Interview with Dr. Pamela Popper

Highlights of the interview with Dr. Pamela Popper author of the book “Food as Medicine”

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There are lots and lots of books related to health and dieting but there are a few authors who have the courage to say things as they really are. What do I mean by that? Doctors who publically raise the issue that the health system in the United States is not a health system but a sick system considering the influence of the food and pharmaceutical industries in our decision making, food politics and lack of clear information to consumers like you and me. This is the reason I got interested in Dr. Pamela Popper.

I first heard about Dr. Popper watching the documentary “Food Choices” and later on I read her book “Food as Medicine” where she talks about these specific aspects: food as a way to avoid diseases, over medication and lack of honest information for consumers. So to make the story short, I had the incredible opportunity to interview Dr. Popper and ask her about specific parts of her book which now I can share with you. The full interview was 40 mins so I decided to summarize the session and show you the highlights. Everything I write and share is with a high dose of love and dedication so I hope you find it useful.

MXO: Dr. Popper you are an advocate for a plant based diet. Can you briefly, in layman terms, explain why you recommend this diet?

Dr.Popper: Well, there are two major  examples to show why this diet is the best for humans. The first thing is that if you look around the world, there are still a few places left where the diabetes rate, cancer rate, heart diseases rate are very low, and these people eat a plant-based diet, and this should be a clue. I mean our health statistics in the United States are terrible, we are eating a diet that is comprised of animal foods and processed foods so that is a clue. Another very significant clue we have is a growing number of studies where using a plant-based diet has shown to stop the progression of or reverse conditions like diabetes, coronary artery disease, even some cancers, so between those two we have a pretty powerful case we can make for eating a plant based diet.

MXO: What do think about animal protein? Do we really need it?

Dr. Popper: There are economical reasons throughout history to explain why eating animal protein became popular. In wealthy areas, people would eat more and more animal foods, and it was considered the food of rich people which many aspires to. And it’s an honest inverse relation between the increase of animal food intake and the health status which goes down at the same time, so that is what’s actually happening. We have been told that we need animal protein and this is mythology. My take is that there is no compelling reason to include it in the diet. For people like me who don’t eat any of it, I am not missing out on something, I am not going to be deficient in anything. For people who insist that they must have some, then at least limit it to the amount that is eaten by people who live in areas of the world where they have significantly better health.

MXO: Moving away from animal protein also means we need to bring more variety of food in our plate. What can you advise people to start diversifying their foods?

Dr. Popper: I have a lot of clients is my wellness center who are picky eaters and what I tell them is that variety is a luxury of western civilization. The story of a specific person comes to me, a guy who had very compelling medical reason to change his diet, he was scared to death. Right away he said to me “I don’t like the food that you eat” however, I am willing to do it. So I said to him “every so often I would like you to try something that is just new”, we went through the foods that he likes (that are healthy) and he started adding new ones every now and then. Last time I saw him he said “Guess what? I ate kohlrabi” and I thought, now he is getting adventurous! I can see that giving him a comfort zone to start from and get more adventurous later on was the way to go.

I also tell people they need to have this visualization in your head, when you go into the grocery store, farmer’s market or whatever, I want you to think about food as drugs as my book Food over Medicine like this: There are some vegetables that are called cruciferous vegetables, I want to choose a couple of those “drugs”, there’s a class of fruits called stone fruits, so pick some of those “drugs” too (peaches, cherries), then we have leafy greens, this one is a great set of drugs too, tubers, etc. When you start seeing these foods as foods that can heal your body, and maintain your body, this will make a huge difference.

MXO: Let’s talk about over testing and overmedication. You mentioned in the book that many times patients are asked to get a lot of unnecessary tests that can actually cause health problems such as infections or simply create unnecessary panic. What would you recommend to people when they are faced with this situation?

Dr. Popper: Well, unless it is an emergency, If I was in a car accident and I am bleeding, I don’t want a bake potatoe and a copy of the China Study (Study about effects of nutrition in health), I want to be taken to a hospital and get the best of western medicine: anesthesia, drugs, surgery, anything that is required. Most of the time medicine is about sitting in a doctor’s office and been told to take this drug, do this treatment, get this test, so the answer (from consumers) should be “that’s an interesting idea, I want to research about this information you are giving me so please provide me with information sources that back up what you are advising me to do. Once I review it I will come back to you with my decision”. Medicine should not be about a patient agreeing to anything the doctors says, we need to ask ourselves: what are the side effects of taking the drugs or having a test done? Will the testing reduce my risk of dying? If the answer is no, then don’t do it. Basically, assess the risks and the benefits of doing what the doctor is advising. If you buy a house in this country, you make sure you understand all the details of the house and the commitment you are getting yourself into. It should be the same approach.

MXO: How can health coaches work together with medical professionals to improve the health of the population?

Dr. Popper: There are good medical professionals who are out there and take their profession very seriously. Some even take nutrition classes which is great. What health coaches can do is to empower the patients, prepare them to have a real conversation with their doctor, to help them look at everything: is this a good idea or a bad idea? ask more questions and take control of the situation.

Health coaches can help educate consumers and guide people through habit change in a way it is sustainable and lasting.

I am grateful that I had the chance to talk with Dr.Popper and be able to share valuable information with all of you. If you want to learn more about her work visit her websites: http://drpampopper.com/ , http://wellnessforumhealth.com/about/dr-pamela-popper/ .

 

Hasta la proxima!

 

Vegan Chana Saag

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By Chef: Del Soufre (Forks over Knives Cookbook)

Servings: 4

Remember the Chickpeas and Kale India style recipe? well, this is the original version and I must say I loveee spinach so this one would be my choice No.1.  I made slight changes to the original recipe: changing the almond milk for coconut milk and adding coconut oil. Spinach makes it creamy so the texture is very smooth. As it has lots of spices, it is cooked the Ayurvedic way, which means the spices are cooked first (with the yellow onion) to release their amazing aroma and increase their properties.

Continue reading “Vegan Chana Saag”

The interview with​ Dr. Pamela Popper

Hi there my friends!

Even though Irma got me a bit distracted (more than distracted), I have not forgotten what I promised: the key highlights of the interview with Dr. Pamela Popper. So stick around, because my next post is ALL about her (Monday). This is why you should be interested in this:

imgres 1. Internationally recognized naturopath and expert in nutrition (her work and research is applicable outside the United States)

2.  Lobbyist and public policy expert who works consistently to protect the rights of consumers of the health care system in the United States (for those who live in the U.S, you know the challenges to have reliable high-quality services)

3. Author of different books related to health and one of the lead experts in the documentary Food Choices (2016)

You want to know more? enjoy the weekend and expect my blog next week!

 

See you soon!

 

Las lecciones que aprendí de Irma  

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Si no hubiese sido por la desagradable visita de Irma, habría sido un domingo muy relajado y calmado, probablemente al lado de la piscina o haciendo un asado con amigos.

Sin embargo, para ponerle “picante” al fin de semana, tuvimos la visita de Irma. Como ya saben, afortunadamente para los que vivimos en Miami, el huracán cambió su ruta, y no fue tan devastador como pensamos inicialmente. (Estoy convencida de que mis oraciones y las de todos a mi alrededor ayudaron también). Quiero decir que empecé a escribir este blog mientras estaba en el hotel junto con otras 400 personas quienes tuvieron que evacuar sus casas (En Miami o los Cayos de la Florida) o que simplemente estaban en Miami por vacaciones o en tránsito esperando su vuelo de regreso a su ciudad o país de origen. Todos juntos por la misma razón: protegernos de Irma. Una enorme fuerza de la naturaleza que no le importó si eras saludable, enfermo, rico o pobre, realmente no importaba. Todos preparados para lo peor y esperando lo mejor.

Esta ha sido mi primer experiencia seudo apocalíptica que he tenido y siento que me prepare lo que mas pude: Se pusieron las persianas anti huracán, se pusieron las toallas en el piso para absorber el agua que entrase, se movieron los muebles y aparatos eléctricos, se guardaron los documentos personales, se aseguraron los carros, hasta comida saludable empaque en un cooler que llevamos al hotel. Diría que los preparativos para la llegada de Irma se completaron a rigor.

Sin embargo, una vez comenzó la tormenta, otros puntos a considerar fueron más obvios y solo podía prepararme para ellos en el mismo momento en que pasaba la tormenta y miraba lo que la naturaleza hacia afuera del hotel. Muchos pensamientos me pasaron por la cabeza: Espero que no nos quedemos sin energía, y si esto pasa, que alcance a comunicarme con mi familia, espero que mis amigos que se quedaron en Miami y Ft. Lauderdale estén seguros, a donde van a ir los pájaros y las iguanas del parque? Será que se inundó el apartamento? y asi muchos mas.

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Solo tenia 50% de bateria en mi portatil asi que decidi enfocarme en las cosas que puedo controlar y dejar a un lado las que no. De esta manera empecé a interactuar con otros que en condiciones normales probablemente nunca hubiera cruzado una palabra. Una pareja italiana de vacaciones en Miami Beach que les tocó quedarse por culpa de Irma, una señora argentina que también le tocó quedarse porque su vuelo de regreso a Buenos Aires se canceló, una familia cubana americana de 15 personas que estaban super preparados con comida y no les importaba compartir con los demás, un americano que cuidaba a su mamá y su hermana, gente de diferentes tamaños, razas, con mascotas, con niños, viajeros solos, cada uno con una historia diferente que contar. Lo único que seguro en ese momento era que: no había electricidad, había agua, el generador de energia del hotel estaba funcionando (solo en áreas comunes y de emergencia) e Irma estaba pasando. Podía escuchar el viento como azotaba las ventanas, los árboles luchando por no despegarse de la tierra, hasta los inodoros hacías ruidos raros. Sabía que la situación era temporal y que iba a finalizar en algún momento pero esas horas fueron tensionantes. Fue en este momento cuando puse en acción lo aprendido durante mi práctica de meditación para mantenerme tranquila: respiración abdominal, ejercicio físico, (entrene el sábado en un lugar tranquilo en el hotel y el domingo subí hasta nuestra habitación en el 4 piso unas cinco veces a diferentes horas del dia para mantenerme en movimiento) y lo más importante de todo, fije mi intención de aprender de esta experiencia.

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Asi que, que aprendí con la visita de Irma?

  • A aceptar las cosas tal y como son
  • A saber identificar cuando estoy a punto de entrar en pánico y actuar rápidamente
  • A utilizar mi inteligencia emocional para manejar la situación de nerviosismo e incertidumbre de la mejor manera
  • A entender que mis pensamientos y emociones son pasajeros, hacen parte de la percepción de mi realidad inmediata y no deben controlar mis acciones
  • A ser creativa y buscar maneras de mantenerme activa y entretenida
  • A ser una persona compasiva y calmada para los que me rodean
  • A no juzgar sin antes conocer
  • A aceptar la generosidad de desconocidos y no asumir que siempre buscan algo a cambio

Muchas lecciones que pasaron en 3 días y todas llegaron en su momento preciso. En la noche del domingo termine de escribir el blog con  ayuda de una linterna sabiendo que Irma iba en dirección hacia el norte y que al día siguiente íbamos a estar más seguros. Fue una experiencia intensa que me hizo pensar que como seres humanos somos muy vulnerables y debemos disfrutar más de la vida, reirnos más, amar más, estresarnos menos y quejarnos muy poco. La vida es corta y quiero apreciarla y vivirla lo máximo que se pueda. Estoy segura que muchos de ustedes también quieren lo mismo.

Que maravilloso fue poder verle la cara a las personas en vez de verlos mirando a su teléfono constantemente! La gente estaba conectando con otros mientras pasaba la tormenta, aunque no estaban precisamente unidos por una razón de alegría, estaban presentes en ese momento. Había incertidumbre y miedo pero también había amabilidad y compasión.

Quiero terminar este blog con las sabias palabras del líder espiritual de la India  Paramahansa Yogahanda, que me han llegado al corazón y alma y trataré de traducirlas lo más exacto posible ” “Abre las puertas de tu calma y deja que los pasos del silencio entren suavemente el templo de tus actividades”. Este pensamiento lo practico en mi vida diaria y creanme que en esta situación, que fue muy estresante, me ayudo muchisimo. Sigo trabajando para aumentar mi calma y ayudar a otros a que la encuentren y la alimenten en sus propios caminos. La meditación o cualquier otra práctica espiritual es alimento para el alma, tan importante como la comida con la que nos alimentamos.

Tienes alguna práctica espiritual? Si es asi, me encantaria saber cual es. Si no la tienes, no te afanes, yo te puedo guiar.

Hasta la proxima!

No olvides compartir este blog y suscribirte a mi pagina web para recibir mas tip que nutran tu cuerpo, espíritu y te ayuden a vivir plenamente.

Un abrazo fuerte,

 

 

 

 

Lessons’ from Irma

 

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If it hadn’t been because of the unpleasant visit of Irma, it would have been a very relaxing quiet Sunday, probably by the pool or having a BBQ by the beach with friends.

However, to spice things up a little, we had Irma’s visit. As we all know, fortunately for us in Miami, it changed its route and it wasn’t as devastating as we thought it was going to be. (I am convinced all my prayers and those of all around me helped too). I want to say I started writing this blog while we were in the hotel with another 400 people who had to evacuate their homes (in Miami or the Florida Keys) or just happened to be in Miami for a holiday or due to a layover trying to get to their homes in other cities and countries. All of us together for the same reason: protecting ourselves from Irma. A massive force of nature that didn’t care if you were healthy, sick, rich, poor, it didn’t really matter. All of us hoping for the best but prepared for the worse.

This was my first pseudo apocalyptic experience and I felt we prepared for it as much as we could: shutters were up, towels covering the floor to absorb any water, furniture and electronics moved, personal documents in a safe place, cars secured, even healthy food in the cooler. All the physical stuff was secured, I would say the pre-Irma preparations were completed.

But once the storm began, there were other points to consider and I could only prepare for it while I was going through it, while I was looking at what nature was doing outside the hotel windows. Many thoughts crossed my mind: I hope we don’t lose power and if we do, that I can communicate with my family before that, I hope my friends who stayed in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale are safe, where would the birds and Iguana’s at the park go for shelter? I wonder if the apartment is flooded, and so on.

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I only had 50% battery on my laptop so I thought instead of focusing on the things I can’t control, I will focus on those I can, so I started interacting with others who in a normal situation probably I would have never met. An Italian couple who were on holidays in Miami Beach and were stranded because of the hurricane, an Argentinean lady who was on a layover hoping to return to her country, a full family of Cuban Americans who were more than prepared with food and were happy giving it away to others, an American guy who was caring for his mother and sister, people of all sizes, and colors with pets or alone, all of them with such different stories. The only certainty we had was: there’s no electricity, there’s water, the hotel generator is working (for emergency and common areas only), Irma was passing. I could hear the wind was blasting the windows, the trees were fighting to stay rooted and even the toilets were making weird noises. I knew the situation was temporary and was going to finish at some point but for those hours it was stressful. This was the time to apply what I learned in my meditation practice to keep it cool: abdominal breathing, physical exercise, ( I worked out in a quiet corner on Saturday and on Sunday walked 4 floors 5 times at different times of the day just to keep moving) and more importantly, I set my intention to learn from my experience.

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So what did I learn from Irma’s visit?

  • To accept things as they are
  • To be mindful and observe when I was about to start panicking
  • To use my emotional intelligence to manage the situation (being nervous and uncertain) and breathe in and out to calm my emotions and thoughts
  • To understand that my emotions and thoughts are temporary, they are part of my immediate perception of reality and they should not control my actions
  • To be creative and find ways to keep myself active and entertained
  • To be calm and compassionate to others around me
  • To stop judging the book by its cover
  • To accept the generosity of strangers and don’t think they always want something in return

Many lessons that happened in 3 days and all happened at the right time. On Sunday night, I ended up finishing this blog writing with a flashlight knowing that Irma was heading north and we were going to be safer the next day. It was an intense experience that made me think that as human beings, we are very vulnerable and we should enjoy more, laugh more, love more, stress less, and complain even less. Life is short and I want to appreciate it and live it to the fullest. I know many of you also want the same thing.

How wonderful was that I could see more the faces of people instead of their heads looking down to their phones! people were actually talking to each other, for those hours, even though the reason wasn’t exactly a fun party, people were present in that moment. There was uncertainty and fear but also kindness and compassion.

I want to finish this blog with these words from Paramahansa Yogahanda, the Indian spiritual leader, which resonate with me deeply: “Open the door of your calmness and let the footsteps of silence gently enter the temple of all your activities”. I am applying this thinking in my life and believe me, in this situation, that was very stressful, it helped a lot. I keep working to increase my calmness and help others around me find it and nourish it in their own paths. Meditation or any other type of spiritual practice is food for the soul, just as important as having the right food in our bodies.

Do you have a spiritual practice? If so, I would love to hear from you. If you don’t, don’t worry, I can guide you.

Until next time my friends!

And remember to share this blog and subscribe to my website to receive more nourishing tips on how to live to the fullest.

 

Bear hugs,

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Dr. Pamela Popper

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Hi there my friends!

I am sure that almost everyone admires an author and secretly wishes to have the chance to have a conversation with this person at some point in their life. Well, ladies and gents, I have the incredible opportunity to have this conversation with a medical doctor who I follow and admire deeply.  Dr. Pamela Popper is an internationally recognized naturopath, expert in nutrition, medicine and health, who lives in Colombus, Ohio. She has been featured in different documentaries like “Food Choices” and “Processed People”.  Click this link Dr. P Popper profile in a nutshell for a brief description of her profile. Why am I excited about this? Because she shares nuggets of wisdom that are relevant to all of us:

  1. Why a plant-based diet is an ideal diet
  2. Changing our relationship with food
  3. Being an informed consumer

The session was about 40 minutes but to make it easy for you (I know everyone is busy), I transcribed the interview and extracted the highlights so it is short and straight to the point. (If you wanted to see the video interview, I am happy to share it, just let me know by email)

For the record, I am not being paid by her to share this information, I am only doing it because I trust her expertise, knowledge and more importantly I trust her judgment. She says things are they are and doesn’t have issues with making a bit of noise. The interview is available for subscribers to my site, so don’t be shy and subscribe. This will also provide you access to more content that is specifically designed for those who want to live fully and happily.

When is it coming? next week!

You can also email me and I’ll subscribe you: mxospina@nourishmegood.com.

Hasta pronto!