Practical Tips and Advice on where to start and how to improve you health
We were pretty excited to do what is our first podcast with up and coming podcaster Amanda Hayes – https://amandaswellbeingpodcast.com/maria_harpas_and_tim_jaeger/
‘Eat Well, Move well, Think well’ encompass the topics that Amanda covers with her guests from the wellbeing areas of nutrition, physical and mental health.
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From Amanda’s Blog:
Today’s podcast guests, Maria Harpas and Tim Jaeger, work in natural primary health care. Tim is from Jaeger Health and Maria is part of the Natural Health Medicine Clinic and building, where she and Tim practice. Maria is a clinical nutritionist and a naturopathic practitioner and Tim, a nutritional medicine specialist and Bredesen Protocol certified.
Between them, Tim and Maria, have a wealth of knowledge and they generously share some of that with us. Maria talks us through how she treats her patients and some of the processes she goes through to determine where to start in what can often be a complex situation of interrelating health issues. What I loved hearing about was Maria’s practical approach and about how she assesses what changes will have the most impact for her patients. Maria is modest but it is obvious that her patients adore her and she has helped change many people’s lives for the better.
One of Tim’s areas of expertise is the management of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline through the application of the Bredesen Protocol, developed by Dr. Dale Bredesen. Part of the protocol involves adoption of a specific diet that Tim talks us though. Tim also emphasises how important is it to have a genuine connection with his clients and his warm character shines through in our discussion.
The books about Alzheimer’s we mention are The End of Alzheimer’s by Dr. Dale Bredesen and The Alzheimer’s Solution by Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai. I will soon post links to those books on the Books page of my website: https://amandaswellbeingpodcast.com/books/
Maria: Yeah, and so that inspired me to start studying. But I had already started having a lot of interest in natural health because I was suffering a lot of allergies. So high fever I would have all year round, just in the high fever season. And I was really coming up against a lot of problems with normal conventional medicine, in terms of it was just continual anti histamines. And when I wasn’t taking them, I felt like I was getting worse. And so that really got me started on looking into natural therapies and that’s where it went. And initially, really as a hobby and just to help myself. And now, you know, 10, 11 years of clinical practice.
Amanda: It’s your life.
Maria: Yeah, that’s right and you have career.
Amanda: And you have helped yourself I assume.
Maria: Yes, yes, yes. My [04:14] is in way better [04:16] now. So that’s good. It’s a journey. We’re always improving and changing things. And you know, the more you know, with Tim, we’re always looking at our pathology and what’s going on and how we can change and improve. That’s really good.
Amanda: There is so much to know. I think it’s, as you say, continuing journey in this area, particularly more information comes to light all the time.
Maria: That’s right
Amanda: And Tim, what about you? I know that your journey has encompassed microbiology, immunology, public relations, and lacrosse, so quite a spectrum there. So what led you to becoming a nutritional medicine specialist.
Tim Jaeger: I sort of I don’t know where to start. Thanks. Thanks for having us. I just like to say I’m really, really excited to be here and this is my first podcast and I know Maria’s done some interviews and that is this your first ever podcast?
Amanda: Oh, hopefully it won’t be your last.
Tim: You know, we heard you know Maria talking about her journey and something that I was thinking about, even on the way down here was there was when I was I was worked in London and lived in London for three and a half years at one stage and there’s a client of mine, a massage client. I did work there and bit remedial massage work. And she was the accountant for Sylvester Stallone for some of his movie productions. And she said to me, she said to me something like everything that you’re doing now, all your experiences that you’re having, and you will have doubt they’re going to mean something to you. They’re going to be a real benefit further along in your life. And it really resonates with me now that she was sort of true. And she said you won’t you won’t realize it and working with people, knowing the things that I’ve seen and have this this other sort of perspective, and I know Maria talks about it all the time as well. Knowing how to relate to people and I think that’s so much a big part of what we do in building this relationship. Going back to how did I get to nutritional medicine, I was always interested in sports and science, and I went to university after school and studied. My majors were pharmacology, that was one subject and the other one was immunology, microbiology, virology. And I went into working at though was called the Adelaide Children’s Hospital back then. And in the immunology department, I did research on of all things Malaria and even have some papers with my name on it somewhere I think. Again towards the end of my time at the hospital working in the immunology department, I actually did a remedial massage course. And I went overseas to London and live there like I was saying for three and a half years and worked in, you know, top hotels like the Dorchester and Claridge’s and went to the Chelsea Hopper club at one time and I really had a good time and had a lot of experiences there. And I came back and I worked in the same sort of area. And a friend of mine also had said to me, you should become a firefighter. And he said, all you know, it’s a really good lifestyle and you get a lot of time to do everything else. And I was getting, I wanted something else in my life as well. So I was actually thinking of getting into more business stuff. And that’s how I did my credit, diploma, Graduate Diploma in Communications and Public Relations. And just as I was finishing that I actually got into the fire service and I’ve been like a firefighter in the South Australian Metropolitan fire service for 17 years. You know 17 years I’m going wow!
Amanda: That’s actually how we met. But I’ll fill you in on that story a bit later.
Tim: Yeah. So yeah, through that time, you know, getting back to nutritional medicine. So what led me back to what is really a passion, you know, the science and the clinical stuff was my father in law getting diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia. And the thing was, you know, I remember the date, you know, 20th of August 2010. And I’d had a book that I bought two years before about Alzheimer’s and I never read it yet. And from that point, I started reading.
Amanda: Is it this?
Tim: Not no. It might have been it might have been this the Alzheimer’s solution. Amanda’s holding a book in front of me.
Amanda: I just pulled a few book down from my shelf.
Tim: And I started reading and I just never stopped reading and listening to science and health but it was always our clinical focus though, you know, therapeutic focus. So yeah, I’ve decided that’s that’s what I want to do. So I did an Advanced Diploma in nutritional medicine. I met you know, I had a great mentor now in Maria, a colleague. And yeah, that’s that’s sort of how I came across being a, you know, practitioner.
Amanda: So I would say it’s a fairly long and winding road, but you have found your true passion in life, which is clear.
Amanda: So if we move on to counseling patients, and in particular looking at their diet. So Maria, when a client comes to see you, it can usually be a shame that they’re there because there’s something that’s not quite right. It might be an actually a diagnosed disease like diabetes, or they’re just not feeling you know, as if things are going right for them. So that’s where do you begin, like, how, what do you do? Can you outline that process for us?
Maria: Yeah, sure. So, both of those reasons are why people come, either they’ve been diagnosed with something or they’re not feeling 100% and they don’t really know why and they don’t have a diagnosis. And so, the first thing that we do is we want to go through and really get an understanding of what’s happened to a person through their life. You know, with their health history, but not just not just whether they’ve been unwell, we also want to know their habits their, you know, what they sleep like, what did they sleep like when they were younger. What illnesses they had when they were younger, what, what sort of illnesses are in the family history. So we sort of start to get an idea about risks. So that then starts to direct what testing that we might do.
Amanda: Is it a bit like putting a jigsaw together? It’s lot of different pieces together.
Maria: Yeah. Tim always says that actually, that it’s like, you know, putting the pieces of a jigsaw down and trying to work it out. So, yeah, so we’re trying to we sort of work out what type of predisposition someone has. So for instance, if we’re looking at someone like me, you know that history of allergy for instance, and we want to go off and actually, we can do really simple tests that doctors can do. And we like to start with the simple test where we, you know, when necessary before we get to more expensive testing, because a lot of times, it doesn’t always have to go to that. And it gives us a bit of an idea, are we actually dealing with full blown allergy or actually, is the allergy marker that we would measure in the blood normal and is it possible that we’re dealing with someone that can’t clear histamine for instance. So it starts to, we start to be able to narrow down on where the issues are. Then what we need to do is start to decide what things need to be changed. And like you said before, we have focused on six major areas. And obviously diet is one of the biggest ones, and the most controversial in terms of what should we eat and how we should be eating and I know we’re going to sort of cover that later. So we look at diet, we look at sleep. We look at stress management, and we look at you know, how will people because stress is perceived and so we really look at what tools people have to manage stress, which is important. We look at social connection and human connection that gets forgotten in the whole health when we’re looking at health issues. And then we look at environmental influences, you know, now we’ve got Wi Fi we’ve got chemicals and additives in food and things that really our ancestors didn’t have and we’re dealing with. And so it’s, we then start to decide what are the few things we can start with to change that are going to have the biggest impact?
Amanda: Yeah. Because if you say to someone, you’ve got to change these 20 things, it’s too hard.
Maria: Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s just crazy. And not many of us would do that and maintain or sustain doing it. You know, they’ll be it’s much better as well, to start might making a few changes and see what that gives us.
Amanda: Yes. And if it has a positive result, then they more likely continue.
Maria: Yeah, that’s right. And then we add on. So we might start to look at things like diet. And if someone really finds out how to change their diet, we might look at what they’re how they’re putting their diet together for instance. You know, we might say, well, let’s look at three good meals a day. You know, stop eating after dinner. So we really sort of look at the habits around that. And that can make a big difference.
Maria: So not everybody at it. I think we have to match what the changes, even though they have to be slow. We’ve also got to match the changes to the severity of the condition that we’re dealing with.
Amanda: Sometimes I think, people unless it’s pointed out to them, they may not realize that the habit that they’re in is unhelpful.
Maria: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, as humans, I think we’re pretty good at being we can do anything if we put our mind to it in terms of changing habits, but it’s not always easy to do. And I feel one of our jobs is to really help people think about other ways of doing things that sometimes they wouldn’t have even thought of.
Amanda: Yeah, yeah.
Maria: And that can be really powerful.
Amanda: And I think the fact that they’ve come to see you is is really sending a message that they’re willing to change?
Maria: Absolutely. I think might you know, I mean, most people are willing to change. I think sometimes when people don’t come, it’s interesting when people comment on I’ve delayed delayed coming, because they scared that they won’t be able to do it.
Maria: And that’s so interesting. And I think because they think that they’re going to be told to do all these things. And then if they can’t, and so we definitely, I’m not a purist, firstly. And so I’m, I really like, you know, what’s the minimum that we have to do to get the maximum outcome and I think that’s a good place to start and understand, and then we can build on that.
Maria: From there if we want to, but it’s always good to know. Actually, it’s only eggs, for instance, that really bothers me rather than taking everything always out of the dark because you don’t know so we try to get people to understand what are the things that are being a problem. And even though initially, we do elimination diets and things like that they’re short lived, they should never be long term, unnecessarily.
Maria: You know, there are instances and it’s very individual, individualized, how we put things together, because it’s also based on what someone can manage.
Amanda: Exactly. And we’re all different.
Maria: We’re all different. We’ve all had different rearing. And there’s different things even between Tim and I, you know, we talked about what I would tolerate doing is different to what Tim would tolerate doing, what we’re dealing with in terms of our health. You know, it’s sort of sometimes you sort of go, “no, I’m not willing to sacrifice that.”
Maria: And I think everyone’s got the right to choose that.
Amanda: Of course.
Maria: You know, our job is to, is to sort of say, Well, if you do this, you could get this outcome because we see it all the time. We know what the likely outcomes are.
Amanda: Yes. You know that that sounds like a really thorough and consultative approach. And Tim, what about you? Like, how do you approach a client when they come to see you? And what’s your process?
Tim: Well, I mean, because I’m specializing with Alzheimer’s dementia, so it’s a little bit different. And but I agree with everything Maria is talking about. And we’re always having this sort of discussion and conversation. And a big part of it is collecting a lot of data with Alzheimer’s, you know, the labs, the history, the symptoms, and and that jigsaw puzzle that you’re talking about.
Amanda: So just to, just to interrupt a little bit, when you see a patient with Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment, I assume they come with a friend or a partner, often do they or?
Tim: Yeah, I actually, I don’t think I’ve seen anybody that hasn’t come with.
Amanda: Yes. Because I think, could they manage you know.
Tim: Actually no. I’d take that back. So there’s two people that I’ve seen, but they’re coming just for prevention. Two younger people.
Amanda: Oh, okay. Has it run in their families or?
Tim: One, the younger one, yes, it’s seems to be that runs in the family and the other one read Dale Bredesen’s ‘The End of Alzheimers’ and she was so excited that she, I want to do a cognoscopy you know, I want to look at all my risk factors and make sure that this is something that I’m not heading towards.
Amanda: And actually, sorry, I keep interrupting you Tim. But I did mention in the introduction that you you prescribe if that’s the right word, the Bredesen protocol so perhaps you can just tell us what that is. And then continue on.
Tim: You know, Dr. Dale Bredesen, a neurodegenerative researcher from America just sort of finished the book ‘The End of Alzheimers. And he, his passion was researching. He wanted to know why Alzheimer’s is occurring from a biochemical sort of perspective. And he’s, you know, because the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is just based on pathology and that was done in the 1950s and he, you know, he was in the lab working out the biochemistry to what actually happens, you know, with the beta amyloid accumulation, what causes that. You know, what other factors are contributing to this pathology that we, we find with Alzheimers and his wife who’s a functional medicine doctor in America, he always said to him “Dale, you know, it’s it’s not going to be one magic bullet, which is what the scientists are trying to chase. It’s going to be lifestyle dire, you know, inflammation.”
Amanda: Of course.
Tim: Yeah. And guess what, you know, 25 years later, it sort of dawned on him, “My wife was actually right”.
Amanda: Go women!
Tim: Because everything that he found, directed him back to these sort of changes that we can make with lifestyle and diet. And and we need to, at times prescribe hormones for trophic support, you know, signaling support for the growth of neurons. Yeah, so he’s based he’s based his treatment of Alzheimers on this four sort of main sort of categories. You know, type one is inflammatory type of condition. Type 1.5 is actually in between the one and the type two where type two is a loss of growth sort of support. So that’s hormones, even vitamin D, insulin resistance, and 1.5 is when you actually have like pre diabetes or even diabetes, so you’re not getting that insulin support that you need. And it’s it’s 1.5 because it also has inflammation associated with that.
Amanda: So very much links in to lifestyle, obviously.
Tim: Absolutely. And then the third one, which, you know, we talked about is being the hardest to treat is this type three, a toxic sort of presentation weather weather that’s a heavy metals. You know, Mercury is the biggest sort of contributor. Or even biotoxins and organic toxins that we have to sort of look for and search for.
Amanda: Right. There’s so many things, isn’t there? But anyway, back to how so how do you patient comes to see you and you collect the data? And then what’s what’s next?
Tim: So yeah, the data is telling us something. Telling us the directions, you know, are they and it’s never a pure type 1, 1.5, 2 or 3, it’s never pure. There’s always contributions from multiple areas. So, you know, we go back to what Maria was talking about. I we need a dietary change more often than not, and the default for Alzheimer’s is actually a ketogenic diet, which we’ll probably talk about later on. But it’s, you know, basic lifestyle and diet and I might, you know, stress management exercise as part of the program, meditation or walks in nature. They’re actually part of the real deal with the real treatment to what we want to do, and and, you know, we’re addressing the inflammation that we find. You know, we might find sleep apnea and I have numerous times already gut infections. We might find nutrient deficiencies that we have to correct. So that’s all the basic sort of things that we would start with. And then it’s about, Maria sort of touched on it. It’s, it’s we’re looking under the hood and seeing what’s underlying. And then we’re just addressing, we’re correcting this dysfunction.
Amanda: Step by step.
Tim: Yeah, step by step. And it’s the diet and lifestyle isn’t window dressing. It’s the real, it’s the real therapeutic thing and it works for everybody, at some level.
Maria: Yeah, I was just going to say to that, I’ll think it’s until I started practicing. I didn’t realize how powerful diet and sleep and all the things all this lifestyle medicine, all these lifestyle medicine techniques how important they are, you know nothing can really trump them. You have to have those in place.
Amanda: Yeah, you do and I think the trouble with going to see a conventional doctor is first of all, they don’t have a lot of time to consult. And secondly, they don’t often look at the big picture. I mean some doctors do my GP is brilliant and she does but not all of them do.
Maria: I know and I think it’s not their area of training. Exactly. And I think that’s the big thing. Their area is to diagnose. Their fantastic you know, with say like if I have an accident, take me to the nearest doctor or if I’m in a life threatening type of situation, you know, with a virus or bacterial or something. That is it’s like, something’s got to happen now. It doesn’t matter if it’s due to things that I’ve done but you know, it’s got to be fixed now. And you know, and that’s great. And there is a real place for making sure because we work with a lot of GP’s to make sure that we’ve got them picking up things that might be quite serious that may need initial treatment for now medically until we can come in and do other things. But in saying that, there’s also just, it’s astounding about how many things can be resolved with lifestyle medicine.
Amanda: Yeah, yeah. Well, I that’s one of the things I really like about your practice is that dialogue you have with GP’s because sometimes in this world, there can be a bit of a divide like some GP’s are very anti-natural health, for example. So it’s good to find GP’s that will have that open dialogue.
Maria: And I think because we’re quiet, you know, the approach is quite sensible. And you can’t argue with the scientific and scientific you can’t argue with that. So, and we don’t, I don’t, we don’t make any excuses for that. You know, when I’m talking to a doctor, it’s like, well, this person’s actually only sleeping three hours and and they’ve got anxiety and they’ve got depression and and they’re actually eating high sugar foods, which we know affects mood. And we know sleep deprivation affects mood. And so before we start going to heavy medication, unless of course, you know, it is suicidal, you know, there’s things that we, we should be coming in and sorting those things out immediately. They are number one priority things to be sorted. And so I think that gets this this idea when I hear people saying I don’t believe in natural therapies. I kind of go “Well, you don’t believe in eating then. You don’t believe in sleeping. You don’t believe that you need to have other humans around you. You don’t believe I mean, it’s a ridiculous comment. And it just shows the lack of understanding.
Amanda: Yeah, that’s what it shows.
Maria: It’s not a competitive thing. You know that that’s the thing.
Amanda: It just shows that perhaps that person making the comment doesn’t, as you say, doesn’t really understand what natural therapies are.
Maria: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. And and I get, you know, there’s always this conversation as well around supplements, you know, we want to treat things with the lifestyle things first. And then we use supplements therapeutically, where we need to be then we always want to move people to more whole foods supplements and then diet.
Amanda: Yeah, yeah. Well, that might be a good point to start talking a bit about diet. So one of the things that I know is really tricky is changing dietary habits. You know, I mean, even with all the knowledge that we have, I still eat chocolate. I drink coffee, I drink alcohol, because I enjoy those things. If you have clients who really need to make a change their diet for their health, what kind of tools do you have? How can you support them through that?
Maria: Yeah, sure. So I think the first thing is for us to sort of understand, we’re pleasure seeking organisms. Right, so, you know, we move…
Tim: We’re hardwired.
Maria: Yeah, we’re hardwired that way, so we move to pleasure, we move away from pain. And so, and then we’ve got habits as well that we’ve learned growing up and developed ourselves as well. And so I always like initially some education because that can be powerful. So for instance, so you know, eating chocolate for instance, if it if the dose comes to this level, this is what it does to your insulin levels. This is what it does to your blood sugar levels and having a look at that. And so, you know, sometimes the first step is just let’s lower the dose. Right? Or and or let’s look at other things that will be satisfying. So as that that becomes less attractive. When I changed my diet, I was a sugar addict in my 20s, so I would literally be putting three tablespoons of sugar into my cereal. And I even though we didn’t know a lot about sugar back then I didn’t want it. I knew that it wasn’t right. But I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want people telling me that I shouldn’t do it. Right. Because I felt that it was unquenchable. I needed it.
Amanda: And it was a habit for you.
Maria: And it was a habit. And so once I started understanding and reading actually, the more fats you put in your diet, the more satisfied you get, the less cravings. And the more consistently that you’re ensuring that you’ve got decent amounts of proteins and fats throughout the day, and real food. I sort of heard someone talking about how some of our foods now healthy foods have become desert foods really. And so we have to watch that as well, with all the, you know, high doses of almond milk and coconut milk we’re having and I’m not sure that we were really designed to have them in the quantities that we are.
Amanda: I absolutely agree with. Yeah.
Maria: And so it’s, it’s starting to we give ideas on how to start to change things like that. So okay, let’s start increasing the amount of fats you have. Or let’s start increasing the protein you’ll have. Let’s make the food more. Let’s have fun with the food. Make the food more interesting because I think if food is too boring, you’re going to keep going back to those other foods that are not so attractive, you know. I really don’t eat all the food that I’ve left behind I hardly ever look at now, you know, because I’ve got this big array of beautiful different foods that I’m, I can put together really quickly as well. So yeah, so it’s giving tips like that to help them and we’ve got lots of them that we give. You know, lots of little things like that that we start to help people with and finding the thing that that person will be most drawn to. You know, so antipasto, you know, get people to have lots of different antipasto sort of things like artichokes and asparagus on hand, olives and dips. Because then, you know, and people really light up when they hear that, yeah, and eating that instead of sugars, you know, quite happy to move to those things. But you’ve got to have them in the home.
Amanda: Of course. That’s part of it, isn’t it? And Tim, do you have any comments on that? Supporting clients?
Tim: Yeah. We call it tools, you know. Quick-start guides and meal plans and recipes and shopping lists. And I think though it’s about building this therapeutic relationship with the person really connecting.
Amanda: Yes, it got to be, isn’t it?
Tim: Keeping it real, keeping it practical, being human, you know, these things that Maria’s already sort of talked about. And like an other sort of tools is Maria talks about it all the time, is we need to give options and solutions. You know, that’s that’s our job. Maria is really like the queen of this, like, I call it I call it one of her superpowers, like, literally, like a client never walks away without an option and a solution, you know, and that’s our job. There’s a clinician that I heard once say, you know, we’re not paid for what we say we’re paid for what we know, you know. Well, our job is to distill the essence of what is needed, and then coach someone through. You know, a health coach them through this problem with, you know, these tools that we’ve sort of talked about. You know, Maria’s talking about, we need the broadest, most flexible diet possible for someone but Alzheimers, we don’t have that flexibility.
Amanda: Yeah. And that’s very interesting.
Tim: That’s taken away from us. That freedom of of being, we don’t have that negotiation anymore. So, you know, the default that I’ve talked about is a low carb, you know, ketogenic approach. And that’s not easy because it’s so restrictive.
Amanda: And also it’s quite different from the way a lot of people have eaten in the past.
Tim: Absolutely. Yeah. And, you know, simplifying this journey for the people, that’s, that’s really important.
Amanda: So Tim, if we touch on the ketogenic diet in relation to Alzheimer’s, how do you get someone started with that and and how hard is it to change? I mean, I guess it depends on the person but it’s a pretty big motivating factor.
Tim: Maria was just whispering ‘little steps’. You know, small steps, incremental steps. And for when someone comes in it will be okay, what the foundation? What What can we, you know, take away that we need to take away? Let’s have a whole food diet, let’s make it nutrient-dense to start with. Let’s take out the inflammatory foods, you know, the glutens you know is necessary for Alzheimer’s. The dairy even what do we put in the diet? What should we concentrate on? You know that the good quality meats, the good fats. You know, loads of vegetables. You know, and even if we just do that we’re actually more than halfway there. You know, and that that’s a lot of changes though but it’s it’s little steps.
Maria: What I was going to say to that as well, is that, we, you know, an athlete doesn’t become an athlete overnight. And so making changes to our lives and and starting to look at them differently. So it’s not just “I have to do this to feel better”, but more moving in and enjoying it and starting to really embrace, doing things differently. Because the way we eat now is just so different to how we were designed to be in. And knowing that it is sometimes two steps forward, one step back. But when you look back at where you’ve come from, as you keep journeying through, it’s exciting, but to know it’s not you’re not going to become the best eater overnight. There’s no way because you don’t have I’ve got, you know, clients that come in with the best they’re so excited and sometimes I do want to do a hardcore cleanse or, you know, something quite strict and yeah, we use that energy that they’ve got and that excitement, they’ve got to do that. But when they come out of that, it’s that thing of they don’t have anything to fall back on yet. Because they haven’t learned yet to change the habits, so it’s sort of their left, you know, until we Yeah, help teach them and train them to do and have things at their disposal.
Tim: And even going back to, you know, giving these options and solutions. I know Maria also and I have to even more so you have to keep your eye on the goal. And and the biochemistry stew and watch what’s happening. And yes, a step back but we have to keep moving in this forward direction all the time. Another tool that I’ve done, and exception was actually had a home appointment, where we cooked lunch together. So we talked about what was happening. We talked about things that we needed to do, but we actually cooked food that was going to be good to eat.
Amanda: That’s a brilliant way to a consultation.
Tim: So, so it’s powerful, very powerful. And it it goes into that social interaction. And how often do we gather around food and prepare food together. So yeah, we talked about this in a clinic setting how we could maybe even have, you know, cooking demonstrations and have people gather.
Amanda: And at the same time educate them about the food.
Tim: Yeah, yeah. See it, taste it, do it, cook it. Yeah, it’s really good.
Amanda: It’s good for you. So while we’re talking about diet and Maria’s already touched on this. So different people respond to different diets and mainly to eliminate certain foods or add some in. So how do you gauge what’s the best or most appropriate diet for a particular client?
Maria: Yeah, okay. So there’s the three main things that really direct what diet because diet is so controversial. From Keto to vegan to Carnival war now to paleo, I mean it’s out there. I think the first main thing is whole food eating. You can’t argue with that. And so and that can be I’m not sure that people always understand what that really is. But foods basically, in the way that nature has got them. And I guess ultimately, that’s raw food, isn’t it? But so then it becomes how processed food is, what oils it’s cooked in, you know, there’s big problems with the types of oils being used now. And so, yeah, having foods as whole as possible because you can have a very junk food, vegan diet. You can have a junk food, paleo diet or a carnivore diet if it’s not. So I think the type of diet is one thing but actually making sure that it’s whole foods and it quite right.
Amanda: so that’s the baseline.
Maria: That’s the baseline, no additives and and and not yet, so there are not a high sugar diet and so it’s easily with all of them. I mean, paleo still got dried fruit and fruit in it. Someone could just live on that all day. Yeah. Okay. So say they’re paleo and say they’re paleo. So you know, and a vegan diet can be just white refined products.
Maria: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So you know, it cooked in, I found out some really fancy oils now, like cottonseed oil, you know, this is not, this is not healthy eating. Right? So, that’s the first thing that we fix up. Right? And that’s really important. And sometimes doing that first with what someone’s already used to doing, you know, can be enough for people, but not in Tim’s area. Like what Tim said, that’s a different ballgame. So we we then decide by their symptoms. So if someone is more allergy prone or auto immune, or cardiovascular, so there’s a lot of cardio inflammatory markers, things like that, that’s going to decide on the diet, what type of diet. We then look at the pathology. So we’re looking under the balance of their iron deficient. If they’re B12 deficient, if they’re, you know, with if autoimmune markers are elevated, that’s going to direct it. And also then back to what we’ve been talking about. What can they manage? Right? And so even even with what, you know, for Alzheimers, and we still have to give them things at the right they can manage. We just try to make it a bit quicker. You know, because there’s a necessity to do that. And so that’s, and basically with everyone that’s what we’re looking at is what can you manage, this is the sort of diet we’re going to go to or want to move to.
Amanda: Yeah. And I guess personal preferences as well.
Maria: Oh, absolutely. Yeah.
Amanda: And knowledge in terms of cooking skills and all those things come into it.
Maria: You know, there was stages with my health where it was, you know, you don’t having a good time with what you what you feel you have to do. And so, you want to have fun with that you want to sort of go Okay, so if this is really, you know, what are the we try and prioritize this for you is really not good. And we have to take it off the agenda of what you do. So yeah, we want to sort of try and make it fit.
Amanda: And I guess if you say, this is not good for you. The other thing you can do is replace it with something that is good. So…
Maria: We always do that.
Amanda: Yeah, yeah. I thought you would.
Tim: Yeah, I mean, I know an example. Not that long ago, you know, when Maria sort of mentioned again, someone with a lot of anxiety and just taking up caffeine and coffee was all that was needed like literally. Yeah, I know but literally.
Maria: And interesting with that is we don’t realize how much caffeine is in all our foods because it’s not just coffee or black tea. It’s green tea, it’s chai tea. It’s also in cocaya, the beautiful, healthy. Sometimes I’ve got mothers that come in that are giving their kids these beautiful cocaya smoothies or, or things after dinner, and then they’re wondering why the child can’t sleep. And so these are the things that we’re that’s why we need to look at a role and go Okay, this is a possibility of what could be happening.
Amanda: Yes. And it comes back to knowledge, doesn’t it? I mean, you wouldn’t give that to your child if you knew that it had caffeine in it.
Maria: No, yeah.
Amanda: Yeah, sorry Tim.
Tim: I was gonna say that there’s a term that I really like, ‘JERF’ – Just eat real food. You know, if you can pick it, cut it up, kill it, dress it, cook it that sort of a really easy way of thinking about what real food is. And I know we’ve talked about, you know, should everybody be on a ketogenic diet? And I think the answer to that is, you know, probably not. But I’ll also say that I reckon that the majority of people and majority, I mean, greater than 50% of people could benefit from a lower carbohydrate time, you know, not ketogenic. And why do I say that? You know, I say that because of the rights of obesity, and diabetes and cardiovascular disease, we see that increasing all around us. So and I think a lower carb diet would actually be beneficial for all of those sort of conditions.
Amanda: I think carbs have been much maligned actually, as well. And I think it’s important to understand the different types of carbohydrate because obviously there’s carbohydrate in vegetables but they’re good for for you, but having a package cake, which is full of carbs is not.
Maria: And it’s about your risks, and yeah, where your health is at the time and what you’ve got to really look at and consider, for sure.
Tim: I mean, with Alzheimers as well, you know, it’s, you know, we have that default ketogenic diet that we have to sort of a low carb diet that we have to move towards. And doing that, just like we were talking about, through through that initial introduction of a whole food, you know, nutrient dense and inflammatory diet is really important. And I really think about, you know, choosing a diet, you know, there’s there’s a little bit of genetics in play, but it’s, it’s more the majority, you know, 80 90% is about the environment that we find that person that you’ve gone through life with. You know that that’s sleep, you know. Are you eating a lot of junk food? Do you have a toxic sort of burden? Are you under huge stress? Or are you a professional athlete doing high intensity exercise that would actually need to fuel some of that with some good whole food, carbohydrates? So they’re all the environmental or the external sort of.
Amanda: It’s a jigsaw puzzle. But just while we’re on the keto diet, Tim, could you tell me what what do you see in in the treatment? Do you see reversal or do you see plateauing in terms of ongoing decline or how how does it manifest?
Tim: We talked about, you know, ketogenic diet is therapeutic for you know, insulin resistance, so is fasting, you know, whether that’s intermittent fasting or longer fasting. The ketogenic diet is a is a is another form of energy for the brain and the neurons, but it also helps signup signups connections. It’s it’s lower in oxidative stress, it lowers inflammation. So it has all these other genetic changes and effects, not just in the amount of carbohydrates in the body and the lowering of insulin. So that’s, that’s what Bredesen is finding it’s very beneficial for the disease. And getting, you know, certain levels of ketones in the body is is sort of what we’re aiming for.
Amanda: How does that help the patients? Do they have you seen sort of a reversal or can it be? I don’t know if it can be.
Tim: I think it’s a whole it’s a complete package though. Like, and depending on how far along in the disease, you will see changes. Actually, I spoke to a client just this morning, and he isn’t even in a in a ketogenic diet, but we found severe sleep apnea. We found a stomach infection. We found insulin resistance. So he’s just gone on a paleo sort of template. You know, just whole foods. And he actually said, he does a lot of stock exchange stuffs too. And there’s all these passwords that he has to remember. He wasn’t able to remember that he had them all written down. He actually said to me this morning, he said, I’ve actually memorized all these passwords again. And I’m like, that’s, that’s really exciting.
Amanda: That is exciting.
Maria: And I was also gonna say, Amanda, like, we can give different advice to two different people. So you know, for one person fasting is appropriate. And then for another person, it’s not absolutely no way. Are you too fast? And so because there’s so much information out there. And people do come to us with a lot of information. And one of our jobs is to decide whether that is a good fit for them for them if and it can also change in your life cycle as well. So sometimes we’re doing something and then it’s like, no, that’s not appropriate now. Now I’ve got to change direction. And I think that’s one of the skills that is impossible to get from the internet. Yeah. You can’t put it into context for you.
Amanda: That’s right. As you say, lifestyle like life cycle, sorry. So if someone’s trying to get pregnant, that’s very different. If someone trying to lose weight or with Alzheimer’s disease or…
Maria: That’s right, or someone with really chronic fatigue, you know, is what we’re going to get them to do is going to be different.
Tim: Yeah. I mean, even Maria said to me the other day. We know with the ketogenic diet, and, you know, if we don’t find someone moving into ketosis easily within, you know, a shorter space of time. And it’s even more important with Alzheimers as well, if we deprive the body of a glucose source for neurons, and then we deprive it we’re not making ketone bodies, which is the other energy source, then we’re actually stopping the brain from two different directions. So we have to really think about what we’re about to do. And can we can we adjust and make sure that they’re into ketosis, or do we then go Okay, let’s take a step back for a little while, and just introduce some whole food carbohydrates again. And that’s appropriate, because we’re assessing what’s happening.
Amanda: And that’s why I think it’s so important to be guided by a health professional in that pathway.
Maria: And a lot of a lot of people that go on keto, like when people come to me and they they go, I’m doing keto. And I check the ketones on the machine. They’re not in ketosis at all. And so, because they don’t actually really understand what that means, and so yeah, that’s exactly what you said we have to rethink whether that appropriate yeah.
Tim: I mean, a little hint that you might be in ketosis apart from actually measuring your blood ketones would be a real cognitive spike in your attention and your ability to focus for, you know, 24/7.
Amanda: Well, I think we probably need to start wrapping this up. But a few just a couple more questions. Do either of you have any inspiring stories that you can share with us?
Maria: Oh sure. We’ve got lots in what we’ve done to help people?
Maria: Sure. So we’ve had I’ve had a few clients whose gallbladders were going to be removed and we’ve saved that. One was actually a celiac undiagnosed, and so did not need a gallbladder removal. I think, you know, 90% of the time, I just get so excited when people feel better, their energies better. It transfers to the whole life. And you know, how they are with their families, how they can manage things. So you know, that is just common for us all the time.
Amanda: That’s great to see.
Maria: Yeah, yeah. And so that that is exciting. That that’s the generally big things we always hear and see. And understanding food and developing a different relationship with food and because sometimes when women are always dieting, they have such a horrible relationship with food. They don’t even know how to have fun. Yeah, it’s guilt every time they put something in their mouth, and that’s just no way to live.
Amanda: It certainly not.
Maria: No. And so it’s it’s beautiful we start to change that.
Tim: Yeah, I suppose for me, sort of early days with treating Alzheimer’s. I mean, I just told you about the the guy, the guy that I’m seeing with the remembering his passwords now. But things like the severe sleep apnea, that’s that’s common. I pick that up so many times now. There’s like 70 80% of people with sleep apnea undiagnosed. I had another lady that we had a dental sort of checkup and she had periodontal disease, so a lot of inflammation. But if that was left a little bit longer, she would have lost all the teeth. So I forget about the cognition. You know, these quality of life sort of things that we’re picking up. Another another person had blood in the stool was a gut infection. It was actually H. pylori. So we treat that and all of a sudden, you know, it was probably an ulcer, and that will change. So all these little tiny wins, they really exciting. And yeah.
Amanda: I guess that’s what keeps you doing it, isn’t it?
Maria: Absolutely. And I think as well, like, especially when we start to see teenagers and girls being put on the pill, and no one’s actually telling them about the effect on their copper levels and their cortisol levels. And so they’re getting anxiety and then they don’t know why. And so really, you know, helping how they’re going to manage that, you know. Because there are if they want to stay on the pill, there’s herbs we can give to help the cortisol levels. So just when people are not feeling good, and they’re going in the wrong direction, things are moving all in the wrong direction. And I think mental health mood is a big big one that we improve a lot.
Amanda: I think we’re gonna have to do another podcast because there’s so much more to say. But I’ll just ask my final question. Now if you could recommend two things that people could do to improve their wellbeing, what would they be? The top two.
Maria: The top two – Okay, so I think my top two would be the first would be whole food eating and sleeping. So those having those two things, and actually my second is questioning our thinking all the time because it drives our behavior.
Amanda: Yeah. Brilliant. And Tim?
Tim: I’m going to cheat. I’m going to say it’s a given that you move a little bit more and you’re eating a whole food diet, because this is what we were always told and it’s, you know, it’s true. It’s good.
Amanda: So those boxes are ticked. So what what’s next?
Tim: I’m going to actually say, come in and get a really thorough health checkup. You know, get some lab markers done. Get a history taken. Have a look at your symptoms. Have a look at under that bonnet that were sort of talking about.
Amanda: Look after yourself.
Tim: Yeah, and really see get someone to interpret all of this information really carefully. And you know with the Bredesen stuff, it’s a cognoscopy, it’s much more extensive, but yet we’re still looking under and seeing what seeing what your risk factors are. And the other one I’m going to say is valuing your family and your relationships and taking the time to spend with them are really enjoying that being in the present moment. Like I’ve got a little boy, and with all the clinical stuff and other work that I do you sometimes forget to be in the moment with him. And that’s really special. And that comes back to that social connection. I think that’s such a huge driver in wellbeing as well.
Amanda: Yeah, I agree. And they grow up so quickly. Thank you both so much for coming on the podcast and I think we’re going to have to schedule another one.
Maria: Thanks so much Amanda for having us.
Tim: Thank you. Thank you.
Amanda: That was Maria Harpas and Tim Jaeger of Jaeger Health. The podcast was longer than usual because we had so much to say. You can connect with them via their website and I will put a link to that in the show notes. You will also find the two books about Alzheimers that we mentioned on the books page of my website. And just very quickly, the story about how I met Tim, when I was away overseas recently, and my 18 year old son was at home. A faulty appliance in the kitchen led him to calling the fiber grade at 3am in the morning. Tim not only saved our kitchen, but he calmed the nerves of my son, and he’s also become a friend and obviously a guest on this podcast. You can subscribe to Amanda’s wellbeing podcast on YouTube, hit the subscribe button. And while you’re there, click on the bell to be alerted when new episodes are available. You can also subscribe on your favorite podcast app, like iTunes, Stitcher, Spreaker, Spotify or Google podcast. And you can follow the podcast on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Direct links to all social media can be found on the subscriber page of my website at www dot. Amanda’s wellbeing podcast.com. If you’d like to contact me, you can send me a message via the contacts page on my website. Please feel free to suggest topics that you’d like to learn more about, and I’ll do my best to deliver that to you. Finally, please take a minute to leave a rating on iTunes. It improves visibility and will inspire me to keep sourcing excellent guests for you. Thank you for tuning in. Eat well. Move well think well.