Mind Gut Connection – Med Mentality

Kristen and Elizabeth are passionate about sharing their knowledge from so many years of experience in both preventative and conventional medicine with their listeners, viewers, and patients. There are lifestyle choices, sometimes simple changes to your daily routine, which will drastically improve many issues that are commonly considered medical problems. Med Mentality will delve deep into the cause and effect of one issue in each podcast to provide an understanding of the issue and provide a plausible means of prevention. The goal of Med Mentality is to educate its audience on how to evaluate and reassess life’s trials and tribulations to achieve a more healthy and fulfilling life.


[00:00:00.160] – Kristen Letendre

Alright.  Welcome to Med Mentality.  This is just an open discussion with two physcian assistants, just talking about health, overall health, mind, body and soul.  And we’ll be talking about different discussions each week, hopefully get some participation down the road.  I personally am a physician assistant.  For many years I did a surgical residency, I was in surgery.  My name is Kristen, by the way.  And then I went into private medical practice and now I’m more into preventive medicine.


[00:00:43.010] – Elizabeth Snedekar

Elizabeth my name is Elizabeth and I’m also, as Kristen said, a physician assistant.  And I’ve worked in family medicine and then I did pediatrics as well, er medicine.  And now I’ve shifted focus mostly into preventative medicine as well.  So that’s where Kristen and I kind of have common interests.   So, we’re excited to cover different topics and topics that certainly interest us and we feel like will make a difference for us and you.   As she Said maybe taking on some topics down the road that interest our viewers as well.


[00:01:30.040] – Kristen Letendre

I always felt like, you know, obviously if you have a problem, you go to somebody who has knowledge or experience in it.   So, let’s say you had a legal question, you try to find your friends that are lawyers, or if you have a home-improvement questions, you go to someone who you know is in construction, just like my family, I’m sure your family does as well.  If you have medical problems, they come to you.   So would it be nice to have like a virtual podcast where we’re not, to make it clear, we would not diagnose you, we would not tell you a treatment plan, but just an opinion.   You know what, I’m having these symptoms, what are your thoughts, let’s have a discussion about it.


[00:02:09.490] – Elizabeth Snedekar

The good thing about functional medicine and preventative medicine that we’re talking about is it’s really not so much what you know, we’re not giving you any type of like, you know, specific medical advice, but we’re giving you tools that are very much in your hands to change your circumstance with your own health.   So it’s not so much giving you a lot of prescription advice or it’s more a day to day see the connection with your choices in basic things, little things that nobody has anything to do with, but your choices for your diet, your movement, your focus on your mental health and things like that.  So it’s really just giving, it’s really enlightening you, and drawing attention to the things that you have access to already.  Just having that thought in your day to day to see how it could improve your overall health.


[00:03:10.610] – Kristen Letendre

Yeah.   And the problem with the medical world today is, and we are not bashing conventional medicine.  Conventional medicine is absolutely needed, especially in extreme circumstances where there’s severe anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes.  You need to combat that with medication.   But is that something you have to stay on for the rest of your life or long term?   Not necessarily.   If you get to the root of the problem or change the habits, but doctors just don’t have the time, and a lot of them don’t sit there and discuss things with you on how to do that.   Unfortunately, it’s become like a factory.  In and out, in and out, 15 minutes, ten minutes, see the patient, you just don’t have time to address it.   So, it is something we believe in and we do with our patients.   So, this is what we wanted to bring to everyone else.   So.  two things we want to discuss today were two very important aspects of the body, the mind and the gut, and how they are so connected.  And I don’t know, people really understand how extreme the connection is.   Serotonin and dopamine are stored and produced mostly in the guts.


[00:04:30.790] – Kristen Letendre

Those are your feel-good hormones, your happy hormones, put a smile on your face hormones.


[00:04:37.300] – Elizabeth Snedekar

Your reward pathway hormones that keep you coming back for more when you do those activities.


[00:04:44.360] – Kristen Letendre

So, if that gut is inflamed or not tolerating certain foods right, or eating unhealthy, that serotonin dopamine pathway to the brain is not functioning the right way.   Which can cause the depression, the anxiety, the fatigue, the brain fog – all of those symptoms.


[00:05:06.790] – Elizabeth Snedekar

Which in our day to day lives anybody can have depression, anxiety, that’s situational or that’s clinical.  And there can be many different causes.  However, even if your gut issue is not the root cause of your depression or anxiety, it’s not a way to you can’t ignore that significant impact that that’s going to have on treatment plans or depression and anxiety.  Whenever you go into your typical primary care doctor, when people are feeling they’re starting to acknowledge, oh, I’m showing some of these signs of anxiety and depression, I’m going to go talk to my doctor.  I can’t say that – it may be different for you Kristen,  I can’t remember any of my training or when I was in family medicine, wherever I sat down and went through someone’s diet with them.  And I just wasn’t in my training at all to connect those dots back then.


[00:06:12.940] – Kristen Letendre

And I’ve had so many patients tell me, oh, my doctor tells me, diet and exercise, what does that mean?   And they don’t have time to go through everything with them or, like you said, weren’t treated properly.  And it’s just, you know, we’ve spoken about this.   it’s not even about labeling it, oh, I have celiac disease, I’m glucose intolerant, I’m lactose intolerant.   People have sensitivities to things, and too much of anything in excess is going to cause a problem.   So I use an example.  I mean, you saved your children.  I’m going to give you – don’t let me get to three, right?   And then they do something bad, and it’s like, that’s one, and then that’s two, that’s three.  That’s it you’re done.   Same thing with food, let’s say if you don’t have a condition where you absolutely cannot tolerate any of it, let’s say you have a little dairy consumed that you have a little dairy.  Okay, that’s one.  I’ll let it slide.  I eat a little more the next day.  All right, that’s two.   Three.  That’s it, you’re done.  Now you’re getting punished.  You’re getting a bad acne breakout.  You’re going to be hugging the bowl for a little bit, whatever the situation is.


[00:07:19.920] – Kristen Letendre

So you have to figure out your triggers and what foods bother you for whatever reason.


[00:07:25.510] – Elizabeth Snedekar

And listening to your body, what causes need to feel uncomfortable, what causes need to feel bloated and really being more aware of what you’re eating.  As Americans, and Kristen and I talked about this extensively, our diet is so, for most Americans, and what is given to us really as our food sources, if that makes sense, is more processed, complex.  So whenever you have a diet that’s consisting of a lot of that, it makes it more difficult to pick those things out because there’s so much in our food.  So if this becomes important to you and you want to start making these connections, it’s a lot simpler to do that with tracking, taking a journal, and actually, this is what I’m eating this day, and this is how I felt.  Or noticing that every time I eat dairy, I get an upset stomach, or every time I eat dairy, for the next few days, my mood is not so great.  Trying to make that connection where I’m more depressed after I eat certain foods, but it takes time and profiling and making those connections,


[00:08:51.490] – Elizabeth Snedekar

this is something, unfortunately, in this world we live in, a lot of people don’t have time to do.  They just want the quick.  Let me take this, pill, let me take this.  Okay.  I feel better.  And I mean, I first hand have experienced this with not only myself, but my children.  I can I can’t express enough how much my daughter, she would scream nonstop, like hours on end, throw up, vomiting, diarrhea, and the doctorsaid she’s colicky which, I’m sorry, but in my opinion means basically they don’t know what’s wrong with.  So why is sh colicky well, it turns out after years of experience in things, she cannot handle dairy.  So, yeah, you change the formula, you do all that.  She doesn’t have lactose sensitivity, but she can’t handle dairy until this day.  Now, she was labeled as an asthmatic.  She has eczema, but if she avoids dairy, she doesn’t have any of those issues.  So is she really or just does she have a problem with dairy?  Same thing with my son.  He cannot do a lot of wheat or corn.  He gets the brain fog, he gets sinus problems.  That’s his thing.  I suffered for years with Candida overgrowth, constant yeast infection, fatigue.


[00:10:09.730] – Kristen Letendre

I was very sick, couldn’t get out of bed, bloating, and my pants wouldn’t fit and I didn’t know what it was.  I was put on medicine, and then I finally went and found out I had a milk allergy, a whey allergy, all this stuff.  I can’t eat a lot of wheat.  Big mess.  But anyway, I finally found the root of the problem.  And then something else that I know we want to discuss is stress.  Stress feeds all of these inflammations in your gut and causes problems.  So all of that-  then I’m going through a divorce, a single mom, raising two kids, financial issues, it’s a petri dish for a problem.


[00:10:57.410] – Elizabeth Snedekar

And with all of that, with all of the stress that we’re putting and whenever you go through stress, what do you want to eat?  You want to eat junk, comfort foods and foods that are high in carbs and wheat and dairy and all of that.  And so making those connections, I think some of whenever I was in pediatrics, the pediatric world is trying to make some connections between the kids with the inflammatory processes.  So either gut inflammation itself or a lot of eczema that’s related to dairy intake.  So it’s starting to happen.  But for adults, taking the time to break that down, or, you know, who has some people don’t have the financial capability or resources to go to an allergist to have that testing done or even thinking to do so.  And so making those connections to try to if you’re at the end of your rope with depression or with anxiety or you don’t want to go a lot of our patients don’t want to be on pharmaceuticals for depression and anxiety because of the sequelae of side effects that come from those.  So it can be a lot to handle, especially in a stressful situation.


[00:12:29.920] – Elizabeth Snedekar

So you get stressed, wife comes at you, you get depressed and anxious.  If you are one of those people that turn to food for comfort, then that can just really worsen your situation.  If you’re eating a lot of the comfort foods, have a lot of inflammatory potential in your gut to really make your situation for your mentality and your mental function not the best.  So it makes it kind of a snowball effect there, I feel.


[00:13:01.360] – Elizabeth Snedekar

Yeah.   And that inflammation in your body can mimic autoimmune diseases because let’s discuss what is an autoimmune disease, basically breaking it down.  Is the body attacking itself?  Do they exist?  Absolutely.  Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis.  But even with those diseases, certain foods will make the condition worse.  Being Physician Assistants, obviously we check ourselves.  My blood work when I was sick with the Candida came back as if I had lupus.  I don’t have any other symptoms of lupus.  I’m like, there is no way I have lupus.   So after all my research going to doctors, holistic doctors, I rechecked my blood work when I avoided the things I need to avoid and learn how to deal with my emotional stress and everything else that was going on in my life, the numbers came down fast, black and white.  So it’s not always what it seems to be.  And that’s why getting to the root of the problem is so important.


[00:14:01.760] – Elizabeth Snedekar

And part of what we’re trying to have you think about is not.  And what we try to think about ourselves is not just the three things that we have a lot of control over in our lives are things that we do as our personal habits.  So what we take in our diet, how much we move, so movement that is connected with all sorts of health benefits, avoiding metabolic syndrome.  There’s a ton of mental health connections with movement.  The more you move, the better your mental health is.  Most times diet movement.  And then the third thing is how much attention we give our mental health.  So how much sleep we’re getting, how much stress we are allowing into our lives from other people or other sources.  Most of us have to have a job.  Most of us have children.  Most of us have some type of significant other.  Now, how are we handling our social interactions in our own bubble?  So just as much as it’s important, what you put into your mouth for food and how much you move your body is how much your psychological health has on the functions, actual organic functions of your body as well.


[00:15:32.360] – Kristen Letendre

Yeah.  And that’s another big aspect component of your health, because if you’re in a bad relationship, for whatever the reason is and let’s face it again, everything goes back.  Your makeup goes back to how you were raised, any trauma you experienced in your life, it’s just a fact, the way you act, every action has a reaction.  And my ex mother in law used to say, oh, children are resilient.  Children are resilient.  She left off the last piece of that sentence.  Children resilient, but they are messed up for life.  I don’t mean that negatively, but I mean everything impacts you, especially in childhood, and affects how you conduct yourself as an adult, whether it be that you’re insecure or, you know, you’re angry about things, you have anger issues.  A lot of it can stem from your childhood and experiences that you had along the way.  So let’s just take – we’ll be talking about many relationships.  And again, we are not bashing any person.  We are just trying to get people to be aware and evaluate themselves.  Let’s take a narcissistic person and an empathetic person.  There have been a lot of books written and information given out that these two personalities, if you want to say, mesh or find each other, so to speak, for different reasons.


[00:17:11.510] – Elizabeth Snedekar

Going back to what you were talking about with childhood.  We all have our own experience, and we all have, you know, and some you know, it doesn’t all have to be you know, as far as, it doesn’t have to be negative for you to develop some poor coping skills and some poor self-talk thoughts and things like that.  But whenever we grow into adulthood, if we don’t have someone or we don’t have the direction to kind of evaluate our own issues, our own lack of coping mechanisms, our own lack of boundaries, our own, then it can turn into a mess with our relationships.  As far as just like with a narcissist and empath, they will attract each other because the narcissist feels that they have to be served, and the empath cannot serve enough.  And so that’s just a recipe for love, but a disaster there for them.  Mostly for the empaths, but having the ability to step back.  If this has happened to you, whether you’re one party or the other, and we’re resilient as children, but also that it won’t kill us, but it can give us lifelong, you know, relationship problems.


[00:18:56.960] – Elizabeth Snedekar

But some people can get to the point where they say, okay, let me reflect on how my childhood is making me form these bonds or form these connections.  And how much stress how much stress is having these unhealthy connections having on my physical health or the quality of life overall?  So I think that is a huge thing that, honestly, I feel like we should have some type of, like, high school, like, I don’t know.  Before you go out into the world and you start forming these really important relationships with work and spouse and children, what’s your makeup?  How do you deal with stressful situations?  What does your childhood look like?  I feel like that’s something that’s lacking because then you start to grow up, and that’s when the rubber hits the road, and you start having those really stressful life events.  And then that’s when drinking starts.  That’s when drugging starts.  That’s when sex addiction starts.  That’s when gambling addiction starts.  So trying to in your early out of high school, early 20s, who am I?  Why am I forming these relationships the way that I do?  And what can I do to make it healthier so that I can have a better quality of life?


[00:20:30.940] – Kristen Letendre

It’s so true.  You’re right.  And again, the minds and the gut, it’s so connected.  So you have these experiences in childhood, good or bad, but you develop certain coping mechanisms or protective blankets that maybe if you really got into the issue, you wouldn’t have.  And let’s face it, you get stressed.  Your gut gets upset normally, and this is extreme examples, but let’s say you get so stressed out from trauma, you turn anorexia your gut.  You get so stressed out from whatever happens or your coping is bulimia, it’s your gut.  Or you just overeat it’s, your gut.  And then while this is following the pattern, like causing inflammation, you drink.  It’s affecting your liver, your gut.  Smoking, okay, that’s the lungs.  But still, your overall health is going back to not learning those coping skills.  And instead, what would you say?  What are some red flags of both just because we’re talking about them today?  A narcissist, an empath, someone with empathy that has that anxious I want to please personality.


[00:21:49.160] – Elizabeth Snedekar

Definitely.  If you’re an empath, you are going to struggle with boundaries.  So you’re always going to feel like you want to not say no.  Saying no is difficult to say.  That makes me uncomfortable.  I would rather not do that.  This is moving too fast for me.  Me.  You have a lot of issues standing up for yourself and setting boundaries with people.  I feel like you’re more passive.  You don’t want to hurt people’s feelings.  You put other people’s feelings before really your own, which in the end you want to feel like you’re altruistic or empaths feel like they have the greater good for other people.


[00:22:42.100] – Elizabeth Snedekar

But really,well  it’s very damaging in their personal relationships because they end up feeling depleted once all of that has taken its toll.  And then for a narcissist, I feel like red flags are in romantic relationships, like, you know, love bombing, making the person feel like they are the most amazing person they’ve ever met.  And then they go into that cycle of, especially with an empath, damage that’s done because they lack that true.


[00:23:29.440] – Kristen Letendre

They come out all gung ho and strong and they’re the perfect person and you’re like, wow, this person is amazing.  And then sometimes very sneakily, they’ll make you feel less then.   Let’s face it, we’re both empaths.  How do we get in touch with them now?  We want to please and we almost a lot of empaths are missing that love and a lot of them again, if you go back to the history grew up with someone in their life or more than one person in life, that was a Narcissist.  So it’s that sick mentality like this is all we know and yet this love that we’re dying to get, we’re going to the absolute wrong person for, but that’s all we know.  That’s what we’re used to.  And the narcissist is also looking for that attention, that love.  But he or she does not know how to give it back.  But they need it, that supply, to constantly be giving it to them for whatever reason.


[00:24:40.460] – Elizabeth Snedekar

And it’s the impasse.  I mean, they can’t give enough.  And so that’s where that just a recipe for disaster.


[00:24:51.160] – Kristen Letendre

Toxic relationship.  Nobody is both on their own.  Again, we’re not bashing anyone.  We’re just trying to open people’s eyes and really evaluate yourself from every point of view mentally, why you do the things you do, what affects your body nutrition wise and even soul searching.  When I first got divorced, everyone was like you need to be happy by yourself.  You need to be okay on your own.  Stop dating.  You need to work on you.  If I would have heard that one more time, I said but I am happy.  Like I just went wrong with wanting a partner.  But you know what?  They’re right.  We’re constantly working on ourselves.  We’re constantly finding things out about ourselves.  Like you said, Elizabeth, maybe because we weren’t taught to evaluate ourselves growing up.  So it’s a constant learning curve and getting to the root of your issues.  And that is what functional medicine is about and something we’re both passionate about.


[00:25:52.390] – Elizabeth Snedekar

About connecting the mind and the body and the spirit altogether, whether you are whatever religion you are, letting that have an impact in your well-being, in your community.  We as human beings are just so complex.  There’s so much to a human being.  And so whenever you work in medicine and you are honored, really, I feel very honored to participate in people’s lives as much as I have because we have so much impact and it’s a responsibility I really do not take for granted.  I love being able to help people on all of these levels spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, and to try to get them to connect the dots so that they can have the best quality of life that they can is really.  You know, why anyone should go into medicine, to be honest, is that you just love people and you want their quality of life to be the best that it can be.  So whenever you watch people struggle, there’s no perfect person.  But whenever you watch people struggle because you can see whether that they are comforting themselves in dangerous ways or just using food or poor relationships or to feed that humanistic need that we have just to be happy and loved and accepted.


[00:27:29.140] – Elizabeth Snedekar

I think, you know, taking care of a person holistically like that is what a lot of functional medicine is about.  Holistic medicine.


[00:27:37.390] – Kristen Letendre

Yeah.  And that was the point of why we wanted to do this podcast, because we do want to help people.  It’s in our blood to help people.  And unfortunately, the world doesn’t allot for the sufficient time that people need and are given.  I worked for a medical doctor years ago.  He passed away in a tragic accident.  But he told me, and I will never forget it, he said, listen to the patient, they will give you the diagnosis.  But we don’t have the time sometimes to listen and get that history or even let the patient speak.


[00:28:13.910] – Elizabeth Snedekar

And patients feel that that’s the feedback that I have since I’ve been out in more conventional medicine, it will be brought up.  Did you talk about this?  And I’m not bashing conventional medicine because 100% I worked in it.  I understand the pressures for time and productivity and financials and you’re under a lot of pressure to see, a lot of patience.  And so it’s absolutely no bashing at all.  But patients can feel when they and they’re left feeling kind of lost because they have come to us for help.  And when we are not able to spend this time that we want to cover and also showing we’re two medical providers and this is interesting to us, obviously on some type of selfish level as well, because we want to show you that this is a balance that we have to strike with ourselves as well.  So given that a more personal feel.


[00:29:22.770] – Kristen Letendre

Work in progress, every one of us.  So that’s our spiel.  We hope, we’ve intrigued and helped many people.  And if we did, we’ll be back next week on Med Mentality.


[00:29:39.130] – Elizabeth Snedekar

And thanks, guys, for watching.  Bye.




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