Episode 64
Margaret Floyd Barry:

Food Sensitivities and Autoimmunity

In this episode we dive into the gut-inflammation connection. My friend Margaret Floyd Barry joins us to walk us through the connection between food sensitivities and autoimmunity and how we can heal our gut to reclaim our health.
First Aired on: Dec 5, 2022
Episode 64
Margaret Floyd Barry:

Food Sensitivities and Autoimmunity

In this episode we dive into the gut-inflammation connection. My friend Margaret Floyd Barry joins us to walk us through the connection between food sensitivities and autoimmunity and how we can heal our gut to reclaim our health.
First Aired on: Dec 5, 2022
In this episode:
Margaret Floyd Barry is a functional nutritionist, writer and real food advocate who’s been on the pursuit of the most nutritious and delicious way of eating for the better part of her adult life.
Having seen family members suffer the devastating effects of chronic illness from a young age, Margaret has long had the desire to help others find a better way back to optimal health and wellbeing. Through years of experience working with the most complex client cases, including reversing her own autoimmune condition, Margaret has established a powerful system for restoring health by addressing the root cause of illness.
Today, Margaret teaches fellow practitioners the same proven system she uses to get her clients life-changing results through Restorative Wellness Solutions - a two-year comprehensive functional nutrition certification program for qualified health professionals.

I was so excited to record this episode, that we jump right in, and Margaret shares her personal story with us later in the episode.

Margaret shares how she thinks about autoimmunity:
The immune system has two jobs
-To protect us from pathogens
-Internal housekeeping
It is intended to discriminate between self and other, and friend and foe.
But...the immune system gets overworked when constantly exposed to triggers and it makes bad decisions.

Allergies have an IgE response and noticeable symptoms directly follow exposure.

Food intolerance occurs when we lack the digestive capacity to break a food down properly and digestive symptoms directly follow.  One common example is lactose intolerance.  We need sufficient lactase to break down lactose, and if we don't have enough, we get GI discomfort.
Food sensitivities can be tricky!  There are multiple mechanisms of action, and the symptoms may be extremely vague and delayed by several days.
Food sensitivity testing used alone is not enough!
Stool/gut testing to determine underlying causes is necessary so that true healing can occur while the sensitive foods are eliminated for 3-6 months.

Margaret doesn't use antibody testing.  An IgG test shows and immune response, but doesn't directly indicate inflammation is being caused.
She prefers the Mediator Release Test (MRT).

Margaret shares her journey with eczema that progressed into her twenties.  When it was on her eyelids and continuing to get worse, a friend suggested she see a Naturopath.
Margaret was put on an elimination diet, and her eczema cleared.
This was her intro into the idea that food could heal.
Margaret watched her mom lose her battle with multiple autoimmune conditions, including Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and is on a mission to help change the outcomes for others with complex autoimmunity.

Margaret runs Restorative Wellness Solutions, training other practitioners to use the same methodology and process she does to help others heal.  Over 1,000 practitioners from 15 countries have completed the training.

Margaret's 1 thing:
If you haven't already...GIVE UP GLUTEN FOR GOOD
If you have already gone completely gluten free, take an inventory of your lifestyle.  Consider how you are sleeping, eating, exercising, and managing stress and notice where you need to uplevel.

Other Resources:
Connect with Margaret Floyd Barry
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Episode Transcript

Julie Michelson: [Page//00:00:00] Welcome back to The Inspired Living with Autoimmunity podcast. I'm your host, Julie Michelson, and today we're joined by Margaret Floyd Berry, functional nutritionist, writer, and real food advocate, and we're talking about food sensitivities and autoimmunity. Through restorative wellness solutions, Margaret trains fellow practitioners, the proven system she uses to get her clients' life-changing results, and she's [Page//00:01:00] sharing that knowledge with us today.

I'm so excited to share our conversation with you as it has the power to truly allow you to heal.

Margaret, welcome to the podcast.

Margaret Floyd Barry: Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to chat.

Julie Michelson: I am thrilled that you're here. I, full disclosure before we hit record, was telling you how excited I am for our topic today. Anybody that knows me, In real life knows that this is something I talk about all the time. So I can't wait to dig in. And let's talk about this connection of food sensitivities and autoimmunity.

Margaret Floyd Barry: Absolutely. Let's do it.

Julie Michelson: Yes. So let's, you know, why are we even talking about food sensitivities? Like what is the. You know, importance. Well, yeah. Why do people, anyone with autoimmunity or I would say [Page//00:02:00] really any, any kind of inflammation going on. Why do they need to know about food sensitivities?

Margaret Floyd Barry: You just said the key word, which is inflammation, and I know that your audience is super well versed in autoimmunity, but I do wanna just like, I wanna explain the way I think about autoimmunity, cuz I think it's a really, I have a very sort of simple. Probably oversimplified way of thinking about it, but it helps to kind of bring it all together, which is, you know that, we know that our immune system has essentially two jobs, right?

It's protecting us from pathogens and it's doing internal housekeeping. And as part of these jobs, it has this really important mechanism of distinction and differentiation, basically, of being able to differentiate between self and other and between friend info. And that's, we know that what auto I. Is at its root is a failure of this mechanism where now it is attacking friendly self in a way that it would enemy fa, right?

And it's, it's making some kind, It's sort [Page//00:03:00] of misfiring. It's, it's, it's actually it, it, the distinction mechanism has gone awry for some reason. And so the question when you're addressing this from a functional perspective is, . And another sort of oversimplified, but I think helpful analogy is to think about this, you know, the immune system is a very, very sophisticated, wise mechanism and.

Yeah, if we are constantly taxing it and engaging it, then it will kinda like any of us, like, I don't know about you, but I know from me that when I am not getting a break and I am go, go, go, burning the candles of both ends, I start to make bad decisions. And essentially at its most basic, what's happening in an autoimmune disease is that immune system is being constantly engaged.

It's being just worked all the time, such that it's starting to make bad decisions. And so the question is, what is taxing the immune system? What is keeping it so busy? And inflammation is a [Page//00:04:00] process mediated, managed by the immune system and essential to it. So anything. That is driving inflammation in our body is going to be engaging that immune system.

Now, food sensitivities are by definition, as we ingest a food that should really be harmless, right? But we ingest a food and it's triggering some kind of inflammatory process in the body. And the thing with food sensitivities is that, you know, there's an important distinct. Food sensitivities versus food allergies versus like a food intolerance, like a lactose intolerance.

So, you know, a food allergy, you know, just to, to geek out on the immune system. Come on, it's IgE. So it's mediated by IgE antibodies. And the thing with this is, this reaction happens really quickly, right? Like, you eat the peanuts, you break out in the hives, you know, you, you eat the shellfish, you throw it up, right?

Like, there's not a

Julie Michelson: know,

Margaret Floyd Barry: you know, Especially as [Page//00:05:00] we become adults, right? Kids, a little bit less so because they're not exposed to things, you know, they can't communicate what's going on as easily. But for adults at this point in our lives, most of us are really clear on foods that we get an immediate response with.

And then same kind of thing with food intolerances. And I realize the language of food intolerance, food sensitivity gets really kind of mish mashed. But let's talk about food intolerances and define them for the sake of this conversation. As a digestive, a lack of digestive capacity. To actually break down a component of that food.

So a classic example of this is a lactose intolerance, right? So the body does not produce the enzyme lactase that is required to digest the milk sugar lactose. And again, it doesn't take a lot of trial and error. Like people with lactose intolerance rarely are like confused by the fact that when they eat the ice cream or drink the glass of milk, that they have pretty significant and uncomfortable digest.

Symptoms shortly thereafter. Like it happens within the matter of some people minutes. For some people hours, but [Page//00:06:00] it's quick,

Julie Michelson: and it's a digestive symptom. So it's easy to connect

Margaret Floyd Barry: easily to be like, Ooh, that didn't sit well. Right. Whereas a food sensitivity, it's complicated for a number of reasons. So there's multiple mechanisms within the body that trigger it, but it can also be delayed.

And I think that's one of the most important and trickiest components when we're talking about food sensitivities, is, you know, here we are when we're recording this, we're talking on a Wednesday. You know, we could have eaten something for lunch today on a Wednesday that doesn't actually, Eli. A response for two to three days.

So by Saturday I'm not thinking about what I ate today. Right? Like, and this is one of the reasons why elimination diets are so freaking challenging and make people want to rip out their hair, is because it's like, I cannot figure out the correlations and it's this delayed response that is so difficult.

And it also, you can have foods that you are moderately sensitive to, are mildly sensitive to. [Page//00:07:00] It's not like you eat them and even if you had an immediate reaction, it might not be symptomatically that loud, but it's sort of like the steady, slow drip, right? Like the sort of Chinese water torture. It will really build symptoms over time.

Julie Michelson: plus there's usually multiple foods. Adding to the, the situation, which is, is part of the, the tricky part too. You know, it's, it's not like, Oh, I have a food sensitivity. It usually, by the time you have one, you have more. And I'm guessing we'll touch on on that as well. So this is why this is such a passion point, and, and I love, I love the different perspectives.

This is why I actually love the elimination diet. I love the proper reintroduction phase. And, and maybe we'll talk a little bit about that as, as we get into kind of, you know, how.

Margaret Floyd Barry: Mm-hmm.

Julie Michelson: this and you touched on it before. But I see it all the time, so I have to highlight. We're [Page//00:08:00] not talking about, although there could be a sensitivity to an inflammatory food, we're not talking about the gluten, the dairy, the sugar, the things that we would, you know, you could read a book and go take out on your own and, and know to look for we're talking about.

Yes, those. But what I see all the time with people who've been on this journey a while, it's the healthy foods, it's the nutrient dense foods cuz they're trying to eat so well and be so healthy. So I'm excited to, to dig in further. I wasn't kidding before. This is making me so happy. this conversation.

People need, They really do need to understand. And, and even now, I hear all the time when I say, cuz I am personally sensitive to dairy and, and people will say, Oh yeah, I'm lactose intolerant. And I'm like, No, no, no, it's different. So you did such a good job explaining I think to me the simple explanations are, are the best.

And I love that the idea of. [Page//00:09:00] Like the decision fatigue that our immune system is

Margaret Floyd Barry: totally.

Julie Michelson: it just loses precision. It really does. Yeah. So we're leaning in, we're like, Hmm, , okay. You know, I don't have gut symptoms, so I never really thought about food being a thing. You know, walk us through. I know you have this amazing process. I'm guessing since you're not a big fan of the elimination diet that you, you like testing. Tell me, tell me, you know, what do people do? How do you even explore, you know, what you're sensitive to?

Margaret Floyd Barry: Well, I wanna qualify that. So let's talk about elimination diets for a moment, because for some people as a particularly as a starting point, it can be really, really helpful. Right? Like, so I think, and, and to your point, we're not talking about the usual suspect here. So if you have autoimmune and you have not, Yet eliminated gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, processed oils.

Okay, That's the starting [Page//00:10:00] point. You do that for a lot of people, that's enough, right? I mean, you think about toast things. I say them and it's like only five things. Every one of those is ubiquitous in the modern diet. So that's not a small project,

Julie Michelson: Then, but, but if you just, just eliminate those things, you're left with a real food diet, right? So, so we're at this point now, we're avoiding, you know, the clearly obviously inflammatory processed foods and things. And, and you're right, some people do, you know, will do like, even like a whole. and they have remarkable results. And it's, I always am in awe that I was able to even start my healing journey now that I know like really what was underneath all of it. So just removing some of those things was at least enough for me to get my brain working again so I could investigate further.

Margaret Floyd Barry: Yeah, well it's removing a really [Page//00:11:00] significant inflammatory burden and you know, to your point, even in the absence of digestive symptoms, if we're thinking about what triggers an immune and an inflammatory response, if we're eating for most people multiple times a day, foods that are unknowingly triggering that inflammatory response Now, inflammation.

Yes. In some cases we can feel it like, and it really depends a little bit on your sort of constitutional weakness. So if your constitutional weakness is like in your joints, then inflammation for you might be like sore, sore joints, sore, you know, elbows and wrists and toes and fingers, right? Like that.

Can definitely be where you feel it, but inflammation is not always for every person, something that you overtly feel in a creaky body. That's one manifestation. And for some people it can appear as headaches. For some people it can appear as skin issues. For some people it can appear as joints, but for some people it's, it's a lot more silent symptomatically, which in many ways is actually more.

Because it, there isn't something sort of yelling, like [Page//00:12:00] people you know, sometimes will be like, I hate that whenever I eat this food, my body does this. And I'm like, Well,

Julie Michelson: Stop eating the food

Margaret Floyd Barry: but it's actually your body's communicating to you really loudly and really clearly that when you do x, y happens, and now you have.

Very clear information about what doesn't work. Now what you do with that information is up to you. But, but it's communicating very clearly. It's when it's, it's subtler, it's under the surface. And we know that inflammatory processes can be at work long before they, you feel anything amiss in your body, Symptomatically.

That's actually where real trouble can start. So it's important to remember, you know, we think about what are the things that are taxing that immune system, that are causing that decision fatigue. And if we're eating foods that are creating an inflammatory or triggering an inflammatory process in our body every day.

Multiple times a day right there. That is a very, very significant burden on the immune system. So even just picking out those really overtly [Page//00:13:00] pro-inflammatory foods that are inflammatory in everybody is gonna be a really big step in the right direction. And then you. And then you take it to that next level of like, let's now look at an elimination diet.

So I'm not gonna consider those, you know, the sort of the usual suspects, an elimination diet. I realize that for some people that does feel like an elimination diet, but that's really just taking out the heavy hitters. But thinking of an elimination diet, you know, there's, there's different strategies.

You know, whether it's autoimmune protocol, whether it is the walls diet, whether, you know, there's d. Ways that you can go about this, the gaps diet. And I've seen all of these things used and for some people very successfully, and that's now taking a whole other layer of foods out that in many people, not in all people, but in many people, are going to trigger that inflammatory process.

Or be challenging on the digestion. And I think that's actually an important additional piece here because we know that 80% of the immune system lives in and around the gut. If you're eating something that stresses your [Page//00:14:00] digestion, which again you might not feel symptomatically that is going to be a stressor on the immune system as well.

So that's a really beautiful way that these elimination diets can be a really good next. , my clientele tend to come to me having been on these for a while and still feeling miserable. And this is where I think the value of testing comes in. Because what can happen is that someone's on a very restrictive diet and can start to be afraid of eating a lot of things and they still don't feel right and likely.

They're avoiding foods they could be eating while still eating foods that are triggering inflammation. And you mentioned, you know, this can be healthy foods. I mean, I've seen things as apparently innocuous as lettuce,

Julie Michelson: Oh, many types of lettuces.

Margaret Floyd Barry: Right. You know, or turmeric. I mean, that's a big one. The number of people that I've seen with turmeric.

Julie Michelson: me. [Page//00:15:00] After years of pounding, terminated, you know,

Margaret Floyd Barry: It's now become, it's now doing the opposite in your body, in your, you know, based on your bioindividuality in this moment. And so it's, it's hard to figure that out with a true elimination unless you're to go to, and even this, you know, I know some people will go all the way to like a carnivore diet or an animal based diet where they're really dramatically limiting consumption.

And as you say, the key to this is a really systematic, slow reintroduction process. Hard for a lot of people to do properly. 

Julie Michelson: I have the, I take the same perspective as you as far as I, I always say we, we want to be on the most varied nutrient dense body that, or body diet that supports our body, which is gonna look different. And I will say I'm a huge fan. I mean, you name a program and I'm trained in it, and a huge fan of, if you look at these.

[Page//00:16:00] Protocols that have like a standard kind of, you know, eat this, don't eat that. They're all very similar in that A, they're all paleo, they're all high fat, low carb, you know, they're, they're really parts and pieces that there's such an overlap between them. And then there's these little nuances that are different.

I am an AIP coach. It's very restrictive

Margaret Floyd Barry: It is.

Julie Michelson: and. I can, I believe a hundred percent across the board. And, and again, it could be because by the time people are finding me and they've tried stuff on their own but, but these are the people that are sensitive to spinach and, you know, lettuce and broccoli and things that, that they're eating on the pro, you know, but they're, because they're not eating, they're avoiding all this other stuff.

I, I used to, in the beginning, if someone wasn't getting the results, I thought they, you know, was expecting we would test. And I, we just, I mean, if, if you, if [Page//00:17:00] you're working with me, we're testing right away. I mean, it just doesn't, who wants to wait to heal? We just, we don't wanna wait.

Margaret Floyd Barry: No, we don't at all. And I think, you know, I, I agree with everything that you're saying, and I think that important pieces to recognize too is that alongside identifying and removing those foods that are sensitivities in your body, Yeah. Really important piece is to do the digestive healing that allowed those food sensitivities to develop in the first place.

And that's one of the things that I think one of the main critiques of food sensitivity testing is this process that, and I've seen it, you know, I've seen clients come in who've done a food sensitivity test in isolation. They've taken out the foods that come back on that test they have done, they feel better for a.

and then they haven't done anything else other than remove this, this list of foods. And then, The symptoms start to slowly creep back in, and a few months later they're right back to where they started with and they're like, I don't [Page//00:18:00] understand. And so they do another test and sometimes it's different foods or an even more restrictive list, and the list of their foods gets shorter and shorter and shorter.

And so they're testing and they're removing the foods. And they feel better for a little bit, but it's almost like they get, they sort of start to, their tolerance, their, their tolerance for actually consuming a variety, as you say, is so vitally important to be able, you know, we're not in the business of creating restrictive diets.

We're in the business of creating as much food freedom as we can while healing and so you know, without addressing that underlying mechanism, which is fundamentally a leaky gut, an intestinal permeability, then you're not gonna get anywhere. So, you know, when it comes to testing, you know, we use a really, really specific approach and that is, you know, I never do food sensitivity testing in isolation, and I never do gut testing in isolation.

Always do the two together because what the gut testing will tell us. What's going on in the [Page//00:19:00] digestive tract, which is vitally important information regardless of whether somebody is presenting with digestive symptoms. Because of the fact, especially when we're talking about autoimmunity, because of the fact that the vast majority of the immune system lives in and around the digestive tract is just.

The proximity, I mean, something is happening. Anything off in the digestion is necessarily impacting the immune system. So those two, you just have to address it. And with testing, you know, the thing about symptoms, assuming there are symptoms, is that, you know, like let's just take a super simple presentation of somebody's constipated.

Great. Is it that they have a hidden food sensitivity possibly? Is it that they have, you know, digestive function issues, they're not secreting enough, hydrochloric acid, or they've got a little bit of, you know, sludgy bile and they're not digesting their fats

Julie Michelson: on a PPI for

Margaret Floyd Barry: Maybe they've been on a

Julie Michelson: no idea, you know, is connected [Page//00:20:00] to motility.

Margaret Floyd Barry: kind of, maybe they have a fungal overgrowth. Maybe they have some kind of, maybe they have an h py infection. Maybe they, I mean, maybe they have dot, dot, dot. There's so many different factors that can be the underlying

Julie Michelson: enough water.

Margaret Floyd Barry: It simple, right? And, and yeah, without testing, without sort of looking under the hood, we are left at guessing and, and the way that we address and correct those imbalances is very different depending on what the root cause of that situation actually is.

And so, We use the stool testing to help us look under the hood, like see what's actually going on so that we understand how to correct it very specifically and strategically. And then alongside that, we're using a food sensitivity test. And we'll talk about the different types of tests here. But we use a very specific one that is, Telling us what foods are driving inflammation in the system.

So we're actually very specific that we don't use a lot of the [Page//00:21:00] IgG ig, like the, the antibody tests. We actually don't use those because for a number of reasons. So I've opened the door, so I guess I'll walk through it. The thing with antibody tests is, Let's take an IgG test, for example. Elevations in IgG antibodies are not always directly correlated with elevations in inflammation as the result of ingesting that food, right?

And that's one of the reasons why a lot of IgG tests have started adding in additional immune markers. So they're not only looking for the elevation and the antibody, which is just the immune system tagging. The antigen or the food saying it's the enemy, right? So it's, it's tagging that saying it needs to, it shouldn't be here, we need to deal with it.

But that isn't always directly correlated with the level of inflammation. So some of these tests have added on like compliment or other different aspects of the immune system to assess whether this elevation in antibodies is correlated with an elevation in inflammation. So that's definitely [Page//00:22:00] a huge step in the right direction.

And if you do antibody testing, I'm a believer in those tests that add on that additional piece. The challenges that not. Food sensitivity reactions involve antibodies, so necessarily you're missing a category of food sensitivities. These food sensitivities that are, and these tend to be, there are cell media, so they happen inside the cell.

It's an elevation of T-cell and phagocytes right within the cell that are just causing that reaction. No antibody involvement at all. And often these are the types of reactions that are delayed. And so when, when you're, when you're only testing the mechanism then you're necessarily missing these, these cell mediated.

Responses. So the test we use, and I know I, I, I know that it's controversial. Some people love it, some people hate it, and the haters are loud. So so if you go googling this test, you're gonna find a lot of people totally dissing it. But I, I really do wanna emphasize we use it in a very [Page//00:23:00] specific way. So it's, it's the mediator release test.

So it's the test that's looking at the endpoint. It's looking for evidence of inflammation as a result of the ingestion of a given food. Also, if you've heard of the lcat, it's, it's this, it's the, not the precursor. What's the It's,

Julie Michelson: Predecessor.

Margaret Floyd Barry: no, it's the LCAT is its predecessor, but I don't know how to say that in the reverse.

Sorry. I'm trying to up with a word that I, I'm sure exists, but I don't, can't think of it right now. So, LCA is the MRTS predecessor. It's it is, it was founded by the same scientist. And so the MRT is just more recent technology, so, The key though is that we never use it in isolation, ever. So we always do it alongside a stool test.

And another key is that removing those foods identified as inflammatory by that test, that's not a forever thing. That's a temporary thing, right? That's while we do the healing in the digestive tract. And as I said earlier, the [Page//00:24:00] goal is not a restrictive diet, as you beautifully said. It's a varied diet.

It's the most diverse, the most full abundant diet we can come to. I mean, yes, there's probably gonna be some things. Your body just gives a hard note and I'm gonna say glutens at the top of that

Julie Michelson: Sure if you've, I mean, we can, that's a whole nother episode on gluten and leaky gut. But if you're at a place where you have leaky gut, Gluten is never gonna be your friend. And if you have any autoimmunity, gluten's never gonna be your friend.

Margaret Floyd Barry: Yeah, I dunno that gluten's anybody's friend. I was gonna say, I don't know that it's anybody's friend. I think that like it's a heart. That's a, you know,

Julie Michelson: It's a hard stop where that's the, I always the qualifier, I say, you know, at the, Cuz people love to say, Well, what you know, what's the ideal diet? Well, it's individualized except nobody should eat gluten,

Margaret Floyd Barry: Yeah, that's the one thing if I was to rule the world, I would just

Julie Michelson: Yeah, it'd just be gone. Exactly.

Margaret Floyd Barry: Think life's simpler for [Page//00:25:00] everybody.

Julie Michelson: I love. Okay, so we're, you're testing, you're testing sensitivities, you're testing, you're doing the stool test, so identify the underlying cause and while, so then you're eliminating the foods that

Margaret Floyd Barry: we pull them out temporarily. The way that I describe it is think about if you have like a big old cut on your arm, okay? And you're doing all the things, all the healing, balms, all the things. But then every day, multiple times a day, you take that open wound and you rub it along a brick wall, right?

It's gonna slow down the healing process. You might get there, but it's gonna take a heck of a lot longer, and you could make it a

Julie Michelson: a really thick scar by the time you're

Margaret Floyd Barry: Right. It's terrible. So really what we're doing is we're removing the brick wall. The food sensitivities are the things that are irritants. They're triggering inflammation, and they're working against the healing process.

So, We use the stool test to inform what we're doing in terms of the healing process and then we remove one of these blocking factors. Cuz if you're continuing to consume inflammatory foods, that's absolutely [Page//00:26:00] gonna get in the way of the healing process. So so we're pulling those out temporarily, you know, and the time is anywhere between, sort of depends on the degree of sensitivity, the degree of reaction to a food.

But it's gonna be between three to six. Typically, so this is not a forever thing and I, you know, I think back to way back in the day, long before I changed careers and moved into the field of nutrition, I had, I struggled with a really, really bad case of eczema, which I'd had since I was in my teens.

Julie Michelson: Well, and I'm laughing. Literally, this is the fir, this is how excited I was to talk about this. You can, Every episode I've ever recorded, we start with I, My, my first question should have been, Margaret, how did you get into this world? What is, you know, what is your story? But I was so excited to talk about the food sensitivities that I just like jumped, got way ahead of myself.

So that's such a big one. Eczema and

Margaret Floyd Barry: It was awful. It was awful. [Page//00:27:00] And I had it everywhere. I mean, I would just sort of

Julie Michelson: oh,

Margaret Floyd Barry: anyone who hasn't had it, this like, I remember my dermatologist described it as an itch that rashes, but the itch, oh my God. It's just like, it makes you just go insane. And I had, you know, at the time I did not eat, I mean gluten.

I mean, that was the staple of everything that I did. I mean, I, and I remember you know, I had basically my doctor gave me cortisone cream and it would kind of keep things under control, not really. And I remember it, it got, I was in my mid twenties and I started getting it in my eyes. And it was like, I would like my eyelids and I could scratch my eyelids and the skin was getting into my eyes and then I had to go to the eye doctor cuz I was having all these eye infections.

It was so bad. And the doctor was like, Well here's a higher dose of steroids and or the cortisol cream. And I remember being like, That doesn't seem like. Like, I just, I didn't know very much about this, but

Julie Michelson: right?

Margaret Floyd Barry: I was like, Am I gonna burn my eyelids off? Like this doesn't feel right and it's not working.

And you know, this was, I said mid twenties and I was living up in Canada at the time and a [Page//00:28:00] very dear friend of mine was really into this sort of a natural weird stuff in my mind. And she said, Oh, have you ever thought of going to see a naturopath? And I was like, What's that? . And so she recommended this person and I laughed and I said, Oh, she's gonna take away all my favorite food groups

Julie Michelson: Mm-hmm.

Margaret Floyd Barry: and wine and cheese and chocolate.

And like, had it only ended there, right? So I , I went to work with this woman and we did some testing and that a list of foods. Now what I will. Either I didn't hear it, which is highly possible. Or she didn't mention this was a temporary thing cuz I remember I went home with this list of foods that I was not supposed to eat and thought this was forever

Julie Michelson: the rest of your life.

Margaret Floyd Barry: I mean, I thought, oh, this is, I mean, it was, there's so

Julie Michelson: bother

Margaret Floyd Barry: why bother? Like why eat? Can I just get a feeding tube? Like it just, I just, the whole thing. And I loved food. I loved to eat a love to cook, so I was devastated. But here's the, It wasn't forever, and B, within three [Page//00:29:00] weeks that eczema went away and I'm now 48 and it has never come back.

Julie Michelson: isn't that

Margaret Floyd Barry: I mean, I was like, Woo.

Julie Michelson: I.

Margaret Floyd Barry: was the moment where my eyes were like, Oh, wide open to the fact that. What you eat. I mean, I never thought that something I ate would have anything to do with my skin. The two seemed completely in utter. I mean, I could kind of calculate like I eat a thing, my stomach hurts.

Like, yeah, that, that makes sense, but eat a thing, get itchy and turn into a rash that did those things did not

Julie Michelson: Well, and like you said, when it becomes this ongoing, you know, it, it's, I, I, my favorite client story, I, they're all my favorite, but I, I was working with a client. I was 2020. I can remember for obvious reasons, but when I first met with her, she was referred from her functional medicine doc and she was not referred for eczema.

We're in our consultation. And I was kind of giving her, you know, my approach and we were talking about, you know, [Page//00:30:00] what she thought she was seeing me for and what she, you know, what were her goals. And she mentioned kind of in passing, she was 70.

Margaret Floyd Barry: Oh.

Julie Michelson: the time, and she mentioned I've had eczema since I was two.

Margaret Floyd Barry: Oh,

Julie Michelson: And I said to her, Well, when we do these things for the stuff your doctor's really concerned about, I, I'm pretty sure we're gonna figure out what's triggering your eczema. And she looked at me like I was insane, you know, and from another planet and at which I understood. And sure enough, it was corn, it was corn.

So at 72, she got rid of her eczema,

Margaret Floyd Barry: Oh my gosh. That makes me wanna cry. I mean, I just think of all of those years that she was suffering without needing to

Julie Michelson: Well, and that, again, that's like another, you know, episode of my, my poor oldest had a GI specialist from the time he was an infant. Nobody ever [Page//00:31:00] said, you know, what, what am I eating when I was nursing? Or what is he, you know, what is he eating as a toddler? And so, and that's a, a direct, the poor kid couldn't keep food down.

But so, wow. So when, And it is when. The power, yet simplicity that food and you know, can have on health. It's like what the world needs to know about this

Margaret Floyd Barry: It completely. I mean, it took me a few years to get there from a career perspective. Now I should also share it since we're, you know, sort of talking personal story. And one of the reasons why I'm so passionate about autoimmune because at the time I didn't realize that there was an autoimmune component to eczema, which of course now we know there is.

But my mom had very, very severe autoimmune she had both lupus as well as rheumatoid a. As well as multiple other things, but it was really awful. I had a front row seat to really what doesn't work in terms of medical management of autoimmune because the strategy was a hundred [Page//00:32:00] percent to dramatically downregulate her immune system overall and to and just load her up on anti-inflammatories, steroidal really, really intense doses.

And then, Just start taking things out as needed, and it was so. Brutal. You know, she started it. She, she basically, over the course of 20 years, it was just this slow process of degradation and in some ways she was a medical miracle, right? Like these drugs were keeping her going. They were allowing her some quality of life.

Not much, but some. But it was this really painful process of one step forward, three steps back, one step forward, two steps back, two steps forward, five steps back. I mean, it was just, Awful. And she ultimately lost her life to complications and side effects from the very medications that were keeping her alive.

And so, I had, Thank you. I know I had already changed careers to pursuing nutrition, and the reason why I learned about this testing and started diving into this [Page//00:33:00] deeper work was because the clients like my mom, who were just so sick, I mean, I just knew there had to be a better way. I didn't believe that this should be her fate.

Now, you know, she, So I was already working as a practitioner when she passed, and you know, Was she that open to doing this kind of work? No, but I mean, she was also sick at a time. I can remember when she was first diagnosed, she started bringing home all these books about aids. And I was like, I was a teenager at the time.

And I was like, Why? Why are you getting that? And she was like, Well, they think that if they find a solution to AIDS that because AIDS is shutting down the immune system and autoimmune disease is the immune system going crazy that like they sort of thought it was like the reverse. Like that's how early in this whole process.

It was so, the information that she had and was working with was so, so limited compared to our understanding of what's the mechanisms at play now. But I just,

Julie Michelson: unfortunately though, which is why we're having this [Page//00:34:00] conversation and sharing it,

Margaret Floyd Barry: yeah,

Julie Michelson: somebody going to a rheumatologist and getting to diagnose today, unfortunately, is being told the same thing that she was told and that I was told, which is that you can't heal. And all we can do is try to slow things down, manage pain, slow down symptom.

Try to prolong death. 

Margaret Floyd Barry: The deal is this process that I'm describing, you know, my whole practice, I specialize in autoimmune and I have, I mean, the, the things that we're talking about, I mean, we sometimes we have to get a little bit, you know, there's a lot of different things can stress the immune system, but I will tell you that healing the gut, identifying and removing inflammatory foods, for some people it's a hundred percent of the process.

It literally, that takes you across the finish. And for the vast majority, it's a really significant part of the port process. You know, 80 to 90% you've seen super, super complicated like myasthenia gravis, you know, pots, these really, really complex autoimmune processes that everyone is telling them No [Page//00:35:00] hope, something this simple has been the.

To transforming and really reversing those, you know, the, the errant immune system, like reversing that decision fatigue so that the immune system can do what it's supposed to do. You know, it's, it's a powerful, really important process and really simple at root. I think that's part of it. I don't know, I have theories about this, but I sometimes wonder if it's just so simple that it's like, I can't be, or you know, we need to make it more complicated.

I don't know what it is. I'm, I'm making stuff up at this point, but it is, it is simple, you

Julie Michelson: It, it's simple when you have experienced it and when you understand it and you know, I, I. Because we both encounter people all the time who just have a hard time believing, like you said, it could, could it really be that simple? And, and I want to highlight what you said about, you know, Yes. It, the, it's, it's [Page//00:36:00] most likely or often it's not just food, but the body is resilient.

And all of these in inflammatory hits that we take are cumulative. And so, like you said, we're eating. Three, sometimes more, sometimes, you know, whatever. Hopefully mostly daily, unless you're fasting. But so this, this, and this is where your immune system is, is in your gut. So it, it's a piece that even if it's, like you said, you know, only 80 or 90% and not a hundred percent, it's enough to really move the needle And, and Like I, like I said, I'm always amazed now that I know what other drivers I had going on.

The, literally just changing my diet at the time was enough to change my life and get me off my medications and, you know, I, I was, sometimes you do need to heal more than that at once to, to get the results. You, not only [Page//00:37:00] are you helping. Directly your clients that come to you with autoimmunity, but you train practitioners as well.

Which I'm so excited about because we were, as we were just mentioning, , like, we need more people understanding this approach. And, and so tell, tell me a little bit about that.

Margaret Floyd Barry: Yeah, absolutely. So the company is called Restorative Wellness Solutions and it's original founder and Fisher Silva was actually one of my main mentors. I actually took the very inaugural class that she ever did back in 2014. I. And it's where I learned how to use this particular combination of tests, how to use the combination of the stool test strategically with the mrt, how to use the information from that to provide and craft a really effective, powerful protocol that is just such an incredibly important starting point for every healing journey.

We're talking about autoimmune, but as you said at the opening of this, any process that involves inflammation. Every chronic disease process. This is a [Page//00:38:00] really vital starting point and I was at the point in my practice when I came to rws to take that first class, I was at a point in my practice where I was actually considering not doing any one-on-one work anymore because I was frustrated cuz I would these clients that were sick.

Like my mom, and I'd get them to a certain point, but then I couldn't get them past it. Like I could never take them to the finish line. And these were the clients, and this is probably part of my energy around the elimination diets, is because these were clients that were doing everything right? Right.

They were on the elimination diets. They were taking all the quote unquote right supplements. They were doing the sleep hygiene, they were meditating. They. All the things like you wanna check a box of, like the wellness to-do list. They were doing it all and they felt awful. And I was like, I don't know what else to say, you know, like I did not know how to look under the hood effectively.

And I'd done different trainings of, you know, individual labs and things, but this was the first program that bought it all together into a specific methodology and a process for [Page//00:39:00] me to apply and. It changed everything. I mean, there were clients where I'd gotten stuck and I went back to them to be like, Hey, I've got a whole new set of tools I think we can get further.

And we did. Like it would be, you know, the client, I'd got them 70, 80%. Now we were like crossing that finish line. Right. And that was really powerful. So that was back in 2014 and I quickly became an instructor. Alongside Anne and then joined her in the company. And actually just earlier this year, she's actually decided to move on.

This is, this is now her legacy and she has passed the company into my hands of quite a privilege to be able to take this and, and fly with it. So, you know, it's really it's one thing to be able to impact. People individually. But I've realized as she did, the reason why she created this company originally is that she couldn't have the impact that she wanted to with herself and her practice.

You know? And she had this long wait list and was looking around at other practitioners going like, Why aren't they getting these results? Why aren't they having the wait list? And so she just decided to train others to do what she did. And so that is what we do. It's [Page//00:40:00] a four, it's a four tiered curriculum.

So each course is 12 weeks long and we just do a really deep dive in how to. These additional tests to get really strategic to identify like how can we customize that diet beyond generic protocol, particularly when that protocol is not working. So how do we get hyper-specific to what's causing inflammation in your body?

Because I can guarantee what's. Causes it in your body is different from mine, which is different from my husband's, which is different from my kids, right? Like it's every one of us. It's totally unique and it's, it's hard to identify, if not impossible to identify when you're talking beyond the basic elimination diets.

It's really challenging to figure these things out and so without testing, So being able to do that testing just allows for a degree of customization and accuracy with both a diet as well. The supplement protocols, cuz I mean, there's some phenomenal supplements out there, but if you don't know why, you know?

Right. Like you could [Page//00:41:00] just take either tons of all sorts of stuff you don't need or miss them, Mark completely. So, So It's an honor. You know, we've got almost a thousand practitioners now in 15 countries around the world certified in using these tools. So, you know, if this, if some of this approach really resonates with you, what I would recommend is the website, restorative wellness solutions.com.

There's a find a practitioner link and you'll find practitioners in different states and around the world. And and if you happen to be a practitioner and are thinking about additional training, I would encourage you to think about this. I can speak for myself and, and many of the students who've gone through our programs, that it has really revolutionized the way that I practice and the kind of clinical results that that I get to the point.

You know, people say, Oh, is it a business class? Is it marketing? Well, we don't specifically teach you marketing, but here's the thing, when you get really outstanding results, as I know that you can ex, you've experienced this as well. Your clients happy clients are the best marketing asset you could ever possibly hope for.

And oftentimes, you know, we have some alumni who [Page//00:42:00] have just finished our, you know, our entry level program, which is where we teach all the gastrointestinal healing and who are like, I haven't even built a website and I have a wait list. So, you know, great results is the really, you know, Ann always says results refer and I could not agree more.

It's one of the most important marketing strategies you can, you can have is to just be phenomenal what you do.

Julie Michelson: I am so thrilled that not only, you know, are you sharing your wisdom with us but I, I can hear. You know, you did such a great job explaining why I've tried this. I've tried that, including possibly other food sensitivity testing or even maybe even if it was the mrt, but that's all, that's the only piece you had.

So I guys. Find, you know, go to the website and, and find yourself a practitioner because Margaret is, is shared some real gold and hopefully it's connected the dots for, for people that feel like, I know you hear this all the time, I've tried [Page//00:43:00] everything.

Margaret Floyd Barry: Yes.

Julie Michelson: And, and I know it feels that way

Margaret Floyd Barry: Yeah.

Julie Michelson: you've only tried what you've known to try and having this kind of customized protocol.

Is, is priceless and, and as both of us can testify to, you know, no matter where you are. You mentioned it earlier as far as complicated cases and where you are in your journey. I mentioned a 72 year old client. It, it's never too late to start to heal.

Margaret Floyd Barry: Body is a magnificent healing machine

Julie Michelson: It

Margaret Floyd Barry: given the right tools.

Julie Michelson: Exactly. Exactly. So what is, other than going to the website and finding a practitioner, what's one step that listeners can take today to start to improve their health?

Margaret Floyd Barry: That's a tough

Julie Michelson: Trick question. I know,

Margaret Floyd Barry: thing. So I, I know I can't answer with it. Annoyingly vague. It depends. But here's what I would [Page//00:44:00] say. The audience is autoimmune. Likely folks have done this already. But here's what I'm gonna say. If you ha I'm gonna give an advanced and an and a beginner.

Here's the beginner step. If you haven't done so already, kick gluten to the curb. And I'm not saying going low gluten, there's no such thing as low gluten. It's out. Right? It's not a, I do it night, Monday through Saturday, and then Sunday I have a croissant with my daughter. Nope. It's out and so, and just say goodbye.

And it's actually, do you know what, there's so much freedom in that. I know it sounds hard, but just being like, I don't eat that. First of all, there's all sorts of foods you probably shouldn't be eating anyways that are just necessarily off the table. And, and it's easier to just say no to something than to say sometimes, because sometimes it slope and and it really doesn't work.

So if you've got any kind of autoimmune situation going on, you just need to say goodbye to gluten. And I know that's, that, that's a, that's a big step. So for anyone who hasn't done that, That is your first step. , you know, when it, if you've already done that. Oh boy. I mean, there's so many different things that you could go into, but what I would do is if you [Page//00:45:00] have already done that and you're not feeling great yet, I would, I would take a minute and do a bit of an inventory and look at the different things that are, that could be stressing your immune system.

And even if you're not a practitioner I think we also know some basics, right? Like we know that stress is very taxing on the immune system. Not getting enough sleep, really taxing on the immune system. Eating, I mean, we talked about the, you know, the usual suspects, dairy, soy, so gluten of course, but dairy, soy.

Process sugar and refined seed oils, those, if those are still on the diet, those are causing inflammation, Those are causing your immune system stress. So just kinda doing a bit of an inventory of what is still triggering and engaging that immune system. And then sort of slowly and systematically starting to correct those things.

And it's gonna look really different for every person. This is why it's really hard to answer the question of like, what's the one thing other than kick gluten to the curb? It is

Julie Michelson: Well, and the inventory is, is, you know, that is ideal [Page//00:46:00] because often we're, we just don't wanna look . So if you take that moment, you know, I, I find that one place to up level, you know, what is, what is the, the thing that I am ignoring that I, I know, you know, oh my gosh, my sleep is not what it should be.

Or fill in the blank.

Margaret Floyd Barry: I mean, I'll share personally for me, recently, sleep has been like my nemesis and I will share that in the last few weeks. I've kind of figured it out, right? And it's like, holy cow, the world is a better place when I'm well rested. Like really, truly,

Julie Michelson: I'm sure your kids would agree

Margaret Floyd Barry: Oh, everybody would agree. Trust me, there's not an aspect of my life that poor sleep does not touch, and good sleep does not improve. So I mean, it can, It's not something that this process doesn't end. Right? Like, you know, Julie, you and I are here. We've been doing this work for a really long time, and we're still constantly like assessing and fine tuning.

It's just, you know, health is not one of those things that you tick off the list and it's like, Oh, lifetime accomplishments, like going to Hawaii. I also took [Page//00:47:00] care of my health. It just doesn't work that way. Right? We have to keep our eye.

Julie Michelson: Yeah. And it does, It sounds so cliche. Health is a journey, but it it is. It's. Constantly, you know, life is constantly changing and we constantly need to be tweaking and adjusting and up-leveling and yeah. And I don't know if you've found this for me, it has been, you know, if you asked me two years ago how I felt, I would say, I feel amazing and I can't believe I could feel this.

Well. And then every six months, if you ask me that question, I'll have the like it. Just, I, I can't think of like, Oh, it would be good if only, like, I feel great, and then when I look over my shoulder I'm like, Wow, I feel even better than I did six months ago, a year ago. 

Margaret Floyd Barry: My goal for clients is I want them to feel better than they even can dream possible right now.

Julie Michelson: Yes,

Margaret Floyd Barry: And to forget how bad it felt. You know, I always also tell clients there's gonna be a moment when you're like, Why am I eating this weird diet? Why are we taking all these supplements? And that's actually the time where we have to, like, it's again, gets hardest [Page//00:48:00] because you're thinking, I feel great.

I don't know why I'm doing all these things. And oftentimes that's the moment they slip, but then things come back and they

Julie Michelson: and they remember

Margaret Floyd Barry: the habits. But but yeah, I really, I, that's my goal is for, for all clients and for, you know, all of your listeners is to get to that place where you just, you're sort of like, I had no idea I could feel this good.

And I don't even really remember what that felt like. Cuz that's possible every, for every single person that's possible. I don't believe that there's, you know, I don't, I don't, I haven't yet seen the person where that's just truly absolutely an impossibility. It sometimes it's hard work. I'm not gonna pretend it's easy, 

Julie Michelson: I love it. Margaret, thank you so much. You have shared amazing gold with us today.

Margaret Floyd Barry: Oh, you're so welcome. Thank you so much for having me. It's been great hanging out.

Julie Michelson: For everyone listening, remember, you can get the show notes and transcripts by visiting inspired living.show. I hope you had a great time and enjoyed this episode as much as I did. I will see you next week.
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Margaret Floyd Barry
Margaret Floyd Barry is a functional nutritionist, writer and real food advocate who’s been on the pursuit of the most nutritious and delicious way of eating for the better part of her adult life. Having seen family members suffer the devastating effects of chronic illness from a young age, Margaret has long had the desire to help others find a better way back to optimal health and wellbeing. Through years of experience working with the most complex client cases, including reversing her own autoimmune condition, Margaret has established a powerful system for restoring health by addressing the root cause of illness. Today, Margaret teaches fellow practitioners the same proven system she uses to get her clients life-changing results through Restorative Wellness Solutions - a two-year comprehensive functional nutrition certification program for qualified health professionals. With hundreds of alumni around the world, Margaret and the Restorative Wellness Solutions team are actively workin
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