Maybe you watch what you eat and follow basic guidelines. But do you know exactly what foods are best specifically for your body? Do you know exactly what time of day is best for you to eat those things? Is your consumption aligned with the body and fitness goals you have for yourself? If you said no to any of those things, then Cynthia Barrett at Wellness Couture in NYC has your answers. You can read as many articles online as you want, but none of them will tell you exactly what you need to know to make the nutrition plan that a trained nutritionist can design specifically for you.
In this deep dive, you will learn …
What does Wellness Couture do (0:18)
- The focus is gut health and adjusting diet for optimization
- Develop a custom nutrition plan for anyone from children to the elderly
- Testing is done to determine food allergies, sensitivities, and absorption, and what deficiencies there may be
- The gut is the source for all issues in the body
- Patient goals are examined and nutritional plans are developed for that
- The need to feed the mitochondria is often underestimated by people
- Vitamins are not enough to supplement with and you need to take in food
What kind of people come to Wellness Couture and what can they expect (6:51)
- People who have hit a wall or plateaued with their health and are looking for answers
- Take their blood to see what foods are causing inflammation, what nutrient deficiencies there are, family medical history, patient medical history, full nutrition evaluation to help the patient understand themselves
- These evaluations often bring on a lifestyle change, which leads to a happier and healthier patient
- The nutrition plan is highly detailed and even includes what you should be eating a what specific time of day
- Some success stories include a man who was able to get off his medications, a woman in her 30’s who was able to get back into marathon shape, a guy in his 40’s who lost 40 pounds and 10 inches off his waist
Why did you start Wellness Couture (16:16)
- The issue is personal for her because of her experience and how she enjoys helping others do the same
- She could not understand why certain things were happening to her body and why doctors didn’t seem to have the answer
- Eventually went to a functional physician who was able to help her and that inspired her to start doing her own research, which led to an adjustment in her diet
Should this be the approach of all doctors (22:16)
- The one size fits all approach is ineffective and there needs to be individuality to nutrition programs
- Children should be taught this approach to food and healthy eating
- Doctors can provide the answers, but it is up to the patient to make the change
- People can feel themselves getting better, even if it will take a year or two
Why should someone come to Wellness Couture (24:33)
- Gut health tests or books are good, but the whys important as well
- Ultimate lifestyle changes happen when working with a nutritionist
- It is good to have a relationship with the nutritionist and have someone physically see you so they can assess things like skin coloring, bathing, posture
Health care routines (26:27)
- Everything is so personalized that her routine should not be applied to anyone else but her
- It is very specific for everyone and the items eaten are eaten at a specific time
- Things like the amount of sunlight someone takes in is assessed
- People don’t realize that they need all the things they need because they do not recognize how their body is reacting to their environment and the things they are consuming
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Cynthia Barrett: My name is Dr. Cynthia Barrett. I’m an owner and CEO of Wellness Couture. So, Wellness Couture, we work on our patients gut health. So, we want to improve our patient’s gut health by looking to see if they have any micronutrient deficiencies, if they have any food allergies, if they have any food sensitivities and then from there we’re able to do a custom nutrition plan. We work with children, we work with the elderly. We work with athletes. Really comes down to how your gut microbiome is functioning. So, if you come in and you have decreased energy levels, are you absorbing your food? Are you chewing your food? What types of foods are you eating to help with the absorption, to give you the energy levels? And that’s something that we look at in our testing.
Saad Alam: Why do you think gut health is so important?
Cynthia Barrett: We think Gut health-
Saad Alam: You’re good.
Cynthia Barrett: Gut health is important because this is exactly where our immune system lies, so for addressing any issue that we have in our body, we have to look at the source. The source is number one, are we chewing our food? Is it fast or is it slow? Number two, what types of food are we eating? What types of foods are we putting into our body? Are they processed foods or are they whole foods? Do they have a lot of photo nutrients or are they nutrient deficient? So, once you start looking at how somebody is living, then we can also add that into the plan, right? So, if somebody is emotionally eating or somebody is getting ready for a race and they’re not preparing properly, there are a lot of different elements to somebody’s performance and overall general health.
Saad Alam: When you say, are you good?
Speaker 4: Yeah. [inaudible]
Saad Alam: When you say things like our immune system lies in our gut, what does that mean? I don’t even know.
Cynthia Barrett: There are about one trillion microbes in our whole entire body that from a physiological standpoint, are responsible for all of the processes in our body. Just alone in our gut, there’s about two to four pounds of gut bacteria, so if we’re not addressing the two pounds of ourself and how it functions, then we’re doing ourselves a disservice.
Saad Alam: What are the tests you run and what do you learn about them when [inaudible] ?
Cynthia Barrett: The tests that we run at Wellness Couture are primarily based upon our gut function, so we’re looking at our micronutrients test, which we’re assessing to see what nutrients you’re deficient in. So, you can a borderline deficiency or full blown functional deficiency, and then we decide what types of foods or vitamins that you need to supplement with into your body, into your diet. Then we also do a food allergy test, so the food allergy is immediate response to food and we decide what foods we need to take out from there. We also do a food sensitivity test that looks to see what the delayed sensitivity of foods are. So, a food that you have every day that you may think is healthy is actually causing gut inflammation over time. So, we take those foods out and we replaced them with other foods to give your body nourishment and nutrients.
Saad Alam: What are some examples of things that you find with people that they are completely deficient in that they would have never guessed?
Cynthia Barrett: A lot of people are not feeding their mitochondria. The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. So, oftentimes people are so concerned about the dairy and the gluten and cutting out all these processed foods, which is wonderful and great. However, are you feeding your cells or are you starving your cells? Now, starving your cells could be great if you’re fasting and if you’re doing it the right way at the right time, but overall, in general, every day you’re supposed to be feeding your mitochondria.
Cynthia Barrett: What feeds the mitochondria is chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is known to tremendously feed the mitochondria and give your cells a ton of energy. So, without foods that have … You want to eat foods that are the rainbow. So, think of eating like a forest. So, if today you had a red food, right? So, if you had a raspberry or a red apple, then you need to think did I have something green? Did I have some kale? Did I have some Brussels sprouts? Did I have something orange? Did I have an orange carrot? Or maybe yellow. Did I have a yellow squash or did I the yellow carrot? You want to start thinking of your food items in your diet right now as the color of a rainbow and if you’re not feeding your gut with that rainbow, then you’re doing yourself a disservice because you’re not getting the photo nutrients. You’re not getting the antioxidants that your body needs and for yourselves to be optimally healthy.
Saad Alam: Can you just supplement with vitamins in order to get those things?
Cynthia Barrett: Vitamins are not enough to supplement with. You need for sure food. Digestion starts in your mouth. So, you take a food. A lot of our processed foods are very easy to chew. It takes about maybe less than 20 chews for you to chew the food and then just swallow it. When you’re having a vegetable, it takes a longer time to break down because it has a lot of cellulose. So, it’s just the chewing rate is you need more times to chew the food. When you’re chewing your food properly and slowly, you’re getting the release of amylase, amylase breaks down carbohydrates. Once that’s released, it primes your stomach and your small intestine to release lipase, which breaks down fat and then proteus, which breaks sounds protein. So, priming the gut is very important because those digestive enzymes are needed to break down the food and then from there to be properly absorbed.
Saad Alam: So, you’re saying that if you take vitamins, a lot of those things don’t happen, so your stomach is not fine and in the right place to actually even absorb those nutrients?
Cynthia Barrett: You have to be careful with vitamins. There are a lot of vitamins out there that are made from synthetic ingredients and they’re not made from whole plants or whole based foods or herbs, which would nourish the cells 10 times better than synthetic vitamins.
Saad Alam: When someone comes into your practice, tell me, let’s just say me as a 36 year old male. I come in, I say, “Cynthia, hey look, I want to optimize my health. I want to be the best version of myself.” What would that process look like? Take me to right from the beginning of it, what you would do and what I would probably learn, and even hypothetically come up with what you may learn and how you may treat it.
Cynthia Barrett: When patients come to Wellness Couture, they’ve either hit a wall or a plateau in their health or they don’t understand where they are right now within their health and they’ve gone to so many different doctors and clinicians and they’re looking for answers. So, what we do first is we take their blood and we want to see what foods are causing gut inflammation. We want to see what micronutrients they’re deficient in. We also do a full nutrition evaluation. So, I’d like to know my patients pediatric medical history, and then their current medical history. So, once we do the testing, the blood work, sometimes we look at urine and stool, and then in conjunction with the nutrition evaluation, we’re able to formalize a custom nutrition plan that works well for you and your gut microbiome.
Saad Alam: What would that look like for someone like me?
Cynthia Barrett: So, if you come in and you have, for example, all these food allergies and you’re having digestive issues, you’re having a lot of bloating, you’re having a lot of belly fat and you’re not understanding why you can’t lose those extra few pounds. Now we’re able to see there is some concrete evidence as to what’s causing some gut inflammation and what’s causing the digestive disruption and absorption of those nutrients or maybe you don’t have enough of the right nutrients and then from there I’m able to decide what you’re missing and then add that into your diet.
Saad Alam: How often does someone go on a diet with you and do they need to, let me say this differently. Do I just need to see you once and then go on about my life or do I need to work with you on a continued basis [crosstalk] ?
Cynthia Barrett: So, in Wellness Couture, it’s a lifestyle change. So, we’re looking for baby steps, we’re looking day by day to make small changes and in the small changes it creates habits and then from there, it alternatively creates a healthy lifestyle. So, typically patients come in and they are with us for about a good six months because it takes a few good weeks and a good few months to get your gut microbiome to where it needs to be because a lot of our patients come in with chronic health issues. Most of us suffer from chronic health issues. We don’t just fall off a bike and break our arm and then all of a sudden we have digestive issues. No, it’s because of the foods that we’ve been consuming since we were a child that has caused such a gut microbiome disruption that we need to address that. So, if it took that long to create that recipe of discomfort in your gut, it’s going to take some time to heal. So, typically most patients do really well on our six month program where I check in with them twice a month and I want to see what their food journal is. I’d like to see how they’re feeling and from there we can make some changes and adjustments.
Saad Alam: So, do you take them all the way back to a place where they shouldn’t have any food sensitivities and then slowly build things back into their diet? Or do you pull things out?
Cynthia Barrett: Oftentimes patients require both pulling things out of their diet as well as putting things into their diet. So, it’s an exchange. So, if they have a, for example, gluten sensitivity, we’ll pull out the gluten, but then they’re also vitamin B12 deficient, right? So, then we need to supplement or primarily I prescribe their food. What foods to help build up your a B levels? Because your B levels are what your ultimate energy levels are. So, if those are low, then all the cells in your body are not going to function properly.
Saad Alam: How would you actually prescribe me a series of food to increase my B levels?
Cynthia Barrett: So, from the testing and from the evaluation that we do, I then put together a custom nutrition plan. In our custom nutrition plans, we break down exactly what our patients need. So, what their needs are and what their goals are as well. So, we give them a either a list of supplements or we give them a list of food items to address, for example, their B12 deficiency and then from there we lay out what types of foods you should be eating AM, noon and PM and the order of foods. So, for example, when you wake up in the morning, you’re coming off of a fast. Break fast. So, you should be consuming higher sugar foods that have higher levels of sugar. So, for example, fruit, but it also has great fiber. So, things like berries have a low glycemic index, which is a great option to have early in the morning.
Cynthia Barrett: We also promote eating fruits and vegetables that are winning season and then from there, the nutrients timing of the foods as well. So, when you actually eat things versus just eat this, don’t eat that, you need to understand when it’s absorbed properly and when it’s going to cause a disruption. One of my pediatric patients was nine months old. I came in to see him for physical therapy and I noticed that he had this purple rings around his eyes and I went to the mom and I said, “Is he okay?” Because I noticed he also had a lot of drainage coming out of his nose. Every time I saw him he was constantly draining from the nose and she said, “He’s actually on a proton pump inhibitor.” And I said, “Oh, that’s interesting,” and he’s been on it since he was born. So, he had a lot of digestive issues and I said, “I can help you get him off this medication.” So, we started using some [inaudible] and some aloe juice and we started healing the gut microbiome and we weaned him off the medication and the purple rings around his eyes went away because he was able to absorb his nutrients and he no longer had a lot of congestion.
Saad Alam: How long did that take?
Cynthia Barrett: It took about a good three months to heal him.
Saad Alam: And was there anything else going on and you can confidently say it was just the diet change?
Cynthia Barrett: That was the only change noted and when he went back to his GI doctor, the GI doctor then took him off his medication.
Saad Alam: That’s wonderful. All right, now tell me about female, 35 years or the runner.
Cynthia Barrett: I had another patient who came in who was about in her 30s, had a lot of digestive issues, a lot of bloating, unexplained weight gain around the belly and she was concerned about her energy levels in addition to just having a stress fracture and through our program we cut out certain foods that were causing some gut inflammation, some food sensitivities, and we added things that she was missing and then she was able to get back into it, run a marathon, and then she also was able to get her menstrual cycle back.
Saad Alam: What were the changes you made with her specifically? Be detailed.
Cynthia Barrett: Man, they’re all custom programs. That’s why it’s hard to, I’d have to look at her file exactly what I prescribed to her.
Saad Alam: If you were to have [inaudible] plus or minus 20% and just make a guess, what do you think the guess would be for someone like that?
Cynthia Barrett: Gluten.
Saad Alam: How would you put together a diet in order for them to remove gluten out of their diets?
Cynthia Barrett: So, because she was a runner, she needs the carbohydrates and so she was eating a lot of gluten and also too, hanging out with her friends on the weekends. So, we got her to curb that and made some suggestions, having some fish and having maybe some quinoa or other sources of carbohydrates that were not going to cause a disruption in her gut microbiome and with those changes then she was able to feel a lot better and have better performance ultimately.
Cynthia Barrett: Another client of mine came to me and he was in his mid forties and he tried everything, counting calories. He was on different diets and then once we did a food sensitivity test and micronutrient test, we were able to see what foods were causing inflammation and for him it was dairy. Dairy was a killer for his gut and he also was not rotating his foods. He was eating the same foods over and over again. So, we got him to eat different fruits, different vegetables, different sources of carbohydrates and lean types of meat versus eating a steak every week. We got him eating a little bit more fish and from there he was able to get his energy levels increase. He got back into running, he lost 40 pounds, he lost about 10 inches off his waist and now he’s back to playing soccer.
Saad Alam: That’s great. What do these people say to you when you were able to create that change for them?
Cynthia Barrett: Our patients just feel so grateful that they’re able to finally figure out what was causing this issue that they have been suffering from for the longest time.
Saad Alam: Did you ever have patients that cry?
Cynthia Barrett: A lot of patients come in and they are so grateful that we were able to figure out and get to the root cause of exactly what has been happening after going to so many doctors, after doctor, after doctor, after pill, after pill, finally coming to the resolution of what has transpired and come, I don’t know. They’re just happy. I mean, just say that. They’re just happy. I’ve gotten letters, I’ve gotten notes. People are just grateful and they’re happy. They’re feeling better. Ultimately everybody wants to feel good. Everybody wants to be happy and everybody wants to know that they can wake up everyday knowing that they don’t have to suffer anymore.
Saad Alam: How important … Why the hell do you do this?
Cynthia Barrett: I started Wellness Couture because I know that people have been suffering for really long time and with my own experience and healing myself and going to every doctor under the sun for my skin issues, for my energy levels, for my heart burn, I went through every doctor, every specialist and all they did was have to offer me another cream and another pill and I told myself that something doesn’t feel right and there has to be a better way and then from there I went on my own journey of healing.
Saad Alam: First of all, let’s talk about how did it make you feel that you had skin problems?
Cynthia Barrett: Growing up I had severe cystic acne and I was very, very self conscious about my looks and just feeling terrible and bad about myself and not understanding why there are so many other friends of mine who ate 10 times worse than me and they didn’t have any skin issues and here I am suffering with this. I was always in shape. I went to the doctor, all my labs were great and I was an athlete so I was picture perfect, but something was still not right and after going to specialists day in and day out, I still was not able to walk away with an answer. So, I got fed up and I got tired and I did my own research and I came to my own conclusions and I got the education and here I am.
Saad Alam: What did that process look like? Of you getting that research, getting that education? Where did you go?
Cynthia Barrett: So, I started out at Hunter College with my Community Health Education Degree. I got a Bachelor’s of Science and I wanted to become a physical therapist. So, I went into to NYU and became a physical therapist. I wanted to work for the Yankees. I wanted to do orthopedic physical therapy, fell in love with my pediatric clinical affiliation, started working with kids, realizing a lot of these kids who have developmental delays. It’s because of what they’re eating. Lunchtime, Goldfish, all these snacks, prepackaged things. There’s no fresh fruits, fresh vegetables that they’re consuming. So, day in and day out, they’re eating foods that are nutrient deficient. They’re omega three fatty acid deficient and that’s why their brains are not optimally functioning well and that’s why they have developmental delays and that’s why they’re not able to keep up with their peers. So, in conjunction with seeing that and then my own health, I realized, okay, it’s time for me to make a change. It’s time for me to get out there and not only treat patients with the aftermath, but actually go in and start treating them when they’re young and helping them.
Saad Alam: That’s it. Yeah. You’re in your element right now. What did the process look like? And go into it as much detail as you can of you unpacking your own health. What are the things that you started changing your diet, what’s the first thing that you noticed? How did it make you feel? What was the next level that you took? How long did that process take? Just dive into it as much detail as possible.
Cynthia Barrett: So, when I was 17, I was put on a proton pump inhibitor and I didn’t know at the time you were only supposed to be prescribing 90 days. I was prescribed 13 years later and I didn’t find out that I had any health issues until I went for a run and I started bruising profusely. I was training with high school girls and I was coaching them over the summer. We’re running in the back hills and we’re running over 40 miles a week and all of a sudden I would come home and I would journal and I would realize I’m getting bruises all over. Why? Go to my primary care physician, he’s like, “I think it’s from the medication, but I’m not sure.” I’m like, “Okay.” So he’s like, “Go to a hematologist.” So, I go to hematologists and she says, “Oh, I have anemia. Just consume more spinach.”
Cynthia Barrett: So, it just didn’t make any sense to me because I was eating spinach already in my diet. So, I took it a step further and I decided to go to a functional medicine doctor who actually took some lab work on me and then I realized I had some nutrient deficiencies. So, then I started on my journey, but even within going to her, I felt limited because I felt it was just all these supplements that I had a buy and I just felt I was bogging my liver down with all the supplements. So, then I decided this doesn’t sit right with me either. So, I took it a step further. I decided to become a certified nutrition specialist and I learned a ton more about the gut microbiome and what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to eat and when you’re supposed to eat and then I really started digging deeper.
Cynthia Barrett: I started my own research. I started becoming a nutrition detective and I started looking at the food labels and I started seeing all the things that I’m consuming are artificial colorings, flavors, sweeteners, products, and I’m not actually consuming real food. So, then I made the switch and slowly but surely I switched over to regular pasta, which I eat almost every day of my life to brown rice pasta and then now I eat bean pasta. So, the transition took a good five to six years, but within that process, little by little I was gaining my health. I was gaining back my energy. I felt better. My performance now as a runner is 10 times better than I was in high school and it’s because I’m able to absorb my nutrients now and I’m able to actually eat real foods.
Cynthia Barrett: I never ate the amount of foods that I eat now. I never ate the amount of variety. I ate the same foods every day, day in and day out and now I know that a variety and eating in season and eating foods that are bitter are healing to you. Whereas I was a complete sugar addict. All I did was eat sugar every day and I thought it was fine because in biology you learn that your body needs glucose. So, what’s wrong with glucose? I could just have a bag of candy and I’ll be fine. I’m in shape, I’m a runner, I don’t have diabetes, I’m picture perfect. Everything looks great, but I still was suffering with the heart burn, I was still suffering with acne and I didn’t fully understand why I was still going through it. I was going through it until I went through my journey.
Saad Alam: Why don’t you think doctors do this already?
Cynthia Barrett: So, conventional medicine is a one size fits all approach and they look at your symptoms and then they give you your prescription and sometimes that’s needed, but in long chronic diseases, with chronic disease you need to address what’s the root underlying cause because it didn’t happen overnight. It happened over time. So, what’s happening is a lot of people are being treated for chronic diseases chronically forever. So, they still have the disease, but maybe it’s minimized by medication, but they still have it. Whereas I actually heal the gut microbiome, looking at what the root cause is and then from there coming up with custom nutrition plans that are based on what’s good for you, not what’s good for somebody else.
Saad Alam: Do you think that you could teach other people how to do this?
Cynthia Barrett: Absolutely. This is something that we can teach our kids. This is something that we could start young with our youth, so that way people don’t have to struggle and grow into their teenage years and grow into their adult years with chronic disease.
Saad Alam: Do you think that you can take someone, anyone that walks off the street and everything that you taught yourself how to do in five to six years, you could do that in three months?
Cynthia Barrett: What I can definitely guarantee is that if you come to Wellness Couture, you’re going to learn about yourself and I can give you the tools and the information, but it’s up to you to make the change.
Saad Alam: How long is that change going to take?
Cynthia Barrett: Everybody’s different and it’s not a one size fits all approach, so it depends. If you’ve been suffering with this particular health ailment for many years, it may take a good year or two years to get yourself to an optimal level, but within that process, you’re going to gain the momentum. You’re feeling so much better, increase energy that you’re not going to want to stop. You want to continue on the journey because you know you feel good and you’re waking up feeling good. So, that in itself gives you the empowerment and the courage to continue on the path of health.
Saad Alam: Why can’t I just go buy a gut biome test like uBiome, Viome or Onegevity and be on my way?
Cynthia Barrett: There are so many different options out there that you can do. There’s so many self help books out there, just like self care. So, you can order a kit, you can swab and get your saliva, you can do your urine, you could send your stool somewhere. The reality is that you need direction as to why. It’s the little details every day. It’s the teaspoon of extra sugar you put in every day. Oh, but it’s artificial. Those types of kits cannot give you that wealth of information. When you’re working with a clinician, they’re able to actually go through the processes of your day in and day out routine and schedule where they can make little corrections and tweaks that go a long way and then from there we can just make an ultimate lifestyle change.
Saad Alam: Why should I pay you a premium sitting on probably one of the nicest places in New York City, but why should I just go on Craigslist and hire a nutritionist?
Cynthia Barrett: It’s all about building relationships. I like to build relationships and trust with my clients. I like to get to know them as an individual. I like to look in my clients’ eyes. I like to see their coloring of their skin. I like to see how they’re breathing, how their posture is. The disposition of my patients and seeing my clients makes a huge difference. It gives me a wealth of information of how I can help them.
Saad Alam: And this is where I want you to sell hard. Why you? Why are you better than other nutritionists?
Cynthia Barrett: When you go through the trials and tribulations like I have and you’ve healed your own gut after going to doctor after doctor for over many years and being frustrated with no answers, you have all the drive in the world to go out there and help and heal everybody else.
Saad Alam: What are some really interesting tidbits or facts about you and your healthcare routine that people would find or that have been incredibly helpful for you?
Cynthia Barrett: I think a lot of my clients are taken back by the fact that they actually have to incorporate certain foods every meal time and they’re just not used to or accustomed to eating certain foods at different times a day, but once they start feeling better and they have improved energy levels and they’re just feeling incredibly better then they completely understand why what we’re doing is all wrong.
Cynthia Barrett: I mean that’s one thing I have to say is so personalized because for somebody who’s running, for example, early in the morning, they may not eat breakfast until 11 versus somebody else eats it a certain different times. My plans are so customized that it’s not a one size fits all approach and I think that’s the biggest thing. They’re that custom, where it’s like we’re like, “Okay, what are you doing it 9:00? What are you doing at 11:00? Eat this first and eat that first and eat this first, then eat that first. So, you’re going to wake up, then you want your coffee, have a little coffee, and then after that, then you have a cup of berries, but then no, you go for a run and then you have your cup of berries and then you have your chlorella” I mean, that’s how intricate and detailed we get. So, we get really detailed. It’s not like AM just have these foods, PM have these foods. It’s the timing of the foods is what’s important.
Saad Alam: Give me an example.
Cynthia Barrett: So, someone goes out for a run for example, and they have to have their coffee early in the morning. Then they’re going to have, we negotiate and we have maybe half a cup and then from there they go out for their run and then they come home and then they’re going to have their cup of berries and then they’re going to have their chlorella and their spirulina and then they’re going to have maybe a veggie omelet or they’ll have some sauteed vegetables with some quinoa and maybe some lean source of protein, like a fish, maybe four ounces or less. For lunch we’ll talk about the timing of lunch time and how they are eating snacks throughout the day because oftentimes a lot of my clients have issues with eating snacks and we want to replace them with food, little meals. So, breaking that down for them is beneficial.
Saad Alam: That was fucking good.
Cynthia Barrett: So, one of my other patients came in and we were just talking, and this was even before she got on the program and we’re just having a conversation about how she’s having sleep issues and she’s taking melatonin and I said, “Well, melatonin gets produced in the gut and you have to get proper vitamin D levels from your food, but most importantly the sun.” Now she’s African American and when you have a darker skin tone, it’s harder to absorb the sunlight. So, you need longer time, you need about one to two hours a day of sun and it doesn’t have to be consistently one to two hours in one spurt. It can be broken down into different timeframes and I said, “How do you feel when you go to the beach and you’re out on vacation and when you go to your beach house in Florida?” And she said, “You know what? I actually don’t need the melatonin. That’s so amazing that you made that connection.” So, I told her, I said, “It’s more than just the labs, it’s also lifestyle and what you’re getting and what you’re not getting from your environment.”
Saad Alam: Why didn’t she realize that herself?
Cynthia Barrett: A lot of patients, and a lot of my clients, most of us don’t realize until somebody brings it to our attention and it’s all about just having that person by your side, bringing the little things that you do to your attention that can create or cause. You have to understand the physiology of what’s happening inside your body in order to be able to heal people. So, most oftentimes, we’re just linear. We just go in day in, day out with our habits and we don’t even realize and recognize it. It’s those little habits that we have every day that’s creating this recipe for disaster in our gut microbiome. So, what I do is I’m actually looking at your lifestyle. I’m looking at the labs and looking at your medical history and I’m tying that all in together.