5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing, With Author Kristin Grayce McGary
Turn off your devices — all of them. It can be like an addiction to scroll through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Turning off devices helps you in several ways. First, you can use all that extra time to do what I call “acts of self-love,” also known as simply taking care of yourself and your evolution as a human. Second, you will have less electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure, which means better health. My third book speaks about blocks to healing and EMFs are a part of it. Finally, and most important, is to take time each week to talk to people face to face, to relate and interact with real humans in the real world. A connection is important to our mammalian brains and nervous systems. Safe and consensual touch helps with our heart and mind coherence and calming of our nervous systems. The connection is important and we are quickly losing “touch” with it. Technology has a place, but it can’t replace the human connection.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Health and lifestyle expert, Kristin Grayce McGary.
Kristin Grayce McGary (LAc., MAc., CFMP®, CST-T, CLP) is an authority on autoimmunity, functional blood chemistry analysis, thyroid and gut health, pain alleviation, family wellness, extreme exhaustion, resolving blocks to healing, and using food as medicine. She specializes in integrating mind, body, and spirit in healthcare through a uniquely individualized approach. Kristin Grayce is the author of “Holistic Keto for Gut Health: A Program for Resetting Your Metabolism” (January 2020) and “Know Your Blood, Know Your Health: Prevent Disease and Enjoy Vibrant Health Through Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis” (April 2020).
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
My Aunt Doris was a nurse. When I was two they captured a picture of me taking my ill grandmother’s pulses, in the middle of her forearm, with a stethoscope, instead of her chest. Later I learned that this is where Tibetan doctors take pulses. My first thought was that I would help people by being a doctor of some kind. I was nationally certified as an EMT with experience in the emergency room, and I was on track to become a Western physician, but then I became very ill. I had debilitating fatigue, trouble sleeping, severe digestive issues, weight gain, migraines, trigger point pain, and I’d wake each morning feeling run over by a Mack truck. I was very athletic, a competitive bodybuilder, and even vegetarian. I asked myself “How could someone who seems so ‘healthy’ be so ill?” I went from doctor to doctor looking for answers and they’d often send me to a therapist, believing it to be all in my head or some emotional issue. And the therapist would refer me back to my physician because something was clearly wrong physically. I began to peel off the layers. Through functional blood chemistry analysis, I discovered I had two different kinds of anemia and hidden food sensitivities. Then, through electrodermal testing, I discovered I had heavy metal toxicity. I had unresolved trauma from a severe car accident and a date rape incident. As I began to heal, on all levels, my symptoms began to subside. I regained my energy, I released extra weight, the pain disappeared, and I got my life back. I decided that the Western medical model was great at treating most symptoms, but never asked the right questions about why someone was sick in the first place. What had come before the symptoms, that had informed that person’s health picture, mindset, and lifestyle? I wanted to approach health and wellness from a different vantage point and take a more holistic approach. I shifted gears, entered Asian medical school, and dove into my own healing even further. I began training in advanced craniosacral therapy, acupuncture, reiki, homeopathy, herbology, electrodermal screening, shamanism, and biological medicine to name a few.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Oh, this is a difficult question to answer because, after 20 years of practice, each day brings something incredible and miraculous. My most recent fun story began at a meditation retreat I was attending. Often, I get “messages” from Spirit that guide me to help people. There was a woman sitting across from me, whom I’ve never met. And I was shown she had a lot of pain and needed help. Later I approached her and introduced myself. We chatted for a bit and then I asked her if she had any pain. She said she is an 8 or 9 out of 10 every single day and night for the last 3 years since a blunt force trauma incident. I shared with her that I may be able to help and she was excited by the possibility. We found a quiet place to do a session later that day. Note that I did not do a full history or intake, I was only listening to her soul and Spirit. As soon as I put my hands on her ankles, a technique I use to connect and listen to the body, I heard, “You must treat her scars first”. With that message, I kindly asked if she had any scars. She reported that she had one across her lower abdomen from a hysterectomy about 15 years prior to the injury, and asked how was it connected. I explained how scars (surgeries) cut through the fascia, causing tension patterns of restriction. They also sever meridians, channels of energy in Asian medicine. I explained the impact on the nervous system and how to both down-regulate and balance her nervous system by treating the scar and resolving any blocks that may inhibit her ability to heal from the blunt force trauma. She agreed to receive neural therapy to clear the scar first. Within a few minutes after the inject, she reported having to go to the bathroom. Remember, I didn’t do a full history. She returned excited and also teary-eyed exclaiming that she peed a lot. Then she reported having forgotten to tell me that she had such horrible nerve damage from the injury that she has been unable to urinate on her own, she has needed to catheterize herself 5–7x day since the accident 3 years ago. By treating her scar, one time, that took about 4 minutes, she has now been able to urinate on her own and has continued to do so. Her neurologist is speechless and has no explanation for it, only because she doesn’t know about neural therapy. I did proceed to address her pain pattern with perineural therapy and advanced craniosacral therapy, and for the first time in 3 years, she was pain-free. She began to get feeling back in numb areas immediately. She needed a few more sessions to continue getting to the root of the pain in her nervous system as well as structurally. After 4 sessions she is thriving, her body has completely changed. She is back to yoga, can have sexual intimacy and feel her sexual organs again, went back to work, opened a stem cell clinic, and took a class in perineural therapy so she could begin to learn it and share it with others. These kinds of changes are common in my practice.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
It’s a very funny story. I was seeing a friend of mine, offering her acupuncture and advanced craniosacral therapy. It was a solid session, and I felt good about it. My next patient came in and I began our session, but in the middle, I had this feeling of dread well up in me, thinking that I left an acupuncture needle on the top of my previous patient’s head, sticking up like an antenna. I worked with my mind to focus on this patient and during my next break, I quickly called my friend to have her check if there was a needle on top of her head. She later left me a message saying “I was wondering why everyone at Whole Foods was looking at me strangely!” Then she laughed and said, “Just kidding; you removed it, silly.” Phew — I was relieved. This was a near-mistake, and a funny one.
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
As a holistic healthcare practitioner, I have trained and learned about 26 different modalities like acupuncture, advanced craniosacral therapy and somatoemotional release, functional blood chemistry analysis, homeopathy, lifeline technique, api therapy, sound healing, sacred cacao ceremony facilitator, biological medicine, neural therapy, sacred kambo facilitator, perineural injection therapy, five element embodiment practices, using food as medicine, integral coaching, death midwifery, psychosomatic therapy, and reiki — to name a few. I joke that I’m a one-stop-shop for most of your health- and soul-care needs. But what’s even more important is that I listen, with my entire being, to the vastly unique ecosystem of each person. This includes feeling into and listening with my mind, body, and soul to be shown the particular patterns that keep them stuck or contribute to their symptoms, illness, and dysfunction. This means listening not only to their verbal history but feeling into the energetic dynamics of how they show up in the world, how they walk and hold their body, how they speak, etc. The body speaks the mind through a language of symptoms and stress in your life. I teach people to translate the language of their body and mind, to listen to and care for their soul in a completely new way. It leads them to heightened awareness, deep peace, joy, and freedom. I empower people to be informed consumers of their lives — to remember who they truly are and, from their higher self, offer their gifts to the world. And I do it through dozens of modalities that are chosen at the perfect time, based on the guidance of your body, mind, spirit, and even ancestors. I take the best of Western, Functional, and Asian medicines, mixed with profound spirit/soul work to offer a dynamic, refreshing, insightful, and transformative therapeutic experience like no other. My gift is one of acute listening, paying attention to the details that everyone else misses or find unimportant, and then I ask those questions that lead to the answers that have been there all along.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Certainly, there are dozens of teachers who shared their wisdom and kindness with me. The story that comes to my mind is sweetly vulnerable. I was a single mama for the first 12 years of my son’s life. I worked very diligently as I shifted from being pre-med at the University of Arizona to an Asian medical school. I went to night school, I created a Waldorf-inspired daycare in my mom’s tiny condo to ensure my son was safe, and I worked as a sign language interpreter during the day at a private High School — I hardly ever had a day off unless I was extremely ill. I had no money, and I was living with my mom in her tiny place, in a bad part of town. She was a dedicated and brilliant teacher at a private high school and made very little money. Right after school, she’d rush to tutor ESL (English as a Second Language) in reading, often for free. I remember one week when we had absolutely no money, which was common, but this week stood out for me. We didn’t even have money for toilet paper, so mom said she would take a roll from her school just to get us by. At Asian medical school that same week, the director approached me and asked to sit down and chat a bit, so we did. He asked how I was doing, and I shared that things were really tight financially, but we’d make it through. The next day, he approached me again, but this time he handed me an envelope. He said that many years ago he found himself in a similar situation and someone helped him out and asked him to pay it forward someday. That day was today. He handed me the envelope; I was dumbfounded and had no idea what was in it. When I opened it, I cried. It had five $100 bills in it. When I returned home that night, I shared the story and the cash with my mom and we both cried. It really helped us so much. I have many more stories of talented teachers empowering me with their wisdom, guiding me to develop my special abilities to help people, but this moment of generosity helped shift a deep pattern of scarcity for me, that I’ve paid forward many times and will continue to do so.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
1) Unconscious blocks to healing. Your conscious mind is only about 2–5% of the show; conversely, your unconscious mind runs about 95–98% of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. We don’t know what we don’t know. Most of your life is governed by old strategies of protection or patterns that you learned from your family of origin, culture, and environment. It’s like you’re running on autopilot most of the day. When you aren’t in control of your mind, then your mind is in control of you. You’re then more likely to allow those old patterns to run your life, rather than making conscious choices. How you think — what you resist as well as desire — directly impact your biology. Change your mind, change your reality, and your body follows. When you heighten your awareness then you can identify and pause these old patterns and choose more wisely.
2) Lack of proper education and empowerment. If I had a quarter for every person who “thought” they understood what was healthy, but indeed was incorrect, I’d be a wealthy woman. People may have heard that working out is good, but they don’t really know what is good for them. Or they have a belief that it must be a certain way and it feels impossible. Another example is food. Many people think that whole grains, like wheat, are important for them to eat for health, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Not only do most people have no clue how to really care for their health, but our minds are also full of stories that don’t serve us. We live in a society of shame and guilt and we do this to ourselves too. When we shame ourselves for not working out or eating well, it perpetuates the unhealthy patterns that got us there in the first place. I believe people deserve to understand what is going on inside their bodies so they can make informed choices about nutrition and exercise. I reawaken and remind people of their personal power and how to use it to build vibrant health, rather than shaming them for being stuck.
3) Addictions — but not necessarily to hardcore drugs. I’m speaking of an addiction to an old way of being. People are very comfortable in their routines and habits, even if they bring pain, suffering, and illness. I believe many people are, in a sense, addicted to their current way of being in the world. It’s serving a purpose, or they wouldn’t be continuing to do it. It’s likely something they learned. Unfortunately, that purpose is often an old unresolved, unmet need from their childhood. They are reaching for sugar, media entertainment, family drama, carbohydrates, nicotine, porn, and bad relationships in order to soothe things in their unconscious mind. This can block them from making choices that would lead them to vibrant health and a deep sense of freedom. Guiding people to resolve these blocks is incredibly rewarding and inspiring.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
- Get a comprehensive functional blood chemistry analysis (FBCA) by someone who really gets it, spends time explaining your results, and connects the dots of your body, mind, nutrition, relationships, and life. I’ve had countless patients who had no real clue what was actually happening inside their bodies. They were playing the guessing game with their health. Their doctor had always said everything looked “normal,” even though they still had symptoms. Through FBCA, however, I was able to find subclinical imbalances that saved them suffering, time, and money. Western medical reference ranges are often old, outdated, and not even based on healthy subjects — if any people at all. My reference ranges are narrower and therefore help me find things even years before you may have a symptom or diagnosis. I also don’t only rely on one or two markers; I look for patterns of markers. Many times, high cholesterol is actually associated with insulin resistance and not a true cholesterol issue. Or I find subclinical or full-blown autoimmune thyroid issues when I assess all ten markers of thyroid health that no one had ever bothered to investigate.
- Turn off your devices — all of them. It can be like an addiction to scroll through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Turning off devices helps you in several ways. First, you can use all that extra time to do what I call “acts of self-love,” also known as simply taking care of yourself and your evolution as a human. Second, you will have less electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure, which means better health. My third book speaks about blocks to healing and EMFs are a part of it. Finally, and most important, is to take time each week to talk to people face to face, to relate and interact with real humans in the real world. A connection is important to our mammalian brains and nervous systems. Safe and consensual touch helps with our heart and mind coherence and calming of our nervous systems. The connection is important and we are quickly losing “touch” with it. Technology has a place, but it can’t replace the human connection.
- Get out in nature. Put your devices down and get your bare feet on the Earth. Go for a hike, sit in a park, drive to a lake or the ocean. Science has measured the vibrational frequencies of the Earth and discovered that when they completely isolated humans from that vibration, using things like concrete walls, that they all developed significant symptoms in their body and psyche like pain, inflammation, migraines, and depression. Nature can heal many things. Breathe in fresh air, literally hug a tree, listen to birds singing, and allow your body and mind to simply be in nature. I like to focus on my heart and have the nature that surrounds me to inform the rhythm of my heart and other bodily systems. I can feel the change in my physical nervous system when I do this; it’s simply delicious.
- Heighten your awareness of yourself. Rather than pushing away your dislikes or judgments, befriend them. Get to know all the ins and outs of yourself so that nothing passes by your conscious mind without evaluation to determine if you indeed want to subscribe to that thought or belief. I advise people to lean into the discomfort of their judgments by turning that judgment onto themselves. Anything you believe about someone or something, try it on yourself. Often, we are projecting shadow aspects of ourselves onto those around us. If there is anything you absolutely hate, get to know it; get curious about why you may hate it and where that strong emotion may originate? Trace it backward in your life and find the original person or situation that brought it up for you. In your imagination, care for that younger part of yourself like a loving parent cares for their child when they are in pain. This is a serious life-hack!
- Express your feelings. Suppressed emotions create dis-ease in your body, mind, relationships, and life. Discover your values; write them down and flush them out. When you share your feelings, notice if you’re triggered because something isn’t aligning with your values. Triggers are reactions, they are not coming from your truest, most authentic self. Rather they come from a wounded, injured part of yourself. Owning your power through expressing your authentic feelings can help every aspect of your body and mind. Suppressed emotions cause issues to get stuck in your tissues, which leads to imbalances and illness.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
- It increases your memory and cognitive flexibility, as well as the speed at which you process information. Brain plasticity is increased by exercise, which leads to protection against neurodegenerative diseases.
- Exercise causes your body to release chemicals called endorphins, which elevate your mood, I like to think of them as the “happy chemicals.” You need to feel good to have good mental health; in order to make healthier choices, exercise can help.
- It’s a strong gene modulator, which means it impacts how your genes express themselves. The field of epigenetics has proven that participating in activities that upregulate healthy genes and downregulate the sick genes is hugely beneficial for longevity and health. Exercise happens to help upregulate the healthy ones and downregulate the sick ones.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
It really depends on the person, their body, and what they have access to. In general, I encourage a mixture of stretching like with yoga; core training like gyrotonics or pilates; cardiovascular exercise like cycling on a stationary bike; strength training with some weights; balance exercises like jumping around on rocks in nature; and, finally, energy strengthening with Qi Gong.
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
- Always stretch and warm-up your muscles before and after exercise. Ease into exercise; there’s no need to go crazy the first day off the couch. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so don’t overdo it.
- Drink plenty of water and replenish your electrolytes with healthy choices — not Gatorade. I like Trace Minerals by Trace Mineral brand or QuintEssentials 3.3.
- Take liposomal glutathione; it’s the mother of antioxidants and can help you recover more quickly.
- Eat organic protein — like meat, poultry, and fish — along with lots of veggies and healthy fats so that your body has everything it needs for recovery.
- Consider taking magnesium or doing magnesium baths to help with sore muscles.
- Cold plunges can be great at reducing inflammation from hard workouts. I jump into my icy cold river almost daily.
- Take a high-quality collagen supplement to help rebuild your muscles and recover more quickly.
There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?
My first book, which launched Jan 7, 2020, is called Holistic Keto for Gut Health; A Program for Resetting Your Metabolism. I believe that food is medicine. However, that old saying, “You are what you eat,” isn’t completely true. It’s more accurate to say, “You are what you digest and absorb.” Everybody is unique, influenced by the environment, nutrition, stress levels, exercise routine, hydration, chemical exposures (skin care products, air, water, food, medications, hormones, etc), genetics, and more. I don’t believe that there is a single diet that is optimal for every person, every day. There are too many factors to consider. For me, I do best with low to no carbohydrates, moderate organic protein, healthy fats, and veggies. There are weeks when I’m in the keto zone, and weeks when I take a break from all the leafy greens. There are days where I’m more vegan and even raw. There are days when I fast, or eat a few berries and months with no fruit. I exercise often, do qi gong daily, and live in nature, so I’m very fortunate to have pretty clean air and water. I travel a lot on airplanes, which means I’m exposed to high levels of radiation — so I take more antioxidants during and following those days. I listen to my body rather than a protocol. I guide others — based on their lab markers, genetics, lifestyle, exercise routine, food habits, health goals, food sensitivities, and gut health — to find a nutritional plan that is right for them.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Oh jeez, there are so many! Pottenger’s Prophecy: How Food Resets Genes for Wellness or Illness, by Gray Graham, made a big impact on me many years ago. I learned that what you eat really does make a difference — not only for you but for your offspring, their offspring, and their offspring. The implications are huge. Dr. Joe Dispenza’s books continue to inspire me; You Are the Placebo and Becoming Supernatural are two of my favorites. I’ve attended several of his meditation retreats and love his work. I love learning and enjoy hearing other people’s perspectives on awakening to our human potential. In a world where the ten o’clock news is often filled with tragedy and horror, I like to surround myself with hope and create a field of infinite possibility for myself and my patients. Dr. Joe inspires me.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I would like to be part of a massive upgrade to our healthcare system…which currently acts more like a “sick-care” system. I’d like to educate doctors around functional blood chemistry analysis to help catch subclinical issues before they become acute. I’d like to see the system incorporating tools that address the root issues of disease rather than mostly medicating symptoms. I want to level-up the standard of care to be more individualized and patient-centered. I’d like physicians to have extensive training on “natural,” “alternative,” and integrative modalities for healing so they can appropriately refer out, working as a team for the best outcome for the patient. There is some older research that showed physicians that made eye contact, respectfully touched the arm of their patient, and listened to them had better patient outcomes than those who did not do those three simple things. I desire to guide doctors around their bedside manner so that their patients get better faster. I will continue to empower patients to ask more questions and advocate for themselves in new ways that bridge the gap between the care they are currently receiving and the comprehensive care that I believe they deserve.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
I can’t think of a life lesson quote in this moment. What comes to mind are these rules to live by:
The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
Always do your best.
I’ve received training in various forms of authentic relating practices such as Non-violent Communication, Circling, and T-group. I continue to return to Don Miquel Ruiz’s 4 Agreements, adding in tidbits like a) setting context before diving into a conversation; b) asking permission to ask questions or offer suggestions or feedback; c) sharing impact about how something someone did or said affected me, and not blaming, but rather owning my own feelings and reactions to people and situations around me; d) being gentle with myself and others since we are all learning. The best way to learn is to make mistakes. It’s not about perfection; rather, it’s about progress in our development as humans and how we can level-up our connections to each other and the Earth while awaking to our higher self and the field of Oneness.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
Oprah! She has inspired me and many women as she stands for authenticity, connection, perseverance, heightening one’s awareness, compassion, curiosity, and love. My dream is to offer Oprah a private session, to offer her a skillfully crafted therapeutic container in which to do a unique deep dive into her own healing, which is something she has offered so many in her own beautiful way. I’d like to give this back to her as a Thank-You.
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Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!