The Gut Check: Chemicals, Cosmetics, Deodorant, oh my! Caring for our health through our skin with Massage Therapist, Angel Baker

{Get all the Podcast episodes on the go! You can find them on Spotify and Amazon music.}

What you put on your skin matters – we absorb so much of what we put on our skin, and there are links to cancers, lymph issues, hormone imbalances, and more. The importance of this has really been driven home in the past few months as I’ve been doing an advanced intensive training in hormone health. 

And hormone balance is so, so, so important! Not just for women, though there do tend to be more risk for imbalance, because the female hormone cycles are so complex and intricate, from age to age, as well as month to month. But hormone imbalances have been found in numerous conditions such as various cancers, PCOS, endometriosis, preeclampsia, osteoporosis, PMS, and harsher perimenopausal symptoms. 

Environmental toxins, water pollution, pesticides, and more. Problems with plastics, BPA, perfumes and fragrances, detergents, shampoos, soaps, dry cleaning chemicals, and even bleached female hygiene products… 

So today’s podcast interview is with Angel Baker, who has been on her own learning journey about chemicals and safe skin care and cleaning products! She is a massage therapist who was appalled at what was being used on people by massage therapists, and over the years has cleaned up the products around her, created some of her own products, and teaches regular health tips in her newsletter, Thursday Thoughts. 

So listen in and learn more about what’s going on with the science and the body’s endocrine system, and more.  Check the show notes below for promocodes, and consider treating yourself, or getting a head start on holiday gifts!




The Gut Check: Performance Supplements – What You Need To Know

{also available as a Podcast for on-the-go listening! Listen on Spotify or your other favorite platforms}

If you ever use protein powders , collagen, or other performance supplements, you do NOT want to miss this episode.

Did you know some protein powders contain more carbs than protein?

Does your protein drink have protein from whey, casein, or soy? They don’t have to specify. They can even use random amino acids to bulk it up, leaving you with a potentially incomplete protein.

Did you know “grass fed” cows may only have one day of eating grass, if sources in the US?

The economy is getting tighter, and the bottom line getting darker as companies try to cut corners to cut cost and/or boost profit. You may be at risk of more contaminations, or at the very least, not getting what you think you are getting.

Join us for today’s Gut Check episode with Duke Armstrong, CEO & Founder of the locally owned performance supplement company, Propello Life. We dive into the “behind the scenes” world of the supplement industry. He’s had years of experience from Abbott to EAS and more, and shares on The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of the industry.

Learn where your products are coming from , what’s in them, and what different terms and certifications mean.



The Gut Check: Back To Basics for Healthy Eating. Part 1

BACK TO BASICS with The Gut Check! Listen on the go with the audio version on Spotify or other popular platforms!

This is a nod back to an old recording Andee and I did, and it’s now become a Gut Check Episode!

And we’re rewinding and going back to basics… What IS “healthy eating” and what IS “inflammation”?

Let’s explore!

Andee and I go on a virtual tour of the grocery store to help start explaining what we mean by “healthy, whole foods” and pitfalls to watch for. We don’t hit all the aisles, but join us as we start with:

  • Whole foods vs “Edible Food-Like Substances”
  • Plate portioning
  • Produce and organics
  • Don’t our bodies detox themselves?
  • Meat, poultry, deli meat, and subgroups
  • Fat-free vs full-fat dairy and when to pick which
  • Saturated Fat and Coconut Oil
  • Fish and Mercury
  • Starches (whole grains, starchy veggies)
  • Gluten
  • Touch on Spices and Oils

And then we tie it in to how “inflammation” works for and against the body – why this matters, and why healthy eating matters! See more below…

In health,


Additional Resources:

The Gut-Brain Axis: Improve your Gut with The Mind, and the Mind with The Gut

The “gut-brain axis” is all about how the gut and brain are interconnected. It’s much more tightly woven together than we previously thought— ongoing research is continuing to prove it. These discoveries have huge potential to help people with gut issues by addressing their brain. And help people with brain or mood issues by addressing their gut.

Imagine if eating differently could elevate your moods or improve your brain and mental health. (It can.) Or if reducing stress can also reduce gut symptoms. (It does.)

Sounds interesting? Learn all about the gut-brain axis and how you can leverage this new research to improve your gut and brain.

Your gut is (partially) controlled by your brain

Digestive disorders can cause pain, bloating, or other discomfort. They impact over 35% of people at some point in life—affecting women more than men. Many times, these gut issues don’t have an apparent or easily diagnosable physical cause, so they can be difficult to treat and find relief from. Often, people are told they have IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. But a “syndrome” doesn’t tell you anything about what the root cause is; it’s just a collection of symptoms.

We already knew that our brains control some of our digestive processes. For example, research has found that even thinking about eating can cause the stomach to release juices to get itself ready for food. (Think of Pavlov’s dog.) Your gut is also sensitive to emotions. You may recall a time when you felt anxious and nauseous or felt “knots” or “butterflies” in your stomach.

Athletes and runners are also susceptible to this connection – both because of the nerves before a big event; and because the physical act of running actually can cause a little extra strain on the gut lining itself.

Several studies show that stress may be an important—often overlooked—reason for gut issues. According to Harvard Health, “Stress can trigger and worsen gastrointestinal pain and other symptoms, and vice versa.”

This is why it’s so important to look at your stress and emotions if you have gut issues. Many studies have found that stress reduction techniques can lead to greater improvement in gut symptoms compared to conventional medical treatment alone.

Before we go over how to do this, let’s look at a bit more of the biology behind the gut-brain axis.

Your nervous systems

There are two main parts of your “main” nervous system. One is the part that we can consciously control, like when we move our muscles to walk around, chew our food, or go for a run. This is called the somatic nervous system.

The other part of our nervous system controls all of those things that we don’t typically consciously control, but need to survive. These include processes that happen automatically in the background: breathing, heart beating, sweating, or shivering. This part of the nervous system is called the autonomic nervous system (because it works automatically).

The autonomic system regulates our body’s functions by either speeding things up or slowing them down. When things are sped up, like when our “fight or flight” reactions kick in, this is done by the sympathetic part. We feel this happening when we sense danger (real or not) and get stressed. Our heart beats faster and we breathe heavier. We’re preparing to fight or flee, so our body focuses on ensuring our muscles get enough blood and oxygen to work hard.

Slowing things down, on the other hand, is done by the parasympathetic part. This happens when we’re relaxing or after the danger has passed and we start to calm down. Our heart, lungs, and muscles rest and our digestive systems do their jobs much better. In this phase, we’re secreting more digestive juices to break down food, we’re absorbing more nutrients, and we have lower levels of inflammation in our gut. That’s why this is called the “rest and digest” phase.

Both of these arms of the autonomic nervous system—the sympathetic and parasympathetic—interact with the gut. This means that when our body is stressed we can experience GI symptoms and when we’re relaxed our digestion does what it’s meant to do.

You cannot be in both “Fight or flight” and “rest and digest” at the same time – so staying stressed – even minimally with deadlines, lack of sleep, and more – can limit your healthy and natural processes of digestion and GI ease.

Your gut is your “second brain”

In addition to your “main” nervous system, your gut has its own nervous system called the enteric nervous system. The enteric nervous system spans your whole digestive tract from your esophagus, along your stomach, intestines, and colon. This nervous system is sometimes referred to as the “second brain” because it works in the same way that the “main” one does. It has 100 million nerve cells (called neurons) that communicate with each other using biochemicals called neurotransmitters.

Your enteric nervous system gets input from both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, so it can speed up or slow down when it has to. It also has a “mind” of its own and can function independently of them.

This complex system is important because of how complex our digestive processes are. For example, after we eat, the neurons in our enteric system tell the muscle cells of the stomach and intestines to contract to move food along to the next part. As our digestive system does this, our enteric nervous system uses neurotransmitters to communicate with the Central Nervous System.

Your enteric nervous system is also very closely linked to your immune system. This is because a lot of bacteria can enter the body through the mouth and end up in the gut. You have a large immune presence there to help fight them off before they become a larger problem and infect other parts of the body. The cells of the immune system provide another path for the gut to communicate up to the brain. They relay information like when they detect an infection or when your stomach is bloated, so your brain knows, too.

Even the friendly gut bugs (gut microbiota) that help us digest and make certain nutrients play a role in communicating with the brain. They make neurotransmitters, some of which are known to influence our moods.

The gut-brain axis

This intimate and complex connection between your gut and brain is called the gut-brain axis. And we now know that the signals go in both directions: from your brain down to your gut, and from your gut up to your brain.

This is where we see the link between digestive issues and brain, stress, and mood issues.

When someone is stressed enough that they get into the “fight or flight” reaction, digestion slows right down to allow the muscles to fight or flee. The same physical reaction appears whether the stress is from a real threat or a perceived one. This means that your body reacts the same whether you’re facing a real life-threatening situation or whether you’re super-stressed about a looming deadline. This disruption of the digestive process can cause pain, nausea, or other related issues.

Meanwhile, it’s known that experiencing strong or frequent digestive issues can increase your stress levels and moods. People with depression and anxiety have more GI symptoms, and vice versa.

How stress and emotions affect your gut

Because of these strong connections between the gut and brain, it’s easy to see how stress and other emotions can affect the gut. Things like fear, sadness, anger, or feeling anxious or depressed are often felt in the gut. When they cause our digestive systems to speed up (or slow down) too much, this can influence pain and bloating, constipation or diarrhea. It can also allow germs to cross the lining of the gut and get into the bloodstream, activating our immune systems. It can increase inflammation in the gut or even change the microbiota.

This is why stress and strong emotions can contribute to or worsen a number of GI issues such as Crohn’s disease, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or food allergies or sensitivities.

Then, these gut issues are communicated to the brain, increasing the stress response and affecting our moods.

This loop of stress and gut issues and more stress and more gut issues becomes a vicious cycle.

New research shows that changes to the gut’s inflammation or microbiome can strongly affect many other parts of the body as well—not just the brain and mood. They’re also associated with depression and heart disease.

How to eat and de-stress for better gut and brain health

The good news is that you can control some of this! What you eat has a huge impact on your health.

This is particularly true when it comes to the microbiome. Your gut health improves when you eat a higher-fiber, plant-rich diet. That’s because it provides your friendly gut microbes with their preferred foods so they can grow and thrive. Probiotic foods that include health promoting bacteria are also recommended. Reducing the amount of sugar and processed foods you eat can also help. These can lead to a healthier microbiome by helping to maintain a diverse community of many species of microbes to maximize your health. They can also lower levels of inflammation, as well as reduce the risk of depression and heart disease.

For better gut and brain/mental health, eat more:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Yogurt (not sugar loaded!)
  • Sauerkraut

Eat less:

  • Sugar
  • Processed Snacks
  • Condiments with hidden sugars, like ketchup, sauces, and more
  • Soda/Energy drinks
  • Processed carbs like baked goods

**Want a comprehensive food list? Check out the free 7 Day Challenge for a crash course on healthy eating for your gut, complete with an extensive food list!**

What about stress?

Evidence shows that some stress reduction techniques or psychotherapy may help people who experience digestive issues. They can lower the sympathetic “fight or flight” response, enhance the parasympathetic “rest and digest” response, and even reduce inflammation.

Some of the stress-reduction techniques I love and recommend are:

  • Meditation
  • Box breathing
  • Mindfulness
  • Relaxation
  • Sitting in nature
  • Slow walks
  • Yoga

Essentially, anything that causes you to quiet your mind, and slow your breathing – it will change your heart rate, which changes your brain patterns, which lowers cortisol and stress.

Your gut, brain, and mood will thank you!

If you want some help with that, check out this video from a past program that discusses proper breathing for health.

Bottom line

Our bodies are complex and interact with other parts on so many different levels. The gut-brain axis is a prime example. Research shows that what we eat not only improves the gut and overall health, but also brain and mental health. Not to mention that several stress-reduction techniques have been shown to reduce digestive illness and distress as well.

If you want a plan to help you eat—and enjoy—more of the foods that help your gut, brain, and moods, consult a registered dietitian or functional nutritionist who can provide personalized research-based nutrition advice for your health, lifestyle, and goals.

Need some help with fresh gut-supporting recipes and menu plans? Check out the Menus or VIP Accountability programs here.

Or have a medical issue to address with a more individualized approach? Check out The Empowered Healing Program, or click here to set a free Discovery Call to discuss the best options for you and your goals.

In health,


PS – interested in even more on how the mind affects our health? If you missed it, check out The Gut Check Podcast from Monday! Dr. Thomas Morse and Steffany Morse share about their work, bridging their work as doctor and occupational therapist with functional medicine and mental health work!

PPS – my Instagram has changed! As I shift away from “Dublin Dietitian,” my new Insta handle is @NutritonAndGutHealth – come say hello!


Gut Check: Innovative Wellness with Dr. Thomas Morse and Steffany Morse

(Watch the video below, or listen on Spotify, or your favorite Podcast Platform!)

The tides are turning! I have been in the functional medicine and functional nutrition realm, focusing on gut health and root causes for over a decade – and it’s really exciting to see that this method is spreading to doctors finally! 

I was so excited to meet with Dr. Thomas Morse, who has been a practicing MD since the 80s, and worked Emergency Medicine since the 1990s – and he watched the evolution of medical care to go from patient-centric to feeling that it was being guided more by government and insurance companies rather than doing what was best for the patient. His daughter, Steffany Morse, who has a background as an occupational therapist, also joined the conversation, since they are now working together in their own health practice, INNOVATIVE WELLNESS.

But both of them realized this missing gap in health care, and learned of new ways to help people. They desired to create a bridge between conventional (allopathic) medicine and functional medicine. 

They also learned about some commonly lacking chemical nutrients that can assist in nearly every aspect of health and discuss that here today!

They blend the energetics side with more common aspects – nutrition, supplements, lifestyle, and clinical work. So listen in to hear about their methods and research, and set up a free virtual consultation with them!