We decided to sit down and have a chat with our practice owner and MD, Dr. Philip Oubre, and functional nutritionist, Aubree Steen.
We're diving into another 4 part series focusing on anti-inflammatory secrets.
We're diving into part 4 here, following with:
1. Dr. Oubre's Experience with COVID-19
2. The Best Anti-Inflammatory Diet
3. Our Favorite Anti-Inflammatory Supplements
4. Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle Habits (this video)
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:00):
Hey everybody. Today, we're going to continue on with our anti-inflammatory motif, and now we're going to be talking about anti-inflammatory lifestyle. And so, often in functional medicine we get a little crazy with all of the things you can take, and crazy food things that you can do, but we can't forget that our daily lives matter when it comes to how our body decides whether it's going to be inflamed or anti-inflamed.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:25):
And so, we've got many, many things we can talk about in this regard, and we talk to all of our patients about each one of these things, but we're going to see what we can get done in 10 minutes Aubree. We're going to [crosstalk 00:00:37] as many ... Right.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:37):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:37):
And we're going to focus on high impact things that anyone and everyone can do to make a difference. We came up with our list before, and my number one is toxic people.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:49):
Get them out.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:50):
Exactly. I frequently tell people that toxic people are worse than any toxin on this planet, and if you have a toxic person in your life ... First of all, as soon as I say the word toxic people you probably already have a little list of toxic people that come into your life. Unfortunately, you can't just kill them all. That doesn't work. You can't just eradicate them from your life entirely, because many times they're either family members, or maybe they're your boss, or a coworker, and you're stuck with this person.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:21):
First thing to do with toxic people is of course if you can get them out of your life, or distance them without going to jail, then that's a win, so always try to distance yourself from these toxic people. In reality, our therapist Donna is always telling people that you can only control what you can control, so the one thing you can control around these toxic people is you can control your boundaries.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:47):
And so, boundaries is a bad word in America. We're often everywhere. We want to help everyone and do everything, and that's not realistic, so toxic people the first step is to set boundaries, and those boundaries can look like multiple different things. If a toxic person is abusing your help, you're just helped out, you've done helped this person so many times you just can't help anymore learn to say no. It's okay. It's okay to say no, because you can only help so many people. You're not infinite, and the first step is you have to help yourself just like in the airlines, right? You've got to put on your own mask before you put on other people's masks, so you have to learn how to set boundaries.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:31):
A toxic person loves it when you don't have boundaries.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:34):
Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:34):
Because they can do what they want to do, and a healthy relationship with someone, whether if it's a family member, or friend, or coworker loves boundaries. I love when someone goes, or especially someone that I'm overseeing, or whoever, comes up and goes "I want to do this. I don't have time for this," or "Hey, I'm feeling a little off today. Do you mind if I just have some space?" I'm like, "Yes, you take your space." We need those boundaries. We need to tell people, "Hey, I need to take care of myself." Ultimately, the more we can take care of ourself the more we can help other people, and you don't want to short circuit.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:07):
And someone who doesn't appreciate you setting that boundary is definitely a toxic person for you, and that just tells you that you have to reinforce your boundaries. One of the metaphors I like to tell people is if you think of yourself as carrying a shield, and where you place that shield is the appropriate way to have boundaries with people, so basically you don't want to walk around this world with your shield all the way up, and you can't see over it, and you can't help people, and your shield is just so far up that you're blocked off to the world. That's not healthy, right?
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:38):
You also don't want your arms wide open saying roll over me.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:41):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:41):
I'm going to sacrifice my life to help everyone, right?
Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:45):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:45):
Because ultimately that's nice and great, but ultimately you're going to run out of steam and then be able to help no one. You want your shield here with most people. You want to be able to look over it. You want to be able to have healthy boundaries with these people. Siri keeps thinking I'm talking to her.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (04:01):
You want your shield about halfway to where you can still see over it, but you've got this healthy boundary with people. Now, with loved ones and things that shield may be a little further down, and may be more open, but you should never just be arms wide open to let anyone and everyone roll over you, because then you won't be able to help anyone. So, making sure to set those boundaries, and that's really hard for some people, and they feel like they're going to hurt someone's feelings by setting that boundary, but someone who actually cares about you, like you just said, wants you to set those boundaries, and wants to know when they're crossing that boundary.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (04:33):
Yeah. And I think a good way to spin it is to never put blame on someone. It's never to say what they're doing. You go, "Hi, I need space, so I can have better mental clarity, so I can be happier, and healthier, and so I can be at peace with myself." When you take ownership of why you're setting a boundary it immediately can diffuse a fight, and so it'd be like, "You do this to me," or "You make me upset," because in reality no one makes you do anything.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:01):
Yeah, there's really terrible people and you can feel overwhelmed and horrible by being in their presence, but when you say "I need this to recollect myself," or "I need this for my own sanity," it's much better received.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (05:20):
Yeah. We can probably talk a long time about toxic people. I want to give a special shout out to my empaths out there. You and I are both empaths. Most empaths that I talk to don't even know what an empath is, and they don't even know that they're an empath.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (05:33):
And so, if you've ever been that person that's been taken advantage of, and have a hard time setting boundaries, you're probably an empath, and you need to look up that term. You need to find out what that means, because you need to understand that people can steal your energy not because you want them to, but because as an empath you're a sponge. You absorb negative energy in order to help others.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (05:53):
But just like a sponge it eventually gets saturated and then can't absorb anything more, so you have to know your limits and what you can absorb, and when you need time to reset. There's a wonderful book out there, and I'll leave it at that. It's called The Empath Survival Guide by Judith Orloff. Now, I always warn everyone that she is an extreme empath, so when you read the book you're like, "Gosh, I'm not that bad." Don't think that doesn't mean you're an empath. There's a gradient to all empaths, so understand where you are. If you're a caring person and don't know how to set boundaries that is a great place to start.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (06:24):
And I'm sure there are other books on wonderful boundaries, but for my empaths that's a very great book to do. Enough from the toxic people, but that is the number one thing you can control in your life to be anti-inflammatory. How you interact with the world let's your body know whether to be inflamed or anti-inflamed, so get toxic people out of your life.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (06:42):
The number two thing, and if you're in America, it really is the whole world, any developing country, and especially in America we are too busy. We pride ourselves on being so busy. "Sleep is for the weak, and I'll sleep when I'm dead, and I'm just going to chug more coffee."
Aubree Steen, FNTP (06:58):
Hustle culture is the most toxic culture. The fact that we should-
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (07:03):
Hustle culture. I haven't heard it called that. Hustle culture. I like that.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:05):
I guess that's how I view it.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (07:06):
Did you just make that up?
Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:07):
Yeah. I think. I don't know. It's called something else, but all I thought was hustle, but hustling is good, but ... Goodnight.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (07:13):
I'm sorry I just kicked the table.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:14):
It's okay ... When all you do is hustle, and grind, and be on it, that's where you're going to get sick, and tired, and overworked. We're not meant to do that. We're not meant to constantly be on the go, and they've proven that a shorter work week, and shorter work hours with more efficiency is healthier for your body. You get more done. You're more productive.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:37):
So, taking the time, and I just had a talk with someone yesterday. I said, "I don't want you to work too much. I want you to take breaks. You need to take a break. You need to set that down." Because we're like batteries. We need to be recharged, especially if you're an empath. You can lose everything of who you are by overworking yourself and draining that out of you. [crosstalk 00:07:58].
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (07:58):
Yeah. It's always disappointing when you hear of all the research articles that talk about how many days of PTO that Americans don't even use. We have vacation days that are not even used every year, like what in the world? Or we choose to take it as a paid ... What do they call it when you can cash out your vacation, and take that as paid time instead of never taking the time off, and no, you've got to take your vacation days even if it's to do ... I don't want to say do nothing and sit on the couch, but even if it's to stay in your own home and work in your yard, or finally take down your Christmas decorations in February. Whatever it may be. Guilty.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (08:35):
Use your paid time off and you will be more productive. It's always shocking when they talk about decreasing people to a four-day work week and they get more done in those four days than they do with five days and things. The research is out there. Hustling too much can be a problem, and it's ultimately what I blamed my pneumonia on last year and getting hospitalized is I didn't slow down. I didn't let my body rest and recover. I didn't listen to any other doctors, and so don't be a victim of hustle culture.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (09:06):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (09:06):
Yeah. More problems. On that same not of being too busy is my next point on lifestyle, and that is just the practice of gratitude. It sounds terrible hokey, and terribly cheesy, but I have to say it's been one of the things that's really just radically changed my life when I started just being grateful for all the little things, and your life may not be perfect right now, but wherever you are there're always things to be thankful for. There are so many people that have it worse than us, and especially in America. We all have abundance in America.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (09:44):
Certainly, some people have too much abundance.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (09:46):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (09:47):
We've got the 1%'s and stuff, but that's not our focus. The focus is on us, and what we have, and we just need to be more and more grateful, and that is directly opposite to being too busy. Go ahead.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (09:58):
Yeah. And there's a balance of toxic plasticity, so we're not ever saying ignore what you're going through. You need to have space for that, and you need to feel it and process it, but at the same time processing what's going wrong and processing and being grateful for what's going right I think goes simultaneously for a healthier mind and body, and they've proven that you can retrain your brain, and your neuro-pathways for gratitude.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (10:24):
So, if you force gratitude, yes, force it even for 90 days you can actually-
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (10:29):
I'm so happy.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (10:30):
I know. Making yourself write down the good things even if you're the most depressed you've been in your life where you can't think of anything there's little things that you can think of, like I'm thankful for the potato chip, because depressed people don't eat very well. Let's be honest. But the little things that you can just write them down every single day, and your brain does start to change, and what that does is that has an effect on your nervous system as well.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (10:52):
We talk about these things in an anti-inflammatory sense. You have to realize that everything that we're talking about, people, exercise, lifestyle, everything that we're going to get into has a physiological effect on the body, and so that's why we're talking about it is because that can change your biochemistry, so you want to change it for the better, not for the worse.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (11:12):
Right. If you want to be happy then the way to get there is to express gratitude on a small scale, and eventually that small gratitude will grow to a larger gratitude, and then that becomes your behavior pattern and what your brain is used to, and then that's literally how you generate happiness. Happiness is a choice, and it starts with appreciating every little thing in your life.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (11:35):
You don't have to appreciate all the bad things that happen, but there are plenty good things if you choose to focus on them, so it's all about what your focus is. You can focus on the bad stuff and ultimately you will get worse and worse, and more and more depressed. And the study's are out there. This sounds hocus pocus but it's so true.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (11:53):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (11:54):
Start with your list, and practice it. The best time to start practicing is in your car on your way to work. If you're not quarantined and driving to work that's a great time to turn off the radio and just think about all the things you're grateful for whether it be family, the sky, your car, the fact that you have a job. Whatever it may be. There're so many things to be thankful for. If you can't figure out what you're thankful for it's time to sit down and really do some thinking.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (12:16):
Yeah. And if you do these habits and it's not changing then there could be something biologically happening. There could be toxins. There could be gut health. You may need to see a therapist. And I think one of the most toxic things too is saying that therapy's for weak people. I think everyone should see a therapist because you get a different perspective.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (12:33):
Yeah. I agree.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (12:34):
Our brains are really smart and they know how to store trauma, and they know how to store things in our subconscious, and so I think that stigma should be completely erased. I think it's powerful to go to therapy. I think the healthiest people do it, and they utilize it. All this to say is do what you can-
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (12:48):
Aubree Steen, FNTP (12:50):
I go now. I love my therapist. She's wonderful. It makes me a better employee, a better friend, better person.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (12:57):
I work with eight women so I think I have eight therapists right now at all times.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (13:00):
You do. You do. You do. You do the best that you can. Utilize, access resources if you need to.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (13:10):
I agree. I agree. We're big fans of gratitude. Next on my list ... Or what's next on your list Aubree? I've been dominating my list.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (13:16):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (13:19):
Aubree Steen, FNTP (13:20):
That sounds very strange.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (13:21):
Aubree Steen, FNTP (13:22):
Yeah. It sounds strange. Tai chi and things. When you think of anti-inflammatory you want to put your body in a less stressed state. You want to do movement that's wonderful for you. If you are not up for doing crossfit and doing these horrible cycling classes that are too much for your adrenals, and you're too stressed out, that's not anti-inflammatory movement. Over-exercising is not anti-inflammatory movement. Anti-inflammatory movement is anything that is gentle and supportive of your body. It's getting movement. It's getting energy flow, and it's telling your body I'm safe, and I'm taking care of you.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (13:57):
Yoga's a wonderful explanation of that. Going on a walk is an explanation of that. This is going to be relative for everybody, but finding something that brings you joy. Don't exercise to the point of exhaustion. Don't do it because you're trying to change the way that you look. You should exercise because you're going to increase that dopamine hit. You're going to increase that happiness, and you're going to help move your body. That's the anti-inflammatory.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (14:20):
Anything that is fluid and calming to the body and supportive we need it.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (14:26):
You hit on a big point, and that's what I was going to harp on too is that the reason for your exercise is really important. You're exercising for a positive reason, to help your body. If you're exercising to be not fat that's not really a positive thing. You want to exercise because you want to treat your body and be healthy, so make sure you're going for the right reason. The biggest problem in America is we've got this ingrained culture that if you want to be skinny, if you want to be healthy, you have to beat yourself up. You have to go to the pain cave. You have to torture yourself for an hour.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (15:02):
Let me tell you, if you want to fall off the wagon make exercise painful. That is the quickest way to fall off the wagon. Instead, if you find stuff that you actually enjoy, and be grateful that you're able to do those things, then it's much more likely to become a habit, and if it becomes a habit then you're much more likely to increase the intensity, or increase the duration, and that ultimately will lead to more fitness.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (15:23):
If you hate rowing, and that's the only thing you keep doing, it's not going to last.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (15:27):
Don't do it.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (15:29):
Aubree Steen, FNTP (15:29):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (15:29):
But if you love nature and bird watching then go hiking. Make that your exercise, and combine it with your hobby of bird watching, or just enjoying nature, and getting those two things. I do believe that in order to be quote unquote the healthiest you can be you must incorporate exercise, but it does not need to be painful hill sprints, and terrible torture to your body. It doesn't need to be huffing and puffing. Do you need to get your heart rate up? Yes, but there's many, many different ways to do that, and it's important to explore your body, and your brain, and find out what you like in order to keep doing that.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (16:04):
And then, to all my athletes out there that abuse their bodies, and exercise, you have to know that is an inflammatory exercise, and I'm guilty of it too. I'm doing Ironman training. Not right now. I've got COVID.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (16:16):
It sounds like no you're not.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (16:17):
During my intense Ironman training, and triathlon training. [inaudible 00:16:25]. During those times of intense training where I am pushing my body beyond what I know it should do that means that you have to give something else up, right? That means I have to eat even healthier than I normally do, or take more supplements than I normally do.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (16:38):
So, if you are torturing your body that just means that you've got to do much more on the other side, but in order to be healthy you do not need to have a six pack, and you do not need to exercise every day for an hour. The goal is at least 60 minutes a week, and you should at least get your heart rate into the zone of where they say you can't sing a song, meaning that you're working out hard enough that you can't actually hold a note, or sing a song, where you have to take enough breaths.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (17:06):
So, 60 minutes, and it doesn't have to be all at once. It can be 20 minutes three times a week. It can be 10 minutes six times a week. However you want to do it, but 60 minutes of not being able to sing a song. There's plenty of things that you do on a daily basis that are free. We talked about supplements for anti-inflammation. We talked about food for anti-inflammation. But there are many things that you do on a minute-by-minute daily basis that can change the way your biochemistry works as far as inflammation, and you need to take advantage of those, because those are free, supplements you've got to pay for.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (17:38):
Choosing to set boundaries with toxic people. Not being too busy. Expressing gratitude. Sleeping. Moving correctly.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (17:45):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (17:45):
Laughing is the best medicine.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (17:46):
Laugh. Go laugh.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (17:50):
Yep. That really makes an impact. I like to do the Peloton on my bicycle, and one of the things the instructors frequently say near the end of a workout when you're just toast, and you're tired, they say, "Smile," and I feel the most ridiculous ever-
Aubree Steen, FNTP (18:05):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (18:06):
... when I'm in a room all by myself. I'm in a class, on a bicycle and I'm smiling ear-to-ear, and I think this is so stupid, but-
Aubree Steen, FNTP (18:12):
It works. It works.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (18:16):
No matter where you are right now. I don't care if you're at a carwash and people are looking at you, smile right now and just feel that little warmth that comes over you, that tickle in your soul. Smile, laugh, if you want to be a weirdo. [crosstalk 00:18:27].
Aubree Steen, FNTP (18:27):
That is cute. That is cute.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (18:32):
It works. So anyway, we'll leave you with that as far as the anti-inflammatory lifestyle. Follow our channel, like us, subscribe, whatever. Check out our courses, and store online, if you want to support us, and we'll see you next time.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (18:44):
Cool. Bye guys.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (18:46):