In this episode of the podcast, Drs. Munish & Bandana Chawla share their stories of transitioning to a lifestyle medicine practice and explain all the events and offerings they have at their clinic to support their patients i...
In this episode of the podcast, Drs. Munish & Bandana Chawla share their stories of transitioning to a lifestyle medicine practice and explain all the events and offerings they have at their clinic to support their patients in living healthier.
The Chawlas offer a unique approach to medicine that focuses on disease reversal and overall wellness through lifestyle changes.
In this episode, you will learn:
4th Annual Peaceful Planet Foundation Retreat 2022: https://peacefulplanetfoundation.org/retreat-2022/
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13: Lifestyle Docs | Drs. Munish & Bandana Chawla
About Drs. Munish & Bandana Chawla
Dr. Bandana Chawla is a board-certified physician in Internal Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine. She became volunteer clinical faculty at the UHCOM (College of Medicine) in June of 2021 and also serves as a clinical preceptor for medical students. She graduated from UT Southwestern Medical School and completed her residency training at the Texas Medical Center. Over the years, she has incorporated the tenets of Lifestyle Medicine (LM) into her practice and has seen her patients lose weight, improve their diabetes and several other health conditions.
She co-created lifestyledocs.com practice which focuses on eating the right types of food, being fit, reducing stress, and connecting more to achieve holistic wellness. She is also the co-founder of Peaceful Planet Foundation, 501c3 nonprofit, which fosters Peace, Health, and Wellness in Houston and the surrounding communities.
Dr. Munish Chawla long-time practitioner of yoga and meditation is a board-certified physician in Diagnostic Radiology and Lifestyle Medicine. He co-founded the non-profit, Peaceful Planet Foundation, which focuses on tools of mindfulness and plant-based nutrition to foster individual and communal peace, health, and wellness.
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[00:00:00] Dr. Munish Chawla: He showed without cholesterol medications, just with eating a healthful diet, exercising, encouraging stress management, getting people to quit smoking and just encouraging a healthy diet and lifestyle. And doing it in a prescribed way that there was coaches available, really encouraging people to follow this and they had a community.
[00:00:21] Dr. Bandana Chawla: I became healthy because my patients had a talk with me. So just kinda letting them know that this is what you're doing and that you're feeling better and that your numbers are better. I've had some of my patients who have given plant-based books to their specialists, and I think we just have to be patient and persistent with the medical community.
[00:00:41] Maya Acosta: You have more power over your health than what you've been told. This is a Healthy Lifestyle Solutions podcast. I'm Maya Acosta and I'm passionate about finding healthy lifestyle solutions to support optimal human health. If you're willing to go with me together, we can discover how simple lifestyle choices can help improve our quality of life and increase longevity in a big way.
[00:01:05] Maya Acosta: Let's get started. Welcome back to another episode of the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions podcast. I'm your host, Maya Acosta. And today we are going to be speaking with some friends from the Houston area who practice Lifestyle Medicine. So I have Dr. Munish and Dr. Bandana Chawla. They're both in Houston. They have a practice, which is like I said, lifestyle medicine.
[00:01:29] Maya Acosta: And more specifically, we're gonna focus on an annual retreat that they hold every year. Finally this year, it will resume in person. So welcome doctors.
[00:01:40] Thank you so much, Maya. Thank you for having us.
[00:01:42] Maya Acosta: Well, it's an honor for me. I'm very excited because my husband, as you know Dr. Riz and I interviewed you in your location, I wanna say it was probably either 2018 or 2019.
[00:01:54] Maya Acosta: When you had just opened your practice. Do you remember what year that was?
[00:01:58] Dr. Bandana Chawla: I think it's when you had come for the retreat and you came both in 2018 and 2019. So that's why I'm not sure because it was the day after the retreat that you came to the clinic and interviewed us.
[00:02:09] Dr. Munish Chawla: but we would not have the clinic in 2018.
[00:02:10] Dr. Bandana Chawla: Oh, that's right. Cause the clinic opened August of 2019, so it was 2019.
[00:02:17] Maya Acosta: We did so much in 2019. So let's start off with that first. And then we'll go. And we'll talk a little bit about how both of you got interested in Lifestyle Medicine because I know that often when I speak with physicians, there's a story behind how they made a transition from just practicing Western medicine to now being fully involved in lifestyle medicine.
[00:02:37] Maya Acosta: So you opened the actual practice in 2019. Like you said in August and how difficult was it to do that? And let's talk about that. Like how difficult was it to transition to that? And can you explain what a lifestyle medicine practice looks like for people who have never heard of something like that?
[00:02:55] Dr. Bandana Chawla: Yeah, sure. So I'll start, I've been internal medicine for over 20 years. So I did kind of have a, uh, internal medicine practice, but then in 2018 is when my husband and I got board certified in the new field of lifestyle medicine. And when we got board certified, we really weren't sure what we were gonna do with that.
[00:03:14] Dr. Bandana Chawla: But somehow things happened to where we decided to open this Lifestyle Medicine Clinic together to where I still do primary care internal medicine with a twist of lifestyle medicine. And then ish does just lifestyle medicine at the clinic to where the patients who are really interested in disease, reversal, weight, loss, immersion program.
[00:03:36] Dr. Bandana Chawla: I'll let you talk about that.
[00:03:38] Dr. Munish Chawla: Yeah. And I wanted, uh, Bandana or Dr. B you know, everybody in the clinic calls her. To tell your listeners how she got interested in lifestyle medicine. So maybe you can tell about reading on Facebook about the Lifestyle Medicine.
[00:03:55] Dr. Bandana Chawla: Yeah. So I was already plant-based at the time, which also was exposure through patients and of 2012. I just kept getting vegan and plant-based patients and they educated me. And first I was like, oh, good for you. Your cholesterol is lower or. Nice that you're getting off of medications, but I don't have those health issues. So I don't have to change my diet. Right. We never wanna change, but it kept happening and it made me like research things and finally realized that I have to encourage my patients to eat more plant foods and be more plant-forward.
[00:04:32] Dr. Bandana Chawla: But then I also need to practice what I preach. And then, yeah. So both of us basically became vegan in February of 2013. And then, so I was incorporating that more and more in my practice. Also talking more about things like exercise and stress management already. And then in 2017, which was the first year that the board exam was given for lifestyle medicine.
[00:04:58] Dr. Bandana Chawla: One of my physician colleagues posted about, you know, getting certified in lifestyle medicine, and I looked it up and it was so exciting to see that there was a field out there that was encouraging all of this because it's funny at that time we had teenage sons and they would tease me. How mom's becoming more of a hippie doctor mm-hmm because she's talking to her patients about meditation and yoga and all this other stuff.
[00:05:24] Dr. Bandana Chawla: And then that day I came home and I told my kids, no, it's not a hippie doctor. I'm becoming a lifestyle medicine doctor, and I'm gonna get certified in this. And then you got board too.
[00:05:35] Dr. Munish Chawla: Yeah. So, you know, we take after-dinner walks. So she's telling me that she's getting her patients to exercise more, having them change their diet a little bit.
[00:05:46] Dr. Munish Chawla: She's saying this stuff really works. I lowered the medication for diabetes for this patient. This patient is off their asthma medication. And then I see her, you know, reading this lifestyle medicine manual, you know, what she's doing to prepare for the board. So I kind of look at, and I said, this is interesting, you know, I'm interested in healthy diet and lifestyle.
[00:06:05] Dr. Munish Chawla: So there wasn't any plan that we would do anything with it since she was studying. And, you know, we're sort of joined at the hip. So I started studying for the board examination also. So we both took it in 2018. The next year it was offered and, you know, we both passed, and really the plan was Bandana was just gonna incorporate, you know, as much of lifestyle medicine that you can in a primary care setting.
[00:06:29] Dr. Munish Chawla: Because as you know, and your listeners, you know, probably know that the payment system, the insurance system in medicine today is not really geared towards lifestyle medicine. It's just geared to have the patient be seen for a short time. And then you give them medication. You know, encouraging people, healthy diet, and lifestyle.
[00:06:49] Dr. Munish Chawla: Takes a long time. So Bandana was gonna do, you know, whatever she could to nudge them towards healthy way. And my big plan was I was a busy radiologist, so I was going to influence my colleagues at the, uh, hospital and really just encourage everybody that I came across, that this stuff works and they should just bring more plants into their life. And, you know, just to quickly review lifestyle medicine, for those of you who may not be as familiar, there's six pillars to it. And, you know, Bunda already alluded to some of them. One is, you know, healthful eating and research shows that most of your calories, you know, 90 to 95% of your calories should come from whole plant foods.
[00:07:33] Dr. Munish Chawla: So this is something, you know, we've said, this is really excited about it because we were eating pretty close to that. Anyway. And then exercise is the next pillar and then, you know, healthy ways to manage your stress and then staying away from tobacco, really limiting alcohol and getting a good night's sleep and also community.
[00:07:52] Dr. Munish Chawla: So these are the six pillars of lifestyle medicine that, you know, we were slowly incorporating more and more. And then I was, you know, doing the same in her. So long story short, you know, I slowly just enjoyed lifestyle medicine more and more. And I started to kind of taper off radiology. We were really fortunate.
[00:08:14] Dr. Munish Chawla: That our group allowed us to work part-time so, which really allowed me to transition. So, you know, one way or another, or the universe guiding us, we opened up this Lifestyle Medicine Practice in August of 2019.
[00:08:29] Maya Acosta: Mm-hmm . Wow. This is so exciting. So I guess I had not remembered that you, uh, Dr. Bandana became certified that first year that it was available.
[00:08:39] Maya Acosta: Oh, she's the second year. Second.
[00:08:41] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So 20 your first year. And that's when I found out because actually Dr. Linda Carney posted about becoming Lifestyle Medicine Physician, and then I was like, okay, I'm doing it next year.
[00:08:52] Maya Acosta: Mm-hmm okay. So that makes sense. That was around the time that I was beginning to learn about you, all of you because I became.
[00:09:01] Maya Acosta: Vegan plant-based in 2016 and was looking for plant-based physician in the Dallas area and nothing. And then little by little, I started learning about you and Dr. Carney, is that her last name? I already forgot her name but in the Austin area there. And I remember so, yes. So the second year, both of you sat for the board exam, and then we got to know each other a little bit.
[00:09:24] Maya Acosta: And then I mentioned that risk wanted to also sit for the board exam the following year. And you loan me the book. Yes. At one of the events that I went to. And so I often tell my listeners about how. I like going to Houston because in general, there's so much happening with the pods, the PlantPure Communities, pods.
[00:09:44] Maya Acosta: And then I feel like you're sort of that couple, the plant-based physicians who kind of support everything that's happening in that area. You're involved in so many other events. And so I always feel very drawn. To Houston because of you. And so when you opened your practice, I was even more excited because it's sort of like what you said, Dr. Munish, that you kind of had this information. You weren't sure initially what you were gonna do with it. I mean, having the knowledge is great to share with patients individually, but then when you create a clinic, Where you're actually offering stress management, like yoga and meditation, and you're giving food demos.
[00:10:20] Maya Acosta: That's impressive. So can we talk a little bit about that? What do we see on a monthly basis? You, and let me actually explain to the listeners that because of the pandemic, you. Had to put your retreat on hold and all of your events on hold. But last year you did offer your annual retreat online. Do you wanna explain to our listeners that first?
[00:10:44] Maya Acosta: What does the retreat look like? And then how are things now that you've in-person events at the clinic? Okay. Either one of you, if you'd like to tell us, Dr. Munish.
[00:10:54] Dr. Munish Chawla: Yeah, go ahead.
[00:10:55] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So I'll start off with explaining how there is our clinic, which is Lifestyle Docs. Which is our for-profit clinic. And its goal is to bring health and wellness to the community and to our patients specifically.
[00:11:09] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So besides, you know, the regular clinic, we have a lot of community events for our patients because that's the six pillar of lifestyle medicine. And what we noticed is even when patients want to do this, it's really hard for them because they don't have a community of other people also doing this. When they go back home, their friends and family are not interested in plant-based diet or lifestyle medicine.
[00:11:33] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So we wanted to provide them with each other. So every first and third, Saturday, we have meditation and yoga at the clinic. Every second Saturday, we have Walk with a Doc at a park, and then every fourth, Sunday we have a plant-based pod at the clinic. And then also once or twice a month, we'll have cooking classes by usually food for life instructors at the clinic.
[00:11:59] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So that's all the clinic. And when, why don't you tell them about our nonprofit, which is putting on the retreat?
[00:12:07] Dr. Munish Chawla: Right. So, I mean, I tell folks that. In a sense, not that much difference in our, for-profit and nonprofit, you know, we're trying to, um, move in health and wellness, bring peace and wellness and, you know, finding healthy ways of managing stress in our own lives.
[00:12:27] Dr. Munish Chawla: And that's what we share with our patients. And that's what we share with the community, with the nonprofit, you know, our focus, our tagline is Peace, Health, and Wellness. So I'm gonna tell you a little bit about the retreat, but then I'll kind of expand, you know, what our nonprofit is doing in addition to that if that's okay.
[00:12:44] Dr. Munish Chawla: So, you know, one of the things we do, we wanna get the message out that, you know, really lifestyle medicine, you know, eating healthy, moving well, managing. Through healthful tools, you know, that are research-proven like yoga, mindfulness, meditation, that they really make us holistically healthy. So as part of the retreat, which we started in 2018, you know, we had about 70 individuals registering at that time.
[00:13:12] Dr. Munish Chawla: And then in 2019, we had little over a hundred. And then in 20 and 21, you know, we took a hiatus from the in-person. Actually, we didn't do anything in 2020, in 2021, we were getting ready to do an in-person retreat. And then we had another wave. So we moved it, you know, online, but this year we're back and we're hoping to get 150 participants.
[00:13:34] Dr. Munish Chawla: And really all the things we've been talking about. These are part of the retreat. We're gonna have several people do nutrition, lectures, nutrition sessions, including Dr. Garth Davis, you know, the author of Proteinaholic. He's our keynote speaker. And we're excited about him, you know, being at the retreat. And we're also very excited because a dear friend of ours, Maya Costa.
[00:13:57] Dr. Munish Chawla: Is also going to be doing one of the nutrition sessions. So she's gonna help folks move in this way in a practical sense. So she's gonna hold a workshop at the retreat and there's, you know, other nutrition talks. And this year we have talks on health and wellness. So we have a board-certified psychiatrist, a cognitive behavioral therapist.
[00:14:18] Dr. Munish Chawla: They'll each be talking about, you know, mental wellness, building resilience, how to be holistically healthy. In addition to that, we have several breakout sessions and in the breakout sessions, folks have a choice. They can do a yoga class if they want, they can do Vinyasa, yoga or beginners, yoga, or senior yoga.
[00:14:37] Dr. Munish Chawla: Or they can attend a gardening, you know, get to know a bit about gardening, gardening, tips, that sort of thing. Also there's two cooking demos. Mm-hmm and I'm forgetting some things. So we also have things like mindfulness meditation sessions, and Pranayama breathing exercises for stress management, another person doing a workshop on essential oils, really.
[00:15:01] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So anything that, you know, you'll have three choices every hour. So usually there'll be one thing that really oftentimes two things. And you'll have to just pick one that you can do every hour. And then there is a plant-based lunch oil-free plant-based lunch that's included that would be provided by Lucy Ethiopian restaurant in Houston.
[00:15:22] Dr. Bandana Chawla: And we're trying to make it very reasonable. So accessibility is not an issue for people. So it's $35 and that includes 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM retreat with lunch included.
[00:15:33] Maya Acosta: That is impressive. And now do people come from all over the outskirts of, uh, Houston as well? What has been in the past? Where do people come from? Aside from the Houston city itself?
[00:15:49] Dr. Munish Chawla: You know, all the little cities around Houston, you know, we're actually in Bellaire, but you know, there's lake city, uh, Conroe Clear lake. There's a lot of surrounding cities in the Houston metropolitan area. You know is huge,
[00:16:03] Dr. Bandana Chawla: right. You know, we're not that far from Dallas and Austin and San Antonio.
[00:16:06] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So we do have people coming from there. I believe the year you came. You had like three other friends from Dallas that came that year with you? Mm-hmm the farthest person we've had come to our retreat is someone who came from Mexico in 2019. yeah. Yeah.
[00:16:24] Maya Acosta: Wow. It's impressive.
[00:16:25] Dr. Munish Chawla: And they didn't know anything about us. They just found us on social media and thought this would be a good thing to try out.
[00:16:33] Maya Acosta: That's awesome. Excuse me. So I had mentioned to my listeners about, you might have seen me post about the Food Is Medicine Conference in Midland, Texas. And so I did share with the listeners what a one-day event looks like.
[00:16:49] Maya Acosta: And I did try to rally some people from the Dallas area to join us there as well. But I think people, you know, they're still moving slowly into getting, you know, back into events and things like that. What I enjoy most about these one-day events is getting to know other people like networking, it, just meeting like-minded people, hearing their stories.
[00:17:10] Maya Acosta: And I also love like when I meet people who are not even fully on board, but they're there to hear the message. We met. One gentleman who saw, I guess the event was listed on event. That particular day he was looking for, I guess the day before or something, he was on event, right? Trying to find events to take his girlfriend for date night or for a date.
[00:17:34] Maya Acosta: So he discovered the Food Is Medicine Conference and he went for it. Um, other people saw flyers. Uh, they, they found out through their employers. So there were many different ways that people discover this and Riz and I pretty much didn't really meet a lot of people who already know about the power of plant-based nutrition.
[00:17:55] Maya Acosta: There were a lot of new people to this idea that cause as you know, Food Is Medicine, they also cover lifestyle medicine. So they cover exercise as well and stress management. So we were really happy about the turnout in terms of who the event drew to Midland, Texas. And so the same thing with Houston, I always look for an opportunity to go to Houston, to connect with like-minded people I've already invited.
[00:18:21] Maya Acosta: In the past, she has invited coworkers and friends to some of your events. Like when you screened code blue, she invited some people to that as well. So that's so exciting. I'm looking forward to it. And let's talk a little bit about Dr. Garth Davis, cuz he is your keynote speaker. My listener. Probably I have not introduced them to Dr. Garth Davis, but he wrote, like you said, Proteinaholic, and he had moved away from the Houston area. And he's back. And tell us a little bit about what he will be speaking about. Will he focus on Proteinaholic as well?
[00:18:55] Dr. Bandana Chawla: I think he's mainly going to talk about weight management and the role of nutrition in weight loss and weight management.
[00:19:02] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So for those of you who don't know, Dr. Garth Davis is actually a bariatric surgeon. and he has also been in documentary such as What the Health. So people know him from that as well. And he had moved to North Carolina, but now he's moved back. His parents are actually in the Houston area. So now he is like the head of the Methodist hospitals.
[00:19:25] Dr. Bandana Chawla: Rate management program. So that's what he came back to Houston for. And so we were super excited when this weekend was available and he agreed to be our keynote speaker because, you know, as people may or may not know that even when people get bariatric surgery, most of them will gain back the weight in about five years.
[00:19:46] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So nutrition is the key, no matter which way you lose the weight to keep the weight off. And so I think a lar, large part of his talk is going to be about the rule of nutrition in terms of losing weight and keeping it off.
[00:19:59] Maya Acosta: Also, I wanna mention that you've been involved with some, a couple of documentaries. One of em, I just mentioned the Code Blue documentary.
[00:20:10] Maya Acosta: And I wonder if you wanna share either of that and The Land of Ahimsa the same weekend that we were at Milan, Texas,Dr. Sailesh Rao was doing one of his convergence and they screamed, uh, Dolly screamed the film. The Land of Ahimsa. So if you are interested in speaking about how you support these films and how effective they can actually be in terms of swaying people to become aware of just the role that nutrition plays in our lives and what we eat, what we have on our plate actually affects our health, but it also affects the animals in the planet.
[00:20:44] Maya Acosta: So feel free either one to talk about how you became involved in the documentaries. Yeah, absolutely.
[00:20:50] Dr. Munish Chawla: And you know, I was gonna kind of circle back that, you know, as the retreat, you know, there's. Some folks who are already plant-based and we're getting them to eat a little bit healthier, but there's a lot of Veg-curious folks that come to the event also.
[00:21:04] Dr. Munish Chawla: And those folks, whether it's a retreat, whether it's a movie, whether it's a seminar, whether they hear something on podcast, you know, knowledge is powerful. So it's really, we feel like that's something, you know, if someone doesn't know, then, you know, how can we expect them to change anything, to do anything differently.
[00:21:23] Dr. Munish Chawla: So that's why, you know, as part of a team that, you know, you are on, we're on everybody working with. PlantPure communities or Lifestyle Medicine. We wanna get the word out and we feel like, you know, movies are a great way to do this. So the very first movie we got involved in was Code Blue associate producers.
[00:21:43] Dr. Munish Chawla: You know, when we, uh, learned about that, you know, Saray Stancic, you know, learned about her story and her mission that she wants to educate the medical students. Mm-hmm so, you know, if we can get the information out to the younger folks people who are gonna be in the medical profession, how much more powerful is that, you know, patient comes in typical MD interaction is, you know, okay, their sugars are high or their blood pressure is high.
[00:22:11] Dr. Munish Chawla: You know, the doctor may spend a little bit of time on diet and lifestyle, but really not very much at all. And really say, okay, you know, this is their age, these, their, their risk factors. This is the appropriate medication, but giving these new medical students tools of lifestyle medicine, that they can also offer this person, you know?
[00:22:29] Dr. Munish Chawla: Yes, you can be on this medication. It'll improve your symptoms. Or we can work your near diet and lifestyle and actually reverse the disease. Not even, you don't even have to have the disease. So that information is powerful for the, you know, general population for the community. I mean, it's, I think it's fantastic.
[00:22:49] Dr. Munish Chawla: And we wanna do more of that, but getting that information into medical student. I think can be even more impactful. So this is the reason, you know, we wanna be involved in these documentaries. And as you mentioned, we were also involved in Land of Ahimsa, uh, both Dr. B and I have, you know, small parts, you know, she's doing interviews with, I think, you know, many, many folks.
[00:23:12] Dr. Munish Chawla: So we have small part of that movie. And actually there's one other movie. We have a small part in it's called End Game 2050. So this was made by a couple. In the Houston area, Dr. Sofia Pineda Ochoa and her husband, Bob Rapfogel and they're focusing on primarily the environment, but also the health consequences and also the ethical aspect of animal agriculture, which you alluded to, and which is, you know, sort of the main theme of Land of Ahimsa.
[00:23:42] Dr. Munish Chawla: So all of these movies, they're bringing awareness to folks that, you know, what's good for the planet. Good for the environment is also good for us. It's good for our health and it's also good for the animals. So it's really, you know, I love what Dr. Katz says. He goes, you know, the food we eat is actually good for the earth.
[00:24:04] Dr. Munish Chawla: Good for the environment. Good for, you know, not going into climate change. He, that it doesn't have to be this way. You know, we could be something else might be appropriate for us, which is harming the environment. but the wonderful thing about plant-based foods, not only do they heal us, make us feel better.
[00:24:23] Dr. Munish Chawla: They're also healing the environment. So we're just excited to be part of this movement and, you know, however, we can get the word out, whether it's through movies or our clinic or the retreat, you know, that's what we try to do. And
[00:24:38] Dr. Bandana Chawla: that reminds me part of the retreat. One of the lectures is actually on the environment.
[00:24:43] Dr. Bandana Chawla: And it's by Dr. Sofia Pineda Ochoa and Dr. and Rapfogel is a lawyer actually. So the two of them will be doing the environment presentation together.
[00:24:52] Dr. Munish Chawla: We didn't mention that previously, so I'm glad. And I'm gonna mention whether, or maybe Dr. Beacon over U.
[00:25:01] Dr. Bandana Chawla: Oh, yeah. You know, Dr. Stancic really inspired us to take the information to the medical students.
[00:25:08] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So we're both volunteer clinical faculty at the new University of Houston College of Medicine. So we have students come through our clinic. We are preceptors and they rotate through the clinic, but we also got the opportunity to give the medical students six lecture. At the medical school on the six pillars of lifestyle medicine.
[00:25:29] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So that's been really exciting and we're done with five of them. We only have the sixth one left now.
[00:25:34] Maya Acosta: Congratulations. So that's what I've been seeing that you post then on social media, when you're giving the lectures at the university, is this agreement that you now have to support medical
[00:25:45] Maya Acosta: students?
[00:25:45] Dr. Munish Chawla: Yeah. Yes. So it's part of their medical curriculum. Uh, they have a longitudinal clerk. That you know, the medical education is in the process of transition. Mm-hmm more and more medical schools are seeing the value of diet and lifestyle. And they're trying to figure out how to introduce. This to the medical students.
[00:26:06] Dr. Munish Chawla: So, you know, really the climate in terms of education about lifestyle medicine has really changed, you know, over the last, you know, five to 10 years. So we're really excited that, you know, more and more people get this message. So, you know, whether it's medical students at the college of medicine, Or through our retreat, you know, which we're gonna be doing on October the eighth.
[00:26:27] Dr. Munish Chawla: I don't think we ever mentioned.
[00:26:28] Dr. Bandana Chawla: Yes. It's Saturday, October eight, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. And to continue with the medical education part, their professors really see a value in the students, themselves learning it and incorporating lifestyle medicine into their own lives. So they specifically said that with every lecture, they want us to do a didactic part.
[00:26:50] Dr. Bandana Chawla: But they also want us to do a practical part. So like for the exercise lecture, after our presentation, we had a yoga teacher come in and do a little yoga class for the medical students and for the meditation lecture or stress management lecture. After our presentation, we needed a mindfulness meditation for the lectures, for the nutrition lecture.
[00:27:10] Dr. Bandana Chawla: They actually have a teaching kitchen, which they hadn't used yet. so after our nutrition lecture, we got to use that for the first time. And the medical students got a cooking class there. So it's been a lot of fun.
[00:27:23] Dr. Munish Chawla: Yeah. They really enjoy it. You know, just, you know, making healthy plant-based dishes, you know, one, they were surprised how easy it was to make them.
[00:27:30] Dr. Munish Chawla: And how tasty they were. You know, we partnered with instructor ra vegan and chef Cherice Williams, and she kind of guided them into recipes. So they were chopping the kale and they were using the Vitamix and they created the meal themselves under supervision mm-hmm
[00:27:46] Dr. Bandana Chawla: and the cooking teacher was a former ICU nurse herself.
[00:27:49] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So the students kinda connected with her because she had a health background and a chef background. So.
[00:27:56] Dr. Munish Chawla: Yeah, we had a nice time.
[00:27:57] Maya Acosta: That sounds amazing. I love that. You're doing that. That's so exciting. And that sort of takes me back to how you started Dr. Bandana. Speaking about how it was your patients, your patients were the ones that, that sort of started educating you a little bit.
[00:28:14] Maya Acosta: I was wondering if you had sort of a message for individuals, lay people. Regular patients who are sort of just hoping, you know, they're like knocking on doors, hoping to find a plan-based physician. I often have people reach out to both of us, Dr. Riz and I asking if we know of a primary care physician here in the Dallas area, and it can be a little bit frustrating when you know that your doctors are not on board and what I say, and I don't have any medical advice, but what I encourage people to do is just go to your physician.
[00:28:47] Maya Acosta: Make sure you're getting your annual exams and be patient, but I'd love to hear from your perspective, if we want to tell our physicians what we're doing in terms of, you know, embracing a plant-based lifestyle and our physicians may not necessarily be on board or they might discourage us, or they might give us that regular, you know, advice to eat more animal-based protein.
[00:29:10] Maya Acosta: Do you have any words of encouragement or any tips in terms of what we can do when our own physicians are not plant-based?
[00:29:17] Dr. Bandana Chawla: Yeah. So I tell people to really kinda educate their doctors too, in a nice way, because that's what was done with me. I love saying that, you know, you hear about people getting healthier because their doctor had a talk with them.
[00:29:33] Dr. Bandana Chawla: In my case, I became healthy because my patients had a talk with me. So just kinda letting them know that this is what you're doing and that you're feeling better and that your numbers are better. I've had some of my patients who have given plant-based books to their specialists, like their endocrinologist or rheumatologist, and also given them my reference to where if they have questions they can call me.
[00:29:57] Dr. Bandana Chawla: I think we just have to be patient and persistent. With the medical community, because, you know, we, weren't given much nutrition education at all during medical
[00:30:07] Dr. Munish Chawla: school. Yeah. And you know, that's a very good point. Cause you know, it's not that oftentimes, you know, When we're not aware of something, we don't see the value of it.
[00:30:17] Dr. Munish Chawla: So during our medical training, as Dr. Biva saying, we were trained on pills and procedures,
[00:30:22] Dr. Munish Chawla: pharmacology was a big
[00:30:23] Dr. Munish Chawla: section, right? Yeah. So, you know, you have this condition, what is the medication that's gonna help with the symptoms? We weren't given the mindset that, you know, maybe, you know, you don't have to have the disease at all.
[00:30:35] Dr. Munish Chawla: If you change your diet and lifestyle, fortunately that's changing. But you know, a lot of physicians that have been practicing for 15, 20, 30 years and that, you know, model has worked for them, they are gonna be a little bit resistant. But like anything, you know, it's education and awareness, whether the patients, you know, just kind of nudge them that this is what it is telling them about documentaries, about podcasts.
[00:30:57] Dr. Munish Chawla: Mm-hmm about events. So just slowly, you know, presenting some of the medical literature. I mean, these days you can very easy to search pubbed and you know, there's always lots of information that, you know, if you give your physician an article that's, you know, peer-reviewed from a medical journal, He's going to be, you know, a lot more impressed in a sense.
[00:31:19] Dr. Munish Chawla: So, you know, one of the ones that I use frequently is the study by Dean Ornish, where, you know, he basically used lifestyle medicine to reverse heart disease. And this had never been done before. And, you know, he did that study actually in the Houston area and he tells a story that people in the cardiology department, people thought he was crazy that no one can reverse heart disease.
[00:31:43] Dr. Munish Chawla: You know, why would even somebody, you know, waste time with that? But then he showed, you know, without cholesterol medications, just with eating a healthful diet, exercising, encouraging stress management, getting people to quit smoking, and just encouraging a healthy diet and lifestyle. And doing it in a prescribed way that there was coaches available, really encouraging people to follow this.
[00:32:08] Dr. Munish Chawla: And they had a community that they actually did angiograms of these patients. You know, this is a way to look at the inside of the blood vessels. So patients who had known heart disease, known coronary artery disease, you know, plaque in their arteries, they saw an angiogram. And then they did this intervention that I talked about, the Dean Ornish, and then they did the angiogram again.
[00:32:32] Dr. Munish Chawla: And those plaques were smaller. This was, you know, groundbreaking, I should say that this had never been done in medical science before. No one thought that, you know, once you have plaque in your arteries, it's not going away, but you know, he was the first one to show that this can actually go away. So, you know, some key studies like that and others are really powerful.
[00:32:54] Dr. Munish Chawla: And, you know, once you present the data, most people will say, okay, let me at least take a look. See, you know what this lifestyle medicine see what this plant-based lifestyle's about. But as Dr. B mentioned, you know, change is hard for so many of us and it takes a while. It takes patients and you know, I'm gonna digress a little bit, but you know, this is one of the reasons that we were talking about the clinic that Bandana does internal medicine with a twist of lifestyle medicine.
[00:33:24] Dr. Munish Chawla: Whereas I'm doing mostly lifestyle. So part of it's, you know, educating the patient that these things work, but the bigger part is getting them to change their diet and lifestyle. So, you know, I did a coaching course. I'm always kind of looking out for research on behavioral change because this is the part, you know, people see.
[00:33:45] Dr. Munish Chawla: Okay. I see the value. I see that it. But they still have trouble kind of following the diet and lifestyle because they're friends, their families, their neighbors, they're not eating this way. They're not socializing this way. They're not making health and wellness a priority. So that's why, you know, it takes a lot of patience on our part, especially, you know, I'm trying to reverse their diabetes really.
[00:34:12] Dr. Munish Chawla: Taking them from the standard American diet to a mostly whole food plant-based diet. And there's a journey there. It requires, you know, building an ecosystem like we've done encouraging them to come to yoga, to exercise regularly, to come to the cooking classes so they can, you know, learn more about.
[00:34:30] Dr. Munish Chawla: Healthy delicious plant-based dishes. So it takes all of that.
[00:34:34] Dr. Bandana Chawla: And, and your members are also part of group support sessions. Yes. So twice a month, he does group support sessions where the people who are doing the program are helping each other. And it, that seems to make a big difference. A lot of people say that's the part that they enjoy.
[00:34:51] Dr. Bandana Chawla: The most of being in a lifestyle medicine program is having group support session with other lifestyle medicine part.
[00:34:57] Maya Acosta: Exactly. That's what I love most about just in general lifestyle medicine is that you not only receive the education of different modalities, that you can actually adopt lifestyle changes you can make at home to enhance.
[00:35:14] Maya Acosta: Your quality of life, but also you, as health professionals are given the tools to help the patients make that change. So you educate, but you also support them in making the change, especially support groups. I now understand the power of them and Dr. Munish you re referring to the fact that individuals can have the knowledge, but still have that difficulty.
[00:35:35] Maya Acosta: And I remember hearing this in that other conference that I mentioned that having the knowledge is not. But understanding your why, and then the barriers that you have towards making that change also understanding, and I'm learning this why I'm repeating it, but understanding there's this progression in change in general, how we make changes slowly.
[00:35:57] Maya Acosta: Slow in a way is very good because then it can be a sustainable change. That'll stick. Yeah. And I wanna also kind of go back to the fact that you were talking about working with the university and educating medical students, because I'm thinking of exactly that the Code Blue documentary, which I'll put a link or at least, uh, you know, the name again in the show notes for people who have not seen it.
[00:36:19] Maya Acosta: But the story really is around Dr. Saray Stancic. Experience of living with multiple sclerosis and how she, as a physician saw that there was a gap in her book. Then the missing link goes on to talk about how there's this field, you know, lifestyle medicine. That's not really covered in medical school. And so you're helping to fill that gap at the university, you're helping to educate medical students who are open to this, to understand that stress management, understanding how to manage stress, how food plays a role, how exercise plays a role you're helping to fill that gap. The missing link that Dr. Stancic was referring to.
[00:36:59] Maya Acosta: And that just gives me chills. like, it's so exciting to know that you're part of creating such a big change. And I was gonna say something else and now I forgot.
[00:37:08] Dr. Bandana Chawla: it's so important because so many studies show that doctors who don't exercise don't. Talk to their patients about exercise doctors who smoke.
[00:37:18] Dr. Bandana Chawla: Don't talk about smoking cessation to their patients. You know, doctors who are obese, don't talk about weight management or, you know, doctors are not practicing healthy lifestyle. Don't talk about food or nutrition with patients. So we've gotta get the doctors. Healthier so they can get their patients healthier.
[00:37:38] Maya Acosta: And that's an excellent point that you just made as well, that people who are trained in lifestyle medicine, uh, not only, they don't just preach it. They actually practice these modalities. And everyone that I speak to had a story of where they were at one time. Or they went fully plan-based before they started managing their stress and everything.
[00:37:59] Maya Acosta: Everyone has a story of some sort of ailment that they dealt with at one point. And now we're, you know, embracing these modalities and no, one's perfect. I always try to say to my listeners, you don't have to make all these significant changes. Just have the awareness that you have the power to take control of your health.
[00:38:19] Maya Acosta: And, you know, I said to my niece, she reached out no long ago. One of my nieces who's starting to. Symptoms of health issues, just she's battling with some things. And she said, I know that, you know this stuff, so what should I do? So the first thing I said is what impacts you the most, a documentary, reading, a book, listening to a book, or having someone just hold your hand and guide you.
[00:38:41] Maya Acosta: And she said, documentaries, I love documentaries because they affect. So then of course, I told her, watch this and watch that. And so the same thing, you know, when we are speaking with physicians, I knew that for my husband, I knew early on he needed the science as a physician. He needed the science. And that's what Dr. Munish were saying is that sometimes given the right information to your physician can help move them for other individuals. It may just be a documentary. So you just never know. And then for some people it could be that in person. Like what you're holding on October 8th, it could be that we bring a loved one, a good friend to experience what lifestyle medicine is.
[00:39:24] Maya Acosta: So it could be a yoga session and a food demo. It could be watching Dr. Garth Davis speak about weight loss, which is a huge topic for many, many people. And that's what I love about your in-person events. Your retreats is that you're like submerge, it's a day to like take care of our. To eat healthy foods, come together with good people who are all interested in living their best lives.
[00:39:49] Maya Acosta: And then of course, all the sessions, I think this year, you and I'm correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like this year you have more sessions than before. Cause I think you said three sessions every hour breakout sessions. Is that right? Yeah. This,
[00:40:02] Dr. Munish Chawla: I mean, we were counting the number of people who were presenting at.
[00:40:06] Dr. Munish Chawla: I was gonna say conference, but no, we deliberately chose the word retreat, cuz we want people not just to get the information, but practice the healthy lifestyle. Do the yoga learn about pranama learn about these, you know, stress management tools and we have, uh, 20 different presenters this year, which is more than the previous year.
[00:40:26] Dr. Bandana Chawla: I think it's 24.
[00:40:29] Dr. Bandana Chawla: I, if you also have, well, you know, Christof, Maya, um, he did his PhD in cello at Rice university and you came for the Rice Fest. He had put, but he performing cello. At the end of the retreat, you know, somebody else with him is going to be doing little bit of reflections with the music. So they're gonna end the retreat, Joanne Kong, right?
[00:40:54] Dr. Bandana Chawla: Yeah. Dr. Joanne Kong, who is a clinical pianist herself, but we couldn't get a piano there for both of them to perform together. But, yeah. So if you count everybody, it's 24 of us and nobody's charging us anything. Everybody's volunteering their time and expertise.
[00:41:11] Dr. Munish Chawla: Yeah. So this is a, the entire retreat, you know, from the person doing the cooking demos to Dr. Garth Davis, to the person's performing all the nutrition sessions. People are donating their time. Because it's a nonprofit retreat and really, we're just really thankful for all the people, you know, taking their precious time to join us for this retreat and educate and make people more aware that they have these tools available to them that, you know, oftentimes you think, okay, I have diabetes.
[00:41:43] Dr. Munish Chawla: I have to take this pill, but we just wanna spread the message that there are other ways that they can, you know, choose to do things. And we just wanna address the root cause address.
[00:41:53] Dr. Munish Chawla: the root cause given often. Yeah. So we just wanna, you know, give them that information. We're really happy that there's so many passion individuals in the Houston area.
[00:42:03] Dr. Munish Chawla: That are gonna be joining us in spreading this message.
[00:42:05] Maya Acosta: Absolutely. I really feed off of everything that you do. I feel like very inspired. I, and what you're doing in Houston is amazing. And then when I heard that the communities, the PlantPure pod leaders all came under the umbrella of PlantPure Houston, I was even more motivated.
[00:42:25] Maya Acosta: And I said, we need that in Dallas. Like we just need that unity. Fire and the community coming together. And I know from previous experiences or visits to your retreat, that a lot of the pod leaders come together and support you, you know, that you're all doing this, it's volunteer-based. I think it's incredible.
[00:42:43] Maya Acosta: And I just wanna add one more thing. I mean, you do so much, but you're also very active with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, another organization that I love to promote and support on my podcast. You like to share anything about that because I know Dr. Bandana and you've been very vocal.
[00:42:59] Maya Acosta: In supporting animal rights in the Houston area. I don't know if you are still involved with any, if you'd like to share anything that you're doing with PCRM.
[00:43:08] Dr. Bandana Chawla: yeah. So I've known even longer than American College of Lifestyle Medicine, a cm, and. Inspired by them. Like you have been in terms of the good work they do in terms of mm-hmm educating patients.
[00:43:23] Dr. Bandana Chawla: I have their booklets in terms of, for patients to take home in terms of how to transition to a healthy plant-based diet, educating clinicians like us, they have a wonderful app and other information online to where we can print out stuff on specific things with patients like gallstones or whatever else I can print out information.
[00:43:44] Dr. Bandana Chawla: From PCRM and give to their patients and also educate myself. Of course. And then they also do work with Congress and policy change. They have some lawyers that, that are part of the PCRM team. They also do work with animal rights and terms of like stopping dog labs and experiments on animals and, and things like that.
[00:44:05] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So yeah, every once in a while, when there's something in the Houston area that gets to their. News thing they do contact me. I'm happy to go out and do a little protest about having fast food restaurants Chicken fillet and stuff at Texas children's hospital or Ben hospital having McDonald's. And we did get that.
[00:44:27] Dr. Munish Chawla: So thanks to Dr. B and other physicians and PCRM. There was a fast food restaurant I'm forgetting. Was it a McDonald's at Ben was McDonald's at Ben. This is the county hospital. And you that serves the city of Houston and in their cafeteria was McDonald's and in the cafeteria. Of St. Luke, which I, the name has changed, but that's where the Texas heart Institute is.
[00:44:51] Dr. Munish Chawla: This is where all, you know, the research and taking care of patients go there and with heart disease, with heart disease and they go to these fast food restaurants. So, you know, we've. PCRM really kind of calls out people that, you know, this is not our mission. Our mission is to get people, to eat healthy, you know, lessen their heart disease things that will make them healthier.
[00:45:15] Dr. Munish Chawla: And by having fast food restaurants in these hospitals, you know, that's not the right way to go. So doctor B you know, is usually at the process and sometimes I'm able to join her also. And recently she did an article, you know, with PCRM’s collaboration for the Galveston news.
[00:45:34] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So yeah, with the hurricane season coming again, we did an article, actually, both for the Houston and for Galveston, but Houston Chronicle did not wanna publish it, but Galveston did.
[00:45:46] Dr. Bandana Chawla: And it was about how we could try to move more towards plant-based diet in terms of climate change and be. For the hurricane season with more plant-based foods in our pantry and which things we can stock up with. And, yeah, so that was fun doing that with them.
[00:46:03] Maya Acosta: That's actually pretty cool how you were able to pair those two things.
[00:46:06] Maya Acosta: So some environmental awareness along with the safety and preparation, because Houston and Galveston, you are greatly affected by the rains, the storms, the floods, everything that happens in that area. You. And we rarely face those things, but it seems like lately we have had those floods and I feel very appreciative that I keep a lot of like non-perishable or food save items here in our home because they're mainly plant based.
[00:46:34] Maya Acosta: And the same thing when we were going through the pandemic, I think no one wanted to take the beans and the rice.
[00:46:42] Maya Acosta: Anyway, but that's great. There's so much that we can learn from you. Riz, you might have heard was also involved in sort of speaking with the board of managers and at JPS and Fort worth. Yeah. The hospital that currently still has a McDonald's. And what really impacted me was when he said about the more responsibility that the hospital has and what message are we sending patients when we're treating them for the condition that the McDonald.
[00:47:09] Maya Acosta: Cost, you know, for example, just kinda making that comparison, that the fast food is contributing to heart diseases and other health problems. And yet we're keeping that inhouse in the hospital. Yeah. It's a mixed message. And that, again, that goes back to the education and awareness that you're raising, you know, you're bringing to physicians because there's a disconnect.
[00:47:31] Maya Acosta: Yeah. I mean,
[00:47:31] Dr. Munish Chawla: we're all raising that awareness. Yeah. You guys are doing it in Dallas. We're doing it in Houston. And that's what we love about this movement. You know, you meet so many wonderful people who are passionate about saying, okay, this is not right. And we're gonna do something about it. You know, we're gonna protest, we're gonna educate, we're gonna hold retreats.
[00:47:49] Dr. Munish Chawla: We're gonna do podcasts. Anything we can do. To get the message out. So, you know, we're really thankful to be part of this
[00:47:56] Dr. Bandana Chawla: movement and we feel so fortunate to have met so many amazing people like you and Dr. Riz you guys are just doing amazing work. And actually Dr. Riz was our last keynote speaker. The last time we had in person retreat on 2019.
[00:48:12] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So. That was really nice. He did an amazing job.
[00:48:15] Maya Acosta: Yeah. And last year, when you went virtual with your retreat, you invited me to do a little presentation on what I call Budha bowls. You know, how easy it is to eat healthy. If you think of putting together a bowl with all the daily dozen and how we can create bowls.
[00:48:33] Maya Acosta: Oh, just one other thing. Are we going to see you at the Lifestyle Medicine Conference in Orlando? This. We
[00:48:39] Dr. Munish Chawla: are. Yes, we are looking forward to it. Yay.
[00:48:44] Maya Acosta: we are looking forward to it.
[00:48:46] Dr. Bandana Chawla: Munish's actually going to be on the diabetes reversal panel at the conference. So he'll be like, it's four of you, maybe that are on the diabetes reversal panel. So.
[00:48:56] Dr. Munish Chawla: yeah, I mean, they're looking for folks, you know, who are working with patients and actually, you know, uh, doing diabetes reversal work and we've had really good success and it's really, you know, as you were mentioning long as we kinda can guide them, support them. They can make small, sustainable changes, you know, you can get rid of, or reverse these chronic diseases that people have had for years, sometimes even decades.
[00:49:21] Dr. Munish Chawla: So really, you know, this work is, as you know, is so gratifying. So yes, you know, we're really excited about being Lifestyle Medicine Conference in Orlando. And I think you guys are coming also right.
[00:49:33] Maya Acosta: Oh, yes. Yes. I'm looking forward to connecting. I love to mingle. That's my thing. and the lectures are excellent.
[00:49:40] Maya Acosta: And most likely, I wanna say we have that on our list to visit the reversal diabetes reversal panel discussion. That's definitely something that we're both interested in and it's, it's fascinating that you actually bring that up for two reasons. Briefly. My niece, who is only 30 years old, just developed diabetes.
[00:50:00] Maya Acosta: She's so scared. She's like I'm too young to have diabetes. And I said, okay, well, we're gonna have to put a plan in place. So I wanted to talk to her more about what she can do. But the other thing is that I wanted, and I have been in collaboration with ACLM interviewing people who will be giving lectures or involved in the conference.
[00:50:20] Maya Acosta: So if you're. That Dr. Munish and coming back on the podcast and talking a little bit about your type two diabetes reversal, I would love that. I just feel like we can never talk too much about diabetes. That is a very scary, uh, condition to have. I talk often about my parents, both being afflicted with diabetes.
[00:50:39] Maya Acosta: My mother has now had three strokes and, uh, fortunately she has listened to us and is on a whole food plant based diet and, um, and she tries to exercise. So I just wanna encourage people that you can, there are things that you can do right now to take care of your health, and I'm never against Western medicine or medication or anything like that.
[00:51:02] Maya Acosta: We always say, you know, work with your physician, but there are things that we can do to minimize our risk and also to. Reverse in some cases reverse deceased. So this is so encouraging everything that both of you are doing is just amazing to me. I don't know how you have the energy and also I wanted to add one more thing, Dr. Munish, you really have inspired me to look at myself. In terms of managing my stress and really tapping into the power of meditation, because I know that both of you really work on educating everyone about lifestyle medicine. And, but Dr. Munish, when we spoke last, we talked about a Vipassana that I was interested in attending and then the pandemic hit.
[00:51:47] Maya Acosta: So now I have it on my list because they are resuming their meditation. And so I missed out the window. In other words, they're taking less participants this time around. So I missed out on registering, but I have it on my list. The next time they open up another window because I would love to experience a 10-day silent retreat to continue to work on really just becoming more Zen.
[00:52:10] Maya Acosta: Like I'm.
[00:52:14] Dr. Munish Chawla: Right. And we need both, right. We need some, you know, some passion, some energy to do the things we wanna do, but we also need that calm, that clarity that lets us know, okay, we need to focus on this and maybe not so much on that. And just being able to manage our stress is not just good for mental and emotional health.
[00:52:35] Dr. Munish Chawla: Now we know through research it's actually imperative or needed for physical health. So, you know, the mind, body connection we know to be holistically healthy, we need to eat well, you know? Well, actually I'm gonna, you can kind of see it already, but I'm gonna move. Uh, I don't know if it comes up backwards and it says, you know, Eat right.
[00:52:56] Dr. Munish Chawla: Be fit Stressless and connect more. So part of the stressing less, I mean, you know, there's many tools you can use, but the tool that has worked for me and I really try to get other folks to at least try out is mindfulness meditation. And, you know, I got my. Knowledge, or sort of the underpinnings of this through Vipassana, as you mentioned.
[00:53:19] Dr. Munish Chawla: So I highly encourage anyone to go to Vipassana now, or, you know, choose some other method of bringing a little bit more mindfulness into their lives because it's important for, you know, not just your emotional and mental health, but also physical
[00:53:34] Maya Acosta: health mm-hmm . Yes, definitely. So finally, Could you share with us how people can sign up for your retreat.
[00:53:42] Maya Acosta: And so what if they cannot attend? How can they support your foundation if they wanna help support you in all that you do? So that's one thing. And also, do you have a final message for my listeners? So
[00:53:55] Dr. Bandana Chawla: I'll tell you how to register and then ish can do the final message. um, so I would go to peacefulplanetfoundation.org.
[00:54:04] Dr. Bandana Chawla: That's the name of our nonprofit and the retreat information comes right on the front page right now. If you're curious about what else we do, you're welcome to look at the other parts of the website. A big part of what we do is taking mindfulness programs. To underserved schools. So we are going into now that the pandemic is behind us, that had kind of been on hold because we hire yoga teachers to go out and teach yoga and breathing exercises and mindfulness to kids in schools.
[00:54:35] Dr. Bandana Chawla: So that was kind of stopped, but we're super excited that things have started back up in the fall. And we're in several schools in the third ward, which is food desert and many other things in Houston area. So yeah, if you would like to support our work, you can look at our website and see if you wanna volunteer for something in the future or make a donation and you can register right on there and then you can pick your breakout session.
[00:54:58] Dr. Munish Chawla: Yeah, thank you for mentioning that we're really, you know, excited about the pandemic sort of reigning that we are back in schools and a big part of, you know, and this kind of goes along with the message that I have for everyone is to be healthy yourselves, right? If you are healthy, physically, emotionally, mentally, that's what you're gonna share with the world.
[00:55:23] Dr. Munish Chawla: And, you know, we have tools, we have science, you know, we even, you know, the mindfulness meditation, there's so much research showing that it can help us. Emotionally less anxiety, less depression, but can also lower our blood pressure, reduce our risk for heart disease. So
[00:55:41] Dr. Bandana Chawla: even help with behavior change,
[00:55:43] Dr. Munish Chawla: even help with behavior change.
[00:55:45] Dr. Munish Chawla: Right? And this is, you know, some of the research that's being shown that kids were introduced to this in a earlier time in their life. They have better grades. Less discipline issues, more focus. It's like, I love one of the yoga teachers says, you know, yoga or mindfulness. Makes you better at everything else that you wanna do.
[00:56:05] Dr. Munish Chawla: So if you wanna play basketball, it'll help you be a better basketball player. If you wanna Excel in academics, it'll help you be a better math student. So that's our message, you know, find these healthy tools that help yourself and then share these healthy tools. And, you know, this is not just ancient wisdom.
[00:56:26] Dr. Munish Chawla: Not just limited to, you know, the academics, but this is something you can bring in practically into your own life. And you know, when you are a happier, holistically, healthy person, that's what you're gonna spread to the world. So that's our message that, you know, be healthy yourself and then spread the health.
[00:56:45] Maya Acosta: That's so beautiful. I didn't know what you were doing with the schools. And that's a very touching thing for me as a, a former school teacher who worked with title I students. So students who were considered at risk, and I know that there are many stressors in their lives. Yeah. Especially when they're in survival mode.
[00:57:04] Maya Acosta: So the idea that you're actually helping to give them the right tools so that they can manage some of that stress is that's beautiful. That's amazing what you're doing. Thank you again, doctors for everything, for being role models, for encouraging all of us and for really what you're doing for the city of Houston in a larger platform for PCRM all that you're doing with your foundation.
[00:57:27] Maya Acosta: I wanna thank you so much, and I'm so excited. I'll see you on October 8th. So thank you.
[00:57:33] Dr. Munish Chawla: Thank you so much for your kind words, Maya, looking forward to seeing you soon.
[00:57:37] Maya Acosta: Okay.
[00:57:38] Dr. Bandana Chawla: Bye Maya. Thank you so much. This was so much fun. Thank you for having us.
[00:57:43] Maya Acosta: It was my pleasure having you again. Thank you. You've been listening to the Healthy Lifestyle s-Solutions podcast with your host Maya Acosta.
[00:57:51] Maya Acosta: If you've enjoy this podcast, do us a favor and share with one friend who can benefit from this episode. Feel free to leave us an honest review on apple podcast that helps us to spread our message. Thanks for listening.