I turn the tables on Primal Blueprint podcast host Elle Russ and make her a guest and she kills it!
In this wide ranging and surprisingly vulnerable interview at Elle’s top secret crib/film and recording studio in the Santa Monica mountains, Elle describes the unlikely journey to her current position as a thyroid expert and health author, coach, and speaker. Dang, a few years ago Elle was doing personal assistant work (“window or aisle on that flight?”) for the Sisson family! She dreamed of writing a book about her arduous journey to healing your thyroid naturally, and finally made the dream a reality with the publication of The Paleo Thyroid Solution. For the past couple years, Elle has been promoting the book nonstop and it has sold through five printings. Elle mentions how her commitment to improv acting classes helps her gain confidence as a podcast host and public speaker. “If you can get on stage and do improv in front of strangers, you can do anything!”
Elle discusses some of her most memorable interviews on the Primal Blueprint podcast, including numerous shows with holistic thyroid expert Dr. Gary Forsman, and the strong connection she made with the Soul Surfer, Bethany Hamilton. While Elle’s discusses the story of Hamilton’s triumphant return from a shark attack where she lost her arm, Elle takes the conversation on a surprising turn. For the first time publicly, she reveals that she suffers from a chronically debilitating arm condition. She believes she contracted this rare affliction by working too hard as a Type-A, multitasking, high-flying hotshot sales executive in her 20s. She further speculates that her chronic cardio exercise patterns and carbohydrate dependency were huge contributing factors to her developing hypothyroidism. Elle inspires with the account of how she battles these challenges head-on with a fierce competitive spirit, an unwavering positive attitude, and a spirit of gratitude every day.
Elle describes how hypothyroid is hugely under-diagnosed and very often mistreated by uninformed doctors. Besides the blood numbers and traditional treatment protocols, Elle mentions the intangibles that affect thyroid function. If you feel like you’re not speaking your mind or being your authentic self in a relationship, or have that “choked up” sensation in your throat during interpersonal conflict, you are likely hypothyroid. This is a really inspiring and memorable show, a must listen!
What has been her journey through Hollywood to get her where she is? [00:02:11]
Dr. Gary Forsman had a memorable podcast with Elle regarding your thyroid problem. [00:10:20]
The podcast with Bethany Hamilton is so inspirational as she discusses what she has done with her life since losing her arm to a shark while surfing. [00:11:09]
How can one maintain a positive attitude when things seem to go wrong? [00:13:36]
Elle’s life was progressing beautifully and her suddenly her arm stopped working! [00:15:12]
How is she handling her disability? The disability of shame is brutal. [00:24:26]
One of the messages for life is there are no failures, just learning experiences. [00:32:09]
Brad talks about the former endurance athletes coming up with heart problems which have been attributed to the overtraining they did. [00:35:42]
Elle talks about how she was injured and how so many other hand and arm injuries occur just doing their jobs. [00:36:40]
Elle has a governor helping her protect herself from anything repetitive that could injure her arm thus keeping her life in balance. [00:39:56]
How can a listener use what they are hearing here to get such a positive attitude? [00:41:03]
How does one contract hypothyroidism? [00:49:47]
Maybe the chronic cardio is from walking on egg shells and stress. [00:52:32]
Sugar ingestion wires the pleasure center in the brain to the extent that it is similar to reaction from hard drugs.. [00:55:20]
Elle’s diet includes periods of fasting, but there is a correct way to do it. [00:59:32]
There are many doctors are poorly informed about the most recent findings in the field of nutrition. Depression can be the result of thyroid hormones. [01:04:34]
Thyroid disease is greatly undiagnosed. If you have some mysterious symptoms, ask for thyroid testing. Sixty percent of people go undiagnosed with hypothyroid disease. Learn what you can about your body so you can help your doctor take care of you. [01:07:25]
“The disability of shame is very brutal.” – Elle Russ
“Everyone has been to hell and back one way or the other.” – Lance Armstrong
“Sugar ingestion wires your pleasure center in the brain to the extent that it similar to hard drug reaction” – Dr. Cate Shanahan
- Elle Russ
- Soul Surfer movie
- My Foot is Too Big for the Glass Slipper
- “The Paleo Thyroid Solution”
- Louise Hay, “You Can Heal Your Life”
- Stop the Thyroid Madness (Best website for thyroid information)
Dr. Gary Foresman: This podcast with Elle dwells deeply into hypothyroidism
Bethany Hamilton: We all know the story: On October 31, 2003, then 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton lost her left arm after being attacked by a 15-foot tiger shark at home in Kauai. The attack forever altered the course of Hamilton’s life–it also redefined her identity.
Dr. Cate Shanahan: With over two decades of clinical experience and expertise in genetic and biochemical research, Dr. Cate can help you to reverse metabolic disease and reshape your body.
Karen Martel: Transformational Nutrition Coach helping women break through weight loss resistance.
Brad Kearns: Welcome to the Get Over Yourself Podcast. This is Brad Kearns
Elle Russ: “Talk about uninformed doctors because 60% of people are undiagnosed with hypothyroidism. 200 million people worldwide have it.”
“Why does someone survive breast cancer and go, ‘That was the best thing that ever happened to me?’ Because through that pain, through that awful tragedy, they find out who their friends are. They connect with loved ones.”
Brad Kearns: Hi listeners, I’m so happy to introduce this podcast that I did with my long-time Primal Blueprint, co-worker, Elle Russ. And what an amazing journey she has been on in recent years. She’s been around for a long time, the primal scene. She was doing personal assistant work for the Sissons, in between her acting endeavors and health sitting endeavors for famous Hollywood celebrities. We’ve done a few cool podcasts at her house, sitting gig of the week. And that was kind of fun to meet her in this place or that place.
So, she’s been bouncing around, but then, she really got focused and went into deep, deep, deep into this book project. Where she wanted to tell the story of how she healed her thyroid naturally and with alternative health practices, and alternative strategies from wonderful doctors that she finally discovered after this disastrous journey through the mainstream medical machine that made her sick and worse and struggling and suffering. And just trying to become a healthy person to no avail.
Then she took matters into her own hands, and it’s a very powerful, compelling story that she tells very well in this book; the Paleo Thyroid Solution. But her completing this project and Primal Blueprint publishing the book, was sort of the beginning of her rise into becoming a prominent health figure.
She gave a standing room only talk this year at Paleo f(x), the world’s most prominent primal paleo health conference; talking about her thyroid. And she did other things like serve on the Keto panel and was just all over the place. Just making connections and putting smiles on people’s faces because of her high energy and enthusiastic approach where she wants to help people.
She also transitioned into her current role as the Queen Bee, the hostess of the Primal Blueprint Podcast. And she’s putting her incredible acting and performance skills into play as she does a wonderful job hosting and getting some very prominent guests on there, and recording these wonderful shows.
So, this recording is kind of host meets the host. We’ve done a couple like that, where we just get into it and I think the shows with her are some of the fastest moving podcasts you’ll ever get. She’s a very high energy, quick thinking person. And this was cool. And this is what I love about podcasts. Is I went over to her secret, top-secret crib in the Malibu mountains where she hangs and actually turned it into an incredible recording studio for her video course or upcoming video course, and also all the recording that she does.
When you get to visit with someone, we have a great relationship already, and we go back a long way, but there’s something special about just turning on the microphone and getting into it and talking and seeing where the conversation goes. And in this particular show, wow, it was a huge surprise when Elle revealed something that she’s never really revealed to the public before about a debilitating chronic illness that really changed her life and kind of shaped her path to where she is today. And it was really heavy and it was really touching the way she opened up and revealed and has that desire to help others.
So, I really want you to enjoy this show and listen carefully because there’s some profound insights in a very powerful message that Elle delivers about cultivating that positive attitude. That glass is half-full perspective and realizing that everything that happens to you in one way, shape, or form is truly a gift. Wow, amazing recording with Elle Russ. Enjoy it.
Elle Russ, thank you for joining me on another podcast. We’ve had this tag team operation for the Primal Blueprint Podcast where you interview me, I interview you about your book, and they seem to be the highest rated shows and the most critically acclaimed. So, I thought, “Who do I want to get more than anybody else to be on Get Over Yourself?” The person who’s walking her talk and has had this amazing journey that I want to go back and see how you got here. But generally, right now, talk to you about what’s happening because a few years ago, you were doing personal assistant work for the Sissons, booking their airline flights, whether they want a window or aisle, and all of a sudden, now, you’re-
Elle Russ: Mark’s definitely an aisle person.
Brad Kearns: Just so you know listeners. But now you’re a health personality. You’re rocking it at Paleo f(x). You’re giving fantastic talks. The bestselling book is out there; Paleo Thyroid Solution. And also, you took over the Primal Blueprint Podcast and basically made it your own and brought it to the next level. So, how’s everything going?
Elle Russ: Wow, man. So happy to be here. Honestly, like working with you and Mark, so much fun. I love doing these podcasts. I just feel really lucky to have worked with Mark at that time, he had just started a publishing company. So, that was what? Six, seven years ago, where he was just brewing it. I remember because he-
Brad Kearns: 10 maybe 9 or 10.
Elle Russ: Really?
Brad Kearns: I know, time flies.
Elle Russ: Oh, man. Yeah. And so, to be able to have been mentored by him and reach that level where not only has his work affected my own health and my life, but then be able to help other people and find the answer with the thyroid stuff. What more can I say other than I feel so grateful to help other people stop suffering from what I suffered from and had to figure out. So, to be able to make peoples’ shitty health journey from A to Z a lot shorter, by the grace of Mark Sisson and Brad Kearns publishing my book. So, yeah. Thanks player!
Brad Kearns: Well, you had to go through the official channels. I remember you were saying-
Elle Russ: I remember I wrote in a real official book proposal. Like I didn’t even need to, and I did it anyway.
Brad Kearns: That’s right. Well, so many people especially in the progressive health community, primal paleo, have a story of transformation. They send their pictures in to Mark’s Daily Apple, get published on the success story thing.
But you did numerous other things that kind of shot you to the top. And I want to know about some of this because you have that background experience in Hollywood, doing the professional work, the acting. And it seemed like you were this perfectly suited package to be a spokesperson, to be that author. You had to write a book which is really tough. A lot of people write books, they don’t sell and they go back to their everyday life. But you’ve really made this into a career and made that turn in your life. So, besides writing the proposal, then what happened? How did it go after that?
Elle Russ: Well, then I remember it wasn’t just the proposal. I think … oh no, within the proposal, was not only the professional marketing analysis, which is what I probably didn’t have to do, but I went to a full length on. But it was like I think a couple of sample chapters. There was at least 50 pages involved in kind of pitching that initial thing. But what people don’t realize is, so firstly, yeah, your 10 years of sketch comedy at Improv – of course, driving into Hollywood and getting up on stage and not knowing what’s going to happen, is a pretty frightening thing and a lot of fun.
But it’s certainly all of that live performance prepared me to be a public speaker in any kind of way. I mean, I already was anyway. But there’s no fear of that … there’s nothing more fearful of doing an Improv show. So, when you know the subject you’re going to speak about, there’s nothing … And that’s why I say if anyone’s really interested in becoming a public speaker or an actor of any kind, even if it’s a dramatic actor, go take some Improv classes. It’s really important to fail, feel embarrassed and weird.
The whole process is awkward at first. And it’s a safe environment to fail and be awkward. Most Improv teachers provide that. That’s kind of rule number one, is “I failed, yes.” Because a lot of times, people are trying to be funny and there’s rules of Improv and you’re learning the ways. But there’s nothing more awkward and weird than kind of putting oneself out there and be like, “I think I’m funny, I want to do Improv.” It’s a weird thing to kind of admit about oneself and go forward.
So, I just say, get into the awkwardness of it because after that, nothing is weird. Do you know what I mean? Nothing’s awkward after trying to go do an Improv class. Even if you don’t want to get into comedy. It’s awkward to be put on the spot and have to come up with some stuff.
Brad Kearns: Honestly, I can’t imagine, I’m a goofball. I’ve been comfortable doing crazy stuff my whole life, but I’ve never been out there on stage and it just seems like a whole another level of just having to let go of yourself and get up there, especially Improv. And they also talk about the stand-up comics. That that’s the highest level of sophistication of entertainment. That it’s so difficult and you never know if you’re going to kill it with an audience even with your great material that you got last, the previous night.
Then interestingly, you see, many of the stand-up comics have become leading actors of Hollywood. Steve Martin and the list goes on. Jim Carey, who-
Elle Russ: Tom Hanks.
Brad Kearns: Tom Hanks, I mean dramatic acclaim for just being the highest level of acting. But they came from, someday, from an open mic night where they got up there with some note cards.
Elle Russ: Well, it’s funny you said that because in Hollywood it’s a thing among casting directors and in general, where the general kind of rule of thumb is if you can do comedy, you can do it all. But not so with the other. So, for example-
Brad Kearns: “I can do Shakespeare but I don’t do comedy.” “Okay, next please.”
Elle Russ: Yeah, comedy really sells in this town even if you’re not being hired for comedy. But they just feel like it’s a harder skill to master so that if you can master that – so, for example, in Los Angeles there’s things called casting director workshops where essentially, it’s kind of a class. You pay, but you’re getting in front of a casting director who could bring you in for a show. And some of these places make you audition first to even get in. They have a higher caliber of, let’s say a group of actors, right?
If they’re going to bring in a casting director, they might want their best 30 people, right? So, sometimes they make you audition for this and they always make you do a comedy scene first. And if you don’t pass that, they won’t have you back to do the dramatic scene. Every single one of those places forces you to do a comedic scene first. And there’s a reason for that. Again, because they feel, most people feel, right? That if you can do that, you can probably do the other, but not so the other way around.
Brad Kearns: Wow. Yeah, a challenge.
Elle Russ: And it’s not always true. It’s just kind of one of those memes. It’s just one of those things, yeah.
Brad Kearns: So, to the podcast, you once upon a time, I believe maybe came in through the guest route and you were a guest on the Primal Blueprint Podcast, and then I think we were getting backed up and did you pitch the idea that like, “Hey, should I host a show sometime?”
Elle Russ: No, you did. It was like you might have just gave – you gave it to me.
Brad Kearns: I think we had a good show together. I’m like, “Geez girl, just take it.”
Elle Russ: You were like, “Hey, can you take a couple of … we’re getting busy or whatever, da-da-da.”
Brad Kearns: Oh, it was when you were talking about your book and I went down to get some lunch and just turn you lose for seven minutes. I’m like, “You go, you go. I’m going to go see what’s in the system. refrigerator.”
Elle Russ: I was not expecting that nor did I plan on it. But it was so funny because I … so excited and love doing it, and it’s so much fun. So, the opportunity, the fact that you guys even offered it and he got busy enough and you got busy enough to not do it, was a blessing for me because it’s really, really been fun. Any chance I can to use my voice is really, really, really important.
Brad Kearns: What’s it like? I mean there’s being a guest on a podcast, which I think is easier to imagine. Someone wrote a book, they know what they’re talking about, their level of expertise or if you got anyone on and said, “Tell me about your high school years?” And they would start talking and have a very comfortable exchange. But when you’re in that other role and you’re trying to seek out the right guest and connect with them in advance, how does that all work for you?
Elle Russ: I think you’ve had the experience where sometimes it’s like pulling teeth when you’re talking to someone.
Brad Kearns: So, you have a spectrum of guests. Now, we’re getting into it.
Elle Russ: Somewhere on the spectrum. And then there are some where you can just fully improvise the whole thing because you know they can go with it. There are others where you really have a lot planned out ahead of time, not necessarily what you’ll say, but the flow I guess of which questions and topics you’ll ask.
It’s so much fun though to learn in that way. And I think I try to do my best if I can. It’s a topic we’ve covered a bunch of times and it’s sort of the same old, same old. But in general, I try to get to something different than what we’ve already talked about. Some kind of different level or deeper level. Especially, the people that have been interviewed 100,000 times about the same subject, right?
Brad Kearns: Right. I mean, you go put your search button on, on your podcast app and you bring up the person’s name, and they’ve talked about their book 14 times. Including perhaps three hours on Joe Rogan’s. So, you’re not going to get any deeper than a three-hour conversation. So, that’s the challenge to me is like trying to figure out another angle, and I think compared to mainstream media where you see an author, let’s say you were on the Today Show, unfortunately, you’re almost there, but maybe next year you’ll get on for your book – Paleo Thyroid Solution. And they’ll say, “Tell us about it,” and you’ll have four to six minutes to give the whole spiel.
But then we can go and look at you on a podcast and you talk for an hour in depth about it and has so much more rich experience. So, I think we still have so much potential even with the same guest, and that’s why you’re going to be on again and again. But right now, I like how you bring up that disparity in what a show is all about. And boy, when those pulling teeth episodes come out, I get nervous when people aren’t talking enough.
Like even in daily life, like in a social setting where I’m engaged with whatever. You’re talking to three people and they’re not talking enough. I start to get silly on them. So, it’s kind of fun to have a live wire where you can just turn on and when I go down and eat my lunch and then you’re back to your paleo story.
Elle Russ: Yeah, I mean, who wants to have like … you’re having a new conversation in a social situation where every time you’ve asked a question, the only answer you get is basically like affirmative or a negative, right? Like, “Yeah, no.” You’re like, “All right, well this is going to be a long one. Okay. Give me somebody.”
Brad Kearns: Or I’m going to wind myself up, so watch out, I’ll give you the spiel.
Elle Russ: I’ll give you the whole conversation right now.
Brad Kearns: Yeah, yeah.
Elle Russ: I’ll do it for both of us.
Brad Kearns: So, what are some of your favorite shows and guests that you can remember off your head? I know you got Gary Foresman on there, several times. Tell me about him and your relationship with this doctor that was out there on the cutting-edge of thyroid stuff and helped you tremendously.
Elle Russ: Yeah, Dr. Foresman’s amazing doctor, a functional MD. And really just spans sort of the whole trifecta of wellness; mind, body, supplementation, meditation – he’s well-versed in all of these practices. So, he’s extremely open-minded. And I had been my own doctor, so it was nice to finally find a doctor who kind of agreed and understood what I did and was willing to help me. And then he really changed my life.
Then Dr. Ken Berry’s another really great doctor we’ve had on the show many times from Tennessee, rural Tennessee. And he’s real great. No shit, explaining keto and carnivore and paleo primal and all that stuff.
I have to say though, Bethany Hamilton, talking with her, it’s not necessarily like that the interview itself is something that I’ll listen to over and over again or that I’m riveted by, it’s that I’m so grateful to even be at the platform where I can interview her, because Soul Surfer is one of my favorite movies. Her inspiration and what she represents and what she’s done with her life since, just makes me … and I challenge anyone if you’re having a rough day, watch Soul Surfer. Okay. Because if you have your arms, all right … it is not that I watch it just because I’m like, “Oh, I need to see someone lose their arm today, so I feel better about myself.”
That’s not that crass, but there is something to be said for, “Oh my gosh, I have it so good and someone always has a step level than you.” And there’s probably nothing more horrific than having a shark bite off your effing arm. Okay. And her triumph and what she’s been able to do for the world as a result of that, which she might not have been able to do even if she didn’t have her arm cut off, is kind of amazing. So, looking at her life over all these years and then being able to interview her, I really liked that.
Also, same with Gabrielle Reece, who I think is a total badass alpha female. Awesome athlete.
Brad Kearns: Oh, her book; My Foot Is Too Big for the Glass Slipper, I think it was called. And she narrated it her herself.
Elle Russ: It was so good.
Brad Kearns: We’ve had the opportunity to engage with their personally hanging out in Malibu, and her and Laird, boy, those guys are a power couple and just such interesting people. But I just pulled the trigger on her book even though it seems like kind of a cheat book and it was fantastic.
Elle Russ: I loved it.
Brad Kearns: The insights about parenting, relationships, her athletic journey, where she’s just so vulnerable and telling the people how she felt to be a six-foot three-inch ninth grader. And sticking out in the crowd and having to turn that into the passion and the competitive intensity where she’s totally comfortable with herself. Great guests, great show.
And Bethany Hamilton, I mean, you probably know now that the movie Soul Surfer and the book, she was the young lady that was attacked by a shark. It made global news when it happened. But I believe she was-
Elle Russ: She was 13.
Brad Kearns: … a teenager, 13 years old. And she was a real top-level surfer out there in Kauai, I think was her island, right? And competitive young lady. And then just had this whole life turned around.
I think that point’s really important. And I think about this a lot, where we always have something to be grateful for. We look on the bright side and I’m trying to be that glass is half full guy and I’ve been doing that my whole life, especially when I struggle or suffer, and I can get up the next day and say, “Well, at least I didn’t crash and knock all my teeth out. I might have got my ass kicked in the race, but here I am today and I’m okay and I could try again.”
But I think that in those times when we’re struggling and suffering in life, it might be the most difficult time to come from this space of gratitude and say, “At least I don’t have a shark biting my arm off.” So, how do you deal with that sort of dichotomy there?
Elle Russ: It’s an interesting thing and I’ll tell you why Bethany Hamilton, her story means so much to me. It’s because when I was 23 – 22, 23, I was working in the corporate world in San Francisco, and I was making six figures and I was killing it. I mean, nobody my age was rolling in that dough right out of college. And I was the seventh person hired at a company. I was promoted every couple of months. I was killing it, on there, like a couple of years and then my next promote … the company’s exploding now. This is like Y2K days, there’s so much work going on.
Then, I’m about to get promoted to a job where I’m going to be making a quarter of a million dollars a year. I’m like 23 years old, and I can just see my whole life ahead of me. I’m like, “Oh, there’s going to be like whatever, five porches in the driveway. I’m going to have three homes. I’m going to be so fully retired by the time I’m 40. Forget about it. Like this is going to be great.” And one day, my arms stopped working.
Brad Kearns: Just like that, huh? Was that your transition from Bethany Hamilton to Elle’s arm stops working.
Elle Russ: To Elle’s arm stops working. So, I literally stopped working. I couldn’t wipe myself, I couldn’t hold a fork in my hand.
Brad Kearns: Just one arm?
Elle Russ: No, both arms. All the way to my hands and my shoulders.
Brad Kearns: Oh, Jesus.
Elle Russ: I had chronic tendonitis. It was so severe. I had to ice my arm several times a day. My arms were extremely inflamed, but I was making so much money for the company, they had to kind of keep me around because of my voice, of talking to people. I was hiring and account managing people in these big projects for fortune 500 companies. And literally, my arms stopped working and I’m 23 and I’m just dumb and young and I’m thinking, “Oh, well, I guess I’ll just go to the doctor and they’ll give me something like this, and it will get it fixed, right?” Like, right? Wrong.
So, what happened was it got so bad that at one point, I had to leave the job, they had to put me on workman’s comp. I was rated at 40% disability, California court system. So, now, I’m 23 and now all my prospects for any job you could ever imagine in the world are gone because what job can you not use your hands eight hours a day for? Name one, just name one other than public speaker, actor, voiceover, radio host. You can’t. I can’t work at Starbucks, I can’t bartend.
Brad Kearns: Can’t type.
Elle Russ: No, I can’t. I’ve been using voice dictation since 1998. I can type, but I can only do it a couple hours a day. Like I just couldn’t be in a desk job classic. But I also couldn’t be in any kind of repetitive injury. So, it’s just like an athlete who throws the ball, the pitcher and then he’s out for a year and then he’s back.
So, it’s a repetitive strain injury and at the time, it just got so severe and the doctors were like, “Listen, you’re going to have this rest of your life and you’re never-”
Brad Kearns: What was the diagnosis?
Elle Russ: Chronic tenosynovitis tendonitis, yeah.
So, then I went on a journey of again, like, “Oh this is the first health thing.” So, when I got hit with hypothyroidism later, I was like, “You got to be effing kidding me, right?”
So, then this happened. And so, luckily, we had an insurance policy. Thank God, with my company, I was able to make basically a preschool teacher salary but be able to live and then heal. And so, right after that, like the moment I got disabled … I mean you have no idea what it’s like to sit there and go, “I don’t even know if I’m ever going to be able to hold the cup again.”
Like I will start crying now thinking about the thoughts I had, like, “What guy is going to ever want me? How am I ever going to have kids? (Part of the reason why I haven’t).” Because I know all that it takes. I can’t hold a baby in my arms from more than 20 minutes. Do you know what I mean?
So, yes. Can I go play a game of tennis with you or some pink pong or go paddling? Sure. Can I do it every day? No. Am I going to be on the tennis circuit. Absolutely not. Can I go throw a game and pickup on horse with you? Yeah, I could be a normal person, I just can’t do those things regularly.
So, for me, to then pursue right away, I was like, what am I going to do? I got to use my voice. I got nothing else. I got nothing else.
So, I went right back to Chicago, went to The Second City, immediately got my voiceover demo done. I was like, “I got to go some direction here.” Now, it turned out that all that stuff lined up with my childhood dreams, anyway. I just thought it was a bullshit ridiculous thing to pursue, and there was no way I was going to do it. Because I was like, “No, I’m going to go for the money.” See, I did it worked. I went for the money, and then that shit got fucking injured, ruined my arms and the universe took off the golden handcuffs and were like, “Guess not. I guess we’re going back to the original.”
So, then I had to become a broke actor. I mean, making whatever like preschool teacher’s salary. Thank God I had it to survive. But at the end of the day, I then was like, “Oh my God, you don’t understand. I mean I was looking at a quarter million dollars.” So then to be regulated to making a very minimum-
Brad Kearns: Take a zero off of what have you.
Elle Russ: Here’s a couple of them. Make a minimum wagey type of thing. But again, thank God able to not have to inflame my arms. Then I was able to get better. So, a couple of years went by, I didn’t have to go to physical therapy three times a week. And I was in physical therapy with people that had sliced their hands off. I was at the Buncke Clinic in San Francisco, which is famous for inventing microsurgery of limbs, like how to reattach limbs. So, there were people from all over the place.
Talk about a beginning lesson in gratitude, even though I didn’t know. So, here I am, my arms are inflamed, but I have them. There are people sitting next to me with a saw through their fingers. You could just tell they had a bad shop accident. There were lots of dentists and surgeons in there who were using tiny, tiny instruments all day long with their arms in precarious, weird positions. This goes down to ergonomics, man. This goes down to standing. This goes down and what I was talking to Brock Armstrong on his Workplace Hero Podcast, which is, I was probably primed any way to get that at the speed of which I was typing and moving. I was the most successful at that company. I was the youngest most successful person there. I was on fire type A, going like a million miles an hour. And then life was ruined.
So, it was almost like my arms are completely … So, then, what do you do? Now, I’m living a life where I’ve got this sort of hidden disability that no one can see. So, then that’s weird with relationships, because I’m afraid people are going to reject me. So, that happens.
I didn’t tell Mark until not too long ago about it myself. Because I just, again, I felt there’s just a part of me that’s like, “Well, if I don’t have to talk about, I don’t want to talk about. I don’t want to identify myself as someone who’s disabled.” But now that I do, and I’ve talked about it more openly, more and more people with hand injuries are sort of coming.
So, the disability of shame is really brutal. And so, a tough, strong type A, alpha chick like me who then now is like relegated to this life of like, “Oh, you’re disabled,” and we don’t even know what that means for kids and everything else. And I know what inflammation does to the body. So, I’m like, “All right, well, I can be inflamed.”
So, then, I pursue this whole voice career. And so, did it take a while? Yeah, because there’s not a clean line to doing this. So, honestly, eventually meeting Mark and being able to have this platform and use my voice in any way, whether that’s dictating and then editing with my hands a book, or whether that’s speaking or public speaking, is extra important to my life. Because I’ve got nothing else, but also, that’s just what I’ve always sort of been hired for any way. You know what I mean? Like, the reason they kept me on the job for a year after even I got injured and hired someone to be my hands, was because they liked the way I communicated with the people we hired, you know what I mean? And then, after a while it was like, “Okay, she really is …” I was a mess.
So sad. I cannot even tell you how awful it is to not hold your boyfriend’s hand. Well, I still can’t sleep on my sides. I get massages a lot. I take systemic enzymes and I have flare ups here and there, and you can feel it. I was hiking with our mutual friend; Daniel, the other day and I was having a flare up. And you can’t see it, but I had him hold both my wrists and I had him touch it and he could feel like the lump in my wrist, and I’ll get cortisone shots once a year.
So, why do I say all this? It’s because you can even overcome, right? And then Bethany lost her arm, right? See what I mean? So, it means a lot to me with the arms. Anything with your upper extremities, you take this for granted. Someone in a wheelchair with no legs has actually more work opportunities than I do. Because this world is hand-based. This is a hand-based world. Unless you’re a greeter at Walmart and you’re just standing there saying, “Hello,” there’s really no job, no part-time job where you don’t have to repetitively use your arms and hands eight plus hours a day.
So, I feel so lucky. So, meeting Mark Sisson means more to me than just getting the message out about the thyroid. There’s a whole another sub story back here of how much it means to my life and my advancement of finally, after all these years … then imagine you’re making preschool salary, but I’m still an entrepreneur. I have to invest, I got to join SAG after, there’s a couple of thousand … I got to go do the voiceover demo. That’s seven grand. Now, I got head shots, right? I mean all these years, this shit’s expensive. You’re taking classes, I’m trying to move up the ladder to be like somebody hire me to just talk. I don’t care if it’s acting, whatever, right?
So, the fact that you guys offered me a podcast, was just so funny to me, but so in line. And so, public speaking and that’s why I also went into comedy and all of this stuff. It’s I hit it at all levels, right? And I ended up writing an award-winning documentary that’s amazing. I can still be a writer with technology. Can I work in a corporate environment? No, there’s proprietary software. It doesn’t work with voice recognition. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff that … voice recognition is not good for like handling internet searches, but it’s great for dictation. And then you can always go back and tune it up.
So, technology plus the advent of internet radio, right, is really helpful to this long journey that I’ve been on to try to use my voice.
Brad Kearns: Bradley here had no idea of this store.
Elle Russ: I know, that’s why I bursted it out.
Brad Kearns: … so this is breaking news. I’m like, you’re making these hand gestures on a notepad, like let’s talk about this. I’m like, “I’m blown away right now Elle.” This is incredible.
Elle Russ: Yeah. And I just didn’t say anything because honestly, I was like embarrassed. I was embarrassed to admit I had this defect. And again, it’s one of those things where you just … it wasn’t like I’m embarrassed that I got … People are like why are you – “You got injured, why are you ashamed of that?” But here’s the thing-
Brad Kearns: Easier said than owning that yourself and just kind of, yeah.
Elle Russ: And also, too, the bottom line, is I’ve really learned it doesn’t matter what it is. The whole world didn’t understand why I was ever ashamed of it. But the bottom line is that I was, that’s all that matters. You know what I mean?
Brad Kearns: Let me talk you out of it with reasoning and rationality.
Elle Russ: No, I’m not ashamed of it now.
Brad Kearns: We wouldn’t care Elle, we’d have a writer write the rest of your book if you were on chapter 10.
Elle Russ: No, no one cares, and that’s the thing. That’s what I found over the years is that … and not only that, but when I again, finally started to open up and just talk about it, people showed up that had hand injuries. And I had a really emotional podcast with Jessalyn Moya who … it hasn’t come out yet on the Primal Blueprint Podcast or maybe by the time this airs, it will. Where she revealed to me – and I did not know she was going to talk about this and she had no idea I was disabled with my hands. She had a freak accident and had a situation happen where basically she can’t move her left hand. And she had this thought of … it’s just like it goes numb, it’s kind of dead, it’s an awful thing.
She said, “I thought to myself, oh my God, am I ever going to feel a man put a ring on my finger.” And you know what? I just like lost it on the podcast and I had to put the microphone on mute, because when I was in my worst injured moment of like, “Okay, now I’m out of work and all right, what do I do with my life now?” And still inflamed and in pain, which I’m not right now. I live 95% pain-free because I don’t have to work at a computer. I don’t have to work eight hours a day on the computer.
So, I live pain free now. But then, I used to have that thought of, “Who’s going to want me? Who’s going to want to marry me? Who’s going to want to have kids with me? I can’t clean, cook, take … I can’t dress kids. I mean, by the time I get them out the door, my arms are going to be inflamed.” And you think about that stuff, it starts to prevent you, right? Or it keeps you from certain things or it can screw up certain relationships.
So, for example, all of my friends and the people that I know who knew this about me, of course, I felt most comfortable with them because I could be most vulnerable. Because they knew my secret, my disability or whatever, right? And when you have something that you can’t see, and that’s what Jessalyn was saying as well, when you have something you can’t see, it’s really tough. People don’t understand it, they might question it. But also, you can get away with not saying anything.
You also don’t want to be felt disabled. So, like (that was bad English, sorry). You don’t want to feel disabled so you don’t want friends to be like, “Are you all right?” Because after a while, after 20 years of having it, you just want to be like, “Dude, I will …”
Brad Kearns: Let me carry that bag 10 feet for you. No offense.
Elle Russ: Right, and now most of my friends have known me this long, and they know this already about me, and they automatically, “Go here,” and they grab the basket for me. I’m also, I have no shame about saying, “Can you carry this?” Like my friends know, and they’ll be like, “No problem,” because they know. So, for example, you’ll never see me walk through a grocery store with a basket, ever. To this day, it will always be a cart. I’m just not going to waste my arm usage for that, if that makes sense.
So, what’s weird about having a disability is that over a certain period of time, things become programmed in that are somewhat, almost innate. Like I just right now, in front of Brad, put my elbow on the table and I’m resting my palm, like the thinker pose, right? That famous statute. You won’t see me doing that watching TV or doing that anywhere for more than a second, because my mind will automatically go, “No, that’s head pressure on the wrist, on the hand – move it!”
So, you’ll almost always see me sitting upright or back or with my arms on my lap. And I can talk with my hands now. But I actually, at one point, couldn’t even talk with my hands and I had to have them at dead weight.
So, then, many years later when I got hit with hyperthyroidism, like you’ve got to be fucking kidding me! Like you got to be joking! But here’s the thing, both negative, shitty, seemingly awful things were gifts wrapped in shit. One of them led to me basically winning the insurance lottery, which enabled me to then pursue my dream of using my voice and here we are. Okay. And that’s still going, right?
Brad Kearns: So, you had a settlement for all this worker’s comp and being regarded as disabled or something?
Elle Russ: Yeah, no, it’s private long-term disability. So, it’s not like state tax stuff. It’s just the private plan. Thank God my company had it, you know what I mean? And so, there’s that that was able to subsist me to enable to just like get better, not have to injure myself. And it’s another reason why I am dedicated to exercise, oxygenating the blood and moving, especially swimming really helps with less flare ups. So, when you’re more sedentary, and more sensitive to get flared up more.
Brad Kearns: Interesting.
Elle Russ: So that’s a total thing.
So, then, oh my God, I get hit with hypothyroidism. Well, yeah, that sucked. It ruined some years of my life. But here’s the thing, it also then coincided with a career of mine as a writer. How can I deny that both of these seemingly negative, awful, why would this happen to me? On the other end of them, were actually major gifts. I would not go back in time and change. While I would like full use of my arms, I don’t know that I would go back and change what I learned and how that humbled me. I also, look at disabled people way different than anyone else does. I have a different level of compassion for disability.
Again, because you look at me and no one would ever guess that I’m disabled. They just wouldn’t even … I can walk, I don’t have a disabled like parking decal. I mean, obviously, I can walk, I do everything. But I technically am. And so, it was a weird dance all these years. You get to a point, where you hit a certain age and you start to care less about what anyone thinks of you. But also, just owning it, because in the owning of it and being vulnerable about it, is when you draw in people that also can heal.
I had such a healing conversation with Jessalyn. I feel connected to her more now because she understands what it’s like to have a bad hand day. Do you know what I mean? I’m doing this woman’s summit; riseupkickass.com. A bunch of videos and stuff with awesome speakers with this co-host Karen Martel. Another podcaster who I’ve met a million podcasters like you, but I had a vibe about her and I was like, “I want to work with her. I want to do something with her, I like her.”
Then it turns out we’re talking about our stories and she asked me a question and I just told her the story about how I got disabled. And her response was, “That is my story too. I was a Rolfer for 15 years and ruined my hands doing that bodywork and that’s why I do …”
Brad Kearns: Beware.
Elle Russ: Yes.
Brad Kearns: Tough job. You ever been Rolfed? It’s a lot of work for the therapist. I don’t know how they do it.
Elle Russ: Yeah, your hands are … you never realize you need them for everything. I at one point, couldn’t brush my hands through my hair because it would have been a waste of emotion. Now, I can do that. But I also can’t drive six hours a day for several days. My hands in the position of the car, I’m not going to drive stick shift either, right?
Like my whole life is adjusted, and I don’t have to be as conscious about it now. Now it’s become innate. But at first, at the very beginning was turning the key in the door and not using the wrist and turning it with the whole arm. I mean everything had to be … I couldn’t hold the pan in my hand. I’d have to have my friends carry my groceries home. So, I would wear a backpack everywhere, because I could only have even weight. To this day, I would never just carry a tote. You won’t even see me take a long beach walk with a Starbucks cup in my hand, because I won’t hold that cup in my hand for that long, because see, I innately know that that’s a waste of the use of the energy of my hand.
So, it becomes a really interesting thing, but it also … I’m just here to tell you that gifts come gifts come wrapped in poop sometimes and there’s good stuff to be had out of it. And if you’ve gotten disabled in some way, there’s something else for you. There’s something else for you.
Brad Kearns: Wow, powerful. I mean, we’re getting toward the secret to life on the podcast with that type of attitude and mindset. It reminds me of, I recently attended a/or presented to at a leadership retreat by this guy, Dave Rossi in the Bay Area, just getting going; a wonderful experience. And he was processing me about whatever my career goals and decisions and crossroads. And he said, “Well, how many times have you failed in your life? What have you really failed at?” And I’m about ready to kick into responsible. “Well, when I was a triathlete, and I didn’t when, I got third. And then this happened and then I had a bunch of stock in a .com and then it crashed before the…”
But if you are in the right space, you go look back and just the story that you just conveyed, there’s no failure involved there. And it’s just kind of led you on your path.
Elle Russ: True gifts, really. Like getting disabled is a gift. Why would I say that? Right? Like why does anyone say that? Why does someone survive breast cancer and go, “That was the best thing that ever happened to me?” Because through that pain, through that awful tragedy, they find out who their friends are. They connect with loved ones.
Brad Kearns: Yeah, and this on your dating profile front and center? Like, “Hey dude, guess what?”
Elle Russ: My arms are fine now.
Brad Kearns: It’s just FYI. Yeah, because I like when you said that you attract those type of people that belong in your life and will be truly supportive and true friends. And I would also speculate that you probably repel the people that you don’t need in your life anyway. Such as an employer or someone that you’re associating with that’s going to be chapped by the fact that you’re not 100%, the full package, day and night sort of thing.
Elle Russ: Yeah. Well, and it’s weird because to me, it was almost like not worried about getting … like it wasn’t worried about getting rejected or having people think less of me, it was just my pride. I was too embarrassed to admit that I had dependence on an insurance company for income, right? I mean imagine, I was 23, about to make $400,000. Like that just seemed insane to me. That all of a sudden, I was relegated down to like an eighth of that, right?
So, I was caught off guard with that. And that really hurt my pride and my ego because my identity was, “I’m going to go make a million bucks by the time I …” and I was on my way to do it, and I was killing it. Here’s the thing though, this is what I’m going to tell you. It’s been 20 something years since I got injured, and most people in my age now have the houses and the cars and the 401ks, and maybe all the stuff that I couldn’t. Because listen, for the longest time, my mother had to still co-sign car payments for me because you get paid in disability, they’re like, “That’s not a real job.” Oh, Jesus. So, I mean it’s tough all around.
But I don’t know, I mean as you go down this road, I just think owning anything that you’re ashamed about … the lesson about, at least, my disability with my hands for sure is appreciate your hands, take care of them, yes. Ergonomically, get your situation together, right? If your arm start hurting at work, cut the tennis games out on the weekend and heal it. Don’t keep pushing it, because you push it as far as I did and it will become permanent.
When you’re dealing with an injury of the arm, again, you can’t go through life without using your arms. You use it for everything. You open the door, you close the door, everything. You wipe herself, you dress yourself. So, gosh, take care of your arms and appreciate your limbs.
Brad Kearns: Well, you could fill in the blank with something else too. I come from the triathlon community and many of my peers from the old days, in cycling and triathlon in the extreme endurance sports, a great many of them have come up with heart problems in their later decades. And it’s now being strongly associated with that extreme pattern of overtraining where we thought we were the pictures of health and fitness at the time. We were a good-looking physical package that could get on a bicycle and pedal for hours and hours at a high heart rate and peg that heart rate and force it to work, because you’re always forcing your heart to work. Your heart has no choice. Your brain or your legs are telling the heart to beat these many beats.
But now, blowing those, frying those circuits out and having that lifelong debilitating condition, it’s nice advice to hid for anyone. And I want to know, like you mentioned this a little bit where you were grinding at that workplace, probably working a lot of hours and going at that high intensity level. Do you feel like that was a contributory effect to something going wrong with your immune function or your autoimmune condition?
Elle Russ: Well, it was not an autoimmune condition. It’s just tendinitis. It’s a repetitive strain injury.
Brad Kearns: So, you feel like you directly contracted that from doing excessive typing and hunched over or whatever bad ergonomics?
Elle Russ: Exactly, terrible ergonomics. I type a million miles an hour. And I could do a million things at once. And I was a multi-
Brad Kearns: Yes, you can.
Elle Russ: You know how fast I can go. And then also, I’m like the top most successful person there, so I’m really busy, but I’m nonstop. But it really was all of the arms and then actually, I’ll have to ask Dr. Foresman about this again. I didn’t tell Dr. Foresman about my disability because I just don’t think it was applicable to the rest of my health really, which sounds kind of dumb I guess. But when I finally brought it up to him, he goes, “Oh wait, hold on a second.” And he went and looked at some genetic tests he took, and he said, “Oh, this makes sense. This here and this here means you might have been kind of primed to be in a situation where …” And I was like, “Wait, what?”
So, that was kind of interesting to see that there might … not like a genetic predisposition of tendinitis, no one has that. But there was some kind of connection he was making about something with inflammation. I mean, I don’t know. It’s such a trip to be in that situation and also to be in a situation where, I don’t know, I guess you have to moderate … Yeah, it’s just interesting to have this backdrop in my head of knowing that …yeah just become comfortable over 20 years. Sorry, I’m just like rambling on.
Back in the day when I was working at the company, it was like the desk height was too … I’m short. So, like the ergonomics were really off. Like I’m five-two, so the desk was too high. Then my feet wouldn’t touch the ground and then like… you know what I mean? And it was the weird old computers and the mouse, and the mouse is the worst. And so, in this archaic, MS-DOS or whatever, Windows NT at some point.
So, it was just a lot of like hand stuff. You’re taking hand notes. Then you’re also on the phone. We didn’t have headsets right away. So, then the phone’s creaked up on your neck. There’s all sorts of just bad … if you stop, motion captured my day, would look like a crazy monkey arms person that like … those arms outside a car dealership with the wind’s blowing. Like your arms are moving nonstop all day. So, I don’t know if I had taken it any slower or not. There were other people that got injured.
At that time, at the tech boom, everyone was getting carpal tunnel. The thing is carpal tunnel’s operable. Mine isn’t. So, it wasn’t just me, I saw people all around me getting injured. And then not only that, people in physical therapy with me, there was a woman who was in there who got what I had by corking 200 bottles of fine wine a night at a restaurant.
I had a woman in there who worked in an insane asylum and she got pushed by a crazy person and like it jammed her hand, and she had her hand injured. A stewardess, had a cart come at her and it caught her hand in the right way. I mean, like, it’s just the most weird things that happen to you in life. So, mine wasn’t a freak accident, it was oh my God, I got injured working.
Brad Kearns: And now, today, so years later, and it still seems like you have this governor of your energy output and your tendency toward anything repetitive. So, you have sort of this built in regulator to keep your life in balance and to put it in a positive spin.
Elle Russ: Yeah, totally. And again, for example, I’m righthand dominant. So, if I’m on a plane, I would choose the left side of the plane on a window, so that if I wanted to sleep or close my eyes, I’d be leaning to my left. If I’m sitting with you, like I’m sitting with you right now, you’re on my left. That’s where I prefer to be, because it’s easier to turn my head to the left than it is to the right. So, I will just do things like that. I’m sitting with someone in the restaurant, I’ll be like, “Do you mind if you sit here?” If you’re walking with me on a hike, I would like to always be on your right usually, so that if I turn my head, it’s that way.
You become programmed over time. And again, like this governor where you know … and then with regular massages and again, like that’s an expensive non-covered protocol. When you have an injury like this, you have to keep athletic and you have … because that’s my physical therapy; is how and the way that I exercise.
Brad Kearns: So, let me ask you this, why does it take such a tragic disruptive event to get to this place and how can the listener who … everyone’s got something going on. One of my favorite quotes from Lance Armstrong, when I asked him about his cancer ordeal. This is before all the drama of recent years. And previously, in case you forgot, he was a cancer survivor that did his heroic come back and had a great attitude and all that.
So, I said, “Did your cancer ordeal help change your perspective and give you a greater appreciation for daily life having been to hell and back?” And he said, “Oh, everyone’s been to hell and back one way or the other.” And it really stopped me in my tracks there, because we’re thinking of the most dramatic stories. Like, “Oh, did you hear about Elle Russ, she has really bad hands or the girl got her …”
Elle Russ: Actually, they’re great hands. It’s just they’re not fully functioning.
Brad Kearns: She’s a hand model as well in her spare time. As long as you keep the hand still, it’s not video, it’s still photography for the ring commercial. Or Bethany got a shark attack and these are the extreme examples, but everyone’s had something like that.
Elle Russ: Well, and let’s look at Bethany Hamilton for a second. We can’t say what would have been had she not lost her hand, but her level of monetary success and level of celebrity in this world – and I mean celebrity in the positive way of just so well-known and touched so many people.
Brad Kearns: Platform to motivate, inspire others.
Elle Russ: She has helped so many amputee victims around the world. She has done so much good work. I’m not sure that if she were just a pro surfer that hadn’t had that happen to her, but she was a pro surfer that lost her arm and got back on the horse.
Brad Kearns: Quick, name a female pro surfer – Bethany Hamilton. Frieda Zamba used to be world champion many years ago. There’s two. But you get the point, right.
Elle Russ: And all the good she’s on in the world. So again, it’s like … and also, too, it’s a really sweet part of the film, it’s a sad part of the film, but it’s great. Because now, the film was when she was young and now she’s older. In the film, she’s kind of crying to her mom a little bit and she’s like, “Who’s going to love me?” Right? She’s got a missing arm. She’s like, “Who’s going to love me?”
Well, if you look on Bethany’s Instagram, she’s got a really cute husband and two kids. And I think she found someone to love her. So, they were really challenging times, and I think she really stepped up and made the most of it. And so, that’s kind of an inspiration for me. Listen, I always get it back, whenever I’m feeling victimy about like if I’m having a flare up and I’m feeling like, “Oh, my arm,” I’ll always get some sign from somewhere.
Like I was driving in LA, and I was having a pity party because I was having a flare up in my wrist, and I thought, “I just hate this. I hate having this.” And then I drove by a coffee bean and there was a dude outside drinking coffee with one arm. And I was like, “Damn it, I can’t even have one moment of being a victim.”
Brad Kearns: Someone’s trying to get you religious. They’re putting these signs up and-
Elle Russ: Totally, but you got to take those signs. Like again, like I’m having a pity party, but at least I have my arms. And then if you only have one arm, at least I have the other. And if you have no rms, at least to have my fricking legs. And you could just keep going from there. But there’s always a place. And so, it’s a humbling experience and I’m grateful for it. And also, too, it was a gift.
Brad Kearns: Dang, I love that term “victimy”. V-I-C-T-I-M-Y, victimy, your two little friends that you want to go away or banish. But I think we can all relate where we just – we turn that corner with our mindset and start to complain. And to be fair, sometimes that happens when you have an overly stressful lifestyle. You haven’t taken care of yourself, you haven’t swum enough as you should’ve been because you’ve been dealing with stress and problems, and then you start to crack and start to go down that pity lane. So, I like the concept of, at least in my own life, I’m trying to get over myself, of course.
Elle Russ: Oh, I had to get over myself, right? You can only imagine how much I had to get over myself. I mean, oh, it’s just the whole years of getting over myself.
Brad Kearns: But getting that perspective and that perspective that you got looking by the coffee bean, and seeing the person and going, “Oh, okay.” Instant recalibration, and if you can do that, especially when you’re down, sometimes that’s when the magic happens.
Remember John Cusack in the Tapeheads movie where their business was falling apart and life was falling apart and he says, “Well, I guess we should just dance on the roof all night.” And it was a silly scene from a movie, but I still remember it had great significance to me because like, if you can do that and go figure out a way to have a good time or blow off some steam if your business is falling apart, take a vacation – it could be a path to enlightenment and altering that perspective where everything else starts to follow down downstream.
Elle Russ: Yeah, absolutely. And just knowing too, even if life takes you down, you pull yourself up by one bootstrap, you do one thing towards one thing, towards one thing leads to another, and then you end up meeting a Mark Sisson and having someone give you the gift of something you’ve been preparing for, for so many years, really. And again, just having that platform.
I would never take it back to the world. The second time around with the hypothyroidism, because those are the two main events in my life of getting hit with a health thing. With the hypothyroidism-
Brad Kearns: You take that one back?
Elle Russ: Yeah, I know. Actually, I wouldn’t.
Brad Kearns: You can staff that.
Elle Russ: Yeah, all of it can eff off. But no, I wouldn’t take it back. But I knew then, I had the knowing of going, “All right, well, the arms thing was really bad years ago and that ended up turning out to be actually a positive.”
Brad Kearns: “Oh, I’m a strong person, I forgot, let’s take this shit on. I love that.”
Elle Russ: Or not even a strong person, just stuff actually works out. Sometimes this could be a …. How about I just focused on the fact that I’m like, “This is going to be a gift.” And I remember being like, “This better be a good one. This better be effing good. I didn’t go through all this shit to again get hit with some other health thing. Now it’s a thyroid thing, I had an arm thing, are you kidding me?” And I was always a person that had great stories about my health, great genetics.
My family had great stories. No one was a hypochondriac. If anything, it was embedded into me like, “You’re fine, you have great genetics. You’re going to live for…” I never had a health story that was weird. So, the fact that I attracted two kind of health things was like, “What is going on?” But clearly, I was led down this road for a reason. And it’s not God or whatever. It could be cocreation. It doesn’t matter what it is that you think.
But the second time around, even though it was brutal, I still was like, holding out for the fact that, “Okay, this just could be another really rough contrasting time in life that ends up being really good.” And it did. Because had I not gone through that, how would I have ever been able to even pitch a book to Mark? I wouldn’t have even been comfortable enough to pitch a book to be a writer had I not done sketch comedy and all the other stuff.
So, again, one thing leads to another, but it’s never the end of the line for you. There’s always something. Because listen, my life looked over at that point. I’m 23, disabled for life. It was like, “Okay, what the eff now? How can I find a worth in this world? I can’t just sit around for the rest of my life and eat [inaudible 00:52:30].” I mean I could, technically, but really?
But I’ll say this, people that have the house and the Porsche, and all this stuff I would have had, they are now in their lives going, “What was it all for and what am I going to do now and what did I offer? What did I contribute and what is my passion?” So, I was actually really lucky to get smacked those golden handcuffs off my risk by the universe. Because I was forced to follow my passion.
No one’s forced to follow acting and a voiceover career. Usually, that’s a choice. I didn’t have a choice. Because listen, I would have fallen back a million times. If I didn’t have my arms injured, I would have been right back in the corporate world, probably a million times throughout the journey of pursuing a creative career. I would have absolutely been like, “Forget it, it’s not worth it, I wanted the money.”
But what I realize now is my experience over the 20 years that I’ve had in the creative field and then also in this industry, I could die tomorrow. I feel there are such great … my face still hurts laughing, thinking about sketches that were pitched by people that never got into a show. I’m still laughing about Podcast United. I’m still so grateful for looking at my book cover.
All the things that I’ve been able to do are so much more gratifying and fulfilling than me staying at that job with the house and the Porsche at this age. So, I wouldn’t take it back because the lives are better even though my arms are injured. Does that make sense?
Brad Kearns: Oh sure. Right.
Elle Russ: Way better.
Brad Kearns: How did you contract this hypothyroidism? What do you think’s going on? After you’ve been through the fires now and analysed every little factor and variable?
Elle Russ: It was a really chronic cardio, along with a low fat, low carb combination like stupid modification of zone, eat every two, three hours; total carbohydrate dependent binger. I think, I suspect that there might have been stuff in teenage years like where maybe there was hypo … like I can’t tell, there were some years where like, “Was that puberty and eating too much cheese and bread in the ‘80s or was that …?”
So, I suspect that there might have always been a little something. Could’ve been a selenium deficiency, which I found out later I had. Could be high mercury, which I literally just found out this year, and had a silver filling left in my mouth. And that effects a conversion and also thyroid. Stress perhaps.
Louise Hay has a book called You Can Heal Your Life, where she aligns physical issues with mental issues of people she has counseled throughout the years. And hypothyroidism is linked with not speaking up or not expressing oneself creatively. And if I look back, so I’m at … obviously you hear me now. I’ve always spoken up. I have always been outspoken. However, I wasn’t in my romantic life probably because of my disability.
So, when I look back on when I got hypothyroidism, I was in a relationship with a very moody, heavy drinker, kind of, who was … not abusive or moody in that way towards me, just moody and you had to walk on eggshells on the person and like, I felt choked up. Anytime anyone feels choked up in the throat, that’s a sign of you’ve got to work on speaking up in some way.
So, I was in this romantic relationship where … and so that’s when I got it. Now, probably that combined with a bunch of stuff – it could have been the birth control pill or it could’ve been a bunch of stuff. But it’s interesting that that was a connection because I really had that lump in my throat. And oftentimes, the lump in my throat in relationships would come from feeling weird about revealing my disability to a romantic situation where I love the person, because I felt like that would be extra high stakes and they might reject me or I’d be afraid of their reaction.
But then the problem there is then I wouldn’t kind of say stuff for a while and then I’m kind of like, “Hey, six months goes by, when are you going …” And then it feels weird, because then you were revealing … it’s a weird thing to hide, because then when people find out, they’re like, “Why did you even care?” Right? So, I think that was part of me being choked up in relationships too. Sometimes is maybe not wanting to admit, like being like, “Do I trust this person with telling them about my story?”
So, it could have been a lot of stuff, but basically if I look at my lifestyle, it was chronic cardio nightmare. It really was, and I’m sure the adrenals got thrown off along with just really bad dieting. And had I caught it and known how to naturally turn it around at the time, I’m sure I would’ve been able to do it. Maybe, we don’t know, who can say. But I didn’t, and there wasn’t this information out there.
Brad Kearns: Maybe the chronic cardio is associated with not speaking up and walking on eggshells in your relationship – no kidding.
Elle Russ: What do you mean?
Brad Kearns: I mean, you’re blowing off steam in another way to the excess because you’re not in a balanced situation where you’re feeling whole and comfortable. And so, there’s an excess of energy that you’re going out and blowing off excess energy rather than appropriate energy as a fitness protocol.
Elle Russ: It could have been. And also, was like that just what we thought you had to do. We were like, “I just thought I had to be an athlete every day.” I would go on an hour hike, then swim 35 laps, then go to the gym, almost every day. It’s a lot, but also totally car dependent, totally bingeing, totally having the drops. Totally waiting all day to eat but freaking out in the brain, because didn’t understand.
So, when I look back, I’m just like, “Oh man.” And you couldn’t even Google paleo then. There was no information out there for me to find.
Brad Kearns: You couldn’t Google a case against cardio by Mark Sisson published in 2006.
Elle Russ: No, or Why Grains Are Unhealthy by Mark Sisson.
Brad Kearns: But I think I’m relating to this myself, because why would anyone in their right mind get into a chronic cardio pattern? And there’s a cause, there is a driving force that transcends logic and reason and sensibility, because no one is born to want to suffer to the point of exhaustion and crash and burned energy system. And I think in my case, I was a competitor, right? So, I was like measuring and judging myself by how I performed in the race and my self-esteem was attached to the outcome of what I was doing.
So, every day when I woke up, I made an informed decision to go beyond what my brain was really telling me was smart and sensible, because I thought that was the path to victory and the top spot on the podium. And Mark says the same thing. We didn’t know back 40 years ago that running too many miles was actually going to make you a slower marathon runner. Everyone thought, “What’s your weekly mileage?” “Oh, I’m getting up to 70, and I hope to get up to 90 next month, so I can really be the best I can be.”
So, that awakening, it feels so ridiculous to look back and think about what you did in that workplace or what you did with your chronic cardio patterns when the little voice inside you knew the whole time you’re screwing up.
Elle Russ: Well, it’s kind of chronic, everything, isn’t it? It’s chronic movement, it’s chronic cardio. It’s whatever’s chronic, right? Whatever you’re doing too much of humans, we are not meant to use our tiny little muscles and our hands like that eight hours a day, right? We are not meant to. We’re also not meant to eat grains. Like there’s just certain things, you can and you could and you can, but do you want to? And should you long-term? No, on any of this stuff, right? You can have a cardio day and go overboard and whatever, it’s not going to kill you. But it’s the chronic stuff.
I was in that whole zone like you’re just supposed to … I was totally bought into the whole keep insulin steady and that makes you a carb addict, and then you’re a sugar burner and when you’re a sugar burner, now you’re in bad choices. Now you’re bingeing and now you’re starving and now you have to do chronic cardio because you’re screwed.
Brad Kearns: To burn off the calories, otherwise. It’s a vicious cycle. It really is.
Elle Russ: It’s totally terrible. And it’s so much more work and it is so much harder and it is so much more stressful than … It’s such a level of stress. But again, I was yeah, I just was like, this is how you do it. This is … because it make sense.
Brad Kearns: That’s what everyone’s saying.
Elle Russ: It’s exactly like how Dr. Foresman talks about, look, if you’re on the plane and you’re a sugar burner, you’ve got a five-hour flight, and you’re having a drop hour three and a half, and someone hands you a couple of pringles and you wake up a little bit, then you have that connection of, “Oh, I was sleepy, I ate, and then I woke up again.” Right? You know what I mean?
Brad Kearns: Oh my gosh, I mean Dr. Cate Shanahan talks about this, where the sugar ingestion wires your pleasure center in your brain and the neural mediation of food reward (she calls it), to the extent that you’re like the rat in the cage where you press on the cocaine lever-
Elle Russ: Cocaine lever, yeah.
Brad Kearns: Yeah, right. So, it’s literally happening to us and we’re wiring our brains to associate sugar ingestion, especially sugar because it gives you the quickest hit, right? I mean, sweet potato is also going to be converted into glucose, but it’s going to be a slower burn. But that sugar ingestion is associated with pleasure at the same level or the same intensity as the hard drugs, the serious stuff. And so, to recognize that-
Elle Russ: It’s just like crack, man.
Brad Kearns: Oh, so you can compare? You have a comparative example?
Elle Russ: I don’t. I never do crack.
Brad Kearns: I assume, it says that is crack.
Elle Russ: You probably won’t end up in an alley because you ate a box of donuts.
Brad Kearns: Because you’re doing too many triathlons on your schedule.
Elle Russ: Probably you’re not going to be sucking beef of a box of donuts.
Brad Kearns: However, that said?
Elle Russ: That said, here’s the thing though, so not only do you have to then do the cardio, and then you’re depleting the glucose and now you’ve got to replace it and now you’re on this hamster wheel. But then because of what that’s doing to your gut and your brain, now, you’re getting into the fact where you have now forcibly made yourself that addict. Because now your gut and your brain and your muscles and everything need and have to have that drug.
So, it’s sealing the deal in even further. And so, what’s messed up is that all it does lead to is metabolic effery in the most variety of ways. Whether it’s thyroid, cortisol, being antagonistic to the blood sugar, the testosterone; whatever it is, stuff’s going to get out of balance if you’re on that program. It just has a domino effect. It’ll eventually lead you nowhere.
Brad Kearns: And you’ll hit your weak spot and maybe the weaker, less fortunate people will have a more severe reaction to that grain-based diet. But I think finally we’re getting to this point, a decade ago, when we were talking and I just listened to the very first podcast. For some reason, it came up because you pushed the button and it sorts backwards. So, I listened to the very first Primal Blueprint Podcast with Mark, talking about how we need to get more sleep and we need to make our evenings dark, and we’re not supposed to eat grains and sugars. And it was like he’s like arguing his case back then and just presenting this simple insight that’s going to be picked apart by most people, including our wonderful medical community and the bastions of health. Like the government and the Harvard’s newsletter that’s talking about how the whole grain crackers are so much better than the usual saltines and all these things.
So, we’ve come a long way, but it seems like we still might have a much longer way to go, because people are still kind of straddling this line where hey, everything in moderation. I like to enjoy my life too. So, I like to get a hot fudge sundae three nights a week. And these kinds of things where we’re forgetting about the addictive properties and the fact that we might be talking 20 years from now when you really messed up and are paying the price, just like the old-time triathletes. Where we bashed our brains out every day, and it was a real rush and a real kick to go fly around the world and get on the starting line. But now, in reflection, you’re paying the price for that.
Elle Russ: Yeah, I mean, like you said, your old buddies with their pacemakers, or even Mark with his issues that developed later on in life. I mean, I feel like the one benefit, no matter what across the board, is not being a food addict anymore. Not thinking and stressing and thinking about food all the time. It is such an effing distraction. It is such a distraction to your day when you are dying to eat and waiting to eat and going to the fridge every …. Oh my God, it’s horrible. And usually, that does come with something like candida or poor gut health.
That’s what I think too, I wanted to mention. So, on this carbohydrate train with the sugar, so eventually that’s going to eff up your gut health which is going to lead to like an overgrowth. And then that state of candida not only mimics hypothyroid symptoms and things like brain fog and other stuff, but then it’s also making you crave more of the thing because you’re feeding it.
I mean, right? It’s like just feeding a demon. You have to cut it off at some point and go the other direction. But the biggest benefit, aside from health and anti-inflammatory, is really the fact that I don’t give an eff about food. It sounds crazy for me to even say that, but I don’t. I like it when I like it. I’m excited to eat when I eat, but I don’t even think about it. Do you know what I mean? Like at all, really. It’s a freedom as every Mark’s Daily Apple success story. It’s always the one thing they throw and they’re like, “GIad I lost 100 pounds. Glad I cured the skin disease, but thank God I’m not a food addict and I’m not obsessed about it anymore.”
Anyone who knows that, it doesn’t matter if you’re 400 pounds and you’re a food addict or you’re 120 pounds, it’s the same hell. It’s the same hell man. And so, that says everything because food addict or not is the difference between carbohydrate dependent or not, end of story.
Brad Kearns: How are you doing? Let’s see if you can fast in the morning until a certain time, feeling comfortable with perfect cognitive function, no moodiness, no hunger pangs. And if you can’t, it’s a good indication of carb dependency. We talk about this in the Keto Reset Diet. This is your litmus test; is can you live without food. And you should be able to. And I’m not talking about listening to a podcast and waking up tomorrow and say, “I’m going to fast because it’s super healthy.” And you have an increased autophagy, the cellular detoxification. It’s like being able to as a natural course of the day, which is a huge difference from struggling and suffering and doing your 21-day detox, and thinking that you’re going to just force your way through this thing in the name of health. That usually sets you back because you have a binge and a rebound effect when you’re not truly fat adapted and you’re trying this fun stuff that we’re talking about.
Elle Russ: Yeah, and on that note, so, right now as we’re speaking, it’s 5:00 California time. At 12, I had some dark meat and white meat, chicken off like a cooked chicken with half an avocado. And that’s it. I’m totally brain on fire. I’m fine. It’s been five hours. I don’t even care. We could probably go 24 hours without food. I might eat a little something later, but I really don’t give a shit. That’s a whole weird place to be. It’s awesome, it’s not weird anymore. I’m just saying, but when you move … people out there listening who are like, “That’s crazy,” but when you’ve got to that point and you realize you’re there …
My friend Cara called me the other day, I’ve gotten this call now, paleo, three years – the last person I thought would go primal. You’ve met her at Mark’s house and she called me the other day, she goes, “Can I just tell you I love being fat adapted,” and she goes to the little story, “My husband and I were going on a walk, but then we’re this and then we were far away from lunch and so we just had a scoop of fat and …” and the freedom. It’s the freedom of not going, “Oh my God, I got to eat right now or I’m going to murder somebody. Like I am going to go blow up at somebody, and I’m aggravated and I drop my keys and I’m throwing across the room because I’m having a goddamn sugar meltdown. I’m having a glucose depleted meltdown.” It’s the worst feeling in the world.
So, I love the steadiness of being fat adapted. And also, the idea that I know I’m safe right now. Like if there wasn’t food … Now granted, we have so much food in the world, right?
Brad Kearns: Safe. You’re going to be good, yeah.
Elle Russ: I’m going to be good. But I could. Like if we got stranded and all the food went away tomorrow, I’d be doing fine.
Brad Kearns: You have some candles for the earthquake, you have some spare batteries and you don’t have any food because you don’t need it.
Elle Russ: Exactly, don’t.
Brad Kearns: I’m guessing that you got onto this thread because it’s part of healing your thyroid. This was a critical component, was to get fat adapted rather than a chronic cardio and carb addict.
Elle Russ: It totally is because of the way it’s antagonistic to the adrenals, and adrenals are related to thyroid and every other hormonal system in the body. And the thyroid is the master gland in charge of all of your sex hormones. So, again, you just don’t want any messages that are being sent to the thyroid that are antagonistic. And for anyone that’s interested, you do not even have to buy my book. You can go to my website; elleruss.com.com, there’s a free thyroid guide that tells you every test you need to take, when to take it. There’s a podcast. Listen to me and Mark talk about it. Listen to me and Brad talk about it. Here are some doctor resources; how to find doctors in your state or your country. So, just go there and get on the right path.
Brad Kearns: Because the path that most people are on are taking the wrong drugs and maybe having a very screwed up protocol.
Elle Russ: Very screwed up.
Brad Kearns: And you suffered and struggled-
Elle Russ: Uninformed doctors. Yeah, uninformed doctors using 30 to 40 outdated protocols.
Brad Kearns: No offense to uninformed doctors, but if they’re uninformed, they’re uninformed.
Elle Russ: Yeah, if they’re uninformed, they’re probably not listening to the podcast on this.
Brad Kearns: It’s interesting because the doctor is the highest level of authority automatically. And I come from a very medical family with father, sister, uncle, cousins, other people working in the hospital. Nurse, nurse practitioner, the whole thing, they’re everywhere. And so, much respect to the whole thing and what they’re doing.
Elle Russ: Yeah, we need them.
Brad Kearns: Especially when I had my emergency appendectomy and almost died, that surgeon’s one of my favorite guys in the world, right? But the thing that bugs me and that I’ll say on the show that my mom gets to transcribe and cringe, if I’m ripping on the medical thing. But if they’re dispensing dietary advice and going outside of their lane, so to speak, where they may have not had any exposure to breakthrough nutritional insights, but trying to cure and heal you with a drug regimen that is not addressing the cause, which might be dietary or exercise-related; that’s where I’m going to have some objection. And in return, encourage whoever’s listening, whoever wants to listen, to take matters into your own hands and go for those healthy lifestyle practices.
Like increase your sleep and do better at sleep. Regardless of whatever the doctor’s saying and whatever meds you’re taking, you can do all these other things around the side that might even have a greater impact than the narrow focus on the symptoms.
Elle Russ: People get put on statins unnecessarily, because when your hypothyroid your lipid panel gets screwed up because you have no metabolism, so you can’t process the fat, right? So, then the doctor’s like, “Ooh, you got to be careful there. Stop eating fat and let’s get you some statins.” All right, check the thyroid, you’re an uninformed doctor.
Here’s another one. “Oh, you have high blood pressure, we need to put you on a medication.” Nope, check the thyroid, wrong. Once you clear the thyroid, blood pressure-
Brad Kearns: Is it true that you trademarked the term uninformed doctor or is that just a rumor in Malibu?
Elle Russ: Yeah, that’s definitely …
Brad Kearns: The Malibu to Thousand Oaks [inaudible 01:10:34].
Elle Russ: Well, what I like is when the cover was first made, she accidentally spelled it, which was awesome. It said Uniform Doctor.
Brad Kearns: A little typo from the designer.
Elle Russ: A little typo from the designer.
Brad Kearns: Uniform Doctor – have a guy in a white coat-
Elle Russ: I was like, “Yeah, that make sense.”
Brad Kearns: … with a big X through it, oh my gosh.
Elle Russ: Stop putting your health in the hands of uniform doctors.
Brad Kearns: Uniform doctors. Go with the casual dressing golf guy, because he’s probably living a balanced life and good nutrition.
Elle Russ: And not accepting money from Pfizer.
Yeah. the other one is depression. So, you can get put on Prozac. It’ll work for a couple of months and it ain’t going to work, because you never got to the fact that you got no T3 in your brain, there’s more receptors there than anywhere else. Depression is treated with thyroid hormones.
Again, when I was seriously hypothyroid back in the day before I got treated, my lipid panel looked like a nightmare. The doctor was like, “You better stop eating meat.” The moment I got on the right medication and the thyroid got fixed and you’re not hypo anymore, the labs said, “And they’ve been normal ever since, for like 13 years.”
People get put on all sorts of drugs. You’re not looking at the root. Every psychiatrist on planet earth, no matter what, before prescribing anything to any patient should be checking the thyroid, period. I don’t care if it’s a multiple personality disorder, whatever it is, bipolar, whatever. It’s usually, I mean it really can be thyroid. I don’t want to say usually – it’s really likely thyroid. To not rule it out is borderline malpractice in my opinion. Knowing that this is the master gland that contributes to fat metabolism, to heart rate, to temperature, to brain function, why would you not test that thing that matters before patching someone up with the statin or patching someone up over here with the birth control? You see what I’m saying?
You could do all the patches you want. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen one of these old ass clips, was like 100 patches, but then shit is all tangled up, right? You don’t want to be sleeping patched up, in patches.
Brad Kearns: No, thanks.
Elle Russ: No, so, it’s just like you can patch it up everywhere, but just like patches, they usually don’t match, don’t go together, right?
Brad Kearns: Or you’re going to have multiple side effects.
Elle Russ: This is terrible analogy.
Brad Kearns: You’re going to be taking drugs for side effects of other drugs.
Elle Russ: You just keep patching upon patching.
Brad Kearns: Listeners, you can now tell that Elle is a funny chick and I complimented her skills as a professional podcast host. We were talking offline, like she is so smooth and her voice and her line of questioning and like listen to her interviews and they’re just top-notch. But but I’m like, “We got to get the funny Elle out here too.” So that’s why we’re going to keep recording. Just keep talking about them patches. Patches is messed up.
Elle Russ: You can be patching up. You can be patching up …
Brad Kearns: But seriously, look in someone’s medicine cabinet and I might as well put a little sticky note that says “patching your ass off” because that’s what’s going on. To unwind that, it’s tough.
Elle Russ: This needle point needs to stop.
Brad Kearns: Yeah.
Elle Russ: No, but it really does. You got to get back to basics and honestly, thyroid is the one and only end all be all basic of it all. It’s the master. So, life, everything will domino effect go wrong. You will get a disease you otherwise would not have gotten if you’re in a hypothyroid state, period – end of story. That’s why you slowly decline. That’s why accelerated aging. That’s why all of a sudden, you’re having miscarriages. All of a sudden, this has happening. “Oh my God, now my hair’s falling.”
Oh, just keep going down the line and you can do anything to patch it. But again, for everyone out there, we talk about uninformed doctors because 60% of people are undiagnosed with hypothyroidism. 200 million people worldwide have it. 23 plus million Americans have it and that’s again, if 60% are undiagnosed, we don’t even know how many more are. The number one-
Brad Kearns: Wait, 23 million Americans are diagnosed and 60% are undiagnosed.
Elle Russ: 23 million Americans are on thyroid hormone, like for sure. And the number one prescription in the US is Synthroid, which is not necessarily even the most optimal, but that’s just one of the thyroid hormones that’s out there as a prescription and it’s number one in the US.
So, that says a lot about this epidemic. Don’t listen to your doctor if you’ve been on thyroid hormone and they keep going, “Oh, you’re fine, your thyroid’s great. Maybe we should put you on Prozac. You should work out more.” No, no, BS. And patients should step up. Don’t do what I did and just sit back and go, “Okay, okay, I’ll take this pill, I’ll take this pill. Okay.” And then to realize two years later that that effer of a doctor didn’t even test what he should have because he steeped in 1973 outdated medical protocols with thyroid. Just go, get, download my free book or buy the book – Paleo Thyroid Solution.
You can even go to Stop the Thyroid Madness website, one of the best websites in the world for thyroid health, and also a fellow author-
Brad Kearns: Stop the what? Stop the madness-
Elle Russ: Stopthethyroidmadness.com and Jenny Bowthorpe is a fellow thyroid author who helped saved my life. And she just has the best website for thyroid health. And so, I really trust her. She’s also one of the only other two thyroid books I recommend to anybody. Her book is called Stop the Thyroid Madness. Website of the same name. And then the other one is specifically for people that have to go on T-3 only, which is the last resort of thyroid hormone replacement. And that book is called Recovering with T3 by Paul Robinson.
I also had him on the Primal Blueprint Podcast for his first interview ever in the world. I really had to convince him to come on to be honest with you. But he also saved my life. So, the bestselling thyroid books are written by patients for a reason. And the other two people I mentioned; Paul Robinson and Jenny both also had to take matters into their own hands like I did.
For those of you who don’t know, I got left in the dust by a bunch of doctors, so I had to dose myself back to health and be my own doctor. And that’s why I ended up kind of becoming a mini expert in the field.
Brad Kearns: So, that’s why you ordered drugs from Mexico.
Elle Russ: Not anymore, now I’m legit.
Brad Kearns: Okay, good, good, okay.
Elle Russ: No more black market. Although that is where you have to go and thank God you could do that-
Brad Kearns: Sure, no kidding. It’s like we have these constraints that are in many ways ridiculous, but they’re for a reason. But taking matters into your own hands. I guess that was the real hook of your book and the passion that came out, just in the conversation we just had. And I remember Mark and I, we’re novice publishers and looking at some of your drafts where you’re slamming the medical community and we’re worried like, “Can you get sued for this? Are you allowed to say doctors are uninformed?” And we had to like hash it back and forth.
Elle Russ: But then you came back and you were like, “No, no, no. It’s the truth, be sassy about it.” You’re like, “Just do it.” And it’s true because that’s really the truth guys. It’s the truth. There’s too many uninformed doctors out there and I have … they’re the most respected people, they get their MDs, and I’ve been saved by doctors like you have, of course. But also, Western medicine is the third leading cause of death in our country too.
Brad Kearns: That’s brutal. Cancer, heart disease and Western medicine protocols such as drugs.
Elle Russ: And just doctors. So, you got to look out and that’s why it’s not take things in your own hand and go be your own doctor. No one has to go Ben Greenfield their life and biohacking and inject themselves … God bless, just shout out-
Brad Kearns: Props to him though man, props to that dude.
Elle Russ: We’re giving him a shout out, but seriously, no one has to get that crazy. But you do have to learn about this, and that’s what I’m here to help everyone with; is to empower you with the knowledge that you need to know because you might know more than your doctor and you might be able to convince your doctor to practice medicine with you – practice medicine. It’s the practice of medicine, right? So, you don’t stop when you graduate from medical school.
So, if you’re informed and you’re compliant and you’re knowledgeable, you are … The other day, one of our mutual friends had to go to a doctor and she goes, “I’m little nervous,” because she knew she needed T3. She knows doctors don’t get it. She already felt very ego by this doctor. She’s like, “I’m worried about this conversation, what do I do?” And it’s like our conversation was about how to diplomatically approach the doctor. It’s a weird thing, but if you do it in the right way, she had success and I knew she would because she’s a very diplomatic person anyway.
But if you approach it in the right way, you might get someone to practice with you. But not if you’re just pointing to a book or shouting at them. And some may never work with you. And you have to leave and go through five more doctors till you find one. But if you can’t, that’s why you have to arm yourself with the knowledge. Look, I’ve had patients call me and go, I know that wasn’t right. I’m like, “You know that wasn’t right, because they knew.” So, instead of just taking the pill, they called me and were like, “That wasn’t right, was it?” Exactly, it wasn’t.
So, if they hadn’t known that or they hadn’t heard a podcast from me or hadn’t been my friend and known this, they would have just willy nilly blindly just taken what the doctor gave them. So, the rule of thumb for anything in life, if you’ve been diagnosed with a damn disease players, go learn about it. Learn as much as you can. You might know more than your doctor, and you might be able to guide your doctor to get what you want out of your biohacking.
Sometimes you need a doctor, sometimes you can’t get certain prescriptions, sometimes stuff’s cheaper when you get it with a prescription. So, work with them, use them to your best, but-
Brad Kearns: Bounce things off them, that you come armed with. “I have 14 questions for you, I hope you don’t mind, for real.”
Elle Russ: Some of that. And if they turn you away, no … Or you can say, “Hey listen, I’ve talked to a few people, I’ve done a lot of research, I’d like to try this. Let’s do this for three weeks. I promise I’ll come back and get tested in three weeks. Let’s see where this goes.” Like if you show that to a doctor, then they’re more likely to trust you and maybe take a risk.
Brad Kearns: You’ll get the utmost care.
Elle Russ: You might. However, unfortunately, it does require some finesse and some doctors have horrible bedside manners and are just terrible. Some of which, I totally ripped on in my book. I mean, like literally, I had a doctor look at me and go, “Oh, this is too complicated.” I mean, Brad, audience, please. “You went to medical school and you did organic chemistry on the M cats and this is complicated?” When you’ve been told that by an MD-
Brad Kearns: I’m sorry to bother you with my life.
Elle Russ: I’m sorry to bother you with medical shit you MD. So, it’s a real burn when you get attitude like that from people you want to help you, but you just got to move on. You just got to move on and try to find the right one. And in the meantime, you educate yourself, so that you can help yourself until you do find that doctor or so that you can help them help you.
Brad Kearns: Elle Russ, cranking as expected. I knew we were going to have fun here. You’re coming back on the show for sure. We’re going to pick up where we left off and talk about some of that fun stuff that we talk about before the mic is turned on, like when you got me cracking up about dating and sexual mores and concerns of the society today. Hilarious stuff. It’s deep inside this multitalented woman.
But tell me before we go, where you’re headed with your podcast ambitions and also, you’re doing some filming and creating some coursework around your Paleo Thyroid Solution message.
Elle Russ: Yeah, I’m going to do a Paleo Thyroid Solution web course. More detailed videos and a comprehensive approach to the book that will include a copy of the audio book and Brad Kearns will come on and talk about some paleo primal on there. But just to put together a comprehensive course because there are so many protocols and things with regards to dosing and variables within this world that almost can’t be covered in a book and/or like Mark Sisson and his message to me. It really hit me when I watched Mark talk about it versus read his book. And I think people will really resonate on a podcast too when they hear me.
So, to be able to go through a course and do modules where you can skip or repeat, but if you need one on one thyroid training or you need to skip to the reverse T3, T3 or whatever it is. I just wanted to provide a one-stop shop because one on one coaching at a certain point can only reach so many. And as well, this is just the better deal financially to do it this way.
So, that and then also, I’ve got Rise Up Kick Ass. Just go to the website. It’s a women’s empowerment project, just myself and podcaster or Karen Martel of karenmartel.com. She’s a paleo keto, extraordinary meal planner and transformational health coach. And we interview a bunch of people, men and female, everything about orgasm. We have a woman on the project who wrote a book about the female orgasm. And we’ve got a couple of dudes on there and we’ve got a comedian on there, and some law of attraction experts and money experts. And just in this year of me too, and women’s empowerment, we were like, let’s contribute.
So, that’s a free online event and you can just go there. And anyone can just go to elleruss.com and see what I’m up to, other than the Primal Blueprint Podcast like you. I’m jumping in and going to do a separate one where maybe the topics can be a little bit broader, and the guests a little bit broader than what you and I do over with-
Brad Kearns: Broader shoulders or broader in their interest in-
Elle Russ: Oh, it’s about the broader – broader shoulders are sexy. I’m all about the broad shoulders.
Brad Kearns: We’re teeing up next show, thank you so much Elle Russ.
Elle Russ: Thank you.
Brad Kearns: Thank you for listening. This is Brad Kearns. Have a great day.
Hey, do you want to hear an advertisement? If I sing it, would that be a little more palatable? I know that we sometimes get annoyed listening to ads on podcasts. Go ahead and hit the plus 15 or the plus 32nd button if you don’t want to hear this. But I’ve also been exposed to some cool products and services when I listen to ads on certain podcasts. So, once in a while or more than that, I’m going to talk about stuff that I really use and enjoy and completely support. No BS, I absolutely promise that to you.
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