#96 Is Your Environment Making You Sick - with Amie Skilton

The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast


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"A building biologist is like a doctor for your home. They actually come in to your home and look for any potential sources of health hazards, like mold, water damage, electromagnetic radiation, air quality, water quality, and even things like building materials if you're renovating or building... The Central Coast of NSW is considered the mold belt of Australia, and Sydney and Melbourne are also particularly problematic cities, along with far North Queensland. Humidity is really high in all these places, so you've got rising damp and high atmospheric moisture most of the year round."

Amie Skilton | Naturopath, Herbalist, Nutritionist, Beauty Therapist, Reiki Master & Life Coach Tweet This!

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In Episode 96 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas and her guest, Amie Skilton (Naturopath, Herbalist, Nutritionist, Beauty Therapist, Reiki Master & Life Coach), question how much mold exposure is harmful to your health and the common sympoms of mold sickness.
  • What is a Building Biologist for those that don’t know?
  • Are there any particular places in Australia that have the highest or lowest rates of mold?
  • What are signs or symptoms someone is being exposed to mold? 
  • Why do some people get affected and not others?
  • Is all mold visible to the naked eye?
  • What’s the process someone should go through if they suspect they may be exposed to mold? Particularly in relation to getting their home
  • If mold is found in a home, what are the first steps someone should take in removing it? (what are the do’s and don’ts)
  • Do landlords have a responsibility to remediate an apartment if mold is found and are there any laws in how this has to be done?
  • Is it necessary to chuck your belongings away if they have mold on them?
  • What are your top 5 tips for preventing mold from occurring in the first place?
  • If someone is looking into buying a home, or even moving into a rental apartment, how can they be sure there isn’t mold in there before committing?
  • What’s next for you in this space of building biology. Do you have any upcoming events, courses, programs or offerings?

Amie Skilton
Naturopath, Herbalist, Nutritionist, Beauty Therapist, Reiki Master & Life Coach

Intro 0:00
Hello and welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, with your hosts Natalie K. Douglas, Thyroid Healer, and Kate Callaghan, The Holistic Nutritionist. Nat and Kate are degree-qualified dietitians and nutritionists, certified fitness instructors, speakers, and authors. If you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers, and authentic heart-sharing, then we are your ladies! Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and get ready for our latest tips on living your healthiest life possible.

Natalie K. Douglas 0:36
Hello, lovely people. I am just jumping in here to share something very important with you before we jump into introducing Amy and talking about the delicious topic we have. Although, I don’t know if I can call it a delicious topic, but a very helpful topic that we need to speak about today. So my two bits of information that you need to be aware of is that I’ll be hosting another free live thyroid master class on Tuesday, May 12, at 10 am, Australian Eastern Standard Time, the registration will be open for that by the end of the week. And I will make you aware of that via my Instagram, and also my Facebook page. So please keep your eyeballs out and make sure you sign up because I’m going to be sharing lots of really helpful information for those of you who have already been diagnosed with a thyroid issue or for those of you who feel like you have all of the symptoms but have not yet been tested or been tested and told everything is normal, yet you feel like crap. So keep your eye out for that. The other very important piece of information that I need to share with you ASAP is something I’m so excited about, and that is that the next round of thyroid rescue is just around the corner. So the launch date for that is or the the start date for that I should say is Sunday, the 24th of May. Now there are only 20 spots available, and three of them have already been taken up from Super Keen Beans that have contacted me in the background which is so exciting, but I thought I should share it sooner rather than later to make sure that if it is something that you missed out on last time, or if you’re struggling with thyroid issues, or have a lot of the symptoms of thyroid issues or an underactive thyroid, then you can reach out to me ASAP and secure a spot for the next round. I’ll be sharing more information about the program in the master class towards the end, as well as on my social media channels in the coming weeks. But if you are somewhat interested, I would really encourage you to reach out sooner because those spots are getting taken up and I haven’t even officially announced it yet, which is extremely exciting. And we had such amazing results in the last round. And a beautiful, beautiful community built within that space of time of 10 weeks. It was so exciting to be a part of. So I will leave that with you. And let’s get on to introducing today’s guest who I absolutely adore for so many reasons. Amy is a functional medicine practitioner of 18 years, her view of root cause medicine was forever altered as a result of an environmentally acquired illness. So in 2017, after developing CIRS, which for those of you who are like, CIR, what? It is a Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, which will make much more sense once you listen to the rest of the podcast. But moving back on to Amy, so she developed CIRS herself and she discovered the world of building biology as a consequence, and the various ways in which the built environment has a profound impact on human health. She realized her naturopathic, nutritional, and herbal toolkit were only as useful as her environment was healthy. I love that so good, right? And she is now on a mission and I can attest to this to raise awareness in public, in the public arena, and educate practitioners on a commonly overlooked but monumentally significant influence on health and well-being. I loved this interview, and I know I said that every time. But guys, I just love all of the interviews. I like talking and I like hearing what people have to say. And this is just one of those episodes where I’m like, man, every single person needs to listen to this because there is no one that is unaffected by their environment. It’s just that there’s people that are unaware that they’re affected. So I’m gonna leave you to ponder that thought and let’s jump into today’s interview. Amy, welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. It’s so exciting to finally get to interview you. I’ve known you for, I think years now but never had you onto the podcast, which is my bad. How are you going?

Amie Skilton 5:16
Oh, I’m so well, Nat. Thank you so much for having me too. I’m so excited for our chat today.

Natalie K. Douglas 5:23
Well, we actually always start the podcast off with a bit of a non-related to the podcast topic question, which is, what is your current morning routine, which for those listening, we are actually recording this during the whole COVID 19 shenanigans. So it might be a little bit different but what does it look like at the moment?

Amie Skilton 5:43
You know what, it hasn’t changed for me at this stage. Thankfully, I’ve got freedom to do what I usually always do. So my morning routine tends to start at some ungodly hour when my cat comes yelling for breakfast. So that can be anywhere from well, thankfully, it’s getting a bit darker in the mornings now. That tends not to be before 6 am anymore but at that point, after I fed him, it’s usually not an option for me to go back to sleep, my brains normally kicked into gear, so I’ll get things underway. So usually, I’ll always start with a cup of tea, and just take a little bit of time to wake up. And then I’ll actually put on my gym gear and go out for a power walk. And I almost always listened to a podcast while I do that, though, that combination of things really fires up my brain, my body for the day, usually gets my creative juices flowing. And then yeah, come home. And I’m just trying to get into pilates now as a little additional thing, although we’ll see how long that lasts. And then, yes, start my day from there.

Natalie K. Douglas 7:00
Nice. I like it. I’m a big fan of the get-up and move your body type routine as well. I’m the same. I’m just like get up out of the house for sure. Otherwise, I find working from home like I’ve done it for a long time as well. If I don’t get up and get out straight away, it’s like 2 pm and like shit. I’m still in my pajamas and I haven’t left the house.

Amie Skilton 7:22
So easy to do. You know and I hope it doesn’t break up that sort of time before work. And then the time we start work.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, totally.

Amie Skilton
And my kind of the day they just goes that much better for it as well.

Natalie K. Douglas 7:35
Yeah, absolutely. I agree. Well, today, we’re talking all about mold and CIRS, and building biology and all of that stuff because you are absolutely the first person I thought of when I wanted to interview someone about this. And we’re actually thought we would start is just at the beginning about what exactly is a building biologist for those who are like, what, I’ve never heard that term before.

Amie Skilton 8:01
You know what, it’s funny. When I first encountered building biology, I’ve been in our industry for about 16 years at that point. And it was a real surprise to me to discover, I guess a health-related profession that to be honest, plays such a fundamental role in what we do, which is removing causes of ill health, but in this case from the home. So a building biologist is I guess you can liken it to a doctor for your home. So whereas a medical professional will examine you, ask you lots of questions, run lots of tests on you and your body. A building biologist actually comes into in fact any building, to be honest, they can assess commercial buildings, and even things like cars, trains, buses, airplanes. But usually it’s a service delivered for people’s in their home. And what they do is they come in and actually look at any potential sources of health hazards in your home. Now, this has a very broad scope. And often when someone hires a building biologist, it’s usually for something quite specific. So it might be mold testing, for example, checking for water damage, and microbial growth. Checking for electromagnetic radiation in the home is another really common one but it also includes checking air quality, testing for meth, and evidence of a place being used as a drug lab, water quality, so contaminants in your water that might be impacting your health, and even things like building materials, especially if you’re renovating or building. They can provide a service that actually helps you choose building materials that are not only more sustainable and environmentally friendly but help you to design and create a building that actually supports your health as opposed to potentially damaging it.

Natalie K. Douglas 10:06
So important, isn’t it? And it’s, you know, I’m sure that you’re not alone in someone, even being in the health industry and not knowing about it for several years, like I myself, didn’t either, like probably not even not until I started looking at what was causing my own health issues. And it didn’t end up being mold, but it was definitely on my radar. And I think that it seems to be at least, I have noticed that it’s people who have a reason to look into it are looking into it, and I, you know, probably not not dissimilar to you. I’m trying to bring that awareness more that look into it before it’s a problem or just be conscious that your environment absolutely does impact the way you feel. I think part of the problem is that a lot of it is not visible to the naked eye and that can be so deceiving. And that just yeah, not great. So I guess when it comes to mold, are there any particular places in Australia that have liked the highest or the lowest, like rates or exposure of mold in buildings? What are we looking at? Like, is Australia a big problem in itself?

Amie Skilton 11:23
Yes, that’s such a great question. And currently, we don’t have as good data as the USA does. Although based on what we do know, it looks like the right way, I guess the prevalence of water-damaged buildings is pretty much the same. Every second home and commercial building is water damaged. And I have to also say that in my own pursuit of a safe property to live, I looked on one particular property searching period of three and a half months I think it was, maybe four and a half months. I looked over 300 properties, and I can count on one hand, how many of them were not visibly water damaged. And water damage is actually not visible 80% of the time, so 98.3% of them, I think that’s what it works out to be were visibly water damaged. So it’s very concerning. Now, in terms of location. Yes, there are risk factors that make certain cities and microclimates more likely to have a higher prevalence of water to damaged buildings. From what I understand, from more experienced building biologists, the Central Coast is the mold belt of Australia. But Sydney and Melbourne, are two particularly problematic cities. Sydney is built on an aquifer, you know, so we’ve got all this water coming up. Geographically, we’re sitting in a bowl, so the humidity is really high here. So we’ve got rising damp, high atmospheric moisture most of the year-round that no one is actively doing anything about. And then you’ve also got obviously climates like far north Queensland, where humidity is a real challenge. And you’ve got wet seasons and dry seasons. But ultimately, water events can happen in anyone’s home, I’m sure every single one of us is knocked over a glass of water at some point. If you, you know, if you’re in an older home, eventually the pipes might start to leak, or if you’ve had renovations done and something wasn’t connected properly, you can have a problem, or we had, you know, some major storms earlier this year that really tested the structural capacity of everyone’s roof. And I think for a lot of people, they did end up with water intrusion in the ceilings. So it’s not so much about, you know, is it going to happen to you, but I think knowing what to do, if and when it does is probably something most people really could do with being aware of.

Natalie K. Douglas 14:05
Yes. So I’m going to try and bring that a little bit, at least a little taste test of like what to do today. Because, yeah, I mean, I was like admittedly, in the in the camp of like, oh, if you can’t see it, it’s not it’s probably not there for a long time, until I woke up to the reality of the fact that most of the time, it’s not visible. And so I think more conversations like these are important. That’s really interesting about, yeah, I mean, it makes sense with the humidity and that and that kind of thing. So is there like a best place in Australia where there’s the least amount of mold?

Amie Skilton 14:43
Look, anywhere that’s dry, which would probably be right in the center of Australia.

Natalie K. Douglas

Amie Skilton 14:52
Yeah. Awesome. But I think you, there are lots of measures people can put in place to preserve the health of their own home and address things more quickly to avoid their home going down the moldy tube, so to speak. So yeah, look, it’s tricky. There are certain things that you should really avoid. So, you know, homes in the bottom of a valley, bottoms of hills, you know, a lack of natural sunlight, natural lack of airflow, too much in terms of shrubbery and trees, blocking sunlight, and also garden beds up against the home are a big no no, because that can be trapped up against the external walls of the home, which then can lead to damage inside the home as well. So, you know, there’s a lot of factors to consider. But I think probably the most important thing is you could make anything work, you could make any home work. If you can keep it dry and that really comes down to two things. Number one, managing relative humidity and keeping it between 45 and 55% and I’ll explain how to do that in a minute. But managing relative humidity and keeping it at the level that mold cannot grow and also keeping an eye on potential water leaks and acting quickly anytime you notice that there is some kind of leak in your home. Essentially, mold will grow if something has been wet for 48 hours or more. And for the key with addressing leaks is to address them and dry them out very very quickly. And in the event anything can’t be dried in under 48 hours, then it needs to be cut out straight away so that you don’t have a festering fungal mess growing in your home. But in terms of, in terms of that there’s really two tools people probably should have in their toolkit at home. Number one, a thermo hygrometer. Now, this is one of those things that I hadn’t heard of before studying or testing myself. But essentially, you can buy them really cheaply online or from local hardware stores. And they’re just a plastic battery-operated sensor that will let you know whatever the temperature and the relative humidity is. And so anytime it starts to creep towards 55%, you can switch on your dehumidifier and bring that humidity back down. The other thing is a moisture meter. Now the professional tools that building biologists will use a very expensive, but you can pick up you know a basic one, again from a hardware store for about 50, $60. And these can be useful just to do a preliminary test if you think that you know maybe the roof was leaking, you can check the ceiling to see if any moisture has come through or if your bathroom is a bit old and things are starting to smell a little weird, or you’re getting funny symptoms, you can always you know, moisture map the outside of the bathroom walls to check if there is any water getting into parts of your home where it shouldn’t be.

Natalie K. Douglas 18:15
Yeah, well that’s really handy. And just on the, so on the dehumidifier front, is there, so let’s say there is a problem with the humidity in someone’s home and they do want to purchase a dehumidifier. Are there certain things that you should be looking out for when you’re purchasing a dehumidifier? Because I know when I was looking there’s like a whole scope of them ranging from cheap to like really, really expensive. Is there things people can look out for or do you have any brand recommendations that you know off top of your head?

Amie Skilton 18:48
There’s about half a dozen favorites that building biologists will often recommend but it does depend on your circumstances because there’s two different kinds of dehumidification. And depending on your own climate, one is going to be a better choice for you than the other. Other things to consider are of course, its capacity. If you live somewhere down, there’s no point in buying one like I’ve got that has a four-liter chamber and doesn’t have an external pipe, you know it’s going to be full in an hour or two, you’re going to need one of those 35 liter jobs. And also, you know, for me, I work from home. So it’s not such a big deal. I can empty the chamber you know whenever I want. But if you are like most people, not at the moment, but generally speaking heading off to work and maybe away from the home eight to 12 hours. You want either a big chamber or something that actually is permanently or at least you can put a pipe to it and actually put it down the waste pipe whether that’s into your bar or your kitchen sink or something in your laundry so that it can continuous, continuously dry the air. So there’s no sort of one magic after, I’m afraid, but it is easy enough to get a building biologist for just a quick consultation to explain, you know, where you live, what your situation is, how big your home is, what your challenges are, and they can then make a recommendation for you that is going to be worth the money you’re going to spend on it. Because the truth is, like anything else, you do get what you pay for. And you’re probably looking at a commitment of somewhere between 4 to $700, 400 to $700 just to be clear.

Natalie K. Douglas

Amie Skilton
When you’re, when you’re getting a dehumidifier that’s, you know, going to do the job that you needed to do.

Natalie K. Douglas 20:43
And I think it’s, like I think I personally think it’s worth it. I mean, we spend, you know, so much money on so many other things. I mean, it’s something that if you look after it will last and do a really good job and keep you healthy. Do you think those kind of things are worth it? I actually bought myself an air purifier, when we had all that smoke stuff going on with the fires and no regrets. Even though I think mine was about around 600 or $700. And I still will use it now. So I think it’s just, I think it’s important to invest in stuff that is actually going to do the job like you said. You also mentioned when you’re talking about symptoms, like if you have symptoms of mold. So what are some signs or symptoms that someone is experiencing a reaction to being exposed to mold?

Amie Skilton 21:36
Hmm. This is a question that has a very long answer.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yes. Good luck, solidifying it.

Amie Skilton 21:46
I’m going to try and just group them into, into clusters of symptoms, because everyone can react slightly differently, which is why it can make it quite hard for say. So a handful of people living in the same home to really pinpoint it but the most common symptoms that the majority of people will get if there is a water damage are very similar to allergy symptoms. So mold produces a lot of different things that it spews into the air and some of them will act very much like pollen for people who get hay fever and trigger things like itchy nose, runny nose, watery eyes, itchy throat, sneezing, post-nasal drip like sinusitis, blocked nose all the time, which then obviously contributes to a sore throat and bronchitis and because of mold is actually and what that means is anytime you add water every living thing in that space starts to come to life and that includes bacteria and viruses and so chronic colds, flu-like symptoms, sinus, chesty things, are a real hallmark of ongoing humidity or moisture issues in a home. So if someone’s constantly taking antihistamines to cope, to be able to breathe at night when they go to bed, that’s a big red flag. It can also cause similar allergic reactions to the skin. So fungal ashes, itchy dry skin, tinea, which is just another fungi which can live in the carpet when it’s damp, thrush, any sort of sorts of ongoing external to your body irritations are probably the most common thing. Eczema is a really big one there as well and of course asthma, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates about 80% of all asthma attacks are triggered by indoor mold. So asthmatics is something you should really be on the lookout for. Having said that, mold is producing a lot of chemicals as it grows, and some of them are antibiotics, meaning they can damage your gut floor. So gastrointestinal symptoms are also not uncommon. IBS-like symptoms, cramps, pain, bloating, diarrhea is more prevalent than constipation, even loss of bowel control is another hallmark of a severe mold overgrowth, food intolerances that are getting worse and worse. But all the chemicals that mold produces can also cause headaches and damage to your organs and over time can result some people in autoimmune conditions, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome as well as chronic migraines and liver issues. And so there’s an awful lot that could potentially be attributed to mold and for any of these conditions that are maybe unresponsive to whatever interventions you might be trying. I would take a closer look at what’s going on inside of your home.

Natalie K. Douglas 25:13
Yeah, and it’s it is one of those things that it is easy to blame something else like I, I would have to say, in my experience, I’ve had several patients that have come to me with thyroid issues, or Hashimoto’s, and thought that that was that was their problem. And while it’s a like an outcome or a symptom of a result of the mold exposure, it’s you know, it’s kind of like the canary in the coal mine for some of them. So I definitely think that it’s not to make everyone think that they have mold if they listen to that list and can take a few things. But when you start to tick multiple boxes, and you’re assessing your home, and things are starting to add up, it is likely an issue. But the thing that I know a lot of people ask me and I know you’ll have a more solid answer for them is, why is it that some people are affected and some aren’t. And I can give an example of I had a couple who I was treating the woman for a whole bunch of issues because she had mold illness and or CIRS, and she was riddled with symptoms, like I’m talking really terrible brain fog, anxiety, heart palpitations, gut issues, sinus stuff, all the things that you basically described, yet her husband living in the exact same house and her son, absolutely nothing at all, no symptoms. And I think it’s really important that this conversation is heard because it leads to people thinking that it’s in their head, or there’s something wrong with them, and it can’t possibly be the environment because someone else is living there and not affected. So can you shed any light on that?

Amie Skilton 27:02
Yes, absolutely. And I’m so glad you’ve asked that question because the greatest tragedy I see actually, for patients that are suffering from mold illness or CIRS is this very division that can fracture a family and relationships. It’s very heartbreaking to watch actually, and I want to say that no one is unaffected by mold but what happens to people who can metabolize the toxins mold produces quickly is it takes a very long time for them to end up with symptoms. And, you know, many of the mycotoxins mold produces are nephrotoxic, hepatootoxic, neurotoxic, meaning they damage the kidneys, they damaged the liver, they damaged the brain. And in the people who don’t show symptoms, it’s these people who after 10, 15, 20 years of living in a water-damaged building get diagnosed with kidney cancer or liver cancer, and I’m like that’s so weird, that’s just totally inexplicable. There’s no family history, there’s no no one risk factors, and yet they’ve been absorbing, inhaling, and ingesting liver-damaging chemicals for a decade or more. So I don’t want anyone to think that there are people who have bulletproof and immune mold. However, depending on your genetics, some people are very good at clearing biotoxins or the kind of toxins that mold produces. And so they can come in and out of water-damaged buildings, and even quite obviously, mold impacted properties, and not really feel affected much if at all. And then you’ve got people like myself, and a patient who have a genetic makeup that doesn’t allow us to clear those biological toxins in any way, shape, or form as rapidly if at all. And so we are poisoned very quickly, and so we get sick, and much quicker. And because our adaptive immune system or the part of our immune system that would normally tag those chemicals for clearance and get them out isn’t working, the other part of our immune system tries to help out by causing untold amounts of inflammation to try to get the second part to kick in. And so, it’s partly, it’s partly being chemically poisoned in every sense of the word. And it’s also partly our immune system as just throwing hand grenades at the problem trying to fix that and causing further damage throughout the rest of the body. And so things can fall apart very very quickly. And it can also take them a very long time to recover even once they’re out of a water-damaged building with good support. And so, you know, I don’t know whether I consider those people the lucky ones or not. I used to, I first got sick, I feel very resentful and pitiful that my body is a body that cannot clear those toxins very quickly. And so, I now have to be unbelievably careful about where I go, where, what hotels I stay, and what restaurants I eat at, what movie theaters I can go and watch a 90-minute flick in. Whereas other people can just go about their lives utterly oblivious to all the water damaged I see, but at the same time, and I have to thank Dave Asprey for this attitude adjustment. He is a fellow moldy and he put it in such a way that I changed my mind. He said, he’s very thankful that his body lets him know when an environment is toxic. And so he can immediately get out of it. And it was a lovely reframe, and I now view it in the same way, my body is almost like an early warning system for the rest of humankind, or at least the people who, you know, hang out with me in my entourage?

Natalie K. Douglas

Amie Skilton
If a building is toxic, I’ll know really quick, and then I can get all of them out of it, you know. So, having said that, it’s easy for me to say that now that I am educated on water-damaged buildings, I’ve already been through this, and I have a rather high degree of control over where I live, where I work, and what buildings I have to be in. And I know for other people, it’s not that easy. I had a client who, whose parents’ home was so toxic. She’d been in a coma for three years, actually, and was living for another 10 years in a tent outside parents’ home. And she was so unbelievably impacted by the amount of environmental toxicity she took on, her diet was limited to three things, she couldn’t shower in anything other than reverse osmosis filtered water, she was very EMF sensitive, she was so chemically sensitive, the smell of coffee would trigger seizures for her. And, you know, that is I guess an extreme but not uncommon example of how bad things can get when they aren’t addressed quickly. So, yeah, I hope that paints a bit of a picture for people as to why some people get so sick, and others just don’t but that doesn’t mean the building that’s making them sick is okay for anybody.

Natalie K. Douglas 32:49
Yeah, and I really like the way you put that because if I guess you’re right in that, it is it is like easier to have the perspective you have in a way having got have hindsight, and education, and control. And also, I think that it’s still a testament to you because you could still easily choose to see it in a different light. But I think, and I try to say this to a lot of my patients who are more of those autoimmune sensitive types, to try and shift that perspective because if you don’t, it just creates more suffering. And it’s, it’s hard because you want to validate them. And people should feel validated about what you’re experiencing, and what you’re feeling is real and true. And it sucks. And also, we have a choice here about how we’re going to choose to relate to our body because I think that can create problems in itself if it’s a constant war against the vessel you’re living in, so to speak.

Amie Skilton

Natalie K. Douglas
And so I just want to say amazing that you’re able to create that that reframe for yourself because I can imagine that it’s also taken off a little bit of the load, just mentally and emotionally. But I think everyone has to go through that process of, you know, why me for a bit and I have definitely gone through that myself as well. What I’m curious about is, if someone is listening to this, and they are suspecting that they have been exposed to mold or they have symptoms of mold illness, what what’s the process someone should go to? Like, is it a matter of go and get your body assessed first, or is it a matter of go and get your home assessed first. Like the world, there’s so many different tests when it comes to mold illness and also in your home. Where would you encourage someone to start?

Amie Skilton 34:48
So it probably depends on a few factors. And one of them would be if you know, if you have any home, a room, sorry, in your home that smells musty or smells like anything, actually. Your home shouldn’t smell like anything. And it might smell a bit cheesy, or it might smell a bit mushroomy, or it might smell like wet dog, or it smells musty, or a room feels stuffy, or it smells a bit like cat urine or alcohol. There’s a lot of different aromas if I can.

Natalie K. Douglas
You can label it whatever you want but we have a different taste.

Amie Skilton 35:27
Unpleasant, but mold when it’s grown it produces VOC or volatiles organic compounds and these have a variety of smells. In fact, there’s one that even smells like marijuana. So if you’re, the air in your home should simply smell fresh and like nothing. So as you notice, there’s a smell of any sort in a wardrobe, or near your bathroom, or wherever it is, or you know that there’s been a leak, then I would look at getting your home tested for sure because there’s an obvious indicator that it’s water damaged. You might even want to ask your neighbors about you know, when people live there before if anything happened. Also, if your bathroom was built, after 1980, give or take, the waterproofing membranes at when they were changed at that time actually tend not to last any more than seven years. So if you’re in a home that’s more than seven years old, there’s a very good chance that there is some water intrusion happening as a result of perishing waterproof membranes. And this is where obviously a cheap moisture meter again considered just point you in which direction you want to take, if you find that there’s watering your skirting boards or being registered on the plasterboard on the other side of your bathroom wall, then that now is time to get a building biologist in but if it’s completely dry, and if you can get under the house, you can obviously check in there too, then maybe you know spending whatever it’s going to cost for a water-damaged report, might not be your top priority. Now what it costs, of course, depends on the size of your home, how much testing gets done, and also if you rent and you’re you need help getting the landlord to take action or to break your lease report writing also incurs a cost. So using my property as an example, and the one that I got sick. I paid 1500 dollars for that. It was a two-bedroom unit, we didn’t do a lot of testing but the extra cost was because I needed enough testing and a report that was strong enough to be able to tender as evidence at the tribunal and also in small claims court should it end up ending up in that place. Whereas if I’d owned the place, and I just needed to confirm there was a problem and also find out what I needed to do to fix it, it probably would have only cost me about 750 bucks, maybe $500. So it really does depend, which is why I’m not saying everyone should rush out and get a building biologist to check their home.

Natalie K. Douglas

Amie Skilton
Having said that, if you have a lot of the CIRS symptoms, that would make me think yes, we need to find out where your exposures coming from, which is either going to be your home or your workplace. You can of course test, do tests on your body, but some tests are not that useful. So to give you an example, one that’s being promoted quite heavily at the moment is urinary mycotoxins, which basically, is testing your urinal way to see whether you’re eliminating mold toxins by your kidneys. Now, not all mold toxins are eliminated that way, but also we’re actually exposed to mold everywhere all the time, but not all molds are toxigenic. And so, you potentially might come up positive when it’s really not the root cause. So, you know, there are specific CIRS biomarkers you can look for. Again, though, if you run the full panel, that’s $2,000. You’re looking at about $800 for the basic markers. So my best advice would actually be to speak to your own functional medicine practitioner, whether that’s a naturopath or a nutritionist who studied applied Clinical Nutrition who has some awareness on mold, and let them do the heavy lifting for you, they can go through your case history, they can go through, they can even liaise with a building biologist or mold test to like myself, and prioritize where you should be investing, because recovering from CIRS if that’s ultimately what you have, can be an expensive process in itself. And I would refer as someone who’s been through this, prioritizing my patients to spend money on getting to a safe home and remediating their their possessions, because if you’ve everything in your home has been impacted by mold and will need to either be replaced or remediated. And hopefully, your insurance will cover that, but often just finding a new home can be a very expensive exercise, and getting new furniture, and also, the supplements that are so crucial to accelerate and speed up recovery, they all add up. And so if you know your home is water damaged, you know, there was a major roof leak last year that you’ve left to dry naturally, then you know, you have a mold problem. And the next question has to be, are you going to fix it? What is that going to look like, or do you just move? I wouldn’t recommend actually doing much in the way of assessment unless you’re trying to figure out whether you can remediate it so it’s safe for you again. So, sorry, it’s not a short answer but there’s a few things to consider when you’re when you’re trying to weigh up which way to go next.

Natalie K. Douglas 1:47
Yeah, well, it’s not it’s not as simple problem is it? Because it isn’t just in your body or just in your home. There’s kind of both things but I, I’m glad you said that process because that’s the one that I kind of follow as well. I just think that you, the very number one thing, you have to do if you do have an issue with boulders, stop being exposed to it. So it makes sense to figure out where the exposure is or to address what you already know is there before going down the line of confirming through more complex testing that yes, you’re being affected because you feel like you’re being affected, and there’s a clear evidence of it, then you’re probably are being affected. And so what I’m curious about is then, if you mentioned like landlords and, and reports and all that kind of stuff, which is so not my area of expertise, but the landlords have a responsibility to remediate an apartment if mold was found there. And are there any rules in how that has to be done? Like, are people just doing quick jobs and it’s they’re saying that it’s done, but it’s not?

Amie Skilton 2:56
Oh, this is the question that’s going to get my blood pressure up.

Natalie K. Douglas 3:01
Well, you just take some deep breaths.

Amie Skilton 3:07
So before I dive into this, I just want to say I’m an investment property owner myself. So I have tenants to worry about as well as being a tenant in a rental property too. So and I think that’s important to say because often conversations of this nature can become us versus them. So having said that, there are currently landlords that are absolutely just painting over and sometimes are not even painting over and renting properties that are hazardous to human health. Now we have, unfortunately, big legal gaps currently that I’m on a personal mission to change. The all we have as tenants, so speaking to tenants right now, is that in your residential tenancy agreement, there is a section that stipulates the basic requirements for the home, including that it must be habitable for human health. So that is all we’ve got currently, which means the onus then falls on you as a tenant to engage and pay for a building biologist to get a report to prove the home is unsafe. And then seek compensation for not only the cost of the report, but also the, you know, whatever medical expenses you might have, remediation expenses that might come up, as well as cost of moving, and ensuring you’re not penalized as far as breaking your lease goes. Now there is no currently no obligation for the landlord to remediate at all, let alone to an appropriate standard and I’m not saying that should be the case either, although I wish it was. But we also currently have issues where insurance companies are failing to provide adequate cover for water-damaged events. In fact, most insurance companies will have a cause where they will not cover mold specifically because of course, that can happen because of occupant behaviors that are no fault of the owner. It can also, there’s lots of reasons it can happen. And so all claims have to actually be very specific about using the term water damage and then getting the insurance company to pay for double ICSC’s certified remediators. And in the case of service patients, medical-grade remediation is another potential challenge. Now I’m lucky that in every case I’ve taken on with clients so far, we’ve been successful. But this is an escalating problem and I hate to sound like a cynic but I’ve seen enough from insurance companies to see that they will avoid paying out claims wherever they possibly can. So there’s some work to do around improving the residential tenancies act. There’s also a lot of work around improving the build Australian building code because it’s currently falls well-short of acceptable on a number of areas, including waterproof membrane, specifications, you know, exhausting moisture to safe spaces. I outside the building rather than in the ceiling space. You know, if you have maybe has a bathroom and the kitchen, you’ll often have a range hood that is designed to suck the steam away from the cooking area, right? Or in the bathroom, you’ve got this exhaust fan that’s designed to suck the steam away from when you’re showering. Now, this really needs to be exhausted or vented to the outside of the building. And many will actually just recycle it or put it in the ceiling space, which is simply moving the moisture to somewhere where you can’t see the mold growing into it way too late. So it’s very frustrating, although it’s encouraging that on a case-by-case basis, things have gone the way of the tenant every time I’ve been involved, or I’ve seen a building biologist involved. And I have to also say that there was a legal precedent set in 2017 in the commercial tenancies space, where a building owner ended up having to pay $1.7 million to the commercial tenant, was a lingerie company for failure to fix and remedy the problem which had caused the staff to become sick. So this is an evolving and developing space but unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast law that can force landlords to do the right thing. So sadly, tenants who are often ill. And sometimes so ill they can’t work have been left to actually correct the situation and recover the expenses afterwards, which is heartbreaking.

Natalie K. Douglas 8:10
It is. And it’s, you can see it’s a bit of a Catch-22 isn’t it? Even just listening to it, I sound exhausted thinking about what a huge event it would be to go through all those different processes and come up against all those blocks and be in a place where you’re really not feeling well. So I can see how having someone on your side if you can afford to do so in the way of a building biologist or you Amy, like it’s just would be so helpful because it’s all just like, God, it’s like speaking another language. And I think that it’s I hope that it changes because it sounds like unless you have the the prior knowledge when going into rent an apartment or buy a new home or renovate, it’s a bit of like, block, do you end up in a in a home that has water damage or do you not? And what are your genetics like? And how long is it going to take for that to catch up with you? In saying all of that you, like the other thing I wanted to to touch on that, I flagged from before you mentioned you know, getting rid of belongings or replacing belongings. If someone is like has been in a mold-damaged building or water-damaged building, sorry, and they do have some items like let’s say a couch or you know a table or something like that, or even some shoes or clothes that have had mold on them or been in that apartment where there’s been a big mold issue. Is it always necessary to chuck your belongings out or how do you make that decision between what do I check out, and what do I keep, and what do you do with what you keep?

Amie Skilton 9:58
Hmm. So this is somewhere that, again, is a bit of a gray area. And in an ideal world, you would get a building biologist to guide you but even in a like a consulting manner, I can help people. And here are the general rules. So anything that’s not porous, like metal, or glass can usually be salvaged and remediated very easily. These are materials that mold can’t penetrate, its roots into. And therefore, honestly, a basic surface claim is usually sufficient to sort those out. So, you know, we had a glass dining room table with hard acrylic chairs with stainless steel legs. So that was an easy one. When you get to more porous furnishings, like your mattress, your pillows, your pouch, your cushions, things like that, unfortunately, mold spores can get into the fabric, and you cannot get them back out. And which means they’ve got to go in the bin. Now, the lounge suite that we had at the time was leather. And leather, being a skin doesn’t allow the penetration of mold. And so if there’s no visible mold growth, generally again, I’m just broadly speaking here, but you can with the surface clean Silverjet, although you’ve always got to check underneath because usually it is sort of an empty frame with maybe fabric covering that stops dust getting up in there, what we did was just tore that off and replaced it, and HEPA Vacuum to the cushioning underneath. And that was actually okay for us but it isn’t always, it isn’t always the case. I think some of the saddest things that are impacted are things like photographs and other paper heirlooms. Textbooks, I lost, oh my gosh, I can’t even.

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, no.

Amie Skilton
Dollars worth of textbooks. I also lost some of my diplomas. You know, some of my qualifications, the hard copies are gone. So, in case of important documents, you can always scan them potentially, although don’t do that without proper protective gear, otherwise, it will just make you even sicker and just save the digital copies, or you might be able to laminate them and put them away and you know, just for prosperity sake. But yeah, it’s a really tricky one. Clothing will either need to be laundered at 60 degrees for an hour with clothes. Now, most of my clothes would not survive that. So, I had to dry clean everything that was $2,000 right there. I also have an extensive shoe collection just between you and me and everyone.

Natalie K. Douglas
I can confirm this.

Amie Skilton 13:11
So I mean, luckily mine were all sort of in plastic shoe containers that had small ventilation holes. And so, I hand cleaned everything with clove oil and left out in the sun for like five days in a row. And I managed to successfully save all except for two. And so sort of down the track when things got a bit humid two of them sprouted with mold, and I had to had to go on the bin, and that was devastating but I managed to save the rest. Now, a building biologist would probably say to you, they all need to go on the bin. And I know practically speaking, that isn’t always the case but if you are on death’s door with mold illness, you might just be willing to sit fire to your entire life and walk away because you don’t want to get sick again. So as an interim measure, I recommend people pack up all their stuff with some damp words as well, just to make you know, try and keep things dry, put it in a storage unit, and just tackle things, you know, a couple of weeks, a couple of months down the track when you’re feeling better, and remediate things piecemeal, if you have to, and really test whether or not you’re reacting to that thing before you bring it into your safe space. So it can be quite a process, unfortunately, but there are different ways of going about it at the same time.

Natalie K. Douglas 14:35
And when you’re, so a question or something I am constantly telling people is the fact that when someone sees visible mold, their first instinct is to scrub it. Can you explain to people why they should not do that and what they should perhaps do instead?

Amie Skilton 14:51
Yes. So, when you see visible mold, there’s two parts to this answer. Mold is microscopic, which means most of the time, you can’t see it there. And when you do finally see the visible effects of the water damage, please know that it’s the tip of the iceberg and you have a much bigger problem than you realize. Now, the exception of this might be traditionally wet areas that not dry that often like a shower recess, for example, or the splashback in your kitchen if you’re lazy like me and don’t always wipe that up perfectly. So you can clean it if it’s on non-porous surfaces, again, stainless steel, ceramic tiles, a stone benchtop, for example. But anywhere else like your ceilings, your walls, your carpet, soft furnishings, cleaning it in all likelihood is actually just going to aggravate the mold and cause it to produce even more toxins. And it also enhances the spread of mold. And in the event you’re successful in killing the mold, you can’t kill the chemicals that makes as you kill it and it breaks apart, more and more chemicals are released and the mold breaks into smaller and smaller and smaller fragments that you can inhale deeper and deeper into your lungs and absorbed into your body. So that this is a reason why building biologists say dead mold is more dangerous than live mold. So you have to remove the mold. And often that means cutting it out and replacing the plasterboard in the ceiling or the walls, or cutting out a section of the carpet, or getting rid of the carpet entirely and replacing the whole thing or not, as the case may be. So if you clean it, often people will use bleach to be honest, that actually feeds mold, you’re putting moist, more moisture into the material that you’re cleaning. And all you’re doing is bleaching the mold, so you can’t see it anymore. You can’t clean out the hi fi or the root system that is now in the wall or in the ceiling. And so it’s just going to keep coming back and will continue to flourish in a way that just isn’t visible to you until it extends outside of the area that you cleaned. So it’s not a solution, unfortunately. I know I was ignorant of that also, and many people make this mistake. Unfortunately, it actually creates more problems than it solves.

Natalie K. Douglas
And so, just to clarify is all those, all those things in the supermarket that say like exit mold, and is that bleach is that what that is?

Amie Skilton
Most of it is bleach-based. Some of them use other, maybe enzymes, or antimicrobials, you know, the natural ones might use things like clove oil. Again, these are okay for use on nonporous. Sorry. Oh, yeah, non-porous surfaces. So things like a shower recess. Although, be very careful, because a lot of the essential oils, for example, or natural remedies can also contribute to breaking down waterproof membranes. So things like citrus-based cleansers in the bathroom, anything that’s great at decreasing like eucalyptus oil will actually accelerate the deterioration of your waterproof membrane contributing to a mold problem down the track. So you do just want to be very mindful of what you’re using where and prevention is really key. So here’s a little fun fact I didn’t know.

Natalie K. Douglas
I love fun facts.

Amie Skilton 18:45
So assuming you’ve got a fan in your bathroom, they are designed to be used not only whilst you’re showering, but for at least 20 minutes after you’ve switched the shower off. And so you know, most of us will sort of towel off maybe we’ll get dressed in the bathroom and then leave the bathroom. And mistake number one that a lot of people make is they leave the bathroom door open so that the stain clears more quickly. All it does is let the steam come into your house and bring moisture into the rest of your home which you definitely don’t want to do. Open a window if you have to, but shut the door behind you and leave the fan running for 20 minutes. Now if you don’t have a fan or it’s pathetic, which most of them are.

Natalie K. Douglas 19:31
Yeah, mine is very undernourished, it’s not, it’s motor. It’s not going well.

Amie Skilton 19:34
Honestly, this should be standards around these as well. It’s honestly so ridiculous, but leave it running for as long as you can but here are two extra things you can do to help speed up the clearance of water. If you’re the last person to shower for the day. Use one of those little rubber.

Natalie K. Douglas 19:54
Oh, shimmies, shammies?

Amie Skilton 19:56
Well, it’s like a squeegee.

Natalie K. Douglas
We’re just making stuff up here guys.

Amie Skilton 20:06
You know windscreen wiper thingy.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, I know what you’re talking, we’re speaking the same, we’re talking about the same thing with completely different language.

Amie Skilton 20:13
I should know the official name, but get one of those few bathrooms. So you can actually drag the water off the walls and the tiles and then towards the drain at the end of the day. So you move it on a lot faster.

Natalie K. Douglas 20:25
Tip number two, don’t be the last one to shower. So someone else can do that for you.

Amie Skilton 20:32
First, what a painful job. And then you can also check your dehumidifier in there just to quickly suck out the rest of the moisture, you could of course towel it down, but then you’ve got a wet towel. And that also needs the moisture sucked out of it. So either way, but if you can manage that, or do any of those things, you’re going to improve, you know how quickly your bathroom dries out.

Natalie K. Douglas 20:58
Mm-hmm. But I love that. And is clove essential oil safe to use? Like, is that considered one of the ones you could like in terms of on the surfaces that you can clean, it’s like in your bathroom? Is that okay because it’s not citrus?

Amie Skilton 21:11
Yes, you can use a diluted form of clove and using it with a bit of white vinegar and water mixture with and again, you can even lightly spritz the tiles once you’ve dried them just as a little antimicrobial but it’s it’s better as a preventative. Once you’ve got mold growing there, you’ve got all those problems that are associated with killing mold. And in addition to that, you can’t get mold out of silicon. So once it’s kind of taken root beer, the only way to get rid of that is to strip the silicon out of the bathroom cavity and replace it obviously that starts to get, you know.

Natalie K. Douglas

Amie Skilton
Making more money so.

Natalie K. Douglas

Amie Skilton
If you’ve got a great bathroom already, these tips will allow you to keep it in pristine condition going forward. And certainly, if you can have a good clean wearing appropriate PPE, you can probably set yourself up for a reasonably good environment too.

Natalie K. Douglas 22:09
I love that. So many good tips. Everyone’s probably like writing them down, which is great. So two more questions for you or three, actually. But the first one is if if someone is looking into buying a home or even moving into a rental apartment, how can I be sure that mold isn’t there before committing? Like, would it be a matter of getting some of those moisture and humidity thing, or would you be sending a building biologist in first, what would you recommend?

Amie Skilton 22:42
So it depends whether you’re looking for a rental or you’re looking to buy. And in both cases, it is prohibitively costly to get a building biologist to check every home you might be interested in. So I’ve actually created a training, by the way, for prospective tenants looking for a safe rental property.

Natalie K. Douglas

Amie Skilton
And prospective on looking for a safe home to buy. And what this does is it teaches you a couple of basics so that you know what to look for, and you can grab some sneaky samples, and do them yourself before going ahead with engaging a building biologist, it’s going to save you a lot of money. So what you might do for if you’re going to buy or renting is slightly different. So in the case of someone who’s looking to buy a home, this is probably going to be the biggest investment you’re ever going to make. And because you are handing over a huge chunk of cash there are obviously various checks that no one bats an eyelid that you do on a property like a building pest inspection, for example. And because they are hoping to get your money, they aren’t going to try and stop you from getting a building biologist report either. So knowing what to look for means you can spot some of the more obvious things and they will also permit you to take your time and maybe moisture map certain things which works if the home has been in use recently. And you can also take some dust samples yourself to check whether there’s been any major water damage in the building since it was built. And that’s something you can really do at a fairly relaxed pace and openly as a prospective buyer. Unfortunately, as a tenant, especially in a rental market, like Sydney, you’ve got you know, sometimes 20 – 30 other people looking you know, 10 other applications going in. One hint that you’re going to be a difficult tenant you’re going to lose out on the place, and so you really have to be a lot more delicate in how you approach it and discrete. And so, and you’re also quite limited by time and obviously the visibility to the agent that’s showing you off. So, there are a few key things you can absolutely do and there are three tools that you can take with you, whichever can be setting in buying or renting. So one is a moisture meter, two is a torch. So you can inspect things like under the kitchen sink and in bathroom cupboards properly. And a Swiffer cloth, which will allow you to very subtly grab dust samples without anyone noticing, and sending them off for testing. So I’ve got training to teach people how to do both of those things. From there, to be honest, once you know what to look for, you’re going to walk in and out of a lot of places, because you now know where you can going to spot where things have been painted over, or where things are looking rather suspicious. And you won’t even bother taking dust samples or running a test because you can immediately see that it’s a problem. However, hopefully, you got to a place that you love, and there are no obvious signs of water damage. In that case, if you’re not so susceptible, maybe you wouldn’t take it any further and maybe you would apply and just take the property on the hope that it’s probably okay. Now if you’re someone like me, that is absolutely not a risk I would ever take. And so, I would suddenly take some dust samples and send that off for an ERMI test. Now, that’s not cheap. Even if, so an ERMI test is just try at $400. So, you want to be really sure you really like this place and you cannot find any other reason that it could be bad for you. There is a cheaper test called the HERTSMI-2, that checks for the five major water damage molds. And to be honest, that’s probably sufficient for someone looking at a rental property to kind of go, no, this is really bad, there’s been a major water leak here at some point and the remnants are still there, or it’ll be like, okay, we’re all clear on the five biggest toxigenic water damage molds, the chances of this being a bad place is so small. It’s worth, it’s worth taking the risk. Now, if you were buying, and your sample taking came back looking good, but you wanted to be absolutely sure that your investment, you’re not getting a lemon and things are cleaned up well enough that you cannot find anything. That’s when you get a building biologist. And now, the great thing about knowing what to do beforehand is when you engage them, you can say I’ve inspected it for water damage in all of these places. I’ve also moisture mapped the bathroom, there were people living here, you know, up until a week ago, completely dry. I also took dust samples from these 10 locations and here are the results. So you kind of shortcut the amount of work they need to do in some way, which will save you money and allow them to do all the stuff that you can’t do, like going into the roof cavity, maybe taking samples from the air conditioning, ducting, getting under the house, and using some more sensitive instruments just to check for things like rising damp, and you know, and borescope into the ceiling. So they, that’s what I would recommend. Unfortunately, there’s no sort of just one checkbox that will mean yes or no but there is a lot that you can do yourself that will reduce your odds of taking a lease or purchasing a property, like you and your family sick either now or down the track.

Natalie K. Douglas 28:47
Yeah, that’s perfect. So tell us where we can find this course because I’m going to go find it.

Amie Skilton 28:53
What I’ll do as I might even send you the link to.

Natalie K. Douglas
Please do. I will definitely do that.

Amie Skilton
Yeah, it’s a private service that’s not currently available on my website, although it will be in the near future. I’m in the middle of studying building biology other subjects and it means I have to be very careful with my time, but I would.

Natalie K. Douglas

Amie Skilton
Yeah, happily open that up to any of your listeners that want to take advantage of that.

Natalie K. Douglas 29:18
Perfect. Amazing. And what else is next for you in the space of building biology or even just generally do you have any events or courses or programs besides one you mentioned coming up?

Amie Skilton 29:32
Oh, yes.

Natalie K. Douglas
Tell us.

Amie Skilton
So probably three things to share with you. So number one, I am creating an online course called Mold Proof Your Home.

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, fantastic.

Amie Skilton
It’s the next best thing to hiring a building biologist to come and tell you all the things that you need to do to check your home and make it safe. Now that’s going to be a little bit later in the year. It went to time when I think people really need it, any other time of year but prior to that, so next month, I am launching a similar course called EMF Proof Your Home.

Natalie K. Douglas 30:13
Oh, I cannot wait to interview you on this as well.

Amie Skilton 30:19
Yes. So. Ah, look, electromagnetic pollution is something that we have, in the last hundred years been exposed to a quintillion fold more than we ever were but because it’s invisible to us, we’re wandering around with absolutely no idea that we are being zapped constantly. And there are big concerns about cell phone towers, especially 5g. But currently, until 5g is using the higher frequencies, people’s biggest EMF exposure is actually coming from inside their own home. And you can reduce your EMF exposure, EMF exposure by 95% by making changes in an environment that you control, even if you rent, but if you own, there are some extra things you can do to your property that adjust absolutely phenomenal. So that’s coming up shortly and in line with that I’m actually doing another webinar on 5g in a couple of weeks, because unfortunately, the time that we’re recording this at the time of Coronavirus, they are for some reason or another pushing the rollout and accelerating it while everyone’s got their attention elsewhere, and are trapped inside. And this is a major problem. I think one of the most pressing health issues humankind are currently facing and people are completely oblivious to what’s going on. So I would certainly love to invite anyone listening to this to join me for that webinar so that they can have an understanding of why the people that are protesting it.

Natalie K. Douglas 32:08
Yeah. Because I think that, you know, ignorance is bliss, yes, but it is a real problem. And the more I learn about it and hear about it, the more I’m like, it’s yeah, we definitely need to do something about it. So I’m so glad that you’re creating that. And I’ll definitely share it with everyone in the show notes. And also, I would encourage everyone to go and follow you follow you on Instagram, because you share all of that stuff there as well. So I’ll pop that in the show notes as well but it’s thatnaturopath is Amy’s Instagram handle. And anything else, anything else, you know, just in case that’s not enough. I just want to make sure you know.

Amie Skilton 32:50
Look, they, you know what, I’m notorious for over-committing myself, and I’ve been really trying to make an effort this year, not to do that.

Natalie K. Douglas 33:02
You do after a good start.

Amie Skilton 33:05
Look, I am currently taking on the mission of educating people on how to support their immune system naturally. So anyone follow me on Instagram. It’s gonna see me posting an awful lot about that because right now, the whole globe is currently experiencing the effect, particularly virulent and contagious virus. And it makes me very sad to know that many people are, you know, tucked away at home, terrified, feeling powerless to do anything about it, when in actual fact, each one of us has the most incredible sophisticated immune system that can mount an immune response to anything actually, as long as it’s treated well, and that you’re not putting things into your body that are damaging your immune system, and that you’re feeding it what it needs at a time when it needs more of it.

Natalie K. Douglas

Amie Skilton
But look, apart from that, no, I’ve resisted putting any more projects.

Natalie K. Douglas 34:06
Well, congratulations! I mean, we all appreciate all of your work and education. So I love that and you, I can attest to the fact that you’re doing an absolutely amazing job at educating everyone at the moment in relation to supporting their immune system. And I echo that, I think there’s so much that natural medicine and our own bodies have to offer right now that is completely within you, and available to you, and that you can jump on straightaway. So I will encourage everyone to go and follow that information as well. The final question I have for you is, what is one thing you do for your health daily?

Amie Skilton 34:47
Hmm. Every single day, I will do a little bit of yoga, at least a little bit of yoga and meditation, and I currently, I’m doing this at the end of my workday. I used to do it first thing in the morning to be honest to start my day off on a on a good foot. And it was really the only movement I was capable of when I was really sick with mold illness but now that I am a lot more well, I’m getting fresh air and getting my heart rate up and walking in the mornings. But for my own mental well being, yoga really brings me back into my body, you know, doing research, I do love writing on my head, I’m naturally someone who comes from the head and the brain a lot. And so, I’m currently using the school combination at the end of my workday to transition out of that busy headspace and into my evening. And I just do it here at home, in my office, I use an app for the yoga and a guided meditation on my you know, in my iTunes for that. And some days, all I have is 10 minutes for each. So 10 minutes yoga, 10 minutes meditation, but if I have more time, I will certainly take that as well. And I just, I actually couldn’t be without it. I think I will become quite a horrible human if I didn’t kind of care of myself. So yeah, that’s a daily non-negotiable for me. And look, if I’ve had a rough day and not gotten to it, you know, at the end of my workday, that’s the thing that I do before I go to bed.

Natalie K. Douglas 36:30
Yeah, I love that. And yes, me too. I, and I think now’s a really important time to be connecting back into our own body because everything else right now is pulling us outside. And yeah, I definitely love, love, love that and I absolutely adored having you on and I can’t wait to get you back again. And I will pop everything in the show notes for everyone. And thank you.

Amie Skilton
Thank you, Nat. I so appreciate having the opportunity to chat about this and I can’t wait to talk to you again soon.

Thanks for tuning in to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. Remember, we love to make the show relevant to you. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to discuss, just submit them to [email protected] and we’ll get them answered for you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast on iTunes and share it with your friend. And if you’re looking for more info about how we can accelerate your journey to your optimal health, you can find me, Nat, over at NatalieKDouglas.com, and Kate, at TheHolisticNutritionist.com. See you next time!


The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast - with Natalie K. Douglas and Kate Callaghan

Welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast!

If a professional, polished, well-edited podcast is what you’re after…then we’re not for you!

But if you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers and authentic heart sharing then we are your ladies.

We also have the most practical tips on holistic and alternative health care too 😉

Have a question that you want answered on the podcast or want to be interviewed? Get in touch!


Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas ("Nat") is a Holistic Dietitian and Nutritionist dedicated to Thyroid, gut and hormone healing.

Nat shows stressed, burnt out, overwhelmed women how to value their worth again, change their mindset habits, prioritize healing, and reclaim their vitality. Guaranteed.

Her clients say she’s the right girl to see if you’ve tried the conventional approach and nothing has worked.

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan is a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach who specializes in women's hormone healing.

She recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” diet or “magic bullet” which is going to cure all illnesses.

She focuses on having a thorough understanding of your personal goals, needs, likes/dislikes, support networks and lifestyle in order to create a food and lifestyle approach that suits YOU.


Amie Skilton | Naturopath, Herbalist, Nutritionist, Beauty Therapist, Reiki Master & Life Coach

Amie Skilton | Naturopath, Herbalist, Nutritionist, Beauty Therapist, Reiki Master & Life Coach


Former functional medicine practitioner of 18 years, Amie Skilton’s view of root cause medicine was forever altered as a result of an environmentally acquired illness.

In 2017, after developing CIRS herself, she discovered the world of building biology and the various ways in which the built environment has a profound impact on human health. She realized her naturopathic, nutritional and herbal toolkit were only as useful as her environment was healthy.

She’s now on a mission to raise awareness in the public arena, and educate practitioners, on a commonly overlooked but monumentally significant influence on health and wellbeing.


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