Podcast Episode #178: The Autoimmune Solution with Dr. Amy Myers

Diane Sanfilippo Podcast Episodes 2 Comments

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1.  What’s new for you from Diane [2:21] 2. Introducing our guest, Dr. Amy Myers [4:15] 3. Autoimmunity in America [11:23] 4. Environmental toxins that contribute to autoimmunity [19:28] 5. Heavy metals, dental amalgams, and MTHFR [26:48] 6. Specifics about Dr. Myers autoimmune protocol [36.44] 7. Issues with infections in autoimmunity [43.00] 8. Contributing factors to the decline in health over the last 50 years [50.50] 9. Help in getting someone started [58:23]

10. Liz’s BMB tip of the week: Meet Meg the Midwife [1.05.06]


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Diane Sanfilippo: Hey everyone! Diane here. Welcome to episode 178 of the Balanced Bites podcast.

Liz Wolfe: Pete’s Paleo is a friend of the Balanced Bites podcast, and they also are fans of the 21-Day Sugar Detox. The 21-Day Sugar Detox is great for your body in so many ways, but consistently feeding yourself right can be a challenge. Pete’s Paleo makes delicious, seasonal, ready to eat meals that strictly follow the 21DSD program. They’re shipped directly to your door, ready to go. Let Pete’s Paleo help you with your 21DSD success. And don’t forget that their bacon is also sugar free. 5OFF21DSD is your coupon code for $5 off 21DSD meals, and 5OFFPETESPALEO is your coupon code for $5 off regular Pete’s Paleo meals.

Diane Sanfilippo: Today I have with me a very special guest. As many of you know, Liz is on maternity leave, so we’ll be peppering in some little advice and tidbits from her on Baby Making and Beyond, which is her new program. But in the meantime, I’m bringing in a bunch of really cool guests. Folks that you are going to be excited to hear from, excited to learn more about, and hear about new books, new resources, and all kinds of fun stuff.

So today, I have Dr. Amy Myers, who is the author of the brand new book, The Autoimmune Solution. I’m super excited to talk to her. When I posted her book on social media, you guys responded with tons of questions and she is an amazing resource.

1. What’s new for you from Diane [2:21]

Diane Sanfilippo: Before we jump into my interview with Dr. Myers, I just wanted to remind you guys about some upcoming events. On Friday, February 20th, I’ll be in San Jose, California at the Stevens Creek Barnes and Noble for a book talk and signing with Caitlin and Nabil. We’ll be talking about Mediterranean Paleo Cooking and of course all things paleo, Sugar Detox, whatever questions you have.

Mid-March, I’ll be joining my friends Bill and Hayley of Primal Palate to celebrate the release of their book, Make it Paleo 2, and I’ll be with them in Alexandria, Virginia on March 13; in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 15; and in Orlando, Florida on March 18. You can check out the sidebar at BalancedBites.com or check out PrimalPalate.com/events for all of the event information. It’s all on the sidebar of my website, any upcoming events, I always put on my website. Which you can get to from either BalancedBites.com or DianeSanfilippo.com.

And then of course, for those of you who are interested in coming to PaleoFx, that’s at the end of April. I’ll be there, and I’ll be giving a talk. I’ll be talking about business and how to make sure that you know what to do when you’ve got this idea, or a passion, and you want to turn it into a business. I’ll give you guys some practical tips and steps and what to do. I think I’ve heard that a bunch of my beta coaches for the 21-Day Sugar Detox program will be there, so we’ll be having a little meet up of some sorts. So keep your eyes open for that.

I’m excited; I’m excited to see all you guys who are coming out to PaleoFx. If you’ve been wondering if it’s a good event to go to; if you’ve looked at other events that are similar, it’s definitely a fantastic event. I love it. I think it’s a ton of fun. There are tons of vendors who are awesome. It’s great to walk around and try and taste all their food. Dr. Myers will definitely be there, which we’ll talk about in the upcoming interview. I think you guys will love it. It’s a good event, it’s definitely worth the trip, and Austin is a fantastic city. Hopefully I’ll see you there. Let’s get into my interview with Dr. Amy Myers.

2. Introducing our guest, Dr. Amy Myers [4:15]

Diane Sanfilippo: To quickly give you some background on Dr. Myers; Dr. Myers is a specialist in autoimmune diseases whose career was set in motion by her own experience dealing with autoimmune issues. Myers graduated cum laude from the Honors College at the University of South Carolina, attended medical school at Louisiana State University Health Science Center, and completed her residency in emergency medicine at the University of Maryland. She founded the nationally renounced Functional Medicine Center, Austin Ultra Health, and currently serves as its medical director, so she is based in Austin, Texas. Welcome, Dr. Myers.

Dr. Amy Myers: Hi, thanks for having me!

Diane Sanfilippo: Thanks for joining me. I’m really excited to talk to you today. Our listeners are pumped to learn about autoimmunity, so I’m really excited to talk to you. A lot of times this stuff becomes sort of like a selfish endeavor for me; I just like to have these interviews so I can pick your brain and ask you lots of questions. So I’m really glad that you decided to join us on the show.

Dr. Amy Myers: Well thanks for having me, I feel the same way. I recently hosted the autoimmune summit, and it was like a kid in the candy store. I’m like, oh my god, I get to interview this person, and that person! It definitely helped so many people, but it was so fun for me.

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome.

Dr. Amy Myers: So I understand where you’re coming from.

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. And just like with the sponsors that we hand select for the show, we have tons of folks who write in who want to be guests on the show, but we’re really selective about those who we feel our listeners would love, and would love to learn from, so I’m really excited to introduce them to you today.

3. Dr. Myers’ personal autoimmune journey [5:47]

Diane Sanfilippo: Do you want to go ahead and give our listeners a little bit about your personal autoimmune story, and sort of how you ended up developing the Myers Way program to help with your own autoimmunity?

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah. My second year; well actually, let me back up and say this story is really kind of the first chapter of my book, so I’m not going to give it all away. But I’ll say that I grew up with parents who were somewhat hippies. We made homemade yogurt, and homemade whole wheat bread, and shopped at a place like Whole Foods when I was little. I became a vegetarian at 14. Graduated from college, went off the Peace Corps. I was growing stevia and teaching organic farming. I had some experiences there, then I realized that I wanted to be a doctor.

I came back to the states; I won’t give you my whole spill about natural medicine versus conventional medicine, but I ultimately chose conventional medicine. I was president of the complementary and alternative interest group, and then my second year of medical school I started with panic attacks, and I was losing weight, and I had tremors, and insomnia. I was having leg weakness when I would walk down the stairs.

I went to my primary care doctor, and she kind of brushed me off, and said, oh goodness, you’re a second year medical student, you just think you have everything that you’re learning about, this is just stress.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Funny, that happens in nutrition school, too.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah, it’s like, wow, ok. Well, my mother died about a year ago of pancreatic cancer unexpectedly, and I lived out in the middle of nowhere for two and half years, and I’ve never responded to stress in this manner, so I think there’s actually something really wrong with me, I want a full workup.

So she called me back about a week later, and I can’t remember if she even apologized, but she told me I had Graves’ disease. Which is an autoimmune disease of the thyroid where it’s overactive. Most people think of Hashimoto’s where the thyroid becomes underactive, and everything slows down, and you get cold and gain weight. Well, I had the opposite, so everything was revved up. I was having these panic attacks, and tremors, and I couldn’t sleep, and I was eating lots of food, and I was still losing weight.

In conventional medicine, you get kind of two choices; one is medication to suppress your thyroid, or you can have it; actually you have three choices. You have radioactive iodine you can swallow and blow up your thyroid like Hiroshima, or you can have it ripped out through surgery. Again, I talk a lot more in detail about this in the book, but I ultimately picked the radiation, and had my thyroid blown up like Hiroshima. Actually, let me back up and say I tried the medication first, and after a couple of weeks, felt really terrible. Went back to the doctor, he checked my liver, and my liver was beginning to be destroyed by the medication. Again, I go into more detail about everything that kind of ensued from there and then ultimately picked the radiation.

So I don’t have a thyroid, and I have to take thyroid medication for the rest of my life because I don’t have a thyroid. And though, in conventional medicine they “cured” me or solved my problem, they didn’t really. Right? They just treated a symptom of hyperthyroidism by destroying my thyroid gland, which I’m sure you talked a lot about the thyroid on your podcast at some point, but every receptor, there’s receptors on every organ of your body for thyroid hormone. So it really regulates everything, and if you don’t have one, medication is ok, but it’s not the same thing.

Anyway, I realized in all of this that though conventional medicine had “cured” me, so to speak, they really never figured out why I got this, and I went on a mission to figure that out. I ultimately found functional medicine, and I write in the book really about all the factors that I kind of tell my story and weave it in a way that you get to see the various factors that influenced my autoimmunity and how I got it. I’ve now used the program that helped get me well to help get other people well, and I’ve had quite a number of people with Graves’ disease come see me, and I’ve been able to get them, they’ve come in on medication that I was on, and we’ve been able to get them off of that. Get even their antibodies to go away, and for them to be completely symptom free, and not have to have done anything really life altering like I had to do.

So it’s pretty bittersweet, but it’s definitely what gets me up in the morning. I say that conventional medicine failed me and it’s my mission to not have it fail you too. That is what propelled me to write the book, and get up every day and work with thousands of people every year in my clinic.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s the best motivation, when you find this thing that you’re so passionate about it for yourself, but then the moment, the first time you realize that you can help somebody else avoid pain or struggle that you went through. That’s kind of the charge that everybody needs with whatever it is that they’re doing out there. It’s fortunate that you had gone to medical school, and then went through the struggle that you went through. I feel like everything happens kind of in its right time. So I think folks are lucky to have the advice that you’re giving, and it’s fantastic that you also have a practice. It’s in Austin, Texas, is that correct?

Dr. Amy Myers: It’s in Austin, Texas, but I see people literally from around the world. They can either phone in for a consultation, or if they want to be a patient, they fly in once, and then we do everything else by phone.

Diane Sanfilippo: You’re going to be booked up pretty soon. {laughs}

Dr. Amy Myers: We’re already getting…

Diane Sanfilippo: If you’re not.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah {laughs}

3. Autoimmunity in America [11:23]

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, if you’re not already. So, obviously this is something that has come to a head with the whole paleo thing. Years ago, when I first learned about paleo, probably, I think it was early 2010. I had already been learning a lot about gluten free, soy free, dairy free, almost completely paleo way of eating without calling it that. I had learned about that for a long time. And when I first learned about what we’re doing now, and I know that a lot of what you recommend in the book, it’s along these same lines. But it wasn’t really about autoimmune at the time. It was really about folks who were in Crossfit gyms who wanted an ideal way of eating.

But what I learned very shortly thereafter, probably within the first several months to a year, is that the reason why this movement, why our podcast and the work like what you’re doing is so powerful, is that autoimmunity has really kind of come to a head in just American life. I think it is kind of global, but it is very, very much, from what I see, a strong sort of American issue. We have a lot of factors that contribute to it. So, what really is going on? Can you give us some info on the numbers and the statistics and some information on why you think that’s happening and specifically some different contributing factors to that?

Dr. Amy Myers: Sure. So the rates have tripled in the last 50 years; and that is not that we’ve gotten better at diagnosing this. It’s that there are genuinely more autoimmune diseases and more being diagnosed. There are over 100 labeled autoimmune diseases. The estimates that we have that’s between 50 and 75 million Americans, and 125 million people world-wide. It’s also that we really believe that this number is underreported, and that is because medicine in fractured. Unlike oncology, where all cancers are being reported under the umbrella of oncology. With autoimmunity, there’s not one major umbrella branch of medicine to report that.

The other is these antibodies show up 5 years before people are even getting diagnosed with their autoimmune disease, and as we all know in conventional medicine, nobody is trying to practice preventative medicine, so nobody is checking these antibodies short of functional medicine practitioners. People are not checking these antibodies on people when they’re walking in the door. Mostly because conventional medicine does not believe that there’s anything that can be done about it.

The perfect example is people with Hashimoto’s and low thyroid. Many people have no idea if they’re low thyroid is actually autoimmune Hashimoto’s, because their doctor didn’t check their antibodies. Because in their opinion in conventional medicine, there’s no difference. They just give you a pill of Synthroid, and you’re done. But it does make a huge difference. Once you have one autoimmune disease, you’re three times more likely to get another. So you want to stop that fire that’s going on inside as soon as you know about it.

So, in functional medicine, obviously I believe and see every day that things actually can be prevented, and autoimmune diseases can be reversed. I don’t claim to have a cure; a cure is as if you’ve never had something. Those of us with autoimmunity, we always have that weak link. I say that there’s a spectrum, an autoimmune spectrum, and some people with low inflammation are obviously low on the spectrum, leading all the way up to full blown autoimmunity. Once you’re on that spectrum, or reached that destination of autoimmunity, we can push you back down the spectrum to where we reverse, I believe, reverse the disease.

And by that I mean we can get rid of your symptoms so you can be symptom free, we can often get rid of the medication so you’re medication free, and then frequently can at least lower, if not completely get antibodies to go away. I see that day in and day out in my practice. So I do believe they can be reversed, but we’re on a continuum. I have had periods in my life where I got well, and then I was exposed to toxic molds in my old office, and I started getting sick again. I had to hit the diet hard, and clean up my gut, and clean up my environment, and get out of the environment. I moved back down the spectrum.

So it’s our weak link, those of us with autoimmunity. And there may be times in your life where symptoms go away, and they might come back when you branch out too far or you have a stressor in your life, like a divorce, or death, or job loss, or you get exposed to a toxin like someone pulls out 10 mercury fillings, and is not a biological dentist, or you get exposed to toxic molds, or you get bitten by a tick and get Lyme. There are all kinds of factors.

In my book, I talk about the four pillars of the Myers Way, and those are really the five factors that I believe influence most all chronic disease, and certainly autoimmunity. We know from twin studies, from identical twin studies, that 25% of autoimmunity is your genetics, and 75% is from the environment. That’s the factors I talk about in my book. So that’s an enormous amount that we have control over and can influence.

So the factors that I see that are affecting autoimmunity are diet, as you talk about all the time in your book, and this podcast, so we won’t spend a lot of time there talking about gluten, dairy, legumes, and grains. The fact that many of us have leaky guts now, and I know that’s probably been covered extensively on your podcast, as well. And then what a lot of people are not talking about are the toxins in our environment, and their influence here, as well as infections. There are many infections that are known to be influencing autoimmunity and directly related to certain autoimmune diseases. Sometimes, a simple antibiotic can help reverse symptoms in people.

Then there are stresses, which also a lot of people are not talking about. You can be eating the perfect diet, and you and I, we see this all the time in the paleo world. People are so perfect on their diet, and they’ve even worked to heal their gut, but then they’re at Crossfit 7 days a week, or they have a 90-hour a week job, or they’re in a horrible relationship, and that stress is getting to them and they’re not getting better simply because of that. Or they’re not sleeping, right? I know those are stories you probably hear all the time. I certainly do.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, definitely. I think a lot of people who take on a paleo type of diet are sort of the type A. I think it takes a certain personality to tune into this stuff, and become really driven about it. I think those same people are really quick to write off their stressors, and I’m pretty quick to call them out {laughs} on people when we’re training a certain way and just not paying attention to everything that has an impact on our health besides our diet.

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4. Environmental toxins that contribute to autoimmunity [19:28]

Diane Sanfilippo: One thing you were talking about in terms of toxicity; I want to hear a little bit more about this. I know that that’s one of the things I touched on, the meal plans in Practical Paleo, I kind of talk about a lot of different factors and the sort of add and remove, just to kind of bring it to people’s attention. I don’t get into it in depth, but I know one of the things you talk about a lot in your book are these toxins, whether it’s dental amalgams, mercury amalgams, or different environmental factors. Can you talk more about environmental factors that are having an impact on people that are kind of like, maybe the biggest ones that they might be able to do something about within the next one to three or six months if they become aware that this is an issue for them.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah. One of the things I appreciate you touching on; my book is not just a diet. It has a 30-day program in it, and obviously food and your gut are huge components of that, but you have two-thirds of the book left, which is really dealing with these other issues that hopefully we’re going to talk about here. I feel like it’s a really comprehensive book that’s able to touch on the factors that I’m able to see in my practice.

So, regarding toxins, and throughout the book, as you mentioned, I give enough information so people realize this is a problem, and I give you lots of references in the bibliography to realize that there’s research to back this up, but I don’t give you so much that you just feel, oh my god, I’m dead in my tracks. I’m not even going to walk outside my house, right? We all live in this world, we want to engage in this world, community as we all know is an important factor to getting well. So I’m not expecting people to be in a bubble.

Some of the biggest toxins; rather than speaking of the individual toxin, I think what I’d like to speak to is how do toxins get in, and then give you some ways to prevent that; which is what that whole chapter talks about. Some of the biggest ways that toxins get in, if you think about it, how do we get things? They come in through our skin, our biggest organ, they come in through our breathing them in, or they come in through us ingesting them in by drinking or eating.

So if we just walk through those; skin. That would be body products; of course the air and everything is all dropping on our skin, but our body products. One of the places people don’t really think of, or they read natural or organic, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have phthalates or parabens, or 30 other potential toxins that are called the dirty 30 that I reference in my book. These things get in through our skin, and they can disrupt our immune system, and our endocrine system. And then of course, we can worry about gluten, and soy, and other factors that can get in there, as well. So skin is one of the biggest ones, thinking about what you’re putting on your skin. I give people practical tips about how to change out their body products.

The other thing that comes in through our skin is water. So we take a shower or a bath every day, if not a couple of times a day, and people don’t really think about all the toxins, heavy metals even. Something called TCEs, which can directly influence our immune system, are found in our water supply. So I simply recommend getting, if you can afford to or it’s available to you, a whole house filter, but if you can’t, a simple shower filter. And they are not expensive; you can get a shower filter, literally you yourself can screw it on your shower, and get one with a handheld that it goes down to the bath so that you can fill it up through the showerhead for the bathtub. That’s an excellent way to help avoid toxins there.

The next way is how we breathe them in, so our air. People might be thinking, oh I live in the mountains, or something. But your air quality inside your house is shown to be 5-100 times more toxic than the air outside. It’s from all the off gassing of all the stuff that we buy. Everything is made with formaldehyde, and flame retardants, and all kinds of crazy stuff. And that’s all off gassing, and our houses are perfectly sealed now, so the air that we’re breathing inside is really, frankly, toxic. So if you can, HEPA air filters really helps with that, cleaning the air in your home and your office if you have the ability to bring one into your office, as well.

And then food; the food and water that we’re drinking. We already talked about water filters for the shower, but most people that I know of have at least a water filter for the water that they’re drinking and cooking with, and stuff like that. And trying to eat organic, and pasture raised, and grass fed and all that stuff that we all talk about so much, in your home; GMO-free. If you can eat it out as well, that’s awesome. It’s becoming more available. If you can’t, definitely buying that in your home so that when you venture out, it’s less of a burden to your body because you’ve done more of it inside your house.

So it’s kind of up to you if you want me to get into toxic metals, and biological dentistry and all that kind of stuff. But those are the big practical ones that I think have a big impact for most people every day, and can be relatively easily solved in a quick period of time to affect what you're eating and drinking, what you’re putting on your skin or absorbing through your skin in a shower, and then what you’re breathing.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think those are great tips and that actually, one of the sponsors of our show is called Dragonfly Traditions, and it’s all completely natural skin care. She has amazing products, and I know that she’d be thrilled to have that that’s one of your top pieces of advice.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yep.

Diane Sanfilippo: And it’s something that Liz, my co-host, also always talks about, natural skin care and we’re big advocates of that too. So those are some really great tips; cleaning up your skin care and looking at your water and what you’re absorbing in the shower, as well as what you’re drinking, and then the air in your home. I think that those are good tips for people who are trying to prevent autoimmunity, as well as deal with perhaps a flare or just manage the fact that they are on that autoimmune spectrum.

I love that analogy, by the way, I’m almost picture a spectrum because everything in my head is in pictures, {laughs} but I’m picturing that spectrum where you were saying you can slide someone up or down that spectrum, but I’m imagining someone who has been diagnosed or knows that they have an autoimmune condition. It’s like they can kind of get all the way down that slider, potentially, but probably not fall off of it. Because if they have that propensity in their system, it’s like you’re kind of riding at the edge there where if something happens, you can slide back up the scale. And some of us that may not have an autoimmune condition are not dealing with this at that point are not yet on that scale. So, what we can do to perhaps prevent getting on it would be more of these things in addition to what we’re already doing with cleaning up our food.

I think a lot of what you’re talking about, too, with stressors when you talk about toxins. Toxins as an entire category are stressors to our system that we don’t think about or really perceive. And that’s the thing that I think a lot of our listeners, and just people who ask us questions all the time, they think about stress as the, “I’m so stressed out.” I have a lot of work to do, or I have the kids to take here, or this commitment or that commitment. But they don’t realize that stress is anything that causes imbalance in your system, in your body, and so all of these toxins are absolutely a big stressor.

5. Heavy metals, dental amalgams, and MTHFR [26:48]

I would love for you to talk a little bit more about heavy metals and what’s kind of some practical advice, and then let people know how much more information they can get from the book on things like dental amalgams, and where should they go for that stuff, the concept of a heavy metal detox, and all of that, and what’s practical for folks.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah, absolutely. I just wanted to say, when you were saying those tips about the air and everything seemed like a good thing to do if you’re on the spectrum; I don’t mean to scare people, but we live in a very toxic world, more than ever and it’s getting worse every day. I’m not meaning to say that to scare you, I’m meaning it to say that everybody can benefit from those simple things. There’s just no reason not to, because when you venture out, you have no control over it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Dr. Amy Myers: And particularly, Liz is out on maternity leave, if you have a baby or children in your home, these toxins affect them because they’re so small and their organs are growing, and their endocrine system is creating, and their immune system, all that much more.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Dr. Amy Myers: So when you put that lotion on your skin, or that Johnson’s and Johnson’s baby shampoo for your baby, the toxins for them are 10-20 fold more because of their body size. So that’s just my 2 cents.

On to heavy metals. Mercury is not a good thing. No matter who you are, I recommend people see a biological dentist. A biological dentist is sort of like the functional medicine physician. Right? If you go to your regular doctor, they’re not going to be talking to you about this stuff. If you go to your regular dentist, they’ll tell you that they change your fillings, but that mercury is likely not bad for you. So you want to see a biological dentist if you have silver fillings, root canals, implants, and all that stuff and have them do an evaluation and see if any of that could be contributing to your chronic condition or autoimmunity. I’ve seen people that I’ve worked with, they’ve gotten so far, then they go get their root canal removed, and their antibodies to their thyroid come down overnight. So it can be very, very dramatic for people.

In general, when we’re talking about heavy metals, certainly our dental amalgams are not the only place we get them. We get them from the fish we eat; we get them from the air we breathe. There are coal burning plants throughout the United States, and that is kicking mercury into the air, so we breathe it, it’s in our water, it’s everywhere. And you had wanted me to touch on MTHFR, so this is the perfect place to do it.

MTHFR is a snip, a genetic snip, that I check on all my patients. You can get it through the regular lab now. There’s all different things, 23andme, and other genomic testing that’s getting really popular now. That’s great if you can afford out of pocket testing. But if you can’t, MTHFR the regular lab can test for this. I test it on all my patients. What this snip is, it’s one of the main snips that helps people in clearing heavy metals, like mercury and lead. There are two main snips, and in each snip, you can have none, one, or two mutations. And the more mutations you have, the less able you are to clear toxins, particularly these heavy metals. The more premethylated B vitamins, B6, B12, and folic acid, folinic acid that you need in order to make that system run. So I myself have 2 snips, so it’s not a good scenario to be in. So I ate tuna for many years when I wasn’t eating meat, I had spent some extensive time in China, when I was in the Peace Corps I had vaccinations every Wednesday for 3 months, so I had lots of heavy metal issues, and constantly trying to detox from them because I’m constantly getting them in the air I breathe, and the water, and all the other stuff.

I want to give an analogy, because this helps people typically understand it pretty well. If you have no snips, this is again theoretical, this is an analogy I made up to make people comprehend this. You eat a piece of tuna fish that has 10 parts of mercury in it. You eat 10 parts, theoretically your system is working perfectly, you get rid of 10. If you have one snip, you eat a piece of fish, or tuna fish, and it has 10 parts of mercury, you keep 5 and you get rid of 5. So if you theoretically took some extra premethylated B vitamins and did other things to help support your detox, you could help get rid of those extra 5 that you kept.

I, and people like me who have 2 snips at the main mutation where I have it, I keep 9 and I get rid of 1. So you can see people like me tend to get sicker quicker than people who have no mutations, and this is why the whole theory of, oh you can get everything you need from your diet, and here’s your multivitamin with one stop, one size fits all, that’s so untrue.

Or vaccinations, I’m not going to comment here because that’s a very controversial subject, but oh the mercury in that doesn’t matter. Well, depending on your genetics, these things really do matter. I need 10 times the amount of B vitamins in a certain premethylated way than someone who has no mutations at all. I see that day in and day out in my practice. So, heavy metals for one person may not be an issue, and for somebody else with these mutations, it may be a big issue. So I use that genetics when I’m sussing out, should I do a challenge chelation test to see if somebody has heavy metals.

In terms of detox, because you wanted me to touch on that. When you walk into a doctor’s office, or a practitioners office, and they’re like, heavy metals, that’s what we’re detoxing first! Not to belittle anybody or scare anybody, but I would tell you to run in the other direction. That is not the first thing you should be doing for anybody in my personal opinion when they walk in the door. The first step is changing the diet and fixing the gut. If you have not fixed somebody’s gut and you start detoxing them from these heavy metals, it can be more dangerous, potentially, and it can reabsorb this stuff.

So I talk about this in my book and the order in which I do them. And frequently we’re doing things simultaneously, but heavy metals is not one of the things that I’m typically testing on the first visit. It is something that we’re testing down the line if we’re not getting better or we’re perceiving it to be an issue. You really have to be careful with heavy metals, make sure you’re working with somebody who knows what they’re doing, and somebody who has helped you fix your gut. In order to fix your gut, you have to change your diet, and then address those heavy metals.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s a great point. I think it’s important for people who are listening to not automatically assume that getting some of these heavy metals from our environment, it’s going to affect different people differently, and I know I talked about this in Practical Paleo. I haven’t talked about it a ton on the podcast recently, but your constitution, your genetic makeup. How you were raised from even the time you were conceived; what type of nutrition you received in utero, and then as an infant and a toddler, and beyond, just kind of what built your foundation and what your genetics are, all of that stuff comes in to play when we look at how your specific body handles potential toxins. I think that was a great analogy and a really good point, because there are people out there who, if they’re struggling and they feel like they’ve done everything right, they’ve changed their diet, etc., they may be doing something exactly the same as somebody else, but that excess mercury or that excess even mold that you were saying the way that mold can affect you, it can affect you differently just because you have a different system in the way that that all kind of works.

I just wanted to remind people what you mentioned about needing to take different forms of vitamins; specifically B vitamins, just the reason for that being that liver detox is supported very heavily by B vitamins, and then also sulfur containing vegetables, or sulfur compounds, if I’m correct.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: One of the reasons why we do like to eat so many cruciferous vegetables, which they can be a bit of a hot topic for people who have thyroid conditions, but I think, as I spoke to Dr. Wahls about this too, she believes, and you can tell me what you think, that they generally do more good than harm.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Especially if we’re not downing 4 pounds of raw kale every day. It’s not like we’re eating tons and tons of cruciferous veggies that are raw or fermented; most people are cooking them primarily. But they’re going to do a lot more good than harm. So all of this, really, just to support our bodies. When you're dealing with autoimmunity, everything that’s kind of talked about with paleo eating and nutrient density, this is where it kind of gets even more critical, because if you don’t have those nutrients, your body cannot carry out certain functions. So that’s why it’s so important that we not just worry about chicken, broccoli, coconut oil, what are our macros. We really have to look at getting micronutrients into our body, vitamins and minerals and making sure that our body can do something with them. Because if you have those mutations, you’re not able to even use everything that you're eating, perhaps.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah. It’s so complex. And if your gut is messed up, and you’re not digesting and absorbing, it’s not you are what you eat, it’s what you digest and absorb. But to that point, I think my book is different than some particular paleo or even paleo autoimmune books. There are things that I allow that others don’t. The end of that is some people get so focused on, oh my god, you let people eat cardamom in your diet! And it’s like, really? First of all, who eats cardamom. Second of all, it is not all about the diet.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Dr. Amy Myers: The diet is a factor, but if you’re not dealing with the other stuff, the diet is only going to get you so far.

6. Specifics about Dr. Myers autoimmune protocol [36.44]

Diane Sanfilippo: So why don’t you talk more about that, about what’s different about your approach. I think it’s funny that you mention that seed-based spices for example. I don’t exclude them in the autoimmune plan in Practical Paleo; I’ve never had a single person say, your plan doesn’t work for me because you’re still letting me eat cumin!

Dr. Amy Myers: Right.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because at the end of the day, the nutrient value and potential anti-inflammatory phytonutrients they’ll get from some of these spices are usually more potent than in a positive way.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: And their food is more pleasurable, they can enjoy it!

Dr. Amy Myers: Right!

Diane Sanfilippo: So yeah, let’s talk a little bit about your book and your approach is different. Because I totally agree with you; I think that there are just people who are strung out on the whole autoimmune paleo thing.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Which is not exactly your approach. Your Autoimmune Solution is your own protocol, so let’s talk more about that.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah, I think the biggest difference is, I am seeing patients day in and day out, and there are not a lot of people doing that. Mark Hyman is doing that, Perlmutter is doing that. But there are not a lot of people out there actually doing that, seeing patients day in and day out. And I’m just telling you what I see. This isn’t a book just about my own personal experience, or the literature that I read; this is my experience, the literature that I read, and the patients that I’m seeing day in and day out, and I agree with you. I’ve never had anybody tell me they didn’t get well because they were still eating cardamom or cumin. It’s just, they’re not eating enough, and I haven’t see that.

I’m not going to tell you that there isn’t somebody out there who cardamom and cumin are big triggers for them, and they have some massive flare. That is where we are all individuals. And that is what makes the world go around, and that is what makes certain things work for certain people, and other things not work for other people. But I took the biggest things, and it is, to the most part, based on my traditional elimination diet, which is gluten, dairy, soy, corn, nightshade vegetables, of course sugar, caffeine, all that kind of stuff, and then for autoimmune we pull out some extra grains and legumes. I might be different than other people in this regard, too; my plan is 30 days that we hope that you get well in 30 days. If you don’t it might take you 3 months. Some people out there are going to be super complex, and they still need to advise with a functional medicine doctor, because they need to get rid of the heavy metals, or they have Lyme on top of it, or something else.

Once you’ve reversed your symptoms, this is where it’s individual. You might find that you can eat nightshades with no problem. Other people might find that they can eat some grains on occasion with no problem. Or that there are times in their life where that’s appropriate, and they can do that, and then there might be something like me, you get hit with toxic mold and you’ve got to reign it back in and get back on the full Myers Way comprehensive diet.

And that’s what life is about. It’s a continuum, and everybody is an individual, you’ve got to see what works for you, and what doesn’t work for you. There are absolute no foods in my opinion, which is gluten and likely dairy for everybody with an autoimmune disease, as well, because of the molecular mimicry. But the rest is after you’ve become symptom free and off your medicine, you can kind of, what I tell people, see what you can tolerate. For somebody, corn might be worse than gluten. For somebody else, you know, I’ve seen peppers and people coming back with really bad issues with nightshades. But I’m not going to tell everybody who’s ever been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that they can’t ever eat a nightshade again in their life. And certainly that they can’t not eat cumin or cardamom.

I agree with what Terry was saying about the cruciferous vegetables; I feel the same way. Most people are not eating pounds of broccoli, and kale, and whatnot that are raw. And if you cook it, it greatly reduces that. You can take some iodine. The benefit of all the phytonutrients and the ability to make glutathione from your cruciferous vegetables far outweighs.

I think the take home point is that there are a lot of ways to skin a cat, and clearly many people doing vegan diets, doing raw, doing paleo, doing paleo autoimmunity with and without cardamom have had success. And so you’ve got to find what resonates with you and what works for you. You might pick up one book, and it’s a home run for you and you never look back. You might pick up another one, and another one, and another one, and it might take you 5 books to find the one that really hits home for you. But I’m not going to say that there’s any one right way to do something.

All I can say is I actually practice with patients, and I’ve used this approach with literally thousands of patients. I can’t tell you that every single one has completely reversed everything; nobody can tell you that. But have I helped many, many hundreds of thousands of people reverse their autoimmunity using this program? Absolutely. And the diet is a key component, but not the only component. The stress of getting so focused on every spice, and every herb, and everything is probably going to weigh you down than, in most cases, eating it, in my opinion.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I think one of the things that we try to do with giving people options; one of the big things we did in Mediterranean Paleo Cooking was give people the AIP friendly, autoimmune friendly way of eating it, because hopefully, if somebody wants to do that, it will reduce the stress of them doing it. Right? {laughs}

Dr. Amy Myers: Right.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because they’re given those outlines, and that’s really the goal. I wrote that stuff into Practical Paleo. This was, I feel like this happens to me a lot; I’m ahead of my time on certain things. My publisher did not understand; he was like, why do you need all these notes. {laughs} Why does everything have to say, if you don’t want to eat nightshades, if you don’t eat nuts; aren’t nuts paleo? I’m like, just trust me. Some people can’t eat them.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah.

7. Issues with infections in autoimmunity [43.00]

Diane Sanfilippo: So I was putting these notes in, not to the degree we ended up with Mediterranean Paleo Cooking, but because if somebody has that issue, I want to have a solution for them. Anyway, I want to get back to, one of the other things that I think is a really chapter and a great topic in your book is about infections. I think this is something that a lot of people don’t know a lot about. I know folks like Chris Kresser have talked about this before, and I just don’t think it’s talked about a ton in our community.

What kind of infections can be causing issues for people? At least on the basic level, where they came from, how people could have contracted them? And then I know you were talking a little bit more, you were mentioning even molecular mimicry and how that can be working for people with certain foods that they thought were ok. So could you talk a little bit about that stuff?

Dr. Amy Myers: Sure. So, there are three main types of infections. One is viral, one is bacterial, and one is parasitic. There is actually some research out there about how parasites might actually help certain autoimmune diseases; I don’t talk a lot about that in the book. What I talk about is the viral infections like herpes and Epstein Barr, the mono virus, and how most people have shown that they have been exposed to this, but there are even higher numbers of people with certain autoimmune diseases like MS and Lupus. Epstein Barr, for example, is almost in 100% of people with Lupus and MS.

I can talk about the mechanisms by which we believe that they are creating autoimmunity. With both of these, the herpes virus, there are some pretty good antiviral medications that help. Epstein Barr, I haven’t found any that really work well. There are certainly some natural agents, like humic acid that come from the soil, and monolaurin and some of the acids found in coconut oil have antiviral properties. That’s usually what I do along with, again, fixing the gut, where 80% of the immune system is and then people can usually help fight off these infections.

But there are some other bacterial infections, and I have a chart in the book, that are one to one correlation to be seen with certain autoimmune diseases. Yersinia, for example, which can be found in the gut has been actually found with Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s. Proteus with certain autoimmune disease; Klebsiella with rheumatoid arthritis; Chlamydia pneumoniae with MS. Often, there are people who report being treated, and in one of the cases that I actually do recommend antibiotics, I’ve had people get better with treatment, finding these infections and getting treated. Many of those infections are found on traditional lab testing.

We were kind of talking before the show; I hope people take this book and use it as a resource, and take it with them to their doctor, and they can say, look, I have rheumatoid arthritis, I want you to test me for this. Hopefully they will, and they’ll treat you. It’s out there in peer reviewed medical journals about the association of these infections with certain types of autoimmune diseases. So, this isn’t something I made up, that’s for sure.

I don’t know if you want me to talk about the molecular mimicry, or the thought process?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yes, I do.

Dr. Amy Myers: Ok.

Diane Sanfilippo: Our listeners love all the super nerdy stuff, so yes. {laughs}

Dr. Amy Myers: Ok. Molecular mimicry is that two molecules look very, very similar so your body confuses them. So, one of the thought processes behind some of these infections is that, let’s say the Yersinia looks very similar to the thyroid, and so you get exposed to the Yersinia, and your body goes to attack it because it knows that’s a bacteria and it’s a foreign invader, but it gets confused and goes to attack that. But since it looks so similar to the thyroid, it accidentally attacks the thyroid.

Diane Sanfilippo: That is so interesting.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah, and we have that with food, as well.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, because I was going to say, we know this about food also and specific portions of a gluten protein, for example.

Dr. Amy Myers: Exactly.

Diane Sanfilippo: Which is something that I talked about in Practical Paleo, and I have a whole Lego analogy that I actually learned from Rob Wolf back in the day. So I find that fascinating that there are other infections, that that same thing can happen. And that’s because everything in our body is made up of the same proteins, right? Whether it’s a bacteria or anything else, body tissue. So fascinating.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah. It is, it’s crazy. One of the other ones is called bystander activation, and that’s basically that the body, we’ll keep using Yersinia as an example in there, when the body goes again to attack it, and your thyroid tissue is right next to it, and just in the line of fire, starts getting sort of attacked, or destroyed, and When something gets destroyed, your body sees it, again it looks different and it looks foreign, so even more invaders come in and begin to attack that. So it’s just an innocent bystander. Your tissue is standing there while the immune cells are going in to fight a particular type of infection.

The other one is cryptic antigen, or hijacker which is what I also call it. And that is more found with the herpes virus and Epstein Barr. Most people know that when you get one of those viruses, it’s like getting the chicken pox. It stays in your system, and then a reactivation would be shingles. Or certainly herpes would be a cold sore. So those viruses are hiding out inside of our cells, inside of our DNA, actually, and they begin to replicate. As they’re doing that, our body sees that the cell looks different, and goes in to attack it, creating an inflammatory response there.

So the multibillion dollar question is, what actually causes an autoimmune disease. It’s quite interesting, and as I was writing this book, and I’ve literally helped thousands of people recover, people are traveling from all over the world to come see me for autoimmune diseases, and I’m writing this book, and I’m like, well wait, I don’t actually know; how does an autoimmune disease happen? {laughs} You know.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Dr. Amy Myers: I’m like, how can I be writing a book? I’m like, oh well nobody really knows. All of it is what we think, or what researches and all the papers that I have think is happening. Nobody knows 100% that this is exactly what’s happening. Again, it’s so multifactorial that there are so many different factors.

Somebody could come into my office for rheumatoid arthritis, and for one person, it happens to be Proteus or Klebsiella infection. And for somebody else it’s gluten, and for somebody else it’s heavy metals. And for most people, it’s some of all of these things. But I can have two people in my office with the exact “disease” with the same name, but how they got it, and why they have it, and their root cause, can be dramatically different.

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8. Contributing factors to the decline in health over the last 50 years [50.50]

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s your hunch, I’m off script here, not that we have a script {laughs}

Dr. Amy Myers: No, I know.

Diane Sanfilippo: We didn’t write any; just so you guys know, we don’t write this whole thing down before hand, so all of our guests are slightly winging it, even if we know what we’re going to basically talk about. Obviously, we’re talking about the book here. I’m curious what you think, it’s in the last 50 years that we see this huge increase. I have my nutritionist ideas of what I think has really changed things for people, and as you’re saying, it is obviously multifactorial. What are the kind of big root issues that you think have been the biggest contributors, just in general, to the fact that we’re seeing this more. Obviously, you’re talking about a lot of different factors that can feed into it. I’m just going to throw it out there; obviously we know the gut is a huge topic. I think that the way we all handle bacteria, and antibiotics, and probiotics and all of that.

When I look at someone like my grandmother, who is 92, and on I don’t know how many medications, and literally it’s like she has 9 lives because {laughs} just when we think she’s losing weight and she’s not doing great, something changes. Maybe the doctor changed some kind of medication she’s on, she bounces back, she gains weight, and she’s doing fine. Well, you know, “fine” at 92. But I think it’s because her constitution is so dramatically different; despite not having a gallbladder, despite probably having Hashimoto’s, she’s definitely on thyroid medication. Despite all of that now, because of what probably happened to our food and our entire world in the last 30-50 years because her first nearly 50 years were so different.

Dr. Amy Myers: Absolutely.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s a huge thing that is impacting things for us now. So all this stuff that we talk about in paleo, trying to get back to the way that things used to be as much as possible, as much as people thing we’re crazy. But the way I see it, the fact that we all became yogurt crazy 30-40 years ago, or 20-30 years ago, kind of helped a little bit, even if it was junky yogurt. {laughs} Because maybe it helped us.

Dr. Amy Myers: I grew up on homemade yogurt. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, so you had the good stuff.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: We were taking tons of antibiotics when I was a kid, and I’m like, the only thing I can think of that we ate that had any probiotic content was yogurt. It’s like, maybe at least it was some kind of a minimal saving grace.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: But what do you think, just as a person, and as a practicing doctor, obviously.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah! So, I’ll come at it with all different factors.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Ok.

Dr. Amy Myers: I was really blessed, right? I grew up with parents who made homemade yogurt and homemade whole wheat bread. My dad was a professor of international studies, and when we got sick, I took Chinese herbs, I didn’t take antibiotics. I was breastfed as a kid. My great grandmother lived to 103. I was alive when there were 4 generations of us alive, and I got to see the difference in diet. Then I had the chance to live in the middle of nowhere in the Peace Corps and actually live with farmers, and see what it was like to milk a cow, and kill a cow, and kill a chicken.

And I have the benefit of being a medical doctor, and seeing from the perspective, and seeing people all over the world, right? They’re starting to come in, or people who they are first generation here, but three other generations live somewhere else. None of those people have autoimmunity in their families, right, and they’re starting to get something here versus the people who are here, and it’s 3 generations, and you see all the autoimmunity.

I think we are in the perfect storm right now. I think we have more toxins than we have ever had. 80,000 toxins and chemicals out in the air, most of which are barely tested, and I talk all about that in the book. I think we have leaky guts from the fact that we have C-sections going on, people are not being breastfed. They’re taking antibiotics, they’re taking all kinds of medicines. We’ve altered our food supply, it’s affecting the microbiota. Our food supply, we’ve already talked about that. Because of this whole, hand sanitizer everywhere, and everything has to be …

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Dr. Amy Myers: And everybody’s a C-section now, we have no kind of immunity, and then we get all these super bugs, and are getting these infections. I mean, the people in third world countries with parasites, they live in harmony with them and actually help improve their immune system. But if we get a parasite because we were so clean, it actually over stimulates us. And then you have the stress. It’s the five factors I talk about in the book, and it is a perfect storm right now.

Luckily, there are people like us, and people like the people that are following you and the patients that see me, that are going to change this boat. We are trying to change the Titanic, and they’re going to help us do it. Because it’s not going to be with the food industry, and it’s not going to be with the medical schools, and it’s not going to be with the insurance industries. It’s going to be with the individual people we touch, and listening to the podcast and reading the books, and doing the programs that get well, and then they’re going to tell other people.

I can’t remember that shampoo commercial, and I’m older than you so you probably don’t remember it either, but there was a shampoo commercial that was like something, and you tell one person and they tell one person, and it was like this picture would multiply on the TV of, one person loved their hair and then it just snowballed. That’s what we did in the Peace Corps. You would teach one, and they would teach another. So that’s what’s happening with all of us in this movement. We’re helping get people well, and they’re telling other people, and then those people are ultimately going to demand better food, less chemicals, better, well not better doctors, but doctors trained in a different kind of way, nutritionist trained a different kind of way, and hopefully we’ll ward off this massive problem that we’re about to, you know this sinking ship. Hopefully we’re going to save the sinking ship.

Diane Sanfilippo: Faberge. I Googled it. {laughs}

Dr. Amy Myers: Oh, there you go! Faberge, thank you.

Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t know, I’m a good researcher. You know. I feel like I had seen it, but I was probably too young to remember it.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well I think that; you know, it’s so cool to also hear. Maybe it’s not that cool for some people to hear this, but your foundation was actually pretty solid compared to what a lot of folks are dealing with today. The fact that you were raised in a household like that, things were kind of hippy-dippy, right? And you were breastfed like I was; my mom probably breastfed me for a minute. She tells me yes, just to probably make me not feel so badly.

Dr. Amy Myers: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: But I’m sure if it was two weeks, that was the max. It just was out of favor, it was out of fashion, it wasn’t in. But it’s interesting that even with the best foundation that you could have had at that time, this stuff still happens. That’s why it’s so important for people to know that it’s so multifactorial to know that even though you have a responsibility and there are things that you can do in your everyday life now that you have a lot of power to change it. People don’t need to feel like it’s their fault. I think that’s a really big issue, and it’s a really difficult balance for people who are dealing with diseases that they’re diagnosed with where there’s not a pill they can take, and they’re also being told, now you need to change all these things about your life.

9. Help in getting someone started [58:23]

For a lot folks listening to our show, they just want to know what should they do, and they will do it. But for a lot of other people out there, and this is a big question that we’ve had, too, from some of our listeners. I think I probably just have time for a couple of quick questions here because then I have to let you go {laughs} but, a big question about how do I introduce someone? How do I help them get started when they just feel so overwhelmed and they probably also feel responsible in a negative way, where as a lot of our listeners feel empowered by knowing that there’s a lot they can do, so many people feel almost debilitated. Like, oh my gosh, I have to do all of this to feel better? You can’t just give me a pill?

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m sure you see people who have a positive outlook in your practice, but I’m sure you also see some of those who are like, seriously, Dr. Myers? {laughs}

Dr. Amy Myers: No most of them know what they’re in for.

Diane Sanfilippo: OK {laughing}

Dr. Amy Myers: People ask me about my compliance, I’m like, I have great compliance.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, people are ready to get better.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yeah, right. I mean, if I have to convince you, it’s not a good fit. If we sat and blamed ourselves; yeah, I had this great foundation, but then I became a vegetarian, right? Then I had this, and that, and then my mother died, and then all these vaccinations. I could beat myself up, and the number of people like, oh if only I’d known you, and I’m like, oh god if I’d only known me, you know?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Dr. Amy Myers: I’d have a thyroid still. There’s no point in looking back; all you can do is look forward. I do think that my book, I hope my book is like your book, it’s the go to book. We use your book in my practice, before I had my book, introducing them to paleo. It’s such a great resource for beginners, middle, and even people who are advanced. And I hope that’s what my book is. I hope that if you have somebody that doesn’t how, where to go, where to turn, they’ve just been diagnosed. I mean, I write the book and say this book is for the people with autoimmunity, it’s somebody who is afraid they’re going to get autoimmunity, it’s for a loved one who wants to support someone with autoimmunity, to help understand and support them. So I hope that my book becomes that go to resource for people.

It’s really there for all levels. And I do, the feedback we’ve gotten, I have a whole chapter on hope. Knowledge is power, and there is all the success stories, and just that there is hope. Most people that see us, I did this, it’s kind of gone viral, this interview with Mind Body Green about conventional medicine and I had this guy come in that I was diagnosing with autoimmune thyroid, and I told him to get off gluten and dairy, and he’s like that’s really extreme. And I said, so, wait taking medication like I took that basically destroyed my liver, having your thyroid blown up like Hiroshima or ripped out from you is not extreme? But giving up gluten and dairy is extreme? Where did we get, as a society, that one of those three other things is more extreme than changing your diet? That’s crazy.

But most people, when they change their diet, and for some it can be easy and for other people it can be overwhelming, we’re here to support you and I think the book lays it out nice and easy for you to do that. But usually the payoff is so great. And I know you get feedback about that all the time. But to be symptom free, to be off medications, expensive medications, medications that are putting you at risk for infections and even cancer, medications that maybe have terrible side effects and to not have pain anymore and to not have to take those medications. The last story in the book is the story of my father, and I’m not going to spoil it for you, because to me it’s one of the best stories there, and that’s not because he’s my dad. His resistance to doing what I asked him to do; he had autoimmune, or has autoimmune polymyositis. His muscles were getting very weak, and he had resistance. He ultimately came to, and is now off all of his medications.

Diane Sanfilippo: That is the holy grail, getting your closest loved ones to do this stuff.

Dr. Amy Myers: Right, and you know right? You know how hard it is, right? You know because you have no idea, I go home, oh my god the story in the book, it’s like every Christmas this, that and the other, every Thanksgiving, and I’m like stop! I have people who fly across the country and actually pay me a lot of money to ask me these questions, and then they actually do it! Stop asking me, because you’re not doing it. I literally was like, do not ask me again. I am not going over this one more time. {laughs} You know? And finally when I gave up, it’s like, oh wait a minute? {laughing} I really want to try this.

Again, I want people to know I have an entire chapter on hope, and that’s really what this book is meant to give you. Hope, direction, answers, and truly a solution to your autoimmunity. It’s not meant to bring you down, and get you overwhelmed. The feedback we’ve gotten so far is that’s what it does. If you want, come on over to our Facebook page. I have lots of free info on my website. There are no Debbie Downers there. They’re all, as I’m sure your followers are too, it’s all people who are doing it, working it. Not telling you that it’s easy for everybody, but there are people there to encourage you along the way, for sure.

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. So, AmyMyersMD.com is your website, correct?

Dr. Amy Myers: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: And I’m sure folks can find you on Facebook and probably Twitter, as well. Kind of all over the place. I’m sure they can get more information about, not only the book, but if they are interested in becoming a patient of yours, I’m sure you have perhaps some limited time coming up with the book release and all of that good stuff. I’m sure they can find out more information about that right there on the site.

Dr. Amy Myers: Yes, absolutely.

Diane Sanfilippo: Anything else you want to make sure folks know about? The book is out as of the time this podcast airs, it will have been out just about 2 weeks, so it’s a brand new book. Definitely check it out; you can grab it on Amazon. It’s in book stores everywhere. It’s called The Autoimmune Solution. Anything else that folks should know?

Dr. Amy Myers: No, I think that’s it. Just give it a try.

Diane Sanfilippo: Will we see you at PaleoFx this year?

Dr. Amy Myers: Yes, I’m speaking on autoimmunity.

Diane Sanfilippo: Shocking.

Dr. Amy Myers: And we’ll be doing book signings.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Awesome. Well, I will see you there. We’ll have to snap a picture together and have a little hug.

Dr. Amy Myers: For sure.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because that’s what I do, I’m Italian, and German, and I’m from New Jersey. We hug everyone. {laughs}

Dr. Amy Myers: Awesome.

Diane Sanfilippo: So that will be awesome, I’m really excited to see you there. Thank you so, so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me today.

Dr. Amy Myers: Thank you so much for having me, and helping me promote this, and help people with autoimmune disease know that there is a different way. I really appreciate it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Fantastic. Thank you so much.

Dr. Amy Myers: Thanks.

10. Liz’s BMB tip of the week: Meet Meg the Midwife [1.05.06]

Liz Wolfe: Hey everyone! Liz checking in with the very first Baby Making and Beyond tip of the week. I’m here with my BMB partner, Meg Reburn, AKA Meg the midwife.

Meg Reburn: Hiya!

Liz Wolfe: Heya! Today, it’s actually so much a tip, it’s more an official introduction, so you can get to know our mission and what BMB is all about a bit better. I know that a baby making tip seems like a highly specific thing, but please remember that fertility is a sign of overall health, which is really why I got so passionate about it in the first place. So much of this really applies to everyone; male, female, and anyone who thinks that one day they might want to start a family. And I have to say, trust me, that feeling sneaks up on you, so it’s really best to be prepared before you think you’re thinking about it.

So you know me, of course; duh. Liz. Hey! Since I’ve been cohosting the Balanced Bites podcast for like 3 years now. But you also know, if you’ve been listening, I’ve kept my whole fertility and pregnancy journey pretty private. But here’s kind of a rundown of what’s been going on. For the last about 2 years, after having accumulated a lot of research and just field experience with clients who were looking to boost their body and prepare for pregnancy, I actually ended up putting myself on a pretty comprehensive plan so that if and when we decided to get pregnant, it could be the healthiest transition possible.

This plan covered a lot, including identifying potential metabolic stressors, balancing hormones, supplementing appropriately, and then transitioning that supplemental support from preconception to pregnancy, undertaking appropriate exercise. I’ve talked about that a lot in the Balanced Bites podcast, to support my pelvic floor, which is very important. And I believe that all of this really enabled me to have an easy time conceiving and a really beautiful pregnancy. Obviously now I’m on maternity leave, I’m on baby break from recording the Balanced Bites podcast, but these tips will be coming for many of the weeks while I’m gone.

I have to say that Meg’s wisdom and expertise were a huge part of that whole process and my pregnancy. So while I’m sharing my nutritional expertise and my personal experience and knowledge in the BMB program, Meg is really powering the whole thing with her extensive wisdom and scientific background as a midwife and as a fertility, pregnancy, and birth practitioner. BMB is really unique I think to any other program out there, and a huge part of that has to do with the two of us being science loving yet holistically minded women who have been there in one way or another, putting it all together.

So Meg for those who don’t know, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

Meg Reburn: Thanks Liz! I don’t know where to start. I guess I’ll start from the beginning. I am a solo practice, primary care, registered midwife living in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, so you might hear the occasional “eh” pop out of my mouth every now and again.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Meg Reburn: {laughing} I’ve been working as a midwife since about 2008, but attending birth since 1999, which makes me sound old. I’m not that old. I’m older than you, but not by much.

Liz Wolfe: Not by much.

Meg Reburn: Not by much. But in my practice, I offer fertility counseling, prenatal care, postpartum care, and of course I catch babies. In Canada, woman can have babies both at home, in the birth center, or in the hospital. So it’s a little bit different than how midwives work in the states. Midwives in Canada work in all three centers, and it’s up to the woman to decide where she wants to deliver. Midwifery in Canada is also covered by our government healthcare system. So women have a choice, and as long as they meet low risk heart criteria, they can come into care with midwives. Which is really cool.

I kind of found nutrition and the paleo diet back in, I guess it was about 2010, in response to a couple of different food intolerances I kind of developed over the years. A friend of mine actually told me about it; she just kind of said, hey this is kind of what you’re doing already. The more research I did, the more interest I gained in it. I wanted to fine tune my diet and lifestyle to support the things I love doing in my personal life. I’m a big backcountry skier and trail runner, I love hiking and rock climbing. So having a good diet to support those things was really important to me personally.

The more research I did on a personal level, and the more experience I gained seeing women and families, I started to see a real correlation between how a woman’s nutrient status could affect her ability to conceive, and the overall health of her pregnancy and postpartum period. I guess that fueled me into starting my own blog in about 2012. I started Modern Paleo Midwife as a way of sharing all the amazing things I was learning about nutrition and lifestyle. I, like you, love to be a geek with science, and my friends were, quite frankly, sick of hearing me rant. So the blog served as a really good way of expressing myself without losing any of my friends.

And I guess you and me, Liz, we’ve kind of been gestating this little project for almost a couple of years now.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Meg Reburn: And it’s nice to really be rolling with it. Getting ready to share all this information and knowledge we’ve acquired over the years.

Liz Wolfe: I’m so excited.

Meg Reburn: Me too!

Liz Wolfe: That’s it for our BMB tip of the week. I miss everybody. Hop over to Baby Making and Beyond to sign up for program alerts, BabyMakingandBeyond.com. And follow Meg on Instagram; Meg the Midwife, right?

Meg Reburn: Meg the Midwife.

Liz Wolfe: Alright, we’ll talk to you guys next time.

Meg Reburn: See you next week!

Diane Sanfilippo: So that’s it for this week, you guys. You can find Dr. Myers at AmyMyersMD.com. Don’t forget you can find Liz at http://realfoodliz.com/, and you can find me at http://dianesanfilippo.com. Join our email lists for free goodies and updates you don’t find anywhere else on our websites. And, while you’re on the internet, leave us an iTunes review. We’ll see you next week.

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