There are a variety of ways to plan your weekly meals. One way is to stock up on produce on sale. Depending on the season, you can stock up on a couple of fruits and veggies at once. You can also stock up on pantry staples that are on sale. These items can be expensive, so it is important to stock up on them when they are on sale. You have a little more leeway with a free weekly meal planner template regarding what meal you list for each day.

Label Food Storage Containers 

Labeling food storage containers with color-coded stickers is important, so you know what you have in your pantry. You can label them by food group, cooking date, or ready-to-eat status, making it easy to plan your weekly meals. You can stack your containers according to the food groups and dates on the labels. By labeling them, you’ll be able to whip out the food you need to make a quick meal.

Using labels makes it easy to keep track of food and avoid foodborne illnesses, such as salmonella. Additionally, labels help keep you organized so you can easily take inventory of your food and order new inventory. Color-coded stickers make it easy to identify expired food, which is important for food safety.

Organize Food Storage Containers According to Food Groups or Dates

Food storage containers should be labeled with the name of the food and the date it was purchased. This will make it easy to plan your meals for the week. You can also store leftovers in clear containers. Using these containers will make your pantry look tidy.

The first step in organizing your pantry is making a list of all the items you use often. Please list what you need each day and keep it updated. It would help if you also labeled containers to let others know where they can find a particular item. It is helpful to label containers using a chalkboard or stick-on label. This makes it easy for you to make changes, and you will have a quick reference when you need something.

Use Leftovers to Plan Meals For the Week

One of the best ways to use leftovers is to plan your meals using those ingredients. For example, if you have leftover meat or vegetables from the previous night, you can make sandwiches or wraps and serve them with a salad. When you plan your meals around leftovers, you are more likely to use them, saving you time and money. Make sure to add ideas for transforming leftovers into new dishes.

Another great way to use leftovers is to plan meals for the following week using them. Rather than throwing away the food, save the recipe and plan your meals around it.

Prepare Food in Advance

Planning your meals is an easy way to save time and money. You can prepare foods in advance and freeze them for later use. Depending on your schedule, you can prep a few days’ worths of meals or a week’s worth. You can also pre-prep produce and add it to salads, stir-fries, and fajitas. Then, you can quickly grab a handful of fruit for an afternoon snack.

The food you prep in advance depends on your needs and your family. If you’re planning a healthy meal for the week, you should make two to three days’ worth of meals. This way, you don’t have to worry about food waste. You can even freeze some of your leftovers for another week.

Use An Online Calendar to Stay on Track

An online calendar is a good way to stay organized when planning your weekly meal plan. You can use one for regular meals and another for special occasions. It is also helpful to color code your weekly schedule to make it easier to identify each meal. Choose a day of the week and color-code your meals accordingly. Once you’ve planned your weekly menu, you can update it as needed.

An online calendar will allow you to add and delete appointments easily, make quick changes, and even use your phone to access your calendar and recipe lists. This helps you stay organized and stay on track when planning your weekly meals. You’ll save time and money by being able to plan meals ahead of time. In addition, you’ll be able to create healthy habits and stick to your weight-loss plan.


Table of Contents[Hide][Show]

These chicken enchiladas Verdes are cheesy, delicious, and a big hit with everyone in my family. They also freeze well so I can make a double batch and easily get two meals with half the work. This Mexican food dish may become a staple on your meal plan!

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

So what are enchiladas verdes? Instead of using the typical enchilada sauce made with tomatoes and spices, we’re using one made with green tomatillos. It’s similar to green enchilada sauce, but it’s chunkier instead of blended. If you’re in a hurry you can always use a healthy jarred salsa, but I love my homemade roasted salsa verde recipe.

It’s easy enough to control the spice by choosing the peppers you want. For a spicier roasted salsa opt for more jalapeno and serrano peppers. If you want a milder version (especially for the kids!), then go for bell peppers and poblanos. I’ve had a harder time finding mild salsa verde at the store, especially one that isn’t full of junky ingredients, so making it is a great way to control the spice level.

Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

The nice thing about this recipe is it can use up that leftover rotisserie chicken. If you don’t want to cook a whole chicken, then chicken breasts are a faster option. Chicken thigh meat is also nice if you’re a dark meat person. And if you want to stretch your meat (have you seen prices lately?!), then add some pinto or black beans into the mix.

That’s a Wrap

I chose corn tortillas here because they’re gluten-free. They can be a little trickier to work with than flour tortillas, but I find they really add to the flavor of the dish. Sometimes enchiladas get soggy, but there’s an easy trick to help prevent that. Cooking the tortilla for a bit first helps it not get too soggy when it’s covered in the sauce.

Fresher Is Better

While I’m all for quick and easy recipes, that doesn’t mean I have to rely on premade, jarred food to make it. Tomatillo salsa made with fresh tomatillos, garlic cloves, fresh veggies, and a squeeze of lime juice tastes so much better in my opinion. Roasting the peppers really helps develop the sugars in them for amazing flavor. You could puree the salsa verde if desired, but I prefer to leave it as is.

What Kind of Cheese Goes on Enchiladas Verdes?

There are a lot of different cheese options that will work here. Anything that’s mild and not too overpowering makes a great enchilada topping. Something like blue cheese is way too strong for enchiladas, even though it makes a great topping for a salad. Monterey jack, mild cheddar, and pepper jack are good options.

Making Enchiladas Verdes

A word of warning here: hands will get messy making these. It’s okay though, we’re washable. This recipe is a fun one for the kids to help with since even little ones can help put in the filling and sprinkle the cheese on top. I’m a big advocate for teaching kids how to cook so they know how to make their own healthy meals. You may know that my son even co-authored a cookbook, Chef Junior, with some of his friends.

These enchiladas are easy to customize with your favorite toppings. Sprinkle on some tomatoes, chives, avocadoes, or whatever your family prefers.

Chicken enchiladas verdes

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

Katie Wells

A warm, filling and cheesy chicken enchilada recipe that uses verde salsa instead of a red enchilada sauce.

Prep Time 30 mins

Cook Time 15 mins

Course Main

Cuisine Mexican


Enchiladas Filling

  • In a medium sized bowl, stir together the cooked shredded chicken, 1 cup of the shredded cheese, the onion, 1/2 cup of the sour cream, salt, cumin, and garlic powder.

Assemble the Enchiladas

  • In a small saucepan heat the salsa until warmed, but not too hot. It’s easiest to make enchiladas with your hands and you don’t want to burn them.

  • Transfer the warmed salsa to a wide bowl or baking dish.

  • In a frying pan, heat a tortilla over medium heat. When the tortilla is warm and pliable, place it in the warmed salsa.

  • Place another tortilla in the skillet to warm while you work on the filling for the first one.

  • Flip the first tortilla over and remove it to a cutting board, scraping it lightly along the edge of the bowl to remove excess sauce.

  • Spread 1/4 cup of the enchilada filling down the middle of the tortilla, roll, and place in a 9×13 baking dish, seam side down.

  • Repeat steps 4-7 until all of the remaining tortillas or filling are used.

Make the Enchilada Sauce

  • Whisk together the remaining salsa and sour cream and pour it over the finished enchiladas, then top with the remaining cheese.

  • Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are heated through.

  • Garnish with diced tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, avocado, chiles, fresh cilantro, cotija cheese, etc. if desired.


  • You can use Monterey jack cheese blend, pepper jack cheese, or even a mild cheddar for these. 
  • These freeze really well, so make a double batch and have a freezer meal ready to go. 

How does your family like their enchiladas? Leave us a comment and be sure to share with a friend!


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Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.


This episode is brought to you by Paleovalley – a company that is near and dear to my heart. I really like all of their products and my family especially loves their 100% grass fed beef sticks, which are a clean, gut-friendly protein snack option. They never last long in my house because my kids enjoy them so much, and I love how seriously Paleovalley takes creating healthy and environmentally friendly products. Paleovalley Grass fed beef sticks are the real deal. They are sourced from 100% grass fed and finished cows that are never fed grains or harmful antibiotics. And they come from small, family owned farms right here in the USA that practice rotational grazing, meaning farmers literally rotate the pastures in which their cows graze. So they aren’t feeding on the same soil forever, depleting its nutrients.  This means the cows are helping increase the nutrient density in the soil and put carbon back in the soil where it belongs. Another important difference- Virtually every other meat snack on the market is made with a processing agent called encapsulated citric acid (ECA). Companies use this in order to guarantee a long shelf life for their products but one study from The University of Illinois at Chicago found ECA can cause: Joint discomfort caused by stiffness and swelling, muscle aches, upset stomach, and shortness of breath! Instead, Paleovalley Beef sticks use old world methods of fermentation, which gives the beef sticks a long shelf life without the use of harmful acids and chemicals. They’re also free of Brominated Vegetable Oil, hormones, and MSG and the natural fermentation process means they are a good source of probiotics.  Check out the amazing beef sticks and all of their products at and use code mama15 at checkout for 15% off your order!


This podcast is sponsored by Wellnesse, my personal care company focused on creating safe and natural products that nourish your body from the outside in so you can feel great about your family using them. I’m so excited about our best-selling mineralizing toothpaste that now comes in three different options: original mint, charcoal and strawberry (a kid favorite). Unlike most toothpaste, ours doesn’t have a poison control warning because it only contains ingredients that are safe and beneficial to your oral microbiome and to your tooth enamel. It’s centered on hydroxyapatite, which is a naturally occurring mineral used in tooth enamel, with things like aloe, neem and green tea to support optimal oral microbiome balance in the mouth. Our thousands of happy customers tell us how much fresher their mouths feel and how their teeth keep getting whiter and stronger naturally. Check out our toothpaste and all of our products at


Katie: Hello, and welcome to the “Wellness Mama,” podcast. I’m Katie from and, that’s wellness with an E on the end. And I’m here today with Dr. Robin Berzin, who is the founder and CEO of Parsley Health, which is America’s leading holistic medical practice, specifically designed to help women overcome chronic conditions. And she founded this company to help Americans combat the rising tide of chronic disease through, really, personalized holistic medicine. And she’s also the author of a new book called, “State Change,” which we talk about today.


And in this episode, we go into a lot of different things, root cause, functional medicine, why mental health struggles aren’t just in our head, they can start in our bodies, and how to do a self-assessment to get a baseline, how to get inexpensive labs, poor actions versus habits and why the difference is important, why she tests thyroid levels in every single patient, why average is not optimal and how to understand your lab results, why women were excluded from medical research until 1993 and so lab ranges still don’t reflect accurate ranges for women because of this, what to know about metabolic syndrome in blood sugar, the amazing science of meditation, and so much more.


Very practical episode. She’s a lot of fun to talk to, and I know you’ll enjoy this as much as I did. So without further ado, let’s join Dr. Berzin. Robin, welcome. Thanks so much for being here.


Robin: Thank you for having me.


Katie: I feel like this is a long-overdue conversation, and I’m so excited we finally get to chat. And I feel like some of your current work is extremely relevant to our audience of women and moms who are listening. So I can’t wait to jump in. But for background, for those who aren’t familiar with you, I would guess many people are, but can you just kind of give us an overview of your background, and what led you to your current work path into starting Parsley Health?


Robin: Yeah. Well, thank you for having me. Long overdue, for sure. Excited for this conversation. I’m a mom of three. My youngest is six months. I’m a doctor. And I’m not only trained in internal medicine, kind of conventional medicine, trained in New York City, but I also trained in something called functional medicine, which is about getting to the root cause, getting to the why. And those two trainings combined together led me to see that there is a powerful need for all of us to have a form of medicine that is truly holistic, that looks at us as a whole person, that understands our past and our childhoods and the trauma that we’ve been through, and the context of our lives and what we’re eating and how we’re moving, and whether or not we have meaning and purpose, and needs to factor all of that into our plan for health and wellness.


And so, all of that kind of came together for me, and I started the company called Parsley Health to bring that kind of medicine, the best of conventional primary care plus the best of a more functional, holistic approach together, so you didn’t have to choose, so that we could help a lot of people heal, especially women, heal from the most common issues we have today, which are the autoimmune, the GI, the mental health, the hormone, the fertility, the heart issues, the blood sugar issues, and that women really need a different form of care. So, that’s why I’m here.


Katie: I definitely had my own journey with that in the early stages of Hashimoto’s, and trying to get answers from doctors. And a lot of the conventional doctors looked at everything kind of in isolation. And the thyroid is its own kind of isolated part of the body that wasn’t connected to your gut, or wasn’t connected to anything else. And it was a journey of lots of learning for me to uncover that. And I agree with you completely. I think the best outcomes happen when we can use the best of both worlds, and when we have informed patients, who are working with providers who are in alignment. I’ve said a lot of times on here, we’re each our own primary health care provider, and we have responsibility for our health, but the best outcomes happen when we have a practitioner who understands root cause, and who knows what they’re doing, to guide us.


And I know some of your recent work, you are talking a lot about the relationship between chronic illness and mental health. And I know this, like, that mental-emotional side was an overlooked piece for me for a long time. That it was so funny when I realized it, because it really was right there the whole time. But let’s talk about that, because I feel like this is something that we’re starting to understand more and more recently.


Robin: So, I forgot to also mention, I’m the author of a book called “State Change,” that came out recently, which is all about the physical barriers to peak mental health. And for so many of us, we feel like our mental health is in our heads. And yet, for many of us, our mental health is actually starting in our bodies. And in our medical system, literally, mental health is its own department. And the doctors who are focused on mental health don’t focus on the physical. And the doctors focused on the physical don’t focus on mental health. And that’s not working, because there’s no magic concrete wall between our heads and our bodies. And what’s happening in your body is happening in your brain, and vice versa.


And when I started Parsley, you know, I didn’t start it explicitly as a mental health service. It was really for anyone suffering from a chronic condition, multiple chronic conditions, or just symptoms they couldn’t figure out. And what I saw over and over again that was kind of magical was that we were addressing nutrient deficiencies, high blood sugar, thyroid issues, like you had, that weren’t diagnosed, hormone issues. Helping people change how they treated their body during the day when it came to food or movement, supplementation. And how, along the way, people were getting off their psych drugs, people were feeling better, people were feeling more in control. Like, they knew how to support themselves when it came to mental health.


And whether you have a family history of mental health disorder or a personal history of trauma, or whether you’re suffering from the burnout and chronic fatigue and anxiety, depression that we’ve all lived through for the past couple years, no matter where you fall in that, if you don’t address what’s happening in the body, it’s like trying to climb Everest and not getting to base camp. And so, I wanted to create a roadmap for people to get to base camp, because we have to find our mental health, as you know, over and over and over again right now. It’s not something you pick off the mental health tree and walk away with. It’s something we have to cultivate every single day.


Katie: Yeah, and it makes sense that that is a back-and-forth relationship, that our physical health affects mental health. Also, our mental health influences our choices with our physical health and vice versa. What are some of the mechanisms physically that can influence mental health? Like, I know we hear about the gut-brain connection, and how gut health can influence mental health. And I know there’s a lot more to it than that, but just kind of give us an overview of some of these things.


Robin: Yeah. You know, first of all, I always say you can’t know where you’re going till you know where you’ve been. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember what I had for lunch last Tuesday, let alone, like, how anxious or foggy or tired I was. Or how bloated I was, or how much my right knee ached or my left hip ached, you know, a month or two ago. And so what we start off with in the book, and what we offer at Parsley as well, is this self-assessment. That’s a total body symptom score, and you give yourself a score. And it’s a number, because, again, we can’t remember these things. We got too much going on.


And so, when you give yourself that number, and then you start to make some of these interventions, you start to see, “Oh, when my gut’s really flaring up, and my bloating and my reflux and my constipation and my gas are really bad, my brain fog and my headaches are really bad too.” And you start to connect the dots across the body. So that’s actually where we start, is this initial assessment of where you’re at from a symptom perspective, from your female hormones to your mental health, to your gut health to your musculoskeletal health, because it’s all connected.


And then what I recommend in the book when we talk about sort of figuring this out is also some testing. And I list out the blood work that you can take to your regular doctor, you can see us at Parsley, nationwide or online, or you can go to your regular doctor, be like, “Test these things.” Because let’s talk about your Hashimoto’s, right? Thyroid disorders. One in five women will be diagnosed or have a thyroid condition in her lifetime. Most of that is hypothyroid, so low functioning thyroid as opposed to hyper, or high functioning. And when you have hypothyroid, you get constipation, you get bloating, you get high cholesterol, you get weight gain, you get dry skin, you get exhaustion, and you get depression.


And I cannot tell you how many women have come to see us and were put on an antidepressant or told they were depressed, and no one had tested their thyroid for Hashimoto’s, which is a type of thyroid, autoimmune-based hypothyroidism, or just regular variety, there’s two kinds. And when we found that they just had a thyroid disorder, we could treat that, and everything else cleared up. And so we walk you through some of the testing. And we can talk more about this, but your blood sugar, if your blood sugar is high, your brain is inflamed, you will be anxious. And more than 50% of Americans have metabolic syndrome, or dysfunctional ability to manage their own blood sugar, right? We eat, like, a, I think it’s a 94% refined diet, ultra-refined diet. This is our flours, our sugars or processed foods. Anything that came in a bag that you, like, pop open, or crinkles, like, didn’t grow out of the ground, wasn’t an animal you could recognize walking around.


Like, you know, those foods are creating inflammation in the body, are creating high levels of blood sugar that we can’t control very well, because our bodies weren’t designed to eat those kinds of foods. And none of this is about shaming food or calling a food bad or good. But it might be impacting your body in a way that’s making you feel foggy, anxious, depressed. And so, we walk through the things to test for when it comes to your thyroid, your female hormones, your blood sugar, your adrenals, your heart health, inflammation. And you can take that list, or like, rip the page out in the book and take it to your doctor.


And then we also, and we can get into this, we talk about some of the things that we do every single day. Foods, movements, how we look at technology. Scrolling our social media, last time I checked, is not helping anybody out. When it comes to mental health, and the research is really there that it doesn’t. It’s actually really depleting our mental health. And so, then we talk in the book about assessing your symptoms, assessing your blood work, and then assessing your core actions. And I call them core actions, not habits, because what you eat every day, and whether you sit for 11 hours a day, or you get up and move, those things aren’t habits. Habits, is, like, biting your nails. Those things are, like, core actions that are defining how you feel.


Katie: I love that distinction. And to just go a little deeper on a couple of the things you said, because there were so many good points you just made. On the thyroid side, I know, in my experience, and I don’t have Hashimoto’s now, all my levels are normal and I don’t have antibodies, so I’m considered completely Hashimoto’s-free. But when I was in the early stages, I would go to a doctor and they would test things, and they would tell me, “Oh, your levels are normal.” And what I eventually realized was, A, there seems to be some discrepancy depending on who you work with on what is actually considered normal levels. And unfortunately, people who have thyroid problems are the ones that are getting tested that they’re basing the levels on.


As well as they didn’t test my antibodies, or they tested, like, two things, and they decided those were normal and didn’t test anything else. And so, this is the thing I love to explain, because if you think you might have a thyroid issue, and your doctor’s only testing a couple variables, they might not actually be identifying an underlying problem. But I would love for you to explain that better. Like, what do you test when it comes to thyroid?


Robin: So, day one, when you come to Parsley, and when I say come, I mean, see us online and we order tests, your local LabCorp, Quest, whoever we’re working with, or you’re working with for your insurance. But what we do is we have a baseline panel, the Parsley baseline, and we test the full thyroid panel, including antibodies, as a part of that, in every single person. Because this is so underdiagnosed, and it’s rampant. And when we test, you know, a lot of people say, “Well, I got a TSH done, and my doctor said it was normal.” Well, first of all, oftentimes, I’ll see people come in with TSHs of four and five, their doctor said, “Ah, that’s okay, it’s borderline.”


And there’s a difference between normal and optimal. And we have to understand that the reference ranges, the ranges of normal on our lab tests, are based on the average of our population today. And our average population in the United States, 60% of people have a diagnosed chronic condition. Forty percent have two or more. Tens of millions more have a chronic condition, don’t know it yet, because we test reactively. We wait till you feel horrible and then we test. We don’t proactively test for these things, which is wrong. We’ve made ourselves up as, I call it a story. It’s like a Greek myth. Remember the Greek myths from, like, elementary school? I call it a Greek myth that lab testing is expensive. It’s a lie that the labs have pulled over the insurance companies, but testing all this blood work is, like, really cheap, and it’s getting cheaper every day.


And so we test reactively and we look at these averages. And average is not optimal. And our nation doesn’t feel good, it feels sick. And women are disproportionately, under 65, experiencing the vast majority of the mental health issues, the GI issues, the autoimmune and inflammation issues, the fertility and hormone issues. And women were excluded from medical research until 1993. And so, we have a really sort of problematic set of reference ranges. And so, people will come to me and say, “Well, my TSH was fine.” And I will say, “Well, I don’t care if it was fine. Was it good? And did they test your free T4, free T3, anti-thyroglobulin antibody, anti-TPO?” These are the antibodies.


Antibodies, for everyone, are part of your immune system that’s really natural and important, and it’s how we fight off colds and flus, but it can go haywire, and it can get triggered and attack part of your own body. And 80% of autoimmune disease, which is some form of antibodies are attacking some part of your body, is in women, for reasons that are not well understood. And Hashimoto’s, which you had and got rid of, and I wanna hear how you did that, because that’s awesome, you know, is really, really common. And so, when our antibodies, our immune system, attacks our thyroid, our thyroid’s ability to function well goes down.


We also test for nutrient levels, because, how well your thyroid operates and how well those hormones operate in your body also depends on selenium, zinc, vitamin D, which the vast majority of Americans are deficient in, iodine, iron, right? So we wanna look at some of these other things that we can then correct. We also look at food allergies, because gluten, for instance, in wheat can be a big trigger for Hashimoto’s. And for some people, not everyone, but some people, that can be a problem. So we test all of this day one. And it can be a massive unlock for people to really understand not just what is “within the normal range,” but what is optimal, and optimal for them.


Katie: Yeah, that’s such an important point. And I’d love to also talk more about the blood sugar and the metabolic syndrome thing, because I feel like this isn’t talked about enough, despite the vast majority of Americans having some of these markers for metabolic syndrome. And the good news is, it seems like a lot of the things that can help influence these are very much within our control. But can you kind of give us an overview of what are the markers that define metabolic syndrome, how we can use blood sugar to our advantage? I’ve loved using a continuous glucose monitor a few times to get data on my own body and what it reacts to with different foods. And now, like, my fasting glucose is 73 or 74 every single day, and that’s helpful data I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t tracked it. So, can you give us an overview and a primer on all things blood sugar and metabolic syndrome?


Robin: Yeah. So, metabolic syndrome is basically the step before diabetes. And for most people, diabetes is type 2 diabetes, which is the kind that we develop through diet and lifestyle. So, sitting all day, eating too much sugar. The average American should be eating less than 25 grams of total sugar a day, but they’re eating 75. Oftentimes, one soda has 50 grams. And that’s like throwing a grenade in your digestive tract and watching it explode. That’s how it feels to the body when you eat something like that.


And so, the metabolic syndrome issues are really rampant, and it’s where your body’s having a hard time managing your blood sugar. And we tend in medicine to look, again, reactively, i.e. when it’s a little too late, at hemoglobin A1C, which is a measure of whether or not you have diabetes or metabolic syndrome. And if you’re at 5.7 or above, it’s metabolic syndrome, and 6.5 or above is type 2 diabetes. And I’m gonna skip type 1 out there for right now. For all of you who have type 1, I hear you, I see you, but we’re gonna talk about type 2 for a moment.


And the reality is that 5.7 being that cutoff is a little bit arbitrary, and a little bit late. And I don’t like to see a hemoglobin A1C of even 5.4, or 5.5, because it tells me we’re on our way. But again, these are normal ranges. And what the A1C marker doesn’t do is tell you if you’re on your way. And so what we test at Parsley is fasting insulin and fasting glucose, which are early markers. And we wanna see that fasting insulin, ideally, well on, around 2 or undetectable, but definitely well under 10. And we wanna see our fasting glucose, meaning first thing in the morning, haven’t eaten anything, what’s that blood sugar level? We wanna see that around 80, 70s and 80s. We don’t wanna see it too low. Like, 50 is not good. So don’t keep…it’s not like golf, where you just want to keep going down.


But we wanna see it around 70s and 80s. And you would not believe the people who think that they are Mr. and Mrs. Healthy, eating all the right things, moving, who have a fasting glucose of, like, 95, 100. And that tells us that our body’s having trouble managing blood sugar. And when blood sugar is perpetually high, your insulin goes up, you start storing more fat, especially around the belly. You start getting more inflammation and immune dysfunction in the body, your testosterone goes up. So, polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is really just, not a disease, but a syndrome, is the number one cause of fertility troubles today, after age. And that’s largely a metabolic issue. So, our blood sugar impacts our hormones, and our blood sugar also impact our brains and our anxiety levels. And it’s something that we need to be a lot more proactive about.


Katie: And I love your use of the word, like, the core actions versus habits. I think that’s a very…and it also speaks to us having more control over it. And it seems more fun than just habits. I’d love for you to talk about some of the maybe negative ones that we have, that are the most negatively impactful, and also some of the positive ones we can build that are gonna be kind of 80/20 best things we can do.


Robin: So, we live really different lives today, right? I mean, I think about myself as a kid in the ’80s, and then what my kids are living as little ones, like my five-year-old today, and just what a different world it is. And I think sometimes we have to take a step back for ourselves and recognize that. We’re, like, battling through the day. Be the mom, do the work, get through all of it, right, get to bed, have a social life, do your job, like… And sometimes I think we forget that the way which we’re living all day, every day has been radically transformed in the past few decades. And that’s putting a level of pressure on us that I think that we’re cracking under.


So when we talk about the lives we’re living and the rampant burnout and depression and anxiety that many of us are experiencing, we also have to remember that that isn’t just coming from inside. It’s coming from outside. But to your point, we do have control over it. So, the biggest ones are what we eat, how we move, and our relationship with technology, which are not habits, again, because these dominate our waking life.


And so, on the food side, we talked about sugar, and refined and processed foods. If you remove those foods from your diet, and also get rid of the omega-6 fats, these are the canola oils, vegetable oils, grapeseed, rapeseed oils. We’re supposed to eat about a four-to-one ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s. That’s what’s healthy for our body. Average person’s eating 26 to 1. Because all those vegetable oils are in all the processed foods and all the deli bars, and all the things that we eat, and they are interrupting our brain’s ability to use the serotonin we have.


We always hear about this, the feel-good hormone, and it’s like, be, why is everyone, you know, so shy of serotonin today? Well, part of it’s that we’re eating foods that make it impossible for our brains to use the serotonin we have. So, cutting out those processed foods, cooking your meals, even cooking two out of three meals a day, I know we’re busy, I know we gotta grab and go sometimes. I do it too. But that is the number one thing you can do.


And again, what you put in your mouth every day is information for every single cell in your body, and the microbes that live in your gut. And what you eat is impacting how you feel, not 20 years from now, but right now. And so, I think for a lot of people, that’s a really exciting wake-up call, and I know for me it’s cheaper to cook, and batch cook, than it is to eat out and buy processed foods today, because those prices have really gone up. That’s number one.


The second one is we sit, on average, 11 hours a day. We sit on our bottoms. And we have legs. And we were not meant to do that. And the body is designed to process emotions through movement. The body is designed to process our emotions through movement. And so, when you sit, those emotions get stuck. So, I might be sitting here right now thinking, “Wow, this is a really big podcast. I’m really nervous. Katie’s so amazing, and I wanted to meet her forever.” And I may not even consciously, like, think that thought. It may not even sort of go across the, you know, the TV screen in my brain, but I sort of have it in a flash. And then I have an emotional reaction to that thought, which is a little bit of fear.


And the second I have that emotional reaction, a wave of neurotransmitters and hormones cascades through my body, touching every single cell. And that cascade, that wave, takes about 48 hours to clear. So, imagine you’re feeling stressed and scared, and angry, and all the emotions we feel a million times a day. And you’re sitting, and you’re not processing those emotions. That’s how… We talk about emotions getting stuck in the body as if it’s this, like, I’m gonna use an unpopular word, but, like, woo-woo thing. And what we talk about in the book is that it’s very scientifically-backed reality. And this cascade of neurotransmitters and hormones can ultimately impact your cells’ ability to function, impacts your blood sugar, impacts your immune system, makes it harder to heal. And that’s how we get weakness and disease over time, right.


So, emotions translate through the body, and when we’re moving, we wash that wave out. And yet we sit 11 hours a day. So, getting up and moving, every single hour, making sure you’re spending 30 minutes to an hour a day. Could be walking, it could be dancing, it could be jumping on a trampoline. I know, for myself, and I know from so many of our female patients, like, movement has been attached to shame, and sort of “shoulds,” and the last thing we need as moms is another “should.” And so, in the book, I write a lot about movement and exercise. In studies, in 95% of patients, anxiety and depression improved with regular exercise. And only 40% to 50% improved with medication. Doesn’t mean we don’t need the medication. Medication is a beautiful tool, but it’s not enough.


And so, we put exercise in that way on the prescription pad, not because it’s about getting fit or looking hot. This book is not about that. It’s about feeling good, right now. And these are things that we can do for free. There’s so many great workouts on YouTube and Instagram and all the places, that I take advantage of. So, these are the things that are in our control, that can help us create a state change, a shift in how we feel, every single day.


Katie: Yeah. And I think you’re right. There’s a different societal expectation now, especially on women. And I’ve heard it said, you know, moms are expected to work like they don’t have kids, and then parent like they don’t have to work. And we carry so much more than we used to. And I love also that you brought up the idea that emotions store in the body. Reading “The Body Keeps the Score” was a really, like, mind-opening for me. And I started to actually understand things on a deeper level when I started making those connections and paying attention to both emotions, and where I was feeling them in my body.


And I think you’re right. It doesn’t have to be an extensive process, often, to unpack those. It’s, movement is so helpful. And for me, it was helpful to unpack and have a distinction between, like, exercise and movement, which I kind of define as almost like play. Because you’re right, I think we have some negative societal things attached to exercise. And it’s like a thing we should do, and I would argue there’s even a lot of misinformation about the way we “should” do it, and what we do in the gym, that’s not even that effective. And so, I think, like, exercise and strength training and sprinting, those are important things and those are great tools. But movement is a much broader category. And just things like going outside, you’re getting all those benefits of sunlight and fresh air and movement.


And then also, the idea that we think we shape our environment. And we do, but our environment also shapes us, to your point. And so, if we can modify our environments to be more friendly to just movement, like constant movement versus exercise, that’s led to my house having, and I’ve mentioned this before, but, like, a gymnastics mat in the hallway, and a climbing hang board in the kitchen, and yoga swings in the kid’s room, just because if it’s there, and it’s in our way, we tend to use it more.


Robin: Yeah. Absolutely. Like, take the yoga mat out of the closet and just lie it down on your floor, so it’s always right there. And, you know, for me, like, I’m not a gym person. Like, I’m that person who… I think I went recently, because occasionally I’ll go. And the little, you know, card reader says, “Congratulations. You were last here 63 days ago,” and I’m like, “Oh. Great.” But, you know, I like to do yoga, I like to do weight training at home. I like being outside and being in nature. And so, these are things that, you know, make me feel good. And it has nothing to do with that sort of punishment mentality that I think we all got schooled on in, like, the ’90s somehow. The ’90s were, like, the era of, like, go to the gym, punish yourself.


And we have so much power to shift how we feel in these moments with these little things. And so, what I’ve really focused on in the book was the science of that. Because I think that, you know, even in the wellness community, sometimes there’s a little bit dismissiveness of the medical research behind these things. And there’s massive dismissiveness of these practices in the medical community. So I write about the science of meditation. Meditation is proven. It’s free. It’s proven to rewire your brain, reduce your cortisol, help your digestion, help your blood sugar, your high blood pressure, help you focus, help you sleep better.


And this is all there. It actually rebuilds gray matter in the brain, that the social media and news feeds that we stare at all day are depleting. Those tools are actually negatively transforming the structure of your brain. And meditation is, like, building in the other direction, and forming new connections. Exercise helps your brain form new connections. Meditation does as well. And so, you know, in the medical community, we’re not using some of these proven tools. And so what’s really fun, for me, you know, I know the research and I’ve read the research, but it was really fun in the book to dive in and say, “All right, let me go back and, like, reread and revisit some of these studies.” And just, even I was blown away all over again by how compelling the research is behind exercise for mental health, meditation, nutrition. And, you know, nutrition is the number one thing on our prescription pad at Parsley. It’s like, it should be the number one prescription pad everywhere, because of its power to transform how we feel today, and the top chronic conditions we’re all living with.


Katie: Yeah, and I love your point about food being basically like chemical inputs into the body, not just calories. I think that was another negative side effect of the ’90s and the limiting calories. And there have been, of course, well-talked-about negative side effects of diet culture on women, and the relationship we have with food, and, like, having fear or guilt or shame related to food. For me, it was helpful to shift to a mindset of how, like, what’s the most nourishment per calorie or per volume that I can get for a food? Not, like, what’s the lowest calorie thing I can eat? And that alone helps you avoid so many processed foods. But what are some of your nutritional guidelines that you give women? Because my general take is just that we are sometimes overeating, for women, often undereating…but for sure, under-nourishing ourselves. Like, we’re almost, like, malnourished, even if we’re consuming enough calories.


Robin: Yes. We are overfed and undernourished. And that’s in part because the food industry has done a number on all of us. I mean, you walk through the airport, and I just marvel at, like, the junk, the literal anti foods, the toxic crap, that is everywhere. And it’s positioned as just, like, this is a normal thing to eat. And you look at the label… I was at the airport the other day, and I looked at the label on a green juice. A green juice. And it had 50-something grams of sugar in one little bottle, which is twice as much sugar that we should have in an entire day. And so, we’ve just been sold something that is wrong. And so that’s part of it, along with the sort of inaccurate information about calories.


I’ll put it this way. A cup of broccoli and a cup of soda, same volume, gonna have two very different impacts in your body. Gonna grow different microbes in your gut, gonna have different impacts on your blood sugar. One’s gonna create inflammation, headaches, and a crash. One’s gonna fuel you and help you detoxify your hormones through your liver, and keep you full and satiated. And so, for us, at least in our eating philosophy around mental health and physical health, it’s around, we call it plant-based paleo, which doesn’t mean that you can’t have animal products. But it’s focusing on plants, whole foods, vegetables that you can recognize. They’re not pulverized into a cookie, cracker, bar, pretzel, something. You know, I see all these, like, cauliflower pretzels now. Even I, like, I bought this, right, at the health food store for my kids, and I’m like, “This is still junk food. This is still, like, processed grossness.” It’s not a cauliflower, people. It’s a pretzel. Let’s, like, own it.


But, you know, and so, eating those whole foods, lean protein, fish. Looking for well-sourced animal protein is also so important, not the factory farmed stuff. And if you can, if it’s possible, if it’s not possible in your budget, then eating some form of protein is way better than eating any form of sugar. And for a lot of people, not everybody, but being gluten-free and dairy-free can be really instructive. And I say instructive because these foods are not bad or good. We’ve made it very binary, and I don’t love that part of the space.


Dairy can be a beautiful food for some people. Dairy can taste really good, and be really well-sourced, and be the source of allergies, sinus infections, asthma, acne, eczema, digestive disorders, and be a really problematic food for other people. Wheat, and gluten, which is the protein in wheat, can be a really big autoimmune trigger, and even a mental health trigger for some people. It’s a trigger for brain fog, and headaches, and irritability. And so, people take gluten out of their lives for three or four weeks and are like, “Oh my god. My digestion feels exactly like it did before. I don’t have any digestive issues with gluten, but man, my head feels clear. And I don’t have my migraines anymore.”


And so, removing the refined and processed foods, getting those omega-3s, like your olive oil, your walnuts, your small fish, like your herring, sardines. And then, really focusing on checking out if, three, four weeks of no gluten, no dairy impacts you. Because if it does, it’s putting you in the driver’s seat around which foods are making you feel good or bad on a given day. And then you can choose. Like, today might be pizza day, and that’s awesome. But every day won’t be pizza day, because you know how pizza makes you feel.


Katie: Yeah, and I think you brought up another good point about protein. Because one of the other side effects of us eating this very processed food and carb-rich diet is, I found at least, many people are not getting enough protein, or at least this was certainly true for me. I assumed I was, and then when I actually started tracking what I was eating, I realized I’m not getting enough protein, especially with the amount of strength training I’m doing. And switching to more protein and a lot more, like, fibers, vegetables, I have days where I’m like, “Oh my gosh. I have to eat so much food.” But my body has so much energy and I’m so nourished, that it was, like, a shift out of that deprivation kind of diet mindset that I had had for so long.


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I’m also curious your take on supplements, because certainly, this is a topic with many, many opinions. And everybody’s, of course, going to be very bio-individual, and there’s personalization here. But it seems like there are also some categories where, in general, as a population, we tend to not…it’s harder to get some of these certain nutrients because of the food supply being what it is. What is your advice to people on supplements?


Robin: Yeah. So, you know, supplements, I love that you brought that up, like, get vilified. Like, “They’re useless and just make your pee really expensive,” or, “They’re really dangerous,” or… And I’m like, it’s really hard for something to be really both really dangerous and really, like, useless at the same time. So, you know, most medical providers are not supplement-literate. And we are, and supplements can be a really powerful tool. Most supplements on the shelf are useless, because it’s a poorly-regulated industry, and so, I see people… I remember being at, like, a health food grocery store in LA years ago. And this woman was standing, looking at this, like, wall of supplements, and everything said hormone this and hormone that. And there was probably, like, a 19-year-old, like, shop worker guy, and she’s looking at him and she’s like, “It’s my hormones. Which thing should I take?” And he’s like, “I think that one will work.” And I was just standing there, like, biting my nails, like, “No, no. Oh, God, don’t do it,” right.


So, there is a lot of useless stuff out there. That said, supplements can be really powerful tools. And the way I think about them is we’re not using them to correct a deficiency, largely. Like, typically, people aren’t so deficient in vitamin C that they’ll get scurvy, like a sailor from the 1800s. But we are not optimal. And we can use supplements as therapeutic tools. So, I might prescribe magnesium glycinate or magnesium threonate as a really beautiful sleep aid, or a really beautiful anxiety-calming supplement. And so, I’m not correcting a magnesium deficiency with that tool. I’m using it therapeutically for a mental health or sleep goal.


Similarly, many people like myself, 66% of people have some form of an MTHFR genetic variant. Its not a mutation, it’s just a variant. It changes how we make neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine. And so, a regular B vitamin doesn’t work for me. But when I take, or my patients who have this variant, take a methylated B vitamin, methylated B12, or 5-MTHF, which is methylated folate, or ideally both, you make more serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and it can be a very big mood enhancer.


Now, it’s not like a Xanax. You can’t take it once. You gotta take it every day. And that’s where I also see people go wrong. They got all these supplements on the kitchen counter, and they’re, like, lying there. And they’re like, “Well, some days I take a little of this, and some days I take a little…” And I’m like, that’s… It’s like taking a quarter of an antibiotic and wondering why your sinus infection doesn’t go away, right? It’s not gonna work. So, you gotta take them regularly.


And so, in the book, I write about some of the core, kind of kick starter supplements, like magnesium glycinate, like methylated B vitamins, which many people, many, many, many people benefit from. Like a probiotic, to help shift our gut bacteria, because our gut bacteria are actually helping shape which neurotransmitters are active in our brains. Like omega-3 fats, so we can shift that balance I spoke about earlier away from those vegetable oils and towards those omega-3s that really feed our brains. Our brains are made of fat. Our brains are about 70% made of fat. So getting those healthy fats in can be really helpful, also, in terms of lowering inflammation. And then, vitamin D.


Most people are lower in vitamin D. If you spend an hour a day outside totally naked, then more power to you. Like, you may not be low in vitamin D. But most of us have got the hat and the sunscreen and the clothes. And we’ve been educated that, you know, the sun is, like, dangerous. Which it’s not, but, you know, within reason. So, vitamin D deficiency, which the majority of Americans have some form of, it can mask as depression. And so we recommend vitamin D3 K2. So, some of those…those are some of the basics. And then there’s a lot of others where you can get a little bit fancy.


Katie: Yeah. That’s such an important thing, that distinction between it’s not just about deficiency. Like, we’re not just trying to get into, like, not actually clinically deficient in something, that some of these are tools to get into more optimal range. And at least from what I’ve read, there’s things like, for instance, that it’s difficult to test for magnesium levels, for instance. And the tests can be somewhat unreliable, or just confusing, I think. And, like, I’ve read that not a lot of magnesium is actually stored in the blood, so blood tests are kind of not necessarily a good marker of that, whereas most people tend to be low on magnesium anyway, and it’s not one that’s typically dangerous to take. So it’s kind of, to me, that’s, like, a great insurance policy. Like, I take magnesium all the time.


And I am… Vitamin D as well, I’ve seen it be life-changing for people. I’m am personally a naked-in-the-sun-for-an-hour-a-day type of person. But I live in an area where that’s possible. And I realize most people don’t necessarily have access to year-round sunshine. But I feel like both of those also point to another important topic, which is sleep. And this can for sure be a fall-down point, especially for moms. And it seems like sleep is a lever that absolutely impacts mental health, very directly, even very acutely. Like, one day of sleep deprivation, we are not mentally on our game the next day. So, what are some of the ways we can support sleep during the day, like, those core actions we can build?


Robin: Sleep is such a tough one, right? I feel like it’s a tough one for all of us. And I know, like, I have a six-month-old. I know if you have little ones, you’re just like, “Great, thanks. Thanks for the newsflash that I should be sleeping more,” you know. But within that, what you can focus on is quality sleep, because quality matters just as much as quantity. And so, that can mean everything for making sure… You know, I live in New York City, and I live under a large rock called kids and work, so I barely see the light of day a lot of the time. And that’s my reality. I wish I’m like gonna move down to where you live, so we can change that, or I’m here in Austin right now, and I’m like, “Ooh. Sunshine is amazing.” But back to sleep, getting outside in the morning, and getting exposure to sunshine in the morning can actually help really set that circadian clock, and get your body kind of ready for what is a normal day.


And then, on the flip side, sun setting or evening, so, really dimming the lights, turning down the lights. And I recommend a screen-free 30, or 60, ideally, before bed. So, before bed is your time to stretch, meditate, read a hardcover book, prep lunch or prep food for the next day, meditate, breathe, take a long bath, right. But it’s not the time to be running, working, catching up, or scrolling your social media, because that really impacts our sleep. And we’ve heard a lot about the blue light emanating from phones, and now there’s, you know, apps and stuff that you can screen that blue light out. Blue light’s part of it, but it’s actually been shown that it’s just the pure stimulation of looking at TV, or phone, or computer before bed, that is telling your brain it’s time to rev, rev, rev and go, go, go, and then you don’t have quality sleep.


Cold, dark room. I can’t speak to this enough. A lot of people are sleeping in a really hot space. So, I know there’s these fancy… My husband got one. Like, the mattress covers that cool you down. He loves it. I feel like I’m sleeping, like, my reptilian brain makes me feel like I’m sleeping in a shallow pool of cold water, and I find it really disturbing. So, like, to each his or her own, right, on those things. But just cooling your room down at night if you can, to that 65 to 67 degree Fahrenheit really impacts your metabolism and your sleep quality. Darkness. I wear an eye mask. I wear earplugs a lot. Like, I don’t need to wake up every time the baby just has, like, fuss, fuss, fuss at this point, you know. He’s not, you know, in the first couple months anymore. If he’s really crying, I’ll still hear him, so it’s okay. But I think that, you know, really setting ourself up for that healthy sleep.


And then, alcohol, you know, if I see one more wine and mommy meme, I’m gonna lose it. But, like, you know, we need to learn constructive methods of managing our emotions. And in this culture, we are taught destructive methods of managing our emotions. Alcohol, overworking, drugs, looking at screens, looking at media. And it’s okay. Like, I had a cocktail last night at an event. And I’ll have a glass of wine here and there. But, like, if you’re drinking more days than you’re not, your sleep is disruptive, even if it’s a drink or two. And I think a lot of people, especially women, don’t realize that they’re drinking a little bit more than I think they think they are.


And so, really taking a look at that, and I write about that in the book. And it’s not to say, again, I still drink some alcohol periodically. So, if you can have it as a healthy part of your life, then okay, but I think we need to set clear boundaries around what that actually means, because alcohol, when it comes to sleep, it impairs your body’s ability to reach the lower resting heart rate and lower core body temperature that allow you to reach deep sleep and get through more of those REM cycles that you need to feel rested the next day. So when I hear, “Well, I just had that one glass of wine at 6:00 or 7:00, and I sleep eight hours, and, you know, I don’t get why I’m exhausted all the time,” I say, “Well, let’s take that one glass of wine at 6:00 or 7:00 or 8:00 to zero on at least four nights a week, or take a three-week hiatus and see how you feel.” And people can see a really big difference.


Katie: Yeah, I’m a big fan of cycling things. And especially going off alcohol in spurts for a couple months at a time. Or, like, I love to do, I don’t need to avoid gluten and dairy anymore, but I find that if I just reduce a lot of those kind of foods, and alcohol, for two or three weeks, it’s like a great reset, and I just really focus on gut health during that time. And that tends to, like… I don’t wanna ever get back into the Hashimoto’s zone, so that’s kind of one of my preemptive things.


I love that you brought up the screen time thing as well. I think one of the easiest things we could all do for our health is just stop engaging with the news altogether. But to your point about the stimulation of social media, I have those, like, red light filters on my phone. And I still don’t like to get on my phone at night, but there was a night when my team was like, “Hey, you need to check out these things on TikTok,” because we need to start putting content on TikTok. And I had never been on TikTok, and so I started scrolling through it right before bed, and I could not turn my brain off, because it had just been, like, shown all these hyper-stimulating things. And it was a terrible night of sleep.


The same with alcohol, though. That’s one of those things. Wearing a tracker all the time now, it’s like I have conclusive data for myself that even one drink, I get much less deep sleep, my HRV is lower, my resting heart rate is up, and I don’t recover. And so, I’ve had to, very similar to you, like, I still drink on occasion, but it certainly isn’t an overnight thing, or I just don’t recover from workouts and I don’t get good sleep. And it’s not worth that trade-off.


And I know from your personal experience, while you are writing this book, you had two kids already, I believe, and then got pregnant with your third, and are running a company, and I’ve been in that zone as well. So I’m curious what lessons you took for yourself, because I know when I am deep in research, I’m like, “Oh, I logically sort of knew this, but I need to apply this.”


Robin: Yes. I mean, listen, I can’t be my own doctor. And I know all the information, right? But, like, we can read a blog post about personal training. That doesn’t make us a personal trainer. I certainly am not equipped to be a personal trainer for myself. And, you know, I not only need all these reminders, I need support, right. And I think, as moms, we’re going through a period of time, and you said it amazingly earlier, like, we’re supposed to take care of our kids like we’re not working, and work like we don’t have kids. And that becomes really impossible. And so, setting boundaries, taking time out, especially in a world where for a lot of us, work from home, if that’s where you’re at. Not everybody is. But that can mean kind of being always on. There’s no clocking out. It’s just, your work is always right here in this little box that I’m sitting in front of.


And so, setting those boundaries, first of all, and setting those calendar invites. I’m a big fan of, like, calendar invites for myself. I block time every day for yoga on my calendar, that my team can’t schedule over. I block time in the evening certain nights of week, for, like, my self-care time. And I put it on like a meeting. It’s just as important as an investor meeting or a key hire, or whatever else I’m doing. I think that blocking those things out and treating your calendar for your life as seriously as you treat your calendar for your day job, if that’s what you’re doing, is really critical.


And then, just really knowing, like, where I can push it and where I can’t. And listen, sometimes I push it too far, and my body shows up and tells me that I pushed it too far, like, energetically, and then I listen. I mean, I’ll tell you the story. Like, it’s really embarrassing, but last week, I’m here in Texas for a couple weeks, working remote. I flew early morning to Chicago for the day on Thursday, from Austin, back to Chicago the same day. Back at 1:00 in the morning. Next morning, I’m a big intermittent faster, works for me, doesn’t work for everybody, but I’m past breastfeeding and past pregnancy, and done having kids forever, woohoo. So I can, you know, get back to my biohacking. And I show up at a business lunch, and I got dizzy, and I had to put my head down on the table, and I told my husband to come get me.


And it was one of those days where it was just too much. And I cleared my calendar, and I just rested that afternoon. And it was like, I think sometimes we push through and push through and push through. And I’m somebody who tends to motor, motor, motor, go, go, go. And back to the calendaring and the setting limits, I’ve really cleared out my calendar for a couple of days this week, not just Friday, when I wasn’t feeling well. But through this week, because I was like, “Oh, I need to actually recover.” Not like a couple hours on a Friday, but I need to really give myself that time and space. And I think we as women just don’t give ourself that time and space, and then we’re running on empty. I have so many patients who are on kids two, three, and never kind of put the gas back in the tank between one and two, or between two and three. And then the depletion starts to really take over.


And so, a big thing that we do, we do a lot of preconception optimization, fertility work, helping women get pregnant. Supporting their bodies. They’re still on their own when it comes to actually getting pregnant. We do a lot of maternity support, we do a lot of postpartum optimization and healing, and, you know, dealing with all the stuff that’s happening there, from mental health to autoimmune, everything. And in that postpartum period, we really focus a lot on how are you rehabilitating yourself and putting gas back in your tank? Because if you didn’t do that between the last two kids, you’re gonna start to really run on empty.


And I think women don’t get that permission a lot. They just get, you know, take another pill, keep going. And at some point, no medication is gonna replace really taking a timeout and restoring, for, like, weeks at a time. And I will prescribe to my patients, I’m like, “You have to take a break.” And that is, like, on your prescription pad, not just with your refill.


Katie: Yeah, and that’s I feel like a hard shift to make, especially for moms. And one I’ve had to learn the hard way as well is to put… I now think of it as I’ve scheduled the most important things first on my calendar. And those things are the things that give me energy to do the work. So, before work meetings can go on my schedule, my workouts go on my schedule, family dinners go on my schedule, time with my kids goes on my schedule, and those are non-negotiable. And I learned… I was in a habit for a lot of years of kind of, like, caretaking, that I would never have considered not showing up for my kids when they needed me. But I wasn’t showing up for myself, which also made me less able to show up for my family. And so that was a lesson I had to teach myself.


And it’s funny. I think of a correlation based on what you said of, you know, I can know a lot about personal training. I’m not a personal trainer. That’s a great analogy. I also think of, like, I’m a doula. I’ve been through some of student midwifery school. And yet, when I was in labor, all of that went completely out the window, and I remembered nothing. And I was just, like, even though if someone else was in labor, and when they’re hitting that space of, like, “I can’t do it,” I would be like, “Oh, you’re almost there. This means this and this, and you’re in transition.” When I’m there, I’m like, “No, this is gonna last forever.” And when you’re in it, it’s hard to see the 10,000-foot view, so it’s always helpful to have those great sources of guidance from outside, which kind of loops back to the initial point about work with practitioners who are your partners, and who you can really align your goals and move toward where you wanna go.


And as we get very close to the end of our time, I can’t believe how fast this has blown by, a couple more questions I love to ask, the first being if there’s a book or a number of books that have profoundly influenced your life, and if so, what they are and why?


Robin: I love “The Power of Now,” by Eckhart Tolle. And I think, you know, we learn very early in life in our culture to kind of future trip and dwell on the past, and we don’t learn how to be here. And I’m certainly guilty of that. So that’s one that I come back to over and over and over, that really shifted my perspective on reality, that I highly recommend.


Katie: I love that one as well. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes at, of course, with a link to your book as well. If people want to keep learning from you or maybe have specific questions related to preconception optimization, or postpartum, or any of these topics we’ve talked about, where is the best place to find you and keep learning from you online?


Robin: So, And we have an awesome newsletter, everyone, with amazing… I mean, I’m talking to the content queen here, so I don’t even know why should I say this. But we have an amazing newsletter, all physician authored and edited, health coach authored and edited, that gives lots of step-by-step tools. You can buy the book “State Change,” which is my simple roadmap for finding and re-finding better mental health every single day, in, anywhere books are sold, Amazon and Barnes & Noble and, of course, all the places.


If you’re looking to just do, get your symptom score, and do it online, I would check out Anybody can just go there and get their symptom score, and kind of begin that process of that first step, which is, I need to know where I am right now in order to direct myself to a new place. And then it’s @Parsley_Health or @robinberzinmd on all the socials.


Katie: Awesome. Those links will be in the show notes as well. And any parting advice for the listeners today that could be related to something we’ve talked about, or entirely unrelated?


Robin: Don’t let perfect be the enemy of really good. Just start.


Katie: I love it. Well, we’ve gotten through so much today. This has been so helpful and practical. I know you’re a busy mom and a busy doctor. I am very grateful for you being here today and sharing your wisdom with us.


Robin: Oh, my, gosh. I’m so grateful to you. Thank you for all the work you do, and thank you for having me.


Katie: And thanks as always to all of you for listening, and sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us today. 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.


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After many years, I was finally able to overcome past trauma, reverse my autoimmune disease, and shed some pounds. (50 of them actually!) With weight loss though can come sagging skin. Here’s the complete rundown on how to tighten loose or sagging skin after weight loss.

What Causes Sagging Skin?

According to the Cleveland Clinic’s article, An Overview of your skin, as we age the elastin and collagen that make skin plump and firm start to decline. Certain stressors, like sun damage and smoking, speed the process up. Weight loss is another prime reason for loose skin. After weight gain, the skin stretches to accommodate for the extra body mass. When we lose that weight, especially a lot at once, the skin can’t keep up with the changes fast enough.

You’ve probably heard me rave about grass-fed collagen, gelatin, and bone broth more than once. This superfood is something our body makes and one of the places you’ll find it is the dermis, the middle layer of skin. Fibroblast cells in the dermis synthesize collagen and elastin that give skin its plumpness. Collagen makes up a whopping 75-80% of our skin! Keratin, which makes up hair and nails, helps our skin have some rigidity and protection.

How to Prevent Loose Skin After Weight Loss

The best way to solve a problem is before it becomes a problem. Here are some tips to lose weight in a healthy way that also supports skin health.

  • Lose weight at a steady pace. Rapid weight loss can create lots of loose skin.
  • Build muscles. We want to have healthy, toned muscles to support our body, including our skin. Strength training by lifting weights or doing bodyweight exercises is key here.
  • Massage increases circulation, lymphatic flow, and collagen production in the skin. All of these help skin have more tone and elasticity.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water and other non-caffeinated fluids is key to tighten loose skin and keep it hydrated.

Therapies to Help With Sagging Skin

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics for preventing and tightening loose skin, let’s look at helpful therapies.

Red Light Therapy (LLLT)

Red light therapy (RLT) penetrates deep into the skin, affecting blood vessels, lymph pathways, and nerves. It reaches down into our dermal layer to rejuvenate skin and smooth tone. RLT increases circulate and fibroblasts, which in turn stimulate collagen and elastin.

I’ve seen great results with my Joov red light therapy, even at just 5 minutes a day. My skin is firmer and I have fewer wrinkles and post-baby stretch marks.


While jumping into an ice bath may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, it has its benefits. Hydrotherapy, or cold water therapy, has been used for centuries to restore and maintain wellbeing. Cold baths or showers increase circulation, improve metabolism, and boost weight loss. It also transforms harmful white fat, into healthier brown fat for better insulin sensitivity and heat retention.

Dry Brushing and Exfoliation

Like hydrotherapy, dry brushing is known to increase circulation in the skin. This low-cost and easy method is exactly how it sounds. I use a dry body brush and gently rub it in circles over my skin. It’s invigorating and I found it helped tighten my skin and prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.

Dry brushing is one of the main ways to increase lymphatic flow to aid in nutrient transport and waste detox. Another way to get the exfoliating benefits is with a body scrub.
This refreshing body scrub features grapefruit essential oil to help with cellulite, but it may also help with sagging skin.

The 2002 article, Inhibition of elastase activity by essential oils in vitro, found that lemon, grapefruit, and juniper essential oil helped inhibit elastase. The elastase enzyme destroys the elastin in our dermal layer and contributes to aging and sagging skin. Lemon performed best out of the three, however, caution should be used because it is phototoxic.

Food to Tighten Loose Skin

Our body needs certain nutrients to function its best and skin is no different. Overall healthy eating is important, but here are some specific nutrients to focus on. Vitamin and supplement information is largely sourced from the National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.


Protein, protein, and more protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are responsible for many processes in the body. According to Piedmont healthcare, we need enough protein to build muscle mass, increase collagen, repair tissue, and even oxygenate red blood cells.

Where to Get It

Whole foods are best, but I also like adding some grass-fed collagen powder to smoothies and drinks. Grass-fed meat, organ meats, pastured dairy (if tolerated), free-range eggs, and wild-caught fish are all good sources. Bone broth is high in gut healing and skin nourishing collagen too.

Vitamin C

Collagen is an important part of our skin’s structure, but we don’t just get it from animal products. Vitamin C helps the body synthesize collagen production. This powerful skin antioxidant helps protect against sun damage and has an anti-aging effect on the skin.

Where to Get It

Surprisingly, orange juice is not a great source of vitamin C and it’s also really high in sugar. Unlike some animals, humans can’t make their own vitamin C. Some of the top ways to get more vitamin C are:

  • Red, yellow, and orange bell peppers
  • Camu camu berry powder
  • Citrus fruits
  • Kiwi
  • Broccoli

Vitamin D to Tighten Loose Skin

We need vitamin D for so many things, but especially our immune system. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, a poorly functioning immune system weakens the skin barrier, leading to dryness and inflammation. Not enough vitamin D also throws off insulin sensitivity, which in turn causes stiff and prematurely aged collagen.

You can get your vitamin D levels tested to see where you’re at. However, most people are too low.

Where to Get It

Many turn to fortified pasteurized milk for their vitamin D, but that isn’t the best option. One cup of fortified milk has only 8% of the vitamin D that’s in one tablespoon of cod liver oil! Grass-fed dairy has naturally higher levels of vitamin D, no fortification necessary.

It’s important to note that while mushrooms are technically high in vitamin D, they contain D2, not D3.

“Most evidence indicates that vitamin D3 increases serum… levels to a greater extent and maintains these higher levels longer than vitamin D2.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements

Other vitamin D sources include:

  • Sunshine
  • Cod liver oil
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Eggs
  • Beef liver
  • Vitamin D3 supplement

Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 works along with vitamins A and D, magnesium, and calcium for better absorption and function, according to Lucy Mailing, Ph.D. This vitamin binds to calcium and tells it where to go in the body. K2 helps prevent elastin from becoming calcified and hard.

Where to Get It

K2 is found is primarily found in grass-fed meat and dairy products, especially butter. This isn’t the same as K1 found in dark leafy greens. Our gut can convert some K1 into K2 but impaired gut function (which many of us have), interferes with the conversion process. You’ll find K2 in:

  • Grass-fed meat
  • Pastured dairy
  • Egg yolks
  • Liver
  • Fermented foods like sauerkraut


This nutrient is crucial for healthy skin. A 2016 article in Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, points out that skin has some of the highest levels of zinc, mainly in the epidermis. Zinc helps make keratinocyte skin cells and maintain skin’s integrity. According to a 1995 article, Zinc as An Aid to Healing, it also plays a role in wound healing.

Where to Get It

Zinc can be applied topically, but eating it is best. Too much zinc applied to the skin can become toxic, according to a 2018 article in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 

The Cleveland Clinic Journal of Nutrition explores zinc in their article, Skin findings associated with nutritional deficiencies. The journal reports meat and eggs are the most important sources of zinc and deficiency is a worldwide problem.

Oysters are by far the highest source of zinc at 673% of your daily value in just 3 ounces. Other good sources include:

  • Beef
  • Crab
  • Lobster
  • Pork shop
  • Beans
  • Dark meat chicken
  • Pumpkin seeds


When you think of copper you may think of pots and pans, but it’s also necessary for our bodies. We need a minimum of 2 parts zinc to 1 part of copper though to maintain a healthy balance. Copper activates an enzyme that helps tighten skin. The 1998 article, Copper, lysyl oxidase, and extracellular matrix protein cross-linking, reports the enzyme lysyl oxidase helps collagen and elastin do their jobs and keep skin strong.

Where to Get It

Copper supplements are available, but it’s generally safer to get it from food. Sources include:

  • Beef liver
  • Oysters
  • Crab
  • Dark chocolate
  • Mushrooms
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Sunflower seeds

Vitamin A

This vitamin plays a pivotal role in skin health. A 2019 article, Vitamin A and Wound Healing, reports it stimulates skin cell growth and collagen in the skin. Both of these are important for firm, non-saggy skin.

Where to Get It

Unlike some nutrients, it’s not recommended to supplement with vitamin A. Both beta-carotene and preformed vitamin A (retinoids) supplements can be deadly. Retinoid supplements are known to cause birth defects.

A 2004 trial in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, was stopped early due to disturbing findings. Both beta-carotene and retinoid supplements increased the risk of death from lung cancer and heart disease in the control group. While participants were at higher risk than the average person because of previous lung damage, whole food vitamin A is much safer.

While too much vitamin A, especially from supplements isn’t a good idea, it’s critical to get normal levels through food. About 45% of us are genetically low responders to beta-carotene, according to findings from a 2012 article in the Journal of Nutrition. Meaning, that preformed vitamin A from animal foods is optimal. Some good sources of vitamin A include:

  • Beef liver
  • Herring
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Egg
  • Salmon
  • Dairy
  • Orange vegetables (beta carotene)


Resveratrol is thought to help improve the appearance of skin and have anti-aging effects. According to dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, resveratrol can improve skin texture and firmness. It hydrates skin, deactivates free radicals, and supports collagen production.
While researchers claim the evidence that resveratrol positively affects the skin is slim, there is more research pointing toward its ability to increase weight loss.

Where to Get It

The good news is you’ll find resveratrol in natural wine.  Other sources include:

  • Red grape skins
  • Purple grape juice
  • Mulberries


Naturally found in some plants, like barberry root, berberine is used in anti-aging products. It can help prevent skin inflammation and helps maintain healthy collagen in the skin according to a May 2008 article in Phytomedicine.

A September 2008 study from the same journal reported berberine also mitigates the effects of UV damage.

Where to Get It

  • Barberry root bark
  • Dried barberries
  • Barberry glycerite

EGCG (from Green Tea)

Found in matcha and green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), helps tighten loose and sagging skin. EGCG delays cell aging and plays a role in DNA repair. This antioxidant also helps skin hold moisture and reduces wrinkles according to the 2018 article, Skin Protective Effect of Epigallocatechin Gallate. A 2019 article in Nutrients found it increases both collagen and elastin.

Where to Get It

  • Organic green tea
  • matcha powder

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)

ALA is an antioxidant found in every single cell of the body. It’s thought to help with weight loss and collagen production. The 2017 article, Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) as a supplementation for weight loss, found ALA had a small effect on improving BMI. A 2013 article in the British Journal of Dermatology reported ALA is anti-inflammatory and helps fight damaged skin.

Where to Get It

Unlike certain vitamins, our bodies synthesize ALA. So basically eating a healthy, balanced diet gives us the raw tools we need to make ALA. Many foods have ALA in small amounts but it can primarily be found in:

  • organ meats
  • flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
  • chia seeds
  • hemp seeds

The Bottom Line on Loose Skin After Weight Loss

Losing weight can be a liberating experience, but saggy skin doesn’t have to go with it. By eating a healthy diet rich in whole foods and focused on certain nutrients, skin can become firmer and smoother looking!

What are some ways that you’re supporting your skin after weight loss? 


  1. Anderson I. (1995). Zinc as an aid to healing. Nursing times, 91(30), 68–70.
  2. Beitner H. (2003). Randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind study on the clinical efficacy of a cream containing 5% alpha-lipoic acid related to photoaging of facial skin. The British journal of dermatology, 149(4), 841–849.
  3. Cleveland Clinic. (2016, March 17). An Overview of Your Skin.
  4. Drake, V. (2011, November). Vitamin D and Skin Health. Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute. 
  5. Galimberti, F., Mesinkovska, N. (2016, October). Skin findings associated with nutritional deficiencies. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine  83 (10) 731-739
  6. Goodman, G. E., Thornquist, M. D., Balmes, J., Cullen, M. R., Meyskens, F. L., Jr, Omenn, G. S., Valanis, B., & Williams, J. H., Jr (2004). The Beta-Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial: incidence of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality during 6-year follow-up after stopping beta-carotene and retinol supplements. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 96(23), 1743–1750.
  7. Holmes, A. M., Kempson, I., Turnbull, T., Paterson, D., & Roberts, M. S. (2018). Imaging the penetration and distribution of zinc and zinc species after topical application of zinc pyrithione to human skin. Toxicology and applied pharmacology, 343, 40–47.
  8. Kim, S., Kim, Y., Kim, J. E., Cho, K. H., & Chung, J. H. (2008). Berberine inhibits TPA-induced MMP-9 and IL-6 expression in normal human keratinocytes. Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, 15(5), 340–347.
  9. Kim, S., & Chung, J. H. (2008). Berberine prevents UV-induced MMP-1 and reduction of type I procollagen expression in human dermal fibroblasts. Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, 15(9), 749–753.
  10. Kim, E., Hwang, K., Lee, J., Han, S. Y., Kim, E. M., Park, J., & Cho, J. Y. (2018). Skin Protective Effect of Epigallocatechin Gallate. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(1), 173.
  11. Kuzma, C. (2015, December 22). 8 Ways To Keep Your Skin Firm As You Shed Pounds. Prevention.
  12. Lietz, G., et al. (2012). Single nucleotide polymorphisms upstream from the ?-carotene 15,15′-monoxygenase gene influence provitamin A conversion efficiency in female volunteers. The Journal of nutrition142(1), 161S–5S.
  13. Mailing, L. (2018, July 2). The 16 essential vitamins & minerals for gut & skin health.
  14. Mclintock, K. (2020, December 11). Is a Facial Massager the Secret to Firmer, Tighter Skin? We Investigate. Byrdie.
  15. Mori, M., et al. (2002). Inhibition of elastase activity by essential oils in vitro. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 1(4), 183–187.
  16. NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine, (2020, April 4). Resveratrol. Medline Plus.
  17. Prasanth, M. et al. (2019). A Review of the Role of Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) in Antiphotoaging, Stress Resistance, Neuroprotection, and Autophagy. Nutrients, 11(2), 474.
  18. Rucker, R. et al. (1998). Copper, lysyl oxidase, and extracellular matrix protein cross-linking. The American journal of clinical nutrition67(5 Suppl), 996S–1002S.
  19. Shunatona, B. (2020, May 4). Dermatologists Explain Why Vitamin D Is So Crucial for Healthy Skin. Byrdie.
  20. Shunatona, B. (2020, February 6). Dermatologists Love Resveratrol (Found in Red Wine) for Healthy Skin. Byrdie.
  21. Wintergerst, E. et al. (2007). Contribution of selected vitamins and trace elements to immune function. Annals of nutrition & metabolism, 51(4), 301–323.
  22. Zinder, R., et al. (2019). Vitamin A and Wound Healing. Nutrition in clinical practice: official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 34(6), 839–849.


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Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.


This episode is sponsored by Better Help, a company making private professional therapy affordable and available anywhere. In the last few years, I’ve realized first hand just how important it is to address the inner/emotional side of health, and Better Help is making this easier than it’s ever been my matching you with your own professional licensed therapist uniquely suited to help your specific needs. It’s not a crisis line or self-help, but professional counseling done securely online. It’s more affordable than traditional counseling with financial aid available. Since it’s online, you can connect with your counselor anytime without sitting in a waiting room or having to drive to an office. They have professional counselors who specialize in depression, anxiety, trauma, sleep, relationships, anger, grief, family conflicts and more and it’s available worldwide.  As a listener, you’ll get 10% off your first month by visiting Join over 1 million people who have taken charge of their mental health.


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Katie: Hello, and welcome to the “Wellness Mama” podcast. I’m Katie from and, that’s Wellness with an E on the end. And I am back today with a repeat guest, Dr. Stephen Cabral, who I really enjoy talking to. And we talk about how to lower your biological age, live longer, and look younger. And he gives a whole lot of really evidence-based ways to do this. And if you haven’t heard his first interview, I’d highly recommend it. But the short version is that he started experiencing a whole lot of health complications at age 17, saw over 50 different doctors, tried 100 treatment protocols, and still wasn’t getting any better. And then this began his research into alternative health and how he became well again and his whole entire recovery process. And that was when he knew that would be his life’s work as well.


And he has studied in the U.S. He completed his doctoral work overseas. And he studied with the top doctors, hospitals, and clinics in India, Sri Lanka, China, Europe, and many other places as well. And now his work is helping many others benefit from this knowledge as well. In this episode, we talk about how he read several books a week, fascinating new research in ways to live longer, and we go deep on a lot of these. He talks about the Big Rocks Theory of Longevity, how to pay attention to and interpret what all-cause mortality in research means, how we can reduce our chance of dying early by 80% by doing only four things, the one thing that increases cancer risk by over 4,000%, the movement metric that reduces all-cause mortality by 17% and it’s easy, his surprising take on alcohol, and the times you might want to consider reducing it as well as when it’s okay, how loneliness is one of the biggest risk factors in health, why genes play less of a role than we think.


And we talk about the whole equation of caloric restriction, time-restricted eating, fasting, etc., for longevity, and why sauna is perhaps the closest thing to a silver bullet we have for health and as an exercise mimetic as well as the sauna protocol that decreases cardiovascular risk by 63% and all-cause mortality by 40%, and so much more. I always enjoy talking to Dr. Cabral. He’s a wealth of knowledge, and he explained things so clearly. I know that you will enjoy this episode. So without any further wait, let’s join Dr. Cabral. Stephen, welcome back.


Dr. Cabral: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate being back.


Katie: Well, we’ve had such a fun episode before, and I think it really helped a lot of people and I’m excited to get to jump in for round two, and talk about lowering our biological age and for most people, what that looks like and looking younger, which is important to a lot of us. But before we jump into that, I have a note in my show notes that growing up, you read every single day, that you got this habit from your grandmother, and that you still read a couple of books a week. So I would just love to hear about this because I’m an avid reader as well, but not quite at that pace.


Dr. Cabral: Yeah. When I was growing up…we always watched TV when I was younger. There’s no doubt about it. We played video games and Nintendo and all those fun things in the ’80s and ’90s. But whenever I would go to Maine where my grandmother lived, there was no TV. And so, you know, we would play outside like kids and have a lot of fun, but when I would come in, I would watch her. She was always kind of curled up with this book and like, “What are you reading?” And she was like, “Well, today I’m reading this.” I was like, “Well, what do you mean? Is there gonna be a new book tomorrow?” And she gets to the point where she checks these books out the library and she would make a little checkmark in the back of the book to remember that she actually read this book because she was going through hundreds of books a year. So for me, I think that’s where I picked it up. And it’s just this love of knowledge. It really is a love of knowledge. I don’t read a lot of fiction. But I do love reading on all topics of health and psychology in the mind and just us as humans, in general. So yeah, it’s been always a love of mine.


Katie: I love that. And this is normally a question I ask at the end, but any that you’ve especially loved recently or that had a big impact for you.


Dr. Cabral: You know, there’s been a bunch of books that I’ve been reading lately more on genetics and a lot on like textbook-based, you know, we’re obviously, hopefully, coming out of the pandemic, but a lot on viruses and the mutation of viruses, the lifespan of viruses, some probably that wouldn’t be as interesting. But I just picked up Tony Robbins’ new book because I get a lot of recommendations from all the listeners of the shows called “Life Force.” And so I said, “Oh, okay, I’ll check it out.” He writes some pretty big books. So I just finished that one. And, you know, I liked it. So I think Tony is amazing, you know, absolutely amazing. Him and his mentor Jim Rohn, I think, are always very, very impactful. But it’s excerpts, you know, so what I like to do is go deep on things, not give the touches. So what I would say is if you’re reading this book, lots of great things to look into, but don’t kind of take it as, “Oh, I’m gonna do cool sculpting.” “Oh, I’m gonna do stem cell.” Like look into it, see if it is right for you, and then maybe make that next step.


Katie: That’s great advice. And now to shift into our topic for today, I know we’ve talked before, for you guys, we talked a lot about root cause and kind of the bucket effect of disease. And I’ll put that link in the show notes if you haven’t listened to it yet, it was a phenomenal interview. But today we’re gonna talk about longevity and aging. So to start broad, is there any new research, or what are you seeing in the research on things we can do to live longer?


Dr. Cabral: So there’s been a lot of research. I am a fan of Andrew Huberman, Dr. Andrew Huberman. I’m a fan of, well, a lot of people in this space, I don’t wanna like name, you know, a lot of individual names. But Dr. Sinclair, obviously, is one of those as well, and his research right down the street in Boston, MIT. And what they’re finding is, and this is the most important thing about aging and biological aging really is, is that there is no one factor. Meaning that we’ve been looking now for decades for the silver bullet, the one thing that if we figured this out, humans are going to be able to double their lifespan. Well, it turns out with all of the brilliant minds out there, all of the scientists looking at the cells and how they function, there is no one thing.


So if we now know that there is no one thing, we can say, okay, well, this kind of makes sense because there are many people living in many different ways who end up living at 100 years plus. And I would say 100 years is kind of that milestone now. Meaning that the average human lifespan really hasn’t changed too much. It actually dipped a few years ago from 78 for women and 75 for men to 74 for men and 77 for women. And we’re certainly keeping people alive longer through pharmaceutical drugs and medications, but not quality of life. But now what we’re looking at is we’re saying, okay, if you don’t die from one of the top four cause of mortality, which is in order, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, type 2 diabetes, and the fourth one being cancer.


So everyone has about a one in three chance of essentially dying from one of those four. And they make up those 75% of all the reasons why someone dies earlier than they should. Now, the amazing thing is all of those are lifestyle-based. Cancer is a wild card. I do say that to people because you could be living on a golf course, minding your own business, and you wake up every morning walking your dog and breathing in all of the pesticides, right? So it’s like, you don’t know that you could be living in power lines. You just don’t know that. So cancer is a wild card, but for sure, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes for the most part is lifestyle-based, meaning we can fix that through lifestyle medicine. And if you don’t die from one of those, your odds of living then into your late 80s goes up exponentially. So all of us should be able to live to our late 80s. Now the goal should to really be to break 100. That’s what I’m looking at.


Katie: And I like that you made the distinction between just length of life and actual that quality of life or healthspan piece, I often hear it called, because I think that’s an important distinction in this conversation is it’s not just my goal personally to live as old as possible, it is to live functionally and healthy as long as possible and be able to like throw my great-grandkids in the air, or whatever the case may be. So I think that’s a really important distinction. And so what are the big ways we can reduce…I know you said they’re lifestyle-based, these big killers for the most part, other than cancer, which is a little more nuanced. What are some of the ways we can improve our odds there?


Dr. Cabral: So John Hopkins…a study that just came out of John Hopkins University, I like looking at big rocks. So if your audience is familiar with the big rocks theory, basically, it’s like, how quickly can you fill up a barrel? What gives you the most bang for your buck? And so when you look at the big rocks, you’re saying, well, what reduces all-cause mortality? So whenever you hear all-cause mortality in research, I love reading research, all-cause mortality means from all causes of death. And for the most part, it’s those same big four. So accidents are a difficult one to prevent because it’s an accident, but it’s high up on the reasons for all-cause mortality. When we look at what’s preventable, well, you can decrease all-cause mortality by 80%. I mean, that’s absolutely phenomenal.


So that means you decrease your chance of dying an early death if you do one of these four things, ideally all four. The first is smoking. So that is the number one thing that you can do is not smoke. And that includes vaping because vaping is obviously becoming very popular. The problem with vaping is that there’s typically just as many chemicals if not more synthetic chemicals in a lot of these flavored-based vapes. So we’d be really careful with that. I know you can get certain extracts and oils more like a CBD or THC oil. It’s a little bit different, but for the most part, what they’re marketing to kids is flavored-based vapes and they’re very, very dangerous. The reason why this is so important is that if you wanna increase your odds for cancer by over 4,000%, you would take up smoking. And that’s because breathing smoke into your lungs is a known carcinogen. So anytime you breathe in any type of smoke, believe it or not, even just from a fireplace, it is a carcinogen. Now again, it’s nice to have a fire in your house, all that, but we do have to understand breathing in smoke increases our chances for cancer.


The second one is a healthy weight. A lot of people…again, I’m a huge advocate of knowing your body type, right? So there’s the ectomorph, there’s the mesomorph, the endomorph, and Ayurveda. They’ve known this for 6,000 years. It’s the Vata, the Pitta, and Kapha. Well, if you’re a Kapha or endomorph, you’re gonna be on the higher side of BMI. And that’s okay, right? That is totally fine. You’re not supposed to be the same body shape as Vata. And a Vata shouldn’t expect to be the same body type as a Pitta. We have individual body types. Now within that variance though, there’s about a 40-pound swing is what I’ve found overlooking at these charts. So a healthy 5-foot-8 person could be 120 pounds, they could be 160 pounds. That’s okay. Like, that’s totally fine for body type.


Now, what happens though is when the BMI does start to get too high, and I always get pushback from this from people in the fitness industry and I totally get it. I started my career as a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, and I totally get it because there’s outliers, right? So there’s outliers that are in great shape. And their BMI instead of being a 19.5 to a 24.9, maybe they’re a 28. And they’re in great shape and their body fat, let’s say they’re a female and it’s like 15%. And if they’re a male, they’re like 9%, 8%. Great. Okay. Again, as practitioners here, we need to talk to the 99.9% of people, right? We have to be careful that we’re always trying to placate to the 0.1% of people that are actually outside of that. For the most part, people lose muscle mass at an average of about a half a pound per year after the age of 27, especially for women and they’re gaining body fat.


And what happens is this alone increases chance for cancer. And it’s also increasing all-cause mortality from type 2 diabetes, overall inflammation, which we know is linked to 90% of all disease. So maintaining a healthy body weight is right up there as well.


Interrupt me if you would like to, but the next one in this list, again, decreases all-cause mortality, all chance of death by 80% is movement. And the movement is really simple. It’s 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day. I mean, that’s remarkable. We’re not asking for HIIT training right now. We’re not asking boot camps or CrossFit or even strength training, which I love, 7,000 and 10,000 steps per day decreased all-course mortality. And it was actually just 7,000 steps was a decrease by 50% to 70%. So just walking 7,000 steps a day.


Now for time-wise, that equates to about 70 minutes. I’ve found that it’s about 10 minutes to walk 1,000 steps on average for most individuals. Now, most individuals though only walk about 3,000 to 3,500 steps a day. So it’s a difference of just being on your feet 30 minutes more a day. Walk your dog more often, get out there, walk, you know, to lunch, whatever it might be is gonna help dramatically. My favorite one is taking a walk after dinner because if you go to bed without all that food in your stomach and you decrease postprandial, so your glucose after meal, that’s gonna improve all your factors as well, including sleep, which we’ll talk about in a little bit.


And the last one is this. There’s all this controversy about how to eat, but it’s always been known for a long time now that the only anti-cancer diet out there, the only diet that we know that is able to prevent all chronic disease is a diet high in brightly, colored fruits and vegetables. So 7 to 10 servings a day of fruits and vegetables. Feel free to eat all of them as vegetables if you don’t wanna eat fruit. You know, that’s a person’s prerogative, but it’s all those antioxidants, phytonutrients, and all the different colors. So anthocyanins in the blues, you wanna get a rainbow of colors. And this study actually just came out about 12 months ago that only 1 in 10 Americans gets one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables a day. And they counted French fries as one of the vegetables.


So imagine if they didn’t count French fries. And in schools, believe it or not, they count pizza as a…well, they counted as a fruit because, I guess, technically, tomato would be a fruit as one of those. And we wonder why again that two-thirds of all people have autoimmune diseases. Two-thirds of all adults are at risk for one of these mortalities. So again, I’m not against eating some good, grass-fed meat or pasted chicken or pasted eggs and wild fish and all these great things, but really, as humans, we know that eating a lot of brightly colored fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to live a long life.


Katie: So many important points you’ve just made. And a couple of follow-ups. I love that you brought up the colorful vegetables because ironically, this is one of my few memories of my great-grandmother who’d had no medical training, no scientific background, but she would always tell everyone, you gotta eat the whole rainbow every day. And she was big on fermented foods that were colorful and beets and like brightly colored fruits and vegetables. And I think there’s probably in some of these areas an intuitive knowing that goes back to our biology that we have maybe gotten away from. Also the walking tip, I wanted to highlight the after-dinner walk because there’s such cool research I know emerging about that. And a lot of people saying, including Huberman, that it is ideal to not eat for several hours before bed, but that walking can also help that window so that you digested much more before you’re actually sleeping.


As a follow-up to a couple of things, I just wanted to clarify on the BMI thing because I agree, I’ve heard the same arguments from the fitness professionals and I’ve been on a journey of getting a lot stronger. So I’ve seen my weight go up while my size has gone down and my body fat has gone down. So I just wanna make sure that’s not applicable to everyone, certainly, but for people who are in that category, they don’t need to worry from what I’m understanding if they have a higher BMI as long as their body fat is in a good percentage, their glucose is great, like, all their other measurements are within range.


Dr. Cabral: That’s right. So I know that a lot of practitioners listen to your show and a lot of people out there that do exercise, which is amazing. But when we look at the grand scheme of things, only 14% of people in the entire United States are said to exercise. And I even think that that number’s fairly high. I think it’s mainly centered in like big cities and not as a general rule around the United States. So the proportion of fat to muscle is a huge part of that. So no doubt about it. I’m just looking at general population when I say these things.


Katie: Got it. Hopefully, that percentage is higher with our listeners today, but a good consideration to understand. And on the walking tip, I think one of the best things I’ve ever done was integrate morning walks and evening walks because that morning walk, you get the bright sunlight as well, which has so many benefits. To just follow up on the smoking one, I hope we’re at a point in society where people understand smoking is not good for health and that doesn’t even have to be explained. But I know that there’s been some research on nicotine as a nootropic when used in other ways where it’s not entering the lungs. And I’m just curious your take on things like nicotine patches or gum when it’s not inhaled and affecting the lungs.


Dr. Cabral: Yeah. I don’t think that it does affect the lungs in that same way, meaning that… Let’s take smoke in general. So smoke is the carcinogen, but then in cigarettes, meaning in filters, like the cigarettes that are made today and I guess what they mix the tobacco with and vapes, they actually add synthetic chemicals that you’re breathing into your lungs, but even if it was straight smoke…and I mean, I like candles, we use some candles, so I don’t wanna sound like a hypocrite, but even smoke from candles is carcinogenic to the body. Any smoked meat is carcinogenic, anything smoked contains a cremalized and other things that can affect the body in general. Now nicotine by itself as a nootropic, I think it has some positive effects for some people. I think those people would be lower on the dopamine and lower on the norepinephrine that need it.


If you are already go, go, go, I don’t know if I’d want to be using as much nicotine. And I’m a big test first person because there’s so much that you can lab test right now, neurotransmitters and all that. And if you need it, I don’t really see an issue in it, but I’m always looking at root cause as well. Like, why might your neurotransmitters be lower? And then recreationally, if you just wanna use nicotine instead of alcohol when you go out every once in a while, then again, that’s your choice as well. Knowing why you’re using something and not just kind of going along with what’s popular is what I’m a big proponent of.


Katie: Very important point. And you mentioned there’s these cases throughout the world in various areas of people who live to an extremely old age and scientists have been constantly on the search for that silver bullet. And we’ve all heard of the cases of the woman who ate bacon and drank whiskey every day and lived into her 100s and also the Blue Zones where they eat a much more brightly colored Mediterranean type diet. But it does bring up the point of alcohol because certainly, this is a substance that is consumed quite often in our society, especially in the mom demographic, there’s lots of wine drinking often. So what do the statistics say about alcohol in our biological clock?


Dr. Cabral: So alcohol’s an interesting one and you can look at it as a hormetic stressor. So a little alcohol for the individual…so again, if you go overseas and you look how oftentimes alcohol was consumed, and I’m talking about like 2,000, 3,000 years ago as well when you look at how it was written in whether it was Vedic texts or traditional Chinese medicine, they would actually add herbs to it. They’d have 2 to 3 ounces as a meal as a digestive. And it wasn’t necessarily, and again, I’m not saying that they didn’t in ancient Rome or Greece or whatever use it to get drunk, but alcohol would often be a method in order to get other herbs or just like a tincture basically to get more nutrients into the body. And yes, it was used in ceremonies. It was more used community relaxation. So that’s a big part of it.


The problem is, is that what we try to do is justify what we enjoy and try to make it sense to be healthy for us, but it’s really not. So alcohol we know is toxic to the body. It’s simply by degree. For a lot of the women that we work with in our practice, especially in their mid-30s and up, it increases endogenous levels of estrogen. So it makes it much harder to clear the estrogen metabolites out of bodies. So we see that increase all the time with women. So then we see estrogen dominance, which is basically feeling lower mood, more depressed. We see more adult acne, especially around the jaw, the cheekbones, poor sleep, hot flashes, etc. Believe it or not, we see the greatest correlation with red wine. And when anyone makes a switch to either like tequila or a white wine, we oftentimes see less of that.


And the other thing though is in men, we see a decrease in testosterone. So there’s all sorts of men looking to do things that I don’t necessarily believe in at a younger age, which is a lot of this testosterone replacement therapy because, again, you never get yours back. I mean, if you start using testosterone replacement therapy in your late-30s and 40s, when maybe, you know, you could have waited another 15, 20 years and boost your levels more naturally, you know, that’s a factor as well. But in general, alcohol shuts down a lot of liver processes. It depletes your body’s levels of glutathione. It increases inflammation. And if you track your biometrics like I do, which is Oura Ring, I’ve got all sorts of straps and tests, you’ll see a marked difference in a decrease in deep sleep, REM sleep, your overall body temperature, as well as your heart rate variability. And these all factors that show a greater stress on the body. Anytime there’s greater stress, there’s a greater chance for heart disease, high blood pressure, and much more.


Katie: That was a great summary. One tip I’ve found from tracking my own data as well is if you’re going to drink, obviously, moderation is an important key and also it helps…I’ve noticed if I don’t drink within a few hours of bedtime, just like not eating within a few hours of bedtime, give the body time to handle it before you’re sleeping. It seems to help with the biometric side. When I look at the studies on Blue Zones and research that I’ve read on longevity, the one that I tend to point to if we’re gonna try to find a commonality in Blue Zones, I think is actually the community. And I’ve talked about this a lot, the importance of community, especially for moms, I think that’s a really important factor in today’s world. And I know you’ve talked about this as well, but let’s talk about things like loneliness and community and how those come into play for longevity.


Dr. Cabral: I think it’s an enormous factor. I really do. I think that that’s one of the overlooked factors. I use something in my practice called the de-stress protocol, diet, exercise, stress reduction, toxic removal, rest, emotional balance, scientifically back supplement, and success mindset. Well, if you look at stress, emotions, mindset, that’s three out of eight is all based on the mind. And that’s because we know that the mind influences the body. We know that our psychology can affect our physiology. So literally, we can change the way that our cells function by the way that we think. And we’ve seen that, and this is a direct quote, the highest in emotional loneliness, meaning like you don’t…a person can live by themself and not feel lonely. This is a very important factor. I mean, that’s huge. And you could live with someone and you could be around a lot of people, but if you feel lonely, that’s all that matters.


So those highest in emotional loneliness were the greatest risk for premature mortality. Meaning like out of everything, feeling lonely seems to be a huge factor because it leads to depression and it leads to a poor function in all facets of the body, and that includes the immune system. And the direct connection, and this also goes with social isolation. So think about the last two years, not even…again, a lot of people now are craving going back to events, they’re craving, you know, getting to see other people again. And this is a direct quote as well, but socially isolated lonely individuals are at risk for the development of cardiovascular disease, infectious illness, cognitive deterioration, which is Alzheimer’s and dementia, mortality. And it’s related to high blood pressure, C-reactive protein being elevated, which is acute-based inflammation, and many other metabolic-based dysfunctions.


So I think that this is something that especially if you’re a health practitioner, we need to begin to look at instead of just asking a person’s, you know, BMI, their diet, etc., is what’s their overall, you know, emotions like? Are they feeling lonely? It should be a question for sure that we’re asking.


Katie: Yeah. I’m glad we’re starting to see this talked about more and more, the importance of emotions in general and mindset in health. And I love that three of your eight center on that. Another area that’s gotten a lot of attention in the last couple of decades is genetics. And certainly, it makes sense that genetic components could come into play with longevity in both directions, in shorter lifespan and longer lifespan. But what are you seeing in the research on the genetic risk factors for disease?


Dr. Cabral: So I spent a lot of time about a decade ago really studying genetics, looking at how it affected overall integrative health and functional medicine, meaning how big a part of my practice should genetics be. So I would go deep into it. We used to run these amazing labs on looking at like a full single-nucleotide polymorphism. So it was basically all snips of all these individuals. We’d run it through all this fancy software before all these, you know, great labs came out now. But the truth is that your genetics do matter. So basically, they set the stage for your life, but it truly is the lifestyle that you’re living and then triggers that set it off. So there’s basically three parts to it. You might have methylation factors, which does not allow you to properly function in terms of overall inflammation in the body. So we can look at how DNA replicates. We can look at risk factors for Alzheimer’s, dementia. We can look at all those factors.


We have got how the body detoxes through specific pathways like COMT, cytochrome P450. We look at histamine issues in certain individuals with DOA pathways. But here’s the thing is that when we started to help people rebalance underlying root causes such as overall stress, such as gut dysfunction, like parasites and H. pylori and candida overgrowth and SIBO, and we started to decrease heavy metal toxicity, it almost didn’t matter what their genetics were. Meaning that if we got a person on methylated B vitamins, we did functional medicine detoxes, we rebalance their gut, we did heavy metal detoxes, we did all the things to make them a healthy human being and really empty that rain barrel, genetics didn’t matter whether we tested them or not.


So, although I am a proponent of knowing your genetics, I do not like to have people supplement based on their genetics. Meaning that we don’t know…like, so my genetics are the same now as when they were born. Now, when I was born, when I was 17, I had Addison’s disease, type 2 diabetes, myalgic encephalomyelitis, I think I said type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, but I don’t have them anymore but I have the same genetics. So what I’m saying is there’s an underlying root cause that sets off our genetics, which is called epigenetics. And I know that you’ve chatted with many experts about this in your show. So our goal is really to find out what are the underlying root cause even more so than what are our genetics because then we feel limited by our genetics, but certainly, we are not, we are not limited by our genetics in any way, shape, or form.


Katie: Another one that I know you’ve talked about some and I’d love to go a little deep on is the idea of getting to fasting, but before we even get their caloric restriction because it seems like there is a lot of data showing that caloric restriction, in general, tends to correlate to increased longevity. And there are people like Dr. Satchin Panda researching time-restricted feeding as a way of maybe shortening the window versus humans are inherently bad at eating less at any given meal, or even knowing how much they ate any given meal. But then also there are various forms of fasting beyond just time-restricted eating. And I know these all have a different place kind of in this health equation, but how does caloric restriction/fasting/time-restricted feeding come into play with the longevity piece?


Dr. Cabral: The research on this is amazing. I mean, it really is. Like, if you like to geek out on science and you love researching antiaging intermittent fasting, this is where it’s the most interesting. But the funny thing is they were talking about it 6,000 years in Ayurvedic medicine. That’s why I do have to give Ayurveda it’s due because there was just a research study, I talked about this on my show, that there’s continuous energy restriction. This is going on a diet and decreasing your calories by 500 calories a day, okay? So there’s that. Then there’s intermittent energy restriction. This might be 2 days a week dropping your calories by 800 calories to 1,000 or not eating that day, or just 2 days a week of just you’re getting the same decrease, what’s the math, 3,500 calories a week, but it’s on different days.


Well, after 12 weeks, what they found was that the people on the continuous energy restriction lost more muscle than they did body fats. And so it actually decreased their metabolism. The people on the intermittent energy restriction maintained muscle and lost body fat and improved overall inflammatory markers. I mean, it was remarkable. We want to decrease calories overall. Like, that’s 100% true, meaning that the only good research we have is to be basically on a hypocaloric diet, just a little less than you need to take in per day. We have animal studies on it. We’ve got human studies. It looks good for sure. Now, one thing I wanna share with you is all of this gets ramped up by a factor of about three if you add two to three days of strength training a week to it because then you can actually go… So if you do 16 hours a day and you’re not strength training, without a doubt, most of the weight that you’re losing is muscle mass. And those studies are really well done because they did the same exact study twice.


The first group lost only about 3 pounds in the time period, which is obviously not a whole lot of weight, but…well, actually they lost 2.5 pounds. They lost 3 pounds of muscle mass, put on a half-pound of fat. That was with weight training. The next time they lost the same amount of weight and this was with weight training. And it was just like a standard circuit. That’s it. Like, bench press, light press, it was just standard. And they ended up losing all body fat. So it’s remarkable what a little bit of weight training does to the body.


Now, you’ve mentioned twice basically, stop eating more hours before bed and 100% true. We have fasting upside down in the West. We really do. It’s like completely backwards. And that’s because we’re all skipping breakfast. Well, not all of us, but a lot of people are skipping breakfast because that’s the easiest one to skip, right? You just have a cup of coffee, you have plenty of energy because you’ve just caffeinated yourself. Cortisol levels are through the roof. And you’re good to go. You’re like, “I’m not even hungry.” Well, that’s because you’ve stressed your body. So you’re not in the parasympathetic nervous system, you’re in the sympathetic nervous system so there’s no hunger, you know, hormones being generated there, which is not a good thing. And then we eat from what, like 12 to 8. And so you’re eating a couple of hours before bed or maybe right before bed, which, again, if you track your biometrics, it is one of the worst things that you can do for good quality sleep.


So if you flip that upside down, I’m not saying skip dinner, but if you can finish dinner three to four hours before bed, you don’t have to take my word for it. Track your biometrics for a week having dinner when you typically do, then stop eating four hours before bed, go for a walk just like you stated right after dinner, you will see your sleep number skyrocket. It’s the number one thing that you can do.


Katie: Yeah. I think it makes a huge difference. I know Satchin Panda recommends maybe give yourself an hour or two at the most in the morning after waking up before coffee, even which is a hard one for Americans as well and before food to let those cortisol patterns play out before you just bombard them. And then really, like he said, ideally, if you can stop dinner by 6 and then go for a walk, he said the same thing. That makes a huge difference. And if you do track it with things like Oura, you see that play out like very, very clearly over and over and over.


I’m also excited to see in more female circuits now, there is more of this focus on adding in strength training and not being afraid of strength training. And instead of…it used to kind of be like the diet culture and they would talk about depriving the body, and now it seems more balanced in feed the body the right nutrient-dense foods in the right window, make sure you’re actually fueling it enough and getting enough protein to support lean muscle mass, and then add those strength training workouts.


But I didn’t know the statistic was that drastic as far as fat loss versus muscle loss, which we also know is tied to longevity as well and that maintaining lean muscle mass is really important.


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Another one that I’ve said is the closest I personally know of, of a silver bullet to helping with some of these things is sauna use, which also has a very long history of use. And now is very trendy in the research as well. But it’s something that I’ve prioritized making a big part of my routine. And I would love to hear from you about how sauna comes into play and what the statistics actually say.


Dr. Cabral: Yeah. This has been one of my big ones for a while. So, I mean, you can only do so many things in your life, right? You know, you can only go all in, especially when you have family with like, well, what am I gonna do? I have to do this. I have to do this. I have to do this. It’s a lot. So what I ask people to do is just choose two or three of these that make the biggest difference. And in my opinion, fasting has to be one of them. So for us, we make it really easy in fasting. We just say 12 to 14 hours a day, typically from like 6 at night to 8 in the morning. Can you do that? If you wake up at 6, just… I haven’t even heard Satchin’s interview. So I’ll have to check that out, but we recommend, I guess, the same thing. So basically, wake around 6 to 7. Don’t eat for a couple of hours. That’s your cortisol awakening response anyways. But the problem is though, so think about it, if your cortisol awakens your response, highest levels of cortisol from the day are typically between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.


It varies just a little bit based on season, sunrise, etc. But then a lot of people are doing their workout for the day fasted in the morning, and they’re maybe doing like a sauna afterwards, and they’re doing coffee. So you’re just dramatically spiking your stress hormones, which is going to overtime decrease your thyroid metabolism. It’s gonna decrease your progesterone levels in women and you’re gonna end up with estrogen dominance. Men are gonna end up with lower levels of testosterone. It’s not ideal. In the beginning, sure, you feel fantastic. But again, over time you begin to break down.


So the studies on sauna though are remarkable. And the nice thing about sauna is it can act as cardiovascular work too. So a lot of people aren’t talking too much about that, but you’ll burn on average the same as you would on a light jog for the same amount of time in a sauna because that thermogenic effect, it’s heating up your body, your body then is increasing your heart rate, and you’ve gotta work than on its own to be able to bring that down and cool itself.


So the best research is on Finnish saunas right now. That means a sauna, you’re gonna get in. It’s about 165 to 185 degrees. It’s a dry sauna, not a steam. And you’re gonna be in there for somewhere around 20 minutes, maybe a little bit longer. It just depends on the heat. The higher the heat, the less time you have to be in it. And what they found was that if you can sauna…now, even two to three times a week works. Now they did this again. This is on tens of thousands of people in Finland. And they’ve done this study now multiple times. Originally, it was just done with men. Then they did it with men and women, and they saw the same remarkable results. The biggest one is this. They decreased cardiovascular disease by 63%. That is a silver bullet. That’s without changing diet, without exercising, without doing anything different except 4 to 7 sauna sessions a week for 19 minutes. That’s why I call it, 19 minutes a day. That’s really what you’re looking for.


So that was cardiovascular disease. There’s no statin drug. There’s no medication that touches that. But the most amazing was that 4 to 7 times a week…well, first, 2 to 3 times a week only decreased all-cause mortality by 24%, and 4 to 7 times a week decreased all-cause mortality by 40%. That’s one thing only. You don’t change your diet, you don’t exercise, you don’t do anything, and you decrease all the chances of dying essential, all the top four, by 40%. I found that to be remarkable. And that is why everyone deserves to purchase a sauna and use it four to seven times a week.


Katie: Yeah. That was the one we definitely like budgeted for and made a priority in our family. And I love that you brought up that 19-minute sweet spot, which seems to be where those benefits kick in and especially at the heat. And that was the thing I noticed in the research as well is there’s all this talk of infrared saunas. I think they’re great as well, but it actually the heat that’s the mechanism. So you wanna make sure you’re getting the right heat and the right length of time in whatever kind of sauna you’re in, but the research is on the more dry saunas.


I’m also glad we talked about all these foundational things that are largely free before we get to the more fun stuff like supplements. But I think often there’s this tendency of people wanna look at the fun supplements or the fun biohacks or the expensive things, but getting those foundational pieces in place first makes those things more effective and also you can’t out supplement a poor diet or no sleep or all those things. But I know there is also a lot of research about supplements and certain ones tied to longevity. People have probably seen some of these in the news or in different articles I’ve written even. But what are some of your favorites when it comes to supplements for longevity?


Dr. Cabral: Yeah. And I do love nutritional supplements. I mean, they help me bring my body back to life because a lot of times when your body’s pushed too far in one direction, food alone, I know a lot of people don’t like to hear this and I’m a proponent of food first, it’s not enough to push you in the right direction because when your digestion is so weak, you’re not producing enough stomach acid, your body’s not producing enough enzymes. You get bloated with everything you eat. You need to give your body the nutrients that it’s missing for life. I mean, that’s just the bottom line. And, again, you can test these right at home at-home lab tests and you can figure out all these things, but… And again, the antiaging herbs and nutrients are there now. We do know quite a few of them.


Before we get to those, I always like people to know that if you’re not using a good activated multi or daily nutritional support or something that has methylated b’s in there and some antioxidants and all your nutrients, not megadosing, I don’t believe in megadosing for life, I believe in a small amount to cover all your bases, that’s crucial for making sure that your genes have everything they need in order to function.


The next one is an omega-3 supplement. And there’s a lot of controversy over this, which is for the most part made up controversy. I mean, it really is. It’s on polyunsaturated fats that have been oxidized, and we’re certainly not recommending polyunsaturated fats that have been oxidized. But when you look at the research on omega-3s, it’s a mountain of data. And just a 1% increase in omega-3s in your blood has been on average equated to about five extra years of life. I mean, that’s pretty remarkable. I mean, that’s a 2,200-person studies.


So I’m a big proponent of omega-3s. Not megadosing, again, I’m talking about 2 grams a day, maybe 3 max. That’s it. Not 18 grams a day, not 20 grams a day. If you’re eating sardines, mackerel, wild trout, wild salmon, or anchovies, all of those can count as your omega-3s. So if you don’t wanna supplement, that’s okay as well. If not, get a cold process, so it hasn’t been heated, triglyceride bonds, good quality EPA. So double the EPA to DHA for those results. And the last one is going back to the beginning of what we talked about for are you getting seven to nine servings of brightly colored fruits and vegetables a day? Because you have to be honest with yourself. You may not eat them. Like, my dad is never going to eat vegetables. Like, that’s just the honest truth. He’s almost 70. He’s just not gonna do it.


So what does he do? A scoop of daily fruit and vegetable blend powder. That’s it. You have to know yourself and you have to get those in. Is that as good as fruit and vegetables? No, I’m not saying that it is. Is it a good second best? A hundred percent. There’s no doubt about it. Then after you cover your foundation, your basis, and you can, if you’re low on magnesium, you’re gonna take some magnesium. You know, again, you can balance things out, but now when you wanna get into the fun things, it’s like, okay, I’ve earned them, right? I’ve worked on my sleep. I’ve done my sauna. I’ve done these things. Okay. Now we talk about things like NMN, right, nicotinamide mononucleotide. I’m actually, and so is David Sinclair, I’m more proponent of NMN than I am of straight NAD or NR.


And the reason is I’ve always been a fan of giving the body the precursor and then allowing it to decide how much it wants to make, instead of telling the body, hey, here’s, you know, 20 grams of glutathione or here’s 5 grams of nicotinamide riboside. Obviously, nobody’s using 5 grams, but like 500 milligrams. Because when you start to see the studies now on NR and some of the other ones with high dosages, they don’t look good. And the reason is that you’re telling the body what to do and you’re also megadosing. So we know that the body needs NMN to essentially feed the production of NAD and that allows us to better replicate DNA, which is huge. Another one’s trans-resveratrol, again, David Sinclair’s a big fan of this as well, so am I. It’s a powerful antioxidant.


Now, it was essentially worthless to use 10 years ago, but now that we have the trans-resveratrol form, we actually have an absorbable form that helps to protect the DNA again and act as an antioxidant and scavenger of free radicals, so it can help with the overall inflammation. There’s two more that I’m a fan of. Well, I mean, there’s things like PQQ that I’m a fan of. Helps with blood sugar, helps with mitochondria, but the other one’s astragalus. Astragalus has been used for thousands of years in TCM and Ayurveda. Helps with immune system, helps regulate TH1, TH2 immunity, helps with blood sugar, helps with the liver, helps with all bacterial pathogens in the body.


And then one more I would look into is proteolytic enzymes. We use proteolytic enzymes all the time in our practice. We use them sometimes as biofilm disruptors. Other times we take them in to go and scavenge bacteria to help people with autoimmune-based issues, etc. So that can be bromelain, it could be ginger, it could be true proteolytic, like proteases, serrapeptase, nattokinase. And if you’ve never heard about these, they’re absolutely remarkable for people’s health.


So when you start to use all of these products, you can actually see, and we’ve really figured this out now, that aging is essentially like a battery. So the more inflammation you have, the weaker your mitochondria gets, right? So that’s why a lot of people who got the virus…we won’t get banned here, so we’ll just call it the virus. So the people who got the virus, they ended up having a ton of inflammation and they ended up destroying a lot of the mitochondria. And now they end up with what? Post-viral inflammatory syndrome, right? Long haulers-based issues. So what happens is the mitochondria get weak and the mitochondria weak, then your body creates more inflammation because you cannot battle inflammation with weak mitochondria. So what it comes down to is balancing inflammation, balancing mitochondrial health and energy, protecting your DNA strands. And that is the best information we have right now on how to use nutritional supplements for antiaging.


Katie: Yeah. It’s exciting to see us understanding more on that mitochondrial equation because it makes sense that it produces literally our energy in the body. And so that would be a very important thing that comes into play. And to your point, just to highlight some of this supplement, there’s some controversy, especially with older ones, but we have forms now that are different than they looked 10 years ago. And as technology and research gets better, these are much more available and less expensive than they used to be as well. Any other tips that you would add on to a longevity program once people have dialed in diet and movement and sauna and all these other steps that we’ve talked about?


Dr. Cabral: Once you’ve had fun if you are, you know, in the biohacking or biotracking-based community, I like biotracking probably a little bit more, and you start to learn more about yourself, you realize that to a point that this is who you are, you’re maximizing your potential, but also you need to then start moving more towards, okay, I’m not gonna fixate on whether my HRV was a 58 today or a 65, right? And oh, what did I do wrong yesterday? You just realize like, okay, there’s 365 days in a year. You’re gonna have highs and lows. What we really wanna be looking at is, well, what are the big movers, right? What are the big drivers? And it’s going back to a lot of those Blue Zone-based philosophies. It’s are you enjoying life, right? So if you have to really and truly kill your body in order to get to a 24 BMI, that’s not worth it, right? It’s not worth it. Stay at a 25.5. Enjoy your life. Decrease stress to a bit.


You might find out in 18 months now what the mover was for you that allowed you to then to drop another point, but it’s just not right now in your life. So you don’t need to exercise three hours a day, go keto, not eat for 16 hours and destroy your thyroid. That’s unimperative. So we need to look at all factors of overall health. And part of that is truly well-being, and that’s well-being of your mind as well. So I say increase, like, look for things that you enjoy in your life. Not all in on work, all in on your health even, but what is your purpose as well? And that gets to a little bit of a deeper level. Like, why are you here? You know, what is your purpose? Is there a true potential that you’re reaching for? And I would say, just look at what are the major stress triggers in your life?


And if we can begin to just decrease those one by one or even become more self-aware that they are triggers for us, and we can begin to reframe how we look at it because sometimes it’s difficult to get rid of family or certain friends or even a job. And so you start to reframe and say, “Well, you know, maybe this person was in my life for a reason, or maybe I can learn from the situation, or maybe I get to do this instead of I have to do this.” Like, all of these other ways of looking at things, believe it or not, sometimes that does more for your biometrics, like HRV and lowering that breath rate and all of that than any of the supplements or anything else could. That’s how I tend to look at it. And once people get their body rebalanced from a health level, that’s where we move people to. So we basically help people transform the body, transform their wellness, then work on antiaging, you know, with things, you know, like the mitochondrial cell boost, stuff like that. And then we move to, okay, now you’re good. There’s no more to work on. Like I literally have to tell my type A wellness clients like there’s no more to work on. All right. That’s it. We’re good. You’re good. Let’s move on now to the overall health and well-being of life.


Katie: Yeah. I think that’s a really important point as well. And the idea that, especially when it comes to some of these like exercise, there is a sweet spot and more beyond that point is not always better and it can become counterproductive and move from hormetic stressor into actual stressor. And like you said, stressing out your thyroid or creating hormone imbalances are things you definitely don’t want. And I think, yeah, often in the biohacking community specifically, there can become that hyper-focus on getting all the variables perfect that actually takes away from the enjoyment of life. And that circles back to that idea of healthspan and enjoyment versus just lifespan. You want both. You don’t want just to live a long miserable life, but a fulfilled long life.


And I’m also glad you brought up stress because that one seems like the toughest variable for a lot of people to conquer in that we know it’s bad for us to be stressed. We see that play out in disease and there seems to be a tie in there. But I think that one is often the hardest one for people to really work through.


Dr. Cabral: I agree. And that’s because it’s tied to so many of life’s most important things to them. And so that’s just why I say, you know, if we can reframe it sometimes or we can just move in a better direction. And so a part of that comes from after you’ve worked on the body, you’ve worked on the health, we really need to work on the mind and there’s just so many great things that you can do there in terms of self-improvement. I talked about Tony Robbins, I’ve talked about Jim Rohn, I’ve talked about Dr. Joseph Murphy, I’ve talked about neurolinguistic programming. Interfamily systems is a huge one. I don’t know if you’ve had anybody on talking about that, but that’s just such an amazing thing that clients of mine have talked about and said, I’ve got so much improvement from doing internal family systems therapy that, you know, they wanna pass it on.


And then there’s, of course, then psychedelic medicine, which I have not begun to explore yet, but many people have, and those have held many answers for people too. So I think that there are levels to this, and I think that you need to get there. You can’t force yourself into it. Some people force themselves to get there and they’re just not ready yet. So I always say, start with the body. You can control the body much easier than you can control the mind. Once you have control of your body, you’re feeling overall like you have energy, say, “Okay, now I’m ready to explore new things because I have the energy and the attitude in order to get there.”


Katie: Yes, that relationship very much goes both ways. And when you reduce the things that are harmful to the body, you actually are relieving a lot of that stress as well. I’ve told people that before as well, it’s like, you may not be actively getting chased by a tiger, but if you’re being exposed to a lot of harmful to things in your environment, your nervous system, your body is under stress. So you may not feel mental stress, that doesn’t mean your body is not undergoing that stress. And I think I also talk about not just the diet we put in our mouths, but diet we put in our mind. And I think even though I have a presence on social media, I think we could all reduce our social media use. And I’m a big fan of turning off the news entirely and forever and not letting that just kind of like constant stress cycle be an input in your life.


And to circle all the way back to the beginning, I think another thing that comes into play here is the mental diet that we have and reading books that inspire us or that teach us something or they open up new ideas and knowledge to us that also comes into play in that stress equation and that mental diet.


Dr. Cabral: One hundred percent. And the amazing thing about reading is that if you’re reading a book, you’re gonna find two to three books that are mentioned inside of that book that then lead you to the next one to read. That’s why people ask me like, well, how do you read a couple of books a week, and the reason is that I’m reading a book and they just shared an author or a study. You just shared a few interviews. I’m like, “Oh, now I know the next thing.” And so that is like, when you allow life to basically unfold in front of you without having to figure out every single step and everything, you know, being so stressful, then you can really begin to enjoy, I think, to a different level as well.


Katie: A hundred percent agree. And I’ll put a link. I’ve compiled all the book recommendations from now well over 500 guests that have been on this podcast, as well as the ones that have really been impactful for me. And I agree with you. I have the opposite problem where it’s hard…I have so many books I want to read that it seems like there’s never quite enough time to read them all at once. This has been, as it always is with you, such a fun conversation. And I think we covered a tremendous amount of ground in not even quite an hour yet. Any resources you would recommend for people, whether through your work or anywhere else to keep learning on this topic or to start learning more if this is new to them?


Dr. Cabral: Yeah. So I have a podcast, the “Cabral Concept,” and there’s over 2,000 shows now. It’s a daily show. And so what I have is a search box at, where people can really type in any keyword they want, whether it’s hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, Addison’s, rheumatoid, migraines, it doesn’t matter. And there’ll be some shows on that that gets people started. So my goal is to say there’s no way that we can solve all the world’s problems in 45 minutes, right? That’s not the goal. But the goal is to say, was something new today? Did you learn something new that then engages you where you wanna explore that to a greater degree? That’s always my hope. And so whether you listen to the podcast or any other great podcast and the great guests that you’ve had on, that’s a great way to do it. My book is “The Rain Barrel Effect.” If people haven’t read that, that’s a step-by-step playbook of how we get sick, how we gain the unhealthy weight, and how we begin to age at a much more rapid rate, and how to undo that. Those two places are probably the best two places to get started to learn more about this integrative health-based approach.


Katie: I love it. And as people can probably…I know if they haven’t listened to your first interview, I highly recommend it where you talk about your own recovery from a host of different things. And as they can probably hear from your voice in this interview and your enthusiasm, your huge amount of boundless energy, and you have a daily podcast and you do all the other work that you do in the world. So you are walking proof that these things work, and I’m very grateful that you spent time with us today. Thank you for explaining everything so clearly and bringing such a fun conversation.


Dr. Cabral: It was my pleasure. Thank you so much again for having me on.


Katie: And thanks as always to all of you for listening and sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us today. 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.


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Katie: Hello, and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. I’m Katie from and And I am here with repeat guest Beth O’Hara who, in this episode, we talk about mold toxicity, detoxification, and recovery. And Beth O’Hara is a Functional Naturopath. She specializes in complex chronic cases of mast cell activation, histamine intolerance and mold toxicity. And she is the founder and owner of Mast Cell 360 which is a functional neuropathy practice that looks at all the factors surrounding health conditions, genetic, epigenetic, biochemical, physiological, environmental and emotional.

And we go deep in this particular episode on the topic of mold toxicity, all of the things that come into play when it comes to mold toxicity, how this relates to chronic Lyme and to mast cell issues. And then we get specific on how to detox mold, how to avoid it, and some hopeful news why 99% of people who have mold issues in their home don’t actually need to leave their home or move out. And she goes really specific on the different ways that mold can be addressed and how people individually can handle that based on how their body is responding. So lots of very specific research and info in this one. And let’s join Beth O’Hara. Beth, welcome back.

Beth: Thank you so much. I’m really excited to talk about this with you today.

Katie: I am too, and we’re gonna go deep on mold toxicity, but before we jump into that, I have a note of my show notes that you do your own dog training and that your dog has a vocabulary of over 100 words. And I would just love to hear more about this.

Beth: Oh my gosh, that’s actually true. Well, I have two dogs, but the one that loves to do training, she’s a Belgian Shepherd, and we got her into agility because she’s frighteningly smart. And if I don’t make work for her to learn, you know, tricks to learn and things like that, she’ll make her own work, which is never good with your dog. So she knows over 100 words. She can jump up and touch. She knows in between touching my hand or tap something, or she knows to go touch something if she wants her leash to go outside, and she’s pretty smart. We actually have a really funny story where I had trained her to ring bells to go outside, and she’d just gotten tall enough to put her head on the kitchen table. So then she trained me because she rang the bells. I had put my dinner down, went to the door to let her out, turned around and she’d run over and was eating my dinner. So that was the end of the bells.

Katie: That’s so funny. And your dog is definitely more well-trained than my dogs. That’s inspiring. But the issue we’re gonna go really go deep on today is the topic of mold toxicity. And for anybody who hasn’t listened to our first episode, we talk a lot about mast cell activation and histamine. That one will be linked in the show notes as well. But I know you have a personal experience when it comes to mold toxicity. So let’s start there.

Beth: Oh my gosh, Katie, well, when I was seven, we moved into the country in this old farmhouse and it seemed like it was gonna be this great adventure. And it was a lot of fun, you know, being that age and being out in the country. I’m in my 40s, this was in the early ’80s. Nobody was talking about mold. Nobody was even talking about Lyme. And there was a lot of mold in that house. Unlike most people who have mold exposure, you never see the mold, but we did have a lot of mold there. And it wasn’t until I was much later in my life that…and my parents still lived there, and they found out that there was mold all under the crawl space, just that black Stachybotrys mold that’s really toxic. But when I was young, my health just started deteriorating.

I never could keep up with my peers. I really wanted to play sports, but I couldn’t, I didn’t have the energy for it. And on top of this, I was kicked in the head by a horse. So I had this brain injury that I couldn’t quite come back from. I started having chronic fatigue, a lot of muscle pain. I had other pain from that accident. By the time I got into college, my health was completely falling apart. And I had gone to doctor, to doctor, to doctor, nobody knew what was going on. I couldn’t sleep. I would have hives. I had rashes, I had eczema, I had serious GI issues. I had a lot of brain fog, and I was so dedicated to going to medical school, but I had to just finish out my bachelor’s. I barely was able to finish it out and become this chronically ill patient.

I saw over 75 practitioners, nobody was looking at mold. They figured out I had Lyme, actually Lyme, Bartonella, and Bejia, but I couldn’t even tolerate the treatments for that. So it was just this terrible situation to be in where what we thought would get me better, I couldn’t tolerate. I got so sensitive. I couldn’t even take supplements. I couldn’t take medications. I was down to 10 foods. My whole body was just falling apart and the pain was horrendous. The sleep issues were probably the worst. I’d rather have pain than severe insomnia. And a lot of people can relate to that. And my clients tell me the same thing. But finally, I realized when I saw the best functional medicine doctor I could get to, did everything he knew how to do. And at least he told me, and he was honest, and he is like, “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.”

I thought, “Oh my gosh, if he doesn’t know…” And this is before telehealth, so now you get access to all kinds of people, but back then it was who you could drive to. And this person was an hour away, which was really hard to do being severely chronically ill and at times bedridden. But, I realized I’m gonna have to figure this out. And I started studying and learning, and I had the pre-med background to fall back on. And when I landed on mold as being the root cause, it was causing this chronic fatigue, was causing these GI issues, I had severe estrogen dominance. My menstrual cycles were horrible. They would lay me flat for three days. The brain fog, the anxiety, the panic attacks, all of this started making sense and tying together and why the mast cell activation was so out of control. That was a big missing piece and starting to address that is what got me my life back.

Katie: Yeah. And you mentioned this wasn’t very well known when we were younger. People weren’t talking about mold toxicity. It seems like they are more so now, but I would guess there are still a lot of people who maybe are encountering mold who don’t know and aren’t looking for the symptoms that would be kind of indicative of that. But how has mold become such a big issue, or is it just that we know more about it now?

Beth: It’s a great question. It is a combination. So, one, we have more awareness. We need a lot more awareness than what we have right now, but it is getting on the radar finally. There are some things that have worsened the amount of mold people are exposed to. So used to, people didn’t really get mold toxicity unless they were in a situation I was in, where they were in a historic home, they had these huge levels, but we’ve had mold. As long as human beings have been on the planet, mold’s been here way longer, and we’ve never not had mold around us. But there are some things that are quite different now. One is that we don’t have the detox capacities that we used to have. We’re surrounded by chemicals. We have chemical levels we’ve never had in the past. And these chemicals have to use some of the same pathways that mold use.

So just a very starting point, we’re seeing generationally, our starting point in terms of how well we can detox, we’re going backwards, backward, and backwards, and we can see that in the studies of the toxins and the cord blood of newborns. One of the other issues is that we had these building code changes, one in the ’70s and then one, again, around the year 2000. So homes are being built tighter. This is great for energy efficiency, right? And we need to do some things about energy efficiency. But one of my favorite sayings was from psychologist named Clare Graves, who said, “When you solve one problem, you create new problems,” and that’s what’s happening. We’ve solved this problem or we’re solving these problems of energy efficiency when we’re trapping the moisture inside the walls and the humidity in the houses.

And we even saw that. Our house was built in 2000. And when the first summer came, could not keep the humidity under 50%, no matter what we did. And we’re in a human region, most of the U.S. has humidity other than the desert areas. So we’ve got this humidity issue, we’re using fungicidal paints. And when we use fungicide paints, sounds like a great idea, but what we’re finding is happening is that these molds are responding by becoming…they’re going on the defense, they’re producing more mycotoxins, and those paints are actually killing off the weaker molds that would out-compete the more toxic ones like Stachybotrys, kind of like what we’re doing with antibiotics.

The last one is that we are actually observing in the presence of Wi-Fi, mold becomes more toxic. That’s the biggest one that goes on the defense, becomes more toxic and reproduces faster in the presence of Wi-Fi because if something’s not been recognized by mold, so they’d cease it as a threat. And this has been observed again and again, again by environmental mold experts. So, a big issue with why all of a sudden we have this big jump in mold toxicity from, say, when you and I were kids, and I was the only person I knew that was chronically ill for most of my younger years, to now, it’s just huge amounts of people that are chronically ill. More children are chronically ill. It’s an issue in schools, it’s an issue in work buildings. There have actually been studies on this showing that up to 85% of workplaces, over 50% of homes, and over in the ’80s, they showed over 30% of schools had toxic mold. And now that we brought the Wi-Fi in, those studies need to be redone because it’s even bigger issue.

Katie: Wow. And that makes sense why we’re seeing a rise in this right now. What kind of symptoms does mold toxicity cause? I know it can be really wide-ranging, and that often the symptoms are the way that people find out that there’s a mold problem in their home even to begin with. But what should people look for and how would someone know if they’re experiencing mold toxicity?

Beth: We’re looking for any variety of inflammatory-type issues. Now, when we’re talking about mast cell activation, we have to think about what’s triggering that. So, is there mast cell activation issues? Are people having skin issues? So I’m gonna go system by system. Skin is the biggest detoxification organ in our bodies and the toxins come out through the skin. So people may have rashes. They may have issues like psoriasis. I’ve had people who had fungal colonization on their skin. Their skin was peeling off in sheets. That’s rare, but that can happen. What you often see, though, is hair loss, a lot of hair loss can get kicked off by these kinds of inflammatory triggers. Then if we think about the GI tract, these toxins are getting dumped into the GI tract. And we have to remember, this is not like a bleach kind of toxin.

I mean, bleach is not great, but they use these mycotoxins for chemical warfare. They’ve used these for some of the harshest chemotherapy. And these are quite severe in our bodies, what they do. So we can have in the GI tract, is it stumbling through all kinds of inflammatory GI issues? I’ve seen people develop Crohn’s or have flares of Crohn’s. It’s been linked with issues like diarrhea, constipation because this can shut down your motility. We can have stomach acid issues. In the respiratory tract when we breathe these mold toxins in, they’re very irritating, so we can have breathing issues, and we can have issues with sensitivities. They can cause quite a lot of nervous system problems. So, in the nervous system, in that category, we’re looking at anxiety, we’re looking at depression, sleep regulation issues, having trouble with chemicals, smelling gasoline or bleach, making you much more sick than anybody else around you.

And then with the reproductive system, some of these mold toxins are highly estrogenic, particularly zearalenone acts just like an estrogen in our body. We get a lot of those estrogen dominant type symptoms in women, PCOS, menstrual pain, flaring, cyclical flaring depending on when estrogen is more dominant than progesterone. And then the other thing to know is that aflatoxin and ochratoxin are very carcinogenic, and they’ve been linked to the vast majority of cancers that are out there. So I see people that have had these what seem like unusual cancers in their 20s and their 30s or their 40s, even children developing cancer from these. And fortunately, I have not developed cancer, but something that’s very heavy on my mind that I’ve got to really work on this cancer prevention because I actually ended up with about 30 years of mold exposure between that early home, other places that I rented, and then an office that I was in for 10 years.

So that’s just a sampling, blurry vision. People can have vision issues, sinus swelling, congestion can happen. Tinnitus is really common, ear ringing drives people crazy. That’s one of the things that people have the most trouble with. Heart palpitations, and, you know, again, that’s just a sampling. Joint pain, muscle pain. It depends on where people’s weaknesses in their body is and which mold toxins they have, what their particular constellation of symptoms are gonna look like.

One of the telltale signs, though, not everybody has this, but is an internal vibration. The only things that really cause that most commonly anywhere mycotoxins are Bartonella, and this can look similar to Lyme, or these tick-borne infections. The other is these lightning bolt pains or ice pick pains people describe. And these are actually nerve pains where it’s triggering the nervous system. And a lot of people think that they still have Lyme when they really have mold. I’ve seen a number of people who did years of antibiotics. They did IV or oral antibiotics, herbal protocols, and the Lyme is actually wiped out. It’s gone, but they still have symptoms. So the practitioners just keep giving them Lyme protocols, they don’t know what else to do, and understandably. But there’s this mold layer most of the time that we find in these chronic Lyme cases with people who aren’t improving.

Katie: Yeah. And you mentioned the Lyme connection a couple times. And so you’re saying a lot of people who are struggling with chronic Lyme actually might have mold as a potential root cause of that issue or at least why they’re not able to work past it?

Beth: Yes. So mold is going to really wipe out what’s called the Th1 side of the immune system, and that’s our bacteria, our virus side, and that’s our mold and other fungal species, candida killing side of the immune system, so smart strategy on the part of mold. Then when we start to lose that immunity and we get…then as that immunity comes down, chronic inflammation, the Th2 side goes up, that opens us up to all kinds of infections, Epstein-Barr, tick-borne infections, COVID, things like that. It makes it harder to fight things off. And I see two categories. Either people feel like they catch everything, and they’re sick a lot, or they never get sick, which is not a good situation either because that means our immune system isn’t launching this kind of response. So if we wanna repair the immune system, if we have mold toxins, we’ve gotta pull those out of the body, then the immune system will kick back in. And I find that about 30% to 40% of people actually clear tick-borne infections on their own. Now, the rest 60% to 70% may have to go on and address it. People almost always clear Epstein-Barr and these herpes viruses that affect the nervous system like HSV6, and even parasites, people tend to clear parasites if you get this mold layer out of the way.

Katie: And you also mentioned mold being a trigger for mast cell activation. I know we did a whole podcast on that that I will link to, but just talk about that connection a little bit more as well.

Beth: Yeah. So we’re talking about this Th1, Th2 system, so Th1 pathogen killing immunity coming down, this Th2 inflammatory side coming up. Mast cells are part of that Th2 response. They are going to have some activity early in with infections to try to get rid of this initial infection and then they should calm back down. But if we can’t get rid of the underlying infections, underlying toxins, then mast cells are gonna become chronically activated. When they’re chronically activated, that’s when they start to get dysregulated. Mast cells’ job is to create inflammation to protect us from toxins from pathogens, help us with injury wound repair. They also come on the scene when we’re stressed. And we think evolutionarily when we had the highest stress was when we were running away from a predator, we might be getting cut up or we might have been in a, you know, some kind of fight or something, so they’re gonna help with that wound repair.

We don’t have that really much today, but if we’re stressed, the mast cells in that level, they don’t know the difference between you just were chased by a bear and you just got cut off in traffic and you’re stressed about paying your bills. So they’re gonna launch that same response and it all can snowball into this multi-systemic inflammatory situation. So not everyone with mold toxicity and Lyme has mast cell activation, but a good percentage of them do, particularly people that have these sensitivities to supplements or meds, chemicals, foods.

Katie: And it seems like the big first step in this is obviously identifying the problem, which on its own can be a little bit difficult at times because the symptoms are so wide-ranging. It can be hard to identify even a source of mold in the home or environment in someplace. But then that would lead to probably what is an even bigger step, which is then how do we deal with this problem once it’s been identified? And I know there’s a lot that goes into this as well, as well as things you’ve written about that need to be done before someone jumps into an intensive detox protocol. So let’s talk about a little bit about solutions now. If someone knows or is aware of mold toxicity, what’s the first step?

Beth: Yeah. The first step is actually to get out of the environmental exposures. Now, sometimes that’s gonna take a long time. So I wanna encourage people to have patience. And that’s the hardest step for everybody. It’s overwhelming. A lot of people end up feeling like…they’re almost traumatized by trying to figure out what to do by this. So, one, I just wanna assure people that 99% of people don’t have to move out of their homes. And there’s a lot online about you just have to leave everything behind and go live in a tent, you know, in the desert. That’s not practical for most people. It’s not sustainable for most people. Most mold can be cleaned up. And we’ve had mold issues in our home, we’ve remediated those, my clients remediate, I’ve less than 10 people they’ve moved out because it was gonna cost more to remediate than it was going to buy a new place or move.

But we wanna reduce that exposure ongoing. And there’s lots of ways to do that. While that’s going on, so, just really wanna curtail, don’t wait to address this until you get out of mold. Particularly in this kind of economy and where we’re waiting six months for contractor, you don’t wanna be waiting that long to take care of your body. So, in people who…I think about people having different kinds of constitutions. So there are people who just can take anything, they can take a ton of glutathione, doesn’t phase them. That’s not who I’m talking about here. They can do the more intense detox protocols and they’re gonna be fine. What I really work with are the people that they’re struggling to take things, they’re struggling to detox. It’s backfiring on them, it’s making them feel worse, and they have to come from a different approach.

Those people, it’s really helpful to start actually with calming the nervous system and doing things that settle the nervous system down. Anybody with chronic illness has this kind of fight or flight response that they’re in, they are vibrating, there’s a lot of medical trauma in this population again for very good reasons. And to settle all that down in a way that communicates to the cellular level of the body that you’re safe, that you’re in a safe place to be able to start to detox. Their bodies can be in, if we think about it very simplistically, fight or flight, which is our sympathetic rest, heal, digest parasympathetic. But these modes can’t operate simultaneously. And so we’re fight or flight and we’re not healing, or we’re healing, but we have to calm the fight or flight to be able to do that.

And it’s really important that people realize, and most people have no idea how much sympathetic activation they’re in, but you can get clues based on how rapidly do people talk? How does their voice sound? Does it sound calm and soothing, or does it sound strained? What level of tension it hold in their body, how much tension they hold in their jaw, around their eyes? Eyes will be hard when we’re in fight or flight. And there’s lots of ways to calm the nervous system, but there are two main branches of this, one is the limbic system, and this is the center in the brain that controls fear and emotions and looks for pattern recognition. So that’s gonna be very involved insensitivities. An example of this is that I was in India many years ago, and I actually got dysentery. I was very sick. I know where I got it. I got it in an Italian restaurant. But by the time the symptoms caught up with me, my friends were bringing me Indian food, and I associated being that sick with the Indian food.

And I still have trouble with Indian food to this day. My limbic system made up, did this pattern recognition around Indian food, although that was kind of incomplete. It wasn’t completely correct. So sometimes we have to reboot or reprogram these limbic system patterns. And that’s very important around sensitivities to supplement, to medications, to foods. So limbic system is protecting us, we’ve gotta calm it down. And there’s some great programs for that. But they’re very targeted, not anything’s gonna do that. We have to use the limbic program. Then the vagal nerve is the other side of that. The vagal nerve is really dysregulated by mold toxins. Also the limbic system, they’re both affected. Vagal nerve is gonna control sensitivities as well, sleep, anxiety, depression, and big for a lot of people in this population. Things like heart palpitations has their own blood pressure, motility, big role in constipation.

So a lot of times when people are just doing magnesium, they’re doing the 5-HTP, they’re doing bitters, all these things that you might do for constipation, it’s not resolving, the vagal nerve hasn’t been addressed. So we can address that from a signaling perspective in terms of helping calm it down from specialized listening programs, not a YouTube meditation, but ones that are developed for the vagus nerve. And sometimes people have to get some work done up here at the top of their neck to release it because if we have…the neck is out of alignment up here to put pressure where the vagal nerve comes out. So those are great starting points.

Then when people are in this, what I call either the super sensitive or sensitive complex population, we move into mast cell supports, and that’s to calm down some of this overactivation. We don’t wanna wipe the mast cells out entirely, just wanna settle it down a little bit.

And the mast cells in the nervous system are actually in constant communication. They’re mast cells that are nerve ending and the nerves’ nerve endings release neurotransmitters that talk to the mast cells, the mast cells are releasing mediators that talk to the nervous system. So if we work on both those angles, we can start to relax the nervous system, calm the mast cells, bring this inflammatory load down and this whole hypervigilance that’s happening in the body, in these situations, relax all of that. And that lets people start to tolerate and take things they need to take. Then I take them through step by step process where we start very slowly with binders and we target those for the type of mold toxins they have.

And that’s why the testing’s important, both to track the patterns of excretion, when are we gonna be done with this, and to also really precisely home which binders, which liver support’s gonna help that person. And then some people have to go on and do antimicrobials if they have mold colonized in them. So that means it’s actually growing in them. So if we have that situation, they’re variety of herbals that can help. Some people need prescriptions depending on how significant that is. But the key is slow and steady and never going into being flared, never pushing into these detox reactions because that is gonna be registered as a threat again for the nervous system, the mast cells. And then we start these downward spirals. That’s the big picture view of it.

Katie: So it sounds like there is a very much individualized treatment plan that you’re gonna wanna follow based on actual testing like you said, and that like in many areas of health, but especially here more is not better. You don’t wanna just find out you have mold and just throw everything at it at once because you’re more likely to actually create the opposite and create more stress in the body and make healing slower, it sounds like.

Beth: Yes. So it’s really important that people try one thing at a time, introduce things. I like for sensitive people to start with what I call sprinkles, so they just open the capsule. Sprinkle means the equivalent, like a few grains of salt, and get that into the system. Let the nervous system and the mast cells experience it in a way that feels safe because, again, those are looking at safety and when they get hypervigilant, you’re gonna start to target everything as a threat. So if we’re sensitive to get things on board, we have to kinda slip underneath that hypervigilance with these little sprinkles, let the body experience it and go, “Oh, okay, I didn’t die from that. I wasn’t in bed for 24 hours. Maybe that’s okay. Let’s try two sprinkles tomorrow. And then three sprinkles.”

Now, some people can go faster than that. Everybody’s different. And they have to see what their body will let them do. But for the super sensitive people, if they’re extremely sensitive, we can do a sprinkle in water, stir it, and they start with just a little sip. Sometimes that’s the way we start getting things on board, but we can’t just throw in very sensitive people these big combo formulas and things like that. Now, I don’t want to give people the impression that they can do just a couple things and they’ll get it through because this is hard to get… It’s not necessarily hard, it’s just it’s gonna take work to get through, and it is gonna take layering things on overtime. I just wanna shift the body and the direction needs to go with a feather and not a sledgehammer and layer in the things that are gonna be supportive, gonna be helpful and support the body in this right order of operations.

That’s what makes all the difference with people who are sensitive. Now, again, people that aren’t sensitive, they can go in there, they don’t have mast activation, they can start some binders, make sure you’re targeting to the mold toxins so that you’re not missing things, get those liver supports on board. If there’s colonization, move into these antimicrobials, and then they can go faster. But we have to listen to the wisdom of the body and the rate that it’s gonna be comfortable going. That’s the real key, not to set up kind of an outside timeline that’s not respecting that natural wisdom of the body.

Katie: That makes sense. And you use the term mold colonization as well. And it sounds like that’s when the mold is actually, like, active within the body, but can you just differentiate mold toxicity versus mold colonization?

Beth: Yeah. So mold toxicity is where we’ve inhaled… Usually, we inhale the mold toxins. They can also come through our skin, but we’re inhaling them. Anything that we inhale through the lungs is gonna get into the bloodstream. Then we get these mold toxins in the bloodstream and they are fat-soluble, so they’re gonna be stored in the tissues. And that’s important when we talk about testing that these are stored in the tissues. They’re not freely circulating for a long period of time in the bloodstream. And then mold colonization is where we actually inhale or consume the spores and they colonate within us. Just like you can get a bacteria growing in you or a virus, mold can grow in you as well. Most common way is that we inhale it through the nose, it populates the sinuses. And anybody with sinus congestion, we have that post-nasal drip and we’re swallowing that mucus.

So we swallow it and then it’s down in the GI tract and populating the GI tract. It can colonize in the lungs. It’s very rare, doesn’t happen very often at all for it to actually take up residence in the lungs. But I’ve seen it a lot in the sinuses, a lot in the gut, in the ears, also in the vaginal canal. Some people have these really stubborn vaginal yeast infections they just can’t get rid of. Well, sometimes it’s not candida, and they might have it cultured, it’s not candida, it’s not bacteria. It may actually be a mold species. So I’ve seen that happen before as well. One of the things to keep in mind is that…and this is why I see mold as a more primary issue to chronic Lyme. Now, acute Lyme, somebody needs to treat that right away as quickly as you can, but we have these chronic Lyme, chronic Epstein-Barr. Viruses and bacteria, they weaken our bodies, but they wanna keep us alive so they can keep replicating.

Molds decompose. So if we think about the role of mold in nature, and you have that loaf of bread that sat too long or that orange or that apple and starts to grow mold on it, and everybody’s seen what that looks like, or if you’ve got nature and, you know, mold is in the fungi category, so you get mushrooms growing, there’s a huge tree that fell down in my backyard and there are all these interesting mushrooms growing on it, that’s breaking that down. And what they do is they release different kinds of types of enzymes, proteases, amylases, hydrolysis, and they are breaking that tissue down to get the nutrients out of it for their own survival. That’s what they’re doing in our bodies. So if we have colonization, we have to get it addressed. We have to get rid of it. It’s very different than having an Epstein-Barr virus and letting it go dormant.

And with these molds, if they’re growing in us, they’re going to keep producing mold toxins inside our bodies as well. So we could have the whole environment cleaned up and still have a huge mycotoxin load if we’re not getting rid of those. So what I encourage people if they think they have that colonization, to keep going, if they’re not getting rid of the mycotoxins with binders and liver supports to keep going in that phase. And about 70% of adults with mold toxicity are colonized. Generally, if you’ve got this long exposure like I had, you’re gonna have colonization. If you’ve had a short exposure, you may not be colonized. Children, though, are less often colonized. So the statistics actually reversed, and children are about…only about 30% are colonized. Seventy percent are just the mycotoxins, and that’s much easier to clean out. Children usually bounce back quickly with this.

Katie: That’s good to know that kids bounce back quickly. It makes sense. They tend to do that across the board.

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And you’ve mentioned binders, and I’d love for you to kind of explain… I mean, the name suggests what it does, but maybe what are some of the common binders and, like, what would you use in combination with people once they’ve identified the problem?

Beth: Yeah. Well, what’s interesting about the thing, binders is that these binders don’t…they don’t grab onto the toxin and just hold it. They really do what’s called adsorption. They don’t absorb it, they adsorb it, which just means there’s like a type of attraction. And you can think of it like a sock. They get stuck on your clothes when you pull them on a dryer, that’s static clean. So they can fall off as well. The reason that’s important to know is that these mold toxins are very complex structures and lots of surfaces. So one of these binders will have an affinity or an attraction to one side, and then one will have an affinity or attraction to another, and then this side, and then this side. The more sides we can cover… We know something’s gonna fall off along the way, but if we can cover more sides with using a variety of the binders that we know target these particular mycotoxins, we’re gonna do a much better job and a much more efficient job moving those out.

And I do wanna tell people before you start binders, make sure you get the constipation resolved. Don’t take binders if you’re not having a bowel movement. So the way that everybody remembers this is when I tell them no poop that day, no binders. And people will remember that. So not all binders work the same with all mold toxins, they’re all quite different. So just some examples, trichothecenes are one of the most mast cell triggering of the mycotoxins, and they will be bound…this little category, they’re produced by that black mold Stachybotrys, and charcoal, clay, chlorella, and there’s a type of fibre that comes from konjac root called propolmannan. These work for those trichothecenes rhamnosus works for that. And this is all out of the studies that have been done.

I was on a research team with Dr. Neil Nathan and Dr. Joe Mather, and we’ve worked out some models for this, some tables for this. So a different one, gliotoxin, it can be bound by the bentonite clay and a little by this propolmannan. The Saccharomyces boulardii works for that. And Saccharomyces boulardii will also work for aflatoxin and another one called zearalenone. With the aflatoxins, you can use clay, you can use charcoal, you can use chlorella, but then that zearalenone, the charcoal, and the chlorella really don’t work. Clay works very well, the Saccharomyces boulardii, and then we can use zeolite. And there’s a Probiotic called L. rhamnosus that the cell wall of it will actually bind trichothecene and zearalenone.

And then there’s another one that’s really common called ochratoxin. So charcoal is helpful for that, that propanone can help, zeolite can help. There’s possibility of seeing some studies maybe for clay, but the best binder for that is actually Welchol, which is a prescription binder or cholestyramine, but we don’t see Welchol cholestyramine in the studies or clinically clearing these other mold toxins. So this just helps people see, and I know people probably want these tables, so we have them on our website, the mold section, people are welcome to access them. They’re free for anybody. And that we don’t wanna try to use one single binder or just one type of combo binder. This precision approach works much better for people.

Katie: And I know people will be curious if, and I’m sure it’s very individualized, but how long typically into mold treatment do people start to feel better a little bit or see result? I know it’s an ongoing thing until the problem is completely resolved, but do people start to feel better pretty quickly?

Beth: Yeah, it depends which category people are in based on that sensitivity level, first of all. So let’s say they’re easy and they just have mold toxicity, no colonization. They’re probably gonna start to feel better within about three to six months, and they’re gonna be done the fastest. They’re gonna be able to onboard things very quickly, get this mold out, to tolerate a fast rate of detox. Then if we have somebody who is let’s say they’re sensitive, but they can take some things, we’ve gotta spend time with the nervous system, we’ve gotta calm those mast cells. And they only have mold toxicity, no colonization. May be looking at a year and a half to three years for them. Somebody is extremely sensitive, they’re in that super sensitive category, and when I meet them, they can’t take any supplements, they can’t take any medications whatsoever, we may spend six months just settling the nervous system and getting them out of whatever exposure.

Some people, it’s taken a year before they can start the detox protocol and they may be longer. So they may be looking if they don’t have any colonization, maybe about three to four years. Now, when somebody is in that super sensitive category and they have colonization, we may be looking at five or six years. So the key is the patience and really listening to the body’s pace. And one of my favorites sayings is if we try to go too fast, it’s gonna be slower. But if we go slow and we take our time, it’s gonna be faster in the long run. I really encourage people to keep, like, a journal and to track what they’re onboarding and the rate and their symptoms so that if they get into something flaring them, they can roll it back. That’s very helpful, saves them a lot of time in terms of how long this is gonna take, and to just listen to their bodies, to settle into it’s okay for this to take the time that it takes. It’s not a quick fix. Some people can guide themselves through particularly if they don’t have that colonization and they’re not super sensitive, but a good number of people are gonna need a guide in this area.

Katie: That makes sense, especially with something this specific that has so much nuance in recovery. And I would guess even during those timelines, people probably feel better in stages before the end of that time. And so even if someone might not be fully recovered for years, they might start to see changes along the way.

Beth: Absolutely. Yeah. I don’t want people to think they’re…it’s rare. It does happen. It’s a small percentage of people that they may not feel well until all the mold is out, but the vast majority of people are getting steady progress as they go. And just my own self, I’ve had the third-highest mold toxin levels I’ve seen in my practice, huge amount of colonization. And, you know, I’ve been on this road for a long time, but I’ve been doing very targeted mold detoxification for three years. And I had come a long way, but when I started that, I could only do about 15 minutes on the treadmill. I still had a lot of chronic fatigue and that was slow. I can do an hour at a good pace. I’m not running, but I’m at a good walk. And I’ve got my brain back. I don’t have anxiety. I sleep really well every night and I’m still not done. I still have some ways to go. I’ve got my histamine tolerance back. I can eat good variety of foods. I’ve got some FODMAPs to get back on board, but that’s an example of how things can improve along the way.

Katie: Awesome. And I know you have another engagement right after this, so respecting your time, I don’t wanna take too much more time from you. But the last couple of questions to wrap up, I know I’ve asked you this probably before in our first episode, but any books that have had a big impact on your life, either throughout the course of your life or lately that you would recommend?

Beth: Gosh, you know, there are so many, but, lately, I’ve been thinking back. This was one I read a long time ago was “The Four Agreements.” And it was so instrumental in my chronic health because I kept whipping myself and telling myself, “Well, you should be able to get more done.” And I’m not a lazy person. I’m an overachiever. So it helped me soften my language and be more loving to myself. And I think that’s always a nice one to go back to and remember that the words that we use even to ourselves are very powerful. So it made me shift from going, “You should be able to do this,” to going, “You can do this,” just break it down little steps and kinda being my own cheerleader.

Katie: I’m a big fan of that book as well. I’ll make sure it’s linked to the show notes for you guys listening along with, I mentioned, your first episode. For people who either aware of that they already have mold toxicity or think that they might and need a starting point to jump in for more information, where can people find you online and where would you recommend starting?

Beth: Well, we have a website called mast, M-A-S-T, cell360,, tons of free resources. There’s a whole mold section on there. And we talk about environmental mold, lots of great tips for people. It’s all free. We talk about the overall picture of detoxification. Binders are all on there that we talked about and these binders by mold toxins. And then if people are looking for more in-depth information, I put a course together called the MC360 Precision Mold Master Class. And there are two levels. There’s a basic for people who are just learning about the stuff, the brain fog, they don’t want all the science lectures, just wanna get to it. And it takes people through if they have that mold toxicity. Then the advanced level gives all the science lectures. You don’t have to listen to them, but they’re there, and it takes people through the colonization and lots of troubleshooting as well, so different options for people.

Katie: Wonderful. I’ll make sure those are linked as well for you guys listening while you are driving or exercising. All that along with the show notes for this episode will be at And, Beth, I know how busy you are. Thanks for your return appearance today, and for sharing more wisdom with us.

Beth: Thank you so much. I just really appreciate all that you do with helping us get this info out for people who are suffering.

Katie: Thank you. And thanks as always to all of you for listening, for sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us today. 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.


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Katie: Hello and welcome to the “Wellness Mama” podcast. I’m Katie from and, that’s “wellness” with an “e” on the end. And this episode is about one of my favorite topics, which is oral health, with someone I’m very excited to chat with today. I’m here with Dr. Mark Burhenne, who is the creator and author at And he’s also the best-selling author of the “8-hour Sleep Paradox.” He is a family and sleep medicine dentist who appears a lot on TV, radio, and in magazines and media. And we get to go deep on a lot of fun topics today, including some of the big problems in current dental care modalities, the difference between functional dentistry and conventional dentistry, what the oral system connection is, and why what happens in your mouth affects your whole body. How 70+% of chronic disease has a connection in the mouth. The reason that many oral health products that you might be using can actually damage the oral microbiome and lead to long-term problems.


We touched on the very controversial topic of fluoride and why he is adamant that you should avoid it, especially in your children, including things like it can reduce IQ by as much as six to nine points, how the process of getting cavities is similar to the process of metabolic disease, what to know about root canals, why brushing and flossing are not the only answer, and why diet is actually more important, including some of the supplements that can be helpful.


And then we also talk about something called hydroxyapatite, which is the main ingredient in a toothpaste I formulated that’s available at Wellnesse. And we talk about the science of what makes this ingredient so unique and more beneficial than fluoride, as well as being completely safe. And we talk about the remineralization process and how hydroxyapatite can be very supportive of this remineralization process and of the oral microbiome. He’s such a wealth of knowledge. We’re definitely going to do a round two if you have specific questions, but I know you’ll enjoy this episode, and I will have links to a lot of the things we talk about in the show notes at, as well as a link to that hydroxyapatite toothpaste, and charcoal toothpaste and soon, children’s toothpaste, so that your family can try them. But without any further ado, let’s join Dr. Mark. Dr. Mark, welcome. Thank you so much for being here.


Mark: Katie, I’m very excited. Thank you for having me on the podcast.


Katie: I’m so excited too. This has actually been a pet research topic for me for over a decade now. And I’ve read a lot of your work. And I’m so excited to get to really delve and go deep on some of these topics today. I feel like my audience is pretty well versed in some of the basics of this because I’ve been talking about oral health for so long. But I also feel like you have such cutting-edge info that you explain so clearly. And I want to make sure we get to kind of delve into all of these different topics.


To start broad, though, I feel like it’s worth it to build a foundation of maybe what are some of the things to be aware of that are not optimal in conventional dentistry as it stands right now, and perhaps even through the experience of going to most dentist and getting pushed things like mouthwash and fluoride. And I would love for you to just unpack some of these broad things, and then we’ll go deep on them.


Mark: Well, I’m glad we can talk about that. It’s one of my pet projects. But first of all, I wanted to thank you. And whenever someone’s talking and emphasizing oral health, I am just so excited. And I just want to reinforce that. So thank you for all the stuff you’ve done. I mean, obviously the toothpaste and fluoride-free toothpaste with hydroxyapatite. So all that oral research you’re doing and attention to oral health, thank you so much. Because part of the message at Ask a Dentist, our team at, is oral health. You can’t achieve overall good health without addressing your oral health.


And that kind of is what functional dentistry is all about. And that’s where conventional dentistry has kind of been, you know, tardy on. I mean, they’ve just kind of missed the boat. And again, when you come out of dental school in the U.S., you come out as a very skilled clinician. And we need skilled clinicians. I guess the analogy would be like Western medicine, as opposed to functional medicine or integrative, whatever you want to call it, holistic. You know, when you fall or you get involved in a car accident, I’m saying, we need Western medicine. We need great clinicians.


Same thing in dentistry, things happen to the mouth. We fall. You know, you’ve got kids. You know how often that can happen, especially boys. You know, they chip their teeth. The teeth fall out on the pavement as they’re falling off their bicycle. I’ve seen all of this. We need the clinicians. And we’re lucky in the U.S. because we have great training. We have some of the best dentists in the world. Some will say they are the best dentists. So that’s important. But again, one of my pet projects, and we have a directory on our website, and I talk about it almost constantly, is this concept of functional dentistry. And, you know, we can do a deep dive on it if you want. It’s more of a global approach and it includes overall systemic health.


There’s this oral systemic connection where what happens in the mouth can affect the body. I think it’s something like 70% of chronic diseases are related to oral health or have a oral bug, you know, bacteria from the mouth, involved in the mechanism of that chronic disease. I mean, it really is a big player and it doesn’t get a lot of attention. One of the reasons is that medicine and dentistry, there’s a big schism. They parted ways, I think, in 1839. And so a lot of physicians don’t know a lot about oral health. A lot of dentists, unfortunately, don’t know about overall health. And because they’re so well connected, and this is where functional dentistry comes in, it makes that connection. One of the principles of functional dentistry is collaboration between a perhaps a functional MD, but I work with a lot of conventional MDs as well, and a dentist.


I mean, gum disease contributes to CRP. I’ve worked with cardiologists before. In fact, I had a cardiologist call me and just chat me up for about an hour because he wanted to learn a lot because what he found out is that he was treating a patient with stents and had chronic heart disease, cardiovascular stuff going on, and CRP was high. But what he didn’t know is that, and what I knew as a dentist, was that the CRP was elevated because the patient had gum disease. So here he is trying to bring down CRP with all the things that he can do, not knowing that periodontal disease was a big contributor and, of course, gum disease. There’s a connection between gum disease and heart disease.


So that’s one of the big principles of a functional dentist is that they see the mouth, they don’t treat it or work in a vacuum, they see the big picture. You know, there’s so many connections between oral disease and systemic disease. And it’s called the oral systemic connection. So, functional dentistry, you don’t get this in school. It may be mentioned, currently. Back in my day, it was never mentioned.


The only connection that was mentioned in dental school was if a patient comes in with rheumatic heart disease or some scar tissue in the heart, you have to pre-medicate them because after a cleaning, the bugs can get into the blood supply, which is typical, it’s called the bacteremia. And it’s safe if you’re healthy. And it can settle out on that heart tissue, and you can die from that. So you would pre-medicate the patient. That was about as much of an oral systemic kind of connection that you would get in dental school.


And so, you know, it’s also talking about the oral microbiome, facial development. I mean, toxins that dentists are putting into mouths. It’s being against fluoride and knowing that fluoride can affect the fetal brain. So that’s functional dentistry. And you can see I get all excited about just talking about it, right?


Katie: Yeah, and I definitely do too. As I started doing a deep dive on this, it really blew my mind how there was actually so much evidence that kind of was in the face of what a lot of what is talked about in conventional dentistry. And so, I’d love to start going kind of line by line and picking apart some of these things.


Let’s start with the oral microbiome. Because I think most people are well versed in at least the idea of a gut microbiome and the gut-brain connection and how our gut impacts all aspects of health. This has been talked about a lot. And I feel like the oral microbiome is starting to be understood a little bit and talked about, but it’s still definitely not anywhere near as well known. So talk to us a little bit about the oral microbiome and how it’s so important.


Mark: Yeah, thank you. The oral microbiome, it’s huge. It’s very important. And unfortunately, to get it to be more known, we kind of ride the coattails of the gut microbiome. And you’re right, most people know and have heard about the gut microbiome, not everyone is up to speed on it. They don’t know what to do about it.


But what they don’t understand is that there are a lot of biomes throughout the body. You know, the armpit has a biome. There’s a vaginal biome. There’s a nasal biome. There’s probably a brain microbiome, they’re saying now. So we’re a bunch of these biomes, these communities of bugs. The bugs outnumber our actual DNA. And they’re all communicating with each other. That gut is the big one. The oral microbiome is considered to be second in size. I don’t want to say importance. We don’t want to go there because they’re all important. But in terms of size, and contributory kind of emphasis or mechanism, it’s huge because it’s in front of the gut microbiome. It’s upstream.


It’s the headwaters. As my friend and researcher Cass Nelson-Dooley would say, who wrote a great book. I can give you a link for that. What I think is probably the best first book to go to on oral microbiome, whether you’re a provider or a practitioner or a lay person. It’s important to understand, and she explains it very well, that the oral microbiome, which has many niches, you know, the tongue, the tonsils, the nasal, I would consider that to be part of the oral microbiome as well, all of that is linked directly to the gut microbiome.


And it does what the gut microbiome does. It’s important for immune defense, processing things, producing things like nitric oxide. And these bacteria, like in the gut produce, you know, different vitamins, same thing in the mouth, given the chance. But the oral microbiome is in that pole position and is susceptible to the mouth being open and all the things that we put in our mouth. I think the gut microbiome is a little bit more insulated. It’s way downstream. It’s dark. You know, by the time stuff comes in through the gut, it’s been processed a little bit.


That’s not so in the mouth. We can talk about that later, like toothpastes, and detergents, and soaps, and pesticides, and mouthwashes. And, you know, by the time that stuff gets to the gut, it may have an effect, but the mouth gets the brunt of it. But the oral microbiome is this combination of bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast cells. Some of them are really bad. You’ve heard of them before – Strep mutans, E. Pylori, the one that causes ulcers, Candida. And they’re all there. They’re all there. But they’re there for a reason because they do all the things I just mentioned.


But the minute that they start becoming more pathogenic, and that happens because the populations grow and outnumber and push out, they become more pathogenic. They push out the more commensal bacteria and the commensal bacteria are the ones that are trying to get along and work parties to produce this stuff like nitric oxide and immune defense and remineralization of teeth, the oral microbiome is responsible for that as well, which protects the teeth. That’s what the oral microbiome does.


But the minute those bacteria, even good ones that become too dominant but certainly the bad ones, then all hell breaks loose. And then it leads to oral health issues: oral disease, gum disease, cavities, all of these things. So very similar to the gut microbiome. It’s interconnected. It feeds to it. There could be a two-way link. We’re not sure about that. The link upstream and how it affects the gut is very well known. Of course, there are a lot of details that are not known.


And there’s very little, I mean, when it comes…we understand it. We’ve identified it. We’ve identified all the bugs. There are about 700 species in the mouth, but we don’t know what to do with it. And that’s something else we can talk about it. And everyone has a different oral microbiome. There’s a lot of variation between people. That’s the other complicating factor. So again, it’s this organism that, I don’t like to say it’s hitching a ride, other practitioners will say that, I would say that we are a super organism. And it’s a combination of our human DNA, and all this other stuff that’s in the gut, in the armpit, in the hair, the scalp, and all that. And if it works well together, it’s an amazing super organism.


Katie: That’s such a great explanation. And I think that really helps hone in on the idea of this bacterial balance, which then brings the question of, part of this equation of oral health is not just cavity focus, which is where I feel like the conversation can often get caught up in traditional dentistry. Like, I’ve heard it explained that there’s this whole balance of bacteria. And when you have one out of balance, you could get cavities. You might have another one that’s out of balance that leads to gingivitis. And it’s not about spot treating the bacteria, just like in medicine, functional medicine. It’s not about spot-treating a symptom. It’s about figuring out this holistic balance.


And I think this brings up the question of then, what are some of the common practices that people are doing that are actually, like, very overtly disrupting this gut bacteria? I know, there’s a lot of directions we could go here. But I would love to touch on specifically, maybe some ingredients in regular toothpaste, mouthwash, and fluoride, especially, which is, I know a little bit of a controversial one, but I think a really important one, especially when we’re talking to moms.


Mark: Yeah. And the brain health of fetuses and infants certainly, we’ll end with that. Yeah, so you’re right. The oral microbiome is there. It’s important. It’s complex. But as it turns out, for decades, actually centuries, dentistry, and the companies that provide oral health products, I’m not going to pick on anyone, the one person I want to not blame is the end user, you know, the patient, because, as a profession, we’ve been pushing all these products that actually are damaging the oral microbiome.


So now that we know about the oral microbiome, in reflection, in retrospect, if you’re willing to look back and learn from our mistakes, all this stuff that’s being sold to us, it’s snake oil, it really is. I’m talking about Colgate, Crest, GSK, Glaxo Klein. I mean, these are big mega corporations, and I don’t have any problems with corporations. But like big food, big oral health product corporations have been making these products without any evidence that it works. In fact, it’s actually damaging and harming the oral microbiome.


So, for example, let’s take a typical mouthwash with alcohol in it. Some have… Basically, it’s an ingredient that’s found in pesticides. We’ve got triclosan, which is finally been banned, but not in all cases, that was found in soaps. These are all very strong…and even essential oils. It depends on the essential oil and the concentration. But these are all products that these companies are adding to mouthwash, toothpaste. They try and get into floss. I mean, they’re adding it to everything because it’s part of their marketing. And dentists are behind it. And they’re saying, “Disinfect the mouth, carpet bomb the mouth.” And that was even before we knew that the oral microbiome was important.


We knew that there were infections in the mouth and the infection theory is that a bug can cause this. Well, why not either knock it out with antibiotics? Which is what physicians do. Dentists will use antibiotics as well or disinfect it daily or twice daily with alcohol and all these detergents and emulsifiers even can break apart the cell wall of any cell, the good cells, I mean, the bad bacteria, the good bacteria.


And so, we’ve been on this bandwagon for a long time. And now that we know that the oral microbiome is important, we understand that carpet bombing the mouth is not a good thing. So specific ingredients, I mentioned some of them, triclosan, alcohol, certainly, even some essential oils, you know, like cinnamon is the strongest. And if there’s too much of it, that is bactericidal.


Even emulsifiers, soaps, that’s how soap works. It breaks down the cell wall of a bacteria. It breaks it apart. Once that integrity is gone, the cell is done with. It’s a mild way of being bactericidal. But triclosan certainly isn’t. And triclosan was wiping out all sorts of other biomes and creating disease. So, I apologize as a dentist. I mean, I figured this out 15, 20 years ago. It never made sense to me. But then the oral microbiome, which is a recent discovery, I would say after the year 2000, that’s kind of when we started, you know, quantifying it. And then putting the two together, we’ve got to start making changes in oral health products.


And the good news is that it’s available in the U.S. Companies like you, Wellnesse. I mean, these are the boutique brands that I support, that I tell people about, because it makes a big difference in terms of overall health. So if you’re knocking down the oral microbiome, you are basically going to predispose yourself to oral health issues, serious ones. And given what I said about the oral systemic connection, then that means you’re damaging your whole body. You’re predisposing yourself to systemic chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s in time. There’s that connection between what happens in the mouth and what can get into the brain from periodontal disease.


So most mouthwashes, and we have studies, there’s a few great studies. I was looking at one yesterday for another project I’m working on, where an alcohol-based mouthwash basically increases your blood pressure. The reason for that is because it affects the bacteria that produce the nitric oxide. And nitric oxide is a basal dilator. And after age 40, you really only get that from the bacteria in your mouth. Because, before you’re 40, it comes from other sources. But as you age, you only get that from production of the mouth. Well, if you kill those bacteria, then your blood pressure goes up. I mean, come on, let’s stop promoting these, you know, and buying stuff. We can all vote with our dollar and buy the right product.


So, for example, taking out fluoride out of toothpaste is a wonderful thing. We now have over, I think it’s over… Well, I think it’s more now. But last year, it was over 64 studies on how fluoride affects the fetal brain, an infant’s brain, lowers their IQ. It causes all sorts of problems, not just that. It affects the mitochondria in the brain. I can go on with that.


And it also isn’t great for teeth. Forty-one percent of kids in the U.S. have fluorosis. That’s where the teeth are crumbling and are more susceptible to decay. And that’s because of too much fluoride intake. And that’s ingestion of fluoride. I’m not talking about topical application of fluoride. That’s not something I’m fond of, but that’s something different. And I don’t want to bunch the whole, all of them together, because that would be misinformation.


So yeah, thank God we’ve got companies like you, you know. There are others, of course, what I call these boutique brands. And as an oral health influencer, I’m behind you guys 100%. Because this is something we need. This protects our kids. It protects all of us. It promotes good oral health. Essentially, it allows the oral microbiome to do its job.


Katie: Yeah. And I think the fluoride one is an especially important one to go into just because it has been, not just pushed, but I’ve been overtly told by dentist that not using fluoride was going to cause long-term damage to my children. And I did a lot of research on this. I’d love to kind of explore some of the other potential downstream issues of, I would say, overuse of fluoride, which is what we’re encountering today now that it’s in the water supply in many places.


But for my research, at least, you can have thyroid complications downstream, especially for developing kids. There’s actually a lot of research looking at the internal effects of this. And we talked about it offline. Even if we can make a case for fluoride potentially having benefit directly in the mouth, there actually is no evidence that I’ve ever seen that it’s internally helpful. And there’s evidence that it could be internally harmful. So I use the analogy of it’s like if you cut your arm and you try to eat band-aids to fix it.


But I’d love to hear your just kind of explain any other potential, like physiological problems with this. And let’s talk about alternatives as well. Because I think it’s well intentioned at least. We do want teachers to be strong. We want enamel to be strong. Nobody’s arguing with those things. I just know, you and I have talked about, there’s better ways to get there than just fluoride.


Mark: Right. No, you’re absolutely right. And it is well intentioned. And dentistry, I mean, it’s a great profession, and we are very well intentioned. But we’re also misinformed. And as far as systemic ingestion of fluoride and how it benefits us, it’s all correlation. And it’s funny because the opponents to, you know, people like me or dentists that are against fluoride, they say that our studies are also based on correlation.


And I’m not going to argue that point, but if we want to go back and forth and say that both sides are, you know, basing their evidence on correlation, fine. And that doesn’t get us anywhere, but the studies now are pretty conclusive. There is a problem with ingesting fluoride. And remember, fluoride… Okay, so let’s say, so you bring your kid in to see a dentist, and they get this fluoride varnish. That’s after the cleaning. This is a varnish that’s painted onto the teeth. It has extremely high levels of fluoride, even more than the prescription-strength tube that we prescribe to adults, way more than what’s in the water. I mean, I’m talking about, don’t quote me on this, but like thousands more X in terms of strength.


And this can’t, it gets ingested. There’s no kid in the world, there’s no 4 or 5-year-old, that’s not going to swallow this. And it also gets absorbed through the oral mucosa. The oral mucosa, like a leaky gut, is leaky. I mean, that’s how homeopathic medicines are absorbed. That’s how people take their melatonin. They put it on the floor of their mouths, and it gets absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream.


So these fluoride varnishes are being absorbed, and it goes right to the brain, for example. Yes, there are thyroid issues. There are bone density issues, hip fractures. I mean, there are a lot of studies. But the ones I like to focus on are the ones that cause neurotoxicity of the brain because we’ve got so many good studies, and they all agree. I mean, isn’t that enough evidence? And again, when I raised my three daughters, and this is before I knew all this, this was 35 years ago, this was my lesser-of two-evil argument, which I fall back on often. Fluoride didn’t make sense to me back then.


I have a little fluorosis. I grew up in San Francisco, fluoridated water supply. I got cavities, didn’t seem to work for me. Of course, my diet wasn’t good and there are other factors we can talk about what the root cause is of decay, tooth decay. But this fluoride is actually damaging children’s teeth. Okay, we can fix that. But we can’t fix their brains. And the fluoride passes across the blood brain barrier and dumbs your kid down. That’s not something we want to do. And we’re talking about six to eight, maybe nine IQ points.


I would caution any parents saying that, thinking that that’s not a big change. That is a huge change. Research it. Inform yourself on that. It could take your kid into a whole different category. And I don’t want to go there because it’s very daunting. And I think it gets to be a little shaming, because a lot of people have raised their kids with fluoride, and I don’t want them to feel bad. But if you’re planning on getting pregnant, or if you are pregnant, or if you have young children, stay away from fluoride, even topical fluoride, even in toothpaste. And the beauty is that we have a great alternative. We’ve got hydroxyapatite, like what’s in your toothpaste.


This stuff works as well, if not better. It can be swallowed. Even the nano size can be swallowed. There’s a lot of controversy there. Because it dissolves, it’s just calcium, hydroxyapatite, which is biomimetic. It’s what’s the tooth is using to produce itself.


Katie: I’m so glad you brought that up. Because I feel like that part is almost never talked about, even though we are seeing definitely that evidence. And you’re right, that doesn’t maybe seem like a big number. But it absolutely is and can be a huge difference for kids, especially in school and as their brains are developing. And as you said, it’s not that we have no alternatives. If you’re going to weigh the risks and benefits, there are other things that have more benefit without the downside.


And I’m so fascinated by this science of kind of the interaction of the saliva with minerals, and this whole amazing thing that happens in the mouth. I know when I first started reading about remineralization, it blew my mind because that was not something that’s ever been presented by conventional dentistry. But it makes sense to me that the body’s natural state is to be in health, and it wants to move toward that state. And I find out more and more in this world that it’s often getting out of the body’s way. Not that we have to do anything extreme to help the body do what it naturally does.


So let’s talk about the idea of remineralization. I know a lot of people maybe even haven’t heard of this or if they have, are maybe skeptical that it’s actually possible. But I kind of also use the analogy of like, we know bones can heal. There’s obviously different process in place there. But the body has these amazing mechanisms. So talk to us about remineralization.


Mark: Well, very well said, and I’m so glad you think it’s cool because it is totally cool. And the body does have mechanisms where it’s trying to fix itself on the fly. And this is a perfect example. So, in simple terms, there is demineralization and there’s remineralization. Demineralization is the part of the equilibrium where your tooth is headed towards getting a cavity. The calcium in your tooth, hydroxyapatite, there’s phosphorus, there’s boron. There are other minerals. Enamel is 96%, hydroxyapatite, maybe 97%. And that’s why it’s the hardest substance in the body.


And of course, the tooth evolved to be something very functional. It allows us to digest our food, right? I mean, how important is that? Well, all mammals have teeth. And the shape of the teeth is very carefully evolved to the point where we can break down food, for example, break down meat. And so that when it gets to the gut, we can extract the essence of that nutrition from that food. And so tooth anatomy is also fascinating. I’d recommend you pick up or research online tooth anatomy and how each cusp is designed to mesh with the opposing tooth and what it’s actually breaking down and squashing. And it’s fascinating.


And then you get all the enzymes in the saliva that breaks down the food. Digestion starts in the mouth. And if you can’t digest your food in the mouth, if you’re a quick eater, can’t chew properly, or, even worse, you don’t have teeth, it shortens your life. We know this. And that’s one of the mechanisms there. But essentially, it is possible to reverse a cavity. And because we can feed that equilibrium. We can guide or stabilize that equilibrium. Unfortunately, in today’s world, with the Western diet, the SAD diet, whatever you want to call it, we have all these processed foods. It’s not a natural diet.


Let’s take breakfast cereal. My least favorites are breakfast cereal. It doesn’t matter. It can be Cheerios, which a lot of people think is healthy. Let’s pick on Cheerios. And, Cheez Its or crackers, you know, Goldfish, okay. So no sugar, most parents will think, “Okay. That’s fine.” But if you break that down, this is a highly refined carbohydrate. And when the bacteria, the oral microbiome, sees it in the mouth, it goes to town. It can consume a lot of it. It can break it down, and then the pH levels decrease. Their excrement, the bacteria, when they feed on this unnatural diet, which has been processed, which the body has never seen in terms of evolution. It’s just not used to it. It’s a complete mismatch.


The same thing with diabetes, classic example in terms of mismatch with what our evolution is used to seeing or has tried to evolve to over billions of years, in the last few 100 years, we’ve got all this crap out there. And lo and behold, the teeth are always demineralizing quicker than they can remineralize. So we’ve upset that equilibrium by eating what? You know, it’s not about flossing and brushing. It may not necessarily be a sugary snack that you have once in a blue moon. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a treat. But eating these foods all day long, which most of us do in America, especially in the food deserts. That’s all that’s available, which is so sad.


Again, cavities, the process of getting a cavity is very similar to metabolic syndrome. It’s the same thing. Diabetes. It really is based on our diet. And this is creating an epidemic. It’s one of the most common, I think, it is the most common disease in the world, cavities, getting cavities. But most of us, because we’ve grown up with them and that our kids get them… And, you know, I always love the moms that cry when I tell them that their kid has a cavity. I love them dearly because they get it. They understand it. The other parents are like, “Okay. Well, how much? I’ll make an appointment. We’ll get them all filled,” right? I mean, they get it because that is not the norm.


And it is a loss of body, of tooth structure, and it’s sad because then the filling goes in. The filling has issues. There are metal fillings, mercury, even plastic fillings, BPA, BPA free, it doesn’t matter. And then they have to be replaced every 10 to 20 years. I mean, that’s a sad place to get to. But it can be prevented and you can reverse decay. This is what a functional dentist would look at. Hopefully, the functional dentists would educate you from the day you bring in your infant, which should be right away, I think. And with all this good counseling, there will never be the need to fill a cavity. The best dentistry is no dentistry, right?


Katie: Yeah, I love that you brought up the connection of cavities being similar to a metabolic disease process because I feel like this is an important point to understand with that whole body connection to the mouth. And often, we think of the mouth is this isolated system of its own. And truly, it is all very, very interconnected.


I know I was fascinated to read the work of people like Weston A. Price, who looked at these populations around the world who eat essentially much more nutrient-dense diets than we do in the modern world. And he was surprised to find, and I think we would all be surprised, they did not have cavities. They did not have orthodontic issues. Their jaw structure was entirely different. Which brings that question of, would the internal environment of the body directly impacts the mouth and vice versa? And I think there’s so many cool things to unpack there.


I know we’re going to get questions. I’m going to circle back to a couple of these topics. But I know we’re also going to get questions about root canals. Because anytime I talk about anything to do with dentistry, people bring this up. And I love how you approached fluoride. And the goal here is obviously not to shame anyone or to make anyone feel bad for any decision they’ve made. But just to educate and bring awareness. So I think there’s a lot to understand, maybe start broad with us, of when root canals are often used, if they’re needed, if there are better alternatives, and what to do if you’ve already had one.


Mark: Great question. Root canals are very controversial. I’m not against root canals. I think that surprises a lot of people, especially when they see my stance on fluoride and other things, diet and the functional approach. I actually have a root canal. It was because I had a terrible diet. I got a cavity so quickly that it involved the pulp. When a cavity gets big enough, it will kill the nerve and the blood supply inside the tooth.


Now, this is a tooth that I could have had extracted because it’s probably the least important tooth in the mouth, not including wisdom teeth. It’s an upper second molar. By taking that tooth out. There’s no big change in bite, and there’s really no loss of function. But let’s say you fall on your front tooth and it dies. It gets pulpitis. It gets irreversible pulpitis. This is the name for the death of the pulp of the tooth that becomes infected. That infection can take you down. People died in the 15th, 16th, 1700’s, that’s when recorded dental history started, from infections like that. And so, obviously, that’s not good.


Well, then you can have the tooth taken out. Hopefully, you can take it out safely. But then what are you faced with? You’re missing a front tooth. You’re missing a cuspid, for example, a canine, very important tooth in terms of, you know, stabilizing the bite and helping the bite, go into circular motions and stabilizing the bite during chewing motions. These are important teeth. And without them, you’re not better off. You’re going to suffer.


And then, of course, if you lose a lot of teeth, then your self-esteem will suffer. Your chewing ability will suffer, as I alluded to earlier. You may shorten your lifespan. Also, your healthspan certainly will suffer because you need teeth. Teeth are important. Then the alternative now, thank goodness, is we have implants. Implants are not perfect. There is an immune response to implants. That’s a dead piece of, you know, metal in your mouth. A lot of people say root canal is a dead piece of tissue in your mouth.


Well, they don’t understand the anatomy of a tooth. The living tissue inside the tooth is removed. Whether that tooth is alive or not, it doesn’t matter. And again, I’m assuming a correctly, properly done root canal, which is not always the case. I’m always assuming. There’s a very well-known health influencer, who I respect a lot, who was against root canals. And he fell off a horse and cracked the tooth. Broke a lot of other bones and all that, had the root canal done. It was in a foreign country. And then it failed and it caused him a lot of harm for the next two, three, four years. He was given clindamycin that caused kind of colitis and gut issues. And it all went bad from there.


What happened there wasn’t the root canal. And this is what that movie from Australia also… What was it called? Root Cause, which was taken off of Netflix. Thank goodness. The root canals in Root Cause and the root canal for this influencer were done on fractured teeth. And fractured teeth, that’s the outside of the tooth, that becomes a problem because the bacteria seeped in there. And then over time, it will cause this huge immune response. It’ll elevate your CRP, your inflammatory levels, and then start seeding bacteria through the oral systemic connection into your organs, your brain, and cause problems.


Yes, root canals can do that. Is that a reason not to keep taking teeth out after they get damaged, or if you’ve had bad advice and didn’t know? Like me, I was eating a healthy snack from Japan. It was a puffed rice. Now I know that was not a healthy…it didn’t have industrial seed oils in it. But back then, 20 years ago, I ate that every day at lunch thinking it was healthy. That actually caused a cavity and it was aggressive and I didn’t address it soon enough. And it caused the death of this tooth. Well, I didn’t want to lose the tooth.


Now, if a tooth is cracked, there’s no root canal in the world that will save that. Because anatomically you cannot seal off that area and that tooth needs to be extracted. And then get an implant done, maybe a zirconia implants instead of a metal implant, that’s a different conversation. In my case, I wouldn’t have just take the tooth out. I would not replace it because of its position and its importance.


But a poorly done root canal that’s not filled properly or completely to the very end of the canal, bacteria will seep in there. A cracked tooth will fail. If the seal is not robust, if the accessory canals are not addressed. And there are people, there are incredible endodontists that are doing this. There’s one in LA that is amazing. She is absolutely amazing. They use ozone. You can disinfect and sterilize the inside of a tooth enough where the fibers that come out from the jawbone and grab onto the tooth are completely unaffected. They don’t know any difference. They really don’t know any difference. They still think it’s a tooth. They’ve grabbed on to it. It’s still sitting inside the socket, and it can still be used. Yes, the tooth will desiccate. It is more prone to fracture over time. But it is an efficacious safe procedure if it’s done properly.


Now, this is something that a functional dentist would recommend is CRP levels. Get your CRP checked yearly. Get a CBT scan. That’s a three-dimensional X-ray. I don’t like X-rays. But if you have a root canal, and you want to keep it, you need to have that checked. Conventional X-rays… You may not even have any pain, but that root canal is failing. That is a problem you need to know.


Every five years, get this cone beam, three-dimensional X-ray. And it will tell you if the body’s rejecting that tooth. If it is, maybe you can retreat it. Retreating is very difficult, 50% odds on that, then you have to have it taken out. And I also tell patients if they’re wondering if you tap on the tooth, you can tap on your teeth. And if the tooth is tender, that’s a sign that the root canal is failing.


So a poorly done root canal, fractured tooth, like the examples I gave, and overtime, sometimes root canals can become a big deal. Absolutely. And so that’s my take on root canals.


Katie: Yeah, I think that’s a really comprehensive explanation. And I think this is a scary topic for a lot of people because anytime we’re talking about the potential loss of a tooth, it feels extremely scary. But it’s great to know that there is kind of a good flowchart of options of what to do in that situation.


I think a lot of this goes back to the idea of just being an informed patient. I’ve said this, when it comes to medicine as well is we are each our own primary healthcare provider. We’re certainly also each our own primary dental care provider because we’re the ones taking care of our teeth on a daily basis. And the best outcomes happen when you have an informed patient working with an informed practitioner toward a desired outcome. And that starts with us being informed and taking that responsibility. And I love that people like you help that process be much more possible in today’s world.


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I’d also love to talk a little bit about the breathing aspect of this because this is a newer area. Maybe some people have heard out there. There have been books about nose breathing versus mouth breathing, and some of the physiological consequences of that. But this is also really important when it comes to oral health, and I think especially in kids. So I would love for you to give us a primer on how breathing affects oral health, and then what we need to know and what we can do about it.


Mark: This is a huge aspect of functional dentistry, maybe one of the biggest. I mean, it’s all good. Oral microbiome is important, oral systemic connection, all very important. But the reason I say this about breathing is that dentists are on the front line, literally. We can catch this in a one-month-old, if we see him. And I do recommend bringing in your kid as soon as you’re able. In other words, once you, you know, get them home, and hopefully they’ve latched on, and that’s the time to bring them to dentist. They’re not going to get a cleaning. But at least the dentist can check for a tongue-tie and we’ll talk about that.


Anyway, it’s important because that early diagnosis of not being able to breathe through their nose, again, I’ll expand on that. The presence of a tongue-tie, the inability of the child to breastfeed, all of that, if addressed soon, essentially determines the destiny of their whole life. And I’m not exaggerating. I mean their personality, how they’re able to work, how they’re able to help others, being a good family member, a good partner, I mean, a good parent, all of that gets determined by how well you sleep. And that directly is affected by how we breathe.


I want to recommend a good friend of mine, James Nestor, wrote the book, “Breath.” I would recommend that everyone read that book. That is one of my favorite recent healthcare books because it… And leave it to a healthcare journalist. Because, you know, doctors were totally handicapped, right? We can’t explain anything to patients because we’ve gotten the scientific explanation. And it’s hard for us to water that down.


And even though that’s what the meaning of doctor is, from the Latin root to teach, that’s what doctoring is. And so, our first role is to teach. And we’re all pretty lousy at it, sorry. But that’s because of our education. And so leave it to someone like James Nestor to explain it so well. And I’ve recommended that book to so many people. And they all come back and say, “Gosh, I get it now.”


So nasal breathing is coming online. It’s having its moment, thank goodness, because it’s been under appreciated for so long. I just found out about it, I want to say, about 12 years ago. And then I wrote a little bit about it in my book on sleep apnea five years later. And now, in retrospect, there should be more about it, but at least it’s having its moment.


So, if your child is mouth breathing, they already are suffering neurological conditions, behavioral conditions are coming, a lot of oral health issues. Their decay rate is going to be high. When you mouth breathe constantly, you are drying out your mouth. Then the saliva or lack of it, cannot buffer the acid attacks from eating Goldfish. Hopefully, they’re not eating Goldfish. Hopefully, they’re eating pureed, you know, ground meat or carrots or something, right, at home done by mom or dad or caretaker.


So, essentially, that can be addressed early. It can be a result of tongue-tie, congestion, or environment, lack of breastfeeding. It can be facial development. It can be sippy cups, as opposed to pacifiers, all of these things. That lower face is so malleable. The bone is like a very stiff clay. And if the tongue position is not in the correct position, and the muscles and the swallow reflex is not working the way it should, because of, for example, a tongue-tie, then that face is going to develop into a person that has sleep apnea.


And the sleep apnea starts at age 1, at age 6 months. You’ve seen little kids’ snore. You think that’s boogers coming out of their nose. They’re sick. They’re irritable. They don’t sleep well. And then that can be addressed very early on by dentists. I always tell people that are interested that dentists are able to diagnose… We’re not officially allowed to diagnose sleep apnea, but we’re able to screen for and see sleep apnea decades before a physician can. And it’s no fault of the physician. It’s just because we’ve been trained in this area, where physicians really considered this area to be a little black box that they weren’t given any information about in medical school.


So, mouth breathing is key. If you don’t breathe through your nose, you’re not breathing properly, you’re not mixing your O2 and CO2. Breathing properly is not all about oxygen. It’s about the mix between the two. In fact, I would argue that CO2 concentration in your lungs and in your blood, oxygen and CO2 get into the blood, is more important for lowering your breathing rate, stabilizing breathing rate, affecting your sympathetic response, making you nervous and fired up. I mean, breathing affects so many parts of your life.


So to simplify it, and it’s a little overwhelming for people, that’s why I recommend the book. Start there. Read the book and understand and appreciate. You’ll appreciate how important nose breathing is at any age. And if you can address it as early as possible, that’s what a good pediatric or a good functional dentist can do. Go all out. That is so important. And then you won’t get gum disease. You won’t get cavities if you breathe through your nose.


Katie: And I’ve experimented with mouth taping just from the sleep perspective, and I noticed a big difference. It seemed like this would be a tougher thing to maybe get kids to be able to do, especially if they already have some kind of obstruction there. But it’s definitely something I’ve looked into a lot with my kids and how can I help their palate expand, help them have better nasal breathing structure from an early age while their face is still developing. And I’m really excited that this seems to be an emerging area of industry.


There’s just starting to be so many more options available for this. I also know that you’ve talked about cavities not being a disease of hygiene, but a disease of metabolic, so what we’re eating. And I’d love to go deeper on this and talk about what are some of the best ways to nourish the body for oral health and when is the time for supplements and which ones would you recommend?


Mark: That’s a great question. And there’s been a great book written about it. I think you interviewed Dr. Steven Lin, “The Dental Diet.” That’s a great place to start. Yeah, I do believe that. I rank the reasons for decay. Number one is dry mouth. I’ll get into that. Number two is diet. So those are the two big ones. And most people are shocked at this point, because, you know, they see number three is being biofilm management, flossing and brushing. And when they go see a regular dentist, that’s typically the number one reason. We’re shamed into thinking, “Oh, you’ve got a cavity, well, you didn’t do a good job at home.”


That’s not the root cause. The root cause is this processed diet that the body hasn’t seen in its millions of years of evolution. It’s only seen it in the last few seconds. If you take the whole timeline of evolution, in only the last few seconds of our existence. And it’s a complete mismatch. It’s not used to it. The oral microbiome is thrown out of whack.


We talked earlier about how the oral microbiome… I didn’t touch on it enough but you asked about it. The oral microbiome is in charge of producing a pellicle, a biofilm, or a plaque layer on the tooth. The tooth is an inanimate object that comes through the jawbone. It’s the only example of this in the body. And inanimate objects in the body are covered with a biofilm. That biofilm is part of the oral microbiome. And it’s pulling calcium and building blocks for remineralization out of saliva. And it’s putting it in the right place so that your teeth will stay intact.


But then this food comes along that it’s just never seen. And it can’t keep up. Because the bacteria can eat more of it. It can consume it. And because of that, because it’s so readily available and broken down and processed, and a lot of things are taken out, like fiber, like in grains and the hull and the kernel and all that. Then your teeth are always demineralizing. That’s why fasting is so good. Because, you know, it’s one less meal you have to worry about with an acid attack. You know, hopefully you’re eating good food.


So the right diet, let’s get right to it. You know, it’s paleo. I know that ticks off a lot of vegetarians. It’s very difficult to have to prevent decay being a vegetarian because a vegetarian diet is high in carbohydrates. You know, one of my daughters is vegetarian. And I’m always trying to hack her diet. You know, I got her to start taking krill oil, because that’s high in vitamin K2 and other things and the omega fatty acids, which are all important for tooth health. And that’s one of the supplements I recommend.


So really, you need to stay away from anything that’s in a bag. Short story is stay away from the center aisles of the grocery store. You know, go right and left. Get the meats and fish and the vegetables and certainly some fruit is fine. It’s a diet-related disease. And so are all the other diseases. Why wouldn’t the number one disease in the world be diet-related? It makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, dentistry is kind of been slow to pointing to that as a root cause.


And you get this in the fluoride debate. It’s like, “Well, fluoride will fix all this.” Well, it hasn’t. Decay is actually going up. It’s not going down. And we fluoridated back in the ’60s and we’ve added fluoride to all sorts of products and foods and all that. So it is definitely food.


Dry mouth, you know, maybe it’s dry mouth and food together, certainly a combination. I put dry mouth up there because a lot of us have dry mouth, where 50% of us are mouth breathing. We’re taking meds that dry our mouths, that decrease saliva flow as we get older, of course. And we are able to get older because of Western medicine, thank you very much, than our ancestors, I mean. But saliva flow drops. Saliva flow drops at night when you sleep with your mouth open.


Tongue-ties are on the rise so that we can’t nose breathe properly. So dry mouth is a big deal. Don’t underestimate dry mouth. Dry mouth, without saliva, there’s no chance of remineralization, pH levels drop, the acid levels stay high, and your teeth are dissolving. So, diet is huge. And then the last thing on that list… So it was number one was dry mouth, right after that diet. And then quite a bit down from there, in terms of importance, is flossing and brushing. You know, I get a lot of flak for that. But if you eat a paleo diet, if you eat a carnivore diet, you don’t have to floss and brush. I mean, our ancestors didn’t floss and brush. Now I’m not against toothpaste. I think toothpaste is important.


There are certain things that I enjoy in my diet that I know are causing an acid attack. We’ve got coffee. We’ve got lemon juice. We’ve got wine. We’ve got iced tea. I’m a big green tea drinker. I drink three or four of those a day. That’s acidic. And of course, you know, if I don’t tape… Even though I can nose breathe, my mouth falls open at night. This is a normal thing. I don’t know why, but it happens. Why that would be, from an evolutionary standpoint, why would our mouth fall open at night if we can nose breathe? Maybe it’s because we’re sleeping on mattresses and we didn’t sleep on mattresses. I don’t know. Maybe we were side sleepers, you know, around the fire, but in the caves.


But anyway, don’t underestimate dry mouth. It will lead to decay, gum disease. It complicates oral health dramatically, and within weeks. And that’s why I love mouth taping if you can mouth tape.


Katie: Yeah, I agree. And I think that is definitely going to be one of the more controversial things probably that we’ve said in this episode is it brushing and flossing maybe are not actually as important as we’ve been led to believe. To your point, when we look at these populations in the past that had perfect oral health, you’re right, they weren’t brushing or flossing. They didn’t even know what that was.


Mark: Sorry. The last thing on that list I didn’t mention is genetics. And yes, some dentists will say your teeth, some teeth are more likely to get cavities and others, I mean, in people. And there is truth to that. And it’s how the tooth forms and the lobes of enamel that are forming in the jawbone as they cinch together, as they fuse, there can be a deep invagination, like a deep groove. And those teeth tend to get more cavities.


But again, if you didn’t have that crazy diet that we’re exposed to, even those genetically predisposed teeth that have a predilection to get decay wouldn’t be affected. In that last group, I put epigenetics. I put genetics. Epigenetics, of course, is our environment. So, for example, you could suffer from, you know, exposure to air pollution, which clogs up your nasal sinuses, which promotes mouth breathing. And then you get the oral disease from that, for example. So our environment is problematic, definitely, not just poor food choices.


Katie: That makes sense. And I love that you brought up food actually coming into play then. And we know it’s no secret that the nutrients in our food supply have declined. And we’re, on average, eating a much less nutrient-dense diet than we used to.


One thing that’s helpful for me to think of, I think we did ourselves a disservice when we started understanding calories and then focusing on calories because it isn’t just about calories. And I encourage people to think of, if you look at nutrient density per calorie versus just calories, in general, you’ll get a lot farther in the right direction, because it’s truly, like, how much nutrient density can I get in my body with the amount of calories I need to eat per day instead of looking at the restriction side. I think the restrictive side leads us to eat actually less nutrient-dense foods, which is a problem I see in the diet industry.


Mark: Exactly. And a calorie is not a calorie. You’re absolutely right. And it was the big food that demonized fat because they were selling something that was a lot cheaper and more profitable. And that was carbohydrates. I mean, we’ve got perfect examples of that. I think it’s happening in the fluoride industry right now. That’s a byproduct of the fertilizer industry, the fluoride.


I mean, you have to be very wary of big corporations. I’m not saying they’re all bad. And they’re a lot of products that they make that are excellent. But just be wary of mass-produced things that come in bags and are packaged. And that’s going to do you in, unfortunately. I don’t know if you want me to talk about supplements. But you know, there’s such a lack of mineral now in our soil. We are mineral devoid. And teeth are made up of minerals. Also, our saliva loves to contain and store minerals because that’s what the tooth needs.


If the tooth is demineralizing. And there’s a covalent bonding moment, you know, where the tooth is electronegatively charged. In other words, it’s being demineralized. Those calcium and phosphorus bonds, which are positively charged, they have to be there for that joining to occur. And that’s how this process of the teeth and bones… As you said earlier, bones are dynamic. They’re always changing and they’re able to fix themselves.


So our soil is devoid of minerals. I’m drinking water right now. I add trace minerals to my distilled water because I don’t want fluoride. So I take out the fluoride, add back the minerals, you know, clean my water. I mean, it’s insane what we have to do to get a healthy diet. But this is why I’m big on supplements. The diet and the soil and the environment is devoid. We’ve sterilized it. Well, we’ve disinfected it, and we’ve ruined it. And we’ve added toxin. When it comes to oral health, I recommend Vitamin C, obviously, that’s for collagen. I’ve got studies to back all this up, many studies.


So the little ligaments that attach the tooth to the jawbone, that’s all collagen. And collagen will stiffen over time. That’s what scurvy was when our ancestors came over on the Mayflower. I mean, that’s what they suffered from. They were eating just smoked meats. They didn’t have any fruits and vegetables.


The omega-3s, I talked about that before, DHA, EPA, cod liver oil. If you have a child, give them cod liver oil two, three times a day. If they don’t like it, get the lemon flavor. You know, they have flavored. This is so good for the development of the face. And for, you know, adding K2 to their diet. K2 is an incredible supplement that we just discovered, I say just discovered. Again, after the year 2,000, K2, I’m referring to, not K1. Make sure you’re getting both forms of K2, the fat soluble and the water-soluble version. Make sure your kids are getting it. I would supplement that with that.


Probiotics and prebiotics, I’m definitely sold on prebiotics in the mouth. That’s in the mouth itself, chewing on it. Probiotics, you know, that’s the whole weed, and seed, and feed argument. If you have a dysbiosis of the oral microbiome, that’s where the oral microbiome is not well in your mouth, throwing a lot of expensive probiotics at it won’t work. You have to really make sure that the prebiotics are on board first to stabilize and allow the populations to settle in properly.


What else? Melatonin. That was a surprise to me. I just found that research about a year and a half ago. And melatonin, I’ve always been very wary of. I’ll take one or two milligrams, which is hard to find in the U.S. Usually, it’s more. In Europe, it’s regulated. Anything over 2.5 is a prescription dose because it’s a hormone. But for gum disease, melatonin, for short periods of time, there are a lot of studies that indicate that that’s great after scale and root planing, after gum disease treatment, even surgery, that taking melatonin for that period of time will improve the results of the surgery.


Vitamin D, no brainer. I don’t think I need to go into that. But it’s huge. Vitamin D is all about…you know, Vitamin D, essentially, in the gut allows calcium to cross over into the gut into the bloodstream. And we need that mechanism. We need calcium in the bloodstream so that we can get to our bones and our teeth. K2 is the key to that, though. And so is A. K2 provides proteins that allow mobilization of the calcium. And so K2 is very important. So if you’re taking a lot of calcium, and you’re not getting K2, be wary of that. You’re getting too much calcium. But Vitamin D, A and K2, probably the three most important supplements that I would recommend.


B vitamins, important, zinc is important. CoQ10, a lot of people know about CoQ10 for gum health. Lots of studies on that go back decades. And curcumin is important, even topically, in teas and things like that. Green tea is important. I’m a big fan of green tea. I think it should be in toothpaste. I think it’s very beneficial to drink green tea. Certainly, ingesting it is important for the rest of the body.


And the last thing I want to mention, which may not be well known yet because it wasn’t available in the U.S., but I would recommend spermidine. It basically induces autophagy without fasting, does a few other things too. But I would recommend high doses of spermidine before and during and after scale and root planing. This is, again, you’ve got gum disease, your tissues are inflamed, you’ve had that cytokine response. You’ve lost the connective tissue around the girdle of the tooth. You’ve had gum recession because of that bone loss, perhaps. And taking spermidine, which makes things grow like crazy in your body, is a good thing to do after you’ve had deep cleaning, scale and root planing. If you’ve had it, you know what I’m talking about, you know these terms and/or gum surgery.


And unfortunately, that’s what you need if you have full-on gum disease. There’s no way of reversing naturally or supplementing yourself your way out or with diet severe gum disease. Once you’ve got that process where the body is…basically, it’s an autoimmune disease. The body’s attacking the gums and the supportive tissues.


That’s why it’s called periodontal, around the tooth, tissues. You’ve got to stop that in its tracks, and that requires seeing a good periodontist. Again, a good classically trained dentist, which we definitely need. And so I spermidine is something that I’ve just added to the list as of just a few weeks ago.


So I can give you links to what I’m taking if you want. But these are important. And I don’t like to have to say that we need to supplement. Unfortunately, we do. It’s just the nature of our world that we’ve created.


Katie: Yeah, I’m glad you brought that up. I think that’s really helpful for people to understand that. Saliva, mineral density, and those fat-soluble vitamins, and how important they are, especially for children. And we know from the literature that deficiency in these areas also impacts many areas besides the mouth, but often, like you said, we will see it in the mouth first.


And so this is actually I think a great thing like the mouth can tell us so much. And if we use it as a tool, we can actually understand so much more about the body through the mouth. And I have a feeling we are going to get many follow-up questions from moms about, “What about this specific scenario?” and, “This happened to my kid.” So I’m hoping we can do another round once we start getting some of those questions…


Mark: Sure, I would love that.


Katie: …because you are so fun to talk to you in such a wealth of knowledge. But to respect your time and the audience’s time today, a couple of last wrap-up questions. The first being, if there’s a book or a number of books that have had a profound impact on your life. I know you already mentioned one, but any others. And if so, what they are and why.


Mark: Oh boy. There have been many books. Actually, if I look to the left there in my library, “Breath” by James Nestor. And I’m recommending books that influenced me greatly. But this book would be more because I know it’s easily digestible. And it’s a breakthrough book because it really brings to light this lost art of being able to breathe properly and in such a nice way. It’s a page turner. So James Nestor. I mean, I knew all the stuff in the book, but I liked the book because of how it brought it all together.


What will be the other book? You know what? It still is, and I say this often, but I would say, The Calcium Paradox by Kate Rheaume-Bleue. That was kind of the first real good book on K2, I think, again, early 2000, maybe 2006, 2007. Very well written book by Canadian nutritional expert. And it’s a fascinating book. It’s something that really kind of just blew me away because it made a lot of sense, but it was something completely new. It was all about K2, something that I had never been exposed to.


And I nerd out on these things. I mean, as of probably age 14, 15, probably, as a result of the influence of my mother, I was into nutrition. I mean, I was taking brewer’s yeast and cod liver oil, or I was given it. I read books on life extension. I mean, these are books that people maybe my age would know and remember. I mean, this has kind of been a hobby of mine for a long time.


And then, of course, dental school came. And I had to readjust. But, you know, after dental school, that just kept, stayed with me. So those are probably… I would stick with “Breath.” It’s up to date. It’s fun. It’s a very, very inspirational book. It’ll motivate you in so many different ways.


Katie: I will make sure that’s linked in the show notes at, along with, of course, links to your work because you have such a huge amount of knowledge available on the internet and so many great resources for people. Any parting advice you want to leave with the listeners today? And maybe also where they can connect with you and learn more?


Mark: Well, you can certainly go to our website. I have a podcast. You can link to all that. Katie, I would appreciate that. I have a book. I think to answer, our Instagram is a fun place. I do respond to people on Instagram. We put stuff out daily just to keep you motivated. It keeps me motivated to bring in new content and all that. My team is very excited about Instagram.


We’ve recently gone to TikTok. Not a big fan of TikTok, but, you know, it’s interesting because there’s a huge audience out there. And when we came to TikTok, I mean, our numbers grew quickly because that information wasn’t available. So, I get it now. I mean, this information needs to get out there. So that’s been fun.


But my bit of advice. I think I already mentioned it earlier in the podcast is that, you know, address your sleep. I don’t care if you’re 70 years old or you’re a mom and dad that just had a kid. If you don’t address sleep, which is like, I think the pillar of health, maybe it’s the food we take in, but remember we can live longer without food than we can with sleep. I mean, three days of no sleep, you’re done for, you’re insane. You’re legally insane.


Food, we can, you know, certainly live without longer and water as well. But I would say that much of what your life is going to be, our short lives, our precious lives, are determined by how well you sleep. And we live in a great time where you can…you know, I’ve got the Oura ring here, which I’m not affiliated with any way. But I mean, I am all about good sleep for family members, for all my listeners, and followers. Sleep is so important.


And dentistry is in a very good position that, I mentioned earlier, we’re in the pole position. We see it from day one. And I just get so frustrated sometimes because… For example, tongue-ties, I think, and this sounds extreme, but if you’re able to, if you have the means to, or if the hospital does this, have a tongue-tie expert present at the birth of your children because that needs to be addressed within the first one hour of your child’s life.


If it’s not, there’s a diversion there of two different destinies for your child. It starts with difficult or no breastfeeding to, you know, an underdeveloped face, which leads to breathing issues and mouth breathing as opposed to nose breathing. And don’t underestimate what change that makes to you as a person. Personality, the way you look, your self-esteem, your earning potential, not that that’s terribly important. But it can be.


And being a parent, being a good person, being a good citizen of the planet, I mean, I’m not exaggerating, it is so important. And it makes you happier. It makes your short time here on this planet way better for the people around you and for yourself. So that would be my advice.


Katie: I love it and a perfect place to wrap up, I think, for now. Like I said, I hope there will be more to come in the future, but very grateful for your time today in sharing your knowledge and for all the work you do online. I will make sure all of your platforms are linked. You have such great information across all social media and your website. So you guys go check him out, especially if you have any dental specific questions. He probably has an answer for you already online. But thank you so much for being here today.


Mark: Katie, thank you so much. It was a pleasure.


Katie: And thanks as always to all of you for listening and sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us today. 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.


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C60 is the newest buzzword in the natural health world. It’s recommended for everything from avoiding sunburn, to hair growth, to longevity. C60 benefits the whole body and acts as an antioxidant to help protect against free radical damage.

This molecule works by donating electrons to neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidation. You’ll usually see it as a C60-infused olive oil, but it can also be dissolved in other oils or sold in capsule form.

What Is C60?

C60 is short for “Carbon 60.” It refers to the number of carbon atoms that, when connected, form a molecule called a fullerene. More specifically, a Buckminsterfullerene, or “buckyballs” for short.

This odd name comes from scientist and architect Buckminster Fuller. He often used geodesic domes (like you might see at a botanical garden) in his building designs. These domes resembled the newly discovered molecules so the molecule was named in his honor.

The scientists who made these discoveries received a Nobel Prize for their work in 1996.

Where Does C60 Come From?

C60 is a synthetic molecule derived from graphite in a lab. The scientists vaporize graphite so the carbon can form new bonds, changing its shape to that of a soccer ball.

C60 As a Health Supplement

C60 first got attention with the landmark 2012 Baati Rat Study. This study looked into C60’s effects on toxicity, oxidative stress, and long life.

According to researchers, C60 benefits may help with a laundry list of health concerns, including:

  • sun damage/sunburns
  • radiation protection
  • viral infections
  • oxidative stress
  • amyloid plaques in the brain (linked with Alzheimer’s disease)
  • allergies
  • enhance brain activity

It may also stimulate the immune system against cancer and promote healthy hair growth. Those are a lot of benefits in one little molecule! The researchers concluded fullerene promoted longevity in rats, with exciting possibilities for humans. They noted that C60 could be the most efficient material for longer life.

C60 fullerene is a powerful antioxidant that fights damaging free radicals like superoxide in the body. Although superoxide is a natural byproduct of our cell’s metabolism, it’s not something we want hanging around.

According to 2013 research,  Scientists believe it works by absorbing protons, creating a positive charge. When C60 passes through cell membranes and into mitochondria, our body’s natural energy-producers, it decreases oxidative stress.

Fat Soluble vs Water Soluble

It’s important to note there’s a difference between fat-soluble C60 and water-soluble C60. Mice given water-soluble Carboxyl C60 went from a 120-day to a 128-day lifespan. That’s only an increase of 6.67%. Regular C60 dissolved in olive oil though nearly doubled the mice’s life span.

There have been some mixed results, however. Although this research seems impressive, a more recent 2021 study did not get the same results. The scientists saw no improvement in the animal’s lifespan.

C60 Health Benefits

C60 molecules have a wide range of potential benefits for overall wellness. Although most of the research is on animals there are also some human studies. Scientists have explored C60 benefits for skincare in human trials and the results are encouraging.

C60 Benefits for Skin Care

According to research, C60 may have anti-aging effects and promote clear, youthful skin. When used in lotion, it’s been shown to protect against sunburn. C60 also seems to help with acne, according to a small study of a C60-containing gel. Applying the gel twice a day over two months helped lower breakouts and plump up the skin.


C60 may help lower skin inflammation when it comes to eczema. In a mouse study from Nanobiotechnology, C60 helped calm inflammation and restore the skin barrier. But the inflammation-lowering benefits go beyond the skin. A 2019 rat study for osteoarthritis found that C60 was also helpful for inflamed joints.


This molecule with its antioxidant and inflammation-fighting properties may help slow the aging process. As mentioned above, scientific studies showed a potentially increased lifespan in animals. Again, it was more effective at doing this when dissolved in oil.

Increased Energy

C60 might just even replace your morning cup of coffee. C60 may help with energy production by collecting inside mitochondria. It acts as a buffer against reactive oxygen species (ROS), which slow energy production. While it may not happen for everyone, most people notice better energy and metabolism.

Healthy Weight

Another potential effect of C60 is weight loss. In an animal study, researchers noted that C60 not only lowered inflammation but helped normalize weight. Since weight gain and inflammation often go together, it makes sense that less inflammation could also lead to weight loss.

Another way C60 may also help with weight loss is by addressing metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. Research in the journal Biomaterials found that C60 in squalane oil helped stop fat cells from forming. The scientists suggested using this for metabolic syndrome and other obesity-related issues.

Brain and Cognition

Insulin resistance may also play a role in Alzheimer’s, with some even calling Alzheimer’s type 3 diabetes. Amyloid plaques are another key characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. In a 2017 rat model of Alzheimer’s, C60 helped improve learning and memory by protecting against amyloid plaque formation.

It’s possible that C60 works in part by lowering inflammation and addressing metabolic syndrome.

Cancer Support

C60 benefits could even help with cancer recovery. In a 2021 mouse study, researchers combined C60 powder with nano-sized diamond powder to create a composite. The combination was then used on cancer cells, successfully causing them to self-destruct and shrink the tumor. The scientists hope this combination could help increase survival time in cancer patients.

Because C60 is so good at addressing free radical damage, it may also help with cancer. It’s this oxidative damage to DNA that leads to abnormal cell growth and, eventually, a cancer diagnosis.

C60 Benefits for Muscle Recovery

Another 2017 rat study explored whether C60 could lessen muscle fatigue by speeding up recovery time. Rats given this solution needed less recovery time and had more endurance. When we increase our ability to exercise other positive changes happen, including more oxygenation and better flexibility.

EMF & Radiation Mitigation

C60 seems to act as a buffer against EMFs and radiation. For radiation exposure, it may even work better than taking iodine. More research is needed but C60 seems to make the body more resilient against radiation and electromagnetic stress.

C60 Side Effects

C60 benefits research is still in its infancy, and there’s some evidence of toxicity, especially in high amounts. A 2021 study in Geroscience questioned if C60 in olive oil could really help extend lifespan. The researchers also raised the question if light exposure could cause toxins to form in the oil.

In animal studies, light-exposed C60 olive oil was toxic to the mice. This shows the importance of getting a brand that’s packaged in a dark bottle and then storing it in a cool, dark place.

While we still don’t know if C60 can promote longer life in humans, there are many other benefits to taking it. Less inflammation, better memory, and better endurance are all great reasons to give C60 a try.

Plus, with its potential to protect the body against radiation and electromagnetic fields, it’s very timely with the rollout of 5G. With Wi-Fi, cell phone towers, and smartphones we’re exposed to much more radiation than in the past.

How to Use C60 and Where to Get It

There are a few different ways to take this miracle molecule. C60 is available in liquid form, dissolved in olive oil, avocado oil, MCT coconut oil, or even black seed (Nigella sativa) oil. You can also get it in capsule form, which should include one of those carrier oils.

It’s recommended that the average 150-lb person take one teaspoon a day in the morning. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule.  The amount is often based on body weight (grams or milligrams per kilogram) to get the right concentration. The Baati animal study used 1.7 mg/kg, since they were researching toxicity levels. Even at these high doses, C60 wasn’t shown to be toxic in the rats.

When selecting a high-quality C60 product, be sure to look for these things:

  • Dark/amber bottle, protecting the C60 from light
  • Certified organic oils
  • Solvent-free
  • Third-party tested
  • Highly concentrated. Should be 99.95% to 99.99% pure C60

After looking into C60 supplements, I found this one from Purple Power that meets my standards.

Have you tried any C60 products? What was your experience? Share below!


  1. Ali, S. S., et al. (2004). A biologically effective fullerene (C60) derivative with superoxide dismutase mimetic properties. Free radical biology & medicine, 37(8), 1191–1202.
  2. Baati, T., et al. (2012). The prolongation of the lifespan of rats by repeated oral administration of [60]fullerene. Biomaterials, 33(19), 4936–4946.
  3. Chistyakov, V. A., et al. (2013). Possible mechanisms of fullerene C?? antioxidant action. BioMed research international, 2013, 821498.
  4. Gordon, R.,  et al. (2017). Intrahippocampal Pathways Involved in Learning/Memory Mechanisms are Affected by Intracerebral Infusions of Amyloid-?25-35 Peptide and Hydrated Fullerene C60 in Rats. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease: JAD, 58(3), 711–724.
  5. Grohn, K. J.,  et al. (2021). C60 in olive oil causes light-dependent toxicity and does not extend lifespan in mice. GeroScience, 43(2), 579–591.
  6. Inui, S., et al. (2011). Improvement of acne vulgaris by topical fullerene application: unique impact on skincare. Nanomedicine: nanotechnology, biology, and medicine, 7(2), 238–241.
  7. Kato, S., et al. (2010). Fullerene-C60/liposome complex: Defensive effects against UVA-induced damages in skin structure, nucleus and collagen type I/IV fibrils, and the permeability into human skin tissue. Journal of photochemistry and photobiology. B, Biology, 98(1), 99–105.
  8. Lee, H., et al. (2021). Hand-ground fullerene-nanodiamond composite for photosensitized water treatment and photodynamic cancer therapy. Journal of colloid and interface science, 587, 101–109.
  9. Mamontova, T. V., et al. (2013). Fiziolohichnyi zhurnal (Kiev, Ukraine : 1994), 59(3), 102–110.
  10. Pei, Y.,  et al. (2019). Antioxidative nanofullerol inhibits macrophage activation and development of osteoarthritis in rats. International journal of nanomedicine, 14, 4145–4155.
  11. Prylutskyy, Y. I.,  et al. (2017). C60 fullerene as promising therapeutic agent for correcting and preventing skeletal muscle fatigue. Journal of nanobiotechnology, 15(1), 8.
  12. Shershakova, N.,  et al. (2016). Anti-inflammatory effect of fullerene C60 in a mice model of atopic dermatitis. Journal of nanobiotechnology, 14, 8.
  13. Xiao, L., et al. (2010). The effect of squalane-dissolved fullerene-C60 on adipogenesis-accompanied oxidative stress and macrophage activation in a preadipocyte-monocyte co-culture system. Biomaterials, 31(23), 5976–5985.


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I’m a little late to jump on the sheet pan meal train. And I don’t know why. One-pot meals, like soup or pizza stir fry, are the best, so why wouldn’t sheet pan meals be just as awesome? This sheet pan sausage meal with a honey garlic sauce has quickly become a hit at our house!

I’ve seen this honey garlic kielbasa recipe floating around the internet for quite a while so I figured I’d give it a try. I tweaked it a little to fit my preferences and make it even easier. I hope you like this sheet pan meal with veggies as much as we do.

Why Are Sheet Pan Meals So Awesome?

I feel like I’m stating the obvious here, but it’s because your whole meal is in the oven cooking at the same time on one baking sheet! Minimal fuss and effort, zero time tending pans on the stove, very little cleanup. It’s just plain wonderful. Admittedly, if your family is on the larger side like mine is, two pans are necessary.

Another perk is that every sheet pan meal is pretty customizable in regard to the protein and vegetables used. You can tailor it to fit your tastes or based on what vegetables you have on hand.

A Tip for How to Cook the Vegetables

When choosing your vegetables pay attention to how long they typically take to cook. If it’s a hard, dense vegetable like a potato, carrot, or beet you’ll need to cook it for longer. If it’s a softer vegetable like bell pepper, onion, or broccoli you may need to add it to the pan later after the harder vegetables have already had some time to cook.

Also, most sheet pan meals are pretty darn healthy. They’re usually just a protein and vegetables tossed with spices and roasted. I don’t know about you all, but my family loves roasted veggies. They love the caramelized crisp around the outside combined with the tender center. If I leave a pan of roasted sweet potato wedges or kale chips on the counter they’ll snack on them all day.

Sheet Pan Honey Garlic Smoked Sausage With Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli

For this recipe, you can use pretty much any smoked sausage. Kielbasa is already a bit garlicky so it works well. And I bet it’d be really good with chicken too.

For the vegetables, I like to make sure I use a couple of different colors. Most frequently I use sweet potatoes and fresh broccoli and sometimes onions sliced into wedges. Since sweet potatoes take longer to cook than broccoli and onion I don’t add the broccoli until later. But again, you can use ANY vegetables you think would be tasty.

Assembling the Sheet Pan Meal

Once you’ve chosen your vegetables make a quick sauce with olive oil, honey, garlic, and Italian seasoning and brush it over the sheet pan sausage. Toss the potatoes with olive oil and a little salt and pepper and put the pan in the oven. In the last few minutes of cooking add the broccoli, toss with oil and salt, brush the sausage with a little more sauce, and finish cooking. Serve and enjoy the minimal cleanup!

Note: I’ve gotten a lot of questions over the years about whether olive oil is safe to cook with so I wrote a post about it if you’d like to take a look.

Sheet Pan Honey Garlic Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Broccoli Recipe

Katie Wells

A quick and flavorful sheet pan meal featuring smoked sausage brushed with honey and garlic sauce. Roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli finish the meal.

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Total Time 40 mins

Course Dinner

Cuisine American

Servings 6

Calories 829 kcal


  • 2½-3 lbs smoked sausage
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 medium heads broccoli
  • 3 TBSP olive oil (divided)
  • 1 tsp salt (divided)
  • ½ tsp pepper (divided)


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  • In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce and set it aside.

  • Slice the sausage into 2-2½ inch pieces and place them on one end of the sheet pan. Brush about half of the sauce over the sliced sausage.

  • Chop the sweet potatoes into 1½-2 inch pieces and place them on the other end of the sheet pan.

  • Drizzle the sweet potatoes with half of the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss mix them gently to coat.

  • Place the sheet pan in the preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, chop the broccoli into florets.

  • After 15 minutes, remove the sheet pan from the oven, scooch the potatoes over, and add the broccoli.

  • Drizzle the broccoli with the remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper and mix gently.

  • Brush the kielbasa with the remaining sauce.

  • Return the pan to the oven and continue cooking for about 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

  • Serve immediately.


You can use any vegetables you’d like for this recipe. If they’re hard, dense vegetables like potatoes and carrots, that require more cooking time add them first. If they’re more tender vegetables, like onions or bell peppers, add them later.


Calories: 829kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 25gFat: 65gSaturated Fat: 19gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 34gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 134mgSodium: 2233mgPotassium: 766mgFiber: 4gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 16045IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 3mg

What’s your favorite sheet pan meal? I’d love some more ideas!


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Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.


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Katie: Hello and welcome to the “Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from and, my personal care line. And today I am here with Alicia Silverstone who you probably heard her name from her acting career. But in this episode, we go deep on motherhood, and health, and birth, and sunlight, and sleep, and a lot of topics that are applicable to all of us. And as you might guess, if you know much of her, Alicia and I come from different viewpoints on the particulars of what we eat, and I think this conversation is actually really important for that reason, in that we talk about, as moms, we actually agree on 98% of things and that often it’s easy, especially on social media, to focus on the small percentage of things we disagree about, but we all want the best health and the best futures for our kids and for the world, and we find a lot of really amazing common ground in this episode and talk about a lot of these topics. And I really enjoyed this conversation. I know you will, too. So let’s join Alicia Silverstone. Alicia Silverstone, welcome to the podcast.

Alicia: Thank you so much.

Katie: I’m so excited to chat with you today. And I have a lot of specific questions. But I think to start off, I’d love to hear a little bit about your journey into the health and wellness, and now motherhood worlds, and what that looked like for you?

Alicia: My journey into the health and wellness world? Where does it all begin? I have been on this journey for a very long time. I started really back when I was eight doing what I like to call in my book, “The Kind Diet,” I call it flirting. I had a sense that there was something… I didn’t want to harm animals. And I had a sense that I needed to make changes about my diet so that I would align with my principles of not harming animals. But as I grew, you know, by the time I was 21, I became fully plant-based because of this commitment. I really saw how animals were raised and treated for food, and I would be snuggled with my dog that I had rescued and feeling his legs and realizing that his leg felt a lot alike a chicken breast, you know, it felt I would feel those bones or even like a wing. And it all just felt so much the same. And it started to make me really…sorry, there’s dogs going crazy. Do I need to remove you guys? So, I found myself really starting to become clear that the thing that I loved I was actually responsible for harming.

And so I didn’t know when this happened because I made this choice for the animals. What happened to my body was so profound for me because I was on an asthma inhaler. I had allergy shots twice a week, I had acne, and I had low energy and, you know, the things that you struggle with when you’re 19. And I started to really feel different. Now I’m 20…I think I’m 21 at this point, when I made the choice. All of a sudden my skin cleared up. I had no more acne. I was walking around feeling so much more clear about my life. I could hear because all the gunk that was filling me up, all that toxic sludgy food that was weighing me down was gone. And so now I was starting to walk freer, lighter. I could hear my truth more clearly what I needed, what I wanted. I remember people used to say, “Just listen to your body.” And I’m like, “What do you mean listen to my body?” But now I understood my body would speak to me, would tell me what I needed. I could go into my heart very easily and hear what it needed.

So, anyway, I had a huge health transformation. My whites of my eyes got really strong, I mean, white. My nails got really, really thick and strong. My hair got really thick and strong. Like, everything about my outward appearance and my inner feeling changed. And I no longer needed these medicines that I was dependent on. So, this made me really look into it. And this made me very curious. This choice that I made, which I thought I was just experiencing good karma, you know, that I’d stopped harming these creatures, and so now I was being rewarded in thanking God for them, because my body slimmed up. I mean, everything got better. But when I started to do research…because honestly, I no longer needed medicine, I no longer needed the medicine that I was taking. I no longer felt dependent on this sort of, “You know, owie something hurts, fix me, give me a pill.” I started to understand that I had the power with my food to make those changes. And so I started researching it because I thought, “Well, this is really strange.” And I started to understand that Bruce Lee, and, you know, Navratilova, and all these amazing athletes were making these choices for performance, not because they cared about animals, they were doing it for better health, better performance.

And I started to look at Harvard studies, all the science and medical journals that showed that eating a plant-based diet was so healing and so nourishing. So, that’s why I wrote “The Kind Diet” because I really wanted to put all of this information and these…so that people can make decisions for themselves that if you don’t know, you don’t know, right? But if you know, then you can decide if it’s interesting to you or not. And so I made “The Kind Diet” a really good example of, here’s what this food is, here’s what this food does to your body, according to this science, this science, and this science, and here’s what it does to the Earth and here’s what it does to animals. And now you decide, you can decide how much or how little you want to take in of this. This is what it did for me, this is what it did for others. My friend who had MS cured herself completely changing her diet, and people with cancer cured themselves with their diet, people with heart disease, all of these things. Even just bad migraines, that was the other thing I had, was really bad migraines. They all went away.

So, anyway, that’s my journey. And then somewhere along the line, I decided to make vitamins. And because here I was being this really health-conscious person, and I was pregnant with my son, and I didn’t like vitamins, I thought they were really toxic to the liver. And, you know, that they were unnecessary, really, and I ate so clean, at this point. I ate, you know, organic food, and plant-based, and just not really processed food very much, only as a treat. So, I couldn’t really understand why I would take a vitamin. What would I need it for? And the midwife said to me, “You know, what about the days when you’re traveling and you can’t get your hands on the things you want? Wouldn’t be a good sort of insurance policy?” And I was sold on insurance policy. So, I went looking and she recommended a brand. And I knew about some other brands that were the healthiest on the market at the time. But what I found was none of them had clean ingredients. They were all…you know, none of them were certified organic. None of them were non-GMO verified. Lots of them were filled with chemicals. Some of them were filled with good food and then surrounded by chemicals. So, it was like, “Here’s some food, and then we’re gonna put in a bag of chemicals.”

So, I just thought, “Wait, what’s going on? I can’t put something in my body that is less good than the food that I choose.” And this was coming off of having written “The Kind Diet,” written “The Kind Mama.” “Kind Mama” helps mommies get pregnant, people boost their fertility, you know, have a really sweet birth, know your birth options so you can make the best choice for your family knowing…again, just having information. If we don’t have information, how do we make these best choices? So just putting all the information in one place in a really organized fashion. So, now we have these vitamins and… And so basically what happened was I couldn’t bear to take anything that was on the market, nothing was good. So I decided I had to make it. So I went looking for a partner. I had this idea, and I went asking people who would want to do this with me, and I partnered with Garden of Life. And we co-created together mykind Organics, based on the principles that I just described that we have to put something on the market that’s clean for people, certified organic, non-GMO verified, all food-based, no fillers, and no binders. And so that’s what we did. And that’s kind of been my journey, I suppose.

Katie: I love that. I resonate with some of the points in that I have had a similar journey in a lot of ways. I’m also a dog and cat mom. So, I love that we get to see your one walk behind us, for anybody actually watching. But I think it’s really important the point you said about learning to listen to your body, because I think in today’s world, a lot of people maybe never get to learn that lesson because of all of the inputs our body handles and just the constant go-go nature of our world. But it really that’s been one of my lessons as well is the power of food, not the food to heal us but the power of the food to support our body and what it already knows how to do, which is healing, that’s its natural state. Also randomly love that you mentioned, Bruce Lee, because I’ve been training in his fighting Jeet Kune Do for about a year now. So, full connection there. But I think something else that you said is really important because, for almost everyone listening as a mom, and I think, like you said, there’s wisdom in everything. We can learn something, and then take what we need in and do that in our own lives.

And I find often, especially in the online world, people tend to focus on that, like 1% we don’t agree on. But like, if we step back, we agree on 98% of the things. We all want to feed our kids nutrient-dense food, and we all want animals to not be treated cruelly, and we want to support the planet. We have agreement in so many areas. And moms, I say over and over are the most powerful force on the planet. And when moms make changes, society makes changes. And so I love that you, like, took that by the horns and are making massive changes in society and helping other people as well.

I’d love to hear a little bit more about the supplements. I know you kind of gave us a great overview, but I learned a lot of the same lesson as you and that we can eat a perfect diet. But as we’ve probably heard the soil is depleted from what it used to be, food quality has declined just by the nature of all the environmental factors going on. And so I’ve also viewed supplements as an insurance policy or as a very targeted thing that’s needed at some times if you have a specific deficiency and you’re working with your practitioner on that. Can you just talk a little bit about what goes into yours? Because I know also, like, prenatal supplements are a big question for a lot of people.

Alicia: Well, yeah. So that was the one that…that’s how the whole… Thank you for asking that, by the way. And I want to remember to tell you about sleep and how important that is for being a mama. But I know you know that, but I just want to say something about that. But on the vitamin front, I remember that all I was interested in at that time was prenatal because, again, I wasn’t into vitamins. So here I was trying to find this prenatal, and what we did was make a prenatal that would have all food. So, when you turn the bottle around and you read the ingredients, you’re not gonna see magnesium stearate, which is a chemical. You’re not going to see ingredients that you can’t pronounce, it will say things like broccoli. And I think that’s really important. And so you’re getting all the greens, you know, the folic acid that you need, you’re getting everything that you need in a prenatal only it’s coming from food, so your body can assimilate it differently.

When you take a bunch of isolates that have been put into a jar that are made in a laboratory, that’s when the body goes, “What is this foreign thing? This isn’t food.” And so we’re taking it like a soup, literally, of vegetables, and fruits, and vitamin, you know, all these nourishing minerals and vitamins that are inside of the fruits and veggies. And we’re really basking in, it’s in the sun, it’s sun-dried, and then it’s turned into a tablet. So, you’re getting a clean food in your body, and your body knows what to do with food. It doesn’t know what to do with isolates as well, and that’s why they can be toxic to the liver.

So, I think it very much matters where you get your vitamins from. The ones that you get at GNC, like, it’s some, like…I don’t know, just any random pharmacy that costs $10. You know, I know they’re cheap, but that’s what they’re doing in your body. It’s just a bunch of chemicals. And it was really shocking to me, to be honest. I know that it’s very naive, and I have very much grown up and recognized that no one is looking out for us, you must look out for yourself. But there was a time in my life when I didn’t believe that, we couldn’t have slaughterhouses doing what they’re doing. Like, no one would allow that. Anybody who loves their dog would not allow this kind of cruelty to exist. And yet, it does.

And as you become a mother and you realize, you know, whether it’s your school, or it’s the government, you cannot rely on anyone to be looking out for your children’s best interests, you must be their advocate. Or in a hospital, you know, or anywhere, really, you have to be really vigilant about finding the correct information, gathering it all and making a solid decision about it. So, in terms of vitamins, I also naively thought that they would… “Of course, if it comes in a jar and it says it’s vitamin C, that is good for me because that’s why it exists.” Your doctor tells you to take vitamin C, that’s there. But that doesn’t mean that it is, it’s usually made with a bunch of junk.

So that’s why I wanted to make something that for myself, selfishly, I could take and know that it was good. And then I could give it to my friends and family and tell them this is good for you. And then I could feed my child. So, I have the prenatals is how it started. We have all the general vitamins. We have them in sprays, which are so delicious. The B12 spray and the vitamin C spray are so good. But then we have children’s supplements. And my son was obsessed with the B12. I had to pry it away from him.

If you go on my Instagram, you’ll see children are often having to be pried away from these sprays. They are so good. But there’s no sugar in them, no sugar at all. And we have children’s gummies, and we have things to support women. You know, lots of things for women, collagen-boosting because collagen doesn’t work when you take it into your body, you need to have the correct supplements and nutrients to create collagen on your own within yourself. So, buying into this gimmick of taking collagen into your body, it’s just a sales thing. It’s not doing anything for your body, you must build it from within.

And so we have a collagen builder, we have all of… You know, prenatal we have moms, we have them in pills, if you like a pill. We have them in gummies, if you’d like a gummy. And the gummies there’s no added sugar, they’re made with organic peaches and organic apples, and there’s no gelatin, which is so gross. It’s like acid that they throw on all the slaughterhouse bits, and ends of bones and feets, and whatnot. And they just put it into kind of a soup that’s disgusting, an acid soup.

And also we have a bunch of adaptogens. You know, we have turmeric, and then we have elderberry, and all of these things that we are…and ashwagandha and adrenals and all of those things, each thing that we’ve made, why it’s so different, aside from the things I already told you, is the process we go through. So, first, we had to come up with clean tablet technology so that when you take…in order to bind it all, that’s where the chemicals come in. That’s what…people are using chemicals. So, we found we spend years creating clean tablet technology so that they are binding together in a healthy, clean way. And then when we went to make the gummies, we had to come up with how do we do this without gelatin? How do we do this without sugar because I don’t want to give my kids sugar every day? And so how do we do that? And we came up with our solution for that. And then with the adaptogens, and the turmeric and all of that, it’s how do you extract it. Because the regular extraction process of even the most well-intentioned companies out there is hexane, which is gasoline. So, I don’t really want gasoline mixed into my vitamins. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound good to me, nor do I want GMO corn. So, we had to come up with ways to do it. And we have, and they’re clean and organic, and it works really well.

Katie: I had a similar discovery on that idea that we have to look out for ourselves. And I’ve said on here many times, we are each our own primary health care provider. Even if you work with a great doctor, you are actually responsible for your health. And you’re the one making the daily choices of what goes in your body, not your doctor. And I learned this lesson in the personal care world. Similarly, how you did in the supplement world, thinking for years, like “Oh, if it’s in the stores, of course, it must be safe. They wouldn’t sell it in the store, if it wasn’t safe.” And I learned about the whole world of ingredients inside personal care and how babies are born with hundreds of chemicals in their cord blood already because of all these things we’re exposed to. So that was my impetus for tackling haircare and personal care with, like, toothpaste because those go in kids’ bodies all the time.

You also mentioned your son, and I would love to hear a little bit, you said you had a midwife, just how your birth went. Because I know for me, my births were some of my most transformative moments. And I just love to hear a little bit of your story if you don’t mind sharing.

Alicia: Yeah, my birth I write all about it in “The Kind Mama” in great detail. And I think that book is very, very personal. It has pictures of my birth, it has pictures of the process, and really of all my discoveries of what you just described, this idea that we have to be our own advocate, and how to fight for yourself, and how to learn, “Wait a second. Yeah, it’s in the grocery store. Yeah, doctors even tell you to take it. But they’re wrong.” And how important that is to recognize that they are not right, they’re just doing what they’re told. And they are not informed all the time about everything. There’s so many things that I’ve challenged doctors on that they just don’t know about. You know, they wanted to put tubes in my son’s ears. And I was a negligent mother to one doctor because I didn’t give him antibiotics because she thought that he needed tubes in his ears. And I literally said, “Well, I’m so grateful for the information, thank you. And I’m going to go research it. And if I need to come back, I will but I want to research for it first.” She couldn’t bear that I would want to research something. This was really threatening to her. And so I was a bad mom.

And so I went and I researched it. And within moments, I called my naturopath and she said, “Oh, Alicia, by the time the kids are 7 years old, their ears change. So, they’re in a different angle right now. And by the time they’re seven, all these problems are going to go away. You do not need to use, what’s it called the…you don’t have to get the…what did I just say it’s called? The tubes in his ears. You don’t have to do that. He’s going to be fine. I said, “But they threatened he’d go deaf, they threaten all these things.” And she said, “I know because they don’t know.” And I said, “Okay, cool.” And I totally trusted her because I’ve had so many amazing experiences with her prior. And sure enough, he’s totally fine. Nothing’s wrong. Another time a doctor told us we couldn’t get on the airplane, we should cancel our trip because his ears would explode on the plane, and we were both a little sick. And if we got on the plane there, his ears would break, there would be pressure and it would break. So he gave us four prescriptions for what to take to handle this. Again, I called the naturopath and she said, “None of that is gonna happen. Not at all.” And I said, “Why do they say this? Why are they…” She said, “They just don’t know.”

And so I’m not saying doctors are bad. I love doctors. If my leg falls off, I’m gonna let them sew it back on. And there are many times where I’m so grateful. I’ve built relationships with doctors. My mother’s doctor when she was dying has become one of my dear, dear friends, is her surgeon. I have so much respect for them. But there are areas in which they don’t know. So when I got on that plane, and his ears were totally fine, and we didn’t take any of the medications. I called that lovely man. And I explained to him what happened and he was like, “What?” And I said, “Yeah, just so you know, it’s not quite how you said it would go down is not quite accurate and not necessary.” And I also told him…this is a different doctor. He was lovely. He wanted to see the results. So he said, will you come back after you do… Because I told him I’m going to clean up Bear’s diet a little bit more so that I can come back and show you that he’s improved this thing. And the doctor said, “Great.” And when I came back, he was really surprised because what he had asked us to do was very different than what I wanted to do. And he was surprised to learn. The point is, doctors can learn, they just sometimes don’t want to. Anyway, so my birth, “Kind mama.”

The whole thing is I wanted a home birth, and I was determined to have a home birth, and I was going to have a home birth. And I didn’t have a plan for not having a home birth. Even though I tell you in “The Kind Mama” to make a plan, I didn’t have that plan, I wasn’t going to go to the hospital. But I pushed for so long. And my midwife said, “If you don’t have the baby in the next, you know, 20 minutes, we’re gonna go.” But I was still able to have a natural birth. Luckily, I didn’t have to have… I had a little intervention with the vacuum, but I didn’t have to have any kind of medical intervention. But I had to fight it off, you have to be like a ninja. You know, they come in with… Immediately you go from being in your room where it’s just you and your experience of your baby, and you’re following your rhythm and your intuition, and then you’re in the hospital, and they’re like, “Push. Here’s drugs, drugs, drugs, drugs. Do you what some drugs? And they mean well, they just know that they want to knock you out, and make you happy, and make you feel good. And I said, “Baby’s coming, like, his head’s right there, what’s an epidural gonna do to me right now? Other than cause a lot of problems, what is taking a bunch of drugs gonna do? Let’s just get him out safely, and it’s gonna be okay.” But it’s just the way they’re set up, they’re set up to just throw drugs at you. And even if they’re not gonna help, even if you’re way past that point. I mean, I’m fully dilated, his head is sticking out, the reason he couldn’t come out is his little elbow was up, and…damn it.

But drugs weren’t gonna fix that at all, but they were really willing to give them all to me. They wanted to give them all to me. And I think that’s really interesting. And it’s just a shame. None of them mean bad, none of them mean anything wrong. They mean well. They’re nurses, they’re doctors, they want to help, but they’re just educated to give a bunch of stuff that doesn’t necessarily help or do anything. And sometimes, but sometimes they can be miraculous, right, but in this particular circumstance. So I was so grateful I had him in this hospital with…after my 28 hours at home or 27 hours at home, I had him with my doctor who’s a very…he was my backup doctor, and my midwife was right there. And my husband was right there.

And this guy, he came in and he said, “What do you want?” I said, “I want this thing out of me now.” Now. And I said, “But I don’t want you to do anything. I don’t want any drugs. I don’t want you to hurt him. I don’t want any…I don’t want us to be a medical procedure. And he said, “We won’t. It’s gonna be easy. I can see his head, it’s fine. And so he did. And even the pushing process I had to… He was asking me to push when my body didn’t want to push. And he was a lovely in-tune beautiful doctor who cares very much about home birthing and doing this naturally. He does VBAC. He lets women have natural births after having had C-sections all the time. He delivers breech babies. He’s a miracle doctor. He is beautiful. But even him was asking me to push when my body didn’t need to push. And so I said to him at one…I had to take that command quite quickly, I realized that wasn’t good what was happening. I could feel and I said, “Hang on, hang on, you do the thing when I’m pushing. I’m not gonna push when you need me to push. You do what you need to do when I’m pushing.” And he was like, “Okay.” And just that made it so much smoother because we have to do what nature asked us to do, and not work for the doctor. So, I’ve had lesson after lesson in how to speak up and advocate for my baby.

Katie: Yeah, I find birth is often a great teacher of that lesson. And I’ve had experiences like that too, where I remind people, you know, a doctor you’re hiring them, you could also fire them. And I fully agree. I think most of them are amazing humans. You don’t get through that many years of medical school and the hells of residency without really caring about people. But still at the end of the day, each of us are responsible for our own health. It actually was number five for me before I got to have a home birth. Three was an emergency C-section for placenta previa, and then with number five, she was breech. And at 37 weeks, they said, “We’re not going to let you birth naturally.” And I said, “Well, then you’re fired.” And I walked out and went, “Oh, I’m still having a baby in a couple weeks. Like, I gotta find out how this baby’s gonna get out of me.” And it ended up being an amazing, beautiful home birth experience. But it was a time of really having to lean in and trust my body’s wisdom and know that I could do it and know that my baby could do it.

Alicia: Oh, that’s so beautiful. I’m so happy for you that you got to have the experience you wanted eventually. That’s beautiful.

Katie: Yeah, it took four to get there but for the last two were both actually breach, at home.

Alicia: Oh my god. You’re a warrior.

Katie: And I know there’s so many other topics we can go into. I want to make sure we touch on sleep because you said to make sure we got to talk about sleep. So, let’s talk about sleep.

Alicia: Well, I just think for parents, the most critical thing you can do is be patient and be kind to yourself. And I have a podcast called “The Real Heal,” and it’s on the air now. And the first episode is all about loving yourself. And the second episode is about how to be a parent to your child in a way that is aligned with what your truest desires are, right? We all have the same…everyone, whether you’re Democrat, Republican, whether you’ve home birthed, or you haven’t home birthed, whatever your deal is, we all, like you said, can agree on that we love our children, and we want our children to thrive. And so if we stop, and really look at how can we be the most present? How can we be the most nourished and well-rested so that we’re so patient for our babies? So that’s really what an entire episode of my podcast is dedicated to. But the highlights of that for me are, when you eat well, when I eat well, I sleep well. And when I sleep well, I feel good. And when I feel good, I have the patience and the presence of mind to savor my little munchkin, to recognize that he will not be in this moment ever again. He’s so growing, and so changing, and that I can then really hear him, take him in, and love him up.

And when I have not slept well, it’s harder. My patience is thinner, I have less… My head might hurt. I can’t quite concentrate. His voice might make me want to kill myself for a second, not really but you know what I mean? Like, “Ah,” because I’m not feeling good. And so the sleep is so critical. And I have to fight for sleep every night, and sometimes I…most nights I fail, I don’t get the amount I want. But by having my eye on it and knowing what the goalpost is, I do better and better and better at it.

And how to get the night’s sleep is not just about turning off your stuff. And saying even though I’m not finished with any of my work right now, and I feel so uncomfortable about that because tomorrow I’m gonna wake up and feel unsettled about how my day is gonna go, which is where I never make…I always end up doing the work. But on the nights when I can manage to get it wrapped up in time, then I go to sleep and I feel great. But the thing that interrupts that sleep is food. So, if you eat a bunch of food that has tons of salts in it or tons of sugar, or you’ve eaten, you know, for me, even meat and dairy that, I mean, I don’t eat those things anymore. But those things are really disruptive. And I used to have insomnia. When I stopped eating those foods, all of my insomnia went away. I slept like a baby.

So, when I eat clean, healing, nourishing plant-based foods, I sleep really well and deeply, and my body can do what you said, naturally repair itself all night long. And it’s a restful state. It’s not war. It’s not a battle inside that night going, “I got to work this out. I got to process this.” It’s just able to rest. And then I can be the best mom I can possibly be. So, for me, that is such a critical thing that I think most parents are missing. They are not prioritizing sleep. And I mean really prioritizing it over everything. Over your kid’s soccer games, over your kid’s activities, over your activities, over the show you want to watch at night.

It is the most critical thing. Where you get your food and how you sleep is the most fundamental thing because then the other thing is, is not only are you the yummy mommy, the present happy mommy, but your kid, when you feed your kid… My kid was breastfed for three and a half years, my kid was…the food that he started eating at six months was clean, clean food, brown rice, greens, you know, all of those foods that he still eats now. He loves kale and bok choy, and he eats all of these things. These are the foods that make him feel so good so that… He’s never sick. If he gets sick, it’s like he’s got snot running down his nose but he’s still running up a mountain. Do you know what I mean? He’s never, “I gotta lay down. I don’t feel good.” Maybe once in his life for an hour. And so he’s so well-nourished that he feels good. He’s rooted in himself, his body… I see a lot of kids who are unsettled. They’re uncomfortable. They can’t stop moving. They don’t feel settled in themselves. That scared me. That was my dog.

Oh my god, he put his little paws up but in the strangest way. I felt like there was somebody standing here touching me. Sorry. But the point is that when they nourish themselves properly, they feel well and they act well. And so you don’t have… You know, I never went through terrible twos and threes. I never went through… We had moments that were challenging, but I never went through a period where I could say that he was doing something that was, you know, difficult. You just had to sort of…because he didn’t have all that stuff in his body that was making it hard for them. And so I just see children all the time, big dark circles under their eyes, you know, not able to really concentrate as well. Their brains can’t do the things they need to do when they aren’t feeling good. And they don’t know any different to know that they don’t feel good because there’s never been a different way. So, once you really clean yourself up, then you can understand the beauty of feeling good.

Katie: I fully agree. I think you can’t…I’ve said before, you can’t out-diet bad sleep. You can’t out-sleep bad diet. Those two are the core keys. And you also definitely can’t out -supplement bad diet or lack of sleep, and you can’t out-caffeinate those things. You can’t out-workout those things, you have to get those dialed in.

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I know for me personally, one thing that’s helped so much, and I’ve heard this recommendation from so many experts on this podcast is as soon as possible after waking up, go outside in the sunlight and let that natural light hit your eyes. And that starts your clock for when your melatonin is going to happen at night. And I feel like this is magic for kids also. And it, of course, ties back in the thing we all know, but maybe don’t listen to enough, which is the importance of nature and light for our body’s natural rhythms. And I found if I get that morning sunlight, and ideally also a few minutes of bright sunlight, at some point during the day, just time outside, it makes a huge difference for sleep as well. And you mentioned even that your vitamins, the ingredients are dried in the sunlight. But I would love to hear how you incorporate light as a part of your overall healthy lifestyle as well.

Alicia: Well, it’s beautiful what you just said, and it’s so true. And luckily, when I send him off to school, the first place they go is outside. So that’s the good news. You know, he goes off out the door, and he’s in the outdoors. And when he gets to school, it’s outdoors, you know, for the first bit. So, they definitely get that. I notice that sometimes I’m naughty about that, that I get so caught up in my work, that I don’t exit. But when I do, I feel, you know, sometimes just to drag myself to go on a walk by myself with the dogs because sometimes I make friends… Because my schedule is so outrageous I often schedule friends to go on hikes with me with. And so when I go by myself, it’s like this gift. And today the sun is so pretty. And I remember waking up and going and sitting out and having breakfast, and I remember saying, “This is such a treat, that I’m eating my breakfast outside in the sunlight.”

And one of my practices that I don’t do enough, but you’re reminding me and I love it so much. And I write it every day, I say, “Get out in the sunshine.” But one of my favorite practices is to take that 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. which, it’s very difficult to block that out. But 8:30 a.m. 9:00 a.m. sunshine, and lay there as naked as you can and maybe meditate. You know that would be lovely. That’s the ideal is to be meditating in the sun naked at 8:30 to 9:00 in the morning. But who can do that every day? But if you can, if you set it as a goal, and you do it once a week, that’s an accomplishment, right? But that feels so nourishing. It’s so nourishing to our bodies that the sun is going in you, you’re in the fresh air. Going on a walk with my dogs always feels good. And I can’t be naked on the walk is the only thing so the sun doesn’t go in you as quite as much, but you do you get the light on your eyes, and you do get to take in all the trees and the smells, the smells of spring, the sweet Jasmine blooming.

So, I feel very, very grateful when I’m able to make that happen. But my life is very busy and often there’s so many pressures and deadlines that sometimes I just can’t, and that’s okay because then I can try the next day and just keep trying. You know, I was trying to play basketball with my son and some friends. I had wanted to do this for about a year, and I finally did it last weekend. We had a huge basketball match, me, and my son, and some friends, and it was amazing. So, even if we have to try for a very long time, and we eventually get there, it’s worth it to keep trying.

Katie: Absolutely agree. And speaking of the kid’s side, I know a kind of universal mom thought no matter how parents and families eat is the importance of getting kids to eat really clean, nutrient-dense veggies and how to actually get them to like it. And this is a thing I hear a lot that I’m guessing that you have found some helpful tips and tricks over the years. So, I would love to hear some of the ways that you’ve gotten your son, not just eat, but love these foods.

Alicia: Well, I think it starts from conception, to be honest. So, I’m not saying that you can’t correct that once if you don’t have the chance, but if you’re a mom out there or a pregnant person out there, this is your chance. You know, because when you eat plants, if you make your… You’re gonna have a better birth when you eat plants. Like, in “The Kind Mama,” I really outline the foods that make your birth sweeter, easier, how that can all go down. If we’re eating junky food, we make bigger babies. Those babies are more difficult to come out of our bodies, right?

And so, there’s so much and how you feel on the daily being pregnant. I remember towards the end of my pregnancy, people would say to my husband, “Gosh, is she so miserable? You know, she must be so moody.” Everyone’s experience of a pregnant woman is sort of like this crazy, moody hormonal psycho. And he said, “No, not at all. She’s very happy and very comfortable.” And people would say to me, “Are you dying for this thing to get out of you?” And I’d say, “No.” Not until I was giving birth then I was dying for the thing to get out of me, that alien.

But prior to that, I had no need for him to come out soon or anything, I was just really happily pregnant. I was in a blissful goddess state that I think we are all entitled to. And so what I guess I’m saying is in terms of getting veggies in you, I was eating that way, you know, from conception to birth to breast milk. So, his milk was filled with the foods that I was going to want him to eat. Then, his first foods were greens. I didn’t start with carrots. I didn’t start with sweet potatoes and apples. Those are the sweet, easy things. No kids gonna say no to that stuff. But I gave him watercress, and broccoli, and kale, and bok choy, and peas. And I wanted him to experience green food so that he would know what it was and love it. And he did. And brown rice with no sauces on it. No salt, just pure plain brown rice, tofu plain. I never gave him sauces. Everything was just the pure food so that, by the time he was like three and going to parties and kids were having cake, if I put a bowl of raspberries in front of him, he was in heaven. It was, like, he had struck gold, you know, because it’s just his mouth was so pure, and it was so delicious.

So, in terms of veggies, he’s just always had them. And now I have to say he’ll still tell you his favorite food is kale, which is very bizarre. But we cook it a few different ways. And I have a video on YouTube and on my Instagram of me cooking greens for children, children that are not my kid. And so they’ve never… These are kids who hate vegetables, who don’t eat vegetables in their mom’s houses. And then when I make them for them, they can’t stop eating them. And part of that is having them in the garden and watching me grow them. So, pulling it out of the garden is really an important thing, I think for kids. But even so when I didn’t do that, and they’re just eating kale that I’ve made, and I drizzle it with umeboshi plum vinegar, and lemon, and flaxseed oil, and this is a recipe in my book in either “The Kind Diet” or “The Kind Mama,” the kids just love it. I mean, I put down a plate and within two seconds if you watch this video there, it’s gone. I didn’t even…I think I got one bite because the two little kids gobbled it up.

So, I think it’s how they’re prepared. We have to remember that the vegetables that are coming in a microwave or frozen bag, if that’s our introduction of vegetables, well, they’re gross. That’s not going to make a kid want to eat a vegetable. So duh. But if you treat the vegetables like you would, you know, mastering anything else, it’s cooking it to the point that when I cook kale, or I cook bok choy or broccoli, I’m not making it super soft and I’m not leaving it crunchy, I’m getting it in that perfect zone and…trying to. And then it’s what I’m dressing it with. So, it’s not overly salted, but it is…just has that salty, tangy, yummy thing, just enough to make them really appreciate it, but you can do it without that too.

So, I really don’t find it a problem but it’s because I’ve been doing it for a very long time. And so introducing it to your family, you know, if you haven’t been doing it, then I would say you kind of have to… What I would do is just start introducing… If were to get married right now and that husband person had a bunch of kids and I was going to introduce these kids to good food, I would just slowly eliminate. I would be eliminating the foods that I know are going to make their tongues not appreciate this. The sugar, the dairy, the heavily salted stuff, chips, processed food, all that. I would just slowly have it disappear out of the house. I would make really healing delicious food that’s just tasty and not make a fuss about it, not tell them, “Hey, here’s what we’re doing.” Just say nothing, just keep preparing yummy food and have them enjoy this yummy food.

And, you know, maybe I’m making a pizza that I… We love making pizza at our house and then I’m putting chopped arugula on top of it and/or, you know, chopped kale on top of it, but there’s also olive oil and maybe a little vegan parm made from cashews, things that are real foods that they’ll still be having those tastes. And then tacos, you know, chopping up cabbage for our tacos, kale with the tacos.

What else? I would just… A lots of stir fries. Stir fries is a great way to get all the veggies and the beans and the rice in there. So, I would just keep making things that are really delicious and not make a fuss about what I’m doing so there’s no fight about it. It’s just here’s this beautiful food and hope that they… And eventually, they’re gonna be hungry and eat it and start… you know, they’ll be picky at first because they’re going to go, “You know, what’s this new thing? Or why are you…why can’t I have this candy?” I mean, sometimes kids who have a lot of candy will come over to my house, and they don’t understand why there isn’t candy around. It’s really a battle. They’re like, “Where’s the candy?” And I said, “We don’t have candy here.” “What do you mean?” And five minutes later, they’re asking again, “Where’s the candy?” And I say, “Did you not hear me when I said I really don’t have any candy? But we can certainly make a smoothie if you want, or we can make some fruit ice cream, you know, is that what you want to have?” And they eventually come around. It just takes them readjusting to what they’re conditioned to do.

So, I think it just takes, you know, a clear mind. It’s sort of like when your kid says, “Can I watch TV?” And you know, you’ve already decided they can’t. If you have a clear direction, it’s not gonna happen, fine, draw, you know, make something else, do something else. But if you’re wavering and unsure, they usually can win you over. Do you know what I mean? So, I think with food, it’s the same thing, sort of having a clear point of view, when we’re going to eat food that heals our bodies, we’re going to eliminate foods that harm our bodies. And we’re not going to be rigid, sometimes we’re gonna “Oopsie Doopsie” at a party or we’re gonna “Oopsie Doopsie,” whatever, those things are gonna happen.

But the majority of the time, you’re gonna make the foundation of how we eat, to nourish ourselves, to make our brains big, and work properly. So that when they’re sitting in school, they’re not distracted and having a hard time focusing, that they’re really excited to learn because their bodies are fueled and nourished on brown rice, greens, seaweeds, and beans, things that are long lasting, good, nourishing foods that give you endurance and presence of mind, and peace, calm, peace. And not the kind of calm peace that makes you lethargic, but kind that makes you a little warrior, you know, that you are able to hone your energy and not be a spaz, but you still can run and do everything you need to do and you have ambition, and competitiveness, and the desire to achieve, and the energy for all that is required, but in a sort of Zen calm Buddha way, that you’re not split this, you know, you’re not… They’re not shaky. They’re not unsturdy, if that makes sense.

Katie: Yeah. I’ve had the same very similar experience with my kids. And that if you train their palates early, they learn naturally that you don’t have to, like, outwardly enforce very hard when they’re other places. And I’ve been actually very careful about that because I don’t want their food intuition to come from me, I want them to have that internally. And so I don’t overly restrict when they’re not in my house. My thing is, I cook very nutrient-dense whole foods in our house, and you’re responsible for choosing at any given meal to eat or not. If you’re not hungry, I respect that. Or if you want to wait till the next meal, because you like it better, I respect that too. And when you’re in other places, you’re responsible for you. And they’ve learned the hard way a couple times, like “Oh, if I eat cake, I don’t feel good.” And then they’ve learned that lesson. It’s not me, the dictator telling them not to eat it. I think that helps with them not restricting, and that forbidden food culture in the long-term. And as I expected, of course, our time has flown by, because you’re so easy to talk to. But a question I love to ask at the end is if there’s a book or a number of books that have had a profound impact on your life, other than your own, of course, and if so what they are and why?

Alicia: I’m having… My brain is fried right now. What is the book that I love so much? I remember a book a long time ago, “Finding your North Star,” or something like that. And that book was really helpful in terms of grieving, and loss, and trauma, and releasing and focusing in on what you really want and being able to go after it. That was a very powerful book. I remember reading also, what’s that book called? “The 4-Hour Workweek,” which not…just reminded me how lucky I was that I love what I do. I’m an activist. So, most of my job and time spent is not making money, it’s trying to help this world, and that work is passion. And even though it’s overwhelming, but that is really it’s…I feel very lucky that I can do that, and I care so much, and… And then there was books. You know, I remember back in the day, John Robbins wrote a book called “Food Revolution.” And this is 20-odd years ago, maybe longer. And he came from Baskin-Robbins. He was the son of Baskin Robbins. And he really went in a different direction. And it’s a story about healing and nourishment. And he really inspired me too. So, those are the ones that are popping in my mind right now. But I’m sure later I’ll go, “Oh, no, I forgot to tell you about this one.”

But I wanted to just also add that part of this, if any of this is interesting to your listeners, part of what “The Real Heal,” my podcast, is really all about is our collective… You know, I’m grateful to you for what you’re doing. It sounds like what you just described about…you know, I loved what you just said about, you’re welcome to not eat at this meal. And I feel you let…100,000% I love how you said it so well. And you’re welcome to eat at the next meal, or whatever, because I’m with you.

So part of this whole podcast journey that I’m doing is really starting with the love we have for ourselves, the love we share with our children, and then how that can expand and expand so that our love for our communities…because I really wanna ask the question, what is it going to take? The whole podcast is, what is it going to take for us to heal ourselves, our communities, and our planet? And so I’m speaking with such interesting people about these subjects. And I’m so proud of it, and so excited. And so sometimes nurturing yourself, nourishing yourself is also a way to nourish the environment, to nourish your community in these food deserts. Sometimes it’s what saves your life. And all of these stories are so powerful and urgent, needed urgently. And hopefully will help people to, like you talked about in the beginning, think for themselves and find ways to advocate for themselves and fight for themselves and know, you have to look deeper and find your sources.

Katie: I love it. I think that’s a perfect place to wrap up. And I know you mentioned, your podcasts, your book and your supplements, those will all be linked in the show notes for all of you listening. You can check that at along with the show notes from everything we’ve talked about today. I’m so grateful for your time. I know you are a busy mom and do so much else as well. Thank you so much for being here today.

Alicia: Thank you so much. I really appreciate this conversation and what you’re doing.

Katie: Thank you. And thanks as always to all of you for listening, for sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us today. 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.


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