Episode 185:
Show Notes 


In this podcast episode, Dr Mary and Dr Lucy emphasise the importance of returning to basics in achieving and maintaining good health. They explore the societal shift towards processed foods and its impact on health, noting the rise of chronic diseases. They bring attention to the crucial role of real food in combating the decline in lifespan, shedding light on the detrimental effects of processed foods and the importance of adopting a real food lifestyle. The doctors discuss the fundamental reasons behind the health decline, focusing on the negative effects of processed ingredients. 

The episode also addresses the deceptive allure of weight-loss shakes and emphasises the limitations of calorie deficit strategies. Highlighting the ease of incorporating real food into daily meals, the doctors share practical tips and personal experiences. The podcast serves as a reminder to unlearn unhealthy eating habits and embrace a return to simple, nutritious, and delicious real foods.

Additionally, Dr Mary and Dr Lucy introduce the 4 Week Body Rebalance program, a self-paced initiative. This program provides comprehensive guidance on embracing a real food lifestyle, featuring meal plans, bite-sized informational episodes, and valuable resources. The doctors encourage listeners to explore the 4WBR program for a supportive and informative journey toward sustainable health through real food choices.

Looking to revamp your health in 2024? Jump into our 4 Week Body Rebalance program now! Head to www.rlmedicine.com/4wbr and kick off your path to improved well-being.

Episode 185: 


Dr Mary Barson (0:04) Hello, my lovely friends. I'm Dr Mary Barson.

Dr Lucy Burns (0:09) And I'm Dr Lucy Burns. We are doctors and weight management and metabolic health experts.

Both (0:16) And this is the Real Health and Weight Loss podcast!

Dr Lucy Burns (0:23)  Good morning gorgeous Dr Mary and good morning our fabulous listeners on what I'm hoping is a beautiful summer's day, if you're in the southern hemisphere, and hopefully not too horrendous if you're in the northern hemisphere.

Dr Mary Barson  (0:35)  Yesterday, it's pretty sunny around here. I have to say I am enjoying the beach. I've been going to the beach a lot with my kids and swimming in the cold, cold best straight because it's always cold here but it's refreshingly cold. And wet suits are good for you because it keeps us good sun protection as well. How are you, Dr Lucy?

Dr Lucy Burns (0:57)  I'm fabulous. I'm fabulous. I have just been away connecting with some of my, you know, the family friends, the friends that are like family. Every year we go in fact near you, to our gorgeous friends who have a farm. And we go in our caravan and spend some quality time with a couple of families. So yeah, I've my cup full.

Dr Mary Barson  (1:21)  Yes, it's good. It's good. I have to say yes. But going to the beach with my stumpy toddler and my long, elegant 10-year-old definitely fills my cup. So I'm pleased that both our cups overflow with right now that's really, really collective cups. It's good.

Dr Lucy Burns (1:43)  Absolutely. So I thought this week, we would just, you know, return to a bit of basics for our newer listeners, you know, we're up to episode, whatever. Lots of episodes, lots and 180-something. Yeah, so not everyone has gone back to the start. So I thought we'd just really have a little dive into the basics of what constitutes good health. And why I guess we come up with some of our recommendations, in order to improve or transform the quality, just to use a few of our words, of our health.

Dr Mary Barson  (2:23)  I love this basics. At the most basic level, it's not the only recommendation we have. It's not the only pillar of Real Life Medicine and how you and I love to empower people to reclaim their health and lose weight healthily. But it is an extremely important pillar. And it's food, how we nourish our bodies, with the delicious food that we choose is pivotal to everything. And how we choose to nourish our bodies is with real food, and is so important. And when you know how to, when you know how to, you know, how to choose real food, what real food is. And when you learn the mindset skills to be able to make real food easy and sustainable for you, then your health can turn around and your weight can turn around, you know, quite quickly and easily in a way that you know, it just doesn't go back again. So I want to yeah, we wanted to go back to basics and talk about what real food is and why we recommend it and dive into the nitty gritty in the science a bit. So for some of you, this will be a revision, but I reckon there'll still be some lovely pills in there. And for others among you for our new friends. These will be absolutely perfect as we'd all transform more in 2024. So beautiful Lucy, do you want to start us off?

Dr Lucy Burns (3:57)  Yeah, so I just I guess I'd just like to set the scene around, you know, the health of particularly Australians, but similar cultures have taken a nosedive really in the last 30 to 40 years the current generation is the younger generation is unlikely to outlive the older generation which is a frightening fact that because up until now our lifespan has incrementally increased as in the you know, each generation has lived longer than the generation beforehand. And we're now faced with this situation where people particularly around their, you know, 40s 50s 60s are developing diseases chronic what we call chronic diseases so long, long diseases or chronic just means long not severe necessarily, but long diseases and these are things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol high, high blood sugars, pre-diabetes, type two diabetes, fatty liver disease, but also includes autoimmune conditions, which are also on the rise. And so we have to think, well, what's happened? You know, in the past, modern medicine has done things like invent antibiotics, which have been phenomenal for increasing lifespan. We are inventing medications faster than ever before, we are prescribing more than ever before. And yet, the life and even more importantly, the health span of our population is decreasing. So that's, I guess, just to set the scene that these days, people in their 60s and 70s are on, you know what we call polypharmacy on multiple medications. And in fact, lots of people are on several medications that are multiple medications in one pill. So that's even when you actually, you know, it may not be the number of tablets you take, but the number of medications, so we call it polypharmacy, and that in itself is problematic. So what we want to do is go well, what has changed? What's changed in our world, for this to happen? And, you know, there's multiple things that have changed, but the number one, the number one thing that has changed is our food environment.

Dr Mary Barson  (6:19)  And this might sound or, you know, doom and gloom and head for the hills but it isn't because you can reclaim the power here, you really can. And it's not as hard as it might seem, we can divorce ourselves from the hideous experiment, which has been the processed food industry, by choosing real food, and choosing to nourish our bodies with real food most of the time. It's no secret, I think, to most of us that industrial food processing, creating these food-like substances has had a strongly detrimental effect on our health, as a species, as the human species, and also, individually, and that there are lots that food refining creates lots of toxins in our foods that have just been allowed to be put in there. And if we eat them in large quantities, they're really, really bad for our health, for our health, for our kids' health, for everybody's health. And, you know, there is something that we literally can do something about it right now.

Dr Lucy Burns (7:32)  Yeah, absolutely. And yet that, you know, the 70s were was when I guess the food decided, well, I mean, it started earlier than that, but it's when it really took off. And now, you know, there are people that have 80, or 90% of their diet is ultra-processed foods. And for us, the concept is never to blame the individual, because people are sold a myth. And this is a societal problem and not an individual's problem. The issue that we have with ultra-processed food is the fact that they are harmful and that they are hyper-palatable. So we are encouraged to then eat more and more. They're cheap, really cheap. They're so cheap. The reason they're cheap is because of some of the stuff in it. So I understand that. For people again, it's hard. I'm not saying it's easy to always eat real food. But there are a couple of things that happen when you are able to eat real food, you will find that the amount of food that you eat decreases and that in itself can be a cost-saving measure.

Dr Mary Barson  (8:52)  Absolutely. It's not necessarily more expensive to eat real food, especially with a few tips and tricks and good strategies. Yeah, I think it can be helpful just to unpack a little bit, knowing why I think can be powerful. It's easy for us to say processed food bad. No, don't do it. Okay, it's bad. But to actually understand a little bit, why I think can be helpful and also empowering to know that much of the damage that is done by processed foods is reversible. So it's not like the damage was done so I might as well keep eating it but food like emulsifiers that are in processed foods literally like soaps, ice creams and all kinds of processed foods because it gives them a bit of shelf life makes them feel nicer in our mouths. They can really upset our gut lining and give us increase our intestinal permeability, making our guts more leaky so the contents of guts can actually leak into our bodies which sets up all kinds of inflammatory cycles and is thought to be one of the contributors to autoimmune diseases. We know that ultra-processed white flour, white flour and white sugar, are breeding grounds for metabolic disease, and high fructose corn syrup also. And industrial seed oils are another really big one that we talk a lot about. But people aren't, I don't think many people unnecessarily are aware of how detrimental they can be to our health, because they are inflammatory within themselves. Inflammation is at the root of so many chronic diseases, including many cancers, heart disease, and lots of things that we want to avoid. And it really impairs the ratios of fatty acids in our bodies, which can set us up for terrible inflammation or actually good health, depending on whether or not we've got the balance, right? And also, so many of these processed foods just don't have the right nutrients that we need in the right amounts in the right ways for our bodies to function properly. I mean, that's and that's only really just a very, very quick sort of cook's tour that these foods not just being nutrient poor, they're actively harmful to our health. And we're eating them in larger quantities than ever, we've normalised them. We are feeding them to our children in extraordinary amounts. Right now, you know, there's just everywhere, we've just had Christmas and New Year. And I have been totally unable to shield my children from the onslaught of processed foods that's been, you know, everywhere, outside of the home environment. And towards the end of school in particular, my daughter had a stomachache every day before school, not because she was sick, but just because of parties and breakups and everything. She was just eating all of these chips and chocolates, and she was inflamed. And she was like in pain from processed food! I’d just tear my hair out. She's okay. But you know, it's just, it's everywhere and no laws.

Dr Lucy Burns (12:14)  And the tricky thing is that there's even everyday what people call everyday foods that are in this category as well. So I think you know, one of the biggest things that's probably changed his bread, is the way bread is produced. I remember growing up and you know, bread lasted a day, you got daily bread if you wanted it for toast. These days, bread lasts 12 days, like what's going on there. I went back to the days when I used to bake. Before I really understood about insulin resistance, I went to buy what I thought was wholemeal flour. And I got it and I realised what it is it's just processed white flour, with a bit of brand added back in. So it's not like it's any less processed than white flour. Brown flour is just white flour with the brand put back in, it's not the same as a proper, old-fashioned back in the 60s, wholemeal flour, which would have included, you know, much more of the wheat germ and whatever else it's called in the wheat here we have.

Dr Mary Barson  (13:25)  It’s really hard to get bread without seed oils in it as well. Like, I have not been in the supermarket, I can't find bread on the occasions that I want to buy bread for whatever reason. I can't find it, I have to go to like some to the local bakery to my artisanal bakery that you know, has this stone-ground bread. And that's the only people that will sell me bread without seed oils in it. So you know that that aspect of things is a bit tricky. But I have said that it can be easy to eat real food. And it certainly can be even if it's not easy to find packaged bread without seed oils. So we've talked about why processed foods are bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, and why eating less of them is good and why it's something that you definitely want to do. But what is, what is real food? 

Dr Lucy Burns (14:20)  This is my definition. When my kids open up the cupboard or the fridge and they go, there's nothing in here to eat. My fridge is full of food. So real food is like the ingredients. What they're looking for is something that's actually already, you know, put together. And this was an interesting thing to notice because I remember there was a cookbook craze going around, I don't know 10, 15 years ago called The Four Ingredients, recipe books or something. And it was recipes that you could make with four things it should have been called the Four Things cookbook because it wasn't ingredients the ingredients were often processed things. So they would include, you know, this particular brand of biscuits with mix it with this margarine and add this amount of flour and something else. And then you went into the biscuits, and it had 72 ingredients in it. So it was never the four ingredients, it was the four things. So real food is like the ingredients. So it really is as close to nature as possible. Now, the interesting thing is that a lot of good food still has some processing, but it's the ultra-processing of food, that is the problem. So for example, cheese, you know, again, you can't there's no cheese tree or a cheese, you can go and pick some cheese out of the ground, it has to be created. So it is there is some processing, but it's very simple processing. And it's not that many steps. Compared to, you know, a frozen lasagna, for example, which will have when you look at the ingredients list, you kind of, and again, I used to do this all the time, because I didn't know I would buy frozen lasagna is or pre-made lasagna is at the supermarket thinking oh, it's just food. And then when you look at the list of ingredients, you realize that it's got lots of things emulsifiers much higher levels of sugar, much higher levels of salt. And whilst we're not opposed to salt at Real Life Medicine, if you're eating low carb, if you're not eating low carb, then extra salt is not that helpful for you. But yeah, then preservatives. So again, a pre-made lasagna will last three weeks. Whereas, you know, if you make lasagna at home, it doesn't last three weeks.

Dr Mary Barson  (16:48)  I like it as close as possible to its natural state. That's real food. You know, it's the ingredients, the single ingredients, it's the things around the outside of the supermarket, it's your veggies, your fruits, your nuts, your seeds, your fish, seafood, your eggs, your meat, it's the things as close as possible, as it was, you know, milk from the cow. Minimally processed in the case of cheese and yogurt, or, you know, taken from the plant taken from the animal. And that's it. It's simple. And it actually can be extremely easy to take these delicious ingredients. With small amounts of effort, you can cook them up and turn them into your delicious tasty meals, I can see where your your lovely adult children are coming from when they open up the fridge and you know, they just see the ingredients. And there isn't an immediate meal that is immediately there for them to grab. But you know, in four minutes there, there could be you know, grab a pan or microwave there's definitely could be and certainly the way that I live my life with batch cooking and things there is this always cooked food in there ready to go. So yes, this is real food. And when you eat real food, your health, every single facet of your health improves. It improves brain health, bone health, gut health, skin health, and eye health. Absolutely. Every aspect of your health improves, including happily, but certainly, I would argue not most importantly, but happily your weight.

Dr Lucy Burns (18:30)  Yeah, absolutely. It improves your metabolic health and your mental health. You know, mood and food are intrinsically linked as well. And, again, it doesn't mean that you have to be out there plucking your own spinach from the garden. If you don't have a garden, you can go and buy it. That's fine. Frozen vegetables are also fine. Love frozen veggies. Yeah, they're easy. They're easy because again, we want to be making it easy. You know, one of our biggest things that makes it easy for us is using a premade spice mix. You know, we use one by Mingle Seasoning, but again, depending on which country you live in, but you've got to be careful because a lot of those pre-packaged spice mixes or pre-packaged sauces, they promise flavour and ease. That don't tell you that it comes with a hefty dose of preservatives and disease. That's right. But if you can find again, you know those flavour sachets for us are just dehydrated spices, you know, they're easy, they're real food again, it doesn't. So we just want to make it as easy and tasty as possible. And it doesn't have to be hard. But again, there are tricky things out there and this is where the processed food companies and my biggest bugbear processed food companies' meat diet land. And you know they've invented the diet shake. So the diet shake seemingly promises you ease and weight loss in a cabin, a jar or a scoop. And honestly, it's so far from the truth. And it drives me nuts. Can you walk us through it, Dr Mary? Why things like shakes are just not the answer, even though those companies would love us to believe that they are.

Dr Mary Barson  (20:38)  Yeah, so problem with weight loss shakes. There are a few. So most of these weight-loss shakes, they're made with highly processed ingredients. Many of them contain a lot of those deleterious processed ingredients that I was just talking about, including seed oils, including emulsifiers, the things that can actually, that are detrimental to our health, the main thing that they are is low in calories. So people have them, and they eat them or drink them instead of having a meal. And it puts you into a calorie deficit. And it is the calorie deficit that results in short-term weight loss, the weight loss is short-term. And we have we would certainly talk about this again, we've talked about this in the past, why calorie deficit and calorie restriction are not a great long-term strategy, why it result in yo-yo dieting, putting all the weight back on, and only results in short-term weight loss. So in short, they do not treat the root cause of the problem, the root cause of of being overweight is metabolic ill health or metabolic imbalance, specifically, your metabolic hormones being imbalanced, and shakes do not treat the cause of that. And in fact, depending on what's in the shakes, they can actually make it worse. They can increase inflammation depending on what's in them, they can be, you know, increase poor health outcomes depending on what's in them. And they do not treat the actual cause of what's going on. Inside they do not allow for the root cause healing of metabolic health problems. So at best, they are only a short-term solution. And at worst, they actually make things worse. Whereas with real food, you can actually heal the root cause of what is making you overweight in the first place, while also nourishing every single cell in your body and also healing a myriad of other issues that are going in on your body. And basically healing and nourishing every single aspect of your body and brain and mental health with real food. So it is a much better way to go. And it's delicious and nourishing. And it can be really easy. I make most of my meals easily in less than 15 minutes, many of them in under 10. They're yummy. They're tasty. And it's a fabulous lifestyle.

Dr Lucy Burns (23:25)  Yeah, I think once you get, again, it's unlearning a lot of things. You know, we've learned we've been conditioned, we've been advertised to, we've been marketed to, when we unlearn some of those thought processes, then eating real food becomes easy. The trick that process food companies play on us is convenience. Like that's their selling point. Eat this. It's convenient. It's quick, it's easy. And, you know, humans, why wouldn't we go for that? I mean, really, if you've got a choice, do something that's hard to do something that's easy. We're going to do something that's easy. However, that comes with a cost. And the cost is down the track to our health. And being unwell is not easy. Being unwell is really hard. It's time-consuming. It's really expensive. And what it does is it steals the joy of your life in your later years. So for people that have worked hard all their life, they're ready, they're ready to retire. They're ready to travel around the country. They're ready to play with grandchildren. And then they're just taking 16 pills and spending half the time going to doctors and getting you know all sorts of things. It's just, It blows my mind. Again, not at an individual level, but at a societal level that we allow this to happen because it's wrong. It's actually wrong for our society to have this too. Steal the health of our older Australians. Yes, that's my read. 

Dr Mary Barson  (25:03)  And real food is delicious. It's satisfying. It's the most powerful medicine out there for good. And honestly, I know I keep saying it but it really is easy when you know how and gorgeous people if you'd like a little bit of you know, front to get some more information and you know, a boost in the right direction, then you could have a look at our website and have a look at a 4 Week Body Rebalance. We've got a self-paced program that you could check out as well, which has got lots of stuff meal plans, fabulous little bite-sized episodes with Lucy and I, wonderful hypnosis, and everything you need to get started with real food. Check that out at www.rlmedicine.com/4wbr. The link will be in the show notes as well. Lucy, tell us your most recent real food meal, an easy real food meal that you made.

Dr Lucy Burns (26:04)  Last night? So again last night, this is not fancy, and it's not. I went to my fridge but there was not much in it. I have a meat subscription. So there's always some protein. And it can just arrive because I'm trying to make it easy if any barriers come in so the meat was in there. It's arrived. It's in a vacuum pack. I have a look. I've got a project. I haven't got any veggies. I've got no clue that's been lined open the freezer. There are some mixed veggies. How do I make them a bit tasty because honestly, microwave vegetables are not very nice. Well, I don't think. So the key for me is don't overcook them, cook them without a lid on so that if there's any frozen watery bits in there that gets sort of you know, steamed off because nobody wants soggy veggies. I added a little bit of salt and about three slices of cheese in it. And basically, I made a cheesy vegetable mush that was blooming delicious with some lamb chops down in the air fryer. So that all took I don't know, but yeah, 11 minutes.

Dr Mary Barson  (27:12)  Amazing. That sounds great. Last night, I made a chicken curry. So I made a green Thai chicken curry. It was pretty quick. I had some chopped frozen onions in the freezer, loved that. Some little jar of minced garlic. I love garlic that was all ready to go. That was quick and easy. I very quickly chopped up broccoli and zucchini, snipped my chicken breast with kitchen scissors, a packet of again which I've got Mingle seasoning, it is just very handy green carry mingle seasoning, and a can of coconut milk, coconut milk. And I felt like it made a little bit of sweetness. So I put a little bit of monk fruit extracted, Lakanto brown sugar monk fruit, a bit of salt and some lemon juice mason and just had it simmering for a while. So in terms of like how much I just bumped it all in there at once didn't bother browning the meat and stuff because you know I'm busy. I had a toddler running around trying to eat Christmas decorations as well as doing that.

Dr Lucy Burns (28:17)  And honestly, you don't need to. No. Yeah, you don't need to. Yeah.

Dr Mary Barson  (28:22)  I would have made it slightly better. Maybe Oh, not even I don't know. Yeah, I had to stop my baby from eating the Christmas decorations. 

Dr Lucy Burns (28:27)  I've done a test. I've done an experiment on it. Yeah, I've done the experiment. It makes no difference, no.

Dr Mary Barson  (28:33)  Awesome. Yeah. I started to simmer it for a while, I don't even know how long 20 minutes or something. And yeah, it was lovely. It was really, really yummy. It's great. So easy. It's delicious. And yeah, kids ate it, which was always a bonus. Even the baby ate it. So, he doesn't know any better. He doesn't know that you know? Yeah, it hasn't got to the fussy stage yet of not eating spicy foods. So that's good. Yeah, I think it's delicious. So I'm gonna have some for lunch. It's amazing.

Dr Lucy Burns (29:04)  Wonderful. All right, lovelies. Well, again, keep at it. Just focus on the real food. Pick your protein, add some veggies and a little bit of fat. If the proteins lean out a bit of flavour. It makes life so easy. You just follow that formula. And you'll be right. We'll talk soon.

Dr Mary Barson  (29:21)  See you later beautiful ones. Bye!

Dr Lucy Burns: (24:15) The information shared on the Real Health and Weight Loss podcast, including show notes and links, provides general information only. It is not a substitute, nor is it intended to provide individualised medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor can it be construed as such. Please consult your doctor for any medical concerns.

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