Podcast Episode #190: The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution with Trudy Scott

Diane Sanfilippo Adrenal Fatigue, Featured, Podcast Episodes 5 Comments

Topics:

1. What’s new for you from Diane [1:24]
2. Introducing our guest, Trudy Scott [3:03]
3. Hormonal changes and diet changes  [7:20]
4. Protein intake and mental health [12:55]
5. Social anxiety and pyroluria [22:59]
6.  Situational and nighttime sleep anxiety [28:29]
7. What if the amino acids don’t work [36:50]
8. Amino acids while on SSRIs and benzodiazepines [39:04]
9. Children and teenagers with anxiety [48:13]
10. Loss of appetite, toxic burden, alcohol, and marijuana [50:09]

Links:

Pyroluria Questionnaire from The Antianxiety Food Solution
The Anxiety Summit: How zinc and vitamin B6 prevent pyroluria and social anxiety
Amino Acids Mood Questionnaire from The Antianxiety Food Solution

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Diane Sanfilippo: Hey everyone! Welcome back to the Balanced Bites podcast. This is episode 190, and I have an amazing guest with me today, I’m really excited about this one. You guys jumped up and down posting questions to both Instagram and Facebook. From time to time when I have a guest coming on, I’ll just post maybe the morning of my interview or the night before, so stay tuned to those two channels of social media if you want to ask questions and submit them quickly that way, because obviously submitting it through the website, you may not know who’s coming on the show. I like to share it there, so thank you for all of your questions.

1. What’s new for you from Diane [1:24]

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, so a couple of quick updates from me. I will be in Roanoke, Virginia on Saturday, May 16th. I actually don’t know exactly where I’ll be yet. There’s a possibility that we’re just going to have to go rogue and meet up at the Barnes and Noble, even though they were not ready to host me because it was a little too short notice for them to get all the books in and figure out what they were doing logistically. So, if you’re a member of a Crossfit gym there, if you’re a coach or an owner, or you’re nearby and you have a friend who you might be able to say, hey can you guys pull some boxes together and host Diane Sanfilippo for a quick book signing, let me know for sure. I just wanted to be able to do something in the area because I’m going to be there for a television filming. So I wanted to make sure I could say high to folks who are down there. So give me a shout if you think you can help out.

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2. Introducing our guest, Trudy Scott [3:03]

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, well I am going to dive right into this interview today, because I think we’re going to have a lot to talk about, and I’m super excited. I know you guys are going to love this topic. As I mentioned, I received a ton of questions. Today, my guest is Trudy Scott, the Food Move Expert. Trudy Scott is a certified nutritionist and the author of the Anti-Anxiety Food Solution. She is on a mission to educate and empower anxious individuals worldwide about natural solutions for anxiety, stress, and emotional eating.

Trudy serves as a catalyst bringing about life enhancing transformations that start with the healing powers of eating real, whole food. Using individually target supplementations and making simple lifestyle changes. She works primarily with women, but the information she offers works equally well for men and children. Trudy also presents nationally to nutrition and mental health professionals on food and mood, sharing all the recent research and how-to steps so they, too, can educate and empower their clients and patients.

And, Trudy also has hosted the Anxiety Summit for, this is I think the third year, so I’m really excited because it’s perfect timing to get her on the show so that you can go ahead and check out that free summit for the next handful of days if you’re listening to this episode right when it airs on Thursday. So welcome, Trudy.

Trudy Scott: Hi Diane, thanks very much for having me. It’s really great to be here.

Diane Sanfilippo:Oh, I’m really excited. My listeners, our listeners, are jumping on this topic, so I know it’s been a big one, and I’m excited to be able to dive in with a whole bunch of questions and get some answers for people, so thanks for joining me here.

Can you give our listeners just a little bit of background on you? Because I know we’re introducing you, probably for the first time, to the crowd here. So can you give us a little background, and your story?

Trudy Scott: Yes, certainly. I am really, really excited about sharing this information, because it helped me overcome my own anxiety and panic attacks. In my late 30s, I was working in corporate America, working really long hours, was really stressed out, and started to get really anxious. I would wake in the early hours with this feeling of doom. I would wake up with a pounding heart. I had these unfounded fears, I worried about everything. I developed social anxieties, that was very difficult for me to get out and socialize, even amongst people I knew, and I actually had a few panic attacks, which were terrifying. I thought I was going to die. It was just so scary with the racing heart, and I couldn’t breathe, and I was trying to get some oxygen. It was a really, really scary time.

I grew up in South Africa, that’s the accent, and we ate real, whole food growing up, and we didn’t go to the doctor a lot, so my first thought was, there must be something biochemical going on. I worked with a great nurse practitioner and a naturopathic doctor, and started to make these connections between what we eat and how we feel.

I went back to school to become a nutritionist so I could learn more about it, and so I could share this information with more people. And the more I learned, the more excited I got about sharing this very, very powerful connection between what we eat and how we feel emotionally.

Long story short, I got off the panic attacks and the anxiety went away, and it was just making some dietary changes, adding in some key nutrients. GABA, an amino acid, was beautiful for me. It just got rid of the panic attacks right away. And it was pretty amazing, because I wouldn’t have considered myself an anxious, timid person. I was a world traveler, I was a rock climber. We went to Kenya for our honeymoon, you know, I’ve spent the night on a cliff base in Zion National Park, traveled around America rock climbing, so I was an adventurous type of person. So when this hit, it was just crazy. And I find that happens with a lot of women in their late 30s, 40s, going into menopause. Everything seems to go crazy, and they’re starting to have all these weird kind of symptoms. And if we can get back to the basics, and address some of those nutritional deficiencies, which can help hormone imbalances as well, we can get back to feeling how we used to. And that’s what I really want to do, share that we can feel good again. We can feel like we used to feel.

3. Hormonal changes and diet changes  [7:20]

Diane Sanfilippo: So, is it your experience that for most women, because I know you do specialize in helping women, the hormonal changes tend to trigger this often times, especially as you were saying, if people are eating real food and it’s not an overabundance of diet sodas and all kinds of crazy things that can drive our body out of whack off the bat. Are you finding that hormonal shifts are a big trigger for this?

Trudy Scott: Definitely. It really is. And women are affected by anxiety at twice the rate as men, so we know that there’s that hormonal impact that plays a role at all ages, but certainly going into perimenopause as a big factor.

But the other thing is, it’s an age where there’s a lot of stressors. A lot of women have family stressors, and they’ve got work stress, so that stress is a big, big factor. It really does trigger digestive problems, which are then going to affect malabsorption, and it’s going to raise your cortisol levels, which then has a ripple down effect to the other hormones. I think it’s a perfect storm of a lot of things going on.

Diane Sanfilippo: So our listeners are pretty familiar with a mostly paleo type of diet, definitely real, whole foods, gluten free for the most part. Do you have some information or just tidbits beyond that that you want to share with people about, I know you have your book about Anti-Anxiety Food Solution, so foods that people should also perhaps eliminate, and then obviously foods to include more of just in general for anybody who is either dealing with this, or wants to prevent it down the road.

Trudy Scott: I love talking to a paleo audience, it’s so great, because I get on my high horse here talking about red meats, and it’s not very well accepted, but I love the fact that the paleo community is already eating red meat. There’s so much research connecting grass fed red meat with good mental health, especially in women. Which I think is very exciting. As far as other things that I would think about for people who feel like they are eating real whole foods, and they are eating a pretty good diet, I would look at too many nuts as being a problem.

I see a lot of people in the paleo community, and paleo recipe books doing a lot of baking with nut flours, and nuts eaten in large quantities like that can raise copper levels. We’ve got the zinc-copper balance, and when you're getting too much copper that’s going to lower your zinc levels, and zinc is a very big factor when it comes to anxiety. As you know, zinc is a very common deficiency. It’s depleted by exercise, so if we’ve got everyone exercising as well, which is great, but you’re losing a lot of zinc.

If you’re stressed out, we talked about stress being a factor, you’re going to lose zinc, and then if you’re eating a lot of sugar, you’re going to become depleted in zinc, as well. So if you’re baking with healthy type desserts that contain nut flours and sugar, you may be setting yourself up for zinc deficiency. So possibly supplementing with zinc, and maybe lowering those nut flours, baking with maybe coconut flour would be a good idea.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. I actually have been reviewing some of the recipes in Practical Paleo, my first book, and I was pretty against using a ton of nut flours, mostly because back then I had a lot of people already asking me for recipes without nuts, just because of allergies, and so I only have a handful of baked items, and they do use coconut flour. One thing I definitely always tell people if they can do it, oysters are a really good source of zinc, as I’m sure you know, and I just love using zinc as a reason to splurge on oysters {laughs}.

Trudy Scott: Love it.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m like, I need my zinc, so I’m going to spend a couple of bucks per oyster to shoot these down. Love that.

Trudy Scott: I’m going to add one more.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, sure.

Trudy Scott: {laughs} A lot of people don’t want to get rid of the coffee, and we know it can keep you awake, it can make you more anxious, and it’s just that there are people who are more prone to the effects of coffee. Of all the areas where I have people eliminate foods that are problematic, coffee seems to be the one that they hold on to the most.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Trudy Scott: If you have anxiety, and you’re still holding on to that coffee, you really need to think about letting it go to see if it is one of the factors that is affecting your anxiety. As a rule, it affects your blood sugar levels, it stresses your adrenals.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Trudy Scott: So I’m not a big fan of coffee.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I’ve actually had a lot of on and off experiences with specifically caffeinated coffee. If I drink some decaf now and then, I don’t experience any of the same effects or side effects of the coffee as I did when it had the caffeine in it. But I definitely find the same thing. Alcohol is a big one that people just want to struggle over giving up. You know that nightly, or a few times a week, glass of wine. And coffee is another one that, it’s partially that ritual, and I think that just asking somebody to give up that ritual is so difficult when they’re changing their food, as well. I’ve seen, for myself and for a lot of other people when we finally say, ok, I’m going to stop. It really does help, and it helps sleep, which will obviously help everything else.

4. Protein intake and mental health [12:55]

Diane Sanfilippo: So what about the connection between protein and mental health? We’ve had a few questions about that. And I know, we’ve talked about Julia Ross a few times on the podcast before, and her books. I know you did some work with her, I don’t remember exactly when it was or for how long, but I don’t know if you wanted to just mention that that was part of your history. Can you talk a little bit about protein intake, mental health, and what the connection is there?

Trudy Scott: Absolutely. Yes, I did work in Julia’s clinic. I worked in her clinic for 2 years, and it was fantastic. It was when I first started working. She’s just a pioneer in the use of amino acids and the nutritional approach to mental health. I just learned so much from her, and she’s a hero of mine. So really, really great to be continuing her work and sharing this information. But yes, protein really, really important, when we break down that protein into amino acids, that’s the building blocks for making our own neurotransmitters, like GABA and serotonin, and the endorphins.

If you’re getting good quality protein, as in grass fed red meat, you’re getting some zinc, you’re getting some iron, which is a cofactor for making the neurotransmitters as well, and you’re also getting fatty acids, good fatty acids, omega-3s, which is wonderful. The other big thing with protein is it helps to stabilize blood sugar, and we can feel more anxious if we’re having these blood sugar swings. So having some protein first thing in the morning, really, really important. That just sets you up for the rest of the day, and can make a really big difference.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s a great point. I think the point you also made about the reason why, or one of the reasons, there are obviously multiple reasons, why foods that are high in sugar can promote anxiety. It’s not just a sugar thing. It’s kind of the outward effects of sugar consumption, not only blood sugar dysregulation, but as you mentioned zinc deficiency, or zinc depletion, which I talk about that in the Sugar Detox books, where it’s not just about not eating carbs, because there are healthy forms of carbs where you’re getting those nutrients, as well. It’s these refined, or just sweeteners in general that when we take them in, we are depleting nutrient stores in order to metabolize those. It’s just part of the process of what happens when we take those in. So I think that’s a really important point for people to understand.

Sometimes when we’re talking about reasons why to give up sugar, or sweeteners, or like you said, the baked goods, even now and then for somebody who’s dealing with a potential issue with anxiety, this conversation might be the last straw for them, where they’re like, ok, now I have a really good reason. Because I’m struggling with this, and you’re speaking exactly to that issue ,whether it’s the treats or the coffee, etc. I’m really glad we brought that up right away, because I think that’s going to hit home for a lot of people.

Trudy Scott: Yes. And they’re so interrelated. We’ll have mood issues, and then we’ll have the related eating that goes with it. We may have low GABA and feel anxious, and we may eat to satisfy that feeling of anxiety to calm us down. Or we may have low serotonin, and in that situation we’re going to have these worry kind of symptoms, and we’re going to also have the afternoon and evening cravings. So, the amazing thing is, when you balance the brain chemistry with these targeted individual amino acids, which I know we’re going to talk about. It helps with the anxiety and the mood problems, and it also switches off the cravings, and the emotional eating.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Trudy Scott: So you’re not having to use willpower.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Trudy Scott: Because, we know we shouldn’t be eating sugar.

Diane Sanfilippo: Willpower is a very small reservoir.

Trudy Scott: Yes, exactly. We’ve got your beautiful books on the Sugar Detox and people are educated, and we know we shouldn’t be doing it. And a lot of us can do it, we can be strong, and we can say we’re not going to do it, and that’s great. But some of us, it’s just too much. And that’s where the amino acids are so powerful.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I love that. So, we have a couple of questions on food, but I do think the amino acids are the next step from this, because the questions are kind of, a gluten free diet didn’t do it, somebody who has cut gluten and sugar but still is having anxiety. We have a couple of questions that are really similar like that, and they were under the impression that those steps would really take them far, and it’s just not doing it. So I think if there’s more that you want to talk about in terms of nutrition, I think that would be great to touch on before we dive into some of the amino acid questions.

Trudy Scott: What you’ve raised is a really good point, because when I think of working with someone, there’s people at different levels. Someone will just make the food changes. They get off junk food, add in real food and have breakfast, and they’ll just feel amazing. Other people need to get rid of the gluten. Others need to get rid of all grains. Some people have an issue with, like a zinc deficiency, and they need to address that. Then there are some people, that’s just not going to be enough, and we’ve got to dig deeper, and we’ve got to address the low serotonin, and the low GABA, and these other factors.

It’s good to do all the foundational work, because obviously real food is the foundation, we need to do that. But if we’re not getting results, then we dig a little bit deeper, and we start looking at these other factors. Now the aminos are incredible, because you get results right away, if you’re going to work. They don’t work for everyone. If it doesn’t work, maybe that’s not the issue, and then you need to dig even further. Maybe you need to look for Candida. Is that causing the sugar cravings and the anxiety? So there are so many different possible causes.

The wonderful thing about the amino acids is, you will get results within 5 minutes, and within a week you’re going to know how well they are working. So you don’t have to take them for months, and months, and months, and say, well I’m not really sure if they worked or not.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. I remember I was taking a combination of a few different supplements. I think it was right when I was finishing working on Practical Paleo, I was probably some of the weeks of the most supplements I ever took because writing that book was just so, so hard on me, emotionally and physically. But I remember taking some, and you’re right. As soon as they hit your system, you’re feeling it. And it was pretty amazing.

I recommend L-glutamine pretty often, which is not an amino acid, but I recommend that pretty often for people who are dealing with sugar cravings. These amino acids, I’m guessing you’re talking about things like tyrosine, and I actually don’t know the full list of what you tend to work with, but they do work very quickly, and I feel like that’s very encouraging for people. Because taking a supplement for someone like me, that does not work to change how I feel pretty quickly, I would just abandon it.

Trudy Scott: Mm-hmm. And that’s why I love them. Because it gives you hope right away. You can come in, and you can have a whole bunch of issues. But on day 1, within that first 15 minutes of your session with your nutritionist or if you’re doing it on your own, doing it right away you get results right away, and right away you feel this hope, I’m feeling better already. You mentioned glutamine, it’s one of my favorite amino acids for sugar cravings.

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, ok. Somehow I was like, wait is that one of the amino acids that you use? I wasn’t positive. But it’s a really good one.

Trudy Scott: It is. It’s great for stopping that strong desire for something sweet. The way I use it is to have someone open it on their tongue.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Trudy Scott: To get that sweet desire. And it will completely take it away, if it’s a low blood sugar symptom, because it’s really good for helping to stabilize the blood sugar and it stops that really strong desire for something sweet. I remember working with a woman who, she said, I’ve just got this demonic urge to eat all things sweet. She would get in the car in the middle of the night and drive somewhere to buy something sweet. And I said to her, try the glutamine. This was one of the first things we had her try, after adding in the breakfast, the healthy breakfast with protein. I said, you might be walking to your car, knowing you’re going to go to the store to buy something sweet. Just put that glutamine in your mouth, and say ok, I’m going to listen to Trudy, I’m going to put it in my mouth. You’ll get in the car, and I promise you you won’t need to go to the store. And it worked every time for her. And then she got in the habit of taking it.

The other thing is, because they work so well, it’s very easy to continue to take them. As you say, you don’t really want to keep taking something if it’s not working. Glutamine is the one; the other two I like for low serotonin are tryptophan and 5-HTP. For low GABA, DPA or D-phenylalanine for low endorphins, and this is when you’ve got the comfort eating, or the reward eating, and then you mentioned tyrosine, that’s the other one.

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. Just to give people a quick reference, I’ve recommended Julia’s books multiple times, the Diet Cure and the Mood Cure, if people are interested in learning more about those specifically, are there any other resources that you recommend or would you point people to those books, as well?

Trudy Scott: Those are great books, absolutely. And of course, I’ve got whole chapters in my book on the amino acids, as well.

Diane Sanfilippo: Perfect.

Trudy Scott: And I’ve got a whole chapter on pyroluria, as well, which is another condition that can cause the anxiety and the social anxiety that I talked about. I’ve actually got pyroluria myself, and then you’ve got this inner tension and you don’t really like being around people. A lot of people who feel like they’re anxious introverts really score high on the pyroluria questionnaire, and we get them on the protocol, and then they don’t feel like they’re so anxious when they’re out networking and socializing.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s a good topic, actually. We have a question here about that, so maybe we’ll do that next, and then I’ll run into some of these other questions, because we have so many good ones.

Trudy Scott: Ok, good.

5. Social anxiety and pyroluria [22:59]

Diane Sanfilippo: So we do have a question about what to do in those situations, obviously I’ll recommend that they get your book and check out some of the protocols and the information, but is there any sort of conversation someone can have with themselves, something that someone can do in a situation, for example, not even necessarily a networking event. Let’s just say, a busy farmers market, for example. And you’re walking around and you want to get up to that tent, but you just can’t get around the crowd, and all of a sudden it causes this mental hermitting. Where you just want to retreat and leave the whole situation. What can people do about that? I think it does sound like it’s the condition you just described, I don’t want to mispronounce it.

I don’t understand how that feels, because I have a very strong ability to kind of bubble myself. {laughs} That’s what I call it, where I create a mental bubble, and I’m ignoring the fact that there’s people bustling around me, or whatever the case may be. But can you talk a little bit about that?

Trudy Scott: Yes. It’s interesting that you say that you create this mental bubble, because {laughs} a lot of people with pyroluria do that. They cover it up and they deal with it, and they put on this brave face. And I don’t know if that’s what you do.

Diane Sanfilippo: No, it doesn’t bother me. I think part of it is also an expectation for me. I don’t know, I expect there to be crowds in places, I expect a networking event to be a little overwhelming and draining over time, over the course of the day. I feel like when I expect it, it’s not stressful. It’s just, this is what’s going to happen. And if there’s a line or a crowd, I’m like, well I don’t have anywhere to be. I think I’m very self preservative. I try not to put myself in a situation where I’m going to be in a huge line and I’m in a hurry, if that makes sense.

Trudy Scott: Right, yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I just think there’s a lot of that going on. I’ve definitely gotten a couple of questions about what to do when people do get in that situation.

Trudy Scott: I would do the pyroluria questionnaire first, and see if you score high. Some of the symptoms are this feeling of inner tension, feeling uncomfortable in crowds, feeling drained after you’ve been around people. One of the unusual symptoms is morning nausea. We talked about having protein at breakfast, and if you are someone who just can’t eat protein first thing in the morning, the thought of having a nice healthy protein breakfast feels nauseating to you, you may have pyroluria. That’s a very common symptom.

The other thing we see with pyroluria is poor dream recall. So you may have nightmares, or you may not remember your dreams, and that’s a sign of low vitamin B6. And the nutrients that helped you address these pyroluria symptoms or the social anxiety are zinc, vitamin B6 and evening primrose oil. So a lot of people will also have hormonal issues, PMS, they may have heavy bleeding, and the zinc, the B6, and the evening primrose oil helps that social anxiety, so when you do go to the farmer’s market, you’re going to feel like a social butterfly, and you’re going to feel great, and you’re going to get energy from all the people around you.

The other thing is those nutrients help with balancing your hormones. The zinc and the B6 are very important cofactors for making all the neurotransmitters. So they’re also going to raise your GABA levels or serotonin levels if those are low, as well. Some of the other things that we see with pyrolurics are lookalike sisters; a lot of girls in the family. And this is all based on the work for Carl Pfeiffer. He worked in the 1970s and the 1980s with people with schizophrenia, and found these clusters of symptoms that were very common with people with this type of social anxiety. It’s quite amazing, within a week of getting on the nutrients, you’ll start to feel more social, you’ll start to feel more comfortable. And it’s a lifelong thing, you do need to be on the supplements forever. If you stop them, the symptoms come back. If you get back on them, the symptoms will go away.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s so interesting. You mentioned evening primrose oil, and I know that’s a common supplement when women are experiencing hormonal imbalances and can have some issues around PMS, and cramping, and things like that. Would this protocol work for men, as well?

Trudy Scott: Usually men need the evening primrose oil as well. And the reason being, people with pyroluria tend to extract omega-3s from the food that they eat, so if you’re eating grass-fed beef, or fish, or leafy greens, or nuts, you’re going to be able to extract omega-2s from those foods, and you don’t need to supplement with omega-3s. But evening primrose oil is a form of omega-6, and often people with pyroluria are low in this form of omega-6.

The evening primrose oil actually also helps to enhance zinc absorption. Because it can be a little tricky at times to get your zinc levels up. I like to start people on a zinc form called zinc monomethionine, which is proprietary name is Optizinc, and then that seems to work pretty well with most people. If it doesn’t, then we need to look at fatty acid levels or maybe have them switch to another form of zinc. But it’s really good for hoping to enhance that zinc absorption.

6. Situational and nighttime sleep anxiety [28:29]

Diane Sanfilippo: So one of the questions we had here was, can one have situational anxiety, work, a person specifically, but not in other areas of their life. It almost sounds a little bit like the pyroluria, but is this the same type of thing that supplementation, when someone just has anxiety in different situations, is that something they would want to be supplementing regularly for, or is that a case.. .I’m curious, are there cases where there are some, I don’t know what I would call it, positive psychology or some type of mental exercises that people can do in those situations versus something that’s very consistent, where they feel like, I should supplement everyday because I encounter this very regularly.

Trudy Scott: Yeah, if you’re encountering it regularly, I would do it every day. If it’s a particular situation, then I would try and avoid that situation. If it’s only when you do this one thing.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Trudy Scott: Because you're putting yourself in this situation.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s the technique I use.

Trudy Scott: {laughs} But if you can’t avoid it, and you have to maybe do these meetings at work, or whatever, then I think getting on this is going to be good. Because when you’re under that strain; we’ve seen so much research now connecting stress and anxiety to increased risks of heart disease and stroke. We just don’t want to be putting ourselves under that pressure. And we want to feel good. We want to just feel great all the time. We shouldn’t have to force ourselves, and not feel good about it. Get on the supplements, if that doesn’t work, look elsewhere. Maybe it’s low GABA, and maybe addressing the low GABA may make a difference. Maybe it’s because you had coffee that day, and you don’t need to have the coffee.

I just wanted to go back to something you had said about the coffee; you said the ritual. There’s a wonderful herbal tea called Rooibos tea. Actually, it’s a south African tea. You’re probably familiar with it, Diane.

Diane Sanfilippo: I haven’t tried it, but I am familiar with it.

Trudy Scott: Yeah, I interviewed a researcher on one of the anxiety summits, and she’s researching Rooibos tea, and found it actually helps with stress and lowers cortisol levels. So adding in some Rooibos tea before you're going to be in one of these situations may actually help, as well. It doesn’t always have to be supplements, but looking to see if it’s a situational thing and then doing something about it.

Going back to the whole coffee thing, carob is a wonderful thick, sort of warming beverage, and it’s actually got high levels of magnesium, which is calming, so maybe a situation like that, have a nice carob drink before you go.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think carob, almost like a cross between coffee and cacao. It doesn’t have quite the chocolate flavor, but it’s pretty similar.

Trudy Scott: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I’ve also seen, I remember as a kid we would have carob covered raisins or something, and then we realized that was the health food version of chocolate covered raisins. It was crazy, but I’ve seen, there’s an herbal coffee blend, as well, that folks can buy over on Etsy. Delicious Obsessions, I think is the name, and it has dandelion root, and I think it has carob and a couple of other herbs in it. You might want to look at that one too. I tried it; it did taste pretty good when I was getting off coffee months ago. This must have been January or even before that was when I got off of the caffeinated coffee, and just moving over to decaf randomly here and there whenever I feel like that ritual. But I was having issues with sleep. Falling asleep was tricky, staying asleep was tricky, waking up unrested all the times. It’s gotten so much better, and that’s just one of the things I did.

We have a bunch of questions about sleep. It’s several women who’ve posted a question that was all very similar about nighttime anxiety. They feel fine all day, but this anxiety turns on at night. Is this something that you’ve seen as a specific issue, or what’s the deal with the whole nighttime, lie down, anxiety situation?

Trudy Scott: Again, it can be many factors, and I’ll touch on a few that it could be. It is very common, so it’s a very common thing, and it’s obviously keeping you awake and it’s having ripple down effects, so you’re feeling awful. So a few things. One of them could definitely be low blood sugar. So starting the day with good protein, and keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the day can make a difference. And glutamine can help; taking it for those sugar cravings, but also taking it to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day. And even taking some just before you go to bed. If you’re waking hungry, that could be a sign of low blood sugar. So that would be one.

The other is low serotonin. Now, serotonin is a calming neurotransmitter, and when you’ve got low serotonin, you’re going to feel anxious, and the afternoon and evening is when symptoms may get worse for some people. So it may be that your serotonin is low, and that’s making you more anxious at night. The other factor could be low GABA levels. This is if you wake in the night and you feel that physical kind of tension. So with low GABA, it’s tense muscles, and you may wake feeling very tight.

I want to go back to serotonin. I should have said with low serotonin, it’s ruminating thoughts in the head. So a lot of my clients say they wake in the night, and they’re just wide awake and they can’t switch the mind off. Busy mind, thinking about everything, worrying about things. Just, go, go, go, make you mad. And that’s a clue that it could be low serotonin. So I would look at doing the low serotonin questionnaire, do the low GABA questionnaire, do the low blood sugar questionnaire. If you score high in those, then you want to definitely look at addressing those at each of the related amino acids. And I can talk about which those are in a second.

The other things that I always think about with nighttime anxiety is high cortisol. If you have high cortisol at night, it’s going to wake you up. You’ve really got to lower that high cortisol, and I like to have my clients do an adrenal saliva test, and we can actually measure cortisol throughout the day and see if it’s high at night. I like a nutrient called seriphos, which is a phosphorylated serine that lowers that high cortisol.

The final area that I think about is parasites. Parasites are very active in the night, and if you’re waking in the night feeling jittery, and you’re just sort of wide awake, you really want to look at the fact that you may have parasites. The other area is hormone imbalances. If this is happening when you’re going through perimenopause, it could be very low progesterone levels. That’s going to make you feel more anxious when your progesterone is low, and it will affect your sleep, as well.

For some women, their progesterone is good and all the other things I’ve talked about is good, but they’ve got low estrogen or the estrogen is starting to go low, so they’ll wake warm. They just sort of, maybe not have a full on hot flash, but they’ll just wake feeling warm, and that can wake you up, disturb your sleep, and then it’s hard to go back to sleep. So it’s a matter of figuring out which one of those it is. It may be all of the above, it may be one or two of the above.

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7. What if the amino acids don’t work [36:50]

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. We have a couple of questions here; can amino acids give you anxiety, can they just not work at all? Is that possible?

Trudy Scott: Absolutely.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Trudy Scott: I had said that they’ll work quickly, and they’ll work if you need them. Just like any nutrient, if you don’t need them, they could possible give you adverse effects. So too much of a good thing is not a good thing. If you have, for example, you think you may need GABA because you score high on the low GABA questionnaire, which is the physical anxiety, the feeling of overwhelm and the stress eating, and you take GABA but it’s not really low GABA, it can actually make you feel more anxious.

Now it may be that you don’t need it; it also may be that it’s too much. So I have people that I call the pixie dust clients, and they just need a very small amount. I’ll have them actually open up the capsule, and just do a dab. And that would be your starting dose. And some people do really well on a very, very small amount. I don’t like it when I hear that someone’s been trying it for a week and they’re having a racing heart, or they’re not feeling good. If you feel bad on day 1, you stop. You don’t continue to do it. With anything, food or supplements.

If you think you need GABA, and you’ve tried it, and it’s giving you these adverse effects, it could be the brand that you’re trying. I’m very, very particular about GABA. For example, I don’t like Phenibut, and I don’t like pharmaGABA. I shouldn’t say I don’t like pharmaGABA, I just find that the regular GABA, or gamma aminobutyric acid seems to work the best. And I do find that with the GABA, a small amount, like 125 mg, is much better than 500 or 750 mg. Some people will go into the health store and pick up 750 mg of GABA, and it’s just way too much. It’s too much for most people.

So figuring out brand, obviously quality, professional grade supplements are important, and then figuring out exactly how much you need for your own unique needs.

8. Amino acids while on SSRIs and benzodiazepines [39:04]

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s awesome. We have a couple of questions here that are touching on pharmaceuticals; people who are taking things like antidepressants, Abilify, things not going well or not working. What’s your experience, as we have a disclaimer for this show, we’re not giving people direct medical advice or treatment, any of that, but just your thoughts on have you had clients who are able to get off of some of their prescription medications? Is it something that they generally do at the same time they start to take amino acids, and talk to their doctor about weaning off of their prescriptions? Is it something where it’s better for them to start one and be cold turkey on the other? How does that generally work, and what have you seen in your experience?

Trudy Scott: To answer your questions about getting off the SSRIs or the other antidepressants, absolutely. You should be able to get off all of them, and I work with people, working with their doctor, obviously, so they can get off their medications if that’s what they want. The recommendation is to not have someone use amino acids if they’re on more than one SSRI. It’s just too much of a possibility of getting serotonin syndrome. And I learned this from Julia Ross. So if someone is on more than one SSRI, or on multiple medications, they’re going to have to work with their doctor to taper off, or work with their nutritionist or work on their own when they’re just doing the one.

You can do tryptophan or 5-HTP with the SSRI, and what I’ll do is have them talk to their doctor about switching the SSRI to the morning, and then doing the tryptophan in the afternoon and evening, because it does need to be 6 hours away from the SSRI. Now, there is a possibility of serotonin syndrome, which is too much serotonin in the system. So the doctor does need to be on board with it, and I’m finding more and more doctors are ok with their patients doing this. And the starting dose for the tryptophan obviously would be 500 mg. I get better results with tryptophan, but some people do better with 5-HTP. So, it’s a matter of trying one versus the other and seeing which one works.

There is another thing when it comes to medication, and that is tyrosine is an amino acid that helps with depression, the negativity, the poor focus and the procrastination type of symptoms. There are some antidepressants that are SRNIs that work on both serotonin and norepinephrine, and you need to watch tyrosine with those SRNI antidepressants.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s good information. I was taking notes, sorry. {laughs}

Trudy Scott: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I thought that was really interesting. I definitely did find that tyrosine, I was on probably some kind of antidepressant or some kind of anti-anxiety medication a long, long time ago, probably more than 10 years ago, when I was dealing with a bad breakup that just kind of crushed me. It was a really, really bad one. I think I was 25 years old. I know that I had that tendency, but in changing my diet, getting my blood sugar regulated, and changing my lifestyle, I haven’t had those issues. But for me, as I was mentioning at the end of working on Practical Paleo, that is the one that, it really did help me kind of get focused and calm down a little, and not have those negative blocking thoughts that would just get in the way of getting things done.

Trudy Scott: Wow.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think I was taking tyrosine, B6, and something else. I don’t know if it was zinc or something else. I can’t remember.

Trudy Scott: Great.

Diane Sanfilippo: It was a combination. I believe we talked about it on an episode with Dan Kalish, or maybe I was listening to an episode he did with Sean Croxton, which I did see you were interviewed by Sean Croxton pretty recently.

Trudy Scott: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: You guys had a good discussion. That’s actually kind of what motivated me to get back in touch with you. I know we had talked a while ago about bringing you on the show, so I’m really glad we did this.

We had a question just to kind of tie up this question about medications and SSRIs, we had one question, does taking an SSRI help you to treat your anxiety in the long run, or does it actually just mask the problem for the time that you're on it.

Trudy Scott: I don’t think it’s getting to the root cause of the issue. So, looking to see if it’s low serotonin or low GABA, I would do that first. If I had a choice, I would do that. And we were just talking about SSRIs, yeah, if someone feels like they need to get on an antidepressant, I say do that. That’s fine. If you’re feeling that desperate that you need to do it, don’t beat yourself up if you are on one and you're thinking, oh my gosh I shouldn’t have done this. It’s easy to work with your doctor and get off the SSRI. Some of them will have bad withdrawal effects, but not as bad as benzodiazepine. So I do draw the line with benzodiazepines, and that’s the Xanax and the Ativan, the Valium. Those are a class of drugs that I don’t think that anyone should ever be on.

If you’re listening and you are on those, just be aware that they can be addicting, and they can be very difficult to withdrawal from. If you are thinking about getting off your benzodiazepines, you’ve got to go really, really, really, really, really slow, and work with someone that can help you. It’s just a really bad class of drugs, and I just wish more people knew about the food and the nutrients so they don’t have to resort to using benzodiazepines.

Diane Sanfilippo: Good information. I’m with you, I think sometimes, especially in our community when people are struggling, and they feel very anti-pharmaceutical, anti-medication, we’ve had this issue with people who need to be on thyroid hormone and they don’t want a prescription, they don’t want to take “drugs”, and when it comes to thyroid hormone we always remind people that’s not the same as most prescriptions, it’s something that your body should be making and doesn’t.

In the case of the antidepressants, it’s a very, very, very serious issue if you’re dealing with depression, or if you’re dealing with anxiety and you need a bridge. You need something to help you dig out of that hole. If you don’t have a practitioner to help you work on this, or you don’t have the time it might take to just start to figure out the therapy that’s going to be right for you with amino acids, nutrition, and all of that. I definitely wouldn’t tell someone, avoid all of the medications at all cost, if that’s a matter of your daily health, and just getting through the day, and feeling ok for a while. I think that can be a way to hear what we’re saying about alternatives, and get yourself there over a shorter period of time than you would have if you didn’t know these other options exist.

Trudy Scott: Right.

Diane Sanfilippo: We don’t ever like to beat anyone up for that stuff, or tell them that it was a bad thing, as you said. I think that’s just a really good point. So for anybody listening, this is just information to help you make that next step and thoughtfully consider what’s coming into your body, and what you might be able to do that’s different. I think this information is just so helpful.

You were mentioning a few times about the self quizzes to figure out which amino acids people might need; is that all in the Anti-anxiety Food Solution, in your book?

Trudy Scott: Yes it is, and then there are blog posts on my blog with the questionnaires as well, and I can give you access to those if you want to share those.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, that’d be great. We’ll put links to that in the show notes. So if you’re listening and you’re wanting to take those quizzes, we’ll put links to it right from the BalancedBites.com blog post that we put up every week with the episode. If you aren’t aware, we have an episode post every week and also there’s a full transcript. So if you’re listening and you’re like, what did they say, I have to listen back? Or you’re just better at reading it. It is sometimes awkward to read a transcript, because speaking and the language that we use when we speak is sometimes not quite as polished as it would be, and succinct as it would be, if we were just writing it. But just know that it’s there. I want everyone to be aware. If you’re driving, you don’t need to pull over and write down everything that’s Trudy is saying; you will have access to all of that in the transcript. {laughs}

Trudy Scott: {laughs} Good.

Diane Sanfilippo: So fantastic.

Trudy Scott: Diane can I just add something here.

Diane Sanfilippo: Of course.

Trudy Scott: Because I know there’s a lot of people who are on SSRIs, and are probably thinking, “oh my gosh, I can’t do any of this”. If you are on an SSRI, you can use GABA, there’s no issue with that. If you’ve got the physical anxiety, GABA is absolutely fine to use at the same time, or during the same day. You can use the glutamine, and then there is another amino acid which we haven’t talked about, and that’s the DPA, the D-phenylalanine, and that helps with mood issues, as well. It helps with that sort of comfort, reward eating. So those would be fine to use while you are taking an SSRI.

9. Children and teenagers with anxiety [48:13]

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. We have a couple of questions about ways to help children with anxiety, and even some about helping teenagers. Is there some advice you can give on that, just ways to help parents deal with that or things they can do?

Trudy Scott: Everything that applies to adults applies to the kids, as well. I’ve had a lot of kids with the pyroluria get on the pyroluria protocol, obviously on lower doses of the zinc and the B6 and the evening primrose oil and do incredibly well. Tryptophan would be my first choice for someone who may have low serotonin before I’d use 5-HTP. It’s just better tolerated by kids. There is a chewable tryptophan that is 100 mg, it doesn’t taste too bad, and that’s what I’ll use with kids. And then looking at other deficiencies.

The wonderful thing with kids and they respond pretty quickly. I’ll have kids see huge improvements within a week or two, often. I remember one child that I worked with had really, really bad anxiety, really bad depression, couldn’t sleep, huge rage and anger issues. They didn’t have much money to spend on supplements, so I had to really figure out what was going to be the main things. It turned out gluten was a problem, she wasn’t getting enough protein, and not keeping her blood sugar stable. We got her on tryptophan, and we looked at her blood work and she was totally anemic. So we got her on an iron supplement. And just those things made a dramatic improvement in this kid’s life.

So it may be simple, may be a little bit more involved, but just going through the same process of trying to figure out what the contributing factors are, and then dealing with it.

10. Loss of appetite, toxic burden, alcohol, and marijuana [50:09]

Diane Sanfilippo: So for some people who are dealing with anxiety that might cause issues around, instead of cravings and binge eating, kind of the opposite where they kind of are tending maybe towards anorexia or just not eating enough in general, totally under eating, don’t have an appetite, or it’s either the battle with the self image/body image/mental health side, or just the appetite itself. Which supplements, which amino acids will that be affected by the most, and what can people look for there?

Trudy Scott: Low serotonin is directly related to low self esteem. So if you just feel, no matter what you do, no matter what you look like, you’re just useless and you hate yourself, I would definitely look at low serotonin. When I think about someone not eating or not having any appetite, I think zinc. And a lot of people with an anorexia diagnosis are actually totally zinc deficient, and when you get their zinc levels up, they’ll start to eat. So I would look at that. And if you’ve got the anxiety as well, maybe it’s pyroluria. So maybe addressing that is going to deal with the anxiety, the social anxiety, and this low appetite.

Diane Sanfilippo: We had another question here, and I’m wondering if you could talk about this one. How a toxic burden on the body creates anxiety and mood issues. So something like mold or natural gas, or any kind of other exposure. And my friend Hayley says hi. {laughs}

Trudy Scott: {laughing} HI Hayley.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Trudy Scott: Yes. That can definitely be a factor. As I said, it might be low serotonin or low GABA, but maybe your serotonin is being depleted because you’ve been exposed to some kind of toxin. Heavy metals, mold; all of those can affect your unity, they can deplete your nutrients, some of these key nutrients that we’re talking about, and can cause anxiety. So if you’re not getting results with the food changes, and you’ve tried the aminos and you’re not getting the results that you would expect, that’s when you’ve got to dig a little bit deeper.

Diane Sanfilippo: So what about alcohol? How does alcohol impact any of these issues around anxiety?

Trudy Scott: Well, we self medicate with alcohol like we do with caffeine and sugar. We use it to feel good. We might use it to socialize. I actually had a conference this weekend, and talking to a guy on the bus going back to the airport, and he said he’s an introvert and he’s got social anxiety, but when he drinks he feels great. {laughs} He can socialize.

The problem is alcohol is depleting us of nutrients. It depletes us of vitamin C, which is very calming. It can damage the gut, which is then going to cause other malabsorption issues, and if you are gluten intolerant and you’re drinking beer, that’s just another whole can of worms that it’s causing.

So if you’re drinking to excess to try and self medicate, then addressing the neurotransmitter imbalance will take away that need to drink. And we can crave sugar, we can crave alcohol, we can crave tobacco, we can be shopaholics, we can have any of these addictive tendencies.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I think that one’s mine.

Trudy Scott: {laughs} What was that?

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that shopaholic one is mine.

Trudy Scott: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Not really, but hey, I’m from New Jersey, and sometimes the mall, retail therapy.

Trudy Scott: Yeah. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: So we had a question, what are your thoughts on marijuana for anxiety?

Trudy Scott: I’m not a fan of it. I think that people who say that they’ve tried everything and marijuana is the only thing that works, I think they haven’t tried the amino acids. So I would say give the amino acids a try first. I just feel like it’s a gateway drug, and can lead to more issues. I would recommend trying some of these other things that we talked about first.

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. What else do you want to tell people, because we’re coming up on just about the end of this episode. It’s been great. I feel like people are going to get a ton of really useful information, and I know they’re going to find your book really helpful, the Anti-anxiety Food Solution. I know you have the summit that’s kicking off right now, so what do you want to leave folks with?

Trudy Scott: I just would like to say that there is an answer out there, that you deserve to feel your absolute best, and it’s a matter of putting the puzzle pieces together and looking at all these options and trying them out. Give the amino acids a try; you get results right away. When I’m working with someone either over the phone or in the office, I have them do the questionnaire, rate their symptoms on a scale of 1-10, and try an amino acid there and then in the office. Opened up, onto their tongue. And within 5 minutes, you should be able to say, well my anxiety when from an 8 or a 9 down to a 5. Then you know you’re onto something good.

If that doesn’t work, then you try another one, and if that doesn’t work, then you’ve got to look a little bit deeper. The good thing is, the amino acids will often give you results, so you’re getting those benefits, you’re getting better, you’re feeling hopeful, and you’ve often still got to dig further and look at some of the underlying factors, like some of the toxins and some of the other things that we talked about.

Giving those amino acids a try, and then obviously keeping our blood sugar levels stable, that’s really, really important. And you know, this is my third season of the anxiety summit, and someone actually said to me the other day, “didn’t you do an anxiety summit last year? Why are you doing one again?”

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Trudy Scott: Well, it’s different speakers, different topics. I’ve identified 65 different possible causes of anxiety. I’m actually going to be talking about them on this summit, and each time I invite someone to speak, we are addressing a different area that could be related to one of the causes of your anxiety. And when someone’s got anxiety and they hear this, 65 different possible causes.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Trudy Scott: It might make them feel more anxious, but to me, I want them to feel empowered. Wow, I’ve tried these 5 things, I didn’t get results. Maybe I’ll get a result when I try this one, or this one, or this one. And it can be tricky. Sometimes you’ve got to work with someone to help you navigate all of this. But there is an answer out there, there really is, it’s just a matter of finding it.

Diane Sanfilippo: We have a brand new sponsor who I’m super excited about. Joining us this month is Tin Star Foods Ghee. As any of you who have been following me on social media know, I’m a huge fan of the product. I don’t generally talk a lot about products that I’m not a big fan of, so I wanted to invite Tin Star to come on and be a sponsor. I’m really excited to introduce those of you who haven’t heard of it yet to this ghee.

For those of you who aren’t sure what ghee is, it’s clarified butter, so if you’re sensitive to dairy proteins, it’s a really good option. For people who are highly, highly allergic, it maybe for you, it maybe not. I know that Tin Star Ghee is certified as casein free as well as lactose free, but there are some folks who will always be sensitive. So if you’re a little bit borderline and you feel like you can handle a tiny bit, which that’s where I am at, I would definitely recommend it. I definitely don’t do well with butter, and the Tin Star Ghee is fantastic for me. Ghee has been clarified, so the dairy proteins are gone, and I have no problems with it whatsoever. It tastes fantastic, and it’s a very healthy cooking fat. It’s my number one go-to choice for cooking.

So if you’re looking for an alternative to something like coconut oil or other animal fats that have different types of flavors, ghee is a fantastic choice. I just used it this morning to scramble my eggs, and it’s one that I highly recommend. The flavor and texture of Tin Star Foods ghee is fantastic. I absolutely love Hima, who is the owner of the company. She’s is just a really hard working gal getting her company off the ground, and I love supporting her. So I’m excited to have them join us as a sponsor, so welcome Tin Star Foods Ghee.

You can save 15% off any ghee in your order from http://www.primalfoodpantry.com/, that’s the website. So anything that you add to the cart that is a ghee product, she’ll get 15% off for you there. The code is BALANCEDBITES, so check them out. http://www.primalfoodpantry.com/

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that, I think that’s awesome. And in a world where medical doctors aren’t always helping people find those solutions, and even a naturopath, sometimes it’s cost prohibitive or people need to give it a long time and need to hear, perhaps they’re working with someone already and they hear something on an interview that they’re like, oh I can ask my naturopath about it, or practitioner, or that’s something that we already tried. I just feel like any ideas that people can get about what might help them, the more the better. So that’s great.
The anxiety summit is coming, it’s starting; what day does it start? Does it start on Friday of this week?

Trudy Scott: It runs May 6th to May the 20th.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, so it will actually have started yesterday if you’re listening to this episode live. We’ll link to it right from the Balanced Bites podcast blog post that I mentioned before. So hop over to BalancedBites.com, this is episode 190, and we’ll have a link right over to that. You can check out all of the interviews over there, and that will be a really great way to get more information. Also, of course, the Anti-anxiety Food Solution, you can check that out wherever books are sold. Amazon.com I’m sure is a great place to grab it.

That’s it. Don’t forget, you can find me, Diane, over at http://balancedbites.com/, and as always you can find Liz at http://realfoodliz.com/, Don’t forget to join our email lists for free goodies and updates you don’t find anywhere else on our websites or even on this podcast. We’ll catch you next week, thanks so much for listening.

Comments 5

  1. Excellent! I tried tyrosine once and it was TERRIBLE for me (within 5 minutes like you stated!) I felt really sick, disoriented, incredibly anxious, shakey. I managed to drive the 6 miles to work, but by the time I got there I was in tears and locked myself in the bathroom trying to calm down. I told my boss I had “bad fish” for breakfast & I was sent home due to my state. I have hypothyroid so I thought it’d help me; no thanks! Any thoughts as to why this happened?

    Also, I’ve been having 1-2 panic attacks for the past 3 months about one week before every period. They are absolutely a scary experience, especially the first time. Although I’m only 24, I do believe that progesterone cream is helping me feel more “normal” than I have and has reduced the frequency and intensity of the attacks (none yet this month after upping the dose a bit!) It’s amazing how much balancing our hormones and nutrients can really set the stage for our brain functioning.

  2. I’m beyond excited for this pocast. I’m approaching 50 and horrible panic that was gone (thanks to benzos and SSRIs ) for 20 years is resurfacing. It’s like this was done just for me. So many new thinks to explain. Thank you both!!

  3. Thank you so much for this podcast. I am 66 and have been on an SRNI for 12 years and SSRI’s and Xanax before that as a result of a total hysterectomy at age 50 which threw my body into ‘crazy land’. My psychiatrist said I would be on these for life. I always hoped there would be another solution out there. I listened to the podcast and then read every word of the transcript and am going to find a nutritionist or someone to help me with this process. I am so thankful for the research and information that Trudy Scott shared in this interview. In January I started eating grain free and sugar free so I guess that was a step in the right direction.

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