Dr. Hillary Lampers on Longevity, Aging Gracefully, and Her Hunting Podcast

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Katie: Hello, and welcome to the “Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com, that’s wellness with an E on the end. And I’m here today with Dr. Hillary Lampers, who’s a naturopathic doctor who practices in Bozeman, Montana. And she has specialized in structural and pro-aging medicine with a focus on hormone and brain health for years. And we go into a lot of that today in this episode. She’s also really fascinating because she, although she does not hunt, is the co-host of a hunting podcast with her husband. And we go full circle in this conversation talking about why hunting is important, how she got into that community, also how she got into naturopathic medicine, and the unlikely overlap there.

She also shares a lot of her secrets for anti-aging. And, if you are listening and not watching, I will say she looks like she’s maybe in her early 30s, and you’ll be surprised to hear her actual age. She looks fantastic. But she goes deeper than that, and really talks about core areas to focus on for health and longevity that also have aging benefits, how brain health affects aging, why we’re seeing a decline in hormones, like testosterone in men and women, the reason diet diversity has declined and how this is affecting health, and so much more. We go in a lot of directions, and she gives a lot of practical advice in this one. So, without further ado, let’s join Dr. Lampers. Hillary, welcome. Thanks so much for being here.

Dr. Lampers: Thanks, Katie. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Katie: I’m excited to chat, and we’re going to go in a lot of directions. But I think a cool jumping-in point would be, I have a note that you host a hunting podcast but you don’t personally hunt. And I would just love to hear the story of how that happened.

Dr. Lampers: Yeah. So my husband is sort of a celebrity in the hunting world now, I guess. About five years ago, we were just regular normal people living our everyday lives, trying to raise a small family, living in Washington State, north of Seattle. And I was a physician part-time. I had two young kids. My husband was working in the fishing industry, which was a family business. And just as a, you know, as a side note, he loved to hunt, like, bow hunt, and basically to spend a lot of time in the mountains. And over the years of us, we’ve been married now 24 years and together 26 years. And, you know, I see this a lot in marriages sometimes is that it’s like we worked jobs, and pretty much the only things that we did together, like, we had interest in together was we loved to garden, grow food, and then raise a family. But we kind of had these separate lives when it came to work.

And what he loved to do was hunting. And I grew up in, I wouldn’t say initially an anti-hunting family, but there was a strong slant I guess against hunting in my teenage years. And that caused kind of a lot of strife in myself with my husband because when I married him I knew he hunted, but it wasn’t really that big of a deal, it was just something he did in the fall. And as he got older, he started doing more of it. And I think I had a lot of complexity about if I had problems with it or if it was, like, my parent’s issue or whatever, but it was kind of a point of contention in our marriage for a very long time. And so we decided about five years ago, you know, the podcast format was becoming really popular with people. You know, we liked to listen to podcasts and stuff.

And he had suggested to me that we should start a podcast where we talk about our lifestyle and hunting. And I was like, “Well, who in the hunting world wants to hear from me, you know? I’m a naturopath.” And I think there was a lot of stereotype. There still is a lot of stereotype that in the hunting world, you know, it was like people aren’t healthy, they don’t care about this stuff and whatever. And I guess I had that slant. And he was like, “Oh, no, I think it would be a great opportunity for us to share, you know, your knowledge with people.” So we just decided to start a podcast literally in our home. I mean, our first podcast, if you listen to it, we have, like, big old microphones. I didn’t even know how to set them up hardly. It’s, like, ridiculous, the background noise and all that. And we just talked about ourselves. We introduced us and who we were and talked about our history. And it just skyrocketed.

And we didn’t realize how many people out there had kind of the same issues that we did. So wives that didn’t hunt and their husbands did, and the complexity that came into that, the conflict that came into that. Kind of, we also moved into that, I guess, homesteader realm where we were gardening and growing food, being sustainable, providing our own meat. I’m doing a little bit of animal husbandry on our…we had kind of, like, I would call a small farm in Washington. And we just started sharing all that part of our life.

And it was crazy to see how many people were like us and just kind of, we were so well-received. And as it turned out, my husband’s very introverted, he’s actually, like, I think that’s why he enjoys being out in the mountains and just away from people. He really hates social… He’s gotten better at it over the years because of, you know, getting more well-known since we started the podcast. But I’m more of the extrovert, and I really enjoy the podcast format. I really like being able to talk to different people like you and have guests on. And I did find that in the hunting community, these people weren’t having a lot of guidance on health per se and the things that we know and functional and naturopathic medicine, and the response was huge.

And so I say I have a hunting podcast, and I talk to hunters, and 85% of our demographic is men, as you can well assume, but we are slowly growing our demographic of women because more women are hunting. It’s the largest demographic in hunting that’s growing, is women hunters. Also, a lot of wives are listening because they can sympathize with me. And also, we have two children now, and our oldest daughter has started hunting two years ago with her dad, which was something I never did, obviously. And I still don’t hunt. And the reason for that is because my husband, for one, provides plenty of meat, and now my daughter’s providing meat, and I don’t feel the need to do that myself. If I had to provide for my family, if God forbid something happened to my husband and he couldn’t do it, I, at this point now with what I’ve learned over the last five years and the way it’s changed our lives and just changed, you know, changed me, learning so much about this, I would definitely do it. But as far as having it in me to do that, I don’t have it there, but I support people that do. And I think that it’s a unfortunate loss that we’re starting to see in our community of people just not understanding their food. And so, I guess that’s what I say when I have a hunting podcast. But we have a big platform, we talk about a lot of different things, so not just hunting.

Katie: I love so much of that story because my kids also hunt. And ironically, I was a competitive shooter in high school, but I’ve never actually hunted. I don’t have any desire to hunt an animal. But like you, if I ever had to, I don’t doubt that I could, but it’s not something I have to do either. But I think it’s so cool how you’re bringing that synergy into a world that maybe didn’t know as much about health. And also now, like, through this and through other outreach that you’ve done, you’re educating the health community too, because I think there’s really interesting overlap there. And the beauty of being able to source meat directly from the land in a sustainable way. And I know, like you said, there’s a lot of misconceptions there, and I think I also kind of grew up with a negative bias toward hunting until I really understood how not just can the quality of the meat be so amazing because it’s growing up in its natural environment, but also there’s an important ecological reason for hunting.

And I think that’s just such a beautiful education piece in both directions. And I bet you’ve had some amazing interactions with getting to teach health to that world, which is probably a place where it’s very needed, and people who care about the environment, and care about animal welfare, and care about providing their own food, and you’re kind of giving them a springboard into other areas of health. You mentioned that you are a doctor, a naturopathic doctor specifically. I know many naturopathic doctors, I think you guys do amazing work. I’d love to hear how you personally got into that specific realm.

Dr. Lampers: Yeah. I was, I guess, unfortunate or fortunate, however you want to look at it. When I was in my teens, so as a child, I was really lucky because my birth parents were pretty healthy. I would consider, like, my dad was really concerned about food. We always had a garden. I grew up with this idea of, you know, healthy living, healthy food. My parents were really just kind of like hippies and we lived that lifestyle. And then when I was about 12, my parents separated and got divorced when I was 14, and life kind of changed. Obviously, with divorce and the monetary issues, you know, kind of lower-income situations, you know, there’s a lot of stress involved there.

And so in my teens, I feel like I had a lot of stress. And then I had a stepfather come in and he was Native American, very different family unit, you know, the way that culturally I had lived before that, and then living with him. And just a lot of the emotional stress that was going on in our life at the time. I think I started, you know, not eating well and the dietary issues kind of really changed in our household. And so I became sort of sick in my late teens and I had a lot of issues like candida, a ton of gut issues. I was having lots of anxiety and, like, weird heart palpitations. And I also had chronic headaches. That was kind of something that I suffered with for most of my young life.

And I saw a naturopath when I was like 17. I was just at my wit’s end. Like, nobody could help me with how I felt. And this was back in the late ’80s. So you can imagine it was really hard. I lived in Montana at the time, Bozeman, where I live now. And it was just hard to find practitioners who really knew much. And so I went to this local naturopathic doctor, her name was Willow. Her kids’ names were literally Rainbow and Sky or something like that. And, you know, people were like, “Oh, you only go to her if you’re, like, you know, you’re kind of desperate.” So I went and saw her and she just radically changed my view on my health and my diet and that I was pretty sick. And so she did a ton of work with me with nutrients, herbs, dietary changes. And I changed my health just by changing my diet and getting kind of, like, that micronutrient re-supplementation in. And I was young, so you can imagine at 17, you know, you want to go eat Little Caesar’s pizza at lunch and, like, Wendy’s hamburgers and you don’t want to be put on this really strict diet.

But I started learning then about nutrition, and so I got very interested in alternative healthcare and I studied that for quite a while. And then I, you know, went to Seattle to go to massage school. I did that. And then I started working for myself as a massage therapist and then I met a naturopath. And he did this kind of strange, rare treatment called neurocranial restructuring, which was a cranial manipulation technique that’s been used for, gosh, decades now. But I went to see him for my headaches because that was kind of one of the last things I could not get rid of. And it absolutely changed my life. It transformed my health and I got so excited about it that I just begged him for a job basically for, like, a year. And he ended up giving me a job and I worked with him as his assistant for 10 years, helped run his office, did all that.

And in the middle of that, I just really said, “Okay, this is what I want to do. Like, I want to be the doctor.” I was kind of a late bloomer. I was like 27 or something. I hadn’t finished my bachelor’s degree, so I had to go back to school. And then I ended up going through the naturopathic program. He was a naturopath, so just kind of as a mentor, that was just the direction. And I was always more interested in that obviously than going through, like, conventional medical model. And then I went through school. I went to Bastyr in Seattle for undergrad in nutrition. So I got a degree in nutrition and then was pre-med focused, and then I went to Bastyr. So I started kind of in that field, you know, very young and getting into health very young.

I see it as unfortunate when I was young, I didn’t feel great, but as I’m almost 50 years old now, I look back on that and I think that that really structured my entire future. Because a lot of the principles that my parents set inside me when I was young, like, they just kind of were re-invigorated. And then I have really controlled a lot of my destiny and a lot of how I feel and look and age. And it’s helped me as a naturopath over the few decades here really want to help people age gracefully in how we do that. And the younger you can get people to start doing that, like, the much better, you know? So that’s where I started in naturopathic medicine, and then, yeah, I’ve just been doing that kind of stuff ever since.

Katie: Well, for anybody who’s listening and not watching this video, I want to call out that what you’re doing must be working because I would have guessed you’re in your early 30s at the oldest.

Dr. Lampers: Oh, you’re very kind. I have braces on too, so I do like younger. I tell my 12-year-old daughter I’m trying to keep up with her, you know. I got my braces on here. I never had braces when I was younger. My parents couldn’t afford it and I needed it. I needed all, and as I’ve learned about my structural health and my gut and my hormones, I can afford it now, and getting braces has actually too transformed my life now. It’s something that I think has really helped my structure and helped a lot of things.

So, you know, I’m constantly learning and I appreciate that. And I think when I have days where I feel old, because you’ll have those days as you age, you know, if you’re a parent in general, it doesn’t matter if you’re 21 or you’re 50. You’re gonna feel tired for a lot of your days. And I just try to remind myself that, you know, just kind of be consistent. And I think that’s the biggest thing, just keep doing the work and just be consistent. And you’ll have days where it’s not great, but at the same time, you know, I’ve been really lucky that I’ve had the things that I had in my life to kind of teach me these lessons.

Katie: I agree about parenting. And even if you have great energy levels, I feel like when my oldest started driving and when he got taller than I am, I felt old that day. Just because I have a kid that old. But I’d love to hear both on a personal level and I know you’re a very active clinician as well, maybe some of these core ideas of things that people can do, not just to avoid the look of aging, which I think is also very important to a lot of people, but for longevity and for health. Because I think those things are very obviously intertwined. So I’d love to hear what you’re doing that’s apparently working so well, and then also what you do with your patients.

Dr. Lampers: Yeah. So my practice has really evolved over the years. I’ve been in practice since 2007. And when I got right into practice, because I had worked for my mentor for so many years, I was really fortunate that when I got out of medical school, I basically walked right into a job. You know, I was specializing in this treatment that he was doing, and I did that pretty exclusively for over a decade. But during that training, I was working a lot with people that had problems like me, chronic headaches, migraines, breathing disorders, sinus disorders, lots of chronic pain, but also people that have a history of head trauma, athletes that have history of traumas, motor vehicle accidents. Like, all these kinds of things. And I was learning a lot about the brain and the nervous system. And that’s really one of my key areas of interest, is the nervous system.

And because, you know, as you age, it’s great to look great. You know, when you’re in your reproductive years, and I say this to women that are before menopause, you know, you’re in your reproductive years, it’s all about how you look, and being skinny, and looking good, and, you know, whatever. As you go through menopause and you get older, there’s a shift that happens. You’re not in reproductive age anymore, and now you’re like, “How do I live a quality of life and feel good? And how do I keep my brain young?” Because we’re all gonna age and things are gonna sag and we’re gonna gain a little weight, and we’re gonna get wrinkles, and these things happen naturally, but we want to keep our memory, right? We want to be there for our kids when we’re older. We want to meet our grandchildren. And we want to be able to remember it and then die in our sleep someday when we’re old, you know what I mean? Like the Titanic is a great example. Just be this woman who’s had all these experiences in her life and then just die when you’re 102 in your sleep. You know, that’s everybody’s dream.

But that’s really going against the statistic, and that’s likely not going to happen to most people. So what I always think about now is my brain health. And working in the field that I did for so many years and seeing how the brain is impacted, not only by structural influence, you know, like accidents and athletic stuff, but stress. And what these things can also do to hormone status. And then with diet and gut health and these things, how they’re impacting, again, our hormonal status as we age.

So my practice has really turned. We moved back to Montana in 2018, one, because I just couldn’t handle the rain of Western Washington anymore. Even after 25 years of being there, it just took a toll on me every year. Growing up in the Rocky Mountains and in the sunshine, I couldn’t do it anymore. And I think, again, that’s another thing as you get older, you start realizing, like, if I don’t make a change, like whatever… I’m not happy in my environment, and I could be making like every single change like diet and doing all these core things, and I’d still feel depressed and I’d still feel down. You know, your physical environment and where you’re at, you know, even if you don’t like living in the house you’re in, you don’t feel comfortable, and that’s kinda how I felt.

So in the summer, I loved Washington because we could grow food there. I mean, I still look at pictures of my gardens in Washington and just kind of get teary-eyed. I miss it. It’s amazing for those things that we loved to do, and a lot of our platform is based on. But I couldn’t handle the winters. So we came back to Montana. Absolutely love it. But I started working in a clinic with more practitioners. And I kind of just had to work. So I started incorporating, you know, what do I really want to do as I evolve in healthcare here? And the treatment that I did before, I still do some of it now, but it’s very physical. It kind of took a toll on me over 25 years. And so I decreased that but I started focusing on brain health and hormonal health and how the things that I was witnessing in patients specializing, how can I improve those?

And as women, we go through a very demarcated time in our life, especially with menopause. And what I started learning too, because our podcast is directed at 85% male population, or that’s who listens to it, is men. I started doing a lot more men’s health care. It was just like referral network. And then men were calling me and, you know, when you have a podcast, people feel like they know you and they trust you, and you’ve never met them before. And so I was getting a lot of male patients. And because my work before was dealing with head traumas, you see a lot of men as well because they’re traditionally in more high-risk sports and that kind of thing. And hormones are a big issue. And so men also go through that same kind of middle-life crisis that women do where their hormones start shifting, they start not feeling so good, they gain some weight, you know, they have more fatigue, they have low libido.

And there’s a lot of stereotypical misconceptions between men and women. You know, women do have this demarcated line, ovaries go to sleep and we have a transition whereas men, they don’t have that, testes don’t go to sleep, but they just kind of slowly decline. And they may not get the healthcare that they need to help them as much. So I just started doing a lot more men’s health care, which I really enjoy actually. Men are a little…they a lot easier to work with in a lot of ways, because the way their brains work, they’re kind of very methodical, and a lot of men are very engineering sorts. So, like, if you have the data and you can show them and they trust you, they’ll do the work, you know? Whereas women are so hormonally complex and there’s so many different multitasking things going on that women are doing. I mean, they also need to trust you.

But women, they consume healthcare the most, you know? They got a problem, they tend to go to the doctor. They deal with children, they take their kids to the doctor. So women can be a lot more complex just to work with even emotionally. And our brains are more complex than a man’s brain. You know, throughout our life, any woman who’s married to a man, you know that you’re more complex than your husband is as far as how you think every day, what you can do every day, your multi-tasking capabilities compared to your husband. And so it’s a different scenario with women than it is with men in what you’re addressing. But there’s foundational things like you said, that are very important. So obviously, one is gut health, diet.

Diet is the biggest, you know, when we talk about medications, supplements, these kinds of things, we always refer to therapeutic window. Where’s the therapeutic window in which the action of this drug or supplement or food falls into? A medication has a very small therapeutic window, meaning it works really fast, but it has more side effects. Supplements can be like that as well. But food has a very big therapeutic window. So we eat every day, and we choose foods, you know, every day. And sometimes it can take a long time because the therapeutic window is so big. For us to really know is that food bothering us? It could take decades for it to destroy your gut lining. And in some people, it’s pretty immediate, right? You eat a peanut, you have anaphylaxis, that might kill you in half an hour. You know what I mean? But that’s actually very rare.

So what I tell patients is food, because it has such that big therapeutic window and the side effects sometimes can be very… Like, there can be multiple side effects and at the same time you’re not gonna maybe have the side effect like you would with a drug that’s so fast-acting. Figuring out your diet is really important because over the many, many, many, many decades that you live, you’re going to be eating food.

I love your podcasts. So you had Daniel Vitalis on your podcast. He’s, like, one of my favorites. I followed him for years. He does a lot of the same stuff that we do, but he’s even more entrenched in that lifestyle. I mean, if your listeners have not listened to that podcast that you did with him, that’s an excellent podcast, go back. And, like, everything he says in there, I 100% agree with, you know. We have lost our diversity of food consumption. We basically are eating, everything is processed, you know? Even cultivated foods versus wild foods, the difference in nutrient complexity has drastically changed. So we just aren’t eating a very diverse diet anymore. And our guts have been abused by the processed foods that, really, since post-war era, and when I say post-war era, I say post World War II, where all of the convenience things of life that we’ve gotten so used to and that’s made our life so simple has basically poisoned us, to put it lightly.

And unfortunately, nowadays we just can’t get away from a lot of that stuff. So when it comes to diet, you do have control over that. But you have to be due diligent and you have to really learn your body. And so that’s where I like to go with patients first, are those basic lifestyle things, diet is one. Sleep is huge. I did not put enough emphasis on sleep when I was younger. I’m sort of a type A, stressed out. I call myself adrenaline-driven person. I’m very motivated and goal-oriented. I would have made a really good CEO of some massive corporation where I had to tell everybody what to do. That would have been great when I was 25. Now the thought of that makes me just want to crawl into a hole and hide. There’s no way I would do that now because I understand that the stress of what that creates over time would really not be good for my hormonal system.

But I’m that type of person. I just love being with people, and I love team building, and I just love all that kind of stuff. So I put sleep on the back burner for a lot of years. And when you go to school, and you go to medical school, and then you have children, I mean, women, I don’t care what your profession is, if you are a stay-at-home mom, you are sleep-deprived for literally decades of your life. And that could be from, you know, the babies obviously, you’re sleep-deprived, that’s obvious. But they get older, you worry about them. You know, they have activities, you got to get them up for the school bus every day. You know, now you’ve got five teenagers and you’re driving them here and you’re driving them there and you’re doing this, and you’re staying up late because you get no time to yourself. And you’re going to bed at 2:00 in the morning and having to get up at 6:00. You’ve got a podcast, you have a job that you have to work. Women are totally stressed out and not getting enough sleep.

And then you hit perimenopause or menopause, and sleep is one of the huge problems that sets in in women. And they start coming in, like, “Why can’t I sleep? What’s going on? Why am I waking up wide awake at 2:00 in the morning and I can’t fall back asleep?” Right? So we know the hormonal changes of the drops in estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, these things affect deep sleep. So getting your sleep cycle figured out, you know, may take a long time, especially if you have young children and figuring out your personality. And I honestly think in a perfect world, you know, I would go to bed every night at 9:00 and I would get up at 4:30 or 5:00. Like, I love the morning. I’m a morning person. And I’ve just figured that over the years. But I have to go to bed early. And that can be hard to do, right? When you have kids and stuff like that. But sleep is huge.

Exercise is key. Exercise changes so much. Exercise affects the gut microbiome. Exercise affects your neurotransmitter function. Exercise affects how you digest food. We don’t think about it like that, but it’s huge. And, again, kind of talking back to what, you know, Daniel Vitalis was talking about, it’s like now, you know, we just kind of sit in cubicles and we exercise 30 minutes a day, and then we just sit all day and… Exercise is different now. We have to be purposeful about it. But getting out in nature more, just, like, getting up and going outside and walking and hiking and…I don’t know, you know, pushing your baby stroller outside and just getting outside, that’s a huge thing for movement. So if you can get outside, that’s great.

You know, we live in Montana where typically this time of year it could be 20 below zero, and you’re not necessarily going to go outside and go for a walk. But when you can, making sure you’re getting that sun and doing that. So that’s kind of a simple answer, long answer to a simple question. Like, the basics are really, really vital. You can’t skip on them. No matter how much you want to biohack yourself, you really… I just see in people, the more they skimp on those things and they just try to take supplements or medications, or, I don’t know, put Chilipads on their beds. Like, everybody is trying to do all these biohacking things. Like you just got to sometimes just go back to the basics. Clean up your environment, create an environment that you like to be in, live in a place you want to be. Like, that’s, for me, was a huge thing, moving from the rain to the sunshine. That alone improved my sleep, it improved my mood, it improved my relationships.

Katie: I fully agree. I’ve said that a lot of times, you know, you can’t out supplement a bad diet. You also can’t out supplement bad sleep. And I think these biohacks are great and they all have their time and their place, but 100% aligned with you. If you don’t have the foundational stuff in place first, it’s not gonna be that effective. And if you are going to do the biohacking stuff, making sure you have that foundation first is going to make all of those things more effective anyway. And in over 500 podcast episodes now, I’ve also yet to have anyone say sleep is not important. This is, like, an absolutely basic core foundation, and yet none of us…we know this, it’s still hard to do, to your point, especially if you’re a mom. But let’s talk a little bit more about hormones. And maybe specifically from a, as we age perspective. I’ve read data that men now have a third of the testosterone their grandfathers had at the same age. I know we’re seeing a decline in hormones like testosterone in both men and women along with a decline in some other important hormones. And it seems like a rise in, like, too much estrogen in a lot of women. Talk about what’s going on with hormones and what is the solution? Are you a proponent of hormone replacement therapy or are there other ways we can tackle this?

Dr. Lampers: Yeah. It’s been really interesting working in kind of this middle age bracket with people, and, you know, with myself being middle-aged and just knowing what I’ve been going through. I also had children later in life. My second child, I was 42 when I had her. And so, you know, there’s a lot of hormonal changes that are going on between 40 and 50, really, especially for women, but also for men. And on our podcast, we have talked a ton about hormones, especially testosterone. Again, I’m talking to men, so, you know, that’s what we get on the topic of. But you’re right, testosterone has decreased considerably in the last 100 years. Not only testosterone but fertility. Sperm counts have drastically decreased. And, you know, there’s no doubt in medicine right now, there’s a huge epidemic of fertility issues going on in both men and women. And, you know, IVF and all these fertility support procedures are hugely on the rise right now because it’s just not easy for people to get pregnant without. And they’re doing things like I did, where they’re spending their early years getting educated and having jobs and stuff and they don’t have time for children, and then waking up one day and being like, “Oh, my gosh, I think I need some kids and I better…”

You know, women, we do have an expiration date when it comes to being able to conceive. And so, a lot of older parents, a lot of older mothers and, you know, egg quality and sperm quality definitely change as we get older. But again, back to that kind of post-war era, Teflons, estrogen-mimicking compounds, preservatives, plastics. So when my grandparents were young during the depression, they didn’t even have plastic. Okay? Back in the flu of, you know, in the 1900s. The last pandemic that we had, they didn’t even have plastic. They didn’t have IV bags. You couldn’t go to the hospital and get an IV of fluids because you, you know, were vomiting or diarrheaing so bad you had to go get fluids. A lot of people died because they didn’t have the modern convenience that we have now of plastic.

So in one sense, it’s transformed our world where we can have these medical, you know, advancements that can keep people alive. You could fly to China, you couldn’t do that before, you know, we have plastic. There was no such thing as a plastic water bottle. You know, you couldn’t be carrying your plastic water bottle around with you. And everybody ate off, like, the same fork and plates and that kind of thing. And back then, there was probably more heavy metal issues, right? People were having death from heavy metal overloads and lead and mercury, and there was hygiene issues and all that kind of stuff. But plastic has really transformed the way that we live. Unfortunately, it has also poisoned us, and it’s something that never really goes away.

And so plastics and all the chemicals that are in plastic very much affect hormones, especially in both men and women, and they’re estrogen mimickers. So when we see excess estrogen in women, you know, estrogen is going up, and then we see extra estrogen in men and, or low testosterone because of that estrogen. And I’m sure you’ve had, you know, having as many amazing health experts on your podcast as you have, I’m very jealous. It’s amazing the people that you’ve had on here. And I’m sure they’ve talked about it, but, you know, these hormones do so many endocrine-mimicking things in the body that we still probably don’t 100% understand it. And as we’ve tried to make our lives easier, we’ve also slowly poisoned ourselves now to the point where we see these drops in things that are necessary for the continuation of the human species, you know? Along with not only that, but conditions in people… you know, conditions, cancers have increased, and there’s a lot of things that have increased that are toxic exposures that we’ve had over a lifetime. And we’re even seeing these things in children, you know, that kind of stuff, obesity, etc., cardiovascular disease, all these things. And these can be also caused by these hormone disruptors.

The thing that I’ve absolutely hated over the last couple of years, just one of the things, is this exposure to hand sanitizers. And everybody’s slathering their children in hand sanitizer and slathering themselves in hand sanitizer. And, you know, granted there are healthier hand sanitizers you can use, you can make your own hand sanitizer from alcohol and whatnot. But the chemicals that are in these, what are we going to see in the next 5, 10, 20 years from this chronic use now of hand sanitizers? And I’m in the healthcare industry. And so when COVID started, I mean, health, you had to, like, wash your hands and sanitize your hands. And, like, at the end of the week, your hands are literally bleeding, cracking open from all of this use. And these are all hormone disruptors.

So I think that, again, our environment, like we talked about before, controlling your environment is really important. And I know you have a natural skincare line, that’s huge. And for women, we just slather ourselves in chemicals since when we’re little. I mean, I got two girls, right? They want to put makeup on, they want to put fingernail polish on, they want to do all those things girls do, we start super young. We put lotion on our kids, we put on ourselves. And so your personal hygiene products are very important. And men are doing it even more now, too. They used to not do as much, you know, these personal products where they were putting them in their hair and on their skin, but now they’re doing them as well. Shampoos and conditioners and all these. So I think that’s a huge place, but the hormones are so sensitive to these things.

And estrogen, this is how I explain estrogen. Estrogen and progesterone, made by the ovaries in females. Estrogen is like the little sister and progesterone is like the older sister. Progesterone is more responsible, she makes sure everything’s in order, she’s the firstborn. And so her job is to kind of make sure that everything is balanced. Estrogen is the little sister. She just, you know, does what she wants, she doesn’t really get in trouble for anything. And progesterone keeps her in check. Progesterone makes sure she doesn’t go crazy, she’s not climbing the walls, but let’s just say progesterone gets tired once in a while, or there’s chemical exposures, or fertility issues, or stress, and she starts going down. Well, what does the little sister do? She just starts going crazy and she just starts causing havoc. And now the ratio gets thrown out of whack.

So that’s another thing, you know. It’s not just like estrogen is so bad, she has very important function in your body, both men and women. She’s highly important for mood, motivation, sex drive, your skin, your hair, you know, growing a baby. All of the things that make us truly women. But if estrogen gets out of control and there’s not enough progesterone on board, then you’re going to have, you know, you’re going to have problems. And so, again, it’s not just estrogen, it’s kind of this symbiotic relationship between the hormones that needs to happen.

And then you got things like vitamin D. You know, vitamin D is a hormone. It basically helps the hormones talk to each other. And how common is vitamin D deficiency today? It’s so common. If I have a patient that comes in and they’re not supplementing with vitamin D and they’ve got a vitamin D over 50, I’m just like, “What are you doing?” It’s just so rare. And so, you know, estrogen herself is not bad, but when she’s not controlled and when she’s overexpressed through these toxins or whatever, she can definitely cause a problem. So she’s the most radioactive and we want to keep her in her nice little box.

Katie: That’s such a great perspective and such a concise, clear explanation of that.

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I’d love to kind of, like, bring back some of the overlap from the beginning of this episode and talk about… I agree with you completely, like, avoiding some of these things in our environment, in our food, it’s really important. And women, especially, I know the stats are pretty astounding on the number of chemicals we encounter on a daily basis in our personal care. And to your point, this is now happening to men too. And babies are born with hundreds of chemicals already in their core blood. So this is a huge area to address.

And one of the ways, I know I’ve talked about on my blog and that you guys have talked about on your podcast of addressing that is the more things we can make, cultivate, grow, and obtain at home versus in plastic from a store or that’s processed, that makes a big difference. And we kind of jumped into this by talking about the hunting, and you also mentioned that you guys are avid gardeners. I’d love to hear some of your favorite cultivated and wild foods to grow or to gather or hunt, and how to kind of integrate those things in our lives more. Because I think getting back in touch with our food roots, whether it’s just gardening on a patio, whether it’s a full-blown garden, whether it’s hunting, whatever it is, that has so many psychological benefits of just reaction to what we eat, but also, of course, health benefits as well. So I’d love to hear your perspective on that.

Dr. Lampers: Sure. Gardening is really interesting because what we learned early on is that we liked to grow a lot of different things but we didn’t necessarily like to eat a lot of different things. And some people are really adventurous and some people aren’t. So for us, we learned over time that we…we realized the foods that were just kind of a waste of energy for us to grow in our garden. You know, maybe we could go out in the wild and harvest them, wild craft them, or whatnot. But growing them in the garden, like we weren’t necessarily going to eat them a whole ton. And then, you know, I also found out that both my children and myself are potato intolerant. And so we used to grow a ton of potatoes and take up a lot of energy for potatoes and we just don’t do that anymore because we’re not going to eat them. And so that’s another thing to be conscious of, is if there’s foods you know you’re not going to eat, growing them in the garden and the amount of effort it takes to grow a garden, you know, figuring out what foods you want to experiment with and you can grow.

And then, of course, what grows in your environment? So we came from Western Washington, which is a humid, lots of water, good sun in the summertime, and it doesn’t get really cold there. So it’s a long growing season. It’s a great place to be, like, a homesteader and have a garden farm that kind of thing. We now live in the windy high plains of Montana, where our season is really short. And where we live, it’s really windy and in the summer, it’s super hot. And in the winter, it’s really cold. So we have had a real struggle growing food here as compared to Washington where we had the capacity to grow so much even without a greenhouse, which in Montana we’ve found that’s just basically becoming impossible as far as the foods that we like.

But my favorite foods, one of mine is, probably for hunting, if we were going to do, like, a hunting food, it would definitely be organ meats. And that’s because organ meats are so super nutrient-dense in the things that, really, both men and women need for their hormones and just for long-term longevity, I guess. Things like B vitamins, heme iron, which I diagnose women multiple times per week with anemia. This is very common because of this warped idea of eating that we have now and, like, women are not eating, you know, vegetarians, women are not eating. Even if they’re not vegetarian, they’re not eating a lot of red meat. They’re not getting muscle meat or nutrient-dense organ meats. And I try to remember, you know, remind women when they come in, they’re like, “Eww, I don’t want to eat that.” Or, “I’m going to be a vegetarian.” Yet they’re anemic and they feel horrible, like, exhausted, short of breath, heart palpitations, anxiety, can’t sleep at night. You know, they can’t muster the energy to get out of bed in the morning. And then they have really heavy periods and long heavy periods.

The more anemic you are, the more you bleed. The more blood you will lose. It’s like a vicious circle. The less anemic you are, the less you will bleed, the easier your periods will be. And so I remind, like, my grandparents didn’t have supplements, they were eating liver and onions. You know, they were eating organ meats. And nowadays, again, post-war, we kind of got away from that and now we have supplements. Everybody’s like, “Oh, I just want to take a supplement for that.” And you can now. You can take desiccated organ supplements. We obviously have elk and venison liver in our household and so we hate the taste of liver. It’s disgusting. It’s very hard to cook. Some people love it and they’re way tougher than I am. But we dehydrate ours and we do put them in capsules and now our kids will take it. And so we’re getting heme iron. Heme iron is the most essential iron that you need in order for the red blood cell to attach oxygen. There is iron in plant foods, but a lot of the things in plants like oxalates and etc., they block iron and so you’re not necessarily gonna absorb them as well.

So I love organ meats, organs as well. And if you can’t eat them or find a good way to make them, again, you can get a dehydrator, which is not expensive, and you can dehydrate them and you can put them in capsules and you can swallow them. And they’re just like food. So we have the technology nowadays to do it. So we don’t have to eat liver and onions if you don’t want to, but I think that that’s a great source of getting food, really high nutrient-dense foods, and people like Western Price and etc. talked about.

And then other foods that I love to wildcraft is mushrooms. We were really fortunate in the Northwest, we have chanterelles right outside our back door, and morels, and a lot of Turkey tail, and lion’s mane, and all these wonderful mushrooms that now you can buy in supplements as well. You can get in certain brands like Four Sigmatic and some of these other ones where you don’t have to go out and harvest your own mushrooms.

But if you like to go out and find food, like, mushroom hunting is a great family activity, and mushrooms have been found to basically be antimicrobial, antibacterial. You know, they are even showing advancements in cancer care, and, you know, tumor suppressors, and etc., like that. So even eating, you know, medicine on mushrooms, I mean, white button mushrooms, the mushrooms people buy at grocery stores, again, those are cultivated mushrooms that, you know, they have some nutrient benefit, but not like your wild mushrooms. So if you were going to spend a little extra money at the store, you know, maybe getting some of those wild mushrooms, or go out and get them yourself if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where you can do that.

Foods that we love to grow. Obviously, my husband loves…he had a huge greenhouse. We love to grow tomatoes of all different variations, we grew peppers, onions, all different variations. I love all the herbs. So all the really aromatic herbs. I love growing rosemary and oregano, dill. We had a large mint patch. You know, mint is a weed, these things grow like crazy. You got to actually contain them when you grow them or they’ll just take over your patch. Nettles. We were really fortunate we had a great nettle area there. So all of these. Now, these are cultivated herbs as well, and they’ve been changed over the many decades. And again, you can also go out and wild harvest a lot of these foods. They have family members that are wild. And if you know that and you learn those in botany and stuff, you can go out and kind of pick those wild as well.

But I think herbs are a great way to get polyphenols, to get anti-oxidants, to get all these things that kind of help, or get radical oxygen scavengers. Herbs are amazing for that. And probably one of my favorite herbs that obviously we can’t grow here is saffron. So if you’re going to pick a really good herb for depression and just overall health is saffron. But most of the saffron in the world comes from Afghanistan. So I don’t know what the saffron trade right now… You know, where that’s going to be with what’s going on in the world. But that’s a great herb for brain health.

And then also bitters. So any leafy greens are great. My husband likes kale. We had this thing where we’d just grow lots of kale. I don’t know why we wouldn’t even be able to eat at all. I’m not a really big fan, the older I get, of kale too much. I just don’t know. It’s, like, too much for me. Probably I’ve had too much of it. But I just love you can just grow salad greens, and having your own fresh salad every day, like, that’s the best. And greens are so easy to grow. I mean, you can grow those in your kitchen, you can grow those on your porch in a pot. And so bitters are also really important for digestion. And they support your digestive fluid, your hydrochloric acid. And so bitters have been used for, geez, millennia. You know, eating some bitters before you eat a meal helps you to digest. And some cultures eat it after the meal, again, to help you to digest your food. So greens are all kind of in that bitters family. So I love greens like that.

If you want your kids to learn about gardening, obviously grow the easy thing. Beets, carrots, root vegetables, peas are a great one for children. Have them plant their own little pea plant, and then they can pick their peas off of there. Strawberries or another great one, you know, if your kids can eat strawberries. And a garden strawberry, as you know, versus a store-bought strawberry, a Costco-bought strawberry is, like, there’s no, you know. And then if you can find wild strawberries, that’s even better. But those would kind of be some of my favorite foods.

Katie: Love it. And as we get close to the end of our time, a couple last questions, the first being, what is one piece of advice you’d love to leave with all the listeners today?

Dr. Lampers: I think we’re in a really interesting time right now. There’s a lot of fear in the world. I’ve heard this, you know, I think us in the podcast realm where we have more freedom of speech and we have the ability to talk with the people we want and we’re not being totally censored yet, is we realize that the world is really changing very quickly as to the information that people are getting and what’s being put in front of us as the norm for now. What I love about the podcast is like we can talk to all the people that we want to talk to and learn from other people we may not understand as well. But, you know, we can do this now in this day and age, which is so amazing.

But at the same time, we’re being inundated with the ridiculous amount of fear-mongering that’s going on about everything. You know, now there’s new variants. Now you just stay away from people. Stay in your home again and don’t do all this. And I think, unfortunately, you know, when you look at children, that’s the biggest fear, I think, as, you know, as we live kind of more of a free life. We’re really lucky in Montana. We get to live more of a free life here than maybe we were going to get to if we stayed in Washington at this point. And so we feel really fortunate for that. But I don’t want my kids growing up afraid of other people. I don’t want my kids feeling like when they’re around other people, they have to have masks on, or they can’t, you know, they can’t have friends, they can’t touch people. And there’s just a lot of fear going on.

And there’s this same type of fear that’s kind of permeated the culture about aging, especially with women. And because I see women in this middle-age life, you know, middle of the life where there’s a huge emotional transition that happens to women. Again, like I said, in your reproductive years, you have very different mindset and goal. And as you hit menopause, you’re no longer in your reproductive years, you have a different goal, and you’re gonna live longer than your grandmother did, probably. And so the whole thing is like, “How do I live a quality of life?” And what I would say is just, like, you know, what all we see in this media that’s spinning in front of us is like, you know, you got to be beautiful, you got to keep your…no wrinkles, and you got to get the boob job, and you got to like do all this stuff.

And again, it’s fear. If you don’t have this, you’re not going to be the status quo. And I think women have been inundated with this literally forever. But you’re seeing it now to a point where people are…young children, young girls are looking up to what’s just not realistic. And what I try to remind my patients of is that, you know, you can feel good at any age. Yeah, you’re going to have a few more wrinkles, but, God, kind of think about how much smarter you are and how wiser you are. And, you know, it’s really about taking responsibility for your health care trajectory, especially as you get older. And teaching, you know, I think as we get older, it’s our job to be teachers. You know, we should be teaching the generations underneath us that they are beautiful, they have a huge possibility, they don’t need to be afraid of each other. And that aging is something that can be really abundant and positive, and not this just slow degradation down into illness, which is what we’re seeing now in this country.

And what we’ve seen over the last few years is the light has now shown that we are an unhealthy country. That we do not have the state of health that we should, especially for the GDP that we spend on healthcare. That our society is broken in a lot of ways because we’ve neglected the most basics of, you know, who we are. And that life has really been way too simple for quite a while now. So I think, you know, in aging, it’s like we’re kind of in a chaos place right now, right? The world always goes through times of chaos, and I think we’re probably moving into a time of chaos. And how we come out the other end is just remembering that, you know, all of our ancestors have gone through these things as well. But we have so many things at our fingertips now that we can age more gracefully and not let that fear creep in to a point where we don’t live. And, again, just going back to the basics.

You know, the fear of being around people and touching people, that’s going to be the biggest detriment, you know, that’s going to happen here. And we need to fight that as much as we can. And so, you know, I’d just say be positive, you know. Just focus on the things you can control. There’s a lot of things you can’t control. So just be positive and really be methodical about it, you know? It’s like a sport. You got to train and you got to be methodical about your thinking.

Katie: I love that advice. And lastly, I would love to know if there’s a book or a number of books that have had a profound impact on your life, and if so, what they are and why?

Dr. Lampers: Yeah. So, I mean, I have a number of books that I’ve read over the years honestly, and, I mean, I could name a whole list of things. But for some reason there’s one book that actually I just read probably in the last 10 years. And it was because my stepdad was Native American and my adopted grandfather had a huge library. He was a Native American man. He was a Sioux man. And he had a huge library. And when he died, my stepdad didn’t want a lot of his books, so he basically brought me, like, my grandpa’s whole library of these old, from Native American books, literally first prints from the ’20s, ’30s, you name it. And I went through these boxes and I found this book and it was like…this is the book right here, it’s an old book, and this is the first print of it, 1930 something. I forget what’s in here. But it’s by a man called Chief Standing Bear, “Land of the Spotted Eagle.”

And I don’t know why I picked this book up and I started reading it. And it goes through all the life stages. He basically was one of the first Native Americans to write and chronicle the average life span of a Sioux man and woman. Prior to, he remembers as a child, he still lived out on the plains. He was also part of the “Wild Bill Show”. And he traveled around as a Native American in part of that show. But he remembers what it was like living in tribal community. And the book is all about that. It goes from childhood, from babies through boyhood. It goes through marriage. It goes through relationship, hunting. It has kind of everything in there.

And boy, this book is so powerful because it’s written by a man who…he was a simple man, and he was witnessing the white man coming and he just made a lot of observations about the people that he grew up with and their health, and what he witnessed now living in the white man’s world. And not only the physical problems that he witnesses that he never saw in his culture, but the mental problems, the anxieties, all the things that we’re just talking about. The depressions, the anxieties. These things did not exist to him. He talks a lot about that. So I think it’s a great book to go back and look ancestrally at when people lived more with nature and they were living in a cycle. Their whole day was a cycle, their year was a cycle. The respect that they had for animals and the respect they had for each other, it was definitely different than the Judeo-Christian, you know, culture that a lot of us have grown up in. But it has a lot of the same fundamental characteristics. But I think it was even healthier.

And those are the things that we didn’t hear about. You know, we only heard about savages and, like, all these, you know… Unfortunately, a lot of the books that I got, so many of them were depressing. Because Native Americans started writing books, and what did they have to write about? They were writing books because they were living in the time where they were being…basically a genocide was going on and they were losing everything and losing their way of life. So a lot of the books about Native Americans early on are very depressing. They’re hard to read. You know, the responsibility of what happened back then, it’s hard to imagine. But “The Land of the Spotted Eagle” is a great book just to help you, like, if you want to get back to basics and think about living in nature, it’s just a great reference book for that. So I love that book.

Katie: That is a new recommendation, and I’m excited to check it out myself. I’ll make sure it’s linked in the show notes as well as links to your podcast so people can find you and learn from you and your husband, and to all of your work so people can keep learning. But I know how busy you are. I’m so appreciative. Thank you so much for being here and for sharing today.

Dr. Lampers: Great. I really had a good time. I appreciate it. Thank you, Katie.

Katie: And thanks as always to all of you guys for listening and sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us today. We’re both so grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.