Ep. 229 Ways to Reduce Anxiety and Better Understand your Brain and Body

Your trusted source for nutrition, wellness, and mindset for thriving health.


I had the honor of connecting with Dr. Ellen Vora today. She is a board-certified psychiatrist, acupuncturist, and yoga teacher. She is also the author of the best-selling book The Anatomy of Anxiety, which is one of my go-to resources on mental health. 

Dr. Vora takes a functional medicine approach to mental health, considering the whole person and addressing the imbalance at the root. 

In this episode, Dr. Vora and I dive into some ongoing real-world issues from the perspective of a mental health provider. We talk about some of the limits of traditional modalities, the impact of the pandemic, and the ensuing collective trauma. We discuss the root causes of substance abuse, promiscuity, alcohol, the avoidance of uncomfortable feelings, and resiliency. We discuss the physiology of the brain and gut and how they pertain to food addictions. We speak about gender differences with an emphasis on the impact of synthetic oral contraceptives on inflammation, micronutrient depletion, changes in the gut microbiome, and libido. We also talk about changes that occur in the body during perimenopause and menopause. 

I loved having this discussion with Dr. Vora! You can follow her on social media and check out her book, The Anatomy of Anxiety! 

Stay tuned for more!


“The state of our gut health is keenly interconnected with the functioning in our brain.”

– Dr. Ellen Vora


  • As a society, we have experienced a lot of stress and loss recently. Dr. Vora discusses the themes she observed with her patients and loved ones over the last two years.
  • Dr. Vora describes the two extremes she noticed in parents during the pandemic.
  • How should parents deal with their feelings in front of their kids in difficult times like the pandemic?
  • Ways to cultivate and support resilience.
  • Dr. Vora explains what happens when we fail to process or articulate our feelings or avoid uncomfortable feelings.
  • Addiction in adults is often a way to self-soothe or seek comfort.
  • At times, parents should step back and allow their children to process and work through their problems.
  • Sometimes, the big feelings people experience are physiological and avoidable.
  • How do blood sugar dysregulation and hypoglycemia or high blood sugar and insulin resistance impact our feelings and behavior?
  • How gut health pertains to our brain and anxiety.
  • Why do we crave gluten and dairy?
  • Blood sugar is critical to the functioning of the brain.
  • Finding a balance between food addictions and orthorexia.
  • The impact of synthetic hormones on our physiology and our mental and emotional health.
  • Coping with the profound changes that occur in the body during perimenopause and menopause.


Connect with Cynthia Thurlow

Connect with Dr. Ellen Vora

  • On her website 
  • On social media: @ellenvoramd

Books mentioned:

Get Dr. Vora’s book, The Anatomy of Anxiety

Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive by Marc Brackett

Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown



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