June 16, 2021

121: Healing Trauma with Yoga | Dr. Maria Colon Gonzalez

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez obtained her medical deg…


Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez obtained her medical degree at the University of Puerto Rico Science Medical Campus. She then joined Penn State to complete her residency in Family & Community Medicine. While at Penn State, she traveled abroad to gain experience in Global Medicine. This sparked a passion in Dr. Colon, and she decided to complete a fellowship at Brown University in Faculty Development for Global Health. Dr. Colon then moved to South Texas, joining the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine. She is now working for a new company called GoMD, where their goal is to improve care and access to the Hispanic/Latinx population. 

Very early in her career, Dr. Colon noticed the missing link in traditional medicine: patient empowerment for self-care. As an “ex-diabetic,” Dr. Colon knows the power of lifestyle as a prescription to reverse disease. After finishing her “formal” training, she became certified by the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine and completed additional training in plant-based nutrition and trauma-informed yoga. She provides comprehensive and holistic care for Hispanic patients on the US-Mexico border.  You can learn more about Dr. Colon by visiting her LinkedIn profile.

All links for our guests can be found on our website: plantbaseddfwpodcast.com. Look for the episode; in this case, it is number 120, and you will see Dr. Colon’s bio, links, and a transcript of our conversation.

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-colon-gonzalez-md-99b53150/

FYI Keep in mind that the Lifestyle Medicine Conference will be coming up on November 7-10 here in the Dallas area. You can learn more by visiting lmconference.org. 

Transcript

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  00:00

Some of these adverse childhood events are some of those things that we call the social determinants of health. there for the majority of these patients might feel even a little bit of powerlessness, right, they might not feel like they have a lot of that power in the relationship. And then what we usually do as physicians is that we tell them, this is what you need to do. And if you do ask, you will get fatter. So a lot of what we do is that we dictate, right? And when we did take, we're taking the power of choice and autonomy from the patient. So that by itself creates this distrust because now I don't I don't have autonomy. Now I cannot choose but rather than telling me what to do.

 

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. Maria Colon-Gonzalez obtained her medical degree at the University of Puerto Rico science Medical Campus. She then joined Penn state to complete her residency and Family and Community Medicine. While at Penn State she traveled abroad to gain experience in Global Medicine. This sparked a passion in Dr. Colon and she decided to complete a fellowship at Brown University in faculty development for global health. Very early in her career, Dr. Colon noticed the missing link in traditional medicine that is patient empowerment for self care. As an ex diabetic, Dr. Colon knows the power of lifestyle as a prescription to reverse disease. After finishing her formal training. She became certified by the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine, and completed additional training in Plant Based Nutrition and Trauma Informed Yoga. She provides comprehensive and holistic care for Hispanic patients in the US-Mexico border. You can learn more about Dr. Colon by visiting her LinkedIn profile. All the links for our guests can be found on our website, Plant Based DFW podcast.com. Simply look for the episode number. In this case, it's 120. And you will see Dr. Colon's bio her links and a transcript of our conversation. Also keep in mind that the Lifestyle Medicine Conference will be coming up on November 7 through the 10th here in the Dallas area. You can learn more by visiting lmconference.org. And I hope you enjoy this episode. Welcome, doctor.

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  03:14

Thank you for the opportunity.

 

Maya Acosta  03:16

Yes, so I reached out to you, because you're a physician because I also found it through the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. So there are all those components that are so important to the work that we're doing on our podcast, and with our community and as well as your so there's so much that we can talk about, I'm looking forward to hearing your story of how you also reverse your own diabetes. Let's start by getting to know you a little bit Are you from Puerto Rico?

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  03:43

So I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. My family is originally from the center of the island is a town that is called Lares. And I grew up mostly in San Juan in the big city.

 

Maya Acosta  03:55

When you were growing up in Puerto Rico, were you exposed to anybody in medicine? or How did you decide you wanted to go into this field? 

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  04:02

Yeah, so I do come from a family where there is a lot of physicians through my mom's side. And and I think that also the one thing is I was always passionate about how often how that passion grew, was as I had to learn about my own disease and my own condition, right. So I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was like in the third grade. So you know, I think that you're like eight years of age. And I had to educate myself and I started to realize how important it really was to have a really good doctor. I think that also my own family doctor had a great impact on it and we were able to have such a good relationship with him and he was literally, you know, the physician for our entire family. So you know, that combination of family exposure, good role models, my own disease, right and let me into medicine. Originally I was going to do more health education and public health. But once I started, its, you know, college and I started studying, I had a sense that I might have a greater impact. If I actually did it through medicine rather than public health.

 

Maya Acosta  05:16

So you were impacted by the family physician, and then you realized you can have the greatest impact by being a physician. So I've heard someone else say that, you know, his father was a physician and realize that the path towards wellness was nutrition. However, he chose the medical field, because let's face it, we listened to the physicians, we listen to you guys.

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  05:37

The white coat as they call it, the white coat, you know, growing up, and especially learning about my disease, right? That was one of the things that at home, right, when you think about the traditional Hispanic diet, right at home, we really had to start changing, right? So, so yes, nutrition was very important. But I also I also had a back problem. And the way that I was able to, you know, treat my chronic back pain was really yoga. And I'm also yoga certify. So I think that through my own healing of path, what I discovered was the power of the body to heal and stay healthy without necessarily all of these drugs, which don't get me wrong, we do need medications, and sometimes, you know, we need them, right. But our body have the power to heal. And I think that we just forget that so much. 

 

Maya Acosta  06:38

We do forget that. And I remember reading in your bio about yoga, you use yoga to sort of deal with some traumatic issues with patients. Is that right? 

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  06:47

Yes, yes. So you know, I did my like normal progress, certification, my 200 hour. But I'm very, very interested on the impact that trauma has right on health. And if you think about, right, the study of the ACES Adverse Childhood Events, and medicine, again, has not completely incorporated that into the care of our patients. So I do yoga, breathing techniques, meditation, right, I talk a lot to my patient about mindfulness. And I use that as part of the treatment modalities.

 

Maya Acosta  07:24

Very nice. And now how receptive are your patients to mindfulness and to yoga, and of course, you cover nutrition as well, I they pretty open to all of that.

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  07:35

So I have a mix, right? I do have the patients that choose will go to I like to call the easier path even but it might not be the path that is full of power. And but I do have a lot of patients that when they tell me I want to get off my medications, I tell them that is possible. Right. And it's possible as we make little changes at a time. And we develop a new way and a new style of living. I think that also, you know, recognizing to our patients that the reason that it's hard or that I think that it's hard is because really we're telling them to go against what the culture and society and media are telling them to do. Right. So that's why it's so hard. And I think that also providing patients with education, like I use a lot of the handouts or even the own infographics, that the ACLM has, right, and I start there with the really basics. And for example, with mindfulness, I just don't tell them going practice mindfulness, I think that you have to provide the resources. So I have a list of like free apps. And anything that is free, the patients are open to try because they see it without risk.

 

Maya Acosta  08:57

That is so encouraging to hear. And so just to kind of let our listeners know you're in South Texas, so you work with patients that are actually on the border of Texas and Mexico. So how does that work?

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  09:11

Yeah, so in terms of that, yes, there are patients that do cross the border to be seen here. And some of them do have access to insurance, if by any chance, they also have like a home here and they you know, they're paying for the insurance, right? So they have their own residency here. In a lot of them, so they come especially when they have like acute care. So think about you know, moms that actually want to deliver in the US we have a lot of moms that come and deliver here, sometimes without adequate prenatal care. And we have a lot of people also that get sick, that have cancer, right that get really sick and cross over here. And those that do not have the capacity to pay for their own insurance. cannot access, you know, the private insurance companies that we know about. And there are special programs like the Indigen program that the counties have here locally that some of them do qualified, right? So social worker, or social workers are the ones that actually help the patients in that.

 

Maya Acosta  10:20

The standard American Way, or the Western diet has really impacted the culture. You touched on it briefly. It's the traditions that we're used to having in our families, and in our culture, really still keep us there from moving forward. So how do you work with families in that way, without feeling like they're abandoning the culture?

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  10:42

Yeah, so I really think that is first giving them options, and letting them know, you know, it's one step at a time. Sometimes patients really get scared, because they think that they just have to do this kind of like cold turkey. And so when you let them know, we're not doing this cold. Turkey is is something that is really kind of like it gives them freedom. The other thing is, you know, providing them resources that are culturally specific. And what I mean by that, I think that is the name, if I'm not mistaken, is Dora's Kitchen. And if not, I can verify that, but basically, she is based out of Mexico, but she trained with Dr. Neal Barnard. And their courses. Yeah, it's in culinary medicine and nutrition. So she specifically has, you know, a lot of free recipes on the website. And they are completely Mexican, you know, the Mexican flavor. Right, eat? And I also let them know, you know, like beans, I mean, all Latinos eat beans. Right? So and they love it. Right. So how can we eat more of those beans, right, and perhaps reduce our garden ethos? Right, there are the red meat. And so I think that that's, you know, that's one of the things right, providing them with those resources that are very specific to their cultures. Right, and that they still feel that the food tastes the same. Mm hmm.

 

Maya Acosta  12:17

You know, as a matter of fact, Dora Stone, we did have her on the show a few months ago, yes. And she talked about Dora's Table is her website, and the work that she's done. And what I love most about the talk that she gave early on, was about how she, she wanted to have her, you know, be a chef and do her work, but still maintain the importance of spending quality time with her family and her children and things like that. So it's like, yeah, I A lot of us can identify with how important that is to us. So along with what you're seeing, as a physician, you know, the increase in diabetes and hypertension, I was hoping we can talk about those kinds of things, because those are the comorbidities that are putting a lot of people in, kind of in at risk of having further complications, if they were to have COVID-19, for example. Well, before we talk about that, can you tell me what you're seeing in terms of your patients? Are you seeing what are some of the fears that they may have about the virus about their own health? And I don't know if you're comfortable talking about the vaccine? I know, that's a tough topic right now so.

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  13:24

Yes. So you know, in terms of COVID right, a lot of what I've seen, so first of all, the fear, right, fear and anxiety, there is a lot of mental how that kind of like how slugs blossom, right? There is going to be a great need for mental health providers, specifically, again, in trauma response and in society. You know, that can help people with the sleep and anxiety responses that they're having. So that's one, right. The other thing right that I'm seeing, it's people are very worried about am I going to be the, So now that I have it, am I going to have to be one of those that ends up in the hospital? Will I be one of those that you know meets the tube and the area where I am again, they are very towards their Hispanic Mexican culture. So people here you know, the DNR DNI so do not intubate Do Not Resuscitate is not something that is susceptible. Right. And so we have a lot of families that struggle with now that my family members in the hospital, you know, I don't believe in helping them you breathe, but then that probably means that they're going to die. So are they going to die? You know, either way. And a lot of family members that have especially their elderly, you know, family members in the hospital. They struggle a lot with these decisions that, you know, there is a need for ventilators for eat. So it's, you know, you have doctors trying to perhaps persuade them, because we, we perhaps know certain outcomes, but they struggle a lot with that decision. A lot of the hospitals here like also in other places of the nations, you have a lot of family members that stand outside of the hospitals with the signs, you know, and balloons, I'm hopeful that their family members can see them through the windows. So that's a lot of what I'm seeing. And I'm seeing a lot of patients that after COVID, they're developing, you know, the post COVID symptomns, the most common one is the shortness of breath, the fatigue, the mind fog, and I am seeing patients that, you know, now, they qualified according to the DSM five right as PTSD. So I'm also seeing, you know, a lot of patients with classical PTSD symptoms.

 

Maya Acosta  16:08

I was familiar with the other things like the fatigue and the shortness of breath, as in patients that are kind of, I guess, considered long haulers maybe, by PTSD. Gosh, that makes a lot of sense. I wanted to touch on the idea of racial disparities, and I'm sort of still in medicine. That is, I like to think of myself as sort of as a patient advocate that I tried to provide resources and really encourage patients to have a voice when they're speaking with their doctors to kind of not shy away. I wonder if you kind of have a perspective about it. Why is it that there's so much fear about trusting doctors and feeling safe in terms of asking questions and not feeling like, you know, we're taking up your time? Why is that that we see that see it a lot in the Hispanic community?

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  16:56

Yeah. So I rea lly think that is specifically the not asking questions or being afraid to ask the question. And I have a lot of patients that they might not ask me, the doctor, but then they ask the medical assistant, is because it's more of a patriarchal culture. Right. So it's more, you know, they see us as a figure of authorities, right? So there's a lot more fear of asking questions and the response that perhaps they might get, right. They don't see necessarily that we're at the same level. And I have a lot of patients that tell me, well, you're the doctor, you're no, you know, what, it's better when I give them between A and B. Right. So that's one. I think that also, again, if you think about trauma informed care, and how slow medicine has been to incorporate that into, you know, our patient, physician patient relationship and the care that we provide, why the issue of trust? Well, the majority of the people that come from minority communities right, whether it be Hispanic, African American, usually, when you look at the statistics right, they have been exposed to higher violence, higher poverty, right, there are some some of these adverse childhood events are some of those things that we call the social determinants of health, therefore, the majority of these patients might feel even a little bit of powerlessness, right, they might not feel like they have a lot of that power in the relationship. And then what we usually do as physicians is that we tell them, this is what you need to do. And if you do X, you'll get better right. So a lot of what we do is that we dictate, right? And when we dictate, we're taking the power of choice and autonomy from the patient. Right, you know, so that, by itself creates this this trust, because now I don't I don't have autonomy. Now I cannot choose, but rather than telling me what to do, I think that's one second, I also think that some of that distrust also comes from the system, and what I mean the system is, you know, there's the doctor, but then there's the whole health care system. And unfortunately, you know, the health care system has not responded well, to the need of minority patients. Right. And just to disparities, I mean, now those disparities have produced but when you think about it, even maybe 20 - 30 years ago, and and if you you know and if you're growing up that's what you're seeing right there wasn't necessarily as many physicians of color right, there wasn't as many female physicians, right, so for a lot of my patients here, when I arrived to this geographical area, they thought they associated my face with the nurse. Right? Wow. I was the nurse, right. And then when they knew that they I was the doctor, and when I started to realize is when they, you know, when they tell them doctor, they're seeing this very, you know, kind of like tall male build, you know, figure and the reality is, I'm 4' 10" I weighed 102 pounds, right? So that tells you how petite I am. Right? And, you know, and I don't look as old as a lot as I am, you know, people. And so, I mean that even, right? We talk a lot about biases of medicine. And there's the bias that us as physicians we can have. But then there's also, and I say this with, you know, a lot of respect the bias that because the patients can also have, right kind of like the baggage, yeah. And anything that that also creates that dynamic.

 

Maya Acosta  21:17

Yeah, it's fascinating that you should point that out. Do you remember the hashtag that was going around a couple of years ago, and it probably still is, I am your doctor or something like that. And it's a variety of different faces, not the the physician that we were used to seeing on television, for example, right? Who was always a Caucasian man around his 50s, or something like that. I even sometimes when, because of my age, now, as I'm getting older, it's like I see the younger physicians, and I'm just like, wow, fascinated by the, by the diversity that exists now. So I love the knowledge that you have about the psychological component of it all of how we perceive physicians. And you touched on a topic too previously that maybe our listeners are not used to hearing and it's on ACES. A little familiar with aces. I don't mention it much here on the show. But if you could kind of just share a little bit with our listeners, what that means. And what does that say about why people have a tendency or may have a tendency say towards, you know, having weight issues later in life or having certain types of addictions later in life?

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  22:25

So Isa stands for adverse childhood events, right. It was a study done out of California and Kaiser. And and, you know, it's published by the CDC and the CDC recognized it. I said, if I'm not mistaken in 1998, right. And basically, what this means is, so what are events from, you know, childhood abuse, like emotional abuse, physical abuse, you know, exposure to violence, sexual abuse, neglect, right, even, you know, we now know that the children, for example, that move a lot like the children that are, you know, in the like, in the army families like that, for them is a first childhood event. And basically, what science has found out is that when we are exposed to that chronic stress, right, because it's a stress response to hormones, right, or teas, substances in our body go up, which is cortisol or not, nor epinephrine, sorry, adrenaline, and so like a pen a friend, right? And then the cortisol, they go up. And basically what it does is that it changes our brain. Right, so we're brain two follow ups kind of like in a different way. There is a great book also that is called The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk. And you know, and again, I come trained with, like, you know, the trauma perspective, because so my yoga, where we also know now that because we can actually do like the functional MRIs, we know the part of the brains that get affected, but we also know that are more susceptible to autoimmune disease, right? So there are certain diseases that you are going to be like a greater risk, but at the same time, part of what we know is that because you were exposed to this chronic stress, and your brain is different, when you are faced with hardship in life, you know, you don't necessarily have the same skills or the same tools frayed and that other people might know. So, at least said my practice when I see patients that either, you know, so it's not only like substance abuse, right or mental health ceases, but for example, pain that is usually out of proportion, they tell tend to be younger, but they have a lot of like, complaints all the time. I always ask about a history of trauma. And I am now learning that when you provide trauma informed care, you don't ask you just kind of like assume, right? And provide it from that perspective. Because the reality is the majority of us at some point in time have had traumatic experiences and hardships. And basically, that's where that comes from.

 

Maya Acosta  25:33

Very well explained. Thank you, I find that it's so important to be familiar with content like this, especially physicians, you know, because when you have that, and you have an individual who say, is struggling with weight issues, there's probably a reason behind that there's probably a trauma behind that. And I think that compassion, having compassion for the patient is absolutely important. And I read once that, that patients can actually feel the judgment from their physicians when it comes to their weight issues.

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  26:03

Yes. And that's and that's true. Studies have shown that that's true that patients perceive our biases, or that we are Yes, judging them as Yes, you're obese because you don't do the right thing.

 

Maya Acosta  26:16

Right. And that, again, goes when you think about why patients don't ask questions or not, are not as involved or invested in their own health is because they're, they probably feel judged or stereotyped or whatever, maybe by their physician. But these kinds of conversations, like what we're having now, I think, help a lot to get individuals to feel more comfortable with speaking with their physicians and knowing you know, what questions you can ask, I tend to be the patient that's kind of comes in overly informed I want to be a partner with my doctor, you know, I want to tell my physician, I've done my work. I think I know what's going on with me. And I, you know, I keep track of different things. So I may be the other kind of patient, the one that annoys the doctor, I don't know. I'm saying that playfully. But you're board certified in the in lifestyle medicine, if we could talk about that, because it's one of my favorite topics. I don't have a background in medicine. But I'm a big fan of it all. And I love to promote it. Tell us what has been your experience, because you did start off saying that even in your years, when you were living in Puerto Rico, you kind of already knew to how to you know, you're aware of yoga and mindfulness, all these components were already sort of part of your life.

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  27:33

Yes. So I think that, yes, I knew about it in my own journey. And but because medicine lacks so much of it. Right? I might not, perhaps I was not using it as much with my patients when I was like in residency and fellowship, you know, and when I was still in training, but I think that I probably got very tired very early on in my career in the fact that the only thing that we would do is like prescribe medication and prescribe another medication or prescribe another medication. And, you know, your blood pressure is not good, while the majority of the patients need three medications. And patients might not necessarily, you know, patients are not getting better. And it was just this like, kind of like machine writing scripts. And so I really started to look for what was out there, I knew about integrative medicine, right? But all of a sudden, I found out lifestyle medicine. And at that point, I had a colleague at the University of Texas, and here where I am, that she actually was at the first class that took her board some lifestyle medicine, Gemini. And, you know, she told me like, Oh, yeah, so then she kind of like also, you know, provided like this inspiration of like, it is possible, right to do it with the patients. And, you know, I'm also a family physician, right? But I feel like my niche out like my group of people, like I feel so much at home when I am with my colleagues from ACLM because I think that, at least based on my perspective, it's like we're more aware of really what patients need and how to really empower them to be healthy, rather than just trying to fix them with all of these drugs. And again, medications are good and we need them. But I really think that health is so much more than just, you know, the disease. 

 

Maya Acosta  29:52

Yes, definitely. I like that. How do you use yoga to heal trauma?

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  29:58

Yeah, so Pretty good question. Right? It depends really, of, you know, what your client or what your patient needs. Right? So the best way to, for me to explain this is, so trauma live in the body. And, you know, if you so one of the, like, the therapies, right, that we use for one of the modalities is what is called cymatics. And that comes from Peter Levine, right. And really Yoga has been, you know, study in terms of the effect that it has some the body. And the reason being because it helps the patient right, be aware of their body, their body sensations, how are they breathing? You know, we have yoga class, that is for patients that come with trauma, or that it's trauma informed. Again, we don't tell people what to do, we give them the power of choice, right. And there is a lot of yoga, you know, yoga therapists, now that is specifically for trauma. So we give them options here. And the reason to give them options. First is because we do not want to, you know, take away that power of them making the decision of the autonomy, but at the same time is with the purpose of are they paying attention to their body? Right? Can they sense what their body needs today? And that's what I say it might be gentle, you know, and today, maybe what they need is that more gentle, soothing, right, kinda like regeneration, re energize of the body. But it might be right that today, they need something that helps them release energy, and helps them you know, release negative emotions, right. And we also provide kind of like a space to what we call kind of like free flow, right? So maybe five minutes or less, where the patient can just kind of like do any pose that they feel that their body needs, right?

 

Maya Acosta  32:11

Is it at a clinic, like in a clinic setting? Or do you send them to watch some videos at home?

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  32:17

Yeah, so first, I might do some stuff with them in the office, believe it or not? Yeah, so I might, I might do it with them. And so that's one and second. For some of my patients, right, I recommend that they read Bessel Van Der Kolk's book, The Body Keeps The Score, because I think that that helps them start to understand the connection. And then, you know, the other thing is, I might refer them to depending, yes, some videos online. But if I also know that they're open to actually going to a place like a studio, right? I'm very familiar with a lot of the studios in this area, and I might refer them to a studio that I think is going to be a good fit for them.

 

Maya Acosta  33:06

Yes. Okay. Awesome. And also, I was reading so you have a background in naturopathy.

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  33:13

I try to, perhaps offer that as a first option in some areas. And the reason being, because patient in this area, if they can do like the herb, or, you know, like the natural remedy, they prefer that.

 

Maya Acosta  33:30

I was gonna say, That's why I brought it up. Because I was thinking, with your upbringing with your background in Puerto Rico, meaning that in some Spanish speaking countries, a lot of us kind of look to the alternatives anyway, right. I mean, every time I have chamomille tea, I'm reminded of how I used to drink it in Mexico, which was not in a bag. It was the flower, right? Yes, yes. So all the different things have a little bit of water with lime or whatever it may be. So I feel like in many ways, people are more open to a more gentle, holistic approach as opposed to medicines. Yes. And yet when it comes to using food as medicine, there's some reluctance there. I don't understand that.

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  34:14

And I really, you know, when I hear patients I think it is because first You know, when people hear Oh, eliminate all animal products, right. And you explain to them what that is, people are like what right and I think that there's still a big need to educate people on know there are all these other sources of protein, and you won't you won't have like a nutritional deficiency, like you won't right and I think, um, so I was doing some some work for one of the federally qualified health centers locally here. One of the, it was either a study of PubMed, I cannot remember. But I did read about how for people that come from a background of poverty right, having the meat on the table really meant that they could provide, right. So for the parents in those in those homes, right, having meat meant, oh, no, in spite of everything else I can still provide for my family. Right. So I think that that's also part of what it is. And then, of course, people are so afraid that they're going to lose and all of this flavors. And I would say the other big component is media. And you know, culture, right? I mean, do you see in television, right? Do you see any ad that is about eating this very whole some Not even salad, right? You just think about maybe like a bean salad, right? That you're eating that has kale, right? And half, like all the peppers and all the flavors? Like? I mean, really, that's not what you see, it's the same thing that I tell my patients, right? You have all of the apps from the pharma coming in the right brain, that we do not have apps coming in of like you can heal your diabetes with what you eat.

 

Maya Acosta  36:29

Right, exactly. I mean, and then. So that's where we're sort of outnumbered. This is the way that we this is our media right here. Yeah. So and I meant to ask you, have you developed any kind of online programs for your patients? Or when you couldn't see them, say, when there was a lockdown? Or have you considered doing anything like that for the future?

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  36:52

If I have considered doing it for the future, I definitely am right now, in the setting that I work, a lot of what I do is that I use the community resources, and, and I specifically work with a nutrition program that I was able to tell them, this is the type of help that I want you to give my patients and I was able to work with them, you know, my patients that have like diabetes, you know, Brenda Davis, my patients that are looking for intermittent fasting, Dr. Valter Longo, like, and I do this kind of, like list, this is what kind of like my style, and they were actually super impressed. So not only, like my knowledge, right, but the fact that I actually have this, you know, for these type of patients, this is the type of help that I'm providing, depending on the disease, right?

 

Maya Acosta  37:49

It's a great way to put it, I was wondering if you have any kind of success stories, or anything significant that you've seen within a patient that said, finally said, Yes, I'll go this route. I'll practice some lifestyle medicine, I'll walk, I'll eat more plants. Have you seen anything like that with your patients? 

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  38:08

Oh, absolutely. I think it was actually last week, right. And a patient that came, he has not only lost 30 pounds, but you know, so I talked about plant based , it just happened to be that he also has a colleague that does plant base, and they, you know, the colleagues started giving him like recipes and things to try. So when he comes to see me back for his blood pressure, you know, one of the things that he tells me is, I can run better now. And after my run, it doesn't take me as long to recuperate. Right? And, you know, that's part of what I tried to do with all my patients, because patients sometimes focus like on the number on the scale. But he himself brought up how different he was feeling, how much energy, how much mental capacity, how less he needed between workouts to recuperate, right? And he was like, Oh, my God, this is the best thing ever. And I was really happy for him. Right? I tell him, you know what, continue to monitor your blood pressure, because the way that you're going, I wouldn't be surprised if we have to eliminate one of those medications, right, and we have to start reducing the dose. And, you know, the downside to this is that at the same time, that is he's telling me this story. He's telling me how you know him, though, I think it was the wife went and bought from specific fast food, food for the kids. Right. So I think that again, as a family physician, part of what I think that we're still missing and an area to still the follow up is how to do this to the family. So not the patient but the family right? Because what's good for dad or what's good for mom is also going to be good for these kids, because if not what these kids are learning is like, Oh, I can now eat from the fast food. You know, if I get like Daddy, then maybe I need to adopt a different lifestyle.

 

Maya Acosta  40:13

Right? I completely agree with that. It's rather than looking at this is a lifestyle for the sick family member. This is a lifestyle for all of us so that we can support our loved one and hopefully not have those issues as well. Because we know it's really, it's not genetic, right. It's what's on our table that contributes to it all. Yeah, it's been so nice getting to know you. Do you have sort of like a final message or anything else you'd like to share with our listeners?

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  40:43

Yeah, so I think you know, for everybody that is out there, that is listening, if you're new to lifestyle medicine, I would say it is the way that you can take care of yourself and be empowered to stay healthy. And food, nourishment, right movement, the be the connection of your mind body. And it's really going against what culture is telling us that we need to do, but it's really the way of staying out of like the two three or four stents that if you go the way the culture goes, you probably that's where you're going to end. So if you're new, it's actually really good that you're exploring it. If you're not new, I would say continue to invest in yourself and learn about it and practice it as a family thing.

 

Maya Acosta  41:36

Hm hm, thank you so much. And if people are interested in learning more from you, what's the best way to do that?

 

Dr. Maria Colon-Gonzalez  41:43

Yes. So the best way to do that is through LinkedIn. You can find me on LinkedIn, just put my name. And I think that you also have the link for that. And you can actually send me a message through LinkedIn. And also kind of like know, what are the resources out there that in a way I would recommend that you use for yourself or explore.

 

Maya Acosta  42:06

Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Dr. Colon. I know you're staying pretty busy, but I appreciate the time you gave us today. Thank you. You're welcome. 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