Part I: Julianna Carella, Auntie Dolores
Julianna Carella founded Auntie Dolores, The Every Day Edible in 2008, bringing 20+ years of culinary work with cannabis and entrepreneurship in the health space. In 2013, Julianna developed Treatibles CBD-infused pet products, which were introduced under the Auntie Dolores line of products. Julianna is an avid proponent of health freedom, a visionary, and an activist in the MMJ community. As a health food enthusiast, Julianna began incorporating cannabinoids into her own diet and sharing the benefits with friends and family members who later encouraged her to turn her passion into a business. The Auntie Dolores mission is to provide safe access to cannabinoids for all sectors of society, including animals. Today, Auntie Dolores healthy gourmet edibles and pet products are sold throughout California and the brand will launch in additional states in 2015.
Part II: Michael Greger, How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
Dr. Greger is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. A founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Dr. Greger is licensed as a general practitioner specializing in clinical nutrition. Currently he proudly serves as the public health director at the Humane Society of the United States. Dr. Greger is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Agriculture and the Tufts University School of Medicine.
TRANSCRIPTION PART I:
Hello everybody. How are you today? I’m Caryn Hartglass and it’s time for It’s All About Food. I’ve really been looking forward to this particular program. I think it’s going to be fascinating, both parts actually. In the top portion of the program in just a moment we’re going to be talking about medical cannabis and lots of wonderful edible treats related to that and then in the second part of the program I’m bringing back my old friend Dr. Michael Greger. His new book is out today and it’s called How Not To Die, Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. We’ll be talking to Dr. Greger at 4:30 in about a half hour. First, I want to bring on Julianna Carella who founded Auntie Dolores and The Every Day Edible in 2008, bringing 20+ years of culinary work with cannabis and entrepreneurship in the health space. In 2013 Julianna developed Treatibles CBD-infused pet products, which were introduced under the Auntie Dolores line of products. Julianna is an avid proponent of health freedom, a visionary, and an activist in the Medical Marijuana community. As a health food enthusiast, Julianna began incorporating cannabinoids into her own diet and sharing the benefits with friends and family members who later encouraged her to turn her passion into a business. Welcome to It’s All About Food Julianna.
Julianna Carella: Thank you, thank you very much.
Caryn Hartglass: How are you doing today?
Julianna Carella: I’m great. How are you?
Caryn Hartglass: I’m good. I’m actually getting ready for a trip. We’re heading out to the Bay Area tomorrow. I was reading about your company Auntie Dolores and as I was stumbling over the words in your introduction, I remembered reading where the name Auntie Dolores came from and maybe that’s why I said “Anti” instead of “Auntie”, I don’t know but why don’t you tell us about that.
Julianna Carella: Not many people know the meaning of the name but it is a double entendre that means “anti-pain”. Dolores means pain in Spanish. Auntie Dolores is your anti-pain remedy.
Caryn Hartglass: I love it. I’m very familiar with the park, Dolores Park. You mentioned that that was also part of the name.
Julianna Carella: Absolutely.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s a great park. I’m not someone who has any companion animals but I have some friends in San Francisco and I was made to walk their dogs in Dolores Park numerous times. It’s a fun place.
Julianna Carella: Definitely.
Caryn Hartglass: I have to tell you I am a virgin when it comes to cannabis. I have never smoked marijuana and I have not inhaled. But I appreciate its value. I have read a little bit about what it can do to many people who are going through pain and medical issues. One time in my life, when I was being treated for advanced ovarian cancer and had to go through chemotherapy, somebody that I highly respected recommended having some on hand just in case I got really nauseous through chemotherapy. Fortunately I never did get too sick from that. I actually did very well through chemotherapy but I understand it can help a lot of people. So, tell me how you got started with it and what it can do for us.
Julianna Carella: We did get our start in San Francisco as you mentioned mostly to address a lot of similar stories to yours actually. San Francisco is the birthplace of medical cannabis. It was born out of the AIDS epidemic actually. So back in the ‘90s when those laws were established they were put in place to help the people. Fast forward twenty years later we now have this industry but when we got our start in 2008 it was still sort of unfolding before our eyes and a lot has really happened in the last eight years but when we got our start…we thought it was really important to introduce some products that just weren’t in the market yet at all. Those products in our minds reflect the community in San Francisco, which is a community that’s really savvy when it comes to cannabis but also very sophisticated palates and people that love gourmet food. So our product line is really all about health and wellness but it’s also about flavor and ingredients that mask the flavor of cannabis but ingredients that are also super foods that help or maybe even have a lot of the same health benefits that cannabis has. That’s sort of the concept behind our menu offerings.
Caryn Hartglass: I want to talk more about your products in a moment but tell us what cannabis can be used for—for people with illnesses and for those who don’t have illnesses but still want to use it.
Julianna Carella: I think the most important thing to remember about cannabis is that there’s more than just TCH involved. Sometimes when we talk about cannabis we immediately think of TCH, which is the psychoactive component, but there’s many strains that have levels of other cannabinoids, some of them psychoactive, many of them not. One of them is CBD, cannabidiol, it’s not psychoactive and it has a long, long list of health benefits. TCH also has health benefits but the difference is CBD is non psychoactive and TCH is psychoactive. So depending on the patient and what they’re interested in—because we know patients that use one or the other or both every day in their health regimen. In terms of what cannabis can address there is a long, long list. That is anything from anxiety and depression to arthritis and immobility, pain of all kinds, cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, some really, really advanced disease. At every stage cannabis can be helpful for palliative reasons or, in some cases, for curative reasons. There’s a real wide range of benefits to the cannabis and the hemp plants. It really does come down to which cannabinoid you’re talking about.
Caryn Hartglass: Now our government could use an education on a lot of subjects and issues. They tend to lump everything related to cannabis into one thing and made everything illegal until some states started to make some things legal. You mentioned hemp just for a moment and here is something that we still can’t grow in this country and yet it’s an excellent product for fabrics and food and so many different things.
Julianna Carella: Yeah, sadly hemp and cannabis have been sort of strategically suppressed from the public and because of that it’s really set us back on research. We’re about a hundred years behind schedule here on researching cannabis because of prohibition and all of the industries that gain from hemp and cannabis staying illegal. That’s a very real thing that’s in the way of this moving forward. Until they de-schedule cannabis and take it off the controlled substance act list altogether, it’s going to be like that—where we can’t research it to the extent that we need to because it’s classified as the most dangerous drug. It’s in a more serious category than cocaine, which everybody knows, is disjointed and just completely wrong. So that’s the first big thing that’s getting in the way and yes, our government does need an education but interestingly the U.S. government does hold a patent on cannabidiol. So right there’s a real paradox that on one hand it’s a Schedule 1 narcotic yet the government does hold a patent on cannabidiol, because they know, like the rest of us, just how profound this plant medicine actually is.
Caryn Hartglass: You developed Treatibles, CBD-infused pet products. What can these do for animals?
Julianna Carella: Same long list of health benefits that CBD has for humans. It’s the same for all animals, really. All animals do have an endocannabinoid system except for insects. We can sort of deduce that their response is going to be very similar and dogs do tend to have a lot of the same issues and then some other ones that humans don’t have such as hip dysplasia. As far as arthritis and anxiety and depression and cancer and epilepsy and all those same diseases…those are all the same diseases that dogs using Treatibles are actually having great success with. Most of the dogs that are using our products are using it for separation anxiety. We included a feedback postcard with the first 2500 bags that were sold and then we got a lot of those postcards back. We’ve been compiling the data. The main reasons that people do turn to Treatibles for their pet is for separation anxiety and anxiety of all kinds but also things like immobility and aging and arthritis. That’s a big, big reason that pets are going to be using this product. It really is phenomenal to watch an animal that’s limping because they’ve got a bad leg or they’ve got hip dysplasia or something and then they take their dose of Treatibles and within a half hour they’re moving more freely. There’s just visible evidence that the product’s working. We get a lot of testimonials like that all the time and then the word just sort of spreads. Now we’ve got customers all over the world that are using the products for their animals.
Caryn Hartglass: Can anyone in the United States buy these?
Julianna Carella: Yes.
Caryn Hartglass: Because they’re CBD-infused or because they’re for pets?
Julianna Carella: Because it’s the CBD that is extracted from the hemp plant in a very specific way. It’s really confined to a certain process that’s legal for importing hemp. That’s the main reason, otherwise our THC products are products that we can only make in California and distribute in California. It’s quite different from our Dolores product line because that’s a specific California product, whereas Treatibles being that the product is derived from hemp and it’s a specific extraction method and specific parts of the plant that are legal. It’s a little bit crazy that it’s like this but it is what it is and we just work within those boundaries because we just want to make this incredible medicine available to animals everywhere.
Caryn Hartglass: I remember reading an incredible story, of course I don’t remember all the details, but it was about some young child. I think he might have had epilepsy and his mom made him marijuana brownies and it had a tremendous effect and he was able to go to school and live a pretty normal life. I wish I could remember the whole story because I don’t know if there was a happy ending because I don’t think it was legal or maybe she was fighting for it to be ok for him to use them. It’s just incredible what it can do and how we’re just dragging our feet with being able to help so many people.
Julianna Carella: It is a shame. I’m happy to see that so many states have come on board with medical cannabis and adult-use cannabis laws but we still have a long way to go. And it’s still illegal on the federal level. As absurd as it is, it’s something that’s very real. It’s the kind of thing that means…if you’re the parent of an epileptic child you’re faced with: Do I move to a state where I can get my hands on this to give it to my kid or do I risk trying to get somebody to send it across state lines and they could end up in jail? These are the kinds of decisions that parents with epileptic children have to make. It’s horrible. But there have been numerous families that have moved to Colorado for that very reason, so that they can legally give this to their children. It’s fairly easy to get CBD products anywhere now so that’s the good news.
Caryn Hartglass: Let’s talk about some of your products. You’ve got Savory Pretzels and Glazed Pecans and Caramel Corn and cookies and some of them are vegan and gluten-free which I’m interested in. My question is…I remember reading recently one of the challenges of having these THC products is the dosage and how to keep people from getting too much.
Julianna Carella: Yes, the common story we hear every day. It’s the kind of thing here in California we’ve got patients who have this incredibly high tolerance so many of our products do address that market but most of our products have multiple pieces within the package. The Savory Pretzels, for instance, the package comes with 120 milligrams but there are over 30 pretzels in there so you can take what your dosage is and maintain a really manageable dose that’s not going to send you this crazy psychotic roller coaster ride that people find themselves on when they consume 50 milligrams at a time because their friends are like “Yeah I always use 50, I’m good.” Well, 50 milligrams is like five doses, most people only need 5-10 milligrams at a time. With our products you can take a 10-milligram portion and just eat that and then you still have multiple portions to consume later. The products can go in the fridge or freezer. We don’t put any preservatives in our products so we urge customers to store it properly. You really end up having a product that’s going to be in your pantry or refrigerator for a few months and serve you quite well for the price point that you spent.
Caryn Hartglass: Are there any downsides or side effects that people might experience from consuming THC?
Julianna Carella: Absolutely. THC toxicity can certainly lead to some really uncomfortable physical and mental emotional states. Physically you can actually become sick from it. Many people end up vomiting and feeling horrible. It can make you really dizzy and nauseous and just overall it’s almost like a horrible flu just hit you out of the blue at the same time you’re on this almost psychedelic like mind trip that doesn’t ever end and only seems to get more and more intense. Yet none of these things have ever killed anybody but you sure feel like you’re going to die when you’re in that situation. Because of how the cannabinoids respond in our GI tract…THC becomes about four or five times stronger in that process because it’s converting and that doesn’t happen when you smoke or vaporize it. Oftentimes people are starting off with a manageable dose but not recognizing that this is something that’s going to build on its own or it’s going to last a lot longer than smoking. Those are the things to think about but if you can some how manage your dose and start with 5-10 milligrams the effects can be great.
Caryn Hartglass: Is there a benefit to using a little bit of these products even if you don’t have any particular issues?
Julianna Carella: Sure. I think we’re meant to consume this plant. Our whole endocannabinoid system seems to need it and want it. I think even if you don’t have clearly defined diseases or disorders you can still gain from using cannabis. It’s almost like a nutrient that is good for your body no matter what. If you’re not interested in being high then it’s a great opportunity to enjoy CBD.
Caryn Hartglass: I think it would be better to consume these products in food rather than to smoke it from a health standpoint, right?
Julianna Carella: Absolutely. Edibles are certainly the healthiest way to consume cannabis. Patients can mix and match. They can do a little bit of edibles, maybe some vaporizing as well if they need the immediate relief but in terms of the duration of the effects edibles is always going to give you the best and the longest duration of effects.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m looking at your website auntiedolores.com. Those brownies and peanut butter brownie bites look pretty good.
Julianna Carella: They are delicious. Our brownies…we sweeten everything with coconut sugar because we wanted to take all the white sugar out of our products. We changed our products about a year ago. Now all of our sweet products have coconut sugar. Most of our products have coconut oil and other super foods, turmeric and cacao nibs, all that kind of thing.
Caryn Hartglass: Lovely. I learned a lot. Thank you for speaking with me about Auntie Dolores and your products. Have a great day. Thank you Julianna Carella for joining me on It’s All About Food.
Julianna Carella: Thanks so much, take care.
Caryn Hartglass: That was Julianna Carella, the founder of Auntie Dolores and you can check out the products at auntiedolores.com.
Transcribed by Suzanne Kelly, 12/25/2015
Caryn Hartglass: I want to bring on Dr. Michael Greger, the author of How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. It’s just out today. Dr. Greger of course is a physician, author and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. A founding member and fellow of the “American College of Lifestyle Medicine”. Dr. Greger is licensed as a general practitioner specializing in clinical nutrition. Currently he proudly serves as the public health director at the “Humane Society of the United States”. And Dr. Greger is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Agriculture, and a Tufts University School of Medicine. Welcome Dr. Greger! How are you?
Dr. Michael Greger: So excited to be here, particularly on a big launch day! I can’t think of anyone I’d rather share it with!
Caryn Hartglass: Oh! Big hug Michael! Hug! Happy Launch Day!
Dr. Michael Greger: Thank you so much!
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, so I got a question for you. I know you got a very packed afternoon and, probably the rest of the week and month is filled with interviews and all kinds of promotional things for your book called How Not to Die. My question is: how are you going to live through this?
Dr. Michael Greger: (laughs) Oh my God, I’ve got 60 cites, 6 countries the next few months.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.
Dr. Michael Greger: Yeah. It’s going to be tough. But you know what, you know what the secret is?
Caryn Hartglass: No.
Dr. Michael Greger: Healthy diet. You should check it out. Real meals. It’s amazing.
Caryn Hartglass: Healthy diet. I can’t believe it. I never heard of such a thing.
Dr. Michael Greger: I know, I know. You gotta check it out.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay now. I’m very proud of you, and I’m so excited you put this book out. And I wish you all the best and I congratulate you. But I also want to congratulate myself because I read it. This book is over 500 pages; over 400 pages really of material, and then over 100 pages of notes!
Dr. Michael Greger: Yeah, scientific citations, yes.
Caryn Hartglass: There’s a lot of stuff in this book.
Dr. Michael Greger: A lot of stuff in it.
Caryn Hartglass: I thought we might touch on a few. I dog-eared a lot of pages of things that I was kind of curious about, but everything in this book is important. From people who think they know everything about food, and for people that know very little, everybody should read it, period. Right?
Dr. Michael Greger: That is kind of you to say. No, absolutely, I learned stuff. I mean, I thought it was just going to be a re-posting of all the science I put together for “www.nutritionfacts.org” over the years, but there was gaps I needed to fill, so I learned all sorts of good stuff! I’m eating differently now than I was before I started the book, and so I’m so excited to share. Particularly all the kind of practical stuff, the second half of the book, where I go kind of beyond just the peer-reviewed scientific literature, talk about just how to make, translate the amount of evidence into day to day healthy living.
Caryn Hartglass: Well I think we’ve come a long way from like 30 years ago, when we thought whole wheat and wheat germ was all we needed to stay healthy.
Dr. Michael Greger: Right. Wheat germ. Wow. Yes. Now the germ of the wheat is good, but it should be part of the whole thing! That’s the problem, yes.
Caryn Hartglass: Right. But I mean, do you even remember back then, you were probably just a baby. But that was what everybody thought was healthy.
Dr. Michael Greger: I do remember back then. I remember when soy-milk was brown and chunky.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Okay. Well the first thing I wanted to mention, I’ve highlighted a few things, so this one I love, for all those people that were vegetarian, and then decided that they craved meat too much, and started eating meat again. According to your introduction, people who once ate vegetarian diets, but then start to eat meat at least once a week experience a 146% increase in odds of heart disease, 152% increase in stroke, 166% increase in diabetes, and a 231% increase in odds for weight gain.
Dr. Michael Greger: Well. Yeah, that’s new. That’s extraordinarily new research. In fact, that’s some of the new research I added. That’s not up on the website yet. Of course I’ll eventually make a video about it, but that’s a really critical piece of information, and it’s something that’s never been looked at. They’ve studied vegetarians before, they’ve studied meat eaters, and so what they’ve done is the typical, they studied meat eaters who have turned into vegetarians. You stop eating meat, and what happens, all the beneficial things for your health. But for the first time, they’re like, “Wait a second! What about people who have been eating vegetarian and feeling so healthy, doing so great. What’s a little…” And then follow them out, and what happens, and they had this extraordinary increase in risk very rapidly. In fact it really mirrors what happens when people start eating healthy. You know I’m constantly amazed by these studies sharing all these beneficial effects of eating a vegetarian diet. When you look at the average duration of vegetarian diets, typically in these studies is about 4 and a half years or so. So we’re looking at middle-aged populations, and vegetarians doing so much better, than those who eat meat in terms of chronic disease like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, things like that. But wait a second! You’re not comparing vegetarians to omnivores! You’re comparing omnivores to omnivores that just stopped being omnivores a little while ago! I mean, just recently! You know, it’s like if you compare smokers, to a non-smoker who quit yesterday. They’re technically a non-smoker, but if you didn’t find different lung cancer rates, you wouldn’t be surprised, you just stopped smoking the other day. But, the remarkable thing about diet is that very rapidly risks drop, which is such a great, optimistic message for everyone. You could have been eating crappy you’re whole life, and you can dramatically drop your risk. But the flip side of that, what that the study showed, is that your risk can jump right back up, shoot right back up, very rapidly when one goes back to eating the unhealthy, standard American diet.
Caryn Hartglass: Well I love that. And I didn’t know that, so that was like the first thing I read, and I was like, “Whoa! Yeah this is going to be a good read!” And I’m going to use that a lot! Okay, so the next thing I wanted to talk about is our teeth and you wrote, “If you looked at the teeth of people who lived more than 10,000 years ago, before the invention of the toothbrush, you’d notice that they had almost no cavities, they never flossed a day in their lives, yet no cavities.” Does that mean I don’t have to floss my teeth?
Dr. Michael Greger: That means…
Caryn Hartglass: I hate flossing!
Dr. Michael Greger: Not a big flossing fan?
Caryn Hartglass: No!
Dr. Michael Greger: Well the point I was trying to make, is that cavities, dental cavities are a preventable diseases. I mean it was 10,000 years before the invention of the toothbrush, but also 10,000 years before the invention of the candy bar. Now, I mean if you’re eating refined foods, processed foods, well then you’re creating this cavity forming environment in your mouth, and you better do something to mediate that risk, which is typically brushing and flossing and regularly seeing a dentist. But you know, and… so you say, “Wait a second? Well if it’s preventable why do people still get cavities.” Well, they get cavities because the benefits outweigh, you know like dessert, outweighs the risk of the dentist chair, like, “All right. Fine I’ll go get a cavity filled every once in a while.” And look, that fine! As long as people understand the predictable consequence of their actions, what more can I do as a physician. I mean you think the risk outweigh the benefits… If you think the benefits outweighs the risk for your family then go for it! I certainly enjoy the occasional indulgence, I’ve got a good dental plan! But what if, instead of talking about the plaque on our teeth, we talk about the plaque building inside our arteries. Another disease that can be prevented through dietary change, or eating a plant based diet. Now we’re not talking about scraping tartar anymore. Now we are talking life or death. And so in that scenario then one really has to weigh heavily whether one wants to continue down the path, and suffer the consequences of eating this miserable diet that this society forces on people.
Caryn Hartglass: You know you were just saying that you were doing the most you could do as a physician, but what you’re doing is giving everyone all the facts, and respecting them enough so that they can make choices, and most physicians do not do that. In facts, you talk about it in the book, where decisions were made, policies were made, because they were patronizing us, and believed that we couldn’t make our own choices. They just assumed we didn’t want to eat all vegetables, that we would always want to eat meat, things like that.
Dr. Michael Greger: Isn’t that outrageous?
Caryn Hartglass: Yes.
Dr. Michael Greger: I mean when you hear about dietary recommendations, when the “American Heart Association” comes out and says something, or the “Dietary Guidelines”, or… They’re making decisions, unconsciously, if you actually read the literature when they talk about how they come up with these recommendations, they’re like, “Okay, the science says this, but that’s not doable, no one is going to do that. So we’ll just water it down and tell people to do that.” It’s like telling people to get 22 minutes of exercise today. That’s the current recommendation. 22 minutes of moderate physical activity. Okay. Now does the science show that that is the optimal amount, like we shouldn’t get 25 because you know. No! They just, they think, “Okay”. I mean… So I talk about the exercise literature, how exercising half an hour a day is better than 20 and 45 is better than half an hour, then an hour a day, 90 minutes is even better than an hour a day. And then the literature stops, because nobody exercises more than that a everyday, they just don’t have big enough studies of people who actually exercise more than 90 minutes a day, 7 days a week. And so it just kind of maxes out. Okay so they take that data and so at every step you can decrease risk of dying, prematurely. And so they look at that data and say, “Oh! Let’s tell everybody 22!” Right. And saying, “If we tell them to much, it’ll just kind of scare ’em away; they won’t do anything.” Right so you. I mean you can kind of see into their psychology. It’s the same thing with diet. So I mean if they told people you know… you know eat a plant based diet, you know don’t eat meat. I mean… Okay… whether or not the literature says that, it doesn’t matter because they figure, “Look, no one is going to eat this way, and so we’ll actually save more lives if we just tell them to cut down, moderate their intake.” Right. And so on a population… for an individual that’s not good advice, but on a population scale, maybe we’ll actually save more lives in the end if we don’t tell people, if we hide the truth from the public. And these are… And they are just blatant… I mean I talk about it. I have videos showing, “These are the papers that came up with these regulations.” They’re very open about it. They’re like, “Yes the science is this, but we want to make it practical.” Well, that’s… that’s just… It seems so patronizing. Like look, just tell me the truth! Look I may choose not to do it, but that’s my decision, not yours.
Caryn Hartglass: Well you know what’s wrong with it. I mean there’s a lot wrong with it. But one of the things that I find that’s wrong is because doctors are dumbing us down, and assuming we don’t want to go all the way… and maybe some people won’t want to. But if we were getting the truth, more people would believe it and act on it. I know in my own personal work. You know I had advanced ovarian cancer in 2006. I should be dead. And I decided I didn’t want to die. So a lot of the information in your book isn’t new to me, because I dug at that time to find out everything that I needed to do, and I mean everything that I needed to do, because I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. And… So now I talk to people who are going through some health crises and I tell them, “Here is what you need to do.” And some of these people, they just don’t believe it, or they think it’s too difficult, but I think that if more doctors were saying, “This is the best thing that you can do for the best result!”, more people would believe it, and more people would do it.
Dr. Michael Greger: Sure. No, it would just be part of the mainstream. Absolutely. And eventually, that’ll happen just because of the democratization of information. I mean you can’t… You just can’t hide the truth anymore because before doctors kind of had the monopoly on health information, right? So if a drug company wanted to manipulate this practice of medicine, they just had to go to the doctors, and be like, “Okay we get the doctors to prescribe this drug and they’ll take this drug and that’ll just be how it will be.” But all of a sudden now with the internet, people can find out, “Wait a second, what really are the side effects? What’s the risks and benefits of taking this drug and what are other options that maybe the doctor didn’t tell me?” And then they go to the doctor and say, “Well wait a second! You want me to go on these multiple blood pressure pills, but you know, what about this study that I saw on “www.nutritionfacts.org” of course, that said that people that eat this way can wean themselves… can have their doctors wean themselves off high blood pressure medication. They don’t have it. There’s whole populations that get blood pressure as they age because they’re eating a certain way.” I mean so… you know, what about that? And the doctor will probably be like, “I never heard of any of that!” And if they’re good doctors, they’ll be like, “Well I’ll look into it!”, because they want to help people, they want to have the tools to benefit folks. And you know, look if doctors just want to make money, they would have went to Wall Street, or something. At least the initial spark for people going into medicine is they want to help people and this gives them an opportunity, a tool, that they were not give… put in their toolbox in medical training, an extraordinary powerful tool, to deal with the vast majority of what most primary care doctors see today, which is chronic diseases, about 80%. And so look: there’s still acute conditions where medicine is great at; curing infections, broken bones. But when it comes to chronic diseases, which lays to waste most Americans; the heart disease, the diabetes, and obesity, and hypertension. These, these are diseases of lifestyle and so, you know, that’s the.. You have to treat the cause. If you don’t treat the cause then you’re just covering up the symptoms of trying to mediate the consequences.
Caryn Hartglass: I don’t want to knock doctors, because you can’t live with them, can’t live without them kind of thing, and I’m very grateful for many of the doctors that helped me, but you said most doctors go into medicine because they want to help people, and I’m sure that’s true, but I also think that a lot of them want to play God.
Dr. Michael Greger: Well. I mean. Yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.
Dr. Michael Greger: That’s a good question. I haven’t seen… I haven’t seen survey data that… They just don’t ask that question, so; “God” or “no God”. “A” or “B”. “None of the above”. But no, but there definitely can be kind of a… in training, if you already have it already, they do instill this kind of, you know, arrogant self-confidence that may be useful in a clinical encounter in terms of a placebo effect. If you go in telling somebody that a sugar pill is going to do something for them, and if you say that powerful enough, with enough kind of gravitas, then the placebo actually does something for them. I mean absolutely remarkable physiological effects of placebos, particularly when backed by a doctor that says, “This will help you.”, or ” This will do, you know, whatever.” And so imagine that exact same confidence associated with something that actually has some benefit, actually has some pharmacological properties may actually help the person. And so then… And so then that arrogance may benefit. But it’s fundamentally dishonest. And I’d like to see medicine get to more of a cooperative approach with the patient. And ensure every patient informed consent, and knows what they are getting into. It’s their body, and they should be able to do whatever they want it.
Caryn Hartglass: Let’s clone a bunch of “Michael Gregers”.
Dr. Michael Greger: Ha!
Caryn Hartglass (laughs): That’s be funny! I want to talk a little bit more about placebos, because you just reminded me about something I read in this great book, How Not to Die, that I was reading recently, about depression, and drugs that are used to treat depression are no better in their effectiveness than a placebo.
Dr. Michael Greger: Isn’t that crazy? Yeah
Caryn Hartglass: Oh God. My jaw was so dropped for so long.
Dr. Michael Greger: This pissed me off. When I looked at this body of literature. So there are thousands of studies; literally thousands of published studies showing that antidepressants work. And… and until someone came along, and said, “Well this, this is a little suspicious. This is a little fishy. I mean nothing always works. I don’t know.” So they said, “I wonder if there are some proportion of studies that come out, that show that they didn’t work but then they were just kind of quietly shelved, and so never published.” The drug companies are, pay for the studies to evaluate their drugs. That’s the system. So it’s a very “fox guarding hen-house” kind of thing. And so you want to put out a new drug. The FDA says, “Okay, you test your own drug and see if it works and see if it’s safe.” That literally, that’s the system we have. Okay. And so they… So the drug company makes its trial, and if it works they publish it. What if it doesn’t work? Well that’s what the question was. Thankfully, when drug companies do this they actually have to register their trials with the government. So even though the governments not paying for it, they say, “Okay, we’re going to test this drug, and we’ll see if it works, and this is… ” And so what these researchers did is go back to the FDA and looked at all the data. Demanded to go back and get all the trial data. All the unpublished trials, and it turns out that they just didn’t publish any of the ones that were negative, and that it’s actually a wash when you put all the data together, published and unpublished. Such that for the vast majority of people, there’s no kind of clinically discernible benefit of antidepressants drugs compared to other sugar pills. Now… And even worse than that of course is that sugar pills… If that’s true than sugar pills beat out drugs, why because drugs cause side effects.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.
Dr. Michael Greger: Sexual dysfunction, with SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) All sorts of things.
Caryn Hartglass: They can make you depressed!
Dr. Michael Greger: Oh that’s… that’s the insult to injury! That’s just absolutely kills me. So it turns out that if you give them… taking antidepressants actually increases of the duration of depression. Kind of turns into, can turn it from more into an episodic disease, into a constant disease that you don’t get when you treat depression with placebo, with sugar pills. When people get depressed they get better. So basically, because it’s it starts out as an episodic disease, you know a certain percentage of people are just going to get better within a few months, period, even if you don’t give them anything, which is what a placebo is, you’re doing nothing. And the same percentage of people get better whether they’re taking antidepressants or whether they’re taking placebo. What the problem is with the placebo they get better, they go on live their lives. But those who took the antidepressants muck with their brain chemistry got better the same rate, as the placebos, but were had a greater likelihood in the future than those taking the placebo, of becoming depressed again, and for longer periods. So it’s actually making the problem worse, and thereby increasing dependency on those drugs, which is great for the drug companies, but terrible in terms of the human suffering they cause. Now there are… there’s a small percentage of patients, severe, people with severe depression. So we’re not talking people that, the vast majority, that are 90% of the people that are prescribed these drugs by the millions. But people with severe depression may indeed benefit from these drugs. But this literature showed is that the vast majority of people taking these drugs would be better off had they not started taking them, and so what do you do instead? There are other things that work just as good as the drugs, not only the placebos, but exercise for example can boost mood short-term, long-term have some beneficial effects as well. And so look even if that is placebo. Even if exercising is a boost your mood through a placebo effect well hey, wouldn’t you rather have the benefits, the side effects of exercise rather than the side effects of Ely Lilly.
Caryn Hartglass: Amen. Well, as I sip on my cold-brewed white tea.
Dr. Michael Greger: Ooh. Yummy.
Caryn Hartglass: Because I learned that when I brew my tea cold, rather than with boiled water, I get a lot more bang for my leaf.
Dr. Michael Greger: Your poor little leaves were getting scalded! What were you doing? You call yourself compassionate.
Caryn Hartglass: But it also gives me a calm. It makes me less depressing and gives me a calming feeling.
Dr. Michael Greger: Oh it’s nice. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tea is good stuff.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.
Dr. Michael Greger: Yeah. I got a whole beverage chapter just for you.
Caryn Hartglass: I loved it cause I am… My partner Gary says I’m a tea sommelier. I love my teas.
Dr. Michael Greger: Oooo. We have to trade teas one of these days.
Caryn Hartglass: I’ve got a big drawer of bulk, loose organic teas.
Michael Greger: Ooh. Love it.
Caryn Hartglass: But now I’m…. But the thing is when they tell you to brew tea, there’s all these instructions at what temperature to brew them at, and nobody says brew them cold, but Dr. Greger!
Dr. Michael Greger: Well. No Dr. Greger doesn’t say it, he’s just relaying the science. The science says it; I’m just passing it along.
Caryn Hartglass: Hmm. Okay. Well it’s good. I’m enjoying it. But I didn’t have a lemon. I didn’t have a lemon to put in my white tea, so I probably should have chosen a green tea according to the information I read in How Not Die.
Dr. Michael Greger: Those were, you know… Those were some of the kind of tips and tricks that just kind of changed my diet, practically on a week-to-week basis as I learned more stuff. But the basic fundamentals are the same. Tea is healthy no matter how you drink it. But, yeah it’s kind of neat that through these kind of simple change you can kind of make it more powerful. So look you’re going through the expense, and the time it takes to brew some tea, or eat a particular vegetable. You might as well maximize its benefit for you.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m all for it. Now can we talk, I don’t even know if I’m going to pronounce this correctly, sulforaphane?
Dr. Michael Greger: Sulforaphane, yes. Bring it on.
Caryn Hartglass: Chopping my vegetables, and freezing, don’t freeze. I was like, “What’s going on in this chapter?”
Dr. Michael Greger: No, you can freeze all you want! You just got a… shred a little daikon radish, or sprinkle some mustard powder on it. And all you need to do is add back the enzyme. Sulforaphane can be made from frozen broccoli, cooked broccoli, the precursor is there. You’re just wiping out the enzyme, no problem, add some more enzymes!
Caryn Hartglass: Okay so we don’t want to chop our vegetables and cook them right away.
Dr. Michael Greger: You do not. Right, because… or cook them without chopping them at all. So if you’re making broccoli soup, and you just boil some broccoli, chop then boiled, you’ve just wiped out the enzyme, and the enzyme that make sulforaphane from this heat stable precursors. And so the sulforaphane is heat stable, the precursors are heat stable, but the enzyme that takes precursors, makes sulforaphane is heat sensitive, and it is destroyed rapidly, and utterly by cooking. But, all the precursors are just sitting there in frozen broccoli, cooked broccoli, so all you have to do is add some more enzymes. Where do you find enzyme? Well, what are mustard greens? Mustard greens come from… are cruciferous vegetables, contain a lots this enzyme. Mustard greens come from mustard seeds, and what is mustard powder that you can get at any store. Mustard base is powdered mustard seeds, and indeed researchers found that sprinkling a little bit of mustard powder, which has packed with this enzyme that is still alive and kicking, can just make all the sulforaphane right there, in your dish. You can also use daikon radish, which is another… or any of the other… horseradish packed with sulforaphane. You can add a little of the raw greens to cooked greens. So, if you… I mean you could take some collard greens, boil them to death, and then just add a handful of raw arugula, you know… you know right as you’re going to eat it, almost as a garnish, or some slivers of purple cabbage or something, just to make it look pretty with a little, delightful crunch. And you just added back the enzyme, that’ll revitalize all the sulforaphane production, and it’s like you’re eating the raw collard greens.
Caryn Hartglass: This is really good.
Dr. Michael Greger: Yeah, yeah. It’s amazing stuff.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, now I have a specific question… specific question for me only. I have a green juice everyday. It’s something I’ve been doing for the last 9 years, since my cancer diagnosis. So then a while ago I got a little lazy and I started to make a week’s worth of juice and freezing them, and just pulling them out once a day. So, now my question is can I do that, or do I need to let the juice sit out for 45 minutes before I freeze it or do I add mustard powder, what do I do?
Dr. Michael Greger: No. Yeah, no. So the only reason freezing is bad, is commercial freezing. Commercial freezing involves blanching. You take your vegetables, you pick them, and then you blanch them before you freeze them, because… with the sole purpose of actually destroying the enzymes, you want to destroy the enzymes so they’ll last longer in your frozen aisle at the store, which is fine as long as you do the mustard powder at the end. But, it’s not the freezing; it’s the blanching, which is basically dipping in boiling water kind of thing. And so… so you can freeze your green smoothie, your green drink as long as you don’t boil it first.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. Whew! Whew! Okay!
Dr. Michael Greger: And you can still even boil it first, you just got to do stuff later on. I would not boil it first.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s good. The other thing is I bought this mustard powder a long, long time ago from one of these Asian stores, and then I rarely use it because it’s so bitter. But now I know what to use it for.
Dr. Michael Greger: There you go! You’ll be out in no time!
Caryn Hartglass: I wanted to end up with something sweet, so can you explain to me what is erythritol?
Dr. Michael Greger: Yeah. So erythritol is a… is a natural sugar alcohol, which is found in small quantities in grapes, and melons and some other fruits. Not, that… they just have. “Cargill” just makes it by the ton, chemically. But, so… It’s a… people hear about sugar alcohols like sorbitol, xylitol. The reason they’re not used typically as kind of low calories sweeteners is because they’re not absorbed into your system, so they end up in your colon, in your digestive tract, because they don’t get absorbed, and then actually draws water into the colon and causes watery diarrhea. And that’s why you only see xylitol, sorbitol in things like candies, mints, chewing gum, very small quantities, because you can take a little bit and it’s not going to bother you. But you typically see a little on the label it says, “Don’t eat to much! Chew this whole packet of gum at a time and you might get diarrhea.” Okay. Well so, so… I mean it’s safe, but it causes the unpleasant side effect. So that’s you’ll never see xylitol soda, right because you got to add spoonfuls to make a whole soda taste sweet, right. Okay. So then along come erythritol. Erythritol has the safety of sugar alcohols, but it’s actually absorbed into the small intestine, then excreted unchanged in the urine. And so it doesn’t make it down the colon, so it doesn’t have the diarrhea side effect, and so kind of presents this kind of optimal scenario, of well wait a second, you can get the sweetness at low calorie, with some natural, non-toxic product. But the only… but then I talk about, look, so yes it’s non toxic, but even the most non-toxic sweetener still maintains one’s hyper-sweet palate. You know, right, so let’s say; yeah fine at home you’re using erythritol to sweeten your tea or whatever. But then you go outside and you can’t find this stuff anywhere, and your palate is such because you eat so much sweet stuff, that tea, regular tea, doesn’t taste any good without it. And so you find… You’re walking around, you’re eating sugar, you’re eating desserts, you’re eating more sweet things, because if you had not used any sweetener, or reduced sweetener use, within a few weeks, months, your taste buds will change, and then, you know a ripe peach will be, you know the most divine, wonderful, sweet thing you can imagine, but you know that peach after a bowl of Fruit Loops doesn’t taste sweet, it tastes sour. It tastes bitter. I mean that’s because we so screwed up our palate, we haven’t, I mean the industry very intentionally has screwed up our palate, so we… so we’re keyed up to that high salt, high fat, high sugar kind of. So by using even the most non-toxic sweetener, like erythritol, you know, so sprinkling that on your grapefruit, instead of just eventually enjoying grapefruit raw, then you’re, you know without any kind of sweetener on top, you’re kind of… You just have to keep that in the back of your mind and just make sure you’re not using it, you know, you’re not finding yourself maintaining your sweet tooth in ways that’s detrimental to your health. But look, grapefruits are super healthy. If you are not going to eat it without sprinkling sugar on top it would be better to sprinkle erythritol than sugar.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well Dr. Greger we’ve come to end of the program. I can’t believe it. I have so many more things to talk about but basically people you’re just going to have to read the book. It’s just too loaded with great stuff. Thank you for writing it, and thank you for being you Michael. Love you and all the best with this book.
Dr. Michael Greger: So happy to be on the program, hope to see you soon.
Caryn Hartglass: Me too, okay. Whew. All right that was Dr. Greger, and I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. Thanks for listening and remember, have a delicious week.
Transcribed by Zia Kara, 2/5/2016