November 08, 2022
242: Women's Health and Lifestyle Medicine | Stronger Together with Dr. Michelle Thompson and Kayli Anderson

Women's health experts Dr. Michelle Thompson and Kayli Anderson educate health professionals and laypeople on managing stress through lifestyle medicine approaches such as mindful movement and breathing. They will be presenti...

Women's health experts Dr. Michelle Thompson and Kayli Anderson educate health professionals and laypeople on managing stress through lifestyle medicine approaches such as mindful movement and breathing. They will be presenting at the upcoming annual Lifestyle Medicine Conference in Orlando, Florida, with the workshop title "Women's Health and Lifestyle Medicine: Stronger Together." Tune in for a sneak peek of their conversation on women's health, stress management, and overall self-care!

This episode covers the following:

  • How to use stress reduction techniques in our daily lives
  • The impacts of the pandemic on women’s health
  • Simple tips to reframe our thinking around self-care 

Lifestyle Medicine Conference 2022:

About Dr. Michelle Thompson and Kayli Anderson

Dr. Michelle Thompson is a Medical Director, UPMC Well-being and Lifestyle Medicine Center, DO, AOBFP, ABOIM, DipABLM, FACLM triple board certified in lifestyle, integrative, and osteopathic family medicine incorporating culinary medicine and mind-body skills into her patient care along with teaching medical students, interns, residents, and attendings at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where she has been employed since 2006. She has served as Chair of Medicine and is currently Vice Chief of Staff for UPMC Horizon and Jameson.

Kayli Anderson is a Registered Dietitian with over a decade of experience in plant-based nutrition, culinary education, and lifestyle medicine, she knows how to help people live healthier lives. She believes a plant-based lifestyle should be simple, pleasurable, and sustainable. 

Connect with Dr. Michelle and Kayli 

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[00:00:00] Dr. Michelle Thompson: We don't want everybody to have to be perfect. Make your next bite count. Don't beat yourself up over what you just ate. You have a choice. You're in control of your fork. So if you didn't do it right, the last bite, make the next bite something that you think would be a better option.

[00:00:13] Kayli Anderson: It's important to have these techniques because the pandemic really hit women hard. Women are the primary frontline healthcare workers. They were the ones that were leaving jobs more frequently than men to take care of things at home. Having these techniques, really simple things like breathing, so important.

[00:00:33] Maya Acosta: You have more power over your health than what you've been told. This is the 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. Let's get started. Women's health experts, Dr. Michelle Thompson and Kayli Anderson teach health professionals and lay people how to manage stress with lifestyle medicine techniques like mindful movement and breathing techniques. Dr. Thompson and Kayli will present at the upcoming annual Lifestyle Medicine Conference in Orlando, Florida. The title of the workshop is Women's Health and Lifestyle Medicine, Stronger Together.

[00:01:25] Maya Acosta: Dr. Michelle Thompson is the Medical Director of the Lifestyle Medicine Department at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She's also the lead for the Women's Health Interest Group and the Menopause Subcommittee at the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Kayli Anderson is a registered dietician and founder of Plan-Based Mavens, and she's also a faculty member of the Food As Medicine course for the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Stick around to learn more about their upcoming workshop. The full bio and the links for each of my guests are found on the website All right. Welcome back to another episode of the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions Podcast.

[00:02:07] Maya Acosta: I'm host Maya Acosta. Might have heard me depending on how often you listen to the podcast that I've been sort of wanting to really highlight some of the speakers, some of the workshops that will be taking place. At the Lifestyle Medicine Conference that's coming up in November, I'm very excited about today because two of my guests have been on the show before.

[00:02:26] Maya Acosta: We'll make sure to add the links to the show notes, and they specifically will offer a pre-workshop at the conference that specifically tailored to women. Which we're always excited about. They will be here to talk about the lifestyle pillars of lifestyle medicine. And just to read you a little description of this workshop, it's the presenter's aim for attendees to be able to develop self-efficacy and competency in both personal practice as well as professional application of teaching evidence-based nutrition to patients, and it goes on to discuss how the topics will include women's hormonal health and longevity, reproductive biology, and to educate and advocate for women's health. So I'm excited that this workshop really is whoever attends, hopefully, the females that listen to this, the female physicians or practitioners, apply this content for themselves, but then be able to feel equipped enough to teach and educate their patients. So I have Dr. Michelle Thompson, and I have registered dietician Kayli Anderson. Welcome.

[00:03:27] Kayli Anderson: Hi, Maya. Thank you so much for having us.

[00:03:28] Maya Acosta: Yes. Thank you for putting this together, first of all, the workshop, and then being able to come together so that all three of us can have a conversation about your presentation. Do you wanna, uh, just fill us in on what's been going on real quickly before we talk about the workshop? Dr. Thompson, how have you been? I know that you stayed pretty busy with everything that you do, including the Women's Interest Group, you lead there, the subcommittee for on Menopause. How have you been?

[00:03:54] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Good. Actually, some exciting news at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, we now have a lifestyle medicine department, and so I'm the Medical Director of that department, and we're really shifting the way that we deliver primary care, putting lifestyle medicine, front, and center in the way we're doing everything.

[00:04:11] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Not just in our residency program, in our, you know, lifestyle medicine residency curriculum, but also in our medical school. We're attempting to shift that as well as with our employees and our, our health plan and all of those things. So a lot of exciting things are going on at UPMC and also within the Women's Health Interest Group.

[00:04:29] Dr. Michelle Thompson: You know, I think that that's a very strong group within ACLM, and the Menopause Subcommittee is working on hand. To help with all of the pillars for women that are going through that transition, so, mm-hmm. . Yeah. Exciting things are going on.

[00:04:41]  Maya Acosta: That's huge. I remember you mentioning that Medical Director of the lifestyle medicine component of it. That's a huge endeavor. Congratulations on that. 

[00:04:51] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Thank you so much. I'm very excited to be leading that.

[00:04:54] Maya Acosta: And Kayli Anderson. So you'll be coming back on again in the near future to sort of talk about, uh, nutrition and all the questions that moms who are expecting also. How so? How have you been?

[00:05:06] Kayli Anderson: Yeah, I've been doing well, uh, still putting out lots of information on my website, plant-based Mavens.

[00:05:13] Kayli Anderson: And let's see, I think since we last talked, um, I'm lead faculty of the Food as Medicine course for ACLM, and we launched our preconception pregnancy and postpartum courses for that. So anyone can take those Healthcare providers can get continuing education for those as well. And then I myself am about five and half months pregnant, so I've been sharing a lot more information about lifestyle medicine and pregnancy as well.

[00:05:39] Maya Acosta: It's wonderful that you'll be coming back to speak about that because you'll be that the living testimony that you can have a healthy pregnancy despite the fact that there are so many concerns, you'll probably share with us how it's been with you as well. That's wonderful. So the title of this conference, the title of the pre-workshop conference that you'll be offering is Women's Health and Lifestyle Medicine: Stronger Together. So please tell us who is this workshop for? And the title Stronger Together. Tell us more about that. Let's start with Dr. Thompson. 

[00:06:12] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Yeah, so this workshop was really designed for women that are looking for more information, not just for themselves, but for their patients, and it's really for anyone. It can be for social workers, occupational therapists, dieticians, physicians, you know, is really designed to just give you evidence-based medicine surrounding women's health with the pillars front and center, and also how to use these pillars. And the stronger together portion is really we all need each other. And we found that through Covid 19. The connection piece was something that we were lacking. And you know, social isolation is a poor determinant of health.

[00:06:51] Dr. Michelle Thompson: And really just kind of coming out of this and emerging out of Covid 19 in a different way and realizing the importance of all of us working together as women. As well as people that are involved in taking care of people's health. So, you know, we are a team and I'm so excited also to be here with Kayli and I didn't know she was pregnant, so I'm really excited about that. So what an exciting thing to find out in the midst of the podcast. Congratulations, Kayli, and then I'll let you add whatever you might want to add in.

[00:07:20] Kayli Anderson: Yeah, thank you. I think in this virtual world, we only see half of each other. Usually on camera. So those sorts of things get lost in the mix. But yeah, I agree with everything that Michelle shared.

[00:07:32] Kayli Anderson: You know, we really did just go through this kind of collective trauma really with Covid 19, and this will be the first in-person conference since all of that. So coming back together and really filling these participants' toolboxes with things that they can not only use with their patients, with the women that they support, but also with themselves.

[00:07:53] Maya Acosta: Dr. Thompson, as we go on to talk about the pillars of lifestyle medicine, something really stood out when I asked about the Stronger Together component of this title, the Social Isolation component. As we said, we've come out of, well, we were still affected and there are people still dealing with that, but I was thinking about the women who sort of had to deliver and have their children during the pandemic, how isolated they might have felt and not as supported because they couldn't have a lot of guests in the delivery room. So, have things changed now in medicine? Are things a little bit more open? I. Forgive me for asking. I just, you know, I'm. I don't know anyone who's given birth recently, so.

[00:08:35] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Yeah, no, things are, things are opening back up, you know, But I still think there is that component when in the hospitals and the offices, we are masked. So that's still, like Kayli was just talking about, you don't see Kayli from this part down. So we don't see her belly. If you don't see the person from their nose to their mouth, you don't see their expressions and their smiles, right? So there's still a barrier that we have. And you know, even for children that were born during this, all they see is eyes.

[00:09:04] Dr. Michelle Thompson: For the past couple of years really, there's a big piece of that is missing. So we're really just trying to rebuild and refocus on how we're going to move forward and know that exactly like Kayli said, we went through a global trauma and not one of us was spared from this, not even, you know, Pink the Superstar, or Madonna or any of these powerful women in our world.

[00:09:28] Dr. Michelle Thompson: You know, we all have to figure out how to live a different way. And in, we've had so much to deal with, really with our children, with caring for our loved ones and you know, Childcare and all of those different things, and then caring for ourselves on top of it, like what does that look like? How does it feel different?

[00:09:46] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Not being able to connect with your girlfriends and all that we've all been through. So yeah, there's so much to think about, but there's also so many good things that came out of it, and I think that that's something that we focus on too, is that we can meet and, you know, come together in a different way, but we still need that in person interaction. Right?. I'm so excited to hug you both. in person, Right. In November. Really, we're just a month away. 

[00:10:12] Maya Acosta: Yeah, it's going by so fast. I am so looking forward to the conference as well. So let's talk about when your workshop will take place. Who can attend? Is there a registration fee on? And also, let's just go ahead and dive into the pillars. What can people expect in terms of the content that you will teach?

[00:10:30] Kayli Anderson: Our workshop will take place on Sunday. The Sunday that the conference starts. So we're first thing in the morning from nine to noon eastern that day. And who can attend? Really anyone, anyone who is attending the conference. Um, it will probably be mostly healthcare providers, but really anyone is welcome and the information will be applicable to anyone. And we're expecting it to be a room filled with women and people who care for women, um, because that's really what we're focusing on.

[00:11:00] Maya Acosta: Let's talk about that first pillar. I have some notes here when it comes to women and stress. You know, how do women experience stress differently than men? And what are some of the techniques that we can look forward to hearing at that workshop? Dr. Thompson?

[00:11:15] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Some of the techniques that really I am going to be helping with front and center is how can we use these on a daily basis? And with that being said, we may just have three. And actually, what I'm going to invite us to do is just take a few breaths together, if that would be okay. So I will guide us in a little bit of soft belly breathing.

[00:11:36] Dr. Michelle Thompson: So if you feel comfortable closing your eyes, go ahead and do that. If you don't want to close your eyes, you can just softly gaze at the floor or out at something ahead of you. Really just focusing on your breath for a minute, breathing in through your nose all the way to the top of your head. And letting it out through your mouth all the way to the bottom of your feet.

[00:11:59] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Again, breathing in through your nose, taking in as much air as you can, take in all the way to the top of your head and letting it out all the way to the bottom of your feet. Continuing to breathe slowly and deeply at your own pace, Maybe one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. Feeling your chest rise as you breathe in your belly. Expand as you breathe out. Letting go of any thoughts of the past? Letting go of anything that you have to do when you finish here today, but really coming into this moment, knowing that as long as we have our breath, we're currently safe.

[00:12:38] Dr. Michelle Thompson: We're currently, well, there's more right with us than wrong with us and all. As long as we have our breath, we have the ability to make a change. Maybe take a new path, a new direction. Breathing in, feeling the quality of the air come in through your nose, maybe breathing in for yourself, letting it out through your mouth, maybe breathing out collectively.

[00:13:05] Dr. Michelle Thompson: For those of us here together and out there throughout our world, when you feel ready, softly blinking, open your eyes if they're closed, Coming back to the screen. So I always need that, and I think that that's really important. So one of the big things I'm doing is teaching my medical students and residents to breathe with their patients because we all have our breath with us wherever we are.

[00:13:34] Dr. Michelle Thompson: And so if we need it, we just remember I have a tool and I have two to three. To just move my nervous system from sympathetic. Go, go, go into parasympathetic rest, relax, you know, really just to help us. And so we're gonna teach tools, not just like soft belly breathing, but other things like mindful movements and, you know, um, shaking techniques and mindful walking.

[00:14:02] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Stress reduction is really important, you know, in this world that we live in, because it is a big part of disease processes in women. So I think just arming us with tools in our toolbox, like Kayli said, and remembering that self-care is important and we really have to be that model for our families and for our friends, and, you know, trying to make it.

[00:14:26] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Like common, right? So if I just said, Let's breathe, like, oh yeah, let's breathe. You know, we all breathe. It's what we share, it's what we share in person. You know, every human being on this planet breathes. So I'll let Kayli jump in and say more about that. 

[00:14:44] Kayli Anderson: Yeah. Michelle is a master at teaching stress reduction and mind-body medicine techniques. So I'm excited to learn from her at the workshop as well. And we'll be doing lots of different interactive activities like the breathing that we just did. And, you know, this is really, you know, talking about kind the pandemic. And I know in a lot of ways we're still kind in the covid times. Um, it's not over yet, but coming out of this time, I think it's really important to have these techniques because the pandemic really hit women hard.

[00:15:19] Kayli Anderson: Women are, you know, the primary frontline healthcare workers. They bore the burden of childcare. They were the ones that were leaving jobs more frequently than men to take care of things at home during that time. So having these techniques, really simple things like breathing, as Michelle said, um, is so important.

[00:15:42] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Yeah. And also mindful eating. You know, I, I think there's so much of the time that we're not even really thinking about, we can slow down and breathe right before we're getting ready to eat. So, and gratitude, you know, that's really important. I'm sitting here, I didn't, wasn't planning on this, but let me grab my little, my gratitude bell that is sitting right here with me, but I don't know if you can hear this.

[00:16:04] Maya Acosta: I love it. And it matches what you learned. Yeah.

[00:16:07] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Oh yeah. That was not my plan, but it's just always, you know, my reminder to stop in this moment and be grateful because you know, we do have a lot of things that have happened that have been frustrating and stressful, but we have a lot to be grateful for.

[00:16:21] Dr. Michelle Thompson: So just. Yeah. You know, reframing our thought process and accepting the feeling of where we are, and we're also going to talk about that emotions, you know? Mm-hmm. , because you do have to have awareness of your emotions. I think that's also something that needs to be more front and center to accept and understand that mind-body connection that is so powerful.

[00:16:41] Maya Acosta: Yeah. You know, Dr. Thompson, this reminds me when you were talking about encouraging our health professionals to do that deep belly breathing with the patients reminded me of Dr. Lianov. Who is talks about positive psychology and happiness, how she said that she wants to encourage health professionals to kind of have a different perspective and interaction with the patients.

[00:17:03] Maya Acosta: Instead of looking at the patient as what's wrong with you, maybe I would appreciate, you know, my physician breathing with me and just sort of grounding cuz it just, it opens me up. And I love when you do that, Dr. Thompson. You always relax me and help, help me center, uh, and really just lke you said, calm everything down so there's more clarity.

[00:17:23] Maya Acosta: I'm more relaxed. And then the conversation with a health professional could be different if there were a little bit of that. Not everybody can afford, say, a health coach or, you know, yoga classes or whatever it may be, but if they have a little bit exposure through their physician, That would be awesome.

[00:17:41] Dr. Michelle Thompson: You know, and you said something that really just made my ears kind of perk up and, and it's something that I really do in my own practice all the time, and I'm sure Kayli does this as well. I always say, You're doing so good at this, this, and this and this. Like, don't feel like you're not doing enough, right?

[00:17:58] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Because that's another big struggle for women. It's like, well, I didn't exercise enough, I didn't get enough sleep. I didn't get, you know, I didn't eat all the right foods, I didn't connect the way I should have or whatever it may be. But really, we're all doing our best. And our best is good enough. And I think that that's the other portion of this is having some kindness for yourself and compassion for where you are in this moment and knowing that.

[00:18:23] Dr. Michelle Thompson: You know, you're just one foot in front of the other and you've got this, you know, And I think that is really important because I always say I'm just a, you know, a cheerleader. That's really what I do for people is just give them motivation and inspiration to, you know, you've done this so good. Okay. Can maybe, what else might you like to work on?

[00:18:42] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Mm-hmm. . And it's really, we all have something to work on. All of us, me include. And I'm the first to say like, Yes, you know, I need to work on this in this moment. Which is why in the mind-body model, the mind-body medicine model that I'm trained in, I'm also a participant. You know, I'm not here in, the patient is below me.

[00:19:03] Dr. Michelle Thompson: I am on a team and we are equal. So I think that's really important to set that stage. So that the person feels comfortable and safe, especially in a trauma, you know, informed healthcare setting coming out of a global trauma, you know, people are heightened mm-hmm. and people are really kind of already feeling like there's been so much weight on them and you know, saying, Okay, we have to eat this perfect diet is just more to do.

[00:19:29] Dr. Michelle Thompson: It's just one more thing to do. And I know Kayli's gonna speak to that because I know that she does a lot of work in that, in encouraging women. So I'll just let her say some things too.

[00:19:38] Kayli Anderson: Yeah. And I love how you kind of talked about that reframing of, you know, instead of striving for perfection, we're really just striving for a good enough and you are doing enough.

[00:19:49] Kayli Anderson: It doesn't have to be perfect. You know, we're in this kind of compare and despair environment with social media, so it's hard for a lot of women to not say, Well, my house doesn’t look as clean as that, or my kids aren't as dressed up as that they have stains on their clothes or whatever it might be that we're comparing.

[00:20:07] Kayli Anderson: It's hard to get outta that, but really reframing that as like, I work with a lot of women who are in that kind of postpartum period. Or they have young children at home. And so sleep is, you know, a commodity for them and it's hard to get enough sleep and you know, it's hard to listen to people say, Well, you need eight hours and you need to an hour of wine down and need and like all of that's great.

[00:20:32] Kayli Anderson: And those are all suggestions, but I like to reframe for them even. Let's just talk about rest. How can we rest and recharge even if we're not sleeping eight hours? So how can you know while you're feeding your child, how can you maybe do a little mindfulness meditation that recharges you? And just little things to kind of reframe that. So that they feel like they are doing enough and it doesn't have to be perfect.

[00:20:58] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Absolutely. Yeah. And adding that into like, how can you do it with your children, right? So mm-hmm. , you can do mindful eating with your children. You could do this deep breathing with your children. You could do dancing with your children and you're getting that movement, you're getting that stress release, you're getting all of these different things and you're teaching your kids, right?

[00:21:18] Dr. Michelle Thompson: And I don't know if I shared this when I was with you before Maya, but I remember in the heat of the pandemic. I was chair of medicine at the time and it was a covid surge and all of our beds were full. There was nowhere to put anybody. And it was the holidays. And I remember saying like, I was just like kind of feeling all this pressure.

[00:21:37] Dr. Michelle Thompson: And my son, who is now 31 said at that time, he said, Mom, he said, Let's breathe together. And he put on nice music. We started breathing together and I looked at him, I. Thank you. Right. So that was just another reminder that I'm trained in this and I still needed somebody to remind me to breathe and to breathe with me and guide me.

[00:22:01] Dr. Michelle Thompson: And it was a reminder to me that our children are always watching. And so by what we're doing with them, we're teaching them, you know, they're really going to be different because they're going to have that tool that feels comfortable. He felt like, let's do this right Like it just came to him. So to me, I think it's so important that we teach our children and those around us, and when we talk about putting alarms on our phone, to just have a nice song that comes on or something, and whoever may be around you just say, Oh, that's my, you know, alarm to check in on myself and I feel like I need to get a drink, or I feel like I need to stand up or go to the bathroom.

[00:22:38] Dr. Michelle Thompson: I've told my residents this too, and they're just, Oh, it's like they needed permission to care for themselves. And I think women, that's tough, right? Because we're caring for so many people. So yeah, I think that, But we are the only ones that are going to redirect that and to change the way people view that because we are that ripple that changes the world.

[00:23:02] Maya Acosta: Absolutely. If I can touch a little bit on what you just said. I had one of my sisters, I was having a conversation with her about alcohol, just regular conversation, and she said to me that as one of her daughters, that's in her early twenties, was going back out of state, she said to my sister, mom, I'm worried about your drinking.

[00:23:23] Maya Acosta: And so my sister said, Wow, it's that obvious, you know, like that my daughter has to say something and be vocal about it. And I was thinking about, just as we were just talking about earlier, that we went through so much stress. So I wonder how much drinking went up. And then we were talking about mindful eating, and I wonder how much stress-related eating took place as a result.

[00:23:46] Maya Acosta: So I'm wondering, Kayli. Because our experience was when we stopped doing our monthly events here in the Dallas area, I worried immediately about the people that were almost adopting a fully, you know, whole food, plant-based lifestyle and then probably reverted back to the way they were because of stress.

[00:24:03] Maya Acosta: I mean, I, we were all doing the best that we could. So, um, in the workshop, are you offering like practical tips to get people back on board or people who are interested in getting started in needing healthier foods? What can we expect?

[00:24:17] Kayli Anderson: Yeah, absolutely. We'll definitely be offering some practical tools for sure. And just kinda a note on kinda what the pandemic did to our eating habits. I really saw it go in multiple directions because. On one hand, yes, you know, it's people who maybe aren't, it's not as intuitive for them to make a healthy meal quickly or grab a few ingredients at the grocery store and whip something together.

[00:24:46] Kayli Anderson: If that's on intuitive, then yes, they might start resorting to a lot of takeout and, and things like that, but, That, you know, heightened emotional environment can also be really triggering for any sort of disordered eating that is present. And in my experience, most women have some thread of disordered eating or experience with disordered eating just because of the pressures of our culture.

[00:25:12] Kayli Anderson: And so I saw a lot of that as well where there was, um, maybe a loss of control in other areas of life. And so that felt like a place that they could control or, um, it was just triggering in some way as well. And that really goes for a lot of, you know, people who have history of trauma. You know, it was a triggering time for sure.

[00:25:31] Kayli Anderson: So as far as kind of tips and tricks and that sort of thing, I think kind of the theme has been to keep it easy, keep it simple, keep it basic. So a few things that I always teach people first is to find kind of your staple five meals. So what are five meals that you, you know, know what you need at the grocery store?

[00:25:54] Kayli Anderson: Pretty quickly. You don't really have to follow a recipe for it. Everyone in your house likes it so that on a busy weeknight, you can just throw it together. So in my house, tacos is a common one that fits into that. We always kind of have can of beans and some rice and some veggies that we can throw together.

[00:26:10] Kayli Anderson: So, finding those meals. Really when people maybe weren't eating so healthy, they probably had those staple meals anyway that they threw together. So now it's just kind of finding new ones that you feel good about, so you can mix those in as well. And then I always encourage people to kind of use, um, what I call the satisfaction equation.

[00:26:32] Kayli Anderson: Which is your nutrition plus pleasure because we often forget that is an important part of food, is enjoying food. We're meant to enjoy food, and then resources. So how much time do you have? You know, what economically, what can you afford, and what do you have on hand? And I think that, again, with the age of social media, we see.

[00:26:55] Kayli Anderson: Pictures, beautiful pictures of food online all day and think, Well, my dinner doesn't look like that, but we just need to lower the bar. I think, you know, you need to grab frozen veggies out of the freezer and throw those together with some things, then that's totally okay. So just giving per people permission to really lower the bar and it can still taste good, and it can be really,

[00:27:17] Maya Acosta: Absolutely. I know that you'll be addressing some, a lot of concerns that people have of iron, calcium, where they get their protein, but I saw in your presentation that you also will talk about EPA and DHA and ALA, and when we get these sort of questions, I always think someone like yourself who is trained in this field as a dietitian could answer.

[00:27:39] Maya Acosta: But uh, do you have anything to add about that? Like the concerns about omega-three essential fatty acids? Dr. Thompson was talking about, you know, breast cancer awareness, and I was listening to someone else's survivor's story, and she mentioned staying away from soy, and I thought, Oh my gosh, don't we always go through this though, So if you wanna address those briefly.

[00:28:03] Kayli Anderson: Yeah, sure. So when it comes to the omega-3. Fatty acids. Those are really important for women's health for lots of different reasons. And they're considered essential fatty acids, which means we have to get them from food our body can't make them. And kinda the ALA, DHA, EPA thing you were talking about, those are kinda the three different types of omega threes that we tend to talk most about, and ALA we can find and plant-based foods, so flax seed, chia seeds, walnuts, those all have ALA EPA and DHA.

[00:28:35] Kayli Anderson: Um, we can't find in plant-based foods, and our body can technically convert ala into EPA and DHA, but that conversion varies from person to person, and it's not really a great conversion rate. So I usually recommend a few different things. So if you're completely plant-based, taking a algae, microalgae-based DHA supplement could be a really good option for you. If you aren't completely plant-based, then you can also get that DHA from fish. So choosing low-mercury fish and eating fish a few times a week is an option as well. But making sure that it's low mercury, um, kinds. So that's kind of the story with omega three’s. And then what was the other question you asked?

[00:29:24] Maya Acosta: Just so you know, there's always the myth about soy. And contributing to estrogen levels. Yeah. 

[00:29:31] Kayli Anderson: Yeah. So that's a common one, and its one that's largely been debunked that in most cases, aside from folks who have thyroid conditions, that's soy can kind of, um, Be troublesome there, depending on medications that you're on.

[00:29:45] Kayli Anderson: So you'll definitely wanna check with your doctor. But in other cases, like breast cancer, soy is actually really beneficial and it can be really a wonderful food for those people to eat. We do wanna choose low-processed soy, so things like edamame, Tempe. Soy milk tofu would fall into those categories as well, versus kind of the more processed soy.

[00:30:09] Kayli Anderson: So, you know, soy burgers and um, different things like that. And I know Michelle, you, Yeah, you with the menopause group. I know that soy has some great benefits there, so I don't know if you have anything to add. 

[00:30:21] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Yeah, same thing, though. I'm really glad that we're talking about soy because that's the thing, everybody's afraid of soy, and I'm so glad when you brought that up. Her presentation is amazing. I'm very excited to be present, to learn from her. And couple things, I just wanted to add in because I think it's really important. And, and going back to your talk about substance use is yes, there's been a big uptick in that, but I talk to everybody, not about. You know, stopping completely, you know, there's no safe amount.

[00:30:52] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Right. Can we talk about mindful substance use? Can we just be mindful of what we're doing, and can we, you know, and I have this conversation with people about smoking all the time? Maybe, would it be okay if you just skip that cigarette and do deep breathing for three minutes? Or maybe if you're going to have a glass of wine, you mindfully do it, and you slow down and maybe drink water in between.

[00:31:16] Dr. Michelle Thompson: You know, just again, bringing that mindfulness and that mind-body connection into the space. And also the other thing I wanted to add in that I think is really important, and, and Kayli was talking about this coming back. Process of not perfection, right? We don't want everybody to feel like they have to be perfect.

[00:31:33] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Make your next bite count. Don't beat yourself up over what you just maybe ate, like you have a choice. Again, you know you're in control of your fork. So if you didn't do it right, the last bite, make the next bite. Something that you think would be a better option? So I think, again, just moving that needle in the direction of health and wellness and what does that look like, and being okay with wherever we've been because none of us had.

[00:32:00] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Any sort of understanding about what it's like to live in a pandemic, Right? I mean, I was trying to figure out myself, like, why is my job so hard? I did residency, I worked 36-hour shifts home, 12 hours back, 36 home 12, Like it was crazy for three years of my life. But why it was so hard is because of all the uncertainty.

[00:32:20] Dr. Michelle Thompson: And so when you have all that uncertainty, you do exactly what Kayley said. You grab something you know you have control of, whether it be disordered eating, whether it be substances, whether it be overworking, whatever it may be. You try to find control. And have some sort of certainty and feel like you have control of something when you feel like the world around you is spiraling out.

[00:32:40] Dr. Michelle Thompson: So again, coming back to like giving people a sense that it's okay, not going back to where you are noting it and saying, I see where we were. And having some compassionate kindness for yourself, for going through that and coming together collectively as human beings on this planet and rolling forward in a way that is just much more meaningful and powerful than what you could have even ever imagined in the past.

[00:33:03] Maya Acosta: Mm-hmm. .Absolutely. I love that idea of grabbing a hold of something that you feel control over. And I've said this a lot, but when the pandemic happened, of course, I was scared, but I'm an introvert. For me, it was a time to take a break and just be with myself. So I thought, you know, it's gonna, you know, it'll be over in a couple of months.

[00:33:23] Maya Acosta: I'll exercise, I'll do my nature walks, everything will be fine. And then it dragged. And it dragged, and it dragged. And I think that's when I really started to experience the trauma. So I'm wondering, Dr. Thompson, how important do you think it is for health practitioners, medical professionals to to be trained in trauma, to be trauma-informed when it comes to interacting with their patients, specifically women?

[00:33:47] Dr. Michelle Thompson: I can't say it enough. I did a podcast actually about trauma-informed care because I think every human being on this planet needs to be informed in trauma now because, You know, the Mind-Body Medicine techniques and certification program that I went through really put front and center what trauma is, and I will be very honest with you.

[00:34:09] Dr. Michelle Thompson: I had no idea that I had been through trauma until I actually went through the training, and I'm like, Oh. Wow. . I had trauma, so, and I also had weird things happening to me during the pandemic. I remember one time I felt like I needed to clean my plate. What? You know, are you kidding? Like, I have not felt like that since I was a little girl.

[00:34:32] Dr. Michelle Thompson: My grandma told me to eat all my food, but. Trauma, Reactivates childhood trauma, and we're going to be talking about that, the adverse childhood events. I saw that. You know that Kayley is gonna be talking about that in our presentation. And so those things come up, but when you have trauma training, you note it, and you're like, I said to my husband, I just felt like I needed to like eat all this food.

[00:34:52] Dr. Michelle Thompson: And he's like, You don't. And I'm like, I know, but I can't waste it. It's that whole thing. What if we don't get more food? Right. . And the other thing is, is I personally was overworking, and I had to keep checking myself like, because now that we have access to work 24/7, it's easy to do, right? So you have to really like disconnect yourself and get away from the screen and get away from the email and have digital sabbaticals where you shut down technology, and you walk away, and you dive into nature doing earthing, grounding, forest bathing, anyway that you can get out. And shift that. Yes. So did I answer your question?

[00:35:26] Maya Acosta: Oh, yes. And not to mention, as you were saying about overworking, you were also supporting your colleagues in all of this. In the midst of the pandemic.

[00:35:32] Dr. Michelle Thompson: I had this feeling of, you know, well, who's gonna take care of these people, right? So the urgent cares were overflowing, the ERs were overflowing, the patients were sick, and what are they gonna do?

[00:35:43] Dr. Michelle Thompson: You know, here I'm a family medicine physician that can remote in, and I've worked telemedicine. I can take care of you at seven o'clock at night or 12 o'clock. On my weekends or on my holidays, and I was doing it, and I had to really set boundaries. I'm a big one for boundaries, right? But I would look at it, and I'm like, Well, it's a family member.

[00:36:03] Dr. Michelle Thompson: And then it's scary because you don't know how they're gonna do. Well, it's a friend. And you don't know how they're going to do, and you have to really say, whew. Like, it was a tough one for me, for sure, to really just, you know, look at those boundaries and make a decision. And there were times I would just, you know, take some few deep breaths and really think about it.

[00:36:22] Dr. Michelle Thompson: But I also would walk away from my phone. This is actually an important one for me. My mother would reach me through my husband, and my son could also reach me through my husband, so I had one point of contact, and if I shut the phone off, I could allow myself that space. And I think that's really hard for all of us because I think we feel like.

[00:36:41] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Well, somebody needs us, right? But if we don't take good care of ourselves, we're not gonna be here for everybody else. And we really do have to take that time for ourselves. Yeah.

[00:36:51] Maya Acosta: I really wanna add that I feel that for the rest of us who are not in those fields, I feel that it raised some awareness of how important it is for our healthcare professionals to take care of themselves.

[00:37:03] Maya Acosta: And the way that I see things now, it's, I wanna check-in and ask that individual. No matter what position they are, if they are in the medical field, I wanna say, how are you? How are you holding up? You know, because we're so used to, like, we're the patients, we're the ones that need to be taken care of.

[00:37:19] Maya Acosta: What about our nurses? What about our dieticians, our doctors, our nurse practitioners, everybody, nurses, everyone who is involved? You came out of so much stress, the tremendous burnout. I'm so thankful for this sort of content that's being put together to support. Everyone else, including, you know, to support the professionals, but also in supporting them to support us as women. Kayli, do you have sort of a list of those ACEs? The adverse childhood experiences?

[00:37:49] Kayli Anderson: Adverse childhood experiences? Yes. I can pull up a list. I don't have it.

[00:37:54] Dr. Michelle Thompson: While she's doing that, I'll let her pull that up. But while she's doing that, I think that. You know, that is exactly why, Maya, that what we're doing at UPMC is really putting self-care in the center.

[00:38:06] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Mm-hmm. , because we have lost employees because we have had doctors retire, nurses retire early. We have had people that have just said, I'm leaving medicine. Right. So what we're trying to really do is redefine the way healthcare is delivered, putting the self-care at the center so that the physician.

[00:38:23] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Doesn't feel uncomfortable modeling that behavior. And so the expectation of the patient isn't so overwhelming on the nurse, physician, dietician, or healthcare provider because that's the thing gone is the day that the physician is a robot that can just keep going and going and going. We are not the energizer bunny, we will poop out, right?

[00:38:44] Dr. Michelle Thompson: We, our battery, will just die, and we will be done. And so we have to really redefine the way that is. Or we're not going to have physicians and nurses and dieticians and healthcare workers. So that is really the goal at UPMC in our lifestyle medicine is to change the way it is viewed across the board.

[00:39:04] Dr. Michelle Thompson: And we have 93,000 employees, over 73 to 7,500 physicians. We have tons of residents and medical students. So really by us, you know, we actually just got, um, 10,000 grants to teach Food as Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine Intro from ACLM. So I'm excited to share that with you. Oh, and that's part. Wow.

[00:39:24] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Yeah, that's really exciting. Right? So I'm hopeful that, you know, we can go through all 10,000 of those and really start to teach, and they get CME for that. So that's a really exciting thing. And really, I think too, you know, the wellness piece really is just looking upon more favorably now, like you said.

[00:39:42] Dr. Michelle Thompson: So, thank you for bringing that up. And also, thank you for asking people how they feel. Mm-hmm. , because you know, I have an emotion wheel, and we will be talking about emotions during the workshop. We have to have awareness of how we feel, and the only way to do that is to stop and go. Hmm. How am I feeling in this moment?

[00:39:59] Maya Acosta: Mm-hmm. . Yes, absolutely. You mentioned as we move on to Kayli, but Dr. Thompson, you mentioned that you were not aware that you had trauma until you did the training, and I was aware that I had trauma as in my path of healing, but I thought, you know, maybe my listeners may not be aware. So if we had just a few things that we can mention that can sort of be associated, Well, actually, it's the ACEs is what I was referring to.

[00:40:22] Maya Acosta: Yes. Yeah.

[00:40:23] Kayli Anderson: Yeah, so the way that the CDC categorizes ACEs is as abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. So if you had experiences related to that, so abuse could be physical, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, could be physical or emotional neglect. And then household dysfunction could be anything from mental illness present in your household to substance use to violence.

[00:40:48] Kayli Anderson: So it's a wide span, and you can screen patients for ACEs, and they're highly correlated with a lot of adverse outcomes. So chronic disease in pregnancy, they're correlated with a lot of adverse pregnancy outcomes and postpartum depression. And they are really telling if they're. Kind of dealt with is probably the wrong word, but if you don't have coping mechanisms or healing mechanisms in place, then they can really re havoc on your health.

[00:41:18] Kayli Anderson: But I think, you know, Michelle kind of spoke to this, that it doesn't have to just be these kind of big tea traumas that we think of. So, If you didn't go through abuse or, you know, something really profound like that, it doesn't mean that you haven't experienced trauma. There are other types of trauma that would be, you know, categorized as such.

[00:41:38] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Yes, I'll add in grief and divorce. And those are big ones, right? And so I think people don't think about divorce as a trauma and grief as a trauma. There's actually an amazing book called Childhood Disrupted that talks about that. And you can Google your own score online so that you can take a look at it.

[00:41:58] Dr. Michelle Thompson: But when I read this book on Childhood Disrupted, that was given to me by a patient who had trauma herself and healed from her trauma. And she had, Oh, I mean, it's an amazing story how she healed, but I was really like every medical provider should read this book because, It's not taught in medical school, It wasn't taught in residency.

[00:42:20] Dr. Michelle Thompson: I don't know about, for you, Kayli, what you learned in and eating disorders is huge. Comes out of, you know, the ACE. Mm-hmm. , you know, the, the trauma that people go through because that's what they're trying to grab onto is something they do have control of, so. Mm-hmm. . Yeah, no, we will definitely be talking about that, and also, You know, the big thing too is all of the reactivation of it, and I just always tell everybody, even if they were doing amazing what their diabetes was well controlled, and now they're not.

[00:42:50] Dr. Michelle Thompson: It's okay. It's okay. We're here now. Mm-hmm. , let us just. Honor the fact that we're human beings on a very difficult planet, right? And we've just gone through something that nobody can even really help us to come through, except to educate you to have awareness of trauma, to have awareness of mind-body practices, to have awareness of Lifestyle medicine, which really puts self-care in the center in looking at things like sleep, exercise, nutrition, connection, you know, substance use, as well as stress management. And you know, the way I see my patients, those six things are talked about at every single visit. And the way I train my residents, they're amazed because they say, If you talk about those six things, won't you miss something?

[00:43:36] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Never. Because there's always something coming up within those six pillars that's jumping out, whether it's gastroesophageal reflux or headaches or you know, constipation or bloating or you know, it just, something always ends up coming up. Mm-hmm. , that is the diagnosis that we're coming to, that really is coming from a lifestyle-rooted problem. So really, that is what we're talking about here, is that lifestyle medicine really should be at the center front and center of the way we deliver care and the way we think about our own lives. 

[00:44:10] Maya Acosta:  Absolutely. And if I can just say that in my own life, I feel like I'm growing and healing more because of the tools that lifestyle medicine has provided and this whole area of emotional resiliency.

[00:44:22] Maya Acosta: Like this is all kind of, you know, and I've gone through my own healing and work that I've. Been doing, but I'm still doing more work. I'm gaining even more tools because of all that lifestyle medicine it's doing. So I just love that so much. As we're beginning to wrap, I was wondering, Kayli, if you have anything else we might have forgotten to mention about what you'll be covering in the workshop.

[00:44:44] Kayli Anderson: Yeah, I would say that, you know, really all of the things that we're talking about is really about bringing the humanity back into healthcare and, as Michelle said, putting self-care at the center. I think that there was a period of time in healthcare where. We were maybe taught to, you know, look for the problems and address things at at a more of a surface level and really bringing that whole person to the table.

[00:45:10] Kayli Anderson: And if someone isn't sleeping well or isn't eating well, or their diabetes is uncontrolled, there's usually a much deeper reason why. Whether that's reactivated trauma or a lack of self-care, you know, they may need more boundaries in their life. They may need some deep breathing to get their stress under control. It's really about that. It's really about kind of looking at the whole person and bringing that self-care to the.

[00:45:38] Maya Acosta: And we should add that there is one other individual that will join you in this workshop as well. Uh, Dr. Thompson, would you like to say any final words and add her as well?

[00:45:48] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Before I, before I tell you who that amazing person is, I just also wanna add about normalizing mental health care that is important. And so there, it should not be judged or you should not. Shame about using a mental health professional to help you. I mean, it really should be commonplace. Every human being on this planet would benefit from having somebody, a therapist to talk to, really, truly, especially somebody that's trauma-informed.

[00:46:17] Dr. Michelle Thompson: So, Yeah, and I think that we're shifting that model as well, especially the system that I work for. You know, we have ways that we can actually have physicians go talk to people. You know, our residents can go talk to people privately without any stigma attached to that. So again, making sure that that's not taboo.

[00:46:36] Dr. Michelle Thompson: Right that this is something we're gonna all talk about because we've all gone through it. Um, Dr. Mahima Gulati, who is an endocrinologist, who is lifestyle medicine trained, will be with us, and she will be talking about cases that during different periods of life that people go through endocrine cases.

[00:46:53] Dr. Michelle Thompson: So yeah, she's going to be joining us as well. And she has some exciting things lined up just about how we can, from an endocrine standpoint, think about things like PCOS, stress, thyroid, menopause, you know, weight gain, diabetes, Kayli. Was there anything else like we've talked about? I mean, there's so many endocrine issues that really are affected by lifestyle, and so when I see a lifestyle, Endocrinologist.

[00:47:19] Dr. Michelle Thompson: I'm always super excited because a lot of the ways they're trained is with meds, and so again, if we put the lifestyle piece front and center of endocrinology, it can really help a lot. So yeah. Kayli, if you have something.

[00:47:33] Kayli Anderson: No, I think you covered it. Yeah. She's, um, Mahima is amazing, and we're excited to have her with us. Yes.

[00:47:38] Dr. Michelle Thompson: And boy, do we need this fertility. And fertility, I think, was the other thing that That's big. Very important. That's a big one, right? Because there's a big stress component that is associated with that as well. Stress, nutrition. Yeah. Connection. All of it. 

[00:47:54] Maya Acosta: Absolutely. Dr. Thompson, what is the best way for people to reach out to you if they're interested in any of your offerings, or if they just wanna learn more about your work?

[00:48:02] Dr. Michelle Thompson: So I have a website, um, I have a couple W H O L E H E A R T E D Medicine. Mm-hmm. , M E D I C I N And then B e w e l l T H E R A P I E S. Dot org. And then I'm Mt.Yogi, m t y o g i d O C on Instagram and Dr. Michelle Thompson on Facebook. And, um, my practice is within UPMC, and so I'm happy to talk with anybody about, you know, anything regarding lifestyle, integrative mind, body medicine, culinary medicine, you know, all of those things. And family medicine, you know, the base of all. So. That's right. And Kayli, thanks for having us. Maya.

[00:48:45] Maya Acosta: Thank you. And Kayli, I know that you have plant-based mavens and so much more. Please tell us how people can reach out to you.

[00:48:54] Kayli Anderson: Yeah, that's the best way. So and there's lots of free women's health resources there that kinda span the pillars of lifestyle medicine. And then at plant-based mavens on Instagram as well. And thank you so much for having the us. This has been a wonderful conversation.

[00:49:11] Maya Acosta: Yes, thank you both for all the work that you're doing to support women and making this workshop and all of the things that you do, making that available for our professionals and, you know, to support the regular public like myself, and I can't wait to meet.

[00:49:27] Maya Acosta: Well, I know that I've met Dr. Thompson. I don't know if I've ever met you in person, Kayli, but either way. I'm looking forward to seeing both of you in person at the Lifestyle Medicine Conference in Orlando. Thank you for being here.

[00:49:40] Kayli Anderson: Yeah, it'll be a wonder Wonderful reunion. Thank you so much. Yes.

[00:49:45] Maya Acosta: Exciting things are happening for both Dr. Michelle Thompson and Kayli Anderson. The University of Pittsburgh's Medical Center now has a lifestyle medicine department, and Dr. Michelle Thompson is the Medical Director. They are shifting how they deliver primary care for their patients. Kayli Anderson is a founder of the Plan-based Mavens, which offers women many resources.

[00:50:07] Maya Acosta: She is the faculty for ACLM's Food Is Medicine course. They've also launched preconception health, pregnancy, and postpartum courses, which offer continuing education credit for healthcare providers. Kayli also announced that. Five months pregnant and will return to our podcast to speak about pregnancy on a plant-based diet.

[00:50:28] Maya Acosta: Congratulations, Kayli. We are so excited for you. As previously stated, Dr. Michelle Thompson and Kayli Anderson are health professionals passionate about helping women live healthier lives. They are excited to lead a workshop at the upcoming Lifestyle Medicine Conference titled Women's Health and Lifestyle Medicine Stronger.

[00:50:48] Maya Acosta: This workshop is designed for healthcare providers, dieticians, physicians, social workers, and occupational therapists who wanna learn more about how to use the pillars of lifestyle medicine to improve women's health. The workshop will cover topics of stress reduction, mindful eating, and emotional awareness.

[00:51:07] Maya Acosta: The goal is to equip attendees with tools to improve their health and the health of their female patients. This is a pre-conference workshop, which will take place on Sunday. November 13th from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM Eastern Time. It will offer three CMEs, CEs, or CPEs, depending on your specialty. And again, it's titled Women's Health and Lifestyle Medicine Stronger Together, there is no registration fee, and the information will apply to anyone. Dr. Mahima Gulati will present along with Dr. Michelle Thompson and Kayli Anderson. And actually, I wanna read you a little bit more. Detail about the workshop. This is also found on the Lifestyle Medicine website. I will provide a link in the show notes, but if you're really interested in attending this workshop, I think you will enjoy learning more about it through this workshop.

[00:51:59] Maya Acosta: Presenters aim for attendees to be able to develop self-efficacy and competency in both personal practice as well as professional application of teaching evidence-based nutrition to patients or clients. In a simplified, easy-to-adopt format, they'll be able to practice what they preach or role model healthy lifestyle behaviors for those around us.

[00:52:23] Maya Acosta: Or Around them. Understand fundamentals of how lifestyle behaviors affect women's hormonal health, longevity, and reproductive biology. Educate and advocate for women's health in our spheres of influence, be it health systems, clinical practices, or other professional and community social settings. Know how to access American College of Lifestyle Medicine's, well-curated library of downloadable resources, patient care tools, etc. And finally, envision or create smart goals for individual lifestyle medicine career action plan. The learning objectives include discuss the unique health benefits of whole plant foods for women.

[00:53:04] Maya Acosta: Discuss the role of six pillars of lifestyle medicine in addressing the disproportionate gender-specific stressors such as financial, emotional, social, occupational, including childcare and burnout facing women professionals during and after Covid 19, pandemic and implement lifestyle medicine concepts in clinical practice setting through American College of Lifestyle Medicine, member tools, resources, and provider networks, especially in addressing women's specific medical needs that include hormonal and reproductive health, fertility and so on.

[00:53:38] Maya Acosta: Lifestyle medicine is a powerful tool that can be used to improve women's health. If you're interested in learning more about how to use lifestyle medicine to improve your health. Consider attending the Women's Health and Lifestyle Medicine Stronger Together Workshop. And here's a link for the General Conference for the Lifestyle Medicine Conference, so that you can check out this workshop along with so many others.

[00:54:01] Maya Acosta: And that's LM Conference dot. Org, I'd love to hear what you think about today's conversation. How do you take care of yourself, and what do you think about this conversation about women's health and lifestyle medicine? You can now leave me a voicemail at, Basically, you can leave me a voicemail at my SpeakPipe, and that's

[00:54:25] Maya Acosta: I hope that you enjoy this episode, and as always, thank you for being a listener. You've been listening to the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions Podcast with your host, Maya Acosta. If you've enjoyed 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.