Introducing Amelia Luker

Written by Christopher Kelly

Dec. 14, 2014

[0:00:00]

Christopher:    Hello and welcome to the Nourish Balance Thrive podcast. My name is Christopher Kelly, and I'm joined today by Registered Nurse Amelia Luker. Hi, Amelia.

Amelia:    Hi, Chris! How are you doing?

Christopher:    Great! Thank you. So I wanted to tell everyone all about you because I'm quite excited. First of all, why don't you start by introducing yourself?

Amelia:    Okay. Well, I am Amelia Luker. I am a registered nurse. I work in the hospital with really sick folks, and I fell upon the Kalish program and really fell in love with it, started becoming a Kalish practitioner and working with patients. Now, I've got people moving over from the traditional medical model into the more holistic, functional-based program that I recommend now.

Christopher:    Cool. So I should probably say who Kalish is. Dr. Kalish is a functional medicine practitioner and I have a rather strong affinity to him because he was the one that fixed me personally.

    So I had all kinds of problems going on, mostly digestive and then the fallout from that, so things like low libido, brain fog, lack of energy, mildly depressed, insomnia, those types of things. I tried a lot of things that didn't work before I got to the point where I asked a chiropractor to help me -- that's probably normal for most people -- and the first person I went to was my primary care physician who was actually worse than useless, I'd say. He actually did more harm than good, I think.

Amelia:    Yeah, I've seen that.

Christopher:    Yeah. So the end result of this was I did tons of research and it seems like there was two types of person. There was the person that was utterly useless, and then there was the person that had 600 people on their waiting list.

    So when I found someone that could help me, I thought, "Wow! You don't need to be a heart surgeon to teach someone how to meditate, and you can really help them with that stuff." And the lab tests are brilliant because they uncover tons of hidden stuff that you wouldn't normally know, but there's so much that you can do even without having any kind of training or lab work or anything like that.

    So that's how we got started, and I was on the Robb Wolf podcast, which is where you heard me, right?

Amelia:    Yup, that's where I heard you from initially, yeah.

Christopher:    So what I figured out -- so once Dr. Kalish had fixed me, I was ever-curious, ever-skeptical, computer programmer working for this hedge fund in Walnut Creek, and I'm like, "Okay, so what's going on here? How has this guy done it? No question, it's like night and day how I feel now to how I felt before. What's going on here?" I just had to know, and that kind of inquisitive mind. So I persuaded him to let me onto his training course.

    So Dr. Kalish, that's what he focuses on now. He trains doctors. I'm not a doctor, I'm a computer programmer. But my wife Julie, she's a food scientist, and that seemed to be technical enough for him to allow us onto his training course. I think he was just nice, actually.

    So we did the training course and we figured out how this thing worked, and of course, you and me already knew how this worked because you've done a lot of that kind of basic college stuff, right? The biochemistry and biology and all that kind of stuff, I guess. So we did the training course, figured out how it worked, and then we started testing other people, like friends and family, people on my bike team, and then the network gradually grew from there.

    Then I started thinking back about what it was like being a person that was bloated and felt tired and was suffering from all these problems and how hard it was to try and find someone to help me, and I thought, "You know what? I need to create something here, like build a team and help people, and hopefully earn a living doing it," and the way to do that, I realized, was to scale. That's the problem for all these people with 600 people on their waiting list is they don't know how to scale.

    There are plenty of people out there who are really, really capable. So a really good example, we're partnered with a medical doctor, her name is Dr. Jamie Busch, and she's great! She gets it. She's super smart, she lives the lifestyle, she's a professional athlete, but she's trapped inside a system that does not help people.

    So that's the type of system that accepts primary -- sorry, your health insurance, your PPO health insurance or your HMO health insurance. She's just locked into that system where her only tool to help someone is a prescription pad. Her day is divided into 20-minute time slots, and at the end she's supposed to write prescriptions. So how the heck are you going to help a 300-pound diabetic get better when all you've got is 20 minutes and a prescription pad?

[0:05:00]

    So tell me about your work as a nurse then. What does an average day look like for you?

Amelia:    Well, I work with a very sick population. Right now, this is the time of year we see a lot of GI bleeds, respiratory issues, pneumonia. All through the year, we see a lot of AFib complications -- which, ultimately, most of those stem from inflammation -- doing heparin drips, insulin drips, antibiotics, steroids. It's a really unfortunate system that I really fell out of desire to be a part of.

Christopher:    And why was that?

Amelia:    I didn't see it helping the people that I feel that could've been helped, like you said, with a little bit more time, with a little bit going further into the diagnosis and not just masking the symptoms, getting to the root cause of the issue. I fell out of favor with the medical system and that's when I really decided to pursue my education in a more natural approach, and once I took on the natural approach myself, I saw the benefits that I felt and wanted to share that with the people who are suffering the most.

Christopher:    Yes. So tell me about that. Obviously, everybody has a story. How did you get into this in the first place? How did you -- I mean, I think of this as being -- I think I heard Dave Asprey say this, that it's "enlightened self-interest." So what I mean by that is I probably would have never cared about any of it. If I had not ever had any problems, I would definitely not be doing this now. So how did you get even started?

Amelia:    Well, in my medical career or with the Kalish kind of stuff?

Christopher:    Yeah, with the Kalish thing and the functional medicine. How did you get to the point -- like what was your experience with that personally? Did you ever have any issues yourself or have you always been just fine?

Amelia:    Well, when I was younger, one of the things that I struggled with the most was the low energy and the having to eat in order to feel okay, and that constant feeling of wanting to need to eat something. I've always been an active person. I've always run. I've always been a runner and pushed myself to the brink. But then, even though I didn't feel like doing it, going for the run, going for the exercise, I did it anyway and I really just broke myself.

    I think it all stemmed from my diet and blood sugar imbalances and that feeling that I needed to have either coffee or food to pick me up. So from there, I was always a healthy eater but I was always like low-fat, traditional, standard-American-diet kind of things. I actually fell upon the Atkins diet to start with and that pushed me more towards the protein/fats, and that really started to stabilize my blood sugar so I wasn't hungry all the time. I had a little bit more energy.

    But from there I found the Paleo lifestyle and really focused on the more whole and nourishing foods, and going to the -- learning about the toxins and the fat of the traditionally raised animals and things like that and just eliminating that from my diet. So that was the first step, but then, in my desire to learn more about this whole Paleo thing, I was listening to podcasts and I came across Sean Croxton and the Kalish, and that's what really drew my interest into that.

    So I learned a little bit more about it and I tested myself, and I was actually in stage 2 adrenal fatigue. So with his system I was able to treat the underlying -- I actually had a Giardia infection from a previous backpacking trip in Peru that was originally treated at the medical route, but it obviously didn't catch it. It didn't completely eliminate it.

[0:10:18]

    So that's how I got into the Kalish thing, and then once I started feeling so much better and I could go and do the exercise and the things and the activities that I wanted to do, being able to share this with some of the people who I feel need it most, who are locked in the traditional medical system.

Christopher:    It seems like there's a common pattern there, isn't there, where you go through a period of increased stress and it doesn't matter whether it's dietary or physical or emotional? So for some people, they're eating a whole bunch more refined carbohydrate than they really should, and then for other people it's a ton of physical stress like overtraining. So that was probably the case somewhat for you too and then definitely for me.

    Then there are other people that are suffering from emotional stress. So maybe you're a new mother or you just had a second kid, or maybe you just started a new job. It could be anything, really, and there's just this one physiological response to all of these types of stress, which is to overproduce this hormone cortisol but eventually leads to dysregulation, and so the saliva testing and this whole -- although I think that name of "adrenal fatigue" is probably an oversimplification to the point where it's possibly wrong.

Amelia:    Yeah. No, I agree.

Christopher:    Yeah, but for sure we know that these salivary hormones are a really key component to getting rid of the infections that we're finding, like Giardia, on the stool testing. But that's interesting what you said about the exercise thing, and I've literally just been talking to someone about this exact same thing and I'd experienced it, too. It's like a vicious cycle.

    So you're addicted to exercise and you probably even know it, and you feel like crap, and you go out there, you drag yourself out there, and it takes you probably an hour to warm up. Then once you're warmed up, you start to get some cortisol going, you start to get some endorphins going, you start to feel better, and then suddenly the smile comes back in your face and like, "This is pretty cool!" Of course, that process is quite addictive and --

Amelia:    Yeah. It's almost like, "This is the only way I can feel good. This is what I need to do," and it's just digging into a deeper hole.

Christopher:    Exactly. It's part of the reason that's the problem in the first place. You're just doing more of whatever it was that caused that problem.

    And the thing that I find interesting now, I don't know if you feel the same, but I don't have that addiction to exercise like I once did. I would look at my watch and it would be coming up to one o'clock, and I'd start getting anxiety because like, "Crap! I need to go out there and do a ride, or else I'm probably going to be fat tomorrow or something." I don't know what the hell I was thinking but I really needed to get out there and do it, and now I'm just fine.

    It's raining cats and dogs here in Santa Cruz at the moment, and I'm not going to ride today and I couldn't give a monkey's about that. It's fine. I'll just ride when it stops raining and I won't have lost some of my fitness because it took me 38 years to acquire it, right? That's not going to happen.

    So what are you like? Are you okay with that now? Can you take it or leave it with exercise? You still want it but you don't need it?

Amelia:    Yeah, I think I'm the same way. I still really want it but I can take it or leave it, and that's one of the things I've always felt like -- I've never really technically had a problem with my weight, but now that I've really gotten the toxins out, I've got my hormones balanced, I've got my nutrients all in line, whether I exercise or not, it doesn't affect my body fat, it doesn't affect my weight, and I actually noticed that once I started getting everything in line and exercising less, I actually leaned out quite a bit. If you would have told me that five years ago, then I would have thought you were crazy, but it's true.

Christopher:    There are so many paradoxical things in this world of physiology, isn't it? It's like it's really quite hard to understand sometimes. I mean, the big one for me is the "exercise more, eat less" thing. It's extremely paradoxical.

    Then of course, the exercise in itself, it makes perfect sense to me to go out and run for an hour or to ride your bike for two hours. It's going to burn more calories and you'll end up being skinnier than if you just spend 15 minutes warming up and then do air squats really fast for like -- as a Tabata interval, or lift some heavy things, maybe do some deadlifts or some squats. You'd expect that you're like, "Well, okay, that didn't really use any energy at all, like not many calories." So I'd expect that person to be fatter than the person that's riding their bike for two hours every day.

[0:15:03]

    But that's not necessarily true either, we know, and certainly the health outcomes are much better for the person lifting heavy things.

Amelia:    Yeah, and it goes further than just the body composition issue.

Christopher:    Of course.

Amelia:    I used to have to eat every two to three hours, and if I didn't eat, I was a grumpy pants.

Christopher:    Hangry.

Amelia:    Hangry, exactly. Now, I rarely eat breakfast. I get busy sometimes, I forget about meals, and my mood and my attitude is just fine. Then once I get to sit down, I have a good, hearty meal and everything just -- my hormones stay in line, my blood sugar stays in line, my fitness stays in line, and it's really remarkable once you heal the root causes of the inflammation, of the infection. It's amazing what falls in line.

Christopher:    That's awesome. It would be interesting -- we'll have to do an Organix profile on you sometime, so this organic acids test.

Amelia:    Yeah, that's absolutely something I need to look into for myself, yeah.

Christopher:    It seems like there's always something. I thought I was doing great, and then I do the organic acids test and I'm like, "Ah, look at that. I really could use some more CoQ10. That's annoying." You want to get to the point where you're not taking supplements anymore, but no doubt when you take them, you always feel a bit better at least.

    But I think what's interesting about that is when you look at what's going on at the cellular level, you know it's not right. There's something that's not right. There's a deficiency of CoQ10. It's really important for energy production. Each one of those cells needs to produce energy, and our body is made up of trillions of cells. Now, the question is how many cells would have to be going wrong before you'd feel that as symptoms? So that's what nags me and persuades me to try and fix the problems on the organic acids test even though I might not be having many symptoms. But yeah, it's a really interesting test.

    But typically, I find that people that are doing great, like they claim they're doing really well, they nearly almost are. So yeah, it would be interesting to see whether that's true for you or not.

Amelia:    Yeah, I'm sure I could use some help somewhere.

Christopher:    So we've got to talk about your car crash. Tell us about that. That's crazy for a number of reasons.

Amelia:    Yeah. Well, when I was a young girl, this is really a big turning point in my life. When I was about 16, I was in an accident. I wasn't driving, but glass actually went through my neck and severed my carotid artery.

    Now, from there, I was taken to the children's hospital here in Utah and they saved my life. They rerouted my carotid artery and I was induced in a coma for quite a long time, and through that recovery, it really -- the things that the nurses and the doctors did for me I can never give back, and so I felt like it was my mission in life to pay that forward. That's when I decided that nursing would be my career.

Christopher:    That's pretty cool. I mean, it's an amazing story and a really honorable decision for you to make, and the thing that really blows my mind is I suffered the same injury.

    My story was a bit different. I had a motorcycle accident but it was the same injury. I tore my carotid artery in my neck. I was actually going around a corner on a motorcycle. If you could imagine, it leans over, and the mirror sticks out of the handlebars, and then a car coming the other way so it went a bit wide, and this clip, it's just like a really light clip of my mirror, but it spun around and went into my neck and tore the carotid artery out.

    I was lucky that somebody stood by to actually put their hand on my face really, really hard to stop the bleeding, but it's crazy. I mean, you talk to some doctors and surgeons and most of them assume that it's an unsurvivable injury. It's like minutes to live once you've damaged that artery. It's crazy.

Amelia:    And here we are, two people with the same injury. That's amazing. That is crazy. That just blows my mind. It goes to show that there really is a place for the medical industry in the acute and emergency situations, but in the chronic model, it doesn't serve people.

[0:20:00]

Christopher:    Yeah, it's interesting that that didn't motivate me to go and -- I was quite young at that time, I was probably about 17 or 18, and I never did that well at school actually up until that point. I think it's in large part because I was so bad at concentrating. I was like the ADHD kid. And given what I know now about my sensitivity to gluten and the diet that I was eating at that time, I'm not really too surprised by that behavior really, and it's only now that I can concentrate at the level that is required to get through some of these material and get these qualifications.

    But yes, certainly at that time I was not motivated even in the slightest to learn how to be a doctor or anything like that. It's weird that it took gas and bloating and brain fog to motivate me to try and help someone else. The only thing I did do was give blood, right? So I think I ended up having something crazy that they measure in units in the UK, which is about a pint of blood. So I ended up having ten pints or something like that. It was something ludicrous. I can remember it being more than the total amount of volume in your body at any one time.

Amelia:    Yeah, I had the same thing. I had 21 units --

Christopher:    Oh, wow!

Amelia:    -- transfused into my body, but -- and that's another thing that after this episode, this young medical emergency that happened to me, I really fell into a gnarly spot in my mind and I had a lingering depression that stuck with me for the longest time. I didn't really attribute it to anything, and especially not my diet, but not until I cleaned up my diet and got my body on the right system did that baseline depression just lift. I know you said you experienced something similar, just that mild depression lifting.

Christopher:    Yeah, definitely. There's something going on here. It's just this default state that your body falls into as the result of a variety of common chronic health complaints. So you could have a number of things going on with your gut, say. Like your body, once it thinks it's being chased by a tiger, this kind of mild state of depression seems to be something that nearly everybody -- so for the last, I don't know, I guess it's coming up on a year -- not even -- nine months that I've talked to or run tests on over 200 people, and this state of mild depression is almost like the default state for these people.

    And sometimes they don't even know that it's happening, right? It's only once you deal with that gut infection, you restore the hormone balance, maybe you need to do some work to improve your liver function and get your detox pathways working better, only then does the mild depression lift. Then it's like, "Whoa! What just happened?" People don't even report that as a symptom and yet it is there, and it's only once it's gone that you notice. That's interesting.

Amelia:    It's like that quote that you told me the other day. "Oh, this is what 'feeling good' feels," or "This is what 'healthy' feels like," right?

Christopher:    Yeah. So that was Clay Higgins [Phonetic]. He might even be listening, you never know. Yeah, he just said to me -- it was just like a random thing he said in an email. It was like, "Oh, this is what normal people feel like," and I just thought that was just such a classic kind of -- yeah, you don't know. The symptoms, they're really bad at guiding you sometimes because they're only obvious, they're only there in their retrospective absence, if that makes sense. It's like you need to get outside of the tank in order to see yourself in it. Yeah, it's crazy.

Amelia:    Yeah.

Christopher:    Excellent! So I should say something about the way that we've been working. Although we are partnered with a medical doctor -- she is a primary care physician -- we're not trying to replace the work of primary care physicians. If your doctor still wants to run blood work then you should do it, no question, but if you've got other things going on and they've been going on for a while, things like you're overweight, or you've got fatigue, or you've got digestive issues, or you know you have hormonal imbalance -- say you're a woman and you're having PMS symptoms, or you're a man and you've got low testosterone -- then we have a kick-ass system that is going to get results.

    The way it works is you make an appointment, you talk to either me or Amelia over the phone, you can do it by Skype as well -- it's even better because the voice quality is so much better -- and then we'll go through some basic stuff that we know that every human being needs in order to be a healthy person. So these are things like diet, rest, exercise, stress reduction over the course of however many years.

    Amelia actually has more experience of doing this than I do. We figured out what every single person needs. So we go through some of that stuff. We figure out what your goals are. They might be to win a marathon and they might be just to have more energy in the afternoon. It really doesn't matter. We figure out these goals.

[0:24:58]

    And then we've been using three types of lab tests that we can send to you at home. So you do all the collection at home and then you send the samples into the lab electronically -- electronically, that would be really quite something, wouldn't it? -- you send the lab the samples in by FedEx and then the results come back to me electronically. That's what happens.

    So once we have these electronic results, we can use this protocol that we have to design a solution for you, a written document that will describe all the things you need to do to fix the root causes that we found on the lab work. So again, it'll either be me or Amelia that talk to you on the phone. We'll walk you through the whole process.

    Is there anything else you wanted to say about that? Have I missed anything?

Amelia:    Well, I just wanted to say that one of the reasons why I really was interested in joining up with you is just the amazing program. The computer background that you have just makes everything so slick and so easy to manage. It makes it easy to manage for the provider and also makes it so easy to manage for the client or customer or patient. But I really think you have a great program with great infrastructure and some great testing so I'm really excited to be a part of the team. I'm excited to move forward.

Christopher:    Cool. Thank you, yeah. So I should say something about that, actually, because it's something that I noticed -- that's my background. I'm a computer programmer, I'm an analyst, and I like looking at these systems and seeing how they work, and identifying problems and thinking of ways to make things work better. Actually, you can hear me today just on the "Less Doing" podcast and that's exactly the sort of thing I like. "Less doing, more living" is a really good mantra for anyone to live by.

    I hated that about going to the doctor, like their stupid, secure messaging system. I know there are certain things that can only be communicated in that way, but I hated how difficult it was to make an appointment. There were so many times that I went into the doctor's office for absolutely no reason at all for you to hand me this printout of some lab work that I've just done. That's ridiculous! You don't need to do that. It's just so stupid.

    So one of the things I realized was there's a lot of people out there, practitioners, who are well educated, well trained and well able to help people, but their problem is they just don't know  how to reach the people that need help. So I've just looked towards the things that I use to help myself and that's the podcast, that's blogs, that's interviews with experts. I've started creating more of the same and I'm hoping it's going to help other people out there.

    My goal is it's also going to help these practitioners who at the moment don't have any way of reaching people that need help, right? So these people like you that are amazing at helping people but maybe not so amazing at setting up a website, that's something --

Amelia:    You got me pegged.

Christopher:    So there's other things like -- so we use this program called ScheduleOnce, and if you don't use this already and you do some kind of work like this, then you need to go get it right now. ScheduleOnce is a way for you to make an appointment online. So I can just give you a link and you can come to my website, and you can just create an appointment with either me or Amelia -- or even Julie, our food scientist; she does some of the more detailed nutrition coaching -- and you can just make that appointment for yourself. Our calendar is there online. You can just go make it.

    You'll be sent the reminders. We always keep the appointments on time, every time. I'll call you by phone or Skype when the appointment starts, and everything just runs like clockwork. When everything runs like clockwork, you can help more people in less time, which is better for everyone. So yeah, there's some core technology that's come of age, I think, that is really useful for this type of work.

Amelia:    Yeah, you've done a great job with it.

Christopher:    Thank you. I'll keep trying.

    So yeah, that's the news: Amelia, registered nurse, Kalish practitioner; she's working with me and she's available. You can just go to the website now. I have a link at the top of the page there. "Consultations," I think, is the word. You click on that and then you see our schedule.

    So if  you're interested in talking with either of us, we've actually got a special offer going right now where you can talk to either one of us for 15 minutes to try and figure out how these lab tests and how the diet and lifestyle changes that we've been talking about can affect you -- or "help" you, I should say, is a better word. So head over to the website, book yourself an appointment, and we will take it from there.

    So thanks so much for joining me today, Amelia. It's been a fun conversation.

Amelia:    Yeah, it's been great. Thanks for having me.

Christopher:    Okay, cheers. Bye-bye.

Amelia:    Bye-bye.

[0:29:43]    End of Audio

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