There is nothing more frightening than a cancer diagnosis and it’s happening more and more often now. To make matters worse, during your treatment you seem to become a faceless patient given an endless series of drugs and procedures without any consideration for you as a person.
My guest on this episode is here to tell us that cancer doesn’t have to be this way. Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D. is an expert in Integrative/Functional Medicine specializing in the prevention and treatment of cancer. She is the medical director of The Cancer Center for Healing and Center for New Medicine located in Irvine, California. She is also the author of The Cancer Revolution and Be Perfectly Healthy.
With over 30 years of experience in medical care, Dr. Connealy uses patient-first methodology which requires treatment of the whole person and understanding that each case is unique. Given the grim cancer statistics, it is likely that most of us will face our own cancer scare at some point in our lives making this episode a must-listen.
Tune in to discover:
- Dr. Connealy’s background and why she chose the medical field
- Her approach to nutrition in the prevention and treatment of cancer
- Why other doctors don’t recommend lifestyle change as treatment
- Dr. Connealy’s methods for supporting cancer treatments
- Her top recommendations for cancer prevention
- The doctor’s first steps in cancer treatments
- The importance of starting a child on a healthy journey before conception
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.
Enter the Zone: A Dietary Road Map by Barry Sears, PhD
Connect with Dr. Connealy:
LinkedIn: Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.
Facebook: Leigh Erin Connealy, M. D.
Thank you to all who’ve made this show possible. Our hosts are Diana Rodgers and James Connelly. Our producer is Emily Soape. And of course, we are grateful for our sponsors, Patreon supporters, and listeners.
Thank you to Dry Farm Wines for their continued support of my work. Their wines are all-natural and low in alcohol which means less of a foggy feeling the next day. Plus, the non-irrigated vineyards force the roots to dig deep in search of water allowing the grapes to absorb extra minerals. Give Dry Farm Wines a try if you’ve given up on wine because of how you feel the next day or if you are simply looking for high-quality, all-natural wine. They have a great selection of sparkling, whites, rosés, and reds. And when you visit sustainabledish.com/wine you can check out their latest special offer exclusively for listeners of the Sustainable Dish podcast.
“Nature trumps technology every time and I believe that we have so many problems now because we’re so disconnected. And we’re so technological that we’re really removing ourselves from what keeps us alive.” – Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy
“My mom always used to say, ‘Eat like a king for breakfast, a queen for lunch, and a pauper for dinner.’ And actually, that has been scientifically validated now.” – Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy
Diana Rodgers, RD 0:01
Welcome to the Sustainable Dish Podcast. I’m Diana Rodgers, a real food registered dietitian, author, and sustainability advocate. I co-host this podcast with James Connolly who was a producer on my film Sacred Cow. I also founded the Global Food Justice Alliance, an initiative advocating for the inclusion of animal source foods like meat, dairy, and eggs for a more nutritious, sustainable, and equitable worldwide food system. You can check it out and join me at global food justice.org. Thanks again for listening. And now on to our show.
Diana Rodgers, RD 0:39
Welcome to the podcast, everybody. Today I have with me Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy, and she is the author of The Cancer Revolution and Be Perfectly Healthy and also runs the Center for New Medicine and the Cancer Center for Healing out in Irvine, California. Welcome to the podcast.
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 0:59
All right, thanks. Thanks for having me.
Diana Rodgers, RD 1:02
So I love hearing people’s evolution story, how they got to where they are. I learned about you just through Instagram. You have a really great Instagram very approachable – what all the doctors in your center are eating every day for lunch. Just really fantastic. But I wanted to just learn a little bit more about you know, did you start in medicine with this mindset? Or was there some kind of awakening that you had once you were already a doctor? How did this all start?
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 1:31
All right, well, a couple of things. One, I grew up in Texas. And my mother was very nutritionally sound with us. She nursed us all for a year, and there were six kids. We had our farm, so we had our own cows. And so they would, you know, butcher a whole cow and we bring it home and we had deep freezers. You know, and people might not know what a deep freezer is, but it’s a big huge thing and you can store all of the meat. And but my mom was all about like, you need to eat real food. And she wasn’t a tree hugger. Or you know, crazy. Do you know what I’m saying? She was just like, you must start your day right. So cereal was never on our menu. Okay. And so we all had to fix breakfast. My mother made us make all of our lunches for school. We never got to eat at school. We always had dinner every night that she cooked – was a phenomenal cook. And so I grew up with sauerkraut, and meat and liver and all those, all those great things – raw milk, you know, all the things that are very popular today. And so it’s just kind of nice to see, you know, everybody’s turning the tide. There’s a lot of different ideas and opinions out there. But I always tell people, every individual is an original, and you have to treat the patient, not the problem of the patient. And so then I went to… I found out that my mother took DES at 16 years of age, DES was a drug given to pregnant mothers to prevent miscarriage and bleeding. Well, I found at 16 that that drug caused cancer in both male and female: hormone problems, infertility problems, anatomical problems. It kind of manifested different in every single person. And so I went to college, and then I went to UT School of Public Health and did a thesis on DES. Then I wanted to go to medical school, went to medical school, and then I went to California to Harbor UCLA. And then I said, “Okay, I’m going to start my practice.” Well, I met this doctor who was a Russian internist pathologist. This was 35 years ago. And he told me like, you need to have a dietitian in your office, okay, like it’s going to be the cornerstone of therapy. Well, I kind of grew up I resonated with that. So I hired this girl who was amazing. So we started out 35 years ago with the dietician in my office. So and then I knew how to work up patients metabolically and do all the proper blood test, address lifestyle, and all those things. And then that has matriculated to where I am today. Because interestingly enough, my patients would say to me, “Dr. Conneally, like. do you know about this? Do you know about that?” And I’m like, “Well, I don’t even know this looks very interesting. Why didn’t I learn this in medical school?” Anyway, so those queries by my patients led me to where I am today. And so we do everything from human optimization to stage four cancer, and everything is always addressing the complete patient in a biological system. And our patients really don’t want medications. They want to try to fix their problems without medications. I think there’s an immense amount of information that’s getting out there, that patients have to change their lifestyle. And medicine isn’t like that. It’s a very, you have this diagnosis, and you get this drug, not why, where, when, and how do you have this condition? And so we work with every patient to restore health and homeostasis and every single patient.
Diana Rodgers, RD 5:37
So you mentioned that liver and raw milk are very popular today. But it’s very popular among a very specific type of consumer, right. It’s the type of people that are questioning things. And so many people have come to me mentioning that they’ve brought up diet to their doctor or their gastroenterologist. And instead of the response you mentioned, which is, “Oh, my goodness, that’s very interesting. I don’t know about that. Why didn’t I learn about that in medical school?” The response is, “That’s nice that that worked for you. But we have no evidence of that.” And then just completely shutting them down. Why is that?
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 6:20
That’s a great question. Because I hear this every day from patients that the doctor, I specifically asked the doctor, “okay, does what you eat matter?” And they hands down in 2022 say, “no,” which is a tragedy, because bottom line is, we know, what we put in our mouth is the single greatest determinant of health. And it’s the information for our body to run the biochemistry of our body. And so I think, one, doctors don’t have time, okay. They don’t have time to address everything, they need to look at the patient, address the critical things, okay? Whether it’s high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and everything, and then immediately give them medication that’s going to control it. They really only have probably seven to 12 minutes, if that. So it’s too hard to discuss a person’s lifestyle with the patient, okay. And I addressed the lifestyle with the patient, the very first visit, because, you know, just take sleep, for example. If the patient isn’t sleeping, there’s no way we’re going to get well. So I don’t know, I know it’s changing, but it’s very slow to change. And the reason why it’s slow, doctors have to go and take lots of courses. And you can’t like learn it in a weekend. The information I tell patients that PubMed produces 1.2 million articles per year. So to catch up with the updated medicine, if you haven’t been doing it for a long time, then you’re just behind. So doctors have already gone to medical school and training. They’ve acquired lots of loans, so lots of loans to pay back. So they’re, they’re inundated with all their responsibilities. So to learn the new updated medicine is going to require a lot of effort. Lots of like, Where do I even go? And what I find is that paid doctors usually will have some crises. And that’s why they change how they are going to practice medicine. It’s usually some awakening in their life. So I’ll give you an example. I had a patient a week ago, and he’s an endocrinal – reproductive endocrinologist. He was a very nice guy from Texas. I said, like, “How did you get in? Why did you call me?” You know, I mean, like, they’re very, you know, here I’ll just follow this, and I’ll just do this procedure, and I’ll take this medicine not change my lifestyle or anything. So anyway, he says, “Well, my wife had autoimmune diseases. And we had to learn why. And so she has spearheaded, you know, changing the delivery of health in our family.” So I was just so happy because there is a lot… I see things change. It’s slow. It’s very slow. But what you see is I see patients, they’re very ill, okay, when they come to see me, not everybody, some people come to me for human optimization. But when the patients come to me, they’re really got a lot of pathology going on. And there is lots of things to change and think about it. If I get a 50-year-old, they live their life for 50 years doing what they’ve done for 50 years. So to change now, not what they put in their mouth, but the mindset and the recording in their brain about eating. And so it’s a whole educational process. This is why these podcasts are so great is because patients get little by little, that’s why I do my Instagram, I spoon feed them because we got to do little by little by little, you know, and my patients we live in California. So people I think are a little bit more health-oriented here, I think. Yes, there’s a lot of people not health-oriented. But I would say that, and I will tell you in 35 years I’ve been seeing patients, I ask every single cancer patient, I go, “so tell me, what did you change since your diagnosis?” I asked every single one of them. Hands down every single patient – I changed what I’m eating. So that means subconsciously, they knew they weren’t eating right, right. So um, so at least though they’re already going there. Now, they probably not may not know, all the education that they need to know. But at least they’re going there. So I do see, I do see things. And of course, you know, maybe I’m seeing things more because I always look at things like that. I’m you know, I am “Nature trumps technology every time.” So and I believe that we have so many problems now because we’re so disconnected. And we’re so technological that we’re really removing ourselves from what keeps us alive.
Diana Rodgers, RD 11:33
You know, and the whole role of a scientist is to question things. And I almost wonder if some of the people in medicine are just not even approaching it as scientists anymore. Right?
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 11:45
Yeah, that’s a very good point. Because they just literally, like if you’re an insurance-based business, you literally – the demand of the electronic medical record and what you have to put on there, that takes up the biggest time, well, that’s not taking care of the patient. And so we… the doctor just doesn’t have the energy, probably the knowledge. And because I will have people that they’re like, “Well, I don’t really know anything about this.” I mean, it’s amazing the patients that get Ensure, for example, and because they’re losing weight, and you’re like, “Oh, my goodness,” I mean, this is a tragedy, because we are the era of information today. And you can go to Dr. Google and look up very quickly, “Would this be something okay?” Right. So you can do a quick analysis in a couple of seconds, you know, and so but like you said, we need to be curious, we need to be questioning, we need to not denounce someone’s idea, we need to be exploratory and say, “Oh, well, I, you know, want to collaborate with you. I want to cooperate with you to really learn this to find out what I need to do.” And I have it. I do. I have patients, their doctors get on the phone with me, because they want to learn, okay, so I do see, it’s just very, very slow. And we have an urgency in the world right now. And I’ve kind of been saying it’s an emergency for quite a long time. And disease is not decreasing in any form or fashion. The number one cause of death is heart disease. Second is cancer. And the third is the medical paradigm. And so we ranked 43rd in the world. So that means third-world countries are doing better than we are. And 60% of the population is suffering from a chronic disease. And I always say like, first of all, we need to be our own test subject, okay, and start optimizing ourselves. I told my kids over the holidays is like we went around the room and like, what is your value? And I said, Well, my value is health. Because what I see every day is if you don’t have your health, there goes everything, okay? You don’t like living with yourself, you can’t be a good child, you can’t be a good parent, you can’t be a good employee, and you can’t be a member, a good member of community. And so we’re all inextricably connected in the world. And so I need to do good for you. And you need to do good for me. So that we, you know, have amazing synergy, correct. Because we can all help each other be the best we can be. And that’s when I feel like that we need to really do more. It is really make… first of all, meet the patient where they are. Slowly, slowly, methodically teach them. You can’t rebuild Rome in a day or two or a week, okay. Obviously, some patients they’re in end-stage very serious. So that means they’ve got to do a lot of things very, very quickly. But prevention is priceless. But we’re… our system is not preventive. It’s reactive medicine. And you come in Oh, you have high blood pressure. Here’s a medicine. Oh, you have high sugar. Here’s this medicine. I mean, I had a patient from Kaiser and they were… their wife was seeing me. And then he decided to come see me – he has diabetes full-blown very serious hemoglobin a one C, super high. Kaiser, what did they do? They gave him medication, here’s medication we’ll see in three or four months to check your hemoglobin. Anyone see he came here, we changed his entire lifestyle. And he lost weight, his hemoglobin a one C went down to very low. They said, Oh, you’re gonna be pretty soon not diabetic. They didn’t ask like, what do you do? Nothing. I mean, that’s, that is just not okay. All right. It is like they could have done… they can teach people in groups, right? Because we do need to – we feed off each other. So they could have group classes. Because community is the guru of the future. You know, loneliness, one of the Surgeon General’s wrote a book about loneliness. Loneliness, detachment, disconnection, is in and of itself contributing to disease. So if they had classes, you know, we have great communication, zoom, all kinds of things. And we could help each other with recipes and everything. And we find that because we do that here in the clinic, we have conversations where lots of people, you know, whether it’s cancer, whether it’s diabetes, or whatever, and so that the patient’s, they feed off each other. And so, you know, so this is all possible. And I know you totally your intentions are to change the landscape of delivery of health care because it’s a very broken system. And we can’t do it alone. We’ve got to do it together.
Diana Rodgers, RD 16:45
Mm hmm. Yeah, it’s really interesting. I’ve noticed in particular, as a dietitian, gastroenterologists telling their patients who I have worked with Crohn’s disease going into remission. Going back to their gastroenterologist, I mean, that is directly related to what we eat, right? And then the gastroenterologist completely blowing them off when the patient is telling them about the diet changes that they’ve made. It’s really interesting. And…
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 17:16
Does that happen? Does that happen hands down,? Kind of…
Diana Rodgers, RD 17:19
Oh, hands down. I have one gastroenterologist near me that sends me his patients because I can magically fix them. And he doesn’t know what I do. But it’s great. And everyone’s happy. And so he just sends them to me. That’s about as open-minded. He doesn’t want to know what I do. He doesn’t ask any questions, he just knows that I can fix the ones that just get IBS or whatever diagnosis that you know, he can’t really do much about with medicine. You know, and I’ve also experienced one time on Instagram when I was talking about wearing a continuous glucose monitor. A fellow dietitian said, “Well, how dare you do that? Because you don’t have type two diabetes. And now you’re actually even advocating that your patients do this too without a diagnosis? That’s crazy.”
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 18:05
Oh, so it’s the best measurement of what you eat and you immediately see your sugar. Oh, my gosh. And then if you go walk for 20 minutes, and you see what happens to your sugar, so it’s great feedback. So I love those things.
Diana Rodgers, RD 18:19
I know, I know, I have noticed people that I know, especially here in the Boston area, we have really great hospitals. But everything is very, very conventional here in Boston, as opposed to in California. And the people that I know that have gotten cancer diagnoses, they go even more conventional. Like they’re the minute that they hear a name like Dana Farber, and they think, oh my gosh, well, if it’s Dana Farber it must be good. Because there’s this there’s weight of Harvard or Dana Farber, or, you know, Mass General associated with it. And they’re being failed, basically, with their treatment. And it takes a few years for them to finally feel comfortable enough to then go out and look into nutrition or, you know, look into the alternatives. And that’s where you mentioned, sometimes you don’t get people until they’re very sick. So you must be seeing people like last stage, last grasping for straws. Is that accurate?
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 19:22
Yeah, so 50% of the patients, because they’re always like, “Oh my God, have you taken care of a patient like me?” And I said, “Oh, yes.” 50% of our patients have been scared and intimidated into their treatment plan. And if you mentioned anything else, if the patient mentioned anything else, “ Oh, my God, that doesn’t work. There’s no randomized clinical trials.” And if you understand, you know that randomized clinical trials, a lot of them are not accurate because they’ve been paid for by different organizations to look a certain way. I mean, we all can make anything look a certain way, right. I find that patients… I tell patients like no matter what you do if you do surgery, or chemo or radiation or some combination, I am going to give to you the collateral support to take care of you. So for example, if you need a biopsy, well, if you need a biopsy, first of all, it’s very scary. So we need to address the injurious immunosuppressive emotional aspect of just getting a biopsy correct. And then what I do is I give the patients a plan before they even have a biopsy to reduce seeding. All right, because seating is a real thing. I know all the doctors deny it, but it is. Think about it, you puncture a balloon, and tissue and fluid can come out, right?
Diana Rodgers, RD 20:44
I didn’t even know this was a name, but I actually was recommended a biopsy at one point. And that is immediately what came to my head. And I said, “Well, what’s the difference between just waiting six months and getting this?” Oh, it’s the same. We just found that people like to have the biopsy to know right away. And then I just ran out of the office. But I don’t mean that as medical advice to other people that want to do that. Right. But I didn’t know there was a name for that. Yeah.
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 21:12
So then if you, let’s say, so you get through the biopsy, and then you get your diagnosis. And let’s say it’s cancer. So usually, there’s probably nothing scarier than getting a diagnosis of cancer. Heart disease is interesting. People just don’t like they go, “Oh, no, I’ll just get a stent and I’ll move on.” But cancer is probably the most scary, intimidating diagnosis. So then if you need surgery, you need to prep your mind and body for the surgery because surgery is again, immunosuppressive and injurious. The studies are clear on this. So I prepare my patients emotionally. I usually do IV vitamin C, because we know that helps in healing. I do hyperbaric because we do hyperbaric the patients heal. So they do that before and after, I may put them on specific targeted supplements and or medications because medications have anti-cancer activity. And then if you’re going to do chemo, what is chemotherapy? Probably the most toxic substance that you could be taking. So in there’s not a system in the body neurologically, gastroenterologically, endocrinologically, cardiovascularly, there’s not a system – immune system. So we need to support the patient in all this process, so that the patient doesn’t lose themselves in this process, right. And then like, look at radiation, just a PET scan, or CT scan. So a chest X-ray, is, you know, minimal radiation, but a CT and a PET is 500 and 600 times respectively, the amount of radiation. Well, we know if you watch Chernobyl, the documentary, you’ll know what radiation does. So I always again, give my patients protection. That is my job. That’s my job as a physician, is to protect my patient on all levels, right? Let’s pretend for a moment I give a patient antibiotics. You know, unfortunately, antibiotics are used a lot. And because one the patients want it, but two, sometimes it’s necessary. So if you give a patient an antibiotic – against life, what does that do? It damages the mitochondria and your microbiome. So that means you need to do these counterbalancing substances, which you probably do, so that they can take the antibiotic, right? Just like if you give a statin drug or Metformin for high sugar, all of these cause one to 10 nutritional deficiencies. And the biggest thing is your mitochondria is under attack. So your mitochondria, your powerhouse engines of the cell that take care of you. So again, we are taking care of the patient. So we need to be, we need to be proactive with anything that we’re directing the patient, the Hippocratic Oath is first to do no harm, right? And so we need to really embrace that. And also give the patient proper informed consent. If you take this antibiotic, this is what it does, if you do this procedure, this is what it does because that’s our job. The patient’s not a doctor, they didn’t go to school and they don’t have the experience level. And so our job is to protect the patient.
(Dry Farms Wine Ad) Diana Rodgers, RD 24:30
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Diana Rodgers, RD 25:21
And so I want to talk a little bit more about what you would recommend once someone gets a diagnosis of cancer. But first, what are the top things that you would recommend we all do for those of us who don’t have the diagnosis? What should we all be focusing on?
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 25:37
Well, so let’s talk about statistics. Cancer is one in two men and about 41% of females. Breast cancer – number one cancer now nationwide. And from one cancer cell to tumor takes 10 years. So that means nine years of preventive opportunity to prevent cancer. The cure for cancer is prevention. But again, our medical system doesn’t promote that. Now, I do. And we do. Okay, because we’re looking, we’re going down the rabbit hole with every patient to make sure they don’t have heart disease and cancer. Those are the top two things. So we have our methodologies and it’s not complicated. It’s not expensive. This is worth saying, it is worthwhile to do prevention to save yourself agony and suffering. Okay. Unfortunately, what I’ve learned, though, is that just doesn’t sell because you go, “Well, I’m fine. I’m perfectly fine. You know, I feel good. I feel good every day.” But cancer is a cult. It’s insidious. You know, it doesn’t happen overnight. So if a patient comes in, and they say, “okay, my mom, mice, aunts, and whatever, they all had cancer.” So I’ll say, “okay, let’s make sure you don’t have cancer.” And then we’ll put you on a prevention. So I always go through patients, how do you sleep? Okay, because I always tell patients that your day starts when you go to bed. And why” Because if you don’t sleep, then the next 10 hours are going to be not as productive, right? Then I go over how much water they drink. Because we need to be drinking water, not Coke, not juices, but water. We need to have water that’s purified because most of the water has pharma water in it and toxins. So we have to have a… we have to invest in some kind of water maker. Then what are you putting in your mouth? So I go over there eating. And usually, I won’t have all the time to do that visit. But I’ll tell them cardinal rules right now is: get off sugar and get off unfavorable carbohydrates and get off fast food and toxic food. And kind of start slowly because patients get overwhelmed very easily. So I know that over the years I’ve been doing this. So slow and steady. Progress, not perfection. Then what is your movement, okay? So if you don’t move, your body can’t take care of you. You have 800 muscles for a reason. So you have to have movement. You don’t have to be a marathon runner or triathlete, but we must move and because our society is sitting all the time, because of computers, etc. So that means we must schedule exercise, then I always ask every patient, “Tell me what your stress has been for the last 10 years.” And in the last five years, there’s been just an incredible amount of study of how trauma and drama is contributing to your diagnosis. And so we always – the first two things we do with every patient’s besides a good history and physical, a good bloodwork panoramic of everything, all your nutrition, like what are your nutritional biochemistry, like your vitamins, your minerals, antioxidants, all of that. And then we have them always meet with someone to help them guide them eating. And usually, I kind of start with just breakfast simple, because got to start simple. And then I always address emotional work with every single patient. It doesn’t matter what your label is. There’s a great book, you probably already know called Your Body Keeps Score. And so your body knows everything that’s happened. So if we have not addressed our emotional trauma and drama, and people don’t realize that they used to say that we inherit five generations of emotional DNA, now it’s nine generations and so like who you are is not just your mom and dad’s history and how they exposed you, treated you, didn’t treat you or whatever. And it’s those back many generations. And so we find that we do something called EVOX. Vox is the Latin word for voice. And we use your voice to… you just say “hi I’m so and so and my birthday does this,” and then your brain is imprinted on the computer and it shows the practitioner what the problems are, and then that practitioner works you through that and resolves that emotional conflict. And the reason why I like it is, you know, patients need to get well faster than slower. And so if you go to therapy, a lot of times it takes a long time, whereas this in five sessions, you’ve made amazing progress. And I can’t tell you how many patients go, you know, they said, “Oh, no, I don’t need that. I don’t need that.” And I go, “No, just do one time for me.” And then they’re like, “Dr. Connealy, this was the most life-changing I ever did in my life.” I’m always open to everything because that’s my life. I’ve been like that because I want to know, everything I can possibly know to help a patient. So I always dive in and delve and try everything. But not everybody’s like that, you know, they’re a little more reserved. So that’s how we start. And we need to also help them, assist them, you know, handholding with the process, because here you are, you’re 30, you’re 40, you’re 50. You’ve been living some way for a long time. And that’s the recording you know. And so we need to change those recordings. Because we live in our subconscious, like 90, I think it’s like 90 or 95%, is in our subconscious. So like, if you drove to work today, you didn’t think about driving, because you already know how to get there and everything. And it’s just automatic. So we have to make, we have to help the patient be mindful and conscious of their new life that they’re gonna live.
Diana Rodgers, RD 31:33
That’s great. And I love how you mentioned starting with breakfast because I love doing that too. And over the course of my practice, I’ve also learned that some people are ready to jump right in. And for some people, that’s the best thing, right? Because you feel so different in 30 days, you’ll never go back. Right? Right. But a lot of people… for a lot of people that can feel really overwhelming. And then they’ll just give up completely, and you’ve lost them. Right. So for some people, they just need baby steps. And the things that you said are exactly, I think, the right way to go. So and just giving up sugar, and sodas, for some people might be you know, they need a whole month just to do that. And then but breakfast is such a magical meal because people tend to eat the same thing, or similar things for breakfast every day. And if you… it’s three meals a day, you fixed 1/3 of their nutrition. And then you just go on autopilot. You know, it can be hard for people to take the sugar out of their coffee, and even to reduce, you know, from a pot down to you know, maybe a cup right. But if you just get them on a high protein breakfast with, you know, real food, what a huge difference that can make for people.
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 32:54
Oh, yeah, you know, my mom always used to say, “Eat like a king for breakfast, a queen for lunch, and a pauper for dinner.” And actually, that has been scientifically validated now. So you’re right, and how you what you eat for breakfast, is how your day is going to be the rest of the day is and I think you’re saying that.
Diana Rodgers, RD 33:13
So we’ve talked a little bit about prevention and sort of the pillars that you advocate for once someone gets this scary diagnosis of cancer. And I’m sure some of the things you mentioned are similar, they would come to you for those things. What should people be thinking about? What should they be researching on their own? Where should they go for information? It can feel really overwhelming. And of course, I’ve found that most of the vocal doctors out there are maybe not super genuine with all of their… I mean, I think a lot most of them mean well, but there’s just a lot of conflicting information. I’ll just say it like that. So how is a cancer patient supposed to then just move forward with how to deal with it?
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 33:59
Right, exactly. So first of all, education is power. So you can’t change your condition unless you understand your condition. And it takes 10 years, so you have to change the unwell garden that the cancer came in. So which was 10 years of unrest. And it’s not… I always give the analogy that cancer’s like 100 leaks in the roof and it’s a tornado, rainstorm, and hurricane and you have to seal them off. So for example, Otto Warburg in 1930 got a Nobel prize that cancer is sugary, acidic, and low oxygen. So for example, you can go do all your treatments, but if you don’t change those parameters, and we have certain blood tests to measure all those things. So if you don’t change that, how is the cancer going to be gone? And also, like for example, every… I always believe is you treat the patient with the problem – every individual. So every single person doesn’t have the same picture. So you got to analyze the picture of what’s going on with the patient, and slowly make those changes. And I, for example, head and neck cancers, they’re 50% are related to HPV. So if you don’t address the virus, and you just do surgery, chemo, and radiation, which is very, very unkind when you go through head and neck. Then again, conventional medicine, they have no answers for addressing viruses, because there’s no drug. There’s lots of natural things to address viruses, but there’s no drug to eradicate a virus. So again, you’ve got to change all the parameters. Okay, for example, if you have high C reactive protein, if you have chronic inflammation, it’s the precursor to all diseases. If you have high sugar, then you have an environment, you paralyze all the cells, whether you have cancer or not, the cells can’t work for you and take care of you. Let’s say you have low vitamin D levels, what about maybe you have low DHEA, which is the hormone of stress, immune, and longevity. What if you have an enzyme called PHSI, which tells me you’re low oxygen. So if you’re low oxygen, and you don’t change that, then the environment is still the same. And so we’ve got to change that. And then let’s say nutritional deficiencies, that’s got to change. Okay? So and you’ve got to create, and there’s a lot of opinions out there about eating – lots. But like, for example, if I have a low hemoglobin in a patient, that means they need… I give our patients liver, because that is the only way – not iron but liver, you know. So they either eat real liver, or we take liver pills. Because why? What do red blood cells do? Red blood cells deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells. So if you don’t have good red blood cells, and good hemoglobin, you’re not delivering nutrients and oxygen to the cells. So you’ve got to get the microscope out with every patient, correct all their imbalances, and then create order in homeostasis, our body is trying to get in homeostasis all the time. But, you know, it’s you what you do, then what’s around us. So there’s a lot of things around us, for example, environmental pollution. Last year, a year ago, they had the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. And every doctor who attended, they don’t talk to each other and hands down. One’s an expert in plastics. And another one is insecticides and pesticides. Another one, you know, they’re all different experts. And they all said that pollution is our number one problem. So if we don’t advise the patient about how putting… stop putting more toxins in, like, for example, organic food, because organic food has less insecticides and pesticides than non-organic. So again, you have to treat each person uniquely. People are all like, “okay, just do plant-based.” Well, plant-based doesn’t work for everybody. And you know, when patients go on an eating plan for two weeks, and I’m sure you do this, and if they come back and tell you, Diana, I don’t feel good, then you know, okay, that’s probably not the eating program for them. And that happens, right? Or like, and I’ve read about every eating program. I’ve read raw food diet. I and I do it myself because I like to. I remember years ago, you probably may not know this guy, Barry Sears, and he wrote the book, Enter the Zone. And I have to say it was pretty life-changing because you are balanced with your insulin. And I have to say, like, was amazing for me. And so but again, now that I’ve learned more about everything, and then I know how I feel. Like for example, if I eat carbs for breakfast, I’m hungry in one hour. So I could never do that. All right, like a lot of people eat bagels for breakfast or cereal for breakfast. So but that doesn’t normally work because you have this insulin rollercoaster. And then you add stress to that you have the cortisol, which makes the insulin roller coaster even more and also advances cancer because the higher the cortisol, the more advancing the cancer growth. So there’s so many things, you know, I tell every patient they’re a miracle, and I said, “We’ve got to get this miracle to work for you.” And I am very emphatic about not doing everything today. Little by little by little, because we can’t expect the patient to make those many changes. I have to say, I do have patients who are willing, diehard. Okay, whatever. You just tell me what to do. I’ll do it. That’s rare. That’s probably less than 10% of patients. Most of the time you have to slow really implement these lifestyle changes, because like I said earlier, they’ve been doing it 30, 40, 50, 60 years. And you know, there’s old saying you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. But we as a society, you know, my mission is, we need to all educate. So there’s other people that are talking about cancer. And as long as they’re talking about cancer from a multifaceted, multifactorial way, that’s great. And so you listen to these things, and you say, “You know what, this resonates with me, this resonates with my intuition.” Which we all have, okay, we all have intuition about things, some people are very developed. And then some people are not as in tuned. But we have an intuition like this seems right. And then the pure test is in a week or two or three, or four, like you said, they feel great, you know, after you have instructed them on little changes to make their life better. So we, as a society, we need to be esteeming health, and our culture hasn’t done that, and we have to do it is absolutely emphatic that we do it.
Diana Rodgers, RD 41:15
Yeah, especially these days, where healthy people is such a rare thing.
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 41:22
Exactly, you can just stand on any street corner. And you can just look at people, and you’re right and look at children today. And my kids are grown and I was kind of a, I was very hands-on fanatical mommy about, like eating and order and what they do every day. You know, I mean, in a positive way, not in an unreasonable way. Like the right music, the right everything, the right stimulation of their senses at doing exercises with them all that thing. So I was very proactive and eating, you know, and they’re grown now, and they now eat… They’re both impeccably healthy because that’s what they know. And this needs to start… I’ll tell you when it needs to start. Before a mom and dad think about having a kid, they need to set their intentions and get each other healthy. Because now what the biggest problem I’m seeing in males is hormones. The hormones are off. And lots of young men have low testosterone. So that means their genital urinary tract is not healthy. And it’s based upon nutrition. Then the mother is downloading the toxins. And so we need to teach the mom and I have luckily, some very conscientious patients that are, you know… they do this, they’re very into it and all that kind of good stuff. But we need to teach all moms and dads to be like, let’s get you healthy. So you can produce the miracle because autism now, the statistics are 1 in 41 and 1 in 37. But autism, you know, the mom is downloading the toxins, okay? And or whatever else the environment is producing, and there is no drug for autism, and the stress that it puts on a family. And then look at all the children today who have asthma, and ADD, and all these gut disorders, everything. And I know, you know, I personally never used antibiotics on my kids. I used things to help their immune system and all kinds of little things, you know, I did, because I knew that I needed to keep their microbiome intact. So children are resilient, they can fight things off with just giving them a little support, right. And so and that’s what all of us see – whether you’re a doctor or a mother or anything. We all need to learn these things. So I know that my patients have read, they go, “Oh, I read, I went to this website, and I went here and I went there.” And so they’re gathering information. And what you see is that the information is very similar. So that means there must be some validity and truth to it, right? But I know our medical profession is far from embracing this. I know that because I live it every single day. Luckily, I have all these beautiful patients who want to know. They want to learn and then they share with patients and prospective patients. Because that is truly what we’re supposed to be doing.
Diana Rodgers, RD 44:35
That’s so great. I’m so happy you’re out there helping people. It’s such a joy to see your posts on Instagram and it was so lovely to chat with you. So I just want to let people know you can work with them. They have to come out to California at least once but you’re able to work with them through either of your centers. So folks can pick up the book The Cancer Revolution or Be Perfectly Healthy. And then you are online at the Center for New Medicine or the Cancer Center for Healing. People can find you on Instagram at Leigh Erin Connealy, MD. And did I leave anything off?
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 45:14
No, that’s perfect. And I think Instagram is a good place to start. Because every day we’re putting on new information that that’s what people can do is little by little that can make changes in their life. And no, the patients always say, “oh my god, Dr. Connealy, this is, like, this keeps me going.” You know, we all need cheerleaders in our life, you know, we need motivators. All of us. I mean, like, no one’s exempt from that. So it helps us all be helpful, and synergistic with each other.
Diana Rodgers, RD 45:44
Yeah, I mean, definitely, I even love watching. As I mentioned, I don’t know if it was once we started recording, but I know I said this to you just seeing what the doctors are eating for lunch. Yeah, to me as a dietitian, who, you know, is home usually doing zooms. I really appreciate watching that and there’s other health practitioners that I… seeing what people eat for lunch or for dinner. It to me is, it’s just so real.
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 46:13
It motivates you and gives you some guidelines. You’re right.
Diana Rodgers, RD 46:17
Yeah. All right. Well, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it. And I’m so happy you’re out there.
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy 46:22
Thank you. My pleasure.
Diana Rodgers, RD 46:26
Thank you so much for tuning in to the Sustainable Dish Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, please leave us a review on iTunes and check out my website at sustainable dish.com where you can sign up for my newsletter, catch up on the latest blog post, and check out my courses and favorite products. See you next time and thanks again for listening.