#2: Deanna Minich, PhD Shares science based detoxification strategies

by Mike Mutzel

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Deanna Minich discusses detoxification from a whole new vantage point!   She reveals science-based breakthroughs in toxins and how to properly detoxify, releasing emotional toxicity, toxins in food and water and why every is toxic.


Show Notes

01:30 Deanna’s Journey: She grew up with a health conscious mother. Her rebellion brought her to her path. Instead of medical school, she chose to pursue nutrition and has a master’s degree and PhD in nutrition. She also studied spiritual traditions and alternative healing. Her Food and Spirit educational and product platform weaves together nutrition with mind/body medicine. Addressing emotions and mental patterns leads to complete wellness.

04:00 The Future of Testing: Deanna has an interest in quantum physics. Too often we just look to traditional test results. We need to look at other ways of quantifying health/illness, perhaps via smart phones. We should be able to determine what we need moment by moment.

05:41 Detox Summit: The focus is on toxicity and detox. The word detox has a stigma. The summit is to give credibility and raise the bar on the meaning of toxicity and health. The summit is in conjunction with the Institute for Functional Medicine. Deanna interviewed over 30 different experts, some from functional medicine and some from the emotional/mental/spiritual perspective.

11:46 Biggest Ah-ha Moment: She found that many of the speakers talked about food in their own way. They also talked about fasting as part of detoxification. Detox is not a one-size-fits-all.  There are many ways to doing detoxification that heal.

13:31 How Toxic Are you? It is not a question of if you are toxic. Concentrations of toxins in the body correlate to chronic disease. There are more toxins (body, emotional or mental). We live more stressful lives with more pollutants. Our indoor environment is 2 times more polluted than our outdoor environment. We are toxic. Maybe this a catalyst to teach us something.

14:42 Generational Impacts: Toxins impact generations. The average adult contains about 700 different contaminants that we recognize. At birth, infants contain more than 200 toxins. More than 80,000 new chemicals are introduced into our environment every year.

15:42 21 Day Detox Challenge: This is part of the summit for participants. Support will be given to practitioners to help their patients through the detox challenge. There will be calls and a private FaceBook page. There is a phytonutrient focus. Every day will have a speaker. Each day has a theme.

19:49 Deanna’s Top Toxin to Eliminate: Water is her pick. We use water to bathe, wash food, and for drinking. It is one of the most toxic things in your house. Analyze your water for contaminants. Use a filter and make sure of its efficacy.

21:47 Deanna’s Favorite Therapy: Sweat is her choice. Sauna can make us excrete everything except perflourinated carbons. Replace lost electrolytes. Take a walk or some other physical activity works too.  Crying is a way to release emotions. Research shows that we have inflammatory cytokines in our tears.



Mike Mutzel: Hello and welcome, everyone. It’s your host, Mike Mutzel, with High Intensity Health Radio, the best of nutrition, fitness, and functional medicine. I’m very excited about today’s guest, Dr. Deanna Minich. Deanna is an internationally recognized lifestyle and nutrition expert with over 20 years of experience in the fields of nutrition and functional medicine. She holds both in master’s degree and doctorate degree in nutrition. She’s a Certified Nutrition Specialist and the author of five books. She’s the founder of Food & Spirit, and the Detox Summit live event, which we are going to discuss in much more depth very shorty. Deanna, thanks so much for being here.

Dr. Deanna Minich: Okay, thanks Mike. It’s really a pleasure to be here and to talk with everybody about detox today.

Mike Mutzel: Awesome. Well, before we dive in, for those of you that don’t know Deanna, let’s talk about your background and how you really got involved in nutrition and fitness, and then also the founding of the “Food & Spirit.”

Dr. Deanna Minich: Well, it goes back many, many years actually. I grew up with a very health conscious mother, who I rebelled against, and that rebellion led to my mission for my life. So essentially, when I was very young, my mom had me reading food labels, eating really healthy food, watching Richard Simmons, and I went through my own journey of having lots of emotional eating issues, binge eating, overeating, and just really wrestling with the whole idea of food in general. I was about to go into medical school and then I thought: “You know what? This just doesn’t feel right.” At that moment, I decided that what I needed to do was something that was much more preventative. So, I went on to get my master’s in nutrition and from there, I went on to get my PhD because that just wasn’t enough. I like the science, and all throughout the time that I was studying with really top-notch researchers and learning lots about nutrition, I was also studying another path that was parallel with my research and my academic background. I was looking at different spiritual traditions, different other types of ways of healing that went beyond nutrition because I think as a scientist, what tends to happen is you’re just looking for truth, you’re looking for solutions and answers, and sometimes you have to go beyond the double-blind placebo control trial to do that. So, I became really interested in much more than just nutrition. Food & Spirit, which is the platform that I work from now, is an educational platform, also a product platform – lots of different things that are offered through Food & Spirit weeds together nutrition with mind-body medicine. I have here always thought for some time that even working with people on nutrition using functional medicine, many times people would get to like 60% well, even as high as maybe 90% well, and in some cases, 100% well. But I felt that if I did not addressthe other aspects of whether it was emotions or mental patterns, then it wasn’t really the complete picture. So, that’s what Food & Spirit is; it’s a system that practitioners can use in order to really fuse together the mind-body piece with nutrition.

Mike Mutzel: That’s amazing. So, huge and pervasive and all over lies in such a big impact. I’ve learned a lot from your lecture and I have found where you dove into the energetic component of food. Do you want to speak to that at all?

Dr. Deanna Minich: Well, one of my interests is in quantum physics, and in fact, I’m even going to the World Congress of Quantum Medicine, which is happening this October because I feel like we have to bring in the conversation around health and healing; we have to take food and eating, and even the body into looking at subtler aspects because Mike, as you know right now, what we do is we get a lab snapshot, there’s a blood sample that was taken or urine sample, and really, it’s such a – it’s kind of archaic if you think about it. I think in 50 years, we’re going to look back and say that we’ve lived in the dark ages of medicine, and I think that what we are heading towards is looking at more point-by-point diagnostics, looking at whether we take our iPhone, put our finger up to the light and get some type of reading photonically. I just think that there are other ways that we can start getting information on the body, and then based on those readings, whether we call them energetic, quantum, if they’re leveraging different aspects of physics, what we can then do is go back and figure out what we need moment by moment rather than waiting for the next practitioner visit, which could take weeks, right? And our body may have changed since then. So, I just think we just need to speed things up diagnostically and also therapeutically, and I think we can do that in certain realms.

Mike Mutzel: Fantastic. You’re taking this real energetic approach to explore the topic of detoxification, which we want to talk more about. Let’s talk about what you’re putting on here, Deanna, the Detox Summit that’s starting early August, and is more encompassing holistic viewpoint prevention and elimination that you’ve been helping everyone to get more educated on.

Dr. Deanna Minich: The Detox Summit – this was the idea that I came up with back in January of this year. I had a conversation with Jeff Bland, who’s one of my mentors. For your listeners who don’t know who Jeff is, he’s a nutrigenomics pioneer; he’s actually done a lot in the realm of detox. So, I knew what I wanted to do is summit, and I just wasn’t sure what it was. The thing that kept coming up for me was really to focus on toxicity and detox. Jeff really liked the idea and he was very supportive, and we kind of talk through it. Working with him for so many years on a variety of detox products led me in that direction because it feels like detox is just a squishy term, and I’m not even sure I like the term, “detox.” I think it needs to be reinvented – maybe “toxicogenomic” or I don’t know what it is – but right now, it’s got so much stigma that the reason for the summit is really to put a kibosh on the lack of credibility and to raise the bar on the meaning of toxicity and health. So, that really is the impetus for the Detox Summit; it’s to expose people to what is detox and also within the functional medicine lens because I’m doing this in collaboration with the Institute for Functional Medicine.

Mike Mutzel: I love how you used the term “squishy.” I mean, when you ask someone on the street, “What comes in mind when you think of detoxification?” “I think enema gets colonics,” and these various things. So, let’s talk about some of the strategies and maybe new paradigms that you’ve learned after interviewing all the experts.

Dr. Deanna Minich: Gosh, there’s so much great information and for a lot of the – I interviewed 30 different experts, and as you alluded to Mike, it was much more than just nutritional detoxification. Eleven of the 30 speakers are all very functional-medicine-based, and they really come from their approaches, whether it’s diagnostics, nutrition, protocols to reduce mercury in the body – all incredible information. Then there’s also a segment of speakers that focus on the emotions – emotional toxins – and mental toxins, as well as spiritual toxins. I really wanted to introduce that because that is what Food & Spirit is; it’s trying to build to the world a larger message of unifying all the piece parts that belong as part of our journey to get healthy and to feel well. In terms of the different speakers, it’s kind of a hodgepodge of different people that normally, you wouldn’t envision them all at a party together, but if you did get them all at a party together, then we would have some very unique conversations. I’m almost envisioning Jeff Bland, who starts the day on Day 1 (he starts the whole summit, which is a weeklong), him talking with Dr. Thomas Moore. Dr. Thomas Moore is another person I interviewed. He’s a psychotherapist and he wrote the book, “Care of the Soul;” he’s been a monk, he’s been a very steep in the Catholic tradition, which I also have been raised in; he is now doing so many different things as it relates to spiritual toxicity; and he really – I would say – if there’s any interview that wrenched my mind in two different ways of thinking about toxins, it would’ve been that one with Dr. Moore. Having Dr. Bland talk with Dr. Moore about kind of the spectra of toxins, I think that that would be – probably, I need to do that, I need to do a three-way conversation with them and see what they would come up with. But they were both unique; actually, all of them. And then I have Rainbeau Mars. Rainbeau Mars is a model; she’s an actress; she’s even written a book on cleansing; she has also had a very hippy mom, Brigitte Mars, who did a lot on herbs; and so, her focus is much more planetary in terms of looking at toxins in the planet, and she complements David Wolfe very well.

Mike, you know who David Wolfe is, right?

Mike Mutzel: Yes.

Dr. Deanna Minich: Yeah, he’s famous. He’s like the super-food god. I was really curious to hear what David would say about toxicity and detox and what foods he would recommend. Some of them, I wouldn’t have anticipated quite honestly, so I’m not going to give those away. He’s clearly really into mushrooms. He talks about a lot about the different healing properties of mushrooms – what they do to our immune system. He talks a bit about epigenetics, which I thought was fascinating. So, that was fun, too, to have that dynamics. So, I would say there are really so many different – it’s like a buffet – like when you go to a restaurant and you do one of the all-you-can-eat buffets, you can pick and choose from a variety of different speakers, and I think that they’re very accessible for both practitioners and patients. I would say in general, we’re really looking at probably the more educated person, who’s listening to these, because the information is sometimes a couple of notches above what you might anticipate. So, there’s a lot of biochemistry, but then there’s also some physical diagnosis. Dr. Vojdani talks about different laboratory markers for autoimmunity, which could be great for practitioners I think, and then of course, listening to Dr. Pizzorno, Dr. Gordon, Dr. Kahn talking about the interrelationship of heavy metals in the body with chronic disease, to think that small amounts of lead in the blood correlate to increased blood pressure and even cardiovascular disease. Dr. Garry Gordon goes into really nice detail; I think he speaks faster than Jeff Bland quite honestly.

Mike Mutzel: Wow. That’s possible?

Dr. Deanna Minich: Yeah, I know. It doesn’t seem that it would be but they really go – and if they were at this detox party that I’m envisioning, and I can just see them going in rapid-fire succession back and forth. It would be fun to watch, like a tennis match.

Mike Mutzel: Yeah. What would you share with our audience the biggest aha moment for you during the Detox Summit?

Dr. Deanna Minich: Well, one of the biggest aha moments was what people were – here I come from a nutrition background – so probably nothing fazes me when it comes to food. What I found as an aha moment was that many of the different speakers spoke about different foods in their own way and also fasting, and how fasting comes into detoxification, and that there can be different personalized approaches to detox, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all. And I think sometimes, when we go to the health food store, we talk to the practitioner as a patient, we might be thinking, “Oh, gosh. There’s probably one way to do detox.” But I think many people will walk away from this feeling very liberated that there are many different ways to do a detoxification to get them feeling better, so everything from eating certain foods to nutritional products to more rigorous methods. Dr. Alejandro Junger talks about his experience in India and what he did with fasting and juicing; he gets right into the gut; he really goes in deep there. So, I think that the biggest aha is that detox is really – it’s very complex in many ways – and the aha is that we can really match the detox to who we are. So, whether it’s not a monthly basis, we just feel like a couple of days of detox is sufficient, maybe we feel like we need something more rigorous, and there are safe, great ways to do this to get to feeling better.

Mike Mutzel: I love it. Now, along those lines, your video on the detoxsummit.com site, you said, “It’s not a question of, ‘Are you toxic?’ It’s ‘How toxic are you?” So, can you expand on that for our audience and explain what you’re thinking?

Dr. Deanna Minich: It’s really true. It’s not a question – I mean, the planet is toxic. We’re learning this. We’re even seeing these articles coming out in the Journal of American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine – a lot of top medical journals – showing us that the concentration of these toxins in the body is correlated with chronic disease, and chronic disease is on the rise. What we’re seeing just in general – I’m even learning this just from being in practice and also talking with these 30 experts – is that all of them, in some way, have noted that whether it’s the bodily toxins, emotional or mental, that there are just more and more toxins. People are living lives full of stress; we’re living in polluted environments. It was really shocking to me to learn that even our indoor environment is two times more polluted than the outdoor environment. So, we are toxic; I think it’s something that we can’t avoid. And as Thomas Moore would say – maybe the toxicity is here to teach us something; maybe it’s a catalyst; maybe we have to release our looking under the hood not be so cavalier about toxicity in the planet and really be concerned because if we’re not concerned, that means that our children will need to be concerned about it, and their children, because really and truly, what we know is that these toxins impact not just a person, but generations. With the research from the Environmental Working Group and a variety of other organizations, they are talking about – they’re actually researching this; they’re measuring the amount of toxins in the body. The average adult contains something on the order of 700 different contaminants, and many of them, we don’t even know, and I think that it’s probably much more than that.

Mike Mutzel: Wow.

Dr. Deanna Minich: The average infant when they’re born contains more than 200 toxins, and more than 80,000 new chemicals are introduced into the environment every year. So, it’s not a good place to be in, but I think that we can band together and really create some change. Again, that’s really one of the main goals of the Detox Summit – it’s to give people the information. Just like gluten – it’s a very controversial topic – detoxes – because like you said, many people get different connotations. So it’s like, “What does this all mean?” So, the idea is to inform people and then to inspire them. We’re actually going to take people through a 21-day detox, and that will follow on to the summit in September. We’re doing that, and that’s called the “Detox Challenge.” So, anybody that signs up for the summit will be invited to the Detox Challenge. We’ve loved to show everybody just how to do this from a mind-body-spirit perspective in using a lot of the Institute for Functional Medicine tools.

Mike Mutzel: That’s great. Let’s talk about that challenge in a little bit more detail. Who’s leading that? Is it the whole group or is it just you? How can people benefit from that?

Dr. Deanna Minich: Yeah, I’m kind of like the conductor of the orchestra. I’m just kind of keeping of the moving parts in line, but essentially, we have many, many different people that are involved behind the scenes. IFM is getting their certified IFMCP grads; these are the people that have gone through functional medicine training, have become certified – we’re going to have a number of them be involved whether it’s on the Facebook page, on the calls, giving tips, adding support. It’s really not in the way of having patients separate from practitioners. What we really are encouraging is to have practitioner-based clinics taking their patients through this with us providing the support that is needed. So, we’re giving PowerPoints to practitioners to take their patients through that, whether it’s not in their offices, maybe virtually. We’ve got so many different tools, and really, what I would say is that we’re seen as the support network offering weekly calls. We have that Facebook page, which will be a private page, so that there can be lots of sharing. And then of course, every day, there’s going to be a theme; there’s a four-day running theme, which gets people going and prepared; and then we have 21 days – everyday has a very specific message, and everybody will get an e-blast on that day. What’s really exciting to me, Mike, is that we have a phytonutrient focus – how much are like colors and phytonutrients.

Mike Mutzel: Of course.

Dr. Deanna Minich: We have built that into it – the Detox Challenge. And that’s also really important for IFM.

Mike Mutzel: I love it.

Dr. Deanna Minich: So, we start off the detox really talking strongly about food and getting that going. Every day, we’ll have a speaker as well. I neglected to mention that, but we will have 30 speakers in the Detox Summit and 30 speakers in the Detox Challenge. So every day, you can listen to one speaker that just comes by way of participating in the challenge, and then you learn about the theme, whether it’s protein and detox, red-colored foods and detox – whatever that theme of the day is – and you get lots of great information. There’s no product that needs to be used; it’s just simply based on food. The practitioner, if they want, they can bring in their own product; that’s completely up to them.

Mike Mutzel: Sure. That sounds great, Deanna. Now, why 21 days just out of curiosity?

Dr. Deanna Minich: Well, I’ve heard before that it takes about 21 days to change a habit or to actually work on a habit. I’ve heard a variety of different numbers for that. My experience working at the Functional Medicine Research Center is that we have done a number of 21-day, 28-day-type detoxes. Some people like shorter cleanses. I’ve interviewed Dr. Mark Hyman; he has a book called “The 10-day Detox Diet;” he believes that people need shorter detoxes as much as they can do in terms of their attention span and work span and all of that. So, I thought if we did 21 days, it’s meeting in the middle – it’s not quite as long as a month and it’s not quite as short as 10 days. We can really give people an experience with 21 days.

Mike Mutzel: I like it. Yeah, it’s just on the edge of being too long, but would increase compliance and allow people to really make that lifestyle change and change their patterns. I love it, Deanna. Let’s have a little bit of fun here. If you could just pick one toxin to eliminate, whether it’s emotions or certain food, a category of household cleaners or something, what would it be?

Dr. Deanna Minich: Oh, it’s only one?

Mike Mutzel: Just one. If it was like…

Dr. Deanna Minich: It should be the one that most people are exposed to, and that’s water. If you think in water in the house – we bath in water; we wash food in water; we drink water. Water is pervasive, and it’s one of the most toxic things in your house. So, there are some really easy things. We do talk about this during the Detox Summit in the way of getting the water in your house analyzed for different contaminants. There are different labs that do that. In fact, by way of just doing this whole Detox Summit, I’m putting myself on a detox as well, and just kind of blogging on the experience. Dr. Rick Mayfield is taking me through doing my provoked and unprovoked urine and such. I had my water tested. But the water, to me, seems to be the one that I think will impact us greatly because babies are drinking water as much as everybody in the household. The animals are drinking the water. Not everybody is using personal care products, but everybody is definitely utilizing the water in some way. So, get your water clean; whatever it is. Just use a filter on the faucet; make sure that whatever water is coming out of that filter, that it is truly clean, that you’re looking at it for microorganisms, heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants – and I did all three of those just to be sure my water was impeccable.

Mike Mutzel: Wow, that’s great. We get our drinking water purified from the co-op locally, but we don’t have any purification systems in the house, so that’s a great point. You’re staying in the shower for four to seven minutes, sometimes you’re taking a bath with your child and you don’t know what you’re exposed to. So, I love it, Deanna.

Dr. Deanna Minich: Exactly.

Mike Mutzel: Great. If we could pick one therapy – sauna, meditation, DMSO, DMSA, whatever – what would you suggest doing to someone if you’re on an elevator and they said, “How can I improve my body’s ability to detoxify?” What would it be?

Dr. Deanna Minich: Sweat. Sweat, and it doesn’t matter how you’re doing it. I think about some people where they’re eating all the right foods, they’ve maxed out on that, so what’s the next level? I did interview Dr. Stephen Genuis, who is in Alberta, and he’s done a lot of work on the BUS study – it’s what he calls it – blood, urine and sweat – and he talked extensively about the use of sauna and how sauna can essentially make us excrete everything except for fluorinated carbons. We can get everything out; we can get the heavy metals out; for the most part, we can get chlorinated compounds out; and we can get just, in general, microorganisms. Just open the pores – just get those things out and liberated. We also do lose electrolytes, though, when we are sweating, so we do have to replenish. There are some situations for which sauna are counter-indicated, but for the most part, there’s some really nice data on saunas. But saunas not the only way to sweat – even just taking a walk, getting physical activity in some way. I think that those are really great methods, and also you think of summertime. Being outside, being in the sun and sweating, I think, is one great motivator to releasing toxins from the body.

Mike Mutzel: I love it.

Dr. Deanna Minich: It’s relatively passive, too. We don’t have to do much. We don’t even have to think about anything. We can just sweat.

Mike Mutzel: Right. And it will also help on the emotional toxins, as well as to process different things, increase parasympathetic tone, and so forth.

Dr. Deanna Minich: Yeah, that’s a really good point. There’s kind of that feedback loop between feeling really relaxed if you are in a sauna, if you’re exercising, you are sweating. Yeah, a lot of things come out. I even think about crying. So, I’m just thinking of all release from the body since you mentioned emotions, I’ll just mention the crying. There’s some nice research that suggests that we have inflammatory cytokines in our tears, so when we hold back from crying, we are holding back from the potential expression of certain inflammatory toxins in the body.

Mike Mutzel: Interesting.

Dr. Deanna Minich: So, I think that kind of emotional release is also really helpful.

Mike Mutzel: Yeah. Interesting, Deanna. As we close here, we have an amazing speaker lined up, but are there any must-watch interviews that you would highly recommend?

Dr. Deanna Minich: It’s so hard to make that choice. It just depends on what your focus is. If you want more of the spirit, the three speakers there – having Char Sundust, who is in the Seattle area; she’s a native American teacher. That was really fascinating, and I have studied with Char. That was really nice because she does go into the whole element of nature. So, when she talks about toxicity, she says that humans are in a toxic state because they’re out of alignment with nature. And I think, Mike, really and truly, if we look at that as kind of the apex and everything else coming down from that, I think that that makes a lot of sense because if we were in right relationship with nature, then we would have a right relationship with our water supply; we would be fine with our air, we would be good with our food, our earth, our matter. So, I think it really gets us to look at how are we in the context in the web of all of life on this planet looking at our interconnections.

Mike Mutzel: I like it, Deanna. Well, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your insight with us. Just so our listeners know, thedetoxsummit.com, and then how can our listeners more about your work, follow you, and connect with you?

Dr. Deanna Minich: Sure. I would say that they can check out my website, which is www.foodandspirit.com, and I also have a Facebook page that I write on fairly regularly and that is “Food & Spirit with Dr. Deanna Minich.”

Mike Mutzel: Awesome. Deanna, thanks so much and have a wonderful day.

Dr. Deanna Minich: Great. Thank you, Mike. Take care.