Introduction – Going from Guessing to Testing
[00:00:00] Detective Ev: What is going on my friends. Welcome back to another episode of the Health Detective Podcast by Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. My name is Evan Transue, AKA Detective Ev. I will be your host for today’s show in which we reinforce our confidence in practitioners moving away from guessing to testing.
We have my friend Hally Brooke on today. I say, friend, I don’t mean we’re like hanging out every weekend, but my functional friend. She is not an FDN practitioner herself, but we wanted to bring her on for a couple of reasons.
One is we never want to be dogmatic here, there are other people in the functional space doing amazing work. We bring them on occasionally to talk about what they’re doing too. We always have things to learn, so we’re happy to do that. And she just has great energy, she has a really cool story.
One of the things that I thought was most interesting, she had one of these issues where she was guessing and not testing. She didn’t know that at the time, now she utilizes lab tests. But at the time she was in the boat that so many of us fall into, virtually all of us, where we don’t feel good, we can’t get it figured out, Western medicine has not been particularly helpful through no fault of the practitioners in that world. It’s not like the doctors are doing something bad. It’s just, they weren’t able to be effective for what we needed at that time.
Trying a Lot of Things Before Going from Guessing to Testing
We start going to the supplement stores and we start reading the diet books. Before you know it, you’re trying 40 different things at once and hoping that something sticks. She went through that and got to the other side. She actually did figure out a protocol that worked pretty well for her. Overall, though, she realized, okay, well, wait a second. Maybe I wasn’t dealing with the most severe thing in the world.
When I say this, just in case it’s your first time listening, this is not a lessening of symptoms. I mean, objectively speaking, we have people that come on here and deal with cancer diagnoses. I don’t think Hally or myself would say for a second, that what we dealt with is as severe as that. That’s all I mean.
We have a variety of people on here that are all over the place on the spectrum of health issues. Some people maybe can get away with a little more experimentation and guessing. But she did realize that with her clients, we’re gonna need to have some of that eventually. So, I think it’s a perfect story for the FDN podcast. It really is in alignment with what we’re doing. I’m gonna read her background and then we will get to it.
Hally Brooke is the founder and CEO of Live Nourished. She is a Certified Functional Medicine Nutrition Counselor, Nationally Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Fox 21 Fitness and Nutrition Expert, and fierce industry advocate.
What started as pure personal training has morphed over the years into a full wellness and nutrition practice. Hally has learned from years of education and experience working with clients that simply doing squats isn’t going to cut it when it comes to being fully well. They will help, I’ll promise you that, but they won’t make you fully well.
From that experience, she has built a thriving, functional medicine coaching practice that works with clients in all the key areas of wellness, including movement, nutrition, mindset, resilience, relationships, and self-care. It’s kind of a full package with her.
Her life mission is to encourage, empower, and free women by teaching healing, whether as clients, through speaking events, or personally with the people she encounters. She lives this mission day in and day out.
Well, I hope you guys enjoy this episode with her. Without further ado, let’s get to the interview.
All right. Hey there, Hally. How are you?
[00:03:11] Hally Brooke: I’m so good, Evan. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:03:13] Detective Ev: I’m glad to have you. I can already just tell when we were talking off air, great energy here. This is gonna be a fun show for sure.
Can’t Make the Cut Before Going from Guessing to Testing
Now, I wanna jump right into it because for those listening, we know of each other, we’re not super connected. These are my favorite podcasts cause I love having just enough research on the person to be intelligent with my questions, but I like being ignorant enough that it’s really an authentic kind of thing the first time. I think that just makes for good podcasts. I think people enjoy that more. I end up asking questions that someone that is meeting you for the first time would ask. So it works out.
We always start with the same question on this show. It’s one that makes sense to get started off on something like this. That is, what did your health symptoms look like? And when did they start? Because I would assume that you had health symptoms. I technically don’t know that, but I’m gonna take a wild guess that you had some stuff going on.
[00:03:58] Hally Brooke: Yeah. Everyone in functional medicine has a story, right?
Detective Ev: Yes.
Hally Brooke: Mine originally started way back in college. So, 2010. I was a national level swimmer and my senior year, I couldn’t even make the cut times. I couldn’t even qualify for the meet that I had swam in before. We couldn’t figure out what was going on.
We went through the whole year, I kind of stunk. Food wasn’t even a thought that, like food could be doing something. So, I just went through senior year. Senior year was the most disappointing season of my entire swimming career, really rough. Got out of college and then started having super weird things happen. I started having rashes on my eyelids and eczema all over. Then my arms started going numb. Just weird.
Hally’s Health Journey Before Going from Guessing to Testing
Went to a bunch of doctors. No one could figure out what was going on. Finally ended up stumbling into a naturopath, who looked at me and goes, oh, you’re allergic to gluten and dairy. We’ll test you, but that’s what’s happening. I went, oh my gosh, thank goodness. Cut gluten and dairy out. That was the next eight years of my life. I was fine.
Then Thanksgiving night, 2015, hadn’t eaten any gluten, any dairy, nothing, just got super sick and didn’t get better. I had the worst gas anyone had ever smelled. It smelled like something died inside me and was like trying to get out. It was horrible. Absolutely uncontrollable chronic fatigue, I couldn’t function. We would go on trips with friends, and I couldn’t participate. I was so tired I couldn’t move. Anxiety and depression started creeping in that had never been part of my story before. I was a mess.
I could eat chicken and lettuce and that was about it. I was bringing my food with me everywhere, which was making my family super uncomfortable. So, the same thing, bunch of doctors. Ended up going to a GI doctor, who’s like, yeah, you have IBS. This is the rest of your life. And I went, no. Uhuh. I can’t do this for the rest of my life.
Sort of stumbled into functional medicine just doing my own research on gut health and gut permeability and all of these pieces. Figured out SIBO way down the road. Through diet and lifestyle changes and for myself, a lot of prayer, am now completely fine. The anxiety and depression have gone away, which is a fascinating combination that I didn’t recognize as a combination until after I was looking back.
That’s my short version of the story.
Not Accepting the Diagnosis Before Going from Guessing to Testing
[00:06:08] Detective Ev: Well, perfect. It gives me a lot to work with already. I know that we’re gonna talk on the gut and mental health connection later because that’s something I’m very passionate about.
But for those that listen regularly, they already know I’m a broken record. They already know what question I’m gonna ask, because I am fascinated by whatever it is, personality, background, or whatever, that allows one person to do what you did and say, no, IBS is not for the rest of my life and I’m gonna go look into this. Versus what most people do.
This is not a condemnation. I’m just saying, let’s be honest, most people accept that diagnosis and that’s that. It’s kind of funny because you listed off as like, nope, I’m not accepting that. I’m going and doing something else. That is not the norm. I’m not saying I’ve never heard it before. I’m just saying that’s not what the majority of people do.
And it’s a common theme of those on this podcast who have been through some of the craziest things. I’ve been through my stuff. But my God, I mean, we’ve had cancer on here, people that are told that they’re gonna die, people that can only eat five foods cause they’re literally allergic to everything else. And they’ve come out of these things and gotten better.
So, what was it? Was it a background thing? Intuition? Personality? Whatever it might be, what allowed you to say, no, I’m not accepting this and start doing your research for yourself when most people wouldn’t do that?
There Had to be Another Option Before Going from Guessing to Testing
[00:07:14] Hally Brooke: That is an outstanding question. I don’t know if I’ve ever been asked that before, and I don’t know if I’ve ever really thought about that before. So, I’m just going to spitball.
I think part of it was, I felt so sick, and I knew what normal felt like, because I’d felt normal before. Now, all of a sudden, I can’t function. I can’t spend time with friends. I can’t do the things that I love to do. I ran the Bolder Boulder, and it was the fastest time I’ve ever run the Bolder Boulder. Cause I was literally sprinting from outhouse to outhouse cause I couldn’t keep it together.
[00:07:48] Detective Ev: It’s one way to win.
[00:07:49] Hally Brooke: That’s one way to win. It was my fastest time cause it’s just like, I can’t. Yeah, it was bad. That was a rough month.
Honestly, I think it was, I know what normal feels like, and this isn’t normal and there has to be another option. I think that’s the big part of it.
I grew up in a family where we really valued food. My family ate organic. My mom was a teacher, and my dad didn’t work. So budget was like, tiny. I learned from my family to prioritize food. I learned from my family to prioritize organic, to prioritize health.
Knowing Food Could Heal Before Going from Guessing to Testing
We didn’t take a lot of family vacations. We didn’t do these other things. I think I maybe had that as a background. Then I’m just curious and I’m a learner. And I’m a little stubborn. When someone tells me no, I’m gonna try every other path until I hit a brick wall “no”. I think I just sort of had this gut sense from my doctors that they didn’t know the answer. Which isn’t their fault cause that’s how they’re trained.
Western medicine isn’t at fault. They’re just trained the way they’re trained. But I think I just had this gut sense that there had to be a solution. And I knew from my past and my history that food can heal to whatever degree. So, I said, I have to figure this out and I’m going to. So, I did a lot of Googling and time in NCBI.
[00:09:09] Detective Ev: Got it.
Well, this is kind of the reason I ask this because I know where it leads 90 plus percent of the time. I wanna always encourage people to follow this. In some way in every one of these answers, someone says intuition, gut, a feeling, just knew, something like that.
I always try to bring it back for people because (Some people have heard this a hundred times already, others might be listening for the first time, and so it’s worth repeating because this could be saving their life, potentially.), there has to be a certain point guys, where we ask ourselves, hey, does this actually make sense what I’m being told? And is this working?
Follow Your Intuition and Go from Guessing to Testing
No one is saying that the average person knows more than a doctor. I love your objectivity with that cause I say the same thing. That’s not the argument. The system that they are within is made to do certain things. I am sorry, but if you haven’t realized, that system is not meant to prevent illness, nor is it meant to deal with the chronic disease epidemic. It is very, not so good at those things.
It’s phenomenal at accidents. It’s phenomenal at lifesaving procedures that need to be done in this moment. It’s actually kinda weird how good they are at keeping people alive, but not keeping people healthy. They can keep people alive better than anything, certainly better than the naturopath. But keeping them healthy, that’s the tough part.
I wanna just encourage anyone that’s out there (maybe you’re listening for the first time, maybe you’ve had to hear this 50 times before you finally did it), follow that intuition. That doesn’t mean go and be a jerk to your doctor, no one’s saying that. We’re saying try different things, look into something else, don’t take “no” for an answer.
I love that you remembered that you had felt good at one point in your life. Just judging by the timeframe you’ve already given; I think some people have this very arbitrarily selected age in their mind where they cap out and just assume it’s old age. But you were clearly young enough and are young enough that you’re like me, where I didn’t accept that I was supposed to feel this way at this age. It didn’t make sense.
Years of Figuring it Out is Better Than Dealing with a Diagnosis
I could see myself getting progressively worse. This has to be something else. If you go in with that mindset, could it take a few years, sometimes, to figure it out? It absolutely could. But I think a few years to figure out the answer is much better than a lifetime of continuing to deal with this stuff and accepting a diagnosis.
I apologize. I don’t wanna go off on my own thing, I’d rather interview, but at the same time, that to me is just so important.
[00:11:14] Hally Brooke: So accurate, so important.
It’s funny too, in my training and getting degrees and actually getting into functional medicine as a career, after this story, I got the opportunity to work for a GI doctor who is an incredible, well known GI doctor here in the Springs.
I asked her one time, when we diagnose someone with IBS, what is that? She goes, that’s literally us saying, we don’t know what’s wrong with you and we don’t have a drug to fix it. I was like, makes a lot of sense. That’s what I experienced. That was super validating for my own story. When all these doctors said I have IBS, it’s like, we don’t have a drug to fix that. Do it on your own, which is crazy.
[00:11:51] Detective Ev: People don’t even realize that. They don’t know what idiopathic means. They don’t get it and it’s kind of scary. There is a 40% comorbidity rate with anxiety and depression for IBS. Do you think they get told that when they leave the GI specialist? No. That’s the part that does aggravate me because that is known by Western medicine. I don’t always understand why that part’s not shared, but I’m not gonna get into that today.
Learning Gut Health Vocabulary and Going from Guessing to Testing
II, generally speaking, do not believe for a second that this is some evil people in this system. I have wonderful people in my family that are nurses or something similar. They’re not going in for the wrong reasons. But that system is made to do certain things and sometimes it’s okay to go outside of that.
When you did go outside of that, I’m very curious as to what you found. What were some of the first things that started moving the needle in the right direction that convinced you, hey, this might be the right path. I should continue this.
[00:12:38] Hally Brooke: So back in 2010, gut health wasn’t as much of a buzzword as it is now. I didn’t even really know what to Google. I forget what I Googled at first, but I just started Googling like gas and bloating and chronic fatigue, and like, I can’t keep anything down. I mean, I just started Googling.
But I ended up stumbling across Dr. Axe first, who’s super big into gut health. That kind of gave me vocabulary for leaky gut, permeability. This is interesting. Then from there, I think the research on SIBO had just started coming out, cause SIBO is now a fairly well-known thing, but back then, it wasn’t. There weren’t articles, there was nothing.
Experimenting Before Switching from Guessing to Testing
But there was just enough on SIBO that I found a couple articles on SIBO. And it was talking about things like when you eat the things that are supposed to be good for you, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, all of these good things, you feel horrible. And when you eat pasta and meat sauce, you feel fine.
That’s what I was experiencing. Like the things that I should be eating just made me feel so awful. Then weird things with, we’d go up in altitude and I wouldn’t poop for four days. I was like, what the heck is this about? Like, this doesn’t make any sense. Then I would get the worst gas ever, and those are also kind of linked in with SIBO.
I started finding that and finding the things that I have been doing, like eating a ton of kale and kale smoothies and all these things that I thought was good for me, turns out actually might not be good for me. How do I get rid of this bacteria that’s in the wrong place in my body?
Then started learning about, oregano and essential oils. I just started experimenting on myself. Cause at this point, I didn’t have any other practitioners that I could find that could help walk me through this. So, I became one eventually. I just started experimenting on myself. I would try drinking water with peppermint oil and go, huh. Okay, I feel good. Interesting. Then I would search, what does peppermint oil do? I would do the same thing for oregano. I sort of ended up building this protocol for myself.
Piecemeal Protocol Before Switching from Guessing to Testing
Long story short, I put myself on this super strict protocol that I had pieced together from leaky gut and whatever was out there with SIBO. Then the crazy essential oil people that are way off in left field, I put things together that seemed to make me feel okay. I put myself on that for 40 days and super strict. Day 39 turned a corner and have been fine since.
After that, I sort of started slowly adding things back in. God played a huge piece of that. Ended up going and getting healing prayer, cause that’s part of my journey and had like a crazy experience. I think that helped heal it. But those pieces together of just sort of throwing spaghetti at the wall from pieces that I’d pulled, and it worked, yeah.
[00:15:19] Detective Ev: It’s worth mentioning. I always find that stuff interesting. There’s a lot of people that have come on the podcast which have these either religious or spiritual aspects to their healing. All different backgrounds, which I’m fascinated by, I love studying that stuff.
I’m a science guy. There is science showing that group prayer absolutely has an effect on stuff. If people don’t believe that this is very well documented, all you have to do is look it up. It’s been replicated many times. It’s pretty fascinating.
And it almost seems that the number of people involved leads to a better result, which leads to a lot of different questions as in, to me, like what happens if we got a hundred million people together to all pray for a specific thing? That’s definitely a separate podcast. I’d love to see what that would do though. That’d be cool.
Hally Brooke: It’s a good rabbit hole though.
Detective Ev: Yes.
From Guessing to Testing to Pinpoint More
In terms of your journey and the stuff that you did, I think this is actually perfect for this podcast. One, it’s very commendable because you’re actually going out there only with a hint, at one point, that maybe this is working, maybe this is the right thing. Then you’re trying all this different stuff.
Now, of course, you are a practitioner yourself and you’re able to help people in a more structured way. But for those listening, this is one of the things, if you’re considering being a practitioner that is, this is one of the things we’re teaching at FDN, for those on video, I have a shirt that says, test don’t guess.
It’s one of our little slogans that we use because it allows people to kind of get out of what Reed Davis, the founder of FDN, calls the cycle of trial and error. That normally starts in Western medicine. You get the diagnosis, you get the label, you try the medications, maybe, or a surgery if it gets really bad. It doesn’t work, you’re literally just throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks.
Then a lot of the time, and I went through this too for years, we switch this over into the natural space. The medications become the supplements at the store, and we know the supplement person and the apothecary on a first name basis.
[00:16:57] Hally Brooke: We have a cabinet that’s worth $10,000.
[00:17:00] Detective Ev: Yes. Or I’ve been on five different diets. These people are trying and they’re doing it strict.
So, use the technology that we have in today’s world added on, and then you still will need to do the natural stuff. You know, it helps kind of pinpoint it a little more.
Education, Certification, and Going from Guessing to Testing
As far as I know, you did not become an FDN, but there’s many wonderful programs out there. What program did you end up going through to kind of certify yourself with this?
[00:17:21] Hally Brooke: I ended up going back to school for Institute for Functional Medicine. Went through that program and came out as a Certified Functional Medicine Nutrition Counselor. Now I’m a Nationally Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach as well.
[00:17:33] Detective Ev: Nice. Is that through MBHWC? Is that the one?
Hally Brooke: Yep, exactly.
Detective Ev: Very cool. Hey, that’s something we started kind of focusing FDN towards, that’s really big. That’s not an easy thing to do. There’s a lot that goes into getting certified like that. I think that speaks to what you’re doing.
I gotta ask, I’m sorry if I missed this part, I try to listen as closely as possible. What were you doing work or career wise between college and figuring this out? Because if I’m not mistaken, I’m missing like seven, eight years almost.
Chronic Stress at Home and at Work
[00:17:59] Hally Brooke: Yeah. So, I was a middle and high school math teacher for nine years of my career.
[00:18:03] Detective Ev: Go figure, cool.
[00:18:06] Hally Brooke: Which played into it. You know, my stress was an 11 out of 10 which we know that contributes to gut health.
Then I was in a really hard marriage at the time. That husband ended up leaving. I was in the Al-Anon program for a while. So, there’s those pieces too, that were going into it too. Chronic stress at home, chronic stress at work absolutely played a massive role.
[00:18:29] Detective Ev: Got it. Okay. And when you went through this program, but also just the journey to even get certified like that, how has this now become more structured? Because I know when you’re working with people, obviously, you’re not gonna do the same thing that you and I both did at one point, where we’re just trying a bunch of random stuff.
It’s gonna be more calculated. Let’s say, I come to you now with similar things, I got SIBO or something like that. How does this look if I was someone who was interested in working with you, what would that plan be?
Commercial Break – Exclusive Access Behind the Scenes
Hey guys, it is Detective Ev popping in here really quick. Maybe you are looking for more of a system to help your clients, or maybe you haven’t even taken clients, but you’d love to do this as work. Well, you already know FDN is a great thing for both of those problems. We help you with the business side and we also help you figure out how to actually get people better, even with the trickiest of health challenges.
And if you’re listening to this within the month of June of 2022, then you have the opportunity to check out our Summer Open House.
The course is going up $1,000 on July 1st, 2022, to match all of the things that have been added to the course over the last two years. So, this was kind of a long time coming. But if you want to check out what this course is about, all of these little things that have never been offered before, in terms of like insight, you’re actually getting to see things that only trainees see or only graduates see, then go to fdntraining.com/summer, and you can get the full list there.
On June 28th, there is an Open House and on June 30th, I’ll be doing a Live with Reed Davis himself, and we’ll be answering questions. So that’s, fdntraining.com/summer if you want to get some insights on the course before the price goes up.
All right, now, back to the interview.
Servicing Clients and Going from Guessing to Testing
[00:20:07] Hally Brooke: Absolutely. The first thing we do is a 60-minute intake. We go birth until now, your whole health history and your whole life history. I wanna know how often were you on antibiotics as a kid? Were you breastfed or bottle fed? Were you born vaginally or were you born via C-section? Did you have a bunch of ear infections as a kid? When was the last time that you felt well?
Oftentimes that’s something that doesn’t seem to relate to health, like a car accident, or my parents got divorced, or one of these kind of big, emotional, social pieces that has a dramatic effect on our wellbeing, but we call it turning off the fire alarm. Like we put steroid cream on the eczema instead of going, well, why do we have that in the first place?
So, we do that huge 60-minute intake, and then we have our clients do a week of tracking. We actually have them do, we call it food mood, poop journal. I know it’s funny. We have them track what they eat, their energy level, and their mood. Because mood is so connected to what we’re eating. Then their poop, and that tells us a ton about what’s happening in their body.
From those pieces, then we put together a functional medicine game plan that has all of the pieces that go into that. That’s often a gut healing protocol. A lot of times that includes some sort of emotional work on whatever’s going on, stress reduction, those pieces. We are unique in our practice in that we don’t do blood tests right out of the gate. I know, talking to the guy who says, test don’t guess.
Working on All the Systems and Going from Guessing to Testing
[00:21:36] Detective Ev: Neither do we. Yeah. It’s all good.
[00:21:38] Hally Brooke: Because what we’ve found is, one, we’re a fully cash pay practice, but those kind of blood tests are often so expensive. A lot of times we can figure out exactly what’s going on clinically without needing those tests. Cause I can go to mytavin and put in the statin that that person’s on and it spits out, these are the six things that this drug makes you deficient in.
So, that’s kind of how we do it. Then we start working that protocol and we check in with our clients every single week to say, okay, how’s it going? Where are you running into blocks? Sometimes those blocks are like we’re not making the progress that we thought we would make. Sometimes those blocks are, I’m on this super restrictive healing diet plan, but it’s my birthday next week and I don’t know what to do. We do all of those pieces.
I think the mindset work is as helpful, if not more helpful than the food work.
[00:22:27] Detective Ev: We’re pretty objective, so it’s fair enough.
And blood testing is actually something we teach in an advanced course. That throws most people off, we do not teach that in the main FDN course. It’s kind of interesting, cause even though blood work is very validated, if you work on the other systems of the body, blood work is almost always gonna come back better anyway.
And a lot of the times people are coming to people like ourselves, or you, because their blood work looks normal. Now maybe from a functional range, it doesn’t, that’s something to be considered. But generally speaking, their blood work does sometimes look normal enough.
From Guessing to Testing & Knowing Where to Balance It
They know the doctor’s not able to give them a diagnosis because of this and they know that they feel like crap. There’s definitely different ways to do it. I would say also, in general, FDNs are working with some pretty sick people that you have to figure out, where did your body go wrong at this certain point?
We don’t necessarily promote one specific thing because FDN is designed to work with a variety of things. But again, there’s people on here with cancer, with stuff like that, that this was the main system that worked for them. So, it’s cool.
But truth be told, if we could avoid using the labs, that’s fantastic. There are certain cases where I think that is absolutely relevant, you don’t need five, six labs. But if someone’s coming after 10, 13 years, like myself, it was one of the things I needed. It’s all about having a good practitioner that knows where to balance it.
Obviously, you’ve worked with a lot people, so it makes sense.
I wanted to also talk about the gut and brain thing. We have practitioners that are plenty experienced that love listening to the show just for the sake of hearing these stories that might already know some stuff about the gut-brain. I would definitely know this. There’s also people that I know are just getting into the functional world for the first time. I’m certain they’ve heard of the gut-brain connection, but that’s a lot different than asking someone about this and seeing if they can give an intelligent answer on it.
Let’s just kind of break it down simply. What is the gut brain connection? Why does this matter for the mental health side? Cause I know we were gonna talk about that as well.
The Gut-Brain Connection
[00:24:15] Hally Brooke: Yeah. Oh, we could talk about this for the next four hours.
The pieces that I think are the coolest and probably the most applicable are the gut-brain connection. When a fetus is developing and the cells are starting to split apart, the access that both your brain and your intestines come from, they actually come from the same set of cells, which obviously everything comes from the same cell originally. But then as things start splitting off, your gut and your brain are made of the same original root cells, which is wild and absolutely fascinating.
If you think about it as well, your gut and your brain are also the most connected via your spinal cord. Those are the closest access and the thickest wires that go straight from your spine from your brain to your gut. So that’s kind of the medical sum up of the gut brain connection.
We now have loads of research, and you can go read it in PubMed and NCBI, these incredible gold standard placebo-controlled studies, that have absolutely not only proved correlation, but also proved causation between gut dysbiosis – misbalance of bacteria in the gut – connected to ADHD, connected to bipolar, connected to personality disorders, connected to anxiety, connected to depression. That’s huge.
Then we now know 95% of our serotonin is made in our gut. So, when we’re dealing with depression, which is a lack of serotonin, people get put on SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
[00:25:42] Detective Ev: I never try to buff out those acronyms.
All Disease Starts in the Gut
[00:25:45] Hally Brooke: Basically, it’s a brain solution for a gut problem. We’re trying an SSRI prevents the reuptake of those hormones from being reabsorbed into your body, but they don’t do anything for the production. So, if 90% of the serotonin in your body is created in your gut, we have to get your gut fixed to get that serotonin.
Then we know that norepinephrine is the same thing. And then we can back that all the way up to tryptophan. Serotonin is created from tryptophan. Tryptophan is created solely and entirely in your gut. I mean, we could go on for hours. I feel like that’s a really inarticulate, passionate connection.
But basically, the gut-brain connection, Hippocrates, however long ago, 2,500 years ago, said all disease starts in your gut. And we now actually have the scientific evidence that that is a hundred percent true.
[00:26:37] Detective Ev: It’s interesting some of the ancient wisdom and what they knew. Chinese medicine, even. It’s like, wow. It’s pretty impressive.
[00:26:44] Hally Brooke: Yeah. Super impressive. So, yeah, that’s the gut-brain connection.
[00:26:49] Detective Ev: Okay, cool. That’s a good explanation. I love the passion too, right. I think that’s actually what people are most interested in sometimes. The information’s important and don’t get me wrong, we need that. But everyone’s listened to like a really boring lecturer or professor and no one wants to hear that.
It’s much more exciting when someone is excited about it and clearly, it’s had a positive effect for them. I gotta go to the SSRIs really quick. What scares me about them so much that people don’t even realize half the time is, what you described is accurate, right? That’s what it’s supposed to be doing.
Unconfirmed Meds, No Why Questions, Going from Guessing to Testing
People do not understand that neuroscience is far from being a perfect science. We do not fully understand if that is what’s happening. I’m not saying that we’re not more sure than not, we are. But we still have not, a hundred percent, definitively been able to say, this is absolutely inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin. You just, all of a sudden, have more bio-available now and you feel better because of this. We think that’s what it is.
I’m all for people feeling better when they need to. I have used plenty of medication in my life, and at times it’s really made a huge difference. So, I’m not against it. But to put these people on this, especially, (I work with kids as well. I’m in schools, that’s where I do a lot of the speaking.), when I have these kids come up that have been on medications for two years, doctors never recommended trying anything else, I’m just like, wow.
So, we’re gonna throw a 14, 15-year-old on a medication that we think does something because we think we know the cause of depression and then we’re not gonna address any other thing or have the mindset that maybe a 15-year-old shouldn’t be depressed. I won’t even give my opinion on that. I guess the audience can give their opinion on that. I don’t think I have to.
[00:28:17] Hally Brooke: Yeah, there’s a doctor who I follow a lot, Dr. David D. Nicolotti. One of his quotes that I love is, if you go to the doctor and they put you on a prescription without asking you about your sleep, your nutrition, or your stress, you have a drug dealer, not a doctor. And I was like, Woo, yeah. Yep!
Anxiety and Depression Before Going from Guessing to Testing
[00:28:34] Detective Ev: Yes. And I just don’t get why the questions aren’t asked. I mean, I was put on an SSRI, Xanax, all this stuff from my family practice doctor. No psychiatrist recommended, no psychologist, no counselor. That part, I really can’t understand. It’s like, at least recommend me to someone else within your space. That’s the really scary stuff.
Now that we have these doctors that I see for five to 10 minutes, yeah, sounds like depression. Here’s an SSRI, 17-year-old. That’s a really big decision. There are some severe side effects sometimes associated with that.
So, how did this help you? Because I know all too well in the mental health space, you can’t judge a book by its cover. But if I had to guess, you seem pretty darn happy nowadays and pretty stable with stuff. More so than the average person, for sure.
How has this been something that directly impacted you? Because I think you mentioned earlier kind of the mental health stuff that you had went through at one point.
[00:29:20] Hally Brooke: Yeah, I am, like, this is not fake. This is all very real. I am really happy and really stable.
I started dealing with anxiety and depression probably around 2016. I honestly didn’t have words for it. Anxiety and depression wasn’t a buzzword, I don’t think really, as much it is now, or at least I wasn’t connected to it. I just thought I was a mess. I was weepy and I didn’t want to go to work. I would just secretly wish that if I got in a massive car accident on my way to school, it would be fine.
The Connection to Gut Health and Going from Guessing to Testing
Then as I started doing some of this work and learning, oh my gosh, these other pieces that I have going on, this gas and bloating, this chronic fatigue, this brain fog. Interesting. That’s actually connected to my gut health. Really what happened for me was kind of twofold. One, it got bad enough that I did end up going on an SSNRI. I needed help and I couldn’t figure it out. I feel like that gave me just enough bandwidth to kind of take the next step in the healing of my body.
As I started healing my body, I started to recognize this connection between, oh my gosh, these two things are not separate. These two things are a hundred percent interlinked, if not caused by each other. So, as I got my gut health better, I was able to start to kind of wean off my antidepressant, which was a process cause those things have side effects. Then just getting my gut health good again.
All of a sudden, I don’t deal with anxiety and depression like I did before. And I can notice when I haven’t been taking super good care of myself and I’ve been eating things that my body doesn’t love. If I do that for long enough, I start noticing anxiety and depression almost before I start noticing any kind of gut issues.
That’s my mental trigger to go, oh, okay. I’m off track. I just need to bring my body back. And the beautiful part of what I’ve learned in that is our bodies are designed to heal themselves, right?
The Body Is Designed to Heal Itself
Like as practitioners, we get to guide people down that journey. But when it comes to it, if you have a cut on your skin, it’s gonna heal. I can put a Band-Aid over it and that’s great, but it’s gonna do its own thing. Just giving my body the permission to go, oh, okay, we’re off track, now we need to get back on track.
It is incredible how quickly I’ll start feeling, not super centered again, and that’s my trigger to go, oh, okay. I need to take better care of myself. Those symptoms happen before any others, which is wild.
[00:31:44] Detective Ev: It kind of was a light bulb for me when you said that, cause I can relate so much. For me, it’s like minor skin stuff. Never anxiety, I never get anxious anymore. But it’d be a low mood, that given enough time and enough weeks, would probably eventually classify as like a mild major depressive type of thing.
That’s how I’m able to know, okay, I’m pushing too hard. It’s bittersweet. What ends up happening when you’re so passionate about this, of course, is you end up working all the time and you’re constantly wanting to like travel and go to the next conference or do whatever. These things are stressful on the body.
I love traveling, but I’m like flying at least once or twice a month at this point going to these conferences. It’s like, wow, that was a lot. I really need to give myself some time after it. I could be having the time of my life even eating well when I’m gone and I’ll still get like the little skin stuff.
The Body’s Unique Ability to Survive
Although I don’t like that, I would certainly take that any day over these major diagnoses that people have. Because I now use that as like, okay, this means I’m pushing too hard. Let’s step it back a little bit.
What’s kind of interesting is diet’s very important. I’m all for eating well. But it’s almost like you can trade stresses, at least I found that in my experience. Because if I’m not running around like a dog 80 hours a week and it’s like summer, and I’m more chilled out with the schools, I can eat like crap sometimes and I don’t get any side effects whatsoever.
But you give me like an 80-hour work week schedule, and I even have a few too many carbs, even though they were high quality ones, I could see that happening in my skin already. It’s kind of interesting how that works.
I love what you said about like the cut analogy cause I used to use that a lot on here and I haven’t in a while. The body does have this innate ability to heal, it sounds woo, woo, but it’s literally not. We have all experienced this if you’ve lived for more than like seven days, right? We get a bruise or we get something and we didn’t have to tell it to do it, it just healed.
I think what’s really interesting to me is how long the body can survive in a sick state. You know what I mean? Healthy’s hard, dying is hard. There’s like a 50-year period where we can be sick the whole time and the body will survive that whole time. It’s really weird how that works.
Learning the Hard Way
[00:33:35] Hally Brooke: It is weird.
One of my favorite things that happens, I think probably with every client, honestly, is, we’ll put a client on an elimination food plan for a short period of time to help their body heal, and at some point, during that elimination food plan, they’ll have a piece of cake or a piece of pizza or whatever. They’ll go, you know, I got on this elimination food plan (usually by day 10, they’re feeling awesome), and then they’ll have whatever it is, pizza, whatever, and they’ll feel horrible.
It’s such a fun conversation to have with them to say, you know, your body is designed to keep you alive. So, if you’ve been putting something in it every single day that’s toxic to it, your body’s gonna figure out how to manage that on a day-to-day basis and be okay with it.
But as soon as you have that out and your body’s been able to reset and go, oh, okay, I’m not on fire anymore. Then you put that thing back in, your body’s gonna go nuts and you’re gonna have this massive reaction. It’s not that you made yourself allergic by stopping eating whatever it is. It’s that your body finally didn’t have to compensate for your mess all the time and now you’re okay.
I love having that conversation with clients. Clients always say like, oh, I cheated, I fell off the wagon, whatever. I’m like, no, that’s a win. You just learned something about your body. Good job.
Extreme Personal Development Journeys
[00:34:53] Detective Ev: Right.
And actually, for many people, you’re totally right. It can secure their commitment to the plan. This happens to almost all of us. Sometimes we do need that little thing where we’re reminded because we start feeling good and we forget, wow, I used to feel like crap.
Then we do that thing, it’s like, was this really worth it? Like, did I actually, for that one piece of dairy, now I have, for me, cystic acne or for someone else, it might be three days of feeling like crap. Was that worth 10 minutes of pleasure that I got from eating that one thing? We start to learn, you know, what actually matters in life.
It’s kind of weird, many people that I see get into the health stuff end up going through very extreme personal development journeys. You almost can’t do this without doing deeper work on yourself. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be going to addictive foods and those types of things. I always find that interesting.
Speaking of your clients and stuff, I always love for anyone that comes on here to kind of explicitly say what their ideal client looks like so that if I’m the listener and I’m thinking, I like this woman, she’s cool. Would she wanna work with me? It’s always cool to hear from your mouth, who are you looking for? Like, who’s the main person that you like to help? What do they deal with? That type of stuff.
The Diet Roller Coaster, Gas, and Bloating
[00:35:53] Hally Brooke: Absolutely.
Probably our main client are people who deal with gut issues. So, people who have gas and bloating, who have chronic fatigue, who have been diagnosed with IBS and that’s just kind of the rest of their life. We do probably 75% of our work with those kinds of people, especially people who have been to the doctor a bunch of times and come back and said, yeah, my labs are totally normal, but I feel horrible. Those are our people.
We work with a lot of women really age like 29, probably to 59, who fall in that category, just that I don’t feel good, and I don’t know why, and I’ve tried everything.
Then I would say the other 40% of our clients are the women, mostly women (there are men too, have a handful of men clients, but mostly women), who’ve just gotten stuck on that diet roller coaster. They can’t lose weight because now we’ve jacked up our metabolisms, cause we’ve done so many diets.
But we love doing the mindset work with our clients who’ve been on diets their entire life to help them get unaddicted to the scale, stop counting calories, and learn how to listen to their body and really have food freedom.
Those are our two niches, the diet roller coaster and gas and bloating.
Passionate Calling and Going from Guessing to Testing
[00:37:03] Detective Ev: Very cool. I’m actually gonna ask more about that in a second, but I think one thing I did forget is you were a teacher at one point. I understand people being passionate about this, plenty of us are. When did you make that decision though that you wanted to go do this instead of the teaching thing? Cause I think that’s pretty cool.
That’s a different level of passion than just being excited about a topic. There’s many things that I love talking about that are not my career. So, what made you wanna make that switch?
[00:37:24] Hally Brooke: You know, I came out of college thinking I was gonna head in the med school direction and I’m so thankful that I didn’t. I ended up getting into teaching by doing Teach for America. I taught in Title 1 Schools for nine years.
What happened for me was kind of twofold. One, I had a really wonderful mentor say to me (Cause I was a good teacher. Like my kids did well, we would grow multiple grade levels in a year. Like I was good at it. And it took absolutely every ounce of energy that I had and then some.), she said to me, you know, you can be good at something without it being you’re anointing. And you can have an anointing that you’re maybe not good at, but that’s what you’re anointed to do.
And just, health was my passion. So, my third to last year of teaching, I ended up starting a blog. Which was literally just me writing about my own journey, kind of to get my head out of teaching space and do something else.
Launching a Functional Health & Wellness Business
Then just for fun, I ended up going and getting a Barre and Pilate Certification so that I would have something else to do for fun. I started teaching Barre and Pilates on the weekend. Then I went and got a personal training certification, which was again, just fun. I did personal training like nights and weekends and summers.
Then I would just talk to my clients about what I was learning about my own body in this own journey. Also recognizing, people go to personal training for weight loss most of the time. And I’m watching all these clients work out with me multiple times a week and make absolutely no progress.
I’m going, yeah, cause we’re eating pizza and ice cream every night. Like squats aren’t gonna cut it. And then talking to my clients about my journey and what I’m learning and I’m just a total nerd. So, I talk about this stuff all the time and my clients go, why don’t you do this? And I went, huh.
So, my last year of teaching, is really the year that I fully launched my business. I was teaching halftime and doing my business full time. Then the next year, stepped out, went back to functional medicine school and here we are.
I was good at teaching, and I loved my students and I was passionate about it, but it was more than I could handle. Now, I’m probably working the same amount of hours, but it just feels light. It’s where I’m supposed to be and I love it.
Work That Is Just Not Work
[00:39:30] Detective Ev: That’s really cool. I think there’s something to be said about that because when we’re doing the stuff that we are more in alignment with passion wise, maybe we’re not even the best at it, right? But if we just have that passion with it, it doesn’t feel like work.
You know, I did a lot of like sales jobs when I was first starting out of my career. I didn’t have a college degree. I just wanted to make like a decent living. And the way that you do that is going into sales. I’d work, you know, 40, 50, maybe 60 hours cause some sales jobs are crazy and 60 hours is a lot. But it was just complete exhaustion, drain, whatever.
Now, I can kind of pull off those 75-hour weeks, which is funny. There’s certain times where I don’t even realize I did it or that I spent this much time in a day. Like if I’m actually counting the working hours already today, it’s only two in the afternoon and we’re already sitting at like nine plus if you count this.
But that’s the thing, I don’t count this, this isn’t work. I’m talking to someone I would enjoy talking to anyway. I’d wanna hear your story regardless. That’s one of the cool things about FDN or these other programs out there. If you really are one of those people who has this as a passion, you can do work that is just not work.
I got lucky since I got into stuff like that younger. But I do know that there are the majority of people out there that 40, 50 hours a week, if they’re dreading what they’re doing, I cannot even imagine living my life like that, man.
Healed People, Heal People
We are forced into school for the first, you know, 13, well, you know, five years old, basically 13 years after that, of our life. I don’t wanna spend the next 60, hating what I do 40 hours, 50 hours a week. That’s just crazy to me. That’s insanity to me. But I understand we gotta do what we gotta do sometimes. I had to do what I had to do.
But at least make a plan. It took a few years for you, right. It took a few years, but it was worth it to get out. You had the plan.
[00:41:05] Hally Brooke: A hundred percent worth it. And I wouldn’t have the story that I had if I’d just gone straight into medicine. You know, I would’ve had passion and interest, but I wouldn’t have the story.
It’s interesting, you know. We started this whole podcast out going, what is your story? Cause everyone in functional medicine has a story. We have the phrase, you know, hurt people, hurt people. But I think the flip side of that is true. Healed people, heal people.
When you go through your own healing journey and then you go the next step and you get the education and the certification and the background to back that up, you actually get to have this massive impact.
Using Our Story to Help Others
Every single person in my sphere of influence sees what it looks like to walk a healthy life, that overflows. Every single client that we work with, the people in their sphere of influence, sees what it looks like. So, we work with one client, we influence five people. We work with 10 clients; we influence 500 people. It’s just healed people, heal people. I think that’s part of the journey and part of the passion.
[00:41:59] Detective Ev: I love that. I’ve heard the “hurt people, hurt people.” It makes sense with the healed thing. I’ve never heard it worded that way.
One of my favorite quotes is that the final stage of healing is using what happened to us to help others and I find that that’s really in alignment with that. That makes a lot of sense. I think that’s cool.
Before we wrap up, there’s a few other things I wanna hit on. One is just maybe like a client testimonial or two that comes to mind. Just a cool story. I think it’s fascinating that we get to hear all these people that are practitioners share their stories.
But I think it’s even more amazing for the average person, if they’re listening to this, and they get to hear about how a person like them, who does not do this with the same level of passion that we do, they can also get better as well.
So, is there any like client testimonial that comes to mind where maybe they were at the end of the rope, they come to you, and it worked out great?
Client Testimonial – Cystic Acne
[00:42:48] Hally Brooke: Yeah.
The first one that comes to mind, we’re actually working with her right now and it’s so fun. We had a client who came to us with cystic acne. She, I think got cystic acne when she was 17 and was on antibiotics for eight years straight.
[00:43:05] Detective Ev: Who even allows this?
[00:43:07] Hally Brooke: Yeah, that was my question. I was like, oh my gosh, how does that happen?
On antibiotics for eight years straight, cystic acne never cleared up, then got put on birth control. It got a little better, but it never went away. And now she’s in her thirties and still has acne and is so frustrated. So, was about to go on Accutane, which we could talk about for a whole. Accutane causes ringing in the ears. Like, that’s not good.
And so came to us and was like, you’re basically my last resort. You’re either gonna fix this or I’m going on Accutane. We’ve done a full gut healing protocol with her. We’ve done a full detox and reset with her, and her acne is almost entirely gone. She’s only four weeks into a six-month program.
[00:43:46] Detective Ev: I love that. My mom and I, well, I already mentioned I did, but my mom, too, dealt with the same thing. That’s just wonderful work to do for people.
Listen, again, I’m not stupid. I’m not comparing this to a cancer or something, but it really affects people’s psychological statement and your self-worth when you walk around and every mirror, every person that looks at you, you have to wonder like, are they looking at me for a bad reason? Every time. It’s an obsession. It becomes an obsession.
Where to Find Hally Brooke
I think that’s amazing what you’re doing. That’s just cool. I’m so upset that she was on antibiotics for that long, for eight years. But even just to be able to stop her from using the Accutane, I mean, guys. Accutane, we give this to kids, it was a chemotherapy drug. They noticed as a side effect that it burnt out people’s sebaceous glands and now, we give it to people for acne.
That is insane. I don’t know how that’s legal. And it barely is, that’s why you have to sign the packet before you take it. Good Lord! I got a lot of Accutane rants on here.
[00:44:39] Hally Brooke: If you get pregnant on Accutane, you get babies with like, three eyes. I mean, it’s truly unbelievable what that drug does.
[00:44:45] Detective Ev: Good Lord!
Where can people find you if they want to work with someone like you?
[00:44:51] Hally Brooke: Our website, www.livenourishedcoaching.com, best place to work with us. You can book a free consult with us. We love having those free consults with people, because if we feel like we can help you, we’ll walk you through that. And if we can’t, we have a whole referral network. So, if you don’t know where to go, come do a free consult with us and whether it’s us or someone else, we will guide you in the right direction.
The Health Detective Podcast Signature Question
[00:45:23] Detective Ev: Cool. Of course, we will have that in the show notes.
Now, I wanna finish up with the signature question on the Health Detective Podcast. And this is always a fun one because everyone answers it much differently than I ever expect.
The question is, if I was able to give you a magic wand and you could get every single person in this world to do one thing for their health, whether that’s literally do one thing or stop doing one thing, what is the one thing you’d get them to do?
[00:45:48] Hally Brooke: Oh, man. I have two. And I’m trying to decide between the two.
[00:45:52] Detective Ev: We’ve had some people give three, so if it’s too much pressure, do the two.
[00:45:56] Hally Brooke: Okay, great. I’m gonna do the two.
The first one is stop Googling diets. Like please, please, please, please don’t do another thing called a diet ever. It’s a 300 billion industry with a 95% fail rate. If we can destroy that industry, that would be great. No more diets.
Then the second thing I would say is drink goats’ milk kefir every day.
[00:46:16] Detective Ev: Okay folks. Well, that’ll do it for today’s episode with Hally Brooke. I hope you guys enjoy it when we bring on someone that might not be exactly from FDN.
There are many great perspectives out there. It gets me thinking. And let’s be honest, overall, the philosophy that she follows is relatively similar to what we’re doing here. I think there’s something to be said about that. We didn’t go out and select her just because of that. This woman has results and she’s getting results for clients, and the philosophy is similar.
Regardless sometimes of which labs are used, although of course we believe certain labs should be used with every client, you gotta have some lab testing involved. You gotta take a truly holistic approach.
When we heard her bio in the beginning, Hally does that. She looks at all these different areas of the person’s life. You can’t just look at the labs. Similarly, you can’t just look at emotional trauma or relationships. It’s usually a multifaceted approach, especially when the person’s been dealing with this for a long time.
Again, I hope you enjoy this different perspective, and also enjoy hearing the similarities in this perspective. With that said, I want to thank you guys so much for listening to another episode.
If you enjoy the content that we are sharing, please consider leaving us a five-star review on Apple and or Spotify. If you would be so kind as to do that, guess what? I would love you even more than I already do.
I’m looking forward to talking to you guys again soon. But until then, take care.
If you’re interested in natural healing and or functional medicine, you can always visit us at functionaldiagnosticnutrition.com.