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episode #286

Interview with Ashley Armstrong (aka. Strong Sistas): Overcoming Autoimmune Issues, Saturated Fats and Lessons from Dr. Ray Peat!

September 11, 2023 in Podcast


This week I interviewed Ashley Armstrong from the Strong Sistas!

Ashley and her sister Sarah run a regenerative farm and are passionate about nutrition, weight training, cooking, and bringing quality food to the masses. In this episode, we discuss how Ashley overcame Raynauds along with:

  • Importance of Eating Easy to Digest Foods
  • Prioritizing Quality Saturated Fats
  • Purpose of Measuring Body Temp and Pulse
  • Importance of Balancing the Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio
and her one tip to get your body back to what it once was!

Brian (0s):

Coming up on the GET, LEAN, Eat, Clean, Podcast.

Ashley (3s):

So one of the, I think, best ways that you can kind of assess whether your eating strategy is moving you in the right direction is your body temperature and Pulse measurements. This is just a super simple way of assessing energy production and you shouldn't, the truly, the best way to do it is three readings throughout the day. So when you wake up in the morning, 30 to 45 minutes after breakfast and then mid-afternoon. And so you generally wanna see a trend in those body temperature measurements going up. And so honestly, the biggest thing that I saw with changing not only my dietary strategy, but also lifestyle changes as well, was I w when I was carnivore, my body temperature was 96.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ashley (48s):

That is very cold and very low. And then now my waking temperatures are low 90 eights and I commonly reach like 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. And when I'm in a stressful state in life, I notice that my body temperature trends downward, right? And so that's just a sign, you know, okay, it's a busy season in life. I got high cortisol right now and that's having a negative impact on my metabolism. So kind of using that like body temperature and Pulse measurements as just kind of a gauge of the state of your metabolism and whether you're moving the needle forward in your health, it's so simple.

Brian (1m 23s):

Hello. and welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. I'm m Brian Gryn and I here to give you actionable tips to get your body back to what it once was, five, 10, even 15 years ago. Each week, I'll give you an in depth interview with a health expert from around the world to cut through the fluff and get you long term sustainable results. This week I interviewed Ashley Armstrong from the Strong Sistas Ashley and her sister Sarah Run a regenerative farm. And our passion about nutrition, weight training, cooking and bringing quality food to the masses. We discussed how Ashley overcame Renaud's along with the Importance of Eating Easy to Digest Foods Prioritizing Quality Saturated Fats, the Purpose of Measuring, Body Temp and Pulse.

Brian (2m 8s):

And the Importance of Balancing the Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio and her one tip to get your body back to what it once was. Really enjoyed my interview with Ashley. I know you will too. Thanks so much for listening and enjoy the show All, right Welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn and I have Ashley Armstrong on Welcome to the show.

Ashley (2m 30s):

Hey Brian, thanks so much for having me on. I am dealing with a little bit of allergies. I am, for whatever reason, triggered by ragweed still. So there's some underlying health issue that I still haven't worked out because every year, for one week in August I get some seasonal allergies from ragweed. So my voice seems a little off. I'm a little sleep deprived because just the sinuses are flowing in the middle of the night. But I'm gonna try my best to be clear with my responses, but that's kind of why my voice seems a little off right now. But I'm happy to be here, so thanks for having me on.

Brian (3m 5s):

Yeah, thanks for coming on. I'm a listener of your podcast rooted in resilience that you and your sister started, what, like not too long ago? Yeah,

Ashley (3m 14s):

We did a season one and so now we're in between season one and season two and we just have so much going on with starting our new business and the farm. And so we're taking a pause on podcast recordings, but we will jump back in in season two this fall once we kind of get this new business up and running. But it's been, it's been a lot of fun because something that I just appreciate about Podcasts is you can always discuss nuance and context, whereas, you know, short form social media on Instagram and TikTok, it's seven seconds, right? And you, there is no way that you can provide enough nuance and context. And so there's just these extreme viewpoints and I think it's causing a lot of confusion in the health sphere for the average consumer.

Ashley (4m 0s):

And so just Podcasts are just more informative, they're more fun and people can learn a lot more. So we've enjoyed starting that up and we're excited to continue with seasons over time.

Brian (4m 12s):

Yeah. And I noticed you have, is the new business this Angel Acres, is that the new one or is that something else? Okay.

Ashley (4m 19s):

No, So, we have our Strong Sistas business and then we have our farm Angel Acres. Okay. But we're starting a new farm cooperative and it's called Nourish. And so it's basically our farm Angel Acres is one of the suppliers to Nourish. And so basically we wanna be like an one-stop shop for all things, a hundred percent grass fed meat, organic corn and soy-free lo pufa chicken and pigs products, and then all raw dairy products, dog food, traditional sourdough products all in one place. And so we've been working a lot behind the scenes to vet partner farms, create new products and we're almost at the place of like hitting launch and take on our first round of customers.

Ashley (5m 4s):


Brian (5m 6s):

Ums exciting.

Ashley (5m 7s):

Yeah, it, it's like a hundred percent what we were meant to do. 'cause it combines our love for like human health and like optimal nutrition, which I think honestly comes down to the types of Fat that you're consuming in your diet. Also with regenerative agriculture and how animals are fed and raised. And so being able to provide people with these products is just so fulfilling and so fun. So it's just been a ton of work, but like a hundred percent what I was meant to do.

Brian (5m 34s):

That's awesome. I could tell. And before you got into farming and your podcasting, maybe just give a little bit of background of like what sort of brought you down this route. I know you've had overcome a few health issues as well.

Ashley (5m 47s):

Yeah, so I am a mechanical engineer, so I did mechanical engineering in undergrad, but I also was a varsity athlete. And so playing division one golf plus mechanical engineering and being like a perfectionist at the same time and sleeping very little, I think that that did a lot of damage to my health in that period of time. And then I just decided to keep going on that education path and go to grad school and get a PhD in mechanical engineering. And so finally this just like extremism of all the bad things I've done for my health growing up, especially in that really important adolescent period, all of that caught up to me at an early age.

Ashley (6m 33s):

And so I think I'm kind of an example of like how orthorexia and extreme health states, especially at a young age, can cause health problems. So like orthorexia is real and can cause issues for people. And I think that that's one of the issues of like mainstream, or not mainstream, but just like social media health platforms is people are literally afraid to eat food. And there's people that are overeating food, but then there's also people that are drastically undereating and kind of going to these extremes. And I think that those, those states are just as dangerous and they can catch up to you 'cause human beings don't just run on air. We, we need food to have a, a well-functioning metabolism.

Ashley (7m 15s):

So gosh, I've dealt with, I, I've pretty much done every single extreme diet there is. I was like plant-based at one time self-proclaimed vegan, but I still ate eggs, So, we called ourselves vegans. And then very much like if it fits your macros approach where, you know, as long as you hit your macro targets you can eat whatever you want. Like pop-tarts and crap bread and ridiculous food that I ate at the time. And so I had a amenorrhea and also like Autoimmune conditions, so super cold fingers and toes rayons and really bad constipation and digestion issues, all kind of a signal of just your metabolism is suffering, your body is not good at producing energy and you're co extremely stressed out.

Ashley (8m 10s):

So that kind of caught up to me at a early age in graduate school and I just became absolutely obsessed with trying to fix myself rather than going down like the pharmaceutical path. And in grad school I started realizing that most of my free time was being spent learning about health and food and regenerative agriculture. And so I finally was like, I'm gonna become a farmer and we're gonna pursue our health interests full-time. And so after I got my PhD Sarah and I moved to the farm, we kind of pursued strong full-time and are going down this regenerative agriculture path because I just truly believe that the way that animals are fed and raised really impacts human health.

Ashley (8m 56s):

And so the state of the health of America I think is a result of our food system and hopefully we can try to change that in in any way. So kind of a long story of just, I ran into health issues myself and I think that that's when you, when when someone wakes up and realizes how important it is, you can't really tell someone. They've gotta kind of go through the challenges themselves. So I kind of experienced that at a relatively early age and that's kind of what pushed me down the path of learning about how I can be as healthy as possible.

Brian (9m 31s):

Yeah. And I I've noticed you've clung onto, actually clung onto, but like you've learned or you've portrayed the s bioenergetic viewpoint where I know you've on your podcast have has had Danny Roddy and Georgie dink off who I've had on mine. And how did Ray Pete's, you know, research influence the way you know you went about your health?

Ashley (9m 52s):

Yeah, I think that Ray Ray Pete has had a huge impact on my health and I didn't even like talk to him that long. I feel like Danny and Georgie knew him for so much longer. But I think the thing that Ray made me realize was that what matters most is the internal state of the body. And so how, how the body is functioning internally will impact every single function of the body. So no function is independent of each other. So for example, how your digestion is re is related to like how well your hair grows because it all goes back to how well your body is producing energy.

Ashley (10m 34s):

And the better that your body is able to produce energy from the food that you consume, the more energy your body has to properly perform functions throughout your body because the structure of a certain organ in your body is dependent on energy production and structure and function of that organ and tissue are in like interdependent. They, they rely on each other. And so I think that that was the most eye-opening thing is like, oh, the better you are producing energy, the more energy your body will have and so then you can just function better. So that is was a, a sigh of relief compared to these like diet rules of like, this is bad and this is good because that provides no context.

Ashley (11m 15s):

It just elicits fear and it doesn't provide any sort of education about human physiology. And when you learn human physiology, you become, you get food awareness, you don't get food fear. And so I think it was just like a huge sigh of relief and it was not only like I, I didn't, I personally noticed an improvement in my health, but I also noticed in improvement in how I viewed food, it allowed me to move past and break through those orthorexic food boundaries that a lot of the previous diets that I was on kind of inflicted on me and

Brian (11m 54s):

And. what were some of maybe the, the big things that you changed from how you were eating before And, what you're doing now? And I know you mentioned Rena's. I'm curious to know, is that something that you've gotten rid of or that has Yeah, diminished? Yeah,

Ashley (12m 11s):

So one of the, I think best ways that you can kind of assess whether your eating strategy is moving you in the right direction is your body temperature and Pulse measurements. This is just a super simple way of assessing energy production and you shouldn't truly, the best way to do it is three readings throughout the day. So when you wake up in the morning, 30 to 45 minutes after breakfast and then mid-afternoon. And so you generally wanna see a trend in those body temperature measurements going up. And so honestly the biggest thing that I saw with changing not only my dietary strategy but also lifestyle changes as well was I w when I was carnivore my body temperature was 96.5 degrees Fahrenheit that is very cold and very low.

Ashley (12m 59s):

And then now my waking temperatures are low 90 eights and I commonly reach like 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. And when I'm in a stressful state in life, I notice that my body temperature trends downward, right? And so that's just a sign, you know, okay, it's a busy season in life. I got high cortisol right now and that's having a negative impact on my metabolism. So kind of using that like body temperature and Pulse measurements as just kind of a gauge of the state of your metabolism and whether you're moving the needle forward in your health, it's so simple. So I think that that was kind of the biggest thing. And the, it's hard to, Michigan is like a great test, right? Because we, we experienced very cold winters and nice summer temperatures and so in the summer your body temperature can be skewed a little bit just 'cause it's so hot outside.

Ashley (13m 50s):

But if you're reaching 90 eights in the wintertime, that is a sign of a well-functioning machine just like generating energy. 'cause a byproduct is heat, right? And so yeah, I am much more cold intolerant 'cause my body's just better at producing energy and as a byproduct producing heat. And so I don't, I don't experience those symptoms anymore. Yeah.

Brian (14m 15s):

And one of the ways you did that was that just from eating more,

Ashley (14m 19s):

I think it's really hard to just dial in one thing. And I think that that one thing for everyone is gonna be a little bit different. You just kind of have to go back to principles, right? So when we think of humans, we want to use a lot of our energy for our brain power and we don't wanna use a ton of energy for digestion. So I think a, a big principle is Prioritizing easy to Digest foods, however that can vary person to person. So like I do extremely well with sourdough bread, Sarah doesn't do as well with sourdough bread. And so I think kind of figuring out what foods you're digesting well and kind of Prioritizing those 'cause that's gonna put less digestive stress on you and then your body can utilize that food more for energy production.

Ashley (15m 8s):

So I think Prioritizing easy to Digest foods, back when I was a vegan I was just eating massive amounts of like

Brian (15m 16s):


Ashley (15m 17s):

Cabbage, beans. I don't, my plates were just so much roughage, right? And I think a little bit of fiber is beneficial, but you don't have to go overboard, right? So I think understanding digestibility of certain food groups is super important. But honestly I think one of the most important things is Prioritizing, the types of Fat that you're eating. Because there is now like more and more evidence that there types of Fat in your diet will impact the types of Fat inside of you. So that'll make up the membranes in your body. Different fatty acids floating around, make up the structures of various organs and tissues.

Ashley (15m 60s):

And that plays a huge role on just creating conditions inside your body that signal various like, oh, it's hibernating or torpor season or okay we should burn fuel. So I think Prioritizing, Saturated Fats over polyunsaturated Fats is vital. And again, the amount of Fats that someone consumes is very different and will vary season to season. But as long as we're Prioritizing more Saturated Fats, so ruminant animal Fats like beef, lamb, dairy products very high in Saturated, Fats honestly like cocoa butter and chocolate. So Prioritizing, those Saturated Fat products and minimizing poof of products as much as we can.

Ashley (16m 44s):

I think that that's been super important for energy production as well. And then overall lifestyle, right? Like you can't expect to just push, push, push, always live in a state of cortisol. You can't kind of fight that with diet, right? You have to be able to give yourself that, that rest and Digest and that relaxation time as well. So I think it's a combination of experimenting with your diet and Prioritizing easy to Digest and Saturated Fats. And then also making sure that your lifestyle isn't negatively contributing to your health. Adding extreme amounts of cortisol and stress to an already stressful environment.

Brian (17m 27s):

How long were you carnivore for?

Ashley (17m 31s):

Maybe a year and a half, something like that. And I think it was a beneficial stage for me because gosh, I prioritize ruminant animals and so I, I became very Saturated in that time. And so I think that that was beneficial, right? And I also got rid of all of these digestive, all of these foods that could have been serving as digestive issues. So there were a number of benefits to that, but I also combined it with a lot of fasting. And so I think that maybe if I would've done more like three or four meals a day didn't fast, maybe I wouldn't have ran into health issues as soon as I did.

Ashley (18m 13s):

But there were signs that my metabolism was slowing, slowing and slowing and slowing my hair started to thin and my hormones weren't great. And also my body temperature, that was I think the most eyeopening thing when I learned about repeat and I took my body temperature, I was like, wow, that's crazy.

Brian (18m 35s):

Yeah, I, I know that's, that's, it's such a simple thing that people can do. Yeah. The body temperature and the Pulse and so you do that three times a day, you know, do you, do you do that anymore or, or that you just did that in the beginning?

Ashley (18m 49s):

So I think that I understand why it's hard for people to do, 'cause it is very time consuming. Es especially if you want to do it properly, you technically need to sit there with a thermometer in your mouth for like three to five minutes and you gotta keep track of that. It's just another thing to add to your schedule, right? So I don't do it right. Now, I was definitely utilizing it a lot in the beginning when transitioning out of carnivore and kind of trying to learn how in the heck do I raise my body temperature? And so I don't use it right now, but I think that it's a very useful tool for someone who is experiencing health issues right now. It's a very good simple way to see if what you're doing right now and the changes that you're making, if they're actually moving the needle forward in your health, they provide you a very like clear yes or no because if your body temperature is trending downwards that that's not a good sign.

Ashley (19m 41s):

If it's trending upwards, then keep going.

Brian (19m 45s):

And so since then, now you guys have your own farm with, how many animals do you have on that farm?

Ashley (19m 51s):

So, we now have a thousand layer birds. So birds that are producing eggs, we have 70 lamb, two cows, 10 pigs, and then a hundred meat birds. So chickens that are raised for meat and those live in the trees. So, we have quite a lot of moving parts here at the farm. And then we have four guard dogs and three house dogs. So, we have

Brian (20m 17s):

A lot. Oh my god. Lot.

Ashley (20m 18s):

Lot of animals. Yeah.

Brian (20m 20s):

And so the guard dogs, they're just keeping, what do they, what's their job?

Ashley (20m 25s):

They are incredible creatures. So they're a blend of great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd and we've done zero training. It's just natural instincts. And so for example, if I'm sitting with one of the guard dogs, Cooper in the field and he sees like a bird cir circling above us, he just goes off and starts barking at it. And then at night I've watched him chase a Gryn large group of coyotes away. Really it's just like innate instincts that's just, we, we evolved with these dogs to like help us better herd and manage ruminant animals. And so it's just cool to kind of learn about that history of like not only guard dogs but also herding dogs and how like we domesticated these dogs to help us better manage, for example, large herds of sheep or things like that.

Ashley (21m 15s):

So it's just in their blood and they kind of nap during the day and then they're nocturnal and they're awake at night. So he just does his rounds and fight fights off any coyotes or raccoons or anything like that.

Brian (21m 29s):

That's amazing. And you, no training, this is just, that's pretty cool. What kind of dog and you have to buy these, you probably had to get 'em somewhere special or like at a certain breeder that Yeah,

Ashley (21m 39s):

We had, we had a local farm that was selling some and So we got one early last year and then we got another one and then they had a litter of puppies, So, we bought two and then we had a litter of 11 puppies and kept two of those. But yeah, it's great. Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd. Okay. Both of those breeds are really great. I personally love the combination of them.

Brian (22m 3s):

And they're big dogs, huh? Yes,

Ashley (22m 5s):


Brian (22m 5s):

Yeah, they're fighting off herds of coyotes. Very big.

Ashley (22m 8s):

Very big.

Brian (22m 9s):

Yeah. Yeah.

Ashley (22m 10s):


Brian (22m 12s):

Well, what are the, some of the sort of the, the high level big, you know, let's say someone's maybe feel like, I don't know, I think like you talk about a lot of people do undereat Yeah. And they're, you know, this is, you know, they maybe they're overactive and they undereat what type of high level things could people do. And when you talk about digestion, easy to Digest foods and these, I'm assuming you're, you're you're gearing towards like certain carbohydrates that are easier to Digest than others. Things like fruit and honey and things like that.

Ashley (22m 47s):

Yeah. So real quick on like the people are probably eating less so, or like not enough. I think it can kind of go like both ways. So on both ends of the spectrum. So people that are way too Lean, not eating enough, and then also people who are overweight. I've seen, we've had a number of people go through our course and kind of looking at their day-to-day eating. There's this consistent trend of like if they eat breakfast, it's really small, it's like 200 calories. Maybe they eat like 300 calories for lunch and then just like a really small dinner and then their body is starving and they binge right?

Ashley (23m 27s):

At the end of the day, if we invert that and we prioritize three fulfilling meals, then your body isn't as starving for food, right? And so I think making your meals count and making them fit your lifestyle and fuel your lifestyle regardless of where you are on the body weight scale, I think can be super powerful. Because if you're eating really small meals and starving at a certain point, like you're gonna binge. So I think for everyone finding like a structure, whether that's three meals a day or four meals a day where you can just create a nice meal that fulfills your energy and protein needs that can lend to better behavior later in the day, not necessarily binge and things like that.

Ashley (24m 22s):

So in terms of how to fill those meals, I think that the percentage of carbs and Fat is gonna vary depending on how much muscle someone has. I personally have been strength training for a very long time, and I have a decent amount of muscle for a female. And so I do well with a decent amount of Fat in my diet. I'm not like 40 to 50%, but we, this is like a slight difference than the extreme pro metabolic people who say like zero Fat. I think that as long as we prioritize Saturated, Fats, Saturated, Fats do not have the same metabolism inhibiting effects that polyunsaturated Fats do.

Ashley (25m 6s):

So PUFAs can actually down-regulate metabolism. They can signal hibernation and torpor inside of a body. And so your cells can become like, they can, it can create signals to store energy rather than burn energy. Saturated Fats don't have that same signal. So I think the percentage of carbs in Fats in someone's diet can vary a lot. And I don't think that life is about finding a perfect one of that. I think it's about finding a way that's sustainable for you, something that you enjoy because food should be fulfilling. You should get enjoyment out of your food because that's how it's gonna be sustainable, 2, 3, 4 years down the line.

Ashley (25m 47s):

And so for those carbohydrates, I think it can be a blend of sucrose sources. So in season fruits, raw honey maple syrup, even some organic cane sugar. And then also with properly prepared starches. So starches have been a part of our ancestors' diet for a very long time, but not in the way that average Americans consume them now. So if we take a look at like ancestral trends, you know, you've got sourdough bread where the wheat is long fermented to break down those antinutrients to improve the digestibility, to break down that gluten. Then you've got things like masa haina flour where the corn is nick sti, which reduces the antinutrients again, improves the digestibility, improves the nutrient bioavailability in that corn starch.

Ashley (26m 39s):

So just many trends like that where our ancestors really prioritized how they prepared those starches. And so I think some combination of those, depending on your digestive state, depending on your activity level, will, will be totally fine for carbohydrate needs. And then in terms of Fat, really Prioritizing those ruminant Fats. So whether that's just Fat on your steaks or in your beef or lamb Fat in your dairy products, coconut oil, cocoa butter, and chocolate. And then if you're going to consume eggs, chicken and pork, trying to source those from corn and soy-free properly prepared or properly fed chicken and pig animals.

Ashley (27m 27s):

And I honestly think I've, people going through our course, I've seen people experience success with a wide range of macro targets, but implementing those principles seem to do really well.

Brian (27m 40s):

And your course, tell me a little bit about the course.

Ashley (27m 44s):


Brian (27m 45s):

And who's that geared towards, you

Ashley (27m 46s):

Know? Yeah, So, we, we do have a lot of like free resources and downloads on our website as well. The course is really interested in someone who is interested in learning more, learning more about human physiology and kind of what, how our metabolism works. Not at a super deep biochemistry level, but understanding how certain foods that we're consuming is going to impact energy production. And kind of the, the biggest thing we see from people coming out of the course is just letting go of food fears, letting go of this dogmatic thinking about food and instead moving forward with food awareness and enjoyment of food and a better understanding of how to properly fuel themselves while also enjoying food and not living in this reic state.

Ashley (28m 34s):

So it's kind of like a collection of all the mistakes that we we've made. Yeah.

Brian (28m 40s):

Yeah. And you talk about it, you've talked about it a few times on your Instagram and on this course as far as a, a Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio. Maybe explain that just a bit.

Ashley (28m 50s):

Yeah, it's funny how, so I, one of my favorite activities is reading literature and going in Google Scholar and like, I don't know, you go on these rabbit holes of like, one study leads to another study, leads to another study. And I spend a lot of time looking at literature in like livestock and for example, in dog nutrition studies, in goat nutrition studies. There's just well documented of like Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio is very important and you really gotta make sure that that Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio is balanced. And so there's also evidence in human studies as well that a Calcium de Phosphorus Ratio is advantageous at the cellular level and it creates this internal environment that signals better energy production, it signals it, it helps your body improve energy production and allows us essentially to have more energy to function better throughout the body.

Ashley (29m 52s):

And so Dr. Ray, Pete has mentioned this a number of times, and he's actually discussed some studies where people in trying to lose weight in energy deficits, if they've prioritized a, a better Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio, they've actually seen better weight loss results. And I think it just goes back to just improved energy production because the signals inside of our body, if it's telling the mitochondria to burn energy, your calories out are also ultimately going to be increased. If the signals inside your body are signaling to store energy, then your calories out, your basal metabolic rate is gonna be downregulated a little bit. And so I think that paying attention to your total Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio can just be advantageous for a number of things.

Ashley (30m 36s):

I personally saw it increase my body temperatures, so that was a sign that my energy production was improving. And you don't have to be super strict about this. The way that I like to just explain to people is like, okay, foods that are high in Calcium are going to be all dairy products and maybe like collared greens. And then also fruit is gonna be a little bit more of a balanced Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio. High Phosphorus fruits are gonna be meat and grains that does not make them bad at all. I consume these every single day, but just when you're consuming a meat, try to just consume some dairy with it when you're consuming some grains, try to consume some dairy or some fruit with it.

Ashley (31m 16s):

And so just thinking about these things and Balancing one with the other, you don't have to have this extreme view. Instead it's just, okay, let me just consume these minerals and these nutrients in a more balanced and appropriate manner.

Brian (31m 30s):

Yeah. It's interesting, you, you you wrote Yeah, like dairy, collard greens, yogurt, yogurt, something I love. Yeah. And a lot of times I'll have that with fruit. And then you mentioned to balance those out, meat, organs, eggs, seafood, grains. I'm not a big grain. I don't know, I just, you probably make your own bread and things like that. Yeah, yeah. So I, I could see it. Yeah. I noticed on your, you make a lot of different things. So like one of 'em that I'd like to learn is the, the yogurt would be cool. That seems like it could be time consuming. And ice cream.

Ashley (32m 9s):

Yes. Ice cream is a super food. Ice cream. Ice cream is a super food. It absolutely is. I think we've just like modern industrialization of our food system has just made, has food quality has gone down, cost of food's gone down, production has gone up at the consequence of our health, right? And so if we just go back to a hundred, 150 years ago how they were making these food products, like we'd be in much better health. And back in the day, ice cream was just traditionally some raw cream, raw yolks, some sort of sugar source and like syrup

Brian (32m 47s):

Maybe. And then, yeah,

Ashley (32m 48s):

Yeah. That's the beauty and And now it's, there's all these gums and high fructose corn syrup. They probably find a way to sneak vegetable oil in there some way. Carin, all of these like compounds that are negatively contributing to health inside of our body, causing gut disruption, opening up the permeability of our gut walls. The, the food system is a nightmare. It's a mess. Yeah. So like when, when in doubt, the best thing someone can do for themselves is to learn how to cook their own meals. If you cook 95% of your food, 90 to 95% of your meals, you are, I guarantee you, you're going to be in better health than if you were eating out more often.

Brian (33m 31s):

Totally agree. I mean, my wife and I try to cook every meal for at home. Yeah. And I would say nine out of 10 we're probably at, so I noticed you do some cold plunging. Do you still do that?

Ashley (33m 45s):

I I do not do cold plunging. Okay. So this is where, this is where Sarah and I differ. Yeah.

Brian (33m 50s):

Sarah, because I know, I know that's not maybe a pro metabolic thing to do. I do enjoy doing it every once in a while though.

Ashley (33m 58s):

That's Sarah too. Yeah, she'll, she'll do it once every two months maybe. It's not like a daily thing. I mean, if someone were to bring me to a lake or a river and said like, let's jump in. Sure. you know, like that's fun. But I think that it has become this orthorexic thing again, right? And people are looking for these shortcuts on how to lose Fat and they think that, you know, doing a cold plunge just going to somehow impact, I don't know, I don't even know what the messaging is these days. It's gonna impact your leptin signaling and brown Fat versus white Fat.

Ashley (34m 38s):

And it's just like, just master the basics first. Like don't get lost in the miners major. Like don't, don't get lost there. And I think that it's just, again, one of those fads, I like to point to the literature that supports that ice baths after workouts negatively inhibit muscle hypertrophy and muscle growth. For sure. And I think that that's a huge thing because most of America is under muscle, right? And if we're doing something that's negatively gonna inhibit muscle regrowth, I don't think that's a good thing. If someone, if it helps someone temporarily reduce inflammation so that they can better move throughout their day, I'm not gonna tell you to stop, right?

Ashley (35m 24s):

Like, if it is, if you are seeing significant benefits, benefits from it, great. But if your body temperature trends are going downwards after continuous, continuous, continuous ice packs, I don't think that that's going to lend you well a year later. So pay attention to your body temperature and Pulse measurements. Are you able to maintain your weight while eating the same amount of food? Or are you seeing that you have to reduce your food to combat this excess stress and potentially down-regulate metabolism? If it's helping you with pain, if it's helping you move better, I'm not here to tell you to stop doing that, but I think we really need to let go of trying to find these shortcuts.

Ashley (36m 9s):

Shortcuts to help. When in reality if someone were to get eight to 10,000 steps a day strength train three times a week, sleep eight hours a night, and cook most of their food, that's gonna elicit benefits. There's not gonna be shortcuts that you can try to overcome by these other potential trends.

Brian (36m 33s):

Yeah. Completely agree. I mean, you gotta focus on sort of the, the big levers Yeah. The things that'll really help, like you mentioned, managing stress, sleeping well, Resistance training, going for walks, getting outside, getting some sunlight. Yes,

Ashley (36m 48s):

Absolutely. A hundred percent

Brian (36m 50s):

I do, I I cope plunge usually on off days. Okay. So just as a recovery tool. Okay. But I, yeah, so I enjoy doing it every once in a while. What about raw milk? I've, I've, there's a farm. I know you're, you're from, originally from Illinois? Not too far from where I'm at, but there's 1 45 minutes west and I think it's in Dundee. Okay. And I've gotten raw milk from their, from them before. What are, what are your thoughts on raw milk?

Ashley (37m 20s):

I think that raw milk is a super food, right? So pasteurization was just relatively recently invented and prior to that, so prior to the early 19 hundreds, we've been consuming milk straight from the teats for millennia, right? And whether that was just straight drinking the milk or if it was fermenting the milk because we didn't have refrigeration and it was turned into cheese or cottage cheese or buttermilk or things like that, that has been a part of our culture and tradition for a very, very long time. And I think one of the things that is a problem with pasteurized conventional milk is a few things, but first is that a lot of it is fortified with synthetic vitamins.

Ashley (38m 8s):

And those vitamins can have certain carriers and compounds in them. And there's some studies demonstrating that people aren't actually allergic to the milk, but they're actually allergic to these additives that are added to the milk and also homogenization. So this process that like breaks up the Fat globules that al that can also negatively impact the Fat digestibility of the milk as well. So there are consequences to altering one of mother nature's creations and humans. This is just kind of another trend that humans think that we are smarter than mother nature. Are there people that can handle pasteurized milk?

Ashley (38m 50s):

Totally fine. Absolutely. But there are also a ton of people who can only drink raw milk. And so raw milk has these sets of enzymes that lead to a higher production of the lactase enzyme inside of you, which helps you break down the lactose. So especially people who are sensitive to lactose, which is one of which is a, one of the carbohydrates inside milk, you need the lactase enzyme to break down that lactose raw milk can really be really advantageous there. 'cause drinking, it can help boost your own lactase enzyme production and then you can Digest the lactose. I also think that it gives you an opportunity to directly support farmers.

Ashley (39m 33s):

And that is probably one of my biggest passions is not supporting the centralized food system because large, big agriculture companies are making a ton of money and small farmers are making 7 cents for every dollar sold at the grocery store. And so by buying raw milk from farmers that you know and trust, you're supporting small scale regenerative agriculture and you're not supporting like the big food system. So I think that that's kind of an important point as well. It just provides an opportunity to not only support farmers directly, but if you can go visit the farm or maybe follow that farm on social media, it can give yourself, and also maybe your kids a chance to see what real farming is.

Ashley (40m 20s):

And I think that that is a experience that needs to be done at a young age, going and visiting farms to understand how food is grown and raised. And then the result is a growing population that understands that food shouldn't be made in a lab. It shouldn't be corn and soy monocrop fields. Agriculture should be a collection of small farms where animals are rotated around living outside. And so I think it kind of goes down, it, it's, there are health benefits to drinking raw milk. There's potentially more vitamins, active enzymes, potentially more minerals, more bioavailable nutrients, and it's potentially easier to Digest.

Ashley (41m 2s):

But then I think there's also kind of more life experience and potentially the chance to support farming opportunities as well. I think it's a multi-prong benefit there.

Brian (41m 16s):

And you'll be selling on your, your new company that you're starting called, it's called Nourish, is that the name of it? Yep. Yeah. And Will, will you be able to ship every, everywhere eventually, or at least in these states?

Ashley (41m 27s):

We are selling to cats and dogs.

Brian (41m 33s):

Starting with animals. Yeah.

Ashley (41m 35s):

Yeah. And that due to C D C guidelines and F D A regulations, we can't legally say that it is for that it is safe for human consumption and So we are selling for cats and dogs. And whether or not you feel like it is. Okay,

Brian (41m 54s):

You're talking about just the raw milk part? What about, yes. What about the other things?

Ashley (41m 58s):

Yeah, So, we are just, the way that we're going to phrase our website is everything is for cats and dogs, pets for your pets. Okay. And we produce, we make sure that this food is produced to the same rigorous standards. And if you choose to consume it, then that is like your own risk and your choice. Yeah.

Brian (42m 20s):

Got it. Okay. Yeah.

Ashley (42m 21s):

Yeah. But I think that it not only raw milk, but then also like raw cheese as well. I think that people can Digest that a lot better. And the reason being is raw cheese is typically created and produced in using traditional practices. Whereas a lot of like potentially pasteurized cheese, there's a lot of shortcuts, there's a lot of weird additives, gums, flavorings, colorings agents that are added to those cheeses, And. so again, just another centralized, industrialized food product that can potentially, that should be a super food, food But.

Ashley (43m 7s):

it can potentially cause digestive issues for people because of all these additives and weird fillers that Yeah. Weren't there a hundred years ago.

Brian (43m 16s):

You mentioned you had the Autoimmune called Rena's, right? Is that Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And that, and that's when your fingers sort of, or your, or your fingers or hands or your toes I guess get really cold and and turn white. Is that right? Is that the main Yeah.

Ashley (43m 34s):

So if you think about it in terms of like a systemic level energy production, if your body is not producing adequate energy to serve all of the organs and tissues in your body, what area is it gonna prioritize? Keeping warm

Brian (43m 50s):

Inside your body? Yeah.

Ashley (43m 52s):

The central organ system, right? Right. So your organs function best when they are at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. And so keeping that midsection warm is gonna be your body's main priority to keep you alive. It is not a high priority to make your fingers and your toes warm, so it's not gonna divert energy and precious resources out to your end ligaments.

Brian (44m 15s):

Yeah. Got it. And so did you over, did you, in, you increased your body temperature over time, would you say that's a combination of foods you ate and the amount

Ashley (44m 25s):

Oh yeah. Yeah. Okay. I was definitely on the side of not eating enough. Okay. And unfortunately that happened to me at a very young age. Like age 15, I wasn't eating enough. And so my growth development during adolescence was definitely jeopardized. I think I would've been better off if I overate at that time, giving, giving my body the signal of abundance and it had the energy to do the proper hormone production and things like that. But yeah, so from a young age, I don't think that I was fueling myself enough. And an under fueled organism is not going to function optimally. That is just a straight fact. Like if you were to compare two organisms, one underfed, and then another one fed an abundance of good energy, the one that has more s like essentially your food is gonna be broken down like it's electrons to produce energy that that, that organism is going to function better in the end because it has more energy to run all of the functions needed.

Brian (45m 27s):

Okay. This is great. And so your big next project nourish, we'll look out for that. Yeah. One of the questions I typically ask, and you've probably answered it a few times, but if you were gonna give someone a tip to perhaps get their body back to what it once was 10, 15 years ago, what one tip would you give that individual?

Ashley (45m 48s):

Ooh, okay. This is hard, but I think that cooking your meals, I, I truly think that it comes down to that there is no way that you can be healthy and be in control of your health if your food is in the hands of a restaurant or some fast food chain. I think that Prioritizing cooking your meals at home is base level number one. I don't think that health can be changed. So like if you're thriving and you're eating out a ton, you keep doing you. But if you're struggling with your health, if you're not happy with your body composition and you're eating out a lot, step one is to prepare your food at home.

Ashley (46m 34s):


Brian (46m 35s):

Yeah. Totally agree. Yeah. Well this is great. Best place for people to find you and your sister, the Strong. Sistas? Yeah,

Ashley (46m 43s):

So. we have two Instagram accounts at Strong Sistas and then our farm has an Instagram account as well. It's at Angel underscore under acres. And then Armstrong sisters.com is our website and that'll have Links to everything else as well. It'll have Links to Nourish and our farm. and we have our Nourish food cooperative, which is essentially gonna be like direct to consumer, like delivering food directly to your door, doing all that vetting for you. But then we're also gonna be introducing a agritourism at our farm. And so if you're interested in, you know, a day in the life on the farm, our Airbnb on our wedding barn should be opening in October of this year, maybe November.

Ashley (47m 32s):

That's the goal. So be on the lookout for that as well.

Brian (47m 35s):

How far are you from Chicago?

Ashley (47m 36s):

Yeah, we should get you here. We are probably, if you take the Skyway probably two hours. Two hours, 15 minutes. Oh, but you're north of the city, so maybe two and a half depending on

Brian (47m 47s):

Oh, that's not bad.

Ashley (47m 48s):

Yeah, yeah.

Brian (47m 50s):

So if I maybe we'll, yeah,

Ashley (47m 51s):

Yeah. Interested in trying some raw goat milk straight from the goat teats doing some farm chores. Yeah,

Brian (47m 58s):

Yeah. My wife would be great at that. You can put her to work. I'll just hang out. That's

Ashley (48m 2s):

Great. Yeah. Yeah.

Brian (48m 5s):

Awesome. Well, Ashley, this was fun. I appreciate you coming on. And also we'll check out if you haven't checked out their podcast rooted in Resil resilience, which I know you're gonna be start recording up again soon. So yeah, a lot of stuff going on. Yes. But thanks again so much for coming on and we'll put all the Links in the show notes so people can, can find you. Yeah,

Ashley (48m 28s):

Thanks for having me on. Appreciate

Brian (48m 29s):

It. No problem. Thanks for listening to the GETLEAN E Clean podcast. I understand there are millions of other Podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show notes at Brian Gryn dot com for everything that was mentioned, In, this episode. Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member that's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again, and have a great day.

Ashley Armstrong

PhD, MS & BS in Mechanical Engineering

Cert. Personal Trainer

She is the older sister, turning 30 in November 2022. She was put on this Earth to educate; education & science communication are passions of hers, thus she received her PhD in Engineering to become a Professor. But during graduate school, she discovered that the topics she is truly passionate about include nutrition & regenerative agriculture (which are ultimately connected), so she decided to chase this passion head on by building Strong Sistas, & starting a regenerative farm from scratch.

She has conquered amenorrhea (no period for 12 years), autoimmunity, constipation & gut issues, PCOS, severe insomnia, orthorexia, iron overload, hirsutism, self-doubt and estrogen imbalance.

She loves weight training, cooking delicious & nutritious recipes, farming, gardening, decorating for holidays, & meeting others with like-minded interests. One day she hopes to educate the next generation through our content, on farm events, and being a mother herself.


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