Why Autoimmunity Is Becoming More Prevalent and What You Can Do About It

Why are we seeing such increasing rates of autoimmune disease? How do past traumas and toxic exposures affect our health decades later?

My guest is often referred to as the “Sherlock Holmes of Medicine” for solving the cases of the most well-known medical mysteries. Dr. Jill Carnahan, MD., is a board-certified Integrative Holistic Medicine specialist, known as Your Functional Medicine Expert. Utilizing state-of-the-art lab testing and biochemical analysis, she helps each patient discover the root cause of their illness by identifying nutritional or metabolic imbalances that may be contributing to their symptoms.

Her new book, Unexpected, is a cross between Dr. Carnahan’s memoir about trauma, healing, and recovery coupled with a personal development/self-help guide designed to give practical advice for those seeking solutions to long-term chronic illness.

Dr. Carnahan’s journey with aggressive breast cancer early in life, and the recovery from the side effects of cancer treatment, taught her that autoimmunity is manageable and diet and lifestyle changes have everything to do with it. We are at the edge of a tsunami of autoimmunity due to infectious load and toxic burden—the core drivers of inflammatory illnesses, autoimmunity, and chronic complex illness that are becoming more prevalent each year.

I have been anxiously waiting to bring Dr. Carnahan on my podcast to explore this topic, including ways to add healing “input” into your body that allows you to recover at a cellular level and help support your immune system. Plus, Dr. Carnahan has a bunch of free gifts and resources to share with listeners, so you don’t want to miss this one! 

Freebies From Today’s Episode
Go here to get the first chapter FREE of Dr. Jill’s book Unexpected: Finding Resilience through Functional Medicine, Science, and Faith


0:00:06 – Interview with Dr. Jill Carnahan: Exploring environmental toxins, chronic infections, and the toxicity of thought
0:04:19 – Finding meaning and purpose in difficulties and suffering
0:05:53 – Jill’s Journey with breast cancer and Crohn’s disease
0:10:22 – Growing up in a harsh environment and the impact on emotional sensitivity
0:12:21 – The impact of analytical and intuitive thinking on emotional and physical well-being
0:13:48 – The impact of environmental exposure on health
0:16:24 – Exploring the root causes of chronic mystery illnesses
0:17:48 – The core drivers of complex chronic illness: toxic load and infectious burden
0:23:20 – The benefits of daily detox practices for optimal health
0:28:40 – Detoxification strategies for improved health and weight loss
0:34:00 – Addressing trauma toxicity for improved health and well-being
0:35:31 – Exploring the power of self-solve and self-compassion in healing
0:39:38 – Mindset and self-improvement for all ages
0:41:21 – The Power of mindset change and self-compassion

Mentioned in this episode:

Learn more about Dr. Jill Carnahan

Get Dr. Carnahan’’s new book, Unexpected and download your free bonuses, including a coloring journal (both digital & print), live Q&A to be linked to Dr. Jill’s Facebook page, pre-recorded lecture on Mold and MCAS, and a secret Chapter from Dr. Jill

Detox safely and effectively with a Sunlighten Infrared Sauna

Bulletproof coffee is free of mold and toxins. Find your perfect brew.

The Kooru Cold Plunge increases lymphatic mobility and helps the body get rid of toxins. Go here and use code JJVIP500 for $500 off.

Click Here To Read Transcript

ATHE_Transcript_Ep 547_Dr. Jill Carnahan
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] I’m JJ Virgin, PhD Dropout. Sorry, mom, turn four time New York Times bestselling author. Yes. I’m a certified nutrition specialist, fitness Hall of Famer, and I speak at health conferences and trainings around the globe, but I’m driven by insatiable curiosity and love of science to keep asking questions, digging for answers, and sharing the information that I uncover with as many people as I can.
And that’s why I created the Well Beyond 40 Podcast to synthesize and simplify the science of health into actionable strategies to help you thrive in each episode. We’ll talk about what’s working in the world of wellness from personalized nutrition and healing your metabolism to healthy aging and prescriptive fitness.
Join me on the journey to better health so you can love how you look and feel right now and have the energy to play full out at 100.[00:01:00]
This is a story I’m really excited to share with you because it’s really a story of how. Someone takes things that are really challenging and turns it into our gift and purpose for the world. And I’m talking about my buddy, Dr. Jill Carnahan. And I’m gonna, I’m not gonna share any bit of this story, like you’re gonna hear it in the interview, but basically today we are talking about environmental toxins, also infections, chronic infections, and.
Toxic, you know, the toxicity of, of, of thought and how all these play together to impact your health and what you can do. Very simple strategies you can do and incorporate into your life that really are, are non-negotiable at this point to make a big shift. So we are digging into that. We’re digging into this role in terms of, of weight.
Lots of juiciness in this interview with Dr. Jill Carnahan. So Dr. Jill is a medical doctor. She’s [00:02:00] in Colorado. She is known as the Sherlock Holmes of medicine because she goes after the most chronic, complicated cases, and you’re gonna understand. She does this after you hear the story and why she’s so darn good at it, and she has written a book unexpected.
I’ve literally been waiting for this book forever. It’s been eight years in the making, and she is going to have a bunch of things for you as well. When you grab the book, she’s going to be getting a lecture on mold. You’ll get a secret chapter, you’re gonna get a coloring book. You’ll hear why during the interview.
and you can grab all of that at jjvirgin.com/unexpected. And you know, I’ve known Dr. Jill for years. She’s a member of our Mindshare collaborative community. And apparently I said to her a while ago, you know, if you wanna be successful, basically in business, but if you wanna be successful in life, it’s a personal development journey and work on yourself first, and you’re gonna hear a lot of that.
In this interview of what she’s done, but I think it’s a bigger thing [00:03:00] of wherever you are in your life right now, if you’re facing any challenges, health or otherwise, here are some, here’s a shift in mindset and some simple strategies you can do that can turn this around. And if someone who’s had. Aggressive breast cancer at 25 and Crohn’s Disease and a host of other issues come up.
Can turn all that around. Think what you can do. All right, I will be right back with Dr. Jill Carnahan.
Dr. Jill Carnahan. I’m so excited
Dr. Jill Carnahan: you’re. Thank you for having me. Delighted to be here with you, jj.
JJ Virgin: Well, we did that great interview on the What to Eat, when to Eat and Why Summit and, and then I was like, well that’s a shame because you know, you do a summit and then it disappears and I want an interview with you to live forever.
And I remember you telling your story as [00:04:00] we started that and you know, I’ve known you for years, but I wasn’t aware. So I’d love to start there because I think it really is such a, You know, it’s such a big needle mover as to why you are doing what you’re doing.
Dr. Jill Carnahan: Yeah, you’re right. And, and. What’s interesting is it’s my story, but really the telling of the story, whether it’s here or any platform, my goal is hopefully reflecting your listeners, your audience, because we all have a story, right?
And we all, if we can take the difficulties and the suffering and the illness and all the stuff we all go through every day, and the trauma with family and all the different things that happen. Find the meaning and purpose in that as a teacher. So we start to shift the way we view the things that happened to us, and instead of them happening to us, they happen for us.
And I didn’t know that at 25 when I found a lump in my breast and in the middle of medical training pursuing my dream to become a doctor, and I found a lump in my breast and I literally would’ve ignored it had it not been for the insistence of my [00:05:00] then husband and the ones who loved me. Like, Jill, you need to get this checked out.
I’m 25, right? Like 20 fives. Don’t get cancer. So I did not have a care in the world, but I went ahead and had it checked out. I had you know, an ultrasound and a mammogram and I remember sitting with the radiation doc there looking at the films and he looked at me and I remember just seeing that look in his eyes, JJ and I knew intuitively like this was not normal, there was something wrong.
And as he looked at it, he framed it cuz I don’t think he knew how to you know, talk to me. I’m a student, so I’m sitting in the room looking at the films with him. Teaching moment and I, but I could tell there was something not right and what he said, he’s like, well, you’re 25, so probably nothing to worry about, but if you were 55, this is the classical signs and symptoms of calcifications of cancer.
Like he said that to me and I, that was the first like, you know, oh, this could be something more serious. And then a week later I had a biopsy, and then just a few days after that, and these are all my teachers, so they’re not just like doctors that are distant, they’re like in my classrooms and I know them and they know me.
I get a call [00:06:00] from, She literally was like voice cracking. Jill, I don’t know how to tell you this, but you have aggressive breast cancer. You are in for the battle of your life. And she didn’t say the words, but we both knew what was unspoken, that 25 year olds don’t survive. Like the bottom line was 25 year olds, like 50, 60.
It’s slow growing. It’s a different beast. But at 25, this is so aggressive. And to prove that point, I was in a group of young women in Chicago that all had breast cancer, kind of a support group at that time. After I got diagnosed, I am the only one still living
JJ Virgin: like this is, oh my goodness. Yeah,
Dr. Jill Carnahan: and see through all, and so I was actually one of the youngest at that time in Loyola in 2001 when I was diagnosed.
I was the youngest one ever diagnosed at that major medical center. Now, sadly, because of our environmental toxic load and some things we’ll talk about, it’s becoming more and more common in teens and like you can see now, there’s people at 16 or 23 or so, it’s not that uncommon anymore, but it’s still very aggressive.
So I [00:07:00] had the battle of my life and what I had to do is figure out where direction to go, and I had this holistic mindset, but I ended up doing very conventional three drug aggressive chemotherapy, radiation, multiple surgeries in order to survive. And jj, it’s funny because I always say that battle with cancer and overcoming cancer was the easiest part of it.
That last 20 years of recovering from the treatment I had was the harder part. And I don’t have any regrets. I remember one thing I tell my patients all the time when you’re faced with these decisions, I, as a medical student, I had access to all the best medical journeys, journals, all the best medical advice, and even then with all that great data, great information, Everything is gray.
There’s no black and white, like you have to do this, X, Y, Z. There’s a lot of gray, and I remember deciding at that moment, and this is again for your listeners, when you’re faced with these decisions, do the best you can with the information you have. And don’t ever look back. Don’t ever say, what if I would have?
I decided at that moment, at 25, I would go forward with this incredibly aggressive, so aggressive that the dose of [00:08:00] chemotherapy they gave me was right up until the point where my heart would fail. Like they gave me the maximum lifetime dose of one of the drugs that could cause heart failure. So for the rest of my life, I could never, ever have that drug again, or I’ll go past the capacity of my heart to.
Continue beating. So this was a really big deal. And again, then I had to recover from that. And what happened in the recovery? Six months later, I started having cyclical fevers, weight loss, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and I passed out in the ER while I was taking a patient’s blood pressure. And I was admitted that night to the hospital for an abscess.
And I woke up the next day with a surgeon telling me, Jill, you have Crohn’s. And Crohn’s is an autoimmune disease that attacks the gut lining another life-threatening diagnosis. I was told it’s incurable. I was told you’re going to be on lifelong immune modulating drugs. You’re probably gonna need surgery to remove part of your colon.
And this is, this is your life, right? And I was just in shock. And I remember before I left, and you’ll love this cuz this is your platform. I said, doc, you know, I’ll do anything it takes. What about diet? Does diet have [00:09:00] anything to do with this? He did not skip a beat. This was 20 years ago. Now the data does not support this, but he did not skip a beat and he said, Jill, diet has nothing to do with.
Don’t waste your time. And I walked to that office, that was the first doctor I fired, and I just intuitively, and this is another teaching point, because my mind said, oh, this doesn’t make sense. This doctor’s telling me diet has nothing to do with it. I don’t know any better. I don’t, you know, maybe he’s right, but my intuition said that can’t be right.
The gut is an interface with the world, with the food. There’s no way, it can’t have anything to do with it. And I went, my Swiss German stubbornness came out and I was like, I’m going to prove him wrong. I went on a search and I came across a few weeks later, Elaine Gottschall’s specific carbohydrate diet, which is one among many, and I was like, what do I have to lose?
Right? So unbeknownst to me, I was also celiac, totally undiagnosed. So I took out gluten, I took out specific carbohydrates Within two weeks, the fevers, the symptoms, they were gone. And I wasn’t cured in two weeks. It took me years to fix the microbiome. But what I [00:10:00] realized is one of my platform statements is we can reverse autoimmunity.
It’s reversible and diet absolutely has everything to do with it. So those are just a few of the lessons I learned early in life. Way more powerful than my medical education. Yeah.
JJ Virgin: And, and I think back, so here’s the funny part. You’re telling this whole story and I’m like, oh, I was talking about the other story.
I, and the, the, you know, I’m like, oh my gosh, you have so many stories. And I was thinking back to how you grew up because you work so much, and I’m really excited today to talk about this because you work in environmental toxicity, but I think most people don’t look at environmental toxicity and realize how.
Emotions are part of environmental toxicity that they have to, that you have to bring that in. But I’m thinking about where you grew up and what you were raised around too, because that, of course, played a, played a role. Who knows how much of a role and a trigger it was for all of these things going on.
But I’m thinking back to [00:11:00] what you played around while you were growing.
Dr. Jill Carnahan: Yeah, so I grew up on a farm in central Illinois. You would think it’s a Rockwellesque, you know, idyllic pace. And I did, I had a wonderful family. I was one of five. I was sandwiched by brothers. I had three brothers total and one above me, one below me, one younger than me, like younger sister.
So I was the oldest girl and I grew up on the Swiss German hardworking farm, kind of, you know, 16 hour days and, and crazy amount of, and. I guess I took on early on that achievement was love and that performance was love and that hard work was the only option and all these good qualities that helped me be successful.
I don’t regret any of that, but I had to really I didn’t know early on that I was born this highly sensitive person, very sensitive to. Emotions and, and, and it causes a greater intuition, but it also on the downside, in a really harsh environment of the farm, it’s hard and you kind of have to suppress your true nature to survive.
So I took on this like analytical engineer, like all my brothers and, and farm and hard work and went to medical school and achieved my, [00:12:00] and so on the emotional level, I was suppressing my nature, which is actually much more of an intuitive, artistic, creative being. I have the analytical part, but I also have this other intuitive and very sensitive.
very, very sensitive emotionally. And I always say now when I talk to people, there’s about 10%, 15%. Elaine Aaron writes about in the H S P, the highly sensitive person. Mm-hmm. . And for me, when I read that book in my late thirties, I was like, why didn’t I read this sooner? Because it was such a validation of who I was.
And part of the gift of that, the curse is that you’re sensitive to everything . And the, the, the, the gift is that you see details that other people don’t see. You’re very intuitive, observant, and if you use that part of the right brain, the sensitive part, you can come to conclusions and. Things even with patients that you can never do with the analytical mind.
I always compare it like the analytical mind is like a slow analog computer, and this subconscious, intuitive part of ourselves processes millions of pieces of data in the subconscious and literally fractions of a second and can actually lead to better outcomes and decisions when we combine them both.
So [00:13:00] that’s the emotional part. But the physical part was, there was chemicals, there was pesticides, there was herbicides. Roundup wasn’t until the eighties, but there was all kinds of other pesticides. If you look at the record, my dad literally hand wrote the records of the chemicals that he used on the farm and how many gallons of the year I was born.
It reads like a toxic environmental waste docket. It’s crazy Atrazine, which is a known endocrine disruptor. Derivatives of other organic phosphates, which are all basically endocrine disruptors cause hormonal imbalance by acting like hormones on our system. So we see this like, and there’s no wonder breast tissue, of course is hormonal.
I really believe jj, that probably in utero, my mother had toxic exposure. And the case of my cancer started with in utero exposure. We now show actually a study 20 years ago showed that when babies were born they had 200 chemicals in their cord blood when they were born. So we, they come into this life already at disadvantage.
And I had well water. So I had all kinds of sources [00:14:00] and there’s no doubt in my mind that with my poor detox genetics plus my mother potentially in utero exposure and, and then growing up on the farm. Those insults to have cancer full blown at 25 means those insults had to happen at five or 10 like decades prior, maybe even longer.
So those cells start to grow and divide abnormally, and then in a decade or so it becomes cancer. So I believe with all my heart that some of the things on the farm now there’s a lot of beauty and what happened with that? Whole entire family is farming differently now. They’re completely non gmo.
They do not use any GMO crops and they’re partially organic, which in the corn and soybeans of central Illinois, that’s a big deal. .
JJ Virgin: Yeah. I would think it’s almost impossible at this point. Wow. And was everybody else, I just have to ask this question cause I’ve never heard this part. Anybody else in the family have any kind of health struggles from all of.
Dr. Jill Carnahan: So, I’m so glad you asked that. So my bro, I had severe allergies as a child [00:15:00] and eczema, like literally my body was covered in bleeding, tissue scars and horrendous as a child and the severe allergies where I’d have to stay in for months at a time because I was allergic to the corn and soybeans that were on the farm.
Now, in hindsight, we can go here later, but there was probably mold on those crops as well contributing to my mold sensitivity. But my sister, so I was 25, diagnosed with cancer, got through that went on. , my sister at 28 was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. So there’s two girls in the family, both endocrine types of cancers in their twenties.
So there’s no doubt there’s a piece of genetics and then there’s a piece of environmental exposure, and two of us, both girls got cancer in our twenties.
JJ Virgin: Wow. Well, you’ve certainly taken all of. And used it for good. And I think that is such an important thing. What you started this whole thing, the, the interview out saying is, you know, when we tell a specific story, even though it’s so specific, everybody can see themselves in a piece of it.
And [00:16:00] then. There’s always this decision along the way, and there’s the decision kind of after you have that initial shock and pity party, cuz we’re all human, right? But after that little piece, then the decision is, is this, is this, is this gonna be the best thing that ever happened to me? Or the worst?
Because it could go either way. And the reality is all that’s happened to you has made you this tremendous , Sherlock Holmes of medicine. And you’ve been able to deal with some of the most complex cases out there. What are you seeing now? Cuz you, I know people come from all over the place to have you help them, you know?
What are some of the key things that you can do for someone listening? Cause I, you know, who knew like that we’d have chronic mystery illnesses. I mean, what do you believe is really at the root cause of all of these chronic mystery illnesses? What’s going on?
Dr. Jill Carnahan: Yeah, and JJ if it wasn’t bad before Covid and the pandemic, it has just escalated.
Like our system, the way that we treat complex chronic [00:17:00] illness was kind of lacking before. I know we agree on that, but it’s gone to a new level like the. The stories I hear now, and I just read just yesterday, one in four doctors are clinically depressed or burned out, so it’s no wonder that the doctors are overwhelmed and, and part of it is they don’t have the tools anymore because they’re relying on pharmaceuticals and surgery.
There’s a place for that. If you have trauma, if you have heart attack, if you have, there’s a place for that. I still use medications. I still prescribe medications. But what happens in these complex. Illness that are very many times environmentally related. A drug does not cure it. In fact, it makes it worse.
So what I see at the core functional medicine is kind of this twofold thing, and it’s almost always contributing to these complex chronic illnesses. One side is toxic load. It’s the elephant in the room, our environmental toxic load. Every single day is increasing. 20 years ago, I had cancer, and it was related to that.
Does toxic exposures Nowadays, the exponential increase in chemicals that are in our environment, in our cleaning products, in our bath and beauty products, in our water, in our food are so much more. And [00:18:00] literally every year there’s more and more. I just heard this year in Colorado, literally all the water supply in Colorado is contaminated with
PFAO’s which are related to Teflon and Goretex and all the, you know, the, the fabric that prevents water from you, knowing all the clothing, and these are forever chemicals. Scientists can’t even calculate the half-life. So they’re gonna be in our water supply forever. Like, there’s no way to get these out.
That’s scary. Right? And that’s the kind of thing, that’s just one name toxin. I get to name a dozen others. Glyphosate is ubiquitous. I just have read recently that Organic California wines have traces of glyphosate that’s organic. Like how is it
JJ Virgin: in there? Well, think about it. I mean, can anything really be organic anymore if we’ve got water flowing and air blowing and then seeds blowing?
Like how Yes. How? How? You know, I mean, it’s really seems to be, obviously you wanna minimize any toxic exposure, but it seems like he who detoxifies best is gonna. The game of healthier
Dr. Jill Carnahan: 100%. And that’s why I like [00:19:00] so this complex chronic detective work, it’s toxic load. It’s infectious burden. An infectious burden.
Now if we had a robust immune system or you know, exercising, walking the earth and doing our, like in the blue zones, they’re all about movement. They’re about relationships. They’re about good food, 90% plant-based, but they still eat meat and they’re about these long-term friendships and, and the movement isn’t exercise.
They don’t go to a gym. They just move like normal life. All the, like what we
JJ Virgin: used to do before we had to have gyms, . Exactly.
Dr. Jill Carnahan: Exactly. So like this. Qualities, but toxic load, infectious burden. And the reason infectious burden is there, and we’re seeing this post covid like crazy because we see this weakened T-cell response in all these old infections.
Chickenpox. We shouldn’t get shingles. But what happens when we’re in a weakened state, when we’re under surgery, we’re under stress, we get shingles. That’s just reactivation of chickenpox. Everybody’s heard of that. What they might not have heard of. Epstein bar can reactivate and cause thyroiditis or cause all kinds of illnesses or, or complex C M V.
All these herpetic viruses are being reactivated in a weakened immune [00:20:00] state due to toxic load. So people are fatigued, they’re having brain fog, they’re having autoimmunity is on the rise. I think we’re at the edge of a tsunami of autoimmunity because of all this immune dysfunction due to infectious load and toxic burden.
And those two are the core drivers of all these inflammatory illnesses and autoimmunity and chronic complex illness. So it. Simple, but it’s quite complex.
JJ Virgin: assuming that, I mean, I don’t know how someone wouldn’t have toxic load. I mean, if you’re, if you’re measuring it in baby’s cord blood, like how you know, how everyone has it and the infectious side. How prevalent is that? Is that as prevalent or is that just in people with weakened immune systems? Is this also because of ultra processed foods and lack of diverse fibers in the diet?
Like what’s going on there?
Dr. Jill Carnahan: Yeah, so this is, I think everybody has old hidden infections. I always [00:21:00] say with Lyme disease is another topic, so people are like, oh, I don’t have Lyme. Or it’s only on the East coast because of the changing climate there is massive, like literally every state in the US now has Lyme disease or some tick borne infections.
Now here’s how I frame it. You could take a thousand people off the street walking along, they’re feeling fine, they have no complaints, and just say, let’s test you for Lyme. I would guess you might get 30 to 50% of them positive, but they’re fine. So this interplay between immune system and infections is important because you can have Lyme disease and you may not need treatment.
That’s really important. In fact, I think a lot of people have it, and many of us have been bit by, and it’s not just. That tick our vectors. There’s spiders, there’s other things that can carry some of the co-infections. And there’s a ton of things in this class. Or Lichi and Bai and bar. Mm-hmm. . But all to say people can be walking around fine if they have a robust immune system, because that’s a very low virulence, meaning it doesn’t kill people, it just sits in the system and dormant and not bothering you.
But what happens is then you get high stress, lack of sleep, maybe a massive divorce or trauma or loss of loved one. [00:22:00] Or you get the toxic load where you’re eating. Poor food clean you’re not breathing clean air or something like that. And that weakens the immune system so that these old things start to pop up and cause symptoms.
So most of people who come in with maybe a new autoimmune diagnosis say, ms, they might have had Lyme disease or some other infection that’s contributing to that autoinflammatory process. And they were fine until. The threshold of their ability to basically bail out the bucket as think of everybody as a bucket ability to detox.
When that water level hits the top and starts to overflow, they have outsourced their capacity to detox and they need help. And what you mentioned too is these, Things that we can incorporate daily practices. We all need to have a daily practice. You and I talked briefly before we came on about our mornings.
Now precious they are. And whether it’s, you know, hot cold therapy or whether it’s meditation or whether it’s walking or movement or whatever it is, those practices or Epsom salt baths that we incorporate daily, those are a key to detox.
JJ Virgin: Yeah. Let’s dig [00:23:00] in because it sounds like, okay, we all have viruses living.
Yes, you got it. You got it. And I would assume like between Lime, Bartonella, Epstein bar herpes. Yep. No one’s free of any of, of all. Like there’s, they’re in there, right? But they’re probably not an issue. If you are getting good sleep, managing your stress, and managing your toxic load, which even if you’re living.
in the most pristine environment, you’re still getting toxins on a daily basis. I mean, they’ve shown that like, I forget where it was going off somewhere to Antarctica or, yeah, somewhere where humans aren’t, and they go, there’s toxins here because we have just destroyed this. So then when you hear that, it really comes down to.
Not overburdening your system and making sure that you’re detoxifying on a regular basis. So what are those things? Cuz you mentioned a couple of them, and I think we still are in this place where we see this as a [00:24:00] luxury. Like, oh, you know, . Working outs a luxury or doing a sauna as a luxury. And I look at some of these countries, you know how they talk.
I was, I was in, have you been to Iceland? No, but I wanna go. Oh my gosh. Okay. So who would’ve thought? So we, we are gonna stop off there. Here’s, here was the real deal. We’re gonna stop off there for two days because it was so much cheaper to fly through Iceland to go to Europe. We’re like, oh. And they had a whole deal where you could stop off for a couple days and it wouldn’t cost you anymore.
We’re like, okay, and so we’re gonna stay and we, I looked at this one hotel and went, shoot, we’re saving so much money. I’m gonna stay at the only five star crazy amazing hotel built into the Blue Lagoon that’s private, and we’re gonna only stay there one night and then go to another hotel where we thought we’d see.
The, what you call it, what is the thing? The lights, Northern lights. Yeah. Anyway, we walk into, so we land, we walk into this hotel and I look at Tim and I go, we are not leaving here. Like, we have to stay , whatever, [00:25:00] whatever we have to do. I don’t care if we have to stay in like the closet or stay in here.
And what I noticed immediately, like the entire country’s organic, everything’s grown in greenhouses, everything. There’s, there’s no like, oh, is it grass fed? No. Everything is just, Grass fed, wild, organic, they all organic cleaning. Like all of a sudden I walked in, I go, everything smells like I, my whole nervous system went, oh, you’re okay.
And like you go through and the daily thing is you go in their hot, they have the most beautiful, the blue lagoons, all silica, like your skin’s the most amazing thing. They have a ritual that you go through at this hotel where it’s all built into the caves and they’re lava rock caves. And you’re in there with all these ions and.
You do this ritual of, of this lava mud all over you, and then you put this rub, this special salt on, and then you go in. The steam and then you go in the cold. It’s where I first was like I cold plunge for about 15 seconds. Yeah, it was my first time. Then you cold plunge, then you go over in the sauna, [00:26:00] then you get a massage out in the water in the blue lagoon.
Like I was like, I this, I want to live here. But as I was looking at all of this and looking at this beautiful food, and the other thing I loved about them is they’re not tea people. They’re coffee people. I’m like, this is my, these are my people. These are my people. . These are my people. Plus they had a wine cellar built down deep into this whole thing in a Michelin restaurant.
I go, this is like, wow. I’ve come home. Yeah. But I started looking, I was researching cause I thought, well, I’ll write blogs and write this whole thing off, like I’ll figure something out. But what I learned was, you know, if you look at the happiest countries in the world, I would never have thought Iceland would’ve counted because when we were there, it got light at 10 and dark at.
and I thought, well, people must be absolutely depressed cuz there’s no sunlight. No. They’re like, we love living here. We’ll never go anywhere else. 10% of ’em are authors. They all have multiple jobs. They love everything they do. They, they, they spa all the time. And if you look at Finland and Norway and, and [00:27:00] Sweden and Iceland, these Norwegian countries that all are like the happiest countries in the world, they spa.
They do steam and sauna, they do cold exposure, and they’re a detox and they’re eating a lot of omega-3. So they’re,
Dr. Jill Carnahan: they’re, they were born biohackers, right? Like .
JJ Virgin: Holy smokes. By the way, I just had my first sweat lodge experience too. Oh. And the guy who was leading us through it, it was me and David and Lisa Perlmutter.
It was, it was quite an experience, but the guy who was leading us through it does it every day. I’m like, this guy must be the. Toxic and free dude , you know, so talk about what we can do on a regular basis, because I still think this is kind of seen as like, oh, you know, this luxury thing. When you look at these countries where they are so much happier and healthier, and this is just part of their culture.
Dr. Jill Carnahan: Yeah, I love how you frame that because that’s exactly what I always wanna [00:28:00] say is we can go to these wonderful places and do these wonderful things, but if we’re not daily incorporating habits, we are missing the boat because that load in our bucket, in this toxic world that we’re currently in, it can be depressing.
But I’m here to tell you, you can do daily things, incorporate these things and, but you have to choose to daily do them. And I always start with simple, clean air, clean water, clean. super easy, and it sounds like, okay, is that really all it takes? There’s more, but clean air, you want 80% of our toxic exposure in the air that we breathe.
And probably what you felt in Iceland was part of the just clean air. You know, no EMFs, there’s no chemicals. There’s so much particulate from exhaust, from fumes, from wildfires, et cetera, that the air that we breathe and then mold, there’s a whole nother topic that’s. Yeah, one in four buildings have mold in the microtoxins they produce.
So these massively affect our brains and our bodies. So if all you do is get an air filter in your bedroom with VO C and HEPA filtration, that is a huge start. Open your windows whenever possible. As long as you don’t have wildfire smoke outside or whatever. That’s clean air. That’s [00:29:00] huge. And that’s underrated.
Clean water. You wanna drink clean water, you wanna drink some of the Ni Cora. Costa Rica was one of the blue zones. I was just there two weeks ago. Part of what was made them the blue zone was their volcanic. Soils, we’re creating this mineral based water. So mineral water, I’m a huge fan of wherever you get it.
I usually go for European brands because it’s cleaner there. But drinking that between meals, that mineral rich water will actually alkanize your body and help with detox aid your bones from being absorbed because if you drink acidic products, acidic water, carbonated beverages that aren’t mineral rich, you’re going to actually lose bone density and all kinds of things.
So mineral water and clean water, spring water. Try to avoid plastic water bottles. Those are just toxic BPA in there, and even the new BPA free. I don’t, I am not convinced that’s not toxic. So clean air, clean water, clean food, and again, this is your platform. Clean food is so paramount. You must be putting inputs into your body and your mitochondria, your cells that actually give you messages that heal, which means organic, non-processed.
Local if possible you know, [00:30:00] source them well. And then if you can grow your own, grow a few things nowadays, if you’re in an apartment in the city, you can still do growing with the water hydrotherapy kind of thing like they do in Iceland, in those greenhouses. So, and less than five ingredients. Again, you.
Our, one of the spokespersons in this area. So you could say a lot more. But clean food is paramount because all these inputs allow our cells and our body to take care of the toxic load. Now, the practical things you can do on the toxin level would be infrared sauna hydrotherapy, which is hot and cold therapy that it stimulates lymphatics, dry brushing before your shower.
I’m a huge fan of epsom salt baths. I take one almost every night, even if I’m traveling. And then doing things like PMF red light therapy. Again, with infared Sauna, anything you do to get your cells moving those toxins, because they’re stored in your tissues, 90% of toxic load is literally in your fat tissue, which is why some people, as they lose weight, they feel worse.
They gain it all back because they’ve gotten the dilutional effect. As they lose their weight, they’re more toxic. So if you’re not detoxing again, you’re a spokesperson on this even more than I am. Part of the [00:31:00] difficulty with weight, weight loss is toxic load because, Dilution is the solution to pollution, so your body will put on fat to protect you to dilute that toxic.
JJ Virgin: Yeah, I remember hearing, I don’t remember who was sharing this the, when they were going through the NHANES data, cuz there’s this whole thing about obesity is what causes diabetes. But what they found was it was the toxic load in the obesity, in the fat cells. Yeah. That was driving the insulin resistance leading to diabetes.
So, yes, it is definitely something, you know, in the perfect world of fat loss, we would be focusing only on fat loss, never on losing muscle unless you have a whole lot of weight to lose. Right? But for the most part, we really need to be focusing on holding onto that muscle, especially since, you know, 40 plus.
We’re losing it every single year if we’re not using it. But we would do a. Pathway test first. Get people detoxifying, well get them into things like saunas, then start the fat loss. Yes. So that you would be, and and make sure [00:32:00] that you’re doing it at a rate so that you’re not overloading your system.
Dr. Jill Carnahan: Yeah.
And let’s talk real quickly about that. Cause this concept is so helpful when I describe to patients. Mobilization of toxins is one thing, but excretion is the other side of that, sea salt. And if you are. That’s actually pretty easy to do. You take more glutathione, you get an IV glutathione, you do more. You can push that mobilization, which means taking it outta the tissues into the bloodstream, but then your liver, your kidneys, your bowels, your skin, your lungs are all pathways to excrete, and usually it’s excretion that’s impaired.
So if you just mobilize, mobilize, mobilize, that’s when people. Sick or unwell when they detox too quickly. And there is a process to that. And excretion, I think, is harder because it involves lymphatics, dry brushing, rebounding drainage remedies, like things that are actually excreting or your bowels and binders.
And often people are just jumping in that sauna for a a hour at 150 degrees and it might be too much for some people at the beginning. I remember
JJ Virgin: when I first did my first [00:33:00] true detoxification cleanse. Not a cleanse, not a juice cleanse, but if for the first real one with all of the, the right stuff to push it.
And of course, you know, I’m always an overachiever and if the little’s good, I’ll do more. And I started getting these huge lumps coming outta my face and I’m like, what is that? You know? And I was like, all right, well back. And clearly you need to do this. It’s the better than in, but, hmm. A little, a little too rapid on that.
So what are you seeing, because you talked about the environmental toxins and you talked about the infections, but I think there’s a missing piece here that is such a key part of what you’re doing. If we aren’t addressing it, I don’t know that someone can actually get better if we don’t address their inner game and the trauma, the, you know, trauma toxicity that could be in there as well.
Dr. Jill Carnahan: Yes, so interesting cuz like eight years ago I had [00:34:00] this vision of like, I needed to write my story and there was a lot more chapters that had to be written, which is why it took eight years. But at that time I thought, oh, I’m gonna write a book about environmental toxicity, how to overcome from mold illness and from all these autoimmune diseases or whatever.
But then what happened is I went through a toxic divorce, I went through some difficult relationships and I had to, what those things did to me was shake up. What was the norm? What was the. For me, shake up that and also I had to rediscover who am I? What’s my identity? What do I really believe?
And I had to go really deep. And I’ve done hours and hours and hours of N L P and of therapy and somatic work and all these levels. And again, I credit you with saying years ago, Jill, the best business development you’ll ever do is your personal development. Because sometimes when you’re deep in the muck there, you’re like, oh my gosh, my business is gonna fall apart while I’m working on myself.
Or you’re like thinking that maybe you should be doing this, you know, outward thing when actually that inward work. Is not only I said business, but even for your own, just joy and happiness and relationships, it is the most important thing that myself or you or any of our [00:35:00] patients could work on. And what I learned in that process is, I was choosing unhealthy relationships based on my value of myself.
I didn’t value myself, and even autoimmunity metaphorically with Gabor Mate’s work talks about self-hatred or self-loathing because of an attack of self. So metaphorically, there’s usually some pieces of yourself that you dislike or you don’t own or you don’t love. So part of the work for me was number one.
Trusting my intuition that that intuitive part of myself, the part that saw patterns and processes and was maybe right brain and esoteric versus analytical, was actually real and actually had good information to give me, and probably more powerful on some levels than the analytical mind. So number one, trusting that, like that feeling I had in the doctor’s office, the gi, I didn’t know anything.
I was a third year medical student. I didn’t know nutrition. , but that heart place said this can’t be true. And I trusted that enough to follow that path and cure myself from Crohn’s disease. And then in this healing, I started to trust that self. But you cannot really love [00:36:00] yourself and your cells and your body until you trust yourself.
And then doing the work around the trauma and those things, those patterns of thinking, I had to really reorganize my brain and, and what I thought about life, what had I thought about myself. But what I realized in that process is, Loving ourself, that self-compassion, that being kind to ourself instead of being like, again, I was in this hard work society, farm, country growing up, and so it was all about work harder, be more, do more.
You’re never enough. You’re gonna only be loved for achievement. And I remember literally Joe Polish, one of our common friends. In one of his things talking about addiction, and he pointed at us in the all health entrepreneurs, he’s like, you are all freaking addicts. You’re addicted to work and that’s your issue.
And it’s just like any other addiction because you’re covering up the pain. And I was just like, oh, wait a second, . He’s right, right. But do that.
JJ Virgin: I didn’t give it to him at first when he did that with me. I’m like, stop it, Joe. Not everyone’s addicted. Knock it off. . Right. I totally, cause like I don’t
Dr. Jill Carnahan: me alone.
Right. I’m like tuning out cause I’m like, [00:37:00] I’m not an addict. But then oh my gosh, we all have pain and we all use methods in ways in some of them. Healthy like exercise or connection with humans or even work can be healthy, but anything to an extreme can be unhealthy. So I had to deal with all these parts and in those eight years, Until the book has just come out.
I’ve really learned so much about self-compassion and healing and teaching patients that, that place of self-compassion is really where the healing begins. We have to be able to be accepting of ourselves, all of our parts and, and really love ourselves in a healthy way before, and then we can go out and love others.
Like I love to love people, and that’s how it comes. But until we really accept and love ourselves, we can’t even bring that to the world. . There
JJ Virgin: is a, a meditation that Dr. Joe Dispenza does where he says, have compassion and care for your beautiful self. And that I, I think we cover up all of these things even though the patterns are there.
Like you talked about it. I remember in my own personal relationships that, [00:38:00] you know, divorce not working, and I kept going, Ugh. I, I was so struggling. Then I went, oh, wait a minute. There’s one common factor. A, I keep choosing the same person, but a, I am doing that. And so what is it with me that’s doing that?
I did it in work relationships. I did it in personal relationships. And you know, you think it’s too painful to look at, but the reality is it’s, I, if you approach it with compassion and. Not shame and blame. Right? Then you can change everything. And I love, I love the concept that Dr. Joe talks about, about breaking the habit of being yourself and that really, you can change these things and, but it, you know, I think we tend to think, oh, I’ve blown all those things and I so it, you know, what’s the point?
But if you have compassion, care and forgive yourself, boy, , it’s amazing.
Dr. Jill Carnahan: And I think, we think we’re like, okay, we’re going downhill, we’re aging. I am in my best shape ever in my forties, way better than twenties and [00:39:00] thirties and on all levels, mentally, physically, emotionally, and so we can become our best selves.
JJ Virgin: Forties. Oh, just wait, Jill, that’s nothing. . I’m about to turn 60 and I was, you know, I just went and had a DEXA. Mm-hmm. Cause I was like, I wanna do a DEXA 59. I did one last one I did. It was a 39 and. Same weight, same body fat percentage. And I have been lifting heavier, working out harder, being stronger, feeling that happier, like so really, you know, all of these things, it’s, we, we look at like taking the toxic things out of our environment, but the biggest source of toxins actually tend to be our thoughts, , right?
So, you know, but you have to recognize them first and then, . So I’m, I’m really glad you brought that part up because it is, it is, it’s the biggest part of the work. And you know, I just thought about it in business early on because my first mentor, [00:40:00] when I moved in with her and she was gonna help me be successful in business, spent six months on mindset.
And I’m like, when am I gonna learn? Like I literally dropped out of my PhD program at U S C. And sold my business and drove across country from LA to Fort Lauderdale, and I’m like, oh my gosh, I just gave up everything and you’re teaching me the about limiting beliefs and I need to know about how to sell things.
Right. , you know, I’ve made a big mistake. It changed the whole entire trajectory of my life, of my children’s, of everything because, you know, it’s, it’s when you realize that your thoughts. And that really, truly the only limitations of the limitations in your mind, and you know that forgiveness, starting with yourself is the most powerful thing you can do.
It’s the shift is, is immeasurable.
Dr. Jill Carnahan: It really is. I mean, that’s what I’m here to say is like all those things I went through were like, like small compared to the power of this mindset change and self-compassion, I guess as a [00:41:00] healer. It’s just, it’s so
JJ Virgin: powerful. Well, and you brought it up at the start, and I know this is probably the through line of unexpected, which we’ll link to in the show notes is things can happen to you or for you that is really that Carol Dweck, you know, is it a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?
And if it’s happening for you, then what’s, you know, what’s, what’s yours to do and what’s yours to learn and what’s the gift in it? And again, When it’s initially happening, like when my son’s, son’s in the hospital, the, the, you know, when I’m first standing over a stretcher and they’re telling me he’s gonna die.
My, I wasn’t thinking, oh, this is happening for him, right? , I was freaking out. But after I got through that initial thing, and then you can start to go, okay, hold, you know, we can, we can shift this. Story. So this, you can shift your story. Now, I know with your book, which I’m so excited, the eight year wait for the book.
Yeah. , there’s been a lot of, a lot of buzz for eight years is out. It’s available now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble. I know everyone gets an Amazon, we’ll link there. But you [00:42:00] have some cool bonuses too. When people buy it, what all are they getting
Dr. Jill Carnahan: with it? Yeah. So I just thought, okay, what’s really, first of all, Part of my own journey was again, this analytical engineering mind to actually play and to rediscover my childish creativity and curiosity, which is what really allows us to discover and learn and grow.
And that process was coloring. So I actually created a coloring journal that goes along with a book. It’s free it’s at readunexpected.com. I have a free lecture on mass cell activation, which has been a big issue for so many people lately. Tell people what
JJ Virgin: that is, and I’ll put all of this at jjvirgin.com/Unexpected.
So, It will all be there. I bought like all these pretty gel pens. Like I, I’m big on Marie Forlio was like, JJ, you need to create and color. I’m like, okay, I’ll do that . Anyway, me too is
Dr. Jill Carnahan: powerful, isn’t it? Like it,
JJ Virgin: it’s so fun. All So tell them about what, what you just said so that the average human can go, what’s mari cell
Dr. Jill Carnahan: activation?
The [00:43:00] muscle activation super common now, especially because there’s multiple triggers. All the infections we talked about and covid. Brought that to a new level. It’s these primordial cells that react to the environment and protect us, but they throw out histamine and prostaglandins. And so what happens in many people is they’re becoming more activated.
Those mass cells are throwing out and they might present with congestion or heartburn or headaches that are unexplained or skin rashes or heart palpitations. And at the root is this mass cell activation. So I talk about what is it? How can you discover what it is? How can you talk to your doctor about testing?
How can you treat it? That lecture’s free? That’s a typical lecture I would give to other practitioners, but that’s free. The coloring journal. And then I, I recorded a secret chapter. You know how it is when you write a book, there’s things that don’t make the book. Oh yeah. But you’re like, this is really important.
And it’s juicy
JJ Virgin: stuff too. Yeah. Yeah. It’s really
Dr. Jill Carnahan: juicy. So I have a pre, it’s audio, my voice. I’m reading the chapter that it’s not in the book, so you’re gonna get that free. I’m gonna do a live on the launch date, so on the day it comes out, Will that
JJ Virgin: be recorded? Just because who knows when someone will hear this.
Okay. So you’ll still get all the goods. And again, [00:44:00] I’ll put all this at jjvirgin.com/unexpected, and this has been, I’m so excited that the book is out and this has just been a fantastic, you know, you are a fantastic story of what can happen when you decide to take what’s happened to you and make it happen for you and create the gift that you give to the world.
Dr. Jill Carnahan: Thank you. And, and JJ thank you for being a leader in this field and just shining your light and for on so many people like me. And bringing you’ve said this before too, but you really are such a beautiful example of giving and giving and lifting other people up along with all that you’ve done. So thank you for doing that for me today.
It’s my pleasure.
JJ Virgin: Be sure to join me next time for more tools, tips, and techniques you can incorporate into everyday life to ensure you look and feel great, and more importantly that you’re built to last. And check me out on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and my website [00:45:00] jjvirgin.com. And make sure to follow my podcast so you don’t miss a single episode subscribetojj.com.
See you next time.
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