In this interview, Dr. Ritamarie, a metabolic health recovery specialist, discusses the role of genetic factors in blood sugar management, the acceptance of recent research, and strategies to avoid reverting to old habits. She also addresses the reluctance of some doctors to explore beyond their conventional training and the influence of pharmaceutical and food industries. Dr. Ritamarie explains functional medicine and its relationship with allopathic medicine, emphasizing the need for personalized approaches to health. Finally, she compares animal nose-to-tail diets with plant-to-tail diets, highlighting the importance of finding a plan that works for each individual.
Connect With Dr. Ritamarie
insulin, doctors, day, plant, m&ms, blood sugar, diet, food, functional medicine, sugar, works, measuring, based, allopathic, changing, problem, bit, functional
Dr. Ritamarie (66%), Boris (34%)
Boris Berjan 00:00
Dr. Rita Murray, so excited to have you on the show on the interview. And I’d love for you to give everybody a rundown of what you do, how you got there and why it excites you.
Dr. Ritamarie 00:13
Yeah, where to start. So I would consider myself a metabolic recovery specialist. And I’ve been a doctor of natural medicine, functional medicine for a long time over three decades. And I’m passionate about helping people to see what they don’t normally see, you know, to see that so many of their health issues have to do with their blood glucose and insulin regulation. And the way that their metabolism gets out of skew, and it’s something I feel is not addressed often enough. In conventional Western medicine, and so many people get such great results. When we focus on that.
Boris Berjan 00:53
Amazing. You touch on what does it mean to be a metabolic health recovery specialist? How do you define metabolism? Why you went down that route? And why why it’s so important.
Dr. Ritamarie 01:08
Yeah, so you know, metabolism is how we interface how we take in the food, and the nutrients and then get them into the right places to produce energy. So everything in the body can function. So metabolic health affects all the hormones, it affects the digestion and affects how the brain operates. And it’s affected by so many things. And when we look at like the recent study that was put out, well, actually, the first time it was put out was in 2018, University of North Carolina posted it in metabolic. I think it was metabolic metabolism, I forget the exact name of the journal, but it was a metabolic journal. And they found that 88% of the population in 2018, was considered to be metabolically unwell. And when they republished in 2020, to April of 2022, it’s now 92% of the population. So I’ve been focusing on it for a long time, because they see, you know, as I was working with people, one on one in private practice, that they wouldn’t even know that they had blood sugar irregularities, because Oh, yeah, your blood sugar is 90 something, but the way they were describing their problems, so I started back then, you know, having them buy a glucose monitor and measure their blood glucose, and figuring out like, how do we figure out their peak? And how do we figure out what foods what diet, exercise things, what things were causing them to go out, and then helping them to maintain their blood sugar within that nice, narrow range and miracles happen? So that’s when I decided to take this, you know, to a wider audience and back in I think it was 2011. I did my first program like we had 100 People join our program, and we took them through this whole metabolic reset. And miracles, little literally miracles happen. So it’s, I’m passionate about it. And the more I look at it, and the more I talk to colleagues, they would be like, Huh, you do what? You have non diabetics measure their blood sugar. This was 12 years ago. Now more and more people are becoming aware of that CGM ‘s are no people. It’s practically a household word these days. But back then nobody. Well, my CGM is weren’t regular route available readily to the public. But what glucose meters were. So yeah, it’s just it’s a passion of mine.
Boris Berjan 03:32
Very cool. I’m curious to know, since you were so ahead of the time, right. Like you were like, like you said, not a lot of people were measuring blood sugar 12 years ago. I mean, even say, like, even three years ago, it probably just starting to hit that curve. Now. If we want to look at data and trends and stuff like that, and companies that are coming out, helping making them more popular. What kind of led us specifically down that road? Like, how did you decide that that was the way or the path forward for people to get better versus some other paths that you know, other functional holistic medicine practitioners take, which is, Let’s optimize your gut biome. Let’s do, you know, casting for allergens, and if your toxins and mold, there’s a lot of different areas that we can get into as well, to see if that’s something that you incorporate. So why was it so important to go after blood sugar data and looking at metabolism through that lens?
Dr. Ritamarie 04:37
It’s a great question. And yes, yes. And I looked at all of those things, right. I always looked at at what people were eating in the food sensitivities. And when I started to see was that some people responded really, really well to a very low fat, higher carbohydrate diet, and other people just crash When burned on it, and then other people did really well, on a lower carbohydrate, higher fat, all good fats. And so I started to play with it, I started doing the experimentation with people. And I realized it’s very individualized. And I said, Well, how can I measure that? How can I figure out which people are going to respond well, to one or the other. And then I started measuring, I mean, we measure fasting glucose, fasting insulin, nobody’s measuring fasting insulin, except on diabetics to see if they need insulin, right, nobody’s looking at high levels of insulin as being a contributing factor. So I just started down that route. And what really got me so much more interested was when I started my first blood sugar balancing program, and I mapped out how people were going to measure their glucose. And I had an old old old glucose monitor that I said, I need a new one. So I went out and got a new one. So I could evaluate, and I tested my sugar. And it went from 68 to 168, within about 30, to 40 minutes after eating a bowl of pineapple, not a bowl of m&ms, you know, nothing high carb high, you know, bad carb. And I’m like, Oh my God, right. So I started getting very more much more like with fine tooth combs into people to determine for each individual, what was their pineapple, some people could eat pineapple they wanted to and their sugar didn’t go up. And other people would eat like me a little bit. I eat blueberries and my sugar went up, and I’m okay, why is this? So? So then I started looking at the genetic factors, and realize that of all the so far identified genetic factors involved in blood sugar management, I was like, I have 75% of them probably. So I thought about that. And then I thought about, well, what are the complications, right, of people having elevated insulin? What does that do to blood vessels? What does that do to the endothelial lining? What does that do in general to other risk factors and started to see all the evidence that cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc, look to my own family and said, Hmm, my mother died suddenly, at 56 have a heart attack. She had no diagnosed condition before that. Yeah, my grandmother had type two diabetes. Everybody in my family has the, you know, the poorly, the poor waist hip ratio, let’s just say, putting it all together and realize that, you know, had my mother been given the kind of advice and the ability to test the way I’m doing now with people, would she still be with us? Right? Would we have been able to turn things around for her? And then I thought, Well, what about the people? We’re still here? How many of them? Can I help turn this away?
Boris Berjan 07:50
Very cool. And so as you’ve gone down this path, you obviously did some genetic testing? How do you feel like that’s actually super important? Or is it? Do you feel like that’s super important to get results? Or is it more so that as long as you can see data and experiment with foods and see that data in real time, let’s say or even on a finger prick? Maybe not exactly in real time, but over a certain set of the day? Do you feel like that is just as powerful? Or do you feel like combining some genetic info would give you x result?
Dr. Ritamarie 08:30
I think that the genetic info helps because it motivates people to actually do what I tell them to do. Right? Because they say, Oh, I have that genetic tendency, I better listen. And I find that true of genetics in general, whether it’s for blood sugar maintenance, or whether it’s, you know, for exercise, frequent, fat intake, whatever, that people when they see it on paper, they get motivated to do it. But seeing you know, the results of a CGM, seeing the results of regular postprandial finger pricking, and getting glucose numbers that motivates people, right. So what we have to do is get people to actually take action. Right? It’s, it’s the end, whatever it takes to do that. So is genetic testing, absolutely mandatory. No. I mean, I don’t learn a whole lot from that, because I can guess that they have genetics tendencies towards poor glucose metabolism, just how, by how they respond to food. You know, when I first started out, I don’t remember where I read this statistic, but it was like 25% of the population can eat crap can eat whatever they want to and they generally don’t end up with blood sugar swings that are all over the place. 25% of the population can eat pristine is can be, they have to be very careful about to finding their food to get good blood sugar control, and there’s a bunch of people in between. And so I can generally estimate by how people respond. Oh, look, I had three blueberries and my blood sugar went from 95 to 140. I I bet you got some genetic things that are going on because you didn’t say you just stayed a handful of m&ms in it.
Boris Berjan 10:05
Right? Okay, that makes sense. And so going a little bit further than that train thought. Is it hard for people to make changes or take action? In your opinion?
Dr. Ritamarie 10:21
They think it is. Yes. Right. If it wasn’t people would just do it. And the problem is society. The problem is the pressures, the peer pressure, the problem is the commercials on TV and the billboards and everywhere you go, it’s normalized. To eat garbage food, it’s normalized to eat sugar, I was my husband sends me this thing CNN posted how important it is. This is an article I think, just today, CNN post this article that says how important it is to look at sugar in relationship to heart and cardiovascular disease, the new research on like new research, I’ve known about that research for the last, you know, two decades, but but to them, it was new, right? And they went through this whole thing and I tried to get people not to eat sugar and that you know, sugar and fruit or whole grains is not a problem, but flour and, and, and even juices, fresh fruit juices and all that because you’re removing the fiber. They did a great job of handling that to get people’s awareness. But at the bottom line at the end, they said So bottom line is we shouldn’t have more than x grams a day of added sugar separated, pulled out added sugar, which amounts to about six teaspoons a day for females and nine for males. Yeah. What, like 00. And we shouldn’t be eating any of that. But six teaspoons. That’s how a lot of sugar. Yeah, right. That’s a lot of mitochondrial dysfunction. That’s a lot of insulin destruction. That’s a lot of damage to the lining the endothelial linings. That’s a lot of cancer. In fact, you know, cancer cells have 10 times the amount of insulin receptors on them as normal cells. So you eat sugar, and you have any kind of cancer cells going on. And we all do. They come in, they go, they come in, they go, but they light up and they grab that sugar. Your cells don’t get it, the cancer cells do your feeding cancer, Otto Warburg back in the 30s, to find that mechanism. So yeah, it’s hard for people because of the peer pressure. It’s hard for them because they get addicted to these foods. But when in reality, it’s harder to get your chest cracked open and your heart pulls out and, you know, having to have bypass surgery, that to me is a whole lot harder than skipping the m&ms.
Boris Berjan 12:47
Hmm, lots of good, lots of good pathways there. So let’s let’s unbuckle those one by one. The first one being we just something interesting that you brought up, there are some records of data showing sugar relation to cancer cells. And you know, there’s this saying and least in some communities that cancer cells can’t live in alkaline environments, and they feed off sugar and all these things, right. And so, if that’s been around for so long, and now like, let’s say modern day today, this is February 15 2023. We have finally CNN covering some aspect of this. Why do you think that is? Why did it take this long for like a mass media outlet to cover something like this, to cover this research for to be well known? And actually accepted? Because I don’t I don’t feel like it. Correct me if I’m wrong, from your point of view, even. It’s not actually accepted yet. And there’s going to be lots of people that will argue that point.
Dr. Ritamarie 13:52
Yes, absolutely. And you know, who’s going to argue it the most is the food manufacturers, right? So they have money, and they subsidize the FDA and other federal agencies. And they, you know, donate stuff to school lunches, and hospitals and all these places where we’re supposed to be helping people to be healthier. And so there’s going to be a lot of pushback and surprise that they I think, if they hadn’t put that thing at the end, like, oh, you can still have six extra teaspoons at the they would have probably lost some sponsors, sponsorships. Alright. They’re being sponsored by pharma and they’re being sponsored by food. Go watch any TV shows. You see that? Yeah. Okay. So that’ll
Boris Berjan 14:39
make sense. And then kind of going back to is it harder to have open heart surgery versus not eating m&ms, right. So I totally understand your point of view there and it’s accurate. Is it safe to say though, that people so in general, one of the things that I’ve learned over the yours is. So people are very bad at predicting the future. For example, people think today is five years ago, but a little bit different. Versus like that nothing could be further from the truth. Like we have AI, we have crypto, we have space x, we have all these technologies that by biologicals, we’re altering DNA. So it’s like, no, we’re actually we’ve developed in such ways where it’s astronomically different than five years ago. But in our brains, we’re like, No, it’s not right. Until you watch a TV show from the 60s, you’re like, Okay, there’s some difference there. You know, I didn’t improve it slightly by every five years is
Boris Berjan 15:39
So kind of combining that train thought with, if people are that bad at predicting the future, then are they also really, really bad. I’ll give you another example of not caring about 10 years from now because their brain is not able to, it literally can’t think about that. And then just to kind of add insult to injury, is it also a combo of everything you’re talking about? Like, they’re being bombarded to eat this food? It’s everywhere. It’s readily available. It’s highly addictive. It’s been scientifically engineered to be that way. He highly addict. Yeah, so then it’s like, all of these forces are telling that person who cares, just just eat the damn cake, right? And then what’s gonna happen in 10 years, you might have a heart attack go on and a knife tenured is, so far, it’s gonna be probably a little bit different than it is today, which is not true, right?
Dr. Ritamarie 16:29
No, but maybe they all get saved or something. But the problem is, yeah, it’s not necessarily 10 years, my if my mom, I 56 would have thought, you know, I’m fine, which she did, I just want to die happy, you know, young, I can just do whatever I want. 10 years, she would have at least had another 10 years. But she just went like that my dad two years later, the same thing. 50% of all people of all men, actually, with heart problems with issues with their heart. Their first sign is dropping dead of a heart attack, and 65 or 62 to 65% of women. Yeah, so you don’t even know. Now if you’re doing a lot of extra technologies and calcium CT scores and specific kinds of angiograms and specific advanced lipid panels, you may have a clue that you’re at higher risk, testing your insulin levels, etc. But the average doctor in the average PPO HMO, average hospital average practice is not doing any of that. And they’re not telling people that how you’re eating, how you’re drinking, get off the smoke, if the stress levels down, they’re not telling anybody that so I agree with you like, it’s really hard. I tell people when I’m doing trainings, I say, I want you to just future pace a year from now, think about where you are now compared to a year from now. And you have all these symptoms. And usually these people have the tip of the iceberg symptoms like the brain fog and the belly fat and exhaustion and those sorts of things. Yeah. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s what’s happening underneath your blood vessels, to your insulin receptors to your brain. And where do you think you’ll be in a year, even with just those tip of the iceberg symptoms? And they’re like, oh, yeah, you know, we can turn that around. And we’ve literally turned it around. We recently did a five day fasting while feasting is called challenge, where we had people do the waltz, Valter Longo diet of, you know, high density of nutrients, low calories and specific ratios of carbs, protein, fat, and we had them do that for five days. And on day four, we had a woman who had been diabetic, for like 15 years on medication on oral medication plus insulin. And she said, my glucose dropped to 54. Yesterday and a minute you call your doctor immediately, because your doctor needs to adjust your medication because if it goes lower than that, he can go into a coma. Yeah, she said, I already dropped the oral medication. I contacted the doctor the next day, she reported back and the doctor said drop your insulin to 60% of what you’re doing. And just watch the numbers and he gave her specific instructions as to how to get off insulin. This was four days. Imagine what you can do if you continue this ongoing for three months, six months a year. All these people that are dying of diabetes complications or suffering or being amputated or having dialysis, going blind from complications of diabetes, all this stuff can be turned around like that.
Boris Berjan 19:45
Yeah. And which is a great point. You know, I think Tony Robbins is famous for saying, well, two things and your moments of decision your destiny shaped right, which is true. So every decision you’re making is stacking itself to Do an outcome. And then change happens in an instant doesn’t have to take over a long period of time. So if you change a thought or a pattern right now, you technically change that now, and you can keep doing so. Which both things I agree with, and our sound philosophies. I want to poke a little bit at somebody does this four or five days like either, like you said, gets the result? Feeling better insolence coming down? How do you avoid the barbecue on Sunday, or the hot dog event with your family when you go watch the football game? Right? Because it’s, and I’d like your opinion on this. It’s like, I think a lot of the time, the problem isn’t that people don’t know they should be doing something like everybody knows it should die, have a healthy diet of Whole Foods, and do some exercise, right as a as a base level as a
Dr. Ritamarie 20:53
baseline. But they don’t know what that means, though. They don’t actually know what a healthy diet means. They think that means that, you know, they’re not eating m&ms anymore. Right? And how do you avoid them going back? That’s a great question, because that’s the ultimate question of the day. She’s dedicated from that four day event. I offered them to get into a nine week program, and we’re gonna get them a we’re gonna work with the big why of why do you want this? And what do you keep moving towards? And we give them tools and resources, like the choice you know, every there’s these forks in the road that happened so many times every day. And when you look at that I look at what do we need to make a different choice, right? What do we need to make a better choice? Well, we need knowledge, we need to know something about the difference between the two choices and how they’re going to affect us how they’re going to actually impact my life. We need tools, we need resources we need. What do you take to that thing? I give them pizza recipes that are completely? Yeah, well, it’s sugar friendly. You know, cauliflower crusts and cashew cheese, and whatever else it might be. I give them the recipes, I give them the dessert recipes. And then we meet with them every week, to go through and retrain them and teach them, do all of them stick with it. Not some of them don’t. And some of them come back and do the program again with us. Because they fell off the wagon. My goal is to get know it so that nobody ever has to come back and do it again. Reality and we’re in the real world. But she this woman is like I don’t want to be on insulin anymore. And then when she asked me some questions about why she had certain patterns, and I’m explained it to her from a physiologic perspective, she’s I’ve asked my doctors this for 15 years, and nobody’s ever given me an explanation like that. That makes total sense. Right? Makes sense.
Boris Berjan 22:44
So it sounds like your answer to me is people are going to fall off, that happens, they can come they can get back on track. Right? So it’s like as long as you keep getting back on track, and maybe I’m not gonna put words in your mouth every time you do it. You’re maybe prolonging how how far you can take it until you fall back off? Eventually, right. And so to achieve that, it kind of sounds like your methodology is everybody needs guidance and resources and accountability. Yeah, stacked below. I think the main reason being like, why am I doing this every single day? Right? Is that Is that an accurate depiction?
Dr. Ritamarie 23:28
Yeah, focus on the Why stay centered on the way tech the first day this program, I had them think about the why, why are they even doing this for five day program, and to write it on a card and they were like to join pictures on it and tell me how they pinned it to their mirror and they pinned it in the kitchen. And so we give them tools and resources to stay focus on why I kept up with one of my favorite phrases, which I learned from one of my clients years ago, which is don’t exchange what you want most for what you want in the moment. So whenever that chocolate cake, those Super Bowl goodies are, are like calling your name, you think what I really want is right. And so they have to keep doing that and keeps exercising that muscle. But on top of that they need knowledge of how things work and why they’re going to do certain things and what they should be doing. They need tools, and they need support. So those things help them to make better choices. Are they perfect? No. By no stretch, but so many people get so much further. And when they do come back. They already have some good muscles built. You just have to keep working on kind of like going to the gym. You don’t go to the gym for a week, build up some muscles and then be done with a you get to continue it for the rest of your life.
Boris Berjan 24:45
Yeah, so that’s a that’s a great kind of point to leave it off. I want to go into something else that you said that I think is really interesting. You mentioned the client that you had said Why hasn’t my doctor told me this and if you Kinnear’s doctors don’t don’t say these things to their clients, etc. Is this and I’ve had this conversation with a lot of MDS and functional medicine doctors, I’d like your opinion on it. It’s always nice to see where people land. But do they tell them because doctors always say we always start with, you know, you should diet and exercise, nobody does it. So then we have to just do, they’re confined to what they can do, right? So if they tell you something, you don’t do it. And then they are supposed to in the industry there and give you a medicine or a pill or whatever, then they also have to look at, are they going to get sued? Is this legally something they can do, which I think a lot of people always miss that part is like, litigation in the US is really, really high, especially in the healthcare industry. So like, if you lose your practice, imagine you’re studying for 12 Year student doctor over one, and then you lose your license. That’s a disaster. And maybe that is trying to avoid that. Right. So why do you think that it’s been that it’s went this way? And why do you think that doctors don’t want to go more into the reasons that you give your patients currently in the US?
Dr. Ritamarie 26:17
Number one, most of them don’t know. Most of them don’t have a clue. Well, trained. Practitioners are trained doctors, nurses, naturopaths, chiropractors, all kinds of health practitioners in our national endocrinology practitioner training. And the doctors tell me like, I wish they taught it to us this way in medical school, right, I would understand how to help people. And some of them cry over the bad advice they gave, because that’s what they were taught this the way it’s taught in a lot of the litigation problems. Sure, they’re afraid to go beyond that. Yeah. But imagine you’ve just spent, you know, eight years of your life studying kind of spending your hard earned money, hours long hours in the residencies and all that, to find out that you only given part of the picture, that you weren’t given the full picture that you were just taught how to suppress the symptoms, not to really fix the underlying cause. And then the system is mapped out in such a way that I got one of our Doc’s is in the UK, in the NHS, she gets nine minutes for an appointment, there’s not a whole lot of education you can do. So the system is not set up to help people get well, the system is a sick care system. And it’s there to help people pull the battery out of their smoke detectors when it goes off, and hope for the best that the House does. That’s
Boris Berjan 27:47
and that’s I think that similarily share that opinion is quite common, at least in the let’s say, the holistic functional medicine community. Everybody shares or anybody that’s become something other than MB hash share that common thread, let’s say, Do you have an opinion on why it’s shaped out to be this way? And is it changing at all?
Dr. Ritamarie 28:16
Okay, so is it changing at all? And is it so why is that so much of the font, the education comes from pharmaceutical companies, they learn this for that this medication for this. So if this medication doesn’t work, try this one. And and the other piece of that has to do with when they’re taught this stuff, they are taught that doesn’t matter. Food doesn’t matter. They get three hours of nutrition education. Oh, they don’t they’re not taught that food has anything to do with how the body works, which is totally ludicrous. But if you’re not educated in that regard, and you feel like what you’ve learned your education, your brain real estate is threatened by it that maybe it’s wrong. That’s that’s threatening, right. And that’s like, nobody wants to sign up for that. So there are a lot of doctors, if I didn’t learn it in medical school. I don’t want to deal with it. Right? Yeah. And others who go, Oh, my God, I know I do. Oh, wow. That’s so amazing. And we get a lot of those in our programs. They’re just thrilled that they actually can help people rather than just give them some sort of prescription.
Boris Berjan 29:35
Yeah, and it’s and it’s really interesting. So is the point here, that pharma and big food has such a stranglehold on these industries that you’re then taught to be in the confines of these industries, and therefore that’s the only way and then on top of that, if you go outside of the confines of these industries, you’re probably going to get sued and lose your license or bad things are gonna happen. nothing’s gonna happen, right?
Dr. Ritamarie 30:01
How many people like look at some of the giants in functional medicine? You know, Jonathan Wright who like so scientific, everything is scientific, everything is is based in his clinic gets raided. And all the people say, but he helped me he was the only one that ever helped me. Nobody cares, because he was pushing the pharmaceutical line.
Boris Berjan 30:23
Yeah. Which is, so it’s basically even the practitioners and people are trying to help, because I truly believe, at least for the majority of people who go into medicine, they’re going, they’re sure it’s a lucrative career, let’s call it that. And sure, sometimes parents push children to be doctors, because it’s a prestigious thing is going to make the household name look good. And that’s a position that probably will never die, right. Like,
Dr. Ritamarie 30:54
we’re always gonna need. So let’s
Boris Berjan 30:57
table stakes those reasons aside, I think at the at the core of it, even if you commit eight years of your life, you want to do good by people. But then you get stuck in this kind of loophole where you’re like, Okay, well, this person came in, I have seven minutes with them. I think that’s the average for the US unless it’s changed. I think it looks like it’s nine minutes in the UK. What can I do right now? To help, right? And it’s like, well, you know, I don’t really know anything other than what I’ve been taught. And so I’m just, here’s the pill, and hopefully you get better. You know, we wait until you’re worse than me Give me another pill. Is that Is that a fair kind of assessment of?
Dr. Ritamarie 31:36
That’s it. And so a lot, a lot of people are courageous and are willing to step outside that model, and say, No, I can’t I got in this because I want to help people. I’m sick and tired of just keeping people alive. I want to help people to thrive. And when they see this potential of functional medicine, the potential of some of the alternative things, they say, Okay, I want to learn this. And more and more are so you’re the other part of your question was, Do I see it changing? And yeah, I do. I mean, there’s more and more conventionally trained doctors are stepping in and learning functional medicine, holistic approaches. And this was a shocker to me, I was doing some research the other day on, you know, the specific mechanisms by which endothelial function is affected by insulin and blood sugar. And there was this thing that came up on can’t Oh, and cancer, I was looking at cancer as well. MD Anderson, right, Cancer Center, well known Cancer Center. And they were say, here’s what people need to do, you need to get your blood sugar and your glucose under control, you need to get this, you know, 10% of your body fat off, at least you need to be exercising, need to be need to be eating whole fresh foods, mostly plants. And that was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, why didn’t this make front page news? Why isn’t this plastered all over the place? So people see that a prestigious cancer hospital is saying what we’re saying, as functional medicine and alternative type practitioners. I don’t see it as alternative either. But that term is used a lot. It’s complimentary. We we can’t do away with Western medicine. We need it for urgent care. We need it for trauma care. We need it for when people haven’t been doing the right things. And then they’re, you know, on the unit, and they need pumping and get them alive. But what do we do after that to keep them from landing back in the ER? That’s the pieces?
Boris Berjan 33:35
Yeah, so that’s a really good segue, I think. I’d like for you to kind of expand on what is functional medicine? And why does it sometimes get coined as alternative? And then why is there this because there is some animosity, at least in not all groups of people and these two buckets, I’m going to I’m going to preface it with some people that are in these will call functional medicine quackery. There’s, there’s nothing to it, you’re basically getting ripped off. And then some functional medicine doctors will retaliate and or have the opinion that MDS are nothing but pill pushers, they don’t actually care. And again, these are I’m saying there’s like loud people in each of these facets. But they are there are they are there and they talk pretty loudly about this. And so then it confuses consumers. And I think it may be if they were thinking about one way or the other, are now conflicted and they’re not getting any care. Right. So why do you feel like since you’ve been so long in the health industry, did you do you feel like you’ve seen this come up, do you? Do you feel like there was some like, event that made this the way it is or you know, what’s your opinion on this kind of topic where they go back and forth at each other’s throats a little bit?
Dr. Ritamarie 34:53
Yeah. So here’s the thing. Allopathic functional, right functional, meaning we’re looking at the body We’re looking at IQ person as having specific function. And when there are symptoms when something’s wrong, it’s not something we label as a disease and then throw a drug at it to suppress it. It’s an imbalance in the body. So what’s in an imbalance of Yeah, could be a nutritional imbalance. There could be a hormonal imbalance induced by stress induced by lack of sleep induced by eating all day long, right? So there’s all these things, but we’re looking at the function, everything we’re looking at is functional. And then we look at how do we get the person back in balance? Is it with food, nutrients, herbs, lifestyle, all the above? Usually, allopathic is generally the practice of identifying and calling and labeling a disease with a diagnosis. And that’s what the whole medical model with insurance especially is based on, what’s the disease code? And what are you allowed to do to treat it. And even some drugs, get people get flack for using drugs and off label purposes, when they find that, oh, this actually works for that when it’s not approved for that, and doctors can get in trouble for that, right for using things off label. So it’s why they’re differentiated? Well, I think a lot of allopathic doctors, especially those who’ve been in it a long time, feel threatened, they feel threatened. It’s like, oh, they’re gonna take my Oh, they’re just quacks. They don’t know much. But when you really look at it, I mean, functional medicine. I do a training program a two year certification in nutritional endocrinology, which is basically how do you balance the hormones using diet lifestyle principles, and it’s very science based. And that’s why our medical doctors who go through it say, Wow, I wish they taught it to me this way, because it makes sense that, you know, we address deficiencies. Now, here’s one thing that bothers me, from a functional perspective, is that there’s a lot of doctors from an allopathic perspective, they go, Oh, this makes sense. These drugs are dangerous. We don’t want to give all these drugs. So they go into and they do what I call allopathic naturopath, the or naturopathic allopathy. Something with very combine those words, where they want to go to, oh, what do I use for this condition? What nutrient do I use for that condition? And that’s not part of functional approaches. The functional approach is, what’s out of balance? How do we identify where the imbalances whether it’s a nutrient imbalance and nutrient excess of toxicity thing of food sensitivity, hormonal imbalance, insulin, excess, et cetera, et cetera? We identify that, and then we say, how do we help that person? How do we empower the person to take action, whereas allopathic is more of a passive type of thing from the standpoint of the patient? Here you go, here’s your drug, take it come back in six months, we’ll see how you’re doing. Versus in functional, we’re talking to people about changing habits, going back to the very beginning of our conversation, changing our habits, changing the way we eat, changing the way we think, so that we can bring it all into balance. So, yeah, there’s always going to be factions. And but it’s not something that’s, they’re not mutually exclusive. Right? We need allopathic medicine, when somebody gets dragged into the emergency room with a gunshot wound, or just fallen off a ledge or just had a massive MI, and we’re trying to get them back. But we’re functional comes in is how do we prevent not so much the traumas? Because we can’t do that. But how do we prevent, you know, the person with a stroke or a heart attack? How do we figure out why they had that? And then change the parameters around it. So it doesn’t happen again.
Boris Berjan 39:06
Gotcha. Yeah, that’s great contexts, obviously, through the years of experience and handle dealing with both sides, I’m sure. So thank you for going into such depth because I think these are questions that I see I get asked a lot and a lot of people get confused about all the time. So it’s really good to have you point out like, here’s where we need both sides to come together and not demonize each other where it’s like one or the other. Right. And I always tell people like when they find out my story is to have seven doctors at once. From every single area, it was like, Chinese herbs, functional medicine practitioner, I had an energy healer, like it was basically like, you know, I told him I was trying to use everything I could from every source of knowledge that I had, because I didn’t care You know, if the energy healer somehow got me better, I was like, that’s, I don’t care, right? That happens,
I just want to be better.
Boris Berjan 40:08
Even if it was all placebo, I don’t care, you know, because the whole point is to get healthy. You know, the point isn’t to and I think what happens? I’d love your opinion on if you’ve seen this. Because you’ve been around for a long time in the in the health industry with different diets. I’ve seen this happen a lot where people go, Okay, I’m paleo and it helps them right. And then they want to maybe not be paleo, but then they’re like part of a tribe. So then it’s hard for them to speak out against it, even if they changed their mind. Right? Yeah. So like this tribe, mind or hive mind thing starts to happen, where people will do something, they feel like they’re part of something which belonging, I think, is one of the most powerful things you can have, as a business, community, personality, movement, whatever, right? And so do you, do you think that that’s part of why all of this always happens is like, people cling on to something, and then something comes in? It’s like, oh, no, they’re gonna disrupt our what we thought was the perfect, you know, solution, and, you know, forbid that, like, anything, there could be good.
Dr. Ritamarie 41:20
I, you know, I totally get that. And I talk about it all the time. It’s like religion, right? I’m anti dogma, right? Whether it comes to religion, whether it comes to health, I’m anti dogma, and we see that in religion, the Catholics have a slightly different approach to the Protestants. But they’re right and the Protestants are wrong. And then the Jews have a lot more of, you know, and then we look at this. And so we look at the diets, that way, I have a whole 30 hour module in our program. That’s the food religions, I don’t call it that. I jokingly call it that, but it’s the religions right, and everybody wants to be right. As opposed to everybody having a piece of the pie, I saw a quote that was supposedly attributed to Gandhi, every religion has a piece of the truth. And when we look at the food dogma, the food principles, except for the standard American diet, I would say that most of them have a piece of the truth. And we have to find for each individual, what’s the right piece of the truth? And how does that fit into them from a genetic standpoint, from a cultural standpoint, from their age, all this kind of stuff as to what works best for them. And yet people can go from the standard American diet to any of those diets and do well for a while. You go from standard American to paleo to macrobiotic to vegan to what else? carnivore, anything, you’re gonna get better? Because you’ve taken out all the garbage food, you’ve taken out all the processed food, right? Yeah, give usually a value usually done in such a way that we keep our insulin and glucose levels relatively stable, although something like maybe macrobiotics, which is high grain, maybe maybe not. Right? So but we go from there and plant based is saying keto is trashed, keto saying plant based is what if you could do plant based keto, or keto like diet? Yeah, what if you can adapt your diet to what your body needs? This is the amount of fat that my body needs versus the standard keto is here, right. I’m not a big fan of butter and bacon as health foods. And that’s what so many people are promoting on a keto diet. And that’s why it works for a time and then it doesn’t. So we need to treat each individual as an individual and help them to be able to customize their choice and the belonging to get it right. I just left the Paleo tribe because I started to eat Legos. I started eating lentils. So I’m thrown out of the Paleo tribe or whatever it might be. I’m thrown out of the plant based tribe because I have fish twice a month, right? So we want to belong. But the truth of the matter is, you’re going to be on the you diet, I’m going to be on the meat diet. Everybody’s going to be on the diet that’s right for them if they truly want to be healthy, do they have to avoid lectins? As one famous doctor is telling everybody knew they have to avoid oxalate says another one is telling them and do they have to avoid FODMAPs? Well, for periods of time, there may be some disruption in the biochemistry in the enzymes in the gut flora, whatever it is, that makes you need to follow a specific restrictive diet. Does that mean that that’s the diet you need to follow for the rest of your life? And that that’s the right diet for everyone? No, no, I don’t believe that. I believe that whatever diet it takes, for example, we had a woman who went through our sweetspot Solution Program which is all about balancing blood sugar, and she did great and it’s a higher fat, mostly plant based you Have a little animal protein, high or fat to put you in a mild state of ketosis. But you’re measuring, you’re measuring your glucose to see what takes you out of the perfect the ideal range. And so she did great on it got her husband to do it, her husband failed on it. Her husband couldn’t tolerate it because there wasn’t enough fruit, there wasn’t enough whole grain. He added in some whole grains, some wild rice and lentils, and more fruit, he thrived. So everybody’s different, we have to start with a base a core with certain principles. And then we go from there, m&ms, they don’t belong on any of the diets, I don’t think if you want to really be healthy, right, but for the most part Whole Foods from nature, you figure out the balance between it for each individual and what keeps those levels stable. And I think measuring glucose on a regular basis, whether it’s really CGM or whether it’s with finger pricks, and measuring insulin and getting a baseline, because so many people are hyperinsulinemia their insulin syrup through the roof and nobody’s telling them, oh, you’re fine. Your your fasting insulin is 20. But you can’t lose weight. But you’re having all these other issues. Well, that’s not a good level for fasting insulin, let’s get it down.
Boris Berjan 46:23
Amazing, so many threads there that I want to go down. But for the sake of time, because we’re nearing the end, I’m gonna probably just go down one more string, and then we’ll wrap it up. Okay. You know, what you just said, 100%, you know, I agree with is, there’s just not going to be a way for you to do anything long term. That’s, for example, like, too restrictive. Like if you ever wanted to have some fruit, but you’re like, I’m keto. I’m not allowed to have any fruit. And you’re in Hawaii, you know, everyone’s having fruit. You know, it just you’re gonna be in situations in your life, where there’s gonna be something that’s against what you want to do. And so it’s like, how much willpower Do you want? Are you never going to do those experiences? So I think, and then also, like you said, sometimes I have friends that have done keto, and they hated it. Absolutely terrible. Some of them did it completely wrong, never actually got into keto, which is another story, but some of them did. Right. And that was, it was like, they just didn’t feel as good as some other people, which is, you know, can be subjective and or other variables. Yeah, but so so that being said, I think having something that works for you day to day, you can do forever, or have a decision matrix where you’re like, Okay, well, I might have the tacos nail. When I was in Mexico, I would tie my tacos if I had a workout and I walked into k steps, because then I could see, I was wearing a CGM. It almost had no impact, I didn’t do that it would have an impact. So it was like, you know, there’s ways you can fit these things in, like you’re saying, but there is a couple of things or times you’ve hinted at being plant based? Is that? Do you try to get people at the end of the day, to just have more plants and vegetables? Or majority of their diet ends up getting there? And then whatever they add here, or there is fine? And if so, if I’m not, you know, projecting what you’re saying or what you think, correct me, but then if that is true, over your years of experience, how did you land that, that that’s probably a lot of the time going to be optimal, given that you’re gonna, you know, like you said, maybe add legumes here, or different types of vegetables use blank with pineapple on somebody else doesn’t. So like those will have to get personalized. But is it the baseline and being in your opinion, and with your experience with all your clients that you’ve taught? Is it plant based somehow just has a winning spot for you? Or is it something else?
Dr. Ritamarie 48:59
That’s great question. And yes, it is. And over the years, that’s what I’ve found. I’ve found I came into it from me going plant based me fasting and then going plant based and getting my health back. Right. And so reading a lot of the plant based literature and it’s like, oh, this is the way for everybody. Then I started to work with people and I realize some people don’t do well they need to have a little bit of animal protein but there’s very specific guidelines and you know how it’s raised. So but I do all my recipe guides all of my videos are all 100% plant based because here’s why. If somebody decides they want to do it plant based and they join a program and theirs is a mixed, those recipes are like next to impossible to convert unless you are Julia Child. Right? You it’s just so we give them the base and then we say hey, if you need a little bit of animal protein, add three ounce have, you know wild caught salmon or add three ounces of, you know, buffalo or add three ounces of something that’s, you know, not commercial? Yeah. Hormone loaded with, you know, not bacon and butter. I’m sorry, I’m anti bacon and butter. I think that that there’s so processed, they’re not real food. But I find that most people do well, why you look at the studies, you look at all the phytochemicals, you look at all the protective effects of plants. It goes without saying that people are going to do well. Now the carnivores will tell you the opposite that plants are bad, don’t eat any. This is a short term experiment. They’ve only been doing for a very short period of time. And yes, some people do well, when they remove all that fiber for a while and allow their gut to heal, allow the food sensitivities to heal. But then there’s a time where they need to go back. There are a lot of people who go completely vegetarian, vegan, and then they decide that that doesn’t work as well for them for whatever reason, they don’t absorb the proteins as well. Maybe they’re doing it wrong for them. I will hold to that. Because a lot of them are not doing it, right. Because there’s a lot of foods that are plant based that are garbage. And I had a picture of that in a presentation I did earlier today. It’s like, not all plants are good for Yeah, right? Jelly. Most jellies are plant based. But is that good for you? Right? So we want to find the best food for a person. And when you get it all out when you get everything out, and then you add things back in, that’s when you can really see how things go.
Boris Berjan 51:39
Gotcha. Okay, I’m gonna we have a couple more minutes, I’m going to dive into a couple more things on this topic. And then we’ll definitely wrap it up. And just because I’m interested, I want to push it. But it’s interesting you say that because you know, I’ve talked to people who had the opposite reaction where they said some some fruits and vegetables is fine. And you know, you know these doctors as well, too, who are who are touting this, but really, if you look at like a nose to tail diet, not just eat them eat the muscle, which is like the least nutrient dense thing and an animal for example. You know, if you eat a little bit of liver and you eat heart and brain and you know, liver has like pretty much every vitamin, for example. And mineral that you can have other than one eggs or anything other than vitamin A, have pretty much everything including like a coating, which is, you know, from all the research that I’ve done pretty deficient in a lot of different foods, if you’re not getting it from an egg or supplementing for example. And you know, for 1000s of years, they’ll argue we started eating animals, and then what we could find vegetables or fruit eat those and seasonality. Right. So going a little bit back to our it’s going to vary, of course, so we’re not saying this is a this is just a hypothetical philosophical conversation between us because I would love your point of view of people who argue that side of things versus like, no, the plants have all these, you know, amazing micronutrients. But then people will say, Yeah, but then a lot of vegans, for example, are really deficient in a lot of things. And then they resort to take something like a pea protein so they can get some more protein. And that’s highly processed. Right? So there’s a lot of these arguments for use back and forth. Yeah. And it’s like, so you still landed at plants. And I’m just wondering what your what you would say to somebody arguing what I just said, which is like, animal, nose to tail has been around for a long time. Yeah. And if you add a little bit of vegetables or fruit, it’s fine. But you’re getting macro and micronutrients this way, which is very calorically satiating, because you’re getting fat protein in large quantities, right? And therefore, it’s easier to go a longer time without eating. So how would you kind of, yeah, I’m sure you’ve looked at this literature, right, given
Dr. Ritamarie 54:02
the literature and you can find the literature to support whatever you want to support. Always. Yeah, we can go back to this bar. But if you go back to this, you know, we weren’t living there. There were not scientific studies. There were no medical journals there. You know, we’re going by people’s interpretation exactly interpreted the way we want to interpret it. I like to go by how people respond clinically. And personally, what I’ve seen, and this is not a judgment, but what I’ve seen is I feel amazing at you know, mid 60s And I haven’t been eating I’ve been eating nothing but plants for about 38 years, okay. People say oh my god, you should be dead by now. If I weren’t getting the nutrients if I weren’t getting the proteins that I need, I wouldn’t develop muscles and biceps when I left, right. I would have immune system problem I’m sorry, I would be getting sick all the time, I don’t buy. So from my perspective, it works. Animals to grow animals in a safe way. They need to be organically raised, they need to be out in the pastures. And yes, tail to toe. That’s not the way people eat animals, even the people who claim that they’re a carnivore, and they’re doing this and that you they go to restaurants and they eat the crap they serve in restaurants, excuse me, but they’re eating the ones that have been hormone fed, they’re not grazed. And people say, Well, you know, I just do it when I go out. That’s when you shouldn’t be vegetarian, that’s when you should eat just plants, because there’s less damage to eating and non organic Lee grown plant than to eat the hormone laden, pesticide laden blush that you’re gonna get in a restaurant, to be able to support the entire population of the world, eating primarily meat, we would have to knock down the majority of our cities, because to do it in a way that is ethical for the animals and healthy for the person so that we don’t need to, you know, pump them up. And they are given the grazing room. We don’t have enough grazing room on the planet. Right? We already know that McDonald’s knocks down rainforest to make grazing and they’re not even doing it ethically. And they’re not even doing it in a way that’s pastured, right. We look at that the world couldn’t sustain it for everybody to eat that way. So then it becomes what the only the elite can eat. And everybody else is relegated to whatever else is left. Plants are relatively easy to grow. They grow everywhere. And when people say they’ve done a vegetarian diet, or a vegan diet, and they got sick, and when I actually asked them what they were eating, they were eating junk vegan. Right? They’re eating jumpy. They’re eating soy, sausage, meat, I can’t. Right. So I think that we just have to look at each individual. And we have to look at whole foods. Some people do have problems with oxalates. And they can’t tolerate them. But usually, when they get their guts healed, they can tolerate them. Right. And there’s ways around it. So there’s just a lot of complications right now, because we’re not back in the stone age, right? We have air is polluted. The soils are polluted, the water is polluted. The animals are raised in confines, and we just we just don’t have access to really on a large scale, the kind of animals that would be grown so that it’s organically raised, pastured out there wild, not cultivated, and that people are eating them tail to toe. Come on. We don’t do that. You go to a restaurant, you get the muscle. That’s it. Yeah. Yeah.
Boris Berjan 57:55
Okay, man. Yeah, no, I love that. And I that’s where I wanted to go with it. I think there’s like seven, seven videos, interviews we could do on just that alone. Which is awesome. But I’m gonna wrap it up here. I promised I wouldn’t keep digging. Amazing, amazing interview. Thank you so much for being on. I wanted to let the audience know or whoever’s watching this or listening how can they find you? What’s the best place to go and connect with you and and if you can give us that and we’ll link it down below as you’re talking.
Dr. Ritamarie 58:29
Okay, great. Yeah. So, Dr. Rita marie.com is my main website. I N E method.com Is my practitioner website. And I’m on social on just about every platform. It’s Dr. Rita Marie, Dr. Rita Marie. Alrighty, a Ma Ri Ece, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn. I don’t think I’m on Pinterest. I might be I don’t know. I have started a little bit on Tic Toc, but I haven’t done much there yet. But that’s where I’m at Dr. Rita Murray. Dr. Rita Murray.
Boris Berjan 59:01
Amazing um, so go follow her right now guys, go check out all her content. As you can see a wealth of information and we went through many different topics. I’m sure I’ll have you back on to dive into some of those other things that we didn’t get to, but I really appreciate you being on. It was amazing to have you and we’ll do it again sometime soon. Great. Thank you so much.