All About Autoimmune Disease & Wellness with Mickey Trescott & Angie Alt - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites

Podcast Episode #268: All About Autoimmune Disease & Wellness with Mickey Trescott & Angie Alt

Diane Sanfilippo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), Featured, Podcast Episodes 2 Comments

TopicsAll About Autoimmune Disease & Wellness with Mickey Trescott & Angie Alt - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites

1. Introducing our guests, Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt [2:16]
2. Introduction to The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook [16:50]
3. The 7 key steps on the autoimmune path [20:09]
4. Trust your intuition [28:45]
5. Eyes on your own journey [32:17]
6. Exercise and autoimmunity [38:39]
7. Enjoyment activities [42:16]
8. Working on the project [49:04]
9. Mickey and Angie’s favorite parts of the book [52:37]

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All About Autoimmune Disease & Wellness with Mickey Trescott & Angie Alt - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites All About Autoimmune Disease & Wellness with Mickey Trescott & Angie Alt - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 268.

Liz Wolfe: Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. I’m Liz; a nutritional therapy practitioner, and author of the Wall Street Journal best-seller Eat the Yolks; The Purely Primal Skincare Guide; and the online program Baby Making and Beyond. I live on a farm in the mystical land of the Midwest, outside of Kansas City, and I loved crisp fall days and Moscow mules.

My usual podcast partner, Diane, is a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo and The 21-Day Sugar Detox. She lives in San Francisco with my husband and fur kids; and since she’s not here, I’ll put words in her mouth and say she loves the Twilight series and babysitting.

Diane and I are the co-creators of the Balanced Bites Master Class, and we’ve been bringing you this award winning podcast for 5 years and counting. We’re here to share our take on modern paleo living, answer your questions, and like this week, chat with leading health and wellness experts. Today I’m interviewing Angie Alt and Mickey Trescott of http://autoimmune-paleo.com and the new Autoimmune Wellness Handbook, coming out November 1. Enjoy this week’s episode, and submit your questions at http://balancedbites.com. Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Before we get started, let’s hear from one of our sponsors.

Liz Wolfe: Today’s podcast is sponsored by Vital Choice Seafood and Organics, where a healthy diet is a vital choice. Purveyors of wild fish, shellfish, grass-fed beef and bison; Vital Choice offers premium quality, sustainably sourced foods that are wildly delicious and delivered to your door. With minimal prep from freezer to table, it’s easy to get delicious protein like wild Alaskan salmon (my favorite) and Wagyu beef into your paleo menu rotation. Vital Choice also has a wide array of ready to eat canned seafood along with satisfying snacks like organic dark chocolates, super antioxidant trail mix, and bison jerky. As the days get shorter and the grilling season cools down, www.vitalchoice.com is your choice for premium seafood and organics.

1. Introducing our guests, Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt [2:16]

Liz Wolfe: My guests today, I’m super excited about; very, very happy to welcome Mickey Trescott, who is a nutritional therapy practitioner, and Angie Alt, who is a nutritional therapy consultant, and a CHC, which Angie, tell me what that is again?

Angie Alt: Certified Health Coach.

Liz Wolfe: I didn’t have it right in front of me, and that’s awful. I was telling you all before we started recording that my brain is just one of those days with a toddler whereby about 8:30 in the morning you’re just done. So I hope I can do this amazing book justice and do our interview as well as I had planned to do, because I’m really, really excited about your new project, your new book, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook. Congratulations, you guys. This book is beautiful. It’s also a joy to read. Just beautifully written. Really just kind of connects emotionally with your readers from the get-go. I don’t struggle with autoimmune illness but I was still just so pulled into your stories, and the way you’re presenting the information. So major props in how you all have put this together.

Angie Alt: Aww, thanks so much.

Liz Wolfe: Absolutely.

Angie Alt: That’s a huge compliment to hear that somebody without autoimmune disease is still connecting to it. That means a lot to us.

Liz Wolfe: Yes, absolutely. It really inspired me to; I don’t know. I want to understand this a little bit better, and I think we’ve learned so much over the last few years about not just the really high level specifics of autoimmune illness in the holistic wellness community, but also the fact that we have to continue to remember the foundations. The big picture of how we can manage health overall in daily life, and I think that you all have hit on that really beautifully with your 7 key steps that we’ll talk about, as well during this interview.

So it’s really pulled me in, and I’m wanting to understand this better in the context of autoimmune illness; but also, a lot of these things apply to anyone that’s just having those deep health struggles that need some; it’s not a protocol that you all have created, it’s lifestyle touchstones, really. So anyway, I’m rambling.

But what I’d like to do first before we dig in and before I read this first beautiful paragraph of the introduction to get people familiar with what this book is about, I’d love for you all to introduce yourselves and give our listeners a brief introduction to your background, how you’ve worked with people, and why you wrote this book. Should we start with Mickey?

Mickey Trescott: Sure. So, I’m Mickey Trescott. I live over here in Oregon. I’m a little bit of a fellow kind of homesteader like Liz. I think you’re a real homesteader.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} I wouldn’t say that at this point. {laughs}

Mickey Trescott: I basically make my mom do the homesteading and then I count it as mine. But I’m living out here in the country, and I really started out, it’s a very long story that I won’t bore you guys, but I got diagnosed with both Hashimoto’s and Celiac disease after a year of struggling with my health when I was 26 years old. And since I was so young, when I started experiencing symptoms like numb fingers, and my hair falling out, and not being able to sleep, I just kind of went, “Well, I guess that’s what happens when you get older, right?” No. {laughs} It’s not what happens when you get older.

So I started going to the doctor; you know, 6 doctors later I had wised up that I was probably suffering from a thyroid problem despite the fact that I had gone from doctor to doctor asking for thyroid labs, and them telling me, “Well your TSH is normal, we’re not going to do any more testing, you’re fine, here’s an antidepressant.” And by the time I landed on the naturopath, who was savvy enough to test me for a bunch of other antibodies like Celiac, I was pretty sure that I had some sort of thyroid thing, so I was not surprised to find that I had Hashimoto’s and Celiac.

But then when this doctor also said, “You don’t have labs that are bad enough to actually treat your thyroid problem. So just go on a gluten-free diet, and you’ll be fine.” And I wasn’t fine. I got super, super sick. I cover that a little bit in the book, but basically I had a health crisis that made me really shake the foundation of what I thought was healthy, what I thought was right. To eat; the way to live; I mean, my whole world just changed.

I had been vegan for 10 years, and somehow I ended up going down the route of paleo, Weston A. Price, then I ended up on the autoimmune protocol when I really had this experience that food was the thing that started to help me turn that corner. At the time I was extremely sick; I wasn’t working, I had incredible fatigue, I had really bad neurological problems. I just could not function in society at all; I couldn’t even function in the home and unload the dishwasher. My poor husband.

So I had this experience that food really changed everything for me. In that moment it was like the light at the end of the tunnel. And I had this experience, being vegan for 10 years, and really kind of buying into that dogmatic approach, and I didn’t want to do that again. So I enrolled in the Nutritional Therapy Associations program for the nutritional therapy practitioner. I had previously worked as a personal chef, so I thought I would love to learn more about nutrition so that I can help other people with the food part of their healing journeys.

I didn’t really know how it would all play out with the blog, and the books, and you know, kind of the rest is history. But at that moment, I just had that experience, but I didn’t want to then say; “Oh yeah, everyone, I know what I’m doing.” I really wanted to educate myself and be a piece to maybe help people avoid that terrible situation that I was in, which was kind of clouded by a lot of misinformation from my medical team; really, them being like, “Oh yeah, what you’re experiencing has nothing to do with a vegan diet.” It’s like, you know, B12 deficiency, iron deficiency, vitamin D deficiency; that was manifesting in a terrible, terrible way in my health, and no one gave me that education.

So I guess that’s probably a little bit longer than you wanted for this kind of story, but you know, through that Angie and I connected and the writing of this book was just basically that; our experience. Putting that into words what we wish we knew back then, you know?

Liz Wolfe: Perfect. That was not too long, that was lovely. And one of the things I’ve heard in time and time again in referring people to your work; I’ve heard the feedback that they really connect with your personal story. And your story is many other people’s stories. Adopting a restrictive diet, in your case, veganism, and things getting worse. And I think with this book what you’ve really done is, first, connected with your audience so that they feel; this sounds really nerdy, but so they feel safe and understood. Because that’s one of those things that you say time and again in this book, people feeling demeaned and not understood by their healthcare professionals. And what you really need to feel confident moving forward in a journey like this, especially when you’re not really bolstered by a whole lot of faith in the mainstream medical community is that you need to connect with someone that’s been there and that’s working through it. So I love it; I love the personal stories. And Angie, I would love to hear some details from you, as well.

Angie Alt: Yeah, so I have, in many ways, a very similar story to Mickey. I have 3 autoimmune diseases. I have celiac disease, endometriosis, and lichen sclerosis. The first symptoms of those diseases popped up a few months after I gave birth to my daughter in my early 20s. So, you now 75% of those affected by autoimmune disease are women, and a big reason for that is hormonal fluctuations. We have a way different hormonal system than men, so as happens to many women, my first inkling that this was going to be something started after she was born.

But diagnosis is really notoriously difficult in the autoimmune community, and my story kind of represents the far end of that. So I did get a diagnosis for lichen sclerosus quite early, but my other two diseases kind of went on untreated despite so many attempts to get help for a very long time. Finally when we were; I was in my early 30s, and we were living overseas in West Africa for my husband’s job in international development, I started to get really sick. And in an environment with such limited access to health care anyway, and such baffling symptoms and seemingly disconnected things happening to me, it resulted in three very stressful medical evacuations.

Finally after the third on, I just said to my husband; you know, I have to go home. I have to go back to the US, and I just have to figure out what is wrong. There is something wrong with me, and I need help. So I came back to the United States and I just started seeing doctor after doctor; and like Mickey, a lot of them told me that I was just stressed or depressed, that I was an anxious person and I should consider antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. Finally I saw a doctor who agreed to refer me to a GI specialist, and she recognized the signs and tested me for Celiac antibodies and then confirmed with an endoscopy and biopsy. And that was 11 years after my first symptoms of Celiac disease.

So I was very malnourished by that point; my small intestine was very damaged, and I didn’t get better on a simple gluten-free diet. At that kind of really debilitated point, just kind of the straightforward, standard gluten-free diet was not enough for me. And so I started looking for more answers, because I was getting sicker despite having a diagnosis and having a way to approach the disease. And I came across Robb’s book, The Paleo Solution, and started reading about paleo and within that same week, I found Sarah Ballantyne’s first kind of little bits of research about the autoimmune protocol. And I was like; oh yeah, that’s me. I’m one of those people. And within 3 days, kind of the worst of the mental and emotional stuff that I had been going through; which a lot of people don’t realize has so much to do with our nourishment. If we don’t have the right nutrients, that’s not stable either. But within 3 days, the anxiety was gone, the depression started lifting, and I just could tell that whatever I was doing was right. Like Mickey, I changed every aspect of my life to direct other people with autoimmune disease, including my career. And here I am.

Liz Wolfe: Here you are! One of the things that I continue to hear in one form or another is, not necessarily a trigger, but you start things like; so pregnancy, or a restrictive diet, or extreme stress, can all unmask, or I guess worsen, autoimmune conditions via the depletion that they cause. And that’s not to say that everyone is going to end up with an autoimmune condition that goes through pregnancy, a vegan diet, or stress; but it’s that matter of a lot of us are just flying by the seat of our pants with the diet’s that we’re following, or maybe we haven’t discovered paleo or a real food plan, or we’re doing something more restrictive, and then we end up just at that tipping point where we’re not getting the B12 that we need, or we’re not getting something that our body needs just to maintain that normal and to keep us from really going over the ledge.

Angie, I hear from you that pregnancy maybe really unmasked a level of depletion that was maybe propping you up over time, would you agree with that?

Angie Alt: Yeah, for sure. You know, if I think about my late teens and my very early 20s right before I got pregnant with my daughter, I think there was already some kind of small, very quiet, background noise indications that something, you know, might be up, but I think pregnancy and all the changes that go along with it certainly uncovered it. And then, you know, I kind of came to my lowest point and went into the most severe flare of my life when we living overseas because I had to receive multiple very serious vaccinations to go live in West Africa; that’s a load on the body. Not that I’m anti-vaccine, it’s quite appropriate for that setting, but that was a big load on my body. The stress of living in a culture that was so, so different from our own, in a really undeveloped place, and the exposure to all the new bacteria and bugs and all that stuff. It’s not surprising to me, at all, that it kind of came to a head.

Liz Wolfe: So, from there you end up feeling like kind of a medical mystery, and from there you can kind of either accept what doctors are telling you, which is, “Take this antidepressant, you’re fine.” Or, go on long-term steroids and let’s cross our fingers. Or, you don’t accept that, you keep digging, and you find something like the autoimmune protocol. You find something like the paleo diet, and then you write a book, and you change thousands upon thousands of lives; is that how it works? {laughs}

Angie Alt: {laughs} We hope so.

2. Introduction to The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook [16:50]

Liz Wolfe: Good summary. Yeah, absolutely. Ok, so what I want to do now is read the introduction from your book. The introduction is what prompts me to read more or just to kind of shrug something off, and I was completely captivated by your introduction. So I hope it’s ok if I read it to the folks listening. I’m going to do it anyway, so don’t need your permission.

Angie Alt: {laughs} Go for it.

Liz Wolfe: Introduction to The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook.

“Most people’s autoimmune stories start the same way, with a trickle of strange, seemingly disconnected symptoms – things like increasing fatigue, joint pain, or more frequent headaches. In time, the trickle becomes a steady stream that exists as background noise in our daily lives. After repeated and desperate attempts to explain the symptoms to dismissive doctors, most of us resolve to silently suffer. Later, the steady stream becomes an undeniable flood, and with it comes the sensation that you are drowning in an unnamed illness. At this late stage, doctors may finally have a diagnosis, but follow-up, if it is even offered, consists of limited treatment options with disabling side effects. Feeling hopeless and demoralized is standard for those with autoimmune disease, and it’s is probably why you have this book in your ands right now. If you follow the conventional approach, living well with autoimmune disease is rarely achievable.”

I mean! Seriously! You guys pulled me in with that. So what you're doing here is; I feel like giving people a really broad view of the different lifestyle components that need to go in to dealing with autoimmune disease, and it’s not just food. It’s not just medication, it’s not just any one thing. But of course, you all are using food, or have in the past food has kind of been that gateway of bringing people in. because number one, I think it helps people so quickly. Angie, I think you were saying that you saw such quick change when you changed your food, or was that you, Mickey?

Angie Alt: No it was me.

Mickey Trescott: That was definitely Angie.

Liz Wolfe: Ok.

Angie Alt: Yeah, Mickey, I think; you know, I was definitely very malnourished by the time I adopted the autoimmune protocol, but I don’t know if I was in quite the same depleted state that Mickey was in from the veganism, so I think it took her a little longer to see results. But yeah, for me 72 hours; I was like, oh, this is; something is working.

Liz Wolfe: Amazing. And it can be so powerful, and food is also that very straightforward tool. I mean, everybody understands eating, and you can tell people; here, try this, eat these things, and you will hopefully start to see progress. So in that way it’s a very concrete thing for people, and it’s also a way that people are used to tackling their issues with. So people aren’t used to hearing; inform, breathe, move, collaborate. All of those things. But they’re used to seeing the advice to make these dietary switches and observe your results. So it’s a good entry point for people, but it definitely doesn’t end there as you all have discovered in your personal experiences and in your practice.

3. The 7 key steps on the autoimmune path [20:09]

Liz Wolfe: So, let’s talk about what you call the 7 key steps on the autoimmune path. And first, let’s talk about the step to inform. What does that exactly mean and why do you care?

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, so inform. We put that as the first step in the journey, because it’s really hard to go anywhere unless you really kind of know where you're at. And I know that’s kind of a cliché, but with autoimmune disease, there’s so much mystery, I think, for people especially because the awareness out there in our general culture is so low proportionate to how many people we have suffering with autoimmune disease. It’s estimated that something like 55 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease, and when you compare that to 10 million people that have cancer, 8 million that have heart disease, and the type of awareness that comes with those health problems is so much different. And so we have, you know, all of these coping mechanisms, we have this community support, we have these organizations that are driving awareness for certain conditions, but for autoimmune disease, it’s just so broad, it’s so blanket. I think it’s really hard for people to really understand what to do when a loved one is diagnosed, or even what to do when they’re diagnosed. How to learn about it, where to reach out. And then that combined with the medical system, which you know is terribly broken and full of misinformation and doctors that are practicing on studies that are decades old and kind of spreading misinformation, and really having a category of diseases that doesn’t have a lot of treatment; it’s just the deck is stacked against us.

So, what we propose in our book is that informing yourself as the patient is the foundation for everything that you’re going to do. So if you have a thyroid disease, you need to learn your lab tests. You need to learn how you're going to be checking up. Basically, how to organize that information. Because of course, you're going to go to the doctor, you need your doctor. We’re totally pro-conventional medicine when it’s appropriate, by the way we’re not anti-doctor. But you as a patient can use that information that you get from your doctor so much more effectively if you’re at a higher level with information.

So, as a thyroid patient, if you know all the labs, if you know how the thyroid physiology works, the basics, you can go in and you can get more out of that 15 minutes or 20 minutes that you’re going to get with your doctor, instead of being at a very basic level where the doctor is just going to be like, “Oh, your labs are great, your medication must be good. It doesn’t matter that you don’t feel great; see you later.” You know? If you come in with some questions, like, “Actually, doc, it kind of looks like my T3 is a little low. Can we do something about that?” Or whatever, you're going to get better treatment. So that’s kind of why we start with inform as the foundation to kind of empower the whole process.

Liz Wolfe: Ok so I’ll go off script here, and let’s talk quickly about the whole treatment of the Doctor Google syndrome as it affects doctors themselves, and I’m talking about the very dismissive and just irritable attitude that I’ve found a lot of doctor’s take against patients that come in armed with information that they didn’t get directly from said doctor. So how exactly do you broach this subject with your doctor, with your healthcare practitioner? How do you make it understood that you refuse to be dismissed or that you need something more? Do you have a script for that, how did you manage that?

Angie Alt: I don’t know that we have a specific script or a specific way to manage it, but from my perspective, this is Angie; from my perspective, it was probably in the beginning a little bit of trial and error with doctors, looking for those who had a collaborative mindset. You know, Mickey says often that she doesn’t encourage her clients to look for doctors with certain kinds of credentials or certain kinds of backgrounds, but rather look for those that have the most collaborative spirit. Who are most open to working with a patient who is well informed and educated?

And you know, in some cases I’ve kind of approached it with my doctor by saying, “Listen, I know you only have 15 minutes and you’re just as much a victim of this broken system as I am. So I’m here, I’m educated, and I’m going to help us get the most out of this 15 minutes.” If you can be an empowered patient…

Liz Wolfe: Kind of love that, by the way. {laughs}

Angie Alt: Yeah! If you can be an empowered patient, that’s going to change everything, and it takes pressure off them too.

Liz Wolfe: Absolutely, and you’re right. You both are victims of a broken system in a lot of cases, so I love that.

Mickey Trescott: I would say too, Liz, it goes both ways with how respectful you are of the information that your doctor gives you. So with a lot of these Google types, they’ll go in with information, and when the doctors tells them something they don’t want to hear, they get a little bit upset and maybe aggressive. I think if you go into any medical appointment or non-medical appointment or any kind of alternative healing; changing your diet, changing your sleep, anything, you have to go into that with an open mind, and you have to understand that you, like the buck stops with you. You are the one that gets to make any decision. No doctor has authority over your body, do you know what I mean?

Liz Wolfe: Yes.

Mickey Trescott: So that person is there to give you information, and whether or not that’s not the information you want, it’s just information. And if you need to fire them and move on to someone else, get another opinion, we’re all just kind of collecting information from the world from our bodies, from our practitioners, and we’re sorting that and kind of figuring out what is best supportive of our healing process, if that makes sense.

Liz Wolfe: It does. Absolutely. I think; this is Liz again. I think that one of my biggest challenges has been softening my heart to the professions that I have worked with. You can probably hear the edge in my voice when I talk about how irritated I get with doctors, particularly who just post these types of things on Facebook and say disparaging things about clients that have come in with their “Dr. Google” and think they know better than this doctor or that doctor. Obviously, I’ve had that experience once or twice, and I hate the fact that there are doctors out there that are just basically making fun of patients for trying to take control of their own health. But; I do need to soften my heart in these circumstances and approach these professionals with respect, because they have been very extensively educated. And I can see how entering the interaction with a collaborative spirit and the willingness to hear what they have to say would definitely open the lines to two-way communication much more effectively than coming in, just expecting to be dismissed. So, very, very, very well taken, your points on that.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, and you never know how your interaction with them is going to change something. So, Angie recently had an experience where she’s actually running a study right now with IBD patients with a doctor in San Diego connected to Scripps University because that doctor had one patient that came into her and said, hey I’m using the autoimmune protocol, and she said ok cool. And then his next checkup all his labs were amazing, his colonoscopy showed no inflammation, and she was like, hey where can I find out more information about this because you just made a turnaround that’s kind of like a miracle. And she contacted us and that’s how she got in touch with Angie, and is actually studying dietary changes to influence people with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. So you never know, even if your doctor is super skeptical at the beginning, if you just kind of keep talking to them and keep that conversation open, the ones that are savvy and are like; hey, wait a minute, this person made an incredible turnaround, maybe I’ll be interested about what they’re doing. That down the line could impact hundreds and thousands of people based on if they change their practices; telling people about diet and lifestyle stuff, you know?

4. Trust your intuition [28:45]

Liz Wolfe: Yes. Such a good point. Alright, so let’s talk a little bit about one of the first; I don’t know what this would be. It’s part of the manifesto that you all give at the beginning of the book, and number one on this list is to trust your intuition. And that can be really hard, especially if you’ve been dismissed by doctors or maybe haven’t really found a way to collaborate or affect some kind of understanding between you and your health care practitioner. How do you get to that point where you really can trust your gut and, you know, manifest more power {laughs} in this journey, instead of feeling like maybe you're a victim of whatever it is your doctor, your healthcare practitioner will accept or prescribe for you. Does that make sense?

Angie Alt: Yeah. This is Angie. I think it is hard to trust your intuition. I think it’s especially hard for folks with autoimmune disease, and I think it’s especially, especially hard for women with autoimmune disease. There can be a little bit of a healthcare bias there, and that’s kind of like a double whammy. And it can be really hard to believe yourself, to listen to yourself. And some of us are kind of like going through life so busy and with so many commitments and personal responsibilities it’s hard to hear our intuition in the first place. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Angie Alt: Maybe it’s not even about mistrust; sometimes I think we miss ourselves communicating to ourselves as it is. I think for me, personally, it was kind of the evidence was stacking up that my intuition was right. So for instance, with my first diagnosis of lichen sclerosus; I knew right away instinctively that some of the skin changes I was having and some of the symptoms I was experiencing weren’t right, back in those days there wasn’t much of a culture of Dr. Google yet, so I actually went and searched that in a medical encyclopedia; and it turned out I was right. And you know, years later when I finally got the celiac diagnosis, I had been misdiagnosed with everything from IBS to post traumatic stress disorder at that point, but I knew that something was physically wrong with me, and getting the diagnosis really confirmed that. And I think as I went through the process, I realized; oh yeah, my intuition was right there. And it was right here, and it gave me the ammo to listen to it more carefully as I went forward.

TALiz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants, including me, I’m an NTP, emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal. Nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants learn a wide range of tools and techniques to assess and correct nutritional imbalances. To learn lots more about the nutritional therapy program, go to http://www.NutritionalTherapy.com. There are workshop venues in the US, Canada, and Australia, so chances are you’ll be able to find a venue that works for you.

5. Eyes on your own journey [32:17]

Liz Wolfe: Ok, this makes a lot of sense. And thanks, you guys, for bearing with me. I know I’m not formulating my questions as eloquently as I would like to, but hopefully I’m making sense. You guys are doing an amazing job of making sense of what I’m asking you. {laughs} So I deeply appreciate that. Ok, the next thing that I wanted to ask you all about is; let me flip back to this point in the book. Is the two points that you all absolutely nailed, and two things that I’ve thought about many times in my own journey; words that I’ve said to others, and they’re part of the manifesto. Point number 8; “is a nutrient seeker”; and point number 18, “keep your eyes on your own journey.”

So, Mickey, can you tell me the inspiration behind, first of all keeping your eyes on your own journey, but also the idea of being a nutrient seeker and how that’s been important to you.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. You know, keep your eyes on your own journey is something that kind of came up with the whole social media age, especially with Instagram. I think it’s really easy to take this little manufactured peek into everyone else’s lives without kind of seeing what else is going on behind the scenes and also kind of respecting that that is someone else’s journey and that’s not yours. It’s really hard, the way that we’re sharing is so personal but it also, a lot gets lost in transmission. So realizing that you are your own bioindividual person with your own health issues and you really can’t compare yourself to someone else. So, if you hear of someone; like I had heard. I actually had a best friend, when I was diagnosed, she was also diagnosed 6 months after I was. And we were the same age, and we were the same type of person, active and generally healthy until that point.

My diagnosis, I went into this crazy downward spiral; I lost my job, I was debilitated, so when I was Googling and learning all of this stuff and informing myself, I was trying to share it with her, and she actually just went on a gluten-free diet and felt fine. She needed no medication, she didn’t need to do anything else, and she literally was just like; “Oh, gluten is the problem.” And she went on her merry way, and was like, you’re kind of crazy. And I remember being like, “But that’s not working for me. I’m so upset because how can she get away with just gluten-free food, that at that point I knew was nutrient-poor food, and I’m like; how is this working out for her?”

I don’t know why. But it’s not really my problem. I have to have my own path, my own journey, and figure out what makes me tick. It turned out that I needed the elimination diet for almost a year, which is a very long time to kind of start to reroute from all of that veganism. So eyes on your own journey just means, you know, really just be safe in that idea that you’re doing the best you can, and just kind of work towards that. Don’t worry about what other people are doing and how successful they’ve been in so little time, you know? It’s really easy to get jealous, especially of the people that have really quick fixes, and let that kind of detour you. But a lot of times, you don’t really know what they’re doing behind the scenes and how they’re actually feeling. That’s another thing; thinking that there are other people that are just feeling great; and maybe they’re struggling behind the scenes. You don’t see that, you know?

Liz Wolfe: Yes.

Mickey Trescott: And then being a nutrient seeker; I mean, for me nutrient density is one of the biggest keys to my recovery, and I love talking about it, because people just get really lost in eliminations. It’s really sexy to just pull all this stuff out of your diet, and be like, “I’m on an elimination diet and I’m not eating this, this, this, this, and this.” But that addition is more powerful in some cases. And in my case, that is what helped me get well with the diet. Of course, there were foods causing inflammation and triggers that needed to come out, but really it was adding in that bone broth, adding in those organ meats and shellfish, and adding in a colorful array of vegetables; that is really what changed my healing. And long term, what really provided me that nourishment and that health. So I always like to make that point because the eliminations are 50% of it. What you replace all of those eliminated foods is the other 50%; and it is very, very important, and very powerful.

Liz Wolfe: You’re right, it is super sexy just to talk about; “Ohh, get rid of gluten and that’s going to fix everything.” I think people really get caught up.

Angie Alt: Yeah, but eating liver; no. Not cool.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah exactly {laughing}. It’s way less cool.

Angie Alt: It’s like; I’m not listening anymore.

Liz Wolfe: 100%. Well, that’s kind of where people have to dig deep. You can do the fun stuff and learn about the foods that are causing inflammation, and feel marginally better making certain eliminations in your diet. But the point is to not just stop an active buyer, but to completely take away the source that’s driving the flame. So I love that, and I think it’s such an important focus.

Angie Alt: I mean, it’s like; oh sorry.

Liz Wolfe: No, go right ahead.

Angie Alt: I was just going to say, with eliminating the gluten, it’s like, “Oh, I don’t feel so tired and dumpy anymore.” But adding the organ meat, it’s like, “Now I am wearing a battery pack and I will conquer the world.”

Liz Wolfe: {laughing} It is. What did you say at the beginning; you said, I don’t just; what was the beginning of that?

Angie Alt: in the beginning, with taking out the gluten you can feel like; “Oh I don’t feel as tired and dumpy.”

Liz Wolfe: Yes, dumpy! {laughs}

Angie Alt: But then adding organ meat is like a whole other level, you know.

Liz Wolfe: Yes! I just love that you said dumpy. I just wanted to make sure I heard that correctly. Dumpy is a whole;

Angie Alt: Dumpy was the main feeling I had being sick with autoimmune disease.

Liz Wolfe: I understand. It’s like; dumpy. It’s like you think about; it’s a whole garbage can of all of the different things that are just making you feel like; dumpy. That’s a great word for it.

Angie Alt: {laughs}

6. Exercise and autoimmunity [38:39]

Liz Wolfe: Ok. Switching gears once again, I want to tackle quickly a really important question that you all address in your book; but the question is, why is exercise so difficult for people that are suffering from autoimmune disease, and why is it really important to find a way to move in part of your treatment and recovery plan?

Angie Alt: I think that it really just comes down to balance. Too little movement is not good for those of us with autoimmune diseases, and too much is also not good. Both of these are bad places to be for the immune system that’s already kind of out of control. And finding that balance and that fine line can be really important. And we live this culture that says, you know, “work out till you puke.”

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Angie Alt: And filled with fitness inspiration; fitspo. You’re supposed to just go, go. Do 3 marathons a year, go lift weights at Crossfit, whatever. But that’s maybe not well matched for those of us with autoimmune disease. And the diseases themselves can make it sometimes hard to get enough movement in if you’re on the other end. So kind of finding that happy medium, that fine line is really important. Mickey has written a lot about the ideal of walking for autoimmune disease, and she can probably talk about that as being kind of the sweet spot.

Liz Wolfe: Please do.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, walking is just kind of one of those things where you can incorporate a lot of these lifestyle changes. I mean, if you’re walking outside, you can get some sunshine, which we advocate. It helps with your circadian rhythm, so it’s going to help with your sleep. It’s like the most mellow activity. So running is a little bit, amp some people up too much, even just yoga and stretching isn’t really enough for some people. So just getting that movement. We are designed for bipedal movement. Our ancestors were kind of on the go; moving around, squatting, working, traveling and that’s what our structure is actually built to do.

Another thing, going into some of the other sections in our book, just connecting. If we’re having a phone call with a friend, I do that a lot while I’m walking out in my neighborhood, you actually get a hit of oxytocin, women do, when they talk to other women on the phone. So you can walk with a friend in person, you can get that connection with nature, which is something that we advocate for also that balances our immune system. So walking I think is a really good foundation for a lot of people. If you’re not doing any activity; or even if you’re doing way too much activity, to just bring that into the balance. So even if you want to go lift weights a couple of times a week, or you still want to do your yoga, or maybe you have your Crossfit, which I don’t really advocate that much for people with autoimmune disease, but if you’ve got to do it once or twice a week you can still do that. But having that daily practice, managing your stress, helping you sleep better, getting some sunshine and some fresh air. I mean, there’s almost nothing that I could recommend more.

Liz Wolfe: I’ve personally seen the benefits of walking in my life for the last 5 years I’ve tried making walking a priority. Actually, over any other type of exercise. So if I had to choose one or the other, I would choose walking. It’s been one of the most powerful things for me in connecting mind and body. I get some of my best ideas when I’m out walking, and I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s such an important thing for folks to do.

7. Enjoyment activities [42:16]

Liz Wolfe: On top of that, I also want to talk about enjoyment activities. So, Mickey you have; you ride horses, I don’t know what the proper term for that is. But tell me a little bit, both of you if you will, about your enjoyment activities that nourish your soul that you make a point to do in daily life as part of your personal protocols.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, this is a cool question, and you know, Angie actually wrote a blog post a couple of years ago. She’s going to be like, “What are you mentioning this?”

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Mickey Trescott: But she wrote a post called “AIP is not a religion.” And it’s a really good post because I think a lot of people, when they’re in a healing journey, they just get so narrowly focused on the food and the symptoms and the healing that they need to kind of get out of shell a little bit and find something that they enjoy to do on a regular basis, and have a life outside the health and nutrition and healing world. Even if you’re in the middle of your healing journey, it is just super important.

So for me, that’s riding horses. That’s what it’s called, Liz.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} I didn’t know if it was; equestrianism, equestrianosis. {laughs}

Mickey Trescott: {laughs} No, I get it. I totally get it. My mom has a farm and she breeds horses so I work with some of the young ones. And different people are going to have different hobbies that kind of line up with what they want to do. So for actually a very long time I was not strong enough physically to safely work with the horses. You know, there are places that have horses that are very quiet and trained, but my mom doesn’t’ specialize in those kinds of horses. Her horses are all young and wild. So while I really wanted to work with the horses, I knew that I wasn’t really up to it. And recently things have changed, and I’m feeling really good, so I started riding again.

But until I had horses back in my life, I would do things like knit; you know, knit sweaters for all my friends that have babies. Just kind of creative crafty things; carving spoons, watching birds, whatever. Kind of lame farmy things that people like me do. But yeah, finding something and finding community and connection. And being able to exercise creativity even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person, I think that’s a really important part of health.

Liz Wolfe: Angie, what are your enjoyment activities?

Angie Alt: Yeah, you know right now I would say I’m really into meditation. It’s been an area that I kind of struggled with for the last few years, and I don’t know what happened but I found this app; this app called Calm, and it just totally turned me into a meditation lover and I’ve been doing probably 15 to 30 minutes a day and it’s been making a huge impact on my mental well being, and my physical well being at this point, to be honest. I spend some time in prayer, I like to color, I like to watch old-school Star Trek with my husband, which is kind of bizarre. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} That’s great.

Angie Alt: But it’s like our chance to bond and snuggle. I’m pretty into gratitude and public gratitude, so probably at least a couple of times a week I use Facebook or other social media platforms and point out the things in my life that I’m grateful for, the people who deserve some shout outs for being awesome in my life, things like that. I think giving a lot of thought energy to stuff like that makes my life a lot better.

Liz Wolfe: Can I ask you a question, mom to mom. {laughs}

Angie Alt: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: How do you; I still haven’t found that balance, and my daughter is only a year and a half. But I still haven’t found that place where I feel like I’m taking care of myself, and putting as much energy in as I am expending energy taking care of her. That’s been a really difficult thing for me. And with having to make sure you take care of yourself so well and in so many different ways, how do you manage that? How do you fit it in?

Angie Alt: Well, my daughter is 6. And to be honest with you Liz, when my daughter was your daughter’s age, I was a single parent and it was a disaster. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Fair enough. {laughs}

Angie Alt: I totally remember how hard it was. And it’s so tough to find that balance. I think this is one reason that women can be so vulnerable to autoimmune disease. We are primarily the caretakers; even when we don’t have children we’re often caretakers in other ways in our lives, and it’s so hard to find that time and that moment.

In some ways, getting sick was kind of a blessing for me in that way because I was forced to prioritize it. Sometimes I was fighting against it, like you know; “Oh she needs this from me, or she needs that from me.” But actually it gave her a chance to be a lot more independent and develop that for herself, and it gave me an opportunity to fill myself up. And you know, honestly, the best moms are the moms who take some time and fill themselves back up instead of the moms that are just so ragged and so; you know, they don’t have anything left in the cup to pour out of, you know?

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. It’s so true. And even for me personally, I’ve tried to get some childcare lined up so I can get a few more things done. But even then, I just have childcare so I can fix the meals, and work, and have even more energy going out. So that’s a big pitfall of mine as well. So if anybody else is struggling with that right now, I totally 100% feel your pain.

Angie Alt: You know, I might be; what I’m about to say might be considered a little bit controversial in the “momming” environment we have currently, but there’s kind of this idea that we’re supposed to spend every moment of every day bonding with our children and looking them deeply in their eyes and enjoying wiping their rears and you know, singing songs with them and taking them on one million play dates and whatever else. But if we look back in time, that’s not how people raised children.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Angie Alt: And the children turned out good. That’s not to say that we don’t want to give love, and time, and energy to our kids and enjoy the moments; but having a little more balance is probably worth it, and maybe we’re at a period of self correction in our society. {laughs}

8. Working on the project [49:04]

Liz Wolfe: Self correction. I like that. No, that makes total sense to me. On that note, work related, how did you all complete this project, knowing that stress can be an important modulator in illness; or stress and the opposite of stress. How did you all stay balanced creating this book, writing and editing and photographing and all of that. Was it a difficult balance for you, or did you set out with particular goals in mind as far as balancing the stress of this project with taking care of yourselves?

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, so we had a very long timeline, which is something that in the beginning having both self-published books; I think Angie and I were kind of chomping at the bit and kind of like; what? It’s going to take 2 years to come out with this book? It just seemed so far out there and kind of ridiculous. But really we just kind of worked backwards. We set ourselves moderate deadlines which; Angie and I have very different styles. I’m sure, I’ll let her talk a little bit after I do {laughs} and we can laugh about it kind of.

Angie Alt: {laughs}

Mickey Trescott: Well, we turned in our manuscript 6 weeks early if that tells you anything.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Mickey Trescott: But, I really, you know, I like deadlines, I like to be ahead of the curve, I like to kind of get things done. I would say at times it was pretty stressful, but with two people that are working in a really unified mission; we had a very strong outline, very strong mission values and purpose for why we’re doing this. We kind of were on fire, and we had a publisher that was like, heck yeah, we love what you guys are pumping out. So it just kind of went pretty naturally, wouldn’t you say, Angie?

Angie Alt: Yeah. There were definitely some points where the stress was a little intense. At one point about halfway through the manuscript, I guess, I got pretty sick and I actually came down with mono. And I’m sure it’s because we were working so hard. But actually, it went pretty smoothly. We had to learn a lot about each other’s work styles; like Mickey said, she’s really methodical, and has this really specific method, and I’m kind of like; “oh, I need time to be inspired.” {laughs} I’m sure she was really annoyed many times like, “When are you going to write your section?” And then it would hit for me, and I would write like 3 or 4,000 words, and she would wake up and find it in the manuscript and be like; oh my gosh! {laughs} So yeah, it helped to have two of us.

Mickey Trescott: And I think having a partner that really understands what you need a when. Like, when Angie got sick, we totally pumped the brakes, you know. It ebbed and flowed; we kind of went through phases were we did a lot of stuff, and then we’ve had a lot of time like pretty much this entire year we haven’t done a ton of work on the book besides a couple of weeks that we were editing and putting together marketing plans. But for the most part, the big chunks have kind of let us have some time to relax and take time off, which I think both of us, with our first books, we felt it from inception to completion was like a pretty intense process, and this has been kind of a little more of a roller coaster ride.

9. Mickey and Angie’s favorite parts of the book [52:37]

Liz Wolfe: Alright, so to close it out, I would love to hear from both of you on your favorite; or for you, the most deeply profound part of the book that you all have written. Which point; which, I don’t know, element to healing do you guys find most important? What’s your favorite part of the book? Let me know.

Mickey Trescott: So I don’t think this is necessarily the most important, but one thing that I came across in my research that I thought of was kind of new was the connection between nature and the immune system. So I actually found a bunch of studies that the Japanese had done studying Shinrin Yoku, which is translated as forest bathing. So it’s this national health practice where people go out into the forest and they experience the trees and the smells; they go on a walk. And it’s something that regular people do almost every day, or every week. So they’ve put a lot of funding behind why people feel healthier when they’re in nature.

What they’ve found is actually that being in nature; even if you go for a weekend camping trip, your immune system is modulated for the full month after you come back into real life or in a city; for a full month after you experience that.

Liz Wolfe: Wow.

Mickey Trescott: And so, just learning that and learning; I mean, I’ve had this personal experience. It’s part of the reason why I moved from the middle of the city, I lived in Seattle, to the Oregon countryside, is that I just feel at peace and I feel better when I’m in the country and when I’m with the trees and in nature, and there is scientific evidence showing that that helps our immune systems. So, being able to tell people; you know, just going outside, putting your feet in the grass. Maybe laying on a blanket and looking at the trees. You don’t have to live in a national park in order to get that benefit, but making use of any kind of green space that you have near you is actually something. So, that was probably one of the most interesting and fun parts that I got to write for the book.

Liz Wolfe: What about you Angie?

Angie Alt: Yeah, I was just thinking about it. You know, for those of us with autoimmune disease, obviously your disease itself in a new light. Trying to understand maybe how the positives have come out of potentially negative situations. I think that’s been very, very powerful in my own life to do that, and I really liked learning about it and writing about it. I also really liked writing the introduction. I really wanted people to feel deeply inspired and really empowered and you know, I wanted to light some fires under some people’s rears. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Yeah!

Angie Alt: And I think we achieved it, and it felt great to write it.

Liz Wolfe: Well, as I said from the beginning, I had no idea that was one of your favorite parts, but you definitely got me from the introduction. You had me at the introduction, so you did an amazing job with that.

Angie Alt: Aww!

Liz Wolfe: I absolutely loved it. Well, on that note, we can close the interview. Thank you so much, Mickey and Angie, for coming on and talking about your book today. You all are two of the most respected voices in the AIP community and beyond, and I just really, really love this book. So I’m grateful to you for coming on.

Mickey Trescott: Thank you so much.

Angie Alt: Thanks so much.

Diane Sanfilippo: Pete’s Paleo has opened a new location on the East Coast. Since they’re still operating out of San Diego, as well, this means local produce and meat coming from both coasts; and, drastically reduced shipping prices. Check out their new and improved website, www.PetesPaleo.com to take advantage of low shipping rates; and be sure to use coupon code 1FREEBACON. That’s the number 1; free bacon, and receive a free half pound of bacon with the purchase of a meal plan. Go to www.PetesPaleo.com.

Liz Wolfe: Alright, that’s it for this week. Thank you to Mickey and Angie for sticking with me despite my issues in brain function today. You can find me, Liz, at http://realfoodliz.com/ and you can find Diane at http://dianesanfilippo.com. The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook releases November 1st, and you can find it on Amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble, or check out their website, http://autoimmune-paleo.com for more information.

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