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Episode 279: Beating Cancer and the Secrets to a Great Mood w/ Annie Mabashov, FDNP

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Introduction

[00:00:00] Detective Ev: Welcome again to another episode of the Health Detective Podcast. This will be episode 279 about beating cancer and using nutrition to influence mood. I will read our guest’s bio here.

Her name is Annie Mabashov. She is a certified FDN practitioner who helps people struggling with their health get to the root cause of their health issues using functional lab tests and personalized health building programs.

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As a cancer survivor, she knows firsthand the impact that functional based nutrition and lifestyle changes can make to help regain health. After completing chemo back in 2013, she was cancer free, but still suffered from a weakened immune system, chronic fatigue, and recurrent infections. Traditional Western medicine tried to help but did not provide long term solutions to rebuilding health.

Three years after the chemo, she still felt awful and started seeing a functional medicine practitioner who took the time to go through functional lab work and put her on a new protocol that transformed her life and helped her regain her energy and health. Subsequently, she decided to pursue training in functional health and became an FDNP so that she could help others.

Obviously, we’ve connected before, I always thought this was a really cool niche. There have probably been two in all the episodes that we’ve done so far. But I’ve never had someone with this exact story that serves this exact audience. So, it’s going to be a fun topic today. Not that it’s the main point of today per se, but of course we’re going to dive into your story.

Welcome to the show.

Beating Cancer: Doing All the Tests

[00:01:27] Annie Mabashov: Thank you so much for having me, Evan. It’s so good to reconnect with you, I really appreciate it. I know that you’re doing the back-to-backs today and just keeping that energy up. So, I really appreciate and love it. And thank you for that introduction.

[00:01:40] Detective Ev: They know secretly I would do five of these a day if I could get people to tune in live.

[00:01:43] Annie Mabashov: I feel like you have enough energy for it. Now I wish I could bottle up that much energy; I love it.

[00:01:49] Detective Ev: I almost need five of them so that I can go to bed peacefully. Yeah, get it all out of my system.

[00:01:53] Annie Mabashov: Yeah, I can see that.

So, that pretty much summarized it. In my former life I was a lawyer. When I was on maternity leave, I found out that I had stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

That was crazy because if you looked at me, I looked super healthy. No one would ever know that I was sick. I did chemo, 6 months of the highest dose of chemo you can do. And afterwards I just, for years, I felt awful. I just kept going from doctor to doctor trying to figure out like what’s going on. Why am I getting sick all the time? My hair is not growing back. I can’t get my energy back. I couldn’t figure it out.

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Finally, I went to go see a naturopathic doctor and they did all the tests that I now do for people, and you do as well as an FDNP. We were able to figure out like my gut was shot.

Beating Cancer: Incomplete Form of Healing

My immune system was super low. Everything was just not working. Working through the nutrition part of it and the functional health part of it, I was really able to regain my health and get back to myself. I’m so grateful to be here in that capacity.

I know you have a similar story in the sense that you’ve also had your own health journey. And I think that a lot of us in this field, we get into it because we have had our own health struggles and are on the other side of that. And we want to help people feel their best.

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[00:03:03] Detective Ev: You’re right. Because even without cancer, it’s still conceptually identical stories. We have this usually very surprising or shocking set of symptoms or diagnoses, but what the heck’s going on? Of course, naturally, the common sense route is to go to Western medicine first, then we’re normally left with some side effects or an incomplete form of healing from that, so we move on to the next thing.

We’re focusing more on, again, the nutrition and mental health side today, but I’d still like to dive in even more to your story. So, you said it was super surprising when you originally got this diagnosis because from the outside and probably subjectively, you felt and looked healthy. What symptoms led you to going and getting this diagnosis? Or was it just by sheer chance that they found out?

[00:03:45] Annie Mabashov: I was really tired, but I had a newborn that wasn’t sleeping. That was just like par for the course, right?

Beating Cancer: The Diagnosis

I had this cold, and it wouldn’t go away. I went to the doctor, they gave me antibiotics, didn’t work. And I had this kind of like cough that I couldn’t get rid of. One night I started coughing up blood and I went to the ER. It was so funny; I was just rereading the story of how it happened the other day.

I went in and to be honest, I was annoyed to go in. So, I was like, why am I going? This is like a cold. It’ll go away. I don’t even know. Like my husband told me I need to go to the ER. I’m like, fine. Okay.

I go in there. We’ll just do an x ray just as a routine thing just to be safe. They were almost like apologetic about it. Oh, I’m sorry to put you through this. It’s so annoying. So, we did that, and they were like, okay, we’re just going to do like a CT scan just to make sure everything’s okay. We’re sure it’s nothing, but we always like to check for blood clots and stuff like that.

So I was like, okay it’s 10 o’clock at night. I’m dying to go home already, but I’m like, okay, I guess I’ll do it. And the doctor came back in with a very solemn face. He was like, you have a mass on your chest that’s been pushing down on your lungs and that’s the reason that you have this cough that hasn’t gone away. It’s most likely lymphoma.

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My husband and I were in the room together and my jaw dropped cause I was like; I didn’t actually even know what lymphoma was. I asked him, I was like is that cancer? He’s like yeah, it’s cancer.

Beating Cancer: No Symptoms

It was shocked. Like, I couldn’t even imagine. I was 31 at the time, looked super healthy other than obviously being like a tired mom. But I had no other symptoms. I didn’t have enlarged lymph nodes or a lot of the other symptoms that people with lymphoma have night flashes and stuff like that.

[00:05:25] Detective Ev: Wow. I just really want to dive into this to almost show a point to people.

If anyone’s a lawyer, you gotta be super smart. You’re hardworking as heck, right? These are not 30 hour a week jobs. This is intense. So, with that said though do you think there was a chance that you were pushing some symptoms off because of your strong mindset, or did you really not feel much of anything negative until you had this call?

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[00:05:49] Annie Mabashov: I really honestly didn’t have any symptoms. I was home on maternity leave. So, I was home with my son. But really, I was fatigued, again, like I wasn’t sleeping. So, it’s that kind of stuff I was just pushing off because it was par for the course. But really, I didn’t have any of the traditional symptoms whatsoever.

And I actually asked my doctor about it once. Let’s say I had not discovered this, at some point would there be a point that I would have had symptoms? And he’s like probably in a few years. If you hadn’t come in and discovered this kind of on chance, your lymph nodes would have been more enlarged. Like things would have happened eventually. They just hadn’t happened yet in the process.

Beating Cancer: Be Smart

[00:06:27] Detective Ev: The reason I asked is because yeah, sure, I have my own health story. But really there’s been this fascinating set of revelations as I’ve interviewed more and more people on here because it’s all different types of health issues.

This is not the first time I’ve heard this but it’s only with people who have some sort of cancer. Again, it’s not every cancer by the way. But the only time I have heard it is what I’m saying, the diagnosis ended up being a sort of cancer. Where people swear everything was actually pretty good and then something happens rather rapidly and then it’s like, holy cow. This has obviously been growing for a while. It didn’t grow in the last two weeks before you went in. It’s like something’s going on.

Unfortunately, that even happened with my aunt. We literally had Christmas Eve altogether. Everyone’s happy as can be. She was getting some headaches apparently for just the last few weeks that we didn’t even discuss on Christmas Eve. Looked healthy as can be. She was super thin.

Goes in three days later, just for the headaches, brain tumor. And it’s like what? So, I don’t know what that is. It is interesting to me that this is happening in this sort of population. So, you obviously go through the normal Western medicine treatments, totally understandable. I don’t think I’ve had anyone on here yet that’s opted out completely.

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Cancer is a different ballgame. So, be smart with these things. That’s not medical advice, but like seriously, use the best of both worlds. I think that’s the best option. But you were not into any functional medicine stuff when you were doing the treatment for cancer.

Beating Cancer: No Inclination

[00:07:52] Annie Mabashov: No. Then just to be a hundred percent transparent at the time, we didn’t even eat organic. I thought organic was a scam at that time.

It was really bad. I was super thin. So, I was drinking diet sodas and eating all these fat free salad dressings that have a million chemicals and stuff. But I really had no inclination. I’ve always ate a lot of fruits and I’ve always cooked, that I’ve always done.

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But in terms of eating cleaner and being aware of a toxic burn and all that, I really wasn’t into any of that. I thought it was like a little woo-woo for me. It was really not a field I would have expected myself to go into.

[00:08:27] Detective Ev: What a crazy irony.

I totally can respect that because even though I’ve been into this stuff for a while, I can also see other people’s perspective. This is not the default way of thinking. It is normal if you’re sick to go to Western medicine. You need to have these experiences happen to think outside the box. It would be weird to go to the other thing first, unless you’ve studied it in some way or had a family influence.

The reason I said it’s ironic is because of all things, you’re not eating organic, like you said, and we know a lot of the non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas now are associated with glyphosate.

They’re getting sued completely. And we’re trying to take it off the market very slowly, which is amazing that we can’t do that overnight. Because if you and I sold a product that did that, we would be shut down immediately. But they get a special thing where you can remove it over several years. Crazy.

Beating Cancer: Functional Lab Results

Thank God you’re still here doing obviously well. And it inspired you to get into the space.

With the labs that you did with that functional doctor, were they similar to stuff that FDN would do or what did you look at, if you remember off hand?

[00:09:35] Annie Mabashov: We did a gut stool test. My commensal bacteria were really off. I had dysbiotic growth, H. pylori. We dealt with that.

In terms of hormones, they were really low. Actually, the chemo put me in early menopause basically. So, my hormones were completely off. My cortisol was really high because it was stressful. All of that was obviously something that we worked on.

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She also did a micronutrient test. That was really good to see because a lot of my nutrients were super low. Especially some of the ones that are super critical things like my B vitamins, omegas, glutathione levels, all those things that are protective against cancer. I had really high levels of inflammation.

And the thing that’s always so crazy to me is I just remember, and I love my oncologist to death, like he saved my life. But I will say, when you ask your oncologist what should I be eating during cancer? They’re like, eat whatever you want. Some things make you nauseous, have a bagel or cereal or whatever. They never tell you to eat like healthfully, they’re just like, whatever makes you feel good.

And obviously I studied on my own and I did eat more healthfully during my treatment, once I knew I should. I think that’s not like the traditional thing in Western medicine.

We were definitely working on all of those functional lab tests and doing the supplement protocol, the nutritional part of it. That was very helpful.

Beating Cancer: What Does the Science Say?

[00:11:02] Detective Ev: It is insane to me, too, because unfortunately, the stuff with my aunt was rather recent. And I think anyone that goes into the functional space that has these experiences where, once you’re dealing with your healing, and it’s going really well, you want to spread this on to everyone, right?

You want to give it to everyone, and you eventually come to the next stage where you realize it is not your job to go save everyone. In fact, it’s quite rude in a certain sense to push yourself into everyone’s conversation.

So, my philosophy now is if I find out someone that I care about dearly gets a diagnosis, I send an initial thing. I’m so sorry, I have people that I believe that can help. If you’d ever like that, let’s talk more. You will never hear me bring it up again. And that’s the approach I took with my aunt.

Unfortunately, she passed away. She was not willing to do the dietary stuff. I’m not judging her, this is not her judgment, it’s the recommendation she was getting. The stuff she was eating with a full-blown cancer diagnosis, two years into this thing at our family parties, were stuff I wouldn’t even eat like right now today, I would still not eat and drink because I know how badly that would affect me.

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And I’m not also blaming the oncologist, right? That’s why these things are very complicated because this problem goes so much higher than all these things. Because quite frankly, the oncologist doesn’t even know what I’m about to say most likely because they’ve never been presented with this. But you being told to eat whatever you want, that is not science. That is not what science says about cancer.

Beating Cancer: Annie’s Niche

It is very clear that they respond, most cancers at least, respond extremely well to high levels of glucose. So, to say, yeah, just eat the bagel, drink the red wine still, he literally told my aunt to still have a glass of red wine at the family parties. I’m like, What? This is crazy. You’re going to have something that converts purely into sugar for a cancer patient. I don’t want to become ranty. Obviously, that’s still a personal thing, so I won’t go too far down that road today.

But it is wild to me because it’s one thing to be a little ignorant of functional medicine where we do mix common sense with science. It’s not always just purely I can prove this with a peer reviewed thing, it’s like common sense tells me eat real food, right? That seems safe enough. The science does not support that you should eat whatever you want or can as a cancer patient. So, I hope that we continue to support these people at a higher level.

Now, obviously, the main point of today is talking about how mood can be affected by nutrition and supplements. So, is this the niche that you ended up focusing in? And how did you go from this cancer and post cancer kind of story to focusing on that type of thing?

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[00:13:32] Annie Mabashov: My niche, I really work with busy professionals and moms that are between the ages of 30 to 65 that are in some form of perimenopause or menopause. I like to work with people who are smart, motivated, but like they have some kind of stumbling block, whether they’ve been trying to lose weight and they can’t do it, or their energy has just been super low.

Beating Cancer: The Synchronicity

And it’s using that health detective part of what we learn in our program to figure out what is it that’s preventing them from getting to where they need to be? I think a big part of that is the mental health component.

Obviously, we know that if we’re feeling depressed or anxious or tired, we won’t want to exercise, or we maybe won’t want to put together a salad. We’ll want to reach for some pizza or burgers and fries. That’s just like what we’ll want. There’s a chemical reason for that. Literally our neurotransmitters are super low. And we’re just craving things that are going to help boost us up.

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Once I work with people and they start feeling better and their minerals or vitamins, their neurotransmitters or hormones, all of that are like more in line, then they automatically make those better choices. So, there is a synchronicity between mental health and just nutrition and wellness when I work with people that I see a lot.

[00:14:50] Detective Ev: I love that you described it this way. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say it this way on the podcast. I get this from experience because I had the mental health issues, right?

The longer I do that what the outside world calls discipline, like they’ll be like, oh, you’re so disciplined. I really don’t consider myself a particularly disciplined person; I would say I’m in the bottom half of that kind of stuff and I can be impulsive.

But what does discipline imply? Discipline implies that you are fighting an urge to do something. You’re saying that I have an urge to do this, but I’m not going to do it. There’s my discipline, right? I wouldn’t say I’m fighting a lot of this stuff.

Beating Cancer: Four Angles on Nutrition

I would say when your brain is healthy and there’s not that fog and there’s not that extra inflammation, better decision making becomes very clear.

I do not mean this for one side or the other, I’m condemning both sides right now. It is hilarious when I look at the political state in the United States of America, and I can’t help but thinking all these millions of people are voting and half of us, the majority of us are sick. Sixty percent of people have a chronic disease. You can’t even learn new stuff half the time when you’re this sick.

And we’re all making huge decisions like this on who to vote for and then wonder why half the country’s pissed off at the one side and the other half pissed off at the other. Maybe we make worse choices when we can’t even make the basic choices of our day, let alone these very big ones that kind of impact the entire world, right? So, I always think about it from this grander scale.

I love what you say about the mental health side. It’s if we can get this down first, all of a sudden, these other things that we need to do for our health become a lot easier. So, how do you approach that initially with your clients? Let’s say someone is dealing with some depressive type symptoms or anxious type symptoms, how can we start getting them on the right track if maybe they’re a little resistant to change in the beginning?

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[00:16:40] Annie Mabashov: When I think about nutrition, there’s four areas I really look at. I look at neurotransmitters, inflammation levels, gut health, and minerals. Those are like the main area. I want to work on each one of those individually.

Beating Cancer: Starting the Day Right

Neurotransmitters, for example, like what creates neurotransmitters, right? So, neurotransmitters are created by amino acids, things we get from proteins, chicken, eggs, dairy, beans, all of those things. Those help create neurotransmitters, which in turn help us feel better.

One thing, just to give you an example, I have a lot of my clients start their day off with a paleo shake. What that does is it really keeps them really full, and it helps them get through to lunch. But also, all the amino acids in it actually really helps their mood. It puts them in like a good mood for the rest of the day.

So that, for example, is one thing I would do with somebody to help start them off to a good day. And protein is basically like a satiety hormone. So, as soon as we start our day off with a sufficient amount of protein, all the decisions that we make from then on are going to be good decisions.

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I have a lot of my clients start off their day with a paleo shake, and it has a protein powder, fiber from greens, a healthy fat, and lots of water and hydration, automatically their cravings from there are going to all just be like congruent with that. Like they’re just going to crave vegetables, protein, healthy fats. They’re not going to crave sugar because those hunger hormones have satiated that part where they’re not going to have a big slip in their glucose levels in an hour.

 So that for example, is something that I do in terms of starting off their day to make them successful.

Beating Cancer: Utilizing the DUTCH

[00:18:16] Detective Ev: I know many people don’t, that’s why I’m curious. Do you do anything with the neurotransmitter testing that’s offered through the functional space, or is this just using common sense hey protein breaks down amino acid, creates the neurotransmitter?

[00:18:28] Annie Mabashov: I’m a big fan of the DUTCH test. Basically, it’s a hormone and stress test and there are neurotransmitters on there. I think it’s like dopamine and serotonin levels. So, when I’m working with someone, I always do look at that.

I actually have a client right now who had a really interesting story, but he basically grew up taking antidepressants in and out for probably 20 plus years. He recently got off of them and we tested his neurotransmitters. They were super low, and it was just made so much sense because he had been on them for so long. I think he probably wasn’t able to create them anymore. I’m sure it’s hard to create them once you’ve been on antidepressants for a certain period of time.

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Obviously, we supplemented with neurotransmitters, but also helping with the nutritional part of that again, like making sure he’s getting enough protein, making sure he’s getting those healthy fats, getting him lifestyle supports, exercise and all of that kind of stuff that helps naturally create all those endorphins that keep them happy. So, I use the DUTCH for that really more than anything else.

[00:19:24] Detective Ev: And I’m sorry if I misheard, but I think it came across as you supplement with neurotransmitters. Did you mean you supplement with amino acids?

[00:19:32] Annie Mabashov: Sorry, yes. Amino acids. Things like tryptophan.

Beating Cancer: Reading the Person

[00:19:38] Detective Ev: I asked because we had Dr. Josh Friedman on, a psychologist, who’s super, super big into this stuff. It was a hugely successful episode. People love the topic.

So, how do you get the dosage for the person? Do you have a structure or system that you use? Or again you can use common sense with this stuff. The studies actually show that a self-report is more accurate for guessing the amino acids that are better for the person than a lot of the tests out there.

I’m not hating on anyone. Because the DUTCH test is for something else primarily and then they use the organic acid markers for the neurotransmitters. I get that. But there are also neurotransmitter tests out there that can be real hit or miss. And again, the current science shows a self-report is actually better correlated with the effective amino acid treatment. It’s weird.

So, do you just have your stuff? Do you know what to do now? Or is there a system or survey test that people can take to figure out what dosages might work for them for some of these amino acids?

[00:20:33] Annie Mabashov: I think it’s a combination of like self-report, like you were saying. And I totally agree with you. I think self-reported symptoms are probably the best.

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Sometimes even when you use the DUTCH test and you look at the neurotransmitters, they’re not always exactly accurate. So, you want to always use reported symptoms. You don’t want to just read the test; you want to read the person.

When I work with somebody, I’ll ask them, I’m like how has your mood been? Have you noticed any changes since we’ve changed your diet? Where are you at?

Beating Cancer: Sufficient Nutrients

That really impacts the levels that we start, but I always tend to go very conservative on supplements. So, I always start at like the lowest levels and I keep it that way for a while. Then I’ll slowly titrate up if the person needs it, and a lot of times they don’t need it. I don’t believe in just supplementing to supplement, only if it’s really absolutely necessary. And a lot of times people don’t need it.

I had a client, for example. I’m going to say this is a silly example, but he was telling me, he’s like, yeah, every time my husband doesn’t put dishes in the dishwasher, I get super annoyed with him. We worked together for a few months.

And he told me one day, he said, today I checked the dishwasher, and my husband hadn’t done it. He was like, it didn’t even bother me. I just emptied it because I was in such a good mood that it didn’t even bother me. And we just did nutrition, we didn’t even touch supplements.

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So, I think sometimes even just getting sufficient amount of nutrients can make such an impact in your mental health. You don’t even necessarily need to go to supplements.

[00:21:47] Detective Ev: Absolutely.

I think the amino acids are fantastic as a, for me, they’re like a frontline thing. And it’s all completely, shout out to him, Dr. Josh Friedman was the one who introduced me to that. It’s Julia Ross’s work in the Mood Cure that he bases it a lot off of. But I have seen those things turn someone around in a couple of days.

Beating Cancer: Amino Acids

And this is as safe as can be for the most part, right? Don’t take them in unlimited amounts. But like generally speaking, taking some 5HTP or some tyrosine, this is not going to kill anyone, man. Like this is good stuff. It’s very interesting what it can do for people.

I also think it’s funny that you just mentioned, like when you’re in a good mood, the same thing cannot trigger this stress response for you or you’re able to handle it better. The example that I’ve heard brought up before is imagine your first falling in love, right? We all know how that is.

Nothing can happen bad in the world. Tornado could come through and you’re like, ah, that’s okay. We can rebuild, right? That love thing is so strong in the initial stages, especially that you look at the world differently. Not that we can stay in that state forever. That’d be wonderful, but that’s not realistic.

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The reason I bring that up is because I think it really proves the point. All the external factors of life can be the same, but how we perceive it can be different based on our mental health and our state, right? When you’re in love, there’s nothing wrong. Not that the external world got any better, it’s still pretty crazy out there, man. But we’re perceiving it differently, right?

You also mentioned the inflammation side of this. I love this aspect of the mental health and mood conversation because, thankfully, even Western medicine seems to be shifting a bit because we know it’s not just neurotransmitters. It is absolutely a part of it, otherwise, the amino acids, for example, when it works so well.

Beating Cancer: Inflammation

But when you say inflammation, if someone’s clicking on this, especially on the YouTube or Facebook thing, they might really just find this in a search, they might have no idea what FDN is, who the heck we are. And so, they’re wondering, what does she mean inflammation can cause mental health issues? So why do you work on that? Can we uncover that a little?

[00:23:46] Annie Mabashov: Yeah, absolutely.

Inflammation is essentially, I always like to picture it like when you fall down and you skin your knee and it gets red and puffy, that’s inflammation. That’s like good healing inflammation. That’s your body regenerating.

Bad inflammation is basically when that happens on more of a cellular level and it’s just chronic, it happens all over your body and it doesn’t get better. Inflammation is at the forefront of every disease, right? It’s at the forefront of cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, everything. We know inflammation obviously is negative.

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And so, one of the things I always work on with people is like an anti-inflammatory diet. From a diet perspective, the things that I find to be the most helpful for inflammation are things like berries, antioxidant rich berries, things like blueberries, raspberries, cherries. I love a wild blueberry. I don’t know if you ever use those, but there’s like teeny weeny ones. They have tons of antioxidants, great for reducing inflammation.

Leafy green vegetables, anything green, like kale, chard, any of that. Throw that in anywhere you can, whether it’s like a smoothie or a stir fry. That’s amazing. And I also love like a cruciferous vegetable. Cruciferous vegetables are also powerhouses.

Beating Cancer: A Meta-Analysis

I remember when I was going through chemo, cauliflower was something that I read tons and tons of studies about how that helps reduce the size of tumors, basically just eating straight cauliflower. There’s that benefit as well.

The anti-inflammatory diet, it’s basically very similar to a Mediterranean diet. That historically has been really shown to be very effective to reduce levels of inflammation and restore health as well.

[00:25:17] Detective Ev: It’s fascinating!

Obviously, the inflammation, we can call it a hypothesis in a sense. It’s not fully proven, so a hypothesis in a sense of mental health, it’s a weird connection and it sounds really good.

Years after first hearing it, it’s not like I came up with this right away, but I had this thought, Annie. I was like, wait a second, if inflammation can lead to mental health issues, why wouldn’t something like an Advil temporarily relieve mental health symptoms?

I figured, I’m no PhD, right? Someone has had to think about this before me. So, I searched on PubMed, I looked this up. Not only did I not find just a study, I found a meta-analysis that took 30 studies, and 26 out of 30 of them showed that NSAIDs, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for those that don’t know, that’s like your Advil, Naproxen, stuff like that, they do temporarily reduce depressive and anxious symptoms in people who deal with it.

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And then, of course, someone could say correlation isn’t causation, that’s just a random side effect. This meta-analysis, they must have been people like us, because the way that they did this was so smart to make an argument. They also looked at omega 3s in there, and they looked at curcumin.

Beating Cancer: Omega 3s & Curcumin

Now it’s very hard to write off that it’s just an unknown side effect of Advil. Because you could argue that. It sounds weak, but technically speaking, you could. But when you bring in two other known anti inflammatory agents, and it showed the efficacy of all of these things for anxiety and depression, that’s pretty dang hard to argue.

We’re having a positive conversation; I don’t mean to be negative about it. I actually hope it inspires people to take action. How many people are having suicidal ideations or even worse acting on that when it was inflammation that would have led to that depression stopping? That’s had to have happened by now. You’d think someone has unfortunately passed away from suicide that otherwise could have been treated through addressing their lifestyle and getting that inflammation lower. How crazy!

[00:27:09] Annie Mabashov: It’s so crazy. And I totally agree with you. I think that there is such a connection between inflammation and anxiety, depression, brain fog, all of that.

I know, for example, even like for my kids, they’re anxious little guys, so I give them Omega 3s and that really actually helps calm them down. I really do agree with you there is such a connection between inflammation and mental health.

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Sometimes I feel the first thing is just to give you some antidepressants or something with our mental health, where honestly, you can get amazing results, like you mentioned, with things like omega 3s or curcumin that’s been proven to reduce inflammation by crazy levels.

Beating Cancer: The Serotonin Theory

I remember I read a study about how in places like India where maybe chemotherapy isn’t as readily available, they use high doses of curcumin, and it actually helps reduce tumor growth. It’s amazing what the power of some of these naturally occurring vitamins and minerals can take and they can actually impact your mental health just as much.

[00:28:09] Detective Ev: It’s nuts to me that this is happening; that it’s not addressed. And even scarier to me is that people are not properly informed about how they’re getting treated with mental health.

When you take an SSRI half the people probably won’t even look it up. The other half might, because we have access to the internet and it’s very natural no matter what the condition is, start looking up the stuff that you’ve been diagnosed with or are taking for the diagnosis. It’s pretty human. You look it up and you assume, because you’re not a PhD, most likely, that at face value it does what it says it’s going to do.

So, what people don’t get with the SSRI thing in particular, those selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, the claim is that it inhibits the reuptake of serotonin. In theory, that would make more freely available serotonin.

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The reason I say theory, and again, the consumer’s never told this, is because it is a theory. One, we have no idea if serotonin alone is actually correlated with depression. I do believe that, especially with what we do with the amino acids. It seems to make a lot of sense. But the point is, we can’t actually prove that.

Believe it or not, folks, it’s actually pretty hard to measure stuff that’s going on in our brain. We’re not great at that. So, we can’t prove that.

Beating Cancer: Side Effects

And then we also can’t prove that SSRIs actually do what we think they’re going to do, and even if they did do that, that it would lead to an increase in happiness or lack of depression.

I don’t mean to be confusing and use a bunch of negatives but that’s literally true what I said. At the time of recording this, we do not know if that’s the actual mechanism of the medication. We don’t know if serotonin even matters in a sense for depression, although I would lean towards it probably doing that.

And then you say, okay, it’s worth the risk if it helps people. Sure, but a lot of these SSRIs these are black labeled medications now. They’re not side effect free. Some of these side effects are suicide, like actual attempts.

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It’s one thing if we’re doing something that and hey the worst you get is a headache every now and then, but it could potentially help you out. I’m fine with that. We can experiment.

When we have this amount of side effects for these things and then we’re giving it to people who, because they have other jobs and passions or just aren’t interested in this, are never actually going to do the research to realize what they’ve just been given. I don’t mean to get overly passionate about it. Obviously, we’re hitting on a topic today, again, both with my aunt and with this for me personally, it’s a personal show today in a sense. I get a little frustrated with it, right?

I’m not recommending people go do this, I’m wondering if you’ve seen this in your clients. Have you seen people that maybe came to using medication that no longer required it once they were done the work with you?

Beating Cancer: Seeing the Most Progress

[00:30:46] Annie Mabashov: Yes. I always say listen to what your doctor says. Let’s do the things complimentary. And when we’re done working together, if you feel like it’s something that you don’t need anymore, let’s talk about that.

That definitely has happened in my work with people, where I’ve had people come in who have had, let’s say, lots of anxiety or depression or other mental health symptoms. And through the work, changing their diet, and doing the lab tests – I do a lot of stuff around lifestyle change, a lot of natural stress reduction, understanding how to naturally tame your nervous system that’s such a big part of it.

A lot of people with mental health issues have an overly active nervous system and they just don’t know how to calm that down. That’s something I really work on with people. And the other thing that I found to be really helpful, and I do this with my clients, is I have a hypnotherapy component to the programs that I do. That’s something that I started doing maybe about the past year.

A lot of times what I find with mental health issues, there’s a subconscious level that’s really hard for even anybody to get through on just a traditional daily meditation that like somebody who’s a trained professional and hypnotherapy can really work on with them. That really also helps with the mental health.

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So, I really love the idea of nutrition, the functional health, the hypnotherapy, and the lifestyle, like those things together. That’s usually where I see the most progress for people in terms of their mental health, where maybe they can start having a conversation with their doctors about getting off an SSRI or that’s always an option.

Beating Cancer: Hypnotherapy

[00:32:20] Detective Ev: Very cool.

For those that might be a little less familiar with hypnotherapy, and even if you were familiar with it, depending on who you’re talking to, that could mean something as simple as a guided meditation. For others, it could be like picturing the whole watch going back and forth. So, when we say hypnotherapy, what does that mean to you?

[00:32:36] Annie Mabashov: So, I’ve partnered with two trained professional hypnotherapists. Their sessions are included in my programs. I actually came across hypnotherapy when I was going through chemo. The cancer support center that I went to had a hypnotherapist on staff and she’s someone that I still work with. She’s amazing.

Basically, the idea is you go in, the first half of the session you talk about what’s bothering you, what’s going on. And then the second half of the session, you don’t get hypnotized like you don’t know what’s going on. They help put you into a meditative state where you can hear everything, but you’re very calm.

They tap into that subconscious part of your brain and they talk you through, like for me, I get anxious, so, talking about different things that are making me anxious. And so the idea is that, at the end of it, you’ve tapped into certain parts of your anxiety and relinquish that in the way that they help you do it so that you feel better at the end of the session.

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So, it’s not like real woo-woo hypnosis. It’s just more getting you into that meditative state where you can tap into that subconscious part of the brain.

Beating Cancer: The Blushing Cure

[00:33:34] Detective Ev: Yeah, and I’m not familiar offhand with the literature behind it, if there is any. But I can say anecdotally, that’s why I wanted to know the definition, many people would call it guided meditation, stuff like that.

Whatever it is, it’s the subconscious thing that we’re trying to work on. I was able to stop blushing during public speaking. Now I’m still an expressive person. I blush with just normal conversations when I’m laughing my butt off, right? That’s who I am.

But it was way too evident in public speaking before when I started out like nine years ago, and I couldn’t get it to stop. I actually did this guided meditation program. It was free off fricking YouTube. And I was doing this thing, hoping for the best.

One of the things that it asked you to do after you got into the meditative state was visualize the bad thing that was going to happen, not for public speaking, I think it was just general if I remember this meditation correctly. So, you actually visualized the bad thing that was going to happen, and then you put up the stop sign. As the meditation continued, you’d progressively visualize the bad less and the good outcome that you wanted more. And someone could say placebo, that’s fine. But it was free, so who cares? You might as well give it a try.

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The first time that I public spoke without blushing and being red the whole time was right after I did that audio. Now I had been doing it for about a week, but I knew I had to public speak. I went out, did it, and it was good to go.

Beating Cancer: Visualization

I also did this when I started flying again. I didn’t fly for over 12 years cause I was so fricking afraid. When I started flying again, I’m like, dude this is horrifying, I got to figure this out.

I’m not saying my fear around flying is completely gone. It is not. But this was coming from a guy who when I would drop someone off that I knew at the airport, honest, swear on my life this is true, my hands would sweat. Now, I’m thinking I’m never going to fly again in my life, and my hands would sweat from dropping them off at the airport.

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This is a guy who flies all the time now. I’m flying for FDN tomorrow. So, I don’t do it perfectly. I use medication sometimes, prescribed, but going through that and picturing myself on the plane and seeing myself in that calm state, that really helps. So, I’m sure there’s an advantage to working with someone, obviously, that’s trained in it.

But for those that might be like, all right, maybe this is the main takeaway that they had from today’s show, do you have any tips for someone that might want to visualize some of this stuff by themselves?

[00:35:47] Detective Ev: What could they do to start practicing this maybe for free? And I know it’s not going to be as effective, but what could they do if they wanted to?

[00:35:56] Annie Mabashov: Just if you want to try out some free meditations, I love The Honest Guys. They are on YouTube.

Do you love them? They’re the best. I don’t know what it is about British people on meditations, but they’re just better at it. Sorry. They’re amazing and you can just do them for free on YouTube.

Beating Cancer: Free Techniques

I also really love Gabby Bernstein. She’s just like someone who I’ve always followed. She talks a lot about her struggles with anxiety and meditation and manifesting.

If you go to her website, she has a bunch of free meditations that could be really good for that, like you were saying, picturing what the outcome that you want is, manifesting that, being able to get yourself into that meditative state. And they’re all like pretty 10-minute-long kind of meditations. It’s not like you’re sitting there all day or anything. Those are a couple of resources that I recommend for clients to just to do on their own.

Another thing is, and this is like a little bit off topic, but tapping is great. And that’s something that you can do on your own. Tapping is like a combination of acupuncture and meditation, right? So, it’s like tapping certain pressure points, like here. And basically, working through that and saying affirmations.

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I think the most popular one is The Tapping Solution. People can just look that up and it teaches you how to do it. There’s like an instructional video and it’s free. But tapping is another really great tool to tap into those anxieties as underlying subconscious fears that prevent us from doing things. Those are some good options as well.

[00:37:19] Detective Ev: And the tapping, you want to talk about something that sounds woo-woo, that’s probably about as far as it goes. And yet, ironically, that has studies behind it. There is something about that, that works. It is very interesting. It’s actually something I should try more. I just, have never really gotten into it because thankfully I was doing well by the time I learned about it.

Beating Cancer: The Ability to Help People

But I know it can be used for a variety of different things, so I’m fascinated by that. Thank you for the tips.

The Honest Guys, the reason I smiled was because that was the first guided meditation I ever listened to in my life when I was 17 years old. That’s how long they’ve been around, let’s put it that way. They were already a big YouTube channel.

It was Guided Meditation, Deep Relaxation, that’s the title. It was like 18 minutes. And I’m like, wow, I feel warm, and this is so cool and I’m relaxed. Then unfortunately, I went right back to smoking pot the next day as a 17-year-old. But I tried. I was working on it. I started doing it a lot more a few years later.

[00:38:08] Annie Mabashov: Yeah, they’re great. My 11 year old son even loves them. I feel like they just resonate with everybody, something about them.

[00:38:15] Detective Ev: Yeah, good people for sure.

Okay, as we come up on the latter end of our show here today, one thing I wanted to ask about is, I talked about clients and how some of them have come to you and then not needed medication anymore with the approval of their doctor, that’s amazing, do you have any particular client testimonials that stand out? It doesn’t even have to be about the mental health thing today.

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I just always love to talk to people about client testimonials of someone that maybe came to you as an FDN practitioner, they’re at the end of the rope, and you were the one that was able to help them. Because that’s something that many FDN practitioners have the privilege of being able to do for people sometimes.

Beating Cancer: Life-Changing Client Testimonial

[00:38:51] Annie Mabashov: Yeah. And I don’t know about you, that’s my favorite part of the work is when people have that kind of aha moment and that transformation.

So, I just finished up a program with a client of mine. She was an assistant principal, and she was at the end of her rope for a lot of reasons. Definitely she was really burnt out with her workload, unable to lose weight, had high cholesterol, just really struggling. She had a lot on her plate. Very smart, very sweet woman. And we worked on everything together.

We did an anti-inflammatory diet, talked a lot about removing toxins, making sure her inflammation levels were lower. Then we worked a lot on gut health stuff. She had a lot of GI issues. Her hormones were really low, so that’s something we worked on. And then we just did a lot of lifestyle stuff. She worked with the hypnotherapist as well and she has a recording that she now uses.

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I just had my final session with her on Sunday. She actually said to me, she’s like, literally, this was like life changing for me. She’s like, my cholesterol was 220 something; it’s 140 now. She lost 21 pounds. Her blood sugar went down 10 points. It was just really like a radical transformation.

But I told her, I was like, even just looking at you, she was glowing, you could tell her confidence was different. And it was funny. She actually told me in our last session, she’s like I just got offered the principal position at my school so I’m going to apply for that. There’s such a beautiful part of when you make that investment in yourself.

Beating Cancer: It’s an Investment

I always tell my clients, it’s not anything I’m doing. It’s what you do, it’s what you’re doing for yourself. When you make that investment in yourself, like I want to make my life better. I’m just here as a guide for them. All those good things start coming in, new relationships, new opportunities because you’ve made yourself a priority. I think that’s a great story.

[00:40:34] Detective Ev: That’s amazing. And it is a literal investment.

It’s actually sad. I don’t feel like it happens that often with the people that we work with nowadays. But some people only see the price tag on it. And I’m just like, I wish I could fast forward your life for you to see that it is a literal investment. Maybe they’re just not sick enough to get it yet.

But for example, I couldn’t even work a normal 40 hour a week job at 19, 20 years old. Yes, when I spend money to get the lab test done and figure this stuff out, I can work a lot more than that now. So, it’s again, literal in that sense. But yeah, the relationships get better, the health gets better.

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It’s a journey, man. FDNs, we do a lot of three, six-month protocols and that’s great for the supplemental side and the biochemical side. This is a journey. It can be called a three, six-year protocol. The deeper you go on the chronic health stuff, like maybe you’re in a good state on labs, but now you still have the psychological trauma that comes with the diagnosis and the shock that came from it. So, you’ll be working on that for a while.

Beating Cancer: A Rewarding Experience

And that’s not a bad thing. It’s a really fun journey. I say this all the time, people that listen regularly are probably sick of it. But I always say this is a personal development journey that uses health as the vehicle. You cannot get to the other side of this without changing as a person. That client that you changed their life, no, they changed. And something happened to them that they are completely different now.

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[00:41:56] Annie Mabashov: Yeah, it’s amazing. And it’s the most beautiful thing to see that transformation for people. I feel like a proud mama, like they’re my babies and they really did the work. It’s amazing.

[00:42:06] Detective Ev: Yeah.

So, Annie, we obviously talked about a variety of things today. And I know I had mentioned one time what your specific niche was, and then you corrected me with it. While we shout out your business, I’d love to know where people can find you. But just to be clear again, can you also specify, not that FDNs can’t work with anyone, but who your preferred client is so that if people were listening today and they’re like, I really like this person, she’d be great to work with, they’d know if they’re a good fit for what you offer.

Where to Find Annie Mabashov

[00:42:32] Annie Mabashov: The people who resonate most with me are busy professionals cause obviously that was my background, and moms that have maybe not made time for themselves. I work with women and men. It’s really not necessarily like gender specific, it’s just more kind of that niche.

And you can find me on my company’s name is Well with Annie. I’m on Instagram, and you can also go to my website, wellwithannie.com. And I do complimentary discovery sessions to get to know you and see if we’re a good fit to work together.

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[00:43:02] Detective Ev: Very cool.

So, I think you had said you only heard parts of the podcast before, so you probably don’t know our signature question. It’s nothing crazy, it’s just more general in terms of the health advice that you might give here. The question is, if you could be given a magic wand and you could get every single person in this world to do one thing for their health, that means you can force us all to do one thing, literally start a new thing, or you can get us to stop one thing, what is the one thing that Annie would get us all to do?

[00:43:30] Annie Mabashov: Gosh. I know it’s so basic, but just eat more vegetables, like that fiber, the detoxification benefits. Especially if you can get some leafy green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, just eat your vegetables.

Conclusion

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It’s so simple but that’s the one piece of advice I would offer to everyone, with each meal have some vegetables. That’s it.

[00:43:53] Detective Ev: I said it the other day. It’s always the people that come on that are clearly intelligent, obviously well versed. Like you jumped to three different topics that I’m throwing at you and just bam, took it with ease.

And then the advice is straightforward and simple. And what’s easy to do is unfortunately easy not to do right. But as complicated as we can get on the show, as important as the labs and supplements are, don’t forget that if we all were doing the basics long term, I would go out on a limb and say, we might not even need some of this functional medicine stuff.

 How many people are actually doing that? So Annie, thank you so much for coming on the show today for dealing with the tech stuff and for dealing with my jumping around. It was awesome. I appreciate it.

[00:44:32] Annie Mabashov: It was a pleasure. And thanks for always having such great energy. I love being on and I really appreciate it.

You can always visit us at functionaldiagnosticnutrition.com, on YouTube @FDNtraining, on Instagram @fdntraining, or on Facebook @FunctionalDiagnosticNutrition.

For more informational and functional health-oriented podcasts like this one, go to functionaldiagnosticnutrition.com/health-detective-podcast/.

To learn more about us, go to functionaldiagnosticnutrition.com/about-fdn-functional-testing/.

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