134: Dealing with Mold & Opening Detox Pathways w/ Toréa Rodriguez, FDN-P

Mold can pop up in the most unlikely places, places we don't think to look. My guest today is here to talk all about finding dangerous black mold in your home, car, office, etc., and how to handle it.  

Or, listen on your favorite app: iTunes (Apple Podcasts) | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn | Subscribe on Android

My guest today is Toréa Rodriguez. After completing her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, Toréa has embodied transformation and self-discovery.

She’s worked at some of the leading dot-com Silicon Valley companies, has held executive positions, and was also a professional pilot flying jets for private families and charter companies out of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Her diagnosis of two debilitating autoimmune diseases brought her back to biochemistry, not only achieving full remission, but also certification as a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner.

Today, Toréa coaches her professional women clients through their own unique transformational experience that helps restore health, energy, and clarity so they can focus on their priorities without sacrificing their health.

Join us as we discuss mold and mycotoxins.

Have you dealt with black mold? Let me know in the comments!

In this episode:

  • Toréa's crazy hidden mold experience in her home
  • Busting mold myths
  • Clearing up confusion about mold testing
  • Where does mold hide in food?
  • Mycotoxins and skin conditions
  • The importance of sweating


“It's important to understand how sensitive you are. For some people it's just the fact that they're living in a moldy environment and they're getting the mycotoxins and they're getting sick from that, but they're not allergic to mold.” [9:11]

“In order to address the mold, number one, detox pathways have to be open and efficient. So, having a practitioner that knows how to look at your liver processing, your GI processing, whether or not you can even sweat, that's going to be a huge component because we're detoxing stuff.” [16:17]


Find Toréa online

Download the FREE guide, How to Dig Deeper to Reverse Autoimmunity, HERE

Follow Toréa on Facebook | Instagram

134: Dealing with Mold & Opening Detox Pathways w/ Toréa Rodriguez FULL TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer: Hi everyone, welcome back. I've got a friend with me today who you might remember if you had joined me for the Eczema & Psoriasis Awareness Week 2019, she spoke all about her experience living with mold over the past X number of years. Quite a while. I wanted to have her back because I thought the conversation was so powerful, there's so much to talk about, especially around the advocacy part of this. So, for those of you who don't know to Torea Rodriguez, after completing her undergraduate degree in biochemistry, she has embodied transformation and self-discovery and worked with some of the leading.com Silicone Valley companies. She's also held executive positions and was a professional pilot, flying jets for private families and charter companies out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Her diagnoses of two debilitating autoimmune diseases brought her back to biochemistry, not only achieving full remission, but also a certification as a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner. Today she coaches her professional women clients through their own unique transformational experiences that help restore health, energy, and clarity so they can focus on their priorities without sacrificing their health. Torea, thanks so much for joining us.

Torea: Oh my gosh, I'm so excited to be back. It was so much fun talking to you last time. So, yeah, let's do it.

Jennifer: I know. So, you… Actually, let's start off by giving everyone a little bit of a recap of your mold experience just so we can frame that you really have lived through this. I think that's an important piece, that it's not coming from information you've read online, you've literally lived through this.

Torea: Yeah. Let's see, where do I start with this? My husband and I have been fortunate enough to find a piece of property and build a home, and I knew about mold and mold sickness and water damaged buildings, but I had never really experienced it. And I was very particular about the fact that we chose a developer who was doing… They're doing a container driven, or like modular construction, right? What that means is that the construction of the home is done inside, it's done inside the factory. So, as you're building it, it's not getting rained on and it's not getting water damaged as it's being built. That was a very important part of our decision of our developer. And so, during that process we had sold our former home and we rented a home while this one was being completed.

Torea: And when we moved out of that apartment, I discovered black mold on the inside of the curtains. And I was like, “Oh, shucks. I think we just spent a year in a moldy apartment.” And I had noticed some very strange things, like I had some mysterious weight gain that I hadn't changed diet, lifestyle, exercise, like nothing. We only physically moved. And I was like, “Oh, that's really interesting.” And then of course we move into our brand new construction home and the weight drops off and I was elated.

Torea: And so fast forward about a year and a half into it, I had obtained some mycotoxin testing for myself and my husband. We were having some health issues with our dog and the veterinarian tested to her, as well. And we all had evidence of mycotoxins. I got really, really curious because this dog never lived in the apartment with us. So, that was a clue that, “Oh, is there something in our environment?” And so long story short, what ended up happening is our house was placed on a slab of concrete foundation. What I didn't realize and what we didn't know about this piece of the construction is that concrete of course cures over a period of time. Now we thought that that cure process was a couple months and it would be dry and ready to go because that's when they said it was stable enough to put the structure on top of it.

Torea: What I didn't know is that concrete actually cures over several years after it's been poured. And what that means, that curing process, is that the moisture is coming out of the concrete. That means that in our crawl space area, we've had really high humidity. And of course mold can come in from anywhere, it can come in from installation that's manufactured Lord knows where. So, it can just be having spores sitting on the insulation that's underneath there. And we tested the home. We hired a building biologist because we knew we have no water damage. We had a complete history of this building, we knew we had no water damage, so we hired a building biologist. We tested all the rooms and the crawl space, and we discovered that the crawl space has developed quite a mold problem. So, we are in the middle of remediation. The health issues amongst our family is less than in the apartment because it's mostly contained downstairs, but that also means that it's getting into the upstairs area. And so we're in just in the middle of that process as we speak. That's the history of what I've been experiencing.

Jennifer: And what's interesting about your story too is that a lot of people believe that they only have mold if they see black mold on the bathroom wall or under a sink. That's not true, right?

Torea: Correct. Not true at all. I mean, this stuff can be completely hidden. You could have a water leak that is happening in your plumbing that's actually under the house. So, having regular inspections is really, really key. If you see any evidence or smell any evidence you're going to really want to dig, not in the literal sense, but kind of. You kind of want to see and check underneath carpets, you want to check underneath floorboards if you can, in a non conspicuous area, to really see if there is further water damage. And I've learned through connecting with other people that there are ways that you can monitor for excess moisture, there's some prong sensors that you can get on Amazon. It's a moisture meter. You can actually insert that into dry wall and test the amount of moisture in the drywall because you may not see that evidence, that physical evidence of water streaks or black mold or anything like that. If you suspect that mold could be in your home, I would say start testing with a mold specialist to really know because you can't see it.

Jennifer: And the other point, and I think you were the one who had said this as well, that it doesn't necessarily have to be in your home. It could be at work, it could be your car, it could be at school, it could be-

Torea: Church. Yeah, it could be in any location. I think that's one of the things that gets a little bit confusing is what do I test first? Do I test me or do I test the home? And my thought on it is test yourself first, see if this is a problem for you. If you do find that you've got evidence of mold in your body and that you're reacting to it, then the question is where am I being exposed to it?

Torea: Because it might not be your home, it might be your office, it might be church. If you left your windows down in your car accidentally and it rained overnight and soaked the floorboards, that musty smell, that could be it. Totally calling out my uncle right now, but his car, he would run the AC all the time in the car and never have fresh air coming in. So, it would always be [inaudible 00:08:08] and after doing this for five years, the mold was so bad in his AC system in his car, that I told him, I said, “You need to go get that cleaned out.” But that could be a source, as well. So you may want to start looking around to all these different places.

Jennifer: Do people have to worry though about things like nuts and seeds and diet pieces? I feel like sometimes when we hear mold we either think black mold or like moldy cheese.

Torea: Right. No, it depends, right? Some people are more sensitive to mold than others. So, that's something that you can speak with your doctor about is not only testing for evidence of mycotoxins, but also doing some antibody testing to see are you developing IgE antibodies to mold? Do you have a mold allergy? Because if that's the case, if you're getting it from food sources, then you're constantly going to be provoking your immune system. So, it's important to understand how sensitive you are. For some people it's just the fact that they're living in a moldy environment and they're getting the mycotoxins and they're getting sick from that, but they're not allergic to mold. So, there's different responses in the immune system that you can be having. It's important to work with a doctor who understands which markers to look for for an inflamed immune response versus a true mold allergy. But if you do have a true mold allergy, then you're going to want to be conscientious of food sources and food sources of mold. So, things like not buying from the bulk bins, those are notorious for having mycotoxins in them, for example.

Jennifer: Are there any food sources specifically, aside from the bulk then that someone who does have a mold allergy may need to avoid? Would blue cheese be one of those items or vinegars, things like that?

Torea: Yeah, I'm not an expert in this area, but I would definitely think about those things. You can test those foods on yourself to see if they are mounting a response, an allergic type response. So, if you feel really bad when you're eating like blue cheese that does have some of that mold still in it, then that would probably be a food to eliminate. But also be aware of how food is processed. For example, cacao and coffee, part of the process of just getting those things to market does require fermentation. Sometimes that fermentation goes wrong and when they're stored in those bags and then transported across the oceans in the ships and everything else, you can get mycotoxins and mold on those foods as well. So, if you are sensitive then it's a matter of looking for a source of those things from somebody who does test for them, and they're out there. There are people who do test for mycotoxins in their products and you can be mycotoxin free.

Jennifer: I actually love that you brought up the whole cacao or chocolate beans because I have talked about this on Instagram in the past, and for anybody who's interested and you're on Instagram, you can check out my highlights. I actually have a whole thing about cacao beans and raw cacao, specifically. It's pretty well known that cacao beans, for example, can be loaded with mold and can aflatoxins just like peanuts do. The main reason is that they're grown in a humid tropical environment. They're not then processed in these sanitary enclosed facilities that are $2 million or whatever, they're really cement structures that are open aired and they're drying the beans and walking all over them with a bare feet in order to break the shell.

Jennifer: It's actually quite horrifying and I do recommend to people if you do eat chocolate and you've got candida issues, number one, or you suspect you have mold issues, I would highly recommend. And actually I just think from a sanitary perspective, it's really important to get roasted chocolate beans, which is the regular type of chocolate. If it says raw, it'll say raw cacao, but the reason also too is there's a high risk of salmonella and other bacterial organisms that never get killed because they weren't roasted. So, that's just an aside. But so, for somebody-

Torea: Well, I would say I am quite a cacao aficionado. It's one of my favorite hobbies. And I'll say the other thing about cacao that people should be aware of is larger brands, the Hershey's, the Nestle's, that kind of thing. They are literally grabbing cacao from all different sources across the world and they're not paying attention to how it is processed, and mixing them together so that they're always getting the consistent Hershey's flavor profile. So, they're just mixing stuff together, and for me it's really important to make sure that I am sourcing my cacao from craft makers because they really do know the entire supply chain. Almost always they know the farmer and they're buying directly from the farmer.

Torea: So, that's another way that you can look at getting safer sources of cacao is that they're going to be sourcing from people who are using organic practices, typically, and they know the farmer, they know the whole chain, and 9 times out of 10 they're going to be roasting because they want to roast to develop the type of flavor that they're looking for in their craft bar. So, for me it's worth it to pay a few extra bucks for really high quality chocolate, knowing that my risk of mycotoxins is less and I'm also supporting the actual farmer and not the trade. Any way.

Jennifer: Exactly. And I bet-

Torea: [crosstalk 00:14:24] plugged for [crosstalk 00:14:26].

Jennifer: No. But I would bet too that the coffee industry is very similar in that respect. If you're supporting the smaller craft, I don't even know what to call them because I don't drink coffee, but companies that are really understand their supply chain, they know where the beans are coming from, they know the farmers, you're probably going to get a much better quality product, longterm.

Torea: Yeah know if you look for a coffee roaster that is sending their baristas and their staff to the farms in all these different countries to understand the whole process versus Starbucks who's just hiring anybody off the street, you can get a different feel for that. So, yeah, same kind of process in selecting coffee.

Jennifer: Yeah. With the whole mycotoxin thing, because I think a lot of people are very scared and they think that that is the first thing that they should address when their health seems to be going off the rails. Do you feel like that is… So say a lot of the people that are listening to this show have skin rashes, they've got psoriasis, eczema, tinea versicolor, which has a candida mold-ish type of piece to it.

Torea: Element.

Jennifer: Yeah, yeah, element. And some of these other… I mean, you can have candida with pretty much anything. It doesn't mean everybody has it, not everyone has overgrowth of candida. But just from your personal experience and your journey, do you think it's worthwhile to first dive into the mold piece or do you feel like if you're sitting here really struggling because conventional medicine hasn't served you in the way that you were thinking it would, the steroid creams aren't really helping or they're a bandaid or whatever. Should you dive into the mycotoxin thing first or would it be better to start with gut issues, nutrient issues, that kind of stuff?

Torea: That's a really great question because in order to address the mold, number one, detox pathways have to be open and efficient. So, having a practitioner that knows how to look at your liver processing, your GI processing, whether or not you can even sweat, that's going to be a huge component because we're detoxing stuff. It's heavy metals, it's environmental toxins, it's literally a toxin and the body needs to use those pathways to get rid of it. So, that's one piece that I would say take a look at that first because if you try to detox something and those pathways are not open, you will feel awful. It's going to be a really rough road, so we want to minimize the amount of suffering and uncomfortableness that you have to go through as you're dealing with it.

Torea: The other thing that I would say is if you do have it, you want to make sure that you don't have it in your home because if… It's like that bathtub that's filling up and filling up and filling up and filling up, and think about the drain being very slow, right? It's got a slow drain, not a clogged drain, but a slow drain. If the faucet represents your home and the mold that's in your home, it's not going to shut off. You're not going to be able to get rid of it and empty the tub until you shut the faucet off. So, if you are in a home that has mold, you want to remediate that first before you do any mold protocols or detoxification or anything like that because otherwise it's like taking a pale. You're bailing out the bathtub.

Torea: For some, you might need to bail for a little while so that you can just survive until you can… For us right now we're bailing. We're in the middle of waiting for the remediation contractors to come and that kind of thing. So, we are using air filtration. I'm taking a binder on a regular basis because I'm trying to just bail out that bathtub. But I know that once we have the remediation done, then I can really do a very specific protocol for that. So, working with my practitioner, we've opted to wait because otherwise I'm just taking a bunch of supplements for no reason except for the binder.

Jennifer: That's actually a really interesting approach. And I like that you're saying this, it sounds very practical because I feel like a lot of times people are like, “I want to dive in head first and do everything.” The truth is you have to ask yourself what steps are appropriate to do before the others. And from a financial standpoint.

Torea: Right. And keep in mind when… Yeah, so there's the financial component of I could be wasting 500 bucks a month on supplements just trying to deal with this while the faucet's still on or can I keep myself kind of even keel with the binders and the air purifiers and spending as much time outside as possible, and those kinds of things. That's manageable for us. But the other thing to keep in mind is if you go all guns on all this stuff and you're approaching everything all at once, you can overwhelm the body if you're going after it with 25 supplements in a day. That can be a bit much. Just because it's a natural method guys doesn't mean that it's going to be easy peasy. This stuff is no joke and sometimes you can really make the situation a little bit worse. So, take your time, be methodical about it, be smart about it and go by your instinct and what your practitioner is helping you with.

Jennifer: Would you mind sharing for a moment, you mentioned about sweating and that's a very important detox pathway and we certainly do push toxins out through our skin… Our skin happens to be an organ of elimination.

Torea: Of course.

Jennifer: Any thoughts on, like if somebody has difficulty sweating? I know that I've seen some of these at home saunas or any tips on helping someone rejuvenate their ability to start moving things out that pathway if they're not used to sweating?

Torea: Yeah, absolutely. So, sweating is super important. Obviously, exercise breaks out a sweat. Some people aren't at that place where they can do intense exercise to sweat, and if that's you, that's okay. There's other ways to sweat. So, hot baths. Epsom salt baths are amazing. If all you have is a jacuzzi, even though there's chlorine in the jacuzzi, a couple of times a week is going to be better if you're sweating. Saunas, you can get steam rooms, saunas, at local gyms so you don't have to invest in a sauna. You could invest in a home sauna. I like the jacuzzi sauna, which I think is co-branded with Clear Light, I think. I can't remember the co-brand, but Jacuzzi co-branded with a very low EMF, infrared sauna company. And sauna space, that's also a economical way to get a sauna.

Torea: Anytime you're raising the body temperature enough to sweat. Now if you don't sweat or you don't sweat very easily, or if you're one of these people that just gets beat red and that's it, stick with it. Keep the sessions short, 10 to 15 minutes, do it as often as you possibly can and just keep with it. You'll notice with the consistent trying, of trying to get your body to sweat, over a few weeks all of a sudden you're going to be like, I sweat for 5 minutes of that 15 minute session. That's amazing. You will train the body, it will relearn how to sweat. Even if you think you don't sweat, you will. You just got to keep with it.

Jennifer: Okay. No, that's really helpful. I get a lot of questions about that. So, that would be a good reminder to people that if it doesn't happen… It might not be the 1st time, might not be the 2nd time, maybe not the 10th time.

Torea: It might be 14 times. Exactly. So, just keep with it, don't give up, your body will relearn. Sure it's uncomfortable to be beat red and not sweating. That's your body not really knowing… Like, “What do I do here?” It's forgotten. Just keep with it, be patient, you will break that that time and you'll have a breakthrough and sweating. Trust me. It'll happen.

Jennifer: Well, I just want to say thank you so much for sharing all of this, especially it's such a personal story that's been going on in your own life. I mean, I found you because I was super interested in understanding mold a bit more and I happened across all of the stuff that was happening to you personally and it's amazing how much we can learn when we're in it. And then how you deal with going to doctors and remediation contractors and all these different pieces to it. But some of these things you do help coach and advocate for your clients around, which is so wonderful to have that kind of support.

Jennifer: And so I want to make sure everyone can find you. You're at torearodriguez.com, you're also just Torea Rodriguez on Instagram and you've got a Facebook page, which I'll put the links to everything in our episode for the show notes. You also have a great free autoimmune webinar, which is a great opportunity for anybody who's interested in learning more about the connections between autoimmune disease and the different steps that they can take. This is a great opportunity. Any final thoughts that you'd love to leave the listeners with?

Torea: Yeah, there's such a demand for the mold and Lyme, which is related, all of that stuff. Chances are I will be doing another program and webinar specifically towards that. So, as that comes out, we'll add that to the show notes here. But the last thing that I just wanted to tell your listeners, Jennifer, is if you suspect mold don't panic, everything is figureoutable. I love Marie Forleo for promoting that. But seriously, everything is figureoutable including the mold stuff. It will feel overwhelming, especially if you feel like you have to move and get rid of belongings and all of that stuff. Just break it down into manageable tasks and don't panic, you will figure it out. That was the last thing I wanted to make sure that they knew.

Jennifer: Well, thank you very much for that. Those encouraging thoughts are always so welcome because yes, a lot of these health conditions can seem… You're just like, “I want to give up. What the heck? Another problem.” And you can't look at it like that. Like you said, manageable steps, do one thing at a time. Everything will figure itself out in time. I love that.

Torea: Totally.

Jennifer: Well, thank you so much for joining us.

Torea: Oh, you're welcome. It was so fun.

“It's important to understand how sensitive you are. For some people it's just the fact that they're living in a moldy environment and they're getting the mycotoxins and they're getting sick from that, but they're not allergic to mold.”

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS is an integrative Clinical Nutritionist and the founder of Skinterrupt. She works with women who are fed up with chronic gut and skin rash issues discover the root causes and create a plan to get them back to a fuller, richer life.

Follow Us

Medical Disclaimer

Skinterrupt offers health, wellness, fitness and nutritional information which is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnois, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional. Do not disregard, avoid, or delay obtaining medical or health related advise from your physician or other health care professional because of something you may have seen or read on our site, or in our advertising, marketing, or promotional materials. The use of any information provided by Skinterrupt is solely at your own risk.

Nothing stated or posted on our site, or in our advertising, marketing or promotional materials, or through any of the services we offer, as intended to be, and must not be taken to be, the practice of medicine or counseling care. For purposes of this disclaimer, the practice of medicine or counseling care includes, without limitation, nutritional counseling, psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy, or providing health care treatment, instruction, diagnosis, prognosis, or advice.