PCOS & Household Toxins: A Discussion with Allison Evans
THIS IS THE AUDIO TRANSCRIPT OF MY CONVERSATION WITH ALLISON EVANS OF BRANCH BASICS ON THE VERY, VERY, QUITE CONTRARY PODCAST.
YOU CAN LISTEN TO THE PODCAST BY CLICKING THE LINKS BELOW:
JO: janny organically
AE: Allison Evans
00:00:23:28 - 00:00:34:00
JO: Hello and welcome. It's Janny from Janny Organically. I'm so excited. This is actually the first podcast I have recorded on my own.
00:00:34:01 - 00:01:30:11
JO: Almost everything has been done on my own including all the editing and...I can't even tell you what they are because I don't know the names of everything I've done. And so if you experience any technology glitches that's my fault and I'm sure it'll be worked out over the next season of the show. And as of this moment the name of my podcast we're still working on the artwork and everything but it is the Very, Very Quite Contrary podcast because if you know me I refer to myself as a reflexive contrarian. Also I'm somebody who loves to lean in to that intuitive repulsion and figure out "the why"; asking why do we do these things, who said so, what makes you the subject matter expert and really challenge social norms and it can make you uncomfortable but that's where growth happens, right?
00:01:30:24 - 00:03:18:10
JO: So on my podcast I'm talking to Allison Evans who's the co-founder of Branch Basics, which is a cleaning concentrate that I discovered over four years ago. That was back when I was throwing away everything in my house to clean up our lifestyle of finding toxins and literally everything that was in our home. And so it had to meet my standards, which has been non-toxic and safe for human and pets. It's plant and mineral based. There's it's free of harmful preservatives. There's no greenwashing terms, no hidden ingredients, it's biodegradable, not tested on animals, it's non GMO and it actually works. So it's replaced over 90 percent of the cleaning products in my home. And as you'll hear us discuss today that's the little things around the house that could have such a long lasting impact on your health such as cleaning products and how they impact the respiratory system and endocrine system. And so Allison is actually going to showcase her personal story of PCOS, she and I connect on that level since we share the same endocrine disorder, and come out of it on the other end after being told that we're never going to be void of our symptoms. And so this is pretty much meant to be more of an encouraging podcast to help others identify those symptoms because Allison and I both basically used PCOS as a catalyst to help educate and empower women to take control of their health. And so today we'll be talking a little bit about that.
00:03:18:11 - 00:03:43:29
JO: Also some household detox tips if you want to know more about Branch basics you can go to their website at www.branchbasics.com/janny and I'll go ahead and link them and my full review on the show notes in the podcast. And so let's get going. Here's Allison.
00:03:44:04 - 00:03:50:08
JO: All right. So Allison thank you for joining and being one of my first guests on the new podcast.
00:03:50:12 - 00:03:51:13
AE: Yay, I'm so excited!
00:03:52:04 - 00:04:14:18
JO: So we have such a similar story with PCOS being one of the main reasons, if you will, for us cleaning up our lifestyles and even do what we do on a on a day to day basis. You with Branch Basics and me with my blog and now this podcast, it all kind of has PCOS to thank if we want to think of it that way.
00:04:15:11 - 00:05:15:19
And so with with PCOS for those who don't know it's an endocrine disorder it stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and in fact some of the recent statistics are that 1 in 4 women struggle with fertility, and actually 1 in 3 men also struggle with fertility, but that PCOS is essentially one of the leading causes of infertility. And so I think there are a lot of people that have PCOS that's undiagnosed or if you do get a diagnosis it's hard to kind of know where to go with that and chemical toxicity seems to be a link to causing these endocrine disorders. And and so I wanted to have you on to kind of talk through your story of symptoms and health struggles and your road to recovery and in all those areas.
00:05:15:21 - 00:05:27:23
AE: Absolutely yes. So yeah, I mean in fact, I've never actually thanked PCOS so let's just do that real quick. It's so true, from our pain comes our gain right?
00:05:28:07 - 00:05:29:06
00:05:30:12 - 00:05:58:20
AE: So yeah I guess my road to healing PCOS was really a convoluted one and can only be fully understood if I explain kind of the bigger picture so I will rewind a little bit and say I had my first and only natural period in sixth grade I was 13 years old and you know feeling normal, here it comes, just like all my my friends, and then it never came back.
00:05:58:28 - 00:06:45:17
AE: And so in high school my mom was like 'OK I think it's time we figure this out, even though you're really excited you don't have to deal with your period, there's obviously something going on.' So I went to a leading OB-GYN here in Houston that deals with PCOS and fertility issues and he's wonderful and he had a sonogram ordered and basically said that I had the worst case of PCOS he had ever seen. I had thousands of cysts on my ovaries and I was not the typical PCOS patient, if you will. I mean, I was thin. I didn't have terrible acne, I wasn't 40. I didn't have unnecessary facial hair; it was really a surprise, actually, for him.
00:06:45:17 - 00:07:23:18
JO: Well so, just to jump in there real quick, from what I've heard that there are multiple types of PCOS. My instinct is that I think there are maybe different endocrine disorders and maybe a lot of them may have been lumped into PCOS because I have PCOS but I don't have cysts on my ovaries, and another reason that I wasn't able to be diagnosed quickly was because I didn't present with the typical symptoms as well. I wasn't overweight, I didn't have facial hair and wasn't struggling with acne. But again I think at the time I was on birth control which you know they can hide some of those things as well.
00:07:24:28 - 00:07:30:16
AE: That's very true. Exactly. I was on acne medication. So who knows, Ortho Tri-Cyclen or whatever it was, was who knows what was actually going on.
00:07:31:25 - 00:07:47:27
JO: Right. So there are they present so differently. Everybody like you and I both have PCOS and at this at the same maybe peak of our illness, if you will, we may have presented with completely different symptoms.
00:07:47:27 - 00:07:58:27
AE: That's exactly right. In fact, I never had any pain when I started getting my cycles so that was you know kind of different as well for most people.
00:07:58:27 - 00:08:18:07
AE: And so he gave me birth control basically said look there's nothing we can do about it. And you know here's birth control you can be on this indefinitely and then when you want to have kids then we can talk and we can look at kind of the most advanced fertility treatments because you will not be able to conceive naturally.
00:08:18:08 - 00:08:20:16
AE: I mean that was kind of an emphatic statement.
00:08:20:20 - 00:08:27:07
AE: And at the time I'm 17 and honestly kids were so far from the brain. I didn't even really have a steady boyfriend.
00:08:27:07 - 00:10:02:13
AE: I was just kind of like, OK Gosh that's that's sad, but I'll figure that out later, you know and I at the same, doctors were everything, I mean if you had a white coat, I mean I'm not disrespecting in any way the medical community but I just held him up at such a pedestal and I really was not one to think outside that box so fast forward. I get to college this is actually where I've met my best friend Kelly who's now my co-founder and we room together basically the entire time and I came down with this mysterious pain that essentially started as tightness in my shoulders and neck and then moved off my back. I was a sophomore and by mid semester of my sophomore year I was in so much pain so much just comfort that I was registered as a student with disabilities because I was not able to sit there class. I started traveling the United States and visiting the best neurologist and arthritis specialist and I was doing chiropractic work and Rohlfing And and acupuncture all the way to you know antidepressants and painkillers and muscle relaxers and sleeping pills and the whole thing. My body really was just kind of crumbling before me. And so my aunt comes along and she lived in the hill country in Texas and she was environmental and dietary health consultant there working with thousands of people over the past couple decades and she started talking to me about toxins in my food and my environment and the things I was putting on my body and this was like What are you talking about.
00:10:02:13 - 00:10:12:09
AE: I've been to all the best doctors in the United States and you're telling me that I have to remove like Splenda in 100 calorie packs and pesticides if like my pain's going to go away? What?
00:10:12:29 - 00:10:22:07
JO: I mean but first can I just say what an amazing person to have in your life that just casually is such an expert in that area.
00:10:22:07 - 00:10:27:03
JO: That it was just kind of there for you and you didn't exactly know.
00:10:27:06 - 00:10:32:06
AE: I can't even put it into words. I mean I owe her my life and the life of my children really.
00:10:32:29 - 00:10:34:28
AE: God gave me Marilee but she Yeah.
00:10:34:29 - 00:11:32:12
AE: She explained that our bodies don't just develop symptoms like illness pain and fertility for no reason and that they're made to heal and removing toxins from what we eat breathe and put on our skin was crucial to that God given process. You know this idea that I didn't have to be a victim of my genes or some dire diagnosis and my choices really did matter, that my body had the ability to run in the direction of healing if given the opportunity to do so. Tthis was mind blowing journey because up until this point every new person I saw I was you know had this ever growing you know file of ekg's and x-rays and MRIs is trying to figure out what was going on and no one wants to ask me the questions that Marilee started asking me you know what are you eating what have you recently moved or remodeled. What are you exposed to. What do you use for you know detergents and cleaners you use pesticides. I mean it was all about my genetics it was all about just you know things be all my manager did you do.
00:11:32:13 - 00:11:35:19
JO: Did they want to put you on metformin? That seems to be the norm.
00:11:35:19 - 00:11:45:18
AE: No. But you know this was 10 years ago so that could have a difference. But no, it's actually probably the one drug I wasn't on.
00:11:46:10 - 00:12:04:15
JO: People refer to it as the morning sickness pill. Yeah cause you take it and you literally feel like your morning sickness. You get nausea. It's just awful. I mean I was on it for like four days. I was like I can't. I cannot do this.
00:12:04:26 - 00:12:36:04
JO: But you were you were mentioning some of the questions that that your or your aunt was asking and which I love when I find a doctor. Like I just put swear and with this more holistic pediatrician. And the questions on there were even like what type of water do you? have is it well? Do you have a water filter system? How much screen time do you have. All of those. Going way beyond the typical genetic symptoms.
00:12:36:06 - 00:12:39:04
AE: And they shouldn't because they directly affect our health.
00:12:40:04 - 00:12:51:23
JO: Right. And you also mentioned building materials. So. I feel like you said at some point that when you went to college, did it get worse for you? Because you lived in the new dorms?
00:12:53:12 - 00:13:51:29
AE: Yes. Marilee connected the dots for me and I honestly didn't really have ears to hear. I was so focused on getting rid of my pain that I just couldn't believe it. Now looking back it's just clear as day my pain, it actually started a couple days after moving into a brand new apartment complex that was let's face it was cheap student housing on campus and it was full of varnishes and finishes and formaldehyde ridden cabinetry windows that didn't open, carpet full of who knows what I mean the list goes on. And so my body just absolutely could not handle it. This was also on the heels of going to Africa and having received several vaccinations about two months prior to this. My body was just in a state of total overload. I was reading wellness momma's book last weekend, "My bathtub was overflowing", as she would say.
00:13:52:00 - 00:15:35:10
AE: But anyway Marilee started talking me about getting rid of these things that I was putting in on and around my body. I didn't really believe that it would work. But at this time I truly had nothing to lose. The path I was on was not looking really great in terms of the drugs and the pain. So after a few months of living cleaner so to speak I noticed that my symptoms were drastically decreasing. And I was actually able to get off my medication and Kelly who was living with me at the time- her interest piqued as she watched my body kind of come to life. My energy was coming back. My medications were dropping. We were both just in shock and we both felt called to move to the hill country and soak up Marilee's knowledge upon graduation. So I was better but I definitely was not over the hump at this point. I still couldn't sit even a couple hours because of my pains. I wasn't able to take a desk job or anything. So we moved out to the hill country and within a few months of eating real food and living in an environment completely free of these toxic chemicals, we were living proof of what we now call the power of pure. We would spend our days grounding our feet on the ground and having juice. This was back when juice was like oranges or grapefruit juice. I had never heard of a juice cleanse. And even just meditating and our thoughts were pure and we were off Wi-Fi and we had our cell phones just very very very minimally. We were eating real food, nothing processed or packaged. I mean it was just kind of the life actually and unlike anything we'd ever experience. So you know I was off all medication. I was pain free and I was able to sit for hours on end in just eight weeks
00:15:35:10 - 00:15:48:29
JO: When you say pain free and off medications, that's simply from detoxing these elements in your life? So you were you supplementing obviously you were eating differently but were you supplementing?
00:15:49:00 - 00:17:14:17
AE: Yes I absolutely was on supplements. Yes I was on homeopathics. The homeopathic drops. Marilee is very well versed on real food and excipent free supplements. So I was doing that but I will say there wasn't a heavy focus on that. It was really really about food as medicine. So she is certified as using food as medicine and so we would use you know adzuki bean juice to open up the kidneys if my body was going through a heavier detox. We would use cilantro to pull out heavy metals and polenta to pull out... we could go on. It's just a whole new world of eating real food and if you don't have know a food as medicine certified chef to eat real food and to see the difference because we hear story after story of people that don't have the guidance of someone like Marilee that have completely taken huge shifts but it really was just nothing short of a miracle and we were determined to take Marilyn's brain and blast it out on the Internet because she would spend her days on these you know one off calls day in and night out really talking to people that were chemically injured who had a child with severe behavioral disorder or you know someone with severe eczema. I mean it was all over the gamut or she would be helping someone you know build their home with healthy building materials because she's a safety data specialist.
00:17:14:17 - 00:18:11:01
AE: And so we just thought oh my gosh we have to have this idea of the power of pure getting back to basics and we have to take it out and you know make it known. But back to my story, after a few years of living this way I actually went back to the original doctor I'd gone to in high school. This was six years later but really only a year into living a healthy lifestyle. And my sonogram revealed that my PCOS was essentially- I was no longer a candidate for that term, is what he had said because my cysts were gone. They were gone. I had one on my left ovary I believe and maybe two on my right which is you know just very very minimal. And he was amazed and he could believe it. He just said what have you been doing and who have you been seeing? I said, well I got off hormonal birth control and I got rid of my pesticides, I started eating real food and I minimized my Wi-Fi. Of course he just was amazed and asked me to speak to PCOS support groups. So fast forward to that.
00:18:11:01 - 00:18:17:04
JO: That's awesome that the doctor was even receptive and he genuinely cares about his patients.. and he genuinely cares about his patients.
00:18:17:04 - 00:18:42:02
AE: Yes. Well they've shifted their practice really. I mean they've added a whole new kind of part that's like healing PCOS naturally and his nurse practitioner and I- she actually read my story online and his nurse practitioner calls me. This is like 10 years later. She leaves this voicemail like "I just read your story. Oh my gosh. One of my patients uses your product". And then we end up going to lunch and they're really open to me helping out. I mean this is even recently so it's been awesome.
00:18:42:04 - 00:18:46:08
JO: And what made you go back to him?
00:18:46:09 - 00:19:58:09
AE: You know he was the original. He's You know he was the original. the person who had my sonogram and he's the one that had told me all these things that I wouldn't be able to get pregnant and this and that and I didn't really have anybody else. I mean I had really left the medical community when I moved to Marilee's and decided to take this path and I saw the results that my body had had and so I'm going to be honest I was pretty anti medical so I thought well look my fiancee actually was the one that convinced me and he was like you know let's just go back to this original guy and just see where you are. I was a little bit nervous to get that sonogram I remember you know they were performing the test and I thought oh gosh Lord like please let my lifestyle show that this is actually working on other levels because let's face it. I had never set out to heal PCOS. That wasn't even on my radar. I was in so much pain. I was just out trying to figure out how to live and survive without all these drugs and so it was like I said it's it's very akin to the idea that you are going to help your son or your daughter or your husband or whatnot figure out what's going on with them and so they're going to work with someone like Marilee or they're going to start implementing the home cleanse or follow someone like you. And then all of a sudden someone else in your family is benefiting and all of a sudden you realize that you're not living at the doctor's office anymore and your whole family's healthier.
00:19:58:11 - 00:20:05:17
AE: That was kind of what it was like it was like wait I was set out to clear my pain and now I don't have PCOS or I'm no longer a candidate for that term.
00:20:05:20 - 00:21:48:13
JO: So I'm like watching what my body has gone through and others like you like. It is a transition because I have a daughter and one of my main goals is to make make her not go through this. I have even said it would be like an indication of her hormonal health if she didn't get her period until she was like 14 or 15. There are children that are getting them at my daughter's age right now, at five or six years old because of the things that surround us that are in our day to day lives that affect our hormones and alter our hormones. And it's really sad to see these doctors put a five year old or six year old on birth control to suppress their their period and it's maddening really. And so I get so many messages of people like how are you trying to make your daughters period not happen until she's 15? I'm like well it's not that I'm focusing on her period. I'm focusing on anything that's endocrine disrupting things and minimizing it to the extent that I have control. And one thing that we've never really experienced and I don't know that anybody has or most people would have the opportunity to do is do a detox from Wi-Fi. Essentially even take your whole family and detox from Wi-Fi. I know you can set the timer so it will be off at night. But that's like the number one thing that people have complained to me like there's there's no getting away from it. If you turn yours off in your home, you've got neighbors or in an apartment. Everybody's got a wifi.
00:21:48:14 - 00:21:52:07
AE: And we're gonna be on 5G soon, the whole country will be blaring with Wi-Fi.
00:21:52:07 - 00:22:08:12
JO: Exactly. And we're up in Northern California and near Marin County. In Marin County at this point had fought back against them installing the 5 G. I don't know how long that will last. But they're there. It's it's not encouraging.
00:22:08:12 - 00:23:07:00
AE: No it's not and you know. But what is encouraging is there are so many things that we can do to help our bodies survive in a world full of Wi-Fi. You know I mean it's terribly sad and at the same point it makes me want to spread our message more, your message more. OK. So let's focus on the things we can do because we we don't realize that our our cleaning products for instance are full of phthalates or our shower curtain or what our excyto-toxins in the healthy humus our kids are eating every single day. I mean these are the things that we can focus on. And there are you know unfortunately an endless amount of those things that can help take this load off of our bodies and so our rain barrel isn't just spilling over. And when it is when it's so high then yes that Wi-Fi is going to make it spill. But if we can just poke holes in it and you know by lessening these daily toxic exposures even just our thoughts and stuff can really help the bigger picture.
00:23:07:03 - 00:23:30:14
JO: Right. And you you mentioned like the day to day with things like cleaning products and I know that you know this that there are scientists that released a study I think in 17 in Norway that said that these conventional cleaners if you're using them regularly they could translate to the same respiratory effect as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. 20 cigarettes a day. That's
00:23:30:14 - 00:23:38:25
AE: That's right. That's yeah. People who have worked as cleaners you know regularly are showing a lung function of someone who's smoked 20 cigarettes a day. It's crazy.
00:23:38:27 - 00:24:06:22
JO: Yeah. And I think you get to the end of that. You know you have respiratory- nobody thinks like Oh it was my cleaning product I probably was around. And we don't even know what other long term effects are there because it hasn't really been studied that deeply. But we do know that there are things like allergies and hormone disruption and irritation migraines etc. that are that are connected to some of these ingredients actually.
00:24:06:23 - 00:24:23:23
AE: Well and sadly our children are most at risk. I mean they're nervous respiratory reproductive immune systems are not fully developed. The ability to detoxify excrete toxins is way weaker than ours. You know their developing cells are more susceptible to damage especially know their central nervous system and they breathe more air pound per pound. They're putting these so called clean fresh items in their mouths.
00:24:37:12 - 00:24:38:16
JO: I saw a commercial recently with clorox, the flor that the child is crawling on and I'm like No.
00:24:38:17 - 00:25:42:18
AE: Oh I know and being endorsed by an M.D. I don't even get me started.Yeah. Well so just to finish my story, I basically a couple of years later I woke up and had my period. I mean it just happened. I'd been married a year and I it was like the best day of my life, like over my wedding day. My husband agrees It was just magical. It was just the culmination of everything that God had led me to do and everything that Marilee had taught me was just like there, right there, and my body had woken back up. This was my my second natural period of my entire life. I was 13 and then fast forward and I believe I was twenty five when this happened. And then a couple of years later my husband and I decided that we were ready to have kids and we conceived and you know our first try and leave. And now we've done that now twice. We had a little surprise conception last year and I had an eight week old.
00:25:43:19 - 00:25:48:04
JO: I mean you came back from maternity leave and I'm like Welcome back. Now come on my podcast.
00:25:48:18 - 00:26:18:24
AE: I know you said in your e-mail "Welcome back from maternity leave". I'm like wow am I really back? I guess. No it's great. And we had both our girls at home and it was a lovely wonderful great experience. So we're really yeah. Thank you PCOS and thank you to my aunt for waking me up to you know a road that I would have never known even existed. I just can't imagine had I stuck and not questioned things and stuck to the original diagnosis.
00:26:19:16 - 00:27:22:24
JO: Somebody had said something a while ago I think I was on Instagram who had said Be thankful for your symptoms and I think a lot of people maybe took that the wrong way. It's like no I don't want to. I'm I'm I'm in chronic pain. I'm not thankful for my symptoms but I think the overall message of that is that your body has an innate ability to heal and there is so much healing going on that we are consciously aware of that it's internally doing its thing. And then when it needs help, it needs you to change something it need you to maybe move it starts signaling you like I need help. Those symptoms are basically hints and messages that you need to change something. And so when we say things like things like thank you, PCOS, thanks for the symptoms that allowed me to get myself in a position to heal. I can't get better in the place that I got sick. And in that environment with all those toxins.
00:27:22:24 - 00:28:14:20
AE: Really these things are red flags. I Really these things are red flags. I mean we want to be what we call unmasked. You know we want our body to have these red flags because over time when we're exposed to all these toxic chemicals, our bodies actually start adapting to them and we no longer get those headaches sometimes or those quick you know respiratory kind of effects like a quick cough or a stuffy nose and then you know cancer doesn't show up overnight. There's a common accumulative effect in our organs and this is kind of silent deadly toxins that can culminate and then all of a sudden years later we're developing autoimmune diseases and cancers and stuff and so it's good to have these headaches and symptoms and pain symptoms and what I look back and I think about gosh my pain in college I mean that was really hard but I'm so thankful for it.
00:28:14:20 - 00:28:25:19
AE: I'm so glad that my body was setting off that fire alarm and that I was called to not just take the batteries out. You know I was called to figure out where the smoke was coming from.
00:28:25:20 - 00:29:00:00
JO: When you mentioned waking up and having your period, I think a lot of women have some misconceptions about about their period and ovulation in general, especially with birth control. When they take birth control and then they have the five days of bleeding that's not a real sort of real period. It's withdrawal bleeding. The signal of a healthy period means that your ovulation is healthy. And so the two are very linked together so if you're not ovulating because you're on birth control, there's no way you can actually have a real a real period.
00:29:00:00 - 00:29:08:24
AE: Exactly. I should be clearer because I mean I was bleeding for four years when I was on birth control but that was not what I consider to be a real period.
00:29:08:24 - 00:31:38:05
JO: Right. And so then once you had like a real natural period that to me signals like your ovulation was healthy hence how you got pregnant. Yeah. And when I with my PCOS I had a functioning ovulation and period. Those were functioning pretty regularly. There were a bunch of other symptoms that I was having like very very painful periods and what some people have described that I was having cysts burst. But I only ever had one scan and they didn't see anything. They did the internal ultrasound. My husband and I had gone on a delayed honeymoon and it was just month after month my periods are getting worse and worse. We were in Aruba on our honeymoon. He had gone to the ocean for a swim and I was laying on the ground. What you thought maybe I spilled water from the shower all over the ground but it was my sweat. I was in such pain. I thought I was going to die. And like why didn't I get travel insurance? How am I going to get my body back? I had actually set up an appointment for a naturopathic doctor for when we had returned. So I was like so thankful that I survived that. It was just it was it was so bad. And that was the worst my period had ever gotten. And when I got back so like two weeks later I'm ovulating. I had gotten pregnant and my first appointment with my naturopathic doctor who I still see today- I was like two or three days pregnant at the time and I didn't know why- I mean of course she ordered all of these hormonal tests. A lot of conventional doctors they'll just run a few things like oh let's check. Check your your TSH and not run like a full thyroid panel. She did everything and she's like oh yeah you're pregnant. So these aren't these hormone levels are not necessarily reliable based on what you're telling me. Because again it was it was like an hour long appointment of all of these questions outside of just these symptoms. Like What are you doing on day to day basis? And so we we kind of had to play like guessing games of what to do while I was pregnant and but still I feel like my daughter is miraculous because PCOS itself carries such a miscarriage risk. I also had MTHFR, or homozygous MTHFR which I probably need to explain all that in a separate episode.
00:31:38:06 - 00:31:41:18
AE: I know. You're about to get lots of questions here.
00:31:42:06 - 00:32:48:18
JO: I mean that it's so overwhelming that that meditation. But it's there's such a significant risks with all of that especially when you don't know and I and I know I had written about this before is that I feel like my daughter was was really protected by the Lord through the pregnancy and he used my ignorance and all that to come out of the end of this and go wow like the fact that I had a healthy pregnancy to term with very little knowledge about what was actually going on inside my body because if I were to get pregnant now there's just it would be a totally different story. And you know managing my progesterone levels and all of that. So it's why it's I know a lot of people with PCOS struggle with fertility in general and then they find out later they have multiple miscarriages and then they get diagnosed with PCOS and then they get that under control and they carry a baby to term. Right. So.
00:32:49:13 - 00:32:56:08
AE: The body's just so interesting and you know it's it's just so confusing it almost just feels like PCOS is this catch all like syndrome.
00:32:56:11 - 00:33:30:25
JO: That's what I'm saying. I feel like there are a lot of factors in that some people will say it's like insulin resistant PCO Swhich I have and it's like my LH the luteinizing hormone is reverse of what the FSH levels should be which is the follicular stimulating hormone. They have something called the pill induced or post pill PCOS. They've got like inflammatory PCOS and then hidden cause PCOS. Again it's just like catch-all. Its a thyroid issue.
00:33:30:25 - 00:34:23:25
AE: Yeah well you know and I noticed that my PCOS although it was deemed you know quote unquote reversed and there were no cysts during both of my pregnancies. I my midwife and are both very surprised at how my insulin levels were just not great. My blood sugar and I had no idea I even had blood sugar issues. But I mean once again because I refused to drink the orange drink during pregnancy I was able to really get to know my body and how it responded to foods. And so I had to work pretty hard. I mean you know in my diet just to really make sure that I wasn't spiking and. You know it was just a whole kind of another world that I was like wow you know this is definitely probably relating to the original quote unquote PCOS thing and once again it was something that I was able to control through food and sleep.
00:34:23:25 - 00:34:35:15
JO: Right. And so I know people are going to wonder about what you said with the orange drink with but the gluten managing your glucose so you took the test or did you not?
00:34:35:15 - 00:34:59:19
AE: No I never took the test. No I never took the test. y midwife allows to do a home finger prick right after meals and post cranial and get those readings. I did that for two weeks straight. I think it was like four times a day. And we were we learned a lot about my fasting glucose and kind of set me on a whole other search about that.
00:34:59:20 - 00:35:17:15
JO: So a note to everybody out there who's pregnant: either there usually is a workaround to that orange drink. You can do what Alison is is mentioning, you can request- first of all you're going to have more success with a more holistic OBGYN or a midwife that are going to let you do something like that.
00:35:17:15 - 00:35:20:03
AE: But you can absolutely do it with a hospital and a doctor.
00:35:20:03 - 00:35:37:01
JO: I mean yes. Well you can do something you can eat something different that's equivalent to the same amount of sugar so you can look up like what the sugar is and you can have like you know how many bananas that would take you know instead. Right. Drinking their chemical drink.
00:35:37:02 - 00:35:59:27
AE: Yeah I'll just just say it because food dyes are some of the most toxic things. Not many of them are even allowed in the European Union. And yet you're giving them to pregnant women and so you know the main thing I was trying to avoid is not only just the refined sugar which is not great in and of itself but really these artificial food dyes when you're pregnant or you know no bueno. So yeah.
00:35:59:28 - 00:36:04:03
JO: All right. Why did they even need to dye it?
00:36:04:03 - 00:36:06:00
AE: It's a great question. I mean it's so pretty.
00:36:06:00 - 00:36:10:12
JO: haha, so everybody can call it the orange drink.
00:36:10:19 - 00:36:21:13
AE: and say yeah it's the orange drink, Janny.
00:36:21:26 - 00:37:14:28
JO: So what I wanted to talk about right now is what we can do. You know we don't have a have a magical farm to escape to. But what kind of measures. Either one of us would suggest for people in terms of detoxing or creating an environment their home that is less toxic. Some of them might be bigger steps and some of them could be very little. Like one of my top ones to people is to take your shoes off. Yeah. Make everybody take your shoes off before you come into the house and because there's asphalt, you got lawn e.coli, herbicides- anywhere you walk. Those don't just get wiped off when you just dump your foot on the mat on the front and so you're walking around all over inside you're bringing the outside in. And in fact some of the studies have shown that in most houses your indoor quality is worse than the outdoor quality
00:37:15:29 - 00:37:17:27
AE: up to 200 times or worse.
00:37:17:29 - 00:37:54:13
JO: Yeah. I mean there's a lot of factors it could be like off gassing like furniture or carpet or paint. But also what you're bringing in from the outside is contributing as well. So that was my my very simple tip. I get so many people ask me, Do you provide your guests slippers? I'm like no but I mean I actually did I I bought some recently I'm like just in case. nobody's ever asked and nobody's ever given me a hard time. If you have a small child they're usually the best to deliver the message. You sort of walk in and Sawyer is like you need to take your shoes off.
00:37:54:15 - 00:38:16:19
AE: Yeah. So what I did and I've actually found this to be kind of effective is I wrote a note from Sloan, my two year old and I put it above the you know like right next to the door. People come in and right where the shoes are supposed to be and I think I said something like you know "I love playing on the floors and my mom doesn't like cleaning them if you don't mind please take off your shoes love sloan". And so I just blame it on her.
00:38:20:13 - 00:38:30:29
JO: So what else. What would be your number one go to if somebody wants to take this in bite sized chunks. What's the first thing we should do.
00:38:31:09 - 00:39:19:05
AE: Yes. Well everybody's different. Some people are not as intimidated about changing their diet and so therefore start there. Because my first thing or our first thing at branch basics really is figure out where you're comfortable with starting. Start there and I can kind of pretty much sure you're going to be addicted to this new lifestyle the way you feel and the result you're going to have. So. I would say though if you're open to kind of starting wherever, the most toxic things that we're exposed to every day our opinion would be like pesticides and herbicides and getting those out of the home. it's crucial and it's really foundational and it's one of those things that I mean let's face it we can be addicted to fruit roll ups and sometimes even our dryer sheets but we're not addicted to pesticides. I mean you just get them out but they should never be inside the home.
00:39:19:21 - 00:40:50:27
AE: And we have a really awesome document that Marilee has written about all sorts of pesticide alternatives and I can give that to you you can link in the show notes. And then cleaning and body care products with synthetic fragrances you know anything containing the word you know quote unquote fragrance or perfume or parfum. They act as hormone disruptors and mimic our endocrine system. And those again I mean you know we can we can switch our cleaning products and we don't even have to tell our husband our children and that makes a huge difference. And so anything with caution warning or danger on the bottle just needs to be removed. It has no place in the home. They're releasing these harmful Voc's into the air creating this low level chemical soup where we're trying to rest and restore and heal because let's face it we can't control a lot of where our children go to school and play on the parks and where we go shopping and whatnot but we can control what's underneath our sink and in our laundry cabinets and in our bathroom cabinets. And then I would say a huge thing for us and this is something I personally am so passionate about is laundry because when you really think about it every you know the detergent that you're choosing to use or fabric softener dryer sheets that is following you around all day on your clothes it is on your sheets that you're breathing in all night when again your body's trying to detox and rest and restore and I mean the only time you're really not with your detergent is when you're naked in the shower and then you're probably using a washcloth.
00:40:51:03 - 00:41:23:27
JO: Yeah. And you're probably you know your water's probably not filtered. Right. And when you're talking about pesticides that one of the top two delivery methods of herbicides and pesticides is through the water system because if you're using or spraying herbicides into your yard those are running off into the water system and it's just getting right back into your body. This is scaring everybody. The water is is really important.
00:41:23:28 - 00:41:56:09
AE: Yeah it really is. At the very least getting a chlorine filter like today is easy and you can get it at most grocery stores. But the great thing about this stuff is it doesn't have to be scary. I mean these are things that make some of the hugest difference in terms of our everyday exposures and there are things that we have control over. I mean that if we really had time we could go do it right now. You know it's not expensive to get rid of stuff and people often say oh gosh I hate throwing away this new fresh bottle of such and such and I mean our argument is that you're going to spend more money in the long run on health bill. I'm sorry.
00:41:57:21 - 00:42:23:08
JO: I have encountered- there's two different types of people. There are people who will replace things as they run out of said toxic thing and that's better than nothing for sure, it is and I am not in that camp. I am the person who is like I threw away everything but then I was sort of like OK what do I use. I'm just going to just take a bath and water yes or no water. I don't I don't know can I just dry shampoo my body? haha
00:42:26:22 - 00:43:03:20
AE: I think we joke that you have to be either really sick or really smart you know. And I was not the smart. I was the sick one and we we called Kelly the smart one because she really wasn't experienced in symptoms. But Kelly is a great example and I feel like her story just really quickly can relate to most people. She was the one with bad menstrual cramps and dry skin and itchy eyes and she was the quote unquote healthy one you know. Right. So she moves out to Marilee's house for the summer and all the sudden she's having her period and didn't know it was coming. I mean just waking up with her period. She's like wait what. I used to skip class and take midol and Advil and and her-
00:43:03:20 - 00:43:20:15
JO: these are the symptoms that we've actually normalized in America. Is that this is how your period happens. You have a lot of pain. You sit there and cry and you binge on chocolate and this is the typical American period now. And it's not.
00:43:20:15 - 00:44:04:05
AE: Yeah exactly right. So she was a great example. Then she ends up going and throwing out everything because she's like well the things that I thought you know were normal don't have to be I don't need an Advil or tons of lotion. There's a reason I had dry skin and itchy eyes. So yeah. There's just so many things that we can do. There are low hanging fruit of course diet is huge. You know eating real food and taking out hydrogenated oils avoiding soy especially if we're dealing with fertility issues and there's so many great sweeteners- fruit dates honey maple syrup coconut sugar or you know pure stevia for some people. There's so many great alternatives now I just feel like the recipes are more and more available to us to be able to stick to a real food diet.
00:44:04:20 - 00:45:20:12
JO: agreed and I think when you do it in baby steps like you maybe you start with your diet and move forward and they start to become natural they start to become habits. And somebody had sent me this new. Kind of joking meme about how in order to be healthy you have to you know go and buy your food from a local farmer and you know make sure you buy non-toxic x y z. Use this essential oil. I mean it was this long like detox on this juice. And for anybody who's not doing any of it it sounds overwhelming. And I'm reading the list going. Yeah I do most of that but it comes naturally now because I didn't do it all at once. I started very slowly and gradually with maybe I got rid of all my beauty products and skincare products at once but I certainly didn't know everything that I know now. And you kind of learn as you go and take it a little bit at a time so that you're not stressing about it. I would hate for anybody to overstress about being afraid of their entire surroundings to put himself in a state where they're creating like excess cortisol but their eggs are actually causing inflammation in their body.
00:45:20:15 - 00:46:08:09
AE: Yes that's an absolutely and that's why you really do have to figure out you know where where am I in my journey and so many people I mean I would recommend for people like that- start with thoughts because sometimes our thoughts can do more damage than the things that we are bringing or putting in on and around us and even just journaling and getting these negative thoughts out is such an amazing detox and that that's where you need to start and nothing else. And that's amazing. I mean really truly I'm not just saying that I mean that's a huge thing is detoxing the way we're thinking and so yeah having thoughts full of fear is definitely not the goal here. It's more feeling like we can empower people and sometimes people can't get to that point until they have really been able to really center their thoughts. And so that's a great place to start to.
00:46:08:13 - 00:46:39:26
JO: Right. Agreed. And it's really hard to start researching this stuff when you're in the throes of pain and you don't have access to somebody like your aunt. And it was really hard for me to kind of research this at the same time of feeling so sick that I'm like I can't look at the computer because I get a headache and so it's nice to have this information ahead of time so that when you start feeling these symptoms you're like oh wait I think I think I know what the problem might be.
00:46:39:28 - 00:46:50:10
AE: Right. Exactly so. Oh gosh there's just so much. this is so exciting to talk to you. I love it .
00:46:50:12 - 00:47:06:13
JO: Is there anything- because I created a guide if you're going to move into a new home or you're building a new home there are a few a few things to pay attention to and I don't know if that's most people right now but
00:47:06:13 - 00:48:22:19
AE: that is a huge thing. Even my mother in law was staining some things at our house and you know there's things that we're doing all the time that we don't realize are contributing and massively really to our poor indoor air quality. And so even just you know it's beyond just the paint. I mean I know a lot of people say OK let me go get a no VOC paint which is kind of a whole subject in and of itself does many no-VOC paints are actually not great but you know it's it's beyond that. I mean it's just really doing research on the things that you're inside of your home and trying to outguess things as much as possible. And I love the post that you did and what I will say because I feel like paint is just this huge hot topic especially with people wanting to paint a nursery or something before they do this. We we have found a company that has stains and varnish and paints that we are just like over the moon in love with called Ecos paints. Ecospaints.com I think that's the website. And I have absolute no affiliation with them. So I'm just throwing that out there because I believe in them and I took. Yeah I think people would be really pleased a color match really well. And that's you know a huge part of a lot of people's lives as repainting
00:48:22:26 - 00:49:20:22
JO: When we were touring houses, there were some houses I couldn't even walk into because I was so sensitive because of the smell and a lot of people were I mean I think we assumed it was fresh paint because you know they paint the house right before a showing. And my husband was explaining to somebody who's like first of all this house is not going to work for us because my wife can't even be in the home. But he said its probably the paint. He's like There's no fresh paint. And what we found out it was new carpet. So the carpet was a big issue because of the adhesives and the glues and you know just really synthetic plastic stuff inside of the carpet. Formaldehyde. Yeah. So it created this like I mean nobody else could smell it but me and it wasn't that I could just smell it. It was I was gonna have a migraine if I stayed in.
00:49:20:24 - 00:49:42:15
AE: Yeah it could be debilitating. Yeah. I mean that's your red flag and you know it's sad that other people can't smell it. I mean you should be happy you should be the one when they experience these symptoms and reactions to you know walking into Home Depot. I mean I still get symptoms every time I walk into Home Depot and I'm so thankful for that. I'm so thankful and I'm glad I know where to steer away from. My body's telling me to get out right now.
00:49:42:17 - 00:50:10:17
JO: So like one of the things when we did move in- because I talk about this in my post is that it took us two years longer than we thought it was going to to find a home because I was to be at least ten years old because I wanted the chemical to anything that was done in the construction wise to be have off gassed but not so that we had to remodel either because I didn't want to have to remodel the home.
00:50:10:17 - 00:50:21:03
AE: This is the sweet spot. This is the story of my life. But you know what I mean you're the canary in the coal mine and you then settled into a home that's healthier for your family and in the grand scheme of things, two years is nothing.
00:50:21:05 - 00:52:17:10
AE: We thought it was going to take so much shorter. So we were able to kind of figure out what we wanted. So I know most people aren't in that position but when we moved in we had everything lined up to the exact carpet we wanted the paint we wanted. We installed this amazing air filter that's like you know even addressing viruses, not only just dust and everything. Then we had a whole house water filter installed and so yeah we got it all done before we moved in and we were able to move it into kind of the not only the the house that was perfect for us but the entire environment itself in terms of toxicity to our health. And so I was really thankful that for that night. you know in the two years of prep time that were frustrating to be living in a condo with boxes everywhere because it was it was getting too small for us. I was like I absolutely refuse to store anything you ever have storage. And so we. Yeah we it worked out worked out great for us. I'm just like you said you're super thankful for not only for PCOS and the symptoms and kind of getting to the root of it but you know finding the community to like people like you. I don't even remember how we met but I know it was along the lines of looking for a clean cleaning product. I knew that there were endocrine disruptors in it my cleaning care and that the the ones on the shelves of your local health food store aren't necessarily clean because you know they don't carry bleach at all. Exactly. There's a lot of greenwashing going on they use these natural terms and and then finding one that's actually clean that that works well. Exactly
00:52:17:10 - 00:52:17:21
AE: Exactly. Yeah. A whole other level.
00:52:18:06 - 00:52:46:15
JO: I'm using branch basics for over four years at this point. And there are there are a handful of products that I have in my house that I don't even consider any other pitches. They're like oh we have a new cleaning product and like I'm like no, I'm done testing in that area. Like what we have works works and works well. it's in one of those top five like there's no need to bother me with pitching. Yeah. Yeah.
00:52:46:16 - 00:53:39:13
AE: You're like one and done. I love it. Yeah. And that's that's really our you know our story it's like we're really using our product as a Trojan horse. We want to get our foot in and then you know really educate on all the other facets of non-toxic living. But even just this one change of getting rid of the toxic cleaners in your home. It's not about just buying brand basics. It is truly about first removal of the source of the problem which is going through your home and like I said caution warning danger. Get it out. And then if you know are open, use branch basics, it's really great. Maybe the best, but maybe if you get out the stuff that's already there and it's undermining you and your families or whoever you're living with- your dog really. So that's a great first step. You're going to start anywhere. That's what we recommend.
00:53:39:14 - 00:54:00:24
JO: And so I feel like you've kind of tied that up nice and nice and tidy there but I do want to ask just for the listeners with branch basics what would be a way that you use branch basics maybe in an unconventional sense that people wouldn't think about that's one of your favorite ways to use it.
00:54:01:06 - 00:54:04:00
AE: Hmm. Gosh I mean
00:54:04:17 - 00:54:08:25
JO: like I put this in my washer fluid in my car.
00:54:08:26 - 00:54:42:25
AE: Yes I know. That's one of my favorite lines. You know I've been using it a lot. I've cleaned both my girls with it. Of course I'm like two year old hasn't ever had a bath in anything else except for branch basics. But one of the things that I think people don't realize you know those little Oxo brushes that you do your dishes with and you can fill them you know or even the bona mark or you have a fill container. Yeah. I mean I just put branch basics in both of those and it's wesome- people think they have to use what came with bona or I have to use the Oxo recommendation. I just put branch basics in there
00:54:43:08 - 00:55:11:04
JO: that's actually really good point because I do use the little not the Swiffer but the little thing that you talked about with with the container that you attach in there and I put branch basics in there but when we do the dishes I have like a little travel sized branch basics that we manually spray. We all spray individually and then because I don't ever really fill the sink. I just wash the dishes as I use them. And but no that's a good point because then you only have to do is reach for that little brush.
00:55:11:06 - 00:55:16:08
AE: Yeah. Yeah. Well I can talk to you forever
00:55:18:02 - 00:55:33:20
JO: ...but we'll go ahead and end it. Thank you so much again for coming on and sharing your story and you know hopefully at some there were some people that got something out of this start listening to their symptoms and switching out something that they they learned about today.
00:55:34:00 - 00:56:20:04
AE: Yes definitely. I just am so honored and I feel like you know just ending with with a little message of hope which is just that we do have more control often than we think. Ignorance is not bliss. The more we wake up to the things that we do have control over the healthier we will be. It's amazing how contagious it health is because sometimes I don't even realize how far reaching my messages and then I look around and my whole family is like healthier and it's just over time it's kind of an addicting thing. And so you know making these changes is usually inspiring others to do the same. So yeah thanks for having me, Janny. I really appreciate it. This was great.
00:56:20:22 - 00:56:22:20
JO: Yeah. Thanks.
00:56:22:20 - 00:56:55:17
JO: I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Allison and everything that we mentioned. I will include in the show notes some of the detox guides, creating the less toxic home environment- that's on my blog. Allison's story. The pesticide switch outs for things like like glyphosate and herbicides and we'll make that all available for you. And again we just hope to empower you with this message and help you to make better choices for yourself and your family.