Got stress, anxiety, and fatigue? Then you will be interested to hear Christa Orecchio’s approach to re-wiring your nervous system with her 6 pillars to overcome stress, anxiety, and get more energy.
In this episode, I have with me, Christa Orecchio, who is a clinical and holistic nutritionist and founder of the Whole Journey. She helps people heal from the root cause, using food as their medicine and a mind body spirit approach to health.
In this podcast, Christa will cover
- What it means to live off stress hormones
- Christa’s 6 pillars of health
- Why do most people stay in stress?
- Why breathing is essential to overcome stress
- Why Christa doesn’t like the low-carb approach and believes that adequate amounts of carbs are essential for your health
- How your childhood can affect your health (and how to heal from emotional trauma)
- What foods can I eat to overcome stress, and anxiety, and fatigue?
- Why Christa recommends frequent meals
- Why nutrient ratios matter (and how to track it)
- Christa’s new “Adrenal ReCode” Program (You can find more information about that HERE)
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How To Overcome Anxiety and Stress, And Increase Your Energy with Christa Orecchio – Transcript
Ari Whitten: Everyone. Welcome back to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. I’m your host, Ari Whitten, and today I have with me Christa Orecchio, who is a clinical and holistic nutritionist and founder of the Whole Journey. She helps people heal from the root cause, using food as their medicine and a mind body spirit approach to health.
Christa is a bestselling author, TV show host and is super passionate about helping you heal your adrenals, thyroid and nervous system in the most holistic way possible. So welcome to the show, Christa.
Christa Orecchio: Thank you for having me, Ari. I am super excited to be here.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, likewise. And on a personal note, I will say that it was such a pleasure, getting together with you for lunch, I believe it was last week or the week before and getting to talk so much geeky stuff with you around nutrition and health and it was just an absolute pleasure.
Christa Orecchio: The pleasure was mine. I mean, really, it’s funny. We’ve lived so close to each other for so long. Just got to know each other.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, totally.
Christa Orecchio: So that will be the first of many lunches we have.
What it means to live off stress hormone
Ari Whitten: I hope so. So, I know that, you know, one of the things we talked about is you have a new program that you’ve been developing called “Adrenal Recode” and it really revolves around kind of the nervous system’s role in an illness and symptoms and stress hormones. And that one of the things that you say is that the majority of us are living off of stress hormones and we’re not aware of it.
So first of all, how do we know if that applies to us as individuals? And what exactly do you mean by living off of stress hormones?
Christa Orecchio: So, well you know that if that applies to you as an individual, if you’ve had longstanding problems with anxiety, that’s really your telltale sign. If you’ve had longstanding problems with anxiety or insomnia. If you wake up like consistently between one and 4:00 AM, almost like not able to go back to sleep, ready to start the day.
Or when you do wake up in the morning, it’s earlier, like before the alarm you wake up with your heart pounding. These are all signs, but you know, really kind of living in a state of fear, living in a state of overwhelm, that inability to relax and sometimes it’s that alternating anxiety and depression or it’s like at the same time, you know, you’re tired and wired at the same time, but you just, you can’t let go even though you’re just completely exhausted. You have no energy whatsoever, but yet you kind of feel that fried feeling.
Ari Whitten: Gotcha. So, so, so that’s how we know if it applies to us, what does it mean to be living off of stress hormones? Like what hormones are you talking about in particular and why are we in your, in your words, living off of them?
Christa Orecchio: Yeah, so we’re living in a state of stress, so it really comes down to within our central nervous system, within the autonomic nervous system, when we have the sympathetic nervous system and we have the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system, is that fight, flight or freeze. You don’t hear freeze a lot. But that’s what a lot of us do under stress. And when we’re in that state, we need that nervous system. We need a balance, a really healthy balance of both in order to thrive, but what happens is we’re constantly clicking on this sympathetic nervous system unnecessarily so we’re completely overreacting to things as if we’re in danger and we get stuck in this way of responding and reacting and we don’t live in our parasympathetic nervous systems anymore. I know that’s where rest, digest and heal. That’s where we do all of our digesting. That’s when the body can recover and that’s when the body can heal and we should spend the majority of our time, when we’re not in danger in the parasympathetic nervous system.
So, it could be, you know, life can be a lot sometimes. Right, Ari? It’s like modern life and so it could be the stresses we’re under, but a lot of times it’s things that happened to us that forced us into the sympathetic nervous system for a long period of time. So that could be something like childhood trauma. That could be. You could have gone through a divorce or major breakups or having recently had a baby, you know, having a child.
Just the act of going through pregnancy and especially if it’s a traumatic birth and becoming a new mother, sometimes if then you start to add multiple kids to that and just there’s so much to balance, so it doesn’t necessarily have to mean you’ve gone through a trauma. Or like we were talking at lunch, entrepreneurship can do this too, right?
It’s like you’re in the middle of a launch and it’s just too much to do and not enough time to do it. That type of thing, and so what happens is we lose our ability to toggle between these two nervous systems in a healthy way and we get locked in the sympathetic nervous system.
So now we’re constantly releasing adrenaline and then we move into releasing cortisol and what happens is our cells lose their ability to be sensitized to insulin. So now energy can’t get delivered. Glucose can’t get delivered into the cell. And now your thyroid can’t make her burn energy. So, you can’t have an adrenal problem without having a thyroid problem and a nervous system problem and a brain problem because really, they just know all four of them work so intimately together and it’s about healing these systems.
And so, we’re stuck in this habit. We’re stuck in this pattern and you know, I spent a decade in private practice, and I have this one client story that was like a life defining moment for me where I really got this.
And I used to run a ton of neurotransmitter panels where I’m looking at the metabolites of the neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers in the brain. And I’m looking at those in urine to see, okay, what’s going on with this person system with their inhibitory neurotransmitters are the ones that make us feel calm and help us manage stress and help us sleep.
Versus the excitatory ones that, you know, we get anxiety, we get inflammation, we start to get brain trouble. And I looked at this woman’s panel and it looked like she was in like utter crisis. And I had known her for four months at that point and we weren’t getting progress.
But her life was fine, she was happy in her life and I just say, what happened, you know, what, what’s going on? Is there something you didn’t share with me?
And she had a lot of childhood trauma and sexual abuse that she had never shared with anyone. And it was like, that’s an extreme example, but it was, to me it was like, wow, people are getting locked into this state and they’re not getting out of it.
So, you have to get out of that state in a physical way. And then also in a, in an emotional way.
Ari Whitten: I want to talk about the concept of “Adrenal Fatigue” briefly. This is something you and I chatted a bit about at lunch. You know, that I’m not a proponent of the “Adrenal Fatigue” theory and sort of the traditional model of like the three phases of Adrenal, like chronic stress wears out, uh, the adrenals and, and that, you know, sort of results in low cortisol which results in these symptoms of fatigue and insomnia and depression and anxiety and a variety of others.
I don’t think the evidence supports that, but I know that your take on this on adrenal health and how it ties into neurotransmitter health, central nervous system, health, thyroid health, all these other layers to the story that you’re talking about quite a bit more complex than just saying chronic stress wears out the adrenals. Then you get low cortisol that causes your problems.
And also, it seems to me, and please correct me if I’m wrong, it seems to me that you are not really saying that most people have low cortisol necessarily, but in some cases, people have high cortisol. Is that correct?
Christa Orecchio: Yeah. And I agree with you that the term “Adrenal Fatigue” is like a gross over simplification of what’s happening. And the adrenals role in this is, it’s just a, it’s a circadian rhythm problem, right?
Like we secrete certain amount of cortisol to get us up and got us going for the day and lower cortisol so that we can sleep. And so adrenal problems were being stressed too much. You start to go wild fluctuations because. Right? I mean, if you have high cortisol, then your blood sugar, you can’t regulate your blood sugar and so the two of these are working in tandem and so yeah, it’s a circadian rhythm issue and it’s just a regulation. You just. You can’t secrete the right amount of cortisol at the right time basically.
Why most people stay in stress mode
Ari Whitten: Got It. So, we’re living off stress hormones. Many of us have these wild fluctuations of stress hormones. We have an inability to toggle between, stressed out, stress response, sympathetic nervous system, getting back into rest, digest, heal, parasympathetic mode.
How did we get this way? What’s going on in the modern world that made this situation so common?
Christa Orecchio: Yeah. Well, outside of life being a lot like we just talked about from parenting to single parenting to overwork, to just general stress. I mean I definitely want to throw technology into the mix and that deserves a little bit of the blame, right? They say that we light up dopamine in our brain every time. Oh, I’ve got five text or 20[flag] messages or emails, right? You, you actually light up dopamine in the brain which is part and parcel, like constantly activating that reward center and dopamine can get us in there like we’re all really overstimulated. And we become addicted to that feeling of being overstimulated.
Just ask the teenager when you take away their phone for a day, right? So, so that happens. But also, a lot of us, especially if we’re busy, we what do we do? Like we go for quick fixes, so we over rely on coffee and we want to feel… we want to calm down at night, so we over rely on wine or sugar and those types of things and we let exercise fall to the wayside. So there’s things that keep us in balance and can normally moderate these hormones like we don’t anymore because we are convenience oriented and we let our diets slip and then all of a sudden now you have this compromised body because whenever you’re in that parasympathetic nervous system, your body’s job is just to keep you alive and keep you out of danger.
Like you are not going to be digesting your food. Your blood is going to be shunted away from the digestive system to the limbs, right? You have to be on high alert, so whatever it is that you’re eating is gonna. Sit like a rock in your stomach. You’re not going to digest it, even if it’s healthy food and nine times out of 10 when you’re in this stressful state, it’s probably not going to be healthy food.
And so, there’s this just like a culmination of the perfect storm that gets us this way and then it’s like a whirlpool and then we’re stuck in it and we’re living in it and now people say, oh yeah, they think that’s who they are. That’s their new normal. I get hangry, you know, like if I, if I don’t have enough food, you know, so they carry food with them or I’m a night owl now, right? Or I’m a, I have a short fuse, don’t piss me off.
And people think that’s who they are and that’s going to be. They’re normal and they’re just going to live forever. But that was so transformative in my life when I write, because you ended up liking yourself better. You have a completely different experience of life, you have different relationships, you do different things with your time and so I really want to drive home the point that this is in a distress, adaptive state of your biochemistry, but it’s not who you are.
And physiologically, you know, when we’re stuck in this state for too long, we can’t convert our food into fuel, and we have no resilience to stress. So, there’s so many people out there that feel like not one more thing. One more thing and I’m going to snap, and its same thing is happening inside of the body because you know we have in our liver, in our muscles, we store reserves. We store glycogen. So, when we don’t have food or the meal is not there or we’re in a state of stress, the body can then release energy from the liver, from the muscles that stored energy and it can lock out that excess of cortisol response. And so, what we, when you’re in this state, you don’t have any reserves in the liver can store something like 400 grams and the muscles 12 to 1400 grams and that’s burned out and it’s not replaced, it’s burned out.
So, you really physiologically have no reserves and then you emotionally have no reserves and that just makes for a life where you’re living in fear and constantly on edge.
The connection between the brain and the central nervous system
Ari Whitten: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So there’s several other layers to this story that you, you mentioned in passing before with the thyroid, with the central nervous system, the brain, the neurotransmitters kind of take me through your sort of model of, of how this plays out and, and what, what’s actually happening in the brain and the nervous system because that, that seems to be kind of a focus of the paradigm is the brain and the nervous system in the central nervous system needs to be rewired in a different state.
So, kind of take me through what this process of, you know, kind of this, this whole process of cellular dysfunction and nervous system dysfunction looks like, well, how does it start and what does the process look like?
Christa Orecchio: So, let’s say if we start with hormonal balance happening in the brain and we’d go back to these neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers in the brain, we have our primary inhibitory neurotransmitter called GABA.
I’m sure you know all about it and you’ve talked to about it, but its primary job is to neutralize adrenaline and so like else if we continue to overwork it, it will get depleted and then many people in this state, they’re GABA is really low and their lab work. You know, I know you’re not a huge fan of these neurotransmitter test, but they’re loud work can show that that’s happening and then there’s this domino effect and then serotonin starts to become low.
Another feels good inhibitory neurotransmitter, and then we start driving up the inflammatory process. See, because what’s happening is if you are producing too much cortisol, you are in a state of inflammation. The body produces cortisol in order to buffer inflammation.
So we can start to see this when we look at glutamate and excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain when that’s getting too high and that gets higher and higher with start to get cell death and we’re all right, now we’re having cognitive issues ran, all of a sudden our memory and we’re our brain’s foggy and those types of things are happening and it’s like we come down this cascade. So hormonal balance begins in the brain and your pituitary gland is responsible for the control over your thyroid.
So, it’s this cascade that starts to come down, which is why I’m not a fan and we’re right on the same page here with bioidentical hormone therapy. You’re treating something all the way at the end, so downstream, oh, you’re low in this, take this, you know here, low testosterone, testosterone high this, take that and it’s a band aid approach that can drive up other pathways and the way you don’t want them to.
So really all of hormonal balance begins in the brain. But when you are lit up like this for such a long period of time, you’re supposed to only be in a stress adaptive state, so the longer you’re in this state, the more you’re getting damaged to basically the electrical insulator of your nerve cells, which is called your Myelin Sheath.
This leaves you susceptible for neurological issues and disease and for pathogens and things like that to come in and to invade. And so, what we have to do is you have to address all four, so you have to basically stop the adrenals from overproducing cortisol when it’s not time for Cortisol, right? So, we can regulate rhythms.
And then you have to be able to get energy into the cell. You have to get oxygen, glucose, and thyroid hormone that has to be present in yourselves in order to make energy. And you know, all this because your nickname is the mitochondria, man.
And so, we’ve got to be able to have those in ourselves, but it’s not enough to just have them. We have to then kind of stoke the fire, right? So that we can then, once again make energy and start to in… The more your body’s making energy, the more it feels safe, the more you can shut off the sympathetic nervous system, live in the parasympathetic nervous system, but then you also have to repair the collateral damage that’s been done to the Myelin Sheath. If you want to make this your new normal, like you think about a damaged Myelin Sheath is like electrical tape and you’ve taken sandpaper to that electrical tape and it’s all frayed and fried.
Hey, you’re not experiencing trauma or stress anymore, but the damage is there, so we have to go in and soothe that and heal it and calm it. To kind of paving potholes right on a road that’s been over, traveled on, so to speak. So, you’re really. You’re working all four and that’s the only way to really move into a new, let’s say whirlpool and that’s the thing. It’s hard in the beginning because of whirlpools got a mind of its own and it’s flying on its own.
So, you have to constantly interrupt the pattern. I want to talk next about our six pillar strategy. That’s going to interrupt this pattern and get you where you want to go, but it’s going to require vigilance, but then ultimately the healing happens and the whirlpool reverses on its own, in the right direction and it’s normal and natural for you to live in your parasympathetic nervous system, to convert your food into fuel, to make energy, and to really live a completely different life. I mean, we’re talking about the trajectory of two completely different existences here.
Ari Whitten: Okay, so we are disrupting neurotransmitters in the brain. We’re disrupting hormones and we have a deficit in our ability to drive nutrients and oxygen into the cell where it can be made into energy.
Christa Orecchio: Yes. As well as the deficit in key micro nutrients and key vitamins, minerals and trace minerals. That being in this state for too long just starts to deplete them from the body.
Ari Whitten: Okay so, and so. That paradigm is, is basically the fundamental sort of driver of most chronic disease from your perspective. Correct? Or is it more like a specific kind of symptoms and syndrome?
Christa Orecchio: It’s more for the symptoms that I’ve mentioned? You know, I’ve been in a microbiome rejuvenation for a really long time, so you can’t discount having heavy, heavy pathogenic exposure. So, it’s more kind of talking about different paths at the same mountain.
Ari Whitten: Got ya.
Christa Orecchio: Not going to say it’s the be all end all because if you’re coming and you have outrageous SIBO and you’ve, you know, you’ve, you’ve taken 30 rounds of antibiotics, you know, then then this is going to be the next step after you rejuvenate your microbiome and reeducate your immune system.
The 6 pillars of health
Ari Whitten: Excellent. Okay. So, from here, understanding these sorts of layers of dysfunction, result in those symptoms that you’ve mentioned, what is, what does the path look like from your model as far as fixing this and, and interrupting that whirlpool, so to speak and rewiring somebody central nervous system into a different, a different mode.
Christa Orecchio: Yeah. So, we have six pillars if you will, that go through and be able to do this. And the first is to use synergistic foods that support all four systems that replace the nutrient deficiencies in micronutrients, but they were also metabolic foods. Which means simply they’re just easy to digest.
So you were giving the body easy to digest foods and the right combinations so that the body, once again can get the food into the cell without it having to work for it, like you really aren’t going to be giving your body foods that it has to be able to convert into other forms of energy to be able to use. So that’s going to be really important. And so, we’re going to be looking at increasing, you know, just in terms of micronutrients, you’ve got to increase a lot of your trace minerals that are just zapped.
And so, you know, increasing the amount of salt. So many people are in this situation are really going to be craving salt anyway. So, using Himalayan pink salt, Celtic Sea salt is going to be really helpful. Getting your trace minerals. Magnesium is crucial for the liver and the thyroid and the body can’t produce glutathione, which is the master antioxidant in the liver, if it doesn’t have enough magnesium, vitamin B, one, the thyroid needs more of that. It’s so involved in cellular energy and in the Krebs Cycle.
And so, we’re, you really want to make sure you’re focusing on foods that are metabolic, easy to digest and you know, we just want to constantly interrupt that pattern. And then food frequency is going to be really important because again, you don’t have enough glycogen reserves, so you have to do for the body what right now in this state, it’s unable to do for itself, which is you need to regulate blood sugar and just give it food it can use.
And so, having food frequency and eating more often, you’ll be able to constantly interrupt the stress pattern.
Foods that are synergistic with overcoming stress, anxiety, and fatigue
Ari Whitten: Okay. So that’s number one end to correct. Yeah. Okay. So, I have a couple of questions digging into this a bit more. Let’s go back to number one, which is synergistic foods, sort of metabolic healing foods. Can you give a couple specific examples of foods that fit that category?
Christa Orecchio: Yeah, so it’s, it’s foods, but it’s also the combination of foods. And so, a lot of people probably aren’t going to like this, but organ meats are really a very metabolic food, more so than muscle meats. I’m not a fan of them. I take the pills, instead of eating them, but you know, you can get fancy and starts and mixed them in with other meats and so for those who are eating muscle meat, like they could mix in organ meat with that or you know, we’re having them have metabolic proteins and so egg yolks and not the whites because of sensitivities.
Shellfish is more of metabolic, low fat white fish. If you’re going to have any time you’re going to have meat like beef or bison, like you’re always gonna have it with a little bit of broth or college and because the combination of those two proteins and adding in the collagen in the broth is going to allow your body to use those wonderful nutrients that are going to be in the grass fed beef.
It’s going to allow your body to actually use it instead of trying to work to be able to use it. So that’s like in terms of meats and then we’re using vegetables that are. And can I will, you and I talked about this at lunch, like we’re getting rid of that fear of carbs. Like in a lot of ways, this is the ketogenic recovery program because the body, you’re going to force your body to overproduce stress hormones. If 70 percent of your calories coming from fat or even sometimes it’s 50 percent of your calories are coming from fat, you’re going to force what you don’t want is for your body to not run off of glucose, but to run right. You don’t necessarily want your body to be running off of fat.
And so, we really want people to be able to use fruit and root vegetables strategically for energy in these early healing foods.
When you combine them with protein, and you combine them with fats that are going to be able to get our reaction to then get glucose into the cell to then that’s the antidote to stress is sugar. And we all know that because you’ve got a crazy sugar addiction problem in the US. I mean, I used to eat sour patch kids for lunch way back in the day, so I know that.
And so, it’s like, no, let’s solve that body’s need for sugar by giving it healthy, supportive micro, nutrient dense fruit that fruit and root vegetables and so combining them in the right way and all of my other programs don’t include dairy because so much with them or for the immune system in the gut, but using really high quality dairy and things like raw milk. It’s the perfect blend of proteins, carbs and fats to shut off the nervous system response to feed the thyroid, without the thyroid having to work for it at all, loaded with the amino acids that you need. And so, yeah, I’m a fan of it for this, for this purpose.
Ari Whitten: Gotcha. Okay. So I have a barrage of questions for you to go into here, but let’s start with, I think probably the most controversial element in what you said, which is that we were now living in a, in a, in a dietary sort of trend where everybody’s saying the opposite of what you said in the sense that everybody’s saying, hey, you don’t want to be a carb burner or a sugar burner to a fat burner. And so, you need to get rid of, get the carbs out of your diet, eat a low carb high fat diet, or a keto, or even there are even people saying a zero-carb diet.
So, we want to be running on, on only fat. And there are even people who kind of invoke a similar sort of logic and they say, well, that eliminates the sort of blood sugar surges that you would get if you consume a carb-based diet.
And to be clear, I’m acting as an impartial. I’m questioner here to try to try to just, you know, devil’s advocate, so to speak. I’m not saying I agree with the keto people were the carnivore diet people by any means. But I do want to pose that question to you so that you can sort of take on what, why are you not one of these people saying get the carbs out of your diet and you want to be a fat burner instead of a sugar burner. You’re saying you want to be a carber. Why is that?
Christa Orecchio: Yeah. I like the idea of slowing the release of glucose throughout your system through using, through using fat, you know, strategically in that way and there are some people where they can go on a ketogenic diet and they can heal, and they can lose weight for three weeks to maybe a couple of months. But if you keep your body and that’s where it can be helpful, but if you keep your body in that state for too long, well first of all you’re challenging your gallbladder because it’s a lot of fat and gallbladders probably going to start having trouble producing bile.
And we’ve had about a lot of people with gallbladder problems from eating this way for an extended period of time. So, I think that there’s no one right dietary theory. It’s like what are you using now and what are you using to heal? And if you’re going to be running off of fat, which you can, but that is not the body’s preferred source of fuel.
And if you’re going to be doing that extended period of time, it’s going to stress the body’s going to put you in a in it. It’s going to put you in a catabolic state where you have to break down tissue to continue that and you can see it with people who have, who know it had this one guy who had been in Ketosis for three years. I mean they start to lose the in their teeth, and they start to have chronic halitosis and it puts us in this state of breakdown that we don’t need to be in. And then we have to recover from that.
So, I think that if you’re under the care of a practitioner using the Ketogenic Diet therapeutically to heal and you’re working specifically, that’s fine, but I don’t think it’s a way of life.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Okay. So, sticking with nutrition a little bit more before we go on. Regarding the glycogen stores thing and kind of that most people are, are not, that, don’t have, don’t have significant enough reserves. What about the people who are extremely overweight and who are generally speaking chronically overeating relative to how much they’re burning each day and um, are, are essentially in a caloric surplus, and I think most would argue are chronically full in terms of their glycogen reserves.
So, is that, how do you sort of differentiate that kind of person that you’re talking about? Is it…?
Christa Orecchio: I wouldn’t say necessarily their glycogen reserves are full because they’re probably eating the kinds of foods that they can’t create storage from. And so, so just to be clear, our program, if you’re not eating more so, so you’re not necessarily eating more calories, reading the right types of calories, the right macronutrients, the right combination of proteins, carbs and fats to shut off the stress response.
And so, someone coming in who’s overweight and having too many calories is there’ll be scaling back their calories, the probably lose weight fairly quickly and especially from regulating your blood sugar because we know that the body stores fat when you have too much cortisol on for too long. And then there’s the opposite to the opposite point that you said is we’ve got a lot of people that they say, I don’t get it. I am stressed all the time, don’t. I don’t really eat that much. And I exercise.
And so, it’s, it’s kind of goes back to the beginning of do we believe in adrenal fatigue, but this really just comes back to balance. It’s like give the body what it needs to convert food into fuel and to burn it efficiently. And then that will create an efficient metabolism, right? The thyroid, the furnace and the thermostat of the human body. We create the sufficient metabolism and then wait, works itself out on its own and then efficient glycogen stores are, are reserved again.
Why Christa recommends frequent meals throughout the day
Ari Whitten: Gotcha. Okay. So, one more question here before we go on. Went with regards to food frequency. It sounds like you’re an advocate of eating a little bit more on the frequent side because people have blood sugar, have trouble regulating blood sugar levels in between meals may go hypoglycemic and have their energy levels drop and brain function drop and that sort of thing and then kind of have to have a stress hormone surge and that sort of thing.
With that in mind, you know, coming, coming from that paradigm, what is your perception of the very popular trend of intermittent fasting now with people having one meal a day or you know, doing prolonged fasting of various kinds?
Christa Orecchio: It really depends on the state of their nervous system, you know, if you, if you have anxiety and that you’re the type of person who struggles with anxiety and insomnia, like that’s not going to be great for you. -but if you already resourced and your nervous system’s fine and you can, you can intermittent fast and you can sleep at night and still have energy and you’re not locked in that state of fear and overwhelm.
Then, kind of go back to the same thing as ketogenic. I don’t think I would do it as a lifestyle because that could start to cause its own issue, but it’s like we’re living breathing organism. Right?
And like life happens and all these different events happen that shift our hormones and shift our perception and our story and so I think we have to be open to changing as we go. Intermittent fasting is not going to work for the person that we’re trying to help with the adrenal recode.
Ari Whitten: Got It. So well before. So, number two is food frequency to regulate blood sugar. Is there. Before we go on to number three, is there anything else you’d want to mention on, on that point?
Christa Orecchio: You know, I think I do, Ari, because somebody coming into this that is coming off of intermittent fasting or they’re coming off of the ketogenic diet or if you’ve, you know, you, you have to work with your own body. And so that’s where we’re working with a team of five clinicians to help people. You can’t go from eating once or twice a day to eating six times a day. You will gain a lot of weight quickly.
You can’t go from eating no fruit or root vegetables, you know, which that’s pretty much, you know, our next pillar, which we talked about, but you can’t go from not eating any to then having them with every meal and not gain weight.
So, it’s meeting people where they are, you know, it’s like whatever, wherever you’re eating now, one or two meals a day, just increase it by one and I’m not talking about increasing the amount of food you’re eating, it’s just spacing it out like so smaller meals more frequently. And then the same thing, you know, if you’ve come from not eating any fruits and you know you’ve got that, then you’re going to start off with an eighth of a cup with breakfast and see how that works for you and because again, you have to work and we’ve got to sensitize yourselves once again to these foods so that they can use them instead of just converting right to fat.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Gotcha. So, fruit and fruit sugar, fruit in roots. So, we’re in this at this point, we’re talking carbohydrate dominant foods and why fruit and root vegetables as opposed to legumes or whole grains and that sort of thing.
Christa Orecchio: What gives because they’re easier to digest. So, someone who’s been in this state for a while, the more you secrete cortisol, the more you can send the lining of your gut in the last. You’ve really digesting and so I like Legos and I like gluten free grains. I’m kind of on the fringe with that, but they have…
Ari Whitten: I’m with you on that by the way.
Christa Orecchio: I remember it and I appreciate that. It’s like it’s. It’s making healthier foods and they’ll be able to in the “Adrenal Recode” they’ll be able to add some of those foods in once they get a certain level of healing, but they have some anti nutrients called lectins or phytic acid or it’s just that it goes back to just let’s make this as easy as possible here. You don’t have to do any work. Just take the food and use it and then when you get a little strength and we’d get a little resilience.
It’s like, here you have to do a little converting. You have to, you know, do a little work to get the nutrients out of this food, but you’re stronger now in your body can do it, no problem. And so that’s when you can start to add those foods back in. And for us it takes. People come into our program and they take a questionnaire and they’ll be put in one of two tiers based upon the severity of what’s going on in their nervous system and the second tier they’re going to have to wait awhile before they can add those foods in because they have to ascertain a certain level of healing. But then the first tier is going to be able to handle those foods in moderation. So, it’s all just depends on, on your current state of health.
Ari Whitten: Excellent. So, within the category of fruit and roots, do you have any, um, particular recommendations on specific types of fruits and or root vegetables that you find extremely beneficial?
Christa Orecchio: Yeah, we’re always given love sweet potatoes and for this I like, I like white potatoes. We put the resistant starches like cassava where those are going to be, you’re going to have them in a little bit later. In terms of, of fruit, a lot of the tropical fruits are really going to do the trick and that is because they do have a little bit of a higher sugar content. And so, we’re talking things like pineapple and mango and Papaya, full of enzymes, also really easy for the body to digest. Grapes, peeled pears and apples because you’re going to take off the skin just for easier digestibility and have them cooked. And so those are kind of the fruits that you’re going to focus on and grapes and melon. And then we have some, some structure for food combining there, we don’t combine fruit and roots together so you can choose what your carbohydrate it’s going to be at that particular meal.
Why fat (in the right amounts) is important
Ari Whitten: Got It. What is next pillar number four,
Christa Orecchio: what pillar number four? We had a brief chat about this is the targeted use of saturated fat to protect the nervous system. So, we know that we need vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D and vitamin K to protect and support our nervous system. But you know, these vitamins do a whole host of things for the rest of the body as well. And so when we’re in this, we can call it an unstable state because when we’re talking about fats, when you’re healing something like this, you’re going to want 50 percent of your fats to come from a saturated source and so it’s not that you’re eating more fat, but you’re just working and then 45 percent are going to come from a monounsaturated like avocado and olive oil and only five percent from the polyunsaturated because those can be the ones that can drive up, see inflammation process the most because they’re the most unstable of the fat.
So, it’s not that they’re bad when I’m saying a poly unsaturated fat like almonds, right? When you’re talking about nuts and seeds, it’s not that they’re bad and say, we were talking, and you said what? There’re endless studies about the health benefits of nuts and seeds and there are inherent, they’re healthy foods, but just the nature of the long chain molecule, not having hydrogen attached to it on all sides leaves it unstable. Right?
This is why we want to put nuts and seeds in the refrigerator in an airtight container because they’re sensitive to light, heat, and air, and so the saturated fats are not the healthy, high quality saturated fats like the good animal fats and butter and ghee and coconut oil. Those are going to help create more stability within the body as you’re going through your healing process and so the right amount and structure fat is really important to healing. And so, it’s like the right macro ratio of fat and then also the right combination of the fat that you’re eating.
Ari Whitten: Gotcha. So, you’re in an interesting territory here with regards to your views on some food groups and macronutrients and it like it’s, you’re a little bit in no man’s land to some extent.
Christa Orecchio: That’s how my career has gone.
The difference between Christa Orecchio’s and Ray Peat’s work
Ari Whitten: So, what I, what I mean by that is in general, the people who are advocates of lots of saturated fat consumption are generally low carb, Ketoadvocates that sort of crowd and they’re promoting, you know, the idea that consuming lots of saturated fats is really good for you. and then those people are generally, they would not agree with you that people should be carbburners and people are not getting enough carbs and that people should be prioritizing fruits and root vegetables and you know, you are consuming carbs frequently to avoid stress responses.
They would not agree with you on any of those things. And then you have the sort of, you know, some, some other crowds that might agree with you on the carb burner thing, like let’s say a lot of the Vegan diet or Vegan Diet Gurus, but who would vehemently disagree with you about consuming lots of saturated fat. So, you’re, again, your kind of in a little bit of no man’s land but, but the, the person that is closest to you of all the different diet gurus is his Ray Peat.
And it sounds like you’ve been, to me, it sounds like you’ve been, maybe influenced a little bit by his mode of thinking and this certainly there are lots of layers of good stuff there. But I’m curious, you know, and first of all, am I correct that you have been influences?
Christa Orecchio: Yes, about five years ago I really got into, into re Pete’s work and um, I took a lot of powerful influence and started using that in my practice, started using it for myself. But I just want to touch back with you for a second. The saturated fat, like, so to be clear, we’re not, you know, it’s all within reason, so it’s, it’s, it’s within balance.
So, a lot of people, they might not even end up eating more saturated fat than they were eating before this just manipulating the ratio.
Ari Whitten: Gotcha.
Christa Orecchio: We don’t realize it. Like if you’re going to eat something, like if you’re going to make a steak right, and you’re going to add more fat to that, that’s going to be too much saturated fat if you’re going to cook that steak in butter. So, I’m not advocating an overabundance of saturated fat. If that makes sense.
Ari Whitten: Gotcha. So on, this is just my own curiosity on this point. At this point on with regards to Ray Peat. Ray Peat, I think from my perspective, this is my judgment on, you know, being very familiar with what he teaches myself. Yeah, I definitely think there are layers of good stuff there. There’re also some layers that to me just appear wildly out of connection with the existing body of evidence.
And I’ll give you a couple examples just to see. I’m curious whether you agree or don’t agree with his take on things. One thing he’s an advocate of is sterilizing the gut, so like having a sterile microbiome like he, he will cite research for example, in in rats where they showed that sterilizing the microbiome through use of antibiotics to essentially kill everything in the microbiome was associated with this or that benefit and so he’ll use that as an example to say sterile microbiomes are better than having a microbiome full of lots of diversity of organisms. Like I think pretty much every microbiome scientist would agree with at this point.
Christa Orecchio: That has been wholly disproven. Like time again. Yeah. So, I’m just kind of like what we talked about, you know, when we talked about the institute for Integrative Nutrition, I [inaudible]. It’s just like what I love is how they can put together just a myriad of dietary theories and there’s so many. There’s no one right one out there, but there’s pearls of wisdom from each one and that’s why I left private practice. It’s like, oh, I can take this from that directory, this one, that one, this one, and put this together in such a unique way that helps this individual person. Right. And so, I’ve, I’ve taken 15,000 people through microbiome rejuvenation and I will tell you that is wholly wrong.
Ari Whitten: That’s exactly why I brought that up is because I know I know your background and specializing in the microbiome. So, I figured there must be no chance that you could possibly agree with that, which I’m glad to hear as the case. But a couple of other examples.
One is Peat opposes consumption of Greens, so like green leafy vegetables, he does not advocate and in general advisor advises avoiding fibers. So, like he’ll advise consuming orange juice but no pulp, no, like only the juice of the orange without any pulp.
Christa Orecchio: That depends. And so first of all, I’m not a fan of not eating Greens and so they are loaded with micronutrients in his whole take on that. I don’t agree with, I don’t actually know if there’s any tangible research on it where he says that they have their own inherent pesticide factory that they grow with and to keep invaders from, from eating them. So, then we eat that, but we, we feel better. We know the micronutrients, we know the studies are there, but it’s within moderation for me fo r Oxalis, right? I don’t want you drinking 32 ounces of green juice every day and so even healthy food within the right balance and moderation. And I’m sorry, what was right after greens? What? What was it?
Ari Whitten: What was that?
Christa Orecchio: The orange juice instead. So, so my take on that is not a Ray Pete’s take. It’s just what amount of fiber can a person handle because now I’m going back to putting on my microbiome rejuvenation hat and the people that were coming to me with SIBO and parasitic infections, multiple autoimmune disorders know they actually, they’re buying doesn’t know what to with that fiber. In the end, if you have a microbiome that you have too much, too many different pathogens driving, which most people with microbiome imbalance do.
Let’s say they’re flipped like 80 percent bad pathogens, 20 percent good, and then you start feeding it with fiber and prebiotics like you are not sure what you’re feeding in there. So, we suspend most of most additional fibers. We suspend most additional fibers until we understand that we have now re-seeded, we understand the diversity in there, we know what we’re feeding instead of just throwing lighter fluid on like something hap hazard. Right? So, it’s not that I agree or disagree with Ray Peat in that sense. It really comes down to what are you digesting and how.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, and to be clear, I actually agree with your point, but that isn’t his take on it. He doesn’t present a nuanced version of that where it’s like don’t do fiber, if your microbiome is dissed, if you have dysbiosis and want to assess that and then you know up your fiber. If you have a good microbiome, his take is like more of a blanket sort of in general and it’s maybe, you know, hardcore Ray Peat advocates would maybe accuse me of slightly misrepresenting this, but I’d say overall, most people who study Ray Peat come away with the conclusion that Greens are bad essentially like period.
And that gen one should avoid fiber and avoid orange juice, orange fruit, fiber and greens, you know, fiber from greens and fiber from legumes and things like that. And I think, you know, to me this is just wildly out of, um, out of congruent with the overall body of evidence.
But I do agree with certainly your exception to the rule that if somebody has dysbiosis, certainly feeding it with lots of, even the stuff that has good evidence for it, some of the prebiotic fibers can create problems in those people. 100%.
Christa Orecchio: Yeah. Not to get too far into digestive health, fitness, like, yeah, but if for whenever you’re healing the gut, you have to flash the inflammatory process. You’ve got to suspend it, and then you have to interrupt pathogen production, right? You have to interrupt the way these pathogens communicate so that they can no longer communicate, they can no longer replicate, they can’t share their genetic code anymore. And so that’s, you interfere with that step if you were haphazardly using fiber and prebiotics. Right.
And then once you know, once you’ve got that under control, that’s when you would receive with really specific strains of probiotics. Right. Because you can mess up putting probiotics into early as well and so that’s when you know what you’re working with and you can reseed with probiotics and then you get to. Then you can start to add in prebiotics, probiotics, optimize hydrochloric acid and you know, really kind of get the body working again on its own and not tend to the garden, so to speak.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. I’m with you. Final Ray Peat question.
Christa Orecchio: Yeah. More about Ray Peat than I do to be honest. I didn’t study it.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. I, I, many years ago I went through a Ray Peat phase. You know, I’ve, I’ve been through a lot of phases. I was, you know, it’s funny to me that Keto is popular now. I was doing keto when I was 17 years old and you’re nearly 20 years ago before anybody knew what Keto was and so raised.
Christa Orecchio: You’re raising holistic household though, right?
Ari Whitten: I was also, you know, I started when I was 14 years old. My older brother was a personal trainer and a bodybuilder. And so, I… And then I had a very obsessive personality, so whenever I got interested in something and sort of all I wanted to do and you know, well let’s just say I’ve been interested in nutrition and health for 20 some years now. It’s been a, it’s been a long, long time and it, and I have a bit of an extreme personality too, so I’ve been on lots of very extreme diets of chugging, you know, cream and, and red meat diets and everything to that from raw veganism and sort of everything in between. But Yeah, Ray Peat was certainly one of my phases.
Christa Orecchio: I think it’s good because it makes you relatable, right? Like I’m maybe not to that extreme, but definitely use… I’ve been my own lab rat. I’m trying. Okay. Before I can recommend something, I want to see what my experience of it is, you know, within my own body and my own state.
Ari Whitten: Totally. So, one other aspect to Ray Peat is sugar. He is a, and I think he’s probably literally the only nutrition guru who has this stance regardless of side, of all the different sort of diet cults. I’m pretty sure he’s alone on this one, which has refined sugar consumption. He is actually an advocate of it and advises people to even like add refined sugar into orange juice or into milk and consume extra sugar with the idea in mind that it’s combating stress hormones. So, what, what is, what is your take on that?
Christa Orecchio: Yeah. I’m like, uh, I vehemently opposed to that. Especially when I say, you know, I say I was raised on pizza, pasta, and antibiotics. You know I was such a sugar junkie and have helped so many people heal from sugar addiction. And it is real. I mean, it lights up dopamine in the brain, but at the same way, right. The study showed same way heroin does, so we can’t use the white stuff that kills the good gut bacteria. It leeches your b vitamins at Leeches, your minerals so that that would be a trying to rob Peter to pay Paul type of the situation.
But using fruit and root where you’re giving something that has the natural easy to digest fiber that slows the release of glucose to deliver it in a steady way. That’s the type of sugar that we’re talking about and it’s loaded with these micro nutrients that you’re deficient in any way.
It’s like, yeah, that’s the type of sugar that I’m a fan of and have been since the beginning of my career 15 years ago.
Ari’s secret snack favorite
Ari Whitten: Yeah, I’m with you on that. And I eat a ton of fruit and I will also say that purple sweet potatoes are, are my weakness. I love purple sweet potatoes and especially, I mean there’s so many good ways to eat them, but especially when you, you bake them, like you make them into wedges and then you bake. I’m sort like thick cut fries but baked instead of fried.
Christa Orecchio: Yeah.
Ari Whitten: And I get a little, you know, I’ll get, I’ll get this. This is one of my secrets I’m releasing now to the world for the first time, but a little bit of honey with some cinnamon as a little bit of dipping sauce for those purple sweet potatoes. Try it. If it sounds, it might sound weird to some of you listening, but…
Christa Orecchio: I’ll try that. We use raw honey, I love raw honey. Interesting. Maybe can you put a little mustard in there too?
Ari Whitten: Now you’re weirding me out. I’m more of a sweet guy and then a savory guy
Christa Orecchio: I lean towards the mustard, [inaudible].
The importance of customized nutrient ratios
Ari Whitten: So anyway. Well thank you for indulging me in that Ray Peat digression, but back to your six pillars. Number five, what is number five?
Christa Orecchio: Okay. So, going back to, to his work about finding the be customized nutrient ratio. That is something I’m interested in and a fan of because you find the right amount of protein, carbs, and fats for your unique body that you need. Like I said, you can shut off the stress response and so using real time feedback, using temperature and using pulse as that marker instead of running like five labs, I would run in private practice.
It’s using temperature and pulse to see if you’re an inflammatory state where you’re not and if that meal worked for you or if it didn’t. And you know, we know that blood sugar and temperature, there’s a correlation and you can regulate your blood sugar. and there are things like ovulation and temperature and things like that, you know, of outside hot drinks that will influence temperature. So, using pulse is, is it kind of a good backup measure to see, okay, how does this, how is this meal working for or against you? Do you need more fat? Do you need more protein? Do you need more carbs? So, so helping you find that exact ratio and that has been pretty life changing for several clients that I’ve worked with, you know, for when I first started getting, you know five years ago and to this work and mine was from an entrepreneur is a mess.
How I got myself into this state and that really helped pull me out of it and subsequently so many other people with thyroid dysfunction. Really. So, um…
Ari Whitten: By the way, is it entrepreneurism or entrepreneurism?
Christa Orecchio: I think it’s both. It just depends how bad it is.
Ari Whitten: So, how does that actually work as far as measuring temperature and pulse? Do you have any sort of practical recommendations on, on how that plays out? Hang on, I’m just going to plug in
Christa Orecchio: For a second. How does that play out for measuring your temperature and pulse?
Ari Whitten: Like what, how do you recommend people go about that or, or use temperature and pulse to get any sort of useful feedback on what they consumed in whether it was good or bad for them.
Christa Orecchio:So, they should check their temperature and their pulse. I would say maybe three or four times throughout the day, like in the morning and before bed and then 20 minutes after a meal. Because if your meal work for you then your food is thermogenic, it’s going to create energy and if it didn’t work for you, you’re going to be low. And so, you want to be able to check, so you want to be within a range of 97 point six to 98 point six, you want to be roughly within that range of 36,5 Celsius to 37 Celsius if you are, if you’re working on, if you’re in the metric system.
So, and then you want to use your pulse, take your pulse should really be somewhere between 75 and 80. And so a lot of people, and you know this, this is just a testament to exercise, right? It’s like when our circulation is better and what the amazing power of exercise can do. The right exercise is we are able to, we get this thermogenic effect, and everything flows and circulation’s better. And so, it’s, when you’re in this depleted state, circulation isn’t so great and you’re, you tend to have a low pulse.
Ari Whitten: Gotcha. Excellent. So, um, as far as the measurement, 20 minutes after a meal, what they’re, what we’re looking for is that pulse shouldn’t drop too much and, and that a body temperature shouldn’t be too low. Correct?
Christa Orecchio: Correct. Yeah. And you know, I recommend you do that for three days in a row and come write down and see where you are because that’s going to give you just from whatever you’re eating changed nothing. Right? And, and do that for three days in. See, okay, am I running chronically low? Yeah. My body’s having a hard time getting out of this state. My body’s about hard time regulating blood sugar and so I probably need to make some changes to make it a little bit easier.
And you start noticing it. Like, of course, you get cold hands and feet, right? And wait, when you have thyroid problems tend towards constipation and so you start to have those problems and that will be reflected also in temperature and pulse.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. I’m curious, have you looked, do you know who Matt Stone is? Have you looked into his work at all? Okay. He, he’s actually a friend of mine. I don’t agree with pretty much anything he says from a diet perspective and, and, and I’m sure he would say the same about me
He’s, I forget what the movement is called, but it’s something like within the sort of obesity related research community and, and sort of there’s a, there’s a particular movement and there’s one researcher in particular that has led this movement that’s sort of… it’s sort of like a body acceptance movement that the basic jest of it without. I’ll sum this up, try and I’ll try and send this up relatively quickly. But the basic gist of it is like people can’t lose weight. Like diets fail.
It’s impossible to lose weight. Anybody who does lose weight is going to gain it back so you might as well not even attempt to lose weight because it’s a total waste of time and it will eventually, not only, not only is it a waste of time, but it will actually harm you in the long run.
And there’s an element of truth in that which is that like if somebody adopts stupid, unsustainable diets in a short term basis and they’re not really making sustainable lifestyle changes, they’re just want to go on so and so extreme diet for 30 days or 60 days, try and lose the weight and then they think they’re going to be good after that and they can go back to their old habits. I agree that that’s going to be harmful in the long run if you have many cycles of that, but their view is that sort of any attempt to lose weight is a bad idea and it’s inevitable that it’s going to be counterproductive and ultimately harm your metabolic health and you’ll be fatter in the long run and unhealthier, um, and you’re torturing yourself in the process.
So, Matt Stone is part of that movement and that’s part of his general message, but he’s also part of the, he’s been heavily influenced by Ray Peat’s thinking and he’s also created a sort of his own methodology of eating that revolves specifically around temperature and pulse to some extent, but really body temperature as sort of a key guide to metabolic health. And he actually has written a book called eat for heat that is specifically about how to eat in order to keep your body temperature very high.
And, but, but it’s, it’s too, and this is the part that I really don’t agree with. He’s advocating a style of eating that is diametrically opposed to pretty much all of the nutritional evidence in the sense that he’s advocating for people to consume lots, lots of food, enough food that most people will gain lots of body fat eating the way he’s advocating and lots of processed food. And even, you know, fast food and all kinds of like junk process food he has really no problem with.
And lie I said, he’s, he, I haven’t, I have absolutely nothing against the guy. He’s a personal friend of mine. I actually love him. He’s got a great sense of humor. He’s a super nice guy.
But as far as I’m concerned, like his dietary methodologies are I think counterproductive. Uh, and so anyway, I think you can, I mean certainly you can take anything to an extreme where it’s harmful, but this is an example of I think just someone who has taken the kind of idea of temperature as an indicator of metabolic health too. Like he’s like, you know, eat tons, tons and tons of refined carbs and salt then that’s going to elevate your body temperature. And I think it just gets really…
Christa Orecchio: And it does. Salt, and sugar does elevate your, by the way, to get yourself really sick really fast. Okay. So, to that end, I have to say, first of all, my whole approach to health throughout my private practice and everything, people come, they want to gain weight or lose weight. They want this, they want that. It’s just what’s going on in their body and how do we create balance. They can have whatever goals they want. If we can create balance, the body will heal itself. That’s just fundamental health.
Right, and so without going on too much of a tangent, like a month or so ago, I went to a woman in science event at the Salk Institute in La Jolla and they were they. It was an art exhibit and so it. It was all these organisms done in art and it was so cool because they talked about how art and science meet each other, right? How, how science is.
Science is the subject is the objective assessment. Art is the art is going to be. Your art is going to be. I’m sorry, so science is going to be objective and then the art is subjective. Right? And so, it was about what the field of microscopy would not exist. The scientific field of microscopy that is changed human biology since we had it so we could understand these organs would not exist without art because of the artist’s interpretation from the scientists telling them about it. They could then draw these organisms naked and create something that they didn’t.
They couldn’t build that bridge, so you can’t just rely on lab work or you can’t just rely on any objective assessments, so, so temperature and pulse, their objective assessments and just lab work could be, but it ultimately means nothing without the overlay of the individual. Right? So, we’re having them tuning into themselves often for the first time.
And to your point has. You’re saying, what about following this person and that person in this side and not touch? It’s about shutting out the rest of the world. It’s about shutting out dogma and it’s about tuning into yourself. It’s about creating parasympathetic moments about knowing does this work for me or not? How’s my digestion? How did I sleep? What are my moods? Where’s my anxiety, what’s triggering me, how did I breathe, which is our sixth pillar, and so that by taking that subjective assessment, it will bring. Then there was going to bring the objective assessment to life and actually make it mean something. So that’s where I would differ from your friend Matt in, in one, of 100 ways. Probably.
The sixth pillar – breathing
Ari Whitten: Excellent. Love it. So, pillar number six. Breath.
Christa Orecchio: Yeah. So, the breath is the, it’s the remote control of the brain and the nervous system and it’s so underutilized. So, it’s really its breath and its movement because a lot of, a lot of those of us who are in this state, we can’t be doing any major detoxes and he any major cleansings we’re already depleted. And so, if you’re going to go do some crazy cleanse, you’re probably going to end up getting sicker and then generating more of these stress hormones. But oxygen is the safest and the gentlest detoxifier that we have. And so, we’re using it to be able to do that. But also, obviously, you need oxygen. You need thyroid. You need glucose inside the cell to be able to make and burn energy. And so using that combined with using specific movement through yoga, foam rolling and really just getting out again, you know, walking and moving that that’s going to help so much to be transformative and we have to be able to use the yoga and the foam rolling because when the hip flexors and[inaudible] tight, you know, they call that the junk drawers of emotional storage and that forces us to just breathe through our chest and it perpetuates the problem and forces us to stay in our sympathetic nervous system.
So again, it’s just a holistic approach to opening up the body in a way and being conscious of breathing in your, we call them parasympathetic moments. So, throughout your day, being conscious of breathing your exhalations, extending them longer than your inhalation. And then
also doing, you know, targeted five-minute, five-minute exercises twice a day to your breathing.
Ari Whitten: Excellent. Five-minute breath related exercises.
Christa Orecchio: Yeah.
Ari Whitten: Gotcha. Cool. So, the last part of this, these are the six pillars, but these are really sort of addressing the physical side of health. I know one of the things we talked about in person is you are a big believer in the idea that, and certainly there’s lots of science to back you up on this, that emotional health, psychological health, and you could also use the word spiritual aspects of things are, are also a big factor in our health.
So, talk to me about what you think is going on there.
Christa Orecchio: Yeah. So, so the second part of this is because this is called the adrenal recode, and what we really want to do is help people recode in a way that’s permanent, no way that they can live healthy, completely different life going forward. So, you can do the physical healing, but then what happens the next time a major life stressor comes down the pike, which it probably will because we’re all having a human experience is what are your normal ways of reacting? You know, what is that? Because you have a thought and that thought leads to an emotion and that emotion drives your physiological process. is going to drive the release of cortisol. It’s going to drive up, you know, it’s going to force the release of adrenaline first and then cortisol.
And so how can we start to respond to life instead of reacting to life and so this entire second part of this is we really start with is emotional mastery, so to speak is recoding, creating new mental-emotional patterns and ways of responding. I don’t know how much time we have or how much you want me to get into it.
Ari Whitten: We have like five or 10 minutes more where we’re a little over time, but this is good stuff. I’m happy to go a little overtime as long as you have time.
Christa Orecchio: This is a really long podcast. Yeah, so. So, I’ll give you the example and I’m my own what this to me is my most personal work that I’ve done in my career in, in the last since I started the whole journey 13 years ago. And so yes, I’ve done this work. Yes, I know how to balance my neurotransmitters and thyroid and adrenals and I pulled myself out from entrepreneurism using this whole physical approach, but there was still that constant. It’s a constant the way you respond to stress.
And so, I had a major stressful situation happened, which I filed for divorce when I was two months pregnant to escape an abusive situation. That’s a pretty intense thing to go through, but you are growing this child and you have all these fears, right? Like how I am going to keep him safe and me safe from, from you know, the abuse.
How am I going to be the sole provider? How am I going to go through this stuff alone? You could really go down a rabbit hole and a lot of people have a lot of things going on that can really take you down a rabbit hole into fear and you’ve got to find a way to get in your elevator and press the button and rise above the energy of fear and intimidation so that you don’t feel it. And I had more motivation than I’ve ever had in my life because it wasn’t just about me anymore. What that stress would do to my body is I am a holistic person. I wrote a book on fertility and prenatal health. I was not going to let my son incubator in a body that was filled with stress hormones and so that’s when I started diving in and developing part two of the adrenal recode.
Well, I wasn’t developing it for the Adrenal recode is developing for myself. I want to pay it forward and be able to share it and so that’s where that came from and so we focus on dismantling limiting beliefs. That’s the beginning. That’s just one of four modules. That’s within the Adrenal recode program is these are beliefs that we all. I don’t know how much you’ve dove into this because they know her so well researched. It’s been a long-time studying psychology, but you know, we do create a set of layers of limiting beliefs from age zero to seven.
Like we’re, we’re egocentric. We have no other way to be as children and so you develop limiting beliefs and for me mine was, I have to do everything by myself. It’s not true, but when thought and belief and life experience combined, you’re locked into a way of being and so that ended up.
I kind of attracted this whole situation. I was able to be able to take accountability for bringing that forth and then to dismantle it and have now more support, more love, more everything that I’ve always wanted in my life as a result of going through what I went through and being able to recode and that there’s more to that story, but unless you can do this work and then you really learn to take that accountability to do the forgiveness work, that’s when you can have genuine gratitude for the endless things there are that every one of us has to be grateful for in life, and that’s when you can start to really live in your essence and claim your power as a human being. That’s always been there. It’s just kind of removing the layers and so the record is about healing physically and learning how to create this emotional mastery, so you don’t react out of past fear or triggers. You’re responding as your present self to a present situation so you don’t end up back there physically again and life will happen. So, we’ll teach you how to integrate and kind of do the dance as life goes on.
Ari Whitten: Excellent. What, what is your preferred sort of methodologies around how to accomplish that sort of recoding of, of limiting beliefs and that sort of thing. Do you have any particular techniques that you favor or anything like that?
Christa Orecchio: Yes, but if we only have a few minutes, I don’t know how, how…
Ari Whitten: You can name it if you want or give like a very brief overview of it. Yeah. I don’t expect you to guide us through the technique practically or.
Christa Orecchio: Yes, so and we’re were working on a, a to two women who were life coaches for Tony Robbins for about a decade and we teamed up with this process of helping people, first of all, understand where like what are sample beliefs and understanding that you have. You have a memorized self and you have a present self. And the memorized self this just is like, we need that because we don’t need. We don’t want to be president every time we’re driving, or we want to be able to walk into gum at the same time. You need to memorize self for those things. But what happens is we, we, we lock in this way of behaving from what we observed, and we lock that in as our memorized selves and that’s our way of responding and reacting to things.
And you know, unlike you, I was raised in a very reactive household, not a holistic household, not a holistic, you know, and it was, it was that whole Italian, New Jersey.
Everything’s a big deal, that type of thing, which there’s a lot of love there too. but you learned that overreaction is just the… that’s just reacting, right? And so everybody has to be able to understand, okay, and then we will work to have them understand what their memorized self is and what are these beliefs and when we just work on the limiting beliefs, one or two, because there are layers that are going to be the big rocks that are going to put them back into this nervous system dysfunction.
And we work and we start to examine the beliefs. And I really liked the work of Byron Katie. I like the work of Joe Dispenza. I like the work of Bruce Lipton and we’re really starting to examine the beliefs and we’re starting to then dismantle them. Starting to question them, start to dismantle them and kind of poke holes in the story so, so the light can get in, you know. so, then we can start to get the truth in there and then we can start to then revolve the belief, and I’m really grossly oversimplifying it for the sake of time.
But you, you have to also release trapped negative emotions from the body. And that’s one big thing that really helped me as I worked privately with a sematic therapist because emotions are stored in our body and we just like, we have to eliminate toxins. These negative emotions, they are toxins. They need to be released. just like we have to change your diet. We release them, we replace them with positive emotions and it’s a new way of operating going forward. But just like we have to constantly interrupt that pattern of living off stress hormones through the physiological approach. You have to constantly interrupt the pattern. The tape that’s been running in your head for 20, 30 or 40 years, so that’s another biochemical shift, but not until you get the physical healing to where you feel calmer, quieter. Are you going to be open to doing the next level of work that’s going to really make sure you don’t end up back there?
The Adrenal Recode
Ari Whitten: Excellent. I love it. Well, Christa, this has been an absolute pleasure. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation and I love the nuance and sophistication and critical thinking that you’re bringing to a lot of these other ideas that are floating around on the diet sort of interwebs. And uh, I really appreciate the perspective that you’re sharing and this paradigm I think is extremely useful and beneficial for people.
So, you’re launching the Adrenal Recode. when are you launching that?
Christa Orecchio: Yeah, so you’ll be able to enroll in tearing on recode from December 18th through January sixth and then it goes away because we all go live together and we implement this on January eighth, but I have a free mini course for everyone with action items, so things you can start eating and doing right away, going out on the 11th and all of that is at the adrenalrecode.com. Yep.
Ari Whitten: Well we’ll put a link to that on the podcast page for this episode as well, the energy blueprint.com/Christa, and maybe we’ll talk after this podcast episode if you can arrange any sort of discount code for, for my audience or anything like that that we can have sort of a special link there. And we’ll put that link on theenergyblueprint.com/Christa. And so, you’ll have a series of videos, like a free masterclass or masterclass videos that you’ll release.
Christa Orecchio: Yeah. And, and so everything that we talked about today, it’s like, okay, here, do these three action items today and then build off of those action items for the rest of the course.
Ari Whitten: Excellent, so I will release this podcast during that time so that since there’s a very tight window and obviously it wouldn’t make sense to release this podcast two weeks after this window and have a lot of angry emails from people, uh, so I’ll make sure to release it either just before those dates or during that window and people can get access to the free masterclass and, excellent.
Well, Christa, thank you so much. It’s been an absolute pleasure and I hope to do this again with you sometime soon.
Christa Orecchio: Yes, likewise. Thanks for having me, Ari.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, my pleasure.
How To Overcome Anxiety and Stress, And Increase Your Energy with Christa Orecchio – Show Notes
What it means to live off stress hormones (1:30)
Why most people stay in stress mode (8:59)
The connection between the brain and the central nervous system (13:21)
The 6 pillars of health (19:30)
Foods that are synergistic with overcoming stress, anxiety, and fatigue (21:42)
Why Christa recommends frequent meals throughout the day (29:47)
Why fat (in the right amounts) is important (35:48)
The difference between Christa Orecchio’s and Ray Peat’s work (38:07)
Ari’s favorite snack (49:57)
The importance of customized nutrient ratios (51:00)
The sixth pillar – breathing (1:01:15)
The Adrenal Recode (1:12:24)
Get Christa’s Adrenal ReCode here