Toréa Rodriguez is a certified Functional Diagnostic Medicine practitioner in the Santa Cruz, CA area who is a big- time dark chocolate connoisseur.
I booked her on the show to learn all about the details of dark chocolate, but we go much deeper into important health matters first. Toréa relates her story of illness, healing and transformation—an interesting journey of going from hard working Silicon Valley scientist to commercial airline pilot to a basketcase who trashed her thyroid, was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, and was left unable to work. Faced with a doctor’s recommendation to radiate her dysfunctional thyroid, Toréa instead went looking for alternative healing strategies and discovered that she actually had an autoimmune disease! Such a common story as we know from Elle Russ’s book, Paleo Thyroid Solution, and her many shows about thyroid with Dr. Gary Forsman and others.
Toréa talks about how she healed with Dr. Chris Kresser’s help (ditching grains, healing co-infections in the gut, and rebalancing thyroid and adrenal function). Duly inspired, she transitioned out of flying and into a practitioner role helping others with FDN and also Transformational Coaching Method. Toréa talks about how she had to adjust her mindset from a Type-A overworker/overexerciser, and implement cool strategies like taking a “personal offsite” day once per quarter devoted to unplugging and reflection.
Regarding cravings that potentially throw you off track, Toréa reminds us that we are always seeking: “love, safety, and belonging,” and that cravings and binges could be related to filling an emotional void. We learn about her Detox program, where we want to prioritize cleaning up our cosmetics and body care products and our drinking water.
With those important matters out of the way, we finish up with a discourse on the health benefits of dark chocolate, and how to choose the healthiest, purest bars. Toréa details the importance of the “bean to bar” and “fair trade” designation on your dark chocolate bars. Many chocolate products are made from beans of unknown origin, where child labor becomes a concern as well as product purity. Bean to bar indicates that the manufacturer started with the raw material of cacao beans (grown only in tropical latitudes, with large producing countries including Costa Rica and Congo), sourced from a trusted farmer who was compensated fairly. Details can be found in the Mark’s Daily Apple post linked below.
Toréa’s journey is varied from biochemist to pilot to chocolate expert. She says she was not set out for “cubicle life”. [00:09:21]
Dealing with Hashimoto’s disease turned her life around. [00:13:41]
Misdiagnosis of thyroid disease is common. [00:18:19]
What were some of the things that you needed to change to get healthy? [00:20:58]
Was stress involved? [00:22:39]
In the beginning, it is really hard to dial down from being a type A personality. What’s a personal off-site day? [00:27:11]
Do people differ in the way they can handle various diets? [00:30:34]
Are your cravings tuition or emotion? We are all seeking love, safety, and belonging. If something is missing, we try to fill the hole. [00:35:07]
What is the detox program Toréa has? Are some people more sensitive to chemicals than others? [00:39:46]
What are some quick and easy changes that we can do to clean up the exposure to environmental toxins? [00:44:11]
What is the true story of chocolate? What do we look for when looking for quality? [00:47:54]
- Website: torearodriguez.com
- Mark’s Daily Apple: The Definitive Guide To Chocolate
- Paleo Thyroid Solution
- Hashimoto’s Disease
- Environmental Working Group
- Chris Kesser
Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is Brad Kearns.
And now on to our show. It gives me great pleasure to introduce this interesting and wide-ranging show with my guests to Torea Rodriguez, and she was originally booked from our booking department. She was originally booked as a dark chocolate expert because I was greatly interested and inspired by her show that she did on the NourishBalanceThrive podcast absolutely fantastic podcast. So make sure you go subscribe there and see Chris Kelly and Dr. Tommy and the great things they’re doing over at their Comprehensive Health and Wellness consultation and testing program, but also very wide-ranging podcast on numerous different topics and they got in deep with Torea about her passion of dark chocolate and discovering the great disparity in quality and cleanliness or sustainability giving their green stamp of approval on the chocolate that we see in the store.
Even the fancy looking stuff fancy sounding stuff that costs a lot of money oftentimes has some adverse grades from people who care about things like child labor in those countries that are iffy and indistinguishable source of the beans. So we learn about the bean-to-bar designation on the chocolate bar indicating that the manufacturer started with the raw material of the cacao beans, which are grown in a small belt of latitude near the equator. So they’re grown in Africa or South America, basically, and then everything is done the roasting the processing fascinating properties of how chocolate is made in contrast the ones that don’t say “bean to bar” or don’t have cacao beans as the first ingredient will have numerous other terms up there like chocolate, chocolate liqueur a many other stuff.
Boy! You’ll hear it in the show. But those are coming from possibly these clearinghouses and commodity products where they’re buying chocolate. That’s halfway made that’s in liquid form or something like that have no idea where it came from which means most likely that it came from a slave labor or questionable origin. So we want to be sustainable and thoughtful about where we get our chocolate Torea’s going to get all into it and we’re going to take the show in other direction and learn about her interesting fascinating background healing herself from a series of health maladies that she largely attributes to the usual pattern of overworking. She was a big-time Silicon Valley scientist, and then she pursued her dream of becoming an airline pilot and fried her thyroid in the process of taking on life and going for these goals and just going going going but very interesting story.
[05:34] She was about to get her thyroid operated on radiated and she started looking for alternative strategies came across Chris Kresser came across Elle Russ and the Paleo Thyroid Solution, Elle’s book, and getting into a little bit of that and how that transitioned her career into one of coaching functional nutrition, transformational coaching method so really great stuff. I think we can all relate to that tendency to go overboard in the type a category or the type AAA category just like the batteries (we’re not made of batteries) we’re natural dynamic people that need rest and balance. So transitioning from that overworked over-exercising patterns. She was also hit in the bicycle too hard while she was working too hard and then getting all the way deep into the alternative or the progressive healing methods that are becoming more and more popular today and more and more important to learn about as well. So enjoy the chocolate commentary
and all the other stuff that arises in this nice show with Torea Rodriguez.
Hello, listener friend. How’s it going? Here comes another awesome show. Do you have time to go on iTunes and leave a review? I would greatly appreciate it. This is how we rise up the rankings and garner more attention and more listeners, spreading the word, of course, is the other fantastic way. So together as we get over ourselves, have some fun, broaden our education keep entertained whether we’re exercising commuting or, geez when do I listen to podcasts? Sweeping, cleaning out the refrigerator. driving for a quick errand? Sometimes the podcast is still going when I’m walking around Home Depot, but then that multitasking thing gets to me and I noticed that I make mistakes or forget something such as a custom color of paint that I asked them to mix up for me and while I’m waiting since I don’t want to stand there and wait, of course two to three or four or five minutes, I go get all the rest of my stuff and get distracted by some cool stuff here and there and then leave the store get home and realize that there’s a custom can of paint waiting back for me all because I was listening to some awesome podcast.
So enjoy your podcasts whenever you get the chance and remember the benefits of single-tasking when you’re trying to focus, concentrate on something and then when you get back into the groove back onto the flat part of the trail, you can push play and carry on but if you do have a moment to go over there on iTunes and leave a review between three four and five stars. If you’re going to give me two stars then maybe you should just be too busy to go over there, but it really helps and say something thoughtful and also info at get over yourself podcast.com. I know you only have to type it once it’s a lot of words, but it’s also easy to remember that was the boundary, the decision point is that either super easy to remember or shorter because I was going to review reserve G-O-Y podcast.com, GOY podcast.com, but as we know growing up in the San Fernando Valley, a large Jewish community, the word go is also a possibly a disparaging term. Maybe just a nickname for a non-jew goyim is the proper term. So a little Hebrew lesson for the day. So instead of GOY podcast.com. Although I’m proud to be a goy, I guess. I’m also proud to be an honorary Jew having grown up in that wonderful cultural influence. We’re going to say info at get over yourself podcast.com and thank you for taking the time to leave your thoughts and also send your feedback to the email. That’s why I mentioned it.
[09:20} Hey, listeners, it’s host Brad Kearns, and I’m so excited to bring to the show the as I called you on our first email exchange the to Torea Rodriguez. Thank you for coming.
TOREA: Oh, thank you so much Brad. I’m excited to be here.
BRAD: So we got connected through the Christopher Kelly and I already know how cool you are if you’re friends with him, but we were thrown into an email grouping because you were the chocolate expert and you were kind of setting us straight and giving us additional insight in depth about the dark chocolate article that appeared on Mark’sDailyApple and then I found my way to the treasure trove of information and commentary that you have on what seems like a hobby to you is this dark chocolate experience. But so I want to I want to talk about that, one of my favorite subjects, but also get into all the great work you’re doing with your holistic health practices. So yeah. Yeah,
[10:15] BRAD: Why don’t you introduce yourself and tell a little bit of this fascinating background story where you were a Silicon Valley scientist turned pilot, and then you turned into kind of a basket case with assorted health problems that are you know, so familiar with modern life, but that led you on this journey to now where you’re doing the functional medicine and helping others get healthy and avoid some of these common maladies that we have and hectic everyday life.
TOREA: Yeah. Well many millennia ago. I was doing my biochemistry undergrad and straight out of that went into Silicon Valley a little bit, I guess, scared of all of the school debt that I got so I decided to go straight to work instead of going to master school right away and that I would come back to masters later and I ended up in text. So I was part of the.com boom and bust and got a lot of good experience watching companies grow and being part of companies as they were going bankrupt and I was in the middle of all of that but realize that I just wasn’t cut out for cubicle life. You know, I grew up on a farm in Colorado. I was totally a lover of the outdoors. The cubicle life was literally killing me in a cage. So it was a girlfriend of mine who had learned how to fly. I had met her in college. We’re still very close friends and she had learned how to fly she lives in Alaska and she took me for a ride in her dad’s plane and it was the best thing ever and I was like, oh my gosh, I’ll do that for a hobby. At least I can go fly and get out of the cubicle that way. It was probably in the first week of flight lessons that I came home and announced my husband that I was just going to switch careers and I’m going to be a pilot. This is it I’m doing it.
BRAD: Do you think there’s something in your blood in your genetics because so many pilots I speak to have that same initial experience where they go for a fly and it just it just click something in them that’s something that may be unfamiliar with the people that are just taking their seat on row 22A.
TOREA: Yeah. Well, you know, I grew up with just my mom. My parents were divorced and I didn’t really have a relationship with my dad. But later on, I discovered that my grandfather was a World War II bomber pilot and then my father had flown for a number of years and he actually gave it up when he lost his brother to an airplane accident. And so yeah, there’s aviation in my blood for sure.
BRAD: Amazing. Okay, Carry on so you announced your husband and of course he
was warm and supportive, right?
TOREA: And bless his heart. I mean that’s quite a rug to pull out from underneath somebody when you’re announcing something like that, but I treated it like a master’s degree. I would study at night. I would get up super early in the morning. I would hit the airport at 6 a.m. I would train with my instructor. I’d be at work by 8:30 a.m. You know, so I was really treating it like that second degree and with a number of years, I gained enough credentials and certifications to be a flight instructor. And when I was able to do that full time, as a full-time job, was when I left Silicon Valley like “high-tech…. Goodbye”. And so I became a pilot. I did flight instruction for a while and then I started flying charter and then I got certified to fly Jets and I was flying first private families out of the Bay Area and absolutely loving my job and what had happened was I started to notice that I would sleep as much as possible to make sure I was rested for work, but not and started to turn into 10 hours 12 hours 14 hours and I wake up in the morning and I’d feel not really well rested.
So I went to the only docs that I knew at the time was my OBGYN that I saw and so I went to her and I told her that I was dealing with this fatigue that was just really relentless and I was starting to get a little concerned and she ran some basic tests and she discovered that I had a problem with a thyroid and suggested that I talk to an endocrinologist.
I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and he gave me Synthroid basically for it and the doses that he put me on just weren’t working. So he doubles the dose I go back a couple months later. Double the dose. Then at this point. I’m in this special class of special issuance medical which means I have to give thyroid lab results to my aviation medical examiner every six months in order to stay able to fly and we couldn’t keep the labs within the normal range. It was so bizarre. I’d be low one-time normal another time. High another time and it would swing like this wild pendulum and it was October was my renewal for my medical. It was the month before that. I walked into his office and I said look, we got to fix this because if I can’t pass my medical next month, I have to stop flying like we need to
That and he just put up his hands and he said you know what the only thing I know what to do. Next is to radiate your thyroid and cut up the rest the tissue and I just was like, nope abort abort abort we are not going there and I took medical leave. I just decided that I was going to figure out another way that I wasn’t ready for that severe of a treatment and that’s when I really started understanding that I needed to focus on the immune system. In fact, it was Chris Kresser who wrote an article way back when about how autoimmunity is not a disease of the thyroid. It’s a disease of the immune system. And that was the first time that it clicked that I’m dealing with autoimmune disease not a thyroid disease. And so I ended up seeing Chris. He was my practitioner for a while and I got totally knee-deep into it.
You know Chris he’s all about the scientific articles and he kept sending me PubMed resources to read and I was digging into PubMed myself and fell in love with it and decided to get certified as a functional practitioner. And so that’s what I did and I started seeing clients in 2014 I think is when I 2013-2014 timeframe. And so that’s what I’ve been doing ever since
BRAD: Wow! So it sounds like you’re you healed spectacularly and that was the inspiration to get into the business and stop flying was that kind of a difficult transition or did you just find a new passion that was even more compelling than flying?
TOREA: You know that was definitely a challenging thing because the whole thing around flying, you know, I was really ashamed for a while that I had even gotten sick and I didn’t tell a lot of people why I took medical leave. And I had to really kind of grapple with the grief that comes with me having found my dream job and having to stop doing that and ultimately what it came down to is I finally got to a point when I started seeing clients that I got my thyroid lab stable enough and most of the autoimmune antibodies were in regression at that point or remission. Sorry not regression. That’s the opposite.
It got to a point where I had to really face the music of do I want to go take a highly stressful job knowing that stress is the primary trigger to chronic disease or do I want to feel fantastic and really connect with people and help them feel fantastic too? And that’s when I decided to go down this path instead of go back to aviation.
[18:19] BRAD: Wow, our usual host Elle Russ is going to be bummed that she wasn’t here on the interview because we hear these recurring theme so much she’s had so many shows dedicated to thyroid. And Dr. Gary Forsman talking about her own book The Paleo Thyroid Solution, but was disturbing to me as you hear this happen so often where you get, I guess you’ll have to call it misdiagnosis, if someone wants to blast your thyroid with radiation rather than go the other route. So nice to get the story out there. I think there are so many people that can relate, especially when you talk about that that stair-stepping of your sleep hours because I’m coming from the athletic world where I’m trying to perform and recover during my time as a professional triathlete and I had you know, everything counted upon me being fresh and rested and ready every day just like someone piloting an airplane but perhaps as important as a racer on the triathlon circuit then someone with a bunch of passengers. But you know when you start getting over that natural normal healthy baseline and you’re dragging after you sleep 12 hours, then we got to go and looking for issues. You know, first of all pat you on the back and congratulate you that you took the time to prioritize sleep, but I can totally relate to that and that thyroid is tricky business, especially when people are focused on, I guess, the symptoms rather than the underlying cause correct.
TOREA: Yeah, and there’s so many other systems in the body that are related to hormone systems, etc. So it wasn’t surprising that when I started working with Chris that he uncovered a lot of quacks in a related issues. And so it was just the process of dealing with them one at a time and taking our time and you know continuing to find anything else that might be inhibiting my immune system has been kind of a passion of mine and you know, it definitely took a while but I can say that I feel better now than I did probably since college to be honest.
BRAD: Fantastic. So yes, and some people feel pretty crappy in college. The kids are eating, you know, a lot of processed food not minding their sleep hours putting themselves under all kinds of stress, especially these days when where we have so many expectations placed on young people. So just you know, the fact that you’re getting older doesn’t have anything to do with, you know, you can conceive of getting healthier and healthier for for many more decades to come that that’s great stuff. So what were some of the things that you identified with Cresser’s help that needed to be righted whether they were dietary or lifestyle related or all of them all of it?
TOREA: Let’s see. No the primary things like that. I really worked on with Chris was realigning my the way that I was eating. you know, I grew up on a ranch in Colorado. I kind of joked that I had a hippie mom. You know, she was into the organic vegetable gardening and all that stuff and I thought I was eating healthy. Right? And I was eating vegetarian and lots and lots and lots of whole grains healthy whole grains and didn’t realize that I was getting sicker and sicker doing that. So he got me back on to whole foods and pulled me off of grains and he started me with paleo and we did Autoimmune Paleo for a little while to kind of help me with that. That gave me a huge step of recovery was just fixing the food and realizing that vegetarianism is probably not the best thing for me because he also found pretty severe iron and B12 Anemia and I need to I need to get that from an animal source. That’s how my body works. So that was really helpful and then we found several co-infections of the gut and so it was really looking for a lot of the co-infections and those over a period of time we did some hormone balancing some adrenal work. Pretty much everything under the sun but his big things for me were diet and stress and sleep. Those were the three that really helped me kind of get on the right path.
BRAD: Right. So you’re talking about this familiar.com experience where you’re just grinding for those period of time you’re right out of school. You got the pressure of school debt and then jumping into this environment where you know, there’s there’s kind of a short-term emphasis on performance on going public on making their earnings whatever and it seems like in aggregate everyone’s overworking undernourished and under underslept and is it you think that’s kind of a trigger to where you went from sort of sort of healthy or whatever you were coming into it to, you know destroyed?
TOREA: Yeah, you know I think stress is a huge part of it. Stress of the pressure of you know, Silicon Valley in the need to perform at a really good level. But you know, there’s also just the relentless stress that we do to our body. I would pull all-nighters at work, you know, it wasn’t uncommon that we did that back in those days. That was pretty common to do. Things like I got to stay fit. So I’m I used to do endurance cycling and I was writing at the time I saw Chris. I was riding a hundred and fifty to two hundred miles a week. And you know thinking okay if I can just get that endorphin high I will feel better. And I did here
BRAD: If you’re working so long and you’re working so many hours in the cubicle, you might as well, you know balance your health by writing a hundred fifty to two hundred miles a week.
TOREA: That’s right.
BRAD: Another one that’s tripping people up where they think they’re they think they’re counterbalancing and all they’re doing is weighing down the one side of the balance scale with more stress.
TOREA: Right. I used to be of the mindset that more is better and now I understand that often times less is better instead of more. And so that is something that I really had to work on throughout my transformation.
BRAD: Hey, it’s time for a commercial on the show and we’re sponsored by less is better and that’s a quote by to Torea. Oh my goodness. Let’s pull that out. And remember that one because it applies to so many things. I think even you know, even in the workplace where a what was I just listening to Arianna Huffington was saying that the CEO of Aetna, the health care company with 46,000 employees or something, had a health misfortune. And so he mandated that his workforce get into these alternative healing methods like acupuncture, massage, reasonable work hours and they referenced a study Huffington references study where people that were working an excessive number of hours a week. suffered a decline in productivity to the tune of 69 minutes a day. So if you’re going in this pattern where you know, you’re working ten eleven twelve hour days for weeks or months on end, it takes you an hour longer to get your work done because your brain is fried and you’re not recovering. That was really interesting and a good justification. I think for your wonderful quote there. So yeah, you know, I guess I really should make it a commercial because then maybe people will listen more. I don’t know or please please don’t fast forward. It’s not a real commercial. But yeah definitely on the on the exercise part when you’re pairing that with an already high-stress lifestyle. I just did a show recently with Joel Jameson who was talking about this concept of recovery debt and the constrained model of energy expenditure where we only have a certain amount of energy to dispense each day. So go listen to that show to pair with these comments here, but you know, the takeaway point is that if
you are working that hard and you are putting out that much exercise energy. The thing that was being sacrificed was the energy that you had to devote to recovery, whether it’s you know raw hours of sleep, but even so, in general, your body was not given time to repair and restore.
TOREA: No. Yeah, I didn’t give it enough time at all. And you know, Chris gave me the great advice of you know, really you should get off the bike for a while now hang it up about six months and I panicked it’s like, what do you mean? I I tried to talk him into letting me ride a 35-mile training right that didn’t work. But he really explained it this way is that he said look you could you could do that do it that way, but it’ll probably take you two or three years to solve your problem instead of six months.
BRAD: Whoo! It’s going to appeal to your competitive mindset is the only way possible to get off the bike is to say that it’s going to shorten your recovery time. But I think an important point there is that you know, you have this reference point where hey you can do a century ride. You’re really strong. You can ride for two three four hours, but when you’re in that that state of weakness or illness, even an easy 20-mile flat ride is too strenuous and too much for you at that time. And I think a lot of athletes, you know, they can’t grasp the idea that in fitness is a dynamic process and entails managing other forms of stress so good for him and good for you to make that commitment and to finish up this comment. I want to ask you, I mean, this is probably something a lot of people can relate to you know, your hard-driving goal-oriented person with all these accomplishments and this great track that you were on and then all the sudden you were inspired to, you know, flip some different switches. Just turn down some dials. Is it is it difficult? Is it an ongoing challenge to teach yourself to relax slow down take more time to sleep, you know compress your to-do list and those types of things?
TOREA: In the beginning, it was really hard. The only way that I knew was Type A, overachiever. That’s all I knew so it took a lot of practice. Now, it’s a lot easier but I still catch myself volunteering for too much, you know, trying to put too much on my plate and then having to step back and really look at okay, what what’s most important and having to get rid of what’s not as important and only focusing on the stuff that is important. So, you know things that I’ll do, for example, is I take a personal off-site day every quarter now where I won’t be distracted by work. I won’t be distracted by home responsibilities, and I definitely am trying not to be distracted by the internet. And I take that day to really kind of regroup and do an assessment like how am I doing with health and life and fitness and business and relationships? And really try and get centered every quarter instead of doing it once a year or getting myself to a place where I’m having a meltdown because I’ve tried my Type A tactics that don’t work well for my body.
BRAD: That is a great concept of personal off-site day every quarter. I used to dread those when I was working. I was down working in Silicon Valley about the same time as you probably but we know I’d have these three day off sites with meetings and strategy sessions and all it did was like pile up my email inbox like it didn’t have the intended effect of reflection and walking in the forest and doing some deep breathing and heading back to the office. So what I like about that is it’s it’s doable. It’s not intimidating. If you said that you take, you know, three hours every day for quiet reflection, people would dismiss it with a push of that 30-second forward button on the podcast but you know once a quarter if we can just actually schedule in a day and call it off-site. What a great. What a great title to like you’re actually going to go somewhere and go to the beach with a journal pad and yoga mat. I love that. That’s cool.
TOREA: Yeah, so that’s been really helpful and that’s how I keep myself in check. But you know, we’re wired particular ways and sometimes you have to go against that wiring and that takes practice.
BRAD: Speaking of that wiring, going back a bit to when you talked about how you had the anemia and the deficiencies showing up when you were eating this high grain vegetarian based diet and now you’ve had hands-on with, you know, a good base of clients to reflect, do you think there are differences among individuals where certain people could actually thrive on a grain-based vegetarian diet and other people to go to the bacon and butter? Or can we make some generalizations where you know, maybe no one should be eating a lot of these grains or something of that nature?
TOREA: I have to agree with Dr. Thomas Cowan who’s in San Francisco and I saw him for a period of time, but he said something really interesting to me when I was seeing him about food in general and how food is nourishing and healing and he said there are times where you need to rebuild your infrastructure if you will, you know, the bones and the muscles and everything else and that means a much higher protein type diet to do that. But then there are times where you really need to focus in on the macronutrients and the vitamins and minerals that you’re getting from all the vegetables, right? So I don’t think that one particular diet works for one particular person throughout their entire life cycle. I think it ebbs and flows depending upon what the body needs. So there are periods of time where I do really really well on an extremely vegetable-heavy diet and then there are times where I don’t do as well on a on that and they need to move to incorporate a lot more meat protein. So in terms of grains in particular, I think some grains can help with prebiotic components and microbiota diversity. So there is a place for them, but I think when we take diets to an extreme and define ourselves with a yes and no rule list, that’s where we start to risk not noticing when the body’s needs change.
BRAD: Interesting. I also recall Cresser saying that in regard to protein he said that your cravings are really strong catalyst to optimize your protein intake. So if you’re kind of on a minimal protein path for a while due to some crazy diet or some protocol that you’re following and avoiding foods that you ordinarily might eat. Well, first of all, you’re going to feel tired you’re going to get emaciated and you’re going to have strong cravings for protein and I think you know when you’re getting enough or overdoing it you’re going to sort of have an aversion to these foods that you know, might be pay more attention to an intuitive eating strategy and dial in even better than the protocol outlined in a book or magazine.
TOREA:Yeah, and I try and work with my clients to teach them how to listen to their intuition when it comes to food. I think we’ve gotten a lot of people who are so worried about fixing their health and want to do they want to be the type A overachiever in there AIP yes-no list or their SCD diet yes-no list that they’d become somewhat orthoaxic. They start to go on that spectrum of being really paranoid about the food that they’re ingesting and that’s not a healthy place to be when it comes to nourishment. And so I try and train my clients and teach them how to pay attention to their body and listen to those cravings and listen to what the body is trying to tell them as their ultimate guide so that they don’t need some of these PDF download.
BRAD: Yeah, and we’ve used that term a lot on the podcast: orthorexia is defined as sort of as an excessive fixation on the correct on the healthiest possible food to the extent that it creates extra stress in your life. And to maybe play devil’s advocate a bit or speak for wise guys and why is gals that are listening? What if someone says well, you know, my intuition says that I should stop off at Dunkin Donuts and grab, you know, grab six of those and wash it down with three cups of coffee. That’s what I really want to do and I’m just using my discipline and willpower to stay away from these comfort foods that you know that I love so much and my are singing my name.
[35:10] TOREA: Yeah, I would say is that an intuition or that an emotion. Oftentimes emotions are driving those cravings as opposed to actual intuition.
BRAD: So that’s pretty heavy, Torea. Come on.
TOREA: This is where my coaching goes. I’m sorry.
BRAD: Let’s ask yourself those hard questions. Yeah, is it emotion or intuition?
TOREA: What’s the emotion I’m feeling? if I’m craving a food that a logically I know is not good for me. There’s something else there.
BRAD: Not only know that it’s not good for you intellectually, but also can report from past experience that you kind of feel crappy after you binge on a pint of sugar Ben & Jerry’s, you know, yeah two hours later. So you’re going, you’re trading five minutes of indulgence and and reactionary behavior for what you confirmed to be something that you know, overall causes distress, whether it’s psychological from departing from your stated goals or even the physical distress.
TOREA: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
BRAD: So what do you do for clients that are stuck in along these lines?
TOREA: You know, I think oftentimes will get into a conversation kind of usually looks at a conversation and if I kind of step back a little bit I start to ask them questions around. You know where they felt this before in their life often times. It comes to childhood, right? So it’s not like I’m trying to be a therapist. I’m definitely not. But there is one core thing that I know about humans and that is that we are always seeking love, safety, or belonging and when one of those things is missing, we start to try and fill that hole and some a lot of times that hole gets filled with food and sometimes not good food choices. Sometimes so I had a client for example who couldn’t could not ditch his cereal habit. He loved to eat cereal even though he knew that it wasn’t going to help him with his blood sugar issues, right? So we started talking about well, what’s the cereal mean to you? And he thought way back when it’s because his mom expressed love to him by giving him a bowl of cereal after school, before school.. Like this was kind of how she expressed love to him. And so then he was like, okay now I’ve got stuff I can go talk to my therapist about right. So yeah.
BRAD: Trip out uncovering stuff from the seemingly mindless behavior, but it’s rooted in something. I like that strategy of, you know, you’re you’re helping them unearth some things and then they can go talk to the therapist. Then they can go cry their way to the therapist they get to hear about the cereal.
TOREA: Well, yeah, I mean it’s not something that I’m trained to do, but definitely it’s part of their team, right? So another thing that I emphasize with my clients is that I am one person and a large team that’s managing your health and your the manager and so you can have me you can have a therapist you can have an MD you can have whoever you want. But this is all part of the team and we get to work together.
BRAD: I think that’s important too because the client has some accountability because you see this a lot in the in the athletic scene where you put your your fortunes and you put the responsibility over to the coach and frankly a lot of coaches sort of embrace that role where they say, you know, we have a race coming up in eight weeks and try to take credit for the success of the athlete and all these kind of weird relationship dynamics rather than just being a person that’s you know, kind of… The analogy and golf is you know, the caddy’s carrying the bag, giving the yardage, checking the wind, giving support and encouragement to the player, but the player has to take the swing and a lot of times when we cross that barrier then we start to set up a situation where oh, you know, we could blame Torea because she was on vacation. She was on her off-site and wasn’t available that day when I decided to binge on Ben and Jerry’s and so it’s all your fault all your fault rather than you know, taking their own responsibility and sort of having a direct input even into the process to say. “Well, you know, I don’t think I’m ready for a detox this week because I have a big presentation coming up, but how about next week,” and then think simply click.
[39:45] BRAD: Speaking of that detox, you have sort of a sleep program or a program that emphasizes sleep the whole life detox. You want to talk about that? We’ll do a little pitch for your program. And then, of course, we have to transition.
TOREA: Yeah, the whole life detox is interesting. It’s not running right now, but it’s more along the lines of looking at all of the different environmental toxins. And so it’s a course that I put together with Julie Kelly Christopher’s wife actually where we talc about the different toxins that you can find in your home in terms of cleaning products and skin care products and makeup and water clarity. And what is your water report look like and what’s on your water report, you know, do you need to be filtering water that kind of thing? So that’s what that course is all about. It is really not only are we looking at detoxing our body from a cleanse standpoint, but we’re also talking about let’s look at the rest of our environment that we have under our own control that we can make a cleaner environment instead of walking around in a soup of chemicals.
BRAD: Okay, help a brother out on this issue, please, because I’m hearing shows like, Dr. Mercola who was on our channel recently talking about how you need to reinforce your wires in your wall so you reduce the electromagnetic fields and scaring the crap out of me, but I’m just you know, you know, you know, when you go online to get wireless and you have 11 of your neighbors signals on you’re saying . It can’t be good. But these people that take it to the extreme where I really am alarmed to to listen to the show or talk about, you know, a friend came over and you know was going in detail about you know, these these challenges that have been, you know, decades-long health problems and a lot of its traced to drinking the crappy Sacramento city water. So I need to get an expensive filtration system and I totally
respect the journey that, you know, these expert voices are on. I mean, you know more coal is one of the leading health authorities, but I wonder in your opinion, you know are certain people more sensitive than others where they really need to look at this stuff and as can some people skate free drinking the city water? Should we all be you know going after some of these big picture goals of, you know, reducing our exposure to you know, microwaving a plastic Tupperware and all that kind of can we go on a little bit of a tear basis here to have some takeaways for the listener?
TOREA: Yeah. Absolutely. You know the way that I think about it is it’s the overall stress burden to the body. So if you look at your emotional stress, physical stress, that’s one area, but then you’ve got all the environmental toxins that are and other area of stress to the body that it’s constantly being exposed. So it’s constantly having to get rid of these toxins. Yes, absolutely. Some people are going to be more sensitive to the stuff than others. So, for example, me being a thyroid patient. I’m really careful about those types of chemicals like chlorine and fluoride that are in the water that can interfere with proper thyroid function. So for me if there’s fluoridated water I prefer to filter that out so that I know that I’m not inhibiting my thyroid function from that. But the way that I look at it is look we’re all on the same dirty planet. We’re living in a world that’s different than our ancestors before in terms of chemicals were all going to be exposed. We’re not going to get away from it. So I say do what you can and do what is easiest and think about taking on another area of it later. So for example, I don’t think that you need to deal with all the EMS in your house, deal with the water system in your house, deal with the plastic and glass that you’ve got in your house like all at once. Like to tackle it one at a time. So if you need something new underneath your kitchen counter to clean the counters when you run out of it, go see if you can find a better product next time. That’s kind of my approach is to kind of take it one step at a time.
BRAD: Okay. So if I’m sold and I want to take some action some simple easy action, I’m slightly to moderately motivated, you know, I’ll bend over backward to to search Amazon for new cleaning product. But what do you think would be some some quick and easy ones that a motivated person will do right away to clean up their, to minimize their exposure to environmental , the detox.
TOREA: Yeah, I would say quick and easy ones are start looking at your skin care. So download The Healthy Living app by the environmental working group. That’s a really fun thing to have on your phone because you can scan the barcodes of the product. you’re about to pick up and see whether or not it’s a green yellow red in terms of toxin exposure. And so when you’re out of shampoo use the EWG app to find a better shampoo than the one that you were using and do it that way. But it really I would say start with skincare, and, for the ladies, also make up because that’s the stuff. We’re putting on our skin that does get absorbed into the body.
BRAD: I read a stat recently that the average American female will spend $300,000 on cosmetics over the course of their lifetime and the number of seemed so alarmingly high to me, but I put it out there to a couple females and they’re like, yeah, sounds about right now is like what I know. I had no idea how much this stuff costs until I look at my shopping basket on Amazon and my daughter has, you know, eyeliner, some simple product in there and I’m like, wait, how do we get up to? $68? Oh, my gosh, is 20 bucks for that little stick. It’s crazy the prices it seems like and I guess this is a high expense item and a high exposure item to category
TOREA: It absolutely can be yeah. Yeah.
BRAD: Okay, so we’re going to look at skincare first. What about the kitchen the water supply? Where do you rank those?
TOREA: Kitchen would be next so kitchen and cleaning supplies. So your kitchen and laundry like take a look under the cabinet do the same thing the EWG up healthy living is easy to kind of rate your current product and find out where it falls and then you can also browse on there to find other products to swap them out. So as you run out of dishwasher detergent take a few seconds to look yours up and then go find another one. Water is municipal water is reasonably safe for most people right? That’s why they test it at the municipal plant for her water. What’s interesting though, is there if there are people who are immunocompromised or if there are people who are having lots of gut issues, the tiny trace amount of Cryptosporidium that is found in the Municipal Water Supply can take up residence.
in that gut and start to grow and become overgrown and now you’ve got a problem with a cryptosporidium infection. So thinking about along those lines, you know, if you want to take a look at your water, check first to see what’s in it and then find some filters to help you filter out. What’s there for most people a pitcher filter and shower filters are way sufficient. You don’t have to go out spending tens of thousands of dollars on a reverse osmosis 18 cartridge system for your whole house.
BRAD: What’s in those refrigerators where you have that tube that goes in every year to change is that it? Is that a decent filter? Is that carbon or what’s>
TOREA: It’s just a carbon filter. So it’s just going to keep big stuff out. It’s not going to it’s not going to filter out microorganisms and it’s not going to filter out any elements that you want to filter out like fluoride. So it’s all right. It’s not my first choice, but we have one in our fridge right on.
[48:00] BRAD: Well, let’s take a little transition into the wonderful world of chocolate and I don’t know where to start but what I got out of you was so enlightening and that was that there’s more to kind of the story than just looking at your percentage and trying to get a higher percentage from milk to dark specifically the manufacturing the production methods the quality standards the introduction of the concern about slave labor and also the purity and the health quality of the product can vary greatly even among fancy pancy labels that charge more than a few bucks for the bar. So let’s give us a little bit of insights here so that the chocolate enthusiasts can make the best choices.
TOREA: Yeah sure and that article is great. It’s really a great start. There’s just like you said a little bit more to the story. I think I’ve always loved chocolate. Like I was the one going after the special dark set Halloween trying to pick those out, you know from all the other stuff. So I’ve always been a chocolate fan but it really wasn’t until, gosh, probably around 2014 when I was doing my FDN training did we discover. We were still living in Silicon Valley and we discovered a place in Palo Alto called The Chocolate Garage. And so I owe Sunita de Tourreil who is the founder of The Chocolate Garage. I owe her a lot of things for her educating me on the rest of the story so that I can make better choices on chocolate. Plus. She amazed my palette every single time. I went in there and it was just a real fun experience to start testing these bars that were made from beings that came from different countries and different farms and different processes from the makers. It can get into cacao just as intensely as you can get into wine. It’s it’s a fun hobby. So that’s how I got into it.
BRAD: Yeah, that’s my goal because I don’t drink wine and I go into the store and I think it’s silly to see all these different labels and all these different price points and I’m like, what is this? It’s all wine. But oh my goodness now, I’m going to try to aspire to do the same for chocolate. And one thing I learned about was the, you know, looking on the ingredient list and trying to strive for this ultimate standard of bean-to-bar with cacao beans being the lead ingredients. So can you talk about why that’s important versus what we might see on a more mass-produced kind of commodity product?
TOREA: Sure, and a lot of this I’m kind of applying what I know now is a health professional but you know, we know that processed food gets processed in a way that the nutrient value of that food is less what the end product then when you started so that’s why they started fortifying breads and cereals with additional vitamins. It is because they’re lost in that processing process I guess and so when when I started learning from Sunita at The Chocolate Garage about what these ingredients mean she was the one who passed that tip on to me, which is look at the ingredients of the chocolate bar and if it starts with cacao powder and like cocoa mass or something like that, you know that what you have is a product that has been processed first. Whereas if you see cocoa beans as one of the first ingredients then you know that that maker actually took the whole bean and did the processing themselves as opposed to getting it from some large industrial plant who has taken cocoa beans from all over the world and dumped them into one big vat. Now you don’t really know what it is that you got except for the cocoa powder that results in the end. So that was just one way of looking at the different qualities of cocoa butter and cocoa mass and cocoa beans in the bars.
BRAD: Right? So if you see a cacao beans as the lead ingredient, that means they started their I just took this incredible tour of the Theo Chocolate Factory in Seattle, if you’re up there or visiting there, you know, they have a tour that goes every day and they talked about the whole process.
They show pictures of the farms in its kind of a chocolate built that’s near the equator. So the chocolate is usually sourced from Africa some of it from Costa Rica and in the case of Theo Chocolate Factory, they make it right there in Seattle and the beans literally come off the ship from either Costa Rica or the Democratic Republic of Congo. So they have the exact source of their beans the exact farm then they start there and roast the beans and do all the extraction and purification process as they go down the assembly line that you can see with your own eyes and turn it into liquid and all these things. So what you’re saying is when you’re looking on a label and it starts with chocolate liqueur or cocoa powder or something, they’re picking up a product that’s been prepared by perhaps someone that they can’t even trace the origin to and therefore less quality standard possibly less purity or potency and also that concern about slave labor in using countries that aren’t regulated. They don’t have that. What’s the stamp you want to see fair trade on the chocolate label. So I just asked you like six questions. So let’s go to town.
TOREA: Yeah. Let’s see if we can tease this all apart. But yeah just quickly about the cost of chocolate right A lot of times if you see a bar that’s relatively inexpensive from some of these larger makers. That’s pretty typical of when you have lost the traceability of where the cacao has come from any kind of have to ask your self the question. Why is it so cheap? It’s so cheap because some of these countries use slave labor. It’s a sad fact, but that’s what’s happening with cacao. It’s other Industries too, but that can definitely happen with cacao. So I kind of steer away from that if I can’t trace it down to the exact origin of the bar. Like I’m looking right now at a bar that I’m snacking on while we’re talking and it’s Dominican Republic and Peru, right? So I’ve got a blend of beans from Dominican Republican Peru, and I know this maker who happens to be a maker and the United States will import those beans and do exactly what you witnessed at the tour and I’ve been to that tour. That’s a good tour. And so that’s what you really if you’re looking for bean to bar chocolate you’re looking for these craft makers who will import the beans and do all of the processing themselves.
BRAD: So bean to bar, is that keyword? And also Fair Trade Practices on the label somewhere looking at the Theo label and it identifies that the ingredients are also organic. So then you start getting into this and reading some articles you can go on that Mark’s Daily Apple and I think we have some helpful links and so forth, but then you start looking at these price points that are scary high compared to what you’re used to buying like, I love the Trader Joe’s 85% dark chocolate lovers bar. It’s a dollar fifty-nine for the typical 3 point 5 ounce bar. But you know now with my concerns erased I will kind of a
TOREA: Now you can ask the question like where does it come from? Right? Who’s handled the beans? And you know not all of them will have fair trade on there. It’s not required by law that they do it. Sometimes people like to do it as a selling point. I think really it’s just part of the fun thing about craft chocolate and getting to know the different makers especially here in the United States is to go to their factories and go do their tours and talk to them and get to know them and figure out you know, where are they getting their beans from what’s their process? Then you start to build a relationship with them somewhat. I mean, it’s not like you’re meeting the maker but you’re going to understand a lot more about the process of cacao and how you can actually get better chocolate and better tasting chocolate. My opinion is when you can start tasting the different varieties.
BRAD: Right just like going to the wine tasting event at the vineyard and kind of seeing and having that visceral experience. My very favorite bar that I’ve discovered after a lot of testing and investing in different kinds of this Lily Belle farms in Oregon and the Darkstar 80% is just absolutely incredible and not that I’m going to visit there anytime soon. I hope to someday but you go on their website and you have this really cool experience where the guy is obviously a Grateful Dead fan and everything’s got Grateful Dead themes and he sends you send me my first order of a dozen bars with two handwritten cassette tapes of Grateful Dead songs, and I’m sorry to say I haven’t used them because I don’t have a cassette player. But you know just that loving touch where you can envision this small town is called Central Point, Oregon where they’re making these bars by hand. I think it’s eight bucks or something for a two and a half ounce bar smaller than the Trader Joe’s Bar. But if you start to get into the experience of tasting and noticing the different flavor points and on the CO2, or they were talking about, you know, the origin of the bar the time of the the seasons the different weather patterns the different soil circumstances, you’re going to get different flavors that come out of these highlights just like a wine drinker can kind of go to town with the indulgence there. So I think it’s a wonderful world to proceed down especially, trying to up your quality standards. Now one point maybe this would be great for Sunita to answer to but our researcher at Mark’s Daily Apple did not succeed very well in finding quantifiable data to suggest that the bean to bar, you know, a fresher product had higher health benefits than some other bar. In other words. Most of the studies about dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is great. Its high antioxidant. They’re just using sort of the random commodity product that they might have tested. So I wonder if we can going beyond making that simple assumption that you made so nicely when you’re looking at, you know, a processed food product having less nutritional value than a natural one. Is there a way to kind of go deeper into the chocolate question?
TOREA: Yeah. That’s a really great question and I’m not aware of any other studies that have been done in terms of the processing and how the processing affects the nutritional value. I’m pretty certain that there’s got to be somewhere a university maybe in Switzerland or somewhere that is doing that kind of work. Switzerland is known for a lot of mass producers and so maybe not but yeah, I mean maybe talking to Sunita The Chocolate Garage she’d be much better in the know and that on that topic than I am.
BRAD: Well, I think it’s it stands to reason that you want minimally processed stuff. And when you’re looking at a red pepper that’s been flown in from Chile or a Blackberry for that matter right now. Here we are in the wintertime in California. It’s you know, it’s the taste is different to me. I don’t even taste that well, but even I can discriminate a little bit at certain points where you’re looking at food that’s been transported from distant lands or over-processed or in the case of the chocolate, you know, commoditized and watered down. I think that’s you know, that’s certainly enough rationale for me that I’m looking. You know, he goes to the Theo Chocolate Factory and where does the to or end in the gift shop where there’s chocolate all over the place and you blow your wad. I mean, I think the two are cost 20 bucks. They should make the to or free because you know, we’re going to go spend a hundred at the at the shop with all the stuff that you’ve just seen being made but they have like a raspberry flavored dark chocolate bar and because this is not one of the main production line products that they can, you know run for 10,000 units, they actually have people in a kitchen chopping up the raspberries and sprinkling them into the batch to make it on a short run production run. And if you do if that doesn’t matter to you, I think it’s just so beautiful to go and buy that end product that you just saw the people, you know making with loving care with their with their own hands right there in front of you.
So fun stuff about that. I think we’re getting toward the end of time with all these wonderful concepts thrown out there was a it was a wide-ranging show. So I appreciate you going off on two different categories and maybe we can get you back on to zero in on stuff. I want to talk to you more about sleep because I know you’ve been deep into that subject, but for now, thank you so much Torea. And do you have anything to add like where we can find you and look into your consulting programs and so forth?
Torea: Yes, so it’s been a ton of fun talking with you today so much and if anybody wants to check out more about me or what I do or get in touch with me, they can find me at my website which is ToreaRodriguez.com. And I know you’ll be adding that to the show notes so that people can spell it and I look forward to talking to anybody who wants to just reach out. Torea, thanks for joining us.
This is your host Brad Kearns. Thanks for listening. Have a great day, but I don’t dump on a bum.