In Episode#21, Dr. Jill interviews Dr. Lauryn Lax about her dramatic journey from barely surviving from life-threatening anorexia in her 20’s to thriving and how to find a safe home when you are sensitive to mold.
Dr. Jill Carnahan is Your Functional Medicine Expert® dually board certified in Family Medicine for ten years and in Integrative Holistic Medicine since 2015. She is the Medical Director of Flatiron Functional Medicine, a widely sought-after practice with a broad range of clinical services including functional medical protocols, nutritional consultations, chiropractic therapy, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, and massage therapy. As a survivor of breast cancer, Crohn’s disease, and toxic mold illness she brings a unique perspective to treating patients in the midst of complex and chronic illness. Her clinic specializes in searching for the underlying triggers that contribute to illness through cutting-edge lab testing and tailoring the intervention to specific needs.
A popular inspirational speaker and prolific writer, she shares her knowledge of hope, health, and healing live on stage and through newsletters, articles, books, and social media posts! People relate to Dr. Jill’s science-backed opinions delivered with authenticity, love and humor. She is known for inspiring her audience to thrive even in the midst of difficulties.
Featured in Shape Magazine, Parade, Forbes, MindBodyGreen, First for Women, Townsend Newsletter, and The Huffington Post as well as seen on NBC News and Health segments with Joan Lunden, Dr. Jill is a media must-have. Her YouTube channel and podcast features live interviews with the healthcare world’s most respected names.
Dr. Jill 0:12
Hey, Dr. Lauren! It is so good to have you here, and I am just so excited about today! Today was one of those [days] where we just kind of scheduled [things at the] last minute, and it worked out perfectly. So I am so glad we both had the time. And our conversation earlier this week was really interesting because we were talking about when you're sensitive and you have mold exposure and finding a safe place to live. We will dive into that today and all kinds of other fun topics, but I want to introduce you.
Dr. Jill 0:43
We've been in the same circles for a while now, so I'm not exactly sure how we met originally. But one of the things that I love about you is that you're a woman of faith, like I am. So a lot of times, when we're talking, there's this greater purpose and picture. I want to talk about this today because I know that for the listeners—a lot of people who are listening and joining us—life is really hard right now. There's a lot of stuff going on. There's a pervasive [feeling of] fear and anxiety. There's a lot of uncertainty, whether it's business, work, family, or personal—people have stuff they're dealing with. What I love about our conversations is that there's always a sense that God is at work. I've been—many, many times—in suffering and difficult situations, and in the end, there's always this sense of greater purpose. Even in our suffering, he allows us to learn and grow like we never would without it, even though it's not very fun. So I want to talk a little bit about that too, just because I want to give people hope and encouragement today for whatever they're facing. But before I do, let me introduce you.
Dr. Jill 1:45
I want to actually read your bio so people can learn about who you are. We'll be sure to include links. You guys know where to find me: jillcarnahan.com. [We have a] free blog, free resources, and a free newsletter. Feel free to sign up for any of that. And I will be sure to link to Dr. Lauryn's site and all her great programs. At the end, we'll talk about that too. So Dr. Lauryn Lax helps women work with their bodies, not against them, so they can reach their highest potential. As a doctor of occupational therapy, functional medicine practitioner, and nutritionist, she specializes in gut health—which we both love to talk about—optimization, restoring immune and hormonal imbalances, and a non-diet approach to body, love, and food freedom. Let's be sure to come back to that topic too. I think that's really important. Her work is inspired by her 20 years of personal and clinical experience overcoming over 10 chronic conditions that almost killed her and that doctors could not solve, including GI disorders, eating disorders, autoimmune conditions, mold-related illnesses, Lyme disease, hormone [imbalances], and thyroid imbalances. Today, she's made it her life's mission to help others do the same. She has been featured on many, many news outlets. I won't read them all, but Lauryn, thank you for taking the time to talk to us today, and welcome!
Dr. Lauryn Lax 2:55
Thank you! I'm so pumped! The spontaneity and the stars aligned finally.
Dr. Jill 3:00
I know; I love it. How I always start is… You have quite a story. I don't think I even know the whole story, and it sounds like there's a lot of alignment between what we've been through. I want to hear your story about some of the things you've been through that have gotten you to where you are today.
Dr. Lauryn 3:16
Yes, 110%. Healthcare really comes from day one, but I was born with a lot of the cards stacked against me in [terms of] my health. Knowing what we know about gut health—and maybe what a lot of your listeners know about gut health—I just started having gut problems early on and [later realized] just how much our gut can impact our immune system, our mindset, and our hormone balance. So, [I was a] C-section baby, an antibiotic baby, a processed food baby from the get-go, and constipated. Most of my early life was spent not feeling super well. I grew up in a very upper-middle-class, loving family.
Dr. Lauryn 4:02
At an early age, I began to struggle with what I would later come to find out was anorexia. That story really began around the age of nine or ten. I wanted to fit in with other popular, pretty little girls. I was standing on the playground one day with some girls when the queen bee says: “Oh my gosh, you guys, I weighed myself last night, and I was 69 pounds. I'm so fat! What do you guys weigh?” One by one, we had to go around the circle and report to this queen bee. At the time, I was a healthy ten-year-old girl in the fourth grade, but I gulped and I lied. I just remember going home that day, standing in the pantry, turning over a Doritos snack pack, and learning a language I had never known before, which is ‘fat grams' and ‘calories.' And really, for the next bit, my middle school, high school, and college years were really spent fighting various sorts of eating disorders and orthorexia as well. [I was] becoming really obsessed with healthy eating, overtraining, and really driving my body into this state of chronic stress, which I think played a role later on in my life with the limbic system, what we know about mold illness, and everything that came up later.
Dr. Lauryn 5:18
But really, that story came to a head when I was 23 years old. I stepped on the scale, and for the first time, I was scared. I saw a number I had not seen since I was that ten-year-old girl, and it was like everything flashed back. I was 23 in a young adult body studying occupational therapy at the time in Nashville. And my faith has always been very important and part of my journey, and it got really real. I remember getting in the car that morning to go to the YMCA and praying: “God, help me make a change today. This is not okay, and I don't feel good.” I was starting to have chest pains regularly. I was running on my feet with stress fractures all the time. My body was just really depleted and caving in.
Dr. Lauryn 6:04
When I got to the YMCA that morning, I got out of my car, got my magazines to read on my stairmaster, and not one but eight other individuals walked up. These were eight other individuals who were gymgoers that I had seen over the past year. They didn't know me from Adam, and they spoke up and just said, “Lauryn, we want to help you.” I was like, “What?” “We don't know what's going on, but it just seems like your health has been declining, and we're worried about you.” Again, I don't know these people beyond just saying hello in the mornings. I now call these people my YMCA angels because, literally, they drove me to Vanderbilt Hospital. And within 48 hours, I was in the ICU, with the doctor saying they may need to put a pacemaker in. My heart rate was nearly in the 20s, and my body was depleted and giving out, and I couldn't stop it on my own power prior [to this].
Dr. Lauryn 7:01
But I remember the night that that happened—my heart [rate] going that low—feeling a sense of peace. It was really from the Lord, just saying, “Lauryn, this is your time”—not my time to go, my time to really survive through that. But he said, “Buckle up; it's going to be a ride.” I had been in and out of hospitals and treatment centers for the past 15 years leading up to that. And [it was ] just the same story: pop-tart, pizza, and Prozac was the typical treatment. It was very much a symptom-based model—that eating disorder recovery model—which is why I love not treating the symptoms nowadays in my work. I ended up spending another four weeks on feeding tubes, heart rate monitors, and IV fluids, and then was sent out for treatment again, but something in me had changed. I ended up staying a year in Miami, Florida, in a treatment center that provided very conventional treatment for eating disorders, but I knew life on the other side was going to be different. And I had no idea what exactly that looked like, but it was just walking through that journey of faith. I wrote a book about all that, just with all the little things that God was teaching me during that time. Like, Mr. Bagel Day—the day I had to have two bagels, and God broke my fear of carbs for one, but just saying [something like], “Trust in me through this.” And [there are] countless stories of the ways that he stretched and groomed me and my heart.
Dr. Lauryn 8:32
So [when] I got out of treatment, I was about 24. And I was just like, “Wow, I'm reborn!” I say 23 is my magic spirit age. I still feel like I'm 23, because that's really when I came to life. But my journey wasn't over yet, and what I call “post-recovery recovery” began to happen. What happens to your body after years of stress, chronic dieting, chronic eating disorders—you name it—and ill health does not happen overnight. We do a lot of that work in functional medicine, helping an individual with a timeline. What got you to where you are today, or what were those triggers? So I ended up being diagnosed with 10 different chronic conditions later, in those follow-up years, a lot of them autoimmune-related. Most recently, and near and dear to my heart, I went through mold illness and then Lyme coming up at the same time. [It was] something I probably had for a very long time in my body. It was the perfect storm, but I learned so much through it. They say experience is the best teacher, and the only way in is through. And I'm such a student, I love learning, and God allowed my own health journey and body to be my own textbook.
Dr. Lauryn 9:51
Actually, the day I found out that I had mold, I ended up in the ER one night. I was going to take the nCAP the next day. And I did take the nCAP the next day. But I woke up at like 2:00 a.m. in the middle of the night feeling like I was having a heart attack. It was a severe asthma attack from breathing in mold spores all along. My body just felt depleted. But again, experience is the best teacher. And God, through my own health journey, has allowed me to learn so much firsthand about chronic illness, making it my life mission to help others—no matter what challenges they face—to really bust through those ceilings and to know it doesn't have to be on your willpower; it can be through his. So it just lightened the load so much. And even in the midst of quarantine or COVID life, as you mentioned, it's just like: “What are we learning right now? What is the opportunity here?” versus, “Oh my gosh, what is happening to me?” It's really seeing: “What is the opportunity from a health perspective, from a life perspective, from a reset perspective?” There's so much that can be gained from such a hard time, I think.
Dr. Jill 11:04
Lauryn, I love that. And thank you for sharing. I know you've probably shared this many, many times, and in your book. But this is the first time I've heard your full story. And I'm so deeply touched because I, like you, have journeyed through lots of suffering. And as I look back, my very first really big suffering was cancer at age 25. At the time, it was just shocking. And I never doubted God. I never doubted that he was good. But it was still really hard to face reality. At the time, I was still like, “Why in the world?” I didn't say: “Why God? Why me?” But I did say: “This is hard. This is difficult.” Now that I look back, I might get choked up here because I look, and there's no greater gift that I had than going through cancer and Crohn's. There's no way you and I would understand people to the level that we would without having that experience. And I'm literally like, “Thank you, God, for cancer.” “Thank you” for your eating disorder. He gave us such a gift because when we experience that suffering firsthand, there are things about mold, Lyme, and cancer for me and about eating disorders for you that we know that no textbook could ever teach us.
Dr. Jill 12:18
There are things that we can see in our patients' faces. They have faced those things. And all of this is physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental. And we know on all levels—it's not like we've arrived—we're on the journey with you. But we know that it takes all of those levels to heal. And it's like God's continually stripping away—”Okay, you're hanging on to that. Well, what about this?”—and saying there's this greater thing. Like, I always think of COVID as it came. If you had no anchor, nothing that you were really founded on, this was a really rough ride for you. So if you're there and you're like: “Oh my gosh! My whole world's falling apart—my finances, my relationships, my work.” For you and me, Lauryn, there's this deeper anchor. And not everybody's going to have the same one as us. But there's a sense of solidity despite the waves and the crazy chaos of life—nothing can move that inside of us.
Dr. Jill 13:08
And I always want that gift for my patients—finding that deep anchor in something that's more important, more powerful, and a lot greater than just us—because we're all terminal. We're all going to die. So the greater sense of purpose is really powerful. And it's powerful for healing because otherwise you get stuck with anger or [feelings of] “Why God?” or these kinds of things. And we've all been through that. It's okay to go through that phase. But we have to get past it to a place of understanding because there is purpose and meaning in suffering. I'm sure you can say the same. Some of the best lessons, as hard as they were, came through suffering, right?
Dr. Lauryn 13:45
One hundred percent, yes. It's like [there are] no regrets anyway. There's no sense in saying, “Why did it happen?” because I'm thankful. Like you said, it did happen. And, like, what are we learning? Or what have we learned from it?
Dr. Jill 14:02
Yes. And then the most recent [issue you had was with] mold. Now, I also wonder about eating disorders. My story isn't close to what you've suffered through. But I did, in high school, suffer from a phase where it definitely would have been diagnosed as an eating disorder. And I look back, and now that I understand functional medicine, I see all the pieces of nutritional inflammation, autoimmunity, and those things, and how they play into our cravings, our gut, and our feeling. Like, I was always puffy and inflamed, and I thought it was fat. And the truth is, I wasn't obese or anything, but my body didn't feel like my own because of the inflammation. And then, with having the type A kind of perfectionistic, controlling personality that I'm recovering from, I had some of those same things—again, not nearly to the extent you suffered. But I understand well… And I now understand with functional medicine how zinc deficiency, malabsorption, inflammation, and autoimmunity all contribute. And if we could take a look at these young women who are suffering or these young men who are suffering from eating disorders and, from a functional perspective, give them the nutrients, decrease inflammation… What are your thoughts on that? Because I see in hindsight how big of a play it had in my behaviors in my teens.
Dr. Lauryn 15:17
Yes. I think you hit the nail on the head. So much from a nutrient deficiency perspective, even that can just tee you up to struggle more from a mindset perspective, whether it's your vitamins, zinc, and absorption, or just gut in general and that brain-gut connection. Five hundred million neurons in your gut, and serotonin levels. And I think on the back end, too, of overcoming those challenges. If those foundational root causes are not addressed, then it's just the symptom chasing of: “Well, she's got anorexia, so that means pizza is good for her. She can work on that mentally.” Yes, there was a mental component to being able to eat a lot of different things. At the same time, if the foundations were not addressed, I kept going back to the eating disorder because my brain was not synapsing appropriately. And I didn't feel great. And I think helping a patient, when you optimize those foundations [so they] actually feel good and not just go through the motions, whether it's food, therapy, or even from an exercise perspective—
Dr. Jill 16:33
It's funny because I went through a phase where I was like: “I don't have any addictions. I don't do drugs or alcohol.” But the truth is, we all have what we call ‘medicators.' I may not have done drugs or alcohol, smoked, or whatever. But the truth is that we all have these things, and they may not be bad. Healthy exercise can be a medicator, where we get these endorphins to get away from the stresses of life. That's a healthy way to deal with stress. But there are other things, like online shopping, and social media. Or relationships—that can be a medicator, where we just go from relationship to relationship because we don't have to feel. Or just being busy or achieving—I mean, things that are not always bad. These are all different types of medicators. And they can be just as numbing to us when dealing with the root causes as drugs or alcohol. So I was really aware that some of my medicators are being busy and doing and not sitting still.
Dr. Jill 17:29
And God got me on that one. He was like, “No, I want you to be still and be in this place.” And for me, when I got more still, some of the emotions and things that I was trying to suppress came up. I'm like: “Oh, this is really uncomfortable. But God's continuing to teach me that I don't have to always go from thing to thing to thing or take on new projects. But I can actually just sit in his presence and be okay with the sadness that comes up, the anger that comes up, or some other emotions that I never felt comfortable with.” And I think it's a very real thing—because all of us struggle with something as far as that goes—and we all have different ways to deal with it, healthy and unhealthy.
Dr. Lauryn 18:05
What is the ‘why' behind it?—I guess.
Dr. Jill 18:07
Yes. I love that. What a story, and what things you've overcome and continue [to overcome]! And again, there are a lot of similarities with autoimmunity, Lyme, and the mold [exposure that you've experienced] . One thing we talked about on the phone that I really wanted to talk about today was that we're both mold-sensitive. We've had mold. We're much better. We're starting to recover. But you have just been on the search for a home, a safe place to dwell in Austin, Texas. And it's definitely humid and moldy there, kind of like Boulder. Tell us a little bit about your experience and what you learned, because I don't know how many tests you went through—you told me 40 or something.
Dr. Lauryn 18:44
Yes, definitely. Forty homes. Two came back clean in the course of probably three or four months. I'm currently in an Airbnb, as you can tell from my lovely paintings that are not my style. And I have just lived this wonderful vagabond life for… Really, I got sick two years ago with mold. I'd been living in a rental home for two years. My health really started to decline when I was there.
Dr. Jill 19:14
Let's talk real quick. So how did that actually happen? Was that a rental? What originally triggered you?
Dr. Lauryn 19:18
It was a rental that I was living in. And granted, we probably all lived with mold. Think about college dorms—that's like mold city there. So I was never as affected until this season of my life. But I had actually had a colonoscopy, which I think played a big role. I passed out during the colonoscopy. It wiped me clean. It reset my gut in a different way. And I think I was a good host for mold to come in after some things like that—getting sick, et cetera—had happened that year.
Dr. Lauryn 19:49
So I lived in this home, and that night I felt like I was having a heart attack. That was in March 2018. And something in my head triggered ‘mold.' I wonder if God put that in my head. But I had an inspector come out the next day, and I had black mold in the HVAC system. It was a beautiful, newish home. It's only a 2010 build. We actually had Hurricane Harvey in Houston—I'm in Austin—and a ton of rain during that time too. So in our home, one of the sidewalls just got really wet and started leaking. But I never really thought… When I heard mold before, I always thought you would see it visually. I never saw this mold visually until the inspector took pictures of the HVAC. I never went into the attic area.
Dr. Lauryn 20:40
But yes, from there, it was this cascade of what we call mast cell activation syndrome that really took place. So every four to six weeks, I was going from doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist, with a different random diagnosis, like diabetes, hypothyroidism, migraines, allergies, asthma, and [other] things I had never had before. I was like, “What's happening in my body?” And the doctors couldn't explain it. We were just doing all the scans. But really, as I got more into understanding what mold is and what it is I have, it was then that I really realized: “I've got to get out of here,” from the place I was living. I began to bounce around, learning a lot about multiple chemical sensitivity as well, which can oftentimes go hand in hand. I bounced from that house to a newer house in the neighborhood, a street over, and could not even breathe in the room. And the girl is like, “This is new!” I was renting from a girl my age, and it was the VOCs, all the off-gassing, and the carpet. So there were a lot of chemical and environmental sensitivities that my body began to develop.
Dr. Lauryn 21:55
And then I ended up finding a spot to land for about a great, nine-month stretch. It was just like, “Oh God, thank you.” And then a new roommate—I was living with two girls—moved in and brought Thrift City into her room like a thrift store. [She was] self-proclaimed hoarder, [according to] what she said. [There were] lots of clothes. It recontaminated the air with mycotoxins, and my body was set off again. So, being in this really, like, The Princess and the Pea spot—I just got to be in the perfect spot. Going through that, and as we as practitioners often say, you can't really begin feeling until you are in a cleaner spot. It's been exhausting. I think I've moved a total of, I would say, 12 times in a matter of a year and a half. Like, “two weeks here,” “a few months here,” and “an Airbnb here.” I tested over 40 homes in that time with an awesome mold testing company, Global Analytics. I work directly with the owner of that company now.
Dr. Jill 23:06
You probably kept him in business, right?
Dr. Lauryn 23:07
I totally have. He loves my business. But he's been so great, and he's so great at [answering] questions I'll have about things like what air scrubber I should get. Or if there's mold, “Is it remediable? And can I really do anything about that? [I continue] learning about healthy building [practices] as well. It's what has brought me to where I am today, which is actually looking for a home to either buy or build. We talked this past week; I reached out to you about: What would you do? It was like the perfect home I was going to put this offer on. I've been praying for a clean spot; it was the builder I wanted and the neighborhood I wanted. Going into the home, it seemed like everything should be perfect in my head, but something in my body did not feel right in the home.
Dr. Lauryn 24:04
And it's still [about] really honoring the body and not pushing it over the edge because I've already been there. And I think it's just a lot of the off-gassing that happens with a brand-new build that just got finished. So still, I'm in this place of: Do I do it? Do I not do it? And at the same time, there's something the Lord's been putting in my heart: He clothes the lilies of the field. He has sustained me this far. I'm living to tell about all of this. Typical Lauryn fashion would be when I take control of the reins and [be] like, “This is how it should go.” Yet, I think sometimes when things don't work out like we plan or like we think they should be planned, it's usually because there's something better. To really lean into that is really where I'm at, a day at a time, versus five years down the road.
Dr. Jill 24:57
Gosh, I love, love that. That brings to mind so many things that our patients deal with. First of all, when you have mold exposure, often, your cells—the mast cells, which are some of the protector cells in our body—get irritated. And some people are more prone to that. Those who are usually mold sensitive are more prone to that. I've talked to Dr. Afrin and Dr. Theoharides, some of the [top] mast cell experts in the United States of America. They all, whether or not they treat mold, understand that mold is probably one of the biggest triggers for mast cell activation. So this is super common. And you [who are] listening—probably some of you have this as well. Feel free to comment if you do or have experienced it. But all of a sudden, you find you have hives, rashes, and sensitivities. And then you mentioned something, Lauryn: Multiple chemical sensitivity, which is a term that's not an official medical diagnosis. But any of us in this functional world acknowledge it, understand it, and see it. Sadly, it doesn't have its own ICD-10 code yet, which doesn't mean it's not a disease.
Dr. Jill 25:53
But what I describe this as is that we all have the bucket capacity that we're born with to detoxify. So, Lauryn, you and I were probably born with a smaller bucket. Thanks, God. [laughing] No. So what happens is that over our lifetime, that bucket fills up with chemicals, [including] glyphosate, parabens, phthalates, metals, and mold, [which] is a huge one. And at some point, we start to spill over the top. When we spill over the top, we tend to be symptomatic with neurodegenerative diseases: We have brain fog, we have physical hives and manifestations of the mast cell stuff, or we have headaches or migraines, [which] are really common. And there are many, many more things. But often you'll start to manifest because your bucket is overloaded and your water is flowing over the top. So part of getting well is getting out of that [environment of] mold and decreasing the load in that bucket.
Dr. Jill 26:39
And I always say, Gosh, it'd be nice to know all the thousands of things that are in your bucket, but you really don't have to. All you have to do is reduce the water level by a certain amount so that you can have a margin again because our bodies were created to detoxify. We give back that margin by getting out of the moldy environment and starting to detox. Our bodies will detoxify eventually. It's just that we need to give that margin back. So what you were experiencing after the mold [exposure] and what I did too was, first of all, mast cell activation. So often, we're more reactive. And sometimes they call that unmasking, because as we lower the level in the bucket, we actually become slightly more reactive. I don't know about you, but if I walk into a house or hotel with mold, I can actually tell pretty quickly. So I call myself the mold dog. I'm sure you're the same, right?
Dr. Lauryn 27:20
Dr. Jill 27:22
Yes. And that's kind of the unmasking and sensitivity. It's a gift and a curse because we can tell if there's someplace we want to stay or leave right away. But we are also going to be more sensitive. And what you experienced is what a lot of my patients and yours, I'm sure too, experienced: “Gosh, there's maybe no mold” in this new home that you're looking at. That's wonderful. But there is chemical off-gassing in that, whether it's the granite countertops that off-gas uranium, of all things. The cabinets, the wood, almost always off-gases formaldehyde, unless you have pure hardwood cabinets, which no one does anymore. The flooring can hugely be off-gassing. All the vinyl tiles, luxury vinyl tiles, off-gas. Carpets are huge producers of VOCs. So you have all these new materials in your home. And it's a beautiful home with no water damage, but you're having tons of off-gassing. We were talking about ways to deal with that because now the decision is, “Can I handle that?”—because it might take a year or two. And I think that air filtration and air exchange from the outside can help, but that's a hard decision because you still have reactions to that.
Dr. Lauryn 28:29
Yes. It's like [walking] this fine line and leaning into: What is the best option for now? I don't believe my body will always be this way. And in order to continue to progress, it's like, “Do I throw myself into a situation that is perfect in my mind, but my body is not caught up there?” And I think that can apply, whether you're buying or renting: Making the best decision for putting your health first in order to continue to get healthier versus backtracking, I guess. And [it's about] not getting frustrated with where you're at and honoring that.
Dr. Jill 29:11
So I'm hearing something really important, and I want to point it out because I'm sure the listeners are hearing this too. But I always joked: Before the age of 40, I lived above my head and was really analytical in how I thought and made decisions. Then, after my divorce, I started doing a lot of the work that I needed to do to heal. What I found is that I was ignoring my body and what it needed, how it felt, and how sensitive I was. I thought I was kind of a bad you know what. And the truth is, I'm a freaking sensitive woman. The super-productive woman—I had to merge her with the really sensitive soul that God created me to be. I'm joking, but the truth is, it's kind of real. So that whole above-the-head thinking—I had to go into my body. And what I'm hearing you say is that you're like: “Oh, my head says this is perfect. But as I get into the environment, my body is like, ‘Ugh, I don't know. I don't know.'” And it may be yes or no. You may not have decided yet, but there's this intuitive wisdom.
Dr. Jill 30:12
Women, I think, have a very strong sense. And I ignored that for most of my life. Now I'm trying to reconnect with that part of myself, and I find that it's the wisest part. It's the spiritual part. It's the intuitive part. It's the part of myself that really has a knowing that my head can't comprehend. And when we go there, we usually have the right answer. So I'm hearing you say that's the conflict, and to listen to that. And it's a very spiritual sense, too.
Dr. Lauryn 30:38
Yes. I call that going with your gut. Gut-heart—it's connected, so trust the wisdom. I have this sweetest mentor—she is ‘The Canary of Austin,' is what we call her, because she walked through mold illness for 30 years. Now she goes with people, basically to mold-hunt. Like you can pick it up, but she feels it in her body. She'll be able to say exactly what mold there is in this wall as she walks by it. She's older, so she's not going to many places during quarantine. But we were on the phone when I went to go look at this house again. I was like: “Suzanne, I don't know if I do it. Should I not do it?” She's like: “Lauryn, you need to just stop, and stop using this”—your head—”and really feel into your body. Walk up the stairs. How do you feel right now?” And I had the answer. I knew how I felt when I got out of my head. I was like, “Don't think about how pretty it is.” It was just a beautiful, kind of karate kid moment of the master teaching the student, and she's teaching me how to be a mold hunter. A lot of people ask me to do that nowadays.
Dr. Lauryn 32:02
Yes, what you're saying, I think it's so easy in our society too, in multiple areas, not just mold, whether it's relationships, like, you know what the answer is, or even what foods do and don't agree with you if you're trying to figure it out. Oftentimes, my clients already know what is not making them feel super well and what does. We know at least what's going on with them without doing lab testing. Sometimes I'll just ask, Well, “What do you think is going on with your body?” And as they've been a little more educated in our work together, we don't have to press in so hard to find so many answers externally when you really listen.
Dr. Jill 32:44
I love it. And I totally agree with you. Again, I was like this allopathic, super-science, analytical nerd. And then, as I've embraced this other side, I find it brings [everything] together. I mean, God created us that way with the science and faith, and also with the intuition and the brain. So these things work so well together. And I would agree with you, some of my best insight into patients' cases and solving some of the problems comes when I temporarily set analytical stuff aside and just feel, ask them questions, and listen. And usually, they'll tell me the answers, and then I'll still prove it with labs or whatever else we need to do. But it's so interesting because that's such a powerful sense of wisdom that we all have if we can just relearn how to connect with it.
Dr. Lauryn 33:29
Dr. Jill 33:32
I love that. Oh, my gosh, this is so fun to talk to you. And I'm sure that people are relating because a lot of people have suffered mold-related illnesses, are sensitive, and are trying to find a place to live. Let's switch gears a little bit, and I want to hear about what you're doing and what upcoming projects you have. Tell me a little bit more about what you do with clients.
Dr. Lauryn 33:52
Oh yes. Well, definitely working one-on-one with folks right now is where I've really been spending my time in my business. So [by means of] functional medicine, nutrition, and therapy—kind of a hybrid—we're really taking them on a synergistic ride or experience, designing custom programs for them. I work mostly on gut health, [the] immune [system], detox from mold, and hormone balance. Helping women work with their bodies, not against them, is really what I stand for. But really, I feel like the quarantine time has been such a great opportunity for incubation. I have really been diving into working on the gut and [doing a] total gut reset. I just finished a book called The Total Gut Reset that will launch, I guess, [around] January, along with programs and products around that.
Dr. Lauryn 34:48
But I really believe health is an inside job, and that message, especially during times such as these, is one that's maybe not being said or preached enough. We are learning about sanitization, social distancing, and wearing masks, but there is so much optimization that can happen from the inside out. So, since our gut health determines so much of our total health, it's really helping demystify beyond leaky gut and what it means to really optimize your gut health to optimize your body from the inside out. So that's where a lot of my energy is spent—in that incubation. And then for my eating disorder, those in recovery from that, I have a program called Body Love + Food Freedom that really is a functional medicine approach to recovery, changing the way we do recovery. My next group is kicking off in September for that.
Dr. Jill 35:44
Awesome. And where can people find more information about that?
Dr. Lauryn 32:44
The website would be the best, where they'll get the latest: DrLauryn.com. And Lauryn is spelled with a ‘y'.
Dr. Jill 35:58
I will be sure to put that in the notes so that everybody has that link. Any last words of wisdom or thoughts that you have for people listening to our interview today?
Dr. Lauryn 36:10
I think our greatest setbacks are our biggest comebacks. Really use whatever current setback you are finding yourself in [to ask] “What is the opportunity here?” Also, what we focus on expands. So, where are you putting your energy and your focus? That's where I think the greatest growth can happen or where the greatest opportunity for healing [exists].
Dr. Jill 36:34
I love that. Best of luck to you in finding and securing a safe place to live or a house to buy. We'll be praying for this wisdom and for clear direction for that. And thank you for your time today, Lauryn. It's so good to talk to you, as always. I really appreciate it.
Dr. Lauryn 36:53
It was so fun!
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