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S2 E4: How Your Relationship With Food Impacts Your Gut & Stress with Dana Monsees

podcast Apr 03, 2022

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Amanda: Hey, this is Amanda, women’s health dietitian.
Emily: And I’m Emily, nutritional therapy practitioner.
Amanda: And this is the Are You Menstrual? podcast where we help you navigate the confusing world of women’s hormones and teach you how to have healthy periods.
Emily: Each week we will be diving into a different topic on women’s health and sharing our perspective using nutrition, female physiology, and metabolic health.
Amanda: Our goal is to help you wade through conflicting health information and empower you on your healing journey.
Emily: We hope you enjoy it.

Amanda: In this episode, I'm joined by Dana Monsees, and we are diving into some challenging but really important topics. A big one is around our relationship with food and how this can impact other areas of our health, which is something I definitely see a lot in practice. We're also going to be talking about the problems with intuitive eating and how to use nutrition from a neutral non-diet approach.

Dana is a dietitian, nutritionist, and body image coach who specializes in helping women with gut issues and burnout from a HAES non-diet approach. Her philosophy combines neutral nutrition, weight- inclusive care, and her training and integrative and functional nutrition to help women heal their relationship with food in their bodies as a root cause of chronic health conditions. Dana hosts the Wholehearted Eating podcast—which I've been on before…definitely over 200 episodes now, so definitely go check it out—and has been running her recipe and nutrition blog, Real Food with Dana, since 2014.

So I'm really excited for this. I was chatting with Dana on Instagram, we were DMing and just talking and, like, we have to do an episode all about this. So we're gonna dig into that. So thank you for being here with me, Dana.

Dana: Yeah, thanks for having me on. I'm so excited to be chatting again. I can't even remember, I feel like the episode that you came on my podcast was like, over a year ago at this point.

Amanda: I think so, it’s so hard…

Dana: Time is just, like…who knows we're in the vortex at this point. But yeah, I mean, I always love our chats. I love going deep into the, you know, evidence-based nutrition and everything like that, and physiology and stuff that I feel like is really missed in the intuitive eating space. So I'm excited to dive into that, too.

Amanda: Yeah, it's gonna, we have quite a bit to cover. I told Dana, we'll probably have her on again, we'll do an Instagram Q&A with her too. The whole point is, like, Dana has a very unique approach. And we were talking before we started recording about how, like, we both get a lot of people from that Intuitive Eating space, because they're not seeing success with whatever their main health concern is. I feel like it basically is just another diet. So that's kind of what we're trying to stay away from.

So Dana, can you share a little bit more about your background and how you came to this HAES, like, non-diet approach, but you also incorporate that integrative and functional nutrition, which I love.

Dana: Let's be clear, I did not start out this way, right. Like a lot of the people that are coming out of dietetic school right now are like, I'm doing Health at Every Size, I'm doing, you know, body positivity, intuitive eating, all this stuff, like—this is definitely 100% not where I started. So if we want to go like way back, so I was an athlete growing up my whole life and was very, very body conscious. I was a swimmer growing up which then eventually developed into what I would call orthorexia—I was never diagnosed or anything—which then turned into an eating disorder. And so that really got me interested in nutrition, which I think is kind of like a lot of dietitians in our field. You know, that's kind of how we get into it. Not necessarily from an eating disorder, but, you know, just this, like, overwhelming passion for nutrition. And for a lot of people like this desire to kind of look the part and, like, control your body size.

So I got into that. And then later I was having all these health issues in college, and it turned out that I had celiac disease. So I was trying to figure out like, okay, I dabbled in the, like, you know, food is medicine while I was in college. What even is this? You know, functional medicine was not really a thing back then. Luckily, I went to college in Vermont, so they're very hippie dippie up there, and one naturopathic doctor, that was the first one that I ever heard of was like, well, why don't you try cutting out gluten? I was like, wow, a whole new world, you know.

So then after not working in nutrition, I worked in politics in D.C. for a couple of years, and I was like, wow, I hate this, went back to grad school, and really got deep into the functional medicine and functional nutrition field. When you're trained in that field, it is kind of like…instead of in the medical field where you have this problem, and now here's a pill to go with it to kind of fix you, in the functional medicine world it's kind of, oh, if you have this issue—hypothyroidism, for example—here's an autoimmune protocol, you know, like, here's an elimination protocol. And we kind of hand these out like candy. I was really, really into that, right.

And so I was working with people on that one-on-one after I finished grad school and had my license and everything was like, yeah, this is working really well. And then after working with a lot of people on these protocols, I realized that they would come back to me and be like, Dana, my symptoms aren't actually getting better. I was like, ooh, what is going on here? And then what happened next was kind of like a natural evolution, I find, of like, the more people that you see, the more that you realize how big of a role stress plays in chronic inflammation and symptoms and everything like that. And then when you take that further, it's, okay, what are the different chronic stressors that are then playing into these health conditions. And the most common ones that I see are like, you know, what people call adrenal fatigue, and then burnout, and then also tons of gut issues, right. And so what I found was the constant, like, thoughts and just spiral that people have about what foods they should or shouldn't be eating dependent for their chronic health condition or for symptom management, or to try and control their weight, or their body image, was one of the main stressors that was then contributing to all of these health issues.

Backing that up, I was like, oh, God, these elimination protocols, even though many of them are therapeutically designed, right, like, we know that. This isn't just oh, try this diet for weight loss, which like a lot of people do, too. Now, this plays into it as well. But when you've tried to figure out your health for so long, which is a stressor in itself, and now you have all these different rules and shoulds and everything floating around in your head…especially if you have not only one set of chronic health symptoms but you've got a couple of different either organ systems or physiological symptoms that are, let's say, going a little wonky here. You're trying to incorporate all these different food rules and shoulds and stuff, there's almost nothing left to eat. And then the stress of feeling like oh, my gosh, I shouldn't be eating this food, or I was really bad for eating this food, or trying to control the foods that you're eating for the sake of controlling your weight or your body image, is a huge stress that most women in particular, but also men and people of all genders, right, like really struggle with on not a day-to-day basis—we're talking an hour-to-hour basis, right.

And so when you think about that everybody talks about from the conventional medicine field to the functional medicine field about how much chronic stress is inflammatory process that can create all sorts of short and long term health conditions. But what most people are not talking about is how this chronic stress of food and what I should and shouldn't be eating to manage my chronic health conditions or to try and, you know, fix my body image or whatever it is, is really acting to a detriment to our health. And so that is where I come in.

Amanda: I love that. It really is one of those approaches where you don't see it until you've seen a bunch of people. You're 100% right. I was the same way, like, kind of traditionally trained in functional medicine and nutrition. And it is, it's like conventional medicine with supplements. And that's the issue is, that's why I'm obsessed with minerals now and focusing on the foundations. Eating enough food, you know, so many women are undereating or going through, like, kind of those, like, restrict and binge scenarios that are so stressful for your body.

And so when you break all those layers back, like, yeah, are there short term therapeutic things you can try? Yes. But is it going to help you long term? Most likely no, it's not. And it could kind of keep you on this hamster wheel of trying to figure out what's going to solve your health issue. It's like, usually, there's something deeper and most of us know what it is. But we don't want to address it because it's, like, the hard stuff. So I love that.

And do you want to talk about a little bit more of, like, what HAES and, like, a non-diet approach mean and what they look like?

Dana: Yeah, so HAES is an acronym for Health at Every Size, which honestly, when I first heard HAES, I was like, what is that and how do you spell it? You know, HAES is Health at Every Size, which is really, on the one hand, a social justice movement that aims for, you know, equal treatment for all bodies, right. And it's, there's an important distinction, like, Health at Every Size is not saying that people are healthy at every size that they are, right? It is that health and healthy biomarkers and all of these things can exist at any size. And so it's kind of an antithesis to the oh, health equals thin, right, and being in a larger body equals automatically unhealthy.

So the way that I put that into practice in my clinical practice is unlike at a regular doctor's office. I don't ask anyone for their weight ever. And also, the way that I measure health is not by the weight on the scale or someone's body size. So I'm never going to give someone a set of recommendations based on their body size. For example, if you go to the doctor, and they're like, oh, you have PCOS. The doctor’s like, oh, you know, you should probably lose weight, you know, to manage this and the person's like, wow, I've never thought of that or tried that before. Like no way, you know.

So in my practice, instead of being like, oh, well, let's just you know, like, go for weight loss and just hoping that that's going to fix everything, because it's not. Like if you need to do that, sure. You could cut a limb off and lose some weight that's not going to fix your PCOS, you know. What is actually going to fix, whether it's hormonal issues or gut issues or anything are working on the lifestyle, behavior, nutrition, movement modifications, and shifts that actually create changes, if we're using the case of PCOS, in your blood sugar and in your hormones, right.

So when I say a non-diet approach to nutrition, what I'm focusing on is, again, those long term health promoting behaviors from an add-in, non-perfectionistic approach. Because a lot of nutrition, at least from what we see, is very all or nothing—it's either you have to do this protocol perfectly or your symptoms are going to come back and it's basically your fault. Which then can lead people to a lot of, like you said, Amanda, these, like, restrict binge cycles of people feel like they're being really, you know, “good” and they're sticking to their protocols and everything. And then, you know, we just had the holidays when this episode comes out, if people have, you know, pumpkin pie or cookies or whatever, they then feel like they're a failure. And if they're having a flare they think it's their fault, because they kind of strayed from the protocol.

So instead of using this kind of perfectionistic all or nothing approach, what I do is try and add in those things that we know are supportive to different health conditions or to health in general, right. Like everybody knows that movement is beneficial for your health. But setting a goal of I'm going to go to a CrossFit class seven days a week, and if you only go four then you're getting mad at yourself. What if we celebrated that you're doing something, that you're moving—and hopefully you're enjoying—and there's no, you know, shame or guilt or anything involved with it.

But then with like nutrition, for example, if we use PCOS, if we use hypothyroidism, whatever, we know that there are minerals, that there are nutrients, that there are other things that have been shown in the research to be beneficial for these health conditions in therapeutic doses. Why don't we work on adding those in via food, via potentially supplements if there are deficiencies in your bloodwork. Rather than you need to do this very specific protocol, you need to cut out all of these foods, you need to cut out all potentially inflammatory foods, you have to be drinking X amount of water per day, you have to be meditating this many minutes a day. And it's a whole, like, wellness productivity checklist that is realistically completely unattainable for someone who has a job, who has a family, who has other things going on, you know, so, yes.

Amanda: …fatigue, everyone's dealing with, like whatever symptoms if you have PCOS you're probably tired, you might not have, like, great sleep, you know, you might have really poor appetite so you have a hard time eating enough during the day. Like, there's so many things that are going to make it harder for you to apply all those things at once anyway,

Dana: Right. So if you, in that example, if you go to a nutritionist, a dietitian, whatever, and they're like, okay, here's your meal plan for PCOS. And you have to meal prep on the weekends, and you have to blah, blah, blah…that person is probably already getting so overwhelmed, because they're like, I came to you because I am so tired that I can't make meals, I don't know what to eat, and I just need some help to start feeling better as soon as possible. And then that person is giving you a recommendation that is completely unattainable for you. And now you feel like a failure because you haven't been able to do it. So instead of that, it's really trying to meet my clients and my patients where they are and working on adding things in. So an abundance-based mindset rather than an elimination, restriction, all or nothing mindset.

Amanda: And I feel like this mindset can also go for anyone listening to this podcast, right? I think a lot of people…I get a lot of people inside my Master Your Minerals course, they sometimes get frustrated because they're like, okay, well, I have this kind of stuff going on, my hair test shows me this, I'm like super stressed, my minerals are very depleted. But with the lower minerals I'm, like, really focused on food and stress is the big thing because you're depleted. And so you're probably going to react not amazingly to different protocols and supplements and things. So food is really powerful. But it can be hard for people to go slow or to, like, work on one thing at a time. Because most of us, we have this history of restriction with food, of dieting, of trying many different health protocols, whether it's for weight loss or just for like our wellness in general. And it, we, we almost, like, want that, because we think oh, this is going to be the next best thing that is actually going to help me solve my problems.

Dana: And we're always told, especially from the functional medicine space, that food is going to fix everything, which it's funny hearing this from two dietitians, right, and we're like food is not, you know, it's not everything right. But I think I like to always lead with a lot of, like, compassion and understanding. Like, I understand why people think that food is going to fix everything. Because first, let's say patient one has a health condition and they go to a conventional medicine doctor and their, kind of, their health conditions are dismissed or maybe their labs are you know “normal”—which we know what that means—but they're not getting the help that they need there.

So then they go to functional medicine. Makes sense, right? They're looking for another avenue. Then in functional medicine, you get the, you know, here's all the supplements to fix your problems and here's this elimination diet. And we're really, functional medicine is a very, like, kind of libertarian approach to health, right? It's kind of, like, take your health in your own hands, like, conventional medicine failed you, like, here's the tools that you can use to, you know, fix yourself, basically. But then there's also this, like, underlying current from, not everybody, but like some people in the leading paradigm in the functional medicine space that's like: well, if you're not feeling better, then it's because you didn't do the food stuff right Or you didn't do the supplement stuff, right. Or you didn't fulfill this, like, laundry list of productivity wellness checklist of whatever, you know. So then a lot of people are left in the middle of feeling like, well, what…I'm lost, you know, like, what do I even do? And that's a really frustrating place to be.

And then again, that leads us back to the physiology of stress and that conversation. You feel like you've exhausted a lot of different avenues here, and now you're like, well, what do I do now? And the stress of that in addition to body image stress, food stress, trying to figure out your health, everything else that's going on in your life, is going to be negative…impacting…negatively impacting your symptoms. And I want to mention one thing, too, right, is like, I don't want anyone to think that I'm saying that the only reason you have these symptoms is because you have a negative relationship with food or body image, right? This is just a big missing piece of the puzzle that a lot of people are not talking about, right. So of course, there's going to be things like underlying hormonal imbalances, maybe there's a genetic component, there's probably an environmental component, your gut bacteria are all over the place, you know, whatever is going on.

But what we want to emphasize here is, like, all of those things can exist. And all of these other stressors, which are contributing to the severity of all of those other factors and why your symptoms are continually getting worse if you feel like you're trying all these other things. And let's say you have, like, a chronic dieting history or you've just got, you know, a little bit of a rocky relationship with food—it doesn't have to be a diagnosed eating disorder for your relationship with food to impact your physiological stress response and the severity of your symptoms.

Amanda: I still think that the majority of people listening will probably…it, maybe not now, they might not currently have, maybe they've like worked on their relationship with food. But in the past, I feel like most women can relate to that. And even honestly, men as well. I think that's just not like as talked about. One thing I just, I love that you emphasize is this idea of, like, your, kind of, environment. And I think that can be our physical environment, but I think it can also be like our mental and emotional environment. And I think we have to remember that we can't heal in the same environment that made us sick. And mental and emotional stress is, it's, it's like your body is experiencing this chronic stress every single day, all day. So I would say we can't negate how powerful that can be on your health.

And I think that's why when we look at our body image, when we look at our relationship with food, and the approach that we're taking to our food, and our health in general…that's why it can be so stressful, right? If you are in that, like, type A mindset, or all or nothing mindset, although that can be detrimental. And then you're doing all the right things, but you're still saying bad things to yourself all day long that you would never say to another person. You're still in that same mindset where you're picking apart your body despite it trying to do all these amazing things for you. So I do think that that whole mindset piece has such a big impact as well.

Dana: Oh, yeah, it's huge. And it's so hard too, because health is so complicated, right? And if we think that if we are in the mindset—which many people are, and I was there so I get it, right—if that, like, supplements are going to fix it and food is going to fix it, then we feel like, especially if we have this type A kind of perfectionist personality, which I think functional medicine leads really well to, right. Like if you have a type A personality and you're perfectionist, like, those kinds of protocols are like, ooh, I'm sticking to this thing, and I'm going to be great. But if that's not working for you, because all or nothing doesn't work, or you just, you know, as many people say, like, “fall off the wagon” or whatever it is, you then again feel like it's your fault, and then we're kind of back to square one.

And there's also the component of: how much stress is trying to follow this protocol to the tee impacting your mental and emotional health? Because I know for me and for a lot of my clients who have come to me who have tried to do these really restrictive protocols, and if they've tried to combine protocols because they have multiple, you know, things that are going on—thyroid, gut, adrenals, you know, those are, like, that's kind of the triad that I will typically see—if you try and combine a thyroid protocol with an adrenal protocol and you've got SIBO, or you've got you know, any of these other things…you're left to eat with almost nothing. And then it's like, I can't go out and be social, I can't eat with other people, I'm starting to feel more and more restrictive.

I've seen this happen so many times to people who, even who people, even people who have never identified as having like a, you know, a rocky relationship with food or identify as chronic dieters or anything like that. And then they feel so restricted that they physically can feel the stress in your body. I can tell you 100% of the time, that is contributing to your symptoms, especially if they are gut symptoms, and especially if they are adrenal or burnout type symptoms. So it's really this, really tough kind of Catch-22 of, like, where do I go from here, you know. Like I tried, I went on this protocol, because I wanted to make my symptoms feel better. But now I'm doing the protocol and my symptoms aren't actually getting better.

And the thing I always go back to with my clients is, if that is the case, it's not about the food. Because if you were eating, you know, whatever it was you were eating before, and now you're eating this super strict protocol… And maybe you got better for, you know, like, the honeymoon phase of the beginning of the protocol, but then you're kind of in it, and you're really not feeling much better. We've got to look deeper than the food. You know, it's not that food is not a powerful healing agent. But we can't rely on food as the only thing that we are looking to. Because unless you have something like an IgE food allergy—peanuts, seafood, your throat is closing up, we're going to the hospital—or you have something like celiac disease—just removing that food is not going to fix everything. And even in that case, especially with celiac disease, speaking as someone who has celiac, you can't just remove the gluten and then everything is fine and dandy. You've got to do some serious healing after that, because of the massive amounts of damage that that is done to your body.

So again, food is a powerful component of this. But if you're stopping after looking at food, and you're not really diving into anything else as a potential cause or, like, healing agent, it's time to go a little bit further. And give yourself permission to do that and be like, it's okay if I wasn't perfect on this protocol, right? Because food is not the only thing that is contributing to my symptoms.

Amanda: Or supplements. You know, guys, we don't have to be perfectly… some people will be like, oh, I forgot to take this, like, especially with gut protocols. And like, you can't mess up a protocol in my opinion. I don't think it's possible. Yes, we, we do certain things if you have something really big going on. Or, like, for example, that celiac health history, it's like, of course, you might do specific things when the person is ready, and it's appropriate time in their life, like stress wise. But even so I'm like, it's okay, like, it's really not a big deal, we're just gonna continue and pick up where you left off, your body's gonna figure it out. Also, your body doesn't just stop working hard when you stop a protocol. So that's a good thing to keep in mind, too.

And so the way that you approach this and work with people on this whole idea of, okay, let's optimize your nutrition, but in a less, like, prescriptive way is, you call neutral nutrition, which I love. Can you tell us more about, like, what's your definition of neutral nutrition and then some ways that we can all kind of start practicing this approach?

Dana: Yeah. So when I think of neutral nutrition, I think of an evidence-based approach to nutrition, but in a non-perfectionistic way. And again, going back to that, like, adding in rather than focusing on taking away. Because for so much of health what we hear, especially going back to the functional medicine world, is, like, you have to eliminate in order to get better, right. Which in the research is not actually true. Like, there's plenty of research that supports adding in, for example, minerals, like, Amanda's specialty, you know, and all this other stuff to help with chronic health conditions or just health and wellness in general.

So when I'm thinking about neutral nutrition, one I have heard is the most helpful things that I do with clients is neutralizing everything that they think they know about nutrition, right? So not only starting with like, oh, this is a good food and this is a bad food. It's thinking about no, no, there's no food that's inherently good or bad. There are foods that have different nutrient values in them. This is neutral, right? Oranges have more vitamin C than KitKat bars do, right? But that doesn't mean that KitKat is a bad food, right? So if we can start to think about it in that way. And he way I teach this to little kids because I teach Girl Scouts sometimes is each food has different superpowers to it. And I'll talk about, you know, the colors of a rainbow and this is why foods exist in different colors or nature and everything like that. We can start to think about that with different foods is there's no moral hierarchy of foods. If you're not, you're not a good or bad person if you eat certain foods. If you have a chronic health condition or if health is one of your, you know, primary things that you go for, yeah, it would be great to add in more nutrient dense foods, depending on the thing that you're working on—thyroid health, PCOS, gut health, whatever it is. But we don't have to eliminate 100% of the time all these, you know, “bad foods” just because they don't have as high of a nutrient value as these other foods.

And so part of neutral nutrition is really deconstructing what you think you know about different nutritional properties. And like, for example, carbohydrates is a big one that I go through with people, right? Because when we think about like, colloquially, carbs are bad, carbs make you fat, they are going to, if I eat this doughnut it's going straight to my thighs, right? So when I take a neutral nutrition approach that I've kind of, therapists would call this like re-parenting, right, but like neutralizing those terms. Depending on how science-y your clients like to get, we can go to the, you know, molecular backbone of carbohydrates and really break it down. Because what I find is, if people do have this kind of complicated relationship with food, or we have a lot of shoulds around what foods we should and shouldn't be eating?

Well, let's break it down. What are the body's needs? The body needs carbohydrates for energy. There are different sources of energy. There are different ways that carbohydrates break down in the body based on if it's a starch, based on if it's glucose, based on whatever it is, right. And so to whatever level is the most helpful for them, going back to really the science, like, and the evidence-based research and everything, like, that can help neutralize things for people. So we're no longer looking at things in like a good or bad way, or kind of like a hierarchy of foods. It's just realizing, okay, well, you know, I've been really tired today, you know, I'm really tired around this time in the afternoon, and then I get to the end of the day and I'm starving, and I feel so bad about it because then I binge on all of these things. Okay, well, let's rewind here. What were the things that you were craving during the day? What are the things that you typically binge on? Like, when do you typically get hungry? What are the things that you're eating during the day?

And so all of that can give us information. Instead of saying, like, oh, I'm such a bad person for having, you know, chocolate cake or something after dinner today. It's, well, if you were craving chocolate cake, it sounds to me like you were craving iron and magnesium. It sounds to me like you're craving carbohydrates. It sounds to me…you know, and breaking those things down. And then saying, well, it makes a lot of sense that you're craving these things, because you're on your period. We're actively losing iron and magnesium, and shedding your uterine lining is exhausting, right. So it makes sense that your body's asking you for more energy, more iron, more magnesium, you know, all these different things.

And my clients will have these light bulb moments and they’re, like, that makes so much sense. And I feel like I've been just, no wonder I was beating myself up about it. Because we receive all of this negative messaging, especially around any food that has the potential to make us gain weight, right? So just, carbohydrates are one example. Because I find those are just generally the, the scariest foods to work through, right. But it takes awhile. And so if you find yourself, if you're listening to this podcast right now, and you're like, oh, I could never eat that food, or, or, or here's a big one. I feel like I should only eat that food in moderation. Why? What is it about that food? And then really break that food down.

We can do this with processed foods too, like, Oreos—they're basically entirely carbohydrates, right? So if you're craving something like Oreos or candy, or whatever it is, what that tells me right now without knowing anything else about you, is that your blood sugar is probably low. So from a neutral nutrition perspective, instead of saying I have to cut out all sugar and I have to cut out all the Oreos, we go to the other end of the spectrum. We say, why don't we add in some more foods that can help balance your blood sugar throughout the day, which happened to be pretty nutrient dense foods. And then if you still want the Oreos, we've already covered a lot of our other nutritional bases, that's okay. You're probably not going to eat as many of them, because we've covered a lot of these nutritional bases. If we get to, like, now I'm eating all the Oreos, but it's not a physical hunger or a mineral thing or a cravings thing, probably an emotional or stress eating thing. And then we dig into that piece, which is entirely separate.

Amanda: So I love that neutral nutrition approach. And I, have you trademarked that or…

Dana: No, but I feel like I should.

Amanda: You should. In my mind I was like, I think I know exactly what that means. But I think that's a perfect break down. And it's, that's how I practice. I'm like, if you, if you have a craving, I look at those as a symptom, right? Everyone wants to look at a craving or something like that is such a bad thing. It's like, nope, it's a symptom, it's your body trying to communicate with you. It is not a bad thing. Our bodies are so smart. They're wired to keep us alive and keep us safe. That's why we get those cravings, right? If you have low blood sugar, that's not good. Your body's going to have to fix that. And so the way that it's going to do it is to give you that craving at first, eventually we have that suppress appetite, which isn't great.

But I like that you especially highlighted anything that has to do with weight gain or leading to that weight gain. It, that's, that's where it's so hard for people to get past it. I do see a lot of that. I'm very hormone focused, and I honestly don't really talk about weight a lot, because I'm like, I just don't care. We do have an episode coming out on that though, because I know it's, I know, it's a struggle on the healing journey. I went through it, we've all gone through it, especially if you come from that, like, super restrictive background. But again, like, your weight tells me very, very, very little about your health. To me, it's a symptom. I look at it just like any other marker that we have.

But hormones are huge, and so people will feel very connected to things that are going to impact their hormones. And they'll really want to, like, hyper focus in on that. And I'm like, okay, but there's a reason that your body is, has this hormone imbalance, it's protecting you. It might not feel like it, but eventually—we talked about stress a ton—but, like, that stress cascade, eventually, that's going to push things out of balance, but it's literally your body trying to keep you safe and alive. So it can be hard with this more, like, neutral approach at first. It's a lot of unlearning, but I feel like that's the only way that you can create that healthy relationship with food. And with feeling confident and knowing like, okay, I'm, I'm enjoying my food, but I'm also supporting my body.

Dana: Yeah, the interesting thing is, I find that this is the biggest difference between the approach that we both take. It's funny that you're like, I've never heard neutral nutrition before. I'm like, you practice this, what?

Amanda: I know, I just didn't know the term. I'm like, I love this.

Dana: I think we might have made it up. But so, this, this is the biggest difference between me and kind of, like, the intuitive eating world and what I would say the perception of the intuitive eating world is and how it's practiced by a lot of people. Now, the ironic thing is, in—and I'm not an intuitive eating counselor, I've just done a lot of my own research, right—but one of the principles of Intuitive Eating is including I think what they call gentle nutrition, right, which is a lot of this stuff. But I find where this is the most difficult for people who are coming from diet culture or elimination protocols for health conditions and everything is, that is the very last step. There are ten steps, and you don't get to do the gentle nutrition stuff until you work your way through all of the other things. Which if you're someone who has been struggling with a chronic health condition or symptoms, or you're just trying to work on your health and, like, unlearn this stuff, you don't want to wait until you get to step ten. Which for some people can take months and months and months to get there.

So what I try and do is combine the unlearning the diet culture stuff, working on the body image, working on the relationship with food, with the neutralizing nutrition stuff so that at each session that I have with my clients—or whether you're listening to the podcast or whatever it is—you have actionable things that you can work on. You feel like you leave a session or you leave the podcast, oh, here's something actionable that I can do. Whether it's, it's an unlearning step, or it's adding something in—you don't have to wait to start working on that. And I feel like a lot of people kind of get lost in the shuffle there. Because if you're someone who's been dealing with symptoms, or you have a chronic health condition, or an autoimmune disease, and you go to that, and they're like, yeah, just eat all foods, like, it doesn't matter. You're like, no, that's not how that works. If I listened to my body, it's telling me not to eat these foods.

And so I feel like some Intuitive Eating practitioners—who I would say are probably the ones who are not Intuitive Eating certified, but they're just kind of, you know, they're, like, Intuitive Eating on social media or whatever without, without the actual training—is you'll hear a lot of rhetoric around like, oh, just eat whatever you want, nutrition doesn't matter, like, it's not evidence-based or anything like that. Which again, is kind of funny to me, because if you do go by those Intuitive Eating principles, they are evidence-based, and they do go by, you know, research and everything like that. But it just, in my opinion, it takes a little bit too long to get there. But, so then you have these people who are just kind of caught in no man's land. They've come from elimination diets, they've come from diet culture, they've come from trying all these protocols, and they're not feeling good. They're like, well, Intuitive Eating is this new cool thing, like, let me try this too. And they're like, whoa, that's not gonna work for me. And then they're stuck in this no man's land and they don't know what to do.

So this is why I'm so passionate and trying to, like, you know, yell from the rooftops about there is a third way here. Because a lot of people are just floating in the middle. And it makes so much sense to me why they then just go back to elimination protocols. Because to be fair, a lot of people do feel better at least temporarily cutting out all those foods or, you know, whatever it is until the point when they've been doing it for too long. And for example, if they've been doing low FODMAP for, like, a long time, now you have no gut bacteria. Amanda's like…

Amanda: In my head I’m just like, why.

Dana: …head rolled, eyes rolled up, to Venus, you know. But they're now starting to have all these other issues because of stuff like that, or it's taken a mental and emotional toll on them. And now they're back in no man's land. And they're like, I don't know what to do. So I'm just kind of like, come to the middle, we have cookies, and they won't make you feel bad.

Amanda: That is, that should be, like, on a t-shirt I feel like. So, so like, I don't, it's not that I don't like intuitive eating. My take, and my friend Michelle Shapiro…Do you follow Michelle? Yeah, she's amazing. She, we talk about intuitive eating all the time. And I have such big problems with it. Because the big one, and she did a post on this was like, it's very privileged. And in my opinion, like, that's how I look at it. I'm like, I cannot, I cannot even fathom how we expect people to already know what it feels like to feel good. It's it. That's not fair.

Dana: Well, it's, it's not fair. And it's like, that also, which this, this is one of the most ironic things to me, is a lot of people, especially when they're coming from the dieting space, elimination protocol space, or chronic health condition—they don't know how to listen to their bodies. How are they supposed to tell, if you—let's use an extreme example—if you've had an eating disorder, you have learned to suppress your hunger signals and to negative react to your fullness signals. So how are you suddenly supposed to just strip all of those rules away? And then be like, I only eat when I am hungry. For anorexic patients they're not hungry, right, for a lot of them.

So if you're, or if someone is hormonally jacked up, right. If your cortisol is all over the place, your hunger and fullness signals aren't in place, either, right? So you're not going to be hungry in the morning, you're going to be hungry at weird times during the day. And if you're listening to those hunger signals, which are not the optimal hunger signals, then that might look like you only eating once a day, or twice a day, which is not nearly enough food. And then your cortisol levels, they're going to be even more jacked up, right? So you're right, it doesn't assume a lot of things.

And it neglects a lot of people who are in larger bodies and feel like, I can't eat whatever I want. Because if I eat whatever I want, then people are going to judge me all the time, I'm going to go to the doctor, and they're going to be like, what the heck are you doing, you need to go back on this diet, right. And it doesn't really address a lot of these. There's not only one elephant in the room, there's a lot of different elephants in the room, right.

So we need to do a lot of this, like, neutralization before we can even get to the point of being able to listen to our bodies, or neutralize foods, or give ourselves unconditional permission to eat all foods. While at the same time getting to a place—especially if you have a chronic health condition, right, or food sensitivities or any kind of this stuff—unconditional permission to eat all foods also means unconditional permission to not eat the foods that don't make you feel good.

And I think that is a big thing that is lost in the intuitive eating space. Because a lot of these people who are staunchly anti-diet, right—and that's why I call myself a non-diet nutritionist and not anti-diet because I feel like a lot of these people take it way too far. And I mean, I've even heard some of them say like, the only reason you should ever not eat a food is if you have celiac or, like, a peanut allergy. And it's like, okay, so if I don't have diagnosed celiac disease, but I eat gluten, and it gives me disaster pants, you're saying that's still a great idea for me to eat on a daily basis? Like, that doesn't, that's not listening to my body again. So there's like a lot of misconceptions and, like, missed crossed paths and all this different stuff.

And so what I would say is, and I'm, you know, I'm not knocking people who love Intuitive Eating either. Like, I want people to find what works for them. But what I'm saying is I've seen a lot, and coming from staunchly being in the elimination diet space…I did that stuff for years, right? I'm not saying, like, I'm an angel over here, until I realized that a lot of that was causing issues. And then for a while I was like okay, I'm just gonna do the non-diet stuff. I'm not going to do as much of the evidence-based clinical nutrition piece and I was like, what am I doing, like, what is this?

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Amanda: Yeah, it doesn't have to be one or the other. And I think that's what gets lost. And I mean, I've seen Intuitive Eating do amazing things for people. And it's all like, what season are you in? But those people did already have some knowledge on nutrition. And so it's just, it's not the same. And I feel like if you're entering in that space, and going through the steps, and you don't have the knowledge—which you won't learn until the end—then it's just not fair.

And like you said, I'm so happy you mentioned people that are in larger bodies. It is so true that they, it's not the same and there is way more pressure, or they might have other health conditions. Like, obviously, that's not always the case. But I have a lot of clients with PCOS that are in larger bodies, and they can't get the health care that they need, because their doctor just tells them to lose weight and eat less, tries to put them on an appetite suppressant. And I'm like, they're already not getting enough. So please do not do that. We did so much hard work to get where we are today. And even though they're not necessarily losing weight, but they're seeing like, oh, their cycle’s more regular and all that stuff.

But I've had people that come to me from that intuitive eating background where, yes, it helped their relationship with food, it helped them get over like certain food fears. But then they, they just were feeling more fear in general, because they're like, well I haven't had a period for the whole year that I've been doing this. And you know, that's not good, either. So it's like, you have to find that balance. And I think it's, if you enter Intuitive Eating with a little bit more nutrition knowledge, you're probably going to be really successful. And that's great. But if not, or, you know, it's, it just can be really frustrating for people.

Dana: Yeah, and I would even say if you enter the Intuitive Eating space with more neutral nutrition knowledge, you're going to be more successful. Because I find a lot of people—and I'm sure you get this too—in my like discovery sessions, I have a new client nutrition application before I see anybody, and sometimes I'll get like, I know a lot about nutrition so, like, I probably don't need to learn about. And I'm like, okay, yeah, sure. So, which could be the case, right, but so a lot of people will come from, you know, this dieting, elimination diets, functional medicine space, especially, right.

Because if you are told you need to become the expert on your own health, you know a lot about all of the foods that are best and bad for, you know, “for your health condition.” So then if you go into the Intuitive Eating space and you have a list of good and bad foods for you, plus the general, you know, good and bad foods for everybody, as they say, and you're giving yourself that tentative permission to eat things that you weren't used to eating or you weren't supposed to eat before—you're still in an all or nothing mindset. So a lot of people when they go to Intuitive Eating are only eating the old “no” foods, which happens to be a lot of processed foods and elaborate super carbohydrate-rich foods, and a lot of sugary foods and everything. And again, there's nothing wrong with those foods. But I will say if you're only eating those foods multiple times a day, you are going to feel like crap.

So then people are in the Intuitive Eating space and they're like, oh my gosh, I feel like crap, like, am I doing this wrong? Like, what? What are all these people that are, like, flourishing and everything? How are they doing this? Because if you're coming into that space with that remainder of an all or nothing mindset that is very hammered into us in, you know, the dining space, makes a lot of sense why you would feel like crap. And then again, they go back to the other side, because they're like, well, I felt like crap over there and I felt like crap over there. So at least I felt like less crap over here, I'm gonna stay this way.

So I find if you want to be successful with an Intuitive Eating approach, you do need to work on the unlearning the food rules and finding out, why did I go to dieting in the first place? Right, like, so in functional medicine, we're always talking about go to the root cause, right? And that's why I work on body image and relationship with food, because I find it is one of the root causes or contributors to a lot of this, especially stress-influenced disease and health conditions, right?

Because if we pull back the layers and we say, okay, I went into the dieting space because I had a lot of body image issues, right. And then I developed all of this other stuff. Let's say we then developed PCOS later, we developed all this other stuff. We're just trying to treat the stuff that's going on now. We're forgetting to treat the stuff that's one of the reasons why we got into this mess in the first place, right. And so while obviously, we want to treat the PCOS and we want to work on all that stuff, we also have to work on the deep-seated, whatever it was that’s still contributing to our health issues. Now, whether that's body image stuff, food stuff, past trauma is a huge one too, because we know the body stores that, and it is not going away until we process it out, right.

There's so many different things. And when we think about that food is easier to deal with, you know, it's super understandable why people would go to food, why we would go to supplements, because not only are we told in functional medicine, this can cure it, food is the cure for everything, right? But it's way easier to change your diet than it is to dig into your past trauma history, or your relationship with food, or your body image and stuff. Or all the reasons why we have body image issues from when we were like four.

Amanda: Oh, that’s so true. And it's a lot easier to work on those things when you're eating enough. And you're fed, right?

Dana: Yes, and your minerals are replenished, and you have all of the foods that you need.

Amanda: It's then all of a sudden you have the energy to kind of look. I mean, mental, like that mental health stuff, brain power, that requires glucose. So it's like, a lot of times I'll see in women when they start eating enough food and they're on that healing journey, they're eating carbohydrates regularly, they're really replenishing, there's those nutrients, then they might notice, like, I'm kind of having some weird stuff come up from my past, you know. And I'm like, okay, this, this is probably when you're ready. This is probably the next big thing for your health that's going to have the biggest impact.

I know we have to wrap up. I have one more question on gut health. Are you good on time? Okay, so we talked about like burnout. And I feel like that one's obvious. Obviously, if you are stressing over your food, your body image, what your health symptoms…I see a lot of obsession over symptoms, which is totally understandable—I used to do it too. Because you're concerned and you want to take care of yourself. Those are obvious. Like, we can kind of see how that leads to burnout.

I love that you talk about gut issues a lot and how they are deeper, because people like they want to do a stool test, or sometimes they don't, and they just want to take a bunch of supplements and do a protocol. And I'm like, if you have gut issues, it's not, it's so much deeper than that. It's not from just a parasite. If you have a parasite, how did it get in there? What, where's the stomach acid, you know? So can you talk about how that relationship with food and body image piece can actually lead to gut issues in the women that you work with?

Dana: Oh, yeah. Okay, so let's take…going back to definitions and things. Let's take food and body image is a major stressor, right, and you're dealing with this every day. So when we're thinking about the physiology of the gut and the entire GI system, anytime you have a major stressor, you're no longer in rest and digest, you're in fight or flight, right. So then we think about the gut-brain connection and the vagus nerve and all of that stuff… And I think we talked about this when you were on my podcast, too. So we can link to that episode, because Amanda talks about this very well, too.

So if you are having, let's say, you walk to the fridge because you are hungry for breakfast. You open the fridge, like hmm, I don't really know what I want to eat. And suddenly, you're presented with all these different choices, and you've got cereal, and you've got pancakes, and you've got eggs and avocado, and you've got oatmeal, and you've got all these other things. And now you're thinking about this, right? And then you, wait a minute, I shouldn't have oatmeal because like, I know that's too many carbohydrates. And like, I used to have SIBO, so I shouldn't be eating that. And then you're like, okay, well, maybe I should have eggs and avocado, because I know that's got really good protein, it's got good healthy fats. But then there's no carbohydrates, and I know I need to feed my gut bacteria. And then it's just like this whole thing. And suddenly, we have this not only food paralysis, but like a thunderstorm that's going on in our brains. We're no longer ready to eat physiologically, we're not in rest and digest anymore. So we're not making salivary amylase, we're not making stomach acid, we're not making digestive enzymes, the body is not ready to activate the migrating motor complex to move that food through our bodies when we actually eat it.

If this happens over and over and over again, which let's be honest, it does, at least multiple times a day, we're not absorbing the food that we're eating. We're not absorbing the nutrients, the vitamins, the minerals, all of this stuff. We're also, every time you're in fight or flight, you're not producing stomach acid, again which opens the gates for anything to come in. So if you had even a seed of any kind of gut bacterial imbalance, H. pylori, anything like that, and now your stomach acid is suppressed because you're stressed about your body image, or you're stressed about food or whatever the reason you're stressed is…we've now, the gates are open, right?

And so if you are a person who has really robust stomach acid and, you know, your stress system is functioning in a way that's where it responds to a stressor and then you go back down to rest and digest and things are working well, you're less likely to actually get…I don't want to say implanted, but that's because, that's a weird word, but that's basically what's happening. Like, seeded with something like H. pylori or a parasite or bacterial imbalance or SIBO, or any of these other things. Because you've got robust stomach acid, that's the main gate, gatekeeper that's keeping things out. If our stomach acid is low, because we're in fight or flight, and we're not producing stomach acid, then it's more likely that those things are going to come in.

Here's a sticky thing about H. Pylori. Not only does H. pylori, is your body more susceptible to get it and actually get infected with it if you have low stomach acid, but H. pylori itself also creates lower stomach acid. So that's just the top half of the GI, right. Then we also know from research—and there's so much more research that's coming out about this recently, which I love—that your, the, like, the amount of stress that you have, and stress changes the composition of your gut bacteria. And we know this, and we can see this in stool testing as well. So like Amanda said, it's like, you've got a parasite. Okay, that's causing a lot of your symptoms. Where did it come from? We're not only like, oh, I went on a cruise one time and you know, I had stomach or food poisoning and whatever. Why were we able to get this in the first place?

And so when we're thinking about our body image and relationship with food and all of the different ways that it's impacting the GI system, it's from a structural perspective, it's from an enzyme perspective, it's a stomach acid perspective, it's a gut bacteria perspective. But then it's also all of the downstream effects of that. Because if we're not producing enough stomach acid, we're not breaking down proteins. And we're not absorbing proteins, we're not creating all of the things that we need with amino acids, which is, like, literally everything. So neurotransmitters, like, our hair, our nails, our skin, our muscles, like, everything, right?

Then we think about the gut-brain connection. Again, if I'm not absorbing protein because I have low stomach acid, because I'm so stressed about fill in the blank, I'm not creating enough neurotransmitters. My stress is also messing up my gut bacteria imbalance. So now I'm not producing enough serotonin or dopamine. Now our neurotransmitters are super depleted, which makes you have even worse body image and relationship with food, because now you have those spiraling thoughts, right. And we've basically only talked about the brain to the stomach here, like, you know, there's, there's so many different directions that we can go here.

And this is where I really love to hammer home with people, because we can talk about your, why working on your relationship with food and body image is important until the cows come home. But what I find is the most impactful for people is when you bring in again, that neutral evidence-based nutrition. So you're telling me that having H. pylori is not allowing me to create stomach acid, which means I can't create neurotransmitters, which means—adequately—which means that I'm not able to produce that serotonin and dopamine, which means that my anxiety is high, my depression is also high, and I'm feeling real low. That goes straight down the gut-brain connection, and now your stomach is all over the place. We're creating an environment that's more susceptible to you getting all of these different gut issues, haven't even talked about symptoms yet, right? We've only talked about conditions, right?

So if you're having symptoms, here's, here's something to ponder, right? If you're having symptoms, no matter what you eat, again, probably not about the food, at least not only about the food…let's go a little bit more upstream or to the root cause and try and figure out what's going on. It could be the stress about the food that you're eating. So here's a question, right, is, is it the food that you're eating that's creating your symptoms? Or is it the environment in which we are eating the food that is creating the symptoms? So, or both, because I don't ever want to say that it's one or the other, right?

Because it can be for example, if you don't have enough digestive enzymes, not going to digest lactose that well. Dairy is going to be eh, you're going to be a little fart-y, you're going to have all these different things. But if you have something like, let's say, what's an exaggerated version of dairy that people think is bad… a cheese cake, if you eat a cheesecake, and you're like, oh my gosh, like I wasn't supposed to eat this, like, I know dairy triggers my rheumatoid arthritis, I know it makes me have gut issues, I know it's got all this stuff. Now, you don't have enough enzymes to break the dairy. So you're probably already going to have a little bit of gut issues, especially if you've got bacteria that love the sugar and cheesecake, right? They're going to be fermenting that stuff all over the place. But also, if we are eating this and within the, you know, hour period around when we are eating it, we're entering into fight or flight as opposed to rest and digest. Because we have all these good and bad and shoulds and all these things about the food and our body image probably coming up, that's also going to be contributing to the symptoms. So it's complicated, but fascinating, and I love talking about this stuff.

Amanda: I love that you went through, like, the top down scenario, how it can show up symptom wise, but also conditions. Because I mean, people are doing a lot more testing and stuff nowadays, a lot of it is on their own. Like, you can like order just a stool test from somewhere and then get the report. I'm like, please, God, no. It just leads to so many unnecessary restrictions, and it's really difficult. Like all those tests, like, you need someone to help you interpret it. Like, that's, it's a very, very important otherwise, you're going to continue to waste a ton of money on supplements and testing and not really get to that root.

So many things I want to just, like, make people hear again. Like, one big one is when you were talking about how, like, the stress piece and, like, mental health is going to impact digestion. That's going to impact how you break down the food, which is going to also impact your mental health. I think it just goes to show that every system in the body is connected, nothing is operating on its own. But some for some reason. I feel like with gut health, people like to look at it as separately even if they have like a more functional mindset. If they're, like, kind of geeking out and all that stuff. I get a lot of people that are like, well, how am I gonna improve my minerals if my gut health isn't great, and I'm like, you have to work on your minerals in order… Like, we need sodium for stomach acid, like, what are you going to do just ignore all of that stuff, try to just do a bunch of eradication protocols and then then you're going to address your minerals?

Usually we are in, if we have gut issues, we have depleted minerals. I see most people, their hair test is a fast 4, which means their body is stressed out but they have basically no resources to deal with the stress. And so those are the people that have the worst gut issues. They want to work on the gut issues first. And I'm like, you're not even going to tolerate that protocol, you're going to have a terrible reaction, you're not going to feel good, and you still won't get rid of the gut issues. So we love to separate things like hormones, but oh, my progesterone is low, like phenomenal—that's not the problem. It's a deeper problem. So same thing with gut. So I'm so happy that you kind of connected everything and really pointed that out. Because I think that's the most confusing for people.

And again, just like that neutral nutrition approach, if you understand your physiology…and this is why we spent so many episodes in the beginning when we first launched this podcast of like going through, like, metabolism, female physiology, here's what nourishment looks like and here's why. And yes, I think evidence-based approach is important. But I've said on here many times before that we can't ignore everything that we see in practice, and we cannot ignore female physiology. Because a lot of research isn't done on women and especially not menstruating women. So just knowing, how does my physiology work.

And, like, you going through that whole gut health thing…people are probably like, what, my stomach acid, that's like my first line of defense in the gut? Okay, now I know stress impacts that, oh, I need sodium for stomach acid, I guess I will do those adrenal cocktails you know. Like, it all connects and makes sense. I, it's just, it can feel like so much for people to take in. But I hope that this is just giving them a taste and showing them, like, you don't have to stress about this, like, we have to slow down. It's so common to get excited over a symptom or a condition that you have and want to hyper focus in on that. But you have to zoom out.

And I don't know how you, I feel like this is probably similar with your approach with, like, relationship with food and body image. But I'm like, people are like, okay, like, I'm doing this stuff, like, what? Like, it's not making sense of like, do you like your life? Like, do you, like, have fun? You know, are you only thinking about your food and your supplements? If you, or if you meditated for an hour this morning or whatever. Like, you have to do things you enjoy, spend time with people you love. Like we can't only just focus on this, like, food supplement type of piece.

Dana: Yeah, I 100% agree. And this is where the integrative holistic approach comes in, right? And that can be on the one hand overwhelming and it can also be reassuring at the same time. Because if we try and look at everything, and we try and fix everything, it's like, this is too much, I can't. You know, now it's adding to my stress level. But at the same time, it's also kind of reassuring, because it's like, well, I can’t only focus on one thing and let the rest of it just go by the wayside, because I'm not going to get better, you know. So I like to work on what is the lowest hanging fruit for people, or I once heard someone call it, like, the big rocks, you know. What are the things that are, that we can work on that are the least amount of time or effort that create a maximum impact.

Now there are going to be bigger things, like if you hate your job, and it is causing you stress every single second of your life. It's not as easy as just, oh, I'm just gonna quit my job and everything's gonna be fine, you know, but we can create a plan or some backup plans. And that's something that you can eventually address. And we can think about the other things that we can work on. Or what I like to talk about a lot is, okay, so that's, that's creating a lot of unprocessed stress in the body that's building up every single day, which is going to eventually create or contribute to a lot of these issues. How can we help process out that stress on a daily basis or weekly basis so that even if you can't change the situation that you're in, you can deal with the way that your body is internalizing that stress, and then eventually creating those physiological symptoms. So we work on that too.

Amanda: I love that, and it's such an important part of the process that it can be hard to do a social media posts on that, you know, so it's, you know.

Dana: We just talked for an hour.

Amanda: It's like, there's only so many things you can address, like, in a post and everything. Some it's great to be able to, like, talk it out, especially the intuitive eating piece and like neutral nutrition. It's like this, there's a lot guys, like, we need to, like, hash this out. So I think a lot of people are gonna love this. I can't wait to hear the feedback.

Is there anything that you want to leave people with? Guys make sure you're following Dana on Instagram @danamonsees_cns. Listen to her podcast Wholehearted Eating. And then if you want to check out her blog, she does have her website, Real Food with Dana. Anything else you want to share?

Dana: What do I want to leave people with… Funny, again, coming from a dietitian nutritionist…it's most of the time, it's not about the food, you know, and we've got to go deeper. And at the same time, you know, this, this stuff is hard. And this stuff is complicated. So I would say my biggest piece of advice is, don't try and figure it out on your own. Because I tried to do that, and it took me so many extra years to get out of my eating disorder and figure out all of my chronic health conditions because I tried to do it all on my own. That is the kind of person I am even in my business now. I try and do everything myself, and it's not great for me, can lead to burnout occasionally. I know that's something that I tend towards, right.

So if you're struggling with this, if this seems complicated, that's because it is. So I would highly recommend you get some help. And if you're reaching out to work with a practitioner, follow that person for awhile, see what they're about before you just jump in and work with them. Because someone may have an approach that works really well for a lot of other people. If it doesn't work for you, that doesn't mean you're broken. That just means you need a different tool for your toolbox.

Amanda: I love that. And definitely, check out Dana's profile. And it's so important, I get people that reach out to me and they, they, like, they follow all my stuff. And then they want to know more. And I'm like that's, that's what you should be doing. Same thing with my course. And I have questions on that. And like I try to answer everything as often as I can. Because I'm, like, I get it—you want to make sure that this is not going to just be like another band aid approach for you.

So thank you so much for being here and sharing all of your knowledge and expertise on this whole topic. I think this is going to be really helpful for people. And we'll definitely have you on again in the future.

Dana: Yeah, thank you. I love being on today. Thanks.

Thank you for listening to the Are You Menstrual? podcast. If you enjoyed today's episode, please consider leaving us a review and sharing the podcast with someone you think it will help. If you are new here, we can't recommend enough to start with our mineral imbalance quiz. This is going to give you an idea if you are at low, moderate, or high risk for mineral imbalances. And then of course, make sure you follow us on Instagram @hormonehealingrd. And consider signing up for our newsletter if you like nerding out and you're just loving these podcasts but maybe you're a little bit more visual and you want to see things too. We go into a ton of detail in our weekly newsletter. So we would love to have you join us there. Alright, thank you and we will see you in the next episode.


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