#169 | Protecting Today's Children with Integrative Pediatrician Dr. Joel Gator Warsh

July 13, 2022

Should we really be treating fevers in young children? Why are babies so gassy? Are germs helpful or harmful for our kids?  Do kids actually need cows' milk?  What is the problem with dairy?  Dr. Joel Gator Warsh , an integrative pediatrician in Los Angeles, CA, joins us today to discuss what is happening in our environment that is contributing to making kids sicker in the past generation rather than healthier, despite all the resources of modern society.  He answers our most pressing questions as new parents, gives us tips on how to make our households healthier and teaches us the most important step we can take to protect our children's health for the long term.

Integrative Pediatrics and Medicine

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I'm Cynthia Overgard, owner of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, childbirth advocate and postpartum support specialist. And I'm Trisha Ludwig, certified nurse midwife and international board certified lactation consultant. And this is the Down To Birth Podcast. Childbirth is something we're made to do. But how do we have our safest and most satisfying experience in today's medical culture? Let's dispel the myths and get down to birth.

You know, just as simply as things have gotten worse, because of our environment, that also means we have the power to change things. A body is super resilient. It's amazing what the human body can do if we're not poisoning it all day. You do want your kid to get colds and coughs and runny noses and all of these things, especially in a mild form, because that's what keeps our immune system working and functioning.

What do you say to parents of how gassiness and babies really, truly unsafe to give a baby under one honey? I mean, are we really still Can we talk about fevers and children?

Here's one that might surprise a lot of people that between lead and arsenic on the toxicity scale, we find fluoride.

Everyone I'm Dr. Joel Gator Warsh. I am a board certified pediatrician in Los Angeles, California. And I specialize in integrative medicine. I'm also the host of the raising amazing podcast in the raising raising plus platform. And I also run the Dr. Joel Gator, Instagram online, I bow I love to balance the best of both worlds and do all the conventional medicine as well as integrative medicine. And I just love chatting about holistic health and keeping our kids healthy. Because what's really frustrating to me is to see and keep watching the statistics about health and and chronic disease, especially when it comes to kids really everybody but especially when it comes to kids cuz I'm a pediatrician. And the numbers just getting more and more scary to the point where you look at some studies and it's like 50% of children have a chronic disease at this point, which is, you know, should not be the case it's really insane. And and as a dad, but also as a pediatrician, it's really scary.

So what is what's happening with the relationship between parents and pediatricians that is somehow allowing this chronic health and these these issues with children just sort of go unchecked? Is it is it something in the relationship? Or is it something bigger than just our society in general that we can't get a handle on?

Yeah, I think it's bigger than than just the relationship, you know, for sure. The relationship with medicine, and the relationship with the pediatrician has suffered over the last, you know, several decades. And certainly last couple of years, there's a lot of mistrust going both ways and a lot of frustration, I think, you know, going both ways from from pediatricians and from parents, right. But there is some sort of disconnect, I think, between children's health and just medicine in general, these days, but I don't think that's the pediatricians fault in any way. I've never speak poorly of my colleagues, they're all doing amazing work and trying to keep kids healthy. But it's bigger than that. It's the system. It's it's what's going on, you know, with everybody right now. And you can say, oh, it's genetics. But that doesn't make any sense. Because our genetics doesn't change that fast, right? I mean, certainly changes a little bit over decades and centuries, and, you know, 1000s and 1000s of years. But what's changing is our environment and all the things that we're doing and all the things that we're exposed to, especially if you think about the last, I don't know, 50 years, right? Like when we were growing up, I don't remember autism, I don't remember, you know, peanut allergies, maybe the odd person had it. It doesn't mean it didn't exist, but I just I don't remember it being so pervasive. I remember everybody having asthma or allergies, or eczema or whatever, like it's just so common now. And it wasn't the case before. And that means it's something that we're doing, it's everything that we're doing. It's the the toxins that were exposed to the food that we're eating, you know, just everything and so that is a bigger conversation. But it also when we go to the doctor, it's like you're there a lot of times for like two minutes, or five minutes or that's how long you see your doctor for. So it's really not possible in the current system, for the most part to really address some of the modern day issues. Doctors are great at you know, identifying serious things and sending the hospital if you need to and treating you if you have, you know, pneumonia or something like that, but it's a much bigger conversation around preventative health and, and health in general. And you can't do that in five minutes. It's very
similar to what we see in the birth community and women having babies the conversations that aren't being had to help empower the mother and the parents to prevent things from happening in their birth or in their children because the system is set up in a way that just doesn't allow the time I'm or the provider in medical school, whether it's you know, pediatric medical school or OB GYN school isn't getting the holistic education.

Exactly. The education has to start from day one. And it's impossible to say really word day one is, but it's definitely not when a baby's born, right, that's not day one for a baby is way before that is probably, you know, it's for sure before you're even pregnant, right? It's the health of the parents. And for sure, the health of the mom, but definitely the health of both parents makes a huge difference on that progression and pregnancy. And the baby. I mean, there's the Environmental Working Group study where they found several 100 chemicals in the cord blood, right. And that's, you know, just common sense that the more toxins that were exposed to you, the more that's going to get in, and at some point, some amount of toxins is too much everybody can handle, you know, we have livers and kidneys, and we can detoxify to some degree, but everybody gets thrown over the edge at some point. But it's very clear that we're most likely getting thrown over the edge of this when everybody's getting to the point where it's too far, or most people are, and that is important. We need to recognize that we need to recognize that life expectancy is going down, we need to recognize that we're, we're not doing things 100% The best way that we could be for the future of our health. Maybe for the first time ever, we're going in the wrong direction.

I appreciated the comments you made earlier because you said things that I've been mulling over for years. And I think it's interesting when you get a little bit older, and you can look back on a few decades of your life and see how things change because it's really true that the public has a very short memory. But the truth is, the reality is, things are dramatically different from when we were growing up. And here's an example I really enjoy giving people my mother has her master's degree in speech pathology. And I remember in the 80s the movie Rain Man came out with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise and rain and Dustin Hoffman's character had autism, and everyone spent the movie going, what's wrong with him? Why is he weird? Why is he off? What is wrong with that character? Everyone watched the movie that way, just like what's up with the brother. And I remember a few weeks later, because it was a very successful movie. My parents had a dinner party. And I remember walking by and all their friends were educated. They all met their friends in graduate school, they were all these were all adults sitting around with master's degrees. And I remember my mother leaning in and saying it's called Autism. It's a neuro linguistic processing disorder. And she had to teach other adults the word autism. And no one would believe that I mean, anyone listening is probably not even believing that story because they're thinking, how can that be that no one even heard about it? It's true. We all brought peanuts to school we didn't have what is it? 50% of kids have some kind of learning disability now. And what was the other one? I had one other example. Oh, and when my son was young, I remember reading that the fastest growing segment now we're talking percentage increases, we're not talking absolute numbers. The fastest growing segment of the population going on antidepressants was preschoolers. Remember, when do we stand back and say this simple question, have we grown healthier in the past 30 years or less healthy? Yeah, I mean, the question we should be asking.

Right. I mean, that's what says nothing matters that well, food doesn't affect you that much. No, don't be silly. The water filter is ridiculous. You're wasting your money. Oh, don't be silly about the air. People make a mockery of all these things. But come on, then. What is it pointing to if not toxicity?

I know. I mean, I think that's really, you know, almost idiotic way to think about things, right? It's like, obviously, it affects you, right? Obviously, it affects you, if you put a bunch of chemicals in a fishbowl what's going to happen, right? Like, you can give them all the medications that you want. But if they can't breathe, you know, they're not going to survive it, it's not hard to think about, you know, generally what the problem is, I mean, obviously, the solution is hard. It's not a simple solution. But, but the, if we don't even identify the problem in the first place, we're never going to fix it. But you know, on the flip side of things, and you know, we could talk about this probably forever, but I do want to say something positive, because it's been a little negative start, when we talk about this kind of stuff is, you know, just as simply as things have gotten worse, because of our environment, that also means we have the power to change things a body is super resilient. And if you and there are other studies or study at UC Berkeley, where, you know, they were looking at the urine of patients, and they were eating regular food, and they switch them over to organic and like the chemicals went down 90% in like a week or two. So it's like the body is amazing what it can do in a short amount of time. If we decide to identify these changes and make changes and a lot of these things we can do, we can change the air. You know, I mean, as a society we can but but ourselves, we can't just go outside and change our air or maybe the drinking water, but you can change a lot of the choices you make on a daily basis to decrease Is the chemicals and toxins your family is exposed to. And the reality is that most people are okay. And most people, if you decrease the chemicals and toxin that you're supposed to, you're going to be just fine. But the flip side of that is, if you don't identify that now, and you keep, you know, a little bit of a chemical here, a little bit of a chemical here, a little bit of crappy food here, a really bad choice here. And that's going to add up. And if they, if they do do already have a disease, it's going to be 10 times worse than 1015 years. I mean, the goal is to prevent us from getting there. And we can, we can reverse a lot of diseases, we can make them certainly a lot better or more manageable, and we can definitely prevent a lot of chronic disease in the long run. If we make healthier choices, there's no question about it. Because every holistic and integrative practitioner sees it every single day, if you clean up the diet, you get more exercise, you sleep, you decrease your stress. A lot of the time people get better, even from diseases they've had their whole life, it's not always that simple. You can't just always like go eat an apple, you're never gonna have your lupus, but it's like if you do these things, and we do see some of the times the symptoms totally go away, or thyroid disease. And you go back to your doctor, and they're like, What did you do? Like how is your levels totally normal? Now we're not at you know, even on medication anymore, what's going on? And that it's, it's amazing what the human body can do if we're not poisoning it all day.

So how do you talk to your patients in the beginning? Like what happens with the infants? How do you start this conversation? And what do you tell your families to do?

It starts with, you know, simple discussion on how you have a healthy family long term. And that starts with I call it the seeds of health are the foundations of health. So stress, environment and toxins, exercise, diet and sleep. I mean, there's lots of acronyms out there. But basically, foundations of health, the basic things that we all know, that keep us healthy, if you don't eat good food, if you eat crappy food, then you that's how you get your nutrients, your built of your food. So if you're eating a bunch of toxins and chemicals and not taking in the nutrients, how in any way do you expect for your child to be healthy 15 years from now? How do you expect their immune system to work how to expect to fight off an infection if you if you don't take in the nutrients that you need.

Well, it's interesting, because whenever you want to heal step one is always detox, whether you're trying to recover from cancer and autoimmune disorder. The first step is detox. So how about just living our lives in a less toxic way? And not Pooh poohing all of these things, but taking seriously these actions. I mean, if you think about the fact that my parents generation, maybe we I can say our parents generation, they grew up eating such Whole Foods, it would be perceived almost as peasant food, you know, they were eating lentils, and they were eating fruit for dessert, and they were just eating basic foods, and they were claiming their households with vinegar and water. And we didn't have Windex and we didn't have things that said toxic poison. If it's poisonous to drink, it's poisonous to breathe. If a pesticide will kill a tiny bug, enough pesticide will kill or cause disease and a human being. So what do you think are the low hanging fruits of a healthier lifestyle? If a couple is they move in together, they get together they get married? They have a baby? What are some changes they can make that maybe they weren't raised with?

That's a really good question. And I just want to say something new before I get there, because you made a really good point about the chemicals and the cleaners and all those things is, you know, that's another big issue in society over the last two years is we've become dissociated from nature, right? It's like we need to kill everything. We got to kill all the bacteria, we got to wipe everything down. We can we can never touch you know, something that's not perfectly clean. And that makes no sense. We're made of bacteria. We evolved in you know, the world we evolved in nature, we are nature and so yeah, there are some bad bacteria out there if it gets into the wrong place or in the wrong situation at the wrong time. And you shouldn't necessarily go licking doorknobs after someone sneezed on it right? But, but that doesn't mean that you have to clean down every single service all the time or if you touch dirt outside that's bad for you. It's good for you can't sanitizer is scary stuff to me. I raised my children not allowed to use hand sanitizer, I have to leave and go wash their hands with soap if they are required in school because chemicals are not the way to help.

Right? It's a hand sanitizer, you know, it's made for like a doctor, right or a surgeon or something. You know, you're going into surgery and your body has no plan not to be used all the time. Yeah, use every time you walk into a new store or your computer. It's a lot of, you're killing the good stuff in there, right? You're killing the good things that are on your hands. And again, it's not to say that there aren't things that are bad that you could touch or you could get sick. So sometimes it is reasonable. But if you're spraying your hands with a toxin multiple times a day, hundreds of times a day, 20 times a day. First of all, you're killing the good stuff that's on there and your skin is an organ it goes inside you and there's chemicals and eventually, people come in Like their hands are all you know, irritated. And and then but but also they know that like, but they also spray cleaner on their hands all day at school that you would expect to happen, isn't it also important for us to continually be exposed to germs in order to keep our immune system functioning at its best, I mean, eliminating germs all the time, it's harder for our immune system to do its job, our immune system is, is built from from memory from being exposed to things, and then fighting them off. And then having memory so that way, if that you're exposed to it again, it fights it off again, and hopefully don't get sick again, or you don't get very sick. That's how our immune system works. So you, you do want absolutely to be exposed to you know, quote, unquote, germs, you don't want to get that sick, you don't want your kid to go to the hospital, you don't want, you know, horrible stuff to happen, but, but you do want your kid to get colds and coughs and runny noses and all of these things, especially in a mild form, because that's what keeps your immune system working and functioning. And, you know, it's I take myself or other doctors is a perfect example. Like most doctors don't get sick all the time, yet we're exposed to viruses literally all day every day. You know, it's because our immune system is so I think strong from the fact that we're exposed to so many things consistently that you like, I probably have more antibodies, you know, per whatever ounce of blood than most humans, right, because you're just like you're exposed to it all the times you have anybody say hi, it just fights it off, and you don't get sick. But in general, germs are not to be feared we are built of bacteria and viruses and all these things. And so we do want to live harmoniously with them. And you know, you can wipe down the doorknobs. But like other than that, it's probably not the best idea to be spraying it there. Just like you said, you can use, you know, vinegar, water, baking soda, things like that, that should be good enough most of the time. If there's one thing that you can do is to read food labels, you should know, every single thing that's going into your body, you should ideally hopefully we bind things you don't even need to read a label for because it's just a thing. Right? You should be looking to make sure it's to see if it's you know, what's been sprayed in? Is it organic? Is it genetically modified, I think that's important too. But when you're buying anything in a package of any sorts, you have to read the labels, if it's got some long chemical name, it's probably not very good for you. If it's in some fancy package, then they're doing that to distract you from what's actually inside. And it doesn't mean that you can't ever eat something in a package food again. But if you're eating that every day all the time, then you're not eating real food, and you're eating chemicals. And that builds up. And again, going back to we are built of what we eat. And our food system is already so mucked up that the food even that we're getting at its best half the time is not that great. Even in the store, even if you're eating an apple, it's not the same Apple as it was, you know, 50 years ago, it's it most of them have way fewer nutrients than anything that we would have had many, many years ago. So you're already behind the eight ball before you even start. And then we're eating packaged foods with sugar and preservatives and all these things. And it's like you, anyone who who's you know, quote unquote, crunchy out there who makes their own whatever, you know how fast how fast it goes bad, right? You make your own, like almond milk or something, it doesn't last for more than three days. So you look at something in the store that's sitting on the shelves that was made, I don't know, a couple of weeks ago or months ago, and then sitting there and has an expiry date of a year. There's there's a reason for that. Right? It goes back in a day or two or three. So how could it possibly still be okay for you to drink? They have a bunch of stuff in there that preserves it. Right?

There was a woman a few years ago on the internet who bought meal at McDonald's and kept it for like, well over a year. And she walked around with this package and it looked like she had just bought it It hadn't changed at all.

Like it was a lot more than a year it was like decades. Yeah, like the bread didn't go bad. The meat it looked completely preserved. It was just such a wake up call. And I just want everyone to understand the reason you said Apple's produce is less nutrient dense than it used to be in case anyone doesn't understand why that's because pesticides are not just sprayed on produce, they get absorbed into soil, and it starts zapping It starts like making that soil devoid of the nutrients that it's supposed to have on this earth. From all the minerals that are meant to be in soil, it's all been killed. So that is why it's so important to support organic food. Yes, it's more but name anything more important than your life and your health. Just name anything more important. Exactly. We have to preserve these farms that have the soil because once the soil is damaged, it's gone. That's it.

Yeah. And I'm going to echo that other pointed minute but I want to go on from what you just said there, which is, you know, on top of that, not just the pesticides because the pesticides are are certainly bad. And you know, those are chemicals and a lot of them started as like antibiotics and things like that. And now they have been shown to cause cancer, which you know, makes sense. But also there's just a way that we farm you know, you used to I go to a farm and pick an apple off a tree and things happen really slowly and, and over the years and they would grow and they would, you know, apples would fall down and animals would walk through and you know, everything was part of nature, right. And now you go to big factories for basically everything, right, and then they're mass producing things through fertilizers, and they're not using real, you're not getting real nutrients in the soil, it's like fake nutrients that you're putting in to get high yields. And so we're way over producing the soil and the soil doesn't have the nutrients that it's supposed to have and take over the years, and there aren't animals walking through, you know, pooping in the ground that you know, it's a cycle, it's a bio, you know, biodynamic, you know, would be called now as opposed to just, it's supposed to be that way you're supposed to grow plant and pick something off, and some things fall down, and the nutrients go back in the soil, but that's not what's happening. So there aren't the nutrients, you know, in the food that we that we used to see. So it's not the same food. But then the other point, which I think is super important that you mentioned, was talking about spending money. And I'm just this point, I was so tired of hearing that it you know, cost too much, or I don't have enough time I get it, I get that some things can be more expensive. It's not always more expensive. It doesn't have to be but it can be, and I get that everybody's busy. They are. But that cannot be an excuse anymore. Like it just can't be an excuse. We have to prioritize our health. Nothing is more important than our health and our children's health. And you may be busy. But you have to prioritize getting good food going to the farmers market, buying real food, cooking food with your family, you have to prioritize spending your money in the right places, and you have to buy everything organic, everything more expensive. You can buy seeds, and grow things that can be way cheaper than buying food. And in the long run, what more what is more important than our health and what we're eating and what we're doing. It's just it's a priorities thing. And it's not to diminish somebody who's super busy. But that's also a systems issue. Like we have to make healthy food available to people at every price point. So that way, when you go to the store, all the food is healthy, or there's local gardens that you could go to to get your food or your community is growing things that we can all share like this is there's a personal responsibility and societal responsibility. Both are important. But you as a family leader, as a parent, you have to make a decision that this is important to me. And I'm going to do every single thing possible within my budget and within my means and within the timeframe that I have to make better health choices every day every week for the long run. And those things add up. Yeah, because ultimately what happens is if you don't take care of your health, your life gets a hell of a lot more expensive, and a hell of a lot busier and harder. Because are your children's health, if your children are not healthy, everything is busier and harder, trying to keep up with whatever it is that they are dealing with and trying to heal from. And in reality, healthy food is not it's just not actually that much more expensive. If you cook really simply things like beans and vegetables and potatoes, real foods, if you cook with them, and you get a little creative with your cooking, it is actually a lot less expensive than a prepackaged dinner that you might buy or certainly going out to eat. I mean, one of the ways that we really take in a lot of unhealthy foods is spending money on packaged food to go food going out to eat takeout, that kind of thing.

Yeah, no, I agree. I mean, it's, it's no question more time, it's way more time. That's, that's not even you know, within the same world, you can, you know, heat up something in five minutes versus you have to make a whole meal. But it definitely does not have to be more sometimes it is sometimes it isn't, but you can get creative. And you can learn how to mix things together. And some things you can again, you can grow things at home, too. It's not that hard to grow things. And, you know, we we're not we're not taught this or haven't done it in so many years. But it's like really fun to get in the dirt. You know, if you have kids teach them how to how to, you know, plant a tomato, or you know, put some basil in a pot, you don't need a lot of space, you could put on your balcony, and you can get them touching dirt and soil and then maybe your kids won't think that a cucumber comes in a plastic bag from a grocery like most kids don't even know this right? They don't know where food comes from they think comes from the grocery store, and how do you expect to respect your food and respect farmers and respect the process when you don't even know where it comes from? And it's just like, oh, you go to the store and you get this thing.

I've raised my children pescatarian so we never have me and my husband became pescatarian when I met him and all of our extended relatives have become that way. So it's just how my whole family eats. And I love to I love to say to my children when you look at how beautiful food is. It's just it's not an accident that human beings find it beautiful and I sometimes I think I saw a documentary once I wish I could remember Which one, but I've watched so many about food. And one of them had someone that said something very compelling. I think it was a raw vegan diet that they were talking about. And the person in the documentary said, Imagine you're starving on a desert island, and two things roll up on shore at once. One of them is a big barrel of beautiful fruits, vegetables produce all the colors of the rainbow, big barrel, Washington, on the shore, and then a dead cow Washington, which one do you pounce on? Which one do you pounce on? I can't get over how beautiful it is. And there's something innate in us that's drawn to it. And that's why humans through the millennia, have eaten it because we were attracted to it. And we're losing that instinct of what we're actually attracted to in the store. Let's just start with the first things you tell people to do that would make their household healthier to just make their Yeah, what would you say about that? Yeah, great, great, great question. So I mean, first of all, you think about it, especially with the pandemic, in the last few years with a lot of people have been home more. So the, that's your immediate environment. That's where you sleep all night, and most of the time, so there's nothing more important in terms of an environment you and all the things that are in your home, all the chemicals and the toxins. So you know, we when I talk to parents is just reminding them about, you're in that place, probably more than anywhere else. So there's nowhere that you should think about chemicals and toxins more than in your home. And it's the first step is thinking about it, right? Think about what it is that you're buying, read the labels, find out what's been sprayed on these things and decide if that's what you want to be putting into your home, onto your body. Wherever you're sleeping, you know, things are sprayed in, in all sorts of chemicals like flame retardants, and other things where you know, there are good obviously good quality, so some things that like a flame retardant, there's some good qualities that too, you don't want necessarily everything to go up in flames. But at the same time, any good thing has some negative, right, and it's a balance. And so, you know, are there other options that you can find that just don't have that level of chemicals? Is the you know, where you're sleeping? What bed? What mattress? Are you using? What's in it? What's it made of? What are your sheets made of? What are you cleaning, with can you get a net, you know, natural clean, this is going on your clothes, and your sheets every single day all the time. So if you have rashes, itchy skin, eczema, whatever it may be, you should think about switching up your cleaners, there's all sorts of natural cleaners out there, there's soap nuts, which are just nuts, that release, you know, so chemicals, so you can use those, there's obviously a wide range of different cleaners that you can use from you know, the big chemically ones to much more natural ones. So maybe you can go buy a natural one and try that and it might keep your clothes just as clean. Or you just you know, if they get really dirty at a specific point, then you can use your chemicals that you know one time for that specific thing. But just in general, you're you're using a more natural cleaner. You already mentioned before, like the way you clean surfaces, you most of the time, you don't need something that kills all the bacteria just use vinegar, and water baking soda for your everyday cleaners use essential oils to make things smell nice. It's great. Like you know, you don't want to look again, which essentially is you buying what chemicals are in there, there's really crappy essential oils and there's really good ones, it depends how they're made. And you know which company you're using or how natural they are, but But you don't need something that's great that has a fragrance like lemon, you can just use lemon, right you can even use lemon water or you can use like lemon essential oil or something like that. And the more that we can get back to nature and the more that we can be surrounded by things that are actually natural as opposed to chemical than our bodies are going to be way happier and how about just opening your windows and opening your doors and letting some fresh air in because the indoor air environment the quality of air in our homes is generally far worse than outdoors. Now that probably doesn't apply in certain areas. If you're living next to you know, a treatment treatment plants or or railroads or something that quality does match the outdoors in that case anyway. Yeah, I mean well I'm thinking if you if your windows are closed and you filter your air maybe then your air inside is better but just opening your windows right yeah, no, I mean there's no question opening up your Windows is super important in general. I mean, obviously if you're in some really bad day with really bad air quality, maybe that's not the case specifically but if by and large Yeah, you want to get air flow you want to get the chemicals flow through because even if there's some other stuff going on outside then at least you're getting the stuff outside of your head inside your house out and you know mixing which is which is good. You can get plants plants are great for inside your home they can clean the air you can get a filter and then in the waters the other big ones so thinking about a water filtration system or or getting water I know it's not tap water potentially could be you know, big ones in terms of decreasing your chemicals. So you get your most bang for your buck there in terms of you know what's going in and touching your body and what's your breathing. If you Are there that's, that's a pretty good, pretty good step up from where you might be. And you can do almost all of that for free right now, here's one that might surprise a lot of people. And this is not opinion, this is fact that between lead and arsenic on the toxicity scale, we find fluoride. Fluoride is really toxic. And most of us grew up come, like completely brainwashed into the notion that it was the one thing that would save us from cavities. It's just not the case. And it's a high price to pay even if it were true, even if that were the case. Yeah, it's another great comment. And like, you know, almost all chemicals, everything seems all wonderful and great when you, you know, you first bring out a chemical, but that's also the research done by the companies, and, you know, whoever's created it, and then as you go on in the long run, and have, you know, how much do we need? And are we being exposed to way too much? Can we, you know, way, decrease it and still get the benefits of it that we need? Or should we have none of it? You know, there's a lot of research that needs to be done to really decide, you know, quite exactly, you know, where, where we want to put this, but there's lots of research coming out, there's, you know, it's a neurotoxin, and, and it can affect you. So it's, they almost make it sound like a nutrient. And it's just not the case.

Yeah. Yeah, I think, well, it's still I have not seen the recommendations, change it overall, in medicine and denture, I still think that the general, you know, overarching thoughts is that there's more good than bad, but I definitely see in the wave changing, there's a lot more mainstream discussion around fluoride, these days, there's a lot of dentists that are moving away from it, or at least, you know, having more discussions, there's definitely a lot more online, people are becoming more educated, I don't get fluoride put on my teeth when I go anymore. I also have seen a lot of doctors that are not as supportive of that anymore. So I think, you know, that's somewhere in the world of controversial but but in the middle of a turn, I think I feel like in, you know, 1020 30 years, it'll be much less common. And there's definitely studies that have come out lots of them, that have questioned the safety of it. So we'll see where things land and, and also, like medicine, and just the medical industry in general is very slow to change. Right. So just because something comes out, they want to see a lot of evidence before they're going to make a sweeping policy change, which is good. And by law, you don't want medicine just come willy nilly and make decisions based on nothing. You want it to be based on research. So that's good. But that also gives you some downside of it takes a long time to make a change. And so, you know, even even when the evidence is out, sometimes takes years and years to get into practice.

I mean, doctors were recommending smoking for how many years until it's like, oh, it causes lung cancer, okay, probably shouldn't recommend that anymore, or glyphosate or other things. You know, once there's enough evidence people change, but it takes a while.

Can we talk about fevers in children and children? Sure.

So first of all, I'll say, you know, you have to break down fevers, depending on the age of a child, it's much more concerning to have a fever in a young baby than it is for older kids. So for a fever for a kid, under two months, you always have to get that seed, there's no question about that. And in medicine, just because a new baby doesn't have a strong immune system as older kids would have, or adults would have. And you just have very little time between kids starting to become sick and becoming really, really sick in some situations. And so you always need to be checked, just to make sure because you just really can't tell with a newborn. So in general, especially in the first month, you always got to go to the emergency department after that, you know, most of the time that between one and two months, you would to get a workup. So that in a fever of being above 100.4, technically, in medicine, so there's not really a lot of gray area in medicine from that. But after that there is a lot of gray area, it's not that clear fevers or you know, there's a lot of fever phobia, it's like we think fever is a bad thing, which definitely is not fever is an indication that something's going on. But if you're having a fever from being sick from a virus or something else, that's it's a good thing. It's your body, raising your temperature to fight that infection to make the your environment in your body more inhospitable to the the virus or the bacteria and also to speed up the process of using your body to get blood moving around your body to fight off the infection, and then do whatever it needs to do. And then also just to help you sweat, so you can get things out of your body as well. So lots of good things from fever, and so that what a doctors worry about is not usually the fever unless the fever is going on for a long time being like more than three to five days, or the fevers like really high like above 105. But if you have like a one on one, one or two, you know, we're not concerned about that so much as the symptoms that go along with it. So you have a fever of 104 but your kids smiling and running around and playing and happy. I'm much less worried as a pediatrician about that than the kid that has a one on one, but is having trouble breathing or not waking up or not being able to say something to you. So if you're ever worried you should always be to check it out at your doctor, or your practitioner, but by and large, you should not be afraid of fevers. It's just indicating that something's going on and let your body do what it's supposed to do.

So would you recommend generally then if if a child is having a fever and is seeming happy, or is not having any severe symptoms, like difficulty breathing, not to treat the fever with Advil or Tylenol, but just let the fever take its course? Or how do you recommend?

Yeah, no, in most cases, I think that if the kid is pretty happy, they're not miserable, then there's no you don't need to use a fever reducer, you can if you want to, you know, probably minimal, you know, long term effects from that, but you never know, you know, what we're gonna find out about Tylenol or something 15 years from now. And certainly, there's again, there's always downsides to everything. But you have to weigh the pros and the cons in that situation. If your kid is miserable, sometimes bringing their temperature down to help them sleep is probably the better thing. But But if your kids are saying they're watching TV, and they're happy, and they have a one on one, there's no reason to give a fever reducer, you know, almost in any case, for that, just let the fever do its thing and your temperature. You know, if you've ever been sick before, right, which we'll have, you know what happens, your temperature goes up, and then you sweat and then your temperature goes down and you get chills and it goes up and down. So you know if you can leave it for a couple of hours in the clear. Okay. I think that's fine. Don't think you should feel bad if you give your kid a fever reducer. That's not I think the end of the world but but, you know, I say the same thing with Tylenol or Motrin, or you know, genetics is the new one. Use it when you need it. Right? It's there's nothing wrong with using a medicine if you need it. Just don't use it just because don't do a medication just or an antibiotic just because you have a cough. Don't do Tylenol, just because you have a low grade fever. If your child has a 104 and they're miserable, and they can't sleep, yeah, maybe that's a good time to use your Tylenol that one time. But if you're doing it every other day for months, well, that's when you're going to have chemical problems.

Right? Do you have some other tips for parents who are trying to treat colds and flu and other kind of mild to moderate illnesses at home?

Yeah. So in terms of, you know, your regular old viruses, you know, presuming like, you've been to the doctor, they're like, Oh, it's so cold, you're totally fine and your kids are having trouble breathing or other things you're worried about, obviously, if you're worried gets seen, but if we're talking about you know, your regular old runny nose or something like that. A lot of people start with, you know, if you there's little you can like squirt some saline, or x Lear, which has Allah Tala, and you can squirt that in the nose, and then kind of suction it out, that seems to help them breathe a little bit more breathing in steam or humidifier can sometimes help. And then, you know, really thinking about how do you support their immune system as best as you can. So even before they get sick, you're helping them when they're sick. If you're giving them good food, and they're eating healthy and getting good sleep, they're gonna recover better than you know someone who's not doing that. And then when you are sick, I mean, there's no one way to do it. But lots of people like doing some immune support, like vitamin D, or vitamin C, or elderberry syrup, kids that are older than one can do Honey, there's lots of evidence that honey is really the best thing for coughs, even better than most cough medication. So that's a really good thing to do, you know, get a good quality honey. There's Homeopathics out there that you can do, you know Byron Highlands and make different products. So it just depends on on what your interests are and what your comfort level is with supplements and Homeopathics. And obviously discuss these things with your own practitioner. But but those are just some of the isn't common things that you see, is it really, truly unsafe to give a baby under one, honey? I mean, are we really still dealing with the risk of botulism?

So here's the thing with that medicine, you know, very has a very clear stance, not before one because there's a risk of botulism, when you look at the numbers, and you look at the research, and even just, you know, having worked in hospital and things like that before, it's a very, very, very, very low risk, but maybe just not a risk that you need to take, you know, so that's one of those things where it's like, you know, is there so much benefit from giving your kid that it's worth taking that risk? I don't know what there's not a lot of risk. And most botulism cases, in general come from spores in the air, and you can near construction sites, and it's not that common anyways, but it definitely happens. I mean, I've seen botulism couple of times my career. So it's not like it's it never happens. So I think right now, the jury's still out on that I really think they need to go back and do more research to very clearly define, okay, how many kids really between, you know, you're not going to give kids probably honey before six months. So if they can, you know, maybe delineate it nine months, or say like, really how many kids are getting botulism from honey, and is there really a real risk? How big is a risk? I don't I don't, I don't know. I don't know the numbers. And I know they're really small. But I would wonder if we could maybe push that those months down a little bit. So that way, we can give kids honey at like nine months or 10 months or whatever, instead of giving the medication, you know, might be a better option, but the risk of Washington has to be you know, basically zero or I don't think it's worth it.

How about cow's milk? For toddlers, infants, what is the thing about 12 months? Why is it so critical that we don't give cow's milk before 12 months? And do you really ever have to give cow's milk at all? I mean, kids at nine months are having yogurt, which has cow's milk or cheese, which has cow's milk. So what's the, what's behind that?

Great question. So I don't know who at some point decided, but you know, you have to make a cut point at some point. So the magical numbers one year, there's nothing like magically different about 11 months and 15 days versus a year, but you got to pick a cut point at some point. And there, the reason is more, at least originally around calories, right, you get more calories per ounce, that you're drinking in breast milk or formula than you would from any of the other milks from cow's milk, or plant based milk or whatever other milk you're going to be drinking. So you want to make sure that your kid is getting enough calories to grow appropriately when they're little. And then as you get closer to one and over one, you don't need as many calories anymore, because you're eating food, and you can get your calories from food at that point. So that's the, you know, the cut point that was chosen, and after one you could switch to, you know, whatever you want. At that point, when we grew up, it was like, oh, milk, you know, you need cow's milk and you to get a bunch of classes and get your calcium, and there's, you know, good amounts of calcium, certainly, in cow's milk. So there's nothing, you know, from that standpoint, that's incorrect. But we were marketed to the cow industry, the dairy industry was real good at marketing. And they marketed that we do not have the best bones in the world for sure. Lots of osteoporosis in our country. So there are many other ways you can get your calcium and nutrients from food. And definitely, there's no question there's a move even in regular, you know, hardcore Western practices that you don't need cow's milk anymore, that's much more common, you can do it if you want to, I tell people, when they come in around one, and we're talking about it, you can do milk if you want to, if that's something you're comfortable with. Milk is definitely not the same thing that it used to be a lot of people have issues, a lot of kids have issues with milk. These days, there's a lot of chemicals in milk, there's a lot of hormones in cows. It's not, you know, the milkman coming around anymore. So it's not even the same milk, as it was before. But I think that, you know, there are their calorie for calorie and nutrient for nutrient, it's really hard to come, there's nothing that quite compares in terms of, you know, you look down the list, they usually have more in terms of the, you know, the numbers, but does that necessarily mean it's better not necessarily, you can use there's so many options, that's a good thing. You can there's goat milk, there's camel milk, there's plant based milks, almond milk, soy milk, there's so many options that you can choose from. So you can rotate, you can do none and just do water as long as you're eating healthy.

Well, part of the controversy around dairy as well. And a lot of this is in the books like pH miracle, or the China study is that irrespective of calcium, it's acidic food. And when we eat acidic food, we actually end up with a mineral deficit in our bodies. So if if you are looking for more calcium, milk is not as ideal a place to go as, say, almonds, if you can get enough of it from almonds or from the vegetables that you're eating, because it's so acidic, that the way to digest and restore the blood pH is necessarily to produce a mineral deficit in the body so we can lose more calcium. When we have milk, then the net can be at a loss, which is interesting, but like they've done studies on osteoporosis and but what's also interesting about dairy is just the whole so many things are resolved when people cut dairy. It's so interesting like it because they say it's mucus forming or it traps toxins. Do you see Did you ever tell a parent to cut dairy from a diet and see an improvement? And you have theories as to why that's happening? And what's your theory as to why things improve? Is it because of that mucus producing factor? Or what is it?

I mean, number one things that you see an improvement on or are kids parents that cut gluten and dairy? Right? That's far and above the most common triggers of sensitivity. It has to be, you know, what's in there, you know, something? We're just not built for whatever the New Age versions of these are, they're sprayed and everything are you talking about? I'm sorry? Are you talking about parents cutting dairy and gluten if they're breastfeeding? Or are you talking about cutting dairy and gluten out of the children's diet?

But it doesn't matter? It seems like I mean, across the board for all humans, I think right? Or at least Americans.

It's a lot of cow protein for a human body. I mean, who's to say we have to be dependent on a cow's protein, right, as opposed to some other animal, right. It's, it's an it's interesting how cultural that is.

It's also, you know, not just from a sensitivity but just an enzyme standpoint. You know, we, we both many, many, many people, the majority of people don't break down milk properly. And that's a fact. I mean, you can look at the enzymes that that, that we just don't have the lactase enzyme. So, so many, many people are just sensitive from that standpoint. But for whatever reason, I don't know why it doesn't mean just because you go cut, you know, dairy or gluten, you're gonna be totally fine. But that is what you see, that's what's causing inflammation the most right now maybe it's just a factor of that's what people eat the most. And it's called doula sensitivity, or just, those are the things that just don't sit well, in people in general. And if you cut it down significantly, then it just decreases inflammation in your body, your gut can work a little bit better, you can break things down a little better. Because just like you said, you know, just because there's calcium in something doesn't mean you absorb it properly. And, you know, if you put calcium into hydrochloric acid, it's not going to help you. Right? You know. So it's, it's depends on what the medium is, and how your body could process it. And not just just the medium and I guess we know, whatever version of milk we have right now is not in any way, the same thing as if you go back hundreds of years ago, and you milk a cow and you drink it, it's like it's totally different. Right? So your, your pasteurizing it first of all, which is good, you know, in terms of killing bacteria, that's a good thing. But you don't want bacteria if it's sitting around forever, but you obviously do a lot of bad to it too, by that same process, right? So it's a function of mass producing again, you can't eat something, or drink something fast enough, you have to do something to kill the bacteria. But to do that, you change it. And then, you know, how are the cows raised? What has been done to them? Are they real cows, you know, quote, unquote, like they're out in the out in the pasture walking around happy hanging out with their family eating grass? Or are they in a factory farm, and that is very different, you know, it's going to be very different milk that's going to come out of them. And I, you know, we haven't evolved to, to drink and eat these things. These are new, these are changed last 510 years. In that that were not the same thing. Hundreds of you know, 50 100 years ago. So we changed the system, we changed what were what we changed our input, but we didn't change our body. And so it's not surprising that if you change something like that, that our buyers are going to be like, No, you know, fu like, this is not working for me. And you're gonna, you're gonna not do well with this. I'm going to just try to get it out. And then we're going to do rashes and whatever whatever's going to happen. And why do you think your body can fight off an infection when it's just dealing with the food and the air and the chemical that you're spreading yourself? It doesn't have any reserves left to deal with the the new, you know, new virus that comes around or the autoimmune disease that's building up in your body. It just doesn't have you can only do so much.

What do you say, for? What do you say to parents about gassiness? And babies? I have, I have my opinion on it as a lactation consultant, but I'm sure it's a very common complaint that you get whether babies are breastfed or formula fed that their babies are constantly hiccuping and gassy or constipated in quotation marks of the restaurant. How do you handle that?

Yeah, it's a good one. It's kind of funny, because everybody thinks your kid is gaseous. Like he has a pediatrician. nearly 100% of parents at some point in the first few months like my kids really gas Yeah, I don't know. And so the reality is, every kid is gassy. I mean, what is gaskets? Breaking down milk? You know, so that's normal, for the most part. Can you be to gas? Uh, yeah, I'm sure you can. Kids are most gas here in a month, six, you know, six weeks, two months, that's when the colicky period is. But it's also makes sense. Because they're getting a little bigger, they're getting a little smarter, they can, you know, maybe sense things a little bit more, they're a little more uncomfortable. They're getting a bigger volume. And so then there's more guests to be broken down. So that's all you know, generally pretty normal. But if they're like supremely miserable, they're not gaining weight, they're spitting up a ton. They're really, really gassy. Sometimes it could be their diet, right. So sometimes if you make changes, there could be something in there, if you're breastfeeding, that you're eating that it just isn't sitting well with them. So again, I mean, I would start with like, dairy or wheat, those are usually the common things and just see if that makes any difference. It could be anything else, I've seen it be all sorts of weird things. Sometimes your parents like, oh, I took a you know, tomatoes, and it's much better. Okay, you know, everybody's different, every kid is different. So maybe there's something in there that causes a little irritation for that child, or if they're on formula, then you know, maybe the formula is just not the best fit for that baby. So you can always try to switch it up and see if a different formula maybe sits a little bit better or you know, sometimes probiotics can be helpful for babies there. There's little options that you can do, but for the most part, if they're like, gassy, but smiling and happy and growing, then you don't necessarily need to do anything about it and they'll usually usually get better.

I think parents just kind of don't realize because as an adult, if we're gassy, it's like, really awkward and uncomfortable and, you know, not something we want to have, but it's really just a part of being a baby. They have very immature digestive tracts, right. They're just like brand new and they have a lot of maturing to do. And gassiness is just part of that. up that process and there really isn't much to be done about it most of the time.

So what's your takeaway with that feeling of overwhelm, people can have listening like, oh my gosh, it's like, I can't do anything. I can't eat any. But you know what, how that happens. We just feel like we, it's just so stressful. What would you just say is your takeaway overall for people to give the perfect way to end? So number one, try not to get overwhelmed with anything that we said today, right? That the big takeaway here is, there's so much that you can do, you don't have to do it all. You don't have to, like go into your kitchen and throw literally everything away, or, you know, pack up and move to the mountain somewhere and just become a forger. It's not what you have to do. Most people can be totally healthy, if you make little changes, small choices. And it's really about identifying right? And that's where I think the conversation today, you know, especially for pregnant moms, someone who's thinking about getting pregnant, a new mom is, okay, here's where your life was, here's where you want it to go, how do I get to a healthier place in the future? Let me understand all the things that are going into my system into my baby into my family's life? Where are some of those potential triggers or problems? And then what can I do about that to make different choices and just make small choices every day, if you're conscious of it, once you're conscious of it, it's actually not that hard, because you just like, literally are always thinking about health. But you don't have to do it all today, you just have to be like, Okay, I want a healthy child, I don't want my kid to be one of those statistics. Or if they do happen to have something, I want to make sure they're as healthy as possible, and I can decrease their risk of having any complications. So let's just think about their food. Think about exercise, sleep, I think one thing you said that was really important is that the body is always seeking to heal us. And it takes very little for the body to be like, thank you so much. I'm off and running, I'm gonna be healing you now. So no matter what you're doing, and eating, and breathing, if you have a whole piece of fruit, you just cleanse yourself, every time you have a whole piece of produce, your body is on a mission with those nutrients, those enzymes to restore you to health. So even before you start cutting anything out, if you just add a little bit of that produce in it was that point you made earlier, your body will just take that and use it to cleanse you from the things we can and can't avoid. That's just everywhere. We don't want to get overwhelmed with it. Yeah, yeah, I mean, we have the power to make the changes in our own family, you as a parent, you're the leader of the family, and you have the power to make the changes and the choices for them. You would no more excuses, no more too busy. You know, you doesn't matter what your kids want, you know, for some of these things, like you're in charge, you buy the food. So you know, there are better options out there, you shouldn't deprive them of being happy or having good food, but you should make better choices of food that they would want. They will thank you, I promise you one day so I think you know, just that's important and nobody's going to do it for you. Definitely no one's gonna do it for you. So it's up to you to become educated in this stuff. Find a support network like this one and know that it's in your power and it's not that hard. It's just that you just need to be conscious of it and hopefully that's you know, some of the messaging that we you know, get across it just just be conscious that that you have a lot of power over your kids.

I remember being a little kid and people were still having arguments about whether or not smoking really caused cancer, there was a period there for another few decades where it was controversial. And again, people mocked it just like when organic food came about in the 90s many people mocked it.

For countries sometimes you're on the leading edge but but then you just always have to be careful because sometimes you can go too far and some people can be way out there and then you know that that's also not good either in terms of being too holistic minded. Sometimes there's too much too far. A too far as you know, very clear situations where like an antibiotic might be needed or a steroid might be needed. If you if you you know, break your leg, you're gonna be real happy. There's an x ray, right and someone that can fix that. So there's a lot of good for medicine too, but we also have to understand that there's limitations on both ends, and we need to understand our lane and work together and be a team. That's natural.

Thank you for joining us at the Down To Birth Show. You can reach us @downtobirthshow on Instagram or email us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com. All of Cynthia’s classes and Trisha’s breastfeeding services are offered live online, serving women and couples everywhere. Please remember this information is made available to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is in no way a substitute for medical advice. For our full disclaimer visit downtobirthshow.com/disclaimer. Thanks for tuning in, and as always, hear everyone and listen to yourself.

That's the beauty of like you said of integrative medicine how to how to work together in the best way possible to for the best outcome for everybody because we really do need both

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About Cynthia Overgard

Cynthia is a published writer, advocate, childbirth educator and postpartum support specialist in prenatal/postpartum healthcare and has served thousands of clients since 2007. 

About Trisha Ludwig

Trisha is a Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in women's health for more than 15 years.

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