Todd Caldecott is a Medical Herbalist and a Practitioner of Ayurveda. He is also the Director of the Dogwood School of Botanical Medicine. He also wrote Food As Medicine which provides a practical and lucid model of what food is, how it impacts your health, and how to make the best choices in your diet
In this podcast, listen as he gives us tips and important information in order to get rid of Allergies and Fatigue as well as Weight Loss. There’s also additional information regarding dairy products and menopause!
Here are the Key Questions answered and highlights:
1. What is the purpose of detox according to ayurvedic principles? (01:27)
– Ayurveda doesn’t use the word “detox”
– Detoxification is a natural process we are constantly engaged in
– Every cell participates in detoxification
– In Ayurveda, Shodana means purification from the impure doshas of the body.
2. What do you recommend for people who want easy and light detox? (04:55)
– Avoid all components of the Standard American Diet (SAD)
– Since our bodies are always detoxifying, remove all obstructions that would impair the detoxification process.
3. What would you add to the program? (06:08)
Eliminate the following:
– Flour products
– Refined Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners
– Dairy with exception of butter or Ghee
– Fried Food, especially deep fried
– Reduce Animal Products — beef, pork, fatty meat
– Increase your vegetable or plant consumption
– Detoxification can range from a Water Fast to consuming a Simple Diet
– We put our tongue in charge of our diet, instead of the stomach.
4. Is there anything beyond food that Ayurveda recommends in terms of detox? (12:09)
– The Endiputhory organs: Lungs, Bowels, Liver, Kidney — 5 Channels of Detoxification.
– The liver is the body’s chief organ for detoxification
5. How about emotional detox, is that something Ayurveda talks about? (14:31)
– Detoxification is the process of letting go
– In Ayurveda, ‘sweet’ is represented in the concept of love.
– We’re using sweet foods as a proxy for love, to get our emotional need.
6. How do you help your patients find the time and re-prioritize their life? (22:41)
– It’s not me, it’s the ‘we’
– ‘What do I want to create in my life?’
7. Any parting tips on the detox? (26:00)
– In Food is Medicine Program, there’s a 4-hr lecture on detoxification
– Triphala helps purify the body of waste
– Ayurveda helps someone restore their balance
– You can take Triphala all the time. However, don’t be reliant on it.
8. What do you think about dairy? Do you recommend it? If not, what alternatives do you recommend? (29:09)
– There are 2 species if a cow, and they produce different types of milk
– The European species produces milk which contains an A1 tasting protein.
– A1 produces inflammation in the body
– The milk from the Indian species contains A2 protein.
– People are more able to deal with A2 milk than A1 milk
9. What do you recommend for someone who’s trying to be dairy free in the US? (32:15)
– Soya is not a milk, Soy milk is a bean
– Goat milk, Sheep Milk, Water Buffalo milk are good alternatives
– Milk has bacteria in it
– You should not consume milk out of the fridge cold, it should be heated up
– As soon as milk is cooled, Ayurveda says it should be purified or heat it to sterilize it
10. Almond milk, cashew milk, etc. What are your thoughts? Are they okay to drink? (35:40)
– They’re starch-rich extract on nuts which are low on protein
– These does not contain much nutrients, but starches
– It doesn’t contain protein and fat
11. What are your thoughts on artificial sweeteners, specifically Stevia and other natural ones? (36:44)
– There can be no real benefit in consuming artificial sweeteners over choloric sweeteners
– Stevia can be helpful in helping one keeping sugar level down
– Rather than sweeteners, train the body’s orientation towards sweet
– Address the unmet emotional needs, then the body’s desires will be lessened
11. Beans, Legumes, Soy, Corn — What are your thoughts on that? Are those good or bad for us? How should they be prepared? (40:10)
– For someone with an autoimmune disease, remove grains from your diet slowly
– Use fermentation
– When you fail to prepare these food traditionally, you have higher risk to disease
12. What are your top tips for someone who has begun the process of menopause going through all the symptoms? Is there hope? Is there a remedy? (42:55)
– There is a paradigm shift.
– In menopause, ovaries begin to shut down
– There is a loss of estrogen and progesterone
– The body then starts to store up fat, leading to menopause
– If they’re storing up fat in a healthy way, the butt and thighs get bigger than before
– The fat becomes the storage for estrogen
– The body is trying to liberate estrogen which causes a hot flash
Remedies for Menopause:
– vegetable sprouts such as brocolli sprouts, alfalfa sprouts
– Black Cohosh
– Sage, which is also one of the best remedies for hot flashes
– Shatavari herb
– Dong Quat
13. What about the Weight gain in menopause? What do you recommend? (49:05)
– Don’t worry about the hip and butt
– Women should have a waist-hip ratio of less than 8; the circumference of their waist should be 80% or less than the circumference of their hips
– If you maintain that, you will reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, dementia, risk of suicide, sleep apnea and more.
– This is the best clinical indicator for health
– The fat around the body is mostly due to insulin, not estrogen
14. What’s your response to someone who says ‘My kids have allergies’, ‘I have allergies’, ‘I have seasonal allergies’, ‘What can I do to be allergy-free’? (54:46)
– Support your liver function
– If you have seasonal allergies, Ayurveda’s Nasya says that in the morning, take a few drops of sesame oil and put it in nostril. The oil will bring down the mucus out through the mouth.
15. How quickly can they heal? How quickly can they be relieved? (59:47)
16. What are your thoughts on Spirulina and Chlorella? (1:05:55)
– There isn’t a history of people eating blue-green algae or spirulina
– Spirulina contains neurotoxins that chlorella doesn’t have
– Overtime, it can cause disease
– Listen to your body
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This is auto-generated and may have mistakes. Please listen to the interview for accuracy.
Reena: What is the purpose of detox according to Ayurveda principles?
Todd: Well, I really didn’t use that word detox so we have to do a little bit of translation of terms and understandings as well. I think there’s a lot of confusion about what detoxification is and in natural medicine circles and its implications for a scientific understanding versus that of it’s used or understood in Ayurveda and their systems of traditional healing. So if we if we first just look at the word from a scientific perspective detoxification. One thing that becomes clear is that we’re always detoxifying that detoxification is a natural physiological process that we are constantly engaged in and there are specific organs but every cell participates in this process of detoxification we have specialized cellular structures put like the endoplasmic reticulum for example it kind of functions like the liver of every single cell so every cell participates in this detoxification because when a cell absorbs nutrients and it utilizes nutrients there are waste products that have to be dealt with as a result so detoxification is just a normal part of our of our human physiology. When you hear people being skeptical about detoxification, say from a skeptical scientific side, they do not really understand the actual science behind it and all that we be saying from a natural medical perspective is that there are ways that we could enhance that natural physiological process. There are lots of claims as to what could be done with detoxification and what kind of results can be obtained. There are lots of different types of methods and not all the necessarily may be as valid as the other, so, it does take a fair amount of effort to sort through the warp and weft of all these different techniques and beliefs and perspectives to kind of come up with one that has a basis in both tradition and also can be supported by a scientific understanding. In Ayurveda there’s also a concept of detoxification although we use a different term we use the term shodhana which is purification and specifically it doesn’t refer to the purification of wastes from the but rather the purification from the impure doshas. These are homeostatic imbalances that arise within the body through improper diet you know poor lifestyle habits environmental factors. It disrupts these homeostatic mechanisms and then measures are undertaken to purify the body of those in doshas. Now, that isn’t exactly the same as purifying the body of wastes because what you’re doing essentially is you are trying to restore some into the state of homeostasis to a state of balance and that’s not exactly what we understand through the concept of detoxification but it does have a similarity there.
Reena: What would you recommend someone who is listening in and says, “You know I want to do some easy light detox.” What would you recommend?
Todd: Well, the simplest recommendation would be to avoid all those components of what we call the standard American diet. There are a lot of diets out there, a lot of books written on diets and they all claim to get all these great results. If they do get results, one of the commonality is that every one of these diet books recommend is to avoid eating all those components of the standard American diet, all those convenient junk foods, fast foods, refined foods, that comprise so much of our diet that we get used to eating on a regular basis because they’re cheap, they’re convenient, they’re easy, but those need to be eliminated. For a lot of people, just eliminating that itself can serve as a very powerful detox because remember, our bodies are always detoxifying it. What we want to do is we want to remove the obstructive elements in our diet that would impair detoxification we don’t even necessarily in many cases need to speed it up or to make it more efficient in an active way we just need to remove the encumbrance is that allow it to be dysfunctional.
Reena: What would you go to the program?
Todd: I would say is that for if you’re looking at it like a supposed to standard American diet, I would eliminate all the flour products from their diet. I would eliminate all sweeteners and refined sugars from their diet. I’d remove dairy from their diet with exception a little bit of butter or ghee. I would remove all fried food from their diet and especially deep fried foods and I would also eliminate much of the animal products that they would be eating not necessarily eliminate all the meat that are consuming but we would reduce a lot of it and we would choose certain types of animal products certain types of foods which are lighter that aren’t so heavy, so, we would avoid beef and pork really greasy heavy fatty meats and if meat was still to be consumed it would be smaller amounts. It would be leaner, it would be lighter so like fish poultry, etc., but just much smaller amounts.
Reena: So you would allow you would allow meat so you wouldn’t just say it needs to be a vegetarian diet you would allow meat?
Todd: It depends, what I’m saying is that, what the everyday diet of what people eat in America these days is a disaster, and if you just eliminate all those industrialized foods from the diet, that alone will serve as a very powerful detoxification. If you made no other change but to eliminate all those fast processed foods from your diet, you just eliminated them, be surprised how much of that actually comprises a person’s everyday diet, it’s huge and one of the things you’ll be noticing is that well, I’m eating a lot more vegetables that I’ve ever ate before on this diet so certainly increasing your vegetable plant consumption is going to be a major part of this as well. It might be that a vegetarian diet is appropriate depends on individual. Like in Ayurveda we’ve got different constitutional types. A lot of the combinations and different disease (Ayurveda terms) types that conform to those doshas. So, someone has very thin, skinny body type you can’t put them on a profound detox, you can’t put them on a one-week water fast, they won’t do well, they’ll be counterproductive. Likewise, someone who’s naturally very corpulent and in Ayurveda we call them kapha body types, just making some minor tweaks in their diets and removing certain foods might not be enough to initiate the kind of detoxification or cleansing response that we want. Our detoxification could range anywhere from something like a water fast to just consuming a simple diet. Then what constitutes that simple diet that could be just a very healthy version of the diet that they’re consuming now or it could be something that is even a little more Spartan, so one example you’re familiar with it you mentioned it before is Kitchari. Kitchari is rice and mung bean soup and this is a component of the graduated diet. So, eating something like kitchari for one to two weeks while not being an optimal source of nutrients, can be very powerful way to cleanse and detoxify not because the food itself is necessarily orientated towards that but because when you’re eating rice and dal, and just rice and dal on a regular basis, no matter how good you make it taste after eating and every day, all day, for three or four days, you’re pretty much sick of kitchari and dal and rice, like that’s it! Like in most people it’s like “ah! Enough!” What happens is that, if you keep eating it you’re just gonna be eating enough to satisfy you. You’re only eating if you have an appetite. Iit’s like “Oh I’m hungry. Oh… Just rice and all. I guess I’m not that hungry.” Well okay now, “I’m really hungry I’m gonna eat some rice and dal but I’m I’m not gonna over eat it. I’m not gonna eat so much that I’m going to eat too much of it. I’m always going to be eating just enough to meet my energetic needs and that’s it.” So, it helps to retrain your relationship with food because a lot of us now, we like to call ourselves foodies, we enjoy eating out, enjoy exotic flavors and one of the issues is that we end up overeating and we sort of deranged our taste orientation. We put our tongue in charge of our diet instead of our stomach and there’s a saying in Ayurveda that he or she who controls their tongue controls their life because the tongue itself is a metaphor for desire and it’s desire that usually brings us our biggest problem in life. They call it, desire versus aversion, we’re always compelled by these two and what orientating your diet towards eating these simple foods does is it reduces the influence of the tongue and its ability to commandeer your diet and just gets you back to eating the food which your body needs to function This is the one of the benefits also of undertaking in detoxification is it helps to serve as a reset. Over the years I’ve taught classes out of town and people come from out of town, they’re living in hotels and living in a B&B and they are eating here and there and they’re going to coffee shops and very often they complains like, “I don’t know, I’m just like my diet is like a chaos. I just can’t control anything.” Following a simple regimen like this can be very healing because it provides the required stability that the body is looking for of simple easy digestible nutrients that aren’t going to over stimulate the desire for food.
Reena: Is there anything beyond food that I really recommend in terms of detox?
Todd: Well once again, Ayurveda doesn’t really advocate for this process of detoxification like you find in the West and natural health circles. It’s not the same process, it’s a different process, so there are herbs that we will use to reduce the doshas and once again this is about restoring homeostasis so it’s hard for me to talk about it from a strictly basis of Ayurveda. If I sort of just extend beyond Ayurveda and just talk more generally about natural health and will include some science within it and some natural health practices. When we look at the body, the body has natural mechanisms of detoxification so every cell has this capacity for detoxification. There are certain organs that are more focused on that particular act and these are the Eliminatory organs, these would be the lungs, the bowels, the liver, the kidneys, the skin. These are the five channels of elimination We can engage in a number of practices that we could utilize to up regulate the function of those different organ systems. For example, if the liver deliver is the body’s chief organ of detoxification and so if we want to support this process of detoxification there are herbs, there are things that we can take that support that process for the liver. There are all kinds of herbs, most of them tend to be kind of bitter in flavor to up regulate the synthesis and excretion of bile. Others might contain sulfur to help with different facets of hepatic detoxification. There are many herbs that people will take on a detox, you can get them on a in a kit, you can get a product from the store, and you look at the herbs if it’s a well formulated product then it’s going to be containing herbs that traditionally are active on these different organ systems. Herbs that help to up regulate liver function, herbs that would help to up regulate kidney function, herbs that help to up regulate bowel function, etc. There’s a cornucopia of herbs that you could take in other substance that could help support all those different organ systems.
Reena: How about emotional detox, is that something that Ayurveda talks about?
Todd: Ayurveda is has its own particular cultural context and people function very differently in India than they do in Western society. People maintain a lot more intimate contact with each other, their family relations are usually a lot tighter, there isn’t the same boundaries around personal space that people have here in the Western world, people have a lot more religious or spiritual faith per capita than people would have in the Western world. They have different societies and different needs in that regard. Also, you might have noticed being Indian yourself that the pace of life tends to be a lot slower in India. People don’t tend to move so fast, they can, it’s like Mexico and it’s like any kind of warm tropical climate. As it gets warmer people tend to move a little bit more slowly just to you know not overexert themselves and create all this excess heat. We don’t really understand that at all, we have fractured society, we don’t have very strong family units, we are very affluent in the West so we have no reason to be dependent upon each other, so we just tend to keep to ourselves. It’s all these impediments to creating emotional connection in our Western society that, yeah for sure, we have to address those issues. Detoxification is a process of letting go. Williams Woodworth said “If the world is too much with us and we’re just too active and too engaged then our body can’t let go of those toxins, body can’t let go of those ways.” Now remember I had a patient once, a Jamaican woman and she was suffering from constipation and we’re talking about maybe some of the reasons for it and then she told me that under her bed she had a whole bunch of boxes and old books that she hadn’t gone through in years. I said, “Well, why don’t you go through that. You’re lying in bed, you’re thinking about all that stuff there and that’s kind of creating this this state of emotional tension so why don’t you do that.” So, she did that, she came back and says, “This guy’s right as rain!” because she dealt with that emotional congestion for her. It was just stuff under her bed, but for her represented something that she need to let go of. And you think about issues like constipation and people who hold onto their stool yeah for sure there is this issue of holding on that needs to be addressed this capacity to just let things go and allow the flow to happen not something that we in the West are very good at, we need to retrain it. One of the key things in any detoxification program, and this is true for Ayurveda, is that you can’t be working you can’t be trying to function like normal, you have to make some significant change because of all your energy is being taken up by your brain doing these different activities and all these worries and concerns there’s no energy left over for up regulating detoxification. So go on a holiday, go to your cab and take some time off of work. Do whatever you can to reduce the input and this will allow more energy to increase the outputs.
Reena: Yeah absolutely! I think we’re all running so far so fast so hard that the concept of rest, relaxation, timeout, rejuvenation almost seems quaint. As I listen to you as I listen to some of the other amazing docs and healers we have on our podcast, it just reminds me that it’s almost like we need a lifestyle redesign. That with the lifestyle were leading, unless we redesign the whole lifestyle like this piecemeal approach, isn’t going to work. I mean that’s what I did, I completely redesigned my entire 15 months of life to 100% heal but that’s hard to do as well, and it’s almost like our entire society needs to redesign its lifestyle. That’s not easy to do because we live in a highly complex world charged with media coming at us at all times, I mean you can’t watch a show without a dripping cheesy pizza staring at you or a Cinnabon or some chocolate KitKat break .How do you not go straight to the pantry and stuff your fat and sit up your face so it’s not easy I think living in the world we live in and not over indulge across the board.
Todd: Well we have to look at where it’s coming from, because a lot of people one of the reasons why they engage in these behaviors and most of these negative food behaviors are focused around eating sweet foods. Last time we talked about the manifestation of quality and how that’s important in Ayurveda. When we think about eating sweet food, in Ayurveda, sweet is represented by the feeling of love. When someone’s being sweet to us, when a baby is breastfeeding and drinking the sweet milk, when we’re engaged, when we’re in a new relationship and we feel the sweetness of that love, or the connection you might have with your child when you’re hugging them, all the sweet quality is something we all need to sustain ourselves and because in our Western society is so fractured we’re lacking that sweetness. What we’re doing is we’re using sweet foods as a proxy for love, to get our emotional needs met. I think it’s fairly obvious. Imagine a young woman who broke up with her boyfriend and she gets a container of Haagen-Dazs ice cream and puts on a rom-com and eats the entire container. It makes her feel better initially. Why is she doing it? She’s trying to create or recreate that sweetness in her life. Many of us are driven by that, and what I try to do with my patients is get them to realize that they have a deeper need for love and connection. That their desire for these sweet foods and junk foods, these are impulse foods, is a proxy for some unmet emotional need and so we look to find ways to meet that need.
Reena: That’s very profound. I know it’s going to change how I look at my sugar cravings because I’m a complete sugarholic. It’s the big joke in the family, don’t leave any cake or cooking around because it will not survive Reena. If you look inwards and you say, “Well I guess I need a lot more sweetness than I have in my life.” then I guess again back to the whole lifestyle redesign you redesign your life to bring some more sweetness into your life. It sounds good to everybody, who wouldn’t want to have more emotional sweetness in their life? The question though is, how do you prioritize and make time for it, because that’s the other thing. If you look at a typical 30 plus 40 plus year old person who’s got a career, who’s got kids, who’s married, there are so many priorities in line before you get to the I need to bring more sweetness into my life that you never get to it. Like in a to do list that’s a mile long and you’re at the bottom of that to-do list and I think something that I’m starting to hear and I’d love to get your thoughts is, how do you rearrange that to-do list and say “Nope. I am a priority and so my needs come first today and I’m going to prioritize.” How do you help your patients find the time and reprioritize their list?
Todd: When it comes to sweetness, it’s usually not an isolated individual experience. It’s usually not necessarily just about getting your needs met but can be about getting a broader need met. One of the ways to help people that are suffering from depression and just feeling lost in life, is to get them to volunteer and spend time with others who are less fortunate than they are, and they give that energy and it makes them feel incredibly happy and well, that they’re making a difference in people’s lives. Sweetness has a natural drawing-together energy, it’s like a gravitational pull. It’s about we, it’s not about me necessarily. It’s about reaching out and connecting and that’s why I think in places like India very often, interactions with people are often so sweet because people maintain that perspective. It is about the we, it’s not about just me, but in the West we’re kind of conditioned to think like that. We have to achieve for ourselves and it’s the fight for the top. So ultimately, what it should do, hopefully, is bring up some of these existential questions; one of which might be, what am I going to value on my deathbed. We’re all going to die, but what do you want to be thinking about is that, “I sure glad I excelled in my career and I got all things checked off of my to-do list” and “I got a lot of money even though one of my kids talked to me” and “I haven’t talked to my brother in 25 years”. It’s like what is the experience of your life that you want to have at the end of your life. Is it going to be one where it was just about a bunch of items on a list, or will it be about the memory of creating connection with others and the love that you generated over your lifetime. Most people it would be the latter, that’s what you want to be remembering at the end of your life, those are the things which are going to be significant to you because when you’re ill and infirm, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a whole bunch of money. What if you have people that love you and are taking care of you and it’s genuine, it’s not because you’re paying them. Such a feeling of gratitude will arise within your heart and so we can’t look at this issue without addressing the broader existential one, which is what do I want to create in my life? Is it just a bunch of numbers that quantitative model or is it that qualitative model that we’re after. I think for most people ultimately it is the latter, we want to have the quality of life. We know that isn’t necessarily tied to income, it isn’t tied to possessions. There’s a certain amount of possession and a certain amount of income we need but a lot of people are overachieve in that area and don’t get the other needs met as a result.
Reena: Question 1: What do you think about dairy? Did you recommend it? and if not what alternatives do you recommend?
Todd: What’s funny you know because every Indian physician that’s comes out of India will extol the virtues of dairy because all the classical texts of Ayurveda do as well. They talk about it as being one of the best most nourishing foods for human beings. It may seem a little counterintuitive because we’re talking about a baby food for an entirely different species of animal, but I don’t get caught up in that too much because humans do all kinds of weird things that might not necessarily seem exactly natural. We have some allowance there for, innovation. They’ve been consuming dairy in India for thousands of years and it’s been an important part of the diet for a very long time; however, it’s very clear that when people consume dairy here in the West, they get sick and unwell so early in my practice, 20 years ago, if someone was consuming dairy and had a myriad number of health issues it was an easy thing just to remove the dairy and probably they’re gonna come back in a few weeks feeling 50% better. How can it be that people’s experience in the West is so different than that traditionally ascribed in Ayurveda. It has to do with the species of cow that would get the milk from, there’s two species of cow Bos indicus from India and Eastern Africa and Bos taurus, which is from Europe and they produce genetically different types of milk. Bos taurus, the European species, which is we also have here in North America produces milk which contains an a1 casein protein, and this a1 casein protein is digested and metabolized in a different way it produces inflammation in the body; however, the milk from the Bos indicus, the indian desi cows, they call it, contains none of this it’s an a2 milk. So there’s this distinct difference between a1 and a2 milk and you’re starting to see that in the media now some recognition of this difference. Certainly my own experience has been that people are much more able to deal with a2 milk in terms of digestion in terms of any kind of adverse effects than they are with the a1 milk. That’s a big shift, and I myself, super allergic to dairy, I mentioned in the last interview that if I consume even like a tablespoon of milk or the conventional a1 milk I will get joint inflammation for 3 or 4 weeks. I know that because I was in India and Nepal I was consuming dairy there every day large amounts of it that came back on my flight stop to Frankfurt and I had a little piece of camembert cheese my flight back from Frankfurt and I came home to have joint pain for a few weeks after I ate that. So there’s a big difference between these two different types of milks.
Reena: What alternatives do you recommend for someone who’s trying to be dairy free in the US and what do you think of sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, soya?
Todd: We shouldn’t call soya a milk it’s not a milk and milk is a substance that’s produced by mammary glands, it’s got protein, fat, sugar, vitamins and minerals. Soy milk is just a bean that we you know we prepare as a broth and it doesn’t have anywhere near the same diversity of nutrients and it should not be called milk, so we called it soya bean juice it might be a lot less popular. It’s not really milk, however if you’re looking to consume milk and you have problems with conventional milk, then typically goat milk or sheep’s milk, water buffalo milk could be good alternatives. It’s important thing to remember about milk is that it’s an ecology. It has bacteria in it and that you shouldn’t just consume it like just right out of the fridge-cold. All milk should be heated up before consumed if not consumed fresh from the cow itself. If you’re just right there while the cows being milked then you can drink that milk, but as soon as it cools to the local ambient temperature or is refrigerated, Ayurveda says that it is exceptionally bad for the body and needs to be purified and home pasteurized. It’s just like you would might make some like a chai masala at home where you bring the milk to a boil and there’s still a simmer for five or ten minutes that helps sterilize it. That also helps to make it more digestible so a lot of people’s milk issues can be attributed to, like kids would come out home from school and they’ll open the refrigerator and open up a milk carton, “glug, glug, glug”. Cold milk with all this bacteria in there. We think that pasteurization kills bacteria but it doesn’t kill all the bacteria, if it did kill all the bacteria then your milk wouldn’t putrify after a week or so. Flash pasteurization only kills some of the bacteria that would turn it into a clabber, which is kind of a yogurt like substance. They kill that bacteria, they bring the milk to a temperature about 72 degrees Celsius for about 10 or 15 seconds, it kills all those fermentative bacteria but it leaves the heat tolerant future factor bacteria intact. So you can actually measure the bac kill cell count of conventional pasteurized milk and see that it contains a significant amount of unhealthy bacteria that you’re swallowing down every time you drink the cold milk. Regardless of what you do with the a1 milk, it’s an amino reactive substance, so if you are reactive to milk then you’re probably still gonna be reactive to it. A lot of lactose intolerance, isn’t lactose intolerance, it’s a reaction to the protein in milk, to the a1 protein.
Reena: That clarifies a lot so that’s one theory and of course I’m assuming you mean nut milks are not milks either. Almond milk, cashew milk. What are your thoughts on those though, are they ok to drink?
Todd: Well, what you’re doing when you’re making those things, is you are mostly washing off the starches. There’s starch rich extracts of nuts that usually are low in protein. If you ever made your own homemade almond milk or cashew milk, you soak it and then you blend it up and then you strain it out. Mostly what you’re getting is the starch, so it’s usually just a starchy substance which doesn’t contain much in the way of nutrients except for starches. Not so good for your blood sugar. I’m not saying that you can’t have it but it’s like eating white rice. It’s just sort of empty of a lot of nutrients that you need, and if you were using it like a milk, as a source of protein. You would be mistaken, because it doesn’t contain those.
Reena: What are your thoughts on artificial sweeteners and then specifically stevia and some of the other natural ones that have been getting a lot more attention including monk fruit?
Todd: Well, the research on natural sweeteners is a little murky. It’s hard to get a good handle with regard to the overall impact if you want to come from a scientific perspective. There’s some research that some artificial sweeteners could be carcinogenic, they could be neurotoxic but the science on them isn’t clear. There’s some research that shows that could be the case, other research that shows that that’s not the case. The fact that these artificial sweeteners that have been approved for general use in food and beverages suggests that, least for the regulators, there’s enough confidence that they’re not problematic, but for someone like myself, I’m not confident about it. I’m just referencing some experiences that I’ve had. You drink something with Aspartame and get some kind of mild headache or some kind of weird feeling in your head. There is a reason why that might be happening, because aspartame contains high levels of phenylalanine, and when you take any amino acid highly purified and consume it in large amounts, it will displace the absorption of other amino acids in our brain. Amino acids are what we use to manufacture many neurotransmitters, so you could be altering the neurochemical balance of your brain by consuming some of these artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Also aspartame has a methyl-ester so it’s source of methyl alcohol and no one recommends you ever consume methyl alcohol because it’s toxic, so that’s also concern as well. Part from the specific toxicities of these substances which are a debate, however one thing that’s clear is that whenever you eat something sweet regardless of whether it’s actually calorically sweet or not, it still induces a similar response in the body. The brain still responds to it like it’s sweet and still induces the same kind of metabolic problems that we see with eating caloric sweets. We actually see that there can be no real benefit to consuming artificial sweeteners over caloric sweeteners because they still induce the same kind of insulinemic response they still induce an insulin response.
Reena: Even stevia?
Todd: Even Stevia can do that. Stevia can be very good at helping wean someone off of sugar and get their sugar consumption down. It’s probably better overall but still you’re taking very powerful substances that are tricking the body into thinking that it’s consuming something sweet and the body’s still gonna respond like you have consumed something sweet. Rather than just using replacements for sweet ideally, what we do is we train our orientation towards sweet. That’s why we can’t leave behind the emotional components of what sweetness represents, because once again people are used to consuming these foods because they have some other unmet emotional need. If we can address those things, then this desire for sweet isn’t all-consuming.
Reena: What about grains? When I say grains I mean beans, legumes, soy, corn, what are your thoughts on that? Are those good for us? Bad for us? How should they be prepared?
Tood: That’s a subject for a very long lecture because there’s so many types of grains and different methods of preparation. Just generally speaking, if I’m dealing with someone with autoimmune disease, then I’m definitely removing cereals, grains, legumes from their diet, absolutely. If I’m not seeing those issues and digestive issues, then we are allowing cereal, grains but they need to be prepared. I mentioned in the last interview that one of the primary ways that we do this is to use fermentation. If we don’t use fermentation there’s some other method or preparation. For example, they been eating corn in Central America for thousands of years, but they always mix them alize the corn. They would collect the ashes from a fire and they would put in some water and so it becomes a very alkaline substance, then they would put the corn in there and they would cook it. What this very alkaline substance does is, it breaks down the corn and deactivates some of those antinutrient factors so then you can make what’s called the masa, which then you would then use to make tortilla, but when you don’t do this and corn isn’t part of your diet you end up getting a disease called pellagra. It’s characterized by the four D’s. It starts with diarrhea followed by dermatitis and dementia and then death and if you look at the four D’s they’re remarkably similar to the progression of celiac disease. What’s interesting is that when you fail to prepare these foods according to their traditional methods you put yourself at risk of disease. This is one of the things that we really need to undertake is that whatever cereal grain or legume etc., that you’re consuming look to the culture of its origin and how it was traditionally prepared and followed those practices as best you can.
Reena: I had no idea that that celiac disease’s progression was similar to something that people have been experiencing under different names and different cultures. It is interesting how its cycle, like it all comes around and if we do things that break the rules of nature we pay the price, it’s just the names change, the labels change, the titles change. It’s like you’re suffering from this illness that you would have suffered from 5,000 years ago if you were breaking the rules of how the body is meant to live.
Reena: What is Ayuverda’s or what is your top tips for someone who’s begun the process of menopause going through all the awful symptoms? Is there hope? Is there a remedy?
Tood: Absolutely! it’s a profound time in a woman’s life. Women are perhaps even more so, than men, are directed by biology. I don’t think that many women would argue that their emotions and their state of mind is not affected by their menstrual cycle. Even if you are relatively balanced, you can still feel it when you’re PMS-ing and when you’re ovulating. All those different changes that happen in the ups and downs of all of that and what’s happening with menopause is that, that is being removed, that’s no longer becomes the paradigm by which you self-identify. It’s a kind of alchemical process where there’s a significant transformation within the woman. One thing that happens very often for women, is that they suddenly discover that they don’t really need men anymore. If they were heterosexual though, they’re like “well, I’m not ovulating and I’m not menstruating. I’m no longer spending every month generating this party in my belly to host a baby and most the time I don’t get pregnant. Now I have menopause, I’m not another slave to biology anymore.” A lot of relationships start to go through some problems or some changes right around this time, as the woman realizes that the paradigm has shifted for her. That’s usually significant. It is something that for a lot of women I think can be a real challenge because they’re like “why do I feel so differently. I don’t feel the same.” Because you’re not. You’re undergoing this sort of alchemical process or change that’s huge. It’s one of the biggest changes that will happen in your life. What we know from a physiological perspective is that your ovaries begin to shut down and you’re no longer synthesizing or releasing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Both of those hormones are associated with all the secondary female sexual of characteristics that make you feel like a woman. The loss of them has a big impact upon that feeling or that being a woman. What the body does to compensate or right around this time is it tends to start storing more fat. Leading up to menopause the body starts to store more fat and if it’s storing fat in a healthy way then you’ll typically notice that your butt in your thighs are getting a bit bigger than they were before and hopefully not your belly because that’s different, that’s induced by insulin and cortisol. It’s estrogen which stimulates this fatty accumulation and you store estrogen in your fat. The fat becomes an organ for storing estrogen and your body will induce these thermogenic hot flashes to increase metabolism to release the stored estrogen within those fatty tissues, or to convert the androgens, which are still being secreted by your adrenal glands, which then circulate to fatty tissues and are converted by an enzyme into estrogen. Fat becomes the source of estrogen for you in your peri and postmenopausal life. We see that a lot of women when they go through menopause if they can carry a little more fat on their butt and their thighs that they tend to have a lot easier time with menopause. It’s usually the women that are quite thin and skinny, they have a harder time with it. That’s a hot flash. That’s why you get hot flashes, your body’s trying to liberate stored estrogen. If you have a lot of hot flashes, your body’s trying to liberate estrogen that might not be there because you might be a skinny body type or your body hasn’t stored enough and so we need to supplement or support that loss or that deficiency. Fortunately, there are some fantastic herbal medicines for this and there are also good foods as well that are naturally rich in what we call phytoestrogens. All those legumes, if they’re properly prepared, can be very good source of phytoestrogens. Vegetable sprouts like broccoli sprouts, alfalfa sprouts also can be a good source of phytoestrogens. There are herbs also that we can use to help regulate and manage menopausal symptoms, herbs like black cohosh, sage. Sage is one of my best herbs for reducing menopausal hot flushes, very good for that. Just a regular garden sage, you can just prepare it as a regular herbal tea or you could use it in formulation as a tincture. It’s what we call a refrigerant, it cools the body down so it can help to manage especially an hour before you go to bed, it will actually go a long ways to help mediating the flushes, but we have to give the body something else that’s nourishing because you’re losing this feminine essence so we have to support that. This is why we also use herbs, the indian herb Shatavari, which you might have heard of before, which literally translates to “she who has 100 husbands.” It helps to support that declining feminine essence, essentially and it also can help boost estrogen status. Another herb that’s really good for this is the dong quai, the Chinese Angelica sinensis, peony root is another one’s good for this. I’m just giving you a few herbs there that can be a part of a protocol to help a woman manage this transition, but it is a transition, it is the normal stage of life it is not a pathology, like it’s typically viewed in Western medicine and hence there are really useful traditional ways to support this transition and make it as seamless as possible.
Reena: What about the weight gain in menopause? That seems to be another really big issue. I’m understanding now sort of the physiology behind it but what can women who are putting on weight not able to lose it, what do you recommend?
Todd: I don’t worry about the hip and butt fat, I mean if you think that age, 55, you should have the butt of an 18 year old girl, I can’t do anything about that. That’s just not gonna be the case, well it shouldn’t be the case. There is a difference between being obese and unhealthy versus having a little extra padding on your butt and your thighs, that would be a source of estrogen for you. One of the things that I will say is that all women throughout their lifetime should maintain a waist to hip ratio of less than 0.8. That means that the circumference of their waist, which is the measurement goes around your bellybutton well just below your ribs and above your hip bone should be 80% or less than the circumference of your hips, and that measurement is taken across your pubic bone and across the greater trochanter that bumpy part of your hips that sticks out at the side. Take those two measurements, measure them and your waist should be 80% that of your hips. If you maintain that you will reduce your risk dramatically of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, risk of suicide, sleep apnea the list goes on and on and on. It’s actually the best clinical indicator. It actually outperforms BMI and outperforms any blood test. It is the best overall predictor of Health. What I’m saying then, is that as a woman you want to maintain, to whatever degree your body naturally has it, that feminine hourglass-like shape. Now some women are very curvy and someone in are less curvy, but all women are gonna have some kind of curve there. If they grew properly and they just don’t have it some kind of genetic abnormality women have this natural hourglass shape you should maintain that throughout your entire life. Just accumulating a bit of fat on your butt and thighs is not going to throw that off, but if you’ve got that apple shape, if you’ve got that weight accumulating around your middle and your perimenopausal/menopausal, that’s an indicator for a dramatically increased risk of all the diseases that affect us in the Western world. So you want to make sure you undertake measures to address that, but that fat that you accumulate around your belly that’s all induced by insulin not estrogen and that relates mostly to the overconsumption of sweet foods. It is interesting that a lot of women who are going through menopause they start to gorge on those sweet foods because they’re not getting that sweetness met within their life. So instead of making those changes that they need to make in their life to get that they’ll just you know eat ice cream and pastries and you know wonder why they’re getting fat so there needs to be sort of a recognition of what’s happened to their bodies and what their physiological and emotional needs are.
Reena: Got it, but nothing specific like herbs or any other dietary changes that you would recommend for someone who’s menopausal that’s going through some tremendous weight gain issues?
Todd: Reduce the amount of carbohydrates that you’re consuming. Follow that diet that I recommended earlier, which is eat a fat-protein rich breakfast. Avoid eating many carbohydrates throughout the day, introduce some carbohydrates for your evening meal. Otherwise avoid sugars and get your emotional needs met through creative release, through hanging out with other women. This is something I think that becomes really important for women as they go through menopause, is to have this connection with other women that are going through a similar experience. I think hanging out a bunch your girlfriends playing djembe, can be way more nourishing than sitting at home with a container of ice cream, wondering why your husband isn’t paying attention you.
Reena: So true. What great advice there. Girl-power. Let’s start some heal circles in different cities. That’s one of the things we’ve done, we’ve started a heal circle monthly group that comes and meets together and it’s just once a month and we talk, we share, we meditate. It’s just been fabulous.
Renna: Last question for this interview, allergies. So the’re rampant, more and more kids are getting them. What’s your response to someone who says “My kids have allergies. I have allergies. I have seasonal allergies. I’m popping pills. What can I do to be allergy-free?
Todd: Well that was me. I was like that I was allergic to everything. I hated this time of year, May, as a kid I hated it because I was just mess. I was sneezing all the time and you know you sneeze 40 times in a row, you get a sore throat, you feel like you’re sick. So every spring it would come along I just feel like I was sick. I get like a two or three month cold. I don’t have that problem anymore. I don’t have that issue but I don’t eat also the foods that I used to eat, I don’t eat any flour products, I don’t eat any dairy, I avoid sugar for the most part, I don’t have the same amino reactivity. One thing is, that imagine if you have seasonal allergies there’s always pollen that’s floating around, and your mucous membranes are heavy and sticky and capture that pollen as you breathe it in and out of your nose and they get stuck in the mucosa. If you eat really sticky heavy congesting foods your mucosa, mucus is going to be a lot sticky and heavier and it’s going to catch all that pollen and not let it go so by changing the quality of your diet you actually are able to resist the pollens from activating an immune response. It’s apart from the fact that all those foods just kind of set off your immune system so that all it takes, like the straw that breaks the camel’s back, is just this one external influence of pollen to just allow everything to just go into a state of disorder. Allergies are like building block, let’s say you need to go over a threshold of 100 to have an allergic symptom; stress accounts for 20%, let’s say that what you’re eating accounts for another 70%, so there you’re just at a hundred, and then pollen comes along, boom! You’re right over the threshold. Some of those things you can remove and some of those things you can’t. You might be able to reduce your stress but probably not completely but you could end up reducing a lot of the foods that you eat that are problematic. I figured this out when I was 18 that I’ve I didn’t eat dairy and flour in the months leading up to hay fever season I wouldn’t have any hay fever symptoms. I figured that out at a fairly young age, because it was so debilitating for me, it just wasn’t worth it. It could be a challenge though, because some people just really like those foods and have a hard time giving them up. It’s like a person that eats the foods and gets heartburn every time they eat that food but they keep eating it. It’s like they know that it causes heartburn but they keep doing it to themselves anyway. Ultimately it’s like, what do you prefer in your life, that five minutes of gustatory satisfaction or days of feeling unwell. For me it was a pretty easy assessment to make. Avoid those flour products, dairy products, sugar, absolutely. Support your liver function because your liver is the organ which is detoxifying all these substances, and if it’s overwhelmed then the substances that are coming into the body are not going to be properly processed and it’s going to increase the overall inflammatory load. You want to support the function of the liver, that’s the way a lot of traditional herbs work as well. If you have seasonal allergies, like in your nose, there’s a technique that we use from Ayurveda that’s really good for this. It’s called Nasya. What you do is in the morning when you get up is you take a few drops of sesame oil, two or three drops of sesame oil and instill them into each nostril. Each time you do it just snort that oil back into your nasal pharynx and that oil will come down the back of your throat, and it will bring with it mucus and you just want to like expectorate that mucus out to your mouth. You follow that by yoga practice called Nadi Shodhana on Aloma voluma which is alternate nostril breathing. This technique takes literally three or four minutes a day, but if you do that in conjunction with those dietary changes, you won’t have any seasonal allergies. I’ve treated this many times, very confident in that basic technique.
Reena: Really so the nasty oil that I’ve typically used, is the one that I purchased, the doctor lads Nausea Oil, I just get it off of Amazon, it has like four or five things in it. You’re saying it could be something as simple as just sesame oil, that you just take a dropper and pour in your each nostril, is that correct?
Reena: Wow I didn’t realize it was that simple. Let’s say there’s someone who’s listening and has severe allergies and they say that you’ve inspired them Todd, they’re gonna fix their diet, they’re gonna get rid of the dairy and the grains and the sugars and the white flours and they’re gonna go in this very healthy diet and they’re gonna do the sesame oil in the nose because they’re gonna watch some videos in YouTube and they’re gonna do they’re Nadi Shodhana exercise. How quickly can they heal? How quickly can they start to see relief?
Todd: In a matter of weeks typically they should start seeing results within a week and I would say by two or three weeks they should notice a very big reduction in symptoms and by a month they should be symptom free. Now that might not be every single persons case, some people might have very long-standing issues but when the correct measure is applied it’s like a key in a lock, and everything just follows suit. It’s not that difficult to promote those changes. It takes a lot of mental conditioning because people aren’t usually aware of how significant it is to stop eating bread, because it’s such a go to food for them, like they come home from work, they’re hungry, have some bread. When you remove that from their diet they’re like, “There’s nothing else to eat!” Of course there’s lots to eat but it doesn’t feel like that initially. It takes some retraining of the mind and that’s a bigger process. If someone is seeing me as a patient and I can walk them through all these steps and absolutely it’s just a matter of weeks, for someone doing on their own that doesn’t have that support, it may take them a little longer, or there’ll be some issues that arise that they have to work through, but nonetheless if they just follow that basic protocol, avoiding sugar, flour products, dairy. If they just did that for me and did nothing else, didn’t even bother doing the nausea oil or nadi shodhana they will get significant results. There’s also some additional things, I mentioned herbs that they can take. For years I prescribed a really cheap effective Chinese patent formula called Pe min kan wan, it’s it helps to break up all the congestion in the respiratory system. So it’s pe min kan wan, it’s P-E next word M-I-N next word K-A-N then W-A-N, which means tablet, pe min kan wan. They’re very cheap. You get them off Amazon. They also go by the name nasal clear and you can take we’re between 3 & 5 of those little green pills 2, 3 times a day while you are engaged in this weaning process and that will provide some very good herbal support to relieve off your symptoms.
Reena: Will that also help with things like red eyes, itchy allergy eyes, or is it primarily for congestion?
Todd: Absolutely. It’s the same allergic reaction, so I don’t get that either. When I was a kid, eating all those foods, we had cows. Our backyard used to be a border on a pasture and I cut the lawn and I would just be feeding the cows the grass. I would just be covered in hives, sneezing my head off. I can literally stick my head into fresh-cut grass, I don’t have any reaction to it whereas before it would they would send me into an allergic spiral.
Reena: That’s incredible that the body gets so sensitive to something so basic as grass and you do a few things and it just calms down. It sounds so simple, given that there are billion dollar industries that are built around helping people with this issue. You made it sound so simple Todd.
Tood: Consider this one thing. What is wheat, wheat is a grass, so if you have allergies to grass stop eating it.
Reena: There you go, how profound is that.
Todd: You’re overloading your body.
Reena: Yeah, absolutely. Well there’s a whole fad around drinking wheatgrass.
Todd: It’s a different thing, the grass itself doesn’t contain the same amino acid substances as the seed itself. We talked about that a little bit last time but nonetheless I know that if I have wheat grass, I feel in my body and it’s not necessarily a positive thing. I think some people take it because it actually induces an allergic response and they get kind of pepped up that kind of stimulated from this allergic response. It’s the same effect that sometimes people get from taking spirulina, some of these other green foods that might be a little toxic to us, they get a kind of a stimulus response effect. It’s really just the nervous system going to a little bit of overdrive but it’s not necessarily a good thing.
Reena: So spirulina, I had not heard that about spirulina. I’d absolutely heard about wheatgrass and how if you have allergies to wheat you really shouldn’t be drinking wheatgrass juice no matter what the new fad says but I had not heard the same around spirulina. I’ve heard that both chlorella tablets and spirulina are fantastic in terms of anti-inflammatory and healing and having micronutrients. I guess we have one more question for you. What are your thoughts on those two?
Todd: Well we all live in the same world and we can’t say that people’s experiences of reality could be so different so as to create all this confusion. But spirulina is a blue-green algae, it’s a contaminant of fresh water supplies, so that public health officials who are given the task of ensuring healthy safe water, when they see blue-green algae growing in our aquifers then they shut down the water supply. Then they purify that water. They tell people and their dog owners, don’t let your dog go into this lake because there’s a blue-green algae bloom. So it’s a contaminant of water on the one hand and then on the other hand it’s the proposed superfood. So how can we live in the same reality and say that both are true. The reality is that, if you were walking past a lake and it had blue-green algae growing in it, you wouldn’t stop there to get water out of it. You’d be like “Ooh! I’m not gonna get water from that! So slimy and green.” You want to get your water from a fast flowing glacial Creek, it’d be great that’s what you want but not from some you know congested slow-moving body of water that has all these things. Yes, stagnant pond. You wouldn’t want to do that. The reality is that there just isn’t a history of people eating the blue-green algae in any significant way, now that said I don’t have the same problems with the green algae, with the chlorella. I don’t see any issues with that but on scientific basis we know specifically that the blue-green algae can contain the neurotoxins that the chlorella does not have. This is my concern, is that the blue-green algae has one particular neurotoxin called BMAA. It’s a well-defined neurotoxin that’s established in the medical literature and as far as I know all the companies that are producing spirulina do not test for all the different toxins that are naturally found in spirulina, they don’t publish them, they don’t have any like standard limit for acceptability etc. It’s a little bit like the Wild West, so I might not be against spirulina if those manufacturers could absolutely say that they tested their product for all the different types of neurotoxins that are naturally found in spirulina, or potentially found in spirulina and ensure that they’re not in there but they’re not doing that and that’s why I caution people against them.
Reena: Got it and would the effect of that neurotoxin be immediate or overtime?
Todd: Be over time and it would cause like an ALS-like symptomology, like Lou Gehrig’s disease. We’re talking severe problems. I’m happy to send you a paper on it, there’s a landmark paper that was written on it.
Reena: How are these things being allowed, I mean it’s really unfortunate that something that could cause such severe long-term reactions is allowed to be sold with no supervision whatsoever and is openly marketed and supported by a lot of really famous popular people. So of course a lot of people like me that listen to them saying “hey if this so-and-so is recommending spirulina, I’m gonna add it to my diet” not really understanding that there might be some severe repercussions down the road, according to what you’re sharing.
Todd: Absolutely! I actually wrote a blog on this and I’ve tried to publicize it and let people know I’ve spoken out against blue-green algae many times. It’s not to say that I’m a hundred percent against it but I have a lot of concern about where it’s sourced how it’s manufactured and what kind of testing that they use. I can tell you that the hype around it, because blue-green algae started off as a multi-level marketing product and that’s why there’s this persistent hype around it, because it still has that same kind of hard sell to it, that this is the one thing it’s gonna change your life. It’s just it doesn’t do it. I haven’t seen it and because I’ve been with that for thirty years. I’ve seen people take it and it not make any change and sometimes make some deleterious changes to their health. Here’s the thing, you know that I’m affiliated with Ayurveda. Ayurveda has been around for thousands and thousands of years when you look at a thousand years of time it’s not that many human generations. Not much time for people to get something right, so my general thesis is that if it hasn’t been around for a thousand years I just willing just to trust it. That sounds like maybe a little obtuse, but the thing is that, yeah a thousand years isn’t that much time to really test if something is true. That might seem kind of weird to say because in medicine and we have all this evidence, but one thing you understand about medicine is that medicine has about a 40-year shelf life, which is to say that clinical truths only lasts about 40 years before they begin to fall apart. You see this all the time, like this is the state of the art for treating this particular disease, 40 years from now I’d be like “You know we were doing it completely wrong. We had it backwards.” They will never admit like that but it’s like “Yeah we don’t do that anymore.” We don’t do electroshock therapy for PMS like we used to. We don’t use HRT anymore for a menopausal women like we used to. The thing is you have to understand that if something hasn’t been around for a long time it hasn’t really stood that test of time and that’s why I appreciate Ayurveda and other truths and its methods so much because they’ve been vetted by generation after generation to determine whether or not they’re safe and effective. Something like Spirulina, it doesn’t have that history behind it. It’s really something it just came about in the 1980s as a get rich scheme for some people that would harvest the blue-green algae in Klamath lake, which is sitting on a migratory bird group which is full of bird poop. The fecal coliform counts were super high in the original product. It’s just to have to go on and on about it, but I think it’s important when you’re placing your faith in natural medicine make sure that it isn’t misplaced by a flash in the pan. Make sure that it has empiricism behind it because if it doesn’t have the science behind it, necessarily, then you want to make sure that it is the long-held traditional practice.
Reena: Yeah. That it really goes back to what were your ancestors eating. What was their diet and lifestyle like at least from an Indian perspective. We have a very rich tradition and culture and it is lost now to those of us who’ve not been in India. I wasn’t raised in India and so my exposure to it has been minimal but whenever I would visit it was very clear that they all kind of had some you know, the way they ate their food, when they did their food, what they mixed with what. Sort of the whole meal was very structured and apparently it was all based on word of mouth. Kids learning from parents how to cook their food and when to eat what. A lot of rich history in eating the right way for health, that is certainly lost to a lot of us, and I think you’re reminding us again go back to basics, go back to the trusted source of information for your own personal help. I may be looking to my Indian tradition but someone from Europe might be looking to their tradition to seeing what foods were eaten in their culture and maybe someone from Mexico or Spain is going to go back to their tradition. So really going back to your own ancient traditions and cultures in terms of eating for health, is that a fair statement?
Todd: It is, but we live in a global culture and I’m inspired by that. Look at me, I’m a white guy with blue eyes that practices Ayurveda, certainly isn’t a part of my family tradition. I think that we have so much to teach each other. I don’t see distinct borders around ethnicity and geography. I think that we can all benefit from that knowledge and then, of course we always need to relate it to our individual self. Given that I’m Northern European heritage there are some things that are practiced in Ayurveda or India which might not necessarily be ideally appropriate to me but it doesn’t mean that I should just follow, the ancient traditions of England or something, even if they could be unearthed, much of that has been lost. Because there’s been so much damage to traditional knowledge that it’s a patchwork and we have to bring it together, so I’m inspired by all these different global traditions and we have to pay attention to individual factors. Of course our own ancestry is important, but even more than that ancestry just our own individual experience is important, this is where it comes down to listening to your own body. There’s no substitute for that. It’s your body, you listen to it, you are the best one to determine whether or not something is appropriate or inappropriate, so you need to listen to your body.
Reena: Great words of wisdom Todd you’re amazing thank you so much for taking all this great time to share your insights, share your learnings. Thank you so much and keep doing the great work you’re doing and we’ll post all the links to your site, to your books, and to some of the herbs that you mentioned in the show notes, but again I want to thank you so much for your time.