Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Girlfriend Doctor w/ Dr. Anna Cabeca

Nov 4, 2021

If you’ve experienced trauma in your past, know that you’re not broken, you’re a survivor. Our past experiences can lead to chronic debilitating conditions but they don’t have to be a life sentence. Dani Williamson suffered from a number of chronic lifestyle diseases related to her adverse childhood experiences, and now she’s on a mission to help people understand how your diet can either heal you or kill you, and how you can overcome what you’re suffering from with six steps to living wild and well.

  • [1:05] Adverse experiences and the physical issues that come up from them are contributing to an explosion of depression, disorders, and suicide. Phone calls to suicide crisis headlines have gone up 800% since the beginning of the pandemic. Age 10 to 24 is the fastest growing demographic for suicide.
  • [2:45] Dani grew up in a storm of chaos. Her grandfather died by suicide and her mother attempted to kill herself many times. Dani suffered from chronic diarrhea for years from the stress and 15 years later she was in a bad marriage, diagnosed with lupus, and was on the road to committing suicide.
  • [4:15] Dani’s kids were her reason for choosing to continue to live. She packed up and moved and decided to become a nurse practitioner. Despite the improvement in her relationships, Dani was still suffering from several conditions and it wasn’t until one doctor, in particular, asked her about her diet did things start to change.
  • [6:20] Checking her food sensitivities changed the trajectory of her career completely. Dani had seen four gastroenterologists before the age of 40 and not one of them asked Dani what she was eating.
  • [6:45] Changing her diet turned her world around. She no longer needed to take medication for lupus or IBS, and she healed the inflammation in her body and now she’s on a mission to help other people do the same.
  • [7:35] You can reverse whatever it is that you’ve turned on from years of chronic dysfunction.
  • [8:30] Adverse childhood experiences don’t define us, but they do impact us. Those kinds of experiences can affect the very wiring of your brain. Dani’s mother’s second marriage was to a child molester who preyed on Dani when she was younger.
  • [9:45] Dani’s ACE score was 6. If you have a score of 4 or above, your risk of dying from stroke, heart attack, or suicide goes way up. In Dani’s practice, she made the realization that almost all of her patients were suffering from some sort of childhood trauma. Dani now uses the ACE evaluation with every patient in her office.
  • [11:40] Dani recently had a patient with an ACE score of 10 and at the age of 60.
  • [12:35] Dr. Vincent Felitti was an internal medicine doctor and in 1985 noticed that 50% of the participants in his weight loss clinic were dropping out. One day he asked a patient how old they were when they first had sex, and this lead him to the realization that many of his patients had incredibly adverse childhood experiences.
  • [15:00] Dr. Felitti started asking more related questions and developed them into the ACE test. He took the test to a number of different academies and was generally rejected until a person from the CDC recognized the importance of the test and they started one of the largest studies ever on childhood trauma.
  • [16:45] What happens to you before the age of 18 can set you up for a lifetime of chronic lifestyle diseases, depression, suicidal thoughts. Every single chronic lifestyle disease risk is increased by a higher ACE score.
  • [18:30] Every school missed the effect of adverse childhood experiences. Adverse childhood experiences are the single largest public health crisis in the United States and every single pediatrician should be offering this questionnaire..
  • [19:30] Women are 50% more likely to have an ACE score higher than 5. Your ACE score is directly linked to stress and the hormone cortisol. When cortisol is high chronically, we know that you have a much higher risk of developing an autoimmune disease.
  • [22:50] Dani goes over the 10 ACE questions and how many people assume their experiences are the normal childhood experiences that most people have.
  • [26:50] The ACE score is now a fundamental component of how Dani understands a patient's situation and what may contribute to their issues.
  • [29:15] If you feel triggered right now, this could be your opportunity to recognize what has happened to you and turn things around. Your diet, sleep, and movement define the quality of your life and you can take back control.
  • [31:15] Irregular bowel movements are a clue that you are not eating properly. You should be having a bowel movement once or twice a day, and if that’s not the case you need to look at your diet. Your diet controls 90% of your health.
  • [33:30] If your diet is mainly coming from a drive-thru window, you are creating systemic inflammation in your body. Inflammation is the root of every chronic lifestyle disease.
  • [34:45] Many of the people with high ACE scores usually don’t have a community around them, and that’s a big component of being able to heal. Social interactions reduce stress. We heal in community and in communion with others.
  • [36:30] Giving back to a community takes your mind off your problems and increases oxytocin, one of the most powerful positive hormones in your body. During the pandemic, Dani started hosting physically distanced cookouts each weekend to create a sense of community that was being lost.
  • [38:40] As adults, you have to automate, eliminate, and delegate everything that isn’t serving you and your family.
  • [39:40] Dani offers a class to patients before they see her called the six steps to healing. In terms of diet, Dani walks the talk. She started with one small step at a time
  • [40:45] You have to put yourself first because you are worthy of that. It takes time to rewire your brain and beliefs, but when you do and you’re running at 100% it trickles down to everything in your life.
  • [42:30] It’s also important to find a therapist to help you sort through the trauma in your own life. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have a sliding scale if you need to and to find the right therapist for you.
  • [43:40] Dani’s book is common-sense practical medicine. She wrote the book so that anyone can understand that garbage in equals garbage out, and that the average person who wants to feel better has a path forward.
  • [45:45] Dani tells the story of a patient suffering from a number of chronic lifestyle diseases, including being morbidly obese and having an ACE score of 9. Between addressing her adverse childhood experiences and finding out what her food sensitivities are, she’s turning around her entire world.
  • [50:45] There is no age limit on health. It takes time to change and improve, but when you see the improvements in your life and how you feel, you will feel motivated to stay consistent and keep going.
  • [52:15] Dani and Dr. Cabeca discussthe origin story and benefits of Naltrexone. To find a functional medicine doctor in your area, go to or speak to your local compounding pharmacist.




Mentioned in this Episode:



Always seek the advice of your own physician or qualified health professional before starting any treatment or plans. Information found here and results are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and are not intended as medical advice.