Episode 27: Stepping into Advocacy
Kara: Sick of the fatigue and fog? Fed up with the unpredictable flares? Hangry from the super restrictive diets?
Hello, and welcome to the Crunchy Allergist Podcast, A podcast empowering those who like me, appreciate both a naturally minded and scientifically grounded approach to health and healing.
Hi, I'm your host, Dr. Kara Wada, quadruple board certified pediatric and adult allergy immunology and lifestyle medicine, physician Sjogren's patient and life coach. My recipe for success combines, the anti-inflammatory lifestyle, trusting therapeutic relationships, modern medicine, and mindset to harness our body's ability to heal.
Now although I might be a physician, I'm not your physician and this podcast is for educational purposes only.
Kara Wada, MD: Welcome everyone to the Crunchy Allergist Podcast.
Welcome back to our returning listeners and welcome to all of our new listeners as well.
On the podcast, we talk about all things, allergy autoimmunity, and anti-inflammatory living, and we take pretty broad strokes and have a pretty liberal view of anti-inflammatory living.
And we're gonna talk more about how we live our lives can really contribute to what an anti-inflammatory lifestyle can look like.
And I'm really excited to welcome today a special guest Regan Nelson, who is a lifelong learner self-development junkie, and is constantly thinking and planning for something better and that's through her podcast, this or something better where Regan shares her stor the stories of innovators and positive change makers committing committed to making the world better.
Regan holds a BS and a master's in exercise physiology.
She spent six years working at Nike and Innovation. But since leaving Nike Regan has worked as consumer insights and innovation consultant, helping large brands and startups improve products, and the consumer experience Regan's own quest for the, something better comes through her work as a near director with Beautycounter.
And she's passionate about really promoting health education and advocating for more health protective legislation through the personal care industry. So thank you so much for joining me, Regan.
Regan Nelson: Yeah. Thank you. A new tagline that I, it was on my Instagram account, but I really, My quest as a lifelong learner is to share information and help anything that makes people in planet healthier, happier, and safer.
So that's really that's become my mantra and my mission.
Kara Wada, MD: I love that. It's. You are the human embodiment of a B Corp.
Regan Nelson: Thank you. I think that as a lovely compliment,
Kara Wada, MD: Which we could talk about later.
Regan Nelson: Yeah. I'm not perfect by the way. I always like to, I still drive an SUV. I'm guilty of that.
I have a large car. I live in the mountains, so everyone's on a journey.
But I think it's, we are all making small steps. And like, when you talk about inflammation, you have inflammation of our bodies, but then the planet is also experiencing its own type inflammation right now.
And what I found is pretty consistent when we make healthier choices for our bodies, they also tend to be healthier choices for the planet.
It's twofold two for the price of one.
Kara Wada, MD: Yes. And when we really aim for a healthier planet, it is benefiting us and our children, our grandchildren as well. And thinking
Regan Nelson: And the things we I'm sure, you're the doctor, but all this research is showing too, now that things are passing on like skipping generations immune diseases, things like that are now skipping generations.
So it really, it's a long impact that we're making and the choices that we have.
Kara Wada, MD: Exactly.
I think, to, to expand on that a little bit, it's this idea of epigenetics.
So essentially our bodies being able to turn on or turn off different genes that we have in our genetic code, we're not bound by our genetics, but our habits really do make a difference and they're able to turn those things on and off.
And that then can pass down.
So things can be familial, but sometimes they're not just our genetics, it's actually sometimes through the habits that we learned from our families as well.
Regan Nelson: What is it? I've heard someone say the, Your genes are the gun, and your lifestyle pulls the trigger.
Kara Wada, MD: It's a good analogy.
Although admittedly given our current landscape, I always,
Regan Nelson: We need a new analogy it a little bit.
Kara Wada, MD: Yeah. Totally gun phobic. But
Regan Nelson: yeah, it is it What's the word, like tension to it if you will. Yeah. Yeah. That's true. I'm gonna think of a new one.
How about like your genes, get you on the diving board and your lifestyle, is what your lifestyle is, what pushes you off?
Kara Wada, MD: I like that a little bit better.
Regan Nelson: Friend that gets you to the bridge or something like that.
Kara Wada, MD: I would love for you, I know there was a little bit in your bio, but I would love for you to share a little bit more of your story of, how you ended up to where you are in doing what you're doing.
Regan Nelson: Yeah. It's been a journey one that is not typical, which I think is important because many people think that we have to follow a specific path to achieve a status or a title or a place of authority.
But mine has been a journey of the anti-title in a way.
So I studied exercise physiology in college and graduate school.
I went to graduate school with the idea that I was gonna go work at Nike in the sports research lab as an exercise physiologist and low and behold, I achieved that.
I'm an enneargram three for anyone who's an enneagram fan.
I'm the achiever, so that won't surprise you, that I decided I wanted to work at Nike and I did.
And then, if you've listened to my podcast, you'll hear me in the very first episode, give the story behind the name, This or Something Better.
I worked for free as an intern for two, three months in, in the sports research lab as a physiologist and had applied for a full time job, they ended up giving the job to someone else.
And a friend of mine said to me, it's either this or something better.
So hence the name, this or something better.
It's taken on two meanings.
Also that there's better choices that we can make in the world and that's really the premise of my podcast, but that sent me on a path into product innovation and consumer insights.
And working with small and large companies to help them innovate and make their products better and their consumer experiences better.
Along the way, I had a baby, I was a bar three instructor for four years, master trainer, going back to my roots and exercise physiology, and then I found Beautycounter.
I exercised and I thought those were the definitions of health for so many of us for so many years.
We weren't thinking about mental health and sleep and community.
It was like you eat and you exercise and that's what it means to be healthy.
And I did those things and I studied it.
It was like my whole life were those two things.
And it was really at bar three when I started to have a different conversation about what health really was.
They were a really great brand.
They are a really great brand and how they talk about health and wellness and what that means in many facets.
And a friend of mine had started working with Beautycounter.
This was not, the company will be 10 years this year, I think it was like eight and a half years ago.
Kara Wada, MD: Oh my gosh. Wow.
Regan Nelson: So I was like early consumer of the products.
A girlfriend of mine from college was selling it and said, "Hey, I have these products. You wanna try them? "
I think there were like 10 products at the time.
And then over the years, I would just start using more of them because I liked them.
And she told me that they were clean and safe. And I didn't really do a whole lot of research.
I think I was like, okay, this is great.
I like them. And I'm gonna keep doing it.
She asked me once at the beginning, if I had any interest in joining as a consultant or a brand advocate.
And I was like, "no, never, never"
And at the time I had a con I had my consulting business and I was teaching at bar three and I had a full plate in my life.
And then four and a half years ago, yeah, four and a half years ago.
I don't know, she asked me again, and at the time I had a blog and she, this was pre-Instagram right, so there was no Instagram in the world.
You weren't sharing things that way.
It was really person to person or maybe through Facebook.
And she said, you have this network of people through your bar three community and your blog.
And they looked to you for recommendations and you are healthy and active.
And you really, I think you would really like the mission of this company.
And so I was like, okay, I didn't really think about it too much.
And a part of me joined for something to do.
In the periods of time when I didn't have a lot of consulting work, cuz my consulting work kind of ebbs and flows.
And I thought it would be nice to have something, to do something, to be a part of and being the achiever that I am, I like dove right in and sort of climb to the ranks, if you will.
Or built a really strong business within a short period of time.
And along the way I like had this epiphany, I don't know how long into it was, maybe a year, probably about a year.
I was like, wow, this is so much more than just products.
And the safety of the product was important to me and it was why I joined.
But then I joined about the advocate, I learned about the advocacy component of it, and we can talk about that, about the laws.
And then I learned slowly as I went, how, I don't wanna say I used the word ignorant, but I don't mean that in a bad way, just uneducated, unaware, the average person is to this issue.
And I saw my ability to make an impact within my community and help people make safer choices.
People who were struggling with infertility or who had breast cancer, or who had a child, with horrible eczema.
And I saw through these individual interactions, the ability to really help people and my enneargram wing is a helper so that also wouldn't surprise you that I like. That I like to help people.
And so all of these things came together into this business that I've built and created a platform around and really that's what the podcast came out of.
Because I saw this potential, that one person can make a difference, even in a small way.
I have 1400 Instagram followers. It's not as if I'm reaching hundred thousand people.
I have 30,000 downloads, I think something like that on my podcast, which is pretty decent for a podcast.
Absolutely. I'm not ritual, I'm not celebrity, but that doesn't, it almost doesn't matter to me because it's the little stories that make me committed to this work and to continue going forward, to educate and to use my voice or change.
Kara Wada, MD: It's interesting. I, I think, what I found, so humbling with me discovering Beautycounter was it was my own experiences as a patient, kind of an autoimmune patient.
My skin kind of, it changed essentially, I had always had combination more oily skin.
And with Sjogren's everything dries out, become like the Sahara.
So I was looking for different products, but then also came about in this time of this be becoming aware of more of the potential.
And I found it extra humbling that part of my everyday work was seeing people with eczema, with skin issues, knowing and telling folks, that things like fragrance and certain preservatives and things are irritants and are problematic.
I wasn't yet aware or had not, was not familiar with the science, regarding endocrine disruption, which essentially some of these different substances that are commonly in our personal care products, mimic some of our hormones.
And if you wanna learn more, you can listen to we can link, there's a podcast where I talk with Dr. Trasande who's done a lot of the research around this.
But it was this like full circle moment or, this idea of, oh yeah, I need to practice what I preach a little bit on that line.
And I also was very much in this place where part of a common, a very common part of the pre-med journey is being, being very involved in service, being called to service.
That's kind of part of what, I think attracts many of us to health professions.
It's also something you have to do to get into school.
And I was missing that, like that part of something bigger something that was really aligned with values and purpose and so being able to have a voice in one way, shape or form, and something greater was really empowering.
Regan Nelson: Yeah, it is. I actually talked about this on a podcast, the change your life podcast with Doreen Downing and she's actually helps people who are fearful of public speaking.
And in that podcast, we talked about the fact that I was never afraid of public speaking, but I never had a platform from which I felt passionate to speak from.
And I had a father, I have a father and a sister who have both been involved in politics.
And so I always thought like advocacy is politics and I'm gonna let them do that.
That's not my thing. And now, I went to Washington DC in April in lobbied on Capitol hill for cosmetic reform and held these meetings with congressmen.
And I call and I write letters and I encourage other people to do it.
And now I'm involved in advocacy in a way I never thought possible.
It just took something that I was passionate about to get me there.
And I think everyone should be involved in advocacy in some shape or form.
And there are too many issues in this world for us to choose all of them.
So I recommend you choose the one that like lights you up because this is volunteer work, essentially, unless that is one per Beautycounter, I do get paid for promoting and selling the products.
And the advocacy is a part of that, which is lovely because I do a lot of free work.
I'm on board of two nonprofits and I was in a junior league for years, which was, again, free work.
So this actually feels nice that I get paid for my advocacy work, but be it, gun violence or climate change or education, whatever it is, know that you can have a voice.
And if you're passionate about it, that radiates out and there, like an avalanche effect.
And I've seen that with Beautycounter that people in my community pay attention differently today than they did four and a half years ago.
Kara Wada, MD: The other thing that I think I will at least weave into that is this idea that, you know, just because we do this advocacy work through a particular company.
One of the things that kind of drew me to their purpose was they're trying to make changes for everyone, not just their customers.
Regan Nelson: Yeah. Yeah. And that's really, when you look at Beautycounter's mission it's to get safer products into the hands of everyone.
And a big distinction between Beautycounter and other nonprofits, if we're talking about that space or even a regular, direct to consumer company, I'm gonna use a cosmetics company, for example, like Juicebeauty, which is clean beauty or goop or something like that, is Beautycounter is using commerce as an engine for change.
And that model is becoming more and more common.
And also the social networking. Social selling model is also becoming a more common model for commerce because the power of people is what makes change.
The power of networks and communities.
Who do you buy products from? I actually know this from well, sports stars are actually like the most influential people out there right now.
Athletes, which is shocking to me, scientists, sadly, Kara are quite, yeah, I'm sure on the list of introverts.
Totally. But yeah, peers was not on this list that I was given this is for project I'm working on.
But I really do believe that pure influence is the greatest source of influence that we have.
If your girlfriend tells you to use honest diapers, which wasn't around when I was when I had my daughter, like I probably would've used honest diapers, or if someone, tells me to buy this lotion, I'm like, oh, okay.
I trust you. That's part of a big marketing, right?
You like, someone, you like them and you trust them and that's how we make purchasing decisions.
So your ability to make an influence in your community is really strong.
Beautycounter just happens to be doing it as a business, which I will say is a smart model because working in the nonprofit world, it helps to create stability and longevity in that organization and their mission.
It's how you stay around, look at Patagonia. Yeah.
Patagonia is a perfect equivalent.
Beautycounter is much more like Patagonia than we are like Mary Kay.
In that they're B corporation, they're very mission driven and they are doing things to make the world a better place, and they make decisions around their products, their packaging, like you said, the B corporation in the beginning, how they treat their employees, all of those things play into that. Which is
Kara Wada, MD: yeah, let's break down what you have to do the layman's terms for B Corp. It's better for people, planet.
Regan Nelson: Planet use.
Profit is still part of it. Yeah. I think that's why I make the point.
You have to be a profitable business to stick around.
And you can't, if you're not, if you don't exist, you can't make a difference.
So the bottom line is really important.
The people is how they treat their employees, their supply chain, labor practices.
And then the planet is looking into, ingredients, sustainability.
Doctor Bronner actually has, I think the second highest people score. I had David Bronner on the podcast. He's a funny guy.
Beautycounter just upped our B Corp score. It's very difficult to raise them too.
It's not as if going up one point is like a thousand things that you have to do incrementally better.
I think there's 120 in the world, B corporations, I believe like that.
Kara Wada, MD: I spent some time scrolling through one day.
Just to see, I think one of the things that, slowly but surely, I'm a big fan of making small, sustainable changes in general.
Because if we get overwhelmed, we tend to freeze and not make any progress.
But just looking like, how can I vote with my dollars? It, I think it was around a holiday giving time.
So I was looking okay, I'm gonna be spending money, how could I spend this money maybe in ways to get, show gratitude love, affection, however, to friends and family.
But to also have kind of a win, either, supporting a small business or, supporting a B Corp, how could I vote with my dollars?
Regan Nelson: Yeah. It's an important part of making change because consumer demand is what drives manufacturers and brand choices.
So if the consumers are demanding more responsible supply chain practices and more sustainable packaging, then it has a trickle.
I don't, it's more like, flowing up effect as opposed to the trickle down, cuz if we're going from like big corporations.
Like they start to pay attention, if their consumers want different packaging, the big brands are more likely to make safer packaging when consumers demand it.
But if consumers don't demand it, they're not gonna make the changes.
A perfect example is how you see meat alternatives at like Carls Jr. and McDonald's and all of those places.
So like they are responding to consumer demand.
These are big changes, the same way a decade ago, we saw organic food making its way into Walmart and Target.
They're responding to consumer demand. So we really voting with our dollars is so critical.
Kara Wada, MD: And that's what then decreases the costs overall too, when..
Regan Nelson: Ultimately goes up.
Yeah, yeah. If you look at the price of organic food, it's fallen greatly become far more accessible.
I also wanna, I always like to state as a caveat that for many people shopping with B corporations, safer companies committed to social responsibility is more expensive and it can very much be a luxury that not everyone can afford.
That said, that's why I personally have aligned with Beautycounter because our mission, as Kara said is not just to sell you Beautycounter products, it's to get safer products into the hands of everyone.
And the only way we're going to do that is by advocating for change.
And as a company, we exist to make change.
And as long as we exist, that will be our mission.
And when we pass more health protective legislation over the personal care industry, All products will have to be safer.
So sometimes I feel like it's a privilege, but it's also a duty for me as someone who can afford to make more expensive choices for the sake of the planet.
It's like my duty to do it for those people who can't because eventually my choices will hopefully drive their ability to buy any safer product at Walmart or, at the Rite aid or wherever it might be.
Kara Wada, MD: And the things that we're advocating for, aren't totally out there.
They're backed by bipartisan support.
But like many things, there are some very big, powerful lobby groups resisting change.
And this is, in part, been something we've seen in lots of different industries with, common sense gun reform or, changes to help decrease the cost of insulin.
And, other things that vast majority of people can agree on. Yeah,
Regan Nelson: We do have bipartisan support and it was interesting because when I was in Washington.
We actually had a meeting with my congressman from instead of a staffer.
We had the congressman and he was a dentist by training and I knew this.
And so I, said to him remember how they used, sorry to get graphic for anyone who doesn't like to think about this preserved dead bodies and formaldehide well, they don't do that anymore.
Cuz formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. I don't know that the, if they still use formaline and I haven't had a cadaver in a while.
But I don't know that's a whole lot better, but apparently it was better than formaldehyde, but did you know you can put formaldehide in baby lotion.
He didn't know that. Yeah.
And when, you bring up the example of when hair care who's had over 20,000 product complaints made against them.
People have lost their hair permanently, young girls.
But yet the FDA cannot force that company to recall that product from the shelf. He was like, doesn't the FDA control that?
And that's where I go back to that word.
He goes why, why is this not happening?
And I had to pause, I didn't really know the answer for him, cuz here he is a Republican Congressman from Idaho.
His constituents probably are not thinking about personal care safety, just to be honest.
So like why should he care about this and advocate for this on behalf of his constituents?
So why is he ignorant to it? That was my, why would you be, why is there opposition?
I think the number one reason is just not on their radar because they assume, he just said doesn't the FDA regulate that?
Even congressmen assume that the FDA is regulating personal care products.
Like they regulate food and they're not.
So that's one problem why we're not passing legislation.
The second is they have so much that they're inundated with that this is just not on their radar.
When they're having, like you said, gun safety and a war in Ukraine and a pandemic.
And so when the personal care products, safety act S2100, I have this in front of me.
That's the only reason I can read that bill, comes to their staff, they're like, okay, great. Lotion. Do we really care formaldehydes and lotion that doesn't, it's controlled by the FDA.
So I think there's so much out there.
And then lastly there is yeah, special interest groups, lobbying firms, the big consumer packaged goods industry who make things, they put a final product on the shelf for what Beautycounter buys their ingredients for.
They don't wanna have to change their supply chain.
They don't wanna have to change their ingredients.
They don't wanna have to change their formulation cuz it costs money.
But we're getting there, we just, I think as the bill recently passed through the senate help committee and should be passed into law by the end of the year.
And I don't remember exactly the details of that bill, but we are making progress and Janowski from Illinois is an incredible advocate for cosmetic reform.
She's in her seventies, like seven eight, she's just like, spitfire, five two.
We met her in Washington, DC, and she's been advocating for cosmetic reform for over 10 years.
And she actually started and got into Congress.
She worked got together a group of girlfriends to, I think it was like a BPA ban or something like that in her community. This is a long time ago.
I didn't get the whole story directly from her. But so when I say your voice can make a difference, here's this fired up little lady in Illinois who decides that she's gonna help partner together to, I think, like I said, I was think to ban BPA, and now here she's in Congress, 20 years later, whatever it is, 30 years later.
You never know. Yeah. Yeah.
Kara Wada, MD: And I think goes to show, too, that, as we started off our trajectory, we may not end up exactly where we think our end goal is. Our, that may just be a stop along the way. To where.
Regan Nelson: Yeah. Yeah. It's a journey. It's a point, it's a point on a roadmap and and to the point of my podcast.
It's if you, I truly believe this, if you do the hard work, if you're a good human being, there is something better. Like this
can also be great, but there can also be something better.
And every chapter, if you follow those like moral guidelines, there will be something better.
Kara Wada, MD: Yeah. It really resonates with kind of this, the mantra I've been trying to like, think about on a daily basis of kind of just aiming for those 1% increment improvements of, okay, stay steady or move on, yeah. This or something better.
Regan Nelson: It's hard. It's hard not to get overwhelmed too, by all of the choices that we make.
And I think we're really good as a company and as a brand, a Beautycounter to try and preach progress, not perfection.
And I think it's important, for myself and everyone else who's out there advocating for safer products or organic foods or water filters or whatever it might be to share that we didn't always do it this way.
Like for anyone who grew up in the eighties and nineties, like I used St. Ives apricot scrub that I'm sure Kara used it, everyone has used that, right?
Yeah. Or Cetaphil or Cerave or the Noxzema pads, toner pads.
Kara Wada, MD: Oh yeah. Noxzema pads. Yeah. For the acne, for sure.
Regan Nelson: It like just dried you out and you could smell the alcohol or B a PO strips.
I dunno how safe that's the, very satisfying those poor strips, but, we all use those things, just like I ate snack wells and I wouldn't eat a snack today, and like low fat sugar free muffins.
And I, my college drink order was like a non-fat latte with sugar, free vanilla, and nothing with some more, nothing, and some chemicals with.
But, my Andrew says it best do the best you can, until better. Then when you know better do better. Absolutely. And don't beat yourself up about it.
Kara Wada, MD: Yes. Self-compassion all the way. I just, I, you were talking about that, all I could think of is this flashback to my apartment in medical school.
I was on my surgery rotation which hours wise was quite stressful. And my dinner probably several nights a week was a bag of microwave popcorn. Yay forever chemicals.
Regan Nelson: Yeah, I was maybe some, you got some vibe in there a little bit. Pretty sure what the find the silver lining is.
Kara Wada, MD: So I washed it down usually with a glass of like white wine.
Regan Nelson: Yeah. I was gonna say diet Coke or something too. Yeah. Oh
Kara Wada, MD: yeah. I had my daily diet Coke until my dentist, was like, Hey, you're gonna lose your teeth.
It is. It is fascinating. And I, it is one of those things. Yeah, I could, we could look back with regret, but let's rather just look forward with gratitude.
That we, have been able to make those little changes along the way and learn along the way that, we can make these small shifts and the trajectory of those small shifts may seem.
Very, it may seem like a very small change in the short term, but when you look out a year, five years, 10 years down the road, It's like, rerouting a plane you end up in a totally different destination.
Regan Nelson: Yeah. Leo Trasande, who you mentioned earlier, who you had on your podcast. He's been a guest on my show as well.
He's the author of a book called Sicker, Fatter, or Poorer, and he is on the Beautycounter science advisory council.
And he was in Washington DC, and we had a council like panel and someone asked him, my, my mom is a doubter, if you will, a naysayer, and her point is, I gave you all these things.
I used all of these things and you turned out fine, or I turned out fine.
So her question to him was like what do I say?
And his response was, I thought really poignant and basic, what if I'm right?
So if we can make these safer choices, why not?
It's not hurting us and we know that it's potentially helping us.
In some cases you can see the impact, but in many cases you don't necessarily see the impact.
It's not on the surface of our skin, as an allergist, like if you have an allergic reaction, you see that immediately.
But when we have a Paraben or a phthalates or something going into our system and disrupt our endocrine system, we don't see that impact.
We may not see that impact for 20 years, and what if we're right, why not make these small choices that can potentially have a positive impact? Why not?
So I thought that was a good kind of.
Yeah. It also like,
It's reminiscent of the same, yes, I grew up without, without much of a car seat, or, or our parents maybe didn't have seat belt.
Yes. Yeah. We used smoke on airplanes too, but we don't do that anymore.
Yeah. We learn.
Kara Wada, MD: And I think, one of the other things that he has brought up is it is really hard science to study, but the amount of data and the quality of data that we do have is pretty concerning.
Yeah. And it is, each of us has that individual point that we have to decide, like where is our trigger point to to make the change. And if it's hit it for me, personally.
Regan Nelson: And for me too, I. I make personal choices that I think a lot of like my family or friends may think I'm crazy.
I filter, I filter all of my water and I don't use Toran wrap and, there's choices that I encourage my daughter to make that are not consistent with her peers.
And that can be hard to be different.
But, and to not scare people at the same time, I think my daughter one day told someone that her, their Pringles were cancer chips.
I was like, okay, I definitely did not call them that, but she heard that somewhere.
So I, there's no filter on little people. I remember her walking down the street, seeing guys smoking, and she's like, he's gonna die. Or, that person has a moment they're gonna break their brain.
Kara Wada, MD: We just had this moment last week in the car.
Regan Nelson: Yeah. But it's okay for me. And there's some areas where I'm not willing to sacrifice.
And I think it's, 80, 20 rule, we don't live in a perfect world.
And I think there's also stress that comes with trying to control everything.
That's actually worse for you than eating the non-organic food or for using the St. Ive's scrub or, whatever choice it might be.
But I think the important thing to do is that when you have the opportunity to make a safer choice and you can be that because of access, cost, whatever, when you can make that safer choice, make the safest one you can.
So like for 10 years, I've had the same beauty rest mattress and have known that I really would like to get a safer mattress without formaldehyde.
And there's other things that they put in mattresses that are not great for you.
I'm actually gonna have an interview with them.
The founder of migraine mattress in a couple of weeks.
And so in preparation for that, I've learned a lot about, even more about mattresses than I already knew.
This applies also to sofas, they also find gardens.
There's a lot of like wood, what's the word? Laminated wood product formaldehyde in them as well.
And so we tried to get a new mattress before we moved from Portland to Idaho.
And I tried four different versions of the naturopedic. They bought different coils and different foams and one from my husband's side and one from my side.
And we could not find something that was better.
That felt as good and as good night's sleep as our Beautyrest.
And so I just abandoned it because the sleep was more important than having the clean mattress.
So now I actually have a migraine mattress on its way to me, and I'm really excited to try it out, but that was like, I just got to the point where I was like, okay, first of all, this thing's 10 years old.
And I'm ready to like make the financial commitment, getting a cleaner, safer mattress.
Again, I may not like I may not use your hand sanitizer or your soap, but I've been sleeping on this mattress for 10 years.
So we all have different priorities and journeys and whenever you get to that point, that's great make the safer choice.
And if you don't or you can't, or you're not ready yet, that's okay too.
Kara Wada, MD: I think, one of the things that I've talked a fair bit about has been my own struggles with kind of that perfectionism with eating in particular.
And especially when I went down the rabbit hole, some of the different elimination, diets and different strategies early in my illness journey.
And I would totally agree that getting caught up in the stress of perfectionism really? Can be incredibly detrimental.
Regan Nelson: Yeah. It's counterproductive. I too have gone through, have to go on elimination at times. And like you become obsessive over your food.
You lose any sort of social connection to food and pleasure to eating.
And none of those things are good for us.
So I think it's the same if we're thinking about the air or whether or not, you go out to brunch with your girlfriends.
If the strawberries are organic, like I eat the strawberries.
Do I know that those are like top of the dirty dozen list?
The most disgusting we don't wanna buy regular strawberries.
Yes. But I still eat them, and, but I don't, I don't buy them at home. So there's my trade off.
So we can only control so much too. And I was listening you can I keep saying I'm listening to a podcast, I obviously listened to a lot of podcasts too.
I was listening to Glen and Doyle and Abby and they were talking about how our bodies are only designed, I don't know where she got this stat, but it makes sense. I'm going with it. It's maybe not scientifically proven, but feels our bodies are only designed to handle the stress of our village.
So if you think about, like the Maasai, they don't have smartphones. They have no idea that there's a war in Ukraine.
They're already stressed enough, probably with getting their food, taking care of their animals, the birth of new children, like pretty basic stresses.
And as a physiologist, it makes sense to me that our hormones and our bodies are really only designed for the stress of our village.
Yet now we have the stress of the world on our shoulders.
And we have that because of social media and news and television and all the ways that communication is wonderful, but also so detrimental.
And that it just inundates us constantly with stress and fear.
And so this doesn't have to be another stress of the world on your should.
And that's why I don't like to use fear so much.
It's important to educate, cuz fear does call some people to action, but it also can cause people to be paralyzed and feel depressed and anxious and horrible about themselves.
And that's not a productive way to make change. Yeah.
Kara Wada, MD: I think that's been, I think some of. What will come up in the discussion too, of about clean beauty, like that there are some elements that will come up in the marketing that are more fear based.
And so I think something I've tried to do my best is to walk that line of trying to stick with the education aspects. Is best possible, but sometimes that education is scary.
Regan Nelson: Yeah. Yeah. It's a fine line to walk.
And one that I don't pretend to do perfectly.
I'm sure there's some Instagram posts where I've turned some people off cuz I've scared them away and or told them that they, they shouldn't buy Chanel lipstick or whatever it might be when you watch there's an HBO, docu-series called not so pretty.
And when you watch that, like you can't unknow those things, 26 year old girl with mesothelioma who worked at a makeup counter because of all the asbestos and the powder makeup that she was being exposed to, there was no other plausible explanation for that cancer. None. And that is scary.
And with that product is at Claire's boutique.
Kara Wada, MD: I, I see it's been a little while since I've had anyone come in the office.
There were, there was a few months where I've had an a stream of folks coming in that worked in the personal care beauty industry, either in hair or in nails, who it's a well known diagnosis, phenomenon of developing either allergy, like symptoms it's called occupational rhinitis or asthma related to your immune system's response to formaldehyde , all these different substances.
Regan Nelson: Yeah. And that's iceberg, there is a, one of the packages is in the house actually is the cosmetic safety for communities of color and professional salon workers act.
And that's a huge area of impact.
A profession where these women are disproportionately impacted.
They tend to be women of color.
Why that's why the bill is for communities of color and professional salon workers in California.
They have an organization that helps to educate on this.
They have, I know a lot of their information. I think it's the safer salon coalition or something like that.
And they provide a lot of their training in Vietnamese since a lot of the women working in nail salons are Vietnamese.
We are trying to make progress, but yes, that's an area.
I have two women, I think two or three, that I work with on my Beautycounter team who are hairdressers and have made changes to their product choices and their salons and who are also trying to get out of the industry just for that reason, because they don't wanna continue to expose themselves to the products that they're using every day.
Kara Wada, MD: Regan, it has been. Super fun to connect and to go the gamut of all things.
Regan Nelson: I know. I feel like we bounced around a lot.
Kara Wada, MD: I know. I love it.
I would love if you would share where folks can find you, where they can find your podcast, where they can connect with you after they've listened, I'm sure they're gonna want to find out more.
Regan Nelson: Yeah. Thank you.
My Instagram is this.orsomethingbetter
The podcast is called This or Something Better and you will find it on all, Spotify, Apple podcast, Google podcast, all the places.
Those are really the two best ways to find me.
Kara Wada, MD: Thank you so much. I'm super excited.
I think my game plan is to have this come out in honor of lead, which is our Beautycounter, kind of, annual celebration of all things, clean beauty, seeing what's coming along the way, and so really excited to, to share this a little more with the Crunchy Allergist community.
So thank you so much.
Kara: Thank you so much for tuning in to today's episode with change agent, reagan Nelson. We hope you enjoyed this episode.
And if you did, please leave a review on apple podcasts and share this episode with others, who may be interested in all things allergies auto-immunity and anti-inflammatory living.
Also Reagan and I would love to invite you to take a small step today and the easiest way to take action yourself is by texting " better beauty", to 5-2-8-8-6.
This will ask your member of Congress to support better beauty laws.
If you're curious to check out some of the best performing personal care and beauty products, or learn more about how you can be involved with Beautycounter, reach out to me at
And last but not least, I created a brand new resource that you are going to love.
It is the Crunchy Allergists Anti-inflammatory Library.
I have pulled together my favorite resources I have read, digested, and incorporated in bits and pieces into my everyday doing all in one place.
To download it for free today, visit www.crunchyallergist.com and it will be delivered straight to your inbox. Thanks again for joining me today. And I can't wait to talk to you again next week.