Habits & Health episode 69 with Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves, a Functional Medicine Practitioner and Nutritional Therapist. 15 years ago, her son Charlie had less than 24 hours to live had he not received vital antibiotics which saved his life. This had a major impact on Elizabeth.
Episode 069 – Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves
[00:00:00] Tony Winyard: Habits and health episode 69.
[00:00:03] Emily: Welcome to the Habits Health Podcast—where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy Brought to you by an educator and coach for anyone who wants to create a healthier life here’s your host—Tony Winyard
[00:00:14] Tony Winyard: Welcome to another edition of habits and health, the podcast where we give you ideas to create new habits to improve your health. And my guest today is Elizabeth Gasson Hargreaves. She’s a functional medicine practitioner and a registered nutritional therapist. And 15 years ago, her son was given less than 24 hours to live unless he received some vital
antibiotics. And they saved his life. And he was only six weeks old at the time after he did manage to recover, it changed Elizabeth’s whole career development and she started to get more and more into. Looking into the microbiome and what was it that caused it in the first place? And it led her on a journey of discovery.
And so we talk a lot more about that. And about functional medicine and many other areas. So that’s coming up. So if you know anyone. Who would get some real value from this episode please do share the episode with them and hope you enjoy this week’s show
Habits and health my guest today is Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves How are you, Elizabeth?
[00:01:19] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: I’m
[00:01:20] Tony Winyard: very well, how are you?
I’m pretty good. And, you’re not so far away from me cause you’re in bath or near Bath?.
[00:01:26] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: I’m a bit south of Bath, I’m in a place called Bruton, which is just outside a town called Wincanton
[00:01:33] Tony Winyard: Are you from that region?
[00:01:35] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: No, I’m from the Midlands area, actually between Nottingham and Leicester. And and then I married my husband who was in the army military man and traveled around every two years with him. And then we decided Somerset was going to be our home. Don’t know how, but we sort of made the decision within
two weeks and decided this is where we were going to put ourselves.
[00:01:54] Tony Winyard: How long have you been there now?.
[00:01:56] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: We’ve been here seven years. So yes, starting to feel like home
[00:02:00] Tony Winyard: From a work perspective, you’re a functional medicine practitioner?
[00:02:04] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: It’s evolved into, yes I started as a nutritional therapist and then just functional medicine.
training. But prior to that, I Was really interested in the microbiome and really wanted to know how I could use what was becoming my passion as a career, really?
So that’s the root
[00:02:21] Tony Winyard: why
did that become a passion? What was it about that that attracted you to it in the first place?
[00:02:27] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: it was probably through one of my children, mainly my second child, Charlie. He was born. By C-section and during C-sections they like to take the baby out, two weeks before. And he went straight into Sgubhu because he had breathing difficulties and he got over that pretty well.
We got him home and then about four weeks later, I could tell something wasn’t right. And interestingly, it was a very gut reactive instinct. That recognized that this child, things weren’t going well. And I took him to the doctors and, you know, sometimes they’re very busy and they weren’t particularly interested, the receptionist wasn’t interested, but I persevered.
In that sort of knowing. And anyway, we ended up in hospital and an amazing pediatrician as she was walking past. she just happened to notice he had like a mottled skin and she just grabbed me, grabbed him, pushed us straight into a room. And then before I knew it, there was lumbar punctures going on and he’d been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.
We were really lucky and, due to antibiotics and the treatment and living in the UK and all of those sorts of things, which meant that. He survived that process and without fortunately any problems, and it was sort of subsequent to that, that I started to reflect on, what was it about Charlie, what had made him vulnerable?
And I previously understood certain things about the microbiome. I’d understood, how C-sections could affect and implicate the lack of diversity in the microbiome. And it really just got. Into that space and into ensuring that I could help his health going forward. And then funnily enough, I’ve got four children and, it’s just fabulous what they sort of teach you really.
But with Charlie in particular, I noticed that nine months he would eat, you know, those omega 3 capsules that supplements, he would eat them almost like they were sweets. And I was, fascinated with what was this almost his fundamental instinct in that requirement to , you know, they taste pretty awful.
So I was intrigued by things like that. He did have a anaphylaxis shock to eggs when he was. About nine or 10 months, and again, with the sort of knowledge thinking, okay, so he’s going to be crawling around and picking everything up and putting it into his mouth. Do I want to be the parent that is continuously living in fear of a child putting something into their mouth.
And so learning about the digestive tract, learning about the immune system that exists within that digestive tract. I, I felt that actually, maybe we could over time, start to give him pastured eggs in things like, you know, a small bit of biscuit or something that had you know, would have had a pasteured egg in and we, or pasteurized egg and then so yeah, started rather than.
Withdrawing more and more foods introducing more and more foods introducing that diversity. So yeah, and fortunately, you know, he’s 15 now and as far as I know, he hasn’t had any, reaction to any other foods. No allergies, no, nothing that can seem that he has had any bad health.
So yeah. Still learning and there’s many rabbit holes to go down
with all of this, but yeah, it’s fascinating.
[00:05:56] Tony Winyard: And you, you explored that particular rabbit hole, is that then what led you to study.
[00:06:04] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: Yeah, I was really interested in the microbiome, the gut microbiome. And I met a girl in 2013 and she, and I both just read a book that had just been published called guts. And it was both she and I had. You know, had previously been engaged in that area. And then with this lady, and it’s awful, I can’t remember her name or at the end.
We, both started to work together on something called wonder guts, which was about fermented foods and trying to encourage people to look after them. Diverse microbiomes and therefore the gut-brain access back then, I suppose and both she, and I found ourselves slightly frustrated with how we were going to.
Progress to work in this area and felt that we both needed a qualification. She went off and did sort of herbalist she’s incredibly bright. Joe is, I think she did a degree and a master’s at the same time. And whereas I went down the sort of nutrition path and studied with CNM for four years.
so yeah, and that’s, me now.
[00:07:15] Tony Winyard: But once you started working in helping people with nutrition, what then made you want to take that further and study functional?
[00:07:22] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: So I’ve done some nutrogenomics whilst I was studying, which is, the study of nutrition around genes. And again, I was slightly conflicted knowing how. The micro-biome is almost master of the genes. But I did find it fascinating, did find it interesting. And I liked the role of functional medicine and, some of the tests that they were able to use.
And yeah, just again, I just
wanted to carry on my studies really.
[00:07:53] Tony Winyard: I think at this point for anyone listening is maybe unclear. What is the microbiome? And also maybe what is functional medicine? Could you explain?
[00:08:02] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: Yeah. So the microbiome I’m sure many people have heard about it by now is the trillions of bacteria that live in and around and on you. The majority live in the gut, in the large intestine, you’ve got about a kilogram of microbes that live there and they are essentially integral in messaging with your immune system.
They are messaging around. the gut and the brain and they they produce many neuro-transmitters things like tryptophan which moves to serotonin. They can also produce Gabba short chain, fatty acids, which help to feed your mucosal membranes. Within your gut brain,
But the majority of them and where we’re really interested in them is the large intestine. Because that’s where we have probably about a kilogram of microbes there. And they’re constantly sending signals they’re essentially symbiotic these microbes the majority of them.
They send messages to your brain by many channels. One channel is your vagus nerve, which is the longest cranial nerve in your body. They also eat the food that’s in your digestive tract and the large intestine and they metabolize food. From that from them called metabolites, like propionate acetate or butorate, and these help the microbes will then feed your ennteric nervous cells.
So there’s no difference really, from what we’ve heard from for years about eating in moderation and, doctors have said for years that we need to increase fiber and it is these
Fibrous foods that help to feed these gut microbes. And it’s fascinating because I get really interested in very old books. I’ve got a couple here at the moment, but it seemed that up until the 19 hundreds, the guts and the constitutional health of people was seemingly still asked about it was in fact it was part of the consultation process with your GP.
And in a lot of books, I have, with any ailments, it will ask it, will talk about the diet. And I suppose at some stage, it became a bit more reductionist, science did we moved into these specialisms and at that point we started focusing on in psychiatry alone or gastroenterology on its own.
And so. What seemed to happen I think really from around the 1920s was that these things started to separate. And rather than your GP ever asking you about your bowel movements, we just stopped asking. And now I, I believe you can if you even say you’re not going to the loo for five days, then it’s not necessarily deemed a problem.
Whereas for functional practitioner like myself, I would be really listening to something like that and be trying
to ascertain what was going on.
[00:11:21] Tony Winyard: And when you say about a functional practitioner. So could you just also just briefly explain what is functional medicine? Why, Why is different?
[00:11:29] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: So functional medicine is the way I try to look at it is thinking about when you look at a tree and when you look at a tree, we can be looking at the tree trunk and look at all the leaves and the branches. But of course, there’s an entire system going on underneath. With all the root structures.
And I liken that to a person that when you look at, rather than looking at a symptom, let’s say that the leaf of a tree is diseased. We might be looking rather than just at what’s happening in that area. Like many practitioners would, we’d be looking at the root systems to see, okay, what’s occurring elsewhere.
How was this got to this position? So it’s the same with people. I think interestingly high cholesterol could be one of those. It can be a symptom and people have high cholesterol maybe on a test, but I want to know. Okay. So if you’ve got high cholesterol, what’s the underlying cause of that.
Yes. Okay. It might be a lot of people would say, well that’s because you’re consuming too much cholesterol, but I tend to see cholesterol almost like the just a fire engine, at a fire it’s there because. What’s going on and the inflammation around it. Isn’t necessarily the cause of the
[00:12:52] Tony Winyard: Yeah,
[00:12:53] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: if that makes any
[00:12:54] Tony Winyard: Yeah, specialize in the kind gut-brain what’s the name of your clinic is the gut-brain.
[00:13:01] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: so gut brain practitioner, and, yeah, and it’s funny because whilst it sounds as if it’s a specialist area I actually coined the gut brain. Phrasiology on the sense that. Really to, more to do with the gut-brain.
reaction that I had in terms of, that deep sense of knowing that I think people have often forgotten about.
So it had a two pronged attack in terms of how the gut-brain is understood. And whilst it is a sort of a specialist area
I actually try as hard as possible not to specialize in terms of, I almost look rather than looking down and in, which is quite useful.
I almost want to sometimes look up and out, and see the bigger picture and find out more of what’s going on. And I do really feel for any GPs at the moment, because to try and understand what’s going on with someone in a five minute window, and then only being able to give a, a drug to deal with that symptom.
[00:14:13] Tony Winyard: Hmm.
[00:14:14] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: When you don’t always have the full picture as to what else is going on. I think it’s amazing, but I also really do feel for how difficult that
is as a practitioner.
[00:14:27] Tony Winyard: would that makes me think, because one another area that a functional medicine practitioner differs quite substantially from a general practitioner is, one that you spend so much more time with the client, it’s typically is for an hour or more. Plus the client would typically fill in many different forms.
So you’re aware of all sorts of areas of their history that a GP just doesn’t have the time to be able to look up. at.
[00:14:49] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: No, and even with all the records and the way, AI is going in terms of recording all of that, there’s so much that you could potentially miss just by looking at data. And yeah, my initial consultations are at least 90 minutes. They do sometimes go over that.
And then on top of that, if I’ve got any follow-up questions I have the ability to take the time to go and find out a bit more. The, tests are much more in depth depending on which tests we do. And I don’t tend to test everyone right at the beginning. From my perspective, I really like to work with.
Diet and digestion first, actually. So try to change those pathways before we start really looking at tests to seeing if things are going on in a more in depth level, but of course it’s also a client relationship. So if a clientwould wish to have more information and that can, and testing can sometimes lead people to really being goal led.
Then I will do testing earlier, but ordinarily I start to work from improving digestion first and then see. And, and talking about food in general, because there’s so much confusion out there with food, this, you know, whether it’s, you know vegan diets, whether it’s paleo diets, you know, and I, from my perspective, I feel as though a lot of the time, some of the points, some of the main points are missing, which is where.
Up and out and looking at the bigger picture and looking at how food is grown, what sort of what’s the soil, the food is grown in. And I know I only talked very briefly about the microbiome, but of course it’s hugely impacted by antibiotics and sometimes by the pesticides on food and.
Yeah. Anything that impacts the gut bacteria can impact your health. So yeah, it’s rather than looking at isolated foods or an isolated diet, it’s really trying to understand how those foods are grown. And as I’ve previously pointed out as well, sort of diversity is really key and historically, I think we would have eaten a much more diverse diet because of seasonality,
and we did also preserve our foods, and preserved foods, it turns out, these fermented foods are essentially preserved by using various bacteria or certain bacteria thrive in these foods. And it’s these bacteria that then can have a relationship with, or another symbiotic relationship with us by essentially producing serotonin and tryptophan that goes down to serotonin.
And that of course as we well know can improve mood. So there’s many links back to food and the way we preserve it, the way we how we buy it, where it comes from. That’s probably more interesting to me than. Being specific about only
eating this way or
[00:18:09] Tony Winyard: I mean, of the things that happens with the whole kind of functional medicine world, you do typically, I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but you do typically get people to on that initial consultation to give you as much of their history about medical history. Even from when they were a small child and maybe even their, parents’ history and so on.
And I imagine a lot of people are confused What, do you need all that information? What, would you answer them? Why do you need so much information from so long ago?
[00:18:39] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: Well, it’s, two-fold really because as I mentioned, things like anti-biotics can be particularly in the first couple of years of life can be instrumental in a sort of dysfunctional HPA access, which is the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis, which is essentially your stress response.
And of course, anything like a stress response can have an impact with cortisol levels and therefore your propensity towards depression and things like that or anxiety. So something like that might be of interest. You know, if someone’s has been born by C-section again, maybe missing serious key microbes that early start in life.
Any trauma, often people with trauma think of these really big things, but actually a lot of little traumas over someone’s life can significantly impact their guts. Largely because every time we go into a heightened stress response, because we’re in fight or flight rather than rest or digest, then all of the key enzymes around digestion will shift. And of course that has knock-on effects throughout the rest of the body. I’m interested in really learning as much about someone as possible. And that is as on a psychological level, as well as a physiological level. So sometimes I’ll be asking, going down various routes, I’ll find out all kinds of things that A lot of clients would probably think, why, why are we going here?
Why are we looking into this crevice? But it’s really key. And it’s really interesting to then sort of we tend to do a timeline and, and then look back along this timeline to see where certain triggers may have caused a slight imbalance, which then might’ve knocked onto another, either a trauma or another.
Potentially a diagnosis of something else. I I’m keen to know about any operations that anyone’s ever had in the past or the medications that they may have taken, because again, you know, some things like PPIs can be really useful for a short period of time, but over a long period of time can actually cause some upset that Might need to be dealt with in a different way to someone who hasn’t taken a PPI, for instance.
So I try to take a as in-depth background as possible.
[00:21:11] Tony Winyard: often quite surprised? when you’ve gone down these rabbit holes of asking them so much information about their history and their, family history and so on, and how you’ve then been able to help with an issue as far as they’re concerned, it’s just come on in the last few weeks.
[00:21:28] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: I sometimes find it’s interesting that, that they suddenly the light bulb moments that people suddenly realize, oh, you know, when, when you raise these things, it can be quite interesting. So Yeah.
that’s it can be quite useful and it’s also quite useful because I think when clients have a history of wanting to go to a doctors and take essentially a pill for an ill and want to be immediately, cured which is essentially how we’ve grown through medicine.
You know, we’re ill, we’ve got a headache. We want to take brufen and we want to be well again, we want to go back to work. We don’t want to take time to recover. And so it can be quite tricky to, the patience, I guess, of a client to recognize that it might take some time, but what’s useful sometimes is if you can map out and show how long this thing has started to take hold, particularly if it’s a chronic disease, then they can see that.
Okay. So it’s taken this long to occur. So therefore it might take some time to get better, but it will get better.
[00:22:38] Tony Winyard: would be of all all the clients that seeing is there a condition illness, whatever that comes up time. most frequent condition that you come across? with your patients.
[00:22:48] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: I actually think it’s anxiety lots of anxiety. Particularly my, most of my clients are female and I think there’s a certain time and age or an age group of women where anxiety is cropping up more and more. There’s obviously a hormonal link to that. And there’s a huge play going on with the microbiome. There’s something called the estrobolome, which is essentially the estrogen that can recirculate in the digestive tract. So I tend to see a lot of clients with some form of anxiety and that obviously can knock on.
to things like
IBS I suppose.
[00:23:29] Tony Winyard: You touched upon a nutrigenomics before? does that help you help a a client ?
[00:23:35] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: we all have these what’s called snips. They’re single nucleotide polymorphisms that are held within your DNA, but they’re almost like light switches that can be switched on or off with environmental factors, such as the microbiome. But knowing that you have a propensity to something can mean that.
On the nutrition side, we can put more support in place. So for instance, we can sometimes require more B vitamins with certain snips and we might choose to do something different hormonally. There’s a really great thing that I do value that Nordic labs run through something called med checks and actually I quite like that in terms of recognizing if clients need to access medications that certain medications will work better for some people than other medications that it all tends to be based around the CYP450 enzymes, which are liver enzymes and how you process, the metabolism of drugs, essentially. It’s also quite interesting, particularly for women who are perimenopausal and might want to go on something like HRT. Understanding something called COMT, which is there ability to metabolize estrogen, and estrogen a lot of people just hear estrogen and progesterone, and think it’s relatively simple, but there are three pathways with estrogen and the way of metabolizing, it can be quite, can be more dangerous for some than others, depending on how it’s being metabolized.
So for some women, we wouldn’t want to give synthetic hormones if they’re not able to detoxify them properly, because that can then potentially promote breast cancer and things like that. So I think it’s really interesting to know for yourself. Some of your genetic snips. I am a wary of, because of all our data analysis now, whilst I can see that AI is amazing
to having all this information, taking all this information and sort of recognizing what it would mean for an individual, which can really move on to personal medicine. At the moment, I think it’s something that should be very much held with the patient or not patient or the client, depending on whether you’re in a clinical or with with a nutritional therapist.
I think it’s more important that that’s kept private so that, you.
know, for yourself, but the data itself anonymously could be used
to find out all kinds of things. I think in the future.
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[00:26:31] Tony Winyard: A number of companies now offering these genetic tests and they the person just sends in a sample of DNA from mouth swab or whatever. And then they just send them back a report and it seems to me it’s pretty unhelpful. me. Do you any views on that?
[00:26:47] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: So there are companies like 23andme and things like that. And I think they can be interesting. Some of the information that’s sent back, they don’t always report on the significant nutraceutical sides of things. And. As I said, I don’t really know how that, that information is captured and I don’t know how it’s held.
So personally for me, I tend to try and want to work with labs that I know aren’t collecting data anonymously, but that’s maybe that’s just my cynicism over certain
[00:27:20] Tony Winyard: people think, um, food is just more expensive and there’s no real reason to have it.
And pesticides aren’t really that bad, what is it about organic food, that is so helpful to to our microbiome?
[00:27:32] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: From my perspective, again, looking up and out it’s not just important to us as to how we’re digesting it and , how the microbes are reacting to it on the inside in terms of our human health. But it’s really important soil. I think we’ve all seen very dried up fields that then become the surface runoff of the water is, is horrific and causes flooding.
And a lot of that is to do with the soil health. And if we keep, if we keep overusing pesticides or glyphosate in the way that we do, which essentially kills the microbes within the soil and the life within the soil. If we kill life within that soil, we stop enabling it to
to thrive really.
And therefore whilst in the short term, it can help with growing crops and having greater yields. I think now it’s been well understood that over time actually yields start to fall. So whilst I’m not, I, I’m not saying things have to be organic because again, there’s tick boxes around organic growing, and I think farmers find it really difficult to suddenly convert to those organic practices.
But. I think there’s a recognition around regenerative farming, which is essentially almost like crop rotation and ensuring that we. Don’t continually grow in monocultures, which are essentially, you know, one big field of the same crop in the same way that we want our diets internally to be diverse.
It would be useful to grow on our soil in the same way have diverse crops. And I think. Many years ago, we had smaller farms and that enabled people to have animals and arable crops growing together. But over time it became really difficult for farmers to make any money doing that.
And of course, then we had supermarkets which putting their margin in. So whilst I don’t want to do supermarkets, any disservice.
Rather than buying organic, even I’d suggest that, you know, trying to use farmer’s markets more and trying to buy seasonally knowing some of the crops that are heavily sprayed and those that aren’t interestingly, a lot of the wheat crops tend to be heavily sprayed really to they can sometimes be dried using glyphosates to.
To essentially stop the crop from going mouldy. So I totally recognize why that has happened and why farmers are use those practices. But I don’t know what that impacts would then be for us and for the food with our own
[00:30:19] Tony Winyard: talk about. Yeah. brain I can’t remember how you worded it but you said something about you, had an instinct and it came from your gut and they have discovered now is lots of neurons in our gut.
[00:30:32] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: So again, it’s interesting that, I think in the 1700’s, there were people writing about the second brain. they didn’t call it The second brain, they just recognized there was thousands of neurons in this, essentially around this enteric nervous system. And they, they did recognize that within a lot of psychological diseases, there were things that were impacting the gut and vice versa.
So. Many people have been been writing about this for years and years and years. And it’s only since the recognition of the bacteria and how the bacteria impact those neurons within the gut.
That’s been much more recent, I suppose. But yeah, it’s It’s the fact they’re fascinating and well the vagus nerve, which is known as the wanderer, it’s the longest cranial nerve in your body.
And if you’ve ever seen a picture of it, it’s pretty amazing. But it really does go everywhere and it’s continually picking up messaging signals within the body to, it’s almost a sort of an early alert system. And I think has 80% of the information is afferent. So therefore it’s, what’s being taken from the body back to the brain versus what the brain is sending to the body.
So I think that’s pretty significant to start to understand that you know, we are a lot more than our first brain and that the signaling is you know, we’ll, I think learning more and more about that signaling and the early detection
signs of, fight or flight.
[00:31:58] Tony Winyard: I wonder who it was that first used the phrase. I have a gut feeling?
[00:32:04] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah, that’s one, that’s one to look up. Yeah, but the butterflies feelings in our stomach, we all know it. We’ve all felt it. and Yeah,
that it in play really.
[00:32:15] Tony Winyard: Yeah, we started recording, we were chatting. And one of the things you were telling me about before the pandemic You used to mostly see people face to face, and now you’re doing a lot more online. So how has that transition been for you?
[00:32:28] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: It’s actually been easier than I thought. I really enjoy spending time with people. And I sometimes find that you I thought I was going to struggle because there’s a definite sort of relationship you can have when you’re in the same room, you can pick up nuances or at least I thought you could pick up nuances better.
But I think actually it was Polly. who you’ve had you on your podcast, who said to me that you start, I think that there’s almost a different signaling that you start to pick up when you’re conversing in a manner online. And you sort of rehone your skills, I suppose.
So it’s quite good.
[00:33:03] Tony Winyard: And you say, are there any advantages to working online?
[00:33:06] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: I suppose, because you can work with people much further afield. And should you want to, you could take on more clients, I think because the timeframes
are easier to work to. I don’t know if you find.
[00:33:20] Tony Winyard: Yeah. And it also from a client’s perspective, I think it’s, be an advantageous because they’re not having to travel out to, to see you in the first place. And so on. they can be more comfortable in their own home
[00:33:30] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: Yeah, the only thing I would say is particularly at the moment where I think a lot of people are struggling to see their GP’s and a lot of people are seeing their GP’s online. I think there’s something there’s almost a comfort that people take by seeing people one-to-one. Because people sort of want to go in and get tests done they just feel that they need to see someone.
I can see that
there are more people that want to see you face to face. To be quite honest, I have, it’s probably 50,
[00:33:59] Tony Winyard: All right. that you do various tests and you’ve got different programmes that you can offer people. So if someone is interested in, maybe they’ve got an ailment and they’ve been going to their GP and they just haven’t been able to get any progress with that. And they’re thinking about seeing a functional medicine practitioner. how different is it seeing a functional medicine practitioner from seeing a GP?
[00:34:21] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: Well, as I think we spoke about before that one of the main things is this, that it’s a very different consultation. It’s it’s quite lengthy. But it gives the, it gives time to listen. Hopefully I listen And it takes in everything from childhood diseases through to where that client is now.
And we start to look at various tests, whether that’s blood tests, whether that’s stool tests that could be something called a metabolomics test, which is the organic acids, which is essentially even with the, some of the best diets people, aren’t always metabolizing things how they should, we can look at different aspects of Increasing supplements.
I am very much an advocate of food first, rather than supplementation. And if I’m, I then tend to use wherever possible whether it’s medicinal mushrooms or herbs sometimes I will often Quite often with many of the chronic diseases, there is a stress element and a requirement for people to look at lowering their stress and changing their lifestyle, whether that’s breathing ,meditation, all of those things. So I can work with other people and essentially signposts to colleagues. And , the differences obviously is it’s unlikely, but if there’s a chronic disease at play that there’s going to be at one pill and it’s, you’re going to go away.
It’s sometimes a long process and depending on where someone is come from in terms of exactly the shifts that they might have to make it as a lifestyle or it can be advantageous to work with someone like yourself who can put things in place slowly over weeks, rather than I think sometimes people can be slightly overwhelmed, a big amount of, such a huge, drastic changes. So it can be useful to work with someone who can implement those changes over time.
[00:36:18] Tony Winyard: And to kind of clarify, I guess what you were just talking about, I mean, became a functional medicine health coach. Cause I haven’t actually talked about this on my podcast. I qualified as a functional medicine health coach a few months ago.
And our training was to work with functional medicine practitioners, so the practitioner It makes the diagnosis makes lifestyle change recommendations and everything. And then we functional medicine health coaches help the client actually make those behavior changes over the next few weeks, months, whatever it might be.
[00:36:50] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: Yeah.
[00:36:51] Tony Winyard: So just as in clarification, and I guess I can let everyone know as well. I’m now working closer with Elizabeth. So if anyone is interested, if you have various ailments and maybe even things that you normal to you now. And they’re just been putting up with for a long time.
Yeah. get in contact because, uh, can certainly help you with the whole diagnosis and then I can help you actually kind the behavior changes that may be necessary.
[00:37:15] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: Yeah, I just want to be clear. I actually don’t diagnose. I’m not a GP, so I don’t tend to diagnose, but what I can do is support. I help to support, any ailments that are going on. So with things like chronic diseases, I will look at the root causes of that, how that has manifested and looking at trying to unpick it and then start to put in
[00:37:40] Tony Winyard: there much difference between, cause you hear a lot of things now about functional medicine and integrative medicine and holistic medicine, is it all pretty much similar or are there many major differences between them?
[00:37:51] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: I would say it’s very integrative. And I absolutely, when someone’s has any red flags or what I would consider red flags, I would be referring back to the GP and I, in an ideal world, it would be great to be working integratively with the GP.
Some are happier to do that than others. But that tends
to be led through the client.
[00:38:11] Tony Winyard: And you ever worked with and I see the benefits of working with a GP and also maybe working with, a dentist and maybe even optician as well.
[00:38:21] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: Personally, I can see that’s where the future of medicine is going to go, because there’s a real recognition now that the oral microbiome has a huge part to play in the gut microbiome. And again, in chronic disease, you know, we can see changes taking place with Alzheimer’s patients years before the first onset to the beginnings of the symptoms and understanding our dental health, and again, things like antibiotic mouthwashes that we’ve been using for decades and thinking that our mouth feels clean because it’s, germ-free, I really hope that we have a slight change of understanding with how these so-called germs are impacting our health for the better and not just for the worst. Of course we’ve just been through something like COVID-19 and within that, there was a lot of fear-driven down again, the germs and contamination and things like that. And I’m not going to necessarily start talking about that. I just think that we need to start to understand microbes as individuals, better than we have in the past. And not just assuming that they’re all bad, I think, as most people now are aware that we potentially have an antibiotic crisis coming down the road.
And so I think being really careful about when we take antibiotics and not, and actually for me, it’s a sense of how they’re used in the food chain. It’s not just how we’re taking them. But I’m so grateful to antibiotics being around in the past because of course, you know, lives really do depend on them.
[00:39:57] Tony Winyard: the link I mentioned about optometry, because they can see first signs of diabetes. That’s the first visible sign isn’t it, in the eyes?
[00:40:07] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: Yeah. We did a little bit about it with the sort of the eyes And the iridology in A&P, but yeah, it
sounds like you’ve interviewed someone on that.
[00:40:16] Tony Winyard: Yeah And it’s remarkable how they signs are visible in in vessels in the eyes. And from what I understand, That information that the optometrist or optician or whatever sees isn’t passed on generally to doctors. And that can be seen years before, it’s, even aware that there’s diabetes. You.
[00:40:38] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: I think collaboration of you know, everyone coming together will be really helpful for the future. And to that end, I suppose I can see that having our own data can be quite useful as well. So I’m not, I’m not against sort of, you know, everyone having their own data and, and that being used much more collaboratively.
I think what’s interesting is when you look at general practitioners from years, years, and years ago, when people weren’t so transient and lived in the same communities for many years, they often had the same GP. Or that the that family has that, that parents had or that their grandparents had.
And so I think for GP’s in those days, It was often easier to recognize historical whether it was genetic patterns or whether it was just remembering someone’s symptom from before from when he treated them with tonsillitis or whatever the history was. Whereas now, you very rarely see the same GP. And certainly it’s unlikely that you have the same GP as your mum and your dad and your brothers and your sisters. So I think some sort of coordinated attempt to keep hold of that information
will be useful.
[00:41:51] Tony Winyard: it seems aware off from that happening, but yeah, it would be great if that does
[00:41:55] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: Yeah.
[00:41:56] Tony Winyard: changing the subject. I mean, question I always ask every guest is, is think of a book that has really moved you in any way
[00:42:03] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: I’m I tend to read a lot of nonfiction. But things like. There’s a lot of books that I’ve been reading about bees recently that I’ve been finding fascinating. But actually what I really did enjoy was that something, when you say something that moved me was a documentary I saw recently called “The Biggest Little Farm”, it’s about this farm in the states. And essentially the girl in it is a nutritional therapist. And she was so excited about moving to this farm and essentially diversifying it and using biodynamic principles and using ducks to eat bugs and things like that. And I think you almost have to watch it to appreciate it, but yeah, I was sort of, kind of moved
me. So yeah, probably that.
[00:42:48] Tony Winyard: And mean, that available on smart Netflix or Amazon?
[00:42:52] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: I think it might be Netflix. Yeah. It’s called the biggest little farm. And it’s about Apricot Lane farm, which actually still exists. I don’t know the intention of how and who filmed it and made it. I think it’s on the sort of regenerative farming side and just drawing Attention to how systems can be, how things can be
looked at differently
[00:43:13] Tony Winyard: If people want to find out more about you and get in contact with you via your website, social media, wherever, how, they do that?
[00:43:20] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: I’m available on my email address, which is E for Elizabeth@thegutbrain.co.uk or my website, which is thegutbrain.co.uk. I’m afraid I don’t do social media. Which, so I fully rely on word of mouth. I don’t choose to engage in it because I, I try to encourage people to put social media down.
And so therefore I feel I, I haven’t decided to go there myself
rightly or wrongly.
[00:43:53] Tony Winyard: finally, is there, is quotation that comes to mind that you resonates?
[00:43:57] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: There are quite a few quotations, I suppose, that could come up. But recently, And I don’t know why I’ve been thinking of the poem by Rudyard Kipling. “If”, I don’t know if you remember that, but it’s one of his other quotes, I suppose which is, “I always prefer to believe the best of everyone because it saves so much trouble”.
And so for me, I’m trying to live by that, believe the best in
[00:44:23] Tony Winyard: And is there, is there any other reason, or is there any other thing that comes to mind why that really resonates with you? What is it about that?
[00:44:30] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: Because I think sometimes people we, we can often. If things that come up that aren’t very good or things that happen to us on a daily basis, we can often assume that that’s because people are out there to get us or whatever. And actually just believing the best in someone means that we don’t even have to think about that.
We can just move onto the next thing. And forgiveness there’s so much in forgiving, if people can just let go of things, Immediately. I’m not saying that, people should forget, but quite often I find with a lot of clients, there’s things that they’re really holding onto.
And I think you’ve discussed this with other guests on your podcast, but thoughts really do count when it comes to health and it is in letting those things go, that?
we can move forward.
[00:45:20] Tony Winyard: I’ve just actually finished reading a book called Human-kind which is exactly what you were just talking about. It goes really deep into that whole area. Fascinating book. Yeah.
[00:45:31] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: oh, I should, I shall have a look into that.
[00:45:34] Tony Winyard: Well, Elizabeth, it’s been absolutely fascinating. So thank you for accepting my invitation
and it’s been a real pleasure..
[00:45:42] Elizabeth Gasson-Hargreaves: Thank you for me on.
[00:45:45] Tony Winyard: Next week is episode 70 and it’s with magic Barkley. She is a practitioner. At holistic natural health. And she uses holism looking at the whole body in order systems rather than reductionism as many doctors. And naturally perhaps there. And she tries to treat the root cause and finding out why people get sick.
And so we dig into that and about mold and toxicity and many other things and functional health solutions. So that’s next week’s episode, episode 70 with magic Barkley. If you know, anyone who gets some value from some of the information Elizabeth gas and Hargreaves shared with us today. Please do share the episode with them and i hope
you have a great week
[00:46:29] New Speaker: Thanks for tuning in to the habits and health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on your favorite podcast app. Sign up for email updates and learn about coaching and workshop opportunities at tonywinyard.com.
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