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Season 2 Episode 4:

The Reflux Episode

with Michelle Shapiro RD and Erin Holt, the Funk'tional Nutritionist


Episode Summary:


In this episode, Michelle sits down with Erin Holt (the Funktional Nutritionist) to talk all things heartburn/ reflux, stomach acid, and upper digestive system (stomach and up!). They get into the science behind why those symptoms may be occurring and how to address it! 


They discuss: 

  • What is acid reflux and why is it so common? 
  • Conventional vs. functional treatment approaches 
  • The importance of stomach acid (yes, we actually need it!) 
  • What may be causing your symptoms
  • The impact our mental/ emotional energy has on our physical body

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Video Poster Image



(1:22) Intro to acid reflux & Erin Holt 

(7:36) What is acid reflux and why is it so common? 

(14:20) Conventional vs. functional reflux treatments 

(17:41) Why do we need stomach acid? 

(34:52) How to know if your stomach acid is too low (yes, that’s a problem!) 

(41:07) Ways to reduce heartburn/ reflux symptoms 

(58:52) The impact our mental/ emotional energy has on our physical body





Introduction to Acid Reflux

Michelle Shapiro 

There are some conditions of the human body that show themselves in really interesting ways. And one of those conditions that I see a lot in my practice is acid reflux. Very interestingly, a lot of my clients experience back pain, this really uncomfortable feeling of knowing inside of their stomach.

Sometimes sure they could feel that actual feeling of burning, but other times it kind of presents itself like nausea, early satiety, meaning you eat a little bit and then you feel full, it shows itself kind of like a low blood sugar symptom, but acid reflux is more than just that burning feeling.

And the current treatment of reflux from a conventional perspective in the medical world is to prescribe PPIs, which are medications that help reduce the total amount of acid. Or in the nutrition world, the conventional model is to just kind of not eat foods that might irritate your stomach. So avoiding things like tomato sauce, citrus coffee, and things that might decrease the pressure of your lower esophageal sphincter, which then can let acid come up from your stomach into your esophagus.

On the other hand, in the functional medicine world, where I think there's kind of a gap between conventional and functional in the functional medicine world, I see a lot of prescriptions for introducing more stomach acids. So whereby the model in the conventional medical world is that we have too much stomach acid, and that's what's causing reflux. It's actually the opposite. In the functional medicine world.

We believe that a lot of reflux cases actually come from too little stomach acid and we're going to talk about all of that in this episode and kind of where both approaches could use a little bit of a refresher or more support. On this episode, I have the amazing Erin Holt, who is a board certified integrative and functional nutritionist with a feisty attitude and over a decade of clinical experience.

She truly blends evidence based practices functional lab testing, energy medicine, boundary setting and humor for a unique and customized approach to women's health. She dives deep with women to get to the root cause of their health issues and finally get answers to their mystery symptoms. Erin also is the founder of the functional nutrition Academy, which is a 14 month practitioner training and mentorship program to help nutrition professionals level up with functional medicine methodologies.

Erin is also a amazing friend of mine, we just get so excited about this topic. She's the person I really wanted to have on for this episode because I think that talking about reflux is such a nuanced issue and it's there's no one more nuanced than Erin so I'm really really excited to have her on in just one moment you're going to hear about our sponsor for this episode peak tea and I want to specifically mentioned their ginger digestive elixir to help with reflux symptoms.

So as you're listening to the ad keep that in mind that this sponsor was chosen specifically for this episode, because one of their products is super super helpful for reflux either short term and for healing in the long term. Really, really excited for this one can't wait for you to listen.


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What is Acid Reflux?

I am joyously here with the brilliant, the effervescent, the hysterical Erin Holt, the functional nutritionist we may know her as Hi Erin.

Erin Holt 

Hey, you didn't say unhinged, so I feel lighted.

Michelle Shapiro 

I want to hear about kind of what you see or have seen in your practice when it comes to reflux? Are people coming in generally with diagnoses of reflux? Do they know what their symptoms are? Like? What's what's the experience of someone having reflux like with clients you've worked with or your staff has worked with?

Erin Holt 

Some folks can identify like, I feel burning in my chest or in my heart space. I know it's acid reflux, or you know, it's heartburn. Some folks will have gone to a doctor and maybe gotten a prescription, or over the counter PPI or acid blocking drug and like are aware that I'm on this medication to stop the acid production.

And then some don't really know they can just explain that when we kind of drill into like what their actual digestive symptoms are, they can they can kind of explain that they feel pressure or there's maybe like some belching going on, or some like funky feeling throughout their chest. Some people kind of mistake it for anxiety or like heart palpitations or like a fluttering in the chest when it's really more of a like an acid reflux.

I'm thinking of one particular client, he had, he kept thinking it was anxiety and shortness of breath is what and so he kept going to the doctor and like the ER being like, I can't breathe, I can't breathe and they're like, No, like your breathing is fine. He had gastritis like pretty severe gastritis that's, that's an ouchy right? That's like a boo boo on the inside. So he was like experiencing pretty significant acid reflux, and not even knowing that it was acid reflux.

Michelle Shapiro 

Yeah, that's I really find that very common with my clients. I've also noticed people having a lot of symptoms with reflux that are not actually burning, like it's actually all these other symptoms. And I've noticed so much more reflux in the past three years than I have in my entire career as a dietitian, and I think it's there's a couple reasons why I think that's happening and I think we can definitely talk about that too.

But what I'm seeing a lot for people is this feeling of I don't I don't call it nausea as much but reflux can definitely cause nausea but it's like this I'm full. I'm full up to my neck kind of feeling and like a lot I couldn't even look at food right now. That feeling of being too satiated. And I give this description which is a with a lot of my clients feel Like with reflux, there's like a little man and like a, like an elf or something inside of their gut that's knowing at them and like, like trying to break out, right, that hollow intense hunger feeling and eating helps sometimes or hurts it sometimes.

So it's like, they don't really know people feel very stuck with reflux, because it feels very flowery, very cyclical. And there's this extreme discomfort and also sinus issues, like you said, it can kind of get the acid goes kind of in the wrong place, it can cause an inflammatory reaction through the rest of the body. And I think for a lot of people, they get symptoms that are very, they're not sure where they're coming from. And I noticed that one of those pieces of the puzzle is often reflux for those people as well. I don't know if you've seen that too.

Erin Holt 

Absolutely, that I love that little, I'm gonna use that one, like, there's like a little man like chewing his way through your gut, it's like that, you know, we all know the feeling of being like super hungry, like almost to the point of like, nauseousness. And that can be a more frequent occurrence with reflux. So that's a really good one. I want to go back to what you said, you have some opinions on why you're seeing this more frequently.

Do you think that it's because you're just like, a little bit more hip to the game? So you're paying more attention to it? Do you think it's because you're seeing more patients in your in your clinical practice? Or do you actually think that there's an uptick in people experiencing this? And if so, yeah,


Why is Acid Reflux So Common?

Michelle Shapiro 


I think there's an uptick in people experiencing it. So I've I've had reflux, like from a very young age, because I was also a vegan for a long time. It's also I think it's an empath thing, by the way, I think it's like part of the game, which we can talk about too. But I think my vegan diet also lead to potential reflux. And we'll we will definitely touch on that at some point, too. But I've had it for a very long time.

So it's always been top of mind for me and something I've been very, very interested in, in functional nutrition. I believe that since the pandemic started, people are eating at home in positions that are very scrunched, they're eating on their couch, they're not moving as much they're not moving the acid as much and I think people are just more stressed. And that can also lead to reductions in your overall acid load.

We'll talk about that too. But I have seen in my clients who are like so non reflux people I'm like, Oh my gosh, you're like totally having reflux. Like it's so weird. And I don't know if being indoors more has like maybe there's like a indoor pollutants element to it. And then what we do again, that's stressed high but it's positioning I think it's stress. I think it's for some people been weight gain during the pandemic, I just feel like the those symptoms are are so overwhelming for people right now.

Erin Holt 

Critical thinking, Michelle, well done, you know, like, I wouldn't have like gotten there by my by onesies. But I think you're like the position and then maybe probably like, multitasking, too. So you're instead of like sitting down and eating, you're like sitting on your couch and watching the show and scrolling the Instagram and it's like, everything's bleeding into each other.

It's not like a clearly delineated. This is mealtime it's like, more people are just like living working, doing everything from home. So I think you're probably really onto something there.

Michelle Shapiro 

There's like less transitions. I like that you said that. And that's something I really noticed there's an issue for people's health too. It's like we're not transitioning environment. Also, we're going not going outside as much we're not coming back in. We're not like acknowledging the transition.

So again, we're more likely to be eating more leg down in those worse positions. And just a lot of people have been walking less and things like that. So it's kind of just sitting there. And then when you're scrunched over, it's pushing up, obviously to and I think, again, the stress piece, so I have seen it, I don't know also if the actual COVID virus.

This is so weird, Erin, I want to actually get your feel for this too. And within the first few days of having COVID A lot of my clients experience like extreme reflux and that's the first sign that they knew that something was going on. I don't know if their body was just like creating more acid so it could burn up bacteria maybe or something like that. Do you have any insight on that what why people are experiencing reflux at the beginning of the virus

Erin Holt 

Not off the top of my head I know that there can be like, you know, like a big histamine thing going on, but that's like kind of like after you know, like that's like that's more of like the long haulers type of vibe.

So in the beginning phases, I don't know because it's not you know, the the virus isn't coming in the like through our food and like through our mouth and you know, so but like, would it make sense that there's like this uptick in stomach acid production that could be causing more of the reflux? I don't know. That's a good that's a good question to think about. Yeah, I'll think on that one for sure.


Conventional vs. Functional Treatment of Acid Reflux

Michelle Shapiro 

I'm throwing this to you totally on the fly. So you there's no answer needed. I was just I'm just thinking through because I noticed that a lot. So that could have been part of it too. And then we can at some point if we can get to it talk about the histamine and acid tie in and we can talk about that too.

So we've uncovered that reflux is much more complicated than just this burning in the throat that there can be these you know, symptoms not only that knowing little elf clawing at your stomach feeling feeling of early satiety, feeling you know, sinus issues, nausea, sometimes people even get back aches from reflux I notice and it can just be an I think this like overwhelmed feeling of low blood sugar, jitteriness, discomfort, like you said, That fluttering in the chest.

So, when it comes to the conventional treatment of reflux, what's the landscape there, what's generally a nutritionist or a doctor going to recommend, if you want to roll us through that if you are having reflux, you know, it's usually to

Erin Holt 

like, well, we have to back up and just say, we're assuming that we're getting acid reflux, because there's too much acid that's being produced in the stomach. So that's sort of the assumption, if you're experiencing reflux, it's because there's too much acid. So the treatment is to shut down the acid production more often than not.

So to prescribe a proton pump inhibitor, or to put somebody on any type of acid blocking drugs, or even just like an over the counter, you know, like a Tums or something, the purpose of that is to neutralize the acid. So all of the interventions are based on the assumption that there's an overabundance of acid. In sometimes that's actually true. And sometimes that's actually not more often than not, it's acid in the wrong place.

Because our stomach is equipped and designed to produce acid, hydrochloric acid, stomach acid in our stomach can really withstand that highly acidic environment, our esophagus, like not so much, right. So when we have acid in the stomach, it's not a problem, when we have acid, where it shouldn't be in the esophagus, that's going to cause some discomfort and some pain.

And it might be like, I can point to the area where it hurts or to your point, it might be more of like radiating pain, like it's uncomfortable up here, I'm not really sure what the heck is going on. And so the treatment strategies, even if somebody doesn't have a lot of acid, this treatment strategies to shut down acid production can sometimes be beneficial, because if there's less acid, then there's less acid in the wrong place.

But that is not really necessarily always getting to the root of the issue. And even, you know, more so like, more problematic is the these drugs are really designed to be used long term. I mean, even if you look at like the pamphlet associated with these medications, it's like six weeks of use, it's not long term. And so some people are just kind of being put on these drugs long term.

And I'm not like even though I've practiced alternative health modalities for the past 15 years, I am not anti conventional medicine. I'm not anti conventional. Whenever somebody I my hope. And my intention is that when people are done listening to me talk, they walk away feeling like they have more tools at their disposal, not less.

I'm not trying to like take things off the table for people. I'm just like, hey, let's talk about is this the appropriate tool for you right now? And is it the appropriate to long term and I just wish more of those conversations were being had in the conventional space. And I just don't see that being the case. So that's usually the conventional approach is to shut down the acid production.


Why Do We Need Stomach Acid?

Michelle Shapiro 

Yeah, so this is you're leading us into the very important conversation, which is that the kind of conventional model of acid reflux is too much acid, get rid of it, make it stop happening. The functional medicine approach to acid reflux, I also feel is generally quite flawed, which is that functional medicine doctors often say, you know, most stomach acid issues and reflux issues are driven by too low of stomach acid.

And so we kind of move forward with these plans to Alright, give them betaine, HCl, give people all these acid supplements. If the fire is already burning too hot, and we pour more gasoline on the fire, it's not going to make things better. Why is it that functional medicine doctors, and this is the case for some people, like you said, believe that hypochlorhydria or too low stomach acid is the driving issue for reflux? Can we talk about that mechanism? Well, it actually can

Erin Holt 

be and it's like, yeah, to be, you know what I mean? It just the bummer of functional medicine. Let me just go off on like a quick little ranty rant for one hot second. It's like the bummer of functional medicine where it gets a bad rap because I love you and I we love functional nutrition, we love Oh my god medicines, it's our thing.

You know, it's our whole thing. It's just that anything that gains in popularity has the opportunity to sort of be like bastardized. And the issue that we're running into is template medicine. It's cookie cutter template driven protocols like if this than that, if acid reflux, then hypochlorhydria, which means hydrochloric acid Bingo Bango Dodge Durango, we just solve everybody's problems. In sometimes it's that that simple.

And like the 20% of the times when it's that simple. That's awesome. Those are our hero cases, like everybody rides off into the sunset, you're like high five, and it's good for morale. But what do you do for like the rest of the people where it's not that simple. Like these are the people that are just being dropped into the bucket, conventional model failed them and now the functional model failed them.

And so sometimes, it really is that simple, where it's like it's low stomach acid, we just need to give them stomach acid and everything is great. Not always the case though, ultimately, what's going on more often than not? chronic heartburn chronic acid reflux is more of like a muscular issue. So we have these sphincter muscles. So if you're like me, and you're You know, sense of humor is like a sixth grade boy, like, get ready to juggle, because we're going to talk about sphincters. And like buttholes and stuff, but we have this gi tube, which is like mouth to anus, right? Mouth to bomb.

And along the way, there's a set of muscles that open and close. And that's just to make sure that everything's moving in the right direction. Like in the event, unless there's like an emergency, we have to get rid of something fast. But if we didn't have these muscles, like, you know, poop with like, drip out of your butt the whole time. So we have to, like make sure things are like we have the sphincter muscles.

And they really should be toned to the point that they can open when they need to open and close when they need to close. And we have this one called the lower esophageal sphincter or the lacs, which is like at the lower end of the esophagus. And if that is not, doesn't have an appropriate tone, if it can't close all of the way if it's weak or loose, or lacks, that's when acid can move from the stomach up into the esophagus.

And this can even happen when there's low stomach acid. And sometimes that low stomach acid acid actually changes the pressure to make it more likely for this to happen. And so sometimes, again, repeating the acid can be super beneficial, but not always. And to your point, if there is burning going on, if there's any type of gastritis the way that I described gastritis it's basically like a booboo on the inside.

The lining of the stomach is kind of like a silky or like a not silk blanket. But like yeah, silk, right like satin, you know, like satin sheets, what I'm envisioning, right now they're pink in my mind, you know, and it should really be like slippery and kind of just like a silky blanket. And when there's gastritis, there's kind of like an open wound on the inside. And so you would imagine like, ouch, that would hurt.

Now imagine throwing acid on that it's going to really hurt a lot. And so there are some instances where digestive support like hydrochloric acid would actually be contra indicated, what we actually need to do is kind of reinstate that slippery blanket, like allow the gastritis to heal, before we go in gangbusters with a ton of acid. And I think that that's a little bit of an overlooked conversation.

Michelle Shapiro 

I think so too. Yeah. And that's why I wanted to have you on Yeah. But so you know, I think with a lot of clients, and I'm gonna back us up, and then bring us back here, because this is a really important spot to live in. I think with a lot of clients, what I'm seeing again, are active reflux symptoms.

So if you're actively feeling burning, nausea, by the way, we didn't even talk about bloating, belching, especially like upper belly bloating and things like that. If you're noticing that right now, and we can think about again, that gastritis, we can think about the fact that there's this active inflammatory and burning that's happening. We don't want to pour more lemon water or betaine HCL on the fire.

And, you know, we often think there are things that are good for us, quote, unquote, and we know that having an appropriate amount of stomach acid is extremely important for our health. So we want to just give people who have low stomach acid, we want to give them acid quick, what do we let's actually walk it back to there? And then we'll come back and what do we need stomach acid for? Why is it so important that we don't have low stomach acid?

Erin Holt 

Oh, like an ode to stomach acid? Well, it does, it sure does a lot. We need it. To start to break down proteins, we need to need it to absorb certain things from our food, like super high level, we need stomach acid to absorb nutrients from our food. It also kind of sets off the rest of the chain of digestion. So our digestion is a top down process. I know everybody like is loves the microbiome like it Me too. Me too. I love it.

And you know, are you even a functional provider, if you're not quoting Hippocrates on your website, all disease begins in the gut, you know, like, we gotta like owed to the microbiome. It's doing so much for us. But we fail to recognize like gut health isn't as simple as like a $400 stool test, we actually have to swim upstream. And so we have to really, you know, have deep reverence for the fact that digestion is a top down process.

And so if things aren't working well at the top of the chain, they're not going to work well further on down the line. And so if we're not producing enough stomach acid, then we're not signaling to the pancreas to release pancreatic digestive enzymes. We're not seeing signaling to the gallbladder to release bile. So then we're not really able to break down our food further on down the line, right.

And so we need stomach acid to start the digestive process. But we also need it to signal the rest of digestion. It's also can operate as kind of like a first line of defense against pathogens and foreign invaders. If you think about food, we're like bringing the outside world in to our bodies.

There's like a lot of potential risks with that, you know, you think about anything that you can consume on food. Ideally, we have an acidic enough environment in our stomachs to like kill off any pathogens or any critters that are going to make us sick. So stomach I'm sure I'm fired. Adding some things to what else? Am I forgetting something Cassatt sure does a lot.

Michelle Shapiro 

Well, I mean, the fact that you are also breaking foods down, you're getting nutrients and synthesis of vitamins and minerals as a result of that. And it utilizes a lot of minerals. And it's pumps and creation too. But it's extremely important. And we know this relationship. This is so fat.

This has been fascinating and playing off of what you're saying to, which is that we know recently PPIs were under fire, proton pump inhibitors, which are the drugs that are generally used to treat acid reflux, were under fire because of their link with Alzheimer's and their link with these other conditions. Because if you do not have enough stomach acid, you will not be able to have enough B 12. Vitamin, and I think that's a big piece of it.

And certainly, like you said that we have to think of our stomach acid as being this first line of defense from a digestive perspective against pathogens and things like that. And also, it's where it's kind of that point where we're starting to digest protein, fat and carbs in some means, even though carb digestion starts in the mouth, protein digestion is mostly in the stomach and, and we think of fat digestion as being related to the liver and bile and all these things.

This is kind of where, you know, again, that signaling happens to be able to properly break food down. When we're talking about digesting food, we're also talking about later on absorption, which is where we're actually going to get the nutrients we need from food. So if your digestion is not appropriate from that point, you're going to have issues later on. The one thing I want to go ahead, Tom, we're

Erin Holt 

so excited, because this is something that I don't want to forget to say this because this is not really being discussed all that much. And with the uptick and all the food sensitivities, we have to talk about hydrochloric acid, because the thing to understand about protein like the only our immune system won't negatively react to individual amino acids, it will inappropriately it has the potential to inappropriately react and respond to peptides to like bigger branches of protein, right.

So if we have amino acids, and they like form peptides, and poly peptides, and then they eventually form proteins, and those are the bigger compounds that our immune system is going to say it's gonna flag and tag for destruction, it's gonna say like, wait a second, I don't recognize that, like, we got to get this out of here. And then we can have, we can become more prone to food sensitivities.

But if we have the ability to break down our proteins into smaller and smaller and smaller structures into those individual amino acids, we are less likely to have ongoing food sensitivities. And so hydrochloric acid, stomach acid is a major part of that too. And I just didn't want to like forget that. Because hey, guess what, one of the symptoms of food sensitivities might be acid reflux.

Michelle Shapiro 

Yes, it's so freakin important. And, and we're, we keep walking forward and walking back. So we'll get back to I said that, um, like protein digestion is mostly in the stomach. What we mean by that is that process of breaking those long chains of amino acids, and and peptides into shorter chains of amino acids has to happen in the stomach so that your body can then kind of move through the next stage of digestion.

And if you're taking those longer chains of amino acids or peptides and putting them into the next stage of digestion, it gets wacky for your small intestine, your body's like, I don't know what the heck, you just sent me What is that, and that can cause a lot of those autoimmune conditions. The other thing that we have to have to talk about is that stomach acid, we're so much oh, we're gonna I need you for a long time here.

Unknown Speaker 

So I was like, Oh, my gosh, two hours,

Michelle Shapiro 

don't worry. I like need you I have so many places I want to go. So I'm walking it back first. And then I'm coming back to this because I will not forget this. So when I think of hypochlorhydria too low of stomach acid, I am picturing like your think of your stomach like a vat of acid. And if you pour, you know, we want it to be nice and full of acid for that to happen. If you pour something like a hamburger down into that vat of acid, it's going to let you picture it almost like burning it up.

It's not what's actually happening in a perfect sense. But let's picture it like that. If a quarter of that is filled, you have your vat of acid and you pour a hamburger down there. It can't break it down, it can't burn it up, we don't have that. And Iran would say the aghani we don't have that digestive fire to burn it. So what happens is it ends up sitting there, it gets fermented and the bacteria that actually come to eat it because it's it's bad bacteria and bad bugs we don't want because it starts feeding on it and fermenting the fermentation process. The bacteria basically farts.

And that's what causes the belching the bloating and all that discomfort. So that's one huge issue, why we get so bloated with reflux. The other thing is, like we said, you're having all of these things just sitting in your stomach and what can happen as a result is then you get bloated, your stomach pushes outwards, and that lower esophageal sphincter that we were talking about.

That's what makes it kind of flap up and then the acid can push up too. So that's how low stomach acid can cause acid reflux symptoms. What also happens is your body's like, oh crap, we don't have enough acid and starts pumping out extra acid to compensate and then you end up having too much and like you said Erin, most importantly, in the wrong place. And that's the issue with reflux.

And I think, again, we're so focused on the amount. But and which is the more root cause way to think of it, but we have to think about where it's going. And those sphincters. Because if the sphincters were tight and we had too much acid, we wouldn't really have an issue because it wouldn't be going in the wrong place. Exactly.

I had to walk us back to there for why hypochlorhydria can cause a potential issue, same thing where you pour the food and it sits there same things gonna happen with bacteria and viruses to is that it's not going to be you want to burn these things up, we need a certain pH at a very specific level to do these tasks. We want it to be burning hot in there, and we don't want it to be burning hot anywhere else, basically. And that's where that issue is.

Erin Holt 

And then you know, you brought up fermentation, which I kind of want to close the loop on one of the questions because we were sort of talking about like maybe there's some there's some situations where hydrochloric acid supplementation might be contraindicated. We know we were talking about like if the fires burning, we don't want to pour more gasoline on the fire, so to speak.

There's another situation with methane, which used to be called methane dominant SIBO, which is now just email like if there's an overproduction of methane gas, right. And so this is part of the fermentation picture, but methane, like an overabundance of methane gas, methane gas is produced by methane antigens. They're not necessarily they're not technically bacteria, they're archaea.

But you know, whatever they're producing methane gas in methane gas really can impact motility. And it can almost sometimes cause like a reverse motility where things are moving in the wrong direction. So rather than everything swimming downstream, an overabundance of methane gas can kind of like back things up so we can get the bloating, we can get the nausea, we can get the burping, the belching, and the heartburn.

And so we wouldn't really know if you're dealing with this unless you do get like a SIBO breath test, you know, to see the like the concrete data that you have, you have it. But hydrochloric acid supplementation is contra indicated in a lot of these cases, because methane, methane antigens feed on hydrogen.

And so if you're adding hydrochloric acid, that's hydrogen, you're actually feeding the things that are causing the symptoms. So that's just another little like nuance, but not to be overlooked.

Michelle Shapiro 

Yeah, that's really powerful. And first of all, I have to tell you, I'm kinda like over SIBO in some ways, but I think it's been so over diagnosed and obsessed, I think, yeah, I'm not over SIBO. Like I there, it's obviously real. It's obviously a condition that people are dealing right here. Yeah, for me, SIBO is not the radius of root causes. I feel like we still call it back here, there. Exactly. And a lot of this is a new thing.

And functional medicine is like everything. SIBO when I have a client is like maybe I have SIBO. I'm like I know, but you probably have something else too, that we have to actually talk about. So like, let's let's, we'll get there. And it's important. But this is so essential, because when we think of gut health, too, we think of it as being very fragmented. And we think of you have just a reflux condition, or you have just IBS.

And it's so important because treating one condition again, with something like SIBO it's a Papa weasel with our digestion. So you have to be really conscious of what's going on all the way through and interpreting symptoms and interpreting tests. It's really sensitive process. So that's such a good example of that. And I thank you for that.

It's also this nerve wracking feeling of things going upstream. We don't want that direction of like, I don't want anything going up, you know, and it's just important that what you could read something online, lemon water saved my digestion, lemon water for one person can be again, adding to that fire making people burn and for another person giving them adequate stomach acid.

So it's, it's not not adequate, but enough or edit stomach acid. So it's really important to be individualized, especially when it comes to reflux. And I have clients who sometimes we're doing a little baking soda to cool off. Sometimes we're doing a little lemon water to bring up that heat. It's dependent day by day, not even person by person, it's dependent day by day for that person because reflux is so viciously uncomfortable for people to I think,

Erin Holt 

yeah, and like that, you know, that's not we don't want to just miss that part of the conversation. Like, ultimately, we want to get you comfortable, like first and foremost. So if you're doing a strategy that is working for you, in that you're not miserable all day, like well done. That's pretty awesome.

And I also don't want to like terrify people about taking hydrochloric acid. Generally, when I say what I say that people with like digestive support digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, you'll know if it's like not a fit for you. If you're taking it in your symptoms get worse than don't do it. You know, it's not going to cause like, a terrible amount of damage. You know what I mean?

It's relatively safe. I know it sounds a little scary because we're talking about eating acid, but it's relatively safe. And, you know, typically speaking, you're gonna know like, Oh, I did this and things got worse than that's not the strategy that you want to use at that moment in time.


How to Know if Stomach Acid is Too Low

Michelle Shapiro 

Totally. And there are many again, all of these are solutions that could be for the person listening. This is not nutrition or medical advice, obviously, but these are all potential pathways just listening to your own body again, understanding like, you know, things are already too hot things are already too not feeling good not to jump into something that could potentially be more harmful. So just taking it slow and gentle.

So when it comes to low stomach acid and eating patterns, there's a couple things that I think are very fascinating, which is that first of all, I noticed on my vegetarian and vegan diet, that I stopped having interest in meat. And this is something I see happen quite a bit. And I my explanation for this is that while our kind of baseline of health, it stays strong things can alter our body and our bodies are our bodies of efficiency.

So if your body anticipates that it won't be getting a huge protein load anytime soon, it's not going to produce a tremendous amount of acid because remember, acid production is very necessary for protein breakdown. That's a huge piece of it. So I see the transition for people from being you know, vegetarian and vegan to going to eat meat, one of the issues they run into is they're not interested in me.

And in my head, I'm like, well, it's not because you don't want to eat meat, potentially, it's actually because your body doesn't have the appropriate amount of stomach acid. Now as it's been operating with a low amount, it's it hasn't needed much. And our body learns, you know what, if I don't need too much stomach acid to break this down, I'm not going to produce that much stomach acid.

So we have these bodies of of tremendous efficiency and our bodies, notice what we need and kind of compensate for that. And the other issue is obviously with B 12. It's a compounding issue with vegan and vegetarian diets. So this is one thing I just want the listener to hear is that if you're a person who hasn't eaten meat historically, or a person who wants to eat more protein, but it's struggling because you don't have an interest in meat, low stomach acid could actually be a reason for that or a driver of that.

So it's something you might want to explore a little bit to. And then this piece you know, this is so hot right now also, like even my you know, my friend, Dr. Gabrielle Lyon. Protein is hot right now. It's always been hot, but it's really, really hot right now. I think for people, it's hard to start to introduce me, if they have been eating it a while. I want you to tuck into all of this kind of the non meat eating reflux acid piece of the puzzle.

Erin Holt 

So I'm going to start off the whole conversation so people don't come and fight me. Listen, I'm a fighter, but I'm tired. I've been doing this for 12 years. I'm tired. You know, like the fight has gone out of this girl.

Michelle Shapiro 

No one's no one's fighting us. Yeah, we're not we're just gonna like block you. It's like I'm not doing it. Yeah, no. And I very, like I very sweet listeners who are very eager to learn. So they're more curious than fighting. Yes. So I

Erin Holt 

was a vegetarian for 20 years. So from 20 to 30. I was a vegetarian and I did some year long stints of veganism throughout that. So I completely understand the desire and the morality behind vegetarian and vegan diet, I actually stopped or started eating meat, I gave birth to my daughter, I was super sick. And intuitively just knew I'm like, gosh, I got to do this. For my health.

Like I was almost like taking a vitamin because I didn't enjoy it. And I had absolutely lost my taste for it. And because I had low stomach acid, because it's kind of that lose it or use it mentality that you were just talking about. I didn't really have like a big, you know, I couldn't really put a whole bolus of protein into my gut and have it feel good.

That's like another thing if people are like, I can't really eat a lot of proteins, it feels like it just sits like a brick. It's like ooh, that's, that's a low stomach acid thing might do you know, and so I had to sort of like train myself back into eating meat like i i started with bone broth like homemade bone broth. It's kind of like the gateway drug. Because you kind of do if somebody's like meat curious or animal protein curious.

This is kind of the way that I would like tiptoe your way into it. Some people are like just looking for permission to start eating meat. I've definitely had a lot of those clients. They're like, Oh, it's not bad for me. I can eat it. Oh my god, thank you because I've like been really craving it. If you're craving meat, like go eat it. If you're craving animal protein, your body knows what's up your body and all of its innate wisdom is telling you what it needs. I remember the way I like broke my veganism.

I was having dreams about eating salmon. Like in my dreams, I was consuming fish. Like, my mom bought it for me and I just ate like a pound of salmon one night and then the next day ate a pound of salmon. Like my body was like telling me exactly what it needed. Right. And so I just listened to that.

And so there can be so much like shame and like self flagellation and judgment around what we're doing and what we're choosing to consume. And like we just have to like ultimately listen to our body, right? So that's part of the conversation. So if you are kind of curious about it, but you're like Gosh, I don't really have like a taste for it or a stomach for it. Start slow and kind of like build your way up.

So doing some homemade bone broth. I would like blend it in with roasted butternut squash soup. So it felt like I was eating a vegetarian meal, but just kind of like tiptoeing my way in there. And then I kind of had to eat like a toddler, like I had to separate out, like chicken, for example, or meat, like I couldn't have it mixed in with everything, like I had to like separate it out and eat it separately be like, Okay, I did that I took the vitamins, and now I move on to the rest of the meal.

And now that was like, eight years ago, now I can just eat like, normally. But it took a while. And throughout that process, I was also supporting the digestive process. So I was personally taking hydrochloric acid, I was taking a lot of digestive enzymes. I also want to throw this out there I was bulimic for eight years.

So I kind of trained my digestive system to move in the wrong way talk about that reverse motility, I was like every single day, I was like priming the pump to go in the opposite direction, right. So I really need more digestive support, like more so than the average person, because of that eight years of like trauma to my GI tube essentially.

So just kind of keep that in mind, it definitely took a long time for me to be able to reintroduce meat successfully. But that's kind of how I went about it. And usually how I help my clients tiptoe their way in,


How to Reduce Heartburn and Acid Reflux

Michelle Shapiro  

I really appreciate you sharing both kind of pieces of your story too. It's, it's why I always appreciate our conversations so much, because you come with extreme client experience and total error and experience too. So I really, I actually just commend you so much for always being so transparent. I'm an open book like you are, and I also ate a vegan diet for over 10 years.

And that's when my reflux was the worst, funny enough, because you're not, you're not eating the things that would trigger it, right. And I think what one thing we definitely want to talk about is also the conventional treatment of reflux, is really focused on not kind of eating foods that are going to piss your digestion off, right, you're kind of like don't eat spicy foods, don't eat foods that make that lower esophageal sphincter floppy.

You know, make ones that eat ones that make us strong, but it's not focused on as we always know, the root cause, which is why you have low stomach acid in the first place. So if you are like you said, you know, that's the tricky part with transitioning from vegan to meat consumption is your brains responding to the cue in your body, I don't want this, but the only thing that's going to ultimately make it better is also eating it because you need those nutrients from it.

So it's this really tricky place and with reflux specifically, I can't overstate how uncomfortable it is. And I get a lot I call it like the the trifecta, which is you get a blood sugar issue, you get reflux and anxiety and they happen in this loop. So you get acid reflux, you get these very uncomfortable symptoms you can't eat, that not eating triggers more reflux, because your body's going to release acid in anticipation of food. And then those two things together that jitteriness plus the annoying, that's anxiety.

I mean, that's what anxiety feels like at its core, right. So for a lot of people who are transitioning, it's important to kind of crack into the cycle where you can, and I love that you just were babying your body in the most sweet way possible. With people who have really extreme reflux, I'll sometimes do like a one day where we eat, I say like I call it rabbit eating too, you eat like one little food at a time.

And it's don't try to mix proof foods because you want your digestion to be like, here's protein got it, here's carb got it, because the more complicated digestive processes can be challenging for the body. So this is also true in a lot of Eastern medicine, not mixing different types of foods at the same time. When it comes to reflux.

Also, I again, it's eating really slowly. Remember that your digestion while it's down like that, it needs the things but it doesn't know how to do it all at once. So eating slowly and chewing really mindfully and just giving your digestion the best chance is super helpful.

And I have to say just another thing off the top of my head that I find very helpful is eating and drinking at separate times. I don't know if that's something that you've worked with or experience. I think there's a couple reasons why that's effective. Do you want to kind of talk into that a little bit too? Yeah, so

Erin Holt 

the idea is that like if we're consuming large volumes of food, and I don't mean like a sip of water or sip of wine, but like, you know, like a full glass of water with a meal. It like dilutes the digestive juices essentially. So we're not like we don't have you know, it's, you keep referring to it as like the inner fire.

It's like imagine what what if you threw a glass of water on the inner fire, it's just not going to be as fired, right, and it dampens it. And then we also are create it's more volume of food, which can put pressure on that sphincter muscle. So sometimes I'll notice folks that if they eat like a large volume of soup or something like that, for example, yes, number one, it's a large volume of food so it can put the pressure on the sphincter and loosen it.

But number two, there's not as much chewing and so the act of mastication like actually chewing your food is part of what stimulates the entire digestive process. It basically is like yelling down to your stomach like get ready. Food is come in.

So if somebody's like chugging a smoothie or like eating a lot of soup or like thinking of like you know liquid law volumes, they're not chewing, and so they're not starting that whole process.

So there's a kind of like a number of different things that can happen. But generally speaking, I don't want to make people like afraid to drink around there. No, of course you don't want to do like a large volume, especially if you're, you're struggling with like a lowered digestive capacity.

Michelle Shapiro 

Yeah. And I think Listen, none of this is nutrition or medical advice. I always have to say it, but when someone's suffering with reflux, and it's I just I hate reef of all symptoms. histamines and reflux are like my nemesis, that they're the ones I hate the most. They're so full body, you know, and I see it in my clients so much, but they can have flares.

And it's like three freaking days. If if telling someone or someone picks up from us saying this, or just eating slower, just, you know, be more, just chewing a little more. And that could make an impact on those really uncomfortable flares. Like it's mind blowing ly simple information. But I think mind blowingly transformative, too. I really do feel that way. And I see it. Usually when we know this better than anyone, we preach us more than anyone.

But most of the issues that we have, with our health are coming down to like the acts of being human. And what I mean by that is like, yeah, you're eating like hunched over your stomach's like pushing up into your throat, essentially, when you're doing that, and you're not being mindful. So your bodies have a chance to catch up with your digestion, like, and you're eating a bunch of, you know, like highly dense, very hard to digest foods, like, yeah, it's gonna be stressful for your body.

And we're not talking about the body being broken. But we want to give our body as much support and love and ease as possible to so there's times when it's really good to challenge our body. And when it comes to reflux, I think the move is always like slight, little tiny challenges, like we're saying, if you want to try a little lemon water to be more acidic, a little bit of bitters, great, if you want to, you know, try to eat a little bit of meat at each meal. But the goal with reflux is never to pound it, I think that's just something that you're going to have that it's a very reactive process to.

So I think that's something to really keep in mind with reflux. And then when it comes to people who have been on PPIs, for a long time, we're not medical doctors, so we would not be able to advise a wean or anything like that. But certainly, it's known that you're going to have less acid production for some amount of time, because that's the goal of those drugs. So you can pretty much know almost indefinitely that inevitably that you're going to have low stomach acid if you've been on PPIs.

Would you agree with that? Well, yeah, because that's you were taking a drug to lower stomach. That is a good line of thinking that it's good to know that you might have hypochlorhydria, I think the trap people get into a lot again, and there's reflux is weird like this again, because you get these cycles. Yeah, and so that like low blood sugar, reflux anxiety cycle, and you can get into, well, if I don't take the PPI, I'm going to have more reflux, because there is something called rebound reflux from the PPI.

So I think that's where that sensitivity needs to come in, where it's like, I know in my head, I need to increase my stomach acid in the long term. But I need to know that right now, if I'm actively experiencing it, I might need to be more gentle with myself. So it's this it's a sweet combination. And Erin for you, you don't only target acid by giving the body more acid, you really focus on those sphincters Is there any tips you have for us to strengthen the tone of those factors, the lower esophageal, you know, we can start with or any in the digestive tract.

Erin Holt 

So we've talked through a bunch of strategies already, there's one that we haven't touched upon, I mean, you base you just barely mentioned it, digestive bitters, like adding more bitter foods.

So we'll talk about that in a second. But I don't want to forget to throw this pro tip out there for again, not medical advice, run it through your own filters, but this can be so soothing, like literally soothing, if you're dealing with any type of reflux, or you're coming off meds, not that we're telling you to do that, go to your prescribing doctor, and you're getting that rebound reflux, is using any type of mucilaginous herbs, and I love to get them in powder form.

So this is like things that they do exactly what they say like they like form like mucus like they were, you know, like they get sticky and like slimy. So this would be things like marshmallow root, slippery l licorice root, as long as you're not you don't have high blood pressure, you wouldn't want to use licorice root in that case.

And I buy them in powder form and a lot of them are actually inherently sweet. And then you can just mix them with a little bit of warm water and it forms like this sludge but it's not like weirdly not

Michelle Shapiro 

as offensive tasting. No. Offensive no and then

Erin Holt 

yeah, just bring it down and I just like imagine to it's like this like nice coating of like the entire digestive tract and it's just very it can be anti inflammatory, it can be very soothing. And that's a great way to kind of leverage some plant medicine as a way to like build a bridge to get you from where you are to like where you want to go. I love that strategy. I use it with a lot of my clients. I use it personally so I want to share it here.

Michelle Shapiro 

I was just gonna say using those supplements and I know it's very popular for reflux, so use DGL also, that's another really popular supplement.

Erin Holt 

To Have you found success. With DGL, I'm just gonna go out and say that I never, it's never done been the thing that helps me.

Michelle Shapiro 

I have, I have found it in my clients, I have actually. And I feel like DGL plus has some of those nice, soft mucousy kind of promoting herbs in it too. So that's possibly why I probably don't use it as much as I actually have found it's been helpful for clients before.

And it's again, it totally depends on the person and which is why we're not getting something like recommendations. But again, if we're doing anything too soon, in the meantime, and when we think of functional nutrition, I think people often think we have to treat the root cause and forget about the symptoms, it's like, no, we can work on the symptoms at the same time. So I think what you're saying is making something that's soothing and feels really good while you're working on all these things to promote more stomach acid, which is again, a huge issue.

I think it's estimated, by the way, and we didn't say a statistic before that about 70 to 80% of cases of acid reflux are from hypo low stomach acid. So it is going to be in a lot of cases and for people who are taking that medications, almost every single one of those cases.

So while you're working on that, but you don't want to add more fire, you can sue first and then if you want to add that more fire and I think of again, Eastern medicine, too, when I think of that digestive fire and knowing where your body's at, even from an emotional standpoint, like not like that's I think a fire is being like anger, right?

And I noticed when I'm angry, I feel it like in my solar plexus vibes. Right, exactly. So I think of like working, of course, the emotional and stress standpoint of it we're going to talk about too, but what were you gonna say before that I'm sorry.

Erin Holt 

I'm like, Well, now I want to get into solar plexus and anger, bitter foods. You know, we don't really consume a lot of bitter foods in our culture, they're so important and bitter foods can help to tonify that LPS that lower esophageal sphincter. bitter foods also helped to promote and stimulate the production of bile.

We know we love bile for emulsifying our fats helping us break down our dietary fats, but it also does like so many other things. setting the pace of motility is one of them looping up the GI tract is another one. So all of these things are really important to prevent acid reflux, but bitter foods, if you can work some of these into rotation like this is like the money shot. I love digestive bitters, I just find that compliance is really low with my clients, myself included, that's not a dig, it's just because you have to kind of take them like 15 to 20 minutes with oils, you know, and it's like I always forget it's like it's just not a habit stack with with with digestive enzymes.

I'm taking them with my meal. So it's like it's all happening but with digestive bitters, they work best if you take them before the meal like a good chunk of time before the meal and so um, you know, people forget so working bitter foods into rotation is great. So this would be like your arugula your end dive the reduced to like, when you think about the foods you kind of like make that like weird face those foods like work them into rotation.

I mean, we like cacao cocoa is a bitter coffee is a bitter, but what I learned from Ann Louise Gittleman, who's like been in this industry, like, you know, decades and decades and decades longer than you and I, if we are overwriting the bitter with sweet, we're not getting the benefit of the bitter like we really should be able to taste the better.

So for example, drinking coffee black, that's great better drinking coffee with like milk and sugar and cream, you're not really accessing like the bitter potential of that food. So same thing with chocolate, right cacao or cocoa is like it's bitter on its own. Once you mix it with sugar, it's not as much of a therapeutic bitter food. dandelion root tea is another really great one. It's super easy to get in, you can just I love to brew my tea super strong. So like to bags, cover it, steep it for 10 minutes, and then drink it down.

And you will find that the more you expose your tastebuds to bitter, the less adverse you become to them. You kind of have to train your tastebuds toward the bitter flavor. At first it's aggressive and then you're like you find that you like weirdly crave more bitter foods. So I would that's like just a real good blanket recommendation for like most people just like eat more bitter foods,

Michelle Shapiro 

every part of digestion too. Yeah, and I think what's easier for people too is just having some ginger before meals sometimes can help. There's actual like bitter supplements that you can take also either you can put droplets in or they have actual like chewable betters that you can take, essentially, that's a part of it.

We also did a second on digestive enzymes. So I have to go back to my diagram also of that vat of acid being our stomach. Digestive enzymes are like little PAC men that live in that digestive VAT. And the Pac Man cannot live in a non acidic environment, that's the only place that they can exist. So if you don't have that enough stomach acid, those digestive enzymes will not they won't Chomp, they won't bite away. And that's part of that process. We said of the protein digestion and the fat digestion.

Your stomach is responsible for protein digestion, but that bile that you're getting from your gallbladder, well, your liver and your gallbladder one story one's creating is going to be signaled to go into your small intestine by your stomach because it has a signaling process. So it's like one it's a domino effect very much with our digestion. So it's essential that we signal you know, CCK hormone to make sure that we get our bile anyway.

So it's it's really important so bitters can help with the reason you're saying it. And the reason I'm pulling this together as because bitters can help with our bile production, which is not what we typically associate with protein digestion, but what we associate with fat digestion. But what we influence in our protein digestion will also influence our fat digestion and what we what influences our stomach acid is going to influence our liver, and vice versa. Because our bodies are very bi directional. Everything influences everything as you're like, the body is connected. What do you mean?

Erin Holt 

Are you all work together in the human body?

Michelle Shapiro 

Yeah, exactly. You just learned this our era and just learn this. But the funny thing about all of this, and the good thing about all this is that we get nervous with reflux, again, that there's this vicious cycle, seemingly, but the fun part is if you crack in at the bile, if you crack in at the liver, if you crack in at the stomach, you can help yourself from any angle.

So it's not like you have to only focus on stomach acid, you could focus on bile production that can help you with reflux, you could focus on the quality of your stomach acid, making sure you're getting enough minerals and vitamins for the production of that you can focus on your lower esophageal sphincter and things that help that there's a there's a bunch of different ways that you can look at and I just want anyone listening to know it's never freakin hopeless at all, when it comes to reflux, even though it feels like this vicious cycle. But there's so many ways you can crack into that too, which I think is so cool.

Erin Holt 

Yeah, because when we start to get into like the nitty gritty of all of this, it can really lead to a lot of overwhelm, and like, Oh my God, there's so many ways that things can go wrong in my body. And like, you know, it's just overwhelming.

And I love the way that you kind of reframed that for people, because I think the most important thing is like, yes, there's a lot of things that can go wrong, but and your body is like, so resilient, and it has such a capacity to change, and to heal itself. And so like, you know, we've talked about probably like 25 different strategies, like pick one to like, screw around with this week, and just kind of see where that gets you to, you know, like, it doesn't have to be as hard as we're making it out to be we're just trying to pack this full of information, and give people strategies. But I

Michelle Shapiro 

think I like that we've also given a lot, let me commend us, I like that we've given people a lot of strategies, but it was in a way that again, I don't like when podcasts are very, like, here's the 10 ways to lower your reflux, like that's so not our vibe. But we just want to give that basic foundational understanding of what's going on in the body. Some ways you can help yourself.

And even though it's not nutrition or medical advice, and also understanding that if you are having these suspicious symptoms, and you're like, I do not understand what's going on with my body, I get really freakin sick like three days a month, and I totally don't understand it. The fun part of working with a practitioner is we kind of do. So we're like, oh, well, no. So it'll be really fun working with a client, because they'll be like, yeah, I get, what do you how do you know, I get randomly nauseous and can't eat breakfast? Or meat?

Like how did you know and I'm like, because you're displaying clear symptoms of hypochlorhydria. So that's what's that's what's my where my brains going. And that's the beauty of working with a practitioner too, is we have this puzzle drawn out for all of our clients bodies, and we can kind of start to see, of course, with testing and verification of diagnosis, but even through just their speech, okay, here's where that kind of cog in the system is, here's where this is going.

So just know for yourself, even if you've been to conventional doctors, or if even functional medicine doctors and you've gotten that one solution, take a PPI or take HCl, there's a lot more at play, and a lot more ways you can go which is really awesome, too.

Erin Holt 

Yeah, and one of the ways could be looking at your mental and your emotions, your your what's happening on the landscape of mind and your emotional body. Do we have time? Like, should we just go for it? Here's the deal, where I'm not letting you.


Impact of Mental and Emotional Energy on the Physical Reflux Symptoms

Erin Holt 

I'm gonna call my assistant clairvoyant calendar for the day. I want to just preface this conversation by saying that we've been talking about the physical body this whole time, but we actually have four different bodies. We have the physical body, we have the emotional body, we have the mental body, we have the energetic body. I have been studying this for 15 years, I've been doing this work for 12 years, I've been mentoring for four years. I am not interested in any conversation about health. That doesn't at least give a head nod to the fact that we are more than just our physical body.

The science has caught up it's official. It's all caught up with what ancient wisdom has been talking about four ever, which is that they're all interconnected. Right. The mind and the body are one I like one of my heroes is Candace PERT. And she was like a trailblazer. Like back in the day. She was a female scientist. She had just she was coming up with like these brand new ideas.

And like I just I mean you we always have to like we stand on the shoulders of giants like we always have to give so much respect to like the the people and the women that paved the way for us to be here. Her work is like Chef Kis perfection, but she says that the body is the subconscious mind. Like they're not different. They're one in the same. And so when it comes to different symptoms in the body, we have to also ask like, what else could be going on here.

And what I don't like is when we talk too much about the brain or too much about, like neural rewiring or subconscious programming, or the emotional body, and we bypass the physical body. That's not what I'm trying to do here. That's not what I'm about, we have to bring them all online because they're all interfacing with one another all day long. And so there are certain emotional roots of reflux.

And I'm so glad that you brought up anger before because like, that's such a big one. And you know, this is all contextual to like, if you like crush a 30 rack and like eat a Domino's Pizza at 2am, and you fall asleep and you have heart what's a 30 rack? For real? What is it there

Unknown Speaker 

isn't beer? It's

Unknown Speaker 

like, did we have different college experiences? But

Michelle Shapiro 

yeah, I don't know. I don't know. I was like smoking cigarettes and drinking Red Bull. But it was already like not smoking and drinking by college. I also like grew up in New York City. Like I know what a a 40 is. I don't know like, yeah, 30 rackets and it would go on I'm so sorry to interrupt you go on, if you're drinking 30 racks and having gone

Erin Holt 

or a 40 You know, playing like Edward Scissorhands and 240s tape to your hands. You know, like, anyway, like, there's some like really draw, like, done with like, maybe we don't blame like chronic rage for this issue. You know what I mean? Like, we have to, like think about it all contextually. But I'm always asking people, especially if they're coming with like a long standing history of something.

When did the symptoms began. And like what was going on at that time, not just in the physical body, but like in your world in your life. And like, you know, is this a chronic thing is is the first time ever like that is so relevant to the whole story. And so with chronic heartburn, acid reflux, I go to one of two emotions, anger, it's kind of like you're angry on the inside, right? If that fire that Michel has been talking about this fire that's burning the Agni, which is like the digestive fire, like there's this fire going on in the inside, what happens when that fire burns too bright, and it doesn't have anywhere to go.

It's like this internalized anger that has no appropriate outlet. And anger when we back up it's anger is like a very useful emotion, all of our emotions are pretty useful, arguably, maybe not shame, but like all the other ones are kind of fair game. And so anger is just telling us like, the way things are going right now, like I don't like them, or that a boundary needs to be set or that a boundary has been broken or a boundary needs to be established. But like, ultimately, this is the way things are and I am not good with it.

So if we don't have a way to take action on that, if we don't have a way for that energy to come out to be expressed to be communicated or us to take action, if we don't have any control in the situation that can really kind of like cause this fire to kind of burn bright. And so that's something that I would really think about because we can work on the physical body, we can implement all of the strategies.

And I always like to take it like a little bit further, like a little bit deeper by saying what else is going on? Is there something that you had to swallow that you had to deal with that you really couldn't appropriate at all? I just, you know, like, you know, what, what did you have to like take down that you didn't want to take down.

And again, this is kind of like there's situational anger and then there's like this chronic rage and it's usually that like chronic low grade in a rage, that's the thing that's gonna like grind down on your body from the inside out. The other emotion, though, is fear.

Erin Holt 

And I was gonna say that I'm so glad you're sharing something with like digestion, you know, because if you think about like, fear of change, fear of the unknown fear of like things not going exactly the way not being able to, like predict the future that can cause a lot of like tummy troubles for a lot of different people.

Like, you know, often starting at like a really young age you are talking about Empath, like at a young age, I had to learn how to like run everybody's emotions through my own little body. And so I started getting tummy aches when I was a baby, you know, and like 39 years later, we're still here. So it's like, so we have to really like kind of think about like, what emotions what energy is like running and coursing through our body like what's eating away at you at the inside, you know what's going on in your life at large.

So that's like the emotional body that we have to pay attention to. And then we have the energetic body you mentioned the solar plexus chakra right so we have these energy systems throughout our body in the solar plexus is located pretty much like right would where you would experience acid reflux, right like exactly right, like above your navel but below your sternum like right at that point.

Like if you had like chronic burning, if like if I was like point to it, that's the place you would point to is your solar effect like this in the His energy centers in our body really interface and correlate with different body parts. So the solar plexus governs the stomach. It governs the pancreas, it governs the intestines, the upper intestines, the gallbladder and the liver. So like Bingo Bango, that reflux organs Exactly.

And so when we see imbalances in this energy center, we can see problems with these organs like ulcers or digestive disorders or reflux. This energy center really governs power, feelings of personal power or powerlessness. And what happens like think about a time when your power was taken away from you, what were the two big emotions that came up? Probably anger, right? When our power gets zapped from us, we can probably feel pretty angry about it, whether or not we communicate that whether or not we can like identify that for ourselves. That's usually the emotion that's coming up.

And then on the flip side of that, if we've been given too much power, or too much responsibility, maybe like a parental FIDE child, right, like where I'm like, I've got way too much responsibility on my shoulders that can also lead to chronic rage, anger and resentment later in life, and there's nothing that's going to burn you up from the inside out, like resentment. That'll do it. That's it right there.

You know, and so we really kind of have to like think about this in terms of like, if we're practicing or taking a root cause approach what really is like the fundamental root of what's going on here. And I think about two, I'll just throw this out there in case it like lands with somebody, it's come, it's coming up, so it's probably going to resonate. We can like kind of keep this going, if there's like an imbalance here because we are afraid there's that fear again, that if we don't, if we don't take on the responsibility of everybody else, if we don't uphold this power that we've been given, then they could leave.

And we will always there's like, Gabor Ma Tei says there's this clash between two essential needs attachment and authenticity. PFS, your solar plexus is all about your authenticity, like who you are the author of your own story. But if we have to choose one or the other attachment or authenticity, we will choose attachment nine times, you know, like safer, I'm gonna Yes, over Yeah, we're not going to sacrifice ourselves to like get kicked out of the tribe, the proverbial tribe, you know what I mean?

So we are, excuse me, we will sacrifice ourselves in order to not get kicked out. And so all of this stuff needs to be acknowledged needs to be witnessed needs to be seen when we're talking about chronic acid reflux, like what's going on inside.

Michelle Shapiro 

Even when you think of like The Incredible Hulk or something when he's angry, think of that body being hunched over, where's he holding that tension? It's right in that solar plexus area, it's right in your stomach. That's when we feel oh, when we feel anger, you feel it right in your stomach.

And then just again, I think for people also to understand that our physical bodies, our head, our bodies, our energetic bodies, they are not only interconnected, they are the same thing. It's the same thing like if something is affecting you on a mental plane, it is it affecting you on a physical plane in that way. And when I think again, of anger, I think of that tension being there. It's funny because I also think of like, the resentment or the burning, as like, I think of the movie American Psycho, like Patrick Bateman, like it's the Tom's in it, like he's like that, that like intense level of being on just think of when you clench your body during times of anger, that's exactly how you would clinch it.

And when it comes to fear, I also associate that area with fear too, because it's like, that kind of feeling. And that kind of like shaking and rattling off of your stomach, I definitely can feel it there. And we can think of it as, as you said before, like butterflies in our stomach. And the other thing that's so powerful that you're saying is that, when it comes to energy, there's different components of our health and energy and Flow are so important.

And reflux, we already told you in the beginning of the episode from a physical plane, the issue is that it's not maybe in some cases, too much or too little acid, but that the flow is interrupted. So I think of reflux as being a huge blockage. It's a it's a stopping point. It's a cog in the system. I say that like every episode, by the way, I have stopped saying that phrase it that makes no sense to me, honestly. But it's that blockage.

And that's what's so important is that you're not only focused on lowering it increasing or decreasing, whatever it is, you're focused on introducing flow again to the system and whatever way you can possibly do that. That's what we were talking about with that bile. So I'm pulling together what you've already explained.

So well Erin from a physical and an emotional plane, because again, it's the same thing. If you're introducing flow from a physical plane by introducing bile flow, you're introducing flow from an emotional plane in the same way by releasing yourself from obligations you don't need or from releasing yourself from resentment or something like that. It's the same exact bye body reactions happen on the physical plane in the emotional plane, which is so cool. And that's so relevant to

Erin Holt 

reflux, like flip it and reverse it. And if you are able and this is like where my work is leading me if you're able to release it or release the blockages from the like energetic and the emotional side, sometimes the physical body kind of like follows suit, right.

So if we can get always does patterns, we can release some of these like mental energetic patterns, like maybe the propensity to like over function to be like the American Psycho like going going going doing doing doing as a way to prove our worth as a way to like, like, show up and tell the world like I matter here like I'm worthy, if we can release some of that, then our body can kind of like relax and like allow the flow to take

Michelle Shapiro 

and I'm taking what you're saying like one more step further and saying there's almost no difference between if you approach it from a physical perspective or an emotional perspective, if that's what the root cause is also, like, you do have to target the one that's, that's impacted you the most, but there is there's no body process that is immune to the influence of our emotions and our and our energetic body. There's nothing that is not influenced by it, it is who we are, it's it's part of our body is our body still, regardless of if we target it from a physical perspective, or an emotional energetic perspective.

Erin Holt 

I love saving this conversation for the end to like, after we get into like, you know, like physiology because I'm like, See, I know what I'm talking about. No, I'm gonna drop the hammer. No, like, if

Michelle Shapiro 

you start talking about shockers people gonna be like, oh, about I gotta go. It's so funny because, like, I've gotten to a point where when I think people are saying, there's there is something that is Whoo. And then there's just like actual Eastern medicine. And when people start saying something is Whoo, that just is medicine.

I'm like, it's kind of Eurocentric to think like that and I you know, this is something you and I have taught it's not kind of it is Eurocentric to think like that but we're not really we're both deeply spiritual people. But what we're talking about is still nutrition and medicine we're not really talking about anything that is not proven at this point, where's we're actually still in that realm of evidence base and I had on so this is airing in season two, so I'm not sure there's gonna be before after this episode with the author of a book called energy medicine, Jill Blake way, and we really talk about these blockages and flow.

So I think it just tied in so beautifully with that conversation. So I want to put them near each other too. Because this is our bodies are all of Eastern medicine too. We think of our bodies as being a flow and of emotion and of momentum and a stagnation. And reflux really is this build up kind of condition. So I want people to think of it in that way to Erin. Thank you, thank heavens, we became friends. I'm so happy in the wiliest of ways the universe God everyone. Erin, how do people find your amazing as self? Where do they find you? Because they're gonna need more of you. And I'm certain about that.

Erin Holt 

Let's see, the two main places would be Instagram and my podcast, the functional nutrition podcast, the functional linkage nest, you'll link it up. You know how it goes. It's functional with a K. Because I like to keep it funky.

Michelle Shapiro 

Funky. Yeah. And is there ways for people to work with you or your team if they wanted to take the Erin approach?

Erin Holt 

I always like like, I'm like Google some of the podcasts like catch a vibe, see if we're a good fit. So you think like my approach like I tend to like people coming to me like a little warm like they've already like they already get it, you know, but there are ways to work with us in our team and in lots of different capacities. And so you can link up the website if people want to poke around a little bit.

Michelle Shapiro 

Well, I really suggest they do and listen to literally every episode of Erin's podcast. She's like an OG serious podcaster and I am obsessed with every episode. I cannot thank you enough for coming on today. Thank you so so much.

Unknown Speaker 

I'm glad we made it work. Thank you for having me

Michelle Shapiro 

thank you so much for tuning in to the quiet the diet podcast. If you found any of this information relevant or you related to it, please feel free to share the podcast it would mean the world to us. Also remember to subscribe so you don't miss any episodes and you can follow us on Instagram at quiet the diet pod. We'll put the link in the show notes after each episode. Thank you again for listening and I can't wait to see you in the next episode.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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