitivity tests that test for IgG reactions. This was a big key for me in my health recovery, as there were foods that didn’t show up as an allergy that were causing inflammation. I used an elimination diet, but this food sensitivity test also filled in the missing piece of the puzzle for me. Through healing my gut, I’ve been able to remove all sensitivities except for eggs. Finding out I was highly sensitive to eggs made a huge difference for me, as I ate them often as an inexpensive protein source. I feel so much better now that I don’t eat eggs and I would never have known that without this test! I also use their at-home Vitamin D test to keep an eye on those levels. Check out all of their tests at wellnessmama.com/go/everlywell. Use code MAMA10 for 10% off orders.

Jun 01 2020

1hr 2mins

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343: How to Balance Neurotransmitters Naturally With Dr. Ann-Marie Barter

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Today we’re about to get an amazing education in neurotransmitters, those very important chemical messengers in our brains. Balancing neurotransmitters through natural methods is an important part of Dr. Ann-Marie Barter’s work in her practice in Colorado. Dr. Ann uses a combination of functional blood chemistry analysis, nutrition, applied kinesiology, and other natural remedies with …

May 28 2020

52mins

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