Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 08/07/19

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate On the Brink to discuss how skin issues may be a symptom of an underlying health condition. Uncovering the root cause of your skin issues is just one of the many things naturopathic doctors excel in.

Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • Natural approaches to healthy skin
  • Skin conditions as a symptom of an underlying health problem
  • Uncovering the root cause of skin conditions
  • Relationship between the gut and skin
  • Empowering people to be active participants in their health
  • Naturopathic medicine’s holistic approach to health care
  • And more…

Erin Brinker:  Welcome back. I’m Erin Brinker …

Todd Brinker: … and I’m Todd Brinker …

Erin Brinker: … and we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA AM 1050, FM 106.5, and FM 102.3. Did I say that already? I probably did.

Erin Brinker: Dr. JoAnn Yanez is joining us. She is the Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges and Chair of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health. She also serves on the Integrative Health Policy Consortium Education Committee. Weaving a passion for illness prevention into her professional life, her career has spanned advocacy, academia, patient care and public health. As AANMC Executive Director, she oversees research, advocacy efforts, and the joint academic endeavors of the accredited colleges of naturopathic medicine. She joins us once a month to talk about all things health and wellness and overall just feeling good. Dr. JoAnn Yanez, welcome to the show.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning, Erin and Todd. How are you both?

Erin Brinker: Doing great. How are you?

Todd Brinker: Really good.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Really well. Thank you for having me on!

Erin Brinker:  Surviving this heat? Oh, of course. Surviving the heat?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Meh.

Erin Brinker: Everywhere you live has a time of year where it’s just not fun, and this is ours. And it’s not nine months of snow, so I really can’t complain, but it’s pretty darn hot outside.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah. Having lived through negative 40-degree South Dakota winters.

Erin Brinker: Oh, wow.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah. Every place its thing.

Erin Brinker: Every place has it today.

Todd Brinker: Yeah. You learn to dress for it or stay inside.

Erin Brinker: So, what are we talking about today?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, we’re talking about healthy skin naturally.

Erin Brinker: Oh, well that’s important.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It is important. And in the summertime, people are thinking about their skin. They’re showing more. They’re out, they’re getting sunburns. And so we’re talking about how to keep your skin healthy naturally.

One of the things that sometimes comes up for people who have skin issues is because it’s hot out. You’re wanting to dress more coolly and show more skin, but we don’t think about people with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, different types of dermatitis that may feel self-conscious of their skin and showing skin when they have skin conditions going on and even acne. And so that’s one of the things this time of year that sometimes people aren’t quite cognizant of is that connection between the mental, emotional component to having “healthy looking skin.”

Erin Brinker: Well, there are autoimmune diseases and things that can affect the skin. Not drinking enough water can affect the skin. Diet can affect the skin.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Absolutely.

Erin Brinker: What is a person to do to keep themselves, keep their skin looking healthy?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: So, here’s the thing. There is such a connection between our brain and our skin, and our gut and our skin. And so, when you see a naturopathic doctor for skin issues, whatever they are, like you said, skin issues can manifest from a number of different illnesses. And so, rather than treating a skin issue as a symptom to be suppressed … “Okay, let’s just put something on this and make it go away.” A naturopathic doctor takes a different approach. We’re going to say, “Okay, you’ve got something going on your skin, but what is this a deeper symptom of? Is this a food intolerance or a food allergy? Is this how stress or anxiety is manifesting in your body?” Like you said, “Is this a sign of a thyroid disorder or something endocrine related? What is the root of this issue? Let’s find that deal with that so that the skin issue will be gone forever.”

The last time I was on, I talked a little bit about my own personal skin flares and soy, and a friend of mine, who we ultimately found out his was related to nuts.

Erin Brinker: Oh.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: He was grabbing a handful of mixed nuts every day and eating that as a snack, and lo and behold, that was his main trigger.

I think for people finding that underlying cause to whatever is manifesting is really the ultimate goal of naturopathic medicine. And so, that’s where we focus. And so we may utilize things like diet diaries and elimination rotation diets, but we also may throw into the mix anti-inflammatory diets or anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements. Things like fish oil and turmeric all can be used to help manage skin condition as can topical preparations of botanical medicine, different supplements and so on. So, there’s a lot to be said for many different types of approaches that support the body in healing the skin.

Erin Brinker: Wow. I’m just thinking about the guy thinking he’s being healthy by having nuts, a handful and nuts as a satisfying afternoon snack and found out that, no, no, it’s actually harming him. But your skin then is the canary in the coal mine, right? I mean it tells you when something’s wrong.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Your skin really is. And there is up to 80%, it’s estimated, of our immune system is actually housed in our gut. And so, if you’re having an immune response, autoimmune or an allergy response or a sensitivity response, that gut is going to be one of the first lines for that.

But the thing is, and this is one of the really cool things that I learned in naturopathic medical school was the embryological. So when we’re embryos and we’re developing, the gut and the skin actually develop from the same embryological membrane. And so, there is a very connected relationship between our gut and our skin, and how things are manifesting in the gut can ultimately surface on the skin. And so, it’s really fascinating, and one of those little tidbits that got pointed out and in the slew of “ology” classes that made my first year of med school.

But I do want to say though that I think it is fascinating, the relationship, and that’s one of the key pieces that NDs take home is there is a connection between the gut and the skin, the brain and the skin. Our emotions. And it’s not just one system, it’s all connected. And that’s why the holistic approach that we take to healthcare really means a lot to patients, and often uncovers things that they may not have realized otherwise.

Erin Brinker: So, where do you start out? And I’m thinking of people who deal with things like cystic acne or who maybe just have a cyst that keeps coming back, or whatever psoriasis, or any other skin disorder. Where do you start in trying to uncover the cause?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah. So, you start with a really good history. So often people are really smart. They know what’s wrong with them. They may just not have the medical language to assess that and share. But NDs, we’ll take our first office visit anywhere between one to two hours, and so we start with a really thorough history that covers everything from diet and stress and sleep and bowel habits and energy and sexual drive and all of that. And we roll that all into a very comprehensive history. There may be written intakes and written forms that you may be taking for your doctor as well. And then there’s a physical exam, and possibly lab tests, and maybe even referrals to specialists if needed. And all of that gets rolled into finding a diagnosis, finding the root cause, and starting to work with the patient on where that root is and what they’re able to do.

And so, one of the things NDs do is we meet patients where they are, and you have to know your patient. You have to spend time with them to really understand where that person is and what therapies they’re going to the most likely to stick. If you tell a lifelong vegan, “Hey, you’ve got to eat meat,” and just send them out the door, that’s probably not going to work so well. But if you talk to lifelong Vegan and say, “Hey, what do you think about this? Because what I’m seeing here is something that could possibly be helped by doing X,” and you engage them in the process and they may say, “Well, I’d be willing to try that,” or “I’m really not willing to try that. Give me something different.”

And so, you have to meet people where they’re at. We can’t make people heal. They have to heal themselves. And so, it’s really important that the patient be a partner in that healing, and be involved in the process. And it isn’t just this paternalistic system of “I’m going to tell you what to do. I know what’s right. You go do it.”

Erin Brinker: Right. Because we all know that doesn’t work, just telling people “Do it this way,” because if that were true, if it did work, we would have no Type II diabetics in the country.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: We’d have no smokers.

Erin Brinker: Right, right.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: We’d have no alcoholics.

Todd Brinker: “Just stop.” Sure.

Erin Brinker: Sure. That’ll happen.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Stop, yes. Just stop.

You bring up a really important point, and I talked earlier about the mental emotional component, and there is so much there that is mental, emotional. If you’re not dealing with that … Yesterday, we had a webinar on food as medicine, and we had almost 900 people sign up for it. And it was really fascinating to see how many people are really, truly interested in understanding that connection between what we eat and how we feel. Next month, we’re going to have a webinar on regenerative medicine and pain, natural approaches to pain.

But ultimately, I think people are really interested in knowing how they can take part in their healthcare, and take responsibility, and understand that that relationship. But when you get to the root cause, sometimes you’re going to uncover trauma. Sometimes you’re going to uncover deep-seated depression and anxiety and things that require work. And NDs are capable of doing that work or referring to folks who can do that work if it’s out of their scope.

But I think that that is so important in recognizing that we’re whole people. The head isn’t disconnected from the body. I know our system is very segmented. We’ve got, you know, dermatologists and gastroenterologists and neurologists, and it’s all important to have people who have very hyper-focused on an area, but we can’t forget the whole person in doing so. I think that’s where naturopathic medicine excels.

Erin Brinker: Indeed. So how do people get more information about the Association for Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, and more about you?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, sure. Well, we are on the internet, all over Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and on the web at AANMC.org. And next week, we’ll be at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians Annual Conference talking to folks about residencies. And how to become a residency sponsor or be a resident yourself. And so we’re all over the place, and we’re excited to be promoting this wonderful field of naturopathic medicine.

Thank you both for having me on.

Erin Brinker: Thank you.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And, Todd, welcome to the show.

Erin Brinker: Well, it is always, always a treat to have you with us, and we look forward to next month.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You Bet. Thanks so much folks.

Erin Brinker: Thank you.

Todd Brinker: Nice talking. Bye-bye.

Erin Brinker: So, with that, it’s time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker …

Todd Brinker: … and I’m Todd Brinker …

Erin Brinker: … And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA. We’ll be right back.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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Food as Medicine

Food as Medicine

Want to learn how to find health and healing in your kitchen? Join the AANMC and Dr. Aaron Wong for a free informative webinar to learn how your food choices can nourish your mind, body, and spirit. Good nutrition is core to overall health and fundamental to the naturopathic approach to wellness and disease management.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

Receive information from the accredited schools of your choice located across North America!

Food as Medicine

Want to learn how to find health and healing in your kitchen? Join the AANMC and Dr. Aaron Wong for a free informative webinar to learn how your food choices can nourish your mind, body, and spirit. Good nutrition is core to overall health and fundamental to the naturopathic approach to wellness and disease management.

*Webinar does not qualify for CE

Register Now!

*The information you submit in this registration will be used to inform you of updates to this event and will enroll you in the AANMC newsletter. The AANMC values your privacy. Please see how we protect your data in our privacy policy .

To view the archive of past webinar recordings, please click here.


About the Presenter

Aaron Wong, ND is a big proponent of food as medicine and growing your own food. He has been doing public talks on the importance of food and its impact on health from a mind, body, spirit perspective for many years. He is an avid gardener and an enthusiast of local plant medicine. After completing his degree in chemical and biological engineering at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Wong suffered a debilitating back injury that completely changed the course of his life. Through years of recovery and trying numerous conventional and alternative treatments, Dr. Wong found healing within mind, body and spirit medicine. Dr. Wong is a graduate of the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (BINM) and has additional training in acupuncture, IV therapy and chelation. He is also a Registered Therapeutic Counselor. Dr. Wong is the clinical director at Butterfly Naturopathic in North Vancouver and is an experienced Clinic Faculty Supervisor at BINM supervising third and fourth-year clinicians.

Register Now!

*The information you submit in this registration will be used to inform you of updates to this event and will enroll you in the AANMC newsletter. The AANMC values your privacy. Please see how we protect your data in our privacy policy .

Dr. Aaron Wong – BINM

“I believe that life is a journey and health challenges give us the opportunity to grow as human beings.  My enduring purpose as a physician is to be an active facilitator in the lives of my patients, teaching them that healthy choices come from remembering our innate worthiness.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Aaron Wong, ND, RTC, BASc started his path to naturopathic medicine with an undergraduate degree in chemical and biological engineering. He spent the early years of his career working in mining, oil and gas, while also operating his own biofeedback practice. After suffering a debilitating back injury that resulted in years of recovery, and experimentation with numerous conventional and alternative treatments, Dr. Wong found healing in naturopathic medicine. Experiencing the power of holistic medicine was the driving force in his career change to naturopathic medicine.

BINM as a springboard

Dr. Wong pursued his calling at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (BINM) in his hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia. The strong curriculum, small class sizes, close-knit community, and one on one instructor interaction was important to him. Further, the integration of basic sciences and exposure to multiple approaches to care were paramount to his education. Dr. Wong graduated with confidence from a wide variety of patient care experiences.

On a personal level, the rigorous curriculum and a challenge of balancing naturopathic medical school and daily life taught him perseverance, and helped define what he wanted in his career.

Immediately following graduation, Dr. Wong launched his own practice, began teaching courses in holistic nutrition, and continued his education by completing certifications in teaching, chelation, oxidative therapies, and prolotherapy.

Finding fulfillment as an ND

“I love that there is always so much to learn, and so many different directions that you can go with patient care. Naturopathic doctors fill needs in so many areas where mainstream medical or other modalities aren’t able to.” NDs offer hope to patients who think they are out of options.

“I believe that life is a journey and health challenges give us the opportunity to grow as human beings. My enduring purpose as a physician is to be an active facilitator in the lives of my patients, teaching them that healthy choices come from remembering our innate worthiness.”

Dr. Wong is the clinical director at Butterfly Naturopathic in North Vancouver where he works three days a week. The other two days are spent supervising third- and fourth-year clinicians at BINM.

“I believe that to teach is to learn, so I give back to the naturopathic profession as part of the clinic faculty.”

On the weekends, Dr. Wong reconnects with nature by spending time in his garden. He also enjoys walking through the forest with his dogs – especially during the summer months for cold hydrotherapy.

Food as Medicine

With fond memories of picking fresh produce from his grandmother’s garden, Dr. Wong is a big proponent of growing your own food as a means to healthy living and giving back to the earth. There is a great sense of accomplishment and pride in knowing that the food you grow is fresh, organic, and sustainable.

While working in Nicaragua with Naturopathic Doctors International, Dr. Wong saw firsthand the power of food as medicine. With limited income and resources, food was often the only medicine for some especially when supplements and further treatments were not affordable.

Dr. Wong shares his knowledge on food as medicine at local venues.

CLICK HERE to watch Dr. Wong’s AANMC webinar – Food as Medicine.

Advice for aspiring NDs

Dr. Wong offers the following advice for prospective students: “Be open minded and willing to see different perspectives. Be humble. Be inquisitive and curious. Be prepared to work on yourself. Be prepared to lead by example.”

To learn more about naturopathic medical education, click here.

Learn more about Dr. Wong

www.butterflynaturopathic.com

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 07/10/19

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate On the Brink to discuss how your food choices can impact your health.

Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • Food as a healing tool
  • Our emotional relationship with food
  • Common food-related symptoms people experience 
  • Elimination and rotation diets
  • And more…

Erin Brinker: Welcome back. 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 want to welcome back to the show Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is Executive Director for the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. In addition to that, she is the Chair of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health. She also serves on the Integrative Health Policy Consortium Education Committee. Weaving a passion for illness prevention into her professional life, Dr. Yanez’s career has spanned advocacy, academia, patient care, and public health. She joins us once a month to talk about issues related to health and naturopathic medicine.

Erin Brinker: Dr. Yanez, welcome back.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Hi, good morning and happy summer.

Erin Brinker: Happy Summer. After this unseasonably cool weather that we’ve had, I mean I wouldn’t say cool, but it’s been great, it’s been spring like, we now are into our summer temperatures.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: We sure are.

Erin Brinker: Tell us about, food as medicine and so what we eat really determines how healthy we are. I hear from people who have lost a lot of weight that what you put into your body is actually more important than the exercise that you do. Is that correct?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: There is such a real mix regarding each individual and what they need but that old adage, you are what you eat, really does carry a lot of weight. No pun intended there. I think that when we’re thinking about what we put in our bodies and I’ve been having conversations over the last couple of days and editing documents around this and we’re going to have a webinar on food as medicine on August 9th and so we’ve been talking quite a bit about that in our shop here at AANMC. But I think there really is something to what we’re putting in our bodies and how we feel. So many folks have been disconnected from food, from how it’s made, from how it’s processed, from what goes into it. A hundred years ago you knew where your food came from. You maybe killed or picked it yourself. We have become very detached as a culture, as a society, from what we’re eating, from where it comes from. I think that the more connected you can get to what you’re eating and how you feel afterwards, the better.

There was a phrase coined called mindless eating where people just eat and they’re not even thinking about what they’re eating. They typically will consume more calories as a result of that. There’s so much associated with being present, staying in tune and in touch with your body, and using food as a healing tool. Yesterday I was talking with a friend of mine and her husband was experiencing some skin issues and said that it’s really unusual because I shared a story of my own. I had had a rash that kept popping up on my face and for the longest time I could not figure out why I had this rash. I was eating “healthy,” whole foods, soy milk and whole grain cereal in the morning for breakfast and what have you. And I went on vacation to Puerto Rico and I won’t say that I threw my diet fully out the window, but 95% of it was out the window. But the funny thing is, my face cleared up and I went home and I’m like, I don’t get it. I was eating whatever I wanted and restaurant food and what have you but I came home and I started back on my “healthy” diet and the rash came back. I said okay, I’ve got to figure this bad boy out. I started eliminating things from my diet and low and behold, my healthy soy milk was giving me the rash.

Erin Brinker: Really? Are you allergic to soy or was there an additive in the milk that you think was an issue?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez:  I try to limit it now. I may have the occasional edamame if I go out, but there are a couple of factors at play with soy and I just wasn’t interested enough to try and find out which exactly it was but it could have been an additive in the soy milk or the processing of creating soy milk. It also could have been the soy itself. I’m just like, my face is clear. That’s what I care about.

But this gentleman shared a similar story. He’s said, “Yeah, when I go back home to Central America, my skin clears up.” Well, it’s easy and worth a shot rather than going down expensive medications and shampoos and all these sorts of things,  to try an elimination and rotation diet and I feel pretty confident that that will help shed some light on the cause of it.

Many people who experience inflammatory issues, Eczema, skin stuff, autoimmune stuff, will often find that their symptoms can be exacerbated by including certain things in their diet. Some of the most common offenders are caffeine and sugar and wheat, eggs, and dairy, but there can be some weird ones for folks. I’ve had people who have been sensitive to tomatoes or peppers or garlic and identifying what those things are for you because you’re a unique biochemical experiment in your own body, and identifying those things for that individual can be life changing. I’ve seen patients with asthma, patients with arthritis, patients with different skin conditions or autoimmune conditions, pretty much reverse their symptoms and their discomfort, gastroesophageal reflux disease, etc. with some small changes to their diet.

Folks will pop a Tums or some antacid or something and that’s managing the symptom, but it’s not addressing the cause. I feel like a broken record because every time I come on here, I talk about treating the whole person and treating the root cause but that’s really the tenants of naturopathic medicine. That’s what naturopathic medicine is founded on. It’s a focus on the root of the issue, don’t just minimize symptoms and really get to the cause of it and hopefully help somebody live a longer, healthier life.

Erin Brinker: I think I would actually go into mourning if I couldn’t have tomatoes and garlic.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You bring up a real important point. There’s an emotional component to food and it can be a process for some, of what is health worth to you? What is feeling good worth to you? And if you feel worse than you feel with the tomato and garlic in your diet then it will be worth that change for some. It’s like quitting any addiction. You have to ask yourself, why would I put something into my body that doesn’t make me feel good?

Erin Brinker: Absolutely. I just was processing that.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh my gosh, tomatoes, not my tomatoes. I’ve asked that question with countless patients over the years. What is your health worth to you? Ask yourself, if now that we know that this hurts you, you’re going to make a conscious decision at this point and that’s up to you and you’re a grown up, you got your big boy pants on, big girl pants on. That’s your decision to make at this point but now you have information and you can use that to bring yourself in a direction of health or bring yourself in the opposite way.

Erin Brinker: And clearly if that’s the issue, you have to do it. And there’s a lot of buzz right now about night shades. No, it’s Lectin, right? Lectin? That nightshades have the lectin. That it’s harmful for the body. Do you know anything about that?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Again, we are our own unique biochemical experience. Some people can be sensitive to nightshades. There was some research on auto-immune diseases and arthritis with night shades a number of years ago and books on that. And again, I think I always fall back to my golden rule, which is the elimination and rotation diet because nothing is as powerful. Some of the blood work, allergy panels and so on, may not always show foods that you’re sensitive to or things that may produce a mild inflammation but not a full allergy. I think that ultimately when you eliminate foods, either going on a water fast or a vegetable fast for a couple of days and then gradually adding things in, you’ll start to quickly identify what are the offending foods for you. Over the course of a week or two of doing something like that, it can be very eye-opening for people of, wow, my rash came back, or wow, my joints hurt when I eat that or wow, I get really sleepy and tired after I eat this. And journaling that and tracking it just like you would if it was a scientific experiment, that is really the definitive gold standard for understanding how that individual body responds to food.

Erin Brinker: We are about out of time. I understand you’re going to be doing a webinar on this topic. Let people know how they can watch that.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: We’re hosting a Food as Medicine webinar on August 9th. Please join us at aanmc.org/events. You can check out all the events that AANMC offers. We also archive all of our past webinars. We had a webinar yesterday on naturopathic cancer approaches. There’s always something new and fresh.

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