Read the Transcript Below the Questions and Highlights
It’s alarming how many kids today have health issues- from allergies to ADD to autism, from eczema to digestive issues to cancer. I talk to the author of The Dirt Cure, Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein, about the cause of this epidemic and how to cure our kids so they can lead healthy joyful lives. Dr. May is Board certified in adult and child neurology as well as pediatrics.
Key Questions answered and highlights:
1. Dr. Maya’s insights into how to live to 100 years of age
2. Forest Bathing and its benefits.
-Connecting to plants will not only help us live longer but also live better.
-Enjoy time in the forest to prevent cancer.
3.Importance of being exposed to an environment that has a diverse microbiome.
4. How to enjoy the outdoors if you have allergies.
5. Why we need exposure to bacteria.
– Why sanitizing our body with antibiotics and hand sanitizers is an issue.
6. The more we are exposed to good bacteria, the less likely we are to be allergic.
7. In 1 teaspoon of soil, there as many organisms as there are people on the planet.
8. Statistics on chronic illness in children and how big of a problem it is now.
– Type 1 diabetes, which is rare, is increasing 6% per year in children 5 years of age.
9. When you suppress the immune system, it won’t manage infection well.
10. How to strengthen and balance your immune system
11. Reishi mushrooms and other medicinal mushrooms have a great property of strengthening the non-specific immune system. It has a balancing effect on your system.
12. Tips and tricks for making your kids eat and enjoy their vegetables.
13. Insight into healing your kids’ allergies
– Get good, organic food from the farmer’s market.
– Use aloe or aloe juice for the gut and other insights
14. The top tactics to getting your kids’ back to great health
This is auto-generated and may have mistakes. Please listen to the interview for accuracy.
[00:25] Reena Jadhav: Hi everyone. Welcome to another episode and today we are chatting with Dr Maya. She treat client. She’s a neurologist, herbalist, urban farmer, and the author of an awesome new book, the Dirt Cure, healthy food, healthy gut happy child, which has been translated into 10 languages. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Telegraph and Pr Sky News, the Dr Oz show, board certified in adult and child neurology as well as pediatrics. Dr Maya completed the University of Arizona’s fellowship in Integrative Medicine and now serves on their faculty. Dr. Will is great, and so she’s really broadened yourself from conventional medicine training to functional medicine training, which is fabulous. Works and studies with indigenous communities and healers in Ecuador. We’re going to have to ask about that in her book and her practice. She offers an integrative and spiritual approach to allow moving beyond chronic health problems in children and adults. She’s also founded the terrain institute where she teaches terrain medicine, an earth based program for transformational healing. Welcome Dr Maya.
[01:34] Dr Maya: Hi. Thank you for having me.
[01:36] Reena Jadhav: It’s our pleasure. So you’ve just come back from journey to 100. Tell us a little bit about your talk there and um, what, what was the biggest insight that you heard that got you excited about all of us living to 100 years of age?
[01:55] Dr Maya: Well, journey to 100 was an incredible event that was put on in, um, in Guernsey, which is a small island of which is its own country, but that 65,000 people in the English Channel Part of the UK. And so they brought out, um, a group of experts from all over the world to give a short 18 minute talks with what we felt would be one of the most powerful things that could really extend life expectancy to 100 because that’s what they’re trying to do as part of their public health system there. And it was really incredible. My talk actually was about plants, plant medicine and how connecting to plants is something that will not just to help us live longer but live better as well. Um, and it really does offer us both of those benefits because, uh, you know, one of the things I’m an herbalist and so in addition to being a physician and um, and I really use plants in nature as, as a very powerful, as a very powerful kind of relationship that we create in order to, in order to be healthier.
[03:07] Dr Maya: But one of the things that we talked about and that I spoke about it in my talk with is the idea of like, a lot of people don’t think living longer is actually better, right? They sort of feel like, you know, it’s one more day closer to dying and, you know, just go downhill from here. And what I really wanted to talk about was like, how can we really not just extend our lives but extend our lives to live in the happiest and most fulfilling way possible. And one of the major ways to do that, um, that I was speaking about was through connecting with plants. And, you know, part of that can be as simple as just like, you know, gardening or having fresh flowers in your home. You know, like one of the things that I talk about is actually like, we think of plant medicine as something exotic or different or difficult, you know, but it’s not just all about consuming, you know, herbal medicine.
[03:58] Dr Maya: Um, it’s actually also like, you know, when someone’s sad or when someone’s happy or when someone’s celebrating or if you love somebody, you give them flowers. And the reason that you do that is because it transforms how you feel. It communicates things. It transforms how you feel. It changes the way you experience your day, your life, your, your, um, you know, whether it’s something grief or, or happiness. And so that’s just a simple way of practicing plant medicine or drinking, sharing a cup of tea with someone, you know, there’s a lot of different ways that we, that we enjoy. Um, plant forest bathing was another one that a lot of people talk about. Forest bathing. I love reading about that. Tell our listeners what forest bathing is and why you’re preaching about it. So there’s this concept, which is actually, it actually was sort of a part of it.
[04:53] Dr Maya: It’s part of Japanese culture. It’s called Shinran Yoko and I’m, and it translates directly to forest bathing, which really means just immersing yourself in the beauty of the forest and um, you know, because it’s a very integral part of Japanese culture. It’s been studied by researchers there in terms of what kind of impact it has on health and longevity. And um, so they’ve looked at many, many different aspects and you know, this is just basically spending a regular, you know, kind of regularly going into the forest and spending some period there and uh, it’s really, it’s a practice, it’s not just, you know, like go into the forest, but also just really like being mindful and experiencing it as, as something special. And what they found and all this research is, it increases your focus, increases your executive function, it improves your sleep, it reduces your cortisol levels.
[05:51] Dr Maya: So your stress levels go down. I’m actually boosts your nonspecific immune system, which is like natural killer cells. Things which actually just so you can fight, you know, whatever might come your way, but also boosts anticancer protein. So it’s actually helps to prevent cancer simply by just enjoying time in the forest. Um, so, you know, there are a lot of reasons that that’s probably the case and I think some of them are things that, you know, we can wrap our head around and very physical terms. Like we’re sharing a microbiome and it’s a very diverse microbiome. This group of bacteria and different organisms that live in the soil and in the woods and all of all the plans and you share that when you’re in the forest, right and right, beautiful, and you’re breathing, you know, nice air and you know all of those things. But also there’s very, you know, emotional transformations that happen when you’re in nature for many people and the experience of awe is very beneficial for health. That’s also been looked at. And then there’s also just a spiritual component, right? Of just of just like having that connection kind of with all the living creatures that are in seen and unseen that are in the forest and so true. All of those things together really I think are very transformative to health and, and certainly have a huge impact on longevity.
[07:20] Reena Jadhav: You talked about breathing in fresh forest error and forest bathing and I’m thinking of every child I know in my neighborhood that can step out because of allergies, seasonal allergies. So let’s switch to your book the Dirt Cure, and let’s start with allergies. So how does someone enjoy the outdoors and do forest bathing when they can’t even step out without going into sneezing fits or turning red or leaking eyes? What have you found about the incidents of allergies and children and what can we do about it?
[07:59] Dr Maya: Well, in the dark here, I actually like go into quite a bit why, you know, we’re in a situation where so many people are allergic because that’s certainly not a normal situation for any of us really to be so reactive to our, our natural environment. And um, you know, it’s funny because when I was, when I was actually studying with indigenous healers and when I have studied, one of the ways that they talk about health is you’re in good relationship with yourself. You’re in good relationship with the people around you and you’re in good relationship with your place and you know, this sort of concept of being and having all these environmental allergies is sort of like we’re not in good relationship with nature and the natural world. And the reason that that seems to have happened is that we have actually tried to be clean.
[08:56] Dr Maya: So what, what we found is that the more, you know, we’ve really tried to sanitize our lives in a certain way. We’ve sanitized our bodies with things like antibiotics and hand sanitizer and steroids and all these kinds of things. We’ve sanitized our homes with bleach, um, you know, and, and, and dishwashers and all these kinds of things that are, we think of as being more sterile, but actually, you know, they reduce our exposure to bacteria and other organisms and we’ve actually been sanitized our lives on a day to day basis by not being outside and, you know, all this screen time. And what we found in all this research is that the more kinds of organisms we’re exposed to, the less likely we are to be allergic. So, um, what I would say is that is that all these kids, you know, who are unable to be outside because they have allergies, part of what the goal is for them first and foremost is to be exposed to more, to the microbiome.
[10:04] Dr Maya: Um, both, both, you know, it can be through food, like eating, I’m eating food that’s fermented Sauerkraut or Kefir or yogurt or, um, or just anything that’s, that’s a naturally fermented. Um, so you’re getting a lot of organisms, different kinds of organisms that way. Um, you know, actually getting outdoors is a huge one. So soil in one teaspoon of soil, there are as many organisms as there are people on the planet. Wow. Yeah. So people will ask me a lot about probiotics, which probiotic is best and so on. And sometimes, you know, I really do need to use probiotics. Um, you know, but a lot of times I actually, uh, I actually will, will recommend just also getting outdoors because it’s, it’s so much more bio diverse and fun, right? Ethan pills to go roll, roll down hills and make mud pies and, you know, getting the garden and, and you know, run around in the, in the forest, um, you know, that kind of, you’re getting a very diverse microbiome and it’s, and it feels good, you know, it doesn’t feel pathologizing.
[11:25] Dr Maya: So these are the kinds of things actually that people need in order and even things like having pets, I should say, there’s, there’s a lot of data about each of these things and how um, and how they, they transform our microbiome and the more biodiverse our microbiome is, the less likely we are to be allergic. You know, what are the statistics on chronic illness in children? How big of a problem is it now? Well, you know, it’s actually exploded over the past decade. Um, you know, for instance, I mean we’ve seen the rate of autism skyrocket. I’m by leaps and bounds. And it’s interesting if you look at the rate at which the infection has dropped, you actually see a parallel with the rate exactly opposite the rate of how, uh, of how quickly chronic illness, especially autism, which actually is off the charts in this particular case has increased.
[12:35] Dr Maya: So what we’ve seen is that as infection, um, has it gone down, there’s a parallel with chronic illness increasing. And that was part of what actually led me to want to write the dirt you are. And to really talk about how we could reverse that, but you know, we’re seeing things like, for instance, I’m type one diabetes which used to be extraordinarily rare, isn’t, hasn’t been going up by six percent per year in five years of age, which is really profound because we’re talking about a life, a lifelong, you know, condition, um, and, and so much morbidity involved. And, and that’s really an autoimmune condition and we’re seeing it in zero to five. I mean, this is, you know, this is just at the very beginning of children’s lives you mentioned it’s an auto immune. I don’t think most people understand that actually these are autoimmune condition.
[13:32] Dr Maya: So for our listeners, could you just share the definition of autoimmune and what all does it include? What all different diseases it includes? Well, so auto immune conditions are really when I’m, your own immune system starts to attack your own body in some way. So the immune system, you know, is there to do many things and one of the things is to protect your body and people will often talk about is like, you know, little army are soldiers that are ready to attack if something invade your body. And so when we talk about it like that, it makes sense that we would want to kill all the germs and all the microbes, um, because you know, you don’t want them to invade, right? But actually, um, you know, the Indian system is also very social and it likes to meet and greet lots of different organisms and compounds.
[14:21] Dr Maya: So like different foods and different kinds of bacteria and different kinds of viruses. All of these things actually, um, are, are good for the immune system and actually strengthen the immune system. And when it doesn’t have exposure to all those different germs and microbes and compounds, then it sort of starts to become paranoid and it starts to attack itself. Attack the body. So the way that might look, it’s many, but it could be like inflammatory bowel disease, colitis and Crohn’s. Those are autoimmune disease in which the immune system is attacking the gut and actually not just the gut but, but that’s, you know, the main symptom that we, that we talk about diabetes type one diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the pancreas is being attacked. We’re actually even things like, uh, even things like autism, which isn’t a classical autoimmune condition, we’re seeing that there’s a lot of auto immune components to it.
[15:25] Dr Maya: CELIAC disease, which is now, you know, one in 100, um, so it’s a very prevalent, is an autoimmune condition where the body is recognizing something as an enemy and then it, it looks similar to a part of the body and the body gets attacked to, um, you know, by the immune system. So a lot of what we’re seeing now in terms of chronic illness and other ism, Hashimoto’s, so hypothyroidism, which many, many women suffer from is very commonly, not always, but very commonly an autoimmune condition. And so a lot of what I do in my practice, um, both for children and adults is actually help. We don’t want to suppress the immune system, which is actually what’s often done for autoimmune disease in general is, you know, people are put on steroids, is that really like dampens the immune system because they’re saying, well, the immune system is out of control.
[16:22] Dr Maya: It’s attacking things. It shouldn’t attack. We need to calm it down. But actually what I find is that we don’t really want to suppress the immune system because, you know, when you suppress the immune system, it’s not able to manage infection. Well, you know, and sometimes we need it to be able to manage that. So what I do a lot of in my practices, I’m working on strengthening and balancing the immune system, which, you know, there are a lot of fantastic botanicals and actually medicinal mushrooms that are very, very effective at doing that, much more so than any pharmaceutical out there and with tremendous amounts of data. So like Reishi mushroom is thing that I use quite a bit in my practice along with certain other medicinal mushrooms because it has this great, um, it has this great property of both, uh, strengthening the nonspecific immune system which helps fight infection.
[17:18] Dr Maya: And at the same time I’m like, it actually reduces the, um, the autoimmune component of the immune system. So it sort of has a great balancing effect, which no pharmaceuticals really can do. Have you heard of Chaga mushroom? That seems to be the new thing. Yeah. I mean, Chaga mushrooms are, are uh, you know, also another, I mean, they have a lot of like diff. All these different mushrooms have, have subtle, subtle or not so subtle differences in what they’re effective with doing. But um, you know, Chaga mushroom is another that actually has fantastic anticancer properties for one thing have very good, very good for energy and my health. So, so each of the mushrooms, and sometimes we can even use combinations of these mushrooms were, you know, rather than using a large amount of one, you might use like certain amounts, you know, smaller amounts are blends of several and really you’re getting like kind of a lot of different benefits in, in small ways because sometimes you don’t need like that really powerful impacts.
[18:35] Dr Maya: You just want to kind of maintain your body’s health and all the best ways possible. And so, you know, those are just some examples, but, um, you know, there are really many and the botanical world and our bodies, you know, part of why I love using plants as medicine is because our bodies have really evolved with plants for thousands of years. So plants are actually very complex just like we are. Um, and, and, but our bodies recognize plants and plants recognize our bodies and so there’s a kind of healing and alchemy that happens. Um, you know, and of course there’s a lot of scientific research to support it. But, you know, I think that it’s even a little bit more robust than, than what we even know right now.
[19:20] Reena Jadhav: Oh, absolutely. We do need to learn how to live symbiotically with plants. And the challenge I think we have with our kids is that very few kids like eating plans. So it’s a struggle I have even with my teenage kids, you know, how do you get them to eat a more diverse variety of vegetables? Have you found in terms of how much, how many plants are, how many vegetables should children need on a daily basis ideally to maintain health? And what tips and tricks can you share and making kids kids
[19:54] Dr Maya: eat and enjoy their vegetables. I mean, I think that, you know, the more, the better I think our diets should be. I mean, I’m, I’m actually myself, I’m not a vegetarian, although I was for many years. Um, and, and part of that is because I’ve seen a lot of benefit both in myself and in and in some patients from eating, you know, from eating meat, which I can talk about. But when it comes to a healthy diet, I think, you know, hands down, no one can argue that a plant based diet is absolutely the foundation of health. So, um, you know, when I say plant based, I mean, you know, vegetables and fruit are really the foundation no matter what else you’re eating, whether you be Paleo or vegetarian or Vegan, whatever. Um, so, so when it comes to kids and when I say kids, I mean everything from, you know, toddlers to teens, you know, we just have to remember like, first of all, like, especially with younger kids, a little bit goes a long way. So we might say, you know, you need to eat a serving and a serving for us might be a lot. Um, a lot of vegetables. But for a kid it’s actually not as much. I’m a little kid especially, but I think, you know, certainly like, you know, ideally you’re getting four to six servings in a day. Um, and that’s a of,
[21:25] Dr Maya: you know, vegetables and fruit, but it should not be primarily fruit because, um, you know, fruit definitely does have a lot of sweetness to it. And that may not be great at this. Of course depends on the culture. It depends on the kinds of fruits that people are eating. Um, you know, I always recommend if possible, keeping the appeal on, you know, because actually that’s where a tremendous amount of the antioxidants and phytonutrients live. Um, but uh, some of the tips I’d say first of all, like I think um, there’s been, there’s been quite a bit of research on picky eaters and I’m. One of the things that, that was found is that even in a typical kid, um, you have to, you have to try, you might have to try a food as many as 30 times before accepting it. That’s a typical kid.
[22:22] Dr Maya: We’re not even talking about, you know, some super picky kid. So I think a lot of people with kids give up way too early because they’re five times right. But a lot of people try once or twice and really like the data, there’s data on this which is like as many as 30 times is necessary and then the kid will accept the food. So, you know, part of what I say to do is just like, don’t make special food, you know, don’t make special food at any meal you make the food that you’re going to eat. Everyone should be eating the same meal, you know, and it’s great to have one food that, you know they’re going to eat. But like we also, I’ll also recommend doing the one bite rule, so like you don’t have to eat a whole plate of spinach, but you do have to have one bite and that, you know, we’ll do again and again and again.
[23:16] Dr Maya: And I mean, I remember when my son, who’s now 14, um, when I introduced Kale for the first time and Kales it’s a little tough. It can be even adults. And this was, and this was back before Kayle was like a thing. There was no, you know, international day of Kale or whatever kinds of things are now. They know out there. Kale was killed, was a pretty unusual food to eat. People thought of it as a garnish. I think we, we throw it away. So I make Kale and I knew he wasn’t going to like it that much, but he took he, he said I’m not going to eat this. And I said, no, you just have to have one bite. That’s all. And I, and I acted very disinterested, you know, I didn’t, I didn’t act invested because like that starts a whole baggage with the kid and then they, you know, it starts a whole kind of interaction that I didn’t want to have. I don’t want them to think, do this for me, I want them to do it and I want to try it and then I don’t want him to think he’s going to please me or not these me and kind of create that kind of that kind of narrative. Exactly. So, so he, so he took a bite and he said he put his fingers about, I don’t know, an inch apart and said I like it this much.
[24:30] Dr Maya: I said, okay, you know, whatever. And then I’ve turned around and I saw he ate the entire, the entire serving. And I didn’t say a word, I actually didn’t say anything. I just, you know, at the end they said, okay, like great job, you know, help everyone liked the kale. And, and after that he became a big fan of Kale. My kids actually fight over Kale, you know, we really never left over when I make it. And, and my son, you know, this was some years ago and he’d probably be embarrassed if I brought it up, but since I’m a mom I will, he had a game he used to say, which do you like better? Kale and soup or like juicy Kale with beans like he would, you know, for a cal dishes were. So I think, you know, I could have easily when he sort of turned his nose up at kill that first time, I could have said, oh no, whatever.
[25:25] Dr Maya: Or I could have um, you know, not giving him a serving, just given them one by. What I did was I gave him a serving and I said, you have to have one bite. That’s all he ate, the whole thing. He turned out over time. He loved it. And you know, I think like part of it also is, is really, um, number one, like just putting out bitter foods, foods that have a little bitterness to them, which is so important for health and longevity, you know, bitter, bitter foods, whether it’s a bitter tonic. And this is, I think why coffee comes up a lot as a healthy as it as actually something that can, can be healthy because we think of coffee as being bad for you. And that is true, I think when we rely upon the caffeine instead of getting sleep, um, you know, but actually coffee has all these bitter alkaloids in it which are beneficial also in leafy Greens, also in dark chocolate.
[26:22] Dr Maya: Also Kemah meal team, also an orange peel, right? All of these different ways that we can get bitter compounds from our food. And what they do is they help our digestion. So if you’re bloated or you have gas or burping, it moves things through more quickly. So it helps with those kinds of digestive issues. It boosts the immune system in the gut. And then the ear, nose, throat, so helps prevent things like flu or strep or just a cold actually stabilizes your blood sugar levels and insulin levels and your appetite, so can help with things like, you know, a weight loss, but also weight gain for people who need weight gain because it’s a very balancing kind of effect. And so it doesn’t suppress your appetite, but it balances your appetite. So if you have like an overactive appetite that will come down a little and for people of an underactive appetite actually can boost it.
[27:18] Dr Maya: And I’ve seen it be effective for both. Um, so there’s all and helps boost detoxification in the liver, which all bitter compounds do. And part of the reason why is because our bodies think it could be poisoned. So up the detoxification amps up, you know, motility in the gut, moving things through quickly, it amps up a lot of things and everything starts to work better. So I’m having bitters in the Diet of both adults and kids I think is absolutely critical. And so just doing that in an ongoing way also kind of makes their tastes more. They’re kind of, their tastes more broad. Um, so they’ll try different foods in different, different kinds of vegetables. Um, and also just learning how to prepare them. Well, I actually think like, you know, we sort of think we should all know how to make food that’s tasty, but like, you know, a lot of people overcook that stubbles or under vegetables don’t think of ways to prepare them well or just aren’t creative enough.
[28:19] Dr Maya: And you know, in, in the dark here, I actually included many recipes. Actually my kids voted on them and they’re not kiddie recipes because I don’t cook that way, but they are family friendly. Like anyone can enjoy them. I cook them in all kinds of situations and people, you know, love them. Um, but I think there are a lot of ways to get fruits and vegetables in the Diet and, and they can be simple because I’m not someone I love cooking, but I’m not someone who’s going to spend six hours making something really complicated and I just don’t have time. I’m so, you know, there are recipes and people can look to my book for a, as a resource for that, um, but just I think it’s spending a little time knowing how to prepare it is another really big deal. And then also, um, this will be my last tip, but really like a, if you’re sending food with your kids, like a lot of people will say, Oh, if I send a fruit or a vegetable with my child to school and comes back uneaten.
[29:15] Dr Maya: And I’m like, okay. So are you still sending anything? No, I stopped and I’m like, well if you don’t send it then they can’t eat it. Then they’re never eating it, you know. So sometimes it’s just like kids like love to dip things. So sometimes it could just be having a little like dressing or homelessness or something that, you know, kids just can enjoy or doing something as silly as like you, I used to like, um, make a plate for my kids to vegetables and I would take an extra. This literally took an extra minute to make a little like funny face or a little like kind of just make it like a design and a plate of vegetables and they love that or putting like a cute note, you know, in their lunch that kind of a joke about vegetables to kind of like make them think about eating their fruits or vegetables and like, you know, actually I think all of these are just. It’s literally taking an extra 20 seconds or an extra minute and can really transform. It just makes it more fun. It makes it more interesting. We all want that.
[30:22] Reena Jadhav: Absolutely. No, you’re right. I have tried making things more fun and it definitely does work. It’s just making sure to prioritize and to find the time to put in that effort. And you’re right. Also ropy recipes make all the difference. I have this Brussels frog recipe that I used to throw out some Brussels sprouts and Saudi them little and no one would eat them. They cringe and I pressure cooker them once and they came out so sweet and delicate and we put some coconut Aminos on it and now I can make an entire bag and it’s gone. It doesn’t matter how many Brussels sprouts I make, whatever I made, they’re gone. And the difference was the recipe. So you are so right, and it’s good to know you’ve got recipes in your book. Let’s talk food allergies. So that’s another one that we’re seeing a pretty dramatic rise in food allergies. And I know you’ve talked about things like elimination diets. For those listening to the podcast who’ve got kids with allergies, food allergies, what do you recommend? What are some of the top two or three things that you recommend that they do?
[31:26] Dr Maya: Um, well, I think you know, any, any kid who has known food allergies, you have to always think about helping heal their gut because that is really the kind of the place where food allergies began as a breakdown in the health of the gut. And that goes back to having a very diverse microbiome and it means getting, um, you know, it means getting the exposure to lots of different kinds of organisms, which by the way, in addition to just getting outside and eating the fermented foods is also eating foods from like, let’s say the farmer’s market, right, where there’s going to be like a little trace of soil and I don’t mean it should be caked in mud and you’re eating, it can rinse it off, but like most of the food, fruits and vegetables that you get from the grocery store or power wash and sometimes they’re coated in wax or other things, they might have been sprayed.
[32:20] Dr Maya: So getting like good organic food from the farmer’s market, it’s more likely not to be power washed. It’s more likely to maybe have that little bit of little trace of soil. And these are the ways that we’re actually helping to repopulate the gut again and again. So that’s one thing to help heal the gut. Another thing is using aloe, aloe, aloe juice, or out the gel of the aloe. Not the whole leaf. Very, very healing for the gut and actually you can see in someone who has digestive issues, you can sometimes see relief within 10 minutes of taking it. It’s that powerful, but I use it quite a bit to heal, heal a kids’ guts when they have food allergies and they need to be on elimination diets. And then,
[33:08] Reena Jadhav: I’m sorry, before you jump and you give a little more instruction. So what is your favorite brand? Does it need to be in a glass bottle and then do you suggest they take it 30 minutes before a meal with a meal? How do you recommend?
[33:20] Dr Maya: Well, it can be, you know, there’s a few brands and I mean you can get it as a liquid. Sometimes it does have a preservative in it if you get it as a liquid, but sometimes like we have to kind of accept that or you can actually very often get the actual, an actual aloe leaf. You can buy at many grocery stores. Um, and then you just cut it into the inside. You don’t eat the whole thing, but you kind of slice it and the inside it’s a very jet, there’s like a gel and you just scoop that out and actually, and actually just a consume it. It can be a little bitter or not, but it’s that simple. And, and actually, you know, toxic. I heard something about not ever eating aloe gel directly because it was toxic. No, it’s not toxic on the inside.
[34:08] Dr Maya: The, the part that can be problematic is if you have the outer part because the outer part is actually, um, it actually has natural latex in it, so that can actually be an inflammatory. But um, but the insight is not toxic and it’s actually, like I said, very healing to the gut and the end, the Gel, you know, there are a few brands in a, off the top of my head, I can’t think of what my favorite would be, but I do think, you know, you can get the liquid. Um, and it just has to say aloe gel or juice, um, you don’t like. Again, you just want to make sure it’s not whole leaf but, but, uh, you know, and, and it’s really something, um, you know, you can do a small amount daily and see real benefits. Um, and then the third thing you know, I’d say could be really beneficial and people with food allergies is I’m in healing.
[35:03] Dr Maya: The gut is actually bone broth, so it’s very mineral dense. It’s got good healthy fats and um, and, and the broken down kind of like glutamate component in there actually is very healing to the gut lining. So, um, those are the, those are the three things that I think can be the best. And then of course what I didn’t say but is, is, um, you know, hopefully understood is eliminating the food. If there’s allergic food, you absolutely must eliminate that food at least for a period of time until you can heal the heal the gut wall because otherwise you’re constantly kind of inflaming the situation again and again. And again. So the most common food allergies that are out there, especially in kids are our milk and that’s all kinds of animal milk, you know, some are more allergenic than others. But, um, milk, we soy corn, peanuts, tree nuts or citrus is a big one.
[36:12] Dr Maya: So, um, those are the main eggs. I forgot to say eggs. So especially egg whites. So those are the ones like I’m always looking to. And I would definitely say dairy is the biggest defender. I’m not, I don’t think dairy has to be a bad food at all. I think the more unprocessed it is, and I go into this, there’s a whole chapter on milk and in my book, but um, the more process it is, the more likely it is to cause problems. Um, you know, there were actually, there was a study on an boiled milk or raw milk in their European studies were raw milk is much more available and um, and they did a study on the mother baby pairs and they found that those who, um, those who were drinking raw milk, you know, on boiled milk as opposed to pasteurized milk had had a fewer allergies, less asthma, lower inflammatory markers in their blood, and many fewer infections and fevers over the course of that time.
[37:13] Dr Maya: Oh, interesting. Yeah. So there’s some really good studies on it and it seems like what we’re doing to milk maybe causing a lot of the problems. Um, but that said milk does seem to cause a lot of problems for, for children. So that, you know, and in my book I talk about like how, how you might see food allergies manifest because sometimes we think it’s just gonna be hives or Anaphylaxis, you know, the throat closing up kind of syndrome. But you know, you can see chronic ear infections, you can see constipation, you could see Migraines, you can see seizures, you can see, um, you know, whatever that person, however that person is vulnerable, um, and whatever their genetic vulnerabilities might be, that’s how the symptoms might show up. So it doesn’t have to be the classic hives kind of manifestation. My son was actually severely allergic to soy, which we didn’t know and he was having terrible, terrible asthma and it was basically constant because he was actually drinking soy milk, which at the time we thought was really healthy. And for him at least, arguably it may not be healthy for anybody, but certainly for him it definitely wasn’t healthy because it was giving him asthma. And as soon as we stopped his exposure to soy, his asthma disappeared. You know, it’s just transformative. You are so right. I think one of the biggest issues we have is when a child has a seizure or has migraines,
[38:36] Reena Jadhav: we never equate that to an allergy. We think there was something neurological or maybe there’s something else that’s creating these issues. Clearly testing food allergy testing or food sensitivity testing is something that every parent should do if they have a child that’s depicting some kind of symptoms. What, what tests do you recommend if conventional medicine doctors are seeing? Of course now there’s no, there’s no reason to do food allergy tests. I’ve been told myself by my conventional gi doctors, they don’t really believe in these food sensitivity tests and um, the, the allergy tests again, are done sort of in a more traditional way. What do you recommend as a task for a parent that’s listening in to say, go get this test done and you can have a better insight into if your child may be allergic to soy milk for example?
[39:23] Dr Maya: Well, so in my son’s case, he actually was truly allergic skin testing and it actually came up, his arm blew up in the head in his case. But here’s what I’ll say. I mean, their skin testing, there’s blood testing, um, you know, and then there’s also like, you know, ige, which is the classical allergy versus igg testing, their celiac testing. There’s a lot of different ways to look at allergies. And here’s what I’ll say, none of them are 100 percent. The gold standard is always a month of elimination and then reintroduction. So that’s, I really outlined that in great detail in my book, um, how you can really do that elimination a challenge because, um, and it can just be one food. I mean, you know, some people get very dramatic about it and cut out everything they think could be a problem and add them in one by one.
[40:21] Dr Maya: People want to do it that way. They can, I usually will look at like the most, most likely culprit, especially if it’s a daily food food that they’re happening all the time. Like some people are drinking orange juice everyday or drinking milk every day or you know, they’re living on everything. Gluten, you know what I mean? So you do that one month off and you really just look to see. And I have a, I have a checklist and the dirt cure where you can kind of go through and say like, what are the, what are the, um, you know, the, all the different things that you could see improved, potentially improve. Um, you know, it could be behavior, it could be sleep, it could be mood, it could be a focus, it could be ear infections, it could be going to the bathroom, it can be, you know, gaining weight or growing.
[41:05] Dr Maya: There’s a lot of different ways that these problems can present. And so, you know, you look at all these different things and you know, you can sometimes see an absolute transformation in one month I’ve seen, I’ve seen seizures disappear, disappear, and there are, there is really great data on this particular issue. Um, where people who have a true allergy to dairy were studied. There’s an Italian group, um, you know, any university that studies have studied this in many different ways and they found that food allergies actually can change. The eeg can actually trigger seizures. Now this is going to be in someone who’s already vulnerable to seizures. It’s not like, you know, you’re just walking down the street, you eat something, you’re allergic to, you’re going to have a seizure, but if you are prone to have seizure, then that kind of an kind of inflammatory kick can actually trigger that.
[42:02] Dr Maya: And I had actually twins who came to my office years ago and they were five year old twins, they were having probably a hundred a staring spells a day and it turned out that they were allergic to a lot of, a lot of different foods and they had very limited diets, each of them only eight, three or four different things. And we brought in their diet, we got them off the foods that we’re allergic to and they stopped having any of the staring spells. It just stopped on. No medications. They were actually fine. And the mom always, you know, she would see if they ate something because then she might notice, you know, one more than the other, that he would do a little staring and she would say, oh, like he ate something. And it was really actually very powerful to see just how transformative take doing that trial off of a food can be. That’s incredible.
[42:50] Reena Jadhav: That’s incredible. Add. Talk a little bit about that as well. Add and autism, again, we’re starting to see a lot of medications being prescribed for little kids with add and different doctors have different perspectives. On this, where do you come out and for someone who’s some parent who has been told yes, your kids got add, we need to put them on something or put her on something. What do you recommend as a typical plan of attack?
[43:14] Dr Maya: Well, you know, when it comes to, you know, as a pediatric neurologist, obviously I see a lot of kids with autism and, and you know, I would just say diet is absolutely the foundation of, um, of addressing any of these issues because it’s something that can actually make a dramatic difference in brain function. The brain we think of the brain is kind of running the show, but the brain is actually downstream in a certain way. It’s so affected by what’s going on in the gut and what’s going on systemically in general in the body. The brain is so vulnerable in that way even though we think it’s not. And so, you know, if you sit and focus just on trying to fix the brain without trying to fix everything else, um, you’re not going to make that kind of progress that you, that you need to make an I, I would never be as effective, uh, a physician as I am if I didn’t think about the whole body.
[44:11] Dr Maya: So like for instance, if someone’s really constipated or having diarrhea all the time or, you know, I always ask, I always ask patients like, do you clog the toilet? You know, because there are all these clues to gut health and gut health is so connected to immune and brain health and immune health also is connected to brain health. So, you know, when my son was having all that asthma as a, he was a year old when that happened, he stopped gaining new words and he started falling more. Like he really had kind of a developmental regression in a certain way. And certainly a plateau. And what I found was that, um, changing his food didn’t just change his health, you know, but it changed how his brain was functioning and when we fixed his, his diet and fixed his immune health, it made a huge difference for his development and cognition as well.
[45:00] Reena Jadhav: That’s incredible. We are at the end of a very insightful conversation. I wish we could chat more, uh, for those of us who still have so much more so many more questions, please check out the book. We’re going to obviously share that in our show notes. Dr. Maya, one last question before we let you go. For parents who’ve got children who are facing health crisis, we’re frustrated, disheartened, and are looking for a way out to get their children back to great health. Other than reading your book, what would be the one or two things that you recommend they do starting today?
[45:43] Dr Maya: I mean, I think at a minimum is really thinking about how to do a nutrient dense diet as much as possible while at the same time taking out any foods that could be really problematic. Like the ones that I named before least one or two of those, um, because that’s something that’s actually very, very high yield. The body needs to have the body needs to have the tools and the materials to work with in order to heal. So I think that’s absolutely critical. And, and whether someone’s being put on medication or not being put on medication, it’s always going to be more effective. The healings always going to be more effective if they, if they have a really nutrient dense diet. So that’s number one. And number two is actually really like getting kids outside. Um, and I know that that sounds in a certain way, like I’m being flip maybe, you know, to say, well, we’re dealing with this big crisis and you know, like you’re talking about getting outside, but there are truly so many documented benefits and we’re talking about transformative things well beyond what any pharmaceutical can do just from being outdoors.
[47:00] Dr Maya: The improvement, not just in quality of life, but as I said, things like immune health, um, improving the, the biodiversity of the microbiome, which changes, um, you know, changes the gut. And the and the immune system and the brain, as we’ve said, there are actually organisms that are found in nature that are called psychobiotics that actually boosts serotonin levels in ways very similar to pharmaceuticals.
[47:24] Dr Maya: So we have so much to gain from being outdoors and I really, really recommend that for literally every parent of every child and if they have chronic illness, even more so, how often should they be outdoors? Because I think that’s the other question. You know, I don’t think we have the right sense of what that means being outdoors. Talk a little bit about that. Uh, you know, I think it’s something that should be every day weather permitting. And when I say weather permitting, I mean I am all for being out in the rain. I think getting out in the snow. I think getting out in cold weather, all of these things are fine. I mean, you know, obviously there are times when it really isn’t weather permitting, but, um, I think, you know, seven days a week kids should be outside and um, you know, there are people who think like three hours a day is what they should be.
[48:09] Dr Maya: I wish we could do that, but, um, you know, I think having, I also really think it should be as unstructured as possible many times. So letting kids just be outside exploring because kids actually really know what to do when they’re outside. Even if at first they complained a little bit, um, but you know, at least at least some time. And I’ll tell people, you know, if they’re, if they’re, uh, you know, like, oh, I have too much homework or I’m too busy or whatever, I’ll actually say, okay, take your homework and go sit outside, put a blanket down in your backyard or go to a park and sit down with your work or you’re sitting in texting, go sit on a big rock outside and texts, you know, you want to go running. I mean, I actually started running, um, you know, last year and I trail run, so I run in the woods because that’s part of the way that I ensure that I’m getting nature, my nature time every day and I might stop along the way, take a picture, I might hug a tree. That’s something as simple as just getting outside and hugging a tree. And as silly as that sounds, again, these are very grounding practices and I mean I could talk, you know, at length which I do in the dirt cure, but I can talk at length about why the science behind you know, why these things are actually effective, but it’s really like as little or as much time as you have, just make sure it’s everyday or as often as possible.
[49:32] Reena Jadhav: Thank you so much for sharing such simple and yet powerful scientifically backed ways for people to get their health back, their children’s health back. Dr Meyer, thank you for everything you’re doing. You’re amazing. And for the rest of you listened to this podcast outside, go outside, get some fresh air and we’ll see you again on another podcast soon. All Right, Dr Maya will stop the recording at that point. I am so sorry we went over, but it was such an exciting conversation and I had so many more questions, but I really did stop myself from continuing.
[50:06] Dr Maya: Thank you. I was happy to do it. We’ll send this over.
[50:10] Reena Jadhav: You have any new research or anything new you’re doing that you’d like to get out to our listeners, please feel free to have your assistant reach out to mine.
[50:19] Dr Maya: We’re. We’re happy to get on a quarterly or four months, five months
[50:24] Reena Jadhav: scheduled with you in terms of there’s just so much you’re doing so much. You’re doing. The other thing that I am doing is we’re building a group. We haven’t named it yet. That’s probably going to be something like he’ll docs to go with our healer PD and name. By the way, we are going to give you a free account. We have something called master healers and so we’d love to give you a free master healer account on our site, which means you can post anything you like on there. We’ll create it to send the link to your assistant. Um, it’s normally a paid account, but um, for all those who shared their time with us for the podcast, we just give you a free account for life and um, so if you have anything you’d like to share, feel free to share it with our community.
[51:03] Reena Jadhav: They’re very hungry for information or we’re creating. This group were asked questions come up. As things come up in the public media, we reach out to the docs to see if they’d be interested in answering the question just even through email and then we publish that as part of our blog post. I would love to add you to that. Would that be something you’d be comfortable with? I’m sure. Yeah. You know, you can send all the information about it to my assistant and I’ll take a look at it, but that sounds like something I’d be happy to do. Wonderful. I’ll send that over. Dr. Maya. Thank you again. You have a great day. You too. Take care. Bye Bye now. Bye Bye.
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