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[E4C27] Hack Your Body & Mind for Optimal Health, Naturally – Alexis Shields

 

It’s amazing how many traditional, brick and mortar businesses you can actually take completely offline. For example, the growing practice of telemedicine is relieving congestion in the health care system, saving clients the time it takes to get
to an appointment in a physical location, and allowing providers the ability to serve more people across geographic locations and time zones.

Naturopathic medicine is one of those fields that is well-suited for telemedicine. Alexis Shields is a naturopathic doctor who sold her brick and mortar practice, and recreated her business as a location-independent entrepreneur, serving her patients
from South East Asia.

In this interview, Alexis not only shares the story of how she is able to this, she also offers great health information that you’ll never hear from conventional doctors, as well as ways you can optimize your energy and mental clarity, naturally. She talks about:

  • The shortcomings of conventional medicine that keep people on medication that they don’t even need, year after year.
  • The 3 types of medications that are frequently prescribed to patients, on a year-round recurring basis, unnecessarily.
  • Why dairy might be bad for your health, especially if you are prone to allergies.
  • Why the 2 most common prescriptions for acne control are bad for your health, and 3 types of food you should avoid if you are acne-prone.
  • Why fruit juice actually isn’t good for you.
  • Which brain power foods support mental clarity.
  • The kind of diet you should follow if you want to maintain sustained energy throughout the day.
  • Tips on staying fit if you are a long-term traveller.

Mentioned in this interview

Where to Find Alexis

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

[00:00] Lorna: So Alexis, thank you so much for joining me on Entrepreneurs for a Change. I was really thrilled to meet you and your partner, Shannon in Chiang Mai, especially that I discovered that you guys are doctors but running location-independent businesses. So, if you could tell us what you do, what specifically, and I’d love to dive into your story on how you were able to take what is traditionally a brick and mortar business completely offline.

[00:28] Alexis: Sure, thanks for having me. I think it’s about six months ago, my partner and I, who are both naturopathic doctors, we had the idea to move to Thailand, sell our practices, which are brick and mortar businesses in Portland, Oregon, which we had been building for four years because we wanted to do some traveling. So we put things in the motion the year prior to selling our businesses and start converting our business, medical consults, to more online-based consults using FaceTime, Skype and telephone.

So we both learned that you can really, to have a consult with a doctor, it’s very easy to do it using Skype and telephone because a lot of what we do in the office and face-to-face can easily be transferred virtually. So about six months ago, we moved to Thailand and started doing consults this way, and it’s been working amazing.

[01:27] Lorna: So did you actually have your customers follow you?

[01:32] Alexis: Well, we both sold our businesses, so the patients that were existing with the business stayed with the business. However, over four years building my practice, a lot of my patients would move away. They’d move to a state that maybe didn’t have a lot of naturopaths so they didn’t want to go through the process of finding a new doctor. So we would setup a kind of a telephone-based medical appointment, and it worked really well.

Actually, there’s a lot of websites popping up now, and my guess is in the next three to five years, it’s going to be very common to have your first intake with a doctor over the telephone or over Skype, actually. It’s not necessarily Skype but using an interface where you can see the doctor, whether it’s on your iPhone or your computer.

It really helps to decrease the kind of overloaded system that we have in conventional medicine. Also, it’s just a lot cheaper to do an appointment that way. So I think it’s going to be really common in the next three to five years to actually do things in this way. It’s new and things are changing all the time and the laws are changing according to this, too. There’s a lot of telemedicine laws that are coming out because it’s becoming so popular. So as far as doing naturopathic medicine consults, it’s just a little bit different than a conventional medical consult would be.

[02:44] Lorna: So do you actually need to poke and prod your patients at all?

[02:53] Alexis: In some cases, yes. Basically, I’m trained as a primary care physician, which means that when you go to your family doctor for your yearly checkup, that’s what I’m trained to do. I can prescribe drugs, do basic lab tests, do all the basic testing in office. But I’m also trained in how to recognize when somebody needs to go on to a specialist. So during that consult, if somebody has something serious going on where they need a lab test or they need to see a neurologist, then I would refer them to those people for basically hands-on testing.

If they have something serious going on like chest pain, for example, I would do the initial intake, figure out what the common scenarios of what could be going on are and then send them to a specialist for actual testing and hands-on work. So it’s like that first step.

[03:49] Lorna: So if they’re based in a city that you’re not familiar with, how would you know who to refer them to?

[03:56] Alexis: Usually, I would say 90% of the people that I see already have a primary care doctor, meaning they have somebody in their location that they go to for their yearly checkup or if they have strep throat or something like that. What they’re coming to meet more for is I specialize in naturopathic medicine, which means that I’m trained as a primary care physician but my goal is to help people to get off of drugs and pharmaceuticals, with the use of natural medicine.

That area of specialty is helping people to improve their health without drugs. So when they’re coming to me, it’s not a second opinion. They have me as part of their medical team to help them figure out all the ways with their diet and lifestyle, to pick and improve their health, and then also ways to decrease side effects for medications or help them to get off certain medications, use natural medicine, so that they don’t have to go to medications.

So for me, as a naturopathic doctor, when somebody comes to me in the beginning, they usually have their primary care. But I might tell them, “You need to in because this is beyond what we can do over Skype.”

[05:06] Lorna: I see. Would insurance typically cover naturopathic medicine?

[05:10] Alexis: They do in Oregon. I worked in Oregon for four years and it depends on the state. It’s all state to state as to whether it’s licensed and a bunch of other things. Because naturopaths are identified as primary care physicians, we’re also covered by insurance. So a good portion of my practice in Oregon was insurance. But now because it’s over Skype, I’m not taking insurance.

[05:34] Lorna: Help me understand more about the kinds of ways you would work with your patients. So maybe that might also include just helping us understand what the difference between a conventional medical doctor does and what a naturopathic doctor does.

[05:49] Alexis: Sure. So in conventional medicine, you go to school. Your first part of your schooling is four years. Well, it actually starts with your pre-med four years in undergraduate, and then you go into a medical school for four years. The first two years are very heavily in the sciences. So you’re getting all your basic sciences, and then you take an exam. It looks exact the same way in naturopathic medical school. We have our own medical schools. The first two years are very heavily basic sciences and then the last two years is where the difference comes in.

In conventional medical school, they go in to learn all the different areas of specialization. So there’s family doctors but most medical doctors, when they go through medical school, actually choose an area to specialize in, like neurology or gastroenterology, for example. For naturopaths, those last two years for us are basically learning how to be a very effective primary care doctor. Meaning, we learn how to prescribe medications; learn how to take people safely off medications; we learn how to prescribe medicinal herbs.; we go extensively into nutrition and lifestyle – diet and exercise are the foundation of everything; learn about supplements – which ones are evidence-based and effective for different health conditions; we learn about homeopathy, hydrotherapy. There’s a huge list. Some schools learn acupuncture, and it depends what you want your track to be because there’s a lot of different things that you can do. So we learn our areas of specialization in those last two years. So at the end of four years, when were done with medical school, we’re basically trained as primary care but with a specialization in natural medicine or integrative medicine or alternative medicine or whatever the word is that you use or familiar with.

[07:36] Lorna: So what are some of the most common medications you help your patients get off of?

[07:42] Alexis: I would say it’s frustrating because a lot of people that I see come in especially in Portland where I had my practice, people would be on a set of three to eight medications. Sometimes, they don’t even remember why they started them. So they’re going to the doctor to get their checkups every year, and they’ll just put on the same medications without ever asking, “Is this still effective? Do I still need to take this? Do I even know what I’m taking this for? Do I still have the symptom that I’m taking this for?”

So the first visits for me, if somebody is on a medication, is really figuring that out. What are you on this for? How long ago was it that you were taking this? Are you really able to take this medication for that long because some medications you aren’t meant to stay on for that long. But people just slip through the cracks and continue taking it and not questioning. So for me, when you come in, it’s really outlining what medications are you on? What does your diet look like? What does your lifestyle look like? And then figuring out ways around that.

So the most common things I see people on – they just get popped like candy – are allergy medications because people commonly start with seasonal allergies that turn into all-year-long allergies, which are huge problems, very common, very easy to fix but people just stay on allergy medicine all year. Sleep medications are super common. Heartburn medication very common and also extremely dangerous to stay on for very long because basically it shuts down your ability to create stomach acid. Stomach acid is how you break down all the food that you eat and get all the nutrition out of the food that you eat.

So you slowly, over time, become more and more deficient in nutrients, which has effects in every organ and every system of the body. As we’re talking about earlier, antibiotics are given out like candy. If you don’t know what the problem is, then a lot of times they’re just given a prescription for antibiotics, which causes a lot of problems because when you need an antibiotic – if you’ve taken them many times, sometimes, they won’t work.

So if you just take antibiotic several times a year or you’re on a low-dose constant antibiotic dosage for, let’s say acne or something like that. Then you really actually need an antibiotic because you’re sick and you have a really bad bacterial infection – people that take a lot of antibiotics, they don’t just work as well any more.

[10:07] Lorna: I notice I was getting prescribed stronger and stronger antibiotics over time. Some of the side effects were actually becoming more and more extreme for me. The last time I took a round of antibiotics, I had flu-like symptoms, and I really just didn’t want to be down for two weeks. You don’t know whether your flu-like symptoms are necessarily from virus or bacteria. So in the middle of the night, I was like, “No, I just don’t want to go through this. I’m just going to pop these antibiotics.” Then I ended up with even worse symptoms, like the most awful stomach cramps. When I looked at all the symptoms that I was getting after taking all the antibiotics – I looked on the website for all the side effects, it was just like, “Yep, yep, yep”!

So I was like, “What is the point of this?” So I just stopped but then not even completing a round of antibiotics has other implications, too, which is what’s creating the strains of super resistant antibiotic which is a global problem.

[11:12] Alexis: Yes, definitely. People just take antibiotics like they would take a multivitamin. They’re like, “This won’t harm me,” but there’re a lot of problems with taking lots of rounds of antibiotics, especially in the digestive system. They will really start to cause chronic digestive problems if you take them too often.

[11:37] Lorna: So can you give us some examples of natural ways to deal with allergy because you mentioned that seasonal turning to year-round. How does that happen, and how do you not get subject to taking year-round allergy medication?

[11:51] Alexis: Right. For example, if you have hay fever, or you’re allergic to grasses or ragweeds or molds or whatever it is environmental that you’re allergic to, I would say 90% of the time when you have an issue like that, it means that you have an underlying food intolerance that’s causing that to be an issue. When you have allergic constitution, so when you easily become allergic to things, you would always have a problem with the food.

So I think the easiest thing you can do to get rid of your seasonal allergies and year-long allergies, which is the seasonal allergies gone wrong – they last forever because your body becomes allergic to literally everything – is to start identifying which foods in your diet are contributing to the allergies.

A lot of people will find, I would say the number one, is dairy products. You produce more mucus when you drink and eat dairy. So a lot of that mucus contribute to these chronic allergies. Not to mention, when you get mucusy like that, you also are more susceptible to viruses and bacteria.

So those people that have chronic allergies, they also find that they get sick a lot more often with colds. Sometimes, they’ll just be sick all winter long with the cold. They don’t know, “Is it allergies or is it a cold?” It’s because the lines are really blur because there’s a lot of crossover. So identifying what in your diet is causing that, it’s probably dairy. The thing that you can do that would best help yourself is to just eliminate dairy products for 30 days and then reintroduce them back in.

So that means milk, cottage cheese, creamer, ice cream, yogurt, all of those things for 30 days, which you can do anything for 30 days. At the end of it, you might be surprised to find that you feel wonderful, and you don’t miss dairy because you feel so much better. Your head is clear. You don’t have itchy eyes and throat, that kind of thing. The second thing you can do that is really great for allergies for helping to manage especially if you’re in the middle of an allergy season and they’re really terrible. You don’t have 30 days to wait it out with the dairy thing.

You can start eliminating the dairy but then also start taking a supplement called quercetin or bromelain. Quercetin is from apples and onions and bromelain is from the core of pineapple, so you can also eat those foods. Apples, onions, and pineapple really help with lessening your symptoms to allergies. You can take those in a supplement form that you can find at most health food stores.

[14:30] Lorna: So what about things like acne, for example? I see a whole range of drugs prescribed for acne, ranging from antibiotics to birth control pills. So what can you do to reduce acne, especially with hormonal acne? I know that a lot of women, especially beyond the adolescent years, still continue to suffer from this. So what are your some of your recommendations to avoid getting down the whole pharmaceutical track of acne control?

[15:09] Alexis: Funnily enough, too, there’s a lot of food links to acne. Acne is a little bit more complex of a health issue because there’s so many things that can cause acne. There can be hormonal issues like you were talking about. There can be food allergy components. There can be just the health of your skin in general.

Acne, a lot of times, is little bacterial infections. That’s why antibiotic sometimes work because it’s helping to clear those little bacterial infections temporarily. But they are not long-term solution to that problem, neither are birth control pills. Birth control pills, you’re really putting yourself at risk because you’re giving yourself a really strong dose of hormones every month, which most women don’t do that great with over the long haul. There’s not really any miracle cures for all these. You can’t bypass all of the basics… and the basics are food. So start with eliminating dairy. Dairy is a really high one. The second one, or maybe even the first – they probably tie – is your sugar intake.

So when you eat a lot of sugar, sugar feeds bacteria. When bacteria overgrows, then it creates infections. Because acne is, a lot of times, little skin infections, creating a lot of sugar, you’re just feeding that bacteria and making those infections worse. So really assessing your sugar intake and your dairy intake. The third one that I see a lot for acne is wheat products, so things like bread, gluten.

[16:46] Lorna: Is rice gluten?

[16:47] Alexis: Anything that says it’s gluten-free, it’s kind of a misnomer because it really means gliadin-free, and there’s a lot of different types of gluten. Gliadin is one type of gluten. So celiac disease is what made gluten intolerance a hot topic.

[17:04] Lorna: What exactly is celiac disease?

[17:05] Alexis: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease to a particular protein in gluten which is gliadin. So any time you see something on the shelf that says gluten-free, it really means gliadin-free. So people think like rice and corn and some of these other grains are gluten-free, they’re actually not gluten-free, but they are gliadin-free.

So if you have celiac disease, it’s known that gliadin is very inflammatory and feeds this kind of autoimmune disease. But what people don’t know is that to a lesser degree, but still it’s an issue, that all grains, so corn and rice and everything, also can feed into that.

[17:43] Lorna: Even if it’s brown rice, or spelt?

[17:55] Alexis: Even if it’s brown rice, yes, spelt too – any grain can contribute to that problem.

[17:55] Lorna: So do you know much about fibromyalgia?

[17:57] Alexis: Yes.

[17:58] Lorna: Because I’ve known a couple of people who have had it. Is there any naturopathic approach to dealing with that? First, we’ll explain what that is.

[18:06] Alexis: So fibromyalgia is a generalized pain disorder. When you get diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you’ll have a traumatic onset, meaning you were in an accident or you had something happen at the onset of the pain. There’s a typical pattern of what the pain looks like in the body. Basically, you can think of it in the simplest terms as just generalized pain. It is usually constant, and it can be completely debilitating. So people that have fibromyalgia – there are more women that get it than men – we’re going up in complexities. So fibromyalgia is extremely complex as far as how many things actually contribute to what’s going on. I would say that the number one thing with fibromyalgia is that there’s usually some kind of trauma to the body that happens at the onset. So there’s a huge emotional component to it.

Any time, there’s an issue with pain, there’s emotions behind it. So for people with fibromyalgia, it’s very helpful to do counseling or they do something like emotional freedom technique. Or they do meditation or yoga or they have some kind of a practice that helps with visualizing their body and their pain, and helping to work through any traumas that they’ve had. That’s the backbone or the basis of fibromyalgia that a lot of people experience – not everyone – but it’s the common pattern that you see. So you have to deal with that mental-emotional component first which is usually stress-related. So helping your body to process and release stress instead of keeping it in your tissues. We have this thing in naturopathic medicine, and probably elsewhere, called “issues in the tissues”.

It means that you have stresses that are just sitting on your body. You can think of it like… I just heard a story from one of my friends. Recently, she went in and got a massage. As they were massaging, all of the sudden, she had this huge release of anxiety about this particular thing that she had going on in her life. It’s something that we experience all the time. Those kinds of things will just come up and it seems like, “Wow that just came up out of nowhere,” but it’s really not nowhere, it’s just that we store those things in our body, and for some people, when they store emotions like that, it comes out as pain.

[20:21] Lorna: Yes. I totally believe that actually. It’s amazing how much we can pick up from our environment. I know that when I was going to my corporate job when we have these meetings and there’d be lot of underlying politics happening in the company that really affected your ability to your job, so I’d notice I’d pick up all kinds of other people’s energies, and so I really had to regularly go and do massage and sauna just to purge it all out.

[20:51] Alexis: Yes and maintain your health. It’s easy to take on people’s things. I would say, too, that’s a really good point, because with fibromyalgia, a lot of times these patterns have been learned from childhood. So either their mother or someone in their environment, their father, brother, sister have some kind of emotional thing going on and they absorbed that. It was the best thing that they knew how to do at the time. Their best coping skills that they had. But a better coping skill is to not hold on to those things. So it’s finding a way, which there are millions of really good ways, to help you process emotions and stress.

[21:27] Lorna: Somebody very close to me is being treated for breast cancer. So the prescribed treatment for her is radiation therapy and hormone therapy. So one of the concerns that I have is that how long is the hormone therapy going to go on for? It seems to be impacting her quality of life. Is there some kind of natural alternative to hormone therapy, to chemotherapy?

I heard of a lot of really alternative treatments for cancer like the Gerson method, for example, which is not allowed even to be practiced in the United States, which is basically extreme juicing to deal with your cancer.

[22:13] Alexis: Yes. They do them a lot in Mexico. They have the clinics. People are doing a lot of amazing experimental therapies with cancer right now. With cancer therapy, it’s all dependent on the type of cancer because cancer is very different, based on what part of the body we’re talking about. What kind of cells we’re talking about. So for naturopathic medicine, a lot of people have this misconception that, “Well, you’re completely anti-drugs.” That’s not true at all.

Actually, sometimes, drugs are the least invasive are most appropriate course of action for that particular disease. Sometimes with cancer treatment, this is very much the case, wherein, naturopathic medicine plays more of a supportive role. So we help people to prevent it from coming back. We help people to manage the symptoms while they’re on radiation and chemotherapy. Some cancers respond very well to traditional medicines.

So any time someone has cancer, I think it’s really important to look into the studies; what are the current studies is saying? What is the percentage of cure rate or putting a cancer into remission? Or whatever it is, whatever the words that they use for that particular type of cancer and that drug. What are the statistics? A lot of people would just take the drug thinking, “Well, it’ll cure me”. But then when you look at the actual statistics, it’s not really that helpful. So they put themselves through a lot of grief for a long time with not that much success rate using that medication.

So for breast cancer, there are very extremely effective treatments; radiation, the hormone therapies. For the hormone therapies, you usually aren’t on them for life. You’re on them for a certain number of years. The studies show that for that period of years, it really helps to prevent the reoccurrence of the cancer.

For naturopathic medicine, you really want to just help with clearing the body with excess estrogens, and any hormones that are building up in the body; also, all the side effects that come along with – like hot flashes and things – that come along with blocking your hormones. In naturopathic medicine in cancer, it’s a whole spectrum of things that are good treatments but it’s usually supportive.

[24:30] Lorna: I’ve heard that sugar is something that you need to try to eliminate because cancer cells feed on sugar. What kind of dietary recommendations would you make for someone who’s going through cancer treatment?

[24:45] Alexis: I would say the same base diet that I would recommend for anyone depending on what’s going on. There’s always different nutrients that I would recommend for people. For example, if they’re going through chemo, and they can’t eat a lot of food because they’re often nauseous, there’s really high-calorie-dense foods that you want to make sure that they’re getting into their body when they can eat.

For the average person that has cancer, that isn’t going through a treatment that is making them nauseous and vomit all the time, it’s this basic diet of eating really good healthy animal products, fats, vegetables, fruits, and whole foods diet. It eliminates things that turn into sugar really fast. So foods that turn into sugar fast, which are dairy products because it’s milk sugar, grains like wheat, white potato, a lot of the white foods, and soy products are not a good idea.

In the US, especially, I think 80 or 90% of all soy is genetically modified, and genetically modified foods have also an effect on cancer cells. So cancer cells are very rapidly dividing, and when you add sugar in, it just feeds that particular tumor or cell. That’s shown in rat studies anyway. So definitely, it’s not a good idea to have a solid diet of sugar and things that turn into sugar very fast especially like fruit juice and those kinds of things. A lot of people just consume that every day and don’t even think about it as sugar because it’s fruit.

[26:11] Lorna: Like orange juice, for example.

[26:12] Alexis: Yes.

[26:14] Lorna: I notice, whenever I drink a fresh glass of orange juice, I would have this high. Do you experience it? I just crash afterwards and I’d be wondering. This is supposed to be healthy for me. Why do I feel like I’m in some kind of brain fog of sugar crash zone?

[26:31] Alexis: The smile drug-like state where you get a high and then you crash, and then you need to do it again. Yes, you get that pattern of highs and lows with anything that turns into sugar fast. The problem with fruit juice is that fruit is not inherently bad. It’s very rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, and all these things that are body needs to help fight cancer, but the problem can come in when you’re doing juices that are primarily all fruit, is that you remove all the fiber. There’s nowhere in nature that fructose and fiber don’t appear together. So if you have something that has fructose in it, it’s always a high fiber food. So you just have to look to nature. What does nature do with fructose? It always pairs it with fiber.

When you juice something, you separate the two of those. Fructose by itself without fiber is very poisonous to the body. It’s like how alcohol affects your liver. Fructose does that same thing to your liver as far as producing fatty liver. It’s toxic to the liver in large amounts because that fiber isn’t there to balance it.

[27:38] Lorna: I see. So you’re probably better off doing a blended fruit smoothie instead of like whole fruit juice.

[27:42] Alexis: Definitely. I prefer just to eat your fruit because when you get a glass of orange juice, it’s like three oranges. You would never sit there and eat three oranges normally. You would eat one. But if you have the juice from one orange, it’s a very small amount. So it’s either you do something that’s blended and a proper serving of fruit. You do it with like avocado and coconut and flax seed and things that are also very healthy and good quality fats that slows down the absorption of sugar. Or you just make sure that it’s in the proper serving. That’s not like four oranges in your smoothie because that’s quite a lot of orange.

[28:24] Lorna: So given what you know about optimal health nutrition – for us entrepreneurs, since we have to self-generate our business, and our business also depends on productivity and our creativity, how do you recommend that we structure our diet so that we can maintain an optimal, clear, and productive mind state?

Based on our conversation already, the two takeaways I got from this is eliminate all refined carbs, and even that gets converted into sugar very quickly, and then maintaining a whole foods diet. Is there anything else that you recommend that we do, or any kind of herbal supplements that we take to enhance our moods so we’re positive and clear?

[29:14] Alexis: There’s some really good brain power foods. The number one thing is making sure you’re getting a good quality and good balance of fat. Fat is very villainized in conventional nutrition as being bad and causing heart disease and making you gain weight and all these things. It’s getting more popular now that people are pro fat and anti-fat so that’s good. A lot of people still, even nutritionists and doctors, would tell people not to eat saturated fats, not to eat fat in their diet, to go on low-fat diets.

[29:46] Lorna: This is saturated fat being butter, for example?

[29:48] Alexis: Coconut is a really high saturated fat.

[29:51] Lorna: I love coconut.

[29:54] Alexis: Saturated fat is very villainized especially in the cardiologist community, as far as heart disease goes. The studies, actually, if you really look into them, and what they’re saying, saturated fat is very good for your heart. You actually have a layer of fat around your heart in a healthy heart that helps to feed your heart. Actually, the primary preferred fuel source is fat. It’s the same thing for your brain. Your brain is primarily fat. So if you think of it in those terms, by eating fat, eating good saturated healthy fats, you’re feeding your brain.

[30:30] Lorna: So how much of that should be eaten daily?

[30:33] Alexis: As far as percentage-wise goes, it always depends on the person. So what you really want to do is you just want to make sure that you’re getting good healthy sources. By fat, I don’t mean things like canola, vegetable oil, soy oils, margarine. All of those things are very processed, terrible, leads to a lot of inflammation, not good for the brain. But the healthy sources of fat are more like avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, organic butter. There’s a lot of them. Nuts and seeds have good healthy fats. Animal products or animal meats, if you eat them, fish, all of those have good healthy fats, including things that are very high in Omega-3s.

Omega-3s are specific type of fatty acid that we get traditionally low in our diets today because we don’t eat enough fish. Some people don’t eat fish at all. We get this really high balance of Omega-6 to 3. Your Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio, you want to be eating one to one. Some people say three to one. It depends on who you’re talking to. But we don’t get nearly that because our animals are raised unhealthily in feed-lots, and that changes the concentration of the fat that you’re eating when you eat that animal product.

So if you’re not eating a diet rich in Omega-3, you’re not going to have very good brain function because that’s a really good healthy source of fat for your brain. So one thing you can do is eat more of those foods that we are just talking about, trying to get organic when you can because those animals are living on a healthier diet. Preferably, if you’re eating beef, you’re eating the diet that they’re meant to eat like grass, which is what cows are meant to eat, instead of soy and corn and things that we feed them.

Also, you can take fish oil. If you are an entrepreneur and traveling, and you do a lot of your traveling in Asia, it’s really a good idea to take a fish oil from time to time because you get a lot of vegetable oil here in the food that is made because vegetable oil is cheap.

[32:34] Lorna: That’s why I’ve been avoiding eating all the cheap street food because I don’t know what kind of oil they’re using.

[32:39] Alexis: It’s not good. It’s always a vegetable oil or soy oil of some sort. There’s a few really good local restaurants that actually make an effort, but you pay more for it because they’re using higher quality ingredients. So if you’re eating a lot of street food, you definitely need to boost up your Omega-3s to balance the amount of Omega-6 that you’re consuming. So number one thing for brain health, for any entrepreneur, is increase the good fats in your diet. If you’re in somewhere more tropical, coconut and avocado are good ways to do that.

[33:14] Lorna: Okay. What are your some top tips for staying healthy on a location-independent lifestyle?

[33:23] Alexis: I would say my biggest things are all the foundational stuff that when you’re busy, you’re a creative type, and you’re moving a lot, a lot of those times, the basic stuff really goes out of the window because you’re not living a very consistent routine every day.

[33:36] Lorna: Right, or eating out all the time.

[33:40] Alexis: Yes. Things that you just have less control over what’s going on. The number one thing is to establish a routine wherever you are. So every time that you move to a new location, you really have this constant routine, where you’re not constantly feeling like you’re on vacation, which happens. You move to a new place and you got to explore that place, of course. It just ruins your momentum because it’s like, “I’m in vacation mode again”, so you’re not eating well enough, sleeping enough.

So it’s establishing a routine, and the way that I like people to do that is to tell them to do three things every morning, without fail that starts their day on a really good foot. So, for example, what I do every morning is I get up and I drink a huge glass of water like 12 to 16 ounces because you’re going through the entire night and basically getting more and more dehydrated if you will. So in the morning, you want to rehydrate all your tissues because your brain has a lot of water in it as well. So rehydrating your tissues with a big glass of water.

[34:41] Lorna: Do you put lemon in it?

[34:43] Alexis: I do, yes. I like that so you can definitely do that, that’s fine. Then, the second thing that I do is I do a five to 15-minute – or however long that I have – like a mini guided meditation. I’m not somebody that is very good or… I don’t have a long history of doing meditation. So I do a guided meditation with a really awesome iPhone app called Calm.

You can pick your scenery and what you want to focus on. They take you to this guided meditation, which is awesome and kind of decompressing. Some people, they wake up in the morning, and all these things are running through their mind of what they need to do for the day… it really helps you to decompress, so that you’re not walking through your day completely stressed out or disconnected.

[35:30] Lorna: Totally just ground and become present first, yes.

[35:33] Alexis: Yes, so that’s the second thing. Then, the third thing that I do is I do 10-minute workout. A lot of people have this mindset, “If I don’t have an hour or 30 minutes to work out, then it’s not worth it.” Actually, I find it that if you break up your exercise into smaller chunks, and you do them much more often, they actually have much more effect on your body because you do them more often.

So in the morning, I do a 10-minute workout. It can be anything like doing body weight exercises, doing yoga. Mine happens to be yoga. I use this great website called Barre3, and they have online workouts. I love them because it’s $15 a month; there’s no gym membership, with unlimited classes – that is $15 a month. So I login in the morning, choose 10-minute workout, choose the area of the body you want to focus on. I really get in that healthy mindset of a feeling good in my body right away.

[35:24] Lorna: Do you know a good body weight website? One of the things is traveling sometimes, you don’t know if you’re going to end up in a place that has much room or not.

[36:33] Alexis: Yes. That’s another reason why I actually like this workout because you don’t need props and you don’t need much room. There’s some other really good ones out there. So there’s Only Bodyweight, which another entrepreneur’s created that one which is really great.

[36:48] Lorna: It’s called Only Bodyweight?

[36:49] Alexis: Yes. I haven’t checked out a lot of their programs but from what I’ve seen, it’s really good information. Then, Daily Burn is another one. That’s also exercises that you can do in short stints, so you can pick what kind of exercise you want. Do you want yoga? Do you want dance? Do you want core exercises? Do you want body weight exercises, that kind of thing. That’s also a very cheap monthly subscription. There’s a bunch of them popping up there that I don’t have experience with but yeah, there’s great stuff.

[37:22] Lorna: Cool. We’ll include the links on the show notes.

[37:25] Alexis: Yes, we will.

[37:26] Lorna: Awesome. So tell me, what are you working on right now?

[37:29] Alexis: I’m constantly working on my consulting business. So right now, I do these medical consults over FaceTime, telephone, and Skype with people that are all over the world right now. So that looks like whatever a traditional doctor office visit would look like, except for it’s about an hour long each time. At their first visit, we go through their health history and what their diet looks like and their lifestyle, what their health goals are, and then come up with a treatment plan. Then, we follow up over time.

So there’s that one side to my website that I have, that I’m building right now. I’ve been building for the last six months that we’ve been in Thailand. Then, the next thing that’s to come that I’m working on is creating mini health programs. Let’s say, they suffer from chronic urinary tract infections, or chronic allergies, or chronic digestive problems, or whatever it is; these minor nuisances that people would commonly just go to drugs for. I’m going to create these courses, where you can basically learn how to heal yourself from these problems, using food, using natural medicine, using different lifestyle changes.

Right now, I’m creating those courses. The first one to be released – I’m not entirely sure which one is going to be yet, but I’ll release them over time. I’m always taking suggestions of things that people want. So yes, that’s what I’m working on for this next six months. Is getting that going.

[38:59] Lorna: Fantastic. How do you normally attract your clients these days? Do you have a strategy for attracting clients when you roll out your new programs?

[39:10] Alexis: Yes, that’s actually one of the biggest learning curves that I’ve had since I’ve been to Thailand. Meeting this group of entrepreneurs at the Dynamite Circle is this amazing resource of people who are experts in this sort of thing, whether it’s SEO or building websites or driving traffic. All of it, I’m very new to right now. My primary place that I get people is actually word of mouth. So patients that I’ve treated that have had successes, some are friends or family.

So with my consulting business, that’s where I get most of the people. With the programs that I’m building, I’m going to use Pay Per Click ads and Facebook ads, and really creating a lot of good content, and passing that around the internet to drive traffic. All those traditional way – I haven’t started using all those and experimenting with them so I don’t know which ones are going to work the best for me yet, but I’m learning about them slowly and figuring out which ones are the best fit for a medical and health-based practice.

[40:17] Lorna: I think a good approach with the kind of business that you have would be to do your keyword research. You could use a keyword research tool like Long Tail Pro. Then once you build out your keyword portfolio, run it through Adwords. Then you’ll see which keywords are going to convert for you. When you get an idea of your top 10 converting keywords, and then create the content around these keywords. That will save you a lot of time. Otherwise, you’re going to be creating content around keywords that actually don’t drive business, and that can be a bit of trap.

[40:46] Alexis: That’s excellent advice.

[40:50] Lorna: Great. So I love to end interviews with this question. Are you fulfilling your life purpose through your business? So is this business your life purpose, and if it isn’t, then what is?

[41:02] Alexis: Yes. I love teaching people. Being a teacher is really important to me. I think in my practice in Portland, Oregon when I had a brick and mortar practice, I was teaching people how to maintain health naturally but one patient at a time. So the thing that was frustrating to me is that I didn’t have a very large audience because there’s only so much you can do with one person at a time because it’s time-restricted. So with this new model of putting things online, I can reach so many more people. I have the time to reach so many more people, and the resources with this group that we joined. So I would say that my ability to fulfill my life’s purpose of getting this information out there about naturopathic medicine, and helping people in a way that – when I first got into naturopathic medicine, I didn’t know – I had a lot of health challenges – I didn’t know this information, and I suffered for a lot of years because of it. So if I can stop that process for someone, that suffering, or not knowing which route to take, or just confusion. When you have a serious health problem – I have ulcerative colitis…

[42:13] Lorna: What exactly is that?

[42:14] Alexis: Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the colon and large intestine. So It can be very serious, very fast. It causes a lot of digestive issues and bleeding and things like these. People with ulcerative colitis often can find themselves in the hospital or needing to have a part of their bowel removed. So it can get very serious. It was something with the diet that I had, and the lifestyle that I had – I was looking at that being a possibility for me. Then, I found out about naturopathic medicine, and started working with a naturopath and acupuncturist and changing my whole lifestyle and diet. That change and my life is something that if I can bring that to someone, that is my life’s purpose. It’s sharing my story and helping other people to go along that path, if that’s something that they’re interested in.

[43:05] Lorna: So you’re able to heal this condition that you had through lifestyle change and dietary change.

[43:11] Alexis: Yes, I would say I manage it very well. Any time you have a disorder like this, using the word “cure” is very tricky. I think if I go back to very stressful life, that I’m not taking care of myself, then it would probably return. So it’s not really cured, I don’t think. I don’t want to experiment to find out, but I do manage it. So I’m able to keep everything in remission, if you were to say. I have a very normal lifestyle now that is not too terribly restrictive because I have made choices that make that very healed.

[43:48] Lorna: I would say you do radiate health.

[43:51] Alexis: Thank you. I appreciate that. I work at it every single day. The promise that I make to people is that a lot of times, you go to the doctor and they say, “You need to stop smoking” and they smoke themselves, or “You need to lose weight” and they’re overweight. For me, as a naturopathic doctor, I need to do everything that I can to be healthy, and I do. It’s something that if I’m not willing to do it I don’t ask a patient to do it. For most things, yes, I definitely work at my health every single day.

[44:20] Lorna: That’s one of the keys to being a change maker. You have to walk your talk and be the change you want to see in the world.

[44:28] Alexis: Exactly.

[44:28] Lorna: Fantastic. So how can our listeners stay in touch with you, Alexis?

[44:32] Alexis: You can go to my website. It’s DrAlexisShields.com. I have a contact page on there and a story and my video of what my practice looks like now. A lot of good information to come as well with these programs. The best way is just to go on to my website.

[44:51] Lorna: Fantastic. Thank you so much for joining me.

[44:53] Alexis: You’re so welcome. Thank you for having me.

[44:56] Lorna: Bye-bye.

[END OF RECORDING]

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