Bringing the Clinic into the Kitchen - Interview on Mindful Medicine

audio Block
Double-click here to upload or link to a .mp3. Learn more.

Below is the transcript of my interview on Doctor Holly Lucille's Mindful Medicine podcast. Listen to more Mindful Medicine by Dr. Holly Lucille by clicking HERE


Hi folks, it is Doctor Lucille here and with Mindful Medicine. We are just trying to help you wake up, use your own mind and think through the massive amount of information and misinformation out there on health and wellness. To help yourself be your best self and ask yourself great, great questions to take care of you and your family.

I'm always excited about my show and the topic, so we're going to get right into it. “Bringing the Clinic to the Kitchen,” it’s one of my favorite topics because as a Naturopathic Doctor I’m guided use the least invasive methods to diagnose and treat. With treating, we think about diet and lifestyle and so food is so important, I think to help outcomes. It’s also one of the thing that we use to destroy our health as well.

Without further ado I want to bring my guest on. Her name— is this dear friend of mine Doctor Sally LaMont. She is an ND and she's an acupuncturist. We're going to learn all about her journey this show. Doctor Sally, thanks for being on.

Dr. Sally:  Good afternoon, it's my pleasure

Dr. Holly:  So we go back, let's just talk a little bit about how we know each other. Because honestly without you, I have to say this, without you I don't think that I would be near the person or the professional that I am. Because very early on in my career, which it got started, well school started a long time ago but graduated in 2001. We sort of got going on Senate Bill 907 and that was the bill to license Naturopathic Doctors here in California.

You had been working on that project far longer than I had because I was in school and just graduated. You were the president of the California Association and then also got promoted to the Executive Director and you kind of ran that ship did you?

Dr. Sally: Yeah, I sure did. It was an amazing experience. We bonded a lot during that time. 

Dr. Holly: Listen, to license Naturopathic Doctor folks, it's no joke. I mean you go up against, I mean everybody in medicine seems to have a turf war. It feels like if you got qualified educated folks with a good scope of practice that if we come in, we are going to take away something other people have, like the California Medical Association or the Chiropractic School Association or any other discipline. Just like, hey, we have a huge health care crisis going on here in United States and I think more is better when it comes to people being able to really practice more primary care and take care of folks.

It was an amazing experience and yes we are licensed here in the state of California as Naturopathic Doctors to practice primary care and you happen to be a Naturopathic Doctor and also an acupuncturist. Tell me about that, how did you get there?

Dr. Sally:  Hello, thanks for having me on Holly. Let's see, you know I was raised in the middle of the country. I am a Kansas girl, raised in a father knows best home with two really different sets of grandparents.

One grandparent had an orchard garden, a huge garden. They hunted for their food. We spent this summer playing in my grandma's garden, picking tomatoes from the vine and helping her cook and can. This side of the half of the family was really healthy and outdoors people.

The other side of the family was absolutely the total opposite. My mom's parents ran a greasy spoon in Kansas City. But I never got to know them because they died of heart attack in their 50s. That side of the family literally drank coke for breakfast and had donuts and had white refined and processed food all day long. I ended up watching my mom suffer from debilitating migraines and that whole side of the family kind of struggling with chronic disease.

Through this “tale of two kitchens”, I actually got to witness very early on the devastating effects that bad food had in eroding the health of my family and I knew I wanted to learn more about the connection between diet, health and disease. I started to go into the library on Saturday mornings and check out cookbooks and literally taught myself to cook as a survival strategy. When I got into college, I took nutrition course and got a minor in Chemistry and went on to study Microbiology and that's when I found out about Naturopathic Medicine. 

Dr. Holly:  I didn't know that part about you at all and I'm fascinated. I mean, you almost had this science experiment as just being a granddaughter of watching the outcomes of these two different lifestyles and it made such an impression and your dad’s so cool.

I'm so glad it did because I saw your first email come through and I know you've been working on this for a long time. But I saw your first introductory email come through the other week and it was so beautiful and so well done: you've launched Dr. Sally's Kitchen. It really has to do with the healing power of food and bringing the clinic to the kitchen.

Tell me I want to know your thoughts behind this because I know you know people can see that email for the first time they think, "Look what Sally just did, that must've been, she must have thought of that yesterday." I know a lot of work and thought and preparation has gone into this platform for you. I want you to tell the listeners all about it because I'm so excited!

Dr. Sally:  Alright, thanks! Well, you know every day, I'm sure the same with, you I hear women especially, but men too struggling with their weight, their energy, their digestion, they're riding the hormonal rollercoaster. They may have a sense that it links to their diet but they're so overwhelmed they don't really know where to start. I recognize the need for another format beyond that 30-minute visit to educate and empower my patients but the public too about the healing of power of food.

I created my website, www.doctorsallyskitchen.com, as a bridge from the clinic to the kitchen. On this website, I have sections with information about recipes that empower people with the knowledge to create fabulous food that they'll love to eat. They can search for health conditions, for relief from digestive distress or heart disease, inflammation, diabetes and they can learn how common vegetables and fruits can transform their health. I have travelled the world so I've put in a lot of cuisines from around the world that we don't get bored.

Dr. Holly:  Aha! That is such an important point because you know I'm going to use Doctor Sally's Kitchen I think a lot because I'm in that category. I love to cook and I love to eat healthy food but I— we get, “Oh my gosh. Do I get stuck in a rut?” Where I'm like, “Here I go again with a piece of clean protein with the same slices that I've been using and some steamed vegetables."

I'm like, at times makes me want to drive to like the nearest fast food place and just smash my taste buds with something else but I think that is such a great feature because its true it can happen, so knock it in board. Things from all around the world, that's fascinating. 

Dr. Sally:  Yeah, just the simple act of eating veggies is transformative. A new study came out just this week from the Imperial College of London that showed that eating 10 servings of fruits and veggies each day can prevent almost 8 million pre-mature deaths each year. Just shifting from the fast food that we all grew up eating to clean lean protein with veggies and fruits that are dressed up in interesting ways truly has the power to transform our health.

Dr. Holly:  Well, you said it right there, the study I mean I think that's fascinating and I'm not surprised at all. But let's help people think this through, what would the serving be? Kind of categorized that for my folks that are listening.

Dr. Sally:  Yeah, it varies somewhat but if it's a fruit, it's either a half a piece or a piece of fruit. Usually a couple pieces of fruit a day is what we want to get in. Much more than that, we may get a little more sugar than is good for us and then the rest comes from veggies.

That's not that hard to do if you do something like a breakfast, do a veggie scramble with tomatoes and onions and spinach. Then at lunch, a big beautiful salad, rainbow colored of serving of greens. If its raw, it’s a cup is cooked, it can be 2 or 3 cups, they shrink down to nothing. Through the course of protein and veggie rich breakfast, the big salad with some protein at lunch and maybe a stir-fry or one of my personal favorites soup. You can pack in 10 servings of veggies and fruits pretty easily through the course of the day.

Dr. Holly:  I think that's such a great point because it can be easy and people just need to understand that slight shift. It also makes sense to me what the study says because plants, veggies, fruits, plants are full of nutrients. Nutrients are what drive our biochemistry so of course we're not eating nutritionally values food when you're doing that, you're eating nutritionally packed food and then also fiber. Fiber is amazing for us and for all sorts of things and so not surprising to me whatsoever.

But speaking of ingredients, I noticed on your website, you call ingredients in your recipes part of your “food pharmacy”. You introduced the term “phytonutrients”. Tell me more about that. For our listeners, break down what a phytonutrient is. 

Dr. Sally:  Okay. I just think the phytonutrient as little chemical messengers in every bite of plant food. Imagine, crimson red tomatoes, bright green spinach, purple blueberries, golden pumpkins, it's actually the pigments in these vegetables that contain these compounds that speak to our genes. They contain information that instructs our genes to reduce inflammation, support detoxification, really optimize our gene expression and support key cell functions and structures.

You know we evolved on this earth eating a really basic diet of plants, with a little protein when we could get it. But it's only plants that contain these phytonutrients. The amazing thing about them is the plant makes them as part of an elaborate defense mechanism to protect themselves from stressors, like pest and drought and sun. Overtime nature programmed animal cells to develop receptors to these phytochemicals. When we eat them, those phytonutrients binds to a receptor on our cell and downloads this vital information that helps our body function properly.

Dr. Holly:  That is fascinating. Isn't it amazing how nature sort of just shows up in a way that it’s so brilliant. I mean the fact that those plants have developed those incredible protective compounds to protect themselves. Now we can use them to protect us and heal us as well. I think that's amazing, I think that's great.  

Dr. Sally:  Yeah, and so you know. Can I just finish that thought?

Dr. Holly:  Oh, please.

Dr. Sally:  Yeah, so I've broken my website down into a few key areas and one of them is this food pharmacy. What I've done is written little 300 word profile on, right now I've got about 20 veggies and fruits but I'm going for the full spectrum over the course of this year as I keep writing. You know you can tap into it and read about arugula and the compounds in it that as part of the cruciferous vegetable family like broccoli. Helps to detoxify estrogen and protects us from certain cancers. You can read about the phytonutrients in fennel and onions, kale and parsnips.

They're kind of directed towards helping people to learn to cook these foods and to understand their full healing potential. They are much more than just a tasty tomato but that tomato has compounds in it that can prevent macular degeneration or reduced the development of that blinding eye disease. When cooked, a tomato actually concentrates a key phytonutrient called lycopene and that tends to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and heart disease.

There's just so much going on in these everyday veggies and fruits that we don't know about and that's one of the reasons why I created Doctor Sally's Kitchen. Really to be a resource for people, to inspire them to upgrade their diet and lifestyle.

Dr. Holly:  It's so amazing. Yeah so you have the RX recipe box and also the food pharmacy. Your website is chock full of information and it's fun. I think when people know better, they do better. I mean or we hope. I can't always say that across the board. Sometimes I know better and I don't do better, which is a whole another topic.

It's fun to understand and you make it so easy and I love that because I want to talk to you about this one thing. I was talking to a friend the other day and we haven't seen each other in a while she’s like, "Holly, can you tell me please, isn't a calorie just a calorie?" I was like "Nope, it's not" and I started to explain to her and I don't think I've ever really broken it down this way that you know one of the things I think is wrong with our, where you came from that middle part of the country it's the same here, Ohio, Michigan and what they call a SAD diet, that Standard American Diet, is at times its a double whammy because people are eating nutritionally valueless as I said before food. They don't have the proper phytonutrients, the plant nutrients, those protective anthocyanins and polyphenols and all those things that are so important to help run our biochemistry.

I've always talked about vitamins and minerals, these nutrients not just being a couple you know aisles on your health food store but they're really co-factors that create every single biochemical process in our bodies and they are important to get in and deficiencies over time can develop and its devastating to our health. I talked to her about the fact that so you get these nutritionally values food so you're getting calories in, nutritionally valueless calories and also I think the double whammy comes when it's also, I think zapping our anti-oxidants stores because of the free radical activity its causing and that oxidative stress that we're getting. It's like, no a calorie is not a calorie is not a calorie, because she was talking particularly about weight loss but I really wanted to make that point. Wouldn't you say?

Dr. Sally:  I agree. I mean each gram of carbohydrate has four calories so that could come from some refined and processed cookies, pies, cakes, crackers or it could come from an apple. With an apple, you have a complex carbohydrate; we say “complex carbohydrates” because it takes your body more energy to extract the nutrient from that, than a chip. If your body has to actually work harder burning more calories to get those calories, the fiber really helps to slow to release of sugar, balances blood sugar and that apple in the red peel has its own set of phytonutrients that empower our body to stay healthy.

The calorie isn't really a calorie, it’s really what the source of that calorie. When you dive into this what I call my RX prescriptive recipe box, you can find a whole set of my personal recipes that I've developed over the last several decades of cooking. They're all hypoallergenic. They're free of sugar and wheat, and gluten.

I love cooking because it really connects us back to the natural world. It get our hands, if not into the dirt, into the produce. I think your point, when we strayed from this natural diet and start to eat manmade food products devoid of these vital information stored in them, it isn't any wonder that we've ended up evolving a range of metabolic issues that are not only destroying our health but they are bankrupting this disease management system that we've got.

Dr. Holly:  Aha, disease management system. You've been talking about that for long time.

Dr. Sally:  Yeah.

Dr. Holly:  Go ahead. No, no please.

Dr. Sally:  I just think cooking gives us a key to the kingdom. It gives us the freedom to eat what we want to eat when we want to eat it. You can decide whatever you want to eat that night and put it together.

It's creative, it's fun and it's kind of a team sport. You can enroll your friend to help do dinner, or family. You can do roaming dinner parties and some people are a little intimidated by cooking. But just like anything else that you get good at, it takes a little practice. You wouldn't expect to get good at golf or some kind of a game or a dance if you didn't put some energy and time into it.

I'd say, get into the kitchen, open my RX recipe box. I have launched Doctor Sally's Kitchen with a whole set of soups. I think soups are a really good way to go. You know you can take a Sunday afternoon and make a big pot of a lot of soup that you then freeze in small containers. When you come on a weeknight and you're not feeling well or too tired to cook, you can pull out a chipotle chicken vegetable soup that's really delicious or a roasted red pepper and butternut squash soup. You know I've got a whole set of soups that I'm starting, I'm going to over the course of the summer wants some great salad, protein powered breakfast and more.

Dr. Holly:  I love it. You know the other thing I've talked to my patients about when they get all kind of intimidated about the word cooking is I’m like,  “Okay let's look at it this way at least. There's a difference between let's say cooking a Bolognese sauce and steaming asparagus.” I try to get it down to the nitty-gritty of just preparing.

I was fascinated, I'm a big looker of words, people notice who listen to me that I looked up the word diet once. I’m like, “What the heck does diet really?” Because we use it so often and it's so conotated. “Diet” in the dictionary actually means “habitual nourishment”. How as a habit do you nourish yourself? And that's how I started to talk to my patients about it.

You know we could use that angle about nourishing and nourishment, and what that means. A lot of times, people didn't feel worthy of being nourished and sometimes that's where the disconnect come in; the difference between cooking and just preparing.

The other thing Sally, that I think is fascinating about you and that I love is that you practice medicine still, you see patients so you are able to extrapolate knowledge from your practice, from your patients because of your experience and all. Then ship it back in there and give it to them. I've always practiced with my blessed and diversified career. I think practicing is where I get to learn a lot and continue to learn a lot. It's where I get to sort of depart my passion and my knowledge and my education. What about you?

Dr. Sally:  I mean couldn’t agree more. It's such an interesting calling to spend your day listening to people's health problems and try to drill down to the most basic underlying cause. That's what's missing in medicine today. Often it comes down to people just eating and living in a manner that doesn't support their health. Through practice, we can do something like draw their blood and look for anti-bodies to foods that they may have developed eating over the course of a lifetime.

Then we can guide them to eliminate foods that actually are tripping the trigger on inflammation or auto-immunity. I love helping people get their health back through the right food, right nutrients and lifestyle choices.  

Dr. Holly:  Yeah, it's fascinating. It is absolutely fascinating. Alright folks there you have it, we are helping you think through bringing the clinic into your kitchen. It can start there. Eating for an outcome and you have a great resource now from Dr. Sally LaMont. Please visit www.drsallyskitchen.com. You can also find Dr. LaMont on Facebook and that's of course is facebook.com/drsallyskitchen.

Sally, thank so much it's so fun to always talk to you. I had to tell with my last story about you— I'm not exactly sure how old you are. If you want to tell me you can, and if not, I just want to tell the listeners that you are a walking billboard for what you do and how you eat because you are one of the most beautiful people that I know. You're absolutely gorgeous but you glow with youth. Every time I see you and it's probably once a year or less, every time I see you and it's been over the last 15 years, I feel that you get younger and younger and younger.

Dr. Sally:  Well, thank you Holly. I have been taking care of myself since my 20s when I first found out about Naturopathic Medicine. I'm well into my 60s at this point and I have to attribute it to learning to eat well early in life and taking the right nutrients and exercise.

I appreciate your feedback and I want to be a beacon of hope for everybody out there as they but as we age to really embrace the opportunity to do so with health.

We do not have to go down this road towards chronic degenerative disease as rapidly as the average American can. I hope you'll find drsallyskitchen.com to be a great resource for you in your journey towards health.

Dr. Holly:  That's great! I love it. I couldn't agree more. Honestly, just thank you so much for what you do. Alright, there it is folks: drsallyskitchen.com. I am Dr. Holly Lucile of Mindful Medicine.