Why Our Relationship With Food is Broken with Megan Brown

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Our food system is broken. As a result, our relationship with our bodies suffers. Health coach and functional health practitioner, Megan Brown, joins me to discuss our societal definition of aging, the role food plays in how we feel, and how we can nourish ourselves in a world filled with cluttered messages around health. 


💋🎙How food companies strategically mixup health information and marketing
💋🎙The importance of uncovering the root cause when it comes to health
💋🎙Nuances of the doctor-patient relationship and how to be your own health advocate
💋🎙How the cultural obsession with productivity seeped into the food system and how to reclaim true health💋🎙The dark side of convenience and its detrimental effects
💋🎙How we can nourish ourselves with confidence 


Megan is a certified holistic health coach, functional health practitioner, wellness blogger, twin mama, food lover, and autoimmune warrior determined to make healthy not feel so damn hard. After being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 22, she spent years dieting, restricting, and spending hundreds of dollars on supplements, all the while feeling stuck and confused as to how to navigate between managing this disease and trying to heal her body. That’s when she started studying nutrition, holistic health and healing and later founded No Rules Nourishment, LLC. 

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Alyssa Patmos 0:04
This is Make It Mentionable. I’m Alyssa Patmos and this is the show about being human in a world that encourages us to be robots. I invite you to join me as we journey through the mess, the magic and the mania in between. Because what we can talk about, we can manage. This honest conversation extravaganza includes free flowing conversations and high doses of vulnerability to remind you that you aren’t alone. No topic is off limits, and episodes are designed to leave you smarter, aka more self aware than when you came. I am so glad you’re here.

Hello, Hello. And welcome back to another episode of Make It Mentionable. I’m your host, Alyssa Patmos and today I am here with my friend, Megan Brown. And we’re going to talk about well like like most episodes of this show, I’m sure the conversation is going to go in a few different directions. But Megan has a specialty in how we nourish our bodies and how we’re paying attention to what we’re putting into our bodies and how that’s impacting us across the long haul. And so we’re really talking about aging today. And the narratives that we hear around growing older and what that means and what we think it has to mean. So Megan, thank you for being here. I’m so excited to dive into this conversation.

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 1:38
Hey, thanks for having me. I am too.

Alyssa Patmos 1:42
So the way we kick off most of these episodes is having you describe a little bit about yourself, mostly because I think reading BIOS is boring. So tell people tuning in to the little bit about you, who you are, what lights you up, etc.

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 1:59
Sure, yeah. So I am a health coach, a functional health practitioner, what that means is, I look for the root cause of the dynamics that are going on in a unique individual body. I like I think of myself as really the health coach that I needed when I was first diagnosed with autoimmune disease when I was 22. did not understand at all, the idea of root cause healing and learned just a ton through my own personal experience, which led me to nutrition school, health coach training and certification over a decade ago and only continued with that education and taken my practice to that much deeper level, healing, helping people to heal chronic illness, chronic pain, things like that.

Alyssa Patmos 2:51
And your philosophy is really around like one of the pieces that I love is so many people who think of health like it instantaneously. It’s like all these rules where it’s like, oh, I can’t do this, or I can’t do that can’t do this. And I love your philosophy, because it’s really around like, no rules. Like there doesn’t have to be this like set prescription of rules for how things have to go. So can you just elaborate on that a little bit? Because I think it helps set the stage for how we’re going to talk about aging.

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 3:22
Yes, I’m glad you brought that up. That is the name of my practice, no rolls nourishment. And the reason I settled on that name is I myself was really tired of following all these rules. I was burnout, you know, I went down that path of I was probably on the autoimmune paleo diet for three years. And finally was like this, this is not sustainable. And you’re not supposed to be on a diet like that for that long. That’s a whole other story. But also realizing how I got how I did manage to eat in that way was by ditching the rules was by really finding, I think the thing that made the biggest difference for me was when I started really enjoying the process of trying new foods and seeing it as an adventure and kind of I just remember having these little aha moments along the way of having these foods and realizing I never in a million years would have tried this if I didn’t have to stop eating gluten and soy. But then I think back to that 22 year old girl who you had to give up gluten, dairy sugar, and they’re sitting in that office and thinking like, What the hell is there to eat then and I take the complete opposite approach that practitioners are taking with me, which is to first start by by expanding what you’re doing If you’re eating in general, you know, just adding in more of the good stuff and found, you know, as I’m, as I work with people, you know, just finding like, so many of us don’t have the basics. So many of us don’t just know how to eat a generally healthy diet, no wonder because there’s more. There’s so much conflicting information out there is no so confusing. So we really like walk way back and like, let’s just get like that really solid foundation of healthy foods and healthy eating. And then we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. But you’re going to be in such a better place to do it, when we start taking things away. Usually my clients, they don’t even realize when we do start removing some of those inflammation instigators, as I call them, right, because we’ve act like the replacements are there.

Alyssa Patmos 5:50
Right, right. Right. Right. Yeah. And I mean, that that has so much relevance to me personally, too, because I’ve done I’ve had to do FODMAPs like, like trying to figure out stuff that was going on for me from an endometriosis perspective, like taking out inflammatory foods, and then, you know, doing FODMAPs for a period because we weren’t sure what was going on there. And like not being able to eat garlic and onion and like, having to read the ingredients label, like, scrupulously and then you’re in the grocery store for 45 minutes pass what you want. It’s just like, come on, come on. And so this this concept of how do we nourish ourselves? Is is a question that has a lot of confusion, because around some of the messages that we get, and in general, with our health, there’s a lot of confusing messages. And in terms of aging, like we tend to think that like, the older we get, the more we have to decline, the more our bodies have to decline, like, oh, like the messages are like, oh, yeah, like, the wrinkles are coming in, or like I’m preparing to have dementia or like just assuming that like osteoporosis is going to be a thing because it runs in your family. I’m sure you know, even more like these messages that we hear where aging is synonymous with this, like complete and total decline at a premature premature time.

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 7:17
Totally. Yes.

Alyssa Patmos 7:20
And so what are some of the other messages that you hear just so we can sort of set the stage for like, what we’re going to talk about, in terms of, ultimately, I think what we want to get to is normalizing the fact that like, aging doesn’t have to be synonymous with those things. And we have a lot more agency now than we realize, and we’re not really being told the healthy things to do to prevent that from happening in the first place.

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 7:47
So what else do you hear? Yeah, like? So there’s been a huge revolution in the way that we understand genetics, where before we bought genetics, we’re determining like a true determining factor. Like, if this runs in your family, right, like you are going to get it the way we understand genetics now, though, it’s more about what is the environment that those genes are operating in the environment, that, that turns those genes on and off the literally played them like a keyboard, and signals in the environment, or genes are like the, the instructions? Right? But they’re responding to what’s going on? There’s incredible twin studies, identical twins, right? But they have a completely different life experience. And you look at their picture side by side, and they look completely different, and have completely different health outcomes. If it’s, we know now through the study of epigenetics. nutrigenomics if it’s more about the environment than the genes for 80 90%, of lifestyle diseases,

Alyssa Patmos 9:12
and then and then at times, like so, so for OCD, for example, like they talk about, which obviously is more of brain biochemistry, but there’s a huge correlation between what’s going on there through through the gut, but they talk about how you know, sometimes you’re just like, you might be predisposed for OCD, but then when you’re in a setting, and it triggers the overwhelm, like, it’s what can kick it in to into being then and then it’s like this thing that’s, that’s all of a sudden playing a bigger role. You might have like the biological predisposition, and they’re the underpinnings that influence it. But ultimately, it’s also a learned mechanism. And so it’s it’s a biological component that can get triggered based on an environmental factor or time of stress or like some something coming up. But then from there, how much it control it ends up having over a person’s life is largely dependent on many of the learned mechanisms over time, which seems like it can be true, like directly in our bodies as well. Someone might not someone might be predisposed to have an autoimmune condition, something in the environment triggers it. And then from there, okay, what are you putting into your body? What’s happening? Like, what’s continuing that lifecycle of that, from from that point forward? Is that, is that kind of what you’re talking about?

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 10:36
Yes, absolutely. Right. Like it can it can be turned on, we can also have a gene for something and it’s not turned on, right? It’s not until those environmental factors, right, have that have that on. So. So that’s kind of where genetic testing, it’s fantastic. Like, how amazing that we have access to that kind of information. But it’s also, you know, it’s, it’s a bit wild, wild west right now, because there is a lot, it’s still evolving, we’re still learning about that. So I think there’s a lot, a lot of information out there, right? Like, you may have your have your genetics, and it looks like you have have something but it’s not telling you that that gene is actually on. It’s more really like, and the way like, I would look at someone, right, like, I’m looking more at what do the labs look like? Like, we can tell them the labs? If, if it looks like that gene is active, right? Or not? So it’s good data to have, but it’s not necessarily deterministic? You know, right. The

Alyssa Patmos 11:38
end all be all. But yeah, to

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 11:41
just going back to your question, like, when it is in motion, right? Yes, then it becomes it, it’s with that activated a matter of managing the situation? Right? And yes, certainly like those exacerbating factors, right? We know, we see a lot of, like, around detoxification, right. And ability to, there was just huge variety, in, in the so individual, of our ability there, right, and that’s connected to the methylation cycle, and, and there can be there’s genetic snips all along at any point in that chain. So two people can be exposed to the same thing within the same lifestyle, right. But a lot of it comes down to like, how you’re processing those things, how you’re reading what you’re exposed to, it’s that balance, right?

Alyssa Patmos 12:38
Yeah. So so in terms then of how we age because generally speaking, like, the more we put into our bodies, like it’s having, it’s having a compound effect. And so like, over time, things definitely end up changing, especially if we’re not engaging in healthy habits. But there’s so much freaking confusion around what we should be doing and how it’s supposed to look. And like, I just don’t believe that the the person of our population that is facing dementia, or that is is facing, like movement problems, when they’re older has to be that way. Would you agree?

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 13:19
Oh, absolutely.

Alyssa Patmos 13:21
So So with that, then what how did we get here? How did we get to this point where the standard message is one of, of acceptance, that eventually we’re gonna deteriorate, like from the book from like, when we reach 70, which by all means is not that old, given, like, how higher life expectancy is right now.

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 13:51
It’s, you know, unfortunately, it’s, we, there’s, the numbers are so high, you know, these things are common, but just because something common doesn’t mean that it’s normal, or that it should be happening, right. And unfortunately, there’s just a there’s a huge I mean, look at cardiovascular disease, diabetes, these numbers, these numbers are just insane, especially here in this country. And it it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s not it’s not inevitable. That’s not and unfortunately, that is a lot of thinking around it or, or just that, that we don’t have as much control over preventing those things. You know, if it is it runs in my family, I have the genes for it. I you know, it it but yeah, that’s the we there’s so much more that’s, that we can do.

Alyssa Patmos 14:59
Right So in terms of some of those things, so for me like a huge piece of, of what turned around some of my health dimensions or my thinking around health is starting to look at, like, what messages were being told. And we had another episode recently where where we talked about so much of our power lies in where we choose to put our attention. And so like, if we’re not paying attention to what goes into our body for not paying attention to like, why we think the way we think around what we’re eating what we’re consuming, then it becomes very easy to engage in unhealthy habits, like it’s very easy to think in today’s day and age that, that having multiple drinks of night, or having an entire bottle of wine tonight, and then having dessert and, you know, just reaching for processed food at any given moment is fine and normal. Because look at our freaking grocery stores. The healthiest things are on the perimeter, but there are 17 aisles in between, with with processed food that doesn’t even remotely resemble what what it is. And so I’m assuming that this plays a large part in in how you see people, you know, shifting shifting their health outcomes and the messages that they come to you with? Right. Yeah.

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 16:24
Yeah, I mean, think about, like, if you go into just a regular grocery store, right? There’s that aisle that’s like the healthy aisle, or healthy foods aisle, right. Like, I mean, it’s so obvious, like, hello, what is the rest of the grocery store? There’s one aisle that is the healthy foods aisle. I think that tells you everything we need to know about what the problem is right there. You know, it’s, it’s that there’s a great book called the Healthy deviant, that goes into this that really makes you feel less crazy for trying to eat healthy in the world that we live in. Because it explains how really the default reality in our society is unhealthy. Is, is I mean, it’s it’s everywhere, it’s everywhere. And we’re really no match for it. It’s not it’s not a it’s not an equal fight, right, because these foods are engineered to be hyper palatable, to be irresistible to be addictive. And there’s no, there’s no education on the other side. To to have that awareness. You know, I mean, I studied nutrition, I went to to nutrition school, most people don’t get that right. Like, where health class in, in schools, you know, but that that awareness, that awareness, you know, a lot of people get their health health information from the food companies that are selling them the food, look at, pick up a box of cereal, and it’s gonna tell you, it’s gonna lower your cholesterol, or, you know, it’s heart healthy

Alyssa Patmos 18:19
yogurts, which are loaded with sugar are talking about probiotics, which a piece of that is true, but it’s not the whole picture.

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 18:28
Right? Absolutely. It’s like, yeah, it’s the it’s the fox guarding the henhouse.

Alyssa Patmos 18:34
And, and so it’s understandable that there’s confusion. And that’s where, you know, so many times, we just want it to be simple, like, I understand the basic human desire for someone else to give us the answer. But when we do that, like, that’s why I love that you’re talking about the Healthy deviant, which I haven’t read, but it sounds like I need to, when anytime we just go to the default, we’re giving away a piece of our agency, and then that we’re entering this reactive cycle. And I think that’s some of the things that we see with food, in general and with our health is like, we talked about awareness and super so many people, the point of awareness doesn’t come until it’s this crisis moment, where it’s like, Oh, something is very, like, my body is very clearly speaking to me right now. I have to figure out what it’s been saying. When the reality is if your body gets to that point, it’s probably been saying that for months, weeks, it depends on what’s going on. But it’s been saying that for much longer than the point where it’s like screaming at us. And yet we don’t really live in a world that tells us to question those things or even teaches us how to look to our body for signals in that way.

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 19:53
It’s so true. It’s so true. I mean, we’re all about Go go go. We’re non stop. So we don’t even have that time to even sit to to be able to hear to be able to listen, because it does just like you’re saying, it starts out as a whisper, very, very quiet. And it just gets lost, lost in, in the madness of of our day to day life. I mean, I’m, I’m the same as anybody else, like, I didn’t eat lunch until right before I got on this podcast, like I know how it goes. But just like you said, those whispers get louder and louder and louder. And, and the way that we’re kind of told to deal with that is suck it up, right? Like, pop an Advil and you have to get to work because life goes on the kids have to go to school, you have to go to work like nothing stops so that you can be sick for however long, right? It’s our, our world that we live in today is just not supportive of that is not encouraging for that. So to really do that, you really have to have to work at it, you have to really slow down and tune in and listen to your body. And we all have that fence, we all have that thick fence, we’re just not encouraged and, and even taught just like you said, you know, we’re not really introduced to it or even made aware of it like, because there’s nothing fostering that nothing really, it’s it’s all about looking outside. It’s all about seeking those answers from the outside the latest health book, the latest health trends, it’s everywhere, right? We’re constantly being told that someone else knows better than us. But the truth is, no one knows your body better than you and you your relationship with your body. That’s the number one that’s the most important, sacred thing. And when you have that, like working on on that, and starting really, really small, just just like I said, just by slowing down, just by practicing listening, even even just practicing listening to hunger cues, and fullness cues. Like that’s a great place to start. Am I really hungry? And like slowing down and really like okay, what is my body’s lining right now? Do I need to do I need water, I need this. That’s where it begins just starting that conversation. And it grows from there. It’s like a friend, it’s you it’s and when that that trumps all outside advice. And as that strengthens, all that noise gets quieter. Because you know that feeling of like feeling like, I can’t tell you how many conversations I have with people are like, I’m just so confused. They don’t know what bag to eat anymore. But as you foster that, as you as you strengthen that, that sense, it gets

Alyssa Patmos 22:53
so much easier. I can definitely personally attest to this because for me, there was a long time where my relationship to hunger was completely screwed up. And I wasn’t actually sure when I was hungry. And stress eating was definitely a thing to me. And when I wanted to avoid something like this is still something I deal with. But when I wanted to avoid something, it’s like, okay, go to the fridge like, and it’s that natural, easy thing. And and it makes sense. Like even from an evolutionary perspective, like food was the first thing that gave us comfort, like we sought it out. And so it’s no reason to beat ourselves up. But again, like paying attention and like where’s our awareness going? Because then what ended up happening is like, the second, okay, so I’m doing those patterns which are happening, and I’m not really then it’s distorting, when I’m actually hungry, because I don’t know, like, okay, am I trying to avoid something and I’m pretending I’m hungry? Or am I actually physically hungry, and in a lot of ways, I lost the connection to the true hunger cue. And from there you know, there were there are periods where I have endometriosis and this month happens to be in retraces Awareness Month. So I’m kind of happy we’re having this conversation. But Endo, with that I A causes so much freaking pain, like it’s like a stabbing pain. And it doesn’t go away for days, that I was like, my body hates me. And that’s the place that I fell into where it was like, my body hates me. And if that’s the message I’m sending to this thing that is like working at some miraculous level to keep me upright and keep me healthy. Like that’s not a great message to be sending there to begin with. And so I switched it at some point I switched it to my body is an excellent communicator. And so now whenever something comes up, like I’ve trained myself to look at it in that way, it’s like what is my body trying to communicate with me? And my job is to be a better translator of that, because I can’t count on other people that this is the thing that perhaps like annoys the shit out of me the Most is the doctor patient relationship. We’re taught that the doctor is the one with the expertise and knows everything and like, yes, doctors know, they have, in certain areas, they have more expertise than I do around things that happen in the human body, I want to be able to trust them, I want to be able to go to them for information so that I don’t have to learn everything about everything. Similarly, I don’t want to be a farmer, I am glad there are farmers. But that does not mean that they know everything. And along the path somewhere, we got disconnected from the way that we used to heal, which often was going which often included plant medicine, it was going to different people. Sometimes it was just letting our body go through natural cycles, because we didn’t believe pain was so bad. And yet, we got to this point where the doctor is this like God figure. And I find that hugely problematic, especially when given something like endometriosis. There is no cure, they don’t know what causes it unless you have surgery, even though one in 10 Women have it. So that tells me that tells me like why would I trust them? If there’s not, if there’s not a ton of research on it, we don’t know what causes it, we can only identify it by surgery, like it pretty much seems like it’s an exploratory mission around there. And, and we can take an insight, but we should never give our power away to them entirely. It boggles my freaking mind.

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 26:39
I am 100% with you, you know as someone with with I mean, I have autoimmune disease, I was diagnosed or more toward arthritis. And I went through the same thing. You know, you go see the rheumatologist? And the answer is take this medication, you’re gonna be on this for the rest of your life, it’s gonna manage your symptoms, and you’re gonna be fine. Well, is there anything else I can do? Like, should I change my diet? No, there’s no no other. And of course I went on to find it absolutely does matter. And it’s, it changes everything. It is you know, and we have, we have an amazing, amazing medical system. Western medicine is life saving, thank God, thank God for it. And if I’m in a car accident, if I if I do any even even having, having that medication, having medication for autoimmune disease, for endo for, for whatever it is, thank God for it. But it does not stop there. And unfortunately, from that conventional approach, that is where it stops, because that is where the training, you know, it’s not our doctors fault. It’s, it’s the system, right? That is we treat illnesses with medications. And it just it does a huge disservice to the growing population of people with chronic disease. Western medicine is, is great at triage, it’s great at at acute acute care, but for chronic disease management, it’s it doesn’t work. It’s not the end all be all, it can’t be the end all be all. It’s the triage, we need it. And this is something this was just in my personal story of, okay, I was diagnosed with the conventional route. I got it manage with medication, realized that that was the end of the road there, I needed to get out of the box and learn for myself and find that of course found there is a zillion other things that you can do. Right, but it’s not what what is presented. It’s not the norm. It’s not the, the the road most traveled, right. But it goes together. And this is where you know, it’s it’s, it makes it really hard for us the patients, because it is so so to separate it. So it’s this like, when I was going through it, it felt like when I was going to see my functional medicine doctor, I didn’t want to tell my rheumatologist that I was seeing my functional medicine doctor didn’t want to tell my functional medicine doctor that I was seeing my rheumatologist it felt like this cheating thing, which is all that’s all thought. That’s all but it’s also a little bit of you know, because the rheumatologist would be like, well, you don’t need that. And the functional medicine doctor would be like, Well, if you need more Medicaid, I can prescribe you medication.

Alyssa Patmos 29:53
It’s like your competition because it’s not boss. The system doesn’t foster collaboration and so we become the hub A job. And we don’t have all the information. So we don’t know exactly what to share. And then like you said, I’ve been in the same situation where it feels scary to say to one person, that you’re going to another person. So so then what happened for you?

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 30:15
So, you know, aye, aye, aye got sort of caught in the crosshairs of it, where, you know, I was also, I became very scared of the medication that I needed to be taking to manage the condition. And, I mean, I had a practitioner tell me that if, if you stay on that drug, it will eventually kill you. She said that to me when I was 25 years old. And it put this seed it planted the seed in my brain that I only very recently extracted. And I mean, I thought if I thought if I took that, that I was gonna die. And that is, and I needed, I needed that. And I did, I stopped taking the medication for a time I was off of it. And I lived in excruciating pain, because I thought it was part of the healing process. And it’s just one of those, like, if I could go back to that 20 Something me, I just hug her and like, let her know, you know, like you, you. Healing does not mean, you have to be in pain. We have these dark for a reason, use it as it should be intended, which is a bridge, it’s what’s going to help you get from point A to point B, and there’s no shame in that. I think with you know, as our awareness grows of alternative ways of treating chronic disease, there, it’s almost like this backlash, right, the other the other extreme, the other extreme, right. And that’s where I was, and I lost my train of thought, um, yeah, that other extreme, where, where it is bad. But when, at that same time, like, when you are working on healing, the root causes of chronic disease. There is a time like things have to get worse before they get better as you are, like, you know, if there’s if there’s underlying pathogen activity, stuff going on in the gut, like, as you are treating some of that stuff, inflammation will go up. And then okay, so imagine, imagine if, if that functional medicine doctor, right, if instead of scaring me about that drug, she was like, we’re going to be working on these underlying things. But we’re going to use that medication to manage things in the meantime, so that you’re not feeling all of this, right. And then as those underlying things get resolved, you’ll be able to take that medication away. Right? And in the, in the interim, let’s focus on supporting your body so that you tolerate that medication so that you’re effectively detoxing, what may be harmful for you. Let’s work with it. I really believe I truly believe that that’s the future is these worlds working together? And that’s and that that is the only way to heal in a in a healthy and sustainable way.

Alyssa Patmos 33:51
I think I think there’s like with everything, the magic is in nuance. And I love what you say around the two extremes, because I think anytime that something comes out and it’s like, oh, we have to be against this or like adamantly against this, you’re missing. You’re missing some of the connections in the middle. And so yeah, there are certain things that have come out medicines that are great to help us to help us get over like, like antibiotics to an extent like we have to replace the good biotics because we now know that it’s like taking a bunch of stuff away that we need that help us but, but in general, to be able to get rid of an infection is amazing. I think there’s so in general, I’m a person who like generally tries to take as little medication as possible, like I don’t want to have to take medicine, but to your point there are times when endo comes around, like when my cycle comes around, and I’m in that freaking stabbing pain. It’s like okay, I’m making the choice of value there take two Advil and Tylenol because it’s the only thing that will touch it. Or I’m living in pain and like barely able to work. And in those moments, that’s the hard part is like you have one one half of the people saying like, Oh my god, taking any medicine is terrible. And you have people saying like, you should get off all NSAIDs. And then you have the other side where it’s like, oh, well, we’ll prescribe you like, like, even stronger pain medicine for Endo. Because like, it’s, we’ve heard, it’s terrible. I mean, no, it’s terrible. So here, I have the stronger drugs. And I’m in the middle, like, Wait, like not, neither of these answers are acceptable to me. And so like, I’m having to make the decision. And and, and so that’s one scenario than the other scenarios, like with the stuff with OCD, because this is my lived experience. I have been on antidepressants for OCD in the past, and I hated them, like I despised it, it was not helpful for me and the way that the drug was administered. And the way I had to switch between them, like I do not believe that that’s a healthy, it was gone about in a healthy way. Some people with OCD, it’s very much like what you talked about, where sometimes people need a bridge. For me, it wasn’t helpful, because I think this is a good example. Because sometimes there are biological processes. And then there’s like the habits and the patterns that come with having some sort of chronic something or other. And so the biological component of OCD, like if those triggers are coming up, for some people, medication can help calm those triggers down so that you can learn enough to not have the urges as much. And so you have enough space, to do exposure therapy or to do whatever other protocols are in your treatment, it gives you the space to be able to do that without this urge, like lighting up to 100, maybe it’s lighting up to 70. And then you’re working to lower to lower the rest of it. But people don’t talk about it like that in in a majority of cases. And so again, we end up with the patient, as this middle ground trying to decipher what do I tell who? And trying, they end up having to be the educator between these two worlds? And that is horribly damaging?

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 37:13
Yeah, yeah, it is, you know, it’s, it’s, we do, like, we have to be our own health advocate. But it’s to that extreme. It’s, it’s an environment, that is a very, very hard environment to be your own health advocate in. Because there’s Yeah, it’s so hard. It’s it is it’s incredibly hard to navigate. And that’s really where someone like me comes in, where you’re working with someone consistently do hoo hoo can help to navigate, who can help to think through those decisions and who’s working on on those foundational things, like you have to change the environment that, that you got sick in, right, while you’re working on healing, what what has, uh, has come about, you know, it came about for a reason, you know, there are factors that that created that. And so that is like, that gradual process, right. And, at the same time, while you’re addressing the X Factor, like when is actually going on, right.

Alyssa Patmos 38:23
So I think in terms of like how this changes the trajectory of, of our lives, like, okay, Western medicine is great, we’ve had all of these advances, but for all of these advances, we have a chronic disease problem, like, chronic diseases are increasing, diabetes is increasing. Obesity is increasing, like the rates of of chronic concerns are tremendously increasing. And so with that, then that’s changing our relationship with aging, it’s changing how we feel at 30 versus how we feel at 50. And that’s very different than how someone in the 70s felt when they were 30. Versus when what they felt at 50. And so there are things because we’ve been talking about our environment, like so much of it is a co construction and it’s a collaboration, and there are things in our in our environments that have changed, that are changing this conversation around chronic disease and and ultimately, the best thing to do is prevent it like to not have these things triggered in the first place, then the the conversation about feeling like you have to be the hub or feeling like you have to know if medicine is right for you or not like that conversation goes away. But we don’t put our attention there. We don’t put our attention there. We put our attention on the reactive side of it. And so from the proactive side of it. We started to see a shift of this a bunch in the 70s Right. I know you’ve done some research on this And so can you just walk us through some of the timeline points for when these things started shifting? And I know like, oils are a huge one that I don’t think many people know,

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 40:11
the detriment of. Yes, this is huge, is huge. And it is all going back to it’s those things that you’re exposed to every day on an ongoing basis and don’t even realize it things in our food system. Right. So what happened back in the 70s, we were seeing a rise in heart disease and heart attacks. And so the government put together a committee, right a research committee and are looking in to okay, what is contributing to this? What are the main factors, and what they came away with? This is really the first instance where we vilify fat. But that wasn’t the only in particularly saturated fat. It’s really interesting, because that’s the first time we started using nutrition called Nutritionism, right, using a nutrition term back. Imagine like, if you’ve never heard that term, you’re like, what is that? But back to you know, it wasn’t just that it was that it was sugar, it was salt, it was alcohol, but that bore the brunt of it. And it’s it’s so interesting, just the politics around this, right. So that was really when saturated fat, bad butter, right? So incomes, margarine, incomes, these alternative plant based that. And the wild part is so these use of these really shot up in the 80s. And that’s when you saw an even bigger uptick in cardiovascular disease, diabetes. And the reason you see that increase, particular with with diabetes, what happens with these vegetable based fats? Our cells are constantly turning over and we’re making new cells. Where do we get the material to make those cells from our food and fats are critical for creating our cell membranes. And we need the right balance of Omega three and Omega six fatty acids. So omega three is the one people are more familiar with, right that we get from salmon, it’s that anti inflammatory fat, right? We also need Omega six, it’s, it’s more pro inflammatory. But inflammation isn’t always a bad thing. You need some of that, right? It’s all about the balance. All when we started making oils out of these seeds, right, like soybean, sunflower oil, canola oil, right? These are seed oils, which are seeds, just in general are higher in Omega six, and you imagine you’re concentrating the fat out of that you’re getting made super duper potent source of Omega six, and these oils are in everything, just the sheer volume that we’re, if you’re eating the standard American diet, if you’re eating out in restaurants, if you’re eating anything out of a package, it has vegetable oil in it, or it’s cooked in it. And so this SKU, we just get a massive amount of omega six, even even the way animals are fed, right, or have a more like corn and grain based diet that increases the Omega six, so we’re just getting it from all sources. And when our bodies are using, we have more omega six, it makes the membranes of the cell hard, they’re more rigid, and things can’t get into them, like glucose. This is a huge contributor to insulin resistant. So it’s just one example. You know, there’s that’s such a seemingly benign thing. And it’s so pervasive. And it goes back to I mean, we still, this is a whole other conversation we can have about about what’s happening with with animal foods right now. And beef. And people thinking that it’s unhealthy to eat red meat. And that Yeah, I mean, today’s red meat is is unhealthy. But it’s not, it’s not the red meat. Right.

Alyssa Patmos 44:16
So I think this is interesting because as with anything, like we have a choice and we have more choice than what we think we do and it’s if we’re going to pay attention to what we’re being told or like vetted against ourselves and like do some other research and so so you know, I grew up and like we all we had was I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, like and that’s margarine, like that’s exactly what you were just talking about. And so like it doesn’t shock me that like I had gut issues. Most of my baby had like

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 44:46
country crock Yeah, like that. I think that was the same thing. I thought that was better. I have no

Alyssa Patmos 44:55
friends. My friends had Country Crock and my mom always by I Can’t Believe It’s Not better and when we would have it on like waffles or something. I always was envious because I thought country crab tasted better. But like, both are terrible, but they’re not, not for us. But so this brings me to a conversation of something that I had to dismantle for myself at one point. And so I think a lot of times, and I talk a lot about productivity and productivity culture on here, because I believe that that’s another way that we just end up listening to the status quo instead of thinking about what’s actually good for us. And I think Food plays into this in a huge way. Because part of what happened in the 80s was things around productivity technology advancing, we have more time to fit more in. And so that means like, Oh, why would we cook when it could be microwavable, or like when we can just pop a frozen meal into the oven. And as we got more and more addicted to convenience, the same thing happened with our food. But historically, like, going out and getting food was like, the soul, the soul thing certain people did throughout the day, like a hunt going on a hunt is not an easy endeavor that takes up most of your energy and you know, multiple days to go get food. Obviously, I’m exaggerating this in some ways, but in general, like food, until then, was not overly convenient. And we get addicted to convenience. And now all of a sudden, we feel entitled to convenient food. And there’s nothing about it. That is healthy for us.

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 46:41
Yes. Oh, I’m so glad you brought this up. Because this, this is the root like talks about getting to the root of the problem. We It’s the curse of living in I mean, what a time to be alive. Like, it’s amazing. I can get on my phone and have fever, bring me a salad. And it’ll be here in half an hour. I mean, it’s amazing. It’s amazing. Like, in like, it’s great. Like, I’m not like, use those Yes, but it’s it’s that trade off. It’s that trade off of when anytime anytime you’re going for convenience, you’re paying for it. And in one way or another right, it costs more, obviously, is going to cost more. But for that higher cost, you’re also getting lower quality, because it’s gonna have those cheap oils, the oils that you wouldn’t be cooking with at home, right? It’s most likely not organic. It’s it’s right. So, um, and why are we relying on the convenience? I think this is the huge this is really the crux of the problem, you know, our generation, like, we didn’t really grow up in the kitchen. You know, our, our parents were really that generation. About that, right? Yeah, they were the first like, real convenience, food generation. I mean, I grew up on the videos and Chef Boyardee and that was normal, right? I don’t think I thought I mean, it was always frozen broccoli, and no knock on present, I use frozen broccoli, like, in some way that can be better. But anyway, like, you know, all the shortcuts, all the shortcuts and. And there’s a trade off with that. And I think our generation, like we didn’t grow up just knowing how to throw together a pot roast, or just throw together a simple meal. And as a result, you know, now we do have these conveniences. Now we do have the internet with gajillions of recipes and never ending Pinterest scroll to find Whoa, what am I going to make tonight? And we ended up finding a recipe. It’s got 12 steps, eight random ingredients, half of them you don’t have when you don’t even know what the heck it is, you’re gonna have to stop at the store and pick up whatever else you need to make it. By the time you get home, you’re a normal person and you work a job which is most of us. You get home and you’re like, I’m not gonna I’m gonna order takeout. Right. And the reality is like, it doesn’t have to be that complicated way. overcomplicated cooking. And it’s the products of being a generation of, of instant food and food network. 24/7. Right. It’s like elevated what dinner is when in reality, you know, on a Wednesday night, you just need a protein and some veggies and that’s really simple. It can take you 20 minutes to

Alyssa Patmos 49:51
make. Yes, I think

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 49:54
faster than it would take for me to get on my phone and have something

Alyssa Patmos 49:57
delivered. Yes, UCSF If and and you and I both share like a passion for cooking which which is rare, most of my friends freaking hate cooking. They despise it. I happen to love it. But that didn’t come about that came about when I was in high school I, the guy I dated for that time period, his dad loved to cook. And I remember he made this pasta sauce. And it was just amazing. Like it was like my mom was doing my mom would cook but you know, she was using like Ragu, and making pasta. This is like everything from scratch pasta sauce, and it was so good. So good to the point where I then developed this thing around like almost like deprivation, like feeling like I wasn’t going to get it again. So whenever I was eating at their house, I would eat more. And it changed my relationship with food because it made it feel like it was more scarce. And so I would eat more. And again, that distorted the connection with my body’s like hunger signal of knowing when I was full, or knowing when I was hungry. And so like, I just want to acknowledge that everything when it comes to food is complicated it is there are messages in the way, there are the fact that the first 18 years of our life, we don’t really have control over what we eat, because it’s what our parents feed us, which changes things. There’s the general what is available to us in the grocery store and the cost perspective. And then there’s mixed messages around the health and how that influences us. So it’s a very convoluted conversation. But it’s an important one. And and again, it’s just bringing attention and awareness to different areas. So really quick back to what you were talking about, around around the convenience and cooking, cooking can be far more simple than than we make it out to be. But there’s almost like this. It’s something got changed along the way, where where, you know, there’s an advantage to the technology and to the to the processing, in some ways, because you know, we can feed way more people than we’ve ever been able to feed historically, which is a great thing. But again, at what cost? And who are we making that cost for? Because the result is, you know, the lowest levels of income, or getting the shittiest food in many ways because it’s what’s convenient, or it’s what we make the cheapest even and we’re not educating that, you know, going and getting a chicken breast. And some broccoli is really easy to prepare at times, like we’re not, there’s so much lack of of education around what is possible that we end up feeling like we have to follow the narrative that’s on the back of the Cheerios box, or the narrative that we see on TV around what to do and how to cook and, and to me that is like so convoluted. I can’t even stand it because it it it adds to them the issue of chronic illness, the people who like are the least fortunate eating eating at that level, and then they’re the ones who are subject to the healthcare system in that way. Locked up system, it’s totally fucked.

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 53:17
Right? Problems in the in the food system, right, we’ve essentially made meat artificially cheap, because the feed for the feed is subsidized, right corn, soy, these, we subsidize the unhealthy food. Right, so we have more of it. And that’s what people are getting at McDonald’s. That’s what people are getting in the drive thru. Right. And that is what is driving chronic disease epidemic and is contributing to our health health care problem. It’s a vicious cycle between the two,

Alyssa Patmos 53:56
right, and then add in their aging where if you there’s so much of a feedback loop between our mentality and pain that people don’t realize either like pain pain is as much a mental process as it is a physical process. And so when we end up in this loop where we just don’t feel our best like because of these food issues we’ve been talking about because like increasing compound interest of that, like has a tendency to lead to chronic disease and then we’re not feeling good, well then mentally it takes a toll. Like I even know this from no monthly like the my mental state leading up to when my cycle starts. I know how much pain is coming. And because of that it’s almost at this point, like my body prepares for that to come in a way that I’m not completely in control of. So it takes an amount of awareness to be able to be like Okay, wait, like I know this is coming and like it’s gonna it’s going to be okay, I don’t need to be in this like high intense state which just perpetuates more of these problems to begin with. So, even then, when we think about aging Like it’s adding to this dimension of, okay, yes, there’s the chronic, there’s the chronic piece of what actually is going into the body. But then there’s our mentality around it, and what those messages mean, and often those are dictated by the pharmaceutical industry, like pain is not something that needs to be instantly gone, just because we experience a twinge of it. In some cases, I read at one point where surgeons, you know, they used to not give pain medicine during surgery, because like, they needed the pain as like a as a signal for what was going on in the body. But then at some point, you know, it came along, and, and we vilified pain, in a way where it’s like, it’s something that we should never be experiencing. And that is detrimental, and screws up the process, too. So it’s like, in terms of how we’re supposed to think about the role of our body and the role of our health. I think that’s so distorted at this point, that, that, it’s, it’s hard for us to even know, how are supposed to feel. So from your perspective, how do you view our body? And how do you view our bodies role in carrying us through life?

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 56:26
You know, it’s, it’s kind of like I was talking about before, right? It’s, it’s our body is, is an incredible, it’s our vessel, like it is how we are, are here in this world. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s our tool, it’s our, and we have to have that relationship with it. The stronger our relationship with it, the more we can do, the more we can do with it, right? And like, I mean, I really believe like, we we all have a purpose, we are all here for a reason. And in a way our body is I mean, absolutely, it’s to help us to do that. If we didn’t have our body, we couldn’t do that we wouldn’t be here. But it’s that two way street, right? Like, our body is always talking to us. It’s communicating to us. And we are so trained, we’re so conditioned to to go to the mind, to think to think right. But the answers are really in our body, like we feel you feel like how many times have you felt something in your gut? Or just you felt something in your body? Even though it didn’t logically make sense? Or like you knew something was right, you just felt it even before you knew what the answer was? Like, that’s making sense. Yeah, it or the body? Is this amazing? It’s magical. It’s really magical. And we’re just not not allowed or or told to, to use it in that way to, to have that that intimate relationship with it. Right, that it that it is, it’s it’s the brain, right? That it’s it’s like we’re we’re always being encouraged to go up here. But if we can just come down here, down into the body, like, that’s where so many of the answers are so much of what you’re looking for. Really? Does that answer your question?

Alyssa Patmos 58:47
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think it’s all good. I think that we, in general, like, I agree, our body is a vessel. And that’s why like, for me, a huge shift happened when I was like, my body’s an excellent communicator, because I started working with my body more in that realm, rather than thinking it was this thing that was working against me like, it is, it is working for me.

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 59:11
That’s what it is, you know, there’s so much so much messaging there, that our body is working against us that our body is something that we need to control, especially as women, right, like, We’re amazing, like, oh, my gosh, this is a whole other we can have a whole other conversation about that, you know, with controlling our cycle control, you know, like at the first sign of period issues of any kind of PMS pain. We’re told though, just take birth control, that’ll take care of it, and you’re treating the symptoms, but you’re not addressing why, you know, that functional perspective we always wouldn’t like, but why why is that happening? body’s not just going rogue with anything with any chronic disease or, or not even chronic disease just you have a head ache you have a random ache or pain? Why? Why is your body doing that? Why is that happening? Is it because you’re dehydrated? Because you haven’t had any water? Is it because you’re not sleeping? Well, you didn’t sleep at all last night? Or is it because there’s a food, there’s something that you’re sensitive to or have an allergy to that you’re eating, and every time you’re getting that that is affecting that. There’s all all of these contributing factors? And the answer is they’re the answers there. And often we know it too. And that’s that slowing down connecting with your body. And I can’t tell you how many times I have conversations with clients, and, and and they’re like, I think it might be this, but my doctor said, No, it can be that. And it usually ends up being that fate. We have that that intuition. We all have it. We’re just not encouraged to listen to it.

Alyssa Patmos 1:00:52
I think that’s a I think that’s a really important point. Because the intuition piece like we do have that voice. And in so many areas where we’re told that that’s crazy, like, are we crazy for thinking that because again, we prioritize the mind instead of the body. And so something that’s coming from the body, and this voice is like, all of a sudden, we’re questioning it, but I can tell you, for me personally, time and time again, like it’s served me in, in listening to it. And it’s it’s, again, like there’s so much power in the pause, like you mentioned, where it’s like those moments where we can slow down long enough just to start hearing a little bit because ultimately what’s happening like with all the convenient food and all of the in like, like, even I like I know, sugar is not great for us, like, of course in small doses, like our bodies are meant to handle it and whatnot. But in general, like there’s so much research out there on sugar being terrible for us. And yet, I still want dessert, and I want dessert often. So I have found better ways to have dessert, and I listen to my body and like okay, like is this actually okay for me to have like, Is this in support of you? And sometimes I will talk to my body and food at the same time, which I’m aware of sounds insane. But I don’t care. Like it works. Like I will seriously ask my body over an apple like, are you feeling this right now? And allow the time for it to answer and, and I’m okay talking about that. Because I want more people to do it, even though I sent my question myself about it at times. But so So I still want dessert though. Like I still because the only dessert. And like, I want this personal martini, even though I know I was poisoning for my body. And it’s because we’re conditioned to like want these things socially. So in terms of in terms of someone who wants to start paying attention to, to more of how they’re nourishing themselves, because, you know, to potentially reverse the correlation, and unlearn some of the messages that were taught around the deterioration of our bodies. And, and that it has to be like that. I think paying attention in these pauses to what your body is saying is one of the first like most powerful things that people can do. But then what would you say is another one? What’s the second one that people can do to start just paying attention? Or what do you want people to know about? nourishment? And about? How about how our bodies can go, you know, as we age,

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, AADP 1:03:37
the body requires nutrients. If we’re not getting the nutrients, you know, so much of the conversation is about calories and macros and like No, like yes and no. What’s more important is nutrients, like nutrients are literally the building blocks for these complex biochemical processes that have to happen. If there’s no zinc, there’s no that’s a bad example. There’s no like, like before we talked about the methylation cycle, right? And genetics, like that’s a huge, huge topic in genetics, right finding the the impairments in the methylation process because that affects detoxification, right? And, like MTHFR, you hear a lot about that, right? That’s a big buzzword right now. But really, what what more people have issues with it’s not genetics, when it comes to methylation, it’s nutrient depletion, we have to have certain amino acids. Particularly right, like we eat a lot of chicken breasts, like that’s how we get them to fire now, which is really important for that process, but also like the amino acids that are typically typically in bone broth, or like tougher cuts of meat, right that have to cook low and slow, right that you don’t just throw on a grill like just product again. and products of what is normal life today, right? We don’t roast like, you know, think of the way your grandma cooked. Think of the way the old days, you know, like, so much is lost it going but again that convenience so much is lost to the convenience. So magnesium stress, stress depletes magnesium, B vitamins. Stress depletes the world birth control pills deplete B six, B six is needed for Oh my God, everything. Okay? If you don’t have these things, then you’re not mentally right. You know, it’s not it’s not it’s not the genetics, it’s not the genetics, it’s that we’re not these things are absent in the diet. And what does that do? Ages us without the news without the nutrients, right. That is what is combating that oxidative stress. That is what creates wrinkles, right? Like, healthy skin comes from the inside out. Like all of you think you hear all these things? You hear it? Right. But it’s so so true. It’s so true. And it’s so much simpler than it’s all made out to be. And I think often what’s, what is really going on? Is these things that conventionally are the conventional approach of Western medicine may not have a very good answer for it. Right? Because, again, like not not the approach for chronic disease or not the sole approach for chronic disease. And so we chalked it up to aging. It’s just, it’s part of aging part of aging, you’re just getting older, you’re just getting older, and these things are normal. No, they’re common. They’re not normal, it shouldn’t be happening, right? Or doesn’t have to be happening. Right. And, and so so as you address those things, right? You see those things going away, you see them, like the muscle aches and pains going away, the joint pain going away, skin looking better. You know, these are all things that my clients tell me and they’re shocked. Like they truly thought it was age. And it’s not. It’s so cool.

Alyssa Patmos 1:07:08
Yeah, it’s cool. It’s cool. It’s cool. So thank you so much for having this conversation. The body is such a miraculous thing. And they’re infinite episodes I could do on having people on talking about like how we can better play and work with our bodies. And this just scratched the surface. And there’s so much in here. So for those of you tuning in, I hope you don’t feel like it’s hopeless. Because the thing is, is like there are simple things where we can just start to shift our attention and pay attention to things that we’re not really taught. And hopefully you’re walking away with a few of those that Megan and I have highlighted in this conversation. So Megan, thank you so much for being here.

You’ve just finished listening to another episode of Make It Mentionable with me, your host, Alyssa Patmos. If you’re looking for more in between episodes, then sign up for The Peel. It’s my free newsletter that gives tips for how to navigate whatever life dishes and it’s also the place where I share the juiciest of stories. To check it out, head on over to Alyssapatmos.com/thepeel. Thank you so much for tuning in, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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