Alexx Stuart: Unveiling the Path to Low Tox Living

Alexx Stuart joins me to talk about the low tox life. How we can make small changes that have a big impact on our health and the world around us. This is not the no tox life but about finding a balance and something that is achievable. We chat about personal care products, being a real food rockstar, Alexx's upcoming book Low Tox Life and preconception health plus so much more. I hope you enjoy this empowering and informative chat with Alexx Stuart.

Alexx Stuart – Low Tox Life Introduction

The subject of environmental toxins is one worth touching on again today, how are we exposed to it, how does it affect us, what we do about it? Now you could throw your hands up and say look it’s just too much nothing I can do about it but if you are listening to this podcast I’m guessing you’re just not that kind of person.

In order to deal with the problem, in order to solve a problem, I believe it always helps to know what that problem is. I love personal empowerment and my guest today has taken that message of personal empowerment on… well, and truly she’s a concerned parent as you will hear but also an educator and author. It’s Alexx Stuart.

Now Alexx, as you will hear through her own experience I mean, isn’t that the best way of learning has a passion, a gift for making this information accessible and doable. Her broad message is low tox living. That’s not no tox because we do live in the real world and now this message also clearly resonates with me and I hope it does with you after all we are striving for a life less stressed knowing that in our modern world there’s no such thing or at least I don’t think there is of no stress.

We also mention and discuss something called MTHFR. A genetic mutation which actually affects 10 to 20 percent of the population. I’ll explain that in a little more detail in the wrap-up after I talked to Alexx. So, stay tuned right to the end. I hope you enjoy this conversation I had with Alexx Stuart.

Podcast Transcript

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Hello and welcome to Unstress. I’m Dr. Ron Ehrlich. The subject of environmental toxins is one worth touching on again today, how are we exposed to it, how does it affect us, what we do about it? Now you could throw your hands up and say look it’s just too much nothing I can do about it but if you are listening to this podcast I’m guessing you’re just not that kind of person.

In order to deal with the problem, in order to solve a problem, I believe it always helps to know what that problem is. I love personal empowerment and my guest today has taken that message of personal empowerment on… well, and truly she’s a concerned parent as you will hear but also an educator and author. It’s Alexx Stuart.

Now Alexx, as you will hear through her own experience I mean, isn’t that the best way of learning has a passion, a gift for making this information accessible and doable. Her broad message is low tox living. That’s not no tox because we do live in the real world and now this message also clearly resonates with me and I hope it does with you after all we are striving for A Life Less Stressed knowing that in our modern world there’s no such thing or at least I don’t think there is of no stress.

We also mention and discuss something called MTHFR. A genetic mutation which actually affects 10 to 20 percent of the population. I’ll explain that in a little more detail in the wrap-up after I talked to Alexx. So, stay tuned right to the end. I hope you enjoy this conversation I had with Alexx Stuart. Welcome to the show Alexx.

Alexx Stuart: Thank you so much, Ron. Thanks for having me.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Alexx, you have this program, you have a book coming out we’re going to talk about all of that called “Low Tox Living” but you know, we are both quite aware of these issues around environmental toxins but we kind of shouldn’t assume that everybody is. So, I thought we might start with low tox living 101. What does it mean?

Alexx Stuart: Okay, so to live a low tox life is something that I invented as a concept. Probably about seven or eight years ago when I was thinking of starting my blog after everything that I had learned so far and I kind of had come to the realisation that you couldn’t live in the modern world and be completely free from you know, environmental toxins. It’s actually not possible you walk past a car and that’s it, you know or whatever you know you kiss a friend who’s sprayed a perfume and it’s got synthetics in it.

So, I really didn’t want people to feel like there was such a thing as perfection that we were all striving for because I think that really leads us down a little bit of a negative path and you can become quite angry and upset that you’re not doing enough for achieving enough or clean enough. I hate that word. So, I really wanted to create this sort of sense that we could just strive day after day, bit by bit, step by step to live a life that’s more in line with one that gives us health and one that looks after our planet. And that’s how the low tox life, not no tox was born.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Great. Well, it’s just you know, I think that the reality is as you say and we’re not perfect and I know this shocks my listeners but I know I’m not and I dare say you know you might not be either Alexx but we can strive for something. Now, why don’t we just… you’ve also got these three or four actually great courses and I thought they gave a great structure for our conversation today because going low tox… So, why don’t we deal with say personal care products you know there’s quite a lot of those. Maybe we could just focus on a couple just to give people a sense of what this is all about.

Alexx Stuart: Yeah, sure. So, when we look at our personal care I mean it depends on which catchphrase from which media outlet you follow but in essence, we’re using tens of hundreds of chemicals on our skin every day and we’re led to assume that these have been extensively tested both independently and by companies, but they haven’t and the other aspect of that is that a lot of the chemicals that are in there have never been tested synergistically. Ie. one might be okay or mildly irritating but then you add it to another one and a whole bunch of stuff can happen and that’s not tested for very much at all in terms of the research I’ve done.

So, that kind of upset me when I first found that out and then I wanted to start looking at what might be the most important things to phase out and replace. And I came upon the idea that a certain group of chemicals were endocrine disruptive.

And if you think about the endocrine system, it’s all of our hormones. So, not just sex for most a lot of people talk about estrogens and estrogenic chemicals but really, we’re looking at things that disrupt the thyroid, kidney, sex hormones, adrenals you name it. All of them, right?

And in terms of our personal care one of the major places we will find an endocrine disruptive chemical is in something that’s been synthetically fragranced because within the term fragrance or parfum as you see on a label you can have up to a 140 or thereabouts chemical compounds used in that term just to make of that thing and they don’t have to disclose any of what those are. So…

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: What is the term Alexx? What is that? You said…

Alexx Stuart: Parfum. Parfum or fragrance.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Okay, okay. So, they can just put a label fragrance and that describes… could describe up to 100 or more chemicals.

Alexx Stuart: It absolutely can and in fact, Unilever is going to be the brave first multinational to come forward and say we will be listing on our websites what is actually used in those fragrances and I think it’s from next year. So, you know, there’s change afoot based on consumer demand to know what’s in our products which is really, really awesome.

But by the same token we certainly don’t want to be waiting to find out what’s in things and unfortunately often something that’s in these fragrances. Especially those ones. And if you could think about saying hi to a friend and then it feels like they with you the whole rest of the day even though you’ve kissed them goodbye long, long ago because their perfume keeps lingering. You know that?

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, I do.

Alexx Stuart: Yeah, so, the job of a chemical called a phthalate is to make something sticky, make it last and in fragrance land that means long-lasting fragrances. So, phthalates are one of these endocrine disrupting chemicals and you have to be wary of it being in any of those terms where you see fragrance or parfum and there’s no asterix that tells you it’s made from essential oils.

So, that’s a really big one and it always kind of freaks people out because once you start thinking, okay, well, what if I got that synthetically fragrance just probably going to just be my moisturiser body cream but no it’s our shampoo, it’s our scented candles, reed diffusers all those sorts of things, fabric softener, you name it.

So, it transcends personal care massively and goes into things like toys and all sorts. Think of like the old what did we have when we were a little short Strawberry Shortcake toys my sister loved those and they were all scented and that was sort of one of the first centred toys and now kids are using scented crayons from funky shops and things and there’s just nothing funky about it because they’re extremely toxic to us in the long term.

So, but back to personal care, it’s just really important to start thinking okay if you see that and if you know it’s a synthetic fragrance then you switch to a natural one. It stops you from having to look through every single ingredient on every single product. Just go off whether it’s a synthetically or naturally fragranced product first because that will be the most brilliant and easy way to rule out a whole bunch of stuff.

And then the other thing that I would probably suggest with your skincare is to just have a look at the preservatives that are used, and you might have antibacterial aspects that are used. So, Triclosan, it has been found to be damaging to the thyroid and you would know that that’s in lots of the mainstream toothpaste.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Well, it’s a big seller, isn’t it? In so many home care and anti… 99.9% anti-bacterial.

Alexx Stuart: I know.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: It’s a whole other topic isn’t it? About…

Alexx Stuart: Terrified of bacteria but as you say a hole of a conversation. So, triclosan and thyroid and interestingly the FDA in the US have even ordered that triclosan be taken out of all the hand washers and hand sanitisers because no one has actually been able to prove that it is any more antibacterial than soap and water. So, we’ve been damaging our thyroids all the while thinking we were doing something good by using this antibacterial stuff and meanwhile it actually turns out that it’s not so good for us and it doesn’t even provide the promise that the chemical company that produced it said that it would.

So, definitely look for triclosan and you’ll see that in a lot of acne products, teen products you know antibacterial catchphrases on the front as you said the home care products as well like multipurpose sprays but also your toothpaste because it’s in the best-selling toothpaste in the world. So, you want to get that one out and switch to a more natural one.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Good point, thank you. Go on, go on. This is so we’ve phthalates, we’ve got preservatives, we’ve got antibacterial agents these are just…

Alexx Stuart: Yeah, I know, I know. I could go on and on, but I’ll just give you one more for personal care which is another type of preservative or paraben. And people have quite a bit of awareness around parabens now but not everybody as you said when we first started chatting, so I always like to mention them but be wary because the next generation of preservatives that a lot of these paraben-free companies have started using is phenoxyethanol and there is nascent as in just coming out research that is suggesting that it might be damaging to the liver and kidneys.

And that’s an animal trial, an animal study but given we’re from nature as well. I always think that’s enough caution for me especially when there are so many brands not using these sorts of preservatives.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: So, paraben is another group of preservatives?

Alexx Stuart: A paraben is a type of they’ve got methylparaben, propylparaben, those sorts of things and then phenoxyethanol the one that has replaced parabens in many, many cases.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yep.

Alexx Stuart: Those would be my main ones because if you get those hormone disruptors out of there, chances are you’re not going to need to decipher the rest of 90% of what’s on a mainstream shelf and just switch to more natural simple brands.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: And it is this point about synergism that is so important, isn’t it? This because you know, none of these chemicals we are exposed to in isolation.

Alexx Stuart: No, that’s right. And Professor Marc Cohen who I know you’ve interviewed as have I, is really passionate about this being a gaping hole in the research as to whether things are safe or not. And I totally agree.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Well, when you think about the gold standard being randomised control study where you isolate one thing at a time and test it it’s a sort of oxymoron really, isn’t it? You can’t do that unless you do you could do you test combinations, but the issue of personal care products and home care products included in that is just so huge and I know you cover it in your low tox living course and I know you’re covered in your book.

Let’s move on now to foods because it’s a big one but I know we look around the supermarket and plastic is everywhere surrounding foods. Tell us a bit about some of the problems with that.

Alexx Stuart: Well, again our phthalates come out to play, the plasticiser compound, so you find this in a lot of cheap very bendy thin plastics and so, of course, it stands to reason that that would be in food packaging and a lot of BPA in plastics and food packaging. So, two big endocrine disruptors that are used commonly in food packaging plastics. And the issue there you might think ah well, it’s just pasta and it’s in a plastic thing and that’s true to a certain extent.

It’s not as likely to leach as say heating something in a hot plastic bowl in the microwave there are always degrees of things. But when I interviewed environmental scientist Dr. Peter Dingle for my Go Low Tox course a few years ago now, he took us through the research to suggest that it’s about the amount of time a food has spent sitting on a shelf or being shipped around the world in these plastic packages as well as the environmental circumstance in which they’re in as they get transported around.

So, I like to use the example and of like a big truck with a whole bunch of pallets of bottled water in it. And while that bottled water is intended to be drunk at room temperature and not necessarily hugely damaging to human health certainly not if it was just packaged like last week let’s say, it then gets parked outside waiting for a loading dock to open and hot beaming sun you know, and you can you get the picture.

So, heat and plastic are really, really the big enemy which is why there’s so much fantastic education out there around not microwaving things in plastics for example.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Or leaving your water bottle in your car.

Alexx Stuart: Oh, yeah.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Which is a classic.

Alexx Stuart: Yeah. Or as the research suggests refilling your water bottle over and over again because plastic weakens over time and then that’s when you increase the possibility of something leeching. So, it’s really um… it’s a tough one because it’s really hard to totally whittle out your plastic. So, I really tell people to just not panic here and do the best you can.

So, I think 80/20 buy your produce from a market so that you don’t have to buy herbs that are wrapped in plastic and sort of start to make a few things like a couple of cakes, a couple of crackers you know, things that you might have for the lunchbox and all that kind of stuff that you get really good at. Your signature kind of recipes because a lot of people feel like they have to make these new things for their kids all the time. No, just get good at stuff so that you’re actually motivated to just whip it up with your eyes closed at eight o’clock in the evening before you sit down on the couch.

Of course, it’s daunting to start something brand new from scratch from a recipe book but it’s not daunting to do something you’ve done ten times before. So, you know, start sort of making your own stuff so that you don’t have to buy as much that’s pre-packaged as well.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: And as you work your way up and down the aisles even the fruit and vegetable sections the meat sections that everything is wrapped in plastic. I mean it’s almost impossible to escape but as you say and then you go to the growers market I guess what you could do like can you go to the butcher you buy meat but there they put it into a plastic bag or it’s wrapped in. You’ve really got a… it’s a real consciousness-raising exercise this, isn’t it?

Alexx Stuart: It really is and you’re not going to get it all done in a week. So, it’s really just about picking your low-hanging fruit pardon the pun and going right, okay, these are the three or four things I can commit to this month and then start getting a bit savvier keeping a couple of Pyrex containers in your boots so that you can go to the butcher and get the baked and put straight in there.

But legally they have to pick things up with a plastic glove in a plastic bag. That’s their law so even though you don’t take the plastic home unfortunately it doesn’t take that it doesn’t mean the plastic doesn’t get used which is a huge shame.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: And storage of food, you know, that’s another one, isn’t it? In the way we store our own food in our own homes.

Alexx Stuart: So, the best thing you can do is buy a whole bunch of flip top lid jars from you know even from IKEA, super reasonable, a lot of supermarkets even sell them, so you don’t need to buy some designer brand and start moving everything over from plastic containers to glass wherever you can and then for water bottles glass or stainless steel both great.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, yeah, that is a great investment. Now you also run a program on preconception health and I know this is a really important subject because you can clearly set you up for life.

Alexx Stuart: Yeah.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: And it’s an enormous topic. I know I don’t want to… you know, but what are some of the things we should be aware of as we’re planning for families?

Alexx Stuart: So, a lot of people get married and start trying for a baby straight away and if you’ve lived a modern urban lifestyle that could involve things like lots of drinking on the weekends, even party drugs all that kind of stuff in your 20s. If you’ve travelled a lot if you smoked if you’ve worked yourself to the bone and you’re really stressed out individual, even if you’ve just exposed yourself to a whole bunch of environmental chemicals if you don’t filter your water… All these sorts of things we’re not told that any of this reduces our chances of a healthy conception. None of it.

We’re never told about any of that when we visit the GP, whenever we’ve taken through a bit of an environment and lifestyle question in, before we think of having a baby we’re just we get our iron and our folate tested and then we also get a shot if we don’t have our rubella antibodies anymore. And it’s just not enough. That is not preconception care in the way that a 2018 couple going into the preconception phase needs to be informed.

You know, it’s very different to the life that our grandparents were leading when they decided to have babies. And that’s I mean it’s unfortunate, but it is the reality. And I’m a big fan of having that hard every day where you go actually I got to learn this and I’ve got to realise that I’ve got to do some work here before we do the horizontal tango or put to the IVF clinic if you’re on your own having a baby and there’s so much you can do.

So, I really came at this from a very personal angle which was a relatively very easy conception. So, that I was eternally grateful for and no miscarriage it obviously went through to term and I was a one-hit wonder. Just felt very complete with my one little guy.

And unfortunately, though in the 12-week scan we found out we had a single umbilical artery. So, there should be two and we only had one. Then he was a failure to progress emergency c-section baby, then we found out he had a small hole in the heart which gratefully it closed over and then after a terrible experience trying to breastfeed and him finally rejecting the whole thing because it just wasn’t very satisfying because he was never getting enough food at about four months, we didn’t find out until your lovely nephew diagnosed a mild tongue-tie when he was five and a half.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: You’re talking about Dr. Lewis Ehrlich and the dental practice. No, he wasn’t… not a pediatrician but it wasn’t dental….

Alexx Stuart: No, that’s right. A dentist.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah.

Alexx Stuart: So, you know, and I had the biggest eureka moment when Lewis identified it and I was like you are kidding me, I knew something was wrong, it was you know…

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Because this was he was having trouble breastfeeding and you kind of put it down to I just don’t have enough milk or it’s just not happening…

Alexx Stuart: Exactly.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: But in fact, he just wasn’t latching on properly because of his tongue tie.

Alexx Stuart: Hundred percent and he took fifty to an hour to feed on one side. I mean all the clues are there if you look back in retrospect. So, all of this into account when I then learned about a test that you could do to find out about your folate metabolism, your ability to turn folic acid into the active form of folate for you that your body needs. I found out that I was homozygous so in the C677t MTHFR gene.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah. Now just to explain to our listener… Go on, the MTHFR… M T H F R. I’m not even going to tell you what that stands for but it’s all about methylation which is a really important process in our bodies, isn’t it?

Alexx Stuart: Yes, it is.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: And I have similarly, I’ve got two genes that are deficient in that methylation process which I only realised later in life too. But this affected go on… tell us how this affected you.

Alexx Stuart: Yes. So, then in retrospect, you think back to that first blood test that you had at the GP’s… And this is absolutely nothing against doctors we’re all just operating from the sphere in which we work in and know. And that it was just what I did before having a baby and I remember her saying your folic acid levels are sky-high this is fantastic actually just meant I wasn’t getting any and it was super high in my blood trying to get to where it needed to go because I couldn’t convert it.

So, there we were all thinking ‘yay’ folic acid, high tick-tick-tick but meanwhile my body was craving it and when you don’t have enough bioavailable folate in your body what are the risks? Single umbilical artery, failure to progress labour, hole in the heart, tongue tie.

And I was like oh, and I’ve just got goosebumps just saying them out loud again now I just could not believe that such a simple test for 50 bucks that you can pay for yourself if your doctor doesn’t want to do it through Medicare for you and you can get it done through Medicare if you’ve had multiple miscarriages. There is the irony because miscarriage is one of the other symptoms.

You can get this test for $50, you can take a type of folate like for folinic acid or if you can handle it based on the way you methylate, you can take the methyl folate. I don’t do particularly well on that personally so folinic acid is what I would take. And then you would actually get that folate that you need.

Now I think back to that pregnancy and something that I did every single day was defrost one of those packets of frozen spinach that you can buy at the supermarket. And I used to just defrost it put a pad of butter on it and eat it just like that. It was just something I felt that I had to have every single day and I think that’s just the most incredible miracle that our bodies still have those instincts to crave certain foods to try and get the nutrients you need.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah. So, how old is Sebastian now?

Alexx Stuart: He’s a gorgeous big healthy eight-and-a-half-year-old.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: So, this has been this is a major motivation for you to find out a little bit more?

Alexx Stuart: Yes, that’s right.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: So, personal story, personal story there.

Alexx Stuart: That’s right, huge and I think you know we are messes become our greatest messages and I really am a huge believer in that because while it wasn’t the messiest of circumstances by any stretch I’ve worked with and learnt of many more people with tragic stories but what I think we can do is we can do this whole preconception thing much better, much more positively with much less heartbreak and much fewer complications along the way if we just learn a little bit.

So, while I’ve mentioned one test one of our modules is actually going through all the tests that you should have. You shouldn’t just get your TSH tested you should get your TSH t4 t3 reverse t3 and thyroid antibodies, for example, a full panel.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, complete thyroid panel.

Alexx Stuart: Yeah.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: To check for thyroid function which is a pretty, pretty big problem and growing in our society.

Alexx Stuart: Exactly. And then a few more and we talked to wonderful functional med GP Sandee Eun about that difference between what normal is and what optimal is depending on the individual because that’s going to be different in your lead-up depending on your background and the kind of lifestyle you’ve lived and then the stress piece.

And I know you’re super passionate about stress Ron giving you’ve written a whole book on it but it’s just such an important one and that is one that you know, the man and the woman both have to be in tip-top shape and stress is such a huge part of the modern lifestyle to address before you go in. So, there’s that and there’s we talk about environmental chemicals like the best ones you can reduce for leading up to pregnancy and it’s just a… it’s a really great course that just helps empower people in that stage.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Now given we are exposed to so much and hey look you know when I was in my 20s I was giving it a bit of a nudge as well. What do you think that what do you think is a good lead time if people were saying hey we’re going to have kids but let’s be as

you love I love this term preconception ninjas… That’s your term of your course I think it is something but you know how long do you think we should be thinking and starting to clean up our act preconception?

Alexx Stuart: Well, look a year is brilliant but three months is amazing too. You know, it’s never like oh, I’ve missed the boat I might as well just start trying because I didn’t spend enough time preparing and I might as well just jump in there and get the baby. Anything as little as three months but a year is optimal based on all of the practitioners and doctors that we researched, we have interviewed for the course.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, fantastic. Well, there’s just so much. I mean I know there is I know you do so much now you’ve got this book and I have actually read a draft copy of it thank you.

Alexx Stuart: Oh, you did? Thank you.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: I really, really enjoyed it. It’s amazing book. Tell us a bit about the book and I mean obviously why you’ve written it but there’s so much in there.

Alexx Stuart: Yes. So, the Low-Tox Life came not because I decided it needed to be written but the lovely Jane Morrow publisher from Murdoch Books approached me and I always thought I was going to Cookbook first as a published book but she had other ideas and really challenged me to think about this beautiful community that I built and all the topics that we cared about and how I would go about putting into sixty thousand words which when you think about the end of my course book for Go Low Tox is one hundred and thirty thousand words.

I’m not short of a word so not just doing chemicals but also food and mind and home. It was going to be quite tricky to make that into a concise little guide, but I did, and I wrote a contents page. I thought actually this could really work and so the idea is that we take this idea of a Low Tox Life, we look at what we can do in the home in the body, on the body, in the food that we choose and with our minds to lead a life that is more healthy for us and definitely happier for our beautiful planet.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah. Well, I loved it and it’s coming out and I think in July, isn’t it? Is that one that’s coming out?

Alexx Stuart: Yes, July 1 but you can pre-order it now from Book Depository or what’s the other one… Booktopia, yeah.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: We all have links to all that, we’ll have links to all that.

Alexx Stuart: It was literally just this morning I got an email saying the pre-order was up and I was like oh goodness, here we go.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: It’s exciting, it’s exciting.

Alexx Stuart: Yeah.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Wait until you get the finished printed copy in your hands.

Alexx Stuart: I can’t even imagine what that’s going to be like.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: But listen I wanted to finally I just wanted to ask you this question what do you think the biggest challenge to people on their health journey through their lives in our modern world is? What do you think that is?

The Biggest Health Challenge

Alexx Stuart: Gosh. Well, the biggest challenge is that we’ve been taught that change doesn’t feel good. You know, anyone that grew up in the 80s, 90s, the age of the Oprah taking us on the next diet and the next diet and the next diet and change just hasn’t felt good for x-gen and baby boomers and to a certain extent y-gen as well. Millennials are much more adaptive so and they’re much more open to new concepts ideas, etc.

But because so many of us in the gen-x age group are getting sick because of these decades that we’ve through genetic modification through preservatives and extremely processed foods through a huge amount of environmental toxins compared to any generation before us. We know that a lot needs to change but change feels daunting, overwhelming and not quantifiable in a way that might prove worth it.

So, I think for me it’s a psychology piece that’s one of our greatest barriers, because a lot of people will see a TED Talks like the amazing TED talk of Al Gore’s on the polar icecaps and climate change, but it’ll just be so monumental a problem that we just won’t know what to do. Or the classic is someone with rheumatoid arthritis who kind of knows that maybe changing all their food and not having the pizzas and the gluten and the dairy and the eggs and all those sorts of things, it’s just too hard.

You know, we don’t feel connected enough to a sense of why we’re here anymore and we don’t feel connected enough to nature to fight for either of these things in a way that’s profound.

And one of my favourite, favourite, favourite things to do is to help people piece that together so that change becomes beautiful becomes empowering and become something that you love so much that you be the change and you just naturally inside curiosity from those around you.

Because if we just keep going on this is wrong and that is bad and we’re all going to die because of this temperature increase it clearly does not work to do that. No one’s making enough change for us to massively affect any new or positive outcomes.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Well, you do that very well Alexx because I’ve done your course Low-Tox Living and I’ve read your book

Alexx Stuart: Thank you.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: And are very well. So, thank you so much for joining us today.

Alexx Stuart: Oh, it was such a pleasure to do it. Always such a pleasure to chat. Thank you, Ron.


Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Interesting that Alex should pick change is a major challenge that people face because ultimately when you become aware of issues, confusing public health messages stressors or pillars of health you can either shrug your shoulders and say that’s interesting, but nothing changes, or you could take it on board and make some changes.

I’ve actually been intrigued by managing change for quite a few years now. And I’ve always thought there were two keys to help me manage change the first is referred to as locus of control. Do you believe you primarily, not exclusively, I mean after all we do live in the real world do you primarily feel you have control of your life? If you do that’s referred to as an internal locus of control.

An excellent example was my guest today Alexx Stuart. I know I also have a strong internal locus of control. A strong sense that I do have a lot of control over what happens in my life. The opposite is an external locus of control. Things are just out of your hands in a sense you become or feel a victim. The second issue that helps us in incorporating change is a tolerance of ambiguity.

Now while we all love certainty and are drawn to simple answers and solutions the reality is that’s not how our bodies work, it’s not how the world works. Full of contradictions confounding issues having a healthy tolerance of ambiguity accepting things aren’t always black and white in life makes managing change in your own life easier. Alexx also, and I love this, alluded to the 80/20 rule which I must say that’s how I approach all of these complex issues and challenges.

You have to decide what’s acceptable for you. Is your life 50/50? 50% of the time you’re eating really well, sleeping well, exercising, etc. but the other 50% you just let it rip. Personally, I don’t think that’s ideal not nor for me is 60/40 or even 70/30. I think for me 80/20 is at least where I like to be and when I’m doing really well, when I’m on fire 90/10 is fabulous.

So, having had cancer myself I try to be closer to that level. If I go to a 100% I think I could really irritate my family, my friends, my patients, I could be a social outcast. Anyway, that’s just how I feel what about you what’s your percentage?

Now we also mentioned MTHFR which is a gene mutation influencing your ability to methylate which makes things vitamins, nutrients bioavailable, able to be used by the body particularly to methylate say B group vitamins. You meant to be able to convert folic acid to follow to utilise in lots of important biochemical functions. MTHFR has been linked to a wide range of science and symptoms like childhood behavioural development problems, depression and anxiety, autoimmune disorders of which there are now over 80 and including some common thyroid disorders.

With MTHFR deficiencies may occur in B group vitamins as you heard folate. Also, B12, B6, B2 calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin D and vitamin K. So, the vitamin K, of course, is so important for bone health also selenium and vitamin A. Alexx runs some great courses. Low Tox Living, Real Food Rockstars, Preconception Ninjas and has written a new book called,” Low-Tox Living” coming out in July.

So, I hope you enjoyed that chat we had. Don’t forget to leave us, give us some feedback send us some suggestions even better go on to iTunes and leave some reviews. So, until next time, this is Dr. Ron Ehrlich, be well.


This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.