Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo - Overcoming Stress & Fatigue The Natural Way | 180 Nutrition

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Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo – Overcoming Stress & Fatigue The Natural Way

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Stu: This week we welcome Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo to the show. Dr. Ritamarie is fiercely committed to transforming our current broken disease-care system into a true health care system where each and every practitioner is skilled at finding the root cause of health challenges and using ancient healing wisdom married with modern scientific research to restore balance.

As the founder of the Institute of Nutritional Endocrinology, Dr. Ritamarie specialises in using the wisdom of nature to restore balance to hormones with a special emphasis on thyroid, adrenal, and insulin imbalances. Her practitioner training programs empower health and nutrition practitioners to get to the root cause of health concerns by using functional assessments and natural therapeutics to balance the endocrine system, the master controller. In this interview we discuss why as a nation we’re becoming more ‘tired, wired and exhausted’… enjoy.

Audio Version

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher Questions we ask in this episode:

  • What techniques can we consider to reduce stress in our everyday lives?
  • What causes brain fog and how can we reduce it?
  • Can you explain the principles behind HeartMath®

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Full Transcript

Stu

00:03 Hey, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. It’s here that we connect with the world’s best experts in health, wellness and human performance in an attempt to cut through the confusion around what it actually takes to achieve long lasting health, and I’m sure that’s something that we all strive to have. I certainly do. Before we get into the show today, you might not know that we make products too. That’s right, we’re into whole food nutrition and have a range of super foods and natural supplements to help support your day. If you are curious, want to find out more, just jump over to our website. That is 180nutrition.com.au and take a look. Okay, back to the show.

00:44 This week I’m excited to welcome Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo. Dr. Ritamarie has a chiropractor, nutritionist, and nutritional endocrinology specialists. She educates those who want to understand and attack the root cause of their health issues to resolve, rather than take pills or trendy diets to mask the problem. In this episode, we discuss the issues of stress from feeling tired and wired to the tools, tips, and strategies to eliminate brain fog and boost energy. Dr. Ritamarie also shares a 2-minute breathing tip that can really change your day. Anyway enough from me, let’s get into the show.

01:25 Hey guys, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition and I am delighted to welcome Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo to the show today. Good morning Dr. Ritamarie, how are you?

Ritamarie

01:25 Good afternoon.

Stu

01:35 Good afternoon. I’ve said that every single time in different parts of the world. Loving the backdrop as well. I have to say for everybody that’s listening or watching us on video version, yeah, it’s definitely where we want to be today. First up, for everybody out there that may not be familiar with your work, I would love it if you could just tell us a little bit about yourself, what you do and perhaps why you do it.

Ritamarie

02:04 Yeah, absolutely. I am passionate about helping people to regain their energy, their vitality, and to be the best of themselves so that they can live the life they were intended. I so often see people struggling and suffering and saddling basically for not really living the life that they want to because they’re exhausted, their brain fogged, they’d just feel out of balance and out of sorts. I also am so passionate about changing the way the system works because I think a lot of it is because we’re brainwashed from the time we’re little that you have an ache or pain, you go to the doctor, you get a pill, and it takes care of it. As you age, you get frail and slow down and all that kind of stuff, and we expect that so we get it.

02:51 I think that our system needs to change. I also train health practitioners in the art of using nutrition to affect endocrinology and, use holistic and functional medicine techniques, and to do that in a big part is empowering people. It’s what I call self-empowered healthcare. Why am I so passionate about that is I lost my own health when I was in my 20s when time of your life when you think you’re at your peak. I was able to regain it, not through Western medicine, but through the kind of work that I now do, which is in nutrition and functional medicine.

03:24 I also lost three very close to actually more than three, but three extremely close family members; my mother, my father, and my sister to what I think were preventable illnesses, but their doctors didn’t know what to tell them to do to change their diet and lifestyle.

Stu

03:41 Boy, oh boy.

Ritamarie

03:42 That changed and we lost them.

Stu

03:43 Yeah, very, very sad. Yeah, I’ve lost family members too so I’m very, very interested to talk to you about some of these issues today. First up, tired, wired and exhausted. As a notion, those are the phrases that we’re hearing every single day and me included. We frazzled through work, through the devices that keep us connected to work as well. Why do you think we’re so tired and wired and what can we do about it?

Ritamarie

04:20 Yeah, so why do I think? Well, there’s a lot of things that go into that. I think that the wired comes from low lired, right? We’re wired for devices. There’s so much great technology that actually is supposed to make our lives easier, but what it does is it keeps us in this state of perpetual motion. We’re in stress mode 24/7. In the old days, it was tigers and bears and lions that were chasing us and we went whoops and went and ran and jumped and climbed a tree, got away, then went back to living the good life. That’s what our bodies are designed for really, really well to handle acute stress, but we’re in this state of perpetual 24/7 stress.

05:02 I can know everything that’s happening in your country across the world every bad thing, and I can get weird about it and feel bad for it when there’s nothing I can do about it. We’re left feeling this state of helplessness that we can’t do anything to change it and we’re bombarded with constant negative stuff and the food supply has been so radically changed from real whole fresh food that grew on trees to this packaged stuff with ingredients we can’t even pronounce that’s sitting on the supermarket shelves and in the fast food restaurants and guess why? Because everybody is so wired and tired and frazzled who makes the time to go home and make something fresh.

05:46 We can’t just go out in our backyard and start picking our lunch like our ancestors did and so we grabbed for this stuff because it looks like the best way out, and so all that accumulates to nutritional deficiencies, overload, stress overload, adrenal exhaustion. Our adrenal glands which are responsible for keeping us safe in the face of danger, they just plum go, can’t do this anymore because I’m not designed to go 24/7, and all of that leads to hormonal imbalances and immune system imbalances throughout the body and we’re falling apart and we have the highest disease rate. In spite of all this technological advance in medicine, the disease rate is no better than it ever was.

06:29 Yeah, we’re not dying of infectious disease because we figured that one out, but we’re dying of high on the horse lifestyle diseases.

Stu

06:37 Yes, yeah. It’s frightening, isn’t it? Stress plays such a huge factor in whether or not we actually understand that we are stressed and like you said, you can switch on your mobile phone first thing in the morning and get bombarded by this slew of emotions because of all the bad stuff coming. Perhaps you’re not getting the positivity that you would like to get through social media, so you’re feeling down on that side of things as well. Techniques to reduce stress in our everyday lives. What would you suggest where that’s concerned?

Ritamarie

07:14 Well, to start with breathing.

Stu

07:16 Yeah, totally.

Ritamarie

07:18 Nobody’s breathing properly. We’re breathing from here because of the stress, and so everything’s tight up in here, we go. We’re breathing through our neck muscles instead of through our abdomen and our abdomen is supposed to be expanding and allowing the air to come in. Here’s the thing, people don’t know. When you’re in taking air, your body goes into the part of the autonomic nervous system called the sympathetic system, breathing. When we’re letting go, we’re going into the park called the parasympathetic and the sympathetic is what’s great for getting us out of stressful situations. It’s not so good for healing.

07:58 It’s not so good for letting us just feel that pause, and so we need to make efforts to get into that parasympathetic state. Breathing where the exhale is longer than the inhale. Yeah, so you basically breathe in, hold it a little bit, and then you exhale. You keep going. Let it go all the way up because what happens when we’re in that state where we’re going, is there’s trapped air down in the bottom of our lungs because we’re not breathing from the bottom part.

Stu

07:58 Got it.

Ritamarie

08:41 We’re not allowing that. That exchange is happening, but we’re not allowing the carbon dioxide and the waste to get out, and that’s just sits in the bottom of the lungs. We can breathe it out. When you think you’ve breathed out enough, you go …

Stu

08:57 Just get the last minute.

Ritamarie

08:58 We’re not going to be at the end of the day but …

Stu

09:00 No.

Ritamarie

09:00 Take smoke breaks to do this and it works phenomenally.

Stu

09:05 Fantastic. Sorry, how many breaths do you think you’d typically need to do if you’re feeling really stressed? Would you do that for a couple of minutes?

Ritamarie

09:14 I think even just doing one can make a huge difference, but you do two or three or you do it for a minute or two, and it can make a world of difference. When you think about it, a minute or two break out of the day here and there throughout to give you so much more, gives you more oxygen to your brain, which guess what? If you’re working, it’s going to actually make you more productive because you’re not going to sit there go, “What was that word? Oh my God, what do I have to do next?” Because you’re all stressed out. No, you breathe and it’s real clear of what needs to happen next.

Stu

09:49 Perfect, yeah. Well, I don’t think that there’ll be a person out there that can argue that they don’t have a minute or so out of their day to be able to breath.

Ritamarie

09:55 Agree. Yeah.

Stu

09:55 We’re doing a little bit of research on you and your work and I noticed you’re a certified HeartMath provider and that intrigued me because that does allow us to utilize a technology in a really, really smart way. I wondered if you could just explain the principles behind that as well because I know that that can be very beneficial for stress management.

Ritamarie

10:25 Absolutely.

Stu

10:27 We’ve got lots of techies out there in our audience as well as, me included. What’s HeartMath and how can we use it?

Ritamarie

10:35 Yeah, so HeartMath is a weird combination of words, heart and math. People think it means map if I’m saying map, heart map. No, it’s heart math. The people at the Institute of HeartMath actually studied the combination of breath and an emotion and the emotion they found to be most effective at effecting the change from sympathetic to parasympathetic was appreciation and so they measure. They hooked people up to all kinds of stuff and they measured the changes, the changes in enzymes, the changes in heart rate, the changes in heart variability, and put it all together and came up with wow this combination, those deep breaths, heartfelt breaths with the emotion of appreciation affects the most majority of change.

11:20 When you can combine a deep sense of appreciation with those breaths makes a difference and now you can measure that, and that’s where the technology comes in, but it’s not necessary. A lot of people think that HeartMath means you have this device and you hook it up to your ear and it measures your heart rate variability. You don’t need the device. You’d need the technique. The device is like a biofeedback device that lets you know are you in the right range and after you do it for a while, you know you’re in the right range. It’s a good technique for getting started with it. Basically it measures your heart rate variability, not your heartbeats per minute, but your heart rate variability.

12:01 Let’s just use a rough, easy round number 60 beats per minute, right? You think okay so my heart beats one beat per second, and in reality that’s not what happens. If we were to map that out on a graph that we mean that it went like this, right? It’s just one, one, one, one. In reality, you’re probably dead if that’s happening, right? Or you’re close to it because when your heart rate variability is just flat line like that, it means there’s a lack of vital force. It’s up and down. It might be two beats per minute, half a beat per minute, and it’s up and down. Now when we’re in stress and you map that out, the heart rate variability, it looks like this. Looks like field jogging.

12:46 When you’re in what they call a state of coherence, your heart rate variability is just this nice, smooth sine wave, back and forth that. Just looking at it, you feel, right? The goal is when you do that, your brain and your heart sink up. Your heart is linked with your endocrine system. Everything starts to work much more effectively. If you could even just get yourself into that state of coherence for two minutes a day, it can make a huge difference.

Stu

13:19 How do we do that? How do we get ourselves into that state?

Ritamarie

13:22 Okay. You want me to take you through it?

Stu

13:24 Yes, please.

Ritamarie

13:25 Okay. What I usually I like to do, first you want to focus your attention on your heart. You can do that by just thinking your attention on your heart or putting your hand over your heart. I like to also focus on my breath, so I put my other hand over my belly so I can make sure I’m doing that full belly breath. I closed my eyes except when I’m driving. I can do this when I’m driving, when I’m talking to people. Then I don’t use the hands, I just do the breath. I’m focused on this and I take some long, slow, deep breaths focusing on the inhale, hold it, and then the exhale a little longer. Go ahead and do a couple of those breaths and then as you do it, you can just let your shoulders drop and feel your neck soften.

14:19 My variation of it is I like to go to a place, I call it a mini vacation. I like to take a mini vacation to guess where I go?

Stu

14:27 Yeah, I can see where you go.

Ritamarie:

4:27 Right there.

Stu

14:27 Yeah.

Ritamarie

14:31 I go to that place in my mind and the beauty of it is when you go someplace in your mind and you really allow yourself to feel into it with all five senses; sight, sound, smell, taste and skin sensation, your brain doesn’t know the difference between whether I’m on that beach or I’m just imagining there. What happens when you’re on that beach, like what happens when you’re in your favorite place, whether it’s the beach, the mountains, holding your kitty in the rocking chair? Whatever it is for you, you just feel, you feel good and when you measure what’s going on inside, your immune system is optimized, your blood pressure, your blood sugar, everything changes.

15:12 I’ve even measured people’s blood pressure and then done this with them, and then measured it again and boom, comes down.

Stu

15:19 Fantastic.

Ritamarie

15:19 You just go to that place, so go to that place and just be there, like totally be there. You should just feel a change in you. First few times you do, it may take a little longer. Once you practice it, you can get there in one breath and when you practice it enough throughout the day, your body will naturally go there when you get stressed. You don’t wait to be stressed and you go, “Oh, what was that technique that doctor told me about? Oh, yeah, yeah.” No, you just do it. Before every meal, guess what? Digestive enzymes increase, all the valves flow properly between the parts of the digestive tract. Your digestion is optimized.

16:10 If you’re in that stress mode, I’m eating my lunch while I’m working? The digestion doesn’t work right so you can see digested improvements right away. I’ve seen people just add this and lose weight within the first week without changed what I’m eating. Just lose the weight because they were focused on the food actually not creating a toxic residue in their body, but actually nursing them.

Stu: 16:34 Perfect and again that’s what two things then that we can concentrate on right now that should help us reduce the tiredness, get us less wired and give us more energy. Again, I think those things are really essentially just unplugging for little short period of time wherever we are just and just breathing. Yeah, concentrate, go somewhere else. Fantastic.

Ritamarie: 17:03 Yeah and you know …

Stu

17:00 … Somewhere else [crosstalk 00:17:01]. Fantastic.

Ritamarie

17:02 You know what I love about it? You don’t have to go meditate for an hour sitting in a yoga pose to get the effect. Meditation is great, and I do that too, but this was the first thing I could do from a relaxation standpoint, because yeah, I could do two minutes. I could quiet my mind for two minutes.

Stu

17:23 Yeah. No, that is excellent. Great strategies. I guess it comes back to the age-old sayings, as well. Just take a breath and everything will seem so much better. You’ll be in much more control. Yeah, it just works, doesn’t it?

Ritamarie

17:39 It does, yeah.

Stu

17:43 Part of that tired, wired, and exhaustion state that many of us will be in will lead to things like brain fog, and we get that phrase used quite a lot, as well, across our audience. That heavy- headedness and, I guess, difficulty in making those fast decisions, finding all the right words, and just feeling switched on. How can we overcome brain fog? I’m guessing that there are going to be lots of factors there that feed into that in the first place. Are there any key ones that you think we should concentrate on first and foremost?

Ritamarie

18:25 I think that what we just did talk about, the stress, getting yourself, acknowledging and knowing and recognizing when you’re going into that stress state and go, “Oh, there I go again,” that’ll pull you out. Here’s something to note if people like the little geeky, trivial things. When you’re in that stress state, the sympathetic, the hormone that’s majorly produced is cortisol. Cortisol has the effect of turning off the prefrontal cortex and turning on the hind brain. I call it the wizard brain and the lizard brain. Cortisol turns off the wizard brain and turns on the lizard brain, because it’s supposed to help us get out of trouble.

19:07 If your stress is about work or trying to solve a problem or trying to figure out your budget and you’re getting all stressed about it, guess what? You’re thinking like a lizard. You just want to escape, run away. Breathe. Get into that parasympathetic state. Turn down the cortisol a notch and you’ll suddenly find yourself thinking much more clearly. Part of the brain fog is that. But there’s other things that lead to brain fog, and some of it is related to cortisol. Cortisol affects the part of the brain called the hippocampus, and it actually damages that part of the brain, and that hippocampus is responsible for taking those short-term memories and putting them into long-term so you can access it later, so that, “Where’d I put my keys? What did I come in this room for?” That’s all this cortisol acting on your hippocampus and you can, by slowing down and lowering the cortisol levels at those points in time, you can actually get that memory back. That’s an important thing.
Stu: 20:05 Wow. Fantastic. Again, it all feeds back into breathing, de-stressing. Stress is the big player here, isn’t it? It really is.

20:13 Stress is a huge player, but there’s more than just the mental, emotional stress that we get into. There’s the physiologic stress. There’s the environmental stresses. There’s the stress of the toxins in the food we eat and the imbalances in the food we eat. All of those things play into stress.

20:28 The other piece of brain fog that I find is blood sugar imbalance, either too high or too low. People think, “I get brain foggy because my blood sugar’s too low.” Guess what? Get a meter and test it. Chances are good it’s actually too high, because that’s where most of the problems lie in our society. We eat foods that require a lot of insulin in order to get the sugar into the cell, quickly digesting carbohydrates, the breads and the pastas and the cookies and candies and cakes and pies and even waffles and muffins and sandwiches, all of that stuff is easily converted to sugar, causes a rise in insulin and the cells become resistant after a while because insulin can damage those cells.

21:12 The brain cells, we used to think when I was in school that the brain cells didn’t become resistant to insulin, because they didn’t need insulin. They could just pull the sugar right out of the blood. In reality, the more recent research shows that that’s not true, that the brain does use insulin and the brain cells become insulin-resistant. They’re saying now that insulin resistance is the leading cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

Stu

21:40 Yeah, very, very interesting.

Ritamarie

21:41 Brain fog, right? Talk about brain fog.

Stu

21:42 That’s right. It doesn’t get much worse, does it?

Ritamarie

21:45 Yeah, no. No. Keeping those sugars in balance, eating foods that are balanced and that are really nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich but not so high on the carbohydrate and glycemic index.

Stu

21:59 Right, fantastic. That brings me, then, to the big question, which is what to eat? Because there’s a lot of confusion these days around the type of diet you should follow, so the protocols that you should call upon every day when you want to feed yourself. We’re in an unusual space right now, I think, in that we know a lot more about nutrition than we used to, but there’s still confusion.

Ritamarie

22:27 Oh, so much.

Stu

22:29 Paleo, ketosis, high-carb, low-carb, Mediterranean, pescatarian. How do we eat, in your opinion, for long-lasting health that will keep us energized and vitalized?
Ritamarie: 22:46 It’s interesting, because I just recently, a couple of weeks ago, did a webinar called “The Hazards of Paleo, Keto, and Plant-Based Diets.”

22:53 Right.

Ritamarie

22:53 That runs the gamut, doesn’t it? It’s okay. Now, what’s left to eat? But no matter what you choose, if you choose a diet versus choosing what’s right for you, you’re going to get in trouble. If you choose, “Oh, I have to have high-fat, therefore I’m going to drink olive oil,” or “I have to have high-carb or I’m going plant-based so I have to eat tons of grains,” when in reality, actually the same problems lie across all three of those and I think it’s not enough vegetables, not enough green, leafy vegetables.

23:29 Each of those diets focuses on a particular macronutrient, if you will. Paleo’s very high-fat, lower-protein and lower-carb, so they’re focusing on fat at all costs. Stuff in the avocados and the olive oil and the coconut oil and the lard and bacon, and people are overloading themselves with fat because that’s what the diet says. They’re on paleo and a lot of people think paleo means that you’re eating an animal three times a day, but go back to our Paleolithic ancestors. They found an animal to kill, every couple of weeks they feasted on it, and they went back to eating what? The plants.

Stu

24:08 That’s right, yeah.

Ritamarie

24:09 Then you go plant-based, and you go, “Plants, we got to eat tons of grains.” They’re eating breads and pastas and there’s a lot of the worst foods on the planet are completely plant-based. But the best foods on the planet are the plant-based, too.

24:24 When you’re eating a lot of vegetables, the green, leafy stuff that grows on the ground, grows off the bushes, they’re so loaded with antioxidants and nutrients and vitamins and minerals, and low in calories, and then you balance that with how much fat does this body need? How much protein does this body need? I may need more protein if I’m out training for a marathon and lifting weights versus if I’m staying home watching TV or bedridden for whatever reason.

24:56 We have to really look at each individual, at ourselves, and how do we focus. I think if we start with this core of plants, we start with this core of green, leafy, rainbow vegetables, the cruciferous vegetables, the sprouts, the C vegetables, and then we add to it what those other components are …

25:19 Personally, I have been experimenting. I’m always experimenting, and I have my little devices and I measure my ketones and my sugar. I [inaudible 00:25:27] blood sugar patch that I’m experimenting with to measure my blood sugar. I’ve found that for the last month, I’ve actually been on a plant-based keto diet. I have been staying in ketosis eating a ton of green, leafy vegetables and krauts and sprouts and nuts and seeds and all the things that on a keto diet they say you’ve got to stay away from, because they’re too high in carb. You got to figure this out. I’ve been staying in ketosis eating … I’ve been only eating plants. Only plants.

Stu

26:02 How do you feel?

Ritamarie

26:03 Amazing. Amazing all the time. Full of energy, my brain is clear as can be. My brain is running and burning on ketones. It’s not a full-out ketosis like I’ve fasted and had a full-out … Ketos are seven, which is high. No, it’s a low between one and three on the ketone scale, and staying that way, and then eating all this great stuff to keep my blood sugar in a really nice, steady place, and feeling amazing.

Stu

26:34 Yes, of course.

Ritamarie

26:35 Energy, I run every day, I lift weights, I work. I work hard. I do research. It’s finding that’s what worked really well for me. I’m bucking the trend of, “Yeah, keto means lots of animal fat, paleo means maybe not so much fat but a lot of animal protein, and plant-based means none of those things.” No, it’s this moderate fat, medium fat. I’m certainly not on a low-fat diet. I would not survive, because there’s no calories in the rest of the food I eat. It’s phenomenal. I’ll be writing a book on this soon.

Stu

27:16 Fantastic. Absolutely.

Ritamarie

27:17 Pretty phenomenal.

Stu

27:19 When we do, we want to talk to you in depth about this as well, because again, it’s one of those things that is firstly very unique to us as individuals, and what works for you may not work for me. Probably won’t, because we’re so different. But certainly when you find that sweet spot, then you know that you [crosstalk 00:27:41]

Ritamarie

27:41 You know how you feel.

Stu

27:41 You just know how you feel, absolutely. Grains is the big one. As part of our everyday diet, they’re consumed in the Mediterranean and supposedly that’s a very, very healthy diet in terms of longevity. What are your thoughts on grains? Should we just cut them out completely, or can they become part of a healthy diet?

Ritamarie

28:10 I think that it depends on the person, it depends a lot on genetics, and it depends on how well you stay balanced with them. I think that we definitely need to eliminate the grains that most people eat, which are the flour products. They’re eating the breads and the cereals and the pastas and things like that. Regardless of whether it’s whole-grain or rice or quinoa, when it’s made into a flour I think it’s a refined food and it causes a big influx of sugar.

28:38 That said, whole grains, a big plate of non-gluten grains, I see so many health problems with gluten that I keep people away from it if they have any kind of health issues, but you have a big plate of, I don’t know, quinoa, or the big plate of vegetables with maybe some good fat like a little bit of, I don’t know, avocado. I find that that can be a very balanced meal.

29:05 Actually, I’m experimenting with whether fat with carb actually is a good combination. Fat with a higher carb concentration is actually … That might be a problem with insulin resistance, so the jury’s out on that one, but a big plate of vegetables with a small amount of brown rice or quinoa or whatever can be an awesome approach. I think there’s a lot of studies that show that mixing a grain with a high-protein food or a high-fat food can be problematic in terms of insulin resistance, so I’m a little leery of that, but whether grains be included, I think you experiment.

Stu

29:41 Yeah, I think so.

Ritamarie

29:42 I don’t do well with grains because it causes my blood sugar to go up too much. I don’t do well with it, but other people do, especially lean people who have high metabolic rate and they need a lot of calories and they don’t do well with fats, especially people who have lost their gallbladders and they’re lean and they have a high metabolic rate. It’s hard to do, so the grains, the whole grains. But whole grains, I’m not talking pasta and bread and crackers and cookies. I’m talking real food.

Stu

30:13 Yeah, I think so. I fall into that category that you just spoke to, like lean, very fast metabolism. I do, I struggle without my carbohydrates, and I genuinely sway towards the sweet potatoes, which I love.

Ritamarie

30:30 Yep, those are good.

Stu

30:30 Yeah, quinoa.

Ritamarie

30:30 Squashes.

Stu

30:36 Yeah, more of the starchy vegetables for me as well, like the pumpkins and the squash, things like that. Definitely I think, yeah, just from my perspective it’s always been experiment, see how you feel, because I know that a lot of people pull the breads and the pastas and all the grains out of their diet and they struggle because they’re so hungry, because they gravitate to then just salad. “I’m just going to eat a salad.” And of course, there’s a …

Ritamarie

31:06 When you don’t eat enough, then you can’t maintain your weight.

Stu

31:08 You can’t, that’s right. You need to … They’re fearful of fat, so of course there’s not a great deal there. You got a few calories and a few leafy greens, which you probably need a little bit more. But fantastic. I can’t wait for that book to come out. Very keen to get you back on and talk about that.

Ritamarie

31:24 Yeah, thank you.

Stu

31:26 Movement and exercise obviously play a key role in the way that we feel.

Ritamarie

31:33 Absolutely.

Stu

31:35 Again, lots of confusion there, so do we get up and hit the boot camp at 5:30 in the morning and just go as hard as we can at the start of the day? Do we run continuously, pounding the streets every single day for hours, or do we go into the gym, swing a kettle bell for 15, 20 minutes with more high intensity [inaudible 00:31:58] stuff? If longevity is our goal, not the quick fix, what do you think is the best way to move our bodies and exercise every day?

Ritamarie

32:13 I think it’s going to vary from person to person based on their metabolism, based on the state of their joints, the strength of their bones, et cetera, what kind of bad habits they’ve had leading up to that point. I think that bursts … If we look at our forefathers, our ancestors, there were the bursts of exercise. “Oh, no, there’s a cow. There’s a cattle. Not a cattle, a tiger chasing me. Run, run, run.” Or, “Whoops, got to catch that. Boom, boom, boom.” Do whatever they’re doing, and then, right?

32:51 I do a lot of bursting and teach a lot of bursting. 30-second bursts work really well. They seem to work well for increasing the level of growth hormone in the body, which helps with longevity, decreasing the level of insulin in the body, maintaining steady blood sugar. That’s a good, I think … Walking is amazing. I run, personally. I run slowly, but I like to run. I love to run. I don’t like doing other things. I like swimming, yeah, but I love running for my exercise.

33:20 I got to run on the beach for about a week straight because I was on vacation, and every day, get up there and then jump in the water and swim. I think we have to find exercise that’s fun for us that doesn’t feel like work and that doesn’t stress us out, because if you over-exercise for the state of your adrenals, the health of your adrenals, you’re going to deplete them even further.

33:44 When you exercise beyond what your body is feeling is a good level, you go into a stress state. It’s another kind of stress, and the cortisol goes up. I’ve actually measured this using my handy-dandy blood glucose meter, because when we get a raise in cortisol we get a raise in blood sugar, because it’s trying to get the sugar into the blood so you can …

34:00 That’s how we get a raise in blood sugar because it’s trying to get the sugar into the blood so you can do your quick runaway.

34:06 If you get to the point where you overexercise, I felt like … When I first got my little continuous meter to test it out, I was doing an exercise with a trainer and I said, “I’m just going to see what my sugar is.” I went, “Oh, yeah.” I’m like feeling winded and it went up. So, when your blood sugar goes up when you’re exercising, it means that you’re not burning what’s in your blood. What you’re doing is calling on cortisol to raise it up unnaturally and looking for other sources, breaking down glycogen or protein.

34:37 So, I felt like, “Oh, okay.” So all we did was slow it down just a little and breathe between sets.

Stu

34:43 Got it.

Ritamarie

34:44 Didn’t think the intensity changed the speed, made a huge difference and my blood sugars settled down, right?

Stu

34:44 I see.

Ritamarie

34:50 When I go out for a run, if I do too many sprints on my run, you know, I’ll do run and slog and then, [inaudible 00:34:57] do a little sprint, if I do too many, that gets too high, my blood sugar will go up.

35:02 So it’s a marker, and that’s one of the ways that we can learn to tune into our own bodies, is to pay attention to how it’s feeling and also the little ways that you can measure, with ketone strips, and blood sugar strips, and things like that.

Stu

35:15 That’s great advice. I think that pulls us back then to the tired, wired and exhausted because three or so years ago, I made a mistake with exercise, and I embraced high- intensity interval training voraciously and just went back-to-back on classes and just burnt myself out. My cortisol levels were 10 times or should have been at 10 PM… and I’ve got a graph on my phone that will just freak you out when you see this chart, and that was it. I was immediately tried, wired and exhausted. But it’s so wrong. It took about a year of a combination, a real holistic approach of mindset, nutrition, therapeutic medicine and very different approach to exercise to get that right. So sometimes you may think that, like, going all in on exercise is a great thing, but like you said, see how you feel after you embark on any exercise program. So now, I just like to lift big heavy weights really slowly-

Ritamarie

36:24 Slowly.

Stu

36:25 … and if not half an hour, three times a week, and then, I just mix it up a little bit with swimming and surfing and I feel so much better.

Ritamarie

36:34 Yeah, we have to find it. It’s not more is better.

Stu

36:37 No.

Ritamarie

36:37 And if you get the health records and you look at the adrenals of these high-intensity athletes, they do burn out. They can’t keep that intensity up for all that long without breaking the body down.

Stu

36:49 That’s right.

Ritamarie

36:49 So need to tune it.

Stu

36:51 Listen to the body. You mentioned a little earlier in the conversation as well, meditation. Is that something that you would call upon as part of your health toolkit?

Ritamarie

37:05 I do, and my story with meditation is quite interesting. I’ve tried it, I’ve read about it ages ago, and I try and I’d sit there and I go, “Okay, I’m done.” I’m bored. I’m done, and it would be like three minutes. Then I took a class and they taught you did this 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes at night, but don’t do it too close to bedtime, and don’t do it too close to mealtime. I’m, like, “When am I supposed to do this?” So tried it for a while, and it couldn’t stick and every time I’ve tried it.

37:34 More recently, about a year and a half ago, I got this device called the Muse. The Muse is a little headband that you wear, and it reads your brain signals. It gives you like the waves start going really crashing and windy when you’re active and brings you back, and then, you hear these birds tweeting when you’re calm. So it’s like enough activity in my mind to keep me interested, and I started out with three minutes, I went to five, and now for probably about the last year I’ve been consistently doing 20 minutes a day. And you do it every single day before I get out of bed.

Stu

38:10 Fantastic. Do you use the Muse headset every time then that you meditate now? Is that -

Ritamarie

38:15 I do, except til like once I left it in a hotel room and I didn’t have it and the battery died. But you can still use the app. It won’t read, but it’ll track it, so I didn’t lose my continuum. But yeah, I do it pretty much every day, ’cause it just … It keeps me focused.[crosstalk 00:38:34] Some people have their own specific techniques. They don’t need it, but for me it worked for my husband who I tried to get to meditate. And he’s actually been doing it longer than me. He’s been doing it for two year, over two years now.

Stu

38:45 Great.

Ritamarie

38:45 Straight. Every single day. And he was a guy that didn’t meditate. So, and it made a huge difference in him. I’m sure it’s made a difference in me, but I notice the difference in him. Holy cow. He’s such a much calmer person now.

Stu

38:59 Fantastic. That’s interesting. I’m going to follow up on this Muse as well, because I struggle to meditate. I’ve got this monkey-mind and it’s just constant chatter. And it’s like a battle for me. But very interested in technology that just makes it so much easier because it seems to be that all of the science points to huge benefits through meditation and trying to quiet that mind down.

Ritamarie

39:29 Absolutely.

Stu

39:29 Yeah, okay. I’m going to track down the Muse crown and see if I can find out more about that.

39:35 Exactly. So we don’t have a huge amount of time left, but I wanted to talk to you about the Institute of Nutritional Endocrinology, because I know that you pioneered that space. So I just … could you just tell us a little bit about what that is and how you came to found, I think was it founder?

Ritamarie

39:57 I’m the founder. Yeah. So here’s the thing. I was in a place where I started to teach classes online to people to help them get their adrenals balanced and their digestion and all this. And people that would take my classes, a lot of them were health practitioners. They were health coaches or MDs or nurses or whatever. And they, “Wow! How do you know all this? How do you know so much? Teach me! I want to learn.” And I go, “Oh, I guess I could create…”

40:22 Finally, I decided to create classes for the practitioners, because we need this. We need more practitioners to understand how to use the power of nature and the mind and all these techniques to heal, because medicine doesn’t cut it. Cutting people’s organs out doesn’t do it. Cancer rates are soaring. So I was trying to figure out what to name it, and what I do, and really hone in on it.

40:45 And at one point I had broken my arm two years back, and I was in surgery having it repaired. Like bone all over the place. And I didn’t want any kind, I didn’t want anesthesia, so I just had local. And I was laying there having a conversation with the anesthesiologist. So I said, “Well, we still have another hour to go. Why don’t you ask me about nutrition.” And I could talk [inaudible 00:41:07], right? [inaudible 00:41:09] nutrition. What branch of nutrition? So I thought for a moment. I went, “Huh? That’s an interesting question.” I said, “Nutritional Endocrinology.” And I went uhhhh, that’s what I do.

41:19 That’s what I teach, because everything that I teach people to do is to balance the hormonal systems, the endocrine systems. And the endocrine system isn’t just like, I don’t know, the adrenal system or the reproductive system that it’s localized. The endocrine system controls everything. If you think about it, all the hormones in the body, it’s not just sex, it’s not just adrenals, it’s thyroid, it’s even your heart produces enzymes. Even your kidneys are controlled by hormones. So I was like, “Wow, nutritional endocrinology, that’s it. I hope I remember this.”

41:55 That’s the name of it. And I decided on the Institute of Nutritional Endocrinology and founded it. And we now have programs for health practitioners. We serve doctors and nurses and health coaches. We have therapists and physicians assistants and acupuncturists and nutritionists, all kinds of people coming together. It’s a virtual space. And we teach a very comprehensive 36 module curriculum. And it helps people to learn how to balance the body using nutrition and lifestyle, and outlook, and thoughts, and the whole shebang.

Stu

42:29 Fantastic. I like you said like endocrinology, I mean it’s essentially mission control, isn’t it?

Ritamarie

42:34 It’s mission control. Exactly.

Stu

42:37 Fantastic. So, for all of our listeners here that want to find out more about that space, where would be the best place to send them?

Ritamarie

42:47 Yeah, so they can either go to my main website which is doctorritamarie.com or nutritionalendocrinology.com. And we don’t even have our big official website up yet. We just have our little, you know you go there you can download the catalog of what our courses are. You could talk to someone. We’re in the process of building that at this point. But we’ve been so busy teaching people and certifying people, that we haven’t had time to even work on the website. So but there’s plenty there. If you go there you can download a free set of videos that teaches you about nutritional endocrinology. ‘Cause I like to teach. I like to talk. And that’s how I explain myself best, rather than all these pictures with writing. It’s just me on a video with slides and sharing what is nutritional endocrinology and how you can use it in your practice to help your clients, especially those with those complex cases that are tough to solve.

Stu

43:39 Yes, fantastic. Brilliant. We will share the links to that. Very, very intriguing. And yeah, crikey, well done, love. That’s a huge accomplishment to be able to put together such an amazing resource of vital information as well. Unbelievable.

43:56 So I’ve got a wrap-up question. And it’s personal. So it talks about non-negotiables. So the things that you do every single day to crush your day, and it might be things like I get up and have big glass of water and then I meditate and exercise, or whatever that may be. What are your non-negotiables every single day?

Ritamarie

44:18 Yeah, the big glass of water. I have at least two or three of these a day. I sip it all throughout the day. The quart of green smoothie which is just blended vegetables with avocado, usually avocado in there and seasonings, and it’s just delicious. Meditating for 20 minutes and exercise. Some sort of movement whether it be out for a run, or on my, I have a little stair-stepper right next to my desk, or weights, but exercise. I may take one day a week off of exercise just to give my joints a rest.

Stu

44:54 Fantastic.

44:56 You’ve ticked the boxes of nutrition, movement, and mindset right there. So you’ve got those covered.

Ritamarie

45:02 Yep.

Stu

45:03 Yeah, that’s it. Good point. I just think we mentioned earlier that health is holistic and it’s great yes just focus on food and you might check off that particular box, but if you’re not moving, if you’re stressed, if you’re not sleeping properly then probably a few more things to consider as part of your healthcare.

Ritamarie

45:25 Yes.

Stu

45:26 What is next for Dr. Ritamarie? What have you got in the pipeline?

Ritamarie

45:33 Oh my. Well, you know with the Institute we do a live event every year. So we’re gearing up for our live event in November where we invite health practitioners from around the world. And we have our topic this year is outsmarting genetics. So how do you use the knowledge of genetics to help people put together health programs that are personalized. So getting back to the personalization, last year or the year before, we did a whole thing on testing. How do you use functional lab testing to help you personalize that? Now we’re going to go into how do you use the knowledge of genetics along with those functional lab testings to know which tests to get, and how to tell people and talk to people about their diet and their lifestyle and factors that are most important. So that’s my big thing on the horizon.

46:19 What’s next? You know we’re really looking to expand the Institute. And just reach more people with this message and get more doctors interested in this. And get it to be kind of a post-graduate studies for medical students who don’t get the nutrition in school.

Stu

46:38 Brilliant. Fantastic. And I think it is so vital because the shift between conventional medicine and functional medicine is definitely changing with all of the smarts that functional medicine now adopt in terms of all the testing microbiome and DNA, all of that stuff. It just seems to be so much more useful from a personalized perspective that it has to be the right way to go. And we’ve spoken to so many experts in so many different fields as well, and the change is happening. So very exciting times, I think.

Ritamarie

47:15 It’s happening. It needs to happen because people are dying as a result [crosstalk 00:47:22]

Stu

47:22 Yeah, unnecessarily. So how can we get more of Dr. Ritamarie? Where can I send everybody that’s listening to this that wants to find out more?

Ritamarie

47:35 Well, you can go to doctorritamarie.com. That’s my main website. You mentioned to the term the sweet spot, finding your sweet spot. And that’s a term I use. In fact, I have a program called The Sweet Spot Solution where we help people to test and to find that sweet spot where they feel fully balance. And that’s at thesweetspotsolution.com. Yeah, and if you go to my website, there’s all kinds of little free things you can sign up for, and one of my favorites is my hormone hacking breakfast menus. That’s one of my favorites. So hormone hacking breakfast.

Stu

48:10 Hormone hacking breakfast menu. [crosstalk 00:48:13] Fantastic. Well, I will share all of those links in the show notes as well. And really look forward to sharing this with our audience, ’cause it’s so much fantastic information.

48:23 So thank you again for your time. I really, really appreciate it, and hope that we will be connecting at some stage soon in the future to talk about your new book.

Ritamarie

48:33 I’d love that. Thank you.

Stu

48:34 All right, well thank you again. And you enjoy the rest of your day.

Ritamarie

48:38 Okay, bye.

Stu

48:39 Bye-bye.

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