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Co-host Dr. Regan Steigmann joins the podcast and explains her role in preventative medicine and how she lives a healthy life despite her incredibly busy schedule working as a flight surgeon. We explore the facets of lifestyle medicine and how everyone can adopt such habits.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: Hey guys. Thanks for joining us on another episode of the Body Clock podcast by Owaves. If you haven’t already, please remember to download the free Owaves app on the Apple App Store. It’s the number one wellness app on the App Store. It’s fun, it’s easy to use and it will allow you to effectively plan your day. It works great as a visual planner. And please remember to tell your friends and family. Also if you’re enjoying the show, please do us a huge, huge favor and leave us a five star rating on your podcast app. As always, thanks for listening and hope you enjoy the show.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Hey guys. So welcome to the Body Clock podcast. Today we have a vital integral part of our team joining us: Regan. Hey Regan.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Hey there, Sohaib.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Finally, it’s nice to get you on the podcast and I know you’ve been very busy lately with your preventive medicine exams and congratulations on being certified as a lifestyle medicine physician.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Thank you so much. It’s an honor and thanks for setting the pace for all of us here at Owaves and being the first of our team to actually become formally certified in lifestyle medicine.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: That’s very kind of you. We’ve been waiting for you and your input for this podcast. We’ve be missing that female voice as well to, you know, make our podcast more, you know, listener friendly.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Absolutely. Got to build that balance and find that find that finesse between.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah. They actually say interestingly there was exponential medicine was taking place this week in San Diego and they were talking about voice tech and Alexa and they were saying how the female voice is-research has shown that people prefer the female voice to the male voice generally speaking.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Unless unless the male voice has an accent though, right?
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: What kind of accent? That’s the question. Reagan is a flight surgeon. She works closely with the American military and she was very involved the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. You were-what was your role with the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Reagan?
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Absolutely. So I first learned about the American College of Lifestyle Medicine through the American College of Preventive Medicine in about 2012. So coming up on a decade rather quickly which is terrifying but exciting because it’s given and provided a lot of leverage points for forming and shaping this field of lifestyle medicine. So I really just found the scope of what the backbone of lifestyle medicine is much more alluring and intriguing as as it pertains to how and why I went into medicine in the first place.
So I think we all have this idea of, you know, I want to go in, I want to help people and I want to be a healer and I want to project health and manage health. However, you know, some of the sad realities of medicine in the US-and I know a handful of other places internationally-is that we’re predominantly functioning and working in a sick care and a disease management system.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: So it’s sort of sparked that fire in me to find a way around that and say “hey, no. I don’t want to actually just manage your diabetes I want to reverse it and bring you back to a normal state of homeostasis and health. So lifestyle medicine is pretty much comprised of apentads. So I tell my patients and people when I’m explaining lifestyle medicine to them to hold a hold of their hand, you know, a big high five and you count along as you go.
So Lifestyle Medicine is comprised of five core elements. What you eat, how you move, how you sleep, how you think and how you manage stress. So I focus heavily on the ‘what you eat’ components and we’ll delve into that a little bit more. But to circle back to your point I became involved, I served as the president of the medical student section for the American College of Preventive Medicine which led me directly to lifestyle medicine where in 2013 I helped to co-found the professionals in training or the IT team and that that has grown by leaps and bounds over the last half of a decade and we’re so excited to see how much gusto and excitement is just, you know, simmering with not only medical students but people in any realm of health care.
So we call we call everybody basically ‘the allied health providers.’ So it’s not physician centric, it’s not just those medical residents or medical students, it’s physical therapy, registered dietitians, nurses nurses, practitioners, physician assistants, you name it.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: It’s a it’s a beautiful smorgasbord, if you will of bringing health-allied health providers together under this umbrella of Lifestyle Medicine. And the last two years, I’ve served as the young director on the board of directors for the American College of Lifestyle Medicine helping to basically fashion and curate what the future of lifestyle medicine will be for medical students, residents and everybody else in a health vein and making lifestyle medicine a core component of that training.
Because if you think about what kind of interventions a lot of medical diseases or conditions require, typically the very first the very first suggestion for addressing this disease or disease state is lifestyle intervention. However so few people and especially so few providers really know what that means or what that entails.
So it’s really putting a lot more emphasis on what that what that looks like, how you can prescribe exercise, how you can prescribe a change in food habits, how you can prescribe sleep hygiene. So those kinds of things and it is, it’s digging deeper into the core of how we can actually apply lifestyle medicine to not only prevention of disease in the future and moving forward but the reversal and the kindreds of disease on a chronic level.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: I mean, that sounds very revolutionary. And the breadth, as you said, it’s reaching all parts of the world in terms of Australia as a lifestyle medicine society now, the UK, Europe. So I mean you guys I mean the state seems kind of the pioneers of the movement that actually existed previously but it wasn’t formalized how it is now. I mean well done for make things an active role in this kind of wave. I’m very interested in your role with the military. Could you tell us more about that and kind of the statistics of kind of, you know, health in the military?
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Absolutely. So as a flight doc or a flight surgeon which I currently am with the Air Force Academy up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, it’s literally in my duty title-Air Force instructional 48-101 section 6.4.4-Why do I know this? It’s nuts. Who knows their job performance to this depth? It’s-actually and the serendipity behind it is amazingly coincidental yet perfect for for me and what I practice as a lifestyle medicine/performance/flight doc because that instructional specifically states, ‘Hey you as a flight doc are responsible for getting rid of performance techniques that do not work.’
So for instance, from the standpoint of pilots or flyers who I predominantly see as my patient population, how do I mitigate fatigue? How do I make sure my pilots stay awake for their 36 hour missions that are crucial for military and mission success? And so basically it’s in my duty title as a flight surgeon to bring in new human performance optimization techniques that work and to get rid of human performance optimization techniques that do not work.
So it’s beautiful from that standpoint because I literally get to leverage the fact that this this smaller focus in medicine that I have personally not only as a preventive medicine trained physician but Lifestyle Medicine and Performance medicine like I get to say, ‘hey this is pretty sweet,’ that I get to, you know, not only serve as active duty and to serve other active duty clientele or patients, if you will but I get to do this because it’s mandated and I really do wish that we we took this more to heart as military physicians and military providers because this is absolutely one of the most overlooked elements not only in the military but in the US as well.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: We’re not we’re not optimizing our human performance as best as we could because most doctors, you know, you don’t walk into a doctor and you don’t hear ‘hey, you know, are you are you feeling as good as you could right now? Do you know how good you can actually feel if you dial in your food choices and if you make sure that you’re not getting broken up sleep or you’re altering your sleep times for optimal REM cycling and you’re doing enough mindfulness practice to re-calibrate the restorative components of not only, you know, a meditative break or a memory consolidation capacity.’ But it is it’s really weaving that web of long term sustainability and health and that’s and that’s what I want to focus on and that’s what honestly I want every physician in this country, regardless of if you’re in a uniform or not to focus on for their patients because that is why-I guarantee you-most of us went to medical school.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: That’s really interesting, Regan on the note of like just managing pilots and high level military personnel who have high pressure jobs. Is there anything specific with regards to managing circadian rhythms and body clocks in terms of like what’s recommended for pilots and like is it is it sort of is there like a program that they’re expected to follow, are you establishing that for them? Does it factor in like nutrition and exercise and all those types of things? Because I always wonder like how somebody performs at a high pressure situation like that. Can you delve into anything like regarding their circadian rhythm management? What’s the recommended number of hours that we’re supposed to sleep?
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Absolutely. So basically from a standpoint of risk management and human factor capacities that contribute to how well you perform and how much sleep you got the night before, there are stratified-basically-layers of analysis that every pilot and every co-pilot and every person on board a military aircraft will undergo to basically stratify say, ‘hey, you’re sort of in a danger zone. You’ve had only four to six hours of sleep the night before, you know, your your family is about to welcome a new baby so you have that much added stress.’
They they do qualify and try to quantify what external factors could be impinging or limiting Optimum Performance from the standpoint of, ‘hey, you probably shouldn’t fly today.’ Not only do they think of personal factors but obviously environmental factors, technological factors, weather factors, you name it. So they have a good way of trying to capture that. But I think to your point, some of that stuff is sort of limited whereas, you know, we’ll ask the question, ‘hey, how many hours of sleep did you get last night?’ ‘Oh I only got four hours of sleep.’
It’s sort of-the buck stops there. We don’t say we don’t continue further on because there’s not a physician at all times sitting with these pilots and saying, ‘well hey, we’ve got to get you to a healthier level of sleep every night and dig a little deeper and find out what’s going on with the minimum sleeping. Like are you overweight? That’s potentially contributing to some sort of sleep apnea.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Is it excess stress that’s not being managed properly? Is it a family dysfunction that needs to be addressed with, you know, co counselling or family counseling in some capacity. Like we need to be there to address those items specifically because they tend to typically get overlooked. And with that in mind, sleep is the physiological process that is most easily disrupted by military operations.
And if you think about the circadian rhythm that we have, that we all possess. So we mess up our clock by staying up too late and playing on our iPhones and our computers and especially with the time change having a difficult time getting outside getting enough exercise or physical activity. We eat a bunch of processed, junky food and, you know, a lot of people drink too much or they binge on food early in the morning late at night and then, you know, they try and compensate for that for by you know drinking three Monster energy drinks a day or the five hour energies that are just jolting your system.
And it’s not really a huge surprise that in the past you know half of a decade 60 plus years we’ve seen these drastic changes in human habits and lifestyle habits that are hand in hand linked to chronic degenerate diseases that we see all too often in this day and age. So overweight, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, sleep disorders-what we want to focus on here.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: But to include depression and certain types of cancer and predispositions for cancer and things like Alzheimer’s. So once again I circle back to that logic of that that Pentad, the lifestyle medicine Pentad. And even if one of those elements-one of which is sleep and thusly circadian rhythm regulation and management and sleep hygiene-even if one of those is out of whack you’re you are in a state of deoptimization as I say. So that’s what I really hope to shore up with not only, you know, podcasts like this and finding more intellectual individuals who are super versed on this, who have done years and years of research in this field. But yeah.
As the Vice President of Medical Affairs for Owaves like this is our duty to show how when we prioritize something that we don’t typically put on a calendar like, you know, meditation or yoga or make sure you’re eating enough carrots and apple slices in between seeing your patients, Regan because I’m guilty of that too and it is when you when you actively prioritize it and put it into the context of, ‘hey, I’m getting a reminder that’s chiming on my iPhone or my Iwatch that’s saying, ‘hey, by the way, you took enough time to make this a part of your calendar.
So now take enough time to make it an action item and act on it.’ And that’s and that’s what I’m super jazzed about, the core of Owaves because that’s what we’re tapping into. And that will directly lead to improved human performance. So that’s that’s why I’m so excited to be not only sharing the Body Clock podcast with you guys but with the overarching work that we’ll be doing with Owaves in general.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Which sounds great because I mean you’ve had such a vast experience dealing with such kind of individuals in the military who go through such intensive training and you’ve obviously dealt with a range of people that applying to, you know, with Owaves, our target audience being the student population at the moment.
I think it puts you in a perfect position to kind of trickle that downstream to students because students obviously normally are at a younger age. And when you’ve seen things manifest at an older age I think it makes it easier for you to kind of help manage things before they manifest. Like you said with lifestyle medicine prevention the sooner you start the easier it is. So Reagan any way, with Owaves, obviously we’ve got some stuff planned. Could you talk about some of the studies we’re aiming to do?
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Absolutely. So actually a really contemporary thing that literally just came out last week and one thing that I want to highlight in the context of circadian rhythm management and lifestyle medicine and performance medicine techniques. So in 2014 there was a rush University study that came out that in essence, illustrated that disruption of circadian rhythms can contribute to inflammatory diseases and not just necessarily like rheumatoid arthritis but inflammatory bowel disease and other traditionally if you will inflammatory diseases.
But to sort of second that, just at the end of October of this year, a Northwest University study came out that showed, ‘hey guess what? Inflammation can lead to circadian rhythm sleep disorder.’ So if you think about that, it’s sort of like the the nasty negative feedback loop of, you know, it’s chicken and egg situation. Does does the inflammation cause the circadian sleep disorder or does the circadian sleep disorder cause the inflammation?
And what what I think what I want to take out of that is, ‘hey guess what? If you’re applying that pentad piece of, hey basically decreasing inflammation if you have dialed in your diet which is from the research that I’ve done for the last half of a decade as and focusing on that said research which has been going on for half of a century, shows that predominantly a whole foods plant based diet intervention is optimum for inflammation reduction and chronic disease reversal coupled with getting enough physical activity, making sure your head space in your mindset or clear, making sure your sleep hygiene is dialed in and making sure your stress is managed effectively.
Guess what? You reduce your inflammation and hand-in-hand with that goes a reduction in chronic degenerative diseases. The top five of course we talk about our overweight, obesity, diabetes, pre-diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, some flavor of all of those chronic diseases are underscored by an inflammatory state. And so to answer your question what we’re hoping to focus on with some of the upcoming pilot studies and beta studies for Owaves that are going to start around the southern California area, we’re looking at basically proof of concept.
So basically how it is that when you make a choice to add a component of mindfulness so say OK it’s 5:00 p.m. I’m going to sit down for a mindful 10 minutes and meditate. However I want. It’s just literally the act of executing when you say you will execute basically proving that that can help build a foundation of not only improved focus but basically stress management as well which is our end goal when we put the Owaves and user in a position where they can not only build their own Owaves or build their own O basically, you give them that leverage and that ability to say, ‘hey, this is what I’m capable of doing,’ which is brilliant from my opinion because it’s not a prescriptive paternalistic physician or health care provider saying, ‘you’re overweight you need to lose weight and exercise more and eat less,’ like that is completely useless in my opinion.
And I hear that all too often and once again, those are those are providers who aren’t trained to educate their patients how to execute that effectively and sustain-ably. So what I hope to do with these pilot studies is prove that once once Owave users start following the schedule that they have built for themselves, they start seeing those kinds of improvements from basically a myriad of different angles so not only the reduction of inflammation, because you’re making sure you’re eating 25 to 30 grams of natural fiber a day.
But hey you’re you’re sticking to a schedule and you’re sticking to a schedule that you have built because you like it. You like doing yoga. You can get on your schedule for 60 minutes every other day and you can meet that and if you can’t, guess what, you scale that back to twice a week or something manageable. But the point is is that when you build something to your own liking, your ability to be able to follow that will increase and especially hand-in-hand with Owaves.
Something that gently reminds you to say ‘hey, just just making sure that we’re we’re keeping you on your toes and keeping you in the right traffic pattern, if you will for achieving your end goals.’ And then once you start seeing those results then you start building sort of a resilience infrastructure in your own habit patterns which is the essence of what we need to basically quote unquote bio hack, which is what I refer to it to see the best outcomes possible.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: It’s great to know that we have you on the team first and foremost because I feel like that’s the component of Owaves that we’ve been missing for a while is just somebody who’s got boots on the ground that could not only, you know, get studies like this going, like you’re talking about but also, you know, use your very very impressive background to be able to relate it directly to the average layperson like myself for instance versus like somebody who’s flying the supersonic jet up in the air.
I think it’s definitely helpful in practice. A lot of my patients they are very much still looking for answers and there’s so many different guides and so many different solutions out there quote unquote solutions out there in terms of like, ‘how do I live a healthy lifestyle, how do I balance my stress?’ And a lot of it’s easier said than done. Busy lifestyles, family commitments, work-oftentimes a lot of people feel like they don’t have enough time in the day. How do you specifically manage your day with so much on the plate at the moment? Because I know that aside from the podcast, you’ve been very busy over the last like six to nine months. Do you have a routine that you follow or is that something that you just take on a day by day basis?
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Absolutely. So what I what I try to do and what I found works for me is I try to do a lot of preplanning, And what I mean by that, for example, one of the easiest examples that I can share that I share with all of my patients, clients as well is the idea of setting yourself up to succeed. So I know that in order to keep having enough energy to sustain me throughout a full patient load course day that I need healthy food to do that.
And when you’re in a relative food desert as most military bases are, sadly, you have to find smarter options to achieve that. So every Sunday evening, I-for the week and I’ll typically make it a huge salad, I’ll get five big Pyrex Tupperware jar things out and just build huge salads with arugula, herbs and greens and artichoke hearts and pretty much any and every single salad topping under the sun to give me not only a lot of bulky fiber but also palatability and protein and fat and put nuts and seeds and dressings always come with me every day in route to work.
So basically, I ensure that I will have that healthy backbone and also I pretty much graze all day. I have big bags that I get from, you know, the membership warehouses of carrots and apple slices and berries and cucumbers and peppers and you name it and I literally I’m eating something at all times because it’s really hard to overdo plants and fruits. So for example 9 percent of Americans get the recommended daily amount of fiber every single day which according to some of the infrastructure the medical infrastructure in the US the USPS, the Preventive Services Task Force in between 20 and 30 grams a day.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: And in my estimation and what I’ve learned about how good fiber is for the human body, literally adhering as plant steriles is to cholesterol particles and sweeping those out of the body. A lot of people recommend well more than that but, you know, between 40 and 45 grams of fiber a day. But it’s hard for most Americans to even get the twenty five grams of fiber a day. So it is, it’s setting myself up to succeed. It’s trying to adapt and survive which is a big adage in the military.
The adage I have reversed a little bit. So their typical adage is a little more negative which is ‘adapt or die.’ And I say, ‘let’s be a little more positive here.’ ‘Adapt your vibe’ suits me a little bit better because yeah, I can either I can either thrive and feel good and make time for that thirty five thirty five minute pre planning session every Sunday for the week or I suffer and I have to go eat it Subway or-I make it a point to not have to do that ever. And, you know, you find those little life hacks or the bio hacks as I call them and.
Okay, yeah, so my patient day will run over and I was planning on going to do a weightlifting yoga class that day. Guess what. I’m at the mini incline running the stairs for twelve hundred ups and downs to to try and make that fit into a schedule. And so yeah it’s it’s planning ahead to succeed and being flexible when you can’t necessarily meet that mark every single time.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: Very cool. Do you feel personally like out of the the five components of lifestyle medicine that one or maybe some outweigh some of the others in the sense of like right now, diet, Nutrition is probably one of the most hot button topics that you constantly hear about, ketogenic diets, carnivore diets Mediterranean. The list goes on, right? As well as now we’re seeing a lot in the tech space which I know Sohaib’s heavily involved in. We recently had Dr. Molly Maloof on the show and she’s pretty involved in serum glucose testing, I believe.
And I was curious as far as like the military’s concerned. Do they put an emphasis on any specific component of lifestyle medicine more so than another or is that like framework still being developed. I can imagine that they’re probably ahead of the rest of the general public when it comes to monitoring things, just in general. Are there any any things happening in that space, specifically even like the tech space, for instance that would be interesting?
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Sure. I think, you know, I’m trying to help build that forward forward thinking and forward practicing edge for the military for exactly the reasons that you would think. However a lot of the traditional training and education that not only the physicians have but also P.A.s and dietitians, nutritionists have as well is very conventionally rooted in, you know, FDA’s ‘my plate’ which, you know, there’s-there are things to read between the lines. But for my opinion, obviously the entire pentad is important.
However I absolutely see the most turnaround and the biggest bang for your buck with the nutrition component of lifestyle medicine and the simplest analogy that I use is, think of your body as a Formula One race car or an F 16 jet, for example.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: I like that. That’s good.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: And guess what? When you put 85 octane into a high performance jet, you get crappy jet performance and for multimillion dollar machines there’s, no you can’t do that. That’s that’s a no go, if you will. However when you put jet fuel in, guess what? You get jet lag performance. So people really need to grab grab and grasp that concept because it’s so it’s so valid and so applicable.
However sadly we have been stuck in this state and this just spinning our wheels with the Standard American Diet where the only things that we’re we’re so focused on are know easy foods, fast food, something that’s that’s super processed full of junk sugar, like we have totally shifted our our optimization in favor of convenience which is terrifying and that’s why so many people just feel, you know, de-optimize as I keep saying, and we’re stressed out and we’re short of time and it’s causing us to land in this downward spiral and, you know.
It’s causing us in this culture to be maxed out and stressed out, like I said and tired and sick and fat and, you know, in the layman’s terms we basically need to get people out of that downward spiral and this is where Lifestyle Medicine and Performance Medicine help every patient who learns of this and who wants to optimize themselves. It helps them to get in the flow and into an upward spiral, which is what we are calling it.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: And, you know, that’s that’s where you mentioned the whole fad diets that are still trending right now. Like keto and paleo and, you know, if you remember a couple decades back which is-oh my god I just said it-like something like the Atkins diet. Those are super fad and trendy diets. And the difference here between lifestyle medicine and performance medicine is really not only the backbone and the infrastructure, it’s it’s literally helping people to rediscover their optimal human state.
So for for example, fun fact, life hack number one of this podcast, like you are exquisitely composed as a human system. And guess what? You are literally built to heal and to be healthy and also to perform optimally and you accomplish this by optimizing your personal lifestyle period, as we talked about and, you know, it’s not just short term gain which is what the ketogenic diet is. So the conceptualizing that I give to my patients who are like, ‘no, the internet told me that Keto is good,’ like the reason why that’s wrong is because one, we’re pandering to our very westernized, very industrialized hunger for one, instant gratification and two, short term quick effects.
So I tell my patients, ‘hey, guess what? The keto diet, yeah that’ll lower your your weight in the short run and rather quickly but you know what else could? You could start smoking and that could lower your weight too. Or you could just not eat and that will lower your weight. But that’s not what I would recommend for long term one, health or sustainability or management. Like you can’t sustain that it’s not healthy to sustain that.
Ketogenesis is the end state of starvation and our bodies are not primed for that. And same story with the Atkins diet-it was very similar. So yeah. This isn’t just a short term, quick fix. And, you know, I don’t even call the lifestyle medicine or the pre or-excuse me-the performance medicine model, I don’t even call it a diet because guess why, a diet is just another four letter word. And diets fail. That’s why the dieting industry is so well funded-it’s a billion dollar industry.
You know why? Because it lures you in and says, “Hey, you gotta start counting calories.” You start seeing some lbs fly off and you feel good and then you fall off the wagon put those pounds back on you get real angry and then guess what, you’re in this nasty down spiral circle. So the point here is one, the shifting shifting your trial-so it was Einstein who said “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, that is the definition of insanity.”.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: So it’s doing something that has been proven time and again-and that would be specifically plant based, whole food plant based diet, flash intervention has been one of the only proven diets, you know, from evidence based medical literature and research that is sustainable for long term weight loss. Imagine that. You would want to have these efforts that you invest into your health to pay off for the long term it’s not just, you know, looking fly because it’s beach season and all of a sudden.
So it’s really that that logic and that’s that’s what I’m after is basically I’ve got the mother lode of guerrilla tactics to help you get away from the common convention of this culture and that and that will directly cause us to start experiencing the positive upward spiral. And then by that I mean, “OK. You shift your diet, you start noticing sustained weight loss. You also start noticing you recover way faster from workouts, you’re less sore.
You don’t have brain fog in the afternoons after lunch because your your blood glucose is shifting so fast and you’re you’re hitting a wall and your sleep is improved and you’re mentation and your stress management has improved. That is the upward spiral. Once you start seeing that, you really start being able to capture how good you can feel. So imagine that. Imagine imagine medicine worldwide had to focus on health because that’s why I went to med school. So long winded answer but hopefully that makes sense.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: No, eloquently put.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: Yeah.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Very intriguing. But that does make me curious. What are the workouts like for the military? It’s something everyone fantasizes about, you know, the military workouts. I mean, you see it everywhere on the internet. Is there any specific workloads or plans that people go through?
Dr. Regan Steigmann: So the military-at least the air force-you are mandated to anywhere between one and two times a year, depending on how well you perform on your initial exercise, P.T. test, you have to do a run component, you have to do a push-up component, a sit up component and a abdominal circumference component as well as BMI mixed in there. However, tragically, one of the most-the most common place where military service members get injured is in training for these tests because guess what?
Military members for the most part, a lot of them-not all of them but a lot of them-aren’t staying current from the six month intervals where they test. So you know all test in June or I’ll test in December after that, you know, they start training two to three weeks four weeks before their test. They don’t sustain it throughout the entire five months then six month window for performance. And guess what happens as a result of that? Injuries as a result of P.T. tests because people aren’t staying current every single day. I mean it is it’s sort of a it’s counterintuitive because yep, we all have to meet the requirements for physical fitness, however a lot of us get injured when we’re when we’re performing these tests. So it’s it’s an interesting system. I’ll say that.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: So Regan, if if one wanted to obtain more information or even like where do you yourself go for this type of information, if you’d like to learn more about how to better manage, you know, just your own lifestyle and to optimize one’s life for one’s self?
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Absolutely. Billiant question and thank you for asking that. And I really do have to foot stomp here the importance of knowing your sources because the internet is as terrifying as it is glorious. And there is so much misinformation out there. And to answer your question a couple of web sites that are absolute go tos for me are nutritionfacts.org, which is the web site put on by Dr. Michael Gregor who is an internal medicine doc who over the past few years has been one of the leading figures in lifestyle medicine basically vetting all of the Food and Nutrition Research that is done in the English language worldwide.
It’s brilliant. To tack onto that, he wrote a book called How Not To Die. And it breaks down by chapter, you know, how not to die of heart disease or diabetes or high blood pressure or testicular cancer or breast cancer. And he really intelligently breaks it down. He offers the the best part of this which which I really want to underscore and foot stomp is he gives you all the resources and he shows you, “hey, this this article published in JAMA in 1998 or, you know, what latches into a recent publication from a year ago showing and repeating this study and its validity.” So it is it’s really reinforcing the fact that yeah, we are bringing you the most cutting edge evidence based medical research in the capacity of lifestyle medicine and its applicability. So Mike Gregor, How Not to Die, the book he wrote. He’s actually putting out another book called How Not to Diet. Interesting.
So add a T to that, that should be coming around the end of the year. He also has a cookbook. I think it’s just the How Not to Die Cookbook. Another site that I absolutely adore-and I have the pleasure of working with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Barnard medical clinic as part of my preventive medicine residency training with the Air Force out in Washington DC-is pcrm.org. So that acronym stands for Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and that is led by the ever sagacious Dr. Neal Barnard as well as one of my personal mentors Dr. Jim Loomis who has helped to build this infrastructure of a lifestyle medicine clinic concept that works and that works well. So those are a few resources.
I will recommend, there’s a few films that are coming out. One of the, actually one of the very sort of core foundation building films of lifestyle medicine is called Forks Over Knives. But I will tell you guys about a exciting new film that will be debuted in early 2019 and it’s called The Game Changers. And actually Dr. Jim Loomis is featured in this film as he was the former-excuse me, not coach but he was the former medical director, basically of the St. Louis Rams and the St. Louis Cardinals and he was with those teams when they both won the Super Bowl and the World Series.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: So, you know, he has applied this to athletics and performance from the standpoint of physical activity and the film itself is the first evidence based medically researched and medically researched infrastructure, if you will. So they do the same thing Mike Gregor does in his sites. They give you the resources of where they get their information and real time performance nutrition is basically the backbone of The Game Changers and brilliantly done.
And I really do think that this film will be the millennial generation’s tipping point for latching onto wanting to perform better academically and athletically and minimized fatigue and optimize energy and output. And basically, yeah you get tapped into living your best life through what you’re eating and how you’re thinking and how you’re moving and sleeping and stress managing. And it’s brilliant.
And you you sort of set your your colleagues on fire in a figurative way because you galvanize all of this potential energy from feeling good and performing well and having amazing, you know, projects everybody has their own lane. And when you start seeing your friends and your colleagues and your family thriving, you you light up yourself and you get excited about feeling good and that that is really my end mission in all of this. And as being a flight Doc and lifestyle and performance medicine sub specialists. So thanks for that thanks for the question. It’s fantastic.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: You really have the energy. I mean I think you should have been giving a talk at Singularity University this week. I think they missed out on a good speak over there. But yeah I mean will this movie be available on Netflix? Because-
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Good question too. So actually really really forward thinking producer Jay Wilkes who I’ve had the good pleasure of working with. And actually we’re finalizing a showing of The Game Changers. Basically the first military base to screen this film, we’re going to hopefully set that up the Air Force Academy before the end of the year. And to James Wilkes’s credit, he has he has built this film as a labor of love.
Not only does it showcase his story as a mixed martial arts champion but he has he has said and he has done so much due diligence for finding the right distribution rights. So basically getting as many eyes on this film and this piece of art in my opinion as well as this piece of medical science. And basically he wants eyes on. He doesn’t, he’s not preoccupied with how much money he is going to be kicked back or the team will be kicked back because this has been such a well done documentary that when-as I mentioned-when people see this film they’re going to really, you know, have have a cause for pause, if you will.
Like it will give them pause and say, “hey dang, you know, if Arnold Schwarzenegger and some of the bigger faces in performance-they have,” they feature gold medal Olympic athletes, they feature NFL players, MLB, you name it the high performing NCAA athletes of our college systems, they show them and they prove to them that, “hey by the way do you want that cutting edge, do you want to beat your personal records? Give this a shot.”
Dr. Regan Steigmann: And the beautiful thing about this is that this doesn’t have to be all or nothing. And I think that’s a huge thing that we have to sort of reinforce. We have this concept in this country of perfectionism and if we can’t meet something then guess what? We end up not doing it. So that’s a real big other sort of hack-life life hack component that I really try to emphasize is that the stuff you can do on a spectrum. And guess what. If you’re training for a marathon, yeah, I would suggest sticking to a predominantly whole food, plant based food profile because you’re going to get the best bang for your buck.
But if you’re if you’re just trying to you know get better on small tasks daily then yeah you can you can do small things like cutting your meat intake by 50 percent or eliminating big portion sizes and sticking to something simple and smaller and manageable. Or I tell people if you change nothing about your diet like you eat exactly what you-if you do nothing except add two to three servings of fruits and vegetables extra every single day two extra servings of fruits two extra servings of veggies every day, guess what? You’ll see a difference. And guess what? You’ll also start wanting to figure out how you can make that make that difference bigger and see how good-once again and see how good you can feel. And it’s really you’re your own best test pilot. And that’s the perfect irony and you know bad joke profile being in you know I take care of pilots. I love talking about food. So the puns are endless, let’s say.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: I think it’s also add to the longevity as well. That’s a hot topic at the moment as well. I mean health span and how we can live healthier, longer lives. So-
Dr. Regan Steigmann: You’re exactly right. And that that touches on the heart of why this stuff works. It’s circles back to epigenetic regulation. You’re literally, when you give your body the right fuel, you turn on healthy genes and you turn off unhealthy genes. And guess what? You you prevent your telomirrors which are the little aglets on the end of your shoelaces that that age you, you prevent those from unraveling. And guess what you do it. It’s funny you mentioned that, I start I started calling my patients and I say, “hey do you know that you’re Benjamin Buttoning? Like you are literally reversing in age.”
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: I like that.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: It’s brilliant. And you see it. And one of my one of my favorite patients to talk about is one of the colonels up at the Air Force Academy who had been on statin drugs for the last decade. He was twenty five pounds overweight, pre diabetic, deslypidemic, high blood pressure, crummy cholesterol profile and just felt heavy. And so I said, “hey sir, are you interested in getting off of drugs?”
And he said, “well I was told that I was going to be on these drugs for the rest of my life.” And I said, “well not not here, not in my house,” and educated him all about lifestyle medicine. And wouldn’t you know, four months later not, you know, it started, the changes started happening at week two and week three, four months later now he has lost 20 pounds sustainably, he has completely normalized his cholesterol profile, he has reversed his pre diabetes, he has lost two centimeters in his neck and he looks a decade younger.
So he is my my drinking duck as he calls himself of lifestyle medicine. And he, you know, he had a very poignant quote and he said, “why the hell am I 48 years old and this is the first time I’ve ever heard a doctor tell me that I can basically reverse my chronic diseases and medical conditions?” And, you know, I had to just apologize for the medical state of our country.
But I said “hey, you know, I’m here now and I get to get to work with you in it in a team relationship because, you know, as the quarterback of the medical team I can’t throw that touchdown pass if I don’t have that wide receiver able to catch it in the end zone.” And it is it’s switching on your patients and it’s getting them activated to say, “hey, once again this is not the paternalistic wagging finger of the doctor at you to chastise you when you quote unquote fail.” This is saying, “hey, guess what, you get to make whatever end goal you want. And I get to help you reach that.” And that’s that’s the brilliant part of this kind of medicine.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Regan, you’re the superwoman of lifestyle medicine. Anyone catches you flying in the skies with your cape. Giving the chronic disease, you’ll be saving them from chronic disease, I’m sure. Um, so glad that we have you on Owaves because we haven’t touched this technology will obviously enable a lot of these changes because it’s one Regan and you can only reach your patient populations but with-through technology we can reach so many more people using all these principles you’ve discussed.
So that’s where digital health comes in. So I mean it’s been brilliant talking to you and I think this is going to be an amazing episode for everyone to listen to to actually understand the crux of lifestyle medicine and kind of conceptualize what can happen from kind of adopting these behaviors and these changes in lifestyles.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Absolutely. And I do want to throw out there, if anybody is interested in following me, I do have an Instagram account and that’s @Dr.Stieg which is D.R. dot s t i e g and I post updates, you know, just about food and about what’s happening basically all around performance and lifestyle medicine so check that out as well if you’re interested and just following along with what I do every day.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: That’s such a cool name because “the Stig” is actually-I don’t know if you have watched Top Gear, it’s a British program. It’s about cars and kind of car performance the Stig is actually this character who wears this helmet and you never see their kind of-he’s like a superhero.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: So hey. Perfect. You want to know something funny? My call sign is “the Stieg”- it is! It’s brilliant. So I might have I might have a lead foot as well as you know propensity for liking nice cars too.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Always using jet fuel, right?
Dr. Regan Steigmann: That’s right!
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: I mean, I had a lot of fun in this episode.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Me too.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: Yeah, we’re really excited about having you on board with Owaves and to stay up to date with the pilot studies that you mentioned earlier. I kind of feel like we-you know when a team gets a first round draft pick and the they land like a keeper? I feel like that’s what we’re sort of going through right now with Regan. So, it’s pretty awesome to have you on board and we’re really excited to have you on episodes moving forward because I think you bring quite a bit to the table and we’ve only just touched like the very beginnings of so many different, interesting topics.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Absolutely. I’m super excited to talk with more and more of the cutting edge leaders of this movement because it is this is this is where it’s at. This is how we’re actually going to see success for the long term for our health for not only those who are educated or who are in the medical system itself but for everybody. And I think that’s the big end goal is just to make this make this user friendly on any and every single level regardless of income level or socioeconomic status. Like this this is where it’s at. And this is where everything is driving to in the future.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: Couldn’t agree more. Sohaib, do you have any other final questions for Regan before we let her go?
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: I think we’ve asked her so much.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: Yeah.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: I think we should leave it there because she’s mentioned everything.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: Yeah. Regan, you’re awesome. Thank you so much.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: My favorite thing and I’ll tell you what. Well you know you find your passions. And one of my big passions and like small victories every single day, I am a big believer in quotes. So anytime I can get my hands on a new quote I go right after it. And one of my all time favorite quotes that I will leave you guys with is a quote by Thomas Carlyle and the quote is: “he who has health has hope and he too has hope has everything.” And that that is the undercurrent of what medicine means to me and what it means to practice medicine and bring my patients health every day.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: Couldn’t have said it better. That’s such a cool quote, I’ve never heard that before.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Rather eloquent.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: Thank you guys so much. I look forward to having you on the next episodes and I’ll have this over to you guys very soon.
Dr. Regan Steigmann: Perfect, pleasure to join you guys.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: Thanks.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Great, Regan. We really enjoyed that episode.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: It was like the best episode.
Dr. Haroon Kazem: Thanks for listening to another episode of the Body Clock podcast by Owaves. If you enjoyed the show please leave us a five star rating on your podcast app. Please also remember to download the free Owaves app on the Apple App Store. Please tell your friends and your family. It’s a great tool to help you optimize your life and to effectively plan your day. Thanks as always for listening and I hope you join us again next time.
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