Today on the podcast, Mason chats to holistic health coach and nutrition response testing practitioner Vanessa Fitzgerald about her healing journey with addiction, orthorexia, Hashimoto's, and navigating her platform as a wellness influencer. What I loved most about this conversation was Vanessa's realness, discussing everything from her 13-year Adderall (prescription amphetamine) addiction to the presence of orthorexia among people working in the wellness industry. Her candid approach to wellness is something Vanessa's known for, often using her platform to talk about the uncomfortable truths that come with all facets of mind/body healing. Vanessa opens up about her work as a holistic wellness practitioner and why she's so passionate about helping others heal themselves from addiction, PCOS, mental illness, and auto-immune disease, the way she did herself. Make sure you tune in for this super inspiring and authentic conversation.
"We're not healing you, you're healing yourself, but as practitioners, we're guiding you there. When I found this, I had never felt that good in my life. All my auto-immune issues started to reverse, and everything just felt better. And this is why I am so passionate about what I do".
- Vanessa Fitzgerald
Mase and Vanessa discuss:
Who is Vanessa Fitzgerald?
Vanessa Fitzgerald (Vee) is a health & life coach, recipe developer, ex yoga teacher, and overall wellness wizard. Her practice (VeesHoney) is about living a vulnerable, honest, authentic, and vibrant life with the help of the right foods to bring your mind and body back into balance. Through her platform, Vee hopes to help individuals cultivate their best selves with natural beauty tips, healthy recipes, clean ingredients, and various tips and tricks to help people reach their goals. Diagnosed with PCOS at age 19, celiac disease at 23, Hashimoto's at 25, and having an Adderall addiction for 13 years, Vee has had to overcome some massive health obstacles. Learning to eat the right foods for her body changed her life, and she now shares this passion, helping her clients achieve the same. Her unique practice focuses on the individual, working with each client to create a wellness plan designed to enhance every aspect of life. Her theory is that everything must be done with moderation—even including moderation itself.
Vanessa attended NYU as an undergrad, studied yoga at the Bikram Yoga College of India, where she received her teaching certification.
She studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where upon graduation, she worked as a private health coach in New York City. Vee attended the Biomedex Institute, where she trained in live blood education and furthered her studies in Whole food supplements, homeopathic medicine, and Nutrition Response Testing at the Ulan School.
Vanessa has successfully reversed her Hashimotos diagnoses, is thriving with PCOS without the help of medications, and has kicked a 13 year Adderall addiction to the curb through a healing plan of organic whole foods and supplements. You can follow Vee's inspiring journey through her social media platforms and website linked below.
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Check Out The Transcript Here:
Vee, welcome to Australia and to the podcast.
Thank you. I wish I was actually physically in Australia, but this will do for now.
Yeah, you're feeling that you've been watching ... living vicariously through us, living in the-
Yeah. FOMO and Instagram, just watching all my Aussie friends move back home, and it just looks fabulous beach life, the food. I don't know. It feels nice.
You don't get arrested for going surfing.
That's nice. It's really nice.
That's really nice.
Verse LA, which is a crazy state.
Very crazy. Very crazy.
Yeah. It's like you guys are ... you're still at the epi-centre, that was always still like a magnet for the melting pot of LA where everything that has ... everything that comes over from any wisdom tradition intersects with the Western world mostly through LA, and it's just weird stew of figuring out how to integrate it without misappropriating and blah, blah, blah, you guys. I mean, it's a fun place to be, and then-
Oh, totally. But there's a bunch of misappropriation left and right. Everybody thinks that they've discovered the cure, which is usually from some other ancient tradition.
I mean, I talk about this a lot, and I know I've talked to you about influences and navigating that world and the pressure to become a mega expert and find the cure. I can only stay in LA for, I don't know, two weeks before I get-
Yeah. Pretty much. I mean, I get counter-cultured to the wellness saying in which I live in, and I'm like, ah, no, no, I just had this existential crisis. But I mean, how do you navigate all that? I mean, because you're moving and shaking, you seem to be doing it in a really centred way, and I want to talk about how it came about through the Adderall, real ... that's just on a hand on heart, authentic sharing, that's serious shit, getting that out there and helping people go through that. But how do you hold your centre in the Lala wellness waves?
Well, I feel like I've lost my, my centre actually lately. It's funny with the whole Adderall detox and all of that, I was kind of new to Instagram, and it was just so pure and innocent and exciting. It felt like a fun platform at the time, and I think once my practise kicked up and I became this practitioner, too many people were coming to me as the expert and the voice. I think as a recovering perfectionist, I just became paralysed and focused on my practice rather than like, well, I have to be perfect, I have to be super studied on every single possible thing there is from biohacking to hormones in order to be valid or even say anything on the internet, which is impossible, unless I were just to study all day every day. Yeah. Between that and then all of the political controversies starting with the beginning of COVID, I pretty much distanced myself from social media at the time and stopped engaging in DMs and stopped engaging in all of that, because it was all of this twisted information constantly.
Still to this day, nobody knows anything. It's crazy. Everybody thinks they know something, and then we find out six months, a year later, that was completely wrong, people are wiping down their groceries, for example, and now they're like, you don't need to wipe down your groceries, things like that. And then there were a lot of political movements last year and a lot of narratives that were circulating around Instagram, and I just decided to distance myself. That felt very grounding for me and more centering, I think I needed to find my centre because I was getting caught up in all of it. But no, I think it's a daily challenge. I do a lot of breath work, I try to have a healthy relationship with the platform, but in my honour, as much as I was, no, because I'm also trying to run my practise and be present with my clients. I think energetically, it takes a lot out of me to be talking and touching people all day long. And then at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is get on and perform again.
That [inaudible 00:04:40]. I mean, I hope everyone's still entertained by me talking about this because I love this subject, and you just nailed a couple of things, which I think is like, this is the kind of information I like having getting out there into the health and wellness scene because it creates a capacity for transitions and awareness, especially when you go through that stage where ... I mean, I was just thinking, I was walking back from our cafe over to the office, and I was thinking about how I'm like, I am a CEO, I've got a four year old kid, I'm newly married, and so really feeling what that archetypically does and navigating that space. And then I expect myself to have an Instagram muscle man body, and my mentor is a guy that's like Chico [inaudible 00:05:26], so I expect myself to be able to do different wood splits. That's where I'm at.
A few years ago, I relate to the fact that I became obsessed with knowing everything that possibly was. And no matter what someone asked me, I could be an expert on that subject, and also burnt out and had to object from that identity. I use comedy, and now I feel like it's a pathology. I think you're transitioning way healthier than I ever did, but I had to extreme comedy to check myself out, and a progressive therapy and meditation and just trying to come back to reality. But it's a hard core. It's a skill that's lacking, and people don't talk about, and they keep on perpetuating that they know what's up. And so, I think it's awesome. I really value you talking about it, because you look at you, you're still doing it well, but you're distancing yourself from that platform or that persona, which I think is rad.
Yeah. Yeah. My ideal way to go about this platform now would just be fun and share whatever I feel is on my mind, but it's like, I feel this weight. Maybe it's self-imposed, but maybe it's also an energetic things that I'm taking up on, and everybody's trying to one-up each other. Sometimes I'm like ...
That's what LA is. And by osmosis, the rest of the wellness scene, it's just [crosstalk 00:07:04]. The whole health ... influencer, I never felt I related to the influencer, but I was an educator, whatever that means, a health educator. The level of competitiveness I felt as well in the early days, but then I started noticing swirling through the scene of everyone trying to one-up knowing new biomarker or some new biological pathway, or going, that's all wrong because I've got the ancient, holistic wisdom and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It's like going to war.
It is. It is going to war. That's exactly what it is. I feel like there has been a war that has been waged even more so this past year, and maybe I just woke up to it, but I was like, this isn't sustainable anymore, I got to figure out a new way of doing this. So I'm still trying to navigate that. But yeah, between therapy and breath work and all the things just to keep me sane, I've had my fair share of breakdowns especially this past year.
I think you go to war, I can speak for myself. I was going to war when I didn't have a boundary, and why didn't have the ability to go, "Hey, shut up now, because you don't know. Now just shut up." And the same when you get into questions, getting questions about just colon cancer and this and that, I've now learned how to work with practitioners and have appropriate conversations. I had to do that for my whole team as well, it's a very stressful thing to actually be there. And I can imagine-
Yeah, I can imagine too, but you have a product you're giving out, so people are probably looking to the products, the SuperFeast, is this going to cure my cancer? That's a lot.
It is. I mean, back in the day, they would be like, didn't associate me with the product yet. You'd get the people writing the most incredible symptoms and disease states too, just over an Instagram message. I assume, you know what that's like.
Oh, no, I get those all the time, and I get the cancer messages too, but I just say that I really can't. Actually, I'd be doing a huge disservice to say anything over a DM.
Yeah, this world's crazy. I mean, the going to war, I was thinking about, I said it on someone else's podcast yesterday. And I was like, especially when you get to the point when you realise you don't know ... when you're a hobbyist, for me, I feel like I'm a hobbyist in health. And that's an appropriate thing, I'm a hobbyist when it comes to Daoism and TCM. I'm not going to sit here and say I'm an expert. Therefore, you need to be able to take the piss out of yourself, or you need to be able to just be very evident that you are on a little bit of an exploration here, and people need to have the capacity to take you off the pedestal at any point. When you can't do that and you can't take yourself off the pedestal, I mean, you just get defensive and double down. And the latest one is like you know what, and everyone just needs to do what they need to do, and everybody is unique and you just need to eat right for you. It's like, well, that's a crazy bypass, and that's such a bullshit statement.
Anyway, I've been going more and more down this rabbit hole, I think that level of education needs to come forth, I'm stoked you're doing it. But let's hear about you. I think I met you just after the Adderall thing exploded. I think the majority of your detox was complete at that point, but you were just right on the upward curve of becoming known for it. Did you have an Instagram around general wellness, and then just start bringing in the Adderall reality? Or did you just launch straight off into Instagram detoxing Adderall?
No, I have a general wellness Instagram, but it was a very fluffy general wellness Instagram. I was always a little bit, I want to say shy, but that has to do with past high school trauma, putting myself out there. I was always very hesitant, but I dated an Aussie actually, who was always telling me, you need to be put yourself out there more, you need to just keep filming, keep taking photos, keep doing these types of things, because that's what the people want to see and you have a message to give. When I realised that I had a problem with the Adderall, because it had been so many years, and it was never ending and I couldn't even get out of bed without taking the pill-
Did that make you, because that would have been going on for a while, were you in denial for ages or did you always know that it was a problem? And then what got you over the line in being able to actually have the strength to do something about it?
I guess I never necessarily saw it as a problem because it wasn't like I was taking a crazy amount of it, but I would take it every day to function, and I just thought, oh, it's a prescription medication. It almost becomes so second nature that I wouldn't even think about it. It was like brushing my teeth, it was just a part of my life for so long. And I think what happened was it just ... well, I know what happened, was that the more I got into wellness, the more educated I became, the more I would choose expanders around me, who I wanted to be more like, whether it was jus embody more of this flow state or this ability just to be positive and loving and just present in a way that I didn't feel that I was. When I realised that, that's when I thought, wow, I'm taking speed all day, how could that possibly put me in a flow state?
I was going to say I didn't actually know what Adderall was when I was first talking to you. And I was like, okay, cool, some crazy American medication. It's speed. Speed for me, it makes me think it'd been made up into a little back shed bikey gang in an old walk that's never been cleaned.
[crosstalk 00:13:22] speed with that clinical ... so it is prescribed?
Yes. And it says amphetamine on it. That's what it is. That's what Adderall is. Some people are like, I need Adderall, doctor, I need Adderall, and I'm like, you don't have an amphetamine deficiency. What is amphetamine doing for your brain? Cognitively, I honestly want to know, what is it boosting in your brain? Do you realise what amphetamine is? When you actually walk through the ingredient that is in this medication, you realise it's not this magical brain boosting drug as I see countless clients come in here, and all of a sudden, they're gaining weight rather than losing weight. They can't focus on anything, they're suffering from chronic fatigue, but they're still popping speed every single day, because it's just amphetamine, it's just like any other drug. You plateau on the drug, and also at a certain point, the drug is going to have a reverse effect because it's going to start to deplete your brain of dopamine. It's going to start to wear down your adrenals, it's going to start to cause a lot of gastroenteritis and upset in your digestion. Just like anything else.
Is it prescribed for ADHD or just for not getting out of bed?
Yeah. ADD, ADHD and sometimes depression. But it's funny, because Adderall can also cause depression.
Well, I mean, again, you deplete dopamine when you [crosstalk 00:14:44]. What did you find your first step was?
I knew that I wasn't going to do it if I just decided to just quit on my own and not tell people. I kept it a secret. I wasn't telling my family that I was still on it, my friends didn't know I was on it. I'd always sneaky, go to my or whatever to go take it constantly throughout the day. It was still just a very secretive thing. I knew that knowing myself, I had to be held accountable. I knew that I had to tell as many people as possible, and I thought, why not tell the 5,000 followers I had at the time that I have a problem and that I'm taking this drug. That was the very, very, very first step. I also knew that I was going to have to set myself up for eating very, very clean. I already knew all about brain fog and the interior nervous system in the gut, and just because of what I did for a living in my education around it, I knew actually what I had to do in order for myself not to feel run down.
So, I had set myself up for success, I had a bunch of groceries from the farmer's market lined up, I was ready to eat super clean. I had all of my brain boosting alternatives that I wanted to try out, and I also had a [inaudible 00:16:15] chiropractor, so it's a sacral occipital technique, basically just making sure I was structurally aligned, so enough cerebral fluid was slowing to my brain, and then I just went out with it. I told everybody, and I also gave myself a week to just sleep if I needed to take a nap or just do what I felt that that morning was necessary, because it had been 13 years and I didn't have this drug to force me to do all these things. I also knew it was very important that I stop drinking alcohol for a period of time, because I can't tell you if I even knew really what a hangover was, because I would just take Adderall the next day.
I knew that I had to stop anything that was going to make me want to take the drug, and I started there, and then I just took to Instagram. It wasn't live. It's not like I filmed it and then posted it right away. I posted it, and on day four, is when I started sharing because I was so afraid of what would happen, like are people going to attack me? Am I going to lose all respect? Is this sharing too much personal information? Things like that. I was questioning a lot, ruminating on it a lot. Then I talked to a few people that I respect and that have platforms and they were like, no, I think this is great. Go ahead. Do it, please. And then I did, and then it turned out that the first day, I had 800 DMs of people all saying ... 800, and I only had 5,000 followers at the time, but 800 DMs said that they were on Adderall too, or a drug similar to it.
Because I think I ... I mean, I just had to catch myself off on this scene. Did you know that there were a lot of people? Was it just something in America you know like, all right, cool, there's going to be a lot of people in that role, or is it a silent, secret little club that you weren't aware that ... I mean, obviously, you weren't aware that there were that many people, but were you aware that there were heaps of people that would have been dependent like you?
What I knew was in high school and college, a lot of people had this. I first learned about it from another girl in my high school grade, and there were girls in my high school and in college that were snorting it, and using it as a recreational drug. I knew that much, but I thought, no one that I knew, definitely no one in the health industry took this stuff whatsoever. And little did I know that almost ... I can't even tell you how many health coaches, Pilates instructors, spin instructors, life coaches, all wrote me saying that they were on it as well.
Just back to that, I mean, how did you ... because this is why I really like, and I say it, this isn't just a hand on the heart, I'm going to tell you something vulnerable, this is like a fucking drug addiction. I definitely don't judge the fact that there's life coaches and wellness, the thing that I know is everyone's got something that they're not really sharing and the level of anxiety it's going to because you is the level of perfection you're putting forward and then needing to feel like you're hiding something in the background, versus just being like, I got this little area, not on a pedestal, I'm just going to share about these kinds of things, know I've got skeletons and shit going on in the background as well. What did you see? All those people in the wellness industry, for them to come in the background and share with you, did they feel like they were keeping it a secret, or did you burst their bubble and actually let them know, maybe this is something that's not so good to be depending on? I'm curious as to what the theme of of how these people were feeling about that, living with-
I'd say 95% of people in the industry that wrote to me that they were on it were ashamed of it. Just the same shame that I felt, the same inner knowing that this is not right, this doesn't follow what I preach. I think if you're not really aware, which it's hard because it's a drug that completely takes you out of body, you're not in body. So when you're on the drug, you're not really aware of how it's affecting your life, and it wasn't until I started each day, I would learn something new that it was affecting like, wow, I really was annoying to be around in relationships, or wow, I was really aloof and not really engaging at certain events or parties, or I was very snippy and irritable, things like that. Or I was so self-conscious, I was confidently insecure. So, it gives you this, huh, I'm superwoman, and then you're a shell almost because there's no real foundation of confidence in there, because it makes you overthink and over analyse everything.
So I think once I also started posting that, people were like, "Oh my God, me too. That exact same thing happened to me." But they were all my own revelations, and I was actually realising as I was coming off of it, all I knew was that at the time ... I've done so much work on myself, but waking up at 30 years old with ... I think it was 30, 31, and I woke up and I was like, my another relationship just ended, my career is whatever, nothing to write home about. I was staying at my mom's, and I'm just like, I don't understand. I've been in therapy, I've done Ayahuasca, I've done all the things, all the healing modalities, everything you can imagine, why hasn't anything changed? And then when I was going to take the drug, that's when I looked at it and I'm like, well, this is the one thing that I haven't changed, that I haven't broken up with.
And if everything is energy, like in my practise, we believe that everything has a frequency and has an energy, well, if I'm putting this speed frequency in my body, what is that doing? How is that affecting the outcome of my life? How is that affecting my ability to manifest and be present in this world?
I mean, I do like social platforms when there's a ... because that's ultimately when you stop seeking, which is what you just said, and I've been such a chronic seeker, and then going like, well, come on, what the hell? I've done several plant medicine [inaudible 00:23:21], blah, blah, blah, I'm doing this, I'm doing this, I'm going to do this, maybe I'm doing this kind of meditation, I'm doing this big yang style of breath that everyone's into, and why isn't anything working. And if you're not just feeling like you have that self agency and that authenticity, there's always something that can be something festering. There often is in people that's on that platform or in the wellness scene, or in the entrepreneurial scene, or in the fitness or whatever it is. I mean, it's such an a non-sexy thing to capture and talk about. I think you're such a good example, you are able to hit it with something relatable and go through the process.
And what I feel like you're able to talk about is that skill to get to the point where you go, look, we just got to call a spade, a spade and acknowledge it's that. Despite all your stories, this is the thing that you're going to have to face. And it's probably not about that thing, there's probably a lot of stuff underneath it that you're going to realise that you are subconsciously compensating for, and you're going to have to go through a real long process, and it's going to be shitty, and it's going to be hard, and then it's never ever going to stop because you can't be healed of yourself. I really value it a lot. And then, did you have relapses, or how'd you go?
Well, I had to get rid of all my supply, so that I wasn't actually tempted. I'm not a fan of people coming to me wanting to detox off Adderall and alike, and still having a prescription in the house. It doesn't work like that. I know this because there have been such desperate times where I've wanted to go back so bad, but it's an addiction. And I explain to people, I use the word detox because it's buzzy and trendy, but it's not, it's a drug withdrawal. And a withdrawal is not linear, it's a roller coaster ride. You could be totally cool for the first three weeks, maybe a month, two months, and then all of a sudden, you feel terrible and you're really craving it again. But that's life, we can't wake up, we're not machines, we don't wake up and we feel amazing and perfect and all the things every single day. So, that's where the inner work comes in, and I've had to struggle with that a lot.
I used to use it just even to go out and socialise if I was too tired at the end of the day. And learning to live life without this drug, not to say that I still don't have cravings for it, I still have cravings to this day for it. I like uppers, I like caffeine, so I've been trying not to drink caffeine as often. I like that feeling of being awake and excited. It's an initial rush, it doesn't last. And then not only that, with that initial rush, comes a lot of anxiety, a lot of other things that piggyback on it. So, I still have those cravings, but just to recognise them and also to look at well, what have I been doing? Have I been sleeping? Am I doing things that are bringing joy to me? Are there certain things that maybe I can delegate to other people, because this is not my personal strength, things like that. Have I eaten well this week? Am I eating poorly, and perhaps my guts just bogged down? Am I eliminating? Things like that. I just have to check myself every time I start to think I have an Adderall deficiency.
Yeah. Do people from Australia write to you? For us, Dexedrine, which you said you have, and Ritalin, you guys have, I mean, there must be others. I know the friends who are like my druggie friends in high school that were also somehow ... in fact, they were failing chemistry in school, but then all of a sudden, became master chemists when they start talking to me about drugs. And so they'd be like, yeah, dextroamphetamine, [inaudible 00:27:26] Ritalin, methylphenidate, they're just racking out all these names. We had a lot of Ritalin in high school going around, but it wasn't that easy to access, and just those kids that would prescribe to, we'd make a bit of cash on the side. But I wonder how easy it is to get access at the moment, I think [inaudible 00:27:46] are a much easier to get access to, and they're the ones I still hear.
I think even at one point, there was something similar with legal in New Zealand to get over the shelf, and we'd have things, like we've got the stores called Happy High Hubs, and they ... I'm not saying they had it, but equivalent store would have little things that, but maybe weren't quite as chemical, maybe more plant-based. But I remember friends going over and getting those there, but a lot of friends in the bartending world took Dexis, a light little rush during a shift. I wonder, do many people from Australia write to you, or do you feel like this is something more North America based, that there's an addiction.
They do, but not the number of North Americans. I have a fair amount of Australian followers, but I don't see them writing as much, or they'll write me saying that their friend or their family member, so who knows if it's actually them or if it is a friend or family member that they're struggling with who needs help or that type of thing?
Yeah. I think we're way more stubborn about our addictions as well as a nation. I don't know what I'm basing that on, but I think maybe there's just some kind of ... I don't know. I do find that it's amazing. I've watched Americans just a lot of heart on their sleeve.
... me too, and we're a bit more maybe stubborn and proud, and we'll be like, no, nothing wrong with me. Thank you very much.
Yeah. I think that there is a little bit more pride in other countries than in America. Everybody here is just now trying to just be all vulnerable and have something in common with another person. And plus medication in the US is just, I think, unparalleled than other countries.
Yeah. More normalised for sure. But I mean, just talking about addiction alone, I'm definitely not going to equate getting off other addictions with what you went through, but nonetheless, I think obviously, there's going to be some certain parallels just worth being aware of, maybe not speaking to. But I think awareness around addiction, especially when you're in a place where you consider yourself someone who's really healthy, then to acknowledge that perhaps there's something that you're addicted to that either needs just managing and probably managing for a long time, if not the rest of your life, or you're going to have to cut yourself off, which is way more appropriate with something like an amphetamine. The process now, I'm just going to highlight that, even for my own relating too, because I got my little things that I really need to manage. When I get tired and stressed, I'll go back to them, and I'll just get really upset at myself at times and blah, blah, blah.
When it came to addiction and getting off, how did you consciously manage the ... supporting your brain, your nervous system. You talked about the Chiro that you were going to, I think that's really great advice to everyone coming off any type of addiction, could really ensure that they've got their body and skeletal structure in the right place. The dopamine, supporting that neurotransmitter. Would you mind jumping into how you say, whether you can talk clinically of what general things that you use to support? And by all means, if it's all personalised, let us know about that as well-
No. Yeah. To me, first and foremost, being structurally aligned was really important. This was the last pharmaceutical drug I was detoxing off of because I'd been on when I was 20, I think at 21 is when I stopped antidepressants, when I was 25 was when I stopped things Xanax and Ambien. I mean, I was on every drug. [inaudible 00:31:41], uppers, downers, in-betweeners, just medicated to the gills. What I found was that SOT chiropractic saved my life, and it's the sacral occipital technique. So, your sacrum is the base of your spine and your jaw and your [inaudible 00:31:57] are the top of your spine. So if either one's out of alignment, even slightly so, which can even happen during childbirth, because it's a traumatic experience, and I see it a lot with C-sections as well or forceps on the head, things like that.
This is your entire spine, so it twists on your nervous system, it twists on your digestive system, and then all of a sudden, not enough what we call cerebral spinal fluid is going to the brain. So not all parts of the brain are lighting up. They're not getting enough flow, enough fluid. Because of that, I realised that I actually didn't need anti-depressants and all of that, as long as I was able to stay structurally aligned. Once I started getting adjusted, I started feeling really good, and thus began my journey off of pharmaceuticals. I moved back to LA, and anywhere I lived, I always had an SOT practitioner. I lived in New York for 10 years, I had one there, I lived in Austin, I had to find someone in San Antonio and drive there. And then when I came back to LA, I had my guy who originally took me off of the first drugs, so I just basically was going to him weekly every other week, just to make sure that I was holding my adjustment.
Then what I would do is I knew that for dopamine, and also as a woman, a lot of us take it to stay in shape and keep our figures small and whatnot. So, I called friends to not meet me at a workout, they had to pick me up to go to the workout, and they agreed to do that, to hold me accountable to start exercising. I knew I had to exercise, and high intensity cardio just to get outside of myself, get that dopamine rushing, so I did that. I made sure that I went to bed no later than 10:30, and that I slept at least eight or nine hours. If I slept less than that, it was a disaster. I started with that as well. And then as far as things that I did for my brain, so anxiety, anxiety is one thing that you can actually experience coming off of Adderall as well, just because your brain still needs a minute to build the dopamine and reconnect those neurotransmitters that have been basically relying on this amphetamine drug.
What I did was I took this thing called Min-Chex, it's by a company, Standard Process, but essentially, it's just a lot of beef liver, and I find that that helps really calm anxiety in the brain, man, or woman. I started taking that and it helps tremendously with any anxious feelings that I was having. I started taking a lot of Lion's Mane Rhodiola as well, which was helpful. I was messing around with mucuna, mucuna, how do you say it?
Mucuna, I was playing around with Mucuna. And then when I met you at Mind, Body, Brain Festival or conference, you gave me the neural nectar. You gave me the neural nectar, which is actually better, and to this day, better than any other nootropic, mushroom concoction. By far to this day, is the best thing. It has helped me so much, and I thank you for that. [crosstalk 00:35:10]. Yeah. No, it's better than anything else that I played around with. I had some bad reactions to a few products that I tried. I took things like pantothenic acid for my adrenals, and was just doing things to support the different parts of my body that I knew were being taken down by this drug, probiotics, things like that. I had a whole lineup, but really, it was Lion's Mane, Rhodiola, beef liver, vitamin D, Mucuna, cordyceps is really helpful for getting energy as well.
Yeah, that's great. You're highlighting a really good way to relate to the tonic herbs as well, the cordyceps and the Rhodiola and Mucuna.
Oh, ashwagandha was another one that I used a lot. What I learned about ashwagandha, because at first, when I was playing around with that, oh, this is for nighttime, but no, you can take it in the morning and you actually have a great focus, but not an anxious focus. It's a nice, smooth focus.
It's a really weird herb. It's an absolute powerful to yang tonic, but it's a nervine at the same time. It's like, what? I can't take it at night. I can take it at night, but I don't know, it almost makes me, I don't know, too groggy, and whereas I take it in the morning, I need to get up and go, but generally, my mind is just too crazy, and my nervous system's too crazy. That's why I can take those relaxing herbs in the morning as long as I combine it with something that brings a little bit of yang energy. So, I'm with you on that one, a lot of ashwagandha in the morning.
And Bacopa? I played around with Bacopa. That was fun. That did really well for me as well.
That's [inaudible 00:37:02] brain thing. You're just like in that convalescence stage, in the healing stage and the rebuilding. Clinically, that's when tonic herbs stop you from getting sick in the rebuild. That's the two sides of that story. I mean, it makes sense that they would be so effective in there. And the exercise, forcing yourself to go and do exercise, I think it's like ... that's what I need as well.
Basically, I had an exercise babysitter. I mean, I had to, because I thought I was convinced that I could not exercise, go to the gym, go to workout class without Adderall. There's just no way. That's what I used to get up and go, how am I going to get up and go then? I realised that I actually didn't need it. It actually is much easier for me cardiovascularly to get through the class because your heart's not beating faster than it should at the moment.
Yeah. The belief that you couldn't go and do exercise without Adderall. How did you feel? Would you have that feeling of like, it'd just be lethargy, and that I'm literally not going to have the energy to get through this? And would you be doing the making excuses? Like I seriously don't think it's healthy for me to be doing this today, as you got picked up by your babysitter and going there? Was it that extreme? That's what I think-
No, not at all. Because I find that that's a story, and I tell this to my clients too, it's a story, because I would sit there and go like, actually, am I really that tired? I'm not. At first, you are because you have the hangover effect of the Adderall. As soon as the Adderall starts to really start to leave your system, I'd say within a few days, that next day hangover ... because no matter who's out there listening to this, taking one of these drugs, you wake up the next day, and the reason why you crave it is because you have a hangover effect from the day before, and you need caffeine, you need something. So, I was replacing it with the bulletproof coffee recipe for caffeine, and sometimes just some [inaudible 00:39:07] tea. But without that hangover effect, I would sit there and go like, am I actually tired, or is this just a story I'm telling myself that it's impossible to move my body?
What I found is that the stories that we tell ourselves are so profound that they actually dictate what physically happens in our bodies. If we're sitting there, and every single day, if you were to wake up and go, I'm going to get cancer, I'm going to get cancer, I'm going to get cancer, and you're so convinced of it every single day, most likely you will develop cancer, because you're telling yourself that that's what's going to happen. And so, when I told myself, I got this euphoric feeling all of a sudden, like wow, how powerful am I that I can do this without this? Which is most people don't have a problem doing it without the drug. But at first, it was just very exciting. It was very exciting, it was all very new, and I felt like I was a newborn learning things again, but also feeling things for the first time that I hadn't felt in a long time.
I mean, that immediately brings up the ... if you say in comparison land, other people can do this every day without this thing, if you stay in that comparison, that's obviously going to be a stunting effect, I think that's [crosstalk 00:40:27] reminder. I'm curious, so you went into a convalescent stage into a healing stage, you're moving off by being addicted into a healing and to getting control of the addiction. How did you gauge when it was time to take the bubble wrap off yourself, take the padding, like you no longer in necessarily a healing, was it easy for you to change relating to this healthy lifestyle that you were like, I'm gone from healing, because I was doing something that was maybe a bit negative, to now I'm just actually just enjoying my own lifestyle? Was there any turbulence in moving from one to the other or was it a natural progression?
Well, it took me 30 days. I like to enjoy the occasional glass of wine or cocktail every now and then, I like to go out and have fun. I was very scared to do any of those things, I definitely put myself in ... I had kid gloves and put myself in a bubble. I wouldn't eat past a certain hour. It was hard for me to go out to eat. I had to be in control of all of my meals, just so that I wouldn't get some drowsy hangover effect from something. So, it took me about, I want to say 23 days, was the time when I went out to a restaurant opening, I remember with a couple of guy friends of mine, and I had a couple of tequilas. I went into it just knowing that life's going to happen, and I want to be able to live my life, and if I feel tired the next day, this is why. I just had to be very conscious, I had to go into it with intention rather than being reckless.
And so, I woke up the next day and sure enough, I had the craving because I hadn't had alcohol in a long time and your brain swells, so you're laying there and you're just like, but I just gave myself, I made it so that the next day I had no commitments the next morning, I just allowed myself to be. That was one thing, I started going out to restaurants slowly realising that that wasn't scary either, but I knew that I needed that state of just being cuddled for a little bit before I was able to do these things, because I had to understand all the negative effects that this drug had on me and all of the positive things that were coming of my life from being off the drug, because I also think that it energetically blocks you. So as soon as I was coming off, that all these opportunities are coming towards me, people were coming towards me, I just felt very magnetic.
I mean, I reckon that's cool. I think as you know, you see a lot of people, whether it's coming off substances or coming off a Western diet for ... you find veganism, you find keto, you find CrossFit, you find soul cycle, whatever it is, and you find something, or just a healing lifestyle that's really coddled, and you associate that with the healing. And as you alluded to, sometimes there's a fear for going outside of it because you're like, oh my God, this is wonderful. I mean, that's a very quick process that you went through, but it sounds like you did it well. I like those principles of being realistic and going in with intention and being really smart about it to step away because I mean, as you've seen a lot of people, then get addicted and too scared to step outside the modality-
Yeah, you cause addict for sure. I think it's a fear mentality, but I also know that fear really also holds us back. So fear would keep me in the mindset of wanting to take Adderall. It's the fear that I really had to work on, the fear around being out of control, but we are not. None of us are completely in control. If we've learned anything this last year is that we are not in control. There are many things that are outside of our control. And so, I just needed to realise that not to be afraid of that loss of control of every single thing being perfect in order for me to be able to function. That's not sustainable, that's not reality. I had to be able to work with the world and be able to dispel that fear so that it's not holding me back from whatever it is.
Well, I know a diet was a huge part for you, and you have a large focus, from what I can see, from when I've been following along in your adventures on diet. Tell me more about how you navigate that space, some of the principles that have worked for you, have, have you find a lot of your principles are just rock solid and you have your standards, do you find some of them are temporary? Have some of them become malleable? I'm curious to hear where you're at with diet because I do appreciate the level of sharing that you go to around your diet. I skirt around the conversation myself.
Well, I've learned a lot. I know what works for my body, and I've seen what works for a lot of people that have any addiction to Adderall or they're having depression or anxiety or some sort of cognitive function issue or adrenal depletion. But I myself learned that it's okay to change your mind. I used to be hardcore, intermittent fasting, I think I intermittent fast every single day for almost two years, and completely lost my period, and no longer was able to build muscle tones. I tanked my testosterone which was pulling from my adrenals. I didn't even have fatigue. I was just puffy and no period, and it was bizarre. I learned that intermittent fasting is not the set structure for everybody, and that's the only way to live. But that's what I used to do, I used to wake up with that bulletproof coffee with the D and the NCT and the whole night, and just live on that until lunch.
But my diet now, which pretty much has been the same since I got off, but for the most part, I'd say I was really strict for a long time, which was, I wouldn't touch a grain, so rice, quinoa, gluten, wheat, whatever it is, no grains whatsoever. And then, I would eat low brassica vegetables. I don't eat kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts for the most part, so I would eat a lot of arugula and butter lettuce for my actual salads. I would eat things like, I don't know, asparagus, zucchini, certain things like that. Not a lot of cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, definitely no kale. The reason being is that I also had, have, had, who knows, my blood tests says that it's not there anymore, but TCOs, which gave me Hashimoto's.
When I was doing my research around Hashimoto's I realised how crazy kale was on the thyroid. So I just stopped eating it and I started feeling better, but it also affected my energy. I was feeling better and I was also less bloated and gassy. I'd eat one of those vegetables and I could fly myself to New York on the amount of gas that I would produce. [crosstalk 00:48:02]. I realised that's just not for me. That's what I really do. Basically, I like to eat as if I were stuck on a farm or in the wild and all I could do would be hunt, gather, fish, grow, pick, that type of thing. If I could do one of those things, then I could eat it. So I wouldn't snack a lot, not a lot of packaged foods, things like that, just things I grow up from the ground. If I want to starch, then it's potato, sweet potato, but for me, I tend to eat those things at night because they spike my insulin, and I usually get tired or they're just too weighty.
If I have them for lunch, I usually have a really bad crash afterwards. So, I'll eat those things at night, sometimes I try to eat them cold because they're more starch resistant. But other than that, I think before this podcast where you said, you I met a new boy, and that also changed the way I ate a little bit. I realised in my relationship with him is that he eats everything. He's like a dude, not into health and wellness. I mean, he'll listen to me go off at because [inaudible 00:49:15] when I see him eating certain things that make my skin growl, but other than that, he has really healed me when it comes to freedom around food. He comes from a Persian culture and they have this amazing rice dish called tahdig, and it's basically fried rice at the bottom, so fried and crispy, this crispy flat layer. It's so tasty and good.
What I've realised is with him, and through our culinary experiences and just, I don't know, I don't know if it's the feeling of being in a relationship where I feel safe and held and loved or what it was, but my rigidity around my diet, wasn't like, I can't eat that. All of a sudden, he's having some French fries, I'll have some of his French fries, and I would never have touched a French fry before. Like as if my body is going to explode if I touch that one French fry.
Yeah. It's like when you've been full Catholicized, and you think if you step outside the discipline of religion that you're going to go to hell, and it's this [crosstalk 00:50:29] experience, and you eat the chip, and you're like, hang on a second.
I'm still here, whoa. It was pretty eye opening. But yes, if I were to eat like that all the time, would I feel energetic and functional everyday? No, but am I able to have more freedom around food? 100%. Do I eat clean when I'm in the office? There's just no point in me having some cheap, fun, luxurious meal for lunch while I'm working, it's a waste. I usually just, Monday through Friday, I try to eat super clean, which is usually when I'm at the office, arugula butter lettuce with some maybe salmon and sardines or chicken or some grass fed beef or something that with olive oil and sea salt. My lunch is pretty boring during the week, but that also enables me to go out on the weekend and have fun and let loose a little bit because I am super clean for the most part.
I think that's awesome. I didn't realise you were at that point as well. Not that I think that's better or worse to be there, but I think that's another thing that needs ... there's some sophistication and nuance and maturity when educating people around health, because quite often, people will go ... what you've just shared, I think is really beautiful going like, there's some culinary engagement and there's something extra been layered on top of these principles you have around health, whereas so often, it's seen as a failure, you're not living up to the standards that you set. And so, even though people might easily move in that direction, it's like, okay, well, I gave it my best shot to be really perfect, and I just failed a little bit in that, whereas it's just, you're just opening up and you're blossoming a little bit, you're bringing in more colour and tone to the way that you eat, and if you're malleable in your principles, stick strong with your convictions, but allow them to be malleable and alter and change, you can really create a beautiful culture around food, having those experiences.
I'm the same. I went out purposely and ate the things I swore to myself I would never eat again.
I love that.
... and just horrified of my indictment sometimes.
What I remember is when we got back from the conference too, we went to dinner, it was so refreshing that you ordered a glass of wine. I'm like, oh great, I can order a glass of wine because a lot of people in the wellness industry will be so ... they're not in AA by any means, but they're just so, they poo on this, that and the other, and it just becomes very judgy, and how relaxed you were having a meal was refreshing to me, because when you are around people in this industry, sometimes it becomes so intense.
Yeah. I definitely noticed myself sticking out a little bit at that second ... I don't know, Yeah. I think that was especially after the first one. And then that second one, I think I ended up having a dad's gone wild night. One of the [inaudible 00:53:53]. I think it was me and Dr. Dan, the gut MD, and my mate, Chris from Grizzly Bear. I was like, thank God for ... I really didn't give a shit about holding that identity the second time round, especially. And I was like, I'm not playing the game, I'm not playing the wellness game. And so, I've definitely felt the eyes watching and the little bit of that bit of judgement that comes about. I think fair enough that some people's path of wanting to create a glass house culture around their wellness principles, but I mean, there's so much lacking. I feel like that's the worst thing about LA, is you can insulate yourself within that health food store, and keto, intermittent fasting, I've nailed it, and you slowly change as the trends change.
But you can convince yourself that, because there's restaurants that cater to your dietary ideology as well, so easy to never ever step out. And that's when you start getting ... basically you start getting ... I considered myself having that to an extent, not comparing myself to other extreme eating disorders, but it becomes an eating disorder.
Yeah. Orthorexia is a real thing. It becomes where they won't go out to restaurants, like, what oil is this cooked in? You get so obsessed with just eating healthy and everything super clean that it really affects your everyday life.
Yeah. It's so healthy to challenge that. Even if you challenge it and go cool, I loved opening up, and I don't really ... I've definitely done things I'm like, I don't need to go back there, but at least I'm not opposed, I'm not detested by it. No need to be an opposition, and just almost [inaudible 00:56:05], it was releasing my judgement of the way other people live and eat, get over my superiority complex, those kinds of things.
Yeah. That was a road for me too. It's hard. And then it's hard because then I'll tell people now, and then taking them off Adderall and stuff, I'll be very strict with them, but that's because they're looking for a result and an outcome, and they're in the kid gloves stage. So I always try to tell people, this isn't forever, but this is for now. We got to be pretty strict. Because then that way, they can also see when they do have those moments, if they don't feel well, then they can at least, okay, well, I had a bit of fun and I was enjoying myself and okay, my guts a little sticky right now, so my brain's a little sticky, that type of thing, but I need them to be able to really see that and feel that.
That's the awesome thing about LA, is that it's easy to be in that healing convalescent stage and you feel safe and you feel understood. And there's a real beauty there, if it doesn't tip over and become extremist, which for majority of people, I don't think it does. It's just there's a click of it there and there's almost then get competitive of how obsessed can I get in my eating disorder. And some people, that's their path from there and they really enjoy that. I'm not putting that on everyone who goes down that route, but there's something really magical about LA in that as well. It's why I do like going there. I find that really inspiring. Before we jump off, tell me about your clinic. I just want to know how it's going, first of all, and then give me an insight into what you're working with, what kind of people you're working with, and whether you've got any space, because I know you're popular. Is it only in person or do you do it over video?
Yeah. It's funny, we've been open for a little over, I want to say three years now, and last year, was our biggest year yet. I think perhaps it's just because people realise how important health is, and they just all really wanted to get healthy, so people really started investing in their health I've found. This year we became a homoeopathic pharmacy, so we carry a number of different lines that are only carried by practitioners, anywhere from homeopathics to whole food supplement, to adaptogens, things like that. We're open four days a week, we see about 65 people a week, and we do both FaceTime and in-person, and we do something called nutrition response testing. Nutrition response testing is a form of applied kinesiology or essentially muscle testing, but what separates us from muscle testing is that we're really focused on the system on the autonomic nervous system, so we do certain checks on the nervous system first in order to align it in order to get the most accurate read possible.
Once we've run all the testing on the nervous system, we've done some heart rate variability testing, then we move on to the different organs. And just as acupuncture runs on radian points, all we're doing is running on organ points and using frequency vials to figure out what's irritating the body. We're only word of mouth, and some people come to us from Instagram, but we don't market ourselves, so we really just want people to have results. We're very result driven, and then therefore, they can tell their friends or family to come in. We use whole food supplements and homoeopathic remedies to help the body come back into balance, rather than pharmaceuticals and other things that can cause more side effects. We're just focused on that right now.
How long are you generally working with clients?
The initial session's about 45 minutes, and that's when we go through the health history and everything and then run our initial testing, and then the follow-ups are only 20 minutes.
And are you going anywhere, are people just coming to you for maintenance and long-term clients, as well as people just going through acute issues, and what kind of issues do you notice people coming to you with?
No one comes to me in the beginning, unless they're coming to me for something chronic. So yeah, I've got clients that have been with me for years, but maybe they'll come in for a monthly checkup or every two months, or all the female client who might have a bladder infection and then she'll have to come in, she doesn't want to take medication, so we'll help her with her bladder infection or yeast infection, things like that, or they'll get the flu, and they'll come in. But what we do is people come to us for chronic issues. So, it's usually they have a thyroid problem or PCOS or a hormonal problem that has yet to be diagnosed, they're missing a period, that's for the women. Men will come to me for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, problems with libido, wanting to get off Adderall, cognitive function issues. We have a lot of IBS and gastro problems anything, having to do with the gut, colitis, Crohn's, you name it.
We also have quite a lot of heartburn, acid reflux, chronic people, lot of eczema, acne and depression, anxiety, as well, what we consider a chronic issue. So, we'll help people with anxiety and depression as well.
Oh, shebang, and must keep you busy.
Yes. It keeps us very busy. I love what I do. It's great, it's been really effective, and the only reason why I am so passionate about what I do and stand behind what I do is because I was a patient of it myself for six years. So, I was actually in different corporate jobs in New York, and this just continued to keep changing my life. I believe in many modalities, and I think different modalities speak to different people, and you actually have to be energetically aligned and really believe in your practitioner and what you're getting yourself into in order for you to have a true healing experience, because we're just guides. We're not actually healing you, you're healing yourself, but we're guiding you there. And so, I myself, when I found this, I was like, wow, I've never felt this great in my life, and all my auto-immune issues are starting to reverse, and everything is just feeling better that I became obsessed with learning this technique.
At the time, I really had to fight to go into school because you had to be a licenced doctor. And so, I was working for this woman in Queens, in New York, and she got me into the school and then I apprenticed for her while I was going to school. So, it's just something that I'm really passionate about, and I don't believe anybody should go into, I think, any healing modality unless it's really done wonders for yourself, because in order to really stand firm in that ... because you have clients that come in one week or another, and they really don't feel well, but they're on your protocol. And unless you confidently stand behind what you do and you've had that experience of maybe some Herxheimer reaction or you've backed slide a little bit, unless you can stand with them and empathise with them, it's very hard to get around that blockage.
Yeah. And that's what you see in most healing modalities or medicine is a lack of empathy.
Awesome. I'm really interested to hear more about this. I know you've probably had a full day. What day is it here? I'm doing the math, Tuesday? Yeah, it's Tuesday here.
It's Monday. Yeah, we pick up again in about a half hour, and then we'll go till 6:30 PM tonight. 10 minutes.
Okay. All right. I'll definitely let you go. Thank you for lending me, V. Thanks, V. The best way for people to get in touch with you, is that through veeshoney on Instagram?
Yeah, veeshoney on Instagram, and then email is email@example.com if people want an appointment. If you're looking for employment, definitely don't DM, email.
Good call. Beautiful. Good to see your face, thanks so much for that.
You too. I hope to see you in person at some point. I'm dying to come to Australia and be one of those tourists in Byron Bay, bother in Byron Bay.
No worry. We're going to take you outside of Byron Bay, and you won't be a bother. We've got the hook-
I would love that.
[crosstalk 01:04:26] with the insiders.
I love that.
All right. Beautiful. I'll see you soon then.