Dr. JoAnn Yanez, Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (right), joins KCAAs “On the Brink” hosts, Erin Brinker (left) and Tobin Brinker (middle) to discuss naturopathic approaches to weight management.
Full Transcript of Interview Below.
- Upcoming AANMC webinar: Be Your Best Self: Natural Approaches to Weight Loss & Weight Management
- Cultural diet considerations
- Mindless Eating
- And More…
Erin Brinker: I’m Erin Brinker.
Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.
Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA AM 1050, FM 106.5, and FM 102.3. I am so excited to welcome back to the show, Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the Executive Director for the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges and she joins us every month to talk about Naturopathic Medicine and health and wellness in general.
Welcome back to the show.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning! How are you doing?
Erin Brinker: Doing great! So we just had issues with our board this morning, but all is well because you have joined us and you’re here to talk about, you know, health and wellness.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I am. We are hosting a webinar this month, in a couple of weeks on getting to and maintaining your healthy weight.
Erin Brinker: Now that’s… I’m not a healthy weight and I know that I need to be so I need help in this area. So, what do you… let’s talk about that.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well first things first, I think we have to throw judgment out the door. A lot of times when we’re talking about weight and weight management, the word diet comes up and that has to be one of my most least favorite words, ever. What does diet conjure up for people?
Erin Brinker: Well when you think of diet, you think of scarcity. Like you’re not eating, you’re hungry, you’re.. you can’t go out with your friends and enjoy, you know, being out with… cause often people get together, you eat and you can’t be a part of that because you’re on a diet and it’s counting calories and depriving yourself.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Exactly, and I for years, I talked to patients and you know, even with my own health journey, diet is one of those words that I banish. So really when I think of a diet, is that it’s a temporary thing. It’s well “I’m going to be on this diet for a month or for a few weeks and then”.. and then what? And then we go back to our normal eating habits and gain the weight right back.
Erin Brinker: Exactly.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Back and forth. So really when you’re seeing a naturopathic doctor for health and wellness, nutrition is the core piece of that. But it really doesn’t focus on one specific diet. In fact, I always tell folks, people will ask me “Well what do you think about the Mediterranean diet? What do you think about Whole 30? What do you think about vegan? What do you think about Keto?”. And I tell them, you know, all of those maybe very good for individuals, but there’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to diet and nutrition. It’s very individual and it even changes as your body’s demands change through life.
Erin Brinker: You know that’s …
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: If you think about… oh go ahead.
Erin Brinker: Oh no, I… that’s really interesting. A dear, close friend of ours is diabetic and he tried every diet that his doctors told him to try and his blood sugar what completely out of control. He’s a really active guy. Lives in the mountains, very rugged. He’s on the fire department there and just… it was just terrible for him. He switched to the Mediterranean diet and his blood sugar is coming up close to normal and he wakes up often with his, you know, normal levels, which has been wonderful. But all the diets that the doctor had told him, that he would you know, up until then had not worked.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You know there is still a lot of wiggle room and research to be done on diets. The Mediterranean diet is very well studied for a number of different conditions including heart disease and really performs well when they’re looking at biomarkers for health and longevity, and avoiding death. But I think again though when we’re talking about the individual people and their cultural needs, so many factors come into play. And you know for years, I coached folks and counseled people on nutrition is part of being a naturopathic doctor. And often had to take into consideration, cultural considerations.
I remember one woman who was over her BMI, over her body mass index for height and weight and recognized that weight was playing a factor in her health. And you know I asked her, she was Spanish speaking, I asked her what are you eating in a day? She said well some soup. What do you have for breakfast? Oh you know, some eggs and you know, she was just kind of very plain in her descriptions in foods. And I poked a little bit further. I said you know the obvious was you know, she was overweight for her body mass. And I go, what else are you eating? Do you eat tortillas? Do you eat chips? Tell me a little bit about that. She was like “OH OF COURSE! Of course! Of course, I have tortillas! And I said, well how many? Um 19, 20.
Erin Brinker: Oh my goodness!
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And you know, it was just something that she really wasn’t even giving a second thought about because it was customary… you know she made tortillas in her house. She made a huge stack every day for the family and you know that was just part of… you know when she had eggs, she had some tortillas with it. When she had soup, she had tortillas with it. And so, you know it was really getting her aware, number one.
And I think years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Brian Wansink as a speaker. He was a former executive director of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy, had researched a whole concept in eating called Mindless Eating. How much of eating do we do when we’re not paying attention to our body’s needs? And I was really fascinated by his work. He has this study where… you might’ve heard of it… he had a bowl of soup and there was a little straw at the bottom that would fill up the bowl. And so he had people eat the soup while they were watching TV or doing something to preoccupy them, and they consistently ate very many more calories when they were not paying attention to themselves. They had no idea that the bowl was refilling up while they were eating.
Erin Brinker: Wow. Wow. Well that shouldn’t surprise me. If I think about it, like I like making giant bowls of popcorn and what my… I love popcorn and I don’t put butter on it, but I do pop it in oil and the goal is to have a little bit and then put the rest in a Ziploc and have it later. But if I’m not paying attention, I’ll eat the whole bowl.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh sure!
Erin Brinker: Cause it’s so good! And salty!
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I know and so one of the things he had come up with were the individual now not a big fan of all the extra packaging, but the individual snack packs that at least make people aware of portion size. Because again, you know, a whole bag of chips could be a portion for someone if they’re not paying attention.
Years ago I had a gentleman and he had some GI complaints and when I probed further about what he was eating, he would come home and you know just unwind from a hard day of work and you know, he really had a thing for Oreo cookies. And I said, “how many you eating?” He said, I don’t know, a sleeve.
Erin Brinker: A sleeve?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: A sleeve! A whole sleeve.
Erin Brinker: So is that like 30 cookies? I have no idea.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I don’t know, but it was way more than one serving.
Erin Brinker: It was more than the four or whatever that was the portion size.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah so what happened was a lot of his GI complaints were a result of eating a sleeve of Oreo cookies every day.
Erin Brinker: Oh my gosh.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: But anyway, you know whether it’s eczema or mood disorders or the impact of having the extra body mass on yourself. You know there are a lot of reasons why people would take a look at their diet and their nutrition. Another case that I had was a gentleman who had really, really bad eczema head to toe. His skin would actually fall off in chunks because it was so bad.
Erin Brinker: Oh gosh, poor guy!
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well and you can just imagine socially and emotionally what that does for somebody as well. So we did some probing and I had him do an elimination diet and low and behold, he had a real sensitivity to wheat and bread products and among those was beer. And so you know he would have the beer or two after work and gluten and wheat products were a part of his diet. When those came out, the eczema just about all cleared up.
Erin Brinker: Wow! Wow! I’m sure he mourned the beer, but I’m sure he was thrilled to have that problem taken care of.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well and it’s a relief for people when they finally identify the root cause. You know, I hate to sound like a broken record, but that’s really where naturopathic doctors excel is we get down to the root of the problem. So rather than giving him a skin cream that would maybe ameliorate it, but he was head to toe eczema. You know, he would probably be using a tube of cream every day or so. We got to the root of the issue, which was nutrition based. I think at the end of the day, our bodies give us information and if we’re not feeling well, if we’re not feeling at our optimal good, there’s a hint. Our body is saying, “hey help me out here.” So for NDs, focusing on nutrition, focusing on that core piece of health is paramount to the foundation for health and wellness.
Erin Brinker: So we’re out of time. What a great message. This is sinking in. How do people find you? Follow you? And learn more about the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well you can find us at AANMC.org. We are hosting a webinar on this topic with a doctor from Toronto in a couple weeks on March 27th. Hope you all can tune in.
Erin Brinker: Oh that’s wonderful! That’s wonderful! So send me that information, I’ll make sure that I plug it again before the event because I want people to know about it and watch it. I think this is really important information.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thanks so much! Have a great day, guys!
Erin Brinker: Thank you so much! We’ve been talking with Dr. JoAnn Yanez, she is the Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. Check them out at AANMC.org. It’s time for another break. I’m Erin Brinker.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And I’m Tobin Brinker.
Erin Brinker: And we’re On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA. We’ll be right back.