Hello beautiful souls! Today, we’re chatting with Dr. Will Cole (functional medicine doctor, a NY Times Bestselling author, author of the new book Gut Feelings) as he reveals the connection between mental and physical health. We explore the role of shame, intergenerational trauma, and powerful ways to heal for good.
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Julie Jancius 01:46
Hello, beautiful souls. Welcome back to the Angels and Awakening Podcast. I’m your host and author Julie Jancius. Friends, today we’re here with Dr. Will Cole. He is the author of the new book Gut Feelings. He has multiple other New York Times best seller books, but this book Gut Feelings Dr. Cole is so incredible because you are bringing us back to love and compassion for our own bodies. And I’m really excited to get to spend this time with you today.
Dr. Will Cole 02:18
Thank you so much for giving me the chance to talk about something that’s really important to me.
Julie Jancius 02:23
Yeah. So you talk about Shame, shameflammation, two words that you put together shame and inflammation. Talk to us a little bit about this and kind of where this idea started for you.
Dr. Will Cole 02:38
So it’s born out of my day job, I run a telehealth center. We started one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers 13 plus years ago at this point, so 10 hours a day. That’s what I’m doing.
And it’s when you’re dealing with people that have metabolic issues, hormonal problems, autoimmune problems, digestive problems to anxiety, depression, fatigue, you cannot ignore, it would be hard to ignore the mind body connection. So ‘shameflammation’ is just my made up word to explain the research around the mind body connection, and the research specifically around shame. And the things that cause shame, like unresolved trauma and chronic stress and shame around food and shame around our body and how that impacts our biochemistry. So if I’m trying to facilitate a protocol in a patient’s life to lower inflammation, or calm down a dysregulated nervous system or to balance hormones or improve their digestion, we can work on the physiological side, when we talk about you know, implementing a food protocol or a natural like supplementation protocol or bio hacks or the running labs and looking at the data, we will invariably get stuck and plateau if people have not dealt with the mental, emotional, even spiritual component to it.
So we have every is a major part of our clinic and major part of protocols we integrate is not just a physiological, but the psychological and mental, emotional, spiritual and really informing people and educating people the fact that they’re one in the same. Mental health is physical health. So you really can’t separate the two and we get stuck with unsustainable results or stuck at plateaus when we have an either or approach it should be both and when it when you’re talking about someone’s health.
Julie Jancius 04:33
Yeah. So what role does shame play on the body?
Dr. Will Cole 04:39
So shame. I mean, Brene Brown says it very directly in and I quote her in the book is that shame is lethal. Shame is connected to many different health issues because it’s something that’s going to contribute to the dysregulation of something called the neuro endocrine axis, which is the intersection between the nervous system, the immune system and the endocrine system. And by immune system, I’m mainly talking about chronic inflammation, which is a product of the immune system, and the endocrine system hormones. So the neuro amino endocrine axis, the connection, the intersection between those three systems of the body are going to be fundamentally disrupted, and dysregulated by shame, and all the surrounding emotions and issues around shame, not just shame itself, but the heaviness that it brings.
So one of the things that we look at with initial telehealth patients are something called someone’s ACE score, or ACE, it’s their adverse childhood events or experiences. So we’re talking about things and initial telehealth consults with really heavy things like childhood trauma, or was a physical abuse, emotional abuse growing or verbal abuse, growing up was a neglect growing up, the higher the ACE score research shows, you’re more likely to have an autoimmune issue or metabolic issue, or trouble, hormonal problems, and or, obviously, anxiety and depression. So it doesn’t mean it’s the only component. It’s one side of that gut and feelings, the physiological and psychological bidirectional relationship, but we need to look at it for many people, it’s a component to why they feel the way that they do and it’s actually informing their choices with foods and so many things. So, yeah, it’s what it’s doing, it’s influencing our biochemistry. It’s something that happened in the past, maybe, but it’s living as if it’s happening here and now. And in our body and others, it said another way, our body is a cellular library, and our thoughts, our words, whether it’s to ourselves or to others, our experiences, our emotions are the books that fill up that library. So it is literally stored in the body. And it’s impacting inflammation levels or hormones in our nervous system.
Julie Jancius 06:57
Yeah. And I think one example of that, that you give in the book is intergenerational trauma, which you said can also be passed down through the gut. And you kind of give some hope you say like, if this can be passed down, this can be healed. Talk to us a little bit about that.
Dr. Will Cole 07:16
Yeah, the research around intergenerational trauma or transgenerational trauma is one of my favorite parts in gut feelings, because it is so powerful, the research is so powerful, the choices we make in our life is not just for us, it’s for generations, it’s refer directly people around us now even if you have no kids, even just your friends and family, you are influencing your community. And you’re obviously if you have, if you choose to have kids, you’re influencing their health, not just in a nurture level, but also on a nature level, actual genetic level.
And as I say, in the book, as trauma can be inherited, so can healing you can break the chains of ancestral dysfunction, disease, dysregulation, for yourself, but for generations, you’ll never get to see. And that’s the legacy that I see my patients get to leave for their line, and for their families. It’s powerful to see So research shows that the studies are done mainly on more extreme geopolitical things that have happened in human history, like the Holodomor, which is the Ukrainian manmade genocide in the early 20th century, Joseph Stalin basically starved and killed millions of Ukrainian people when they wanted to have independence. I mean, history is repeating itself right now. And the researchers– and I’ll start with that holodomor more than Ukrainian Genocide, the Holocaust in Poland and Germany and Rwanda, the Hutu and the Tutsi genocide in the 90s. All researchers showed that obviously, the people that went through those horrific atrocities had changes in something called methylation, the way that their body expressed inflammation levels, neurotransmitters, hormone synthesis, it’s a big interconnected myriad of pathways known as methylation. And they saw these distinct changes in the person that went through the traumatic event, but also their children and their grandchildren, like generations on this same distinct changes because of the trauma that their ancestors went through.
So, like to the person that’s hearing this sometimes when I’m talking to telehealth patients about this, they think oh, man, I’m screwed. Like I know my family like is if, like it wasn’t bad enough to have to deal with my own crap. Now I have to deal with my great grandma’s crap like what the heck. How can I ever overcome this, but I’m saying this to tell you.
You don’t necessarily have to know what’s my trauma and what’s great grandma’s trauma But what if anything, I hope this gives you that listener out there some grace and lightness to know, sometimes the odds are stacked against us. And some people have heavier experiences than others. But I see people overcoming the heaviest of things. And you can overcome these things. And ust know that it’s not sometimes people feel like I’m broken, or I, there’s, I’m just a weak person or what’s wrong with me, it’s not necessarily always just you, it’s things that you’ve come into the world, that you are living out the experiences of our ancestors, that we all have the chance to overcome and heal. And that’s really the message of the book.
Julie Jancius 10:44
So I get this on a very, very deep level, because I can see the threads of intergenerational generational trauma and how that has played out with our physical bodies, between my grandmother, my mother and myself. And sometimes it feels like being on the hamster wheel of like, okay, I’m always just trying to figure it out. And it’s not working, and I’m trying to figure out, and your book was just such a breath of fresh air, because it’s like, stop stressing about it, you know, and, and I’ve got a lot of these self limiting beliefs, where I’m so good in other areas of my life, but when it comes to my physical body, I’ll think to myself, well, my, my grandma couldn’t get it under control, and my mom couldn’t get on under under control. So I’m not going to and I’m going to inherit this diabetes, or, like, I’ve tried so many times, and I failed. And so I feel in a very profound level, what you’re talking about when it comes to the shame, because it’s such a- I think about everything in terms of energy. And this, for me is like a beast, this huge monster, and nothing else in my life is really that big of a force. But it’s very, very challenging. And so I’m just wondering, where do you start? And like, are you going to be on this hamster wheel for forever? What are like the three places that listeners can start where I could start to really heal? For good?
Dr. Will Cole 12:21
Yeah. Well, thanks for sharing that with me. I know. And that’s just you sharing that. I mean, I’m sure you talk about in the podcast all the time. But just someone who talks to people 10 hours a day, knowing like hearing other people’s story that alone metabolizes, store trauma, like you knowing you’re not alone. And there’s someone out there going through similar things, because you’re not alone. I mean, you’re you what you’re going through is very, very common, sadly. But we can overcome it. And many people are left to fend for themselves. And they there’s a lot of shame around these stories. And they feel like you know, this imposter syndrome like I, I am doing well, in so many other areas. Why am I keep failing in this area? That’s human, we all have those. So I think just infusing a grace and lightness, I think into these shame based stories that we tell ourselves to know that, you know, we all are going through different things, and especially with our social media culture, where we have these like, we see everybody’s filtered highlight reels. It’s not like the nitty gritty, dirty stuff that really all of us have.
So, look, we’re talking about three things. One, number one, well, let’s just say this, you’re in somebody’s into healing, or like, let’s just say the next level of their healing because normally I’m not meeting somebody at square one, like they’ve already done some self work, or worked with other doctors or therapists or you know, but they’re kind of stuck in a plateau, they’re on that hamster wheel to some degree, and they’re looking at it just really overcome this so they can move on with their life and not get kept back from these things that are keeping them back whether physical or mental, emotional, and spiritual. So one of the reasons why I called the book gut feelings is to look at both sides of that gut and feelings like how do we deal with the physical and the mental, emotional, spiritual, but also, that concept of gut feelings or gut instincts where I feel it in my gut or butterflies in my stomach, somehow our ancestors knew that the majority of our of our intuition, somehow the Seat of the Soul somehow was in the gut or around the gut or was connected to the gut. So, you know, the gut and brain are actually formed from the same fetal tissue. So when babies are growing in their mother’s womb, they are grown from that same tissue, and they’re linked inextricably for the rest of our life, through what’s known as the gut-brain access or the connection between the gut and the brain. Researchers refer to the gut as a second brain. If you think about it, the intestines kind of even resemble the brain when we’re talking about the large intestines, the small intestines in the stomach, and about 75% of the immune systems in the gut inflammation is a product of the immune system. 95% of serotonin, our happier neurotransmitter is made in the gut 50% of dopamine, our pleasure neurotransmitter is made in the gut. They work upon ther neurotransmitters that are made and stored in the gut work upon what’s called the vagus nerve, which is the largest cranial nerve in the body, which is responsible in part for our resting, digesting, hormone balanced, grounded aspect of the autonomic nervous system, the parasympathetic. So many people that are dealing with these hamster wheel situations, which for some people, it could be metabolic issues, type two diabetes, or weight loss resistance or insatiable cravings, like some blood sugar problems, for other people can be autoimmune issues for other people can be digestive problems for other people, it can be anxiety, or depression and fatigue. These are all hamsterwheel problems for people. That is just the human story right now. Because when you look at the statistics, it’s the vast majority of people are dealing with these chronic health problems that are somewhere on this inflammation spectrum. They all have inflammation as a commonality, even the brain-health stuff that I talked about in the book, there’s something called cytokine model of cognitive function is researchers looking– and these are conventional medical journals– looking at how does inflammation impact how my brain works? How does inflammation impact mental health? So the gut plays a major role in all of these things.
Dr. Will Cole 18:12
So if you’re looking for, okay, what’s the first three things? Or what’s the biggest needle moving things? Like if I do nothing else, like what’s the most bang for my buck? This seems overwhelming, like what’s going to help me the most. And I would say starting with supporting gut health is very influential. It’s is there’s a lot of paths to that. But at least that being an intention and a goal. And finding tools to do that is hugely profound, because you’re going to start to untangle a lot of things from its roots. So things that are kept, like for example, insatiable cravings or blood sugar dysregulation. If we can get the gut healthier, that’s going to create more metabolic resilience and metabolic flexibility. So you are in a more proactive and less of a reactive state when it comes to foods we crave or our mood or energy levels or digestion. So I talk about something in the book called A gaps protocol, which is an acronym that stands for gut and psychology syndrome or gut and physiology syndrome, which focuses in part and lots of soups and stews. So very easy, economical, accessible ways to use food as a medicine, but also use food as a meditation, and really as mindful eating, nourishing your body with these nutrient dense, yummy, delicious foods that love you back. And there’s the feeling side. There’s so many ends there but I talk a lot about them in the book, but breathwork is one that’s huge for a lot of my patients is really using basic breath work, like the box breathing. to more advanced protocols we implement into telehealth patient protocols like Holotropic breathwork, which is similar to psychedelics.And it’s really an amazing feelings tool on gut feelings to metabolize, store trauma. So those are two I mean, but there’s so many there’s a whole protocol in the book that I lead people into. But breathwork, supporting gut health are two profound ways to grow physically, but also meaning grow in wellness physically, but also mental, emotional, spiritual wellness, too.
Julie Jancius 20:26
That’s so profound. I read that in your book, when you said, don’t just use a food, we’re gonna have it here as fuel, you know, use it as meditation. And I was like, Who is this guy? This guy is amazing. Well, do we take the journey of food and the journey of health and make it a spiritual practice or a spiritual journey?
Dr. Will Cole 20:54
I think first of all, educate yourself. I think the person that’s that’s asking that, I would say empowering yourself with information, because so many people are disconnected from between what you eat and how you feel like they just do something, because that’s what they’ve always done, or that’s the way their family ate, or it’s the convenient thing, and then not really stopping and mindfully checking, does this food love me back? And that’s really the conversation that I’m having in the book. I mean, you know, because you read it, but the it’s not about a list. It’s not about a moral failure. Right? It’s not about a list of good foods and bad foods. Does this food love me back? Or does this food not love me back? And it’s really a conversation around healthy boundaries, is a conversation about wanting self respect and wanting to feel good. And that’s what this is about, is not a moral punitive judgment on like, I’m a bad person, if I have this food that doesn’t love me back? No, it’s not. It’s I want you to use meals as a medicine and meditation. Because every food we eat either feeds inflammation, or fights it meaning it’s going to make you feel good or might not make you feel so good. And there’s a lot of bio individuality with this is that what works for one person may not be the best for– and I can think of the healthiest real foods, whole foods, that may work really well for me. But I can think of a patient where that doesn’t work so well. Like every example you can think of where it’s like I try not to make too many broad, sweeping overgeneralize statements when it comes to food, because there’s a lot of science and art to these topics, because some people can really have a lot of inner resistance and obsession about foods in a way where it’s like, even if the food theoretically would work for somebody, that stress and anxiety would produce a completely different result around it. So we have to look at not– and this is how I say it in the book, you can’t just look at what you’re feeding your body. But what are we feeding our head and our heart, like what’s the headspace and heart space in which you eat the meal.
So I would educate yourself basically, on the foods that are most likely not to love most humans back, what I call the inflammatory core four, that’s going to be looking at added sugar, looking at looking at refined grains looking at overconsumption of something called industrial seed oils like canola oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil. And you know, there’s nuanced conversations to this, because then by themselves, there’s always by themselves now aren’t necessarily the worst thing in the world, but it’s the overconsumption of them. And then conventional dairy, again, there’s better versions to everything I’ve just said, for the sake of simplicity, looking at those core four that are most likely to disrupt that second brain to mess up your gut, which is such a major regulator, our mood, our inflammation levels and our hormones. But also, if I could add a plus one, yeah, it would be alcohol, looking at our relationship with alcohol, which, you know, I talked about in the book, and the impact that that has on disrupting that gut feeling connection. So I don’t know if that answered your question. But I would say look at the foods, and then educate yourself on the foods that are most likely not to love me back. And then from there, eat mindfully. And I’m not making any huge drastic changes on like, you can’t eat these throughout the book. So I’m just growing. I want the reader to grow in awareness on how these foods make me feel. So they can make that decision for themselves. Right if it loves them back or not.
Julie Jancius 24:21
Okay, so I feel everything with energy too. And like when you go eat certain foods that were alive, berries, salad with a lot of vegetables in it, it feels like there’s a buzz or a hum in your body where– and so I want you to kind of break down for people because I think there’s a ton of people out there who don’t know what it means for foods to make you feel good versus feeling bad because perhaps a lot of people I know this was me for a very, very long time. i was like, What do you mean foods making feel good? Like, I just feel like crap all the time. So how can foods make you feel better? What does that look like?
Dr. Will Cole 25:11
Well, every meal is another and every snack is that opportunity, another opportunity to move the needle one way or the other. And that may seem like a lot, and some are negligible, some are not, you’re not going to notice it right there right then. But it’s going to be a cumulative thing, and some ambiguous, significant ways. So I think, realizing that our mood, or energy levels, or our digestion, or sleep, or our metabolism, all of those things are literally built by the foods we eat. And what we’re feeding our head and our heart and our thoughts, words and emotions, the things we’re taking in whether on a meal level, or what I call in the book, these metaphysical meals, right? Our thoughts, words, emotions, experiences, those are metaphysical meals, that are also influencing your biochemistry just as much as that actual meal. So it’s, it’s the raw materials, the food, if you’re talking about foods, specifically, it’s providing the raw materials, your body needs to make neurotransmitters to make hormones to make the digestion work to make the literal cells of your body. So the saying you are what you eat is very much steeped in science, that we would not– our body is alive because of brilliant biochemistry. And the foods we eat influenced that biochemistry. So is that profound. That’s the agency we wield with every meal. And I think it’s finding the foods and learning and being curious enough to learn about the foods that love you back. And again, avoiding foods that don’t love you back isn’t restrictive. It’s not toxic diet culture. It is self respect. And I think having that paradigm shift of saying, Wow, this is– I want to feel great. More than I thought I wanted something that’s going to dim my light, I want to feel great more than I want something that’s going to make me feel like crap. You know, and that’s the paradigm shift and what I call in the book, food peace. It’s having this sort of inner deep discernment and knowingness of what your center is, and creating that center actually, for yourself, because then you calm inflammation levels. And you have better regulation between the gut and the brain, even more regulated neuro immuno endocrine axis that I mentioned, that sympathetic fight or flight stress state is calmed down, that parasympathetic, the vagal, tone is increased. You’re more regulated and grounded, you’ve created a physiological, but also a mental, emotional, spiritual center for yourself. So at that point there’s not much that’s going to shake you. Because you kind of know what works for you and what doesn’t. And you’re still human, you’re not perfect, but you have a resilience to you and a light to you, that people’s noise on social media or whatever, I mean, life stressors don’t shake you like it used to.
Julie Jancius 28:12
And it was so funny while reading your book, I kept getting this very, very profound image of that your food and meals and just even drinking water throughout the day, is a complete opportunity for you to deepen your spiritual practice by just being present. Maybe even praying over it before we eat, having that meditative peace-filled state. You also talk about achieving joy through nutrition. This is amazing. You have to share this with everybody.
Dr. Will Cole 28:48
Yeah, I mean, it is a stress free food plan in the book for people to really find joy in foods like when you maybe it’s the cooking of the meals or enjoying the meals. When you’re eating foods that love you back it is a joyous occasion is fun. It is creative, and it’s it’s it can be a hobby, it can be a hobby in many ways to eat foods that love you back. Because it is a relationship. You’re healing your relationship with your body, you’re healing your relationship with food, and you’re also healing your actual body, too. So it’s actually a positive experience all around it doesn’t mean is easy, always. It doesn’t mean it’s linear healing and certainly nonlinear for most of my patients. But it’s one that they have their eye on the ‘why’ like their y is bigger than their excuses. Their y is bigger than the uncertainty or fear of doing something new. So yeah, it’s breakfast lunch and dinner can be a party and for sure, even with yourself just learning what foods make you feel good. And when you have energy and you’re sleeping well and you’re really comfortable in your body. It is a joyful time . It is a good time overall.Across our board to talk about the FOMO culture in the book right? This fear of missing out which many people are eating, distracted scrolling this endless FOMO inducing called content on social media, where I talk about this antithesis of FOMO culture, Jomo is Joy Of Missing Out in cultivating Joma with food, or with stillness and other forms of self care of getting out in nature, or basically disconnecting to connect, which there’s so many art forms and weight paths to do that.
Julie Jancius 30:36
One of the things that’s hard– I know, it’s a trigger for me and a lot of moms that I talk with, just locally in my neighborhood, is, you know, we all have small kids, right, and that they’ve got foods around and it’s hard to only have healthy foods in the house to do all of that prep work. Is there an easier way? Is there a magic pill Dr. Cole, where we can have easy food that we just go get and don’t have to do as much preparation for? Or do you really feel like, we just have to make this a bigger hobby in our life that we’re spending more time on the preparation of food?
Dr. Will Cole 31:21
Great question. I have two kids myself, I have a 16 year old and a 14 year old, she just turned 14 last week. So I’m used to that dynamic, right. And there are homeschool too. So they’re home more than most kids, which in some ways I get it probably could they be easier. But younger, they’re still out there friend’s house, they still have a lot of co op like dance and acting and theater and sports and music. They’re there with other kids. They’re not isolated. I get it, I hear you. And I see patients for a living and I have kids in traditional school and I see the you know, they considerations the being creative with this life that we live, right these different lives that we live, and modern modernity.
So I would say first of all, we as parents, I think that we should not add shame, inflammation to this topic, right? There’s, we’re all on a different path. We all have different access to different things. We all have different schedules, we all have different kids with different needs. So I think first of all, just going back to that grace and lightness to this whole topic. And we all could have done better. Like even this is what I do for a living. And I can tell you that I can say oh my gosh, man, if I would have done this, this and this 10 years ago, it would have been so much easier. So if the guy who does this for a living who writes books about it and consults people could do it differently does get Be easy on yourself, because it’s just a human thing. We’re busy living, you know that cliche of the days are long, but the years are short, that is true on a deep level, because I’m like, how the heck is my baby boy 16 friggin years old driving a car. It’s unreal. So it’s like, we were just doing the best we can and the days are busy. And it’s like, wow, the Days turned into weeks and weeks and months and into the years. And time passes by so quickly.
So with that said, I think that we need to set the culture in our home and do the best we can. Because we are, I hear people new patients will tell me like, Well, my kids will like they’ll freak out or like they won’t eat that stuff. But the reality is, unless they’re driving and going picking things up themselves, or I guess they could get Uber Eats their phone, if you give them access to this stuff. But that’s a whole different topic of healthy boundaries. With that, I would say we need to set the culture in the home. And yes, if you’ve if this is a new change, there may you may be worried about a coup d’etat you where they’re going to overthrow parents, and take over if you bring berries in the house or whatever, some fruits and vegetables, but I think getting them on board by letting them buy into certain degree. But they may not buy in to entirety but you’re the parent and I think setting the tone in the home. And you know, we as parents know, our kids will do lots of things that we know aren’t good for them. And I think that is just putting a line in the sand and saying no, we’re going to shift the culture in our home. Obviously the earlier the better. But it’s never too late like start whenever you’re hearing this conversation. And we I would that’s what I would start with and then most of our patients decide, especially the kid as the kids get older, they’re not going to micromanage the friend’s house, or like the school event. They’re just setting the culture for home. Because what that will do is plant seeds for the kids to grow in awareness and mindfulness to how foods make them feel so when they are at the friend’s house, they will want less of that stuff. But they can still live that life, they can still live their life, but they will love feeling great more than they thought they wanted something, I see this in my son all the time, where he has a lot more of body awareness when it comes to how foods make him feel. So he will have things that I wouldn’t have it the house over at his friend’s house, but he will either choose not to have it, because he doesn’t like how it makes him feel. It was experimentation to know that or he will say I’ll have less of it, I won’t have as much. Because I know how it makes me feel. But we want our kids to start growing in an agency and awareness of knowing how things make them feel and make decisions for themselves.
So I think that that would be my suggestion. But as far as the practical stuff like with like, Okay, time in the kitchen, or like there are we live in such a time where there is a lot of convenience foods that are better for you or healthy options. So they typically cost more. But if the convenience is more important for somebody which it is for me, sometimes, I would say really lean into brands that are doing innovative things that are box they are packaged, but the ingredients are cleaner that are better, they will love your kids better. So Thrive markets a great one, even like going to, I mean, look, I live in western Pennsylvania, it’s by no means like the mecca of wellness. But I could go to Aldi, or Costco and Walmart and Target and get organic like freezer meals and things that are better for you. Options are not the healthiest things under the sun, but they are way better. So look at this core four ingredients like looking at a refined carbohydrates and gluten, looking at added sugar looking at industrial seed oils look at unconventional dairy, if people if kids have less of that, you’d have a lot better healthy kids a lot better behavior too, as far as behavioral problems that you’re fed by these problems, these foods. So those are some suggestions. But I do like the way you said it, where it’s like, Alright, maybe we need to spend more time as a culture in the kitchen, and spend more of our resources on foods. So I do feel like we have lost like people would have done more of that throughout human history. And now we want the convenience over the time, but you use it as a bonding experience, get kids involved with the with the food, like if you have access to a garden, get them involved with that, if you’re in an urban setting, go to urban garden, go to a farmers market, you don’t want to garden and get them in the in the cooking process. I do feel like you can make it fun and make it an activity as a family.
Julie Jancius 37:44
Yeah. In the book, you talk a lot about self compassion, and the link between self compassion and inflammation within the body. And I’m wondering as you’ve worked– because you work with so many people, you’re Gwyneth Paltrow is a functional medicine practitioner. There, there are a lot of people out there who have these triggers. As a woman who grew up with the magazines in the 90s. You know, it’s easy to kind of go back and forth on your journey to become healthy of, alright, you’re getting triggered because you see something and you want your body to look a certain way. But then you’re like, Nope, I’m gonna step back from that, and take on that self compassion. Can you talk to that a little bit? And how do you keep going deeper and deeper into self compassion and not reverting back to those triggers?
Dr. Will Cole 38:43
It’s going to be nonlinear. We’re talking about neural pathways that are deep for some people. So it’s a practice like anything else. It’s really like going to the gym once and saying, well, the gym didn’t work for me, right? It’s like, oh my gosh, like, what’s wrong with this gym thing? It’s showing up and flexing that mindfulness muscle, which is going to take time to tone and get strengthened and build new neural pathways. Our body is plastic and neuroplasticity is really the research of how the brain can be melted and molded over time. And we can actually strengthen these weak parts of our nervous system, the vagus nerve being part of it, which is that more grounded, hormone balanced, resting digesting aspect. So it’s not the sexy answer, but it’s the real answer. It’s just consistency. It’s showing up when you don’t feel like it. It’s being consistent when you don’t feel like it. Because I see patients put in the time and it pays off. And then it becomes less of a thing. It becomes less of an arduous task. It becomes a rhythm. And there’s more of a second nature to it. There’s an effortlessness to it doesn’t mean it’s always easy, but it’s becomes easier, The more consistent you are, because it’s not this sort of Oh I’m really weak in this area this becomes this comes very unnaturally to me, does not come naturally to me, will more you flex that mindfulness muscle– what I mean by that is self compassion practices which as you mentioned in the book, the research shows lowers inflammation levels of people that had the highest self compassion scores had the lowest inflammation levels. So things like breathwork, somatic practices, EMDR for people who need that I talked about forest bathing getting out in nature, these practices that are most are free or low cost accessible tools to strengthen the vagus nerve from the feeling side of gut feelings. It’s just being consistent. Find a few tools within your toolbox that resonate with you that you can stay consistent with and stay consistent with it. But I mean, many of my patients, this, I mean, you’re talking about people that are dealing with more complex autoimmune issues, metabolic hormonal problems, anxiety, depression, some of them put in an hour a day, on the self work, which seems like overwhelming to some people. But not everybody has to do an hour a day. That’s a and b, even if you do I have to do an hour a day. The things we’re many of us most of us do. And the amount of time we spend on our phone or the time that we’re watching Netflix, it’s like this is an hour of their day to change not only your health, but your family’s health as well.
Julie Jancius 41:28
Yeah. And that hour a day that they’re spending it’s practices that are leading them to more self compassion, like that mental emotional piece.
Dr. Will Cole 41:38
Yes, it’s different tools to strengthen the vagus nerves and breathwork, somatic practices, meditation, these type of things.
Julie Jancius 41:47
Wonderful. How do people know when they’re healed?
Dr. Will Cole 41:52
That’s a good question. It’s a wonderful question. How do people know if they’re healed? Well, look, I can give you the fluffy answer. And then I give you the sublime answer. So I want people to live the life that they want to live, right, I want them to have the energy to do the things that they want to do. I want them to have to feel grounded and rooted in their body. And there’s just a deep knowingness, this, the Bible calls it the peace that passes all understanding. That’s like what this looks like for people that have achieved it. But we’re all humans. And there’s never a time. Well, if you’ve met this person that’s achieved this, let me know what if they become the sort of demigod Demi goddess where they’re just like, levitating, and they’ve had hit some sort of Nirvana here on Earth. Maybe that’ll happen someday, when there’s a critical mass of something. But I think for now, it’s a flux. It’s an ebb and flow, there are things to work on. But t’s not that they’ve arrived. Yeah. But they’ve created that center that they can pivot from and live their life. And that doesn’t mean they don’t have bad days or down days, or things to work on, or things that come up in their health, they do. But there’s this sort of, because they pray this center, they know how to get back there. And they have the tools within the toolbox to get back there. So it’s this constant dynamic flux is really what it is, it’s not the static thing of I have achieved this thing. And I don’t have anything to work on with my health anymore, doesn’t happen. So I think, and then if you want to get a little bit more granular on like data, data, stuff, look at labs, like, we look at optimal non average and functional medicine. So okay, if you want to look at data, we can look at data and say if your blood sugar is here, and you don’t want it to be here, let’s get it there. And we can look at comprehensive data to say this is where vibrant wellness resides. But even if I get the person all into vibrant wellness zone, which we do, they’re still humans, and they still can vacillate, and that’s okay. So that’s kind of my thoughts on that question.
Julie Jancius 44:02
Yeah. I’ve been asking a lot of different types of healers that question over the last year. And I think it’s really fascinating because I think it actually speaks more to people’s perspectives at the beginning. There’s so many people out there who are like, Okay, well, I just want to go through the process of, you know, energy healing or, you know, becoming a medium or working with functional medicine and just be healed. But that’s not like, there is no ending. The ending isn’t the goal. It’s the journey. That’s the goal.
Dr. Will Cole 44:36
Yeah, you’re right. That’s exactly it. Because I see people in their 90s. And they’ve, they’ve been working on this for decades, for decades. And they still feel great. They’re just doing it to optimize. They’re just living this. They’re wanting to stay on top of this human experience. Until the day they’re not here anymore.
Julie Jancius 44:55
Yeah. Amazing. Dr. Cole, your book I think is ahead of its time, Gut Feelings. I think this is so needed by people on Earth. And I think that the words of wisdom that you have in there are just going to be so healing to so many individuals. So thank you for putting this book out into the world. Where can people find you and your work?
Dr. Will Cole 45:21
Thank you so much. Everything’s at DrWillCole.com. That’s Dr. W-I-L-L-C-O-L-E If I know how to spell my name it, but we have two new telehealth patient options now open with links to my podcast, The Art of Being Well is there. And lots of free resources. I have 1000s and 1000s of resources for people I’ve written over the years for people who just want to get started leading their health in a positive direction.
Julie Jancius 45:49
Amazing. Amazing. Thank you so much for your time. And thank you for being here.
Dr. Will Cole 45:51
Thanks for having me.