My guest for this interview is Wendi Trubow. I’m really excited, because we’re talking about toxins. She’s the author of “Dirty Girl: Ditch the Toxins, Look Great and Feel FREAKING AMAZING!” I love her book! There is so much valuable information that you can use in your own journey. I hope you love her as much as I do!
In this interview, we are going to talk about…
The toxins that we are being exposed to on a daily basis.
How to reduce them and “clean up our act”
What we need to do to heal ourselves from the inside out.
About Dr. Wendi Trubow
Dr. Wendi Trubow is a functional medicine gynecologist. She received her MD from Tufts University and has been practicing functional medicine since 2009. After all these years, she’s still passionate about helping women optimize their health and their lives. Her own health journey helped inspire her methods of care. Through her struggles with mold disease, metal toxins, and celiac disease, she has lived through what has worked and what hasn’t and this has really created her methods of care.
Wendy has developed a deep sense of compassion for what her patients are facing. When she’s not helping patients in her practice at Five Journeys, you can find Dr. Wendy alongside her husband and their four children, creating a beautiful ecosystem in their yard, which provides nourishment to both the body and soul.
Welcome, Dr. Wendie Trubow to the Functional Gynecologist!
Dr. Wendie: Thank you. It’s great to be here.
This is an exciting conversation, and it’s much needed. And I’m just really looking forward to you unpacking all of this because what I hear from women is it feels overwhelming and scary. Do you hear that?
I do and I think it’s really hard being a woman today because we feel like we have to look good, make sure our families eat “perfect meals”, have a “perfect house.” We often work outside the home, then we also have to be available for our significant other, etc. We have a lot of competing priorities.
Definitely! Meanwhile, we’re being bombarded with all these toxins that we’re going to talk about. It really can impact your health. So I would love for you to share your story because I find that it helps to share our stories so we can learn from each other.
I would say my story has two parts. The first part includes terrible genetics, I have two genes for MTHFR. I have two genes for celiac, I have two genes for vitamin D deficiency. I was born in the 70s. My mom cooked every night, but it wasn’t the healthiest food. Then inthe 80s we developed microwaves and we had microwave food that was microwaved in plastic. I had signs of celiac, even in my teens. I was a very poor absorber and had terrible iron levels. I was fatigued, but it was the 80s, and nobody really complained about anything. Fast forward to my 20s. I just thought everyone had a better cork than I did. I had really bad gas, bloating, diarrhea, and IBS. All the symptoms and brain fog. Then I decided to go to medical school and chose OB GYN because I fell in love with it. I also did it because it was hard and I like to do hard things.
From a constitution standpoint, that is the worst specialty I could have ever chosen because of the stress and being up all night and that’s really a good match. I remember getting into full blown celiac disease in my early 30s and being diagnosed at 35.
Thankfully, I was working with a functional medicine doctor. I went gluten-free and started to work on my gut health. We addressed yeast overgrowth and adrenal fatigue. I spent 13 years doing that.
That’s part one.
Part Two of My Health Journey Starts After Our Neighbor Tore His House Down
My neighbor tore down his house. It was a postwar construction house. Those houses almost always have lead. I freaked out and closed all the windows to try to keep the lead out. I think I got exposure because I started to have a little bit of hair loss after that happened. My hairdresser said you’re fine. Don’t worry about it.
Then we went to France in April of 2019. I remember it was super dusty there. It was 10 days after Notre Dom burned. I came back from France and gained about 10 pounds, not in France. But after France. My hair started coming out in droves. I had a rash on my face. I wanted to rip my face off it was so irritated. I went to my Functional Medicine doctor and we ran a bunch of tests, but nothing came up. Then at the end of summer, I heard an NPR report. It said that 500 tons of lead were released into the atmosphere when Notre Dom burned! The closer you were to Notre Dom the more lead you were exposed to. I got tested and my lead level was 25%, higher than it had been on a previous test. It was noticeably out of range. I tested for mycotoxins, which are mold toxins, and environmental toxins. Everything was positive. I said to my husband, I am such a dirty girl. He said that’s the book we’re going to write.
If I have environmental toxin issues and I’m the poster child for healthy living, then a lot of women have this. Then we started trying to figure out how to raise awareness and get the word out.
I think that is so important and I’m so excited that you are sharing this message with women, because it’s not always obvious. Like you said, you were “living healthy.” How could something possibly happen to you, but you hit on so many key points like your epigenetics. I had the same issue. I felt like you were describing me for a little bit. We go into professions that absolutely destroy us and turn on all of our bad genes. You were blessed to find a functional doctor and be healed by them. That’s amazing. A lot of women don’t realize that they have an issue, because it’s not as acute. You could pinpoint when you started developing the rash and started to not feel well, but it was nothing obvious, like getting cut or breaking a leg where you can say this is what caused that.
Dr. Tabatha: For a lot of people, it’s a path that they go down, and they get so confused. There are so many things to do. Where do you even begin?
How Do You Know You’re a Dirty Girl?
I think you need to change how you think about aging. Most of us expect to get decrepit, lose your mind, get fat, not feel good. That’s the expectation, right? So if that’s your expectation, then you aren’t going to look for answers because it’s exactly what you are expecting.
If you believe that something more is possible for your body and your health, and you would like to age beautifully. Believe that the older you get, the better you’re going to get on every level, your physical body, your emotional state, your relationships with others, your effectiveness at your job. Then anything less than that is going to have you searching for answers.
Yes! I love that so much. Right? Flip you view and stop accepting the conventional wisdom that you’re meant to get more decrepit. Instead, you’re meant to be vital, vibrant, healthy, alive, able to be intimate, and interested in intimacy until you’re at least 100. Stop accepting that this is okay. Being fatigued is not normal. Having constipation is not normal. Acne is not normal. Hair loss is not normal. Gaining weight that you can’t get rid of is not normal. It’s harder to lose weight, the order your get, but it’s definitely possible.
Before You Focus on Detoxing You Have to Take Care of a Few Things First
I always say detox is a next-level behavior. Because if you’re in the midst of survival, you’re not going to detox. What does survival look like? Survival is…
jacked up adrenals
your gut is out of whack
your diet is not good
You don’t sleep enough
you’re a stress ball
you’re super anxious
You have to fix those things first. Then you can start worrying about detoxing. You really need the body to be in the relaxed and healing mode for it to detox. There are a lot of nuanced steps there, but I would start with the idea that more is possible.
I love that. So we really need to heal the gut, make sure our adrenals are supported, make sure thyroid is functioning, get all that stuff working again, so that your body is not in survival mode. Then it can do the work of detoxing that you’re going to ask it to do. Right?
There are times when you want to focus on toxins first. Like if you had Multiple Sclerosis I would go straight to toxins, but for something like Hashimotos Thyroiditis and most other autoimmune conditions, I would go straight to diet and lifestyle.
Yeah, I think that’s an important point. What do you see the most often associated with autoimmune conditions? Is it that we just need to heal the gut and then look into the toxins?
What Do You See Most Often Associated With Autoimmune Conditions?
It goes hand in hand. Hashimoto is much more common than it used to be. It responds beautifully to the autoimmune paleo program style of eating, but it’s important to make sure that you’re sleeping enough, de-stressing, and moving your body. However, there are certainly toxins that affect immunity. So it kind of goes both ways. I would say anyone who doesn’t eat right, sleep, exercise, and have great relationships with people and yourself. Start working on those first. Then, if you’re not getting better, that implies toxins. That woman who says, I’m doing everything right, and I am not losing weight. I look at food and I gain weight. Then I usually check toxins because often that is the issue.
Could you explain what toxins you are looking for?
What Are Toxins?
Let me back up one step, and say, anything can be a toxin. Too much alcohol can be a toxin. Too much sugar can be a toxin, too much processed food can be a toxin, not that it’s intrinsically a toxin, but it becomes toxic for you. Too much of a lot of things we love can be toxins, but there are also straight-up toxins.
1. Heavy Metals
The first category is heavy metals. Things like mercury and lead. Lead can be from living in old homes. Everyone says to me, I don’t lick the windows. Of course, you don’t like the window sills, but as your house settles, the joists will grind. The joint between the wall and the floor grinds. All of it creates dust. You breathe that dust, touch it, eat it, walk on it and absorb it. There are still places in the United States that have lead pipes, which is crazy, but that’s happening. Then mercury. Fish tends to be heavy in mercury. You want to check that before you buy fish. Be mindful about buying fish that is high in mercury. Dental fillings, if they’re mercury amalgams, they’ll off-gas for years.
2. Mold or Mycotoxin
The next category is mold or mycotoxin. If you had a water-damaged building or if you have a moldy basement that can impact your health. College dorms are notoriously moldy. I’m not sure why. A lot of college students get exposed to mold at college. Food can contain mold. A lot of grains are moldy, coffee is moldy. So food can expose you to mycotoxins.
3. Environmental Toxins
The third category is kind of lumped in with environmental toxins, which is plastics, styrene, resins, stains, paints, construction materials, gasoline fumes, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, the things we spray on our yard. Glyphosate is the most common herbicide used in the world. It’s associated with microbiome disruption, and it’s a cancer-causing agent for a number of tumors.
4. Other Things to Consider
You want to think about what are you eating? What are you putting on you and what’s in your environment? This can be things like perfume, personal care products, make-up, air freshener, candles, etc.
I think that’s great. I think women can totally understand that. Look for ways that you could personally be being exposed to these toxins. There are ways to test for this stuff, right?
Dr. Wendie: Yes. you can test for this stuff and it’s all fixable.
Yes! There’s hope. You’re not doomed. All of these are testable and treatable.
It’s really tempting to want to fix everything overnight because it’s horrifying when you get the data. Focus on the things you can do to take away your exposure. One of my high toxins was a gasoline fuel additive. So I stopped pumping my own gas, which just sounds like something really silly. But I said to my husband, I don’t want to stand next to the pump and breathe the fumes in. And he was like, but it costs more. I said, but we’re spending all this money to detox, right? We might as well just avoid creating reasons to detox. He was like, Oh, that makes sense. Start to look for ways that you can level up and avoid exposure in the first place because your body really does want to be in balance. It just doesn’t always have the capacity to deal with what it’s being exposed to, and what it already has. So stop exposing it first of all.
Does it matter in which order you detox? Say you have heavy metals, mycotoxins, and tons of plastic/ pesticides does it matter how you tackle that?
Watch the full video of this interview here.
Does it Matter Which Order You Tackle the Toxins?
Yes and no. Mycotoxins take a really long time to remove. Everyone gets impatient and wants to retest. And so we retest and the levels are always higher, and then they freak out because the levels are higher. I always say to people, mycotoxins is a marathon, not a sprint, so let’s aim for slow and steady treatment. Maybe you can do that concurrently. Ideally, you would do treatment three times a day, except what nobody talks about is, it’s three times a day for a year and a half. That gets really tiring. I would say, do it once a day, and don’t think too much about it. When I figure out what to focus on first, I try to look at what’s messing people up the most. If you’ve got autoimmune disease, I’m looking more for metals and environmental toxins. If you’ve got things like seasonal allergies, asthma, rashes, difficulty losing weight, I’m looking more at the mycotoxins and the metals, but they all interweave. It’s not like you can just separate one and say, that’s the cause. It’s really the whole impact it is having on your body. So it kind of doesn’t matter because the body loves it when you detox. As you start to get cleaner it feels better.
That’s a great way to look at it is baby steps. When you actually start to feel better, you don’t accept feeling crappy anymore. It’s like giving up gluten. I feel amazing! Why would I want to go back there, just to eat some bread?
I’d love to talk about that a second. When people say I cheated, I always say, how could you cheat? This is not a test, right? There’s no dieting. First of all, you’re never on a diet, because a diet implies temporary. What we’re looking for is what can you do, that’s going to be sustainable and manageable and work for you. Within any eating plan, there are excursions, and the goal is to plan for and manage them. There’s no cheating. You’re not a cheater. You’re not a bad person. The language we use makes a huge difference.
I always encourage people to say, I feel better when I eat this way as opposed to I can’t eat that. Well, you could eat that, you just don’t want to take the consequence of what eating it does. Right? So I always encourage women to look at how they’re eating as a program. If you know you’re going to go to a family event. Bring along food that is a treat for you. Or plan to have what they’re having. Then the next morning, get back on your program. Often what happens is people are on a diet, and they cheat. Then they say, “oh, well, I already cheated. And I’m bad. So I’m just going to stay off it because I know I can’t maintain it.” It feeds forward in a way that doesn’t empower you. So the language really matters. Have some grace for yourself. We’re so hard on ourselves. Be nice to yourself, because you’re working really hard.
It really does matter what you’re saying to yourself. It’s all psychology because you will give in if you’re telling yourself you’re failing. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy you’ll just become a failure, right?
Speak kindly to yourself. Say the things to yourself, you would want to say to your children, or your bestie. You wouldn’t be mean to them. At least I hope you wouldn’t.
Yeah, you’re speaking my language. I couldn’t agree more. So it’s all about self-love, having grace, being kind to yourself, and listening to yourself. I would love for you to talk about that a little bit because I really think that our society has trained us to think symptoms are just a nuisance to cover up and get rid of. Conventional medicine is focused on getting rid of symptoms. Symptoms are a message from your body that something isn’t right.
Yes. it’s a total mindset shift. The first step is to say that this isn’t normal. A headache is not a deficiency of Tylenol. It’s an indicator that my body needs something or has too much of something. Let’s figure it out.
Yeah. And you talked a little bit about the symptoms, specifically associated with the different toxins? Can you talk about that a little more?
What Symptoms are Associated with the Different Toxins?
It’s difficult to pinpoint symptoms to one toxin. No one ever just has one thing. The environmental toxin lab test results are 17 pages long. I have yet to see one where it was 100% negative, there’s always something.
I like how you mentioned the sinuses. Allergy issues are often associated with mycotoxins, mold, things like that. I see a lot of neurological issues associated with heavy metals.
Dr. Wendie: Whenever someone has any neurological issue, I’m really looking at the overall body burden and toxins to see if that is a contributing factor.
Do you typically recommend women have their silver amalgams removed when they’re going through a heavy metal detox process?
Do You Typically Recommend Women Have Their Silver Amalgam Fillings Removed?
You know, it’s so funny, I have three left that I have been debating. I mean, they’re huge. They take up the whole tooth. They haven’t been putting in amalgams for a number of years so the good news is, if you have an amalgam, it’s probably pretty old, like 15-20 years old, right? My fillings have been in for over 40 years at this point. I feel like they’ve done the majority of their off-gassing. I’m actually still in the process of getting rid of my metals, they take a long time. Once my Mercury is “gone”, I’m going to give it six to 12 months, and retest. If my Mercury goes up after I’ve gotten rid of it all, then, it’s time to get my mercury amalgams out because they’re still off-gassing. If my Mercury stays low at six months, I’m going to retest it six months later, to make sure it doesn’t come back. If it doesn’t come back, it’s not worth destroying the tooth.
I like that approach. I think a lot of women feel overwhelmed and panicked. They want to do it all, get the amalgams removed, switch out every household product, etc. Baby steps are so much more sustainable and just for your mental health, because I know I went through it, I just felt overwhelmed. I was like, Okay, I need to take a step back. What’s one thing I can do? As I run out of something, switch it out for a clean product. Are there any resources that you love? Or is this all in your book?
What Resources Do You Love?
Our book is really a roadmap for how to detox your life. We use the Environmental Working Group’s lists of clean and dirty items. They are a great resource for checking your products to determine which ones really need to be swapped out.
Great point! What’s good for the environment might not necessarily be good for us.
So my recommendation is to level up as you go. When you use something up, buy a cleaner version of it. Aspen Clean is a company that is Environmental Working Group certified. We use their cleaning products and laundry detergent.
Yeah, I think that we’re made to grow as individuals and just leave the planet better than we found it and try to be our best versions. But it’s a journey. I know my readers are going to want to work with you. How can they work with you.
How Can My Readers Work With You?
We do take insurance. We’re a membership-based practice. There’s a monthly membership, (like belonging to a gym), and we take your insurance, (most of them). There are three different plans. To get the best information, they could call our office or go to our website.
I love that you have a comprehensive approach. You really have to address everything, especially when it comes to stress. I feel like we as women are trying to do it all, have it all, be at all, and take on all those roles, as you mentioned. We oftentimes don’t ask for help because we feel like it’s easier if we do it ourselves. It might be easier, but it’s so much more taxing on you. I just wish women wouldn’t wait until their adrenals stopped producing cortisol and they couldn’t function before they started looking for answers.
I think we are products of two or three generations back, because as women, we watched what are our mothers and grandmothers did and they took care of everything. Now, times are very different. Most of them weren’t working outside the home. They didn’t have two full-time jobs. They had one full-time job. It was to take care of the house and kids. As women transitioned into working outside the home, that didn’t translate into men or their significant other picking up the slack, it just translated into women doing more. The goal for our generation is to teach our children about how to effectively balance it. Delegate, prioritize, outsource, because we don’t have to do everything. There’s a whole world out there.
Exactly! I love that so much! I hope everybody gets your book Dirty Girl and they start taking action to eliminate toxins from their lives and improve their health. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Wendy and work with her because you deserve to feel amazing, vibrant, and have a rich, beautiful life and age gracefully.
We have a free gift for your readers. We’ve put together a guide that gives the best options for clean products, cleaning products, and clean beauty. You can get it free here.
That is awesome! Thank you so much. I know that my readers got a lot of this episode. So thank you so much for being here.
Dr. Wendie: My pleasure. Great to be here Tabitha.
To Wrap it Up
I hope you got something good out of that interview. I know I did. I really love the point that Dr. Wendy made about our journey to health not being stagnant. We have to work to re-evaluate and adjust. We don’t live in silos, we’re constantly being exposed to everything in the environment, our relationships, food, etc. things are always changing. We have bodies that are resilient enough to handle it, but we also have to know when to ask for help to help us look into new issues that we have coming up.
Don’t be discouraged when you experience setbacks in your health journey. The more that we get in tune with our body, and listen to our symptoms when things get off-kilter, the quicker it’s going to be to get back to feeling amazing. Don’t get down on yourself. Be empowered, realize that you have options, you have someone that you can reach out to help you figure it out. That’s why I keep sharing experts with you so you see that you aren’t alone. there are people out there that can help you. If you want to get one on one help with health issues that you are experiencing, start here.