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Dr. Nasha Winters, ND, L.Ac., FABNO, is the founder, CEO, and visionary of Optimal Terrain Consulting (www.optimalterrainconsulting.com). She is a nationally board certified naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist, and a fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology. She lectures all over the world training physicians in the application of mistletoe therapy and consulting with researchers on projects involving immune modulation via mistletoe, hyperthermia, and the ketogenic diet. She lives in Durango, Colorado. Her book, which she coauthored with Jess Higgins Kelley, is The Metabolic Approach to Cancer (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2017).
Book on chelseagreen.com: http://www.chelseagreen.com/the-metabolic-approach-to-cancer
Book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Metabolic-Approach-Cancer-Integrating-Bio-Individualized/dp/1603586865
Optimal Terrain Consulting: http://optimalterrainconsulting.com/
Optimal Terrain FB: https://www.facebook.com/optimalterrain/?fref=ts
Carole: Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Keto Chat! I am your host Carole Freeman, and I’m a Certified Nutritionist. I’m the creator of The Fast-Track to Keto Success Program, and I’m here today with the one, only, Dr. Nasha Winters. You’re in Durango, Colorado, right?
Dr. Winters: In Durango, Colorado, beautiful part of the country.
Carole: How close is that to Denver?
Dr. Winters: Super far. We’re actually closer to Phoenix than Denver. We’re right around the corner, it’s a pretty cool spot.
Carole: Oh, so you get all the best of the weather and everything like that out there!
Dr. Winters: We do, don’t tell anyone!
Carole: I’m so excited to talk to you I forgot about the formal part where I need to read your intro.
Dr. Winters: Hop in!
Carole: Let’s do that part and then we’ll get into the fun of chatting with each other. For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Winters is the founder, CEO and visionary of Optimal Terrain Consulting, and we’re going to link in the show notes below to all of her things here. She’s a Nationally Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor, licensed acupuncturist, and a fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology. She lectures all over the world, training physicians in the application of mistletoe therapy! I bet you guys didn’t know that mistletoe is used for more than just kissing. Consulting with researchers on projects involving immune modulation by mistletoe, hypothermia, and the ketogenic diet.
Carole: She lives in Durango, Colorado where she is joining us from now! Her book, which so co-authored with Jess Higgins is the Metabolic Approach to Cancer. I have my copy right here at the top of my stack, if you guys don’t have that, go order that … We’ll link that down below too … Welcome Dr. Winters!
Dr. Winters: Oh my gosh what joy, as we were saying before you started we had the pleasure of finally meeting at Ancestral Health. Our paths didn’t cross at Low Carb U.S.A., but I was saying before I was drawn to you like a fly on honey sister! You have such a great attitude and energy, and it’s an honor to be here so thank you, I really appreciate it.
Carole: I love that so much and I feel the same way about you! I’m so glad we could finally get this opportunity to connect across a few states. We’ll be seeing each other soon I’m sure this coming year.
Dr. Winters: I’m sure.
Carole: Yeah. Gosh, where do we start? Let’s start with your story, how did you get involved in naturopathic medicine? I know it’s quite a journey for you to get there.
Dr. Winters: I always wanted to go into medicine, I was very interested in medicine and health care. My mom said I would line my bed as a child with all my stuffed animals and doctor all of them.
Carole: How cute!
Dr. Winters: Right? It was my thing but because of my own health issues I had a lot of health issues growing up. Even just born, they always considered me the colicky baby, and I couldn’t handle any of the formulas ’cause it didn’t occur to anyone that breast feeding might have been a good idea … At that time! Just one major issue after another, and they settled on soy formula, which threw me out of kilter from the get go.
Dr. Winters: Starting my period at nine years old, this is back in the 80s for crying out loud! We see that today, it’s almost normal today, which [crosstalk 00:03:25]. The fact that it wasn’t. I was set off on the wrong foot health wise from the get go from my microbiome up. It always had me interested in a lot of aspects of health but more on the superficial like exercise, and the idea of eating right was the low fat diet, and all those crazy things that we’re actually worsening my condition.
Dr. Winters: By the time I was in college I had major health issues that it was just so common place for me to not feel well that I didn’t recognize the symptoms at hand until about a year of going in and out of the E.R. pretty regularly. I finally had a doctor who listened, who was present with me … As I know you can relate, we talked about that as well! That moment that someone thought, “We’ll look a bit deeper than just sinking this as a crazy 19 year old.” By the time they figured out what we really going on, I had just turned 20 years old, and I was diagnosed with a terminal cancer.
Carole: 20 years old!
Dr. Winters: It had actually been going on for a while, I had it at 19, but they kept misdiagnosing me and missing it, or not testing appropriately. By the time they figured it out I was far gone, I was at the end, stage four organ failure. I had massive fluid build up in my abdomen known as ascites. It was malignant ascites, ’cause they could pull the fluid and test it for cancer cells. On the MRIs at that time, because they weren’t doing CT scans where I was. They found lesions on my liver, in my peritoneal cavity, and the primary on my right ovary.
Dr. Winters: It was just one kind of hellacious story, where they realized that they couldn’t go in and do surgery. ‘Cause that was not appropriate for a stage four, and I was too sick with my organs in failure to do any treatment … They recommended hospice.
Dr. Winters: That’s where I was … I was given just a couple months at best to live. So, that was fun!
Carole: At that point, what did you feel, did you feel like, “Oh I can’t catch a break! I’ve been sick for so long and this is what happens?!” What was going on in your mind at that point?
Dr. Winters: Well, I guess we’ll go right into the depths of it. I had been in a pretty dark place for most of my life, I had come from some pretty significant traumas … Abuses, things I wasn’t ready to deal with. A lot of those things were stored up in pouch of the illness within my body. The first response in me was relief, I found this to be a good out.
Dr. Winters: I had been in the place of wanting to do this on my own, like let go of my own life on my own previously, and so [crosstalk 00:05:58] this is kind of handy. I think because I don’t know if it’s the red headed stubbornness within me, I don’t what it was, but when someone tells me that I can’t do something … It kind of kicks up this thing in me. I’ll just say it, I mean my God, it kicks up this sort of, “Really? I’ll show you!”
Dr. Winters: That’s what it did to me, it took me from a place of initial relief to a, “Oh wait a minute, you’re telling me I can’t do this? So I’m going to do everything I can to prove you wrong!” I mean that’s my stubborn streak.
Dr. Winters: Proved me well for almost 27 years now.
Dr. Winters: I had a couple of other appointments as I was seeking some other options, and other biopsies and other information was gathered, and the story was the same across the board. I was super sick, I could barely catch my breath I was so sick and all my organs had stopped basically. Luckily for me, thanks to picking up the book, Deepak Chopra’s book … this is 1991 mind you, okay?
Dr. Winters: While he’s relatively new to the scene, Deepak Chopra, I pick up his book Quantum Healing. That had [crosstalk 00:07:05] I went to the library to start looking up Cancer and this is what I pick up and in two hours I had gobbled that book right down and realized if I’m going to go out, I’m going to go out on my terms, I’m going to learn as much as I can, I’m understanding now where this began and that’s where I’m going to focus.
Dr. Winters: I even changed my college degree, I wasn’t telling anybody what was going on with me as you can imagine. Everyone knew something was wrong because I looked like hell! I was sick, everyone thought I had just gotten fat, but fat skinny. ‘Cause my abdomen was giant, but I had bone arms, bone legs, super gaunt, and yellow from the jaundice. I probably didn’t smell really good being in kidney failure, and all these different things.
Dr. Winters: I was a lot of fun to be around I’m sure, but my personality was such that I could compensate quite a bit. I actually changed my major in full stream, I was a biology chemistry major, and I switched it to psychology with a biology minor.
Dr. Winters: Into focusing on Psycho Neuroimmunology and that is what then led to my undergraduate degree that spilled out when I was looking at going to medical school. I thought, “I don’t want to be a psychiatrist, I don’t want to be a PhD psychologist, I don’t really want to be a medical doctor because now I’ve seen that was a dead end” and as I was exploring I stumbled across Naturopathic Medicine.
Dr. Winters: That’s kind of where that story … Where we go from there.
Carole: Yeah! Okay, there’s probably a good portion of the people watching this that don’t even know what Naturopathic Medicine is. They might have some preconceived notions about that woo woo witch craft stuff. Can you let us know, what it is?
Dr. Winters: Yup, in fact my grandmother thought I was going into which craft when I told her I was going to Naturopathic School, so I crack up that you use that analogy. Still, till this day, weirdly all these years later, despite the fact that it is a well established as a Nationally Board Certified Medical Program, four year residential medical school program, that requires a pre-med undergraduate degree. Then through your schooling you take similar board exams to your conventional medical colleagues … We had to take the basic science boards. You can’t really learn biology, chemistry, physiology, pathology, microbiology, in any other way.
Dr. Winters: Those are across the board we all had the same base camp training. We also have our clinical boards, which show we are competent in all areas of medicine, then we can go on and specialize and do residencies afterwards. Ultimately where we differ, is in our philosophy and our application. Ultimately as Naturopathic Doctors we believe that the body is fundamentally meant to be well. That health is a natural state of being, and it’s the accumulation of hiccups to our day to day lifestyle choices that accumulate over time that lead to symptoms of disease.
Dr. Winters: We help people rewind the tape back to the place, and some people weren’t even born with a place of wholism, or a place of health, so we might even take them back beyond that to a place they’ve never experienced health and wellness. We approach it from a very comprehensive, scientific manner. I am a humongous tester, a lot of people think I’m a bit zealous with the amount of blood tests that I run, but I’m a data person. ‘Cause it also compels people to see where they are, and see where they’re going and adjust accordingly along the way.
Dr. Winters: I just think its human nature … So I have that access. My training included obstetrics in gynecology, I delivered 36 babies in my career, minor surgery, prescription rights in states where we carry licenses, IV therapies, you name it I’ve kind of done it all. I’ve worked in hospital environments, pain centers, E.R. shifts, and ride-alongs with emergency crew. We’ve done a lot of cool work there but have also had the ability to work in some really cook environments like, HIV Aids, doing an integrative approach. Working in addiction recovery centers with an integrative approach. Working in geriatrics, working on the reservation, I have done a lot of work on the Diné Nation around me here in the four corners … Working with blood sugar issues, wound healing issues, and things like that.
Dr. Winters: I’ve had a really broad sweep of education, and experience all over this country but also around the world. I’ve done internships in India, down in Mexico … All over, I love it! Medicine is my passion, and to me it incorporates the old wisdom with the new technologies, and I like it all.
Carole: That is really cool and if I could just insert in here, my experience and perception of how Naturopathic Medicine differs from conventional medical doctors is that, conventional medical doctors are trained to look at what symptoms is this person having and what medications will treat those symptoms, or make those symptoms go away? Then we wait until somebody had a definite disease before we do any other therapies. Whereas Naturopathic Medicine looks at, let’s try to understand the root cause of this, what is causing this in the first place, and how do we get at that, and support the bodies natural healing?
Carole: That’s my experience with the difference.
Dr. Winters: It’s perfect, and the analogy I’ll use with colleagues or patients on a regular basis is that, “My conventional colleagues wait for the house to be engulfed in flames whereas I look for the smoldering ember in the basement.”
Carole: Okay. Oh, I love that! Just to be clear, conventional medical doctors are fantastic for emergencies, surgeries, and all these other things!
Dr. Winters: Absolutely! As an Integrative Oncologist I depend heavily on their tools, their knowledge, their tool box just as they depend heavily on mine. [crosstalk 00:12:50] I’m a Libra, so I’m totally kumbaya we’re all in balance holding hands, right? [crosstalk 00:12:54] Either or, I very much understand my strengths, and the strengths of my colleagues, and I know how we can weave together in a very elegant dance.
Carole: Yeah, that is lovely! In speaking of, I’m just going to throw this in here now ’cause there’s probably some people watching wondering … Your really cool fashion glasses there as well. Speaking of how things interfere with our optimal health, can you share? I know what they are, but [crosstalk 00:13:23] there’s a lot of people watching that have no idea. Can you just share what the glasses are, what they’re about?
Dr. Winters: Absolutely! Starting in about May 2015, my work went from a brick and mortar practice with an office that had all natural light. We were very thoughtful about the light exposure, I had all my little screens covers for safety with what I was being exposed to. What shifted in 2015, is 100% of my time is spent in front of a screen.
Dr. Winters: In front of a ton of speaking engagements, under fake lights, and a lot of travel and what not and going from eagle eye vision where it was better than 20/20 my entire life … Really prided myself in getting deep into my 40s without ever even using a set of readers. Suddenly I’m like, “What’s happening?” I started having to use reader glasses, but what happened with that is it sort of impacted … it enhanced the reflection into my eyes that much more, and my vision went from fantastic to terrible within a short period of time. [crosstalk 00:14:24]
Dr. Winters: The only addition was the blue lights from all the screens. [inaudible 00:14:29] f.lux or Iris or any of the other ways of changing the colors on my screens helped, ’cause I spent a good 15 to 18 hours a day on the computer at times. Luckily a bunch of companies have come out in the last few years with these blue blocking devices of lenses and I had been using those, but I was like the crazy old lady wearing my readers with like my big huge orange lenses over them.
Dr. Winters: As you can see these little numbers have gotten a way, that they’ve got readers within them now. You’re seeing my light amber color, or yellow color, that I wear during the day. [crosstalk 00:15:01] Early morning hours and the late night hours I have my dark red lenses that really block out all the additional. At the times of our natural circadian rhythm … My sleep is better, my hormones, my energy is better, I don’t have headaches anymore using this, and my vision has completely stabilized, and is actually on the mend. I love these puppies, and as ridiculous as I look at times it’s worth it!
Dr. Winters: [crosstalk 00:15:25] The only thing I need now is my tin foil hat, and I’m totally … We’re off and running!
Carole: Your grandma’s going to be, “See I knew it!”
Dr. Winters: Exactly … Witch doctor!
Carole: It’s an area that even with people who are a bit familiar and embracing alternative medicine, complementary therapies, and things like that … People are still not aware that our bodies are designed to react to the sun, and we need sun! We’ve been told the sun is so bad and dangerous, and don’t go outside, and cover up with sunscreen, and avoid the sun and all that! I hope that it comes out even more in the coming years as we get this diet thing figured out for people. Then we can go on to the other aspects of what really are important in health.
Carole: Hey, maybe that’s a good segue into this? Tell us about this Optimal Terrain thing you’ve discovered, created, or used to optimize?
Dr. Winters: Well in the first few years after my diagnosis, there was no Dr. Google, there was no internet, there was nothing … It was the Dewey Decimal System. Luckily, I was a total science geek and I worked in the library. I would sometimes spend, I hope the old college doesn’t hear this, but well before all the video cameras and whatnot I would spend many nights living, sleeping, in the library pouring through medical texts. Some of the first information I stumbled across in the literature specific to Cancer, was all about good ol’ Otto Warburg from the 1920s.
Dr. Winters: The biochemist who started to put the pieces together to say that metabolic insufficiency, metabolic of the mitochondrial level is the source of all disease … In particular with cancer. That resonated with me, more than the two hit theory that was popular at that time in the early 90s of, “You’ve got a genetic mutation and a big life thing comes along and set’s it off into motion!” I knew it wasn’t that simple! Even though I knew my family was wrought with Cancer and all kinds of lovely health care conditions … It still wasn’t intuitive to me.
Dr. Winters: The means of which, ’cause I wasn’t able to take any conventional therapies … Simply, there wasn’t anything available to me, I was left to my own devices. Pouring through all the literature, all of my own information, I was able to stumble across things that did make sense, did work and I started to apply them. Fast forward 27 years to where we are today, just shy of 27 years … I started learning patterns about myself. Then over the years of working in, ’cause I worked in the health care industry well before going to medical school, then on and through medical school, and then on into clinical practice. I’ve had about 27 years of working with others on top of myself to understand these patterns.
Dr. Winters: These patterns came down to ten patterns, which we’ve coined in our book, The Metabolic Approach To Cancer, The Terrain Ten. Even the name of my consulting firm is Optimal Terrain, and when I talk about terrain it’s what’s in, on, and around us at the cellular level as well as on the macro level of what’s all around you in your environment. Those ten patterns include things like, imagine your mitochondria are a bucket, and it’s the drops in the bucket that contribute to this. We all have a different threshold of what overflows our buckets.
Dr. Winters: Things that go into that bucket are epigenetics these are things we are passed down from multiple generations, but we have a lifestyle, and dietary choice to impact how they manifest or how they express. It’s not necessarily set in stone it’s dynamic, but that goes into the bucket. So does things with our Microbiome, so does things with our mind, body or our emotional being, so do things like the other seven factors that we talk about. Things like; hormonal balance, blood sugar balance, circulatory processes, stress and circadian rhythm … Hence my glasses, immune function, inflammation, and toxicant exposure.
Dr. Winters: Those are the things that go into our bucket. Our book is broken down into those ten patterns … A chapter on each of those, and we even start the book with the ability for someone to do their own questionnaire. It’s 100 questions, so it’s ten questions per each of the ten patterns that you can do you’re own self assessment to get a sense of what is your bucket … What need to be taken care of. As I told my story, you could say, “Definitely some stressors, definitely some epigenetics likely in there, definitely some microbiome” you can almost guess from the little story that I shared with you about my history of what might have been contaminating my bucket from the get go.
Dr. Winters: We all have the ability to do that and my mantra is, “Test, assess, address. Never guess!” I can’t tell you how many people think they’re healthy when they come to me and say, “Well I was healthy until I got cancer” I’ve looked at hundreds of thousands of labs over 27 years … We’re not healthy. To me what the bigger miracle is that we don’t all walk around manifesting cancer. We all have cancer, but our bodies keep it on task until it doesn’t. Right now, one in two men, and one in two point four women are expected to have cancer in their lifetime in the United States.
Dr. Winters: Like you said, like the book … It should be called The Metabolic Approach to Cancer, but it’s really the Metabolic Approach to Health. Also, an ultimate guide to helping people understand what’s in their bucket, see if it’s actually impacting them, and do something about it so you don’t become that statistic.
Carole: I want to address one little piece of what you covered there about people are probably saying, “Well no, I’m healthy! My doctor says I’m healthy, they said my labs are healthy!” Can you help us understand how you can be unhealthy even though the doctor says you’re healthy?
Dr. Winters: Yes. First off I get all those people, “Well my doctor says I’m fine, and they just send me a little note that says normal.” Instead of actually seeing the labs. I’m like, “Give me the raw data, I want to see the raw data.” Now, I’ve been in practice long enough now to tell you, that the raw data has changed a lot over the years. Our lab values today, whether it’s through Lab Corp, Quest, or any of those … are based on the average of the population.
Carole: The normal range that they quote, right?
Dr. Winters: Exactly, the bell shape curve is based on the average of the population, and it goes one step further … In the region in which it’s being tested. For instance, if I have patients in Colorado, which is up at the top of the list of health in the United States vs. the lab values from say the state of Alabama which is at the bottom of the list … The ranges are going to look a bit skewed. They are going to look different. For instance, one person in the U.S. says, “You’re not diabetic if your blood sugar is under 100” whereas in Alabama, it will say under 120.
Carole: Oh, okay.
Dr. Winters: This is crazy! What I do and what a lot of my colleagues do in Naturopathic, Functional, and Wholistic medicine is we look at what is the optimal or the functional ranges. What are the ranges that are going to allow you to thrive and actually prevent disease, what a concept right? Just like RD Nutritionist focus on just enough vitamin C to not get scurvy, right? Yet people like me know that you can treat meningitis, cancer, massive wounds with high dose IV Vitamin C.
Dr. Winters: It’s like holy cow! It’s that same ideology that I’m not the just enough to get by kind of gal … What is it going to take to get you thriving? When we look at the health disease continuum, Western medicine says that we are healthy if we are without symptoms. I can’t even tell you how many people tell me, “I’m healthy!” And I look at their list of pharmaceuticals. I’m like, “No, you’re suppressed like shit!” [crosstalk 00:23:12] It’s just like a smoldering volcano waiting to erupt and then when it erupts everyone’s like, “I’m so shocked!”
Dr. Winters: It drives me crazy! It makes me sad that we’ve all been so dismantled of our ability to really know ourselves. Simply getting a basic, even if you get a basic blood count, chem panel, a Vitamin D level, homocysteine level, hemoglobin A1c, fasting insulin level, full thyroid panel including the antibodies, ferritin level … We’ve been learning so much about how iron overload, or iron deficiency can cause major problems. These will tell me right away how many cylinders your firing on, okay? Then we can know, ’cause it’s great! I’ve done private practice for so many years before I started focusing in Oncology, and in our town, and they have them all over the country, we’d have an annual health fair.
Dr. Winters: They call them the Nine R Health Labs … For $30.00 you can could run almost all of those labs I just described. You can get a [crosstalk 00:24:13] right?! So my March and April books we’re always packed with patients coming in for me to look at their labs. I can not tell you how many diagnoses I’ve made of Diabetes, Hyper Lipoidemia, Thyroid Dysfunction, Hormonal Dysfunction, Malnutrition, Celiac … You name it! Of all the types of diseases we would find, and people were “healthy” they’d take your GP and their like, “You’re fine!”
Dr. Winters: ‘Cause they’re waiting for the house to be engulfed in flames.
Carole: The other thing I’ve noticed too, is that they just look at every individual lab value all by themselves, and they don’t put them all together to look at the-what does that mean if that one’s lightly out of range and this one’s slightly out of that range?
Dr. Winters: Girl you nailed it! Nothing happens in a vacuum, right? It patterns, that’s what I go back to again … That’s that place so someone says, “Oh my God! My albumin is really weird!” Okay, well let’s look in the context of everything else. It could have been a lab mess up, it could have been you were very dehydrated that day, it could be that your dealing with muscle wasting, it could be that you have kidney disease going on … There could be a million reasons, but you have to look at the whole rest of the picture to round it out and get your story.
Dr. Winters: If you don’t have all the story, you go and dig deeper, right? That’s what that implies, when doctors see a few out of range they just poo poo it like, “Oh this is just normal” and ignore it … Or they qualify it as an individual situation, “It’s this” and it’s often not. I like that you brought that up, that you have to look at the whole.
Dr. Winters: Good.
Carole: Oh man, so I’m making a note of something I’m going to talk to you after we’re done doing-
Dr. Winters: Good! I love it!
Carole: Alright! Let’s go back then, so you’re 20 years old, and you’ve got the spitfire attitude of, “I’ll show you!”
Dr. Winters: Still doing that by the way.
Carole: Good! That’s why you’re helping people the way that you are, and why you’ve-I can only imagine how many lives you saved because of the work that you’re doing. My story as well, this adversity, and then through that burning desire to heal our bodies we get to heal other people as well. The terrible thing that happened to us, turns out to be the gift that we get to give to everyone else in the world.
Carole: You slept in the library, you read every book you could, walk us through, how did you heal yourself?
Dr. Winters: Well I’m still healing myself. The things I was learning back then, and applying then I would never use today because [crosstalk 00:27:03] now know. There are so many things along the way, but basically I was a total latchkey kid, completely malnourished, I became a vegetarian at 16, but I live in Kansas and my idea of being a vegetarian meant eating Velveeta cheese and iceberg lettuce.
Dr. Winters: I can understand why I as depleted nutritionally at this time, by the time my husband, the guy who I started dating at the time of my diagnosis … Good Lord, which is kind of ironic way to start conversations. I laughed because I really thought this 22 year old was like, “Cool, I’ll just be with this gal for a couple months before she checks out!” [crosstalk 00:27:41] That is almost 27 years later, it will be 27 years in September.
Dr. Winters: Like a total love and light of my life, also a total massive chemistry geek! He also lost his brother, let me say this, his brother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in his 30s, and was also given a few months to live, and my husband always says, “They gave him three months, he gave them the finger, and he went down to Mexico!” That was 24 bonus years, that he had with an inoperable pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Winters: Just like ovarian cancer, you’re less than five percent still here at five years out, right?
Dr. Winters: Bob lived 24 years, he ultimately dies of his disease, but it was after years of keeping it in tacked with a lot of changes to his chemistry to his terrain. Just like I learned along the way! My husband was already very in to this and helping to feed me, nourish me back into balance, and went on the vegan kick with me for a period of time. Which was great, because for me to go from the massive latchkey kid processed foods of a young American diet, to a vegan diet was such an upgrade … To how I’d been eating.
Dr. Winters: My husband could sneak vegetables into my box macaroni and cheese and I thought was blasphemy, and yet it was far healthier than anything I’d eaten in my life. It’s hard to imagine that, that’s how I ate back then. Fast forward seven years of that, I was dying again I was actually recancering in a pretty advanced way, and couldn’t figure it out until a Chinese practitioner basically said, “You are starving, you have to get some animal protein in your body” and I refused to do anything beyond eggs at that time. The eggs did enough to boost me up, that there was such a shift in my blood chemistry, and how I felt and looked that I listened.
Dr. Winters: A couple years later I incorporated a little fish, a few years after that I incorporated a little more … I was learning along the way. Each time I would try to pluck something else out, and add something else in. I went along like this, mind you it’s 27 years now … 2010 is when I finally went 100% gluten free, in January 2010. I’d been half assing it for many years, because I knew I felt terrible on it but I was ignoring it. This is also the time I got my epigenetics read and found out that I actually have Celiac!
Dr. Winters: RA, and the genes for Parkinson’s of which my Grandma just passed away from as well as understanding it’s a miracle that I hadn’t died of cancer multiple times because my epigenetics as well as the [inaudible 00:30:10] status. Over and over again it was like I kept living long enough to learn something new to apply, and change the train … that’s the essence. In 2010 when I went gluten free I jumped onto the corn and grain wagon of getting away from gluten, and got sicker than ever! In August 2010 my husband and I committed to going 100% at that time, Paleo … Both of our lives changed entirely.
Dr. Winters: It took me from 1991 until 2010 to get my dietary shit together, and even then it’s taken more … Now we’re pretty much Keto. More Keto cycling … Still, I don’t eat grains. I’ve probably had rice, I can count maybe on hand since 2010. These are these things that my body feels better! All my auto immune stuff, my husbands bi-polar stuff, all of his psoriasis … Both of our health is better than ever! Our nieces and nephews always comments on how we look, and seem healthier than they are. We’re like, “Well because we are” [crosstalk 00:31:11]
Dr. Winters: ‘Cause you guys are eating all that crap! This is that place where it’s been a long learning process and I’m still applying things, and learning every day. It’s why I attend so many medical conferences, that’s why I read so much research … I probably read a thousand research articles a week at least.
Carole: Wow, that’s impressive!
Dr. Winters: That’s how my memory works, I just catalog and reference things, and constantly taking notes and going. Plus, I live with someone that this is what we do for fun.
Carole: That’s cool!
Dr. Winters: I’m still there, right? Because in Western Medicine I never ended up doing standard care of any kind … So for me, my body still carries the cancer it still holds it intact. It hasn’t done anything, it hasn’t moved anywhere in many years now. It’s walled off and kind of calcified and doing its thing over there. We’re living happily ever after together, but I’m always still building upon my training. My most recent labs I had in October we’re frankly the best I’ve ever had!
Carole: Oh wow!
Dr. Winters: What I shoot for my patients to get … I was like, “Oh my God! I’m 27 years now!” I tell my patients, “If I had these 27 years ago I might have gotten there faster” so I’m telling other people, “It won’t take you 27 years, but it is an ongoing life process”
Carole: I want to just point out as well, how remarkable it is that you stay up on research. I even think that doctors should continually read research, but most of them don’t. They learn what they learn in school, and then they go out and regurgitate that every day. Then they go home, and do whatever they do in the evening, right? I love that you’re doing that! That’s why you’re so good at what you’re doing, and why you’re having such an impact on reversing really serious health conditions and preventing them all that the same time.
Dr. Winters: Yeah thank you. I like it too! It’s something I enjoy, which a lot of people don’t, so I can understand that, but it’s still a muscle you have to exercise if you plan on being effective in medicine today because medicine is changing exponentially. More has come out in the last two or three years with Integrated Oncology then in the previous 23-25 years collective. It’s like a rocket has gone off! We have enough of the catalyst into the system now that it can react, and it’s a pretty awesome time to have survived this long, and thrive this long to be privy to the data, and the information that is coming out. Knowing that it is still just the tip of the iceberg and we’re just going to keep learning more and more.
Carole: Yeah, that’s so great!
Dr. Winters: Yeah.
Carole: Let’s switch gears just a bit, you mentioned your diet … Is there one perfect diet for everybody?
Dr. Winters: No. Okay to me, the common denominator of healthy diets across the board looks like this: real food; number one, clean food; number two, these are weird things that we have to actually qualify because I had a sticker on my refrigerator that said, “Eat organic food or as your grandparents called it, food” right? What is so sad is that we have created a new psychology diagnosis of being someone who over worries about food. I’m like, “Are you f-ing kidding me?! What industry just paid you to tell people not to worry about what you’re putting into their food?” That’s crazy, that needs its own label of psychosis!
Dr. Winters: Ultimately you have to be very thoughtful and clever about what your ingesting, that’s important. The other thing that is very important is a plant based diet, okay? When I say plant based people often think that I am saying Vegan or Vegetarian. No, I’m saying plant dense, nutrient dense, polyphenol dense … That’s what I’m saying. I really like Terri Walls nine cups analogy of three leafy greens, three cups of colorful veggies, and three cups of cruciferous veggies. That’s the ballpark … I get somewhere between nine and fifteen servings of vegetables a day.
Dr. Winters: That is the base camp, and then for me the next layer … ‘Cause we’ve all been on a such fat phobic trip for so long, we’re all starving. Our brains, nerves, and hormones are starving … I think fat would be the next part of that food plate. To get quality fat on to of that, and then really use animal protein as a condiment. I know I’ve got colleagues out there who are thriving on a more carnivorous diet, people who are shunning a lot of vegetables right now, concerned of lectins and whatnot. As someone who works with cancer in myself and others, you have to have those polyphenols … You have to have those micronutrients from you’re vegetable matter.
Dr. Winters: You need that fiber, microbiome, you need all of that to make the whole terrain hum. For me, what I see over and again in myself, and tens of thousands of others is a diet like that tends to work. Then on top is literally that cherry on top … As little sugar as possible. When I say sugar, I mean starchy vegetables, I mean low glycemic high quality fruit, I mean maybe the occasional Stevia or Monk fruit sweetener. That’s what I’m talking about when I’m talking about sugar.
Carole: Okay, very cool! Then you kind of customize things for each person, like there’re variations … More protein, less protein, more vegetables, less vegetables?
Dr. Winters: Yes, I love that because the biggest population I see is very diverse as far as where they are in the health and disease continuum. Most people are stage four, most people are pretty traumatized in their gut. A lot people push the raw food diet on cancer patients, but I’m telling you in Ayurvedic medicine 5,000 plus year old medicine, Chinese medicine 3,000 plus year old medicine, when you’re sick your tube is very depleted. In fact both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine which we’re also my studies od interest would say no raw food or cold food ever in that population. I avoid that unless it’s the heat, if you live in a hot climate or you have a hot summer, and you strong digestive fire then of course you can get away with some raw colder foods.
Dr. Winters: In my experience, for the most part my compromise population I would rather them roasting the vegetables, making them into stews, making them into soups, puree them, they’re going to juice them pour them into warmed bone broth or even hot water to make it more digestible, and assimilable … If that’s a word.
Dr. Winters: I also definitely look at people’s blood tests for instance, if the ferritin is really high, which is your iron storage I’m not going to have them have anything with high iron rich foods, so that means no red meat … Not cooking in cast iron. If they have very elevated insulin growth factor then we’re really forgoing any form of dairy until things are really stabilized … Even if it’s just pure gee or butter, pure fat dairies. We’re really watching out for that and even being extremely mindful of their animal protein sources because a lot of the flesh will carry the insulin … We want to be very careful of that.
Dr. Winters: At the genetics, I look at their SNPs their Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, and that can show me how their going to work with the plant based diet or a fat based diet or anything else, and if we need to tweak it and alter things to help support them. If they had some sod dismutase issues then I know that vegetables are the key for them to thrive, but if they have PEMT issues then I know that we really need to bring on some digestive enzymes support to help them digest the fats. Those are just some examples … I’m absolutely fine tuning it, and if their going through chemo we might work with Vulter Lungo’s Fasting Protocols around that, or if there really cachectic we need some more protein but it’s still a far based diet but we might need to pull in some high proteins sources to reverse that metabolic wasting process.
Dr. Winters: It gives you some clues, I have done Keto feeding tubes many times on these patients which is insanely powerful because the hospitals try to give them parenteral nutrition which is known to speed up demise, it’s known to shorten life. So we can really fine tune and create liquid Keto program for people who are unable to take things by mouth.
Carole: Let’s dive into that one a little bit, how does a Ketogenic diet help prevent, or does it help prevent cancer? Then how does it play into treatment?
Dr. Winters: So good! Well, back when I was talking about reading Otto Warburg sitting in the library is our bodies have always been meant to be a hybrid car. [crosstalk 00:39:42] A hybrid energy source … I saw a kitty tail, hi baby!
Dr. Winters: I have one laying next to me too, so we’re good! That’s good for your medicine too! Again, when we think about the basis of all chronic illness today being around how our mitochondria functioning that therefore means, that’s dependent on the fuel source that those mitochondria are using. When we look at both ultimate prevention, and treatment what you put into that fuel tank is key. Just for your listeners to remember that only until 10,000 years ago was the biggest shift we saw where we moved to hunter gatherer into the Neolithic farming … Moved into the early agriculturalists. We were still very physically laborious, we were still very minimally using grains it was more like we started working with more livestock, and small things that we could grow year around or live near year around.
Dr. Winters: Then the next big shift to our system came when we went to the 1850s when we started milling flour and sugar. That was giant! Up until that time we were averaging about 30% of our diet was carbohydrate. We call today, the way I’m talking about eating “low carb” its normal carb … Is what I talk about today. We are so disillusion since we have gone from about five pounds per person of sugar per year … That included things like honey, fruit, starchy vegetables, and [inaudible 00:41:15] and of course grains. That was our average, to today it now averages 175 grams.
Dr. Winters: You can see the stress in our mitochondria, we are not a hybrid engine. If a person finished eating dinner at 6PM, and they get up in the morning at 6AM or 7AM they should see if their metabolically flexible and still burning appropriately. They should still trace ketones on their urine stick … If you don’t you have some work to do! That may be a little extension on your fast, maybe you go 13 hours, keeping adding an hour every day until you see trace ketones. Then that might be one place, before even altering your diet. Then start pulling out anything access, of course get rid of the liquid sugar immediately. Get rid of any super high sugar fruits, get rid of all the extraneous grains, especially the inflammatory ones … All gluten corn oats.
Dr. Winters: Actually corned oats actually have gluten and in this country we say “gluten free” is 20 parts millions, and in Europe it’s five, and oats and corn are over five parts per million of gluten. When you have Celiac like me, you are reacting like a mo fo to those foods! So stop calling things gluten free that still contains oat and corn, they’re not! Okay? That’s a biggie! Plus they’re just sugar bombs, talk about stimulating insulin growth factor? Corn and wheat are the biggest, I mean how do we fatten our cattle? Of course that’s going to do that to ourselves. That’s one place they can start to expand upon, is making yourself become a hybrid machine again because that’s how you were meant to be.
Dr. Winters: For many, if you already have a chronic illness especially if it’s metabolically based such as: cardiovascular disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s, any brain or neurological issues, cancer, ADD/ADHD, autism, anything on the autism spectrum, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes … All of these have been associated as microconidial diseases, okay? I do encourage people to at least give themselves a window of trying to go into a deep, therapeutic ketogenic diet to sort of reset the system. Then you can do whatever is right for you, working with a practitioner who knows how to pulse that. Just like we did for millennia in nature, we were often in a low grade of ketosis regularly, and definitely deeper depending on the season and our food availability.
Dr. Winters: Let your be hungry sometimes, it’s totally okay … Those are some things that if I could do nothing else but change how our metabolic engines are functioning, that would be my primary approach and is, my primary approach for having success with any disease. Frankly, your conventional therapies, your chemo … Radiation in particular, glucose and insulin desensitize cancer cells to radiation. What the f?! People are sipping on their Boost shake or their Ensure shake and the only thing that ensures is fast death, okay? Which is also with corn, corn starch, corn syrup, wheat, gluten. It’s about as bad as it gets, and so having that … If you are still eating your standard normal American diet during radiation? You are basically wasting … You are taking a very toxic therapy that is known to cause cancer, and making it useless. You can use it for good!
Dr. Winters: That is how I work with as an Integrative Oncologist with conventional oncologist is that, I can enhance the outcomes with someone eating this way. Chemo, PARP inhibitors, so a lot of the targeted therapies, many of the chemo therapeutic agents won’t work well. The cancer cells are also desensitized to them and so what also happens when you have a happy mitochondria which we can restore with a ketogenic diet is that means we also have the ability to apoptosis … Meaning programmed cell death. Where people don’t respond to conventional therapies’ means they’ve stopped apoptosis. That means their mitochondria are so broken and damaged that it can’t do that anymore.
Dr. Winters: A better way to do it, is to implement a ketogenic diet even just through your conventional treatment. If you do it no other time, it’s going to enhance your response to that therapy.
Carole: Yeah! What I’ve seen at conferences research clearly shows that a ketogenic diet plus conventional therapies enhances everything.
Dr. Winters: You got it! Especially with radiation approaches, I mean that’s such a give. I don’t think we can even have that. Luckily I have conventional radiologist all over the country who now consult with me to know how to implement a ketogenic diet with their patients. That’s really an amazing shift, and we have a couple of really good integrative Radio Oncologist out there blogging and sharing their story, and encouraging patients, which is awesome! [inaudible 00:45:57], Dr. Luinda, Bryan Luinda … These are a few. We’ve got a incredible women, Dr. Kesselring out of Chicago that is also getting really hip to this.
Dr. Winters: These are Radio Oncologist you guys … Conventional main streamers, that recognize the ability to use a diet to enhance the impact of their tool of choice, of their tool of study.
Carole: That’s amazing that we’re seeing that shift. Do you have any insight into, ’cause we definitely have conventional health care providers of all different mixes especially in the oncology field … That get very angry about the suggestion that people should try a ketogenic diet. I remember a year or so ago, a friend of mine tagged in a Dr. Siegfried article talking about the ketogenic diet, and it’s uses for cancer and one of her friends that happens to be an oncology nurse was very angry about that even being shared. How dare you suggest that, and don’t give people that kind of hope!
Carole: Why is it that, do have any insight or thoughts on why people get so defensive about even trying something like this? Rob Wolf has such a good perspective he’s like, “Well people have to eat anyway, how is changing the way their eating going to be harmful?”
Dr. Winters: See, and I love that! ‘Cause you get the double edge sword, at one moment they’re saying diet has nothing to do with it so therefore that should be a license to eat whatever the hell you want, right? That’s one side of it, and at the same time “Well that diet doesn’t do anything” it doesn’t matter … It’s the concept of cognitive dissonance really. If you have been trained in a particular way, and you suddenly learn that the way you were trained may not be accurate, and I’ve been up against this a lot in 27 years. Like I said, the way I treat myself now, and even the way I treated my patients when I first started out … I know for a fact that I would have done things very differently with the information that I have today, but I can’t go back then so I keep moving forward.
Dr. Winters: I keep trying to educate along the way, and make better what I didn’t know then within myself and within the patients I work with, but some people can’t do that. Some people have to hold on to the outdated mythologies and dogmas and their willing to go down on the sinking Titanic with it. To protect their wound of, “I fucked up a lot of people and therefore I have to keep validating that what I’m doing is fine.” That is cognitive dissonance! That is one, number two less than 25% of all medical schools are taught nutrition and it’s only offered as an elective … so they’re not being educated in this.
Dr. Winters: Number three, the people giving nutrition advice in the hospital setting are paid by the hospitals and by the industry. They’re called registered dieticians, their hospitalist dissociation that are fed their knowledge from an industry perspective, not a health perspective. I know I upset a lot of RDs when I say this, but I also know hundreds of RDs who now consider themselves recovering RDs. That are out there on a mission, again that concept of cognitive dissonance. Learn more, you can do more, you can be a therapeutic nutritionist. Go beyond preventing scurvy people and actually get into helping prevent disease and treat illness.
Dr. Winters: That’s where I come against this. I’ve been at it so many times people saying, “No, no, no!” It’s okay, just get to this point where maybe when someone hears my story it compels them. How is this person, against all odds shouldn’t be here? Or hundreds of my patients who have the same stories. Like, you I think interviewed Alison Gannett, maybe, I don’t know if you have-
Carole: I haven’t but I should.
Dr. Winters: Yeah you should! Because she’s one of my patients, and is now five years out working with me who was given a terminal diagnosis. Who now, is a really well known Keto coach. They couldn’t get her entire brain tumor, and so there was still a bit of it left, and she never did any further conventional therapies and yet here she is almost five years out. It will be five years in August, that she is thriving! It hasn’t moved anywhere and now teaching others to do the same. She’s but one of hundreds of examples of that in my own practice, but the thing is people won’t get it until they decide to get it.
Dr. Winters: I spent the first part of my practice trying to convince people. That was really hard, that actually put me back into this cancering places a lot over the years … I don’t do that anymore. Now, even with the research Miriam Kalamian’s book, Keto for Cancer, she’s a dear friend of mine. There were no books, our book alluded to it we started talking about it and metabolic approach to cancer just against Kelly and I, but we had to focus on the rest. Everyone thinks that a diet, that’s were you get the bad rep of, “Oh the diet isn’t enough to kill it” right, you’re right! … The diet isn’t enough … You’ve got to take a whole perspective.
Dr. Winters: That’s why we wrote our book, but Miriam gives the definitive guide specific to a patient with cancer that didn’t exist before her book came out. [crosstalk 00:51:18] It’s loaded with all the research and data so the next time someone says, “It’s dangerous!” Like your friend who came on that post, I would send her that book.
Dr. Winters: Even then, you may not open that parachute and that’s okay.
Dr. Winters: Yeah.
Carole: On the flip side of this, what about people that say, “Keto makes cancer worse. Keto feeds cancer.” Are there types of cancers that love ketones?
Dr. Winters: I definitely see this. In fact, I was at a conference with one of my dear friends and colleagues that made this assertion during her talk, we were supposed to have dinner that night, so I didn’t get a chance to talk to her but I will be talking to her directly. Where those discussions have come up have been, and I’ve done all the research on this and talked with many people who that are far smarter than I am in this realm. Who can really understand the studies themselves, because I go through, and I think I understand pretty well, but ultimately there’s a few things here. The studies shown are looking at cell line or animal studies. They’re also looking at things in a vacuum without a liver, and a body wrapped around it … That makes a huge difference!
Dr. Winters: One of my colleagues said, “You can not make these assertions if you don’t have a liver involved because it’s going to look one way without a liver processing this, making the ketones and processing the ketones, then it does when you’re just looking at a cell thing going against beta-Hydroxybutyric … Very different” You can’t even compare them! The reality is, the fuel source, like I said we are a natural hybrid engine. When we look at some of these studies that talk about this I don’t think that there’s anything compelling enough to make me think that’s actually fact.
Dr. Winters: I’m waiting for more good data, I’m always looking because I do think … Some people talk about the BRAF mutation and different things like that. I’ve had a lot of BRAF mutation brain cancer and lung cancer patients who are alive and well and kicking today who did a ketogenic diet well before that information starting coming out as a concern. The same type of thing, when I hear people say, “My family member did keto and they ended up drying from the cancer anyway” I’m like, “What the hell else did they do, what we’re they looking at, what labs we’re you looking at?” I get so frustrated … You can say the same thing about vegan, or the China study, or any of these things!
Dr. Winters: What else was not being dealt with? Perhaps they had an iron overload, perhaps they actually had some SNPs that were taking their drugs in a different way. There’s so many components to this, that I think trying to categorize is as a hit or miss specifically is dangerous. The other thing that I want folks to remember is that ketogenic diet has been labeled as … let’s just starve the cancer cell of glucose, but people like Adrian Shock’s work has shown that when we look at ten hallmarks of cancer that’s just one of the ten hallmarks. We not know that the ketones, our natural state of being, when we are metabolically flexible and have a nice hybrid engine running, impact all nine other of those hallmarks of cancer to keep things in check.
Dr. Winters: It doesn’t make sense that we would have had something that came built in to our computer system that could cause this type of harm, but what I wonder is when we’re looking at some of these studies what is the quality of the fat, what is the quality of the nutrient intake, is someone still eating too much protein? Because I’m betting that’s actually what they’re looking at, is more of a [inaudible 00:54:50] issue of too much protein vs. a ketone issue. Coming back around, there are a lot of things I would love to sit down and tease out every one of them. If I could have a month just to sit down and look at it individually, I think we could probably poke holes in a lot of those concerns.
Dr. Winters: Again, for someone who’s clinically been doing it for as long as I have on every tissue type you can imagine … with extraordinary outcomes. I personally have not seen it, nor have my colleagues who have really been using this in practice. So I’m glad you brought that up!
Carole: Yeah, excellent! I think I could question you for the rest of the entire day, but to keep this a nice watchable length-I know Joe Rogan does these four hour podcasts and someday I am going to do one of those!
Dr. Winters: I’ll watch!
Carole: I’ll have it on Facebook or on YouTube right?
Dr. Winters: Yeah!
Carole: I can dive in like that, so just in wrapping this up I’m sure we’ll have many more conversations later, and we’ll do episode two, three, four, five and ten of this! Series with Dr. Winters … just in closing was there anything that you were hoping I would ask you about, that you want to share right now?
Dr. Winters: Oh my gosh Carole, I think you covered so much good stuff here … it was great! ‘Cause I do a lot of interviews right now, and I think you covered some really unique material, and I think we’re good.
Carole: Good! Well I try to get into the brain of the audience ’cause I’m one of those people right. So what do I want to know about this right now, and weaving all that in. Hopefully if you guys are watching this, give us a thumbs up if you enjoyed this, and you learned a lot here.
Carole: I do have one closing question for you.
Dr. Winters: Oh boy!
Carole: The meteors coming to the planet, we’ve got conformation we’re all going to die today this is it! You’re last day on the planet! What’s going to be your final meal?
Dr. Winters: Oh golly! Okay, it’s funny because you know what my brain flashed on immediately? I can’t believe I’m going to say this, mashed cauliflower.
Carole: Okay! With what?
Dr. Winters: Well I love tons of butter, cream, and Parmesan cheese on it. I mean I want it, gooey creamy and as comfort foodie as it can get. That, with tons and tons of salt and pepper! I don’t know why, but that is like my go to comfort food, and I could eat it by the gallon!
Carole: Okay, so like a big giant bucket of it.
Dr. Winters: It’s just coming out every orifice, and I’m just diving into it when that meteors on the way.
Carole: We’ll get you a big hot tub full of it!
Dr. Winters: Oh, I like that!
Carole: That’s great! I love that! It’s totally unique, I’ve never heard that one.
Dr. Winters: My mom said I loved brussles sprouts as a kid, I was destined to do this I’m sure.
Carole: Oh cool! Oh that’s really awesome! Thank you so much being here, this had been awesome! I loved chatting with you, and I miss you already! What has it been six months or so since we actually met in person? I’m sure I’ll see you at the conferences coming up later this year and thank you so much for all the work that you’re doing out there. We’re going to link below to your site and things like that. Is there anything quick as far as following on social media or anything like that, your handle, or hashtag, or anything?
Dr. Winters: The Facebook pages we’ve got one for the Metabolic Approach to Cancer with Jess and I, and Jess also has her consulting, which is Remission Nutrition. Then my consulting is Optimal Terrain Consulting, which is also on Facebook, so you can follow all the updates, research, where I’m speaking, and what we’re up to there as well.
Carole: Yeah that’s a good one, awesome! Alright we’re going to wrap this up for now. Again if you guys learned something, and you like this, give us a thumbs up and subscribe if you want to see more. Bringing you all the great interviews, all the great Keto Practitioners, and success stories that are out there today! Thank you so much for watching, thank you Dr. Winters for being here, and we’ll talk to you all soon! Bye!