How to Heal Your Body with Your Mind With Lauryn Lax

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Katie: Hello and welcome to the Wellness Mama podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com, and this episode is all about gut health and how to rewire your gut-brain connection and heal your body with your mind. And I’m here with a good friend of mine, Dr. Lauryn Lax, who is a former journalist like me, turned functional medicine and gut-brain optimization expert who helps people get to the root cause of their issues. And I love that she does this without overly restrictive diets or really extensive labs and supplement regimens. She really does get to that root cause by addressing the mind component as well. She’s a doctor of occupational therapy, a clinical nutritionist and a functional medicine practitioner. And her work is inspired by her over 25 years of clinical and personal experience. She herself overcame 13, quote unquote, incurable illnesses that her doctors could not solve, and now in complete remission and from knowing her personally as an absolute energizer bunny of energy, she’s on a life mission to help others turn their greatest setbacks into their greatest comebacks. And I love her approach, like I said, because it really hones in on that gut-mind connection and using your mind to heal your body.

And she tells her story in this episode, talks about why healing is 80% mindset, understanding that stress relates very strongly to gut health and how certain issues can be an indicator of certain types of stress. She talks about some fascinating studies on hunger signals, stress and nourishment from food and how our perception of certain things actually inputs even or affects even the nutrients that we seem to get from them. We talk about what the gut-brain method is and what German New Medicine is, which may be a new term for a lot of you, why so much disease is linked to stress and how understanding this can help you, the link between certain life experiences and certain illnesses, how German New Medicine looked at brain scans of people experiencing certain symptoms and the correlations they found between the mind and the body, and how that leads to healing the body with the mind and the hidden links between life events and disease. How she says to release the issues in the tissues and her process for that, the emotions that are often correlated to certain problems, how generational experiences and experiences in utero can even be a key here. We talk about her core pillars of health, a reason to chew your food a lot longer, some remedies for a lot of different things including her core supplement recommendations, and so much more. I really enjoyed this episode and I always enjoy my conversations with Lauryn. So without further ado, let’s join Dr. Lax. Lauryn, welcome. Thanks so much for being here.

Dr. Lauryn: So excited to finally be here. Long overdue.

Katie: Very long overdue conversation. We’re in real life, friends, and we’ve gotten to geek out in the sauna about all these topics many times. I’m really excited we finally get to record this one. And before we jump into gut health and mind-gut connection, which I think is super, super important, I noticed that you also, I didn’t know this about you, you were a TV news reporter and journalist as well before getting into this. And I was too, actually. A lot of people don’t know that. And I will sometimes joke with my kids, still switch into that, like, coming to you live from the kitchen, where there’s a new dispute happening or whatever. I’ll switch into that voice. But tell me about that, because I didn’t know that about you.

Dr. Lauryn: Yeah. I mean, maybe that’s why we were also friends. I mean, had no idea. But yeah, I always say I’m a former TV news journalist on Health Detective now, because that’s exactly what I do functional medicine-wise. But growing up, always wanted to be the next Katie Couric on the Today Show, of course. And I guess my life path, it really was changed when I was going through my own health journey. And that’s really why I course corrected into doing functional medicine and now get to be a journalist in my business, just with sharing content, as well as doing the health investigation work that I do with clients and just in my content. But yeah, I went to the University of Texas for undergrad. I almost went to Mizzou. I think, were you out there in Missouri? University of Missouri?

Katie: I was University of Mississippi.

Dr. Lauryn: Oh, Mississippi. OK, I knew there was an M in there. But yeah, did that for four years and then worked for four years in the newsroom at the NBC affiliates here in Austin as well as in Little Rock, Arkansas. And then my own health journey again, really like going through chronic eating disorders, mold, Lyme, and like 12 plus incurable illnesses in quotes that I was given really just decided to get out of the if it bleeds it leads model in the newsroom and then to pursue really helping people take their health back into their own hands.

Katie: I love that. And let’s go deeper on your own journey because I feel like it’s really relevant. And because you had so many things going on, I feel like you will have a touch point with almost everybody listening. But you said over 12, quote unquote, incurable illnesses that you’ve now put entirely in remission. So talk about that because that’s incredible and I think very inspiring for a lot of people who might be having one of those right now.

Dr. Lauryn: Yeah, definitely. Well, my journey with health or chronic health conditions that were unsolvable starts back at fourth grade recess. And I was 10 years old with a pink scrunchie in my frizzy hair my mom made me wear and all I wanted to do was fit in. And the popular girls that day invited me to join the gossip circle, where they’re talking about like Melanie Strawn’s ugly sweater and gawking over Eric Arthur’s cute freckly face. And then the topic of weight came up that day and the queen bee said, oh my gosh, you guys, I weighed myself last night and I’m 69 pounds, so fat. And then turning to each of us, what do you weigh? And one by one, we had to go around the gossip circle and report to our drill sergeant. And at a healthy 80 pounds, I was by no means a fat kid, but when the circle got to me, I gulped and I lied. And I said, I don’t know. And I’ll never forget going home that day and standing in the pantry and turning over my favorite Doritos snack pack and learning a whole new language, which was fat grams and calories. And at age 10, my life path took a really sharp turn.

And little did I realize I’d spend the next 20 plus years on a roller coaster of diets, dogmas, Dr. Google searches and doctor’s offices, all in search for feeling good in my own skin. And that eating disorder in and of itself is really what took root from that moment on for the next 15 years of that journey, where I spent four years of my life accumulated in hospitals and treatment centers overtly. And the classic treatment for eating disorder is still to this day with Pop Tarts, Pizza, and Prozac. And so very symptom-based treatment, kind of like the people that are overweight in society, like just move more and eat less, a person with a chronic lifestyle-induced disease is to take a pill for an ill.

So my symptoms were treated with what made the most sense for food freedom and weight gain, processed foods, obviously. And so a very early age, I started to become this healthy skeptic of like, really? You’re plating me like four pop tarts on my tray or eating egg Mcmuffins every Friday morning and telling me like, this is nourishing for my body and I don’t feel good still. And so I lived in two extreme worlds, which was diet culture and like health care culture for most, I mean, all of my teens and early 20s.

And then that journey, I was working then in the newsroom at the time, but it really came to a head when I was age 23 and had transitioned into I went to grad school because I got out of journalism and just thinking, well, I wanted to get out of Arkansas. I was living under my parents’ roof at that time. I’m just like, what do you do when you don’t know what to do? You go back to grad school, too. And so I stepped on the scale, though, age 23, only to see a number I had not seen since I was that 10 year old girl. Only this time I was a full-fledged adult. And for the first time in my life, it really scared me.

And so I’ll never forget driving to the gym at 5AM that morning, just like my heart, like my chest pains were so pronounced. I had stress fractures on my feet. My body was shutting down. And I just prayed like, God, help me make a change today. And to me, a change at that time meant help me work out 30 minutes less on my StairMaster or help me eat a tablespoon of almond butter more. And when I got to the gym that morning, not one, but nine other strangers, nine other gym goers walked up and they stepped in and spoke up and said they wanted to help. And they had just seen this girl slaving away on her stair master every day for three hours on that stair master and eight hours total in the gym every day and just withering away. And they had no idea of my backstory, but said they wanted to help.

So they brought me to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. And within the next 48 hours, I was in the CCU with a heart rate in the near 20s and doctors saying I may not make it. And I know without a doubt had they not stepped in, I definitely would not be here like sharing the story with you today. And it was just like, in that moment, my life like a flash before my eyes. But two, it was just like, I got this download of like, Lauryn, you’re gonna get through this and this is going to be a journey though. So buckle up your seatbelt and we’re gonna ring this out of like your system. And so I spent another year in treatment and Pop Tarts Pizza Prozac model feeding tubes, heart rate monitors and that hospital for a while as well.

And so when I got out. Um, I had changed completely though. The model really didn’t change, but something inside me and change and just decided, um, that was a big part of my purpose was going to be, I’m going to heal to heal others. And then little did I foresee like, you know, rainbows and butterflies on the backend, it was great, um, of recovering, but like over the next decade, I would then be diagnosed with these 12 incurable illnesses and just like, um, just from living both in extreme worlds, like diet culture and health culture to like treat really had wrecked my gut microbiome, which is why I love the guts so much. But, um, for many of your listeners, they may be aware of how connected our gut is to everything.

And so I was diagnosed with like five autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism, Lyme mold, co-infections, and like the list just kept going on and on and just, and then all the functional diagnoses as well, like SIBO, hormone imbalances, just chronic fatigue. And so, um, my body and the, all doctors just didn’t know what to do. Like even my functional medicine doctors, I eventually had started that journey as well, like becoming actually a student of functional medicine on the backend of my eating disorder journey. And it served me so well. Cause I oftentimes say I spent a decade in underground medical school, just healing my body from all of these chronic diseases I was labeled with and have even reversed osteoporosis that I was told I would need to be on birth control for the rest of my life. And, or I’d be in a nursing home when I decided I didn’t want to take it. Um, and so it’s just really so cool what can happen when you heal the roots. And I oftentimes tell my clients when given the right tools, your body innately wants to heal itself.

And a big part of my own healing and what I’ve seen work with hundreds of patients that I work now with over the past like decade is really healing that gut, your second brain. So the gut-brain connection really. And that’s really what’s spearheaded my work and the new company that I’m founding and starting this year called the Total Gut Reset.

Katie: That is quite the incredible story. And I know from knowing you personally that you probably are now in a place where you can look back with so much gratitude on those hard parts of your story because it helped form you now being able to help so many other people. And I’m reminded of that quote. I think it’s something along the lines of the like you’re the person who walked through the fire, still carrying a bucket of water to help other people who were there. You know, like I think of that when I think of you and you said you talked about the gut connection, which I think I’m so excited to go deeper on the mind to heal the body. And I’ve touched on this before a little bit in past podcasts, but I think this cannot be overstated just how strong that connection is and how often that’s the missing piece. Because often it’s easy to try to address the body, which even if we’re doing it naturally is still kind of a symptoms based approach, unless we’re also integrating those other parts. So can you walk us more in depth through your approach and what some of that looks like? Because I feel like this is so vital for so many people.

Dr. Lauryn: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I used to hear like, kill the body with the mind from things like, you know, Joe Dispenza’s work is very popular nowadays, or like The Power of Positive Thinking, you’ve heard of that, etc. But like, just think like, okay, I know that’s important. And I think like, what’s the supplement I need to take? Or what’s the diet I need to do or prescribe even as a practitioner when I was on the other side of like, you know, what’s the therapeutic diet?

And really I realized it’s actually the reverse that 80%, I think, of healing and success in our lives. We don’t even have to talk about just health, but 80% is related to our psychology, our mindset, and 20% is tactic and strategy. And like, from a health perspective, like breaking down the science to that, why that would be the case is, well, I often say your gut is your second brain. And so and then your gut is the gateway to health. And so I’ll unpack that a little bit.

So your gut alone has 500 million neurons, which are brain cells more than any other part of your peripheral nervous system. And 80 to 90% of all communication to your brain actually comes from your microbes. But they’re connected by a two way street called the vagus nerve. And then all of even like your feel good hormones, as far as like your mood and everything also come from your gut. And so there’s that link alone.

And so anything that we’re perceiving from whether it’s happy, sad, like stressful, etc, in our life, like gets intercepted down that pathway, vagus nerve to the gut. And then the gut is also not just connected to the brain, but it’s connected to your immune system. It’s connected to your endocrine system. It’s connected to your detox pathways, because your liver and your Gallbladder are part of your gut. And so like accessory organs.

And so things, if inflammatory signals are coming from the brain to the gut, or from the gut to the brain, you can imagine what happens on in both ways. And so you get kind of a Mayday situation. And a lot of times it will show up as autoimmune issues or immune issues first. So our suppressed immune system, if we’re under stress, and then we know a suppressed immune system would lead to disease. And same with detox pathways. And then of course, our endocrine or your hormone balancing system. So even like that hypothyroidism, 90% of cases are Hashimoto’s. I think a lot of women tend to deal with that a lot more too, but which is an autoimmune version of hypothyroidism and active thyroid hormones are activated in your gut. So that’s just kind of like the scientific understanding of how interlinked the gut and the brain is to just like your total health.

And so when I was going through my own health journey. Obviously there’s a lot of stress that’s happening from just like the medical trauma. I’m going through it and just like navigating that. But there’s also lifestyle stress. And I think we hear that word stress. And I used to think it was like, you know, stress over a deadline or stress being a mom of like four kids or however many kids that I work with or like stress and traffic, but stress is also very physical as well. We know that our physiology today in modern times is definitely, well, physiology hasn’t changed too much, but our external environment is what has changed a lot in modern times. And the thing about the brain is it does not and cannot distinguish the difference in running from a bear versus like a flood is happening right now and I’m living in the external world versus I’m 10 grams of carbs over my limit today versus I slept like four hours last night and I’m running on three cups of coffee.

Your brain sees all sources of stress the same. And so I do a stress scavenger hunt a lot of times with my clients to just kind of get them to unpack like what are the current stressors in your daily life that you’re not thinking of as stress but are sending these stress signals to the brain. And so if the brain is constantly like getting that download it’s sending that signal to the gut and then the gut is firing back to the brain. And then we just have this inflammation going on in the body.

Katie: Yeah, and I love this about your approach. I think a lot of the listeners may know I used to have Hashimoto’s or was diagnosed with that and I don’t have any markers of it anymore and I don’t take anything for it anymore. And so I had a similar sort of journey with only one thing that I was really working on, but had that same realization of I was doing all the physical things by the book and had spreadsheets and it was so dialed in and it wasn’t until I addressed the mindset and the emotional side that all those pieces actually lined up to be able to help.

And so that really highlighted to me, to your point how vital this one piece is and how it’s so connected. And I also love with your approach that you have this gut centered focus, but you don’t seem to get really restrictive or tell people they have to do like thousands and thousands of dollars worth of lab tests or like never eat certain things again or eat only a few foods. Like I feel like you take a very holistic integrated approach that helps address that mindset stress piece. Because to your point, stress isn’t what we just think of as stress like, oh, I have a deadline, I’m stressed. Our body could be not getting the right light that we need. It could be not getting the right sleep that we need. It might be we’re not breathing in a way that’s supporting parasympathetic. Like there’s so many other factors. And so I love that you get to delve into all of those.

Dr. Lauryn: Yeah, no, 100%. One of my favorite studies, like just piggybacking on the diet piece alone is the milkshake study where… They, I don’t know if you’ve heard of that before, but they take two groups, give them a milkshake, and they just wanna see what happens to their metabolic response on a diet shake versus an indulgent milkshake. So one group gets this 140 calorie milkshake, or sends a shake, so things slim fast here, and the other group gets an indulgent shake, a 600 calorie milkshake. In actuality, both groups got the exact same milkshake, a 300 calorie milkshake, but they obviously didn’t know that. And by the end of the study, what they found was those that got the sense of shake, they were three times more hungry and they had a decreased metabolic response. And so like their metabolism slowed down into dieting mode significantly. But they were hungrier thinking like earned it, we got, you know, 140 calorie, we could do that like three more times and still not get to that 600 calorie milkshake.

Whereas the 600 calorie milkshake folks were just like, earned it, it was great, we enjoyed it, nourished, satisfied, healthy metabolic response. Again, same exact milkshake. And so just to kind of show how the power of our brain can really trump our body and study after study, like especially in the placebo effect world, that there’s been great studies on like peanut allergies with kids even, like they told the kids that one group of kids is like, any reaction is gonna be a negative thing in your body. So that means you’re really allergic and that’s very scary. And then the other group was told like, this is a healing response. It means your body is like on ramping, it’s healing, it’s getting used to that immune stimulation when they eat the peanut.

And the kids that believed that they were having a healthy healing response when they reacted a little bit to the peanut are the ones that overcame their peanut allergy. And I personally like, I was eating five to 10 foods like in the latter half of my journey, like post dieting, I was definitely dieting on that alone, but just in my like autoimmune journey when I was so restrictive and going to a lot of like holistic doctors that were just saying, elimination diet after elimination diet. And I’m like, I’m already like doing every elimination diet here and like you’re scared of oxalates and histamines, etc, but have overcome every single food that I wanted to reintroduce by like really the power of the brain gut connection. And those are things that I help a lot of my clients too, just kind of like recovering from, I don’t want to call it like medical trauma, but just kind of like the belief that you’re sick, like really the identity that also sickness or like unwellness can really like get us into or like what is good or not good for us, even if with good intention, those rules were established.

Katie: Yeah, I think what you just brought up is such a huge key that’s often overlooked, maybe partially because it’s so simple. But I love when we talk about the placebo effect, because if we look at it statistically, the placebo effect is the most reliable drug that we have. It’s actually the most statistically validated one. And I also think that mindset, it kind of leads us into this mindset, then you hear of these sort of, quote unquote, spontaneous healings where people just magically go into remission from everything. And I really think the mindset is a huge key to that. And so I wonder how can we use that to our advantage and how did you shift your mindset from I’m sick to I’m healing?

Dr. Lauryn: Yeah, that’s great. Well, I honestly, my first like, touch point with that belief pattern of the use of that happened when I was flat on my back in the hospital at like 23 years old, 79 pounds. And that download was just like, Lauryn, you get to decide, do you want to sink or swim basically? Like, do you want to live or do you want to die? And so I decided I wanted to live in that moment. And then just saying, you know, I am not where I want to be, but I am going to be healed on the other side of this. And that is the belief that I began to hold on. And what really like sustained me through the whole treatment experience and then post treatment, and not running back to my eating disorder like I had in every single other treatment, because I felt like so just like, from all the processed food I’d eaten, it was really shifting into like, I call it the as if mindset. So as you think, therefore you become or where your focus goes, your energy slows.

And so as I began to adopt a new identity, as like I am healed or I am well, and I would ask myself a question, I call it your primary question, what would healthy thriving me do, it would help me begin to align with choices and decisions, and beliefs and thoughts on a daily basis and everything of just like being that girl or that guy, like wherever you want to be, if your focus is there again, you really your mind is going to probably there. And then fast forwarding to my chronic illnesses, all the 12 incurable illnesses, I was like, you know, how did I recover from my eating disorder completely? Like, it was through my mind.

And so I remember a very distinct day after three or four years of like going to see over 50 different specialists and a lot of functional medicine like work, the diets, the protocols, etc. I’m just saying like, no more. Like what helped me recover back then, it was like a belief and identity shift really. And so I decided I am healed and then began to like embody that same practice of like, you know, what would healthy thriving me do in this situation or with this thought when a negative thought would come up. Yeah, so that’s really it’s like identity work is a big piece of it and I call it changing your story And it is something that I’ll walk my clients through very early on like day one and I work together So we begin to vibe at a new frequency and it’s a tactic like you can use even in the day to day so for example when I was overcoming mold illness and Like would go travel to say a hotel and I like mold is not my best friend So like it’ll remind my limbic system if I’m around a lot of it. My old symptoms will come back. So it’s just shortness of breath brain fog But I would say like I’m strong. I’m resilient. The mold can’t hurt me I’m strong and resilient the mold can hurt me and I do an incantation with that like for like five to ten minutes If needed and even like tapping the pituitary, which is great as if that’s where your stress in your cortisol is being released from your brain And so in telling the subconscious like you are okay you’re safe and It would kick out like those flares that I would have and so are like adopting that practice same with the food intolerances. My body has the perfect blueprint of health and healing and it knows how to digest food or whatever the food was. And just saying that over and over again, the subconscious, it runs the body and the subconscious is the second brain. And so 90 to 95% about subconscious is really like what’s running your conscious thoughts too. And so that reprogramming can really be helpful.

Katie: I love that. And I had another podcast guest once, Dr. Cassie Huckaby, talked about this in a similar way. And she said, you know, if you’re, we get in this mindset, especially with autoimmune disease, that like our body’s out to get us and it’s attacking itself. And she’s like, that’s a harmful story. And if your body wanted to kill you, it could do it instantly without even hesitating. But it doesn’t, it’s your body’s wired for healing. And if we can shift into that mindset, I feel like it makes a huge difference.

And this is a springboard, I think, into something else that you are a world-class expert on, which is that I think you call it the gut brain method, or it’s rooted a little bit in German New Medicine, which might be a new term for people listening. So can you explain what that is and some of the pillars that you use in this method?

Dr. Lauryn: Definitely. Well, when I first heard about German New Medicine or GHKs, it goes by German healing knowledge. It was like hearing that the world is round, not flat. And so for letting people out there just to kind of like prelude that. And so it’s a different concept, it’s I think we have ever heard about in allopathic or even functional medicine, sometimes green allopathy. And it’s the, it is the framework that dis-ease in our life or imbalance, stress in our life is the root cause of disease in the body.

So you hear that 90, 90%, 99% of diseases from stress, but like, what does that actually mean? And it goes very granular. So I’ll start with a story. And it’s the story of the founding of German new medicine. And so it was founded by a doctor named Dr. Hamer. He was a German doctor, hence the German New Medicine. And he was a very Allopathic Doctor, very conventional, just very science-based guy. Well, he ended up contracting testicular cancer. And out of nowhere, seemingly spontaneously, he lived a pretty healthy life. And it had happened after the passing away at the loss of his son, Dirk Hamer died tragically in his arms from a bullet wound gunshot. And he was very stressed about that, but didn’t ever correlate it with his disease. Fast forward, he’s kind of going through cancer treatment remission. And he began to notice or just observe, like or ask questions for his patients. What was happening in your life prior to the onset of XYZ illness?

And he was seeing all sorts of patients, not just cancer patients, but he began to notice with like his cancer patients, specifically testicular cancer like him, had all experienced a separation or a loss in their life right prior to their diagnosis. So it got him questioning and wanting to dig deeper. And then what he would find is like people that I came to him with say like IBS like symptoms or IBD had had an indigestible conflict happen in their life, like something they could not swallow or digest figuratively. People with skin conditions, acne or eczema had had something that where they had felt like under attack. And if you think about like your skin, it’s a protective mechanism for your body. And so it then forced him to go a bit deeper and he would run CT brain scans because he wanted to see what was happening in the brains for my patients with all these different diseases.

And what he noticed there were concentric grains on different parts, like just a blurred grayed out image on different parts of the brain correlated with a specific tissue where their disease was showing up. So for example, the brain stem is correlated with a lot of digestive issues where the cerebellum is connected with a lot of like skin, the skin organ. And so yeah, he began to kind of just like notice that and through his study, he mapped out the brain and the body connection for over a thousand different conditions based on a specific type of stressor that that person had encountered. And really that was the founding of German New Medicine framework, as it again, how dis-ease in our life specific to that issue and the tissue can show up as disease in the body.

I oftentimes say like symptoms are just a metaphor for the body, like what’s going on, or what happened in your life. So I’ve been able to begin to use this framework and as I learned it and adopted it for my own health, and then for my patients as well, it’s kind of like a lab test in and of itself to know like where some of the roots, especially of chronic conditions are coming from. Chronic would be something that’s been with you for longer than like three months. Although I can say like acute issues as well can also form, but thinking like say cold and flu, for example, is related a lot of time to a stink conflict. So say we’re transitioning from beautiful fall, beautiful, well, summer’s beautiful for some, but just like warm summer to like cold, blah winter. Like how much does this stink in my life, for example, or food intolerances.

A great example would be say little Johnny, he’s eight years old and he eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every single day for lunch. He loves it and he’s done that for years. And then one day out of the blue, little Johnny just starts to develop hives and gut issues. And so he goes to the doctor and they work him up and they just say, he’s probably got a gluten allergy and a peanut intolerance. So like cut those foods out. And then some of them start to go away. When we do the work with little Johnny and just ask like what was happening in your life prior to the onset, you were able to eat these foods for a very long time during your life without any issue, we realized little Johnny was eating a PB&J at the same time he witnessed his parents have an all-out fight that led to their separation and eventual divorce. And the way that the brain locks that in is like, I’m taking this in, something I cannot swallow or digest. And it locks that in with the PB&J he’s eating.

I did this with a patient the other day, just kind of like doing her timeline and understanding her food intolerances they’re like what you’re able to eat, not eat. She’s like, yeah, I ate dairy a lot as a kid until one day I couldn’t eat it anymore. And then come to find out, she had actually experienced a similar little Johnny experience. She was drinking three little milks a day and then her parents got a divorce and she’s like, yeah, I started to become intolerant at age seven at that same time they got that divorce. And so the brain locked that in. And so it’s really powerful work because the cool thing about Germany Medicine Framework is like, how do we heal the body with the mind? Like if like dis-ease in our life is what was causing disease. And a lot of times awareness of where that stress is coming from in the body of that inflammation, what the root cause was metaphorically like happening in your life, can be really powerful for healing.

It’s kind of like if you’re standing in the ocean and a wave keeps hitting you from behind, you just keep falling forward, you keep falling forward. You just don’t see it. But you turn around and you face the wave, you’re able to brace yourself and it doesn’t like knock you down as hard. And it’s like an olive branch to the body, that awareness that it can create from an inflammatory track. It’s like my subconscious mind is no longer being triggered. And so even like, you know, if you’re just passing forward in little Johnny’s life, he may not be thinking about mom and dad’s divorce anymore and how indigestible that is. But say he’s like a teenager now and he’s going through like a separation breakup with his girlfriend and that’s indigestible to him as well. It can recue the track for him that happened like from a gut level. And so until he’s aware like of what that indigestible conflict, it was like, yeah, something that really impacted him on a gut level.

Katie: This is so fascinating to me. And it seems like a theme in anyone who understands the mind-body connection well, that awareness is that really important first step. And then I know from beyond that, you take people through an approach that addresses the body side and the mind side together, which seems like it has phenomenal results.

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But I would love to hear when someone comes to you and you’re able to identify sort of these, maybe these triggers, these reasons that things are happening, what kind of path you take them on to sort of reverse that, especially when you speak of children. Cause I’m guessing there are a lot of parents listening who maybe like light bulbs are going on in their head, like, oh, that could be related to my kid with this particular thing or whatever it is. So what is the path from there? Because this to me is so fascinating.

Dr. Lauryn: Yeah, I think like a huge like aha for a lot of my patients is just in like a breath of fresh air is realizing what the root cause is, like finally figuring out why I’m having an issue. So like, if you have kids, it’s like, it’s depending on their age, it’s like if you can converse with them, like little Johnny’s eight years old, to kind of like help him like just talk through where that came from. I was 10 years old, like, you know, little girl tells me on the playground I am fat, I can’t swallow or digest that. That manifested two ways for me, like really, really chronic gut issues, as well as eating disorder issues for a very long time. And it’s something I never processed with anyone until much later in my life.

And so awareness, like being the first step, a lot of times for the healing. Back to kind of how placebo effect works as well, that is like why it works actually, is because like you believe just your healing or that you’re not affected. And so if you can begin to speak into the body of like, I have the perfect blueprint of health and healing inside, like you have a context of, I didn’t always feel this way, I didn’t always have chronic fatigue, I didn’t always have Hashimoto’s, I didn’t always couldn’t like digest whatever XYZ is. Like you have some context there as like being well, and then of your unwellness too. So knowing that is truth that your body does have those tools. And so sometimes that is just the tool alone that you need.

And then I’ll go sometimes deeper with my clients and like using some like gut brain rewiring, I have like a hundreds of different exercises that I’ll walk them through, but I call it like releasing the issues in your tissues. Sometimes I’ll do like timeline therapy, which is like you’ve probably heard of like The Body Keeps the Score. And that’s talking about big T trauma a lot of times in that book. So The Body Keeps the Score, if you haven’t read that, it is a powerful book that does highlight some of these issues, like how.

All that to say, when we’re talking about stress, especially from like how it’s manifesting in the body in any disease, it doesn’t have to be like a sexual like advance or it doesn’t have to be a loss of someone. It could just be like a bully in middle school told you something or like just it’s all about perception. Even COVID is a great example. And so, but releasing the issues in the tissues, we all have emotions that are sometimes trapped. And so timeline therapy can be really helpful that I’ll walk clients through like the root cause of emotions. So figuring out the root cause of say the big negative big six emotions would be anger, sadness, fear, hurt, guilt and shame.

And so we’ll do an exercise where I’ll coach them on like figuring out what is the root cause of anger or frustration in your life. Sometimes it’s like you can instantly go to it. A lot of times though, it’s before most times it’s before age seven. You definitely felt anger before like as a kid, but we just block it out. And if it was very traumatic or very like impactful in your life, a lot of times the way the subconscious mind is to block that out. And so I’ll help guide patients there with just some really great questions. Sometimes that anger or frustration in your body is from genealogical or like it was in the womb. Like maybe your mom even like was pregnant like it was not a planned pregnancy and she was like frustrated or she was scared. Fear was like adopted early on. I’ve had clients figure that out.

But figuring out the root cause and then future pacing a client to help them get out of that to like feeling free from that is a big piece of that emotional work that I’ll do with the client. But sometimes it is just like biology, I believe my body. Now I know where this like disease came from or what it’s connected to. And then it’s believing that your body can heal. I had a patient, she had developed a UTI and she hadn’t had a UTI in like years, like maybe 10 years. And she messaged me that one day, I had met with her the day before and she’s like, Dr. Lauryn, what do I do? And so of course I’m throwing all my like supplement cures like go get this cranberry thing at our local pharmacy, our natural food store. And then I was like, wait a second, what were we talking about yesterday? Well, the day before we had been processing a lot of anger, like just out loud, she was verbalizing just frustration with her husband. And UTIs a lot of times are connected to territorial conflicts. And it doesn’t have to be like sexually. It could just be with your partner. And just like having a spat and that developed when she made that awareness, like 12 hours later, the UTI was gone.

I have another example. I had a stress fracture on my right foot and it had developed very spontaneously. I’m very active, but nothing happened to the norm. I wasn’t training for a marathon or anything like that. And I work and play, work and play, work rest between. And so where did the stress structure come from? Well, that’s just structure crazy enough came on the same week that a guy came back into my life that I’d really liked for a long time, but he’s very narcissistic, egotistical. It just was not going to work. The stress fracture was on my right foot, which would be my partner side. I’m right-handed. It’s like your partner side, your boss side, your paternal side. So conflict there as when we’re talking about structure and that’s just actually lingered for 12 weeks until the day that I let that guy go and completely emotionally disconnected and just felt free. My stress fracture was spontaneously healed that day. So it was like releasing the issue and the tissue. So again, a lot of times it’s just the awareness of being curious, where is this coming from? And then we get creative and we can make peace with that root cause or really just be healing into the body.

Katie: Those are some incredible stories. I love that when you share your personal experience as well. And I like that you touched on the fact that sometimes these can be like what we would consider literal little experiences or little traumas versus big T. I feel like. When people read that book, The Body Keeps the Score, which I also recommend for instance, it’s easy to maybe think, oh, I didn’t have any big T trauma, so this obviously can’t be what’s the cause for me.

And I know in therapy and working with practitioners, I had several things come up from childhood that were, I remembered them, but they weren’t kind of in my awareness until that point. And in that, like the answer would come out and I’d be like, whoa, that’s where that comes from. And it could have been something as simple as I dropped something as a kid and my parents were like, why did you do that? And I internalized like a shame response and I was like, I don’t know why I did that. It was an accident and whatever. And it had like impacted me so much even in my 30s. And so I’m really glad that you highlighted that because I think that helps people be able to step into that awareness and consider that it doesn’t have to be that you were assaulted or you were abused as a kid or any of the big T traumas. It could be something very small. And then just having that awareness is a great first step.

Also as a side note, I will say knowing you in person, when you say you’re a very active person, you are an inspiration on that level. I call you the Energizer Bunny because you just are able to go and go and go and go and seem to have inexhaustible energy, which I think is a testament to your approach for sure.

Dr. Lauryn: Definitely. And that is a zest for life too. I think after like almost losing my life really actually twice, it’s just like also I’ve anti-aged in health and wellness and I just love living life to the fullest. So, and I think mindset’s a huge piece too of an energy puzzle. So when we feel more released from like the issues in our tissues, it’s just like it obviously opens up so much more bandwidth for that zest.

Katie: And that’s a great saying to issues in your tissues. I think that helps really hone in on that for people and it’s easy to remember. And I also love that this conversation has naturally been very much mindset first because it seems like that is a key part of your approach and an often overlooked piece for a lot of people. And I know that you also do certain things when it comes to food and lifestyle and the physical side as well, and that you’re even working on some very targeted supplements that do help with specific things.

So I’d love to talk through any general recommendations, whether it’s diet, lifestyle, supplements, etc., that you feel like are sort of universally beneficial.

Dr. Lauryn: Yeah, definitely. I think just balance overall. My favorite thing is no one ever did a study showing balance to be a bad thing. And so, and what I found a lot of times in my practice and even in my own life that I have to continue to remind myself is like the foundations never go out of style. And a lot of times are out of style because they’re not being implemented. And so I have like five just basic gut love habits that I talk to my clients about.

And like, as we’re sitting here talking, I like have my water bottle, which hydrate is number one, but I think can often times just go overlooked of just like, are you drinking enough water in a day and pure water, good quality water, not tap water, mineralizing your water if it’s like distilled or like doing spring water. I love the Mountain Valley Spring Water and not drinking out of plastic water bottle. So hydration would be number one.

Number two is boosting digestion. And like we aren’t what we eat, we are what we absorb. I think a lot of times diet culture has told us we are what we eat, but our body has to be breaking down food well. And so chewing your food really well, you want that piece of chicken to be a liquefied piece of chicken, not a chunk of chicken when you swallow it. Because when you’re running from a bear, your body really cannot digest a whole chunk of chicken. And we’re living in a pretty stressed out modern world. And then that’s where like enzymes and I call them gut love shots, apple cider vinegar shots and bitters around meals can come into play. A lot of times folks, I see a lot of sluggish gallbladders in our lives. I’m just like living in a very toxic world. I know you talk a ton about chemicals and toxins in the environment. And a lot of times that Gallbladder gets very congested and so can cause a lot of hormone imbalances and constipation for folks or SIBO. A lot of times it’s blamed like bloating, etc, as like no SIBO, but SIBO is actually a lot of times caused by Gallbladder issues. So just making sure the digestive superpowers are working well.

Number three is fuel and nourishing your gut bugs and fat fiber protein. And I really am very balanced in my approach. I don’t really swing too far on the pendulum of I’m all animal-based or all keto or plant-based, etc. I think all of those diets can serve a time and a purpose from a therapeutic perspective if you choose to adopt them. But the reason why a lot of times you feel good initially is because you had either dysbiosis or you had an extreme before or you’re coming from a standard American diet. So we’re shifting the biome. It’s not about the food, but it’s about how the food’s affecting the biome is why you feel better or why you see results, metabolically even. And so that was once productive, can become counterproductive. And we a lot of times see that bell curve happen anywhere from like three months to 18 months for a person, depending on where they’re at, of like hitting maybe a plateau or like, you know, I was doing animal-based for a long time, but then all of a sudden I feel constipated or I was doing keto for a long time, but I feel like I’m having loose and watery stools, some bladder issues. So really back to like a balanced framework. I love the Weston Price kind of ancestral framework and just like properly preparing foods, getting fermented foods if tolerated into your diet as well.

And then number four, I call it work and play or move and rest. And so just getting daily movement. If you already do workouts, sometimes it’s like actually dialing back the workouts and then putting in more like mind and body yoga or walking. Walking is great. Never went out of style. And then from a rest perspective, not just sleep, but like maximizing your sleep. One of our good friends, Molly Eastman is all about this. So Sleep is a Skill Podcast is definitely the place to check out optimization for your sleep.

And then lastly, I call it energized. And this is kind of like where I get my energy from is taking breath breaks in your day. And so like without breath is what gives us life. I eat energy and we can stay figurative and, um, literally. And so I love to teach my clients about front loading, the front and the back end of their day with at least a solid morning and evening routine. And then if you can, taking breath breaks like for just like a recalibration, whether it is yoga, whether it’s actual breath break, whether it is meditation or just getting outside. But like I do a lot of work and play in my own life in order to like really maximize deep work time, like say two to three hours of deep work followed by a break is how kind of our brain also works really well.

And then for those of you at home that are really just thinking, I’m not maybe doing all those things or I’m not that stressed, a great challenge for you is time yourself for a minute and count the number of breaths you take in one minute. And yeah, a lot of times what I found is most people are breathing at four to five times what is like parasympathetic or rest and digest mode for optimal health and wellbeing because we know our body’s more balanced in parasympathetic state when we’re at rest. And so the average breath rate that we want is four to seven breaths a minute. And a lot of times I’m seeing numbers in 16 to 20 breaths a minute for people.

Katie: Those are such great tips. And I love that you call it work and play. I’m a big believer that if all we shifted at first as a baby step was to go outside in the morning when we first wake up and breathe intentionally, and then maybe do that a few times throughout the day, we’re getting the light, the good outdoor air, and we’re slowing our breathing. I think that alone would make a big difference for a lot of people. And it’s often overlooked just because it’s so simple. And so I love that you brought that up.

And I love also that you talked about not just the foods that we’re eating, but what the effects they’re gut and the adaptation because this was a lesson I had to learn sort of the hard way was realizing the goal is actually for your body, your gut, everything to be adaptive and varied and able to handle whatever inputs you put into it. And not just it’s optimized in this very narrow range of foods and lifestyle factors. And if you go outside of that, you don’t feel good. So I’ve tried to adapt the mindset of not doing anything every single day, even taking supplements. I’ll take days off. I’ll mix up the way my macros, my diet, what I’m eating, the plant foods I’m getting just to give my body the signal like we’re meant to be adaptable. We want to be flexible. The goal is to handle anything I put into it. And I’m still going to choose the good inputs most of the time. But I love that you bring that up as well.

Dr. Lauryn: Yeah, I know. I think it makes you more metabolically flexible. And if like you are most of the time choosing those good impents, it’s going to reshape your gut in a positive way. So when you like go out on a Friday night with a friend to dinner, you’re not completely wrecked because they made something in seed oils. And you’re just like, I don’t typically cook this way. And a lot of times restaurants do, or if you do choose, we have some awesome ice cream places here. We have like Gotti’s Ice Cream, coconut milk ice cream, but there’s some sugar in there, but you’re not wrecked by it because your body is more metabolically flexible. So it’s actually a good sign when you can tolerate more foods.

Katie: And I know we could do probably a whole series of episodes and still not even get through everything that you could talk about and explain, but you do have a ton of educational resources online. I know I follow you on Instagram and learn from you all the time on there. And you also have a book coming out. So just explain the resources you have available and I’ll of course link to them in the show notes for you guys listening that will be at wellnessmama.fm.

Dr. Lauryn: Yeah, definitely. So the easiest way to find me is just drlauryn.com and also my handle D-R-L-A-U-R-Y-N, and it’s Lauryn with a Y, so D-R-L-A-U-R-Y-N. And I have a free three-day gut cleanse on there to kind of get your toe in the water with what it means to heal your gut. And then tons of also free downloads of just, you know, anything in the hormone zone to detox zone and every diet zone, everything in between. And Total Gut Reset is the book that’s launching this fall, as well as a new website, like totalgutreset.com. So all, just more resources coming your way.

Katie: I will put links to all of those for you guys listening. If you’re on the go, everything’s always at wellnessmama.fm. And a couple last questions I’d love to ask, the first being if there is a book or number of books that have profoundly impacted you personally, and if so, what they are and why.

Dr. Lauryn: Yeah, I love how to win friends and influence people. That’s like when I just come back to time and time again, I just love, I think we’re made in wired connection and humans are nutrients a lot of times I say. And so that is the art of communication with people and connecting to people. And then I would just say like, honestly, the Bible, I read it daily and I just feel like it’s a word that does not run dry. And there’s so much wisdom that has been pulled from it over the years, even and like authors taking very many principles from the Bible. And so that is definitely a source, kind of like my daily water, watering hole.

Katie: I will link to those as well. And I also, I love that phrase, humans are nutrients. That’s one I have not heard directly and I think that’s awesome. Lastly, any parting advice for the listeners that could be related to something we’ve talked about or entirely unrelated life advice that you feel is important.

Dr. Lauryn: Yeah, I mean, I just think again, when given the right tools, your body immediately wants to heal itself. And so just like knowing that wherever you are in your health journey, that it’s like your body is wired to heal. If you break a bone, slap a cast on it, it heals in six to eight weeks, even if a person’s eating McDonald’s. And so your body’s constantly fighting for you. So do not lose the hope in that.

Katie: I think that’s a perfect place to wrap up for today, Lauryn. It’s always so much fun to get to talk to you. I’m glad that we got to record this one. Hopefully we get to do more rounds of this in the future because I’m a big fan of your work and I know you’ve helped so many people. Thank you so much for your time today.

Dr. Lauryn: Thanks for having me on. So fun.

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

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



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