Emily Gold Mears had always been passionate about science and healthcare literacy, but it wasn’t until she delved deeper into her own health that she discovered the unexpected: personalized solutions are key to optimizing one’s wellness. As she uncovered the power of functional medicine and lifestyle adjustments, Emily’s journey highlighted the need for a collaborative approach to healthcare, empowering individuals to take control of their well-being.
We each know how we respond to everything; the doctor doesn’t know those things. One has to at the very least collaborate with their doctor and ideally do a lot of due diligence and additional research. – Emily Gold Mears
Emily Gold Mears is a citizen scientist, biohacker and author of Optimizing Your Health: An Approachable Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Chronic Disease. A former attorney, Gold Mears shifted her advocacy efforts to seek information on optimizing one’s health through extensive research analysis in science and medicine. Her research focuses on the intersection of functional and allopathic medicine, and the critical requirements for individuals to become their own healthcare advocates.
In this episode, you will be able to:
- Discover functional medicine’s powerful influence on uncovering chronic diseases’ root causes.
- Uncover the essential role sleep, nutrition, and gut health play in preventing disease.
- Learn about the potential negative effects LED light bulbs may have on your sleep and biology.
- Implement small, incremental steps that can drastically impact your overall health and wellness.
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Gloria Grace Rand: Namaste. I am so glad to be with you for another episode of Live Love Engage, and I’ve got a lovely guest with us on the program today who we’re going to meet in a second. But her name, let me introduce you to her first. Her name is Emily Gold Mears and she is a citizen scientist, biohacker and author of optimizing Your Health an Approachable guide to reducing your risk of Chronic disease. She’s also a former attorney, but she shifted her advocacy efforts to seek information on optimizing one’s health through extensive research, analysis, and science and medicine. And her research actually focuses on the intersection of functional and allopathic medicine and the critical requirements for individuals to become their own healthcare advocates, which I think is really important. So I want to officially now welcome you, Emily, to lie, love, engage.
Emily Gold Mears: Well, thank you, Gloria. It’s nice to be here with you.
Gloria Grace Rand: I am very interested in what you have to say. We actually met a while ago at a publicity summit where you’re promoting your book. I was intrigued by your background and everything, but I would love for you to share with our audience first a little bit about your journey. So you started off in life, I guess, as an attorney, and now you’ve sort of shifted your focus. So I was wondering if you could share a little bit about what prompted that.
Emily Gold Mears: Well, yes, I did practice law for a while. I must confess, I did not love the practice of law, but I did it, and I always loved science and health and medicine. And I observed many years ago that in our country, we have a real science literacy problem. And this was only magnified by the pandemic, and it became very clear by the pandemic that we have one. And I have been affiliated with a number of organizations for years who give presentations and seminars, and I have been trying to persuade them for ten years that they have to do better with their science presentations because we need to educate the public about science. I was largely ignored, and everyone is very interested in global politics, which are interesting and are important, but one can do more than one thing. And the pandemic really highlighted all of the junk science that was being promoted. And if people were paying attention, they saw that the different reactions to the COVID virus had a lot to do with one’s underlying health condition. And I thought, okay, I need to share the information that I’ve learned. And I had already become a healthcare advocate and a science advocate, and I researched and learned so many really interesting things that one can do to optimize their health. I thought, I need to share these things because many of them are free or low cost. And so therefore, there isn’t a lot of financial incentive for the business community or the healthcare community to promote many of these things. But people need to know. I mean, the American public is getting sicker and sicker by the day. A recent statistic put out by the CDC shows that lifespan is declining, and that’s all an indication that the current approach is not working. And I think that I’ve found a better approach. So therefore, I’m trying to encourage people to become their own healthcare advocate and at the very least, collaborate with their healthcare professional.
Gloria Grace Rand: Before we get into the specifics of your book, I would love for you to explain a little bit, because I kind of have an idea, but there may be, I’m sure, others also listening and or watching who may not be sure of what it is. In your bio, it mentioned that you focus on the intersection of functional and allopathic medicine. Can you share what is the difference between those two?
Emily Gold Mears: Indeed I can. Yes. Allopathic medicine is just another word for conventionally trained doctors. When people go to medical school, they’re trained in a very specific way that is referred to as allopathic medicine. Many of the medical schools are sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry, and many of these doctors are taught a certain way, which usually is according to the standard of care, which means that they are promoting the one size fits all healthcare approach that our United States healthcare system promotes. And it turns out that’s not really working for most of the diseases. Now, if one is in a car accident or breaks a bone or has an acute infection, I encourage them to go straight to their conventionally trained doctor because they’re well equipped to treat them and treat them effectively. But unfortunately, what is going to kill most of us are these chronic diseases: cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, autoimmune disease. And thus far, in my opinion, the conventionally trained or the allopathic approach has not been quite as effective as it needs to be. And functional medicine looks at the source of the issue. Rather than treating the symptoms with a pharmaceutical or something else, a functional medicine doctor tries to determine, why do you have this? What is the source of your autoimmune disease? Why did you get cancer? And most of these diseases are multifactorial, but most of them, contrary to popular belief, have a very small genetic component, maybe 10%, and they have an enormous environmental and lifestyle component. And that’s good news, because that means that we can take charge. We can alter our environment and our lifestyle, more our lifestyle than our environment. But there are things we can do about our environment that will improve our health and reduce our risk of getting these diseases.
Gloria Grace Rand: Thank you for, number one, for explaining that. And that is what I had suspected, and I know that I’ve found that to be the case as well. I know I’m very grateful. And also, I think part of it is just the way, part of how I grew up in that watching my mother take all of these pills for all of the different disorders and things that she had high blood pressure and heart disease and diabetes and things like that. And I was like, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be that as an adult. And thankfully, I have not had to do that. I only might take a vitamin here and there or something. And I agree that American medicine is really great at fixing bones. I broke an ankle once and I definitely went to the emergency room and got it taken care of and very happy about that. But you’re right. I think it’s so much that these other things that there are other factors. Can you maybe elaborate a little bit? Because you talk about lifestyle and environmental factors, maybe share I don’t know, what have you found? Maybe kind of like maybe the top couple of things that people need to be aware of in order to optimize their health.
Emily Gold Mears: So the top things, the most important things, are those which people have heard a lot about. And I would put sleep at the top. If one has dysfunctional sleep, which many of us do, they’re going to have a tough time optimizing other things. And there are many ways that people can optimize their sleep. As we get older, we just don’t sleep as efficiently or as easily as we did when we were younger. But it’s critically important to take the steps to improve their sleep. And some of those are very easy. And I would recommend not taking any of the pharmaceutical sleep aids because that just causes other problems. But if one establishes a consistent going to sleep time and waking up time, one makes sure that they’re sleeping in a very dark and a cold room. And then when they wake up in the morning, if they go outside, they expose themselves to the daylight. No matter what latitude you live in, you may have to do it a little bit longer if you’re in a northern latitude or on a cloudy day, but just know that the photons from the sun still will penetrate. And what that does for you is it will reset your circadian rhythms, which are what monitors your sleep. And that’s free and easy to do. And one can just go outside in the morning and get some daylight, five or ten minutes if it’s a nice day, a little bit longer if it’s not such a nice day. And if that’s done on a consistent basis, one will find that their sleep will improve. So that’s a biggie. Another one is nutrition. What we eat and our food supply is so terribly tainted. The soil is devoid of minerals and nutrients. And as a result, our food is just not as nutrient rich as it once was. Not to mention the enormous amount of pesticides and fungicides that are sprayed all over the food supply. And then we ingest that and the animals which are shot up with antibiotics and hormones and they’re fed grain that’s filled with pesticides and herbicides and you eat what the animal you eat ate. So all of these things, I mean, at best just try to stop eating ultra processed foods. If you can eat organic foods where you’re able to, it’s not necessary to eat everything organic. But the Environmental Working Group is a wonderful resource that tells you the most polluted and the most heavily sprayed vegetables and fruits and the ones that you can get away with without spending the extra money on organic food. And I realize that there are some people where cost is a concern and I would suggest that they do the best they can with the proviso that you pay now or you pay later and getting sick is really, really expensive. So the other thing that’s really important is the gut microbiome. There has been so much written lately on the gut microbiome. I mean, it’s within the last 10, 15 years and the gut is connected to everything. Most of us have some level of gut dysbiosis and that simply means an imbalance of good versus bad bacteria. And when that happens, one will have a really hard time optimizing other aspects of their health because all the systems, the biological systems are interrelated. And if one can first prioritize their gut and get it in good working order, it’ll even help their sleep, it will help everything. And I talk about in my book, how one can do that and then I go into some more esoteric things that aren’t the main ones. But I would say those are some biggies and of course there’s so many, there’s stress reduction. It’s really important and one needs to acknowledge that everyone has stress and there’s no way to eliminate stress. And that’s okay, a little stress is actually helpful for us, right? But one has to reframe their perspective of stress and try and improve their response to stress. So all of this is manageable, it’s doable. And if one just takes small incremental steps to improve their lifestyle, they’ll see the results and hopefully they’ll be incentivized to continue on.
Gloria Grace Rand: Thank you for sharing all of that information because it does boil down to just a few things, doesn’t it? To be able to take care of yourself. I wonder, could you maybe just give because obviously people need to go get your book to learn more about all these things. But I am intrigued about the gut. Is there one thing in particular that people can either should avoid doing or can add into their diet to be able to help that microbiome?
Emily Gold Mears: Organic food. And stay away from ultra processed food. Because if one wants to be very careful, and I know a lot of people don’t want to be, things like white flour and sugar are not doing you any favors at all. I mean, I love sugar. Most of my lessons I learn from doing everything wrong. So I don’t want to sound preachy, but I felt bad, and now I feel good. And it’s because I reduced my sugar consumption by probably 90%. I’d like to do it by 100%, but it’s really hard. It was my favorite food group, but it’s really bad for you. And they’re finding that these glucose spikes that everyone experiences, even those that don’t have diabetes, those are contributing to inflammation and then disease. They’re even calling Alzheimer’s Diabetes Three because they’re finding there is a glucose component to that. And so one should be very careful with the sugar consumption. And also if they can eliminate the pesticides and all the toxins, I would say those are the two biggies
Gloria Grace Rand: And I’m glad you mentioned inflammation, because when you were talking earlier about the diseases and things, and I was thinking that I think that I had read that a lot of things that we do have issues with today, like autoimmune diseases and heart disease and Alzheimer’s, things like that, it all stems from inflammation. And that’s I think what you’re talking about is can help address that and be able to bring that inflammation down so you can be healthier.
Emily Gold Mears: This is another thing about perspective and balance. A little bit of inflammation we would die without, because it helps. If you cut yourself, what happens is there’s an inflammatory response that contributes to healing. So you can’t eliminate all inflammation, and you don’t want to. What’s problematic is chronic inflammation. Or there’s a term called inflammaging, which is associated with getting older, where there’s this sort of low level of constant inflammation, and that’s what one needs to reduce.
Gloria Grace Rand: Okay, well, thank you for clarifying that. I appreciate that. When I was looking at having you on the show, I noticed that one of the things that you talk about is something called light optimization, and you’re talking about Led bulbs and things like that. So tell me a little bit about that.
Emily Gold Mears: So light is an interesting area that we don’t hear that much about. All light is filled with all colors of the rainbow, even though we only perceive the white and the yellow. But there’s everything with red light on one side of the spectrum and blue light on the other side of the spectrum. Blue light during the day is necessary. The sun emits blue light. The problem becomes nighttime exposure to blue light, which we get from television screens, our phones, our computers, and our Led light bulbs. And Led light bulbs are known to be cheaper, more energy efficient, and better for the environment. But unfortunately, there have been a number of studies that have revealed that they’re not good for our biology. A lot of these studies are done in Europe. There’s two in particular in France and Spain that have shown that they produce these LEDs produce short wave, high energy blue light, which has been linked to biological and sleep disturbances and also disturbs the retina. It damages the retina. And there are neurologists who have gone into depth describing the process about this. There’s someone named Jack Cruz who states he’s a neurosurgeon, that we get just the right amount of blue light from the atmosphere but need plenty more infrared light that’s the red light to balance it out to avoid experiencing harmful health effects. We do not get the natural balance when we’re exposed to blue light emitting devices. And so there are things once again that people can do. They can downlight red screens on their phone and on their computer and on their laptop. They can even install a red light bulb next to their bed if they have to wake up in the middle of the night or after sundown. And you can reduce your blue light exposure after sundown. They have these blue blocking glasses that people can abide to watch TV. Takes a little getting used to, but the issue is the blue light enters your eye, it hits your retina and then your pineal gland and it shuts off your production of your human growth hormone and your melatonin. And that’s not even going into the retinal damage that it’s shown. So it’s a tough one because it’s hard to find incandescent bulbs which are preferable for your biology. They’re more expensive and they’re not as energy efficient. But everything is a trade off.
Gloria Grace Rand: Yeah, that’s certainly it. Yeah, and it’s true. I think the lighting industry has been really just shifting us away from the incandescent. And yes, we do want to have things be more energy efficient, but not at the cost of our health. So yeah, you’ve really got to weigh things out here. I’m going to ask you this what’s a commonly held belief, maybe regarding health in particular, that you actually really passionately disagree with?
Emily Gold Mears: The commonly held belief about health that I most passionately disagree with is one can no longer outsource their health care 100% to their doctor or healthcare practitioner. Gone is the day when we can do that. It’s a different world today the insurance companies are squeezing the healthcare practitioners allocating ten to twelve minutes with each patient. Most of the time the doctor is spent with their head in their electronic health records and they are employing the standard of care which is one size fits all, without regard to the fact – one of the main themes in my book is that each one of us is genetically and biochemically different and what works for one person may not work for the next person and could be downright harmful. And the doctor doesn’t have time to take that into consideration. And nobody knows their body better than the occupier of the body. We each know how we respond to everything. The doctor doesn’t know those things. And so one has to at the very least collaborate with their doctor and ideally do a lot of due diligence and additional research.
Gloria Grace Rand: Yeah. Are there any particular types of physicians that someone could go to, let’s say especially maybe even for someone fairly young adult. I’m thinking about my kids who are in their twenties and are looking to be able to because especially if they have health insurance, they’ve got to pick a provider primary care physician. But it sounds like certainly that not all primary physicians are alike. So how would you best, or is there a particular specialty, maybe that someone is a little bit more open to looking at the reasons why you’re sick as opposed to just rushing to write you a prescription to fix it?
Emily Gold Mears: So that’s the branch. There’s actually some overlap and there are a lot of different names for these doctors. They’re called functional medicine doctors, integrative physicians, personalized medicine doctors, precision medicine doctors. Each one of those is slightly different, but there’s a great deal of overlap and any one of those will get you closer to identifying your own genetics and biochemistry and treating you on a personal level rather than part of population demographics, which is a big bell curve that some fall in and many fall outside of.
Gloria Grace Rand: Well that’s good. I appreciate that because as I say, and in fact, even for me, I changed health insurance lately and was just like trying to find somebody and it’s like, okay, I figure he’d be good for emergency things, but it’s not really who I want to really be actively involved in my health care. And actually, let’s talk about this a little bit more about being your own healthcare advocate. So let’s say someone listening to this is like, okay, sure, yeah, I want to do that, but what does that look like in practical terms?
Emily Gold Mears: It looks like for me, I think the first step is to do some testing. Some testing and tracking. And yes, it’s a little bit of money up front to do some of these tests, but it will save you a lot of money down the line because the reality is we cannot fix what we can’t measure. You can’t manage what you can’t measure if you don’t know what’s going on internally. Perhaps you don’t even have symptoms yet, or at all. But there still could be some dysfunction going on inside at a cellular level. And what these tests will do for you is they’ll start giving you some data, some quantitative data on what’s going on with you. And so the first step is to collect the data and the next step is to analyze it efficiently. Not everyone can do that. There are platforms that can help you. There are doctors that can read it. But I think that’s a first step because you want to know what’s going on. In terms of supplements, that’s an area that I write extensively about. I believe we need supplements, but not the way people are recommending them. Everybody is recommending supplements to everybody in a one size fits all manner. And I don’t think that that’s a good approach at all. The very definition of supplement is you are adding to something and it’s implied that you do so where you are deficient. So there are some people that don’t need to take any, I mean few and far between just because our food supply is so tainted and as we get older we lose enzymes and we’re just not quite as efficient. So there’s a need for them but it’s good to identify where the need is. I don’t believe in multivitamins and every doctor recommends them. The reason why most of the brands are not great and so the dose that’s on the label oftentimes doesn’t match what’s in the capsule or the tablet. They add a lot of bad ingredients that are called excipients and binders and fillers to bulk up the capsule that we don’t need to be ingesting. And most importantly is the amount of each vitamin that’s contained within the multivitamin is either too small to make any difference depending upon one’s absorbability or the bioavailability of the vitamin or you already have a sufficient amount and you don’t need to be supplementing because there’s a synergistic effect with all of these together. So I wouldn’t take a multivitamin and I would recommend that nobody does. Do the test. Instead of wasting your money on a multivitamin either do just a basic blood test. If you are really interested, do a micronutrient test because so many of us are walking around with micronutrient deficiencies and those grow with time and without treatment. Good to know where you’re actually deficient and then act accordingly.
Gloria Grace Rand: So how do you go about getting these tests done though? I mean, can you ask your doctor to order them for you?
Emily Gold Mears: Some doctors, most doctors have never even heard of some of the tests. I go into all of them during my testing and tracking chapter. There’s a lot of tests out there and some doctors are more current and not only do they know about them but they believe in them and they want their patients to have them so that they can treat them most effectively.
Gloria Grace Rand: Okay, that’s so much good stuff you’ve been sharing here today. I think it’s amazing. What would you say would be like other than someone has to go out and get your book and read it, but if someone listening to this today wants to be able to really start taking control over their health and what would you say would be like the first thing that they should do?
Emily Gold Mears: First thing I think is to optimize their gut. That’s the first order of business because that’ll even improve your sleep which is also very important. But if you’ve got a lot of bad things going on in your gut, you have gut dysbiosis that’s going to impact your sleep along with everything else and you can try to improve your sleep but if you haven’t already or maybe concurrently worked on optimizing your gut, you’re not going to get very far. So I would say that’s the number one approach. But also know my book has 19 chapters, 18 different concepts. The 19th chapter is a resource chapter that lists the goods and services that I have carefully over many years vetted. But it can be overwhelming and I don’t mean to overwhelm anyone. I would encourage people to just start slow and build upon that. They don’t need to do everything. They can take small steps and incremental steps will lead to improvement and feeling better, and then hopefully people will be incentivized to continue along down that path.
Gloria Grace Rand: All right. Yeah, I think that’s good for no matter what you’re doing, whenever you start something new, it’s so good to be able to just start slowly and build up because yeah, it’s going to help. And I so love that you talked about that. I want to just shift gears just a little bit, just to talk a little bit more about you for a second because I’m curious. So you’ve written the book, you’re speaking about it. What’s like the next step for you? What are you looking to do to be able to either get this information out to more people or what?
Emily Gold Mears: That’s a good question. A good question. When I first wrote the book, my goal was simply to share the message, to see if I could have some positive impact with our very sick country and tell people, take care of these things. You can do it. I’m not sure what comes after the book. I’m really working hard now to promote the book and sell the book, and those are two skills that I do not have. It’s a completely different skill set than research and writing. Those are my strengths. But promoting and marketing, which I now have learned, is everything. I don’t have that skill set. So I’m learning a whole new area and trying to do it simply because I want to spread my message as far and wide as I can. And then I’ve been asked to do some speaking engagements and hopefully I’ll do more of those. At this point, that’s where I am subject to change. I’m not sure, but that’s where I am now.
Gloria Grace Rand: That sounds like it is a good effort. And I will say, yeah, that the marketing and the selling of the book. Yeah, it’s like writing the book is the easy part, even though it’s not easy, but compared to the other of getting the message out, yeah, that’s where the real fun comes in. So I’m glad you’re doing that. One last question I’m going to well, I’ve got two more questions, but one that’s just sort of a fun one that I love to ask my guests is what are you curious about right now other than marketing?
Emily Gold Mears: Well, I’m curious about everything. I think that’s how I got into this. I’m a very curious person and I literally am curious about everything. I love to learn new things. I’m fascinated. I mean, every day I read four newspapers, and I’m constantly amazed by the things that are going on in the world. Much of it bad and depressing right now, but there’s also some good, and I prefer to focus on the good and the positive and optimistic, which is kind of why I wrote the book, because I think it’s optimistic that we can take control and improve, but there’s no endless quantity of amazing things going on. Innovations that are happening in all industries, but in the healthcare industry, there are amazing innovations that are happening. There really are. We’re a little behind in America, areas like Israel and Germany and some other countries. They’re not shackled by the standard of care and our litigation system, and so they’re implementing a lot of the innovations, and I love to read about them. I’m fascinated what’s going on.
Gloria Grace Rand: All right, well, I appreciate you sharing that information with us. And so anyone listening? And we actually do have some not sure if I have listeners in Israel, but pretty sure I do have in Germany. So check out and see what you guys are in whatever country you’re listening to this podcast and see what’s going on in your neck of the woods with health care and what you can do to be a better advocate for yourself. So if someone listening to you today has been like, oh, man, okay, I need to take better care of myself, and I want to learn more about this. How can people reach out to you? Where can they buy the book, all that good stuff.
Emily Gold Mears: So I have a website. Emilygoldmeers.com and social media with the same name. LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, all Emily Gold Mears. The book is available online wherever books are sold amazon, Walmart, Target, and in some independent booksellers.
Gloria Grace Rand: Oh, very good. Awesome. Well, I will be sure to have all of that information in the show notes for you who are listening today or watching. And so make sure that you go to Liveloveengagepodcast.com and find this episode, and then you’ll be able to get all of this wonderful information and to be able to start being your own best healthcare advocate, which is what we all need to be. Any parting thoughts? Any last thing that I didn’t ask you about? Yeah, that’s what I should have asked you. Any other thing that or did we cover it all?
Emily Gold Mears: I can’t think of any. I just want to encourage people that it’s really important to feel good and healthy and energetic. It affects everything, your relationships, your work, your productivity. Every single thing is affected. And if you feel better, you’ll do better.
Gloria Grace Rand: Words of advice. Very good, wise words of advice, I should say. All right, well, Emily, thank you so much for taking time out of your day and being with us today. I really appreciate it. And I know our viewers and listeners all across the spectrum got a lot of good value out of it today. So thank you.
Emily Gold Mears: Thank you, Gloria. I really enjoyed talking to you today.
Gloria Grace Rand: And I also want to thank all of you, my lovely, loyal subscribers. And if you’re not well, you can still become one. So you can subscribe on YouTube at gloria gracerand. YouTube has a new way of doing it, so you can actually do at Gloria Grace Rand and subscribe to the podcast. Or you can certainly subscribe on whatever your favorite podcast platform is, whether it’s Apple or Spotify, we’re there. So until next time, as always, I encourage you to go out and live fully, love deeply, and engage authentically.