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What is The Root Cause Of My Disease?
Hello true health seeker and welcome to another exciting episode of Learn True Health Podcast.
I have a little announcement for everyone who is a health coach, an aspiring health coach or who works in the healthcare industry.
In my interview today, I interviewed a health coach that specializes in functional diagnostic nutrition. She took a course with FDN to learn how to read labs and how to choose which labs should be run specifically around understanding the metabolic process. My guest describes it as metabolic chaos and being able to dive in and assess and figure out the right tests and the right labs to run so that they can understand the root cause.
The example she brings up is that many people with Hashimoto’s thyroid actually the root cause is in their gut health and liver health. That is the first thing that set off this chain of events that trigger the Hashimoto’s. As long as they still have that liver and gut dysfunction they’ll never be able to fully heal their Hashimoto’s and so, many people are going around chasing symptoms. Even naturally chasing symptoms, because they haven’t been able to get to the root cause. That’s exactly what Functional Diagnostic Nutrition provides.
So if you’re a holistic health expert or health coach and you’d love to learn how to read labs and how everything interrelates, if you’d love to learn how to provide that for your clients that kind of skill set that would take you to the next level, then definitely go to www.learntruehealth.com/fdn as in functional diagnostic nutrition and get more information from that website. You can click through and they’ll give you all kinds of information and I know by using that link and the coupon code LTH, they’re giving $750 off this week. Normally, if you use that code, they have told me that they’ll give my listeners $500 off but this week only it’s $750 off. This course is online and at your own pace which I really enjoy. I’m gonna be enrolling and taking this course because I’m very interested especially after this interview. I’m very interested in learning about how to order these labs and how to interpret these labs and not only do they teach you how to interpret them, they also teach you what to do once you have the information.
In fact, coach Jen even told me that some people take this course simply for their own knowledge which I can see myself doing. Learning how to apply these for my health, my family’s health, but also helping all my clients as a health coach. So go to www.learntruehealth.com/fdn to learn about how you can learn about functional medicine and become a functional diagnostic nutrition certified that adds to your ability to be an excellent health coach. Speaking of being an excellent health coach, there is a free summit for health coaches that is coming up in 14 days. I want you to enroll so you get your spot reserved, it is called The Ultimate Health Coaching Success Summit. They interviewed 36 speakers that are experts in health coaching and marketing and they teach you how to grow your thriving health coaching business and the things that you can do to make sure you empower your clients and grow your business. If you are a health coach or if you’re interested in becoming a health coach, you definitely want to attend this free summit. They also give you the opportunity to buy it and own all of the interviews as well but if you sign up, you can watch it for free. Go to www.learntruehealth.com/success to sign up for the Ultimate Health Coaching Success Summit that’s coming up in 14 days. If you do decide to purchase it, you get to watch it right now. That’s something really cool, you could sign up but if you can’t wait and you want to start watching it now and watch at your own pace then you can decide to purchase the Summit. So www.learntruehealth.com/success gets you access to the summit and www.learntruehealth.com/fdn gives you access to more information about the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition course.
Excellent, well thank you so much for being a listener and if you’re in the states, Happy 4th of July. This is a time where we definitely celebrate with our loved ones and I hope that you are having a wonderful week celebrating with those that you love most. Enjoy today’s interview.
0:05:08.1 Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health Podcast. I’m your host, Ashley James. This is Episode 365.
I am so excited for today’s guest. We have with us a Functional Diagnostic and Transformational Coach, I love that title it’s quite a mouthful. Welcome to the show Jenn Malecha it is such an honor to have you here today.
0:05:35.9 Jenn Malecha: Thank you for having me, I’m excited to be here to provide some information and insights for your listeners.
0:05:43.1 Ashley James: Absolutely, we were just chatting before we hit record and you were telling me how you were just listening to one of my more recent episodes about mold and how mold has really played a role in your health journey and that you and your family have experienced mold several times and also, you now can help your clients as well with mold. It’s one of those major things that we don’t realize, it is a major contributing factor to triggering disease and autoimmune conditions and kind of maybe being that straw that broke the camel’s back for a lot of people. It’s fun that we’re gonna dive into your story because I think you have a really interesting story that we can all learn from. Then you’re gonna teach us some great things about helping us heal when we have been faced with stress, maybe not the best diet that we didn’t realize was the best diet for us, or hormones were unbalanced, maybe we have autoimmune condition. How do we just finally take control again and get conscious and figure out what are those necessary steps in getting us back to health and I know that you are here to share some great tips for us today. I’d love to start by hearing your story.
0:07:00.4 Jenn Malecha: Yeah, I would love to share it too because all of us I think have a health story in some way and obstacles and challenges that we’ve faced and ultimately, our health is what supports us really living our best life. When you think about anything that you do in this lifetime whether it’s your career, family, or if you love to travel like I do, if you don’t have your ideal health and weight then you’re not really getting to, you know, optimize those experiences or get the most out of them in a lot of ways. That was kind of a beginning part of my health journey. I had always been kind of an active kid growing up and I would say I’m fairly healthy in comparison to most. My parents had a garden and we would get about making sure that we had balanced meals for dinner and that we ate our dinner before we had desserts and things like that and so, I actually went to college to pursue an education in Fitness Nutrition and Health and soaked all of that knowledge up and in my early twenties when I was in college is probably when I first started having some health occurrences and I began to come into light and this was very much pre-mold. So I’m definitely gonna talk about the mold’s piece but the molds piece in my journey is the second obstacle that I have faced. I think just explaining to the audience a little bit about the journey prior to that is gonna help bring light to the mold situation a bit too. When I was in my early twenties I, all of a sudden just started to develop seasonal allergies that were worsening year over year over year and these were the things I never had as a kid to the point where I was having recurring ear infections and the seasonal allergies were so debilitating that they would take me down for days or sometimes weeks at a time. I remember one of the last ear infections that I had I was really laid up on the couch for multiple days just struggling for it to finally go away. At that time I was questioning, why was this happening to me because I never had allergies. I was somebody who really prided myself on always being healthy and not ever getting sick. Along with that, I also started to experience what some people might call Chronic Fatigue where I was a personal trainer at the time so I graduated college with my degree in Personal Training where I was kind of figuring out the future of my career path and I just remember going to Starbucks in the afternoon and getting a double Americano and still struggling to keep my eyes open and to stay awake as I was training my afternoon and my evening class and that’s just not normal.
I was tired all of the time. I would go home and literally sit on the couch for 5 minutes and fall asleep instantly. I was having different joint aches and pains that were recurring and I thought that just because I was a runner, that those might be normal but then it became kind of debilitating too. Finally, at the age of 26, I was diagnosed with skin cancer which is kind of like light bulb (aha!) moment for me because when I really started to ponder why I was diagnosed with skin cancer, the pieces of the puzzle just really didn’t fit together. First of all, it was extremely scary to be diagnosed with skin cancer, I think out of all the diagnoses one can receive, anything related to cancer is one of the scariest ones to have because you just don’t know am I going to survive this? Is it treatable? Is it gonna come back? There’s so many questions when it comes to cancer and when I was looking at my specific case, you know, the dermatologist and the doctors start asking you if there’s any family history of cancer and all the questions that looking for clues about why you would be diagnosed with cancer. In my family there was no family history of any cancer related to skin cancer specifically. There was other cancer that ran in my family but nothing related to skin cancer. I was not your, you know, what we will qualify like a chronic tanner, somebody who’s out baking themselves on the beach all the time or using the tanning salon on a recurrent basis. I was, you know, the healthiest people that I knew, I was like “healthiest people” because that version of healthy is not the version of healthy that I practice today and I’ll explain that a little bit, also, but at the time I was eating lean proteins like boneless skinless chicken breast and having a vegetable with every meal and eating yogurt and berries as a snack and exercising regularly, like that’s most people’s definition of healthy right? It wasn’t until I got into the work that I’m doing now as a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner that I really started to be able to put the pieces of the puzzle together to figure out why I had been diagnosed with skin cancer or how that manifested in my body. When I enrolled in that training program The Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, one of the things that they have us do is run some lab tests like its a requirement, you have to run a couple of lab tests on yourself as part of the training and one of the lab tests that I ran was about Health 101, it’s a metabolic profile that looks at urinary bio acids which is basically getting you some insights as to how the liver is functioning, like is it sluggish or congested? If it’s not moving bio acids through, that can be an indication that there’s toxic build up. It’s probably happening in the body, it’s just not detoxing as well as it could be. My urinary bio acids where high, my liver was clogged, and then it also looks at lipid peroxide which is a measurement of oxidative stress, and oxidative stress gives you some insights as to how the body is aging, like is the aging really fast which can be some indication for cellular damage or DNA damage its going on and my oxidative stress was also very high. Also measured something called urinary indican which takes a look at how you’re digesting protein and can give you insights about malabsorption, bacterial overgrowth such as H pylori or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and my indican was off as well. After running a simple test, I found that I did have H pylori overgrowth happening in my gut which attributed to some of the migraine headaches that I was having and the recurring back pain I think its vertebrae T7 its where its associated with. I also ran a Salivary Adrenal Hormone Panel and I had a level of adrenal dysfunction that was going on. Essentially on the inside I was a metabolic disaster even though on the outside I was doing all of these allegedly healthy things, right? Especially when I saw that my liver was clogged and the oxidative stress markers where high, I was like, “Oh, this is exactly what’s cultivating this environment for cancer to basically grow in my body”. I immediately implemented a plan that changed my lifestyle like my diet, my rest, the exercise doing more stress reduction type of stuff, eliminating toxins out of my environment, taking supplements to support my body in ways that it needs to be supported and I’m happy to say that the skin cancer never returned and here I am this year 10 years skin cancer free as a result of making some of those lifestyle changes which is huge.
0:14:41.6 Ashley James: That is definitely huge, now did you just have it surgically removed or how did you proceed with your oncologist to eliminate the skin cancer and monitor it?
0:14:52.2 Jenn Malecha: Yeah, so, they went in to the sites. I had a couple of different sites, like the one on my leg and a couple on my back, they cut out a certain diameter around the skin cancer to make sure they get all of the cells and then they stitch it up so I’ve got some beautiful scars on my leg and my back and they monitor that over time. I had to go for skin check-ups every couple of months to make sure that there weren’t any new spots that are coming back. Thankfully, the biopsies on the places that they have kind of cut out came back and none of them were related. So that indicated that the skin cancer itself wasn’t actually spreading it’s just that I had multiple different spots that were happening. So I still go back every year for a skin cancer check just because I am always gonna be a high risk person from having it previously and I’ve never had anything new pop up since those first instances.
0:15:46.3 Ashley James: Can you share what kind of cancer it was?
0:15:48.5 Jenn Malecha: Oh, you’re gonna make me think about this. I wanna say that it’s been so long, I don’t really keep track anymore because it’s something that I just don’t think about aside from it being a fact a huge part of my story. I believe it was basal cell melanoma but I have to go back and check my records I don’t actually know that off the top of my head.
0:16:07.2 Ashley James: Right, you don’t sit around going “I had basal cell melanoma type 2.5 and whatever”. They come up with all these numbers. You figured out that the environment of your body expressed itself with skin cancer because the environment of the body was at a point where it couldn’t handle its oxidative load and so it expressed itself not only with cancer but like you said, you had fatigue, you’re getting chronic infections, and allergies. So all these symptoms, your body is expressing itself saying “I’m out of balance, something is incorrect, something is not optimal” and then you started to dive into those tests. If all of us were to go get those tests would we all find that we are out of balance in some way or have you actually seen people who get these tests and they’re all within normal ranges? I mean, is it pretty common to be out of normal ranges when we get these metabolic tests?
0:17:13.7 Jenn Malecha: Yeah, that’s a great question. I would say that most of the time I see that people are out of range but that’s because people are coming to me with some type of health complaint that they want to resolve. They already have some insights that their body is signalling to them that something’s not right, they don’t feel right on their own skin, they don’t feel at home in their body, they’ve been diagnosed with something and so the majority of the testing that I see is gonna indicate some things out of balance. If we were running testing on people who said that they felt great on a normal basis, we probably wouldn’t see much and sometimes the reason for that is because everybody has their own threshold of vitality in a sense. It can be an example of how we can correlate this or an example of this is if somebody can get stung by a bee and it’s the end of the world, that’s excruciating pain for them versus another person getting stung by a bee and they don’t feel it at all. So their pain threshold is different, or like women who give birth and some of them are able to give birth naturally and they are like, “Oh, it’s like an easy experience” versus other women who are like, “Give me the epidural as soon as possible” because they can’t handle the pain. Everybody has this bio individuality where our threshold, our adaptability is different. There are some people out there where they can recover or adapt from environmental factors and chronic stresses maybe better than some other people and what’s also interesting that I’ll add about your question here too is that, any time that we’re doing a test it’s only a snapshot in time and the body’s metabolic state is constantly changing like you’re thyroid hormone can be different every single minute of the day. When I work with clients and we do testing and do the training that I’ve received, one of the things that we really emphasize is that we don’t treat the test results, we treat the person and that’s because I definitely have had test results come back what I would say clean, like there’s not really anything on them but the person feels terrible and so I’m not going to dismiss the way that the person is feeling just because the test result comes back saying there’s nothing to be found here like it could have just been that snapshot in time when we caught it at a good moment and there was nothing to show but if we would have tested it five minutes later it could look totally different. The reverse of that is that I definitely have had people that I worked with and say, “I feel really good”, and their test results shows some dysfunction but if they’re telling me that they feel good, there’s no point in chasing the test result and having them go through all the stuff if they feel good because again maybe we just caught it in a bad moment on the test results.
0:19:59.9 Ashley James: Absolutely, I was just at my naturopath yesterday and the nurse, the second I walked in takes my pressure and it is amazing. Throughout the day, my blood pressure is absolutely amazing. I just know myself, the second I walk into the naturopath where I had our 4 year old son and he was extra hyper yesterday for some reason so he was just bouncing off the walls and I have my husband with me and he was just a little bit cranky that our son was just bouncing off the walls and so we’re all in one room together with the nurse who’s taking my blood pressure the second I walked in. I’m like, “My blood pressure’s going to be high” like I just know that and it was like 148/97. I was just, “Wait a second, take it again give me a few minutes” because I have a really good blood pressure so the nurse was like, “Ok, I’ll get the doctor to take it”, I’m like, “Good”. She used one of those machines and I was like, “What are you doing? Get your sphygmomanometer and take it yourself, don’t put this machine on me” and sure enough after I had my appointment with my naturopath and then I’m like, “Oh, by the way can you take my blood pressure?”. She was like, “Sure”, whips it out I was 117/78 or something like that, I’m like, “See, my blood pressure is always good, you just gotta give me a minute, let me sit down and recover from the chaos” but that’s just it is, we would take a snapshot of one time we take blood pressure, one time we take a lab, it can be different from 5 minutes from now. Like you said, we don’t want to treat the lab results as though it’s like the 0:21:51.3?? but we need to see the person as a whole. So, you’re looking at how the liver is functioning, understanding that it can go up this lab result isn’t what it is all the time but it can go up and down, thyroid does go up and down, cortisol does go up and down. I’m sure there are some tests that you do like 24 hour urine collection where it’s like an average of 24 hours or taking samples of saliva throughout the day for the whole day cortisol snapshot, gives you a better understanding of what’s going on but you’re really looking at the symptoms. Can you maybe dive in to a bit about listening to the body, listening to the symptoms and how it paints a picture for you so when someone comes to you and gives you a set of symptoms, you go “Aha! It might be this, or it might be that”, can you talk a bit about those kind of symptoms that you commonly see and what they mean.
0:22:48.6 Jenn Malecha: Yeah, so let’s just first define the fact that symptoms are the last thing to show up in a dysfunctional state. When we’re experiencing symptoms, there’s already been some type of dysfunction that’s been going on underneath the hood of your car and your body basically for a period of time and we kind of touch on this earlier when were talking about my skin cancer story is that my body had been giving me signs, the allergies, the fatigue that I was experiencing, the stuff like not being able to manage my weight very well even though I was doing all the right things. These were all symptoms that something was happening and the skin cancer was like my body raising a huge red flag going, “Hey! Like you need to pay attention to the situation that’s happening here because this is not good, you know?” I do remember finding that first, it was like a mole on my leg and really feeling like intuitively it was a foreign thing on my body. I have moles on my body and freckles and things like that and this one I was like, “This feels like it’s not supposed to be here”, it’s like an alien whose landed on my leg and I needed to go get this thing checked out and I think that so often, most of us are ignoring some of the signs because we consider them normal just because they’re common. Symptoms can be very common but that doesn’t mean they’re normal. We need to start looking at like one of the symptoms that we’re experiencing and what does our body trying to tell us as a result of that. There’s a lot of symptoms that we will ignore that we just don’t even know that are symptoms for example like one of the questions that I ask clients on my intake forms is, are you sensitive to bright lights, and most people would not even think about it as a symptom because it’s so normal just to put on sunglasses immediately as you walk out your front door right? We look at symptoms, the tricky thing about symptoms is that they are cross-related to multiple different systems of the body so we can take something like fatigue for example. Fatigue could be related to adrenal dysfunction, it could be related to poor blood sugar regulation, it could be because you’re getting inadequate sleep at night time, it could be because your T3 hormone is low, it could be because you’re liver’s not functioning very well, maybe you’re nutrient deficient because you’re gut is dysfunctional, and so the reality is when it comes to symptoms, we may never know what the root cause is but we can always have a positive effect on it and when one system of the body goes down, all the other systems of the body are going to be soon to follow essentially. Going back to your question Ashley, you asked me, basically, how do you look at a cluster of symptoms to determine what somebody might have, well, my job is not to diagnose people with their condition, my job is to look for healing opportunities in the body because regardless of whatever the condition is, if we go back to the general principles of health and we coach up function or improve function in the body no matter what their symptoms or conditions are, they’re going to start to resolve themselves you know. I find in my own personal journey and with a lot of the clients that I worked with, a diagnosis isn’t really helpful in a lot of cases like I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s as a result of the mold that we eventually found in our home in a later point in time in my story and having that diagnosis didn’t necessarily changed the course for me on what I was going to do to get my body back, like it still involved modifying my diet, my rest, my exercise, stress reaction, some strategic supplements that were supporting my thyroid and some other functions that were going on like it helped. It’s like it helps with 20% but the other 80% is really just dialing in on those general principles of health that we kind of all know to be true but I don’t think that most of us are really paying attention to or prioritizing sometimes in ways that we need to really feel our best.
0:27:06.2 Ashley James: So you have a set of rules for helping people to dial in optimal health, you know, the foundations, the building of the strong foundation of health regardless of what their diagnosis or symptoms are, they follow this set of rules. I’m pretty sure I could guess some of them like to drink enough healthy water everyday, move your body in a way that brings you joy, and get enough of those wonderful nutrients from fruits and vegetables everyday. There are certain things everyone knows to do, whether they’re doing them or not is another thing but that they really do make a difference. I definitely want to dive in to what you teach to build the foundations of health but first, I would like to go back. Are there symptoms that you could tell us that when someone presents with this symptom, this is the test I look for, this is how I help them, do you have sort of a list of symptoms that when someone experiences, it puts a light bulb in your head to go “Ok, we should look over here”.
0:28:15.8 Jenn Malecha: Actually, I don’t because that would be chasing the symptoms versus really understanding what the healing opportunities are within all systems of the body. When a client comes to me, no matter what the condition is or the issues they’re having whether it’s fatigue, or known autoimmune condition my goal in order to truly understand what is going on with the person on a physiological and a functional level, I love to run a group of lab tests to look at the hormones, immune, digestion, detoxification, energy, and nervous system. Let’s get the big picture of what’s going on here because, no matter what is the condition or the symptom that they’re having, again, going back to the concept that every single system in the body is interconnected, that’s a network of systems. If one system is going down, they may be presenting symptoms in one area but that area could be completely disconnected or really far away from whatever the root cause is and a really great example of this is Dr. Tom O’Bryan is somebody that I follow and one of my mentors, and in his book, the Autoimmune Fix, he’s talking about a 4 year old child that had a recurring growth on their eye and they couldn’t figure out what was going on with this. They finally cut gluten out of this child’s diet and the growth never came back and then they tested him to be celiac so that can just be an example of how like the root cause can be removed from where the symptom is actually showing up like you would suspect the recurring growth a tumor in your eye is related to celiac disease. How is the eye related to the gut you know, it’s what a lot of people would be considering. Thyroid is another really great example of this too, if you have poor thyroid function or a sluggish thyroid, well we have to ask a question of why is that happening in the first place? If you go through the physiological process of thyroid where you have your TSH that is released from the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid to produce T4 and T4 has to be converted into T3 and then the majority of that conversion happens in the liver and then the intestinal tract, if you have low T3 we need to be looking at what’s going on in the liver and the intestinal tract also like, why are you not converting T4 to T3 properly or is it you’re actually not making enough T4 from the thyroid and if that’s the case then ask him the question again why is that happening, like, are you not getting the right amount of nutrients or support, is the HPA access not working well? So you can start to see how in order to really understand the whole picture we want to look at all these different systems of the body at the same time to see how they’re all interconnected and where the multiple dysfunctions might be lying and that is where you understand how you really get to heal the body. We can correct cortisol dysfunction if we can boost liver function, if we can get the gut running better and cleaner, then the thyroid issue is going to resolve itself. We don’t want to just go after thyroid, is that making sense?
0:31:40.3 Ashley James: Absolutely! If I have a friend with Hashimoto’s and her nature path finally after years discovered that she had small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and now she’s being treated for that and what you’re saying is that what’s going on in your gut absolutely affects your thyroid and your other hormones.
0:31:59.9 Jenn Malecha: Exactly, and that’s why I have so many people that come to me and say, “I have been working and taking thyroid medication or done some things to support my thyroid but I’m still not feeling better”, it’s because they’re kind of missing some of these other pieces of the puzzle and so I never really chase the symptoms. I’m like, let’s actually look at the whole picture and see what’s going on and where are those areas of opportunity where we can boost function in the overall body which is going to have that same domino effect to help bring the other systems of the body back up and running again.
0:32:30.4 Ashley James: Cool. I want to reword my question because what you were explaining is actually what I want, I want more of that. So, when someone comes to you and they have been experiencing the symptoms for a while and they have a diagnosis like, autoimmune or hashimoto’s or autoimmune of the thyroid or some kind of autoimmune condition or some kind of maybe their hormones are out of balance in some way, regardless of whether they have a diagnosis or not but they come to you and they say, “This is what’s going on with me or this is what my doctor told me I have.” and obviously they’re suffering. Can you give us some examples of ok so someone comes to you with this diagnosis or these set of symptoms and you go, “Aha! We need to look over here.” and it’s just like thinking, “What do you mean the gut has to do with skin health” or “What do you mean the gut has to do with or the liver and the gut has to do with thyroid”, can you just explain a bit about why looking at the body holistically is so important when people come with each of these different conditions and where you want to look to see what’s going on like these different conditions that you end up looking at the health of the liver, or health of the kidneys, or health of the gut in order to help them to resolve something that doesn’t seem like it’s related to the gut, or the liver, and the kidneys.
0:33:55.6 Jenn Malecha: Yeah. First, I’ll say to that is that whatever you’re currently experiencing right now in terms of the health issue did not happen overnight and that is the first thing that I explain to people. We get in a consultation, that’s basically where we start is I just set the preface of the conversation with whatever you’re experiencing currently right now did not happen overnight. It’s an accumulation of things that have happened over a period of your lifetime that have probably just worn down your body and started to degrade some of these systems, like dysfunction started to set in and then we have symptoms that arise ultimately. And so, I will have people go through their health history, I have them go all the way to the point of birth Ashley because, if somebody was a C-section baby or they were not breast fed for example, those could actually be factors that are affecting their current health for them right now in their 30s, 40s, 50s, or however old they are because right from the beginning of their entrance into this lifetime, they were not exposed to the right types of bacteria to help build a healthy microbiome and a healthy immune system and so we usually find clues right there and then throughout their childhood, they’re often becomes more inclusive, like recurring illness, or infections thats happened, or things and then all of a sudden their menstrual cycles were off from the beginning and they have forgotten that all of these things that happened over their timeline or they just haven’t really paid attention to them realizing that they were contributing factors to what’s going on with them today. So, that’s part of my answer to your question because looking at the whole person means looking at that whole life experience to understand what are all the different types of stress that they have encountered in their lifetime and I ask people to redefine what the word stress means to them because we often think that stress is just the mental emotional stress that we encounter when we get in a disagreement with a loved one, or when we have an angry boss, or we get stuck in traffic or something but, stress is anything that places a burden on your body that results in inflammation and leads to dysfunction. It could be to foods that you’re eating that aren’t right for you, poor quality food that your getting, over or under exercising, toxins in your environment, and other types of triggers. Someone comes to me with let’s say they do have a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s. My goal is to understand how they got to that point in the first place because I want to get us some insights on how do we go about reversing it. Again, going through that clear health history from the point of their birth all the way leading up to where they currently are, being able to pick out clues of things like, maybe they had hormone imbalances that set in in adolescence when they started their menstrual cycle and they have indicators for what would be like estrogen dominance which can lead to triggering Hashimoto’s and thyroid imbalances or if they’ve been drinking and bathing in toxic water, the chemicals and water that can bind the thyroid hormone and start to create dysfunction that’s happening in the body and that would also give me some insights that their liver has been overloaded based on their environmental exposures. Talking about their digestion, what do their bowel movements look like, do they have bloating or gas, are they responding to food; could give us insights about what’s going on with gut health. And how do they sleep? You know, there are some key clues that you can get around sleep like if somebody is wired and tired at night time and has trouble falling asleep that usually highly correlates with having a parasite bacteria or yeast overgrowth that’s going on in the gut, if there’s somebody who wakes up recurrently in the middle of the night, usually that window of like maybe 1 to 3 AM that’s an indication of their blood sugar dropping so you have poor blood sugar regulation which probably means that they’re not eating the right diet, like macronutrient breakdown for them to regulate blood sugar or that they have some cortisol dysfunction that set in that’s dysregulating blood sugar as well, or they’re insulin resistive and kind of like putting all the clues of the puzzle together and whatever all the clues of the puzzle are, they always kind of relate back to these foundational tests that I run with every single person to start. Again, so we can look at the hormone, immune, digestion, detoxification, energy, and nervous system all in one swoop and see this big picture of like let’s look through all the systems and then based on that information, I will put together a protocol for them that includes strategic recommendations for diet, rest, exercise, stress reduction, supplementation, and toxin removal, and there’s a reasonable expectation that within 90 days, they should see some really significant improvements in their health. If they’re not seeing the improvements that I would expect them to see or making progress in a way that I would expect them to, that’s where we go back to the drawing board. Let’s dive a little bit deeper, you’re doing all of the right things, you should be seeing x, y, and z results but you’re not getting that, so now let’s consider something like mold in your home or an underlying autoimmune condition that we don’t know that you have or lines or something else that might be deeper that didn’t necessarily show up on one of those foundational lab tests. Regardless of some of those deeper issues that are happening, you still need those foundational lab tests to be supporting those systems of the body because let’s say it is molds, toxicity for example, you still have to support the hormones, liver function, the digestive system, energy, nervous system, immune system in order to be able to recover from mold exposure, right?
0:39:55.1 Ashley James: I love it. I love that you are looking at the body as a whole and that you have these insights. I know about waking up in the middle of the night was blood sugar but, being jittery tired but wired, I did not know the connection to parasites. I’ve had a few really cool interviews about parasites and it always blows my mind how common parasites are. No one wants to talk about it, by the way. My mom, when I was about 11, or 12, it was late 80s early 90s. My mom brought home a book called, ‘Guess What Came to Dinner?’ and I still remember it, my mom put us on a parasite protocol because we got some parasite testing and we had picked up one parasite from Mexico and 2 parasites from owning pets, a cat and dog parasite. Who knows how long we’d had them for. I think it was like one dog parasite one cat parasite. I had a dog when I was like an infant, so the whole family basically had these parasites. I remember doing the whole parasite cleanse. I was just a kid and I was so into it, I thought it was like, “Are you kidding me? We all have worms inside us?”. I grew up, my mom was really into health stuff and doesn’t every family do parasite cleanses and drink fresh smoothies and juices and protein shakes and doesn’t everyone do supplements. I grew up and that was my environment and so I just thought this was totally normal and now coming into the real world going, “This is so not normal!” like, parents don’t talk about parasites with their kids and go on parasite cleanses. Of course, for the majority of people this is news to them, thinking that we need to deworm ourselves. One of my previous guests Dr. Jade Davidson explains and he has a whole protocol of getting rid of parasites, especially for people with lyme disease and his protocol works really well with people with lyme and he says that, back a 100 years ago our great grandparents knew to deworm, that every year we would give these herbs and clays and all that stuff to all of our farm animals and we do it to ourselves too, that it was just a known thing. Since modern medicine has come in, in the last 3 generations we’ve really given up our health and health education over to the pharmaceutical companies and the doctors and the hospitals and we have stopped practicing these daily health habits. It’s been lost, you know? We all moved away from the farm to the city, and with a matter of generations we forgot about midwifery and we forgot about how to take care of ourselves using nature. Now we’re coming back, now we’re turning around going, “Wait a second”. So listening to the body, what other symptoms do you look for to confirm for you that someone might have parasites or yeast overgrowth or candida, what other common symptoms happen?
0:43:28.3 Jenn Malecha: Yes, another thing that’s interesting is that they can correlate with the moon cycles. So, we’re in a new moon right now, today’s the first day of a new moon and so usually the symptoms you’re having would be lower in a new moon stage versus during as we get closer to the full moon if you’re having digestive issues or skin issues or anxiety or sleep issues, you would see those symptoms start to worsen as you get closer to a full moon because the full moon, creates its gravitational pull on the earth and we know this from tide cycles of the ocean during a full moon, the tide tends to be higher, the tide will shift on the earth and that same gravitational pull kind of happens in our body and creates this awakening response in the kidneys, and within parasites and bacteria and yeast. That would be something to look for as I start tracking and seeing if your symptoms are worsening as you get closer to the full moon and as you start to see some relief as the full moon starts to go away we get into a new moon phase. There’s also, skin issues can be a result of parasites and bacteria and yeast overgrowth or they can be connected because whenever you’re experiencing skin issues like rashes or acne like anything that’s coming out of your skin is like an indication that your body is trying to detox, and parasites and bacteria and yeast overgrowth create their own byproduct or waste product internally and they can create a really toxic environment for us. Definitely, variations within your bowel movements, if you vary from being more constipated to having diarrhea, if there’s a potent smell that comes along with that, sometimes you can actually see what we call biofilm in the toilet, it seems like there’s a filmy substance that’s in the toilet because parasites and bacteria and yeast, they produce biofilm, it’s like a protective layer that they produce so they don’t get eliminated. Another thing is teeth grinding, a lot of people don’t know that teeth grinding and tinnitus actually can be indications of parasitic or yeast or bacteria overgrowth as well. These are really common things I see a lot that can be linked to those kind critters that are going on in our gut.
0:45:55.3 Ashley James: Now, one thing is becoming more and more popular is autoimmune disease and one argument is, “Well, we’re better at diagnosing.” People have always had autoimmune disease, we’re just now good at diagnosing it so that’s one argument. Kind of like, autism are those in the spectrum it was like 1 in 10,000 children back when we were kids and now it’s like between 1 in 40 and 1 in 60 depending on boys or girls and so some people say, “Well, we’re just better at diagnosing and better at seeing it.”, is one argument right? We can’t really disprove that but we can definitely gather some evidence to prove or disprove it but ultimately, we know it’s a hypothesis. The other hypothesis is that in the last 30 years, many changes have happened in our environment and even in our food chain that have lead to people developing autoimmune, so autoimmune is primarily a man-caused illness that if we were all living peacefully in the jungle eating fresh fruits and vegetables and we had no chemicals, we didn’t have any pollution, that no one would have autoimmune condition or that it would be incredibly rare. So, this one idea that in the last 30 years it has exacerbated greatly because we are exposed to so many toxins and the body just can’t handle it right? It’s showing up as the weak point in that person’s genetics. What is your is your belief in huge increase that we’re seeing in autoimmune? What do you think contributes to triggering it in people?
0:47:46.7 Jenn Malecha: I wanna think that the environment is 80% of any disease where currently known, autommunity, cardiovascular disease, like whatever is going on, environmental plays a bigger role that I think most people are willing to or want to even acknowledge. And we know this because there are still places around the world we call them blue zones where the diseases are virtually non-existence and people were living well into their nineties and their hundreds disease-free and a colleague of mine Jason Proll just did a whole documentary about this called the Human Longevity project and they went out and they researched and met with these people that lived in this blue zone to figure out what are the things they are doing like what makes it different for them and environment is the biggest part and you know just how they live their lives and the fact that they do live in these areas is where toxins and modern society is barely present in their environment, I think that’s a huge factor. When we look at something like autoimmune conditions, there are rules that says that 3 things have to be in place, this one that you have to have a genetic predisposition to it but, we are not a result of our genes. Our environment is what turns our genes on or off essentially. So, you have to have this genetic predisposition to it. Second is that you have to have basically a degree of leaky gut going on. And leaky gut really means that you have a dysfunctional intestinal tract where toxins are crossing the gut barrier getting into the bloodstream that aren’t supposed to which then is triggering the inflammation in the body and the immune system and autoimmunity really shows itself when the immune system has become so overwhelmed with so much inflammation that it no longer is able to differentiate who are the good guys and who are the bad guys and it starts attacking healthy tissue as well. The third piece of autoimmunity then are these triggers for inflammation and there are some specific triggers that then can be related to certain autoimmune condition. With Hashimoto’s for example, we’ve found that epstein barr or also known as mono like UBV is a trigger for Hashimoto’s as well as certain parasites and bacteria like H pylori bacteria, blastocystis hominis as a parasite, those have been strongly correlated with Hashimoto’s cases. On the stool sample tests that I run with all my clients, there’s actually a section for autoimmune trigger types of bacteria and parasites, we got other things like klebsiella for example, which is a common one that we can find amongst a lot of people. Gluten is a trigger for some autoimmune conditions obviously celiac but also crosses over to Hashimoto’s as well and then there are certain toxins in our environment. If we look at this factor of like what you are saying, I love that you’re bringing these 2 hypothesis to light because, yes, we are better at diagnosing I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and when I was looking at family history, both of my grandmothers were being treated for thyroid disorder but they hadn’t necessarily been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. Now, knowing that I’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, they’re long passed but I could probably make a really good assumption saying they probably had Hashimoto’s too just probably didn’t know how to diagnose it then. There’s studies and surveys that have been done with the traditional medical world with doctors coming out of school to ask them, how comfortable do they feel with diagnosing autoimmune conditions, and the reality is it that they don’t really feel comfortable about it and so do you think it’s been underdiagnosed for a long period of time but that means that we actually could have higher populations of people in the previous generations that had autoimmune conditions and we would have to ask why would they have these autoimmune conditions and then we’ll start to look at environment again. So, they kind of really interplay with each other, I think, and the environment is a huge factor and that’s what we have to be more conscious of because I know it for myself, reversing my Hashimoto’s, the way that I was able to do that was by changing my environment and changing my lifestyle. Just because you’ve been diagnosed with something doesn’t mean that your doomed to live that way or have that forever. I will always have to be aware of this risk factor that I have but I don’t have to live a life suffering with Hashimoto’s because we do have that ability to change our environment and our lifestyle and reverse the effects of it essentially.
0:52:40.1 Ashley James: I’m glad you brought that up because some people especially some doctors will tell their patients that you have an autoimmune condition, you’re going to have it for the rest of your life. If I had stuck with MDs they would have kept me on metformin and kept me in diabetes. Luckily, especially if any MDs is listening to the show which are about 20% of my listeners are holistic health professionals, so I have had MDs write me and say, “Hey, I’m not one of the bad guys”, I’m not trying to bash them but it’s just if we take all of them, there’s a majority that will give their patient metformin or give their patient insulin if it’s called for and tell them ok, “Follow the American Diabetes Association diet” and we’re going to manage your diabetes. I’m talking about type 2 obviously type 1 is a totally different concept but type 2 being that the body can still produce its own insulin and the blood sugar is out of control it’s not in healthy ranges and the body is able to produce insulin, so type 2 diabetes. So going to see “traditional pharmaceutical allopathic based medicine”, you go to see that MD, they put you on drugs to “manage” as in we’re not curing you, we’re not going to reverse it, you will always have diabetes, we’re just going to try to manage it. So a lot of people that have an autoimmune condition get the same treatment, get the same spiel that we’re going to put you on these drugs, we’ll test you every few years but there’s no talk of let’s reverse it, let’s cure it, let’s no longer have it, no you have it and you will always have it. Maybe you’re body will spontaneously go into remission but you will always have it. That’s one philosophy right, and then we’ll have to pull ourselves out of that box, pull ourselves out of that man-made philosophy, man-made confinement, and pull ourselves out to this new way of thinking where the body has the miraculous ability to heal itself if we give it what it needs and if we stop giving it what it doesn’t need.
0:55:05.3 Jenn Malecha: Exactly.
0:55:07.4 Ashley James: And that diagnosis is man-made. It’s a set of symptoms and the body can correct itself. So, we are not so broken that we’ll always be broken. That’s what the pharmaceutical companies want us to believe but the body has a miraculous ability to heal itself. Let’s not own the diagnosis as though it’s a death sentence or a life sentence or how we are defined or confined, instead, we come out of it. Just take yourself out and go, “Ok, my body has a set of symptoms, something’s going on let’s heal the body and it’s reversible”, now if I went and decided to eat junk food everyday, if I went and eat a standard american diet I could recreate diabetes in my body, that’s just how my genetics expressed when I fill it full of junk right? And so, I know that about myself and someone like you, you could recreate autoimmune condition or the skin condition, you could recreate that, you could give your body a set of circumstances, like McDonald’s and Starbucks everyday and figure out how to recreate that disease. It’s kind of empowering, once we realize that the choices we’ve been making 50 times a day, everything we put in our mouths and how we choose to manage our stress, or not manage our stress, and whether we’re moving our body in the way that it brings us joy or not, but every single choice that we’re making everyday has built up and led us to the disease state we’re in and that we can shift that, like you said 80% is the environment we can shift it and help the body gain health. Coming all the way back to birth, can you elaborate why even knowing you’re a C-section or whether you’ve been birth vaginally and whether you were breastfed or not, why that can play a factor in someone’s health now 30 or 50 years later?
0:57:11.7 Jenn Malecha: So when we are a natural birth we go through the vaginal canal and at that point, you are exposed to all of the bacteria within the vaginal canal and that bacteria is what helps to stimulate your own micro biome growth and helps to stimulate the strength of your immune system. So, if you’re a C-section baby or if you have C-section children, you’re missing out on this once in a lifetime opportunity. We’re not going back up and down on that vaginal canal ever in our lifetime right? There is a practice out there, obviously C-section has to happen sometimes because of medical concerns or if the mom or the baby’s life is at risk and things like that, and there are some doctors out there who are practitioners of something that you should request if you ever get yourself in a position of having a C-section baby is that they can still sweep the vaginal canal and smear? some of that bacteria over the baby’s face and the mouth and eyes so they get some of that exposure and that can be very helpful. When it comes to breastfeeding, there’s colostrum. The mother produces colostrum, there’s also bacteria that’s coming from the mother’s body that’s again helping to boost the immune system and helping to build the microbiome and so, if we don’t get exposed to that from a young age then we’re basically missing some of the building blocks that are really critical to the future of our health. And aside from that, when breastfeeding doesn’t take place then what are we supplementing with? We’re supplementing with formula which tends to be really high in sugar and that is then disrupting or causing inflammation within the intestinal tract and also tends to be milk-based. So milk that’s produced by cows or somewhere else and that is not our natural form of food for humans. It’s not exactly replicable, formulas not a great replacement necessarily but it’s the only thing that we really know about or know what to do if right now, right? There are places out there where women donate their breast milk, and you can go get that. You know I’ve had friends of my own, I don’t have any children but I’ve had friends of my own where they were in a situation where they weren’t able to breastfeed. It just wasn’t working, you know, for various reasons and they were a little bit reluctant to go utilise some of these places where you can purchase breast milk because it is a hit to your ego and your pride a little bit, I understand that. I hope for some of the listeners out there that are listening to this, know that if you’re the one who set your child up for the best success with their health, that should be something that you might want to consider as a replacement instead of going straight to formula. We can get down the rabbit hole of the push on formula in the food industry, but ultimately we need to be like you said, every choice that you make or every action you take is an opportunity to make a choice for your health or your child’s health if you’re raising a child, every time you sit down to eat, you would have a choice to make. You can eat something that either support your body and builds it up or breaks it down. When we go out to exercise, or when we look at our sleep, or the other choices that we’re making in life, every single action is an opportunity to make a choice on how you’re going to support your body, to either build up health or break it down essentially.
1:00:48.0 Ashley James: Yes, absolutely. Our son, when he was born just over 4 years ago I could not produce enough breast milk and I did everything, I drank the teas, and the tinctures, the cookies, and all those little things that the midwives and doulas and my naturopath all recommended and I did everything I could and I still wasn’t producing enough. The first rule is baby gets fed and that’s when I was introduced to Human Milk for Human Babies which is a project where women, wherever you are look for Human Milk for Human Babies’ Facebook group in your area and if you have milk to donate go to Human Milk for Human Babies and find the local Facebook group and so there’s women who are donating. So I connected with women who say I eat organic, I’m not on any medications, I eat organic, I do not drink alcohol, I don’t drink coffee, my baby is this old, and I have this many ounces to donate. We went around for the first 6 months of our son’s life and supplemented the majority of his milk. I’d give as much as I could and then we drove around and we would drive sometimes an hour away, even this one woman who was a client of one of our naturopaths who had flown to the east coast and she has a huge surplus, she shipped it frozen, she shipped it overnight to us. Now that was like a month’s supply, like a huge cooler, a month’s supply of breast milk. It can be done, it absolutely can be done and it was a great adventure and actually made some friends that are still friends to this day. It can be a great support network to connect into and if I do have another child and I have a surplus, I would be so excited to donate it but it’s very interesting that we can see the correlation between whether someone was breastfed, whether they were birth vaginally and their health to this day, and so we know that if someone wasn’t, that we need to do extra support for the microbiome of their gut and that does play a role in their health. The last 2 weeks I love doing experiments on myself. I’m always shifting my diet. I’m always playing around with what does my body needs? I figured that you would just be playing with your diet and I think the listener would benefit from this kind of mentality where it’s like be fluid and be willing to experiment, be willing to do these little elimination diets with yourself. You know what, I’m going to do an experiment for the next 2 weeks, I’m not going to have any dairy, or I’m not going to have any grains just to experience what does your body feel like away from those foods. And so, I decided to cut out, I’ve been gluten-free for 8 years so I don’t eat barley wheat oats but I decided to go flour free and I’ve been sugar free for the most part but you know like occasionally would have something with some kind of natural sweetener but I decided to go 100% sugar free, I’m already dairy free, and flour free, and focus my foods on whole food plant-based. So it’s like a very anti-inflammatory diet. I wake up with so much more energy now and I don’t feel like I cut out that much, I just decided my plate is full of vegetables and whole grains, so like either brown rice or sweet potato and just tons of vegetables and some legumes and that’s it, that’s like my breakfast, lunch, dinner for the last 2 weeks and I’m really impressed by how good I feel. So there’s been a few times where I was out or I was at a friends house and I could have eaten sort of off my plan that I’ve created for myself and I sat there and I thought, “You know, I could have that.” like whatever the food was, that was delicious. I could have that gluten-free vegan cupcake at the birthday party last weekend, but I didn’t because I thought, you know what, I feel so good right now and I just know that I won’t feel as good after I eat that very pro-inflammatory food. And so we have to ask ourselves, do I want the 5 minutes of joy that eating this McDonalds, I always use McDonalds as an example but, I’m going to get a letter from them one day, and just whatever that food is you know that is pro-inflammatory to you, is 5 minutes of joy really worth a 3 days of inflammation and maybe just feeling off and feeling kind of sluggish, is it really worth it? And ultimately, it wasn’t for me. I am just feeling even better and even better everyday noticing that the inflammation that was caused by flour products and those grains that its dropping of my body and I’m feeling better and better. It’s a cool little mind trick. Once we’re eating really clean it’s like, it’s not worth it to go back and eat the foods that are harming us because 5 minutes of pleasure and that 5 minutes of dopamine spike is not really worth 3 days of pain.
1:06:21.9 Jenn Malecha: Right, right. Yeah, I love this concept. I mean, this is something that I talk with my clients all the time about is play this game with yourself, create presents by every time you’re faced with food choices, like ask yourself is it worth it, because most people are just moving through life on autopilot, we were talking a little bit earlier about, have you ever had that experience of driving home from work and all of a sudden you are in your driveway and you don’t really remember how you got there because you are on autopilot. It’s like a routine of what you do every single day and most times that’s how we’re moving through life as well, we’re not paying attention to how this food or how does this experience or how does this action really make me feel, and then questioning like is this worth it and I know that was a shift to that I made in the beginning also, when I started to move towards a gluten, dairy, sugar, soy free type of lifestyle which is starting to make that connection that when I eat this I feel this way, and is that how I want to be feeling. After I’ve been gluten-free for some time we went to Thailand in 2017 and we’re in Chiang Mai and I remember there was a local dish there sounded so amazing and I decided to try it knowing that it had gluten in it, I shared it with my friends and I didn’t feel great afterwards. I had brain fog, my stomach was a little bit upset, and my joints were a little tender and so I remember just consciously going through this process of is this the way that I want to experience the rest of my trip, because this is like day 2 when we arrived there. I want to have energy, I want to remember and be clear minded, like all the beautiful sights that are to be seen here, I flew 36 hours from California to Thailand, I don’t want to mess this up you know. And I think that that’s just how we want to start living our life more on a day to day basis is really just creating that presence and recognizing like tuning in to our body and seeing how it responds to the things that we’re doing. And also this point that you brought up too, is that things can shift. One of the reasons that I kind of play around with my diet from time to time is because our body is always shifting. When I was in the midst of healing Hashimoto’s I had tried to start and get into a little bit of intermittent fasting and more of a Keto style diet and I instantly realized that my body was not responding well to that and I healed the Hashimoto’s and now I primarily eat more of like a keto style diet and it totally works for me because I’ve resolved the underlying hormone imbalances that were going on or another great example of that is eating seasonally, you know, you’re in southern california in the US, you know it’s summertime and so the hotter weather like I’m finding my body craving blueberries or we walked by a peach tree the other day and I was like salivating looking at these peaches. And I was like, you know what, this is my body, we’re meant to eat seasonally, we’re not meant to be forced into this structured diet 100% of the time, I don’t believe that. If we look at our ancestors and even indiginous tribes that are around our modern day society now, they eat seasonally based upon what is available. They have great food orientation in their diet and that’s something that we should be considering too as well and you might find that some foods are problematic for you right now, you cut it out for a little bit and then you may be able to reintroduce them and have no problem with them you know. And it’s all about the overall load on your body and sometimes we just need to stop adding fuel to the inflammatory fire and allow our body to heal and then we’re able to tolerate things much better afterwards.
1:10:21.5 Ashley James: I’d love to dive in to what you teach your clients. Overall, what’s the foundations of health that no matter what condition they have really benefits, so benefits a 100% of the population to make sure that their doing.
1:10:40.1 Jenn Malecha: So the first thing is figuring out what foods your body needs to eat to function at its potential and I’m not biased towards any type of diet. I really believe that you are unique and therefore your diet should be too. There is a difference between eating healthy and eating right for your body. Eating right for your body will incorporate healthy foods but not every healthy food is right for your body. You just gave a great example of yourself, that you’re gluten free and all these things but maybe like, even the gluten free flours were “healthy”, they were not doing you a good service at this point in time in your life. A banana, banana will obviously be considered as a healthy food but if you have blood sugar regulation issues or insulin resistant going on, that’s not a healthy food for you right now. And so, and what they try to walk people through in exploratory process like we use food sensitivity testing, looking at their digestive system, as well as metabolic typing to kind of find those pieces of the puzzle to figure out what kind of foods are right for your body then they go through this journaling experience to really dial that and see how their body is reacting to certain foods so that they create a connection with their body, an intuitive connection so that, they will know how this knowledge moving forward about what foods are right for their body and that’s something like you’ll always have, that’s priceless. And then, really that might have huge emphasis is on sleep, because I say all the time like your diet and exercise efforts are worth nothing if you aren’t sleeping well and aside from sleeping well, good quality sleep during the right periods of time of the day. I’m sure you’ve talked about circadian rhythms and cortisol rhythms here on your show before and our body has this natural rhythm to it that is in alignment with the sun and the moon cycles. And so, there are certain times, really critical times that we should be sleeping and generally speaking, that’s from about 10PM to at least 2AM and then in extended 8 hours would be 10PM to 6AM or so. Once the sun sets and temperature decreases and light decreases, our bodies are already starting to shift into this creative like we’re supposed to preparing for sleep and based on this time clock that we’re on certain critical functions are supposed to just happen in certain times. A couple of hours after the sun sets your body will start releasing human growth hormone and the liver’s supposed to its big huge detoxification process around like, 2AM in the middle of the night. If you’re not sleeping during those times those functions will not be happening or they won’t be happening to the extent that they should be and your missing out on these natural healing opportunities that happen all the time and no matter how much you sleep in the next day, your body will never make up for those lost times. So that’s why a lot of people can like, they go to bed at midnight or 1 and yes, they sleep until 8 or 9 or 10 o’clock the next day but they still feel groggy, it’s because they missed out on that critical sleep time from 10 to 2 and they missed out on those critical functions that their body is supposed to be doing at that time of night. A really good visual for this is people can Google the Chinese medicine like body clock or time clock, and in Chinese medicine, they have it all mapped out. There are certain hours at certain times a day, like your body is supposed to be doing these things. So if you’re not sleeping during those hours, you’re missing out on those incredibly important functions.
1:14:30.6 Ashley James: And how important is timing around eating because if someone’s still digesting their food at 2 in the morning because they have a late night snack, or they ate right before bed, how much does that disrupt the big liver healing that happens at 2 in the morning?
1:14:48.4 Jenn Malecha: It can be different for every person. Especially if somebody’s got some more severe blood sugar imbalances that are going on, some of those people actually really benefit from eating a high protein or fat containing snack right before bed within a 30 minute window before bed because it helps to balance their blood sugar in the middle of the night versus other people won’t do as well with that. So I think that’s just on an individual basis to really figure those things out and what might work for you to resolve that issue like when I have somebody eats a high fat or a high protein snack before bed to balance their blood sugar in the middle of the night. Once we get it balanced, they eventually don’t need that anymore and usually that comes from resolving what their eating throughout the rest of the day. Making sure they have balanced meals throughout the rest of the day but I do believe that and I found this to be successful in most people, we do need to give our bodies a break from digesting which is kind of where the whole philosophy around intermittent fasting comes into play or like just having an eating window of like 11AM to maybe 7PM so that you can give your body a break. There’s a lot of healing benefit that occurs like cell autophagy and things that can happen when we’re not digesting all of the time. That’s for some of the lab testing that really helps like I can see on a DUTCH test if their cortisol or other things are super dysfunctional then fasting isn’t right for somebody in order to balance things out at this point in time once we get them in a better place and they can implement some intermittent fasting or specific eating windows that are right for them.
1:16:33.8 Ashley James: Absolutely, that’s where the individuality comes into play. If someone doesn’t have a blood sugar imbalance and they might benefit from intermittent fasting or experimenting, I love experimenting, it’s like “try it.” I turned to my husband a few weeks ago and I said, “Let’s try finishing dinner by 6PM and then just seeing how long we last until we break the fast. It might be 2PM the next day, who knows? Let’s just see how we feel.” and I noticed that for me, I have way more energy in the morning when I make sure that the last food that gets put in my mouth is at 6PM and that’s just maybe drinking some water, some herbal tea, obviously caffeine free, you know herbal tea in the evening and then, going to sleep at a reasonable hour between 9 and 10. The next morning I have way more energy and I feel so much better than if I had eaten at 8PM because sometimes, you know, I just get into the routine of feeding our kid and then doing the bedtime routine with him, getting him to sleep and then I get to cook dinner for myself. Just that little change of eating with my son versus eat after he’s gone to bed has hugely given me way more energy, I mean, the more energy that I could ever get from 4 espresso shots. I’m just so impressed by how much energy that one tweak. So, be willing to tweak and try things but try it long enough, try it for enough days to go, “Yeah, this really does make a difference”, and then also the next experiment which I’m working on is what’s optimal for my body right now to break the fast, is it first thing in the morning, is it later in the afternoon, because it’s really different for everyone. Because sometimes for some people, if we wait too long and we break the fast at 2PM then, they end up being so hungry by 7 or 8 PM and they don’t have the willpower to say, “Ok, I’m sticking to this.”, and so then they end up pushing their feeding window to be too late and they go to bed with a full stomach. So, we have to play around with it. I love the idea of let’s experiment on ourselves and track our progress and see how we feel.
1:19:01.6 Jenn Malecha: I was going to add to that too. Recognizing we have different energy needs on different days. If you have a 12-hour work day, you know, that may not be an ideal day to go on an extended fast. Being a little bit flexible, I think also in recognizing what are the demands being placed on your body and making sure that you’re supporting whatever those demands are at the same time.
1:19:23.6 Ashley James: Stress is something that you’ve talked about that I think especially as women, I mean, I’m a woman so I don’t know what it’s like to be in a man’s body. Based on the observations of my husband I am sure that men also equally do not deal with stress. But, I could speak as a woman, I know that we culturally do not deal with stress that we really would rather put ourselves through the ringer, put ourselves last, drag ourselves through the mud. I had a client once, I gave her the best diet plan based on her needs and the supplements and the lifestyle changes and we worked on everything and she seems to be getting some results but she hit a wall, and I kept coming back to her stress and she said, “I don’t feel stressed”, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, thank you for saying that. Stress is not an emotion that you feel.”, when you actually feel stress as an emotion, you are at your breaking point. When it’s an actual sensation that you’re feeling like feeling your blood pressure, in your neck, in your head, you are way at the breaking point. So you don’t feel stressed, you’re just doing things that cause stress on the body by not managing it. She had a mother who was sick, she had a young child at home, and she was a very busy manager. So she has constant demands on her at work, with her mother who was ill, and her young child and there was not one break. I gave her all these things that she could do throughout the day to manage her stress that because it didn’t seem important. It wasn’t like, and I get it because it doesn’t seem not important, like why is laughing and hugging and social time and relaxing, that stuff doesn’t seem important, what seems important is working at your job 12 hours a day and then taking care of your kids and then taking care of husband and then just putting ourselves last. But all of that, the lifestyle of not managing stress exacerbates disease and causes the body not be able to heal. Could you talk a bit about your observation with stress and its relationship to disease?
1:21:43.7 Jenn Malecha: Yeah, I talked about in the beginning too just the concept of let’s redefine stress. Stress is anything that places a burden on the body that results in inflammation and dysfunction. We’re talking here about mental emotional stress, but there is also a ton of other things that can stress the body for example, travelling across different time zones if you’re a traveller. That places a stress on the body and disrupts your natural circadian rhythm that we’re talking about earlier or toxins in your environment or mold like we’re talking about earlier, those all place a stress like a burden on the body that then results in inflammation and that dysfunction. The mental emotional side of stress is so fascinating because I love this example of the woman that you were just speaking of is I find this too with clients. The mindset that we’ve developed in our modern day society and I remember watching the presidential elections that we had here in the US, when was it 2016 with Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump running against each other and then there was a point where Hilary Clinton got really sick and she just kept and she just kept plowing through and what am I thinking in my mind is, “This is just a terrible example for women.”, a powerful woman I think would take a sit back and say I need to take a break and recuperate and take care of myself because what good are we with a person if she would have had won the presidency like what good are we with somebody who’s going to be chronically ill because they’re not really willing to prioritize themselves and take a break from the amount of stress that they’re experiencing. I often have clients because I tend to work with really Type A personalities who have climb their corporate career ladders from a young age and they sacrifice their health as a result of doing so, like they have this defense mechanism built in on those, I would call it as like, they just put their head down and keep plowing through and they never really stop to acknowledge how stress is affecting their body and then they come to us with all of these health issues and again like you said, are doing all the diet things, all the other things but the health issues aren’t fully resolving themselves and finding if we can correlate, let’s start journaling this and writing this down and we can notice, “oh you had a super long day at work” and then we’re working on a huge project and all of a sudden you’re exploited with some symptoms or you’re travelling and then you’re exploited with some symptoms and we can start to connect connect the dots. And it’s not even lack of wanting, it’s kind of like an ingrained ignorance because they just don’t know any better because of the mindset that we’ve developed in our society to even be able to acknowledge the fact that what they’re doing in their lives is contributing to their health like the fact that they’re not acknowledging stress or that again, going back to this concept of just because it’s common doesn’t mean that it’s a normal scenario. I’ve had conversations with clients before where they’re doing all the things like we need to start looking at the fact that like you know, it’s your job, have you considered getting a new job because it’s what’s killing you and that’s where I infuse them of that transformational work and the coaching that I do with clients because it’s not uncommon for a lot of my clients to either end up changing career paths or moving out of their city or their homes because we start to recognize that those are some of the biggest burdens of stress that is depleting their body and making them feel unwell.
1:25:34.9 Ashley James: Can you elaborate on certain conditions that you’ve seen that stress has caused or exacerbated.
1:25:42.2 Jenn Malecha: I keep going back to Hashimoto’s because it’s so close to home but that is certainly one of them. When we look at the energetic aspects of autoimmunity, it manifests a lot of times and correlates with feeling attacked our personal lives in some kind of way. Especially for women and we see that women are like, I can’t remember exactly what the statistics are but, so much more likely to develop an autoimmune condition over men and to be diagnosed with the thyroid imbalance as well. A lot of these comes from like, if we look at the energetic aspects like the thyroid is related to our throat chakra, and the throat chakra is all about communication, like the communication center so when we’re not standing up for ourselves and setting boundaries and speaking our truth and owning our self- worth, we are stopping all of this energy and creating a road block. It can then manifest itself into a disease state essentially or we’re kind of evolving out of this time like a more masculine air into a more feminine presence now, spiritually speaking in the world and so many women have tried to keep up in a man’s world where they don’t call out sick, they don’t stay at home with their kids to take care of them, they shove their emotions to the side, I mean I remember working in the corporate world and having one of my regional bosses came in and he said, “You’re too emotional for a manager”, talk about like you know stunting my health progression right there or like giving me a nice good kick in the gut or should I say my thyroid and just making me feel really bad about being emotional as a woman and I think now in the world that I work in now like my attunement with my emotions is part of what helps me create success and also is what helps me be such a good advocate and intuitive leader for some of the people that I work with. So in any point in time whenever you’re not fully expressing yourself, you’re creating a blockage of energy that’s happening in the body and so when we’re shoving emotions to the side, not acknowledging stress, it’s gonna fester and it’s gonna manifest itself in some kind of health condition for sure.
1:28:14.2 Ashley James: It’s so individual, it’s so specific to each person’s circumstances, can you give some generic – for everyone kind of advice on how to figure out what is causing stress for them and what kind of steps they can take to de-stress?
1:28:37.9 Jenn Malecha: Yeah. I mean there’s a couple of scientific tools that you could use to evaluate. Like heart rate is one of them, when we are stressed out, our body releases cortisol which acts almost like an adrenaline rush and so your heart rate variability is one way to be able to measure stress or just your heart rate in general. You gave a great example earlier talking about your blood pressure also, right, so what you were having a psychological response like a stress of your kid running around, and your husband being there and all these things happening and you knew when you bought into that quiet room with that naturopath that if she took your blood pressure again it would look better so the physiological responses – anxiety, I think would be another one as well to look at like that’s something that lets you know – communication of stress and just feeling wound up when were round around the axle or when we are shooting all over ourselves, I should have done this, I should have done that or I should be doing this, you know we’re being self critical that can be another indication of just being really stressed out or trying to control a situation and that oversensitive control is stressful in itself. The list can go on, there is an emotional aspect that even so people recognizing they are stressed out and then they tend to eat as a result of that, often we have clients kind of assess that when they see that they feel they need a snack or that they’re hungry all the time. We are working on improving their diet, and they’re doing a lot of the right things but they still have a sense of being hungry all the time or they need a snack then I asked them to stop and shift “I want you to stop in the moment when you feel that way, check in with yourself and ask yourself, what is really going on” and check in and see if there is an urge of boredom or reaction to stress in some kind of way or scarcity or a fear, what is the emotion that is coming up and then implement an activity that shift whatever that is that’s happening. So we will define some things that they can do, like go outside or do some deep breathing techniques or something like that. Those usually resolve the problem once they shift that mindset and get out of that stressed state. In terms of things that you can do, deep breathing hands-down is the single most effective and easiest thing that anybody can do to take themselves out of a stressed state into a rest or digest and healing state. So one of the things that I want to drop for your people here Ashley is like, your body can only heal in a relaxed state. If you think about how many times a day you are actually in a relaxed state, it’s very infrequent. When we adopt the deep rhythmic breathing patterns of a relaxed person, it automatically flips the switch in our brain, it takes us out of sympathetic fight or flight mode and puts us into parasympathetic mode. I’ll usually have people do a deep breathing technique or inhale for 5 seconds then hold it for 5 seconds and then exhale for 7 and they just do that 5 to 10 times. It doesn’t require learning how to meditate or any devices or other tools, it’s something that’s accessible to you all of the time. I have clients do this right before they sit down to eat so they can get in the parasympathetic mode because you can actually only really digest your food when we’re in parasympathetic mode so that’s called the rest and digest state basically versus the fight or flight state. I’ve had clients use this breathing technique when they’re feeling anxious about getting onto a plane, when they’re in a meeting and they feel themselves getting worked up, nobody can tell that you’re sitting there doing deep breathing you can be sitting in a room with 20 people on the spotlight, in a board meeting and be doing deep breathing and nobody knows the difference. Otherwise, there’s some really great tools out there people want somewhere like biofeedback stuff, something like Heartmath is a great tool you can use, one of my clients was just telling me she’s been using something called A Muse that helps you with your meditation state and it can identify when you get your brain starts to wander so it kind of pulls you back in. Meditation is another way that we get into that relaxed state as well. So there’s a ton of tools out there, different fitbits and Apple iWatches, all of these technology tools that we have are starting to incorporate more of these stuff in there as well like a mindfulness tool that helps you just take a moment to breathe and relax and calm down a little bit.
1:33:47.9 Ashley James: Got it, I like the free one, just breathe. Taking that time to do that slow deep breathing is great. Thank you so much, there’s so many nuggets of gold in what you’ve shared today. What kind of homework would you like to give our listeners? What kind of changes would you like to help them make in their life? Can you give them an assignment so they can go and do it and make some really positive changes.
1:33:47.9 Jenn Malecha: Yeah, well, since we’re talking about deep breathing and I just said it, I think that the deep breathing before you eat is huge because you could be eating the healthiest food in the world but if you’re not digesting it very well, you’re not getting much out of it you know and often times in our fast paced life, we’re constantly eating on-the-go or eating with distraction and so simple doing this 5 5 7 breath like I said 5 to 10 times before every meal you’ll probably notice some shifts and the amount of energy that you get out of your food, your ability to digest your food a little bit better and also just feeling satiated and full for longer are usually some of the really few things that people get from that. The other thing we talked about that was so important today was sleep, so for everybody out there, like we said the critical sleep time is be asleep by 10PM or as close to it as possible, most nights out of the week and most nights would probably be like 5 nights out of a week if you could do it every night of the week, awesome but you know I’m a realist there’s going to be Friday night dinners to go to or parties or whatever so there might be those times when you’re up a little bit later but on the majority of your time, get to bed at a reasonable hour and your body will 100% thank you for it, definitely. I think these will be the 2 biggest things that I recommend as homework for people and if I was to add a 3rd it would really be to just be more present every single time you sit down to eat and checking in with yourself like we were talking about earlier, and remember every time you sit down to eat, you have a choice. You can eat something that builds you up or breaks you down and just being present in that moment and making a conscious decision about how it is you want to feel after that meal, or for the rest of the day, or into tomorrow and when we connect with those choices, it makes it so much easier just to naturally choose foods that are right for us versus the ones that aren’t as beneficial for us.
1:36:38.6 Ashley James: And you said sit down to eat, that’s actually part of the homework.
1:36:43.8 Jenn Malecha: That’s part of the homework.
1:36:47.0 Ashley James: I know women who will stand to eat by the kitchen sink, shovel the food in their mouth in between doing the laundry and getting the kids to bed or whatever or drive and eat. It is sit down and take that 5, 10, 15 minutes to eat slowly and to be conscious of that everything we put in our body is feeding our body. You know it’s funny to me that someone will take a prescription medication, the size of a pea, let’s say they take 1 pill a day to manage their blood pressure or manage their blood sugar or manage their thyroid but it is a pill the size of one pea that they take everyday and that tiny little pill the size of a pea has a huge impact on the body. I’m not saying in negative, I’m just saying it has an impact. It can shift your blood pressure, or it can shift your blood sugar, or it can shift your hormones, so this tiny little thing that you put in your mouth once a day or maybe twice a day really impacts your body and we know that. Like if someone takes an Advil for pain, like they know they take this tiny little thing and it has a huge impact on their body, it’s going to shift how they feel and yet we’ve disconnected that everything else we put in our food has an impact on how we feel, there’s a disconnect. So like people are eating the standard American diet right and not getting that huge plate of food can, way bigger than any of those pills they take, has even more impact on the body than that 1 little pill does. Everything that we put in our mouth throughout the day is like a medication. If we think about that, is it a medication that, it has side effects right, so fried foods for example has absolutely studies of proof and will take 10 years off of our life. If we eat fried food everyday, it will take 10 years off your life and cause heart disease and increase the chances of cancer. It’s been proven and studied enough that these foods that are readily available to us have side effects. If we would look at everything that we put in our mouth, like either this is a healing food, or this is a harmful food just like medications. We’re really careful about the medications we choose to be on or not choose to be on based on their effects or side effects. If we take that approach with our food, that everything we put into our mouth is healing or harmful. And another thing that I’ve had a struggle with, I’ve been doing a lot of emotional healing for years around food and that food is something for pleasure like ice cream or chocolate bars or whatever and it’s like catching myself going, “Wait a second, am I missing so much joy in my life that I need to get a dopamine high from the food?”, and I really have to catch myself and go, “Okay, when I wanted that twinky or when I want that ice cream”, even a celebratory ice cream with my kid, it’s like ok and even if it’s vegan and all that stuff. It’s still looking to food for dopamine, I’m putting it in my mouth and it’s what are the effects over the next few days on my health versus how can I increase joy and dopamine and excitement and love, how can I increase that amount of happiness in my life and not have it come from foods. We do live in the real world, we do go to birthday parties there’s always birthday cake, I get that. That’s one thing that people can choose to participate in or not participate but, I did find myself everyday seeking food for pleasure and everyday opening that fridge going, “What am I gonna eat, what am I gonna make for dinner?”, based on wanting more pleasure, and I had to catch myself going, “Ok, I am making food choices that are motivated by this lack of happiness in my life.” and I’m trying to fulfill happiness from food and that ultimately is destroying my health. And you know what? Healthy food, like my salads taste absolutely amazing. I’m sure I’m getting dopamine from my salads now. I can make them taste really good but I know I’m also getting a little bit of a high knowing that everything I’m feeding my body is moving me towards better health. And so for me there is that emotional component, that psychological component, that mindset that comes into play when choosing food and you’ve outlined some really great fun steps that sitting down, being conscious, taking those deep breaths, and you’re asking yourself, “Is this food that is healing for my body or maybe I’m missing something else in life and try to compensate?”. I love your advice around that. I know that you have a free gift for our listeners, I definitely want to make sure. The link to everything that Jenn does is going to be shown on today’s podcast at learntruehealth.com. Your free gift is a 21-day program, I’d love for you to just explain a bit about what it is and the link to it is www.wholistichealthboss.com/truehealth. So what is this wonderful 21-day free program that you’re giving us?
1:42:15.8 Jenn Malecha: So the 21-day free program actually goes through in more detail a lot of the stuff that we talked about today and it’s kind of getting to the roots of why you might be feeling fat, sick, or tired all the time, essentially, and uncovering some of those hidden healing opportunities. Week 1 is actually all about exploring what food is right for your body so they can function at potential, I actually take you through some of the journaling aspects that I mentioned earlier today to really narrow in on how is your body responding to certain foods and then based upon that feedback, you can then go and make adjustments to really figure out the perfect meals for you and the foods that work with your body best. And then week 2 we move in to talking more in-depth about sleep, giving you some more tools to improve the quality of your sleep, shifting your sleep cycles so that you’re just ultimately getting more restful sleep, in general which will support all of the metabolic processes that your body goes through. And then week 3 is where you get to explore some parasites, bacteria, yeast overgrowth opportunities that might be happening so going through some self screenings where you can check and do some home test to pre-screen yourself to see if these are potential issues for you, and then I’m definitely available to answer your questions for you as you go through that process and I love to hear the feedback that people have from it too on what their finding and exploring. And obviously, I’m open to helping people in more depth if they need some more guidance beyond that but, those are probably the 3 big key areas that I focus on with people and when we make those shifts on those areas they’ll start feeling better instantly in just a matter of couple of days or a couple of weeks. There’s just overall improvement in their health and it’s bringing awareness to some things that maybe they didn’t know previously so they can support themselves better moving forward.
1:44:18.6 Ashley James: Awesome, thank you so much for that free gift. The website again is www.wholistichealthboss.com/truehealth and I know that my listeners will love gaining more insight from you. It’s been so great having you on the show today. Is there anything you’d like to say that was left unsaid or anything you like to say to wrap up today’s interview?
1:44:38.5 Jenn Malecha: You know I just want to empower people and leave them with that, I always like to say that I think that you’re kind of in this line of work too, Ashley, we’re in the business of making the impossible possible. We’re here to help people that feel stuck and aren’t getting answers or solutions, so no matter what you’re situation is, just know that there’s probably a solution out there for you and it’s just a matter of finding the right person to work with and sometimes you just have to keep digging and really, the possibilities are endless. I also love to tell people, you only know what you know until you know something different. And I know that even when I’ve done lab testing on myself, like I’m in a really good place right now but every time I get lab test back sometimes, I’m like, “Oh, like I can improve in that area”, like I just got my cortisol and dopamine values back and they’re sitting a little bit low and I was like, “I consider myself a pretty energetic and happy person but what is there like a possibility for like, I can feel even better than this,” you know. So, the possibilities are really endless, and I think that just coming from a place of empowerment, like we’re talking about earlier today that you’re not doomed to the results of a diagnosis or a situation that you’re in, there’s likely a solution that’s out there for you, and to just keep searching and having hope you know.
1:46:07.7 Ashley James: Wonderful, absolutely, yes. There is hope, the body has the miraculous ability to heal itself. We got to give it what it needs, stop putting in what it doesn’t need and that there is absolutely hope. I have even seen a woman who is in wheelchair from MS, was told that she’d never walk again and a month later was walking and pain-free because she shifted her nutrition, her diet, and her lifestyle. Just cause the doctor said you’re going to have something for the rest of your life doesn’t necessarily mean, even if you do, you could optimize, we could always optimize our health and well-being. But it does take time and it takes effort and it takes being a detective and that’s what I love doing what you do. I love what you do because you’re that detective that helps people to go deep and find the root cause and support the body holistically. So wonderful, excellent, thank you so much for coming on the show today and sharing, and of course giving us your free 21-day program as well. It’s been such a pleasure to dive in to this topic with you today.
1:47:15.1 Jenn Malecha: Yeah, thanks for having me and it’s been wonderful to chat with you.
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