Learn True Health with Ashley James

On Learn True Health, Ashley James interviews today's most successful natural healers. Learn True Health was created for YOU, the health enthusiast. If you are passionate about organic living or struggling with health issues and are looking to gain your health naturally, our holistic podcast is what you have been looking for! Ashley James interviews Naturopathic Doctors and expert holistic health care practitioners to bring you key holistic health information, results based advice and new natural steps you can take to achieve true health, starting NOW! If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, if you are fed up with prescription drug side effects, if you want to live in optimal health but you don't know where to start, this podcast is for you! If you are looking for ACTIONABLE advice from holistic doctors to get you on your path to healing, you will enjoy the wisdom each episode brings. Each practitioner will leave you with a challenge, something that you can do now, and each day, to measurably improve your health, energy, and vitality. Learn about new healing diet strategies, how to boost your immune system, balance your hormones, increase your energy, what supplements to take and why and how to experience your health and stamina in a new way. Ashley James from Learn True Health interviews doctors like Dr. Joel Wallach, Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Oz, Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Molly Niedermeyer on Naturopathic Medicine, Homeopathy, Supplements, Meditation, Holistic Health and Alternative Health Strategies for Gaining Optimal Health.
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Sep 15, 2023

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507: Understanding the Polyvagal Theory with Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie


Herbalist Elizabeth Guthrie, Ph.D. in Natural Medicine, shares her insights on the multifaceted world of plants and their significance in promoting well-being. She emphasizes the valuable role of invasive species in soil amendment, dispelling misconceptions and illustrating how these plants can be harnessed for nutritional and medicinal benefits. The discussion expands into the anxiolytic effects of Mimosa pudica bark and its role in downregulating the nervous system, with a focus on polyvagal theory and its implications. Furthermore, Elizabeth delves into the significance of the vagal nerve as a conduit of memories and the intricate connection between the gut and brain in shaping overall well-being.

Explore the transformative power of your unique plant allies as you harness nature’s wisdom for healing and resilience — and embark on a journey of self-discovery, connecting you deeply with the natural world. Sign up now for the free training—

Ashley James & Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie


  • Mimosa tree insights
  • Anxiolytic effects and relaxation
  • Beneficial invasives may provide nutritional and medicinal benefits
  • Untapped nutritional value in roadside plants often dismissed as weeds
  • Anxiolytic effects of Mimosa pudica bark and its role in soothing the nervous system
  • Vagal nerve's holistic role
  • Holographic nature of the nervous system


Hello true health seeker, and welcome to another exciting episode of the Learn True Health Podcast. We have Part 2 with Elizabeth Guthrie, who we had since the last episode, Episode #506. She was a Ph.D. candidate, and now she's officially earned her Ph.D. in Natural Medicine, and she comes back on the show to dive deeper into this discussion of using herbs as our own medicine at home. And we discuss how you can work with herbs, for your own somatics, for your nervous system. I know you'll love today's interview. I hope you go back and listen to Episode #506, which was Part 1. We just continued the discussion. So, even if you didn't listen to 506, you'd still be able to gain lots of information from today's interview. And I apologize; my microphone is just a little bit off. You're still able to hear everything and gain knowledge from the episode. A knob got bumped, so it's just a little bit off, and I apologize. I'm going to correct that and get it all fixed and sound great again. 

So this interview took place a few weeks ago, which we're publishing right now. But today, I just finished an interview with one of the top scientists around structured water and the analemma, and I'm very excited to be publishing that. And that is going to be the next episode, Episode #508. So be sure to check that out. It's going to come out in the next few days. And Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie is giving us access to her free course, so we want to make sure that you guys know to go to and sign up for her free class that she's giving on Saturday. And even if it's past the date, go ahead and go to that link because I'll make sure that it forwards to the course she's giving and any future free talks she's giving. But this particular webinar is going to be fascinating. And if you have any interest in utilizing plants and learning more about natural medicine, learning more about emotional and physical health, emotional, mental and physical health, and working with plants, then I invite you to check it out. I think you'll really like it. takes you to sign up for her free talk coming this Saturday. 

Make sure you subscribe wherever you listen from, whether it's the Apple podcast app, Android, Google, PodBean, Spotify, even on Amazon Podcasts, all kinds of places, or just on the website. You could be listening from there. Wherever you're listening from, make sure that you subscribe so that you get the notifications for when episodes come out.

I want to make sure that you definitely hear next week's episode. It's going to be amazing. I was just floored. There were several times when my jaw was on the floor, and I just can't wait to give you that information. With these interviews, it's like gold is coming out of the mouths of the guests that I have on, and I get so excited thinking about these little tidbits. Sometimes it's just one sentence. Someone says one sentence, and it is all the insight that was needed to spark the action, the mechanism of action for you to take your health to the next level. And certainly, I learned so much from my guests that have taken my life to the next level. So, I'm so thrilled to share this with you. I know today's interview will give you lots of gold, lots of insights as to what you can add to your life to enrich your life and your health and your continued growth in your well-being. And next week's episodes are going to be amazing as well. So remember, go to so you can get access to Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie's talk coming up soon, and have yourself a fantastic rest of your day and enjoy today's interview.

[0:04:17.4] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health Podcast. I'm your host, Ashley James. This is Episode #507. I am so excited for today's guest. We have back on the show — I think it's the third time we've had you on the show, and now I can say, Ph.D. Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie. Welcome back to the show. It's so good to have you. We recently published an episode with you where it was just before you got your credentials, and you're saying, “Any day now, I might find out,” and then, of course, it was days after I saw you on Facebook going, “Yay, I got it!” So you've been Ph.D. for a while now. Although I've just published that episode. It was actually a few months ago. So it's been a few months, and so much has happened in your life. I'm really excited to have you back on the show because what you teach is a type of medicine that is so accessible. We actually all used to use it. Our ancestors only a few generations ago had such vast knowledge, and we've lost it in the last hundred years because of –, and I don't want to get into sounding like a conspiracy theorist, but it's the truth — that there was a concerted effort by those who owned the pharmaceutical companies to make it so that we didn't practice natural medicine. Instead, we focused on just going to the doctor and buying drugs that were petroleum-based patented drugs. And three generations later, we have no idea what herbs do other than maybe drinking some peppermint tea. And yet, right in your backyard, you have access to amazing herbs. 

My friend, last year, got stung by a wasp really bad, and a friend of his who, I believe, is a First Nations person, a Native American, or has that background, turned to my friend and said, “Oh, go grab that yarrow right there. Chew it up and put it on the wound. Put it on the bite.” And my friend, who was in immense pain, did it, and within seconds, it felt like the pain just went away. And he was like, “Woah, what was that?” And his friend was like, “Yeah, yarrow. It grows everywhere and really good for…” and he started listing off all these things, and it was right there. He got stung, and he didn't even have to take a step. It was like the yarrow was the medicine.

And the cure to the problem was right there at his fingertips. And this is what it's like in our backyard. You could just reach out. You can just walk ten paces, reach out, touch, and as long as you don't have just a manicured lawn, you can grab something that has wonderfully beautiful medicinal properties. There are trees that I know in our area that grow the seeds that fight parasites. There are things that we think are weeds that are growing up between the cracks in the cement, making wonderful poultices for eczema and bug bites and for calming fevers. The list goes on and on. It's amazing that we could just take a little bit of time, learn from Elizabeth today, and begin to cultivate this excitement around how we can use plant medicine to support our body's ability to heal itself. Even in some cases, in the first stage, just to calm the nervous system and bring in nutrients, decrease inflammation, swelling, and pain. 

So we have lots to talk about today. I'm really excited that Elizabeth is doing a free introductory event to plant medicine. You're going to learn so much. I want you to sign up for it. Go to I just tried to make it as simple as possible to type in instead of having to type in plant medicine. So just type in, and that'll take you to her free introductory event, where she's going to teach you lots of great information, even more than we're going to discuss today. So, welcome back to the show. It's great to have you here.

[0:08:39.0] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: Thanks. I'm thrilled to be here. 

[0:08:41.1] Ashley James: Absolutely. So, take us back to the moments we hung up the last time, and then days later, you finally got your credentials, your very hard-earned Ph.D. in Natural Medicine. Let us know what's happened since. What has unfolded since? 

[0:08:59.9] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: Wow, there's been a lot of different fascinating discussions with people. I got my Ph.D. in Natural Medicine because it was accessible to me. It was something that I was able to do. I was able to really buckle down and do a lot of hard work around it. I've learned a lot about natural medicine in general and, of course, my focus on plant medicine and the way that it can help after significant emotional distress or trauma, depending on the situation. And it is a little bit different from Naturopathic Medicine. There are naturopathic medical schools in both America and Canada that can teach you how to become almost like a primary care physician. This was more research-based, but it's been really helpful in my practical application as well because I do support people in a clinical setting to help them find out what their bodies need and what's going to help them the most. 

I guess it's been about nine months. It has been a whirlwind. I got to teach a class for the American Herbalist Guild on polyvagal theory in herbalism. I've begun to train in somatic practices. So I was already doing some somatic work, and, of course, I've been training for yoga therapy and things like that. But I've really started to do these professional level trainings with Dr. Peter Levine in somatic practices in order to better merge plant medicine and what's happening in the body, how we can really come in contact with our body, and really get to that point where we feel embodied. So that, then, our intuition is a little bit clearer. When we look out into nature, we look at the different rhythms that are happening in nature. We look at the things that are occurring, the seasons, or sometimes the doctrine of signatures for the plants in the way that the plants look or the things that were called to. If we are more centered on ourselves and we understand a little bit about the plants around us, it becomes easier for us to intuitively reach for the right things at the right time. And that's a lot of the work that I've been focused on.

[0:11:29.5] Ashley James: Love it. Well, since we talked, I've been having tea a lot with my son. He gravitates towards them much more intuitively than even I do. And it's cool because he's very sure of himself, and he's very grounded in knowing who he is. He knows what he likes and what he doesn't like. And he asks for tea, and that's so cool. So we've been playing around with the different teas, and he loves Sleepytime tea and all those herbs that are just calming and soothing right before bed, and I noticed he does definitely seem to just ease into bedtime a bit better. So we enjoy, and we each share a cup of Sleepytime tea. On the back, it says do not let children drink it, and I noticed that after about the fifth time, we were drinking it. I was like, “Oh no, why?” It's not like I'm giving him five tea bags. It's not strong. I'm not making a strong one. But I was like, “Why is it saying this?” So maybe you could enlighten me. Are there teas that they sell on the shelves of the stores just like premade kind of tea mixes that are unsafe for certain ages? Obviously, I'm not feeding it to an infant. My son's 70 lbs, and he's drinking one cup. So maybe you could enlighten us on that. And what we've really enjoyed is that he likes picking his own herbs and making tea like peppermint. He likes picking fresh peppermint, and he'll make his own teas without me prompting him. He kind of just knows how to do it, which is amazing. He's got this innate knowledge. 

And then lately, I've been making a turbo moon tea elixir where I've mixed fifteen different herbs. I felt really drawn to that Ayurvedic mixture. Let's see, I have got like ten to fifteen of them, so I don't know if I can name them all off, but I've got like licorice root, dandelion root, a ton of turmeric, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, ginger. The list goes on and on. And then I blend them all up with pepper, with some coconut milk and water, and then I put it in the fridge, and it becomes this congealed, very thick substance. So it's a concentrate, and I just take a spoonful of that — and ashwagandha, a ton of ashwagandha — put it in a mug of hot water, and I stir it, and then that's the tea. My body loves it because it's so calming, so relaxing. I fed some to my husband last night, and he fell asleep within five minutes, snoring on the couch. I was like, “This is really good.” Any time I do this moon tea — I call it moon tea, but there's way more in it than the normal moon tea — I just notice that my nervous system loves it, and I have even better sleep. And, of course, my husband, it just knocked him right out, which is wonderful. A lot of the stuff in there helps detoxify, and it's antiparasitic. Its anti-inflammatory and its adaptogenic herbs are helping to stabilize the body. Ashwagandha is good for men and women. I always thought it was just women, but I started reading about how ashwagandha is good for men, and I thought, “Oh, I'm going to feed this to my husband.” And he loves it. 

So you've inspired us to play with herbs since we talked. So thank you. Thank you for that. So you came up with this course — the introductory events and then the whole course that comes after it. So, fill us in on what we are going to learn. Or can we dive into what you are so excited to teach us today? 

[0:15:33.2] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: I think it's really interesting because your comments about your son and his intuitive sense towards the plants, making the teas, and choosing the things that he's really drawn to at that moment is a natural intuition that we all have. And I believe that a lot of the time, one of the reasons that we have this kind of deeper homesickness, this deeper sense of “I don't quite feel like I'm in the right place,” comes from our lack of connection to nature.

When we look around us, and we connect to nature, we connect to the rhythms of the universe and what's occurring. And when we can start to really find ourselves in that deeper relationship — first, it may just be like, “Oh, this is nice,” but the more that we do it, the deeper our relationship becomes. And we can get to a point where that stillness actually becomes part of what we experience on a regular basis. And once we're at a place where we can embody the stillness of just knowing that these rhythms are a continual thing, “this too shall pass” — some of the stuff that we teach in mindfulness-type practices — then we can really get to a point where we can listen to our deepest consciousness and understand more about why we're here doing what we're doing. Like what our purpose in life is or the way that we can better connect to things, that kind of ancient wisdom that everybody holds, but we may not be able to access as easily when we're so disconnected from our natural state. And that's a lot of what we're talking about. 

Now, of course, we're getting into, “Here are the different plants you can do for this, and here's the teas that you could talk about or hear, the different essential oils.” But the core essence of this course, starting with this free introductory event, and then, of course, if you decide to come into the main course, we're really getting into tapping into that more natural intuitive sense to help to build and strengthen that relationship with the plants that are around us and what that means for each of us individually.

[0:17:53.1] Ashley James: So what herbs have you been featuring the last few months? What herbs have you been most excited about teaching or using yourself, seeing that they are so needed right now?

[0:18:08.7] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: So, it's interesting that you ask me that because I've been chomping at the bit to talk about invasive species. Think about dandelions. For a lot of people, it is considered invasive, and the entire plant dandelion is helpful. The new leaves that come out in the spring they're nice on a salad as part of the bitters. There are a lot of benefits to the root. You can get roasted dandelion root to add to your coffee for people who drink coffee, and that's a really interesting flavor addition, and it has benefits. So there are all kinds of different ways you can use dandelion, and yet a lot of people see it as an invasive weed. 

To answer your question, one of my favorite plants right now is the mimosa tree. And it's really funny because the woman that you shared on your Facebook, I know that woman. That's one of the herbalists from our area. She and I have a very similar view on Mimosa because a lot of people go, “Oh, it's so invasive. It's terrible. I hate it. I can't get rid of it.” And I'm not saying that it's not very frustrating if it takes over and you don't want to take over. But I was very excited this year when one finally popped up. My neighbors have one on the property line, and every year, I've been like, “Okay, come here, come here.” And this year, what has finally popped up on the property? The bark and the flowers both have anxiolytic relaxing effects to them. I love this plant, and I use it for flower essences. I use it in tincture form for this anxiolytic effect. So, I am thrilled that this little baby has popped up on my property.

And so we don't need to just see invasive species as a pain. Sometimes, they're helping to change the soil. So, a lot of the time, these things that we consider invasive may actually be helping to amend the soil. Also, even kudzu has some properties that are beneficial. I don't use it very much. And so those kinds of things we can harvest without having to worry about the sustainability of it. Some plants we have to be more careful with because we've never harvested them. But a lot of these invasive plants that have benefits, either nutritional or the medicinal herbal side of things, whatever that is, we can harvest these and use them. 

I was recently reading a book by Pascal Baudar. It's his new book called Wildcrafted Vinegars. And one of the things that he mentions is that there are all kinds of different plants. He used to live in California, and there were all kinds of different plants that would just grow on the roadside and all over the hills that had nutritional value to them. But people saw them as weeds and never did anything with them. And you know, when people are concerned about, are we going to have enough access to food. Are we going to have enough capacity to take care of ourselves and things like that? So it may be more on the proper side of things, but still, we can look at those. And there are certain foods that can come from these things that we call weeds. There are medicinal benefits and survivability benefits. I encourage you, whatever you have around you, to get out and start learning about it and start understanding what these plants are. Not just the native plants but the invasive plants that we have in our area that might have benefits. Sometimes, you can find some really strong allies in those plants that we might normally think of as kind of a pain. 

[0:22:23.8] Ashley James: So the Mimosa pudica bark, you said the word anxiolytic? Can you explain what that means? So, if we were to take the bark and make tea out of it and drink it, what effect would it have on us? 

[0:22:36.1] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: So it helps to reduce the feelings of anxiety. It has a very cooling, relaxing type energetics that helps you bring the nervous system back down. So this gets a little bit into the polyvagal theory — the sympathetic state, that fight or flight response. If somebody is really into a fight or flight mode, then the Mimosa can be very helpful on that front. 

[0:23:04.4] Ashley James: I can hear people say, “What if I poison myself because I don't know what I'm doing? Or what if I drink too much of it or have a bad reaction?” They're thinking, “I have to call poison control or something.” Can you maybe relieve our tension around the fear of using plant medicine because we're so used to picking up a prescription bottle and seeing how many to take and knowing that it's controlled, even though tens and thousands, if not a hundred thousand people a year die of improperly using prescription medication, not including the deaths overusing them? We think prescribed medicine is safe, and it's not. There's also a risk to that as well. There's more risk because the safeguards from nature have been taken out. 

I think we've talked about it before, but it's worth repeating that the willow bark was where we get aspirin from. Willow bark in its whole state; if you were to make a tea out of that, for example, or tincture, if you consume too much, it would cause you to throw it up. So it helps prevent you from overdosing. Whereas aspirin, they removed those things in nature that help us. I'm not saying every plant has the safeguard because, obviously, there are many plants that you can't eat, and that'll kill you. But there are even more plants out there that you can eat, and that will help. It's like snakes. Most snakes won't kill you, but it doesn't mean all snakes will kill you, either. So, a bit of knowledge goes a long way, and having a healthy respect for plants, just like having a healthy fear of human-made medicine or chemical-made medicine, we should just use more caution and look into each thing more. So, for all of us who have a mimosa tree in our backyard, why don't you just run out there right now and start gnawing on the bark. 

Tell us about the safeguards of beginning to use plant medicine just so that we can be rest assured. Like my son, without any thought, he will run outside, pick some bush, and start eating it because he loves plants. And I'm like, “Sweetie, there might be something in this garden that could kill you.” I know there's at least one plant that is in Washington State. I mean, it's killed one person in the last 60 years, but it could make people very sick. And I've told him not every plant is safe. We should really know what we're putting in our mouths. But he's like, “Well, you told me vegetables are good, and this is green, so I'm just going to eat it. He likes foraging, but he does it without me. So he just comes home chewing on something, and then I have to say, “What did it look like? Hold on, let me look it up.” So we want to go in our backyard or out in nature, or just go to the health food store, maybe. Sometimes, I start there. Can you teach us a bit about the safeguards, though, while we get into this?

[0:26:23.4] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: So I encourage people to look into local guides and their plants, what they have locally grown. There are all kinds of different books that are available to give you an idea as to the safe dosing of different plants. And I will say, when you start looking into this, a lot of the dosing is based off of somebody who weighs about 150 lb. And, of course, children's dosing is a little bit different. But when it comes to an adult, usually, if you're looking at a bottle, it's kind of based off of somebody that is 150 lb. If you're heavier than that, sometimes you'll need to take more. But when you get into that level of taking capsules and taking a lot of it, and maybe there are some extracts, or maybe there's something else, that's where I think it's really helpful to find a clinical herbalist in your area, and work with them to learn a lot of these safeguards, a lot of these things that we're finding out. 

I think what we got into talking about last time with turmeric and the fact that there are some extracts now that may be giving people problems. We don't quite know yet. Is the whole plant or the whole root safe? Are these extracts, these curcuminoid extracts, giving people problems like, “What's happening there?” And you can work with a clinical herbalist to get a better feel for that. But there are a lot of plants that we can get into, most of which are in the teas that we see at the grocery store, like we're talking about, that are generally recognized as safe. For most people, there's not going to be an issue. If you have a lot of chronic illness, if you have a lot of unusual allergies, that would be a good time to say, “Hey, I think I am going to at least try to get an idea of what I want to do together.” Take it to an herbalist and just pay for time to sit there and talk through it with them. Maybe it's not like a full consultation, but maybe it's almost like a mentorship session. Consultations are good too, but if you're already kind of taking it into your own hands, you already have an idea; maybe you sit down for an hour of mentorship with them where they can help keep you in that safe range. But generally speaking, if you're in a situation where you're relatively healthy, and you're trying to just start to explore these things, then a lot of what you're talking about, like peppermint, is relatively safe for most people. There are going to be some people that may have some issues with acid reflux with it. But for the most part, people are going to be okay, and it's going to be fine, like lavender and chamomile. 

So there's a lot of these different herbs and a lot of the adaptogenic herbs that are very safe for most people. So there's a lot of those herbs that you can learn a little bit about, learn a bit about the dosing, and very quickly benefit from them. For instance, with the bark, it is about 10 grams into a decoction, and that's what people can use. Now, it's going to be lower if you put it into a tincture. But it's a pretty decent amount of it that is considered, at this point, safe to use. So it's definitely like an entire conversation in itself, like safety and safety buffers. And I think it's just really important to recognize that you don't necessarily read an article on the internet and assume that it's right. Go back to these people who are herbalists who have been doing this for years or who have credentialing. Notice that I used that separately because there are a lot of people who don't have credentialing who are very good herbalists and have experience. So, both of those things are valid career paths. So look for things like K.P. Khalsa's books. It's a little bit older, but Louise Tenney was a master herbalist who has some good reference guides. Obviously, Rosemary Gladstar's work is really amazing. Now I'm freezing up on the man who did the adaptogens. But David Winston has an adaptogens book if you're into that. So there are all kinds of different places you can go to find out what people are generally seeing as safe dosing.

[0:30:54.3] Ashley James: And they can also go to you, right? 

[0:30:58.7] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: I'm here. I just don't want to be totally focused on myself as perfect, like I know all of this. A lot of this I'm learning from. I'm standing on the shoulders of giants with a lot of this information. We have a lot of indigenous healers who have given us a lot of information, and we've got a lot of these people who have really studied and codified what these dosages look like. But yeah, absolutely. And there are ways to look at this from a more energetic angle. So, the first interview I did with you was on chakras and talking about energy healing because, at the base, I am very much an energy healer. And so there are ways to get into plant medicine where we are focused on very low dosing or drop doses that are focused more on the energetic train and less on the chemical constituents. There's just so many different ways that you can go with us. And yes, that is absolutely an option as well.

[0:31:59.1] Ashley James: So, bringing us back to the Mimosa pudica plant, which I first learned about because I had Dr. Jay Davidson on the show, and he talked about using it in conjunction with other herbs. But he used it from ayurvedic medicine to rid himself of 12-inch worms that were parasites in him. And then, he created a line of parasite-cleansing supplements in which Mimosa pudica was a main component of that. Mimosa pudica seed, I should say. So I became very excited about Mimosa pudica, but then I learned that it's sort of like the dandelion. We can use the flower. We can use the leaves. We can use the seed. We can use the bark.

Tell us about the other parts of the Mimosa pudica. Let's pretend 20 years from now, when you have this thriving Mimosa pudica tree in your backyard, what are you going to do with all the properties of this tree and beyond the bark, helping us calm ourselves from anxiety and the seeds that have antiparasitic properties. What other healthy properties do the other aspects of the plant have? 

[0:33:15.6] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: Mimosa pudica is actually a different species from Albizia julibrissin. It's very similar, though, but the Mimosa, which is called Mimosa pudica, is actually like the one you're talking about, where I think it's used a lot in Ayurveda and TCM, maybe.

[0:33:35.9] Ashley James: Oh, so these are like cousins?

[0:33:37.8] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: Yeah, they're kind of cousins. And so, Albizia, you'll hear it is sometimes called silk tree, but it's also called Mimosa here in the South. But our main invasive mimosa is the Albizia julibrissin. The bark and the flowers are the two things that I use most frequently. So with pudica, I think you use the seeds, and maybe the roots are another aspect that you can get into. But for this plant, the Albizia julibrissin, that's the one that I work with most. I tend to get the flowers in the late spring when they bloom and tincture them, and then go back in the fall when it's time to trim it back, and trim it back and take the bark, and I do it right before it starts to get really cold because obviously, the energetics move into the roots when we get in the late fall and early winter. But in mid-fall, probably mid-to-late September, I'm going to trim it back and take the bark and put it into the same tincture I put the flowers into. And then, I use that as one of the relaxing, cooling herbs and formulas that I use specifically to support people who are dealing with that sympathetic fight-or-flight state. So that's a lot of it for me because a lot of the time, I am working with people that have a lot of autoimmune issues or maybe chronic pain and things like that. But a lot of the work that we're doing actually starts in the nervous system.

And so, when I'm using things like Mimosa and things like that, I'm not worried as much about the anti-inflammatory properties. They are good. But what I'm really focused on with it is the cooling and relaxing properties that it offers the nervous system to help bring them back into balance, so that their body is no longer in that alarm state, so that their body can start doing what it naturally does to reduce inflammation and flush everything out and get them back into balance. So that's kind of where I use it. I know there are other people who use it in other ways, but that's one of my favorite ways to work with it. 

[0:35:57.7] Ashley James: Very cool. I love it. And it's so interesting about the idea that an invasive, not noxious species, but an invasive species could actually be there for our benefit to help balance the ecosystem or prepare the soil or something maybe medicinally that we need. I think of other examples of that. So, there are a lot of invasive thistles in Washington State. I'm thinking about the invasive trees and plants. Not the noxious ones, not the poisonous ones, but the ones that are safe to eat, but they're just kind of taking over. And I'm just wondering if you could share, if you know a bit more about other ones that are known medicinal invasive species.

[0:36:50.2] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: So I can speak mostly from the South because that's where I'm at. But like kudzu, it is rampant here, and there are traditional uses for kudzu. There's kudzu jelly. There is a reason that some people use it for headaches and things like that. There's all kinds of things like that. Somebody said English ivy, but I have not played with that. I've not dug into that. And I'm trying to think of ones that might be out there as well. And chickweed, is chickweed something that you all have? 

[0:37:34.1] Ashley James: We've got English ivy, knotweed, Scotch broom, ragwort, Kitsap weeds. There are a lot of different thistles, although I don't know their names. Dogwood trees take over everywhere. Well, it's something like you said — it's very regional.

[0:38:02.9] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: Right. And that's the beauty of getting out there and really learning from a local herbalist. I'm happy to help anybody get started on that side of things. A lot of the work that I do doesn't consist of necessarily, specifically, it's more about the connection once you find plants that you're interested in. It's more about encouraging the exploration of this plant. So now, locally here, I've got chickweed. Like I was just saying, that is invasive, but it's edible. There are so many different things you can do with it, and there's all kinds of stuff like that all across the world. 

[0:38:40.5] Ashley James: Okay, so let's talk about chickweed. I'm going to Google it so I can know what it looks like. But let's talk about it. So you can eat it. What is it good for? What does it help people with? 

[0:38:50.9] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: Chickweed, I tend to use it just as part of the food. That's the beauty of a lot of these plants. There's a medicinal side to them, but then you also have the fact that a lot of these things are edible, and they can be fermented into really interesting culinary things that people can use. A lot of the time, chickweed is something that people are talking about for digestion. I see it a lot because it is a spring herb, so it's kind of part of those clearing herbs that we use early in the spring. Some people use it to try to help with the kind of systemic inflammation that leads to circulatory problems. I can't think of the official word for it, but obesity and things like that. But I don't go too far into that because I have a doctorate. I have a Ph.D., but I'm not a medical doctor. So, I'm less worried about diagnosing somebody with diabetes or metabolic syndrome. That's the word I couldn't think of. I'm not looking to diagnose somebody with metabolic syndrome and say, “Oh, here are the herbs that can help you.” I'm more about the rhythms of the seasons that we're in. So, in the spring, we eat chickweed. We eat dandelion leaves. We do things like that to help clear the system, to help clear the congestion from winter, to help our body to prepare for the spring energies that are coming up. 

If somebody comes to me and they've got metabolic syndrome, I'm less worried about metabolic syndrome and more worried about what are the energetic patterns happening in their body. Is there a lot of stuff? Usually, somebody's coming to me because they've got some form of trauma or emotional struggles and things like that. They really want help with mental health-type things. So we're looking at the nervous system first, like, what's happening in the nervous system? There is a lot of heat and irritation in the nervous system that we can use to cool things, like chickweed is kind of cooling, right? And it can help to cool the body down and bring it back into balance. And that's where some of the polyvagal stuff comes into play with a dorsal vagal versus sympathetic. And if somebody's in a sympathetic state, there are certain herbs that energetically have benefits for that sympathetic state versus the herbs that are going to be more helpful for the dorsal vagal state, where somebody's body is almost too cold, and there's almost not enough movement. And their nervous system has almost slowed down too much, and we have to warm it back up and bring movement back in. 

[0:41:45.7] Ashley James: Just to clarify, for those who just need a refresher in dorsal vagal, polyvagal, fight or flight, sympathetic versus rest and digest, parasympathetic, or maybe, like you said, they're having trouble getting proper vagal tone. I don't want to say fight or flight, but when we need that cortisol, we need that stimulus, those healthy cortisol levels, it's just not there. So, for me, I had a really bad end stage, chronic adrenal fatigue. So bad that if something were to happen, I wouldn't have been able to jump up and run out of a burning building. I didn't have to get up and go. And then, out of nowhere, I'd have these adrenaline dumps where I felt like I was dying. That would happen occasionally, like my body was like, “Okay, come on, let's go. Come on, let's go. Let's just release the cortisol.” And it was dysregulated. That was not healthy, and it took nutrition and dietary changes and lifestyle changes. And then the final thing really was minerals, remineralizing my body. But it took a lot of healthy changes to get me back to where I was balanced again. 

And thinking about the herbs that I was regularly using, I can remember cinnamon. I was taking cinnamon capsules. It had a few other things in it, but it was like some minerals packed with cinnamon. That was brilliant for me, the minerals. Cinnamon is the only herb I can remember. I know that there were a few other ones. This was like twelve years ago. But I was very exhausted all the time and didn't have to get up and go. So, for me, I was like the other side, where people who are living on cortisol, they're living on adrenaline. They're kind of tired-wired at night, and sometimes they can't bring themselves down. They might go, go, go during the day, but then when they need to relax, they can't, and then it gets to the point where they're burnt out. So when they need to get up and go, they can't. So, the vagal nerve is brilliant. We definitely want to talk a bit more about that. We've discovered it before, but it's so worth talking about more. It's a wonderful nerve that runs from the brain to the gut. And there's so much to discuss because there's a direct connection. We've got like a brain in our gut. We have a brain in our heart, and we have a brain in our head. And that's why we're just discovering what kind of what we know in natural medicine, in indigenous medicine, for hundreds and hundreds of years. We're now just discovering in the West that there are bundles of nerves in the heart and in the gut and that they're communicating to the brain. We used to think the brain just tells the body what to do. But we actually have a brain in our heart, a brain in our gut telling our brain stuff. It's like a consciousness, like thinking that we do in our head. Sometimes, I go all over the place, but it makes sense in my brain. 

There's a really great book written a long time ago, and I read it back in 2005, and it still sits with me. It's called The Holographic Universe, and it talks about how we think that all of our thinking is in our head, but it's actually stored holographic throughout our whole body. And it's so beautiful — this idea that our nervous system is actually throughout our whole body, and we can store memories. People will have transplants, like a heart transplant, and then they'll have memories from the person they got it from. There was even a little girl who had a transplant, and she had perfect memories of the murder, and they were able to use them in court and convict the murderer. And that was the organ that she received from the murder victim. We've got several other cases in which we've seen that memories exist outside the brain because the stored holographic leads to the whole nervous system. So that's why I love the vagal nerve because it's this superhighway from the gut to the brain.

And there's more going on in the gut that we need to acknowledge like a thyroid hormone is turned over and produced in the gut that we always think it's just in the thyroid, but there's actually stuff in the gut that's very important. Something like upwards of 70% of our serotonin is made in the gut. There's so much going on with the 6 lb of bacteria in your gut that's making so many of our nutrients for us from our food. So you eat that McDonald's, that's what you're using to build yourself. But that's also what you're using to build your microbiome and feed your microbiome, and you feed the wrong microbiome. It's a bunch of sugar and flour. The bad microbiome is going to produce bad chemicals. So I could go on and on. But the vagal nerve is so important on an emotional level, mental level, physical level, energetic, and spiritual level for our being. 

So there's my little soapbox rant about how much I love the vagal nerve. But you talked about the vagal nerve when it comes to herbs and how we can acknowledge, “Okay, I'm kind of running empty.” How can we restore ourselves? “Okay, I'm running. My body is running like there's no tomorrow, and I need to calm myself and put myself in healing mode.” When we're in fight or flight, we're not really in healing mode. Our body shuts off in somatic processes for long-term healing in order to survive the day, the fight, or the flight. So we want to bring restoration because it's good to have the ability to fight or fight when we need to. It's good to have the rest when we need to have to bring ourselves back into the balance. And that's what I love. You teach us how to think about plants as our support system for bringing the nervous system back into check.

[0:48:07.2] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: Yeah, and there's a lot of nuance to that. And that's some of what we get into in the course. It's like, “Well, if you have this going on, then is it sympathetic? Is it dorsal vagal?” Sympathetic means fight-or-flight. The dorsal vagal is a part of the vagus nerve that creates the freeze response that shuts down. And so, what do we do when we're having those responses? How do we balance that back out? And those responses are healthy in certain situations. But like you said, what's happening for a lot of us, especially with the life that we have to live to survive in today's society in a lot of situations that get thrown off, a lot of that is being held in different parts of our nervous system. A lot of the frustrations or the traumas or whatever else, the memories, as you said, like with the holographic body, that's getting held in other places in our nervous system. And so a lot of the conversation becomes, “What are the herbs that we are drawn to?” Because we can talk about medicinal plants. But we can also have plant friends that we don't eat. But the energy, the resonance between them and us, is something that you can't replace, and it feels comfortable, and it feels safe. A lot of the times when you've been through a lot, and things have been very bad chaotic — there's good chaos, and there's bad chaos — but when you've been through something that's overwhelmingly chaotic, sometimes it can begin to feel like this is too much. Everything feels like I can't get to a point where I know what's going to happen next. And if you have a plant ally, a plant buddy, if you will — it sounds fancy to call it an ally, but — 

[0:50:06.6] Ashley James: Emotional support plant.

[0:50:08.0] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: Right. It becomes an emotional support plant. And I have some of those. I have this bloodleaf. I don't use it for anything nutritional-based. I don't use it for anything in the medicinal realm. But the plant itself, I feel comfortable with that plant. And when I'm around that plant, I get the same feeling from that plant. And so now that becomes almost a regulation tool for me. So, there's a side to polyvagal theory called co-regulation. Usually, we talk about it with adults and children. If the adult can consciously allow themselves to stay in that ventral vagal state, which is a part of the vagus nerve that helps us feel connected. It allows us to go into rest and digest where the healing can occur. If the adult is able to consciously do things to help themselves stay in that state and their child is dysregulated, the child can begin to see the adults and see the adults' facial expressions and body movements, and they will begin to regulate. And if the adult can continue to keep themselves in that ventral vagal state, it helps the child to regulate. And so adults can do this for each other. But I have begun to realize that you can get some of that from plants. It's not quite the same thing as being around another mammal, and so on and so forth. But you can get some of that from plants. If there is a plant that you enjoy, that you feel safe enough to really get into that place where you can begin feeling healed, that connection is important. 

So, in this course that I'm doing, we're not just talking about, “Use this for this nervous system state. Use this to help your digestive system.” We are talking about some. We might talk a little bit about the different plants that people bring to the table, depending on what they've got going on, and so on and so forth. But really, the core of this is there are all kinds of ways that you can learn from different books, or I can teach you about the different herbs. At the end of the day, what really begins to matter, once you understand enough safety to keep yourself safe, like, we're not eating datura over here. But once you understand that and you're able to keep yourself safe within working with these plants, then there's a whole world to explore that allows us to realign our nervous system, realign our body in general, and get back to a place where we can listen to our intuition and decide what our tea needs to look like this morning. What are the plants that I'm being drawn to right now? Once our nervous system is back in alignment and that vagus nerve is feeding the brain the right information again, then our subconscious can begin to direct us toward the things that we need on a regular basis. 

[0:53:09.1] Ashley James: Can you give us Beginner 101 going into the grocery store? I hate to say grocery store because I only go to the holistic grocery stores. I go to the grocery stores that have the bulk section of herbs, and I'm like, “I'd like a spoonful of ashwagandha today.” Sometimes, I'll buy the big bulk things, and sometimes, I know I'm not going to go through this herb enough. I've learned my lesson. So I'll just go to the bulk section, and I'm like, “I'm just getting two tablespoons of this root,” because I am not buying a $50 bag of it. I have an apothecary near me as well, and they sell so many herbs, dried herbs in bulk, as well as tinctures. But when I'm working with herbs, I like to start with the herb itself without it being a tincture because I can ease into it if it's new to me. Like tea is something that is so gentle, and they'll get into a tincture for bigger things. 

I like to think of it this way — the size of the medicine should reflect the size of the problem. I know several people with cancer, and they're like, “Which tea should I drink?” I'm like, “Lady, this is when you bring out the sledgehammer.” This is when you want to go big and go 100%. You got to change your diet and your lifestyle and bring everything to it. But if I feel a little stressed, I don't need to bring the sledgehammer. That's what I like about homeopathy or Bach flower remedies. Let's bring some gentle energy to nudge the body back into balance. And those are very powerful medicines. Even in themselves, they are energetic medicines. But they're not a sledgehammer necessarily. You can do it gently. The way you do it properly is you do it gently.

So, with full herbs, I can make a tea and just experience it, and then I can go from there. So, let's say everyone's had peppermint tea, and everyone's had some experience with general herbs. What would you say if they could walk into a holistic supermarket or an apothecary, and what are your five favorites to have in the medicine cabinet for those who want to take it up one more notch beyond chamomile peppermint and lavender?

[0:55:57.9] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: In a lot of these, I will say you do have to explore and see if it works for you because, again, depending on your nervous system state, depending on your underlying energetics, there are all kinds of different caveats to different options. But one of them that could be really interesting is Damiana. Damiana is normally thought of as an aphrodisiac. Yeah, it's really very spicy in smell, but it has a very warming effect. Now I will tell you, if you've been through a lot of trauma and you naturally tend to dissociate, Damiana is not something you want to try. But for people who are not experiencing that, Damiana may be something you want to go play with and see how it makes you feel. 

Holy basil is generally a great one for almost anybody. You can use any of the three subspecies and usually get very good results. It's not an official adaptogen by whatever the fancy version —

[0:57:16.4] Ashley James: I was going to say the National American Adaptogenic Society. 

[0:57:20.6] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: Yeah, I can't think of the right phrase for it. But it's not an official adaptogen if you look at it from the definition like what David Winston uses for adaptogens. He's one of the foremost experts in my mind on adaptogens. But it is adaptogenic. So, it has a lot of those qualities that help the body to adapt to different stressors. It does build that buffer for people, so that can be a fantastic one for just about anybody.

Rhodiola is good if you are dealing with a lot of the spaciness that the dorsal vagal kind of shuts down. Now, if you are like me and you run on the sympathetic nervous system side, then that's going to be a little bit too much, and it may actually make you feel more anxious. But for a lot of people, Rhodiola can be a very, very beneficial option. 

Hawthorne is usually thought of as a heart herb, but it doesn't have to be just heart. There's also that warming energetics behind it. It's really beneficial for a lot of people. So if you're dealing with a lot of burnout or compassion fatigue, that sense of, like, “I'm tired of trying to be caring.” That happens. That's a thing, and Hawthorne is a great one for that as well. 

[0:58:45.0] Ashley James: I had a bit of that after the last three years. I'm so empathetic, and there's been so much turmoil in the last three years. But I found myself becoming cynical. When you describe compassion burnout, I feel like I've recovered somewhat from it because we've had a bit of relief. But the last few years have been pretty intense, and there's so much polarization in families. And it's kind of disgusting when you think about politics, and I don't think this was handled very well on any side. It doesn't matter what side you're taking. No one handled this well, especially the government. And the people who loved each other were fighting and at each other's throats and saying really nasty things that we all kind of regret. Even if you try to stay out of it and even if you're just a neutral party, we all felt horrible for those who were suffering — suffering from loss, suffering from being through illness, suffering from isolation, suffering from having fights with family members or losing their job, or whatever. It hasn't been that great the last few years, and I find a lot of people are acting like they have amnesia. What is that when you go through trauma, and then you're like, “I'm just going to compartmentalize that in a part of my brain and lock it away and not think about it anymore.” And then they're like, “Oh, we're just back to pre-90s. Screw the 2000s. Let's go back to the 90s.” But my brain is like we're back in 2019. We just kind of skipped over the last few years, and that's trauma. And I really think the globe has been through trauma. And if you haven't personally, if you just somehow managed to isolate yourself in the cave and not go through trauma, you've witnessed trauma. You've witnessed people experience it instead of locking it away because so many of us have to skip doing what we're doing to survive and keep a roof over our heads. You still have to go to work. You got to come home and do your laundry. Your days off aren't spent healing. Your days off are spent doing groceries and taking care of the kids, or the husband, or yourself, and your cats or dog, or whatever. But no one has sat back and gone, “Okay, as a society, let's start healing from this.” It's just like, “Nope, let's go back to normal. Come on, go back to work.” So I think that acknowledging — and that's what we talked about a bit in the last interview — acknowledging the trauma that we've been through and then, obviously, we can use herbs and plants as a support, but we need to acknowledge the last few years that there's some level of acute stress. And when you go through acute stress for years, there's a drain on the body. 

And I just realized, when you said compassion fatigue, I was like, “Oh, that's why.” I didn't like feeling cynical. That's not my nature. So I became the observer, watching myself become cynical and I'm like, “This is very uncomfortable. This is not me.” That's, I think, the defense mechanism for having compassion fatigue. And I love Hawthorne, and yes, it is wonderful for the heart. But also because it is so anti-inflammatory. As you are mentioning these herbs, I'm thinking we have to stop thinking about herbs like they're drugs. Like, “These are the effects, and these are the side effects.” No, drugs were copied from herbs, and herbs have so much more. So, for drugs, they took one chemical component or more from a plant, and then they stripped it of minerals and nutrients. They strip it of the thousands of enzymes, phytonutrients, and phytochemicals that make plants beautiful, and then they use some kind of petroleum-based chemical to then make a patented compound with all kinds of side effects, and the body just gets so confused when given drugs. I like drugs to save someone's life. I'd rather you be on a drug and be alive than not in debt. So drugs have their place, but they should not be the first thing we jump to. Unfortunately, most of us only know to go to one doctor, which is the drug-based doctor, and that's why my show features people like yourself from so many different paths so listeners can know that there's more than one choice. Because mainstream medicine is the mainstream — I get that I'm going to sound like I'm a conspiracy case, but it's all true. Just go look it up — almost every single TV show or movie is produced by or owned by corporations that are either owned by or funded by the pharmaceutical industry. And so they have a reason for not featuring — can you imagine if there's like a Grey's Anatomy made, but it's plant-based medicine, herbal doctors? I think it'd be fun. It would be a lot less drama because you're coming in to help people meditate and calm, and like, “Here, have some tea, and let's discuss this. Let's bring in nutritious herbs to help yourself heal.” I think it would be interesting. But it would make for really boring TV because we're not feeding into the drama of it all. The whole system of what we've been raised in is designed to make us think that there's only one form of medicine. And that's part of the PR that has brainwashed us for the last three generations. But if we go back to our great grandparents, they would look at us like we're aliens because they just went to plants as natural as breathing. They went to plants as herbs in their cooking, as herbs in their stews, soups, teas, as herbs that they would use on a regular basis through the seasons, like you talked about using plants in season. They would deworm all their animals, and then they would use the same herbs to deworm themselves. We had to use herbs to survive. That was our medicine. I just want us, as a society, to recognize and be taught that, to this day, there are more options than just drug-based medicine. Plants have always been around, and like I said, you could walk out of your front door and grab a plant and probably have a wonderful time brewing tea and supporting your body. Hawthorne is beautiful. I love it. One of my friends used it to heal her heart condition, in addition to using other herbs. But Hawthorne was her daily go-to. She made a huge 4 liters of sun tea, and she just sipped on it, and Hawthorne was one of them. It was so important to her because if she didn't drink it, she'd have heart palpitations. 

[1:06:47.8] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: It's an amazing herb. One of the things that's really coming up for me as you're talking is remembering that a lot of the times — of course, people knew this plant was good for this, but there was also some intuition that came into play there especially when people are first trying to figure it out, like the plants. And a lot of the indigenous folklore, the plants speak to people and tell them what they're good for. And we have a lot of those pieces that I think people are working to reclaim at this point. In some traditions, it was never lost, but for many of us, it was lost, and we're trying to reclaim that. The last three years have really brought people to a point where they want to know that trauma thrives in isolation and in fear. Trauma occurs when things happen too much, too fast, and too soon, or when it's not enough, too slow, or too late, And we had a lot of that. We had a lot of isolation. We had a lot of unknowns. We had things happening too fast or too late. There was a lot of that over the last three years, and a lot of people who had not struggled before are now struggling, whether it's related to things that had happened or if it's just related to the stress. There's a lot of brain fog. There's a lot of uncertainty. There's a lot of emotional struggle for people. One of the things we can do to really start to heal from these moments of compassion fatigue and things like that is to start turning back to nature and exploring what's around us. So what's in our backyard? Like you said, if it's not manicured and you've got a more natural backyard, you're going to have plants in your backyard that are probably beneficial. You just have to learn about them and start to learn how to ID the items in your area.

The fifth herb that I was going to suggest — maybe some of the other apothecaries have it because I haven't seen it a lot in our apothecaries here — is dandelion. Dandelion has several different parts to it. So, like we talked about earlier, you can use the roots for certain things. You can use the leaves for certain things. The flowers make beautiful teas and breads, like people make dandelion cookies. So there are all these different ways that you can use dandelion and the different parts of dandelion. So if you mindfully learn about it and you mindfully start trying like, “What do I feel?” Not just emotionally, but what are the physical sensations that occur when I use the roots versus how is it different when I use the flower head? What does that feel like? So, for me, I have a downward rush of energy. I can feel my nervous system almost rushing, like bringing my attention downward almost to my root chakra into the ground, which makes sense, with the root being a little bit more grounded or connected to the earth. Whereas I feel a lot of warmth in my chest when I'm using the flowers, which is interesting because, from a chakra angle, I might have thought of the solar plexus. But for me, it's in the heart region with the flower. 

So these things are going to be different for everybody. But when we start noticing those sensations, what that brings to the table, the intuitive thoughts that we have behind those sensations, the emotions that those physical sensations create for us, the things that we're reminded of, we can easily start to think, “Oh, I like this because it helps me feel this way. I like this because when I'm feeling scatterbrained and I drink some tea that has dandelion root in it, I can feel my energy starting to settle back into a lower center of gravity, so I feel more focused.” That's the kind of thing that people want to look for, and it's really hard. We've got a couple of hours here where we're talking, and it's really hard to encompass that entire feeling. But that's where I would start — playing with plants like that and just getting to know a little bit about them in order to notice your responses to that plant. What is the intuitive feeling that you get? Do you hear something? Do you hear a phrase, or do you get a visualization? I get a visualization of places sometimes, and that can tell me some about my relationship with that plant. It doesn't always have to be a single plant. So if you're in an area that only has a grocery store and doesn't have an apothecary section, you can still get a tea — now you're dealing with three or four plants at the same time — but you can still notice what sensations are created for you and how that relates to you. What are the intuitive thoughts that you're getting? What's happening on a somatic level? And all of that combined can start leading you towards, “Oh, I need this for the part of my healing journey,” or “Oh, this is going to be a lifelong friend.” 

[1:12:18.5] Ashley James: Now, one thing you're asking us to do is something that many of us really need to do and don't do, is take a moment to turn off the devices, close our eyes, and just be in our body, and take a breath. That's why I love the idea of tea. It's so nourishing just to hold the cup. Now, of course, we're getting into summer, where it's blistering hot outside. You might not want to have hot tea, and it's okay to make what's called sun tea, where you just put the bags or the herb itself into a big glass pitcher of clean water or purified water overnight. You can place it in the sun like in the window if you'd like or just leave it in your kitchen and it doesn't have to be hot. You could even serve it over rice if you want to, although in certain medicines, like Chinese medicine, they say never to drink anything cold ever. There is no way to do that. So it's room temperature or warmer. And then I have Canadian friends who swear that if you drink hot things in the summer, it'll make you feel cooler because it stimulates your body to open up your blood vessels and to sweat, and then that cools you down. But I argue with them that you're introducing something hotter into the body, which is just increasing your temperature. But they're like, “Well, it makes you feel cooler.” And then they will actually drink cold things in the winter because then it forces their body to warm up. I'm like, “No, just going outside in the winter is fine enough for me. My body will be triggered to warm up.”

But you can play around with hydrotherapy and drinking hot or cold. Either way, you're stepping inside yourself. And this is something that we so need to do because I feel like we're rushing around like we're floating heads. Do you ever feel like you've dissociated from everything below your neck and you're just ignoring your hunger cues, your thirst cues? You're just ignoring everything until the end of the day, and that's when people stand by the fridge at 11 at night going, “I'm hungry. I'm hungry. I have a craving.” It could be thirst. A lot of times, people think that they want to have a cigarette or have chocolate when their body is just really thirsty and very confused because they have not tapped into what actual thirst is. Hunger versus craving dopamine. 

[1:14:49.0] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: This can be daunting. When somebody is being told, “Hey, it's time to tap into your body.” This can be a daunting task for a lot of people. If you have a lot of chronic pain or if you've been through trauma, every time you start to notice your body, you start to really reverberate with that trauma. That can be a very unnerving thing. So that's the time that maybe you need to come to talk to me and let's get a plan together. But for general purposes here, I will say that when you start to do this, if you find yourself feeling very uncomfortable or very unnerved, or you start to feel overwhelmed by it, back off and just do a little bit. This doesn't have to be a 30-minute practice, just like two minutes or maybe even thirty seconds, and then come back to it later. And as you begin to increase your capacity for it, it becomes easier and easier to tap into that side of things. And then you're getting into what you're talking about, Ashley, where you're really being able to cue into those hunger cues and those thirst cues and understanding what the cravings really mean at the base level. 

[1:16:01.5] Ashley James: Yes. I'm imagining holding a nice warm cup of tea because in Washington, where I live, it's like 66° in the morning, and it's 78° in the evening. So, in the morning, it's very nice to have a cup of hot tea. And then in the afternoon, it's very nice to have iced herbal tea. But holding the hot cup of tea of herbs that you've chosen to experience, or one herb maybe, one herb at a time, and just sit there and breathe. We talked about this in the last interview but just start by closing your eyes, taking one breath, and just noticing how much tension you can let go of. Can you let go of the tension in your jaw? Can you let go of the tension in your shoulders? My mom always used to say, don't wear your shoulders as earrings. Can you let go of the tension in your belly, in your chest, in your abdomen, all these muscles? Can you feel yourself sinking into the couch a little bit? I'm not asking a hundred percent. Just a little, and just noticed how much. If it's five percent, good. If it's ten percent, good. Just notice how much you can release in that one breath, and then take it inhale through your nose. Hopefully, you're not stuffy, and take an inhale through your nose and just be aware of the sensations. 

So I'm not asking you to become aware of just your body alone because, as you said, with trauma, a lot of times, people will have racing thoughts, and they get agitated by the racing thoughts. It will bring back things they don't want to think about. But what I'm asking you to focus on is your experience of your body in relation to the experience of the herb because you're inhaling it, and then just notice how you feel. Become the observer going, “What is that smell like? How does my body relax into that? Do I like it? Do I like the sensation? Do I feel comfortable with this?” And then take a sip and just notice, like you said, you notice where it affects you. So obviously, you might feel it down your throat, you might feel it in your stomach. But then you might notice other body parts relaxing, enjoying, singing with it, or nothing at all, and that's okay, too. And just being with that tea, with that herb, taking that moment to disconnect from the world and be with yourself, like you said, it could even be 30 seconds. What a great way to start to become aware of your nervous system. Because sometimes we are going at 11 and we really want to bring ourselves down to 5. That is such a beautiful practice because we can tap into the experience of our body in that moment of the herb, of our nervous system. 

A lot of people discredit the importance of your stress because people go, “Stress isn't an emotion. So I'm not stressed.” I've had clients say to me, “I'm not stressed,” and I'm like, “Okay, so your mom has cancer. You're taking care of five family members. You are a manager. You sleep 5 hours a night.” I'm listing off all the things, and they go, go, go, go, go, go. They never have a day off. They work seven days a week because they're always taking care of other people. And I'm like, you don't feel stressed. But your nervous system is in a constant state of stress, meaning that you've shut off processes for long-term health and healing. And you've shut off even access to the logic centers of your brain. So there are so many benefits to just taking a moment and supporting the vagal nerve and tonifying it and coming back into balance. 

So I love that you introduced that in the last interview and that you talked about how we can have a beautiful relationship with these herbs and also, at the same time, train ourselves to feel where we are and to bring that calmness back down. A lot of times people, especially women, say, “Well, I need the stress in order to do everything I have to do today.” They're afraid that if they weren't going, go, go, go, go, then they would just stop, and they would lose all motivation or all momentum. We could definitely talk about herbs that help with that. But I propose that by getting into a calmer state, they were able to sustain themselves.

[1:20:36.6] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: So in Western herbalism energetics, you have hot and cold, damp and dry, tense and relaxed. In a lot of people, the stress that's occurring in an energetic standpoint is tension. And there needs to be a balance. We have to find that balance between being atomic and totally relaxed to the point of things like leaky gut. In the digestive system, we see more of that atomic relaxation that creates that leaky gut. It makes it easier for stuff to get in the body. But in the nervous system, we have the relaxation kind of into that dorsal vagal shutdown response. Or we have the tension that takes us into that sympathetic fight or flight response. And a lot of people really need to be able to find that balance and that center. Now, I will say what people are talking about when they say, “Oh, I'm afraid that if I let this go, then I'm not going to have the energy.” That can happen sometimes. That's actually what we see sometimes when people start healing from trauma. More of it starts to bubble up when they first start feeling safe because their body is like, “Oh, now I'm in a place where I can really, really work on this.” 

The same thing happens when people start to relax; their body goes, “Oh, I can finally take a nap,” and then they want to sleep for 19 hours. And so if you find yourself in those situations where you're beginning to allow yourself that space to heal and you start to notice that it's overwhelmingly headed one direction or the other, you can talk to your body about this and say, “Hey, I have 30 minutes a day set aside for us to work on this. It's going to take a while, but we're going to get there. But we're going to work on this for 30 minutes a day. And then we have to get back to it so that we can survive.” It's that kind of thing for some people that makes a big difference. It keeps stuff from bubbling up in the middle of the day. It keeps it from feeling like we're just not going to be able to do anything because now that we're able to relax, our body is just totally giving out. Things like that where you're even acknowledging to yourself, it sounds silly to do that, but if you can just acknowledge yourself or even say it out loud, like, “Okay, I have 45 minutes, I'm going to do a Yoga Nidra for instance, like a guided meditation. And then I'm going to get back up, and I'm going to get back to my day.” Recognizing that I'm going to get to do it again tomorrow or I'm going to do it in a couple of days again, and I am acknowledging this. I am working with this, and I'm working to heal. Sometimes, that can keep it from becoming that overwhelming sense of exhaustion that can hit.

[1:23:17.7] Ashley James: Well, that's what I want. I want everyone to have a growing experience of being tuned in to their nervous system and tuned in to their body, and then have the tools to support their body coming back into balance when they catch themselves off balance like we do in life. We're human, and I hear it so often. I know all the things I need to do, but I don't do them all the time. And then I catch myself, and I'm like, “Oh, I'm over here, and I know some things I should be doing.” So everyone does it. I hope everyone knows to drink an adequate amount of water, and then sometimes you catch yourself with a dehydration headache. And you're like, “Oh yeah, I forgot.” Or everyone knows certain things, like everyone has certain foundations, and we forget, and then we remember, and we go, “Well, I know I should be doing this, and I need to come back.” Often, it's just because we dissociate from our body and we prioritize the dues. Like we're not human doing; we're human beings. But we have to do what we have to do to keep the roof over our heads, and our family is fed, and take care of our loved ones, and we prioritize. There's a bunch of things we do, and we don't put our bodies first. 

Our body is our home, and it's our sacred temple. If you're religious, look at all the texts that talk about how it's the God-given temple. It is the house you have, and you're not going to get a second one. Not in this lifetime. You're not going to be given a second one. I like to read, and sometime in the past, I've read sci-fi. And there was a cool sci-fi book written by the same author that wrote Like Water for Chocolate. That is not a Sci-Fi novel, but her second one was, and it was all about how you could take your consciousness and put it in a new body. And I thought, what a thing to think about. The prisons were full of love because they thought people who went to prison for doing something wrong just really needed to heal, and they needed love. It was a really cool, interesting society to think about sci-fi. But the idea that stuck with me is that we don't have the ability to take our consciousness and put it in a brand new body. So why do we take better care of our car than our own body? When the check engine light comes on in your car, you are going to drive around for months and months and months and ignore it. I know some people do. But for the most part, if the check engine light comes on in your body, you're just going to ignore it. Some people just take drugs just to push down the symptoms, ignore them, and put duct tape over the body's check engine light. But you wouldn't do that for your car. So, if there was a fuse box blue in your house, you're going to fix that quickly. But if your nervous system kind of starts getting fried, people just want to ignore their bodies. This is the body you have, so let's take care of it. Let's prioritize it and learn some herbs and how to have a healthy relationship with them and use them like a tool. To support your body's ability to heal itself is just like prioritizing the only house you have, which is your body. 

[1:26:46.7] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: And when we look at the rhythm of the seasons, there are certain things I'm going to do in the winter that I'm going to do differently in the summer. And if you're into Ayurveda, there's a lot of discussion around the different elements. We see this in traditional Chinese medicine as well. The elements rule the seasons, so different things are going to be beneficial at different times. People will do different cleanses based on the seasons in order to try to keep their bodies in that rhythm. And that could be very helpful because we can get off the bandwagon, so to speak, for certain things that could be really beneficial. But if we're constantly looking back to these cycles in nature, whether it be the moon cycle or the seasons, or whatever it might be, then we can really help to bring ourselves back to what we need at this moment. What does our body — with its very unique constitution, with its very unique makeup — what does it need at this moment? I think we may have talked about this last time, but one of the things that can be really helpful is what is growing in abundance around me right now.

So, for me, in the very first year of the pandemic in 2020, lemon balm just exploded. Yeah, yeah, as a matter of fact, it was right before I realized anything was actually happening. And, of course, lemon balm is prolific, right? Lemon balm meant things like that. If you don't want it to scatter across your yard, you definitely keep it in a planter. But I don't mind because I make tea with it and everything. So, I just let it do its thing, and I collect it and bring it in. But that year, it particularly went wild in my yard. It took over the mint section. I had to really keep it pruned back several different times. And I understand now why because when everything hit in March, I was completely in mental chaos from it all. Not to mention, I was in my masters of Public Health, and I was taking the epidemiology classes as all this was going on. So it was a really weird combination of learning about things in real-time, trying to process everything, trying to understand the what-ifs. And that lemon balm tea really made a difference for me and for some other people. I had a lot of it, and I was able to pass it around. There was plenty of it. 

And so this isn't necessarily something you're going to catch on day one, but as you start to do this and as you start to grow a couple of things or maybe you are really getting out there and noticing what you have around you, if one year you notice there's a lot more of a certain plant, pay attention to that. Look at it and see, “Is this something that I need to look into? Is there something to this?” For instance, I would probably say with you and Mimosa because it seems like Mimosa has come up a lot for you in the last few months; I would maybe dig into that and see if there is a relationship to be had there. Anyway, I think it's really interesting to really attune yourself to those rhythms because sometimes those rhythms can help us to remember different beneficial actions that we can do throughout the year or throughout the month if we're going on the moon cycle. And it also just helps us to become more in tune with how our body is responding to those different things. 

[1:30:16.1] Ashley James: I love the idea of looking into the plants that are kind of taking over in your area. I was thinking about a garden I had back at the same time as you in 2020. It was a beautiful vegetable garden that was spontaneously taken over by creeping buttercups. When you dry them, they lose their poisonous effects and can be used for several things, but one thing is bronchitis and inflammation. What we were all afraid of experiencing was problems with the lungs, right? Isn't that interesting? I love nettles. Nettles just exploded in my area. I accidentally touch nettles everywhere, and they're just wonderful. I didn't harvest them this year, but in years past, I've harvested them in huge garbage bags and then put them in giant pots of boiling water to get rid of the little needles, the stinging part of the needles. It's so delicious putting them in a soup, like you would with spinach. We make a fermented sauce with it. We take it and blend it with a little bit of salt and nutritional yeast, pine nuts, and garlic. It's like that kind of green sauce, that Italian green sauce. Why am I not thinking of it? 

[1:31:57.1] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: Pesto?

[1:31:58.2] Ashley James: Pesto! Thank you. Yeah, we make a pesto out of it, and then it ferments a bit because we make many jars of it, and it's so good. It's so good, and it's so nutritious. And then, of course, drinking the nettle tea is wonderful, but don't do it at night because it's a diuretic, and I learned that the hard way. I was up all night running to the bathroom. But it's so nutritious, not something that comes back to with herbs, as long as you understand the safety of eating a bunch of it. Like with nettles, it's a food as well as an herb. You can eat lots of it. But it's in this natural form, not concentrated. It's the moment you concentrate something into a tincture to be more careful of dosages. But eating it, eating these herbs is so nutritious. They are superfoods. They're densely nutritious, and that's part of the medicine as well.

[1:32:56.8] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: Yes, and it's really important. You were talking earlier about the connection between the gut and the brain and how the ability to absorb is also part of having all of the beneficial bacteria in your gut. And when we have the right minerals coming in, nettles are usually highly dense in minerals. Chickweed, which we talked about earlier, is really helpful for absorbing more minerals into the body. And when we do that, we're giving ourselves the trace minerals that we don't normally get. Then you're feeding your body, you're feeding your nervous system, but you're also giving the right nutrients to the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Now, if you are somebody who has a tendency to order out a lot, DoorDash has been your best friend, I get it. I've been there and done that. Like when I was very fatigued, we had to do that, or otherwise, there would have been no food in the house. But if you're starting to try to turn away from that and you notice like, “I really don't feel good after I eat this food. This is supposed to be more beneficial for me.” A lot of the time, that has to do with the less beneficial bacteria beginning to starve, and now it's kind of mad at you, and sometimes it's a matter of releasing chemicals in your body to make you feel bad, to make you eat the food that you know isn't as nutritious. And so when you start noticing that, even just adding a couple of more veggies and adding a couple of things that are more beneficial and slowly shifting, that can be the way to handle that. And when you do that, and you get to a point where you do have these more beneficial herbs getting into your body, and things are more balanced, your inflammation levels usually will start to lower. Well, I think we talked about this last time. Inflammation actually exacerbates trauma. It makes it harder to heal from trauma. So all these little things, getting connected with these different plants and nettles, is a great one. Of course, with nettles, you do have to be careful. If you are going to go wildcrafting nettles, make sure that you're getting it from a good area. Soil test it if you need to, to make sure it's not taking the heavy metals. But usually, nettles are great. It's wonderful. And those kinds of things can really make a big difference as to how your body is responding to your attempts to heal the emotional side of things.

[1:35:44.2] Ashley James: In healing the physical body, also healing the mental body, emotional body, we have to understand that they're not separate. We like to take off our heads and dissociate from everything else, and just be human doing all day. But really, we need to understand that our body stores trauma, emotional trauma. And I've had episodes; I have this amazing episode with the doctor who invented the emotion code. That was really interesting. I remember I was in massage therapy college — in Canada, it's like a $5,000 program. It's not like a 500-hour little course. In some states, I'm like, “What do you learn in 500 hours? I went to college for three years to learn massage therapy. What did you guys do? You went for like two months?” Everyone does the best they can. But in Canada, in some provinces, massage therapy is in the hospitals. We're alongside the doctors. I remember working in the Scarborough General Hospital and in Toronto General, working in the upper motor neuron lesion ward and working with a physical therapist. 

It's fascinating when you can plug in as someone who's there to help with rehab can plug in into a medical system and that they acknowledge massage, which I mean, of course, it's a physical manipulation. But in massage, we know that the body is also energy and spirit. It is connected to spirit, and it is also connected to our emotions, connected mentally. It's all connected. We have to acknowledge that. In massage therapy college, I was at the table, and our teacher was showing us a specific technique, and she was isolating my scapula and working up around the back of my underarms. And I burst into tears, and I could not stop crying. Everyone went to lunch, and she sat with me, and I said, “I don't know why I'm crying.”. And I'm not a weepy person. I feel I'm very strong, like I think of my Russian-Polish grandmother, who was strong like a bull. And I just think of all the strong women in my family, and I felt like I was one of those. Then she touched a spot that was tender, and it triggered some trauma, and I was crying for an hour, just releasing, just crying and crying, and I've no idea. And that was my real first experience of, “Oh, wow. There's some trapped trauma, and I didn't know, and it's physical. I got triggered by something physical, and that was so real. 

And so I've had these guests talk about how we can clear it from the body. We need to process it in and then release it, which I do with timeline therapy. It's an amazing technique to help the mental body heal. But it's all connected. And so, you talked about using herbs for healing the body, but we're also connecting to and recognizing that there is an emotional element to this because it's not separate. We cannot separate one part of ourselves from the other part of ourselves. You've mentioned how Rhodiola is great for spaciness, and it reminded me of how many people — this is probably just my algorithm when I go on Facebook — so many people are talking about ADHD. I feel like it's the new buzz term, like people are recognizing that there is an ADHD spectrum, and so many of us are on it.

Early on in the podcast, in the first 100 episodes, I had people come on and talk about how they were diagnosed with ADHD as a child and were put on medication, and then they came to natural medicine and they “no longer have ADHD.” But really, what I'm seeing is it's more of how we process information and that it could become dysregulated. Through holistic medicine, we can become healthier and, regulate better, and learn strategies for success. But that ADHD is a real nervous system regulatory, or how the person sees the world– they call it neurodivergent — but how we process information, how we see the world, how we function. I'm not saying we want to fix it or cure it, but how do we support the mind and the emotional body to function as healthy as possible when feeling like ADHD is dysregulated within someone?

[1:40:47.3] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: As a matter of fact, there's a joke with some people — is it ADHD, or is it trauma? Because a lot of the same or similar symptoms can show as both ADHD and trauma. They're just very similar to a lot of people. I'm neurodivergent, so I have a lot of unusual processing, and my brain works a certain way that has created many hilarious stories through the years. For those of you who are old enough to remember Amelia Bedelia — I had several moments like that. And I think it's really important to remember that there are times when accommodations are the right move. It's not a matter of, like you said, we're not necessarily looking to heal people. We're not necessarily looking to change somebody's brain from a function that your unusual brain can actually create solutions to things that a neurotypical brain can't. So, there is a reason to celebrate that side of things. There's a reason to really embrace that side of things. But neurodivergent and things like ADHD can cause herbs to be a little bit different. 

I have a friend who works primarily with people with ADHD because she also has ADHD, and the way that the herbs work for her subset of the population is a little bit different. It's like caffeine. For some people, caffeine really makes them focus, and for other people, it can make them really hyper and really fast. And so, she has a slightly different way of using the herbs with people based on a certain diagnosis or a certain type of neurodivergent. That is more of the reason why taking the time to learn about the herbs in relation to you and your specific experience on this planet is so important. If you are able to do that — because I can tell you all day long, why I prefer Asian ginseng over rhodiola in certain situations. We can get into all of that nitpicky conversation, which is fun, and I love it for research. You can get into a lot of really interesting things, but at the end of the day, your experiences with your plants are what is going to help inform your healing process. And so I really have gotten to, and I love helping people to really dig into that, and that's part of what this class is all about. It is really opening up that experience so that you can start to figure out what this means for you and how this is going to help you on this journey that is our experience here on Earth. 

[1:43:44.2] Ashley James: Beautiful. I love it, and I love that you brought up that. Again, it's that spectrum of ADHD — because so many of them, my husband included, he could drink a venti and fall asleep. I drink a venti, and I'm up for three days. Our bodies will process stimulants differently. Now he, on the other end, if he drinks caffeine on the other end of sleep, he'll fall asleep on caffeine, but he'll wake up at 5 in the morning. So I know that it's definitely affecting his melatonin and his stress hormones on the other end of sleep. But he can fall asleep on caffeine. I cannot fall asleep on caffeine to save my life. He processes pain meds differently. He has to tell the anesthesiologist, “These are my things.” They usually ask these kinds of questions, but when it comes to things like local anesthesia for tooth stuff, he has to say to the dentist, “Listen, you have to give me twice as much as you think you need to give me. And you have to ask me in half the amount of time you think you need to ask me if I'm feeling something because my body processes pain meds way faster than you think.” And he'll give the whole speech to the dentist. They won't believe him, and then in 10 minutes, he's like, “Ow, ow, that hurts.” And they're like, “It already kicked it. I gave you the stuff.” And then he's like, “No, no, no, listen. You have to give me more.” And his nervous system, his body, his clearance, whatever it is, he processes herbs a little differently, processes stimulants a little differently. He falls asleep on stimulants. 

So yeah, we've got to check in with ourselves, and that's why I like starting with something simple like teeth, something gentle, and then working your way up to the stronger one, should you need it. But off the top of your head, is there like, “Oh yeah, these adaptogens are always good for ADHD people,” or is there like a Ritalin of the herbal world? “Come on. Give me a quick fix. Give me a blanket that is good for everyone. There's got to be one out.” 

[1:46:04.1] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: Right, no. It is interesting. I will save it. The stimulating adaptogens like rhodiola or Asian ginseng tend to be the ones that I see as helpful when somebody has an ADHD diagnosis. But I don't always reach for that because just because you have an ADHD diagnosis doesn't mean that you're always in a dorsal vagal state. There may be other things happening, but that dorsal vagal shutdown that causes us to feel more spacey and it causes us to be a little dissociated is sometimes part of that ADHD experience. And so, it makes sense that Rhodiola and Asian ginseng can be helpful. But everybody is a little bit different. My life would be easier if I could name stuff off and just be like, “This is it, boom! I fixed it.” Like I'd be rich. But that's just not how it works. And this is part of what this class is for. We are going to talk about different herbs, different adaptogens, and nervines like the lavender and the camomile that we talked about earlier, which I think we talked about in the last session as well. And we're going to talk about some of those, get a little more in-depth on them, and then we're going to be doing these guided visualizations where you're actively tapping into your subconscious, and you're really trying to discover more about what your body is telling you in this moment, in a way that allows you to also connect with nature. 

And so in those moments, I'm going to give you some information. I'm going to give you some ideas about how to stay as safe as possible based on what we're talking about. But then we're also going to get into that intuitive space. So we've got our boundary set up, and now we can just play in that intuitive space within the safe boundaries, and that's where the real healing comes from. I know we call ourselves healers, but the reality is I'm just kind of a facilitator. I'm just telling you these things and letting you understand what we've learned and then trying to help you create space for your body to tell you what it is that you need in these moments. Again, when somebody's got a chronic illness and things like that, there's more nuance to it, and we can work one-on-one and talk about that. But in general, having the space to explore, in my mind, is one of the most powerful ways that you can find what works best for you and your situation.

[1:48:37.9] Ashley James: And you're teaching a person to fish rather than giving them the fish. You go to a doctor, and even a doctor of natural medicine, they're just going to say take this and this. They might tell you what it does, but there isn't a huge education piece, or at least teach you how to get into it and listen to your body. The body speaks to us, and it really does tell us what we need. But again, we're floating heads. We've cut ourselves off, and we really haven't been trained to tap in and listen to our bodies. One of my mentors is an old-school naturopathic physician in his 80s, and when he trained me in this, he devised a way to understand nutrient deficiencies based on the symptoms the body is speaking. I can talk to someone for 10 minutes and say, “Okay, these are the nutrients your body is saying it's missing,” based on having a conversation with someone. And we didn't need to do expensive blood tests and hair analysis and all that. So, it's interesting that we can look at it from a physiological point of view, like, “Okay, muscle cramps, problem staying asleep, urinating in the middle of the night, falling asleep after meals, weird symptoms, eye twitches.” You can give me all kinds of interesting symptoms, and then I can say, “Okay, these five symptoms are all related to the same problem, and I'll explain why.” But beyond that, it's impressive for you as an individual to learn, just like for me to learn how my body responds and what it needs. 

And so your body will buzz and love the feeling of an herb when it's good for it, like I made that tea, that turbo tea that I've been really drawn to make. I've made it before in the past. I kind of go through phases where I'll drink it for a while, and then I'll move on to something else. But I was really drawn to it for a while. So I'm like, “Okay, it's time to make it.” And we love it, and my body buzzes and loves it. It feels so good when I drink it, and I'm really called to it, like my body just says, “This is what I want.” And when you tap into yourself, and you learn, like Elizabeth teaches you, how to listen to yourself, your body is going to say what it needs. Now, this is a good feeling. The good feeling you get is not the artificial good feeling you get from sugar from cocaine. Yes, everyone's done cocaine. You know what I mean. Some people think about street drugs like, “Oh, you know, it's very artificial. But they “feel good” just like alcohol.” “But wine is healthy for you. There are antioxidants. There's resveratrol.” I'm like, “Then eat the grapes.” You don't need the toxin. “But it feels good after I drink alcohol.” I'm like, “Yes, and so do street drugs.” But you don't do them. If you want to drink alcohol, I'm not judging. I'm just letting people know there's a difference between the artificial feel-good, which is harmful. And then the really healthy for you, that buzzing — like if you drink organic juice, freshly-made juice drink, and now all your cells are filling with an abundance of vitamins and minerals and phytonutrients, and antioxidants — that good feeling when your body buzzes, it's so delicious. It's so wonderful. Again, you have to re-attach your head and allow yourself to start to tap in and listen to your body. And it's like a muscle. So, at first, you might not know, you may not be aware of your body, or know, the more you do it, the more you'll strengthen that muscle till you get a feeling, you'll just go, “Oh, wow. My body is saying to me, “I want some peppermint tea,” as an example. You just feel at the end of the day like, “Oh wow, I could really use this at the end of the day to bring myself down into a nice state,” or maybe in the morning, you feel like trying all the herbs that can be put in a chai. It doesn't even have to be caffeine. If you want, you can just do all the herbs in a nice warm tea milk kind of thing. I'm not milk or whatever. But the point is tapping into the body and listening is this beautiful thing, and I love that you emphasized this because not many practitioners do. Not many practitioners teach people how to be their own physician, in a sense, because their body is the one that's telling them what they need. 

[1:53:09.1] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: And I think it's important to recognize that — talking about some of the stuff you're talking about, like, with wine and feeling good — a lot of the time, we are chasing the excitement of feeling blissed-out or feeling powerful. Like a lot of times when somebody is angry or frustrated all the time, it's that feeling of power that keeps them going to that. Or if we're trying our hardest to almost disconnect and ignore the things that are happening to us, we're chasing that sensation of being blissed out and the excitement of being blissed out. And the reality of our human experience is that it is cyclical, like nature is cyclical. There are going to be highs, and there are going to be lows. And when we can approach it from that place of equanimity, then we are better equipped to experience those highs and lows in a way that gives us the full spectrum of the human experience without the overwhelm. Plants offer us a way to really buffer so that we have that tolerance to stay in a state of equanimity more often. 

[1:54:29.2] Ashley James: That's really beautifully said. We're chasing the artificial stimulants because we have dissociated from that, and we don't have that equanimity. So you're teaching us how to really get the true highs, feeling the true healthy highs in life by getting back into our bodies. 

[1:54:55.3] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: But I wouldn't even call it a high. This might be kind of a disappointment for some people, like “sorry.” A lot of people chase the highest success, right? They chase the high of “I got this done,” or “I can check this list off,” or “I watched this TV show,” and it gave me that artificial high, or like, “I'm going to feel so blissed out all the time because I am just on top of the world.” The high that we get from natural things is not even a high. It is like a deep knowing, a deep understanding that you are exactly where you're supposed to be. You can't crash from that the same way you can crash from the highest success. 

[1:55:53.0] Ashley James: Wow. For me, it's a joy. I remember being sick for so many years, and when I wake up in the morning, and I jump out of bed, and I don't have aches and pains, I don't have brain fog, I don't have the headache, and I don't have this gross feeling like a prisoner trapped in a sick body when I jump out of bed, and I am on, and I start my day, and I love my life and I love my family — I mean, I got lots of stuff I want to improve in my life, don't get me wrong, there's definitely a few things I want to be better — but I guess what I bring in within the first moments of me being awake is I have a sense of gratitude throughout every cell in my body, because I remember being sick and suffering, never to the point where I wanted to die, but to the point where I wanted a new body.

[1:56:54.8] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: And you have the tools where if that happens again, you don't fall into despair. It's like, “Okay, I can do this.” You still have that gratitude. It may not be the same level of joy that you have in a moment where you feel full and complete. But you still have that ability to know, “Okay, I know where I need to go.” It's not the same thing as the despair that can happen after those artificial crashes. And that's what I love about what we're doing with natural things. 

[1:57:24.5] Ashley James: Love it. That's beautiful. So there is a spiritual, emotional, mental, and energetic component to physical health, and we have to acknowledge that and just know the body is a whole. The body is all of those things, and that is life. That is why I say the Learn True Health podcast is not just about learning true physical health. We'll have guests on about homeschooling, about relationships, and about a healthy workplace because it's life. Nothing in your life and body happens in a vacuum. Your body can be affected by every aspect of your life. So that's health. Health is bringing awareness and balance, joy and gratitude, to every aspect of your life. And let's not be afraid of plants. Let's use them because they're given to us. They're surrounding us. They're here for our use and it's a tool that we got to tap into for optimal health. You know, those people who are preppers or afraid of something bad happening in the future, it's very real. Just over a hundred years ago, there was a solar storm that took out so badly. It melted all the wires that they were using to send communications. Why am I forgetting the name of it? Dang it.

[1:59:06.7] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: The Telegraph.

[1:59:08.5] Ashley James: Thank you! Okay, so what herb do I need because my brain is forgetting words? I'm like, the rest of the day, I'm going out being in the sun with friends at a pool. So I think my brain is like, “Goodbye!”, walks out the door, slams the door. It's so funny. So, anyway, the solar storm made the telegraph go away. Thank goodness we haven't had one, but it could happen again, and it would completely melt and destroy all electronics and whatever part of the Earth was facing the sun at the time. And we only have about 8 minutes of warning because it takes 8 minutes for the solar storm to hit us. So it's not even like the end of times, like nuclear fallout, or all the kinds of things they talk about. But God forbid — I don't want you to imagine this too long because it will cause anxiety — but imagine something happens, and we are left with no communications, and the world's a little bit chaotic because there's no electricity. What do you do? Do you know how to go into your backyard and pick some herbs and do some medicine for yourself and your family? Do you know how to forage food? Do you know the basics of survival? And that's not a whack job crazy to think about. I don't want anyone to be obsessed about it and worried about it every day because, again, that's not healthy. 

But just taking some time to learn basic survival skills, foraging skills, and learning the basic herbal medicine of your region is intelligent. And if you have children, do it with them and learn together. In our area, there are a lot of local foragers that will take you to the woods and teach you the good plants from the not-good plants. “Don't eat those. Eat these.” And that's something that I think we should all just have an understanding of. And I love that you take it to a level of supporting the emotional body's ability to heal along with the physical, which is something that, like I said, I don't see many people doing. And so I really like that you're focusing on that.

[2:01:31.0] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: I agree, and I don't even think it has to be as catastrophic as something like that. It can be as simple as, what's happened with the eggs? I mean, now it's back to normal here. Our prices are back down to normal. But for a minute there, it was a luxury to have eggs. Things can happen in the supply chain. But whether it does or doesn't, the thought of being more connected and more aware of my surroundings is important to me. Feeling a little bit self-sufficient, feeling a little bit like I can walk outside, and instead of being aggravated at the bugs or annoyed by the different weeds that are growing, I can walk out there, and I can see the magic, the beauty that is our universe. Being able to connect into that on a physical level from the self-sufficiency angle, but also the emotional level, just to be able to reconnect to things that are going to be here hundreds of years after I'm gone — there's something to that, that is powerful and emotionally healing, as well as physically healing. Whether you choose to come to check out the free introductory event and get a little taste, I'm going to do a guided visualization to a meditation-type thing in this event. Whether you choose to do that or not, I hope that you will go outside and start to notice the things that are around you. Maybe get a plant idea and start trying to see, like, take a picture of that plant and see if it brings up the right plant, check it, and make sure that it matches up. Just start learning those little things that can teach you more about what you have in your area. 

[2:03:13.5] Ashley James: I'm thinking about Pokemon Go, which I never signed up for because the moment it came out, I just knew me, and I have an addictive personality. And I chose never to install that app because I knew if I did, I probably wouldn't have even done the podcast. I'd be out there. Maybe I'd be like a hiker because I'd be walking everywhere. That would be good. But I kind of knew it would take over my life, so I didn't do it. But I'm imagining a Pokemon Go, but with plants. Just make it fun, like geotagging or something. Make it fun, like how they do bird watching. Like, “You have to find these ten birds.” Imagine it like, “I'm going to find and learn about five new plants today in the wilderness of my park nearby or whatever.” You could kind of make it a game like Pokemon Go but with plants. So get a plant identifier app and then just make a goal, or get the family together, and they'll get their phones and this app, and it's like, “Okay, the first person to identify ten new plants today wins. Make a little scavenger hunt, and it's learning. It's walking, and it's fun. And then maybe pick something, maybe just a little bit to bring it home or something, I don't know. I'm a homeschooler mom, so I'm thinking about all these like; I could totally do that with my homeschool group.

[2:04:40.9] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: So, I know a lot of people, especially since I have this long COVID, that has really limited my movement. I've gotten a lot better, but for a hot minute, it was scary how limited my movement was. So if you're stuck inside or if you're wheelchair-bound and you can't get out into a park, or at Oak Mountain State Park here, there's no way you can get a wheelchair up half the trails. But if that's happening to you, you can still connect with these things. There are all kinds of ways. Teas alone, ingesting the tea, is a form of connection. But you can also watch videos with the different plants. You can look out a window and see the plants that are around you. There are ways to still connect with those vibrations that don't necessarily have to be totally hands-on. So whatever it is, whether you're able to gamify it, like what Ashley's talking about, or if it's just something that you have to adjust, these practices are pretty accessible for almost anybody. And I encourage you that if you haven't heard something that totally resonates with you today, play with it, sit on it, and maybe meditate on it if you have time. “How can I begin to connect more deeply with these plants?” If you have a lot of severe allergies and you're afraid of drinking tea, then maybe, like we were talking about earlier with the flower essences, that is an energetic signature. There is no physical component of the plant left in a flower essence, and maybe that's how you begin to connect. There are all kinds of different ways, and when you find the right thing for you, and you find the right way for you to go, when it clicks like that, it makes a world of difference.

[2:06:26.6] Ashley James: Love it. Listeners can go to to check out the free introductory event where Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie, PhD is going to be teaching the awesome stuff we've talked about today and share with your friends too. Send them to Share it with your friends, go check it out together, go geocaching together, and make tea. We talked about that in the last episode, where every friend gets a different tea herb, and then we all get together and have a little tea party and experience it together. You can make it fun. You can do it with friends. If you have mom friends, if you do it with your sister, your family, or your neighbors, or if you're not near your friends, you guys can get on a video call together, and everyone can sip their tea on video call together and talk about it. We can make it communal, or if you're an introvert, then just do it alone in the corner, wrapped around a blanket, like my husband would be totally happy being all alone wrapped in a blanket with his tea. However you are comfortable, let's enrich our lives with these plants. 

Thank you for coming on the show again today and sharing. This is beautiful, and I love that you're giving us another tool for emotional and mental healing, along with physical healing. I really, really appreciate that, especially in these times when we are all looking to come back into the healthiest versions of ourselves. 

[2:08:12.4] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: And this is the perfect time for us to do this. If we can really take responsibility at this point for the healing from the chaos of the last few years, and if we can really take the time to reconnect to nature and to reconnect to ourselves and our body, it is what we need for emotional and physical healing, we set ourselves up to really be able to support our communities and offer healing overall for the next several years. I think this is the perfect time, as the dust is settling, to set ourselves up to be as healed as possible so we can take care of each other and create the kind of community that allows us to feel supported and loved. 

[2:08:57.4] Ashley James: Brilliant. Beautiful. you so much for coming on the show, and let's have you on again when you've published your next book or your next course. You've got more to teach. We'd love to have you back. 

[2:09:11.7] Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie: Always thanks.


Get Connected with Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie!






Books by Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie


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Essential Oils for Trauma


Jul 27, 2023

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506: Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie’s Guide to Herbal Wellness, Somatics, and Healing

In this engaging podcast episode, host Ashley recounts her personal journey of discovering the transformative power of herbs, essential oils, and holistic wellness practices. Her guest, Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie, a seasoned herbalist, joins the conversation in part one, providing insight into trauma-informed practices and their intersection with herbal remedies. Drawing from her background as a 911 dispatcher and her own experiences of trauma, Dr. Guthrie explores the intricate relationship between trauma, herbs, and somatic experiences, shedding light on how trauma can reshape our responses to herbs and meditation. Her expertise underscores the importance of trauma-informed care and the diverse manifestations of trauma in individual lives. As Ashley and Dr. Guthrie share their wisdom, listeners are invited to embrace the multifaceted realm of herbalism as a pathway to holistic healing and self-discovery. This episode offers a tantalizing glimpse into the symbiotic dance between nature's remedies and the human journey toward well-being and resilience.

Explore the transformative power of your unique plant allies as you harness nature’s wisdom for healing and resilience — and embark on a journey of self-discovery, connecting you deeply with the natural world. Sign up now for the free training—

Ashley James & Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie


  • Ashley recounts her introduction to holistic spa experiences in the 90s, where she discovered high-quality essential oils and their potential benefits
  • The profound connection between trauma, herbs, and somatic experiences
  • The nuanced ways trauma reshapes individuals' responses to herbs and holistic practices
  • The wide spectrum of trauma manifestations
  • The importance of trauma-informed care in herbal wellness approaches
  • Herbal medicine's potential for promoting resilience, holistic healing, and self-discovery
  • The intricate interplay between nature's remedies and trauma-informed practices


Hello, true health seeker, and welcome to another exciting episode of the Learn True Health podcast. Before we jump into today's episode, there are a few things that you need to know about, and that is that my guest today has a free online event coming up where she's going to teach an hour-long class, and I want to make sure that you know about it so you can attend and gobble up all those amazing information that she's giving for free, in this hour-long live training that she's doing. In this training, you're going to learn how to choose the right plants for you to accelerate your healing. You're going to learn somatic practices to calm your nervous system and help you to gain access to tools to support your body's ability to heal itself. And isn't that what the Learn True Health podcast is all about? It's helping us to learn how to support the body's ability to heal itself emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. Health encompasses our entire life. Taking a moment to see that there's nature around us that we can utilize and connect to, even something as simple as a cup of tea can help us and gently push the body in the right direction. And that's what Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie comes here today to share. So I want to make sure that you know that you can jump in. Go to and sign up for the free talk that she's giving on Saturday, August 5th, at 10 a.m. Pacific time. And if you don't think you can make it, still sign up because a lot of times, these talks are recorded, and then they send the recording out. This is totally free. She does also offer a course that will be offered at a later date. But right now, she is just out there sharing and caring, and teaching. 

This episode today is part one. The next episode I'm going to be publishing is Episode #507. That one will be part two because we have a continued story, an update from Dr. Guthrie. So enjoy today's episode. Please share with those in your life who would love to learn how to utilize nature and the plants around them to support them in healing trauma and healing themselves both physically, emotionally, and mentally. One more thing I want to guide you to, and that's my last episode was about using the modern science of ancient wisdom with Dr. John Douillard, Episode #505, and he specializes in Ayurvedic medicine and using herbs from all around the world to support the body's ability to heal itself, and he has an amazing store, and there's some free stuff to check out in his store as well — his four-day cleanse which he gives for free on his website. You can go to I got a 10% off coupon code for you guys every time you order there as long as you order $50 or more, which I think you have to buy two or three bottles. You would definitely be able to get that 10% off. The coupon code is LTH, as in Learn True Health. Go to I love his stuff. His herbs are wonderful. His experience is amazing. So tapping into utilizing herbs to support the body's ability to heal itself, I have learned from Dr. Guthrie, our guest today, about how to incorporate herbs in my daily life, and it has really enriched my life and my health and helped me as I've been on my journey of healing emotionally and physically. So I hope that you also gain those tools today as I have. Make sure you go to and sign up for her free class. And enjoy today's episode. 

[0:04:17.7] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I'm your host, Ashley James. This is Episode #506.

I'm so excited for today's guest. We have, back on the show, Elisabeth Guthrie, who is now a PhD candidate. Congratulations. Elizabeth, you were on the show five years ago, Episode #201. So we're going to do a bit of a catch-up. We're going to play catch-up and discover what has happened in your life in the last five years. I know when we talked to you, we were just diving even more into studying. And now you're at the point where you're just waiting to hear back. You've submitted everything required for your Ph.D. So that's really exciting. But catch us up, and of course, you've published your latest book, The Trauma Informed Herbalist, the discussion around effectively supporting clients who are struggling with trauma, which I think is so cool. And you got another book coming out next year, so I'm sure we'll be hearing — you're not going to wait another five years before you come on the show. Let's just put it that way. But you've been busy both working in the field and also as a student to get to the point where you're now just a few moments away from officially being a Ph.D. So exciting. So catch us up with what has happened in the last five years. 

[0:05:43.0] Elizabeth Guthrie: Oh, so much. So, I finished my undergraduate work in Complementary Medicine. I know we had talked that I was interested in becoming a naturopathic doctor, and fate had different ideas for me, and I ended up with a Master's in Public Health with a concentration in Functional Nutrition. And as you mentioned, I am finishing up my Ph.D. As a matter of fact, I said I'm finishing. I have finished all of my work for the Ph.D. I'm just waiting to hear back about the final exam. The final exam was a thousand questions and took over 18 hours to complete. So I understand why it's taking them so long, but I've got my fingers crossed, I hear something back very soon because I'm very excited.

I worked for a while at the integrative medicine clinic at UAB Hospital here in Birmingham, Alabama, and learned a lot about research and how conventional research strategies sometimes don't match what we see in the field. Of course, some of that I got through my public health degree, but a lot of the more hands-on understanding of how to approach natural remedies in research came from that time with Dr. Salvador at the integrative clinic. And, of course, I have my own practice, and I've recently written — you said another book, but this is actually my first book — The Trauma-Informed Herbalist, and you can read about it at my website, I do have it available for bookstores. So if you're a bookstore owner and you want to get a copy, you can go through New Leaf Distribution for that. And yes, I am doing a second book. So many people were fascinated by the chapter on aromatherapy. I actually originally had kind of a companion guide to this that was going to come out. But so many people came to me about aromatherapy and said I really want to understand more. So I put the companion guide to the side and started work on the trauma and essential oils book that will be out in April of 2023. 

[0:07:49.4] Ashley James: Was it another? Because I didn't know if you knew, but I looked into this crystal ball, and you've published many books in your life. And so, I just got confused as to which one was the first one.

[0:07:59.7] Elizabeth Guthrie: Right. Well, I've written so much. But this is my first real book. 

[0:08:05.5] Ashley James: Yey. Well, it's such a labor of love, and I love that you got feedback, and so you're just taking the feedback and what to write next based on the feedback. I think that books on aromatherapy are really important because it's such an underutilized modality. Back when I was a teenager, I had such a really fun and interesting childhood. Now, looking back as an adult and as a mom, I'm looking back. And as a teenager, my mom introduced me to her friend who ran a holistic spa. Back then, that wasn't really as common. But it was called beauty comes naturally, and it was a hundred percent organic and natural. This is back in the 90s spa, and there are no chemicals and everything like that. And so I interviewed for a job there, a summer job, and every summer, I worked there, and I studied and learned about essential oils because we had a bunch of them. And I was the receptionist, and I was also the salesperson just helping people buy stuff, and there's all kinds of goodies. You would love this spa because it was kind of like a health food store mixed with a spa. This was back when Aveda was like from the original creator of Aveda, and it was really crunchy, and they were focusing on a lot of just pure, no chemicals. So there was a huge wall of essential oils and different brands. And I started to get a nose for the really high quality because this store had low-end, medium-end, and then high-end essential oils based on people's budgets. And you could really smell. You can smell the difference. And I can, to this day, really smell the difference between low-quality and high-quality essential oil. But I became really interested when — because I thought it was like this is just smelly stuff. I didn't know what it was. But one morning, I woke up, and I had gastritis. I was about fifteen, fifteen, or sixteen years old, and I was throwing up. I was nauseous, and I had a fever. I was really, really sick. And my mom called her friend and said, “Ashley can't make it today.” And so my mom's friend needed someone to be there for a few hours. My mom, who's on vacation, went in and helped out in her store.

And then my mom came home with lavender and peppermint from the spa. Her name was Carrie Foreman. She's still around. Her name is Carrie Foreman, and she said, “I want you to take some olive oil.” Because I think that's the only oil we had. “Take some olive oil. I want you to put a few drops of the lavender in olive oil. Rub it all over her chest and her tummy, and I want you to brew some hot water. Put one or two drops of peppermint in the water and let her smell it, and let her sip it. Now, I've been non-stop vomiting. Immediately, once I smelled the peppermint and sipped it, the vomiting stopped. When she rubbed the lavender on my chest and my tummy, I fell asleep. When I woke up, the fever had broken, and I was fine. Of course, I spent the rest of the day resting because it was pretty intense. But that quick of a transformation, for me in the past, homeopathy was very quick for me to have that kind of effect. But have essential oils go boom, like nausea gone, boom! Fall asleep, boom! Fever broke. Like it was supporting my body's own healing mechanism, and that's why I became obsessed with learning and studying it, and I loved it. 

So many times, I came in as far as, “You have to try this. You have to smell it. Did you know this absorbs into your skin and goes into your lymph system, and it helps with the communication between cells and it's antimicrobial?” I'd go on and on and on. I'd geek out. You and other listeners know I just geek out at all this health stuff. But can you imagine this teenager just going on and on and on about how cool it is? People would walk out having bought hundreds of dollars. Carrie, the owner, must have loved it. I've sold hundreds and hundreds of dollars every day for these essential oils. But I believed in them, and it's herbal medicine. But because they're sold in spas, and they smell good, it's kind of fun. And when we think about it, this is like massage oil, right? It's not even an oil, which is a misnomer. But we give it this idea that it's some kind of frou-frou luxury spa thing when it's, in fact, really concentrated powerful herbal medicine. 

So since that's something you're working on for your next book, and it's in The Trauma Informed Herbalist, I'd love for you to definitely talk more about that because we all want to learn more about essential oils. It's an easy herbal medicine that you can practice at home, that you can use at home, and that's already made for you as opposed to having to get a bunch of leaves and brew some tea or make some mixtures. It's less messy and cumbersome that way. So yeah, that's really exciting. And I love the name of your book because a lot of us have been through trauma the last few years, and many of us recognize now, looking back on our childhoods, I think we all have something to heal from. But I'd love to know why you named your book, The Trauma Informed Herbalist. What happened in the last five years that you went, “Aha, this is what I'm going to write about.”?

[0:13:20.6] Elizabeth Guthrie: Ah, storytime. Thank you for sharing that. It's actually interesting because a lot of people like you said, see that as frivolous, and I think we see that with some herbs in general, but really with the essential oils, a lot of people see it as a treat or as something that is not a requirement in order to heal. And in some cases, it might be an add-on. But in some cases, there are a lot of instances where essential oils are the main thing that gets somebody up over the hump and back towards healing. So I really love that you mentioned that. 

Where to start with the whole trauma-informed discussion? So about a decade ago, I was working as a 911 dispatcher, and that alone can create secondary trauma. At the time, they didn't want to admit it. At the time, they were like, we were just listening to stuff on the phone. How bad could it be? And since then, we have discovered that, especially since you don't have any control, all you can do is try to speak to somebody and try to help them from a distance, but you have no physical control, and you're stuck sitting in the chair. And you don't have a whole lot of any sort of control over the situation, and you can't give in to your fight or flight response that occurs during some of the calls. There are a lot more dispatchers that have PTSD than people want to admit. On top of that, I loved the job. I loved it. I felt like I was able to help people, but what changed is I ended up in an abusive relationship. The man that I was with at the time kind of isolated me from everybody and was initially just emotionally abusive, but he became physically abusive. And I started having a lot of issues after I got out of that relationship, and it's really interesting. 

Again, when you have trauma, sometimes you don't have any of the symptoms until you're safe again because your body starts to recognize that it's in a place where it can process through some of the stuff. And so some of the more obvious symptoms don't occur until you're safe again. And I had my adrenal episodes which I think we talked about last time. I had my adrenal episodes pretty soon after leaving that relationship and getting out of that scenario. And another thing that I noticed around that time was that I had a change in the way that things like meditation, certain herbs, especially adaptogenic herbs, and the way that my body responded to them completely changed. I've been around herbs for the majority of my life. I was in some form of energy work from the time I was 12 years old on. We did a lot of Qigong as a child, and I got into Reiki very early on in my late teens, and all of that was great. The meditation was amazing. I could take all kinds of herbs and feel like a superhero until I went through trauma.

And then some of it still helped, but some of it made things worse. Meditation was one of the first things that I noticed, and I would sit there, and I could meditate. But then I would start; I thought I was hitting enlightenment. I'll be honest, Ashley, I really was like, “Oh, man, I have figured this out,” because I would space out so badly, and I would get bragged on by the people at the facility because we would have these all-day Sunday retreats where you would sit there and meditate and I could go all day. But what was happening was I was dissociating. And the reason that I found out it was dissociation is because I couldn't come back into my body afterward.

So, when you are doing meditation, most people feel a little fuzzy afterward. That's expected. But if two or three days later, you're still feeling dissociated from your body; then there may be something going on that you need to try to figure out. Is this trauma-related, or is this something else? But in my case, it was trauma-related. And there were other instances where I couldn't get into a meditative state, specifically because my brain was on high alert and was trying to pay attention to what was going on, not in the room, but actually out around us to make sure that we stayed safe. So there's a lot of really odd things like that where I couldn't refocus on what I was doing because I was going into these heightened states of alertness or full-out dissociation.

And then, the herbs started bothering me. And the first one that really struck me was Rhodiola. Rhodiola is this amazingly beautiful adaptogen. I love the smell of the tincture. The Latin name is Rhodiola rosea, and it has that very rose-type scent to it, a very spicy smell, and I loved it after exercise. But what was happening was I would take it, because normally you would take it after exercise and it would help you to recover faster. It has all kinds of good benefits for your body and everything. But instead, it was throwing me further into a panic attack.

And so I started asking around about this. Are other people experiencing this? And I would kind of get the side-eye from some of my mentors. There would be a couple of people who would be like, “Yeah, you know, I've had something like that happen.” But for the most part, people were like, “That's not what's happening. It has to be something else. You have to be misinterpreting it. And we do that sometimes, right? Sometimes, coincidentally, we will get sick at the same time. We take something, and then we'll think that that's what made us sick, and in reality, it had nothing to do with it. That happens. But this was happening frequently enough to where I knew something else had to be going on. 

And as I continued to study, I had this feeling that something was wrong with me. Like, I am wrong. Here I am; I'm an herbalist; I've done this. I've been in some form of herbalism my whole life, but I've done clinical herbalism for the majority of my adult life. And here I am; I can't even take the herbs because I have these weird responses to some of them. And then, I stumbled across the work of Dr. Peter Levine. Dr. Peter Levine talks about somatic experiences in the body and what we feel in the body. The more popular version, which I read after Dr. Levine, is Dr. Bessel van der Kolk's book The Body Keeps the ScoreAnd these people have started to teach us about how our body, when we have an experience that creates trauma in our body, the brain, and the body is reacting in order to keep us safe. And the body is having these responses that don't have anything to do with you overpowering it with your mind. They occur because the body has biochemically changed. There are physical changes that occur in the brain when we go through trauma, and it takes time to rewire these things. 

So, I do want to clarify real quick about trauma. When I talk about trauma here, of course, we can talk about trauma in the form of if you physically injure yourself, you have physical trauma. And some people call trauma the event that has occurred. But when we discuss trauma and a trauma-informed environment is what I'm trying to help practitioners to be able to understand a little bit better. Some people are already starting to see these things and already starting to find their way with this. But there are a lot of people who didn't even know that this was a thing. And so I'm really trying to help people to understand our field. And trauma in a trauma-informed environment is defined as the body's response to an event that felt overwhelming. So that's why something that happens to you could cause trauma in your body. But I did not experience it the same way, and therefore, I do not have trauma from it. And that's why when I experience something that creates trauma for me, the person sitting next to me may not have had that overwhelming sensation. They may have felt more in control at that moment, and their body may not have created a reaction that is meant to keep us safe. But once it goes a little bit too far and becomes a chronic thing, now we're no longer safe. We're just having the trauma response. So that doesn't make you weak. It doesn't mean that you have failed at biohacking your brain in order to be better. It just means that you went through something that's extremely difficult and that your body and your brain have done what they think is best to help keep you safe. And now, it's just a matter of working to rewire what has happened in order to help your body know when that response is an appropriate response. Was that a lot?

[0:23:08.9] Ashley James: No, no. It's a great way of putting into perspective that trauma is more about whether you feel out of control at that moment. That's interesting because two people can go through the same experience, and one ends up very traumatized. Just like when people come home from war, not everyone had shell shocked. I mean, not everyone went through the exact same experience, but there were some that felt more fragile than others. I don't mean the word fragile in a negative way. It's just there are some people who really broke them. I have witnessed; I've been with vets who were in full-on PTSD, and it takes them hours to get out of it. So whatever they saw or did in those moments was very lasting. And then there are others who have been through similar experiences, and I always think, “Are they just burying it?” Does everyone who comes home from the war really, really traumatized, and some bury it? But maybe not. Maybe some are not traumatized that they didn't feel out of control in those moments. So that's interesting. 

[0:24:37.4] Elizabeth Guthrie: It brings up another interesting point because when I say trauma-informed, I don't mean that you have personally been through trauma, and now you think you know how to work with everybody who's had trauma. There are a lot of different imbalances in the body, and once you've been through it, it makes you a better practitioner. So, for instance, if you have fibromyalgia and you learn the different imbalances that are occurring in your body that have made fibromyalgia an issue, other people who have similar imbalances that create similar symptoms can benefit from your knowledge. But in trauma, my response to trauma is different from your response to trauma. So one vet may bury it down, and he may go home, and he may be a horror behind closed doors, or he may not be a horror behind closed doors. He may absolutely be bottled up and miserable and sick and can't do anything about it. It's not that he lashes out, but he's almost imploded and withdrawn from it. Whereas another person may be out in public and have an anxiety attack. All of these can be responses to trauma. And so, when a practitioner has gone through a traumatic experience, that can help open the door to explore the different ways that trauma comes to people. There are different types of trauma, and there are different layers of trauma that occur. Depending on the different types and the different layers, a person's personality, maybe even their constitution, or even their inflammation level can change how they respond to these events. And so it's a much more broad study than, and not that, the personal experience doesn't matter. Because obviously, my personal experience brought me to this and other people who have personal experience study and understand this, and then they're able to help people more. But personal experience is just the first step when it comes to trauma, whereas with some other things, personal experience can be what makes you the expert in that matter. 

[0:26:57.7] Ashley James: I really like working with practitioners who have empathy. They don't have to have the exact same problems that I'm struggling with. But the fact that they're open enough to share what they've gone through, how that level of empathy, of understanding, like when on the outside it's so hard to see what people are struggling with on the inside. I remember the first day I left the house and went on my own and ran an errand after our daughter died. I was standing in line at Chipotle, and I looked over at everyone. I texted my midwife, and I said, “I just wish I had a neon sign over my head that told everyone how I felt on the inside so that people knew.” Because I looked around, I'm like, everyone is standing in line. Everyone is serving food. Everybody is eating food. There could be people in this room that are hurting as much as I am right now. that are in as much grief as I am. And if we had some kind of neon sign above our heads, that's kind of like The Sims video games. If we could just walk around knowing a bit more about the inner workings. Imagine if you walked across the street and someone was on the street, and the little signs above their head showed just how hurt they are; you would just stop and be like, “Can I give you a hug?” And I just wanted that. I wanted everyone around me just to know and share what I was going through. And I'd love that. I'd love to be able to just look at others with compassion and be like, “Hey, I know what you're going through.” But of course, we don't have these neon signs above our heads, and we all walk around like everything's fine. 

If someone asks, how are you, we always say fine, no matter what. And that just feels so inauthentic. I actually remember in the last year just hating it when people ask me, “How are you doing?” I hate being asked that question because do you really want to know? That's what I want to say, “Do you really want to know how I'm doing?” Of course, I'm doing much better now, thank you. I had a discussion yesterday with a friend, and I said, “You know, I feel really, really happy now.” I'm in a really good place. But I can look back on the last 18 months, and I've been through stuff. Now, of course, I have a way deeper level of empathy. I may have lost my parents. I've lost friends, so I've been through loss. But I have a level of empathy. But that's what I want from a practitioner. I really don't like it when practitioners act cold and professional. Of course, I want professionalism, but cold professionalism, distance, and a wall — that makes me very uncomfortable because, I don't know, I feel judged. I feel like I'm the crazy, messy mom. And this person is looking at me, going, “What's wrong with you? Why can't you keep it all together?” So I want a practitioner to be like a little bit of a hot mess. I wanted them to be good at their job. But I want my practitioner to be still having some little baby throw up on their shoulder or something. Just show me your humanity. Show me you're real. Show me your humanity and have that empathy. 

A lot of practitioners feel like they have to wait to be perfect in order to help people. I did not wait to be perfect to start my podcast. I'm still on my health journey. I've healed a lot, and I'm sure about that. I've reversed many health conditions, and I'm still on my health journey. I'm still not like Mount Everest of Health, like the peak of Mount Everest. So I'm still working on myself. We're all on a journey. But I really got that if we all waited to be perfect — like if someone is listening as a practitioner, or a coach or something and they're still working through their emotional trauma, don't wait to be perfect. If you have the capacity to want to help people, it's okay. If you're still struggling with your fibromyalgia, but you want to help people, do what you can, and like you said, let your trauma inform you. Let your healing be that way of further helping other people heal themselves because you can be that mirror. You can show them like. “Hey, I can still live a life while I'm healing. I can still help people. I can still make a difference. And so can you.” So, as a practitioner, by you being authentic, you actually encourage other people to heal even further because you allow them the space like it's okay not to be perfect. We all can just be a work-in-progress together.

[0:31:40.7] Elizabeth Guthrie: And that's the beauty of this. When you find yourself in a situation where you had trauma, and you start learning about how to recognize trauma and how trauma affects people, you start seeing yourself in certain pieces, and you start being able to recognize how other people might be affected differently. When we look at trauma, you've actually described some different types of trauma here, right? Acute trauma is something that happens very quickly. There may be repercussions for months or years afterward, but they've usually lasted a couple of days. They're very sudden, a sudden death of a loved one, physical attacks — things like that are all considered acute trauma. And that's the stuff that we normally look at and say, “Ahh, that's traumatic.” But we also have chronic trauma, and they are usually more subtle. And some people may not be able to recognize them right off the bat — things like living in an unsafe neighborhood where you're constantly on alert and unsure of who's safe and who's not. Is that car safe? Are they going to give me trouble?– that kind of thing. Discrimination in general, when you have people who are in group sitters are discriminated against — that can create forms of trauma, and those are chronic traumas. And another thing that speaks to some of what you and I have been dealing with is a chronic illness, which can create trauma. And a lot of people who have chronic illnesses have been in situations where they feel isolated, where they feel like they cannot get what they need. 

I know, from my journey with long COVID this year — I got sick in December of last year, and by January, I was having to strategically plan trips to the bathroom — and I remember that there have been times when I wasn't in a position to get myself a drink of water, and I had to wait on somebody to be available to help me with that. And those moments can add up. Not everybody is going to walk away from chronic illness or trauma. But a lot of people who have chronic illnesses have chronic trauma, and they don't even know it because nobody has ever said to them that, yes, this is a form of trauma. Trauma thrives in isolation. When someone is isolated — when they feel like they're unheard, when they feel like they're not connected to others, which has also been the reality for most people for the last two years — trauma thrives in that environment. And you end up with a lot of people who have complex trauma. C-PTSD, that's complex PTSD, that's usually when multiple sources of trauma have occurred, and it can create other types of symptoms that are very specific to complex trauma situations like a very, very strong inner critic that just berates you. That's a very C-PTSD-type symptom. 

So, there are all these different types of trauma. And then, of course, that's not even getting into the layers of trauma where you have generational trauma. Maybe it's something that's happened to your parents or grandparents, and it affects the way that they treat you. For instance, I have an aunt who died of leukemia, and I actually share her birthday, and I can tell, looking back on my childhood, how that changed the way that my grandparents and my parents treated me because of the trauma that came from Catherine dying. And it wasn't bad. It wasn't that they created more trauma for me. It just changed my environment growing up. And there are times when it just changes your environment. And then, sometimes, our generational trauma begets more generational trauma. And we see that a lot where the abused becomes the abuser, and we see that through the generations. And then of course, community trauma and things like that. So there are all kinds of different ways that trauma can occur for people. And the easiest thing to remember is if you feel isolated, if you feel alone, or if you feel helpless, those are moments that can make you more susceptible to trauma. And if you have felt that and you feel like you've had trauma symptoms afterward, you may not be diagnosed with PTSD, but there may be some trauma things that if you start looking at it like, “Well, how can I adjust things to bring myself back into a place where I feel more connected, where I feel calm and safe with people?” That can bring you to a place of better healing.

[0:36:34.3] Ashley James: Now we have laid out some ideas about trauma because a lot of people didn't know. So I was emotionally, mentally, but never physically abused, but in some cases, it would have been easier if you'd just hit me because then I could have ended it. If someone tries to physically abuse me, I'm not going to take it. I studied martial arts for many years. I’m not looking to pick fights, but I'm going to defend myself. I'm going to block. I'm going to throw you because I studied Jiu-Jitsu, and I'm going to sit on top of you until the cops come. 

[0:37:13.7] Elizabeth Guthrie: Which is you being able to honor your fight or flight response? And you can’t do that as well with emotional trauma. 

[0:37:19.5] Ashley James: Right, right. So I didn’t actually recognize it, and I could not really see that it was emotional and mental abuse until I got out of it and left the country to move to the States. And then, looking back, I was like, I had to get distance, and I became a master practitioner trainer of neuro-linguistic programming, timeline therapy, and hypnosis. One of my friends who also went through the same courses, we'd often help each other get perspective because when it's our own life, it's better to talk about it, get it out of you, like talk therapy. As long as it’s a safe person to talk to, sometimes it's just good to just get it out because when you hear yourself say it, you’re like, you just got a different perspective. And we were talking, and I realized just how abusive it was, just how manipulative and controlling and how bad it was. But at the time, when we’re young, you just want to be loved, and I was like a martyr. I just wanted to do whatever just to make him happy. That kind of thing. And then I was. “Wow, that was a really messed-up relationship for five years.” Like you said, he’s isolating you from other people, not letting you have friends controlling where you go. It got bad, and I'm so glad I'm out of it because now I know how to healthfully enforce my boundaries. Those relationships allow us to learn what we want and what we don't want, and it allows us to learn how to support healthy boundaries when we experience them. That’s what I don’t want. Now I know how to teach people how to treat me because I know what I don't want. 

So looking back, sometimes you’re just listening — I'm sure as people are listening to us talk, they're going, “Oh, wow. Maybe I was in some of those situations in my past, in my childhood, where we didn't feel safe.” Those kinds of things. So we have emotional trauma trapped in the body. I've had several interviews where people have touched on this, including the man who invented Emotion Code, and that's really amazing how he detected and saw it as practice — that people had trapped unresolved emotions in the body and how to resolve them, how to release them from the body. And then, the subsequent physical healing that would occur because of that, or their pain or chronic pain would immediately disappear. Those kinds of things were really fascinating. We have to understand that we can see physical bodies, so we honor it, like, yes, the physical body exists. But we don't see emotions like we all see the mental body, the emotional body, and the energetic or spiritual body — we don’t see it. But it is there nonetheless, and each one affects our physical body. 

We can tell very clearly that we can hook our bodies up to machines. We watch a stressful movie, like a zombie movie or something, and we can see that even though you know you're safe in a movie theater, you know you're safe. If you watch a stressful movie like Schindler’s List or something, you're living through something. Even though you know you're safe, your stress hormones will go up. Your heart rate will go up. Your physical body is being affected by this experience. I know some listeners might be too young to remember 9/11 or at least have had an emotional impact on themselves. But for years, I felt that there was an impact that, collectively, we had trauma. And then, in the last almost three years now, collectively, we are all sharing in some degree of trauma. I don't believe in supporting the victim mentality. What I mean by victim mentality is holding on to it and being like, “This is why this is happening to me,” and then not giving them the tools or supporting them in the tools to allow them to step into their power so that they can heal. We don't need to be stuck in this trauma. Acknowledging it or recognizing it is a good step, but then, of course, your whole book is now, how do we support them — and I don't want to use the word empower because actually, the root of empower means that they don't have the part of themselves and you're lending them your power. I want to help them step into their own power so that they are able to use these tools to help them along their healing journey. So, I'd love for you to go through some of the things in your book that really helped people to step into their power. 

[0:42:26.0] Elizabeth Guthrie: Right. So one of the things that I mentioned earlier in passing is that I see this is a form of rewiring, so you're not going to balance something back real quick. Normally when we look at emotional things or a lot of the energetic work that I've done in the past with the chakras and things like that, there's a lot of balancing that occurs, and balance is good. We want to come back into that place of homeostasis, or on a more ethereal level, and be back in alignment so that everything slows the way that it should. But then there's a rewiring that has to take place when it comes to trauma, so we can get the physical body back in balance. But then we have to really take some time and recognize that. Whereas with balance, maybe like a seesaw, you may just put one thing on it, and the seesaw comes back to a balanced state. Rewiring is more like — have you ever walked into one of those server rooms where all the wires look tangled up, and you're never going to know where one goes unless you follow it with your fingers? What we do when you have trauma, and you have to eat to help your body come back to a better state is, we're now taking those wires, and we're untangling them and putting them back in order so that it's very nice and organized, and that takes time. So, when you first come out of a situation where you've had trauma, you may start noticing — if you've already been using herbs, essential oils, mindfulness yoga, anything — you may find that you’re responding differently to the natural remedies. Or if you're a practitioner and you're working with somebody, and you suspect there may be some trauma whether they've revealed it or not, then you may start to realize that they're not responding to the recommendations that you've made in the same way that you would expect. And there are a lot of things that can come into play here. A lot of the time, when trauma is involved, it makes it harder for somebody to hold down a job. They might struggle financially if they weren't already in a situation to begin with because people who are in disenfranchised groups tend to have more trauma. So there may be things like that that are causing them to not feel like they can afford the remedies. They may not feel like they can keep making the recommendations that you've made, or they may physically be having an odd reaction, an anomalous reaction, if you will, to what you've recommended. 

And so, it's really important to recognize that this is not making an excuse for people. Like I actually said, we're not looking to support an idea of victim mentality. “Oh, whoah, it’s me. Nothing can be done. Look how awful my life is.” That's not what we're after here. But what we can recognize is for a lot of people, what we would consider the “normal options” aren't necessarily going to work if they've been through trauma. So if somebody comes to you and says, “Hey, I've used this, and it's making me anxious.” Valerian is one of those. But sometimes, somebody would come to me and be like, “I'm anxious on it now,” and we can shift to other things that have similar properties that maybe will work better for them. And to me, that is the big thing, and I'll talk here for a few minutes about some different herbs and things. But I really want to get people to recognize that a lot of the times, what I'm saying about these different herbs can be helpful for people, but we also have to recognize that we need to honor when somebody comes to us or if you're doing this for yourself and if you're trying some things for your body. Just because I said that passion flower is relaxing for the majority of the population, if passion flower is not working for you, change it up and find another nervine. You don't have to go with something just because I think that it's a wonderful option. However, the most important part of this in my mind is to pivot, to be ready to change. If you need to adjust something, adjust it. The dangerous thing here isn't moving forward, changing, running into roadblocks, and having to shift. The dangerous thing here is to stop altogether and allow yourself to stagnate, throw up your hands and say, “I give up. I'm not going to find the connection I'm looking for.”

So, before I get into the herbs, I did want to say one more thing about polyvagal theory because, to me, this is the important piece that will help because you can say, “Well, okay, Elizabeth, I hear your truth. I hear what you're saying. But how do I know when something is helping me come into a state that's going to help me heal from trauma?” Because when I go to my therapist, and I talk, and I come out of there — I have a talk therapist that I've had for, oh gosh, I don't know. Six years now. I love her to death. I don't even know how long it's been. It's been at least six years. And that has been some of the best spaces for me to go and clear my head and come up with new things to help me. And she helps me process through the why of what's occurring. Why is my brain going this way? Why am I having this response to this conversation? But a lot of the time, the work of what — what is it that I'm experiencing, what is it that I'm feeling, and how do I process what's happening in my physical body — is what I'm doing as an herbalist. And a lot of that comes into play through the polyvagal theory. 

So Dr. Stephen Porges created the polyvagal theory, which helps to explain the way that our parasympathetic nervous system and sympathetic nervous system respond to stress. And this is a very, very quick overview. I'm not going to say that this is the end of it. Doctor Porges has written several books on it. Deb Dana has also written some very practical guides to utilize polyvagal theory. For those of you who are therapists or do some of this work already, she's got some really interesting stuff on that. But to summarize, the polyvagal theory indicates that we have three different states of being when it comes to our nervous system and the response to the environment around us, whether it’s dangerous or not. Our response to the environment around us is either sympathetic, dorsal vagal, or ventral vagal. 

The sympathetic state is your fight-or-flight state. It’s where we're heightened. It's where we feel like we can fight back. It's the place where if we can run, we're going to run. The adrenaline is pumping, and we’re ready to go. The dorsal vagal state is the place where we feel trapped, and it's the freeze response, or in complex trauma, sometimes it creates a fawn response, which is where a person doesn't necessarily want to give in to what their abuser is suggesting. But they give in to it in order to try to keep themselves safe. That kind of comes from a dorsal vagal response as well. And that is where we don't feel like we can fight anymore. We don't feel like we have the ability to flee the situation. We're stuck, and our body freezes up. And then we have the ventral vagal state. If you can't remember sympathetic and dorsal, that's fine. Don't worry about it. One just means fight-or-flight. The other really means freezer fawn. Again, it’s very simple, but for the purposes of this discussion, that's all you need to know. The ventral vagal state is the important state because that is the place where we are calm, where we are connected, and that's where healing occurs. 

So when we're looking for herbs, and we're looking for essential oils, and we're looking for flower essences or activities, we want to find things that help us to return to the ventral vagal state. For some people, this is yoga movement, and it can be different types of yoga. I have some clients that when we work together, we do a lot of restorative yoga poses and just lay in a position where we're fully supported for several minutes at a time. I have other clients who, if I did that with them, they would run out of the room screaming because that puts them in a place where their brain is almost like it starts to come up with all the ways that things could be going wrong. And because you calmed everything else down, now the alarm bell starts going off in the brain, and it can become very overwhelming. So instead, for those people, restorative may not be the answer. We may go for something like a gentle flow. Something that is a little bit more Vinyasa in nature. There's a lot more movement to it. So that the mind is focused on the movement of the body and not focused on what alarm bells could go off if we sat there long enough. And we do the same thing with herbs.

So there are certain people who have a lot of fantastic benefits from the nervines and the adaptogens. Depending on how your body responds, depending on whether you find yourself in that fight or flight or the freeze and fawn response, it can determine which herbs might be better for you. And that's where a lot of the herbalism work goes for me. And I will say this because it never is as simple as if you're in this group, go to this. If you're in this group, go to this. There are always people where it's the opposite, and that's okay. What I'm encouraging you to do when we're talking about these things is to try something, and if you find it's helping, stick with it. And if not, then adjust and try something else. So nervine herbs are things like passion flower, lavender, and valerian. There are several different options. Skullcap and hops — these are all different options for nervine herbs that are available. Most nervines tend to be pretty relaxed. There are some stimulating nervines, but most of them are very relaxing, and you're going to find them in things like sleepy tea or de-stress teas. I love Starwest Botanicals. They are probably my favorite herb option in the area. If I'm going to order something, I’ll probably order it from Starwest. But you don't necessarily have to go order yourself a bunch of cut herbs and put it together. You could actually go to the grocery store just to start, just to try it the first time. Go to the grocery store and pick out a couple of relaxing teas. Brew yourself a cup of the tea, and then spend some time just mindfully smelling it, noticing how it feels. Sipping on it, noticing how it tastes, and spending a few minutes after you're done with the cup and see where your body lands. Do you notice yourself feeling a little bit more grounded and a little bit more focused? Do you find yourself starting to fall asleep? That happens sometimes. But see where it lands with your body and spend that mindful few moments seeing what happens with your body and seeing if that's the right tea, and try another one. Try two or three different types of tea. It’s even more fun if you’ve got a couple of friends that you can sit down and talk this through with, and you all can each buy a box and do a tea swap where you get two or three packets of each of the teas. Then you get to try them and see what tea blends work really well for you. And you might notice, what are the herbs that we see in those tea blends? There might be certain herbs that you decide, “Oh, you know what, I could grow that in the garden.” And that might be an herb that you keep on hand. But start with tea. Start with that area and just see, are there nervine teas that could be helpful for me?

[0:55:25.9] Ashley James: Can you spell this? Is it ‘nerving' teas or ‘nervine' teas? I'm really down, but I wasn't sure what you were saying.

[0:55:35.4] Elizabeth Guthrie: My Southern accent says ‘nervine'. It's n-e-r-v-i-n-e. And if you all hear me on other discussions, I slip into ‘nervine'. I believe the majority of people call them ‘nervine', but you will hear me call them nervine. I'm talking about the same thing. I'm just from the Deep South.

[0:55:58.2] Ashley James: I appreciate all accents. I've been in the States long enough that I can pass for an American. But then, once in a while, I say ‘house' or ‘about'. But everyone knows where I'm from. I can't say ‘about' like an American. How do you say ‘about'? 

[0:56:15.0] Elizabeth Guthrie: It's very nasally. So you're doing it, like, in your throat. ‘Almost' and ‘about' is up in your nasal passage.

[0:56:22.3] Ashley James: It feels so weird in my mouth. I appreciate everyone's accent, and I love your Alabama accent. It's so much fun. But nervine — I've written it down so I know what it is — that's so great. I love those combination teas. We don't get sick often, but when we do, I am right there with the Breathe Easy tea and the Throat Coat tea, especially if I'm waking up in the morning and I have an interview, and my throat starts to feel scratchy. I'm going to get four bags of Throat Coat tea and throw them in the pot and brew a big pot of it. And I really like those Sleepytime teas. They do a number on me. My body is like, “Yes, give it to me.” So I can feel it. 

When I am in the ventral vagal state, I know it. I know it because I've done in the past years, like you said, Qigong. I'm not great at meditating. I've got to admit. I appreciate those who can meditate. But I love prayer, and I love yoga. It's movement, moving, and stretching. I'm one of those people. I love Qigong and Tai Chi, just the slow-moving, and that is good for me. I feel a difference there. I can feel the calmness, and it's almost like someone is taking a weight off my shoulders and a weight off my chest. Because my mom was like a type A personality, go, go, go, go, go, she used to say don't wear your shoulders as earrings because you start getting tense. When you're in that fight-or-flight, and your shoulders just get tense, and they start creeping up towards your ears. Just remind yourself, don't wear your shoulders as earrings. Just let them drop, pull them back, and relax. But there's a hurry variability, a lot of the smartwatches now and those little devices, all those kinds of things, can track your hurry variability, which is a really great way of measuring your stress levels. It's kind of like measuring your basal metabolic rate. We can measure our base stress rates, and our base stress levels. 

Maybe you could coach us a bit for those who haven't done years of yoga, meditation, or Tai Chi and are not as in touch with their body. I noticed it because stress is not an emotion like it's easy to know, “Oh, I'm in anxiety.” Sometimes people don't even know they're in anxiety. They're just feeling like a lot of stuff, but they're not recognizing what emotion it is, like, when you're happy, when you're sad when you're angry. We know when we're happy, sad, and angry typically, but because stress is not an emotion, it's harder to say, “Oh, I can definitely feel that I'm in this healing state, this ventral vagal state. “I'm in the rest and digest state,” unless we have these devices telling us. But could you share with us what are clear signs that we're in that state? Let's say we've had that tea, gone for a walk in the woods, did a two-minute hug with our loved one, rolled on the ground laughing, and had a dance party with your kid. It doesn't always have to be this calm moment. They could be loud if that's what your nervous system likes. But what can we see, feel, or know to inform us that we have switched from fight or flight to rest and digest?

[1:00:31.3] Elizabeth Guthrie: A lot of the time, it's a matter of how present you feel. I'm the worst interview guest ever because everything is, ‘it depends'.

[1:00:43.1] Ashley James: You know it's okay. Everyone says that. We're not cookie-cutter. But you're going to give us some examples, and everyone takes away what works for them, so don't worry about it. 

[1:00:53.7] Elizabeth Guthrie: A lot of the time, what I have found to be helpful is how in your body do you feel. Because a lot of the time, we get into a place where we feel calm and soothed. But even with all of the somatic work that I've done, and like you said, the Qigong and things like that, there are even times for me where I have to kind of check-in like, “Am I in the moment? Or am I going into that dorsal vagal or that freeze response?” If I feel like I have control over how alert I am, that's a big one for me. If I find myself in a place and I'm like, “I don't really know if I feel ventral vagal right now that calm and connected place.” I'll see if I can bring myself back into a little bit more of an alert state and do I have the ability to soften back into almost sympathetic and dorsal vagal responses. Those are healthy responses. But it's when we get stuck in them that the sympathetic becomes fight or flight, and the dorsal vagal becomes freezer fine. So if we can find ourselves having some level of control over how alert we are and how well we are interacting with our environment, that's usually a pretty good sign that we are in a ventral vagal space. So if you don't have any idea and you're out of touch with your body, which is very common, the intero and extero reception gets really messed up when you have trauma. One of the easiest things to do is just notice, “Am I able to come back into focus or allow myself to relax back into a little more fuzzy state?” And when you catch yourself in those moments — Deb Dana called some glimmers of the ventral vagal state where just for a moment we feel really connected, something just feels right. Notice what you feel in your body. It's like you're saying, “Are you wearing your shoulders as your rings?” At that point, your shoulders are usually relaxed and may be back a little bit. They may be hunched for it if your posture is generally not good. But if they're relaxed and down, notice that. And so when you find yourself at the sympathetic or the dorsal vagal state, and you notice your shoulders coming up like you mentioned, relax them back down. Or you may notice that you feel a warm sensation in your stomach. There are all kinds of different ways that you would feel the ventral vagal state in your body.

So for me, the key is noticing when I first have the moments of ventral vagal connection and then where do I feel it in my body. Noticing when I feel in control of my state of alertness, and then noticing when I'm in that control, where do I feel it in my body? How can I hang onto that for just a second longer? You were talking about different types of ways to bring yourself back into that. One of the things that we see is group activities and connections with others through group activities. It can be very helpful to bring us into a ventral vagal state. One of my friends, Dr. Jessica Ogle, just did her Ph.D., and her thesis was on drumming. It's not just a drum circle. She was actually using drums in a therapeutic setting. But drum circles can help people come into a ventral vagal state. Yeah, there's some really cool stuff out there. And if you find yourself getting into a ventral vagal state and you really want to stick with it, you're like, “Okay, I'm feeling it today. I really want something to help me stick with it,” that's when I start encouraging my clients to look at adaptogens.

So Adaptogens are herbs that help the body adapt to stress. And there are different forms. There are stimulating adaptogens, and there are relaxing adaptogens. The three I mentioned in my book are probably my top three favorites for working with people who may be dealing with some sort of trauma response. The first one being holy basil which is also known as tulsi, and it's not officially an adaptogen for herbal purists out there. Technically, we say that it has adaptogenic qualities. It's not been labeled an adaptogen, but it has very similar qualities, and it's really nice. First of all, holy basil grows like wildfire here. I love it. And it's got a very rich taste. I used to love prunella for the same reason. It has this rich, spicy flavor to it. And if somebody is dealing with a lot of brain fog, that tends to be my go-to for them to work with the holy basil. 

And we have Ashwagandha, which is nice because it has anti-inflammatory properties, and we haven't had a chance to talk about information yet. But inflammation is a big thing when it comes to trauma response. And Ashwagandha is really helpful, just pretty much in general. It's a wonderful adaptogen, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties. You're seeing it become a lot more popular now because people have caught on to how great it is. But just be aware that if you go and you decide to get yourself a supplement of Ashwagandha, check on the label and make sure it's not blended with other things because there are a lot of supplements that are called Ashwagandha and when you look at the label it's blended with other adaptogens, and you don't want to get Rhodiola and whatever. Not that Rhodiola is bad, but if you have a natural tendency towards that fight or flight response, Rhodiola may amplify it. 

And then the last one that I wanted to mention was Shatavari. It is an ayurvedic herb as well as these other two, and it's the one that I go to when somebody has just been beaten down over and over and over again, and they're like, “That's it. There's nothing left. Like I don't even know how to heal at this point because I've been through so much that I don't even remember what it feels like to feel normal. I don't remember what it feels like to be able to have a safe connection with people.” So those are my three kinds of adaptogens that can help when you're trying to get more and more into that ventral vagal state.

[1:07:39.0] Ashley James: I love Ashwagandha. 

[1:07:41.2] Elizabeth Guthrie: Ah yeah, it's a great one. I was just going to recap. Nervines have a lot of good, relaxing properties. They help the nervous system to bring things back into balance. And then, once you're starting to get glimpses of the ventral vagal state, finding yourself an adaptogen that you like to help amplify those times when you are in the ventral vagal state can really help with that rewiring process. 

[1:08:07.8] Ashley James: For those who don't know, could you explain what the word adaptogen means in the context of turning on the rest and digest response? 

[1:08:17.2] Elizabeth Guthrie: Yes. So adaptogens help our body to adapt to stress, which I think I kind of said earlier. We're getting into the window of tolerance discussion now, and we didn't talk about this earlier. But we have what's called the window of tolerance. And if you imagine a tiny little window and you have to stay within that window in order to stay in what would be considered the ventral vagal state, adaptogens help to stretch that window out. So there are different things that help to stretch our window of tolerance, like therapists are trained to stretch us to the edge of the window of tolerance when we're processing through things, and they help us to stretch into build resilience. And the adaptogens do a similar thing on a physiological and ethereal level. It is helping to open up that window of tolerance and make it bigger.

[1:09:18.5] Ashley James: I first learned about adaptogens from a friend of mine years ago, a naturopath who used to call me Ashwagandha because my name starts with Ash. “Ashwagandha, how's it going?” He's like, “Actually, I think you should take Ashwagandha.” And I love making moon tea with Ashwagandha. And I learned this really great technique where you can make a concentrate of moon tea. So it's a can of coconut milk. I'll see if I can put the recipe in the show notes of the podcast. I actually made a whole video. It's on my website in this thing called Learn True Health Home Kitchen. But it's a can of coconut cream, and then we measure out all the different herbs and spices, and it's antimicrobial, so it's anti-parasitic. And it's great for when you want to just bring yourself gently down into a wonderful sleep. My body responds so well to Ashwagandha. So we'll mix in or blend in the Ashwagandha, the coconut cream, some clove, some cinnamon, some turmeric, and some pepper. I'll put the whole recipe in the show notes. And so, yeah, not peppermint. I meant to say pepper because the pepper activates the turmeric. And then we mix it up together. And then what we do is we need to concentrate, leave it in the fridge. It lasts for a while, like weeks. And then at night time, I take a mug with hot water, and I take a big heaping spoonful of the stuff and mix it in, and then if you want sweetener, you don't have to, but if you want sweetener, you can do whatever floats your boat like honey or maple syrup, or monk fruit, whatever floats your boat, to taste. But the largest herb there is the Ashwagandha. But we do put a lot of other warm and spicy herbs that just bring a nice heat to the body, and, like I said, it's also anti-parasitic. So it's anything to prevent worms, those little creepy crawlies we don't want in our gut and unhappy about. But yeah, it originates from India. But I love making the concentrate, and I learned that from a friend of mine because he's sitting there and having these twelve jars and having to like to put it all together every night. It's just like a pain in the butt. So he just makes it once, and then it lasts for a few weeks. Just that, oh man, it's really just deep, deeper sleep. 

But the first time I did adaptogens, it was a blend, and maybe Rhodiola was in it, I don't remember. This was over twelve or thirteen years ago. It made my heart race, and I thought I was going to die. I was so terrified, and I was really, really scared for many years. I have waited all the adaptogens until my friend was like, “Listen here, Ashwagandha, you need to try some Ashwagandha.” So I was like, “Okay, not every adaptogen is bad. But like you said, try one at a time instead of a blend because I did, and that really freaked my body out, and my body went into complete panic mode. I had a huge adrenaline dump. It's like we have to have the same reverence and respect for herbs as we would do walking into a pharmacy. It wouldn't be like, “I was going to take a handful of whatever random pills.” So you don't do that. Herbs have their place, and they're amazing. We should reach herbs first. But we have to be really careful in terms of dose and know how our body responds to it. So would you say start out small, be more conservative, and be like trying a teaspoon? Yes, let's talk about dosing. 

[1:13:33.8] Elizabeth Guthrie: Okay, so first, let me finish that little bit by saying you're right on track with that. So a lot of people who naturally run into a fight or flight response with their stress will have that kind of response to stimulating adaptogens, like what you're talking about. Whereas if somebody naturally runs into a freeze response, their normal instinct is to freeze when dealing with stress. Then stimulating adaptogens can sometimes be very helpful for them. So it really does depend on, again, we're back to sympathetic versus dorsal vagal and how it works with the herbs. But yes, dosing — okay, let me caveat this by saying I have had clinical herbalists who think that I am looney and that I have no business suggesting such low doses because — those of you who are listening to this and know what I'm talking about, please don't hate me — but there are some people who really believed in the physical capacities of herbs, and that's really as far as their training has gone. There are very good herbalists, and if you have somebody that works with you and they go from that angle, I'm not suggesting you should leave. But they don't like the way that I recommend doing dosing because my dosing method is focused more on the ethereal side of things, and I believe that you should do a very low quantity to start. That's why I start people with tea. I don't start people with tinctures which have a higher dose to them. And usually, when I start people on tinctures who have dealt with a lot of trauma, I start with drop dosing or very low dosing with tinctures. The reason for this is that if we're focused on what your symptom set is, and is it indicating that there's a lot of heat that needs cooling? Then I'm working on cooling herbs, and I'm going to be using a much lower dose. Is there a lot of cold that needs warming back up? Then we will be doing warming herbs, and it's not going to need this high of a dose because it is, again, kind of energetic based. And I believe that this is best for most people who have dealt with high levels of trauma because, like you were talking about where you had tried that adaptogenic blend, and when you were done with it, you thought you were going to die because it just blew your body's response up. 

For people who have been through trauma, their resilience level is lower, and that window of tolerance — remember, we're talking about the way that would be adaptogens — can be stretched a little bit. Usually, when you first start to heal from trauma, that window of tolerance is a lot smaller. So when somebody's window of tolerance is very small, and then they have a few herbs in their system that causes them to have a response that they don't like, instead of it being a slight inconvenience, it becomes a much larger feeling of being overwhelmed. And so if we start with a smaller dose, if there is a response like that, then there's not as much of a response, and it doesn't feel as overwhelming. Plus, like I said, a lot of what I work with when I work with people is more on an energetic level anyway, and I focus on the energetic. And the funny thing is, when we do that, a lot of the time, the therapeutics tend to fall into place. You tend to end up with the right physical therapeutics as well. But because I focus on the energetics, I do suggest starting with a much lower dose.

That's why I like it if you're going to try this for yourself; if you are a practitioner, I have classes. We talked about this. You can get the book and start there and kind of see if it's something that makes sense for you. But if you're trying this for yourself, then I encourage you to start with teas or just a very small dose of something in whatever form you can. If it's Ashwagandha, you're probably going to find it in capsules and things like that. But that helps you to determine, “Do I feel a little bit good, or do I feel a little discomfort?” Determine from there. Is that what you want to continue using? If you're feeling a little bit good, maybe go up to the full dose and see how that feels. Sometimes the full dose can be a little too much, and it can start to feel a little over-stimulating. And so you find, “I'm just going to stick with the half dose,” or whatever you chose to begin with. So yes, I definitely encourage you to start with a lower dose and work your way up.

It's the same thing I do with essential oils, minimum effective dosing. The smallest amount possible to get the best results. First of all, it's cost-efficient. You're not spending a whole lot of money overusing a substance, but you're also minimizing the chance that you're going to have a response to something that makes you uncomfortable and makes you go, “Maybe this is not for me.” 

[1:18:42.7] Ashley James: I like that very solid advice. Start with teas like the entry-level, nice, safe dose. On the other side of the spectrum, it's the concentrate, which is like tinctures and essential oils. And the capsules are somewhere in the middle because you can regulate that. Once I know I like something like Ashwagandha, I'll get a whole bag of it, an organic, good source, big bag of it in bulk because, like I shared, I can then make my tea with it. And you can get a machine to encapsulate your own stuff if you want to save money. But I'm just throwing in smoothies. Just scoop it up, throw it in there, blend it in, cover it up. You can do that with lots of mushrooms. There are so many good tonifying mushrooms for the nervous system. That's really helped me as well. Do you touch on that? I know you are teaching your courses, and I definitely want to make sure the listeners know about that. They can work with you in that capacity. But do you have anything to say about mushrooms? 

[1:19:54.1] Elizabeth Guthrie: Yeah. Actually, it's interesting because I almost forgot to talk about the autoimmune discussion. So one of the things that we have found, and there are a lot of different things that point to this, is that there may be a connection to somebody having this lasting trauma response and having high levels of inflammatory markers in their body. And so we're beginning to see that there's some sort of connection between inflammation and trauma setting into the body and making it harder to heal from trauma. And I have several clients who we end up — I almost feel bad for him because they come to me, thinking we're going to do a lot of nervous system herbs, and then we end up totally down the immune path, and they're like, “What's happening? This is not what I signed up for.” Sometimes that is what is standing between people and their healing. It is an inflammatory response. It's out of control and is making it impossible for their nervous system to ever get to a point where it can heal because the inflammation response is blocking it. 

So, a lot of the mushrooms have immunomodulatory properties, and those immunomodulatory properties can help to bring things back into balance and to help with an inflammatory response. Now, of course, there are other things you can do. You can look at healing leaky gut. I know you've had some good people on here talking about inflammation in the past, so you all may want to look up those episodes as well. But as far as herbs, any kind of immunomodulatory herb, a couple of cups of green tea, if the caffeine doesn't bother you if it does, then stay away from it, but the L-theanine in the green tea is a fantastic option to help with calming and relaxing. So, for most people, if you drink a cup of green tea, then you're getting a balance between the two. But things like stinging nettles can be immunomodulatory and very helpful, or like you said, the reishi mushrooms, that kind of thing, could be extremely useful for immunomodulation. So if you think that you have an inflammatory load that is higher, then that may be a good thing to be doing alongside some of these nervous system herbs that we've discussed. 

[1:22:25.5] Ashley James: Are there cultures that have noticeably lower rates of autoimmune inflammation? Do you know of any? I'm just thinking of, for example, Asia, which probably consumes the most amount of green tea. They are naturally getting good amounts of L-theanine, and then also, Asia loves reishi. They are widely accepted and taken mushrooms. I just wonder if certain cultures, because they include these foods and beverages in their daily life and in their culture, like, “See here, these guys are doing this, and they have 25% less autoimmune than those in America,” for example, who consume less amounts of these things. I wonder if we can look at each nation and see which ones have significantly higher rates. Of course, who's tracking all this? But it would be interesting. I know that cardiologists have done studies of the Japanese population versus the American population when it comes to heart disease or cancer rates. And so I just wonder if we're tracking autoimmune now as well, as we tracked those other issues? 

[1:23:50.4] Elizabeth Guthrie: So interesting because as you were talking through that, I was Googling. Google is the best and worst thing ever, right? But hey, so I actually found some information. I'll try to send you this link so it can be in the show notes for anybody who's interested. But on, there is a prevalence of diagnosed autoimmune conditions in selected countries, and it is not very many countries. But since we're talking about the United States and Japan, it's showing a 2% rate in Japan and a 7% rate in the United States in 2019. Now, does that mean that it's absolutely that, or maybe they're not diagnosing it? We'd have to look at their structure and how they chose to diagnose because, obviously, undiagnosed stuff happens all the time. But I suspect that you're probably on to a bit of something there. 

[1:24:46.6] Ashley James: Well, yeah, and I've had several guests on how to reverse autoimmune, and it's largely diet. Surprise, surprise. Largely with diet, we can wreck a lot of major issues and discussions, and that's why we listen to this show and learn from these guests in how to take control — and there's that word again — the feeling of being in control. We're giving that feeling back to the person who is listening because “Here's something you can do. You can go to the store. You can buy this tea. You can take it.” Like now, they feel like they've got something they can do. So many times, I've heard so many stories of people going to their medical doctor. The medical doctor is basically saying, “You just got to live with this and just deal with it.” 

Again, I'm not ripping on all medical doctors. You can't do a mass generalization, nor do I. However, with our observation of their education, we have to understand that their education has informed them, and they see through a lens that is different from those who have been holistically trained. It's a different lens to look through, and they really will have the hubris to believe that they have the answer and no other answers exist outside of their body of knowledge. Not all MDs, but there's been so many cases, and so many people have just, like you said, thrown your hands up and given up because you've been told by the authorities that what you have is something you'll always have. And that's not the case. There are so many answers out there. A medical doctor that I interviewed was really interesting. She ended up going a hundred percent holistic and became a functional medicine practitioner because she became incredibly sick, and no medical doctor that she went to could solve her problem. And they basically said, “Well, now you're just going to have to live with this,” and she was just bedridden. And so it took natural medicine, and she was infuriated because she spent almost half a million dollars and up to twelve years of her life becoming this highly specialized medical doctor, and that all went out the window. Now, that education would help you stop an artery from bleeding out and help someone recover from a stroke or heart attack, broken bones, and certain infections. There's a time and a place for this amazing emergency medicine that I value and trust, and I will be the first person to go to a hospital in those emergency situations. But you don't take your car to a plumber. Why are we always going to the same? And this is the system that we live in because it's a for-profit system. So they've set themselves up as the only doctor to see. 

And that's why we have to reach out to podcasts like this, to learn from people like you, so that we can take matters into our own hands and start to explore. We can do this on a daily basis to improve our health through nutrition, herbs, whatever practices like going for a walk in nature. Move your body in a way that brings you joy. Like I said, I love Tai Chi and Qigong, and you can do it in a structured way, or you could just throw on some music and dance. These things really do affect your hormone levels. They really do matter. They really can bring down inflammation. These activities in your life — when you go to sleep, when you wake up, when you enter nature, and what you eat — all play a major role in affecting your body and honoring that. And then this doctor, I asked her, “Why is it that so many medical doctors — not all of them, I'm not throwing them all in the same category — act as if natural medicine either doesn't exist or that it's some snake oil quackery, and that pharmaceutical-based medicine, that allopathic medical system, is the only medicine?” And she said, “Listen, we invested almost half a million dollars and eight to twelve years of our life, just depending on specialties and stuff, invested a huge amount of time, a huge amount of energy, a huge amount of blood, sweat, and tears, essentially, and we come out of this believing that we must have been taught everything that matters. And if they didn't teach it in the last eight years and half a million dollars in education, then it isn't important.” And that is what every medical school is pushing, right? 

And so what we have to do is understand that the practitioner you go to is incredibly important in what you choose. And also, do not let their opinion be the end-all-be-all. Do not let them dictate your healing because I was told I'd never have kids by an endocrinologist. After a battery of tests, I was told that I was barren, and that's ridiculous. We have a wonderful boy that's almost eight years old, and it was a natural medicine that brought my fertility back. I reversed a hundred percent of my polycystic ovarian syndrome, and I was told by many people that you cannot reverse it. And I'm like, well, I'm about to show you. 

[1:30:02.0] Elizabeth Guthrie: And so, when you're coming to all of this, and you have had trauma. It's interesting when we're talking about nutrition, and my Master's Degree, there was a focus on functional nutrition, and there is a strong movement that says that autoimmune concerns are a nutrition thing. Diet, diet, diet. And that is true for a lot of people. But there are also a lot of people who have trauma around food, and they may have an eating disorder, or there may be nutritional concerns that make it difficult for them to hit that from that angle. And if that's the case, be aware, and listen to what Ashley has said about it. There are other things. There's Tai Chi, yoga, and there are herbs that can help. There are ways that you can focus on your health that don't include nutrition. 

Now, for those of you who are able to work with nutrition and it works for you, there are some amazing options there, but don't feel like that is it. This is what I'm talking about with trauma-informed care — pivot, pivot, pivot. If you have an eating disorder, or like a lot of people with adoption trauma, they have concerns around food, and they may be fighting food, hoarding, and things like that. There are a lot of restrictive diets that are used to help people heal up the leaky gut and things that can actually activate those responses where somebody now is struggling to fight the need to hoard food in their room because they can't have certain things. So all these little nuances like that, if you're listening to this and you're hearing the things, don't get stuck on just one thing. Recognize that there are other things that we are talking about and don't hear, “Oh, it has to be nutrition,” because Ashley mentioned all these other things too. That's the kind of thing that I am trying to help practitioners to notice and to recognize because there's a lot of stuff that we've been taught that we see as, “Well, this is the way.” And then, we have to recognize that we can become creative and we can still stay evidence-informed. We can recognize that there's empirical evidence for these other methods that maybe aren't as simple as looking at something from a nutritional angle. There may be a little bit more complex. There may be a little more nuance that we have to wrestle with. But when we do that, we are becoming more accessible to other people. 

So there's amazing stuff that's being done. And what I encourage you, as practitioners who are listening to this, is to constantly be willing to expand your horizons. Look at different options, and learn about new things. If you can't carry it, then find people in your area that you trust, or find people who work virtually, like I do, that can help you as a referral system. Build your referral network when necessary. And then, of course, those of you who are listening have hope that there are options available. It just may take some time to find what works for you with the situation that you have dealt with. You told me about homeopathy at the beginning of this, and it may be something like that. It may not be something that has a physical component. It may be something that is purely energetic, like flower essences, which is not exactly homeopathy, but it's kind of a form of it. And what I work with a lot are flower essences and aromatherapy, and herbs. The flower essences help a lot when somebody has struggled on the physical front. 

[1:33:40.2] Ashley James: I love that you keep preaching the willingness to try new things. I don't want to say get out of your comfort zone because that can kind of trigger the fight or flight response. But think of it from this perspective of being in control because, like you said, that's calming when you're feeling like you're in control. So you get to brew the tea, you get to sip the tea. You could put on a YouTube video just to see what basic Tai Chi is. It's really fun, actually, stroking the horse's mane. I went and did Tai chi. I remember this was like 20 years ago, and I was heavily into studying martial arts, to study Okinawan goju-ryu karate, and jiu-jitsu. And then we did a little bit of gōngfu and some Tai chi. And I go with my sensei to this town that only has like 100 people, and it's small. I was in rural Canada. And it was in the senior center, and it would be a senior center gymnasium filled with eight-year-olds, and he would lead the class. It was so cool just to be there and do this in rural Canada with a bunch of seniors when I was in my early twenties. 

It feels really interesting because how many times in our life do we breathe and move slowly like sloths? We never do that, but what an interesting thing for a nervous system because, especially for me, I'm a busy mom. I'm running around doing so many things. I always kind of catch myself going, “Wow, I feel really crazy right now.” You know what I mean? I feel not crazy, but I feel really like a mom with her head cut off, like a chicken with its head cut off. I'm making food. I'm packing food. I'm taking the kid here. I'm homeschooling there. Go to this class, go to that class. I feel really productive and great, but even though you're still having fun and being productive, how many times are we surviving on fight or flight? Many women I talk to believe that, “I need this adrenaline. I need this cortisol to get through the day.” I need to be in fight or flight to get through the day, to be productive.” And they think that they need it to be productive. 

And to do something like Tai Chi or Qigong, where you intentionally move slowly to something we don't do, and you intentionally breathe controlled and deep and really oxygenate your body, especially in the last few years, so many of us really do need that. And what happens is the nervous system goes, “Oh, okay. We're not freaking out. We're not putting out fires. Wow, there are no fires to put out.” And then you just feel your body, like you said, come into the now and relax. If you can hold on to that while you're being busy through the day, you not only really enjoy being productive. You'll just be, like you said, centered, calm in the now, and you can be busy and productive, but you hold on to that state where you're telling your body, telling your nervous system, that everything's okay. That you're safe, that everything is fine. So you don't have to trigger the fight or flight, and your body can continue healing and assimilating food. Being in a fight or flight, sometimes we lose our hunger, or when we eat, it sits in our stomach, just like a pit in our stomach because our body is not digesting it. You're not digesting when you're in fight or flight. And so if you can eat a meal and you feel like you really digested — it's not sitting there, and it's not stagnating in your gut — that is so good because your body is able to assimilate those nutrients. 

So I love the little tips you gave us. Start with the tea, then get experimental, but have fun with it. Choose something that you don't feel is scary. But trying new things from the standpoint of it is going to be fun. This is going to be an experiment. Maybe include your girlfriends, like you said. Everyone buys a different tea and you can all share with each other. I love that. Or essential oils — you and your friends could take some different essential oils and share them, and you have an essential oils party. There are so many things that we can do together to make it fun. Making it fun is not triggering the fight or flight response. If you can make it fun, then it's not threatening. 

[1:38:21.6] Elizabeth Guthrie: It's fine if it's a healthy expression of the sympathetic nervous system. And I love that you've mentioned that because, to me, it is so important to come to a place where things are enjoyable. We want to be able to dip into the dorsal vagal, which becomes a freeze response when we're dealing with trauma. But we want to be able to settle in front of a fire, surrounded by loved ones, and be in almost a meditative state. I don't want to call it a dull state because I'm not trying to call it negative. But it is almost like the mind becomes a little fuzzy, and you are just able to sit and be with people. That is a little bit of an expression of dorsal vagal. And we want to be able to have those fun moments of a little bit of sympathetic expression. They're supposed to be there, but it's being tempered by the ventral vagal and coming back into that connection. 

And another thing that I mentioned in the book is there are ways to make your own flower essences with the flowers that you have. And so, if you have a flower that you're particularly fond of, you can make essences. You can do it direct if it's something that's edible. If it's something you shouldn't be eating, you don't have to do a direct flower essence. You can actually put the water next to the plant. So there are all kinds of different ways to make this interactive. The book, of course, is called The Trauma-Informed Herbalist: A discussion around effectively supporting clients who are struggling with trauma. But I had a lot of people read it who aren't practitioners and who love it because I am talking to practitioners through a lot of this and talking about being willing to be flexible and find other things. But my whole essential oils chapter has a whole list of different oils and the ways that I have found them to be emotionally useful for people. Or the plant spirit connections and digging into trying to find more aetheric ways to connect with plant medicine. And when you do that, you are reclaiming that autonomy when you are making those choices. That's where you will find yourself able to get back into a place of ventral vagal connection more frequently.

[1:40:39.2] Ashley James: Love it, love it. Thank you so much for coming to the show and sharing those things. I want you to tell us how we can take your courses.

[1:40:49.4] Elizabeth Guthrie: If you go to, you will see at the top and or the bottom that there's a place where you can go to my classes under Empathic Coaches Academy. It is the name of the school. And if you go to, you'll be able to see about my work about the book if you're interested. The classes range from — like, I have one class that's specifically trauma-informed aromatherapy. I'd love for us to get on that topic next time because that is a fun topic. It's a six-hour class that digs into trauma-informed care from an essential oil standpoint. I'm currently teaching trauma-informed herbalism, so you can go, and you will find that there as well. And then, of course, I have my full practitioner program that's available for people who are looking to dig even deeper.

[1:41:43.9] Ashley James: Love it. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Is there anything you want to leave us with? Any homework, maybe?

[1:41:52.5] Elizabeth Guthrie: My homework to you is to try something. I'm not going to tell you that you need to go do the tea activity, even though that mindful tea activity is my favorite thing, where you drink the tea and you smell it, and you just spend some time with it. I encourage you to take one thing from this session and go this week and try it out. See what you notice about how you feel when you try it. And from that, what would you do differently or the same? So if it is the tea and you go, and you get three or four of your friends together, and you all do a tea swap, did it work? Did you find something that you felt was really good for you? How does that change what you're going to do from here on out? Making these small little steps is the way to rewire. Remember the visual I gave you at the beginning? We're not looking to balance a seesaw and fix things overnight. We are unplugging one thing, untangling it, and plugging it back in. Unplugging the next, untangling it, plugging it back in. Slow and steady is what's important when it comes to healing from trauma.

If you have questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me at any time. I am here to support you all as much as I can. But I genuinely feel like your best decision is to brainstorm some of the stuff that you've heard today. Brainstorm it, take it, and try something out and see what you can find that can bring yourself back into more of that ventral vagal connection. 

[1:43:28.6] Ashley James: Awesome. Awesome. Let's all go do that. I love it. I love it. You know what? I think what I'm going to do is I'm going to write a little sticky note that says ventral vagal stimulation or something to remind me, are you in the rest and digest? And I'm going to put that on the fridge or something. Sometimes it's nice to have little reminders. I write notes to myself and put them on the fridge. Oh yeah, put it in the bathroom. Just remind yourself and go to the toilet. You can put a sticky note right across the hall, or whatever wall is in front of you or near you, or near the toilet paper, because you're sitting there for 30 seconds to minutes, or however long you're there. You've got some time to check in with yourself, check in with your body, do some deep breathing, and maybe visualize what you want to have to happen. 

That's a big thing I teach people when I teach them to get out of their anxiety. It is to imagine what you want to have to happen because we are always imagining so much of what we don't want to have to happen, which triggers the anxiety response. Imagine what you do want to have happened today. And that tells the body that we're not under attack. We are in a safe place where you can imagine what you want to have happen. Even if it's like, “Oh, I imagine making myself some moon tea tonight, having had a really good day.” Just imagine yourself making it, sipping it, having it hot, and smiling to yourself at how great today went. That's it. You don't have to imagine the whole day. Just imagine that, at the end of the day, you're saying, “Hey, this was a really good day.” That's enough to tell your body, “Oh, I'm not under threat right now.” Taking those times to just check-in. So I love this whole discussion, and there are so many actual things, so much homework that we can do. So, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing with us today. 

[1:45:29.1] Elizabeth Guthrie: Thank you, Ashley. I'm thrilled that I've been able to do this. This has been amazing. And I hope that as people begin to find themselves more and more in the ventral vagal state, they're able to make connections with each other. And that's how we're going to eventually heal a lot of the wounds that have happened over the last few years. It is to bond together in safe and effective communities. So I thank you and thank you to everyone who is listening to this because we've covered a lot. It's been a lot of material. But you people are the ones that are making this change. We're sitting here, we're discussing these ideas, but when you go out, and you make those changes, and you start healing yourself and your families and your communities, that's where the real legacy stands. So, thank you. 

[1:46:17.9] Ashley James: I hope you enjoyed today's episode with PhD candidate, Elizabeth Guthrie. Looking forward to Part 2, which will be the next episode that I publish, in which you will hear the update from this last interview. You can go to to sign up for the free webinar that Elizabeth is putting on. She's going to be teaching a really interesting herbal, somatic, aromatherapy, clinical herbalism. It's all really interesting. So if you like today's interview, it just gives you a whole new thing to add to your tool belt — this idea that you could add essential oils and teas. You don't even have to get into the heavy-hitting stuff like tinctures and extracts. You could really work very gently with herbs to nourish the body and support the body in emotional, mental, and physical well-being. And so you're going to want to sign up for the free talk that she's giving. It's a webinar. It's coming up Saturday, August 5th, at 10 a.m. Go to and just sign up for the free thing. Even if this is after August 5th, still go to that link because I'm going to be making sure that we get the link to her ongoing stuff that she's doing and making sure that we link to that because she's giving ongoing talks and training. This is a free webinar that she's giving, but she also does paid courses that you can take in the comfort of your own home. And you, too, can become an at-home herbalist to support yourself and your family in amazing health and healing. Thank you so much for being a listener. Thank you so much for sharing this podcast with those you care about. Please share this episode with those in your life who you think would love to use plants around them to support them in healing emotionally, mentally, and physically. Have yourself a fantastic rest of your day.


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The Trauma-Informed Herbalist

Essential Oils for Trauma

Jul 22, 2023

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505: Quantum Healing: Bridging Ancient Wisdom with Modern Science | Dr. John Douillard 

Today's podcast discussion centered around quantum healing, ayurvedic herbal medicine, and the benefits of drinking structured water. Dr. John Douillard, an Ayurvedic physician, shared his experiences with structured water and how it positively impacted his energy levels and mental clarity. The conversation also touched on the universality of Ayurveda and how its principles of living in sync with natural cycles apply to people from different regions and cultures. Dr. Douillard emphasized the importance of using whole herbs and their natural microbiomes to support the body's innate healing abilities. The discussion highlighted the synergy between ancient wisdom and modern science in promoting overall well-being and health.

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Ashley James And Dr. John Douillard


  • The benefits of drinking structured water and its impact on energy levels
  • Living in sync with the natural cycles of nature and how Ayurveda promotes this approach
  • Ayurveda is described as a universal study of nature that can be applied to anyone, regardless of race or location
  • The significance of using whole herbs rather than extracts, as the synergy of the entire plant with its natural microbiome supports the body's healing processes
  • The benefits of ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb known for its ability to support relaxation and energy levels
  • The importance of a diverse gut microbiome and how Ayurveda recognizes the role of beneficial microbes in health.
  • Ashley shares her personal experience with a moon milk recipe containing herbs like ashwagandha and how it has improved her sleep and overall well-being.


Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I'm your host, Ashley James. This is Episode #505. 

[0:00:13.6] Ashley James: I am so excited for today's guest. We're going to have a really great show, I can tell. We've got Dr. John Douillard here with us, and in our pre-talk, before I hit the record, I was like, “Okay, we're all set. You got your water.” He's like, “Yeah, I got my analemma water,” and I'm like, “What?” We're both drinking structured water right now. This is so cool. 

So John, tell me, so you just started drinking about a month ago, and then now you're drinking, all your water is structured. That's what I do. I stir all my water. I've been doing it since just after Thanksgiving. So it's been, what, seven, eight months that I've been drinking the analemma structured water, and I do notice more get-up-and-go, and my plants look crazy. My plants look like I fertilize them with crack, I don't know. It really does make a difference. But you can't just do a little bit. Like you said, you started drinking a little bit, and then you started drinking more and more of your water with structured water, and then you noticed more energy. It's really interesting, isn't it? 

[0:01:13.9] Dr. John Douillard: Yeah, it really is interesting. I think when I really said, “Okay, I'm going to make sure I drink this water, and also, it helps make me drink more water because I really want to get the effect of it. So I started stirring it. Actually, my staff have one too. So they're stirring it into the big kind of glass, the all filter thing, that they just stir all the water for the day in that, so they're using it too. When I started drinking a little bit more of it, just like three big glasses, like 16 oz glasses a day, I started feeling more energy, more lighter. I always have good energy, but I feel like the energy was so much clearer. I was clear-headed, and I was less weirdly distracted by the world we live in, social media, this, and that. I was way more focused on my quiet time, my spiritual time, and I'm more motivated. I always have that motivation, but sometimes I can get distracted, and other things pull me up. But with this, I just felt like it changed my vibration and my brain or something. So I'm still a rookie at this, but I am giving it a good go, and I'm excited about it. 

[0:02:30.9] Ashley James: That is so cool. I don't know if you know this, but they came out recently with the whole house unit, and my listeners get 10% off coupon code LTH, as always. Our listeners can go to to check it out. Plus, also check out all the studies that analemma puts out. They're putting out a study around bathing in the water, and they found that it changed cardiac output for the better. Now, I'm not a cardiologist, but I read through the study, and I'm like, “This sounds great!” I have no idea what it means, but it was very sciency. I'm sure, John, you would understand it if you read the study. I know that you told me that you read studies every day, the latest studies that come out, and I love it when doctors do that; that they are plugged into the latest science. So I'm excited to see the studies as they come out in terms of bathing in structured water because I believe in frequency medicine. And so it just makes so much sense to surround the entire body with structured water and see how that's going to help us. They take already healthy people and do these studies to see how average healthy people would benefit instead of taking sick people. They want to make sure that they're not crossing any lines in seeing this medical device. Although I'm sure one day, we might be able to start to see studies about that. But already healthy people have improvements in skin health and heart health, and it's very interesting. So yeah, I love drinking it. I wonder how many things you and I have in common. This will be fun. 

[0:04:13.4] Dr. John Douillard: And I love the fact that when you actually stir it into the water, it's permanent. Like a lot of structured water, they're very temporary. With this one, you create that structured water, and it stays forever, which is kind of really unique other than the quality of their structure. But that's kind of where you need not worry. You can do a whole batch and then have it last, and it's always there for you.

[0:04:39.3] Ashley James: That's what I do. I fill up all my mason jars and sit down, and I'll stir them for 2 minutes each. Or I'll fill up really big containers of water, and I'll just sit there for like 10 minutes and just stir, and I'll be doing something else, like talking with the family or whatever, listening to something, or watching something, and it's meditative. For me, I love it. I feel a sense of productivity, and I'm like, “Okay, my water is stirred for the day.” But I got to be honest. I can't wait for the day that I have the whole house unit. I think I'll miss stirring it, but at the same time, it will be wonderful to bathe in it as well. It's really, really interesting. 

I'm really excited to get into what we're going to talk about today because you have such a depth and breadth of knowledge when it comes to taking ancient wisdom and modern science and showing us the way, showing us the light, right? There's so much diet confusion, even herbal confusion, and medication confusion, and we're all bumping around, sick of being sick and sick of feeling like we're kind of lied to by the mainstream medical system that claims that they've got a pill for us. Whatever your problem is, they've got a pill for us. And that's just suppressing the body, trying to force it into suppressing a symptom, forcing it into a way of being a state. But as we know, when there is a disease, it's going to show up somewhere else. So we suppress something. It's whackable. It's going to pop up somewhere else, and now you got five more symptoms from that medication to handle. Whereas if we come in and look for the root cause, support the body's innate God-given ability to heal itself. Instead of trying to play god, let's step back and go, “How can we support the body's ability to heal itself?” Now we will be able to watch the body come into correction. 

So you have a wonderful store. We're going to talk about that later, where you provide herbs and herbal blends that will all support us as tools. Listeners can go to and use coupon code LTH to be able to access the products that we're going to talk about today as you teach us about using food as our medicine and using herbs as our medicine. I'd love to hear what happened. How did you figure it out? How did you get super excited about Ayurveda and using this ancient wisdom along with modern science to guide people?

[0:07:17.9] Dr. John Douillard: Well, back in 1986, while I was a Chiropractic, I heard the word Ayurveda and I was studying acupuncture at the time. And for some reason, I just loved that word, and I wanted to know what it was, and it's the kind of traditional system of medicine from India that's thousands and thousands of years old, and I was just so intrigued by that. So I ended up having a chance to go to India for a four-week, six-week trip to learn Ayurveda. And I went there and found an Ayurvedic teacher there, and I was invited to stay there and train with this Ayurvedic physician. And so I had to practice in Boulder, Colorado, at that time, and I called my partner up, and I said, “Hey, I don't know when I'm going home, but I'm not coming home for a while.” I literally closed my practice by phone. He could barely hear me, and this was the 1980s. There was no cell phone. It took an hour to get a line to call from the United States to India. 

And so, I just closed my practice, and a year and a half later, I came back, and somebody I didn't even know was driving my car, and things in different houses everywhere were scattered. And when I was there, I met Deepak Chopra. He was opening up a center in Massachusetts, and he wanted someone who had been trained in Ayurveda to do it. So at the end of my training, I also, more importantly, met my wife in India, even though she was from California. Along that way, in that year and a half, we got married, and now she's pregnant. We were living in India with my pregnant wife, who couldn't handle the smells in India at all. So she needed to get out of there, and Deepak said, “This is perfect timing. I'm opening up this center once you come back and run the center for me.” So we did, and literally, the day I got there, it was like November day. We walked into his new clinic, and there was a doctor's conference that I was supposed to teach. I literally got off the plane and started teaching. So I started teaching medical doctors Ayurvedic medicine, and I realized really quickly that this was not going to work — a chiropractor teaching medical doctors Ayurveda unless I had some science to back this up. So that sort of launched me into finding not only the ancient wisdom, which I'm so fascinated by but by the science to back it up. And that's what I do to this day. I write articles and do videos on ancient wisdom, modern science. And if I can find some ancient practice that's been time-tested and still in practice today, and I have science to back it up, I feel like that's what we should at least look at. I mean, science alone can prove coffee is good; coffee is bad. It's always good. It's always bad. Whatever it wants to prove, it sort of proves it. So without having some time-tested wisdom behind it, I feel like you don't really know for sure. So that's what I do.

[0:10:15.2] Ashley James: I love it. You know, some old-school doctors will say, “Well, this medication has been on the market for 50 years. So I would rather go with this medication that we have had for centuries, look at it, and see that we know very clearly what the side effects are and what the effects are. And I'd rather give you this medication than the new one that's been on the market for one month, and we really don't know what it does.” And then we have Ayurveda which is thousands of years old. And it's funny to think about medication, “Oh, it's a 50-year-old medication. Wow, that's really old.” Well, how about a system of medicine that's thousands of years old and has been proven time and time again, tried and tested? It makes so much sense. Now, Ayurveda is cultivated in a specific area of the world. Can it be rubber-stamped to any culture, to any people? Because we have very different climates. We have very different access to food. Can someone in Chile, someone in the Yukon, and someone in the Netherlands all feel the benefits of Ayurveda, or do they have to adapt it to their climate, to their seasons, to the herbs that are accessible to them? 

[0:11:40.6] Dr. John Douillard: That's the beauty of it, really. That's such a great question. My teacher literally drove it into my head again and again. He used to tell me, and he goes, “Ayurveda is not Indian. Get it into your head. It's universal.” It's a universal study of nature. ‘Ayur' means life, ‘Veda' means truth. So it's the truth or the science of life. So it's about living in sync with the natural cycles of nature. It's going kind of downstream with the rhythms of nature as opposed to feeling exhausted at the end of every day. You feel like you have to work your butt off, and then you kind of have to recover on the weekends or have to have that glass of wine to come home. 

Life has become a struggle for a lot of us. But traditionally, if you listen to nature and watch nature, watch the birds, the deer, the animals, they're not struggling. We're struggling. And it's about living our life in that natural way. For example, the beautiful thing is just the food we eat. In the winter, we all know pretty much, let's say, North America, it is cold and dry, and nature has an antidote to that coldness and dryness, and it's the harvest which is nuts and seeds that grow. That's what they eat in the winter to give them a higher fat, higher protein food to insulate them for those winter months. It makes perfect sense. In the spring, when it's rainy and muddy and allergy season, the harvest is completely different. It's a very austere, leafy green harvest with some berries and some bitter roots, like all the dandelions in your yard that the deer are digging up. Those bitter roots will scrub and clean up all that mucus that builds up in your intestinal tract during the very wet, rainy, congested, mucousy spring months. And in the summer, when it's very hot, nature gives us cooling fruits and vegetables. So, that's the study of nature. That's what Ayurveda is based on, and that applies everywhere, anywhere, anytime.

[0:13:39.9] Ashley James: I love it. And when it comes to the herbs, there are herbs that can only be found in the regions of Asia in India. Are these herbs applicable to every race? Do we see that people of Caucasian descent have a different reaction than people of Asian descent or universally to everyone, no matter our genetics, responds well to the same herbs? 

[0:14:09.7] Dr. John Douillard: The cool thing about Ayurveda is it gives you ways to classify the herbs according to their taste and their quality, which can apply to anyone from any race, anywhere. But what's really important about it is that you have herbs. You know, in old age, they say you eat stuff that's local, and I understand that that's really important. And we use a lot of Western herbs and classify them ayurvedically, which makes good sense. But there is a study, Ashley, that was done about ten years ago in Utah and in New Mexico. And they went into a museum that had Indians that were a thousand years old, and they took their poop, and they measured it. They were able to figure out a way to measure what kind of bugs they had in their poop. And they found that there were these massive numbers of bugs with lots of diversity. They compared that ancient thousand-year-old poop to modern poop, and there was such a lack of diversity in our guts that they called it an extinction of that — the lack of microbial diversity in the last 30 years. The food that we eat has reduced in diversity, different kinds of food by 50%. So, in other words, by eating the same industrial food again and again and again, we were losing that diversity. So going to Europe and traveling to Asia is a way to get more microbial diversity. 

I've actually done studies on that with my patients to back that up. So that's a really important piece of the puzzle. So in the [inaudible 0:15:40.3], I would say, “Yeah, I want to eat local stuff and eat the food which makes sense. They want to get the right bugs for the right season, for the right place in your gut at the right time. The problem is we spray pesticides on so many things that we're eating food, and the soil just doesn't have those bugs. So when we get herbs, we get them from Indian organic farms. They are certified organic. We have to get them tested by the FDA to find out exactly what bugs are in there. And as long as the bugs are good, and they're usually loaded with good probiotics, and you actually ingest those foods, you're actually inoculating your gut with the right bugs for the particular condition you're trying to treat. But also, I always like to prescribe herbs based on the season they were harvested. There is an herb called ashwagandha. Everybody's probably heard of that herb. Now, it's harvested in the fall for the winter. It's a warm, heavy, sweet root that builds resilience, endurance. It's an anti-aging agent. It's just an amazing herb, an adaptogen for stress and things like that.

When you take the whole herb with the bugs on it, you have a synergy. There are what are called bacterial endophytes, which are bugs that are on the plants naturally, and those bugs on those plants support the intelligence and the potency and the benefit of that plant. It's like if I took all the bugs out of you, you would be a completely different person. If I take all the bugs out of our food when we sterilize them with pesticides, that's not going well for us — all these kinds of sterilized foods, processed foods. And the same thing happens when you take an herb versus an extract. If you take an herb and you take the whole plant, and then you create an extract, you've created a sterile compound. It's completely sterile. So when you take what we do in America — because I want to make that herb more potent — I want to take that herb and concentrate it by a hundred times and make it bigger and better. So it's the American way. 

But the study showed when you take curcumin, for example, out of turmeric, which is one of the three hundred constituents out of the whole turmeric root, and you make it into an extract, you made it into a drug, and it is going to be a drug. It has been shown to help people reverse colon cancer and breast cancer, and prostate cancer. It is a really powerful drug. But whenever you make a concentrate like that, you're going to have consequences, side effects, just like the TV commercials for the drug companies. So when you take the whole plant with the herb in the natural climate microbiome that's on that plant, you have a food that works in synergy with your body. It supports the body to do the job for itself, for it to do the job for the body. And that's what I really love about Ayurveda. That's what I have, and it is obvious in our stores. It's whole herbs, and we test them for identity. We test them for bugs. We test them for heavy metals. We test them for everything twice. We test them twice when I get the herb and after we make our formula, and then we know that these are just really polyherbs. So I take these herbs personally and give them to my patients for years and years because they're inoculating their gut with the bugs that we desperately need. We need a diverse microbiome, and we just don't have that anymore. That's the difference between Ayurveda which is like, “Hey, let's use the whole plant. Let's use nature the way it came and not try to mess with it.” Who are we to think we can make it better? Let's use what nature provided for us and watch it work for us and with us, as opposed to overruling us.

[0:19:20.1] Ashley James: I make moon milk, like a turbo moon milk, that my husband and I drink every night, and it has over ten herbs in it, including ashwagandha, which I just love, and a ton of turmeric. I've been thinking to myself lately; maybe I want to try making this with fresh turmeric, like with the turmeric root. I've been using powdered turmeric. And, of course, that's more concentrated. It's been dehydrated and ground up as a powder. 

[0:19:50.6] Dr. John Douillard: No, no. Not really. If you get the fresh ground turmeric, that's completely fine. It's when you take just one constituent out of it and concentrate that one thing that it becomes an extract and is going to be sterile. But when you have just ground-up turmeric powder, that's perfect. That's great. There is a pretty amazing study that shows that if you mix that sixteen parts turmeric with one part black pepper — this was at the St. John's Hospital in Bangalore in the year 2000 — it increases the absorption of the turmeric by 2000%. So all you gotta do is add sixteen to one, a little bit of black pepper to your turmeric, put that in your mix there in your moon milk, and you are going to make that turmeric so much more active.

[0:20:36.4] Ashley James: Love it. Yeah, definitely. That is one of the spices, that is, the black pepper, and I've learned not to put too much. There was one time I made it, and I put way too much. I'm like, I do have that American; if something is good, more is better. And I often overdo it, and there can be too much black pepper, so I have dialed in for that. I'm actually going to be posting this soon on the website as a blog. I want to share my recipe because I've been playing with it for a while, and I've got it dialed in. I'm really happy about it, and it tastes so good. It's such a beautiful ritual at the end of the night. I like to try to eat dinner earlier and then go to bed hungry, like going to bed on an empty stomach. And so I like to have that moon tea right around maybe 8 p.m. when the body goes, “I wish I could have a second dinner,” and I'm like, “No, no, no. I'm going to drink this.” It's delicious, and it's calming. It's a beautiful ritual to just smell it and sip on it and feel the nervous system calm down and get ready for bed. When I introduced it to my life — I already got good sleep — but I noticed it's even better sleep, deeper dreams. Like I have these wild dreams. And every time I do something that I know helps me for my sleep and deepens it, I'll get even wilder dreams and even more colorful dreams, and I'll wake up remembering all my dreams. I just know that whatever I just did, that was good. I can keep doing that because it's deepening the sleep and the restoration. But I noticed that I am even calmer. Not that I'm prone to anxiety, but I just noticed that I'm calmer and happier and don't yell as much. The nervous system feels like it is much more stable just introducing, like you said, ashwagandha and the other herbs into my little ritualistic evening drink.

You were saying bugs, and I know I have to clarify because lately, there's been a big push for us to eat insects. When you were saying bugs, you did mean healthy gut bacteria, a diverse microbiome of the gut bacteria, and not crickets and roaches and other things that there have been people saying, “Oh, let's eat mealworms instead of beef or something.” I just wanted to clarify for the listeners that are going, “I don't want to eat crickets.”

[0:23:11.7] Dr. John Douillard: Yeah, no, a hundred percent. It's all about these microbes. In fact, in the Ayurvedic textbooks 2500 or 3500 years old, they talked about invisible bacteria. They called them krimi, and I talked about how they could cause problems and they could be actually beneficial. They talked about this, and they couldn't even see them. I don't even understand how they knew this. And they also said that the ones that actually caused problems, you don't want to kill them. You want to change the host, and change the environment, as opposed to killing them. It's something we're just beginning to understand now. When you kill bugs with antibiotics, you're killing so many good ones, and that's part of the reason why we have such a lack of diversity which we now know as an extinction event. That's what I love about ancient wisdom and modern science. It's like they knew that this microbiome existed thousands and thousands of years ago. And they also had some really amazing insight into how to manage all these microbes that can do good or bad. 

I love your drink. I want to see your recipe. And you should know that in Ayurveda, it's always said that you need energy to go to sleep at night. And I can say I'm too exhausted. I'm too tired. I'm wired and tired; I can't get to sleep. The reality is you need energy to go to sleep at night, and ashwagandha is one of those adaptogens that's literally named after putting folks to sleep. The botanical name is Withania somnifera, which means put you to sleep. That herb gives you the energy so you can sedate yourself into sleep, but it also allows you to run a marathon or take your SATs in the morning. That's the sign of a really good adaptogen. It's something you can take at night before you go to bed and also in the morning for energy because you don't want to stimulate your body to make the energy you don't have where you're going to debt over time. You have to pay it back at some point. That's the beauty of it. You have to understand, like, okay, you know, a little bit of caffeine here, and it is fine, but let's not get dependent on things that are going to, possibly down the road, deplete you. 

[0:25:24.8] Ashley James: So it builds you up. I saw a study about how we need more ATP. We actually have healthy people who have healthy sleep and healthy energy levels. They have a surge of ATP, which is cellular energy made by the mitochondria right before sleep, and I thought that was wild. Of course, more ATP doesn't make you jacked up like you just drank a Monster Energy drink; you're not all jittery. It's just more access to cellular energy. When I thought about it, it made complete sense. What do we do when we sleep? Our body detoxifies. So the cells require more cellular energy to go through the process of detoxifying, which means we should also have more antioxidants readily available. 

What is melatonin? We're now seeing that melatonin is a powerful antioxidant. In some cases, it's even more powerful than glutathione, and we need healthy levels while we're sleeping to help the cells detoxify. So that makes complete sense. We need to give the body what it needs to go deep, deep, deep, detoxify, and restore itself at night, and then come up and have lots of energy during the day. So the more energy we have during the day, the deeper we can go at night, but if you're kind of just crawling through the day, you're going to be tired at night because we need that beautiful rhythm up and down. And we need nutrients. 

[0:26:46.8] Dr. John Douillard: I love the fact that you know about that study. Very few people know about that study. And that is exactly right. Before you go to bed, just like you said, there's a surge of ATP. ATP is adenosine triphosphate. Right before you go to bed, when the body uses that energy to get you to go to sleep, the adenosine breaks off, and you're left with triphosphates that get wasted, get excreted as waste, and you are left with adenosine. Caffeine is a blocker of your adenosine receptor. So when you drink caffeine, the adenosine is trying to sedate you. It's a sedative. So if you have a bunch of ATP before you go to bed, the adenosine breaks off from the phosphates, and you have this adenosine that actually sedates you into deep sleep. But you also get that surge of energy that you were talking about, just like when you drink coffee. The adenosine receptors are blocked. So it will literally not let you get rest if you need it. So it does, in a way, overrule your intelligence. Not that it's bad, but it needs to be done intelligently. But that is such a great understanding of them. And everybody wants to sedate someone, and most of the time, people are so exhausted that they can't have the energy they need to put them to sleep. So they take a sedative to make an already sedated person more sedated and more exhausted, as opposed to deeply rejuvenating them, giving them the ability to make that ATP so they can have that energy they need to go to sleep. But that's the science behind it. The adenosine breaks off, and that's what puts us in and gets us to drop into that deep sleep. 

[0:28:19.9] Ashley James: So we got to step back and go, okay, how do I support my mitochondrial health? What kind of nutrients does my body need? What do I get to do to make sure I protect my mitochondria because mitochondria are related to gut bugs? It's really, really, really interesting. But anything that harms bacteria in the body can also harm mitochondria. So we want to support it, and I just want to kind of hold the mitochondria like it's a baby, a newborn baby, and just protect it and give it what it needs and know what it doesn't need. So what do you recommend? Of course, everything is in balance, right? We don't look reductionistically and say, “Let's just look at the mitochondria.” But what are the things that are really bad for the mitochondria, and what are the things that are really good for the mitochondria?

[0:29:13.0] Dr. John Douillard: Well, the best thing for mitochondria is what actually makes mitochondria energy, which is infrared light, which is basically the light in the morning. As long as the shadow that the sun makes in the morning is longer than you are tall, you're getting pretty much unopposed red and infrared light, not any UV radiation that could actually potentially do some damage in excess. And that infrared light actually penetrates your skin inches, even through your skull, and activates an enzyme called cytochrome c oxidase which is an enzyme that actually activates the mitochondrial energy in your body. So they said we didn't do photosynthesis in Biology class, but now we know that infrared light actually does activate energy from the sun. 

And here is the crazy thing — you mentioned melatonin. Well, I'm a big fan of melatonin. But only 10% of the melatonin in your body is actually made to help you go to sleep. 90% of the melatonin is made by the infrared light from the sun. So whenever your body makes energy, just like any energy plan, there's going to be a lot of waste products, and those are called reactive oxygen species, and the inability to make that energy or get rid of that trash is what causes accelerated aging and mitochondrial damage. So the body had to figure out a way to use an antioxidant to make an antioxidant inside the cell to take out all that trash. Otherwise, it would accelerate the aging process. The antioxidant that the body chooses to make from the infrared light of the sun through the same cytochrome c oxidase enzyme is melatonin. So the body makes 90% of the melatonin. It stays inside your cell. It doesn't have anything to do with you going to sleep at night. But it is inside your cell to shovel out all the free radical damage that comes as a result of energy production. 

So the sun is going to give you massive amounts of energy in the morning, particularly infrared light in the morning. The more of that morning sun you get, the more mitochondrial energy ATP you're going to get throughout the day and the more melatonin you'll produce at night. So that's one way that you can really help yourself. You should clean out in the summertime, and you can get outside and get that morning light. It's so critically important. You know, 90% of the time, the average American is indoors. And all the new lights, the LED lights, don't have any infrared light. You know the old incandescents would burn you if you touched them. And that's infrared light. It is hot, heating. So a lot of us are now having an infrared light deficiency which is really an important piece of the puzzle because it's so powerful to protect us from DNA damage and mitochondrial damage and accelerate aging, things that don't have to happen if we actually recognize that the sun is a really important thing. 

In fact, we also have this paranoia about UV radiation. But did you know that in 1901, UVA radiation, the stuff that the sunscreens block primarily, won the Nobel Prize for healing skin disease and autoimmune conditions, and all types of conditions? That literally won the Nobel Prize. That's why those old-time pictures of hospitals where they wheel people out on the balconies and they'll be out there in their hospital bed in the sun, remember those pictures? That's because of UV radiation, the thing that we were so afraid of. So we got to be aware of that. The sun is not our enemy now, obviously. And the infrared light in the morning will prepare you for UV radiation in the afternoon. And again, as the sun sets, the infrared light at sunset is going to heal any potential damage that might have been caused by excess UV radiation during the day. 

So, the sun really had a plan, and we were supposed to be in it a lot of the time. But we just take our little dip in and out of it, and we become really super sensitive to UV radiation. And I think it's something we have to realize that we really would have to be outside and in nature, under the trees in the forest. You get all that radiation bouncing off the leaves, and it's a really safe way to get all the health benefits of nature therapy and all that. And that's primarily because you're getting literally blasted with infrared light. It's really fun to go on Google or whatever and then search for infrared light in a city, and the photography of infrared light in the city looks exactly like a city normally would — it would look like bricks. But if you take an infrared picture of a forest, it's an explosion of white light, like you went to heaven, and you're just like, “Oh my gosh, it's just an amazing difference.” What is happening in the forest is all the infrared light is just blasting around underneath the leaves and bouncing off of you and everywhere. 70% of all solar rays are infrared, so we really need to have them. And if we lock ourselves in the house all day, we're not going to get them. So that's a big piece of the mitochondrial puzzle, big-time. 

[0:34:40.8] Ashley James: I just looked it up. I just looked up ‘city,' and I looked up ‘forest,' and you're right. It looks really different. And the forest is so beautiful. I'm in Seattle, just north of Seattle, and just this morning, I was surprised that it wasn't sunny. Usually, in the summertime, it's sunny. But no, we have a really thick overcast right now. So on days when it's thick and overcast or on times when it's winter, I am so thankful I have my Sunlighten Saunas. It's near-mid and far-infrared. Is that a good second to the actual sun, and should I be getting it into it first thing in the morning instead of in the evening because the infrared helps the body more in the morning?

[0:35:24.4] Dr. John Douillard: I think it is a good thing to do first thing in the morning. Although, because we have such a deficiency, I think doing it anytime will actually help us. But doing it first thing in the morning sort of helps to align our biological clocks. Normally, most traditional cultures are up to the sunrise. They watch the sunrise. They got this blast that says, “Hey, the sun just came up. The infrared just clobbered me on every level, and this is literally my nighttime biological clock turned off and my daytime biological clock turned on. So it's like synchronizing our watches to be, “This is the time when I shifted gears,” and it's kind of a night way to help us make that happen. But, as I said, I'm doing an infrared sauna. I'm a big fan of those definitely if it's in a near-infrared and red near-infrared light combination. That's the combination you're looking for. Far infrared is a little more heating, a little more therapeutic, but you have to limit how much of that you get. 

[0:36:19.6] Ashley James: Oh yes. And I, of course, have overdone that as well. I figured it out.

I'm about 20 to 30 minutes maximum. You know, too much water and too little water can kill us. And so it's like the sun. Too little sun, too much sun also can be harmful. There's a sweet spot, the Goldilocks effect; none of us are getting it. Most of us aren't getting enough water and minerals, let alone enough sun, and enough earthing, getting our bare feet out on the ground, and making sure obviously the grass you put in your bare feet is not pesticide laden. And that's a problem, though. So you got to make sure it's a yard or a lawn or forest that you trust. But touching the earth is so important. I have had several interviews on earthing or grounding, releasing the excess electrons back into the earth, and getting to earth's potential. And that's something that is backed by science as well, but we're so insulated. 

Think about our lives. Think about how artificial our lives are. We are so disconnected from nature. We are so disconnected from where our food is coming from, and so many hands have touched it by the time we get it. It's been so adulterated by the time we get it. Even the frozen organic — sometimes you get frozen organic vegetables because that's better than nothing at all. So if you're super busy, but you want to eat vegetables and you want to eat healthily, I'd rather you have some frozen organic than go for completely processed crap. But even that has been washed in high concentrations of chlorine, and we just don't even know. We're so disconnected from our food sources, from nature, from the earth, from the sun, from the sky, from clean air and clean water. We're so artificial. We're so insulated that we end up collecting these excess electrons in our bodies because we're always away from the earth. We're wearing rubber shoes. We're driving a car with rubber tires. And if we finally just took off our shoes and walked in the grass barefoot in the sunlight in the morning as a routine while sipping some wonderful herbal tea to hydrate ourselves and get the good nutrients in us, that would be an amazing, multi-purpose ritual to bring in each morning instead of dragging ourselves out of bed and running to the coffee machine to trick our body into thinking it's not tired. Like you said, how it blocks the adenosine.

I love that you're bringing these ideas to us. You have really interesting thoughts about diet. Can we talk a bit about your book Eat Wheat?

[0:39:14.1] Dr. John Douillard: Yes, of course. 

[0:39:17.7] Ashley James: I'm gluten-free, by the way. So when I saw that you wrote a book called Eat WheatI was like, “Okay, this is going to be interesting. It's fine.” I don't believe in diet dogma. So I'm not going to sit here and go, “Everyone has to eat the way I eat.” But I took it at face value; I was like, “Okay. He's just going to tell us we need a lot of wheat. Here we go.” But actually, I loved it when you and I talked a bit about this. I got so excited because it's such a wonderful concept. So yes, please tell us about your book, Eat Wheat

[0:39:44.7] Dr. John Douillard: Yeah, it's not really about wheat. We have talked about pesticides. Pesticides on our foods literally have been studied to kill the bugs in our mouth that make the digestive enzymes that help us digest things like wheat, dairy and nuts, seeds, lectins and phytic acids, and ketogenic and oxalates. All these things that we're being told don't eat, don't eat, and we're literally bubble wrapping our diet. And then, we talked about an exchange in microbial diversity. Well, this is how we get it. It's by eating a variety of foods. Those foods we've been eating for millions and millions of years. I'm not saying we should eat processed wheat. I'm not saying we should eat a food if we feel bad eating it, obviously. But if you eat a food and you feel bad eating it, then we should not say, “Hey, I'm going to stop eating that food.” You put gas in your car and this car stalls. You don't think it was the gas. You'd think, “Something is wrong with my car.” So that's what we should be thinking about — what can we do to strengthen our ability to digest our food the way we were designed. And so, the reason why I wrote Eat Wheat was because the whole gluten-free industry was sort of based around the fact that folks weren't feeling good eating wheat. A lot of it was the processed version of it, but a lot of it wasn't. A lot of it is the fact that folks just aren't digesting the way we should. And then they eat the hard-to-digest food, and then they pay a price for it. So they, obviously, logically think it's the food, so I should stop eating that food.

Studies have shown now that when folks are gluten-free — and I'm not trying to promote eating wheat. I'm trying to promote strengthening digestion to fix the upstream cause. Weed is a canary in the coal mine. If you eat that wheat and you can't digest it, then you need to ask yourself the question. Why am I not digesting that well, and how can I reboot that digestion? How can I troubleshoot every aspect of my digestion and figure out where my digestive system is broken down? Well, the wheat here is processed, and it's sprayed with glyphosate. It is. But everything is sprayed with glyphosate because it's in the rainwater now. So you have to be able to digest well to detoxify well. If you don't have good digestive strength, you're not going to detoxify, and ETA 2019 and 20 reported 70 million tons of toxic chemicals dumped in our atmosphere every year, which filters down into the water we drink and the air we breathe. So if you eat organic food, you're still getting those chemicals on your food that don't really wash off. So if you don't digest your wheat, your dairy, and your nuts and seeds well, sure don't eat them. But don't stop there because that means your ability to break down the toxins in the environment, which can cause real problems for you, are also going into your intestinal tract undigested, and they'll find a way into your tissues, into your brain, and they're going to wreak havoc down the road. So that's why I didn't like the idea that we were being told to bubblewrap our diet and not really fix the upstream cause. 

And studies have shown that when folks compare people who eat wheat to people who don't eat wheat, gluten-free versus non-gluten-free folks. And these are not Celiac patients. They found that the folks who ate wheat had significantly six times less mercury in their blood than the people who were gluten-free. There are significantly more good bugs and less bad bugs than the gluten-free folks, and they had significantly more killer T-cells than the folks that were eating wheat. Now, what that means is that these harder-to-digest foods have a hormetic effect. That thing that says, “If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger,” like the cold bath plunges and all that. It doesn't kill you, but it makes you stronger. The harder-to-digest foods that we've been eating for millions of years, the nightshades, and all these foods that we are being told to avoid, the phytic acids, the lectins, and things. They're naturally occurring. And if you take them out of your diet, you're going to surely lose your digestive strength. They did a study — I thought it was a really amazing study — with kids with asthma. They found that the Amish kids who have cows as pets — so they run barefoot in the barns and stuff — have the lowest rates of asthma on the planet. And they did another study with their genetic cousins, the Hutterites, who come from the same valley in Switzerland, but they became modern farmers, and their kids have the highest rates of asthma on the planet. It doesn't make any sense. Like it is not a genetic thing. It's just something's going on with these kids. Well, they measured the Amish kids, and they found out it was the dust in the barn that they were breathing that would cause allergies for some kids, but it was actually creating a hormetic effect or hormesis effect that causes an immune reaction against them getting asthma. 

So we have to not bubblewrap our bodies. We have to challenge it. That's what wine is. Wine is a xenohormetic which means xenohormesis, made with plants that struggled in their life growing in really dry, harsh environments; deliver delivers the benefits — the antioxidant, longevity, and resiliency benefits to humans as hormesis. And that is what our foods also did — the lectins, which are on every bean, in every nut, and pretty much every vegetable. This is why eating a vegetarian diet is a little bit harder for folks, actually. Eating grains is hard for folks, right? And if you don't have really good digestive strength and you become a vegetarian, and you never fix the digestive problems, that's why a lot of vegetarians don't do well in the long run. A lot of them sort of crash and burn like the guy Leo. He started having real severe issues, and they go back, and they started eating meat, and they felt good again because wheat doesn't have any nutrients in it. 

Now I'm not suggesting people eat meat, but I am suggesting that we fix the digestive system and make sure that we don't leave that stone unturned. And that's why I wrote Eat Wheat. It's more of a troubleshooting guide for your digestive system to find out what part of your digestion is broken. So you're not in harm's way down the road. Eat beef if you want, but boy, be careful if you start seeing yourself taking one food out of your diet, the next food out of your diet. While I was in practice, I graduated in 1984 and started seeing patients. I was a natural chiropractic practitioner with a lot of nutritional support, and my patients would come with digestive problems. We take them off of wheat, and they get better. We put them on probiotics, and they get better. But shortly thereafter, the problem would come back, and I realized taking them off of wheat, dairy, or whatever, wasn't actually solving the underlying problem. There was an underlying weak link in their digestive system. And I started digging into the underlying causes of what's causing wheat. So they tell us, don't eat this, don't eat that. That's because that's not the cause of the problem. Humans have been eating a variety of foods for millions and millions of years. Now, pesticides, that's the cause, and we have to get rid of processed foods and pesticide-rich foods. There's no question about that. But you can get really good wheat. You can get really good grains, and that is a signpost of whether your digestive system is really strong. 

So that's why I really wrote the book because I saw so many people being duped. And we now know that when people are not able to eat wheat, they are letting other undigested or harder-to-digest proteins and harder-to-digest fats which are in our environment that you literally cannot avoid. The studies show that they will go undigested or incompletely digested through your stomach and your small intestine. And because they are incompletely digested, the pesticides, the environmental pollutants, and the harder-to-digest proteins are going to irritate the lining of your gut. And an irritation of the lining of the gut is going to cause inflammation in your gut and compromise and end up getting up taken into your body's lymphatic system causing lymphatic congestion, which is linked to extra weight around your belly, tiredness, fatigue, stiffness, achiness, brain fog, skin rashes, breast tenderness when you menstruate. 

These are all drain-clogging events that come from undigested proteins and fats that should have been broken down upstream in your digestion and end up in your lymph, which is the trash can, and also carry in your immune system. And when that system gets stuck in traffic, you're going to pay the price, and that price is a symptom of an underlying digestive issue and your gut immunity, which is 70% of your immune response, is in your intestinal tract and is actually linked to your respiratory immunity.

And I wonder, and I've seen some emerging studies coming out about this, but when you have a broken down digestive system where you can't eat XY and Z and you sort of bubblewrap your diet and not fix the real problem, then we have a pandemic that requires your skin of your respiratory tract and the skin of your intestinal tract to be as strong and resilient as it possibly can. If we don't have that, we are going to be a vulnerable host for any opportunistic bacteria or viruses that come our way. There's going to be another crazy virus that's going to come, and we need to be strong as a host and not depend on a vaccine or a killer powder or whatever because there's a lot of controversy there. But if you're getting your digestive system strong and your body strong, that's the source of our immune strength, and that sort of is what I'm all about when it comes to wheat. It's not about saying, hey, wheat is really good; you should eat it. Even though it's processed, it's got a bunch of glyphosate on it. I get that, and I know people and they go to Europe, and they feel better. I get that. The thing that we're doing is we're not looking at the elephant in the room, which is the digestive weak link.

[0:49:54.0] Ashley James: You know I'm smiling ear-to-ear. You're saying exactly what I feel inside. It's like thank you. Thank you for saying that. It's like what everyone's thinking in the holistic space. It's not about waiting for Papa's government and Mama's pharmaceutical company to come to take care of us. On Facebook, a lot of people will have this ring around their avatar that says, “I have an immune system.” I know that was a little bit of a show of where we stood, and a lot of people took it as a political stance. It's not. It's saying, “Listen, I'm not going to buy into the propaganda. I'm sorry. You're not brainwashed.” Like, so many people are brainwashed, but they were fear-mongering so heavily. And I know many of my listeners did get the experimental gene therapy injected into them because their parents did it. Their doctor may have said their whole life that this is so good. You should definitely do it. Their job said they had to do it. Everyone around them, their neighbors, said they had to do it. And I have watched in such sadness as so many people's lives were destroyed by that. And, of course, we don't talk about that, or you're a conspiracy theorist if you talk about that. But really, be careful what you put in your body. And like I said about the drug that's 50 years old, “Okay, well, we can trust that a bit more because we've seen it work on people for 50 years, and we know what it does and what it doesn't do. Something that just came to market, and they're suppressing the effects of it. Why were their parents giving their six-year-old children this is beyond me. But that's how intense the fear-mongering was. And I am so sad and sorry for the teenagers, the amount of teenagers, and all the people that died suddenly and unexpectedly, and all the young people now that have heart disease that didn't before, and of course, getting the virus itself wasn't fun either. 

Like you said, we have to look at why it was that some people that were healthy walked around, like — like my husband — when he had it, he was at the height of his infection. He had like 100-degree fever, and he was mowing the lawn for 4 hours. We lived on 5 acres, and he had a push mower. We had the driving one, but there's something about walking and mowing the lawn for 5 hours every two weeks. It was fun for him and was a great exercise. And I watched him from bed as I was sick, and he can eat wheat once in a while, and it doesn't affect him like when I eat it. And I've had heavy metal toxicity so bad. I would wake up tasting heavy metals, and my liver was inflamed. That's why I've done the Sunlighten Sauna to help get rid of my heavy metals and the PES and take the chlorella and all the herbs. And I've detoxed from heavy metals for the last four to five years, and I feel like a whole new person. And I've been working on my gut health for the last few years. But at the height of my infection, I was in bed, feeling miserable. I watched my husband mow the lawn for 4 hours, and my husband has amazing digestion. It makes sense. So we have to go; what's the root cause? Let's go all the way back to the center of our body, our digestion. It just makes so much sense. 

If we don't have a strong digestive fire, we're not getting in nutrients; the body has all these leaky guts. The things that aren't supposed to be entering our lymph are entering our lymph. And a lot of people talk about the byproducts of the bad bacteria entering the body like a toxin in itself, sort of the poop of the bad bacteria, getting into our lymph and into our brain, and making us just feel miserable all day long. And there's no pharmaceutical that's going to be your knight in shining armor. If you have poor digestion, everything's broken down. I had a doctor on the show. He simplified it, and I love this analogy. There are 37.2 trillion cells in the body, and they're all very, very different under a microscope. But there's one basic truth. If you can bring the groceries in and take the garbage out and do it successfully and repeatedly, then you're going to have health. And I take his analogy one step further, and I say inflammation is like what we look at on TV, and we see that there's a flood somewhere, and people are sitting on the roof. And there are helicopters trying to save them, and there's dirty, muddy water up to the eavestrough of the house. You guys in America called it the gutters of the house. But you can just see the one or two-story houses are just completely underwater, and all the families are on the roofs waving at the helicopters to come to save them. When we see that, imagine that every cell in the body that has inflammation is like that. The groceries can't come in, the garbage can't come out, and it's not functioning. And that sludge, the lymphatic sludginess, and we have to go upstream and go, “Where is this coming from?” Go all the way back to digestion, like you said. And we have to honor that 6 lb of hopefully healthy bacteria in our guts. I alluded to a chihuahua or a little panda, some kind of animal that's small, maybe a kitten that's about 6 pounds that you like. When you used to imagine, you want to hold it and take care of it. This is the gut bacteria in your gut and is helping you digest your food. It stimulates the nutrients. It is our pharmacy inside us because it can transform our food into other compounds and chemicals that our body needs. 

And so it all comes back to that. Like you said, it's so important — the bacteria that are on our food instead of sterile food, the healthy bacteria on our food. That's something I learned from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition when I took their health coach training program. There was this video where they showed a strawberry, and they said, “This strawberry grown in organic soil has this kind of bacteria on it. And when you eat this raw strawberry, if you've left it on the ground, the bacteria would have digested it. We've seen those videos where they'll speed up the camera, and you'll watch a fruit dissolve into a fuzz and then get back to the earth, like becoming earth again. And when we eat it, the bacteria that are on the strawberry helps us digest and assimilate the nutrients of the strawberry. And it blew my mind like it was fireworks going off of my head. I was like, “Oh my gosh, you just expanded my universe.” Because I was raised, like everyone, to think that the sterility of food was what we needed. You have to have the milk go through the pasteurization process. You have to have pasteurized food. Sterile food is best. When you bring your food home, you wash it, soak it in the tap water that has all the chlorine, and kill all the bugs. Meanwhile, if the body is sterile, we die.

We need the gut bugs. We need that. So I love that you're talking about this and that we got to wake up and go; it's not about removing the food. It's not just about removing the food you're reacting to because, eventually, you'll have nothing to eat. And I have friends who are now eating the carnivore diet because they are left with nothing. They cannot eat anything except meat, and they're suffering.

[0:58:07.8] Dr. John Douillard: A hundred percent right. That's it exactly because the meat doesn't have anti-nutrients. So it is easier to digest for folks, and that's why we keep going down the road of like, “Oh, I don't feel good with this diet. I'll try this next diet.” They keep going down this next diet and trying to fix my problem by changing my diet, going from one extreme diet to another. And you know, I've been in practice for almost 40 years now. I see the casualties of these extreme diets. When I help people get their digestive strength back, they can start having a variety of foods like your husband. A digestive system that is not only digesting wheat if you want it. But they have an immune response that is 100% dependent on our digestive strength and ability to detoxify, which in this toxic world we live in, if your digestion is not strong, your ability to detoxify is going to be compromised, and that can create a real problem. 

I was teaching a seminar years ago at Tupelo, the Elvis Center, back on the East Coast. One of my patients did a show, and one of my students came up, and she said, I found this McDonald's hamburger underneath the seat of my car, and that was there for ten years. That's a true story. And it looked exactly like a McDonald's hamburger. It hadn't been done with the strawberry that you just mentioned. It was completely recognizable. Everybody was just shocked it didn't degrade. It just looked like the hamburger. It was amazing. So yeah, we really do have to understand the digestive system. And the very first system that's evaluated, which I think is so cool, is the lymphatic system. It's called Rasa. And the study of Rasa is called Rasayana, and the study of Rasayana is the study of longevity. And there is a whole branch of Ayurveda about living a long, healthy life. And so, understanding the lymphatic system is such an important part because it's not only trying to take the trash out. It carries your immune system and also delivers properly broken-down fat as baseline energy to every cell of your body. So if you don't have good lymphatic flow, then you're going to start to feel compromised immunity, more vulnerable to allergies or hypersensitivity reactions. All of the undigested proteins and fats are going to end up in the fat cells around your belly and hips. They are going to go into your brain lymphatic system, called the glymphatic system, which dumps 3 lb of plaque out of your head every year while you sleep at night, causing brain fog and cognitive decline, information, infection, and even autoimmune system concerns, according to the science. 

I did a debate with Dr. David Perlmutter when my Eat Wheat book came out. He wrote the book called Grain Brain.

[1:01:15.9] Ashley James: Yup, I had him on the show.

[1:01:18.0] Dr. John Douillard: And you can watch the debate. My mother said, I definitely want a debate, so I'm pretty sure I did. 

[1:01:23.0] Ashley James: I can't wait to see it.

[1:01:25.5] Dr. John Douillard: But, you know, what was really interesting was there was so much science on the other side of the ion. He actually did finally admit in our second debate that wheat isn't really that bad. And the diet that he eats today isn't the same diet that he ate when he wrote that book, by the way. And that's what I also love about Ayurveda. It doesn't change. You don't say, “Oh gosh, you know what? We made a mistake; you shouldn't eat this or that.” They've been using the same diet forever and ever. We should eat what comes out of the ground in the season because we have no other choice but to do that. And when you do that, you change the bugs in your gut from one season to the next. Studies are now showing good science from Stanford to show that the bugs in your gut are supposed to change from one season to the next to the next. So we shouldn't knock our gut with the food, with the bugs, with the microbes from the foods in that season. And studies are now showing those bugs on those foods, those microbes, actually support the function of those foods. So if you want to have foods to help you decongest from allergies in the spring, you eat the foods that are in season because they have the right bug for the right season. Same thing with dissipating heat in the summer. They seem to be boosting immunity in the winter. The science is in on that, but we haven't had anybody write a book. 

My second book is called The 3-Season Diet, about eating according to the three major harvests in nature. I do know that there are four seasons, so people question me on that. But there are three harvests. There's a spring harvest, a summer harvest, and a fall harvest for winter eating. Generally, nature takes a rest like we should. Everybody takes a rest. And those diets change dramatically from a very high-carb diet during the end of the summer, and that high-carb diet is really important in nature. If you're going into winter and you haven't eaten a lot of fruits to convert into fat and reserve fuel, all the grains that will harvest that excess fuel convert into fat and reserve fuel. You need that when the winter months are coming. That's part of nature. And the spring is a very austere harvest where you go into ketogenesis because you're not eating anything. There's no food. Think about the spring. Look out your window in the spring and see what you can eat. If you're living off the land, you would naturally go into a ketogenic diet naturally occurring. You burn your own fat, and that's how you would be in ketogenesis because there's no pasta. There's no pizza harvested in the spring whatsoever. 

This winter time is a naturally occurring high-protein, high-fat time of the year because you're not growing anything. You're probably going to have to do more hunting. And that's what our traditional ancestors did. They all had to have a little bit of meat. They didn't need a lot of meat. But they had a little bit of meat, and it was mostly seasonal. Why would you kill your chickens in the summertime when you can eat the food out of your garden fast enough? You know what I mean? So nature really did have a beautiful plan that we've gotten ourselves far, far away from. And now we're beginning to see that all of these diets are actually okay. But whenever you go into an extreme diet, the next best-selling diet is usually giving you permission to eat the foods that the other diet says you shouldn't eat because you're craving them. And if you go on any extreme diet for a little while, you're going to feel better, but the test is will that diet provide you a lasting benefit where you really feel good for the long haul. And now, I would recommend folks take a look at eating foods that are in season. We put together a free — nobody read my The 3-Season Diet. They thought I really didn't know that there were four seasons, so they didn't read it. I don't know what they thought, but it didn't do as well as I thought. But the point is that I've put all the recipes into a free eating guide that people can get for free. Every month we put out a recipe guide, a grocery list for every month of the year, and superfoods for every month of the year, so you can get, “Okay, here's what's happening in July. Here's what's happening in August.” And you can just get a list and eat more of those foods in that season. That's the key that, hopefully, folks will take away from this. It's, hey, you know what? It's the summertime. I'm gonna give myself personally way more vegetables. It's winter time. I'm going to give myself personally way more fiber, way more fat, way more protein. In the spring, I will intermittently fast way more aggressively. I'm going to force my body into a little bit of calorie restriction because that's the hormesis time. That's the time of the year that provides strength and resiliency, and immunity because we are giving the body a sort of a nature break from eating lots of heavy food that we did in the season prior, which is the winter. So you have a beautiful understanding when you look at nature and tell yourself, hey, I want to try and mimic that somewhat.

[1:06:25.2] Ashley James: Oh, I love it. So here's the idea. Let's take your book, and you're going to do a relaunch, like a second edition or whatever. But instead, call it The 3-Harvest Diet, and then you can do some kind of subtitle about The Ancient Wisdom and Science of Eating with the Seasons. Just do it. To do that, people are going to buy it and read it, okay?

[1:06:52.0] Dr. John Douillard: I'd love that, but I hated that. But the people at Random House were like, “Oh, we're going to call it The 3-Season Diet.” I'm like, I don't even get that. They just overruled me completely.

[1:07:04.9] Ashley James: Really? Well, go back to them and tell them my idea and say, “I know what I'm talking about,” and just say, “The Ashley James said it, of the Learn True Health Podcast. She knows what she's talking about. Put your foot down.” 

[1:07:19.5] Dr. John Douillard: Which is true. 

[1:07:21.4] Ashley James: So most of the population that's listening is living three to four seasons. Well, I joke about the third season because I'm in Seattle. We don't really have three seasons or four seasons here. We just have rain, cold, and mud, and then a beautiful spring, and then an amazing summer, and that's it. And so fall, and winter is just like cold, mudded rain. So I joke that we have three seasons. Actually, mud is the season here. But what about people in the subtropics and equatorial regions of the world where they have access to fresh fruit all year round?

[1:08:02.7] Dr. John Douillard: They do. But there is still harvest there. There are still seasons there, and they can still eat foods that are locally grown, that are naturally occurring, and are still sort of natural cycles there. And also, the people there are different from those in the northern hemisphere. We go from a 72-degree house to a 72-degree car to a 72-degree office. So we never really experience the changes as much, like if you live in the tropics or in Florida. It can be 50 to 60 degrees in the wintertime, and it can be 80 to 90 degrees in the summer. That's an almost 30-degree difference. So they're actually experiencing that every single day, almost every moment of the day, and they sort of do the air conditioning thing now but not as much as we. We are so much more insulated, and that's where you really lose that natural rhythm of nature of helping to strengthen that hormesis effect of dealing with cold and being stronger for it.

[1:09:01.2] Ashley James: You keep talking about building on the fat for the winter like, “John, okay, I've got a few winters on me.” I'm sure there are some listeners who are like, “As much as I want to eat with the seasons and heal my body, can I skip building the fat for the winter? And could I just go straight to burning fat for next summer?” So what do you recommend? Of course, go all the way back to healthy digestion and lymph, right? Because you talked about how that buildup creates unwanted belly fat. But for those who want a good healthy digestion and also want a really strong healthy metabolism and equally strong detoxification to handle the toxins as they burn the fat. But what do you do for people who are really ready to get down to their ideal body weight? How do you help them to build that fire in them?

[1:10:01.1] Dr. John Douillard: Well, in so many ways, obviously, there was a time when we really needed that extra fat, and this is not that time. Most of us need to help lose a few pounds and get ourselves back to energy balance where we're putting in, reusing, and not storing excess, right? So there are lots of ways. Every spring and fall is a really great time to do a calorie-restricted type cleanse. We have Ayurvedic cleansers that folks can do. We have a four-day cleanse, which is really super easy. We have a 14-day which is more of an overhaul digestive reset that folks can do. So there are ways that they could do that. In our 14-day cleanse, people usually lost about 17 pounds on average, or short home cleansers, which is an ebook. Anybody can download it for free. Woman's World magazine called me up one day and said, “Can we do a cleanse?” And I said, “Sure, you can take my short home cleanse right on my website, and you can get it for free.” They did it. I didn't hear from them for almost nine months. They called me up and said, “I want to do a fact-checking test interview with you.” I go, “For what?” And she said, “Well, we did your cleanse, and we had 40 people do it. It was mind-boggling. People lost 11 pounds on average in just four days; It was an amazing reset. 

So there are simple ways to just kind of reset your ability to burn fat which is a really important thing. I did a study with my own patients. Once, we had about 25 folks to study, and we had them eat breakfast, lunch, supper, and no snacks. And they were like, “Wow, no, snacks.” That was hard for them, and they complained for the first two weeks, and they started feeling better at the end of the two months of study. We measured their anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline. We measured their sleep. We measured their anxiety, their exhaustion, their exhaustion after work, and their weight loss, and all of those. Sleep also was significantly better. They lost 1.2 lb every week during the entire study.

One of my patients, one of those people in the study, would come in, and then every week, we'd meet, and she'd go, “I love this. I'm feeling so good. I'm not snacking and feeling great. And a lot of them said, “Well, you know, I'm feeling so great with just breakfast and lunch. I don't even want supper.” So many of the folks felt like they could just skip supper and go down to two meals a day, which they did, and they lost even significantly more weight. But the lady who kept saying, “I feel so good. I'll never stop eating this way,” she said, “But I haven't lost a pound.” I'm like, “This is a study. It would be great to have you lose a few pounds. It would be great for our numbers here.” And every day, every week, she came in, and she hadn't lost a pound, but she felt great. Six months later or something, she walked into my office as a patient, and I said, “How are you doing?” And she says, “Great! I lost 25 lbs.” I said, “How? When?” She goes, “I don't know. I told you I never stopped doing that, eating breakfast and lunch and no supper, or a lighter supper, or a soup-like supper. And I just somehow slowly lost the weight.” And she was a really type A go, go, go, go person yoga teacher and mom. There's just so much going on her plate. And I said, “I just think it takes time for your body to feel safe enough to burn the fat.” We store fat when we're under stress. That's where understanding that the harder you push, the more devices you have. This is crazy. I'm going to store the fats under the mattress for a rainy day. And that's what is so important for us to meditate, do yoga, or breathing practices, some type of prayer, some type of downtime where we're not just going, going, going. It is a really important piece of the puzzle. 

A lot of the things that impact our physiology are our crazy mindset. That makes us do the same dumb things again and again and again and again. I already talked about this years ago. I called it mental armor or unwanted emotions. And are, according to research, the molecules of emotion; we know that those are actually stored in our fat. And they actually are little energy, kind of pre-recorded stress responses that make us do the same dumb stuff again. But when you burn fat, you free and release those, you have access to those old underlying emotional patterns of behavior, like during a cleanse when you force that metabolic, if you do self-inquiry, which we give people a self-inquiry guide. In that process, they can begin to go, “Wow, I see the reason why I go home for the holidays; I start acting like a four-year-old again.” And then the key is to begin to take action to free ourselves from those old patterns by not responding to their stress but by looking through the window of compassion and understanding. And instead of reacting to them, respond from what's really inside your heart, which is that you love and care for them. But there will always be like them who trigger us. And then we end up trying to engage in behavior to make them change, to be something that we think they should be. If they were the way I think they should be, I would be happier; they would be happier, and there would be a happier place. So it never really works, so that's part of it as well. Ayurveda understood that this crazy mind of ours gets our senses in big trouble. So we have to pull every string, the upper digestive string. How do you reboot digestive strength? How do you detoxify the lymphatic system? How do you shed all unwanted emotions? How do you force the body into fat metabolism so you can get into energy balance? All these things apply, and they can be done gracefully throughout the year. And it becomes kind of a beautiful way of life where you really feel like you're going downstream with the current, and you don't feel like life is a big struggle any longer, and that's the key. 

[1:15:42.6] Ashley James: Ayurveda was never just about physical health. Like it wasn't just, here's the food and the herbs, and when you eat it, and when you take it. Ayurveda was true holistic medicine in that, looking at the body and life, and your being as a whole, your life as a whole. In the Learn True Health podcast, I always say that you're not just your physical body. We are emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, and energetic. And even every aspect of your life is your health — the health of your marriage, the health of your relationships, the health of your career, while you're driving, while you're walking, while you're brushing your teeth, what's going through your mind, your self-talk. Every single aspect of your life can be kind of looked at and examined. Is this in harmony? Do you have joy here? Do you have a blockage? Is it toxic for you? Are you stuck? Are you growing?

We do not practice reductionistic medicine like MDs do. We don't reduce us and break us down into our parts. And so what I hear from you is that Ayurveda is that true holistic medicine and that you're looking at everything, every aspect including your emotions, but also your mental strategies and maybe the unwanted strategies that were developed in childhood that aren't serving you, looking at that as well and seeing how it is now affecting everything. How does that affect digestion? How is that affecting detox? How was that affecting your weight loss? It's all interconnected. Nothing in the body happens in a vacuum. We have to remember that. 

[1:17:32.0] Dr. John Douillard: Yeah, I know, that's a hundred percent true. In Ayurveda, it's that you feel the pain or distress in your heart and that stress is then carried to your brain, and it's actually etched into the white matter of your brain, which is where the waxy myelin is like etching the stress and recording it in a certain part of your brain. Well, they now have discovered that part of the brain that cleans that out, and it's called the glymphatic system, where it dumps 3 lbs of black trash out of your head every year while you sleep. I did Ayurvedic panchakarma detox retreats for 26 years. So people come into our clinic, and they would do a detox retreat, and I would guide them through this for many, many, many years before I started writing and teaching more. And one of my patients — there's a technique called Nasya where you actually sniffed medicated oil into your sinuses, and you clean out the brain lymphatic system. It is what happens. It's a pretty elaborate procedure, and I have a video on my website about how you can do it at home. But it was the thing that would actually help people crack that emotionally. You know, sometimes patients can't get over that emotional hurdle to get themselves to feel at peace and turn off the alarm bells so the body can actually heal. So she did these treatments, and I gave her her self-inquiry guide, and she was writing it in her journal after she did this because the brain is kind of sniffing medicated oil up into the sinuses. But it was after a really big head massage and eucalyptus steam to visually dilate the head and the vessels in the head as much as possible, and then you sniff this sort of medicated oil to trigger a brain lymphatic sinus dump.

And after she did it, she said she was sitting there and writing in her journal, and she said, “I had this epiphany where I was abused when I was 14 years old and should have completely blocked it out of my mind.” She was probably 35 years old at that time. “It was so amazing for me to see this event. But what was really, really weird was I wasn't affected by the event. I was completely taken by my childhood. Before the event, I was just a happy-go-lucky kid. Then this even happened, and then I became this type A hyper-vigilant corporate executives perfectionist. I even have a color-coded closet. Everything was perfect in my life to keep me safe. And I looked at my life before, and I looked at my life after. After that event, I said, this wasn't worth 25 years of my life.” And she said, “I just dropped it.” And she let it go. She came to me with a goiter in her neck, the size of a grapefruit or a cantaloupe. You couldn't miss it. Within the week of the Ayurveda detox, I swear to you that goiter was gone. You could not see it. Her numbers were measured, and it came down by 200 points. She had hyperthyroidism. Within six months, her hyperthyroidism was completely normalized. Two, four, or five years later, or something like that, I was in Denver at a Christmas party, and she came running up to me — I hadn't seen her in a long time — with two little kids in tow, and she said, “I just need to introduce you to these kids that I would never have had if this didn't happen.” So, the idea that the emotions are just in your head, in Ayurveda, they don't compartmentalize. Those emotions are physically based in our body, and we can detoxify them out of ourselves so we can have access to them mentally and emotionally, make transformational changes, and free ourselves from underlying emotional patterns that aren't serving us any longer. And that's what Ayurveda means. 

Ayurveda means truth. It means the truth of your life. We know 95% of the things that we think and say, and do as adults come from impressions from the first six years of life. So most of us walk around, pretty unconscious, thinking of doing stuff based on old impressions that saved us and helped us survive and navigate our childhood. But becoming conscious is what Ayurveda was all about, like freeing ourselves from those old protective patterns and letting something real, more powerful, more beautiful out, letting the delicate petals of your flower really open and letting that vulnerability out, letting that love out and even your power out. What got me was guiding people through this process and watching them transform. Oh my gosh. You ask about their digestion, you ask about their back pain, you ask about their heartburn, “Oh, that's great.” But when you see someone light up because they're free from those old emotional traumas, the underpinnings of their digestive health, and you really see it's all tied together. It's not just one or the other. It can be. If you fix heartburn, they feel better; that's great. But a lot of times, it's all one thing. It just kind of morphed into different expressions. 

[1:22:27.8] Ashley James: Yes, the root problem has a bunch of branches. So the symptoms are showing up in different ways, and you take a stressor, and then the bodies are sympathetic, and then they're not digesting, probably, and then they're not sleeping. And because they're not sleeping, they're taking coffee, and maybe they're super stressed, so they start drinking, and then they start yelling at their kids. It just got snowballed, like you said, unconsciously. At that point, it feels like their health has so many symptoms. It feels like a kitten has been playing with yarn. How do I get this back to an organized ball? Where do I begin? It's just a tangled yarn, and so many people grab supplements. And I love supplements when they are high quality, and they're meant for you. But we just kind of grab it desperately, hoping for a solution, or grab onto a diet because the marketing around diets is wonderful. 

The doctor that wrote Proteinaholic said, and here goes chapter one, and I started crying. It was just so beautiful. He goes, “These diets, you did not fail these diets. These diets failed you.” And then he proceeds like the whole book is demystifying these diets based on science. He has a really interesting story. He had humor that's, “Oh, I'm a doctor that cuts your stomach out, and I'm going to help you lose weight by cutting your stomach out and telling you to eat a ‘low-fat', highly-processed, 1200 calorie-a-day diet.” But then, in his thirties, he began to become sick and fat, eating the diet that he puts his patients on. So he had to eat humble pie and go back to the drawing board. He did not start going, “I want to become vegan.” That was the last thing he wanted to do. But after looking at everything, he's like, “Oh my gosh. Everything I've been saying is wrong, and everything I've been saying is like cutting up people's stomachs. It was just a temporary solution. This wasn't the long-term solution. But, like, “Oh, you have a sore throat. Let's cut out your tonsils,” It's just like, “Oh, but the problem is the gallbladder. Let's cut out the gallbladder. Let's just remove body parts. That's the solution.” That's when clients coming to me — I'm a health coach — and they have all these symptoms, I'm like, “Okay, so how many body parts have they removed from you?” Because so many times, someone starts talking about their digestion, I'm like, “And when did they remove your gallbladder?” And they're like, “How did you know?” I'm like, “Well, this is a dime a dozen.” How many people have had their gallbladders removed or other body parts removed? Because, you know, it offended the MD. 

I love MD drug-based medicine for when it can save someone's life, but they suck at chronic disease. They cause more chronic diseases. They do not help fix it. They will help you manage the disease, keep the disease, and make other diseases happen. They're great for emergency medicine. That's where they shine. I love them there. But they're the worst. We're taking our cars to plumbers is what we're doing. And we have to stop believing the propaganda that drug-based MD medicine, allopathic medicine, is where we should go when we have multiple symptoms and chronic illnesses. We need to go to doctors like you who look at ancient wisdom and the latest science to get to the root cause and support the body to come back into balance. It just makes so much sense. 

I'm really blown away by this idea that as we burn fat, we're processing stored emotions. I always knew that as we burn fat, we're processing toxins and heavy metals, like the things that were storing the fat. But the idea that then we would be unlocking old patterns, old negative beliefs, and old unresolved emotions makes sense if you're changing your diet. You're changing old, old behaviors, so there's some stuff that comes to the surface there. But then, just the process of burning fat is going to bring up stuff to resolve. It's really such an interesting way of putting it. You talked about these different detoxes, and I'm really, really interested if our listeners have identified with what you talked about and say, yeah, I think my digestion needs some support. I feel like my lymph or my glymph could really use some support, and I'd like to burn those 11 or 17 lbs. You said I'd like to get my metabolism fire going, and I'd really like to address this. If they could pick one cleanse or one protocol on your website, what would it be?

[1:27:11.9] Dr. John Douillard: I think that the first one is as simple as this 4-day short home cleanse, which is a free book that you can get and takes you step-by-step through the entire process. It gives you some herbs. There's one herb we call Gentle Digest. It's just a combination of five spices — ginger, cumin, coriander, fennel, and cardamom. You can make your own mix with that and spice your food, cook with it. And the studies show that it will actually increase the strength of your stomach acid, increase the amount of bile that you produce from your liver and your gallbladder and increase your duodenal pancreatic enzymes. And if you have that upper digestive coordinated, you won't let undigested proteins and tabasco, undigested into your intestinal tract, irritate the lining, and find a way through into the lymphatic system where they cause all kinds of havoc. And like you said, on why doctors are taking parts out, started here. It started by bubble wrapping our diets. So instead of fixing that problem I just mentioned, we just say, “I'm not going to eat this. I'm not going to eat that. I'm going to go on a low-fat diet. I'm going to go on a high-fat diet. I'm going to do all these extreme diets trying to dance around, without realizing it, dancing around the underlying problem. And that’s the beauty of Ayurveda, their thousands of years of experience being experts in rebooting and strengthening digestion. 

You probably know Dr. Bernard Jensen from years ago. He was a great doctor about gut health. He created the first cleaning boards for the colonics. He created iridology and had a health clinic out in Escondido, California. I was a big fan, a real longevity nut. I got to meet Jack LaLanne. I was a fan of Paul Bragg. I was a fan of Bernard Jensen way back in the day. And I finally got to lecture with Dr. Bernard Jensen, and he was my mentor. He has written over fifty books. He’s just a really brilliant guy. But he is old now, probably in his late 80s. And his belly was really super distended. His assistant told me that he had to take 17 digestive enzymes with every single meal, and I was like, “God, that can't be right.” 

And then, when I went to India and I studied Ayurveda, they were so kind and gentle to the intestinal tract. They would never clobber with really aggressive agents that could irritate the lining. It was all about creating a really nutritive environment for the good bacteria to proliferate, and they weren't about killing the bad, ripping the guts to shreds with antibiotics, or heavy, aggressive cleanses or coffee enemas. All of those can work medicinally, but in the long run, you want something that's going to be sustainable. And so it was really an eye-opener for me about how we do it in the West. It is so aggressive — more is better, push harder — versus in India, where they had thousands of years to figure this out, and they knew that they got the environment. Like you said, it's Goldilocks — it can't be too dry in there, constipated. It can't be too wet in there, mucousy. It has got to be just right for the good bugs to proliferate and for the lining to stay intact. And if that lining breaks down, you know we're in trouble. And that's what happened to us. That filter in our intestinal tract doesn't really get replaced. It can just break down over time. So that's what Ayurveda is really about. It is understanding how to reboot that upper digestion and heal the lining. There was a study that came out just a couple of weeks ago that showed that when you actually heal the gut, that actually was the key to longevity and when they've healed the gut, it actually had a cascade effect of healing every other organ in the body. We all know gut health is really important. But to have science to show that gut health is the kingpin, the organ responsible for our longevity, that's new science. And that's what Ayurveda said thousands of years ago — the seat of your stress in your nervous system is in your gut. It takes a beating, so it keeps on ticking, but we really have to care for it with kid gloves and create an environment that’s so conducive. That's why the cleanses we do are gentle. It's not like an endurance event. You eat. You're not starving because if you're starving, the body stores fat. And just like we said, when you're under stress, you store fat. Well, when you're not under stress, you release the fat. But when you store the stress as fat, what is that? That's emotional stress that got stored in your fat, and when you actually force the body to release the fat by creating parasympathetic dominance, it’s taking away the emergency of the body from naturally burning fat and releases those emotional toxins and patterns of behavior that were there because of a stressful situation recorded because of the stressful event that scared the heck out of it. When you were ten, you went into a cave, and a bear chased you out. You are never going to forget that. It’s a species survival thing, and we hold on to those memories. But a lot of them don't need to be remembered. We can let them go. 

[1:32:08.5] Ashley James: I love it. And earlier, you talked about how the study with people eating wheat versus not eating wheat. The people that didn't eat wheat, which we don't expect to be healthier because they're gluten-free. They had higher levels of mercury, and the first place my mind goes is, “Oh, gluten-free products are higher in mercury.” But that's not the point that you were saying. What you're saying is that people who have stronger digestion also have stronger lymph, have stronger detox. The toxins are able to move through and get out. And that they're able to eat some poison. They're able to actually eat like you need a little bit of poison to strengthen the body, in a sense, and test the body. But when you have all those aspects in alignment, then if you eat something with mercury, your body is going to get rid of it, which is people who are removing food after food after food, eliminating the gluten, eliminating the dairy, and the eggs. And they just kind of start going down this list of all the things they can eat, or, now, I can't eat nightshades, and now I can't eat legumes, and now I'm sensitive to apples, and can't eat bananas. They just keep removing food after food. They will feel temporarily okay, but the root cause is not being addressed. So their lymph is still backed up. Their digestion is still compromised. Their immune system is compromised. The integrity of their detox pathways and all the ways that we eliminate them is weakened. And so then, when heavy metals get in us through our food, and if someone has amalgams or gets injected, they just stay in the body. So it's really interesting. We can't just assume, “Oh, this person ate this, and this person ate this, and here's the outcome. Oh, it means that food is bad and that food is good. Okay, done. I'm going to stop thinking and just take it at face value.” There's so much more to this, and we have to go deeper.

That's why I love this conversation today. You're probably now one of my favorite guests. You're right up there, and I got to have you back on the show because this is just scratching the surface of what you know and teach. I'm so happy to bring your information to the listeners because we are all desperately seeking, if not for ourselves, our friends and family. We're all looking for the answers to help us. Now, I know there's not one one-size-fits-all, but like you said, with Ayurveda, it's looking at the body as a whole and helping the body come back into balance and supporting the nature that we've observed for thousands of years on how the body is able to the function. And for those who are religious or spiritual, it just only makes sense to eat the way God intended. It just only makes sense to eat what God has provided. And I can’t think of a religion where fasting isn't part of it. And so, people who aren't tuned into religion or to any spiritual practice, they eat three meals a day and some snacks, and they think fasting is ludicrous. 

One of my friend's partner just goes, “I think fasting is unhealthy,” and she fasts. And she goes, “What makes you say?” And he goes, “I don't know. I just think it's unhealthy. I don't have any basis. I just think it's unhealthy.” His blood sugar is above 400 all the time. We keep showing him this information and we feel really bad for him because his health is deteriorating and he's so young. But he's got this belief, “If fasting is good for me, my MD would have told me.” It’s what he said. Unfortunately, there's a percentage of the population who believes everything their MD tells them is right, and if their MD didn't tell them, then it's not worth knowing. And MDs are not trained in this. Again, taking your car to a plumber; plumbers are great for leaks in your house. They may not know how to fix your car, but we have to think critically. And I love that you're showing us how to think critically around our health and how to dig deeper. So listeners can go to and use coupon code LTH and definitely get the four-day free cleanse there on the website. Out of all your products — we didn't really talk a lot about your products — is there something that you want to let us know about on your site because you've designed so many amazing herbal products? Is there something that stands out that you'd like to let us know about?

[1:36:58.2] Dr. John Douillard: There are probably two, and one of them is the one we talked about today. There is that formula we call Gentle Digest, which is ginger, cumin, fennel, coriander, and cardamom. Take a couple of those before each meal to reboot your upper digestion. And then there's an herb called manjistha, which is the Ayurvedic lymphatic herb. It's phenomenally important for helping that extra weight around your belly and making sure whatever you eat, if there's some undigested food, doesn't end up creating lymphatic congestion, which can cause so many health concerns. Many of the things that most people are experiencing are lymph-based, and we don't really look at or think about the lymph. There's nothing really in Western medicine about the lymph. There's no medical pharmaceutical-grade drug for the lymph. But in Ayurveda, there are a lot of herbs for the lymph. It’s the first thing we treat. So those are the two I would say to start with for folks, and they are very safe. There are the Whole Herbs, all the natural conditions, all the bugs, all the natural microbes that are there. They've been used as food for thousands of years. It is like taking a thousand times potent extract that can actually do good but also have some consequences. That's the beauty of it. It's really kind and gentle and very safe. 

[1:38:12.8] Ashley James: How do we take it? Both of them. 

[1:38:16.0] Dr. John Douillard: The Gentle Digest is a capsule, one or two capsules before the meal, and the Manjistha is also a capsule, and you take probably just one of those after the meal, and you’ll be set. 

[1:38:26.4] Ashley James: Nice, it’s very cool. I really want to have you back on the show. I’ve got a list of things. I want to talk about parasites. I want to talk about breathing. Oh my gosh, there are so many things we can geek out. There’s a lot of really cool stuff. So please, please come back on the show. And then go back to your publishers. I want your book to be relaunched with my title that I came up with. You don't even have to give me credit. Just do it. I want people to read it. I'm so excited. Thank you so much for coming on the show and introducing these concepts to my listeners, who, in turn, are going to share them with their friends and family. My goal has always been to help end suffering. I suffered for so many years. I know you've listened to a few episodes. I don't know if you know my story. In my twenties, I was so sick. I suffered so much. I’m not suicidal. I never wanted to die, but I’d cry. I felt like I was trapped. I was trapped in my body, and I had chronic adrenal fatigue and type 2 diabetes, and it was out of control. I was on constant antibiotics. I couldn't even process human language in the morning. It was really bad. I was just exhausted and sick all the time. And I was hungry all the time. It wasn't me. My spirit inside did not match my body. I had to turn away from MDs because they didn't have anything for me. They said I would always have PCOS. I'd always be infertile, I always had to be on drugs, and I’d always have diabetes. They just told me, “I'm sorry, you're stuck. This is your plot in life, your genetics.” And just the lie after lie, and the hubris, and the poison they gave me. It was disgusting, and they acted like they had the answers and there were no other answers. And so many people are suffering. 

So when I found natural medicine, actually, I re-found it because I went to a naturopath as a child, and then I rebelled. So I had to refind it and use food, herbs and supplements, vitamins and minerals. But that was when I was in my twenties. Now in my thirties, I’m getting my body back, and we have a beautiful son. And I don't think we're done having a family yet, but we lost our daughter two years ago, and I gained 40 lbs. I didn't feel like I ate myself into those 40 lbs, which is really interesting because I ate so clean during pregnancy that within weeks, like two or three weeks after the birth, I was back down to my pre-birth weight. So it wasn't like I gained weight during the pregnancy. I was really good about my nutrition. And it was after losing her that I put on 40 lbs, and these are 40 grief pounds. I had PTSD, and just when you said that, it's really interesting because I pretty much lost it now, but it was a struggle. And I kept coming up against, and like now, seeing when you talked about losing weight, it can bring out the emotions that were there.

And that's so true that I felt like I was really going through some stuff while losing it. But it was a different weight loss than what I've experienced in the past because it was so charged with emotion, let's just say. So now this really makes sense, and we can be gentle with ourselves and forgive ourselves. I can only say what I feel like as a woman. I don't know what it is to be a man. But for women, I feel that we hold a lot of guilt and shame for not looking like magazine models. Maybe we looked amazing in our teenage years, in our twenties, and then it kind of all falls apart after a few kids. Although I do have a friend who's had five daughters, and she still looks like she's 19. But for most of us, there's something that happens, and maybe it’s trauma like you said. There's a lot going on in digestion, pesticides, and drugs that kill our good bacteria. But there's a lot of guilt and shame. And much of the weight that we are carrying is emotional. So thank you for bringing that up, and I wanted to share that with the listeners so that I can give them the grace that they can hold mercy in their hearts for themselves and let go. Hold that grace and love themselves enough to let go of the guilt and the shame so they can take the steps towards health and healing and heal emotionally while they heal physically. 

I want our listeners to go to your website, It gets you there with the coupon code LTH. Go check out those cool products, get the books, and tune in for the next time we have John on the show because I can't wait to have you back. This is going to be a lot of fun.

[1:43:30.6] Dr. John Douillard: Well, I'm honored, and I would love to come back. All the things you just mentioned, I feel like there's just so much to talk about there, and it can help so many women. I'll tell you, in one of John Hopkins’ studies, 40% to 60% of women during and after their pregnancy have what's called a hiatal hernia, where the stomach pushes out from the baby so hard and herniates through the diaphragm and causes digestive problems, breathing problems, lymphatic problems, and cognitive problems for decades. And I wanted to write a book called I've Never Been Quite the Same Since My Pregnancies, and my publisher thought it was a bad idea. I think I’ll get a new publisher. But the idea is like, that doesn't have to happen. Those things are reversible, and I treat so many women, decades after that, with proper breathing exercises, reboot their digestion, and all those problems go away. And along with that is the emotional peace where you can shed some of those old, unwanted emotions. And those patterns of behavior that just haunt us, and they don't have to. Yeah, I can't wait to dive into that with you next time. 

[1:44:37.5] Ashley James: Cool. Alright. Sounds good. It’s a date. Looking forward to it. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Can't wait to talk to you again. 

[1:44:44.2] Dr. John Douillard: Great. Thank you. 

[1:44:45.1] Ashley James: I hope you enjoyed today's interview with Dr. John Douillard. We're definitely going to have him back on the show. He has a whole talk on how to reactivate the diaphragm so that we breathe correctly. And I thought it was really interesting that they did a study and found that 93% of athletes, or gym goers, people that run on the treadmill are not using their diaphragm correctly, that something's blocking them from full activation of their diaphragm. I guess I'm not one of those people because I feel like I breathe really well. But my husband and I were on the treadmill this week at the gym. And he turned to me and said, “I don't feel like I'm breathing correctly.” That was really interesting because I'm watching him as he is

running, and then he stops the treadmill, and he's kind of winded because he just sprinted, and he's looking at me and goes, “It doesn’t feel like I'm breathing correctly now.” We see the chiropractor, and we see naturopaths, acupuncturists, and all kinds of really cool holistic practitioners. But he just had that realization that he didn't feel like his diaphragm was fully engaged. And then right after that, I interviewed Dr. Douillard, and he and I got to talking about it, and that's why we’re definitely going to have him back on the show to teach us this because it's a real thing. 

I recently had a client who I've been working with using phototherapy patches. I discussed in a recent episode having amazing results, and she noticed that her diaphragm came back online. She said that when she would fall asleep, her oxygen levels would drop into the 70s, and she is on monitors. She's on medical monitors throughout the night. And so she knew this and that after using the phototherapy patches, she felt like it awoke something in her diaphragm. It re-engaged it, and she started breathing better. And when she sleeps now, her oxygen level stays in the 90s, and I thought this was fascinating that we can reactivate. First of all, I never thought that the diaphragm — unless we had some kind of major brain trauma or some kind of major neurological troubles and kind of major structural trauma — I didn't realize how common it was for people to not be engaging their diaphragm correctly and the auxiliary secondary muscles that help to control the rib cage and the sternum. This whole upper body thoracic structure could be off. Just like someone could be walking, like their gait, they could be walking. And some people are walking, and everything's fine. But then you look at someone, and you're like, “Hey, your foot kind of bends inwards.” Or the way you're walking looks like the rest of your body is kind of off because of the way your gait is. Well, just imagine breathing; I always thought we all breathe pretty well. And according to Dr. John, we're not. Most of us aren't doing it correctly. And we can, with some exercises, reactivate and bring online the full use of our diaphragm. How cool is that? Especially for my husband, who is getting really great numbers in the gym, running more and more, and sprinting more and more. And he wants to maximize his experience on the treadmill. So I thought that was really cool. I'm excited to have him back. 

I don't know if you remember the very beginning of this episode; it was a long time ago, almost two hours ago. At the beginning of this episode, we opened the episode talking about structured water, which surprised me because he's like, “Yeah, I got my analemma water right here.” And I had my analemma water. So we had a good conversation about it. If you don't have your structured water device yet, what are you waiting for? Go out and get it. It is not that expensive compared to all the other machines out there. It's under $300. I think there's one that's like $170, plus we have a coupon code. So you use this little device, and you stir your water with it. We have an interview I've done about it. We have an interview coming up. I'm interviewing one of the scientists that do the studies, and he's got some really cool things to share. I’m going to be interviewing him next month. That's exciting, so tune in for that. You can go to and be sure to use coupon code LTH for the listener discount. Get your savings when you buy your analemma structured water device. Check it out. And if you like your entire house and all the water in every tap and faucet coming into your home already structured, then you can also check that out there as well, because they have the device that you hook up to your plumbing and then you can bathe or shower in structured water, which they're releasing the studies. And there are already some studies you can check out by going to The preliminary studies are fascinating. I thought it would have to do more with skin health, but they're seeing that it actually has to do with heart health. They're seeing vast improvements in heart health, and how cool is that because that affects every cell in the body. They also say that if you want to improve brain health, improve heart health because the major aspects of brain health have to do with making sure that we’re getting the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the brain and removing the junk. It's all about bringing the groceries in the cell, and just like a house, bring the groceries in, take the garbage out. As long as we do that effectively, then every cell can be healthy.

Now, if you'd like to get some of Dr. Douillard’s wonderful Ayurvedic herbs, supplements, and also his free guides — he talked about his four-day free cleanse that he gives — you can go to Make sure you use coupon code LTH. They're giving us a 10% off on orders over $50, which is pretty easy to do. You buy two bottles of something, and you're over $50, and then you get 10% off. How cool is that? And that’s a repeating coupon code, so you can use that every time you go to coupon code LTH and join our Facebook group. I'd love for you to come in. Tell me what you thought about this episode and what you learned. I thought this was amazing. I got off the interview with my husband. I said that this might be in the top 20. I mean, we’ve done over 500. So to make the top 20 is pretty big. But the amount of wisdom that Dr. Douillard just landed on us and it was so cool. I just love that you can walk into your kitchen and take cumin, ginger, turmeric, and black pepper. These kinds of herbs are just sitting there in our kitchen, and we can use them to support digestion.

I had just been recently reading some studies because I’m in the process of writing a blog that I'm going to be publishing about my moon milk that I've been drinking for quite a while. He had mentioned some of the spices. I'm like, “Oh yeah, those are all the herbs that are in my moon milk.” I've been doing research on ginger, fennel, coriander, cardamom, and cumin. Those were the five he talks about that are in his supplements. I've seen that in their studies, it’s like, “In the six-week study, someone took a teaspoon of this herb every day, which you can easily do.” And I’m like, yeah, sure, you can put it in tea or make moon milk like me. You can also just throw it in your soup. If you want to, you could put it in your smoothie. That would be an interesting smoothie right there. You can put it in your juice. You can blend a bunch of juices together and make a virgin caesar. But there are all kinds of ways you can get these herbs into you. And in the six-week study, they found that taking these herbs significantly decreased bloating, decreased gas, and increased the ability to perform digestion. The list goes on and on. I was using them. I have about 15 herbs I make in my moon milk, and most of these herbs are probably already in your kitchen, which is so great. And there's just a handful that I go to the store for, like the adaptogens I love to add, like ashwagandha. These herbs not only aid in digestion, but they also help to balance out hormones. They help to get rid of parasites. They help to boost the immune system, decrease inflammation, aid in sleep, and just on and on and on. Everywhere I look, it almost seems like it just helps every single system of the body, and it's so easy, and it's almost free. Just walk into your kitchen. You already own most of these spices, so start using them on a daily basis to gain the benefits. 

I just love Dr. Douillard’s methods of bringing in that ancient wisdom and now also using modern science to understand what they've been teaching for 5,000 years and using in these ancient ways. But now we can look at it through the modern lens and go, “Yep, yep. These studies prove what they’ve been saying for 5,000 years. And now, we understand the processes as to why these things work so great. So yeah, definitely get his free cleanse. Go to, and if you do decide to buy any of his herbs, which I've checked out and I really like, that's coupon code LTH. Come join the Facebook group, Learn True Health on Facebook. Would love to see you there. Tune in next week. We're going to have a two-part interview, more about herbs, actually. We’re diving in and learning more about herbs, and it's pretty exciting. I love what we learn in the next two episodes. So tune in for that. 

Thank you so much for sharing this podcast with those you care about. If you're a new listener and someone shared this with you, guess what? They care about you. It was like sending you a big virtual hug by giving you this episode, just so you know. So definitely share this with those you care about and tell them, “Hey, I like you, and I thought of you. This is my little virtual hug sending you this episode.” And then tell your friends to come join the Facebook group community, the Learn True Health community, because we love supporting each other in our health success. We're helping as many people as possible to learn true health, and you're part of that. So thank you.


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Jul 13, 2023

Webinar On The Science Behind The Organix Mattress:

To learn more, explore and see the deal Joey has given us:

Or Call 1.866.647.5513 and remember to mention Ashley James and the Learn True Health Podcast (LTH coupon code) for the amazing deal!

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504: Revolutionary Medical Mattress: Heal and Sleep Deeply

In this interesting podcast episode, Ashley and her guest delve into the world of an extraordinary American-made mattress that originally served as a medical device designed to facilitate healing, even for severe bed sores. Joey Woodward, the current owner of the company, takes the spotlight as they discuss the mattress's unparalleled quality, meticulously crafted by hand in Salt Lake City, Utah, using exclusively sourced US materials. He shares the mattress's intriguing history, originally catering to hospital patients, and emphasizes its durability with a generous 20-year warranty. The podcast encourages listeners to explore the scientific evidence and testimonials on the website, offering an exclusive discount for this exceptionally remarkable health-promoting mattress that promises to be a transformative addition to one's well-being.

Discover the wonders of the Organix Bed by placing your order through this exclusive link: or use coupon code LTH or call 1-866-647-5513 and mention Ashley James and the Learn True Health Podcast to get the listener special discount! How do I choose a healthy mattress? Join the FREE Webinar hosted by renowned sleep expert Jason Payne. Register nowfree of charge!



  • Ashley's personal experience with health tragedies, highlighting the importance of a comfortable mattress during recovery and bed rest.
  • The significance of the mattress for bed-bound individuals, especially senior citizens, preventing bed sores and discomfort.
  • Testimonials from customers and hosts praising the mattress's unmatched comfort and the desire to have it even while traveling.
  • Comparison between Organix mattresses and cheaper, potentially toxic alternatives, emphasizing the longevity and value of Organix beds.
  • Discussion of the mattress's health benefits, focusing on its non-toxic and safe materials, making it the healthiest sleep option.
  • A dive into the materials and studies supporting the health benefits of Organix mattresses.


Hello, true health seeker, and welcome to another exciting episode of Learn True Health podcast. Today features my favorite health device. Out of everything I have in my arsenal, this is the one I use the most — it's my mattress. It began as a medical device that helps the body heal even up to level four bed sores. Those are usually fatal. You can go back and listen to Episode #355 with Bob Rasmussen, who was the chief engineer and founder who originally designed all this. And since then, my guest today has taken the reins of the company and is ensuring that the quality continues well after. The company's been running for 30 years and will continue to hold the highest standards. All materials are sourced in the US. It's made in their facility by hand in Salt Lake City, Utah. But this bed, which, of course, you're going to listen to the interview so you'll hear all about it. I just want to make sure you have this information at hand, so grab a pen if you can,, and that takes you to the webinar that I did with Jason. He goes through the different slides that show the science behind it. If you are like me and you kind of geek out on the science and you want to see the studies they've done and see how they measure pressure, go in your mattress, lie on your side, and see how many hours you can lie on your side before you're so uncomfortable on your shoulder and your hip that you have to roll over. I can sleep the entire night on one side. That's how amazingly supportive this mattress is, but at the same time, it's not soft, so you don't sag and hurt your hips and lower back. It keeps your spine perfectly straight while making sure that your shoulders and hips have no pressure.

With that said, gives you the science webinar if you want to geek out like me and see the science. If you want to look at the website and explore the mattresses that Joey is going to talk about because we're going to talk about the health benefits of this mattress versus other mattresses and the things to look for, especially if next time you are ready to buy a mattress, and what not to get if you're not going to get this kind of mattress that we're talking about. At least there are certain things to avoid to maximize your health, and so we're going to talk about that. So things I think everyone should know because, as far as I know, everyone sleeps on a mattress. I know a few people that sleep in tents and like to sleep in hammocks and maybe sleep on futons or sleep on the floor. Most of the population spends a third of their life on a mattress, and so we all have that in common. You got to know what not to get. There are certain mattresses, many mattresses out there, that are slowly poisoning you and your family. So we'll talk about what to do, what not to do, and then the best options. You can go to And then you can also call them. They're really friendly. That's 1-866-647-5513. And we talked about this near the end of the interview, but Joey, my guest today, gave us an amazing discount, and that's because before he took over the company, I worked at a deal, and I got the best deal that anyone else has ever gotten for their listeners. I love love, love helping save you guys money. So actually, when he looked at the deal during the interview, you can hear his voice is like, “Oh wow, I have never seen a deal this good.” I love helping you guys save money. I love saving money. It's part of my values. I want health and financial freedom for everyone.

So enjoy today's episode. Please share it with any friend you can possibly think of who is in pain, who is suffering, who has disrupted sleep. This could be a huge game-changer for them. 

[0:04:14.5] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I'm your host, Ashley James. This is Episode #504.

I am so excited for today's guest. We have on the show the owner of my favorite organic, healthiest mattress you will ever own. I'm so excited. Joey Woodward, it is such a pleasure to have you here. My life transformed about five years ago when I got my mattress. We've slept on it every night for five years. My son has jumped on it. We've done everything to this mattress, and it has not changed. It is not warped. Just like Bob Rasmussen, the founder, the creator, and the original inventor of this technology, promised back in Episode #355, he talked about how he invented this technology originally wanting to support people who are bedridden or are chair-bound and support the body to not only not produce bedsores, but to help the body heal should they then have a bed sore. And they saw such incredible results in the medical field. He thought, “What if we brought this into the mattress industry?” And sure enough, it allows your back, no matter what position you are sleeping in, to be completely straight in the proper alignment while also taking pressure off the shoulders and the hips, and those pressure points. I was so amazed, this was back five years ago when we started sleeping on this mattress, that I had to go to the chiropractor less. And when I went to the chiropractor, most of the time just for check-in to make sure everything was good, they were surprised. Because I saw two different chiropractors in the same office, they were both surprised that I would most of the time not be out like I used to be three times a week. And then I started only needing to go once a week, and then once every two weeks, and then once a month, just for checking. Then sometimes, it takes several months, or not even, to see my chiropractor. I came in, and they were like, “Wow, you're good,” and I said, “Yeah, I'm out of pain. I sleep deeply.” I sleep so deeply that there's drool on the pillow. It's incredible. 

So when people say they have sleep problems, I'm like, okay, well, there are certain things we got to do with diet and exercise, and getting out in the morning and in the sunlight, and avoiding blue light, and avoiding sugar, caffeine, alcohol. There are all kinds of things we can do for sleep hygiene. But if you have a bad mattress, I don't care what you do with all those things you can do to improve your sleep. You're still not getting really good sleep because your body is constantly moving because of those pressure points. 

So Joey, what you do with Organix is amazing, and thank you so much for coming on the show. We're going to talk about the studies and the science, and we're going to talk about some testimonials. I just wanted to open it up by giving my mind that this is the last mattress I will ever own. I mean, I'll definitely buy more in the future for the guest rooms in my house or when our son outgrows his bed. But this is the only brand I will buy for the rest of my life. It's non-toxic, and it's made of organic materials. I remember Jason even saying at one point that he looked into all of the ingredients that went into making it, and it's even vegan. He was just going down the list, making sure that it was super healthy. Most importantly, it sets your body up for a perfect deep sleep. It helps people with pain. It helps people feel comfortable. My husband and I, who could never agree on a firm mattress or a plush mattress, have what would be considered a plush mattress, but it holds you like you're on a cloud. You feel like you're floating, but you're not sinking. You just float there, so I love it. I love it so much. Welcome to the show. 

[0:08:13.4] Joey Woodward: Thank you so much, Ashley. Yeah, so the pleasure is all mine. She is exactly right when it comes to this mattress. I have the same one she has, and I drool on my pillow almost every night. It's funny that you say that, Ashley. It's something that definitely will get you into the three and four stages of sleep. It keeps you there. It's pressure-relieving. That's the biggest thing that people don't realize, Ashley. And if you have a mattress that can relieve pressure from your body, it literally can take away the pressure. It is going to allow your blood to flow through your skin so you don't have to wake up and try to move your body and rollover. And so that's a lot of times what happens when you don't have a good sleeping surface, something that can actually relieve pressure. And like you said, Bob Rasmussen, back in the day when he wanted to make this into a mattress. Very, very smart man. I'm glad that he did that because he was able to bring this to the market and make it so that a lot of people are hitting that stage 3, stage 4 sleep and getting through the whole night dreaming deeply. 

This technology was originally made for patients in the hospital, believe it or not. And that was something that, of course, people in a coma, and burn victims, obviously can't move in a bed. And so, having this technology relieves pressure on their body and helps them sleep. So now it's a technology that will last for a very long time. Twenty years is our warranty, but I believe it's going to last longer than that. It's a gel matrix. It's not going to break down heat, moisture, or oxygen pressure. It just does not break down, and it just protects all the other materials inside the bed. 

[0:10:06.7] Ashley James: Back a few years ago, when I had some health tragedies — pregnancy, lost our child, and then immediately after, had COVID, and then had some recovery complications — I think it was directly related to grief. But I had to be on bed rest, and there was a lot of time I couldn't, and I obviously don't sleep on my stomach, and I was just on my back a lot of the time. It was interesting because if you've ever been on bed rest or had a cold or flu and you had to be in bed for a few days, you're so achy. After 12 hours of lying in bed, it is just painful. You get achy. And I was in that bed for a few weeks, and I did not experience that at all. I thought this was such a blessing for people who need to be bed-bound.

And I'm thinking about our grandparents and our senior citizens, our aging population, and how there might come a point in their lives when they are bed-bound. I have a friend whose mom was bed-bound for two years before she passed, and I know so many people in my life who have died from bed sores. One of my dad's best friends, this was back in the 80s, he had a heart attack. He was in the hospital. He was bed-bound, and he was finally about to come out. I think he had so many complications from a heart attack, and he died of bedsore, and he was young. I've seen people both at home and in hospital settings, and in nursing facilities. But imagine if you have a loved one at home and they're bed-bound. This is a necessity. This is an absolute necessity to purchase for your grandparents or for your parents, absolutely.

It's funny, now that we have this mattress, we don't really want to go on vacation because we joke, “Can I bring my mattress with me?” At one point, we had an RV, and we had our mattress in our RV. I just imagine if I'm going to travel, I want this with me. So that's just the downside of having this mattress. It's like it ruins it for any other mattress. But what's great about when we go on vacation is we come home, and we're like, “Oh, we're so happy to be home.” We like going out and exploring, having fun, and visiting friends in different states. But then we're like, really looking forward to coming home to our bed. I just think how interesting it is that usually, people are kind of sad that their vacation is over, and we're kind of like, “When can we get back to our bed because it's so comfortable?”

[0:12:53.8] Joey Woodward: That's so true. I can't tell you how many times I've heard our customers say that to me. I say it myself. My wife says it too. And whenever we go on vacation, we do say we miss our bed. Nothing really compares to it. We have an RV as well, and the same thing. We can only stand a few days there, and coming home, we can't wait to get back to sleeping again. And a lot of our customers, like I said, feel the same way. I've had reviews on our website that say that people call in and say, “Thank you so much. I can't go on vacation, though, so that's bad.” But they appreciate our mattresses. 

[0:13:35.2] Ashley James: Your mattresses are more expensive than, you know, I could go to this thrift store out in Monroe in Washington that sells $200 mattresses. And I don't think I would sleep very well on those. I don't even know if that's better than sleeping on the floor, to be honest. But they sell these wooden and spring things with toxic materials. I've walked by them, and it's like off-gassing. I can smell the formaldehyde, so it's off-gassing. And they sell for $200, $300, $400, and $500, just depending on the size of the mattresses. So you can go and get a really cheap mattress. And the thing is, the Organix beds aren't necessarily out of your price range. I guess for me, I had to shift my mindset because we had spent about $4,000, which I thought was a lot of money on a mattress back in 2013 somewhere around there. And by the time it was 2017, that mattress we bought from Mattress Firm or Mattress Train or Sleep Country, whatever their name was at the time, was completely warped. It was so warped that we went back and we said, “Hey, there was a warranty,” and they said, “Oh, I'm sorry. The warranty degrades every year.” I felt like it was a bit of a scam. But the entire mattress was so warped you could see indents of where our bodies had been. It was really interesting that we had spent so much money on what I thought our mattress was going to last us a long time, and it didn't. 

And then we got our Organix bed, and now it's been about five years. It is as new as the day we got it. And this is what Bob had said, that in all the testing you did, you saw that they last over 25 years. So my thing is, it's non-toxic. It's safe ingredients; let's just say materials and not ingredients because we're not going to eat it. It's non-toxic. It's safe materials. But from an environmental and financial health standpoint, you don't need to buy a new mattress every five years because this one mattress is going to last you for over 25 years. So there are less mattresses you're throwing away in the landfill when you see how long it lasts. It is like the Cadillac, but the old kind of gear. They used to say, “This was the Cadillac of whatever.” This is like the Cadillac of beds if Cadillac lasts ten times longer than all other cars. This is amazing. So I really appreciate that. So when you look at the value of the mileage you're going to get out of it, you get so much more mileage. It's actually cheaper than buying other mattresses. But my biggest thing for me is that it is the healthiest mattress that my listeners could sleep on. So I'd love to dive in and talk about the materials and the studies done around this. Just share with us why the absolute healthiest sleep you could get would be on this type of mattress. 

[0:16:48.5] Joey Woodward: So I always say to our customers and friends and family, it's like buying two mattresses, but you're getting four. The biggest thing is most people don't realize that their mattress is probably hurting them before year 8. Typically, they need to change it. It just depends on the product, obviously. You get what you pay for. We all have heard that, right? And so, with this product, it is like that. You're literally buying two mattresses, but you do get three or four mattresses, and just because of how long it's going to last you. It doesn't break down very fast. 

Now, how to choose the correct mattress? You could go out there and buy a $200, $300, $400 mattress, even a $1,000 mattress. But then the chances of having VOC exposure, EMF exposure, there's a lot of different things out there in memory foam. And so, just go Wikipedia memory foam. You'll find that it's a pretty good chemical cocktail of different things. There's formaldehyde, asbestos, chloroform, and there's propylene oxide. There's all types of stuff there. And so memory foam is in 90% of mattresses. And the other percentage out there is everybody's trying to get the cleanest, most non-toxic mattress out there. And so, the issue with that is people are looking for a hundred percent organic. Well, that's great and all, but a hundred percent organic means that it's just like anything else that's made by earth or food. It's going to break down, and it breaks down fast. So typically those mattresses that are out there, you'll see warranties of 20 or 25 years for those non-toxic, fully organic mattresses. But the issue with those is that if you look at the actual warranty and read the fine print in there, you'll see that their prorated warranties after year 10, they only give you 60% back. After year 15, you get another 15% off of that, and so on and so forth, all the way up to the 25th year. While this warranty is 20 years, no questions asked, it's no-nonsense. Literally, you get a new mattress if the mattress sags a quarter of an inch, which is not going to happen. I'd be surprised if you found that. 

We've had customers that have called us up and said, “Hey, my mattress is sagging. It's in the center, and it's coming down.” Well, the first thing we look at is their frame. Is their frame supporting the mattress the way that it should be? And every single time, we've not found one where the mattress was sagging. It was actually the frame. We'd have them go get a level, put that on it, make sure that it's level on the base, and then put the mattress back down, and their problem is fixed again. 

[0:19:50.2] Ashley James: I had that a few years ago. I was like, “What's going on with my perfect mattress? Come feel this. It's feeling weird on this side. This can't be.” Probably my husband was like, “Just check our frame.” Because we have a son, and I tell him not to jump on the bed, but he still jumps on the bed. Sure enough, it wasn't the mattress. It was absolutely the frame. And we got everything fixed. My husband used to be a carpenter. So we just zip, zip, zip. He fixes it, and then it's like, oh, it's perfect. I was like, “Oh, yeah, of course. I would not lose faith in this mattress.” And something to be aware of is everything underneath the mattress has to be good also. Our mattress is heavy. Our movers said, “This is the heaviest mattress.” I mean, it's substantial. It is a substantial mattress. You can't go to the thrift store and buy the used $50 frame for the bed. You have to have a substantial frame for the substantial mattress, and that's going to last you over 25 years. So yeah, just invest in a good frame. I believe you guys also sell a frame as well. 

[0:21:04.5] Joey Woodward: We do, yeah, and we offer box springs as well. Most of the time, Ashley, their bed frames are going to be just fine. It just needs to be adjusted or whatever. So if anybody out there has an existing bed frame with an existing box spring or even just a platform bed with those slats on it, I'd say nine times out of ten, your frame is perfectly fine. It just needs to be something that's going to hold the mattress flat. Now, it will work with adjustable bases, and most of them out there are great bases. So you can put that on it, and they will support the mattress just fine as well. And so, we also offer those as well.

[0:21:47.5] Ashley James: And then I wanted to just hone in on what you said about what are the materials that you will not find in the Organix mattress, which is the memory foam. When I heard that memory foam, specific kinds of memory foam, increased sudden infant death syndrome.

[0:22:10.1] Joey Woodward: Yeah.

[0:22:11.0] Ashley James: I believe they ended up determining it was like a mold, or something, that was growing inside it. But once they removed that type of mattress, they saw a significant reduction in SIDS. That's really scary because in America and in other countries — I'm originally from Canada, but I live in the States — and we have the same philosophy in Canada. We trust that if something is to market, if you can buy something online or at a store, that it's safe. But that's not the case. So the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, rubber-stamp tens of thousands of new chemicals and building materials every year without doing testing. They can't. There would be too much of a backlog. They do not test for safety. I have a whole episode on home building materials and the safety and the studies around it, and how many of the materials that you could go to Home Depot to buy are incredibly dangerous for us and toxic, and they off gas and they stress our livers out, and people become sick. But they don't realize it was something that they bought because it was at Home Depot or Lowe's, or something they bought online, because we think we're a great nation. We're America, right? We think everything is safe, and it's not. Really, it's left to the individual company to be ethical enough to make a safe product. 

So a lot of mattresses out there off-gas formaldehyde. They are not safe for us. They're toxic. They're damaging, and they cut corners to make profits. They make something feel good and plush while you're in the showroom. But then it is damaging to your health. And that is another reason why I am passionate about Organix mattresses because you guys go above and beyond. You're made in the US by hand. Tell us about that. It's kind of old-fashioned, but I love that you build these by hand, and the quality is there because you're making sure that no corners are cut. Everything is to the standards that you sleep on. Everyone sleeps on an Organix bed, works at Organix. You guys sleep on your own mattresses, so, of course, you're not going to put something toxic in there. 

[0:24:43.4] Joey Woodward: Yeah, we make it directly here in Salt Lake City. We source all of our materials from the US, first of all. They don't come from out of the country or anything. They're all from the US, and they're all super clean and non-toxic. No VOCs and all that stuff. When we put this mattress together, it's the same person that's been doing this, and it's his team and him in Salt Lake City that's been doing this for the past 30 years. There's no reason for him to change, and he's got an apprentice that's also been doing this for 17 years. So they'll be doing this for us for a very, very long time. It's great. You can go to our Instagram and watch some of the videos where they actually are building that. It's just at, and you can see how they're putting that together by hand. 

But yeah, all the materials are super clean. They are in a clean environment. If you go to our website, you can read some of the reviews and just search for the word ‘smell.' I dare you. You're going to see that all these people, they actually have even mast cells, which can smell everything, go through and say this has no smell. No, not at all. And so when they receive the mattress, you would think that it would be, “Hey, you probably should go off-gas that for about a day or two.” Nope, you don't need to do that. You just open the mattress, which of course, we bring it in your home for you and set it up. It is full-service delivery. And then you will notice right away there's no smell. So you might ask, you know,” Hey, what store can I try this in? Where can I go find this? Where can I lay on this?” Well, we don't offer that. It's actually not in stores. The reason for that is one, of course, the cost would be higher. The mattress would be more expensive because we'd have to pay for brick and mortar. So your costs are less, but also you would find that if you were to go try a mattress out in a store, any store, most of those mattresses that are sold through stores have a higher return rate than we do at Organix Bed which is kind of interesting. You would think that they would have it lower, but when you try a mattress for the first time in your home, and then you try it for 30 days, which we do have a 90-day trial, by the way. You can try it for 90 days again until you keep it. But 4% to 5% every year is our return rate. Stores are 15% on average, so that kind of gives you an idea of the difference there. People think that if they're going to lay on it at the store, it will tell them, “Oh, this is the perfect mattress for me.” But what you're not really thinking about is you're not sleeping on it there in the store. And what's more important in a mattress? Are you going to lay on it and watch TV, or are you going to sleep on it? Sleeping on it is obviously the answer there. And so get it in your home, try it for 30 days up to 90 days, and if you don't like it, we'll take it right back. No questions asked, no restocking fees, and any of that stuff. We come and pick it up for free. We'll box it up for you and literally bring it back, and you get 100% back on that mattress. 

[0:27:58.7] Ashley James: That's so cool. Now, let's assume the person isn't going to return it. When they bring the mattress in, do you remove the old mattress as well? Is that part of the service, or is that something they can pay for? 

[0:28:11.4] Joey Woodward: We do offer that service, and it is available to pay for. We used to offer it for free, but because of COVID and all the companies that we work with, in order to get the mattress to you, it's freight companies, and they're all third-party. I wish we were as big as FedEx and we could have a shipping company too, but we're not. 

[0:28:33.9] Ashley James: One day. Just keep dreaming. Everyone needs this mattress, okay? Every hotel. Can you imagine? Oh my gosh, I would specifically choose the hotel chain just if they had the Organix bed. So I hope you guys knock on the hotel doors, but AirBnB should definitely have this. Because it lasts longer, think about it, hotels usually buy mattresses that last longer, and they don't feel that great, and they should be buying your mattress. But that would be like a destination, to go to sleep on one of your mattresses. 

Now, you guys are giving a really great discount to my listeners, and I'm so grateful that you guys do this. You can go to Of course, the links to everything that we're talking about today are going to be in the show notes of today's podcast at And you can check out the three different beds, the three different mattresses there. We are going to talk about them in a sec. And you can check out some of the testimonials and the facts, but also see the discount and see the cool things that you guys are gifting my listeners. So thank you very much. 

And then there's also a webinar that I did a few years ago with Jason. So people who are visual, and usually people who are visual, don't listen to us. I'm also kind of visual. I like seeing stuff. But here, we have an auditory experience listening to podcasts. But if you want the visual, to see the slides where they're showing the people sleeping on this mat that measures the pressure points, it's cool. It's a cool visual. So go to to check out that webinar that shows you the visuals of the studies. But in the last three years, can you tell me what's new? What's up? Has there been any studies that have happened or any cool new information that's happened in the last three years since you joined Organix?

[0:30:50.2] Joey Woodward: The biggest thing, I guess, that has happened is we've added a couple of more mattresses to our line. They are the Sereniti, the Tranquiliti, and the Harmoni. In terms of firmness versus softness, people have asked, what's the firmest, the softest one? The Harmoni starts out as the firmest one, but it's still a really nice, plush mattress. It is about 11 inches thick. The Tranquiliti is 13 ½ inches thick and it's kind of right in the middle. But it's soft and firm. It's one of the most recommended mattresses, the Tranquiliti, by any other health and wellness expert out there, as well as chiropractors and spinal specialists. There are over 1,400 of those that have recommended the Tranquiliti. And then the Sereniti, which actually has just come out over the last couple of months. And that's the same mattress as Ashley's and mine. I like that one the most because it's the most plush, but it also is the most supportive. But again, they're all going to be great. 

[0:31:51.5] Ashley James: Yeah. So, the Sereniti is the upgraded version of the one we have, that you have and I also have. I have a California king-size because my husband is six foot seven, and he likes that extra length. So, California kings are long in height but a little bit narrower than a king. But still, I feel it's very big. Our whole family fits on the bed. It's wonderful. So mine is the Sereniti. But you guys have upgraded. You've added a few new things. But it's so comparable that if I were to lie on my bed versus the new upgraded one, I couldn't really tell the difference. So in terms of the support, it's as plush. My husband likes a firm mattress. I like it soft. But soft is bad for the back on any other type of mattress because you're sagging. You don't sag with this technology because it collapses exactly where it needs to and holds you exactly where it needs to. So it relieves the pressure. Again, you can watch the webinar at to see what I'm talking about. But these columns collapse like a honeycomb. It's so comfortable. How many times can I say it's comfortable? So you've got these three different mattresses, and I know you said the most recommended is the Tranquiliti, and everyone says it's the best. It's kind of like the Goldilocks. So I'm going to tell you, Sereniti all the way. That's my favorite. 

[0:33:21.6] Joey Woodward: Yeah, I agree with you there. I like the Sereniti. My wife likes the Tranquiliti. But we've kind of met in the middle, and the Sereniti is definitely the one that we got and love. And so I recommend the Sereniti as well, but the Tranquiliti is a gray mattress. You're not going to go wrong with that. The Harmoni is a great, great mattress if you want to put it in a second bedroom, put it in your kid's bedroom, or even have it for yourself. It just depends. If you like a more firm, go with the Harmoni. If you like something that is still firm but soft, go with the Tranquiliti. And if you like something that's supportive and, like she said, it's not going to sag or anything — of course, none of these mattresses do — go with the Sereniti if you want something softer. And so, they're all great. We do offer another mattress called the Athos Aria. If those three mattresses aren't at your price point, it's still a great low to no-VOC mattress and no-EMF mattress. If you take a look at that, it has an organic cotton cover and organic materials inside of that as well. And so that's on our website, Athos Aria. That one starts at around $2,700 in a queen, and Tranquiliti is around the $5,000 mark in a queen. And so it just depends on your budget, but they're all great mattresses. 

There was a study by Dr. Robert Troell. He did this a few years back, but it's still current today, for sure. People that have slept on this technology sleep through stages three and four. 80% longer than any other technology. And so this technology, like I said, is one of those things where you can't really find any other technology out there that's going to relieve pressure from your body. Some of the things to think about with the health effects of VOC exposure — it can cause short-term headaches, dizziness, throat, eye, and nose irritation, nausea, and vomiting. Those are things that people might experience from sleeping on a mattress with memory foam — long-term exposure, central nervous system damage, cancer, kidney, and liver damage, of course, where we went into SIDS with babies. More than anything, I recommend staying away from anything with memory foam in it. If you don't go with us to get this mattress, definitely stay away from any mattress with any VOC exposure. EMF is another thing as well. Definitely, if you can stay away from a mattress that has little to no EMFs. There's been readings and tests on these mattresses where people have actually come to our facility and tested these beds, and they found that there are rooms that are empty that actually have higher readings than directly next to the gel line of this mattress. So it's kind of interesting to look at that. 

[0:36:31.4] Ashley James: That's cool. So it's like the batch almost protects you from the EMFs. I had a really interesting interview. I don't remember the number right now. It's somewhere in the 50s. Sal, he's a Ph.D. This was seven years ago, so I'm just thinking he's a Ph.D. electrical engineer, I believe. His passion was to go around helping people fix the electricity in their homes because there's dirty electricity in so many homes. He talked about how there was this one MD who hired him to come in because his kids couldn't sleep. They're just up all night, and he goes, “There's no medical reason why they should be like this.” And he used the readings and found that there was so much metal in the crib and in the mattress of the baby, and the entire house had dirty electricity from the transformers. So the whole neighborhood had dirty electricity. But if you have a metal frame, or a metal mattress, the mattress has coils in it, and these coils are often touching all the metals. It's on a frame inside the mattress. All the metal was radiating this electromagnetic frequency that was just so unhealthy for them. They were just wired. And so he moved in the short-term to fix everything. He unplugged everything from the walls near the beds and moved the beds away from the walls that had outlets or wiring. He even goes so far as to say, if you can shut off the breakers in that side of the house, do that as well. Unfortunately, you have to go upstream and change the whole neighborhood, like changing the transformer, but that's what it takes. 

And he said there's a town in either Arizona or New Mexico, there's a whole town that would hear humming when they went to bed every night, and they thought it was aliens or something, and it turned out the entire town had dirty electricity. And think about sitting in a bed, and you have lamps plugged in on either side. This is back in the day when we didn't have a cell phone waking us up in the morning. They had their radio alarm clock plugged in on one outlet and a lamp on the other. And then, on both sides, there was at least a lamp on both sides. And the bed is in between two outlets that are plugged in. And if you were sitting in bed reading, you would hear this humming, loud humming. And that was the dirty electricity humming through the metal in your mattress. He has all sorts of stories about how he would enter someone's home and use this equipment to test the electricity. And his number one recommendation for sleep is don't sleep on a mattress with metal and unplug everything from the wall around the mattress, or turn off the electricity going to that area. Turn off your Wi-Fi, just everything. 

And what I love about the Organix mattress is that the coils are all wrapped together. Everything is done in a way that's so comfortable for the body, but also its low EMF. It does not take the EMF in your room or the outlet. So you don't have to go and unplug your electricity every day from the breaker downstairs, in the basement, in the garage, or wherever your breaker is. You don't have to. I have to go outside. My breaker is outside. It is kind of ridiculous. Sometime in the winter, it was raining. I tripped a breaker because I used too many gadgets in the kitchen. And I'm standing in a puddle with my bare feet about to touch the breaker. I'm like, I don't think I should be doing this. This is the worst place for a breaker. Oh, man. So I was like, you know what, I don't want to win a Darwin Award today. So I walked back inside the house. I'm like, I need to go get my shoes or just do it another time. I don't need to touch a breaker while standing in a puddle.

But the difference between virtually all mattresses out there and yours is that we can sleep comfortably, are non-toxic, and do not have EMF exposure. So just the list, we kind of go down this list and then wonder, all the health nuts like me are raving about you. 

[0:40:41.8] Joey Woodward: Yeah, in fact, there's a customer out of California; they called us one day. He purchased our mattress that day instantly when he found out that there are mattresses with little to no EMFs. And he said that his current mattress literally was pointing north. He said that his friend came over with a compass, and they were testing some things in their house to see whether he had EMFs, and his mattress was pointing north. I don't know how that would be something that you can test, to point out.

[0:41:13.7] Ashley James: Polarity. They are testing the polarity. So, I mean, that makes total sense because you can alter the polarity. If you take a compass and put it near an electromagnetic field, it will move. It will move to the electromagnetic field. So our body has an electromagnetic field. I think it's too weak to move a compass. But running water has an electromagnetic field. Running electricity through wires has an electromagnetic field. And if you take something, a strong enough electromagnetic field, and you move a compass towards that, it will align with the polarity of the electromagnetic field. So this is just showing the EMF. His old mattress had such an intense EMF that it had its own polarity. It's stronger than the earth's polarity. And that's what most people sleep on.

[0:42:07.4] Joey Woodward: That's a first for me. I hadn't heard that one. He's been saying to me since then that he loves us. He always calls me, and I talk to him, and he's actually a great guy. He loves his mattress. But it is definitely one of those things where I believe that this mattress helps a lot of people sleep better. It's obviously one of those things where if you can't get enough sleep at night, it's going to affect your day. It's going to affect your life, and you're on a mattress for a third of your life. Why not invest in something that will help that and help your life because it is one of the most important things out there, aside from food, exercise, and all that stuff. Sleep is one of the most important out there. 

[0:42:50.2] Ashley James: You will have a longer life if you sleep better. So many studies show that at night if we don't get enough sleep, our brain can't clear out the excess proteins that build up. These proteins build up, and they see a link between that and dementia and cognitive decline. Try not sleeping really well for a few nights, like okay, have a baby. And then try to think. They call it baby brain. My husband and I have this rule. We don't make any major financial decisions while we have a baby brain because we made some really weird decisions that we laugh about to this day when we were both under the haze of a baby brain. And men have it too because their sleep is not as much as the mom, but their sleep is definitely being disrupted, and if your sleep is disrupted, you got what we call a baby brain, but you just got a bad sleep brain at any age. Kids will express it through hyperactivity. They'll seem disruptive and hyperactive because they can't regulate their emotions if they don't get sleep well enough. And I got to tell you, our eight-year-old son loves our mattress. I look forward to the day when he outgrows his because I'm definitely going to be buying an Organix for him. But he would prefer to sleep on our mattress, regardless of whether we're in it with him or not. He would rather fall asleep on our mattress then we move him to his because he senses it's way more comfortable than anything else. And kids know. They're intuitive. 

Also, if we don't get enough sleep, the next day — they've done studies — we'll consume an average of five hundred more calories, and we'll have dysregulated cortisol levels which also affect insulin. So we'll have dysregulated insulin, blood sugar, and cortisol levels will be hungry, or will be more likely to give in to cravings. People with addiction tendencies like needing to chase dopamine will be more likely to give in to those. They lose willpower. Willpower becomes less abundant after a night of poor sleep. And if this is your chronic state of sleep, this is all you know, and you don't know a world where you get deep restorative restful sleep or you feel more in control of your body the next day and your emotions and your thoughts. 

And I had an amazing naturopathic endocrinologist on the show, Dr. Alan Christianson, and he talked about, I believe, the longest and the largest study on the causes of early death, all-cause mortality, and what we attribute to the length of life. So if you want to live a long, healthy life disease-free, there's one factor — that's not smoking — and it shocked him, and it was directly related to sleep. It is your body's stress level. If you have poor sleep, you have lower heart rate variability. So, therefore we can measure your stress levels, and we are in a higher state of stress after a bad sleep. We are in a lower state of stress after a good sleep. The body can reset and recalibrate, detox, and do the things we need to do with good sleep. So, I mean, everyone listening knows sleep is good, but you don't know that you have a bad sleep until you get an Organix mattress, and then you go, “Wow, I didn't know I could take my sleep to the next level.”

So again, I'm a giant cheerleader for you guys because it's like a tool that everyone needs. Like you said, one-third of our life is in this. Why would you hum and haw over money when it's something you're going to use for over 25 years and beyond at one-third of your life? Don't you also offer financial assistance or some way of doing a payment plan for people who don't have all that money upfront? 

[0:46:43.0] Joey Woodward: We do, yeah. Right now, we have two options; one is through PayPal. Everybody loves PayPal, but the other option is through a firm. So we have both those two options. Both of them are offering 0% interest for six months, and then, of course, if you need longer-term financing, then you can go up to 36 months. And, of course, that's a little bit of an interest payment. But you can definitely get financing for this mattress. There are a few options through our checkout. You can call us, or you can look at our website. I just want to bring up one last thing. You mentioned your son. I think he's going to love this for sure, once he gets it too, because, obviously, he's sleeping on your bed. But my son — I have five kids — he's fourteen, and ever since we got him this bed, and I don't know if this is before the bed, or maybe he's just responsible, he's just a good kid, I don't know. But he actually is one of those kids that wants to go to bed every night. At nine o'clock, he goes to bed right on time. He's like, “Hey, I know this show's on, and it's a cool show or whatever, but let's stop it and watch it tomorrow.” He goes to bed and literally stops watching TV. And then he wakes up by himself. We don't have to wake up like a typical teenager, like some of my other older kids. I have a twenty-one, twenty-two-year-old. He did not have this bed growing up. But we're terrible at waking them up. But this one, he just wakes up and goes to bed on time. Like I said, I can't say that this is the mattress. 

[0:48:17.8] Ashley James: Well, this is what I see with my son. When I say, “Okay, let's go brush your teeth. It's bedtime.” Like we start the bedtime routine, he goes, “My bed or yours?” And then sometimes I'd just be like, “Just go get in your bed. Come on.” And there are times I'm like, “Okay, let's lie down together and read a story or something.” And when he lies in our bed, in our Organix Sereniti, he falls asleep half the time. Sometimes when he lies in his bed, it's like he's calling out to us like, “I'm still awake. I can't fall asleep.” But I'm like, “Just go to bed.” And there's a distinct difference between the two. We do lots of stuff for him. Like, we noticed a huge difference and improvement in his sleep when he started doing the magnesium soak, and I have over five episodes about the magnesium soak. It's the world's longest name,, coupon code LTH for the magnesium soak, and it is phenomenal. The thing is, if you have a magnesium deficiency, soaking in this every day while you're at your computer, while you're in your sauna, while you're eating dinner, while you're watching TV or reading a book at night, but soaking your feet in a minimum of 20 minutes, maximum of up to 60 minutes. He soaked every night for 30 days. Most people reach full cell saturation in that period of time, and people are chronically magnesium deficient. So we did notice, and we started doing magnesium soaks with him. This is back when he was a toddler. He went from fighting us all night long to go to sleep to saying like, “Hey, I'm kind of tired. It's bedtime,” and I looked at him, like, “Who are you?” But then when he gets in the bed, if he's in our bed, like I said, if he's in our Organix bed, he falls asleep half the time. I'm just waiting for him to outgrow his mattress, but maybe I should just pull the trigger. After you said that about your fourteen-year-old, I feel like, you know, that meme where Fry is holding money, shaking it, and going, “Take my money, take my money.” Just take my money. I need that mattress for my son. Because you're right, he does way prefer falling asleep in our Organix bed versus his. So that makes sense. Like I said, I'm kind of kicking myself right now. Why haven't I just pulled the trigger?

[0:50:47.2] Joey Woodward: I'm sure some of it is lying next to his mom. It's that relaxing feeling. Plus, it does sound like one of those magnesium soaks that are really, really relaxing. 

[0:50:56.6] Ashley James: They are super helpful. But you know what? I say it because there are times when I don't practice what I preach, and I'm on my computer working at night when you're not supposed to be on a computer working at night. But I'm like, “I got to get this done.” And I say, “Okay. You got to lie down and go to bed yourself.” And so, he'll fall asleep in half the time, regardless of whether I'm in bed or not. He will fall asleep much faster in our bed. And that says a lot about your mattresses. I love that there's a return policy that is so easy. I love that you give people 90 days to try it. I love that you can use a firm. I prefer firm, but I mean, I've been with PayPal forever, but I prefer firm. I've bought some stuff and used them, and I really appreciate how easy the process is to buy things through them so you can do the payments. And there's really no risk then because try the mattress for 90 days. If listeners call your company, they want to definitely mention the Learn True Health podcast with Ashley James so they get the discount. I believe the coupon code is LTH, as always, Learn True Health LTH. But what are the things that you're giving the listeners? Tell us about the goodies.

[0:52:22.4] Joey Woodward: Yeah, definitely call us because, in this day and age, it is hard to get a hold of companies. We actually answer the phone. We love people calling us. The number is 866-647-5513. The goodies that come with this it's actually one of the best deals that we have ever done. It's 10% off the purchase, which, if you think about the price of this, is definitely a lot of money coming off of the mattress there for you, $400, $500, or $600, depending on the mattress, that you get 10% off. And then also, if you don't live in the city of Utah, there's not any sales tax because you're actually buying online with us. So that's one of the great things about buying from us versus buying from a local store. Unless you live in Utah, sorry, you got to pay tax. But in other states, you don't have to worry about that. As far as the other goodies that come with this, there are sheets that come with this, and it's sheet sets by Malouf, hypoallergenic sheet sets safe for babies. It's a great company. They have a 5-year warranty on it. There's a mattress protector that comes with this that has a 15-year warranty on it. And the mattress protector, if it fails in the time of that 15 years, in other words, water comes through, or you spill something on it or whatever, they actually will come out and clean your mattress for you.

[0:53:52.0] Ashley James: What? 

[0:53:53.3] Joey Woodward: And as long as it's on the receipt, it has to be on the same receipt as the bed, that they'll come to clean your mattress if it fails. And then, if they can't get the stain out, they'll actually replace the mattress too. So it's made by Malouf. You might think a mattress protector, though, might be plastic feeling or whatever. No, it's not. It actually feels like just a tightly woven fabric. It's very nice to put your sheets right over it. You don't notice it's there. Also, the sheets are deep-pocketed. They'll handle the 17-inch mattresses. The Sereniti won't have any issues with that.

[0:54:28.9] Ashley James: Nice. And I don't recommend regular cotton sheets. It's actually better to have bamboo, like organic bamboo, because they do have a big give and stretch. Whereas if you put really, really tight organic and you really make it tight, it's almost like a drum, and you don't want that disruption because the mattress is meant to collapse naturally, where your shoulder is where your hip is. It's meant to perfectly align you. I just personally found that I feel as though it doesn't disrupt the mattress when you use that more stretchy fabric like bamboo. 

[0:55:07.7] Joey Woodward: Yeah. Actually, the bamboo sheets are great. And then it does come with the full-service delivery, and that's normally a $369 service that we include in this. So you're saving roughly $600, $700, or $800 depending on the mattress that you get with all of these things. So just as a recap, you get 10% off, free sheets, a free mattress protector, and free full-service delivery. And again, they'll bring that mattress into your home, set it down, discard the plastic, the box, all the stuff that comes in, and then leave you with a nice mattress to sleep on for that night and, of course, the rest of that time. 

[0:55:46.4] Ashley James: Nice. And also, there are a few other things you guys sell. So I recommend checking it out. I personally love your pillows. Do you guys still sell the pillows? 

[0:56:00.4] Joey Woodward: We do. 

[0:56:01.4] Ashley James: Okay, I was like, “Uh-oh.” Because this was five years ago, stuff changes, but you guys still sell the pillows. I really love my pillow, and Jason said, “You know, I love my pillow too, but some people don't like it, and some people do.” I'm like, “Yeah, not everyone wants perfect protection for their neck.” I don't know; I just love it. I love the pillow. I feel like it perfectly contours my head and supports me. But everyone sleeps differently, right? So if you're kind of sick of your pillow and you're looking for a more supportive pillow, you should totally check out the pillow they sell as well.

[0:56:38.2] Joey Woodward: Like our mattresses, they're Oeko-TEX certified, safe for babies, CertiPUR-US certified. It's all super clean, hypoallergenic great stuff. There won't be any off-gassing or anything with that stuff to you with the pillows. And yeah, we do offer adjustable bases if you'd like that. Once you get one, I warn you, you're going to be in your room a lot more often. Maybe in front of the TV on your bed instead of down on the couch or whatever. But the adjustable bases are super nice with a mattress like this. 

[0:57:12.8] Ashley James: Yes. Like I said, I've had times where I had to be in bed, bed-bound, bed rest in the last five years that I've owned this. There had been times when I had to be on bed rest and 12 to 24 hours straight in bed, obviously going to the bathroom but otherwise being in bed. There was no pain, no stiffness, no achiness. It's pretty remarkable how different the experience is on this bed versus any other mattress. So it's a tool. It's a tool we should all have. It just makes so much sense to me. So I love everything. I love that the materials are safe. I love that story about the low EMF, and I love the discounts you are giving us. The fact that we can call you guys and chat with you guys and also no risk to trying it. We can definitely return it within 90 days if we don't like it. But few people do. I would never. I would fight you if you tried to take my mattress away. I'm going to fight you. 

[0:58:20.2] Joey Woodward: What I love to hear, Ashley, is you like your mattress after five years. You know, there's a lot of people like that, ten years, 15 years. We hear that all the time. “I still love my mattress.” And they always talk about they can't go traveling and all that stuff like we went over, but yeah, and you're going to love it for 10, 15, 20 years. It's going to be something that you'll always feel the same about. It's a great mattress.

[0:58:42.9] Ashley James: Yeah. And when Bob and I talked about this in Episode #355 that originally, the oldest mattresses that they made were still good so many years later. So yes, the warranty is 20 years, and they can see that even after 25. There's no wear and tear, and it's still supportive. It's so great, but it is still holding up. But there are people who have even older, and it's doing well. So I'm like, “I wonder, can this be the last mattress I buy for me?” I don't know. I'm excited to see how long it lasts before I need to replace it, and I know that it's going to be a very long time. So that's exciting. I can't wait to get one for my son. I can't wait in the future to get one for the guest bedroom. Although I have had problems where guests never want to leave. So maybe, not right now. But I do want to be able to give people the experience so they never want to leave because it's such a nice experience. Every time I go to visit other people, their mattresses are really horrible in the guest bedroom. Like people usually take the passed down like grandma slept on it, and that we slept on it, and then our kids slept on it, and now it's your mattress. It's like a hundred years old, and I just had the worst experiences. I love my friends. I love visiting them, but their mattresses all really suck. I can't tell you how many times I have been in a foreign state or country and needed to go find a chiropractor because it was just such bad sleep being on someone else's mattress. So it'll be really, really nice if money wasn't a problem to invest in a guest bedroom bed that would just knock people's socks off and make people feel so welcome, so comfortable. I don't know. That's just me. I just like pampering people. I like pampering myself. But it seems like a necessity since we know how important sleep is.

Before we wrap up today's interview, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing all this information. Of course, listeners can go check out more by going to, and they can also go to to check out the cool webinar we did with all the science stuff. Are there any other stories of success, stories of testimonials of people's cool experiences? Maybe people have had health shifts or noticed that their pain is going away. Those kinds of stories when they started using the Organix bed that you'd like to share with us?

[1:01:17.7] Joey Woodward: Definitely, yeah, there is a ton out there. More notably, I think there are a lot of people that did come find us when they were looking for a mattress with no smell. We get that a lot. There are a lot of people who call in, a lot of people that come to our chat on our website and ask questions about the smell. And there was this one customer. Her name is Christy, and she is a great customer. I gave her my personal cell phone and talked to her for a while, just to make her feel comfortable because she was actually very concerned. She went from one bed to another. All these mattresses that claim to be no smell, a hundred percent organic, and things like that. She told me about some mattresses that she got that were a hundred percent organic, and she's one of those that cannot be in a fragrance aisle or be in an area where there's any sort of smell. She'll get sick. And so she could smell the mattresses that she was shopping for and buying, and she bought a mattress that she said smelled like a farm. But nobody else was saying that. She was saying it smelled like a farm and it was just an organic mattress. And so what she asked us to do, which was really unusual, and we've never had this happen before — she wanted us to wash the outer cover of the mattress twice with borax so that it would actually get rid of more of the oils in the organic fabric, which I assured her that all the oils were gone already, and there are no issues there. But we went ahead and did that for her just to make sure that she was happy when she received the mattress. And, of course, when she received it, there was no smell for her. And that's one of those things where she was super surprised. I was actually surprised that she could smell because she could probably smell things that anybody could not smell. But she can smell it. She's that type of person. And so I'm very happy that she's happy with the bed. She said that she was going to recommend it to everybody. And so that happens, not exactly that, but a lot of those people with mast cells come back and say there's no smell, and so they just love our mattress.

[1:03:40.8] Ashley James: We have to recognize that when we can smell something, it has entered our body. We often think that we have some kind of magic force field like, “Oh, I'm just having it. I'm selling something, but it's not going in me.” If you smell something, your liver, within 15 minutes, is processing it. Smelling is the act of inhaling vapors, which are tiny molecules of liquid right off a chemical, and it gets stuck into the mucosal layer of the sinuses, the lungs, and the esophagus, and we swallow, and it goes into our stomach. And also it absorbs in through the mucosal layer of our respiratory system, leading into the lymph system and then moving towards the liver. Low VOC is good, but not all VOCs are bad, like the orange peel. Opening an orange peel is high VOC, and that is not unhealthy. There are many chemicals that are incredibly toxic, and they're not VOCs, volatile organic compounds. Those chemicals interact with the ozone. So it's more of an environmental thing and not necessarily a harmful thing. But the fact that you can smell acetone when walking into a spa because the women are getting their nails done, and within 15 minutes of smelling it, your liver is processing it. And there's no VOC in that instance. So to smell a mattress, you are inhaling chemicals. Just like if you smell new carpeting, new linoleum, that new-car smell. All of it can be formaldehyde, and it's incredibly toxic, like thousands of other chemicals. There are 80,000 new man-made chemicals in our air, water, soil, mattresses, cars, and building materials. And they're allowed to be there even though they're incredibly harmful. So if you don't smell anything, what we're saying is that you're showing through one of your senses that the off-gassing isn't there. That isn't foolproof because there are certain chemicals that are odorless. But there are plenty of mattresses out there that you can definitely smell something. And if you smell something, your body is processing it as if you ingested it. Because you did, you ingest it into your lungs.

So I love, love, love that people who are so sensitive become sick, sick from anything that has an ascent because their body cannot process it; that they do not become sick when they use an Organix mattress. And that makes me really excited to have something that's safe for us that we should all be using. Thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing. And I know you said there are hundreds and hundreds of testimonials we can see on the website. Remind us again what the phone number is. 

[1:06:40.5] Joey Woodward: It is 866-647-5513, and there's only two options after that. It's customer service and sales. Number one is sales, and customer service is number two. So it's fairly simple. But yeah, give us a call. Feel free to call us anytime. We're actually open seven days a week, by the way. So if you're listening Sunday, or whatever, if you're catching this later, call us on Sunday. We are open until 5 p.m. Mountain time. During the week, we're open until 7, so give us a call. 

[1:07:16.0] Ashley James: Very cool. And for people outside of the US, do you only ship to people in the US, or do you also ship to other countries?

[1:07:24.5] Joey Woodward: We ship to Canada and the lower 48. If we need to ship to Hawaii or Alaska, we can do so, but there is an additional shipping charge. We would give you a quote based on where you live. Same thing with Canada. We can't ship to Canada for free, but we will credit you $369 toward that shipment. What we have found by shipping to Canada, though, is that, of course, one, you get this mattress. You can't find it in Canada, but you get this mattress. And then, two, if you find anything that's comparable out there, you're going to spend more money on it even with shipping costs. And so, give us a chance to give you a shipping quote, and we'll definitely ship it up to you, and it goes pretty quickly. Shipping times all across the country and to Canada or anywhere is from two to five weeks depending on where you live. Of course, if you live in a rural area or some small town, it might take an extra week or something. But in a big city, it's fairly quick. And keep in mind that we don't roll it up in a tiny little box and ship it to your front door. So that's why it's not three days. It's going to take a little bit of time to drive a very large mattress across the country or wherever you live. So that's the reason. But it's worth the wait. 

[1:08:51.0] Ashley James: Yes, it is. And you will feel like Princess and the Pea lying on the perfect mattress. When you do get it, you'll just lie in it and go, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing.” The experience is that you are floating. It's like a cloud, but it's supporting you perfectly. It's suspending your body, and you don't feel any pressure anywhere. It's the coolest thing ever. And you did mention that if you've found something comparable, you'll spend more money. There are copycats out there, and I did purchase one before the Organix, and I have to say, I was incredibly disappointed. I don't want to disparage any companies publicly, but I will say, a horrible experience with that copycat company because other people saw the technology that Bob created and wanted to copy it, and there were lawsuits and all kinds of things that I'm not going to disparage anyone. But what I will say is that you will save time, money, and energy to get the real McCoy. Instead of trying to go after a copycat, get the original that has the science behind it. Copycats are just a poor-quality second, and I had a personal experience with it. And I'm glad I did so I could go, “Wow, the original is worlds beyond and worlds better than the copycats out there. 

So thank you, Joey, for coming on the show. I really appreciate your time. And I wish you the best of success because the work that you're doing is really helping people and improving the quality of people's lives. So it's companies like yours we need more of. We need more companies with integrity that are focused on our health first and companies that make a product that lasts longer. You look around, and you see washing machines only last five years. After seven years, it's like they break down. If you go into a house that was built in the 50s and comes with a washing machine from the 80s, you know that washing machine is never going to die. You see these things. I've had this experience where it's like, “Yeah, okay, the appliance is four years old. It's not going anywhere.” But the appliances they sell today, good luck in trying to get that appliance to last you forty years.

There's something about how we used to make things to really last. I just love that your company is about making a product that lasts, that's non-toxic, that's safe, that's healthy, and that actually promotes healing. You're like, we're only not going to not be harmful. We're going to help the body heal. And so of course there's a higher price for this. This is made by hand. This is non-toxic. This is a white-glove service, and we can do a payment plan. At the end of the day, this is going to last you over 25 years. So it's going to save you in the long run. But I want more companies like yours out there, so I believe in voting with my dollar like I vote with my fork. I buy organic. I support local farms. I put my money into the companies that I want to see do well because they're doing well for us. So thank you for all that you do. Please, listeners, use the coupon code. Tell your friends, especially friends that are sick and suffering or friends that have relatives that are having problems with bed sores. This is a technology that everyone should be aware of because it makes such a difference in the quality of our lives.

And Joey, you're doing great work. So keep it up. Thank you so much. And if you ever in the future have any scientists or studies, or things that you want to share, come share them, and we'd love to hear them. 

]1:12:35.3] Joey Woodward: Awesome. It was my pleasure. It was a great time, for sure. Thank you so much, Ashley.

[1:12:40.0] Ashley James: I hope you enjoyed today's episode with Joey Woodward. Wasn't he great? You know, it's interesting, after doing over 500 interviews — I've actually done probably close to 530 because I have not published everything that I've done. And there are certain ones that I chose never to publish because you know what? Some people just don't make it. Just because they get on my show doesn't mean that they are good enough for you to listen to. I'm sure they're wonderful people. It's just I feel very protective of you guys, and I wouldn't publish something that was not helpful or beneficial, or sometimes guests just aren't that great. So I do my best to only publish what's going to help you and what I know is going to be a positive influence. And when I listen to people, they're real. These are real people. These aren't like paid doctors. These aren't trained professionals. You listened to Joey. He's just so authentic. He's being himself. You can hear his passion. 

As I was getting today's episode together to publish, sometimes I sit back and listen because I'm on the hot seat when I'm an interviewer. So, I'm kind of listening for when they are answering the questions for the first time when it's live. I'm always listening for, what is the question the audience has. Like, what is the question you have for him? And then, when I sit back to listen to it afterward, I can hear it like it wasn't me. It's the weirdest thing. I love my show, and it's sort of like listening to someone else's show because I sit back and I forget what I've even said sometimes in the interview. I remember the content. Like, I remember what the guest said. But sometimes I forget what I said. So I'm listening with new ears. I can sit back and relax and just be in the moment and hear him. And when I'm hearing his voice, I don't know if you noticed this, but he's very chill, right? He's just happy. He's chill. He's calm. I'm just imagining you own a mattress company for a living. You definitely want to make sure that you're getting good sleep. And he just sounds very calm, but he also sounds like he's not a trained professional guest on shows. He's not trained professionally to public speak. 

And that's what I wanted to say — it is that a lot of my guests are real, so real. And they're here to share information, and they're not perfect. I'm not perfect. I'm trying to get better and better. Everyone does. Everyone tries to improve. We are not polished. This isn't mainstream TV or mainstream radio. This is just real people, and that's even better, getting real information, learning from real experiences, and real people. I love podcasting, that we can throw away all that junk that the middleman filters of the advertising companies, and the ratings, all the stuff that kind of warps politics. If all that we could throw away and go, okay, let's just be real people and help each other.

So listening to his voice, I could hear his love and authenticity and hear his excitement, and it was cool. It's cool that he stepped in and took over the company as Bob retired and kept it going. So, it's neat. I just love that this company is supporting American workers. It knows where every single aspect of its materials comes from that's actually non-toxic, super low EMF. Just all the stuff that you could do, the science behind, how you could examine this mattress to see the quality. I just say jump on it and sleep on it, and then you'll feel it for yourself.

Just in case you didn't get these web links written down, I wanted to make sure you had it, gets you the webinar. And then gets you the special deal, the web page that Joey designed for us. Actually, it was the previous owner that designed it for us, and Joey's honoring it — the really, really super good deal that he talked about in the interview. And then, of course, you can call them at 866-647-5513 and mention the Learn True Health podcast with Ashley James, coupon code LTH, and they should be able to hook you up with the exact same discount. They will give you the same discount and all the special deals and goodies that get thrown in when you go to But they should be able to answer your questions, help you with financing if you'd like that, and just make it all smooth for you. And if you have any questions or concerns, or you want to tell me how great your experience was with Organix and any of that, please email me at I'd love to hear from you. 

You can also talk about it in our Facebook group, the Learn True Health Facebook group. Jump into the Facebook group with us. I would love to see you there. We all support each other. It's a beautiful community. Just search for Learn True Health on Facebook, or you can go to and join the Facebook group. Even if you don't do Facebook, just create an account for this. Sometimes people just join with no profile picture and a fake name, just so they can be in the community. I know. I'm sorry, it's Facebook. It's just one of those platforms. I'm not saying that I align with any major company or any social media company. It just happened to be the best way to get a community together, and you can use the search function in the group because the group's been around for, I think, five or six years now. And since then, we've answered so many health questions it's become almost like a directory. You could type in any problem you could think of or any symptoms. And there are already answers and already so many resources, and there's so much information. We have holistic doctors in our group that answer questions, and dentists, nurses, massage therapists, herbalists, acupuncturists, and midwives. There are so many professionals that are in the holistic space that are coming together, answering questions, along with myself and a lot of other health coaches and experts. So it's a really supportive community. That's why I keep saying, come on, join us. Let's all learn together because we all deserve to have this holistic information, so we don't need to suffer anymore. We have to take action and go out and seek the information, and that's what I'm here to provide for you. 

Check out the episodes coming up. I've been very busy editing. I don't know if you've checked out the website lately, but I've also been posting a blog post like I've got the yogurt one up, which is the lactobacillus reuteri from Dr. Davidson's last two episodes, and that is so delicious. It's made from cashews. You can make it from other things. I have a listener who made it from blanched almonds. She had to remove the skins, and she did that. She said it turned out amazing. I personally love the cashew yogurt. So check out that link. I'm going to be publishing a blog post very soon with detailed instructions on how to use a sauna and a few other things that are around your house to help the body detoxify heavy metals properly or healthfully. And then I'm going to be posting soon my turbo moon milk recipe, which I've been using. It's so delicious, and I use it at night, and it's a wonderful elixir that supports. It's with a lot of adaptogenic herbs, so it helps the body to regulate and come back into balance, decreasing inflammation. It's antimicrobial, a huge immune booster, really supportive of the gut, just increasing the gut strength and health in digestion, helps with anything from sleep and inflammation to hormones, and just all of it. I put this together, and I've been sharing it with some friends, and they loved it too. I shared it with my family. As for me, I like it too with ashwagandha, and those were in there. But all the herbs are super healthy. A lot of them are already in your pantry. 

What I like is the ritual at the end of the day to sit there. I've already had dinner a few hours before, and I'm on an empty stomach. Maybe I'm a little bit hungry, but I'm not going to because I want to go to bed on an empty stomach. And I sit there, and I drink the moon milk, the turbo moon milk. It's like an elixir, and it sets the body up for a really healthy detox while you sleep, and it just calms the body. It's not like I am frazzled or anything. I think even really healthy people notice that they feel good drinking it. And then people who are suffering from parasites, or inflammation or just toxicity, or liver problems or hormone imbalance of any kind, or sleep issues, any of those — they will find that drinking this elixir before bed supports them in a gentle way and they'll start to feel a difference. 

So check out those blog posts that are going to be coming out really soon. It might already be out, depending on when you listen to this episode at Just go to my website, Awesome. Thank you so much for being a listener and sharing these episodes with those you care about. My goal is to help. Originally, seven years ago, when I started, I said I want to help a million people, and I'm like, you know what, that's too small because there's a lot more than a million people suffering. Let's just help as many people as we can. Let's turn this ripple into a tidal wave. Keep sharing. Let's tip the scale. Tip the tides towards health for everyone because suffering should be optional. The information is out there, but people don't have access to it until we show them, until we say, hey over here, look over here. So you can always use the search function on my website to find all kinds of great resources. There are over 500 episodes. So there's lots and lots of information on every single symptom, condition, and health goal. Just go to and check it out and have yourself a fantastic rest of your day.

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Jun 30, 2023

Episodes About Fasting Mentioned In Today's Episode:

Self-talk episodes:

Go here to check out the answer to our broken health insurance industry


503: From Self-Talk to Autophagy: Ashley’s Inspiring 5-Day Water Fast Experience

In this captivating podcast episode, Ashley and her husband Duffy delve into their transformative experience with a water-only fast, shedding light on its profound effects on their minds and bodies. They explore various intriguing topics, including the power of self-talk, the remarkable process of autophagy, the intricate workings of the addiction brain, and ultimately the liberating sense of freedom they discovered through this challenging yet enlightening journey. Tune in as they share their insights and reflections, offering a fascinating perspective on the holistic benefits of fasting and its impact on overall well-being.


  • Ashley's first five-day water-only fast
  • Power of self-talk and overcoming resistance
  • Autophagy and its healing effects
  • Insights into the addiction brain
  • Discovering freedom through fasting


Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I'm your host, Ashley James. This is Episode 503.

[0:00:13.9] Ashley James: Hello, true health seeker, and welcome to another exciting episode of Learn True Health podcast. I just finished my first five-day fast, and I know my husband is shaking his head. He feels like I'm really late to the party. How many fasts have you done? How long have you been fasting? 

[0:00:33.7] Duffy James: At least, maybe, half a dozen, or maybe more. I don't know, eight?

[0:00:37.1] Ashley James: Yeah, we kind of lost track. But when did you start fasting? 

[0:00:40.3] Duffy James: It was right after I stopped eating meat since early 2018. My first one was around July mid-2018, I think. 

[0:00:55.2] Ashley James: I remember one that you did in 2020, February of 2020. I remember that one because it was like 17 days, and that stuck in my mind. I remember what we were doing. It was right before all the COVID shenanigans, and that was a 17-day one. How was the longest one you've done?

[0:01:17.9] Duffy James: I can't remember if it was 21 or 28 days now because I don't keep track of it.

[0:01:23.0] Ashley James: You just kind of go, and then the days go by.

[0:01:25.1] Duffy James: Yeah, they do. 

[0:01:27.3] Ashley James: So my husband has slowly become way more of a fasting expert than me.

[0:01:33.6] Duffy James:  Not an expert. I just can do it. It's system muscle, right? 

[0:01:37.2] Ashley James: Yeah, well, so this has been, I guess, my third official fast in my life. I did when I was a kid because I had to because they were doctor's orders. Actually, I wasn't a kid; I was thirteen. And that was the doctor's order, though, because I had a stomach bug. And he's like, you have to stop eating. I'm like, what? And then I did it, and I was fine. I was just hungry all the time, but I was 13.

[0:01:58.6] Duffy James: Well, it wouldn't work now because you don't take orders from doctors. 

[0:02:00.9] Ashley James: Yeah, I don't take orders from doctors. I do take advice from holistic doctors.

[0:02:05.1] Duffy James: True. But you don't want medicine—those kinds of doctors.

[0:02:08.8] Ashley James: Yeah, those kinds of doctors. Then they also had me on antibiotics. So it was my first time ever to be on antibiotics, actually. I was thirteen, and it's totally my fault because I binged on Halloween candy against my mother's wishes. And that's what you get when you rebel and eat too much sugar.

[0:02:26.5] Duffy James: You have an addictive personality. Is that what it is? 

[0:02:27.7] Ashley James: Yeah, and you also happen to have an addiction brain. But I learned my lesson. So, yeah, I just finished my first five-day fast, and I've gotten a lot of insights, and I wanted to hit record and share it because I thought it would be really helpful. But I wanted to just jam with my husband Duffy here because he's done so many fasts since 2018. How many years did you think you did? 

[0:02:55.1] Duffy James: I think, two. It's been two. 

[0:02:58.0] Ashley James: Yeah. I mean, sometimes when you just don't eat, you're just like, I don't eat today. And you will just do it. And then sometimes it'll be like, I didn't eat yesterday, so I guess I'm fasting.

[0:03:13.0] Duffy James: And I don't feel hungry anymore. 

[0:03:14.7] Ashley James: Did you feel hunger before fasting? 

[0:03:18.5] Duffy James: Yeah. Even on the first couple. But these last few I've done, it's just like, okay, I'm not going to do it, and then I don't, and I don't feel any hunger or any shift until my body starts slowing down for not having enough fuel. 

[0:03:35.3] Ashley James: I wanted to definitely ask you a few questions since you've done so many fasts, and now it's transformed your body. It transformed more than just physical. It has transformed your relationship to food, your relationship to hunger and hunger cues, and food doesn't have that hold on you as much as it did. So I definitely want to ask you a few questions. But I'd like to share some of my stuff. 

Okay, so before I get into my story, I wanted to say to listeners because I know there's going to be one, just like my mother-in-law freaking out right now because on day 2 of my fast, she goes, “What about the people who die of starvation?” And she's looking at me, and I'm like, “Do I look like I'm going to die of starvation in five days of not eating?” But for someone who's never missed a meal or never has missed a day of eating, for so many people who eat three meals a day, the thought of not eating is crazy. It's ridiculous. And Duffy did that. He's making gestures with his hands, like putting his hands by his head and going ‘boom.'

[0:04:39.3] Duffy James: I think I could do that because I have a face for podcasts. 

[0:04:42.5] Ashley James: Yes, and you have a voice for podcasts too. But it's definitely a mental shift, and I resisted fasting so much. But I had Dr. Alan Goldhamer on the show back in Episode #230. I remember that because that is Duffy's, one of his dad jokes. What is keto, the joke?

[0:05:06.5] Duffy James: You already said it. 

[0:05:08.4] Ashley James: Well, I didn't say the joke. 

[0:05:09.2] Duffy James: What's the perfect time to go to the dentist? 

[0:05:10.9] Ashley James: It's what?

[0:05:11.8] Duffy James: It's at 2:30. 

[0:05:12.3] Ashley James: 2:30. Tooth hurty. Yes, your tooth is hurting, so tooth hurty, yeah. So, Episode #230 with Dr. Alan Goldhamer. He runs a fasting clinic, and he's a holistic doctor. It's really interesting this whole episode because he talks about an example, one of them being a woman who came to his clinic with end-stage cancer and left his clinic a month later without cancer. So what happened? What happened in that one month? And he talks about autophagy and this amazing process of how the body, after 30 hours of fasting, is digesting pathological tissue. It's like turning the dishwasher on. We need to clean out our bodies and clean out the pathological tissue. And we were actually supposed to fast. And he talks about how we, as humans, fasted regularly out of necessity before we figured out how to store food, so our body went into healing mode as a means of survival and cleansing. And so he reassures us that anywhere from one to five days is completely healthy under normal circumstances. I mean, if you're on a bunch of medications, you should definitely speak to someone, like speak to the naturopathic physician or licensed doctor that's also hopefully holistic-minded that can guide you through it. 

[0:06:43.6] Duffy James: Usually, a lot of churches can help too because that's part of the.

[0:06:46.9] Ashley James: Oh yeah, that's why we keep hearing our church say stuff like, you got to fast and pray, fast and pray. 

[0:06:54.4] Duffy James: We got the fasting part figured out. 

[0:06:56.4] Ashley James: We definitely got the fasting part figured out. I always wondered why fasting and praying. Is it just because you're sacrificing yourself? Is it because it really prepares the mind?

[0:07:05.6] Duffy James: It changes your frequency, right? Remember, that's what got me started in fasting. It's that episode you did with the woman, I don't know her name, but she talked about the different energies of food and how that animal is like the lowest frequency that you can get your body. 

[0:07:21.4] Ashley James: Robyn Openshaw? 

[0:07:22.2] Duffy James: Oh, okay. 

[0:07:23.2] Ashley James: Yup, Robyn Openshaw came on the show a few times, and one of them was Episode #390, and in Episode #390, she talked about how we can do modified fasting for people who are maybe on medications or can't do full water-only fasting. There's a way to do modified fasting or eating a little bit, but it's under a certain amount of calories so that you still trigger autophagy which is the healthy, programmed cell death star. I'm sorry, that's apoptosis. Autophagy is the healthy cell cleansing where the cell digests its own pathological tissues and digests scars and cysts. This has been published in clinical observations, but in some cases, tumors are even known to be digested by the body during an extended fast. 

Another really interesting episode I did was with Troy Reicherter, and this was Episode #369. That's another one to check out if you're interested in learning more about fasting. He does a 30-day fast once a year. And you got him beat because you do two fasts a year. You're not doing a full 30-day fast, but you do two or three weeks fast.

[0:08:38.0] Duffy James: It's kind of three. I think there was a year that I skipped because I think I've done eight. So, however many that is.

[0:08:46.9] Ashley James: Well, okay, eight very long fasts compared to me.

[0:08:51.9] Duffy James: Well, now that you're doing it, I'll probably do it more. 

[0:08:54.1] Ashley James: We'll see. 

[0:08:55.7] Duffy James: We'll see because you've had success. 

[0:08:56.4] Ashley James: I've had success, and I'm looking forward to doing more. Let me walk you through my fast and why I did it. Sometime about a week ago, maybe it was in church; I can't actually remember when it happened. But I got a voice saying, you're starting a fast on Friday. And I'm like, okay. 

[0:09:22.9] Duffy James: But what was the date?

[0:09:24.7] Ashley James: I don't remember. Do you remember when I told you I was going to start the fast? Because I was like, it might have been last Monday, but I got a message.

[0:09:38.7] Duffy James: Oh, that. I don't think you shared that.  

[0:09:41.0] Ashley James: No, I know. That's why you're looking so surprised because I haven't told you this yet. But I got a definite divine…

[0:09:47.5] Duffy James: Request?

[0:09:49.9] Ashley James: Command? I don't know. 

[0:09:52.4] Duffy James: Well, you have free will. 

[0:09:53.0] Ashley James: I do have free will, but it was definitely like a strong suggestion. But it wasn't an internal voice and nudge. It was a spiritual nudge. It was a divine nudge. So the Holy Spirit said, “Hey, guess what? You're doing a fast on Friday.” And I'm like, “Alright, I'm ready.” And the thing is, every time I thought about doing fasting, I would always come up with excuses like, “Oh no, I have an interview next week.” There are no five days in which I didn't have something on my plate, and I'm like, “Well, I have to have to be eating for this.” That was my first excuse. My brain would come up with all kinds. So the body doesn't want to fast. Your brain wants you to keep eating, and it doesn't like the idea of fasting. So it's going to tell you all kinds of things. So my brain was like, “Well, you have an interview. You can't do it. You have this business phone call. You have these client calls. You can't not be eating.”

[0:10:56.1] Duffy James: You know what I'm thinking of? It's how your dad was a master salesperson. So you got him in your head, selling you. You've got his skills in your head, so you can talk to yourself at a master level. 

[0:11:13.9] Ashley James: I have my own sales. 

[0:11:16.1] Duffy James: And then with all your training, and all. 

[0:11:17.2] Ashley James: Yeah, you know, like the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. I've got a little salesman on one shoulder. It's my body speaking to me like, “Okay, these are the reasons why you're not going to do it. I'm going to totally sell you on not doing it.” So your brain can be pretty convincing. And then the other reasons were like, “Well, you have to cook every day for your family. You can't do that. You can't fast, and there are lots of reasons.” But something happened, and I think it's been working on me for a while. I don't know if you've ever had that experience where you feel like the holy spirit's working on you for a while, and it's suggesting, nudging, and bringing things to your attention, putting videos in front of you, or putting whatever it is in front of you over and over. You feel like it's maybe whittling away layers of, I don't know…

[0:12:07.2] Duffy James: Pulling out the spiritual earplugs. 

[0:12:09.3] Ashley James: Yes, yeah, and those layers of resistance of, “No, I don't want to change. I like being comfortable. I don't want to be uncomfortable.” So I'm just going to say the holy spirit said, “Go fast.” And it was Friday. It was just very specific. So I said, “Okay.” And I looked at my schedule, and it's like, “Well, I guess we'll see how I feel. I might have to reschedule this. I might have to reschedule that.” But you know what? I'm ready. I've been thinking about it for a long time.

[0:12:38.7] Duffy James: I was really excited for you when you told me. I would have been way more excited if you told me about the spiritual nudge.

[0:12:45.1] Ashley James: Right. 

[0:12:47.2] Duffy James: I get what it was for now.

[0:12:47.6] Ashley James: Yeah, it was for now. He's smiling. I wish you could see him. He's proud of me. That's cool. So here we have this, “Okay, I'm going for it.” I did not want to tell Duffy because I'm then committed. Once I tell my husband, he's going to feel like, “Where's this fast?” if I back out, if I chicken out.

[0:13:09.8] Duddy James: I'm going to hold you accountable. 

[0:13:10.5] Ashley James: I know. So I told him pretty much right away, though. Because I remember, I think we were standing in the kitchen, then I was like, “Hey, so by the way, Friday, I'm starting a fast.

[0:13:19.8] Duffy James: Yes, you were pretty excited.

[0:13:21.6] Ashley James: And I knew the second I said it, it was real. So I had to do it as soon as possible before I chickened out. And then Thursday, I had plans to go to the spa with my friend to celebrate something that happened in her life, and I really overdid it. We spent like three hours in the hot tub and then in the sauna. And I was chugging water the whole time, but I was acting kind of invincible, and that's not recommended. Usually, when I do infrared, it's for thirty minutes, not for three hours. So I came home very dehydrated with like a heat stroke headache. I pulled out all my holistic stuff and got myself on the mend. But that was an interesting way to start a fast because the next day, I was kind of wrecked from being in a sauna and a hot tub for three hours, feeling a little bit hungover. But I was committed. I was like, “Okay. Now I'm starting my fast.” I've been drinking water. And so all day Friday, I just felt really awful and hungry, and at some point, the headache from the heat stroke went away. And then the headache from not eating took over.

[0:14:31.9] Duffy James: Yeah, Friday was pretty rough for you. 

[0:14:33.4] Ashley James: Friday was rough. But all in all, it wasn't unmanageable. I never needed it. I don't go on pain meds. I have to be feeling really bad to go to an over-the-counter. Yeah, I would have to be really, really bad. CBD cream on my neck and shoulders helped, magnesium soak, and doing a PS really helped. I used the phototherapy patches. That really helped. And I used bioactive carbon supplements through Dr. Jay Davidson. He is amazing. Go listen to his two episodes. I don't have the numbers pulled up right now. But if you type Jay Davidson in, you'll listen to him. He created a carbon supplement that soaks up toxins, and it really works. I took four of those capsules, and within twenty minutes, I felt it sucking away the toxins, and I started really feeling better. You can check that out by going to

So all of these things — I'm pulling out all the stuff, and of course, the phototherapy patches were so helpful. Hunger was manageable. It was just drinking water, but what was really interesting was every fifteen seconds, my brain would say, “Hey, it's time to eat. You're hungry. It's time to eat. You're hungry.” I wonder if you've ever had self-talk that was insistent, like your brain and body are going,” It's time to eat.” And then I would say — I would think this in my head, “No, I'm fasting.” And then my brain will go, “Oh, yeah.” Fifteen seconds later, “It's time to eat. You're hungry.” And I always had this constant OCD thought. I had to constantly remind myself. It was really interesting. I had to constantly remind myself, “I'm fasting. Oh yeah,” over and over again. It was like noise in my head, just constant noise. And so this was it. But on the first day, I was like, this is impossible. It was just like the chatter. Like, “I'm hungry,” and I had to keep saying, “I'm fasting. I'm fasting. Drink water, drink water.”

The next day, Saturday, I was feeling pretty good. I was a little tired in the morning, but I was in a good mood, and I noticed that it was only every forty-five seconds I had to tell my brain that we were fasting instead of every fifteen. I felt just a little bit light-headed, not too bad, and it would come and go, and it was totally manageable. And then we ended up taking our son to the park. We went for a long walk with our friend and her kids, and I felt great the whole time. I thought I brought enough water. Always bring more water than you think you need because I brought what I thought was enough water. And then our son spilled half of a jar, and then he drank the other half. So I ended up running out of water, and so I'm like, “No, I got to get home.”

[0:17:29.3] Duffy James: That's one of the main things I like about fasting. It's so easy to get water in. You just chug it.

[0:17:37.1] Ashley James: Yeah, you got to drink it. Also, I want to know how much my fast was helped by drinking the structured water from the analemma; all the water I stirred with the analemma. And I have an episode about that, with structured water. You can check it out on the website as well, You can find it there. And so, Saturday, I came home, and I had a tiny, maybe 1 out of 10 headache. I drank some water. I even went to the grocery store to get some supplies for the kid who never stops eating and is growing like a weed. I came home, and I just felt good. And then, Sunday, I was on top of the world. That was just day three.

[0:18:29.6] Duffy James: I believe that's the high.

[0:18:31.5] Ashley James: I was on top of the world, and I was just really full of energy. I was actually surprised at how full of energy I was. And we ended up going to church, and I couldn't believe that I stood, we sang. I felt so good. I felt so full. And I noticed something shifting because that constant, “You're hungry. Eat. You're hungry. Eat,” was gone. Maybe three or four times that day, it was like, “I'm hungry.” And I was like, “Yeah, but we're fasting.” Okay, and I'd drink some water, and it would go away. The hunger doesn't stay. It would come, and it would be painful. Not painful, but it would be uncomfortable, which is what we don't like. We don't like being uncomfortable. Our body doesn't like being uncomfortable. But that's something that we need. We need to be uncomfortable at times to push, grow, and learn. 

So Sunday, this is day three, I just felt amazing. And I noticed these moments where my mind was empty in a good way; that I was just being in the now. And I kind of lost the capacity, somewhere around day two, to fully multitask. Women can sometimes listen to the radio, listen to kids talking, text, do three or four things at a time. 

[0:19:54.8] Duffy James: Yeah, I see you do that. I still don't believe it. I don't know. I can't. I'm, like, one channel.

[0:19:57.2] Ashley James: I can do it. Usually, I can multitask.

[0:20:04.6] Duffy James: I know. I still won't believe it when you do it. 

[0:20:06.5] Ashley James: I know. I can do it. But on the fast, there was only one channel. And so, when I was driving, our son started talking to me, I'm like, “No, no, no, I'm driving. I can only focus on driving. I can't also focus on you talking.” And I just noticed that this single channel took over. And that's where I think the praying, the fasting and meditating, or fasting and praying, comes in because there's no chatter. There's no chaos going on in my brain. It was peaceful in my brain. Other than the occasional, like my body nagging for food.

[0:20:43.0] Duffy James: When your brain has changed its state, it's in a break state.

[0:20:46.4] Ashley James: It is a break state, yeah. 

[0:20:47.8] Duffy James: And on a slower time frame. 

[0:20:52.1] Ashley James: So then Sunday afternoon, evening, I started getting this huge rush. Now, I was also wearing the phototherapy patches, which I definitely think was one of the reasons why I had this huge rush of energy, and I spent hours picking away at the house, cleaning, running around, and Duffy just wanted me to sit down and chill with him, and watch some TV which he normally does not. He very seldom. 

[0:21:17.3] Duffy James: I needed you in the evening to slow down.

[0:21:19.1] Ashley James: Yeah, he was trying to get me to slow down so he'd put on something on TV for me, and I was like, “No, we're cleaning. I want to run around.” And I got really productive. I also noticed that I was very hot like I was making a lot of heat in my body. So it was like burning off energy, and I just felt happiness, peace, and I felt fulfillment. Not full of food, but I felt full of spirit. So then, I don't know what, I hit a wall. So Sunday was the best. That was day three. Originally I was only going to do a three-day fast because I wasn't told how long the fast was supposed to be. I was just told you're starting to fast on Friday. And originally, I was going to do three days, and then Duffy's like…

[0:22:02.3] Duffy James: Well, you don't get the benefits until day five.

[0:22:04.9] Ashley James: Well, come on. You do get some benefits on day three. The big stuff happens on day five, like the human growth hormone spike and the stem cells spike. There are some great benefits for 5-days. To be honest, there was, I think, a part of me that was kind of terrified because we have a friend, who's a naturopathic doctor, and she's afraid of fasting because a long time ago, she had a boyfriend who fasted, and then she had to rush him to the hospital. This was back before she was a doctor, and she didn't know what was going on and so she's afraid of fasting. She's like, “Don't ever fast. It's so bad for you.” She was so afraid of it. And I've talked to so many doctors there since then who were saying, “Yeah if you do it properly.” Sure, some people can experience some issues, but for the most, it's very safe. There are ways to get around issues and start slow. Don't do more, like Dr. Goldhamer says, don't do more than a five-day fast. Like he says, one to five-day fasts is totally safe to do at home as long as you're in fairly good health. You're not on a bunch of meds. And then my husband's like, “No, I'm just going to listen to my body, and I'm just going to keep fasting until…

[0:23:19.3] Duffy James: Yeah, I didn't really have any trouble. Something comes up, usually, and it's like, I should probably get back to food. I think every time I end it, it's because of some external circumstance. But I wanted to keep going. But it was like, in my best interest to eat. 

[0:23:34.2] Ashley James: Yeah. But it's usually like two or three weeks, and then you refeed. So, something happened yesterday, and I hit a bit of a wall. Wall in that, I was hoping the energy I had on Sunday would continue. And that was not the case. My body wanted to rest, and maybe that's because I was kind of coming out of the third day. I'm coming into the 5th day, the fourth day. There were some big transitions for me, and my body wanted to rest. And so we went to the park; I brought my lawn chair, and I sat in the sun, put my feet up, and closed my eyes. My friend, we were talking, and half the time, I couldn't even keep my eyes open. I was yawning, chugging water, yawning, watching the kids play, and just relaxing. And what I noticed is that that level of peace deepened, and I had really just a deep and full sense of peace. That's when I was like, oh yeah. I get the whole meditation, praying, or fasting thing because I'm already there. I'm already halfway into meditation, just sitting in my lawn chair, just relaxing into my body. There's definitely an experience of emotions, an experience of the spiritual aspect of yourself and of life. And I started to reflect on the things I've been working on, on myself, and the things I'm improving. I'm healing, and I'm grappling with the idea of an addiction brain and how I would look at food, like preparing food for our son or you. I'd look at food while I was on the fast, and I'd look at it, and I go, you know, there's this part of me that it's like, there's never enough. There's a pit inside, and nothing will satisfy that pit, and I think that's the addiction brain, right? Like nothing will satisfy that, and it was an interesting observation. I kind of looked at this from different angles throughout the years, but to look at it from a fast, it's like it's okay. It's okay not to try to fill that unfillable void. 

[0:25:53.7] Duffy James: It's a totally new perspective for your brain. 

[0:25:56.3] Ashley James: Yeah. And also, it's like looking at a part of me that I'm ashamed of. Because in society, it's definitely not respected to have an addiction brain and to talk about it, right? And so, I feel vulnerable talking about it, but at the same time, it's like I'm also working on it. I'm looking at it like, when did this start? And I was asking myself, when did this start? As a kid, I remember I did not care about food. I did not think about food as a kid.

[0:26:30.7] Duffy James: But when you usually talk about it, you'd say, “I turned into a teen. I started to rebel.” It was high school when you'd buy french fries in the lunchroom.

[0:26:39.0] Ashley James: That's exact. And that's when I was at the park and with my eyes closed, just with the sun and the breeze, and just being with myself; it's like the fast gave me the ability to not have any mental capacity for handling tasks. I was not a taskmaster. So I just sat there, and I was just with myself. I remember as a child, I just ate what was put in front of me, whether I liked it or not. I wasn't happy when they fed me fish. I didn't like picking the bones out, but I ate it because I didn't think that there was a choice. And they would put food in front of me, and I'd eat it. Sometimes I'd like it, and sometimes I didn't. Once in a while, we'd go to the restaurant. I liked that. But during my life, I wasn't even thinking about food, overeating, emotional eating, or caring about it. And then, right around thirteen, when I had the antibiotics because I rebelled and ate the candy. That's my first experience with antibiotics. And so, just looking at the shift, and then I saw in my teenage years how my mom would put me on a diet after diet even though I wasn't overweight. 

[0:27:51.0] Duffy James: And so, that might have messed up your metabolism that you're learning now.

[0:27:55.7] Ashley James: Yeah. And then going towards food, because I had this void in me, the hurt and the rejection, and all that stuff from my parents and from being an angsty teenager, food is the drug and can be used like a drug. But now, coming out from the fast, it's like, I can see more clearly that part of me. When it's going like I just want 100 bowls of that food, or whatever it is, there's that part that's just there's no satisfying it. And can I quiet it? I don't always have it. But it definitely became loud in the fast because I wasn't eating. And that's what it wants. It wants to be fed.

[0:28:51.8] Duffy James: But I think what you'll notice when you start eating as you're refeeding is that your relationship with food will have been completely reset. And the cravings, or at least this is what I noticed, that the food cravings or the need to eat out of boredom or anything like that, I felt like I had a completely new perspective on it. And I could just not be interested in it like I was for the same reasons that I was in the past. So it will be interesting to hear if you noticed that too.

[0:29:27.4] Ashley James: Well, my second official fast, which was…

[0:29:31.4] Duffy James: What were your two experiences?

[0:29:34.2] Ashley James: So this is my third fast. My first was when I was thirteen. My second was right when we got the Sunlighten sauna, and our son broke his arm, right? That kind of happened right around the same time. That was 2017. So in 2017, I did a 3-day fast, and then I broke the fast because our son broke his arm. We had to go to the hospital, so I wanted to eat something so that I could handle the mental hula hoops I needed to go through because we were going to a children's hospital. 

So overall, I had a really good experience. I noticed fears coming up around food, like interesting thoughts, and they weren't me. Sometimes it's like your thoughts, aren't you right? And so, I've become the observer of these thoughts, and I'd say, “That's interesting.” Like, this is an interesting thought because this thought was recurring. So I'm like, okay, so there's something to work here and uncover. It would help that I'd say, “Hey, this is a thought that I keep having, but it's not me. I don't own this thought, but it is a pattern, so there's something going on. And this thought kept coming up like, almost a few saying something like, “What if this doesn't fix me?” These are the fears. I know it's illogical, right? Fears aren't logical. But I kept going. This is interesting. So I go to the kitchen, and I cook you guys some food. I wouldn't eat, and then the chatter would come back. “Oh, I want to eat that.” And I'm like, “Well, how much do you want to eat it? Like, how much do you want it?” It's like, “I want all of it.” That void is like I want unlimited amounts. So the void, the addiction, the craving, or whatever it is, is like there's none. And I kept looking and going, but there was no amount that would satisfy that craving. So I don't need to try to satisfy it because there's no amount that would. The fear was something like, what if when I refed and got back to eating, it's all going to be the same? You know what I mean? What if this doesn't change me, or will this work? It was a weird, interesting thought. And I was like, okay. So I'm just observing this. I'm observing this thought because it's an irrational fear, right? But it was interesting because I guess these voices — not these voices. They weren't voices like a possession or demon or something. It was just more like the voices of this draw, this pull, this addiction. I keep calling it addiction because it's the best way I can describe it. Maybe I could call it a relationship I have with food and my self-talk around food. And so I just got to examine it. 

So anyways, I had dinner tonight. This is my refeed, and it was a very small meal because it was like I did three steamed carrots and a little bit of mashed potatoes. I ate slowly. I chewed. And I noticed that I got full really fast. I mean, that's predictable, right? But I put the food down, and there's still food in the bowl, and I'm like, I'm fine. I'm done. And that's something I expected. I expected to do that. But there was peace. There was peaceful eating, and there was peace afterward.

[0:32:59.8] Duffy James: But did you notice that when you set it down when you haven't finished it, you felt complete with it, instead of needing to feel complete with an empty dish? That was my thing because when I grew up, you ate everything on your plate, and it had to be done that way. So I think I had been programmed to finish my plate no matter what, and then the fasting showed me a feeling of need in the moment, instead of the need my brain is telling me or my programming is telling me to eat, to clear the plate. 

[0:33:34.6] Ashley James: Not until too full. Like, we would just eat too much. And you know, the studies with longevity are that those who eat nutrient-dense food, low calories live the longest. They have the least amount of disease, and we can survive on way fewer calories. I know calories are not a good measurement for food because really it's about nutrient density. We don't need as much, and there's something beautiful about eating simple. And a lot of people rebel when I talk about cutting out oil, cutting out sugar, cutting out flour, cutting out salt. “What am I going to eat?” Or cutting out meat, or eggs, and dairy.

[0:34:14.6] Duffy James: It seems when you're cutting out all these things, you have to buy or worry about, or it will go bad, or all these things. You just have to worry about so much less.

[0:34:26.0] Ashley James: Just try. Try cutting out these foods. They're left with, “Well, food is not going to taste good.”

[0:34:32.8] Duffy James: It's better.  

[0:34:34.0] Ashley James: Well, it does. But first, you have to adapt your palate to that. And a lot of times, people's addiction brain comes up, or their relationship with food, and their rebellion with food, and how they seek pleasure and comfort from food — that comes up. And it's a big conflict because they want to stay comfortable instead of making themselves uncomfortable to get healthy. So it's a challenge, but it's interesting. Ask anyone who wants to be healthy. Ask them, “Are you willing to give up these foods in exchange for these foods and just eat vegetables, fruit, starchy vegetables, and some non-gluten grains? Can you eat brown rice, kale, and broccoli? First, they think it's going to be gross. I'm not going to get pleasure. What about the holidays? And that's just like me and the self-talk at the beginning of every time I thought about doing a fast. That self-talk comes up. It's like, “What about this? What about that? I couldn't eat that way. I couldn't do it.” It's like, why not? It's because of your relationship with food. 

And so I was going into this fast. My intention really was to go into the experience. Everyone talks about how cool fasting and praying is, or fasting and meditating. So I wanted to know what's up. Does fasting really help prayer? Or does it feel like you're more connected to the source? And certainly, I did when I prayed because it's the only thing happening in my mind. It was the only thing happening in my body. I was so in the moment. That's another thing I haven't talked about. I was so in the moment. It's like the past melted away. The future melted away. I did not know what was happening in five minutes. I did not know what was happening tomorrow, and there was no anxiety about it, no worry about it. There's no thinking about the future. I was so in the now. My body was so present. I was just melted. It was like I melted away, and I just became the observer being in the moment. Even when we were cleaning, talking, walking, or just sitting, whatever I was doing, I just felt like I melted away, and I was just being in the moment. I had long stretches where there were no thoughts in my mind, and it was so peaceful. I was just in the moment, and I wasn't even trying to. That was just an effect of the fast. So I was like, there's something really cool about this. But everything came to the forefront and was really loud, so I could examine it easily. 

[0:37:16.2] Duffy James: That's a good way to put it.

[0:37:18.9] Ashley James: Yeah. It allowed me to mull over things like, “Oh, what's going on here?” Sometimes our worst enemies are our habits have created our own health problems — the things we choose to eat, the habits we choose to do, and the things we choose not to do.

[0:37:39.8] Duffy James: And supporting those toxic systems that want you to eat toxic food.

[0:37:43.9] Ashley James: Right, yeah. And all of that can be let go, and there's going to be resistance in your head. I don't know who it is. I don't know if it's the ego or if it's the unconscious, or if it's some kind of programming, or if it's the body, or if it's the dopamine you're seeking. Whoever it is, there's something in us that fights change, that fights the uncomfortable, that fights taking away little pleasures that are hurting us. And that fast brought forth a lot for me to process. So it was worth it. I really loved it, and I love that I had my husband here to cheer me on. And also, I can complain to him and say, “I'm hungry,” and he's like, “Keep going. You can do it.” And I'm like, “I know, but I'm hungry.” And then I would drink some water, and we would do something else. Oh, today, I'm on my fifth day, he gave me a foot rub, and that was really sweet of him. So thank you. 

[0:38:45.9] Duffy James: You're welcome. 

[0:38:48.3] Ashley James: So, your experience with fasting, did you have any ‘aha' moment that you can remember? 

[0:38:53.8] Duffy James: I think the reset with the relationship with food, and it's more of a body experience instead of a mind or brain experience.

[0:39:06.1] Ashley James: Yeah, cool. Anything you learned from refeeding after your fasts?

[0:39:12.2] Duffy James: Oh, that. I suck at that. I go straight for food. I take the pain. 

[0:39:18.7] Ashley James: It's not good for you.

[0:39:19.5] Duffy James: It's just easier for me to do it that way. I know you freak out about it.

[0:39:24.5] Ashley James: I definitely support him in refeeding by making him soups and smoothies, and what he's supposed to eat like soft foods for a few days, and then he's like, “Whatever! I want a burrito.” 

[0:39:38.4] Duffy James: I was like, “When I'm done, I'm done.” 

[0:39:40.6] Ashley James: You can't just go for a burrito. You need to not eat salt. You have to definitely make sure you avoid any form of added salt. 

[0:39:51.1] Duffy James: But that's just my personality. 

[0:39:52.6] Ashley James: I know, I know. For me and for the listeners, do you have any advice for people who've never fasted?

[0:39:57.6] Duffy James: Well, do it. You just start. For any length of time, just pick a length of time and go for it. 

[0:40:07.5] Ashley James: For those who've never fasted, how do you get over the initial hunger? How do you get over the initial feeling of being tired? How did you do it? 

[0:40:16.3] Duffy James: Brute force. This is what's happening, and any pushback is ignored. 

[0:40:25.9] Ashley James: I kind of felt like I had to dig deep into that. I know deep down I'm really powerful, and I can do whatever I really, really put my mind to.

[0:40:36.3] Duffy James: I'd use a whole lot of won't power. I just won't do it. 

[0:40:42.7] Ashley James: Right. I'm just going to drink water and not eat.

[0:40:47.0] Duffy James: Right. Just set the intention and go. 

[0:40:48.4] Ashley James: And warn your family that you might be grumpy because there were a few times I was hangry and…

[0:40:53.5] Duffy James: You weren't that bad.

[0:40:55.1] Ashley James: I know. But I wasn't sweet.

[0:40:59.4] Duffy James: I can't see that any other way, so I don't know.

[0:41:01.6] Ashley James: Look at this kissing up to me. Love it. Did you observe anything in me during my fast that I haven't talked about? Were you surprised I did five days? 

[:41:19.0] Duffy James: No, I knew you could do it. I was bummed when you ended it because I was like, “Oh, go for seven,” because it gets better.

[0:41:27.4] Ashley James: Tell us about how it gets better after day five.

[0:41:30.3] Duffy James: I just remember it gets better. I need to journal because I don't.

[0:41:36.2] Ashley James: Oh, you need to journal. You need to journal. 

[0:41:42.2] Duffy James: There's no need to edit.

[0:41:44.4] Ashley James: I'm not taking that out. It is down. You said it. It's on.

[0:41:49.7] Duffy James: It's been said before. 

[0:41:52.7] Ashley James: It's been said. That would be so cool. You should totally journal during your fast. 

[0:41:56.5] Duffy James: Yeah, maybe I will. 

[0:41:58.0] Ashley James: And that's why I'm doing this. This is my journal, by the way. You could do an audio journal if you wanted to. 

[0:42:03.0] Duffy James: Click play, episode 510.

[0:42:10.4] Ashley James: I think this is going to be 503. I'm not sure. I got to look. But yes, I'm going to play it for you, and you're like, “See? Listen to yourself. You say you need to journal.” Why are you sticking your fingers in your ears? What have you said in the past? This marriage didn't come with earplugs?

[0:42:28.6] Duffy James: No, I did not. 

[0:42:29.2] Ashley James: No? Alright. Well, I do remember on your fast that somewhere in week two, you're just kind of so happy. And you've never had moments where you can't drive. You act like yourself, which is great because I'm down to one channel. I can only do one task at a time when I'm fasting. And you, you're great. You do the dad stuff. You drive our kid around. You do stuff in the business. But in week two, I do notice that you sort of kind of got cold.

[0:43:13.3] Duffy James: Oh, one thing that I did notice with two of the fasts that I've done that are longer than a week, is I was not strict with what went in my mouth. The gummy supplements we have, I would take a couple more. I would take a handful of cashews; that won't hurt anything. And that's a slippery slope. That's a lot harder to cheat. It's very hard to recover. Whereas if it's a strict fast, it's actually easier. You're not taunting yourself. So that would probably be the biggest advice. Don't even cheat a little bit, even though it's still considered fasting if it's less than 300 calories a day.

[0:44:19.2] Ashley James: I think it depends. Yeah, somewhere around 500 calories. It's like if you're going to eat complex or starchy carbohydrates, it will take you out of ketosis. But there are certain foods you could eat. It's more of individuals. I know someone who could eat asparagus or zucchini, and it takes them out of ketosis. Whereas another person could eat a potato and they're still in ketosis.

[0:44:42.3] Duffy James: I just found it was best not to. It's a slippery slope. 

[0:44:47.0] Ashley James: Sometimes, occasionally, you would have an electrolyte drink or clear vegetable broth with no sodium, just for electrolytes, and you felt fine. But anything beyond that would put a monkey wrench in the whole thing, and then it would make the fasting really hard. You kind of got grumpy.

[0:45:13.8] Duffy James: Yeah, and then I'd give up. I know I said they ended up external. There were two of them. Now that I'm thinking about it, I sabotaged it. I did not, really, because it wasn't like six cashews. It was only five.

[0:45:30.9] Ashley James: Yeah, you justify it. Those are the voices in the head. I know we're justifying it. This is just this. It can totally be fine. And those little voices, you got to observe them and then talk to them. Glenn Livingston, I had him on the show, like, five times, and he's amazing. You should definitely check out his episodes. Glenn talked about how we have this inner. He calls it his inner pig, and I call it my inner brat because I totally have a brat that's like, “I want what I want when I want it.” And Duffy definitely has his own inner brat that we all do. Is it a brat? 

[0:46:16.4] Duffy James: Uh-hm.

[0:46:18.0] Ashley James: Yup? And sometimes, we get stubborn, and we just want what we want when we want it. There were a few fasts I noticed where you got cold. Your hands got cold. Do you always get cold during fasting or just sometimes? 

[0:46:37.6] Duffy James: I think so. That's just part of it.

[0:46:40.8] Ashley James: I noticed I was cold. Actually, I was cold today. I wanted slippers on my feet, and I did notice that I was getting cold. So that's part of it. Nothing to worry about here. Cool. And sleep, was sleep deeper for you on fasting? Because I noticed some nights, I was in a deep sleep, and some nights it was almost like I felt I was still awake. I think I was detoxing. I noticed I felt like I was awake half the night. 

[0:47:08.3] Duffy James: I'm not as in-tuned in my sleep as you are. I just do it. Whether it was good or bad, I slept.

[0:47:19.5] Ashley James: So when is your next fast? 

[0:47:21.5] Duffy James: I don't know. Do you want to do it together on your next? 

[0:47:25.7] Ashley James: Ah, yeah. But this isn't going to be like…

[0:47:29.4] Duffy James: Would you ever do five days or not? 

[0:47:31.3] Ashley James: I'm probably going to do five days again. 

[0:47:32.2] Duffy James: I want double digits. It's more fun.

[0:47:33.5] Ashley James: Oh, I don't know. I'll work up to it.

[0:47:35.1] Duffy James: Okay. Well, I'll do it with you. I'm getting on the next one.

[0:47:38.8] Ashley James: Yeah, sure. I'm very happy about this fast, and I'm glad we could come on and share about it. It's an interesting experience. I like that I set an intention. I like that the universe, God, Holy Spirit, whatever we call it, was like, “All right, you're ready. Let's go.” So it does kind of help to have a higher power telling you, calling your name. But then, just the observation of what's going on mentally, what's going on emotionally — and the best thing was when I could become the observer instead of buying into the drama. If the brat was still freaking out in my brain about how hungry I was, or how I just wanted to eat, or “I'm so grumpy today. I just want to eat.” Well, I could just watch that and go, “Wow, this is an interesting behavior.”

[0:48:34.5] Duffy James: I think the biggest thing is the change in perspective because it's completely different. 

[0:48:38.4] Ashley James: Well, like today, when I had dinner to break the fast, it was a very small amount of food. I felt satisfied. I put the bowl down. There's still food in it, and I took a breath, and I felt my whole abdomen. I just checked in with it, and I went, “This feels right. This feels good. This feels right. This is good. Okay, cool.” And I noticed because we've been having this talk with our son who's fighting us on eating healthy. Well, we don't serve him junk food, but I'm trying to get more vegetables into him, and he's like, “I don't like vegetables.” He's decided he doesn't like them.

[0:49:12.7] Duffy James: Can you blame him? 

[0:49:13.8] Ashley James: I love vegetables. They're so healthy. 

[0:49:15.6] Duffy James: I don't.

[0:49:15.9] Ashley James: I know. Dude, you can't be a vegan that doesn't like vegetables.

[0:49:20.7] Duffy James: But I do it. 

[0:49:21.7] Ashley James: I feed him vegetables. So, I'm having these conversations with our son, who's like, he didn't want to eat dinner tonight. He's like, “I don't like the taste of this,” and he starts crying. He's eight years old. He's like, “Oh, please don't make me eat this.” I'm like, “I'm not going to make you eat it. But yeah, we made this, and we don't want it to go to waste, and it's healthy for you.” And so I negotiate with him. “What else will you eat? Pick another vegetable.” And I keep talking to him about how it doesn't need to taste good to make it healthy for you. That's just enjoyment. That's just a bonus. But it's okay to eat something that isn't the tastiest thing in the world, as long as it's healthy for you and it's building your body. So I don't love cooked carrots. I really don't. It's not on my top 50, and yet that's what I cooked, and that's what we had in the fridge. And I was like, fine, I'm making it. And I ate it, and I enjoyed it. It's not my favorite. I don't love it, but I'm like, I'm just going to be here in the moment chewing this food, feeling it, and asking it to nourish my body. And I'm going to be okay with and be at peace with eating food. 

I already eat super clean and healthy. I'm very, very good about the food. But I did in the past find that I was choosing meals based on the pleasure factor instead of the health and nutrition factor. Even though I was still eating whole food, plant-based, super clean, and organic, I still noticed that cravings would come up there. Like, oh, you know, don't eat that, eat this, because of the pleasure. I'm like, that's not what I want. I want to be able to make food choices based on how good it is for me and be okay with the different levels of pleasure I may or may not get from food. So that was another thing that I got out of this fast. Yeah. Awesome. 

[0:51:19.2] Duffy James: Well, thanks for having me on. 

[0:51:20.9] Ashley James: Yeah, thanks for coming on. Maybe we'll have you on again. 

[0:51:23.8] Duffy James: Yeah, we'll see how when my arm heals. Maybe I'll come on again. 

[0:51:30.4] Ashley James: Well, welcome to the 500s.

[0:51:32.1] Duffy James: Yeah, thank you. It took me that long to bring up the courage to do it. 

[0:51:36.5] Ashley James: But I think you said one sentence in an episode, like, maybe twenty episodes ago. So yeah, good job. 

I hope you enjoyed today's interview with myself. I hope you enjoyed today's conversation with my husband, Duffy, and me. I was talking about our experiences with fasting. When I recorded this conversation that you just listened to with my husband, Duffy, I had just finished my 5-day fast, and it had been a few hours after my first meal breaking the fast. Now, I'm sitting here about to hit publish. I wanted to update you. So it's been two days now into refeeding. A really interesting development — I thought the hardest part about fasting would be hunger. But the hardest part is refeeding. I just want to go back. I just want to jump back into regular food, and you can't. You really shouldn't. The longer the fast, the more gentle you should refeed. And as Troy Reicherter said in our interview, Episode #369, where he tells his story, he fasts one to three times a year doing these really long 30-day fasts. So you definitely go back and listen to Episode #369. He's been on the show a few times. Interestingly, he has spent over $40,000 of his own money and invested in blood testing because he wants to prove that we can use fasting to get rid of forever chemicals out of our body and to take out these chemicals that are known carcinogens, known as cancer-causing. So you can go back and listen to that Episode #369

One thing he tells is a story about how he got a little cocky. He had to fly to Asia. I believe it was a funeral he was going to. He is kind of distracted. He was just wrapping up a 30-day fast. And on the flight, he ate a bag of peanuts or whatever they gave, like pretzels or whatever they gave out. And I've seen the video where he's like, “Oh, I'm at the end of a fast. It's fine. I'll just eat regular food.” And the problem with that is, and Troy explains to us in the interview, our kidneys, while we're fasting, are so efficient. Then when we stop eating food, they concentrate our electrolytes. So they'll concentrate the salt and the potassium. They'll concentrate the wonderful electrolytes. And those who have kidney problems, if you're on medication or have any organ issues, you definitely want to talk to a doctor. 

You know, you could talk to Dr. Alan Goldhamer. That's Episode #230, and you can contact the True North Medical Center. That's his center, and it's a non-profit. It's a live-in center where you go and stay there. You can stay there for a week, for a month. He's had one man do a 100-day fast with him successfully, very healthily because you're constantly monitored by doctors. It's on my bucket list. I really want to go there. It's just a matter of money, and maybe when our son is older, so I would feel comfortable leaving my family to go do that or maybe taking my whole family if we could afford the expense of it. Last I looked, it was something like $180 a day, which is room and board. And when you're not fasting, they feed you amazingly healthy, delicious food. They have classes, and they teach you, and you're surrounded by holistic doctors who are all there to support you in your success. So it sounds wonderful. For me, it's just like a vacation. Like, I want to go to a fasting clinic where it's like a little fasting resort in California. But the True North Medical Center has Dr. Alan Goldhamer and other doctors you can call and do a consultation. Just go to their website. Just Google True North Medical Center and you can talk to them. So if you're concerned like, “Hey, I have these issues, and I'm wondering if fasting is good for me or right for me,” there are doctors who are really well educated on fasting. A lot of doctors aren't educated on fasting. So they would just kind of tell you what they think, but they wouldn't have the background, the science background, or the clinical experience to inform you correctly. 

So having said that, Troy ate some peanuts. Now, remember, the longer you fast, the more your kidneys are being very smart in that they're reclaiming the sodium and concentrating it, so instead of you urinating it out, it's keeping it, putting it back in the blood, And so, when you start refeeding, you want to eat soft foods like steamed vegetables, or broth, soups, juices, smoothies. But you want to make sure that it's soft. There's no added salt, no sodium added. I mean, if it's naturally occurring, like a carrot, there are five micrograms of salt and sodium in it. Okay, it came from the ground. And you do this for several days and slowly until you can eat solid foods again.

Well, he just fasted so many times. He was like, “Oh, what could this do? It's just a bag of peanuts.” And you are on this very long flight, coupled with maybe the stress, and maybe he's not drinking enough, and even just flying tends to kind of bloat people — well, he almost died. He ended up with his whole body becoming a balloon. His fingers became like sausages. He couldn't close his fingers. His feet wouldn't fit in the shoes. He ballooned out, and I think he told me he ended up going to a hospital or almost did, and then he realized, “Oh yeah, I broke my fast with possibly the saltiest snack in the world, with peanuts from an airplane.” That's a really good indicator, a really good warning. 

So it's so important whether you are doing a one-day, three-day, five-day, seven-day, whatever water-only fasting you're doing, you want to make sure the whole time that you're healthy with your electrolytes. If you start to get cramping or have any of those symptoms where you may feel like your electrolytes are a little off, I hear that diluted coconut water is a great natural electrolyte without fully breaking the fast. And so is the sodium-free broth. Not low-sodium, not regular broth, but clear, no sodium, vegetable broth. There's only one brand I can find, and it's at Sprouts. And so I buy up a few and keep them around for when Duffy's on his very long fast. When he does several weeks, he likes to drink one once in a while and just a little bit to keep him balanced. 

So, I refed and slept the last two days. And you know, five-day fast refeeding takes like two days. It's not that big of a deal. I'm back to eating solid foods again. I noticed that I eat slower. I chew more. I mean, I'm asking myself to chew more, but I also chew more because I'm really enjoying the flavors. I noticed that during the fast — I didn't mention this in our conversation when I talked to Duffy — I noticed that through the fast my sense of smell was heightened. Or maybe I did talk about it. I can't remember now. Because Duffy and I did mention — he says he has kind of, like people who say, they quit smoking and all of a sudden they can smell food again. They can taste food again. It's not like they couldn't before, but now it's just that everything's elevated. And that's what I feel, like my senses elevated, but I was expecting that to not be as intense and in a good way. And what's great is, now, two days after the fast, my sense of taste is elevated, and I am so chewing, and I'm going, “Wow, what's that flavor?” I made a salad, and I'm like, “Oh, what's that flavor? What was that? That was a tomato? What was that? That was some cilantro? Oh my gosh.” 

I noticed that I'm happier. I'm just happier in my body. Not that I was sad before. I'm generally a very cheerful person. But I have this peace, and I'm not going to say it's gone completely, but the intensity of the self-talk around food is calmer and more peaceful. Once in a while, my self-talk is a little judgy, like, “How many of those are you going to eat? I'm like, “Wow, a judgy voice in my head.” I'm going to eat one because I'm going to just feel my body and see how I feel. Even if it's healthy food, it's like, I could eat a salad, and this little voice in my head is going, “Wow, you're eating so much.” I'm like, “Where did you come from?” But I can hear those voices now instead of it being like this constant frustration, and the fast brought them forward. So now I'm working on the self-talk. And I've had interviews, by the way, on self-talk. Type in ‘self-talk' at I've had some mental health counselors come on and talk about working with self-talk and, why did we develop negative self-talk, and how to calm it, how to heal that or get rid of it. I've had different guests come on. So I've been leaning on those tools and listening to the self-talk; I'm going, “Wow, this is really interesting.” 

It's much calmer. There's much more peace in my head and in my heart. But in my body, there's a feeling — and it's so cool because I didn't know this would continue — but since the fast, I feel elated. It's very similar to euphoria, but it's not ungrounded. I feel grounded. I feel in the now. I feel at peace. My cells are buzzing with happiness, and I'm eating good food. Everything I've been eating has been pretty much vegetables, really healthy stuff, a little bit of fruit here, and I've got a lot of vegetables. I just made the most delicious white beans with garlic. They're so good. And I just had a little bit, and I'm going, “I can't believe how good this tastes.” I can feel my body is just happy. So I really wanted to share that with you. So if you're someone who has been just frustrated, struggling with their emotional health or their feelings around their body, please try it. Just try it for whatever you can. If it's right for you, do it. It's beautiful. It's similar to when I switched to whole food plant-based, and I started going, “Wow, I'm feeling happy. I'm feeling happy.” Every day was like layers and layers of inflammation went away, and also the gut microbiome and everything. My body just felt more and more happy with my choices. 

I love how Duffy mentioned cognitive dissonance. And when you have cognitive dissonance, there's that really uncomfortable right before the shift where you make your behaviors be in alignment with your values. That's uncomfortable to be there because part of you wants to keep doing the old behavior, but you know it's not right for you. For example, eating meat with something, or eating cheese, or eating pizza, or whatever. It's just, “I like it. I don't want to give it up, but I know it's bad for me.” And then if you do give it up and instead you replace it with amazing delicious, whole foods, and then a week since that, you're going, “Wow, I didn't know this could taste so good. I didn't know I could feel this way. I didn't know I could feel this feeling I have in my body 24/7.” It is way more important and worth way more than a slice of pizza. Like, a slice of pizza and beer gives you what? Fifteen minutes of pleasure? And then, the rest of the day is this constant background noise of misery because the body is suffering, and that spills over into emotions. So your physical health, your emotional health, your mental health, your spiritual health, all are connected. And when you do something for one, it helps the other.

There is one more thing I wanted to share, and that is that when I was talking about my three-day fast that I did back right around when our son broke his arm, it was almost at the three-day mark, and I didn't know he'd broken his arm. I know he had a fall, and then we put him down for his nap because he was a toddler, and everything seemed fine. And while he was down for his nap, I had this intense voice in my head, kind of similar to this voice that told me to do this fast. And this voice said — and it wasn't me, it wasn't a voice in my head because I was actually doing really well. I was totally congruent. It was right around day three, the time when everything started getting really good in fasting because your body switches over from burning glycogen, which is our sugar stores, to burning fat for fuel, which is ketosis. This isn't the ketogenic diet. This is the actual state of ketosis, which is burning fat for fuel and making ketones for your brain, and for your body, for fuel, instead of relying on what you're eating, which is glucose. 

So our son's down for a nap, and this voice says, “You have to eat right now.” I can't remember exactly what it said, but it was like, “You break the fast.” I think the voice was ‘break the fast' because I remember it was like a very short sentence. It was very clear ‘break the fast.' And yeah, that was it. And then I was like, “Okay, I'm listening to this voice.” Because it had been just like within hours of being on a three-day fast, I was like, all right, you know, it's not much for refeeding. I'm just going to serve myself what Duffy was eating, which I think was mashed potatoes and vegetables. It was something soft anyway. So I was like, okay, I'm just going to sit down and eat some of this. And I did, and right as I finished my meal, our son started screaming. He was waking up from his nap screaming, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, that's intense.” And then I went and got him, and then that's when we realized, oh, wow, yeah, there's something wrong. He couldn't move his arm, and that's when we rushed him to the hospital. And then Duffy asked me, like, “Why'd you break your fast?” And I'm like, “Well, it's good that I did because I needed the energy to be up half the night, waiting in the hospital, and x-rays and the doctors and everything that had happened. I don't think I could have really been there and been present while fasting, or at least it wouldn't have been fun, like, it was fun anyway. It was much more manageable, having had a meal going into that situation. 

I didn't mention that in the previous conversation that you just listened to because it just didn't come to mind to say that. But I didn't break the fast after we knew his arm was broken. I broke the fast right before we knew his arms were broken because I got a clear message that told me to do it. I don't know if you've ever had that, where you've had a voice not your own, but a familiar and not a threatening voice not your own, say something with a very clear message to follow it. I've heard some people say, “Yeah, I heard change lanes, and then I almost died in a car accident,” or, “Marry that woman.” Sometimes we are guided divinely, and we just got to listen. Listen to our intuition, which is listening to our own self, but then sometimes we receive divine guidance, and at least that's my experience of life. 

So thank you. Thank you for being on this journey for me. And if you do decide to fast, come into the Facebook group. I'd love to hear about your experience. The Facebook group, you could just search Learn True Health on Facebook, or you can go to, and that will take you to the Facebook group. We have a wonderful listener community that's there to support you in your success, and I love answering your questions. The group comes together, and we all help each other as we're growing on this journey. 

I've mentioned here at the beginning of this episode the three episodes you can listen to for more information on fasting and the science behind it — Episode #230 with Dr. Alan GoldhamerEpisode #269 with Troy Reicherter, and Episode #390 with Robyn Openshaw. So you can go ahead and go to your favorite app for listening to episodes, listening to podcasts, or you can go to and search for those.

Thank you so much for being a listener. Thank you so much for sharing my podcast with those you care about. I don't know if you know my story. I was sick and suffering for so many years. I had multiple diseases. I was told by doctors I'd never get better, and I turned to holistic medicine. I was able to get my health back. I was able to reverse and end all those diseases, including I was told I'd never be able to have kids. But we have an amazing son. And it sparked a fire in me to want to help drive a passion for helping people to no longer suffer the suffering. It's so horrible that so many people out there have health problems, and there are answers for you. And the answers aren't readily available because the mainstream medical system is by profit, not by results. So, if you're new to this podcast, if maybe someone shared it with you, come on this journey with me. Through my interviews, let me show you how to no longer suffer, how to take control of your health and your life, and learn true health.


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Jun 24, 2023

Professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering 90-Year-Old Dr. Henry Buchwald exposes what's broken in our current medical system and brainstorms how to fix it.


Go here to check out the answer to our broken health insurance industry


BOOK: Healthcare Upside Down: A Critical Examination of Policy and Practice


501: The Most Comprehensive and Affordable Health Coverage

In this podcast episode, Ashley James interviews Dr. Henry Buchwald, a 90-year-old physician with extensive experience. They acknowledge that the medical system is broken and driven by profits rather than patient outcomes. Dr. Henry suggests that individuals can take action by voting with their dollars and engaging in consumer activism. They can choose alternative healthcare plans or insurance options that offer better coverage and are more affordable. The episode emphasizes the need to support healthcare solutions that prioritize patient well-being over profit and to seek out individual doctors who can provide personalized care without being constrained by administrative demands. The aim is to shape and reform the broken system through collective action and make it more patient-centric.


  • The current medical system is broken, with the United States spending the most on healthcare yet having poor outcomes.
  • The system is driven by profit rather than focusing on patient well-being and true healing.
  • Dr. Henry Buchwald, a 90-year-old physician, suggests individual actions to combat the feeling of helplessness.
  • Consumer activism can be exercised by voting with our dollars and making conscious choices in purchasing health insurance or alternative healthcare options.
  • There are affordable alternatives to traditional health insurance plans that offer comprehensive coverage with no network restrictions.
  • The broken medical system benefits companies that profit from keeping people sick rather than helping them get better.
  • Seeking out individual doctors not bound by administrative constraints can lead to more personalized and holistic care.
  • By collectively engaging in consumer activism and supporting healthcare solutions that prioritize patient outcomes, the broken system can be reformed to provide better care.


Hello, true health seeker, and welcome to another exciting episode of Learn True Health podcast. I know you're like me, and you are here because you believe that this medical system is broken. There's something wrong. There's something very wrong. We spend the most in the United States than any other nation on our healthcare, and yet we have some of the worst outcomes. It's a for-profit industry, not a for-results industry. It's so corrupt and so sick, and yet as individuals, we feel so helpless. Who are we against these giant industries that have made billions on our backs? They have made billions on keeping us sick and preventing us from knowing the true nature of healing. Because they have to find a drug for that, right? 

So I have an amazing guest here today. He's 90 years old. He's been practicing medicine for sixty-three years, as a physician, as a surgeon, and as a professor. He's written an intriguing book where he shares his sixty-three years of experience, and he saw the system changing. We're not saying it was perfect sixty-three years ago, but it has certainly gotten worse. My guest today is Dr. Henry Buchwald. One of the things that he suggests, which I thought was really interesting, that we could do as individuals to stop feeling so helpless against them — the 99% against the 1% — well, together, we can vote with our dollars. Another way to say it is consumer activism. But you don't have to go and get out there with a picket sign and march around. When I say activism, a lot of images come to mind of protesting together. We can protest with our purchases. We can choose to buy health insurance or alternatives to health insurance that are even better, that are cheaper, and give us better coverage. 

And that is why I was so excited about this, when I talked about it in Episode #50 because not every single state has it yet, but most of the states in the United States have this alternative to health insurance that is so incredibly cheap, and it's so incredibly affordable. I think it starts at $78 a month for individuals, and it is $600 or something a month for the average family. It's so comprehensive; there's no network. You can go to any state and go to any physician or any doctor, and you'll be covered. If you are like me and you'd like to put your money towards anything that has to do with helping to solve this problem, solve the juggernaut that is the broken medical system. And when I say broken, it's by design. It's broken when you look at it from a patient standpoint, but it is working very well for those companies who wish to make a profit off of our illness and not help us get better, either. They keep us sick because that is the most profitable thing for them to do. 

So, I'd love for you to go to Check it out and let me know what you think. I am very excited about it. You can purchase for your family an alternative to health insurance that is taking your dollars, and instead of putting it into an insurance company, it's putting it into a healthcare plan that is more comprehensive. They'll give you more coverage. It gives you more freedom, and it takes the profit away from the problem. Now, you can also go out and find licensed naturopathic physicians and osteopathic physicians, and other forms of working with a physician that is not buying into or putting your dollars into the problem, which are these clinics or these hostile networks that are run by the doctor's answer to the administrators. Instead of them being able to practice medicine, they have to adhere to the administration that they are being hired by. 

So instead, go find individual doctors. Seek out the holistic-minded doctors that are not part of those networks. I sit with my doctor for an hour, sometimes 90 minutes. I mean, this is amazing care for the same price because many of these physicians are covered under insurance. Or, as I pointed out, go to, and you can get an alternative to health insurance that gives you even better benefits for cheaper, and that is because what's popping up now are the answers to this problem, which is finding the care you deserve.

I don't want to put my money towards those health insurance companies that are part of the problem. I don't want to put my money towards clinics or those clinic networks or hospital networks that are part of the problem. That's why I go seeking individual doctors that don't have to adhere to or answer to an administration. And I go seeking health care that doesn't pay into the problem. So if we all get together, it's called consumer activism. If we voted with our dollars, we could help to shape this broken system, to turn it right side up, so that it can be focused on patient outcomes first, which is what we deserve. And that's what we talked about today with Dr. Buchwald. I'm so happy you're here. Please share this with those you care about and share this with those who are just sick and tired of being squished by the boot of this broken medical system, this for-profit medical system. It's really disgusting that these companies are getting away with it, and we've let them. But it happened so slowly that we didn't really see it coming. 

And now we listen to a 90-year-old doctor who's like, “Hey, wait a second. It used to be better, and we need to make changes because it's getting worse and worse and worse.” They are able to squeeze more and more profits out of us and get less and less results. Actually, they get results. They're just really bad outcomes. I want to see all of us be healthy, and we all deserve the best care possible, and that's not what we're being given here.

[0:07:10.4] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I'm your host, Ashley James. This is Episode #502.

I am so excited for today's guest. We have with us an amazing doctor, Ph.D., surgeon MD, teacher, healthcare pioneer, patient advocate, and author. For over 60 years, you've been in this field advocating for us and speaking out about the injustices in the healthcare system, Dr. Henry Buchwald, it's so good to have you here, and I can't wait to talk about your book, Healthcare Upside Down: A Critical Examination of Policy and Practice. We're seeing this as patients. We've been personally experiencing this, and we talk about it all the time on the show. How many times did we go to a doctor and, like we talked about before we hit record — “Oh, your disease is just a little bit. Let's wait till it becomes worse, and then we'll give you a drug.” Well, why not practice prevention? Well, there's money to be made. I believe that when people go to medical school, their heart's in the right place. I don't think that they're evil. I think the system is broken and designed to make a profit. The number one goal should be designed to help people live long, healthy, happy lives. But it's not designed that way. It's designed to make a profit first. And this is the problem. It is the moment that there's money involved then their corruption can pour in. 

So before we jump in to talk about your book, I'd love for you to share with us what happened in your life that made you want to become a doctor. Was there an “aha!” moment when your eyes were opened, and you realized, wow, this system is completely broken?

[0:09:06.1] Dr. Henry Buchwald: Well, thank you, first of all, for having me. It's a pleasure talking with you. I never wanted to be a doctor when I was young. I wasn't one of these kids who said, “I'm going to be a doctor. I'm going to be a doctor.” I liked learning. I like two things — athletics and learning. So as I went through school, every subject interested me. And when I went through college, Columbia College, everything interested me. My friends were going to medical school, so I said, let's go to medical school. The other area which interested me the most in college was philosophy of religion. And I spent some of my courses at the Union Theological Seminary with the great theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. But I didn't want to become a philosophy or religion teacher. So I went to medical school. Everything in medical school interested me. And then, finally, when I got into surgery service in my third year of medical school, I was at an externship in Cooperstown, New York, and I went to Columbia University Medical School College of Physicians and Surgeons, now called the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. And they had a rotation in this wonderful little place in Cooperstown, New York, Mary Imaging Bassett Hospital. So when I went there, it all jelled. Surgery seemed to fit me and, pardon the pun, like a glove. One day, my wife and I were at the lake where we lived close to Lake Otsego, and I listed all the things that were good about medicine, internal medicine, and so on. She said, follow your heart. And it took me about one second; I said surgery.

Surgery has always been my aspiration from thereon in. After my service in the Strategic Air Command on flying status as a flight surgeon, I went to Minnesota, finished my residency, and I've never left there. I am now at Emeritus status, having been a Professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering and the first Wangensteen Chair in Experimental Surgery. During this time period, medicine and the practice of medicine changed. Looking at it from two ends — let's say, three ends — in the beginning, administration served the profession. The doctors, the nurses, the medical schools, the hospitals — administration was there to facilitate. The medical professionals — doctors, nurses — were independent. They did what they and their patients disseminated could be done or should be done. 

And let me get to preventing disease in a couple of minutes into this. And the patients felt they were patients. They went to a doctor. They were being taken care of. And this was epitomized in the patient saying, “My doctor.” What does that mean today? That has changed. It's no longer “my doctor.” It's a conglomerate. It's a bunch of robots. There is no “my doctor” anymore. And the doctor would say, “My patient.” It doesn't mean it's a possessiveness of a patient. It means, “I take responsibility for you.” And so that has been shattered. So if we look at the three elements again, the patient — and this is one of the chapters in my book — the words precede the actions. George Orwell, in his book 1984, knew this. So the patient is no longer called a “patient.” It's called the “client.” That's a business term. And the doctor is no longer called a “doctor.” The doctor is called a “provider,” and the doctor is no longer an independent entity. Essentially, all doctors, except rural physicians or those that work for government agencies, are employees. And then, finally, this administration that used to be the facilitator has become the dominator. The administration is in charge, and they run healthcare like a business model. Actually, I used to go to a nursing station. It's now called a firm. 

And so the changes come, in my lifetime, from a doctor-patient relationship where the patient was a patient, the doctor was a doctor, and the administrator was a facilitator, and it's now turned. That's why I called the book Healthcare Upside Down. Now, the administrator sits on top and dictates what's going to happen to the employee provider, and the patient is left out of this. There are so many examples. For instance, if you call your “doctor” today, you don't end up talking to him or her. You talk to a robot, and probably the robot sends you to another robot, and then they send you to an inquisitor who wants to know everything about you. And really, do you ever talk to the doctor? And then, finally, you might be told, “Well, there are lots of providers. Doctor so and so could see you in two months. But in the meantime, you can see so and so.” Why? Because it's a business model. Because the second so and so has an opening. So you got to fill it to make the money to pay this person. 

And so, it has changed. And what I provide in this book is not only an analysis of how it's changed in the teaching, in the medical school, in the clinic, and in the hospital. I take on COVID, socialized medicine research, public health, etc., and end up with ten recommendations of maybe how to change this and put healthcare right side up. But the whole idea of the book is to draw attention to the fact that things have changed. And to do this, I don't want it to be my opinion. So throughout the book, everything is verified with statistics, with facts. I don't want statistics to be boring, but statistics have to be looked at, and I'll just give one. We have the life expectancy of a third-world country. And every country in Europe, Western Europe or Australia, New Zealand, and your home state Canada has a longer life expectancy. And within our own country, we have disadvantaged populations — native Americans and African-Americans. In every category of world statistics, how we do with heart disease, etc., diabetes, we're nowhere close to the top, except in one category — cost. Our healthcare takes 17% of our gross national product, and the nearest neighbor is at least 4% or 5% further down, and that is Switzerland. 

So, we are upside down, and I don't see any American would tolerate this in any other area. I'll give you an example. If you wanted to take your kids to the ball game, and you called and said, “I want a ticket,” and the person at the other end said, “Yes, we'll send you two tickets, but we'll tell you what day you can come. We'll tell you what teams are playing, and we'll tell you where you'll be seated.” Wouldn't you go? You wouldn't buy a car if the dealership would say, “No, I don't care what you think. You're going to get that car.” But we do this today with health care. We pay for it. That is “we” — everyone pays for it in one way or another; taxes, private insurance. And yet we have no say in what happens. And this transition has come about in my lifetime in medicine. And so I thought, okay, I'm no longer young. Can I at least write a book about it to call some attention, and maybe America can wake up and say we can do better? 

[0:19:10.3] Ashley James: I hope it's okay for me to say you're 90 years old. Is that correct? 

[0:19:14.2] Dr. Henry Buchwald: That is absolutely, and I hope to be older. 

[0:19:19.1] Ashley James: You don't look a day over 75. So you're doing something right. And what I love is that you're standing on your soapbox saying, “Hey, there's something to learn here.” We need to look to the wisdom of those who have come before us, and you, in your lifetime, have seen the change. It's easy for us to believe that how it is now is how it's always been. And that's a fallacy that keeps the wool over our eyes. Well, this is just how it's done. And yet it is not the best way. It's the most profitable way for those in charge and at the expense of us, at the expense of our mental health, emotional health, and of course, our physical health. Our physical health is degrading, and also our financial health. That is, half or more than half of all bankruptcies in the United States are because of medical bills. And yet we have the worst outcomes of all first nations. Like you said, we're the equivalent of third-world nations when it comes to our health outcomes in statistics, and yet we pay the most as a country. We pay the most than any other country in the world, and we get the worst outcomes. How is that even possible? Well, it's possible because, like you said, it is turned upside down; it is a for-profit industry. 

Now, I had my first experience when I was a teenager, and I needed medication temporarily because I had bronchitis or something, and I didn't know as much about holistic health as I do now. So I got a prescription. This is back when I lived in Canada. I remember paying $20 for it. I got so upset because, in Canada, it's supposed to be covered. Healthcare is supposed to be “free” because almost half of our paycheck goes towards paying for these social services like free universal healthcare. And the pharmacist looked at me and said, “Honey, in America, this exact same medication costs $400. So your $20 is not a big deal.” And I went, “Oh, I didn't know that.” And then, when I was visiting the States, I tripped on something. I twisted my ankle and went to the hospital. They took a good twenty X-rays. I thought this was complete overkill because, in Canada, you're lucky to get three. Usually, you only get two X-rays for something like an ankle or a leg. You got one angle, and you got the other angle. That's all you need. There are only two planes. Why would you do more than two? And they kept doing so many X-rays, and it dawned on me. I'm like, this is a for-profit country when it comes to healthcare. And in Canada, it's a “how much can we save on the medical.” 

So in Canada, the pressure on the providers, the pressure on the doctors is, where can I cut costs? So it is still money-driven, and the outcomes are not incentivized. Like, how can I make my patient the healthiest person? Let's focus on that only, even if it costs a bit more. In Canada, no, you got to cut costs. So you only get two X-rays. You don't get three, even if three was optimal. It's not about optimal. It's about cutting costs. And in America, it's about making money. So we're going to take as many X-rays as we can because we can get more money that way. Neither system is perfect because neither system puts the patient first.

[0:23:15.6] Dr. Henry Buchwald: Absolutely correct. It diminished, but we used to have an exodus from Canada for surgery. And why? Because they were on our waiting list. And a waiting list in countries with so-called socialized medicine, such as Canada, has several purposes. One, it delays costs, and also, there's a sort of hidden hope that maybe you die in the meantime and you won't need the surgery. And so we had an influx of people who could afford to come down to Minnesota for heart surgery. And neither system, I won't even say perfect, but neither system is adequate. One thing that people in this country don't realize is that 60% to 65% of our healthcare is socialized medicine. If you count the armed forces, the VA system, the NIH, the Indian services, and above all, Medicare, and medical assistance, you come to about 60% to 65%, and the rest is paid for by private insurance. And these private insurances, their CEOs take home 20 or 30 million a year or more, and all their staff takes home a lot of money. Where does that money come from?

If you have a business model, the business model provides the money. But the money is going to that top administrative group of people. And if you look at the Fortune 500, many of the top companies are in medical care or pharmaceuticals, instruments, and so on. And so they're getting the money. It means the providers themselves — the doctors, the nurses — are not getting the money. And the money is not going into actual patient care. I'm a great believer in capitalism. And if you wanted to invent a hula hoop that's better than any hula hoop that's ever been invented, and you become a billionaire by selling it, that's wonderful. But I just don't think that people at the top administrative level should profit from denying or overdoing healthcare for the actual patients. I don't think socialized medicine is the answer, and I don't think our current system of insurance medicine is the answer, either.

[0:26:25.4] Ashley James: Is there a country out there that's doing it right? 

[0:26:28.7] Dr. Henry Buchwald: I don't know. Socialized medicine may work for some countries that have a smaller population and a uniform population. Every time you look at that, you find some countries, for example, Austria. Most of the Austrians are happy. The people are happy. The doctors are happy. But there are flaws in it. Is there a perfect system? Probably none. As I said at the end of my book, I gave sort of ten suggestions. I can't change the healthcare system. But I give ten suggestions, and one of them is healthcare through not government per se and not-for-profits per se, but through some sort of fraternal organization. For instance, a huge fraternal organization is the postal workers and the Teamsters. Why shouldn't these groups self-insure or work through a group that will offer what they need, like a USAA? I belong to USAA because I'm a veteran, and their insurances are excellent policies, and it's a fraternal organization. 

These things can exist. And the unions, when they meet with management, and management says, “We can spare you some dollars.” If we eliminate, let's say, obesity surgery or eliminate this; they have to say, “No, we have to treat all diseases. We have to do this, and you guys have to take less, and we'll maybe pay a little more.” So if the people who are the end beneficiaries of healthcare can maybe get together in their fraternal groups, maybe this is a way of financing healthcare. But the current system is upside down, and if you just say it's a business model, it's a failure of a business model. What business should succeed by charging the most and giving something that's inferior? That's not good business.

[0:29:16.0] Ashley James: That's broken into parts because if we look at it, right now, we're talking about health insurance or healthcare coverage. And that's one piece of the pie that's broken, but there are other pieces of the pie that's broken, and of them is, like you said, the organizations that employ the doctors themselves dictate how the doctors should provide care. It's called the practice of medicine because doctors should be allowed to practice it. In the last few years, we came across something we've never before had, in that doctors got their hands tied. They were not allowed to practice medicine when it came to treating patients with COVID-19. The institutions that employed them said, “You are not allowed to provide these drugs. You are not allowed to do this. You're not allowed to do that. This is the only way we're doing it.” And that made a lot of people very uncomfortable because providers and doctors have always been allowed to practice medicine. But the firms and the institutions that employ them, or the hospital networks that employ them, are the ones making the rules. And so the doctors found themselves with their hands tied, unable to help their patients the way they saw best. 

The doctor should be empowered. They should be given the power to make the close calls because they're eye to eye with their patients, looking them in the eye and going, “I think that this is what would work.” And the doctors are the ones who've gone to medical school, who can read the latest literature, who can be up on the science. Medical decisions should not be made by people who don't have that science background. Instead, the decisions were being made by the institutions, the firms, the hospital networks, by administrators, not doctors. And that scares me. Can you speak to that? That section of healthcare is incredibly dangerous, people are dying, and people are suffering because the doctors' hands are being tied and the medical decisions, in some cases, are being made by administrators.

[0:31:28.0] Dr. Henry Buchwald: I agree with you. Forget all the controversy about COVID-19. But administrators in just ordinary times have come to dictate what operation should be done because of time in the hospital and what drugs can be used. Administrators like to get people into the hospital. Let's say a surgery patient — obviously, I know the most about surgery — comes in, let's say, the night before a surgery, oh there's a lot of money to be made. There are X-rays, there are labs, there's everything. That is great. And then comes surgery. Oh, there's a lot of money to be made. But then the patient is in bed for a day or so and recovering and then paying. That's not much money to be made. And so there is a push to get the patient out of the hospital. From the administrator's point of view, let's get them into the hospital, and then let's get them out as fast as possible. And this is being sold as this is the best thing for the patient. It may not be the best thing for the patient. It may not be the so-called “doctor,” now the “provider vendor” would like to do. But often, their hands are tied. And so many days after a gallbladder, one day you're out, and so on. Making individual decisions have to be justified over and over again rather than thwarting a rule. You have so many days to get this kind of patient out, so many days to get this kind of patient out. It was very different. 

Let me give you anecdotes of a retelling. When I was a medical student at Columbia, my wife had the flu. And I somehow talked about it or mentioned that my wife had the flu on rounds. And a distinguished professor of medicine, Dr. Pereira, overheard me. At 8:00 that evening — and we lived in a fifth-floor walk-up — on the door, there was a knock. I opened the door, and there was Dr. Pereira with his little black bag. He said I heard your wife may have the flu. I came to listen to her lungs if that's okay with you, and make sure she doesn't have pneumonia. And, of course, I welcomed the man in. He saw my wife, and he left. As he left, he said, “I expect that when you graduate, you will carry on this tradition of taking care of other physicians. So there was “medical courtesy.” But today, there are at least three or four laws on the books that do not allow doctors to do pro bono work or give medical courtesy to fellow physicians or to anybody. I mean, I know in my practice that patients who couldn't pay, I didn't charge them. But today, that's against the law. Unless you do it in an organized fashion. If your institution says, “We, as an institution, are going to help this Native American tribe,” that's okay. But you, as an individual, once again, the independence of the physician, cannot say, “Hey, listen. Forget about it.”

My first patient I misdiagnosed. I had two months before I needed to go, or wanted to go, to the school of aviation medicine to get into the air force on flying status. And so I went in what sort of a locum tenens in a community up in the mountains of New York, and a woman came to me and had lymph nodes at the back of her neck. And coming from a specialty institution, I said, “We have to go to the hospital and get some tests tomorrow morning.” And in my mind, I said, she may have lymphoma. The next day she called me, since I couldn't go to the hospital, “Can you come to my house?” And I thought, terrible, terrible. So I went over, and she had a big rash. She got German measles from her kids. And so I was wrong, and I was happy to be wrong. She was not a wealthy woman. She was in an impoverished area, and I didn't charge her for that. So it was a different time, and nobody would put me in jail for not charging her. So that has changed. So many rules, as you said, or even laws, are placed upon the practice of medicine today. And, of course, one of the main things that have become so evident is the loss of a physician, the loss of a personal doctor. 

And again, if we look at personal experiences, 1st of February 2016, I was thrown from a horse. Now, I've been riding horses all my life, and I was on a ranch, and usually, I went on roundup sitting and rode a lot. And anyway, for the first time in my life, the horse threw me. And I had eleven broken ribs, a comminuted scapular, a displaced lung was pushed over, and so on. So I was in the hospital for thirty-three days, half of which was in intensive care and then in rehab. Well, in intensive care — this was a hospital — every day, a new person would show up, usually a very, very young person, and he would say, “How are you?” And I would say, “Well, all right.” And he would say, “Good. Bye-bye.” And I never see him again. There was never a time somebody came over and said, “I am in charge of intensive care, and I'm your doctor.” It never happened. And then, when they transferred me to rehab, it was wonderful. The same hospital, but it was wonderful. It was run by an old man, relatively at the time. He was in his sixties and seventies, and I asked him, “How come this is so different on both sides?” And he said, “Well if they ever try to change my division, rehab, I'm leaving.” So, I was in that transition period. And that's what's happening. I never had a physician at the time. It would have been nice to have had a physician. 

[0:39:33.2] Ashley James: The gentleman who was in charge of the rehab, can you illustrate how your care was there versus the ER, where people were just coming and going? “How are you doing? Okay, bye.” And there was no point where you could communicate with the same person through your care in the hospital. There was not one liaison for you. It was just a bunch of random doctors and healthcare providers, which is very disorienting. But that's the experience now when people go to the hospital. And then you get upgraded to rehab; tell us what that care was like.

[0:40:18.4] Dr. Henry Buchwald:  Well, first of all, at 7:00 or so every morning, he showed up in my room. He made rounds. And we at least had a small conversation. He outlined the program where I would get out of bed, walk again with a walker, and then walk without a walker. He assigned me physical therapists, mostly people who would walk me, and then exercise therapists, who were superb and who were happy. And the same person came back the next day. I got to know them; they got to know me. It really helped me with rehabilitation there because this man was in charge, and everybody worked on the plan, and I had therapists who knew me and worked with me. It wasn't such a thing that every day I saw a different face, who really didn't care about much of anything, and I would see somebody else the next day. It was because he was an old-fashioned practitioner. 

[0:41:43.2] Ashley James: And you saw the same team. You were part of a team, right? 

[0:41:46.4] Dr. Henry Buchwald: Right. 

[0:41:48.2] Ashley James: And they had a goal for you, and it was a team of health providers working with you, for you, the patient, to get you to the end goal. You all were working together towards that goal, and you felt supported.

[0:42:02.6] Dr. Henry Buchwald: Absolutely. I think you said it perfectly.

 [0:42:06.5] Ashley James: So you said this was the transition time. You've illustrated what it looked like 60 years ago in medicine, where we could see it on black and white TV like Leave it to Beaver. Like, you go to your family doctor, and your family doctor sees your parents and sees your grandparents. It was the same practice and the same doctor. You had the same dentist, and you saw the same nurse. It felt very reassuring that someone knew you for most of your life and was able to guide you through your transitions in life because they really knew you, and they knew your family. They knew your medical history as opposed to the telemedicine or going to a clinic, and they're complete strangers. They're not really checking in on your health records. Your health records are incomplete. They really don't know your health history, and it's like getting in and out as fast as possible. He can't see a doctor for more than fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes would be amazing. People usually see doctors for nine minutes or less. And they don't really know you. How can they provide care if they don't really know you and your medical history, and you're not just a bunch of labs on a piece of paper? There's more to you. And so that's what healthcare is now. But back then, someone really knew you. And there was definitely a sense that people were happy. No, not everyone. It's not right to paint a picture that everyone is happy. But they were happier people in healthcare as teams, working with you towards goals to better serve you, the patient. And now it's the opposite. It's upside down, like your book illustrates. 

I'm sure it happened slowly because I think people would have really revolted if, overnight, this healthcare system had changed. But can you say approximately when did you start to see red flags that it was really going south?

[0:44:07.1] Dr. Henry Buchwald: I should say it went slowly. It never went overnight. As you said, people would have revolted. I think maybe twenty years ago, it started this pattern. I think in the 21st century, we started the top-down administrative rule of medicine, the loss of independence of the medical staff, and the feeling by the patient that they really didn't have a doctor. They had some sort of conglomerate. Do you know what I'd like to do if you would let me? Can I read you a couple of paragraphs from the end of my book, from my epilogue?

[0:45:06.5] Ashley James: I would love that. Yes, please.

[0:45:08.6] Dr. Henry Buchwald: Alright. “The opening moment of life, birth, involves healthcare for mother and child. Growing up and achieving adulthood involve healthcare. Being able to live a mature life, to work, to love, and to have children, is dependent on healthcare. And the final chapter, aging, can be realized and even made pleasurable by healthcare. Healthcare therefore enters and comes to life from beginning to end. Healthcare is not a commodity but a necessity. Healthcare needs to be treated with respect. The establishment, practice, and financing of healthcare affect everyone. It should not be neglected by anyone and must be the concern of all of us.”

“I've been a doctor for sixty years, and during those years, at times, I've also been a patient. I've held the hands of my patients. I've been the one whose hand has been held. I have received trust and given trust. The therapeutic decisions my patients and I reached were not subject to the interdiction of a third party. I do not want to have my life's role as a physician and surgeon by joining the process usurped by an ‘administocracy.' I coined that word. As a patient, I do not want to hold hands with a robot and confide my health problems to a faceless entity. As a doctor, a patient, and a person, I reject the currently shattered doctor-patient relationship. Healthcare is upside-down like I said it, right side up.” That's the end of my book.

[0:47:06.5] Ashley James: I love it. How can we best navigate this broken system?

[0:47:12.4] Dr. Henry Buchwald: I don't know an answer to that. I mean, when I first wrote the book, my daughters and my wife said to me, “So what? What are you going to do? All you've done is complain. You've put down the facts in this, the statistics to back up the complaints, and you've told the truth and all that. But what are you offering?” And I said, “Well, I look upon myself like the little boy in Hans Christian Andersen's story of The Emperor's New Clothes. Here comes the emperor walking down the street, and he's naked. His retainers are holding an invisible rope, and a little boy says, “The emperor has no clothes!” And then I always loved the line in that book which says, “Hear him, hear him!” And I am hoping that people will hear me.

Then I said, “Okay, I'll write a chapter with at least some suggestions.” And so the last chapter are ten suggestions. The role of medical schools, the role of individuals, the role of bodies of professionals like the American College of Surgeons, American College of Physicians, AMA, the role of government, the role of politicians, and most importantly, the role of media, people like yourself, to get the word out there, and then the role of fraternal institutions that I touched upon, and the final thing is, the role of everybody. This is not something that people can say, “Well, it's not my concern.” It doesn't matter how young you are. It doesn't matter how healthy you are. The odds are, one day, you're going to be a patient for something. And if that's true, what kind of care do you want? And if you're in the healthcare profession like I was, or I still consider myself to be in, I always considered it a calling. It was a calling for me. It wasn't a job. And I took joy in my work, and people have asked me, “What were the happiest moments for you?” I said, “My family.” And “What was the next happiest moment for you in your life?” I said, “Being in the operating room.” I love being a surgeon. I love taking care of people. 

Today, if that is missing, how can people be happy in the field? But with that comes what we've talked about. For instance, I not only show in my patients before we elected from surgery as a joint decision. But I saw them at the moment of surgery in the morning. I was in the hospital at six, and I saw the patient. I saw the relatives. People don't do that anymore. And then, after the case, if the patient was still half-asleep, I went out to see the relatives, and I talked to them. And then, I would see the patient when the patient woke up. And then, before I went home, I would make rounds and see the patient and again talk to the relatives if they were there. And that's the way I practiced. It was a calling, and it gave me joy. That's missing when you don't have patients but you just have clients. And you do things as a big amalgamated group. Well, I don't have to go see a patient. The nurse will see the patient. I don't have to do this. Somebody else will do this. And today, that's very true. Surgeons are kept in the operating room because that's where they can make the money for the whole group. And so we have people who can't make that much money in doing something over a period of time, and they can do the other things that a doctor really should be doing, holding the patient's hand.

[0:52:18.5] Ashley James: Right. There's a big billboard in the university district in Seattle that has a picture of a doctor, and it says, ‘This is the number one surgeon in Seattle,' or ‘This is the number one doctor in Seattle.' ‘Come to our hospital network because this is the number one doctor.' And I spoke to a doctor in the area, and he goes, “You know how they determine that he's the number one doctor?” And I'm thinking, “Outpatient outcomes? He must be incredible. You must be divinely guided to having the best outcomes.” And he said, “No, that's not determined by outcomes. It's not determined by patient care at all. They determine who the best doctor is by how much money he makes for the hospital system.” So when you're sold on, ‘we have the number one doctor,' ‘this is the number one doctor in this hospital,' that's the one you don't want to see you. You want to see the worst doctor, according to the hospital, because they're not going to put you through needless tests. 

Another thing that the doctor said to me is, “If you can help it, never go to a hospital in the last week of the month because, just like police, you definitely don't come to a complete stop at stop signs and don't speed in the last week of the month because cops have quotas. Some of them are given quotas for how many speeding tickets they have to write and how many citations they have to give. And doctors and hospital networks have to fill a certain percentage of beds and a certain amount of MRIs. They have to accrue dollars and profits. And so if you come in, they're like, “Well, you know, we could have handled this with an ultrasound, but I'm just going to send him in for an MRI.” It wasn't medically necessary, but it would have filled his quota. They might do that. They're incentivized because they have a mortgage to pay, and they have been put under pressure from the system that they belong to. The organization that they belong to — the firm — puts pressure on the providers, the doctors, to not put the patients first in every aspect of our healthcare system. It is how much money can be squeezed out of these patients and out of the insurance. And the insurance is going to do the opposite and try not to provide the care also. So we're left really kicked to the curb. 

And then you touched on it — that we have the underprivileged, the victims of the system. We're all victims of this broken system. And even further, the statistics show Native Americans, African-Americans, the list goes on and on, especially the disabled, the elderly, that they have worse outcomes because they're marginalized. They're not listened to. African American women, when they go to a hospital to give birth across the board, have worse outcomes and more deaths than any other race. I'm thinking, what is going on? But if they do home births, they have just as much success as any other race. So it isn't that African-American women genetically will just die more or have more infections. In general, it's that the healthcare system is not listening to them. It's treating them differently than those of other races. 

So what is up with the underprivileged in the medical system? I know I'm asking for help. I'm asking, how do we navigate? But maybe where you could help us, because again, how we fix this problem is we have to stop feeding into it. And that's kind of dangerous because what are we going to do? Stop paying for insurance? Stop going to the hospital? They know they've got us. They've got us by the neck. But we have to figure it out. Maybe we've got a lobby. Maybe we've got to elect the right people. Maybe we've got to write letters. Maybe we have to stand up and start taking action and do whatever we can. 

I like the idea of finding insurance that isn't traditional insurance, like healthcare. I actually just did an interview about this. It's like a health insurance alternative that actually covers everything, but it's a nonprofit. Listeners can go to for more information about that. So I like that idea of not putting your dollars into the evil system, the broken system, I should say. And we can't go to the hospital if we need a hospital. But maybe we got to do research and find a hospital network that's smaller, that has better outcomes, that has less pressure on the providers to make money rather than put the patients first. But maybe you could help us with this. How can we self-advocate? As a doctor, I'm sure you appreciate when someone says, “Hey Doc, I have a few questions,” and they start self-advocating. Can you teach us how we should self-advocate while we navigate this broken system? And especially those who have been made out to be victims of this system, in that they typically have worse outcomes. How can they self-advocate?

[0:57:48.9] Dr. Henry Buchwald: I don't know if I have any answer to that. I guess, reasoning. I guess, conversation. I think you need goodwill, and you need people at the other end who are willing and able and have the moral commitment to do better. To sort of give you an example: when I was in medical school, usually all major teaching hospitals associated with the medical school, such as mine, Columbia Johns Hopkins, where my wife's uncle was a cardiologist, had three distinct areas geographically. One was private and at Columbia Presbyterian in Harkins Pavillion. It catered to celebrities. I took care of several celebrities, or I was a card in the wheel as an intern. But they had private rooms. They had a fancy restaurant, etc. And then there was semi-private, and those were people who had insurance and maybe had two people or four people in a room. And it was very obvious they had a doctor, or in my role as they were under a surgeon's care. And then there were the ward patients. There were twenty-four people in a ward or more, like twenty-eight, separated by curtains, and they were given the care of the house staff, who were sometimes better than anything else. But primarily, they had no private doctor, and they had essentially no insurance or very little insurance. 

Then I came to Minnesota, and under Owen Wangensteen, one of the greatest names in American surgery, I went on the surgery service, and there were only rooms for four people, and for very sick people, one to a room. And I said, “Which is the ward? Which is semi-private? Which is private?” And they said, “There is no such thing. Everybody is treated equally.” The house staff is responsible for everybody, and the attending staff, the senior sergeants, are responsible for everybody. So when we made the rounds, we could enter a room where there would be a patient who had insurance, a patient who had zero insurance, and a patient who was extremely wealthy, and we had no knowledge of what their financial situation was. The attending — and then I came, of course, I was the attending. I was the professor — would go to each bedside with the same house staff, and we treated each patient equally. Whether I was paid as the surgeon or not paid at all, every patient was treated equally as a patient. And so here was an institution that in 1960 was doing that, and other institutions had to follow suit. We have to get away from this business model, and we have to do it on a patient model.

[1:02:00.3] Ashley James: I so agree. I am glad that you're opening up this conversation so we can examine it and we can say, “Hey, this isn't acceptable.” It's been going this way for a while. I know you said it's been the last twenty years. But in looking at the healthcare system, right around Nixon's era, doctors were practicing medicine as best they could to help cancer patients. And some of them were using juicing, liver cleanses, the things that supported the liver, and what you would call alternative medicine. They were doing that in conjunction with the medicine that they had access to at the time. And then there was this war on cancer that came out, and all of a sudden, if it wasn't pharmaceutical, it wasn't allowed. And only oncologists — so we've developed this — that only oncologists are allowed to treat cancer. And they're only allowed to use what is allowed to be used. They can't go outside of that. 

There are things that, in Europe, they're allowed to use, like ozone therapy, and they have studies to back it up. It's not quackery. And they have these chambers that they put them in, that increase oxygen, and they're finding that they're getting really good results. In conjunction with everything they're doing, they're increasing their usage of these different alternative modalities that are proven successful and have better outcomes. And like you said, we see better patient outcomes across the board in Europe, and yet those are not allowed in the hospital systems here. So who is at the top saying, “This is not allowed.”? When we look at the government and the rule-makers, they're being lobbied by those who are making that money — big pharma. The pharmaceutical industry is also making sure they have their foot in the door, stopping anything that could help positive patient outcomes if it means cutting profits for them. 

So you've talked about how it's a broken system on multiple fronts. We have policies that are driven by administrators to make profits for the company, the institution, the hospital, or the clinic institution. We have enough time in the hands of the doctors. We have the pharmaceutical industry with their foot in government and policy-making also to make sure that we're not cutting profits for the pharmaceutical companies. And then we have the insurance, which is equally as corrupt because they're seeing where they can cut their costs, meaning their costs are our care. So at every level, it's broken. 

One of my mentors is an old-school naturopathic physician, and before that, he was a large animal vet, pathologist, and research scientist. He's slightly younger than you. I think he's eighty-six right now. He grew up on a beef farm in Missouri, and he saw it as a kid that we would feed calf pellets which had lots of minerals and vitamins to prevent them from getting sick. And he said to his dad, “Why don't we make sure we're taking all the nutrients we need so we can prevent getting sick too?” Because if you had a cow that was undernourished and they got sick, and then they got an infection, then it would drive the cost of beef up, and your burger would be $50 instead of $12. They keep the cost down by making sure the cows are as healthy as possible, practicing preventive medicine. But where's our preventive medicine now? Now, it's “Wait till you get sick enough so I can put you on a drug.” 

So the entire thing is upside down because they're making profits off of us. If we flip it back, right side up, like your book talks about, where you put the patient at the absolute top, and everyone is serving us, and the ultimate goal is to make us healthy, money will happen. Everyone will get paid. It may not be millions of dollars for you guys, but everyone will get paid. Just make sure the patient is the healthiest and the happiest. And that's the number one goal. That's what we would love, but that's not what we have. And so we have to fight for it because we got blindfolded somehow, and slowly they slipped in and started creeping in more, and they saw, “Oh, we can make more money, and we can make more money.” How far can this go? How much can they bleed us? I mean, how obvious is it? Like you said, we're paying the most money in the whole world, and we have the worst outcomes. How far can they take it? I think they've taken it far enough. So I'm glad you are bringing the fight and enlightening us and showing us that we can stand up because we have to go back to the way it was because the way it was, we definitely had better outcomes. And you've looked at the statistics in the last sixty years since they've made these changes in the last twenty years. Can you look at patient outcomes in America? As a result of this slow shift into making healthcare completely upside down, can you see the outcomes are even worse as a result?

[1:07:31.9] Dr. Henry Buchwald: I think you just have to look at COVID. We're still in COVID. When we reached the million mark of deaths, dead people from COVID, that was the largest per capita. I don't know if I can believe the statistics from China or from Russia, but in all other countries where you can believe the statistics, the European countries, New Zealand, etc., we were way ahead. Why should our medical system, our care of people, our prevention, — as you keep saying, prevention, prevention, prevention — why should we have the largest number of deaths per capita? Would you say it is so true that whatever makes money rules politics, and politics ruled the day in so many areas? It's ridiculous the state that we treated COVID. We're still having COVID. But we didn't do well with COVID. Maybe it's going away. Other things have gone away. The Spanish flu went away without vaccination. Maybe this will go away. I hope so. Or maybe we'll settle in like the flu season every year or common colds. But certainly, as a nation, we didn't do that well. And here was a national emergency, and we didn't do very well at all. 

[1:09:27.3] Ashley James: I had a doctor on my show a few years ago during the pandemic, Dr. Brownstein. He's been a medical doctor practicing for over thirty years, or it might be forty. He's very well-versed in being a family physician, and he has some alternatives that are soundly in science. He recommends certain nutraceuticals to support the immune system in addition to other preventions. And while you're going through any kind of viral experience, upper respiratory viral experience, he has some stuff he's been doing for his entire practice, and he gets great results. So he wrote a blog about it. He has a blog. He's had it since the nineties, where he explained, “Hey, everyone. Here's what I'm doing in my practice.” He had five hundred patients with COVID. All five hundred of them survived. Maybe if he'd treated a million, five hundred is still a small subsection of the population, but he had such great results. He published it, just sharing the information, and the government contacted him and said, “You can't do that.” And he said, “What do you mean I can't do that? I've been sharing my blog talking about natural medicine in conjunction with everything else I do as a physician since the 90s.” And they said, “No, you're not allowed to say that there's a treatment for COVID. You're not allowed to.” And he goes, “What are you talking about? I'm practicing medicine.” They said, “You have to take it down,” and then they started to take legal action against him, so he sought a constitutional lawyer. The constitutional lawyer said, “Under any circumstance, I'd say fight this.” But the government is saying no one's allowed to say you can treat COVID because they would lose the Emergency Use Authorization. The vaccines back then weren't approved, so they were still in the Emergency Use Authorization. And therefore, if there was a proven treatment, they would lose that. So this was legal. This was political. 

Again, this was not a doctor being allowed to practice medicine. So he ended up writing a book about it. But he had to take his entire blog down. And this is where we see again an example that doctors should be allowed to utilize all their tools, not just pharmaceuticals, and not just what the government wants, which is administrators making decisions and not doctors making decisions. When it's safe, it's proven is healthy, it's effective, we should be allowed to have access to that information. So we should be allowed to make these decisions and be given this information. But the information was prevented by the government because they were protecting the Emergency Use Authorization at the time. So we see the corruption, and we need to protect ourselves as individuals. We need to fight and stand for what we believe. We definitely want to buy your book and check it out. Of course, the link to the book is going to be in the show notes of today's podcast at — Healthcare Upside Down: A Critical Examination of Policy and Practice. I think we should buy it for our doctor, although no one has a doctor anymore. So buy it for the next doctor you see. Leave it in the waiting room at your clinic. 

I actually see naturopathic physicians go through medical school just like MD's. What's really interesting is in the states and provinces where they are licensed to be physicians, the insurance covers them, and you're allowed to see them for sixty to ninety minutes at a time instead of that 15-minute window for MD's. So, when I see a naturopath, I see her for a full hour, and I appreciate that. I have to seek out and build a relationship with a doctor that sees me twice a year that we check in with my lab. I want that model that you, as a doctor, grew up in, that model where you see the same doctor. So as a patient, I recommend you go out and find a physician that isn't in a big network, either a naturopath, an osteopath, or a medical doctor, that's in their own clinic or at least the smallest network possible. The smaller the network, hopefully, the policy that's tying their hands. Either that or find one that's independent. You got to go out of your way sometimes to find someone as independent and then advocate for yourself. Ask questions, like you said. Be curious, and ask questions. Another thing is, be willing to fire your doctor. As long as your life isn't in danger, not in the ER bleeding out, and you're not in an immediate medical situation, it is okay to fire the doctor. If you don't feel you're getting the best care, fire that entire institution and go find another clinic or find an independent doctor. 

I also had a gentleman on the show recently who's an advocate because his daughter was killed by the policy in a hospital, and he is working with lawyers and speaking out. And he says the best thing you could do is research all the hospitals in your neighborhood, in your area, or find an independent hospital. Find a hospital that is in the smallest network possible and look at its outcomes; just do your research. Know the clinics, know the hospitals, so you can make the right choice when you go to the right one. And definitely be willing to talk to the doctor and ask questions. 

When I was at the ER with my son a few years ago, they started putting needles into him, and I turned and said, “Wait a second, I need informed consent.” And she turned to me, and she actually was surprised, and then happy, and I was so relieved because I thought maybe a doctor would be angry at me for saying that. And she goes, “We're administering magnesium” because we came in with respiratory distress. And then she proceeded to explain, “This is not a drug. We're putting magnesium intravenously. And then, every time they did something to him, she came to me, and she said, “This is what we're doing. These are the possible side effects. These are the alternatives.” She gave me true, informed consent, but I had to ask for it. And I believe we should ask for it. Ask for the known side effects. What are the alternatives? What kind of outcomes do you expect? And we should work with the doctors to advocate for our own health. 

I'm very happy to have you on the show and to expose this information. Is there anything that you came here to say that you didn't get to say yet? Is there a message that you definitely want to make sure that you hit home with us?

[1:15:58.7] Dr. Henry Buchwald: Well, I agree. Everybody has to think this over, and let's just say, is this what we want? And I think the answer is no. And then how can we make it better? Again, I don't think the individual can. I think I've seen individual doctors revolt against individual patients. They don't get anywhere. You have to use your group. Now it could be a professional group, like the American Medical Association, and it could be a union. A major union that says, “Listen, our job is not only to get the highest wages and shortest hours. Our job is to get the best healthcare.” And they have to become knowledgeable and negotiate for that. 

So I guess my message is for every American to realize that we're not getting our money's worth. To get our money's worth, you have to do something about it. And probably the best way to do something about it is through some fraternal organization. And a little sidebar to that, I'm for entrepreneurs. As I said, I believe in capitalism. Now let's just say an entrepreneur says, “I'm going to start a medical center where you will see individual doctors. They will be your doctors. I'm not going to take an exorbitant multi, multi-million-dollar income home. You don't have to do the first thing you do, come in and pay a co-payment before anybody will even say hello. I'll do all that. And I think that person might get a tremendous following and make money for themselves, for the organization and have happy patients, and do medicine right. Entrepreneurship and capitalism can come in and win this day. They just don't have to be greedy for the top but give what they are supposed to give, and then everybody will be served. So certainly, I'm in no way against business in medicine, but it has to be business first for the patient and not for a client. Thank you. 

[1:18:55.3] Ashley James: Yes. And the clinics and the hospitals that organize that model will transition to move to them. If someone invents a better system that is pro-patient, they will get all the business. So if anyone's listening that has the capacity to do that, go do it because people will navigate towards that. People want to vote with their dollars. And right now, people don't even know that there is an alternative, that there's a better way. But we need to invent a better way, and we need to fight for it. I need to get your book and read it to really understand and have the full picture — Healthcare Upside Down: A Critical Examination of Policy and Practice

Dr. Henry Buchwald, it has been so amazing to have you on the show. Thank you so much for advocating for all of us.

[1:19:43.9] Dr. Henry Buchwald: And thank you ever so much for having me. It's been a great pleasure. 

[1:19:49.5] Ashley James: I hope you enjoyed today's episode with Dr. Henry Buchwald. It definitely gives us a lot to think about and how important our individual choices are because, collectively, we can make a difference. We can fight back; we can push back. And if you'd like to fight back and push back, provide your family or just yourself, if you're single, with better healthcare, if you live in the United States and you are sick of paying into a system that's broken. Check out and check out the previous episode, Episode #501, for more information. 

You can always reach out to me through our Facebook group, the Learn True Health Facebook group. Come join it, reach out there, or you can write me I'd love to hear from you. If you do decide to jump in and purchase that healthcare for yourself, then let me know. I'd love to hear your results. I have been talking to some others who have that coverage, and they've been sharing with me amazing stories about how well they've been treated. They are able to go to any doctor they want, in any state they want. They can get any surgery. They can go to any hospital, get any surgery. 

I have a friend where the surgeon wanted to do a specific kind of surgery with a newer apparatus that's 3D printed, with surgical material, and it would have been a much safer, shorter surgery. It would have meant faster healing time, and recovery time, that for the rest of her life, she'd be better off, and the insurance company said, “No, we're only going to pay for this type of surgery.” We have to cut her open six inches and do a bunch of other stuff that makes it twelve weeks of recovery, and they would not cover that. The surgeon went to battle and fought them and fought them, and the insurance company said, “No.” And if it had been this alternative to health insurance, — if it had been that one, the one we talked about in Episode #501, they would have covered it, and it would have actually been cheaper for her. This is just mind-blowing that we've been conned by these industries, and they keep squeezing us and squeezing us. 

I've been paying for health insurance for so many years. It has been over nine years, and every year I noticed that I was paying more for my family. I'm paying more, and not just because we're getting older, but seriously paying hundreds of dollars more for less and less coverage. And in the last year, it was ridiculous. It went up several hundred dollars per month, and it felt almost like they cut our coverage in half. It was crazy, and they're going to keep squeezing and squeezing us because they can, and we need to push back. I'm calling for a healthcare revolution. We need reform. We have to stand up for ourselves and do it ourselves because the people we elect into office are bought by these industries. And so we have to vote with our dollars. 

Collectively, we have the power to overthrow a corrupt industry. And I've seen it time and time again. When consumers decide to cancel culture, cancel that old thing, it goes down the tubes. So with our dollars, we can, as collectively, make the right choices. If all of us follow our values and put our money towards the practitioners, the healthcare, that alternative to insurance — for example, if we put our money towards maybe smaller run clinics, individual clinics, instead of the group clinics, where we're going to actually receive better care, more individualized care. If we collectively do that, we can overthrow it. 

So make sure that with every purchase you make, put it towards something that you believe in. Buy organic. Buy local. Connect with local farms. Buy from them. Put your money towards things that are going to build your health and also build the health of our future.

So it's Check it out. Let me know what you think. Thank you for being a listener, and thank you for sharing these episodes with those you care about. And if you haven't already, go back to this Episode #500 because that was a really amazing episode filled with some wonderful stories of success. And who doesn't like to hear stories of success? I know I certainly do. Stay tuned. I have a bunch of episodes I'm going to be releasing, and they've all been really great interviews. So I can't wait for you to hear them. Have yourself a great rest of your day. 

Get Connected with Dr. Henry Buchwald!


Books by Dr. Henry Buchwald

Healthcare Upside Down: A Critical Examination of Policy and Practice

Surgical Renaissance in the Heartland: A Memoir of the Wangensteen Era


Jun 14, 2023

For all the details visit 


501: The Most Comprehensive and Affordable Health Coverage

In Episode 501 of the Learn True Health podcast, the host, Ashley James, introduces Megan Williams, who discusses a better and more affordable alternative to traditional health insurance in the United States. Megan explains that she discovered a system that offers comprehensive and affordable coverage aligned with holistic and preventive healthcare values. They discuss the challenges of navigating the healthcare market and the benefits of this alternative system. Megan highlights that the system is non-profit and aims to provide a solution without someone profiting from it. They address concerns about coverage limitations and the simplicity and effectiveness of the program.


  • The importance of having access to holistic and preventive medicine that aligns with our values
  • Introducing a system that offers affordable and comprehensive health coverage
  • The challenges faced by self-employed individuals and the flaws in the current healthcare system
  • A non-profit, non-insurance alternative that aims to provide a solution for healthy individuals seeking alternative healthcare options
  • The system offers freedom and control over healthcare choices, including access to chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, and telemedicine services.
  • The need for accessible and affordable healthcare options

[00:02.1] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I'm your host, Ashley James. This is Episode 501.


I am so excited for today's guest. We have Megan Williams on the show of the system. I've been looking high and low, for years, for a better way to do health insurance because I'm self-employed. My podcast is my income and all the other things I do like holistic health coaching. I'm self-employed, and so for years, I've had to buy my own health insurance, which usually our family of three pays $1,400 a month for an okay health insurance. It's not that great because we still have to pay $9,500 out of pocket before we really start getting coverage. It's just been very expensive, and we can only see our chiropractor ten times a year. We can only see our naturopath a few times a year. We get one free visit a year, and then everything else is just pretty much out of pocket. It's been very stressful to have to pay for our own health insurance. 

Talking to a lot of my friends, even their health insurance is covered by their jobs, and it's really not that great. A lot of my friends either end up buying secondary health insurance to try to pat on and compensate for what they have, or some of my friends simply don't have health insurance at all. I have one who just had surgery to remove a benign tumor, and she doesn't have health insurance. It's really scary out there. Her husband's work provides health insurance, but the insurance they sell to the employees is so incredibly expensive and has way worse coverage than I have at $1,400 a month. 

I'm from Canada, originally, so this concept of paying for health insurance and having to go on the market every year and go on the exchange — I have a broker that I talk to — and having to shop for your health insurance to get locked into for a year; it's been super stressful. I look at spreadsheets and compare them all. But at the end of the day, I've never had a good experience with any health insurance company since I've been self-employed back in 2010, so I've been looking and looking and looking.

I have a friend who was in a health share system, and she had some good experiences, she had some bad experiences. I've talked to a few other friends that have done more alternative styles. Some had really great stories; some were okay. And nothing was as bad as the traditional health insurance that we have now. But I've been looking. There's got to be a company out there. There's got to be a better way. Because I want to have access to preventive, holistic medicine. This is what I invested in. I invest in my health. So I want my health insurance to also be something that reflects my values. I know that a lot of my listeners want a type of health insurance that reflects their values of focusing on freedom of choice, focusing on being able to make holistic preventive medicine affordable. 

That's how I found Megan Williams. So in walks, Megan teaches me all about this amazing company, and I'm really, really, really excited. This is for people in the United States. I get it, my Canadian listeners. Maybe you'll just find this interesting simply because it's like looking at a different planet when it comes to how it works in America. But most of my listeners are in the United States, and even if you do have adequate coverage through your work, you might have kids that have outgrown your system. If they're 27 years old, that can't be in your coverage anymore. And there are so many people that don't have good health insurance simply because it's unaffordable. 

Megan, I'm really excited to have you today because you're going to teach us about your system that helps us to have affordable coverage that's comprehensive and that aligns with our values so that we can go see a chiropractor. We can see our licensed naturopathic doctor. We can get the lab work once a year to look at everything and make sure that we're on the right track — everything that I normally go to, all the cool stuff I normally go to. And then, of course, having the whoopsie daisies in life, like the ER visit because your kid broke his arm or something like that; that's all covered as well. So I'm very excited to talk to you today because I think that this is a tool that's going to help so many of my listeners, and it's so needed. And it's so frustrating and heartbreaking for people who don't have the coverage, especially the coverage that rewards them for making good healthy choices, like holistic and preventive health care.

Now, listeners can go to to check out this system and see if it's right for them. I was first amazed by the amount of money I would save. It is like a fraction of the cost, and I actually thought the numbers were wrong. I was like, this can't be right! There's going to be a glitch or something. It's way more affordable. And I've always kind of looked at health insurance like it's a racket, like there's someone at the top making a ton of money, jumping into piles of bills and swimming in it, like that cartoon duck that swims through his money. I just imagine there's this evil billionaire sitting at the top of the food chain, collecting all the money because health insurance is so crazy expensive. And so here we have the system that you provide and teach us about, which allows us to pay a fraction of the price and yet have more coverage and better coverage than what I've been paying for years. So I'm really excited to get into it at, for listeners, this is a need. I know you'll love it. 

Megan, please share with us how you have been doing with this and with all of your clients, helping them. I know you have a ton of stories. I'd love to hear a bit about how you got into all this. 

[0:06:34.5] Megan Williams: Absolutely! Well, first, Ashley, thank you for having me today. I love sharing and giving value, and you have been doing this for years, which is so exciting that you've got so many people who have been blessed by your insights. And just listening to you, you are an expert already at all about it. You know, even though I know you claimed to be Canadian, you definitely have the terms down as we Americans do. That, dang it, it stinks when you are an independent contractor, and you have to pay for yourself. And you hit so many points that I think are difficult points for so many of us. You hit how much it costs every month, and then can we even afford the out-of-pocket deductibles and copays that come along with that. Even when employers are offering it to try to retain their clients, they're getting priced out of good plans, so you're getting subpar. And many providers, doctors, and hospitals don't even want to work with it. Then the fact that you even mentioned that there are brokers out there that are trying to be solution-oriented and make a little bit of money trying to help people like you and me in the marketplace. But the problem is if you're looking at the price point, you're cutting out all the care. And so this has been something that really is difficult, and just like you, I've been an independent contractor for the last 17-plus years. Prior, I taught high school, and my husband was in law enforcement. So those are “jobs that give you benefits,” right? So you're thinking, “Oh, this is great. I get these benefits.” But there are so many fine little gotchas in those contracts that we've learned over the years. 

Let me just give you a little background. I have been offering solutions for high prices for a lot of different essential services for the last 20 years. My husband and I really love helping people. We love bringing them more value. We love getting to have great relationships, just like you. And what was so interesting is we were introduced to our healthcare option here with Impact, and we knew that we were not going to offer something that would not really be a solution. Like, money is number one. It's like a house payment; you have to pay for it, right? Or you have to knock on wood and pray nothing happens. Like you just said, so many people go without it. And Ryan and I were not going to even say one word about it unless we knew it was going to be a good solution. 

So I would love to hit some of the points that you talked about and why this is so great. But I do want everyone to understand that I get it. I get what people are paying for. I get what people are not wanting to pay for. I'll give a great personal example, and then we'll get into the benefits of this. So we had healthcare through our great providers, that are the ones paid for, and I had twins back in 2010. I had to take one of my boys to get an x-ray because he was crying, and he never cried. He was like the happiest baby ever. He's about ten months old. We got there; I called the insurance company and said, okay, where should I go? What's your “in-network”? And we go over to this facility to get an x-ray. The doctor saw us for literally maybe 8 minutes after the x-ray. He told us he just needed a sling, and his little collarbone was broken, but that's how you repair it. A few weeks later, I got a bill for $13,000, and I was like, are you kidding me? So I called up this big major insurance company that's supposed to be included. All the stuff is supposed to be included. They're like, “Oh, well, if you have gone to the hospital at this entrance, then you would have been a network. But because you went to their outpatient on the other side of the building, that wasn't in our network.” And I said to them, I am paying you $2,400 a month to have healthcare, and you're telling me that you're not going to help me work this out? They're like, “No, it's out of network. So you're responsible for this.” Now that's normal. Out-of-network for a family can be close to $22,000 a year. I was ticked. I canceled my insurance that day. I called the little outpatient I thought hospital and worked with them, and I ended up paying cash and renegotiating prices. Mind you, this was 13 years ago, and I thought this was ridiculous. Well, I was like, I don't want healthcare. I'm not paying for this; I'll just pay cash with cash as king. At that point in 2010, you could just pay cash. You didn't have to do it. And then the government changed the rules, and you were fined if you didn't have health care. At first, the fines were not that expensive, and then once you made too much money, the fines became out of control. And so they then instilled this idea of affordable health care. But the problem is anybody in this country who makes a decent living cannot get the subsidies. Or they can get subsidies until they show that they made more income, and then again, you have more fines. So it's this broken system. 

And so, again, Ryan and I were looking. We have been praying for solutions, and we have tried everything. We've gone with big disabilities. We've gone with low payments, but then it has a lot of piecemeal coverage, and then we pay cash for things. But ultimately, with three boys, there's no way we can live life like that. And so when we were introduced to this, we were blown away. I will tell you, first off, everybody, the neat thing about this option in this group share program is that it is a non-profit. So there isn't someone at the top trying to make all the money on us. That got me really excited that nobody owns it because it's not a company. It's a non-profit, non-insurance alternative that gives us a solution. And so, just like you were saying, Ashley, that for most of us who are generally healthy, we were paying into a broken system — a system that is 3% or maybe 5% of the country that really needs health care. But the rest of us, we are healthy and are looking for alternatives. We want to use chiropractors. We want to use holistic ways. And even today, I had a good friend call me. She's been in our program, but she's been so afraid to use it because she thought there were gotchas. And then she used our telemedicine which we have unlimited access to everyone with $0 provider fees, and she was blown away. She's like, “In two minutes, I was talking to a doctor, and I told her what was going on, and they got me two prescriptions in one hour. I was worried for nothing, and it was so simple.” And I started laughing, and I said, “I know. We are brainwashed to think it is going to be complicated, and it's going to be difficult.” And what our group has done is modernize this, made it affordable but giving us, just like you said, the freedom and control back to us. 

[0:14:05.2] Ashley James: Right. So there's a monthly fee that you pay which is a fraction of normal health insurance like I'm paying $1400 a month for ‘okay' health insurance, which is not that great. I'm frustrated that we have to pay out-of-pocket $9,500 before we start really getting coverage. Our family, knock on wood, or knock on my Sunlighten sauna, which is right beside me — that's wood; I know that's wood — thank God, we're in good health. You know we have the oopsies that happen once in a while, and that is why we have insurance. But like I said, I want to go to my chiropractor. I want to go to my acupuncturist. I want to go to my licensed naturopathic physician and to my holistic providers, and I want them paid for. I'd love to have access to quick telemedicine to speak to a doctor, just to be like, “Hey, should I go to the clinic with my son? He's got a weird rash.” And you know that it's free. I'd love that. The gotchas are something that is looming in my mind; like that sounds too good to be true because it costs so little, and you're getting way better coverage. I have a friend with a different company who is in a sort of a healthcare thing. And it was like, “Well, if you do this, then we'll drop you.” And so the fear is, is this something that is in a regulated industry? Can they just drop you if they decide to? So we definitely want to talk about those red flags, these elephants in the room. 

But one thing that I first want to talk about though is this idea of in-network and out-of-network. What you described happened to us similarly, but this is back when my husband was a foreman union carpenter. This was about 13 years ago, also in 2010. And so the carpenters' union, I thought, had good health insurance. He had an oopsie, and we went to the hospital. He had to have an emergency experience at the hospital, and it was a hospital that was in-network. Then we get the bill. And the anesthesiologist, although working at the hospital at the time, was out-of-network. How is this possible? So we had to pay the entire everything for the anesthesiologist because they wouldn't cover that bill. And yet I'm like, how is this possible? We went to a hospital that was in-network, and my husband got rushed off to an ER, and any of the practitioners in that ER could not be covered by the insurance. And I hate that. And when I gave birth to our son, we got a $5,000 bill within weeks of giving birth. I'm like, I did all the work. What is going on? You guys didn't do anything. I did all the work. So I hate it that you have to pay every month. I don't use the word ‘hate' often, but I just loathe this system that makes us feel like we're indebted slaves. It is not freedom, and you get surprise bills, and if you don't pay them, they're going to send you to collections really quickly. And it's a surprise! We get to charge you with whatever we want because it's out-of-network, and we decide what's in there, and you don't know beforehand, even though you do all the research. We could switch out an anesthesiologist and put in one that was out of network, and you don't get to decide. 

So this idea of in-network and out-of-network feels like a total scam. So the company that you're working with, that you're telling us about, there's no such thing as out-of-network?

[0:17:57.3] Megan Williams: Correct, and it's amazing! So the main point that I'm just going to hit, and then we're going to hit all these points you just said, is yes, there are no network providers. And now, no provider network in general. So if something happens and you end up on a vacation at a hospital with your finger cut and they've got to do stitches, there's no triple the price because it “was out-of-network.” You can go to every doctor, every provider that you like and you're used to. And even if they've never heard of our group, Impact, what's neat is we have what's called an EDI number, and that EDI number is what they have in their systems for every network. So we have our own licensing. Currently, we are in 47 states, so that we can have service then in all states and all the countries around the world if something should happen. But the neat part is that they will not triple the price because you're “out of network,” and that is really nice. The other great thing is because it's comprehensive medicine, anything you go to the doctor for, even before your deductibles are met, they do what's called reference-based pricing. And so, again, they are working to be our advocates. 

So that's what's so neat about it. It is that we've got an amazing price point, and we're going to explain how that works. We're going to answer that question that you just asked about. Could they kick you out for no reason? No, because we've got guidelines that are our legal standing, that makes this work for everybody, and you go in totally transparent, and you know exactly what you're going to get without any gotchas, no provider restrictions, which is huge. So again, no double or triple prices, and we've got this advocate with Impact that's going to work with us and help us every step of the way, which is so unique in this industry. It just doesn't happen anymore. You know, it's just all about the bottom line, and for us, it's not. And so I think the neat thing is when we really are trying to help as many people as possible, and it's inclusive. 

So a lot of the background about sharing groups that we've heard is they're all religious-based, while ours is under the umbrella of love thy neighbor because that can be any religion. So we have no religious affiliation. Everybody is welcome. And really, there is no denying being part of our group. The big thing is we do have a 36-month pre-existing, and we'll get into that in a little bit. But what I want to explain to everybody is we're looking for generally healthy people. All of us who don't go all the time and will love the idea of alternatives. Well, because of that, the only thing they look at is the oldest member of the household's age and how many members are going to be part of the group. So it will be one, two, or three and more. So you could be a family of eight, and it's the same price if you're a family of three. If you add more children, it doesn't hurt you. Again, that's kind of unheard of too. 

So like you said, the average American's paying $1,800 a month for decent health care coverage, with a $10,000 family deductible and $22,000 out-of-network. That's what we're used to. Usually, you get a 20/80 split when it comes to your co-shares and things like that. Well, let me explain how ours works. 

[0:21:28.9] Ashley James: Could you just explain what 20/80 is? So let's just slow it down. Normally what people are paying — so like I said, our family of three is paying $1,400 a month, and we have to pay out of pocket $9,500 in a year before they start really covering things, and we have a few things. Like I can go to see a chiropractor ten times a year, and after that, it's out of pocket. Like, I have to pay 100% of it, basically. So I've got a few things, but it's like you're just buying car insurance. You're just hoping you don't get into an accident, but you're glad if you have it because it's going to sort of help for the big stuff. So the 80/20 split, can you just explain that? That's the standard health insurance that we are not happy with. It's like a train wreck. It is a broken system. Okay, broken system explanation. 

[0:22:23.9] Megan Williams: Yes. So the way it works in traditional health care is you have it as a deductible, and usually when you go to the doctor, you have to pay a copay or provider fee upfront. So then you get the full bill. So you pay your provider fee then they send the bill to the insurance. The insurance reprice as is. If you have not met your deductible, then you pay that repriced bill to the doctor, and they apply it. The problem is, as you are starting to utilize that, then you get to a place where now you've met your deductible, and you have to pay 20% of the bill, and they then will cover 80% of it. Well, normally, that doesn't have a limit.

So let's say a child, heaven forbid, gets cancer, and you meet your in-network deductible of $10,000 for the year and even some out-of-networks because, again, like we just heard with sweet Ashley, is that the anesthesiologist was not in-network, so you have to pay that price. So they try to tell you, “Oh, max out of pocket, it would be $12,000.” Or, in her scenario, it was $9,500 if it was in-network. Out-of-network, that max might be $22,000. Well then, after that, heaven forbid, your child has to continue getting therapy and continue being in the hospital off and on, you then pay 20% of those bills, and if a bill comes to a million dollars, you are now responsible for 20% of that. And what we've found is most of the bankruptcies in the United States come because we cannot afford this healthcare. When something tragic comes, and, like you said, these oopsies turn into something really big; now we're in a big bind. 

Well, the neat thing with our guidelines and the way that they have set us up for price point is it is the oldest member of the household. So in my family, I'm the oldest member of our household, and we have five members of our household. And so, our price point is determined as I age, not by what medical expenses have happened in our family, which is huge. But we also know that no matter what threshold we pick — I'm going to explain in just a minute how this works — you get to pick four options. One is the amount of your deductible, which we call a primary responsibility amount, and then you pay your monthly rate, or what we know in traditional health care is called premiums, and you decide if you want to pay less every month and have more exposure on the backend with our deductible. Or would you like to pay a little bit more for your monthly premium or standard rate and then have a household deductible that's much lower? And then once you meet that, we would then have a 10/90 split, but it maxes at $5,000 for the whole family for the year. So that same million-dollar incident would not cost a family more than the amount they picked for their deductible, which thresholds are $2,500, $5,000, $7,500, or $10,000 and $5,000 in your kosher amount. So you could be as little as $7,500 for the year to $15,000 for your whole entire family. And you know going in that if something happens, this is all that I would come out of pocket besides my monthly rates. And that is a huge place to start from, where most of the time, we start at, like you said, $1,400 a month. It's piecemeal. We don't really know what they're going to cover and what they're not going to cover. And then all of a sudden, we have bills coming out because some were in-network and some were out-of-network, and it is a colossal tough situation. 

[0:26:25.5] Ashley James: You said the million-dollar — God forbid, knock on wood and knock my Sunlighten — medical bill, which would be over $200,000 for average healthcare, your health care caps off after you pay your deductible. It caps off at that $5,000. 

[0:26:47.0] Megan Williams: Yes.

[0:26:47.5] Ashley James: Per family. 

[0:26:49.3] Megan Williams: Yes, which is so incredible.

[0:26:51.5] Ashley James: It's amazing! So like you said, the 20/80 split, it's a 10/90 split that gets capped at $5,000. That is insane, and I love it. It's so freeing for so many families. I just looked it up; 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States are caused by medical bills. 

[0:26:51.5] Megan Williams: That's right.

[0:27:14.9] Ashley James: Really, it's really sick. It is a broken system that keeps us so stressed out and so stuck. The way the financial system is going, the way our food costs have risen, we've got to get more creative when it comes to saving money and still being healthy. This is a perfect system to do that. This system is the perfect system because I order, for example, as your standard — I'll make sure the link is in the show notes — as your standard is a produce company that gets organic fresh from the farm kind of thing, and you can also do both. I buy brown rice and beans in bulk. I save a ton of money doing it. I buy my sprouting seeds in bulk. I get frozen organic produce and fresh organic produce through them, and they get it directly from the farm, and they promised that it's not radiated, that there's no Bill Gates spray, that new kind of spray they called Apeel, which has been around for a while for the last few years. That's not sprayed on their produce. So they're fantastic. I've been buying from them for years, but when my friends were like, “They're a Christian-based company,” I love it when a company is like, “Hey, these are our values, and we just want you to know that we're not going to poison you.” That's how I save money because even though I'm pinching pennies, money's tight, and I'm not going to sacrifice my family's health. So I will still continue to buy organic, and I'm just going to find more and more creative ways to do so. I'm throwing my own potatoes in my backyard. That kind of thing. So I'm buying from companies that I can buy in bulk and save money and looking at how I can cut costs, but not cut care, and not cut quality. And what I love about your company is that it's a fraction of the price, and we're getting even better care. 

Now, I know you have so much to talk about. But I got to tell you my absolute favorite part, besides the fact that you're not going to get surprised by $200,000 bills. So there are no surprises when it comes to bills. But what I love is that you have so much more access to holistic health providers. So, let's talk about what you do get to do with this insurance. Do you call it insurance? 

[0:29:53.4] Megan Williams: We don't. We call it healthcare or health sharing or a non-insurance alternative. And it's very nice because the only thing about our platform is it's a five-year-old group that's been around for five years. But what's so neat about it is they took this modern approach, and the CFO and the board have come together from past experience of what works and doesn't work — what are people wanting, what are they looking for, what do they need. And even to this day, there are some things holistically that we can't share yet. But there is so much more available here than I've ever seen, which is incredible. I absolutely love it. So I'll give a great example of that. 

With our group, everybody in the entire group gets a wellness visit, and they get $150 of labs without having to pay into their PRA or deductible that comes first. And then, as you are getting treatments and you're working with new situations, they will actually share or apply visits up to fifty per member for either chiropractic, physical therapy, mental health, things that they might need like respiratory therapy, the things that sometimes are overlooked. And if we were doing them, it would prevent other things from happening, right? And I really like that because my chiropractor and I had worked out a way to be affordable and be able to use him because my children are so athletic. We tend to have things pop out and hurt. My knees have popped out. We've been in and out of the ER for a lot of stuff, and we have found that utilizing our chiropractor has prevented a lot of these issues. Well, when we came to Impact, we were really thrilled to know that each person got to come by and visit. So let's just say we pay cash $200 for our chiropractic visits as a family every month — I'm just going to use that number because it's a round number. It is easy, right? Maybe it was $100 a visit. Well, what we worked out with Impact is we pay the hour $100, and then our chiropractor's staff then sends the paid invoice with the correct codes of treatment to Impact. Well, Impact then worked with him and said, okay, listen, this is a new treatment, so we need these codes. They worked out the correct code, so everything was right. And then, they could take that bill of $100 and apply it to our deductible. So things that I had been paying cash for years, 10-15 years now, actually got applied to our PRA. So then one of my sons needed physical therapy, a new therapy for an injury that he had. Again, we were able to take that physical therapy bill, get the code, submit that to Impact, and have it applied to our PRA. Before, we would just go and have that therapy done without getting any type of application to it. So it actually went to something, and that was huge. Oh my gosh, that was huge. 

And then, over time, we had other preventive care that when you're in your forties, you need. And those were getting applied. But the amazing part was, in some of the scenarios, they would readjust those prices, and in some of them, it was just what we paid cash. But it got applied. And so, very quickly, we had chosen as a family, we were paying, just so everybody knows of our background; we had gotten it whittled down to about $1,800 a month for healthcare with a $10,000 family deductible. Now on Impact, we pay $605 a month with a $2,500 household PRA or deductible. So very quickly, $2,500 between five people and little incidents adds up quickly. And it just made it so nice because as things were coming in and different processes and bills were coming in, Impact kept all that transparent. They worked with all the different providers. Over the last year, we have seen checks come back for things we paid for in cash with that 10% taken out because they're like, “No, you've met this PRA now. We got to make sure you guys get your money back.” So everything's doing the right by us, and that was huge. 

[0:34:35.2] Ashley James: As I said earlier, when I looked into how much our family of three would be paying, it came out to be about $600 with, like you said, the $2,500 household deductible. Now with the insurance I had, it was $9,500. So that was a huge difference. And I was paying $1,400 a month, and now they're closer to $600 with you guys. I was sitting there going, something was wrong. I didn't input something correctly. There's got to be a glitch.

This is amazing paying for it, and I love that you called it a non-health insurance alternative because that sounds like my latte. It's like I'm going to have the non-dairy alternative. It's better, and it's healthier. This is like that — the healthier, non-insurance alternative. This is the holistic non-insurance alternative. It just sounds like my entire diet. It's like, I'm going to have the non-meat alternative or whatever. 

[0:35:42.2] Megan Williams: Yes, it's so true. It feels like that. You're absolutely right. So for those of us who are used to non-traditional, this is a perfect solution. Now, there are scenarios, Ashley, 100%, that we're not the right fit. But it's not all or nothing. And that's some of the things that really blew my mind as I was helping families trying to find solutions. I'll give a great example — we had a mom who has been diabetic since she was born, and she needed very specific medicine, and it was very, very expensive. And so, on the marketplace, there are some great plans that are out there. But again, it's nice. Like you said, there are brokers who actually helped. And so, in our hunt for helping people find solutions and really trying to find the best so people can come to our group, we have made some really great strategic partnerships. So this family comes, we look at the price point, we look at everything it covers, and she goes, “Oh my goodness, this is perfect for my husband and kids. They don't have any issues. This is what we've been looking for.” Well, they were a family of four, and what we did was we were actually able to put the entire family in our group with Impact. She worked with a broker that we knew and got great diabetic coverage for what she needed because that was pre-existing for her. But she can utilize our group as her secondary. So she gets her wellness visits, you know, included. She gets her normal thing. She gets all the benefits of the discounts for our prescriptions, but she gets what she needs with traditional. So, yes, they're paying a little bit more. But if they had kept the family on that traditional plan for the four of them, it was going to be $2,800 a month. Instead, she could have that plan for right around $600, and the family, including her, could be with us. They were a little older than us. So it's about $650 a month with a $2,500 deductible. Well, that was still $1,200 less than the $2,800 they would be paying if they were all on traditional. So it's not an all-or-nothing scenario. 

We've had people who have high blood pressure. It's pre-existing. With us, any of those bills or doctor visits about high blood pressure would not be applied to the deductible or to sharing. But if they had a heart attack, or they ended up in the hospital thinking they were having a heart attack, that would be shared with the group because that pre-existing does not affect future cardiac and vascular events that could come up. So again, it's not an all-or-nothing for individuals with us. It just is; what do you feel comfortable with? We sometimes have where the parents don't even come to Impact. They stay with their employees' coverage, and their children come to us because it's so much more affordable to mix-and-match per se. So again, this is the non-traditional approach, folks. It's not all or nothing. It's crazy, right? I mean, they pay into any type of chiropractic, physical therapy, vision therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, or respirational. They look at mental health. They want to help us. With preventative ladies, we all get our preventative care and work with all of those things, and they'll share in it. It is big. They have limitations, but the limitations can be for a favor and/or protect us from people abusing the situation. So it's really neat how they word our guidelines. And when you go to Ashley's link, you can look at the guidelines and see the transparency of it, which is huge. It's fantastic, so we love that.

[0:39:38.2] Ashley James: So it's You definitely want to check that out. I love that I can go to my chiropractor every two weeks and not have to worry about it. I like to see my naturopath once every six months. I don't have major health issues, but I really like to check in twice a year. I like to do some blood work if we feel like we need to. Pretty much I like to do blood work once a year. But if there's anything coming up, I like to just check in on it. I like knowing that I have access to these other services, like physical therapy. I got to tell you physical therapy for women after giving birth is the most life-changing thing. I have an interview about pelvic floor therapy, and it's not just for women. If men are having trouble urinating, have pain during sex, and pain during evacuation, they can also have a disruption in their pelvic floor. So I had this great interview about pelvic floor therapy. I've seen three different pelvic floor therapists. I had one before my second pregnancy and two after. And one of them did a type of massage. Yes, it's a vaginal massage. They wear gloves and everything. What she did was she broke up scar tissue. I didn't even realize that this was the problem, and it corrected everything. It was amazing. I could walk properly. My chiropractor pulled me back together because my pelvis was twisted. But it's really interesting how scar tissue, after giving birth vaginally, can throw off the whole pelvic floor, which throws off the glutes, which throws off the hips, which throws off our gait. It is all connected, and I ended up because my crappy expensive health insurance wasn't covering it. I had to pay $5,500 out of pocket for all the PT I got, and it was so frustrating. I am paying so much money for health insurance, and on top of that, I have to pay for the care I need because I was in pain, and this might be TMI. Well, my listeners know me. But intercourse for seven years was painful, which doesn't make it fun for the husband because he's like, “I don't want to hurt you.” But that was the scar tissue left behind, and that was the stitches that the doctor did without really consulting me, and it caused so much scar tissue that it wasn't fun. It was no fun experience for the last eight years. And then I had the PT, and it was like everything down there was reset to pre-having kids. I couldn't believe it. And then, finally, there was no pain during intercourse, and it was like, I didn't realize how much I missed not having pain down there until it was reset. But this is pelvic floor PT, not covered by a lot of very expensive health insurance companies, and here we have something. These are licensed physical therapists. This is a legitimate service. This is a legitimate physical therapy, and it can be covered by this non-insurance, healthier alternative. 

[0:42:55.3] Megan Williams: That's right. No, it's really true. So let's talk about maternity because that's one of the big questions. I have a new member family that is young. They have two children. They want to have another one, and they have been looking. Her husband changed jobs, and with the new job, healthcare wasn't really a viable option for them and their family. They're like, “It's not really providing us care. It doesn't do what we want.” And she just happened to see one of our posts on Facebook, and she sent me a message. Her mom and I have been friends for years, and she's like, “We really want to have another baby.” I said okay, stop right there. If you come to us, we need to get you in the system fast because you need to be a member for one year before that baby is born. So she's like, okay. So she's been a member for one month, and she's been waiting for three months. “So four months total before we started trying for another baby,” and I started laughing, and I said, “Yes, because with our program, you guys, you get up to $150,000 towards any single pregnancy event that is shared in the group.” The neat part, just like you said. Afterwardsafterward, physical therapy would be something that would definitely be shared with the group. You can also pick which kind of doctor you can be performed with. So you can go to a facility. You can have a midwife come to your house. You can have a water delivery as long as the midwives/PA are all certified and registered in that state for delivery as long as they're properly licensed. 

Now this is a huge option because so many people now are looking for alternatives for that. It is great. And then, of course, the newborn will become a member and be added right when they're born. So it's perfect. And then they get extra visits that first year and then up to the age of six. They get all their visits, and all that stuff included that is shared with the group to make it very affordable for us. And so I think that that is a really huge blessing because, like you said, these doctors, in and out of network, all of a sudden emergencies happen, and you get these extra bills. And that's not what you want to be focused on when you have a baby. That is a fantastic added benefit. For our members, they really want us to recover, and they want us to have great options. And absolutely, that type of therapy would be included because it would fall under physical therapy. So it's fantastic.

[0:45:29.8] Ashley James: Absolutely. I'm so excited. As far as people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, for example, they can still use your non-insurance healthier alternative, but when it comes to their pre-existing condition, it is not covered for the first 36 months. 

[0:45:52.5] Megan Williams: Correct. In our guidelines, let me just say it exactly right so everyone understands — so pre-existing medical conditions are conditions that are known signs, symptoms, testing, diagnosis, treatment, or other use of medicine occurring within the last 36 months. Now asthma would be something that would be pre-existing because it's been diagnosed. But at the same time, the nice thing about asthma is that besides having a prescription and being aware of it, there's no long-term effect. So a lot of people would say, okay, I could come to this group. I know my prescriptions are going to be discounted because I'm not part of the group anyways, but maybe if I have a special respiratory scenario, if they've just been recently diagnosed prior to coming to the group, that would be considered pre-existing. But some people haven't had treatment. They may have just been on medicine for the last ten years but have not had any type of diagnosis or treatment per se in the last 36 months. So anything new coming up would not be considered pre-existing. 

I'll give an example that happened to me personally. So I have acid reflux from having twins. They always say when you're pregnant, you have heartburn. Well, let me tell you, when you have twins, it has nothing to do with the hair on their head because my two are bald. But it definitely was something that I got, and then I continued to have it off and on for the last thirteen years. Well, when I was with my last traditional insurance, they saw on my doctor's notes that I had gotten a prescription for heartburn, and they told me that it was pre-existing. And if anything ever comes up — an ulcer, esophagus cancer, anything — we will never cover those things because you have a pre-existing. Now mind you, I've gotten medication once in the last six years, but it was in my records. So I came to Impact, and at that point, I was so mad that I didn't get prescriptions for it. So I haven't had a prescription for that for years. I just use over-the-counter stuff every once in a while because it's there. Well, on my application, when we become members, you fill out things that, have you had any issues? So I put in acid reflux because I'm honest. Well, then later, I talked to Impact, and I said, listen, I have acid reflux. I take medicine for it every once in a while. I said, is that a pre-existing? They said, no, it's not a pre-existing condition in a sense; it's for your future care. So I thought, okay. Well, I went in to be scoped for both my colonoscopy and endoscopy. I think it's how you say it, through your throat, to make sure you have no cancer. Guys, when you're in your forties, they care. They want to make sure, and it runs our family, so I had to go get checked. And I've been avoiding this for years, by the way. Well, the doctor goes in and realizes I have a herniated esophagus. He did some different things during the procedure that helped immensely. And I'm sure he put it on the bill, but what I did realize on my bill is I got all of that shared “covered” with the group, and it was not considered a pre-existing. 

And so that was a huge thing for me to see that they said, “Okay, you might have gotten that prescription years ago, but we're not going to hold it against you even though I'd still take medicine for it.” And I think that that was huge. That was a really big thing. So again, it's not all or nothing. And when anyone joins our group or wants to even ask, they can talk to Impact prior to joining and ask all their personal questions and feel super comfortable about those answers just in case. So it's really nice for them.

[0:49:56.3] Ashley James: So they can go to, and that's where a lot of the information is, and they'll be able to find the phone number to talk to someone.

[0:50:09.6] Megan Williams: To request, absolutely. 

[0:50:12.5] Ashley James: To talk about pre-existing. So I'm a little confused, and if I'm confused, then there's got to be a lot of listeners who are confused. Again, I'm a Canadian here.

[0:50:20.9] Megan Williams: Yes, I know. I know.

[0:50:22.4] Ashley James: That's making sense to me, right? You know an American can walk into a Canadian hospital and get care and not be kicked out. But I'm not saying their system is any better. The healthcare system is broken because it's all about pharmaceuticals and profits. And in Canada, it's not about profits. It's about cutting costs. So, it's, again, a broken system. But we're doing the best we can to navigate a broken system by choosing freedom of choice, which is why I love this non-insurance healthy alternative to insurance because we can have the freedom of choice to choose our practitioners. There's no network. And I want to talk about this. You can go to a different state, and if you're in a different country. You'll get coverage, and you're protected under this umbrella, which is what insurance is supposed to do. But I love that you have the freedom to choose your holistic, licensed practitioners, and that makes me so excited.  

So let's just talk about this just so we can fully understand it. If someone has a pre-existing condition, and then they join this wonderful non-insurance healthier alternative to insurance after being with you guys for 36 months, are there pre-existing conditions that are covered or pre-existing conditions that are never recovered? 

[0:51:46.7] Megan Williams: Okay, so let's use an example. So the condition has to not have had a treatment or a diagnosis or any signs and symptoms testing in 36 months. So I'll give an example of my friend who had shoulder surgery. So she just had a treatment. She had a shoulder repair a year and a half ago. She joins Impact. She knows if anything comes up with this left shoulder of hers, physical therapy, or she goes and gets more treatment on it, that would not be shared with the group. Now, Impact would help reprice any of those expenses. They would help be the liaison. But because that experience happened within 18 months, it's still in that 36 months. Now, let's say she doesn't have any issues. Her shoulder's been fine, and we finished 36 months, even though she's only been a member for that 18 months because now the total amount has been 36 months of that time of treatment, diagnosis, surgery, whatever — now, anything that comes up from that shoulder would be shared with the group. It would be able to not be all out-of-pocket expenses. And so, it's not about being a member for 36 months. It's when did that sign, symptom, and diagnosis happen.

So, I have a friend who had a heart attack, and he has a big family. They were paying $3,200 a month for the health care for their family of eight, and they were able to come to Impact for $700 a month. And his biggest concern was I had this heart attack. While he gets a screening every year, he has not been on medications. He has not had a diagnosis. He has not had treatment for that heart attack for more than thirty-six months. So, according to Impact's guidelines, it's as if it never existed. 

[0:53:49.8] Ashley James: Got it.

[0:53:51.3] Megan Williams: So even though he gets a screening for it, that's not a treatment or test. See the difference. So that's why this is so neat because, for example, if you've been diagnosed with cancer and it's in complete remission, and you're only undergoing testing for surveillance purposes, as long as that cancer hasn't been treated for 36 months, it is as if it never happened. 

[0:54:19.7] Ashley James: Now, let's say he did, for example, had his heart attack and then immediately joined, and let's say it's an ongoing problem; it's a pre-existing condition because it's within the first 36 months he has joined. Is it like 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years that forever it's not covered, or is it just not covered for the first 36 months?

[0:54:50.5] Megan Williams: I'll give another example of someone who had a heart attack on New Year's Eve. He has joined Impact while still getting treatment and medicine for that. So that portion, he gets an employee stipend for his medical. But his wife does not. So they decided to both come to Impact because the medicine that they prescribed him was $700 a month. Through Impact, though, because he's a member, it's only $73 a month. So even though he has traditional health care that's going to cover his pre-existing heart attack scenario and all the testing and treatments he is still going through, he's almost done. The doctor's like, “I can't believe how well you're doing.” Let's just say that by October, he no longer needs to have treatment or medicine; they'll just do a screening because everything's looking great. From October now, the clock will start for 36 months. So even though he's been a member since January, that one condition, the clock starts once the treatment stops. 

So it's not about membership. It's about when the treatment stops before you come. But he wanted to be a member, and it's his actual secondary as a member because he wanted the medication discounts that our group got him. So it was worth it because he saved $600 a month on the medication even though he's paying for a secondary with his wife with this. Actually, this is her full coverage, and it's his secondary. But they're both on Impact because he wants those benefits. So again, it's not all or nothing. But the nice thing is, yes, he has a heart attack, but if he had a stroke, that has nothing to do with the heart attack. Or if he got colon cancer, that has nothing to do with the heart attack. So all those things would be shared with the group and have “coverage.”

[0:56:53.6] Ashley James: And so in a few years, let's say he's heart attack free, the heart's fine, cleans up his diet, listens to my podcast, learns how to prevent and reverse heart disease — that's a really great episode with Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, How to Reverse and Prevent Heart Disease. Just so you know, if you know anyone with heart disease, this is the book. The interview is amazing, obviously, but the book is phenomenal because he performed the world's longest study using food to reverse heart disease. Within two years, they've taken photos, and they show you that there are four blockages in the heart. These poor people who are too sick; they were on death's door and too sick to have stents put in or have surgery. They were within weeks of dying. Too sick to do anything else, so he was like, okay, well, let's just try a diet. And he gets them on a whole food plant-based, no salt, sugar, oil, flour, or alcohol diet. And there is also stuff you have to eat that increases heart health, that helps the endothelial lining of the cardiovascular system. It's like science. You're eating six times a day of all these different foods that are all heart-healthy, and he gets people to go from four blockages in the heart to zero blockages in the heart. Angina pain is gone in the first month. Blood clots in the leg are gone very quickly. It was absolutely amazing. 

So anyway, let's say one of your guys has a heart attack, buys your non-insurance, healthier alternative to insurance, and gets this coverage, and then he cleans up his life. He doesn't have any heart health issues for 36 months, even though it was his pre-existing condition. But 36 months of no health problems around the heart, according to you guys, it's no longer a pre-existing condition, and should he have heart issues in the future, like five to ten years down the road, then it's covered?

[0:58:55.3] Megan Williams: Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. You got it!

[0:58:59.1] Ashley James: Yey, I understood it! The Canadian's got it.

[0:59:02.7] Megan Williams: Now you did perfect. And I love that podcast because I have friends who need to listen to it too. 

[0:59:08.4] Ashley James: Yes, all your friends need to listen to my show. Absolutely. It's amazing. Our body has a God-given ability to heal itself. We can heal ourselves. I reversed five major diagnoses, and so can you. Your body can heal itself. We just have to stop doing what everyone else is doing because everyone else is sick. Just go become a black sheep, go against the grain, cannot eat like everyone else, can't stress out like everyone else, right? Listen to my show.

[0:59:37.7] Megan Williams: It's so true. Well, that goes to this whole thing of thinking outside the box. So then a lot of people ask me all the time, and they go, “What about the providers? Will they even work with us? Because most people haven't heard of Impact.” Let me give you a little scenario. Most marketplace plans are just the bare minimum. So what that means is the provider might get 70% of what medicare pricing is, or 80% or 90. Sometimes they're lucky. With the Blue Cross Blue Shield, they still get 100% on certain things. Well, the new thing is when Impact looks at reference-based pricing, they're not trying to get the cheapest thing that nobody wants to work with us. They actually start their pricing with 150% of medicare pricing. So now, the doctors like working with us because the price point isn't insulting them, which is so good too. And again, when you're thinking outside the box, half of these medical professionals have just been beaten up. They've been told that they're not worth what they think they are. And we'll say, no, you're worth it, and we want to work together to find solutions. So when you are talking about how your body can heal, we can also heal these relationships with doctors and facilities. All of us, because we're coming to the table, not just trying to find solutions for us, but also for the providers. That's a really good place to be because it's about solutions, and that's what makes it so nice. You know what I mean? So I really love that. I love that your listeners listen to outside-the-box thinking, but in this scenario, just like in yours, it's a win-win because we got to be smart. We got to make everybody feel important. So we're cutting the cost but not the care. The providers are not getting gouged and say, “Oh, we don't care that you have 20 years of experience. We're not going to give you what you deserve.” No, we're going to help you get what you deserve. 

[1:01:46.4] Ashley James: It's not a pyramid where there are these shareholders at the top going, “Mwahaha, I like sitting on and swimming through bags of money.” All the other traditional health insurance companies gouge the customers, and they gouge the providers. They keep the profits for themselves and are just evil. And we have you guys, who are the non-insurance, healthy alternative to insurance. Why should listeners go to You created a great website that explains this a lot. You can play with the quote and see how much your family would be paying, or individual. Maybe you're not a family member, just an individual. You're a single person. How much you'd be paying, play with the quote meter — but what else will they see at

[1:02:38.3] Megan Williams: Well, what we love is we really wanted everyone to understand why this is so different. And so, on the homepage, I do a 7-minute video that breaks down all the benefits of our program and helps you feel comfortable. But then we included videos that Impact has made over the years about important facts and why this is such a smart, different way of thinking. But on it, you could even see testimonials. You can see what groups could pay. We work with businesses where they've been priced out of healthcare options for their employees, and so they're losing employees to other companies. And we have an entire page where you can get a quote for your company. We also have wonderful videos that explain going to the doctor and how we work with everybody and their no-network restrictions. It is very transparent. But when you're on the guideline little page, the overview is directly linked with our share group. So it's updated as they make legal changes. Everything is transparent. Everything is there. 

And what we love is that you don't have to try to figure it out. I have a lawyer who's in our group, and when he read the guidelines, he's like, “Oh my goodness. This is one of the best-written documents I've had.” Because if it's not in there, they're going to share it. They're very specific about what is a concern and what's not a concern. And as you said, we can play around with the pricing. Our individual starts at $73 a month, families at $250 a month with a family of two, and then, of course, three and more. We are not trying to make this difficult. We want everyone to feel very comfortable. So, when you're on our site, you can even request more information and hear from Impact themselves and/or our associates because we've had so much experience as members of the program to help out as well. We run live events that you can register for and learn more about. And, of course, working directly with Ashley's group and this community, we really know that we'll be able to give great solutions, and it's really nice for that too. 

[1:04:58.5] Ashley James: I just love that you can get all the coverage you want, and it's cheaper than your car insurance. Well, at least it's cheaper than what I'm paying for car insurance. And I'm a good driver, and knock on my Sunlighten sauna; I haven't had any tickets. I don't know; I think I was in my twenties the last time. Oh, I mean, I had a parking ticket a few years ago. But other than that, I haven't had any traffic violations. Knock on my Sunlighten sauna; I haven't had any traffic violations. But car insurance is expensive, and you guys are cheaper than my car insurance. I'm shaking my head thinking about how many Generation Z people, young professionals — I'm friends with some of them — who don't have health insurance because they're like, “Well, I can't afford them.” $73 a month? Yeah, you can. 

I have a friend who's a chef, and he's like, “I can't afford.” Half the year, he lives out of his truck because he loves to travel. He works at resorts, out in Vail ski resorts, and then the rest of the year, he is traveling and having fun, and he's just like, “I can't afford health insurance.” I can't wait to tell him it's $73 a month. He can absolutely afford it. And then when he cuts his thumb off or whatever, then he does something stupid while in the kitchen, or burns himself, or something. I mean, he's traveling, and what if he gets chased by a bear? He's traveling all throughout the country, living the van life half the year. I'm thinking he would love this type of insurance, so he could go to any licensed provider in any state and be covered. 

How cool is that, that you can choose where you want to go. Your location doesn't matter. The insurance that I've had for many years, that I've been buying for many years, the traditional insurance — I couldn't even go to the other side of town. It wouldn't cover me. I had to only go to this one hospital network. It's just ridiculous. They say you're covered pretty much in every ER, but then if you're transferred from the ER into care, it's just ridiculous. The traditional system does not work. And I love that you can even do your non-insurance alternative to better insurance. You can do this as a secondary, which gives you even more coverage. So, anyway, I like the savings. I like the savings, and I like that I can now see more of my providers. That's super exciting. Tell us a little bit about traveling. So you could choose to go see a doctor or clinic in a different state. And also, what about traveling, like you're in Mexico or you're in Cancun? Tell us a bit about how that works. 

[1:07:42.1] Megan Williams: Absolutely. So the neat thing is, there are no provider restrictions. We had a young member who was diagnosed with cancer in the Arkansas area, and the doctors just weren't a good solution for this type of cancer. And so, he ended up going to Dallas with his family and getting all of their coverage. Well, after the repricing and everything like that for the year — I mean, we're talking a couple of million dollars of procedures — the out-of-pocket for the group was only around $280,000 for the year because the markup is so absolutely insane. Well, the new thing is if you were just traveling and you have an emergency, that also is covered. So you can have planned trips in America and go to any provider as long as it is not elective. So still today in healthcare, elective surgery is not covered. So sorry, ladies. Facelifts, botox, and all the little fun extras that people might pick, like hormone therapy, those things are not covered. Same with out of the country. So if you planned a specific surgery out of the country because it was cheaper, those are also not covered. But if I'm in Mexico, which I was a couple of weeks ago, and having a situation with coral that I needed to go and run to an emergency room quickly, I got that bill, and I could submit it to Impact. And yes, it was shareable with the group, and yes, it would be covered. So you could be traveling anywhere in the world, and if you end up in an emergency situation, those bills are going to come back through the group and get shared. And the nice part is there is no lifetime limit. So if you end up having a big scenario, you're not kicked out the next year because you cost the group too much money. That's very important. 

The other really great thing is, right now, we do have a yearly or annual limit per member, not per household, of $500,000. But what they found in the last five years, even with these huge expenses with the reference-based pricing, we aren't even getting close. I had a friend who was out golfing and all of a sudden had abdominal pain that he thought he was dying. They rushed to the emergency room to a hospital. He thought it was an appendix. Well, he ended up having a ruptured spleen, and he was in the hospital for five days. The entire bill came to over $152,000. It was actually four days, and then he was out on the fifth day. It was $152,000. Well, with the reference-based pricing, it came to $36,000. So he didn't even meet his max limit of the $5,000 10% co-share because they were able to reprice it so much lower. 

And so, this is a really great thing because, again, you've got advocates. And he said the best part was the little lady in billing at the hospital who came in and said, “Don't worry, Mister Chris, we've got everything. We've talked to Impact, and everything's being paid for a hundred percent. You don't have to worry about a thing. I'm working with them. You just get better.” And then, when he got home, he had a message from Impact saying, “Hey, we know you've had the surgery. We hope you're feeling better. If there are any questions or any bills come, let us know. We'll help take care of everything.”

[1:11:08.1] Ashley James: What??

[1:11:09.9] Megan Williams: What is that? Because this is more personable, it really is about making it a better scenario. 

[1:11:19.8] Ashley James: I love it. I was a little slow in catching the numbers. So it's a $150,000 hospital bill. How much did he have to pay out of pocket?

[1:11:31.0] Megan Williams: Well, I actually even have this on one of our Zooms, and we were working on some of these kinds of examples so people can see. While he was repriced to $36,000, he paid $150 for the provider fee for the ER. So he paid $150, and then he still had about $1,588 left on his deductible or his primary responsibility amount. He paid 10% of the co-share of that $36,000. So out-of-pocket for that entire expense, he paid $5,200 and not $152,000.

[1:12:14.4] Ashley James: So $152,000 — that's like buying three brand new cars — got down to a $5,200 hospital bill when the whole thing was said and done. Now let's say that happens to one of our listeners who joins, who goes to and checks out the cool Zooms and the videos and does the quote. They join their whole family in. If something, God forbid, happens to them and they need this kind of emergency medical help, and then they get on the other side of it, and then they get the bill — so it's $52,000 — do they have to pay that all at once? Can they do a payment plan? How does that work? 

[1:13:02.2] Megan Williams: Very good question. So the nice part is once Impact has negotiated and they send in their portion that they pay, then legally, the hospital — that includes all the providers; this list had everybody on it from the anesthesiologist to the pharmacy, when he was leaving the hospital — once they accept that reference-based price, then that bill is locked. They can never come back and ask for more amount. But Impact then would send you, “Okay, your portion is this.” And then they send you where to send the bill. And absolutely, you can call their facility and say, “Okay, I'm making plan payment.” And you might pay $1,000 for the next five months, and then you'll be done. So the nice part from my experience is, with them getting the lion's share of what they really needed and then you paying your percentage, they work with us as humans to make those payments.

[1:14:07.8] Ashley James: Who are you paying that to? Are you paying that $5,200 to the hospital, or you're paying it to Impact?

[1:14:11.4] Megan Williams: Yes.

[1:14:12.4] Ashley James: Okay. You're paying it to the hospital. So you can negotiate with the hospital and pay $200 a month instead of $1,000 a month? 

[1:14:19.9] Megan Williams: Yes.

[1:14:20.5] Ashley James: You can make it manageable. Yeah. Okay. 

[1:14:23.0] Megan Williams: But they got the big amount. So they are feeling the burden off their shoulders. So then they are so much better at working with us. The problem is when people say, “Oh, I have a two-million-dollar bill, and I want to pay you $200 a month.” No, that's not how this works. So absolutely, that's what's so nice about it. But the best part is that they legally can never come back and say we want more money from you. So the nice part of having someone like Impact as your advocate, and it's in the system legally, they can't come back and say, “Oh, we changed our minds. We don't want to just accept $36,000. We want you to pay $50,000.” They cannot do it because they accepted that price and took the money from Impact. So that's what's so nice about having a person like this and not just being cash-paying where you could get screwed because you don't have an entity that is your facilitator. Impact has a legal team, and they know all the rules. They know how the system works, and it's a fantastic peace of mind.

[1:15:30.9] Ashley James: Now, something you don't know about me is that twenty years ago, I was an insurance salesman. Funny enough, it took me this long to actually think about this and go, “Oh yeah, I used to sell insurance.” I mean, it was twenty years ago, a totally different lifetime ago. It was door-to-door. It was a combined, and this is in Canada. I don't know if you've ever heard of combined health insurance, but this is, again, twenty years ago. It was either they had accident insurance, and they had sickness insurance. For Canadians, our health insurance is like you pay almost half your paycheck to social services. It's like we get taxed through the nose. It was just crazy. It's like something between 46% and 48% of your paycheck is bye-bye every month, just paying all the social services. Healthcare is not so great in Canada, but again, pluses and minuses all across the board, I don't think Canada is better than the United States or vice versa because it's a very different system, and the system's broken no matter where you go. So you got to think holistically and go to the right providers.

But there I was in Canada, and I was selling door-to-door insurance. What it was is you paid $14 a month, and then if you broke a bone, they would give you $1,000, or they give you $1,500. If you had a car accident, until you've missed some work, for every day you're in the hospital or ICU, they would give you $5,000. They would basically be giving you money to get injured. Obviously, don't go buy the insurance and then injure yourself. I've actually met some people who had injured themselves and received the payouts. And they're like, “Yeah, this company is amazing. They really do pay out.” And then they had sickness insurance. So if someone was in the ICU because of an infection, or in the ER because of infection or whatever, if they had to miss work basically and that they live in the hospital because of the infection, they got paid every day a certain amount. There was a limit, though. There was a cut-off. It's like you can only have this many days in the hospital that we're going to pay. So we're going to pay thirty days, for example, because it wasn't a traditional health insurance. It was just more like an accident or sickness insurance. It was more like your paycheck insurance. It's what it was, which I thought was an interesting safety net. Because life happens not to everyone, but life happens, and it's great to have a safety net. 

Anyway, that was an interesting experience. I got to see that world while I was kind of figuring out life, and I did it for a summer. It was interesting. It wasn't my cup of tea, but I'm meeting a ton of people and learning about the industry, which was interesting. And so the thought that came to mind, I know this is not that, but is there a limit to how many days someone could be in the hospital? Like you said, you get to see fifty providers a year with all these different services. So all these services are covered, but is there a cap, or they're like, “Sorry, you've been in the hospital for fourteen days now. You're cut off.” Is there any kind of gotchas like you said?

[1:18:53.0] Megan Williams: I love it. I was going to say, I know exactly what you're saying. So this is a great thing to be paired with something we call in the United States, disability insurance, or, like you said, paycheck insurance, like Aflac, where they'll match, or you can get reimbursed for those copay provider fees and things like that. But what's neat is if somebody is in the hospital, like we add another friend who's been in Impact and she was in the hospital for almost a month, and Impact shared everything with the group and repriced it all. So there isn't a limit to those kinds of things. There is an in-patient limit or things that are not eligible, like in-patient rehab or residential drug alcohol treatments. So they give a specific list that is not eligible at all, and it's normal things that they don't share or cover in normal insurance. But there are no limits if someone ends up in the hospital for a month because of whatever disease is going on. Like this little boy, who had been relocated to the hospital in Dallas for months at a time, there is no limit on that. Like I said, with a repricing, then they have not met that limit for the annual amounts either. And so I think that what we can really know is that they're going to do their very best to make sure that we're taken care of. 

Now, there are some limits for home care as well. So, some of the things they do share into are forty visits for a member who has home care. So, let's say they have an RN who has to come to the house, and they're in their homes, that is limited to forty visits for the year per member. And if someone needs transportation, like air ambulance and things like that, they are limited to $25,000 lifetime limits for those kinds of things. Usually, an ambulance is about $500 to $600 of usage. So that gives you a lot to work with. But there are some specific limits. Anything that is a limit, they specifically tell us in the guidelines. And if it doesn't say in the guidelines, then there's not a limit, which is really cool. 

[1:21:16.9] Ashley James: Oh, I like it.

[1:21:19.7] Megan Williams: Yes, it's very transparent that way, and that's a great question, Ashley.

[1:21:24.5] Ashley James: And all these details can be found at I love that you lay it out. You made the website so easy to understand, and you've got the videos, and people, like you said, can read through everything, see what the limits are, see what the limits aren't. And if it isn't listed, it's not a limit. Even though it doesn't provide rehab facilities, for example, it does provide mental health. So someone could go to a licensed mental health professional and work on healing through addiction. 

[1:22:04.7] Megan Williams: That's right. Absolutely.

[1:22:06.0] Ashley James: It's not that we're saying those people are screwed. It's just you're not going to pay for the Betty Ford clinic experience. 

[1:22:14.8] Megan Williams: Correct. As long as people are honest about it. We're looking for people who are making wise choices. So, for example, my husband always says if someone wants to go skydiving, good for them. There's no limit here. But some insurance companies won't care or cover any skydiving accidents. But my husband says, the way they worded it in Impact is, let's say I wanted to go skydiving and I decided to throw my shoot out first, then dive to my suit and put it on. Well, that was negligent behavior. And therefore, when you are hurt, injured, or killed, they're not going to share into that because it was stupid. Like if you're using illegal drugs, that's stupid. But if someone happened to get in a car accident and they had been drinking, yes, those are going to first go to your car insurance, but Impact is going to share in those medical expenses as well because those kinds of accidents do happen. They weren't trying to be grossly negligent, if that makes sense. So they do have a little provision that protects people like us who don't want people to do stupid things and think that then we'll share it. But I mean, hey, you got a little life. Have fun and go river rafting and do fun things, or have a life. It's really nice because even motorcycle accidents are covered up to $125,000 per incident, which is a big deal. It's a really big deal. We had a young man who's 17, whose friend ran into him and severed his toe, he almost lost his life, and Impact has shared to the whole entire situation, even though he was on a dirt bike. He wasn't being negligent, and it was an accident. And I think that that's also very important to understand that there is a difference between negligence and accidents, and they work with us and help us, which is fantastic. 

[1:24:12.3] Ashley James: Love it, love it. And another thing, again, I've been looking for this solution for years, and I had not found and had not been satisfied by all the other companies I've seen until I found this company. I was like, finally, this is exactly what I've been looking for. I'm so excited. So, my friend who's in a health share, it's a Christian health share company, and at first glance, it looked good. And then I looked further, and it was like, well, you have to be this BMI — body mass index — meaning, you have to be skinny in order to be a member. We're going to weigh you. So I get it; they just want healthy people. And if your cholesterol is at this level, you can't be covered by us. And if you join us and you're skinny but then you gain weight, you're going to get kicked out. And so that kind of health share company, I felt, was too restrictive. It wasn't giving freedom of choice. What I love about yours is, let's say someone is obese and they're working on themselves to be healthier people — and one-third of the American population is overweight or obese, so that really limits you if you were to not allow those people to join — and so there is a small, increased fee. I saw that, and I thought that's amazing. It's worth it for someone who's overweight, who knows they're overweight. They're doing their best. They're looking at being as healthy as possible because weight loss should be a by-product of a healthy lifestyle. It's not the goal. It's the by-product of the goal being to be as healthy as possible.

[1:26:00.0] Megan Williams: That's right. 

[1:26:00.6] Ashley James: So eat healthy, exercise, lower your stress, get good nutrition. The weight is going to come off, and you're living healthier and healthier and healthier. And even skinny people can die of a heart attack.

[1:26:13.5] Megan Williams: That's right.

[1:26:14.9] Ashley James: But the point is that you guys don't exclude people who are overweight. Or let's say everyone in the household, except for the dad, is overweight. You're not excluding the whole family because one member is overweight. The people who have some weight that they want to lose, they get to pay a little bit more, not an exorbitant amount. Just a little bit more, and then they get to be covered. And I thought, how inclusive is that? I love that you would include people of all faiths. You include people of all bodies and health. I love that you don't charge people more because they have a large family. So a family of eight or a family of three, they've got enough expenses if they've got five kids, or they've got six kids or seven kids. They've got enough expenses, and you're not going to continue to gouge people who have so many kids. Typically, kids don't have a lot of health issues compared to adults. Hopefully, fingers crossed, they will listen to my show and follow all the wonderful health tips. So I really love that. 

I love that you can travel. You can travel to different providers in different states. You can go to different countries and feel rest assured. I used to buy travel insurance. Being Canadian, I used to pay for and buy for a few hundred dollars. I'd be traveling. Every three months, I go down to the States because I was doing different conferences and stuff like that. This is back in my twenties, and I would pay upwards of $500 for coverage, and I never had to use it. I never used it. But I didn't want to be in the States without health insurance because I just knew that that was a bad idea. So I bought traveler's insurance every time I went somewhere outside of Canada before I moved to the States. And just to know that you're covered is so reassuring. That is so cool. 

[1:28:09.8] Megan Williams: Yeah. It really is peace of mind, and that's what we're trying to do with our group. And, Ashley, I think all of your listeners are the kind of people who want that. They want to have choices and freedom, and that's what we're really trying to give. And what we love is grassroots movements like this being able to share with people and let them make an educated decision for themselves. What is the right fit? I love it. You're individuals, and you're a tribe, I want to say, or educated. They want to have better options and solutions, and you are giving them that every single day and I love that. I think that's fantastic.

[1:28:50.1] Ashley James: I think I know the answer, but I want to check. So vision and dental supplements are things that are not included?

[1:28:58.0] Megan Williams: That's correct. A lot of times, everyone thinks in insurance, you have to have dental and vision. Well, you can get a policy for that very easily anytime, anywhere, from any group. So what Impact has chosen to do currently is that if it has a medical connotation, like you were injured and you need surgery on your eyes, or your mouth, or your jaw — I had a young man whose roommate hit him in college. He had to have jaw surgery. The dentist came in and did that reconstructive surgery. Those are, of course, all shared. But when we're dealing with just having our teeth cleaned and our eyes looked at, that is not part of this group. But it is definitely something that people can find in America with tons of different brokers, and that's not a concern. I use Costco for one of mine, and I've got a great family dentist that works out stuff as a small business owner for other business owners. So again, those are things that are not on our guidelines because they're not as expensive to manage for a family. 

[1:30:06.6] Ashley James: But if it was like an abscessed tooth or like an eye infection, would that be covered? 

[1:30:11.9] Megan Williams: Yes, because the eye infection would come from something that was medical usually. And so then it starts at a medical. Now, the neat thing is, you don't have to go to a doctor to get a referral to another doctor to have this be “covered.” If you were having infections, you could go right to that kind of doctor, like my sister, who has been a member, and her knee started bothering her. She went to a specific orthopedic that she had heard was the best, and she didn't have to see seventeen doctors beforehand and spend all the extra money. She just went right to him and started doing work with them.

[1:30:49.7] Ashley James: I love that. My friend is from a different company. She's with a health share company. She has stenosis in the neck. She was in a car accident years ago, and stenosis is like the bones are closing in around the nerves. So she had pain going down her arm, and every few years, she gets a CT scan. She has not gotten surgery for it, but she's debating and does everything natural to keep it at bay. She's doing a really good job managing the pain. But she found a search, and she's like, “I'm really interested in just cleaning up the bone spurs that are pushing on the nerves.” And their insurance is like, “No, you have to do it in this order. You have to see this doctor before you see this doctor. You have to get this scan before you see this doctor.” And it was so confusing and so annoying. She couldn't just go see the guy. She had to do all these other things first, and they wouldn't even cover her to see him until she had met their criteria. 

So I love the freedom. Like we said at the beginning, this gives freedom of choice and allows us to navigate the whole medical system, which is weird. It allows us to choose the providers that are holistic that are preventive, that help us to gain our health, to build our health up. You should only ever see a doctor who believes that you can build yourself up and you can become healthier. And if they think that you're sick and you just need to be on drugs and you can't get healthy, then you need to get a second opinion or third opinion and see holistic doctors because they believe your body can heal itself. So the fact that we have the freedom to do it and the freedom to even cross state lines, I love it. 

Now, another thing you do is you also help companies to create plans. So it's the whole company. Suppose you have someone, like, for example, a listener who has ten employees, or fifty employees, or five hundred employees; they can talk to you. And also, if we have a listener who is an insurance broker, they can talk to you. We can hook you guys up with Megan, and she can talk to you because insurance brokers love to provide this. And also, small businesses love to provide this because it's cheaper for everyone and gives better care, gives better coverage, so everyone wins. So Megan can talk to you. In addition, you've been doing this for twenty years. This company has been around for five, but what you've been doing even before this is you help business owners, you help families, you help professionals to cut costs of other services. And so I'm excited about there too because we're living in a day and age right now where I am unwilling to eat conventionally-grown food. They call it conventional. It's the weirdest thing. It's like conventionally grown should be organic. They should call conventional food pesticide-laden. But it's all marketing. Obviously, we're all paying more for food. I'm paying more for organic, clean food, and prices of everything have gone up, and they're going to continue to rise. Unfortunately, this is just the state of affairs. 

So for us to be able to afford being healthy, we have to figure out how to save money. And Megan showed me how to save hundreds of dollars on other things that I paid for already, which I'm really, really excited about. So, Megan does that. That's what she does for businesses; she does it for families. And this one thing, though, is what I was looking for, which is the ability — the — to get the coverage that you want at a fraction of the price and take those several hundred dollars that you would be saving. Like, for me, it goes from about $650 for my family that I used to pay for $1,432 or something. So I take that savings of hundreds of dollars, and I put that aside in my savings account, and I then get to put that money towards the things that are healthy for us, like supplements, and just to save it for a rainy day. Because it's in my budget, keep it for when our family needs the help it needs. And just a peace of mind that we get that we're not shelling out $1,400 plus a month to a broken medical health insurance system.

[1:35:31.4] Megan Williams: It's so awesome. That's it, exactly.

[1:35:32.4] Ashley James: Yeah, I love it. I love it so much. Yes, exactly. Megan, it's been so wonderful having you on the show. 

[1:35:37.4] Megan Williams: Thank you.

[1:35:39.5] Ashley James: I love the stories that you shared. I feel like this was God-driven. Bring me to you at the right time, and I think this message is landing for people at the right time. Now, here's another question. Usually, to buy insurance because this isn't insurance; it is an alternative to insurance. It is better than insurance in many ways. The insurance industry has an open calendar period where you can only purchase, like in January. You could only purchase from December 15th to January 15th. That's the open calendar. And if you get dropped coverage, you don't have coverage until January or until the end of December. So you're SOL if you're not able to stay covered. And some people lose coverage halfway through the year because they're changing jobs or it got too expensive; they lost their job. This covers you right away, right? 

[1:36:36.1] Megan Williams: That's right. Yeah, there is no open enrollment. There is no time frame. You can sign up on the last day of the month and have coverage the very next month as long as you do it by 10:00 at night. But the nice thing is, yes, absolutely. We don't have to be worried. Now, there are people, even with small businesses, that may have signed contracts, and they have to wait until open enrollment to turn that off and bring their whole company to us. But we can start with new employees that are coming in, and we can get them coverage right away. We can also do it with families. So I started the minute we got it. I started June 1st. I didn't have to wait until October or November to get on it again. And it's just amazing that they look at every scenario that can happen for families, individuals, and businesses, and they are finding that solution. So absolutely no restrictions. Let's get you signed up right away, everybody, and get you the best plans. And you can cancel your other health care the next month. So you can pick a four-month window when you go in to sign up for when you want it to start, and it gives you time to turn off your other insurance that you had before.

[1:37:50.7] Ashley James: Oh, that's so cool. So you say next month. So let's say it's the end of June, and I sign up, then at the beginning of July, I am covered, or do I have to wait until August?

[1:38:01.3] Megan Williams: Nope. It's the next day.

[1:38:06.3] Ashley James: If I signed up on the last day of June, let's say at 6 pm, I go to and I sign up, then the next day, which is the 1st of July, I'm covered?

[1:38:24.2] Megan Williams: That's right. Absolutely. It's that good. It's that quick, and it's amazing. And the process to sign up takes less than ten minutes for an individual. When you have a family of more, then they have a few questions about everybody's health, and you do need to know your kids' heights and weights. But that is about what takes the longest. What we love is that it can work for anyone who's a resident of the United States legally and is welcome to be a member as well. So there are no restrictions on that either. So, you can get signed up right away, your kids can, and it will take you about 15 minutes to be in the system, and you're good to go for the next month. 

[1:39:06.0] Ashley James: That was actually a question I didn't think about. So you can be abroad, just living in the States, and you don't have to be an American citizen?

[1:39:15.1] Megan Williams: Yes, as long as you're here with the correct documents, like a green card.

[1:39:21.7] Ashley James: Or a visa, a student visa. Can it be students from abroad?

[1:39:25.9] Megan Williams: Yup.

[1:39:27.0] Ashley James: Oh my gosh. 

[1:39:28.3] Megan Williams: Yup, employees. All sorts of things, and even in scenarios where the oldest member of the household isn't a citizen and maybe their spouse is not, but they're younger, that household can get coverage, including the non-resident. It's kind of crazy. It's very, very good. So Impact will help in any of those scenarios. Get the right documentation uploaded so they can have coverage for sure.

[1:39:53.9] Ashley James: Awesome. Listeners, go to Check it out. Share with all your friends who need this kind of coverage. I'm very excited that this is something that we can use to go to the kinds of practitioners we want, that we're not restricted by networks or by state lines, and that we can go and see that amazing naturopath in other states. Or we can go get the care we need in a different state, in a different county, or whatever, and that we can get telemedicine. There are just so many things that we can get, and it's just amazing that it's way better and also way cheaper. That's what I want from everything. I want everything to be way better and way cheaper. 

So, thank you, Megan, for coming on the show. This has been so exciting. I just know this is going to help. I can feel it. I can see my listeners. I know that this is going to be the answer to so many people's problems. Like we've discovered, 66.5% of bankruptcies are from medical expenses. How many people are suffering, either spending too much or they don't have any coverage at all, and not having coverage is dangerous because then we ignore the little thing. We should do blood work every year. We should look at the labs but with a good holistic practitioner that can examine them and go, “Okay, you're not optimal. Let's get you optimal. Let's make these slight changes to diet, lifestyle, and exercise. Let's make these changes and help you get optimal.”

So, my thing is holistic health is about addressing every part of our life, including preventive medicine, and helping us become optimal in every aspect of our health. And we can't do that if we keep our heads in the sand. We can't keep our heads in the sand. We have to look. And they say women live longer than men. I think it's because we're willing to look, and men are like lalalala. No, if I don't look at it, it doesn't exist. Lalalala. I'm just going to ignore it. You can't do that. We can't ignore what's going on. We have to listen to the symptoms of the body because that is the way our body communicates things to us. Then we also get labs just to check and see what's going on. But when you go to a holistic practitioner that's licensed, they can help guide us and keep us healthy and make the right choices so we can have optimal health and get so healthy we don't need medications. That's my goal for everyone, and we can accomplish that. Now we can accomplish it with cheaper coverage. So love it, love it. 

Thank you so much, Megan. I'm so excited. Definitely, check out all the videos that Megan made at And then, for those who want to contact you directly, should they be business owners that want to get all their employees, they want to offer it to their employees? 

[1:42:57.3] Megan Williams: There will be a place on your site in the link where they can request information, and we will work directly with them to help them. But definitely, through your link, everyone utilizes the link to get connected. So we can know what kind of mindset you're coming from, and we'll have the best solutions for you. 

[1:43:16.1] Ashley James: Because you're going to take care of my people. 

[1:43:18.1] Megan Williams: That's right. 

[1:43:19.1] Ashley James: My listeners, you're going to take care of them. Thank you, Megan. Thank you for taking care of my listeners. I want to make sure that we help those in need, and that's why we're here. So, I appreciate you and what you do. And I know that I really want to have your husband on at some point because he's got some amazing stories. So I will be hearing from him at some point. I'm just telling you I'm going to interview him, so now you know.

[1:43:48.4] Megan Williams: Perfect. You know I love that, and he'll give us a whole different insight into this. For those of you who aren't convinced yet, you'll want to be part of this group when it's all said and done. It'll be great. So thank you again for having me, Ashley. 

[1:44:00.7] Ashley James: I appreciate you, Megan. Thanks so much.

Get Connected with Megan Williams




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Jun 3, 2023

Testimonial #1: Mary

Official Member of the LTH Listener 500 Club!

Mary recommends listening to the following:

Episode 443 Dr. Laura Kelly, Treating Osteoporosis and Osteopenia Naturally


Episode 294 Magnesium Soak with Kristen Bowen

Be sure to use coupon code LTH at to get the listener discount!


487 Catherine Arnsten Chlorella and Spirulina (Recovery Bits are Chlorella, Energy Bits are Spirulina, Vitality Bits are a 50/50 blend of each)

Be sure to use coupon code LTH at to get the listener discount!


Episodes 292 and 293 PES Ionic Foot Detox with Kellyann Andrews


Episode 343 Debugging Your Health with Susan Luschas


Episodes 178, 358, and 390 with "Green Smoothie Girl" Robyn Openshaw


Testimonial #2 Katrina Reeser - Breast Implant Illness Survivor! 

Katrina recommends:

Episode 457

Breast Implant Illness (AKA Forgine Object syndrome)


Follow Katrina on IG!

IG: Bii_warrior_


Testimonial #3 Linda Valdez 

Linda recommends: helped her father-in-law get out of pain, improve his cognitive function and come back to life!


Magnesium Soak

Be sure to use coupon code LTH at to get the listener discount!


Chlorella and Spirulina

Be sure to use coupon code LTH at to get the listener discount!


Medicinal Aloe Vera Drink:


Testimonial #4 Mellissa Lee Diaz

Migraines are Gone, Perimenopause symptoms are gone, and improved immune health.


Mellissa recommends:

Episodes 292 and 293 PES Ionic Foot Detox with Kellyann Andrews


Sunlighten Sauna: 

Be sure to get my listeners' discount when buying your Sunlighten Sauna!


Analemma for increasing/improving hydration

Be sure to use coupon code LTH for the listener discount! 


Melissa also had great success using the supplements she got from


Testimonial #5 Morgan

All symptoms are gone after using the Phototherapy Patches to correct polarity. 


To get on the phototherapy patches, please schedule a free call with me (Ashley James)


Testimonial #6 Dana (read by Ashley)

Episode 479:


Episode 107:


Episode 477:


Episode 224:

Also, be sure to listen to the follow-up interview with Dr. Paul Thomas:


Episode 245: Sunlighten Sauna

Be sure to get my listeners' discount when buying your Sunlighten Sauna!


Episode 294 Magnesium Soak with Kristen Bowen

Be sure to use coupon code LTH at to get the listener discount!


Episode 484: Ozone

Be sure to use coupon code LTH at for the listener discount!


Episodes 401 & 474: Medicinal Aloe Gel Drink


Be sure to use this link to get the listener special:



Testimonial #7 - Listener gets off nine medications!

Listener shares in the LTH FB group how she quickly got her health back and got off of 9 of her ten medications thanks to the advice followed in the episodes as well as the wonderful guidance and supplements she got from 


Episode 366: Earthing and Grounding with Clint Ober


Episode 402: Dr. Stephen Sinatra Earthing and Grounding


Episode 294 Magnesium Soak with Kristen Bowen

Be sure to use coupon code LTH at to get the listener discount!


Testimonial #8 Natalie is beating Type 2 Diabetes

Episode 233:


Episode 489:


Episode 492:



Testimonial #9 - Ruth and ending anxiety's control over her life

Check out episodes on how to eliminate anxiety:


Schedule a call to work with Ashley James:


Testimonials 10, 11, 12 & 13: Heavy Metal Detox with Platinum Energy System

Call Kellyann: 1-877-225-3388 - 8:30 am to 5:00 pm PST



Interviews about PES Ionic Foot Detox with Kellyann Andrews

Episode 292:


Episode 293:


Episode 329:


Episode 330:


Episode 396:


Episode 454:


500: Stories of Success and Tools for Optimal Wellness

In Episode 500 of the Learn True Health podcast, the host, Ashley James, reflects on the journey of reaching this milestone. She expresses gratitude for the listeners who have shared their healing testimonials about improving their health through holistic methods, shares her story of healing from chronic illness, and discusses the importance of taking small steps towards better health.

Ashley emphasizes the body's innate ability to heal itself, highlighting the complexity and interconnectedness of its processes, and encourages listeners to challenge limiting beliefs and take control of their health by understanding the root causes of their diseases. Through testimonials, Ashley demonstrates that small steps can lead to significant improvements, no matter where someone is on their health journey. The episode concludes with gratitude for the listeners and a reminder to continue sharing and learning together.


  • Magnesium soak and its benefits
  • Experience with the Platinum Energy Systems ionic foot soak
  • Using ionic foot soak and RECOVERYbits for faster recovery from illness
  • Breast implant illness survivor's journey
  • The positive impact of
  • PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) treatments
  • Managing perimenopause with Sunlighten infrared sauna
  • Using phototherapy patches to adjust polarity

[0:00:02.6] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I'm your host, Ashley James. This is episode 500.


Hello, true health seekers, and welcome to Episode 500 of the Learn True Health podcast. This is very exciting. I remember the day I decided to do this podcast and one of the people I really looked up to had over 800 podcast episodes, and I thought, man, if I could get to 800, that would be amazing. Of course, now he's like 3000 episodes. But 500 feels like a milestone, and I think I got the hang of this now. After about seven years, I think I know what I'm doing. It's amazing. One foot in front of the other, and you can be a complete beginner at anything. Anything you want to learn, anything you want to do, just set your mind to it and put one foot in front of the other. You could be an absolute and complete beginner, not knowing what you're doing. Just like me, I had no idea, and I just put one foot in front of the other and learned as I went, and look at me now. Look at me now.

So here we are, Episode 500. We have some amazing testimonials lined up today. I just love it. In the last few months, I've spoken to over 100 listeners and heard your stories. And a lot of people are super shy to get on the microphone. They'll tell me their story. They gush and cry and tell me these amazing stories of healing, amazing success stories of people turning their lives around. They're so grateful, and then it's like the scariest thing in the world is to get on the microphone. So I commend those who did get on a microphone and share because I get it; public speaking is scary for a lot of people, and thank you. Thank you for submitting your testimonials and for all those that were too shy but have had amazing results with everything. I know thousands of listeners have learned from the podcast. Just thank you for continuing to share these episodes with those you care about. That's really where the rubber hits the road. It is when we can take an episode and share it with a friend or text with a friend and be like, hey, check this out. I've listened to you. I thought of you. This made a lot of sense to me. This podcast, or this information, has really helped me. Maybe I could help you too if you give it a try. 

Just opening people's eyes and minds, and hearts to the idea that our body has an innate God-given ability to heal itself, that we grew our cells from a single cell. I mean, think about it. The sperm and the egg came together and made one little cell, and now we are 37.2 trillion cells. A cellular biologist, I heard one say, when you actually study the cell, like PhD-level studying individual human cells, there's more complexity in our cells than the entire city of Manhattan; that there's more going on. It is like thousands of these genetic expressions because we can epigenetically have expressions turned on and off. We can have enzymatic processes, we have the Krebs cycle, and we have electrons going here and there. We have mitochondria producing cellular energy. We have detoxification. Nutrients are coming in, and hormones are signaling. It's just amazing how there's so much going on, and yet we could really nail it down to something very simple.

I had a guest say once he was dying in the hospital. He himself is a doctor, and he was dying in the hospital of liver failure. His doctors said go home, put your will together. You've got two weeks to live. And as he sat there, he thought, well, I know how the body works. Let's just chunk it up to each individual cell like a house, and the house needs groceries to come in and garbage to go out. And as long as we get the groceries in and the garbage out, what is stopping the groceries from coming in, and what is stopping the garbage from coming out? Then he thought about everything he had to do to get the garbage out and to get the groceries into every cell in his body, including his liver, where the liver failure was, and he lived a good fifty years more. So we can make this concept simple and take these beautiful simple baby steps no matter where you are in your health. 

I remember I was so incredibly sick. I was on prescription drugs and constantly on antibiotics; I had Type 2 diabetes, chronic adrenal fatigue, chronic infections, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and infertility. I was a mess. I was hungry all the time. I was gaining weight out of control. I couldn't exercise. I actually had this weird thing where I constantly twisted my ankles. I was inflamed. I was in pain. I had headaches. I couldn't think straight. And this was in my twenties. We're supposed to be having fun in our twenties, and I felt like I was dying. I feel like a prisoner trapped in my own body. My body was so ill that I would just cry. I haven't talked about this a lot in the podcast, but there were moments, and I remember them well, where I felt as if I was dying. My heart would start racing out of nowhere. I had this feeling like I was leaving my body. I hope you've never had this before. But I felt like I was leaving my body, and my heart would be racing. And I had this weird sense of dissociation, like my body became distant from me, and I'm like, what is going on? Usually, what would happen is I'd be lying down, and I would get really scared. I was young. I was in my twenties. I'm like, what is going on? And I wasn't drinking or doing drugs or anything like that. 

What I finally figured out later on in life, once I started studying holistic medicine, was I actually had adrenal dumps. So I'd have cortisol dumps, and that's part of the process of going into complete adrenal fatigue and burnout. You'll have these moments where you are having these huge dumps of adrenaline. And so I'm actually having these adrenal dumps, but I'm lying down, and what's causing it? Where is it coming from? I don't know. At the moment, I had no idea, but what I figured out was I could do some deep breathing. I would get in the shower, do hydrotherapy, do hot and cold, and do some deep breathing, and I could calm my body down. I felt like my body was my enemy. It was an unpredictable enemy, and it was a scary place to live. And now, my body is my home. My body is my friend, and my body and I love each other. We've been through a lot together, and I feel so comfortable in my skin. I'm so grateful for the health journey I've been on. I'm so grateful that I was able to turn my health journey into a tool, into something that could teach others, because I want to reach into all of your earbuds and your speakers and your phones. I want to reach in through there, hug you, hold you, and let you know your body can heal itself.

If the doctor told you, you had this because of your genetics, because of your age, because of your race, because of your sex; I want you to say no, thank you. I don't buy into this belief system. You aren't sick because of your age, race, sex, genes, or whatever it is. That's not the cause of it. You can actually turn off Type 2 diabetes. You can reverse that type 2 diabetes. If you have Type 1, you can get your body so healthy that your insulin needs to go down. Like within the parameters of Type 1 diabetes, we can even improve health. So I have seen people reverse major health issues that MDs told them were life sentences. If I had believed the MDs, I would have never taken the necessary steps to no longer have Type 2 diabetes to no longer have PCOS. I was told after a battery of tests by an endocrinologist that I could never have children. And thank God I did not buy into her belief system because I believe the body has a God-given ability to heal itself, and all we got to do is bring the groceries in and take the garbage out. 

Now, inflammation; well, inflammation is not the root cause of disease. It is present in most diseases. But what causes the inflammation? We have to go even further upstream to figure out what caused the information. So inflammation is like a flood. If you've ever turned on the weather news and seen a part of the world where there's a flood happening, maybe after a hurricane, and people are sitting on their roofs, nothing good is happening. The groceries are not coming in, and the garbage is not going out. That's inflammation. Inflammation is a flood that surrounds the cells and makes it hard for the cells to get the groceries in and get the garbage out. 

So think about the little steps we can take every day; sometimes, this whole idea of holistic health seems so big. Like, oh, I feel so sick. How could I make these major changes and get on the other side of this? And people don't even believe they can. But my goal for episode 500 is to show you that some people were incredibly sick and took little baby steps, just like me, and got on the other side of it. And some people were listeners who didn't have a lot of health issues, but they thought they were in perfect health and even improved their health. So no matter where you are, you can get that. No matter where you are, you can take your health to the next level, even if you are bedridden.

I have a client who's currently bedridden. And just with some holistic health changes, she's even improved her health, and I'm so excited. I'm going to have her on the show at some point, sharing how she was knocking on death's door at absolute rock bottom. And she is now improving her health in leaps and bounds. It is so exciting. If she had listened to her doctors, she would have died years ago. So don't let other people's belief systems tell you you can't heal yourself. I know it seems cliche; never give up, keep at it. But the truth is, if you believe you can't, you won't even take the first steps. So you have to believe your body has the ability to heal itself, which it does. And so we've just got to take one foot in front of the other and take the steps. 

What I love about the testimonials that you're going to hear today, some listeners share the episodes that made the biggest difference for them, and they share the tools, and even some wonderful insights and daily habits that they do that make a big difference in their lives. So you can listen to other listeners and hear what they're doing and check out the resources. Of course, all the links are going to be in the show notes of today's podcast of So be sure to check out the show notes, or wherever you're listening from; iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you're listening from. You can click on the show notes or click on the details of today's episode, and you should be able to see all the links there. 

Thank you so much for being a listener. Thank you so much for sharing this podcast with those you care about. Health is so important. It's not just physical, right? It's not just eating salad and exercising. Health is emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, and energetic. It exists on all these planes. And health is as much the health of your relationships, the relationship you have with yourself, your experience of the world, your career, your family life. Every aspect of your life could be considered part of your health because nothing happens in your body in a vacuum. Here's an example: you could have thoughts that affect your physiology, and every day they do. What you think about affects your physical health. You could say that everything about your life is your health. So if there's a part of your life you want to improve, let's improve the health of that part of your life. And that's what my show is about. Learn True Health is about improving every aspect of your life holistically because it all matters to you. Every aspect of your life matters. By improving the parts of your life that are not the best; so maybe for you, it's physical health, mental health, spiritual health, or the emotional health of your relationships, right? Every aspect, whichever one you want to work on and improve, that's going to affect the overall health of your life and your experience of your life. So let's do that together. Keep sharing this podcast. Keep listening. 

The first testimonial up is Mary entering the LTH 500 Club of Learn True Health listeners because she has now listened to 500 episodes of Learn True Health podcast. So she's just like me. And I know I have a few more of you out there because you guys have been in the Facebook group saying I've listened to every episode and are super excited. So go back and check out all the other episodes that make a big difference for people. And I love Mary's advice. She's got some great advice. 

Enjoy today's episode and learn from everyone else, and check out the future episodes because I've got at least 20 lined up in the hopper ready to publish that I'm looking forward to you guys hearing. Jump into the Learn True Health Facebook group. Just search Learn True Health on Facebook, or go to to find the Facebook group. It's so supportive there. Anytime you need any help, you can reach out to me there. It's a great community. I love answering and helping answer questions, and helping people as well as the other listeners chimed in, and we all learn from each other. So it's a wonderful place. So when you have questions, it's a good place to come for resources as well. The search function on my website is a great place to go as well. You can search for different topics on Now there are 500 episodes for you to lean on, learn from, and enjoy. 

[0:14:40.9] Mary: Ashley, dear friend, this is Mary. I want to thank you for helping me, and my loved ones have better health. I would consider myself a generally healthy person. I just turned 50 in November, and I've been eating well for a long time and exercising lightly. What you gave me are tools to help my health and life be even better. Actually, there's a request from my friend. What can I do about osteoporosis and osteoarthritis naturally?

I dug in and started to do my research and found your amazing podcast. I started with Episode #443 with Dr. Laura Kelly and her book The Healthy Bones Nutrition Plan and Cookbook. I learned so much from your podcast and was especially amazed to learn that you also need magnesium to hold your calcium. I purchased two other books—one for me and one for my lonely library. In the book, there was a recipe for magnesium spray, and I had the thought; I remember Ashely mentioned something about a magnesium soak she loves. I searched and found Episode #294 with Kristine Bowen from Living the Good Life Naturally. I was amazed at what I learned and quickly devoured the other three episodes by Kristen and was convinced to try the magnesium soak. I bought the magnesium soak and didn't expect to have anything happen. But I wanted my whole family to try it, so I soaked my feet too. I didn't notice anything right after soaking. But the next morning, I realized that I had slept through the night for the first time in ages. I found that soaking in magnesium has helped take some of the swellings away from my fasciitis and my shoulder, and I can sleep on both my left and right sides now because my sinuses are clear. And my knees don't bother me when I climb the stairs or try to chase the dog in the yard. I can tell my body is less inflamed. I'm so grateful for this. I even explain the magnesium soak to just about everyone I see. It's easy to share your podcast so that they can learn more about it for themselves. I never recycle an empty magnesium bottle. Instead, I put enough in it for two magnesium soaks and give it to someone I think could benefit from it. In fact, in my notes, I realized I've helped at least fifty people experience magnesium soaking in just the last year.

In December, I had the privilege of making the pilgrimage to Logan, Utah, to pick up my magnesium order in person. On the way, I wanted to stop and share it with a dear friend of mine. She hesitated to have me come because she was sick. I told her I'd be fine because I use magnesium and chlorella. Well, I had a wonderful visit with her while soaking her feet and giving her some chlorella to eat. In the form of recovery, that's two. Not long after my visit, she reported that she and her family were healthy and cleared to go on their international trip. She thanked me for sharing these tips with her. 

Looking further into your podcast, I found the Platinum Energy Systems ionic foot soak from Kellyann Andrews. Your first episodes with her are #292 and #293, plus four more. I was intrigued and decided to purchase the PES ionic foot soak system for our family. First of all, Kellyann is amazing. She will spend as much time as you need to complete your first ionic soak, even if it's an international call. She's so knowledgeable, patient, and kind. I've had a wonderful experience working with her. I know I can email her or call her with any questions I have. That's the kind of help and support you get from the products you recommend on your podcast. It's so awesome.  

The ionic soak helps me move along much better. After my first soak, I felt so energetic, even though it was later in the evening. I woke up the next morning wanting raspberries though it was February. So I dropped my son off at school and went to the store to get raspberries and chlorella. Chlorella was another tip from Kellyann. I bought and ate the raspberries and some of the chlorella. Suddenly, my body felt better. My guess was my body wanted more antioxidants to help clear the toxins that the PES ionic foot soak had undrowned and needed to clear out of my body. I've continued using the ionic foot soak for myself and my family members. It's been so helpful. In June, I became sick and realized, wait, how about I soak in magnesium? The magnesium made a big difference. That made me realize how to use the ionic foot soak in recovery. 

I learned about recovery in several episodes with Catharine Arnston, but my favorite episode is probably #487, where she talks about both the RECOVERYbits and ENERGYbits. So I used the ionic foot soak and RECOVERYbits two days in a row, and it really helped me recover quickly from being sick. My fever broke after the first session with the ionic foot soak, and most of my aches went away too. I've used this ionic foot soak on my parents too. My mom loves it and has noticed that the neuropathy in her toes isn't as bad after each use. She's also hooked on the RECOVERYbits and ENERGYbits too. She finds that she can stay on top of her arthritis pain mainly by using the magnesium soak and the chlorella. She used to have big bottles of Tums and ibuprofen that she'd buy. But now she doesn't use them much at all, and she's almost entirely off of her blood pressure medication too. Recently, her hairdresser commented on how quickly her hair has grown. My mom thinks it's due to the recovery, but I wouldn't doubt it. I feel so blessed to be able to share these helpful things with her.

I have been introduced to so many wonderful people on your podcast. I often turn to Susan Luschas' website from Episode #343. She has so much information there. I love the science, and she certainly has it. It's easy to share Susan's website with others, and she's really good about answering questions too. 

You also introduced me to Robyn Openshaw, the GreenSmoothieGirl, in Episodes #358 and #390. I liked what she had to say, so I went to her podcast live to listen for more. She has a recommendation for a dentist in our area, Michelle Jorgensen, at Total Care Dental. My son was told that he needed his wisdom teeth out, and if so, I wanted it done right. So he went for an evaluation, and as it turns out, he doesn't need them pulled. Thank goodness for an honest evaluation. I decided to go with Total Care Dental for a new patient exam as well. I was thinking I had pretty good dental health, which I do. But they were able to do an upper and lower jaw CAT scan, and the things that they could see there were amazing. My ex-dentist couldn't see them on the X-rays that he'd been taking for years. I had two cavitations from my wisdom teeth being pulled over 25 years ago and a failed root canal. They cut off to see that my airway was small, probably due to inflammation from the cavitation infections and the root canal. I also have a moderate tongue-tie. I've since had two mercury fillings replaced at their office. The failed root canal was pulled, and the tooth cavitation was cleaned out. I've been amazed at how much happier my body is. It's like I got a metabolic reset. My body knows how to handle food, and it's been incredible. 

Before I had the two mercury fillings replaced, I started on Dr. Jorgensen's detox protocol, glutathione, vitamin C, releasers, grabbers, minerals, and vitamins. By the end of the first day, I had a major headache. This happened three days in a row, so I stopped the protocol. Then later, after listening to one of your podcasts, I had an epiphany. I didn't have enough grabbers. I started the detox protocol again, and this time I added fifteen RECOVERYbits three times a day to the regimen. This time I had no headache. Once again, Ashley, you helped me figure out how to use the tools in my help toolbox even better.

I purchased at least a dozen other products you've recommended. I've been very impressed with each one. Each one has been very high quality and improved my family's health. I appreciate your recommendation. When in doubt, use coupon code LTH. Thanks for the money savings too. Your podcast has served so many helpful gems. Many of the things I've learned from your podcast are completely free. Some of the free, or at least low-cost health hacks that I've added to my life because of you are: I sun dry my mushrooms for extra vitamin D and use them often; I make my own sauerkraut and other fermented fruits and try to eat some daily. I do more deep breathing with a longer exhale, and breathe as much as possible through my nose, even during exercise. I try to approach things in life with curiosity and love. I'm better at acknowledging my emotions and allowing space through them. I check my morning PH to see if my body was building or breaking down during the night. I avoid fluoride. I drink filtered water. I even gave our children [inaudible 0:22:32.2] for Christmas. I include more omega-3 in my meals. Now, I have no more cracked skin, even in the dry winter. I keep my cell phone on the desk instead of in my pocket. I try hard to go to sleep at an earlier, consistent time. I walk through the yard more often with my bare feet. I try to go out and greet the sun in the morning. I try to spend more time in nature. I eat more plants and grow more sprouts. 

I recently joined Learn True Health Facebook group and have been amazed at how responsive and helpful the community is. I appreciate connecting with other like-minded people and look forward to contributing and learning even more in this group. I enjoy sharing these podcasts and insights with my family and friends. They may think I'm nuts, but I'm enjoying better health because of you and your podcast, and I want to pass it on. Thank you for sharing, teaching me, and being the open-minded skeptic that you are. Thank you as well for being my friend. I've listened to all of your episodes, several of them, multiple times. I'm looking forward to being an official member of the Ashley James Learn True Health Podcast 500 Club. So thanks for inviting me. Thanks to you, my sleep is better. I feel more energized. I've lost weight, which I wasn't even trying to do. I've learned so much from you and your podcast. My health and the health of my family and friends is better because of you too. Congratulations on your 500 episodes! Keep up the excellent work, and always remember you are loved.

Sending you and your wonderful family love, happy thoughts, prayers, and birthday wishes to you, Ashley. Your friend, Mary D. Thanks again, Ashley. You're amazing.

[0:24:08.8] Katrina Reeser: I started listening to Learn True Health with Ashley James back in the summer of 2018 when I first started having systemic symptoms, numerous doctor visits, 911 calls, ER visits, lab scans, and testing procedures. The specialist couldn't figure out what was wrong with me, and I just got sicker and sicker. I was determined to figure out what was wrong with me. I stumbled upon Learn True Health that summer. Not knowing what was wrong, I listened to every podcast Ashley put out. Using the knowledge she shared, listening to her podcast gave me hope and comfort. All the while, I was learning. This continued from 2018 through 2021. Still learning, in the fall of 2021, I became bedridden. I had nothing but time to listen, learn, and use what Ashley and Learn True Health was sharing.

My health came to a point where I had lost 45 lbs in 4 weeks, so sick with systemic symptoms that I couldn't lift my head off the pillow. Specialists and tests still showed nothing. I prayed a prayer like no other. God, let me die or lead me in the direction of what was causing my illness. The next day I stumbled across breast implant illness. I knew then and there that after reading the list and the symptoms, that was what was wrong with me. I met with a plastic surgeon two weeks later and had an emergency explant on December 1st, 2022. Almost immediately, the symptoms were gone. I have been healing and detoxing over the past year. I truly believe that Ashley James and Learn True Health podcast and using all the information I learned from her many podcasts, is why I heal so quickly from all of my systemic symptoms. I was so healthy once the implants were out. This past year I continued and still listen to her podcast every week.

I'm always learning, and I feel like she is one of my closest friends, and I haven't even met her. Thank you, Ashley, and Learn True Health for educating me and giving me hope and healing. I never gave up. I created an Instagram after I explanted — bii_warrior_ — in hopes of spreading awareness, educating others, and mostly giving hope, like Ashley gave me hope when I thought there was no help left. Thank you, Ashley. 

[0:26:28.8] Linda Valdez: Hello, my name is Linda Valdez. I just wanted to share some thoughts about the Learn True Health podcast. I've been listening to the podcast for years, and I've learned so much. There's a wealth of knowledge there on everything health. As of yet, I have not had to face a serious diagnosis. But I do work on improving my health, especially as I get older. But I have friends and loved ones who have had various serious diagnoses. Often I share what I've learned from the podcast. 

Recently, we had my 89-year-old father-in-law move in with us. When he came about five months ago, he was on about 12+ medications. He's kind of out of it; he has early dementia. He also had a very painful hip and knee joint for years that was not improving. I heard about on the podcast. So I reached out and got him started on the vitamins and minerals. We also weaned him off of most of his medications. Three months later, he rarely complains of any pain. He is alert. He has conversations with us. He jokes and laughs. He walks much better, and he has literally come back to life. It's really been an incredible change. 

I often share episodes with my patients from the dental office I work at. Many have begun using the magnesium that Ashley recommends from Living the Good Life Naturally or taking algae from the ENERGYbits to help them detox, or they are using the aloe vera from Haley's. People listen to the podcast, learn how it can help them, then they order the product, and it improves their health. I'm amazed at how we can heal our own bodies if we just know how and what to use. The podcast has been that link we need to get there.

I can't say enough of how grateful I am that Ashley has put together this podcast and websites that are so easy to navigate and find what you need. I love listening to her on the podcast, explaining what's been said so that anyone can understand it. She has shared her family and some very personal things in her life. I feel it makes her real, as if I know her personally. Thank you, Ashley, for all you do. Please don't quit. This world needs more people like you.

[0:28:56.6] Mellissa Lee Diaz: I'm Mellissa Lee Diaz, and I've been listening to the Learn True Health podcast for a couple of years, and I just briefly wanted to share my testimony of all of the health benefits that I have personally received throughout that time, and following protocols from the people that Ashley has interviewed. So I have struggled with migraine headaches for about 18 years. And I've also most recently been diagnosed as being in perimenopause. So I have also been having hot flashes, mood swings, anxiety, sleepless nights, and whatnot.

I have been listening to the protocols from Dr. Kellyann, who has a foot detox that I decided to purchase. I would say, a few times, after doing my foot detoxes, my migraines started to decrease rapidly. I also decided to purchase one of the Sunlighten brand infrared saunas that have also played a huge part in perimenopausal symptoms. I no longer have hot flashes. I've been sleeping a ton better. I have also had lots of less anxiety. I've also done something that wasn't actually brought up by Learn True Health, but I did want to suggest that Ashley do an interview with someone that offers PEMF treatments because that is something that I did, that is a holistic protocol on a machine that is an electromagnetic field generator. Again, it's PEMF. And I also received a ton of health benefits by going that route as well. So I'm hoping that at some point, she'll be able to interview someone that speaks on PEMF because that is also another major influence that I've had, positively affecting my health in an amazing way. 

Most recently, I also tried the analemma stick crystal that you put in water. And I've noticed that I've been much more hydrated than I was previously. And I can actually taste a difference, not in the taste of the water, but in the texture of the water, and it seems to give me major hydrating benefits. And I've also gotten sick way less this year. I think I might have battled one cold in a total of 18 months. So there's something to be said for all of the benefits. I have been migraine-free as of now from doing all of the things that people have suggested on her podcast. I haven't had a migraine in six months and counting. I also have today no symptoms of perimenopause whatsoever. I sleep amazingly. I stay hydrated. I have little to no body aches. And honestly, I have felt better now at 46 years old than I did when I was 30. So kudos to you, Ashley. I am so very grateful for your podcast. Keep going. I love this holistic advice that you give people, and I have been totally blessed by your show. Thank you.

[0:32:13.1] Ashley James: Thank you, Mellissa, for that. I wanted to make a little side note and tell listeners that Melissa has had seven children. So for a woman who is in her forties and has had seven children, she feels better than she did in her 30s, using holistic health and these simple tools, one at a time. Sometimes it's drinking more water, getting a structured water device, and drinking more water. Sometimes it's detoxing. I love the PES for detoxing. And I also know that Melissa takes the supplements from, and if you go to takeyoursupplements.comthere's a video of her and her gorgeous daughter giving a testimonial in a video form that she did a while back. The supplements there, I know she has been on for quite a while because she actually used them for her last and final pregnancy. Although I don't know, maybe she wants to have more kids, which she'd probably say she's done after seven. But she did take those supplements during her last pregnancy. I remember her telling me that it made that seventh pregnancy the easiest and the best pregnancy out of all of them and that she just kind of flew through that pregnancy, and actually, it was like the healthiest baby. I mean, all her babies are healthy. It was the healthiest. It was the easiest birth and the healthiest baby. It was the healthiest pregnancy, and she really attributed it to all the wonderful advice she got from 

Those supplements that she's on are the same supplements I've been taking for 12 years. My family takes the majority of it. It is liquid plant-based, plant-derived, bioavailable minerals and other nutrients that fill in the gaps in her diet. So, no matter which eating style you choose to do, it's really hard to secure our minerals because the farming practices of the last 150 years don't remineralize the soil. So it's easy to accidentally get vitamins and eat enough plants. So if you're on a diet that doesn't include enough plants, if you're eating the same American diet, you're definitely not getting enough vitamins. If you eat really healthy, you can accidentally get all your vitamins. It's very hard to get all your minerals, unfortunately, because of the farming practices. So a lot of times, people walk around minerally deficient, especially in magnesium and zinc, but they don't know it; there are only symptoms. It's really interesting how the body speaks in symptoms. 

And so, takeyoursupplements.comyou fill out the form, and they talk to you for free, and they're trained by the same naturopath I worked with, and it's amazing. Actually, the head coach there is Jennifer Saltzman, who's been on the show three times, and she has the world's biggest heart. She wants to help you, but only if you're ready. If you're ready to get healthy and you want to take your health to the next level, and you want to fill in the gaps of your nutrient deficiencies, talk to her. Go to I love those supplements. They're safe because they are dosed based on body weight. They're actually safe for anyone at any age. I know that there are pediatricians that use it for infants, infants, and up, basically. One of my mentors designed the supplements, and I love the science that went into designing them. They are really beautiful in that they're all balanced. So nothing is high doses of anything. It's all very balanced, and it's what the body really needs. If we lived in the Garden of Eden, that's basically the nutrients we would be getting from our food. If we had just the perfect soil, this is what we'd be getting anyway. So I really do love the supplements from

Next up is Morgan. She left it as a voicemail when she gave me a call, and then afterward, I asked her permission to share her voicemail with you guys. And she said, sure. So, as of now, I have about ninety of my clients using the phototherapy patches that I talked about in Episode #496 with Trina Hammack. Since Episode #496, I've had an amazing personal experience with the patches. My clients have had amazing experiences, and Morgan is one of them. She in the first week of using the patches, had a complete reversal and elimination of these crazy symptoms that she's had for the last several years, and it's been wonderful. We're having these really cool experiences with my clients. I have some words like, it's subtle. I have some words like, yeah, I noticed more energy. Wow, I'm getting deeper sleep. Oh yeah, my aches and pains are going away. I have an amazing couple who are using the patches, and one of them has several fractures, and it's healing much faster than the doctor expected. It triggers, through the phototherapy process, our body's ability to optimize certain physiological functions, including increasing stem cells and increasing glutathione-balancing hormones. It's really neat. 

I have one client who was eating Tums and drinking Pepto-Bismol like it was candy because of how bad her heartburn was. And she reported to me that after three days of doing the phototherapy protocol for supporting gut health, she no longer needs to take the Tums and drink the Pepto Bismol. Yes, we're supporting the body's ability to come back into balance. So it's not anything you're absorbing, which is so neat. It's just a frequency medicine that's gently pushing the body back into balance and asking the body to optimize certain processes. I know it sounds totally wild. There are over a hundred studies around it, proving that it does what it does. And these are double-blind placebos and all that. There are these super cool studies, and then they've been around for 20 years. So it's not like this new fly-by-night kind of thing. It has been proven. 

So if you're someone that would love to try this out and support your body's ability to heal itself, increase stem cell production, and gently bring the body back into balance and it is safe for all ages. It doesn't go against any medication, so it's safe, and all those scenarios, which are really neat. It's gentle, and we see amazing results. Like I said, I have ninety clients wearing these and experiencing phenomenal results, like the testimonial you're about to hear. And if you would like to try the phototherapy patches, I'd love to talk to you and help you order the right ones to get on the right protocols for you. You can go to my website, learntruehealth.comAnd on the menu, it says, “Work with Ashley James.” So go to and just find the menu, click on “Work with Ashley James,” and it's the first option as you scroll down. You can book a free consultation with me, and I will answer your questions about it. I'll also send you a big email full of really cool videos and stuff you'll geek out on.

If you like my podcast, you'd love the email that I can send you with all this information. And I can invite you to our hidden Facebook group of practitioners so you can learn the protocols and you can see the testimonials; it's wild. We have bald men and women growing their hair back. We have age spots going away, wrinkles going away, and waddles under the neck tightening because one of the patches stimulates collagen production. So we have a full-on facelift, breast lift, and neck lift protocols. It's not medicine. It's not surgery. It's not anything the body absorbs. It's just phototherapy. It's patches that change the frequency of the photons our body admits back to us to stimulate a specific function. I could send more information. All I could say is I've got several really cool science videos that go into explaining this, and it does kind of feel like we're in Star Trek, basically. I love it. 

There's a combination of these patches I wear. When I started wearing them, I was consistently able to do 5 minutes on the rower at the gym. And after I started wearing them, I went from 5 minutes on the rower to the next day, 23 minutes on the rower. I was consistently getting kind of exhausted after 5 minutes. You know, when you push yourself, and then your body's like, okay, I need a break. I need a few minutes. I hit that lactic acid wall at 5 minutes. And then, the next day, I did 23 minutes. I was like, woah! It wasn't like I went from 5 to 6 minutes. I went from 5 to 23 minutes. And there's something said about these phototherapy patches that have been really cool not just for me but for all my clients that get on it. So if you want to try it, definitely reach out to me because I love it. I love the results we're getting, and it's wild. Listen to this testimonial. You can hear about how wild it is. 

[0:41:36.3] Morgan: Hey, Ashley, this is Morgan. Hey, I just wanted to tell you how incredible the patches are so far, and just adjusting my polarity, which was running completely backward. It has made such an incredible shift in my life in such a short time. In probably the past six years or something, I've been going from practitioner to practitioner, trying to figure out all these crazy symptoms that no one could explain, anything related to grounding or anything that increases the earth or water element. I would be riddled with anxiety and have massive bloating and this kind of dizzy feeling. It's hard to explain, but I just felt like something was so off. And after adjusting the polarity, everything shifted. I can drink water again, which I couldn't do before, like with any minerals. I'd have to do reverse osmosis because I couldn't handle any kind of minerals. They would make me just feel so out of whack. And I'd have urgent urination and just an intense rapid heartbeat. I can be around trees again and listen to music again. Before, I couldn't handle anything that had a heavy bass or many kinds of music. Even a female voice was too grounding to listen to. Sleeping was insane. I couldn't sleep because every time I lay down, I would just have really intense symptoms. Even walking into my house, because it's on the ground level, with lots of trees in the yard, would throw me into a dizzy state. I can do breathing, meditation, or stretching. All of those things were too grounding. Even reading and writing were really tough. 

So anyways, long-winded, but those have all shifted in just one day or two days. It's doing the polarity switch. So I just wanted to tell you that I'm so grateful, and I broke down a couple of times this weekend in tears out of just straight gratitude for this technology and healing message that you're sharing with people. So, thank you so much. I do have a couple of questions about the next steps, so I'll just email you about that. But I just so appreciate you and wanted to let you know. Thank you so much. Okay, hope you're having a nice day, take care.

[0:44:11.7] Ashley James: This testimonial is from Dina. She shared it in the Learn True Health Facebook group, and it made me cry. I love it. It's a true testament to the power of the body's ability to heal itself with natural, holistic-minded medicine and how we can take all the great information from hundreds and hundreds of amazing guests and use it in everyday, real applications to save our lives, to save the lives of our loved ones. So here's what she says.

[0:44:46.8] Dana (read by Ashley): How has Ashley and the Learn True Health podcast helped me and my family? In more ways than I can count, each and every day, in some large or small way, but for this post, I will rely on two major scenarios where Learn True Health has guided me and my family through important decisions. Get comfortable. This is going to take a minute. Hospital scenario: let me start by talking about a medical illness where Learn True Health insights guided me just one day before my eighty-year-old mom was hospitalized with COVID-19. I had coincidentally listened to Episode #479: Our Amazing Grace, wherein a father, Scott Schara, described how his daughter's fatal experience, which began as a COVID admittance to the hospital, could have been avoided. The interview left the listener with a heightened awareness in, a perspective to be cognizant of a hospital's transparency and the operational protocols often based on revenue streams instead of the patient's positive health outcomes to not implicitly, without question, trust the white coat; to not allow hospital staff and doctors to bully or belittle you in your role as advocate for your loved one; to ask uncomfortable and difficult questions of doctors and nurses and so on. 

My mom was in the ICU for ten days, and my sister and I took alternating 24-hour shifts as her advocates. As the 10-day ICU ordeal began to unfold, I watched in mounting frustration and then in dismay as an eerily similar scenario to that which Scott had described unraveled before my eyes. My sister and I asked a lot of questions as to each physical protocol and each medication. We were not argumentative or disruptive but wanted to understand. Some of the nurses and both doctors in my mom's case clearly did not want us in the room. My sister and I were repeatedly bullied and were actually yelled at on multiple occasions. The supposed life-saving prone positioning protocol ordered by the pulmonary doctor was not being carried out by the nurses in the least. And the deadly mixture of drugs prescribed in the case of Scott Schara's daughter was being duplicated in my mom's case, even though the package inserts indicated not to mix them or use them for several days together. About midway through my mom's ICU case, it became clear to us that we needed to transfer our mother to another hospital. We were successful in arranging that transfer. 

Also, early in the ICU scenario, other LTH episodes came to mind that bolstered my own endurance in my difficult role as an advocate. I recall Episode #107, where JJ Virgin describes her role as an advocate for her hospitalized son. Helping me advocate for a critical patient can be rigorous and exhausting, and how JJ Virgin knew in Episode #107. She had to keep up her own wellness routines in order to have the strength to continue in the advocate role. She talked about ways in which she supported her health and stamina during the long hospital hours by doing things like climbing hospital stairs to replicate high-intensity workouts and using the corridors to get in her steps. She talked about making sure she did not give in to the convenience of inflammatory hospital cafeteria food and how she prioritized sticking with her own foods and supplements. She also talked about how she used her knowledge as a functional medicine practitioner to support her son's recovery by doing things like bringing in nutritional supplements and healthy foods for him. 

So, I took many cues from JJ Virgin's hospital survival kit in Episode #107 of the Learn True Health podcast and replicated her practices in my role as an advocate and part-time hospital dweller. In addition to bolstering my own health, I supplemented my mom's hospital protocols with vitamin D and other nutrients. For example, I brought in thermoses of bone broth. She didn't have an appetite for many solid foods. Another episode that helped me during this ICU time was Episode #477: Proof of Heaven, with near-death experience survivor Dr. Eben Alexander. From day one of my mom's ICU stay, the pulmonary doctor's outlook for my mom's survival was bleak. She had severe pneumonia. So facing what might be a fatal outcome, I came prepared to read to my mom passages from Dr. Eben Alexander's book, Proof of Heaven, in the hope that I could minimize her fear of death and of what might come next and offer some level of comfort that if death was what she was facing, she could at least visualize a place of love and safety as Dr. Alexander described in his near-death experience. 

Alternative childhood vaccine scenario: The first episode I've ever listened to on Learn True Health podcast was forwarded to me by my daughter, a first-time mother, five months in. It was Episode #224: Safe Vaccines, wherein Dr. Paul Thomas describes the pros and cons of childhood vaccines, promotes parental informed consent, and offers a vaccine schedule alternative to that of the CDCs. This episode was so informative that it started me and my daughter on an in-depth journey into the world of childhood vaccines which, after a study period of about six months, led my daughter to quit her job and stay home with her daughter in order to have the freedom to choose an alternative vaccine schedule without the strict daycare vaccination rules governing her decisions as they relate to her daughter's health. Ashley's episodes on homeschooling also gave my daughter the courage to embark on this journey that she had never before considered for herself.

My own health journey: I'm presently diagnosed with mycotoxin illness, which, if not eradicated, would likely lead to one or more of the following; cancer, kidney damage, liver damage, Alzheimer's, or Parkinson's. The only remedy is detoxification by supporting all of my body's functions and elimination pathways. In addition to my clean diet and supplement regime, I have learned of some other excellent health-promoting modalities through Learn True Health, which I am now using to amplify my overall resilience in detoxification ability. These include infrared energy therapy Episode #245 with Sunlighten sauna, daily magnesium foot soaks for maximum cell saturation and overall mineral support, Episode #294: Magnesium Foot Soak, the use of ozonated water and ozonated oils to eradicate biotoxins and pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and molds in Episode #484, and the medicinal drinkable aloe gel for reducing gut inflammation in Episode #401 and #474 and starving any cancer cells that may be taking root in my body as a result of mycotoxins. Many, many thanks go to Ashley James. Her quest to share important, empowering health information is quite a calling. She is an excellent podcast host, as well as a self-informed and certified nutrition and health coach. I completely trust Ashley James and recommend her podcast to friends and family every chance I get.

[0:52:44.2] Ashley James: I loved reading this. The first time I read it, I was crying. I couldn't even finish it. The tears were filling my eyes. I was just thinking about her mom and how that could have been a really bad outcome. That could have been a devastating outcome and a horrible way to pass alone in a hospital if it wasn't for her family advocating intensely for her. And I weep for all the families who lost loved ones in the last three years who were left alone, neglected in the hospitals. I know that there are nurses and doctors out there who have really big hearts who care, and there are also a lot of really burnt-out nurses and doctors. And the worst thing is the hospital protocols are horrendous and are not designed to support our overall health. I don't know if her mom would have lived if she hadn't heard that episode on my show where she learned how to rigorously advocate and how to look for the signs of malpractice, essentially. She did an amazing job. Her whole family did an amazing job supporting her mom. And the fact that they were able to have such a positive outcome is why I do this. I do this show so that your mom's life can be saved, so that your dad's life can be saved. 

I couldn't save my parents. I lost my mom when I was twenty-two to cancer, and I lost my dad six years later when I was twenty-eight to sudden heart failure. And that should not have happened. They should have lived. I didn't know at the time what it would take to prevent and reverse heart disease and cancer. And through my own personal health journey in the last fifteen years, and then the last seven years doing this podcast, if I had a time machine, I could go back, give my parents this information, and they would still be alive today. Think of all the loved ones that you can take all the information from my show, and you can help yourself and your children, your friends, and your family to live long, healthy, disease-free lives in optimal health regardless of where you are now, regardless of how old you are now, regardless of where your health is right now.

Every day you can build your health. Either you tear it down, or you build it up. Every day, every decision, every meal, every glass of water, every walk, every time you go to bed at a decent hour, just every little thing that seems insignificant, is actually monumental. And then the little things add up. If you can make it a game and make it fun, you know, let's see. Can I get to sleep before 10? Can I get it with 120 oz of purified water? Can I get my 10,000 steps in? Can I get 50 grams of fiber from a variety of plants throughout the day? Can I have three healthy bowel movements a day? Can I get out in the sunlight first thing in the morning? These little things can become a game. Can I walk outside for 5 minutes or 20 minutes with my bare feet on the ground or in the grass? Obviously, make sure you don't step in dog poop or walk in pesticide-laden grass. These little things — hydration, nutrition, fiber, sleep, moving your body in a way that brings you joy, grounding or earthing, loving yourself, watching your own personal self-talk, correcting it — so you become nurturing inwards and nurturing outwards, and decreasing stress, getting out of the stress response, having tickle fights with your partner, your kids putting on comedy shows, doing zumba in your living room to 90s music, or rock and roll or whatever. Have fun and do the little things, and every single day you will be building yourself up. Make it a game and see how many of these fun little activities you can incorporate. 

Take a little account of yourself. Go write down everything, every symptom. If you want, I can give you this if you email me or you message me on Facebook, or if you email me at I'll send you my symptom inventory checklist. I can also include it in the show notes of this podcast. But the symptom inventory checklist is phenomenal for doing a once-a-month check-in. You just write every single thing you don't like about your health, every symptom, even the ones you were told that you have because you're a woman, or because you're a man, because you're older, because you're young, or because of your genetics, whatever excuses they've given. If you could have a magic wand or Aladdin's lamp, come and grant your wishes and remove every single symptom and bring you optimal health; you think about it from that standpoint. You write down everything you don't like about your health, and you grade it — intensity, duration, and frequency. Then, once a month, you come back to this list, and you'll see if things are getting worse or better or staying the same.

When I work with my clients, they are surprised at how this list changes just in the first month alone. I've had clients cut this list in more than half in the first month of working with me when we adjust supplements and diet and lifestyle changes, and we get to the point where there's nothing on their list. There are no symptoms that they are unhappy with. They get to a point in their health where they're happy about every aspect of their health, their body, and their emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical health. So this is a great way to keep track. 

I've actually had two clients who forgot they used to have chronic migraines before working with me. And how do you forget chronic, almost weekly, daily, or monthly, really intense and often recurring headaches or migraines? I reminded them. I asked both of them on two separate occasions, two different clients. How are your migraines? And they both looked at me like, what do you mean? I had to remind them. And they're like, oh yeah, I forgot. I forgot I used to have daily headaches. I'm like, how do you forget? But this is what we do. We just forget. So if you write down your symptoms now as you make these healthy changes, you might forget how bad you felt, and then you get this great health routine, and then you think, well, I could stay up late. I can do whatever. I can drink some alcohol. And then we build these habits, and then we can fall out of our habits. And we forget how great we feel when we're in these habits. 

So keeping track of that, we can go back and say, okay, I have a motivation. I have a reason to stay on these healthy habits because they've built me up. They've removed all these symptoms, and I don't want to go back to the way it was because I could recreate type 2 diabetes. I could go to McDonalds every day. I always pick at McDonalds, but you know, insert fast food restaurant. I could just eat the way everyone else is just eating a standard American diet. And sure enough, I could recreate type 2 diabetes. I don't have it anymore, but I can recreate it. So we can turn disease on and off with nutrient deficiency, with stressors in life, with living the sad life, the standard American diet life. We can turn disease on, and we can turn it off with these health changes. The whole podcast, all 499, now 500 episodes, is about the little changes you can make to support your body's ability, the God-given ability you have to heal yourself. 

And if you believe you can't heal yourself, then you have already lost because your belief system matters. It does take you believing that your body can heal itself. If you don't believe, you won't even take the first step. So you have to believe, and you have to visualize and see yourself healed. See you that you want to have in the future, and see that future you and believe it as if it is now and real, and go, “Okay, future me, I'm going to I'm going to see you soon, and I'm going to do the things it takes to be there and do that.” And then you have to forget everything every MD ever told you because everything they tell you that has to do with limiting your own body's ability to heal itself, you've got to throw it out the door and say no, I do not take that in. That is not my belief system. I believe my body can heal. Because if I believed what the MD said, I would still be sick because I would never have taken the first step.

The next testimonial comes from the Learn True Health Facebook group, and it's more of a visual thing. So I'll describe it to you. It's an image of a Facebook message that I got from one of our listeners, and she shares an image of a large ziplock bag filled with ten big prescription bottles, and she says, “Check this out.” All the things that she's been doing since listening to the Learn True Health podcast, she goes, “This was my bag of prescription drugs that I had to take before the Learn True Health podcast,” And she goes, “and this is now.” And it's one drug in the big bag instead of ten. So she's removed nine. Her doctors have taken her off nine prescription drugs since listening to the Learn True Health podcast. And I said, “Woohoo, congratulations! That's so awesome. May I share this?” And she goes, “Yes.” And I said, “What is the last drug?” She says, “Blood pressure. But I'm conquering that too.” And she shared what she has done to get off of nine of her ten drugs. You can see this if you go to the Learn True Health Facebook group. You can see this post there. Just type testimonial in the search bar of the Facebook group, and you'll see it. But she says that she did grounding or earthing, and you can learn more about that by going to the Learn True Health podcast and listening to Episode #366 with Clint Ober. It's fascinating — grounding and earthing — and also Episode #402 with Dr. Stephen Sinatra. 

She also used the magnesium soak, which I love. If you take oral magnesium, you're getting only a tiny percentage of that actually is getting in your tissues. Oral magnesium is the hardest way to absorb magnesium. And the best way, besides paying for very expensive intravenous, which is not achievable for most people to do long-term, is soaking in the magnesium in this undiluted magnesium soak is amazing, and you reach full cell saturation. About 70 to 60 percent of people reach full cell saturation within 30 days of soaking every day. You soak for a minimum of 20 minutes, a maximum of an hour, and you just put it in a bowl with your feet. You don't even have to have a bath to do it. I do it when I'm watching TV or when I'm just relaxing and doing some work at the computer. I can put my feet in the bowl there, and I can also do it in the sauna. So there are plenty of ways of getting it in while you go about your day. As long as you can sit still in one place and keep your feet in a bowl for 20 minutes, you're good. And that is several episodes with Kristen Bowen, but the first episode worth listening to is Episode #294 of the Learn True Health podcast. She gives a great discount, that coupon code LTH when you go to That's her website. She has very high standards for ingredients and makes sure that everything is pure and ethically sourced. Everything that she sells, she uses herself. She uses it with her grandbabies and her family. I just love connecting with ethical, like-minded people and supporting these small businesses that are committed to helping our health. So Kristen is one of those women who will do everything she can to help you, and she suffered so greatly. I'm not going to do any spoilers, but I will tell you, you've got to listen to Episode #294. She was in a wheelchair, under 100 lbs, barely able to talk, having thirty seizures in a day, and she was on death's door. That was about twenty years ago, and now she is vibrant and healthy and has a huge beautiful family. And she's a grandma of so many amazing kids and a mom to amazing kids, and she's the founder of a beautiful and wonderful business. So I love that it provides people with a great workspace and then provides the customers with high-quality ingredients. But the magnesium soak is like no other, and you cannot get it from Epsom salt. It is not even comparable, and she talks about that in our interviews. You can't reach full cell saturation with magnesium flakes. It doesn't work with Epsom salt. You can't reach that full cell saturation, and she goes into explaining why. That is Episode #294. Then you can go to the Learn True Health website or wherever you listen to Learn True Health and search for all the other episodes with Kristen Bowen because we have several of them. Remember to use coupon code LTH on her website,, and grab yourself a few jugs of her magnesium soak.

Also, I love the cream. I love the muscle cream. Those are delicious as well. That's great for local applications. If you just need to relax some tense muscles, it definitely works. And then our listener — just for privacy's sake, I don't share her name — she was kind enough to share this information so that I could pass it along and give people hope. The last thing she did to make these changes and get off her nine out of ten medications very quickly was she went to and signed up to have a free conversation with Jennifer Saltzman. Jennifer has been on our show several times, but you can listen to the latest one, which is Episode #458 of Learn True Health podcast. I have been on these supplements for 12 years, and so is my husband. Our son's been on these supplements his whole life. And I've had the creator of the supplements on my show twice. They are phenomenal, and they're plant-derived. They are very bioavailable. They're all in balance with each other, so there are no high doses, and it fills in the gaps of our nutrient deficiencies that we have because of the farming practices of over 150 years. They do not remineralize the soil, so we are left with anemic plants. You can eat spinach, but the spinach could have zero iron in it, literally zero iron. And even though we were raised to see Popeye and think we're getting our iron when we eat our spinach, well, spinach used to contain high iron just like Brazil nuts can contain selenium, but it doesn't mean they do. Because you can grow plants in water and sunlight, and some NPK does not need to take all sixty minerals. Our body needs sixty minerals. But the farmers do not remineralize the soil, so that's a really big problem with modern farming. And then in addition to that, we treat our crops with the types of pesticides like Glyphosate, which is a chelator. This is not the only one that does this, but it binds to the minerals and heavy metals and carries it away. And the way we farmed, the way we till the soil, the rain washes away the nutrients, and we're left with anemic plants. Of course, now, a lot of plants we buy are grown hydroponically, especially if you're buying your microgreens. I buy these power greens from Costco in a big bag. It says organic, but you know as you're eating them, you go, this is too clean. This just looks like something that was grown in a factory, not something that was grown in the ground that contains minerals. So it is really important to get our minerals, and I love the liquid minerals that can provide you with. 

So those are the three biggest things that she did. She grounded herself, or she did earthing and walked outside barefoot. You can also get a crowning mat or mattress pad for indoor use, but it's free if you just put your feet barefoot outside. I even had a listener, and I loved this; this was so great. After hearing this episode, the grounding episode, I think she was in Minnesota when she went outside in the middle of winter and dug some snow until she found the grass, bundled up, sat in a lawn chair, and put her feet directly on the grass. And I'm like, that is my kind of woman. And she's like, “I am earthing right now. I heard this episode, and I'm going to earth right now. I'm not going to wait for springtime.” And that's the kind of passion you need to have when it comes to gaining true health. When we put our feet barefoot, directly on the soil, directly on grass, plants, or the earth, we are getting back to earth's potential. You are releasing electrons which are free radicals that are causing damage to your body. You are releasing excess electrons, and you're getting back to the earth's potential. That's what we're supposed to be.

Think about if you've ever gone camping as a kid, if you ever slept outside, or maybe when there are power outages, and how good you sleep. You sleep so well when we're not around all this wi-fi and electricity, when we're touching the ground, if you've ever slept on the ground, besides the fact that the ground is hard and you use a mattress, or maybe you've taken a nap outside. Just go lay down in the grass and let yourself connect with the earth, in that you are releasing electrons and getting back to the earth's potential, which is discussed a lot in Episode #366 as Clint Ober talks about the several studies that he funded to learn more about the effects on the body of doing earthing and grounding. So you're going to love to dive into these episodes if you're like my listener and you're carting around a gallon bag full of prescription drugs, and you don't want to be on prescription drugs anymore. You want to be so healthy that you don't need to be on these drugs. If you want to be so healthy that your doctor says, “Well, we got to definitely take you off these. What are you doing on them?” If you want to be so healthy that your body is drug-free, that your body has just energy abound, that your body heals itself quickly, that you bounce back quickly from colds or flu, that you jump out of bed in the morning, that you have a full day that you feel like in love with life on every level, then you want to listen to and do what all the other listeners are doing that they were able to cut their prescriptions. I once helped a woman cut her prescriptions. And how she had two drawers full of prescriptions and cut them in half just by making tiny changes. And she could have done more, but she just did a few tiny changes. These are suggestions that are shared in the podcast and suggestions that I love to follow. She made these suggestions, and it's madness that MDs don't have these tools. To help you get so healthy, you don't need to be on meds. That's not their training because the system is designed to sell drugs. Now, I appreciate and love MD-based medicine when we need it. Allopathic, drug-based medicine for emergencies is wonderful, and it's the best thing we got. But when it comes to chronic health, they only have drugs. And you have to go to a functional medicine practitioner or holistic health coach to even find the information on how to support your body's ability to heal itself, so much so that your body gets so healthy that your doctor takes you off those drugs that you no longer need to be on drugs. And that's the kind of doctor you want to see.

You want to see a doctor that says, “Yes, let's get you so healthy. I don't know enough how to get you so healthy, but if you get healthy, I want to take you off these drugs. There are some doctors that won't even take you off your drugs if you get healthy. You got to really watch out for that. So interview some doctors and find one that goes, “Yes, I want you to get so healthy that you don't need to be on drugs.” And look at how simple this was for her. She stood outside with bare feet in the grass. She's soaked in magnesium. She took some supplements. She made a few dietary changes. She started moving her body in a way that brought her joy. She started hydrating herself, and she cut down her pills by 90%. Her prescriptions got cut down by 90% in a matter of months. How amazing is that? That's so cool. 

So I just love all the testimonials that are shared in the Facebook group. I love that we can make such a huge difference in people's lives. I am so proud of Natalie, who is our next testimonial. Natalie has been listening for, I guess, over a year now. She was struggling with prediabetes even though she was doing a lot of healthy things that kept creeping up on her and creeping up on her. And then finally, she ended up with an A1C of 9.6, diagnosed back about five months ago, where she was in full-blown diabetes. And she was just so upset at herself. She'd been listening to the podcast. She'd been making a lot of good health changes. But one thing that hadn't changed, even though she was eating very healthily, was she was still eating foods that we'd see cause insulin resistance. And so, I encouraged her back in December to listen to Episodes #233, #489, and the most recent #492, and especially to get the Mastering Diabetes audiobook. I love that audiobook. They come on and give updates. So, when you buy a physical book, it's like the author can insert updates, maybe if it's an ebook. But what's great about the audiobook is that they don't come on and give some updates as new science and stuff come out. It's one of the guests I had in those episodes. He is a Ph.D. who wrote his thesis on insulin resistance. The whole premise is how we can use the food you don't eat and the food you do eat to heal insulin resistance and support the body's ability to heal itself and become so healthy that the body naturally loses weight, lowers triglycerides, develops healthy cholesterol and develops balanced, healthy blood sugar. 

So Natalie came to me a month after being on the program. It's only a month, and it does take time. So don't expect to be completely done in one month. One month is just the beginning, and that's the hardest part. The first month is the hardest part because, a lot of times, people are battling. They don't even realize how intense the food addictions and cravings are when they cut out those foods. So Natalie went through her first month of eating a super clean way and battling what we all go through when we cut out the foods that our bodies are addicted to. And at the beginning, she had an A1C of 9.6 back around January of this year. And in April, so four months later, her A1C was 6.7. I am so proud of her. This testimonial that she gives, she recorded in January, a month into her program. She was already seeing success, but I got an update today from Natalie, and I want to share it with you because I want to celebrate with you her success and just how proud I am of her. She's really been struggling for years like so many people, even though she makes really healthy choices. She doesn't eat the standard American diet. There are so many things she does right. And that's the frustration. We can feel like we're already doing so much, and then we're still unhealthy. Sometimes it just takes a few simple changes. Sometimes it takes a major overhaul. But being willing to look at your numbers now and go, “Okay, here's where I am, and here's where I want to be, and I'm going to get there. I'm going to close that gap between where I am and where I want to be.”

I talked to her a few times back in January, and she felt defeated at times because things were not progressing fast enough. I said, “Just keep at it.” And she was not happy with me. She wanted me to join the pity party with her, and I totally understand that. When you just want to complain with someone, and then you want them to join your pity party, and I'm like, “I'm not having it. You are going to keep going. You're going to keep doing this.” I was her cheerleader. She wanted me to get out the violin for her, and I'm like, “No, you keep doing this, and you're going to be amazed at your results.” And here we are, only a few months later, like five months really into it. She said she didn't start getting super serious until February. So I'm going to give her the five months into it because she really did start about five months ago. So here it is in May, she said, “I was super serious starting in February.” But she started easing into it at the beginning of January. But here are her numbers so far. So please, I want you to put your hands together for Natalie.

I'm so proud of her. When she started back in December, when she came to me, her fasting blood sugar was in the 180s. That was waking up in the morning, not having eaten for 8 to 10 hours, and it was 180. Now it should be below 100. A good fasting blood sugar is between 60 and 80. And hers was 180. Now her fasting blood sugar is between 90 and 100, and I'm so proud of her. Now, she's not done yet. She's still helping her body heal itself. But look how far she's come and not even six months. It's not even half a year. Look how far she's come. Her blood sugar, when at two hours post meal, used to be in the high 100s or the low 200s, usually around 200. It's now between 120 and 150, two hours post-meal. So I'm really, really proud of her.

I'm so excited to see what her A1C is going to be in a few months because she's trending in such a great way. But another really big change for her is her weight. At the beginning of this, she was 250, and now she's 190. She's lost 60 lbs. You have to get between 10 and 20 lbs. When we lose weight, when we adapt to a healthy eating lifestyle, a lot of that is water weight. That's inflammation. So it might not all be adipose tissue that the body is losing. But she definitely has dropped her body weight when she's eating vegetables like crazy. Basically, she's eating just lots and lots of wonderfully healthy, healing vegetables. She sends me pictures of some of her meals, and I'm drooling. And Then I send her pictures of my meals, then she says, can I come over because your food looks better than mine? I'm like, hey, we're just eating our medicine. But the fact that in such a short period of time, she was able to get such traction and remind her today was great. Because sometimes we're just in the thick of it, and we're staring at the scale every day, we're looking at our labs, or looking at a glucometer, and it doesn't feel like it's budging, right? We're making all these healthy changes, and the progress is so slow it is frustrating. And the addiction brain wants us to give up and just go eat the thing that we're addicted to because we need to have that pity party. The addiction brain is going to latch on to anything to tell you you're not progressing fast enough, so you might as well have a cheat. Well, this isn't working. I might as well go eat some chips, or chocolate, or ice cream, or whatever Chinese food. 

What I'm telling you is to imagine yourself wherever you are a year from now, having achieved the goals that you have for yourself and every day working towards them; surely and steadily, you will get there. And I kept telling Natalie that, and it came to fruition. And here she is, coming out of diabetes like a champ, feeling amazing. She now can believe that she can see herself at her ideal weight, feeling so confident. But in her first month, her numbers started to come down and level out a bit, and what she did see right away was energy. That's one of the first things we get when we start eating super healthy. She said, “Oh my gosh, my energy is really good. I'm really feeling it. And my body composition is already changing.” So listen to her testimonial and listen to this woman back in January, who was just starting her journey, still a little unsure about it all, but trusting the process and doing it. And as you listen, just remember that a few short months after she had recorded this, she had lost 60 pounds and shed several points off of her A1C. Three points off of her A1C. I love it. And now her fasting is under 100, and how exciting is that? So big congratulations to Natalie. 

And this is what I live for. I live for helping people to get on the other side of it, whatever they're facing, help them get on the other side of it, and get their progress back on track. I love doing blood sugar coaching. It's one of my favorite things to do. You can go to if you'd like to check out working with me. I'd love to chat with you about it. You can message me on Facebook or email me at I love doing health coaching. Everyone is unique. Everyone's life is a bit different, and I love to plug into someone and listen to their health goals, figure out where the roadblocks are, and help them create habits that stick and strategies that get them there. So if you want to be like Natalie and see significant progress in a few months, then I'd love to be your coach. 

So, listen to Natalie, and give her a big round of applause. If you see her in our Facebook group, tell her how proud you are of her because I'm certainly proud of her. Natalie, thank you so much for coming here today. And as a listener of the Learn True Health podcast, you wanted to share to encourage others. You've been through your own health struggles. Natalie came here today to share some of her stories and to help and encourage those who feel like they are stuck, or they're suffering, and they feel like they're at a dead end in their health. So Natalie, what were your health and your life like before you discovered the Learn True Health podcast?

[1:26:07.5] Natalie: Well, you know, I thought I was pretty healthy. But as you listen to the episodes and then you hear about all the things that you could need, like magnesium, and that when you're tired, it isn't that you need more coffee. You're actually either not getting the nutrients you need or you're not getting the exercise you need. You start to really rethink about how healthy you really are. And then, when I got diagnosed with diabetes, that was just such a hard hit for me. I knew I'd been working hard to try to be healthy, and I had prediabetes, and so I was like, no, I got this. But then that does kind of came as a hard blow, and I think if it wasn't for your podcast and really starting to implement the changes I really needed to do, your heart changes. But I wanted to do it. I mean, it's like the proof is in the pudding. 

As soon as I started implementing some of the changes from your podcast and other great advice from your guests, it was just like you could just see it. My blood sugar started dipping down, and I started getting into those normal numbers that I needed. My energy and all the things I thought I was so healthy, I was just like, look at the inflammation. Look at how much it went down. Look at how my energy is up. I can go up a flight of stairs, and I'm not so winded anymore, and that's only from just small changes. I can't imagine how many more changes I can implement and how much better I can get as I keep listening to you and the things that you have to share with us. The way that you come about talking in the episodes, it's just like you're talking to me. Like, you're talking to a friend. I just understand you. And you also shared a lot of things from your life, and I just feel like I know you on a personal level, and it just makes it so much more relatable to me and to my struggles too.

[1:28:10.0] Ashley James: Thank you so much for sharing that. What I love that you shared is that so many people are suffering, but they think that they might already be healthy. And when we dive down this rabbit hole through all the episodes that we've done, all 499 episodes, and we start really realizing that there's a whole level of health we don't even realize we're missing. And so with you, within a short period of time, implementing some of these changes, some are easy, some are hard, your energy has improved, and your body composition has changed. You would describe it to me that you once were feeling like you had lost the battle. And through implementing these small daily changes, now you're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Now you're seeing that you can recover your health. There is going to be a Natalie, soon in the future, that doesn't have diabetes and that you're well on your way. 

[1:29:12.3] Natalie: Exactly! I am one hundred percent agree. Again, it's not easy. It's not easy to do the changes because they take real work. And I think the other part of the podcast is it keeps you motivated because you hear the person talking about the changes they made, or there's a sharing of what you can do. And you said, yeah, I can do that too. I can make one more step. I can do one more thing. It's like stacking things. You can't do all of them at once, but little by little, you can add a little bit more, and a little bit more, and that gets you closer and closer to that healthy person that you want to be. 

[1:29:47.8] Ashley James: Awesome! I love it. Thank you so much for sharing that, Natalie. And I can't wait to see where my podcast takes us — takes me, takes you — and where our health

goes and grows and improves through the next 500 episodes. 

[1:30:01.4] Natalie: Thank you for having me. 

[1:30:03.6] Ashley James: This next testimonial is from my dear assistant Ruth, who has been working with us for years. She's amazing. I am so grateful to have her in my life. I saw her struggling during the last few years, especially in 2020, when so many people were in fear. Not everyone knows this, but I've been teaching health coaching and neuro-linguistic programming, which is a combination of behavioral psychology and cognitive therapy. I help people reverse and end anxiety's control over their life. So I have techniques that I teach. One technique takes 30 to 90 seconds, just depending on the person. We turn anxiety 100% off at the moment. When it comes back, you got to do the technique again. So every time anxiety comes back, you got to do the technique, and then it turns it off, do the technique, and then it turns it off. But I teach people how to gain control over their lives again, so anxiety is not controlling them and running rampant. And I also teach tools so that you can rewire the brain to no longer create anxiety. And I have at least a dozen interviews that you can find. Just type in Ashley James anxiety, or Learn True Health podcast anxiety, or just go to, type in ‘anxiety,' and you'll find some wonderful episodes where I teach these techniques for free — how to eliminate anxiety. And if you want hand-holding, I can coach you. I can do coaching. You can go to ‘Work with Ashley James' in the menu of, and then you can schedule a time to chat with me. You can hire me as your coach if you'd like to work with me. I've been doing that since 2005. I've been helping my clients using your neuro-linguistic programming and timeline therapy to end anxiety's reign in their life, to just completely dominate anxiety and be able to have control over it and learn how to turn it on and off, which is phenomenal. 

So with Ruth, she started experiencing anxiety. And for a lot of people who normally aren't anxious people, they'll go through a traumatic experience, and then they have anxiety, and they don't even know it's anxiety. So they're having panic attacks, and they don't even know it's anxiety until someone says, hey, that might be anxiety. And this was happening to Ruth. She thought she was dying, which, you know, I've had that before. I've had a panic attack, and I thought I was dying because, at the moment, it doesn't feel like it's in your head. Your heart's pounding, and your palms are sweating. Your chest hurts. It's hard to breathe. You're dizzy. It feels like a heart attack. And yet it starts with our thinking, with our stinking thinking. So I sat down with her and taught her some of these techniques, and she was able to gain control over her anxiety. Just being given the ability to understand when it's anxiety, and then given the tools, you can choose to do the tool to turn the anxiety off. It is so empowering for people to know, wow, I've control of this. It doesn't have control over me. 

And so Ruth wanted to get on and share with you her story. So, if you know anyone who has anxiety, please find my episodes; just pick one of them. Just go to and type in anxiety. Pick one of my episodes. So I teach these techniques and share them with those you care about because everyone needs to know these tools. It's so important. It's like, we weren't born with a manual, and I feel like if we had been born with a manual, that would be in the first chapter — here's how you turn off anxiety. It's so important. I teach how to manage stress and how to understand it. It's really hard to understand and process our emotions in a way that allows us to navigate this world so that we're not a victim of it. You look for those free resources, and then if you'd like to hire me and work with me, if you want that one-on-one, I'd love to do it with you. It's a big passion of mine. I've been doing it for a long time, and I love helping people to get on the other side of it.

I also do timeline therapy, where we get to the root cause and release the unresolved trauma in the body. We release anger, sadness, fear, hurt, and guilt so that the Gestalt, the entire chain of all the past, unresolved negative emotions, are completed, released, and resolved. You'll be able to think back to your past, and you won't have negative emotions come up for you because you resolved them, and your body lets them go. This technique is very powerful. So if you want any of that, check out those episodes I did. And then, of course, you can reach out to me if you'd like to schedule time to work with me. 

[1:34:36.8] Ruth: Hi, my name is Ruth. I am Ashley's assistant. I've been working for Ashley for the past six years, and I'm very thrilled to share with you my testimony about the incredible treatment that I received from Ashley to help me manage my anxiety. First, let me give you a short background about how my anxiety started.

It was in July of 2020. We were five months into the pandemic. The virus was slowly getting closer to my home, and the death toll in my country was continuously rising. The media talked about COVID and death every day. A lot of people that I know, like my relatives, close friends, and loved ones, started to get sick with COVID-19. Unfortunately, some of them were not able to survive the virus. My worst fear was for my family to get sick because I thought back then that there was just a little to no chance for a person to survive if they got the virus. So I started to worry for my family's life, especially for my senior parents, for my parents-in-law who are seniors as well, for my husband, for my kids, and for myself.

At that time, I thought COVID was synonymous with death, so I was totally over-thinking. So that thought kept repeating inside my head until I could not control it anymore, and I started to have panic attacks. I felt palpitations. I felt light-headed. I'm having a hard time breathing. I couldn't sleep. I didn't want to go out of the house. I didn't want other people inside my home, even family members that we didn't live with. So I knew within me that there was something that was not normal. So that was the first time that I ever felt it. So I didn't fully understand what anxiety was, like what's going on inside my body when I feel anxious. Why did I find it difficult to breathe when I felt afraid? Why did it feel heavy on my chest? So aside from my anxiety about COVID, I also started to overthink my symptoms. 

So back then, again, I didn't fully understand what was going on inside my body. I thought I was having palpitations. I was having difficulty breathing because I was having heart problems. I started to overthink again. I actually thought before that I was just about to die. So it was a never-ending trail of overthinking. So I went to a doctor. I asked for something to help me sleep or relax because my head was really aching. It's been days since I last slept, and I didn't feel really good. The doctor prescribed a medicine to help me sleep, but that didn't help me at all, actually. It made me feel worse. So I decided to also see a cardiologist. This was during the height of the pandemic, so it was really a struggle for me to finally take a step out of my house and leave my comfort zone. But I was really paranoid. Most of the time, I was wearing two layers of masks, one surgical and one N95, plus a face shield, and I was also wearing gloves. So I was asked to take some laboratory tests like ECG, x-ray, ultrasound, and blood tests, which all came out normal. So I thought, okay, so you know, I don't have a heart problem. Then why do I still feel the symptoms? Why can't I still sleep? So that's the time when I finally decided to ask for help from Ashley. Right there and then, she called me up; she helped me to understand my symptoms and realized that it was anxiety and not a heart problem. She taught me how to control my breathing and how to recognize when I'm having an anxiety attack. She patiently listened to my fears and worries and explained to me the science behind anxiety and how my body reacts to it. She gave me strategies to help me cope and manage my anxiety. And she helped me to see the reality and accept it. She taught me that it's okay to feel anxious because it's part of being human. 

So all these helped me to gain control of my anxiety and cope with it better. But you know, though sometimes I still have anxiety attacks every now and then, I'm happy that I can manage it now a lot better. So I'm glad that I took the step and opened up to her. I am truly grateful for her help and guidance in helping me to understand and manage my anxiety.

[1:39:44.1] Ashley James: Kellyann Andrews has been a guest we've had on the show at least six times that I can recall — Episode #292#293#329#330#396, and #453. Each time, she brings a wealth of information about making the body so healthy that disease can't live in it, creating balance and pH, getting rid of heavy metals, and getting rid of excessive lactic acid. And as she describes it, it's making your fish tank so clean and healthy. Clean up the fish tank so it's crystal clear, and then the terrain of the body is so healthy that disease doesn't live there. Her device, which we've had guests talk about and even in testimonials here, has talked about Platinum Energy System. I love it. Our family uses it. I've had great results with it, personally. It helped me overcome acute mercury poisoning. It also helped me to detox heavy metals, and it was an essential component of my recovery from heavy metal toxicity. 

I've also used it in times with my whole family and with my friends when we experienced a low immune function. It really helps get us back up on her feet fast. It's such an impressive technology, and she, of course, shares about it in the episodes that I just mentioned. So you definitely want to check out my episodes with Kellyann Andrews. She shared with me some testimonials from our listeners, those that have been written to her, and I thought it was so cool that she has permission to share these. So I wanted to read a few of these to you. It is this neat. It is actually just such a really cool device to have. You're going to love hearing these stories. So I'm going to leave their names out. So I'll just say the first initial. This is from A.

[1:41:41.1] Testimonial A (read by Ashley): My experience with Platinum Energy Systems has been nothing but positive since bringing one into our home. Five weeks ago, I underwent an invasive surgery and had 10-year-old breast implants removed. Along with all the medications they had me on and the amount of toxic waste that came from the old implants, my body was feeling extremely overwhelmed. I was suffering from a massive migraine for one week after my surgery. When I was finally feeling good enough to sit up and soak my feet, I did two sessions back-to-back. The amount of metal that had sunk to the bottom of the base after my session was like nothing I'd ever seen before. With that, my migraine had reduced by 70 percent. The following day, I did two more sessions, and again, an alarming amount of metal was dumped out of my body. I was relieved. Up to 95 percent of my migraine was gone after four sessions, and after a good night's sleep, I woke up, and it was gone. 

The Platinum Energy System has been, without a doubt, one of the best investments I have ever made. You can truly feel relief through the body. I've actually done it before. I've done about maybe twice. I think I've done back-to-back sessions where at the end of the 30 minutes, I was like, nope, I need to go again. And it was definitely worth it. But most of the time, after the 30-minute session, I feel like junk just got sucked out of me, and it is the coolest feeling. You'll feel so light. Your legs feel so light like things just got sucked out. 

[1:43:14.0] Ashley James: Now, here is one from a woman. I'm just going to say her initials, A.M.

[1:43:20.1] Testimonial A.M. (read by Ashley): As a certified lymphedema therapist, massage and bodywork therapist, yoga teacher, and Ayurvedic Wellness consultant, I do my best to help my clients live in their bodies with more ease, comfort, and energy. In terms of detoxification and rejuvenation, the Platinum Energy foot bath system is the single best tool I have ever integrated into my practice. There are few things that act upon the tissues as effectively and quickly as this does. I am incredibly relieved by the truly remarkable results in my own health since making it part of my regular self-care regimens, such as a decrease in tension, lethargy, gastrointestinal bloating and digestive distress, anxiety, and sleep disturbance. With the drainage effect of the foot bath, I can feel all my lymphatic tissues and inner organs release that heavy tension of stagnant energy. There is a palpable cellular sigh of relief and a feeling of lightness throughout my body that would make a whole lot more sweat, effort, and time to achieve without the foot bath, and I would probably not do it as effectively. If you haven't tried this, you must. If you're a practitioner thinking about getting one, just do it. Talk to Kellyann, and she will help you.

[1:44:38.6] Ashley James: I know Kellyann is wonderful. In our Learn True Health Facebook group, you could probably type in PES or Platinum Energy System or Kellyann, all one word, into the Facebook group search and find dozens and dozens and dozens of testimonials for people saying Kellyann is amazing. She spends so much time on the phone with you. She's so supportive. She has such a huge heart, so I just love, love, love her help. 

Now, this is from a person with the initials OI. 

[1:45:10.1] Testimonial OI (read by Ashley): Platinum Energy Systems is a game-changer. For the past five years, I have been trying out different approaches to functional medicine and holistic modalities. Some were effective, and some were not. I'm a person with an autoimmune that has affected me more or less my whole life, and in the past years, has had some chronic health issues. When I heard about the PES on one of my favorite podcasts (Learn True Health) about the science in holistic approach behind it, I knew I had to get the system to try it for myself. I must say it was like the icing on top of all the detoxes and modalities that I have tried to help my body heal. The PES was so gentle yet impressively powerful. The first day I did it, thanks to Kellyann's patience and phone support to set up the system, my body that night felt an instant charge. I actually had energy and didn't crash into bed like I normally do. Slowly, I started noticing the constant stuffiness in my nose cleared up. My brain fog was gone, and I was more alert and energized. When I wake up in the mornings, I feel refreshed and don't find myself dragging out of bed like I normally do. I felt a difference when I stopped using it for regular maintenance. It's important to use it at least once a week to help your body stay maintained and supported.

[1:46:34.3] Ashley James: Now, listeners can go to and check it out there. But really, give Kellyann a call. Her phone numbers are on the website. It's also in the episodes I talked about — Episodes #292, #293, #329, #330, #396, and #453. And, of course, those will be linked in the show notes of today's podcast at You can also just search Kellyann at, and those episodes will show up.

The last testimonial is from H, who consistently uses the PES with her eight-year-old son. 

[1:47:12.1] Testimonial H (read by Ashley): We can't believe our eyes as to how well S is doing. I really am astounded. He's never done this, well, consistently, without taking steps back again. I do believe in the science of the foot bath, but I never dreamed it would be as dramatically helpful to him and this quickly. Don't get me wrong, we have a long way to go, but it's just so dramatic. The school can't believe it and is baffled by how he's improved in the past few weeks. Just to list some of the things that have improved, the most noticeable is temperament. He would quite frequently be irritable and have a dysregulated mood, but he is dramatically more mood stable and easygoing, and less rigid about things. His speech is coming along wonderfully. He has a lot more interaction in attempting to play with his sister and classmates at school. He has much more focus, can gain his attention, and keep it more easily. Generally, there's more of a glow about him, and his complexion is better. We're just thrilled and so happy that we decided to try your system. May you continue to change people's lives.

[1:48:17.9] Ashley James: That's how I feel about it. I went to take a friend whose son was about four or five at the time. This was a few years ago. You couldn't understand him. His speech was so slurred. It was like a mouth of marble. It was really hard to understand him, and we had him sit with his feet in the PES. It's not even the full session. After about 20 minutes, he started talking, and you could understand him, and the mom was freaking out. She was filming it. He was able to spell his name and was able to say, ‘My name is,' and he and you could understand him. I'd been hanging around this kid every week because our kids would go play together. We'd go to the same gymnastics classes. I'd seen this kid every single week for months, and after one session, it was like his brain just cleared up. Maybe it brings out inflammation. I don't know what it does so quickly. But it went from not being able to understand his speech to having a completely clear speech, and that was such a mind-blowing experience.

I first learned about this device in my episode with Dr. Klinghardt. So you can go back and type in heavy metals Dr. Klinghardt in He talked about how he uses this as part of his routine in addition to using the Sunlighten sauna, which I highly recommend, in addition to using the ENERGYbits, chlorella, which I highly recommend. And, of course, I get great discounts for the listeners at, coupon code LTH. There's a great discount for the Sunlighten sauna when you mention Learn True Health. And then, when you talk to Kellyann about the Platinum Energy Systems, you have to call her to buy it. She gives a huge discount to listeners, and that was so, so cool of her to do that. So she really, really does take care of you. She talks to you for a long time and makes sure you're fully set up before you buy it, after you buy it, when you're setting it up, and when you're using it. She's very supportive and gives a great discount to listeners. So she's just absolutely wonderful. 

But I first learned about this through Dr. Klinghardt, who will take people who are on the spectrum, do heavy metal detox holistically, and then they're no longer on the spectrum. They're no longer showing any symptoms of heavy metal toxicity in the brain, and they're no longer showing any of the symptoms. So, then the doctor says, well, I guess we must have misdiagnosed them. And that's the thing. Are we misdiagnosing most children nowadays because what we actually have is heavy metal toxicity as one thing? So this is what Dr. Klinghardt proposes, and he talks about it in his interview with me, that a lot of the neurological stuff their kids are being diagnosed with and treated for is incorrect. They're being misdiagnosed, they're being mistreated, and we need to clean up. As Kellyann says, we got to clean up the fish tank. You clean up the fish tank, and everything works better. So clean up the internal environment of the body, and everything works better. This machine helps, and it's so gentle kids can do it. It's so effective; we see results in the first session, which is so exciting. Awesome. 

I'm so glad I could share this tool with you because I love finding game-changers. I love finding diets that are super healing for the body and reverse major diseases and sharing these game-changers with you. I love finding tools, devices, supplements, and lifestyle changes. Sometimes these things are free. Go put your feet out inside in the grass, as Clint Ober talks about in our interview about earthing and grounding. That's something you could do for free. Get your feet out there on the dirt or the grass outside as soon as you can every day, especially first thing in the morning. If you can walk out on the lawn, that's even better, as long as there are no pesticides and all that stuff sprayed on it. That is free, and so healing for the body. 

All my 500 episodes are filled with ways that you can support your body's ability to heal itself. Some you have to pay for, but I always try to get you a discount as much as I can. For the most part, everything that I found that are real game-changers that make a huge difference, I get the company to give a discount. And then there's lots of great, free advice. I got this one episode that teaches you how to walk better, that'll take the wear and tear off your knees, and it's called chi running and chi walking. I think I did that one year ago, but that one still sticks with me. When I go walking, I still do what he taught. And it's funny because it's not a visual thing. He's just describing it, but you have to feel it. So you just go for a walk, put on that episode, and then as you're walking, do the steps that he tells you to do; you change your center of gravity and change your gait, and you will take the wear and tear off of your limbs and joints. He does Iron Man's. He does his 500 miles in the desert Iron Man. I think he's in his 70s or something, but he's figured out how to because no one teaches us this. No one teaches you how to walk optimally. How do you position your body to walk? Everyone's got bad posture, right? And imagine if we were taught how to have good posture and how to use our core. How do we use this body we've been given optimally? 

So my episodes are filled with amazing advice. Lots of it is free. Some of it you got to pay for, but I get you a discount. And between everything you learned in the last 500 episodes, you're going to find so many game-changers. You're going to take your life to the whole next level. I'm so excited to be here with you on that journey. Join our Facebook group, the Learn True Health Facebook group, as we help each other. I'd love to see you there. And as always, you can reach out to me. You can email me at I'd love to hear from you. I'd love to see you in the Facebook group. Thank you so much for being a listener. Thank you so much for sharing these episodes with those you care about. We are going to change the world together, one episode at a time, with everyone we care about. If you can imagine if every episode we shared with a handful of people that we know would make a big difference, that will spread like wildfire. And I want to turn this ripple into a tidal wave and help as many people as possible to learn true health.

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499: Gut to Glow: Improving Health, Skin, and Collagen with Lactobacillus Reuteri


It is a pleasure to have Dr. William Davis back on the show today! We discuss the importance of gut health and how it can help us look and feel younger. He has devised a convenient supplement that people can take in lieu of making the Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt. We are exploring this solution and how it can benefit us.

Ashley James & Dr. William Davis


  • Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt for depression
  • How phototherapy patch complements other modalities
  • Lactobacillus reuteri supplement helps the gut and has anti-aging benefits
  • Dr. Davis' supplement increases collagen production.


Hello, true health seekers, and welcome to another exciting Learn True Health podcast. Episode 499. Oh my gosh, it's almost episode 500. And you guys must be like, where's Ashley? Because it's been weeks since I posted an episode. Since I posted the episode about the phototherapy stem cell patches, my phone has been blowing up. It's been amazing. I've talked to so many listeners. I've had so many client calls every single day. My calendar is full of amazing conversations with the listeners and with my clients about the phototherapy patches. I've had at least thirty clients get on the patches, start using them, and get on them. They had outstanding results using the phototherapy patches in helping their body address different issues, which is exciting. I've been pinching myself because how does something so small have such a profound effect? And that's because it's frequency medicine which is fascinating stuff. You'll want to go back and listen to my recent episode about phototherapy stem cell patches with Trina Hammack. And if you want to have a free phone call with me, go to, and in the menu, it says Work with Ashley James. Click on that, and the first option is to sign up for a free phone call with me to discuss the stem cell phototherapy patches. And if there's anything else I can help you with and send resources to answer questions, please jump on a phone call with me. I'd love to help you.

There are some amazing results that we've seen. I had one client with all of the crazy symptoms that she's been experiencing in the last six years. She'd been suffering horribly from weird symptoms that no one knew what they were from. And in about a week using the patches, we corrected her polarity. And she was just so excited that all of her symptoms went away. I'm beyond excited for her because you imagine feeling dizzy and out of it and having all these weird symptoms for six years, not knowing what's happening. And then we use a very gentle yet powerful frequency medicine. When I say gentle, it can be used on babies. It can be used on animals with great success. So it's gentle for everyone, animals and humans, regardless of our size or age. And it doesn't disrupt medications. So there's no contraindication like medications or anything like that. We see fantastic results. I have personally had some amazing experiences. 

I have a family member who now has benign tremors. She doesn't have Parkinson's. She's had a battery of tests several times by neurologists, but they don't know what's causing them. But she has a tremor so bad she couldn't hold the newspaper and read it. She can't drink, can't eat soup, because it would just all go everywhere. Her hands and arms would shake uncontrollably. She's had that for a few years and tried many things. We started patching her a few months ago. And she's had great success with correcting a lot of stuff. She has a better sleep, energy, less pain, a happier mood, and better digestion. Everything is getting better and better. And then, about three and a half months into patching, she started noticing that her shakes were diminishing. And just the other day, she could hold the newspaper and read it. It's just a dream come true because she thought she'd never be able to do that again. Her handwriting is improved. She used to do calligraphy, and she hasn't been able to do anything for years with her hands. 

So this is giving people freedom. And what's cool about the phototherapy patches is that they complement many other modalities. It complements taking your supplements, and herbs, eating healthy, and exercising. It doesn't add anything to the body. It puts a frequency in the body that asks the body to perform a healthy task more. So the glutathione patch increases glutathione by 300% in 24 hours within the moments of putting on the stem cell patch. People's pain diminishes and sometimes goes away completely, and their inflammation decreases. They're turning on thousands of dormant gene expressions. So this is an epigenetic thing. It turns on healing genes to help the body in amazing ways. So many people who start using the patches to support one thing end up seeing many other things improve. 

And then, just for the first aid benefits, I accidentally got kicked in the face the other day. My son, who has been doing Taekwondo for a long time, is a good kicker. And he was kicking the blankets off of him at full force as I was coming in to wake him up in the morning, and he didn't know I was there. And boom, I got kicked in the face so bad that my head spun, and I had a bleeding nose immediately. I had all the concussion symptoms, which was scary for a minute. I immediately took one of the patches designed for first aid use and put them on my nose. The bleeding, inflammation, and swelling stopped. I thought that was so cool. I put the patch for inflammation on the back of my neck with the stem cell patch lowered down on my spine. And then, for the rest of the day, I was using the patches around my head, which you put inside a hat so you can take it off. It's pretty cool to do that. And I used the protocol for concussions. And then, that night, I went to bed with five of the special protocol called brain bouncer, and five of my favorite patches, the ones that decrease inflammation. They do a bunch of other things, but it feels so good. That's my favorite patch. And it's funny because my mom's friends, whenever I give them this patch, they go, “This patch makes me not yell at my kids.” Because it just makes people calmer and happier and puts them in a better mood. It actually helps balance dopamine in the brain and brings down inflammation. So you feel like you can handle more stress without getting frazzled. Well, I put five of these on my head and went to bed that night. And the next morning, I woke up, and 100% of my concussion was gone. My brain was back to my usual self. How cool is that? 

Now I've seen testimonials in our wonderful secret Facebook group of practitioners. It's like a team of practitioners that I've been learning from and working with and all of their clients. And even though it feels like an intimate community, it's actually close to 55,000 people, but it's a secret group. So if you want to be in the group, let me know. You must email me or book a free session, and I'll get you into this group. And in this group, people share their protocols and testimonials. And I see people in this group who've had major brain damage and bad concussions where eight months later, they're still in the fog and suffering hugely. They start using the patches to bounce their brain and support healthy brain function. And within ten minutes, they start feeling the fog lift, and the brain returns to balance. Hundreds of studies on these patches show that we're reversing early-stage dementia. There are so many benefits around neurology, but it also helps with fertility, hormone balancing, addiction behaviors, and 66% deeper sleep, which they did studies on this. The list goes on and on. The thyroid is the easiest thing to support the body's ability to fix. We're supporting the body's ability to help itself become healthier. I have seen many people reverse their hypothyroidism to support their body's and thyroid's ability to come back online and produce healthy new thyroid tissue in weeks. It's so exciting what we can do for the body. There are testimonials of people with heart damage and heart disease also reversing that. 

So anyway, the list goes on and on. It's very exciting. So if you're wondering where Ashley has been, it's because I've been busy every day, seven days a week, weeks and weeks ever since I published that episode, chatting with amazing listeners and clients and helping everyone get on the phototherapy protocols. So if you want to try it too, I'd love to help you. The things we're helping people with have been amazing. Everything I've ever discovered in the last twelve years, this is the coolest, most effective, most versatile health tool. The thing is, eating healthy is really important. Moving your body in a way that brings you joy is really important. So many things are important to your health, and we must ensure we cover all the foundations. You can't out-patch a bad diet. You can't take phototherapy patches and handle a nutrient deficiency. We must eat healthily, move our bodies, drink a lot, and hydrate. But if you do all the fundamentals and you're still frustrated with not getting on the other side of a health issue, you should try the phototherapy patches. You want to join that Facebook group. And if you don't do Facebook, you'll want to talk to me, and I'll hook you up with the protocols. The protocols supercharge your results because we're utilizing acupuncture points in addition to the phototherapy. So we're putting the patches on acupuncture points, and we see outstanding results. So go to, and in the menu, see Work with Ashley James, and book your free conversation with me; I'd love to help you. 

Let's finally get to today's episode now that you know what I've been up to in the last few weeks. I had a birthday, by the way. I'm 43 now. After the age of about 35, birthdays are surreal. You're like, I remember my parents at this age, and they seemed really old. I totally do. I totally remember my parents in their 40s. I thought 40 was really old. And I'm like, oh, 40 is not really old. 90 is likely old. I have to change my mindset. 90s is old and 40s is young. So this episode is wonderful. I love Dr. William Davis. He has been on the show before and twice, actually. So this is his third time. And he shares with us some amazing stuff he's been up to since his last episode with us. 

We talked about Lactobacillus reuteri about a year ago, which profoundly affected one of my family members. It helped them get on the other side of a major health issue. It also helped me overcome the daily post-traumatic stress panic attacks that I had due to still being in grief from losing my daughter. And the day I started eating the Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt, the daily outbursts of crying and sobbing uncontrollably stopped. And it's so cool that it had such an immediate effect. I've never been on antidepressants, but within three days of eating that yogurt, it felt like what I imagined being on antidepressants would be like if they worked. It just felt like the cloud had lifted in my spirit. And I felt like there was a chance at joy. There was a chance at happiness. And that was such an interesting experience to have such a strong emotional response to a gut-healing food. We know serotonin is made in the gut. We know that the nerve that runs from the gut to the brain has this connection. We know that there are neurotransmitters in the gut and that there's a huge connection between gut health, brain health, and emotional health. I felt it so profoundly and so quickly. 

So having Dr. William Davis back on the show today, we discuss how he figured out how to develop a supplement that people can take for those who don't want to go through the hassle of making the Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt. And it is a hassle because you have to get a special instant pot or you have to get a special yogurt maker that holds things at 100 degrees Fahrenheit for 36 hours. You have to sterilize your equipment. You have to get either organic dairy or make it with cashews, which I like. I've experimented with making it with soy, coconut, and cashews, which seem to work well. And then you have to make, mix, and blend it with a high-power blender like a Vitamix. So there are so many steps to doing it. I have made this stuff every two weeks for the last year, so I'm used to it. But it is time-consuming, and you must have all that equipment. So for some traveling people who just want the benefits but do not want to go through all that, he figured out how to isolate and make this beautiful supplement. They call it Gut to Glow. At first, I thought it was a skin supplement, like a skin cream. But what it is, is it's a wonderful Lactobacillus reuteri supplement that helps the gut but also has anti-aging benefits. Women and men also see that their skin looks much younger because it increases collagen production. And that's something we discussed in this episode and the previous one about Lactobacillus reuteri. One of its benefits is that it increases or stimulates collagen production in the body or stimulates that. 

So we talk a lot about gut health in this episode, but we also talk about his supplements. If you'd like to try his supplement, go to He gave us two coupon codes. One is 10% off your first order. And that's LTH10. Then if you ever want to get on auto-ship to order it monthly, he gives 15% off to our listeners for the subscription. And that's LTH15. Go to to check out his supplement. And enjoy today's episode. Dr. William Davis is amazing. I have really enjoyed his work. I love his books. They are so informative, and he's so generous with his information. He has a really caring spirit. He wants to help people get healthy. He filled this entire episode with wonderful tidbits of health information. So enjoy today's episode. And if you have any questions about all the cool things I do, I'd love to work with you if you want to be one of my clients. If you'd like to get the phototherapy patches, go to, and click on the menu Work with Ashley James. Sign up for a free session to chat. Have yourself a fantastic rest of your day, and enjoy today's episode. 

[0:16:57.0] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I'm your host, Ashley James. This is episode 499. I am so excited about today's guest. We have back on the show Dr. William Davis, who's one of my heroes. So it's just so wonderful to have you back. Welcome back to the show.

[0:17:19.7] Dr. William Davis: Thank you, Ashley. Thanks for having me back. 

[0:17:20.5] Ashley James: Absolutely. I know Dr. Davis was in Episode 167. We talked about his book Wheat Belly, which was so cathartic for me because my whole family went gluten-free 12 years ago, and it made such a massive difference in our lives. And it was so big, but everyone around us was laughing at us and telling us we were crazy. It was right around when we discovered your book. Finally, there's more validation for us that what we're doing is right. And look, there's so much science behind it. And now, of course, everyone's heard of being gluten-free. But back 12 years ago, it was still so unheard of. It makes such a big difference to remove something in the body that is inflaming the gut. And it just affects everything because inflammation in the gut cascades to our neurotransmitters, affecting our brain and how we think, feel, and behave. It does cascade into our whole life. So for those who've never tried going gluten-free, I'd suggest at least 30 days of no barley, wheat, rye, and oats and see how you feel. I love the takeaway from that episode. Dr. Davis was teaching us that we could use a glucometer even for those who are not diabetic. Use a glucometer to monitor how our body responds to our foods to keep our blood sugar within those good ranges. And then let that be your guide to choosing really good healthy meals. So there are so many great takeaways from Episode 167

And then we had you on again just a year ago, Episode 476, about the Lactobacillus reuteri. And your most recent book about healing the gut was amazing. My listeners have been raving about that for the last year. We have a Facebook group community where we all make that yogurt together. Since my whole family is allergic to dairy, I've been experimenting with all the different plant-based ways to make Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt. I've made over 30 batches in the last year. I perfected making it with cashews. I tried soy, coconut, and cashews. It's delicious. I have that recipe I can share in this episode's show notes and the Facebook group. 

I'm excited to hear what's happened in the last year for you and everything you've been doing and producing something really exciting for the listeners. I know they're going to love it. I have to share something with you. Your episode with us a year ago had two huge impacts on my life, and that is when I interviewed you. I don't think you knew this then, but I didn't even realize what happened until I talked to a psychologist friend. I was having post-traumatic stress, PTSD attacks. I was still recovering after losing my daughter. And when I interviewed you, I was breaking down and cried every day. And I'm a very positive person. I'm just the opposite of depressed. I'm just always happy. That's my normal personality. So to break down crying every day, a little something would happen. The glass would fall over and spill, and I would melt into a puddle. I had no idea what was happening, and I was not functioning like I thought I should be. 

And then I did the interview with you about the Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt, and I was so excited. I immediately ordered all the supplies, and I made it within days. The only thing I had in the house was an open tin of soy milk. I do not recommend making the Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt with soy milk. It was not delicious. But I drank it or ate it. However, it was curdled. So it could have been better, but I took it in. And that day, I felt something shift in me. And the daily breakdowns of crying stopped. Three days after being on it, my counselor friend was talking to me, and she said, “How are you doing”? I said, “Well, I'm not on drugs, and I've never been on antidepressants, but I feel like I'm on an antidepressant.” I feel like the sadness is lifting. I'm feeling like a new person. That Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt was such a game-changer for me. 

[0:22:05.8] Dr. William Davis: That's great. 

[0:22:08.5] Ashley James: It was huge, and the PTSD attacks stopped. Those big attacks stopped, and what I've had since are just tiny events where I might feel overwhelmed or like I need to take a breather and do a little grounding and calm my nervous system. But it's manageable. I went from unmanageable to manageable with the Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt.

We go into great detail as to how it affects the body. It increases serotonin. That's episode 476 for those who want to go back and listen to all the benefits of the Lactobacillus reuteri. And I also recommend getting every single one of Dr. William Davis' books. It's all incredible. And you also now have the gut-healing one on audio that came out last year. So that's fantastic. 

But here's the second story. I told you there are two. I have a very close family member who, for years, suffered from such bad chronic diarrhea. They could not leave the house most days. They go through cycles where it is so bad that they can't go from the living room to the bathroom. They'd have an accident along the way. And there were times when they did have to leave the house, and their pants were stained with diarrhea. It's so sad for this person to have that level of intensity. They tried everything. They went to various doctors, eliminated some foods, and nothing worked. And I gave this person a batch of the Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt you taught us to make, but I made it plant-based because it is delicious. It's cashew yogurt. They'll like it anyway for breakfast. It tastes amazing. And so it's wonderful to tart. It's as creamy, and I thought this person would benefit from helping with sleep. This person was not sleeping well, and I thought it would help them sleep. It has also been known to help people lift that depression, and this person was going through some stuff and not feeling great emotionally. So I was thinking about those benefits. Three days into eating it, they call me and say, “I need another batch. I never want to run out of this stuff. My diarrhea is gone”. 

It has been almost a year or about nine months since I gave it to them. And I have been supplying them for the last nine months. Every two weeks, I make that person a big batch that lasts two weeks. I make a huge batch, and we all eat it. But they don't want to be without it because this is the only thing, and there's no pharmaceutical that has stopped their diarrhea. There's been no food change that stopped their diarrhea. The only thing that's ever worked has been this. So it's given this person their life back. Now they're doing up to three exercise classes a week, and they can go and just be so much more productive. So you have changed my life, and you changed their life. I know you've changed thousands of lives, and I want to thank you. And many listeners in our community are making the Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt and sharing about it in the Learn True Health Facebook group. So we're having much fun with everything we've learned from you. So thank you, I appreciate you. And I can't wait to hear what you have been doing the last year since we had you on the show. So what's been going on in your world? 

[0:25:46.8] Dr. William Davis: Those are some pretty incredible stories. You know, you can see why I get so excited about this, just restoring this microbe that virtually all of us have lost. That is this microbe that all other mammals carry. Squirrels have it, and dogs have it. Camels have it. But we've lost it. Indigenous humans have it, you know, people not exposed to antibiotics, chlorinated drinking water, etc., glyphosate. They all have this microbe, and we've lost it. And you know, these wonderful experiences we're all having, like the ones you describe for yourself and your friend and other things people are experiencing, reflect just how necessary this microbe was. But the thing that gets me excited is the social effects of reuteri. So we boost the hormone oxytocin. If we believe the animal evidence from MIT, we've tried to reproduce that evidence. We're having a hard time measuring oxytocin. Measuring oxytocin has been for decades a very difficult thing to do. And we're struggling to do it also. So we still need to corroborate in humans. But if we believe the animal data from MIT and some other places, that reuteri tells your brain to release more oxytocin, the hormone of love and empathy. And so what people are experiencing, as you have experienced, are emotional and social effects. Mostly it increased the intensity of love and affection, generosity, and my favorite is accepting other people's opinions. 

Now, when you think about that, this is all occurring at a time when we've lost that microbe. Almost all of us have lost that microbe. And thereby presumptively, the ability to provoke oxytocin release at a time we're witnessing record social isolation. Even pre-pandemic, this was true. So record social isolation, record suicide, even pre-pandemic, divorce, shootings, and political discord. Humans have always been evil to each other. There's no question about that. But it doesn't seem to think things have gotten worse. Now, that's hard to prove, except that people who get the reuteri restored, as you and your friend and your followers have, will tell you, “You know what, my relationship is better.” I had this one woman come on and say, “You know, my husband is normally not a guy who expresses his emotions very clearly. One time I was sitting across from him, he said, I've always liked you. But I like you more now. Come here and sit next to me.” Little things like that. Or people say, “I'm in line for coffee at Starbucks, and I find myself introducing myself to strangers.” In other words, these little things in social interaction change. And people are getting rid of depressive thoughts and suicidal thoughts. I'm not suggesting it as a cure for everything. But we've pushed the needle towards better social behavior and connection to other humans. And there will be better skin, muscle, libido, sleep, etc. But the thing that really excites me is the change in the social fabric.

[0:29:12.2] Ashley James: Now, when we talked in Episode 476, what they saw in the animal studies was that when we have the correct amount of Lactobacillus reuteri in our gut, our body produces more collagen. 

[0:29:29.5] Dr. William Davis: Once again, if we believe the mouse studies and limited human evidence, as some of our own evidence too, by the way, in our first human clinical trial, there is an increase in collagen in the skin, in the dermal layer, the dermis. So in our clinical trial, we did something called high-resolution skin ultrasound to measure the thickness of the dermis, and we got a 14.5% increase in dermal thickness over three months. That's with a product and not just with reuteri. You know, these studies are very difficult and very expensive to perform. So we can only do limited numbers of people. But with a combination of reuteri and some other things, we get an increase in dermal thickness consistent with what they saw in the mouse studies and the limited human evidence. So in the mouse studies, there was a huge increase in dermal collagen, dermal thickness, and thereby loss of wrinkles. And they did take ladies. Remarkably, they had volunteers submit to puncture wounds in the forearm, which is tough to persuade somebody to accept a puncture wound. But these ladies did that. And while healing time in mice is accelerated dramatically, it cuts healing time by 50%. So healing is much faster. It was more like 35% in humans, but still quite substantial. If you think about that and if this holds true in future trials, there might be when incisions after surgery, burns, or injury, we can accelerate healing time. That's something I'd like to see explored over time.

[0:31:11.4] Ashley James: Well, if we can speed up the healing time of the skin, that also decreases the chances of getting an infection, right? Because when the wound is open, we're more susceptible to infection, especially for burn patients, as you said. But if we could take something like a salve that speeds up healing time by 35%, that's worth it. So that's going to help prevent infections. 

[0:31:43.9] Dr. William Davis: And it gets even better because we have to be careful in those animal studies. We extrapolate from animals. But so far, everything that's been in this instance where we talk about reuteri and oxytocin and the pieces examined in humans have proven true. What we've seen in mice has held true. We need to explore more, but many of the observations made in animals have also held true in humans. Things still need to be corroborated in humans, though. It was a huge improvement in the immune response in these mice, both in wounds and systemically. So one of the things that happened in the mouse study was something called thymic involution. All that means is the thymus gland, right in front of the heart underneath your sternum, reaches its maximum size and capacity to produce T lymphocytes or T cells that protect you from infections, including viral infections. It reaches its maximum size in T cell productivity at age 15. And then, every year after that, it shrinks. So that by age 70, it's only 10% of its original size and capacity to mount an immune response. And this is a big part of why you can die of flu at age 72 but not at age 18. So, when they gave elderly mice reuteri, they watched the thymus gland restored to its youth. So the reversal of the thymic involution would be very different. It's a tough thing to reproduce in humans. We could try that, but we don't have the budget. I'm hoping somebody does that study. Because when you have a thymus that's restored to youthful capacity, you're protected from things like pneumococcal, pneumonia, flu, and cancer because T cells are responsible for the process of immunosurveillance that is looking for cells that have mutations in them and uncontrolled growth or cancer in other words. The whole reuteri oxytocin thing will be the subject of many examination studies in the coming years because it is so exciting. 

[0:34:02.0] Ashley James: For those that have yet to listen to episode 476, a really important point to understand is that, as humans, we're supposed to have Lactobacillus reuteri. It's like we're supposed to have three arms and walk around with two arms. And we all think we're supposed to have two arms. We have all been missing an arm. As you said at our last interviews, if you have one course of antibiotics, it's wiped out. It's passed on through breast milk. So if you were bottle-fed, if your mother, grandmother, or even yourself as a child had antibiotics, even like you said, glyphosate drinking tap water with chlorine. There are all kinds of ways we can kill it. It's quite sensitive, as good gut bacteria go. But we're walking around, as a species, largely missing this piece to the puzzle. And this is where we're walking around missing part of ourselves. What we understand now about the gut, and maybe you can talk a bit about this, is that we're just beginning to understand the microbiome, and we thought the microbiome is about 6 pounds, right? Give or take about 6 pounds of bacteria that live inside our gut, but it's also all over our body. There's a microbiome surrounding our whole body that, like cell-to-cell, we're more bacteria than humans, and these bacteria in our cells help digest our food and assimilate certain nutrients for us. And that if we were completely sterile and had none of these bacteria, we could not survive. It would not be a healthy lifestyle; we need it all over our bodies.

[0:35:56.0] Dr. William Davis: You're absolutely right. I cringe to think how little we knew before we started thinking about the microbiome. I have a new granddaughter, about nine months old, and I watched the baby's mom go through prenatal care, delivery, and early infancy. I saw all the things that she was not told. This girl comes from a wealthy family with no shortage of resources, yet she was told virtually nothing. She got five antibiotic courses during the third trimester and after delivery, so I had to educate them. For instance, if a woman has vaginal dysbiosis, that disrupts the microbial composition of the vaginal canal, which is at least a third of the entire female population on this planet. The vaginal microbiome is much more definable than the gastrointestinal microbiome. It's much simpler. That microbiome is meant to be dominated by specific Lactobacillus species, specifically Lactobacillus crispatus. 

If a woman lacks that microbe and allows perforation, which is very common in species like gardnerella or atopobium, you have problems. You're more prone to vaginal infections like candida infections, you're more likely to have a miscarriage during pregnancy, and you're more likely to deliver your child prematurely. Because when you have that vaginal dysbiosis, it's inflammatory. It inflames the cervix, and the cervix tends to relax prematurely. And as you know, if you deliver a child at 30 weeks, that's a catastrophe. That child's going to be in the ICU. It's prone to necrotizing enterocolitis, psychological, etiological, and social deficits and learning impairments. So, why not correct vaginal dysbiosis. It's easy to do. I saw many things not being done. We may have touched and passed on this idea that a very specific species, Bifidobacterium infantis, has been lost by moms and is also not passed on to the babies, which might be passed on at vaginal birth and then also through breastfeeding. If the baby does not get that microbe, it does not grow as well as it should. Neurological growth is impaired. The babies are more likely not to sleep well and have more regurgitation of breast milk or formula. It has more bowel movements, diaper changes for mom and dad, and more health problems. They are more prone to diabetes, obesity, and asthma. But suppose you restore infantis to that child, especially if the mom is breastfeeding, Bifidobacterium infantis would allow the child to metabolize human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs). In that case, that baby has accelerated neurological maturation and has a better immune response, has 50% fewer bowel movements, thereby 50% fewer diaper changes, is more likely to sleep through the night, has less asthma, less Type 2 diabetes, less obesity, and has a higher IQ. That's how important getting the microbiome can be.

[0:39:20.4] Ashley James: Oh my gosh, all the moms listening just perked up. Now, if our kid's already born and they have some of those conditions, what can we do to help them? We can give them the Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt. But is there a specific yogurt we could make for them, or could we ferment something to help them once they're born?

[0:39:47.4] Dr. William Davis: You raised an important issue that is hard for many people to get their arms around earlier. I encourage people to avoid the idea of treating things. That's what they do in medicine, right? They treat high blood sugar and they treat high blood pressure. Never once asked me why that condition emerged in the first place and what we could do to correct the whole situation. So, I encourage people to avoid this idea of treating things. If you treat somebody's high blood sugar with drugs, that person will still have heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, amputations, gastroparesis, etc. What if, instead, we address the factors that allowed those conditions to emerge in the first place, regardless of the label? Regardless of whether the label was asthma, hypertension, coronary disease, cognitive impairment, rosacea, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, or Type 2 diabetes. Let's address the factors that allow those conditions to emerge in the first place. So we got to go back to the old conversation. We do wheat and grain and sugar elimination. As you've experienced yourself, the underlying cause for so many health problems, despite being pushed on us by government agencies, dieticians, and doctors. So getting rid of these things that never belonged to the human diet, in the first place, corrects common nutrient deficiencies. We're supposed to eat magnesium by drinking water from rivers and streams. We can't do that. It's got sewage.

[0:41:26.2] Ashley James: Especially now, with all that runoff from Ohio. If the listeners may not have known, there was a massive chemical spill, and my friends are just across Lake Erie. And they were telling me, for a week, they could taste the metals. They could taste the chemical smell in it. Even indoors, they could taste and smell it. And now they're saying the air is safe to breathe. The water and the soil are all safe there. Everything's safe. But my friends, who are 200 or even 400 miles away, say they can taste and smell it. This has been ridiculous for days. If you look at the streams from that area in Ohio, that runs off into that basin, into what's in Mississippi, and then goes out into the Gulf of Mexico. And there's our fish or shrimp. If you eat seafood next year, the fish and shrimp will have those chemicals. And I'm terrified of what we're going to face. Is this going to be like Minamoto, Japan, back in the 1930s, where children are born with multiple arms and eyes? It took them 20 or 30 years until they figured out that it was the mercury poisoning the downstream from all the factories dumping the mercury. This is another disaster they're covering up. We have to be very careful with the water we drink. It is tainted, right? 

As you said, we can't get our minerals just from drinking clean spring water because there's no such thing as clean spring water anymore. There are eighty thousand man-made chemicals in it. Since I was born, 80,000 man-made chemicals are now in our air, food, water, and soil. It's just prolific. And they say here in Seattle that we detect mercury from the ashes falling on us from China's coal mines and energy factories. So this isn't just, “Oh well, I'm here in this state, or in this province, and it's pretty clean here.” Now we are affected by what everyone puts in the air. For me, this isn't a political thing. I don't care what political affiliation you have. We can all agree on one thing: pollution is bad for us. Let's not talk about global warming because then people politicize it. Let's all agree on one thing. Pollution is bad, and no one wants to drink the water from Ohio after the accident recently. So the point is, pollution is hazardous and harmful for us, killing the microbiome of the soil and our bodies.

And we can't get the nutrients, as you said. I know I went off on a tangent. You were talking about the body's most important mineral, magnesium. It is used in over 1,800 enzymatic processes in the body. It is incredibly important, but we can't get it from nature anymore because of pollution. So, I went off on a tangent, but it's relevant because we can't be naive. We have to take the wool off our eyes and realize that our lives are under the constant stress of the pollution surrounding us and that stress is killing the body's microbiome. So we have to be proactive in supporting our body's microbiome because it's under constant stress from everything around us. Okay. Back to you, sorry. I got on my soapbox. Okay, I'm getting off.

[0:45:06.5] Dr. William Davis: But I couldn't agree more. You are right. It's a scary world out there. But with this idea, rather than treating things, we will address the factors that allowed diseases to emerge. There are more than four, but the four that played significant roles are magnesium, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D. Now, the great thing is, you combine those four and also throw in the diet, and you reverse this very fundamental processes of insulin resistance and inflammation. Those processes lead to obesity, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. So you've addressed the wide swath of human disease just by doing that. As you know, we all should go to the microbiome, the gathering, and testing microbiome, because what's happened with a lot of people is overexposure to antibiotics, toxic heavy metals, industrial compounds, chlorinated drinking water, and other prescription drugs like stomach acid-blocking drugs, statin cholesterol drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, food additives like preservatives. They kill microbes and food and then you. 

The mucus barrier is very important. Many food additives disrupt the mucus barrier, like ice cream's mixing agent polysorbate 80. And so this onslaught of things that disrupt the human microbiome, among the effect is that we lost literally hundreds of healthy species that were doing good things for us. One of the effects that I think should be discussed more and that we have to start talking a lot more about is that healthy microbes keep unhealthy microbes at bay. Those unhealthy microbes, like E. coli, salmonella, and campylobacter, are mostly fecal. Many people recognize those microbes because they are also the microbes of food poisoning. These microbes proliferate, and then they do something extraordinary. They ascend into the 24 ft of the small intestine, and the small intestine is not well adapted to having fecal microbes. It has a thin and fragile mucus layer protecting itself, unlike the colon, where microbes are supposed to be, which has a two-layer and much thicker mucus barrier. So fecal microbes make their way into the 24 feet of the small intestine. They only live for a few hours. So when they die, trillions of these microbes shed their by-products. But there's one that's really bad, called endotoxin, which can penetrate the mucus barrier to the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. When endotoxin enters the bloodstream, it is called endotoxemia. 

But that is the crucial process that has been corroborated numerous times in clinical studies. Now we understand how microbes in the gastrointestinal tract can be experienced as depression in the brain, Parkinson's disease or Lou Gehrig's Disease or Alzheimer's, dementia, muscle and joint aches of fibromyalgia, or rheumatoid arthritis, or skin conditions like rosacea or psoriasis, or metabolic conditions, like fatty liver, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. In other words, we now understand that microbes in the GI tract play a role in virtually all common chronic modern diseases.

[0:48:51.0] Ashley James: How would we know if we're over-toxic with endotoxemia? How would we know that we have endotoxemia? You've mentioned a bunch of different things. But if someone wonders if their depression is endotoxemia, would you say go for a lab test, or are there easier ways of telling? 

[0:49:13.7] Dr. William Davis: There are a number of ways. One way is to look for what I call telltale signs. Telltale signs would be food intolerances. If you say you can't eat eggplant or other nightshades or histamine-containing food like cheese or wine, or legumes or nuts, maybe not a hundred percent but close to 100% of food intolerance, all these things modern people are experiencing that your grandmother's not. Those are all from this process. So it's called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). And that's the price that causes a high level of endotoxemia. So if you have any food intolerance, think plain SIBO. If you have fat malabsorption, you see fat drops in the toilet. That's a very high likelihood of SIBO and endotoxemia. So if you have certain conditions that are virtually synonymous with SIBO and endotoxemia, such as restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease, celiac disease, and autoimmune or neurodegenerative condition, or fatty liver, there's a very high likelihood.

At first, I thought this was a rare process until I did two things. One is a consumer device now, and it's called the AIRE. It came out in 2018 and was invented by a Ph.D. engineer in Dublin, Ireland because his wife had irritable bowel syndrome and she was told to go on a low FODMAP diet. When you limit fibers and sugar in a person with IBS, they have less bloating and diarrhea. We saw how often she got tripped up when exposed to something fibrous or sugars and had bloating, diarrhea, etc. So he invented this device to detect hydrogen gas on the breath because that's produced by microbes when they are fed fibers and sugars. Well, I got a hold of this thing. I called him and said, “Angus, that's not really what this thing is.” This is a mapping device to tell you where microbes are living in the gastrointestinal tract. There is a specific way to use it based on timing. That's all on my Super Gut book on my website It's about $150 to $200, so it's not cheap, but it's far cheaper than a test you can do in the lab or clinic using a similar technology. The AIRE device is superior to the lab or clinic version because you're blowing directly into the hydrogen gas detector with the AIRE device. When you do this in a clinic or lab, you blow breath into a vial, trying to capture the smallest molecule of hydrogen gas. It's very easy to escape. So the AIRE device is superior. 

I started having people test for hydrogen gas using this timing issue. What you do is get a baseline level of 0 to 10, and you have a horizon of 4 units. So you get a baseline level. Let's say it's 1.2. You eat something that microbes eat, like inulin powder, which is a good one. It's a prebiotic fiber you put in your coffee. So drink your coffee with inulin and test every 30 to 45 minutes. And if you have a rise, let's say at 45 minutes it is 9.8, then you have microbes that are way high up in your GI tract. Producing hydrogen gas is normal from the colon, but the colon is 24 ft down or more from your mouth. It can't make that 24 feet in 90 minutes or 45 minutes. So any positive reading before 90 minutes, you know microbes live in the upper GI tract. After 90 minutes, we can't tell the difference between the distal small bowel disruption of microbes and colonic microbes. But doing this test, I was shocked. It was the exception of those who tested negative. People were testing positive left and right. So I returned to the scientific literature of all the studies where they took some conditions and asked what proportion of people with this condition tested positive for SIBO. One easy example is a fatty liver. So in the US, with 330 million people, we know that 50% of the US have fatty liver and are on their way to cirrhosis.

Based on the published science, 50% of people with fatty liver have tested positive for SIBO. So if there are 330 million people, half have fatty liver. That's 160 million or so. That's 80 million people there alone. How about irritable bowel syndrome? We know 60 to 70 million people in the US have irritable bowel syndrome. A proportion tested positive for SIBO. It varies from study to study, but it's around 40% or 24 million people. Add up all those other conditions like obesity, Type 2 diabetes, autoimmune conditions, and neurodegenerative conditions, and you have over 150 million people. There's some overlap, of course. How about an obese Type 2 diabetic with fatty liver? There will be some overlap, so it's not an exact number. But you can see, you can get very high numbers very quickly. So the bottom line is it is common. It is, in fact, very common by my estimates. It's somewhere around 1 and 2 people, 50%.

[0:55:00.3] Ashley James: You know, when we look at labs, there are these ranges that say if it's normal. And I question normal, especially hearing what you've just shared because normal doesn't really indicate healthy. We understand what a healthy range is. But naturopathic physicians will look at labs differently than how MDs have been taught in school. And it's interesting because there's normal, which is like, okay, so what's the average population? The average population is in this range. Well, I don't want to be part of the average population, especially if most have endotoxemia. And then, in the naturopathic realm, they typically look up what is optimal when they're looking at lab ranges. They're looking for how to get you to be absolutely in the optimal range. It doesn't sound like optimal is common among Americans. We're talking about Americans, but many other countries are catching up with America regarding our diseased state. 70% of adult Americans are on at least one prescription medication, so we have a very sick nation. We as a nation spend the absolute most on health care. I laugh, calling it health care because it's disease management. Of course, you wrote a book about how the medical system is failing us. So we have to learn, and that's why we're here. We're learning from you so that we can take charge of our health. If most of the population is so sick and has endotoxemia, that is not how we want it to be. We must make decisions to go against the norm to have optimal health. We have to do something different than what everyone else is doing to achieve optimal health. 

Going back to the idea that endotoxemia comes from the small intestine, how much does a leaky gut play a role in this? Is the endotoxin being deposited into the small intestine? Is that traveling up into the small intestines because of our diet? Can you go upstream and help us understand what is causing that? Let's say we're super healthy people just doing healthy things. We're exercising or drinking clean water. We're trying to eat as healthily as possible. We're avoiding the polysorbate 80 and ice cream. We're avoiding drugs as much as possible and keep being as healthy as possible. And yet, endotoxemia still exists. So what is causing that to happen? What is causing it to travel up and then die in our small intestines and release the endotoxins to be absorbed into our body? What are we doing wrong?

[0:58:11.0] Dr. William Davis: So, all those factors we discussed disrupt the microbial composition of your GI tract, such as repeated antibiotics. It's not uncommon that by age 40, most people have taken 30 courses of antibiotics. Glyphosate and other herbicides, pesticides, carbonated drinking water, halogenated hydrocarbons — all those things conspire to kill off numerous microbes. That also hints at a solution here. So as you know, if you have SIBO and endotoxemia, that's 30 ft of trillions of microbes that don't belong in the small bowel. If you took a commercial probiotic, would it go away? No. You might reduce some of the symptoms of bloating or some of the diarrhea, but you'll still be left with 30 ft of fecal microbes. And so I asked a different question, a conventional solution. If the mainstream doctors even knew what it was, and most of the time, they'd say things like, “Did you consult doctor Google again, Ashley?” Or, “There's nothing wrong with you. Don't waste my time. There is no such thing.” All these silly answers because they're not keeping up with the science. That's always been true. It takes a generation for the current practicing physicians to catch up with the science. I know you, me, and your listeners are unwilling to wait twenty or thirty years. That's how long you must wait for John Q's primary care to catch up. 

So I asked different questions. If SIBO was 30 feet of microbes, including 24 feet of the small intestine, what if we chose species we've lost that have two characteristics? One, they colonize the small intestine. That's where SIBO occurs and produces what is called bacteriocins. These are natural antibiotics effective against the species of SIBO, like E.coli and campylobacter. So I chose three. I chose a strain of Lactobacillus gasseri and Lactobacillus reuteri. Those two colonize the upper GI tract. Gasseri produces up to seven bacteriocins and reuteri up to four. I also threw in bacillus coagulants because it's got a good track record for eradicating irritable bowel syndrome. And by the way, it is the most delicious yogurt you'll ever make. We make yogurt from this, different from what you get in the grocery store. I regret calling it yogurt. It looks and smells like yogurt, but it's not yogurt. It is a fermentation vehicle. So we get these three microbes and co-ferment them together for 36 hours. It's a very unusual extended fermentation. That was a method I developed and we formed something called flow cytometry on the yogurt to count the microbes, and we get somewhere around three hundred billion microbes per half-cup serving. 

And so these microbes that we've lost, used to colonize the upper GI tract and produce bacteriocins, are a big part of why we've got SIBO. Now, the good news is there is this anecdote of the forty or so people who made this SIBO yogurt. 90% now test negative by the AIRE device. Even the conventional antibiotic for SIBO, Xifaxan, is only about 50% to 60% effective. I had hoped and would have been thrilled with 50% effectiveness. I did not expect 90% effectiveness. Now we will do a formal clinical trial down the road to validate this. If I said the solution to SIBO is to take out your intestines or some awful thing like that, we better be damned confident of what's going on. But what if the solution is something akin to yogurt? And so I've drifted towards this kind of thinking. If you think you have SIBO, make the SIBO yogurt. This can sometimes happen with the reuteri yogurt. I suspect that's what happened in your instance when you got rid of some of the dark feelings, and your friend got rid of diarrhea. It was probably because of SIBO eradication, the reuteri upper GI colonization, and bacteriocin production. I have a microbiologist friend. Oddly, I just moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to suburban Chicago. But in this general area, especially in Wisconsin, there are numerous and the largest probiotic manufacturers in the world. It's because of the dairy industry and fermentation. But there's a microbiologist, and his name is Suresh. He told me that he sometimes uses Lactobacillus reuteri to clean his fermentation vats that they use to produce microbes. I said, “Really? Come on!” So I called another microbiologist friend, Dr. Raul Cano, from Cal Poly Tech, and said, “Hey Raul, Suresh says he cleans his fermentation vats with L. reuteri. Does that sound right to you?” He says, “Oh yeah.” That's how potent a micro reuteri is. Ironically, it's also extremely susceptible to common antibiotics like Amoxicillin. So if you took Amoxicillin, maybe 20 years ago, for an upper respiratory infection, it killed off your reuteri and some others. That opened the door for small intestine colonization and endotoxemia.

[1:03:36.5] Ashley James: To clarify, with the microbiologist using the L. reuteri to clean their devices, is it because it digests other bacteria or somehow fights them off? How does it effectively help to clean the devices?

[1:03:59.2] Dr. William Davis: The pharmaceutical industry constantly looks for new antibiotics. Do you know where they're discovering them? From microbes as bacteriocins. We don't have to get involved with the pharma people, but it tells you these bacteriocins are potent and specific for fecal microbes. So I think that's why we're seeing many people normalize their breath hydrogen gas. They wouldn't be that interesting if all they do is normalize your breath hydrogen gas. I'm also seeing that something normalized your hydrogen gas and then says something like, “I lost 73 lb in your program, but I hit a plateau. I could not lose the last 35 lbs. I now lost it.” Or, “I was a Type 2 diabetic. My hemoglobin A1C was 11.7, which is terrible. I did your program and dropped the 6.1%. Much better but not perfect, which is 5.0 % or less. I normalized my SIBO hydrogen gas. It's now 4.7%.” Or, “My rosacea is 80% better on the program, but it's not gone. I have occasional flare-ups. I got rid of the SIBO and endotoxemia.” I see case after case of residual health problems finally going away for good.

[1:05:21.6] Ashley James: Oh, I love it. So many listeners are in that spot where they hit a plateau. They'd cleaned up so much of their lives and got good results, and then that plateau happened. But it could be better. Especially the “Oh, I can't eat this, and I can't eat that. Now I can eat this.” And I know some people who can only breathe air. I have one friend who had to resort to the carnivore diet. She loves vegetables, but now she has just reverted to being unable to eat anything except meat. She really would love to be able to tolerate vegetables. I did get her to read your book. I know that she started off with making the cranberry juice ferments, and I need to talk to her and see how that went because I had sent her to you to start studying from you. Lactobacillus reuteri is like nature's version of an antibiotic, which will help clean up the area of an overgrowth of something we don't want. 

[1:06:36.4] Dr. William Davis: Exactly! And it colonized the upper GI tract. In other words, it goes where the battle is waged in the small intestine and produces those bacteriocins. By the way, maybe your listeners want to know about that juice you're talking about. So I call that Saccharomyces boulardii sparkling juices. It's so easy. If someone's new to fermentation, it's a really easy and simple way to get introduced to it. You get some juice. Hopefully, it's real juice. It just can't have any preservatives like potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate. Nothing like that, just juice. Preferably a pulpy type juice like apple cider or mango. Empty one capsule of Florastor. It's a commercial probiotic and includes the fungus Saccharomyces boulardii. It is the cousin of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, used to make wine and beer. So empty one capsule, cap it, lightly agitate to mix, loosen the cap, and put it on your kitchen counter. In 24 hours, you're going to see it bubbling. It's producing vast amounts of carbon dioxide. So keep that cap loose because it can explode if you don't. At 48 hours, you have beautiful sparkling juice. The microbes have reduced sugar content by about half, but some sugar is still in it. So use small portions, no more than a quarter cup, several times daily. It's one of the most powerful things you can do to help rebuild a broken microbiome. If you must take a course of antibiotics, this juice is the best thing to protect your gastrointestinal microbiome from further damage.

[1:08:20.7] Ashley James: What I love about that is it so affordable because that one bottle of the Florastor will last you a lifetime. If you're making this juice with one capsule and then drinking small amounts throughout the day, you can use it for a long time. So many people spend $30 to $50 per bottle of probiotics and keep having to buy it every month. Whereas you teach us how to take it and then culture it so that we're only buying one bottle every six months and culturing it to way more than what was in that bottle. Like when we make Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt, we culture it so much.

[1:09:10.0] Dr. William Davis:  Good point, Ashley. You're right. You save money because you make the next batch from a bit of the previous one. And you're exactly right. You can do this with probiotics also and save a ton of money. One of the things we need to know is there are ten different microbial species in your probiotic. Several batches, in relative proportions, are going to change. I generally tell people that when you're about seven, eight, nine, or ten batches in, start over again. So you go back to the start if you want to continue. Let's say you plant backyard zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers. We know that zucchinis are aggressive and will eventually take over the garden. It happened with microbes. They are competing with each other, and it's going to change relative proportions. So when you're several batches in, think about starting over again. But you're still saving a huge amount of money.

[1:10:07.2] Ashley James: Got it. I've been thinking about skin, knowing that bacteria live on it and that we used these antibacterial soaps in the past. Even things with fragrances can disrupt the microbiome. And now, I understand that our skin's microbiome is very delicate and really needed. Some women have acne that goes away by focusing on protecting the skin's microbiome. You mentioned the rosacea going away, but at the back of my mind, what about people with eczema and psoriasis? How does restoring the microbiome help them as well?

[1:10:54.7] Dr. William Davis: I urge people to start with the basics: diet and nutrients affecting insulin resistance and inflammation. That also plays a significant role in skin conditions. But you're right. SIBO, endotoxemia, and dysbiosis confined in the colon also play a role. If you have a condition like psoriasis or rosacea, what needs to be clarified is how much benefit there is to addressing the skin microbiome directly. There is some preliminary evidence that when you have a skin rash like eczema, there is an imbalance in the relative proportion of the normal skin inhabitant called staphylococcus epidermidis. And there's an increase in unhealthy microbe, staphylococcus aureus. We still need better information, but believing that you can restore staphylococcus epidermidis and other healthy microbes in the skin is tempting. It could further impact the skin rash.

[1:11:58.5] Ashley James: When we say that your skin is a reflection of your gut, and your skin is a reflection of what's going on inside you, and often we see that by removing gluten grains, the skin improves. Even with the Lactobacillus reuteri supporting a healthy gut microbiome, we see skin improvement, just like your studies showing that the dermal layer is increasing. We have an increase in collagen production. We see outward beauty, and there are anecdotal stories about women noticing wrinkles going away. We see the skin become more vibrant when our internal health becomes more vibrant. I don't want to look fifty when I'm fifty. I want to look super healthy because I worked hard on it. 

Don't we all want to look super healthy on the outside when we're doing so much to be healthy on the inside? I want everyone to feel amazing inside and have that outward reflection. I don't think he was joking, but I got mistaken for being in my twenties at the bank the other day. He thought I was the daughter of my mother-in-law. He was shocked to hear my age, and I was on a high rest of the day. But I have also been doing a lot to be healthy for many years, and it's paying off. I see it in the mirror. 

You talked in episode 476 about the women who noticed that they looked younger and more vibrant when they looked in the mirror after correcting their gut health and introducing Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt into their lives. I want to dig deeper into this. You have done some human clinical trials, and you were talking about something you invented that has Lactobacillus reuteri in it for the skin. Can we get into that?

[1:14:07.1] Dr. William Davis: Sure. Many ladies are making the Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt, but they keep saying, “I'm sick and tired of making the yogurt. Do you have some way I can just buy it?” Or, “I'm traveling and don't want to bring my yogurt-making apparatus.” So I formulated a product that included Lactobacillus reuteri and added components like marine-sourced collagen hydrolysates and hyaluronic acid. That combination has been working very well for us. We had a preliminary trial, and we got very nice results. We did a formal clinical trial and did measures like high-resolution skin ultrasounds and did see improvement in dermal thickness as well as the investigator dermatologist and participant ratings on such things as moisture, glow, and luster. 

We got very nice results and will continue to explore and validate all these kinds of effects, but I'm very encouraged by what we see in our preliminary trials. It is consistent with all the things seen in the mouse trials and other human evidence. So we're on the right track to providing a product called Gut to Glow that contains Lactobacillus reuteri with added components to stack the odds in favor of better skin. 

We know from other people's science that there is much evidence that collagen peptides reduce skin wrinkles and make your joints better because joint cartilage is mostly collagen. There is good science to tell us that when you ingest collagen orally, it gets to the joints and the skin and the hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is the body's master moisturizer. So you take it orally, and it gets to the skin, moisturizes the skin dermal layer and not just the epidermis, like a topically applied hyaluronic acid, and it also adds to joint lubrication. I believe we're going to start seeing evidence that hyaluronic acid also has beneficial effects on the brain because the brain has a lot of hyaluronic acids, and so do the uterus, cervix, and vagina. Dryness is a problem for ladies in their late 60s and 70s. Hyaluronic acid is a major component of the female reproductive tract. So, we will have to validate these kinds of effects over time. But so far, even in preliminary evidence, we've had some very nice results.

[1:16:41.3I] Ashley James: While listening, I thought, is this a face cream? What's going on? So you've created a way to take it internally. It's a supplement, and we see results on the skin. But when you see the skin getting better, we also know it affects the skin on the inside, right? Because the lungs are related to skin tissue, the gut is related to skin tissue. They're very related to its use of collagen, and it won't affect the skin on the outside. It's going to also play a role in helping on the inside as well. 

[1:17:25.6] Dr. William Davis: Absolutely. It is reuteri, after all. We use a different strain than the one that was used in the MIT studies, and we're validating how much this one microbe does. We did some animal work, and we're doing some human work with that strain. So much more must be explored, but we see very positive effects. So many more clinical trials are planned, all the way to budget. But we see some exciting early effects as you've experienced in your friend's experience and some of your listeners. So that's why I cringe to think how little we knew just a few years ago. 

When you factor in all the effects of the microbiome, you know almost nothing about health. But it plays a huge role in all aspects of health. We are seeing big effects on many emotional and mental issues like anxiety. One of the biggest effects of endotoxemia is anxiety. Also, fungal overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract is a common symptom of anxiety. I see people being prescribed Xanax and other anti-anxiety drugs when, a lot of the time, it's overgrowth either of bacteria or fungi or both. And we see dramatic reductions in anxiety. Not from the Gut to Glow. This is just addressing the overgrowth of bacteria and fungi. So we see dramatic effects on the reduction of anxiety and depression. 

[1:19:00.5] Ashley James: Yeah, I know you have to be careful when formulating and selling a supplement to make medical claims. And I know you need to be very careful with your language. But we can look at the effect, what each ingredient is, how all the science around it, and the results you would get from it. And then, we can hope to get that same result by taking a supplement with those same ingredients. I'm excited to hear more about your clinical trials. Is there anything else you can share specifically about your clinical trials or upcoming projects you are working on around this? 

[1:19:44.8] Dr. William Davis: I can't say everything until our patents are filed because of some intellectual property issues. One of the things we saw in our first human clinical trial was an unexpected dramatic change in body composition. So we're going to explore that. And I'll talk about that in the coming months or years as we surpass these patent protections. Suffice it to say that we have the capacity, I believe, or will in the future, dramatically affect the body shape.

[1:20:15.7] Ashley James: Wow, that is very cool. Please share your hypothesis around why you believe that effect happens. 

[1:20:27.5] Dr. William Davis: I did design a very elaborate clinical trial. It won't get done for another six months because it's costly, and we will look at things like DEXA for body composition, baseline, and follow-up. So we can measure endotoxin; it's called LPS serum. I believe that we're going to see an improvement in insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the fundamental process that drives risks for diabetes, heart disease, dementia, cancers, and other modern chronic conditions. If you can improve insulin resistance, you greatly impact that person's health. So we need to document if there is a change in insulin resistance. I think there will be, but we need to prove that. You know these very popular drugs, Wegovy and Ozempic, are called GLP-1 agonists because they reduce blood sugar. But you may have heard that people are scrambling for these drugs because they lead to weight loss also. They work because they're GLP-1 agonists. That's one thing we also have to explore. Do we have a GLP-1 agonist alternative? We have yet to find answers to many things, but we will explore clinical trials. 

[1:21:49.5] Ashley James: That's so exciting. We need a listener who just won the lottery to just donate a million dollars. We need someone with just a few million dollars, and it's burning a hole in their pocket. If I won the lottery, I would be spending for some really cool clinical trials. I think it will be a lot of fun to fund holistic clinical trials that could help revolutionize the world and the whole planet as we know it. If we could introduce everyone to these seemingly simple aids, tools, and solutions, make the Florastor juice, or try some of the Lactobacillus reuteri to correct their gut and endotoxemia, many people would get off of anxiety and sleep meds. Many people would get off of antidepressants or antacids. Just think of all the things that people could correct. 

This is something that a lot of my listeners know already, but maybe some don't, but every time we take a drug, it depletes the body of key nutrients because the liver and the kidneys have to process it, and it forces the body to do something. It forces a physiological effect. It's not gentle, and it's not natural. And so a lot of times, these drugs people take deplete the body further and further when the body was already depleted, to begin with. I see a world, my kind of Utopia, where everyone is so healthy they don't need drugs, or 90% fewer drugs because we're so healthy, we don't need them. Think about people with chronic pain. 

You mentioned fibromyalgia. A friend had a morphine pump surgically installed in her body. That's how much pain she was in. This was fifteen years ago. She brought me into her bedroom and showed me her two drawers in her bedside table dresser. She opened both doors and said these are all my meds. And she goes, “Most of these are pain meds.” She was not overweight, ate very healthily, and she was in chronic pain all the time. And I heard about how certain key nutrient deficiencies can exacerbate and sometimes even trigger chronic pain. And so I got her some vitamins and minerals, especially selenium. There's been a link to low sodium levels leading toward exacerbating that chronic pain known as fibromyalgia. I preached to go gluten-free, but I don't know if she did. Within a few months of doing that, she told me, “You know, those two drawers, just with the changes, I got rid of one drawer.” Fifty percent of her meds were reduced in months by taking some minerals and vitamins. And maybe she did listen to me and got rid of the gluten.

If we can make that change. If we could just increase certain nutrients or correct the gut and someone could eliminate their meds by 50% or 75%, their quality of life is going up and up and up. So that's my vision for the world; to have the tools you teach in your books and on your website. And then now, I love you've created the Gut to Glow formula so that we can help people restore themselves from the inside to glow on the outside. So I get the marketing, and I like the name. It's simple, and it's catchy. I like it. 

[1:25:56.6] Dr. William Davis: You make an excellent point, Ashley. That is the unintended adverse consequences of pharmaceuticals. Even drugs that people thought were benign, like stomach acid-blocking drugs, or statin cholesterol drugs, are now known to have very serious impacts on health and on the microbiome. So stomach acid-blocking drugs turn off stomach acid and allow oral microbes. The mouth is second only to the colon in the density of microbes. Think about that when you're kissing somebody. So when you lose stomach acids, oral microbes populate the stomach and duodenum, and fecal microbes ascend in the small bowel. This is all from just blocking stomach acid, likewise statin cholesterol drugs. Even if you're slender and young, it turns your gastrointestinal microbiome into the microbiome of an obese Type 2 diabetic. And that's the presumptive reason to explain why there's a 30% to 50% increase in your likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes when you take a statin cholesterol drug.

[1:27:02.9] Ashley James: Oh my gosh. Yes, we did have a conversation in one of our interviews. It might have been the first interview we did about statins. Because I get on my soapbox with them on how absolutely horrible they are for our health, and the benefits are so minuscule in relation to the horrible effects of statins, and you were able to outline that. What people don't understand is that it harms the liver. It makes the liver not produce the cholesterol our body's trying to produce, and it doesn't actually correct. Heart disease isn't caused by the cholesterol. Cholesterol is wrapped up like smoke. You see smoke in anything and call that there must be a fire. It's like smoke is causing the fire, right? It's the other way around. There's inflammation. There's our whole lifestyle that's leading to that disease. Taking a statin is just going to disrupt so many functions. Everyone thinks that they need to lower LDL. With your background, what is the best way to help the body lower LDL cholesterol, have good healthy cholesterol, and be free of heart disease?

[1:28:27.5] Dr. William Davis: I tell people to get a big black magic marker, cross out those numbers, and ignore them. There is a lot there to talk about. But the real tragedy of focusing on cholesterol is that it took everybody's attention away from the real causes of heart disease. You're exactly right. Statin cholesterol drugs reduce cardiovascular events in a very minor way. They help a little bit, but what about all the other causes you mentioned, like insulin resistance, inflammation, vitamin D deficiency, omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, and endotoxemia? Those are all very important causes that any cardiologist hardly ever mentions. So, what I do is throw away cholesterol testing. We do the real test, which is lipoprotein testing, like an NMR Lipoprotein testing. We measure insulin resistance, like fasting glucose, insulin, and hemoglobin A1C. We look at your vitamin D status with the 25-hydroxy vitamin D. We look at your thyroid status with TSH, T3, T4, and Reverse T3 thyroid antibodies. 

You can add other things, but if you just do those basic tests, you will see that cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease. In the 1950s and 1960s, cholesterol was meant to be an indirect marker for the factors, like lipoproteins which are the fat-carrying proteins in the bloodstream, that actually cause heart disease. During those times, it was very difficult to measure lipoprotein. So they devised very crude indirect methods to quantify them, and they said, measure cholesterol. It was not meant to be the cause. It was meant to be an indirect marker. But it became viewed as the cause because it makes a lot of money for the pharmaceutical industry. When you focus on cholesterol, this outdated house of cards, you start to come away with false lessons. That's why 80 million Americans take statin cholesterol drugs, but there's been no reduction in heart disease incidence. And that's why your local hospital can add on a hundred million dollar new cardiovascular wing because heart disease remains hospitals' number one money maker. So the dirty little secret is my colleagues like that there continue to be lots of heart disease because they're not focusing on the real causes. The truth of it is, managing cardiovascular risk is easy and almost free and does not require a drug in 99.9% of people.

[1:31:03.5] Ashley James: I love it. Thank you so much for clarifying that because our friends and family need to hear this. The second you go to a hospital, you go to your doctor, and you're over a certain age, they automatically want to put you on a cholesterol med. I feel the pharmaceutical industry sends those doctors to Jamaica once a year or something, there's got to be some kind of incentive because of how prolific it is. It depletes the body of CoQ10, and it bruises the liver, which produces healthy cholesterol. People end up with neuropathy, and they're falling down, breaking their hip or whatever, because they're not able to feel. I have an uncle who can't feel his hands and feet and has not been able to feel them for years. He's been on statins for years, and I've been begging him to please get off them. And he's like, “No, my doctor is smarter and knows what he's doing.” Then he just falls down all the time because he can't feel his hands or feet. It's the neuropathy from taking the statins, and it's just mind-blowing. Everyone is just keeping the wool over their eyes. “Nope, my doctor knows what they're doing. I'm not going to question anything. I don't want to be accused of listening to Dr. Google.” It's like, “Advocate for yourself.” This is a for-profit industry, right? Like, people question the dealership more when they're buying a car than they do their doctor when they are being put on a drug. 

[1:32:26.8] Dr. William Davis: Very true. That's a critical thing to understand. It is exactly a profit-making venture. Sadly, it shouldn't be that way. But what's put first in the healthcare system is revenue and profit; it's not health.

[1:32:45.4] Ashley James: So I know we've got a bunch of black sheep salmon swimming upstream, kind of listeners who are ready and willing to do what it takes to regain their health. But our friends and family love their statins, and the damage has been done. And, of course, all the drugs people take also disrupt the microbiome. Because it affects the mitochondria, we're really just only beginning to understand everything. I feel like a hundred years from now, we'll look back and look at these drugs like we do now, when we look at leeches and end up bleeding the body. Like in the 1500s and 1700s when bloodletting was all the rage, and now it's like drugs are all the rage. In a hundred years, it's definitely going to be microbiome-based medicine. That's for sure. 

I see that we're going into an era where we will be using light as therapy and phototherapy, and we will be using the microbiome and supporting using different healthy bacterial strains to balance the body. Especially if you can take one and increase your collagen. It's amazing that you can make your skin beautiful. How long do people start to notice a difference in their skin? That must take time. Like when you take certain supplements for hair, skin, and nails, it's not right away because the body is doing triage work on the inside. And then maybe three months down the road, you start noticing better hair, skin, and nails when you're taking those kinds of supplements with niacin and the different biotin in those kinds of things. But how long do people see results when they take the Gut to Glow formula? 

[1:34:26.4] Dr. William Davis: We've seen subtle changes at four weeks that become more marked at eight and then twelve weeks of the fine, low volume wrinkles like crow's feet around the eyes, and the smile line. Those tend to recede visibly by twelve weeks. The deeper wrinkles, like nasolabial fold along the sides of the mouth, the big ones, or the forehead wrinkles, those require more volume, so we don't know. Our clinical trials have only gone to twelve weeks or three months. We don't know just how much you can expect long-term, but I predict that they'll have an effect longer-term. But we're seeing an introduction to fine wrinkles at twelve weeks, increasing skin moisture so much that they are telling us they don't need to use as much moisturizer on the face and hands anymore, and there's a kind of glow. I think that's the increase in sebum, which is the moisturizer of the skin. That's among the earliest effects. The increased moisture can happen within days, visibly by four weeks, but more so by eight to twelve weeks. 

[1:35:30.4] Ashley James: You've mentioned the other areas for females, like vaginal dryness when we age. Are women noticing that by taking this, they're noticing they're less dry in other areas? 

[1:35:44.6] Dr. William Davis: We haven't looked at that in our clinical trials because it wasn't among the endpoints we're looking at. Every week, I have a two-way Zoom. Like last night, I did it for two hours with ninety-eight people. I casually asked them, are you experiencing an increase in vaginal moisture? Let's talk about this for a moment. As ladies get older, through menopause, particularly in their late 60s and 70s, it becomes universal that a woman will experience what the gynecologists now label as the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). The three facets are loss of libido, vaginal atrophy, dryness, irritation, discharge and pain, and urinary complaints like urge incontinence. You pee when you cry, cough, or repeated urinary tract infections. So it's lost libido, vaginal atrophy, and urinary problems. 

I believe we can address the whole thing, but that's another formulation I created. I can't tell you fully. I'll probably talk about that when I'm back within the next year.

[1:36:51.5] Ashley James: Well, come back in a year and update us. 

[1:36:56.0] Dr. William Davis: But I will tell you, I think the reuteri may be key here. So we have no clue or data. I'm going by what is known from some other people's science that the reuteri, I believe, is a key component for ladies to regain vaginal moisture. And it doesn't hurt to throw in hyaluronic acid because the cervix and vagina are largely hyaluronic acids. 

[1:37:21.7] Ashley James: Love it. Well, I can't wait to hear about stuff happening in the next year. We'll definitely have you back on with this. We should do an annual meet-up over the minds and hear all the updates.

[1:37:35.5] Dr. William Davis: I'd be happy to, Ashley.

[1:37:36.3] Ashley James: I will start hunting for a millionaire to invest in more trials for you. I'll let you know when I find one. I'm sure there's one out there that is excited as me and wants to get where these clinical trials are going. That would be fun. 

When we talked about making the Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt, you were clear that it needs to be made with something that contains fat. And I remember looking around, going at plant-based options. I need to make sure there's something really fatty, so I came upon cashew yogurt. It works really well with the cashew

[1:38:12.7] Dr. William Davis: I'd love to see your recipe, by the way.

[1:38:13.4] Ashley James: I will gladly share it. It's amazing and so delicious. As I said, I've made over thirty batches, so I played with and perfected it. I make it thick, like Greek yogurt. I tried coconut yogurt with coconut cream. Honestly, it was disgusting. The soy one was even worse, but I got the results. I felt it was the worst thing I've ever eaten/drank. It was like liquid, so I just drank it. It was the worst-tasting thing ever, but I was willing to do it because I felt amazing. But now I've perfected the cashew yogurt. It's thick, like Greek yogurt. It's so delicious, I'm actually salivating right now thinking about it. 

But when you said it's really important that we make Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt with a fat component, that surprised me. I guess it shouldn't surprise me, but it does because I always think we need carbohydrates when we ferment. So to hear that, we got to make sure that there's some fat in this, and for me, it's a plant-based fat coming from cashews. But, can you explain why a Lactobacillus reuteri or why this particular formula requires us, when we take or ingest it, to have fat? 

[1:39:37.5] Dr. William Davis: I think what's confusing is, most yogurt is low-fat or nonfat. I reject the whole notion that we should limit fat, and so I use organic half and half, which is 18% fat because I think we should get that. Dairy's got tissues, but the most beneficial component of dairy is the fat, ironically. So it's just part of my rejection of the low-fat notion. But you actually don't need fat. You can ferment, for instance, salsa which is very low in fat. Hummus is also a good vehicle. I've never done the cashew, so I'm dying to see your recipe. People always ask, “I don't want to do dairy. What else can I do?” I've been suggesting coconut milk, which makes an okay yogurt. 

[1:40:24.0] Ashley James: It's gross. I'll share mine. You'll love it. It's delicious. You'll want to do it instead of cow milk. Does the body need to have fat to utilize Lactobacillus reuteri, or is it just because you see fat as a healthy component of our diets that we shouldn't shy away from it? 

[1:40:52.3] Dr. William Davis: As you pointed out, the microbe just needs some kind of either fiber or sugar. It doesn't really need the fat. But you need fat. A total of forty years of this ridiculous experiment in cutting total fat and saturated fat to show us how harmful that is, in some ways, I'm grateful that the government agencies and the pharmaceutical industry screwed up so badly because it shows us what happens. Because we now have an epidemic of unhealthy humans — obese, diabetic, with autoimmune diseases, and greater cognitive impairment all because of misguided dietary advice, absurd pharmaceuticals, and a predatory food system.

[1:41:43.4] Ashley James: Oh, that's so well put. I was just explaining the predatory food system the other day. I do it all the time, but the other day I was talking to a personal trainer who's super into health, and he said, “Yeah, I can't get my kid to stop eating Doritos.” I'm like, “Wait for a second, you have Doritos in your house?” And so, I had to back up in a super loving way. Just something to understand, if any food comes from a manufacturer, that company has hired food scientists to make it hyper-palatable and to tickle your brain as cocaine does. If it comes out of a package, every single company has figured out exactly how much salt, monosodium glutamate, red dye, how much of everything it takes to light your brain scan up, like the Fourth of July, so that you will keep eating their gross excuse for food. We're addicted as a world to these processed foods that are highly Frankenfoods. But they light up our brains and make us feel good, and we think, “Oh, we feel good. We got to keep eating this.” 

And as Dr. Joel Fuhrman says, cocaine can make you feel good too, but it's not good for you. So stop thinking that food that makes you feel good is good for you and focus on foods that don't come from manufacturers but from a farm. Eat food that comes from a farm, not a manufacturer, and you'll be doing so much better with your health. I had a food scientist on the show, and she explained that crazy world behind the scenes of how they will look at brain scans. This is like the company that makes these things like Doritos. They will do these neuro studies on exactly how much of each of these ingredients they need to put in to make you as addicted as possible, to make the dopamine go up as much. So we got to be really careful. And then how much do all those chemicals affect the gut microbiome? Whatever we eat is not only feeding ourselves, but it's feeding the bacteria in our guts. You have to be careful because what you feed in your gut is what you're going to get in your life. 

[1:44:03.6] Dr. William Davis: I couldn't agree more, Ashley. Modern processed food is a disaster. 

[1:44:10.8] Ashley James: I'm spinning thinking about the possibilities. So in your book, there are many other things to look for. I love that you have this table of different strains of bacteria, and it's almost like you're looking at a pharmacy for your gut. If these are your symptoms, you go for this. If this is your problem, then start with this. Athletes can take a different probiotic for this function. I'm thinking about kids because kids don't necessarily need Lactobacillus reuteri. Maybe they do, but can kids benefit from taking Gut to Glow? Or is there a different strain that would be better for them? Or maybe tell me who would benefit most from taking the Gut to Glow formula with the Lactobacillus reuteri in it? 

[1:45:13.0] Dr. William Davis: I look at the Gut to Glow as a convenience for someone who doesn't want to make the yogurt and wants a better skin effect because of the added components or does something like travel and doesn't want to bring their yogurt-making apparatus. But there's another question here. Who needs reuteri? The only group I think that should not do the yogurt as written are pregnant ladies because when you approach the two weeks or so prior to delivery, the density of oxytocin receptors goes up to a hundredfold in the uterus in preparation for delivery. That's why, say you want to deliver your child on Wednesday, August 23rd at 8 a.m., you're instructed to come to the hospital, and they put an IV, and they give you the oxytocin injection, and it causes uterine contraction. So it's probably not wise to get that super duper high counts of reuteri, and thereby presumptively oxytocin in a pregnant woman. 

But when you think about it, if all primitive humans have reuteri, if all mammals have it and we're the exception, and by the way, there is evidence to show us that only forty years ago, the majority of people had reuteri. Now almost nobody has it. So I think having it is good for everybody, even a pregnant woman. What I don't know is the three hundred or so billion microbes in the yogurt for a half-cup serving. Is that advisable? Probably not. And so what I tell ladies who are pregnant or of childbearing age, or children, is you can make the yogurt, but do a mixed culture yogurt. Think about if all you grew in your 10×10 backyard garden are tomatoes, you can have a lot of tomatoes. What if you grew tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and squash, how many tomatoes will you have? You have far fewer. So you can do a mixed-culture yogurt. One easy trick is to start with your reuteri. You can start with capsules or tablets, or you can get some reuteri yogurt from someone else or probably a batch of your own, and then get a commercial yogurt with four or five other microbes and mix them together. So you have maybe four or five or six different microbes, and you won't get those super duper high counts that are perfectly safe for kids or for a pregnant lady.

[1:47:55.6] Ashley James: Oh, that's brilliant. Now I have noticed since I've been eating it for the last year that I can eat it for a few days and feel the effects for weeks. I feel most of that euphoria, and then I feel it slowly drop off, and then I eat some more. So I don't eat it every day now. I used to, but now I wanted to see how long this lasts. And it does last. I feel like it lasts for a few weeks, and then it drops off. We talked a little bit about this. I want to know if there's any more science that you follow up on all the recent studies around it. Have we figured out, or are we any closer to figuring out how to repopulate the gut with Lactobacillus reuteri so that it sustains itself?

[1:48:49.0] Dr. William Davis: It's a fundamental question. It's a very critical question that we don't have an answer to. So if mom gave you reuteri by passage through the birth canal and breastfeeding and barring exposure to things like antibiotics, you will carry that microbe for a lifetime. But if you get it from yogurt or a capsule, you get it for a few weeks at best. What's the difference? Microbes live in communities, just like humans do. In other words, we don't live by ourselves. We have partners, families, co-workers, neighbors, and communities. Microbes are the same, though it is called guilds or consortiums in the microbe world. We don't know yet who else is supposed to be in the reuteri guild or consortium. So I think the probiotic of the future, or the way we'll do it in the future is reuteri with maybe seven other species that are required, for reuteri to take up permanent residence. So you can take that capsule for maybe a week, and you'll have it for a lifetime. But so far, no one's worked out the details. 

[1:49:54.3] Ashley James: I was fascinated to learn that there's a type of bacteria that's very common in the gut that digests and eats candida. Candida is its food. Candida is needed in the body, but 90% less than everyone actually has it. It's food for these bacteria. It made me think; so, when your body is imbalanced, your little bit of candida, which is the food that's growing like grass for cows. It's like the grass growing in your body to feed this bacteria that's really healthy for us. And it made me think maybe that Lactobacillus reuteri is supposed to eat and digest something and it's missing also. Like there's this wonderful colony, like the microbe guild that that lives together that feeds each other and balances each other out and protects each other. 

And we've really messed ourselves up in the last generation. From my grandma to where we are now, we've just been messing up the entire human race by wiping out so much of our microbiome. I wish I had a time machine and could go a hundred years in the future and see what kind of advancement in understanding how we can restore the gut. But I can't wait for the day that the labs figure out what's the perfect balance for that microbe guild so that we could really get a leg up. But you're on the right track with teaching us how to ferment and bring it into our bodies within food in such a natural way. 

I really feel like you, out of all the doctors out there, have your finger on the pulse of restoring the gut and thus cascade effect of restoring the whole body. So thank you so much for everything you do. I love your work and I love your books. You're so easy to learn from. Like I told you many years ago, just discovering your work was so cathartic for me because finally, it's validation. I'm on the right track with removing these grains from my life and seeing such a positive result. That brings me to one of my last points, which is that some people say, “Well, I don't feel a difference when I removed wheat. So, therefore, I'm not allergic to it. I don't have to remove it.” And I think that that's a misnomer for a lot of people if you don't do an air quotes here, but like feel a difference. I don't think that you're supposed to feel how good an apple is for you when you eat an apple. I'm studying the nutritional aspects of how that pectin is helping you and all the things that are feeding in your gut. You