Written by Christopher Kelly
June 25, 2015
Christopher: Hello and welcome to the Nourish Balance Thrive Podcast. My name is Christopher Kelly. Today I am joined by Torea Rodriguez. Hi, Torea.
Torea: Hi, Chris.
Christopher: Torea is a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner and a biochemist. We've been working together to try and figure out her Hashimoto's. Why don't I let you briefly describe your background and the problems that you've been dealing with?
Torea: Sure. I'll do it briefly because we've recorded a podcast before.
Christopher: Of course. Yeah. I forgot to mention that.
Torea: Yeah. If people want to go back and listen to it from before, it's a little bit more in depth there. Previous to becoming an FDN practitioner, I was a professional pilot. While I was flying professionally I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's. The short story of it is that I was working with an endocrinologist for probably about a year, and we could not get the Hashimoto's under control even though we doubled medication, changed medication a lot.
Finally, he just decided that the way to deal with it was to irradiate the thyroid and then do surgery to remove the rest of the tissue. That's pretty much when I put on the brakes and said, "No. Wait a minute. I would like to investigate a more natural route." So that's when I started doing Paleo diet and started working a little bit with functional medicine. The Paleo diet really helped a lot in terms of how I felt but I still needed to dig in a little bit further, and that's when I got really involved with doing functional medicine, receiving that as a client, and getting to really know what was happening for me underneath the covers.
It wasn't just about the thyroid anymore. It was about many layers. It was thyroid and adrenal, and even that wasn't enough. When I started FDN training was when I really got introduced to taking it that level further and looking for parasites and trying to determine whether or not parasites were contributing to my ill health. That's when we discovered some parasites. I had just finished treating giardia when we talked last.
Christopher: So that was a year ago. So for those people that don't know, FDN, functional diagnostic nutrition, is a training course that you can do online. We've both done it, actually. It's probably been updated quite a lot [0:02:15] [Indiscernible] quite a long time ago. So the idea is you sign up, there's online classes, you get to run some of the labs I use every day now on yourself, on some of your friends and family, and see what you find which is really, really fun. I think the goal of the training course is to help you understand how you can use these tests to really figure out what's going on inside rather than just looking at symptoms on the outside which can be really quite misleading.
Obviously, there's this number that you're trying to fix on a lab test. You see problems with the thyroid. How did you feel? At your worst, what was it like?
Torea: Oh, gosh. At my worst, I wasn't able to get out of bed. There was a lot of fatigue. It was really bad. It was fatigue that I thought would be solved by sleep. When I was younger it was like "Oh, yeah. I'm tired or I'm sick," and I'll sleep in it. I'll get better. I wasn't recovering sleep. I would sleep 12, 14 hours, 15 hours. I still feel like I was run over by a truck.
Christopher: That's a classic hypothyroid thing.
Torea: Yup. For me it also manifested in migraines. I got a lot of migraines where I'd have headaches and pains. Of course, there was definitely weight gain. There was hair loss. I lost the outer third of my eyebrows. That's very classic hypothyroid. I'm very blond so it was really hard for me to see them. So it's really hard to see eyebrows.
It's a total girl thing. I was having my eyebrows waxed, and I was amazed that I actually have eyebrow hairs all the way to the outer edge which have been the first time I've seen that in six to eight years, and lots of hairs coming out in the shower every day, handfuls. It was pretty bad. So those were the primary complaints.
Around the time that we talked last, I had chronic loose stool for two, three years at that point, and I couldn't figure it out. I tried all sorts of things with diet, adjusting macronutrient ratios, how much fiber am I getting. Nothing seemed to make it budge at all. That's when we discovered that I had giardia. I'm one of the lucky 20% that gets chronic symptoms which giardia. I never had that initial acute bout of diarrhea and stomach cramps and everything else that 80% of the people will get when they get infected with giardia.
Christopher: Right. If you went to the doctor and presented with those symptoms, then they might think to do some kind of test like the one that you did. Sometimes you don't get those classic symptoms. You might get something else which is related to your digestive health.
I have to say that I don't see much giardia. I'm seeing hundreds and hundreds of these stool tests now. I'm just trying to see if I've even seen one giardia. It's really pretty rare.
Torea: it's still pretty rare. I'm definitely an outdoor enthusiast so I'm always outside. I honestly think that where I picked it up may have been in Hawaii when I was swimming in some mountain streams. It's definitely a waterborne parasite. I think I was just susceptible to it because I had found originally way back a long time ago, I had H. pylori. I had done a cleanse for H. pylori. I think I may have just gotten myself in a position where I was susceptible to picking up other things. That's how I ended up with it.
Christopher: I'm sure that's true. People always think that they picked up one of these infections, and it's an injury that you sustain a bit like if you were to step on a rake in the garden, it was just like an accident. If I'd only stepped one foot to the right I would have avoided this. If I I'd only not swam in this river in Hawaii, I would never have got giardia. But, of course, it doesn't work like that. It's you've made yourself a really great host for whatever this thing is.
Usually the reason for that is a ton of stress. So each person is different. You might be a mountain biker or you might be a stay-at-home mom or you might be a hedge fund trader or something else. It's the stress that lowers immunity, and then that makes you really great host for one of these infections.
Was that consistent when you did the adrenal stress profile, the saliva test to your cortisol? Did you see why I always see, which is super low cortisol, low DHEA, low estrogen, low progesterone?
Torea: Yeah. When I first did that test it was pretty much rock-bottom, definitely late stage III. The practitioner that I was working with at the time was just like "Look, if you keep going this way without making lifestyle changes," because I hadn't done that at that point. I was still trying to fly for a living. He just said, "Look, if you don't make some lifestyle changes, you're one step away from Addison's disease," which it was pretty low for sure.
Over the years I've worked on adrenal health a lot. It's become a primary focus. I struggled to kind of get myself back into stage II which is really kind of in that normal range where people are, if you want to call it a stage zero but in that normal range. I still struggle to keep my cortisol in that range.
Christopher: So when we're talking about these stages, I think it's slightly useful to be able to classify the amount of cortisol that you produce in a single day. Usually I just say low cortisol now because that's the only thing I ever see.
Torea: Almost everybody has got low cortisol.
Christopher: Almost everybody's got low cortisol. So stage II is like normal cortisol but you're still seeing low levels of the anabolic hormones and things like DHEA and progesterone and estrogen. So there's still clearly some kind of problem but at least you can get out of bed now.
Torea: Yeah. Stage II is almost always after a period of time where we're on his huge cortisol high. So we went through a period of time where everything was feeling great and we could do just about anything, and we could have a ton of stress, n we're pumping up a ton of cortisol, and everything feels wonderful, and then something either happens. For me, it was a number of acute stress situations that have happened to me.
I got into a cycling accident and got a lot of physical injury, and I lost my mom within three months. I also had a pressurization emergency in my aircraft one day, at altitude that I had to deal with. All of those things happened within a period of three months of each other. Those just kind of coupled together and then dropped me off the back side of the curve into stage II and stage III adrenal fatigue.
Christopher: I can't decide whether this is just really common. Obviously, the situation you just described are not common, whether this period of increased stress is just something that happens to everyone. There's no avoiding it. It's just the way that life is. So I'm not really picking up on anything or whether it is truly the precursor to disaster.
I have to say that since going through this personally -- not Hashimoto's but a similar set of problems. I feel like I fixed all those now. I'm doing better than I had at any point in my life. At the same time I've added a lot of stress. So I started a business, I had a baby, I'm still training at the highest level to compete on the bike. I'm not a wreck. I know it can be done but it seems like you really do have to line up your ducks if you're going to pull this thing off.
Torea: Absolutely. I think that's one thing that I noticed is I went through a period of time where I was not able to handle stress at all. I was very stress intolerant, if you will. Just the thought of getting up at 4:00 in the morning to move to an aircraft to a different airport, to pick up clients was really hard on me because I knew that I'd be a wreck after that trip, and that I'd spend all my days off just recovering to make it to my next trip.
Now, though, after I've worked on this for a number of years, I can definitely handle more stress, for sure, but I really have to be cognizant and schedule my time such that I put in the recovery days which is what I wasn't doing before.
I wasn't paying attention to recovery. I wasn't thinking about "Okay. I've got a stressful event coming up. Let me make sure that my diet is absolutely clean moving into that event," as oppose to "Oh, I've got a fun even coming up. I think I'll just party with my food and add too much sugar in there." By the time you get to that event, you're a wreck again.
So it really does take being very conscious and, like you said, making sure all your ducks are in a row to be able to handle the kind of stresses that I've been handling lately.
Christopher: Let's use another one of my bad analogies. It's only a problem until you know it's a problem. So if something's going to hit you and hurt you, it's typically not an issue when you know it's coming. If someone kicks a football at the back of your head, he's going to hit you. You're not going to see it coming.
The stress thing, I think, is interesting because not many people see it coming. They don't realize it's a problem. I'm pretty sure my parents, for example, went through their entire lives without ever knowing that stress could cause them harm. There's definitely a clear delineation with me that once I knew it was potentially going to be a problem, and I discovered tools like guided meditation, Headspace in particular, that it's just not the issue that it was anymore. This is really interesting.
I guess my two questions are how do you feel now, and what did you do to make that happen?
Torea: Yeah. So now I feel much better than I did before but I'm not going to tell you that it was a linear path to get here. I was talking about stress in the fall. I was working for a software company. We were doing a major software release. It was very stressful. So during that period of time I definitely got the migraines back as part of the stress reaction.
So what we ended up doing is we treated the giardia and postgiardia. We were talking about how I kind of had this perfect environment to pick up something else. So we detected some yeast at that point. So we followed that on with an anti-yeast protocol. So I was focusing on that and getting that done.
Christopher: I'm a bit worried that I've been a little bit lax in this in the past, actually. So you do some stool test and you find a problem like giardia. Then you got two options. You can go to your doctor and show them the result, and the doctor will say, "Okay. So here's a prescription for Flagyl or some other antibiotic." You take that and you get rid of it. We know very little about this, actually. What we do know is that antibiotics, and probably the botanical herbs too, that they selectively kill microbs in the gut.
So there are probably some things which they are very effective against, and then other things which are not effective at all. So you're selectively killing the microbiotas. So some of these organisms will remain and some will stay, and you don't really know which is good and which is bad. So there's the potential to cause dysbiosis or imbalance by taking the supplements.
So there are net gains like the giardia was an evil dictator that was causing damage and inflammation and God knows whatever problems. So that had to go. You're then left with this maybe secondary problem that's less serious which I think has something to do with the fact that you've also created a kind of sterile environment, relatively sterile environment.
So you can think of this a bit like a [0:13:40] [Indiscernible] which is going to be the first organism to become the new dictator. It seems from experience that the answer to that question is quite often yeast.
Torea: Yeah. I think some of that has to do with the antibacterial protocol or the anti-parasite protocol. It doesn't go after the yeast. It leaves the yeast. So the yeast is just kind of like "Everybody cleared up. I'm going to spread myself out and move in." I think that's part of it too. So following that up with an anti-yeast protocol --
Initially I thought I was getting worse, to be honest. That was primarily due to the stress. See, this is the thing about stress that we live in today is that it's completely insidious. It creeps in like this dark mist and you don't don't know that you're taking on more and more. Things got really stressful at my work. I started getting these chronic headaches again and feeling fatigued again and thought "Oh, my gosh. My thyroid's off. Maybe I should have my thyroid checked."
So we checked my thyroid. It's fine, actually. It wasn't until I actually left the job. It took me totally leaving the job to realize that my headaches went away within days of that job. I kind of didn't believe it at first but then they were gone for a week, and then it was two weeks, and then it's like "Wow. Okay. That job was so stressful that my threshold for headaches was just really reduced. So I was starting to get headaches all the time.
Then I can really notice the improvement. Once I got rid of the headaches, I could notice the improvement with the GI symptoms. Things started to return back to normal, actually, at that point. Just recently I started seeing the loose stool again so I thought "Oh, no. I've created an environment for a new something to move in, some new monster in." So we did some testing, you and I did some testing together. Both of those came back clean. We also did this uBiome testing which is really fascinating.
Christopher: It is fascinating, yes. So we knew about the yeast because we measured it in the organic acid. So the organic acid is a urine test. I've talked about it on the podcast before. I love this test, and this marker number 46 which is D-arabinitol which is a metabolite or a breakdown product of a pathogenic species of yeast called candida that I'm sure a lot of people have heard of.
I'm not saying that you should eliminate this thing completely and I'm not sure you ever could. When you see it, that bullet on the far right hand side of the chart, and it's into the fifth quintile, then you know that maybe you got a problem with yeast. It sounds like you solved that now.
Then we went on and we did the Doctor's Data stool test. It's a traditional stool culture. The first test that I think people should do if you've never done any stool testing is that BioHealth 401 H GI Pathogen Screen. The reason is because I think they're the best at finding parasites. So you were far more likely to see giardia or that test than you were this one.
However, the bacterial culture on the Doctor's Data test is quite a lot more advanced than BioHealth. So they go into much more detail. You don't really get any information about the bacteria that they found in the culture tool.
Torea: They'll just identify one species, whereas Doctor's Data will identify multiple species and give you kind of different levels which is kind of nice about that.
Christopher: It's one of my most frequently asked questions, actually, is "Oh, I found abundant amounts of e. coli as the primary species of bacterial on my BioHealth 401 Health GI Pathogen Screen. Is that a problem? Do I need to treat that?"
It's true that e. coli is an opportunistic pathogen. When it becomes overgrown it can cause infection but it's not something that I would try and treat if I saw it on that result. You could almost consider it as a normal result like you wouldn't try and do that. So sometimes you see other oddball species like citrobacter which is also an opportunistic pathogen, and then klebsiella which I understand is no good in any amounts from what I know from talking to Grace Liu.
The Doctor's Data test is more advance in that. So they give you these three green, yellow and red columns that register dysbiotic flora. You don't really want any of that. The [0:18:14] [Indiscernible] is the yellow. The green is the beneficial species. Sometimes the green is interesting -- what you don't have any growth of. You don't have any of that in this instance. So she has nothing that I've seen that's been missing. In fact, this is pretty much a normal result.
Apart from the yeast culture, it showed saccharomyces boulardii. So do you want to say something about that?
Torea: Yes. So part of the anti-yeast protocol, I used the oil of oregano and I also use the rainforest botanicals for antifungal. We also used saccharomyces boulardii. That species is really great because it's not going to overgrow in a dysbiotic parasitic way. It actually acts by forcing other species out. So the fact that we see it high here just indicates there's still some residential but that they're starting to come down. We didn't find any of the other yeast in there so that was great.
Christopher: Yeah. It's somewhat paradoxical that you can take a yeast to fix a yeast infection but it's true.
Torea: To get rid of other yeast. Yeah. If you think about different species in an ecosystem, you're always going to have two species that are competing for space right next to each other. I'm thinking about the marine intertidal which is totally not the gut. The interdial, you'll have mussels competing with articles, for example. When they're competing, one is going to win over the other and you're going to see this huge growth of barnacles or you're going to see a huge growth of mussels. It's the same kind of thing think with the yeast it's that they're side by side but eventually one of them is going to push out the other.
Christopher: Yes. Other than that, this is a normal result. The other thing which I think is really interesting is the secretory IgA. The secretory IgA is the immune system's first line of defense in the mucosal lining of the gut. If someone's got something going on, you always see that elevated. In fact, if it's really, really low, it is a pretty bad sign that there's something going on pretty bad for long a time.In this instance, there's nothing. I think that's a really good sign.
Torea: Nothing in terms of it's not there. It's a normal result.
Christopher: It's a normal result. So I guess you don't really know. It's nonspecific, isn't it? It's a bit like reactive protein in a way that it's nonspecific. So you don't know whether the person's eating something they're sensitive or whether they've got some sort of infection or something or overgrowth.
Torea: I always explain secretory IgA, these are the first line troops that go out if there's some kind of invader. If the invader becomes prevalent, then there's going to be a lot of troops. Eventually if you've been fighting that invader for so long, you're going to run out of troops. So your secretory IgA will go from an elevated space to drop really low and be below normal. If you see a normal range, then that's pretty much typical of what the body puts out on a daily basis.
Christopher: So it seems like you're pretty much done with stool testing. The uBiome was interesting in that it showed some of the species that we know are important for maintaining sort of a healthy balanced microbiota or collection of microbes were missing. I would need to look at the analysis again.
So Grace had helped me identify this lean ancestral core or group of bacteria that are important on an ongoing basis to protect against pathogens and other things. I'm hoping to be able to see her Paleo f(x) presentation. I paid for it on Vimeo, and it's not blooming there, is it? So I'm a bit upset about that. She presented all that stuff there.
uBiome is a test that you can do that's not very expensive. I'll put the link in the show notes. I think it's around --
Torea: One kit is $89, I think.
Christopher: Yeah. I think you get $10 off with a referral code. So it's a little bit cheaper. So that's the test you can do at home, super simple to do.
Torea: Way easier to do, by the way, than 401 H and the Doctor's Data.
Christopher: It comes back. You can export the data that tell you the full taxonomy of bacteria that they found in the sample. You can then have a look and see whether any of these lean ancestral core are there. I think that knowledge is still in its infancy and it's yet to play out, how important these things really are. I think it's cool to have data and look at this and maybe compare it like "Where was I a year ago?" Now we know more about this stuff.
Torea: I think what I was most fascinated about when we took at the taxonomy of what was present for me is that I'm missing all of those key species. They're not there at all. It's been a really helpful guide because now you and I have been able to develop a probiotic/prebiotic program to help repopulate my gut so that it has a more representative nature instead of just being this empty apartment building for all these monster to move into. Proactively I'm working on repopulating that now.
Christopher: You can either do that or create a bubble to live in. If that works, start a bubble just like a germ-free [0:23:41] [Indiscernible].
Torea: Yeah. I thought about that given all the environmental toxins out there.
Christopher: I mean it's not just about the testing. You've done the AIP diet. So when we last talked it was exactly a year ago, the first podcast. You weren't really doing AIP. At that time you just decided to get back to AIP.
Torea: Yeah. I had done AIP before and I didn't really notice any difference. I reintroduced foods and I didn't really notice any difference.
Christopher: Before I go any further with the jargon, I should probably say what AIP is for people who don't know. So why don't you describe what AIP is?
Torea: So AIP stands for Autoimmune Protocol or Autoimmune Paleo Diet is often another way that it's referred to. It's a specific elimination diet that's designed for people with autoimmune disease. You start with the Paleo basis. As a refresher, that's no dairy, no legumes, no grains and no white sugars. That's Paleo. Then you add on to it. You remove nuts and seeds, so all nuts and seeds. The bummer for me was learning that cacao or chocolate is a seed, so all nuts and seeds, all nightshade vegetables and spices. So nightshades are defined as tomatoes, peppers and potatoes and chilies. Then you also remove eggs.
At the time when I talked to you last year, I was probably eating two or three eggs every day thinking that it wasn't bothering me at all. So I decided to try it again. I'm grateful to do that because I think this is the first time that I actually layered all three things together. Lifestyle elements were already in check because I had finally gotten around to doing those. The functional medicine testing and AIP elimination diet which really helped kind of boost my healing by layering them together. It never worked doing one at a time. For me I had to layer them together.
Christopher: Yeah. I'm such a big fan of this. Sometimes I run into trouble with overwhelming people. In fact, frequently I run into trouble with overwhelming people.
Torea: Easy to do. There's a lot of stuff there.
Christopher: I think that's a really good strategy. Okay. So I know about these five things, diet, rest, exercise, stress reduction and supplements that you can do that are likely to help you meet your goals. So you got brain fog and you'd like to lose some weight. You're not recovering as fast as you used to. You'd rather mop the floor than have sex. Well, let's do all of these things.
When you get to the point where you're feeling fantastic, let's experiment with adding back in one of the foods which you really enjoyed eating like dairy or eggs or something else. If that doesn't affect anything, if you stay fixed, then game on. Okay. It wasn't that. In the beginning I think it makes sense just to do everything at once. Then once you've achieved it, then that's great.
Do you have any complaints now then? What's going on now?
Torea: Really, I think it's just the repopulation piece and making sure that that's done. I'm still working on the loose stool issue. What's fascinating is during this time in getting rid of the stress, I started getting hyperthyroid symptoms. That was the time in --
Christopher: I think that's a really good sign.
Torea: That's a really good sign. It can be a bad sign too but…
Christopher: We talked about your labs.
Torea: Yeah. Let me kind of back up. So when I was dealing with the endocrinologist, he was giving me medication. That didn't work. I was still feeling achy. He would double the medication. I would go to hyperthyroid symptoms. For me, that's getting a lot of shakes and getting heart palpitations when I shouldn't be getting heart palpitation. So that's my first key sign that I have too much thyroid hormone coursing through my body.
When I got rid of the stress by leaving the job, the software job, because I should explain that I actually do have a job now because I do the FDN practitioner coaching, but when I got rid of that stress I started experiencing hyperthyroid symptoms and getting the heart palpitations again. I thought at first that I may not be needing as much adrenal support so I stopped the adrenal support, and they continued. So I decided to get my labs taken for thyroid. In January we showed that it was definitely hyperthyroid.
So we reduced my medication a little bit. Always with thyroid, it's a matter of fix, six weeks that you have to wait for your body to adjust to your new dosage. We tested again. Sure enough, it's still hyperthyroid. So for the first time in, I don't know, probably -- what year awe we in? I think for the first time in eight years I've been able to reduce my medication below 1 1/4 grain which is totally new for me. I haven't been in this position where I've been able to reduce my dosage below this baseline before. So it's exciting for me because I know that I'm healing my body and I know that I'm starting to rebuild thyroid tissue and is able to generate more thyroid hormone on its own.
Christopher: That's great. Yeah. So that's what I meant, this sign of needing less and less thyroid medication as per the labs. It's got to be a good thing. Surely.
Torea: Yes. Definitely a good thing. When I first started I was pretty bent on the idea of not having to take thyroid medication. For some reason it meant I was going to be stuck on medication the rest my wife and I was broken or whatever. There's that whole mental component to it. Finally, I think I just kind of came to terms with the fact that my body had done enough damage, that I may very well possibly be on thyroid medication forever. To have it changed in this way now that I've worked so much on healing and worked through all the different layers is very surprising to me. So I'm hopeful that I'll be able to continue healing.
Christopher: Yeah. I'm not sure that some of these problems can be fixed permanently without some help anyway. My example is folate. I know that if I don't get enough folate then my allergies come back quite quickly, really quite quickly. I can't go even just a day without taking supplements. I get scratchy eyes. I used an app called - apparently it's pronounced, chronometer. I've been calling it chronometer, chronometer.com, chronometer.
Torea: Sounds like the first time I said accelerometer, accelerometer.
Christopher: So I went through this. It's a food diary app. You enter in all your food. It tells you how much of a particular nutrient you've eaten amongst other things. I was at 400% of the RDA for folate. Most of that is coming from leafy vegetables which are pretty good source of folate. Still I know I need 800 µg, at least, of that as supplemental as 5-methylenetetrahydrofolate. I think it's because of a genetic abnormality. So when I did the 23andMe test, I saw heterozygous mutation polymorphism in one of those SNPs that controls the enzyme. That means I might be taking folate like that for as long as I don't want the allergies. Of course, folate does so many other things. Who knows what other effects I might be having inside my body?
Torea: Yeah. You just said a lot there. I think what's really fascinating about what you just said is that there's a couple of different components. The 23andMe is your genetic component. That shows you what the genes are code for but it doesn't tell us anything about how we're actually using them and whether or not those genes have been turned on or turned off, nor coding those proteins or not. Just given how you feel and your symptoms, clearly your environment has turned on that heterozygous mutation so that you're more inefficient in working with folate and breaking down folate, that kind of thing. Yes, you personally do need supplementation.
Christopher: Yeah. It's not like I'm ever going to get away from that. That's your genetics. You can't escape that. It's not going to change. There's nothing you can do.
Torea: No. The genetics aren't but my point is that the epigenetics or your environmental influences. Maybe. You don't know. Is that a permanent switch on or a permanent switch off?
Christopher: I'm not sure this is epigenetics but I do know that when I exercise more, I need more folate. The other day, I rode my bike for 100 miles, six hours. I actually started to get scratchy eyes during the ride which never ever happens. It was quite a hard ride. There was [0:32:27] [Indiscernible] which I did. I've done rides that long before. I've certainly gone that long before being outside and being exposed to the same tree pollens and whatever other allergies, and not taken any additional folate and being fine, not had the scratchy eyes.
I'm sure that's because what we're talking about, really, inside out bodies are these biochemical pathways which are converting one metabolite into another. It required this nutrient folate. So when I exercise I'm just turning over the methylation process, biochemical process is happening more often, and therefore I need more of the raw materials, and I just run out just because I haven't [0:33:09] [Indiscernible].
Torea: In addition, it's spring where you're being bombarded with extra levels of the tree pollens. Who knows? You'll never know unless --
Christopher: Yeah. That's possible. Yeah. I think that's kind of an interesting point because anybody that tries to prescribe me something based on your genetic data alone is probably --
Torea: It's not enough. Yeah. It's only one part of the picture.
Christopher: Yeah. So that's cool. What's next for you then? Are you totally done? I'd go back to eating the standard American diet and forget about testing and all that.
Torea: I love how you asked that. That's just a load of question. I haven't completely reintroduced and tested again the foods from AIP. I've been able to successfully reintroduce eggs on occasion and I've been able to successfully introduce some seeds, not all nuts though. That was actually pretty fascinating. So I discovered that I'm actually very sensitive to almonds. So I can't power pack the almond flour baked goods anymore.
Christopher: I'm not sure that's ever a good idea.
Torea: Yeah. It's probably not a good idea because it's a really high concentration of nuts anyway. So it's been really fascinating to learn that I actually am sensitive to some of those foods. It's May now. So we're entering here in California what I call nightshade season because our CSA box literally gets flooded with peppers and tomatoes and potatoes and eggplants.
Last year it was really sad. In July we had to actually trade-in our entire CSA box for other food. They're like "What's wrong with it?" I had to explain nightshades and AIP to them and all that stuff. They were great about it. We're coming in to nightshade season so I'll probably test those a little bit and see how I do.
Really, for me, my focus is on gut repopulation and being successful in that program, probably do another uBiome screen later on to see if we're able to change the actual taxonomy of that, and continue to monitor the thyroid in and see if we can get back to being stable and/or see if there's going to be a continued healing after that. That's my personal focus in my health plan right now.
Christopher: That's cool. Yeah. I think it's awesome. I'm totally into it now at the moment, just tracking stuff, just see what happens. Keep doing the blood chemistry, keep doing the organic acids. I know that's kind of expensive. Keep doing the uBiome and just see, just have that data, and then compare. It's the vectors which are interesting. Have I changed over time rather than have I changed with respect to this reference range that's defined by [0:35:46] [Indiscernible] to stop these things from happening before it's gotten really bad I think is so much easier than trying to fix the problem once you've really run things into the ground.
Torea: Yeah. Being that biochemistry is in my background that I've worked in a lab, I'm used to collecting data and seeing. This is, by far, an experiment with me. This is my N=1. I've got one subject, it's myself, and this is all an experiment. So by doing the retesting and kind of being smart about paying attention to my body signals, that is going to tell me what's working and what's not working. So definitely collecting data and doing retesting is super important part of the process.
Christopher: If I've got Hashimoto's and I've come to you for help, you're not going to snow me with a bunch of Cox hazard ratios and all these statistical techniques.
Torea: No. Definitely not. Hashimoto's is a tricky beast. Since I'm not a doctor, I am not in a position to be able to diagnose or prescribe medication. So there would be a lot of you working together with your doctor and yourself and trying some other components to see if we can't really address the root cause. When I first started working with an endocrinologist, they were focusing on the thyroid itself. They got to the point where "I can't fix the thyroid so let's eradiate it and remove it. That's how we're going to deal with it."
There are a lot of pieces there that are missing which is why do I have autoimmune disease in the first place. What is causing an autoimmune flare? What is causing my body to have this hyperimmune response? It wasn't until I started focusing in on that that I was able to start doing other healing that resulted in better markers.
Christopher: That's great. Cool. So I think it's awesome. You've given up your job and now you're helping people full time. What kind of people are you helping?
Torea: Every single person that I've been helping has some kind of autoimmune disease. There are, I'm not going to say millions. It's going to be pretty close to that pretty soon. There are over a hundred chronic diseases that are categorized as autoimmune officially at this point. So everybody has autoimmune.
I took the FDN training where we can look at the functional labs and develop protocols. I've taken it a step further and really added a whole coaching component to it because, like you said, a lot of people get overwhelmed in the beginning because there are all of these different factors. There's the diet and the stress reduction and the recovery. Are you moving too much? Are you moving too little? There are all of these different components that are factored into really good health. So I've added coaching to that. I've been doing some extra training in coaching methodology. So that's kind of program that I end up working with people, a couple of program of both the functional medicine and the coaching component on top of it.
I've worked with people worldwide. Everybody that I've worked with has autoimmune disease. We're seeing some really great successes. I had a really great testimonial from a client that I worked with for about six months. It took a while. She had a really bad case of eczema. She'd seen 40 plus doctors over it. They finally told her that she was going to have to be on prednisone the rest of her life. We finally tried a couple of different components really focusing on gut health for her which was amazing. Making sure that her gut microbiota balanced was in check. We added a particular probiotic to her regimen. That literally got rid of her skin flares for the first time in 20 years. So there are lots of really good healing happening.
Christopher: That is amazing. It could be really intimidating when someone comes to you and said, "Well, I've already been to 40 doctors or whatever."
Torea: Yeah. She was one of my first clients. I was just like "Oh, my gosh, I'm over my head." This is definitely over my head but I stuck with it and just did a lot of research around her case and what possible things could be helping her. We really took a big look at that component of it with her gut health and how that is related so much to immune and autoimmune.
Christopher: Awesome. Can I book a free consultation? Where can I find you online?
Torea: Yeah. My website, and we'll have to spell it out in the show notes, but it's my first name and last name which is torearodriguez.com. You can go to that website. There's a work with me page. From there, you can book a free consultation. We can see if we're a good fit and go from there.
Christopher: Cool. Sounds good. Well, I'm delighted for you. Thanks very much for joining me today.
Torea: Thanks for being part of my team and my sleuthing team and my own health team. Thank you.
Christopher: That's okay. I love doing this stuff. It's not really work for me. Awesome. Okay. Cheers then.
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