We decided to sit down and have a chat with our practice owner and MD, Dr. Philip Oubre, and functional nutritionist, Aubree Steen.

There’s been a lot of questions directed towards us trying to figure out the root causes of medical issues in the practices. We like to refer to these root causes as the “5 Fingers.” We dive into these toxins a bit more in depth, and how they affect your overall health and wellbeing.

Feel free to watch the video, or read our transcript below.

Dr. Philip Oubre: Hey guys, it’s Dr. Oubre. And I’ve got Aubree Steen here, my nutritionist, with me. And today we want to talk about root causes. And one of the things I frequently was wondering as I was transitioning from a conventional medical kind of traditional doctor into functional medicine was in functional medicine, they kept talking about root causes of problems. And if you can get down to that root cause, then you can technically get reverse the disease or symptom or autoimmunity, whatever it may be. But what I didn’t know is what are those root causes? So today, we’re going to talk about a bit about those root causes and Aubrey is going to lead us off with some questions. What’s your first question for me?

Aubree Steen: So first and foremost, I always have patients go, “What kind of patient do you see? What is the most common root cause of what we treat in the practice?”

Dr. Philip Oubre: Okay. That’s fair.

Aubree Steen: It’s big vague.

Dr. Philip Oubre: It is vague. Every person kind of has their root causes or multiple root causes. And I swear, I’m going to get these tattooed on my fingers one day. Not really, mom, I won’t. But the five root causes that we really boil things down to are the five fingers. And so the first one is the gut. We typically blame a lot on whatever’s going on in the gut as far as the root cause. Whether it be poor digestion, not enough digestive enzymes, stomach acid, bacterial overgrowth, whatever it may be.

The second finger is biological toxins. Actually, all four of the other fingers are toxins. This is the only kind of gut and non-toxin issue. Biological toxins involve what’s going on in the gut, whether it’s a klebsiella overgrowth, which is a bacteria that lives in the bowels, or yeast or candida, some sort of biological organism that’s actually making toxins. That’s not that far fetched. We frequently talk about toxins and we think of Roundup and chemicals and all the bad stuff, but bacteria and fungus make toxins in order for them to survive and thrive, right? It’s survival of the fittest out there or in there. So biological toxins are a big problem to humans.

Number three is actually mold toxins. Now, mold toxins are technically at biological toxin, but they’re so difficult to remove, difficult to identify. They get their own special category, not entirely appropriate. Number four is environmental chemicals. So that’s the chemical industries, the plastics, the Roundups, the Teflons, the God knows what all the chemicals that are in our environment.

Aubree Steen: Right. And also all the food additive chemicals, right? The coloring, the preservatives, the flavorings, things that make food stay shelf stable, things like that.

Dr. Philip Oubre: And then number five is heavy metals. So that’s the leads, the mercuries, the arsenics, all the gadoliniums and things that we’re exposed to on a daily basis. So those are the five main root causes. There’s a lot more as you dive into each category, though.

Aubree Steen: Yeah. Cool. And then we usually see that every patient has one or more of these fingers, I feel like, involved. Always the gut first and foremost though.

Dr. Philip Oubre: I was going to say, that’s actually kind of the order we treat is you cannot get out in any of the other toxins very well or very efficiently without treating the gut. And if you treat the gut, you’re treating the biological toxins, then you go after the other toxins.

Aubree Steen: Right. I think the biggest mistake is when patients come in here and they’ve heard detox, get toxins out, everything like that. If you don’t have an intact gut, you will retox or retoxify and get sicker. And I think that’s kind of crucial for everyone to know that no matter who you are, even if you have no GI symptoms, sometimes those are the worst cases, you have to fix the gut first.

Dr. Philip Oubre: Absolutely. One of our favorite things to see is actually, as we repair the gut, you actually start to see the natural detox processes of the body get stressed because once the gut is working, once you’ve got an exit for detoxed products to actually get out of the body, then the liver actually speeds up and starts detoxifying more powerfully.

Aubree Steen: I love it. Perfect. And so how long, when patients come in, I know we’ve seen kind of a wide range of time they’ve been suffering with this, how long have patients been suffering these conditions before they actually come to a functional medical doctor?

Dr. Philip Oubre: That’s a good question. Too long is usually the answer, unfortunately. Most of the people, many of the people that come to see us have already seen eight, nine, ten doctors. We saw a new patient this week that, gosh, she was probably over 10 doctors she had seen. And kind of the medical merry go round, we call it. And so normally, now the complicated patients that we get, they’ve been sick and been tossed around for a good three to five years. It’s pretty rare to catch someone sooner than that right now. And we’re trying to get that message out. So stop suffering, seek a functional medicine doctor before you reached the five year mark, whether that’s us or someone else. Go to ifm.org, there’s a find a practitioner button. Just to plug us a little bit more, we can see you anywhere in the world right now because of COVID. We can do our medicine online via Zoom without your first visit in person, which we used to require before COVID.

Aubree Steen: Yeah. Which is great. And I feel like a lot of those patients, too, even if you feel like nothing is wrong, I think people are scared to come in because they’re like, “What if I find there’s ABC and D? You’re just going to tell me all these things that are wrong with me.” But I feel like we don’t look at it that way. We go, “How can we make you live optimally and vitally and kind of as increased longevity, but your quality of life, right?” Because inevitably, if you don’t feel bad right now and you have a bunch of issues going on, then it’s going to affect your entire life and the way that you move forward.

Dr. Philip Oubre: I agree. We really don’t market a ton to the well population. But the truth is the well population has heart attacks and strokes and all that. And they were well before that. And then they had that heart attack. So if you never do that deeper dive looking at your inflammatory markers and things like that, then you don’t even know that you’ve got a problem brewing until that problem hits. I was a prime example of that. You laughed at me last video because my CRP, my inflammatory markers were really high. I was destined to have that early heart attack if I didn’t make any changes. And so yes, the well population needs to get evaluated also by a functional medicine doctor in order to find out what are those inflammatory markers that are happening? Because it’s ultimately all about preventative medicine, of course. Why wait until you’re sick to prevent that illness? Right? So that’s why we eat healthy, that’s why we exercise, that’s why we take care of our bodies even if you do feel well to prevent that.

Aubree Steen: Kind of like that patient that we had recently who said, “I couldn’t fathom feeling better and I feel better and we’re just getting started.” And that’s someone who’s like, “I don’t really think I need help. I don’t think I need to go anywhere.” But then you still can feel better. If you don’t think that you can feel better, I promise you, you can. Promise. So for those patients that we talked about, like in the medical merry go round, how long do you think patients have been suffering? I mean, well, we answered that. Let me rewind. Why do you think conventional medical doctors missed some of their root causes?

Dr. Philip Oubre: That’s a good question. We’re just not taught it in traditional medical school. We go through medical school and we are really good at name it, blame it, tame it is kind of the paradigm. That’s what we say in functional medicine. So conventional medicine is really good at naming your disease or symptoms or whatever. Then once they name it, then they blame it. Oh, all your symptoms are because of this name. Then once they have that name, then they have the appropriate treatment or the appropriate drug for that name. And so functional medicine goes even further and says, “Well, yes, this is the symptoms that’s causing the name, but let’s actually go a little bit further and say, ‘Well, what is the root cause that caused those symptoms that caused the name that caused you to be on that drug?'”

And so it’s just not something we’re taught. It’s not that conventional doctors or traditional medicine doctors don’t care. It’s that if you’re never taught, you don’t know what you don’t know. So that’s been one of the fascinating things I’ve really enjoyed about getting into functional medicine is that with gut health and mold, and we’ve seen any issue cause any symptom and we keep getting new and incredible things that, well, I’ve never seen that reversed before, but it turns out if we make the human healthy, that symptom disease goes away. And we don’t know the magic behind it, we just believe in the magic of the human body’s ability to heal. And if you make the body healthy, those things go away.

Aubree Steen: Right. I agree. 100%. Okay. So you know how we’re talking about the patients in the medical merry go round, I kind of understand that when you go to a gastroenterologist and they’re like, “You have inflammatory bowel disease,” right? And they send you a packet and you go home. How is our approach different from that kind of diagnosing?

Dr. Philip Oubre: So our approach, of course, we would work with the GI doctor, we would work with the primary care doctor, whoever else we need to work with. And in that scenario, once you have a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disorder, usually by the time your symptoms are bad enough that you’ve made it to the GI doctor, you actually may need medications. And we would agree with whatever the GI doctor would put you on. But the idea is we go further beneath the surface and look at how is the gut health? Those five causes, right? We start investigating those five causes, start treating those five causes. And eventually, you just wouldn’t need the medication any longer. And of course, we would work with the GI doctor to do that. Although sometimes we step on toes as we’re coming off of medications. But no doctor will argue with you. If you stop a medication and have no symptom, no one will stop you from doing that. They may not understand the functional medicine principles of why you got that way. We may not even understand how you got that way. We just got your body healthy and it resolved.

There’s a common thing from conventional doctors, and I was the same way, that if they look at something that a holistic doctor does like, “Oh, that’s not studied. That’s not founded.” They disprove it just from shooting from the hip. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that just because you don’t know about something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. So for instance, celiac or gluten sensitivity is kind of a hot topic, a fad diet, some people would say. There are thousands of articles on non-celiac gluten sensitivity. And GI doctors will tell you gluten doesn’t matter, gluten doesn’t matter. But there are thousands of articles about non-celiac gluten sensitivity. So if something were that fake, it wouldn’t be out there. So because your GI doctor doesn’t believe gluten is an issue doesn’t mean he’s right. Go to the article. You can Google this stuff. All of these scientific journals are open usually. You may not have access to all of them. But anyway, I digress.

So ultimately, I think the answer to the question was I can prescribe medication. I would continue most medications that the GI doctor is on, but I would also use functional medicine principles, things like a conventional medication’s Enteragam. We use a supplement version of Enteragam that’s well-studied for IBD. The GI doctor doesn’t necessarily use it, but it’s a promising product because it works and it’s been proven to work. So we use both versions of the … That was probably a lot longer response than-

Aubree Steen: No, it’s okay. I get you, I get you. I think also the same time we were sort of the function of what may have fallen off. Right? So digestion, kind of proper nutrition, but teaching the body. I think people don’t realize that the body can remember how to function again. They think that it’s broken, right? Once it gets to an IBD state, right? Then it’s like, “What can I do? I’m kind of SOL.” So I think the good thing is that we go in there and we help restore it and we help the body remember. We’re like, “It’s okay. You know how to do this.” It just needs a jump start like cables to a car.

Dr. Philip Oubre: Right. One of the things I want you to talk about is we’re a big believer in you got to fix the first domino in order to fix the second domino, third and fourth domino. And one of the things you’ve really brought to my attention is digestion is one of the most crucial parts. Because if you don’t digest, none of the rest works. So what’s your take on how the digestive process is one of the root causes?

Aubree Steen: It’s inevitably the number one thing that people miss. You have to think about I know that-

Dr. Philip Oubre: Including me.

Aubree Steen: Yay!

Dr. Philip Oubre: That’s why she reminds me.

Aubree Steen: I remind all the time. But if you think about it, from our mouth to our anus, basically, is the only way to absorb nutrients that our body needs to function. It goes through that tube, right? It goes through a thin cellular lining and that’s how we absorb it. It’s our bacteria that break it down, right? And our gut function that helps absorb those nutrients. But it’s actually a north to south process, right? So you’re thinking of it starts with sight, smell, and taste, right? Starts with eating hygiene. And then it goes down to your stomach, your upper GI, lower GI.

Dr. Philip Oubre: Stop. You said that so fast.

Aubree Steen: I’m sorry.

Dr. Philip Oubre: No, no, no. I particularly have been paying attention to that lately. Sight, what did you say?

Aubree Steen: Sight, smell, and taste.

Dr. Philip Oubre: And I’m totally guilty of this. Sometimes I don’t even heat up my food. I just eat it cold because I’m in a rush. If you don’t heat it up, you don’t have the chance to smell it because let’s face it, cold food doesn’t really have that much of a smell. But that whole process of cooking your food releases that aroma and gets … That’s starting your digestive process.

Aubree Steen: It does. That’s why there’s sense to help increase salivary flow to help actually increase your digestion. It’s why when you smell food at your mom’s house or someone’s house and it smells good and your stomach rumbles. Your brain has a sensory kind of objective and it tells you, “I’m ready to eat.” Right? But you also have to have a mind connection with what you’re doing. It’s mindfulness, right? So it’s kind of like if you want to be good at the computer, you sit and you have to focus at the computer. I know computer is very vague. I just sound like an old woman, but you know what I mean. So if you want your body to understand what’s going on, A, I’m about to eat some food. This is nourishment. I need to make sure my digestion’s ready. You have to focus on it and you have to tell your body, “Great. This is my food.” Away from distraction. You can’t do it while you’re driving. Talking is usually okay because you’re pausing and really being kind of with the food and the person at the same time. But that’s the most important part.

And taste is the next one. In functional kind of nutritional therapy practitioner programs, we do a full head to toe evaluation. And there’s actually something called lingual-neuro testing. And there’s neurons in your tongue. And it tells you kind of, it gives your body … Or your body tells you if it likes or doesn’t like something, correct? But it also can use it to kind of trigger different domino cascades, right? So if you chew for 30 seconds, you start to produce salivary amylase, which is an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates, right? The longer you chew, the more brain signaling happens from your brain to your pancreas and to your stomach, your gallbladder, your liver. It starts to start that entire digestive cascade. The problem is in when people miss that. If you miss anything up here, you can have a whole negative kind of reaction here below. Constipation, bloating, hiccuping, burping. I mean, inflammation even. So I think that’s the biggest part.

There’s a lot that goes into digestion with each patient. There’s going to be different steps that may be off. Not everyone may need hydrochloric acid to help the stomach, right? Not everyone may need liver and gallbladder support. They usually do. But you have to figure out what is what’s working. And at the end of the day, if everyone’s doing everything right and there’s still an issue, then we need to look into things like pathogens and yeast overgrowth in the intestine or toxic burden, everything that he kind of mentioned with the five fingers.

Dr. Philip Oubre: A lot of people come to us already taking probiotics or already taking this stomach and that supplement. And they’re like, “Well, I’ve already done gut healing. I don’t need that.” And we’re like, “Whoa, if you didn’t start north to south, you can start on the south side, but it’s not going to make any difference if you don’t start in the north side.” And as far as north goes, it really starts before you even taste the food. Your stomach is not a magical organ. And in fact, what happens between mouth and anus is fairly magical. You’re taking a whole food and changing it into molecules and your body has to absorb, your gut has to absorb molecules. That is not an easy process. So the more raw food, the less chewed, the less smelled, and the less digested that food is, do you think your gut’s going to absorb that? No.

So one of the common sayings is you are what you eat and that’s partially true, but we say you are what you absorb. So you can eat the best diet in the world, but if you’re only absorbing the sugars because you can’t break down the proteins and fats, then you’re on a high sugar diet and you don’t realize it.

Aubree Steen: Right. And sometimes it’s more than just eating hygiene, right? If you have it all taken care of, but you have other stressors in your body or if you’re living in a chronically stressed state or if you’re not caring about your sleep as well, all these other factors can affect digestion. So it’s a multifactorial approach of what we do for digestion for patients. But I’ve been to conferences, and some of the biggest ones, and the speaker’s looking at PhDs and MDs and people who are specialists in the field and telling all them, “You all missed digestion. You all missed this part and you all need to go back.” And have people who are specialists in their field for decades hear that, it’s a little shocking, but it’s why we start first.

Dr. Philip Oubre: That’s right. Needless to say, to get back on topic-

Aubree Steen: I know. Sorry, guys.

Dr. Philip Oubre: Digestion is one of the main root causes. It’s the thumb. Remember we have an opposable thumb in order to touch the other fingers. Without your gut, you cannot touch the other fingers, right? Trying to get them to touch each other is kind of hard. That’s why you have the gut.

Aubree Steen: Aw, that was good. I thought because you need them.

Dr. Philip Oubre: Well, you need them all.

Aubree Steen: Yeah, that’s true. I guess you need them all.

Dr. Philip Oubre: So what differentiates us from a lot of animals is the opposable thumb. Right?

Aubree Steen: So I kind of want to ask you more about, so what we see is the toxin bucket. So that five fingers, the more full your toxin bucket, is the more issues there are. Right? So I kind of want to get into when someone has a small amount or a large amount of toxins, how does that affect their sensitivity to issues? Right? So let’s say if I had mold toxicity, heavy metals, bacterial overgrowth, now I’m almost to the top of that toxin bucket. I’m more sensitive for one thing to kind of push me over the edge. Does that make sense?

Dr. Philip Oubre: Yeah. I think you did a great explanation just right there. So I’ll say kind of the same thing again. We all have our ability to hold on to toxins. Whatever the liver can’t clear in that moment, it’s going to store away into usually a fatty tissue. So whether it be your adipose tissue, your fat tissue or other fatty organs like your brain, your brain is one of the fattiest organs, it’s going to store anything that it can’t handle. And so we see it all the time where people’s toxin buckets, as we say, are full of the fingers, whichever one it may be. And it may not be an overwhelming amount of any one thing. It may not be Roundup toxicity or mercury toxicity. Maybe a little bit of mold, a little bit of candida, a little bit of Roundup, a little bit of mercury. All that mixes together, it makes a terrible synergistic effect on the body. So that’s what we talk about with the toxin bucket is full.

And when it’s full, it’s overflowing. And once it’s overflowing, then it’s causing symptoms. Toxins by themselves, especially more biological mold toxins by themselves, heavy metals too, can trigger autoimmunity by themselves. So a lot of times people try to go after those toxins in particular like, “Oh, I got to get the mold toxin out in order to treat my autoimmunity.” And while that’s true, you got to go back to the gut. If you don’t have a functioning gut, you can’t get rid of the mold. So yes, you do need to get rid of the mold. But without the gut, you can’t. So really, to go back, you got to fix the gut and then you can start reducing the toxic burden that’s in the gut. Or I’m sorry, in the bucket. And we look at the toxin bucket as I find …

[crosstalk 00:18:20] Our nurse practitioner has the most cute, beautiful drawing.

And maybe we’ll link to it. But the idea is that everything you eat, drink, consume, breathe, whatever it may be, that’s a loading into the toxin bucket. So if you’re eating nonorganic foods or fast food or drinking dirty water or living in a moldy place, all that stuff’s going into the toxin bucket. And based on how well your gut is functioning, how well your detox pathways are functioning, that’s how well the spigot is working. So if you got a big old water hose for a spigot, then you can put as many toxins as you want to. Some people are genetically blessed that they can do that. They can smoke and drink and still live to their 90s somehow. And we don’t know how, that’s incredible. Others, like us, can’t do that and live to their 90s. So it’s all about that spigot.

Aubree Steen: We’ll live to our 90s.

Dr. Philip Oubre: Hopefully, but not drinking and smoking.

Aubree Steen: I was like, “Hold on.”

Dr. Philip Oubre: So it’s all about that spigot. So as you improve your gut function, you actually enlarge the spigot in order to dump more toxins out faster. Not that you should be adding more toxins in. We call that retoxing at the same time you’re detoxing. But ideally, we’re focusing on opening up that spigot so that you can drain your bucket, you can reduce your toxins faster than you can get them. Because we live in an industrialized society now, there’s no way to avoid all toxins. That is silly. The trick is to avoid as many of them as you can that you can control so your body doesn’t have as much of a burden. Because it’s not only got to detoxify the ongoing burden that’s coming in, it’s got to catch up on your backlog. And that takes years. It’s taking me years.

Aubree Steen: Yeah. And I think patients get very overwhelmed when they’re like, “You want me to change my water and you want me to change the food I’m eating and you want me to change my makeup and all these different things.” But it’s kind of we go back to the toxin bucket. You have all these toxins in makeup, being an industrialized society, and your hair care products and your food, right? In your water supply, in your air. And so what we do, the reason why we touch on all bases, is because if you knock a little bit of that off at least, you can drastically reduce that load in your toxic bucket, giving you more room to be healthier and fix the other issues in your body. My next question was to talk about how do we address those toxins, but it’s kind of in that way where we address all different aspects of life.

Dr. Philip Oubre: Well, I have a couple things I want to add to that. Yes. Nowadays, we can test these things. So many times before, you’d say, “Oh, you’re toxic.” Now you can test your toxic burden. Sorry, there’s a garbage truck outside. So you can test your toxic burden as far as how much you have inside you, what’s coming out of you. Number two is you don’t have to clean up your environment. If you don’t, you’re just going to end up buying more supplements and vitamin infusions from us. And we like that. Kidding aside, that’s one of the goals is there’s no use in speeding up your detox pathways if you’re just retoxing as fast as you’re detoxing. So we really focus on the big key things first. We’ll help guide you. Because you can spend infinite amounts of money trying to clean up your environment. So we help you narrow down like, well, these are the big ticket items you need to go for first. Then we can maybe spread those finances out as far as getting whole home water filter, whatever it may be. We can help you do that.

But I’d say the one thing that was surprising to me was that you can actually test your toxic burden, this toxic bucket. We can now get you an actual answer of how much you have inside you. And that’s a game changer because it’s no longer saying, “Oh, take these detox supplements.” It’s a, “Hey, there’s your toxic burden. Take these detox supplements. Let’s check it again in three months, six months. Let’s see how far it’s gone down.” And that can determine how long you’ll need to be on there. Or, “Wow, that one didn’t drop at all. It actually went up. So time to fess up.”

Aubree Steen: Right? Well kind of like when we see patients with kind of acute exposures to a chemical in the environment or something like that, drastically jumped the test within a day. It’s wild. And so I think what we do is we help reduce the big triggers first, the big environmental toxins. Let’s say if you get environmental toxin tests like the GPL-TOX and it’s outlandish, we’re going to help knock that down. But what we’re also going to do is going to put you on a route. So you don’t accumulate toxins faster. And so you’re on this kind of ongoing natural cleansing process and avoiding toxins as much as possible. So we hit it from both ends, which I think is really nice.

Dr. Philip Oubre: Yeah. What else?

Aubree Steen: Yeah. That’s it, honestly. So I think I just wanted to touch base because we have a lot of patients asking more of the root causes and things like that. And inevitably, we kind of speak to, well, we see everything. We’ve had cancer patients, chronic illness patients, autoimmunity, mycotoxin.

Dr. Philip Oubre: And well patients.

Aubree Steen: And well patients. The best-

Dr. Philip Oubre: Who think they’re already well.

Aubree Steen: Right. Who think they’re fantastic and they are fantastic. And they just feel-

Dr. Philip Oubre: Find out they have metals and inflammation and all kind of older arteries. You know who you are if you’re watching this video.

Aubree Steen: And then the well ones who even just go, “Great, I look better. I feel better now.” They didn’t think that their skin could get better, that their energy could get better than it does. And I think that’s the big thing is that we do see everybody.

And I think regardless, because we live in this industrialized society, you will always have something to work on. But to preface that, I know there’s a lot of people talking to all you guys from blogs or Instagram or something like that and making you feel consistently self conscious about what you’re doing and what toxins are around you. But I think we just want you to know that inevitably, you just have to do the best that you can because we’re not going to be in some secluded island with no toxins, right? We’re not going to have 100% organic food. We don’t have complete control over our life. But the one thing we do have complete control over is what we put in our body. So as long as you are doing the best of what you can with that and working with us, then inevitably you’ll be healthier. Without a doubt.

Dr. Philip Oubre: What a perfect ending.

Aubree Steen: Great.

Dr. Philip Oubre: And with that, we’re done. Thanks for watching, guys. Bye.

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We decided to sit down and have a chat with our practice owner and MD, Dr. Philip Oubre, and functional nutritionist, Aubree Steen.

There’s been a huge debate about the difference between conventional and functional medicine. While this conversation could take an infinite amount of hours, we wanted to casually discuss some of the main differences of a functional medical office versus a conventional medical office. The care we’ve experienced as providers, as patients ourselves, and with the patients we see is a level of care we never want to sacrifice. With functional medicine, we have the ability to improve patient’s lives in an exponential way.

Feel free to watch the video, or read our transcript below.

Aubree: Okay. So then, what makes you qualified as a practitioner? I know for nutrition, I go into into a completely different style of education. It’s not dietician route. It’s not pre-med or anything like that. It’s an actual schooling. What, for a medical doctor or a nurse practitioner, what do you do to make sure that you’re actually qualified?

Dr. Oubre: That’s a good question because basically, there’s almost anyone can call themselves a function medicine provider. I’m a physician. I’m a traditional trained physician, so I went to med school, I went to residency. And I can do all of the things that a traditional family doctor can do, whether that be prescriptions, vaccines, whatever it may be. I can do all those thing. But then after I graduated from residency and finished all of that training, I went above and beyond to learn more and more about functional medicine and using holistic medicine to heal people and get down to the root causes of whatever that may be.

In addition, I spent tons of time learning about nutrition, since we’re only given one hour of nutrition knowledge in med school. So I spent extra time learning all that. I spent thousands of dollars going to the Institute Of Functional Medicine, IFM. I did all of their courses, because a Certified Function Medicine practitioner through them.

And so, I guess those are the thing that I would say make me qualified to be a function medicine doctor, and kind of set me apart from anyone else saying they do holistic medicine or integrative medicine.

Aubree: Right, because then you can have a naturopath or another MD or anybody else doing integrative. Right? But function medicine is a whole other certification.

Dr. Oubre: Yeah. And the way I see things, whether this is right or wrong, the way I see things is, traditional medicine is way over here. Function medicine is way over here. Integrative medicine is somewhere in between. So the kind of benefit of function medicine, the way I see it, it’s like the Matrix pill. There’s no gray pill. There’s the red or the green pill. I don’t remember the colors.

Aubree: I don’t either. I’ve never seen it.

Dr. Oubre: The red or the green. We swallowed the pill. We went in whole hog. It’s function medicine. We’re going to figure out a root cause of you symptom, whatever it may be. There’s a root cause, whether we know it or not. But we’re going to keep looking until we find it.

Aubree: Right. And I feel like all the patients who’ve come here have been through conventional medical realms that have failed them.

Dr. Oubre: Yeah.

Aubree: Right? And we kind of understand what a typical functional medical visit is like. What do you feel like the best way explaining to people how the treatment plan is? It’s a loaded question. We’re very spoiled. We are.

Dr. Oubre: Because I still remember the days of being in a traditional medical practice where we had a new patient visit and you were scheduled for 20 minutes. And many times, we ran over a good 20, 25 minutes. But that was a long visit in the traditional medical world. It still is a long visit in the medical world. But in the function medicine world, we get 90 minutes with our new patients. I get 90 minutes. You get 90 minutes, as a nutritionist, with them. And then if they see the therapist commonly, they get 90 minutes with the therapist as well.

And so, part of it is just time. It’s almost impossible to get your story out in a matter of 20 minutes. And even if you can get your story out in 20 minutes, you certainly can’t get to a solution in 20 minutes. And you certainly can’t change your lifestyle, fix your diet, whatever it may be. So that whole first visit, 90 minutes, that’s still not even enough. But that 90 minutes is at least a good way to start. Find out the story, get a treatment plan started, get some blood work, lab, stool study, whatever it may be, cooking. And then we have more and more visits.

The idea of what people are kind of subjected to nowadays in traditional medicine is, like we said, we’re spoiled that we get so much time.

Aubree: Yeah.

Dr. Oubre: Our followup visits are 60 minutes, usually. Eventually, patients start decreasing down to 30 minutes visits, especially for me, because they just don’t need as much time.

Aubree: Right.

Dr. Oubre: They’ve got their plan. It’s less movement in their plan.

Aubree: And our patients are very compliant, so they get better when people don’t-

Dr. Oubre: Yeah. The non-compliant ones get longer. Right?

Aubree: I know. Then, they just pay more. But that’s okay. That’s fine. So let’s say if you had a scenario of someone who had rheumatoid arthritis. Right? Conventional medical way would be going to an autoimmune specialist. Right?

A rheumatologist.

Dr. Oubre: A rheumatologist.

Correct.

Aubree: And the functional medical route would be coming to us, and we’re figuring out, okay, we understand that you do have rheumatoid arthritis, but why? And that’s where we do the stool study, organic acids test, blood work, things like that. Okay. So that’s a good way of …

So, we get a lot of patients, right, who come in here looking for help. What is the best way to explain what type of patient is suited for functional medicine versus conventional medicine?

Dr. Oubre: Well, that’s a loaded question because anyone-

Aubree: Everybody.

Dr. Oubre: Can be a functional medicine patient.

Aubree: Everybody.

Dr. Oubre: I’m a function medicine patient. You’re a function medicine patient.

Aubree: I’m a great patient.

Dr. Oubre: Because we really do have something to offer for anyone and everyone. Commonly in our videos and things, we’re focused on the people that are suffering.

Aubree: Yeah.

Dr. Oubre: Like you just mentioned with rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis or lupus, whatever it may be, an autoimmune condition, where they are suffering. But functional medicine has the ability to prevent you from suffering, also. Right? Because why wait until you do have rheumatoid arthritis? Why wait til you have that heart attack? So really, there’s something for everyone in function medicine that we can help them get healthy, stay healthy, preventative medicine. It is the ultimate version of preventative medicine.

I know in conventional medicine, they talk about your wellness visit or your annual physical or whatever, but the main thing they’re doing is, they’re doing cancer screening tests, they’re doing vaccines, they’re checking your blood pressure and your weight, but they’re not truly diving deeper down to see what are some of the underlying causes that could be going on, that you may not even feel. You may have inflammation in your blood work. I was a prime example. I started doing my blood work in my early 30’s, and I had terrible inflammation. My CRP was 8, and-

Aubree: Oh my God.

Dr. Oubre: Don’t make fun of me. So, six years ago, my CRP was 8. It’s not 8 any-

Aubree: What’s it now?

Dr. Oubre: It’s under 1 now, thank you very much.

Aubree: Okay. Okay.

Dr. Oubre: But I did. I had arterial inflammation markers. I had Lp-PLA2 elevation. I had plenty of inflammation, but I didn’t feel it. I’m not one of those patients that felt inflammation. I’m the patient that, in my 50’s I would’ve had a heart attack, looking back and going, “Why me? I never had any issues.” Right? Whereas others have inflammation, they’ve jot joint pain, brain fog, fatigue and whatever it may be.

So really, the original question was, what’s a good patient for us? And it truly is anyone.

Aubree: Yeah.

Dr. Oubre: I’d say probably our bread and butter are the people that come to see us most often are the people that have seen multiple doctors, taken multiple drugs. They’re tired of taking drugs. They want to get down to the root causes.

Aubree: Right.

Dr. Oubre: They want to get off of medications and feel better. Because many of them are taking medications and don’t feel good.

Aubree: Right. Or, you have those patients who have been tossed around. You know? And I’ve been one of those. Multiple people in our practice have been one of those, and then never got better or felt better.

Dr. Oubre: Yeah.

Aubree: And it wasn’t until A, we did our own education, or B, actually saw a functional medical provider, that we understood why we were feeling that way.

Dr. Oubre: Yeah. The medical merry go round of this diagnosis got you started. We had one of our patients recently, she went to see a cardiologist for something, and then the cardiologist uncovered something else. She had to go to another specialist. And she ended up in this medical merry go round. And it wasn’t til she talked to us to say, “Whoa. Hey, like how did I get here?”

Aubree: Right.

Dr. Oubre: It’s one thing after the next, and it all stemmed from one inappropriate test, which was like, well, there’s no harm in testing. Well, there was a harm in testing, and it led down this whole medical merry go round that didn’t affect her life and didn’t change her life. But a procedure from that test could have changed her life.

Aubree: Okay. So everybody can be.

That’s right.

Okay. Okay, good.

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New Patient Offer

Hi there!

I am delighted that you have expressed interest in becoming my next new patient. As you already know, I am a functional medicine physician that focuses on identifying the root cause of your illness or medical issues.

What you may not know is that I am passionate and stubborn. I never let a patient fall through the cracks. If my treatments don’t work, I promise that me and my team will discuss your case and generate new ideas until we unlock the secrets to optimizing your health. I am stubborn enough to never give up on your health.


You can learn more about my practice by visiting these links:
New Patient Agreement – This document reviews the details of my practice, what’s included, insurance, labs, monthly fees, no contract, etc.

Pricing – This website reviews my transparent pricing structure. No hidden fees or surprises.

New Patient Website – This website goes through the frequently asked questions that I get from people interested in becoming patients of my practice.


Gift Enclosed:
If you sign up and pay your first month’s membership within 7 days, you will receive one of these gifts (you choose):
• Myers and Glutathione Infusion
• Organic Acids Test (OAT)
• 2 months of my COVID-19 Immune Support Supplements

Nutritional Resources PDF:
Even if you choose not to sign up for my practice, I want you to be successful in your health journey. This document will help you jumpstart your health because nutrition is the largest part of our battle to regaining optimal health. Fill in the form below to get a copy of our Nutritional Resources PDF.

Don’t live in Austin, TX?
Did you know that you can still be our patient even if you’re out of state? Yes! COVID-19 has increased our ability to see patients out of state.Please feel free to reach out with any questions.I look forward to meeting you soon.

Philip Oubre, MD
512-829-1104
admin@oubremedical.com
www.OubreMedical.com
YouTube | Facebook | Instagram

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Immune Boosting Green Juice

Aubree Steen, FNTP

One of the most efficient ways to get a flood and abundance of nutrients is through green juice. With minimal effort on digestion, nutrients are easily absorbed and assimilated into the body. While eating the entire plant is the number one way to maximize macro- (as well as fiber and water) and micronutrients, getting the micronutrients of a pound of vegetables is easier through juicing them as opposed to eating a pound of vegetables in one sitting.

This is one of my favorite juice recipes to boost the immune system, help with light detoxification, and feed the mitochondria, the powerhouse of our cells. Feel feel to adjust quantities. 

  • 1 head of celery
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3-4 large leaves of red/purple/lacinato kale
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1-2 inches of fresh ginger root (will increase in “spiciness” with amount!)
  • 1 inch of fresh turmeric root
  • 1 green apple
  • Any extra greens as necessary for advanced juicing (feel free to add any nutrient dense greens, such as spinach, broccoli sprouts, dandelion greens (very bitter), etc.)

Instructions: Wash and cut your vegetables to go through your juicer. Put your veggies through the juicer and drink immediately or store in an air tight sealed glass jar. Please use only organic vegetables!

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Parents: Help end your infant’s suffering. Use of this SPECIFIC probiotic decreased crying significantly!
How nice would it be if you could give your colicky infant a simple probiotic? How happy would you feel if your infant felt better and cried less?

The probiotic: Bifidobacterium animals subspecies BB-12

You must get THIS specific probiotic as other probiotics have not shown the same benefit. There are probably more that will help, but this one is studied and proven.

Infants treated with this probiotic cried for 50% less time than their counterparts given placebo over 28 days.
In addition, their stools showed several improved factors:
1) Decreased stooling frequency
2) Increase in butyrate levels
3) Decrease secretory IgA levels
4) Decrease in fecal calprotectin levels

Butyrate is a component that feeds the intestinal cell lining and is a marker of a healthy gut.

Secretory IgA is a reaction of the immune system to inflammation and overgrowth in the bowels.

Fecal calprotectin is an inflammatory marker that the immune system is very angry, and it is actively trying to kill foreign invaders.

Read more: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31797399/?dopt=Abstract

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I loved Pop-Tarts as a kid!  They were so easy to grab and go for breakfast as you headed to the bus or you could pop in the toaster on weekends when you had extra time.  They are low in saturated fat, made with real fruit and all things considered, low in sodium.  It even states on the box that they are a good source of three B vitamins which sounds much more delicious than taking a B vitamin every morning. 
Unfortunately, the beautiful box and yummy contents don’t pack much of a nutritional punch.  In actuality, those pop-tarts are filled with anti-nutrients starting with artificial colors and flavors which can create all kinds of reactions in your (or your child’s body).  High fructose corn syrup and refined flour are nothing more than a quick sugar fix followed by a sugar crash which leaves your liver and adrenals reeling.  It’s been said that often the box is more nutritious than the contents and Pop-tarts definitely fall into that category.  Parents, feel good as you  help your children’s overall health by not stocking the pantry with Pop-tarts.

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I am back! My name is Vanessa Goldberg and I am the Practice Manager of Oubre Medical and have now been quarantined for 35 days due to COVID-19. I am going crazy and really miss going out to eat, hanging out with my friends, going to the movie theater, going to concerts… all of the fun stuff that my city (Austin, Texas) has to offer. I will still stay home though, because COVID-19 is not a joke, and seeing people say it is a hoax is very heartbreaking. People are sick and not getting better.

On to a happier topic though, because if you are doing the right thing and staying home, and you are anything like me, you are probably getting a little sick of the food you have been cooking. It is so easy to fall into the same routine and cook basically the same meal again and again. So my boyfriend and I decided to try to make something new that I had been dying to try for a while now – cashew ricotta. My favorite food in the world growing up was lasagna, and my mom made the BEST lasagna. Her secret was to use so much ricotta is was basically a noodle and tomato sauce ricotta cheesecake. I have been totally gluten free and dairy free for sometime now, but I really, really miss that lasagna.

SO! We made zucchini cannelloni with cashew ricotta and it was incredible. To make the cashew ricotta, take 2-3 cups raw cashews and soak them in hot water for at least 5 minutes, but the longer the better. I soaked mine for about 20 minutes. Then in a blender, blend the soaked cashews and just enough water to submerge all of the nuts until you have a semi-smooth nut paste and cashew milk – you will then drain the “cashew milk” (save it! with some vanilla it is really tasty) and put the nut paste back into the blender. Add about 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice), a splash of water, garlic, paprika, a TON of salt, black pepper, and if you have it, nutritional yeast. Blend all these seasonings into the nut paste until you have something resembling ricotta. It should be wet, but not swimming in liquid, so if you have a pool of liquid, strain that out. It should be very finely gritty, so if there are still chunks of cashews, blend longer. You are looking for a creamy end product.

Once you have the nut cheese completed, and seasoned to your taste (add all the seasonings you like!), it is time to put it to use. I personally made a really delicious marinara sauce, tiny meatballs, and made zucchini ribbons with a peeler to a zucchini. I took the zucchini ribbons, put a dollop of the “cheese” in the center, put a tiny meatball on top of the “cheese” and then rolled it up, and set it in a casserole dish of the marinara sauce, vertically. Once all rolled, I baked the little rolls at 350F for 30 minutes and they were INCREDIBLE. Did it taste like lasagna? Not really. Was is tasty and satisfied my craving for cheesy Italian food? YES! It was decadent, filling, and so rich.

What else could you do with this nut cheese? I am going to use the left over “cheese” to make “quesadillas” – another food I have been missing since going gluten free and dairy free. I will use grain free tortillas (my favorite is Siete brand), smear a healthy amount of the nut cheese on one side of a toasted tortilla, and add other left overs from my fridge. I might add some left over chicken, or some sliced tomato. I know I have some sun-dried tomatoes in my fridge, why not put those in there? Half the battle of making good, not-boring food is being creative! Use what you have in your fridge and make something you would not usually make!

We are living in a crazy time, but focusing on what you are able to control makes things feel a little less tumultuous. You can control your own actions, so stay home, stay safe, and cook something tasty.

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One of the body’s biggest defense mechanisms that does not often get enough attention is our skin. The skin is like a giant mouth that can absorb toxic substances quickly. Along with the skin, our respiratory system is also vulnerable to harsh, aerosolized toxic chemicals that we’re spraying in the air. With the movement of meticulous sanitization in this pandemic, let’s not forget that we’re not doing our immune system any good with constant toxic exposures.

So what are some evidence-based methods that can keep our environment safe and reduce toxin exposures?

STEP 1: Keep your living space and office frequently ventilated

In our recent posted video on our FB page, and also according to the recent Journal of the American Medical Association, SARS-CoV-2, “pathogen-bearing droplets of all sizes can travel 23 to 27 feet” and “may stay suspended in the air for hours.” 1 Therefore, a poorly ventilated room can increase the concentration and risk of infection. Many experts recommend airing the house and office frequently throughout the day to disperse the pathogen-laden droplets. 1 This is why we do our COVID-19 testing in the outdoor setting.

STEP 2: Prioritize on what should be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis.

You’d drive yourself crazy if you have to constantly clean the rugs throughout the day. Porous materials tend to have less risk of viral transmission due to its ability to “trap” the virus and dry out its outer lipid membrane, making it less infectious. 2 However, if it is a frequently used carpeted floor, then daily cleaning and disinfecting might be necessary. This is why it’s important to prioritize so that you are not excessively disinfecting and exposing your immune system to harsh chemicals. Customize your lists of high-contact items and the frequency of sanitizing (this depends on the traffic of the people going in and out of your place. Hopefully it’s a low number). If you work from home, then one less list for you!

CDC recommends to clean and disinfect commonly touched hard surfaces such as:

  • Door knobs
  • Light switches
  • Tables, counters
  • Sinks, faucets
  • Toilet 
  • Computers and phones (be careful as some disinfectants can destroy electronic parts. For convenience, contain electronics in a wipeable cover if possible.) 3

Last but not least, always CLEAN with soap and water first, THEN DISINFECT with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approved disinfectant. Remember to incorporate STEP 1 while you’re cleaning and disinfecting!

STEP 3: Gather your supplies, and choose a non-toxic disinfectant

SUPPLIES:

  • Gloves (disposable or non-disposable)
  • Goggles
  • Disposable gown (if the job requires extensive cleaning): There are many ideas of make-shift gowns on Google.
  • For cleaning: A bucket, warm to hot water, towels, and trash bags
  • For disinfecting: See disinfectant section below. 

LET’S BEGIN:

Wash your hands for 20 seconds first before donning on gloves. You can use reusable kitchen gloves, just make sure it is for the sole purpose of cleaning and disinfecting. Put on a mask and goggles to prevent exposure of aerosols from the cleaning products. 

Now to the exciting part: Choosing a non-toxic product that would target SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)! We’ve combed through the EPA approved list and chose products with the least chemicals but deemed to be effective:4

  • Hard surfaces: 
    • Benefect Botanical Disinfectant Spray: We’re so glad this product is on the EPA approved list. We often use this product for mold as well.
    • Clean Smart: EPA toxicity rate category IV (scale I = highly toxic; IV = non-toxic), no fragrance, no rinse. Need 10 minutes of surface contact time.
    • Force of Nature: 4 ingredients: Salt, vinegar, water, and electricity. Sounds wild, but they are EPA registered! Make sure to have 10 minute contact time on the surface.
  • Porous materials (rugs, carpet, fabric, etc.). CDC recommends to clean any visible contaminations with appropriate cleaners and  launder these items in warm to hot settings (if appropriate), and dry thoroughly.3 
    • For laundry: 
    • For porous materials that cannot be machine washed:
      • Vacuum, spot clean, deep clean or steam clean. Be careful to minimize splashes by wearing protective equipments. 

Wash those gloves after removing them in a soap and hot water mixture, and don’t forget to wash your hands as the last step.

BONUS (but necessary) STEP: EWG certified hand soaps and hand sanitizers

Hand soaps: Click here

  • You might have seen this soap at the clinic. This comes in many natural scents.

Hand sanitizers: CDC recommends hand sanitizers that contains at least 60% alcohol

——————————————————————-//——————————————————-

If all of these are sold out, is there anything I do to get an effective disinfectant? Any homemade, DIY solutions that you’d recommend?

Unfortunately, there’s not much evidence that vinegar, essential oils, are effective towards SARS-CoV-2. However, when looking at the EPA approved list, we can make our best choices by selecting products with few ingredients, looking for EWG recommended low toxicity chemicals listed in the active ingredients: 5

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Ethyl alcohol (ethanol)
  • Citric acid
  • L-lactic acid
  • Caprylic acid (octanoic acid)
  • Thymol

EWG recommends to avoid products that contain: 

  • Sodium hypochlorite: Be careful that sodium hypochlorite (NaCl) and hypochlorous acid (HOCl) are not the same. Sodium hypochlorite is commonly found in bleach, whereas hypochlorous acid is a weak acid that is produced by our immune cells to fight off pathogens. You can dive deeper in the chemistry of it here. This is why Force of Nature was on our recommendation list
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds

If there is nothing else on the shelves, if you can get your hands on 3% hydrogen peroxide, that should be sufficient.5  

Do not mix disinfectants, even if they are “benign”, everyday products. This can actually cause more harms than benefits. 

References

  1. Turbulent gas clouds and respiratory pathogen emissions. (2020, March 26). https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2763852
  2. Coronavirus FAQs: Does it live on clothes? Can my dog infect me? Any advice on wipes? (2020, March 27). NPR.org. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/27/822591449/coronavirus-faqs-does-it-live-on-clothes-can-my-dog-infect-me-any-advice-on-wipe
  3. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Environmental cleaning and disinfection recommendations. (2020, April 17). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fcleaning-disinfection.html
  4. List N: Disinfectants for use against SARS-Cov-2. (2020, April 16). US EPA. https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
  5. 16 effective and safe products to guard against coronavirus. (2020, March 16). EWG. https://www.ewg.org/news-and-analysis/2020/03/16-effective-and-safe-products-guard-against-coronavirus

Disclaimer: Oubre Medical is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with any of the recommended products listed, or any of its subsidiaries

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The virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported to be a tiny 0.125 microns in size and airborne transmission is “plausible,” according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine from scientists at Princeton University, UCLA and the National Institutes of Health. The researchers concluded that the virus could remain airborne for “up to 3 hours post aerosolization.”   

Social distancing, hand washing, cleaning surfaces often, keeping your immune system strong and going out in public with a mask are key ways to protect yourself.  A good air purifier can help as well by ensuring that the air around you in your home and office is clean (it can help with COVID-19 as well as with mold, allergens and pollutants).  Many air purifiers promote True HEPA filtration and catch up to 99.9% of allergens, pollutants, viruses and molds down as small as 0.3 microns.   Given that  COVID-19 is 0.125 microns,  please make sure that the air purifier you choose can actually filter the virus particles and that the purifier does not emit dangerous substances like ozone, hydroxyl, or photocatalytic oxidation. You’ll also want to make sure that your purifier has a CADR(clean air delivery rate) of at least 240 which means that it can perform about five air exchanges per hour in the suggested room size as the faster air can cycle through the filter, the better its chances of catching particles.  

It is best to run your air purifier 24 hours a day and if someone is sick, put the purifier in the sick person’s room.   If you can’t invest in an air purifier right now, opening the doors and windows and letting air flow through your home or office can help (even if it is just in the morning). 
Here are a few verified air purifiers (please let us know if you find others):

1. AirDoctor• 100x more effective than HEPA air filters. UltraHEPA filter removes 99.95% of particles as small as .003 microns.• Auto Sensor measures and adjusts filtration level instantly to air quality with visible light sensor      

2. IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier• Proven filtration for both particles and gaseous pollutants• Proven to filter particles down to .003 microns• used by the Hong Kong Hospital Authority to help combat the spread of the deadly SARS virus and other contagious viruses.

3. Intellipure UltraFine 468• Energy efficient, using only 5 watts per hour when on low• Proven to be 40x more efficient than HEPA filters• Removes 99.99% of harmful viruses, fungi molds, and bacteria, down to .007micron in size.• Currently in use at hospitals, medical clean rooms, and military applications.

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Right now, there’s a bit more fear with simple, daily tasks such as buying groceries. The fear of contamination of Covid-19 through the food we eat has been permeating our thoughts pretty consistently. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture has said there’s no certainty Covid-19 can be transmitted from food, it’s always better to be safe, even if it’s for our own peace of mind.

  • The goal is to remove the products from their containers without contaminating any of the food itself. Make sure you have hand sanitizer during this process, disinfecting your own hands between cleaning and sanitizing each product.
  • My personal advice: try to buy produce that you can cook right now; leafy greens, cabbage, broccolini, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc. Limit the amount of raw produce, but ensure proper cleaning techniques when eating them. Raw and cooked produce each have their own nutritional value and special qualities, so having a mixture is beautiful for a robust immune system. If you are at high-risk, it may be beneficial to only consume cooked produce.
  • Shopping in the grocery store:
    • Wipe down your cart
    • Commit to what you buy before picking them up. 
    • Don’t shop if you have any respiratory symptoms, are over the age of 60, or have been exposed to the virus.
    • Plan for 2 weeks to minimize your time in the supermarket.
    • Wear a mask!
  • Inside the home:
    • Sanitize the area you’ll be unloading your groceries on, whether it’s a kitchen counter, table, or floor area. Fully saturate a paper towel with disinfectant, as well. 
    • Separate the area into two halves: a “clean” side and a “dirty” side.
    • Groceries from the outside of the house will stay on the dirty side.
    • Plastics:
      • Wipe down all plastics with the saturated cloth that has disinfectant.
      • Place on clean side.
  • Cardboard:
    • The virus can stay active on the cardboard for over 24 hours presumably. All cardboard items include common groceries such as cereals, crackers, packaged goods – you name it.
    • Open the cardboard, and immediately put the internal goods onto the clean side. 
    • Get rid of the external packaging and cardboard immediately.
  • Produce:
    • Try to buy produce you can cook down and avoid eating raw, such as vegetables, leafy greens, starches, etc. 
    • Produce with rinds are safer to eat raw, but again, just do the best you can. We need an abundance of both cooked and raw produce to help boost our immune system during this time!
    • Sanitize the produce bag the produce is in (saturated cloth or spray directly); or
    • Have another family member open the crisper drawer in your fridge, while you drop the produce into the drawer directly, leaving the bag behind;
    • Fruit and porous produce are a bit different. Soak and wash the produce skin for 20 seconds minimum. Wash eat fruit individually for at least 20 seconds. Firm fruits with rinds can utilize non-toxic, organic produce rinse, or make your own:
      • Fill up a medium sized container with warm water.
      • Spray a few sprays of natural non-toxic food-based cleaner such as Branch Basics or Rebel Green (or other produce washes) + ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar (ACV) + 5 drops of grapefruit seed extract (anti-microbial).
      • Use baking soda if you don’t have ACV.
        • 1 teaspoon baking soda per 2 cups water.
      • Let sit for 15 minutes and spin occasionally before rinsing.
      • Pat down with clean cloth before storing in the fridge.
    • Do not use soap and water to wash your produce.
      • The brand Branch Basics is an example of a clean, non-toxic cleaner that has food based products such as: Purified Water, Coco Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Organic Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Decyl Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Sodium Citrate (Food-Grade Emulsifier), Lauryl Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Sodium Bicarbonate (Food-Grade Baking Soda), Sodium Phytate (Plant-Based Antioxidant).
      • Do not use any type of disinfectant such as Clorox, Method, Mrs. Myers, etc. You should only be using food-safe cleaners made specifically to wash produce.
  • Bread/baked goods:
    • Move items like bread to clean storage containers that are prepped and ready to go, on the clean side.
    • Get rid of external packaging immediately.
  • Packaged goods with a firm exterior/thick packaging:
    • Spray the disinfectant directly onto the items.
    • Wipe of areas that human hands have touched like handles more rigorously.
    • Transfer items to the clean side.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling all groceries from the store.
  • Relax and enjoy your food. Remember, we are all doing the best we can. The more produce and fresh food we can enjoy, the healthier our bodies will be, and the more support our immune system will have. Don’t panic if you think you’re not doing a “good enough” job with cleaning – any effort is still a positive and successful movement towards keeping you healthy.
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