6 Practical Medicines To Help Stop Inflammation With Dani Williamson MSN, FNP
Published On: September 6, 202248.9 min read
The root cause of your migraines, body aches, high cholesterol, or sleep apnea is inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause of most of your chronic diseases. So when you reduce chronic inflammation, your entire world will start to turn around. There are six common sense practical medicines that you can start doing right now. These are to eat well, sleep well, move well, poop well, de-stress well, and commune well. Do all these six and your life will begin to change for the better. Join Tim Westbrook, MS as he talks to Dani Williamson MSN, FNP about those six common sense medicines. Dani owns Integrative Family Medicine and Wild & Well A Wellness Emporium in Franklin, TN. She focuses on gut health, autoimmune thyroid diseases, and hormone health. Learn more about her book, Wild & Well, as she talks more about it today. Discover why inflammation is the devil and why you should stay away.
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6 Practical Medicines To Help Stop Inflammation With Dani Williamson MSN, FNP
Inflammation Is The Devil
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I’m here with Dani Williamson, MSN, FNP. We are going to talk about inflammation, thyroid issues, gut health, and hormones. Dani owns integrative family medicine, the Wild & Well: A Wellness Emporium, in Franklin, Tennessee. She focuses on gut health, autoimmune thyroid, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Thyroiditis is her passion, and hormone and adrenal health with her patients. Her approach embodies a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual process of healing.
Dani is a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nurse-Midwifery, and Family Nurse Practitioner program. She is on the board of the Middle Tennessee chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and believes strongly in addressing issues of adverse childhood trauma and its relation to overall long-term health conditions. She’s also the author of Wild & Well: Dani’s Six Commonsense Steps to Radical Healing. I started reading it. However, it showed up on my doorstep, so I haven’t gotten very far. Dani, welcome to the show. I’m glad to have you here.
I’m excited. This is going to be fun. This is going to be a wild ride. Hang on, guys, because we are going to share some things.
I’m excited about this. We met at Bo Eason’s Warrior Mastermind. I shared with you my thyroid issues and that my adrenals were shot. I have a longevity health doctor that I have been seeing in Holistic Urgent Care. I’ve got lots of doctors that I see, and everybody’s got their opinion. I’ve done IRONMAN a couple of times. When my adrenals were shot, my first doctor, Dr. Brian Glick, said, “You need to cut down on your exercise.” I was training for IRONMAN. I’m like, “That’s not going to happen because I got stuff I got to do. I got to do IRONMAN.” I started seeing Rebecca Miller at Holistic Urgent Care in Scottsdale. She said, “Your thyroid is not functioning 100%.” I think she put me on armor. We are going to get to all of that but first off, what is an MSN FNP?
I’m a nurse practitioner. Master’s of Science and Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioners, certified nurse midwife. I don’t know. I should be a brain sergeant. I have been in school for so long. I had to have a Master’s degree in Fashion Design. I did that for twenty-plus years prior to going into medicine at age 40 when I got divorced. That’s what that is. I’m a family nurse practitioner who stepped out of the boat years ago and started practicing real medicine, integrative functional, personalized medicine, getting to the root cause of whatever it is that you have going on with you.
A little of my story, I grew up in complete childhood trauma. I was molested by my stepfather, beat up by another one, and had chronic Irritable Bowel syndrome diarrhea. I had four colonoscopies. I started itching in my twenties. I was diagnosed with lupus. I had all of these chronic lifestyle diseases created by inflammation and my lifestyle that were building up on me. I was 44 years old before a doctor ever leaned into me and said, “What are you eating? Don’t you know your diet controls your symptoms? Do you take digestive enzymes, probiotics, and things like that? Do you know your food sensitivities?” The entire trajectory of my life changed.
There are lifestyle choices you can turn on or turn off. No one’s born an addict.
It was November 2010 when I was asked those questions. Now I’ve helped thousands of men and women change the trajectory of their life, but not only their life, their children’s lives, and their grandchildren’s lives by changing the generational trajectory of their life, by addressing childhood trauma, and decreasing systemic inflammation in your body because the root cause of all of these hot migraine headaches, joint pain, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, is inflammation.
When you reduce, decrease or eliminate chronic inflammation, your entire world starts to turn around. I am living proof. You can turn off autoimmune disease and chronic lifestyle diseases, the diseases that are turned on and off by your lifestyle because none of us, very few of us, some people were born sick, but rarely born with Irritable Bowel syndrome. I never heard of it. I have been doing this for a long time. Nobody is born with migraine headaches, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. As a rule, they are not. We turn those on. You know, like I know what you turn on, you can turn off. No one is born an addict.
Some would say that it’s genetic. The other school of thought is that it all goes back to trauma because addiction is the solution to the pain. A definition of an addiction is anything that you can’t stop, and it causes negative consequences. That’s overeating, drugs, alcohol, gambling, workaholism, and all of it. There’s a lot. It’s all just the solution. My personality has been excessive ever since I was a child, ever since I can remember.
You and I are living proof. You can turn off, dial back or control anything that you’ve turned on. We are proof of that. It’s simple but it’s not easy.
The thing that they say about AA is that it’s a simple program. It’s not difficult. You just have to follow, “Take these simple steps. Do these simple things.” If people want what I have, they have to do what I do or do what you did. When I first met you, you looked great. I would never guess that you were many years ago a disaster.
I feel better at 56 than I ever did at 46 or 36. I’m almost 57 but it took a lot of work. It’s every day. You have to die the Krispy Kreme, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s or whatever your poison is. Every single day, I’m not driving into Chick-fil-A for a sandwich that has 51 ingredients in it.
I got an email from somebody. It said, “Can I talk to you about my program over? I will send you a Chick-fil-A.” I’m like, “Does he know who he’s sending an email to?” I wouldn’t eat Chick-fil-A. People love Chick-fil-A. People talk about it all the time. It was comical. It was one of those random emails that I happened to open it. It said, “Up for lunch?” I opened this thing, and it was proposing a virtual meeting, “I will send you a lunch. I will send you a Chick-fil-A.” I delete.
We will get off on this because this is about inflammation. If you don’t think the food industry, which is where all of this start, is about inflammation, and addiction, you are sadly mistaken. I guarantee you, in Franklin, Tennessee, at 11:13 in the morning, there’s a line around Chick-fil-A. There’s a line around Scottsdale Chick-fil-A, Park City, Utah, Destin, Florida, and New York City. That is about addiction. There’s a line around McDonald’s, Cracker Barrel or Olive Garden. If you don’t think that their entire mission is about addiction, you are sadly mistaken. It’s maddening to me. There’s a reason people drive 3, 4 or 5 times a week. That’s addiction.
Stop Inflammation: You have to cultivate a community of people who eat whole foods. You’ve got to have people around you that lift you up and live on the same level that you do.
There is nothing real in a chicken sandwich that tastes the same in Scottsdale as it doesn’t in Nashville. It took four years to create the grilled chicken sandwich Chick-fil-A. That’s a chemistry experiment. Your kids and grandchildren are the lab rats, the same thing with biscuits at Cracker Barrel. That is Frankenfood. There’s nothing real in any of that. If you cook a chicken sandwich, it would be totally different from mine, and every time we cook it, it’d be different, not when it’s a chemistry experiment.
I went to Europe in 2006. I remember the day that we traveled was McDonald’s Day. Train day was McDonald’s Day. I would always get a Big Mac and French fries because that was familiar. It was the same everywhere around the world.
It’s a formula. It’s a chemistry experiment. It is preserved Frankenfood people probably like, “Click, done and out of fear.” You’ve offended me but I’m sorry. We are sicker, unhealthier, and more addicted. We are in bad shape now if you don’t heal the gut and start eating one ingredient food, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, chicken, lamb, turkey, not packaged or processed in a bag, box, can, tube, role, we are not ever going to get and live the life that we were designed to live.
Another thing that I’m thinking of as we are talking is a community and the people that you spend your time with. I’ve thought about this. The people that I hang out with don’t go to Cane’s, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s or Del Taco. Those are the people I surround myself with because my life is like, “I’m into health, wellness, fitness and taking care of myself, not having inflammation, and being happy.” I know that the foods that make me happy are whole foods.
Whole one ingredient food. The food we were designed to eat in your community is key. That’s the sixth chapter in my book. That’s the sixth step in cultivating community. You’ve got to have people around you like that who lift you up and live on the same level that you always do.
What gives you the right to claim you are an expert on gut health, autoimmune thyroid diseases, and hormone and adrenal health?
I’m living proof and an expert. I’ve never called myself an expert. I am very well-trained in this but I’ve lived it. I’ve lived in.
I think you are an expert.
If you don’t think the food industry’s entire mission is about addiction, you’re sadly mistaken.
You can call yourself an expert when you have done the hard work. You have literally reversed 44 years of chronic disease by controlling what’s at the end of the fork by doing the hard work and the trauma work. I spent a lot of years in trauma treatment and therapy. What gives me the right to say, “I’ve done the work?” When you’ve done the work and seen the results from thousands of patients and not only patients, myself. You get the right to call yourself really whatever you want.
I even learned more when I wrote the book because there are 360-something medical references in there. You never know everything. That’s the beauty of what we do in functional medicine. The people who do what I do never get tired of what we are doing because there’s always something more to learn. My colleagues who practice traditional allopathic medicine, the way I was trained, are miserable. They are cranking out one patient after another 30 or 40 a day. 4, 5 or 6 minutes with that patient. They are treating symptoms. They are never getting to the root causes. There’s a root cause for your heartburn. It’s not Nexium or Prilosec. We could do that for a couple of weeks to cool it down but that’s not the root cause because very rarely is a baby born with heartburn. We turn it on.
I’m thinking about all of the psychologists, therapists, naturopathic doctors, and longevity health doctors. Everybody is in that space because they’ve gone through it. The best ones are you make it to the other side. It’s like, “I’m where I am now. I don’t ever want to go back to where I was. However, I did a lot of hard work. I am the man I am now because of all the work that I’ve done because of all the struggles and things that I’ve gone through.” You are an example of that as well.
I will never go back to living how I did years ago. There’s not enough gluten in the world to make me go back to feeling that joint pain, fatigue, and depression that I felt years ago. I lived like that my whole life, not knowing that it wasn’t normal. I thought that was normal. That’s the thing about this. I don’t know enough about addiction to note but with chronic lifestyle diseases, it happens slowly. It’s simmering, and you never realize it. It builds and builds as you slowly get more fatigued, headaches or joint pain.
It’s like, “I’m 30 years old. I feel like I’m 80.” You don’t realize that it’s not normal but it’s not normal to hurt, not be able to poop, not sleep, have heart palpitations when you go out in public, have joint pain or stand up and can’t move. Who said that stuff is normal? It’s maddening to me. It’s inflammation. When you decrease the inflammation in your body systemically, everything starts to heal.
You have gone through lots of trauma. How were you able to work through your trauma?
I white-knuckled it for years because I grew up in a family that never addressed it. When my stepfather molested me, I was in 3rd or 4th grade. I was a baby. Literally, I swept it under the rug and never mentioned it again. My second stepfather nearly choked me to death in my senior year. Nobody said a word. Nobody has even mentioned it. You just buckle down and do what you need to do. When I became an adult and got divorced, I started doing a ton of EMDR. I would like to be on-site. I don’t know if you are familiar with on-site.
It is world-renowned. I spent a week there at 52. That turned my entire world around. That twelve hours a day of experiential therapy is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve done a lot of work, and I feel really good about it. I can talk about it now. Bo talks about, “You can’t share that trauma in your life until you are ready.” I can share it now with confidence. It’s in the rearview mirror but it’s a part of my present because every time I share, I grew up in a shit hole of chaos. I cannot tell you how many people reach out to me and say, “Me too.” I grew up in a shit hole of chaos, and nobody talks about it.
Stop Inflammation: One of the hardest things people can do is to change their diet. People are so emotionally connected to food because everything they do revolves around food.
People might look at you and think, “Look at you. Your life is great. You’ve never had any issues.” We have to talk about it. The fourth level of learning is to teach other people. You learn way more by writing your book, and by sharing your story or message is going to help you continue to stay on your path.
The whole first part of the book is about childhood trauma. You weren’t born broken. You are not broken. What happened to you before the age of eighteen is not your fault. We have to work through that. You have to get through that hard work. The whole first part of the book is on trauma and reversing that generational BS that continues in families. I hope that I’ve broken it. My grandfather died by suicide. My mom attempted suicide multiple times. I was going to drive off the foot of Broadway and Paducah, Kentucky, one morning, and my kids walked in there and stopped that. Thank goodness. I am breaking that. I pray to God that my kids don’t struggle with what I struggled with.
You spent 24 years struggling with chronic lifestyle diseases, IBS, lupus or chronic itching.
Itch like a mad woman for years. I didn’t have hives on me. I would go to the dermatologist. They gave me steroid injections, and it worked. It cooled the itching down but never fixed the root cause.
Everybody wants a Band-Aid. It is easy. You put this cream on, take this pill, and it makes you feel better temporarily. After that, geez. How did you realize that you needed to heal your body from the inside out?
Many years ago, when Dr. Dan Kalb looked at me. I was working there at his clinic. I got my food sensitivity results back. I said, “I’m not doing this.” I’ve got 29 foods on here. Eggs are number one. I don’t have any money. I have seen everybody eat eggs in my family because eggs are protein. He looked at me and said, “If you are going to work here, you are going to walk the walk. You are asking your patients to give up gluten, dairy, eggs, and sugar. You are going to do it.” It changed my entire world when I did it. The hardest thing I ever did was change my diet. We are emotionally connected to food. It’s not funny. Everything we do revolves around food. Our community events, weddings, deaths, babies, birthdays, friends, everything revolves around food.
For the most part, my friends are on board with how I eat, which is gluten and dairy free. It was a process just like you. We didn’t immediately rip the Band-Aid off but when you realized one morning, you woke up and say, “My hands don’t hurt anymore. I haven’t had diarrhea three times today after eating. I haven’t had gluten in a week,” then you challenge it back in, and you are completely locked up and on the toilet. It’s not rocket science. Your body wants to be 100%. It doesn’t take long to reverse the ship but you’ve got to give it what it needs.
I’m sitting here thinking about my friend, Joe Polish. He used to have a sticky note on his refrigerator that said, “Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels.” It’s a temporary fix. We are emotionally connected to food. Until you learn how to eat, it takes some work.
Your body wants to be a hundred percent, but you’ve got to give it what it needs.
You and I had dinner together. It was funny at the table, all of us there. One was vegan and gluten-free, and he wasn’t going to budge for any amount of money. I’m gluten-free and dairy free. I could not eat that gnocchi they brought out there with that cheese on it but there were seven of us. It’s interesting watching how people sometimes, “Give it to me.” It’s going to have to be something spectacular for me to say, “Give me the gluten.”
The gnocchi looked look delicious, and it tasted good. I was like, “I’m not super hardcore.” For the most part, I eat super clean and take care of myself. However, I’m not super strict. I ate some of that gnocchi. In my whole nose, I got all stuffed up like that quickly. For me, it’s a good reminder, every once in a while, to veer off the path.
You can’t be perfect all the time. There was one perfect person, I believe. It was not made for Dani Williamson but sometimes too. You got to just weigh the risks, benefits, and stuff. When you start bringing down systemic inflammation from the head to the feet, everything in your body starts to turn around like your thyroid.
I see people walking around and like, “My back hurts.” It’s always inflammation. They don’t realize it. Let’s talk about my thyroid. We originally started having this conversation because I went and saw Bryan Glick, Longevity Health Institute, in Scottsdale. I had adrenal fatigue. He was like, “You need to decrease the amount of exercise that you do.” Rebecca Miller of Holistic Urgent Care told me that my thyroid wasn’t working and said, “You can’t tell but you are a little bit tired now. In 90 days, you are going to feel a hell of a lot better.”
Sure enough, ninety days later, I felt amazing and great, and then I remember seeing Dr. Peter Martone. He’s looking at my Aura Ring stats and my sleep. He’s like, “You are not sleeping enough.” I’m like, “What do you mean? I feel great.” He said, “You might feel great but I’m telling you, I’ve looked at thousands of results. You are not sleeping enough.” I always get in about six hours plus or minus, then it came out that I was taking thyroid. He said, “You are not supposed to be taking thyroid. That’s a temporary fix. It’s not supposed to be long-term.” What would your approach have been to diagnosing my issues?
I can’t remember what your original TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone level was, your T3 and T4. If in fact, you weren’t truly hypothyroid like your thyroid wasn’t working, if you were subclinical hypothyroid, meaning you are on edge and they gave you thyroid medicine, which we do, that is definitely a short-term thing. We do that short-term kick start and then put some supplements in there. Things like selenium that helped the thyroid work better or ashwagandha. It’s different for everyone. That would have been my approach because the gut affects the adrenals. The adrenals affect the thyroid. The thyroid affects the hormones. It works from the basement up.
Giving a patient thyroid medicine is subclinical. I mean, in a full-blown hypothyroid patient, the thyroid is not working. They are laid out like this. They’ve gained 40 pounds. Their hair is falling out. They are dry, dry skin. You got to give them medicine. You start there, and then you work backward with stuff. It would have been nice to have worked on your adrenals first, and then maybe your thyroid would kick into gear. Everybody is different. Are you still on thyroid medicine?
I’m on Armour, and I’m taking Glandular. I’m now I’m seeing Dr. Mike Major, who’s here locally. He has me taking the Armour, which is the T3, along with the Glandular. The goal is to get me off of the thyroid. He wants me to start doing one on and off.
Stop Inflammation: Sleep is when your body heals. That’s when your body detoxifies. Everything happens at night. If you’re not sleeping enough or you’re not sleeping well, you are never going to eat well.
We wean patients off of thyroid medicine all the time. It’s not easy because the thyroid is the master gland of the endocrine system. It’s the master endocrine gland. You can’t live without it. Once this is gone, you have to be on medication for the rest of your life if you lose the full thyroid. It controls your weight loss, weight gang, hair growth, hair loss, cholesterol, fertility, pooping, diarrhea, constipation, hair, skin, everything, eyelashes falling out, and eyebrows falling out. It controls everything.
You have to treat it well and protect it with all your life. If you have to take thyroid medicine, you have to know how to take thyroid medicine because you don’t just take it with all of your other supplements. It has to be taken specifically four hours away from iron, calcium, dairy, soy, magnesium, and lots of things. It doesn’t play in anybody else’s sandbox. The thyroid medicine wants to be right by itself.
My understanding is that I needed to take thyroid medicine 30 minutes before I took anything else. I take it first thing in the morning, then in about 30 minutes, I will have a coffee, typically with MCT oil and grass-fed butter. Is 30 minutes enough time? You mentioned a bunch of other things I wasn’t even aware of.
The true protocol and it’s on the info. Nobody ever gets it, that butter is calcium. It’s supposed to be four hours away from your thyroid medicine, anything with calcium, dairy, all iron products or anything with iron, magnesium, soy, grapefruit Walnut or oat milk. Oat milk will bind to the thyroid and make it go hypothyroid, as you’ve never seen. Proton pump inhibitors, Nexium, Prilosec, and TUMS, are four hours away.
I don’t take most of that stuff.
The people who do the best on thyroid medicine and regulation take their medicine at night because a lot of times, people get up to go to the bathroom. If you take it in the middle of the night, then there’s nothing on either side of it. You can get and have all the grass-fed butter, oat milk, coffee, and all of that you want in the morning but people are not taught how to take their thyroid properly. That’s why a lot of patients’ thyroid levels do this. Every time they see their doctor, they have to tweak their medicine constantly. That healthcare provider has never taught them the proper way to take thyroid medicine.
Once I started taking thyroid medication, I was all about it. I’m a promoter. I was telling everybody, “You should go get your thyroid checked out. I got my thyroid checked out. I started taking this thyroid medication. I can’t even tell you I only have to sleep five hours a night. Now I have so much energy. I feel amazing,” then Dr. Peter Martone says, “You don’t sleep enough.”
Sleep is when your body heals. That’s the second chapter of the book eat well, sleep well, your body heals when you sleep. That’s when your body and brain detoxify, your brain rewires, and your liver detoxes in the night. Everything happens at night. If you are not sleeping enough or well, you are never going to eat, poop or move well because your thyroid all revolves around sleep.
The thyroid is the master endocrine gland. Once this is gone, you have to be on medication for the rest of your life.
Sleep is right there at the very top with diet. If your bedroom is junked up and full of electromagnetic fields and your cell phone is right there beside your head, God forbid no, and your computers, TVs, and wireless routers are in there, and you are sleeping on top of a sleep number bed that costs $10,000 that’s nothing but electricity. You are literally sleeping on a minefield of electricity all through your body all night long. You can’t heal. Your bedroom needs to be a sanctuary. The bed is for sleep and sex only. If you are not doing 1 or 2 in it, you better get out of it and make that bedroom clean. You go in that bed at night and sleep, heal and detox. It’s key.
What about reading in bed?
I can read in bed because I don’t have anybody in bed with me.
I don’t read a lot in bed but sometimes I read a little bit.
You can be Wild & Well and Bible in bed. That’s about the only thing that you can read in bed. Reading is fine as long as it’s a real book. If it’s on your phone, iPad or Kindle, absolutely not. We have destroyed our circadian rhythm with blue lights. We are sitting in front of this ring light. There are lights here and there. Sleep is key. If you snore, then you need a sleep study because untreated sleep apnea takes, on average, 10 to 16 years off of your lifespan. If your partner snores, then you need to get them a sleep study or sleep in a separate room.
If you truly want to find out if you snore, there’s an app called SnoreLab. It’s a free app. I can put it up on the other side of the room, and it records my snoring episodes. It’s interesting because there was a time when I was snoring more often. They give you a snore score. Your snore score is supposed to be less than 25. It goes quiet, light snoring, medium snoring, heavy snoring, epic snoring.
You can hit play and listen to your snoring episodes. It’s on a little graph. You go to the epic one. It’s dark red, and you hit. It is embarrassing. You are sleeping by yourself, and then you want to eventually sleep with somebody else. You might want to get the SnoreLab to find out if you snore because it’s embarrassing. It’s a good app.
I have a good friend who’s a pulmonologist. He owns a sleep lab here in town. If you snore, you may not have sleep apnea but there’s a 90% chance that you do. When you have sleep apnea, you can never heal the inflammation because you are depriving your body and brain of oxygen and every cell in the body of oxygen. If your doctor or your nurse is not asking you about, “Do you snore?” then you need to find a new provider because that is one of the biggest ones right there for decreasing inflammation.
Stop Inflammation: You’ve got to move your body. You don’t have to attend the next iron man, but you’ve got to move. Whether it’s ballroom dancing, hula hooping or rollerblading, just move your body.
If I eat dairy, for example, with the app, there are some foods that I eat that I will snore more or if I’m more tired, if I haven’t slept for a couple of nights previously, my snore core goes through the roof.
Have you had a sleep study?
What is wrong with you? I’m going to text you every week until you get a sleep study.
I have been planning on it. My sleep score is pretty good. I use my Aura Ring. I get lots of deep sleep and lots of REM sleep but I am trying to get more sleep. Some people only need 5 or 6 hours of sleep, and some people need 8 to 10 hours of sleep. Do people truly only need different amounts of sleep? Is that a real thing?
Yes, they need different amounts of sleep. I have talked about this multiple times here. Also, you don’t have to sleep through the night. We have destroyed people’s health by telling them, “You have to have eight hours of solid sleep at night.” That’s not true. Before we had lights, I discovered this as I was researching the book, I had never heard of 1st and 2nd sleep or segmented sleep before the turn of the century. That’s how we slept.
We went down with the sun, which slept 4 or 5 hours. We got up. We stirred the fire. We made some beans, and tea, read the Bible, had sex, whatever they did in the middle of the night for a couple of hours or one hour, then they went back to sleep. They slept until the sun came up or until they woke up. That was called 1st and 2nd sleep.
It wasn’t until we started getting the why whites were invented that we started having references to insomnia in the medical literature. That’s when it started popping up. In the 1st and 2nd sleep, references started going away. We have messed people up with that. It’s not how much you sleep or how long you sleep in there. It’s how you feel when you wake up in the morning. How do you feel throughout the day?
Sleeping is not about how much or how long you sleep, it’s about how you feel when you wake up in the morning.
People need different levels of sleep. There may be some seasons that six hours is okay for you. Ideally, I think we need more. Give yourself some grace. If somebody is reading this, give yourself some grace when you go to bed. If you wake up, don’t get anxious over that. It’s okay. Use that time to do whatever, and then go back to sleep. The problem is if you wake up at 3:00 and have to get up at 5:00. Hopefully, then we can retrain our body. If you have sleep apnea, you are not going to sleep well. Something to think about is maybe a sleep study.
What do you think people should do if they have sleep apnea?
They need to get a sleep study and wear their CPAP. It doesn’t work on the nightstand.
We got to eat, sleep, move, poop, distress, and commune well.
I had a lady at our state 92-year-old woman brand new patient. She goes to the bathroom once or twice a week to poop. She has a bowel movement once or twice a week. Her doctor says that’s fine. She said, “It has been forever.” I said, “That’s not normal. He’s wrong. What we eat today should be gone tomorrow. We do not hold onto those toxins in our bodies. We’ve got to eliminate.” Most people are chronically dehydrated. They don’t drink enough water.
If you drink the proper amount of water daily for your weight and activity because if you sweat, you have to have more water. If you are doing an IRONMAN, you got to have a whole lot more water than I do. If you would hydrate, most people would go to the bathroom pretty well. Maybe you need some magnesium or stop eating junk food. There are lots of things to do. I will talk about it in their ad nauseam to get you going to the bathroom. Maybe you need a squatty potty or you are constipated. You need to put your feet up.
It’s the best invention ever, which is ridiculous. They made millions of dollars selling a plastic stool to put your feet on where you can put your feet on anything. That makes a huge difference. You’ve got to poop well. If you are not sleeping, you are not going to poop. If you are not eating well, you are not going to put. It’s all connected, then you’ve got to move well. You’ve got to move your body. Not everybody has to be an IRONMAN but you’ve got to move, whether it’s ballroom dancing, hula hooping, belly dancing or rollerblading. I don’t care.
Just do it and enlist a buddy in this because when your buddy is waiting for you to go work out, you are less likely to leave them sitting or standing on the sidewalk out there or at the gym. You need a buddy or sign up for $5,000. Something you sign up and pay for, you are probably going to train for, so we got to move.
Stop Inflammation: If you have a bad husband or a bad wife, a horrible job, or your family is sucking the life out of you, you have the right to get out of all of it. You have the right to say no.
One of the things that I’m big on is having an activity or a goal. I call it a passion project. It’s not necessarily a passion project but for me, it’s going to be IRONMAN, rim to rim at the Grand Canyon, doing a half marathon or something like that. That’s my goal. That’s my passion project. I have something I enlist other people that I’m doing it with. That’s my thing that makes it fun because if people are like, “I got to walk. I got to go to the gym.” It gets old, in my opinion. It is almost like white-knuckling it. You are like, “I got to go to the gym.” Why are you going to the gym? Ultimately, we all want to be live our best life. That’s why we are going but if you’ve got something that you are focused on, it’s going to be much easier.
Get yourself involved in something like that. It’s key. You got to move your body. We are designed to move. While you are cooking, do some pushups on the counter. Do some squats while you are brushing your teeth. Make your activity during the day. If you’ve got four little kids and you can’t get out, then work it into your lifestyle until you do have the freedom to be able to get out there and move. Give yourself grace.
You can get yourself a rebounder.
Five minutes of rebounding is worth twenty minutes of jogging. You are moving all that lift system through your head, armpits, and everything where all your lymph nodes are. That is recirculating your lamps and decreasing chronic inflammation. It’s one of my favorite things. I have one in my exam room and make people jump on it.
I ordered one for my clinic. It’s there for clients, staff, and everybody. Everybody gets up on the rebounder.
You got to eat, sleep, move, poop, and distress well. It’s key.
When I had my adrenal fatigue, it wasn’t my first year. It was my second year. I had a lot going out. I had a lot going on. I was stressed out above all the other physical activities that I was doing. Talk about distressing well.
When you are under stress, your inflammation levels go through the roof. We all have strokes. I am a big believer that we have to feel our vessel. We are a nation of empty vessels. We have nothing left. We are pouring from an empty vessel. There’s nothing there. We have the right to fill our vessel up. I’m going to speak as a woman. The second on this is we are so over-committed, over-scheduled, over everything. We’ve got the kids, job, husband or the wife, all those things going on, and we have no room for ourselves. You have your self-care. We’ve got to start building our self-care into our life. If you have a bad husband, bad wife, horrible job or your family is sucking the life out of you, we have the right to get out of all of it.
What we eat today should be gone tomorrow. We should not hold on to those toxins in our bodies.
You have the right to leave that spouse if you are in an abusive marriage. I’m not promoting divorce but I was in a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage. I left. Many years ago, I was in a job that was nearly killing me, I gave my notice and opened my own practice three weeks later. We have the right to tell our family, “No more. I’m not doing this anymore. You are not going to do this to me anymore.” We teach people how to treat us. We have got so much stress in the world. I’m on the board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Suicide phone calls to suicide crisis lines are up 800%. The fastest growing rate of suicide is age 10 to 24.
Stress is killing us. You have to figure out how to automate, eliminate, and delegate everything out of your life. AED your life, the Automatic External Defibrillator that brings you back to life is what you’ve got to do to your own life. Automate, eliminate and delegate everything else because it’s not important. Build some margin and some breathing room in your life. As women, we are not the head of the household unless you are me because I’m single. If you are married with a family and all that, technically, you are not the head of the household but you set the tone for the entire home when you walk through that door.
When you are angry, stressed, and over-committed, the entire family picks up on it. I lived with a mom like this, and I was a mother like this for years. I regret it. We have the right to say no. Focus on your family and you. All that other stuff is bullshit out there. If you keep committing to it, you need to look inside yourself deeply and say, “What is wrong in here that I keep with all this extraneous stuff to ignore and to avoid whatever is happening?”
What I’m thinking about as you are talking is that life is easy if you live it the hard way and hard if you live it the easy way. I think about having hard conversations. Before I got clean and sober, before I did the work, I didn’t want to have hard conversations. It was easier not to deal with things. The path of least resistance is to do what you always did and not deal with it. “Go get high. Go get wasted. Push it off. Do something different.” It’s harder to have the hard conversations to eliminate people out of your life. It seems harder. It’s really not harder.
What’s hard is being angry and mean and saying things to your kids that you can never ever take back. I know I’ve done it. What’s hard is being on the verge of tears every day or breaking down every day. What’s hard is getting another diagnosis, lupus, fibro or something, because we have not set margin in our life. It’s key. All of these steps are important, and they are all intertwined. The huge piece of stress thing is in our control. If I didn’t want to do this or I was so over-committed that I didn’t want to do this, I would’ve said, “I can’t.”
We would have rescheduled it when I was free or wouldn’t have. It’s not personal. It’s taking care of yourself. When you start to take care of yourself, if you believe in Jesus, and a lot of people don’t but I do, he says, “You are worthy to be 150%.” Where did we go wrong to think that what happened in our lives to where we don’t take care of ourselves?
A lot of times, people are people pleasers. They want to please other people, and therefore, they are afraid to take a stand, have boundaries, etc.
If you don’t want to host Thanksgiving, then don’t do it, “We’ve done this for twenty years, Dani.” I don’t give him any slack in the office. I’m like, “So, do you enjoy it?” “No, I don’t enjoy it because everybody is griping and carrying on.” Don’t let somebody else do it. Give yourself the freedom of that. People are going to go, “What?” Who cares?
Stop Inflammation: Community is when you heal. It’s when you’re laughing with your people. And it doesn’t have to be a group of 50 people, you just need a couple of close people.
It’s none of my business what other people think about me. What’s most important is that I’m taking care of myself, I am of service and helping other people but there’s like, “I got to take care of myself first before I can take care of other people or be the man that I want to be.”
That’s that whole feeling, your vessel thing up, putting your oxygen mask on first. We don’t do that to take care of everybody else. We are worthy of taking care of ourselves and being 100%. When we are 100% and that vessels fall, it’s the overflow that everyone gets the benefit of. We are happy, healthy, and whole emotionally, spiritually, mentally, sexually, physically, all those things, then everyone else benefits from that. It’s fascinating how that trip ripple-out effect works.
The people that were around, it’s like the energy that we put off. It ends up being a beautiful thing. Not to mention you start attracting different people. That’s where the magic happens. In my journey through recovery, I’ve attracted healthier people as I’ve gone along. Finally, when I’m about five years clean and sober, I’m looking around at the people that I’m attracting and I’m like, “I’m feeling pretty good.”
You are not attracting the soul suckers in your life anymore. You stop attracting those people. When you start to set your boundaries with the ones that are still left in your life, things start to turn around. I’m not having those suckers in my life anymore, whether it’s family or friends not doing it, I am too valuable to live under that stress and turmoil. I’m not doing it. I spend a lot of decades doing it. You don’t have to live that way, either. It’s simple. It’s not easy. Take care of yourself. You got to eat, sleep, move, poop, distress, and commune well.
Talk about commune well.
Community is key on so many levels. We need it. We have been taught about community for years. Community is when you heal, laugh or your cortisol levels go down when you are laughing with your people, eyeball to eyeball like we were. We laughed, cried, and told stories together. That’s community. It doesn’t have to be a group of 50 people. It doesn’t take much to hold up a Sequoia tree. Those gigantic trees got little shallow roots but they reach out and grab their tree partners over there. It doesn’t take much. You don’t need a bunch of brands.
You need a couple of close people but you also can cultivate your own community. Go join a meetup group and do something. We are the loneliest society we have ever been to. COVID didn’t help that because we are socially isolated. What in the world is socially? You can’t socially isolate. Nothing social about isolation. We are not designed to live in isolation. We are a tribe and a pack of people. Some people are like, “I don’t like people.” Yes, we do. We love people. Everybody loves eyeball to eyeball.
The opposite of human connection is addiction. We got to be connected. There was a study that people who have more communities are happier. More communities are associated with happiness. I think about my life. I’ve got the F45, Optimized, yoga, twelve-step, work, and all these different communities, and there’s a little bit of crossover but I love it. I’m an introvert. I do need time to myself. However, I need to connect with other people and be around other people.
Wild & Well: Dani’s Six Commonsense Steps to Radical Healing
I started a neighborhood cookout. I have always been the one in my entire life who’s the cultivator because I grew up in such chaos. I’m an only child. My mom was an only child. I was always the one who brought people into my world. Not that world but just my world. I started a neighborhood cookout here during COVID. We all know our neighbors but nobody knows each other. We do now because we meet on Saturdays. We are all around. We cook out only with charcoal so that we are slow cooking out.
I am a grill master. Now I can cook. Get 3 or 4 of your friends if you have them and go for a walk or something. Community is key. Somebody mentioned the Bible study here. Jesus knew about community. He had twelve flawed human beings that were his people all around him. They were his tribe and go-to. Inside that community, he had a tighter community. He even narrowed it down to 2 or 3. He also needed time away from his community.
He would put some water between he and his community and tribe because you need to re-fill up alone as well. Community is key. You can create whatever it is. You can create your family from your community. Family doesn’t have to be your blood. In fact, sometimes better. It’s all connected. That is your wellness. Your physical stuff is your labs and all that but your wellness involves the emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, financial, social, and all of these things.
When I talk with people about exercise, a lot of times, it’s like, “Exercising.” It’s not just physical. It’s emotional, spiritual, and mental. Every single thing that we do, eat, sleep, move, poop, distress, commune well, those four items are involved in every single 1 of your 6 steps.
When you get all those balls rolling pretty well, it all works better together. You are going to eat better when you exercise more and sleep better. When you sleep better, you are going to move and go to the bathroom better. It’s all connected. You are going to be more social when you sleep and eat better. It’s not rocket science. That’s why I call it common sense practical medicine.
I’m not pretty smart. I got through school at an old age but I’m not the biggest rocket scientist in the world. I’ve got a lot of common sense, and this is common sense medicine. It’s as simple as that. It has common sense practical medicine. If you are seeing healthcare providers who are not helping you with this common sense journey and asking you these questions, then you have the right to fire that healthcare provider and find one who’s going to help you heal your body from the inside out. You don’t have to stay with your healthcare provider. Who said that? Nobody. You weren’t born broken. You are not broken. You are divinely made. You can live your best life. It’s not easy but it’s simple.
Whether you are in Tennessee or somewhere else, you’ve got to find somebody that has the same type of ideologies as Dani here. In my experience, longevity health is Eastern medicine combined with Western medicine.
They’ve done this for thousands of years, and they know it. If you can find a good Chinese medicine doctor, if somebody asks there, “Help me find somebody in Orlando,” if you will to the Institute of Functional Medicine, IFM, you can type in your ZIP code or state, and it will tell you functional medicine trained providers. Also, share it on Facebook, “Who’s got a good integrative medicine provider?”
A Mediterranean lifestyle is the number one anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
Call your compounding pharmacies in your hometown. The compounding pharmacists are the ones who call out that thyroid medicine that I do all day for people or bioidentical hormones. They know who the best of the best is in Nashville, Tennessee or Orlando. Google, “Compounding pharmacies near me,” call them, and say, “Who would you go to?”
What are the best foods to reduce inflammation?
The best foods to eat or to eliminate to reduce inflammation?
Answer that question however you want to answer that.
The top seven inflammatory foods in the country that create inflammation are gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, eggs, and peanuts. They are in everything package processes.
When you say sugar, can you be specific?
Processed sugar, not sugar from fruit and things like that.
What about Stevia?
Stevia is okay if you don’t have Stevia sensitivity. You would have to know. A Mediterranean lifestyle is the number one anti-inflammatory lifestyle. That’s fish, chicken, lamb, turkey, and everything. It’s all fresh food. They eat dairy in the Mediterranean. There will be a lot of eggs but we are not eating the same dairy and eggs that they are eating in Greece, Italy, France, and Portugal. We are eating processed, packaged, horrible food here. There are so many great documentaries you could watch on this.
A Mediterranean lifestyle, olive oils, nuts like walnuts, almonds, pecans, and things that are great, oily nuts. That is the best anti-inflammatory lifestyle. People go, “What am I going to eat for breakfast if I can’t eat gluten, dairy, and eggs?” Eat as the Mediterraneans do. Eat your dinner for breakfast or eat soup, chicken, some ham, and whatever for breakfast. I don’t ever eat it anymore. I used to. I grew up eating dessert for breakfast, pancakes, waffles, muffins, and donuts, all the things that raise your blood sugar, drop it down. We crashed. We expect our children to survive and thrive in school when they are eating dessert for breakfast. They can’t. Neither can we.
Is there a question that you have always wanted to be asked but never got around to it?
I don’t know. I hadn’t even thought about that. No.
Is there a question that you wanted me to ask you?
Not really. You covered everything so beautifully. You asked everything that I would have asked. I don’t have an answer for that. You did everything fabulous.
Tell me about your morning routine.
I wake up easily and always have. That’s a blessing for me. Whether my alarm goes off or not, I’m up at about 4:50. It’s the same thing every morning. I drink organic coffee. I will put oat milk in it. I go plug that in. I get in the shower. I’m a big prayer. I pray a lot. I do squats. I do all kinds of mess in the bathroom because I start work at 6:40 in the morning. I don’t work out. My mornings are very fairly regimented but I generally go outside every single morning with my shoes off and face the Earth and the sun as it’s coming up with my coffee. A good morning will help you have a good day and a good evening.
I ground myself in the morning. That’s my major routine in the morning. It is earthing and grounding because you don’t see a lot of dogs, cats, horses, chickens, and pigs having a lot of anxiety, panic attacks, and shaking in the field because they don’t wear shoes. Their feet are on the Earth. Their faces to the sun. They get those negative ions from that Earth, and their entire cortisol levels come down. We are like them. We go shoes. I try to stay barefoot. The biggest thing for me in the morning is earthing and grounding. I start my day that way every day.
You wake up two hours before you go to work, which I’m the same. I give myself at least an hour before I have any commitments to do all the things. Hitting snooze, running out the door, and being late doesn’t happen to me. I love the morning time.
It’s my favorite time of day. That may be a question that I would have loved if somebody had asked me that nobody has ever asked me, “What’s your favorite time of day?” In fact, no one has ever asked me, “What’s your morning routine?” You nailed it.
That was such an awesome conversation. That does it for our time with Dani Williamson. Before we end this episode, I want you to go to the Review section iTunes or the comment section on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook and type in the one thing that resonated with you. Every comment counts, and what you share could resonate with someone else that is struggling and potentially save their life.
Go ahead, share the one thing that resonated with you. It will take 60 seconds out of your day but what you share could not only save you but could also save someone’s life. That does it for this episode. I hope our paths cross again in the next episode of I Love Being Sober. Dani, thank you so much. I appreciate you. I enjoyed our time together.
Author of the Amazon Bestseller Wild & Well Danis’s Six Commonsense Steps to Radical Healing!
I was blessed to work in an office for 4 years that took a chance on a new graduate who knew nothing about treating the “root” of the illness. I have spent the past four years learning how to not only treat disease processes with the traditional treatment needed, but to dig deeper to the “root” of the illness. I have been able to combine my love of teaching with my knowledge of healthcare by speaking around Middle Tennessee, to special interest groups. I am interested in using the knowledge I have gained the past four years to propel myself to another level of healthcare. As of August 25, 2014 I have stepped out in faith and opened my own Integrative Family Medicine practice in Franklin, TN. I focus on gut health and endocrine health. With a focus on thyroid disorders. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the #1 un-diagnosed autoimmune disease in the US, and the #1 reason for hypothroidism.