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What you eat for your health is generally good for the planet. Then there are rare occurrences where certain foods are consumed in such high amounts that the crops are overproduced. Examples of this are almonds and avocados. Where I live, in the Netherlands, many grocery stores package organic produce in plastic whereas the conventional ones aren’t which seems counterintuitive.
Today’s guest, Dr. Elizabeth Trattner, is an Integrative Chinese Medicine practitioner and acupuncturist. She has studied with Dr. Andrew Weil. She shares Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Woman™. Elizabeth specializes in women’s health, weight management, allergies, auto-immune diseases, and environmental illnesses.
If you’re fortunate to still have your grandparents around, Elizabeth strongly encourages you to speak with them. Ask them everything about what it was like to grow up when they were young, what they ate, what their grandparents ate: ask them anything you can think of. You’ll learn more from them than from any Instagram account.
- Don’t use platforms such as Instagram as the source for your health information. Seek out help in finding which diet suits your needs the best.
- Look at your genetics: where do you come from, what have your ancestors traditionally been eating? Those are foods that will most likely nourish your body.
- Instead of focusing resolutions on diet, focus them on improving your indoor air quality or detoxing your cleaning products.
- Remember to wind-down at night, remove the TV from your bedroom and focus on allowing your body to get ready for sleep. This has been done for centuries and is a necessary aspect of great sleep.
- If your grandparents are still alive: talk to them and soak up their ancient wisdom
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From the time she was a child, Dr. Elizabeth Trattner was fascinated with the human body. She spent hours memorizing and reading about anatomy and hoped someday to become a medical doctor. During her early college years, this dream faded when her own health was compromised. Because of her health status, she met a man who quickly became her doctor and mentor and led her down a path toward Chinese and integrative medicine. Not only does she currently have her own practice in Florida, she also attended the Natural Gourmet Institute in the early 90s to become a Natural Gourmet Chef, and was the first acupuncture physician to be invited to be a guest during an integrative medical rotation at the University of Arizona. In 2014, she was also in the first class of certified integrative medical practitioners that completed IHELP, a program designed specifically for non-MD practitioners.
The majority of Dr. Trattner’s focus has been on women’s health, which she has been advocating for since she was 16 years old. She strongly believes that dietary lifestyles are not one-size fits all. Social media can glorify certain diets, examples being raw-vegan, paleo, and vegetarianism, which can put pressure on people to consume diets that may not be the most nourishing for their body type. Different bodies have different dietary needs based on genetics and health history, and these needs can evolve as the body moves through various life stages.
There are numerous factors influencing young women to eat in certain ways or consume certain products, the main one being social media. Digital media is a double-edged sword and can have both positive and negative effects on readers. It can be used as a platform to help share and educate the population about health-promoting practices and foods, like her recent article on Functional Mushrooms. It’s also helpful in reaching people you may otherwise have very little connection to. But there is also an immense amount of incorrect information floating around, and if the information IS correct, it may not be correct or applicable to the specific person reading it.
She stated that it’s more important to look at our genetics, rather than Instagram, to determine what eating patterns are the most nourishing for our bodies. Just because a raw-vegan diet solved all your friend’s health issues does not mean it’s the appropriate diet for everyone. Some bodies thrive on cooked vegetables, some function better consuming meat. If meat is an integral part of your diet, focus on purchasing responsibly-sourced, local meat products to keep the carbon footprint as low as possible.
Integrative and Chinese medicine look at the entire body, what genes it’s carrying, nitty-gritty health histories, the way energy flows throughout it, to help determine what type of diet is best for each patient on an individual level. She often sits down with new patients for three hours at time to gather information on their physical, emotional, and spiritual health in order to take the next step toward diagnosis. Knowing a person’s entire health history, seeing the entire picture, is essential when working toward healing.
During our interview, I asked Dr. Trattner to discuss how individuals can improve their long-term health, and how to set and stick to New Year’s resolutions, which are frequently abandoned early on in the year. She said that because humans are often emotionally connected to eating patterns, focus on goals outside of dietary restrictions. Set goals to transition to green cleaning and beauty products, or goals to get out into nature more often. Clean air is crucial for overall health, and we absorb products we put directly onto our skin. Two very effective ways to improve our overall health.
Another important factor in achieving optimal health relates to our sleep patterns, and how we “unfold” in the evening. Bodies were meant to rise and set with the sun, and the overwhelming amount of artificial lighting in our society has disrupted our body’s natural wind-down processes. She says to place more emphasis on the hours before we lay our bodies to rest to help improve overall mood and wellness.
Dr. Trattner’s parting advice struck a chord – listen to your grandparents, for they hold valuable information about how to live in this world with a smaller impact on the planet. Tap into older generations to hear how they lived, about their gardening technique, how they gathered their food, how they moved from day to day.
“My grandmothers were my muses. Learn what you can. They’re wise women and they have a lot to tell us.”
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Dr. Elizabeth Trattner has been practicing Chinese and Integrative medicine in Miami since 1991, specializing in women’s health. Elizabeth is a graduate of University of Arizona’s Center of Integrative Medicine, holds a chef certificate from the Natural Gourmet Institute and received Shamanic training and initiation. She’s a current Member of the Global Wellness’ Beauty Meets Wellness Initiative Committee and is a contributing expert for hundreds of publications and digital media.