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What Jeans Are You Wearing?

March 12, 2021 Dr. Isabel MD & Culinary Nutrition Expert Chef Michael Season 2 Episode 6
MD and Chef Team - The Show!
What Jeans Are You Wearing?
Show Notes Transcript

To be in the corporate chef, 70 plus hours a week, I was becoming the fat grumpy old chef very quickly, with a wife and two daughters.

And I remember my beautiful wife kind of looking at me one day, and she didn't say anything, but I could see the look in her eyes like, “Oh, my gosh, what's happening to my guy?” And I am taking a look at myself in the mirror, you know, it’s that point of life where the old saying is that, you know, “did you look at yourself in the mirror? 

And what did I see?”  Well, I was pretty unhappy what I saw, so that kind of started my process of going okay, I need to be looking at -- I don't want to die young. Is it just me? Is this all that I'm going to have? So that really started the process of .....

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Michael:  In the traditional medical sense, they want to put us into this box that well, if my mom had cancer, then I'll probably die of cancer. My dad had type two diabetes, you know, I'm gonna have those same types of aspects of same types of things going on and me. I'm gonna—no, this guy is gonna die young. And, you know, because those hereditary genes that he's got.


So yeah, we're gonna base everything that around that. Because what I started doing was I started getting myself in the best health in my life. And I'm still filling out these forms, and they're looking at me like, well, this guy's about to die. He's now in his 50s and into the 60s. And you know, he's probably just gonna die soon. I'm thinking, Well, wait a second. I’m in better health now than I was in my 30s.


Providence:  Right.


Michael:  Oh, what are you trying to do? You know, what box are you trying to fit me into here? You know? And so what kind of tipped me off a little bit was back in my 40s when I was still in my cheffing days and working 70 plus hours a week. I mean, I do it now differently. But to be in the corporate chef, 70 plus hours a week, I was becoming the fat grumpy old chef very quickly, with a wife and two daughters.


And I remember my beautiful wife kind of looking at me one day, and she didn't say anything, but I could see the look in her eyes like, “Oh, my gosh, what's happening to my guy?” And I am taking a look at myself in the mirror, you know, it’s that point of life where the old saying is that, you know, “did you look at yourself in the mirror? And what did you see?” Well, I was pretty unhappy when I saw so that kind of started my process of going okay, I need to be looking at--I don't want to die young. Is it just me? Is this all that I'm going to have? So that really started the process of “okay, well, let's dive into this and see if there's things that I can do to change this family tree and for generations.”


Providence:  Right? Well, I do have a story about that. I might have told you when we met but when I was in my 20s, I went to the doctor. And she said to me “now, it's not a question of if you're going to get cancer. It's a question of when.”


Now I think I took the opposite approach to you and I went “No way. No, lady, you're wrong. I’m not listening to you.” I was so angry. I knew that… No, I knew that wasn’t. Now most of the people in my family are in their 90s, but if you look at my tree, it's just not exactly what you're talking about. Yeah.


Michael:  Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So today, I want to get into that to understand—I mean, Isabel, and I work with some people, and it's a group called Becoming the CEO of Your Health.


Providence:  Right.


Michael:  And it's really about us being the boss of our own personal health, not giving it up to others out there who tell us “well, this is just what you're going to be.”


Providence:  Exactly.


Michael:  Before we get into it a lot—I do want to give you, at least one amazing story and there's so many we could get into but just for time for today. This is the example of how we can change our family for generations.


That's seven years ago, a lady she's 40. She was 47 at the time, a great friend of ours. However, at the time, she hadn't shared with us what was going on. We saw some stuff, but she didn't reach out. But what happened was she went to the doctor to get a check up for her son, who at the time, I think he might have been around 10 to 12, something like that, and he was becoming very obese. So she wanted to get him checked out to see what's going on.


Well, while she was there, they said, well, let's do a health check on you. Well, at 47, she had three children - two still at home. She was a smoker, she was obese. And she had what's called a hemoglobin A1C of 50.


Now, to keep it simple, is that that is a testing that you do for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes - not type one, but lifestyle diabetes, where you develop it over time. And 50, well, in traditional medicine, they'll call you pre-diabetic at like 42 on up.


In what's called functional medicine, we have a little lower than that. It's more about 40, but she was at 50 and that's extremely high. So basically the doctor said, “Well, you have type 2 diabetes. We need to look at getting you on an insulin program. And continuing on the way you are, and smoking and being this obese, you're probably looking at having a heart attack or a stroke within the next five years and possibly die.” That was her diagnosis, prognosis.


Well, I guess that shook her to be pretty good, because we got a phone call. “I know you guys are kind of working with people. Can you help me?” “Yes, we can.” Now there is work to do. But here's the key with this one—well I’ll call her Mary, just for you know, her namesake. Mary was teachable and she was motivated. Because her motivation was I've got two children at home, I already see (unclear) a son who’s at 10 or 12, heading down the same track. Her family had a history of not type 1 diabetes, but people stepping into lifestyle disease of type 2 diabetes. And she kind of put up her hand and said, “No, that's it. I'm going to be the change.”


So working with her over—well, worked with her for about 18 months, and then she was able to run on her own. But over 12 months, she went from that level of 50, down to a 34. And once you get in that kind of mid to low 30s. I mean, basically what happened after a year when she went to the doctor, and they saw these readings, and plus, in that 12 months, she lost 45 kgs, which is about 99 lbs, she went from a size 28 to a size 12. As a woman, figure that one - 28 to a 12 in a year, and she also quit smoking.


And when she went back to it, they just like, you know, the mouths just dropped like, “Who are you? Is that Mary? I mean, really, that's you?” And she was just told, “Okay, go away, maybe come back in a couple years for checkup.” But you know, there's nothing you know, I don't know what happened. But you're good to go. Well, what happened was she reversed it.


Now, what I love about that is that what Mary did was—she’s now got seven grandchildren. She became a health coach of her family. So she broke that whole chain of generational lifestyle disease where now she's got her kids on the right type of healthy eating lifestyle and exercise and strong mental health.


Was it easy? Absolutely not. It took her about two to three months to change her habits because it was the changing of the habits that got her going and made that that switch. She did a few things, she changed her habits. She got a coach, and then she made a commitment to “I am the change” and made that happen. And that's, I mean, I even get goosebumps just thinking about that, how that generational change, what she’s done for that family, for her kids and the grandchildren. I mean, she's the one that made that change. That is so powerful. Yes.


Providence:  So when she was diagnosed, did she had the grandchildren or were her children young?


Michael:  She had one child who wasn't at home, still young, like I think maybe around 20. But she had a daughter that was I mean, I'm just thinking of the ages because she's—this is seven years ago. And by the way, she's still incredibly healthy and vibrant and bouncing off the walls and doing life and everything.


So it wasn't like you know, she lost it all and then two years later now she's back in diabetes. No. Seven years later, just rocking world. So yeah, two kids were young and then one had just come out of high school but now seven years later, she's got seven grandchildren. And yeah, and just loving life. You know, that's… And we've got other you know, others like that, even with what's called cognitive decline, Alzheimer's, people that we're working with Dr. Dale Bredesen, who wrote the book, The End of Alzheimer's.


His team has created the Bredesen Recode Protocol, reversing Alzheimer's, family genes, family traits, they're reversing that. I mean, the stories are incredible how people are changing that hereditary line and it's just so powerful what you can do to change that for generations. And for me, that's what I'm looking to do for my family. I mean, that's what I'm doing for my family. I mean, I have two daughters. I don't want them to automatically think, “Oh, well, we've got cancer and diabetes in our family tree. My grandparents died young, so I'm just gonna die young.” I want to blow up that thought process in them. It's not about me. It's where it goes in my legacy.


Providence:  Yeah, I think there are a lot of people who are surprised when they surpass their parents death age. So let's say my mom died at 65, I might worry about dying by 65 and then be surprised that I made it beyond that, which is a lot of wasted energy.


Michael:  Yeah, yeah. And then once you make it about, “oh, I'm at 66. Okay, well, I've made it. So I guess that's me.”


Providence:  What do I do? Now what do I do now?


Michael:  Now what I do now? What's my goal now? I need to reset that.


So today I just want to get into what's called very briefly, epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of the body organisms or the body mechanisms that can switch the genes on and off in our body. 


Now, we've all heard of DNA. And we all have DNA, we've inherited DNA, from our family tree/family line not just our parents, grandparents, we've all inherited DNA. In that DNA, there's gene sequences, and there's, you know, 10s of 1000s of different sequences, and we all have those. But the big point I want to get across today is that we have the opportunity to turn off those genes, have them stay suppressed, or they can be turned on to a point where they come out, and they become part of us again, you know, they're not suppressed.


So that immune system and what you're talking about here in the summit, that immune system is really our strength to have those genes turned on and off. And there's ways that we can do that. Because for me, okay, yes. The fact is, I've inherited in my DNA, some bad genes. They’re there, it's part of it. I've also inherited good genes, you know, I mean, there's great things I've got from my parents. I mean, we all have our color eyes, or color hair in our body, the way it shaped and formed, and different nuances about us as individuals, but there are some baddies in there too. And so our immune system allows us to let that sit there, the bad ones suppressed, or it can be turned on.


And today, I want to talk about the nutritional point of it because we can get into all the manufacturers of it. There's environmental factors, there's toxins. Just a quickie. You know, before I came on, it was something that I hadn't necessarily talked about today with nutrition, but I thought it's a valid, valid point. I want to make sure that everybody gets us and hear and says, is our skin is our largest body organ. Yeah, it's everywhere. It covers us everywhere.


But yeah, we don't think about taking care of our skin. As far as what's going on it, what is it being—because everything that goes on our skin. And I can tell you, this only hit us a couple years ago for Isabel and I is everything that's going on our skin will soak through and seep through and go into our blood system and into our body systems.


And so just I'm not going to get into all the details of all the different things but it's like perfumes fragrances, body lotions, body oils, anything we could be rubbing on using, I mean, you've probably heard of aluminum-free or as we say down under “ala-minium”-free deodorants. And you know, so where did that all come from understanding that these toxins do go into our body and affect us. And they affect us in a bad way. They can allow our immune system to be suppressed. And so that's just an area that's a big tip out there.


If you're not thinking of your skin as the big body organ, and what am I putting on? What am I doing? Just take a look at that. What things am I using? What products am I using? Take a look at the ingredient list. Is there a bunch of stuff on there, oh my gosh, do I want all that go in and my spray and all that stuff on myself? That's going in to our brain into our body and in sector Isabel will talk about our gut health.


Providence:  Right? You know, I got into being having more holistic lifestyle at the age of 15, and definitely by 25. But nothing organic has ever been—nothing that wasn't organic has ever been put on my face or my skin. So I'm one of those people, I caught it early, I believed it my entire life. And I do believe at 53, I am reaping the benefits of this.


Michael:  Look at your skin. It's beautiful.


Providence:  Yeah. You know, I always—my grandparents (unclear) and it's very simple. When I owned a spa, I would taste all the products in front of my employees and say, “If I'm not willing to put it in my mouth, I'm not willing to put it on my face.”


Michael:  Yeah.


Providence: If you want that absolute.


Michael:  I gotta hand it to you and decades ahead of us. It's probably only been over the last 15 years that we have kind of delved in but that's, you know, whenever it's just that for us, we hit that age where both of us as career people, we realized that our health was on the decline. And we had to take that hard look at ourselves. So congratulations to you for doing that for a young age because that's good stuff. But hey, whatever, that's we're looking to do.


Providence:  Best thing to do something is 10 years ago, right? But the second best time to do something is today.


Michael:  Do it today. Get started today. Yes. So what I use as analogy because we can get into all the technical and biological details of epigenetics and the immune system, all of that but I like to keep things simple. Because you know, I'm sure we got a broad spectrum of people listening and but for most of us if we could just—because one of the strengths of my beautiful wife, Isabel, as a medical doctor is people always say, “Oh, I can actually understand what she's saying. I get it. She keeps it simple.” And that's what she loves to do is keep it simple. So I'm going to keep it simple.


You know, what I like to relate with immune system is and is whether you like armies or not armies, I mean armies or just something in the world we've all heard of, but, I'm going to use that as an analogy in our immune system is our good army. We all have a natural immune system, and that's our good army. And that good army there is to fight the bad attacks. We're all under constant attack every day from environmental factors, toxins, foods, drinks, everything going into us, everything applied on us, everything around us, the fumes we smell, we're under constant attack.


However, with our natural immune system, that's our good army. So when that good army is strong, well, it'll win. It wins the daily battle. But when that army, that natural immune system starts to become suppressed, or the bad army is more fed, then it starts to win. And all of a sudden, our body starts to get what's called inflammation. That's when, “Oh, my knee, all of a sudden, I've got arthritis,” or “Oh, and I'm starting to feel bad about this, or this isn't working, or I'm having pains.”


So what I want to talk about today is, we want to feed the good army. We want to feed our immune system to keep it strong, because it's going to be under attack every day. That's just life. It’s the way it is. But we want to starve the bad army. We don't want to give any ammo to the bad guys, because they're there anyway. So let's not add to it.


So from a food point of view, let's talk about the foods to avoid, first. The stuff that's out there. So hit on a few of the foods to avoid. Sugar. Well, we've all heard about sugar.


Providence:  Yeah. I was going to say, “Can I guess the first one?”


Michael:  Yeah.


Providence:  Because I knew that was a (unclear).


Michael:  I should have kind of mixed it up a little bit so you couldn't have guessed. All right, let me go back. Let's go with another one first. But then well, that's the one we've just kind of all heard of. And you know, oh, yeah. Okay, whatever. But what happens with us is most people come to us and say, “But yeah, I don't put sugar in anything.” But then I haven't started looking at their pantry, their cupboard, whatever you want to call it. And looking at what's in there, looking what's in the fridge, looking at the bottles, looking at the cans, the packages and looking at the ingredients set up? Well, you don't need to add it because it's already been added for you.


Now, unless you're just totally 100% consuming nature all day long, you know, carrots, vegetables, fruits, whatever types of proteins you like to have, you know, good lean proteins… Somebody that in the food industry is going to be adding it in.


So even when you think you're not putting any and there's already some coming in. But the thing about sugar to understand is and what it like I said I want to keep it simple, is just two tablespoons of sugar. Just imagine two tablespoons of sugar, that can suppress your immune system for up to five hours.


So the thing is, if you had a very high sugary diet that you're having, every day, you're having a lot, you're putting a teaspoon or two in your coffee, and then you're putting some on your cereal or you're putting something somewhere else, or you're having a lot of bottled or canned things that have sugar added to it. Well, you pretty much are suppressing your immune system almost all day long.


And so that's kind of lowering the bar on the good army and allowing, like I said, we want to keep this one army strong. And now you're not starving the bad army, you're actually giving it ammunition because you're pushing, you're suppressing your immune system. And so that's really the bottom line about sugar is. It has the ability to suppress our immune system. And that is what we don't want to be doing.


Providence:  Right. And when you say sugar, are you talking refined sugar? Are you talking about fruit sugars that are in fruit?


Michael:  Yeah, I'm talking about what's called the high fructose corn syrup type stuff. I'm talking about the raw sugars and I'm talking about the, the white sugar and those types of things. I mean, as an example, Isabel and I will have some manuka honey—we live in New Zealand which manuka honey flows in the rivers. No, not quite. But, you know, when people come here, they say, “Oh, my gosh, it's me. No honey all over. You know, we're fortunate to have that.” And that's beautiful, raw, unpasteurized honey.


Now, yes, there's a sugar content of that it's less, as far as just a normal white granulated sugar. However, we still can have half a cup of that every day. You know, maybe a teaspoon of that. We won't recommend that to people who are looking to come off of sugar and to reduce it, but to break it down slowly, we'll use some manuka honey. But understanding that yes, there are different levels.


However, when you look at what's being put into products, it's usually high fructose corn syrup, and just raw refined sugar. And so that's really what I'm talking about with that. They will, if you—it’s again, moderation, even if you're using honey, maple syrup—those things. I mean, if you're adding, adding, adding, adding on top of it, then you are going to get to a point where that will suppress your immune system. So it's a little bit of moderation there as far as that goes.


For us—and understand the fact that even raw fruits. Fruits have different levels of sugar content. There's what's called a GI or glycemic index, which measures the levels of sugars. Things like berries, apples, kiwi fruit, they have a low GI. And then the tropical fruits bananas, pineapples, those types of things, they have a high GI. Their sugar content is much higher. So is it okay to have a banana? Sure. 10 a day, oh, that's really kind of, now you got a lot of natural sugars coming in, it becomes a little bit too much because the body gets to a point where it can't handle it anymore. So you still have to be looking at a balance in all those areas.


And that's the key with sugar is just understanding that it does have the ability to suppress the immune system. And that's not what we want to do.


Providence:  Right.


So next thing I want to talk about to avoid, and this is… We could do—the next two, we could do a summit on each one. Actually, every one of these, you can do a full summit on these and there are summits on these.


Providence:  Yeah.


Michael:  One is, one is gluten which you know, we could go on for a long time about that, and the other is dairy.


Providence:  Okay.


Michael:  Now, we live in New Zealand, which the dairy industry is the biggest industry here in New Zealand. And so (unclear) that gluten and dairy, and to keep this simple is I'm just going to use a story and the explanation… Is what a big tip and a challenge I would put out to everybody is we can all be walking around in a state of inflammation and not even know it. Meaning that we've gotten so used to a point in our body where our immune system is constantly fighting against inflammatory foods that we're putting in ourselves that we've just gotten used to it. And we live in kind of a state where we've got a little bit extra weight from being inflamed, where we're retaining water, our joints are kind of tight, we're arthritic, we have lower back pains and that and we just kind of get used to it. So gluten and dairy in those two areas.


My challenge would be, if you've never done this, most people have never done this, you could have some advanced people who have, but I would say eliminate them for 28 days. You know, doing both or just pick one, or eliminate gluten, let's say for 28 days, eliminate dairy for 28 days. Then after the 28th day, see how you feel. How's life feeling? Not the first week because it takes your body some time to adjust but after 28 days, see how you're feeling. And then put it back in for the next three to five days.


Do you feel different? Is your body reacting to that? Because what you will find most of us will have some kind of either mild reaction or severe reaction when we put it back in. And what we'll find is, “Oh my gosh, I was walking around in a state of inflammation I didn't even notice.” Because for Isabel and I doing this about five years ago, we were the so-called, “I'm kind of gluten-free. I'm kind of dairy-free.” We were pulling our side it's like being kind of pregnant… Which I wouldn't know about. 


And so when we did this, for me personally, and then I came back and did gluten—you do them individually. So you find out which one it is. But for me when I reintroduced gluten, because I had so much energy, I was feeling so good. I dropped a little weight. I felt toned. I had a lot more energy for my exercise. My skin felt good. I just—man, I was just, I felt lit up from a great point of view. When I reintroduced it—oh my gosh, like my stomach, like blew out and started to get a belly going again. And I kind of went, “Ohh.” The same thing happened to me with dairy. And so I realized, okay, well I'm not having a severe reaction but I'm having mild reaction – I’m sensitive to this. I was walking around in a state of inflammation not realizing it.


So, you know, now I'm sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and because I just don't even mess with those. For me, I love the way I felt without it as opposed to having it. Now for my beautiful wife, Isabel, what she found was the same thing with gluten. But for dairy, for her, she got brain fog. She reintroduced it and when she had dairy, she found that she just kind of couldn't think as sharply and wasn't as focused. And as you can imagine, as a doctor and a health coach, that's not good. And so for her, she realized that she had that sensitivity to dairy.


So my challenge is to everyone out there if you've never done this before, eliminate them for 28 days, and then reintroduce it and find out, well am I sensitive to this? Does it not affect me? Am I might not affect you?


I mean we did it with coffee, we did it with alcohol, we did it with eggs, we did it with soy, you know we did it with a whole bunch of things.


And you know, we have a 20-day elimination program that you know you can do that with but it's so cool to find—I get excited about it to find out because I would love for people to become the CEO of their health to find out what is affecting you. Why do you have knee pain? Because understanding the fact that what we usually don't understand is maybe I've got knee pain. But I've got knee pain, because I've got inflammation from foods I'm having, or I've got poor gut health. I don't necessarily have a problem with my knee, something else is going on. And that happens to be the weakest part of my body.


When we have inflammation, it will attack the weakest part of our body. When that bad arm is winning, it'll say, “Ooh, oh, there's a weakness. We found it. We're going to hit that.” And so that's why, we need to find out well, what's causing that from just getting the root cause as we say.


Providence:  Yeah. I think it's, I think it's really that part of—you know, there's so many people who say “just eliminate, eliminate it, eliminate it, get rid of it.” I haven't really heard anybody say test it.


Michael:  Yes.


Providence:  My daughter just came to visit. My daughter visited, I just had fun with the kid, right? And, you know, a few days into it, it's like, why am I getting up later? Why is it harder to sleep? What's going on and so there was that reintroduction of things that I don't normally eat, and I paid for it. I felt it and I realized, I don't even want this.


She had a box of devil dogs in the house. I had one to just kind of test myself, because I used to love them. It didn't mean anything to me after a while. And that's what I want people to understand is that it doesn't have to be hard. Because once you're following it, and you see how good you feel, you stop craving it. Your body doesn't want it. And so I kind of had the demagogue as a test. And then I was so glad that I didn't want anymore.


Michael:  Yeah, yeah. Yep, and well, and that happened to us, I would say recently, fairly recently, a few months ago, where we just had a weekend away, Isabel and I took a little break, and we had some fair amount of cheese in 24 hours, dairy cheese.


Oh, my gosh, it took us at least three to three days, probably five days for her to like, clear out. I mean, and we're okay, no that's it, can't do that because we like functioning. So once you understand what it's doing to you, and you're allowed it to clear out, I guess the biggie is that we can be walking around in a state of inflammation and not even know. We were. We were walking around in a state of inflammation and didn't even know it. Felt pretty good. But we were probably running at maybe 70% of our health capacity. We look good, kind of felt good, but it wasn't our optimal health.


Providence:  Right.


Michael:  And you're right, testing is the key. I mean, I'm not telling everybody you just got to eliminate. We don't do that with everyone. We know we're into testing, we need to find out individually, what's affecting you. Because some people can handle alcohol, some can’t. Some can handle a little bit of gluten, some can't. Dairy, that's another one. And so it’s same thing with sugars.


No, we're not saying totally eliminate, just be careful with amounts but you need to test and see what's really hitting you because we're all sensitive to something. And so we need to find out otherwise we'd like I said, we're just walking around the state of inflammation and you see it in people and they've got all these chronic things going on, chronic diseases and different thing pains and that happening to the body and we just you know, let's get to the cause and find out what's going on because the immune system is being compromised.


Providence:  So are there any other foods?


Michael:  Yeah, let's hit on one more, and then we'll move on. Okay. Let's talk about mercury. Mercury. Yeah, yeah. And just those kind of metal toxins. Let's talk about seafood. I mean, personally, we love seafood. I don't know. Do you like seafood?


Providence:  Love it.


Michael:  Yeah, yeah. Well, unfortunately, our oceans and seas and waterways have become highly polluted, even here in this beautiful green New Zealand, and just lovely and pure and wonderful. There's a lot of stuff that's running into the waterway.


Well, I mean, you know, we all understand there's some run offs and things and even the oceans around here in the southern part of the world. Mercury levels are climbing throughout the world. And here's the thing I always say to people, you know, the saying has always been “you are what you eat.”


But there's more than that again, it's “you are what you eat, eat.” Because what is the fish eating? What water are they swimming in? Because when you eat it, that's going into you. And so the mercury levels in the world and again, we're working with people who are reversing cognitive decline and Alzheimer's and brain health. And Mercury is one of the biggies that shows up and metal toxins massively affects the brain.


So we really got to be careful, I think in pretty sure in almost all countries of the world you can go on the national fisheries site, and you can look up the mercury levels of all the fish. I know you can in the US. I'm pretty sure you can all countries. We could do it here in New Zealand and you really want to look at the mercury levels of all fish. It will be stated, it will give you high, medium and low. But that's something you want to be looking at the because if you are eating a lot of fish and seafood, that's something to check out because Mercury is such a baddie for causing our gene mutation really, turning on having our genes go bad on us.


Providence:  Well, there's something that is so counterintuitive that I feel like nobody knows this, that the fish that are farmed actually have a higher mercury rate than fish that are wild. And I would never have thought that.


Michael:  Yeah, yeah.


Providence:  Yeah. So you know, fresh is still better. And I don't understand why farmed fish has to have any mercury.


Michael:  Yeah, yeah. And  it's also well what are they feeding it to? I mean, what's the feed that they're feeding in? You know, where's the feed coming from? Because, again, you could be getting the pollutants from the feed. I mean, are they feeding them some kind of a feed that's coming from a farm that's been sprayed? So, it's all looking at that.


But on the flip side, with foods that heal and keep our army strong… So let's talk about fish. Well, we adhere to what's called SMASH. That's S-M-A-S-H. What that is, is for salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring. Salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring.


Providence:  I didn't hear tuna.


Michael:  Yeah, I know. I love tune on the grill or something and that's actually one of the highest containing mercury fishes in the world.


Providence:  Sorry. But salmon?


Michael:  Yes, salmon. And again, but you know, you got to look where that's coming from too. You really want to get the fresh and not necessarily farm-raised, but you got to check in you know, okay, if I'm getting it from this place, where what's it being fed. But those are the ones and the reason being is worldwide. They have the lowest mercury content of all the fish that’s out there.


Most of them you'll notice, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring - they're small. So there's not a lot of chain of eating up and eating up and eating up going on.


Providence:  Right? They’re the ones being eaten.


Michael:  Yeah, yeah. So that's what we adhere to and we adhere to that. The bottom line what reason we adhere to that is because we want to have a strong healthy brain till the day we pass on from this planet, because we can. And I mean, that's a whole other one, we can get into the cognitive decline in that but you know, that's a biggie with brain health is metal toxins, and Mercy and all those types of things that is a massive, deterrent to our brain health. So that's something we really have to pay attention to.


Because we are seeing, again, this is one of the areas where we're seeing a massive spike worldwide in Alzheimer's, dementia, cognitive decline. It's got a lot to do with food. There's many other factors but it's got a lot to do with the toxins and where they're coming from, but also our food and what we've been doing for decades, what we've been putting into ourselves, and those heavy metals are biggie.


Providence:  So it's interesting that you say worldwide because my assumption is that its highest in America. And I don't know if that’s actually true. Is it raising by the same levels throughout the world?


Michael:  Yeah, it is. It is. It's really kind of what you would call first world westernized society, whatever that may be. But those who have that eating culture, shall I say, where we've just been accustomed to take away, fast foods, cans, throw it in the microwave, fast cooking… You know, really empty nutrient, eating of a lifestyle that just has not much nutritional value bottom line.


Providence: Yeah.


Michael:  And so yeah. So that's worldwide. I mean, we live in this beautiful country of New Zealand and we are working with our clients here and of course around the world but again, we see it here. I mean, there's fast food here in this country. I mean, it blew me away when I got here 20 years ago and I saw McDonald's, Burger King, Domino's, Pizza Hut, KFC, and what—what? How did they get here? Who let them in?


Providence:  Well, I definitely want to ask you what you and Isabel do. But first I want to ask - was there any—I can always cut parts of this out and I will but…


Michael:  Yeah.


Providence:  Do you want to speak on?


Michael:  Yeah well, let me give you a couple other foods that heal.


Providence:  Okay.


Michael:  A real biggie is fresh ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Those three fresh are so… What's called anti-inflammatory. They're anti-cancerous, anti-inflammatory. They feed the good army. Those three fresh ones - garlic, turmeric and ginger. Get as much of those into your daily eating lifestyle as you can. Obviously garlic, we have to be a little bit careful on social settings. But hey, if you're not around others or if it's just your group then everybody load up on the garlic.


But those three if you can get yourself some fresh cheese with fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, chop it up and just put it in some water with maybe some clove, a cinnamon stick. Make yourself beautiful—brew yourself your own teas. I mean drinking that stuff. It is so anti-inflammatory.


If Isabel and I have a time where we might have gone out and had a couple glasses of bubbles or some extra glasses of wine and we're feeling a little, you know, that feeling in the morning—a little bit bloated, a little foggy. Man, I'm having turmeric and ginger and cinnamon stick and cloves, and making a big pot of tea. I'm drinking that for the first half of the day by within a couple hours. Boom. I'm like, yes! I'm fired up ready to go again, you know, because it just clears out the toxins and gets us going again. So those three fresh herbs or spices are just beautiful. Get as much of those into your eating plan as you can.


And then the bulbs, like the onion family is incredible. The onion family is so beautiful. Onions, mushrooms—they are all anti-inflammatory. They're beautiful. They will feed the good army. And then another one—yeah, so mushrooms, onions, kale, cilantro, coriander—however you call it, what part of the world you're in—parsley, they are detoxifying. They will actually clean out. Coriander, kale, parsley—they will help you detoxify from metals and toxins. 


So those are beautiful. Get all those into your daily eating, and that's just gonna help clean your health. Raise that good army. Raise it up so you can fight all of that badness that's attacking you every day, because it's out there.


Providence:  Yeah, I mean, I started making a smoothie every day in July. And so basically all the foods you're talking about I’m eating on every day. And I've never felt better. Never.


Michael:  Yeah. Oh, beautiful. Yeah.


Providence:  And it's just a natural feeling of—I mean, I know that when you have parsley, with your vitamin C and iron. Your vitamin C helps you absorb the iron. There's just so much to that, but it's made a huge difference. And here you are talking about my favorite foods. I mean, I'm Italian. (unclear) and onions. You know, I don't have friends that don’t like (unclear) but—


Michael:  Yeah, no.


Providence:  But people can, yeah, people can add these things easily.


Michael:  Yeah. And it will help your immune system. It will keep your immune system strong, and that's what we're talking about. We need that immune system to stay strong. So the genes that we all have from our family tree that are within us, and I use myself as an example, the bad genes that I have within us, I want them to just lay dormant. They never are expressed. The word would be expressed. They're never expressed. I keep them suppressed, down. And that's what these types of foods do.


Providence:  That’s great. Yeah. So has your entire family taken this on? Your daughters?


Michael:  Oh, you would have to bring that up. No, that's funny. They know. Let's see, they're 24 and 26.


Providence:  They're immortal. Sorry.


Michael:  Yeah. Well, they kind of do what we did, like I said, probably five to eight years ago, where we'd be gluten-free six days a week. And then on the seventh treat day, we'd have our own croissant and all kinds of other stuff and say, well, we're kind of gluten-free. So they're kind of in that same camp right now. 


However, I can tell you that they know when they, as young women, there are some times where mentally it's not feeling right, physically, it's not feeling right. And they go, “Okay, that's it,” and they clean it up. And bam, they are—I mean, it's just night and day. 


But then, you know, being in the 20s. You know, there's a lot of friends, a lot of peer pressure, a lot of things going on. It's not always easy, especially at that age to be around a group of people because we don't drink beer, unless we find gluten-free beer because beer has gluten.


Well I mean, I'm a beer lover. If it was up to me, you know, and this is the thing when people come to you they go, “Oh, I like this. I like that.” Well, yeah, me too but it's up to me. I'd be drinking margaritas and red wine and beers every day and having pizza tacos and hamburgers. That's what I would eat every day, but I'd be dead. So, you know, for them being around friends and say, “Oh, well no, you know, I can't have that on... You know, I want some gluten-free stuff.” Or, “Oh, I don't drink beer because I'm gluten-free or oh that’s fine gluten-free beer, this and that,” you know, they get the “Oh, come on” type stuff. So I mean, they're not quite made that shift yet all the way. 


Providence:  I guess what I meant by that is that like, with respect to everybody is on their path.


Michael:  Yeah.


Providence:  But not everybody knows where you are or where I am or, you know, but to add things that do improve their immune system. And you know, if somebody comes to me, “I'm going on a diet.” I say. “Don't go on a diet, add good things to your life. And then when you have that in, you don't have room for some of that other stuff. And that's just a non-diet. That's how you eat.


Michael:  Oh, man, you're stealing my thunder, one of the biggies I was going to talk about later. That's perfect. That's perfect. You're exactly right. You're exactly right. Yes. Yeah, no, we take everybody for where they're at, because it's really about where's your health at now? And just moving the bar.


I mean, I think a mistake that happens for a lot of people is let's say on a scale of one to 10. Your health might be like a four and they're trying to get to a 10 in two weeks. And sitting, yeah… Okay. There might be a couple percent of people that can do that but for most of us, we just got to go from like a two to three, you know, over a couple weeks or a month and then maybe two there. Like I said with Mary, was talking about with reversing or type two diabetes and pre diabetes. Well, that was a 12-month period.


Could she have done it quicker? Yes, but it took her three months. I mean, she got frustrated in the first two months because it wasn't happening quick enough. But when we were able to help it understand that once you get this going, it's going to go very quickly. But it's going to take some time to change some habits, get some movement, so we just kept on going. And that's what all of us really need to do is wherever our health levels at, let's just look to take it to the next step. And then if we want to go the next step, and the next step, we are not where we want to be. We're looking to be 120 years young. So we've got a lot of work to do.


Providence:  So what would you recommend to somebody who’s just starting this and loves a Big Mac every so often or would ever drink soda (unclear)?

Michael: Yeah.

Providence:  What do you recommend, just a very simple for a beginner?

Michael:  Yeah. Well here’s a tip that I’ve given to people and I used to think it was simple but yet I realized it was big. And because the food industry has made it so easy for us to eat unhealthy, everything is quick. It’s easy. We eat what the so-called (unclear) and food and so all that kind of stuff. 

So what I recommend people to do is make sure in your refrigerator, you have three bowls always ready to go. In those three bowls is, one - a bowl of fresh salad greens. Always have a bowl of fresh salad greens.

The second bowl where a platter have fresh vegetables whether it’s just a big bowl of roughly chopped up vegetables or if you have a platter of vegetables chopped up into different sizes, whatever, but a platter or bowl or vegetables.

The third one is your bowl of whatever protein you’re doing whether you’re doing tofu or if you’re vegan, whatever those proteins you want to be using but whatever your protein of preference is, have it ready to go. You could poach some chicken, have some chicken already precooked. You might have hardboiled eggs, might be your salmon that’s already poached or sautéed ready to go.

Have three bowls ready to go of salad, vegetables and your protein. The reason being, I’m just like everybody else—if I'm really hungry and let’s say blood sugar’s low and I'm hungry and it’s been busy and I'm on the go, I'm on the run, what do we all do when we get home? We’re going to grab for the quick and easy. Other kids are hungry and you’re—you know, my wife’s hungry and my husband’s hungry, my friend’s hungry. We’re all hungry, let’s just grab.

So if we got that stuff there we can quickly within 5 to 10 minutes put together a meal. Got the greens. You know, obviously have some extra virgin olive oil sitting around or have fresh citrus – lemons, oranges, limes or even different types of vinegars or make your own salad dressing and have it ready to go.

You do a quick stir fry, you could do a quick sauté. You could make a quick soup or you could just put some self together in a quick shower. But the key is if you come home and you’re hungry and you’ve got those ready to go, this came to me when I talked to Mary about that when she was putting together her healthy eating lifestyle was she said to me, “Oh my gosh Michael, that just made such a difference to my family because we would just go home and grab anything and now that I got those bowls in my fridge, the kids come home and they just grab those things and put together a salad or some food or something and then they eat right away.

First thing I would do is have those three bowls in your refrigerator ready to go so that when you’re hungry you don’t think, “Oh maybe I’ll just call—oh let’s just run out and get some takeaways. Let’s run out and get some fast food.”

Providence:  Yeah, I was just going to say—you’re on your way home from something and you’re very hungry and then you think, “Oh gosh I have to chop the vegetables. I have to do this… Let me just have dinner and then bring it home and then you’re dealing with the takeout that you may not necessarily want to eat but you’re still hungry and so tired, so it would probably come down on that also.

Michael:  Yeah and you could do that twice a week. 

Providence:  Yeah.

Michael: Just do it twice a week. I mean you can do it three times a week but you can spend an hour twice a week, have those bowls in your refrigerator ready to go. Repeat it in maybe three times, depending on the size of your family.

I find it helps people so much, same thing in your car because there’s another one. If we’re not prepared and we don’t have what I call our emergency kit in our car, we’re going to pullover to the—we don’t have 7-Elevens here but you know, we pull over to a 7-Eleven, a convenience store, or a petrol station or gas station, we’re just going to grab stuff but always have in your glove compartment a little bag of raw nuts. You might even put an apple in there.

Just have something where it’s like, “Ohh I'm so hungry I'm going to stop. Now if you got up there, have your water bottle in the car and have your nut bag and maybe an apple, or some grapes, or something like that in your car that you take along and always, always have an emergency kit in your car so eating purposes. That’ll save you.

Providence:  I want to ask what you think about sweet potatoes?

Michael:  Yeah, we call them kurma here, sweet potatoes there. They’re good. They’re what’s called medium GI so, again, what I tend to do because yeah, kurma are good. They’ve got great fiber or sweet potatoes. They got great fiber, they’re good. 

What I like to do is when I'm having something like that but I know it’s got kind of a medium sugar content too. It’s like I will blend it with something else. I might do like a kurma and cauliflower mash. Or I might blend the yams with some other vegetables. 

So what that does is it doesn’t give such a big hit of the sugar content to it. So it’s kind of knowing that I want to blend that with other things so I don’t get so much of one thing.

Providence:  Okay. Because one of my tricks to life is baking some small sweet potatoes and then if I hit that hunger’s on, I can just eat it cold in the fridge. But I think what I’ll do is I’ll get the cauliflower too and then (unclear).

Michael: Yeah, yeah.

Providence:  I’ll see how that works but…

Michael:  Yeah.

Providence:  I mean it’s really better than other things that are in the cupboard sometimes, you know?

Michael: Yeah, totally.

Providence: Great. And for those people who are really into the lifestyle of eating that you’re describing, what do you recommend would be a next level for, any surprise next level things?

Michael:  Yeah, so for next level—and this is something you talked about as the whole concept of diets. I want to talk about diets versus a balanced macronutrient healthy eating lifestyle. So the original—you might already know this because man, it sounds like you’ve been studying this and working on this for decades… But this is just new for me over the last 10 years, it’s the original Greek and Latin term for diet, was diata, D-I-A-T-A. What that meant was way of living.

So the original form of the word “diet” that we currently use was a way of living. It wasn’t just high fat, low carb diet or keto diet, or this diet, or that diet—it was a way of living. It was a lifestyle. So what I find people doing is—we hear this term, “Oh you need to be on the keto diet” or “you need to be on the (whatever diet or this diet or that diet).”

That all sounds great because it’s working for somebody and they’re having amazing results but we are we. We are who we are so we need to personalize. And I'm what I call a healthy lifestyle eating plan because I don’t want to see people just do something for a month, two months, three months, six months, even a year. You want to address what your goals are for your life over your lifetime.

So you need to set up a healthy eating lifestyle plan. That’s where then what you do is you set up a balance of macronutrients. Macronutrients are your proteins, your carbohydrates, and your fats. Because most of these diets have those out of balance.

That’s why they will work for a short term but for long term, they’re not really healthy because there’s an out of balance with those macronutrients. So number one is, for the advanced type of person and really for all of us is, okay, what’s my goal? Am I looking to rebirth something? Am I looking to prevent something? Do I have certain genes that I want to make sure aren’t turned on. What’s my goal? What’s my health goal for my life? And then look at what is going to work for me personally, and then we all need a mentor. You could say coach, you could say mentor.

Isabel and I we have coaches. We have mentors. We understand now that that is so important. We all need to be accountable for our health and have a mentor of a coach who says, “Okay, where are we at? How’s it going? How’s this happening? Is this working?” Because when it’s us we have a hard time of kind of stopping and looking and going, “I’ve been doing this for so long actually it’s not working.” We have a hard time doing that for ourselves. 

So when we have somebody working with us, they go “Wait, wait, wait. What’s going on here?” and then we can tweak it, we can work it, we can adapt it. It doesn’t mean they have to be with you every day. But it’s somebody you might check in with every 6 months or every 3 months, or once a year to say, “Where are we at? How’s this working? Is this achieving the goals?

And so diets as you said earlier, do they work? Well it depends what your goal. I mean if your goal is a whole bunch of wait before you go to your friend’s wedding because you want to look good in the dress or the suit, but okay, yeah then it can work. But if you’re looking to have a healthy long term life and make sure the immune system is strong and suppress the bad genes, and keep all the toxins out, well then no it’s not going to work.

Providence:  Right.

Michael:  That’s the difference. That’s what you want to be looking at.

Providence:  That all makes a lot of sense. If Isabel’s available maybe we can bring her in and we can talk to you minutes about what the two of you—do you do things separately from her? Like are you basically three different businesses?

Michael:  No, we are one business but I have personal coaching with people who just want to come to culinary side. And then she’s got those who just want the functional medicine side and then most of it is people who need us both. Because one of the things we found that was missing when we set up Doctor on a Mission, was that Isabel would give people the plans and the things to do and when it came to talking about food and the changes that need to happen, well we found out most people they didn’t know what to do.

We can give them all the information, “Here’s all the information,” but then I'm like well I’ve never eaten this way, I’ve or never cooked this way, or I’ve never done it. I’ve never changed. I don’t know what to do with coriander or cilantro—whatever you want to call it. I don’t know what to do with a plan. I don’t know what to with turmeric

That’s so for me, from the cheffing side that’s really the missing part because then I actually do videos from the kitchen and show people how to do things and walk them to the process. So many people will just love it where I can show them how to make salad dressing. They never made their own. It always comes in a bottle. To me it seems like well how do you not know how to do that? But that’s today’s world.

Providence:  It’s so much easier than you think. It’s so much more fun than you think. How you look at the jars, the bottles now and then I get confused.

Michael:  Yeah.

Providence: It’s just easier to take what’s in the house and make it.

Michael:  Yeah, yeah.

Providence:  Yeah, I hear you. So do you do that online? I mean can somebody from any part of the world?

Michael:  Yeah, yeah. Yeah, everything’s online. Everything’s online—courses, coaching, one-on-one. Everything’s done on Zoom. 

I mean even if we’re working with somebody that’s only 50 miles away it’s done on Zoom.

Providence:  That’s great.

Michael:  And we’ve been doing that for six years. Yeah, and then—I mean now, at the beginning from the medical profession, they started looking at Isabel an pointing fingers saying, “Hey, that’s not medicine. You can’t do that.” And so there was an (unclear) battle but of course now over this last year, they’re now telling every medical doctor, “You have to do it this way.” Thank you very much.