Lee Health Promotes Lifestyle as Medicine


Gut Check

We’ve been told our entire lives, when in doubt, trust your gut! But a group of Lee Health experts stressed at the CME Speakers Series, “Lifestyle as Medicine” to roughly 200 attendees on January 21st that if you take care of your gut, you greatly increase your odds of a long, happy and healthy life.

Dr. Salvatore Lacagnina, the System Medical Director of Wellness and Employee Health for Lee Health, better known as Dr. Sal, said that “Lee Health over the past five years emphasized food is medicine, but we now acknowledge that lifestyle in general most influences health. We want you to not need the hospital rather than to keep our hospitals full, by relating to how dangerous a sedentary lifestyle is to your health.”

Dr. Sal introduced Dr. Sabastian Klisiewicz, D.O., “or Dr. Sabastian – several of us just gave up using our last names because no one can pronounce them!” Dr. Sabastian discussed how Diet & Lifestyle Affect Our Skeletal Health, “and it all begins with the gut! How do we get the good stuff into our bodies – we eat it, so a good gut is the beginning to good health,” before asking, perhaps too personally, “How’s your poop?! Good health and bad disease almost always start in the same place – the gut.”

Most of Dr. Sabastian’s patients receive prescriptions that include daily walking to get heart and muscles going; a core food plan that includes lots of vegetables, as well as bone broth, green smoothies for breakfast, meditation, and physical therapy, all to keep you healthy and off medications. “While the skeleton is our framework, everything in our body is connected, and it begins with the gut. A healthy gut produces collagens that make strong and flexible bones.”

Got Milk?

He cautions that drinking milk is not the answer, saying “there is no association between milk intake and fewer fractures, so I say Eat Greens! Turnips, mustard, collard greens, and similar high-intake fruits and vegetables provide more than enough calcium.”

Dr. Sabastian encourages replacing SAD with JERF! “It is so appropriate the Standard American Diet spells out ‘SAD’ because that is exactly what it is! I recommend instead JERF – ‘Just East Real Food!’ Conversely, smoking is a great way to damage everything in your body! So does fast food. Go Green and eat greens three times a day! Kale is a common prescription at my clinic, along with green smoothies. It is ironic that in America, the Land of Excess, we have an overabundance of everything except proper medical knowledge. Diet, exercise, and medication is medicine!”

Dr. Jose Colon addressed The Fundamental Nature of Movement, Rest and Nutrition. He is a sleep medicine specialist who describes good health as “rest, movement, and diet. Your lifestyle causes chronic disease but it can reverse chronic disease. Hippocrates said it best centuries ago by uttering ‘Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.’”

Going Viral

He relates that “35% of all Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep a night, and that is worse for teenagers. If you really Want to Make America Great Again, get some sleep!” Those who do not, increase their odds for inflammation and cancer. Dr. Colon stresses proper gut care, saying “your gut is nothing like Las Vegas, where what happens there stays there; it is like Facebook – what happens there goes viral!”

He relates that “1 in 5 American never engage in any stress-reducing activities other than television and the Internet. Movement can transform life but 80% of Americans do not exercise. Sitting replaced smoking as our primary concern. Increasing exercise from just 30 to 90 minutes-a-week significantly reduces your health concerns, with 150 minutes-per-week lowering your cancer risk. We need to prescribe exercise because if we could put all its benefits into one pill, it would be amazing!”

Dr. Colon reminded the crowd, “As a patient the personal behavior of your healthcare provider matters! If your physician works out and eats healthy they will prescribe these things to you. When we encourage others to encourage others, we make the world a healthier place.”

Dr. Heather Auld (r) speaks to an audience member. Photos by Gary Mooney.

Dr. Heather Auld presented Endocrine Disrupters: Don’t Eat It, Touch It or Breath It, concerning all the things over which we have little control but that greatly affect our health. “There are over 40,000 chemicals out there,” she relates, “with 700 new ones introduced yearly under the supervision of just one regulator, so there is no way to know if these are really healthy for us. These substances can trigger asthma, allergies, obesity, fertility problems, Parkinson’s disease, bone-marrow cancer, chronic infections, arthritis, brain disorders, autism in children and a host of other problems.”

There are disrupters in plastic dental fillings, sports gear, food packaging, eye glasses, plastic food wraps, hand sanitizers, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn, soup cans, deodorants, makeup, sunscreen, antibacterial soap, toothpaste, hair and nail products and anything with a fragrance, like air fresheners and candles with lead-lined wicks. “There are no regulations over air fresheners,” cautions Dr. Auld, “so who knows what you are spraying. I don’t know what is more dangerous – Zika or the bug spray that is toxic to your nervous system.”

At this point, she said, “This is getting depressing, isn’t it?”

7 Pringles

To remove as many of these chemicals from your body as possible, Dr. Ault recommends a self-detox every six months, “but not a colon cleanse as that wipes out your good bacteria.” As for products you use, carefully read the ingredients and “any you would not put in your mouth, don’t use on your body! Eat natural foods and drink filtered water, avoid toxins in general, and – oddly enough – eat 7 Pringles potato chips a day for 6 months because these, in a limited amount, screen out many chemicals!”

Teresa Spano, ND, a Naturopathic Consultant, concluded with “Guts: Why Should I Care?” She calls probiotics and gut flora “the little guys in our digestive systems, with over 400 species on or about our bodies. If you have poor gut flora, you can experience chronic fatigue, mood disorders, sleep problems and depression. You need normal gut bacteria to lose weight because it is not just calories in and calories out. Bad flora on the other hand loves processed foods; the more you eat them the more you crave.”

Good probiotics come from plain yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, onions, garlic, apples and bananas. “Eat more fiber and less fat,” she says. “Avoid processed food, sleep more and exercise regularly, and you will experience the side effects of improved energy, lower stress, better body composition and a decreased risk of chronic diseases – you simply cannot go through all the benefits of a plant-based diet.”

Dr. Sal reminded the audience to attend the 2017 Southwest Florida Veg Fest at Centennial Park on Sunday, January 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Veg Fest will showcase the health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, as well as compassion for animals and the protection of our planet. For information see www.SWFLVegFest.org or info@swflvegfest.org.


Gary Mooney