Mold toxicity and Mast-Cell Activation syndrome can stem from many different areas of your life. Your environment, lifestyle, and diet can all contribute to how these illnesses present in your body. I’m joined by Dr. Lauryn Lax to talk about her own personal journey through health and how she now helps her patients recover from the same illnesses.
Listen to the Episode
Lifestyle Practices to Recover from Mast-Cell Activation Syndrome
- Ground yourself in the morning
- Active detox
- Love your gut with probiotics
About Dr. Lauren Lax
Dr. Lauryn Lax helps women work with their body, not against it, so they can reach their highest potential. As a Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Functional Medicine Practitioner, and Nutritionist, Dr. Lauryn specializes in gut health optimization, restoring immune and hormonal imbalances, and a non-diet approach to body love and food freedom.
20 years of personal and clinical experience overcoming over 10 chronic conditions that almost killed her and that doctors could not solve including Gut Disorders, Eating Disorders, Autoimmune Conditions, Mold Illness, Lyme Disease, Hormone & Thyroid Imbalances inspires Dr. Lauryn’s work.
Today, she’s made it her life’s mission to help others do the same. Dr. Lauryn’s personal story features on ABC, Good Morning America, CBS, USA Today, and Women’s Health; and she is the author of 8 books. She lives in Austin, Texas where she operates her virtual functional medicine clinic.
How to Handle Food Sensitivities
Dr. Lauryn Lax shares with us her journey from health issues to an eating disorder and back again before she found out the root cause of so many of her problems. Once she identified the root cause, mainly mold toxicity and Mast-Cell Activation Syndrome, she effectively changed her environment and lifestyle to improve her overall health.
A big thing that Lauryn talks about is how food sensitivities show up in our bodies and why it’s not always about the type of food we’re eating but how much of it we’re consuming. Lauryn promotes a food-swap challenge where if, for example, an apple shows up as something you shouldn’t eat on your test, swapping it for a pear. Food sensitivities normally indicate that there is an imbalance in how much of one food you’re eating and when you balance it out, these sensitivities disappear.
Our body’s response to stress will also impact how we tolerate different foods and even how much weight we hold onto. Lauryn explains why it’s vital to control our stress levels when we start to think about losing or gaining weight as this has such a big impact. She believes, as well, that most mainstream and fad diets are actually detrimental to our health in the long-term and that we should focus more on eating a healthy and balanced diet.
Healing from Mold Toxicity
Lauryn also explains the difference between intuitive eating and mindful eating, as so many people think these are the same thing. Intuitive eating is listening to your body and eating what and when it wants. But if you’re not used to this or you’ve conditioned your body to not recognize the signals it gives you, you should focus on mindful eating to repair your natural cues.
This leads Lauryn on to explain how so many of us have actually broken our hunger and full cues from years of disordered eating. This is why it’s so important to reeducate our body with mindful eating. It helps repair these signals, which will eventually allow us to intuitively eat again.
Finally, Lauryn gives us the low-down on how to detect mold sensitivity and Mast-Cell Activation Syndrome in your own life. Plus, she explains how you can change your environment to start healing from this. And, perhaps most importantly, what overall lifestyle changes you should make to truly heal from these diseases.
Have you ever had a food sensitivity test? What food changes will you or did you make based on the results? Let me know in the comments below!
“I think food testing is just a reflection of your gut microbiome status. What your gut bacteria can digest and absorb. For the most part, if you have autoimmunity, something like celiac or gluten cross-sensitivity, it’s a reflection of what’s going on in your gut.” [12:11]
“I think if you’re being intuitive, a really good marker of that is balance. Your body is speaking in variety because that’s what a healthy, balanced body desires.” [22:56]
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and there’s a big, big proponent of how much our environment and our lifestyle, outside of what we eat or even what supplements we take, can impact your health. You can be ‘doing all the right things’ and if you’re still hitting the ceilings in your health, don’t discount the environmental exposures you’re coming into contact with.” [28:16]
In This Episode
- What a food-swap challenge is and how it can improve your gut health [12:45]
- How our stress around food can impact how our body responds to weight gain or loss [18:00]
- Why most types of “diet” are not good for anyone’s body long-term [20:30]
- What the difference between intuitive eating and mindful eating is [21:00]
- Why so many of us disconnect from our hunger/full signals [24:30]
- How mold sensitivity and Mast-Cell Activation Syndrome show up in your body [30:30]
Links & Resources
Dr. Lauryn Lax 0:03
A lot of individuals struggle to really understand what their body's saying, because there's so many confusing signals whether we've been dieting or eating based on a rule book or like the opposite of just eating whatever.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 0:16
Welcome to the longevity blueprint podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Stephanie gray. My number one goal with the show is to help you discover your personalized plan to build your dream health and live a longer, happier, truly healthier life. You're about to hear from Dr. Loren lacs, who has an absolutely incredible story. Today we're going to unravel the gut brain hormone connection and discuss mold and mast cell activation syndrome. Let's get started.
Welcome to another episode of the longevity blueprint podcast. Today I have on the show Dr. Lauren lacs. She helps women work with their bodies, not against them so that they can reach their highest potential and as a doctor of occupational therapy, functional medicine practitioner and a nutritionist. She specializes in gut health optimization, restoring immune and hormone imbalances and a non diet approach to body love and food freedom. Her work is inspired by her 20 years of personal and clinical experience overcoming over 10 chronic conditions that almost killed her and that doctors could not solve including gut disorders, eating disorders, autoimmune conditions, mold illness, Lyme disease hormone and thyroid imbalances. And today she's made it her life's mission to help others do the same. Dr. Lauren's personal story has been featured on ABC Good Morning America, CBS usa today and women's health and She's the author of eight books. She lives in Austin or she operates her virtual functional medicine clinic. Welcome, Dr. lacs.
Dr. Lauryn Lax 1:44
Thank you so much, Dr. Stephanie, for having me on.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 1:47
So excited to be here. Well, today, I want to dive more into the understanding of how a physiological and mental stress can impact our gut in our hormones. And you have quite the journey, which I know a little bit about, but our viewers may not. So you nearly died at age 23 from anorexia and you had 10 chronic illnesses and your post recovery years, including hormone imbalances, as well thyroid disorders and autoimmune condition. So you battled mold and lime, basically everything at this point. So bring us up to speed. Can you tell us symptoms that you were experiencing and what you've been through, of course, the short version, but give us an idea of everything you've been through?
Dr. Lauryn Lax 2:22
Well, it's the best teacher and a big reason why I'm doing what I do today is because my body has been my own living textbook. I was on the path to going to medical school, when I actually woke up in the middle of the night with a feeling like I was having a heart attack the day before the MCAT. And that was actually when I discovered I had mold illness which it was a very severe heart attack. I don't have asthma never had had that. And that's been in the most recent past history, the past two, three years that that actually occurred, and was just like a big tipping point. But yes, prior to that occurring, and just like life path, continuing to say like let experience be your teacher and your guide. I had begun struggling from a very early age with eating disorders anorexia, in particular, it started at about age nine.
And really just as an innocent diet wanting to fit in with the other little girls wanting Eric Arthur to like me wanting the other little girls to be me. And just to be pretty thin and popular. And remember sitting on the playground one day and the topic of weight coming up with the popular queen bee and she's saying, Oh my gosh, you guys, I weighed myself last night and I'm 69 pounds. I'm so fat. And then looking to us. Well, what do you guys weigh? Because of course, we just like said no, no, no, you're not that. So one by one we had to go around that circle and say what we weighed and I was a very healthy 10 year old kid about 80 pounds at the time. And I just remember gulping and lying and saying I don't know and going home that day and standing in the pantry and turning over a Doritos snack pack and learning a new language that I never had known before, which is fat grams and calories at age 10.
My Life Path took a very sharp turn. And just really my preteen years teen years college years were really defined by this gripping eating disorder that took hold of my body and my mind and spent an accumulated four years of my life in treatment centers and hospitals on feeding tubes and heart rate monitors IV fluids. And just like really did every single diet under the sun I really I can definitely relate to all of my clients maybe some of your listeners that have tried and yo yo dieting and I'm not even in the pursuit of being like thin at the end of my eating disorder. It was really more about like a sense of achievement and control. And just really even perfection with my food and kind of running into those holes that I think a lot of those in chronic illness run into as well which is like oh my gosh, sweet potatoes give me bloating and spinach has too many oxalates and Gives me IVs or whatever, like little food beers we can develop even in our pursuit of health. And so that was just really what I struggled with. And then at age 23, I remember stepping on the scale.
One morning, I was living in Nashville, and I stepped on the scale every morning at like nearly 5am. And but seeing a number I had not seen since I was that 10 year old girl and just for the first time being really scared, and just remember thinking like, well, this is my life. And this is like, over my head, because at the time was not trying to lose weight anymore and but it was just like something else was controlling me. And I remember getting in my car, going to the YMCA and praying out loud, God helped me make a change today and a changement maybe 30 minutes less on my Stairmaster or being able to eat one more tablespoon of almond butter. And instead I got out of the my car at the gym, gathering my fitness magazines that I kept in my trunk to read on my Stairmaster and not one but eight other individuals walked up and said good morning Lauren. And these were eight other gym goers I had seen all that past year and they were about my parents age just that's who goes to the gym at that time in the morning and they really just spoke up their hearts so we don't know what's going on but we're worried about you is what they said they had no idea of my past history another one said we want to help and they had actually called Vanderbilt hospital and Nashville and just said we're gonna bring her in and I get no like bullet wounded happen no like really emergent thing and having but they were worried and something in their hearts really had been stirred.
And to this day, I call them my eight YMCA angels because in the CCU cardiac care unit with a heart rate nearly in the 20s and doctors saying that they may need to put a pacemaker in. And it was again the first time in my life that I realized it wasn't my parents telling me to get healthier or doctors saying I needed to change I had one of two choices to live or to die. And so I made it my my goal and my manifestation that I would survive that and I had no idea what life would look like on the other side nor this path that I am on today. I was actually pursuing becoming the next Katie Couric at the time today's show, news journalism and all that, and spent four weeks in the hospital on heartrate monitors and feeding tubes. And then another year actually in treatment in Miami. And it was treatment, typical treatment for eating disorders as Pop Tarts, pizza and Prozac. It's very symptom based, like we may see just in any conventional model that is symptom based, it's like if the girl is not going to eat, we'll just give her the pop tart. And like that's the answer to helping her gain weight. It seems like logical, right. And that was the typical treatment of my past typical treatment going to go into that. But something in me had changed.
And something in me had also really become inspired to find a different way to heal. I still believe and share this with my patients when given the right tools, your body innately wants to heal itself, and it wants to work with you, not against you. And so for so long I had been working against my body and not really trusting my body. And so through that, and just through my belief that there could be something different than the typical treatment model and running back to the eating disorder, when I got out of treatment began to forge a new path. And from that I kind of stumbled into functional medicine, which a lot of folks that forge a new path and health oftentimes do. And functional medicine being about the root cause of illness getting to the root cause versus band aiding symptoms. And the aftermath of my eating disorder. I experienced what I call post recovery recovery. What happens to your body after years of chronic dieting after years of just self neglect or just not self care and you don't have to have an eating disorder to have like stressors really catch up to you.
And your your later life. And I A lot of times will help my clients put together I call it a stress scavenger hunt or health story timeline and to really figure out what are the things that led you to where you are today because it'll help typically does not happen overnight. And so, for me what that resulted in was being diagnosed with several hormone issues, just imbalances in general thyroid conditions, not getting my period, several autoimmune diseases from kaleidos to celiac, type one diabetes, and really a mast cell activation syndrome president's presentation even which was the tipping point within mold. My immune system went haywire. So I was being diagnosed with some different condition. I never had allergies, asthma, migraines, or again more autoimmunity every six to eight weeks over the course of a year. And so a lot of the doctors had no idea what was going on conventionally.
And it was really through experience that I began to understand what was going on. And just in my post recovery years now, I'm just on the back end of healing from mold that would be like I think the iceberg or like the tip of the iceberg. Rather, mold and lime and just kind of discovering that. And that's something that I do find a lot of individuals that have had some sort of trauma in their earlier life, the cards become stacked against you in that way from an immune perspective, if why maybe certain people are more sensitive to those things like mold, or lime, but I've learned so much and really would not change any of it today, because I really feel like I can get into my patients shoes, and see them and hear them and know, because I've walked it. And similarly, we all have our own stories as well. But that's kind of like the story in a nutshell.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 10:35
big story. awesome story. Did you know about the gut brain connection back then? Or when did you discover the gut brain connection?
Dr. Lauryn Lax 10:43
Yeah, the gut brain connection really came on the radar within functional medicine, a thing I talk so much about now with my clients, because it is so apparent that the stress from the brain can really impact our gut microbiome, which then in turn impacts our health because 80% of your immune systems there 95% of your serotonin, your feel good brain chemicals are produced there. 30 plus hormones are produced or synthesized in your gut. So so much of your your health lies in your gut, not just being able to digest food or not. So that's why that brain gut connection is so pertinent to our health, and in a huge factor in many different conditions, regardless of the diagnosis, or the name of that condition.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 11:25
It's so sad, regardless of the condition when many individuals are never asked by their specialist what they're eating, right, many patients come to see me highly medicated, and their doctors never wants to ask them what they're eating to see if how poor their nutrition may be, and that they're actually consuming inflammatory foods that are working against them, right, compromising their body's ability to make that happy neurotransmitter serotonin. I do you see patients with various eating disorders. And when I bring up the concept of food sensitivity testing to them, they sometimes they shut down a bit because they think, Oh, no, now she's going to restrict me even more. And so I don't want to do that test because I don't want to be more restricted. Have you been in those shoes? Or what's what's your response? How do you coach clients who have that, that response to to doing food testing?
Dr. Lauryn Lax 12:10
Well, I think food testing is just a reflection of your gut microbiome status. Really, it's like what your your gut bacteria can digest and absorb. For the most part, if you have autoimmunity, something like a celiac, or gluten cross sensitivity reactions, which still can be very immune in nature, leaky gut and nature, it's still a reflection of what's going on in your gut. But like for a person that is really sensitive to those foods, having them again, it's probably not going to be helpful to them feeling well. But say like apples come up on her food sensitivity test or chicken, or something like that. It's typically more representative of your gut bacteria, his ability to digest the certain food compounds and proteins. And so like just saying it's exploratory, and I absolutely love to do I call it a food swap challenge with my clients first before even diving into testing.
And then just ask them what are the top five foods you eat every day, and it can be anything they don't have to be like going to McDonald's every day, it could be like I eat Kratos every day, a little bit of dark chocolate, and like apples, like I said, etc. And just to list those and then we'll do a food swap challenge where I'm just like, okay, we're gonna swap out the apple for maybe like a pair and a peach this week, and then the chocolate, maybe we'll try some white chocolate and said just to like vary up their diet, and just see if that alone can give them some insight. And maybe sometimes, like when we're eating the same things repetitively, it can be a huge awakening as far as if what we're eating is impacting how we're feeling. And again, from a gut microbiota level, like just maybe we're feeding too much of a certain gut bug with certain foods. And just by like balancing out the biome with variety, a lot of times the body can tolerate things, it's all about the load.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 13:54
Sure, I like that, that you're encouraging food rotation, which is what we should be doing anyways. I often tell patients, if Apple shows up on your food sensitivity test, it's probably not the main priority that we even need to be avoiding in the first place. Right? It's probably just a secondary tertiary reaction, even like sometimes chicken or almonds or something that somebody is eating commonly when that shows up on their food testing. Yes, we should take it out of the diet short term. But usually that's not the primary problem. Usually, we can reintroduce that back in. And I do tell a lot of my patients who are struggling with eating disorders, that doing food testing can actually be encouraging because it can provide us a whole list of foods they can try eating also, right? So they may be worried that everything's going to show up on the test. But many times it's just a few select food families like gluten or dairy or whatnot that are showing up and that can actually give them a list of foods that they can try introducing.
Dr. Lauryn Lax 14:42
Yeah, I always like to encourage the abundance mindset thinking what can I have received and just the language we use with foods instead of like elimination or can't have it like oftentimes called those like not right now foods for like experimenting with something just to like cultivate the way we speak about food or something About our health really can impact the downloads and how we approach health and our food.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 15:08
You might not know this but building a healthy gut or gastrointestinal system is one of the most important things you should be working on to maintain your health and longevity. That's why actually in my book, Your longevity blueprint, I devote the entire first chapter to the gut. I like to compare the gut or gastrointestinal system to the foundation of your home, you have to have a strong gastrointestinal system upon which to build great health. So with that in mind, I want to share a few tips to help you do just that. The first step with improving your gut health is to clean up your diet, removing inflammatory foods, foods you may have sensitivity towards and treating gut infections. Like I mentioned, I get into this in a lot more depth in chapter one of my book. Once you've done that, however, there are also some amazing nutrients that exist to help you heal further.
Two of my favorite your longevity blueprint combination powder products for helping patients heal their guts are called gut shield and gi support. Got shield contains several important ingredients including glutamine and zinc. glutamine is the most important non essential amino acid for gut healing and zinc is a top mineral for gut healing as well. Got shield also contains n acetyl, D glucosamine and aloe vera and acetal D glucosamine is a music precursor that has been shown to increase the production of mucus within the GI tract. This is beneficial in coating the tract and protecting it. That shield also contains diglycerides licorice root extract also known as dgl, a form of licorice root that does not contain glycerin which can raise blood pressure. licorice has been known to treat and heal ulcers it works as a demulcent. to soothe irritated tissue. It's anti spasmodic, anti inflammatory, and anti allergenic.
Aloe Vera has been used throughout history to promote a normal inflammatory response. You may have used it on your cuts, scrapes or burns as a child, studies have shown that aloe vera is also specifically beneficial to the gastric mucosa in part through its ability to balance stomach acid levels and promote healthy mucus production. All these gut healing nutrients are packed into one little scoop of powder that can be added to a beverage of your choice or mixed into a smoothie. I recommend patients consume this consistently for at least three months for gut healing. My second favorite product for gut healing is called gi support a gut healing protein powder containing glutamine as well. The difference here is that gi support is also loaded with natural anti inflammatories like turmeric, it also contains a rabanal galactonite which serve as prebiotic fiber and it contains green tea extract also known as egcg.
A potent antioxidant that further helps to reduce inflammation. It's the Cadillac of God healing powders, because it has protein, the amino acid, glutamine, prebiotics, anti inflammatories, and antioxidants all in one scoop. And yes, it can be combined with gut shield. Consider taking this synergistic blend daily while focusing on cleaner eating. These products aren't needed forever, but they sure help expedite the healing process of your gut lining. Check out more product information on our website and use code heal gut for 10% off either product that's gut shield or gi support at your longevity blueprint.com. Now let's get back to the show. So why is healthy eating killing us?
Dr. Lauryn Lax 18:07
Yeah. Oh, that's a good one. So I think I kind of like alluded to this just in my own story. Sometimes we can let being perfect get in the way of good and feeling good. And sometimes there's multiple layers to this answer. I would say first starting with gut microbiota level, healthy gut microbiota needs variety and abundance of foods and nutrients to be happy and thriving. And so sometimes in a healthy in quotes, kind of dietary approach, we end up actually restricting a lot of different foods or food groups or like, yeah, complete food groups, and can diminish the biome or cause what we know as insufficiency dysbiosis. So a lack of healthy gut bacteria, all in efforts to be healthy. A lot of times we can run into the I guess dilemma being limited to only five to 10 foods by the end of the day, because it's like all we think we can have all our body can tolerate all that we train our body just to eat because we're creatures of habit.
And so in turn that does kill the gut microbiota, because a healthy thriving gut microbiota needs an abundance and I think to just like, there's so much dogma I guess, in our society about like, we all know what foods are not good for us. Like, what was that documentary with Katie Couric bed up, I guess where we talked about like the obesity epidemic is so common. She I love the line, which is like little did I know that in the 1980s. I'd be reporting on this epidemic my whole career. And so that has been definitely in the mainstream. We know one in three Americans at least are obese. And that number continues to go up. Same thing with kids one in five. But we don't really talk about like the other side of the coin, which would be ultra restriction or just this disordered eating mentality. You don't have to have an eating disorder to have an unhealthy relationship with food. And so where we can get Get into these little dogmas for ourselves whether it's like, Okay, I'm on the keto diet and then carbs, we become super anti carb and feeling like it's an identity loss, if we are to even think about eating sweet potato, or same thing with like calling ourselves actually our diet, your identity is not that you are a vegan, that's not who you are, in perhaps the diet you adopt, but we adopt his identity. And I think it can embody beyond what we're putting in our mouth, just a greater mentality component to that and distress in general around food, like stress kills in general.
So stress is the antidote to good health. And one of my favorite studies out of University of Texas, it was a pleasure study, like on food pleasure, vitamin p pleasure. When they took a group and gave them two groups, milkshakes, one of them was told it was a sensible milkshake. And that it was like, I guess low in calories really good for them. The other group was told to just like plain out like, just enjoy it. They were both the same milkshake like they were a real milkshake. The sensible group, though, had so much more stress still about that milkshake. Whereas the group that just was told to just enjoy their milk shake, actually had more satisfaction from the meal. And I think on the metric markers, like the end of the study, actually even experienced some weight loss, as opposed to the other group stress around food can impact like, actually the digestion of the food. And just like our mentality with it,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 21:31
when I think stress also, I think of the adrenals, of course, and many times the adrenals require a nutrient called salt. And I think sometimes the danger as far as why healthy eating can be killing us is that we're then robbing our body of sodium. I had a patient today who had literally came in with low sodium. And I've been there myself, I had a really low blood pressure. And I needed to actually add high quality Himalayan or Celtic sea salt to my diet. So sometimes I think we eat so healthy, we're restricting what we really need we, our body, our adrenals need salts, especially to handle the stressors that do come along in life. So I think that's another way that healthy eating can be killing us because we're not consuming some of those even minerals that we need.
Dr. Lauryn Lax 22:09
But I think to just becoming disconnected with how we feel we turn into like, just give me the food list and like what should I eat, as opposed to like, be able to understand and relay the signals, your body's actually signaling to you. And one client comes to mind, the highest cholesterol I've ever seen in the six hundreds. And that after being on a diet that was just not fit for her. But she was told that was like, I mean, it's super fat, like right now, which is carnivore, it was just not a good fit for her. And I mean, she kind of was feeling better on it. But what we discovered is she just had a lot of dysbiosis. And so that's why, like when we actually cleaned up the gut and helped her with being able to absorb and digest like all foods, again, some carbs that were maybe not making her gut feel super well. It's just like she came into balance. And it was definitely speaking. But she was just not really able to like listen, because she was just very fixated on following a rulebook.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 23:06
Yeah, I think all these diets that whatever you want to call them, I don't want to call it a lifestyle because sometimes it is really just a diet fad that someone's participating in to try to help themselves also, right. They're doing it for the right reason. They're they're trying to help themselves. I wonder what will show long term research wise, right with someone who is on a carnivore diet? Like, some people probably respond well to that because they are avoiding the other inflammatory foods. But because they are resting their gut in a way, right. But you're I think you alluded to a big fact that microbiome is just messed up or jacked up. patients do well short term on those diets. But I think long term when we see the research of some of these experimental diet ads crazes, whatever, I think we'll see that they're not a good fit long term, because then the patients are left nutritionally starved of course.
As the weather is turning cold here in Iowa, I've been starting to think about my holiday shopping. I don't know about you, but I don't like receiving. I'll put it lightly junk for presence. Sure, it's the thought that counts. But what if you could give the gift of health this year, instead of doodads, trinkets or sugary treats that suppress the immune system, consider these four gift ideas for your friends and loved ones this year. Number one, my book. This is a very affordable comprehensive guide to help you your family members and friends rebuild health. It's a fantastic introduction to functional medicine and will help you build your health from the ground up. You can find it on amazon.com or at your longevity blueprint.com. If you purchase the book, be sure to remember to download the free bonuses as well which can be found on our website. For those of you who aren't readers, check out my your longevity blueprint course online as well. Number two, consider gifting supplements.
Most people could benefit from magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin C, silver or even a probiotic for immune support this winter season. Decorate with a nice ribbon or bow or if you're in the Cedar Rapids area, pop into our clinic and we'll wrap them for you if needed. Number three, check out links on On our website, your longevity blueprint.com and click the bonus tab for my top holiday gifts with special promotions. Here you'll see links and discounts to infrared saunas, dry farm wines, paleo treats and links I've recommended in past podcast episodes, all in one place. Lastly, number four, gift this podcast by sharing it with someone who could benefit. If you're enjoying these conversations, I would be so honored if you'd share the show with someone else who's looking to build up their own health. I'm just as excited as you to spread cheer and joy this year of all years. But consider gifting something that will build health, not tear it down. Again, I'm so appreciative of you taking time to listen to my podcast, follow me on Instagram as Stephanie gray DNP and happy holidays. What is intuitive and mindful eating? So how do we do that? I know it's easier said than done. So how do you advise your clients on that?
Dr. Lauryn Lax 25:54
Yeah, I think both of these they're terms that get used interchangeably. And they're actually different. So intuitive eating being like, really what you're born knowing how to eat, like as a baby, you knew when you're hungry, you cried. And you knew when you were full, like you turn your head away, you're done like with milk and when you were satisfied. And so and the mindful eating is really eating with intention and awareness to how we're nourishing ourselves both in the act of eating as well as being mindful of like how we're nourishing ourselves throughout the day. For example, in my recovery from my eating disorder, I didn't always feel hungry because I was very used tonight, he didn't get my eating disorder.
And so I had to use mindful eating to begin to retrain my body for being able to properly nourish myself. And I think again, you don't have to have gone through an eating disorder to practice mindful eating. It can be as simple as like eating undistracted eating, not looking at screens are scrolling through your phone. I mean, even just like slowing down, that eating on the go, chewing your food and being mindful of like the taste the smells, and like the nourishment of food, and that that ritual can provide. And I mean, in doing so we also like just really optimize your biome, start your digestion skyrockets through the practice of mindful eating, because you're getting in a more parasympathetic state. And intuitive eating again, like not to be discounted, that's something we can definitely attain. I think it's something that a lot of individuals struggle to really understand what their body's saying, because there's so many confusing signals from our, whether we've been dieting or eating based on a rule book, or like the opposite of just eating whatever, where we've trained a gut microbiome to crave foods that we're actually like, either intolerant to, or that whether there's pathogenic or dysbiotic bacteria can feast upon telling you to be intuitive, are that daily eating the Ben and Jerry's or whatever it is, I think if you're being intuitive, like a really good marker of that is like balance and like your body just speaking, like in variety for one, because that's what a healthy balanced body desires.
As well as just like one day eating the steak one day eating the salad like your body does have that Yin and Yang, where when we are in full balance is going to ask for those things. I think it's too like people have probably experienced that intuitive eating, say when you're sick, for example, like and you're really not craving to eat a lot of food, like maybe you're craving more broth like that you are listening to your body, because that's what your body is like wanting to digest or even like seasonal, we can become intuitive like in the winter months, perhaps you want more stews and soups, as opposed to the summer months where you're wanting like a lot of the fresh produce that is like growing actually, in the wild, your body is still fighting to be intuitive, despite like having food access to both soups, and fresh produce at all times of year.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 28:46
Keep speaking to these signals, so I want to talk about I can never pronounce it, but ghrelin and leptin resistance and to kind of talk about those two signals.
Dr. Lauryn Lax 28:53
Yeah, pretty new and evolving. I think in research, like I think it's only been maybe 2030 years that we've known about these hormones, ghrelin being your hunger hormone. So if you have ghrelin resistance, you really like can continue to be hungry. And then with leptin, that being your fullness hormone, and so I think both of those can get just really hijacked. And we can get really confused on our signals like hunger and fullness based a lot upon our gut microbiome. And what like research shows is a healthier balanced gut microbiome will balance out these two. So yeah, I think just like the hunger fullness signals in general, a lot of us are super disconnected with just based upon our history with dieting, or how we grew up even like being example like rewarded with food, like if you made an A on your report card or something like that. But a key way of circumventing that resistance is again focusing on a healthy microbiome and doing so with either like your practitioner that you're working with Or just like really optimizing digestion from digestive enzymes, stomach acid, chewing your food, some of the mindful eating practices.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 30:09
So mold is very common, unfortunately. And that's something that you have been exposed to and suffered with. So do you want to share it, you already shared a little bit of some of the symptoms that you had the pseudo asthma attack in the middle of the night? What other symptoms did you have? And how did you go about finding out that mold was the culprit?
Dr. Lauryn Lax 30:28
So great question symptoms, I guess it was like a slow build, like you don't really I didn't know I was living in mold. And a lot of people I would say one or two buildings, they say, are water damaged buildings. So a lot of your listeners could be living in it as well. It really just depends on like your threshold, your detox pathways, but I think everyone will be impacted by mold to some degree, we just don't really always realize it. So sinus congestion, allergies, even seasonal allergies, increased food sensitivities, gut problems that don't seem to go away. headaches, brain fog, fatigue, like a lot of these symptoms can be like, lumped into so many different things. I mean, like hormone imbalances, hormones are a huge part of mold, though, too, can be influenced by these mold spores and mold, fungi building up in the body is really what's happening.
And it's just all about like toxic load. So daily, like we're being inundated by toxins in general in our environment. So if you're living in it, and it just continues to accumulate or go on addressed, it's just more load to the body. And so I was living in a pretty new build, it was less than 10 years old, at the time, just renting. And the mold was actually in the H fac system, like completely blacked out. And it's not something that I as a tenant really ever checked until that's done there. And then we had had a leak on our sidewall from Hurricane Harvey. I live in Austin, but we haven't gotten a ton of flooding rain from that. And again, as a tenant, I didn't really know how to maintain a home. But I think through proper home maintenance, what you would do if you typically had a leak is you want to fix it in the first 24 hours, if you recognize it. And a lot of times leaks can just go unaddressed or unseen, whether it's under the sink, or in the walls or even in a new construction build. So I recently was about to go under contract for a home here in Austin. And it came back with toxic black mold. And so what happens oftentimes in these new builds is like the wood gets wet during building and construction, and they just continue to build with it. And that is very common.
But kind of like with those symptoms, the straw that broke the camel's back was that asthma attack. And ironically, about three weeks prior to that I had gotten a gut infection, just some food poisoning, I think they're just going to show like how much your gut microbiota can impact, like your body's ability to detox. So like your health and immune system. So it's like my immune system had already gotten this big shake up, we had turned on the air condition for the spring. And that was the night that I got the attack. And yeah, I've just learned so much about mold since then, and ready to be rid of mold. But I think it's like, What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And just I'm a big, big proponent of how much our environment and our lifestyle outside of just like what we eat, or supplements even take, how that can impact your health. You can be doing all the right things in quotes. And like if you're still hitting those ceilings in your health, to not discount, like what are the environmental exposures you're coming into contact with, whether it's mold, or whether it's like you work in a salon and you're just exposed to chemicals, all the time, etc. Like even the chemical sensitivities like I've developed from the mold illness where like vo C's and a home, off gassing from new materials. I'm very sensitive to that right now. And so it's just like meeting your body where it's at, and just really leaning into a non toxic lifestyle as much as possible, both in the food you eat, as well as the environmental exposures and water you drink and products you use.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 34:00
And like that you shared you are actually about to move into a new build, because so many of my patients, tell me why I'm in a new build. So I can't have mold. Yeah, you can unfortunately, yes, you can. And I hate telling them that especially if they have signed the contract, right. And I did buy the new home whatnot. But I do find that with those those symptoms of fatigue or brain fog, whatnot, if we've already at least eliminated the main food sensitivities, we've optimized their hormones, the patient's not getting better than I tend to think there's something else right, there's something else going on with this patient. And many times it is mold. And so I run some testing on them. There's some blood tests, and there's urine testing, and you probably have them all done on yourself to see what what is in the body. And if we find that I think mold is a problem then I tell them you got to test your home we got to figure out if where you're sleeping at night where you're spending a lot of your time is contributing to why you feel so ill. And I'm just finding that in the past few years patient after patient after patient does have mold illness, having mold illness can exacerbate or can lead to mast cell activation syndrome which is sounds like You've had as well. So can you tell us a little bit about that and some symptoms you've had from having messed up activation syndrome? Yeah, definitely.
Dr. Lauryn Lax 35:07
And before I get there, just calling like Joe on the street. First on Google search for your hometown is typically not the best way to do a full mold assessment, because most are going to do air sampling, which is not going to look at a mycotoxin level, which is the reason why mold is toxic to the body is the spores, which are very, they're heavy, so they fall, they don't always get caught up and trapped in the air. So taking a dust sampling mycotoxin test, I think is a great way to start in something you can DIY, and there's probably public companies. One global analytics is my top choice. Eric Althouse is amazing. And it can coach you through that as well as real time labs, which is a commercial based test.
But doing that type of testing just to kind of like close the mold gap there. And then muscle activation syndrome. I mean, some people call this like SIRs chronic like inflammatory response syndrome, whatever you call it, it is really just where the body that I don't know immune level your th one th two systems, which are your immune balancing baseline systems are just completely they're out of balance and go haywire. The way that it presents for the individual experiencing it. It's like a roller coaster in your body because you become very sensitive to sometimes the things that like you even could have tolerated maybe like a week earlier, where I would be eating say like, I remember a day I was eating butternut squash and my blood sugar went from 80 to 160 back to 80 within a 30 minute timespan. And like that's just a really large jump. It's like on ramp and then a dip and hypoglycemia.
That was one way like it played out. The next week, I took a supplement to help with my adrenal glands I had taken prior just like ashwagandha and my body can build in my brain for each hour where I got chronic migraines is like I was having reactions to foods and supplements in my environment exposures as well just that chemical sensitivity where I go into like, say a new build construction home to just look at it to maybe buy it and I couldn't even like tolerate and stand getting a pedicure that I had been to typically and just like had to leave because my body just starts breaking out or like my airway start closing. A lot of times mast cell activation syndrome will present as a histamine response and that initial exposure so whether it's like your throat closing your chest tightening, the brain fog happening breaking out or skin rashes happening,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 37:34
all the sensitivities you had were huge clues into will both mold and a mast cell activation syndrome for sure. So how are you healing? So you've been through so much? What are some staples? What are some things, some lifestyle practices you have every single day that have made a significant difference in your recovery? Yeah, ironically,
Dr. Lauryn Lax 37:55
I would say the top ones have nothing to do with food or supplements. And so number one would be just like really grounding myself and how I start my day and not starting my day off like in the fire of like email checking social media or news. Prior to all of like my muscle activation syndrome. Like as an entrepreneur, I was very much like just working. I felt like 12 hours a day sometimes when I'm working with my patients, etc. Where I was just really neglecting my own self care. And so the first two hours of my morning are really devoted to a morning routine that is just all about like taking a breath and for the day and just really getting grounded from what I'm reading, like reading scripture, prayer movement, and then nourishment nourishing my body before I even check an email.
And so Yoga has been super awesome for my type a CrossFit mentality, which I find is really common with a lot of the clients I work with in that brain connection. spaces like sometimes are the hardest on ourselves or like really type a high achievers, which has been I say I'm a recovered typing, becoming a Type B, but Yoga has been super awesome. And I even do power yoga, which is like still not like the yin yoga, but like for me it was just like really taking a break from the gogogo. And like even overtraining I had been doing prior to a stressed out state as well from my eating disorder days. And then detox like really emphasizing some like active detox, not just drinking green juice, although I do love like celery juice and green juice. But infrared saunas been super awesome from the mold perspective and something that I enjoy most days with in my recovery from molds, some IV nutrient therapy as well with high dose glucose ion, and some vitamin C and phosphatidylcholine.
So IV infusions and then just like really leaning into that like very dying and gut microbiome, believe it or not, and something that I don't think is discussed enough within the mold world. Because there's such an emphasis on like taking a lot of binders kind of even like in a dysbiotic world like killing the pathogens as opposed to like how can you like love your gut bug army because that army's what's gonna fight for you. And so literally loving my gut and doing so with probiotics, short chain fatty acids, and like reintroducing fermented foods now that my body is not so histamine sensitive there were I was sensitive to histamine foods, and I've recovered that ability.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 40:28
That's encouraging to hear. That's wonderful. So what's your absolute top longevity tip,
Dr. Lauryn Lax 40:33
just spark joy, like, life is not to be so hard. And I think just finding joy, whether it's like the morning cup of coffee that you have, or connection with an individual like typically when at the end of the day, when I think about what was joyful that day has nothing to do with my what I achieved or like work, it's typically like an interaction I had with a person or an escape I had like, such as a yoga class or a time outside etc. And so I think the more we can lean into those spark Joy's that the more just like freedom that does come with that Mumba of that.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 41:09
Do you have any special gift or promotion for the listeners?
Dr. Lauryn Lax 41:13
100%. So I love my three day gut reset cleanse, which is on my website, Dr. Lauren calm, Dr. la UR y en.com. And that word cleanse really being more about refreshment for your body, not about restriction. And so I think if your listeners download that, they'll be surprised to see that they won't be starving.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 41:35
Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing your incredible story with our listeners and just being a true beacon of hope to those who have struggled with similar challenges. So thank you again. Thank you so much, Dr. Stephanie. I love how passionate she is about our microbiome health. She loves her gut bug army and we should too. She gave us a good reminder to eat a variety of foods and to rotate on a daily basis. So when eating tonight, I think I speak for us both and saying that we encourage you to truly be mindful, eat without your cell phone in hand. chew your food, Eat slowly, and think about what has brought you joy through the day. Learn more about mast cell activation syndrome. Listen to my previous interview with Beth O'Hara. Be sure to check out my book your longevity blueprint. And if you aren't much of a reader, you're in luck, you can now take my course online where I walk you through each chapter in the book.
The information provided in this podcast is educational. No information provided should be considered to be or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your personal medical authority.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai