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Hi, pod fam!! 

Okay, what do you get when you put two fire signs—who also both happen to be podcast hosts, and who also have an affinity for functional medicine and natural healing—together? No time for awkward silence, that’s for sure! 

I had the BEST time chatting with this week’s podcast guest, Dr. Stephen Cabral. Dr. Cabral is a Board-Certified Naturopath, with certifications in functional medicine, Ayurveda, and integrative health. He’s also the founder of Cabral Wellness & EquiLife and the host of the Cabral Concept podcast. 

After years of suffering from debilitating chronic illnesses, Dr. Cabral discovered functional medicine and started the journey to healing himself. In this ep, we’re talking testing, detoxing, eliminating, and supplementing your way to wellness—starting with healing your gut. Tune in for diet changes (but not DIETING), lifestyle adjustments, and resources to help address some of the underlying causes of illness. 

Seriously—it’s unreal how much info we packed into one episode! Can’t wait for you all to listen. But let’s dig into some of the juiciest bits right here!

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Let’s start with the INCREDIBLE personal health journey that led to Dr. Cabral’s career in function medicine…

It was SO inspiring to hear Dr. Cabral share about the health struggles he experienced as a teenager and what it taught him about health, longevity, and genetics. You’ll really have to listen to the ep to get the full story, but to sum it up—Dr. Cabral was essentially bedridden at the age of 17. We’re talking flu-like symptoms all day every day, having to stop playing sports and working out, insomnia, allergies, brain fog, fatigue, MULTIPLE chronic illness diagnoses, you name it. 

Instead of just accepting his fate of long-term suffering, Dr. Cabral eventually discovered a naturopathic doctor, who combined functional medicine with Ayurvedic wisdom and lab testing—and he got better within six months. This powerful transformation sparked a fire in Dr. Cabral and led him to explore this passion through a career in functional medicine himself.

Basics of the Cabral Concept…

In the ep, Dr. Cabral shares that we all essentially get sick because of one of two reasons:

  1. Toxicity – too much of something 
  2. Deficiency – not enough of something

In Dr. Cabral’s case, it was a bit of both. An excessive amount of antibiotics as a teen to help with acne ended up causing a whole bunch of other problems. Sure, they killed bacteria (as intended), but they also severely depleted his mitochondria. We probably all know mitochondria is “the powerhouse of the cell,” which plays a HUGELY important part of just about every biological process. 

Okay, BUT…even though illness can generally fit into “toxicity” or “deficiency,” chronic illness is also a lot more complicated than that. To illustrate this, Dr. Cabral coined the term “the rain barrel effect”. 

What is the “rain barrel effect”?

First, if you’re not familiar with a rain barrel, it’s a barrel (or tub or trash can-looking thing) that collects runoff from the gutters on your house so that it doesn’t flood your yard or destroy your lawn. You’re supposed to check the levels regularly and empty out some of the water as needed so that it never overflows and causes the damage it’s intended to prevent. 

Dr. Cabral likes to think of our bodies as a rain barrel. “Most of us right under the surface have all sorts of genetic things that can come to fruition,” he says, “but they’re not going to until you begin to fill up that proverbial rain barrel.” For example, Dr. Cabral’s rain barrel started filling up with hormone imbalances and a lack of nutrients and overgrowth in the gut—eventually leading to an overflow when he was 17, presenting as rheumatoid arthritis, Addison’s disease, asthma, and a lot more.

What does that mean, exactly? So, our bodies can handle A LOT (at our best, they are strong, capable, resilient), which is important because we put them through A LOT. The food we eat, the chemicals we expose ourselves to, what we put on our bodies, what medications we take, the additives in our water system—this is the kind of stuff that is filling up our “rain barrels.” If we don’t periodically empty some of the “water,” that’s when dormant issues can start rising to the surface and overflowing.

Okay, so…how do we keep our rain barrel at a healthy level?

Emptying your rain barrel: ways to detoxify, destress, and support overall wellness

Back to the analogy for a second—when you’re emptying a rain barrel, you’re likely taking water that has mixed together from multiple storms across various days, weeks, months, etc. And there’s no way to know how much of it came from which occurrence.

Our bodies are the same. “You don’t get sick one way, but you don’t get better one way either,” Dr. Cabral tells us. So the key to emptying that rain barrel is to go through a subtractive process: removing and making space for positive changes and additions to your body (and mind, too). 

To make space for recovery, we’re generally looking at gut imbalances, hormone imbalances, stress/cortisol, and inflammation. Here are some of Dr. Cabral’s tips to address all of these: 

  • Try a liver detox to remove toxins and give your body a reset
  • Work with your healthcare practitioner to address any vitamin/mineral/nutrient deficiencies and add in any foundational building blocks your body might be missing via supplements 
  • Address your diet—thinking long-term and sustainable—to include more brightly colored fruits & vegetables 
  • Start exercising regularly (could be as simple as walking!)
  • Work on improving your sleep hygiene
  • Reduce stress and improve your emotional balance*

*For this last one, Dr. Cabral recommends having at least three “anchors” throughout the day to support your mental and emotional well-being. “Do something upon waking—that’s for you, that sets the tone for the day—do something at lunchtime…and then also at the end of the day.” Maybe it’s taking a break for alone time, or maybe it’s the opposite (if you’re getting too much alone time): meeting a friend for lunch or a cup of tea.

One last thing to remember…

Health and wellness are the result of decisions we make every day. We’re not going to get sick overnight, we’re not going to get better overnight, but we can make small (or big!) choices to help support our long-term goals every single day.

If you haven’t given the episode a listen already, I hope you do soon! Dr. Cabral has such a well-rounded philosophy and approach to health and wellness and SO many great insights and stories to share with you all!



P.s. Just a reminder that podcast previews, product education, herb knowledge, and all things OO are happening on our NEW IG, @shoporganicolivia!

Follow Dr. Stephen Cabral on IG

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