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The Wellness Mama Podcast

A Health, Alternative Health and Fitness podcast featuring Katie Wells
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The Wellness Mama Podcast is a weekly series covering the topics of holistic health, real food, stress, sleep, fitness, toxins, natural living, DIY, parenting, motherhood, and other health tips to give you actionable solutions to improve your family’s life! Brought to you by Katie Wells of WellnessMama.com

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282: An Electric Approach to Fitness, Rehabilitation, and Brain Health With NeuFit
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd">Today’s fascinating guest is Garrett Salpeter, dubbed a “health engineer” by many. He invented a patented device that makes the benefits of neuro bioelectric stimulation more accessible to everyone. His system for improving the body (starting with the brain) is called NeuFit (think “neurological fitness”). This device and his program has helped people in chronic pain or injury, or those who simply want to improve overall performance. He works with people in almost all situations, including those in wheelchairs, athletes in all of the major sports, the Olympics, and much more, to help people get out of pain, improve performance, and sometimes avoid surgery.I first met Garrett in Austin, and since I’m geek for new technologies and learning more about the body and how it works, we couldn’t stop talking! I also had the chance to try the NeuFit. I’m delighted to share him and all of his knowledge with you today… see the resources below for how to find this technology in an office near you.Episode Highlights With NeuFitFactors that slow down the healing process after an injury (and how to speed it up instead)How an electrical current could actually be good for you!Differences between this device and other electrical stimulation devicesThe promising science showing that enhancing the body’s internal electric fields may protect against diseaseHow heart rate variability is an important marker that can tell you a lot about your healthBenefits for the parasympathetic nervous system and calming the “fight or flight mode”How bioelectric devices can complement your next chiropractic or physical therapy sessionWays athletes can use NeuFit to maximize workouts and recoveryAnd more!Resources We MentionNeuFit deviceFind a NeuFit location near youBook: The Body ElectricTerry WahlsBen GreenfieldMore From Wellness Mama147: Using Heart Rate Variability With HeartMath to Stop Stress & Improve Nervous System Health170: Using Biological Medicine & Uncommon Therapies to Help With Chronic Conditions267: Solving Joint Pain & Why Sports Aren’t Good for Kids With Hunter Fitness178: A Pediatrician Explains How EMF Kill Switches Can Protect Our Children238: Using Neuroplasticity to Rewire Nervous System or Brain Disorders With Carol Garner-Houston252: How to Activate Peak Brain Performance With Neuroscientist Dr. Andrew HillDid you enjoy this episode? What questions do you have about NeuFit or bioelectric stimulation in general? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well. Read TranscriptKatie: Hello, and welcome to the “Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com. And I’m here today with Garrett Salpeter, who is known as the health engineer and inventor of the patented Neubie device. And I met him in Austin, where he has a facility where he helps people. We’re gonna talk a lot about that today. But Garrett has taken his education in engineering and neuroscience, and applied it into this fascinating system for improving the body. It’s grown into what we now know as NeuFit, which combines an advanced understanding of physiology with the best practices from diverse training and therapeutic practices to push the process of using technology to accelerate them further. He works with people in almost all situations, including those in wheelchairs, athletes in all of the major sports, the Olympics, and much more, to help people get out of pain, improve performance, and sometimes avoid surgery. And we’re gonna talk about how today. So, welcome, Garrett, and thanks for being here.Garrett: Thank you, Katie. It’s a pleasure. I’m honored to be here and excited to dive into this conversation.Katie: Well, I always love to hear about new technologies and our new understanding of the body, and how we’re able to use that to really improve things on an exponential level. So, to start, can you walk us through what the NeuFit is, like, what it’s physically doing?Garrett: Yeah. Absolutely. So, the system that we call NeuFit is centered around this unique technology that the Neubie device, which is just an acronym for neuro bioelectric stimulation. And it has some unique effects on the nervous system. You know, NeuFit, neurological fitness is kind of built into our name, where we’re focused. And with traditional electrical stimulation, just to kind of set the context here. Typically, you’re sending a current into the body and you’re causing muscles to contract, and you’re really focused on the muscles and, you know, there can be some benefit to that just the same as going to the gym and lifting weights, and doing things with your muscles. You know, over tens of thousands of reps, you make changes and adaptations, and positive things can happen.However, this is a paradigm shift because what we’re doing here with this technology is tapping into the nervous system in a new way, almost bypassing the muscles and going right into the nervous system, so that we can make changes much more quickly. So we’re focused on neuromuscular reeducation is kind of the term for this. And when we work at that level, we’re able to help people make changes much more quickly. So, you know, if someone listening to this is trying to recover from a shoulder injury, for example, a lot of times, it’s the movement patterns of the body that create protective patterns around that injured area that slow down the healing process and restrict movement.And by kind of going a layer deeper, more towards that underlying cause at the neuromuscular level, we’re able to find where the underlying issues are, help people make these changes much faster, whether it’s faster recovery from injury, getting more out of their workouts. And so, really the distinction is, you know, this type of technology, it’s direct current as opposed to alternating current, and really the way in which it’s applied is the big difference.Katie: That makes sense. And I’d love to go a little deeper on that because I’ve done some research into things like PEMF or, for instance, the book I’ve mentioned on this podcast before, “The Body Electric,” and just this understanding that we’re starting to have of just how electric the body is. So, when you say it’s direct current versus an alternating current, can you explain a little bit more on that? What is the type of current and how is that impacting us on a cellular level?Garrett: Yes. And that’s awesome. I’m so glad that you have covered that. That is one of my favorite books of all time, and absolutely informs our work and my thought process, and it’s been one of the influences that has guided me over the last 15 or so years that I’ve been really, really exploring these topics and, you know, working very deeply in this field. So the electrical system of the body, absolutely, guides almost everything relevant and important about the body, from how the muscles work to how the digestive organs work, to the heart rate and blood pressure, and control of everything: psychologically, energetically, metabolically, hormonally.So, the nervous system and the underlying electric signaling is so vitally important. And the system of the body, underlying system of the body definitely does work on direct current. So, the signals are going in one direction. There’s one pathway from the brain out to the body, and there’s a separate pathway from the body back up to the brain. So, those are both direct current pathways. Alternating current is what we have in our walls of the buildings and what comes out of the outlet. So, it’s a signal alternates back and forth. So, if you look at the electrons, instead of just going in one direction around a loop and a current, they’re oscillating back and forth. And when that happens in the body, if you use an alternating current signal, you end up creating kind of an unnatural combination of contractions because the signal is going up and down, and up and down, and back and forth, and back and forth.And so, you end up… When you get it up to a high enough level to really make a difference in the body, you end up creating what’s called co-contraction, or where muscles on both sides are gonna be fighting against each other. And so, if you use traditional alternating current devices, you train the body to move, as if you were driving your car and hitting the throttle and the brake pedal at the same time. You’re getting this confusing message. And that can certainly be problematic because if you train the body in this way, and it adapts to that, you’re gonna end up teaching the body to resist its own movements and waste energy. So, at best, you’re getting less efficient, at worst, possibly even setting the body up for injury, at least increasing the risk of injury.So, using direct current is important from that perspective for efficient movement. And then also, you know, if you’re talking about “The Body Electric” and PEMF, and the work that we’re doing at NeuFit, having direct current is vitally important, especially, as we learn more and more about these underlying electrical signaling mechanisms and how the changes in electric fields promote healing, promote regeneration, promote growth and repair within the body, and how, you know, as those internal electric fields tend to diminish, there’s work out there showing that that actually is a precursor for disease. And being able to enhance the body’s inherent or internal electric fields actually is protective against disease, and supports health and vitality for a very long healthspan and lifespan.Katie: Got it. And so, okay, on a practical level, you have a facility in Austin, and then I believe practitioners can also purchase this device and use it in their own facilities. Is that correct?Garrett: Yes. Absolutely. So, we have both. We offer rehabilitation services for everyone from, you know, people who have been paralyzed or have various neurological challenges, all the way through regular, everyday, healthy people who just have some pain or some injury and through elite athletes. Then we also have a whole range of people who come in for training as well. So, they’re able to use this technology to help enhance muscle activation and recruitment, and get more bang for the buck in their workouts.And then, just as you said, yes, we have now been offering this technology to other rehab and fitness businesses around the country. So there’s several physical therapy clinics, chiropractic clinics, some gyms, other medical offices, and then universities and sports teams are using it. And it’s been really cool to see that they’ve been able to duplicate the awesome outcomes that we’ve been seeing here in Austin. They’ve been able to, not only duplicate that, but expand on it and reach even more people. And it’s been awesome to see that new community of practitioners emerge over the last year-and-a-half.Katie: That’s awesome. And so, I’ve gotten to try it at an event in Austin, actually. And I’m guessing, like, probably, because you were slammed, there were so many people that wanted to try your device at the event. I’m curious, when someone walks into your facility, are people coming in with a specific thing, like, “It’s my knee and I don’t wanna have surgery,” or are people coming in, like, for workouts? Basically, what’s the process, like, when someone comes into you?Garrett: Yeah. Absolutely. So, usually, it is for a specific thing. You know, some pain or some injuries has motivated someone to want to address it, and now they’ve either heard about us from their doctor or been referred by a friend. And, you know, they’re kind of open to a new way of doing things. And so, people will come in, and what we wanna start with is our evaluation process. So, one of the cool things that we’re able to do with this technology, you know, because of some of these differences and how it impacts the nervous system, it actually allows us to do this assessment process where we scan around or map the body. So we’re actually using one of the electrodes and scanning around on the body.And based on how someone responds, we can usually tell, in the first session, where the underlying issues are, what isn’t working properly that’s causing them to stay stuck in the rut of being in pain, or what is not working well enough and might be an impediment to their healing process, and might be standing in the way or at least slowing down their healing process if they’re recovering from an injury. So, that assessment process is very valuable for us because it informs the rest of our process. And it’s usually very illuminating for the patient or client going through it because, in many ways, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of it. They can feel, “Oh, yeah. Wow. There’s something right there. And yes, it’s definitely different. It’s definitely something we need to work on.” So, people tend to really like that process, even if it’s not pleasant.It can feel like finding a trigger point or something, and so it can, you know, for a moment, be uncomfortable. But overall, people really tend to appreciate the precision with which we can find some of these underlying issues. And then, of course, we wanna actually do some work in that first visit as well. So, even in just a few minutes of treatment, beginning this process of neuromuscular reeducation, after we have found these issues, you know, we start working on them. And then usually, within that first session, people notice some tangible improvement. And that’s really our goal for each session. Every time someone comes in, if they’re investing the time and money to come work with us or another practitioner, you know, we wanna have some result to show for it. So, that’s our goal is to have some tangible progress each session.And on the rehab and training side the sessions feel somewhat similar in that you have, you know, some electrical current going through the body, combined with different movements and various progressions of different types of exercise, and tailored for whatever the individual wants to do. So, there’s definitely a very active component. You’re not just lying on a table having something done to you. It’s an active component. There’s movement involved. And using the electric current, while the movement is happening allows us to dramatically accelerate the results and the healing process or the training and adaptation process.Katie: That’s so cool. And so, are you finding that other practitioners, that this could be used in conjunction with traditional physical therapy with chiropractic? Who’s typically kind of using this as a therapy?Garrett: Yeah. So, it definitely can be a complement or an adjunct to traditional physical therapy, chiropractic, other medical treatments. And you know, at the time that we’re speaking today, the technology is being used in about 80 facilities around the country. And, you know, certainly, that number is growing, as more and more people are learning about it. So, I’m eager to see that number, and of course grow and allow us to reach even more people with this technology. And it’s used in a variety of these places, where some physical therapists have shifted to where they’re using this with everybody, and it’s one of the primary things that they use, others still do some manual work that they’re passionate about doing and enjoy. And, you know, they continue to use it because it has benefits also. And then they use this in conjunction with that.Some chiropractors use it in combination with adjustments. And they’ve found that using the Neubie, particularly, before an adjustment, can have a profound impact on reducing the protective tension. So, if they’re going to adjust a patient, and that patient is guarding, and has all this protective tension, it’s tough to get a proper adjustment to get them the force into the right joints that you’re looking to move in the spine or elsewhere. And so, doing a treatment like this first, even in just a few minutes, can really loosen up all of the tissues there so they can get the adjustment that they’re looking for. So, we’ve heard some really positive feedback about how it can work into what other practitioners are doing.Katie: I’m also really curious, as I’ve learned more about the electrical aspects of the body, something I track all the time is heart rate variability because there’s a lot of really cool data, I’m sure you know, showing that that’s tied to longevity and overall health. And you want that number to be higher, when possible. So I’m curious, because of the electrical component of this, do you guys see any changes over time on things like heart rate variability?Garrett: So, I love that you are talking about this and working this into your dialogue, and the course of these podcasts and your other content because I agree with you. I think that is a very significant marker, something that we should definitely be looking at, something that definitely has a very high priority in the health conversation. So, I’m really pleased that you’re prioritizing that as well. And thankfully, we’ve seen profound changes in heart rate variability. So, we have just anecdotally, even in our office, and we have dozens of people who wear, whether it be an Oura ring, or a Whoop band, or other wearable technology, they see, you know, both right after a session and long term over time, improvements in their HRV. So, there’s both an acute and chronic benefit, if you will or, like, a short and long term benefit where HRV definitely goes up.And I think that speaks to a couple things. One is definitely the underlying electrical components, that just strengthening the electrical potential of the body, you know, can have a profoundly positive effect on everything neurological, including HRV. And then also, specifically, there’s a very important concept that I think is often misunderstood, that the body actually has to be stimulated in order to recover. So, we think, in conventional wisdom, and it kind of makes sense, we think if we wanna recover well, we need to rest. But if you really look at it a layer deeper, if we’re just resting, you know, if we’re just sitting on the couch all day, the signal to the body is one of down-regulation. The signal is, “I don’t have much to do to today, we can down-regulate the metabolism.”We can reduce the rate at which some of these neural pathways are firing. You know, we can down-regulate protein synthesis because we’re not gonna need as much muscle. And obviously, you know, one day of sitting on the couch, doesn’t send everything haywire. I’m not trying to imply that. But there is a little bit of a nuance here that I think is kind of a bit of a misconception, where we actually have to stimulate the body to recover. The recovery systems of the body, the hormonal and enzymatic releases, and heart rate variability, all of these underlying pieces of the recovery puzzle are working at their greatest level, right after a workout, right after something that stimulates them to happen.And so, a lot of times, we think, you know, we’re working out, like, we’re going for a run, for example, and we think that, “Oh, I’m doing this thing that’s so healthy and I’m gonna get all these tremendous health benefits from it.” However, if you go and run and, you know, you’re panting and breathing through your mouth, and you’re slouching in your third position, the signal is actually one of training the body to be more sympathetic dominant, or get kind of locked in that stress or fight or flight state. And so, you don’t actually get enough of that signal to cause the shift into high heart rate variability after that workout. And so, how you train is important and getting enough neurological stimulation is important.And so, when we do that same… Well, if that same person who was going to run for 45 or 60 minutes, and was mouth breathing, and in sub-optimal posture, you know, if they ended up training their body to have high cortisol levels, and low heart rate variability, and more of these markers of, you know, sympathetic fight or flight state. They come and do a 30-minute workout with us on the Neubie, and all of a sudden, their HRV shoots up because they’re getting so much more neurological stimulation. They’re getting so much more input to their brain, that the brain actually gets the point, you know, trips the alarm. And it’s actually enough to reach that threshold, where the brain says, “Oh, yes, something happened. And oh, yes, now it is time to switch into recovery mode.” And so, it’s going to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. It doesn’t just, you know, happen by default. It has to be actively engaged. And so, that will trigger the brain to actively engage the parasympathetic nervous system. So, I think that’s another important piece of it. And, you know, kind of explains one of those profound effects that we’ve seen.Katie: So, what are some of the results that you’ve seen from this? I’m curious because you talk about the nervous system side, for instance, what about people who have lost movement or function in some way through the nervous system, like MS patients, for instance? Is this helpful for people like that or people in wheelchairs? Can it be helpful for them?Garrett: So, thankfully, we’ve seen that it can be. And I just wanna be clear that, in anything I’m saying, you know, we’re not claiming to be able to cure MS or cure spinal cord injuries, or anything like that. What I’m saying is that the advanced form of neuromuscular reeducation that we are able to provide has helped improve function for many of these people. So, you know, it’s been a really powerful and gratifying, and awesome evolution to see how we’ve been able to help more people dealing with these challenges. I had been an athlete and set out, originally, working with people like me, with athletes, helping them recover from different injuries. And, you know, thankfully, it was working well.But because of the more neurological path that we were taking, people that we worked with, is a woman named Amy, and she’s given me permission to share her story. So, she fell off a horse in her early 20s, broke her neck, and was paralyzed from the waist down for 25 years. And so, she made a little bit of progress in the first year or two, you know, regained bowel and bladder control, which is great, but never had regained the use of her legs or sensation in her legs. And so, for about 25 years, she was living life without the use of her legs, had adapted, had a great life, a very wonderful person, productive member of society, you know, just great all around, and again, without the use of her legs. And so, we started working with her.And it was so interesting because we did that scanning process with her, mapping process, and we actually found a couple spots where we could get little glimpses of sensation, even after 25 years, when everyone had written her off and said, “There’s nothing anyone can do for you at this time. It’s been far too long.” And, you know, seeing that made us optimistic that maybe there was a way we could help. So, we started working together. Within the first few weeks, she started getting some sensation back, being able to sense hot and cold for the first time in 25 years, being able to sweat in her lower body, some of that autonomic underlying neurological function coming back. And then, we started seeing some movements, I mean, pretty early on some twitching of the toes, a little bit of ability to raise the leg, a little bit of hip flexion coming back.And then fast forward, at the end of year one, she was able to stand and take a couple steps with hand support. And then, at the end of year two, she’s able to walk with a walker. And, you know, it’s just been a really amazing, amazing experience seeing her working hard and diligently, and actually seeing some return on that investment of time and energy. And she, you know, now is able to walk with a walker. She still, you know, spends a lot of time in a wheelchair, but to regain the level of function that she has, and still be making progress is amazing. And we have a little video, a few minutes of her sharing her story that we can certainly link to and make that available. And after people started to take note of her story, we have had more people with neurological challenges come and see us more, spinal cord injury or patients with brain injury, more people with neuropathy, certainly, more people with MS. I’ve done some work with Dr. Terry Wahls. Has she been on your show?Katie: She has. Yeah. She’s phenomenal.Garrett: Yes, one of my absolute favorite people. So, she, as you know, is just a true thought leader in functional medicine, overall, and specifically, in the more holistic treatment of MS. And she does phenomenal work to help people stop the underlying progression of the disease. And then once that’s in place, of course, you wanna work on rebuilding function. And so, we’ve worked with now, dozens of patients that have heard about us through her, many here in Austin, and are also our community of practitioners around the country. And we’ve seen some really profound results. Seen several people restore function. Some get out of wheelchairs, also, some will be able to return to activities of daily living, reduce pain, improve their sleep, improve their strength. So we’ve seen…you know, some have had profound transformations. Some have made mild to medium progress, but almost everyone has at least made some progress. And it’s been really cool to see some of those transformations, particularly, that have come out of the MS patients who are using this around the country.Katie: Wow. That’s astounding. And, yeah, I love Dr. Wahls, and I love the work she’s doing. I know a lot of people who have even used her protocol for just things like autoimmune disease, and I know she’s writing more about that. But yeah, you’re right. She’s a thought leader and definitely an inspiration. I love that you are able to help some of her people as well because she’s just doing such amazing work. It’s incredible.Garrett: Yeah. Absolutely. She’s, oh, gosh, real true inspiration and she just lives her mission. I mean, she is practicing what she preaches. And she’s awesome.Katie: Yeah. Absolutely. And I know, from talking to you before, another big demographic for you guys, are professional athletes or high-level athletes. I know my friend, Ben Greenfield, uses your device all the time, he’s still competitive athlete. How are you seeing athletes use the device?Garrett: So, that is definitely a demographic that appreciates this device. Athletes, whether professional, recreational, you know, athletes have the mindset of being able to push themselves through a little bit of temporary discomfort to achieve a long term result, a kind of delayed gratification mindset. And so, athletes who really do want to put in the work to achieve a result, are drawn to this technology because they can go through a few sessions, and they can recover much, much faster than they would with more traditional methods. So, we’ve seen athletes using this whole system, the device, and the progressions of exercises, and the different assessments.You know, we’ve seen them recover everything from sprained ankles that happen. You know, high school football, huge here in Texas, and every season, we’ll have a few high school football players that have a sprained ankle and are supposed to be out for four weeks, at least. And they come in and see us, and they do a couple sessions each day. And, you know, the game is on a Friday night, and they’re back to practice Tuesday or Wednesday of that next week. They miss three or four days instead of four weeks. And they’re fired up because they thought they’re gonna have to miss three games. And all of a sudden, they’re out there playing next week.So, the acute injuries that normally would take a long time to heal, those are a big opportunity to make improvements to the healing process because the reason it takes so long to heal most of the time is that, you know, it’s kind of funny, the body gets in its own way, in some sense, because the body… And it makes sense, you know, if someone has an ankle sprain, all the muscles around that ankle, contract and protect, and guard that area, thinking that, “Oh my gosh, if this tissue gets attacked again, you know, we wanna be locked down to protect it.”And that is productive if someone was trying to hit that ankle or attack it. But it’s counterproductive for efficient movement and counterproductive for healing. And part of the reason for that is that the excessive tension, literally, just blocks the flow of blood. You can’t get the nutrients and the raw materials there to heal, and so, of course, you’re not gonna be able to heal as quickly. And by restoring more normal tone, optimal function of those muscles and breaking through those guarding and protective reflexes, we’re able to get rid of those impediments that are blocking and slowing down the healing process and allow the body to just do its thing.And the amazing thing is that the body has such a massive capability of healing, has so much potential to heal, adapt, and grow, and change, and improve, that when we get those impediments out of the way, the healing happens so quickly, that it almost seems miraculous. And, you know, it’s still the same healing process the body has to go through, the same biology, the same rules still apply, just by getting out of the way, those impediments or those hurdles, it’s able to happen so much more quickly.So, definitely, the acute injury piece, also, the same logic, same line of thought applies. After surgery, you know, there’s even more significantly, those guarding protective reflexes happen after the trauma of surgery, let alone the… You know, the original injury is bad, but the trauma of surgery being cut into and sewn together, and the trauma there causes these massive guarding and protective reflexes, and being able to work through those quickly, accelerates that healing process, significantly. Just, you know, it can knock weeks or months off the recovery a lot of times.So that definitely, the recovery piece, the rehabilitation piece, and then similarly, to a lesser degree, in terms of what’s happening in the body. But the similar thing applies, recovering after games and practices, and workouts, where when the body is fatigued, and muscles can be short and more tense. Applying this signal and going through some of these same processes can help increase blood flow, reset the tone of muscles, increase heart rate variability, like you mentioned, to get the body in a state where it can recover as quickly and efficiently as possible. That’s a big one.And then we have several athletes that like to use it for training, particularly in season, because they can… Well, anytime, in or out of season, they can use it before, you know, working out or doing player metrics or before anything that they need to have their muscles firing optimally. So, a few minutes on the machine can help reset the neurological firing patterns. And then during a workout, you can have it on and without having to lift heavy weights and load up the joints, and have the risks of injury associated with that, you can still get the benefits of heavy lifting, still get as much muscle recruitment, and do it for more reps, more safely with higher quality of movement, and get more done in less time and with lower risk. So, you can get, you know a 15 or 20-minute workout on the machine.We’ve had professional bodybuilders who will normally do three-hour sessions for their legs, for example, they’ll only literally be in the gym for three hours. They’ll do 15 minutes on the machine of their leg workout. And they’re just breathing heavy and saying, “Man, I’m gassed, I can’t do anymore.” And it just intensifies that reeducation component. Teaching the body to engage more muscle at the same time, allows people to get a lot more bang for the buck. So, it’s definitely a range all the way through early stage rehab to training and elite performance.This podcast is brought to you by Joovv. You’ve heard me talk about them before but their red light therapy or photobiomodulation lights are a part of my daily routine. Here’s why: There’s evidence that certain wavelengths of light are beneficial to the body in various ways. On a cellular level, they may help improve mitochondrial function and increase production of ATP, or cellular energy. This can manifest in clearer skin, more energy, quicker recovery and even increased hair growth. I use red light on my thyroid as part of my protocol along with a low inflammation diet and other lifestyle factors and am in complete remission of Hashimotos. Also, since I do spend careful and moderate time in the sun, I use red light to help protect my skin and guard against wrinkles. They now have two new innovations that make it even easier to get red light. The Joovv Go is a small handheld (and much more affordable) device that can be used on face, joints, hair or anywhere you want red light. For a more large scale option, their new modular design lets you order panels and group them together so you could have one unit alone or up to six all linked. Find out more at Joovv.com/wellnessmama and use the code WELLNESSMAMA to get a special gift.This podcast is brought to you by Thrive Market, a company I’ve loved for years and order from all the time. In fact, the majority of the non-perishable and frozen foods you’ll find in my house are all from Thrive Market. If you haven’t checked them out, you definitely need to and you can get a completely risk free 30-day trial as a listener of this podcast at thrivemarket.com/wm. Here are just a few of the reasons you’ll love them: They have over 500 of their own Thrive Market brand products that are incredible quality and at amazing prices. These include everything from bulk ingredients and spices to chips, salsa, nuts, snacks, and protein sources like tuna and sardines. These are all non-GMO and most are organic, and at prices cheaper than conventional alternatives in my local stores. They also have high quality meat and seafood as well… from completely grass fed meat to pastured pork and free range chicken and it’s all delicious. Thrive is essentially an online Costco meets Whole Foods online and at much better prices and it comes to your door. In my most recent order, you’d find a bunch of tuna and sardines, bulk nuts and spices, plantain and cassava chips, crackers, condiments and snacks…. All thrive market brand and all favorites at our house. If you haven’t, you’ve got to check it out. Go to thrivemarket.com/wm to start your 30-day free trial and see for yourself how awesome it is.Katie: And for people listening, I’m wondering if people may be thinking, you know, “This sounds a little bit like a TENS unit” or something like that. There’s other, like, electrical stimulation type devices. So, can you, like, just go a little deeper on what the difference is or how it’s impacting the body differently?Garrett: Yes. Absolutely. So, that is a great point. And that’s one of the most common questions we get. You know, people see pads on the body or electrodes on the body and say, “Oh, I have one of those” or “Oh, that’s a TENS unit.” And it is similar, in the sense that, it is a type of electrical stimulation. But it’s also a lot different. My favorite metaphor for this is to say that, you know, you have two cars, you have a Ferrari or a Tesla, something that’s super technologically advanced from 2019 right now. And then you have a Ford Taurus from the mid-1990s, and they’re both cars, they both can serve the same purpose, to some degree, but you can also do with one car a lot more things.You know, think about bringing that Ferrari on a racetrack. You can do a lot more with one than you can do with the other. So, there’s more features, more power, more functionality. And the technology that we’re using, I think that’s a good metaphor because it’s just a generation or two beyond the TENS units or the Russian Stim or Interferential, or the other electrical modalities out there. And one of the reasons for that difference is the direct current versus alternating current. So, virtually everything else that’s out there is alternating current, whereas ours is direct. And that has an important effect on the underlying electrical system of the body and a lot of the stuff that you had brought up, and we talked about earlier.And then the biggest difference on the nervous system here is this ability to stimulate more of the nervous system. So, it’s less about the muscles, more about the nervous system, that traditional electrical stimulation like we talked about that. Alternating current as that signal volleys back and forth, you create a lot more tension in the muscles, the muscles fight against each other. And that becomes the limit on how much current you can take. So, you’re limited by that on how much signal you can get into the body, how much impact you can have on the nervous system. Whereas, with the Neubie device, we’re able to preferentially, it’s not just one or the other, but preferentially more lengthening and relaxation of the tissues that we’re stimulating.And so, you have less of those protective contractions, less of the co-contractions. And you can get more of that signal into the nervous system to get more of this signaling, more of this retraining effect, more of what we’re trying to do. And it also allows us to do that mapping process. So, it has that evaluation and that assessment component too. So, some of it is, you know, you have to just dig down one layer deeper to understand the differences. And it’s one of those things that, you know, sometimes has to be experienced, to really get the difference. You know, we can talk about it, but then when people feel it, they say, “Oh, yeah, now, I know what you’re talking about.”Katie: For sure. Of course, I’ll put these in the show notes, the links, but let’s talk a little bit more about how people can experience because I wanna definitely mention that this is a pricey device that most people are not gonna buy for their home. But we’ve talked about how practitioners can buy one and use it in their office. And you have, of course, this facility in Austin, where I’m assuming people can come in to see you as well.Garrett: Yeah. Absolutely. We do have…particularly through Dr. Wahls’s community, we’ve had several…a few dozen MS patients fly in from around the country to see us for a few days of intensive work. And then most of the time, they’ll rent a machine to bring home so they can…you know, we’ve made this progress. They wanna continue it just three or four days, usually, is not enough, obviously. So, that is definitely an option.And we have a wonderful and growing community of practitioners around the country. So, I would absolutely, if any of this sounds interesting to you listening to this, if you have pain or you’ve been dealing with an injury, or you’re frustrated with how long it’s taking to recover from an injury, or you want help with some of these neurological challenges, or you wanna take your training to the next level, you know, please seek out some of our practitioners, our website… I know you said we’ll share the link. It’s neu.fit, N-E-U for neurological neu.fit/locations is gonna be the page on the site that has a map of all the facilities around the U.S. And later this year, we should have some international locations as well. And that was just, you know, being updated. So, hopefully, there will be someone… If there isn’t someone in your community now, hopefully, there will be soon. And we just wanna be able to reach as many people as we can with this.Katie: And of course I’ll make sure all those links are in the show notes. As we get closer to the end of our time, some somewhat related questions I love to ask. The first being if there is a book or a number of books that have really changed your life? And if so, what they are and why?Garrett: You know, that is an awesome question. And my first thought, first aha moment that comes to mind is “The Body Electric,” funny enough, because you mentioned that already. And I think it’s worth making another mention of “The Body Electric” because that was one of the first and most significant influences that has guided my thinking in this area. And it speaks to the incredible potential that we have to tap into the body’s own healing and regenerative powers. And in the work that we’re doing and everything we’ve been talking about here, we’re still only tapping into a fraction of that. So, that’s something that I’m excited to mention because, one, just the little bits that we’ve been able to tap into, that so far have had profoundly positive outcomes for people. And it’s kind of a guiding light North Star, for me because it motivates me to want to continue my own research in pushing this field forward and pushing our work forward to be able to harness even more of the power and impact that we can have by tapping into the electrical system of the body.Katie: It’s so cool. Yeah. And I’m excited for more research in this area, too. I think over the next 10 years, it’s gonna be amazing what we learn and what we’re able to do. And in that note, what parting advice would you like to leave with the audience today, your encouragement to those listening?Garrett: So, that’s a great question. I would say, play detective with yourself. You know, if you’re dealing with something, whether it be, you know, an actual disease or an injury, or a pain, or, you know, thankfully, you are healthy and you’re trying to work to improve in some area, I would say, play detective with yourself, consult experts like Katie and all of her wonderful content, and other people out there. There’s such a wealth of information, but finding a good quality source of information, who can give you ideas, give you frameworks how to think about things, and then take that information and apply it.And when I say play detective, I mean, you know, measure, pay attention to what’s happening. If you’re trying to work on something, there’s a great saying in business that, “What gets measured, gets improved,” or, “What gets measured, gets managed.” And I am a big believer in that because, you know, some of the things that worked in a study for 40 people in another country who had some disease, you know, may not necessarily work for you, or something that didn’t work for other people, may actually work for you.And so, I think paying attention, finding something to measure to actually track progress and tracking results, and playing self detective is kind of the first thing I would like to encourage people to do. And I’ve seen, you know, that’s helped me tweak and refine all the things that we’re now using with teaching our practitioners, and with all of our patients, and clients around the country. And that’s still something that I’m always trying to do research and push this field forward. And I love self-experimentation and measuring HRV, like you said, is a great place to start there. So, find some meaningful metrics and use them to track your way to progress.Katie: I love that. I think that’s a perfect place to wrap up. And like I said, I’ll make sure links to NeuFit, and to finding practitioners, and to “The Body Electric,” and everything we’ve talked about, are in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm. So if you guys are driving or running, or anything else, don’t worry about writing them down, just head over to wellnessmama.fm and all the links will be there.Garrett, thank you so much. I know that you are busy in all that you do, both as a practitioner working with people, and in research and development, all these things. So, I’m really honored that you took the time to be here and share today.Garrett: Thank you so much, Katie. This was a fabulous conversation. I really appreciate it and appreciate you, and the work you’re doing and the great content you’re putting out there. So thank you.Katie: Thank you. And thanks to all of you for listening and sharing one of your most valuable assets, your time, with both of us today. We’re so grateful that you did and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama Podcast.”Thanks to Our SponsorsThis podcast is brought to you by Joovv. You’ve heard me talk about them before but their red light therapy or photobiomodulation lights are a part of my daily routine. Here’s why: There’s evidence that certain wavelengths of light are beneficial to the body in various ways. On a cellular level, they may help improve mitochondrial function and increase production of ATP, or cellular energy. This can manifest in clearer skin, more energy, quicker recovery and even increased hair growth. I use red light on my thyroid as part of my protocol along with a low inflammation diet and other lifestyle factors and am in complete remission of Hashimotos. Also, since I do spend careful and moderate time in the sun, I use red light to help protect my skin and guard against wrinkles. They now have two new innovations that make it even easier to get red light. The Joovv Go is a small handheld (and much more affordable) device that can be used on face, joints, hair or anywhere you want red light. For a more large scale option, their new modular design lets you order panels and group them together so you could have one unit or up to six all linked. Find out more at Joovv.com/wellnessmama and use the code WELLNESSMAMA to get a special gift.This podcast is brought to you by Thrive Market, a company I’ve loved for years and order from all the time. In fact, the majority of the non-perishable and frozen foods you’ll find in my house are from Thrive. If you haven’t checked them out, you definitely need to and you can get a completely risk free 30-day trial as a listener of this podcast at thrivemarket.com/wm. Here are just a few of the reasons you’ll love them: They have over 500 of their own Thrive Market brand products that are incredible quality and at amazing prices. These include everything from bulk ingredients and spices to chips, salsa, nuts, snacks, and things like tuna and sardines. These are all non-GMO and most are organic, and at prices cheaper than conventional alternatives in my local stores. They also have high quality meat and seafood as well… from completely grass-fed meat to pastured pork and free-range chicken and it’s all delicious. Thrive is essentially an online Costco meets Whole Foods online and at much better prices. In my most recent order, you’d find a bunch of tuna and sardines, bulk nuts and spices, plantain and cassava chips, crackers, condiments, and snacks…. all Thrive Market brand and all favorites at our house. If you haven’t, you’ve got to check it out. Go to thrivemarket.com/wm to start your 30-day free trial and see for yourself how awesome it is.
281: Building Resiliency, Mindset and Doing the Impossible With Joel Runyon
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd">One of the best parts about hosting a podcast is meeting so many amazing people who push themselves to be their best and influence the world. My guest today, Joel Runyon, has one of those stories! Joel is the creator of one of the best paleo and keto resources out there, called Ultimate Paleo Guide and Ultimate Meal Plan, as well as the daily movement and mobility coaching app, MoveWellApp.com. If that’s not enough, he also founded Impossible®, a performance lifestyle company focused on helping people push their limits and transform mindset through hard physical challenges.And let me tell you, Joel has some experience in that arena! Incredibly, he became the youngest person in the world to run an ultramarathon on every continent, including Antarctica. He takes on crazy challenges all of the time in the name of health, growth, and zest for life.He wasn’t always a successful entrepreneur and endurance athlete though. Quite the opposite! Take a listen to find out how he turned it all around. It might just give you some ideas about your own story…Episode Highlights With Joel RunyonThe life events that led Joel to his own personal rock bottomWhy he turned to extreme sports to find his way outHow the right mindset can solve 99% of a problemWhat difficult physical challenges can do for the mind and heartWhy we shouldn’t want all of our challenges to go awayThe reasons a college education won’t always get you what you wantSkills kids (and adults) need to excel in real lifeWays to recreate your story and map a new futureKey movements to try for your best flexibility and mobility in everyday lifeAnd more!Resources We MentionImpossible®The 777 Project (7 Ultra on 7 Continents)UltimatePaleoGuide.comUltimateMealPlans.comMoveWellApp.comChili PadSleep Induction MatA Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story by Donald MillerMore From Wellness Mama273: The Power of Movement for Mind and Body With Aaron Alexander of The Align Podcast230: Chalene Johnson on How to Protect Your Mindset & Live a Balanced Life221: Natural Movement, Sustainable Fitness, and Lifelong Health With Dr. Mark Cucuzzella106: Why to Stop Doing Kegels & Squat Instead with Katy Bowman6 Natural Sleep Remedies (You May Not Have Tried)The Benefits of Autophagy & Ketosis5 Horrible Exercise ExcusesDid you enjoy this episode? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well. Read TranscriptKatie: Hello, and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com. And I’m here today with a new friend I’m excited to share with you. Joel Runyon is the founder of Impossible, which is a performance lifestyle company focused on helping people push their limits and transform mindset through hard physical challenges which he has some experience in. As an endurance athlete in 2017, he became the youngest person in the world to run an ultramarathon on every continent, including Antarctica. He’s also the creator of the Paleo and Keto resource called Ultimate Paleo Guide, and Ultimate Meal Plan, as well as the daily movement and mobility coaching app, movewellapp.com. Joel, welcome and thanks for being here.Joel: Awesome. Thanks for having me.Katie: Well, to start, I would love to hear about Impossible as the brand and as the mission and just kind of walk us through what that is and how it was born.Joel: Yeah, so the story it feels like, you know, it’s been just a few years back but I actually started, I think back in 2010, I graduated school and did everything I was supposed to do growing up, you know, went to college, got a double major, traveled abroad. And I basically graduated in the middle of the 2009 recession. And so I did all these things you’re supposed to do growing up, got all like my GPAs, and, you know, learned Spanish and traveled abroad, did sports. And then I graduated and then the next thing, you know, on that checklist is go get a job. And I graduated in that recession and I couldn’t get a job for like nine months. And this basically, put me in a world where I was just questioning, you know, what the narrative that I had been fed for a while.And it’s a long story. I applied to a bunch of different places. Eventually, I got turned down at all of them, eventually was applying to places like Starbucks and couldn’t get called back from Starbucks. And I was basically sitting in my parent’s basement at the time, you know, wondering if this was it, this is what I signed up for, this is what I did all this work for. So I went to school got this piece of paper for. And I just felt bad for myself for a while. I didn’t really do anything about it at first, I just kind of watched a bunch of Netflix, and drowned in my own sorrow for a little bit.But I was writing down all these things that I wanted to do, I was still pretty aspirational about these things I actually wanted to do. And I saw some friends of mine, you know, starting businesses, getting jobs, traveling the world. And I wanted to do all these things, but I couldn’t even get a job at Starbucks and everything seemed really impossible for me. And so while I was watching Netflix, I was kinda like making this list for a while. And I think I ended up eventually running out of Netflix shows to watch, it was 2009, 2010 not a lot of stuff on there. And eventually, you know, I finished, you know, kind of escaping into the world of Netflix and took another look at my list. And all the stuff on my list still seemed pretty impossible. I didn’t have any money. I couldn’t travel the world, I couldn’t start my own business, I could barely…you know, I couldn’t even get a job.But one of the things on my list was run a triathlon. And I didn’t have an excuse for why I couldn’t run a triathlon. And so I decided, you know, there’s no excuse for me not to put on my shoes and run around the block. And there’s no excuse for me not to get on like my crappy old Middle School mountain bike and ride around the block and start training for this thing. And so even though I didn’t know anything about triathlons, I decided I was going to sign up and do it. And I signed up for an indoor one at Life Time Fitness because I didn’t wanna drown in the open water swim of a normal triathlon. And I was really nervous about it. I didn’t really know anything about triathlons. But I signed up, I did it, and trained for two months, and I did it. And I remember thinking at the end of that, “You spent so much time telling yourself that this was impossible. What other things out there could you actually go out and do if you just trained for it and went for it?”And so that kind of became like the inciting incident for me to go out and, like, start looking at this list that I had made that I thought everything felt impossible, but like, what if I went out and actually tried to do it. And so that was kind of the origin story. And so from there, I just kind of started challenging myself to do longer and longer races. I started realizing, once I started pushing myself that I could go a lot farther than I ever anticipated. And then I took that same type of mindset and applied it to like my job search. And then eventually how I approached a couple of the first jobs, I was able to actually get and work my way up. And then eventually, you know, leaving and starting my own stuff.So Impossible, yeah, that’s kind of the origin story of Impossible. But kind of the mission of Impossible is to use hard physical, difficult challenges, to transform your mindset and transform the way you both, you know, see yourself, but also see the world. And, you know, by putting yourself in those situations where they’re hard, difficult or you’re not quite sure if you can do them, you push through and you’re able to do them anyways. You kind of come out the other side with a different perspective on what you’re capable of. And so that was the origin story. But since you know, I’ve done a lot more, you know, I got…I basically tricked myself through triathlons into becoming a runner, started doing a lot of ultramarathons, ended up doing several different races for charity. And I think today we’ve raised almost $300,000 for different educational non-profit. So that’s kind of…you know, it’s been eight or nine years or so, but that’s like the quick couple minute overview of how it got started.Katie: I love that story so much. And I love that you are doing this also to help charities as well, and to bring awareness, that’s amazing. For anyone who isn’t familiar. So I’ve ran a triathlon and that is to me, a tremendous accomplishment, it’s no small feat. You now run ultramarathons can you just define what that is for anyone who doesn’t know?Joel: An ultramarathon is anything beyond a normal marathon. So if you run a normal marathon, and then you like run home, or you run the 7-Eleven, or anything, it’s technically an ultramarathon. But typically, most ultramarathons are anywhere between a 50K, which is about 31 miles, and 100 miles. But now people are getting crazy and they’re like, people are doing 200-mile races, multi-day races. And you know, kind of once you dive into this world, people get really nutty really quick, but typically an ultramarathon starts at 50K, and it will go, you know, as far as people will let it go.Katie: What’s the longest one you’ve ever run?Joel: So the longest that one that I did was the 100K in Antarctica.Katie: Wow. So you picked the coldest place to run the longest…Joel: Yeah, so it was 62 miles I think that was that one, so. But yeah, like, once you get into the space, it’s like, okay, it’s like 100K, but there are definitely people who do 100-mile races all the time. And then it just raises your sights on what’s possible and what people actually do out there. And that was one of the mind-blowing things for me was, you know, I kind of kept myself before I ever got in this world I was like, I don’t even know if I can do a triathlon. And so I didn’t even do like a sprint triathlon, I did an indoor triathlon. And once you kind of peek into this world, it just keeps going and going and going. And you realize what people are capable of when they decide to do it.Katie: Yeah, that’s amazing. And another thing you mentioned that I think it’s important to talk about a little bit more is the education side, how you went to college, got the double major, you checked all the boxes you were supposed to check. And I’ve heard this story so many times. And it’s something I think about quite a bit as a parent now, because I’m gonna have kids before too long, who are at the age of deciding to go to college or not. And I get the feeling that the education system has drastically changed even since we were there. And certainly, since our parents were there. So I’m curious. Now, being on the outside of this, and having created this entrepreneurial life and this career that helped people, do you have a different perspective looking back on, for instance, going to college, education? And would you do it again? Or would you pursue other options earlier?Joel: So the way I’ve said it for myself is I think we’re like the last few years where you could kind of make the case for college if you like. Even since I graduated college has gone up dramatically. And I just don’t see the ROI on it like from a financial…like, people wanna talk about, okay, there’s an experience and, you know, you could talk about that. I think I would have much rather just taken the money and like…or even half the money and put it towards like experimenting in different entrepreneurial manners. Because all the things that I did in school like nothing really was super actionable. I think I probably could have paid better attention in like accounting class, and I would actually have been probably the more like, useful class that I had taken. But I remember we took like a class on entrepreneurship, and it was about putting a business plan together and pitching people, and it’s like…and I haven’t done a business plan like that yet, you know, most of my stuff has been bootstrapping. So it’s been much more about like, gaining an audience and building traffic and creating products that people resonate with.And so, for me, from an education standpoint, I think education, like a basic education, is really, really important. And that’s, you know, the stuff that we do with Pencils of Promise, as far as making sure people have…you know, under-resourced areas around the world have the chance to learn to read and do math. And you know, learn these really basic skills that we kind of take for granted. But then when it gets to this higher education, and you know, there’s some places where I think being…you know, if you’re gonna be a lawyer, you have to do what you have to do, if you’re gonna be a doctor, you have to do what you have to do. But for what I went to school for, and I kind of was one of those guys that went into school, and I was like, “I don’t know exactly what I wanna do,” you know, all these careers that people have had picked out since third grade, I’m not one of those guys. There was never any messaging for that person for me.And so I wouldn’t have…I don’t think I would have, if I had the chance to go back and you know, spend that money again and spend those four years, I think I would have done it in a different way. And, you know, with costs going up the way they have, even since I graduated, I definitely don’t think I would spend the money that they’re charging these days unless it was a just a top-tier school. And at that point, you’re just basically buying into the group of people that you…you know, the network that you wanna be in. And so we can go…I’ve got this whole…you know, I’ve got a much longer rant on that, but I just don’t see the ROI for the types of classes that I took. And I think there’s a lot of other ways that I could have invested that time and energy and learned skills that were a little bit more practical.Katie: Yeah, I agree with you wholeheartedly on that. And as someone who’s also a really good student, and I was very good at the game of taking tests and all of that in school, like I did what I was supposed to do in the education side. And then in the adult world, and especially in the entrepreneur world, I realized there were still a lot of skills I had to learn on the fly, and especially things like tolerance for failure and resilience. Because those things are not built, and at least they weren’t built into my education, especially if you’re a decent student and you don’t have to fail very often. I feel like that’s something that was really a big jump for me at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey and in parenthood because there’s a lot of struggles built in there as well. And it’s something I know you talk about quite a bit is, you know, building resiliency, and how do you develop that tough mindset. And I think for all the parents listening, that’s something really important to impart to our kids that are probably not getting necessarily from the education system. So let’s talk mindset a little bit and how you were able to make that switch personally, and then now how you help people do the same.Joel: Yeah, so one of the core things that I talk about is like trying to get people out of their head and into their bodies. And, you know, a lot of people have digital-related jobs. So they’re doing jobs where they’re sitting behind a computer all day, or, you know, even if they’re not, they’re looking at their phone all the time, and we live so much of our lives, in our head. And we have all these mental stresses that just live in your head they’re not like out in real life. And, you know, even like 100 years ago, if you’re like actually stressed at your job, it was because you’re doing physical labor or something. And at least then you’d get like some sort of endorphin rush from, you know, the actual physical workout. And so people end up being stressed all the time, mentally from these different situations, but they’re not able to like, get it out, they’re not able to do anything with it, because they’re just like confined at their desk.And so, for me, I found I was like having a real hard time when I was in my parent’s basement, trying to like deal with the stresses of life and figuring out how to, like, navigate this new world. Because I didn’t have any way to like…I didn’t have any outlet, I didn’t have anything to do or to focus that, you know, kind of energy on and it just kind of spiraled for lack of a better word. And so for me, what I found is taking on these physically difficult, hard challenges, does wonders for when teaching you about doing hard things, whether they’re actually physical or they’re mental. Once I realized, like, I can go run 50 miles, and it’s really hard and a mile 30, and mile 40, and mile 45, I’m gonna wanna quit, but I can keep going anyways. I was able to take that mindset and take that to pretty much everything else like to entrepreneurship, to relationships. To go realizing that like just because something is hard just because something’s painful, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad. And doesn’t mean I can’t do it, it just means it’s gonna be, like slightly painful for a while.And, you know, when people talk about running these ultramarathons or, you know, running these far distances, you know, they could say like, “Oh, it’s so far, it’s so difficult, I can never do that.” But if you like, zoom out, and you’re like, “Okay, well, I’m gonna be going, you know, I’m gonna be moving for 8 hours, I’ll be in like, maybe a lot of pain for 8 hours, or 12 hours or, you know, 16 hours, or whatever the number is.” But it’s just 16 hours. It transforms your perspective on what you’re able to do and what you’re able to deal with. And when you go through those things, and they’re actually physically difficult, where you’re like, I remember at mile 45, when, like, my back seized up and like I didn’t think I could keep going and I just wanted to go home and I quit and then I didn’t. You can take that reference point, you can take that specific memory that real-life thing that happened, and remind yourself in other areas of your life that, “I can go out and I can do this hard thing too.”And so, you know, that’s a lot harder to do if you never have like real physical experiences, and you just live in your head or you live on your phone or you live in your computer. And if you’re able to, like, go out in the real world, have a real, meaningful, difficult experience, and be able to point to that, it’s a reminder to yourself that you can do hard things. And for me, that was the biggest thing like I still don’t…you know, when I finished that first triathlon, part of me still didn’t believe that I did it. I was like, “No, you couldn’t do this, other people could do this, but you couldn’t do this.” But then I had like the results list and I had the times, and I pointed it on the sheet, and I was like, “Well, actually, you know, no matter what you think about yourself, you just did that. So you are now the person that can do that type of thing.” So what’s the next thing that’s on the list? And what can you go do next?And I think that’s really, really important, and really underutilized. Where, like I said, most people I think live in their head, and they’re scared…they get stuck in their head. Because so much of our stuff is on our phone or on our computer, or, you know, you’re just processing it mentally. And when you’re able to put it out into the physical, into the real world, there’s something about it that lets you completely change how you look at a certain situation, and what you’re capable of.Katie: Yeah, exactly, like, I think there’s so much right now that’s popular about doing all of the inner work and the mental work and then how that’s gonna manifest in your life. And I think the only thing really why is about, just doing it with your body, even if your mind hasn’t quite caught up and then letting your mind learn from that. And like I said, I’ve only done a triathlon. But the mindset part you talked about actually just reminded me of labor with my babies, because it’s like you said at 16 hours in my case, usually like 24 hours. But it’s just 24 hours, in my mind I tell myself that like I can do anything for 24 hours, I can do this. And then the mindset like that mental toughness on the other side, when you accomplish it is incredible. And you get to keep that with you. And it’s such a good reminder when you have struggles, any other struggles that come up that are smaller than that, you’re like, “Well, I already did that, so, of course, I can get through this.”I love the idea too how you talk about an impossible list, because you know, like everybody has their like bucket list? But that’s like the things you do before you die, which is kind of depressing. I love this idea of an impossible list, which is kind of like fun challenges to conquer. So I’m curious, what are some of the things both on your own one right now and that you have people in your community? Like what are some popular things people put on this impossible list?Joel: Yeah, so the real quick delineation between a bucket list and impossible list is that a bucket list, kind of people tend to making a bucket list, and they get real excited about making a bucket list. And they’re like, “Hey, here’s all the things I’m gonna do before I die” and they make it, they get all excited. And then they get real excited when they make it and then they don’t do anything on it.An impossible list kind of really started from that first triathlon. There’s like a couple things I actually felt impossible. And it wasn’t a big list. It wasn’t, you know, anything crazy, but like an indoor triathlon was on my list. And the goal was, do something that actually feels impossible right now. And don’t worry about everything else. Don’t worry about making like 75 things on it, you know, add a couple things right now that feel impossible, and go and do them. And then once you go do them, your understanding of what’s possible continues to expand.And so the difference between an impossible list and a bucket list is a bucket list you kind of make one time and then, you know, maybe or maybe not you would like you cross everything off as you go. And the goal of the impossible is basically to continue to grow with you over time, and get bigger and more expansive as you kind of become bigger and more expansive. And so this is actually kind of been an interesting problem that I had because I had…you know, I basically went from doing these indoor triathlons, or I did one indoor triathlon, did a bunch of other triathlons and got into running and ultra running. And I did all these ultramarathons on every continent like we talked about a little bit. And now, one of the things that I’ve actually struggled with a little bit is how do you do…what’s next after you do such a big thing?And so, you know, for a lot of people in the community, a lot of people start off with the triathlon, running kind of paradigm where they… The nice part about the running community is it’s set up in those stages, where you could say, “Hey, I’m gonna do a 5K, I’m gonna do a 10K, I’m gonna do a half marathon, I’m gonna do a marathon.” And it’s very gradual and it’s very specifically well laid out.For me, right now, I’ve got a couple different races that are on my radar, but they’re a little bit logistically difficult to coordinate and organize. So one of them is called the Red Bull X-Alps, and it’s a race, it’s an ultra-running race/paragliding race across like the Swiss Alps. It’s like sponsored by Red Bull. And it’s awesome. And I don’t even know how to paraglide, but I’ll learn it and I wanna do it. And then there’s like a seven-day ultramarathon across Iceland that I wanna do. And those are kind of like the next couple things for me, but a lot of people in the space, they’ll start with different shorter races. And for some people who…you know, some people will say, “Hey, I’d love to run a marathon. But you know, I’m 100 pounds overweight, or, you know, it’s gonna take me even if I wanna run a marathon, it’s gonna take me 20 weeks to get started with that.”And so one of the things, and this kind of ties into what we just talked about. One of the things that I have a lot of people do is, you know, if they’re just starting out, and they just wanna get used to doing something difficult or uncomfortable or challenging. But they’re not ready for like a marathon or an ultramarathon is I call it cold shower therapy. I did a TEDx talk on it a long time ago. But since like Wim Hof has, you know, blown up with ice baths. And I know you’re a big cold therapy fan, but I tell people to do like five minutes of freezing cold showers, or just five minutes of ice baths. And what I’ve found is that’s like a super simple way for a lot of people to get started doing small, physically uncomfortable activities. And, you know, it’s also just five minutes. And you can…anyone can do anything for five minutes.And so yeah, those are…that’s kind of a quick overview of the impossible list. But one of the things that I’ve found is that some people get really intimidated when they’re like, “Oh, you know, impossible list means I have to run an ultramarathon tomorrow.” It’s like, no, you can do it in small ways, you can do it in small formats. And you can start where you’re at. And the list will grow with you over time and that’s what’s cool about it.Katie: I love that. And you touched on something that I think is worth highlighting, which is kind of the idea of getting comfortable with discomfort, which is not something that’s common in our society anymore, like we have the ability a lot of times to just comfortable all the time. And I’m so with you on the cold, I think, actually, it’s been one of my best teachers, because I was never great at meditation or like quieting my mind because it’s just always going in a million directions. And when I get in, you know, 40 or 38-degree water, I’m instantly able to have singleness of thought and just breathe. And it’s been a great teacher for me. And it’s also that mental teacher of that I can do this for five minutes and I’m not gonna die from this.So I love that. I’m curious what your, just out of curiosity, what your training regimen looks like, especially for some of these more obscure races where like it’s paragliding, or it’s more than just running, how do you train for that?Joel: Well, the paragliding one I don’t know yet. I need to go take lessons or something. But that’s an interesting challenge where you’re like, “Oh, I’m gonna become a beginner again and I’m gonna be really bad at this.” And I think that’s always a little bit scary, especially once you’ve gotten slightly proficient at something to go be bad at something again or remember how it is to look stupid and mess up a bunch. So right now, my training regimen is just actually, I really focused on just lifting weights a lot, the last few years, over the last year probably. But while I was doing the ultramarathons, this is something that’s actually interesting is I launched this 777 Project, a while back, and seven ultramarathons, seven continents, and we wanted to build seven schools. And when I first started, I was just like, “I’m gonna just start running all the time. I’m gonna run when I wake up, I’m gonna run before I go to bed, every single day, run, run, run, run, add a bunch of more miles, get time on your feet, I gotta get used to going these distances.”And so I was training, I was actually in really great shape. And I go down to Patagonia, Chile to run this first race. And 26 miles in, I come around this curve, where there’s a tailwind, so there’s a 25 mile per hour tailwind and so it’s kind of boosting you along the course and you’re feeling really good. Twenty-six miles in, I come around this corner, the wind shifts and basically blows me across the road. I’m running downhill and end up trying to catch myself basically, as I go downhill, end up rolling my left ankle, really bad. I’ve been an athlete for a long time, I’ve rolled ankles before I was like, “Okay, I’m just gonna, you know, suck it up and, you know, walk it off and finish this race.” Spoiler, I couldn’t actually run the rest of the race. But I did finish it, I like limped through the rest of the way home and I thought, “Okay, I’m just gonna ice this and I’ll be fine. You know, when this is all said and done.”And it turns out I got back home after the race. And I went from running 20 miles to barely being able to run like two blocks. And I was like, “Oh, no, something’s wrong.” And what happened was, I basically severely sprained my peroneal tendon. I didn’t quite like snap it, but it was pretty bad. And I started realizing that like, “Oh, just running all the time is not the answer.” And so what happened was, I had to do six months of rehab to get back to the point where I was able to run again.And then when I was finally able to actually start training again, I ended up running actually a lot less than I had previously been running but doing a lot more cross-training and a lot more mobility, and recovery work. And what happened was that allowed me to basically run the next six races, within a period of like, three, three and a half months. And what I realized was like, there’s a lot more to running and staying healthy and, you know, a full like training protocol than just running all the time. And so I’ve really tried to kind of maintain that. I really like the overall idea of being functionally fit. And not just being like, “Okay, I’ve got, you know, big muscles or I could do whatever,” but like, being ready for any adventure that comes my way. Like, I never wanna be able to…I never wanna have to turn down an adventure, because I’m not in like, the shape I need to be to go and do that. Whether that’s like, you know, climb a mountain, or, you know, do this ultramarathon, or go see these random parts of the world that you can only get to on foot.I really like that kind of personal challenge, because, you know, I’ve never thought about myself as a runner. I’m not a small runner guy, you know, a lot of runners are, you know, 5’5″ and like 120 pounds or something like that. I’m like 6’2″ and 210, like, I’m a big dude. And so for me, like fitness and these challenges have always been about, one, what can I find out about myself during these ultramarathons? And then, two, what can I see in the world that I would normally never get a chance to see? And those two things combined are just…like it’s a much better reason to me to be fit and to get into shape. And to be able to be functionally, you know, healthy to do all these different things than just to be like, “Hey, I’m going to go flex in front of the mirror for, you know, like, a couple hours.” I like the idea and the challenge of going out in the world and doing these types of things. So I don’t know if that answers your question, but that was a little bit of a ramble if you will.Katie: It does. And as someone who also does not feel like a natural runner, and pretty much anytime I run, I’m just like, “Oh, when is this gonna end?” I much prefer weight training. And I’ve read some interesting studies actually, and from coaches in different types of sports that are using really heavy weight training, actually, to train their endurance athletes or their sprinters. Because it’s supposed to actually increase certain muscle fibers and the ability to, I guess, have increased endurance and fast-twitch fibers. Have you seen any of that data? Or has that been true in your experience? Like are you able to get those same benefits without having to do as much endurance, because I know there’s also some data that extreme endurance and extreme cardio all the time can be detrimental over the long run as well.Joel: So I found that the weight training, actually, like muscularly balanced me out, because I’m a very…like, if you look at me, I’m very quad and calf heavy. I’m like very happy with, you know, the way I run even, like, I’m just a quad and calf heavy person. And what actually I found out, you know, this freak accident that happened in Patagonia, was really…it was a little bit of a freak accident, but it was kind of just like waiting to happen. Because long story short, I’ve super tight hips, I’ve kind of weak hamstrings and glutes. And so what was happening was my stride was getting off. And, like, you know, this would have happened one way or another. But basically, one hip was tighter than the other, one stride is a little bit shorter.And it was basically, I was just kind of reinforcing, like, once you have a weak muscular group or like a specific area, and you don’t do anything to address it, it just kind of digs yourself a rut, if you will. And so what happened when I started weight training was I started actually rebalancing myself a little bit, I started building hamstring and glute strength. And I started like actually changing the way, both my form and kind of how my overall running gait, like the performance of my overall running gait. And so that on its own, like beyond, you know, people wanna debate the merits of strength training versus cardio and all this other stuff.And for me, I found…and I think you’re seeing a lot of runners really start to realize this is that it’s really easy to develop bad habits while running. And if you’re able to put in the time, even three times a week, to do some strength work along with that, you really…you kind of insulate yourself from a lot of the injuries that runners get from just repetitive running over and over again, because they’re never taking the time to address the weaknesses. And so if you can do that with strength training, I think the combo is really awesome. And for me, again, you know, the goal being, functionally fit to go out and do adventure in the world. I need both, you know, you need to be strong, you need to be able to have endurance capacity. And just picking up a boulder and putting it down or, you know, being able to like, lift something that’s incredibly heavy, but not being able to run for 20 minutes, like that’s not a good end result for me.So what I found is when I started doing that strength training, and I started adding some mobility work on top of that. That kind of gave me the best of both worlds, where I was like, “Hey, I’m able to do these, you know, hard endurance challenges, but I’m also preventing myself from injury. And I’m not really, you know, just letting myself create these bad habits without having to address them on a daily or a weekly basis.”Katie: That makes sense. And you also have the MoveWell app, right, which is for the mobility and movement side. Is that helpful as well, especially for people who are training at that level?Joel: Yeah, so this is something that we actually created a lot of. A lot of my businesses come from things where I’m like, “Man, you need to do this, and like, you need to be better at this.” And so when I got hurt, I was going to like physical therapy maybe two times, three times a week, or something like that. And it’s like 60 bucks a session or it’s like 100 bucks a session. And I’d go into physical therapy, and I’d be really good about doing all the work that they told me to do. And then they’d give me homework, and I’d go home, and I would not do any of it. And I feel like a lot of people are kind of like this, where everybody’s got a foam roller or everybody’s got, you know, like a lacrosse ball or a tennis ball that they know they should be doing something, maybe they’re not even an athlete, but they’re sitting down all day. And they’ve got lower back pain, or they’ve got specific issues. And one of the things that I just realized is like, you know, I’m really good, you know, going back to the education thing, if I’ve had someone tell me exactly, you know what to do, I’m really good about doing that. But if I’m just left to my own devices, and coming up with my own routines and what to do with a foam roller, I’m not as good at that.So basically, we built MoveWell, so I would have a portable coach at home with me. And the idea is that we do prescriptive routines so, and just instead of just saying, “Hey, roll out your hamstrings,” we say, “Hey, what’s your specific problem? Do you have like lower back pain? Are you getting ready for a run? Are you just like…you’re trying to do everyday mobility and just trying to stay a little bit loose and you’ve got 10 minutes.” We basically put together routines of specific movements that are, you know, 10 to 15 minutes long. And we have a timer, tutorials, and a coach and we walk you through all the different movements. So you’re not just like foam rolling your left hamstring, and then you know, turning on the TV and doing something else. We try to make it prescriptive. So each routine has a specific goal for it. And you’re not just doing kind of a one size fits all mobility routine.So we started that, actually after I got hurt. And we’re expanding it quite a bit this year. And we’re really excited for what’s coming up with that. Because I think that’s one of those things where most people don’t realize how much they can do. You know, on Impossible, I talk about pushing past your limits and doing more than you think you can. But one of the corollaries of that is that you also have to take care of your body, much more than you might be able to get away with if you’re not pushing yourself. So if you’re just doing your everyday thing, and then all of a sudden you start, you know, really pushing yourself really hard in the gym or running or anything like that. You have to really kind of step up your level of self-care and recovery and what you’re gonna allow yourself to do.And so, you know, we want people to push themselves, we want them to experience more things and do impossible things. But we also want people to take care of themselves and recover well. And there’s a quote, I’m not sure how accurate it is but I like the message of it. And it’s, “There’s no such thing as overtraining, just under-recovery.” And what I’ve found is a lot of people can really push themselves a lot further than they think they can. But you have to take care of yourself first. And if you’re not focused on recovery, and that aspect, that’s where injuries pop up, that’s where things crop up where they’ll set you back, you know, two, four, six months or something like that. And that’s kind of what we wanna avoid.Katie: And that’s such an accurate, it’s like correlation to life in general, is like, you know, you can push hard in any area, but you also have to put in the time for recovery. And whether it be self-care or to sleep, like most people don’t even prioritize sleep anymore. I’m curious, do you have any sleep rituals? Because I guess training takes a pretty big toll on the body. Do you have anything that helps you sleep or maintain your sleep quality?Joel: Yeah, I really like to take cold showers before I go to bed. Something about it calms me down, it’s really hard to…I just moved to Texas. And it’s actually really hard to take cold showers here. I just got the chiliPAD, I still haven’t set it up yet, but I’m really excited about that. And then I have like Sleep Induction Mats, I’ve got a couple of different ones. I think I just have a general one. But then I just picked up the one from the Akuspike guys. And I love that, that was a game-changer for me. And a sleep induction mat is basically just this mat with a bunch of little spikes on it. And something about it, it just forces me to relax as I fall asleep. And then, you know, you lay on it for 10 or 15 minutes then you roll off. So I literally have the chiliPAD like right behind me, and I have to get it set up here sometime soon. But I’m excited about that.And then the sleep induction mats to me were like…when I was traveling, I was traveling for two years straight and I travel really light and the sleep induction mat was so important to me that I was like, I made it a part of just my packing gear. And it takes up a decent amount of space. So it wasn’t like a small commitment to my overall luggage, but it was that important. And it was that helpful with me getting sleep on a regular basis that I decided to keep it in rotation.Katie: Well, I know where I stand, but you’ve got to get the chiliPAD out of the box. It’s totally a game changer when it comes to sleep. I love it, like when I travel now, I like to use it so much, especially with anywhere warm, just like, “Oh, where’s my chiliPAD?”Joel: Like, call the hotel up ahead of time you’re like, “Hey, do you have a chiliPAD you can set up for me because that would be great.”Katie: I have a friend who ships one everywhere he goes before he gets there.Joel: Are you serious?Katie: Completely. I’m not quite to that level yet but I love, love, love the chiliPAD. And they now have the one called OOLER which might be the one you have that’s, like, you can program I think from your phone. But yeah, total game-changer when it comes to sleep. But I would think the cold shower idea would be a similar like thing cooling your body temperature, somebody who doesn’t have a chiliPAD they could try that to start with for sure.This episode is sponsored by Fabletics, my current source for all my gym wear. In the last six months, I’ve discovered several new types of workouts that I’m loving. From group classes focused on flexibility, to high intensity work, to underwater weight and breath training, I’ve been loving trying new things and Fabletics has activewear for all of this. And I wear one of their pieces pretty much every day. Their mission is to make affordable high quality workout wear available to all of us. I love being a VIP member, which unlocks special benefits. Here’s how it works… when you go to fabletics.com/wellnessmama and take a 60-second quiz, it matches you with a showroom of styles designed for your body type and workout type. Before I forget, Fabletics is offering my listeners an incredible deal you don’t want to miss: Get 2 leggings for only $24 ($99 value) when you sign up for a VIP. Just go to fabletics.com/wellnessmama to take advantage of this deal now. Also free shipping on orders over $49. International shipping is available and there is absolutely no commitment when you purchase your first order! Here’s a tip: make sure you enter your email address to get notified about new styles and specials. I’ve found out about some amazing sales through that link. I also personally recommend the power hold leggings which are awesome for everything from lifting weights to yoga.This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic – that is my source for delicious coffees, teas and elixirs that all contain beneficial medicinal mushrooms like Lions Mane, Chaga, Cordyceps, Reishi and others. These mushrooms have a long history of use and a lot of studies to back up their many benefits. I personally fell in love with all of their mushroom coffees and elixirs! I add their elixirs to my smoothies and when I drink coffee, it’s always their mushroom coffee these days. The great part is they have caffeine-free options and coffee-based options with a little bit of caffeine so there’s literally a blend for any time of day. But the bonus is that there’s slightly less caffeine in their coffees than normal coffees, but with the addition of the medicinal mushrooms you get more of a brain boost without the jitters. I personally enjoy the mushroom coffee blends in the morning and I often sip relaxing (and sleep promoting) reishi in the evening before bed. You can check out all of their products and grab a 15% discount at foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama with the code wellnessmama.Katie: So I knew this was gonna fly by so quick because you’re so fun to talk to. But I can’t believe we’re getting near the end already. And there’s a couple questions I really wanna hear your answers to. The first being if there is a book or number of books that have really changed your life or your mindset in some way? If so, what they are and why?Joel: Yeah, so the book that I always tell people about is called “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” by an author called Donald Miller. And this…I’ve read this a couple times over the years, but this is one of the ones I read when I was living in my parent’s basement. And the author basically talks about looking at your life like a story. And he asked the question, you, “If your life was a story, or if your life was a book, would anybody want to read it?” And what I realized in my parent’s basement was that if my life was a story, at that point, it was a story about a guy sitting on his couch watching a bunch of other people like live interesting stories. And so I was like, “Oh, I need to change something.”And so that was probably the most impactful book just from a perspective shift. Because then anytime I come up to like a big obstacle or something that’s hard or difficult, you know, like, it’s not something…it’s not all of a sudden something that’s hard or difficult. It’s just like a challenge in the storyline. And, you know, if you ever go watch a movie, and there’s no big obstacle in the movie, it’s a pretty boring movie. Like if there’s no challenge the protagonist has to overcome, there’s no reason for you to be at that movie.And so that book’s been super impactful. And it lets you kind of step outside your first-person narrative and look at yourself as like, in third person, and be like, “Okay, what would I want a generic character to do in this situation?” And then you’re able to kind of like transport yourself into that character and be, like, “Okay, let’s play first-person now and, like, let’s go do the hard thing because that’s what a good character does.” And so that “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” really recommend it, it’s probably one of my favorites. And it’s super helpful if you’re looking kind of for a perspective shift.Katie: I love that. And that’s a new recommendation on this podcast. I’ll make sure that link gets in the show notes.Joel: Thank you.Katie: Any like parting advice, words of wisdom that you leave with the listeners today?Joel: I think, you know, this kind of what we’ve just been talking about the last couple, you know, last 40 minutes, or so. But I think people really undervalue the importance of hard physical challenges. And the more I think about and the more I do it, the more I keep coming back to that. And it’s so easy to be comfortable. And it’s so easy even talk about this stuff, you know, there’s a million podcasts out there right now be like, you know, “Growth begins at the edge of your comfort zone.” And, you know, people talk about or people post on Pinterest or Instagram, and they talk about getting outside their comfort zone. But if you tell someone to jump in like an ice bath, they’ll fight you about it.And what I found is just the…like the daily practice of finding something that’s not just uncomfortable, but it’s actually physically hard or physically difficult. But also, you know, if you can, physically difficult but meaningful, and that can be meaningful to you in whatever way that means. But I find those experiences that I’ve taken on that have been very, very difficult where I’ve wanted to quit multiple times, and I somehow dug deep enough to push through. Those are probably the biggest…the most transformative experiences I’ve had.And I think we have a pretty big lack of them, like just in modern society. And so, you know, if there’s like a specific challenge, I would say, you know, if people don’t have an ice bath, or something like that, I always tell people to take five minutes of cold showers. If they wanna practice doing something that gets them uncomfortable, you’re already taking a cold shower, you’re already, you know, turning the dial one direction, all you have to do is turn it the other direction, and do it for five minutes. And it might be hard, it might be difficult, and you might, you know, not like this guy on the podcast that you’re listening to. But when you’re done, you realize, it was hard, it was difficult, but it was just five minutes. And you can do anything for five minutes. And then you also realize, you’re able to do other things that you think might be hard might be difficult, but you’re able to do it. So that’s my parting advice.Katie: I love that. And it’s like that’s a perfect place to end, I’ll make sure that we link to everything you mentioned, the 777 Project, and Impossible, and MoveWell, and all the places people can find you. But if people just want to stay in touch with you online or follow your journey and your marathons, where’s the best place to find you?Joel: Yeah, impossiblehq.com is the main site for Impossible. And then you can find me on Twitter, and Instagram @joelrunyon. And those are the best spots.Katie: Awesome. I will make sure all of those are linked. Joel, thanks for taking the time. This was so much fun.Joel: Thanks for having me.Katie: And thanks to all of you for listening and sharing your most valuable asset of your time with us today. We’re so glad 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.Thanks to Our SponsorsThis episode is sponsored by Fabletics, my current source for all my gym wear. In the last six months, I’ve discovered several new types of workouts that I’m loving. From group classes focused on flexibility, to high-intensity work, to underwater weight and breath training, I’ve been loving trying new things and Fabletics has activewear for all of this. And I wear one of their pieces pretty much every day. Their mission is to make affordable high-quality workout wear available to all of us, and I love being a VIP member, which unlocks special benefits. Here’s how it works… when you go to fabletics.com/wellnessmama and take a 60-second quiz, it matches you with a showroom of styles designed for your body type and workout type. Before I forget, Fabletics is offering my listeners an incredible deal you don’t want to miss: Get 2 leggings for only $24 ($99 value) when you sign up for a VIP. Just go to fabletics.com/wellnessmama to take advantage of this deal now. Also free shipping on orders over $49. International shipping is available and there is absolutely no commitment when you purchase your first order! Here’s a tip: make sure you enter your email address to get notified about new styles and special. I’ve found out about some amazing sales through that link. I also personally recommend the power hold leggings which are awesome for everything from lifting weights to yoga.This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic – that is my source for delicious coffees, teas, and elixirs that all contain beneficial medicinal mushrooms like lion’s mane, chaga, cordyceps, reishi, and others. These mushrooms have a long history of use and a lot of studies to back up their many benefits. I personally fell in love with all of their mushroom coffees and elixirs. 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280: Using Adaptogens & Herbal Supplements to Manage Stress (Even for Kids) With Gaia Herbs
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd">I am here with Dr. Mary Bove, and you guys are going to love her! She’s a naturopathic doctor and midwife with advanced training in phytotherapy and herbal medicine. She practiced naturopathic family medicine and midwifery for 25 years and even authored one of the go-to references on the subject, The Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants. In collaboration with Gaia Herbs, she developed an herbal remedy line specifically for children called Gaia Kids. We’re going to talk about how to know which adaptogens and herbs are safe for kids, as well as get some clarity on what naturopathic medicine really is.Episode Highlights With Gaia HerbsWhat an adaptogen actually is and does in the bodyThe best tools to combat modern-day stress and toxicityBenefits of ashwagandha for nerves, sleep, learning challenges, and moreAnother herb to add for deeper, more restful sleepHow holy basil or tulsi can help you stay centered during busy or hectic timesHerbs that help bring the thyroid back into balanceMedicinal mushrooms (and I take cordyceps daily)The natural antidepressant herb that you may never have thought to tryWhy rhodiola is one of Dr. Bove’s favorite herbalsOne of the best herbs for liver balancing and detoxificationEasy home remedies to help kids with growing painsHow to know which herbs to use in combination (and which are safe for kids)And more!Resources We MentionGaiaHerbs.com/wellnessmama (Use the code WELLNESSMAMA at checkout for 20% off featured products)Four SigmaticOura RingRead TranscriptKatie: Hello and welcome to the “Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com. And today, we are going to talk all about adaptogens, and I can’t wait to dive in because I am here with Dr. Mary Bove, who I hope I’m pronouncing her name correctly. She’s a naturopathic doctor and midwife with advanced training in phytotherapy and herbal medicine. She practiced naturopathic family medicine and midwifery for 25 years and taught at Bastyr University. She’s the author of “The Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants,” which is considered an authoritative reference on natural pediatric medicine and a wealth of knowledge. She also co-authored “Herbs for Women’s Health,” and she lectures and teaches internationally. In collaboration with Gaia Herbs, she developed an herbal remedy line specifically for children called Gaia Kids. And we’re going to delve into a lot of that today. But, Dr. Mary, welcome, and thanks for being here.Dr. Mary: Well, thank you. It’s wonderful to be here.Katie: And I can’t wait to go deep on this with you because I feel like adaptogens are a super popular thing right now. And I hear a lot about them, I see other people talking about them on blogs, on social media, and I know that you have been an expert in these for a very long time. For anyone who’s not familiar, can you start us really high level and just define what is an adaptogen?Dr. Mary: Yes, I’d love to. And I think that’s a great question because it’s kind of unique in the sense that adaptogens and the term actually came more in the modern-day herbalism. So it’s not something we would say would look back 100 years ago and we would have used that term. The term adaptogen was actually coined in the late 1960s. And really what it is, it’s a plant that impacts our body through our stress maintaining systems. And so what that means is that they actually help to protect against stress and to enable and enhance our ingrained systems that we have for stress. And given the fact that the stress response has multiple stages, it’s important that it’s healthy and it does all of the parts of what it needs. And adaptogens impact that directly. And one of the parts of the stress response is the adrenal glands. They also impact adrenal health, and the endocrine system, and how it communicates with the brain and the higher centers of the brain, the hypothalamus, and the pituitary.And when they looked at coining that term, they looked at several criteria that the plant had to show and then it could be added into the category adaptogen. And so, we’ve been learning a tremendous amount about these plants because they are very popular, as you say. First of all, adaptogens can’t be toxic or have harmful side effects. Second of all, they work to bring balance. So somebody who has a hyperthyroid and a hypo, a low functioning one and a high functioning one, could use an adaptogen to balance it back to the center, which is an odd concept for a lot of people who work within medicine because it’s not a concept we see in traditional, you know, mainstream medicine.But it’s the concept of the plant working within the system to bring that homeostasis, or that balance and that they are stress-protective, that they particularly work through that system. And, you know, just that alone, I think, as you said, it’s very popular, this term, and the using of these plants right now. And then part of that is because we’re in a stressful time in, you know, our lives, in our communities, in the world, and I think stress comes in so many forms that many times we don’t realize how many ways we interface with it on a day to day basis, and that wears our healthy response down. So using adaptogens can keep us, you know, up on our toes and being able to deal with the challenges that come day to day.Katie: Yeah. I think that’s such an important point about stress because, of course, that’s, like you said, something that’s also very much in the news. And I think most people are pretty aware that we’re operating on often higher levels of stress than previous generations. But something I’ve talked about as well is even if you don’t feel mentally stressed, there’s a good chance that your body might still feel stressed in some way because we are exposed to a lot of things we weren’t exposed to even just a few generations ago. So we’re getting less sleep than we should, and we’re exposed to kind of artificial lighting all the time, and we’re exposed to all kinds of different chemicals in our environment. And all of those things the body can perceive as stress, even if we don’t feel stressed. And so I think that’s why things like this really come into play to help find balance. We’re not just talking about, like, if you mentally feel overwhelmed or stressed. I think there’s, like, layers of the onion when it comes to talking about stress. Do you feel like that too?Dr. Mary: Yes. I do. And I think that’s really well put. And I think, you know, as you said, many people don’t realize how many layers there are or how full their stress basket is. And some of those things are kind of wound up with modern-day living, which is, you know, I would certainly say one of the things that wears on us in that sense. And then there’s mental stress, like, you know, in the sense of worry or, you know, the challenges that come with working with one’s mind, which we do a lot more given the computer age.Katie: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So that I think was a perfect, broad overview of what adaptogens are. And like I said, I know I see these in the news all the time. But walk us through what some of the most popular adaptogens are, just as examples of what kind of plants qualify?Dr. Mary: Oh, absolutely. Well, I think, you know, if we look at like what’s popular in the current news and out there in wellness world, we would certainly have to say ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic Indian herb that belongs to the same family as tomatoes. And it is used as an adaptogen. When the original work was done on adaptogens, the Russians did a lot of that work in the ’60s and ’70s, and they actually looked at combinations of things like eleutherococcus, rhodiola, and schisandra. And so as we look at the pool of adaptogens we have, we have a lot of information on the ashwagandha, and on the rhodiola, and the schisandra, and eleutherococcus.And we also have other adaptogens that we’ve been able to learn about such as holy basil. And what I think people are drawn to, are drawn to the fact that adaptogens are safe, that they can, you know, work currently right, you know, in your life as is, and they can help protect you because we know that stress gets under our skin. And we know that in, you know, our knowledge of modern-day effects of stress in our physiology, we know it contributes to many health challenges and diseases. And if we can do something day to day when we know we have a stressful work week or we overuse our body as an athlete, we may well want to do something that can just help us go a little longer, have a little bit better energy and not wear and tear our body so much.Katie: Yeah, exactly. So can you walk us through some of the specifics? Like, we’ll start with ashwagandha because I think you’re right, that one is everywhere right now. What is it specifically, where does it come from, and what are some of its main benefits?Dr. Mary: Ah, very nice. Yes, well, the root is used of the plant. As I said, it is an Ayurvedic herb that we, you know, learn a lot of information and tradition about its use through the Ayurvedic. And, you know, we see that through the work coming out of India. We also know that traditionally, it’s a plant that would be used as a nerve tonic as well. So it’s very soothing and calming to the nerves, and it’s botanical name, withania somnifera, somnifera meaning sleep. It was called the sleep maker. And it’s often a plant that’s helpful to wind our mind down and prepare our body for moving into the sleep cycle. So, you know, many times we’ll use an adaptogen at night to support the night cycle and withania is, or ashwagandha is a perfect term for that because it really helps us to restore, and revitalize, and get kind of the day’s agitation out of our nervous system as we’re sleeping and helping us to sleep better.Then there would be a couple of other things I’d say about ashwagandha. And if we look at some of the modern science of ashwagandha, we know it to be a strong neuroprotector, we also know…and we can see it’s used in the pediatric population, so with kids. They have looked at using ashwagandha with children who are slow to grow, unable to get good weight gain and with different challenges for both behavior and learning.Katie: When during the day should ashwagandha be taken? Since it’s better for sleep, is it better taken in the evening, or can it be taken through the day, like, different times of day and still have that same effect?Dr. Mary: Yes, good question. It can be taken throughout the day. One of the nice things about it is that it isn’t acting like a sedative. So if you took it in the day, it’s not going to make you sleepy. What it does is that it will help to support their adrenal system and act with stamina, and energy, and focus. And so it can really help with what you’re doing in the day and give you that stress protecting activity. If you’re using it in the evening time, it will work more in a restorative way, calming down, and improving the sleep cycle itself. And so by doing that, as I said, it’s not necessarily going to act more like a herb that puts you to sleep, like let’s say valerian is used as a sleep herb. It’s not that same aspect. What it does is it turns down a deeper level of agitation. And it actually supports the day-night cycle that we tend to mimic in our endocrine system. And so it supports the hormones that would be quieting from an active day, and it supports the hormones that help us with sleep such as melatonin.Katie: That makes sense. And I’m not sure if there’s any data on this, but I’m curious if it also helps with deep sleep because that’s something I’ve been tracking through a device called the Oura Ring for quite a while. And my deep sleep has gotten really solid actually, like a couple hours a night, but my husband still struggles with getting enough deep sleep. Do you know offhand if ashwagandha can help over time with balancing the sleep cycles and getting enough deep sleep?Dr. Mary: Yes. That’s a great question. And it’s so interesting as you track it like you said, and yes, ashwagandha can improve that. And one of the things that I found was that using ashwagandha in combination with magnolia bark, and magnolia bark really helps as an adaptogen as well and helps with supporting that night cycle and the cycle of sleep moving into both REM and non-REM sleep. So putting the two together and using those in the evening would be an excellent way to support that for your husband.Katie: That makes sense. And anytime we’re talking about any herb or supplement, I know that I’m going to get the questions from the audience. I’m just going to go ahead and ask you as we go. Are there any contraindications for ashwagandha? Anyone who cannot take it? You are a midwife, so what about pregnancy and nursing?Dr. Mary: Oh, boy, that’s a lot of big questions. Generally, ashwagandha is very safe, and there’s not like straightforward contraindications like with some herbs in the sense that generally, it’s tolerable. When we come to the population of being pregnant or lactating, I would certainly say that, overall, we try not to use a lot of herbs within the first trimester and overall in pregnancy if not needed. If someone needed to use an adaptogen, would ashwagandha be a safe adaptogen to use? I would certainly say we don’t have a lot of good data on that. But within tradition, we do see that. We do also see there are other herbs that fall in the adaptogen category that are also lactation-friendly and pregnancy-friendly, and that would be something like holy basil.Katie: Got it. Well, while we’re on that topic, what is holy basil? I believe is that the same as tulsi? Is it also called tulsi?Dr. Mary: Yes. Yes, it is called tulsi. And there’s three types of tulsi or holy basil, all of them within…their traditional use may vary, but we often find the Krishna variety out on the market that we’re using in a lot of the products that we see. And it’s an adaptogen plant that’s a member of the mint family. So it’s very aromatic, and it’s known as the goddess and it is a plant that’s used traditionally in Ayurveda all the way from protecting the house, and being a woman’s herb, to helping with sleep, and nervousness, and calming. And one of the things that we often say about holy basil is when everything is going a miss around you, and things are just swirling, and hectic, holy basil can keep you grounded and keep you able to kind of see through all that, your way out and get, you know, a handle on what’s going. So I like holy basil very much for people who feel like they’ve kind of lost motivation in their life, or they can’t feel like a lot of joy, or they may not feel inspired, or motivated.And there is some data on that where they looked at people who were more depressive, lacked motivation, lacked inspiration. And over their time of using the holy basil, they noticed that these types of feelings inside themselves actually changed and that they were more positive and more apt to get up and do something. And I think that really says something because when people are depressed, a lot of times, it’s really hard to do nice things for yourself. And if holy basil can help give you a nudge and support that, then they’ve kind of get a friend and getting yourself to a more positive place.Katie: Yeah. I think that’s a great tip. And it reminded me, to circle back to something you said towards the beginning. You mentioned that there are herbs that can be used to help support the thyroid, to bring it back into balance. And I think there’s a significant segment of the listening audience that has a thyroid struggle in some way. And personally, I’m in remission, but I have Hashimoto’s. So I would love to hear what are some things we can do to support the thyroid using herbs especially since with your background in midwifery, as you know, women often see those things more so after pregnancy, that can often be a trigger for thyroid issues. So, knowing that, especially as women and all of our hormone fluctuations, how can we make sure that we’re being kind to our thyroid?Dr. Mary: Nice question, Katie, because of the part that we didn’t talk about with ashwagandha, ashwagandha is actually an adaptogen that has a very strong influence on the thyroid gland and that influences thyroid hormone production, and the ability for it to be able to function, you know, as in supporting that gland within that function. So ashwagandha is, you know, one of the main adaptogens for somebody who has thyroid challenges that I would certainly say yeah, consider taking ashwagandha to help support that.The other thing about supporting the thyroid is that you look to make sure that you’ve got the things that it needs. And so supporting thyroid means that you might be using things like kelp or other seaweeds that help to give iodine, which is one of the precursors that’s needed for making thyroid hormone. And that would be for, you know, a low-functioning thyroid. At the same time, you mentioned how pregnancy can sometimes kind of have that show up either pre or post. There are many women who deal with a hyperthyroid in their postpartum time. And there are herbs like lemon balm and mother wart that can be very helpful for managing the hyperthyroid. And again, with that, you can find something like ashwagandha will help to balance thyroid so truly as an adaptogen, it should be applicable to be able to use in both aspects. But, certainly, like when you mentioned Hashimoto’s and remission, certainly one of my go-to’s when I would work with Hashimoto’s clients would have been ashwagandha.Katie: Got it. Okay. Yeah. That’s really helpful. And I wanted to go through a little more detail on a few other adaptogens out of curiosity, and then talk about a little later on how they can work together, but you mentioned several at the beginning. Another one I’d love to talk about is cordyceps. I’m a huge fan of medicinal mushrooms, and that one is a mushroom. So can you explain how that is beneficial, and if there’s any differences since it does come from a mushroom?Dr. Mary: Yeah. So cordyceps is, you know, as you said, a medicinal mushroom. And it provides particular kinds of compounds that are very useful in building the immune response, and building one’s stamina and energy. And so as an adaptogen, we really think about cordyceps for people who really have lost their energy, lost their stamina, who tend to be, you know, immune-challenged because those are some of the places that cordyceps can really thrive. So it can help like, you know, in one’s day to day energy, as well as it can help with improving the overall ability to build one’s stamina over time. So somebody who’s, like, an athlete, goes out and runs a marathon and really puts everything into it, after they finished that, there’s a lot of responses that happen in their muscles. And sometimes that can, you know, be pain, and it can be work against the muscle health in the long run.Something like cordyceps can help to mediate that and improve oxygen in the muscle while it’s working, improve the way it makes energy, and it can also improve how it clears out the debris afterward in not having a lot of muscle breakdown and stress and oxidation from that. And as a medicinal fungi, you know, as I said, we know it as an antioxidant. But certainly, that immune-modulating piece is important because a lot of times with stress, the immune system responds in a hyper response that’s not necessarily very good in the long run. And the effects of the mushroom to be able to modulate that really helps us to keep away from over challenging our immune system.Katie: Very cool. Yeah. I’m a huge fan of medicinal mushrooms and cordyceps. It’s such a…I feel like a beneficial form, and it’s something I put often into drinks or just sip throughout the day in a tea. What about rhodiola? That’s another one that’s been getting some buzz lately. Walk us through what rhodiola does?Dr. Mary: Yeah. Now, that’s mine. It has to be one of my favorite adaptogens. I really find rhodiola to be a plant that is very diverse. It impacts our mood through many of the neurotransmitter aspects, GABA, dopamine, and it can improve, you know, depressed moods as well as helping to dampen down anxiety. It helps to modulate that HPA access in the brain-endocrine-adrenal system. So we know that hypothalamus, pituitary is always talking to the adrenal gland, and so it helps to keep that communication up and going. It also helps to improve oxygen uptake, particularly by the muscle tissue. So it helps with our stamina and our output to be able to make energy and move through the day. You know, right now, it’s being looked at for some of its effects as a nootropic, helping us to improve the way we focus, and our memory, and concentration. So our brain function is being impacted by that rhodiola.And then if we look at it in a traditional form, it’s a high iron root. So it’s traditionally been used for anemia or low iron in someone’s blood. It’s also been used as a spring tonic, It grows in Siberia, and so there, there’s a lot of change between cold, cold winters, and that’s a very stressful thing on our body. And coming out of that, rhodiola was traditionally taken to help us transition from that cold time of the season into spring, and blooming, and more energy, and the warmth. And then lastly, it was also used as a fertility tonic. And in my work as a midwife, I used rhodiola often with my fertility work. So particularly women who are trying to get pregnant or unable to get pregnant, maybe later age of life, who showed up with having adrenal challenges, either adrenal exhaustion or stress challenges. And when that’s occurring, that can really take away from the hormones that make us really fertile. So rhodiola was one of the go-to plants for me to help to get that system balance so that good ovulation could take place. And that’s one plant that I would also say that I tend to use more in the morning. So rhodiola, I often give morning and noon. Though it does improve sleep, but often it does that by improving the 24-hour day-night cycle so you have more normalcy in that, not necessarily making you feel sedated or sleepy in that sense.Katie: Gotcha. Okay, so rhodiola in the morning. What about schisandra, if I’m saying that correctly? That one is, like, I feel like the new one to the scene, obviously not from an herbal perspective, but from an online perspective right now that’s getting a lot of buzz. And I’ve seen it mentioned, even for men, for things like improving testosterone. I don’t know if I’m remembering that correctly, but schisandra is a berry, am I remembering that correctly?Dr. Mary: Yes. Yes, you are. And it’s a herb that we would have talked about in traditional Chinese medicine. So we gander a lot of wealth about this plant through the Chinese traditional herbal sense, and in that it is a very strong tonic. And it does help to support stamina and the aspects of energy and energy production. One of the things if you ever see the berry, it’s a bright red berry. So it has a lot of phenols in it. And these phenols, they give the color, and they’re very supportive to our body’s immune system, and they help to manage oxidation. And one of the things about schisandra as an adaptogen, it has a very strong balancing effect within liver function. So the detoxification phases that go on within liver function, helping to support both of those processes through the liver and the enzymes that are needed there, and at the same time, helping to support the adrenal endocrine system.It’s also been looked at for its effects, particularly in depression. And there’s been studies with its use with anti-depression medication at the same time to look at safety and adequate dose. And they found that they could lower amounts of the antidepressant medications when using schisandra as that enhance the effects of the medication. I think sometimes we think that a plant will only have negative effects, but there actually is quite a bit of data that shows that there are plants that actually can enhance the way a medication is working and help the medication dose to be less overall. So schisandra is one of those that I’ve seen looked at particularly as I said for mood disorders.I was gonna say one other thing about schisandra. And that is that in a more traditional way, we think of it as a plant that has the five tastes. So it does actually affect us and some of the aspects of the way that taste, like sour, or bitter, or sweet might occur for us. And I think that’s an interesting thing because then we know that schisandra is impacting, you know, our digestive health and as I said our liver health and helping with, you know, overall, what we would say kind of vital energy.Katie: Very cool. I had seen it referred to as the five taste herb, and I wondered what that meant. That’s really cool.This podcast is sponsored by Organifi, my source for super high quality superfood powders that are often part of my meals, especially when I travel. They have green juice, their most popular drink that lets you incorporate farm fresh gently dehydrated ingredients into your diet and lock in the extra vitamins and antioxidants. All you have to do is add to water, drink and let your body soak up the benefits. It’s my go-to for veggies in the morning and is packed with Chlorella (good for detox) Spirulina (which is also for Detox and people take for pain and Inflammation) Turmeric, Mint (Improves Digestion), Matcha green tea (Energy) Ashwagandha (helps cortisol and improves stress balance and craving control and Improves digestion). Their red juice is sweet and fruity but packed with antioxidant rich superfoods like Cordyceps (energy) Reishi (used for detox and liiver health), Rhodiola (Secret weapon for olympic athletes, boosts metabolism) and an abundance of red berries (low in sugar). It’s designed to fight aging, improve energy and metabolism and sharpen cognition and I often drink it mid-day. And lastly, their GOLD drink is awesome at night and is filled with Turmeric, Ginger, Turkey Tail, Coconut Milk, Cinnamon and more. Check all of these out at organifi.com/wellnessmama and use the code WELLNESS20 gives 20% off.This episode is brought to you by SteadyMD, my family’s source for concierge medicine and our primary care doctors. Once something only available to the ultra-wealthy, concierge medicine is now available to all of us thanks to SteadyMD. This means my family is connected with a highly qualified MD certified in functional medicine and who knows our medical history, the supplements we take, our preferences for medical treatments and who is available anytime we need her via text, video chat, or phone call. She’s been there when I was trying to decide if I needed to take a kid in for stitches or a sore throat, she’s looked at my kids’ ears remotely via digital otoscope that I connect to my phone and she manages and advises based on regular labs. I’ve always said that your doctor should be your partner in managing your health and should listen and take into account your symptoms, feelings, and preferences and with SteadyMD, that absolutely happens. I feel supported, heard and confident knowing that I have one of the top doctors in the country available when I need her. With her help and thanks to diet and lifestyle changes in the past few years, I’ve been able to confirm that I no longer have any of the symptoms or lab markers of Hashimotos and am completely in remission! I truly can’t speak highly enough about SteadyMD and hope you’ll check them out. Head to steadyMD.com/wellnessmama to learn more and to take a quick quiz to see which doctor you match with.Katie: So you talked a little bit about mood disorders. And I hear from a lot of people who have maybe not clinically diagnosed, but somewhere on the spectrum of anxiety or depression, it seems like those are both things that are on the rise. And I know they’re both things that adaptogens can potentially be really beneficial for. Is there a good starting point if someone is struggling with either of those things, of just adaptogens to begin experimenting with?Dr. Mary: Yeah. A couple of things that I would say, is that you can take adaptogens singly and you can take adaptogens in combination. And many times, combinations will enhance and have synergistic interactions between the plants and may actually be a little more potent in some ways. But if someone’s just starting off and they’re wondering, you know, “What I might want to use?” Or maybe they’re a little nervous or cautious, then they could start with just one, like a single capsule of ashwagandha so that they weren’t having too many herbs in the picture if they were a little uncomfortable with that. Typically for stress, like anxiety and/or depression, like mood issues, irritability, adaptogens partner up very well with what we call nervines. And nervines in the herbal world are plants that affect the nervous system to bring relaxation, diminish irritation in the nerves and calm the spirit and the brain. And a good plant to think about when you have anxiety or depression would be lemon balm. It’s a very uplifting plant. And it would be a very nice plant to combine with ashwagandha for somebody who had anxiety, or depression, and/or, you know, a sleep issue who had anxiety with it. And so they could use that combination per se.Also, one of the things that I would think about here would be the use of holy basil, the tulsi, because holy basil kind of does both of those things in some ways because as I said, it’s a part of the mint family and that family often can have calming effects in the brain and in the spirit, as we would say. And holy basil has, you know, multiple different ways that it impacts with our mood. And so I would certainly say that a plant stands out, and I use it often when there’s either anxiety and/or depression. And with holy basil and lemon balm actually put together, lemon balm is very uplifting. It’s kind of nicknamed the happy herb. And so it really helps to, you know, kind of lift the mood. And it’s something that will do that in a relatively short period of time. So if you take a tea of it or tea of holy basil and lemon balm put together, or an extract, you typically will feel that effect within an hour so that you’ll feel a little uplifted, or relaxed, or a little bit, you know, more positive in your outlook. So that’s kind of nice because some of the other adaptogens like rhodiola, which affects the mood, takes a little bit longer to work. And so it’ll take a couple of weeks for someone to feel the effects of the rhodiola, where you may actually feel the effects of the lemon balm, holy basil at, you know, a more kind of rapid time, you know, not having to wait a couple of weeks.Katie: Very cool. Yeah. I love that idea of them in combination and stacking them for that reason. Another thing I get a ton of questions about, and I’m guessing you probably also did in family practice for naturopathic medicine is relating to kids and sleep. And in kids and supplements in general, like what can we give, what can we not give? And I know you are uniquely qualified because you actually developed a line that was safe for kids. But can you give us any tips for when your kids won’t fall asleep, when your kids don’t stay asleep, when they wake up with growing pains, are there ways we can support them through those things naturally?Dr. Mary: Yes, there are. I’ll start with the growing pains because that’s, you know, pretty straightforward. A lot of times I find the kids have growing pains, you can use something like catnip or California poppy extract, typically about 10 to 30 drops per dose, 10 for like a 5-year-old and 30 for 12-year-olds, who might have something like that at the time they’re having discomfort. But what I also find is that they start taking magnesium, higher amounts of magnesium, so two parts magnesium to one part calcium, rather than having higher amounts of calcium. They often can get the growing pains to actually cease. So that’s just, you know, an easy one.When we look at sleep, like either falling asleep or staying asleep, some of the things that we have to think about is what creates the disruption. So falling asleep has to do with kind of winding down. And traditionally in herbal medicine, they would use chamomile, and lemon balm, catnip, and oats, avena sativa as a tea or an extract and given typically, you know, after dinner and before bed. A lot of times, they would combine that with things like lavender bath or hops bath. And we know that herbs like hops, and lavender, and chamomilla will all help to relax the mind, relax the body. So that, you know, are some practices that one could do a herbal bath. they could make some tea and have tea. If they’re worried about taking too much fluid before bed, then I would suggest using it in extract form. And, that way, you can either just put it in a little bit of fluid, or you can actually put the extract and mix it in with a little applesauce, and they can take it that way, which makes it a little bit easier.For staying asleep, the first thing that comes to mind is that many of the herbs that we just talked about could be given, and over a period of time that will help with staying asleep. But some children wake in the night because they actually need calories. And so, if it’s a child that’s doing that, they actually need to have a snack, or giving a bedtime snack can actually help those children not have the need to wake up to get calories in the middle of the night. So I always ask whether, you know, how long it’s been since they’ve eaten, before that they’ve gone to sleep, and try to figure out whether or not food is part of that wake-up issue.Katie: That’s another great point. Is there any reason not to let kids eat during the middle of the night? Is that normal because I know with, you know, for instance, breastfeeding, I always heard that after a certain point, kids were able to sleep through the night without needing to nurse and wake up. As kids go through growth spurts, is that actually more common that they do need to wake up and consume calories?Dr. Mary: Yeah. And a lot of times, as you said, in growth spurts, many times what I would tell moms is to just like have…you can use fluid as that calories. So whether that’s, you know, milk, or milk alternative, you can, you know, get up and they can have four ounces of, you know, an almond milk and find that that’s plenty for them to, you know, go back to sleep with. So it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get up and cook a meal or give them a lot of food.Katie: Gotcha. Okay. So we’re not talking it has to be a meal, it’s, just something sometimes to get them to calm back down and go back to sleep and let their body have the fuel for the sleep process because I know I’ve read quite a bit about how there’s so much that goes on during sleep. And for kids, I would guess obviously, like, that’s, even more, the case when they’re growing. So it makes sense that they might just have a higher need at certain points.Dr. Mary: Yeah. And that point about kids growing, you know, during those growth spurts, and a lot of that does happen at night during sleep. So that’s a great point you make.Katie: And you’ve mentioned several different herbs and combinations. I want to make sure, before we go any further, that we mention that I was also able to get a discount from you guys at Gaia Herbs, and you have a lot of these formulas there. So can you tell us about the discount, but also tell us some of the children’s formula that you guys carry?Dr. Mary: Oh, yeah. And also, I should just, you know, that not only the children’s formulas, but the adaptogen formulas, you know, things that we’ve been talking about, like, you know, adrenal health is one of the adaptogen formulas, and that’s a day-to-day, you know, really helps to maintain and give stress-protective. And that’s a combination of four adaptogens along with a nervine because it makes sense to put that nerve tonic and nerve support in with the adaptogens. So oats is the nervine, and there’s rhodiola, schisandra, holy basil, ashwagandha in that product. So really nice, general, broad-spectrum support. And then in that same line, there’s adrenal nighttime, which takes the adaptogens that help to focus on the night cycle and sleep and sleep architects. So when you talked about the different levels of sleep, being able to fall asleep, relax your body, those adaptogens help with restoring, and that can be taken at night. So if someone really notices that their stress is interrupting their night cycles, they can use a product like that.For those people who feel like they’re really burned out, that they don’t get going in the day, they can’t get up and going, they might use a product called Jumpstart, which is designed to kind of really pick up an exhausted kind of system and get it perked up and going again, so that it can start to revitalize itself. And that’s a daytime formula because in the day, our physiology is different. And so we want a different product for that. And so those two products one can be taken in the day and one can be taken at night, they can be taken together, or alone based on that, which is really nice, because that’s, you know, one of the ways that you restore someone who’s really been kind of exhausted and depleted from stress is to try to mimic the day-night cycle, which mimics our circadian cycle, which is reflected through all our tissues in our body. So it helps us to all kind of get on the same page of getting well.Then you asked about the children’s products, which are liquid products and they’re products that are designed specifically for children. So that would mean that we have herbs that are safe within that population, that the herbs also typically are specific for the kinds of challenges and health that kids would have. And we try to make sure that the herbs are what we would say, flavorful or you know, pleasant in taste like fennel seed, or chamomile, or lemon balm, all pleasant tasting plants.And those products are designed, there’s a Kid’s Defense, which looks at the using herbs to support the immune system during immune challenges such as cold and flu, or stomach flu, that type of thing. There’s also an Echinacea Supreme where we use the echinacea species that is specific for helping with the acute response and getting over of colds and flus that’s designed for kids.And one of the nice things about this line and the ability of Gaia was that Gaia has very sophisticated manufacturing techniques. We were able to extract the plants in very specific ways so that we could really hone in on high amounts of phytonutrients, and then they’re able to extract the alcohol off of that extract and put glycerin in there, which is sweet, which is much more palatable for children. And then we deliver a product that’s alcohol-free and more designed for a child’s taste. And there is a sleep formula there, Calm Restore, which is a combination of sleep herbs that are traditionally used for supporting sleep in children. And some of those herbs like lemon balm and passionflower have been looked at in science for safety and dose-related use with children in that population. So that’s wonderful.And there’s another product called Attention Daily, and that’s a product that was focused in on focus and concentration, that’s kind of…but it’s a product that we put together for brain focus for children. And that, in my practice, I have so many stories about teachers, and moms, and principals of schools who call the practice to talk to me about how well children did when they were put on these products and how noticeable it was in the classroom for many of these kids, which really make my heart very joyful that I was helping and that we could help children, you know, improve their learning environment and skills.Katie: For sure. Yeah. I think as a homeschooling mom and just a mom in general, that’s something we all obviously want. And it’s always great when you can find those things that really work for your kids. Also, for anybody listening, of course, as always, all of these links will be in the show notes, everything that you have mentioned. But that link, if you want to go to right now is gaiaherbs.com/wellnessmama. And Dr. Mary has offered 20% off featured adaptogens. So make sure to use the code wellnessmama, all one word. If you do go check it out. And as we get toward the end, there’s a few questions I love to ask, and I can’t wait to hear your answers for.The first being, if there are a few things about your area of expertise that are often misunderstood or that people really just don’t know, and if so what they are?Dr. Mary: Yes. There are a few things. I’d say the first thing is that I don’t think that people realize how much science and data has been collected on medicinal plants, safety, use, and validating many of the traditions, and that all over the world, there are many countries that have been collecting data on this. And that it is well-documented and there’s much evidence that gives us basis for the traditional use and new uses. And I think secondly, as people get used to thinking about using plants is that it’s not the same as using a pharmaceutical drug. And so you have to approach it with an open mind, and it needs to be approached in the sense that it might take time, which is different from many pharmaceutical drugs.Katie: Yeah. Such an important distinction. Although I will say on that note, like, I feel like it’s easy a little bit to fall into the trap sometimes even in the natural health world of trying to just treat a symptom with an herb instead of treating a symptom with a medicine. And I love that about the naturopathic approach. And in midwifery, when it comes to pregnancy, in general, is that it’s more of a whole-body supportive approach versus let’s tackle the symptoms approach. And I think, at least in my own life, that’s where herbs really seem to shine is when you are able to try to support and address the body as a whole rather than just like, “Oh, let’s go tackle this particular one symptom,” because there’s usually something else going on. You know, things very rarely happen in isolation in the body. And so I think these plants, like you’ve mentioned, they give us the ability to support the body very holistically.Dr. Mary: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I kind of think of symptoms as like the voice of the body shouting out to get our attention. And then that draws us into why is that shout happening? And I think herbs do. They really do help to support that basic, you know, foundation of physiological health.Katie: Gotcha. Another question I’d love to ask is if there’s a book or a number of books that have changed your life, and if so what they are and why?Dr. Mary: Yes. There is a book that changed…it makes me emotional even. It changed my life hugely. So, when I went to college, I was 18, and I was studying psychology. And, in my first three months of college, I went from psychology, to sociology, to behavioral modification. I kept changing my major. And so that was pretty much a sign that things weren’t right for me in college. And I found this book called “Common Herbs for Natural Health,” and it’s by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, and she’s a little gypsy from Europe. And she wrote this book, and it opened up a world that I didn’t know existed. And it opened up the possibility that I could be an herbalist. And it put me on a path that took me to go and study with indigenous people. It made me open a store, which then gave me the opportunity to meet medicinal herbalists from England, and I went to England and studied for four years and became a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, and that led me to naturopathic school and midwifery. I don’t know, I thought I was going to be an archaeologist. So things changed greatly from this book, and it’s still working one of my very favorite books to immerse myself in or to reference when I’m looking for a plant or studying a plant.Katie: That’s a new recommendation on here. Make sure that’s in the show notes, as well, if any of you guys want to check it out, as well. Dr. Mary, any parting advice for the listeners today?Dr. Mary: Yes. I would say get out into nature and look at, you know, the greenery. Spend five minutes every day really focusing in with a life of the plants around you, and you will benefit from just that exposure.Katie: I love that. And I completely agree. And Dr. Mary, I know that you are very busy and you have so many things that you do, so thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom with us today.Dr. Mary: Well, thank you, Katie, for having me. This was wonderful. And I love Wellness Mama as your title. And I just think that just emanates the possibility of wellness for every mama.Katie: Oh, thank you. And thanks to all of you for listening and sharing one of your most valuable assets, your time with both of us. We’re so grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama Podcast.”More From Wellness Mama79: Using Naturopathic Medicine to Beat Hormone Imbalance & Nutrient Deficiencies163: Fascinating Fungi & How to Use Medicinal Mushrooms With Tero IsokauppilaHow to Make Herbal TincturesCordyceps Mushrooms Benefits for Anti-Aging, Endurance & BalanceWhat’s in My Medicine CabinetDid you enjoy this episode? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well.Thanks to Our SponsorsThis podcast is sponsored by Organifi, my source for super high quality superfood powders that are often part of my meals, especially when I travel. Green juice, their most popular drink, lets you incorporate farm fresh, gently dehydrated ingredients into your diet and lock in the extra vitamins and antioxidants. I just add to water and drink! It’s my go-to for veggies in the morning and is packed with chlorella for detox, spirulina and turmeric for detox as well as pain and inflammation, mint for improved digestion, matcha green tea for energy, and ashwagandha for cortisol and stress balance. Organifi also has a red juice with antioxidant-rich superfoods like cordyceps, reishi, and rhodiola plus an abundance of red berries. It’s sweet and fruity but low in sugar. It’s designed to fight aging, improve energy and metabolism, and sharpen cognition so I often drink it midday. And lastly, their the Organifi Gold drink is awesome at night and is filled with turmeric for skin health, ginger for achy muscles, turkey tail for immunity, and coconut milk for healthy saturated fat. Check all of these out at organifi.com/wellnessmama and use the code WELLNESS20 for 20% off.This episode is brought to you by SteadyMD, my family’s source for concierge medicine and our primary care doctors. Once something only available to the ultra-wealthy, concierge medicine is now available to all of us thanks to SteadyMD. This means my family is connected with a highly qualified MD certified in functional medicine and who knows our medical history, the supplements we take, our preferences for medical treatments and who is available anytime we need her via text, video chat, or phone call. She’s been there when I was trying to decide if I needed to take a kid in for stitches or a sore throat, she’s looked at my kids’ ears remotely via digital otoscope that I connect to my phone and she manages and advises based on regular labs. I’ve always said that your doctor should be your partner in managing your health and should listen and take into account your symptoms, feelings, and preferences and with SteadyMD, that absolutely happens. I feel supported, heard and confident knowing that I have one of the top doctors in the country available when I need her. With her help and thanks to diet and lifestyle changes in the past few years, I’ve been able to confirm that I no longer have any of the symptoms or lab markers of Hashimotos and am completely in remission! I truly can’t speak highly enough about SteadyMD and hope you’ll check them out. Head to steadyMD.com/wm to learn more and to take a quick quiz to see which doctor you match with.
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Started
Jan 1st, 1980
Latest Episode
Aug 19th, 2019
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