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Wellness Optimization Series Episode 11: A Practitioner’s Guide to Navigating Life Chaos w/ Brie Wieselman, LAc

Brie Wieselman, LAc is a Functional Medicine Practitioner who works virtually with patients around the world – and in this episode, she shares some tips, suggestions, and real-life experience around navigating the life chaos of this year.

In addition to everything related to the health situation, Brie and her family were also forced to evacuate their home, and then leave their temporary spot – all due to the massive wildfires on the west coast.

This candid discussion may offer some comic relief, wisdom, and encouragement for those who find themselves amidst similar chaos.


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Webinar Transcript

Brie Wieselman:               [inaudible]

Michael Roesslein:          We are recording. Hey everyone, this is another episode of the Wellness Optimization Series at Rebel Health Tribe. I am joined this time by my friend Brie Wieselman. Brie, thanks for being here.

Brie Wieselman:               Hey, thanks for having me.

Michael Roesslein:          Yeah, this is going to be cool. I’m excited. This series, for anyone who hasn’t watched the rest of them, kicked off around the time the pandemic started, and I was looking for ways to bring useful, practical information to people in a quick way, and it’s also led me to interview a bunch of new people that I’ve not interviewed before that are my friends, that I know, that you guys don’t know. So now you’re getting to meet more of my friends, so that’s fun, so we’ve just been chatting for a solid half hour before I turned on the record.

I’m excited for you guys to meet Brie. If you want, maybe just tell them a little bit about your professional background, and then we’ll get into more fun things to talk about. But what’s your practice like, what’s your training?

Brie Wieselman:               Sure. Yeah. My practice is in its current iteration is basically online functional medicine, focused practice. We market to women but we see everyone, and we see people all over the world, which really is kind of indulgent for me because I have a love of travel, so when I don’t travel I love to touch into that by speaking with people that are in Nairobi or Japan or Turkey. And we focused a lot on women’s health issues, a lot of hormonal things. But also we’re a digestive forward practice, so tons of SIBO and inflammatory bowel disease and everything else that falls into that category.

I have myself and two amazing doctors who work with me, and a health coach, and then my licensure is as an acupuncturist. The short version of how I got into what I do now is I started studying herbal medicine, mostly western and then Ayurvedic herbal medicine, roundabout my late teens with people in central and northern California, Michael [Terek], Christopher Hobbs, people like that. And then went to school for herbal medicine. And in the school the people who were teaching primarily James Snow, who’s a great herbalist. He was teaching physiology from a really naturopathic slash functional medicine perspective. And that led me down a path of looking at things through that lens, and then I went to acupuncture school because I needed to get a medical license, and that was the one that appealed to me the most and felt the most flexible.

Now I see things through this both Chinese and integrative western lens, and that brought me to where I am now.

Michael Roesslein:          Cool. Chinese medicine is so interesting. Actually it’s a little tidbit of factoid, I actually moved to San Diego, before we … That’s awesome. Before we were here in the bay, I loved in San Diego for five years, and I moved there, I was going to go to Chinese medicine school. Because I worked with a doctor in chapter who was an MD and a Chinese medicine doctor, and I only saw her a couple times, but she sat down with me once for like 90 minutes and did my elements and all my things, and I was like this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. And she pegged all this stuff about me. She connected my liver issues to my depression to my drinking to things that to me at the time were totally unrelated, like my previous party life with my depression with liver with this, with that.

I was like man, this combined, this makes so much sense, with nature references, and this is so much more intriguing than the way I’ve learned physiology. Because at the time I had a master’s in physiology, but that’s really boring to learn.

Brie Wieselman:               I don’t know. Is it?

Michael Roesslein:          Well, to me-

Brie Wieselman:               I thought physiology-

Michael Roesslein:          Chinese medicine I found way more fun, interesting, the way it combines everything.

Brie Wieselman:               Poetic.

Michael Roesslein:          And then, I ended up not doing that, obviously, and I still find it really interesting though. And I don’t think I would have made it through training because I have a needle phobia. So I was always like oh, I’ll deal with that when we start the needles, but I don’t think I would have made it. So it’s probably better that I’m doing this and you’re doing that.

So you run this practice online, and then in March, well, February, March, chaos breaks loose, and pandemic starts happening, and I know a little bit about how your last months have been. But what did you see or notice right away in your patients, or in your practice? What’s your recollection from a practitioner’s side of what that first month or two was like?

Brie Wieselman:               Mm-hmm (affirmative). I mean, I think globally everybody was in freak out mode, and largely the people in my practice … I saw two things happening. We either fight, like go into action, or we flee or freeze. So there was some freezing and some fighting, meaning the people-

Michael Roesslein:          Fighting like trying to figure it out and what do I do, and-

Brie Wieselman:               Try to figure it out, yeah. Basically what can I do? And in my practice, that looked like a lot of emails about what should I be taking, are you going to put out a blog about this-

Michael Roesslein:          What about this or what about this vitamin? I went down that rabbit hole for like three weeks and-

Brie Wieselman:               Is elderberry going to kill me?

Michael Roesslein:          … My brain exploded.

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah, totally. [crosstalk]

Michael Roesslein:          Yeah, is elderberry going to kill me, I remember that.

Brie Wieselman:               Is elderberry going to kill me? Yeah. So it looked like that. There was definitely some people that rescheduled their appointments, they’re just like, “Couldn’t. I just can’t with anything right now.” And we were like, “We feel you. No problem. We’re here for you. What do you need?” I also, we wound up … I don’t know. I almost have to say that in this codependent way I felt guilty to say that our practice has thrived in this setting, because we were already well set up and people knew we were online, and then they had all this, “I don’t know what to do with myself, maybe I should work on my health or get any support I can.” Probably because all the therapists were booked, at least in California, you cannot get an appointment with a therapist.

Anyway, yeah, we saw an influx of clients. We definitely saw moments of that a couple months in where then there was a big pause because people were nervous about finances or what’s happening. But largely it’s been kind of, initially this wave of excitement, and then the doldrums as it occurred to everybody that this isn’t a one month or a three month thing, this is still happening. Here we are.

Michael Roesslein:          It’s been like what, 13 years since March. It’s insane. I’m working on another platform and project right now, and we were about to kick off a certain phase of it right when that happened, and we’re like okay, let’s wait a month. Because this is not a good time to try to raise money or do investment. People aren’t going to invest in things right now. Let’s wait a month and see how this thing pans out.

And then a month turned into 13 years, which was five months, but seemed like 13 years, and it’s been … Remember 2019? Everybody complained that 2019 sucked so bad and it was so long and whatever. It seems like it was a decade ago.

Brie Wieselman:               It does. Totally. I’ve been wondering, like Netflix and movies and stuff, they’re still putting out stuff that everyone recorded last year, but are we going to start seeing stuff next year where it’s all on Zoom? Like the entire thing?

Michael Roesslein:          Yeah, how are they going to … Because there’s been no, Hollywood’s been shut down.

Brie Wieselman:               Totally, everything’s been canceled.

Michael Roesslein:          That’s curious. Dude, if you take Netflix away from a population that is banned from doing anything else, they may have to talk to each other, or read, or interact with other humans.

Brie Wieselman:               Help people register to vote.

Michael Roesslein:          Yeah, do something, I don’t know. It could be the end of society if Netflix runs out of new content. So the fight and flight, fight being figure it out. And I went down that hole some. I’m sure you did too.

Brie Wieselman:               Same.

Michael Roesslein:          Like reading studies that were coming out and information that was coming out of China, and this doctor and this research here and this thing about the vitamin C and this thing about the melatonin and this thing about this, and zinc, and this, and maybe, but slutty, it might not be good, but it might be good, and then andrographis is great but then it might kill you, and then this other herb, and like …

Brie Wieselman:               And licorice, and … Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:          I had notes in … I looked like, have you ever seen Always Sunny In Philadelphia?

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:          There’s the meme with Charlie that has all the conspiracies with the lines and the arrows and the dots and the things. I was like that for about a month. I bought all this stuff, literally like-

Brie Wieselman:               A Beautiful Mind.

Michael Roesslein:          Yes. And I bought an insane amount of stuff, because everything flew off the shelf too.

Brie Wieselman:               My pantry.

Michael Roesslein:          I couldn’t get-

Brie Wieselman:               You couldn’t get vitamin C.

Michael Roesslein:          Impossible.

Brie Wieselman:               Impossible.

Michael Roesslein:          Vitamins, I got it, because I had tipped off about this a few weeks before it really hit the thing, so I started stocking up on some things.

Brie Wieselman:               And if I was evil I would have sold it for like 300 bucks a bottle on eBay.

Michael Roesslein:          $200 for this bottle of vitamin C, yeah. And then that happened. And then the freeze, which I think a lot of people have probably fluctuated. Because eventually I couldn’t do that anymore, and I stopped reading anything about it. I just don’t care, I don’t care. I just couldn’t. And then the freeze is, like you said, people canceling appointments, people not being able to handle anything else on their plate. And for those people, that’s fine. And if you see things on the internet, like what have you done to make yourself awesome during this pandemic? And it’s like dude, I’m trying to be alive.

So don’t let the internet shame you into thinking you need to be doing a million things during this whole thing.

Brie Wieselman:               Absolutely not.

Michael Roesslein:          But health wise, did you see any changes or anything in what anybody was presenting at all based on everything else, or is it pretty much-

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah, for sure.

Michael Roesslein:          Yeah?

Brie Wieselman:               Largely the same things, but you got to remember I’m biased because my population is also predisposed to having a higher vulnerability to opportunistic infections anyway, or to flares in their-

Michael Roesslein:          Stress.

Brie Wieselman:               Whatever. Like PMS, food … Okay, I will say, here’s something different. There was a boatload of women who missed periods, got their period early, had their period flip two weeks to the opposite side of the cycle of the moon. That was just par for the course, worse PMS. And I even sent out stuff to explain to people what was happening and how that was related to stress, and the timing of it literally was pretty much within two cycles after the shit hit the fan, basically. So we saw a lot of that. And then I also saw an uptick in, unfortunately in some miscarriages. And I don’t know if it was statistically relevant or not, because I didn’t see enough cases to really say that. But I did notice that happening.

But mostly it was just people being stressed out and coming to their appointments, going, “Don’t be mad at me, I didn’t start that protocol.” I was like, “Girl, are you kidding? How are you doing with your homeschooling, and can I help you think about trying to source some kind of healthy home chef or delivery meal that might, if delivery’s even happening. Is that a thing? What do you need?” Like that.

So yeah. It was a lot of that. It was a lot of people feeling overwhelmed. Right? I mean, I was feeling overwhelmed. I can’t imagine that everyone else … If you weren’t feeling overwhelmed in all this, please teach me. Teach me your ways.

Michael Roesslein:          Yeah. Let’s flip this. You work for me now, tell me how you’re cool through all this. Yeah. And so without getting into … Well then also, then our state lit on fire where we live. Brie lives in Santa Cruz, which is south of here. If you’re not familiar with California geography, the pictures and images that you’ve seen of the apocalypse of the last few weeks, years, feels like years, weeks, where the skies are red and orange, like that one day here the sun didn’t come out and the dark was all day, and it was pitch dark at my house at 1:00 PM a few weeks ago. I think you were already gone then. That is where we live. And the fires that cause that to happen here were actually there where she lives, were the fires, and the smoke was here and there. And then you went north, and then the fires followed you, right?

Brie Wieselman:               Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michael Roesslein:          So you went to Portland.

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:          And then the worst air quality since then has been in Portland.

Brie Wieselman:               Portland. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:          We were just talking before we went on about how messed up it is that I now have a thing on my phone that’s like the time, the weather, and the air number.

Brie Wieselman:               And the air quality.

Michael Roesslein:          And which a year ago I didn’t know what air numbers were, so now I know the air number. Today is 71, which is-

Brie Wieselman:               That’s a good day.

Michael Roesslein:          … in the unhealthy but won’t kill you if you’re outside for 20 minutes range. So what’s it been like to maintain your practice, you also have a one and a half year old child, and-

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah, oh yeah, that.

Michael Roesslein:          … to … Oh, that. To leave where you were, to go, with a pandemic going on, to leave where you were, to get to where you’re going, to have something happen there, and I don’t know if you’ve been in the same place the whole time there or if there’s been moves there. But what’s this been like to go through, and how did you manage to maintain your practice? Do you have any tips for people that are in insane situations who are feeling overwhelmed and trying to juggle work with a little one, with life upheaval?

Brie Wieselman:               Mm-hmm (affirmative). Oh yeah. Do I have tips. I mean, it was insane. Okay, first what I have to acknowledge is there’s like Trauma capital T and trauma lowercase T, and I think this falls into the realm of trauma lowercase T in terms of, I have a great situation. I have my needs met, I’m not freaking out about having lost a job and not having any money coming in. So I just want to start by acknowledging that even in my patient population and my friend population, there are people who are really struggling. And there are people, like in Santa Cruz, a lot of my friends, and a number of my friends lost homes, lost everything. It’s just heartbreaking what people are going through.

Yeah, so for us, it’s definitely, for me I will say this year has been the most stressful year that I can think of in, specifically like 12 years, or 11 years, because that was a pretty stressful time in my life. But I have felt it. I literally felt my nervous system on the surface of my skin, and had to actively do all the things I knew how to do. I have to prioritize them just to stay grounded, to be able to do what I need to do, which is like be a good mom, keep my body healthy and functioning, and be there for my clients, and then try to be a decent partner to my husband.

And everything else is superfluous. If anything other than that gets done, that’s great. But so yeah. Our story is like we were camping. We actually, I had been pretty much on very, very, very tight lockdown, we really weren’t getting out of the house that much except for maybe a hike here or there or walks to the ocean. We had one pod family that we were hanging out with. So our world was really limited, and I was just starting to feel like my head was going to explode.

We went camping out in kind of a remote area in Truckee, which is near Lake Tahoe for anyone not in California. And yeah, it was great. And it was weird to be out in the world traveling. But we had just come off the heels of going camping, and literally we were sitting at Lake Tahoe and we’re like, “Whoa, there’s lightning,” and that was when the storms hit. And-

Michael Roesslein:          I remember being excited about that lightning because, where are you from originally? Are you from here?

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah, I’m from … No, I’m from the East Coast, so I grew up in New Jersey, Connecticut, and-

Michael Roesslein:          With thunderstorms.

Brie Wieselman:               With thunder … I love them, the smell, and the …

Michael Roesslein:          Yeah me too, I was like oh, this is so good. And then it’s like oh, everything’s on … Yeah. And I’m like now, everything’s on fire now.

Brie Wieselman:               Everything’s on fire. Yeah. So it was like beautiful for a moment, and then the destruction. So we were driving home-

Michael Roesslein:          Two days.

Brie Wieselman:               Two days later, everything was on fire. So I was seeing my clients literally on a Wednesday and my husband, I feel bad, one of my patients, I was in the middle of an appointment, my husband comes home, he was like, “Pack up your stuff, we’re going.” And I was like, “What?” He’s like, “Yeah, we have to leave now.” I came to find out we didn’t actually have to evacuate at that moment, but cops had come around or fire department, and said, “Hey, you guys probably will be evacuating, so you might want to start thinking about it.”

Anyway, we went to a friend’s house, and to a series of like three hotels, because my sisters drove down to help me caravan up with my kid, who was 14 months at the time. So made it to … And then here in Portland I’ve stayed at three different family members’ house, plus we have kind of evacuated from the bad air out to the coast, to some in-laws for a better part of a week. And now I’m in a B&B, because I didn’t want to burn out my family.

So I will say that schlepping around with a really cool, groovy little girl who’s a very good gypsy. But trying to keep her world consistent and sane while trying to meet the needs of my, run my business, and stay sane. And then oh, the other thing we haven’t thrown in there is that if I’m going to be a real human about it, as well, my husband and I have been together for 10 years, and I think we were talking about how there’s nothing like being in a prison of your own choosing with loved ones to bring up your shit. Anything you haven’t really worked through. And I mean, am I right? Anyone else?

Michael Roesslein:          Yeah.

Brie Wieselman:               This year, the marriage therapists, the couples therapists must be making a killing.

Michael Roesslein:          Yeah. And probably drinking at the end of the day because of how rough their appointments are with all of their clients. Because it’s everything that’s under the surface gets put right here.

Brie Wieselman:               Right here.

Michael Roesslein:          For those watching this, go to the other interviews if you want to further that conversation. We have one with a PhD psychologist talking about how to navigate communication in close quarters with people that you’re not usually around all day every day. So at Sarah’s, go look back at the beginning. All right, cool. That’s it, I just wanted to throw that in.

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah. So it’s been stressful. But I tend to look at things through the lens, this is just my makeup, I tend to look at the lens of why is this happening for me rather than to me? It just has, I don’t know why, it’s something where at least at the end of the day I maybe get some insight out of the bullshit that is going on.

Michael Roesslein:          Yeah.

Brie Wieselman:               So yeah. You asked what do I do to cope? I’m not going to lie and say that, “I wake up a half hour early every day and do [inaudible].” No. That’s not happening. What’s happening is basically I whittle it down to the essentials. I make sure that most of the time the food going into our mouths is pretty high nutrient, high quality food when possible. When we’re on the road we do the best we can. But I do what I can. I make sure that I don’t stay up until midnight watching whatever, whatever, whatever, I cut myself off and get my butt in bed by, most nights, 10:30. I try for earlier than that if I’m tired.

Simple things like that. I’m not worrying about am I getting in X amount of workouts per week, because literally we’re moving around. So if I do get half an hour when I have some child care and I’m about to work, and I get in a half hour workout somewhere two, three times a week, for now that’s okay. The movement does help, but I’m not doing that thing of I should really be getting to my best self in this moment. I have enough with that.

But the things that are really working for me, that are really, really working for me, are leaning into the fact that all this shit came up to look at, like getting my own house in order and not making it about the other person, but going what’s in my control? What’s in my locus of control? I can work on anything that I … It’s coming up again, maybe I did a bunch of work on that in the past, but oh, here’s a subtler version and I can look at that. So there’s that, and getting support around it.

The other thing that’s really working for me is delegating. I’ve become a master delegator. I have a kick ass team. I love my team. I could not do what I do or help people in the way that I do without them. One of my favorite books is, sorry, I’m getting a little bit tangential, but one of my favorite books is by an author called Gay Hendricks, who’s in the world of somatics, and it’s called The Big Leap. In it, he talks about a whole bunch of things, like the concept of an upper limit, which is basically when something really great happens in your world, or the next level of great, and then immediately after, something occurs or you create an opportunity for something to bring you back down in some way. You get a cold, or you get in a fight or whatever.

There’s also a concept in that book about being in our zone of genius versus excellence, competence, or incompetence. That’s just, really briefly, this concept that we have things that we’re incompetent at. I’m pretty bad at deep cleaning my bathroom. I’m not good at it.

Michael Roesslein:          I suck at cleaning.

Brie Wieselman:               I don’t like it, and I’m not good at it. I suck at cleaning.

Michael Roesslein:          Yeah.

Brie Wieselman:               I’m competent at the laundry, getting food on the table. I actually do enjoy it, I’m just not better at it than other people. And then excellence, there’s things that I’m really a lot better at than other people, most other people. But I don’t love them and they’re not like my flow state. And those are the golden handcuffs. That’s the stuff I try to delegate as soon as I can pinpoint it when possible. And then there’s the zone of genius, when you could be doing this for three days and then we’ll go [crosstalk]

Michael Roesslein:          You try to delegate the stuff that you’re excellent at or you try to delegate the stuff that you suck at?

Brie Wieselman:               I definitely delegate the stuff I suck at, but more and more and more in this time, the stuff that is my zone of excellence, not genius. Like if there’s somebody else who could do it as good or better than I, and maybe more efficiently or with more pleasure.

Michael Roesslein:          Excitement, yeah.

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah. An example of this is like, I-

Michael Roesslein:          Hold on, is that guy’s last name like Jimi Hendrix, or is it spelled with a C-K type situation?

Brie Wieselman:               Totally.

Michael Roesslein:          Okay. I’m just making a note.

Brie Wieselman:               Oh no, I think it actually, I think it is C-K.

Michael Roesslein:          I’ll find it while you’re talking. I’m going to link it at the underneath of this video. So go ahead.

Brie Wieselman:               Great book. Yeah. It feels really good to basically give other people responsibility, and to be grateful for that support, because it’s something that takes something off my plate, and it feels like it’s done.

One example of this is I have to hire for a position on my team, and this particular position is actually known best by the woman who’s currently in it, who’s staying on the team but we just need to duplicate her. Basically I’m having her do the first wave of interviews before I talk to the people, because she’s going to be able to screen real quick and go yes, no, yes, no. And that felt great. Because that saved me probably like …

Michael Roesslein:          A lot of hours of time.

Brie Wieselman:               Eight hours?

Michael Roesslein:          Yeah.

Brie Wieselman:               A lot of hours, yeah. So there’s that.

Michael Roesslein:          Cool.

Brie Wieselman:               And then the other thing, I’d say the other biggest thing for me, is that we’ve been talking about my daughter [Aja], and she is amazing, and a lot of work. But I’ve been very much letting go of attachment to what that looks like too, and what I mean is she was, since about nine months, she was sleeping through the night, like every parent’s dream. Sleeping through the night, in her own room. She’d come in in the morning to cuddle. It was working out great. She was sleeping well, I was sleeping well.

It was about six weeks ago, when we started traveling and camping, and then this whole thing happened, that went out the window. And then we’ve been moving around, so she’s in unfamiliar places. She’s teething or whatever 15 months old do, and she’s been-

Michael Roesslein:          A complete disruption of any type of routine or normalcy or …

Brie Wieselman:               Totally. So she’s been sleeping with me largely, about a few hours into the night, and some nights it’s like this flip flop I’m a jungle gym kind of thing for two hours, from 2:00 to 4:00 AM or whatever. And I’m just going with it. Instead of stressing out about why isn’t she sleeping through the night, or when am I going to get her into her own bed, I’m like you know what? This is really sweet, and I get all these cuddles.

Michael Roesslein:          You’ll remember it fondly. You’ll forget the part about being really tired and frustrated and you’ll remember, oh it was cute that one time when we were in the apocalypse and she crawled all over me all night.

Brie Wieselman:               It is so cute, yeah. But I get all the oxytocin. So I almost wish everyone had an infant. I don’t, not really, but oh my god, so much oxytocin, so much cuteness, so much touch and cuddles. And that is seriously my biggest medicine right now.

Michael Roesslein:          A lot of people are completely void of that in any way.

Brie Wieselman:               I know.

Michael Roesslein:          That’s one of the big things about this. I saw a friend a couple weeks ago who has compromised immunity, has been taking COVID super, super seriously, and we were pretty far apart from each other. And she said, “I haven’t hugged a person in five months.” And I think those of us with people in our lives who either partners or kids or someone that we’re locked up with. I think that we’re not able to really realize or understand what a lot of other people are going through.

Brie Wieselman:               Oh my god, no.

Michael Roesslein:          And then that human connection and contact is like eating.

Brie Wieselman:               Oh yeah. The level.

Michael Roesslein:          It’s the same level of necessity. That is just another huge stress contributing factor that our systems are not designed to operate in isolation. Not only physical touch but even nervous system attunement. We are social beings that, it’s actually-

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah, on so many levels.

Michael Roesslein:          Loneliness, I’ve read studies that show that loneliness is actually the highest all cause mortality increase thing, more than smoking or food [crosstalk]

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah, I read that. Yep.

Michael Roesslein:          Other things like that. And I was like-

Brie Wieselman:               More than smoking.

Michael Roesslein:          This has to be a bullshit study. And I read it, and that’s a really, really difficult thing to study in a completely objective way. Because there’s so many factors and variables and stuff. But it was pretty solid. And it was pretty spot on. And there’s other ones about how people in retirement homes, if you bring them a plant that they’re supposed to take care of, they live longer than the people who don’t because they have some thing to be connected to, like some thing. This is a huge, unwanted, not very fun social experiment I think that we’re …

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah, of the worst kind. It’s true, it’s true.

Michael Roesslein:          But you’ll remember the good parts. You’ll remember the fun parts.

Brie Wieselman:               We’ll remember the good parts.

Michael Roesslein:          About caravaning around with your daughter for awhile, dodging viruses and smoke, fire.

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah, it’s funny how our memories tend to work like that. We tend to remember the pleasure and not remember the pain quite as vividly in most cases. I’m thankful for that.

Michael Roesslein:          There’s probably a protection in place there.

Brie Wieselman:               I think so, I think so. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:          I know you went down your rabbit hole of how can I single handedly be the one person in the world who figures out this pandemic and solves COVID and cures everybody and protects myself, because I was going to be the one that was going to solve it. I was going to figure it out, figure out how to treat it and all those things. And then I didn’t. So we all, I think there’s a lot of us in this field that did that initial frantic watching all the things and reading all the things so that we could know all the things.

Brie Wieselman:               Oh, it was nauseating. It was nauseating.

Michael Roesslein:          So if somebody in our family got sick we could take care of them and our clients, our patients, the people who look to us for information, we could present the most up to date everything. And then up to date changed every three days for like ever. What have you settled on as your own simple, here’s a handful of things I either take or do that support me?

Brie Wieselman:               Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I definitely whittled it down, because at first it was insane. I think I was taking vitamin C every one to two hours, and then I realized okay, this is great, I’ve definitely hit sufficiency in my saturation of that. But things that appear to be the most important from what I can see, and I’m sure you’re seeing similar, are adequate vitamin D status, so vitamin D. Zinc, and especially I have genetic snips that make me think hungry most of the time so I’m definitely on it with zinc for myself. I also have all of the detox snips, like literally all of them. So for me thew things like NAC and glutathione, which I think are important. Glutathione status is one of the strongest predictors of …

Michael Roesslein:          Severity.

Brie Wieselman:               Prediction to ARDS or not. Yeah, exactly, severity of the pneumonia type presentation. So like NAC for sure, and glutathione, which are things I did anyway because I’m on the polycystic ovarian syndrome spectrum, and those just need to be part of my world. And then usually some resveratrol. But then also my Chinese herbs. I’m a Chinese herb girl. And the Chinese … Actually when you look at the research and really look at what came out of China, all the people who did better took Chinese herbs in conjunction with the prescription meds and all the things that everyone’s trying to figure out in the world of the ICU.

So I just took some good old standbys. I take some variation of jade windscreen, which is basically astragalus with some herbs that help direct it to the right place in the body. But that’s your main formula in Chinese medicine that’s an immune protective formula, and it’s pretty universally … Well, it’s pretty well tolerated by almost all people, you just have to be a little bit careful if you have a known autoimmune expression. But that one I use daily. And there’s a form of that that’s adaptive called Silver Flower, and there’s a version called Gold Flower, and I take one of those.

Those are the basics, and a little vitamin C and a good quality multi. I kind of keep it like that. I don’t get too much more crazy. If I think that I’m going into somewhere where I’ve had more exposure, like when we were on the road and I was going in and out of gas stations or things like that, I took some other, I did take elderberry, I took-

Michael Roesslein:          You didn’t die?

Brie Wieselman:               I didn’t die. I made it to Portland. Elderberry, who’d have thunk?

Michael Roesslein:          Man. Remember all those posts, and then people fighting on all the posts and then arguing, and then the emails that you got probably like I got, or like is elderberry going to kill me if I … Oh my god.

Brie Wieselman:               Oh, I had to go in and edit a blog.

Michael Roesslein:          This is why the internet should be smashed.

Brie Wieselman:               Seriously. I needed an internet break after that. I think I literally lost friends over elderberry.

Michael Roesslein:          Elderberry?

Brie Wieselman:               Maybe over vitamin D. Vitamin D and elderberry, that happened around the same time. The cytokine storm argument. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:          Yeah yeah yeah, elderberry’s going to cause a … Yeah.

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah. So yeah.

Michael Roesslein:          Man. One perk is that way more people are interested in their health now. And way more people, as you mentioned, are working on themselves and their own shit and their mental and emotional health and things like that, because they’ve had time on their hands, and because this has raised everything to the surface and put it in front of us. I know my friends that are in that field, which is kind of where I’m transitioning to, are all really busy. And there’s super high demand for what they’re doing.

Brie Wieselman:               [crosstalk]

Michael Roesslein:          I don’t think anything bad can come of a ton of people becoming more interested in their physical health and their emotional health and their mental health, so it’s kind of a course correction in a way of hey, you guys are all sick and miserable, let’s look at this.

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:          And it was, that’s the one, and I don’t want to make light of all the awful stuff that’s happened either. But there’s always two sides to it, and that seems to be the silver lining is that a lot of people have taken a new interest in their health.

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah. I think that’s really true.

Michael Roesslein:          And in taking care of themselves. Like how you’re being kind to yourself about oh, I didn’t do six intense workouts this week. And, doing six intense workouts when you’re under a ton of stress anyway is not good.

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah, definitely. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:          I’ve seen people that are taking out their stress on the treadmill and I’m like that is, don’t do that.

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah, calm down.

Michael Roesslein:          Let’s take out your stress on the couch over there, or let’s sit in the park for an hour, go breathe, go do things like that.

Brie Wieselman:               I’m a big fan, yeah.

Michael Roesslein:          I’m luckily going through … Of sitting and relaxing? Yeah, me too. I’m actually going through a couple pretty intense trainings right now. By intense I mean a lot of content. I don’t mean I have to run on treadmills. But learning a lot of practices around becoming present and out of your head and out of the stress, and also turning down your nervous system, and relaxing the nervous system, and meeting those stressed out parts in a way that isn’t adversarial, and it’s more conversational, and hey, it’s okay, I know you’re freaked out type of thing. And it’s been really good timing to go through that training. I started it about nine months ago. A couple months before COVID kicked off. And man, I’m really grateful that all these tools and connections and people have been put in my life at this time because it saved my ass. Cool.

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah. That’s great. Yeah, I love that. I’m so on board with the ways, like you said, that everybody, even the mainstream media has really acknowledged that, there’s articles on the front cover about vitamin D status, about the role of zinc, about … So that’s really legitimized this idea of hey, guess what, your underlying health going into this matters. But the one thing I will say … I’m a fan of that. The one thing I’m not a fan of, and it also may be some of the circles I hang in, I’ve lived in Santa Cruz for 20 years, a lot of my friends are West Coast-y, and the islands. And I have seen some amount of shaming. And I’ve also seen some covert and not so covert racism coming out of that, that I’m not a fan.

Because the thing is that yeah, absolutely we can all work on our health, and there’s so many ways to do that, and we also have lots of people who don’t have access to socioeconomically, all [crosstalk]

Michael Roesslein:          Why don’t they just eat organic food all the time?

Brie Wieselman:               Why don’t they just eat organic food? They’re eating crap and that’s why they-

Michael Roesslein:          Why aren’t they taking these supplements?

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah, I literally had a friend that I had to shut off for a while because she literally said, “Well, the people who are getting hospitalized and dying from COVID eat shit for food.” And I just had to stop because I was like, okay, clearly there’s so much more … We know about vitamin D receptors. Oh, guess who has a harder time with vitamin D status? Anyone with brown skin living north of 35 degrees north latitude. There’s that too. But also yeah, and also people can’t-

Michael Roesslein:          And the stress impact on those populations is exponentially higher. They’re the ones who get to deal with the work and the lost jobs and going to work in the pandemic and the working three jobs [crosstalk]. Kids at home, kids at home having to go to school at home while they have three jobs, and need to find a computer. That’s one thing that a lot of people are just assuming, oh well the kid goes on the laptop. Not every home in America has a laptop.

Brie Wieselman:               No.

Michael Roesslein:          So what happens then?

Brie Wieselman:               Or maybe there’s one device-

Michael Roesslein:          For three kids.

Brie Wieselman:               And a parent has to work on it, and three kids.

Michael Roesslein:          And there’s three kids.

Brie Wieselman:               I’m like how are you supposed to … And how are you supposed to work and have your … Yeah, so anyway, we [crosstalk]

Michael Roesslein:          I’ve seen a lot of really privileged ignorance flying around around eat organic food-

Brie Wieselman:               I’m not here for that.

Michael Roesslein:          They should be meditating, they should be doing these things, they should … I’m like dude, they work 16 hours a day seven days a week and have three kids and can’t afford to buy organic food. So let’s not lecture people on things that they can’t do. And yeah, a lot of just judgmental shaming. And I hate to break it to everyone, but there have also been healthy people that have gotten very sick.

Brie Wieselman:               Very healthy. I mean you and I know, like …

Michael Roesslein:          I interviewed Dr. Jolene Brighton, who was on oxygen four and a half months after her original diagnosis.

Brie Wieselman:               Totally.

Michael Roesslein:          Ours was the first interview she’d done, and it was one of the first few days where she didn’t use oxygen for over four months.

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah, her journey-

Michael Roesslein:          She’s a really knowledgeable naturopathic doctor, and was shamed by people within the industry basically for getting sick and ruining their narrative.

Brie Wieselman:               Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michael Roesslein:          People made up a bunch of stuff about her, saying she has breast implants and that’s what made her sick, and all these other things. She’s like if you want to sideways compliment my boobs, go for it. But I had a kid.

Brie Wieselman:               I didn’t catch those ones.

Michael Roesslein:          I had a kid, that’s what happened.

Brie Wieselman:               That’s hilarious, yes.

Michael Roesslein:          Because they can’t accept the narrative that someone that’s healthy can get sick, because it’s safer to think, oh, I’m healthy, I eat healthy foods, so this isn’t a thing for me. And unfortunately, we don’t live in a safe world. This is not a safe … Nothing is safe, there’s literally no safety.

Brie Wieselman:               It’s a great equalizer.

Michael Roesslein:          And once you accept that you don’t have to be quite as scared of it.

Brie Wieselman:               Exactly. It’s not in my control.

Michael Roesslein:          To me it’s been like oh, well, I’m going to, everything’s going to die, and, okay.

Brie Wieselman:               It’s liberating, right? Yeah, we’re all dying from the day we’re born. So now just a little bit more.

Michael Roesslein:          I actually have an app, you should get it, on my phone. It’s called, oh, this is worth pausing awkwardly for a second to find it. It’s called WeCroak. And the emblem is a little red frog. And three times a day, I get a notification from it that says, “You’re going to die.” And then when you click it, it has a quote or a passage from a book or something about death or dying or mourning or grief or existentialism. But three times a day I get a notification, a push notification on my phone, that says something about like, “Congratulations, you’re going to die!” With an exclamation mark. And it’s been a really cool and fun reminder.

Brie Wieselman:               I’m getting it right now.

Michael Roesslein:          And I have a friend that I showed it to, and he’ll text me, a couple times a week whenever he gets the notification, and my text just says like, “Hey dude, you’re going to die. Awesome.” And it’s been a fun thing to have. Because it brings you back to reality.

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah. Totally.

Michael Roesslein:          Get that. WeCroak. And we can send each other you’re going to die messages.

Brie Wieselman:               Oh my gosh, I am just getting it, literally I just enabled notifications. I can’t wait. Thank you. You made my day.

Michael Roesslein:          It’s one of the few things I allow notifications. I get air quality notifications, I get you’re going to die notifications. That’s what I get. Yeah.

Brie Wieselman:               Oh wait, it’s backwards. “The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you’ll never have.”

Michael Roesslein:          Yeah.

Brie Wieselman:               I love it.

Michael Roesslein:          It’s great. It’s a really fun little tool. So I’ll put the link on that on the bottom of this interview too, because why not. We’ll do the book, The Big Leap, and that, and I’ll link people to your Instagram. I’ll put a little button too. Do you have a contact email if someone’s looking to set up work?

Brie Wieselman:               Yeah, I do, I’ll give you that too, yeah [crosstalk]

Michael Roesslein:          Okay, I’ll put a little button with the contact, a little button to the Instagram, the book, and then the WeCroak app.

Brie Wieselman:               And will you put the bread company you’re talking about, because seriously, I’ve had major FOMO about all the sourdough baking that’s happening in the world while this girl can’t do the grains, and the, you know. So yeah, I really want that one.

Michael Roesslein:          I’ll send you that. I think that we talked about that before we were recording.

Brie Wieselman:               Oh, sorry.

Michael Roesslein:          It’s fine. It’s my wife’s birthday today, and we were joking that I had to marry a Jewish woman to learn that bagels and lox, which I didn’t even know the word lox, bagels, smoked salmon is like, I come from Chicago so it’s like pizza for Jewish people, and to equate it to Chicago, and I love it, and she can’t have bagels. Because autoimmunity and different food reactions. And she, her main reaction is actually to rice, and most gluten free flours have rice in them. Most gluten free noodles have rice, most gluten free everything has rice. So she’s been almost entirely grain free for almost a year, probably a year now. And Legit Bread Company makes a cassava flour based bagel mix that we tried this morning for [Mira’s] birthday, and they were awesome. And if you’re watching this, click on our tabs of wellness vault, the tab that says wellness vault, and go to food and drinks, and it’s the top thing in there.

We have an area on our site where we put all of our favorite products and services and things and whatever all in one place, categorized, that people can go, and it should be the top listing on there. But Jennifer that runs it is a friend of mine, and I sent her the pictures this morning of the bagels and lox. She wants to put them on her website or something. So check that out, Legit Bread Company. We have the book, The Big Leap. We’ll put your contact on there.

We’re going to come back and talk again on a podcast that will be a little more, I don’t know what to call it. We’re going to talk about some things that aren’t usually talked about on health podcasts. And we have … They’ve known me a long time so it’s pretty hard for me to shock this audience at this point.

Brie Wieselman:               Right.

Michael Roesslein:          I haven’t really openly had an open conversation about some of the things like fully that we could talk about. So we will do that. And it’s been super fun, so thanks for sharing your caravan adventure, pandemic, fires, smoke, doctor journey.

Brie Wieselman:               It was a blast.

Michael Roesslein:          And mom, and partner, and house guest, and you’ve worn about 32 hats in the last six months, so kudos for that, and I’m glad we connected, and yeah, I just appreciate you coming on and sharing this. And I hope people can see that even people who forwardly present that they have their shit all together are dealing with a lot of things and are having to make a lot of compromises and be really kind to themselves when they’re not hitting every single thing that they normally would be doing, and that maybe think about that when you see people struggling right now. Because it’s a lot harder for some people than it is for others right now.

Thanks for bringing that perspective and bringing that into the conversation at the end too. We have a lot of conversations about that in our Facebook rant world, so I like to bring it into here. And we’ll have you back on soon, so thanks Brie.

Brie Wieselman:               Awesome.

Michael Roesslein:          It was a lot of fun.

Brie Wieselman:               Thank you so much for having me. That was great. And thanks for the opportunity. Because, yeah. Good to dive in.

Brie Wieselman

About our Guest

Hi, I’m Brie Wieselman
I believe that good health is the springboard for living an inspired life. I’ve worked with thousands of people over the last 17 years, from all around the world, to help give them a map for what happened to their health and why, and to empower them with an understanding of what steps to take to resolve their health issues for good.

I found my way into medicine because, like you, I’ve had my own health journey.

Severe childhood asthma
Out-of-control female hormones and a missing period
Daily IBS including constant bloating and gas
Chronic Insomnia for 6 years in my 20s
Low thyroid hormones/Hypothyroidism
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)

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