The Breast of Everything

Lauren Kelly on gut health and holistic nutrition after a cancer diagnosis

September 23, 2021 Comprehensive Breast Care Season 2 Episode 1
The Breast of Everything
Lauren Kelly on gut health and holistic nutrition after a cancer diagnosis
Show Notes Transcript

Inflammation is a main driver of disease, and it all starts in the gut.

Lauren Kelly, nutrition therapy master, knows this all too well. She used to live in Hollywood where everyone is obsessed with being beautiful. She was wrapped up in that world until at the age of 29, she learned she had a malignant melanoma and needed emergency surgery.

“It flipped my life upside down,” she asserts. “My Hollywood-style world came to a screeching halt!”

Lauren looked long and hard at her life. It was toxic, stressful and unfulfilling. She was completely focused on what Hollywood expected of her. Her sense of self-worth was lost, and now, so was her health. 

Fortunately, she found the inspiration and strength to restart her life in a whole new direction. That’s when she went back to school and became a nutrition therapist master and holistic coach specializing in helping people improve their gut health and reduce their risk of chronic health issues.

During the Season 2 opener of The Breast of Everything podcast, Lauren shares her knowledge about how the foods you eat and how you live largely contribute to chronic disease. But you can change all this … and easier than you think! Listen to her podcast, hosted by Linsey Gold, DO, FACS, FACOS, breast surgeon with Comprehensive Breast Care. 

Announcer  0:01  
Welcome to the breast of everything podcast your trusted resource for breast health information support and encouragement. Your host today is Dr. Lindsay gold of comprehensive breast care. Welcome.

Dr. Linsey Gold  0:13  
Welcome to the breast of everything podcast. I'm your host today Dr. Lindsay gold of comprehensive breast care. Today, I am happy to introduce Lauren Kelly, nutrition therapy master behind clean body project and host of the clean body podcast. Lauren's journey into holistic nutrition began at the age of 29 when she unexpectedly was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma. At the time, she was an LA actress and entertainment reporter. Lauren's diagnosis forced her to take a hard look at how she was living, and made her question what her true purpose really was. It was this life event that guided Lauren to holistic nutrition, going back to school, and enrolling in a three year science based program at the nutrition therapy Institute. Today, Lauren is launching her own gut health and virtual grocery shopping service, and plans to continue her education specializing in holistic care for cancer patients. Welcome Lauren, thank you so much for joining us today.

Lauren Kelly  1:24  
Thank you. It's very strange to hear your biography read back to you, but they ever doing it so beautifully.

Dr. Linsey Gold  1:31  
Yes, it is. I am so glad that you were willing to join us today and share your knowledge. But when we when I read your biography at first and your wonderful website, there's a leap right from LA actress and entertainment reporter to you know what you're doing now? So was it the diagnosis that like that made you make? How did you go from one to the other?

Lauren Kelly  2:00  
Yeah, that's a good question. It was a very big leap. And it was a very big moment in my life that changed a lot of things. And just to go back a bit, I would say that I was always interested in health and wellness, being in Hollywood, you actually have to be kind of obsessed with what you look like. And so I would, you know, I would say that my relationship while it was there, with what health and wellness was, it was not a healthy relationship. And that is probably what you know, created my early diagnosis of malignant melanoma is a part of the lifestyle I was living and the relationship I had with my diet and the environment around me. But yeah, so it was really just a blessing that I even found out that I had melanoma before it had spread elsewhere in my body, I was having this weird pain in my left arm, and it seemed to be stemming from a freckle. And I was 29. I'd never been to the dermatologist. And I just figured for some strange reason, maybe I'll go get this checked out. So I went to the doctor, they looked at it, they said it was probably nothing would go away. But while I was there did I want a full body scan. And thank God, I had good doctors, because they found something on my right arm, and said they wanted to biopsy it and sent it into a lab and I left thinking they just wanted some money, there's nothing, they're not gonna find anything. And then yeah, and then three days later, they said it was stage two, melanoma was extremely close to entering my bloodstream and spreading to my lymph nodes or elsewhere. And I had to get it removed right away. So my surgery was the following day. And I was so lucky to catch it early. I know there are so many people out there who have different journeys than I did. But it is what really flipped my life upside down. And, you know, I hadn't been happy in LA in a really long time. But I hadn't confessed that to myself, I think we get stuck in these routines, and these ideas of what we believe our life is supposed to look like. And we're very stubborn to stray from that. And I was in that frame of mind, and hearing you have cancer, just kind of like brings all of that to a screeching halt. And it almost creates this space where you're allowed to question and you are allowed to say, Well, if I am given the gift of continuing my life after this, which obviously mine was early, I was very lucky and fortunate to have that opportunity. What do I actually want to do with it? And so I went on a soul searching journey and just landed at holistic nutrition and really wanted to understand my body and create a healthier relationship with my body. Because at the end of the day, this is the thing that's bringing us through this world and allowing us to have these experiences is this piece of flesh that we're living in, so we should probably take care of it.

Dr. Linsey Gold  4:49  
Yes, absolutely. And I can tell you that story just in general of the cancer diagnosis, stopping you dead in your tracks. making you look hard at Oh my god, what's going on? And what is the purpose of all this is really common. And really, when people say, you know, sort of in an offhanded way, my cancer diagnosis was truly a blessing in disguise. I think that's what they mean. And then it I don't want to say it makes it worthwhile. But it obviously it makes you know, lemonade out of lemons for lack of an overused term,

Lauren Kelly  5:26  
I am more than happy to be out of LA and living this life rather than that life. So yes, I would say it was it was a blessing in disguise. And I'm very glad that it happened.

Dr. Linsey Gold  5:35  
I'm so happy. So tell me a little bit about what, what is the clean project?

Lauren Kelly  5:42  
Yeah, so the clean body project is, that's kind of my umbrella name. But I have a lot of different things under it. The Clean body podcast, the clean body market, I'm gonna have other things in the future. But right now I am specializing in gut health. gut health is often the root cause of so many dis ease and diseases in our society. And I think it's essentially crucial for people to start educating themselves about what their gut does, it's such an underrated organ, people think the brain is so cool, and the heart is so cool. But our gut is just as diverse and intricate, intricate as the brain is. And so and it in it directly impacts our immune system, our mental health, our physical health. And what we put in our body is information for that gut, which communicates with our brain, it's all interconnected. So I'm really passionate about educating people about what gut health is, and how they can optimize their gut health to reduce risk of disease, or even alleviate some of the disease that they already have in their life. And as you said, I believe in my biography, in 2022, I'm planning on going for more certifications and education to specialize specifically in cancer. I want to help people use nutrition and lifestyle to either prevent cancer or recover from cancer treatment and prevent secondary cancers from occurring in the future.

Dr. Linsey Gold  7:12  
That is excellent. And I think that literally, very few people, almost nobody, even in the cancer world, talks about the microbiome in your gut, and just how important it is, you know, leaky gut is a you know, term that's thrown around. Nobody really discusses it, or it's really understands it. But definitely, there's a huge connection between that and then just your global health in general. So what do you what do you tell people in general about they say, Oh, you know, what is this? What is the leaky gut? Why is it important? What would you tell them?

Lauren Kelly  7:57  
Yeah, so I think leaky gut is sometimes confusing for people. And so I like to often draw pictures like characters in our brain or cartoons to kind of explain what something is. So think of your gut as a fishing net. And that fishing net is really tight, so you can go out and you can catch fish, whatever fish you want. But as we consume foods like refined carbohydrates, refined sugar, rent, rancid vegetable oils, conventional meats, and dairy that contain antibiotics and hormones, the junctions of that fishing net start to come loose, and things start to fall through the cracks. So if you were fishing, you couldn't catch any fish. And in our gut, we have a whole host of bacteria and viruses and fungi, and obviously digested food that passes through our gut to be absorbed into our bloodstream. When that gut is leaky, that can fall through into our bloodstream, improperly. And if it's not supposed to be there, which then creates an immune response and throws our whole body out of whack. It also tears the production of our happy hormones, dopamine and serotonin are predominantly produced in the gut. And when you have a permeated gut that production doesn't happen the way it's supposed to. So those happy hormones can't be produced, and that signaling can't be transported to your brain to give you those happy feelings that you want. same can be said for immunity 70% of our immune system is found in our gut. And so when our gut health is compromised, so is our immune system and so is our health. And especially when it comes to cancer, we need our immune system, to be ready and rockin to find cancerous cells and get rid of them as quickly as possible before it comes a problem. And if you have a compromised gut, you can't there's a good chance your immune system is overstressed or dysfunctioning is not going to be able to keep your body as healthy as you want it.

Dr. Linsey Gold  10:03  
That's an excellent, excellent overview. So I think that injury to the gut is kind of an insidious process, right? It's not, you know, it's not like having appendicitis, right? Where there's a clear problem, you fix it, and then you move on. It's an insidious process that takes a while to happen, and people don't always know. And the symptoms are kind of nonspecific. And then repairing it. How do you fix the problem? Once you've said, Oh, okay, well, I have this cancer diagnosis or I, you know, feel, I just feel like crap all over, whatever, whatever the nonspecific symptoms are, if somebody wants to fix that, what's the best way to sort of go about doing that?

Lauren Kelly  10:49  
Yeah, well, first to speak to the first part of your question in terms of its kind of insidious, you're right. Um, symptoms of leaky gut can show up in so many ways. It can be SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or IBS. It can simply be acne, eczema, psoriasis, it can be depression, anxiety, autoimmunity, like lupus, or multiple sclerosis, it can be type two diabetes, it can be cancer, it runs the gamut. But what that means is, anyone who is experiencing something that is bringing them dis ease, should be working not only on their diet and their lifestyle, but to support their gut health. Because the truth is, everybody has a little bit of leaky gut, I'm a gut coach. And sometimes I'm like, oh, man, I'm feeling inflamed this week, like I need to up my you know, consumption of bone broth and get some tumeric and black pepper going for anti inflammatory properties. And nobody's going to have the most beautiful, perfect gut their entire lives. And so it's really just starting to be more intuitive about your body and understanding what feels right and what's wrong. I think the biggest problem today is that we normalize feeling like crap, we feel inflamed, we feel gassy. bloaty, we get acne, we have joint pain, muscle pain, arthritis, allergies, and we say me, well, it's just a part of aging. It's not, it doesn't have to be a part of aging, at least not to the severity that it is today. And we're seeing such an increase in type two diabetes, and obesity and cancer in our communities. And a lot of this, you know, I'm not gonna say it can be cured or completely prevented by healing your gut. But there are probably a lot of cases out there. If people had the information before they got the diagnosis, they could have prevented it. So anything that you want to touch on there before I go into what you can do to start healing your gut?

Dr. Linsey Gold  12:46  
No, I'll save my story for Africa. So

Lauren Kelly  12:48  
so last night, yeah.

Dr. Linsey Gold  12:51  
Yeah, let's, let's, I'm going to see what you say. And then see if my story fit. I'm sure it does. But yeah, no, let's talk about how can we heal the gut? I want to make sure what I tell patients is correct. Yeah. hoping it is. Well,

Lauren Kelly  13:03  
and it's it's tough. It's a it's a full 360 lifestyle change. Because it's not just food that can impact your gut health. It's the stress that you have in your life. It's your sleep hygiene. It's the chemicals that you expose yourself to on a daily basis. I just posted about this on Instagram, think about how many cleaning supplies you have in your kitchen and your bathroom and your garage. And then how many chemicals toxic chemicals do those cleaning supplies have, it's probably hundreds just in your home that you're being exposed to and you're inhaling, or you're absorbing through your skin on a regular basis and that are causing damage to the gut lining. So sometimes it can feel really overwhelming because there's a lot of pillars that come along with cultivating gut health. The first step, of course, though, is cleaning up your diet. It's getting rid of fried foods, it's getting rid of the rancid vegetable oils that are pro inflammatory. It's focusing on whole real foods that come from Mother Nature. And if you want to eat meat, which I am a meat eater, it's focusing on grass fed organic to ensure that you're getting top quality meat and dairy products that don't contain antibiotics or hormones that those cows were treated from because everything is a transfer of energy. And whatever that cow was experiencing and was being fed is impacting the fat and the meat and the muscle in their body. And then you're injecting that so it changes the type of food that you're eating. And just to hit on antibiotics. That's another thing that really, you know, antibiotics are prescribed, like candy these days. And you really should not take antibiotics unless you absolutely know you need antibiotics. And then you need to be taking a good probiotic because antibiotics wipe out the good and bad bacteria in your gut microbiome and bad bacteria is opportunistic. So it will overgrow faster than the good bacteria can match it and balance it. And that's when you're gonna start realizing that you have a lot of discomfort, inflammation, you know, joint pain, acne cebo is a huge one. So it's really about starting with the basic knowledge that you always hear about eating. And what you put into your body food is information, what do you want your food to be telling your body to do on a daily basis?

Dr. Linsey Gold  15:24  
Yeah, I think a lot of people scoff at this, and probably the doctors are the worst of all the people who turn their nose up, not all of them, because there is a big push towards lifestyle medicine, and functional medicine, and integrative oncology, and we are on that bus. But I mean, even you know, many, many colleagues, I will talk to, you know, you get a little eye roll and I don't know. So from, for somebody who, you know, cuts on people for a living, I would say, yeah, there's role for surgery, sometimes there's, for chemo and radiation, we're not saying there's not a role for that. We're just saying, prime the pump, right? Do the most you can to reduce the risk of ever needing to become in our office. And then when you do need to come in, let's get you ready to be able to tolerate whatever it is we have to recommend. And then let's get you ready to not ever have to, you know, come back except for the checkup. And when you tell people, hey, what you can do to actively help reduce your risk is to eat, you know, the thick if you can, I tell people, I'm not a nutritionist. But if you don't, if you can't pronounce something that's in the ingredients, maybe you want to stay away from it,

Lauren Kelly  16:50  
right? There's no ingredients in a bell pepper, right? It's just about pepper.

Dr. Linsey Gold  16:55  
True. That's a good way of saying but truly farm to table, I tell them listen, if we could all grow our own vegetables, and slaughter our own meat and do it ourselves, we'd be better off. Well, we can't. But there's ways we can try to go about in doing that. And you know, you some people, you do get pushback, and then I tell them this story. And the story quickly is my very best friend since two years old. And I'm 47 just for the record. She had horrible asthma her entire life, she had multiple sinus surgeries. I mean, the poor woman was just always ill stuffed up. It was terrible. Long in the short, 18 months ago, she completely changed her diet. It's she eats she chose to be vegan, but basically she eats a whole food plant based diet. And everything is fresh. Everything is it's she has not been sick a single day since then off all of her medications of all of her inhalers. And I just have to if I did not see that, you know, a year and a half ago with my with my own, like two eyeballs, such a dramatic change. I'm not sure I would have been such an advocate. It's really amazing what it does for people, even people who don't feel badly, oh, I feel fine. Like I'm feeling really good. You know, I'm not bloated, I don't have diarrhea. When you change your diet, it's just unbelievable, then

Lauren Kelly  18:33  
you realize that you did maybe feel not as good as you thought you did. You know, you just don't know the difference if you've never felt great in your 30s or 40s or 50s. Or it's always kind of felt fine. You're okay, well, it might be able to be better if you change your diet, and I love your story the body is is capable of healing itself, but we need to give it all the tools that it needs in order to do that.

Dr. Linsey Gold  18:58  
Yes, so so. So that's good. We're telling our we tell our patients, you know, pretty good things we do. You know, to get people started. We do like we recommend, you know, people take some digestive enzymes, and, you know, some we recommend something called OPC. Three is for oxidative stress, which we can talk about also your I imagine your that excites you a little bit too. Yeah, we, you know, we try and, you know, say talk to people about preventing oxidative stress and inflammation and whatnot for for the clinicians. It's really hard at the time of your diagnosis, to kind of tackle all of them, right? Because people are staring cancer in the face. So it's kind of something that comes to us in survivorship. Right. And the other thing is that we don't have the time for people right to go through this and we also don't have race sources, which are people like you, to send people to, to, hey, if you need more information about this, or we recommend that you, you know, get more knowledge learn become people aren't out there. So you're

Lauren Kelly  20:16  
crazy expensive, which is the problem I'm trying to solve?

Dr. Linsey Gold  20:20  
Yes. So exactly your services, your website are is really awesome. Tell me what you're doing differently.

Lauren Kelly  20:28  
Because So, like you're saying, so many people, they aren't going to go on a holistic health journey until they realize something is wrong. And at that time, first, it's panic. And it's worry. And it's, you know, any good news is a silver lining, I'm gonna survive great, I'm not gonna think about nutrition, I can't take that on right now. It's a lot. But when you are ready to take that step into the next chapter, and you start looking into health coaches, it is wildly expensive. If you just want some like basic help improving your lifestyle, it can cost upwards of $3,000 for six sessions, and you don't even know if you're going to get what you wanted at the end of that. And for cancer patients, it can be upwards of $10,000, then you can use health insurance for these things. And so when I was going through my holistic health, education, and you know, I was being taught this model of health coaching, it just didn't sit right with me, it didn't align with me, it didn't feel like First of all, I didn't think that I would feel satisfied delivering that kind of package. Not that there's anything wrong with it for people out there doing it. It just didn't feel right to me. And so what I'm doing is kind of flipping things on their head head, and providing one off 90 minute sessions, where I can deeply educate people and give them all the resources that they need to get started on their own. And then if they want to come back and schedule more sessions, we can do that. That's fine. But you know, I find with holistic health coaching, often, like so much of what you're getting is week to week meal plans. And most of the time, people don't even stick to those meal plans. Because you can't expect what's going to happen in a day you didn't have time to make lunch, you just grab something quick or what have you. And so what I'm doing is creating packages where for 180 $89, I educate you all about gut health or educate you all about nutrition and lifestyle to prevent secondary cancers. And we go through all of it. We also review a food diary that my clients will put together for three days, and I'll pinpoint the top five to 10 most toxic foods that they're consuming and how they can swap those out. And then I provide them with resources. A grocery shopping list, for everything that is gut friendly or for cancer will support your body. For example, for cancer, you should really stay away from sugar because tumors feed off sugar. So the more you can starve those to tumors of sugar, the less survivability rate they have. And then I also provide, you know, 80 plus recipes so you can make your own meal plan if that's what you want to do and fit it into your lifestyle. To take it a step further. I have created an online grocery shopping service. So since everything has gone digital, I can essentially build your shopping cart online for you in your area with the stores you shop at and in your budget and just share it with you. So you can choose to pick it up just one time or you can have it reoccurring pickup or reoccurring delivery and just cross off grocery shopping and reading food labels and trying to understand nutrition off your list and trust and feel confident that what you're putting in your body and in your family's bodies is actually good for them.

Dr. Linsey Gold  23:40  
That is excellent. And I am so happy you are doing this. I may have to myself use your services. Please do. I think I'm going to I it is so you know I'm a busy what whatever call busy, just busy working, you know, single mom, you know, two teenagers 14 and 18 just busy, there's no time. And like you said, meal planning is hard. Getting to the grocery store is hard. Getting to three different grocery stores is even harder. It does take time online even to say Oh, okay, I'm gonna go to Whole Foods. I'm gonna go to whatever you don't know what to get. You don't have the spices, you download the recipe, you don't have three of the things it you know, you may want to do it, but it's just I don't know how else to explain it, but it's just hard to me. You are solving those problems for everybody. Brian, thanks. That's the goal. I love it. Where where can our listeners find you? What is the best way for them to get involved in this?

Lauren Kelly  24:46  
Yeah, well, I just launched my website, so it's just www dot the clean body and I'm on Instagram and I'm on tik tok even though I really refuse to getting on tik tok forever. Long time, but if my clients and friends have finally dragged me on there, my handle is holistic Lauren Kelly. So that's my name and my podcast also has an Instagram the clean body podcast.

Dr. Linsey Gold  25:15  
That's fantastic. I'm just gonna say one thing about Tick Tock. Me too. Two. You can I mean, you can't drag me on it. Having said that my daughters who are 14 and 18 right now. They literally get their medical knowledge from Tic Tac. Yeah, you know, they say sometimes the most outrageous things to me, I'm like, Where'd you find that on Tick Tock? And they say, yeah, you know, I heard it from you know, somebody who's supposed to be legit. I heard it from a doctor so and so. Meanwhile, the point is, it's really where people are at. So you need to meet people where they're at. So if that's where people are meeting you and getting you and Soviet, as silly as it might feel.

Lauren Kelly  25:57  
Yeah, it's funny to see how emotionally charged people get over. My most simple tic Tock video is my most viral and it was the top 10 popular chain restaurants you should avoid. And I can't tell you how upset I made people that they should no longer go to Panda Express or pF changs or quiznos?

Dr. Linsey Gold  26:19  
Oh my goodness. Yeah. I it's funny. My daughter loves Panda Express and like, every meal you have takes one year off your life. I just made that up, but it probably does. So Wonderful. Well, thank you, Lauren, for joining us today on the breast of everything. We really appreciate it. To our listeners. Thank you so much for listening to our podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Lindsay gold of comprehensive breast care. As always, we want to hear from you. If you have a topic you'd like us to talk about. We always welcome your suggestions. You can send them to comp breast care. com that's Till next time, be well.

Announcer  27:10  
You've been listening to the breast of everything podcast with your host and board certified breast surgeon, Dr. Lindsay gold of comprehensive breast care. If you have a subject you would like the surgeons to discuss, please email your suggestions online at comp breast care. com. That's co mp the doctors want to hear from you. The views thoughts and opinions shared in this podcast are intended for general education and informational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice, treatment or care from your physician or healthcare provider. Always consult your healthcare provider first.

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