About Our Guest- Dena Norton – Back To The Book Nutrition


Dena Norton, MS, RD is a registered dietitian and Holistic Nutrition Coach with Back To The Book Nutrition, a website and virtual practice dedicated to helping clients find and fix the root causes of their gut and hormone symptoms so they can get back to life!

Dena holds bachelor and masters degrees in nutrition, and is currently working toward functional medicine certification. When Dena faced HPA Axis Dysfunction, hormone imbalance, and gut symptoms that traditional medicine couldn’t explain or fix, Dena found answers in the world of holistic nutrition and functional medicine. Her own dramatic recovery opened her eyes to a whole new approach to health and gave her a passion to help others find healing as well.

With over 15 years’ experience in both the traditional medical system and the holistic health sphere, Dena now combines all she’s learned to leverage the best research-backed and results-driven approaches to help her clients optimize their health. Her work has been featured on Dr. Axe, Prevention Magazine, Fitness Magazine, The Huffington Post, and many others..

Full Podcast Transcription

Dena Norton 01:30
Recognizing all the ways that stress is present in our daily lives, and recognizing that our physiology is not very discerning of those. We’ve just accepted that as normal life. Our body is receiving and perceiving all of that as stress and constantly trying to respond to it because our bodies always for us. So it’s trying to fight the fires in the background. But we don’t realize how tired and depleted it can get doing that and then we just expect it to get up and move on and handle a huge life stress and maybe around the corner as well.

Diva Nagula 02:02
Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of From Doctor to Patient. Today, I am pleased to have Dena Norton. She is a registered dietitian and holistic nutrition coach with Back to the Book Nutrition, a website and virtual practice dedicated to helping clients find and fix the root causes of their gut and hormone systems so they can get back to life. Dena holds bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutrition, and is currently working towards a functional medicine certification. When Deena faced HPA axis dysfunction, hormone imbalance, and gut symptoms that traditional medicine couldn’t explain or fix. She found answers in the world of holistic nutrition and functional medicine. Her own dramatic recovery, opened her eyes to a whole new approach to health and gave her a passion to help others find healing as well. With over 15 years experience in both the traditional medical system and the holistic health sphere, Dina now combines all she’s learned to leverage the best research back and results driven approaches to help their clients optimize their health, her work has been featured on Dr. x prevention magazine, Fitness magazine, The Huffington Post, and many others. Dena, welcome. Thank you so much for being on the show today.

Dena Norton 03:33
Yeah, thank you for having me.

Diva Nagula 03:36
So I’m really interested in hearing about your story. You know, everyone who ends up in the functional medicine, integrative medicine, naturopathic medicine realm, seems to have a story where traditional medicine fail them, and then it launches them to find alternative ways, alternative means to fix their issues. So I’d love to hear more about your personal story.

Dena Norton 03:58
Sure, yeah. And I love that we’re in that transition space in our field that everyone is still so closely connected to what got them there. I think that’s such a wonderful way that we can connect with our patients and clients. So my experience was that I was trained traditionally, and very much like you worked very much in the traditional world had a sense of wanting to help the whole person and knowing there was more beneath the surface root causes and such, but just was not my training. And so then when I came home to start a family, I, in time, began of business and had two babies and went through some personal stressors and that sort of all became too much. And I started to see lots of different symptoms and lots of different body systems. And it worried me and my background had been in cancer so I was really worried. But you know, my periods starting getting strange. I started having severe headaches, you know, lots of mood changes, energy as falling asleep in the middle of the day, lots of different things flagging need for attention, and so I did what I knew to do. I went to my primary doctor, I started going to him specialists everything checked out, I was normal quote unquote, like, so many of my clients come to me, you know, saying that they’ve been told as well. So no one knew what to do. I mean, they offered me medication to address the symptoms. But I knew that there was more I really wanted to understand why it was happening. Why is a 34 year old, you know, feeling like a 70 year old and acting like she’s going through menopause, there has to be an answer. And so I really honestly went through this period of trying to read everything I could get my hands on in the scientific literature and beginning to read more outside of my sphere and the more holistic space, but still try to keep it very focused on what has been proven what do we know physiologically and scientifically, and I had to humble myself and get help outside of my field. And I had to go to a nutritionist, which is like the ultimate humbling right for a doctor to go to a health coach or for a dietitian to go to a nutritionist, and admit that I didn’t know everything, and my system did not have all the answers for me. And I found through that holistic care, and then learning more about functional medicine and kind of ordering tests for myself, I delve into a whole new world. And what impacted me the most was it worked. I mean, within months, I felt like I’m back, you know, I wasn’t fully myself again. But I finally had hope, a realistic hope that I was getting better. And I would continue to get better. Whereas before I was really fearful, I did not know what was going on. But once I understood the root causes and was able to address them with such basic things, many of which we’ll talk about today, you know, like pulling back saying no sleeping more, eating a little better, you know, listening to my body, instead of forcing it to just keep going and keep going. So a lot of it was retraining my mindset and my perspective on health and my body. But then there was a lot of specific things to you know, fixing my gut and adding in some supplements to help my stress access and all of those things. But I just made such a dramatic recovery, that then I became this poster child, and I’m looking around at all these women, especially in my age and stage group going through similar life stressors. And I was talking about it all the time because I was so sold on this is what you need. And so honestly, I’d already begun a website that was more focused on healthy recipes. But so many people were asking me questions and wanting to know what to do. And I was so passionate, I was spending hours, replying to emails and doing more research and learning on my own so that I could just help people. And my husband’s the more entrepreneurial of the two of us. And he’s like, you should find a way to make this business, you know that many people want that kind of help. And you’re passionate about doing it. And you’re obviously helping people, let’s try to weave this into what we’ve already got going. So I began to see clients again, and then that really just the more people I saw, the more passionate I became, the more I wanted to know, learn to know and do for them and with them. And so now I’m, you know, in the middle of a functional medicine certification program, and that’s really become what I do now mainly is clients, I have the website with a lot of great information and healthy recipes, and all of that. But my main focus is one on one client care, which really has been my passion ever since even my first career I love helping people understand their bodies and empowering them to take care of them well. So it’s my great passion. But now I feel like I have so many more tools in my toolkit to help me do that. And just having been there in one sense or another helps me I think, connect with people and understand just how hard it is and just how frustrating it is to feel like your body’s out of your control and feel like you’re going to experts, and they don’t know. But the more I’ve learned, I’m sure the more you have to the more I’m completely convinced that there are always reasons, and most of them we can’t understand and many of them we can’t fix. So that’s who I am and what I do.

Diva Nagula 08:34
Thank you for sharing with us. That’s great information. And I love hearing about other people’s stories and how they got to where they are today. And with your HP axis dysfunction, it was all centered around adrenal fatigue, just your system was just overstressed from whatever it was, you know what it was just life, your body just giving out on you secondary to the excessive amounts of stress hormones flooding your system, where the point where your body just started to fail you. And interesting enough, you know, you’d expect this kind of thing to occur, you know, as we get older, and as we have more wear and tear placed on our body, but you experienced this at a relatively young age. So it was either a product of way too much stress or the lack of mechanisms to cope with the stress. And it’s amazing, our conventional mindset is that okay, it’s gonna take a lot of time for our stress systems to overwhelm our bodies. But I don’t think that’s the case. And we have to address that very early on. We have to develop coping mechanisms and other ways of dealing with our stress. And, let’s have a discussion about the stress and like, how do we define define stress in the terms that you’re familiar with and how you work with your clients?

Dena Norton 09:55
Yeah, well, I think stopping and defining it is so important today more than ever, because it’s something that we all give lip service to. But it’s become this cultural norm like, oh yeah, I’m too stress, I really need to reduce my stress, we kind of give it a little laugh and we move on. And we we keep going. And stopping to define it, I think is so important because many people don’t realize what all is contributing to our stress bucket, if you will, many people recognize easily that things that feel overwhelming or feel scary, or feel hard, are stressful. They are that mental, emotional, bad stress. We all know what that is. And most of us can recognize it readily. But there’s this whole other side of physiological stressors that like I think, as you said, is becoming more and more necessary that we be aware of and proactively deal with and reduce so that our baseline level of stress is not just brimming at the surface, and then any one little thing just tips us, you know, the straw that broke the camel’s back, because we can all take it though we can’t. And we can’t always predict what that last final thing will be. And I think that was definitely my story. That’s the story of a lot of clients, we really go back and look at their health history and the story. You know, I was on oral contraceptives for years, you know, lots and lots of things I was a restrictive eat, or for years, I definitely didn’t love fat, you know, a lot of things that ended up being good for me. I was squelching those for many years, just having no idea that they were really affecting the fundamental systems of managing stress and balancing hormones in my body. And I think that’s what we have to take it back to is taking an inventory. So all these physiological stressors, things like blood sugar imbalances, things like sleep deprivation, which is completely epidemic in our culture. So many things physiologically have an impact on our stress load, if we have low grade inflammation, because we’re overweight or because we have autoimmunity or because we have some other brewing, underlying chronic issue, that’s a constant stressor to our stress system. So all of that is really like steady fuel on the fire. And so we really have to minimize those as best we can, in addition to preparing for big, occasional life stressors, so the physiological stress bucket, I think, is significant. The other thing I see people not really appreciating is that so many good things can be stressful. So you know, people come to me doing like intermittent fasting, and really amping up their exercise and doing all these things that should be good for their health. And they would be if they were resilient enough to really handle that in a way where the body needs the challenge and rises above it, that hormesis the body is really good at doing that if you’re in a place of good nutrition and good rest and resilience. However, if you’re depleted, really strapped and not sleeping enough, you know, hitting the gym six days a week is not helping you it is probably digging you further in the ditch. So I think a lot of it comes with discerning too, it may be good for my neighbor, or it may have been good for me five years ago. But right now in the state, my body’s in with all that it’s facing, it may be a net negative for me, and so that even though it’s quote unquote good, may need to sit on the back burner for a while. And I may need to instead spend that time learning how to do deep breathing, or just relaxing in nature, or booking an extra hour of sleep every night, just like I would book a meeting and so recognizing all the ways that stress is present in our daily lives, and recognizing that our physiology is not very discerning of those. So constant phone notifications, or overexposure to blue light, I mean all of these things to your body, it’s always having to measure what kind of a stress that is and what kind of response to give it. Whereas we’ve just accepted that as normal life, our body is receiving and perceiving all of that as stress and constantly trying to respond to it. Because our bodies always for us, maybe even more than ourselves sometimes. So it’s trying to fight the fires in the background. But we don’t realize how tired and depleted it can get doing that. And then we just expect it to get up and move on and handle a huge life stress and
maybe around the corner as well.

Diva Nagula 13:59
It’s interesting, there’s several things we’re talking about, there’s buckets of stress, right, there’s a bucket of physiological stress, where our bodies, our physical self, undergoes processes that are actually kind of productive, because of the increased exposure of stress. And there’s so many things that affects our bodies downstream, just from the simple exposure of stressors in our daily lives. And, some of the things that you’ve outlined, you know, our discussion enough from a physiological and as a physician, you know, I like to really talk about this because no one really understands how bad the stress can be on our bodies. I mean for example, the stress that we endure on a regular basis in order for our bodies to compensate for the stress, we have to have an increase in cortisol production. And as a result, that diversion of the production of cortisol takes away the substrate for forming hormones. That can actually manifest as, as some type of HPA axis dysfunction, you know, or other etiologies of endocrine dysfunction. And it’s all about a balance. And, additionally, we can have things like leaky gut syndrome, that that is a direct impact from excess of cortisol production in excess of stress that our body space. And then as a result, you know, we all understand that stress can increase blood pressure. And that’s common, that’s commonplace. But the other things like it’s actually causing some problems with our immune function. You know, we don’t really think about that. And the reason why it’s it hits home for me is because I really, truly, fundamentally believe that my cancer that I endured, because it’s not a genetic based cancer, and I got struck with it at 40 years old, it was a matter of being exposed to a overwhelming amount of stress for 40 years, I think I was born into this world with stress, and I just never got out of that fight or flight response. And that’s so important to modulate our stress so that we can reduce these physiological issues that arise from circulating stress hormones, and our bodies just, unfortunately, shut down. And then there’s the emotional side of the stress, right? You know, you can cause unbelievable issues with depression and anxiety. And all these things just cause our bodies just to shut down, as you’re very familiar with. So with all this take into consideration, like how do you approach a client? And how do you address their stress in? What do you start doing in terms of diagnosing them, and then slowly implementing strategies to reduce the stress and then provide them with support so that they can endure the stress that they are actually living on a day to day basis?

Dena Norton 16:44
Yeah, well, I have free tools on my website to do this. I talk about it on social media so often, because I just want so many people to have tools in their hands. Because the first steps are really basic. It comes down to naming it I mean, until we call it what it is, and name specific stressors in our lives, stopping and taking an inventory. I have handouts to help people do that on my site. But I do have clients to like, let’s put everything on the table. Let’s be really objective about it. And name all the good, all the bad, all the emotional, the physiological, but what are the stressors in your life, and then let’s rank them because good grief, we could all do 1000 things to fix 100 problems in our health, and it would stress us out, quite frankly. And that would only add to the problem. So really prioritizing what are the two or three biggest causes of stress in your life, is it that you’re sleeping, you know, six hours a night, that is not sustainable. We know based on literature, that that significantly raises your cortisol levels, we know that over time, that will change the not only the physiology, but the anatomy of your brain. And that’s a recipe for poor health. So if it’s sleep, let’s get you sleeping more. Let’s create evening routines. Let’s turn off the screens. Let’s put up some boundaries. Let’s block out more time for sleep. You know, if it’s something if it’s finances, then you need to go get help that address that elephant in the room. You know, if it’s a relationship that needs better boundaries, if it’s you being a workaholic, and that’s just the way you’ve always been. And we need to really work in that area. If it’s a you’re on a total blood sugar roller coaster thinking it’s helping you to not eat for half the day, but your HPA axis is so burden that all that’s doing is putting more stress on the camel’s back, then we probably need to get you eating first thing in the morning balanced meals every few hours for now. And then we’ll gradually as you build strength and resilience, get you to a place where we might experiment with intermittent fasting or something later. So I think it comes down to starting with an inventory of very honest inventory. And sometimes having someone on board who’s outside the situation and kind of objectively help you identify those things is really helpful. Because things that are close to us and personal to us, we sometimes brush away or we’re not willing to address. So taking the inventory first is super duper important. And then in my opinion, we really need to sort of as practitioners especially do the both and we can’t just tell people like look, you got some big nasty stress in your life, you have to open that box and just deal with it. Because for someone who is so at the brink, so exhausted, so overwhelmed, and honestly it’s just barely keeping it together. I know that I was there. And I know many of my clients have been there too. It’s too much. I mean, they can’t open some big box of something big and scary or some deep past emotional issue and start counseling and bringing all that up right away. So we have to really identify those things work in the ways we can you know, just start saying no more often, just start having a full day of rest every week just start sleeping a little more. And then let’s also get you some quick relief. You know if there are basic supplements that I can bring on board to help you just feel like you can get to bed at night and actually rest. If there are supplements I can bring on board to help you just feel like you have a little more sustained energy if we need to run some basic labs and make sure thyroid is okay and make sure your ferritin is good and see what your micronutrients are. Let’s do that because those are very easy targets to hit with some basic basic nutrition, you know, veggies instead of veggie straws. Or if you’re already doing the thing well with food, if you’re already like paleo ish or whatever form of real food, you’re doing fine. Maybe we can make some little improvements like half your plate as veggies, like buy pastured meat from a farmer, take the next step there and get in some basic supplements to support you, and maybe a few targeted ones for your specific issues that we’ve identified that really could help your big root causes while we continually dig and dig at the deeper root issues. And the people who are willing to not only fix the symptoms, but they are really ready to find out why and face whatever it is that comes up. Those are the people that I see that get the biggest successes because they’re ready to go there. Yes, they want quick relief, we all do. I really tried to provide that. But the real traction, the real long term success comes when you are willing to put up boundaries, say no address the big surface issues that have probably been, like you said, lifelong character traits or life circumstances that have built this house of cards that’s about to crash. Digging in, and really identifying personal situations and then addressing it both at the root cause but also for some quick relief, like help a person out, give them some more energy so that they can tackle the big issues and then steadily walk with them on that journey. You know, I’ve told clients before that you get on the freeway and go towards your destination, there’s a fast lane, there’s a middle lane and a slow lane, and they will all get you there, and there’s no wrong place to go. You can switch lanes at any time, I just really want you to stay on the road and not get so overwhelmed that you hit the exit ramp and abandon the whole thing because as long as you’re moving forward, you’re doing great, and you need to stop and celebrate those successes and recognize I’m growing as a person, I’m improving in the way that I handle stress, I have better boundaries, I am resting more you know, and reinforce those things with yourself about all the things that you’re doing to care for your health. And if you need to take it a half step at a time, that’s totally fine. As long as you’re moving in the right direction.

Diva Nagula 22:21
Since your background is in nutrition is there a specific advisable diet that you recommend? You know, for people who are having issues with stress? I mean, do you advocate something that is more keto genic? You know, paleo, vegan, carnivore? There’s so many diets that are out there? And or do you actually see what their background is in terms of their blood type or their genome type is and then try to pair their appropriate diet with them so that they can have a better physiological response to what they’re putting into their bodies from nutrition me. How do you address those?

Dena Norton 23:57
I definitely am not a person who picks a particular camp and forces everyone into that box. I just don’t see that helping people who come in so overwhelming. So strapped if you decide to, change everything about how they’ve always eaten at once. Some people can do that. And honestly, the ones who will sprint out the gate like that they’ll feel better fast. I mean, if you could put them on a perfect diet, and they can actually pull it off, they’ll feel great. But they crash and burn usually a few steps down the road is my experience. So I choose to take the long road, where we personalize it, what has worked for you before? How do you eat now? Do you think you can make two small changes? Or are you like, I’m done with it, give me a structured program and I will follow it? I want to feel better. Great. Let’s do it. So I feel like there are definitely benefits to a lot of these specialty diets if you will, but I think that if you take the sum of literature and definitely the some of my personal experience and my experience with clients over time, it just needs to be some version of real whole food with minimal processed food. Like great great grandmother ate 200 years ago, something that starts there. And it can go out in a lot different directions, you know, it can lean a little more this way or that way, or whatever. And a lot of those versions will work for people. It just needs to be based on whole food, and something they can actually do. And that’s the starting place. And then as far as personalizing it, certainly, I’ve had people come in to me Who, who are vegans or lean that way, or who avoid this thing or the other who just don’t like vegetables or whatever, they’re kind of stick with their diet. I really do try to be objective and not push my philosophy on anyone. But I’ll be very honest with people and say, you know, you’re really struggling with anxiety, and you can’t keep your iron up, and you’re bleeding heavily. And you refuse to eat animal foods for maybe some really valid admirable reasons. But are you willing to just say, even if this has admirable qualities, physiologically, it’s not working for me right now? Am I open to you know, supplementing or choosing to animal foods, I’m comfortable eating? That sort of thing to kind of help them objectively see what’s happening in their physical body and make a decision that they truly are comfortable with to make a change in the right direction? Not right, because I believe it’s right, or right, because it seems subjectively, like that might serve their body better. And then let’s retest, let’s check your symptoms, you know, I have a couple of clients who are, you know, are vegan ish, when they came to me who just in the last week or so have texted me, like, I’m just feeling so much better. You know, I think sometimes, if you’re missing certain nutrients, and you start getting them in, I mean, it’s a matter of weeks before you feel better, it’s not months or years. So I really do try to personalize and not have a particular camp that I’m in, but I think the literature is fully supportive of real whole foods of a variety of types, you know, and then depending on a situation or objective data, like lab work, or stool testing, hormone balancing, will definitely modify foods and supplements for that.

Diva Nagula 26:52
And I would imagine that you would probably want your clients on, in addition to whole foods to have organically sourced foods because it’s, it’s much less in toxic contents, less pesticides, less herbicides, and less GMOs. And these can actually be increasing the amount of toxic burden, which puts an undue stress on our bodies. And then we’ve actually, unfortunately, with our leaky gut, that is inevitable with these types of foods, we’re going to get leaky brain, and then we’re going to cause inflammation of the brain. We’re going to be suffocating from those types of stressors and brain chemistry is compromised, which will increase the amount of stress, anxiety, depression. So it’s just this cascade of events that occur with simple things of just eating correctly and eating the right foods and eliminating those chemicals, and dyes and pesticides, we could just really turn the knob into better health instead of worsening health. With that being said, there’s always the concept of stress induced eating, right, and a lot of people you know, who binge on food, it’s due to stress. So how do you combat that issue? What do you do for people who binge eat because that’s how they cope with their stress?

Dena Norton 28:20
Yeah, well, I think it’s a valid and growing problem. And I think like, you know, so many other things, there’s a little bit of a cultural normalcy to some of that. Give me another glass of wine, you know, the wine thing has gotten really out of hand for a lot of women. And honestly, it’s tipping a lot of them into estrogen excess. And that’s one of their major problems or bingeing on sugar. You know, that’s certainly terrible for gut health. It’s certainly terrible for stress, access resilience. But when there’s a mental, emotional, behavioral component that’s really strong. And for most people, that’s been a lifelong thing, or for most of their life, and it manifests maybe in different ways. I think the real answer to that is not let’s fix it on the surface, it’s just like finding the root cause of the health issue, I can’t just tell you, like, you really can’t eat sugar, it’s bad for you. Well, they know that! We’ve really got to dial it back, right. And really what my focus is helping them to slow that train, because a lot of that is driven by either blood sugar, or neurotransmitters, or this behavioral impulse that is so quick and so strong, that you have to really slow the process down and try to interrupt it if you can, and then really get them asking why. Why am I eating? I feel this way. Why do I feel that way? Because of this issue. What’s the best fix for that? Is it food? No, that will make me feel guilty on the other side. I know from experience and it won’t fix this issue. It just kicks the can down the road. Is that what I want? No. So what’s the better route so I do a lot of journaling as far as not just you know, I ate half a cup of rice or potentially chocolate chips, but journaling, when, why and how I eat before I eat, what are my emotions? What are my physical symptoms? what’s what’s going on in my thought process? What happened in my day in the last 30 minutes? before I’m walking to the kitchen, and then maybe jot down what I ate, and then honestly record the same things on the back end? How do I feel physically? How do I feel mentally? How do I feel emotionally? Is there a guilt that showing up seven times a week in those journals? Okay, then that’s a major theme we need to address. There’s a lot of eating things that you later feel guilty about why do you feel guilty? Should you feel guilty? Is it because they’re not good for your health? Is it because they don’t address your issue? Is it because of some other thing? Well, then let’s unravel that and decide like, how could you choose something that makes you feel better, on the other side, that makes you feel satisfied and grateful, happy with what you ate and pleased with yourself, and really addressing the root issues, in better ways, maybe you need to like, go outside and take a five minute walk, just to breathe some fresh air separate from the pressure, get your brain off of it, do some deep breathing, calm yourself down, maybe you need to do something else that addresses the real root issue, and then come back inside and get back into life. So I think slowing down the impulse that pushes them to do that. And then really, over time asking why and finding better mechanisms to handle those issues. And then I think, a whole whole lot of affirmation of like, it is totally okay to fall on your face and fail in that area. And you just learn from it and you move on. Nobody decides I’m going to stop benching, and they never ever have an episode again, it is very messy, I’ve been there in my past, it’s extremely messy, and you just got to scratch and claw your way and keep going, you just got to keep getting up. And know that, you know, that’s not the end of the world. I just got to keep going. And I can get to the other side. If I just keep going. That’s all.

Diva Nagula 31:52
And yeah, I mean, the educational piece, I feel is extremely important. Because if you educate the person on what they’re bingeing, like, cookies, and processed food, that this is just feeds into that process of gaining weight and disrupting the gut disrupting the blood brain barrier with more toxins. Then I think people are going to be understanding and then it doesn’t take very long to actually switch the process, if they’re able to switch, you know, within a week’s time to 10 days, two weeks, you’ll see an entire shift in the way how they feel how they sleep, their reduction in depression and reduction of anxiety. And the stress systems just start to like, reduce. And it’s unfortunate that I think people in today’s society, people have such a huge tie to amount of toxic burden in their system, that it’s just one or two things that can just tip them over the edge, and then they just have a shutdown on their systems, or they go into a deep dark depression. And no one knows when that tipping point is, but with all the stuff that’s going on now, especially with all this new EMF stress that’s coming, it’s basically going to be plaguing us very shortly, you know, and all other foods that were exposed to that just have an exorbitant amount of toxic chemicals. It’s inevitable that we’re going to reach that tipping point. It’s all about getting the word out getting the educational education out to folks that are in our society in a Western culture that that need to be educated to understand what’s going on.

Dena Norton 33:27
Yes, let’s look at the deeper root issue, but let’s have some quick relief as well, some tools to like help you actually address those things. If we can see that they’re like serotonin and dopamine seeking, you know, and they’re basically getting drugs to feed that when they binge, okay, well, then maybe there are some amino acids, maybe there’s some nutrients, maybe there’s some blood sugar balancing earlier in the day before you get to that evening episode that we can do just to help your body not be so prone to drive you in that direction, in addition to working at the deeper level, so I think also identifying, what are the physiological drivers? Even though we know that are deep, you know, behavioral issues as well. And how can we modulate those in ways that are reasonable for them. There are definitely clients, I have one right now, who, you know, has is so standard American, she’s an older woman and has collected years and years and years of diagnoses and medications and just layers of behavioral issues with food. She’s finally at the point where she’s like, I think I should probably do better. And, you know, I’m like, I wish we had met 15 years ago, but she is where she is, and admittedly she’s like I buy a bag of peanut m&ms and then I hide them in my purse, you know, so just these big glaring trouble areas and if we can just see that sugar as a drug for her I think it very much is psychologically as well as behaviourally. If we can just say like, what if for two weeks, you just didn’t bring sugar into the hot like two weeks like just give me two weeks like you said, you know, because sometimes just pulling the plug on one little thing like that, I, you know, it’s to hold it very honestly, like, it’s gonna get worse before it gets better because I think there will be an amount of psychological and physiological detoxing, you’re going to go through and it’s going to be rough. But if you can get to the other side of two weeks, and then let’s like loosely see if you might, at that point, be willing to go two more weeks, I guarantee you in one month, you feel so much less prone to that stuff, and so much more in control, not controlling in a restrictive forcing my body since but control in a way that I have autonomy. And when I say I’m going to do something, and I choose to do it, it feels great, because I know I’m taking care of my body better. And I’m resisting temptation. And that’s an upward cycle, if you can get a little success, it always breeds more success. So I think meaning the more they are giving them those teeny tiny steps, even if it’s one little thing that can whittle away at that big monster they’re dealing with, it’s just so helpful to meet them where they are and bring them along.

Diva Nagula 36:00
In lastly, what I really want to talk about, this is sort of like your realm of expertise is the concept of fasting, especially when we’re talking about fasting relative to reduction of stress. Right. So are you more of a person who recommends like the 12/12 or 16/8, or are you more of like, the one meal a day or even just a regular once a week 24 hour fast? Like, what’s the best that you’ve seen in terms of advising your clients and having the best results?

Dena Norton 36:37
Yeah, well, I think on paper, probably a lot of people would benefit from some form of fasting, right? Honestly, whether it’s behaviourally, we see actually great data for intimate and fasting and binge eating of all things, all the way to the physiological benefits and autophagy and, you know, gut health, and a lot of things in our bodies could benefit from fasting. Maybe just because of the clientele. I see, most people come to me after they’ve been around the block, they’ve done all the things, they’ve seen all the people and they are just deep in a ditch and not getting results. And so usually my work with people is getting them out of the ditch. And I usually find that any form of fasting, and most of them are women, too. So there’s inherent food relationship issues with a lot of these people. And so I do tiptoe around things that are overly restrictive or carefully controlled as far as eating rules or timing of eating. So I have, I probably count on one hand, the times I’ve recommended some form of fasting for someone. Now someone comes in, and it’s totally working for them. And they’re like, I just feel so much better with my gut and with my energy when I intermittent fast. And I really think it works for me, hey, great, I’m so happy about that. But most people when they get to me, we’re trying to like pick up the pieces and get them on the road to health. And fasting usually is much lower down on my list, then things like balancing blood sugar and getting them to sleep and having them eat more vegetables and, you know, cut down on toxins and things like that. I think there’s great value in it. When you’re at the fine tuning stage, usually, I don’t find that many of the women who get to me are in a place where they’re ready to implement fasting. So that’s my quick take on it.

Diva Nagula 38:15
That’s awesome. Well, I appreciate it. Well, Dina, I wanted to thank you for being on our show. And for our listeners who want to find more information about you and what you do. What’s the best way that they can locate you and find you?

Dena Norton 38:28
Yeah, thank you. Well, my website is backtothebooknutrition.com so I’m definitely there, you can schedule a free 10 minute discovery call at any page of the website. If you want to learn more about working with me. I’d love to jump on a call and hear more about what you’re dealing with. And I’ll give you a honest read on whether I think I can help. But I’m also on social media, mostly on Instagram, my tag there is @backtothebooknutrition so those are the best ways to connect with me. Thanks for having me.

Diva Nagula 38:55
Awesome. It was great seeing you and I appreciate your time with us today. So thank you very

Dena Norton 39:00 Yeah, thanks again.