Integrative Pediatrician Dr. Joel Gator Fuses Eastern & Western Medicine

I grew up in Toronto, Canada and like most Canadians,
I used to play a lot of sports, I played a lot of hockey,
and I was on the road, going to games and practices all the time and
I didn’t really eat that healthy. I ate pretty normal I grow up on a normal family but we
were eating at fast food all the time and I would have stomach issues. Especially when I got worried
or stressed out, I would have some anxiety and I really felt that
pit in the middle of your stomach and I just thought that was normal. As I got older and went through college
and then went into medical school and residency, that stress level just continued to increase and
the stomach issues got worse and worse and I didn’t really know why.
I never really put two and two together until I met my now-wife who is very holistic,
very integrative and grew up in that world and she eats very healthy and cooks
very healthy and I started eating her food and all of my symptoms
completely went away. And, that to me was just so interesting and it really made me start thinking about,
whether there could be some connection there. Then when I was working
in residency in the hospital, there was one case that really
brought it all together for me. There was a 10-year old boy who I had seen multiple
times in the hospital. And he was coming in for juvenile arthritis. They didn’t know what was
causing the rash that he was getting and the arthritis, the swelling of
the joints, and they just called it idiopathic. And every time I would go in the room, I would see that he had candy,
snacks, chips all over the room. He was always eating unhealthy foods and so one day, when we were rounding
and talking about the patient, I said to the team, “Hey maybe,
there’s something going on here. Maybe, the diet that he has could be
affecting what the symptoms are,” especially because that was what
I was going to at the same time and I was starting to
put it together for myself and everybody kind of just
laughed it off and said, “You know, that doesn’t even make
any sense,” and just kind of left it. Then the patient went home and
then came back two weeks later and was admitted to the hospital again and so, he was back on my team. I was
fortune that I’ll still be taking care of him and this time, when I went into rounds,
I did a little bit more research and I brought in a bunch of
information about Celiac’s Disease, which is a gluten intolerance and
talked about that to the team and said, “You know, maybe he doesn’t
have wheat intolerance or gluten intolerance but look at the symptoms. They’re very
similar to someone that would have Celiac’s. Maybe he has some
sort of other sensitivity. Maybe there’s something going on,” and again, everyone just kind of
laughed it off, said that was silly. It’s probably had nothing to do
with that and kind of dropped there. But Grandma of the 10-year
old came to me after and said, “You know Dr. Joel, I really
love what you are saying. No one’s really ever
thought about the cause. We’re just treating the symptoms but no one’s ever given us a thought
about why this might be happening. Let me talk to Mom and see if she’d be
willing to come see you as a pediatrician,” and so after this
child left the hospital, they came to see me as
a pediatrician and we worked on the diet. We took out gluten and dairy.
We took out all the sugar, the snacks, the candy
or most of it anyways and we increased the exercise and we worked on his sleep and just
those basic life skills and he got better. He got completely better.
He never went back to the hospital again in the two years
I took care of him after that and that to me was a light-bulb moment because I just thought it was amazing.
Something as simple as changing the diet led this child to have his life be
changed and when I was leaving, Mom came to me and give me a big hug and
said, “Thank you for giving me my child back,” and I don’t feel like I did that
much other than to do the basic, simple life things but this is
something that is so common sense and everyone needs to be doing this and
thinking about that and at the end of the day, it was just those
simple lifestyle factors. There’s more to this. I need to go out
and search and learn more and see what else there is to this because
everybody needs to know about this and I want to bring
this into my practice and adjunct to just the regular conventional
medicine and bring in that integrative side. I’m a conventional doctor and
I love conventional medicine. We have the most unbelievable
treatments that we never had in the past. We can cure cancer. We can keep someone
alive who has HIV. We can do all these amazing things
and doctors are wonderful, amazing people but medicine really has
shifted to treating disease, much more so than preventing
it and that’s really where, I think integrative medicine
can mold in and is really helpful because there’s more
of a focused on that prevention side and
I think both are important. You need both things together and
that’s the essence of integrative medicine… it’s combining those two. I was conventionally trained in the regular Western medical system but then, following that, I took it upon myself
to learn a little bit of functional medicine, which looks more into the root
cause and homeopathy, Ayurveda which is Indian medicine and so in this practice, what
I try to do is blend those altogether. My ethos and what I really believe in is
that there shouldn’t be Eastern medicine, Western medicine,
functional medicine, homeopathy. It should just be medicine. You should just do whatever is
best on that day for the patient and do whatever is the least harm. That’s the oath that we take.
That’s Hippocratic oath. That is what goes back to
the beginning of medicine. Hippocrates was the Father of Medicine
and that’s what he believed. He was always talking about food
being medicine and doing the least harm and so, if there is another treatment modality or a way to even prevent
something from happening, why not do it. If we can give a supplement, instead of giving
antibiotic, then that’s good for everybody. And so, that’s really what I try
to practice here, is not to do the conventional medicine,
unless you really need it. Sometimes if you just have
a little bit of an ear pain or a cough, you don’t have to jump
right to an antibiotic right away. There are other things that you can do and maybe, they help, maybe they don’t
but at least, if you don’t do the treatment like an antibiotic or a steroid, then the child can have a chance
for their body to rebalance because if you give something like an
antibiotic, that also causes some harm. Sometimes, you’re
not just killing the bad. It’s called antibiotic.
It’s against life. So, that’s what the definition is and so, you
might be killing some of the good bacteria too. It doesn’t mean that we
don’t need it sometimes but we jump to it, I think too
quickly in conventional medicine and so, that’s really where
I’m trying to balance those two sides. In general, I try to avoid
antibiotics as often as possible and often, you may give
them a prescription and say, “Maybe, you don’t need this for
a couple of days. We can try these things first and if it’s not getting better,
then we can do an antibiotic.” It has become more common practice for
people to include a probiotic with an antibiotic. The latest research shows
if you get a probiotic a couple of hours away from an antibiotic, maybe
two hours after that, then the most effective and so, you’re putting back
in some of the good bacteria while you’re killing it
essentially with the antibiotics. I usually use Klaire. That’s my favorite brand but there’s
a ton of different great ones out there and most people in my
practice will come in and say, “Oh, I have these
probiotics at home. We’re those okay?” For the most part, they’re pretty good. It’s
one of those very benign type of supplements. There’s a ton of good
companies out there. There was a case recently of a baby. I saw them at about four months and they had been in the conventional system,
seeing a conventional pediatrician for a while, and the child was having bad reflux. It started around two months of age. The reflux was getting worse.
They have started on one prescription. It wasn’t getting better,
so they got on a second prescription and they had done all this medication
and were about to go in for a scope with the GI stomach doctors and they had come to me and we
spent about an hour discussing the case. It turned out that they actually had
switched over to formula from breast milk right before this all started. And one of the obvious big changes will be
there’s going to be a lot more dairy, potentially in the formula because they’re
going to be using a cow’s milk protein formula. It’s going to be the general one
that they were using and no one had really put that
together in that timeline and we’re really thinking about
why was the reflux happening. We’re just treating the reflux
but it wasn’t getting better and so, we switch
them off of that formula to a no-dairy formula and to
a more broken down protein and the child started getting better. One week,
two weeks, three weeks, and by about a month, no more reflux and they
never had to go get the scope. It was just as simple as thinking
about things more holistically and thinking about the root cause and sometimes,
conventional doctors would do the same thing. They would think about the same thing
but I think in integrative medicine, that’s the way that we’re taught
and especially in functional medicine, the training is about thinking
about that root cause. That’s the first place that I go and in this case,
that training was able to help me push them away from that and avoid some of
that conventional medicine and it’s amazing. If you don’t have to put a scope down
your four or a five-month old baby, then who would want to do that. For me, what I like to do is first
start off with a very thorough history. So, I send a very long packet to every
new family that comes to the office. I try to go back through
the entire history, create a timeline, look at the patterns and the connections, and try to see whether
everything makes sense or there’s other things that we can maybe glean
from that history that somebody didn’t necessarily fully look into or just kind of
forgot about that it happened eight years ago and maybe you switched
three different doctors from then and that fact doesn’t even thought about
but it could be connected to what’s going on. Then sit down with the family,
try to do a long consult for a half hour, an hour with them,
and just go through this and discuss it and try to get a sense of what’s
going on with that patient. Again, it goes back to
the individualized medicine and trying to create
a specific plan for this family. When it comes to functional medicine, we really go back to what are the basic,
simple lifestyle factors that you can alter. For most people, there are
a few simple things that you can do. It doesn’t matter whether you have money,
whether you don’t have money, wherever you are that you can make these small changes
and you’re going to see some impact. I have found that the easiest thing
to deal with would be gut issues because usually, that’s connected to
the way that we’re eating and our diet and if you alter
the diet just a little bit, if you maybe cut off of gluten and dairy or
you do some sensitivity or allergy testing and figure out what you’re allergic
to and you take that on the diet, then usually you get better fairly
quickly but it’s not always that easy. It’s very case by case. What do we see most often? ADHD, autism, chronic disease
like allergies and stomach issues, lupus and arthritis,
Chrones and things like that. It’s unbelievably fair to
how much more common these things are than they used to be,
especially we’re talking about autism, the statistics were five, 10 years ago. It was one in 10,000, maybe more
than that and now, it’s one in 60, so that’s a big difference
in just a few years and those numbers are predicted
to go to one in four or five if we keep going at this rate
in the next 10, 20 years, which is alarmingly scary and
there’s something going on. It’s hard to say what and we don’t
know what the causes at this point but that rate of increase is scary and yes, you can
say, “Okay, we’re a little better at diagnosing it,” but there’s no way it’s just about
how much better we are diagnosing it because it was not really something
you really heard when we were kids and now, it’s so common.
Just like allergies. Maybe the odd person you hear
about a peanut allergy but now, every school, everywhere there’s so much peanut
allergy that you just can’t bring peanuts anymore, which is scary. Why did that happen?
What do we do? What has changed in our environment that’s causing this to occur
because it didn’t just happen. Something is causing inflammation. It’s hard to say what. I think it’s very
unfortunate that there are kind of two campuses. There’s integrative world and there’s
the allopathic Western medicine world and they’re so far apart in this one.
I think we have to start working together. I don’t think that we know
exactly what’s causing it but logically, in my personal opinion,
this is just a mix of different things. There are something in the environment,
maybe multiple things in the environment, there are things that we’re doing,
maybe it’s the food that we’re eating, maybe it’s something in
the water that we’re drinking, maybe it’s something
that we’re deficient in. Probably it’s all of those things and autism is really become a catch-all
term for these neurological issues but it’s probably five, 10, 20, 50 different
things that all just get categorized as autism because that’s what we understand
as a term and that’s what you can put on for insurance and
that’s what schools understand, so that kind of gets categorized
under that but what is causing this to occur is really hard to say. I don’t think we know but my gut is
it’s something with the environment, something that we’re doing,
something that’s going on in pregnancy, something that we’re
missing from our diets. It’s hard to say, maybe all of them. Asthma’s really in that
spectrum of inflammation, allergies that we’re seeing so much more
frequently, almost every other kid has asthma these days and the question is why. What is going on? What is causing
this body inflammation to occur? And in the conventional world, what you
would do for that is you treat with steroids because it works,
it calms down inflammation but then, why are we
getting this inflammation. What is causing it? Yes, the steroids help you but
is not preventing it from occurring and it’s not, in any way, I think about why this
child is having these symptoms and so, in integrative world we try to work on calming
down the inflammation before it occurs. So, is there something that
we’re eating in our diet that’s causing us to have
increase inflammation in our body, which leads to when you get a virus,
your body just can’t handle the virus, so then you have asthma symptoms? Is this something that we’re
breathing, some sort of chemical that’s causing chronic
inflammation in your chest and then as soon as something else
happens, you just can’t handle anymore? In the functional medicine world, there’s
a really great analogy of the bucket. And there’s water streaming into the bucket,
there’s a hole at the bottom of the bucket and then if everything’s okay,
the water’s able to flow through but if you have something going on,
some sort of inflammation, some sort of problem, that bucket starts to fill up and then, another problem happens more water
spills and you just can’t handle it and it overflows and I think that’s a really good analogy and
a model for what’s going on with allergies and asthma, as we just have this overflow
of inflammation or the water in the bucket. We just can’t handle it and we get one more
thing that happens and then, it just spills over. And so, if we can decrease that inflammation,
that water in the bucket, then we’re going to prevent
them from getting sick and that’s what I see with my patients. If we do some allergy testing and we take out
some of the things that causes that inflammation, the frequency of time that they get these
asthma exacerbations starts to decrease and then, it gives enough
chance for the lungs to heal and then, it just goes away over time. It’s no magic. It’s just long term treatment
versus short term ‘giving a steroids’ because you’re decreasing what
the body is naturally trying to do. Your body is very intelligent.
Children’s body are very intelligent. It’s increasing their
histamine levels for a reason. Why is this happening? Why are you when
you get an allergy, your histamine goes crazy and you get hives and a rash. Your body is trying to do something.
It’s trying to expel a toxin and then, we’re giving a steroid,
which is calming that down, which I get because
when your kid is really sick, you want to do something.
You want that to go away but the question really needs
to be why is this happening and how can we prevent it or
how can we cure it in the future? We don’t know it yet because
that’s not what we’re looking at. We’re looking at treating the symptoms, which to me is not where
we need to be focusing on. I use all conventional treatment
because at the end of the day, when there’s a child going
through an asthma exacerbation, that’s life-threatening
and you need to treat them. You want them to get better
and again, these medicines are phenomenal and they’re
great for acute illness. If your child is having
asthma exacerbation, you can’t do something that’s going to
take two years for them to get better because this problem
didn’t just happen today. It’s happened over a year,
so it takes a long time to heal that but you need to heal them today when they’re
right in the middle of that exacerbations. The steroids are an amazing treatment
and when used appropriately, that’s what they’re here for. That’s why they
were invented before and they can save your child and so, if somebody comes in to me
with that exacerbations, of course, I use all regular medication.
But then, after that fact,
then we start to look into why did this occur and what can we
do to try to prevent it in the future. Steroids suppress your immune system, so a lot of children that will be taking these
chronically will have chronic infections. The infections will get worse,
any medication that you take, your body gets tolerant to it and so, they stop
working and you have to take more and more and every medication has side effects. It’s different in most people but from
gut issues to changing your gut flora, to stomach aches, diarrhea, some people that takes steroids
chronically have skin issues, so there’s a whole list of different issues that
you can have from taking a medication long term. But just common sense, as anything
you’re going to take for years, it’s going to cause effects to your growth.
It’s going to cause affects to your body. It’s going to change your brain.
It’s going to change your chemistry. When you go to a conventional allergist,
they’ll usually either do a blood test or a skin prick test and
that’s IgE antibody, so when you say, have taken a peanut,
you have an anaphylactic reaction. That’s an IgE reaction.
It’s an immediate, fast allergic reaction. That’s what is known,
that’s what’s been really studied, and that’s what most people do. Now, there’s this new side and this
where a lot of functional medicine comes in and regular medicine is starting to
get it and understand and accept it but it’s still 100% accepted in conventional
Western medicine and that’s the long term, low-grade chronic sensitivity and
that would be the IgG antibodies. So, it’s a different antibodies and
the terminology doesn’t really matter that much in terms of which antibodies it is but
it’s the sensitivity versus the allergic reaction and when you have a sensitivity,
it’s the stomach issues, the constipation, the diarrhea, the pain, and the whole multitude
of not as high grade anaphylaxis where you take something and you
have an immediate reaction but you have symptoms over
long term that start to build up. And so, that’s what the functional medicine
doctors tend to be checking and a lot of Western medicine
doctors are checking it too, at this point but there’s all these at home test. You can go to Quest
and LabCorp and do it but there’s a higher level, better
testing within the functional medicine. They’ll test for more things, they do it on a little bit better specimen.
That’s where the difference is. Now, how much better is it? That’s
really up in the air. We don’t know. I’ve had very good success with some of
these companies in doing some of these tests but there’s not a ton of evidence, yet especially,
in the Western medical or if this works or is perfect but at the same time, if we
have more information and you see results, then it’s worthwhile and so, you just really
have to decide on how much you want to spend, how much you want to
test and go from there. There’s also a downside of you don’t want
to test too much, especially for me in kids, I don’t like to do blood work
unless I absolutely have to. And so unless it’s something
that’s more serious, I usually will start without doing any
bloodwork and just do the elimination diet. Like you said, we’ll take out the most
common five or six things from their diet for a month or two months and
see if it makes a difference because if you don’t need to do
a blood test, then why do it. I tried not to poke kids as much as
possible and those tests are expensive. They’re very expensive and
it’s not always needed, so you can usually at home,
even if you have no money at all, you don’t need to go to
a functional medicine doctor. You don’t need to spend $300
or $400 or $500 on a test. You can just clean up your diet,
meaning take out the wheat, take out the dairy, take out the sugar,
and take out the processed foods. Do that first. Do it for two months
and see if it makes a difference and save yourself a lot of money and a lot of
time without having any practitioner to see you. So, the most common companies that
I used would be Genova, Cyrex. There’s a Viome, a new company. There’s a whole bunch
of different ones but I tend to use either Cyrex, Genova
or just the Lab Quest or LabCore. I try to use people insurance if I can because why
go through the other companies unless you need to. Now, it just depends on what the situation
is because if a child is coming in to me and they’re pretty healthy overall, I’m not going to send
them for a $500 test. But if a child is coming
in to me for a consult and they’ve seen six different doctors,
they’ve been to a whole bunch of specialists, and they’ve done all the regular stuff, that to me is the time…
if they want to… to go look into some of these
other tests because you may not get the results that you’re looking for but
you also might get some more information. When somebody comes in with
ADHD or one of these similar issues, it usually depends on what
the parent goals are. Sometimes, they’ll come in and say, “I want
to get them off medication. What can we do?” And other times, they’re just coming in regularly,
so I don’t tend to just take kids off of medication. Certainly, nothing that would be quick because
it’s a long term process but if that’s the goal, then we’ll work towards that over time. I have seen so much
more ADHD recently. It’s certainly being over diagnosed. I think it’s something that’s
diagnosed very quickly when there are potentially other
things that could be going on. There’s lots of research coming out
that schools change up the way that they teach,
that they add more recess. If they have healthier food,
then the rates of ADHD drop. With that saying, there’s
something environmental going on that’s increasing
the hyperactivity in children. We also know, for sure, that dyes
and food cause hyperactivity. There’s been tons of published research,
there’s been reviews showing that if you take those kind
of foods out of the diet, hyperactivity decreases. For me, I always starts with the diet. I always starts in the gut.
We can clean up the diet. We take out all the processed food.
We take out all the sugar, all of the dyes. You shouldn’t be eating
any of that anyways but especially for a child with
hyperactivity, you take those things out and you might get a 5% or 10% benefit. There are also studies on
supplements like fish oil and generally,
you’ll see another 5% or 10%. If you start adding those things in,
you get a 20%, 30% improvement and right there, you’re already kind of
snowballing down the hill into a better direction and then, we’ll see we’re at from there and sometimes,
that’s enough improvement, where the family say, “You know, maybe
we can try coming down on the medication. Maybe not off but if you have
a dose of 10 milligrams or something, maybe we can do five milligrams
and if the kid doing okay, for another month later,
maybe we can go down again,” and it just depends on
what their goals are. Sometimes, the goal is to
decrease the medication and that’s great until it has come off but if we can even decrease
the dose, that’s a benefit. These are brain-altering chemicals and it doesn’t mean that
sometimes we don’t need them. Some children certainly do and it makes a big
difference in their life. They’re not functioning and
they’re able to function on them but you have to know that these
affect your neurotransmitters. They affect your serotonin,
they affect your dopamine, and if you’re replacing
that with a pill, then you’re not producing it yourself and
over the long run, these pills stop to work. You’re affecting the rest of your
body because everything’s connected and that certainly can lead
to and most research shows that children that are taking
a medication when they’re younger, are more likely to do drugs when they’re older and
more likely to take some of these medications. There’s certainly an effect there and I think we haven’t quite reached the point
where we even know what the effect is because it’s become so much more
common and prevalent recently, so we’re going to see the wave of issues
potentially, five to 10 years from now. I always do everything
else possible first, unless there’s something
that’s life-threatening. Something life-threatening, they would be
sent over to maybe a specialist to go see but other than that, if you’re coming in and
think, “I think my child might have ADHD,” my first goal is to rule out
everything else medical first because there are other medical things
that can mimic it, like sleep apnea, like vitamin deficiency, so we want to
make sure we brought all those things out and then, we’ll try all of
the other lifestyle factors first. And then if none of that works or it’s
still causing significant problems then that’s when, maybe you go over to
see the psychiatrist or the psychologist. You get a full evaluation.
If they also agree that this is something that would be helpful and
mom or dad understand what the side effects are and what the benefits may be and we
all agree that it’s helpful, then that’s great. Because at the end of the day,
if a child cannot function at school, then we need to do something but I don’t think medicine
should be the first thing. It should be the last thing. There are so many wonderful
practitioners out there. There’s naturopath and
there’s acupuncture and there’s all these different
things that you can do. When something is so emotional like
that, that may not be my specialty. They may not be exactly what I know and if that’s the case, then
I would work with somebody else. I would say, “You know,
I know this acupuncturist. I think this will really
help calm your stress and if we can improve
your trust by 5%, then maybe we can come back and see
what else we can do and maybe there’s a therapist out there that we can
send you so you can talk about this and maybe they uncover something,” and
we say, “Okay then, we send you over here,” and you try to work back.
You do one thing at a time but you work as a team and that’s
what medicine is supposed to be. You’re supposed to work with people
that know better than you and know different fields and we’re
pretty good at doing that. When it becomes a GI issue,
we sent them to the stomach doctor or when it’s a heart issue,
we sent them to the heart doctor and most people know where all those are but
do you know where your local yoga studio is? Do you know, where
the closest acupuncturist? Because those things can help too and so, creating
that network around you for your patients, that’s the best thing that you can do. The microbiome, it’s different and
a child that comes from a C section, than one that comes from a vaginal birth,
whether that makes a difference clinically or health-wise,
it’s still yet to be seen. We know that children
that are breastfed have fewer health complications as they
get older, so we think that’s important but there are many children that are on
formula and they also are very healthy. So, I don’t think it’s as cut and
dry as if you have a C section and you don’t do breast milk, you’re
going to have health problems later. But I think if those things happen, then you’re more of a set up
to have health issues later and so, if you start seeing
some of these things pop up, that’s when you want
to get involved early and so, for those children, you may want
to replace with some of the bacteria that we know are more common
than bifidobacteria and lactobacillus. They’re more common in babies and so,
you can start with some probiotics early, maybe you can add in some vitamin D or other supplements or
multi-vitamin just to make sure that their immune system is
working as strongly as it can. I don’t think we have
enough information yet on how important or what may
come from these differences and I think we need to do
more research on that because it’s so common we’re
having C sections these days. If there is a major health complications that
can come from that, people would want to know. We know there are a long list,
a longer than I can name, of health benefits from breastfeeding
and certainly, it helps with your immunity it helps fight off infection
and it’s great for your gut health. So, as long as you can go,
I think it’s helpful. Most research shows that the vast
majority of the health benefits are if you can make
it to six months, so that’s what we always aim for but life
throws you curveballs and some people, some mom say, lose
their breast milk supply or things happen in their life
and they just can’t get there, so whatever you can do is great. Even if it’s
one feeding a day for three or four months, that’s still better than nothing and you do whatever you can. Most kids that just have
formula turned out fine too. There’s no issues with that either, so we just promote what is known
from the research to be the healthiest and so, the longer you can go the better
and we aim for six months to a year. But if people want to go farther
or longer, then that’s great. When it comes to vaccines,
there are really two major camps. You have the pediatricians
and the health care and it’s very pro-vaxx. Everybody
vaccinates and that’s where it is and then you have
the anti-vaxxers on this side and all the vaccines are crazy and nobody should be vaccinating and
they cause all sorts of problems. We know that neither
side is 100% correct. I think we need to work together to make
the least impact on children as possible. We know that there were
many horrible diseases 20, 30, 50, 100 years ago and some
of them have been eradicated. Anybody that says that
vaccines don’t do any good, there’s no way that’s true.
That’s not science but then, to also say that there’s no possible
problems that can come from vaccines, that can’t be true either.
You take Tylenol or you take any medication,
you can have some symptoms. I think the goal of health care:
integrative and functional, we all have to come together and we need to
open that dialogue and that discussion back up and create the best
vaccines for our children. We need to continue to improve them. It doesn’t mean there’s any specific
issues with them right now. It’s hard to say but we can
never say that anything is perfect. We should try to always continue
to improve what we have. Always look into whether
something can be causing an issue and if that’s an issue, then we need
to take it off the market and that does happen. Sometimes, there are some vaccines that they
take off the market because they do cause issues and so, we have to just continue that
dialogue and not be on separate camps and not laugh at people when
they don’t want to vaccinate because we’re all in the same
team. Doctors, patients, families, have that discussion and if you don’t
agree with what your physician says, then find another doctor but also, don’t
just read some of the blogs in the internet and just take that as gospel because there’s
a lot of scientific research behind these as well. I think we need to take both sides and have
a good long discussion with your pediatrician. I think it’s important not to be too
militant about what children eat. I think that’s becoming
also a big problem. We’re moving the other way now for some
people and there’s a new issue called orthorexia, which is fear of food and if we don’t ever allow our
kids to eat out with their friends, then they’re going to have issues around food,
which may cause other problems down the road. And so I think if you’re generally healthy, then I tell all my family, if you’re at
a party and there’s a piece of cake. Let them have fun.
Let them do it you. Control what you can control.
Control what’s at home. If you’re controlling what they eat, 95% of the time, like they have one
piece of chocolate or something like that and that’s not the one
you want, it’s fine. I don’t think that’s a big issue, which is very different than if
you’re having a child that’s very ill and you’re working on
a plan like an elimination diet, then you need to stick with that
and do it 100% of the time for that month or two months
while you’re trying to heal the gut. For me, only that militant when
you’re working on something. If you have someone who’s very sick
and you’re trying to create a plan, then we need you to
be militant about this… this plan for a couple of months and let
things heal and then you can go back to slowly eating those things again. But for the average kid, if they’re
at a party, let them have fun. If you can handle it, if it cause to
have a little bit of stomach ache and it’s worthwhile to
the child, then it’s fine but if it causes you to get
really sick, then you won’t do it. It’s the same thing with a peanut. If it’s going to cause you anaphylaxis, you’re never going to eat it. You’re
going to avoid it the rest of your life. But if it’s not causing a major issue,
then you just weigh the pros and the cons and if it’s some ice
cream and you get a little bit of stomach ache, then that’s up to each
parent and each kid. Usually, as the kids get older,
they hopefully internalize this and they start avoiding those
foods that make them feel ill and that’s the benefit of doing
it this way, is to teach them about the differences and
teach them about their body, so that they understand how they are
supposed to feel, how healthy feels, and if they don’t feel that way,
when they eat this food, don’t eat it. For me why I do integrative pediatrics,
because it’s changing the future generations. That’s our goal:
for them to learn about this and internalize it and
change their future practices. Because as we were mentioning
before with all these chronic illnesses, something is doing that and we need to
change our habits and we need our children to change what they’re doing and
to internalize what healthy food is, versus what not so healthy food is.
Because when they go off to college, your mom and dad aren’t going to be there
and if they’re in the cafeteria and eating you know, pizza and pasta and
hamburgers every day, all those issues are going to come back, so if they’ve understood what it means
and they understand what a healthy diet is, and how that can affect them, then hopefully
they’ll make those healthy choices on their own and push their friends to also make healthier
choices and that’s how we make a real change.

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