April 26, 2021

113: Why You Need A Vegan Doctor | Dr. Scott Harrington

Dr. Scott Harrington returns to our podcast show …


Dr. Scott Harrington returns to our podcast show for a second time. Finding the right Primary Care doctor can be difficult, no matter who you are. But when you’re a vegan, it can be even harder. That’s why Dr. Harrington created Vegan Primary Care. A telehealth practice licensed to help you in most US States, providing care from a vegan doctor’s perspective. As board-certified physicians, they provide many of the same services as any primary care doctor you see in-person – writing prescriptions, ordering imaging or lab tests and making referrals. But rather than rely only on the Western model of medicine, which manages chronic conditions with pills, they believe in plant-based care that seeks to achieve optimum health through a whole-foods plant-based diet, enjoyable exercise, and maintaining quality relationships.

Dr. Harrington’s focus on individual treatment is evident in everything he does. He values the doctor-patient relationship and gets to know you personally. Initial appointments are 1 hour with 30-minute follow-ups so you never feel rushed. Why do you need a vegan doctor? Your current doctor may not know where you get your protein. They may not know the connection between nutrition and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Harrington is here to be your advocate. He mentions an app that you can use to track your daily meals. I looked it up and found one called Ate Food Diary + Habit Journal. Have you ever used a food diary/log? Or are you still battling certain health conditions despite making a change to a whole food plant-based diet?

Head on over to our Instagram @plantbaseddfwpodcast and send me a message. Let me know how you are doing and if you have been able to reverse certain conditions.

https://www.veganprimarycare.com/

Related episode: Dr. Harrington's first time on our show: https://soundcloud.com/plantbaseddfw/dr-harrington-interview 

Transcript

Dr. Scott Harrington  00:00

I still have patients who are on the plant based diet who have high blood pressure and some of them even have high cholesterol. And so they're they're folks who are not eating very cleanly. Even though it might be plant based, they might be eating your foods that are really highly processed or high in fat. Or, you know, the the familial hypercholesterolemia the family. cholesterol, elevated cholesterol is a thing. And, and so you can only treat it so much with a plant based diet, most of the time you get into their appropriate range, but sometimes you don't and I'm not opposed to prescribing medications. I have the power to prescribe all the normal, you know, gold standard medications, but certainly the first thing that we try our lifestyle change.

 

Narrator  00:47

Welcome to the Plant Based DFW Podcast weekly show with Dr. Riz and Maya, a show broadcasted from the Dallas Fort Worth area that focuses on lifestyle medicine. This is the use of evidence based lifestyle therapeutic approaches, such as a whole food plant based diet, regular physical exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management to treat, prevent, and oftentimes reverse lifestyle related chronic diseases that are all too prevalent. Every week They feature a guest who speaks on one of these lifestyle medicine pillars. This show is for you, the person who is seeking to improve your overall wellness and quality of life. So whether you are driving, walking, or relaxing at home, we hope this show will provide you one more tool for your wellness toolbox. Let's meet today's podcast guest.

 

Maya Acosta  01:39

Dr. Scott Harrington returns to our podcast show for a second time. Finding the right primary care doctor can be difficult no matter who you are. But when you're a vegan, it can be even harder. That's why Dr. Harrington creative vegan primary care, a telehealth practice licensed to help you in most US states providing care from a vegan doctor's perspective. As board certified physicians they provide many of the same services as any primary care doctor you see in person writing prescriptions, ordering imaging or labs and making referrals for rather than relying on the western model of medicine which manages chronic conditions with pills. They believe in plant based care that seeks to achieve optimal health through a whole food plant based diet, enjoyable exercise and maintaining quality relationships. Dr. Harrington's focus on individual treatment is evident in everything he does. He values the doctor patient relationship and gets to know you personally. Initial appointments are one hour with 30 minute follow up so you never feel rushed. Why do you need to be in doctor because your current doctor may not know where you get your protein. They may not even know the connection between nutrition and various other diseases. Dr. Harrington is here to be your advocate. In this episode, he also mentions an app that he uses with his patients to track their daily meals. I was able to look it up and I found an app called Ate Food Diary plus habit journal. Have you ever used a food diary or log? Or are you still battling with certain health conditions despite making a significant change to a whole food plant based diet? Well head on over to our Instagram at Plant Based DFW Podcast and send me a message. Let me know how you are doing and if you've been able to reverse any health conditions. Don't forget to visit Dr. Harrington's website, vegan primary care calm. Let's welcome Dr. Harrington. Well, welcome back Dr. Harrington. It's such a pleasure to have you again. 

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  03:45

So thanks, Maya, I really appreciate it. Thanks for having me on the show. This is great. Yeah, so Vegan Primary Care is basically my primary care office, my Vegan Primary Care office and where people can see me through telemedicine through 42 states. Whether you live in 42 different states, you can access me and access me as a health advocate, your primary care doctor who can order labs and referrals and imaging if needed, and who you can reach out to and ask medical questions to.

 

Maya Acosta  04:17

So I was mentioning just a few minutes ago that I'm very active on various Facebook groups. And it seems like every day I still we that someone is looking for a plant based physician who can be on their side when it comes to working with their health. In other words, someone who endorses a diet that they have now adopted and so I I'm like I guess we just got to keep sharing this information that there are physicians like yourself who are out there that are available, and your primary care physician that means that you can work with people with a broader range of people, I guess.

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  04:53

Right, right. Yeah, it's really important that we get the word out because there's vegans out there. who want their doctor to be just like them, they want them to someone to understand exactly what they're going through, and have an advocate who is just like them. So people don't realize how big telemedicine is getting, it's starting to take over. And once you use telemedicine, you realize, wow, boy, this is way easier than having to drive in traffic and, you know, be laid and all this frustration and sit in a waiting room. So it's, it's so nice when my patients can just connect with me from the comfort of their own home. And with the by getting multiple state licenses, I can see patients in Alaska and Hawaii and Texas, and Florida, you know, 42 different states. It's really great.

 

Maya Acosta  05:45

Now, it's so convenient. I think a lot of us are now getting used to this kind of doing a lot of business via zoom and other things like that. So it's, I guess, there were only a handful of things that you've mentioned in the past that you can't really treat directly like this by zoom, that was that related to maybe something related to the ear?

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  06:04

Right. So if there's, if there's something that needs to be if an exam needs to be done for the diagnosis, like an inner ear infection, much can be done through the history. But without sensing the diagnosis. It's It's not good to just just treat just by guessing. So. But most of the things can be that you that you need from a primary care doctor in terms of learning about your disease, educating you on how to treat or prevent your disease with diet and lifestyle factors, referrals, if needed, meds, refills and stuff like that labs, all that can be done online, so but for these specific instances, it is nice to have be seen in person. So I sometimes refer people to urgent care if it can't be dealt with. But there are tools out there, there's a device now called the title care device, where people can can get this device and it will, it will take a picture of your eardrum, it will listen to your heart exam and teach you how to do the exam you just follow the directions and the lung exam as well as oral oral exam the you know the tonsils looking at tonsils. So there are tools out there and you can go go 100% telemedicine pretty much. But for the most part, you don't have to have a title care device you can you can do just with just by the video,

 

Maya Acosta  07:28

Right. And then like I said, I'll go ahead and and put a link for the first time you came here the first episode that you visit it where you go into detail. in more detail about how telemedicine works. I will tell you Dr. Harrington, I've had an injury on my arm. And I think I need a physical therapist. But the whole idea of scheduling to go see the primary physician who I've only seen once because I don't have issues. Doing that to them being referred is is the only reason I've delayed all of this because it just seems like multiple steps I just so anyway, if I have an injury like that, if you were my physician, and I would kind of describe what it was like you would probably know who to refer me to to have further exams, right?

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  08:15

Yeah, absolutely. So I can see see how you can move your arm or whatever the injured extremity is, and you know, we can do certain exams just by having you do certain motions. And I can come up with what what I think is going on. And if you need I can get you refer to the appropriate specialists for you know, whether it's physical therapy, whether it's orthopedics or special sports, medicine, Doctor, that sort of thing. Yeah. Procedure based special teas, you know, require you to be seen in person, but sort of the medical specialties that, you know, don't, don't don't require procedures can be done all through telemedicine.

 

Maya Acosta  08:59

So I was hoping that today we can kind of go a little bit in more depth in terms of how people can continue to take care of themselves. So we are seeing that people who have comorbidities are still very vulnerable to you know, having more complications if they were to get the Coronavirus, for example. So I'm hearing my husband tells me that now he's treating COVID patients who are developing developing blood clots, and now he's having to treat those legs and things like that. So I am, I was wondering if we can talk a little bit about things like that what we can do to keep our blood pressure a little bit more stable, lower our cholesterol, and really just have our diabetes under control. And then maybe we can talk about your perspective on the vaccine and tell people how you feel about that. Where it's obviously people are doing well with the vaccine, but I know that it's a tough topic to talk about for some people. So what do you think should we talk about what people can do to continue to take care of themselves?

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  09:58

Absolutely. First and foremost, we're talking about the plant based diet. It no time in my mind in history has had been more important that people adopt a plant based diet. And I'm because it's coming from all all sides, you know, you know, in America, we have a high obesity rates, and our medical costs are going up. And our lifespan is finally sort of peaked and starting to trend back down. If that didn't scare you, you know, now we have a pandemic, and having these comorbid illnesses, that that will increase your risk for severe COVID infection, like hypertension, like coronary artery disease, like diabetes, these kind of things put you at risk for having worse outcomes. So now more than ever, you should be concerned about your health and improving, improving your health. And so the number one recommendation, I have, of course, the plant based diet, because it not only treats, but it helps reverse many of these chronic illnesses. And so that's kind of like the bottom line up front. I mean, we can get into specifics. But if you're just on the fence, if you haven't decided to take the plunge, I would say do it. It's so easy it is so and it's so fun. And so there's so many so many reasons to do it.

 

Maya Acosta  11:23

Dr. Harrington, do we have to only rely on medication to control our blood pressure?

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  11:29

No, the DASH diet has been developed in proves that you can decrease your blood pressure dramatically with your dietary intake DASH diet was developed. I believe in the 70s. And it I might be wrong about the exact date but it's been around a long time is what I'm trying to say. And it was it was developed with, you know, low fat low salt diet, it didn't mention vegan or vegetarian was mostly vegan or vegetarian with that diet is dramatically reduced blood pressure. So people don't even have to go all the way up. But we know we know dietary effects greatly benefit the blood pressure, we know that exercise may decrease it another five points with aerobic exercise and then with weight bearing exercise another five points. And so yet the answer is yes. But what I'm going to what I'm going to sort of go back to is your the when patients have shortness of breath, and they think they may have COVID, some people are scared to go to the hospital. And in in peak times, the ERs in the ICU have been full. And for an ER doctor, you sort of change your triage, you know, people are really severe, you're bringing them in. And if they're sort of mild, you're sort of recommending that they convalesce at home. And so some patients might be sort of concerned about even going in for the fear that they'll contract COVID. And so, overall, there's a lot of fear. But what I'll say to this is that most parts are not completely overwhelmed. And that usually comes out in the news about whether your local hospitals are completely overwhelmed. And so in the United States, we have a lot of resources we have a lot most most of the time, you're able to go to the emergency room and get, you know, gold standard of care. I will say that if you it's best if you're feeling shortness of breath to go to the hospital, that's an emergency. And sometimes you'll have other things like you mentioned your husband dealing with clots, sometimes people people will develop clots in their lungs for other reasons. And think that it's COVID and not not get that figured out. Because Because they'll just be convalescing at home. So if you're short of breath, and something doesn't feel right, you got to get checked out.

 

Maya Acosta  13:54

So I went on to Facebook to kind of ask people how they have managed their blood pressure. I was surprised how many people are well read and informed. You know, they've read a lot of these books by Dr. Michael Greger and very familiar with all of this and just you know, hibiscus tea and drink and eating beets and so many different things that you don't even have to isolate these foods if you just re if you just eat a variety of whole plant based foods you're pretty much covered, aren't you? 

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  14:24

Absolutely Yeah, we when we're when we're testing things, we get granular we you know, we break it down to very specific things. But you know, the whole food plant based diet works in a myriad of ways to decrease the blood pressure. One way that's very interesting was they found that nitrate rich vegetables will increase athlete's performance because it helps to dilate the vessels and and so when you look at different nitrate rich vegetables, arugula is one of the highest. It has 40 milligrams per 100 grams. cilantro 247, butter leaf lettuce, 200, mixed greens, one ADA. And then beet juice is a little bit, it's kind of in the middle there to 240 that I can't imagine myself drinking beet juice all the time juicing in general is kind of a pain and you end up with all this stuff. So this whole sort of beet juice craze, just eat greens just you know, have a have an awesome salad every day. And so this is going to dilate your your vessels, whether you have peripheral vascular disease, whether you have coronary artery disease, whether you have erectile dysfunction, you know, these are vascular issues. And, you know, even you, you, you assume that it may improve cognitive performance, because you get more blood flow to the brain as well, so, so, I have a lot of folks have friends in the military, because I'm in the military. And so they're always asking about how to improve performance and how to how to recover faster. And that's what I tell them, make sure you're eating a salad every day with lots of green leafy vegetables to get that nitric oxide if the vessels from the nitrate rich vegetables. And one last kind of interesting tidbit on this is there are bacteria in our mouth that helped to break down those nitrate rich vegetables into nitric oxide if you if you use mouthwash or antiseptic mouthwash and could potentially harm those bacteria and the enzyme that is going to change that. And so you can actually decrease the effectiveness of your greens with anti septic mouthwash. So just brush your teeth without antiseptic. mouthwash I just find that very, very interesting. We're learning more and more about how antibiotics maybe sometimes working against us in ways we just didn't understand.

 

Maya Acosta  16:54

That's something that I stopped using many years ago. And somehow I might have heard this information. I don't know, I don't know if you can kind of cover the difference between heme and nonheme. Iron, I'm assuming that you don't recommend iron supplements,

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  17:07

I don't well see iron supplements are commonly prescribed by family doctors, because anemia is very common thing. But one of the problems with the iron supplementation is is is honestly constipation, when you take it and iron is actually one of the medications that has had the most overdoses throughout history. And because it has a low amount of you know, the lethal dose, I don't know how I don't know how many iron pills you'd have to take to get a lethal dose. But it is concerning. So a lot of times you don't see it high, high amounts of irons and a lot of multivitamins and things. Because Because of this, everyone's worried that we're going to overdose or eat the vitamins like candy. And so in order to avoid the side effects of constipation, and sometimes it makes people feel nauseous when they take the supplement at a time. So for whatever reason, I find myself going back to the the food that they're eating. And one thing that you can do is make sure that you're eating your iron rich foods with a food that contains high vitamin C, whether it's things like citrus or things like you know, vegetables that contain like red peppers, or, for instance. So like greens, beans, and grains have high and then there's some seeds, like for instance, like pumpkin seeds contain high amounts. But some folks will even do a supplement with a blackstrap molasses supplement contains iron. So that's not something that that I've recommended, but I've heard it I've heard it recommended almost like a supplement. For some folks. 

 

Maya Acosta  18:49

Yeah, what actually contributes to anemia?

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  18:51

The one that most people that we're talking about is the iron deficiency anemia. And so for the most common iron deficiency anemia that's seen in the family practice clinic, it's usually from heavy menstrual flow and just loss of iron to the menses. So there is one that is something that you can address. If someone has bad fibroids and they're having you know, heavy flow, you can try to decrease their flow with with menstrual suppression of the menstrual cycle with with birth control type medications. And so that way, you just don't have as many losses and then you can with a normal diet, you can you can regain your normal levels. But the other thing for for males, especially for older folks, you worry that iron deficiency anemia might be the harbinger of blood loss through the colon from polyps and colon cancer. So that is a win when you're having iron deficiency. That's kind of the first thing that you're worried about. Is Is this a sign of something else? Wow, that's interesting in little infants that you worry that it's people drinking cow's milk before age one And causing blood loss, again through the intestinal brush board or so. But you'll find there's a myriad other reasons why people could have anemia for other reasons not associated with iron deficiency.

 

Maya Acosta  20:13

So how our patients, are they feeling comfortable seeing you via zoom, how's that going?

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  20:19

That's great. You know, I actually find that it's when people are in the comfort of your own home. I mean, there's less sort of white coat syndrome, you know, I'm at my house, and I'm with my, my pets, and I'm, you know, here with my family, and please feel more comfortable. And it's also nice to know that there's someone sort of on the other line who is there. Even when we're not seeing each other, we set them up with an electronic medical record, and they can send secure messages and stuff. So it's kind of nice to feel like you've got you covered. 

 

Maya Acosta  20:46

I think by now a lot of people kind of know how to use them, right?

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  20:50

Yeah. So I that's how I connect my patients. It's just a resume. So if you've used zoom before, then you've you've you've gone over that hurdle of learning the technological hurdles.

 

Maya Acosta  21:01

Yeah, yeah, I've been working with a transformational coach who's been working with me on my own anxiety. And I love having that conversation with her via zoom, she'll help me relax and meditate and do things that normally you would do in an office kind of setting. But I love it. And you're right, the whole comfort of being in your own home is an added bonus to all of this. So

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  21:23

Yeah, I don't know. I mean, I kind of get, I don't know, maybe if you're going to need someone, maybe you get a little like, like stage fright, or, or, you know, like the white coat or Oh, my gosh, so But, but when they're just on the screen, there's less, I don't know, less tension, I feel like it's easier. I find that the patients are less stressed. And they feel like they can tell me anything they need to tell me and yeah, it's Yeah, so I've even had patients throughout the years. I mean, they're, they'll be you know, in their car, or they'll be at the restaurant, or they will be, you know, just places that that's an urgent care setting. But I do recommend that when patients see me that if they have they have their own vital sign type equipment, like a thermometer, or they test their weight, and you can get the most out of an appointment. If you buy a blood pressure cuff, one of those goes on your arm, and it's automatic. And a lot of times, it'll even tell you your heart rate. And you can even get one of those little devices called the pulse ox. They're they're so cheap. Now they're 20 bucks. And these devices will help you get the most out of your telehealth visit. If you see me or see any other doctor, it's good to take control of your health, you know.

 

Maya Acosta  22:40

That's actually a pretty good thing for you to mention. And oh, the vaccine. So I was wondering if we if you can kind of speak to our audience a little bit about the safety of the vaccine? What are the numbers looking like? And I mean, it looks like is, so far things are going well, with the majority of the people that are receiving the first and the second vaccine?

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  23:01

Absolutely, I First off, I want to tell everyone to get the vaccine, you know, many people say, Well, are you going to get the vaccine? And the answer is yes, as soon as I'm offered the vaccine, I'm going to be getting it. I'm not a frontline health worker, I'm a telemedicine health worker. So unfortunately, I'm not on the line, but I don't want to take it from someone else who is on the front line. So as soon as I get it, I'm going to get the vaccine. I'm in the military and in the military, we're getting vaccines for everything. So I'm not my pert, I don't have a personal sort of concern. And we know that the vaccine is very effective is 95% effective. And so I can have a I kind of have, my theory is like this, you're either going to get the vaccine, or you're probably going to get the virus. And so the question in my mind there is like, Well, which one is going to cause me more more damage, which more harm? And in certainly the answer there is the virus, so I want to be protected. So the big concern people are having regarding side effects, the first time the person to get the shot, you don't get a lot of side effects, maybe a little bit of irritation at this site. But the second time you get the shot, you're having a robust immune response. And that that, you know, people may feel a little achy and kind of like they've been run over by a car, they that's kind of the joke. malaise, just feeling down and some people even feel mildly feverish. But that's that's suggesting that your immune system is at work and you're having a robust response. And so don't just get the one get the two because after the second shot, your your your your resistance to infection goes way up. So another thing that people ask me is, they say, well, is the vaccine vegan? You know, your vegan primary care is the vaccine vegan and the answer is Yes, the vaccine itself contains no animal products, no animal products, that's very, I want that to be very clear to folks hasn't been tested on animals, unfortunately, yes, it has been tested on animals. And it's FDA required. So we can get into ethical debates about about that. And certainly my stance is that we need to stop animal testing, we need to stop the requirement for animal testing. And they are working on alternatives to animal testing and alternatives that are more human centric to their human tissues that they're creating in a lab environment and in vitro environment that can give us answers, as opposed to testing on a different species, you know, we want to be able to test on tissues that are human, and that don't require the loss of animal life, it shouldn't be that we should not take the vaccine because it has been tested on animals, we should honor their sacrifice and prevent the loss of further life by taking the vaccine and the the, unfortunately, the loss of animal life was going to happen when by them making the vaccine in the first place because the FDA requires so they say, well, there's cholesterol in the vaccine, the lipid layer that the that the MRA, the genetic material is covered in is made with cholesterol. That seems like a dead giveaway. However, the NHS has determined that this the cholesterol that they use was derived from plant sterols and synthetically produced. So that is a plant based product. So that's very, very good news. Because I know a lot of my listeners would be leery about having to take an animal based product.

 

Maya Acosta  26:42

Yeah, it's I'm so glad you brought it up, I actually have not really considered how this was all kind of made, whether it was vegan or not. I'll tell you, you know, I hear mixed messages. Some people are afraid there's a kind of running joke in my own family because everyone's afraid. And my mother said she wanted to go ahead and get her vaccines. So she got her first shot, she's 72 years old. And the rest of the family say, well, let's see how grandma does. And if she's okay, then we'll take it and I'm thinking, my goodness, and she has diabetes, she's had two strokes, so she definitely does not want to get sick. But we should continue to take care of ourselves between shots as well, right? Because we can still be vulnerable to if we're exposed after the first vaccination shot.

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  27:29

Absolutely, your effectiveness doesn't go up till about the third week after the first shot. And then after getting the second shot, it dramatically increases. So you still have to be careful. The first shot is just the beginning. And it's not very effective. Initially, it takes time, it takes time to build up. The one thing I will mention about it is the anaphylaxis A lot of times people are highly allergic to things or they've had inflected reactions before. And right now the CDC is recommending that it's, it's okay, unless you've had because this vaccine was produced very differently than most vaccines are produced in the past that it doesn't mean that you're going to have an inflected reaction from from the, from the COVID vaccine. Remember, there's no preservatives in these vaccines, because they're they're, they're kept in such a chilled environment. And the there if you are allergic to something called polysorbate, or polyethylene glycol, these are components in laxatives. There's a polyethylene glycol is something that sometimes people will take before having a colonoscopy and they'll you know, kind of flush you out. If you're allergic to that, then there's you have to let your doctor know because there's a concern there might be a cross reactivity with the, with the vaccine. Another concern people have is that people are saying that they've had reactions because they've had injections in the lips and different fillers and you know, collagen like products, and the CDC is recommending to get it. Despite this, this concern because of the because the Coronavirus could be so complicated.

 

Maya Acosta  29:23

I don't know if I mentioned to you, Dr. Harrington, but I actually had COVID in the fall well, later on in the year, and it was through an exposure. My husband had an exposure at work. And so I went through the whole thing. It didn't supplement with anything but after that experience, I said wow, this stuff is real and I'm plant based. So and I don't have any comorbidities. I don't I've never dealt with blood pressure issues or anything like that. Should I still consider taking the vaccine?

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  29:53

They recommended the CDC recommends it despite having Coronavirus And that is because there is a concern that over time your immunity will wane. And by getting this it's kind of like getting a booster, just like the second shot is a booster for the first shot. Getting getting immunized is a way to bolster your immunity to continue and prolong your immunity for the Coronavirus.

 

Maya Acosta  30:24

I've also heard some people are what they call long hollers they continue to have complications way after their initial two week exposure or battle with the virus.

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  30:35

Yes, honestly, I can't I don't really understand the the long holler. I mean, I just haven't heard a lot of good explanation for why this is happening. It is happening, it is happening. And I just, I tell my patients that kind of the best thing I know what to tell them is just to try to eat, you know, lifestyle, you know, get good sleep, avoid alcohol and tobacco and, and an eat right into the best, best for your health. But yeah, we've all heard about stories of people having very prolonged symptoms, and loss of smell and fatigue and sort of a chronic fatigue syndrome like scenario. And yeah, so that's that, to me that that that provides the one of the biggest reasons why people who are in like the 30s and 40s have a very, very low likelihood of you know, having severe complications, she idea of having such long haul or syndrome makes me very, very want to get vaccinated and want to prevent those types of issues. You know,

 

Maya Acosta  31:41

That's right, I heard one individual, one of the groups that I'm part of say that he went on a plant based diet to lower his blood pressure, had COVID and then continued on the plant based diet and the blood pressure started going up. So he's blaming the whole food plant based diet, and I'm thinking, and I said to him, Are you sure you're not one of these long hollers that continues our complications? I don't see how I whole food plant based diet could raise the blood pressure. And as you're eating processed foods, right?

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  32:09

Right, well, I know I joke around when you're on the vegan diet, it's like unicorns and rainbows. Everything gets better, you know. So wait, I got a joke. Because Because I get real sort of upset when ever I get sick with anything, because I feel like oh my gosh, you know, my health is my superpower. I'm a vegan, and you know what the heck. But I still have patients who are on a plant based diet who have high blood pressure, and some of them even have high cholesterol. And so there there are folks who are not eating very cleanly, even though it might be plant based, they might be eating, you know, foods that are really highly processed or high in fat. Or, you know, the the familial hypercholesterolemia the family, cholesterol, elevated cholesterol is a thing. And, and so you can only treat it so much with a plant based diet, most of the time you get into the appropriate range, but sometimes you don't, and I'm not opposed to prescribing medications, I have the power to prescribe all the normal, you know, gold standard medications, but certainly the first thing that we try are lifestyle genes.

 

Maya Acosta  33:17

Right? So you might have just answered this. But what would you say to someone to a patient who swears that they're eating a very clean, whole food plant based diet? So they're eliminating the salts and the oils and the sugars and still struggle with the high cholesterol or the high blood pressure? You just said, You're not opposed to medication, but how can we keep them on track and continue to encourage them to eat this way, despite still needing a little bit of medication to control those other factors?

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  33:45

Yeah, so this, this is very common, this is very common, and you want as a doctor, I'm people's advocate, and I don't want their two people to feel like they have to, you know, sort of bend the truth, when they talk to me, I want I want people to know that like, Hey, we're all human, and we're all you know, make mistakes, or whatever No, some patients will is why he very perfectly very cleanly, but in general, we're human. And we can all we can all clean up our diet a little bit, you know, we can all eat more greens in our diet, we can all improve. And so as opposed to sort of, you know, having sort of this head to head sort of Converse confrontation, one of the cool things that I like to do is I share everything I eat with my patients through the You Ate app, which is on iOS and Android. And it's a free app, and it's a food logging out and you don't have to count calories or anything like that. You just before you put in your mouth, you snap a picture of it and enjoy document and this is what I'm eating. So when we friend each other I can see what you eat and you can see what I eat. And we can compare and so if if you're still having problems after having that little Bit of accountability, the idea that that someone is kind of there for you and sharing in your experience, you're still having problems and we may, we may work it out. Now, there are things called the portfolio diet, which is just increasing the plant sterols in your diet to decrease cholesterol. And so that's including servings of beans in your diet, including servings of oatmeal, and you can even take plant sterols supplements as a counter instead of taking status. For instance, some people try this plant sterols. And so there are also some other supplements called amla powder. I'm a powder just dried and powdered Indian gooseberries. They're great like fruit. They're really yummy. But the powder itself is not very yummy. So I like to take it in capsules. But that also is known to decrease cholesterol. So these are some of the things that we tried.

 

Maya Acosta  35:56

Okay, great. Yeah, I do add the alma powder into my smoothie as well. And and now I'm starting to add a little bit of maca, only because I read that it helps kind of reduce maybe potential how flashes, it says I'm headed that way. So I like what you said about the you aid app that is awesome. Because a lot of times you want to be able to see what people are actually eating. And I you know, I say this often. But when I first went plant base, I just thought, oh, I'll just eat the processed vegan version of what I used to eat. And so I realized I wasn't really eating a lot of living foods, healthy foods. And so once I started eating a lot more unprocessed foods, you know, the weight started coming off, I had more energy. So I like that I'm going to make sure to look that up for myself. The other thing that I noticed too, was that I like what you just said that we continue to be human. So we're not perfect, it doesn't mean that we won't feel tired and fatigued at times, just because we're on a whole food plant based diet. I mean, as we age, we probably naturally have a little bit less energy, stress, emotional stress, that things that are happening in our environment continue to affect our health as well. And do you recommend I know we I like to speak a lot about lifestyle medicine, and we have covered it in the past. Do you also kind of prescribe other things to your patients like self care, walking? Stress Management?

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  37:17

Yes, yes. So diet is always number one diet is number one, because I feel like it's really the building blocks of you know, what you're putting in your body is your is what your body has to work with the building blocks. And so I say oh, you can never outrun your mouth, you can never outrun your mouth, right. So, you know, 100 calories from an extra cookie is like a long run worth of exercise you'd have to decrease to equal out those calories. But exercise is number two. Number two. Sometimes it sounds like I'm Pooh poohing exercise because you know, I'm talking about diet is number one, but exercise has so many beneficial effects, and long with your health and your immune system. to you they in an animal models and talking about animals, again, they've shown that you can decrease the spread of cancer, for instance, with exercise. And that's that's an animal models. But the number one reason I tell people to exercise, believe it or not, is for mental health, mental health, because it's hard to feel anxious after you've gone on a run. You know, it's hard to feel depressed that you've just feel so vibrant, so live, and you're in the moment. And so exercise is like magical mental health medication, despite the fact that it makes you feel great and everything. So obviously sleep and stress reduction, meditation, guided meditation, yoga, these kinds of things. And one of the things that Dr. Greger had put on recently was something called forest bathing. And I always, I hadn't really heard it put that like that. I always say vitamin in vitamin n, you need your vitamin and your nature. Yes, getting out in nature will just decrease your stress and having an animal these are these are, you know, like a pet. These are things that really decrease your stress dramatically. So we go over all those things. I try to meet people where they're at, try to find what they might be missing in their life and to help sort of round out their lifestyle factors.

 

Maya Acosta  39:23

I love the whole idea of forest bathing. As a matter of fact, I keep a book here on my desk to kind of remind me of the importance of getting out in nature.

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  39:32

Oh, wow.

 

Maya Acosta  39:33

Yeah. So a couple of years ago, I actually went we went on a trip to Oahu and I went to the first forest bathing guide individual who guides these tours in a wahoo. There are probably a lot more now but it was my first experience having a four hour sort of being very present in nature guided by her with a small group on focusing on the entire environment and Then we come back and have tea, like a tea ceremony. And ever since then I've understood the importance of spending time in nature. So anyway, so that I have that book as a reminder. Dr. Harrington, is there anything else that you'd like to share with our listeners? 

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  40:16

No, I think with the questions that are, I think we're adequate for today. But I do want to say, hey, if you are looking for a doctor who gets you, then go to vegan, primary care, calm and look me up, make an appointment to be seen, I can be your health advocate, your primary care doctor, even if we're in different states, and most states throughout the nation, 42 states. And so I look forward to meeting with you and being your health advocate.

 

Maya Acosta  40:41

After all, no matter what condition no matter what stage of life, we always start with a primary physician, right?

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  40:47

Absolutely. I'm like the medical home base. Yeah. I as your family doctor, I look forward to what specialists have to say and we can get you seen by different experts in their field. But but it's always nice to have a family doctor as your primary care so that you can make sure that medicines that the cardiologist prescribes doesn't interact with the one the nephrologist prescribes, or the guest neurologists gastroenterologist. And so it's nice that you have someone looking at the big picture.

 

Maya Acosta  41:18

Yes, and the fact that you're available in so many states, you have that foundation and understanding of lifestyle medicine and plant based nutrition and I I say it over and over again. But I keep seeing comments of people wanting that a physician that is on their side that's not going to fight what they already have learned when they watch films like Forks Over Knives, What The Health, when they've read information by Dr. Michael Greger now they want the physician who is on the same page with them and wants to be proactive in their health. So

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  41:49

Until every doctor is plant based, like they should be right Dr. Harrington Vegan Primary Care.

 

Maya Acosta  41:55

That's right. We're so thankful that you're available. We'll put all your links and information in the show comments. And as always, thank you so much, Dr. Harrington, for being with us today.

 

Dr. Scott Harrington  42:05

Thank you so much, Maya. I really appreciate you. I mean, come on.

 

Maya Acosta  42:08

Okay, so there you have it. Dr. Scott Harrington. If you're interested in knowing his story of how he became vegan, and then how he developed his vegan primary care practice. I'm going to put a link to the previous interview I had with him so that you can learn a little bit more about him, visit his website sign up. If you don't have a vegan physician who supports your way of eating and your lifestyle you need to connect with Dr. Harrington. Thanks for listening you guys. You've been listening to the Plant Based DFW Podcast show. If you like our content, please like, share and leave a review. Our goal is to provide quality episodes to help support the community.