How To Be WellnStrong

35: Bridging the Conventional-Alternative Divide through Integrative Pediatrics | Dr. Joel Warsh, MD

January 09, 2024 Jacqueline Genova Episode 35
35: Bridging the Conventional-Alternative Divide through Integrative Pediatrics | Dr. Joel Warsh, MD
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How To Be WellnStrong
35: Bridging the Conventional-Alternative Divide through Integrative Pediatrics | Dr. Joel Warsh, MD
Jan 09, 2024 Episode 35
Jacqueline Genova

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Integrative pediatrician Dr. Joel  Warsh, MD, has seen firsthand how the narrow perspective and overly aggressive approach of many doctors can harm patients. That's why he's on a mission to bridge the conventional-alternative divide through integrative pediatrics. Following medical school, Dr. Warsh pursued additional training in functional medicine, homeopathy, and Ayurveda, among other holistic and integrative practices. He believed that in order to be the best integrative pediatrician possible, an integrative holistic approach would be essential as a complement to his conventional training. Join me in this episode as Dr Warsh and I discuss the rise of chronic illness in children, how he incorporates multiple treatment modalities into his practice, and the proper times to use conventional medicine within the context of a pediatric setting. 

What you'll learn from this episode:

  • Why parents are increasingly frustrated with the current medical system
  • How working with your pediatrician should be a partnership
  • The reason autoimmune disease is on the rise, especially in children
  • How often medication is actually necessary vs. the vast majority of illnesses that get resolved without it
  • The reason he almost never prescribes antibiotics and uses them less than 1% of the time
  • Why a fever isn’t usually a bad thing and what to do about it
  • & So much more!


Join the WellnStrong mailing list for exclusive content here!

Want more of The How To Be WellnStrong Podcast? Subscribe to the YouTube channel.

Follow Jacqueline:

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send me a text!

Integrative pediatrician Dr. Joel  Warsh, MD, has seen firsthand how the narrow perspective and overly aggressive approach of many doctors can harm patients. That's why he's on a mission to bridge the conventional-alternative divide through integrative pediatrics. Following medical school, Dr. Warsh pursued additional training in functional medicine, homeopathy, and Ayurveda, among other holistic and integrative practices. He believed that in order to be the best integrative pediatrician possible, an integrative holistic approach would be essential as a complement to his conventional training. Join me in this episode as Dr Warsh and I discuss the rise of chronic illness in children, how he incorporates multiple treatment modalities into his practice, and the proper times to use conventional medicine within the context of a pediatric setting. 

What you'll learn from this episode:

  • Why parents are increasingly frustrated with the current medical system
  • How working with your pediatrician should be a partnership
  • The reason autoimmune disease is on the rise, especially in children
  • How often medication is actually necessary vs. the vast majority of illnesses that get resolved without it
  • The reason he almost never prescribes antibiotics and uses them less than 1% of the time
  • Why a fever isn’t usually a bad thing and what to do about it
  • & So much more!


Join the WellnStrong mailing list for exclusive content here!

Want more of The How To Be WellnStrong Podcast? Subscribe to the YouTube channel.

Follow Jacqueline:

 Jacqueline: This is so exciting! I feel like we've been communicating for, what, the past five years or so and we've never actually, I mean, we're not really face to face, but it's the closest face to face we'll get from across the coast, right? 


Dr. Warsh: Yeah, exactly. It's a face to face these days.


Jacqueline: Yeah, that's all that matters. 


Dr. Warsh: Definitely. 


Jacqueline: Dr. Warsh, I'm really excited to have you on today. but just for listeners, so Dr. Warsh represents what is actually becoming a more mainstream path in healthcare.


And that is as someone who went the conventional route. Then decided to pursue a more integrative approach in their practice. So I always like to kick off the conversation Dr. Warsh and asking how you found yourself in the integrative medicine space and what really prompted that transition for you?


Dr. Warsh: Yeah, it's a great question. I think for a lot of practitioners who go into the integrative space, it's It's a personal journey of some sort of health issue that they've been through and then the medical system kind of failed them or didn't do what they needed. And so they kind of got into integrative medicine that way.


That wasn't me. I luckily, you know, knock on one always been pretty healthy. I think for me it was more a frustration with the regular system kind of seeing throughout my training just how few options there were for patients except for medications. I had. seen so many patients, or, or, you know, be aware of, like, friends, family members, whatever, going outside of the medical system, and then getting better after things they had issues with for years.


And it's like, wow, like, what, what's going on here? And my wife's also pretty holistic minded, so meeting her also, you know, kind of pushed me in that direction as well. It was kind of all those things together, but it really overall was Seeing people get better, being like, well, what is this? Like, what, what am I missing?


What else can I add to my tool belt? And, and why is somebody who has an autoimmune condition who goes to the doctor and gets medication and says, Oh, this is for life. And then they go to a naturopath or whatever, and then they get [00:02:00] better. And I don't know, it's like, well, okay, what's going on? What are they doing? That's what led me to learn about integrative medicine.


Jacqueline: Well clearly you did an incredible job of piecing those puzzle pieces together Right and really delving in on your own and not necessarily just accepting What you learned in school. Right. And you had a post a while back. I recall and it really stuck with me because I loved it so much. But it's basically you holding a board and I feel like that's your quintessential style, right?


Your signature. It essentially said, as an integrative pediatrician, my most common prescriptions are one do nothing. Two natural remedies, and then like number 99 was Western medicine. So I'm just curious, what is the breakdown, maybe like And general percentage wise of each of those approaches that you use in practice? 


Dr. Warsh: It's so interesting because I think for me, I have a very unique set of, like a unique timeline [00:03:00] of working in a regular practice and working in a regular hospital and kind of going through all of that and seeing when I used to work there when I wasn't very integrated minded, how frequently I would do prescriptions, right?


Or how frequently prescriptions were given around me. It was like, I didn't need to look anything up because I knew it off by heart because you would give a prescription so frequently and then when you start to learn about other options, you realize how infrequently you need to do it. And now I have to look stuff up every time just to make mostly every time, like some of the basic ones I still know.


But like if you're doing anything, it's like you have to look it up now because you, you so infrequently do a prescription. Like it might be once a week or once a month where I'll do a prescription as opposed to a week. You know, once every few hours or once every hour when you're in the hospital setting or the clinical setting where it's just normal because parents want you to do something.


Their kids are sick and when you can't do anything, that makes them upset and they're like, Oh, my kid's sick and you're like, okay, it's just fine. But the reality is your body does take care of these things most of [00:04:00] the time. And yes, we need to be there to identify if something is serious because sometimes you need a medicine.


Sometimes you have a bad pneumonia and, you know, an antibiotic will save your life or whatever it is, and that's fine. But that's just not the case. 99 percent of the time, it's usually a virus, it's usually going to get better, and the best thing that you can do is not pump yourself full of medicines and weaken your immune system more.


It's just let your body do what it's supposed to do. And if you want to do anything, then give your body the nutrients that it needs to support your immune system and help your body fight off whatever is going on. And so that's what I usually do, and so a lot of times it's either do nothing, or try these things first, and then if it's not getting better, let me know.


But one of the big keys there, which is very helpful for me in my practice setting in a private practice is I can trust my patients to Reach out to me and that's a big part of it, right? Because if you don't do anything and things get worse, they have to reach back out, right? Because sometimes you would  need a medicine, but I'm pretty comfortable with my patients that if I say, okay It looks okay but just reach out to me in case it's getting worse then they [00:05:00] will they're like Oh, the breathing is getting a lot worse now, you know, and that may be a time where you do need a medicine So communication is also kind of key


Jacqueline: yeah. No, that makes sense. And I always like to preface too to just my audience in general, and stating that there is a time to use conventional medicine as you alluded to. And in my opinion, it's for either like acute illnesses, right? Or injuries. But, not necessarily more like chronic, you know, autoimmune type disorders, etc.


But I am curious, what specific situations do you opt to use conventional medicine? So like, at what point would you maybe consider suppressing that fever?


Because I know that's a whole other I wish I could remember all of the sentiments in that book. But I'm just curious, like, where do you draw the line? 


Dr. Warsh: So it's really weighing the pros and the cons and when it comes to using a medication is there going to be a good benefit from this medicine and if you feel like there's a bacterial infection that's getting worse, then that's the time to do an antibiotic. It's the decision point is do I think this is viral or bacterial?


If you [00:06:00] have a pneumonia, a bacterial pneumonia, you do antibiotics every time because that's going to heal you. If you have a cough or a cold or a virus, a respiratory infection, then you usually shouldn't do antibiotics unless it's turning thing. So that, that's really the, the key, um, differentiation point is do I feel like this is bacterial or do I feel like this is viral?


And you can play the odds at first in general and the odds are if it's mild, if it's, if they have a low grade fever, if they're otherwise okay, they're still drinking, they're still happy, you know, for a normal older kid, then it's probably viral and you can treat it as such at the beginning. If it gets worse, if the fever lasts more than five days.


If they're having very high fevers, like 105, if they're very sick appearing, if they're having trouble breathing, all of these are, will be indicators that it's something more serious, but that's not very common, not very often, most of the time it's the mild symptoms, and so it's looking to see the progression towards those things, or to seeing a parent that's very, very concerned, because it's way outside of normal, and you know, they're debating [00:07:00] going to the hospital or not, but, but that's when you should be doing medicine, when it's like, I want to keep out of the hospital, not, I don't feel good for, I A day, you know, how many times have you been sick?


And it's like, you don't, you rest, you don't feel great. You get some fluids and then you get better in three days.


Jacqueline: Exactly. And, also too, that just reminded me, there was this book I read, I want to say, two or so years ago, when I first started getting into homeopathy. And it's called How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, by Dr. Robert Mendelsohn. Does that sound familiar to you? Yeah, so basically for listeners, he's this like renowned pediatrician who basically advises parents on a lot of home treatment, right, for like many childhood illnesses.


And one thing he says in particular is that the greatest threat of childhood disease Lies in, like, the ineffectual efforts made to prevent them, through mass immunization. And his whole, like, argument is that it's been so aggressively marketed and it's now considered the bread and butter of pediatric practice. [00:08:00] 


So, what is your take on immunization? And I know this is obviously a very, very broad topic. There's a lot of nuance, but overall, what is your take on that?


Dr. Warsh: Yeah. I think a balanced approach, you know, for me personally, I think that I'm a big fan, a big proponent of personal choice, and I think people should be able to choose whatever they think makes the most sense. For their own family. I, you know, vaccines have done a lot over the years in terms of, um, you know, prevention of diseases and they have a very good theoretical purpose, right?


And I don't think anybody is opposed to you get something beforehand. It protects you from the disease saves your life and you don't have any side effects. I don't think anybody's against that theory. The question is, you know, what kind of side effects come from taking any sort of medication? What are, what are the risks?


And I, and I think that's where we need to do a lot more research over the years. I think that it's unfortunate that [00:09:00] these days it's like do it or don't do it. And there's not a lot of discussion about, can we make it better? Should we have a discussion around it? Should we think about, you know, are there things that we don't need as much anymore because the disease patterns have changed?


It's just kind of, uh, you know, very divisive topic and it doesn't need to be. Most people, most people want good information and, and I think that a lot of good information does not exist that's in the middle. I think you have like, you know, the CDC stuff and then you have the woo woo stuff and then there's not a lot in the middle.


And, and I found from my practice that a lot of people are in the middle and they're not opposed to it in any way. They just want good information. And, and I think that it's really hard to have the right information when you're getting that from companies. I think, I think that's the biggest flaw in the system at the moment is that we need independent research on these for people that are unbiased, so that way we can figure out exactly what, what the pros and the cons are, what the risks are, and then try to minimize those risks as much as possible.


Everything you do is going to have [00:10:00] risks. There's no question. You take a medicine, you take some Tylenol, there's a risk to that. And you're weighing the pros and the cons for yourself. And so that to me is, I think, where a lot of the frustration lies is I think people I've lost a lot of faith in the medical system because it's not a discussion these days.


It's more of like, just do it. And I think there are certainly some pros to doing it. There are a lot of diseases that really are not around very much anymore that, that, you know, you get in a room with a bunch of kids and the ones that have been vaccinated, they're protected against and other kids could get pretty sick and some of these diseases could make you very sick.


They could. But that doesn't negate the fact that we shouldn't have a good weight of the pros and the cons for each kid, um, and then make decisions based on that. And I don't think that's happening enough these days.


Jacqueline: And to that point about finding reputable research, do you have any, like, sources that you recommend parents check out? Obviously, aside from, like, going directly to PubMed, which, again, you still can't necessarily trust, right? There's so many other factors to a study, who it's sponsored by, etc.


But do you [00:11:00] have any, just go to trusted resources that you could recommend?


Dr. Warsh: It's hard because the, the, the information that a lot of parents are asking for doesn't exist. Because the research has been done by the companies for the most part. So you can certainly, like, some people read, uh, you know, the Vaccine Friendly Plan. There's stuff in there. Um, Dr. Green Mom has a lot of good resources on her website.


Um, the There isn't, there just, I think that like for those questions, you just, there isn't the information because it just doesn't exist, not really, right? I mean, you can certainly go to the CDC website and look at what they have. Um, from a, from a science perspective, I mean, I, I made a vaccine guide, uh, it's on my website, raisingamazingplus.


com. You can download it for free. And, and I tried to go through the CDC website and the sciency websites and kind of pick out the information from, from that aspect in terms of like, well, what are the risks and how many kids have gotten this in the last few years and, and, and those kinds of things.


Cause that information exists. I mean, you [00:12:00] can see the kind of negative aspects of the diseases. But in terms of the, the risks from, from anything else, it doesn't really exist because the companies do the research, they do it for a few days or a few months, and that's it. And then there's nobody really rechecking it.


And it's, it's also, it's tough because it's very hard to do anything long term. Because if you take, I don't know, let's say an antibiotic today, and then you get cancer ten years from now, it's like, it's really hard to be like, okay, that antibiotic caused cancer, right? It's, it's a really tough thing to do, so.


You know, hopefully over time, then people will do more research and be open to it. But I think we're missing that, that piece to really refine what we're stating. And also, there's been nothing done on everything together. And that's another, I think, big concern for my parents. It's like, okay, you can look at, and even if you do have some research on a specific medicine, but what is that doing in terms of everything together?


Like, if you're doing a bunch of medicines and a bunch of shots and what, like, how [00:13:00] does that work together? Do all of those have some negative effects long term or they don't and you know I think people would be more encouraged to do things the more research there was that was unbiased and That's where I think it's just really unfortunate The medical system is is not doing that because it's like okay if you really want to encourage something then do the research Show it over and over again do it in an unbiased way and then people will see that and they'll be like, oh, okay Well, you know, they've actually studied it properly And then I feel more comfortable doing it.


And I think that's a problem because people always ask me, like, where's the research? And it's, I don't know. I mean, if it exists, I don't know it.


Jacqueline: yeah question for you though, so you alluded before you mentioned like yeah Someone takes an antibiotic and then gets cancer ten years later like you can't necessarily draw the connection but I am curious of your take on this dramatic increase in autoimmune disease that we're seeing today among children also kind of coinciding with an increase in either [00:14:00] vaccinations or again, like the use of antibiotics, what is the connection there, if any, that you've seen?


Dr. Warsh: My personal opinion is the reason we're seeing this increase in chronic disease, autoimmune disease, is food and toxins. So I think our food is terrible. It's getting worse and worse and worse. We're not getting the nutrients that we need and we're literally built of what we eat. And if we're getting food that's devoid of nutrients, then our immune systems are Weakened over time and we just don't have the building blocks that we need to stay healthy over the long run and eventually We run into a problem.


Our body just can't handle anymore. And that's why 50 percent or more of kids have a chronic disease these days. I think it's, you just don't have the building blocks that you need, plus you add in all the toxins, and it's, it's not, it's not any one thing. I think it's everything together. I mean, it's the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, the toxins that are spread in food, stuff that's spread in our clothes.


It's all of it together, and so you have this assault on your body in terms of toxins, and then a lack of nutrients, and at some [00:15:00] point, it catches up with you. And I think we're, we're hitting that point more frequently these days because there's more chemicals, and Less nutrition. And so, kids have more autoimmune disease, autism, ADHD, whatever it is.


Um, and there are many reasons for each thing. There's not one reason for anything. Um, but I think it's, it's that like those two spheres kind of coming together to a point that it's too much for most people. And, and that's where the integrative medicine comes in and why I think a lot of people get better when they go to an integrative practitioner.


And it's not because they do some voodoo magic, it's because they change up their lifestyle, and they start eating better, and they get better nutrients, and they give them, you know, supplements to support what they might be missing, and maybe they start becoming more mindful of the things that they're purchasing.


And then you decrease the toxic load a little bit, you increase the nutrients a little bit, and their body starts to be able to figure out what it needs to stay in that healthy. So I think that's what we're seeing is that, you know, just a lot of [00:16:00] kids without nutrients that they need and filled with chemicals.


Jacqueline: going back to the basics, right? And I am curious, Dr. Warsh, did you receive any nutrition education as like you were pursuing your actual medical degree? I've heard that within, yeah, like within those four years. Students are lucky if they receive even like two weeks of nutrition education. Is that true? 


Dr. Warsh: Yeah, it's very minimal. So a nutrition, at least when I was there, it was more focused on disease. So like nutritional deficiencies. So if you're low in vitamin B12, this is what you should look for. If you're low in folate, this is what you should look for. That's most of the nutrition counseling. It's not very focused on unhealthy eating, healthy diet.


Um, you know, you learn a little bit about like carbohydrates, you learn like the basics and the chemistry and that kind of stuff, but it's not a discussion about wellness and health and healthy eating. I don't know if that's changed. I, I think that it has changed somewhat. It's definitely not a lot, but I'm quite confident that they, that it's more, it is a little bit more known that it's important.


So I do think they have a [00:17:00] little bit more in training now, but, but basically nothing still. Um, because I, I don't think that the medical system has really come around to the fact that it's so important. And to some degree, I mean, I think that it's, it's never probably going to be in the scope of doctor's work to really counsel on that because they don't have the time, I think, and what I hope is that the medical establishment realizes that it's very important and then partners up with nutritionists a little bit more and kind of, I guess, acknowledges how important it is and then includes that in the training in whatever way it's, you know, possible, whether that's online training, whether that's working with Yeah, nurses or whatever, but just talking about him where I can't see any world in any time in the near future where a doctor is going to spend an hour talking about nutrition.


They don't have that kind of time. Um, and I don't think that's probably even the best use of a doctor's time. Um, I think it's important that doctors acknowledge that [00:18:00] and then work in a team, um, and have people that spend their whole life learning about nutrition. and teaching it. But I do think if we were taught more about nutrition in the right way, then it would be more top of mind and then doctors would take it more seriously and realize that like, okay, I have my patient with this stuff.


I need to get them to a nutritionist to change up their diet. I think that's the key differentiator, which isn't happening. 


Jacqueline: No, I couldn't agree more. And I am curious, what's your general opinion on optimal nutrition for children? So, we hear all of these different things, right? Again, the diet space is just, it's so divisive, but I've heard a lot of folks I spoke with a few recently on like autoimmune disorders, for example, and they've recommended completely getting rid of gluten and dairy from the diet.


So, it's interesting because you work with children, right? And that's obviously a lot more challenging to give guidance for a child's diet for so many different reasons. So what's, what's your take on that?


Dr. Warsh: is to have real food, right? I think our food is so [00:19:00] crappy to begin with that if you want optimal, optimal, it's live on a farm or near a farm and eat fresh food that was just picked that day. That's not practical, right? I mean, obviously I know that. But that's what's going to be best, because you're actually going to be eating food that, uh, was farmed in the correct way, that wasn't mass produced, that has all the nutrients that it's supposed to have, that goes through the proper cycle, and you're eating it fresh whenever it's supposed to be there.


Anything that you're getting from the store, I don't care what it is, it still had to be picked early, it still had to be shipped across the country, or shipped to wherever, you still have to get it, it's going to be a couple days later. You know if you pick something off a tree, like a berry, you have like two or three days it goes bad.


So, whatever we're getting, it's sprayed in something. Always. It's never like perfect, no matter where you go, no matter how much you want to spend. And, and so, yes, you want to get the best food that you can. But if you're saying what's optimal diet, that's the most optimal. Then realistically, in the real world, you know, you have to get them fresh fruits and veggies.


You have to get them food that you're making yourself most of the time. Anything that's prepackaged, [00:20:00] has a lot of preservatives, has a lot of long chemical words that you don't know what it is. Those things are worse for you than having real food. So optimally, you're giving them real food, whatever that is.


Most kids don't do well with gluten and dairy, so I don't have a problem if people don't do it or minimize it. I think if you're fine with it, that's fine, but the way that we make our gluten and our wheat is pretty crappy in America. The way that we treat our cows here in the milk that, you know, they're, they're injected with hormones and a lot of antibiotics and they're mass producing farms and all those kinds of things.


So I think our dairy is just not that great. Also, um, not that you couldn't have dairy. I just think that the version that we have at this point is so mass produced that it's causing a lot of problems for people. Um, And so, at the end of the day, if your kids are okay with it, I think that's fine, but there are so many kids that aren't, so it's always a good place to start if your kids are having issues to remove those, or at least minimize them down, um, so they're not getting a ton of it, and then just focus on actual foods, I mean, there is no [00:21:00] diet that kids should be having, they should just be eating real food, and you should be cooking it and preparing it and making it yourself and using Products that have words that you actually know.


If you do that, you're probably 95 percent of the way there. And that's going to work just fine. Fine for most people. And if you want to move out to a combine and live on a farm, I mean, so be it. But that's not going to happen. But people do. I mean, I know people that were sick, and they moved, you know, to Costa Rica, or they moved to Hawaii, or whatever.


And they get better because they start eating fresh food, 


Jacqueline: Can you just touch on for listeners too, why gluten in the U. S. might not be the best? I mean, I've heard it's binary, right? It's not pure gluten, which is why when folks travel to other countries like Europe, they can consume


it without issue. 


Dr. Warsh: Yeah, a lot of our products are sprayed in chemicals, right? So whether it's glyphosate, um, you know, the weed killers and, um, pesticides, those kinds of things. I mean, they're all sprayed in something for the most part. Most things are sprayed in glyphosate or, or sprayed in [00:22:00] something similar. They're also, a lot of our food's been genetically modified.


Um, so they modified it so that it can withstand the pesticides. So basically they're okay to get sprayed the stuff that should kill it. And then you're eating it, um, it's fortified with things I've heard, you know, a lot of people have issues with, with folate that's, that's added to it. Um, so that, that is an issue.


I think it's just the way that it's prepared. It's, it's not, it's not made in the old fashioned way where, you know, it's milled and, and processed and, and again, I think it's, I think it's not necessarily the wheat. or the gluten. I think that's part of it, but I think it's mostly the way that we make it, the stuff that we spray on it.


That's all a part of our wheat and dairy. And so that it's so filled with chemicals and so different than it used to be that it doesn't sit well for most people.


Jacqueline: No, that makes sense. So, we obviously touched on the importance of nutrition, um, obviously toxins in the environment. What are some other small changes [00:23:00] that obviously have significant impacts in the long run that parents out there today can prioritize to improve their family's health?


Dr. Warsh: I call it the seeds of health or the foundations of health being stress, environment, and toxins, exercise, diet, and sleep. So just kind of going back and going through those for a minute. So I always ask like, what's the number one change that you can make for your health? And I think it's reading labels.


I think reading the labels for everything that you buy is. A really easy, simple change doesn't cost you anything and can make a huge difference because if you, if you turn things over and you look at the ingredients and you're like, oh, I don't, I don't want any of that, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, whatever.


I don't even know what it is. And then you buy the thing that actually says apple, like apples or, you know, almonds or whatever, then you're like 90 percent of the way there already. And that doesn't cost you a cent. It doesn't have to be more expensive to buy healthier food. You can, you don't have to go from chips to broccoli.


You know, you can buy a healthier bag of chips with better ingredients. And at least. You're going to have lower sugar, and less salt, and some better ingredients in there, and your kids [00:24:00] will still be happy. But, you're moving in a better direction if you change that, and then you buy one other thing that's a little healthier.


And then it's like, you know, one, one bag of chips is not going to do you in, but ten, fifteen years of bad food choices will. And that's what happens when people get sick. So if you start changing those food choices and making them a little bit better Then your body is going to be healthier. So I think like that's my number one tip.


Making sure that kids are getting sleep is super important. That's where you detoxify. That's where you rest. That's where you grow. Um, and toxins. We talked about that a lot. So again, being mindful of the things that you're purchasing and realizing that everything you put in your home, your kids are exposed to all day or all night.


So you don't want to have the Wi Fi router right by their head. You don't want to have everything sprayed in flame retardants. You don't want to. Um, the, you wanna make sure that you clean out your ducks because maybe there's, you know, mold or, or a lot of dust in there when you're turning on your, your air conditioner, your, um, [00:25:00] heater.


Like those kind of things can make a big difference in terms of even just breathing, right? If you're breathing many times, every minute, then, or many times every, yeah, every minute, then, then if the air is a little bit cleaner, if you have plants in your house, well that's gonna help decrease your toxic load.


Jacqueline: Yeah. And quick question for you too on that front, Dr. Warsh, I mean, we see all of these companies coming up now, right, creating like absolutely zero VOC furniture which is wonderful, right? But it's incredibly expensive. So for people out there who, again, like can't afford to buy a 5, 000 organic couch, what are some other basic practices that they can do to make sure that their home is, is non toxic, 


Dr. Warsh: yeah. Uh, well, I think the first thing to note is that. You know, not every healthy couch is going to be super expensive, right? I think you got to do your research. Um, and certainly some things are more expensive, but not necessarily. A lot of, um, options out there these days are not necessarily a lot more expensive if, if more expensive at all.


So I think that's the number one thing is it's, it's the mind [00:26:00] setting of trying to find the healthiest product that's within your price range. And it's not to say that you need to do everything or buy everything that's super expensive, but if you're mindful of. The toxins, then you'll look for the best, cheapest version of the thing that you're comfortable getting.


And, and it may not be the 5, 000 one. It may be the 1, 000 one, but maybe the 1, 000 one is 10 times better than the other 1, 000 one that you were going to buy the head chemicals. So it doesn't have to be. the more expensive one. It just is the better, lower chemical one. Um, and maybe sometimes that's going to be a little bit more expensive.


Sometimes it won't be, but that's, that's a, the price you pay for health. I mean, there are, there are some things that we just have to bite the bullet and you do your best that you can. Um, but you know, if you want food that's not spreading chemicals, it might be a little bit more expensive. Um, and if you can afford it, then what a better place to spend your money than on your health.


Um, but not everybody can for everything. So I think, yeah, like an air purifier is very good. You can have plants. In your home, um, that, that [00:27:00] purify the air. You can get a filter for your water, um, to filter out if you're drinking tap water. 


Jacqueline: Even cleaning solutions, right? Just like opt to use white vinegar.


Dr. Warsh: you can make your own.


Yeah, a lot of people want to go and spending by the 99 percent killing antibacterial, whatever. And you could just get water and vinegar, water, baking soda, and maybe essential oils and do that. And that can cover you for most of your cleaning. And again, it's like we talk about things being more expensive, but that's way cheaper, right?


There are things that are way cheaper, uh, that are going to be better for your health and you can still have the thing. That has chemicals for when you need it, if there's some kind of specific spills, but you don't need it most of the time.


Jacqueline: Yeah. Not to go down a rabbit hole, Dr. Warsh, but that just also sparked another question I had. So, I recently came across a study that showed that, I forget where it was done, in Sweden or some European country, that basically showed that children who were raised in homes that had a dishwasher, , would get sicker and had like worse [00:28:00] microbiome health than their peers who grew up, in a home in which the parents hand washed everything to the point of why, like, bacteria is actually really healthy for us, it's healthy for children, it's healthy in gut development, and I think today, too, there's so many people who over sanitize thinking that they're protecting their children, but it's often to their detriment.


Dr. Warsh: Yeah, so, uh, I don't know that specific study, but I know lots of studies similar, so I'm sure that that makes a lot of sense. Because it's kind of the hygiene hypothesis is what it's called, and over sanitation is not necessarily a good thing. There's a level of sanitation that is important, um, but we are made up of bacteria.


Our guts are full of bacteria and we have been trained over the years to fear. Um, bacteria. And for good reason, sometimes I mean, it can make you really sick, but most of it's not bad for you. Most of it's very good for you. And if you're mucking up your insides and sanitizing [00:29:00] everything beyond what's reasonable, then you're not actually being exposed to the good bacteria that you're supposed to be exposed to.


And then it makes you probably more susceptible to getting sick. I've seen it on farms. You know, there's farm studies where the kids on farms have lower rates of eczema and allergies and asthma versus kids in the city. I mean, those were the, like the landmark studies. I don't remember when they were done. All these things.


So I, and I mean, you also think about it, like think about doctors, right? Doctors should be getting sick every day, all the time. We're exposed to, we're literally taking care of sick people. We're in their face, right? Like looking in your throat when you're sick and yet like your doctor's not away every week.


Right. Um, so there, there's something to be said about being exposed to things. And obviously you don't want to go lick doorknobs and, and things like that. But at the same time, cleaning stuff too much is also bad for you. So you just want to clean reasonably. And my, my assumption based on the stuff that you're mentioning is, you know, if you're using the over chemically soaps and things like that on your dishes all the time, [00:30:00] then you're probably consuming some of that.


It probably stays on your plates and you're getting rid of. A natural world that's on there and so you're, you're, you're ingesting chemicals. And that probably throws off your insides too and makes you, makes your gut less healthy. So it doesn't mean you shouldn't use a dishwasher. I just think again, it's like use natural soaps.


Use it when you want. Use it when you can. Think about what you're putting in there because there are a lot of really not natural soaps that you put in your dishwasher.


Jacqueline: Absolutely. No, couldn't agree more. So, we veered off a bit. Um, but going back to, to some of your other top tips, in terms of small changes that have significant impact.


Dr. Warsh: oh yeah, so we did environmental exercise, so that's a big thing, I think. I mean, everybody knows exercise is important, it's not rocket science. But, especially with the pandemic, being inside, we forgot about how important it is. Kids got off of their routine of being involved in activities, sports, dance, whatever.


Um, and we have to get back to that, we have to encourage it. [00:31:00] Even more so these days because of computers and technology, you know, I'm not against technology I just think that whenever you're doing something you have to think about what you're not or what they're not doing and if they're In front of a screen all day, then they're not exercising So we have to be very mindful to make sure that they're getting appropriate exercise getting appropriate sunlight You know, everybody's vitamin D deficient these days because nobody's outside Um, and we're so afraid of, of the sun and skin cancer and all these things.


But at the same time, the sun is also important for us too. So it's a balance and test people. And it's like 40 percent of people are very deficient in vitamin D. Um, so that means we gotta get outside more and we have to exercise more. And that's a huge part of our immune system as well. So that's a, again, a free tip.


Just go outside for a walk a couple of times a day and that'll get you a long way. Um, and then stress is the last one. I mean, we're very stressed. Social media sucks. It's very bad for our health. These days, for the most part, the news is very bad for our [00:32:00] health. It's all doom and gloom. So I think it's really important that we're very mindful of that.


That we, if you're going to use social media, which is, you know, it's a part of the world so if you are, like, craft your feeds to be more happy. Again, you don't have to have people on there that are all doom and gloom. Craft out times of the day where you're not checking your phone if you're scrolling for too long.


Turn it down. Don't have it beside yourself in the bed. So you're not scrolling all night and not sleeping. You know, don't check it first thing when you wake up in the morning, so that you start your day with stress. Now all these things are free, simple things that you can do that can help your immune system and decrease your chance of getting sick.


It's, again, it's not, it's a paradigm. It's just basic. It's all basic, but I mean, the people that do these things, they're healthier. It's pretty simple. Have you seen a rise in terms of like anxiety cases in younger children over the past years? And I mean, yeah, I'm assuming that's related to technology, but I'm


Jacqueline: curious of your take on that. 


Dr. Warsh: think it's in part technology. I think it's life, you know, life these days. I mean, parents are [00:33:00] more anxious and they have more anxious kids. There's a lot more going on. We have, I think we have a lot more access to things. So the anxiety level because of technology is a big problem. I mean, it's great that we have information.


I think that's great. Right. There's a lot of good that comes from social media and technology, but. The bad is just really bad. I mean, there are lots of studies that are coming up these days about social media and the increased risk. If you're the younger you are, the more increased you have of suicide and mental health disorders.


And it's again, that's not rocket science either. It's like if you're sitting there scrolling through all the horrible things that are happening in the world, then you're going to be more stressed. And there were always bad things that happened, you know, but you just, you didn't necessarily need to know about every single one of them.


You don't need to know what's going on in Australia today, you know, all the time, right? It's like. There are things that you want to be aware of, but then there's being too aware. And I think we're, we're way too aware because we think the world is coming to an end and it's the worst era and it's all doom and gloom.


And if you really step back [00:34:00] and look at the world, then we're probably in a much better place than we were a thousand years ago. You know, you probably have a lot lower risk of dying tomorrow. Right now, than you did when people were like, when the Vikings were like coming around and, you know, doing those kind of things, or when, when, um,


you know, diseases would just, you would like bang your toe and then you'd get an infection and die because they didn't have antibiotics.


Like, we have a lot more technology, a lot more knowledge. And, and it's a much safer world overall, um, and so our, it's our perception, not the reality. Yes, there are lots of bad things that are happening, but we also just have access to them. So it just seems like a lot more bad stuff is happening. Um, but that's not really true if you, if you really step back.


So I think that that sometimes is important and just like realizing we're so small in the universe and our stresses are important to us, but yet. They're not any different than, or not any more than people have always had. Everyone has stress about whatever. Um, and sometimes if you can just [00:35:00] step back a little bit, then it helps you to get some perspective and that can help you to move forward.




Jacqueline: That's so true. Yeah, I'm, I'm over here just sitting and nodding because I, I preach that to myself on a daily basis, but in terms of like your prescription for younger children who come in with increased anxiety or depression, I mean, I'm assuming it's like a combination of what you've already touched on, but is there anything specifically that you would really advocate for in those cases?


Dr. Warsh: It depends on the severity, right? I mean, sometimes it's very severe. And in that case, you would maybe need a medicine, like if they're suicidal or something like that, but that's not usually the case. So if we're talking about normal, you know, air quotes, normal anxiety, uh, I think that, well, number one, get them connected with a good therapist or somebody that they trust so they can talk to, to kind of work through their anxiety, work on strategies.


I think that is extremely key because finding a good partner that you can work through can be really helpful for kids and teens, and there's some stigma. [00:36:00] around getting mental health help, I guess. But, but a lot of times when you're going to a therapist, especially as a kid, you're not sitting on a couch, you know, like you see in the movies.


It's more going through strategies of, of, okay, when you get nervous, here's some things that you can do. Here's so you can color your way through it. Here's, here's how you can talk about it. Here's some breathing techniques, whatever it is. So I think that's number one, the key. And then number two is exercise.


Exercise over and over again is proven to be more effective for, anxiety and stress than medications. Just say it's not necessarily like the extreme case, but for, for your average anxiety, it works better than any pill that we have. And so just trying to encourage people to exercise every day, that's, that's a big key.


Jacqueline: Yeah, absolutely. I love the natural substitutes. Even too, I read a, I read something recently that said saffron, the spice saffron, in a clinical trial, Dr. Warsh was actually shown to be as effective as the antidepressant citalopram. Which was just mind blowing to me, right? There's so many natural [00:37:00] alternatives, again, that people can use without necessarily having to go the medication route. 


Dr. Warsh: Right, and, and to me, and, and this is what I talk about a lot is, what's the harm? Like why not try? Whether you're going to be on a medication or not, if a natural remedy doesn't have side effects for you and does help you and it lowers the amount of medication that you need, gets you off of medication, prevents you from needing to be on a medication, why would a doctor not want, why would a patient not want?


The most natural, lace, risky thing that's going to help them. And it doesn't mean that you shouldn't be on a medication, but why wouldn't you try the natural thing first if there's no severe, urgent issue going on? Why wouldn't you try it with it? Why would you not want to try to decrease your There's no logical reason that you would not do that.


Why would you want side effects? Nobody wants that. So, no doctor wants it. What does a doctor want? They want you to get better. They want you to be healthy. Um, and so, it's so frustrating sometimes that it's like natural [00:38:00] versus medical. It's like 


Jacqueline: I know. 


Dr. Warsh: it's 




works. It's all medicine. It's whatever works and and whatever helps that patient get better. Um, you know, within reason. And yes, if you if you have a very depressed patient who's suicidal and you give them lavender That might not be the right thing to do for that patient at that time, right? They might need a medicine.


There's nothing wrong with that. But there, there's also nothing wrong with giving most people some lavender, right? It's like, that's going to have lower risk than your medicine. And if that, if you give them lavender and that's what they need, and they don't need a medicine, what is the problem with that?


Jacqueline: Yeah. Exactly. To the point about, , just like behaviorally. So like, let's say a patient goes to their Doctor, they discovered, I don't know, some new natural remedy that might help them in lieu of whatever medication the doctor might want to put them on and the doctor feels challenged, right?


Like, I've, I've experienced cases where, whether it's for myself or for my mom, where I'll present the doctor with [00:39:00] some type of complementary therapy and they're very dismissive of it, how do you deal with a doctor?


In that mindset. 


Dr. Warsh: Yeah, I get that question a lot, and that's actually why I created the natural parenting course I have on Raising Amazing Plus. It's like, it has that like, specific stuff in there because it, I mean, there's no easy answer to like, how do you deal with a very western doctor, but, but there are some strategies that you can take.


I mean, the, the number one strategy is, you try to figure this out before, right? You try to find a doctor that, um, is open to having these discussions and, and, and does have, you know, some similar belief to what you have or doesn't poo poo the things that you say. Um, it's not always possible, but I think you can save yourself a lot of trouble, um, a heartache if you can find a doctor that you can have these discussions with.


If you, if you can't Uh, and you have a couple of options, I mean, you can get a second practitioner that you can work with, so you can talk to your doctor about it, make sure that there's no interactions, make sure that they don't have any major issues with it, they might not be totally all for it, but they might not be against it, they'll say, you know, I don't know much about it, but it [00:40:00] seems like it's okay, um, because sometimes things can be, even if it's natural, it could be dangerous.


For you. So I think it's important to still discuss anything that you're taking but you can work with a naturopath, too So you can work with both and and a lot of people do they work with two practitioners and that way they can Discuss these these items And then you know if you really want to talk to a doctor and they're kind of open to it Then you bring them research and data To the best of your ability not you know I was on this Facebook mommy group and this person said this the doctor's not gonna listen to you then.


But if you say, well, I was, I was looking through and I, I found a couple of studies that show that elderberry syrup really does seem to be helpful for coughs. Like, what do you think? Do you have an issue with it? If you bring it up in that way, then you're at least speaking the language. Um, and they're not going to roll their eyes at you.


So it just kind of depends on how you present it. But realistically, if you're going to go the natural route, then you need to find a doctor that's the least open to it. And there are lots of doctors that are, and um, Things are moving in that direction. Medicine's slow, but [00:41:00] the younger generation, especially of doctors, is much more open to this stuff.


Um, and, uh, you know, I see it every day. People reach out to me, and they're like, Oh, I'm, I'm, I'm, I saw that you're a doctor, and you're doing, like, where can I learn about this a little bit more? I'm really interested. This is kind of cool. You know, because, really, anybody that has their eyes open, would be interested in it.


Doctors are not bad people. They're there to help you. If you can give a doctor data on something that will work better and have lower side effects, they'll do it. It's just the problem for natural remedies is there isn't data for most of it. Not the same. Because it's not a pharmaceutical company so it doesn't exist.


So it makes it hard to recommend something that doesn't have really good data behind it. But I think doctors are starting to recognize that medicine is not the answer for everything. Um, because people are so sick. And so, they're a little more open these days, seemingly, to discussing these [00:42:00] things. And also, more and more people are using it.


And so, I don't care who you are, how, how hardcore of a doctor you are. If you see your patient get better, and you didn't do it, you're going to be curious as to what happened. If you are a cardiologist, then You're like, all right, well, you know, you need to take this medicine for the rest of your life because your cholesterol is going to be high.


And then you come back three months later and your cholesterol is down. They're going to be wondering what you did. And if you took some natural remedy, they're going to look into that. They just will. 


Jacqueline: Exactly. And we've, I mean, we've seen that, too. I mean, there's so many, like, what would have been considered, like, woo woo or alternative, I don't know, like, several decades ago are now being more integrated into mainstream medicine, right? Like, acupuncture being one of them. That's, That's,


a staple. 


Dr. Warsh: Yeah, 


because it's like, you know, it, it takes such a big problem to create this kind of solution, but you have an opioid epidemic. They need solutions, uh, acupuncture works. It's always worked. Um, if you work with a good practitioner, it really works well. And, and, and there's no, you know, side effects, not really from acupuncture and there's huge side effects from [00:43:00] opioids.


So let's find a solution that's not that well, acupuncture is one of those options. And so, yeah, that that's made its way in and doctor like, oh, okay, well, if acupuncture is pretty good, then maybe some other herbs will be good. Right. So I, I think with each step, you get a little closer to some sort of molding, but it's hard because we're, we don't learn this stuff.


Um, and most doctors not going to be open to learning it. And again, they're not going to be open to prescribing when it doesn't have clinical trials. Uh, and most of the stuff doesn't have that.

Jacqueline: I think the key, and not only for doctors, but for everyone in life, is to be a constant learner. Right? Like, you're always learning, and I'm just curious, too, how do you stay informed about the latest developments in, you know, both conventional and integrative pediatrics?


Dr. Warsh: It's just reading and just, just being in part of groups and things and just seeing things come up and then continuing to read and learn. There's no easy way. I mean, there's no like integrated pediatrics book. Not really. Right. I mean, there are some ones out there, But they exist, but again, there's no data, right, so it's like, there is like the holistic pediatrician, Dr. 

Kathi Kemper wrote it, it's really good, she's like the head of the [00:44:00] Harvard program, so like, there are things, but, you know, the most part it's like, okay, well you should take this, but there's not a lot of evidence on it. It's like, what really needs to happen is there needs to be money, a lot of money put aside to do clinical trials on a lot of these things, but, you know, who's going to do that?


Jacqueline: We can dream. Well, this has been such a wonderful conversation. I do want to be conscious of your time but where can listeners find  you?


Dr. Warsh: Sure, you can find me at, uh, easiest places on Instagram, I'd say, Dr. Joel Gator. You can find me on, uh, Raising Amazing Plus. That's where I have the courses and masterclasses. Lots of free stuff there, and then there's a vaccine uh, course, natural parenting course, pregnancy course, couple of things there. I also have supplements called Tiny Roots, um, Apothecary, um, stuff for vaccines, stuff for immune support, all that kind of stuff.


So you can find that on my Instagram too. Um, yeah, Instagram is usually where people find me.


Jacqueline: Wonderful. I will include the links to all of those in the show notes. And, yeah, I'm a huge fan of your Instagram account. It's honestly one of my favorites. to follow. You post, first of all, such just incredible information, but also [00:45:00] really, really like funny things. Like there was something you did the other day.


It was a picture of an ultrasound and the mom was like, when my child didn't complain about what I was eating, just really funny cartoons that you post. So I just, I really appreciate all of that. , but my last question for you, Dr. Warsh, is what does being well and strong mean to



Dr. Warsh: think it means having a healthy lifestyle. I think it means eating well, getting good rest, exercising, decreasing your toxins, and just being happy in general. Being healthy. I think that we forget how important it is just to be healthy, and our health is such a problem these days that it's like we're, we're, we're accepting.


Being sick or accepting our kids being sick or accepting 50 percent of kids having a chronic disease and that's not well and strong I think well and strong is doing the basics Living a lifestyle that promotes health and then actually being healthy and enjoying life being out in nature and and creating a community [00:46:00] Of happiness so that that to me is well and strong


Jacqueline: I love that. Beautiful. Well, Dr. Warsh, it was such a pleasure to finally see you and speak with you. Hopefully one day we'll actually have a chance to meet in person, but thank you again for all the incredible work that you do in this space. And I'm really excited to share this with listeners.


Dr. Warsh: Thank you. Thank you for everything that you do as wel

How Dr. Warsh found himself in the integrative medicine space
Dr. Warsh's most common prescriptions
The shift between over-prescribing medication to rarely prescribing at all
Specific situations where Dr. Warsh will employ conventional medicine
When to use antibiotics
Dr. Warsh's take on vaccinations
The biggest flaw in our healthcare system
Resources for vaccines
Reasons behind the increases in autoimmune disease
The lack of nutrition education in conventional medical training
What is optimal nutrition?
Gluten consumption - good or bad?
Small changes that have significant impacts
Practices to reduce the toxic burden in your home
The importance of bacteria in developing a robust microbiome
Exercise - it's important
Rise of anxiety in adolescents
The link between social media & mental health disorders
How Dr. Warsh addresses anxiety in children
Saffron as effective as the drug citalopram for depression
How to deal with a dismissive doctor
How Dr. Warsh stays informed on the latest developments in healthcare