Don’t Let a Diagnosis Define Your Life With Julie Michelson

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

This episode is sponsored by Ritual and their essential women’s vitamins and women’s prenatal. I’ve been able to personally experience Ritual and their really well-rounded multivitamins supplements specifically geared towards women. And I wanted to share a little bit of my experience and research about them today. I love that their 100% ingredients are made tradable, which means that they share their sources, their studies, and their suppliers. You can actually see and verify the supply chain!
They are non-GMO product verified. They are gluten and major-allergen-free. And they’re vegan. And they’re a certified B Corp, which means that they’re holding themselves accountable long-term, not only to think about their company’s financial health, but also the health of other people and the planet. They also make it easy with a subscription-based free shipping model that gives you a 30-day money-back guarantee all the time.
I wanted to highlight their prenatal today for anyone who is in that phase of life of considering pregnancy or currently pregnant. I also took prenatals after pregnancy for a while to rebuild nutrient stores. But their prenatal is made traceable and uses vegan, bioavailable, and clinically studied ingredients that are important before and during pregnancy, specifically nature-identical Choline and clinically studied methylfolate to support baby’s neural tube development before and during pregnancy. They also have omega-3-DHA to support brain development during pregnancy. They’re also, of course, non-GMO and gluten and allergen-free.
I also love that in both cases, they’re essential and they’re prenatal. It’s a delayed-release capsule, so it’s designed to dissolve later in the small intestine, which is the ideal place for us to absorb nutrients, so these are potentially much more bioavailable. They also have essenced capsules, which means they taste citrusy or minty, and they’re designed to be gentle on the stomach, which is especially helpful during phases like pregnancy. Right now you can visit ritual.com/wellnessmama and save 40% on your first month of Ritual. That will be applied automatically at checkout. So again, that’s ritual.com/wellnessmama and get 40% off your first month that will be applied at checkout.

This podcast is brought to you by one of my go-to skincare companies, which is Alitura. They have a whole host of products, but I wanted to share a few that I really love. Their core initial product, their Clay Mask, is the best mask I’ve ever used. It’s one that’s part of my regular routine. It includes a huge number of really beneficial ingredients. It was developed when the founder had a terrible accident and had scarring on his face. He developed this to help himself get past the scars and it worked phenomenally. And now many thousands of people have had success with scarring, with acne scars, and with just improving their skin’s elasticity and look.
But they have so many other amazing new products as well. I also love their Gold Serum, which is a super nutritious skin feeding serum that makes my skin feel amazing. And I love to sleep with this at night. And then their newest product I am in love with, it’s called Meteorite Scrub. And I keep this in my shower. I have not found anything this effective until now at exfoliating my skin and removing any dry or rough skin and leaving just really nourished, moisturized skin underneath. Those are my three go-to’s.
But I love that every product they have is pure and made with organic ingredients that are sourced from all over the world, including a lot of them are sourced from Hawaii, but they really delve into their sourcing. They also harvest their ingredients no more than two months prior to making the products, which leads to more potent formulas and fresher products that go beyond industry standards. They package in these beautiful dark glass bottles that are sourced from the Netherlands. So light is blocked from impacting their formulas. And that special glass is used in place of synthetic ingredient preservatives so they can keep top grade quality without any unsavory preservatives. They also only use active ingredients. So their products don’t have any fillers, meaning there’s nothing that’s diluting the potency. So you’re getting these high caliber products 100% of the time. And that’s, again, above and beyond the industry standards. So they really do the research, the sourcing, and have incredible products. You can check all of them out at alitura.com/wellnessmama and the code wellnessmama will give you a discount. That’s alitura.com/wellnessmama and make sure to use the code wellnessmama to get a discount.

Katie: Hello and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and this episode is all about how your body can heal and don’t let a diagnosis define your life. And I’m here with Julie Michelson who is a national board certified functional medicine coach, a bestselling author, speaker and the host of the Inspired Living with Autoimmunity Podcast. She is the founder of her coaching program and also co-founder of Navigate Wellness. She has an incredible personal story of overcoming severe autoimmunity and now thriving. She helps many other people do the same. We go deep on this topic today in this episode.

We talk about her story and journey with autoimmunity. Then we talk about the inflammation spectrum and how to address chronic inflammation, the biggest drivers of inflammation and autoimmune disease, how toxins contribute to inflammation and autoimmunity. why we need six to nine cups of vegetables a day for the micronutrients and for healing, how to create a haven in our home and nurture resilience for other experiences and exposures outside the home. Why autoimmunity affects women proportionately more than men. Many people who go to her for help are perfectionists and her theory on why this is how our bodies and especially our brains detox during sleep and how to improve this, her tips and tricks for sleep health, how our bodies hear our thoughts and take them as truth, even if we don’t believe them, how to shift our mindsets to shift our health and how to create a positive healing statement along with much more. She has a lot of resources available online as well. So all of those, as well as post I’ve written on some of these topics are all listed in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm. You can check them out there, but let’s join and learn from Julie. Julie, welcome. Thanks for being here.

Julie: Thank you so much for having me.

Katie: I’m excited to chat. I think autoimmunity is a big topic, especially for my listeners, for me personally, I’ve had experience with it and we’re going to get to go in lots of directions in this conversation. But before we jump in, I always love a little like personal fact about the guest at the beginning and I have a note from your bio that you found the love of your life in your fifties. I want to hear this story because that’s incredible.

Julie: That’s hilarious. I had a feeling you were going to go for that. I’ve never put that one out into the universe before. So, yeah, I just am really blessed. I raised my kids as a single mom. It’s been a little over 20 years. And because of my decline with autoimmunity, I kind of retreated. And so wasn’t dating for over a decade. And it formed a work relationship with my now partner and then a friendship. And then he just snuck in under the radar and it’s been amazing.

Katie: Well, congratulations. That’s beautiful. And I’m so happy for you. That’s such a fun story. And I’m curious if we’ll actually have any overlap in the personal story or in your health story as well. Cause I know for me, like my emotional life and my physical health ended up being much more intertwined than I realized. And it sounds like from your bio that you have also your own experience with autoimmunity and quite the health journey. So for background, for people who aren’t already familiar with you, can you share your story and how you got into the work that you do now?

Julie: Sure, absolutely. Like so many of us, this was never my grand plan. I was a newly single mom in my early thirties with three young kiddos and ended up getting diagnosed With rheumatoid arthritis. That was my first autoimmune diagnosis. And unfortunately for me at the time, but of course you can’t, you know, I wouldn’t change anything now. I believed the doctors when they told me there was nothing that I could do to heal other than take the medication to slow down the disease process.

And I say unfortunately, because I did that for 11 years. So I’m a little bit of a slow learner. I certainly know better now. At the end of that 11 years, as I already had kind of mentioned, life got smaller and smaller. And Katie, just like you, I mean, we are whole humans, right? So our emotional wellness definitely ties in to our physical wellbeing. I wasn’t working anymore. It was just the energy and the pain and so my social circles got smaller and smaller and going out wasn’t fun.

And I really just was focused on saving every ounce of reserves I had for the kids. They’d go to school and I’d rest so that I could hit the morning and the afternoon, evening times. And that was about all I had as far as energy. And so luckily, about 11 years in, I was on 10 medications at the time, prescriptions, and I was continuing, unfortunately, to decline. They were trying to get me to put a handicap placard on my car.

And my youngest, who happens to be my daughter, came to me one night. She couldn’t sleep. She came into my bedroom as they do and just was so worried and said, Mom, please don’t die and leave us. And obviously I couldn’t promise that at the time, but what I did promise was that I would do everything. And that for me was like a light bulb moment because for 11 years, I was a I defined doing everything as taking every medication. Those were the only choices, I thought. And so that was literally, that moment was the beginning of my healing journey because I realized, wait a minute, that there have to be other things I can try. And if not, I’m going to die knowing I did try everything. And so thanks to her and her sharing her anxieties, I was able to start experimenting with food and meditation and lifestyle, as I know, you know, Katie, is so important.

And I’m so blessed to be off of all of my medications and symptom-free for years and years. And obviously that has fueled my passion for helping others do the same. And that’s why I love your podcast because I learned a lot through listening to podcasts and it was enough to really move my needle and get me going in the right direction. So I’m really grateful to be here.

Katie: Wow, that’s such an incredible story. And I resonate deeply with that because I’ve shared before my daughter, an interaction with her was actually a large part of my spark in being willing to finally face all the inner stuff that led to a lot of healing for me. And like you, I was told at one point that I had Hashimoto’s and that it was incurable and I would have it for the rest of my life. And like you, I’m also now not on medication and feel better than I have in my adult life. And I’m so grateful for that.

But I also know quite the journey that led to that. And I love to hear from so many women, especially in mothers now, who I feel like are really stepping into that idea of becoming their own primary healthcare provider and that leader in that for their families. And I think that’s where we’re going to actually see the change. I’ve believed for many, many years that women, especially moms are such a force of nature and that anytime we can help the moms, we help everyone and we help society and that moms have the power to create ripples throughout not just their own families, but through societal change. And it seems like your work is also very both personally influenced through that and also very aligned with that as well.

I know firsthand for me, there’s much that goes into a diagnosis of autoimmunity, but also a lot of similarities amongst kind of the autoimmune spectrum. So I would love to start unpacking some of that because what was so freeing to me in that journey was realizing when I started learning actually how much of that is within our ability to affect change in and of ourselves. And I think I do believe the best outcomes happen when we have a practitioner who’s a very involved partner and who listens to us, but I think it all starts with us taking that ownership and responsibility. So to start broad, maybe, could you walk us through your theory of autoimmunity and some of the factors that come into play when a person’s getting an autoimmune condition or diagnosis?

Julie: Absolutely. I believe there’s something that I call the inflammation spectrum, and I really think that autoimmunity is that extreme end of that spectrum. And so all chronic illness is driven by systemic ongoing inflammation. And so the gentle end of the spectrum, if you will, are the things that we consider to be “normal aging”, right? The things that people just accept as, you know, fate with the aches, the pains, maybe your brain’s moving a little slower, you’re waking up in the morning and you don’t feel rested. It’s just all that stuff that we normalize.

But that’s not actually from our body being older. It’s from that inflammation from life on this planet, taking its toll. And so when you’re, and that’s where, I call those the warning signs, right? Like if we can feel any of those things, that’s an awesome time to take some action. And like you said, become your own advocate, ask why, and start addressing some of those lifestyle factors. Because those are the whispers. And as we ignore the whispers, the signals get louder and the body starts to scream. And that’s where we end up with something like autoimmunity down the road.

And if you think of, you touched on, you know, so there’s, I don’t care what somebody’s diagnosis is like if you have an autoimmune diagnosis or you have five, there’s really not a different approach. The root causes are all the same. Those drivers are the same. And it’s, it’s, if we not meaning every person has the same kind of hierarchy of, of drivers, but we know that when we find what’s causing that inflammation, we can heal, right? We support the body and it’ll heal. That’s how it’s made. It’s miraculous.

Katie: Yeah, I think of the words of another guest who really stuck with me and I love it. She talked about the body’s innate. It is wired only for healing. And even the things we think of as symptoms are actually our body having a healing response. It’s just often it either lacks something that it needs or we’re giving it too much of something to deal with. But she reframed it. She’s like, especially with autoimmune disease, it’s easy to fall in that trap of thinking like my body’s out to get me. But she’s like, no, if your body wanted to get you, it could kill you instantly. It’s always on your side. And it is so helpful.

Julie: It is. It’s information and it takes work. If you’re at that point where you’ve got, you know, full blown autoimmunity and it’s interfering with your life, it takes it takes work. It’s part of the work that I do with my clients. I know you’ve done the work. That’s a huge part of the healing journey is, you know, our body is on our side and we are our body and our body is us. So there’s no, you know, you, me, enemy. But it is easy to fall into that when you’re not well and don’t know how to get better.

Katie: And I love that you call them the drivers of inflammation and that there can be many, but they’ll often have the same result, but it’ll express differently in each of us based on our individuality. I think this is a recurring theme in health that I’m excited to see is the focus on the personalization and individualization, but also the focus on the kind of universal common things that we as humans need. And so can you break down some of those drivers for us and bring some awareness to what people may not realize could actually be some of these drivers of inflammation in modern life?

Julie: You are absolutely. I think one of the biggest drivers, and I personally really do think this is people ask me all the time, you know, why are autoimmune numbers just getting exponentially higher? And how come kids have I remember when I was diagnosed, everybody was like, oh, my gosh, you’re so young. Now I think you’re lucky to make it into your mid thirties without an autoimmune diagnosis. And I really think toxins are just a tremendous part of that. And I know, Katie, you do a lot of work around that and help us reduce them.

But I definitely think and when I say toxins, it’s not just chemicals. It’s the fun things like chronic stress. And often it’ll be something, you know, could be the medications. Like I know a lot of the medications I took were absolutely toxic. Foods, processed food is huge. I mean, I think that you can’t like, separate one from the other. Like if you’re not eating real food, your body anything your body doesn’t recognize and sees as you know, a threat is what I would consider a toxin and processed food, especially ultra processed food is top of the list.

And then you can’t extract, you know, well, then there’s glyphosate and all the things. And I think that that’s a huge driver. We do. Some people, like you said, I kind of I call it rocks. Like we looked under a certain we’re always looking for certain things, right? What are toxin levels? What is stress like? what are you eating? Are you sleeping? Are you moving? Are you sweating? For many, infections are a big problem with autoimmunity.

And then the reality is it’s not so much the infection. I’ll pick on Epstein-Barr because that’s a common driver. Almost a lot of people have been exposed to Epstein-Barr. And if you do labs, you may see, you know, yeah, they had been exposed, but it’s not active. It’s because the body’s doing its job. And so even when you have something like an infection as a driver, none of it is in isolation, right? Well, That person’s body was already at a place where it couldn’t properly fight the infection.

Lyme is kind of is the same way in the co-infections. So we have to look at all of them and then everyone has kind of their own hierarchy of, okay, you know, we need to really prioritize this. Obviously, if you have an active infection, you need help kicking the active infection, but you’re not done. It’s not like, oh, here’s an antibiotic and you’re finished, right, or an antti-fungal and you’re done. Like you need to figure out why your terrain which usually goes back to gut health. Allowed that to become such a big problem.

Katie: That’s such a great point because as you’re explaining, people will encounter things like Lyme or Epstein-Barr or even mold exposure, short-term mold exposure. Those are common things but some people are able to encounter that, their body mounts the appropriate response and then when that’s removed, they’re fine. And some people seem to have this much more lingering response. And I’ve had people talk about this even in relation to joint health and the response getting out of hand and that leading to joint problems. And even if you replace the joint, you’re not addressing the inflammatory problem. So it’s likely to still happen again or happen somewhere else.

And it seems like this is also a common story where a person often won’t just get one autoimmune disease, they’ll get the cascade of them or they’ll deal with one and then another will pop up and it becomes a game of whack-a-mole of sorts until we get to it. And it seems like maybe the antidote there, the common relating factor like you’re talking about is that inflammation. And then if we can, of course, like you said, go after whatever the acute thing is as well. If you have an active infection that’s important to deal with and at the same time to deal with whatever is contributing to that inflammation on a more systemic level that gives the body, back to the point of the body being geared for healing, it gives it the best ability to mount the appropriate healing response.

Julie: Yes, absolutely. And it is this balance of both, right? We need to remove the blocks and we need to support the body’s natural ability.

Katie: Are there any thing that you would put in the category of sort of like universal beneficial protocols, practices, lifestyle factors, supplements, etc, that help with what I would call maybe the body’s resilience in having that appropriate healing response without having an overactive healing response or anything that are sort of like universally beneficial to humans in building that?

Julie: Well, I touched on one really big one already and I feel like it is the starting point, which is eating whole, real food. I think the bulk of the end, six to nine cups of vegetables a day. And we need those micronutrients. And I know there are so many different approaches. I know that the carnivore people all just went, ah, you know. But I really do believe the, and sometimes we need to make a drastic shift temporarily to allow for healing, but we need those micronutrients and we need to stop putting that processed fake food into our bodies so that it can rest and heal.

Katie: Yeah, that’s a great point. I think back to my experience with it where for a while I felt best on a very restrictive autoimmune protocol when I was kind of in the heat of my kind of crisis with Hashimoto’s. But I realized that I didn’t want to stay there long term. That long-term my goal was I wanted to be adaptable and to still avoid the actual not foods that we categorize as food. But to be able to within the realm of real food handle whatever I wanted to put in my body and that my body could handle it appropriately. So that became my goal and it took a while to get there. But I very firmly believe that’s what the body is designed for.

And to your point, I think all of those strategies can maybe have their place, especially in a temporary fashion in an acute way. But that like long-term to me, the goal and the focus should still be to moving to a point of being able to have a very diet, a wide range of especially micronutrients. I love that you touched on that because I can see for myself looking back, I was probably very nutrient-deficient and I was actually under eating for a long time. especially with the thyroid condition, I felt like my metabolism downshifted. And so for me, an important part of that was slowly building back into a wider range of foods with a really, really intense focus on micronutrients and then really nourishing myself through protein and healthy fats and a wide range of foods. Is that kind of the approach you take with clients as well?

Julie: It is, and I commend you. And I happen to be a certified AIP coach as well. So I am all about that there is a, a healing process. And we definitely part of that is we need to remove the inflammatory stuff while we’re boosting, you know, the other nutrients. And I love that for you, Katie, and I was one of these people, I actually stayed too restricted too long. And that becomes really common, right? When you don’t feel well for so long, and then you make changes, and they seem to be working. And it is really common for people to get stuck. And I’m always, people don’t believe me before we start an elimination that I’m going to be the one encouraging the reintroductions. But then by the time they feel well, they’re like, I don’t want to rock the boat. So it is so important. And both phases are important. But you know, we all think of, you know, what should we take away, right? What am I doing that’s making me sick? What should we take away? And we often overlook that we really need to be nourishing every cell of our body. So, yay for you!

Katie: Well, and like you said, diet is a big part of that. And that’s where a lot of our toxin exposure comes from. And another point of that that I speak to often is I feel like a lot of people get that part dialed in and they’ll become aware of what they eat, but then they might not as early encounter all the different other ways that toxins enter our body. And I would also categorize even our mindset and our thoughts as a potential source of toxins in that same category. But for me, this is why I got deeply into the world of personal care. And I started making all my own personal care products for years because I realized how many things that are considered foreign to the body, whether you want to categorize them as toxins or not things the body doesn’t know how to innately handle as easily are in so much of what we encounter on a daily basis from our personal care products to our cleaning products to air fresheners and chemical scents that we’re breathing all day long.

And certainly these are things that we didn’t encounter for the majority of human history that we are now encountering in drastic amounts along with plastics and so many other things. So how do you educate there? What do you kind of give people as a starting point for how to become aware and then minimize those lifestyle toxins?

Julie: Here’s where I say thank you, Katie, for you sharing your journey with us. Because I always start with my clients in the bathroom. And I do believe, you know, we can’t, going to live in a bubble somewhere is not an option, right? So it really is about reducing your toxic burden and not about, you know, we’re never going to be free of toxins. And you mentioned before, when you were talking about your journey, this idea, which should be everybody’s ultimate goal, which is resilience, right? Like you, yeah, you know, if you eat this really small diet, you’re fine, but the body should be resilient. And so it’s the same thing. And that’s where I believe if we can create a haven in our home.

Then we have that bandwidth to take those hits out and about. And I do, I have clients start in the bathroom. I really did like right away. And I start with actually two products that you make. So that’s why I said thank you. Cause I am not one who is keen on making her own personal care products. So I’m so grateful that Wellnesse is out there. But we start with toothpaste number one always, because most people are still using toothpaste with fluoride and all kinds of nasty sweeteners and chemicals. So we swap that one out right away. And the second one we look at is deodorant as well, especially antiperspirants. So we want to get the metals and all the chemicals off. And the fragrance, a lot of people they’re using what they think of that are marketed as clean. And they’re probably better than something like an antiperspirant, but they still have fragrance added. And so we just really go through and start there what’s going on in your body and then move room to room.

Katie: Yeah, this really stuck out to me when I started looking at the actual data around it because statistically, women actually experience autoimmunity in every form at a higher rate than men. And not that correlation by any means is causation, but women also use exponentially more products on our skin and our lifestyle than men do. And so I realized, oh, this is an area of a simplification can be a huge tool, but also a kind of applying the 80-20 approach, even if you can only have the bandwidth to focus on the products you use the most and just switch them out as you run out of them. That actually can reduce your toxic load quite a bit. And same thing with now, there’s great cleaning products that are an easy switch that worked us as well. And just those simple things over time, I feel like they’re often underestimated because they are so simple, but they can make a huge difference.

Julie: Well, and that I think is the only way to win the game, you know, and it can be, as we talked about stress being a toxin, it can be overwhelming to have that approach of, oh my gosh, I need to clean everything up. So I use the same approach you do. It’s as something runs out. You know, I may be encouraging people to maybe toss their toothpaste if it has fluoride and chemicals in it, but for the most part it is. It’s just a trade out as you run out kind of a process.

And the impact is tremendous. And you know, women also have more body fat, even those of us that aren’t big. and toxins are stored in fat. So, you know, we’re using all of these extra products. And I love that you mentioned the 80-20 rule because I had a client who she was willing to, she was a vegan when she met me and I was like, I’m sorry, I’m not the right coach to help you. Oh no, just tell me what to eat. Like everything was open. She was going to do everything she could to feel better. And when we got to the point where I said, you know, what kind of shampoo were you using? She said, that is not up for discussion. I’m not even going to tell you. And I was like, that is fine. You keep your shampoo because everything else you’re using is clean. So who cares, you know?

And that, I think giving ourselves that permission, this may or may not surprise you, I have a feeling not, Katie. Most people that show up at my doorstep with autoimmune diagnosis are perfectionists. And so we really do need to actively give ourselves that permission of, we’re not talking about perfect, we’re talking about just reducing exposure where we can. And like you said, those trades one by one make it really easy.

Katie: Yeah, and I think of it also, and especially like to take the stress off, that’s a huge piece of just do it as you’re able, take baby steps. But also if someone has a big toxic load, I’ve noticed, replacing things one by one actually seems like a gentler approach on the body in some ways than just massively switching everything overnight. And now your body’s like, okay, great, but now I have the bandwidth to get rid of all these toxins and I’m going to do it really quickly and you’re not going to feel great maybe in this process. So just having that grace with yourself to realize the body’s designed for healing, I’m going to give it these baby steps step by step. And it seems more sustainable also when you baby step your way into it and make habits along the way than if you try to just literally throw everything out overnight and cause yourself a whole bunch of lifestyle adaptation stress in the meantime.

I love your term that you used as well, creating a haven in the home. And I think of this especially, I use that word in relation to my bedroom a lot because I think of how much of our life we spend sleeping. And I realize while we’re sleeping, we’re not exerting active energy. We’re not having to do anything physical per se. Our body’s doing a ton. We’re not having to exert effort. And so anything I can do that improves my sleep quality, I feel like, is a worthwhile investment. And it’s one of the few areas that I feel like I have not an unlimited budget, but a much higher budget for improvement of sleep because it has such big dividends for every other area of life. And in the 700 episodes of this podcast, I’m yet to have any expert argue that sleep is not important. But I always think, especially for women, this is a great key. I’m curious, any tips you have for improving sleep quality, sleep hygiene, effectiveness of sleep since we’re going to be all sleeping anyway, how can we make it even better?

Julie: Yeah, I think, and this may not be new information for anybody. And yes, I will be 701. Sleep is essential, especially we’re talking about toxins. We detox in our sleep and our brain detoxes in our sleep. We have this system that’s a fairly newly identified system, the glymphatic system. And so if you want your brain to work 10, 20, 30, 50 years from now, you need to be getting not just enough sleep, but quality sleep.

One of my tricks and Katie, with all those kiddos, this is probably not news to you, but is routine. I mean, it is so essential and it’s the step that most people overlook as adults, right? We know we don’t want to mess with the kids routine. No, we wouldn’t do that. We need the routine as well. Those things that’ll signal your body. Hey, you know, we’re entering into that yummy phase where we’re going to be going to sleep soon. And so it doesn’t need to be, there’s nothing specific, although off of screens, all screens at least two hours before would be ideal. If not, especially, you know, then wear your blue blockers.

But so step one really is that that routine. Because even though it may feel good, we’re not catching up on sleep down the road. Like we really just getting that consistent sleep and allowing ourselves enough time. I hear all the time, you know, oh, I only need four or five hours and I’m fine. I feel fine. And that is such a rare, there are super sleepers that only need it, you know, about four hours. They’re way more rare than people tend to think. And it’s really just that people are shorting themselves.

And then the basics, right? The dark room, the cold room. People freeze in my house. I just give them extra blankets because I’m not turning the temperature hotter at night. But really making sure you’re comfortable. If your mattress isn’t comfortable, if your pillow isn’t comfortable, you need to make a change. And I’m like Katie, this is where I will save and splurge because it’s essential. It really is. It is the number one key. That’s where your healing happens.

Katie: Yeah. Well, and again, just like you, I think often the most profoundly helpful things can be dismissed because they are so simple. And I think with sleep, that is especially the case. But I think you’re right. Routine is huge for adults and often more difficult for adults because we’re the ones managing the kids’ lives to allow them to have the routine. And I get that.

But I think to your point, even just creating as much of a routine as possible around our sleep schedules, and then for me also curating the environment of my sleep or relaxation. And so that I’ve like conditioned myself that when I step into my bedroom, it’s like, it’s a deep breath. I feel that relaxation happening immediately. And then it’s the routine of I’m going to lay with my legs up on a yoga mat and get red light. And then I’m going to read for a couple of minutes in my bed with low light and all those things. It’s just like my body just knows to anticipate and I can feel myself stair stepping down into parasympathetic just through the nature of my environment because I’ve sort of gotten my environment on my side to help give it cues that my body responds to now. And that just takes a little bit of habit, but then it’s really profoundly how effective that can be.

I also always add to the list the morning side of that, the flip side being as much to avoid the bright light at night. And we want to have that calming relaxation at night. In the morning, I try to get outside as quick as possible. I found for me, especially I did go off caffeine for a while when I was in the autoimmunity phase. Now I do enjoy coffee, but I try to make sure always sunlight before screens and before caffeine. And I try to now do protein and minerals before caffeine as well. And I’ve noticed that has really made an impact on my sleep quality. So I’d love for you to speak to any daytime habits that can also improve sleep and or any of these other things we’re talking about.

Julie: Absolutely. Well, I second the people always laugh at me when they’re, when I start with morning sunlight with no, no, I said I can’t. I’m like, yep, that’s your sleep starts first thing in the morning. So I love that and I am not an anti-coffee, you know, everybody has a different journey and there are people who can handle coffee through their autoimmune journey. I would say it’s interesting, again, it’s back to basics and these are the same things that are going to help you detox, they’re going to help you heal, and they’re going to help you sleep better.

Things that are often overlooked again, because they’re so simple, like drinking enough water, making sure that you’re drinking water starting earlier in the morning. You mentioned the minerals and the protein in the morning. So many, especially women with adrenal issues that I work with, I mean, it’s amazing. Just some salt water in the morning. life changing for them, but starting that hydration process early. A lot of people that I work with aren’t great water drinkers. And then, you know, they hit the afternoon and they realize they didn’t have enough. And then they’re pounding water and then they’re up all night running to the bathroom. So we don’t want to do that. But your cells need that water.

So staying hydrated and moving. And we know exercise helps sleep. And it can be difficult to start when you’re if you’re listening to this and you’re fatigued and you’re like exercise with what energy? Just movement. I don’t even actually like the word exercise because so many people, you know think CrossFit when they hear exercise or I live outside of Boulder, everybody hears always training for something, but it can be wherever you are, just a little bit more. So a little extra walking movement. And then when you’re feeling better, do what Katie does and lift heavy stuff. Cause that’s, that’s awesome.

But all, all of that, you know, and don’t eat at least two to three hours before bedtime, just, just don’t do it. It’s, you know, we really want that rest period. And setting yourself up for things, like you mentioned red light, and that’s my, I have the lamps in my bedroom have red lights in them. And so you say, haven, and that’s what I just, soon as I turn those lights on at night, I can just feel my body sigh, right? Ah, it just depends on what it is for you, but getting away from, you know, blue light in the morning, we have to go back to nature, right? We’re meant to get blue light in the morning, and we’re meant to get red light in the evening. If you think of sunrise and sunset, it’s really not rocket science.

So, and you mentioned the idea of, you know, we’re so focused on keeping kids on schedule if we have kids and honoring, taking care of them and honoring them. But we have to remember when it comes to our stuff, like we are in charge of our routine as well. And so it’s a process, but like you said, when we create these habits and then choose our non-negotiables, it gets easy.

Katie: Yeah. To your point, as a follow-up on the exercise component, I’m obviously now at this point a huge fan of especially resistance training and sprinting and things. But when I was in my healing phase, I was very gentle with myself and my body needed a tremendous amount of rest as I was recovering. So to your point, I moved, but I really, I would say I did not exercise. But that technical term, that whole time, I was not lifting heavy weights, I was not doing sprints, I was not doing high intensity, I was walking and maybe gently treading water or swimming. And I was purely going by the metric of what is helping my body feel energetic and restored. And if it felt like it was depleting me at all, I didn’t do it during that phase.

And I think that, so if anybody’s feeling guilty about like, I can’t do CrossFit, I can’t do anything hard right now, maybe that’s your body telling you that’s exactly what’s perfect for you right now. So don’t give yourself guilt or stress over that.

This episode is sponsored by Ritual and their essential women’s vitamins and women’s prenatal. I’ve been able to personally experience Ritual and their really well-rounded multivitamins supplements specifically geared towards women. And I wanted to share a little bit of my experience and research about them today. I love that their 100% ingredients are made tradable, which means that they share their sources, their studies, and their suppliers. You can actually see and verify the supply chain!
They are non-GMO product verified. They are gluten and major-allergen-free. And they’re vegan. And they’re a certified B Corp, which means that they’re holding themselves accountable long-term, not only to think about their company’s financial health, but also the health of other people and the planet. They also make it easy with a subscription-based free shipping model that gives you a 30-day money-back guarantee all the time.
I wanted to highlight their prenatal today for anyone who is in that phase of life of considering pregnancy or currently pregnant. I also took prenatals after pregnancy for a while to rebuild nutrient stores. But their prenatal is made traceable and uses vegan, bioavailable, and clinically studied ingredients that are important before and during pregnancy, specifically nature-identical Choline and clinically studied methylfolate to support baby’s neural tube development before and during pregnancy. They also have omega-3-DHA to support brain development during pregnancy. They’re also, of course, non-GMO and gluten and allergen-free.
I also love that in both cases, they’re essential and they’re prenatal. It’s a delayed-release capsule, so it’s designed to dissolve later in the small intestine, which is the ideal place for us to absorb nutrients, so these are potentially much more bioavailable. They also have essenced capsules, which means they taste citrusy or minty, and they’re designed to be gentle on the stomach, which is especially helpful during phases like pregnancy. Right now you can visit ritual.com/wellnessmama and save 40% on your first month of Ritual. That will be applied automatically at checkout. So again, that’s ritual.com/wellnessmama and get 40% off your first month that will be applied at checkout.

This podcast is brought to you by one of my go-to skincare companies, which is Alitura. They have a whole host of products, but I wanted to share a few that I really love. Their core initial product, their Clay Mask, is the best mask I’ve ever used. It’s one that’s part of my regular routine. It includes a huge number of really beneficial ingredients. It was developed when the founder had a terrible accident and had scarring on his face. He developed this to help himself get past the scars and it worked phenomenally. And now many thousands of people have had success with scarring, with acne scars, and with just improving their skin’s elasticity and look.
But they have so many other amazing new products as well. I also love their Gold Serum, which is a super nutritious skin feeding serum that makes my skin feel amazing. And I love to sleep with this at night. And then their newest product I am in love with, it’s called Meteorite Scrub. And I keep this in my shower. I have not found anything this effective until now at exfoliating my skin and removing any dry or rough skin and leaving just really nourished, moisturized skin underneath. Those are my three go-to’s.
But I love that every product they have is pure and made with organic ingredients that are sourced from all over the world, including a lot of them are sourced from Hawaii, but they really delve into their sourcing. They also harvest their ingredients no more than two months prior to making the products, which leads to more potent formulas and fresher products that go beyond industry standards. They package in these beautiful dark glass bottles that are sourced from the Netherlands. So light is blocked from impacting their formulas. And that special glass is used in place of synthetic ingredient preservatives so they can keep top grade quality without any unsavory preservatives. They also only use active ingredients. So their products don’t have any fillers, meaning there’s nothing that’s diluting the potency. So you’re getting these high caliber products 100% of the time. And that’s, again, above and beyond the industry standards. So they really do the research, the sourcing, and have incredible products. You can check all of them out at alitura.com/wellnessmama and the code wellnessmama will give you a discount. That’s alitura.com/wellnessmama and make sure to use the code wellnessmama to get a discount.

And I think that’s a springboard also into what’s become a little bit of a soapbox for me, which is the mindset around all of this. Because I firmly believe that our thoughts actually can be a huge source of toxins or a huge source of healing. And I know I can recognize looking back, I had thought processes that were not serving me things like why is this so hard? Why can’t I lose weight? Why do I feel so bad? And if you give your subconscious those questions, it will give you answers to those questions. But it turns out those weren’t the actual questions I was hoping to find answers to. Those were sort of helplessness talking.

And that when I could switch my questions to how can I make this more fun? How can I feel more restored? How do I best love and support my body? I started getting much better answers because I was asking much better questions. And I now believe very firmly if all we can shift at first is our mindset, if we’re in a place of depletion and all that’s all we can work on, that alone can be absolutely profound. Maybe do those baby steps, remove the toxins as you do it, give yourself the grace to rest, but pay attention to your thoughts during that. Because I really think if we shift into that place of self love and nourishment, that sort of activates healing in a really profound way.

Julie: It does, Katie, it’s exponential. And it’s almost as if you know exactly my flow when I work with clients, because this is where we start. Several years ago, this was part of the program, and it took me experience and time to realize, we need to be front-loading this. Like, this is science. This is real. Like, we know our body hears our thoughts, but what you may not know is that it takes them as truth. Like, even if you have a thought, a negative thought, and you know it’s not accurate, the body doesn’t get that part of the message. It only feels the thought.

And so this is where if we can start to shift that, you’re right, it makes healing just exponential. We heal so much quicker. And I would offer for listeners to back up a step and just start to notice, because most of these thoughts we’re not even aware of as we’re having them.

One thing I love to do with clients, that I have every client do, is create a positive. what I call healing statement. I used to call it a mantra, but those are just sounds. So, but, you know, ask yourself the question, what does my body need to hear? Like, what would be amazing if my body believed? Make that your statement and say that to yourself a few times a day, even if you don’t totally believe it. Again, you don’t have to believe it for yourselves to believe it. And that will start to kind of what I call front load that healing and really get you on your way. And it is a part, this is the, I think, most important. And we can fix diet a lot quicker than mindset. It is totally a process. It’s an ongoing process. We’re never done. But it is, I believe, the biggest piece of everybody’s healing journey. And it’s why somebody can read a book and eat the right things and, you know, be careful with toxins and do all of those active steps and not heal, if they’re not working on the mindset and the self-love. Absolutely.

Katie: Yeah, a fully in alignment on that. And like you said, it is a journey. It certainly is not a thing that just typically happens overnight. Though you do hear those stories of people who have those kind of seemingly miraculous shifts overnight. But for me, it was a journey. But I found in that journey that when my mindset did shift, it became so much easier to do all the other things. Because when you’re operating from self-love, you want to nourish your body. You want to get enough sleep. You’re not having to use willpower to do those things. Those become innate. And so I feel like that process is so worthwhile.

And I actually, a tip I would give, I kept a journal during that time. And every night I would journal things I was grateful for. And I would also challenge myself to write down one thing that was different every day that I appreciated about my body. And just nurturing appreciation of it, it made me like tune into that so much more. And now I love to have that record of seeing how that mindset shifted throughout that time. And again, it seems like very simple things, but that made for me, absolutely profound difference.

Julie: It’s huge and I love that you mentioned that the gratitude journal is a really big part of it and how brilliant and I do this too. I never worked with you. I don’t know how you know all the things, but we start with gratitude and then I have people include something because like we talked about before, we need to feel connected to our bodies and that we’re on the same team. And so, when we keep a gratitude journal, we become more aware of more things we’re grateful for.

And so, it’s the same thing when we include things we’re grateful for our body. Like you said, you just notice with this gratitude and joy and yeah, you do, it does really change even if you’re not actively thinking of it that way, your mindset of like, why would I eat that thing that’s going hurt me? That’s not self-love. I’m not going to do that. And it really does, when you get to that point, you become an even better mother, partner, friend, all the things. And so it’s really not only essential for our healing, but, and you have kids, like this is, this is the work I want my kids to be doing, you know, and yours are even younger. So they get, it’s the same thing with the diet, right? This is that being the change. This is what you’re raising your children with, and that’s what’s going to make the world a better place.

Katie: Yeah, I love that. And I think anything like you, I think of anything I can learn that I can also give to my kids as a foundational thing earlier. I always am so grateful for those things. And so I actually do this as a practice with my kids now. At some point during the day, I will randomly be like, hey, three things you’re grateful for and highlights of the day. And I feel like it’s sort of, they’ve now started to pay attention all day to what am I grateful for? What are highlights? Because they know I’m going to eventually ask them that. And so now they’re looking for the things they’re grateful for, which is a mindset shift. And just like all these other things, by us making these shifts, by us getting the extra toxins out of the house, by focusing on nourishing food, our kids are getting an exponential benefit of that because it’s happening at a younger age for them. And I think that’s how we’re going to start to hopefully see the statistics change and the sort of pendulum shift. And maybe we’ll see these rates start to go down instead of up every decade. And I think that again starts with moms.

Are there any other factors to be aware of, external factors in the home or in our lifestyle to be aware of when it comes to this? And I know we’re going to have more we could talk about than we will have time. I’ll put all of your resources in the show notes. I know you have many, but any other external factors that you love to address with people.

Julie: Um, you know, so we talked about products, products you’re using on yourself in your home. You mentioned plastics and those kinds of things. Um, I would say EMFs are an often overlooked just part of our everyday lives right now. And again, the baby steps, you can do little things like turn your wifi off at night when you’re sleeping. I’m somebody who puts my, I put mine on a timer because otherwise I won’t remember to do it every night. Um, but, but things like being aware, um, molds and mycotoxins are, are just seem to be a tremendous problem. Um, A), because there’s so many older buildings, but also B) because newer buildings are so airtight, um, that’s a, the whole nother problem. So if you’re, you know, I would say filtering your water would be number one, filtering your air, maybe number two, but just be, just like you’re aware of becoming aware of your thoughts, be aware of. What is going on in your home? Might there be molds and mycotoxins?

Open your windows for a half hour, an hour every day. We think of outside air is where the toxic air is, but the air in our homes can be way more toxic than what we’re exposed to outside. So just making sure that you get fresh air is huge.

But it’s the awareness, and again, it’s the journey. You don’t have to run out and get air filters and everything today. Just notice and prioritize in your home. What is it? I’m fortunate, we built this house, so I’ve had the opportunity to build it with a whole house water filter. life-changing for me, but you don’t have to do that. You can get a filter in the kitchen and put a filter on your shower and it’s not that expensive. So I just say, just look around where, you know, where can you up level? and just take it step by step by step.

Katie: And I know people may also be wondering, because hopefully we’ve given people a lot of hope, and I wish I could just gift to anyone in autoimmunity the feeling of the other side, because I’m so grateful for it. But I would guess many people are wondering, like, if I’m in this right now, how long will it take to start feeling better? Because I also know that there is a positive snowball effect here, and that once we start feeling better, it’s so much easier to keep feeling better and to keep improving. But how long do you find with your patients that you, before that initial snowball kind of starts?

Julie: Absolutely, and here’s where everybody’s different, right? My client who’s 20 years down the road with a whole list of diagnoses, it may take her longer, if you don’t know what your drivers are. But just starting with the things that we talked about today, with food and toxins and mindset and stress management, really that needle can move. We have a program that’s a 30-day program and the results people get within that 30 days is spectacular and it’s because they’re reducing their inflammation, right? And so there is a range. I say, if you’re somebody that is on that gentle end of the inflammation spectrum, or maybe you’re still eating processed foods and you haven’t started this cleaning up part of your journey yet, you’re going to get results quickly.

And like you said, it doesn’t, I’m not saying you’re going to feel like completely healed in 30 days, but as Katie mentioned, once that inflammation starts to come down, one of the big factors is energy goes up, right? Your sleep is better and all of a sudden, You can do more of the things. And so it does not take long. It takes a long time. It can take a long time to fully heal because it took usually a long time to get sick. but we can feel noticeably better within the first few weeks.

Katie: And I think the beauty of that, if you can approach that like 30-day challenge as an experiment or a challenge instead of… trying to think of it as a permanent lifestyle shift. I feel like that keeping the actually short-term focus with a deadline can be really helpful for that mindset because then you’re in a place of curiosity and you’re going to reevaluate it 30 days, you’re going to notice the changes and you don’t feel the overwhelm of, I’m never going to eat certain foods again. I’m never going to do it, which is very hard from a mindset perspective. And so I think like if you can give yourself just little 30 day experiments and challenges that are steps on your path, that makes the process much more fun and also much more achievable without that stress component hitting.

Because I think that’s the other thing to guard against is the more we learn, sometimes we can get in that overwhelmed fatigue state, so much information. And so anyway, that we can keep it into manageable steps seems really helpful. And also to your point, I think there’s the realization that the journey is never done. And that’s also kind of the beautiful part that you may get to a place of feeling wonderful and you’re still on the journey and we all are for this whole life. And that’s beautiful.

Julie: It is, it’s amazing. And I always say like every six months, I kind of look over my shoulder still and realize I feel stronger, better, more energetic than I did six months ago. And I really, if you had asked me several years ago, I would have said, oh, I’m better. So it’s this process. And I love that you said, it can be really overwhelming. And so the more we can make it fun and doable, the better. And then that’s where you get to figure out for yourself where you want to go deeper. and where you’re like, oh, that’s not for me, because we are all individual.

Katie: Yes. And I think that that focus on the individual side is so encouraging in health right now. And I’m so excited to see that. I’m so excited for people like you who are those great partners with people in their health, especially for many of the people I hear from who are listening, who are doing so good at being their own primary healthcare provider and who care about their daily habits and who are taking that responsibility and also looking for the expertise of people who can give them the missing pieces. And so I think that’s where actually the best I know, like I said, you have many educational resources around this for you guys listening on the go. All of that will be at wellnessmama.fm so you can find it and keep learning. But a couple of questions I also love to ask that are somewhat self-serving. The first being if there’s a book or number of books that have profoundly impacted you personally and if so, what they are and why.

Julie: This one was such a tricky one for me because I’ve been an avid reader my whole life. And so the answer is yes, many, many, but the one I’m going to pull out of my hat today, directly correlates to my healing journey, which was, and it’s an older book. Dave Asprey’s, The Bulletproof Diet book was the book that actually started my healing journey. And so if people aren’t already eating some kind of a specialized diet, I think it’s a great place. I think he did a really good job of including science and explanations, but he doesn’t say it. It’s a elimination diet. And for me, it really jump started my journey and led to, for me, his coaching program, which led to functional medicine, which just started that snowball. So I’ll give him that credit today.

Katie: I love that. And I’ll say you are an inspiration to hear your story and you not just reversing the autoimmunity, but now absolutely thriving and seeming like you have just boundless energy, which I love. And I love that you are now helping so many other people to achieve the same thing. And so I’m curious, any parting advice that you have for the listeners today that could be related to something we’ve talked about or life advice that you find helpful?

Julie: I’m going to go with a new one. It ties right in. Focus on joy. Where can you find joy? Where can you put joy into your day and into your life? Because as people lose energy and don’t feel well, that tends to get backburnered. And joy is healing. Create some joy. We don’t, it doesn’t just happen, right? It’s like the whole, I don’t have time to exercise. No, you have to create it. So create some joy.

Katie: I love that. I think that’s a perfect place to wrap up and you are such a joyful person and a joy to talk to. I’m very grateful we got to have this conversation and thank you so much for your time.

Julie: Katie, thank you so much.

Katie: And thanks as always to all of you for listening and sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us today. We’re both so grateful that you did, and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the Wellness Mama Podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

rana00

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *