Harmful Chemicals, Hormone Disruptors, And Integrative Health With Dr. Jacqueline Fields
We get exposed to numerous products day today, and unknowingly, many of these products greatly contain chemicals that are hormone disruptors. Be more informed and transform your life to be outrageously healthy as host Haylie Pomroy invites one of the most bright doctors there is, Jacqueline Fields, MD. Dr. Fields is a primary care doctor who's a dual board-certified in both primary care and integrative medicine. Bringing so much knowledge to the table, she discusses the chemicals in our skincare routine as well as in our surrounding that affects our health and diet while introducing us to her Dr. Fields' Sacred Skin. Dr. Fields also talks about how to be a proactive patient and leave that paradigm of victimization at the door, and how we can negotiate prices on our healthcare. Join her and Haylie in this great conversation as they further tackle the importance of food, doing hormone replacement therapy, and more to help you get the health that you desire.
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Harmful Chemicals, Hormone Disruptors, And Integrative Health With Dr. Jacqueline Fields
I'm going to geek out a little bit. We have the honor, I have the pleasure. I have chills. We are going to get to spend time with one of the most amazing, incredible best doctors, physicians, practitioners, healers in the entire world, Dr. Jackie Fields. Jackie, I know that our whole community gets it. I get it from the tip of my head to the bottom of my toes how lucky we are to have this time with you. Thank you for being here.
Thank you, Haylie. I am super grateful to be here and we've had a long journey together. This is a great full circle for us. Thanks for letting me join.
We have had a long journey together. We were talking a little bit about when I first came into nutritional practice and you came into your practices, you are dual boarded, which means primary care physician, but also boarded in Integrative Medicine, which encompasses functional medicine and botanicals. Something that's super impressive to me is also Nutrition and Human Biology. There is much knowledge that you're bringing to this table and my community is geeking out. We have got a ton of questions that everybody wants to ask you. Let's get everybody acquainted a little bit here first. Do you remember how we first met?
It was here in Fort Collins as you were starting your business. I was starting my business. I feel like we were starting to grow up. We both had some big dreams and I love that they blended around food and food as medicine and that we needed to be teachers on this avenue. It's been fun to watch you take that and run. I do think that the essence of my practice is always coming back to the basics about food is your first start of healing and educating along those lines. I've loved that we've grown up blending those concepts and realizing and teaching people about we are what we put on. We are what we think. It was there in Fort Collins, we are talking in the ‘90s. I don't even know you remind me, but I was in training. Could it have been ‘93 or ‘94 or something like that?
During that time, before anybody coined the term, I had started an integrative clinic. Some of the residents were coming in and it was Dr. Mike Tobin that maybe introduced us. I've always had probably a lot of people in my community having had an autoimmune disorder and struggled with health. I'd been in awe of the physicians that have been around me that have taken this huge body of education and put the patient back in centric and the body and how the body works. That's why we jived right away. She's bright, she's intelligent, she has phenomenal education, but there's this wisdom about you that I’ve experienced in my personal health. That’s why I'm always begging you to sneak maybe a client of mine in or something and texting, begging, pleading and trying to coerce.
I know your practice is slammed and it's virtually impossible to get someone in. The biggest thing is I'm interested to know where this came from. There is something that you bring to the table, which is this reverence for the human body as a doctor, as a physician that is missing in 99% of the practitioners out there. I'm not sure why, but I felt it personally. I felt it with my family going through health issues and it's what I hear over and over again from my community. There is something missing oftentimes. Watching the special doctors that are true masters like yourself. There has to be something personal that drives you because it's not easy. It takes way more time, energy effort, financial resources to be the practitioner that you are. Is there something personal that drove you down this path?
Yes. I feel like my path was pretty guided and it started at a young age when I was in high school. My mom had an acoustic neuroma, which is a benign tumor on the eighth cranial nerve in her brain. She lived with my dad, a surgeon, and all her friends were physicians. It was the classic story where everybody said it was all in her head. She's gone through menopause. They didn't hear it. That's a number one story is they didn't hear it. She had a tumor on her ear and lost her hearing. There are all these symbologies I think the body does, which is fascinating. This might've been the same tumor interestingly that Van Gogh had, where you're extremely creative.
She wrote, she was Italian. English wasn't her first language and she started to write exquisite poetry. Even though she was surrounded by physicians, the person that was astute to it was she was in school at the time getting a Master's. It was somebody that was looking at her writing. Eventually, years had gone by, one other physician that was trained in Syria, in iridology, he looks at her eyes. MRIs were not developed yet. He's got this weird integrative training and he looked in her eyes and says, “You have a brain tumor,” but we've gone years of it being discounted because the biggest thing is it’s unheard. You're not always heard. All is broken because everybody's moving too fast and they've divided people into parts and that doesn't work.
Primary care is a systems viewer. We never divide people into parts. An integrative doctor took it way further and said, “Not only can you break people into parts, but you have to see how they're even interacting into their environment.” This guy looks in her eyes and finally says, “I'm worried you might have a brain tumor.” That was the start of her getting a CAT scan, thank goodness. The tumor was large. It led me to find a book by Dr. Bernie Siegel. He wrote Love, Medicine, & Miracles. He was a Yale oncologist who was the start of visualization. He was working with Candace Pert who wrote Molecules of Emotion. He started to prove tremendous work he was doing in the 1970s.
How old were you at this point?
I wrote him when she had gotten diagnosed. Fortunately, she went to an incredible surgeon at Mass General. She had a twelve-hour surgery. She does well. I find his book and I'd write him and I said, “Where would I learn what you're talking about?”
Were you in medical school at the time?
No. I was just starting college and integrative medicine hadn't started yet, but he was the beginning of it. Him and Patch Adams and Deepak Chopra and Christiane Northrup. What happens is I write him at 17 or 18 and he writes me back instantly. I still have the letter in purple pen. It was an incredible story. I'm trying to understand how do you find a different view? My mom, had she been with somebody probably listening. What he writes about is young and he looks at the people's dreams, their artwork, and their writings. What he does is spend time with patients, which is what we need. We have to have a paradigm shift. By the time I'm 20 or 21, he was starting the first meeting for the American Board of Holistic Medicine as president. I realized he saved my address is an invitation to the first meeting. I'm not even in med school. I'm debating med school. I go to the meeting in Seattle. At the meeting, I'm the youngest one there. They're all doctors in practice ready to change the paradigm of medicine and I'm an undergrad.
You’re Nutrition and Biology at that time?
Yes. More important, I'm excited about what he's talking about, which is mind and body medicine and developing with Candace Pert that when people have a thought, your thought doesn't stay here. Your thought is fully into your brain, into your body. You have receptors on every organ of your body. That's what Candace Pert proved and wrote Molecules of Emotion. When you have a thought, every single organ of your body hears it, so he applies that to cancer patients and he does visualization for his cancer patients. He's winning. Across the board, his patients are doing better. He invites me to this meeting. I'm about twenty years old and I show up and these guys are my dream come true of showing me that medicine could go a different route.
Guys could be my mentors. That's what happened. It dawns on them. He makes me get on stage in this crowd of doctors and says, “It's not her fault what's going to happen to her in medical school.” It dawns on them that they have to help the student before the student is tainted. They have to mentor students. I was in the right place at the right time. They all offer to be my help. I sign up for medical school knowing that I have a different way of thinking. I have a tribe of mentors that is going to help me be the doctor I want to be, even though the mainstream course says you can never practice that way.
Did you find when you were in medical school that the majority of the other students didn't have this support system?
Yes, I brought it to my medical school. I had met them all, I brought them as lecturers and I started a little integrative class. They promised me, as my mentors, that they would help me get through it basically. My main mentor was Andy Weil. He hadn't created his fellowship or anything at that point. My fascination probably with what Andy Weil was doing was he had traveled the world and was writing more about indigenous healers, which is something that fascinated me and led me to travel the world through med school and residency. What I realized, I wasn't clear on what I was doing until years later, but I realized that the tribal healers never separated mind from body and they choose plants.
Even pharmacologically, the majority of the research comes from botanicals. We know whether it's Valium coming from Valerian root, there's somewhere, and us as patients, are constantly in my community. We talk a lot about being left in this vortex of the divide between the human body and human medicine. We've been practicing a long time. Integrative medicine wasn't a branded licensure or certification or anything at the time. What integrative medicine meant was what we used to call in my olden days as alternative medicine. Because I was into herbs and homeopathy and targeted nutritionals, a great friend of mine would say, “That voodoo that you do. I'm going to have an antibiotic and a steroid.”
It was this weird shift when I first started where these guys were also phenomenal mentors and blazing trails in this bringing back what true medicine is and taking away the term of alternative. Integrative helped. Sometimes I have a beef with integrative because I feel like there are a lot of practitioners out there that their version of integrative medicine is let's sell a bunch of stuff to people and you can bill for a bunch of labs. I've accompanied many clients to expensive practitioners that I went, “There's a patient here in the door. We don't need a cookie-cutter natural approach. We don't need a cookie-cutter pharmacological approach.” There's a curiosity in the diagnostician that you coined it perfectly of that listening. What you went through with your mother, I know personally that you come from this lineage of phenomenal surgeons and physicians. It's ingrained in every cultural cell of your body to have that doctor intellect.
That experience gave you the blessing of understanding the magnitude and the impact of not listening and what can happen. For myself, having been diagnosed with ITP, an autoimmune blood disorder, that's why the chemistry, the blood chemistry, and the biochemistry of the body became a lifeline for saving my existence. It's like this passion. I'm blinded by the passion of going through the world saying it's the toxins that we're exposed to. It's how the homotoxicology, how the human body deals with toxins. It's how the body eliminates toxins, and the systems and the functions of it. Jackie, if you and I could spend decades together and that's what I'm planning on, there's something that totally fascinates me with your practice.
I'm blessed to work with a lot of different physicians, but you embrace because this a battle that I fight sometimes when I'm advocating for my patients, my clients, who are their doctors patient. You embrace the exposure that we have to toxins and how that affects the systems. Even further, the largest organ in the body, the skin. We talk a lot about detoxing, getting stuff out. I hope you're okay with me talking about this, but you have Sacred Skin, which is a skincare line. It is totally different than a skincare line, if you don't mind me saying that. It is probably addressing our number one exposure to what I am concerned with about, obesogens, things that are known to create obesity in the body that stimulates fat cell proliferation. Carcinogens, things that are known to create cancer. Toxins that are absorbed by the thyroid. I want to talk a little bit about when and why. Why you became blinded like myself by the passion of saying, “What we're putting on our body is killing us, literally.”
I came about making a skincare line in the reverse fashion. I wasn't doing it for beauty. I was doing it for health. As an integrative doc, the premise is a chronic disease is fueled by either being nutrient-depleted, toxic, chronically-inflamed or maybe fighting viral infection or infections. Those are the four core. If a patient walks in, I'm going to be looking around at that underlying root cause for everything. The problem is, as I was in practice, I feel like our children always inspire us. I was pregnant when I started the current vision of my practice. In utero, I feel like my daughter made me get clear about multiple things. While she was in utero, I was going to start my natural pharmacy. The point of the natural pharmacy was to give access to patients to high-end supplements, nutraceuticals that are regulated because it's an unregulated market in this country.
That's why I didn't want to go into that industry. I went into it for your same reason, I wasn't going to take what was offered out there. I wasn't going to give my clients what was offered out there. It's not only unregulated. What is being sold, it's not even what it says on the label. It's crazy.
The same thing about skincare. The average woman puts 12 to 15 products on a day. I was caring for lots of breast cancer patients or what I call hormone-based cancers. I would talk to them about how we're going to deal with chemo. If we're even going to do chemo, how are we going to help their body detoxify? I've talked to them about food and all the premise you teach, which is food is medicine. We need to keep you strong. Here, let's talk about healthy nutrition. They'd go home and put 12 to 15 products on a day that they feel like wasn't going in. It’s an unregulated industry and because it's external, they felt like, “This isn't going in my body.” I had to educate them that the products that they put on had to come out of their pantry.
You were starting Sacred Skin. I had this one client that has lost over 100 pounds. We were six months together. She did not lose anything. I always tell her, “What in the world were you thinking sticking with me?” She was coming to see me every 4 to 6 weeks. We were modifying things. We were changing things. Her body was extremely nutrient-dependent and it needed time to replenish, but I will never forget this appointment. We did two things. We detoxed all of her cleaning products. I had her take pictures under her cupboards. We changed her paper towels. I felt derelict in my job.
I could not believe what she was putting on her skin. I had her change all 100% over to Sacred Skin. She's been a client of mine for a long time. It was back in Fort Collins days, and she's still lost over 100 pounds. It was flooding the body with nutrients. Her body could not release the toxins that she was being exposed to. If you're dealing with weight, give your body a big warm, juicy hug. Thank it for saving your life because we store fat-soluble toxins that we put on our skin. Remember, the skin is where we eliminate, breath is where we eliminate, the bowels are where we eliminate. If we can't eliminate it, our body creates trash bags in the form of adipocytes or fat cells.
We have to not continue to dump on the body, especially like you said, if you're dealing with hormone-based hormones. Jackie, you can speak to this way better than I can. Many of the things that are skincare are what we call hormone imposters. They will mimic hormones oftentimes, especially some of the anti-aging stuff. It's crazy. They will mimic your hormones and that can create such a disruption. We can have irregular periods. We can have fibrocystic breasts. I feel like I'm preaching to the choir here, but could you share with my community a little bit about how truly outrageous it gets from a hormone perspective. The questions that I have from my community were a lot about menopause, hot flashes, thyroid, definitely autoimmune like Hashimoto's. Why should we be focusing on the skin when we're stuck or we're struggling?
I always start with my patient who has any autoimmune disease or hormone disruptions by teaching them there are known chemicals. I always give them what's called a no-no chemical list because we do know, for instance, parabens are hormone disruptors. I have a list of and it will be on my website too, where I always go, “These are out.”
Jackie, can I ask you a question? You said parabens mimic estrogens. For my community, could you see increased belly fat with that?
If you want to fatten an animal, give them more estrogens. If you can’t process the estrogen, the liver is overloaded, you will have more fat.
Even in the non-organic agriculture world, we use parabens to fatten, to marble. That's visceral fat, hard to get at fat. Where would a person find this in their topical exposure?
Nobody's watching out for them. If they're not buying and being attentive to align, that's being conscious and nontoxic, which the environmental working group could probably help a patient understand that. I'm part of Safe Cosmetics Act. My business takes that oath, if you will. Somebody has to start to understand that like you're teaching them about food, you’re teaching them how to shop. I take that a step further on how to shop for everything because we're one planet. It's getting smaller. There is no planet B. We have to be thinking about this and this is definitely why I'm getting louder about it because our earth is getting louder about it.
Is it only in sunscreens?
No. You will see parabens in all sorts of moisturizers, products, shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers. Think about all the things people are putting on. Deodorants, shampoo, conditioner. I don't know how many things they put on their face. It adds up fast. You can think about a young girl, why are we going into menses sooner? We are going into pre-puberty sooner? They're doing this at nine because they're being fed these estrogen mimickers. They'll have changes at nine years old. This is happening.
Women are having hellacious menopause. Growing up, my mom has a Doctorate in Chinese and Oriental Medicine and Reproductive Endocrinology. We learned about periods and hormones and menopause can be this beautiful time where your creative energy moves up in the body and your heart is more hosted. In Chinese medicine, they call it kidney chi, moves into the heart and you have more fire and more passion and knowledge and wisdom in your brain and all of this stuff. Yet we have people that are tortured by the symptoms of menopause. Whether it's depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, weight gain, midsection weight gain. You're saying that one easy thing to change is what we put on our bodies. Sacred Skin is your line and I'm neurotic about that type of thing. It's funny because my daughter is away in college now. That's why I was asking you. She uses a lot of your products. She was buying your face soap for a lot of her girlfriends. I said, “Here, let me give you the website and you can let them and their mommies order.” I was going through 5 or 6 bottles of face soap.
My daughter is doing the same thing in college. She teaches it to them. It’s funny that our children are teaching this already.
They've always been supportive of me and my health journey because they want to keep mom healthy for sure, but they've seen it in their own and they're quick to help their friends. Dr. Fields, we're going to share a coupon code that you're going to give to our community. It's going to be FFTSKIN. It's 15% off if you do single bottles, but Dr. Fields’ team has put together these kits. It's a no-brainer what to use and when to use it. Those are 20% off. I'll list too what I use and how I use it so everybody knows. There are the serums and things. Some of my clients, I put my A and C on together. Some of my clients like to use it separately. There are all kinds of great stuff that we will supply our community about that. I wanted to share this. This is important for me to bring solutions to our community. This is a big one.
People ask me all the time, what are the top three things that I can do to make a change in my metabolism? The metabolism affects every aspect of your life. I'm going to now change it to four, Dr. Fields. The nutrient deficiency, the toxic overload, chronic inflammation and chronic infection. I want to say that if there's chronic inflammation, it's usually because there's some aspect of toxic overload and nutrient deficiency. You have to be able to handle what you're exposed to. We're an adaptive being and the chronic infection, the stronger our bodies are, the more able we are to deal with acute infection and the more able we are to inhibit or prohibit or prevent maybe a chronic infection or create some new homeostasis with chronic infection.
We've had people that have had to make that internal peace with it, maybe being chronic Epstein-Barr virus or things like that. How do you thrive under that environment and not survive? I want to ask you, I’ve been using your product for a long time. I'm a die-hard about it. It’s the liver and the skin. Part of my autoimmune, especially when I was younger, I had chronic eczema. They called it systemic eczema. I was on 60 milligrams of prednisone. I was on Imuran. I fluctuated between Imuran and CellCept, which are anti-rejection drugs typically, but they're immunosuppressive. It was crazy the steroids and the topical stuff. This skin was scarred. I have scars. This was from the serum. I had eczema scars here.
Dr. Fields, I know you're the one that told me to use the serum. I had quite a bit of scarring and discoloration from having years of eczema and I used your A and C serum. That was phenomenal for me. I have to say when I was younger, I might've used anything to make that scarring go away. As I became educated and I have this blind passion for a desire for health and wellness, I'm glad that it's making me healthy, not just beautimous. You have Healing Gardens Healthcare Center, an integrative center, a living art center. You have a medicinal pharmacy, you have a nonprofit organization, Healing Gardens, but you are going gangbusters on the Sacred Skin. Why now?
My daughter was in utero and she inspired, “Let's create this for my community.” I felt obliged to create this for my patients, but I'm feeling a little guilty to not bring this to the bigger world because the bigger world needs to understand this. I feel like I, in my menopausal years, need to be an educator on this. It's obvious that we've got a lot of issues going out in the world and toxins and fires and pandemics. We're struggling. As a country, we have buying power. As a country, we should get picky about companies that are going to be sustainable, that are going to take oaths, that are going to do the right thing, that are going to do clean sustainable practices and not businesses. It feels unfair not to teach the larger world and not to literally gift it back out. I've had years of fun and experience and it works. It's been a word of mouth business and now, I feel like it's time to protect a larger community.
Can I add one thing to that? Our community is the place where people go for answers. Sometimes I might have the answer in my back pocket. Other times the answer is clear across the world. You taught me one thing that I have carried with me for all of my life is to always have a clinic without walls. You always told me, “When you come across the moment when you don't have the answers, that's the most beautiful time you're ever going to experience as a practitioner because it's the moment of growth.” It's a moment of expanding your heart and being open to options and solutions. The whole reason I get up in the morning and do what I do for myself is to help other people achieve the health that they desire.
One thing that's happening is that there are times where I turn all my microphones off and the camera is off. I have these private rants because they're a little too caustic for everybody to hear, but I might go a little bit there. I am extremely frustrated that a lot of companies are getting bought out by large pharmaceutical companies and are completely adulterating the natural product community. Skincare and nutraceutical supplements are getting hit the most. There are four brands I can talk about that I used to think were cool that have gotten purchased by large companies. It’s the same label, the same brand, the same juicy promise on the front and you turn it around and you label read and it is heartbreaking.
This is my comment to our community. If Dr. Fields is not willing to put it on her belly when she was pregnant with Sophia, don't use it. That's when I did the nutraceutical thing. It is not what I set out to do in life. It would have been the last thing if someone was going to predict my future over or chart my journey. I got frustrated with even great companies. I know you and I have used them all. Great companies that I would turn the bottle around and they would have changed their protein source. I would have a reaction or my clients would say all of a sudden they're getting gassier, tummy aches or things like that. You lose control over that.
They've put in stuff that is not even tested for lead or cadmium. It's maddening. It's frustrating. I had a client that used an L-glutamine that threw away seventeen bottles because a company that came out has donated a ton of money to the natural health world got bought out and changed all of their sourcing. I turned the bottle around and I was like, “You and I are not retiring anytime soon.” In the skincare world, and even in a lot of these large brands, it's easy and this is what I did too. I am a clinician first, I'm in practice first. The people that come through my door, as long as my name is on that door, I'm going to never do less for them that I would do for myself, my mom, my sisters, and my children, and that's my personal commitment.
To use the word guilt, how guilty do I feel that it's not accessible to other people? It's hard and it's a struggle. I encourage my community to support your business, to support Sacred Skin. It will change their lives. It will make a huge impact from a health perspective. You've done all the work for all of us, which is huge. I know if it's being given to me, if it's being given to your daughters, if it's being applied to your skin, if you're giving it to me and knowing my health issue, I know that I feel I'm privileged to have you on and talk about it to our community.
I want to interject one thing when you said if it feels safe to put on your belly, I take it a step further. Typically, I feel like you should be able to eat it. It's food for your skin, face. It's clean, no chemicals. I want your community to take it that far. I always say to a patient, “If you can't afford whatever certain products in the line, whatever, I'd still rather you walk into your pantry and that's what you put in your skin.” It is food and people should take this seriously.
We are getting more and more toxic. We have started to turn around as a population where we're not living as long as our parents. This has happened already. It's about toxic overload. I do want your community to start hopefully adopting more than the food problem. There are a lot of layers to how they can control their health. What are their thoughts? What do they put on? It is food, Haylie, and that will be always minding your premise. People are complex and even their thinking can be toxic. I want them to adapt all of it. It's empowering. That's what we're doing. That's what me and you want to do with patients. We want them empowered. Realize they have choice. They are not victims in this. This is our moment to take their power back. I wanted to voice that.
When you talk about this is their moment, we talk a lot about in our community about I want to fortify you and strengthen you. It's almost as if I want to make you strong enough to go to battle. The whole goal is to not be in an environment where you have to battle. You're using your hard-earned dollars to purchase. If that's a cleaning product, if that's skincare, if that's food, if that's for the love of God, air fresheners. Don't lie, trash bags that have Febreze in them, they will make you sick. Period. Exclamation mark. Febreze, come and get me, sorry. Things like that will make you sick. Things that you are putting in your laundry and you apply to in your clothes will make you sick. It might not be one dose, but it's accumulation.
When you talk about people not being in a good state of health, we have a service that we do where we go in and detox or assess a house. We go in and we say like, “It's crazy when you see what's going on.” You mentioned the fires. There are a lot of fires. When structures burn, it's not the fire retardant. It's all the Raid, the ant spray, the bug spray, the leftover paint and the freon in your refrigeration devices. All of those things we're breathing in, we're being exposed to, all of those things are hard on our bodies and our environment. The one thing that I’ll have people notice, what is flourishing?
What is doing incredible? The number one growth in our nation right now is real estate as it pertains to hospitalization. We are building more medical facilities than anything else. That is not for the well. That is for the well human being. There is no money to be made by people in you being well. There is a lot of money to be made in you staying unhealthy. I advocate that a lot. Having you here, I want to ask. The goal is that we're coming in to see you for an annual physical, maybe a pap smear, maybe some labs. We want to go over what our community calls our health wish list. How we can be even outrageously healthy? If I were to send a client into your office, we have these forms that my clients fill out. It's called a request for care. We call it a Dear Dr. Sanders letter because I put it together for a doctor in Ohio who’s a client of mine. I adopted that name. What would you hope that the patient would walk in the door with? Would you like to have them come in with a list of their health wish, what they wish for, their top symptoms? What would be the top three things that would make your job easier in getting them to the mecca of being outrageously high?
I'm a primary care, so I can see any problem. I do like a patient coming in, whether it be an autoimmune disease, a hormone issue. I see a lot of women. Women go to physicians. Women want to be educated and they want to be proactive. They go to doctors more for education. I do feel I'm an educator. If a patient came in and is willing to learn, get empowered and be less of a victim, that's my patient. I am going to take them to the next level because I'm going to put the power in their hands. As a primary care, primary care might send somebody to a specialist here, there, and whatnot, but still they go to the specialist. I tell them, “Me and you know more about your whole system than that guy who looked at your heart.”
You have to remember, we're still going to take the information and decide ourselves as teammates. I'm their teammate, I'm their educator, and I’m here to take their power back. Medicine is victimizing and separatist. That's not integrated. That is not what I would do. I don't even want them to separate from their beliefs. That's the thing. A patient will come in tonight. I have to understand and I would probably say, “That's what Bernie Siegel was doing.” What's your belief system? I’ve got to work within your belief system because that is who you are and how you connect to the larger world.
This is from the doctor's perspective. You want them to be open to education. You want them to have an open mind. You want them to not slide into the victim role, which is perpetrated or which is foundational in traditional medicine.
They’re in my clinic though because that's where I have time now. Your poor community doesn't always find that. That's the problem. How do we empower them to find that doc that gives them the time of day that listens to who they are and what do they wish for?
When they walk into an office and they're not feeling that way. For example, I went with a family member of mine into the emergency room. I'd go to the emergency room lightly. I was trying to be kind to the doctor and sweet. I can get like, “This is what we're going to do and this is how we're going to do it.” I said, “I'm very concerned about X, Y and Z. She had tremendous swelling at the ankle. I would like you to run some of the cardiovascular, make sure she's not in congestive heart failure.” He says, “I'm going to give her some steroids and see if we can get the swelling down.”
I said, “She has Hashimoto's, she has autoimmune, she's pro-inflammatory. Can you at least run a CRP?” He says, “I'd only be doing it for your and her benefit.” All I could do to not lose my shit right there and I said, “She's the patient. You’re doing it for her benefit. I'm not doing it for yours.” I love my hair, so I didn't rip it out, but I wanted to. I love that you used the word ‘empowered’ a lot. There is such a divide in the education that doctors have and the education that patient has. There's such a hierarchy. Thank you for letting me talk candidly about it.
I'm talking on behalf of my community. There's such a hierarchy where doctors are turned off because they said, “Did you Google it?” The Google-educated patient walking in the door. Do you have a gem, some wisdom, some knowledge that you can part with for my community that can help them like I do? We fill out this form and we send it to the doctor's office ahead of time. We give the doctor a copy and we have a copy and we try to make it sweet, succinct and positive. I encourage my community to research what's going on with them before they walk in the door. How can it be presented? First of all, when do they know it's time to fire their doctor? Is that okay?
Of course, you're hiring them. They're your teammate. The beginning of our conversation was important, which is about listening. When is it time when you don't have a listener or a teammate? Is it hard to find?
That hit me to the core. You're giving people permission, Dr. Fields, something that's like the mother, their mom, or their father, or somebody should have given them permission a long time ago. When you don't have someone that's listening to you and when you don't have someone that's a teammate, that's on your team, that don't have the same jersey on, that’s the litmus test right there. Coming from you and giving people that permission is huge. Thank you. I didn't mean to interrupt, but I wanted to punctuate that.
We're totally back to a paradigm shift. I feel bad for physicians, they feel trapped. They're doing 6 to 10-minute visits. They're hired. They're the artist with the knowledge. Unfortunately, they turned over their power and they're hired by corporate medicine now. I've never done that. I never will do that. What else could you do physicians that aren't in that broken system? This system is broken and this is where I give the patients the power. They're hiring the doctor. They could find that one that stepped out of the broken paradigm. It's scary for a physician to do that. I've never been in it except in training, but I also went into medicine. I told you, meeting those mentors that showed me I don't have to go into that. I can think out of the box. I don't do twenty. I do six. That's a different day. That means I have time to solve. That's what they're looking for. The truth is, the more they're looking for that, the more doctors there will be like that. They’re creating that need.
They're purchasing when they go. I tell my community, “If you can't find what you need at your local grocery store, grab the manager and ask him for that.” The thing the manager definitely wants to do is sell you something. If he knows he's going to gain your business, even if he has to put the bread that you want or the paper towels that you want or the cleaning supplies that you want. Even if he puts them in back for you or you order a case, ask for a case discount. I do that all the time, especially when I'm in smaller communities. I've been in Missouri and Kansas sometimes where I can't find stuff. I get the manager, they all buy from the same places.
They said, “We'll buy ahead. I'd like a case discount. We'll buy a case.” I start seeing some of those stores carrying it a little more regularly. We are a consumer of medicine. We are not a victim of our illness and we are not a victim of the medical community even though there is that patient-doctor hierarchy. I love what you said about that. Medicine is an art. It’s an art and it is a practice. Dealing with that consumer mentality is important. It is harder in smaller communities sometimes. I see it in New York. I see it in LA. I see it in Colorado, engaging with the practitioner that they can bond with and have a relationship with is hard. I know that we've worked with a lot of other people that are looking at changing the financial paradigm also in medicine. To your point, it's a scary place. Understanding when you go in to see your physician, what their limitations are and being the best steward for your health as possible. I'd love to ask you a couple more questions. How are you feeling, Jackie, on things?
I’m feeling good.
Is there anything that you want to punctuate?
I’ll think about it as you ask.
My community asks me a lot about how I feel about hormone replacement therapy. I know that some of how I feel has been molded by individuals and being able to work with individuals like yourself. It is also molded though by the fact that we have a lot of hormone-based breast cancers in our family. I lost my grandmother when I was young, and it was a pivotal change in my personal view of medicine when I lost my grandmother to breast cancer. I'm big on trying to optimize the pathways, the metabolic pathways first or in conjunction. I'm about supporting from a nutrient perspective first and in conjunction. There are some great herbals, there are some great botanicals, but what's the safest or what do you think when a person wants to do hormone replacement therapy? There’s been from a buy us to a try us to running labs to not running labs to monitoring. When a patient comes in and they say, “I want to go on some hormones,” what do you think about that?
Everybody is an individual. I need to understand what would they do with those hormones. I gave it to them. First, only give it in physiologic levels. Physiologic levels does not mean shots. Tests can be complicated because you search. That's non-physiologic. I never do non-physiologic. Pellets to me are of concern because the patient is told, and even the doctor is told and shame on the doctor for believing it, that it comes out sustained and systematically. True, it surges to non-physiologic levels. In fact, the doctors trained to not check the levels during the first couple of weeks because the truth is they're sky-high. I find that not okay. You never do to the body what it's never done. For giving it only estrogen, your body never did estrogen. I do look at people's individual pathways. I look to see if there are any genetic issues. Liver, I always say there are four doors. There's phase one, phase two detox. Hydroxylation, methylation. Hydroxylation is phase one, methylation is phase two. Methylation could have a genetic defect in there. I look to make sure they're not struggling. I call phase three as all your antioxidants. I call phase four as glutathione. Anybody is struggling with their pathways and I feed the pathway high up.
We potentially are going to fuel cancers. That's the problem. Do I monitor the patient I give hormone to? Yes. I most commonly give a sublingual. I decide what their problem is. What is their actual complaint? If the complaint is vaginal dryness, I may not give a systemic hormone. I might use a little estrogen vaginally. If their complaint is enough things about their general wellbeing, their skin, their palpitations, their hot flashes, their sleep, and now their quality of life is poor. I say, “We might use this for a few years to gracefully help you transition.” Do with their whole life, not necessarily every year. It would be individually decided how low can you go and hold your quality of life?
I want to punctuate that. I totally agree with you on the pellets. Those blow my mind and break my heart. I love the how low can you go and have a maximum quality of life? I had a doctor one time write me a little note. I don't prescribe hormones. We work with amazing physicians that do this, but he said, “Haylie, this is literally like peeing in the ocean. She's on such a little amount.” I said, “Let's go. We have an assessment. Let's go through the assessment, check the quality of life.” He said, “She's on fire. She feels amazing. She's got libido, she's sleeping like a baby.”
I said, “Pee in the ocean it is.” That was my response back to him. What I want you guys to do is this section, the wisdom that Dr. Fields imparted on us as a community, clip that, formulate your questions. If you are going in for hormone replacement therapy, what Dr. Fields said, that's why sneak people in the back door, beg, plead try hard. The fact that you brought that wisdom to our community is ginormous. That was awesome. Thank you.
I know that it comes natural to you. It's spoken through you almost, but this issue is critical for the women in my community and the men. They walk in the door and they're taking these testosterone injections or women have been pelleted. I have all the inside words that stay in my brain, that I don't say out loud, that I want to really bad, where I go, “Who is taking care of you?” The best thing that you can do is be empowered. That segment right there, what Dr. Fields said, it was genius. It was amazing. You have no idea how many women in my community are going to go bonkers.
I'm going to beg and plead that we do another show about each of these two subjects because I have chills again. I know I'm excited for everybody to know. People come in all the time. People in our community are literally in tears. They're losing their hair. Their eyebrows are thinning. They have cracked heels and they go in and the doctor says, “TSH was normal. You're good. It's all in your head.” What's a complete panel for thyroid? How do we help them be with a good teammate? They're not being listened to. How can we help them get a good thyroid workup?
First of all, if you look at TSHs alone, which unfortunately, if the doctor is only doing that, you're missing the story. Not only that, if you look at TSHs, it could say to a doctor that the range is 0.4, let's say all the way up to 5 or 6. If you read endocrine data, it says the patient to be optimized should be TSH between 1 and 2. This is if a patient comes in and all they do is a TSH. Let's say it's four. The truth is that patient isn't optimized. There's optimal health and true disease and we're all about optimizing the patient. The other thing that's more important is I always tell the patient as I have to compare you to you. Get me in a lab. What if you were one last year and now you're four, a fourfold change. You definitely have changed. That's critical. This is not one point on the graph. I'm watching you over time.
That's the beauty of primary care because I’ve known you for twenty years and I have all that data. A full panel should be T3, T4, reverse T3 and antibodies. Somebody could have numbers that look great because they need that. This is listening to the patient. The patient is saying to you, “I do not feel well.” If they only came in and you knew them the first time, then you have to believe them. That's the piece of you, better listen and you better empower. I don't disbelieve the patient when they say, “I feel bad. My hair is thin 50%.” They won’t lie to you.
You need to be believed. You need to be believed in this environment. I will make a list of the labs that you said. Is there a gem being in practice, as long as you've been? If a patient walks in and the doctor says, “I'm only going to run TSH,” is there some doctor language, some physician magic that a patient could say that would encourage the doctor to feel compelled to run a comprehensive look? Let's say they're with a corporate physician or they're with a physician and he says, “I'm going to run a TSH.” Is there any verbiage that could help empower my community that would say, “I'd rather you run blank because of blank?”
I almost liked the idea of, “I had a family member.” If you went far enough, you might be able to say that. “I have a family member that has Graves or Hashimoto’s.” “I had a family member that it was missed on and we have all the same symptoms.” Something with knowledge that I’ve been here, done this, and I need a little more data. What I do with my patients, because it's ridiculously cheaper, is cash paid labs. Sometimes what's happening, their constriction is they're Kaiser or they're under and they're navigating or trying to minimize abuse, like a free T3 in my lab, it pre-negotiated a rate. It might be $20. What if I empowered the patients to say worst case, if there's any other dilemma, I’ll do that as a cash pay rate. It’s crazy how negotiable these are. Medicines are like a used car salesman. Pre-negotiate these rates that are crazy.
I tell my clients all the time and they think I'm nuts. I say, “Find out how much it is. Ask them what it's going to cost.” They go in and they turn over their power. When I was in the hospital when I got meningitis, I'm at UCLA and I’ve got my buddies there and great docs. I had some good people there that I love and adore. I'm like, “What are you putting in the IV bag? Why? What's going on? No, thank you. I am not nauseous. I don't have constipation.” You can negotiate what you're being administered at the hospital. Definitely financially, there are few states, New York is one of them. There are a lot of places that you can go and get labs yourself. I'm going to use Kaiser as an example. I have a client that went to an integrative medicine doctor. They ran labs and was on a T3 only, only Cytomel. She's got Hashimoto's, positive antithyroid antibodies, positive TPO, thyroid peroxidase. She's phenomenal on T3 only. The Kaiser doc said, “I won't give you T3 because we don't have any labs that show that you want that.” We said, “Run the labs.” “We don't like to run T3. We're going to run TSH. Your TSH is totally normal.” I swear to God this conversation happened. “It might be normal because I'm on 15 micrograms of T3.”
The doctor wouldn't run it. I said, “Let's go pay cash.” It was $24. Since that lab was abnormal, then they would go and prescribe. She didn't want to continue to get the T3 prescribed by the integrative doctor because it was at a compounding pharmacy and it was a little more expensive, it was free at Kaiser. I love what you said. Know that you can negotiate with your doctor and you can negotiate prices. People are scared. I don't know if from this side of the being the patient side, patients are scared to death to talk to their doctors. My husband, we have phenomenal insurance. He was with the Sheriff's department. He ended up hospitalized and had a brain infection. All this stuff was going on and he was paying the bills.
I said, “No. We need to call the office. We need to do that.” The same thing with medication too, even the compounding pharmacies. We have compounding pharmacies that if a person's on Nature Throid or Westhroid and they're on a half a grain, I said, “Call them and ask if you can buy a grain. They're split in half. Split it and take your half a grain.” It was much more cost-effective. That is amazing. That's a gem. Do you have any questions for me? Anything that you want to bring up? I want our community to know I'm going to beg and plead. I will beg. I will send shakes. I will send bars.
I will beg and plead to get Dr. Fields back because as you can tell why I'm obsessed and privileged to have this beautiful human being in my life. I am happy that I can share you with my community. That makes me happy. If you have any questions for me, make sure that you are taking care of your skin. I am a huge Sacred Skin advocate. Dr. Fields, do you mind if I give that coupon code to my daughter's friends in college? It's FMD Skin and I’ll pull it all together. You guys will have all the data. If you have questions for Dr. Fields, please post them. We will make this available on our website also at HayliePomroy.com. We will have Dr. Field's website available. Jackie, do you have any questions?
No, it's probably more of a comment, which is I take to heart all the struggles that you're trying to help your community with. I feel sad. I'm part of a system that I feel is a little broken, but hopefully, maybe I could empower your community to help revamp, find their power in it. I have always practiced differently. I'm happy with what I have done. I see a lot of doctors and coach them into shifting gears and stepping out of what I call the rat race and pausing so they can run a practice where they listen more. That's the main thing I hear you sad about and you’re being the voice of your community. That breaks my heart because we could be of better service.
If we get your patients empowered and more patients empowered, the truth is the docs will be forced to switch it up. That's the revolution we should do. We should do a revolution and we should help patients realize they're part of that in every way. Same with the environmental revolution. We need to let them realize they have the power to not pacify this beautiful system they have. Fortunately, we got to live here. They have a choice. I want to roll and run with it and continue your mission to help your larger audience. It's a great thing.
Thank you for saying that. I felt like I was finding myself owning integrative healthcare clinics and staff that the diet space made me furious. I found myself angry because it was so broken and people were being guilted and shamed and the solution to getting healthy was abstaining and food is bad. I said, “When something is broken, the only way to fix it is to show up and to provide a solution.” It's the same thing, Dr. Fields, in medicine. You’re seeing a system that's broken and I'm a fixer. I had to show up and fix something. I decided to write a book. I'm dyslexic. It didn't even make sense on any level. You're a healer and that you are talented in healing the patient but taking this next step and creating a solution and this line is going to reach many more people than you can reach in clinical practice. I hope that these kinds of conversations and empowering the patient is going to help heal the medical community. I know that you're going to be a huge integral part in that as you always are.
We will continue this conversation. We're going to want to know your questions and we will be together for many more moons, Dr. Fields. I cannot thank you enough for all that you've brought to my community. They mean the world to me and you mean the world to me. This marriage of the two is a beautiful thing to see. Thank you. I love you.
Thank you so much.
About Jackie Fields
Dr. Fields completed her doctorate in medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver in 1993. Prior to that, she studied Nutrition & Human Biology at Colorado Mountain College and earned a bachelor’s in Environmental, Population & Organismic Biology and the University of Colorado, Boulder.
A practicing physician since 1993, Jacqueline Fields is board-certified in both Family Practice and Integrative Holistic Medicine, with additional specialization in Functional Medicine. She trained during medical school with Dr. Andrew Weil and has worked extensively with tribal medicine of various cultures around the world.
In her practice, she utilizes allopathic medicine as well as integrative modalities. She frequently serves as a consulting physician for patients struggling with complex, chronic health conditions.
Drawn to teach people about the natural aspects of healing and to make functional integrative healthcare accessible to people in need, Dr. Fields’ practice of medicine extends well beyond her offices, into the local community and beyond.
In 2003, Dr. Fields founded The Healing Gardens in Fort Collins, Colorado. This holistic integrative medicine center connects a diverse network of collaborating practitioners and resources to meet the health care needs of patients. Overseen by Dr. Fields, The Healing Gardens ecosystem includes the Health Center, Medicinal Store, Living Arts Center, The Healing Gardens Foundation, and the Dr. Fields’ Sacred Skin product line.
Dr. Fields’ Sacred Skin skin products are based on the latest scientific research and plant medicine. Free of the hormone disruptors and toxic ingredients found in most available cosmetics and skin care products, the all-natural, botanical Sacred Skin products are registered with the Campaign for SafeCosmetics.
The Dr. Fields’ Sacred Skin product line continues to grow, with proceeds benefiting the Foundation and, in turn, the Living Arts Center. Through these organizations, Dr. Fields helps finance integrative health care for eligible patients in need and supports a community garden and walking labyrinth, community meeting spaces, health and wellness classes, office space for partner practitioners, and research in functional integrative medicine.