020: Near Blindness Created Clearer Vision with Kristen Brokaw

020: Near Blindness Created Clearer Vision with Kristen Brokaw

At the age of 40, Kristen Brokaw was told by her doctor that she could potentially lose her vision when she found out that she had unknowingly exposed herself to toxic mold. With permanent scarring and vision loss, she didn’t just learn to see the world differently–she also found her mission.

After her diagnosis, Kristen used her decades of experience in nutraceutical medicine sales to launch Elite Masters of Medicine – a mastermind where she helps clinicians design their ideal practices. She helps doctors make sure that they don’t sacrifice themselves to serve others, helping patients and clinicians alike experience the best possible outcomes.

Today, Arwen and Kristen talk about the power of intuition, how trauma can change the course of our lives for the better, and why it’s so easy for people to care for everyone but themselves.

Overcomer Playlist Recommendation 

Pearls of Wisdom

  • Nobody knows what you want, but if you want it, you’ll figure it out.
  • How understanding yourself and getting things out of the way allows you to reach new heights.
  • Why the old adage “You are what you eat” is actually true.

Tweetables

“Intuition is such a frustrating thing because we often can’t explain why. It’s just this sense of knowing.” - @LIFEwithArwen Click To Tweet “I’m tired of trying to live somebody else’s life that they think I should live.” - @LIFEwithArwen Click To Tweet “Stop having ADD. Stop signing up for all these courses that aren’t actually in alignment with your dream.” - Kristen Brokaw Click To Tweet “You are more resilient than you believe, than you even know.” - Kristen Brokaw Click To Tweet “Your immune system is insanely important and what you think, what you eat, and who you hang out with impacts it.” - Kristen Brokaw Click To Tweet “The number one deathbed regret is having lived the life that they thought others wanted them to, not the one they wanted.” - Benjamin Hardy Click To Tweet

 

Resources

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Connect with Arwen Becker

Transcript

[INTRODUCTION]

 

Arwen Becker: In 2005, I came up with this brilliant idea while I was pregnant that we would get a puppy and a kitten at the same time and so our children and our dog and our cat would all grow up to be the best of friends. And so, as I walked in the veterinarian and I was eight months pregnant, I had my little kitten in a carrier and I had my puppy, a little whippet, on a leash named Devo, pretty great whippet name if you ask me, everybody thought I was totally crazy and they were probably right because none of that turned out to be right.

 

Okay. The puppy came with severe chronic diarrhea for the first seven months. I had to constantly take her in to get fluids. She ended up developing this nasty habit of nipping at you if you startled her from a nap in her dog bed, which of course is not good when you have toddlers. And then, she would also basically take the cat, maul on his little head, drag him around the house, and yet the cat would never defend itself. Yet, when Blue, our kitty, left the house, it would kill two, three, and upwards of four times a day, animals, bring them on the front porch, completely disembowel them. It was absolutely disgusting. He was totally this Jekyll and Hyde.

 

We could never figure out why he was such a killer when he left the house yet he never ever attempted to defend himself with the dog, who would drag him around and treat him like a chew toy. It was the most bizarre behavior. And one of the things that I loved about Blue is the relationship that he had with Morgan. He would literally every night sleep with him like tucked under his arm for eight hours and the two of them had just the coolest bond. So, one day Blue went about his daily routine. It was a summer day and he proceeded to bring three different animals in throughout the course of the day. One was a bunny, completely fully ripped apart. The other two were birds. And I found the bunny. It was about five o'clock at night. The sun was still high in the sky. There were probably at least four hours left of daylight. Yet, I had this really sinking feeling that he wasn't coming back and I didn't know why. At that point, it wasn't uncommon that Blue wouldn't come home until dark, maybe eight or nine at night and I never thought twice about it, yet by 5:30 that day, I had this overwhelming dread that he wasn't coming home. And he didn't. Likely, the hunter became the hunted that day because we lived on a greenbelt at the base of Cougar Mountain in Newcastle, Washington.

 

To me, it still seems so odd that my intuition that day was right, and even so early in that evening. And I shared it with my husband that night and I just prayed to God that I was wrong because I knew the devastation that it would bring to Morgan, our 11-year-old. Intuition is such a frustrating thing because we often can't explain why. It's just this sense of knowing and in the Christian faith, a lot of us called the Holy Spirit or God talking to you or whatever. It's just this divine prompting. But the important part is that we learn to lean in and are willing to listen and we have to be willing to stand in this place of uncertainty and inability to explain the unexplainable and the potential negative feedback that we might get from people around us expecting us to be able to give them a clear why something had happened when we don't really have that at the moment. It just doesn't exist. But listening to that intuition can be the difference between a positive and a negative outcome or even life and death. And my guest today understands that very well.

 

Kristen Brokaw has been in sales for over 22 years. For the last 14 years, she has been absolutely blessed to be able to work with some of the best people on the planet, functional medicine professionals. She's been serving them by educating them on the best nutraceutical solutions for their patients. She's the founder of the longest-running medical meetup called St. Louis Institute of Integrative Medicine. This is the place where providers get to come and get educated to gain referrals, network, and to really learn about the best ways to run their practice. Three years ago, she also started a mastermind for clinicians called Elite Masters of Medicine where she helps clinicians who really truly desire to love what it is that they do and to design their ideal practice. This is where she is passionate, making sure that their lives are enjoyable also, not only to the people that they serve but that they get to live a great life along the way and not sacrifice themselves because of it.

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

Arwen Becker: Well, my friend, Kristen Brokaw, I am so thankful that you have shared your time with me today. Thank you for coming on the show.

 

Kristen Brokaw: Hello, Arwen.

 

Arwen Becker: How's it going?

 

Kristen Brokaw: Life is good. 2020 is definitely a year of vision, you know?

 

Arwen Becker: You did. You went to that tacky saying. Although you know, I have to say, in light of the conversation you and I are going to have today, that vision is certainly something that is very apropos to this conversation. But before we get into that, I know that you brought our listeners a song for the overcomer playlist. What song is that and why?

 

Kristen Brokaw: I love the song Katy Perry’s Roar. So, Roar by Katy Perry and I love that song. It is my, as Beyonce would say her Sasha Fierce kind of thing, my alter ego. So, I put that on before I had a meeting with my physicians or whenever I have to get in a set mood. Like she says in the beginning, “I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath, scared to rock the boat, and make a mess. So, I sat quietly, agreed politely.” I'm the baby of six kids. So, if you know anything about birth order, I mean, I'm just the one that didn't get “a say” or if there was a piece of cake left, it was not going to me. I just had to learn to be scrappy. I think now that I have a huge dream, I have a huge mission, I think that that's what's so cool is I've realized that you're going to hear me roar like she says like you're going to hear from me whether you like it or not. I love that song.

 

Arwen Becker: I love that song too. Yeah, absolutely and I didn't have that one on my list. I certainly have a couple of other power songs by Katy Perry but I didn't have that one. So, I'm going to have to add that. You know what, you're right. I mean when you and I met, for any of our listeners who don't know who you are, you are such a vibrant, curly-haired beauty and there is so much life that it just flows out of you. When I met you, I was just like, "Wow. This woman is a firecracker.” And so, hearing your story, which I know we're going to talk about today is just one of the facets of your background and your story but to know you prior to having that unveiled, it just speaks volumes about who you are as a person and the power that you do bring to the room and that this fierce woman that you are. So, I want you to take us all back to this time period where your life really significantly changed.

 

Kristen Brokaw: Well, it's sort of a two-parter and I would definitely do the second part. I think it's a disservice if I didn’t talk about the first part. It was 2005 and I was in a serious accident where I was thrown up on two wheels going 60 miles an hour down the highway. I mean, I was a college athlete so I had never been in pain or had any real problems, never really had headaches, didn't take medication. After that accident, a lot of things changed. So, I go to my doctor like any normal person would do and he's like, "Oh, you'll be fine in no time.” Well, after a year of suffering and having chronic pain, I just did not know what to do and I was blessed by the grace of God to have met someone, a doctor, who put his hand on me, I remember he put his hand on my arm and he said, “You will get well.” And it was great. I thought, "My God, I have hope for the first time,” and he had this approach with me. It was called functional medicine. He asked me about what I was eating and I was like, “What is what I'm eating has to do with how I feel?” Well, it has everything to do. I didn't realize that so I loved his way of healing patients through functional medicine so much that I said, “That's it. I got to go work in that industry.”

 

And that was 14 years ago. I just, you know, was going along, loving my job, working with physicians, clinicians of all sorts and in 2015, I had a remodel that I had done in my basement and it was a lot of rain that had happened that spring. I just remember thinking that smell in the basement is just so dank and like just rancid that one day while I was sick actually with a stomach bug, I decided to rip the floor up in the basement. And I just was like you know how like when you're just, "That's it. This is coming out,” you're just committed. And I did it for like four hours ripping this entire floor up like a crazy person.

 

Arwen Becker: And sick.

 

Kristen Brokaw: And sick which is why I think what happened happened but it's always the divine intervention. The next day, my left eye started to have this flickering light in it, and then like the next week, my right eye had a flickering light, and then those flickering lights got brighter. And then it was like I was seeing with an aura but I didn't do anything about it because I'm not a hypochondriac, so I told myself. Long and short, I had exposed myself to mold and the vessels in my eyes were severely hemorrhaging. And about four months later, I got that diagnosis that I had to take medication to try to get the inflammation down. It was kind of the prognosis that was given to me was blindness or potential blindness and I did what I know to do because, in my day job, I sell natural medicine. I moved out of that house, I got out my blender, and I started to make this stuff that I knew to make for my body. I started to un-inflame if you will but it left scarring in my eyes. And so, now I'm looking for the most positive, I see differently. You know, instead of saying I'm visually impaired, which one would classify me as, I like to say I get to see differently and it has been the biggest blessing because what it provided me is it's provided me a mission. Do you want to talk about that? I mean, that is the story of the eyes.

 

Arwen Becker: No. At what age were you being diagnosed? What I meant that it was a mold problem that was affecting your eyes. How old were you?

 

Kristen Brokaw: Forty.

 

Arwen Becker: So, at 40 you're being told, this totally gives me goosebumps, you were being told you could potentially go blind.

 

Kristen Brokaw: Yes.

 

Arwen Becker: How did you handle that?

 

Kristen Brokaw: Terribly. Yeah, terribly. I had a pity party for like six months or so. Yeah, just not well.

 

Arwen Becker: Every day you're being reminded of it because every time you open your eyes, you're seeing this reminder that your eyes are degrading, right?

 

Kristen Brokaw: Yes.

 

Arwen Becker: Wow. That had to have been so terrifying.

 

Kristen Brokaw: Yeah. I definitely remember times of terror, lots of tears, lots of like why? I just knew I could do something like I was not going to stay there because it's just kind of not who I am. And so, I sought mentorship and I started hanging out with A players and I realized that these people are no smarter. They all had ailments as well and that these people that I was hanging with just viewed things differently. That was the only thing they did differently. They didn't have more money or they weren't raised with more money is that they viewed, they had a dream, they had a goal, they view time differently, just really what they spent their energy on differently, and that's how I got my mission of, okay, these doctors that I work with during the day who I love I'm thinking they've got their act together and here I don't have my act together. That's how I thought. In talking with them, I realized they're just as bad as me.

 

Arwen Becker: If not worse.

 

Kristen Brokaw: Yeah, exactly. If not worse, and so what they need is they need this new way of thinking.

 

Arwen Becker: Because the people that you're working with, I mean, they are doctors that are spending in the vast majority of their hours in a day in a week caring for other people but yet you're finding that they were not caring for themselves, right?

 

Kristen Brokaw: Exactly. Caring for themselves is actually they're taught not to do that, not care for yourself but like it's not about you. It’s kind of beaten into them in school and medical school that it's not about you. You don't tell your story. You don't share. It’s about the patient. It's almost because it's like a mission. No, I wasn't called to be a doctor. They were called and so just kind of like give, give, give like a mother. I'm not a mom to humans. I’m a mom to animals but I know I see that. I mean, I have a mom and she had six children, and that give to a fault.

 

Arwen Becker: Yep, to your detriment. Yep, exactly. And so, for you personally, I mean, you had this time period where you had the pity party. Did you find yourself getting depressed about it? Or was it you kind of just went through this time of grieving and loss and what could possibly be for the future and then saying, “I'm not going to wallow in this. Now I'm going to do what I know to do and I'm going to go seek out mentors and I'm going to seek out counsel and I'm going to read and I'm going to study and I'm going to throw myself into understanding how I can take care of me.”

 

Kristen Brokaw: Oh, I had a pretty good pity party, though, first. I mean, there were streamers and everything. Let's face it, I mean, it's not as glorious as you just made it sound. Yeah. I mean, I would be like, “Oh, my God, don't you know, I can't check email because I can't see,” you know, like that. But I could only do that for so long because I saw the rumination that was happening like I was thinking, I'll tell you what I realized and it really made me say, "Oh, wow, boy that’s shallow,” because I didn't realize how much my ego was tied up in into what I did, and it was the very first time that had happened. I mean, I had been like salesperson of the year, the year prior, and here I'm not making quota. By the way, a lot of people would report when you get exposed to mold, you can have sudden weight gain. I gained like 15 pounds in a month-and-a-half. I was so inflamed. So, here I am not fitting into my clothes, not being able to see, not doing well at work. It's just sort of all these things that, yeah, I had to pull myself kind of out of it. But after the pity party and it did, it took me a while to kind of feel like I got back to more of a competent level that I needed to change what was the thoughts that were in my head So, my input had to up-level and, yes, then I did all the things that you mentioned.

 

Arwen Becker: Did you find that what made you feel fulfilled and valuable changed? Because you started losing these things that seemed so under your control like you said, the sales and your success and fitting into your clothes and these things that you had been able to control before that now were somewhat ripped out of your control for a while. Did you find that when you got to a place of feeling whole again in this new you that you saw yourself differently?

 

Kristen Brokaw: Absolutely. And that took time. I mean, that is definitely a transition. It didn't happen like a snap for me and I was even talking to you about that a little bit before we started recording, that this mission is so much bigger than me, that my mission of being the best medical professional mentor on the planet, and taking care of doctors because nobody takes care of them. That's my job is going to happen much past my lifetime. I will be at the American Medical Association talking to them about how we train doctors and how we care for physicians. I will have this message. That does make you get out of bed differently in the morning. I mean, I don't wake up every day and do a karate kick for the day. However, when I say I don't win an account or I'm behind on quota, it is so much easier to realize this isn't just transactional for me. I'm way more than the sales rep.

 

Arwen Becker: Right. And I think that's so important for all of you out there that you have a vision for your life that is bigger than you, that is longer reaching than maybe even your own life because that's what propels us to do some really great things while we're here. You know what I'm saying?

 

Kristen Brokaw: Yeah. Absolutely. I'm telling you this is where the money is. This is the sweet spot. This is the nectar. It is. I used to, prior to 40, prior to the eyes, to the eyes with the biggest blessing, now I always say my sight may not be what it was but my vision is clearer than ever. I can't imagine doing it like how I used to do it like life before 40. I just kind of like worked my work week and then the weekends were laundry. I mean, I do laundry now, of course, but there wasn't any - I didn't want to change the world. I want to change the world now. It's just different.

 

Arwen Becker: And that's a gift that this mold issue which, of course, that's a card that you were dealt that nobody would go and pick. Nobody would see that sitting on the table and go, “I'm going to choose that one,” but that's what started ushering a new phase of your destiny and kind of pulled you out of this mundane routine part of life of I'm just going to and going and doing my job and I check-in and I do these things and then I have the weekend. And all of us find ourselves in that position and yet a major crisis which this certainly would have been can be the biggest blessing to shake us out of complacency, help us recognize, "Oh my gosh, these things are extraordinarily valuable to me. I need to take care of them,” and then pull us into a new passion and a new calling that we wouldn't have recognized had the crisis not come.

 

Kristen Brokaw: Yes. I have a friend at work who is experiencing something very similar. She had a tick bite and has Lyme and it is really affecting her. If anybody knows anybody who's had a Lyme flare, it can be debilitating. I keep telling her, "It's here to serve you, I promise. You don't see it now. If you choose, it's here to serve you.”

 

Arwen Becker: It's so true. So, very true. So, then you had this awakening. This is what happened. After the pity party and you kind of started coming out of it and really starting to see how you could grow from this and utilize it, where did you find yourself a few years down the road? Maybe kind of paint a better picture for all of us of really this new purpose that you found throughout dealing with this issue.

 

Kristen Brokaw: Absolutely. One thing I see in physicians is that they don't make it about themselves. But as you and I both know, Arwen, that connecting with others through our story and story, in general, is huge. That's how we do it. And so, I really wanted to implore the doctors to reconnect with what made them passionate about what they're doing, even if it has nothing to do with medicine or just to tell stories. Just put your Jesus hat on and tell parables like that’s how we learn. To do that, I gave them permission and you’d see them come alive like, yes, and then I gave them permission to dream. And so, I'm talking to all these doctors just here and there on my regular appointments like I normally do and I would say, "What is it that you want to do?” You know, here, I'm supposed to be talking about products because this is what I do, my day job but I’d go be like, “Yeah, yeah. Let's not talk about that. What is it that you want to do?” And it was so crazy because they'd say, “What do you mean what is it I want to do?” If you could have it anyway, how would you have your office? And they're almost looking around like, "She talking to me?” And I'm like, "Yeah.” And they're like, "Well, I would do what…”

 

They just hadn't been given permission to dream. I started asking these questions to a lot of different physicians and I just realized that they’re so burned out and they've kind of been dealt this. You've got to give, give, give to your detriment as you said and I said, “Hey, I want you to come with me. I'm building a group, a little elite fighting force, and let's collaborate because I'm a God-given connector. That's what I do.” I brought them all together and we call ourselves Elite Masters of Medicine and we talk about what it takes to be the best and what we need to stop doing in our lives so connecting through story, what do we need to eliminate? It could even be you have to stop having ADD and signing up for all these courses that aren't actually in alignment with your dream. I mean, it's so crazy because we all get enamored by the shiny toy.

 

Arwen Becker: And saying yes. People ask and we say yes, and then you get sent this. I mean, I've asked to be in books and a number of different things and I don't know who has kind of said that but if you don't say, "Hell, yes, I want to do that,” then you probably should just say no because we should be saying no to a lot more than we're saying yes to, yet we feel obligated to say yes because of all sorts of reasons.

 

Kristen Brokaw: Yeah. By doing that, by being clear on your big why and getting things out of the way then you're free to stay in your lane and reach mastery of which no one ever really, I mean, what is mastery? But your chances of really reaching mastery at something is a lot easier when you're not constantly taking off like they say, a rocket ship like the space shuttle uses 70% to 80% of its gas on takeoff. Well, think about it. If we’re constantly taking off all these different places, it's no wonder that the energy stores are depleted. And if they would just stick with it but like stick with what, well, the thing that your dream that you've been given permission to dream. It’s like you keep kind of trying to fill that void, scratch that itch that you have, by doing all these things like I give them permission to do their thing.

 

Arwen Becker: Yeah. There is so much power in somebody giving you permission to do anything.

 

Kristen Brokaw: Yeah. I mean, as Benjamin Hardy I interviewed him in a podcast a few months ago. He said, “Do you know the number one deathbed regret is having lived a life that they thought others wanted them to, not what they wanted?” Or Wayne Dyer says, “You're dying. You don't want to die with your music still in you?” And I'm like, “Oh, hell no, not on my watch.” So, that's what I want to do for physicians. My nephew once at a dinner, I was telling him about my dream and he said, “Why? Physicians are rich. Why do they need help?” He was a kid and I looked at him and I put my finger right in his face and I said, “You watch it because that's the attitude that I'm out to like break. I'm going to tell you, not every physician is rich. They've got lots of debt and there's a lot of time and energy that goes into what they do. And if you looked at their dollar per hour, they probably would be sick.” So, I think I'm just out to change the view, not only for them but for others and how they're viewed by others.

 

Arwen Becker: Don't you wish though, you know, I look at my own self in my mid-40s now and I wish some of these concepts I could go back and impart in my 20-something-self to not have to live so many years of trying to reach other people's expectations of me, putting on airs that I had all these things together when I really didn't. I just think that there's so much freedom that comes and I hear a lot of people say at 40 and 40 and beyond and into 50 of being able to just go, “You know what, I'm tired of trying to live somebody else's life that they think I should live and being able to do the things that I want to.” Don't you wish you could go back and tell yourself that?

 

Kristen Brokaw: Absolutely. I don't have kids but part of it makes me want to have children for that reason or just like go adopt. I'm going to go adopt someone who needs to hear this that I could cultivate but I've adopted. I tell my physicians that they're my babies and so I've adopted, I don't know, like 30.

 

Arwen Becker: That's mentorship. I mean, that is exactly what you're saying. It's about taking the things that we've learned and finding a younger generation that we can impart those things into because what's the point of it if we're selfishly going to keep the things that we have learned that have led us to greater success or joy or peace or lower anxiety or health or whatever it is, and we keep it all to ourselves? You're just not going to have long-term success but the real true joy comes from being able to take the things that you've learned and turn around and impart those to other people who it's not second nature to, and they need to hear it. And what you're doing is so tremendous for these physicians to be able to hear so much of what you're imparting into them. So, when you think about, gosh, this is a crazy time of getting your diagnosis, of course, going through loss of sight and all the fallout associated with that, what were some of the main things that you really took away from that time?

 

Kristen Brokaw: That nobody knows. I love this. So, to me, like nobody knows. I don't know how else to say it. So, it's like nobody knows but if you want, you'll figure it out. I could give you 50 examples of exactly what I mean. I had a contractor tell me like you can't do this and I'm like, "Yeah. I'm pretty sure I can. I don't know anything. I've never hammered a nail in my life. And guess what, I got done what I needed to get done.” And so, there's this part of me that's just like if I can imagine it, if I can dream it, then I know it's possible. It's just that I haven't met the right people who can help me make that dream a reality so it’s that nobody knows. I'm not blind. I can still drive there probably. I maybe shouldn't on certain days but nobody knows and that's great news. That's great news because if you know, go get it.

 

Arwen Becker: Yeah. Absolutely. No doubt. Yeah. Anything else?

 

Kristen Brokaw: I was going to say that's my biggest one is that, yeah, nobody knows. If I come up with another one, I know I have plenty in here. But that's…

 

Arwen Becker: What about health? Obviously, you spend a vast majority of your time around physicians and trying to look at the natural side of health. Is there anything that you really learned along this process? I think you kind of mentioned something at the beginning but for those of us who just maybe like you at the start didn't really understand what you put into your mouth affects your body.

 

Kristen Brokaw: Well, I've been doing this for ten years as a nutraceutical sales rep for Ortho Molecular Products. I mean, you are what you eat. I also believe that it’s also using your brain to meaning that what you think and you can manifest things in your body. I follow Joe Dispenza. I don't know how much you know about him but he says like, “Yeah.” He kind of says, “I think we make ourselves sick,” and I think that that's what had happened to me that day when I ripped the floor up in my basement is that not only did I have a stomach bug but I just come out of a really significant relationship and that had impacted me, at the time, poorly. That's I think what happened is my immune system was down. So, with all of that being said, you are more resilient than you believe, than you even know. Yes, you need good nutrition. I mean, you should see all the things I take in a day.

 

Arwen Becker: I've seen your little pack. I was like, “Dear God, how big is that thing?” It's like the size of like three purses you're bringing out. I mean, it is a toolkit. It's a health toolkit.

 

Kristen Brokaw: I always like to be prepared. You know, you never know. And that tool kit, Arwen, has saved many a person.

 

Arwen Becker: It saved me. You came across me when I had strep, remember, so you went and got your whole big pack and started shoving things down my throat.

 

Kristen Brokaw: Right. So, I guess you can make yourself more resilient and it is through supplementation, it is through the people you hang out with, and the energy that you put out, and the thoughts that you think. It's all related. If I had to give advice on maybe the few things that people should take, I mean, definitely with COVID has taught us one thing, taking care of yourself is of utmost importance. So, Vitamin D supplementation is key and even taking a multivitamin a good one, not something just from wherever a bit like a physician-grade one like my company or others like ours but your immune system is the first line of defense that gets affected by anything. Like your immune system is insanely important and what you think, what you eat, we hang out with, it impacts it. Yes, so I think that you're more resilient than you realize. Go research. Go to the Institute for Functional Medicine, IFM.org, and find a physician in your area who thinks like that, who believes in getting to the root cause and not just masking symptoms like the doctor who I was going to originally was trying to do and then I was blessed to meet a functional medicine doctor who said, "No, I'm going to keep peeling back the layers of the onion, and I'm going to get to what's really going to help you.”

 

So, that's how I helped get the hemorrhages down in my eyes is, like I said, I got out my blender. I used one of our products called InflammaCORE. I used an immunoglobulin like I did these certain things that I know to do. Wouldn’t you know, the hemorrhages go down in my eyes and the doctor was like, “Okay, great.” And he didn't even really care to know what I did. You know, he’s like, “Okay, cool.” And that's sad to me because he could help more people with it.

 

Arwen Becker: Sure. Would you say so because you had the background, you kind of knew where to start but if somebody is facing something really challenging or not, but speaking to somebody that might be having some major physical issue and they haven't gone into this area of what is it? Nutraceuticals?

 

Kristen Brokaw: So, functional medicine is the industry, right? So, functional medicine. It's understanding that the body is made up of systems and those systems work to get there. You are not like a car with different car parts that you know how like a cardiologist is like, “Whoa. I only look at your heart.” So, if you've got diabetes, that’s your endocrine. It’s your endocrinologist that you got to go see. It depends on how you're made and so it's systems biology. It's really the way doctors are trained anyway but then you go into these specialties. There's nothing wrong with specialties. It's just functional medicine doctors want to look at your body as a whole and they want to get things working optimally. They actually want your body to be in optimal function. And so, the immune system is a huge part of that gut, detox, etcetera. But people, for listeners, they like I mentioned going to IFM.org. If you're in the St. Louis area, I've got a website, SLiiM.org stands for the St. Louis Institute for Integrative Medicine. There are places out there that have directories of physicians that you can go see that are going to listen to you that don't believe you're crazy, even though every lab test, you know something's wrong but every lab test says you’re normal, that those kinds of doctors will listen to you, and nutraceuticals is the pharmaceutical-grade supplements.

 

Arwen Becker: Got it. I love the fact that you say that you're not crazy. I think especially for women since the vast majority of our listeners are women, we have this intuition that tells us something's just not right and yet, we'll allow people to tell us over and over and over again whether that be about ourselves or about our kids but we just know that something's not right. So, trusting yourself too and seeking out second opinions too and not just the first opinion that you get I'm sure is a huge part of what people should be doing.

 

Kristen Brokaw: Yeah. Nobody knows. Nobody knows. It goes back to my first mantra like if you know, then you make it happen.

 

Arwen Becker: Yep. So, good. So, our last final three questions, what is the best piece of financial wisdom that you've been given?

 

Kristen Brokaw: It’s by my brother who is of the six kids, he's the brother who's closest in age to me and he said, "Pay yourself first.” I was 24. I'd gotten my first job and here they come with this 401(k) information and he said, "You're going to max this out and you're going to thank me someday because you can't buy back time and pay yourself first.” So, I'm grateful to him for that and I've always made that, you know, putting a minimum of 10% to 15% away, all away.

 

Arwen Becker: Yeah. So good. It's so true. What about a book? Favorite book or one that you're reading that you're just loving and why?

 

Kristen Brokaw: Well, I’d have to go back to the one that if ever I need a real kick in the pants, so I've listened to it and read it maybe three or four times but it is by Tim Grover and it's called Relentless. I mean, I cannot listen to that book or read it late at night because I will not fall asleep. So, if ever I need to put on my like, "Go get them, tiger,” and, "You're a pro, not an amateur,” kind of mindset, that is the book I will listen to.

 

Arwen Becker: That's good. And what's a favorite quote?

 

Kristen Brokaw: I knew you're going to ask me this and then as I was sitting here thinking, I'm like, “Oh my god, I totally forgot,” but I was going to try to have like a new one but I love my Einstein one and I don't know exactly the right words but in a nutshell is where he says like, "Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result,” or, "You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that like created the problem.” That has only been in the last few years that that type of a quote resonates with me. And so then, like I say, I'm not saying that you make yourself sick but you have the potential. So, it's like what am I thinking? What am I doing? What is my input that kind of maybe I need to clean house? Who do I need to consult with? That's why I like that. It reminds me of nobody knows and you've got to go do your work and shift things.

 

Arwen Becker: Yeah. And get different thoughts. Yeah, absolutely. Totally agree. So, how can our listeners get ahold of you? I know you gave out some great websites and things of that nature but anything else you wanted to give?

 

Kristen Brokaw: Well, I do encourage. So, in my industry, we call it functional medicine and someday, it will just be called medicine because of that root cause approach. So, I really think everybody should go to the directory on the Institute for Functional Medicine. It's IFM.org and discovering your resiliency, working with a provider who is going to be able to actually test your resiliency. That's pretty cool. And I believe that the best nutraceuticals on the planet are from Ortho Molecular Products so that's obviously what I sell. They're made with amazing integrity. I have social media. I'm not on it by any means like you are, Arwen, but we have a website in St. Louis called SLiiM like I mentioned earlier but my name is Kristen Brokaw and you could probably just find me on Facebook or Instagram and because I don't have notifications on, I'll probably see it in maybe a week or so. Not sure.

 

Arwen Becker: That’s okay. We still love you.

 

Kristen Brokaw: It's just not my thing. It's not my one thing and I stay in my lane. I've got my tribe. Maybe someday.

 

Arwen Becker: Yeah. Everybody has to figure out what theirs is and then run it. You said that many times. So, well, my friend, you are such a blessing to me and just a wealth of knowledge and I really hope that those of you who are listening to this that you really understand the power of what Kristen’s talking about because it not only transformed her life but is transforming the life of so many others that she comes into contact with. So, look her up, follow her, go to the website that she suggested. Thank you, my friend, so very much for the work that you're doing and the lives that you're changing and mine being one included.

 

Kristen Brokaw: Well, thank you, Arwen, and I want to thank you for what you're doing because you don't have a short list of things to do in your day. You're doing this in service of others and that's exactly what this universe needs. You are an angel. Thank you.

 

Arwen Becker: Thank you so much.

[END]

 

 

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