How To Fix Skin Issues, Fatigue and Food Sensitivities: A Case Study with Becky Santiago, RN and Christa Biegler, RD

In this week's episode of the Less Stressed Life Podcast, Christa had the unique opportunity to talk with a past client turned Associate Practitioner. Becky Santiago, RN joins the show to discuss her personal journey as a Less Stressed Life client. She gives a real-world account of what the healing process looked and felt like.  She discusses the struggles of dealing with skin issues, fatigue, and food sensitivities. She shares the details of her personal plan and results. She gives a raw and unfiltered look into what so many clients experience before getting help. Becky talks about being out of her comfort zone and what surprises her the most. She explains how she seamlessly transitioned into the role of Associate Practitioner and even gave some tips for others starting to navigate their healing journey.


  • Being an advocate for yourself and your health
  • What else can I do? What are my resources?
  • Importance of positive mindset despite challenges and frustrations
  • Finding a good provider- how are some different than others
  • "Test don't guess!" mentality
  • Different types of testing- MRT/Leap, GI Map, Micronutrient, DUTCH 
  • Healing is a process- not always a linear 
  • Getting out of your comfort zone




Becky is an Associate Practitioner at The Less Stressed Life and accepting New Clients Now!

Where you can find Christa:

Personalized functional medicine with Christa Biegler:

Less Stressed Life Podcast:

Less Stressed Life Facebook Page:

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Becky: (00:00)
I wanted the black and white. I wanted to test, not guess I loved that mentality of let's find out what's going on with me. I had tried some blanket, things like intermittent fasting and the car cycling and such the macro counting. I knew how to eat clean, but I wanted to know what's affecting me most. And how can I have a plan to work?

Christa: (00:21)
Stress is the inflammation that robs us of life, energy and happiness. Our typical solutions for gut health and hormone balance have let a lot of us down we're overmedicated and underserved at the Less Stressed Life. We are a community of health savvy women exploring solutions outside of our traditional Western medicine, toolbox and training to raise the bar and change our stories each week. Our hope is that you leave our sessions inspired to learn, grow, and share these stories to raise the bar in your life and home.

Christa: (01:02)
Did you know that the less stress life is not just a podcast? We're really a virtual private practice that sees clients one on one for issues with your gut skin energy and overcoming food sensitivities. Our team gets to do cool tests that you can't, or that are often not ordered in standard primary care office visits. And we get to help our clients navigate and interpret those tests to get great results on resolving symptoms. And we've grown to help more one-on-one clients. Now that we have an amazing registered nurse and registered dietician working alongside me, another registered dietician to give our clients better care than most have ever received before to learn more about the testing we use most often our process and lots of testimonials for different symptoms and conditions. Please download our anti-inflammatory guide for healing, gut, skin, and energy [email protected] slash gut guide. That's guide, or schedule an introductory case [email protected]

Christa: (02:04)
All right, today on the Less Stressed Life, we have Becky Santiago who I've gotten to know quite well over the last year or two, or I'm not sure how long, but Becky has worked as a registered nurse for the past nine years prior to her nursing career. She worked in the pharmaceutical medical device industry with several fortune 500 companies. She graduated from Florida state university with dual degrees and honors and through her own journey as a less stress life nutrition client, Becky has experienced her changes in her health and results firsthand. She also has a professional knowledge to see the best of both Eastern and Western medicine. Learning about the integrative approach that we use in our practice. That's basically lab testing. And then also looking between the lines of lab testing to address every symptom versus just throwing up our hands and saying that labs are normal without feeling normal.

Christa: (02:53)
Becky's now an associate practitioner and our podcast operations manager with less stress life. She has a gift of bringing calm that balanced to any situation and is at her best when helping others. And I can, uh, test that any clients that she's seen, that I'm also seeing really love their time in session with Becky. She uses her experience. She's got a good history and I don't think I mentioned this in her bio, but after she became a nurse, she was working in, you know, in a pediatric hospital and she can correct me later, pediatric hospital, and then as a school nurse. So she's really focusing on helping serve our pediatric and skin clients as two niches that are really underserved in the nutrition and integrative medicine and functional medicine and regular medicine community. So that's what she'll be doing and is doing with our practice at less stress life nutrition, because she has her own experiences with skin issues. So Becky, if I got anything wrong, please correct me. I'm so glad we're gonna have this chat kind of about your experience because I think sometimes what we all want is results at the end of the day and understanding that we can assemble a roadmap and not everyone's roadmap looks the same, uh, whatsoever. Um, we're just gonna peel back the curtains a little bit today, so welcome.

Becky: (03:59)
Thank you. Very good to be here and definitely a different end of things for me. So excited to chat today.

Christa: (04:06)
Yeah. You're usually behind the scenes and it's different when we flip

Becky: (04:09)

Christa: (04:09)
When we, when the wizard comes out from behind the curtains.

Becky: (04:14)

Christa: (04:15)
So you were though a pediatric nurse in the hospital right after you got your nursing injury after doing pharmaceutical sales. And actually, why don't you tell us about your story a little bit, because stories are so much fun, right? They're the most fun part of our overall situation and that's where people really start to see themselves as you. So tell us why you did that in the first place when you were climbing the corporate ladder and feeling a bit unsatisfied in life.

Becky: (04:39)
Sure. Yeah, absolutely. It's a very different route to go. People go the opposite direction. A lot of nurses really wanna get into the farm world for the benefits, for the pay for all the glitz and glam of that. But for me coming right out of school, I actually went into consulting where I traveled the country for a year and it was super exciting and opened lots of doors for me, which is what landed me in the pharmaceutical arena. And I worked for several really big companies like J and J and GlaxoSmith Klein. I was very driven to climb the ladder and go from a rep to a trainer and push and get good results. I really believed in the medications that I was selling and I loved the education piece of helping patients and really believed that I was doing that. But the industry was also at a tough time where we were seeing lots of layoffs.

Becky: (05:33)
We were losing a lot of resources and that feeling like I was helping people started to diminish over the years. So I looked into what can I do, where I'm still helping patients. I loved the science, I loved all the learning behind it. And that's what landed me in nursing school. So going into nursing school, I had this base of knowing so much about pharmacology, which was really a challenge for a lot of nurses. And that part of it came super easy to me with my background. So went into nursing school, knowing pretty much from the start that I wanted to go into pediatrics. And that was just something I always loved working with kids and done it numerous different arenas through the years. So did I graduated nursing school and went into a pediatric hospital? I was at a big trauma center in south Florida.

Becky: (06:26)
Got a ton of experience, right from the start saw things that you really only learned about in textbooks and got to experience them firsthand. I learned from an amazing team down there and continued to do that for quite some time. And then my family relocated to Orlando and for a good balance family work life, everything. I actually came out of the hospital and went into the school system where I worked as a school nurse and then worked as a consultant to the school system and really had, at that point, been able to use kind of everything I had done over the years and have a little more autonomy and control over my schedule and such. So it was a really good balance, but it was definitely different than the hospital and bustle of the hospital and traumas and the urgency. So that kinda brought me you the years and health issues, which is what brought me to you.

Christa: (07:31)
Yeah, let's talk about that. I actually have your case notes from when we first talked. Okay. Um, it looks like, well, it, I actually don't

Becky: (07:40)
Know early.

Christa: (07:42)
Yeah. It was an early 2020 cuz sometimes when I edit a note at a little update, it, this is a common thing. And actually my friend who now, you know, as well, Keely, she rose recently posted something, things that we do to try to be healthy. Like we cut this and we reduce this and we get up and we do lots of cardio. And these are also the things that can kind of destroy health. And I see that in the first line of what I said, your story is that when you hit 40, your exercise, your diet is good. You feel like, Hey, I am a picture of health maybe, but you had some, a turning point. So like, how did this develop for you? Because you obviously, I, I want you to talk about EV I mean, I ha I see it right here, but how did it start to, to, to, um, manifest.

Christa: (08:22)
And then also when we reached the turning point, it's been developing for years before, and like you said, you know, nurses are one of our most valuable assets in society. They are our, I mean, for sure and what the pressure we put on them and the stress that we induce and we kind of glamor, we don't not glamorize it, I wouldn't say, but like we normalize it, which is such a toxic thing. So anyway, just kind of like spelling out a little bit of that. I'm sure there's more pieces, but tell us, like, what was going on with you. I think let's start at the beginning of you changing, right? That turning point, like what was going on, where you were like, oh, I'm going to change. And then back up from there, how this

Becky: (08:57)
All accumulated? Sure. So as I approached 40, which really mentally I, it was nothing to me. It was no big deal. I still felt 20, to be honest in my mind. So I didn't have any big thing about hitting 40 that some people do. But I did start to notice that I had to work a little harder. I felt like I had a pretty decent diet. I always liked healthy foods and knew about a balanced diet and felt like I did that, but it wasn't, you know, the little treats here and there were catching up, my metabolism slowed down. I had always been super active. I was working out, I was eating mostly cold foods. So at this point, when I started to notice these things, I noticed, first of all, fatigue, I was more tired. More of the time I wanted to nap when I usually wouldn't have.

Becky: (09:44)
So I cleaned up my diet even more. I focused on those whole foods solely I implemented carb cycling, intermittent fasting. I was counting my macros, making sure everything was in check. And I was getting enough of everything. I felt like I was doing all the right things, but I wasn't feeling any better. It didn't do anything for me. And so that was really frustrating, especially when you're type a and you're goal oriented. You want to do something and get the results. And I wasn't. So to complicate things even worse and where I really saw a spiral and reached out for help was shortly after this, I got into a car accident. And when I got into the car accident, I needed a surgery after surgery. Things were totally crazy. I probably, gosh, two or three days after the surgery, I had a rash break out on my body and it was from the neck down.

Becky: (10:44)
It was super angry, red dots all over my body, that itched like crazy. So I immediately think I have a really bad allergic reaction. And I think, okay, Benadryl around the clock, this is gonna go away. It's not gonna last. It's gonna be fine. So this rash continues for over a month before I go back to my surgeon, because I've got it all under control, right? This is, this is what we think it's gonna go away. After a month. I go back to the surgeon. He too thinks it's probably an allergic reaction, refers me to go see my doctor. I go see my doctor. I go see a dermatologist. I then see several more specialist biopsies done. Tons of lab work is done. And the lab work showed some abnormal markers that were autoimmune related, which really freaked me out. The rash is identified as Grover's disease, which is super rare.

Becky: (11:45)
And my dermatologist actually revert to it as an old man's disease. So I'm 40, diagnosed with an old man's disease. She has no idea what to do with this old man's disease on a young woman. So I'm given tons of different prescriptions. I'm given really high doses of prednisone and I'm starting to really freak out about all this. I try everything. I spend probably a thousand dollars in medications and doctor visits. And this rash is not going away. And on top of the rash, I'm now super fatigued. I have food sensitivities and intolerances. I feel like anything I'm eating is making this rash worse. And nobody really has any explanations as to why this is all happening. So this was downward spiral that kind of made me freak out and realize I need something more than what I know. And then what I've been doing,

Christa: (12:41)
And I'm gonna stop you there because I would love to know how long were you like from the car accident to let's say early 2020, when we first talked, how long is between that? Where you have the car accident, you have surgery and then things start to unravel. You get this whole body rash. And like you said, you're going to many, many appointments. How long of a stretch was that?

Becky: (13:03)
So car accident was in September, was in December. And the visits with the doctors. Yes. 2019 doctor visits started in January of 2020. And we met a few months later.

Christa: (13:20)
Okay. So here's what I want the listeners to be aware. Like I just wanted to call attention to something. Becky's been talking about her health history, and she's a very health savvy person, which is kind of the common theme, the accidental underlying theme of most of the people I talk to. She is health savvy. She is intelligent. She knows how to advocate for herself. She literally is in the medical profession, right. She is a nurse. So her timeline might be reduced by, um, a third even, I mean, maybe up to a half, but like, let's say like a third, at least 25 to 30 some percent because she is good at advocating for herself. And I think that that's a common situation is that you can kind of get lost in appointments and follow ups for much, much, much longer. And people can deal with it for much longer and all of a sudden a year or two piles up on someone.

Christa: (14:09)
So I just wanna draw attention to that because I think it's significant because people will try to schedule an appointment for something that'll be a long time. And there's no, I'm not saying that's right or wrong. I'm just saying that Becky knows how to advocate for herself. And she still suddenly was finding herself. I mean, I hope it's okay if I say like, you feel, you suddenly feel helpless. Mm-hmm when you're like, I don't actually know what to do when I've now it feels like I've the common thing we say is I feel like I've tried everything mm-hmm but you did know you were like, I feel like there might be more here that I could do. Let me put in a couple more comments from like, so this is the compilation in what appears to be a very short time. Cause you have a healthy life before this, but there were some symptoms, signs, and symptoms that were going on before this, I have down after your first child, which I don't know how many years ago, it was very common to get thyroid issues.

Christa: (14:55)
Mm-hmm um, during pregnancy and postpartum, because our needs really increased. So it's like a really common time. So anything you wanna say about that? And then you also had migraines mm-hmm that had gotten worse with each child and then maybe some other pregnancy stuff. And then maybe even your history before, like you were an athlete mm-hmm um, and you had knee surgeries and things. And honestly, like we always think, Hey, an athlete's so healthy, so healthy, but they have the most compromised micronutrient results that we see in practice because there's a lot of intentional inflammation that happens. Like it's a, you know, we're, we're breaking down and repairing, breaking down or repairing type thing so we kind of like induce oxidative stress or inflammation in athletics from training and from really consistent training. So if you were, you know, a big athlete, sometimes there's kind of a lot to do for nourishment and we don't necessarily always fuel differently. I mean, we do, but we don't mm-hmm , you know, so I just wanted to kind of point those things out and please elaborate on all those things or anything you want to from them.

Becky: (15:45)
Yeah, absolutely. And it really, you know, I look at this as all within a few months, but it wasn't until we started working together that I realized there were some really big points throughout my past, where there were turnarounds where there were traumas. So to say, and I don't mean like huge trauma in life, just everyday traumas that people go through surgeries, childbirth. I had multiple miscarriages. Gosh, if I would've known then would I know now that maybe would've been really different, there were stressful times we moved 10 times in 12 years, you know, all these things build up. So I don't think it was necessarily just the surgery. The surgery might have, you know, sparked my immune system to answer up book

Christa: (16:29)
The campus

Becky: (16:29)
Back. Exactly, exactly. Stuff was going on long before that. And I now know that.

Christa: (16:34)
Right. But I thank you for just being so open about your own history, cuz I know it's kind of uncomfortable to talk about your own history and I should probably do the same thing for myself. Like thought I was a picture of health and then all of a sudden, I wasn't real great imposter syndrome problems when that happens. And that is a challenge and that's where it's really, you know, it sucks and you know, we all have these stressors and we kind of wanna ignore those. Those are the, our favorite things to ignore. Actually, this reminds me of one of our nurse clients who said recently you had a call with her, she loved you. And then I talked to her a week or two later and we were kind of highlighting all the bloating when she was at work, which she was able to do her nursing two days a week, which is great.

Christa: (17:12)
Cuz then it was kind of the minority of the week, but was a pretty stressful situation. And she was noticing a lot of bloating at that time. And she said, I was hoping that controlling food and doing my GI, like dealing with my disbiosis would correct that particular time as well, because she had recognized it as a problem. Fortunately for her, she had recognized it. So number one barrier is self-awareness and not really realizing that little things are an issue, but she had been aware of that for at least two years. And so the annoying thing for her was that she was resolving in all other capacities and for the rest of the week. But at work, the stress was still preventing things to be better on those days because she, and we could talk about the physiology of that another time today. We're kind of talking about the stories, but yeah, like you said, we have these traumas in life that we don't recognize actually my 16 year old said the other day, well, how do you know if you have stress?

Christa: (17:59)
And I had known for a while, as I felt like she was a bit of a, your oldest child can be a bit of a people pleaser birth order wise. And so I knew that she was always kind of jumping when everyone would say, Hey, I need this and I need this and I need this cuz there's a lot of people she's always, she's so such a good helper and I could see the stress piling up and I was, and she's like, I'm not stressed. And so you talk about traumas and miscarriage is a huge trauma. I think it's a huge trauma mm-hmm but we talk about in general, big tease and little ties in life. And there's the big traumas that we were like, oh, well I've never been, I've had that, you know, but these other mm-hmm however you view it, your body still views that as a problem.

Christa: (18:32)
Right. So I was doing some continuing ed this morning and it was talking about just like tissue atrophy was talking about the adrenal glands and how like in a very loose sense, like tissue kind of swells at first and then it aro. And if we think about that with other stuff, like when we have inflammation, we swell and then it aro. And so mm-hmm, I think the adrenal glance above the renal glance, which I was like, oh, that's such a great way to talk about that, duh. Um, so the kidneys, the adrenals are above the kidneys, which are also called renal glance. The study of kidney disease is called renal stuff. I don't know I'm off on a tangent, but anyway, they should be like Walnut size and they can often be kind of very small because they atrophy, they get undernourished and they start to hurt. And actually I was a cooking class with a friend the other day and she was talking about her daughter having back pain in. Anyway, we got, I dunno if you and I have ever talked about back pain in a certain area, like your adrenals literally hurting, but throwing that in there since we're talking about stressors, okay. Enough tangents from Krista, you had a special note in our notes together about prednisone. That's one comment, anything you wanna say about being on prednisone for you and how that was kind of hard.

Becky: (19:35)
So that was a big one. And that might have been, that definitely jumps started me into, okay, what can be better? Because the kicker of the prednisone is that I was on high doses of prednisone and I was on it for an extended amount of time at the same time, you know, several months into that COVID hit. So here I am suppressing my immune system when the world goes into chaos with COVID and all the unknowns that came with that. So in my mind, I'm thinking we're in a pandemic and I'm suppressing my immune system. This can't be good, but that was the only thing that kind of calmed the rash a little. It didn't get rid of it. It didn't totally make it go away. It didn't reduce my symptoms where I was happy, but it helped a little and nothing else did. But again, I don't wanna suppress my immune system. I didn't really like taking any medicines much less, something like that during a pandemic, a time where I needed my immune system. So that really prompted me to say, okay, what else can I do? What have I not tried? And really made me dig into the literature. Okay. What do I have as far as resources? And what can I start to look at as a better option than what's been offered thus far?

Christa: (20:56)
You said something that was, I feel that many, many people say that I talk to. They say, I don't want to be on meds if I can avoid it. And there are some medications that is better to, beyond not, but with prednisone and we're suppressing a symptom overall, and it's a miserable symptom, right? Like we can't sleep when we're itching all the time. Mm-hmm so there's no harm in using that, but it does have, there are guidelines around using, you know, and, and most people, they wanna titrate someone off of that. And the other thing I want to know is that now you have a skin issue and you're going to another provider and most likely you're being prescribed a topical steroid as well, which is also the same effect yep. To your system. Absolutely. And it was just, and so this is where my tangent a minute ago actually was relevant because when we are taking in prednisone as a steroid and our body views it as cortisone, and when we are taking in cortisone, topically or orally, or however, we're gonna take it, our body's like, oh, I guess I don't need to make this anymore.

Christa: (21:46)
So it actually, downregulates its own production of things and adrenal are responsible for regulating blood pressure. They're huge for energy. They're huge for so many things, blood sugar PR like if those aren't working, it's hard to get everything else in sync, which is sort of just the byline of the body. It's like when one thing's out of whack, slowly, other chips will begin to fall and get out of, because it'll start borrowing to try to compensate here and there. And then we continue to spot treatment. Mm-hmm so just a comment there overall, because sometimes we go on topical steroids without exit plan. It's a really common problem, which is why we'd like to offer tools for skin stuff. cause we'd like to have more than just, there's not absolutely. There's not as, as deep, there's not as deep of a toolbox as maybe I would love to see or that my clients have gotten more importantly. Another comment I wanna say is you mentioned last week when we were talking about this recording this episode, you said you kind of thought you had noticed you had some stuff with some food and then you kind of normalized it for yourself. Mm-hmm and you were like, I thought it was kind of normal to struggle with a little bit of food sensitivities. Tell me about how that perception developed and kind of what you experienced with food stuff. And when that was going on,

Becky: (22:50)
I did well, you know, approaching 40, I started to notice that up to that point, I kind of could eat what I want and it didn't catch up to me. Weight wise, my normal workouts and food were fine. And as I was getting older and I didn't really, I'm not a big fan of accepting that that's just the way it has to be as you get older, just not my mindset. So I did start to notice, Hey, you know, I'm gaining some weight, but I'm not really doing anything different. Why is this what's going on? So was already working with that. And then after the accident in this rash, I noticed even more. So it was like, anything I ate was triggering the itch. So the rash was bad enough, but then putting stuff into my mouth and making me itch was so incredibly frustrating. And it was things that I, you know, things like, well, tons of histamine foods, , you know, fruits and vegetables and nuts, things that were seemingly healthy were triggering really bad reactions for me. And it was super frustrating and hard to understand why things I had been eating all along were all of a sudden rebelling against me.

Christa: (24:05)
So I wonder how long that was going on. Like what you've done, a great job of kind of telling us what you did on your own. So thank you so much. So then mm-hmm, maybe let's go to, you know, you had a turning point, you didn't know necessarily what you did. That's why you were looking, tell me about your research and kind of like how we met, because that's not necessarily like maybe it was easy, but usually it's not super easy the way you get

Becky: (24:30)
No, usually

Christa: (24:31)
People try things and fail at them first, you know? So

Becky: (24:34)
Yes. And that's kind of what happened. I actually went to my primary care after researching and I'm looking through all the literature I have at my, which was a substantial amount as opposed to a lay person. I feel like because I had all the databases and I started researching all my symptoms, all my diagnosis, everything that was going on from, you know, post-surgery complications to the Grover's disease, to food intolerances, to fatigue, to thyroid. I mean everything, I put it all out there and the only consistent thing I could find and kept coming back to, and this was really mind blowing to me because it wasn't in my normal realm of practice. It wasn't something I was seeing consistently in what I had done as a nurse. This was all new to me, but I kept seeing the gut in the microbiome come up. And so I would sit papers here or stick them there.

Becky: (25:31)
But I felt like a mad scientist at the time, but I was determined to find something, to explain what was going on. And it kept coming back to the gut. So I figured if this is gut related and if I've tried treating everything from the outside in, and it's not working, maybe we need to look from the inside out and see if I can change things. Maybe if we take a look at my gut, if we take a look at my microbiome, we can start to fix things that are going on externally. So I went to my primary care with this and he's kind of like, oh Becky, what are you doing to me? Like, I've sent you this specialist. I thought we had this under wrap and now you're back again. But I said, Hey, I think I need to see a nutritionist. Here's my concerns.

Becky: (26:14)
He was pleasantly wonderful with this. He said, you know what? I think that's a great idea. Let's go see a nutritionist have at it. So, you know, one more way to say, Hey, go for it. You do what you need to do. So I started like I would with any doctor or specialist that I needed to see, I pulled out my insurance card and looked up nutritionists in the area. And then of course being the nurse, I am, I started looking at their reviews and their ratings and their specialties and what they focus on. And sadly, what I was finding was diabetic care and weight loss, neither of which were really what I was looking for. So they're out there and they're great in those people definitely need them, but it wasn't what I was looking for. So I did a Google search and I came up with another list and I actually reached out to one locally who had some things on our website that kind of looked a little different, more women care related and such, which still wasn't necessarily what I needed, but felt it might be a good starting point.

Becky: (27:20)
And I was super, super lucky with her because she said, you know what? I think I know who you need to talk to. And she sent me to you. She sent me to less stress life and I, you know, right away start doing the same thing. I jump on the website, I start looking at reviews, but before I even got to the reviews, honestly, I was like, oh my goodness, like the fatigue, the gut, the root cause root cause like my intention, like no other, because that's what I'm searching for. I wanna know what's wrong with me. I want a specific plan. I want black and white evidence of what's going on in my microbiome. All the things that I wanted. I see it like the further I scroll down the page. So that's what brought me to you and less stress life and really looking for what I can do to fix my problem.

Christa: (28:11)
That's like serendipitous thing. And I was going to just comment that the reason that most people probably in, in my field work on certain issues is because one pigeonholing, but two that's it where insurance re um, reimbursement is right now. Um, and so, you know, I think, and the other comment I wanna say here is like, you're the people we wanna see. Right? We wanna talk to someone who knows, who has done research and understands that it's their gut, which is why we say gut issues. Cuz if we didn't, well, if we say gut issues, then we'll get people who understand that. Right. And so we don't have to do, like, because this stuff is out there, like I'll never forget I was on a plane in 2016 or 2017. I was sitting next to like a microbiome researcher from either like Yale or one of those places.

Christa: (28:55)
He was going to this conference in Colorado, which is how we ended up on the same flight. And he was a bench nerd for sure. Super nerdy, like hard to have a normal conversation with, but also amazing. And so we kind of just got to riffing about when the microbiome became popular and we kind of settled on 2000 3, 4, 5, something like that. So now we're looking at, if you can believe it, we're coming up on almost 20 years, right? Like where did those years go? I'm not sure, but we're coming up on almost 20 years where this is becoming more and more common to hear about, to understand. So if we're saying we work with gut stuff, then someone like you, who is dealing with autoimmune markers and skin stuff and whatnot. If they're the right kind of person who's done a little bit of legwork before, cuz usually I don't wanna be the person's first stop because we are gonna hit the ground running.

Christa: (29:42)
Right. We're gonna do things and we're gonna get in there and do you know? And that's probably also why we talked to a lot of health providers, right? Because you kind of just get like, you've done enough research to the point where you get it. And you're like, I know this is like the missing piece that we don't have resources for conventionally cuz we don't have universal criteria around it. To be honest, that's kind of what it boils down to. If we don't have like a universally accepted linear strategy, then maybe it's not commonly offered. Right. So anyway, thankful for the girl that referred you. But talk to me about what happened first. If you remember, and I'm gonna pull up some info about you as well. One thing we do is we look at, we do like a really heavy intake form, of course. And then we do, there's something called a multiple symptom questionnaire. You can kind of Google and find, I recommend anyone do that just to kind of see where they're at, because that prompts you to rate certain symptoms that you maybe wouldn't think about. They're not diagnoses, but they're symptoms. And so it's really fun to look at those numbers and your initial one, they go back to the first couple cause sometimes the initial one that people fill out,

Becky: (30:39)
I was just gonna say, I don't remember my initial one. I do remember filling out that survey. And so much of what I had put down on there. I had accepted years ago as normal, you know, of course I'm sniffly all the time or congested, my eyes itch, like things that were symptoms that were true symptoms, you know, the headaches I had had since high school, you know, I just accepted them as normal. I didn't know it could be better. I didn't know. I didn't have to have those symptoms. So here I am thinking the rash and the autoimmune markers, which is really what kind of kicked me into action. But there was a lot of other things that came out in our very initial conversation in that initial symptom survey that I'm like, holy cow, this could be better. I had no idea. I just thought it was something I just had to deal with. And, and we talked to clients that are like that all the time, you know, all the time they have tons of symptoms.

Christa: (31:36)
Right. Everyone's unique. And I think the other point I would not like to clarify. And this came up in my continuing education this morning is that we are unique. Snowflakes are unique, but they are still made of ice. Mm-hmm and they still fall from like, they have a lot of similarities and then, you know, they have differences as well. Like fingerprints are unique, but they're still made of collagen, you know, essentially mm-hmm and so we can use similar interventions, not really similar, like we can go about like, Hey, here's the things that we're looking at underneath the hood and everyone's presentation is gonna be a little bit differently. So you tweak for that person. So if you've got Grovers, I mean there's a hundred percent nuances for every condition, but I like to oversimplify things all the time. Right. And people always wanna say, but what about this?

Christa: (32:17)
But what about this? Can you help with this? Like well sure. Because if we are dealing with gut, I mean, and I like to, I like to always have experience in an area right. Or have, have a success case really about an area. But I think that's, it's, it's worthwhile to say this that, Hey, of course, like if we're affecting the things that affect everything else, then why wouldn't we be able to improve that. Right. And so fatigue, whenever someone is tired, boutique is such a huge and like for you even it was a mountain that would like, it would get better, but it was like, it was like, there was something stuck. But, but I mean, that's a, that's like a tease to other stuff. So let's talk about when you came on as a client, kind of, what did you do for cuz you were a great client, you did your homework. Not that there's like there's kinda optional, but even though you knew a lot of things, there's still a lot more we can accumulate and learn. So like you did some testing right away. Mm-hmm that was the first thing we did. We did some testing and then we kind of hit the ground running. Yep. What was your experience with that?

Becky: (33:10)
So that was something that really pulled me to your program versus some of the others, to be honest is I wanted the black and white. I wanted to test, not guess I loved that mentality of let's find out what's going on with me. I had tried some blanket, things like intermittent fasting and the car cycling and such the macro counting. I knew how to eat clean, but I wanted to know what's affecting me most. And how can I have a plan to work that and solve those problems. So we started with the leap protocol, which is a food protocol. Most people may or may not be aware of that, but really taking out all the food triggers that I was experiencing. And interestingly enough, a lot of things that I had mentioned as problems did show up on that test. And by eliminating those, I was able to start the healing process.

Becky: (34:00)
So I went through the lead protocol first, we then took a deep dive into my microbiome with the GI map test, which is a stool test that showed us a ton of information and found some huge reasons for my symptoms with those results. I later did micronutrients, the Dutch test micronutrient. I did micro, I did so many tests and they were so eye opening. I, I loved it. I really did micronutrient test. We found tons of deficiencies there, things that I needed to work on, some of them were really weird ones too, but made a big difference. Just making sure I was able to, you know, after kind of working on gut stuff and I was able to absorb the micronutrients, made a big difference and that I remember as being big in my energy. So thinking back, you know, and maybe I was impatient wanting things to change energy wise right away.

Becky: (34:54)
I mean, we all are right. But I remember adding in nutrients and being like, okay, now I'm starting to really feel the energy improving. And that was the pivotal point. We also looked at my hormones through the Dutch test and that was kind of icing on the cake. It kind of confirmed some things and let us know other things, you know, my adrenals weren't completely shot. It was more my thyroid go figure. So, you know, each piece of the program was layered in and as Krista mentioned, there were modules to do along the way. As in a, you know, someone in the health profession, I loved that. I had never had an experience where I went to a practitioner and they were giving me so much information. It was the first time I had somebody setting me up to be independent in my healthcare. And that to me was like, it was just probably the most valuable out of all. This was that I was more equipped to be a better advocate for myself because I had more information. It's not a program to make you dependent on being part of the program forever. It's to make you independent in your health decisions. And that to me was so invaluable.

Christa: (36:04)
Yeah. That's probably the biggest compliment ever that anyone could receive. And I don't take that for myself. I take it really for you also, because like for me, the greatest joy I have is when people become a like exactly what you're saying, because you're saying information. But what I wanna say is that when we did a recent program remodel, we said, I said, I don't wanna be the barrier to information that someone needs at that time because not everyone needs X, Y, Z protocol at X time. Right? Mm-hmm they just need it at this time. But I wanted to like make it available in a bonus section on purpose, because if you have a UTI or antibiotic recovery that you need done or whatever, I wanted to give that to someone so they could access it when needed and implement it. But there's also core things that when you work on these core pieces, that it overall reduces symptoms, big picture.

Christa: (36:50)
And I want to talk about, I was like looking down, I was pulling your symptoms. So when we first met your symptom survey was 60. And I would say like they range from 30 to 40 to 60, to 80, to a hundred. And I mean, sometimes they're almost 200 depending on the person. Okay. So your started at 60, about a month later, it was at like between 36 and 41. So if I went 36, that was a 40% decline. And two months later was 18. That was a 70% decline. And then it goes on from there. And what we do with that information is we look at those symptoms and we see what's kind of still left and we're, we're removing when we're removing the stress. And I always say, we have these core stressors TOXs and stress, food stress, potentially gut stress and stress stress, right?

Christa: (37:29)
The least favorite of anyone to deal with mm-hmm . And so, whereas we address those stressors that are kind of causing imbalances in other areas. That's how the body can kind of come into symphony. Now you peeled back the layers and told people what testing you did. And I do wanna note that we do things differently. Right-hmm because I have people who do some of the same, like they do a similar protocol first, or I know people that do it. There's many people that are trained to do that. And what I've learned from my clients over time is that we can somewhat shortcut that. Like we don't have to stay. There is also a dangerous time to be limited in food for some people, especially if they've already reduced and reduced and reduced. And now they can't add things back. You were not in that place.

Christa: (38:07)
You were noticing some restrictions, but I wanna make note of that for anyone listening, who has DIYed this to the point where they've restricted and now they can't bring things back. That is super, like now that you're in that position, one, my heart goes out to you two. Now, you know, that that doesn't work very well. So we are careful as practitioners to not overs restrict for a long time. We're using it. As I always say, it's like a broken ankle analogy. When you don't sit on the couch forever to resolve a broken ankle, you know, you are reducing the pressure at that time. And if you're eating all day, like you said, you were eating, you were itchy from the Grovers. So there was like a direct relationship in your mind, which will happen to a lot of people. And actually food stuff is actually one of the last things to happen after you've had all this stuff going on the inside.

Christa: (38:46)
It, so skin is an outward sign typically of kind of like there's other stuff that's been going on. And these are final ways. The body is sort of, these are adaptations to issues going on in the gut or other stressors essentially is how I wanna say that. So I just wanted to mention that we, our goal is food. Like my friend says food freedom, and that is the goal, right? Like I want you to enjoy like I'm, we're normal people and we want to go enjoy food. Normally mm-hmm but we do wanna identify what's causing a lot of inflammation right now. Get rid of that for now. And hopefully regain tolerance to that later, as we influence and change the immune system is like the simple way to say that. Yeah. Cause when you affect the gut, you're affecting the immune system, which is largely housed in the gut.

Christa: (39:24)
So that's a very simple way of saying it. And the other thing I could say is that I try to be conservative in testing, but I also like when you work with smart people, you want to one educate and then allow them to do whatever they want. um, so like when we do hormones, I wanna say that was a much later time for you. Yeah. Because usually you wanna influence what affects hormones first and later on. And that's my approach. Some people test hormones right away, and they're just trying to like change hormones. I know that like hormones are affected by gut and nutrients and stress and blood sugar and all those things. So I want to affect those as much as that's just my personal belief because doing hormone testing is not like as simple as we would like it to be. It's really non, it's not super simple at all.

Christa: (40:01)
It takes a bit of effort. And so I always like to educate people before they jump into a million tests and spend tons of money that what is gonna make the biggest ROI. And some people will come in here and do one test and do great mm-hmm you know? And so that's fine too. So I just wanted to like kind of compare contrast as well. And so people don't hear one thing and assume another thing. Yeah. And so I guess that's kind of a big piece. So that was great. That was awesome. I'd love to know, like, were you in or out of your comfort zone as a nurse? Like I know you, you knew you were like, Hey, this is the cutting edge, even though we've been slowly popularizing it for almost 20 years, it's still the cutting edge at the moment, I suppose. Like maybe you felt like you were in the cutting edge when you're in it. And I'd just like to know like when you're in it one how'd you do with the roller coasters cuz sometimes some days it's great and some days it's like, I think I took a step back like this particular week and that happened. So anything you wanna say about that? And then just overall we can talk about like what it's like as a nurse to embrace like this whole new world roller coaster and then whole new world.

Becky: (40:59)
Yeah. It was a roller coaster, you know, I'm super type a, I like to have a plan and work it, which is where this was fabulous for me. But it was also a struggle for me because it's not a linear process. It's not a, you start at a and end at Z. Sometimes there, you have to backtrack. Sometimes you have to take a step back. Sometimes you have to change the plan. So that part of it was, was tough for me. There were times where a symptom would reappear after being gone. And I'm like, what the heck or a food that I was really looking forward to adding back in would trigger something. And we would have to reroute. I will say I have added almost everything I can think of. Only one thing that I haven't back in fine and tolerate at all. I'm able to eat out all those things.

Becky: (41:45)
You know, I'm able to live my life without worrying about food today, which is a beautiful thing. It's beautiful. Right. I love food. So that was super important for me. So it wasn't a, you know, exclude forever. That was never part of the plan. So that part of it having to regroup was tough for me, but that's also where it was so nice to have guidance, you know, in reassurance that, Hey, just keep going. We're okay. We're good. That was definitely part of the rollercoaster, but worked out in the end. Just fine. And I always like to set that up with clients on the front end that, Hey, this could happen and we'll just trucking comfort zone.

Christa: (42:24)
Oh, I was just gonna comment that I do wanna talk about the comfort zone, but that would be a great place to comment. This is a good reason. This is why Becky now helps the clients, cuz there's kind of an option that when you're in practice, you have, at the end of the day, do I become burned out by seeing like everyone or do I help divide the workload so I can still be creative and still be support them at the rate. We wanna support them. Cuz I always tell people in that call, like we wanna support you through the rollercoaster times. Like all the things we're making huge shifts pretty dramatically actually pretty quickly in the scheme of life, I wanna help support you. Very one-on-one in those shifts and also with other resources, um, we have a lot of things built in for this.

Christa: (43:01)
Uh, we wanna support you through that rollercoaster and then bless and release someone when they can maintain on their own. Cuz you said it early, so eloquently and beautifully that we do wanna empower you to know how to heal yourself. I mean, there's always new. Like if you stop learning, like our life is limited by stopping learning. So I'll put that comment there, right? Like I never stop learning and adapting. However um, we want to understand a big picture, foundational role of how you can help heal yourself. We wanna empower people so they can help their families long term. Like we're looking for this domino effect. So wanna help someone through the roller coaster and blessed and release when um, when they're ready for maintenance. But this is a segue of how you came into being a practitioner with us is because you were like this star client who actually wanted that one-on-one care like you do. You're amazing at it as well, but there's a reason we added another person because you and I share the value that there is still a need for very good one-on-one care. There is there's a need for good one-on-one care to be able to adapt and edit. So people aren't going by things alone. So I just wanted to say that that is all all right. Talk to me about comfort level with like you came as a nurse.

Becky: (44:06)
Yeah, absolutely. And that kind of leads right into comfort level. So there were areas I was super outta my comfort zone in areas I was in it. So what you just talked about working with clients, that part of it is in my comfort zone because I'm advocating for someone and that's right up in nurse's alley. What was different for me coming into the program as a client was the advocating for myself. I knew when I went to my doctor to ask certain questions and do certain things, but this was a whole new world. So to say I was very medically trained, right? You have a symptom you're given a med and you're sent on your way. And really we're just dealing with the emergent things. We're not really deep diving into a bunch of others because we don't have time in the traditional setting. So that part of it, the deep dive and the really having to think hard about some of these questions in my timeline in my past and my stress, because I think I'm fine.

Becky: (45:03)
There's so stress in my life. I'm good. I manage this all the time. Like so many of us, right? So that part of it was outta my comfort zone. It pushed me a bit and it was a new mentality. But in my comfort zone was learning about all the different modalities because that's things that when I stopped to think about what I was doing for myself, I had been doing for patients, you know, we would work on breathing in the hospital when a patient needed, their wound changed, you know, and was going through something painful. We would work on stress relief. I would talk to patients and their families about diet changes. These were like super normal activities for me to do as a provider, just not for myself. So it was kind of taking a step back and looking and saying, okay, you know, I've been doing this all along for others, time to do it for me. So that was kind of the in and out of my comfort zone. And really it was all one just combining it.

Christa: (45:59)
I love hearing about that. And I think also, you know, I bet cuz when I worked in the hospital, I mean I just, I bet there was sometimes you do things differently when you're at the pediatric hospital versus the adult

Becky: (46:10)
Hospital, right? Like

Christa: (46:12)
In all the urgent care

Becky: (46:13)
I followed. Oh absolutely.

Christa: (46:14)
I never saw them but I mean maybe I just didn't remember it at that time. It wasn't like something I retained cuz it wasn't of interest to me at that time. Okay. This has been, I feel like good for again, peeling back the curtains on the same note as a comfort zone, I know like recently you were talking to some people, you just, some acquaint, some colleagues or some acquaintances that you knew that were in the healthcare setting and they were very intrigued. And what I wanna say about this before you answer, if you have anything need to say about it at all, and this is not any provider's fault, this is like a big topic. So it's not really something I wanna take on. I just want to be the change I wanna see in the world at the end of the day, right?

Christa: (46:51)
Like there comes a time where it's like, I don't know how to change that. So I'm gonna focus on my area. And I know this guy who works for the American college lifestyle medicine, he's the marketing guy. He is lovely. And they are working all these lifestyle medicine things and trying to get it into medical curriculums that I feel like is a glacier. And I'm like, so happy that that is what he does in his career. Like thank you so much. And I'm gonna do my thing over here where I help individuals. Right. And like you said, we don't get the opportunity to work with people's level. We want to, when we're working in our like regular settings. And so when people say to me, can I do this thing? I'll LA hard or can I do this one appointment? You know, most of the time the answer is no.

Christa: (47:30)
And the reason is, is you're not gonna get the results. And at this point in my life, I'm much more interested in you being successful than it is being cheap, easy. And like once it just doesn't work. So why would I wanna do something that doesn't work at this stage in my life when I can do something that does work better. So that is kind of like why we are like, Hey, we wanna work with you for at least enough time to see those changes. It's not an insane amount of time. It's just like, it's not once or twice. It's a little bit longer. So just kind of wanted to point that out. But that's also where I think sometimes it's so interesting as someone who does not work like that and intriguing. And they're like, how could I do that in my practice type thing? I think it's curiosity. Mm-hmm, also somewhat skepticism. If we wanna boil it down, you said it the other day. And I feel this way all the time that, which we do not understand, we do not like, you know, or we are unfamiliar with, we are cautious of things we are not familiar with and that's okay. Mm-hmm that's okay. But I I remind myself of that. Mm-hmm every time I'm talking to someone who doesn't understand what we're doing, sure time. I, you know, so any comments you have about that is cool.

Becky: (48:30)
Yeah. I think that, I think you're exactly right. The unfamiliar is scary to most and you have to be ready for things to be better. You have to be ready for change. And when you are, we can give you the tools for that change, but you've gotta be ready. Yeah. And sometimes it takes some kind of trauma for people to be ready and sometimes it just takes exploration.

Christa: (48:51)
Right? Yeah. People are motivated change by inspiration or desperation. And usually the latter. It's funny how sometimes someone says something and I repeat it many times and I actually remember it now. , it's something I say all the time. So I think we did a great job of kind of TA sharing your story. But you did thank you so much for like opening the closet on your life. I know that that is not simple. Do you feel like we missed anything, please add it. But if someone is listening, who feels like you're speaking directly to them or they resonate with so much of your story, what advice do you wanna give to that person?

Becky: (49:21)
Sure. I think, gosh, there's so much I've learned over the past few years, but I think for people out there that hear me and hear what I'm saying or have similar stories, be patient, give yourself grace, know that there's someone that can help you navigate your plan and a plan that's specific to you. You don't have to brave it alone or just deal with subpar. You don't have to deal with symptoms thinking that they're normal, it can be better. And then I think, I think mostly, and you alluded to this earlier is just never lose sight. That we are all a work in progress. Like always it's just a continuum.

Christa: (50:00)
I love it. There's always a new level. We could reach it. Doesn't have to stress us out, but we can be excited about the future. And I, what I heard you say is we don't have to be complacent if we've been told that this is what, this is the option. So thank so much for saying now I would normally ask, like where can people find you online and where they can find you online [email protected] and they can apply for a call and then they can work with one of us, our team, which I think is a gift where, so we are honored and humbled to be able to offer that to people and to be able to serve people. And if this just piqued your interest and you're kind of curious about more things or testimonials or testing, we do, we try to compile that in a pretty nice little guide, Krista guide to download that. So Becky, if there's anything else you need to say, awesome, but otherwise thank you so much for coming on today. Thank

Becky: (50:48)
You. It was great to be here

Christa: (50:51)
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