What to Ask a Mold Inspector

Questions to ask a mold testing company if you struggle with CIRS, Lyme, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or Autoimmunity


Do you offer remediation?

You do not want a company to test for mold who also remediates it as they will benefit from you having mold. The best thing to do is work with a company who does the inspection and writes a remediation protocol, and will refer you to trustworthy companies in your area. If they say they both test and remediate, it’s a conflict of interest and you should continue looking elsewhere.

How long does your inspection take?

We live in a 970 square foot house and our inspection took three hours. According to the company we worked with, an inspection should take anywhere from 3-5 hours depending on the size of your home. Your inspector should initially walk the entire perimeter of your home, check for areas where there may be potential water intrusion, and then walk through your entire house looking for signs of water damage. They should also go in your crawl space and attic, if you have them.

How many of your clients have CIRS, Lyme, or Multiple Chemical Sensitivities?

You definitely want your home inspector to understand the consequences of mold on your health. When I called the inspection company I asked if they had heard CIRS and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. The woman at the front desk said yes, but she wasn’t entirely confident answering all the questions I had. She connected me with one of their inspectors who said he was very familiar with these illnesses and that he would be personally coming to inspect our home because of that.

Have you heard of the ERMI and HERTSMI tests and do you perform them?

Just because mold doesn’t come back positive in an air sample doesn’t mean you’re not struggling from CIRS. The ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index) is the most recommended test by mold illness doctors. It examines the proteins in a dust sample for the genetic presence of 36 different types of molds and helps your specialist get an understanding of the history of mold in your home.

The HERTSMI is similar to the ERMI test, but it only looks for the presence of the top dangerous species of mold and is therefore less expensive.

If the specialist you’re speaking to is not familiar with these tests, it’s best to go elsewhere.

Is it okay if I shadow you as you walk around our property?

If they’re a good inspector and willing to do a thorough job, their answer will be yes. This isn’t just an inspection but an opportunity to educate. As your inspector walks around your home he/she should inform you where they see risk for water damage now or in the future and share their recommendations. If they don’t want you to follow it’s likely may rush the process.

Are you familiar with mycotoxins?

Mycotoxins are gasses produced by mold that are harmful to human (and animal) health. You want to make sure your mold inspector understands what they are and how important it is for you to reduce your exposure to them.

Do you test the HVAC system?

Your HVAC is a major contributor to your indoor air quality and should always be inspected and/or tested during a mold inspection.

DENVER MOLD SPECIALIST

If you’re in Denver and looking for a mold inspection company, we went with HS Scientific. At the time of writing this, their website is under construction but they can be reached at 720-295-6408.

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Should You Buy a Berkey Water Filter?

Yes, yes you should. There are tons of contaminants in drinking water and getting a water filter is going to benefit your overall health, especially if you’re working on healing or preventing autoimmune disease.

If you don’t have a high quality water filter you’re exposing yourself to all sorts of nasty shit in your drinking water. Chlorine, prescription drugs, bacteria, antibiotics, pesticides, glyphosate, industrial chemicals.. the list goes on. Many could have a negative impact on your health when you’re exposed to them on a regular basis. 

I’ve known I needed a water filter for a while. First, I got the Aquagear pitcher, which is a great affordable option, but it was annoying to keep refilling it all day (#woeisme). I didn’t replace the filter when it ran out and started researching other water filters to buy. Most of them seemed really expensive and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make the investment.. but the longer I waited, the more chemicals I was drinking.

When I was diagnosed with heavy metal toxicity I got my ass in gear and decided it was time to just spend the money on a filter. I had been reading about the Berkey for a while and went with that one.

The Berkey water filtration system has a carbon filter that helps remove most lead, arsenic, iron, mercury, chlorine, BPA, chloramine, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and fluoride (when you get the additional fluoride attachment for $60 which I’m about to purchase for us).

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I was excited when our Berkey arrived because I had seen tons of big name bloggers in the health and wellness community using theirs, and now I finally had one (does this mean I finally made it?!?). My husband and I got the Royal Berkey and put it together in about 30 minutes and filled it up. By the time we woke up in the morning we had 3.25 gallons of fresh, filtered water. 

 In all honesty, Denver drinking water tastes pretty good and I haven’t noticed a big change in the flavor of our water, but my guess is I’ll notice it after I add the additional fluoride attachments. Other people I’ve talked to in the autoimmune community noticed a huge change in the taste of their water with the Berkey, so I think it really just depends where you’re at. 

rooted in healing, coconut whip almond butter, sugar-free, paleo,

The biggest draw for me with the Berkey is that each black filter comes with a lifespan of 3,000 gallons. That means if you’re using 3 gallons of water a day, it should last approximately 5 years. The fluoride filters need to be replaced a little more often, every 1,000 gallons, so they last approximately 11 months. Plus, the manufacturer warranty is 12 months on the system and PF-2 fluoride/arsenic filters and 2 years on black Berkey filters.

Overall, I’m really happy with my purchase and would absolutely recommend it to friends and family looking for a high quality filter. If you want to purchase one of your own, click the banner below and you’ll get 5% off your purchase!

 

 

Autoimmune Food Journal Template

Food journals are a tool I use with every client in my practice because they help tell a story. Through analyzing food and symptom journals I’m able to get a view of what my client’s relationship is like with food, how much they’re eating, and see patterns of how food and lifestyle is correlating with symptoms. 

AUTOIMMUNE PALEO CERTIFIED COACH AIP NUTRITIONIST NTP NUTRITION FOOD JOURNAL SYMPTOMS FOOD TRACKER

Some symptoms we look out for:

  • stomach cramping

  •  bloating,

  • diarrhea

  • constipation

  •  anxiety

  •  depression

  •  acne

  • rashes

  •  brain fog

  • sleep disruption

  •  fatigue

  •  headaches

  •  itching

  •  joint pain

  • undigested food in stool

  • heartburn

Symptoms can happen immediately or take a few days to present themselves.

Some things I have my clients focus on:

Nutrient density - I encourage my clients to eat the rainbow and include lots of fruits and vegetables in their meals throughout the day

Eating balanced meals - We work on a good balance of fats, carbs and proteins

Stress relief - There’s a strong link between the gut and the brain, and constant cortisol release can be taxing to the entire body. I ask my clients to implement stress relieving techniques (otherwise known as “self care”) like positive self talk, meditation, and gratitude journaling.

Water intake - Water is essential to our everyday function and dehydration can cause lots of symptoms in our bodies. In order to determine the proper amount of water you should be drinking, take your body weight and divide it by two. That number is the amount of ounces you should have each day. If you’re drinking diuretics (like coffee) then you multiple the amount of ounces of that drink by 1.5 and add it to the total water you should be drinking.

Movement - Depending on my clients physical abilities, I’ll encourage them to stretch, go for walks, and engage in 30 minutes of mildly rigorous exercise 4x/week to help reduce inflammation and improve digestion.

Even if you aren’t working with a nutritionist you can still look out for correlations between your food and symptoms.

I put together a food journal template for those of you who aren’t working with me, so that you still have access to one of the tools I’m using in my practice. The best thing about this printable, 7-day food journal template is that it provides space for meal planning, creating a grocery list, tracking your symptoms, supplements, exercise, water intake, and self-care, and has a spot for you to reflect on how the week went for you.   Plus, as a little special Rooted in Healing touch, there are encouraging messages at the bottom of each page. 

 Ready to get more in touch with your body through your very own food journal? I put a lot of love into this template and I can’t wait to see you using it out in the real world! Enter your email below to put your health back in your own hands. 

Snag Your Free Food Journal Template! 

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    HOW TO TRAVEL WITH AN AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE

    I didn’t realize how much I love traveling until I hit my mid 20’s. Coincidentally, that’s also when I started losing my hair in patches and had to start making some big lifestyle changes to grow it back. Over the years I’ve found ways to make traveling while on the Autoimmune Protocol and the Paleo diet doable for me and I wanted to share some of those tips with you.

    ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATIONS

    Things are different now. You can’t expect to travel the same way you once did and it’s important you come to terms with that before you take off on your journey. You may not see EVERYTHING but you’re going to see SOME things that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Embrace this and allow yourself to enjoy your new way of traveling.

    GO ON A BEACH VACATION

    I personally love, love, love city vacations so I’m surrounded by art, music and lots of unique shops and restaurants. That being said, when I was in the intense healing phase of my autoimmune disease, I would have never gone to a big city. They are draining and you usually need to walk everywhere you go. The whole point of a beach vacation is to rest and relax, so it’s perfect for those with autoimmune disease.

    DO YOUR RESEARCH

    Travel to cities you know focus on fresh and grilled foods. While we were in Spain there were plenty of places serving meat and vegetables, and I knew I could find something that wouldn’t make me feel awful. Along with that, take time to scour the internet for different restaurants in the city you’re visiting. Chances are you’ll find some with dishes that can be slightly modified to meet your requirements.

    DON’T STAY IN HOTELS

    My #1 recommendation to people wanting to travel on the Autoimmune Paleo Diet is to get an Air BNB or VRBO. These are typically stocked with pots and pans so you can cook for yourself. Head to a nearby market or grocery store and get food that complies with your diet. For fun, look up recipes you can eat that mirror the traditional food of the city you’re visiting.


    MAKE YOUR TRIP LESS THAN A WEEK

    I don’t recommend planning to travel for more than a week when you have an autoimmune disease. Travel can be stressful, draining, and if you’re anything like me, you push yourself to see everything possible. That can be exhausting and potentially trigger a flare, so forcing yourself to come home early is a good plan.

    Exploring public gardens in Spain

    Exploring public gardens in Spain

    PLAN ACTIVITIES THAT AREN’T CENTERED AROUND FOOD

    There is so much to do in cities that doesn’t have anything to do with food. Pack a compliant lunch at your Air BNB in the morning and head out on an adventure. Here are a couple non-food ideas:

    • Visit the most popular public parks in the area

    • Rent bicycles or a scooter to explore the city

    • Bring a sketchbook and draw what you see

    • Bring a notebook and write what you see

    • Explore an art gallery or history museum

    • Take an architecture tour

    • Go on a scavenger hunt for cool street art and take pictures of your favorites

    • Explore a local market

    • Head to the local library

    • Visit an an old church or cathedral


    BUILD IN TIME FOR REST

    It’s ESSENTIAL when you are traveling that you make space for breaks. If you’re struggling with autoimmune disease it’s likely you also struggle with fatigue. Set yourself up for success by planning out your day with several breaks. Stop at a coffee shop to read and people watch between activities in the morning and always head back to your accommodations for an afternoon nap.

    Sketching a courtyard in Granada

    PLAN TO HAVE DOWN TIME ONCE YOU GET HOME

    No matter how careful you are when you travel it can be really taxing on your body. Don’t plan a deadline at work right after you get home nor to go out with friends every night. You’ll likely need a vacation from your vacation, and that’s totally okay. Give yourself some space and practice having grace for yourself as you bounce back.

    HOW TO SHOP AIP ON A BUDGET

    When I first swapped from a vegan diet to an AIP diet it hit my bank account HARD. I used to spend roughly $60 a week on groceries for the two of us and that number more than doubled once I started preparing AIP recipes with organic veggies and free-range meat..

    Transitioning to a healing lifestyle can feel socioeconomically prohibitive but it doesn’t always have to be. Over the years I’ve learned how to keep my grocery bill down to around $80-$100/week for two people and today I’m sharing how I do that. 

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    WHOLESALE MEMBERSHIPS

    If you have an extra $50-$60 consider purchasing a year-long membership at one of the following places:

    COSTCO: They usually have fantastic deals on organic produce, high-quality meat, and lots of pantry staples. I love getting my coconut oil, olive oil, coconut aminos, collagen, and organic meat + produce there. ($55 MEMBERSHIP)

    THRIVE: Thrive Market is an online wholesale store for health food. It’s perfect for purchasing pantry staple items and high-quality meat. The best part (at least for me) is that you don’t even have to leave your house. The prices are very similar to Costco but they have a wider variety. ($59.95 MEMBERSHIP, plus 25% off your first order by using this link

     Thrive Market also provides free memberships to families in need. You can look into their program if you are low income and apply here.

    DON’T PURCHASE EVERYTHING ORGANIC

    If you are in a financial bind it is not necessary to purchase 100% organic vegetables. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists. These are compiled based on which non-organic vegetables are the most toxic and which are the least toxic each year. Do your best to avoid purchasing the Dirty Dozen non-organic. Also know that if you cannot afford to purchase organic, pasture-raised/grass-fed food, you can still achieve healing.


    COOK AT HOME MORE

    There is a restaurant in Denver I love to go to because they have grass-fed burgers and duck fat fries. It’s freaking delicious and I love the whole experience of going out to a restaurant. That being said, the burger is around $13 and the duck fat fries are $7. We share the fries so our total ends up being around $38 with tip. For that amount of money I could get 2 lbs of grass-fed beef at whole foods ($5.99/lb), six organic sweet potatoes ($1.69/lb), a whole jar of duck fat ($7.99), plus some organic lettuce and I would STILL be under the total it costs for my husband and I to go out. Plus, that amount of food could easily last the two of us for four + meals.

     

     STOCK UP ON SALE ITEMS

    When you are at the grocery store and see a good deal on meat or produce, buy extra and stock your freezer. I am constantly doing this with meat and frozen veggies.

     START A GARDEN

    This is by far the most cost-efficient way to have organic, fresh vegetables. We grow more expensive items in our garden like spaghetti squash, butternut squash, tomatoes, blueberries, and herbs, as well as some other fun things like zucchini, cucumbers, and cauliflower.

     BUY IN BULK 

    Foods are oftentimes cheaper in bulk than they are when you purchase them in pre-packaged bags. Some cities have bulk stores or you can shop the bulk section of Whole Foods and Sprouts. 

    DON’T PURCHASE SPECIALTY FOODS

    Things like Paleo Puffs, jerky, pre-made bone broth, dehydrated fruit, and sweet potato chips are all great convenience foods but they also cost more at the grocery store than fresh food. Consider making your own versions at home for way less!

     BUY FROZEN VEGGIES

    Frozen veggies are a great way to get healthy food at a lower cost. Trader Joe’s has a great selection. Just make sure the only ingredient is the vegetable. 

     

    PURCHASE CANNED GOODS

    Purchasing chicken and fish canned is typically cheaper than fresh and it has a longer shelf life. These are great to stock up on when they go on sale! It’s best to make sure the fish is wild caught, the chicken is free-range or pasture raised, and the can is BPA free. 

     

    EAT OFFAL

    Most people are a little grossed out at the idea of eating the organs of animals but it’s an incredibly affordable way to get high-quality, nutrient-dense protein into your diet. Try fried chicken liver or pate to start!

    SHOP MULTIPLE GROCERY STORES

    This can get a little time consuming but check the Sunday paper for coupons and sale flyers for grocery stores and shop multiple places in order to get the best deals. Many stores also have apps you can download where you get exclusive deals. I use apps for King Soopers (or Kroger) and Whole Foods.


    Those are my best practices for saving money on a healing diet. Have some of your own? Feel free to come tell me about them on my Instagram!

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