It is simple to embrace traditional ways of eating when there are no food groups that are off-limits to you. But when you or someone in your family lives with a food allergy or sensitivity, even meals made with the simplest of ingredients can become a challenge. As a mother and functional medicine practitioner who has walked the path of food sensitivities with her own child and many patients, I knew Dr. Ashley Turner would be the perfect person to join me in this conversation! We also delve into the topic of supplementation. In holistic and functional medicine spheres, it can be easy to get overwhelmed at the vast array of supplement recommendations and options. Dr. Ashley shares her simplified approach to supplementation that won’t break the bank. Whether there are food sensitivities in your house or not, you’ll learn so much from this episode about gut healing, the immune system, beneficial supplements, food sourcing, and more!
In this episode, we cover:
- Replacing dairy milks with DIY options
- How you can make sourdough bread without gluten
- Making dairy-free yogurt at home
- Sourcing quality dairy-free and gluten-free ingredients
- Tips for finding local food sources
- Nature’s multivitamin: the one food you should consider adding to your daily diet
- A minimalistic, whole-foods approach to supplements
- Ashley’s process of figuring out exactly what healing her daughter needed
- Going beyond food sensitivity testing to get to the root cause
- The best supplements to have on hand to use when needed
Thank you to our sponsor!
Toups and Co Organics uses nourishing, organic ingredients to create simple and safe skincare products. Toups and Co is offering my listeners 10% off any one purchase with the code FARMHOUSE. Visit ToupsandCo.com to order today. And check out my interview with the founder of Toups and Co, Emilie, to find out more about this amazing company and their products.
About Dr. Ashley
Dr. Ashley is a Board Certified Doctor of Holistic Health and traditionally-trained naturopath. She is certified in functional medicine and functional genomics which gives her the ability to specifically apply nutrition and nutraceutical recommendations based on a deep analysis of one’s personal genetic profile and other in-depth testing. Dr. Ashley is a homesteader and homeschooling mother of three girls.
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Lisa Bass Welcome back to the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast. Today I am having on functional medicine doctor Ashley Turner. She’s been on this podcast before. She is wonderful. She’s the author of two very beautiful cookbooks. If you follow her on Instagram, you already know, you already love her, Dr. Ashley Turner. Today, we’re going to answer a few reader questions. So in a recent episode or a past podcast episode, I shared how to cook from scratch like, you live on a farm, even if you don’t. And I had a reader question asking, “Well, what if you have food sensitivities?” Because a lot of the things that I talked about doing involved eggs, dairy, gluten, which so many of you can’t have for various reasons. Ashley has a lot of experience because of some medical things that she’s dealt with with her daughter. So she has a lot of experience in knowing how to cook that way. Lots of years cooking from scratch, being a homesteader, but then also avoiding some of those things. Then we’re going to go into supplements because another reader question—which I wanted so badly to have Ashley on to talk about this—was about what supplements do you take, what supplements do you give your kids? And because she’s a functional medicine doctor who deals with a lot of different situations, I thought it would be great to have her on to talk about that. So @DrAshleyTurner on Instagram. Let’s dive into the interview.
Lisa Bass Yeah. So I thought it would be really great to come on here. I basically compiled two reader questions that I got specifically. So people will send me a question in my inbox or on Instagram. I’ll save them in my notes, and then at some point answer them. And so I thought these were both good ones for you. I actually wrote— whenever I was telling Leanne who I wanted on this episode, I was like, “If it’s Ashley, I want to also answer this question.”
Ashley Turner Oh perfect. Love it.
Lisa Bass So we got two because it’s you. So first of all, if people don’t already know you— which, if they follow along with the podcast, they probably do because you’ve already been on. And then also, you and I got the opportunity to hang out together at the Wellness Collective event last October or September.
Ashley Turner So fun.
Lisa Bass Yeah, so fun. And Ashley spoke there. And so you probably already know her, but if not, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Ashley Turner Yeah. So thanks again for having me. I love talking with you. It is so fun. So I am a wife. Wife to my husband. He’s Dr. Kevin Turner. He’s a chiropractor and functional medicine doctor. We together run Restorative Wellness Center in Exton, Pennsylvania. And we have three daughters who we homeschool. And that’s really my biggest priority. We’re also homesteaders. I feel like every year that word even like means more to us because we just expand little by little. But I think we officially fall into the homesteader category.
Lisa Bass You count. Yeah.
Ashley Turner And I’m a traditional naturopath, so I have a background in naturopathic medicine, and then I’m board certified as a doctor of holistic health and certified and functional medicine. So I mostly— like I said, homeschooling and kind of assisting the practice on the back side. But I have a handful of clients here and there, so yeah, that’s me.
Lisa Bass Great. Yep. Yeah. Ashley really specializes in—as you can tell—wellness and getting to the bottom of a lot of things. Because I feel like, with a lot of things today, we treat the outward symptom of something without getting deeper. And you guys really seem to go deeper, which is why some of these questions I wanted to ask you, like the second one, which we’ll get to, but not just throwing supplements at something, but figuring out why you would even want to do that. Like what research? What would you have to do to dig deeper to figure that out? So we will get to that. So the first reader question— I’ll go ahead and read it, and then we can hang out on this one for a while because it might be a loaded question. But, “What do you do when you have food allergies or sensitivities in your house?” This person says, “I’d love to mill grain, but we can’t have wheat flour in the house. We also need to be dairy free and chicken egg free house. I know this is a weird, hard situation to be in. I was listening to the podcast about bringing the farmhouse life and eating into the city, which prompted this question. I’d love to learn and hear some ideas to create the farmhouse life while having food issues in the house.” So can you share some of your favorite allergy friendly homestead/traditional food ideas? So I think this person— you know, they want to cook from scratch. And whenever you can have everything, it’s not really that hard. You know, you can source some raw milk, get local eggs, get local meats, and then mill flour, make sourdough. You can really do every regular food thing, but in a traditional way. But it gets a little tricky whenever you have some of these allergies. So what are some of your ideas?
Ashley Turner Absolutely. This has been my world for over a decade. You know, we’ve had sensitivities— well, unknown to myself when we first started homesteading. So I was grinding wheat and making sourdough bread. And this was very early on in marriage. I joke that we are doing this before it was cool and it was the thing to do. But when we had kids, and then I had some health issues going on, and my daughter, we had to cut wheat out. And so that’s kind of a big piece of it. But actually, I feel like the homesteading lifestyle lends so well if you have food restrictions. So you know, just making simple swaps. So maybe you can’t have dairy. Raw milk, especially from a heritage breed that’s going to be an A2A2, like a better protein. Obviously in raw form you’re going to have those enzymes and whatnot. So hopefully there’s not a dairy intolerance or a dairy sensitivity. But if there is, it’s really simple to make your own coconut milk. I probably prefer coconut milk over any other homemade milk. And it’s really just as simple as grinding desiccated, dehydrated coconut flakes in a blender with some warm water and straining the flakes out. It is so simple. I’ve written about it, I’m sure, on Instagram and in my books. I also really like tiger nuts for a nut milk. Tiger nuts are actually not a nut. So there’s a lot of people that have nut and seed sensitivities. And actually those are probably not my first go-to nut and seed milks because they’re so high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. And when we’re making a milk replacement, it can be something that we kind of rely heavily on for calories and baking and putting in things. And so I still think that nuts and seeds—if you don’t have the sensitivity—have a place in a good nutrient-dense diet. But I typically tend towards the coconut milks because of the polyunsaturated fatty acids, but also the tiger nuts. So tiger nut is not a not. It’s a root, like a tuber. And you can find these a lot of places now. I think Azure Standard has them. There’s a great company called Organic Gemini. A lot of people, especially those that are super sensitive, really do well on tiger nuts, so I like making milk— similar to coconut milk. I mean, really, any of these alternative milks, it’s pretty much just water and whatever your medium is and a blender and then having something to strain it out with. So those are super simple and oftentimes really cost effective ways to kind of swap out milk, for example. I think you said this particular question was coming from somebody that was in a city environment, correct?
Lisa Bass Yeah, well, she said that she was responding to when I said like how to do these traditional things in town. So I’m assuming so, but yeah we can speak to that either way.
Ashley Turner Yeah. So town can be— you know, obviously you can be in a high rise apartment or you could have maybe a suburban home and you have a small garden. I love fermented vegetables. Typically, unless you have like a mold issue or a histamine intolerance, fermented vegetables are going to be a really slick way to homestead, to kind of preserve the harvest for another day. And not only that, you’re growing probiotics and beneficial enzymes on your counter. And so, even like the farmer’s market. If you can’t grow your own cabbages, let’s say, for sauerkraut, going to the farmer’s market and picking up what’s in season that particular day that you that you happened upon the market. Sauerkraut is probably the easiest. I know you guys talk about this all the time on your platforms, but it’s so simple and just such a great way to preserve the harvest and kind of get some of that slowness, like the slow food into your home. So gluten-free sourdough bread is also an option. I know you’ve kind of delved into at least the gluten-free sourdough starters and discard pancakes and things like that. A little bit more about me— we’ve had autoimmune disease and chronic illness in our home, so we’ve had to be grain-free for many years. And so we are just—in the past, probably year, year-and-a-half—introducing grains back into our family. Now we have some people that do just fine with them, but we kind of eat as a family and not overcomplicate things. So I am working to develop even a sourdough bread recipe currently. So gluten-free sourdough bread can be as simple as getting something like buckwheat or sorghum. Millet is nice. I typically tend to gravitate towards a multitude of grains when I do sourdough, like getting different textures and flavors and profiles between the grains. But there’s so many wonderful and lovely gluten-free grains out there. I know you have a YouTube video about a gluten-free sourdough starter.
Lisa Bass I did. I made it with buckwheat , but then I made the bread with buckwheat. And I will say that that was not great at all. So have you like— yeah, I’m sure mixing it up like with different grains is the key.
Ashley Turner Probably the trickiest piece is it’s gluten-free. So gluten is going to add so much structure to your typical bread. So having a swap out for that. I really like using psyllium husk or psyllium husk powder to kind of give it some of that structure. And again, like I said, I’m still kind of—even though I’ve made even wheat gluten filled sourdough in the past—I still feel like I’m a little bit of a newbie, especially in the gluten-free thing. So in the bread that I’ve been making for a little bit, I feel like it still needs some tweaking. But we use white rice flour, sorghum, millet, oat, and we use some arrowroot starch and psyllium husk. So I’ve found having some of those different characteristics in the grains and using them together yields a pretty good alternative.
Lisa Bass What’s in like the one-for-one? The Bob’s Red Mill one-for-one. Is that a similar mixture?
Ashley Turner Oh man. You know, I actually don’t use that, so I’m not exactly sure. I feel like the last time I looked at it— like typically they’re going to have some sort of like potato starch in there. Oftentimes there’s rice, but they might have like sorghum or buckwheat in there too. I’m not sure.
Lisa Bass I know people are going to be asking me like what your ratios are. So do you have an Instagram post about this, or is this something you’re just playing with still?
Ashley Turner I’m literally playing with it, and I feel like every time I tweak it a little bit, I would say the bulk of it is the white rice. And then I do kind of equal parts with some of the other grains. But I will let you know if I feel like it’s public worthy. I feel like we’re getting close. But, yeah, I think it’s doable. And I’m sure there’s bread recipes out there. I just don’t happen to know a good one off the top of my head.
Lisa Bass Yeah, I actually gave up with it. I mean, I made this gluten-free sourdough starter, but then after I tried with the bread, I was like, you know what? This was just something that— I’m not gluten-free. And so I was making this like for my readers, for my viewers, and I was like, I’m sorry, guys. I give up. So that’s what happened with me.
Ashley Turner Yeah. Well, stay tuned. Maybe we can have a whole ‘nother conversation when I feel like I can—
Lisa Bass Yeah, go follow Ashley over on Instagram, and when she comes up with this, then you will be able to follow. Because I know people— this is a common problem. I get asked all the time, you know, “I want to do all your sourdough recipes, but I have to be gluten-free.” And so I’m like, oh, no, I don’t know.
Ashley Turner And it’s tricky because there’s a lot of people like, “Oh, it’s 90% gluten-free,” which is fantastic. But when you have a true non-celiac gluten sensitivity, even, you know, even those little exposures really can add up to significant issues for people. So I feel like that is something that like, yes, there’s absolutely less gluten in a good sourdough einkorn and whatever, especially if you kind of ferment it for a long time. But there is trace amounts of gluten, so if you struggle with that, you are going to have a hard time with that.
Lisa Bass Yeah, yeah, that makes sense.
Ashley Turner So we kind of touched on like the nut milks, but I also really love making homemade coconut milk yogurt. I did this for like a decade of my life. Again, we’re kind of in this place of like starting— we just got dairy goats, so we’re we’re kind of just getting into other mammalian milks and dairy. But coconut milk yogurt is so simple. I’ve written about this. I definitely have a recipe in my book, but it’s really just as simple as culturing a good quality coconut milk. And I typically tend towards the fat. The more fatty, the better. I’ll oftentimes put coconut cream in it to make it really nice and thick. Just get a good quality probiotic, and typically that’s enough. There’s good non-dairy starters. I know Cultures for Health has a— and they also have gluten-free sourdough starters too if you’re not into making your own. So yeah, I would definitely check them out if you feel like, “Eh, is my probiotic going to work? Is it not?” You know, those are kind of a good safety net, too.
Lisa Bass So whenever you say you’re adding back in the coconut cream, are you just buying that in a can or are you able to get the fat content when you’re blending up coconut with water?
Ashley Turner You absolutely can get it. And that’s actually one of the things about homemade coconut milk that it will separate and you will get a cream line. And the thing that’s a little bit different about coconut cream versus like a dairy cream is it’s going to get hard, like almost rock solid. So you’re going to have to warm it up a little bit if you want to get it mixed up, or it’s really nice to have sometimes. Depending on the recipe you’re using or what you’re using it for, that nice coconut cream is there. You’ll get more cream like the bigger ratio of the desiccated coconut that you use per water in your mix when you’re blending up your milk. Yeah, you can get cream from it.
Lisa Bass I haven’t tried that. I actually have bought coconut cream when we’ve been on like the GAPS diet and stuff, and I bought the cans of— the non-BPA lined cans or whatever. But I know there’s a better way to do it.
Ashley Turner Yeah. Easy to make at home, too.
Lisa Bass What was the book I read? I think it was called Body Ecology. Years ago. And she takes young coconuts and scrapes out the insides, blends it up, ferments it. It was so good. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Ashley Turner Yes, I made that back in the day, and I think— is it GT? It’s a kombucha company that makes a young coconut milk. It’s a young coconut yogurt and it’s very similar. And it’s so delicious if you’re into buying something like that, it’s also really yummy.
Lisa Bass Yeah, that sounds good. So like you said earlier, whenever you’re replacing a milk, usually it’s something that you’re relying really heavily on. You’re using it a lot, and so sourcing would be really important. So do you have any recommendations for sourcing? You talked a little bit about the tiger nuts. What about coconut and getting a good quality, and also it not being that expensive? Because I’m picturing buying little bags of coconut and thinking, okay, that’s going to be like a cup of milk and I’m going to spend however much money.
Ashley Turner Previous to using Azure Standard, I just bought it at my local little Amish market in bulk. I’m a big proponent of buying in bulk because it’s going to— not only am I going to have some and have it for a while because I don’t love just having to run to the grocery store for things, so I love having things on hand, but it’s going to be more cost effective. So I’ve been known to buy a 25 pound bag of desiccated coconut from Azure. At this point, I feel like that’s the easiest. And they have drop points all throughout the United States.
Lisa Bass Yeah, everybody can have access to that. Whereas not everybody lives in Pennsylvania next to Amish people, you know?
Ashley Turner Yeah, so you can get a good organic desiccated coconut. And coconut is actually so— like the fatty acids, you do have to be a little worried about them going rancid. I’ve never had them go rancid. Even like a coconut oil is going to be shelf stable for 2 to 3 years, depending on the brand and how fresh it is when you get it. But I have not had a problem. And if you’re using it enough, especially if you have a family, I think that’s the easiest thing to just buy in bulk and you’ve got plenty on hand.
Lisa Bass Yeah, I’ve never done that. I’ve never really had the need to, but that definitely— well actually, I guess during GAPS diet, I should have done something like that. So another thing we can talk about with sourcing is meat.
Ashley Turner Oh, for sure.
Lisa Bass Because even if somebody has all of these sensitivities, usually most people I know can still tolerate meat as a high— like it’s a good macro part of their diet.
Ashley Turner For sure. Absolutely.
Lisa Bass But sourcing is so important. And so what have you done? I know you raise some of your own meat.
Ashley Turner We do. So we have two grass-fed steer, two to three at any given time. We’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and we just love it. I mean, obviously we know where our food is coming from, but we are a homeschool family. So we think it’s so important to teach our kids where meat comes from, but you can so easily source. It’s really all a matter of getting to know your local farmer. Kevin and I— he was in chiropractic school and we lived in the Quad Cities in Iowa while he was attending school. And it’s in the middle of nowhere. And we actually surprisingly really had to work to find a grass-fed beef farmer. So sometimes it’s word of mouth and getting your like-minded people around you and finding people that way. There’s also a Local Harvest and Real Milk. Those are more like sourcing other things, but I think Local Harvest has meat. Getting in touch with your local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter is going to be huge. That’s kind of where a lot of this— you know, a lot of networking happens when it comes to real food.
Lisa Bass Yeah, I’ve found those very helpful. On—I believe it’s Local Harvest—you have to sometimes dig because the first three you call— it’s not a very updated site, and so they’ll be out of business. But eventually you find something or you can find somebody who can lead you to somebody. Or now that we have Facebook, you can definitely—
Ashley Turner Yeah. Like ask around. Even Instagram. Like oh, I think you’re from my area, and send you a message. And oftentimes people that are following you, like maybe you can network even with people that are—
Lisa Bass And so many people ship now. I’ve found that you can definitely easily get— it’s probably not the cheapest option, but you can find quality meat shipped.
Ashley Turner Yeah for sure.
Lisa Bass I just filled my freezer with a half a cow, a whole pig. We’re running out of space. My sister just butchered lots of chicken.
Ashley Turner I love it.
Lisa Bass So at this point, we don’t really raise our own meat, but we just don’t have to. I have such good sources at this point. I’ve been able to really build it up.
Ashley Turner And some of it just takes time. Like we were in the same place, like having to buy a share and finding a local farm to do it. But it’s kind of— obviously a farmers market, too, is a great place to network and find farmers.
Lisa Bass Yeah. It’s an easy time of year for that. Okay. So I’ll move on to the second reader question. I thought this one would be perfect for you. This is one of the ones I reserved for if Ashley Turner is on my podcast as a guest, we’re going to do this one.
Ashley Turner I love it.
Lisa Bass So this person says, “I just read your email about menu planning and I loved it. Thank you so much for sharing because that’s me. I’m not a meal planner, it causes me stress and I end up wasting a lot anyway. I’m wondering if you could talk a bit about what you all do for supplements and vitamins or if you do them at all. I struggle with this because I feel I’ve read so much that we all need to take a million supplements a day. They’re so expensive.” So yeah, basically what vitamins and supplements do you and your kids take? What herbs or certain foods that you consume as a supplement? This is a large, long topic.
Ashley Turner I love this question. It’s probably my most asked question. So it may surprise you: we’re pretty minimalistic when it comes to supplements. And of course, given my husband and I’s profession, we obviously target and troubleshoot things as they come up. But I would say on a daily basis, we are really focusing on a good nutrient-dense diet. We do prioritize organ meats, and that would include liver. So I think grass-fed, pasture-raised, responsibly sourced liver is nature’s multivitamin. And how I do that— I love paté. My kids love paté, and people are like, “What in the world like?” If you find a good recipe— I do a pretty significant ratio of a ghee or butter and lots of herbs and my kids love it. Now, again, we’ve been at this for a while. My kids never had the conventional standard American diet. So I will kind of caveat that. No shame if your kids don’t love liver. Especially when they’re little, it’s actually one of the first foods that I give my kids. I also make the liver pills by slicing really little pieces of liver and freezing it. And then having that— I typically just store them in the freezer. Once it’s been frozen for two weeks, it’s killed off all the pathogens and it’s actually safe to consume it in its raw form. And arguably raw liver is the most nutrient-dense bioavailable. So we do that. Yeah, just easy.
Lisa Bass I’ve done this, too.
Ashley Turner My kids do swallow pills, but yeah super easy. Great way to get it in. I’ll also stick liver in anything I have ground meat in. Maybe like a quarter to half of a pound depending on how much I’m making. And that’s a really nice way to sneak your kind of multivitamin in on a daily basis. We also do cod liver oil. We kind of go in seasons with this. But obviously, you’re going to have some good quality fats in there. But vitamins A, D and K—K2, in particular—are going to be so important for the immune system and just building a strong body for our kids. So I love cod liver oil. I do personally like a extra virgin cod liver oil. Again, my kids are probably a little bit of anomalies. They don’t mind, they don’t balk. It’s just down the hatch and it is what it is. But they do— oftentimes the companies will have like an orange flavor or something that’s better for kids.
Lisa Bass Yeah. Kid flavored one.
Ashley Turner Yeah. Those are pretty much our staples. I also like what I call lemonade. We do this probably a little bit more in the summer, but I find us drinking it in the wintertime, too. Just fresh-squeezed lemon juice, which is going to be a really good source of vitamin C, arguably better even than just oranges. Squeezed lemon juice. I do trace mineral drops. So getting good magnesium and electrolytes in there, and then usually just like a dash of maple syrup and some water and a bunch of ice and that’s like our “lemonade.” And my kids love it. And it’s obviously going to give them the minerals that they need, hydrate effectively, some vitamin C. Love that. What else do we do? We do elderberry.
Lisa Bass Where do you source that? Like the drops?
Ashley Turner It’s just Concentrace trace mineral drops. I feel like most natural health food stores— I mean, we sell it at our office, so that’s— sometimes I’m like, where do you get things? But I feel like you can get them anywhere. I feel like I’ve seen them and I’ve recommended them to people, and they’re like, “Oh yeah, I found it at so and so.” Whole Foods probably has it. I don’t know. I know I can buy it online, and it’s relatively inexpensive. So a few drops of that. I love that. My kids obviously just think it’s lemonade and sweet tasty treat.
Lisa Bass Yeah, it sounds good. It doesn’t really sound like it’d be hard to like. So that’s something like— pretty much it seems like everybody’s kids would like that.
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Ashley Turner We do a lot of elderberry. Elderberry syrup usually, or I’ll make elderberry gummies. I do make a lot of things into gummies to get good collagen into my kids’ bellies because that’s going to be super nourishing to the gut. Elderberry is going to be super immune supportive. So we kind of do that standard in the fall sometime through the winter, and that really helps to protect and kind of bolster their bodies. I do really love— if I’m going to reach for an actual supplement, I do like magnesium because our soils are so depleted and awful from conventional farming. Most of us are depleted in magnesium, so that is one. And I will sometimes do a targeted probiotic, even in addition to a fermented food. Those are things that I will kind of grab on to. Now, I mentioned we have autoimmunity in our family, so one of our daughters is in remission from PANDAS. The PANDAS/PANS or the brain autoimmunity. It’s a pediatric really inflammatory autoimmune brain condition that really can kind of mask itself as like autism spectrum. And that’s really why I’m even here today and have the credentials that I do and that my husband and I even practice functional medicine is because of her. So for my kids, inflammation and kind of managing the immune system is so important. So I will give my kids a curcumin or resveratrol supplement on a daily basis because I know, especially for her, she’s in remission and has been for eight or nine years at this point, but it is something that is always on my radar to kind of— that’s really going to help regulate the T regulatory cells in the immune system. It’s just going to be important. So that is like, again, kind of a targeted approach. But if you have chronic illness, that might be something that people might want to look into as something to kind of help with that.
Lisa Bass You mentioned magnesium. What’s the source you use for that? Because I’ve taken different ones and I’m not sure.
Ashley Turner Yeah. So I like Seeking Health. I’ve followed Dr. Ben Lynch—and that’s his supplement company—for a long time because my family has MTHFR genetic variants and that’s kind of his brainchild. And he has Seeking Health. And I just like his because it’s in chewable form and it tastes great, and it’s magnesium malate, so the forms of magnesium can really kind of depend— you know, be important. Some magnesiums are going to help target the gut and constipation. Some will target the brain. This magnesium malate is just kind of a good bioavailable form that I like. That’s just one that I’ve been using for probably a couple of years at this point, just because my kids like it and it’s kind of like a fun treat for them. But yeah, that’s where I do it, but there’s so many good ones out there. I know a lot of people use magnesium bicarbonate, which is also great. So kind of the sky’s the limit really for magnesium supplementation.
Lisa Bass Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well, maybe the one I’m taking is decent. So you mentioned that a lot of these things that you— supplements you take was because of a certain—or you don’t really take many at all—but the things that you give your kids was because of something that you found out. Like did you how did you figure that out? Was it by some kind of testing or did you go to a natural doctor?
Ashley Turner Yeah. We went to natural doctors, went to conventional. No one could help us. That’s really what got us on this pathway for functional medicine because we were so failed by the system. So I kind of feel like we got a little bit— like every seminar that Kevin and I would go to, we’d just get a little bit more information, a little bit more, and finally, we kind of got the whole picture. So she had a specific brain panel done. So for our daughter, she really had a lot of neurological symptoms that were manifesting. She was actually even— we are told she was on the autism spectrum because of the stimming and ticking that she was expressing at that time. She also had some GI symptoms. So for us, and kind of where we’ve come to even in clinical practice— so a food sensitivity panel is going to help you relieve symptoms as quickly as possible. I also really like doing some stool testing because that’s going to help reveal why there is a food sensitivity. So is there a leaky gut? Is there pathogens or several pathogens in the gut? Is there a fungal infection? Is there a parasitic infection? What could be driving this inflammatory response within the gut and within the body? Because we know the gut and the brain are so intimately connected. Sometimes food sensitivities can be an insufficiency dysbiosis. So there’s not enough of the good probiotic bacteria there. Perhaps it’s a lack of prebiotic fibers that are going to feed the beneficial microbes both within the gut. Liver and gallbladder can cause issues. A lack of digestive enzymes or HCL, hydrochloric acid. You have to have enough acid in the stomach. Digestion is a top down process. So, you know, the way we even approach a meal is going to impact digestion, let alone, you know, are we chewing our food? Are we relaxed? Are we, you know, really engaged with the food that we’re eating and the company around us? All of these things impact digestion and can ultimately impact whether or not we have a food sensitivity. So again, food sensitivity testing— and I will kind of touch on this: not all food sensitivity tests are the same. So there’s a lot out there. And some of them come with a really hefty price tag. A lot of them look at like the whole protein. So it’ll look at like gluten, the whole protein. Egg, the whole egg white protein and the protein in egg yolks. I guess I should take a step back and say food sensitivities occur only from the protein, so not from the fats and the carbs. Food sensitivities, we’re looking for the protein because that’s what’s going to upregulate the immune response within the body. And then they’ll kind of measure the white blood cells and the immune response to those particular whole proteins. The reality is, though, when you are digesting food, those proteins are broken down into peptides and then amino acids. So even if you have a pretty compromised gut, you’re still going to have foods in their peptide form that the body is going to respond to. So I like to take it a step further, and the testing company that we use is going to look for more of the peptides, like the broken down fragments of those foods, not just the whole protein. So food sensitivity testing, we really want to know, okay, what’s at the root of this symptom? What can we get out as quickly as possible? Then the gut testing, looking at the stool test, what can we do? This is why I was kind of even mentioning it’s a targeted approach. Someone that doesn’t have enough of the good guys is going to be different than the person who has a parasitic infection. And we’re going to respond to those things differently. But oftentimes we’ll see the immune system come back into order with those two things. Now for our daughter, we knew there was an autoimmune component, so we actually did some neurological testing and we found her particular brain autoimmunity was triggered by a strep infection, a tick bite, and moving into a moldy house. All of those things were the triggering event for her severe neurological and then therefore digestive symptoms. And the interesting thing is we found strep A. So strep— a lot of people know what strep is. It’s a problem when it gets into the brain. And this can happen from a leaky blood brain barrier. But for her and for so many kiddos that have these neurological symptoms, this infection gets into the brain. It could be a virus. There’s so many things that can compromise the brain. But for her, she had a strep infection. And what we found is— I think your listeners will find this interesting, but there’s a big component of molecular mimicry when it comes to food sensitivities, where the body sees similar amino acid or protein sequences in a food that you’re eating and perhaps a pathogen, like for her, this strep infection. It could be a gland, like the thyroid gland within the body. There’s molecular mimicry. The protein sequences can match many different foods. And so if you have a leaky gut, you have a leaky blood brain barrier, those proteins are going to get into the bloodstream and initiate an immune response, particularly towards that particular tissue. So she had brain autoimmunity brought on by this strep infection. So she was so sensitive to eggs. All that is kind of tell you why she was reacting so poorly to eggs. If you have a child that has this infection, there’s such strong molecular mimicry. Again, the similar protein sequences between the strep infection and the egg that her body was responding with these massive symptoms because it was seeing the egg white as the strep infection and knew that the strep infection was targeted by the immune system. Then because she had a leaky gut, leaky blood brain barrier at the time, she had a massive immune response to the egg white. So it was secondary. So that is kind of to illustrate the road that can kind of be taken on. And if you’re not seeing great results from just food sensitivity and just removing that food, there could be a deeper thing, like a pathogen or whatnot that is driving that from an immune standpoint.
Lisa Bass Yeah. So whenever you had her allergy tests, did it come over that she had an egg allergy?
Ashley Turner Yeah. So when we did her food sensitivity panel, she had several foods because she had a leaky gut. That’s another kind of red flag if you are a parent or if you’ve had a food sensitivity panel done on yourself and there’s a lot of foods—especially foods that you’re eating often—coming back kind of red flagging on the results. That can really mean that you have a leaky gut. But yeah, she had several things that she was eating. Gluten was also on there. Interestingly, she had skin, gut, and brain symptoms. She was head to toe eczema, had horrible bowel issues, constipation and alternating stool, plus the neurological symptoms. And again, when you kind of look at something from the root cause, it’s kind of peeling back the layers of the onion to see what is driving this. And for her it was those infections and pathogens that she was exposed to. But it could be different for somebody else. It could be a glyphosate exposure and heavy metal exposure. So many different things can act as the triggering event for that immune response.
Lisa Bass So all of this—whenever you’re not well-versed—sounds so confusing. So I have two questions. One, do you interpret people’s blood panels like online? Like, is that something you can do? Or if not, do you recommend where they can find somebody who can? And then the other question—the part two to that question is—is there like a good catch-all? Like, okay, we have these certain symptoms. I’m very overwhelmed by all of this. But is there a way I can just do a gut healing diet that doesn’t require me to even know what’s going on? Or do you have to know what’s going on to address something?
Ashley Turner So this is the tricky thing. You mentioned GAPS diet. When she started these symptoms, we were immediately gluten-free and that didn’t help her. Her particular situation. We were on GAPS for longer than I would like to admit and like kind of spinning our wheels— again, this was a decade ago. We’re like, why is this not a textbook GAPS case that just even six months in and we’re seeing these— even for myself, like we were both— and at that point, we were living in a moldy home in this gorgeous old farmhouse that we had no idea was full of black mold. But if you don’t have that identified as what is driving this issue, it can be a very weary and discouraging process because making dietary changes is difficult, and it can really change dynamics from social situations and family dynamics and food and budget. Like there’s so much. And I believe there’s always a place to advocate for the child. And I’ve never regretted the kind of blood, sweat, and tears that we’ve put into these diet changes. But if we’re looking at the microbiome, the goal is to have an abundant diet with a vast variety of foods, because that’s what’s best for the microbiome and that’s what’s best to nourish us. So if you are kind of on this path, and okay so GAPS diet or the autoimmune— I mean, I wrote a whole book about the autoimmune paleo diet and elimination diet that is designed to take these inflammatory, common inflammatory food triggers out and heal and seal the gut. A lot of people, that’s enough. Some people, it’s not. Some people are like, “I’ve done this for three to six months and I’m not seeing anything.” Well, there’s probably something else driving that’s more than just the food, so it’s very case-by-case basis. And this is where I think finding a trusted practitioner is so important. In this world, I mean, we have so many options at our fingertips, but really finding someone that’s well-versed and knows how to navigate this and peel back the onion layers appropriately is also important because for someone who’s chronically sick or has all these issues, you can actually hurt somebody by not doing things in an appropriate way. So to answer your question, that is our training as functional medicine providers. My husband and I, he sees functional medicine people 24/7. I’m a few hours a week at this point in my life, but that is part of our training really because of this health trial that we walked through with our daughter.
Lisa Bass Yeah. How do you recommend finding someone? I feel like that’s— I don’t know. Like in our area, there’s one that we know about in like an hour radius. And we refer everybody to her, but then she books out months.
Ashley Turner Yeah. So we actually do—I think that was part of your previous question—we do see telehealth people and my husband has seen people all over the world and we both have seen people all over the country. So that is a blessing of this technology age we find ourselves in, and especially him— he’s able to order tests all over the country to be able to fine tune what is going on for that particular person. Again, I’m asked about this all the time. How do I find a trusted clinician? A lot of it is going to be word of mouth just because there’s a lot. And even if you were to Google functional medicine near me, I can think of a lot of really good people and a lot of really bad people that just use the trendy term “functional medicine” and it’s not. And so I wish that it was as easy— and that might be a starting point. But typically if someone like that has unfortunately oftentimes walked through something themselves, so they know how hard some of this chronic illness and these health issues can be. And that’s definitely the story for us. And I know a lot of other great practitioners around because they have the real life experience with walking through a health trial.
Lisa Bass Yeah, yeah. So much good information. With my kids, there really hasn’t been anything that has been alarming enough for me to dig this deep or to even put them on supplements. Is there anything where— you know, if people don’t have any— maybe like their child’s constipated every once in a while? Or I don’t even know, like just small things here and there, what would you recommend as just like supplements for them? Or at what point would you feel like they should dig deeper? I know the liver. Liver, always good.
Ashley Turner Yeah, for sure. I oftentimes recommend digestive support. If it’s like, hey, it’s intermittent constipation or there’s a little bit of something, but it’s very— you know, when we’re seeing issues, it’s chronic. That means it’s lasting for weeks, months, sadly, years for some people. That is where we really need to dig deeper. But when we’re saying, eh, constipation here and there. You know, eczema— oftentimes eczema is an immune issue, and it could be like, oh, we had too much sugar and dairy and gluten over the weekend. And typically within a week or two, it’s gone. I do like having digestive enzymes on hand for people even that don’t feel like they have a big issue. I think that it’s nice if we’re invited to an event— everyone can kind of navigate this from a different perspective. You know, there are people that can go to a picnic and literally have to bring all of their own food because that’s where they’re at in their health journey and that’s where their gut is. But there could be, hey, we’re going to a church picnic and they’re going to have like red dye 40 and all these sugars and things that we’re not really exposed to that often, that’s something that we have on hand is digestive enzymes to kind of help get that cleared from the body. I also like just binding agents, like activated charcoal or zeolite or something like that to— you know, if you have an environmental toxin exposure or pathogen exposure, stomach bug, you know, something to just make sure we’re pulling that stuff out so that it’s not finding an opportunity to nestle deep within the body. So those are the two I like having on hand and those are things that I use often now. You know, we are not as restrictive as we used to be. So we had an event the other night where they served Rita’s. And so I kind of went on Rita’s and I’m like, okay, what do they have? And they actually have one flavor that’s not going to have the food dye. Sure, it’s going to have junky sugars in it. But my kids are strong enough at this point. I gave them a probiotic and sent them to bed. It was no big deal. But then I had a patient who was— they went to Rita’s and they didn’t have that flavor and they had something else. And she had night terrors for three days after that. So had she had had those tools at her disposal, she might not have had such a big reaction. I also really like nux vomica. It’s a homeopathic for like constipation, diarrhea, nausea. If you have some exposure and just kind of upset belly intermittently. That’s kind of a nice one to have on hand and super easy because it’s a homeopathic remedy.
Lisa Bass Yeah. Oh, man, so much good information. I like the idea of the digestive enzymes, the probiotics to help, even when you’re just out living life and there are situations where stuff can’t be perfect. That’s really— even if somebody has a slightly compromised gut, using those kind of tools to help you.
Ashley Turner Yeah, for sure.
Lisa Bass So tell us where we can follow up, find more information. Tell us about your cookbooks. I know that’s been a while, but they’re so good.
Ashley Turner Yeah. So my books, I have Restorative Kitchen, which is my first one. That is an elimination diet, sort of a gut healing diet that’s not meant for the long term. It’s meant for a short, targeted amount of time that is going to restore nutrient deficiencies and kind of ease inflammation with the goal of adding in more foods. Then I have Restorative Traditions, which is just kind of more of the fun food, but still kind of taking a lot of the inflammatory ingredients out just because I love traditions and holidays and obviously food is such a big part of that. And since we’ve had a decade plus under our belts of navigating holidays with less inflammatory foods, those are kind of all of my lovely celebratory recipes. And I also have a guide, it’s called Cultivating the Restorative Table, kind of like a companion to those. Just really the bulk of it is discussion questions to share as a family, just to kind of accentuate a meaningful meal time. So those are my books. They can be purchased on. DrAshleyTurner.com. I sometimes stock Amazon, although I’m not wild about the Amazon, but usually that’s the best bet for international people. So DrAshleyTurner.com is where my shop is, blog, and I’m @Dr.AshleyTurner on Instagram. And then our clinic is Restorative Wellness Center, just RestorativeWellnessCenter.com. And again, we’re in Exton, Pennsylvania, but see people all over.
Lisa Bass Yeah, well, her books are beautiful, so you need to go actually check them.
Ashley Turner Thank you.
Lisa Bass The photography is wonderful. So definitely a gift of yours.
Ashley Turner You’re a doll.
Lisa Bass They’re beautiful.
Ashley Turner Thank you.
Lisa Bass All right. Well, thank you so much for joining me, Ashley.
Ashley Turner Thanks for having me, Lisa. It’s always so fun to talk with you.
Lisa Bass All right, well, thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast. Again, make sure to check out everything down in the show notes. There will also be—I don’t feel like I mention this enough—a transcript of this whole podcast over on SimpleFarmhouseLifePodcast.com. Also, if you go to FarmhouseonBoone.com and you click the podcast tab, which is somewhere in the middle of the home page, it will bring you to that so that you can find out more information and links. It’ll also be in the show notes, but if you have a hard time with whatever app you’re on, figuring out where that is, make sure to head over there. There also be some info on the sponsor, Toups and Co. So any resources. Make sure to check that out. Also, I don’t talk much about giving a review, but last weekend—I don’t know when this episode will come out—but last weekend in real time I had the opportunity of going to a YouTube conference— or not really a conference. A YouTube retreat. So someone that I know in the YouTube world put together a little group of about ten women who all are full-time YouTubers, and we got to bounce ideas off each other, what’s working for us. Anyways. One of the ladies there did not know who had the podcast, but she said, “Who’s Lisa?” And I said, “Me.” And she said, “Did you know that you’re always taking my number one spot on the U.S. Home and Garden for your podcast?” Or she said not, “Did you know?” She said, “You are,” and I said, “Really?” Because I don’t check those things. I don’t know why, but I have some wonderful podcast managers who help me promote this podcast via reels on my Instagram, via stories, and some little quotes on my Instagram feed. And then by putting it all into that lovely blog post with the resources I was telling you about, making email copy. Anyways, all of their efforts have caused this podcast to be number one quite often. So it goes between me and Cas from Clutterbug, and then there was a few other ones in there as well, but I didn’t even know that. That is so amazing. So anyways, for this long explanation, I’m asking you to help boost that even more by leaving a review. For whatever reason, it is very hard to get people to leave reviews. And actually, now that I’m thinking about it, there are so many podcasts I listen to that I’ve never left to review for. So if you do want to show any kind of support for this podcast, one, obviously check out the sponsor of this episode and season or the last few episodes and months, Toups and Co, but also head over and leave a review and a rating telling me how much you love this podcast, encouraging what other kind of things you’d like to see on here, what other guests you’d like to see. And thank you for sometimes making this podcast number one in U.S. Home and Garden, which I wasn’t even aware of, but I’m so thankful that you all are following along on this little podcast journey of mine. As always, thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you in the next episode of The Simple Farmhouse Life podcast.