How could mold be affecting your gut health?
In this episode of the Love Your Gut Podcast, I talk to Isabel Smith about mold toxicity, treating mold, the functional medicine discomfort, having the right mindset for healing, knowing when to get tested for mold, and how you can help your body deal with mold.
Isabel Smith, MS RD CDN, Founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition and host of The Wellfuel Podcast, is a nationally recognized Integrative Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, and Health and Lifestyle Expert, as well as a Certified Level 2 Reiki Practitioner.
At Isabel Smith Nutrition, Isabel and her team of dietitians work with clients of all ages (almost) and in most areas of wellness- though ISN specializes heavily in gut health, thyroid, hormone, autoimmune, and allergy. Isabel and her team help guide their clients towards true health and healing through helping clients identify and treat the root cause of their dis-ease.
Isabel’s expert opinion is often featured in print and online, and can be found in Elle, Mind Body Green, Readers Digest, Women’s Health/ Men’s Health, and others. Isabel is also an advisor, consultant, and brand ambassador for various companies she loves, as well as an Angel Investor in the Consumer-Packaged Goods space.
Topics Covered in This Episode:
- [05:01] Mold symptoms.
- [06:17] Isabel’s story with mold.
- [16:00] Provoking mold.
- [18:42] The mold timeline.
- [25:30] The urgency of getting better.
- [30:03] The mindset of healing.
- [37:31] When to get tested for mold.
- [42:30] Help your body.
- [45:44] Isabel’s favorite way to love her gut.
If this episode has been helpful, hit me up on Instagram, and tell me about your experience!
- Try a short-term low-histamine diet.
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- “I would not recommend treating yourself for mold.”
- “You’ve got to focus on the end goal.”
- “Sometimes, dead ends are a good thing.”
- “Your life is a reflection of what you consistently do, not what you occasionally do.”
- “The longer you let it sit, the worse it gets.”
- “Healing from any health-related issue also involves your subconscious.”
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Isabel Smith, Dr. Heather Finley
Isabel Smith 00:02
But again, I was going somewhere, right. And I think there’s a lot of mindset work that goes into this. And it’s something that we’ve been having to incorporate more and more and more and more and more into our patient work because we’re like, expecting that this is going to be like a tomorrow thing. It’s not. And don’t forget friends that when we treat an infection, we open the infection back up. Right. So actually, if you’re feeling worse, it actually means we’re probably getting at those like deep pockets of infection and, you know, pop problems behind the scenes.
Dr. Heather Finley 00:32
Hey, welcome to the love you got podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Heather Finley, I know you’re thinking, how am I supposed to love my gut when all it does is hold me back. I thought the same thing before I found my own relief from my own gut health issues. I dedicated my life to getting to the bottom of my own gut issues, so I can help women just like you transformed theirs. Now I’m here to guide you through your own gut health journey. We do this through identifying your root causes and making sustainable and transformational changes. As a result, you can unleash your true potential. My goal is to empower you with the information and tools you need to love your gut. So it loves you back right here on this podcast. Welcome back to the next episode of the love you got Podcast. I’m so excited because today I have Isabel Smith on the podcast. So Isabelle, welcome to the podcast.
Isabel Smith 01:28
Thanks for having me, Heather. So fun to be here.
Dr. Heather Finley 01:30
Yeah, so fun. We’ve talked a ton on Instagram. And this is the first time that we’ve actually like had a zoom date. So it’s fun to actually like, see you in person versus just on Instagram.
Isabel Smith 01:42
Likewise, and I was thinking about that today. I was like, we’ve been like, Instagram friends for a while. And I’m like, this is like our first date. And we have like a double date because we’re recording on yours. And I love it.
Dr. Heather Finley 01:53
Well, why don’t you just tell the listeners a little bit about you why you do what you do and kind of how you got here.
Isabel Smith 01:59
So I’m, like you integrative and functional and like to think about how we get to the root cause with helping people. And so we work and Isabelle Smith nutrition, which is my practice on a variety of different stuff from gut health to thyroid hormone mold, which I think you and I are going to touch on. And you know, I like to play health detective, I’m a dietitian, but I think I should have gone to medical school because I really love to just like roll up my sleeves and think about what’s going on in the body from a systems perspective. You know, pathways really nerd out on what’s happening my clients bodies, and you know, the kinds of clients that we work with are typically pretty complicated. So it’s, that is my joy, my joy is helping people seeing people heal is really super joyful. And, you know, I’ve wanted to do this since I was 11. So I saw somebody speak at my school, and she was had an eating disorder and was a dietician and was like, I you know, Food plays a healing role in my, you know, journey and recovery. And I just had never thought about food as medicine. And I was remember sitting on the floor with my legs crossed and my fifth grade hormone classroom, and being like, Wow, that’s amazing. I’ve never thought about food like that. So that sort of is like, you know, started my journey. And, you know, I’ve, you know, twisted and turned and had lots of different things pop up. And you know, I am where I wanted to be. So what’s really fun is being able to connect with people like you.
Dr. Heather Finley 03:23
Yeah, honestly, it’s so fun. I feel like the world of Instagram itself has just, you know, brought tons of practitioners like us together. And it’s cool that now I have friends kind of really all over the globe, which is really cool. So today we’re going to talk about mold, which I haven’t talked too much about on the podcast. So I’m really excited to introduce this topic to people. It’s something that I get questions asked about all the time. And I shared recently that I was going through my own mold journey. And I think that’s partially how we all kind of connected, was realizing that we both had this in common. So I love to just first talk about what what are we talking about when we say like, I have mold toxicity or I have trouble with mold, or I’m I have mold poisoning. You’ve heard people say that before? Like, what are we actually talking about? When we refer to that if someone is like, wait, you can have mold? What does that mean?
Isabel Smith 04:18
You know, it’s a really good question, because I think there’s, as we were talking about offline, there’s a lot of confusion about it. So the bottom line is that you know, about 25% of people don’t have the enzymatic capability of breaking down mold in the body once we have been exposed or are exposed. Currently, we’re living in a space that has mold. We have to actively break down the mold in our bodies so that it doesn’t build up. Mold loves warmth, wet, damp, with lots of food. So think about think about everybody it’s a swamp, right. And so actually once you have been exposed if you are one of those lucky people who can’t break it down, you may have mold growing in your body, which can look a number of ways from a symptom. perspective.
Dr. Heather Finley 05:01
So tell us a little bit about some of the symptoms that someone could experience. And this is a caveat here is we’re not diagnosing you with anything. And just because you have these symptoms is not confirming that you in fact have mold. So don’t leave this episode paranoid. But what are some of the symptoms that you see with people struggling with mold,
Isabel Smith 05:21
so wide variety, so often they’ll have a lot of histamine intolerance. That’s one of the biggest I find persistent trouble with weight loss. And they might have quickly gained weight, fatigue, trouble sleeping, insomnia, more anxiety, mood stuff, depression, etc. Feels can feel worse. And you know what else comes to mind? It’s mostly in the histamine family, food allergies, food sensitivities, you know, chronic Candida, fungal overgrowth issues, which sometimes can be completely silent. I know for me, it was totally silent, that piece of things, but that’s typically within the family. You just feel like garbage, really, if you’re having a lot of trouble with it, and you’re full of it.
Dr. Heather Finley 06:04
Yeah, I can agree to the feeling like garbage. And kind of wondering, like, what the heck is going on? Like, why am I dragging myself out of bed in the morning? I’ve never been like this before, what is going on? So tell us a little bit about your story with mold? How did you discover that you had mold? And, you know, you don’t have to go into all the details. But like, why does this hit home for you?
Isabel Smith 06:30
Yeah, so um, that’s a good question. And I’m always happy to spill details, you know, the more you know, the more you know. Um, so for me, it was 2018. We were still living in New York City. And we were moving from an apartment on the 15th floor to apartment on the 16th floor, I had actually had trouble sleeping. So I like to move lots of places within the same buildings. I lived on the 14th floor, then they renovated I moved to 50. And then they renovated I moved to 16. So I lived on the 14th floor, I slept really well. Life was good. I felt really happy. I moved to 15 started to have trouble. And these apartments are on top of each other. Okay, so I started to have more trouble sleeping, had at some point noted that there was a leak in my ceiling. And it fixed didn’t think much of it. Great. They renovated the 16th floor apartment, it was bigger, brighter, had a terrace, I moved upstairs. At that point, Paul had moved in with me as well. So we got upstairs was April, and probably into it took me about a year, almost a year to notice that, you know, I just wasn’t started to not feel great. When I found out was it the apartment next to the 16th floor apartment that I had been sleeping under. And 15 was a rent controlled apartment that had had tremendous leakage. And what happens in New York City and rent controlled apartments is they don’t properly take care of them because they want the tenants out. So they do a lot of band aid work. And I knew the person who lived in that apartment when I lived on 16. And it was the floor was buckling, it was a mess. And I had lived underneath it. And that was where the leak had come from. So now I’m starting to put the pieces together. What really spoke to me was when I would leave that apartment, now we’re talking into the beginning of the pandemic, I had gained a lot of weight overnight, I was having a lot of like redness, facial facial redness, rapid heart rate, trouble sleeping, insomnia, a lot of anxiety kind of out of nowhere. And again, again, wait, like pretty much I felt like overnight when I’d leave the apartment, which was again, seldom because it was COVID and then come back. My face was purple. I was feeling super swollen. I noticed tremendously when I would leave and then come back. And that is one of the hallmarks I always ask people, right. It’s like, how do you feel when you leave your space? And how do you feel when you come back? Sometimes it’s not as easy because it could be a past exposure. So you know, I I knew that something was wrong. I had the building come up and look at it. No, no, everything’s fine. Everything’s fine, right? Of course. So, you know, fast forward, we were gonna move to I was like, I’m done. We’re gonna move to an apartment down the street. We’re sitting eating dinner one night, and I had been watching the apartment, of course, because you watch everybody’s partners in New York City, across the way, this lovely couple had moved out and they had started doing renovation. I knew what it looked like when they were living there. It looked like mine and had nice white walls there was like, look brand new. Well, when these people moved out, they must have known that there’d been a problem because they’ve ripped the walls out and everything was black, it was black everywhere. Everywhere you could see was black, black, black, the ceiling underneath all of what looked like nice white plaster photo and send it to the landlord. And I said look, I highly doubt you’re going to do anything about this. But I want you to know that I think this is what’s happening in my apartment you guys know that I’ve been complaining of not feeling well. And I strongly believe that this this is happening in my apartment to never heard anything from him blah, blah, blah. So moved into the next apartment which also had mold much, much less than now. And what was interesting is At my C four a, which is a compliment Lab, which will also often be looked at in cases of servers, which is chronic inflammatory sort of scenarios will be elevated, you know, Lyme mold can elevate it, other things can as well. So my C for a was really high, not high enough to be Lyme at that point in time was about 5000. But they told me it wasn’t high enough for mold. Okay, well, all of my labs were perfect. Right? At this point, I was starting to have anaphylactic allergies that had brand new had started to come up. And I was having so much histamine intolerance. So I went to a doctor friend of mine, and I was like, Look, here, my labs, everything looks normal, I can tell you, I don’t feel well, my allergies look like nothing. My mold allergy looks like nothing, but I am really suffering. And he said, Isabel, I think, you know, you could have still a pretty dense mold population inside of your body that may not be showing up in blood work from the previous exposure. And I was like, what, you can have it even if you’re out of the space, and he was like, yes, absolutely, it can grow inside you. So that was sort of like the aha moment. So from there, I did, you know, a mold urine test. And it wasn’t crazy high, but I also didn’t provoke it. And I should have provoked it. But it was it was enough. You know, it was it was enough for me to know that it was positive. And so I started doing treatment for it based on the species, you know, took various different clays, etc. And I started feeling better almost immediately, I was started to lose weight pretty quickly, my allergies started to get better my histamine intolerance symptoms started to get better. And I was reading Did you read the book toxic by Neil Nathan,
Dr. Heather Finley 11:42
I’ve read pieces of it, I haven’t read it front to front to back. But I’ve I have it on my shelf.
Isabel Smith 11:47
It’s dense. The part that stuck out to me the most was the piece when he’s talking about the fact that, um, you know, with mold and mold treatment answers in general, the harder you push like a boomerang, the harder you push, the harder it pushes back, right, and the more damage you’re actually doing on your body. So we sort of want to arrive at that place from a treatment perspective where we like, you know, we get a little bit of pushback, but then we then we pull back, we don’t keep pushing forward, which sometimes in gut work, you know, we’re like, oh, it’s gonna get better in a couple of days, blah, blah, you know, we can push through here. And clients say to me all the time, just give it to me, like, you know, give me the hardest thing, it’ll be fine. And this kind of work, I’m like, no, no, this, this is actually going to be worse. So, you know, from there, things started to like, really get better, you know, for me, and, and, you know, I did a an intensive mold clean out and then also did an intensive antifungal protocol. And then I figured out I had Lyme disease. So therefore, you know, we then got to that level of Jumanji, but the mold is, you know, was a huge one for me.
Dr. Heather Finley 12:52
Well, and I agree with you on the boomerang analogy, because your body, you can’t force your body to detox any faster than it’s capable of. And if you just overload your system, you’re gonna feel like garbage. And so, and it’s not doing you any favors. It’s just making it harder on your system. So I totally agree with you. And we tend to see those clients too. They’re like, just put me through it. I just want this to be over and done with and I’m like, That’s not, that’s not how this works.
Isabel Smith 13:20
On a deadline. You’re like, Aha, okay.
Dr. Heather Finley 13:24
Well, thanks for sharing your story. I think it’s really helpful. And we encounter that a lot. We have clients that live in water, damaged buildings, and maybe don’t realize it until maybe they go on vacation for a week. And they’re like, Wow, I felt so much better. You know, my nose wasn’t stuffy. I didn’t have rashes, you know, I wasn’t having as many histamine symptoms. And I think the thought is, oh, well, I wasn’t working, so I wasn’t stressed, or I was sleeping more. And certainly those things can help. But if it’s like very significant, then it’s something that might be worth looking into. I know that’s kind of how I started. My spidey sense started tingling on my own. Last summer, we went to California for a month. And I have an aura ring. And my heart rate variability was just in the gutter. And I was like, blaming it on postpartum you know, at that time, I had like a six, seven month old baby. And I’m like, Well, you know, I’m still recovering whatever. But we went to California for a month. And my heart rate variability jumped like 2030 points, which is pretty significant. And I wasn’t doing anything different. Besides being in a different environment. I was still working while we were there, I was still doing all the same things that I normally did. And then we got home and it went right back down. And I’m like, What is going on here? So if you have something like an aura ring, and you’re seeing patterns like that, that may be something to look at as
Isabel Smith 14:43
well credible. I didn’t I didn’t even think about that. That’s incredible. It
Dr. Heather Finley 14:48
was crazy. And, you know, it was it’s kind of become a joke between my husband and I, but when we first moved into this house about three and a half years ago, I would always complain about the carpet and our bedroom and it’s one of the only rooms in the house that has carpet and I’m like, this carpet is making me sick. And he’s like, you just want the carpet out? And I’m like, Well, I do. But I do think the carpets making me. So every year for my birthday, he’s like, What do you want for your birthday? And I’m like, I just want the carpet out. And so then this year for my birthday, I was like, I truly do want the carpet out. And so I finally got the carpet out because our room was actually the source of the mold, which was interesting. And the kids bathroom. But But yeah, so so crazy
Isabel Smith 15:30
how you can like, sorry, I mean, interrupt. No, you’re good mold under the carpet?
Dr. Heather Finley 15:35
I don’t know. But there was mold somewhere in our room. And there was also mold in the ductwork, which doesn’t help because then it’s blowing in your entire house. And then there was mold under the cabinet, in our kids bathroom. So fun times. Now, we’re renovating a bathroom that I did not intend to renovate. But here we go. Got to do it. Right. Yeah, gotta do it. For the kids, you know, of course, but you said something that I want to clarify for people that are listening that maybe this is a new concept, you said I didn’t provoke it. So tell us more about what you mean by that. This is something that we will do for our clients. But if someone’s listening and thinking like, what the heck, how do you provoke mold? Talk to us about that?
Isabel Smith 16:16
Well, so first of all, I would not recommend creating yourself for mold yourself, do you not I get people who are like, I’m going to DIY and I’m like, please don’t do that. Okay, not not the gut work that Heather and I do. None of them nothing, people should not be doing this, save your money, find somebody you want to work with, and then do it when you can. But anyway, back to the mold. Um, so like a lot of things our bodies like to, you know, try to hide portions of toxicity and chemical exposure and stuff away, or body’s like to sequester away what’s dangerous, right? What’s what what it doesn’t want to see. So it packs these lovely nuggets in our fat cells, right? It’s sequestered away deep in the tissues. And so what we need to do in order to get a positive test often or get, get an accurate test is to, you know, invite that garbage out of the fat cells and into circulation, really, and help you excrete it so that we can see what what it really looks like. The person at the time who ran the test for me, didn’t give me any of this kind of information. So I didn’t naturally do it. And it was high, but it wasn’t crazy high. It depends on the client, if the client is really suffering, and I know that they’ll have trouble with compliance, I won’t provoke it. And I’ll just read it knowing that I didn’t provoke it. But when I can I do. So how do we do that? Saunas glutathione, you know, well, I guess one could use Nic, but I usually typically, like glutathione, better exercise before avoiding moldy foods before taking the test can be helpful. But again, I’ll often just have people take it and I’ll read it knowing you know what I did or didn’t do. But we want to get an accurate reading. So these are some of the ways that we can we can do this.
Dr. Heather Finley 18:05
Yeah. So you’re basically trying to stir it up in the body to say like, Hey, we want you to come out if you would allow yourself to.
Isabel Smith 18:13
Yeah, yeah, if you’re the show yourself, and this would mold heavy metals, you know, etc. We want to get it out of those bad cells. Yeah,
Dr. Heather Finley 18:23
absolutely. So tell us what the mold journey looked a bit more like you once like for you, once you started working on it. You said you did antifungals, you said you started doing some detox, you were working on it very gently, which is wise. So tell us kind of timeline on this because I think it’s helpful to set clear expectations on like, what this could actually look like, since it’s very much human nature to want the like exact protocol, here’s what you do three weeks, and you’re done. And that’s not the case with mold are really good issues or anything that you and I deal with? No, because
Isabel Smith 19:03
it’s an onion, right? So we start peeling the layers back. And suddenly we notice that there’s a lot more layers. So for me, actually, this part of it was not particularly long timewise however, you know, I do have some clients who I’ve had on lower levels for longer periods of time, because I couldn’t get them up to where I know that they need to be because they feel so terrible when we take the dose up, which to me tech says there’s more in there behind the scenes. So I because I’m me and I generally also like to try things before I recommend them. You know, which is helpful as a practitioner, as long as is applies and is safe, but for me. What I started with is I used bentonite clay because the species of mold, you know, would work with with bentonite. Actually the practitioner at the time who recommended I had this like wacky allergist guy who’s actually a super nice guy who was the one and he recommended doing the mold test and you know, we were kind of collabing and he was like, why don’t you take well call? Well call is one of the most poorly tolerated drugs out there. And I remember it was about three weeks before my wedding, and I looked up the symptoms of the side effects of what well call it could be an M like burping, belching, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and I was like, Gee, I could just envision myself and my white dress. Like got the alter like bridesmaid style like that’s what came into my head. So I was like, not doing that. So I started doing some research I was like, There’s got to be another way right so I so I figured it out. And for me, bentonite was was an option because I had a lot of okra toxin from the water damage. And I also had some of the fungal species Gila toxin, Zia, real unknown, however we want to pronounce that were those were my three most, I didn’t have much aflatoxin and I didn’t have some of the other species. So for me, the okra toxin would respond to the bentonite clay and the, the other two need an antifungal. Also, there’s some really cool properties and very specific probiotics, Saccharomyces boulardii, and service a that I like to use as well. Probiotics are just so cool, and highlights why you need specific strains for specific purposes. Like we always say, you can’t just you know, like, shoot blindly here. So I started the bentonite clay, I felt awful, I was exhausted, I felt like I was detoxing. I was like, but I was happy to have a reaction. I was like, This is great. I know, I’m doing something. So what I would do, and I use the same one I titrated off of 20 years of Adderall two years prior is I like would go up, you know, I started with one, you know, how do I feel? Bah, bah, bah, okay, I feel terrible. And then it would even out and I’d start to feel normal. Okay, I’ll go up to two, you know, it would even out start to feel normal. Okay, I’ll go up to three. And I did this until I was taking about three or four twice a day. And I basically stayed on it until I felt completely normal. And then I was like, okay, you know, no change, no change, no difference by me increasing the dose, which means, you know, generally means that like, we’re good, we’ve got it. And so I then started to titrate off of it. The Saccharomyces and some of the other stuff I still take today, because I love them. And they have benefit for me with this Lyme situation I have going on Lyme and mold do often go together. Lyme mold and long COVID often do go together. I was also
Dr. Heather Finley 22:30
round two of the podcast that
Isabel Smith 22:34
I was a lucky ducky who got lung COVID as well, probably due to the Lyme disease situation. But you know, I have clients, like I said before, that I’ve had on the clays on and off for a number of months because we just can’t they can’t tolerate the detox behind the scenes. You know, I was a number of years into my own health journey because I’d had melanoma when I was 30. And 2018 had been on Add meds for 20 years and knew something was wrong. Got off of them did some did a did a GI MAP test had no got symptoms had h pylori and some dysbiosis. So treated that. And then in the midst of this mold thing, I actually did the full Cell Core protocol, which is an I did it to them Max, they’ve actually brought the intensity down over time, I did like the most maximum. And I did the durations for longer. So I believe that by the time I got to the mold, and actually now to this line thing that I’m doing, I’ve tolerated it excellently. And I think it’s because I’ve done so much work. But guys, just to give you like, like a like a zoom out. We’re talking five years now that I’ve been doing all this stuff, right. And I think people can get super impatient. And I’m noticing that our patients are super impatient. People are super impatient. And you got to just really work on the mindset, which is I’m working on getting better, my goal is to feel better. And I’m just going to sit in it and I’m going to do the work until it’s done. And that was really my mind set with the mold. I had no idea how long it was gonna take. But I remember on my wedding day taking my bentonite clay, you know, I was like committed to doing it right. And like I just like did it I don’t this is sort of how I operate just in general. So like, if I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it. And it really paid off for me because this line piece which was really behind the scenes, and probably what what started actually the whole thing in 2018 which was me thinking that the Add meds that I was getting off of was causing all the brain fog and the weight gain and deliberate about Baba was the mold and the lime because I’d had swollen joints in the fall of 2018 and didn’t think anything of it. But every layer that we peel back right helps us get a little bit further forward towards where we want to be.
Dr. Heather Finley 24:45
Hey there, I know you’re absolutely loving this episode on gut health, but I have to interrupt to ask you a favor. If you haven’t enjoying the love your gut podcast. The best way that you can support us is by leaving a rating and review on Your favorite podcast platform, your ratings and reviews help us reach so many more people and spread the word about the importance of gut health. So go on over, hit a five star rating and leave a review, letting others know how much you love the show and what your favorite episode was. I truly appreciate your support and can’t wait to bring you more get loving content. I love that you shared this whole story. And it just reminds me of kind of what we were talking about offline before I press record, which is kind of this urgency of getting better. And this impatience, and it’s hard. When you don’t feel good, you want to feel better ASAP, and you want someone to tell you the exact plan. And it can be frustrating. I know, from a client perspective, because both you and I have been in those situations where it’s like, we address one thing, and then another thing comes up and we find the other thing and then another thing and so you kind of feel like you’re playing Whack a Mole a little bit, until you finally get to this place of calm. And so any tips or insight for the listeners on like, how to deal with that, and like why that’s actually a good thing coming from a lot of people coming from this conventional model of like, you have this thing, you take this thing, you know, it’s like very black and white. And I think in functional medicine, there’s so much gray, and there’s just so much more detective work and digging, and it can feel really frustrating. But that frustration can actually be a really good thing because it shows you’re getting somewhere. So what are your thoughts on that?
Isabel Smith 26:30
No, I mean, look, I think I had decided, before I even started this, that I was going to get somewhere, right? I had decided where I was going before I got and that’s again, just me as a person, right? I am not sure how I’m gonna get there, but I’m gonna get there, right. And I knew that I could feel better than I did. And through that, I was able to sit through the discomfort of the full selcourt protocol. And I can tell you, I felt like trash. I felt like trash. But again, I was going somewhere, right. And I think there’s a lot of mindset work that goes into this. And it’s something that we’ve been having to incorporate more and more and more and more and more into our patient work because people are like, expecting that this is going to be like a tomorrow thing it’s not. And don’t forget friends that when we treat an infection, we open the infection back up. Right. So actually, if you’re feeling worse, it actually means we’re probably getting at those like deep pockets of infection and, you know, pop problems behind the scenes. But you know, I think for me, at least, and this is maybe just the way I’m wired, which helps and because I’m also the practitioner, even though I had a village of practitioners also around me along the way, helping me, I did not do this alone. I did a lot of it alone, I navigated a lot of it, but I had a lot of support. I knew I was gonna get better, I again, didn’t know how. And I think that’s a very, very important distinguishing point between those who actually really get better and those who don’t, right. And there was, there was, for me a lot of difficulty in like, I didn’t know, my body and my body was like, just totally different than I’ve ever been. And it’s still I’m still working towards it. And I remember being really like mean to myself again, oh, behind the camera, you guys were seeing me like doing my thing during COVID and exercising and yay. But like I was like deeply criticizing myself behind the scenes. And then somebody posted something one day and it was like your body hears every single thing you say to it. And I was like, wait a minute, your body hears every single thing you say to it, shoot, I’m saying really mean things to this body of mine that is really struggling, that’s doing everything I’m asking it to that I’m pushing really hard to do the work. And I remember that day, I was like, I got to do something different. Like I need to talk to myself differently. If I’m gonna get anywhere, I need to think about this differently. So I was also and you and I were talking about this offline starting to invest in business coaches at the time. And the first business coach that I invested in had a very, very heavy mindset component. So I was doing these like really crazy, cool, subconscious sessions with this coaches, you know, team while in the program with him. And that was really helpful. Looking back because it, it kept me focused on where I was going. And I think that’s a very, very, very important thing is you got to stay focused on the end goal because it makes the current state a lot less uncomfortable.
Dr. Heather Finley 29:33
Yeah, and it prevents you to from just focusing on the past, which is something that we see a ton and I’m sure you do as well. We have clients that just want to repeat all that they’ve been through and not that that’s not important. There’s a time and a place for that, of course, but if you keep repeating the story of what has happened and what hasn’t worked, you’re just ruminating on what hasn’t worked and you’re not focusing on a solution. So looking even just the what you just said, your body, here’s everything that you say to it. If you’re just thinking about, Well, I tried this and it didn’t work, and I tried this and it didn’t work, and I feel terrible doing this and this and this, your body’s hearing that and it’s not thinking, Oh, well, but I have a plan, and I have a solution to get past this. So there’s a huge mindset shift that has to occur from even the way that you think about how your symptoms have gotten you where you are today. And also, where are you headed after this
Isabel Smith 30:32
completely. And I think those people who can take shorter, sort of a looser grip on the wheel, which, by the way, you feel like there’s like a personality type, which comes along with, you know, God stuff, also. And so that’s a very hard ask for a lot of these people. But I think you got to trust deeply in the process, as well as your practitioner, and know that we are also trying to figure out your body at the same time, and this stuff takes time. And I think for me, I was, again, had support, but was basically like treating myself and like leading the ship. And I was very committed to being like, okay, like, if this doesn’t work, I’m gonna figure it out. And if this doesn’t work, and if I don’t like what, you know, I’m feeling then I’m gonna go this way, you know, and so I was willing, because I just knew I could feel better. You know, and I think that’s the bottom line.
Dr. Heather Finley 31:27
Yeah, and I mean, sometimes dead ends are a good thing, right? If you didn’t somewhere, it means you’ve checked something off the list. So a dead end isn’t always a negative, it’s a positive and that okay, we checked that off, let’s move on to the next thing. It doesn’t mean it was a fail.
Isabel Smith 31:43
Totally. And I think we have to look at our bodies that way, you know, and there’s been so much going on in the last number of years to write and I think I’m seeing, we’re seeing I’m sure you our bodies are more stuck, more more, you know, I guess more stuck than I’ve ever seen them, you know, we have, we’re using twice as strong protocols we’re using, you know, because everything is just stuck. Our bodies have been through a lot of stress, right. And I often go through this exercise with clients, which is like, let’s like talk about how you got here, right? Because when you’re being really impatient with me, and you’re like snapping your fingers at me, and I’m just like, hang on a minute, why don’t we talk about how long it took you to get where you are, and all the things that added up over time to get you where you are and how you’re feeling now? And then they kind of go Oh, right. Right. So for me, my story was 20 years of add meds 20 years of never being able to stop taking it because I felt like I was being dragged behind a dumpster. You know, I was exhausted and I didn’t feel well. And I was like, so anxious. And I’m not an anxious person by nature. And I was really high strong and I can be high strung anyway, but I’m not as high as strong as I was. And I knew like you have this like knowing you know, that like something needs to change and something’s not right. And you knew about the freakin carpet, you know, like, you’re like, something’s not right. And that’s something could be anything, right. And I think we either listen to those voices, or we turn them down. And so when I got melanoma in 2018, I was like, shoot, like, I was like, I know what I need to do here, I need to start digging, I need to start looking at all the things I don’t want to look at. Right, and I need to start thinking about all those things that I’ve like, you know, tucked away and said, Oh, later, or I don’t want to or whatever. And we all have these things, we all have these things in the background that we’re like, you know, I like really should start to think about it. But I don’t really want to. I’m urging you to make a list. And to find the thing that feels the easiest to start getting going with, or the hardest however you work, whatever works for you, whatever, whatever you decide on that list, and start to go after it. Because the longer you let it sit, the worse it gets. Right. And the more the more uncomfortable you might be. And the further away from where you want to be. And then trying to do the work. The longer you let it wait, the harder it is.
Dr. Heather Finley 34:01
Yeah, it’s totally true. I actually posted this on my Instagram stories today. But like you your life is a reflection of what you consistently do, not what you occasionally do. And so I think we tend to go to these extremes for our health, like, I’m just going to do this like crazy detox, and then I’ll feel better. But no, it’s the consistent habits and the things that you’re able to implement into your life on a daily basis. Because I think one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to health is that like they there’s an end point, but there’s not. And it doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with some infection forever, you’re stuck with your SIBO or mold forever. It just means in order to take care of your body long term, there are things and habits that are helpful to incorporate on a daily, weekly, monthly, you know, whatever basis
Isabel Smith 34:48
totally. And I say that to clients all the time, like I actually don’t really care about the things you do occasionally. So feel free to eat the whatever it is you want to eat, don’t care and the condiments that you like that you’re not eating very frequently that you’re not eating in excess So I honestly don’t care about those, right? It’s like, what what’s happening all day, every day that we actually care about, because it’s those things that are going to make the biggest difference in the long haul. Right? I’d say right now I’m harping on sleep. I am like, hung up on sleep with people. You know, I am, like, really obsessed. So there’s that. And then, you know, like, the things you do every day, those are the two things, right? I don’t care about the scale, and I don’t care. You know, I’m like, what’s actually going on? And how do you feel in your body. And that, for me, was the reason that I made started to make changes, and I knew that I was going to be pretty uncomfortable in the process of making them at some point. Along the way, when I was, like I said, 20 pounds heavier than I had changed, nothing, I had changed nothing in my life, and I was 20 pounds heavier. I just remember being like, one day, I was like, Okay, this is where we are. Right, like, and, and when I accepted it, things got a lot easier, I stopped trying to squeeze into the clothes that I knew I couldn’t fit into, and I bought clothes that would fit. And you know, it looked pretty good. And nobody would have known that I couldn’t fit in my smaller clothes, right. It’s like a lot of like balancing the ego in this kind of stuff. And it was a lot less difficult to just get into it. And I think this is like the same for any kind of like healing process, just if giving into it is actually a lot less energy than fighting it. Mm hmm. You know, I think it made all the difference in the world.
Dr. Heather Finley 36:29
What I hope people are getting from this is how much your subconscious beliefs about yourself and your body, how much they affect the process. I think that’s really the take home here is like healing from mold. Healing from any health related issue also involves your subconscious. And these are the things that you might not even realize that you are ruminating on and thinking about every single day. But those affect how you consistently show up for yourself and the thoughts that you consistently have, which therefore affects the outcome as a result.
Isabel Smith 37:08
100% Yeah. And I think you know, kindness, also with yourself goes a long way. Yes, it’s grace. Yeah. quieting yourself down in any capacity, you can breathing, whatever it is all of the above. It really helps.
Dr. Heather Finley 37:23
It totally does. So I’m glad we had no plan for this episode, because I love how it turned out. And I love where the conversation went. And it’s always so good to hear about other people’s stories when it comes to mold or really anything health related. So most of the people that listen to this podcast struggle with some kind of digestive issue. So let’s like shift a tiny bit before we wrap up and just talk about when would it be a good idea for someone to get tested for mold, if maybe they’ve done and we were talking about this before, but maybe they’ve done SIBO protocols? Maybe they’ve done gi map protocols? And maybe they kind of feel like they’re really stuck and nothing is working. So what would be some signs that maybe they should explore this mold piece? Yeah, and we can kind of have a conversation about it.
Isabel Smith 38:15
Yeah, yeah. So you know, the sneakiest devil in the background that almost never shows its face as fungus, right? Fungus, the fungus among us. Mine showed up nowhere, absolutely nowhere. And I had a raging fungal problem raging. I had no like vaginal fungus had no white tongue had no nothing. I was the same for me. Right, like, shows up nowhere on no tests on no nothing. I finally went to see again, kind of wacky allergist who was a really good guy actually gave me like a Candida injection to see if I was reactive, and it blew up like crazy. That was the only way that we figured it out. But what I will say behind the scenes in any kind of like chronic dysbiosis, or SIBO, or anything, fungus can be really persistent behind the scenes. So chronic bloating, you know, the sugar cravings, sweet cravings, the anxiety, the insomnia, some of this histamine stuff. But the but even if you don’t have it, and you find that you’ve having just chronic recurrent recurrent recurrent SIBO infection or SIBO, infection, infection of any kind, and you can’t clear it, and you’ve done all the rest of this stuff, your thyroid looks good and your blah, blah, blah, and the rest of it, I would urge you to consider the fact that there may be behind the scenes sorry, then there may be there may be behind the scenes, you know, cause for there being more fungus in your body and in your environment. You know, and this can be due to the mold thing because as I said to you guys before mold in the body, produces fungus actually and then the fungus produces the mold and then the mold produces the fungus and it’s this like disgusting feedback loop. Hmm,
Dr. Heather Finley 40:01
yeah. And it’s like you said, it’s really hard to detect, like, we rarely ever see someone with Candida show up on a GI map. It’s like pretty rare. And so but someone could have all the symptoms. So it’s often really helpful to test elsewhere for that. What are your thoughts or opinions on using herbals versus using pharmaceuticals? I know this is something that we talked about on Instagram a little bit, probably a couple of months ago. Now. Where do you kind of land on that?
Isabel Smith 40:31
So I actually did both. And I was actually, so I was actually on my statin for six months, straight every single day. And then got anaphylactic to it. So that was a fun day, then switched over to Itraconazole, which, which I’ve actually continued in my Lyme journey. I think that the herbals use great, we use them a lot. But sometimes there really is need for pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Heather Finley 40:58
I agree with you. And that’s the same thing as me, I took my statin and it wasn’t strong enough. And then I took Intercon is all and it’s like the fog completely lifted. And so I always tell we have clients that are like, I don’t want to take any pharmaceuticals. And then like, sometimes you just have to bless the medicine that is available to you. And it’s going to help you feel so much better. And there. There can be this gray area of using some of these more natural supplements and also using the pharmaceuticals as
Isabel Smith 41:26
well. Yeah, they I mean, look, you know, I’m candid about it. I’m using verbs as well as antibiotics, as well as if ICANN is all for my Lyme thing I you know, I blended it all through throughout. You know, I think the unfortunate part in this day and age is that a lot of practitioners either don’t know about the mold problem and don’t don’t agree with it won’t treat, it won’t even talk to you about it. So it’s been harder to get practitioners to prescribe appropriate amounts of foreign pharmaceutical antifungals for patients, so I’ve had to use pretty strong herbals on most of them. Because I can’t get most of these practitioners to think that this is important. Yeah, that’s really sad. So, you know, hopefully, some of you guys are listening, and you’re wondering, and, you know, reach out and happy to connect you to other, you know, nurse practitioners and doctors who are willing to talk about this, if you guys don’t believe that, you know, we know what we’re talking about. There’s there’s a whole community of people that are like really dialed into this in addition to us.
Dr. Heather Finley 42:26
Yeah, absolutely. So just to kind of wrap up, if someone thinks that they might be struggling with this, maybe they’re not in a place yet where they’re ready to test or they’re ready to do anything about it, or they’re saving money or whatever it might be, what are some, like actionable things that they could do now to help their body or to just move the process along slightly?
Isabel Smith 42:48
Yeah, you can try a low histamine diet, that should help a bit, you can try a low mold, low histamine diet, that should give you some relief. You know, again, we don’t want to be on those forever, because that will actually do more harm to your microbiome in the long run. Because, you know, restrictive diets do starve the microbiome in certain ways. But, but what’s worse is the you know, the reaction on behalf of the body, which is like a lot of histamine, Storm and all of that, from this, that’s actually worse for the gut in the short term. So you’re better off actually doing the restrictive diet, and then, you know, working with somebody to help you undo it, deal the problem, get to it, but if you’re just like, I can’t deal right now. And I want some relief, you could try that. I don’t typically recommend that people start like a cocktail of supplements that are generic because I just don’t recommend that I’d actually rather you’d look through diet, look up moldy foods look up low, you know, low histamine diet, do what you can there, you could try some things out, see what your reactive to what you’re more reactive to what you’re less reactive to just remove the ones that you’re more reactive to play around with it. Keep a journal. Keep in mind that with histamine stuff, you can react for up to three days. Most people react pretty quickly. But there are those lucky folks that react and up to three or three days. The other thing I will say is that remembering that if you’re a family of three or four people and you’re living in a house that does have water damage, there may only be one person, one lucky, lucky person in the family that responds right and it doesn’t mean that it’s not real, that was you. It just means that you are the lucky person who doesn’t tolerate mold as well. And that can be due to you know, hormonal stuff, age, genetics, other stuff going on in the body as well. Can you do a lot of different reasons, but we often see that it was a question somebody asked me yesterday on one of my asked me anything they said, but why is only one person reacting and that’s just because it usually goes that way.
Dr. Heather Finley 44:43
Yeah, and that was the I mean, that’s the case with me. Thankfully, my husband’s fine my kids are fine, which of course, I’m very grateful for. And you know, a lot of it I think, for me was probably years and years of digestive issues, which I’m thankfully passed now but you know, some of This I think could have come from the past. And then it was just exacerbated by living in this home. I lived in so many old college dorms and sorority houses and just not good situation. So I highly doubt that this is the only exposure that I’ve had. I think this being postpartum and stress of running a business and also the fact that I have estrogen and my husband has much lower levels and my kids, obviously, that put me at a higher risk as well. So it all makes sense. But yeah, there’s always one lucky right? We’re the lucky ones.
Isabel Smith 45:32
Always. Yes. You know, and they think we’re crazy. But like, we’re not crazy. I mean, like, are kind of crazy, but like in this way. We’re not crazy. We’re telling the truth. Yeah.
Dr. Heather Finley 45:40
Only crazy on some things. Okay, well, last question that I always ask everyone is because this is the love of God podcast. What is your favorite way to love your gut?
Isabel Smith 45:52
I drink 30 ounces of fresh green juice every day that has celery, parsley, and cucumber and another green. Okay,
Dr. Heather Finley 45:59
do you do you set yourself?
Isabel Smith 46:02
That is my deal with myself. 30 ounces, it’s one bunch of celery, one bunch of parsley, one cucumber and one large handful of something very green?
Dr. Heather Finley 46:12
Do you go to the store like every day? Or do you have space to store all of that in your home?
Isabel Smith 46:16
We don’t have kids so and my husband eats in the city most days at work. So my fridge is my own blissful place to be. But no, I just order it I order my produce, don’t go to the grocery store. Very often I order from Fresh Direct. I’m such a fan girl. And that’s like a northeastern thing. And that was my deal with myself. Actually, when I started treat being treated for Lyme and I gotta say juicing is one of the best things you can do for your gut, even though people will give it a bad rap. The soluble fiber is wonderful. And it’s great for just regulating valves as well as providing like just super nutrients. So love him. Yeah,
Dr. Heather Finley 46:58
I have a juicer that’s probably collecting dust in my cabinet. So maybe I should pull it out.
Isabel Smith 47:02
And inspiring you hopefully.
Dr. Heather Finley 47:04
Yeah, I love it. I used to juice actually like a carrot, a tomato, and I can’t remember what else maybe an apple. My brother in law is an acupuncturist. And apparently in Chinese medicine that is like, I can’t remember why. So for any of you listening, don’t like quote me on this. But it was like some special concoction that was like good for something. And so for a while I was doing that. And I actually really liked the taste of it more than anything, I don’t think I really noticed a difference in how I felt but it tasted good. So whatever I’m
Isabel Smith 47:36
using, it’s great. It’s just it’s a great way to just add so much more nutrition. So just be careful of how much fruit you but
Dr. Heather Finley 47:44
yeah, love it. Well, thank you so much for joining. This was fantastic and hopefully really helpful for people that are curious about mold. I’ve know I’ve gotten so many questions on mold on Instagram since I’ve started talking about it. So I’m glad to provide this resource. So tell everyone where they can find you and how to follow along in what you do.
Isabel Smith 48:03
So you can find us at Isabelle Smith nutrition on Instagram. We also have a podcast called The wealth fuel podcast, which also has its own handle, but we post on social and, you know, reach out if you have questions. We have a lot of information about mold and you know, related things and we’d love to chat if you guys have questions. Thanks.
Dr. Heather Finley 48:23
Yeah, thanks for joining.
As always, please note that this episode or anything discussed on this podcast is not a substitution for medical advice and you should always consult your health practitioner before trying anything new.
Dr. Heather Finley
Thanks so much for tuning in to today’s episode of the love your gut podcast. I have a new quiz that I’m so excited for you to take it is called which popular song describes your gut health issues. So if you’re ready to find out if you’re a slow down by Lenin seller or Don’t Stop Believing by journey in the world of gut health, it’s time to head over to Dr.Heatherfinley.co/quiz to take this new quiz and find out if your gut is rockin and rollin or more of a slow jam. And until next time, remember to love your gut so it will love you back.