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Dr. Stephanie Gray: Living Longer With The Longevity Blueprint

We're going a completely different direction. Here at Get WealthFit! on the show and at WealthFit.com, we talk about being wealthy and different strategies for increasing and protecting that wealth. One of the things that we are also bringing awareness to is you can have all the money in the world, however, if you don't have your health, what are we doing?

This show talks about how do you use a functional medicine to prevent disease from happening? It's a very controversial topic and a very interesting one.

We're talking with Dr. Stephanie Gray. She is the author of the bestselling book, Your Longevity Blueprint and the Owner of the Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic in Iowa where she practices. She is one of the Midwest’s most credentialed female healthcare providers combining many different certifications, training and past life experiences. You're going to discover the dirty dozen foods. These are the top twelve foods that you should not eat. We talk a little bit about that in the show.

I opened up a little bit here and explained my walk of life, of ending up in the hospital as a result of stress. Dr. Stephanie and I, we share a very similar story about ending up in the hospital due to stress and not knowing that we were stressed. I know more and more people are experiencing this. I asked her in the show what are the markers? How could we see this before we end up in the hospital? Hopefully, you never have to end up there.

Also we talk about the Longevity Blueprint. If you desire to have a better life, if you know that something is off in your body, something that maybe can't be explained, or you just want to be proactive and do the right things. We talk about this in the show especially in the areas of gut health, what you put into your body. If you've been very curious to know what you should be putting in your body and around your body, you're going to love this show.

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Dustin
Dr. Stephanie, you were born and raised in the Midwest. Life is good. You're raised in a healthy family, the heart and the soul of America if you want to call it that. However, one day you wake up and your heart starts racing. At first you're like, “This is freaky.”It gets to the point that it drives you to the ER. In typical fashion that you hear so much especially now. Traditional medicine doctors want to prescribe heart medication to bring you back down. However, you decide at that moment, “This doesn't feel right. Medicine is not the answer.” Take us back to that moment and what was going on and your decision to go a different way?
Stephanie
It’s pretty scary when your heart's racing extremely fast. I'm not talking about palpitations but I was having a tachycardia or very fast heart rate. My heart was beating out of my chest so fast. This happened at work. My nurse thought I was going to pass out. I turned pale. I was dizzy and lightheaded. I was taken to the emergency room. As you mentioned, the typical approach is to take a medication to control my heart. I knew that taking a medication wasn't going to tell me why this was happening to me. I knew that it would be a short-term solution but not necessarily a long-term solution. It's tempting to take some short-term solutions when you're dizzy, lightheaded and exhausted. I had a full practice to manage and I had to get back to work. I had patients who needed me. I needed to pay my overhead and pay my staff. I was pretty desperate at times. I'm not sleeping well at all. It can be tempting to take medication. There's a time and place for them. With me, I knew that functional medicine could help me get to the root cause of my problem. That's the path I went down because I knew that would be a better long-term solution.
Dustin
Let’s define that. Traditional medicine is going to the doctor or going to the ER. Traditional medicine is like you're in pain and let's find the solution. Will you define functional medicine?
Stephanie
I like to maybe share an analogy here. A colleague of mine, Dr. Patrick Flynn, created this analogy and I like to use it. I describe conventional medicine as being more the Fire Department. They're here to put up big bad ugly fires. If you have a tumor that needs to be cut out and removed, they can do that. Conventional medicine is the Fire Department and they're great at being the Fire Department. Their two tools are drugs and surgery. If you want those solutions, you certainly can utilize the Fire Department for drugs and surgery. Functional medicine is a little different. With functional medicine, we work to discover the root cause or the why. That's why I wanted to figure out for myself. With functional medicine, we look at genetics, nutrition, hormones and toxins. We're digging a little bit deeper and we describe that approach as being more of the carpenter or the contractor. We want to try to rebuild, repair the body and not use the Band-Aid approach. Not just the medication to cover up the symptom, we want to get to the root cause of the problem.
Dustin
I'm curious about your situation because the heart, you don't want to mess around there. You've got tachycardia and you decided not going to the traditional route. You're in a catch-22 because you don't necessarily need what most people perceive that you need, Dr. Stephanie. You would need something to put the fire out, however you decide to go and do something preventative. How did you balance that? Wanting to get that heart rate down but then going to something that is more preventative.
Stephanie
I had maybe a healthy or unhealthy fear of medication at the time. My husband thinks I was maybe so stressed out. I don't want to say delirious but he almost wishes at some point that maybe I would have taken medications so I could have slept better. That dilemma with me was I’m a functional medicine practitioner. I almost felt hypocritical if I invested in medication. I no longer feel that way. I know there's a time and place for medication but at that moment in time, I thought, “I'm a functional medicine practitioner. I'm not going to take a medication.” I was very ethically convicted that I wanted to treat myself the same way that I would approach my patients. Interestingly, my husband and I own the Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic in Iowa.
Around the same time, he's our office manager. He said, “We offer so much here. I wish you can create some roadmap or plan for our patients so that they know all of what we offer here.”Through my personal struggles and the dilemma I was in, I took some of that time to create this Longevity Blueprint, which was not only a step for me to regain my health but then now we're sharing that with patients hoping it's going to be a solution for them. It involves several steps to help patients regain their health back. The functional medicine takes longer. Getting to the root cause of the problem isn't a quick fix. It does take by and from the patient even for myself knowing this wasn't going to be a quick solution like a medication can be.
Dustin
I want to talk about the Longevity Blueprint. However, I'm curious and I feel like I'm left hanging. Did you ever come to the cause or what you perceived to be the cause of what elevated your heart rate? Was it stress in your opinion?
Stephanie
There were several things that I won't spend too much time on. I wrote a book about it. I share my story throughout the book. Yes, stress was number one. I went to grad school three times full-time while working full-time starting a practice. I was more than maxed out. I learned my lesson the hard way there. Beyond that, when you have whether they’re cardiovascular symptoms or neurologic symptoms or could even be dermatologic symptoms on your skin, many times doctors don't ask you what you're putting inside your body. What you're eating. Sometimes even the gastrointestinal doctors don't ask you what you're eating. For me, because that's foundational to functional medicine looking at gut health, it was the first place I started with myself. I did test myself for celiac disease, which is a full-blown autoimmune condition where you can never have gluten again.
I knew previously I had the genes for celiac that I had tested myself early in my career. I was hoping that those would not manifest but they did. I definitely had problems with gluten. Every time I had gluten, my heart would take off very shortly after eating, even if I had cross contaminated food. Maybe I wasn't intentionally eating gluten but the food was contaminated with gluten. That would make my heart race. I also had small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. I looked at my genes a little further and I had what set me up for what was an adrenaline storm. I'm a Type A personality, a go-getter but unfortunately, I needed to learn how to manage those genes and have honored my body's need for mental downtime and take magnesium. Magnesium was a key nutrient in my recovery based on those genes. I had some hormone imbalances and I could go on and on. The main two take homes for me were gut health and stress, if we want to keep it simple. Those are things that I heavily focused on.
Dustin
I want to talk about gut health. You're very good at this. You open up a lot of questions. I want the WealthFit Nation to know this. When I first moved to California, I came out here that was the hardest part of my life. It ended up leading me to the hospital in San Francisco, the city that I don't live in twice. I believe stress was a great factor to it. I wanted to ask you this, when you attribute to gut health, did you know that you were stressed? I feel like I'm a Type-A personality as well. I'm a go-getter. I didn't feel I was stressed in the time but looking back, I believe that to be the greatest cause. I didn't realize it in the time that I was stressed. Was it the same for you?
Stephanie
Absolutely, I consider myself to be much more in tune with my body. I had no idea. Fight or flight was kicking in. If you would have sent me to a yoga class back then, I could not have stood still. I would have been bouncing off the walls. I didn't realize that was not a good thing. Now, I go to yoga and I almost fell asleep immediately. I love that mental downtime. At the moment I thought, “I'm handling life great.” I can handle all this and little did I know that my body, my nervous system specifically, was saying, “You can't handle this.” I was so stressed that I could barely go to church because the music was so loud, even riding in a car. The vibration from the car would set my heart off. I felt I almost had to live in a bubble to allow my nervous system again downtime to repair, recover and heal. I had been on full-speed ahead for far too long.
Dustin
Dr. Stephanie, a lot of entrepreneurs or even people that are working 9:00 to 5:00 or longer and they want to start that side hustle or that business. I want to bring that message that you're sharing. I want to highlight it or accentuated it. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and the grind. There are a lot of folks out there and there's the media out there saying, “Work harder and longer.” It can lead you to the hospital as you and I both have realized. What are some of the markers that people should be mindful of? Are there body signs or other things that entrepreneurs that didn’t know like us when we were grinding? What can they be looking out for?
Stephanie
I’ll break this down into physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms. There are many symptoms and our body does alert us. We just need to be in tune of that and listen to our bodies. Physical symptoms of stress can be something as subtle as a headache, tight neck, shoulders, other muscles, even back pain, indigestion and stomach aches. Some patients get sweaty palms. With me, I was unable to sleep because my heart was racing. I had sleep difficulties. Sometimes it's just that the mind is racing. You have that restlessness and dizziness. I had that. I experienced a lot of lightheadedness and dizziness. I did have low blood pressure I should say. That was also part of my challenge. I needed to incorporate more salt into my diet to bring my blood pressure up because the lower your blood pressure goes, then your heart rate starts to kick in to compensate. I was almost eating too healthy if that's possible. I needed to have some salt. Some patients will grind to their teeth or they'll even compulsively chew gum. Those can be physical symptoms of stress.
This may pertain more to women but the emotional symptoms of stress, I'll share too. I have patients that will come in my office, menopausal women and they'll say, “I'm not stressed,” yet they're crying through their appointment. They may have anxiety, nervousness and edginess. Maybe it's not that they're crying but maybe they have anger or resentment, unforgiveness, it could be shame, unhappiness for no reason. There are a lot of emotions that can help patients understand that they're under stress. I've experienced the cognitive symptoms of stress as well. When your plate is too full, you can have trouble thinking clearly. You can have memory fog and forgetfulness. Maybe you lose your sense of humor or your sense of creativity. When those things start to go, we know something's not right. There are a lot of symptoms that our body can alert us to that. We probably are more stressed out than we realized.
Dustin
Stress blows me away. It's the silent thing especially if you're active in getting after it, pretty forward thinking, grinding and hustling because you love the game. You just push through it. It will catch up with you and it’s crazy.
Stephanie
There’s nothing wrong with being driven. We need entrepreneurs, we need business men and women. We need to make sure we're not grinding ourselves to death. We need to at least have some mental downtime. One thing I try to do is at least put a sticky note on my office door over lunch, “Have five, ten minutes of deep breathing and meditation.” It doesn't sound like much but that's better than going all day without having any downtime. Even five or ten minutes, taking those little breaks, they are not impossible to do and they can be very helpful.
Dustin
I want to get into gut health. There are books out. There are people that are talking about this. There's more awareness about gut health. Will you break this down? I want to get into some foods and all sorts of things here. Let's break down why there is this conversation about gut health?
Stephanie
Chapter one in my book is chapter one for a reason. It's all about the foundation of the home. Maybe I should explain that. Throughout the book, I'm comparing our home and how we maintain it to our body. Many times, we know how to maintain our homes. We’ll mow the lawn. We'll change the furnace filters. We’ll keep hair out of our drains. There are these things we just do for a maintenance standpoint without even thinking about it. For our health, other than eat healthy, exercise, try to get sleep, we don't always know what next steps there are to take for our health. Within the book chapter one, I'm comparing the foundation of the home and how important that foundation is. If you have a weak foundation, that house is going to essentially crumble. There's nothing to hold that house on. I'm comparing that as important and as strong as that foundation of your home needs to be. I'm comparing that to the gastrointestinal system. Why it's so important is that the majority of our immune system is found in our gut and many of us don't even realize that. We have more good bacteria in our gut than we have cells in our entire body. How you are brought into this world, whether it was a vaginal delivery, C-section, if you were breast fed or not, if you've taken antibiotics throughout your life, all of these things influence your microbiome. We'll say how strong your gut is.
If you don't have strong gut health, essentially to maybe answer this a little more shortly, that can lead to chronic disease. We believe a lot of inflammation starts in the gut. When you have inflammation in the gut, it can spread to other areas of the body. It can lead to autoimmune diseases. There are a lot of books written on the gut-brain connection, how important gut health is for mental health. If you have anxiety, back to stressing and sleep issues, depression, you may have poor gut health. Even our skin is tied to our gut. If you have acne, psoriasis, eczema or unexplained rashes, that could be from poor gut health. We're now learning that the gut is more important than we probably ever knew before. That's why we need to keep it very healthy.
Dustin
I want to put a scenario on you. If I'm feeling Morgan Spurlock, like in SuperSize Me. Growing up, I had my fair share of the favorites from Taco Bell, McDonald's and all the other chains. Maybe I'm feeling a little conscious or I'm feeling, “I know there's some stuff I put it in my gut that probably shouldn't be there. Hopefully it's not there anymore.” Do you first advocate detoxing and trying to get the bad stuff out? Is it still living in there from years ago? What's your thought around this detox conversation?
Stephanie
If you’re asking if processed foods are still living in you? The chemicals that they contain could still be in your body. To answer your question, do I start with detox? No. I start with back to chapter one. Detox is chapter five in the book. I never detox a patient initially on the first appointment even though they may feel or they know they're toxic. They want to detox. We have to ensure a good gut health first because of this concept of leaky gut. If you have leaky gut and I then give you some supplements to provoke your liver and gallbladder to dump toxins into the gut. Those toxins could be recirculated throughout the body and not necessarily pooped out.
Dustin
Can you define leaky gut?
Stephanie
Think of your mucous membranes. You have mucous membranes from the top of your head all the way to your backside, all the way down in your body. If we think of the membranes lining our gut, we have these cells that are supposed to be like brick and mortar side by side. We think of those as being a protective barrier for outside invaders, things like the chemicals, bacteria or whatnot. When we have bad habits like eating Taco Bell, taking antibiotics or stress, the tight junctions that line our gut, these cells are supposed to be side by side, can open up. Things that are not supposed to get into our bloodstream can get into our bloodstream. That can trigger autoimmune diseases. When I say leaky gut, think of that as the cells lining the gut wall, opening or leaking, allowing things that aren't supposed to get through, aren't supposed to get into the bloodstream to get into the bloodstream.
Dustin
We talked about detox but how do you ensure the patients or us practice good gut health? Is it now down to the foods that we eat?
Stephanie
That’s a huge part of it. One of the first tests that I offer patients and this is something that I did for myself as well, beyond testing for celiac, the statistics are one in 300.Although those statistics are rising, the statistic on food sensitivities are very high. Sometimes practitioners like myself will estimate 90% of the population having food sensitivities. What we do is we test patients for those. We test not for allergies, most of my patients wouldn't know if they had an allergy. If they ate a banana and they went into anaphylactic shock or had an itchy throat. Most of my patients don't have allergies but they have sensitivities.
We do a test in office and we send it to the West Coast to a big functional medicine food lab, who looks to see if the patient is having an immune reaction to a hundred foods. Gluten, dairy, soy, corn, yeast, coffee, fruits, vegetables and nuts. The list goes on and on. When we get the results back, that's how we have patients modify their diet. For me personally, I needed to remove gluten but also dairy. I had the SIBO condition, I had fructose intolerance too. I couldn't tolerate some natural sugars. I went on a low FODMAP diet, which is even more difficult. I say that because to heal the gut, we have to look at food sensitivities. We need to look at gut infections like SIBO. We need to look for yeast overgrowth, bacterial overgrowth or parasites. Removing the inflammatory foods and removing gut infections are the two steps to healing the gut.
Dustin
This is a tricky question. I know we're not giving medical advice here and I totally advocate taking the food allergy or sensitivity test that you mentioned. If you get phlegmy throat from drinking dairy, does that necessarily mean that you’re sensitive to dairy?
Stephanie
I said neurologic symptoms, dermatological symptoms maybe even with me cardiovascular symptoms could be from food sensitivities, but respiratory symptoms can also be from food sensitivities. Dairy many times produces the phlegm, the chronic nasal congestion or chronic sinusitis. In kids, dairy sensitivities have been linked to causing ear infections. Many times, patients with asthma or coughing, dairy can be the cause of that. Dairy just produces a lot of phlegm, which sometimes can be difficult to get rid of. Many of my patients, even if they don't want to do the food sensitivity testing, if they're exhibiting those symptoms, I will recommend a trial of dairy free. Many times, those symptoms do improve. Everybody's different but the majority of the time many of the symptoms are from dairy. Cow’s dairy specifically.
Dustin
I've heard another thing. I'd love to dispel a myth or two here. Iced drinks, hot drinks and in proximity to dinner and not dinner because it dilutes the acid in our stomach. Are these myths or are these true?
Stephanie
There is some truth to that and I could take it a step further. We in our office offer alkaline water for our patients. There is a time and place to even drink alkaline water but you don't want to do that with meals. When you're eating, you want to have enough stomach acid to digest and breakdown the proteins. Trying to tie this together to what I said, if you have leaky gut and you're not digesting your proteins, those proteins leak through the gut. That's the problem. That's what our bodies then create antibodies to and mount this big immune reaction too. You don't want to have leaky gut but you also want to have wonderful digestion. You need to have proper stomach acid to break down the food you're eating. Hot or cold, you shouldn't drink much water with your meals. That’s what I would say and definitely not alkaline water with meals.
Dustin
I hadn't heard them before. I'm glad you brought that up because we hear these truths out of context. It needs context and I would say be wary of what you hear out there, unless you have the proper context there. On a macro, we should avoid altogether putting into our bodies. Aside from drugs and things like that, is there anything to stay away from like Taco Bell or processed foods, GMOs?
Stephanie
I tell patients, “Don't poison yourselves.” Ideally, you would eat organic. The Environmental Working Group, EWG, have a great list of the Dirty Dozen Foods. These are foods that are more thin-skinned. The pesticides and herbicides can more easily penetrate into. Those are the foods you want to buy organic. Do you have to buy an organic orange? No, the orange is protected by a very thick skin. Likely the chemicals, herbicides and the pesticides can't penetrate into. Generally speaking the cleaner you eat, the more organic the better. From a budgeting standpoint, the EWG has a great list to help patients know which food specifically they need to buy organic.
You do want to think about your water also. I have a chlorine filter on my shower because I don't want to immerse myself under chlorine several times a week, day or whatnot. As far as food recommendations are concerned, I don't have all patients go gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar or soy free. I don't have every one go off those foods. I do listen to the symptoms that they're exhibiting. I look at tests and I also look at genetics. With me, I have the gene for celiac. It makes sense that eventually that was probably going to cause a problem for me. Gluten-free was a great fit for me. It is hard to answer that question because we do pride ourselves on individualizing the treatment for each patient.
Dustin
Have you heard of the blue zones around the world where people live longer? What's your take on why people in these special places on Earth seem to have increased longevity?
Stephanie
I don't remember off the top of my head all the commonalities, although I am pretty confident one of them is that they have less stress. Many of the supplements even that we sell here are based on what we've found with the blue zones. For instance, in Sardinia Province in Italy we see reduced cardiovascular risk because they are drinking citrus bergamot juice like how in the US, Floridians drink orange juice all the time. Then supplement companies want to get a piece of that. Selling that benefit. We sell citrus bergamot, which is a supplement capsule that patients can take to help lower cardiovascular disease and essentially help with cholesterol. Each blue zone has a clinical pearl that we can take home. I haven't looked at them. I don't remember the top commonalities off the top my head.
Dustin
I'm glad you did bring up supplements. One of the myths that I've heard is the body can only absorb so much. Essentially if we go out and invest in a ton of supplements that maybe are overdoing it, it doesn't matter because the body only absorbs so much. Essentially, the rest is being flushed down the toilet so to say. Is that a true statement?
Stephanie
I would say, no. Supplements are very much necessary because our food sources have been depleted partially by the chemicals we were mentioning, the herbicides and the pesticides. Our soil is so deficient and it's now producing foods that are also deficient. Even my patients who grow their own food in their backyard, when I run a nutritional assessment on them, which we can do. We can look at all of their vitamin, mineral, amino acid, antioxidant and omega levels. Many of them are still low on certain nutrients. We need to supplement. B vitamins or water-soluble nutrients are things that you can excrete out on a daily basis. There could be an argument if you take too much, you're just peeing them out. What I tell patients is, “You want your urine to glow.” That tells me we've saturated your body with that nutrition. That tells us we've hit that point. That's a good thing that I describe to my patients.
Dustin
I want to jump in because you said pee glowing. I'm drinking almost a gallon of water a day. I used to do the opposite and no water, just coffee and I used to do a lot of iced tea. I had always heard you want to pee clear, except in the morning, because that means life is good. Is that also true?
Stephanie
That’s true in the absence of supplements. To know that your kidneys are functioning appropriately and you're not dehydrated, you want clear urine. However, when we add supplements to the mix, those are going to skew your urine more than likely, especially B vitamins. For my patients who take a multivitamin, they may even notice in the morning, when they're taking three or four capsules a day but they take most of those in the morning. Their urine maybe more glowing or darker in the morning and not dark, not red tinge but more of that bright. That's why I said glowing or that bright yellow. We assume that is partly from the vitamins. I tell patients that is a good thing. Maybe later in the day, their urine turns clearer again.
Dustin
What else do we need to know about supplements to make sure that we’re doing this properly?
Stephanie
I have a great blog written on How to Select High Quality Supplements at YourLongevityBlueprint.com. I will briefly go over those points. I don't want patients wasting money on useless products. I do tell them have realistic expectations as far as what you're going to pay for. If your 30-day probiotic is $5 or $10, it’s probably not the highest quality. Know you're probably going to pay a little bit more for the higher quality products but read labels. Unfortunately, with marketing these days, an official product could say that it contains a gram on the front of the label but then you look at the back of the label and there are only 200 or 300 hundred milligrams. Make sure you're reading labels to get what you need to get. Also, know that the one-away products are not the way. If you see, “Men's one a day multivitamin,” in one teeny little pill, I highly doubt that product contains what you need. There's no way they can compress all that nutritional value into one teeny little tablet.
Most high-quality vitamins that you would get in a chiropractor or a doctor's office like ours are going to say four to six not tablets but capsules per day. I know it's annoying to have to take more pills, but I feel like those companies are not lying to you. They're not trying to squeeze so much into one little pill. Then look at reputation. Just like there's a consumer report for electronics, there are lists out there that third parties have examined supplement companies and published articles or books ranking how potent, how pure. Looking at the standardize ability between batches of supplements, you want to choose high-ranking products. Many of the over-the-counter products out there rank zero to half of a star. The only products we carry in our office are four to five stars through these criteria that I'm mentioning.
Dustin
We've talked you know about internal factors, what we're putting into our body, gut health, supplements and putting in high quality stuff. However, I know you talk about this too. This is part of Your Longevity Blueprint. You also talk about toxins from your environment whether that's at work or at home. Can you spend some time talking about what hazards are out there that we may not realize how it affects us?
Stephanie
Toxins can have many negative effects on our bodies especially to our hormone system or endocrine system. If I think of maybe the easiest toxins to mention that you should avoid, one thing that I'm pretty passionate about is advising patients on how to choose safe skincare products. The Environmental Working Group, the EWG that I mentioned who have that list of The Dirty Dozen Foods, they also have the Dirty Dozen List of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. I know that's a big word but essentially that just means chemicals, things like parabens. If you put up parabens or phthalates that could be in our skin creams, in our shampoo, conditioner or body wash. Chemicals that can bind to our hormone receptors and mess with our hormones.
I tell patients to look at that list and also to use their Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. That database ranks personal care products from safe to not safe. It shows the more toxic products. Sometimes we are slathering on deodorant or men are using a shaving cream, a product that unbeknown to them is loaded with chemicals or toxins that can lead to cancer. For years, I didn't know anything about this. Once I learned more and I was enlightened, now I'm wanting to share that with everyone. Looking and examining your personal care products for those chemicals can be very important. The second source that many people are aware of is plastic. You definitely don't want to microwave anything in plastic including your food because the plastic can leach into your food. It’s the same thing with eating out of cans. Many of the metals in the cans can leach into the food. If you can choose to eat out of glass containers, not the plastic or the metals.
Those are maybe the top two sources of chemicals. I said skin care was a passion of mine. Even a newer obsession maybe is the right word of mine, is reducing electromagnetic frequency exposure. You and I have our computer, our microphone, who knows what else is by us, our cell phone, our wireless mouse. I have a printer by my desk also. We’re bombarded with the electromagnetic radiation. That's only going up with 5G coming out. Believe it or not, the impacts from the EMFs also deleteriously can affect our health. I have a lot of blogs on this as well but there are lots of things that we can do to minimize our exposure there. Especially while you're sleeping at night, turn off your cable box or unplug your router. There are things you can do. Don't sleep with your cell phone by your head. A lot of those things will help minimize your toxin exposure.
Dustin
I did catch a little bit of this headline reading. This whole 5G conversation, what is it about the difference between prior technology 4G to now the5G. Is it the frequency going up or down or whatever it does that is concerning about it?
Stephanie
I definitely don’t specialize in this. From the courses I’ve taken, it’s stronger. More people are going to be on it. More people are having cell phones and using the network these days. I've seen the world mapped out with 3G, 4G, 5G and just how the United States specifically is just lighting up year after year with more and more electromagnetic radiation we're being bombarded with. In a way, we're a guinea pig or an experiment because we're the only country that even allows the 5G or fifth generation. I don't know if it's just the strength, I know it's going to be faster. I'm assuming it's stronger and the radiation is worse. I don't know exactly how to answer that question. I know other countries are not allowing a lot of what we allow, like how other countries don't allow GMOs or they don't allow the chemicals in the skincare products. We should be learning from these other countries but it's not happening quickly.
Dustin
What are some tips that you advise in the workplace? I know the screens and stuff. Is it as simple as just disconnecting or taking a walk outside and pattern interrupting, being in front of the screen for eight hours in a row? What are some of the things that we can do in a workplace environment to battle these toxins?
Stephanie
Unplug yourself, go outside, go get grounded, go connect with the Earth. That will help dramatically. What we have now in my practice, we have a Wi-Fi router guard around. Our clinic is long. We had to have a midway point. We almost have two routers on the internet. One day, I don't want to have Wi-Fi here at all. We do have it right now but what we have over those access points is a router guard. You can get them on Amazon and they're cheap. I have one at home as well. That greatly minimizes the EMFs then that I'm exposing my staff and my patients to. That's one easy thing to do. If you can, don't work on your computer while it's charging. If you can unplug as much as possible, the better. You can charge your computer overnight but then during the day when you're working on it, unplug it.
Dustin
I had never considered that. Mine’s always plugged in unless it’s not feasible to be next to the wall. I’ll be thinking about that.
Stephanie
Grounded in general is always better than Wi-Fi. Not that anyone at home wants to use a corded phone. Technically that's safer than a cordless phone.
Dustin
That's funny because the thing that popped into my head is we do a lot of podcasts here. I listen to music but I always have headphones on. The saving grace in what you just said or what I translated you saying is, “I have wired headphones.”Should I be having headphones at all? Should I let the music rip through the speakers?
Stephanie
What I use are Air Tube headsets. If you get an Air Tube headset for headphones, that's better. Some sources of headphones, not all, but can serve as more of an antenna so it’s carrying the radiation right up to your ear. That's why Bluetooth also isn't considered very safe. There's a time and a place. We can’t just avoid technology and go live in the woods. I can't. Especially when I travel, when I'm using my headphones, I have the Air Tube headset, which you can get on Amazon. They're cheap and that's probably the safest option.
Dustin
This is eye-opening stuff. I'm incredibly grateful that you're sharing it with the WealthFit Nation. I know too that you're big on hormones. I want to talk about the hormone conversation. What do we know about optimizing our hormones and essentially when we do that, what are the benefits of that?
Stephanie
Partially because we live in such a toxic world that we're exposed to all these endocrine-disrupting chemicals, I’m seeing women and men even in their twenties and 30s have hormone disruption. We're seeing more and more infertility. That was something that even I battled with, which will be my second book. We see endometriosis. We see polycystic ovarian syndrome. We see women who just aren't cycling at all in the younger population. In the older population, we're seeing more women not go through menopause so easily. Women used to go through menopause and not have as many hot flashes or symptoms whatnot. It’s the same with men. Men go through andropause just like women go through menopause. Because of that, we're suffering, we're having many symptoms. That's something that we at our clinic help patients with. We try to get to the root cause as far as why their hormones are low.
Maybe for illustration sake, I'll talk more about the menopause or the andropausal men. What hormones can help them with, it's overall sense of well-being. I know probably many entrepreneurs are listening to this and the amount of stress that they've gone through throughout their life may set them up unfortunately because stress is your biggest hormone hijacker to an earlier menopause or earlier andropause. I saw a woman who went through menopause at 36. She just stopped cycling at 36, which is far too young. Hormones with women, estrogens specifically, helps with hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and memory. It can help with bone density as well. Progesterone is great for anxiety, sleep, PMS and heavy bleeding. Testosterone in men and women is great for mood, motivation, drive, libido, energy. Thyroid hormones are very important for metabolism, energy again. Patients are getting hair loss or having cold intolerance, constipation, feeling like everything's slowing down.
We need to have hormones to feel well and to age well. There's a lot of literature on supporting higher levels of hormones preserving memory. I don't know about you but I don't want to get dementia or Alzheimer's. Keeping hormone levels higher can help preserve our memory. I see a lot of men and women whether they're businessmen, maybe they're a pastor of a church come in to see me as patients who are used to speaking in front of hundreds or thousands of people who are confident individuals who have had a very successful career. They hit andropause and now suddenly they're nervous to get up on stage. They just don't feel like they have what they had before. Many times, that's a result of hormone levels declining. That's something that we advocate for here at our clinic is boosting hormones. We don't use synthetics. We only use natural hormones that can improve the overall quality of life and get patients back to feeling their best.
Dustin
You’ll have to educate me and the WealthFit Nation here. When you say not synthetics, what pops into my head is human growth hormone because that was in the media for quite some time as a hot talking point. Human growth it sounds it's natural. What do we need to know about HGH?
Stephanie
It is natural. It’s something that we produce but so is crack cocaine. Everything’s there that are natural but that may be more highly regulated. I don't go give growth hormones to every patient that walks in the door. There are very few patients that are clinically low in growth hormone that need it. Long before we would ever get to something like that with our patients, we would boost for instance in a man his testosterone because that will help internally produce more growth hormone. I always start with what I consider to be more important like testosterone in men and then in women all three, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. Thyroid applies to both as well.
Dustin
This conversation is a tricky one. I'm curious where you draw the line or at least help your patients draw the line. Humans have always wanted to live longer. We look at the Fountain of Youth story, fable, fairy tale whatever you want to call it. We want to do things to prolong our life. Where do we draw the line? Where does it start to become grey to you, where we want to think about that? There are some implications here. It can be a little tricky for people. How do you help come up with their own conclusion about that? Over time, things become commonplace like smoking right back in the day. It was the Vogue. I don't think people were claiming it helped you live longer although maybe very early on. There might have been people saying that but we know that to be bad. We had mentioned, you wouldn’t go straight to human growth hormone but over time it may lead to that. There are certain practices that you know of that are maybe early on. How do you help people figure out where that line is? Should they do something nonconventional?
Stephanie
I’m going to go back to my book here because I walk all my patients through the Longevity Blueprint, which starts with gut health. As silly as it may sound, many times fixing gut health could even help them produce more hormones. Chapter one is all about gut health. Chapter two is more about the musculoskeletal system. Chapter three is genetics. Chapter four is repeating nutritional deficiencies. Chapter five, we talked a little bit about detoxing the body. Chapter six is hormones. Seven is more reducing cardiovascular disease. Then eight is strengthening the immune system. What I do with patients is I walk them through chapter by chapter and then I would also say, “Within each chapter, there are certain symptoms that I'm going to be asking about.” I'm not going to give someone testosterone if they clinically have no symptoms suggesting they need it and if their level suggests they don't need it. I'm going to test them appropriately and examine their symptoms and then decide. I have some men in their 80s who have been doing the right thing for a long time. They've fixed their nutritional deficiencies, they’ve lived a healthy life. They don't need testosterone. I also have men in their 30s like I said who do. It's case-by-case and we make that decision with a patient based on their symptoms, their test results and walking them through this blueprint.
Dustin
Thank you for clarifying it. Back to the conversation about out of context. Sometimes you hear these things in the news, you see things on the internet and I like that you have a blueprint. It makes logical sense to me. It starts with the foundation, the gut and starting there is a great place to iron out the root causes before you try something. Maybe that you see in the news or someone is talking to you about at a cocktail party. It’s very powerful to have a blueprint like that.
Stephanie
Just because I said testosterone is very important, I definitely wanted to make sure that I’m not conveying everybody needs testosterone or whatnot. I could even make the same case for going back to stress, which we opened our conversation with. There are medications for stress. There are supplements for stress. We sell them. I take some of them. There's no medication or supplement, there’s no pill potion or powder that's going to replace lifestyle changes for stress. The lifestyle changes have to come first. That's also something we advocate to our patients. I don't want them taking a bunch of useless supplements either. I want them to change their life, reduce their stress, change their diet, then we can get to the supplements and the hormones.
Dustin
I'm not sure if you caught this, Dr. Stephanie. Urban Meyer who's a football coach Ohio State, are you familiar with him?
Stephanie
No, but I’m sure my husband is.
Dustin
I'm sure he can fill you in on the details but essentially, he’s stepping down. He has a condition in the brain and stress. Being head football coach at a very storied program is something that we believe is the reason why he is stepping down. The stress of it is just impacting him. It's very interesting so I definitely want the WealthFit Nation to check in with themselves about stress. It is a silent killer as they say. Dr. Stephanie, I want to move us into the WealthFit round. With you being an entrepreneur, yourself having your own clinic, a practice and having a supplement line, being an author speaker out there as well. These are going to be very apropos for you
Stephanie
Business-wise, definitely my practice. I have a Doctorate but I am a nurse practitioner and I am a female. I'm in private practice, which is pretty rare. I practice functional medicine, so I'm a rarity. When I started my practice, a lot of people looked at me like, “You are crazy. What are you getting into?” Straight out of school, I started my practice. I thought, “I have nothing to lose.” There's always something to lose. I thought, “Here we go. Let's do this.” I took out a business loan and I said, “Let's start this practice.” It's by far been one of the best investments that I've made. I'm blessed that I get to help patients get to the root cause of their problem. I get to go to work every day not saying it's easy by any means, but I get to help them essentially get their lives back. It's a good investment for me because it's so gratifying to help patients. Also just financially, I'm glad that I'm not just going to work to get a salary. I've built a business and a practice. I guess that would be my best investment.
Dustin
Practice is great, life is great and you want to reward yourself. What’s that guilty pleasure?
Stephanie
My husband hates this, not that this is a huge expense. I love the classic, I would say they're a little more costly, non-alcoholic drinks. I would go to Natural Grocers or Whole Foods and buy the $5 Kombucha or whatever fancy drinks they have. My husband just says, “You spend so much money on these drinks.” I feel like they're healthy and I drink them slowly and enjoy them thoroughly. I do spend money on those things. I don't want to call it a guilty pleasure because I also think this is part of self-care but I spend money on my health. I get massages. I go see the chiropractor routinely. Those sorts of things are what I enjoy with and they take money but there are things that I've learned I have to do for my health.
Dustin
As someone that deals with patients, gets on interviews, travels around and speaks, the demand for your time is there like a lot of entrepreneurs. What have you personally become better at saying no to?
Stephanie
I'm still trying to master saying no but it’s something that I’ve preached to my patients. I used to have events. Either it’s an event I'm participating in or speaking in for four nights a week. Also my husband said, “That's enough of that.” I'm getting better at saying no to more than three things a week. That's my limit. That includes if I'm going to yoga one night after work. I'm only going to go to three things after work per night no matter what they are. It could be a speaking engagement. It could be a class. It doesn't matter what it is, three is my limit per week.
Dustin
Do you have any special routines or rituals that you do to get yourself performing at the level that you do?
Stephanie
I have all kinds of routines. I do take my supplements. I feel much better when I do and I can tell. Even if I forget my noon supplements. I can tell by 2:00 I’m more tired or whatnot. Especially through the flu season, I take a lot of silver. I’ll walk out to the kitchen and take silver to be my antiviral, help prevent me from getting sick. I mentioned that I try to do meditation or deep breathing over lunch. I try to do that often. I drink lots of water constantly. Everyone who knows me knows I don't go anywhere without my water. I am a huge list maker. I am obsessed with lists. I am always making my list to start my day checking things off throughout the day. At the end of the day, what carries over to the next day? Just having that organization has helped me as well.
Dustin
I am curious about this. You're a trailblazer is what I want to say. With all the things that you've accomplished, you have a lot of firsts in your background. I would imagine a great deal of that voice in your head. Some people call that fear, self-doubt and it often achieves a lot of people from pulling off great things in life. Things that we should all be privy to. What advice do you have for our folks that feel that fear, self-doubt or that voice in their head to overcome it and achieve at a high level?
Stephanie
It does come down to the positive or the negative self-talk. When I speak often to women, I say, “We all have a mean girl inside of us discouraging us constantly, feeding us negativity.” It starts with positive self-taught and positive affirmations. If you want to make a change in your life, it comes down to changing your habits and believing in yourself. I know it sounds cliché but I speak positive affirmations over myself before I public speak. I didn't before this podcast but sometimes I would have. Just preaching to myself that I believe in myself. Everyone needs to do that as well because fear can. Fear can take over. Fear is part of stress and there's nothing wrong with having a healthy scrutiny. Nothing wrong with doing your due diligence before an investment. It boils down to especially if someone's deciding to have a career change to follow their heart and go with that instinct. If you're going to be unhappy for instance in the same job the rest of your life, you're wasting all you have. All we have is the present. I tell patients, “Don't have depression about the past. Don't worry about the future. All we have is the present. If you're feeling like you do want to start a business or do something different, I'd say go for it. All we have is the present and if that's something that is going to make you happy and give you another level of fulfillment, what are you waiting for? Go for it and talk positively over yourself because that's going to have a huge impact on your success.”
Dustin
I could sit here all day and pick your brain. Thank you for being so gracious, telling it like it is and letting us know too. This isn’t my area of expertise. I respect and appreciate that. If folks want to continue the conversation, check out your Longevity Blueprint and keep up with you, how can they do that? Where’s the best place?
Stephanie
We are offering a special promotional code, Thanks Get WealthFit, for 10% off if you go to one of our websites, YourLongevityBlueprint.com. If you go to the website, we sell supplements there. That's where all my blogs are as well. You can read more about the book. You can purchase the book or any supplements and get that 10% off. You'll find me on all social media platforms. Links will be on that website as well. My clinic, my practice website is the Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic. That website is IHHClinic.com. Those two websites are a great way to get in contact with me.
Dustin
Thank you, Dr. Stephanie. We truly appreciate having you on the Get WealthFit Show.
Stephanie
Thank you for having me. This was fun.
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