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Jacqui Fahey 00:05 Welcome to Common Ground, a podcast series discussing new research and interesting projects in the field of complementary medicine. Hello, my name is Jacqui Fahey, Head of Education at vital.ly. vital.ly is a complementary medicine distributor with a goal to strengthen the relationship between students, healthcare practitioners and premium complementary medicines. Please note, this podcast is suitable for general public audience and anyone interested in health.
Firstly, I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands and pay my respect to elder’s past, present and future.
Today on Common Ground, I'll be speaking with Christine Pope. Christine is an experienced naturopath and nutritionist who provides a high standard of natural health care with a clinic focus on healthy ageing, managing chronic disease and supporting clients with cancer. Christine is also an experienced educator,and was head of nutritional medicine at Nature Care College from 2012 to 2015. Christine is currently serving as an elected director of the Australian traditional medicine society and is a treasurer as well as the chair of the Marketing Committee. Christine is also a director at the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA). Having just launched a course in ageing outrageously Christine shall be sharing some insights with us today. We welcome you to Common Ground again Christine.
Christine Pope 01:05 Thanks, Jacqui and thanks for having me on to chat about ageing outrageously.
Jacqui Fahey 01:08 Yes, I know I love that name. I'm going to ask you, you're a naturopath and nutritionist in clinical practice, what brought you to offering a course in ageing outrageously?
Christine Pope 01:19 Well, I think there are a few things that motivated me and I looked at it, you know, it's also that stage last year in the lockdown I let my hair go my natural colour. I keep telling people I'm blonde, and they look at me and go really? Does she not realise she's actually grey. But you know, it's that part of it. And also, I think I had my own experience recovering from surgery and my memory was really poor. And look, I've got a bad memory for names at the best of times, I've got a great memory for numbers, but really bad memory for names. And so you start having that panic attack of, oh, gosh, is this, you know, is this the beginning of it. And I have to say, what I saw was it did get a lot better with a lot of natural medicine interventions and other changes. So it was like I could see that sort of journey but I think the real motivator was that one client, you know, in clinic, you'll see lots of people but it's the one client who doesn't improve the way you expect them to that's always the one you spend a lot of time agonising about. And part of the problem was whereas I could get the, you know, as a lovely older gentleman who was early stage dementia and he had a lot of family support. And it was great because the whole family would come in. He was, I thought he was nonverbal at the start of it but later on, he did actually engage in a little bit of conversation. But what frustrated me was, I couldn't get that significant improvement and I think it really highlighted that I needed to make sure that he, you know, he needed to make changes at a much earlier stage before you got to that point. I've got to say we did find, and I've tried to avoid using brand names, phosphatidylcholine at high doses and omega-3s made a lot of difference to his mood and him being calmer but I couldn't really get them to make the dietary changes that I wanted. And that was a little bit frustrating. But I understood what was going on. Because you get into that round of doctor's appointments and you know, it can be really difficult.
Jacqui Fahey 03:37 Yeah, dietary changes, you can sort of be set in your ways somewhat, can't you?
Christine Pope 03:42 Yeah. And you know, even though there was family support there, I would have liked to have got them back to eating more of a traditional Mediterranean diet. And where they were was unfortunately what they call the SAD diet. I think that is the term for the Standard American Diet, but could also be the Standard Australian Diet now.
Jacqui Fahey 04:03 Okay, I haven't heard that one before.
Christine Pope 04:07 Yeah well a lot of carbs, not a lot of fruit, not a lot of vegetables., generally not really supporting brain health in any way, shape, or form.
Jacqui Fahey 04:19 So you've launched this program, and what were the challenges of putting a course together?
Christine Pope 04:28 Well, I think the biggest challenge is getting really clear about what you want to provide a course on, and also making sure that it's appropriately tailored for your audience. So having done a lot of teaching, you know, I think for a lot of practitioners, we can get very, you know, we can get very biochemical and technical. And when I've been giving talks to people, I noticed that more biochemistry, the less attention generally, you know. There'll be one person in the room who's really into the whole science behind it, all. The rest of them just want to know what they need to be doing? You don't need to understand the Krebs cycle in detail.
Jacqui Fahey 05:07 Yes for sure, I mean, some people like that. This course that you put together, it's for all audiences?
Christine Pope 05:17 It's probably more specifically tailored for the general public. Although I think depending on what sort of practice you have, it's probably a very useful reminder. And for a lot of practitioners, I find that we're really good at looking after everyone else but perhaps sometimes we need to focus and come back to basics.
Jacqui Fahey 05:34 Yeah, very true. And so what are some top tips for ageing outrageously?
Christine Pope 05:40 Look, I would say that the first thing I really think is in critical is balancing blood sugar. Because, really, there's one label for Alzheimer's, which is diabetes type three. So getting that blood sugar balance is critical. And, you know, that can be as simple as including things like having protein, a small amount of protein with every meal, eating regularly, but within....you know, perhaps trying to get people to fast 12 hours overnight, which isn't a big call. And I think from the Bredesen protocol, they look at fasting for up to 16 hours overnight, but that's only for people who have the APOE specific gene that can expose you to a three to four times higher risk of developing Alzheimer's. So I wouldn't recommend that for everyone. And certainly I find for women, they need to be really careful about how long they fast for.
Because it can actually be really detrimental for them. And I think that's one thing, you know, a lot of the research has been done on men, it doesn't take into account women's specific needs, it doesn't take into account cycles. So it's important to make sure that, you know, if you're embarking on fasting, you're actually doing it in a way that actually is going to support you. And you know, for someone who's very adrenally exhausted, I think the last thing I'd want to do is put them into regular fasting.
Jacqui Fahey 07:05 Yeah, absolutely. What are some key nutrients or herbs or the like that you would recommend?
Christine Pope 07:13 Oh look, I think definitely, you know, the other tips, I'd say you need to look at nutrients and where they're deficient. Because over, you know, if it's taken 40-50 years to get into this shape, chances are there's some really significant long term deficiencies. We always think about magnesium and chromium with blood sugar, particularly. And I do find, I find this consistently with testing, I find it's magnesium, chromium, and reasonably frequently iodine as well. So iodine is one of those tricky ones because it kind of hides I mean, you know, magnesium is completely obvious, you know, they're cramping, having trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, that sort of thing. Chromium, you've got all the blood sugar hyperglycaemia type symptoms. But with something like iodine, it can be more diffused and affecting everything. But it really has a big impact. I think for women, you're looking for perhaps a history of fibrocystic breasts is perhaps another giveaway that perhaps iodine it's an issue. And, you know, iodine is actually a glandular tonic, so I guess anything in the glandular frame would also be a bit of a signal. But I have to say on a few occasions where I've had someone who's like, I'm doing all the right things, I can't lose weight. What often comes up is the iodine.
Jacqui Fahey 08:32 Ah, interesting. Yeah. Okay. And what about balance and falls? You know, I'm turning 50 next year...... there's an awareness in terms of balance as we age, do you cover that in your program?
Christine Pope 08:52 Oh, absolutely. And look, I've got a whole section that's just called ‘Get moving’. And the webinar I ran a little while, like a week ago. And, in that, I really focused on the importance of getting moving, because everything requires you to be moving. And I think it's also really important to do things that challenge you on a few different levels. So from a brain health perspective, what we actually need to do is focus on the things that we're not good at, which I find really hard because I like doing things I'm good at. I don't really like focusing on you know, for me, if I want to concentrate on the one activity I'm really bad at like, my biggest problem is spatial awareness. And, you know, ever see me on a webinar, you'll go, I'll be looking in the wrong direction, because I, you know, I can't quite seem to reverse that left, right brain. But, you know, for me, it would be reverse parking a lot. That would work. But I think for most people, it balances a problem. You need to be doing some things that actually work on your balance, whether it's regularly yoga or Tai Chi. I mean, I find Tai Chi is actually a really good level. A lot of people because it's gentler. And you can work you can work at seated, you know, you can start to build on your, your balance gradually. But I think the importance of moving, it's been really important for so many, like, it's going to improve your blood sugar. Because when the muscles are triggered, you're actually affecting that pathway with insulin and glucose. So you know, as a really easy example I give people is just have a set of half kilo weights, like the lightest thing you can and just do bicep curls six times a day, just to activate that muscle and that glycogen.
Jacqui Fahey 10:44 Yeah, keep it simple.
Christine Pope 10:47 And the other thing I find, too, it's really important when you're working with people who are interested in this topic, they tend to have some other health challenges going on. You really want to make sure that their exercise is graded, and gradual, because most people have had a bad experience of you know, in my day was probably going into the aerobics class and spraining your back or something, you know, that they've overdone it. And you need to work with someone who can actually help you through that process. So whether it's, I mean, I love the village Pilates downstairs, who, you know, I do a semi private and so I've got someone working with me to make sure I'm doing it correctly. I'm on the reformer, so I'm supported. And I'm just working one area, and I found that it's been really good for my balance. According to my chiro who does regular testing, I have the best balance in the family. You haven’t met the rest of the family. And I guess that also leads me on to you know, chronic inflammation is also a problem for brain health for a lot of people. And getting moving is a really good way to improve, you know, your lymphatic system, support your immune system, and just really, you know, keep everything working effectively. So, I think with brain health, it's really important to look at if there is chronic inflammation, why is it there? And what, what do you need to do about it? You know, is it a long-term infection. So when I was looking at the Bredesen protocol, for example, they talk a lot about lymes and other like, CIRS and other, you know, chronic underlying infections, which will probably lead us into things like long COVID, you know, as well. So those chronic underlying infections causing chronic inflammation, so you need to address those tendencies or that pattern to make sure that you can settle that inflammation down.
Jacqui Fahey 12:46 And with your course, what age group is that targeting? When you said it's good to go specific.
Christine Pope 12:51 I think a lot of my marketing says over 50s, but realistically, I think if you're over 40 and experiencing any chronic health issues, yeah, it would be really useful for you. So I've sort of focused on that older age group. But I know for a lot of people, those, you know, 50% of the population has some form of chronic disease, which is terrifying when you look at it.
Jacqui Fahey 13:14 Yes. Yeah, that's right. Absolutely.
Christine Pope 13:19 And if you can make changes in your 40s that will support you really well into your 70s and 80s.
Jacqui Fahey 13:23 Yes, well, it's Yeah, preventative, it's holistic approach, isn't it? And with regards to lifestyle, what do you cover in the program, what do you suggest there?
Christine Pope 13:38 Look, I don't actually specifically have a module on stress and managing it, because a lot of the like, the eight modules I have I've got a cover off on gut and digestion, balancing blood sugar getting moving. I focus on brain health, but a lot of the things that I'm covering in there are actually about managing stress. So for instance, with brain health, I focus on the importance of learning new things and building that neuroplasticity. So, you know, I mentioned in there a program that's actually done some clinical trials called Brain HQ. And even though the rest of the time when I'm talking about sleep, I'm trying to get people off their devices. Unfortunately, with this one, it is on a phone and it's the whole series of games that work on all different areas of your brain to improve your neuroplasticity. But the other ways you can do that is learning something new, whether it's, you know, dancing or language or you know, if you're really good at language, and you love doing wordles then you probably should be doing Sudoku. Comes back to that doing the things you're not good at is actually going to help develop different pathways in your brain.
Jacqui Fahey 14:54 True, true. And so with regards to putting this course together, what are you sort of bringing that's unique about it like what sort of a little bit of different stat that you feel that you're offering to this particular target market.
Christine Pope 15:09 So I think part of what I'm doing is I'm really focusing on food and making it easy for them to take onboard two or three changes, assess it as they go. So I've actually included some tools so they can assess every four weeks. Which one of my suppliers was kind enough to let me use their health assessment questionnaire and their mood and stress questionnaire. So what I'm encouraging people to do is actually measure and monitor so not just, you know, listen to the material, but incorporate it and then see what changes that are having an effect and a positive effect. And I find the other thing too, is if you can get people to do that, it actually encourages them to continue with those changes.The period of change they say is, you know, if you can do something for 28 days, you develop a new habit. I think with exercise, that should be about 56 days, but that might just be me.
Jacqui Fahey 16:08 And so you, you have two to three changes you mentioned is that two to three changes recommended per month out of interest, per module?
Christine Pope 16:18 That’s per module. What I do is I've got the modules dripped out over eight weeks. So that each week, you know, people can spend an hour they can listen to the, you know, there's one or two little webinars, it's probably 20-30 minutes. So think the other thing I've done, I've stepped well away from that 90 minute presentation that we've probably used to in, you know, professional education and tried to keep it really short and punchy. And then given people some options about the things they can do, and then encourage them to take it on board and measure and monitor those changes.
Jacqui Fahey 16:53 Yeah, I think the measuring and monitoring is very important, isn't it? Because yeah, we love to see progress and things shifting. And it's motivating.
Christine Pope 17:02 Yeh, we often, you know, when symptoms disappear, you don't realise that they've disappeared. I mean, most of us as practitioners have had that experience where we've said to someone, so how are your headaches? It's like, Oh, I forgot I came to see you, nothing's changed but I forgot I came to see about the headaches.
Jacqui Fahey 17:17 Very true. Yeah. I've actually noticed that with my practitioner, when she asked me and she's like, How's xyz going on? Like, oh, yeah, that shifted!
Christine Pope 17:28 Yeah, exactly. And if we do it as practitioners, I think a lot of people they forget, I mean, look, I've found with managing chronic pain, we, I was MCing a symposium about three weeks ago and there was some really interesting information about chronic pain. But one of the things that they were talking about was the most useful intervention is probably graded exercise therapy. And because there's a whole bunch of other things going on with chronic pain, where you're not modulating the signals as well and, you know, it can be they can do a scan, and there's nothing there anymore, but you're still experiencing pain. And I have to say, I've had my own experience of that, where, you know, having done, committed to Pilates twice a week for six months. I'm not just looking for praise for doing that. But I did find over that time that whereas I'd I was noticing more aches and pains. I mean, there might be a few specific twitches post the Pilates session but generally speaking, I was noticing that there was a lot less inflammation there. So you know, it really does make a really significant doing difference having that graded exercise therapy.
Jacqui Fahey 18:42 Absolutely. So you've mentioned Pilates has been helpful for you, what has been your that's worked for you for Ageing outrageously?
Christine Pope 18:52 So I'm a big believer in specific pro resolving mediators.
Jacqui Fahey 18:57 Oh, yes, SPM’s.
Christine Pope 19:00 I found they were a game changer for me. I basically got off all drugs post surgery within about a week on the SPMs and a decent magnesium. And look, I don't play well with drugs. So you know, I'd had the experience where I thought at least I'd be knocked out. And of course, they actually made me more wakeful. So that was annoying. And fortunately, my surgeon was happy for me to work with, you know, things that he knew would support me. And one of my colleagues also gave me some great homoeopathic advice too. So I used a lot of Nux post surgery, and that's great too. I do find, I suppose the other thing is I feel like I spend my whole life talking about having three cups of vegetables. But the difference it makes having an anti inflammatory diet is a game changer. And I remember a few years ago, I had a client that came in and she had a whole bunch of testing done. She did have issues with her thyroid, but there was nothing on the blood tests that said that there was a problem, but she was feeling terrible. And the one thing that really shifted her was back on an anti inflammatory diet because she had been on a big trip and overseas and the diet had gone out the window. And she said, within two weeks, she could really tell the difference.
Jacqui Fahey 20:22 All right, so I've heard of the various diets and I have heard of the anti inflammatory diet is, are there specifics that are avoided in this diet? I mean, the apart from the obvious?
Christine Pope 20:34 I don’t like to go gluten and dairy free, just because it works for me, doesn't mean it will work for you. I like to do other intolerance testing and make sure that we take out, so in my view, things that are inflammatory are foods that aggravate you. Some people know what they are, but a lot of people don't. So if you can get really clear on what that is, but I would say typically, you're looking at a lower carbohydrate, not no carbohydrate but lower carbohydrate and I prefer veggie carbs, so you know, carb out, get your carbohydrates from your broccoli, and cauliflower and that sort of thing, minimal grains, couple of servings a day, maybe. But I'm still happy people tolerate them to have them in there. And you know, they don't tolerate wheat, then they can have rice or something else. A lot of vegetables, so at least three cups a day. And I really love I love Deanna Minich talking about eating the rainbow. And trying to get people to have as many different vegetables as possible, because there's so much variety out there. But typically, you know, I like that one cup of brassica vegetables a day, particularly for women, one cup of leafy greens, and one cup of brightly coloured, like if I can get that going in and some berries, I'm really happy. And the thing is that people are eating that, then they have less room for other things. So you know, it's just my sneaky way of managing it. And then I probably you know, you've got to go back to protein at every meal. So whether that's a vegetarian protein or an animal protein, personally, I'm not as fussed on pushing people into eating completely plant based. Often I find older people if their diets already not great, and in their guts a bit compromised. They don't digest those proteins well. Now, it's about people eating in a way that really supports and nourishes them.
I'm probably always bang the table about nuts and seeds as well, because, you know, there's everything a healthy plant needs to grow, is there and it's such a great source of nutrition, but also good fats. And I suppose that's the other really important thing with these sort of programs, I think low fat was the worst thing ever for our health. You know, and it was shifting the blame from sugar, you know, from sugar to fat,I think having those good quality fats, whether it's from fish, or really good, plant oils is essential. And it's just look, I have to say a complete game changer for my brain was getting. I was having the visuals and the SPMs, and it really, I could see within probably, you know, it is slower. It's like six to eight weeks with fish oils but you could really see the difference.
Jacqui Fahey 23:22 Fantastic. And how can one find out more about your program? Do you have a website? Is it conducted mainly over the web or pre-recorded?
Christine Pope 23:30 I was going to say probably the other tips I would say, those thinking about building their own program, find a good platform that you can use easily. I went through three of them, I ended up with Simplero. But there are others out there like Thinkific. And there's a whole bunch of new ones coming on but make sure it's really easy for people to use because you don't want that tech frustration. Outsource anything you can’t afford. If you're not competent, and for me for the signups my mail list, freemium is a game changer.
Jacqui Fahey 23:55 What's a freemium?
Christine Pope A freemium is a small product that you offer as a download, in my case, that was a one pan meal recipe ideas. It could be a short webinar or something like that. But you give them this and they sign up for your mailing list and to collect emails and I was going say that was a game changer for me and the number of signups and also, they were people who were interested in the program, so that was also really good too.
Jacqui Fahey 24:36 Fantastic. Well, it's very inspiring to age outrageously. I just love brings joy even when I just say it's with, you know, just some fun information in some, you know, great, you know, grounded holistic approach in a program that you know, sure some of us might have heard some of this stuff before but it's having that guidance and motivation and facilitation isn't it?
Christine Pope 25:03 It is, look, I've picked the eyes out of the Walls protocol and Dale Bredesen protocol. But for a lot of people, frankly, they're too big. I mean, you know, Bredesen's is 36 points of intervention. That's a lot for people to do, and perhaps more than they need to do at the moment. So I think, you know, certainly, the changes I'm suggesting, I probably pick 12 of them out of it. And one of the ones I picked out of Walls is using organ meats, which I never I can never get anyone to do but I'm just really enthusiastic but eventually I will.
Jacqui Fahey 25:38 Good luck with that.
Christine Pope 25:41 Well, you know, a lovely organic liver pate. It's very high in B12, iron and zinc, CoQ10 which is, you know, much more expensive in other sources. So yeah, you can get the nutrition from food, you always have to eat.
Jacqui Fahey 25:55 Yes, you do and with joy, and yeah, with variety, as you said earlier as well.
Christine Pope 26:03 And I do find, I think Terry Walls recommends making the pate and putting it on radishes. I haven't quite got to that extent yet. I'm using a very nice seedy cracker.
Jacqui Fahey 26:14 Yeah, I'd prefer the cracker over the radish. Yes. Fantastic. So what was what was your website just for those that are listening.
Christine Pope 26:25 It's Christine Pope nutritionist and that's got my program on there. It's also on my clinic site, which is elemental health.net.au. There's links to the program on both those sites.
Jacqui Fahey 26:43 Wonderful. Anything else you'd like to share with us today?
Christine Pope 26:48 Look, I will be putting the latest webinar I've run on there with six tips for ageing outrageously. So that will be another freemium. So it should be up there shortly. If you want to have a listen and see whether there's anything you can incorporate into your lifestyle.
Jacqui Fahey 27:04 Well thank you Christine for sharing some helpful insights into ageing outrageously.
Christine Pope 27:20 You're welcome.
Jacqui Fahey 27:30 Thanks for tuning in today. Please feel free to leave us a review. We'd love to hear from you. Thank you.