Search & Replace Episode S02E01: Cheryl Meyer

Cheryl Meyer woke up one day in horrible pain. Her conventional doctors told her it was all in her head after rounds of testing showed nothing. Not willing to accept that diagnosis, Cheryl turned to Functional Medicine, an emerging model of care that offers a patient-centered approach to chronic disease management. Now pain-free, Cheryl has dedicated her life to helping others make lifestyle changes that will bring them back to health. Cheryl shares her inspiring journey of how Functional Medicine and eliminating toxins uncovered the root cause of her pain on Search and Replace. 

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[00:00:00] Announcer: Support for the following podcast is provided by the user experience specialist at Johns and Taylor. More information follows this episode. 

[00:00:09] Joe Taylor, Jr.: What if you wake up one morning in the most terrible pain of your life and the doctor tells you it’s all in your head. I’m Joe Taylor, Jr. This is Search and Replace.

Cheryl Meyer lived the work hard, play hard life of an entrepreneur all the way up into her sixties. And while many of us observed the typical signs of aging creeping into our daily lives, Cheryl found her life interrupted by something unexpected. 

[00:00:39] Cheryl Meyer: I had my own jewelry business and I was creating jewelry for all the big box jewelers, like Macy’s and Amazon and JC Penny.

So I was working 24/7. I loved what I was doing, that wasn’t a problem. But I was not taking care of me. And I woke up one morning and I was in horrific pain and I couldn’t get outta bed. 

[00:01:03] Joe Taylor, Jr.: For those of us fortunate enough to enjoy access to quality health care, a situation like Cheryl seems easy to fix with a visit to the doctor’s office. But her case only got more complex. 

[00:01:15] Cheryl Meyer: I started going to the doctor and getting tests run. And after four rounds of tests, my conventional doctor called me and said, guess what? There’s nothing wrong with you. And I said, that’s ludicrous because I hurt and I’m gonna go find it. And she said, well I’m gonna give you steroids. But what I really want you to do is seek mental therapy. And since that day, there is nothing about my life that is the same. 

I was girl interrupted and everything changed. I’d been in a 10 year relationship. He didn’t like it that I was sick, so we broke up. I started digging in, not even knowing what I was looking for. And I was really lucky cuz I tripped in what’s called the functional medical community. 

[00:02:01] Joe Taylor, Jr.: According to practitioners at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, this emerging model of care offers a patient-centered approach to chronic disease management. Cheryl’s own journey revealed the importance of uncovering the root cause of her pain.

[00:02:15] Cheryl Meyer: A functional doctor looks at the entire body, not just wherever the organ system has failed. I listened to 19 different symposiums with multiple doctors and I started writing down threads. One was that I probably had too much stress. Then I wrote down leaky gut. I probably had something called leaky gut. Ends up that stress is one of the things that causes leaky gut as well as toxins and parasites and all kinds of things that then allow food particles to go into your system in too large a size, which then means that your body starts to attack them.

I decided I would tackle toxins. And I started looking up things that I was using in my everyday life. The first thing I looked up were my cosmetics, very expensive French cosmetics, a nine on a ten-point scale. So literally I was poisoning myself right through my skin. Got my attention. So from there, I leapt over to food because I figured that was gonna be a biggie.

I was eating the standard American diet. I was eating as fast at night as I had been working through the day. So I’d walk in the door and I’d be shoving all this bad food with all kinds of chemicals into my body, just to quell the hunger. But I was not eating for health. And when I began to understand what that looked like, I began to change dramatically. Today I only eat organic. I do not need a heavy dose of toxins with every bite of food. 

[00:04:02] Joe Taylor, Jr.: In a USDA study, researchers discovered that nearly two thirds of the American diet includes foods and substances like refined carbohydrates, added fats and added sugars. Neuroscientist Dr. Nicole Avena researches the gaps between the healthy eating advice we’ve all heard and the choices we tend to make. Not just consuming about 50% more calories than we need on average, but choosing foods and drinks that also tend to correlate with microplastics and other toxins. Eliminating those toxins became central to Cheryl’s journey. 

[00:04:36] Cheryl Meyer: I started going to farmer’s markets. I started eating the rainbow because there’s 25,000 phytonutrients in our fruits and vegetables that our bodies need because every cell in our body has a shelf life. And we need all those phytonutrients to rebuild cells. And one of the cells is, yes, the gut lining and it replaces itself every seven days. I had no quality building supplies to build anything in my body. So that’s where I began. But by the time I was done, I had eliminated dozens and dozens of toxins from my life. I replaced the water filter under my kitchen sink, and that was the water I cooked with and drank with. 

[00:05:21] Joe Taylor, Jr.: As Cheryl uneatherd the sources of her physical pain, she also focused on her mental wellness and she charged herself with a mission to help other people make similar transformations.

[00:05:31] Cheryl Meyer: By the time I was done, it took me five years. I had found a functional doctor of my own, about three years down the road, and I no longer had any pain at all. I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease and my functional doctor did not run one test similar to my conventional doctor. I actually went online and looked for someone who wanted to go on a get well journey with me and met my soulmate and became my partner in crime. So I had somebody who was going through all these significant lifestyle changes with me. 

I decided to go back to school at 67 because my degree is from UC Berkeley in English and I didn’t think anybody would believe me on health. I wanted people to hear that no matter where they are in their health, if they own it, if they dig in, if they clean up their lifestyle, that’s not where they have to end up. So that’s how I’m contributing to the world now. 

You can make lifestyle changes that will bring you back to health, and you need to believe that and you need to own it. And you need to make the changes that will bring you back to feeling fantastic. 

[00:06:44] Joe Taylor, Jr.: That’s health coach and author Cheryl Meyer. We’ve got links to Cheryl’s books and to even more resources about functional medicine from both practitioners and skeptics in our show notes page and on our website at

Search and replace was produced by Nicole Hubbard with help from the entire Podcast Taxi team. I’m Joe Taylor, Jr.

[00:07:04] Announcer: This has been a Podcast Taxi radio production. Support for Search and Replace is provided by Johns and Taylor, user experience specialists serving media and technology companies that want their websites to work.Learn more about how top performing businesses eliminate barriers between customers and their goals at

Joe Taylor Jr. has produced stories about media, technology, entertainment, and personal finance for over 25 years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, and ABC News. After launching one of public radio's first successful digital platforms, Joe helped dozens of client companies launch or migrate their online content libraries. Today, Joe serves as a user experience consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 businesses. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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