The Benefits of a Healthy Plant-Based Lifestyle
We discuss in this podcast:
- Doctor MacKay’s immersive six-day periods
- How genes are not truly the determinants of our health
- Diet and lifestyle risk factors
- The importance of exercise
- Whole foods plant-based nutrition and pharmaceutical treatments
- Diet and cholesterol levels
- Low carb diets and gut disease
- The role of oil
- The benefits of a vegan diet at 80
Clint Today, I have a very special guest on this episode. It’s Dr. Malcolm MacKay all the way from Melbourne, Australia at 7:30 in the morning. So I’m very grateful for him for sharing part of his weekend to be with us on this discussion. Dr. MacKay has 35 years of general practitioner experience, his clinic is in Melbourne, Australia. He has a huge background in plant-based nutrition. In fact, he is a fellow, has been awarded a fellowship of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine. He has completed the board certification in lifestyle medicine. And he finds that balance inside his practise between talking about nutrition and lifestyle with his patients and also with the medication side of things and the more classic allopathic approach.
Clint His interest and passion is running some immersions in Victoria, Australia, where patients are able to come over a six-day period and immerse themselves in lifestyle improvements. And he has seen tremendous results from running those. And in fact has another one coming up in a few weeks and has been running them around for a year. And it’s a growing and very exciting part of what he does. So, Dr. MacKay, thank you so much for joining us to have a discussion today about lifestyle medicine, inflammatory arthritis and what it’s like being a doctor in today’s situations.
Dr. MacKay Thank you, Clint. Having me on your podcast.
Clint Yeah, and I did say, MacKay, whereas when we last met, I introduced you from the stage at the doctor’s for a nutrition conference and I said McKay and I got in trouble for that, didn’t I? You jumped on me.
Dr. MacKay Yeah, must’ve been feeling twitchy. Usually, I just accept the MacKay particularly when I’m in the United States.
Clint Yes. Well, they are a little bit of that Mackay, Mackay rather than MacKay. Now, let’s talk about how you got interested, first of all, into becoming a doctor. Was this something like as a child, we run around with pretend stethoscopes and stuff and we say, ah, we want to be a doctor? And you just followed through on that? Or is it something you had? You know, just came to get into after you found that you just fell in love with a university?
Dr. MacKay You know, I’d love to give a passionate presentation about how my family doctor saved my grandmother or something like that. But it was actually sort of assumed that I’d probably go and study medicine, at least that my father was a doctor. My mother’s father was a doctor. His father was the doctor. Well, it’s sort of a bit of in the family, although I think towards the end of my school life, I more considered that maybe I’d go into medicine and become a researcher. And I think at the time when I went into medicine, I sort of thought I was very interested in human genetics.
Dr. MacKay Interestingly, before long I sort of realized that the genetics that we’ve inherited, the genes we’ve inherited are not truly the determinants of health. Yes, they determine our risk levels and sometimes we inherit one that’s a definite causes definite effect. But most of the time, the sort of, as they say, Jane’s put the car into drive, but lifestyle pushes the accelerator. So how did I become interested? Well, it’s only a fuse. But I think my family, my father always emphasized the importance of nutrition. But it was like major invasion eggs. Knows that the foods that make us strong, smart and things. And partway through the medical course, I was getting back in distance running, which I’d done at school. It was that’s three years out of school and three or four, three years, four years. And so I was interested in sports performance. And we had one lecturer, a crusty old cardiologist, who showed us gruesome slides of stroked out brains and heart attacks and blocked arteries and gangrenous legs, and talked about this all over the body, about you all over the body disease of artery disease, of atherosclerosis, you know, their cholesterol plaques, inflammatory, blocking arteries. And he said called it the inevitable process of atherosclerosis, like it will always happen as you get older. And but here are some risk factors. And then within the signs that of the semester, someone else giving a lecture told us that more groups of people in the world like the Highland, Papua New Guinea. People who had very low fat, very low salt diets, the words in Papua New Guinea, they just ate sweets. And they never get artery disease as long as I live and for me, it was like number one the disease it’s inevitable. And there are people who are poor and have low education and almost no medicine and I don’t get it. So I was sort of (inaudible) on this. And as other diseases came back on, of course, it was always the same story. Where do you get the most rheumatoid arthritis? Where do you get most of all sorts of inflammatory bowel disease or diabetes? It was always the same diet and lifestyle risk factors. Ranch in the (inaudible) I considered exercise was important. Anyway, I’m always going to have my cake and eat it, too. All the luxuries of the Western world and eat sort of minimally processed, low fat, low salt plant-based foods that these people eat. And like it seemed to work for me is like. But for long I ran a 2:32 marathon and I won a couple of triathlons. So like it seemed to work on my colleagues thought I was crazy and I made on that story and it was sort of a year or two later, someone gave me one of the pretty canned books and it was like, oh, I wasn’t crazy after all. Anyone who’s sort of got their mind open and eyes open as they study, you know, medical science or sort of come across this material, Nathan Pretty Kern. And that sort of led to an era after I graduated where we had a very active critic and health association across Australia. And so I became president of the South Australian branch. And I would give presentations, monthly public meetings or introduce other key speakers. We even had someone talk about the gut microbiome in the late 1980s. I remember he said humans are like cows back to front like we saw cows for and in front hint of their getaway cement down the back end.
Clint I love it. I can’t think of too many other ways. We’re like cows, but the other like that one. And so you said that all your physical capabilities improved, especially with your long-distance running. It’s gonna be famous for a plant-based diet, kind of famously successful for any kind of long-distance endurance kind of stuff. And this was I mean, this was obviously in line also with, you know, your studies. And as you said, joining and becoming the president of the predicton movement and stuff in Australia.
Clint And this was back before any of this became trendy in adverted commerce because today you got celebrities going plant-based and it’s kind of become trendy. And it wasn’t even trendy by any stretch going back sort of 12 years when I started doing this, let alone when you started, I mean, you really must have raised some eyebrows back then.
Dr. MacKay Yeah. No, I just thought I was a bit crazy, nerd, Smoked too much weed or something. But I guess I was sort of a bit sort of typical obsessive, determined and sort of not very extroverted medical students, sort of like I just see it.
Clint It just went for it. Now, in your practice, you obviously see people coming in throughout the day which has all different range of health conditions. How do you find that balance between wanting to impart the most foundational help you can? Being, what they put into their bodies and how they live their lives vs. the need to relieve the symptoms pharmaceutically. So how do you assess on a case by case basis how to deal with that dilemma?
Dr. MacKay The Whole Foods plant-based nutrition and the whole healthy lifestyle package is not sort of mutually exclusive with pharmaceutical treatments. Like if someone had a really bad, inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis. I don’t want to use drugs to settle down those joints as those that have cause a lot of pain, stiffness, and sort of self-destruct. So I want to use drugs to settle down the process. But at the same time, we want to bring in the diet and lifestyle measures. And then over a period of time, like patients with high cholesterol and heart disease. I’ll leave them on their cholesterol tablet, but every few months I’ll test it again. And each time it’s within the recommended targets and things are dropped, their cholesterol drug another step and often end up. And the same with blood pressure, I’ll keep checking their blood pressure, looking at their heart ratings so I won’t immediately stop those. But as their bio measures that have improved or in the case of arthritis, as their joint pains improve, I’ll gradually back off their medication so that the lifestyle it’s not sort of exclusive. A little bit more about that practice like think of the plant-based world, people think that if I say to someone, look, you know that acne you’ve got and how do you know if you just change your diet and eat less dairy foods? It would sort of probably go away and you wouldn’t need this hazardous sort of drug treatment for it. And the person would go, oh thank you, doctor. No one’s ever told me about the link between dairy and acne. No, they go, I don’t eat much dairy or my diet, good.
Dr. MacKay One time, I don’t think I was being too tactless. One time I even had someone sort of thump the desk because they stated they’re already vegetarian or something. So when you sort of want to practice lifestyle medicine it’s actually quite difficult. Because you get tied up with this like talking politics and religion. And so I sort of regarded as a sort of like I’m casting out the bait, I’m dangling the carrot. You know, if a man comes to me a guy in his 40s with high cholesterol on cholesterol tablets and blood pressure tablets and maybe Viagra for that little problem. I’ll say to him as well as taking the cholesterol tablet, it wouldn’t make much sense to eat foods that raise cholesterol, because when you eat chicken and eggs. I start naming the foods I think might be healthy when you eat salmon and chicken and eggs and meat and dairy. They’ll make your cholesterol go up from wherever it is to start with because it stops some arguing that it’s genetic. Wherever your cholesterol that is to start with, eating more of these foods will make it go up. But if you eat more things like oats and beans that actually bring it down. And so that’s sort like you dangle a carrot and they might sort of enquire more or you just tell someone that, oh, yeah, you know, I’ve been reading lately that let’s say the lady with acne who’s pretty too old to have acne. It’s like, it’s been quite a lot of studies showing that dairy proteins particularly bad for acne. And the face that would just glare at me. You just have to drop the subject and then you get further into the consult and they’re complaining about some other medical symptom that you think again. That’s another one related to the diet, and sometimes you just have to keep it zipped.
Dr. MacKay But sometimes there are surprises. I once wrote in someone’s file like not open to lifestyle change for this condition or something. In other words, I looked angry and was flat out rejected it. But you’ve got to be nice in your case notes. And then about six months later, she’s saying, what’s the best plant milk doctor? So you never know when you sort of put out the plant and say, you never know when it will grow. I mean, it might be that they end up with some (inaudible) or someone who sort of talks to them or they watch the game changes. And the little seed you planted may, I have always thought that the seed I planted, even if it sort of looks like it’s just rejected, one day it might grow.
Clint I really like how you said about those touchpoints because I was listening to something. Gosh, I don’t know where I got this information, but I was hearing about how these days we’re just confronted with so much information constantly. Because we’re connected to the Internet that back in the day we might have as a consumer, maybe purchased something based on a billboard and seeing something only once or maybe twice seeing it on a billboard and then maybe a TV commercial. And you’ve made your decision based on that repetition of only two touchpoints. But now apparently, we need to see something like 20 times before we think, OK, that’s penetrated through all the other noise. And so I think that the more little touches that people can hear about these positive influences in their life, the better. And it may not, as you said, be in your consult with this patient that they make the decision to improve the amount of plants that they eat, But it may contribute and that’s crucial. Are there any favorite kind of conditions that you just start rubbing your hands together and say, I can wipe this out? The ones that when you get the right patient willing to do something, you get excited because of the somewhat simplicity in treating it with a lifestyle change?
Dr. MacKay Some of the got conditions like, you know, people have irritable bowel symptoms syndrome and now they have diarrhea and they’ve constipation and diarrhea pains and things. I always say to them that constipation part of it, I can fix that. Definitely we can fix that easily. Yeah. So, you know, just sort of taking the diet from being, you know, processed food and animal products to actually even containing a moderate amount of fiber-containing Whole Plant foods can turn that right around. And sometimes even with just dropping dairy foods for quite a few conditions, just popping the dairy foods can sometimes make all the difference. Whether it’s high cholesterol or acne or gap symptoms.
Clint Right. And would you say that that is one of the first things that you like to encourage people as a first step?
Dr. MacKay Yes, sometimes, although other times no. It’s sort of easier to sort of have an add-in approach like this person’s really set on a paleo sort of diet and then it’s like, well, can you add in some oat? So can you add in just a small amount of legumes per day? Yeah. You know, sometimes I might sort of taking out to stop dairy and other times it might be more appropriate just to sort of taking that add-in. Because of some people’s diets, a lot of people’s diets are so minimal in plant foods, in fruit and vegetables that just adding in a cup of cooked vegetables a day can make a difference.
Clint I heard something frightening. I guess it’s one of this sort of frightening stats you hear about US nutrition. And I believe that the most common vegetables Americans consume in their diet are potatoes and tomatoes. And the way they consume it by large is French fries, ketchup, and pizza. Right. So they’re the two vegetables going in and the format going in is pretty lousy. So, I mean, the situation is really, really severe, isn’t it? I mean, whilst you and I have colleagues, friends and probably spend most of our time talking to others who think similarly to us around plant-based nutrition and this kind of lifestyle. The general public is quite in a different boat, it’s quite remarkable. I mean, if you got any humorous stories or examples of some people who might come into your clinic who virtually eat no plants or are just on extremely poor diet?
Dr. MacKay Yeah, I mean, I’ve had one patient that I can’t afford it for a period of time. Like, no, just meat and eggs. And, you know, his gut was so bad that he had at any small amount of anything slightly fermentable like any starch just grains, and it gives me a tummy ache. But, you know, he also said, look, um, yeah, with this diet, I get a bit of diarrhea every day. But there’s one day I wake, one leaves off, I’m just eating meat and my guts is better on that day. And it’s like, go figure.
Clint It’s crazy, actually. Just last month at the time of this recording, Joe Rogan, a very popular podcast here in the states, did a whole month on the Carnivore diet and he showed his physique at the end compared to his less sort of sculpted physique at the start. And I think that when someone with a very high profile and very large audience goes on an extreme diet like that people without too much self-investigation can just blindly follow and try these things. And it’s not a game, this isn’t like a game that you can switch off this around. These are bodies. This is our human existence. And I consider those kind of extreme approaches to be dangerous if people aren’t careful.
Dr. MacKay Well, this is a long term, this is going to be a tsunami of chronic disease. The whole low carb diet movements creating a future disaster. The more years you have inflamed bodies, inflamed gut, and high cholesterol, etc., The more years you have for the earlier you can get heart disease. You know, you’re gonna get heart disease and dementia more and earlier and more arthritis, more inflammatory gut disease than our parents got. It’s a disaster in Australia. Low carbs are really popular. And it’s been popularized partly we can blame this, the CSIRO nutrition with their CSIRO low carb diet. A lot of the doctors are onto this in Australia and now I know it sounds really good. You got a low carb diet, so not having sugar when all those processed junk foods. But if I said to you, Clint, you know, you could be much happier if you stopped eating whole grains, legumes, and fruits and eat more meat and fat-rich dairy foods and processed plant fats. Instead, you’d laugh at me and think I was joking. But when you actually sort of couched in terms of, you know, sugar is bad and low carb, it sort of doesn’t sound as silly. A lot of my colleagues, even some of those in lifestyle medicine in Australia and New Zealand are going down this path. And I just like it. It just does my head in like eat more of the foods that make us sick like it more meat and dairy and oil to it, it’s senseless.
Clint You mentioned oil just before we move on. And I want to hear about your immersions and talk about some examples you may have seen of people improving on the immersions. My nemesis, my enemy to the core is any kind of vegetable oils. And I’m glad you mentioned that. Give me your clinical recommendations about oil consumption and also whether or not you and your family allow a little oil.
Dr. MacKay You know, when I first started this with the (inaudible) diet and my obsessive personality. I was really, really strictly super low salt, low fat, plus I didn’t faint running or something better. From the low salt, but I’m still fairly low salt. So right from the start, it was like all fats are bad. I didn’t discriminate. And so for me, it was no oil, low and low-fat food right from the start, we’ve got a whole page on our website called No Oil, called How to Cook with No Oil page attached to it. You know, it’s processed foods, had all the nutrients and fiber stripped away from it. Oil is damaging to the endothelium. I mean, no extra virgin olive oil, which is not the olive oil. Most people drink might have a few polyphenols and be less bad. But it’s like if I’m talking to someone about cigarettes. I’m not recommending a less bad cigarette since I don’t smoke cigarettes. So, the oil is damaging to the arteries is bad for the gut microbiome.
Dr. MacKay And as far as our experience with our immersions goes, we see the resolution of joint pains. And I think part of even seen it in people who have come there and already been on a recently healthy vegan diet. And I think it’s because we completely eliminate oil from their diet. When people are still eating a little bit of oil because it’s so high in calories it’s like super-concentrated food. They don’t realize how much it’s contributing to their daily intake. And if they eat well at home, then they go out. They don’t notice just how high oil the meal is when they go out or when someone else makes food. So, I know it’s difficult when people go out and other people make their food. But certainly if you’re treating a disease or trying to have optimal health oils, just like oils. One thing to be avoided, just like chicken, something to be avoided and people would say is a little bit good. I mean it’s vegan. Well, like it’s a little bit of chicken going to harm you.
Clint In the case of inflammatory arthritis, if I want to inflict the least harm as possible onto someone who begged me to eat chicken or oil, I would say eat some chicken. Because the impact of the oil, in my view, would create a greater detrimental outcome for that person than the chicken. If we had to choose from either of those two bad things. Let’s talk more about your immersions. Tell me where you have them? How people can participate in them? what they can expect? and what is the food like? Give us some examples of improvements that people see over and above what you’ve mentioned with arthritis.
Dr. MacKay Yeah, we were up to about immersion No 8 on the week after next. It’s a living event in which we hold Anglesea on the surf coast of Victoria about an hour and a half out of Melbourne. We did a pilot and then we’re looking for a venue. We wondered how we could do this. And then a lady, Anita, contacted us and said, look I’ve got a vacant cafe and it’s less than 100 meters from the Great Ocean Road Resort at Angle Sea. And we could get together, and so we did. So we rent, the required number of rooms that we need for people at the at this huge sort of motel resort. And we use the conference room and we’ve set that up and we’re in there. I know most days Jenny and I are giving talks and we have books for sale. And the lady that has the cafe brings breakfast, lunch and the afternoon air-fried potatoes that are very popular. Up to the venue on four of the nights, we all walk down the road no less than 100 meters to her cafe, which isn’t usually open during the week. And we have a meal there. And then usually we watch the documentary after dinner. So that’s sort of how we do it.
Dr. MacKay And we’re very strict about this. Like, to give you an example of what people need to eat. So, it’s like no oil, low salt. Anita has some assistance for this often onto them and goes, hey, not too much miso on that please. We’re really onto the oil on the salt because we’ve really got to set an example. And when people in this really high level. So the adherents, unless they go down to the local service station, would buy a packet of something. And we’ve got them a captive knife. And Joe can say we’re monitoring the CCTV at the local service station 2. And so the adherence is really high. And even within a few days, within six days, we’ve seen a number of people, particularly when we see people were sort of two after a few days. Often some problems, one or two days in there, often having a few got rumbles and they’re sort of not feeling that great. As the six days go on, people report that they feel better, they’re sleeping better. You know, they feel sharp and more alert. They have more energy. We do activities as well as sort of a lifestyle immersion where nutrition is the keystone and the biggest focus. But we also go to Morning Beach Walk. Where we stay is a 10-minute walk or five minutes, ten-minute walk along. I say five minutes because I’m on the running group of a ten-minute walk along with the parklands by the Anglesea River and then we’re on the main ocean beach. So three of the mornings we do sort of a beach walk and the two other mornings we have someone come in and put on a yoga session. Other things we do, we have someone do a couple of meditation sessions as part of it. I give presentations on other lifestyle things like sleep and things as well as nutrition. And we do quite a bit of practical stuff like Jandi to have books about calorie density and label reading. And we visit a local supermarket, we’ve arranged with a local supermarket. Ten minutes walk away or we can drive people of they’re not very able-bodied. We actually do a supermarket tour where we walk around and analyze the labels of foods we might commonly purchase.
Dr. MacKay Yeah, and there’s a lot of group support, whereas you have that 10 or 15 people there. We saw a capita of 10, 15. I don’t think we’ve ever gone 16. And we find there’s a really good group interaction and that’s a really important part of it. And the groups that have the group on their own, that’s us discussing things. And we sort of encourage that on some topics. Let’s have a break out into groups of three or four and discuss the barriers you’re likely to say. So we try and not just give people the perfect diet and lifestyle for the six days. We want to send them home, fully armed, knowing what to buy, knowing how to cook it. Anita, who provides all the food side of it, she does cooking demonstrations throughout the week, a number of those. We want people to be fully armed and know how to do it. And we also want people to understand the social barriers and the psychological things about what drives us to hit rich food and to binge. And so we try to the aim is to actually by the end of the week to send people home self-sufficient. And we’ve sat during we do meetups about six weeks later, we do a video conference with a group. And then we’ve got these ongoing video conferences, meetings where we’ve started doing short webinars and then a chat to anyone who’s been to one of our immersion events because of sort of results. Do you mind if I keep talking?
Clint Please, this is fascinating. Just hold your thought. The reason I wanted to keep talking is that periodically we get requests for Paddison Program retreats and they say, can I go somewhere where to live in immersions style event? And we have not been living in one place long enough to ever sort of get our roots down and then work like you have with somewhere local and organize this. And it’s a lot of work. I mean, I’m hearing all this and I unappreciated how much work’s putting. So what I’m getting at here is if you have the proximity to Victoria, Australia, then I recommend you go to Dr. MacKay’s retreat and go and spend six days with him and wonderful Jenny. I’m sure that the hospitality would be second to none. You can see how friendly he is, his wife’s just the same. And this would be a wonderful opportunity. To know oil is crucial. A lot of folks with rheumatoid find it difficult to find a retreat where they get the cleanliness of what you have discussed as well as the educational and the other aspect. So please continue. And I want people, listeners to think that this could be an opportunity for them if they have again, the proximity. I know Australia’s a long way away from the rest of the world. And then Victoria is another step down a little further still. But the Great Ocean Road, I mean, that’s a beautiful part of the world that I’ve only seen once and would love to go back to. So I hope you’ve kept that thought that I asked you to hold and you please continue.
Dr. MacKay Okay, yes. It is a lot of work and it’s not just, you know, it’s really the core team. We have a helper person and someone comes in and does yoga and meditation sessions. And we sort of have a helper person who sort of like a nutrition intern. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of satisfaction. We really see these quite early. And I provide consultations there. I provide medical consultations. And that’s really important if someone comes in on insulin, we’ve had a couple of people on insulin for type two or type one and half diabetes. And for that sort of condition, that sort of drug problem with some of those conditions is you get better too quickly. And so then you don’t need as much. Then you have the drug it’s not the the the change of diet causes low blood sugar it’s like takes away the cause. And we’ve had a couple of. It looking shaky at meditation in the morning. And I think you better eat some of that bread or something over there and it’s already cut my insulin down. These two people, I think if they both left on about a third to a half of the insulin they had been on and actually maintained that. I think one of them actually end up stopping altogether. And then the other one, I think still continues because, you know, they’ve probably got type 1 and a half diabetes.
Dr. MacKay So we get a lot of satisfaction seeing early in the immersion people’s aha moments. It send people sometimes in tears when they realize that it’s not their fault, that they can’t help it but reach for the rich food and eat rich food. And then people have (inaudible) so what’s going on with my health. Now I understand the nutrition aspect and then as people start to we see people transform their health in that period of time. And that gives me more sort of work satisfaction than most of my clinical consulting like areas and other blood pressure. (Inaudible) more paperwork. I just see people really, they wake up and understand things and start to see health trends. That’s so satisfying that despite the fact that Jenny and I are like up at 6:00 in the morning. Organizing the morning, we were walking giving talks through the day, making sure everything runs smoothly, running in and out and locking and unlocking in a seminar room. Down in the restaurant, in the cafe, after with Anita restocking and do the washing up at that time at 10 o’clock at night after the documentary is all finished. But we get a lot of satisfaction out of it, even though it’s an exhausting week in terms of some of that transformation, I think you might be interested in the joints. I can think of three particular cases. There’s one lady who came there with her husband and she sort of said lots from day one. Look, I’m not doing this. He wants to go and meet a mate but he’s you know, he needs this for his heart. And that’s three or four days into it, her chronic knee pain, her knee always hurt, stopped hurting. And so it’s like, oh, my knee stopped hurting. And we had some communication with her, like about a month later. It’s like, I’ve been doing heavy gardening. The knee still doesn’t hurt. And I’ve lost a lot of weight. And I’m doing this 100% with my husband. Another lady had rheumatoid arthritis and on the lunch on Friday on the last day before we all go home. She’s making a note on a piece of paper and she starts asking because, oh, phones stop, pauses, moves her thumb on her right hand. Now the joints not hurting as much. So that was great.
Dr. MacKay The other one I can think of is someone who actually had a congenital foot bone deformity. And even though she was already on a pretty healthy diet, it’s this foot bone always like that. So she on a vegan diet. But when reach was up. But after six days of the no oil and low fat like we do have a few nuts and seeds in their cooking, but it’s really quiet. We go more and there’s plenty of reasons why I’m still with the school of thought of, you know, pretty Cannon McDougall and Neil Barnard and Caldwell Esselstyn, Dean Ornish. Everyone seems on the same (inaudible). We’re emphasizing the starches, and we’re sort of deliberately keep the nuts and seeds, avocados quite low. But they’re the oil in particular. Yeah. This lady, by the end of her, her foot stopped hurting, even though she’s already on a reasonably healthy vegan diet. And she maintained that after the event. Examples are not a big example, as I have probably done this one. Overdone done is Jenny is 83-year-old mum who often comes to our events. And I think she enjoys the company and its sort of like her and resort where she gets fed healthy food for the week. She sort of gradually after I came into Jenny’s life, Jenny’s mum gradually shifted her diet. It wasn’t till her husband passed away and she moved to Ballarat. She tossed out all the oil and everything. And Jenny said she went to visit her mum one day and her mum normally needs a jar opener, has stiff fingers, had a walking frame, and her mum just I’ll just go across the room and get an a bounced out of her chair and bounded across the room. To Jenny, it was like you never move like that. And so Jenny’s mum sort of says now says, look, I don’t need any special motivation to stick to this sort of no oil, no siege, and no animal products diet. Because if I go out and I have one oily meal, then the next day my fingers are stiff again.
Dr. MacKay She’s an example of a vegan, you can be over 80 years old and you can still get health improvements and relief from arthritis pain and stiffness. It’s not to say that she doesn’t still have arthritic joints and that she’s in perfect health. But so much symptomatic relief so quickly. It’s so easy when you’ve really got quite significant osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. It doesn’t take much to tip you back into it. It’s like if you’re eating a piece of chicken every second day and on the other days you’re having just a little bit of oil or you’re having too many nuts and seeds as part of your diet. That can be enough to maintain the pain and aching. I remember I had a patient who saw me several times. This lady and it was difficult in her family sort of context for her. And she never quite stopped the oil and she never quite got off the Prednisolone and her rheumatoid arthritis of sort of single pain or stiffness never quite went away.
Clint Oh, absolutely. I can attest to that. I’m sure everyone listening or watching this is nodding right now. If they have inflammatory arthritis and they’ve just cheated a little bit here and there on those sorts of foods. The impact can be swift and quite aggressive. So we have to be very, very careful about how discipline really someone did. I thought of when you were talking about Jenny’s mother, just as we come close to wrapping this up, was my own mum. Who has never had any symptoms of autoimmunity, nor has my dad. However, they went on a trip to Thailand and spent a couple of weeks in Thailand, eight hours every meal. All of the classic Thai meals like the Pad Thai and all of the style of cooking that Thai folks are doing every day. Which is always stir fry and always some kind of vegetable oil underneath the cooking. And mum came home with dif hands like she found the closing of her hands to be problematic. And it was worrying her and bothering her. And I said, mum, I said, I think that it’s all the oil and possibly just the different foods on top of just the oil that she consumed whilst in Thailand. And I said, eat tons and tons of leafy greens now that your home really get away from any unnecessary meats. Because they’ve been mostly plant-based for several years since they saw my transformation, which is bizarre and amazing. Because they live on a farm and they’re rural Australia where it’s classic kind of meat sort of heavy. And it all went away again a couple of weeks after she got back from overseas. But for someone who doesn’t have a pre-existing condition or that we knew of, you can show how quickly things can shift. And so when you do have an active baseline level of inflammation, then, yes, the effect of adding something detrimental to that when the flame is already burning is quick and a nasty.
Dr. MacKay And you mentioned the green leafy vegetables and was Robin Tuto cause a natural path? Robin changes. She calls them G.L. (inaudible). And yeah, big plug for green leafy vegetables like that. They’re like whether you’re trying to improve your artery function and you’ve got heart disease or whether you’re trying to dampen down the inflammatory joint disease. The green leafy vegetables are crucial. I mean, Jenny and I, we have a side of steamed kale with balsamic vinegar as an entree to our breakfast. Because I’ve started to sort of say think more and more that these are things to do in several times a day. You know, that green leafy vegetable.
Clint Well, people who follow my podcast know I’m obsessed with it. And it’s basically in my phrase is green, greener mania. You just can’t get more greens in you. So, I’ll often finish a meal with a like I’ll have a salad with lunch and dinner. And often the last thing I’ll leave at the I’ll save some leafy greens to finish off with so that my teeth end up having them on in my mouth for my oral probiotics. I will make sure that I also use the leafy greens as a counter cavity strategy because they’re so good at mopping up sugars on the teeth. And of course, just so fantastic for anti-inflammatory. So I just think that in terms of the most important thing in the diet other than the calorie performed for providing foods are leafy greens. So I’m glad you’re glad you put them at such a high priority in your family as well.
Clint Well, Dr. MacKay, thanks so much for coming on and sharing your wisdom with us early in the morning. And I’m very grateful. And I know I wanted to plug the fact that you also do Skype calls to people in Australia. Because it’s very hard to find a doctor who is also interested in supporting a plan based nutrition lifestyle and offering that real niche insight into how to find that balance. And when to focus on the pharmaceutical emphasis. And when it can be okay to back off a little bit. So tell us what your website is. Tell us how people can contact you via Skype and any other thing you’d like to share.
Dr. MacKay Yes, I like our main nutrition website site is the Whole Foods plant-based health Web site. You have the Facebook page, plant-based Health Australia. You can find out more about the telehealth or Skype consultations on the DrMalcolmMacKay.com.au. Now I’m only licenced within Australia, so I only conduct telehealth consultations with people who are in Australia and it’s like an ordinary consultation, except they can’t reach down and look over your throat. For the chronic disease itself, unlike you can show me your blood sugar record, you can show me your blood pressure and I can order pathology tests and email people pathology requests. We can do all of that. And I guess the person may have their usual local doctor who may not like all the docs who keep doing what you’re doing or worse. But yeah, I can help people with little bits of input about in particular, as you know, I can sort of help them to fine-tune what they’re doing with their diet and lifestyle. And then provide medical input on how to safely hopefully start date prescribing some of their medications.
Clint And that’s what everyone wants to hear deep prescribing. I’ve never, never had that phrase pass me by before, but I love it. I love it. Tapering is a word that we always use. Tapering medications comes up because of the sort of frequent use of prednisone and other steroids within the rheumatoid community is where they always get tapered. But yeah, deep prescribing. Fantastic. There’s the word of the day. Thank you. Well, I hope everyone’s enjoyed having you share your wisdom and I certainly have myself. So thanks very much. And I hope your immersion that’s coming up in just a week or so from now goes really, really well. And so hopefully some of the people who’ve witnessed this episode might come to join you in the future. So, thanks very much.
Dr. MacKay Thanks, Clint. We look forward to seeing some of those people. Thank you.