Paleo, vegan, raw, fasting, cabbage… there are a lot of diets out there. For Steve Wood, those diets just weren’t fitting the bill. Here’s how Steve took charge of his health, and actually enjoyed it.
Ep 8: Inspirations from a Nutritarian
Hosted by: MegaFood | Podcast
Announcer: [00:00] The statements in this podcast have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
[00:08] Welcome to Episode 8 of "That Supplement Show," where Abigail and Killeen plan to inspire you big time when it comes to taking charge of your own health. Maybe it's you that's looking to make a positive change in support of your personal wellness, or maybe there's someone close to you that's in need of a little motivation.
[00:22] Either way, let's get ready for a great conversation about how your mindset may be all you need to make life‑changing shifts for the better.
[00:29] Take it away, guys. Guys? Hello, are you there?
Killeen: [00:35] Hey, there, yeah. I'm here. It's Killeen, but we've got a little problem. Abigail's not here. In fact, I think she was so inspired by what we had planned for this episode that she's taken our previous talk to heart. I was just scrolling through Instagram, and there's all these cute pictures of Abigail and her husband in the apple orchard from like five minutes ago.
[00:55] I'm not really sure what to do. Maybe she's running late, or...
Announcer: [01:00] Did you check your email?
Killeen: [01:01] Good idea, Mr. Logical. Let's see here. Scrolling – I have a lot of emails – oh, wait. Yep, look at that. Abigail is the epitome of today's topic on taking charge of your own health. Sometimes it's as simple as getting outside in the fresh air with someone you love, which is exactly what she decided to do today. To be fair, she gave me notice. I just didn't check.
[01:24] Good for her. Great for her, actually, but as far as the show goes, I'm not sure.
Announcer: [01:30] I've already amped everyone up for some inspiration today, Killeen. Should I tell them we're canceling the episode?
Killeen: [01:38] No, no, I've got this. It's OK. We had planned anyway to call our friend, naturopathic doctor Erin Stokes at the end of our talk. She's a busy woman, but perhaps she's got some time to talk right now. Let me give her a try.
[01:51] [phone ringing]
[01:51] [busy signal]
Killeen: [01:51] [sighs] Darn it.
Announcer: [01:56] Let's wrap that up, Killeen.
Killeen: [01:57] Hold on. I've got another idea. Will you give me one more chance.
Announcer: [02:01] All right.
Killeen: [02:02] Cool. Let me just find Steve's number. Where is it? OK, here we got.
Announcer: [02:08] Steve who?
Killeen: [02:09] Steve happens to be a friend of ours at MegaFood. He's the demo leader, and he enjoys teaching people across the country how to make delicious smoothies. Beyond that, he became interested in natural health in his 20s, when he lost more than 100 pounds.
[02:23] Steve is very driven to empower people everywhere with knowledge and techniques to further their own natural health journey. He could be perfect for this conversation.
[02:32] [phone ringing]
Steve: [02:36] Hello?
Killeen: [02:37] Steve, I was hoping you would be home! This is Killeen at MegaFood. How are you?
Steve: [02:41] I'm doing great. How about you?
Killeen: [02:43] Good. Do you have a second?
Steve: [02:46] Yeah, for you, always.
Killeen: [02:48] Thank you. Here's the deal. As you know, Abigail and I have fun making a little podcast together called, That Supplement Show. We were planning to record an episode today.
[03:00] It turns out, I checked my email kind of late and just realized that she is actually not going to be able to make our recording session. We've promised everyone this big inspiring story about being able to take charge of one's own health, and I'm sitting here all by myself.
Steve: [03:19] [laughs]
Killeen: [03:19] [laughs] I thought of you because you are such a good storyteller, and I thought, perhaps, you might be able to share with our listeners the same story that you shared with me once long ago.
Steve: [03:30] Sure, I'd be happy to. My story isn't really all that unique, but it's kind of because of that that I like sharing it with people, because it can help to inspire, and that's really what I'm all about.
Steve: [03:58] I had a single mom when I was growing up, and she pretty much cooked food that she saw advertised on the television. It was all standard American diet stuff, food that comes out of a box – instant mashed potatoes, Kraft Mac and Cheese, things like that.
[04:18] It wasn't until a number of years later that I realized that you take standard American diet and that acronym is SAD, and it really is. It's a very sad diet. It's a sad way to eat.
Killeen: [04:31] It is sad.
Steve: [04:32] By the time I was in my 20s, I was well over 300 pounds.
[04:38] That was around that time that I got first real job, that had insurance and stuff like that. When I went to the doctor, the doctor told me, just through normal, routine checkup, that if I kept going at the rate that I was at then I was destined for diabetes and heart disease by my late 30s and early 40s.
Killeen: [04:59] That must have been pretty scary to hear.
Steve: [05:01] It really was, because in your early 20s, you still have the last vestiges of thinking that you're immortal and are never going to die.
Killeen: [05:11] That is so true.
Steve: [05:13] It was like a real brick through the window. It was a real wake up moment. It was from that point that I realized that I had to make more of a commitment to my health and wellness, because really, if you don't have your health, what do you have? Our health is our greatest source of wealth.
Killeen: [05:36] I'm sure that there's a lot of people – again, this is very relatable – that have found themselves in your situation. In your case, that's pretty young, but regardless of age, there are plenty of people sitting there in that doctor's office hearing the same thing.
[05:51] Of course, yes, OK, it's time to make a change, but what then? What made you feel motivated enough to not feel helpless? What did you do?
Steve: [06:01] At first, I started doing all the yo‑yo diets, just because that was the nearest nutritional information that I could find, the closest to me. I did the Herbalife, the low carb, the cabbage soup diet, and all these things, and I would yo‑yo up and down, but ultimately, as soon as the cabbage soup diet was done, I would celebrate by eating the majority of a large pizza.
Steve: [06:29] What does that do? That's actually traumatic for the body, and yo‑yo dieting has been shown to be detrimental for health over the long term.
Killeen: [06:41] Any time you make even just a small change in your diet, even if it's for the better, you're body's going to get a little out of whack, right?
Steve: [06:48] Oh, yeah. [laughs] For sure. After yo‑yo dieting for a couple of years, I realized that ultimately what I was seeking was more like knowledge about nutrition in general, and the diets in a box out there, they weren't providing me with the nutritional knowledge that I needed.
[07:12] I started just reading, reading everything I could, all of the nutritional volumes that I could find, and I realized that ultimately what it was about was not prescribing to some universal pre‑made diet plan that was "guaranteed" to help you lose two pounds a week or whatever. It was ultimately about getting your nutrients closer to the source that they came from, which...
Killeen: [07:46] It seems very logical, right?
Steve: [07:48] Exactly.
Killeen: [07:49] But I think people often are looking for a solution, and when there's a mapped‑out diet there, that feels sort of maybe less overwhelming, like, "OK, I'll go and eat cabbage soup, just like this person tells me to do. If it worked for them, maybe it will work for me, too."
Steve: [08:05] That's absolutely right.
Killeen: [08:06] You're saying...
Steve: [08:07] It's absolutely right. The nice thing about these premade plans is that it takes all the guesswork out of the food that you're going to eat, and that's comforting. It was comforting to me then, and it's comforting to a number of people in general. But really it's not about those premade solutions. It's about the little things like going to your farmer's market to purchase produce that's from your area.
Killeen: [08:34] You can't go wrong there. [laughs]
Steve: [08:38] You make selections like that, or subscribing to a farm share or a CSA, where you're getting your food directly from a local farm, and they just drop it off. I love things like that, because they always inevitably send me things that I don't know what they are.
[08:56] There's heirloom varieties of all kinds of produce out there, and I don't know what some of them are when they arrive at my doorstep, but I have a real fun time exploring it, and the figuring out how to make it delicious.
Killeen: [09:08] [laughs] Right. You love to cook. I happen to know this. Was that always the case? You talk about how you grew up with the Kraft Mac & Cheese, and again, so many of us did.
Steve: [09:19] Oh, God.
Killeen: [09:20] Where did these cooking skills come from? Were you always walking over to the farmer's market going, "OK, cabbage soup diet didn't work. I'm gonna get a plethora of veggies, and I'm gonna go home and know just what to do with them"?
Steve: [09:32] Absolutely not. By the time I was out on my own, the only things I could make were steak and spaghetti. I'm a big believer in incremental change. It's not about going cold turkey on everything instantaneously. It's about making those small changes on a daily basis that add up over time.
[10:00] That's how I looked at cooking. I went vegetarian, I was vegan for a bunch of years. I'm not now. I'm a nutritarian now, which means I just eat nutrients. [laughs]
Killeen: [10:14] Again, super logical. I knew it was a good idea to call you. [laughs]
Steve: [10:18] When I first started, particularly when I went vegetarian, I didn't know what I was doing, so I started looking online and I would go to websites that had incredible numbers of recipes on them. I would find one that I had 80 percent of the ingredients for already, just from my current pantry and what I regularly bought.
[10:41] Maybe there was one or two new ingredients or spices that I wasn't familiar with. I would go out and I would buy those particular things, and then I would try out anywhere – depending on the week – around two, but sometimes one and sometimes three new recipes a week that challenged me to buy one or two new ingredients per each of these recipes.
[11:09] Over the time span of three or four months, or so, I found that my pantry looked completely different than what it did when I started out. I had new spices and new produce that I was familiar how to work with, new dinner ideas that I was inspired to make.
[11:30] It's all about how it added up over time. When I first started vegetarian, yeah, I still made spaghetti more than once a week, but then I remember the first time I did a curried cauliflower, and I never made anything like that before. I'd barely even tasted it.
[11:50] The first time I made it at home, I felt so accomplished, and it was delicious.
Killeen: [11:57] I'm feeling hungry right now.
Steve: [11:58] [laughs] I remember my wife, who's a wonderful, wonderful woman, she remembers the day that she realizes she loved me, because we were talking over the phone, I was living in Virginia at the time and she was in Florida.
[12:13] She said, "What are you making for dinner tonight?" I said, "I'm making butternut squash coconut curry soup." She said that her vision went hazy, and basically she saw a bunch of hearts fly up in front of her eyes, and she was like, "I love this man."
Killeen: [12:27] [laughs]
Steve: [12:27] But she had to bite her tongue, because we'd only been dating for about a month at that point and she didn't want to scare me off. [laughs]
Killeen: [12:34] I'm glad she didn't.
Steve: [12:35] I am, too. [laughs]
Killeen: [12:38] I have to say, when I think back to my dating days, I think I stuck around longer with the guys who were good cooks.
Steve: [12:45] Oh, yeah.
Killeen: [12:45] There's definite truth there. [laughs]
Steve: [12:47] Absolutely.
[12:53] It's not about eating food that comes out of a box, because processed food, it's been shown over and over and over again to do nothing but lend to the manifestation of health consequences. When you reach for fresh produce that's close to you, as close as possible, that's changing with the seasons, then your body adapts, and you get your nutrients from the direct source.
[13:22] Because those processed foods, one of the things they process out is most of the nutrition.
Killeen: [13:26] Right. [laughs]
[13:30] I would say, now, it seems like your pantry is less about boxes with labels and more about the foods themselves.
Steve: [13:39] Exactly. Now it's all about what is the freshest looking thing in the market when I go. After learning how to cook, now when I go to the farmers market, and we just had a new one open super close to my house, and it's great.
[14:01] Now I go and I see the zucchini that's there, that's beautiful and in season, that's next to the heirloom tomatoes, and I'm like, "Great, we're having spiralized zucchini with the heirloom tomato sauce for dinner tonight."
[14:16] It's about making those decisions based on the freshness of the produce that's around you, as opposed to the convenience of the boxed food and how much time you have. That's not to say that cooking has to take a long time. Most of my meal options take around 30 to 45 minutes from start to finish.
Killeen: [14:37] Here's another question for you. You seem like someone who has loved vegetables through and through, yet, again, we'll go back to the beginning, where you said that maybe you weren't eating as many fresh veggies when you were a kid. Did this love of vegetables come before all the change, after, somewhere in between?
Steve: [14:57] During, for sure.
[14:59] Again, it's about small, incremental change. When I was younger, I was not a huge vegetable fan. I would eat them, but I didn't seek them out.
[15:12] In my growth, in developing my own innate sense of what my body was really craving to be nourished by, I just found that over time, it was more vegetables, more fresh foods and vegetables than it was any sort of meat or processed food item. That, ultimately, is what fills us up more.
[15:36] We get fixated on heavy foods. I still like heavy foods, but I know how to make them in a way that's healthy now, but I had to cultivate that over time.
[15:49] They say that if you try a food and don't like it, then you have to try it – I can't remember – it's X number of times. It's like five or so times, and then your palate will start to change.
Killeen: [16:05] I thought it was like 20.
Steve: [16:08] Was it 20? OK, let's go with that.
Killeen: [16:06] I think it's about 20. That's what I tell my kids, and I could have maybe increased that number so they would try things more. I'm not sure.
Steve: [16:14] That's wise.
Killeen: [16:17] We didn't want to set the bar low.
Steve: [16:18] Exactly.
Killeen: [16:19] 20 times, guys, 20 times.
Steve: [16:21] That's totally true. We have to consciously re‑train our palate, because most of us when we're young, we're bombarded with sugar, which destroys our palate.
Killeen: [16:34] When you talk about incremental change, it seems like some people, yeah, are so far down the path of processed foods and lots of sugar, that a vegetable is probably not going to taste amazing, because that's not what somebody's used to.
[16:51] I worry a little for these people that are like, "OK, so Steve's eating vegetables and life is better for him, but what about me? I don't get full from vegetables."
[17:03] When I think about it, maybe that means that person hasn't had a vegetable cooked in its prime fashion.
Steve: [17:09] That's pretty true.
Killeen: [17:10] It's like there are certain foods...Tofu is that great example, because it can be pretty flavorless, but if somebody knows what they're doing with it, then wow. You could, really, suddenly have a delicacy on your hands.
[17:22] Veggies are the same way. There's not just one way to prepare them, and back to that SAD diet, carrots steamed, and that's it, maybe with a little butter. That's OK, but there are better ways to make carrots, too.
Steve: [17:35] Absolutely.
[17:36] A lot of the times, people are not full from their food. It actually has to do with the amount of fat that's in it, too. I love to use plenty of high‑quality fat in my cooking, like coconut oil or grass‑fed butter, depending on what I'm feeling like during the day.
[17:56] When you increase the amount of super‑quality fat – and I'm not talking cooking with olive oil, because that's not good, and certainly not canola or anything else.
[18:08] Mainly good coconut oil and grass‑fed butter are what I mainly use. Even when you are trying to restrict calories some for weight loss or something, you can often put in just a little bit more high‑quality fat, and the feelings of fullness that you get from that are going to greatly increase.
Killeen: [18:32] Sure, and feeling satiated is very important in the enjoyment of a meal. Nobody wants to walk away from the table feeling like, "Gee, why did I even bother sitting there? It doesn't feel like I ate anything." [laughs]
Steve: [18:44] Half the time, the people think that they're craving something. What they're really going for is more of a texture or a flavor than a particular food in and of itself. I make a meat‑free shepherd's pie that's fantastic. When I really want a shepherd's pie, that's what I go for now. It's not about what you're craving, it's about what your body desires for you to eat.
Killeen: [19:16] It's so fantastic that you were able to make that mind shift and really listen to your body and start to understand that very distinction of, "It's not about what I think I want to eat, but what my body is looking for nutrient‑wise."
[19:31] Let's go back to you're sitting there in the doctor's office, and you're getting this news that you're destined for some pretty scary things if you don't shape up. You made these incremental changes. How long did it take before you suddenly noticed a difference? This is a loaded question. It's multi‑parts here, but how long did it take to see that difference, and then what was that difference? How did you feel?
Steve: [19:56] The first big milestone that I hit was with hydration. I knew that I had to drink more water, mainly because I didn't drink water at all. The only liquids I was consuming on a daily basis were coffee and soda, and because I thought that I didn't like the way that water tasted. I went cold turkey off of soda. That was one of my first changes that I made is that I stopped consuming soda.
[20:31] I had read people whose opinions said that hydration meant drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every day. For me at the time, I was drinking about 160 ounces of water a day, which is a gallon and a half or something like that. I was blasting myself with water, and I had to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes for two, three months, I think.
[21:03] I remember the day that basically a switch flipped in my brain, and what was happening was is that for the first 20‑something years of my life, I was chronically dehydrated, because I never drank enough water. When I started to bombard my body with water, at first it didn't know what to do with it, so I was going to the bathroom all the time.
[21:25] But then I had this one day where that stopped, and I went to the bathroom a normal number of times. I was like, "What's going on here?" Around that time, I was like, "I'm thirsty."
Steve: [21:40] I realized that my body finally understood what hydration was, and that was really powerful, because I had gone so...My body had never understood what hydration really meant, because it was constantly dehydrated. I started drinking a crazy amount of water. My body didn't know what to do with it, but then eventually, it figured it out.
[22:04] That's when my craving for soda officially ended. That's when sugary drinks became an incredibly rare instance, and water became a staple, because now my body understood what hydration really was, and it craved water now instead of random soda or another pot of coffee.
Killeen: [22:28] Wow. This is great. This is a very actionable change. I would say for those needing to go through this change incrementally – maybe you don't just go cold turkey from soda to water – start replacing one serving whenever you reach for it, maybe every other time reach for water instead, something like that. It seems like that could maybe be more manageable for somebody.
Steve: [22:53] Absolutely. Just like keeping track, an internal monitor of where your water consumption is at all times is a really handy thing, because I know for me that I need to drink around 32 ounces or so of water before about 11:00 AM. If I do that, I'm setting myself up for success throughout the day.
[23:16] As long as I keep to my own little internal clock about how much water I should be drinking around that time of the day, then it's not to say that I hit that goal every day. I don't, but I'm always aware of how much water I've had, and it's that simple awareness that as we cultivate it and build it up, then it starts to cascade throughout all aspects of our dietary choices.
Killeen: [23:47] I'm realizing something as you're saying this, too. I think back to childhood, and I don't think there was a single day I went to school with a water bottle in hand. It's like maybe pass by the water fountain and have a small drink, but we're talking like a sip. There wasn't this bottle.
[24:02] Now, I send my girls to school every day with a water bottle, and encourage them to drink it and fill it up again when it's empty. I'm always telling them to drink water, but that seems like that wasn't always this innate thing for us to do.
Steve: [24:16] Exactly. I never went anywhere with water when I was young.
Killeen: [24:19] No.
Steve: [24:19] But I sure as heck do now.
Killeen: [24:20] Yeah. I'm actually holding my water bottle right now, and as you started talking about hydration, I was trying to quietly open it so that I didn't make lots of squeaking noises, because I just couldn't help but take a drink of water.
Steve: [24:34] Yes, exactly. I have a jar that I drink out of, and it's empty right now. As I'm talking about it, I'm like, "Whoo, it's time for me to go refill the jar."
Killeen: [24:43] Yeah, totally. I think Abigail and I have a few episodes where we talk about how I drink my jar of pond water. It's water with a bunch of crazy herbs floating in it from my garden.
Steve: [24:54] That's brilliant.
Killeen: [24:56] Listeners, if you're intrigued, go back a few episodes to, I think it's called "Fantastic Herbs and How to Use Them." I wonder if you get the reference.
Steve: [25:06] I love that. It's your backyard tonic.
Killeen: [25:09] Yeah, totally. We're going to take a quick moment to pause here, because we need to squeak in a word from our sponsor.
[25:15] [commercial break]
Killeen: [25:55] Where were we? Steve, great info on the water, and I think, again, it seems so obvious, but it's not, because like we said, as kids or growing up, we didn't have someone shoving water in our face.
Steve: [26:09] It's one of those foundational things. It's just good, and most of your awesome listeners probably already know stuff like that, but it never hurts to have that friendly reminder.
Killeen: [26:17] They do. I think you're right, and the way I framed this episode is that everybody knows someone who's struggling sometimes, just needing a little bit of motivation, inspiration, whatever it might be to get themself exactly where you were, away from that. You were sitting there going, "Gee, I need to do something to change it.
[26:37] I'm just not sure how to get started," or, "These five yo‑yo diets haven't worked for me. What now?"
[26:43] I'm hoping that our listeners will pass this info on, send this podcast over to somebody who really needs to hear something from somebody who's been there.
Steve: [26:53] That's the goal, right? That...
Killeen: [26:54] That's the goal.
Steve: [26:56] this info out there to help shift people's minds and perspectives.
Killeen: [27:01] Along that line, nutritarian. I like that. I feel like that takes it away from being boxed into vegetarian, paleo, vegan. Tell us more about nutritarian and what that means to you...
Steve: [27:16] [laughs] It's almost a joke, but it actually makes sense, too. It's saying that you eat food with nutrients, but what does that mean? That means that whenever possible, I'm choosing. I'm making choices about the foods that I put into my body that are the most nutrient‑dense as possible.
[27:38] For instance, I don't eat white potatoes, because they're just starch and sugar. Instead, I reach for a sweet potato, or a purple potato. I don't do white rice, because that's been processed. I'll do brown rice or quinoa, even. It's about those simple substitutions that you can make that can ultimately and drastically increase your overall nutrient intake.
[28:07] If we're bombarding the body with high‑quality nutrients on a daily basis, then the end result is health.
Killeen: [28:14] Sure. Do you have any resources? There's so much out there. We've talked about this. It can be overwhelming to figure out, "Where do I go to find out what nutrients are good or what foods are full of nutrients?" Where would you steer someone?
Steve: [28:30] That, if you just google nutrient‑dense foods, then there's a lot. If you start to go down that rabbit hole, it's a wonderful thing. One of the best things that I can suggest to do on a daily basis is just to make a smoothie. To start off your day with a blender full of fresh fruits and vegetables, and to drink down between 20 and 35 or so ounces of smoothie for breakfast is a phenomenal nutrient‑dense way to start the day.
Killeen: [29:02] I bet you've got a lot of good smoothie recipes up your sleeve, don't you, Steve?
Steve: [29:07] [laughs] I have my fair share, yes indeed, though most days, I make must‑go smoothie. That's where I open up the fridge and look at what produce must go.
Killeen: [29:17] [laughs] Got it. I could probably make a really hefty must‑go smoothie right now.
Steve: [29:25] The trick, though, with must‑go smoothies is that it's super easy for your smoothie to be brown and taste like mud, so it's nice to have smoothie recipes that you can find online to give you a guidance, like a container for you to start to familiarize yourself and your palate with what types of smoothie you enjoy.
[29:44] Then over time, you'll build up your smoothie chops, basically, and then you'll know how to make a good smoothie for you.
Killeen: [29:50] Do you think you could come back for us and maybe give us a tutorial, a one‑on‑one on what makes the perfect smoothie, or good smoothie ratios, or combinations, that kind of thing?
Steve: [30:04] I'd love to. Yeah, absolutely. I feel very strongly on my smoothie beliefs. I know we're a little low on time at this point, and I could talk for a while about that. Yeah, I'd love to come back.
Killeen: [30:16] That would be so great. Oops, you know what? I'm getting another call. It looks like it's Dr. Erin Stokes. I called her earlier. She must be calling me back, so maybe I should take this, but Steve, you have been an absolute life saver. I don't know where I would have steered the conversation today, given that it would have been a conversation of one, myself, talking to myself.
Killeen: [30:37] About inspiring things. I don't think it would have made for a great episode, so thank you so much.
Steve: [30:41] It's my pleasure, and I'll talk to you soon.
Killeen: [30:43] OK, sounds great. Take care.
[30:45] [phone ringing]
Killeen: [30:45] Hi, is it you, Erin?
Dr. Erin Stokes: [30:50] Hi, Killeen. I just had seen that I missed a call from you, and I had a feeling that it had to do with That Supplement Show.
Killeen: [30:57] You were completely right. How'd you know? [laughs]
Dr. Stokes: [31:01] It's what we're really focused on these days.
[31:04] Funny enough, I was just busy helping somebody understand their nutrient needs, and I referenced the last episode that you and Abigail had recorded, that one where you talked about how to read supplement fact panels. That was really helpful.
Killeen: [31:18] I'm so glad that you enjoyed it. We had Carly on. It was a really great discussion, and I learned a lot about how to break down what's on a supplement facts panel, and learned all about why there are some changes being made.
[31:34] Hint, hint to anybody listening, when you're done with this episode, maybe jump one back to hear all about how to read your label and what's coming up with those changes.
Dr. Stokes: [31:46] That is a good one.
[31:47] What are you talking about today?
Killeen: [31:49] Today deserves a little bit of explanation. It's been a bit of a whirlwind. I'm completely thrilled you called me back. Here, let me back up a bit.
[31:59] Abigail and I were ready to have this great episode planned out, talking about how to tackle your health when it's a concern. We were looking to find ways to inspire listeners, and especially listeners that maybe know that one person that just needs a little bit of motivation to get themselves off of that negative track of health and steer more towards the positive.
[32:26] We all know somebody that might be in need of that motivation.
Dr. Stokes: [32:30] Yes, we do, and the fact is that we all are on the road, and we all have improvements that we can make. One of the biggest things, Killeen, is that people get overwhelmed when they think about everything they would like to do or aspire to do.
[32:48] I was reading a book recently, just talking about goals in general, and it was talking about chunking it out, chunks, basically. Putting things into chunks so that you can break it down and not get completely overwhelmed.
Killeen: [33:02] I like that, and so apropos to what we're about to talk about.
[33:08] Here Abigail and I were, we were ready to go. We had planned things out, and it just so happened that I had taken a little bit of a digital break in the morning and I didn't look at my email. Abigail had actually emailed me to say that she couldn't make it.
[33:25] Even with that technology there, it's pretty useless if you don't check. There I was going, "Oh no, here we are, ready to record our episode and Abigail is not available," which props to her for taking the time that she needed to get out today. She put her health first.
[33:43] I thought, "Well, shoot, what am I going to do?" Then I thought of our friend, Steve Wood, who is somebody else who took charge of his health and had quite a story about being down the path in the direction he did not want to be in and what he did to turn himself around.
[34:03] Just as you called me back, I was wrapping up this great conversation with Steve about the incremental changes that he made in order to put himself on a road to wellness. Let me tell you, Steve's always such a delight.
[34:16] We had a great time, but there is something that we didn't talk about too much that I definitely want to pick your brain on.
Dr. Stokes: [34:24] All right, let's do it.
Killeen: [34:26] As we are called That Supplement Show, I was thinking, it's very similar to when you just look at your health and you say, "Gee, I need to make all these different changes." If you're finding yourself in that stage, where do you start?
[34:41] Steve and I talked about this, and he did exactly what you referred to. He chunked it out and tried to bite off some manageable bites, and not look at the big picture, but try to hone in on some specific things that he could do differently, and incrementally change that path of his.
[35:03] When we're in the supplement aisle, I think it feels the same. You're looking at rows upon rows of all these supplements that are there to help us when taken properly. Yet, where does one start?
[35:19] I thought you could talk to us about somebody who knows...They're at that point where they say, "I think that my diet does need a little supplementation. I need to fill in a couple gaps, nutrients that perhaps I'm not getting."
[35:32] Where might someone start when they're looking at that sea of bottles in the supplement aisle?
Dr. Stokes: [35:37] That's a great question, Killeen. It does come up a lot. As you know, in addition to being a naturopathic doctor, and having worked out in private practice with my clients, I also have a really long history in the natural retail world. I got to tell you, I've seen many a person standing in front of the wall of supplements with their mouths slightly open, just looking overwhelmed and confused.
[36:01] It's an important subject, because I think that people are absolutely ready to make changes and wanting to make changes, but what I see with many people is they might pick and choose different things, but not really know where they're going, and not take them very consistently, so let's try to make it easy for people.
[36:22] I know that you and Steve probably touched on nutrition and food, and of course, as a naturopathic doctor, a mom, I'm definitely a self‑proclaimed foodie. I think that food is foundation, so I never want to jump right into supplements without talking about the importance of nutrition.
Killeen: [36:40] At the heart of what Steve had to say, and it made me laugh, is he proclaims himself as a nutritarian. He says, "I eat foods that contains nutrients." I loved that.
[36:50] We talked a little bit about, "Well, how do you know which foods contain nutrients or what nutrients you might be missing?" That's where the supplementation comes in, so you couldn't be, again, more right in line with what we were talking about.
Dr. Stokes: [37:02] Good. I strongly believe that supplements play an important role, because we do have gaps in our diet. There is just no question. Even those that are eating very well, we just have some factors to consider.
[37:17] One is that there's a demonstrated decline in certain nutrients in fruits and vegetables that's happened over the last 50 to 100 years. Although fruits and vegetables are always a great choice, they may not be as nutritious as the fruits and vegetables our parents and grandparents were eating.
[37:37] Also, we all know that our modern lifestyles are busy and on the go. Most of us can think about a skipped meal or a day in our recent past, where we didn't eat our best.
[37:49] The gaps are there and we have a lot of data around the gaps in certain vitamins, like vitamin D, vitamin B6, B12, even the good old vitamin C.
[37:59] I am a big believer, this all leads right to, that I think the place to really start is with a multivitamin.
Killeen: [38:07] It seems so simple.
Dr. Stokes: [38:09] I know. Foundational supplements usually will include more than a multi, but I really believe that's the place to start. Again, even if you get to the point where you're thinking, "Well, OK, I'm going to take a multi." It doesn't end there, because the choices among multivitamins are pretty overwhelming.
Killeen: [38:28] Of course.
Dr. Stokes: [38:30] With all those options, it can be challenging to pick the one that's right for you. As you know, I'm a big fan of our recently updated, doctor‑formulated multi collection that was formulated by Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, a medical doctor who's an internationally recognized expert in supplements and herbal medicine.
[38:53] This is a great line because it's updated with the most current research and the most up‑to‑date nutrient forms.
Killeen: [39:00] It's really nice to also be able to put a face to the formulator. In our case, knowing Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, she's really quite a special person, and is really passionate about what she does, and just hearing her speak, I felt like, "OK, here's somebody that's not just sitting there deciding what to arbitrarily drop into a multivitamin." It is backed by a lot of research.
Dr. Stokes: [39:27] It really is, research about the deficiencies that exist in our country, about different nutrient forms, which are the most highly absorbable nutrient forms. Like all of our multivitamins, you can still take them any time of day, even on an empty stomach.
[39:45] We're talking about developing habits and we're talking about health and wellness. When you're able to do something every day, that makes such a difference.
[39:55] I think that's part of what people get frustrated about, Killeen. I see this a lot where people have a cupboard, and it's full of all these different supplements, but they don't really always understand the intention about it, about each one.
"[40:07] I don't really...I think this one is supposed to be...I'm using it for this..."
[40:11] But a multi is just really clear‑cut. You want to fill those gaps in your diet and that's because vitamins and minerals are supporting all of the great things that we want to do each and every day, like healthy mood, healthy energy. It just makes a lot of sense. When you can take them any time of day, even on an empty stomach, it's easy to do it every day.
Killeen: [40:31] That habit‑forming ritual of the good kind is where we want to be at with something like a multivitamin.
Dr. Stokes: [40:38] I think so. It's an upward spiral. It's just like any habit. I really believe habits are very important, so whether it's meditating in the morning, taking your multi, drinking a certain amount of glasses of water a day, or all of the above. Those are all good habits. Once you've gotten in the groove of habits, it gets easier and easier.
Killeen: [41:03] Number one would be a multi. What's next for foundational supplements?
Dr. Stokes: [41:07] I think that the multi is the place to start. When I look at my classic – what used to be my triad, I would say, of foundational supplements – it would be a multi, a probiotic, and some kind of essential fatty acid. That could be plant based or it could be a fish oil, depending on your nutrition needs. I've added a fourth one, and that is really turmeric.
[41:35] It's interesting, I saw my doctor today. I go see my medical doctor and she was asking me about turmeric, because it was noted on my supplement intake form. I was telling her about turmeric and why I take it.
[41:49] Turmeric, of course, always, speaking about your doctor, always consult your doctor. Your healthcare provider is the best person that knows about you and your individual needs, so always consult your healthcare practitioner when you're looking at taking a supplement.
[42:06] Turmeric really holds a high place because of its role in maintaining healthy inflammation. The turmeric one is an outlier, Killeen, because I think a lot of times, people are probably like, "OK, multivitamin, probiotic."
[42:20] Yes, a lot of people are starting to understand the microbiome, and how it's our own community of bacteria and viruses. That includes the good, the not so good, and downright bad among our microbiome. Our microbiome is like our personal garden, our internal garden.
[42:39] A probiotic is really an excellent way to help support healthy digestion and a healthy immune system.
Killeen: [42:48] That's great. I will actually put a link in our show notes to a blog post that you have written about this very thing, sort of the supplement triad.
Dr. Stokes: [42:58] That would be great.
Killeen: [42:59] Erin, thank you again for calling me back. I feel so fortunate this episode has completely been saved, between you and Steve sharing your thoughts. You know what's even better is I also know Abigail's out there under some blue skies, enjoying some time with her family.
[43:18] Everybody is doing well and that's what this is all about, taking care of ourself, and inspiring others down their road of health wellness. We've done a good job today, and now I am going to try to make sure I get myself outside as well.
Dr. Stokes: [43:34] Good idea. Go get some fresh air, Killeen. Great to talk with you.
Killeen: [43:38] You too, Erin. We'll talk to you soon.
Dr. Stokes: [43:40] Sounds good, bye.
Killeen: [43:42] Well, my friend. For having to improvise, I think that went pretty well. What do you think?
Announcer: [43:47] I never doubted you for a second, Killeen.
Killeen: [43:49] Thank you. I'm so happy it worked out, and props to Abigail for taking care of herself. Now what are you going to do to take care of yourself?
Announcer: [43:57] For starters, I'm going to put down this iced latte and get myself a tall glass of water.
[44:01] [background music]
Announcer: [44:01] How's that for an incremental change, Killeen?
Killeen: [44:04] You are catching on fast. That's excellent. On that note, I'm giving you the green light to wrap this episode up. Thanks for being here as we worked through all those hiccups.
Announcer: [44:12] My pleasure.
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