I know that thyroid and hormonal health are some of your main concerns, and one of the reasons why you follow my work! (Yes I am the only nutritionist to specialize both in Keto as well as in functional endocrinology!)
In this interview I share with you the expertise of a brilliant RD, Ali Miller, who talks about some pretty nasty toxins, present in our day to day life, which can cause serious damage to our thyroid, adrenal glands and gonads (ovaries and testes)
Watch this interview if you want to learn what are these toxins, how to avoid them, and what to do to detoxify the body.
Scroll down for interview’s transcript!
- What are endocrine disruptors
- Keto, weight loss and toxins
- Sources of endocrine disruptors
- Impact of endocrine disruptors on the body
- Detoxing: how does it work in the liver
- How to support detox
- Turmeric lemonade
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00:01 S?: Hello. Welcome to thenourishedcaveman.com where Vivica Menegaz certified technician in whole foods nutrition presents Nutrition in the Kitchen.
00:18 Vivica Menegaz: Good afternoon everybody this is Vivica from The Nourished Caveman and the Healing Foods Method. And today I’m really, really excited to present to you with a special guest it’s Ali Miller. And let me tell you a little bit about Ali, we are gonna have an amazing interview, I’m so excited. So, Ali is an integrative functional medicine practitioner with the background in naturopathic medicine. She is a registered and licensed dietician, certified diabetes educator, recognized leader, speaker, educator, and an advocate in her field. While maintaining a full time functional medicine nutrition clinic, Naturally Nourished. Ali has a passion to create awareness regarding the significant role diet plays in our overall health and believes that everything we put in our body can contribute towards optimal health or dysfunction and disease. Welcome Ali, so good to have you here today. Thank you for coming.
01:23 Ali Miller: Thank you for having me, I’m thrilled to be here.
01:25 VM: Yes. And I… I always say that but I really love interviewing people who are very aligned with my view.
01:33 VM: Because I know that it really resonates with my audience and what you do is just amazing and awesome. And I think Ali and I have some common passions in our work, and that’s actually one of the topics that we wanna talk about today which is detoxing.
01:54 AM: Yes.
01:54 VM: And detoxing, not just in general, but you guys know that I specialize in endocrinal balancing and ketogenic and Ali also has a huge amount of knowledge in the field so when I asked her what she wanted to talk to me about she say, “How about endocrine disruptors?”
02:14 VM: I was like, “Yeah!” [chuckle] I think there is a lot a lot of value in this topic for anyone who’s listening or watching us that. It’s something that is a lot overlooked as a topic when people come to me or to you I’m sure, Ali, with thyroid problems, female hormone problems, endocrine in general problems that you know a lot of time the conversation stays on the surface and more about addressing symptoms but rarely goes to the actual root causes. And even when it goes to some of the root causes I know that endocrine disruptors is not often looked at and given the importance it deserves. So please, I would like to hear, tell us something about the subject, about the endocrine disruptors and what to do about them. How do they affect the body, like some examples of them and then what do you do in your practice to help people and get rid of that basically.
03:24 AM: Yeah. So like you said I practice functional integrative medicine and what we do is look to treat root cause of chronic conditions and a skilled practitioner is really good at being a detective of the body, and so we really look to identify, “What is the Achilles heel or the [03:45] ____ or triggering event as the weak point in each individual that causes their distress to their symptoms… To their system in a systematic manner?” And so these things can change in season and they can change in stress and they can change based on demand in the body, but a big element especially with the ketogenic population or people that are using fat as fuel tends to be the disruption of what is stored in the body fat and how that hinders the metabolic processes. So there’s a lot of troubleshooting that I do because I run a ketogenic virtual program in my practice and I’ve been using ketosis clinically since 2009, and we get really fantastic outcomes but sometimes after that first 20 pounds, and it depends on the individual of how much they have to lose, but first 15, 20 pounds we create that plateau.
04:45 AM: And we start to look into things like adrenal fatigue, DHEA, and we tend to look at things like estrogen dominance because that also plays a role with using fat as fuel, as we know the [04:57] ____ sites or fat cells have estrogenic properties. And the other element to this is looking at endocrine disruptors, which are also stored in the fat. And so, when we are exposed to six billion pounds of toxins every year and even if we’re eating a clean, organic diet a lot of endocrine disruptors are found in what I call the three P’s which are plastics, perfumes, and pesticides. And so they are found in packaging products for food so even organic food products can have endocrine disruptors in the packaging of them. And so maybe not as an additive but it could be leeching into that food and…
05:39 VM: And they don’t have to declare them or show them on the label or even talk about them when it comes to organic, right?
05:46 AM: Right. And then you know our plastic water bottles that’s been a huge dynamic change in the last three decades, maybe even last true decade where we’re encouraging more drinking of water which is a beautiful thing, but that also means that we’re getting more plastic compounds which create the xenoestrogens or the synthetic estrogen they make in compounds. So I’m a huge proponent of stainless steel water bottles or drinking out of glass ball jars, there you go. [chuckle] And that’s a huge element of leech as well. Perfumes and scents, so scents in household cleaning products, scents, fragrances that we wear intentionally can play a huge role in endocrine disruptors. Triclosan, which is in a lot of antibacterial products, plays a role as an endocrine disruptor and so that would be something that someone might be using as a healthy thing on their children’s hands during cold and flu season. And we’ve learned that they’re not effective because there’s actually like antibiotic resistance to those. So I use things like lavender essential oil. But there’s endocrine disruptors also in our environment, in our water system from the agricultural system, so in pesticides as well.
06:58 AM: And so they’re quite ubiquitous and it’s very difficult to avoid them. Even our receipt paper that we get at Whole Foods, the chemical that’s used on the receipt paper can create endocrine disrupting properties. And what they are and how they function is they mimic hormonal influence so they can either have a more potent influence on that hormone receptor, they can have a less potent influence on that hormone receptor, or a completely different influence on the hormone receptor. And so it’s basically this lock and key mechanism where endocrine disruptors dock to a receptor site of a gland that is influenced by hormones. So it could be our ovaries, it could be our thyroid, it could be our pancreas driving things like diabetic insulin sensitivity. And like I said, the issue with following a ketogenic diet is our body’s fat is a bank not only for excess calories and inflammation, but it’s a bank for these endocrine disrupting compounds or toxins in general. The body decides it doesn’t know what to do with these foreign compounds and it throws them into the body fats to deal with later. And when you’re using fat as fuel, you’re up regulating the release of these compounds and that’s where we can get systemic distress.
08:20 VM: Absolutely. I absolutely agree with you on this is a constant education that we need to do with our patients, our clients to make sure that that comes to their awareness. And yeah, about the plateau that’s really interesting because that’s usually when people first come to us because they have hit that wall and then they tried Keto, they don’t know how to work Keto for the best, and then they hit this wall and they think it’s about changing the macros a little bit or tweaking… How many times do you hear that, I’m sure 20 times a day, “If I only eat a little more fat or a little less carbs… ” but what’s really lurking under the surface is the toxins and the disruptors. So what do you do in your practice? How do you help people through resolving these issues?
09:12 AM: Like I said, when I hit that plateau, the couple things that I look at is adrenals and that’s an element of a pathway. I know today we are focusing on the endocrine disruptors and detox so I’ll get to that last, so it could be adrenals. It could be a inflammatory food and leaky gut, and that’s a whole other pathology. And within that construct it could be a microbiological imbalance, like candidiasis, yeast overgrowth, and dysbiosis. It could also be micronutrient deficiency, maybe they don’t have efficient amounts of carnitine and so in my practice I use a supplement called Boost and Burn which has ribose and carnitine and helps to create ketones versus having to rely on exogenous.
09:53 AM: So there’s a couple different trends and when I’m looking at the endocrine disruptor element, there’s a certain kind of pathway that I look at. The first thing that I look at is if hormones are imbalanced. So if a female is dealing with breast tenderness, irregular cycles, PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility. If a client is dealing with a thyroid imbalance, so hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroidism and any of those pathologies. If we’re dealing with insulin resistance, despite a ketogenic diet, that would be another indicator of endocrine disruption. If I’m running a fasting insulin level that just maintains elevation even though they’re doing fasting and they’re doing a high fat low carb diet. So hormonal imbalance, thyroid imbalance, blood sugar irregularities are three big things. And even cortisol because those glands also can get influenced by endocrine disruptors. So if we’ve worked adrenals, we’ve worked with adaptogens, we’re watching and trying to do influence but we’re not seeing outcomes that’s when it goes to the endocrine disruptors. So in some theory it could be the first place to start because it does address a multitude of factors.
11:12 AM: And so what I do is I’ve actually developed a protocol. I have an ebook called Reset, Restore, Renew: 10 day Real Food Detox. And the focus is on resetting your metabolism, restoring your digestive health, and renewing your cellular health. So it has a systematic approach within each of those Rs. And food as medicine approach is to rev those different systems of the body and it has a 10 day protocol which works in a bell curve. And within that, it’s important to understand that a detox is a medically, biochemically sound protocol when done appropriately. There’s a lot of buzzword and misinformation with the term detox like a juice cleanse and things like that. Yes. Which can be a hypoglycemic, blood sugar crashing and hyperglycemic, both ends of the spectrum, just total damaging to the body, not found yet.
12:19 AM: And so there’s a lot of misinformation out there. But there are two biochemical phases to detox. There is phase one, which is the activation of toxins. So first to get toxic activity we have to be in a mode of metabolism or break down and usually that requires caloric restriction, which most people in the community of yours are already doing with some form of the ketogenic diet. So they’ve got that part but then actually to activate the toxins that are dormant, kind of starting to kick up the dust, we need to go through specific nutrients and focus and we need to go through a biochemical process called hydroxylation. And hydroxylation is the process of converting fat soluble compounds to water solubility. And so we like to support patients with an antioxidant blend and then what I call phase one enzyme support, which focuses on the liver and that hydroxylation process. This gets a little geeky so you can stop me if I’m getting to that level.
13:23 VM: I love this stuff. I think it’s good for people to get more literate about it. And I’m really big on educating my patients and my audience so that you know what is actually going on. And another thing, Ali you know, this is empowering so people that go to doctors and doctors try to lead them down really unhealthy paths sometimes.
13:46 AM: Right.
13:46 VM: Then you have the power of this knowledge so you can be like, “Stop. I am not having a medication deficiency but this is what’s actually going on in my body so don’t try to put me on five different meds when I don’t need them. This is what’s actually going on.”
14:04 AM: Right. And that’s where these endocrine disruptors work as basically the brakes on metabolic pathway or, like I said, they can drive excess or deficiency so it just kinda depends but… So there is phase one. So we’re releasing toxins first off in a ketogenic state ’cause we’re using fat us fuel, but many of us are not supplied with the abundance of nutrients that change the oil in the tank or that up regulate the excretion pathways. And so, phase one is creating and transitioning that fat soluble toxin into water solubility. Because our body is very efficient at detoxing water soluble toxins. Those are passed and excreted through the urine, through the stool, through the skin, through the breath even. And that’s the same way we detox fat soluble but the system needs help in converting.
14:52 AM: So phase one is focused on compounds that support the liver like milk thistle seed, ox bile which drives bile flow. We are looking at things like tauri, which also supports bile flow and liver function, Inositol which is kind of a cousin to the B vitamin and can play a huge role with hormonal health. We look at things like dandelion root, Fenugreek artichoke bitters because that creates this astringent in bile flow. And then we’re looking at B vitamins in their mentholated form that help to start that activation process. And then in addition to that, I look at high antioxidant blend because if we’re kicking up the dust or shaking the tree to activate toxins we want to make sure we protect our otherwise healthy cells from oxidated damage and from free radical distress. So I ensure that I up intake the antioxidants in the body as well.
15:45 AM: I have a recipe on my blog for turmeric lemonade, which is something that I recommend in those mornings, it’s fabulous. And then we also are looking at like I said, the dandelions and bitters, green tea on higher amounts, so Matcha, using Matcha in your protocol works very well. And then phase two, once we’ve activated these toxins we need to focus on the encapsulation and excretion. And this area needs a very heavy part of focus because we’ve seen in up to date cancer research that when we have increased phase one activity or that activation but inadequate phase two activity, that encapsulation and excretion, we actually see more tumorigenic activity, more free radical damage, more oxidation which can drive cardiovascular disease because we’re creating toxic damage. So we’ve activated and woken them up which were dormant in our fat cells but we wanna ensure phase two, the excretion, is the biggest focus.
16:42 VM: Yeah. Yeah otherwise they’re bouncing around all over the place and that’s what happens. Yeah, tell us a little bit more about phase two and what we need for phase two because that’s where I feel like a lot of the misunderstanding and misinformation lies out there. When people do the juice detoxes and then they’re missing the crucial elements to go through with their detox and so they start getting that bounce around the fat. And also maybe a couple of insights on how you work on keeping those detoxification pathways nice and open and flowing for the detox to complete.
17:24 AM: So phase two is a process of luconeration, sulphuration, these are the biochemical terms, but basically it’s… Also conjugation. But basically it’s thinking of you activate a toxin in the liver and now you need to encapsulate and excrete. And that’s that phase two piece. And so a lot of sulphur containing compounds are big drivers of phase two detox support. So we’re talking about a lot of cruciferous foods, we’re talking about amino acids, which is interesting because these are found most potent in your protein and animal rich foods. And especially the sulphur is forms of amino acids which are gonna be found in your organs. And so organ meats… And no one to date, at least to my knowledge has a juice cleanse that incorporates organ meats, right? So you’re really missing…
18:13 VM: I have not found that one yet. [chuckle]
18:16 AM: I don’t think it’d be very palatable, I think you’d want to ensure you have a good amount of tallow and lard in that pate to eat the organs versus doing it juiced.
18:27 AM: That’s what’s interesting is when we look at these juice cleanses and the detox delivery systems that, “Oh, you get your seven juices to drink.” The issue with that is you’re not getting the amino acids. You’re not getting a lot of the sulfur containing compounds which are in your cruciferous vegetables. There’s often not cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and sometimes kale but not many sulfur containing compounds like broccoli and such. And we are also not taking alliums which is in your sulphurs family like your garlic, your shallots, your onions, your leeks. So these are foods that we consume roasted and we chew to consume and so a juice cleanse is really insufficient and so what often happens during a juice cleanse, is we get high phase one activity because we get antioxidants, we get the turmeric, we get the greens but we’re missing the phase two activity. So we can actually be adding insult to injury, activating those toxins and creating more distress and also sometimes seeing muscle wasting during that process which will continue to further lower our basal metabolic rate. So, you really want to…
19:31 VM: And the high sugar and high insulin response…
19:33 AM: Yeah, so then that insulin response can definitely throw things off. So you really want to ensure that during a detox you are consuming whole, real foods. And like I said, when I really dove into the rabbit hole, I actually was the creator of a food as medicine protocol for stage three breast cancer at MD Anderson. And it’s a study that’s currently being activated through the National Institute of Health. And so when I was developing the dietary protocol, I was really deep into the hole, if you will, on what compounds are necessary to drive hormonal detoxification and these endocrine disrupting compounds were a big piece of that puzzle. And so at that time, I developed my detox packs which are a supplemental pack that have one antioxidant blend, one phase one blend pill, and then three phase two blend pills for that reason. And you take them in packs at rise and rest and then as you work up that 10 day bell curve there’s four days that you take a third pack. So you kind of work up your system to give your body that abundance. And it’s very heavily weighted to give you those phase two sulfur containing excretion pathway drivers to ensure that they are really changing the oil in the tank if you will.
20:53 VM: That’s amazing. You know it sounds absolutely perfect and, yeah, I really appreciate your deep understanding on the physiology to make this happen and support people through the right process. So, any additional tip that you would give for continuously keeping those pathways open, once you activate them and you support them through this 10 day process, then how would you keep the process gently going on by keeping the detox… The drainage channels we call them, open?
21:28 AM: Yeah, so there’s lifestyle elements as well. Infrared sauna is phenomenal for that. And also infrared sauna helps with BDMF and neural pathways and anti-aging influences, so that’s a really beneficial one. Also, Epsom salt baths are very helpful, foot soaks or full body baths. Incorporating oil pulling which can also help to support the microbiome but can definitely help with detoxification and periodontal support as far as helping with a, like I said, that beginning element to the microbiome which can create systemic distress. I mentioned that turmeric lemonade which many clients will do every morning as an adjuvant to their daily protocol. And then I recommend every time you do a cleanse… There’s other things, body brushing, any way you can stimulate lymphatic tissue flow, so massage is a great thing to do as well, body rolling. Practicing fasting can be very helpful because when you are utilizing fasting you’re up regulating the autophagy and the body’s natural ability to clean the dysfunctional elements of the cell and take out the trash if you will.
22:49 AM: And so, if you’re shifting from that constant fed stress state to a fasting mode and you’re giving your body and supporting with the nutraceutical or nutritional building blocks on a supplemental level, that’s where you’ll get your most accelerated bang for your buck if you will, on detox support. And so I recommend doing it supplementally and with a strategic diet quarterly. And then, beyond that, keeping those pathways open and some of the lifestyle elements, eating organic and using the environmental worker’s group Clean-15 as a really great way to prioritize the less toxic produce. And you can think of it strategically as the produce that have highest water content and the thinnest skin. And so we’re thinking of things like cucumbers tend to be higher toxicity, also leafy greens tend to be higher toxicity, so those are ones we really want to prioritize certified organic or local from your farmer’s market. And keeping some of those foods in the diet are of benefit. And every time you do a cleanse you’ll read in my ebook, there’s an emphasis on grass-fed, wild-caught and all of that element and drinking out of the glass or stainless steel, but there’s always one thing you can add in and one thing you can keep out so you just think of where you are on the line and how you shave on either end to go into optimal.
24:13 AM: So there’s things we’re constantly removing, things we’re constantly adding and it’s a continuum, it’s a process. And so there’s things that we may recognize, “You know, I’ve been doing so successful with my Keto but I haven’t been getting in leafy greens and I realize that my restless leg was corrected because of that magnesium boost I was getting, I’m going to commit to incorporating greens every day.” So whether in the base of a stir fry or a salad or incorporating into a shake, so it’s always about adding in abundance and then little lifestyle things that we can remove as well.
24:47 VM: Yeah. I just love your perspective and of course, I love your wealth of knowledge. I love the base and the physiology and how you transform that into actual practical tips and tools that people can use, so I think that’s amazing. So where do people find you, Ali, if they are interested in your work and wanna find that recipe for the turmeric lemonade? Where can they…
25:16 AM: [chuckle] So I’ll be sure to add that for your show notes for sure, cause I’ve alluded to that. So I have a website, alimillerRD.com and that’s where everything lives. So I have been in clinical practice for 10 years and I first worked for a physician’s practice and when I started Naturally Nourished, we’re now in the end of our fifth year going into our sixth year of practice. And I developed alimillerRD as my virtual piece of the puzzle because I saw that people were starting to be aware of certain things but didn’t have the resources necessarily, and so I have a lot of books and programs that use advanced functional medicine modalities and can be used to help to troubleshoot some of these things. And specifically be that we’re heading into the end of the year, I am doing a big detox promotion so I’ll be sure to put a code for your listeners and it’s DETOXNOW50, and it’s the only time I will be offering those detox supplement packs at 50% off.
26:14 VM: Fantastic.
26:16 AM: Yeah.
26:16 VM: That sounds great. Thank you so much for being here and talking with us and sharing your wisdom and your knowledge. This was I think really helpful tips and tools and it really ties in so well with the work that I do with the endocrine system and ketogenics so we are Keto buddies here. [chuckle]
26:37 AM: Yes, yes, absolutely. Like I said, using fat as fuel is an excellent thing but once the fat is used as fuel for a period of time you need to recognize, “What is the function of that and what’s left behind?” And that’s where the dust of the toxins start to rear their ugly head, so most definitely those that are following a fat adapted diet it’s even more important because they don’t have a security blanket of holding those toxins away so we wanna be mindful of that for certain.
27:02 VM: Yeah, absolutely and I am 100% with you. I, in fact start all my programs with detox, when I work deeper with clients it’s not even an option, that’s how we start and it comes together. I do Keto adaptation and detox at the same time so that they never will butt against that wall and that the toxic load suddenly. The little tornado inside the house, no, we don’t wanna do that. Well, thank you so much and you guys who are watching this will find show notes under the video, right under here and then in the blog post so you can find Ali and yeah, check out her amazing work and beautiful things she’s bringing to help people. Thank you so much.
27:54 AM: Thank you.