Resilience through Functional Medicine Science and Faith with Dr. Jill Carnahan – Ep. 212

In this episode of Next Level Human Podcast, Dr. Jade connects with Dr. Jill Carnahan. Dr. Jill is a Functional Medicine Expert, and today she shares more about her story, having been diagnosed with breast cancer at 25 years old. She tells about how she received the diagnosis, what she learned from that experience, and why her mindset shift during the whole process made an important difference in the treatment.

In addition, Dr. Jill discusses the importance of not being stuck in trauma. We all experience setbacks throughout life, and trying to take something good from them is essential to always moving forward, no matter how big the problem seems. By quitting the victim mentality and believing from deep inside that she would live, Dr. Jill has become an expert in helping others achieve the same vitality.

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Unexpected by Jill Carnahan

Connect with Dr. Jill


Instagram: @drjillcarnahan

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Instagram: @jadeteta


Next Level Human

Episode 212- Resilience through Functional Medicine Science and Faith   

Host: Dr. Jade Teta

Guest: Dr. Jill Carnahan  

Podcast Intro: [00:14] welcome to the Next Level Human Podcast. As a human, you have a job to do. In fact, you have four jobs; to earn and manage money, to attain and maintain health and fitness, to build and sustain personal relationships, to find meaning and make a difference. None of these jobs are taught in school and that is what this podcast is designed to do. To educate us all on living our most fulfilled lives through the mastery of these four jobs. I'm your host, Dr. Jade Teta and I believe we are here living this life for three reasons and three reasons only; to learn, to teach and to love. In this podcast, I will be learning, teaching, and loving right along with you. I'm grateful to have your company; here is to our next level.

Jade 1:18 

what's going on everybody? Welcome to today's show. Today's show is with Dr. Jill Carnahan. I am very excited to have this conversation with Jalen lately I've been doing a lot of sort of interviews with people who I've learned from admired respected. Jill is definitely one of these people. She's an amazing human has an absolutely amazing story, in my mind, a true next level human and just a wealth of information. years back I saw her speak at I think was the Institute for Functional Medicine. I can't remember exactly, but I've been a fan of hers. Ever since now, Jill is an MD. She's a board certified in family medicine. She has been practicing holistic medicine for a long time. And she's a functional medicine provider. Her clinic is the flat iron functional medicine clinic and her expertise. She's an educator. For many of us, Doc's, MDs, DEOs, etc. But she is really one of these people, one of these doctors who has an interesting story because not only has she dealt with chronic illness in many different fronts, from cancer to gastrointestinal disease, I believe it's Crohn's disease, I can't remember which I think so. And toxic mold illness of all three of those and healed herself. And then also has really been someone who has been known for getting the most difficult cases in her clinics and helping them and also as an educator, and so she is just a wealth of knowledge, not to mention, just an incredibly beautiful human, you know, someone who I really respect a lot and have learned from the cool thing is too, that she's got a new book out called unexpected. And so I definitely want to give that a shout out. And I definitely want you to make sure that you get a chance to know her. Her website is Jill You're gonna learn a whole lot more about her. But this is one that I'm just so excited for you to get access to. So, Dr. Carnahan, thank you so much for your time. And all of you enjoy an amazing show with Dr. Joe Carnahan. Welcome to the show, everybody. I have a very exciting guest on the show today. This is someone who I've kind of been nagging for a while to try to get on the show, and we've just made it happen. This is Dr. Jill Carnahan, and she's going to tell you a little bit about her story here in just a minute. But I want to start by telling you a little bit why I wanted her on this Show and why she's been someone who I've learned from and paid close attention to. In addition to being you know, an MD, traditionally trained, she is a functional medicine practitioner and has been engaged in educating a lot of us in both the traditional medicine world and the alternative medicine world. She also comes from a place where she's had her own health struggles, and she deals with some of the most difficult cases and difficult sort of things that we see in alternative and conventional medicine, and is someone who I just really wanted you all to hear from she also has a new book coming out the book is called unexpected actually today, as Jill and I talk is the release date and I ordered the audible copy, which comes out April 18. But we're speaking today, what is it the 28th of March 28. So it's the release of her new book, which I'm very excited about. So make sure you check that out. Jill, let's start with your story because It's a pretty fascinating story. You're one of these people who's a healer. But you also went on your own healing journey, personally. And I want to really get into this because whenever I hear this story and hear about what you went through and your life, it's just absolutely amazing. And it speaks to the next level human hero's journey. So why don't you just get us started wherever you want to start in terms of how you got into this, how you got into medicine, your struggles in your own healing. And then we'll get into sort of your approach to working with patients and clients both on mindset, and conventional and alternative medicine.

Jill  5:39 

Thank you so much for that beautiful introduction. So I grew up in a farm in central Illinois, I was one of five children, I was the oldest girl second oldest. And you would think it was the perfect life, I had a wonderful family very supportive. My mom was a retired nurse to raise the five children, we had a half acre garden where we grew our own fruit, fruit and vegetables, and an apple orchard and all kinds of wonderful things. What I didn't know was that climate, that environment, the toxic load, there was slowly killing me. And I didn't really know this until I got to medical school. So I always knew I was I wanted to follow a healing profession. So I guess I could say I knew I was a healer. But it didn't really become clear until I started applying. And I would have literally thought I was gonna go to chiropractic or naturopathic school, my heart was definitely more holistic. I mean, we grew up we went, we went to doctors a normal kind of thing. But my mom always would try first with maybe herbal remedies, or you know, rest or kind of basic things, even just food. So we knew that our body had innate human capacity, like I grew up with that kind of knowledge. And I very much wanted to find ways to not only reverse disease, but help people live optimally thrive with mindset, which is, you know, one of the focuses of your show, hear all that to say, I go to medical school, and I ended up doing non allopathic regular conventional medical school, because I felt like that system was, at least at the time, the most reimbursable system, and I thought, I want to really learn the system that right now is the primary reimbursable by insurance system in the US, so that if I can make a difference and really change things, I kind of infiltrated so I secretly kind of got in there, like, I want to learn this style of medicine so that I understand. And then maybe I can shift things. But what happened was unexpected. And I'm like the title of the book, at 25, literally a week after my 25th birthday, I found a lump in my breast. And I did not think anything of it. I was in the midst of crazy, insane work hours, there was before workout regulation. So I was doing 36 hour shifts, and you know, no sleep and poor diet and all kinds of things. And I didn't even have time to check this out. But at the insistence of my colleagues and ex husband, I went ahead and got a biopsy, mammogram ultrasound. I'll never forget that day. About a week after my surgery, I get a call from the oncologist. And she said, Jill, I don't even know how to tell you this, but you have aggressive breast cancer, you're in for the fight of your life. And you know how those things in our lives when our life changes forever. In a moment, we never forget where we were the color of the wall where we were sitting. And that memory is like imprinted in my mind. I can still like right now talking, I can feel myself in that place with like the shock and that, like, what did I just hear? And I didn't know you see me now thriving, it's almost 20 years later. But at that moment, I didn't know if I had six weeks or six months or six years. I didn't know what was ahead. All I knew was cancer was in my court. And so what I did was like I do with everything. I said, Okay, how can I overcome this. And fortunately, again, I was surrounded by a great support network of friends and family. I had prayer, meditation, all kinds of spiritual practices. But what I ended up doing was I hit this hard with very, very conventional aggressive three drug, chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. And what I did on the side was I rebuilt myself with nutrition and vitamins and all that, but I hit this very hard. And one first Pearl here in the story is if you're facing these kinds of things, I remember feeling as a medical student, completely overwhelmed. Because we think medicine is black and white, we think there's like this one right choice. And that is so far from the truth. And I was facing this reality straight in the eyes because I was a medical student at the best university with a great medical library. And as I looked at the research, there was no clear pathway for a 25 year old with breast cancer, there was none. It was all gray. And I literally created my own treatment plant plan. I switched out one of the drugs for chemo that was less cardiotoxic. I did radiation in a completely unconventional way. And I literally took my intuition and my medical background and said, No, I don't want to do your plan. I'm gonna do this plan. And it was still a great plan. And the second thing I learned was, when you're facing a decision like that, you can be completely overwhelmed and you're not sure what to do. But what you do is you take what you have, at that moment, the best information and you make a good decision and you never look back because you don't want The Life of regret. And I remember very deliberately at that moment thinking, Okay, I'm going to do this, I'm gonna do this treatment, this could hurt me, This Could Hurt my gut my immune system, this is very toxic drugs, literally, to put it in perspective, one of the drugs was cardiotoxic, which means a good stop my heart with heart failure, they gave me the maximum calculated dose, my 25 year old body could handle lifetime, which means I could never ever receive any more of that drug. And that was the dose I got. So these were toxic drugs. And, but I chose that moment, in real time to make that decision. And literally, the past 20 years, the cancer was easy. I overcame that a few months, and then was considered in remission, and it's never come back. I'm cured of cancer. But the treatment I chose literally, this whole last 20 years has been the work of recovering from that toxicity. And I've never regretted it, because I decided in that moment, so when you're facing a decision, that's Lesson number one is you can't regret because you're gonna live your life in a place in the past, and you can't do anything about it. And that's stressful and not good for your body. So that was the first adventure. I go right back into medical school training. I didn't know how to rest. I didn't know how to take a break. And I was still really, really sick. I was bald, I was malnourished, I was the lowest weight I had been since maybe 12 years old. And I went right back into crazy rotations and kind of ignored the fact that I was still really weak, really sick. And it was having cyclical fevers, like up to 101102 didn't tell anybody I had grown up on a farm, you know, tough mentality, don't complain, pull up by your bootstraps, you know, fake it till you make it. And so I didn't even know how to ask for help. I didn't even know what to say, I'm really sick. And I don't think even to myself, I acknowledged how sick I was. Until one day, about six months later, I'm in the ER taking a patient's blood pressure. I pass out cold on the floor. And once again, I'm back to patients. And I was rushed into emergency surgery that night. And I woke up the next morning with a surgeon telling me, Jill, you have Crohn's disease.

Jade  12:02 

Yeah, I mean, hearing this story is absolutely amazing when I think about what we go through in medical school, and then to be going through the most difficult health challenges of your life at the exact same time. And so here's what I want to know about this, this story. And I know it's difficult, right? It's 20 years. And it's shocking to because look at you, I mean, you're beautiful, you're vital. You know, you're brilliant, you and you're someone we all learn from and you you're you seem to be thriving, every time I see you speak, let me understand and help us understand. You kind of alluded to this, but this is what I'm you know, as you and I talked about before we got on, you know, I'm getting my PhD now in transpersonal psychology, and there's a big component of that, that has to do with mindset that has to do with belief. And so I want to know, what was this like for you? And what were you doing at this time? If anything? Like obviously, you know, you kind of told us, you know, look, I'm kind of head down, you know, tough mentality don't complain. At this point in time. Were there any other mindset, things that you were doing besides completely owning your choice, and walking full steam ahead head held high into this very difficult situation.

Jill  13:26 

Yeah, this is my favorite part. Just talk about because the real power, as you know, from your show, and the people you've interviewed is mindset. And beyond that, my book title is resilience through functional medicine, science and faith. And I want to talk about that, because a lot of people talk about the science, they don't talk about the faith that they talk about. And I can we can frame it in any meeting kind of dichotomous, like masculine feminine science, faith, left brain, right brain. And for me, it's how do we bring these two sides in any realm together. And so when you talk about faith, let me first frame this because I do believe in God, and I have a very strong faith, but many of your listeners may not. And that's okay. And I want to frame this in a very universal way. I believe that faith is how we deal with the inevitable uncertainty of life. And that's a non-religious kind of thing, right? So I come out of it with my own perspective, and I'll share that with you. But I want you to know, if you're listening, you don't have to believe like I do. You don't have to come from the same background that I do. But there is a value in having this higher purpose higher calling. And when you know that so deeply that's integrated into your soul in your heart and your mind. You can count you can know that life can't throw you a curveball that you can't figure out like you have this faith to believe that in real time, you're going to have the resources and the ability to overcome. And I think I was born with some of that piece. And then it just developed over time because I kept getting thrown curveball, after curveball after curveball, and each time I realized, Oh, I'm stronger than I thought like I have this resilience inside of me and each of you listening, you have this to I'm not unique. And I want to if anything encourage you to harness that. So for me it was this deep, deep belief If in faith in there's something bigger, something greater, and then it was the mindset of reframing every situation instead of like, Why me I never ask why me? Never. I said, Okay, why not me? And what can this do as a teacher, and I didn't know that first experience of cancer, it was like, I remember hearing on the radio, this this preacher live was like, the sickness will not end in death, but for the glory of something greater, and that I like, grabbed on to and like, I felt like it was speaking to me like number one, okay, I'm not going to die. And I believe that from that moment on, and that was one week into my diagnosis, I knew I had this knowing, and it was, I am not going to die. And whether that was true or not, I think that belief frame the fact that I believed with every cell in my body that I was going to survive. So I did everything, to approach this in a way that a survivor would do, and not a, you know, someone that's going to die from this disease, and that framed my whole life. And then the second thing was, I believed that there was some meaning or purpose in this experience. And when you shift that, and you start to look for meaning and purpose in your deepest, darkest periods of life, they become this teacher, and they become this thing that gives you a sense of purpose and meaning greater than you ever could have imagined, in the sense of all of a sudden you spirit and suffering, you know, like, how can I deal with this, and those lessons that we learn in that experience, we can take and we can shine to those that come into our lives, like my patients, and the readers of my book and the people that I come in contact with. I want to share with the world, how you can transform suffering and difficulty into something that creates a greater purpose and meaning in your life. And I didn't know back then, but that story of cancer would frame everything I did. And when I started in 2010, I moved from a medical hospital system where I was integrated medical director in Illinois, to Boulder, Colorado to start my own practice. And the first thing my ex-husband said, which were great friends now, he said, Jill, you have to start sharing your story. And I had no idea that that cancer story would actually connect me to people in such a deep meaningful way that it would totally frame my practice my teaching like everything I did, because I could now come and say I have been there. I have experienced this and hopefully you don't have to but in my experience, this is what I've learned. And the knowledge that came from that experience was a million times greater than any textbook I read in medical school.

Jade  17:17 

It's time to talk about one of our sponsors of today's episode, ag one by athletic greens. Now many of you have heard me say this before, but I am not a fan of vegetables which I know is funny given I've been in the health and fitness industry for so long. I blame my mother and father for this when I was a kid, what they would do was essentially take the broccoli the brussel sprouts, the spinach, the collard greens and just steam them. no salt, no fat, no taste whatsoever, just these bitter greens and so I developed a distaste for a lot of different vegetables which has stayed with me into adulthood. One of the things I've done to mitigate that is use a greens powder. pretty much ever since greens powders have come out on the market and I've tried every single one. They started out tasting like swamp water, I found a few that I really liked the taste but recently one that I have been taking for a very long time. As you all know I wear a continuous glucose monitor I found that it was actually spiking my blood sugar because probably the tapioca starch in it, which some people don't respond to tapioca starch with elevated blood sugars. I was and so it sent me on a mission to find another one. And one of my friends turned me on to AG one by athletic greens and I've heard about athletic greens and ag one for quite some time. I just never tried it. And now that I have tried it, I have become a huge fan. So much though that I partnered with athletic greens and ag one to sponsor this podcast. Now let me tell you what happened here. After I saw that my blood sugars were spiking, my friend gave me a couple samples of a G one I began using those and testing the blood sugar and found there was no spike. The other thing I found is that he one is interested in his taste profile. It's very neutral the one I was taking before it was a little sweet. I really loved it. But this one is very neutral which actually suits me because what I found is I can actually not only take this first thing in the morning in water and have it tasted very neutral almost like there's nothing there I can also add it into my protein shakes which means now I'm getting double the greens that I was getting previously because I add this right into my protein shakes and it does not change the flavor of the shake at all. The other thing I realized once I started looking at the label is that this product is not simply a greens product. It also is a multivitamin multi mineral. It also has fiber which acts as a prebiotic. It has probiotics in it and It has functional mushrooms, which act as adaptogens in it, that's four different products essentially in one and I've been taking mushrooms for some time I stopped taking them now because now I have this in my greens, I have also taken my multivitamin and make this my multivitamin. 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It's time for all of us to reclaim our health and arm our immune system with convenient daily nutrition and ag one does that with just one scoop and a cup of water every single day. That is all you need. There is now no longer a need for a million different pills and supplements. To look after your health. All you need is this particular one, it really clears the stage to simplify your supplement regime to make it easy for you athletic greens is going to give you a free one year supply of immune supporting vitamin D, and five free travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is visit athletic level. That's athletic level to take ownership over your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance check out ag one. I love it. I know you're gonna love it. And I'm so happy that they are on board to sponsor the podcast as well. Thanks so much check out ag one athletic level. And let's get back to the show. Yeah, and until you and I just the first time you and I are meeting personally and one of the things that listeners who listen to this podcast hear me say over and over again, is something that you just said this idea of using our suffering as a source of meaning or pain as a path to purpose our hurt as a way to help and what's interesting about this is actually my PhD research what I want to do one of the things that I am looking at doing is this idea and it's very much what you just said is this idea that you know we're all going to suffer as humans we don't necessarily know how and but we know that we're all going to suffer and a lot of us and I want to get your take on this in just a minute because it is somewhat controversial. There's two in my mind choices we can make one is sort of this victim choice and let's be clear this is language that can be triggering for people but what I mean by victim is that obviously if you're going through suffering like Jill was going through any of you listeners Where are dealing with obviously there's a time and a place to be victim we must be we must take the time to feel and deal with what we're struggling with. However, I do believe that at some point we must make a choice at some point to not continue living in victim and the way that I want to test this is what if with our suffering, we decide I am going to use this suffering as a way to I'm gonna go find Ain't it out there the same suffering that I'm having, and teach these people who are suffering in the way that I'm suffering with the lessons that I have learned. And if you listen to Jill's story, as she was saying, that's exactly the choice she made. And really interesting, it seems like you did that very early on in this process, or at least that you were aware of that, then I'm going to use this as a way to teach. And I'm wondering how you see this, because I haven't done these studies yet. This is what I want to do, I'm still trying to work out how we will actually test this. But the idea is, find people who are suffering, basically take their take those lessons that they're learning and go find other people who are suffering in similar ways, and began to use that as a way to heal others. And inadvertently, my belief is, and we will see if this comes true, this is my hypothesis that they will inadvertently begin to heal themselves. And so I want to get your take on that. And I also want you to speak maybe a little bit if you feel comfortable on this idea and this dichotomy between living in victim versus, you know, sort of moving to this, what I would call a hero mindset, which is like, I'm going to use this to do good in the world.

Jill  26:12 

Oh, goodness, I love that. And I want to hear about your study. And if I can be part of it in any way, I think that's so powerful, because we're in an unprecedented time in our world where there's more uncertainty than ever before our medical system, or, you know, politics system, all of our systems are kind of shaky, and some of them are falling apart before us, you know, you hear more and more like people in the ER, and they're waiting in the waiting room, and there's no beds for them. And there's nurses and on staff, and I just know in my little world and medical system, it's falling apart. And it's really sad. So in the sense of we know, like from Hans Selye, his research on stress, there's four things the acronym is nuts, that create uncertainty and stress and its novelty, unpredictability, threat to ego, that's a threat to like who we are, and sense of control. And lately in the last several years, all of those are true novelty, unpredictability, threat to ego, and you can say threat to health, which is true, and sense of control. And so in the midst of those things, which those are out of our control, so part of the shift is we think we have control, right? We think we can control, we get insurance policies, because that protects us because if something bad happens, we have the money given, you know, taking care of us, and we try to control and the fact the reality is we have no control, we have some control, but we don't have the control that we think we do, right? And then the second reality is uncertainty is inevitable, like change is inevitable. The thing that we can bank on is that our life will change, our relationships will change, we'll lose people we love, we might face illness, and that is guaranteed. And we don't like to hear that. We don't like to face that. So then how do we reframe, like, that's coming? So how do we have the attitude and the mindset? And one thing I've learned from some of my favorite authors on habits like BJ Fogg and James clear, and some of these people is identity frames habit, right? So for example, I don't drink alcohol, generally, I don't smoke and I don't eat gluten. And these things aren't like choices I make every day, I never have to have decision making fatigue. They're just who I am. So I get gluten free. If anyone ever offers me bread, it doesn't even cross my mind to have to think about yes or no, it's just my identity is I don't eat gluten. So it's never a decision. It's just part of who I am. And this is relevant to your question, because even to this day, I'm a 20 year breast cancer survivor. And I don't say that very often because I sometimes to this day, I'm like, oh, yeah, I did have breast cancer. That seems so surreal to me. Because even in the midst of the hardest, darkest times, facing the treatment, and going to chemotherapy, I never thought of myself as I'm a breast cancer survivor. It never was my identity. And I think this is important, because when we, when we grab something, don't hold on to it. That's part of the victim thing. And again, the other side of this is what you mentioned, and I had to learn this too, you have to feel sadness, you have to grieve, you have to let it pass through your body because otherwise it gets stuck as trauma. And I've dealt with some of that, because I had a much harder time feeling grief and sadness. And in the last decade, I've really processed that and let it go through. But all that to say, even to this day, I can tell my story. But I don't identify with that person as an identity. And if we do again, you can maybe temporarily identify so that you can get through it struggle and feel the suffering, but then let it go. Because the moment we identify and become something, our habits, our mindset, and everything else will reflect who we think we are. So I would literally like after some of my healing came after my divorce. And one of the things I would do is, I would walk on this path a couple of miles every day. And I would say every day in every way I'm stronger and healthier. I'm wealthier and more resilient. I'm younger and more beautiful. I will overcome all obstacles I will outlast all adversity, things are turning in my favor. And at the moment I started saying that it was like I was almost laughing like okay, especially younger, more beautiful I mean who tells themselves they're younger, more beautiful. And I was struggling that areas I was like no I'm really and but what happened is little by little and you can see it now it's just part of me This is my identity. And you know, since I started saying that and believing it, my subconscious brings it to pass. Because anything that we get into our subconscious mind deep enough, our body cannot help but bring that to pass. If we truly believe it, it's like a program, if we put that program in our computer, which is our body, physical, mental, and spiritual, the computer program will come to pass, and it sometimes takes repetition. And in the beginning, you may not believe your identity, but you can change it. And it's through that programming. And for me, the bigger envelope here is, I believe I am a physical being, but I'm also a spiritual being. I believe that energy I bring into the world as part of the healing power. And the number one thing of all of this is, my purpose in this world is to be unconditional love, to myself, and to the people I come in contact with. And it's so simple when you have a core meaning and purpose. Cancer can't take that away from me, I can still love and be loved Crohn’s can't take that away from me. mold illness can't take that away from me divorce and toxic relationships can't take that away from me. So when you have a core identity, nothing can take that from you.

Jade  31:06 

Yeah, and you know what I love Jill, and one of these things that I think is core to this. And it's really difficult for people when is it and you said this, and I just want to make sure the listener hears this, there's an there's an aspect of Jill telling us her story that she owns. Like she owns it completely. But in a sense, she also transcends it. So she's integrated, all of that difficulty, all the suffering, all the things, she owns it, it's part of her story. But it's not something she stays sort of stuck in. And I think a lot of people, they develop blocks to their stories, they're either shameful about their stories, or they don't want to own their stories. And from my perspective, pain is the path to purpose and a sense if you own it, and you begin talking about it freely at that point is when you transcend it, which is why I want to really look at this because I am convinced and perhaps I'll find that there's other aspects and I'm wrong in certain areas, or I'm wrong completely because we I am an evidence based person. But I do believe this is the way that that is that this is done. And one question I want to ask you and see, get your take on this. You mentioned the term, fake it until you make it and I like to use the term, be it until you see it. And the reason why I like be it until you see it a little bit better is something that you said when you're walking this path and you're repeating this mantra, sort of in the beginning, if you're faking it, right, you're sort of you're being that thing when people are watching, but maybe not so much in your actions and your thoughts and your feelings when you're all alone. And then when you start to be the thing, you started to have alignment in acting, feeling and thinking. And I think this is something from my perspective that a lot of people miss, it can't just be something you do or say to people when others are around, it has to be something you are living and you said it perfectly when you said this is now my identity I don't I don't relate to I don't see myself as the identity of a 25 year old who had breast cancer. In fact, it sounds like Jill, you have to even remind yourself sometimes that this was your reality, because you live a completely different reality. And I just want the listeners to hear that. And also just get your take on this idea of this alignment between thinking, you know, sort of feeling and acting as being the thing versus, you know, because we oftentimes hear oh, you can just the secret, right? You know, you just think your way. And I'm wondering, is this how it worked for you? Where are you actually what were the actions you were taking? What were the things that you were? How were you able to be this?

Jill  33:42 

Oh, gosh, I love this conversation so much, because it's the heart of everything I believe in, and I'm your work as well, and what you're going to be researching and I get so passionate about it. One of the things I think is most important, I'll just give a personal example. I have desired love all my life. Like I want loving relationships, I want to love patients and that but the data that that changed for me was instead of desiring this to happen to me, which again, you don't have control over, right? And whenever you put your desire or your identity in something, you don't have control over you it's going to lead to frustration, right? But what do we have control or we have control of ourselves and how we show up in the world? And the day that I shifted and realize, I mean, it was just like a light bulb like oh, wait, all I need to do is be love. I don't need to ask for love because my energy will reflect what's coming back to me, right? And granted, I wanted that, but I was willing to think just totally throw that concept away and say, oh, all I have to do is every day I wake up and I meditate or pray and say how can I today? The love and energy for love in the world. And then that's easy. I can control that. And it doesn't mean I can't be sad or angry or human or have conflict or have boundaries. But even in those things, someone earlier today I was on an interview and they asked me well how do you get angry? I said well I if I have anger if I want to first feel it in process And then it wanted to come out in a way that's clear and kind. I love Brene Brown, but it doesn't have to compromise love, I can still say I'm really frustrated or very angry at you for crossing this boundary. But I don't attack the person, I don't attack who they are. It's only about the behavior. And you can still do those things that are conflictual or setting boundaries in a way that's full of love. So my goal now is self-directed. And I have control over that. And that's just how do I show up with love in the world. And so the other thing you touched on, I think is so important is our alignment, our integrity, like our souls purpose, our meaning are things that we love and derive satisfaction from, if we aren't truly showing up in the world in the most authentic way and continuing to strive to take off the mask, and to stop being what people think we should be, or being where the world thinks we should be. And just being ourselves vibrant, unapologetically ourselves, that misalignment will cause disease and illness. And I think probably one of the biggest factors that's unspoken, about why people get ill, and this was me the same because I wasn't living in alignment. It's living in a truly authentic way. It's like really trying to show up with no filters and everyday trying to say, am I taking it off? Am I doing something just to please someone else or to be what they think I should be or to show up in a different way? Because the world says this is what success is instead of defining for me what does that mean?

Jade  36:19 

And let's get back to the show. Yeah, authenticity is so hard, isn't it because our ego gets involved and I remember when I was going to naturopathic medical school, you know, at a time where you know, I started what 1997 You know, and back then It wasn't who knew it was going to be such a popular thing that you and I do for a living, you know, now it's sort of mainstream, but then I remember going, No, I'll just go the conventional route. And I just remember this feeling inside at every single time I just, I was like, going to go that conventional route, I would get nauseous, I would feel something off. And if there's anything that I feel like I have been able to begin to master, as I have gotten up in age, you know, is that this idea that I've been able to recognize when I'm not being authentic? And embarrassingly, you know, it happens a lot. And I'm constantly having to check myself and my ego, but I agree with you. 100%, authenticity seems to be the secret, but it's very difficult to pull off, but I do think the more you own who you are, and make that decision, like, for example, when I first made that decision, and all of my family was just like, Oh, my God, J don't do that. But once I owned it, other people started to own it. And then I developed some confidence, and some competence for the next time when I got out of medical school. And I was like, I don't really want to do the traditional family practice, I want to integrate, you know, a workout system, and you know, this kind of stuff. And everyone said, Don't do that. And then, and it builds on itself. So you get better and better and better at this. And I do see it the way you see it as well. I mean, it's so cool talking to you in person, finally, and seeing how much in alignment, you know, sort of we are, that doesn't, that's not always the case. But it's really, really nice to see, I want to get your final thoughts in the mindset stuff, because, you know, I want to also make sure that the listeners get your expertise in the functional medicine aspect of this as well. And I guess I'll frame it up this way, and see which way you want to take it from my perspective. And it sounds like you're exactly the same Jill, we tend to in conventional medicine, and even in naturopathic medicine, we tend to look at external factors, right, like, So, I'm going to exercise I'm going to eat or I'm going to take this particular drug, or I'm going to take this particular supplement. And from my perspective, all that is fine and good. It's not that one is necessarily better than the other, it's just that I have seen within myself. And within my patients over the years that there is something that happens when people own things in the way that we were talking about mindset wise, that then these medications and things like that can start to do, you know, some good, but there is one aspect of this that I think you're a major expert in is that this this, this idea that sometimes we don't necessarily know, we do live in an environment that can be challenging, there are things in the environment that are you know, sort of stealth, and we don't always know we might feel off. But we don't know why. And not everybody is able to figure this out. And you have, you know, really developed an amazing reputation for dealing with some of the most difficult things we deal with mold toxicity, Lyme disease, chronic autoimmune conditions, all of these kinds of things. And so I just want to understand from you how you see this transitioning from Yes, the mindset is important. But obviously, you know, life still happens. And we can still get infections, and we can still be exposed to things unknowingly. And I want to understand how you see the mindset connect with this, and then how you begin to address this for your patients.

Jill  43:35 

Okay, and thanks for framing it so well, you're really a great host, and it's so fun to be here with you. First thing I want to really make quick mention this authenticity and just give you a practical example. When I was young, I was in a family like Stoke, German engineers very analytical, and I kind of became like one of them. It's like, you know, a fox grown up with a den of wolves, there's something different. And you kind of become what your environment conditions you to be. And part of this authenticity and living yourself and living your true life is Who Am I? And how should I show up in the world. And I always give the analogy of like a dial on the radio, I was pretty vibrant and out there and loud. And sometimes like I had unique ideas, but I turn that volume down. And I feel like I lived up until the age of 40 like a six out of 10 on the volume. And now I've given myself permission to turn up the volume and sometimes I'm very silly and very irreverent or very sarcastic or whatever things that come out. And no longer do I turn that volume down and like try to not shine or not make people uncomfortable. I just be myself and I might make people uncomfortable. Sometimes I might say the wrong thing and I can always apologize but that volume I just like to give your listeners that analogy because I think all of us consumers live different, you know, situation, maybe at the workplace, and we tried to turn our volume down because it's not our selves or not, we don't feel like we're acceptable. And that's when we encourage you turn that volume up, turn it up. It doesn't have to mean like true volume of loudness. It just means you're fully vibrant self. So that's that framework. Okay, let's switch to functional medicine. How do we frame this? Because I do feel like we have some practical biochemical kinds of things. Functional Medicine at the root with these complex chronic illnesses, I think is two things at the core. One is toxic load, and one is infectious burden. And these two things drive inflammatory cytokines and immune reactions and all the kinds of things that we see present gut dysfunction. But at the core of most of the really difficult cases of fatigue that hasn't been resolved or, you know, on New on onset autoimmunity or even cancer is often toxic load and infectious burden and toxic load is the elephant in the room. Were some of us are talking about it. But we're not yet aware, I think of how big of a deal, the exponential increase in release in toxic chemicals in our environment is really having on our health. And I think, the pandemic and everything really accentuated that because we saw the studies of the air quality and increased risk of infection. And what happens is that toxic load is what weights down your immune system, and old things like chickenpox virus, or Epstein Barr when you're a teenager, which is mononucleosis, or maybe you got a tick bite, and you were these things shouldn't be taken care of by the immune system kept at bay and kept in remission or in not inactive form. But often people get shingles, which is reactivation of chickenpox virus, or often people will get Lyme disease, and they have chronic pain and chronic fatigue. But there are people who have a robust immune system and still have these infections, and they're fine. So not everybody needs to treat every infection, it's how do we decrease toxic load, so that the immune system can actually function how it should and keep everything at bay. And those two things play into some of these really toxic and, and complex illnesses. And the biggest thing that you mentioned earlier is mold related illness, in that toxic load bucket. So I always describe it, as we're all born with a bucket capacity to detox. And as that water fills up over 510 2030 4050 over your years, at some point that water level may start to overflow. And the typical things we see when that toxic load gets too much for our body to handle and we can't bail out the water anymore, is cancer, autoimmunity, and neuro degeneration. So cognitive dysfunction, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, ALS, et cetera. There's many more things that can happen. But those are the big three. And we see those as both, you know, all three are epidemic in proportion, in as far as what's happening in our world. And mold just happens to be something that really fills up the toxic bucket very quickly and very aggressively. And it's one of those things that typically like say, in this room I'm in right now, there could be mold behind the wall, but everything looks fine. I just have brain fog. And I don't feel well. And thank goodness, there's not mold here. But that's very common for people to have an exposure and they don't even know it, but they feel like they're going downhill.

Jade  47:36 

Yeah, it's really interesting, right? How you put this in. And as you all can see, as you're listening to this, you can see why Jill is such an amazing teacher, because this is what she does. Oftentimes, when she teaches She really takes these big concepts and distills them down into big buckets that you can actually grasp. And so now we have this idea of infectious burden, and sort of toxic load, which now begins obviously, there's a lot of stuff underneath that, but at least we have a place to begin to start, one of the things I want to ask is, you know, a lot of people will kind of see these things in functional medicine, and we see lots of dysfunction before we get to disease, right, which is where you and I sort of specialize we may not necessarily have a diagnosis of autoimmunity, we may not be able to find, you know, cancer, we may not be able to find something actually wrong, but we know we're not functioning correctly. And so from my perspective, how do we begin to look at this? So from the functional medicine perspective, you know, I would say, you know, I use this idea that of biofeedback, that our body's talking to us all the time. So the metabolism doesn't speak, you know, English or Spanish, it speaks to metabolism, and we need to know how to sort of understand that and translate that. So things like fragmented sleep and difficulty and sleep hunger issues, energy that's unpredictable and unstable cravings, mood issues, these kinds of things. From your perspective, are there are there anything that you go? Here's some very common things like for example, we know the mitochondria are involved in lots of these sorts of things, or we can so that's sort of a bottom up approach, right? That mitochondria, these n units of energy production are compromised. And then we could take sort of the top down approach of hypothalamus pituitary adrenal thyroid. And I oftentimes, you know, begin to look at both of these top down bottom up issues when I'm looking at patients. And I want to know, how you look at this if we took your model of like, okay, what are the infectious insults? What is the toxic load? And then how well or is the internal mitochondria functioning and the, you know, hypothalamus pituitary connections to our endocrine system, we can begin to maybe begin to decipher some of these things and I'm just trying to get a sense from you how you begin to break this down clinically when you're looking at a complex case in front of you.

Jill  50:05 

Yeah, so the toxic load. The important thing about that is we all have a toxic load. So every single person who walks into my office has some sort of a toxic load. And my job as a clinician is maybe to identify some big players in that toxic load. We have salads, and parabens and heavy metals and mold and organophosphates and glyphosate and Atrazine and PFA O's, and I could name a ton of these. And these are from like the plastics in our environment, or they're from the water supply that we drink from if we don't filter our water, or they're from the food that we eat if we don't get organic. And so they're all over the place getting we're getting exposed, and we're all exposed. But we don't have to identify every last toxin in that bucket in order to heal. And many of the detox principles that I teach or teach my patients and we'll talk about those are going to assess all toxic burden and not just specifically different things. So I'm much more of a big picture person. Now on the infectious burden. If we take care of toxic load, sometimes the immune system can come back online, and I don't have to be so aggressive at the infections. So I always start with toxic load. Now I can test this I can do urinary tests for all those things I just named and actually identify is there mold toxins is there palettes that are parabens, and then we teach things like you know clean cleaning products, making sure you're not using toxic chemicals to clean for men and women hair, makeup, beauty products, making sure things on your skin are clean, and they're free of phthalates and parabens. And those are all kind of the basics. But I always teach something really simple because this can get overwhelming very quickly and depressing because we're swimming in toxic soup all of us. But what I say is this clean air, clean water, clean food start really, really simply clean air 80% of our environmental toxic load, the air that we breathe is from the air. So if you're not thinking about air filtration system in your home, like through your furnace filter, or you're not having a standalone filter in your bedroom that filters both HEPA, which is particulate and VOCs volatile organic compounds which are that 2.5 microns or below, you're behind the game, because nowadays, especially if you live in a busy city area or suburban area where there's lots of exhaust and fumes and heavy metals are in Colorado where we have wildfires our air quality is diminishing. So you have to be really thinking about air quality. Mold goes into that category, because if it's behind your wall, it's throwing out mycotoxins and affecting your air quality. So clean air number one, how do you do that, and at the very simplest level, open your windows, because dilution is the solution to pollution. And if you have an indoor air quality, that's not great, and you don't have exhaust outside or something out right outside your window opening that window can also help clean a water Second, and this is where you want to make sure that either you have a filtration system in your home, or even a picture in your fridge very simply inexpensively because you need to be drinking filtered water. We just found out last year in Colorado where I live, all of the municipal water supplies that they tested were contaminated with PFA O's, this is like Teflon and Gore-Tex. Those like waterproofing chemicals are in clothing and outdoor equipment. And literally every single water supply tested had contamination above the allowed levels. And the worst part Jade is these are forever chemicals. That means that scientists cannot even calculate their half-life. So they're there. And they're going to be there for decades and pass my lifetime. And it's there. So you must be filtering your water and thinking about how do you get clean water and clean food is if you can get local organic, not you know trips across the US in a refrigerated truck for two weeks because that loses nutrient value. And if you can at least buy organic with the Dirty Dozen, the ones that are most contaminated with pesticides. Those inputs alone make a difference. And then the second thing is a 21 day detox and January is great, but you really want to incorporate daily detox habits so what are you doing for your mind your body your spirit? I like Epsom salt baths I take binders frequently I take glutathione and you want to find out what for you works as a daily habit versus trying to clean up once a year.

Jade  53:55 

Yeah, yeah you know I I know you're running up on time so we don't have much more time left with chill but one of the things that I love and I actually invested in is sauna therapy to get rid of some of these forever chemicals. What do you think about things like sweat therapies and things like that for these issues?

Jill  54:14 

Absolutely huge fan and again, my naturopathic friends like you have taught me a lot about castor oil packs, coffee enemas, infrared sauna, Epsom salt baths, lymphatic drainage, hot cold plunge, dry brushing, these are just some of the many things and we as a conventional medical doctors forget about lymphatics and lymphatics are so powerfully huge with detoxification as well as sweating so lymphatics is that lymphatic drainage dry brushing lymphatic massage, lymphatic drainage remedies, and then that hot cold therapy a lot of the cold plunge which is so popular right now that stimulates lymphatic so can be really, really powerful. For me, I've chosen I love Epsom salt baths and I do sauna once or twice a week. So whatever you can fit in your schedule. I'm a huge fan. But what happens is it gets in our tissues and we need to mobilize the toxins from our tissues. So that our liver and kidneys can filter them out.

Jade  55:02 

Yeah. And one of the things I love about contrast, as you mentioned is, you know, we talked about, I was talking about the mitochondria versus the HP axes. And it seems to work on both of these as hot cold back and forth as exercise for the HP. And obviously, you're getting rid of all these endocrine disrupting chemicals, who that have difficult times on our mitochondria, as well, since we don't have much time left with you, Jill. And we've covered a ton with you today. And I hopefully you listeners are getting a really good sense of Dr. Jill's sort of approach and are going to want to follow up with her. Is there anything what I like to ask as sort of the font the final question here is, what are you interested in? Now, you know, we're as practitioners, we're always evolving. You know, one of the things I'm getting very much into is quantum medicine and quantum biology. And, you know, if I ever write another book, it's probably going to be on metabolism, I'm doing some developments probably going to be quantum metabolism. But what are you what are you most interested in now? And what are the things that you're, you know, deep in study with and the things that maybe you want to make sure that we're aware of as sort of a final sort of take?

Jill  56:09 

Well, I still have a clinical practice, and I love my patients. And for those of you who are patients, I'm not going to stop doing that anytime soon. So don't worry. But my passions have been like the book that's coming out, and I just filmed the documentary last year as well. I feel like this word with its two other practitioners, doctors are tired, and they're burned out, I just heard a few weeks ago that one in four physicians is burned out or depressed. That's really sad. So I'm really passionate about educating the educators and teaching the teachers and getting the word out that there are answers. And you can re infuse your practice of medicine with hope and with passion and with purpose. So that's one thing. And then just for the general lay population, a lot of people out there are suffering with new diagnosis of autoimmunity or other things, and they don't know that there's hope. And there's answers. So my next platform is how do I get this message out to the world and really encourage people that there are answers, whether you're a practitioner who has burned out in your profession, or whether you're a patient who doesn't know that there's more and you can heal, like my autoimmune disease. I didn't really mention this, but my cancer and my Crohn's are gone. They're healed. And it's because of this lifestyle and what I practice what I preach.

Jade  57:13 

Yeah, I love that so much. They're in medicine. There's this idea of and you Dr. Jill certainly are one of the best teachers in this space. As far as I'm concerned. I'm incredibly grateful for your healing journey and the way that you have sort of manifested that into education and healing for the rest of us. Tell everyone where they can find you online and get in touch with you if they want to work with you. Obviously, everyone go and get the book. Unexpected. I already pre ordered that on Audible, but tell us where they can find you to get more of your genius.

Jill  57:45 

Thank you, Jade. is my website. There's loads and loads of 10 years of free blogs and resources and podcast. The book is that read and you can go there to get free bonuses. I did a coloring journal and mast cell lecture that's free in a secret chapter that is not included in the book. And those are all free if you purchase the book. And then be sure to follow me at Dr. Jill Carnahan on Instagram. Lots of fun silliness is available there.

Jade  58:11 

Yeah. Well, we love you, Dr. Jill, thank you so much for what you do. And thank you so much for taking the time to be on the podcast. So appreciate you.


Jill  58:20 

Thank you Jade.

Jade  58:24 

You've been listening to the next level human podcast with Dr. Jade Teta. If you enjoyed this episode, please make sure you subscribe and consider leaving a review, you make the biggest difference where you pass on your lessons and inspire others. That's why reviews like this are so powerful. Your words may be the only ones that resonate for someone else. Please remember the information in this podcast is for educational purposes only. Always consult your personal Physician or Therapist before making any lifestyle changes. And finally, thank you for where you are in the world. And the difference you make



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