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025: Naturopathic Oncology. Myth, Mystery, or Medical Science?

Updated: Jul 4, 2021


 

Have you explored naturopathic medicine or an integrative approach to your cancer care? Dr. Aminah Keats, has her doctorate in naturopathic medicine and she completed a two-year hospital-based residency in integrative oncology at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. After that, she continued to work as a naturopathic oncology clinician and later directed an integrative oncology department and residency program as a Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology.


Specializing in integrative oncology care, Dr. Keats maintains her general practice, using modalities that include clinical nutrition, botanical medicines, IV nutrient therapy, supplementation, detoxification, homeopathy, and lifestyle counseling. Listen in as we myth bust naturopathic oncology.


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Transcript

Tammey Grable-Woodford

Hello and welcome to Your Killer Life, a podcast where we talk about the really real realities of a killer diagnosis like breast cancer with a focus on health, hope, and happiness as we build an intentional killer life. I'm your host, Tammey Grable-Woodford. And thank you so much for listening in. I have a question for you. Have you explored naturopathic medicine or an integrative approach to your cancer care? Well, today's topic and guest is an exciting one for me.


I personally did go down this path and did have an integrative approach. And in talking with other breasties, I'm always a little amazed that there are still some folks out there that don't know about integrative approaches and naturopathic medicine or even what a naturopathic oncologist is. So my guest today, Dr. Aminah Keats, has her doctorate in naturopathic medicine and she completed a two-year hospital-based residency in integrative oncology at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. After that, she continued to work as a naturopathic oncology clinician and later directed an integrative oncology department and residency program as a fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology.


Dr. Aminah specializes in integrative oncology care and maintains her general practice, her general medicine practice, using modalities that include clinical nutrition, botanical medicines, IV nutrient therapy, supplementation, detoxification, homeopathy, and lifestyle counseling. Dr. Aminah, I am so excited to have you as my guest today and so excited for this conversation. I know this is going to be one of the more popular episodes.


I look forward to doing some myth-busting today. And before we get into that and all the questions, though, you've practiced naturopathic medicine for 15 years and clearly, you have a passion for supporting patients in their path to healing and wellness. How did you discover naturopathic medicine?

Photo of Dr. Aminah Keats in her office

Dr. Aminah Keats

Yes, so how did I discover naturopathic medicine? So I stumbled across naturopathic medicine when I was a senior in college, I was reading a newspaper and I saw an ad posted by a local naturopathic doctor who was offering a class on nutrition and herbs, which was something that I had always been interested in. My mom kind of laid that foundation for me, and as soon as I took this course immediately, I just connected with it and I knew that that was something that I had to pursue.


So I did the research, found schools applied and here I am X number of years later. So that that that's my story.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Oh, my gosh, I love it. So now there are all kinds of, just like with any medical practice, there are different areas of specialty and you chose although we mentioned you do still have your general practice, but you also chose to focus on oncology. What sort of ignited that passion for you?


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yeah, so that was kind of a surprise for me in terms of landing in that place. But the first connection that I have is that my aunt was actually diagnosed with breast cancer when, um, before I actually learned about naturopathic medicine. And, you know, at that time I didn't understand it, but I certainly did see her path. And it was difficult for all of us. Obviously, she was very dear to our family and she passed away from it.


And it definitely stayed with me after that. And then when I ended up naturopathic medical school, one of my advisors recommended that I research or at least look into a naturopathic or integrative oncology residency program. And so those two things kind of merged together and I pursued it. And since then, it's just something that I just really connected so deeply with. And so here I am.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I love it. Well, I say we start with the first myth and talk a little bit about what the heck, a naturopathic, naturopathic, you're going to correct me on that doctor or physician, what that means and what that role is, because I think there are so many just misconceptions about the type of care and the level of care that is provided and how it is that you do work with patients. So can you tell us a little bit about that?


Dr. Aminah Keats

Sure. So a license, I want to make that distinction, a licensed naturopathic doctor is a practitioner who practices natural medicine. Now, in terms of our training, the first two years of our training is similar to conventional training where we learn about all the basic sciences and then we go into the clinical sciences after that point. And then we study more of the natural modalities to promote health and to promote healing. So when it comes to naturopathic care, it's all-around treating the cause.


That's a heavy philosophy and also a lot around prevention. And so when you're seeing a naturopathic doctor, of course, there's a diagnostic piece in terms of physical examination and laboratory evaluation and imaging studies and all these important things that we're accustomed to kind of in that conventional world, but we apply our natural philosophies in terms of stimulating the body to heal, using things like nutrition, using things like herbal medicine, physical activity, acupuncture, just a whole host of natural modalities to promote health and to promote healing.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I think that oftentimes there's this misconception that the world of naturopathic medicine is not in alignment with science, and I think that is also a huge myth.


And I was very fortunate that the integrative oncology clinic that I went to, my medical oncologist, worked very closely with a FABNO and so I had the benefit of both. And there was this understanding of kind of the roles that each person had. Can you talk to us a little bit about the science element of it? That, yes, this is also based in science, and you are licensed and it's, you know, not just some woo woo stuff.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Exactly. Exactly. So, yeah. So definitely evidence-based medicine is key when it comes to natural medicine. We're not basing recommendations on testimonials, for example. So following the research very closely. So, you know, in terms of how I practice as I'm working with patients, whether I'm working with a patient that's diagnosed with breast cancer or a patient that's diagnosed with uterine fibroids, you know, following the research very closely to determine what's going to be most effective and what's going to be safe is so following the research studies is definitely very important and to practice as well.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I love it. Thank you for that and I know that that is one of the things I really appreciated. And again, being in that environment where I had a medical oncologist who was encouraging me to have conversations with the FABNO. OK, so I've tossed that word out a couple of times. What the heck is a FABNO?


Dr. Aminah Keats

So, a FABNO is a fellow of the American border naturopathic oncology, and it's basically if you think about naturopathic medicine, is kind of this wide or this broad umbrella.


Naturopathic oncology is a specialty within that umbrella. And there's probably a couple hundred of us throughout the country who are board-certified and naturopathic oncology. And so when you are a FABNO, that means that you have qualified to sit for an important naturopathic oncology examination, which means that you have seen a certain number of patients with cancer, meaning that you have a robust kind of experience with dealing with different cancer types. You sit for the exam, you become certified and then after that point, there are things that you have to do to maintain that certification of and of course there's a renewal of that certification as well.


But long story short, FABNOs are naturopathic doctors who specialize in integrative oncology care.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Awesome. And when we say integrative oncology care and if I can say it, when we say integrative oncology care, we should probably define that to what does that mean when we talk about an integrative clinic or integrative care?


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yes. So there are different people will have different kind of different definitions when it comes to integrative oncology or integrative medicine. But I think that we can all agree that it's all-around using all the tools that we have available to promote health and to promote healing. So that means conventional care. So, for example, most of the patients that I work with are receiving the standard of care, whether that's chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, targeted treatment, surgical procedures.


So you have that case. But then you also have natural medicine and natural medicine can safely be used with conventional treatment. So that can mean nutrition. That means supplementation. That can mean acupuncture. That can mean meditation. So just pooling all of those things together so that patients have a complete comprehensive plan of care, that that that's what integrative medicine is all about. So it's not one or the other. It's it's everything.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

And that also includes nutrition.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Absolutely. Nutrition is the foundation is always an opportunity to use food as medicine.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I love it. I think one of the other myths that I do want to tackle, especially as somebody who had the benefit and the opportunity of working with FABNO and also with medical oncology team is that I can just take any supplement. And I'm so fortunate that my plastic surgeon, she has this wonderful sheet every time I went in for surgery of the long list of supplements I needed to stop prior to surgery and also why I needed to stop them.


But I will have people ask me a lot. Well, what did you do your six years out?


What did you do? And I always say to them, it's absolutely, it, we're all different are cancers are different. Our bodies are different. Our treatments are different. It's so important to find a person to have that conversation. And so I think the myth that I kind of want to tackle here a little bit is that just because it is natural doesn't mean that it's OK. And you can have complications with some of the other, especially conventional treatments. So it is important to see an expert and have that conversation. And that is probably the critical part of the integrative element of that care.


Can you talk a little bit about that?


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, it's all-around individualized care. So just because, you know, I may recommend a B complex or Tumeric to one patient doesn't mean that I'm going to recommend that same thing to another patient with the same diagnosis. So you definitely have that is there? We're taking into account the patient that is sitting before us. So not only the diagnosis and treatment but what about co-morbidities? What about lab work? So pulling all this information together.


Right. Individualized care is key. The other thing is, yes, it is true that not everything natural is going to be safe to take, just like, you know, with medications. We have to make sure that they are not going to be any side effects. We have to make sure that they are not going to be any drug and herb interactions. And you know, that piece is really key, especially when you're working with patients who are undergoing conventional treatment. You want to recommend things that are going to complement that care versus interfere with that care.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Absolutely, thank you for that and you know, peanut butter is not safe for everybody is sort of my comment on that, and that's without all of the other complications of the other treatments and your body just going through everything it goes through physically and emotionally and mentally with a cancer diagnosis.


So how do you work with patients? I know you talked about individualized care, but do you tend to work with them before, during, after? And how do you work as a member of the conventional care team, especially if you're not in the same clinic?


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yeah, so all of the above, you know, so when it comes to you can see I'm able to work with patients who have a new diagnosis that want to get started on a plan right away. I work with patients who are, they're just starting treatment.


I've worked with patients who may it may have been diagnosed five years ago. Now they're just learning about natural medicine. I work with patients who are in remission that want to do everything they can to prevent recurrent disease. So there's always an opportunity to plug natural medicine or naturopathic medicine to incorporate it into a plan so that there's that piece there. And I'm sorry I got so caught up in that I forgot that the other piece of the question.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Now, I threw a bunch out at once and I didn't even mean to do that.


Dr. Aminah Keats

I get so excited about that part.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I'm just so excited about the conversation. I'm not even going to lie. I mean, one of the things that.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Oh, I know what it was.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

You've got it now.


Dr. Aminah Keats

I just remembered, yeah, at that time in terms of working with the team, even if you're not in the same building. Yes. So so that you know, so that definitely takes a little more effort. I, I come from my career started in a hospital-based setting where everyone was in the same space. So now it's just a point of connecting with a medical oncologist. I always like to do that as I'm working with patients so that everyone is on the same page.


And of course, that makes you know, the patient definitely feels more comfortable when that relationship is there as well. But making sure that the providers are communicating as much as possible. I'm doing this. This is a rationale for that sharing research, studies, and other things in terms of supporting our recommendations for patients, but definitely leaving that that pathway for communication open.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I love it. That is so huge and so important. And I think there's so much value in being able to have the research studies shared and have a provider-to-provider conversation. I know even in my own experience, you know, providers, including you, all providers are busy. And when you're trying to communicate the information as the patient it may or may not always come across as succinctly or framed in a way that is going to be most helpful for moving that dialog forward.


So I think that that's really important to have your entire care team talking. That's that's huge.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Absolutely.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

One of the things I loved about working with a naturopathic physician or oncologist is that I felt like in the whirlwind and absolute chaos of a cancer diagnosis, there were so many things that were being recommended or didn't feel optional.


Right. And so there was this real sense of helplessness. And with naturopathic medicine, it was the one area where I felt like I could be a participant in, an active participant in my care and in problem-solving the situation. And nutrition being a big part of that for me. And so when you're sitting down with a patient and talking about nutrition, what are kind of the things that you're evaluating? And are you putting together kind of loose recommendations?


Are you putting together diet plans or is it more of a yes, avoid these if you can, and eat more of this if you can. Kind of how do you approach that nutritional aspect?


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yes. So I like to say that I meet patients where they are, you know, because, you know, someone is not ready to give up five things. It's not realistic to make that recommendation and you don't want to create a stressful situation. So I, I am definitely a believer in taking one step at a time and having that conversation. Whenever I'm making recommendations, I always ask the patient, what do you think about this? Is this doable?


Can you add matcha green tea to your smoothie or, you know, these kinds of things? And just being creative, the way that I talk about food also is I recommend food as I mentioned, kind of like medicinally. So, for example, I don't give dietary plans, but I will say something like the cruciferous family, right, we know that the cruciferous family is like the most researched vegetable family when it comes to cancer and so forth.


So I may say two serve as a day is my recommendation or I may make a recommendation for Tumeric, get it into your diet two teaspoons a day. So that's kind of my thing. I'm very passionate about the idea of using food as medicine because there are so many things to choose from and so many things that can be beneficial for breast cancer treatment and even breast cancer prevention.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I love that, and it's also such an opportunity to have, dare I say, even some fun, introducing new flavors and new experiences and all of those things when it comes to food and diet.


And you're right. And, you know, diet for me, I was one of those. And I and I'm not the only one speaking with other survivors that, like, there's just this big button that gets pushed and all of the sudden you're like, should I be alkaline? Is that the diet? Am I supposed to? And it's crazy because what's out there is so extreme. Nope. You should absolutely be alkaline. Nope. Just eat pineapple for two weeks or two months or whatever it is.


Don't do that people. This is not a recommendation. I'm, I'm kind of just pointing out the different things I was told, you know, helpful things that people tossed my way, you know, to alkaline to keto and everything in between. And so only eat bacon, only eat vegetables.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yeah. It can be pretty overwhelming, you know, it can be very overwhelming.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

It really, really can. And so I love that taking that approach like even honestly, you know, sugar for me was something that I personally decided to remove from my diet. And that being said, there's only one thing I want postop and I will eat yogurt-covered pretzels for two days postoperatively.


Dr. Aminah Keats

So those are Hutto's.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

So but your point of not and actually I heard the same thing from my FABNO. Stress is bad, stress so bad.


Dr. Aminah Keats

And it's not it doesn't make any sense. Yeah.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

So can we talk therapy as well? Yeah.


Can we talk about that for a minute? Can we talk about stress for a minute and sort of how that does impact the body or of some of the things that you do point out when you're talking with new patients?


Because I will tell you, it's the most ridiculous thing when your care team says to you you have cancer and a lot of it. And by the way, you need to not be stressed out and then you start getting the bills and it's like, oh, OK.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yeah, yeah, right, right. Yeah. Easier said than done for sure. Yeah. You know, that that's definitely something that I address with every patient, whether it's general medicine or whether it's a cancer diagnosis, because stress may not, well, stress does contribute to health and balances. Right. So when stress levels are elevated, it can lead to hormonal dysregulation, it can impact immune function and it can impact weight. I mean, all these kind of metabolic kind of changes that it can cause that are no good for any kind of condition.


So, you know, I like to be realistic when it comes to stress management techniques and also, again, meeting patients where they are. So one person may say, yes, I'd be open to trying meditation. What kind of resources do you have? Someone else may enjoy taking a walk instead of reading a book or watching a comedy. But really that in general, what I like to encourage patients to do is to dedicate consistently that carved out time to do something that you enjoy doing.


So I was speaking with a patient maybe like two or three weeks ago, and I'm like, well, what do you like to do? And she said, Well, you know, I used to do X, Y and Z. I haven't done it, you know, in months. Well, bring that back. Because when you do, even if you spend ten or twenty minutes doing that thing, whatever that is, you know, it makes us feel happy, brings us joy, and it definitely helps to reduce stress levels.


So even if it is just carving out that small amount of time, you know, to do whatever that thing is, that that is a prescription in itself.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I love that and so important, the science behind walking and yeah, and stress is not just in a cancer-related focus. The science around that for longevity and health is huge.


Yeah. So this takes me as someone who I have actually seen naturopathic physicians since I was in my 20s. Obviously, I didn't start I didn't have a need for naturopathic oncologists until I was in my 40s.


But I have always had elevated cortisol levels and I had no idea until I started to see this provider what just sort of havoc that would wreak upon my entire system and how complicated hormones are.


And then and so that was sort of the easy thing of, you know, I say easy. It wasn't. But it was an awareness thing. I didn't know that. I had basically a high level of PTSD that was creating this and we addressed it.


And then later, you know, 20 some years later in my 40s, being diagnosed with an estrogen, progesterone, positive breast cancer and hearing sort of inconsistencies, sometimes with recommendations on what I should or shouldn't be doing.


And more so kind of after being released from cancer care and no longer seeing oncologists and those folks talking with primary care providers. And it seems like hormones really are sort of a subspecialty when it comes to conventional care.


And also something that when you say you've had an estrogen, progesterone, positive cancer to a primary care provider, they're pretty much like tapping out they're, like, you know what, you need to see an oncologist or a specialist and maybe not for everybody.


But that has been my experience.


But you actually do work with hormones and take a deeper look. And this was something you and I had had a side conversation about because I'm wanting to learn more because it is more, as you were explaining to me, more than a blood test. And it's more complicated than just testing one thing. And so I really wanted to invite you to spend some time talking about hormones and also not just the testing of it, but, you know, whether or not nutrition can play a role in also helping us with hormone balance, especially as I get close to menopause here. So.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yeah. So when it comes to hormones and let's say ER/PR positive breast cancer, I mean, we know that estrogen and progesterone can potentially stimulate breast cancer cell growth. So that is important to monitor. But there are other factors as well. Those aren't the only culprits. Right. So but it's something that that's important to pay attention to. So when it comes to testing, there are certainly blood tests that you can do to evaluate and certainly urine tests that you can do to evaluate, now a urine test gives us a different perspective compared to blood. The urine will tell us how much you know, how well the hormones are being metabolized and eliminated, and from there you kind of make recommendations based on that information. Now, when it comes to natural medicine and hormones, there are a class of nutrients, herbs, certain antioxidants that do act as phytoestrogens. Right. So that would be things like soy, for example, is a phytoestrogen, the lignin, and flax or phytoestrogens red clover is a phytoestrogen.


So and now the phytoestrogens don't act as our kind of regular endogenous estrogens do. And I think that when you hear phytoestrogens, they get really nervous. Like, for example, soy has a horrible reputation because it for this reason. But the thing with the plant base kind of phytoestrogens is that for the most part, what they do is they can bind to hormonal or estrogen receptor sites, which will block those endogenous hormones from stimulating those sites. But they're not strong enough to actually stimulate a proliferation so they can actually proliferate.


And I'm sorry, they can actually be therapeutic when it comes to estrogen, kind of dominant conditions like breast cancers. The other thing is that we are concerned about elevated hormone levels like elevated estrogen. There are foods that we can use to help to metabolize those extra estrogens and eliminate them. So I mentioned the cruciferous family a bit ago that that is a big family when it comes to supporting estrogen metabolism and elimination. And there's a number of other foods that that that I use in my practice are certain herbs that can help to facilitate that elimination as well.


To your point, hormones are definitely important to evaluate and not just estrogen, not just progesterone, but also cortisol, like you mentioned, that's a big one. Cortisol is something that our bodies need. It's a good thing when when when it's stimulated acutely. But when we have chronic stress, which leads to chronic, chronically elevated cortisol levels, that's when it becomes more problematic. So looking at that, the other hormone that I like to pay close attention to is insulin.


Insulin is another hormone that our body needs is a good thing as long as it's not too elevated. But when it becomes chronically elevated, that's when it becomes problematic. So having kind of a broad view of these kinds of big kinds of players when it comes to breast cancer is definitely very important.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I appreciate that so much because I do think there's too often even on our side, the patient side, you know, we get focused on one or the other.


And I was 97 percent progesterone positive, 99 percent estrogen receptor-positive and so high, pretty high levels of positivity for those receptors.


And it would be easy to just kind of hyper-focus on just those things.


But it is the entire system and the kind of like things I didn't know before I was diagnosed with cancer, how complicated the lymphatic system is, and how complicated the endocrine system is.


So my eyes as a patient and self-advocate have really been opened to the opportunities for my own health there. And speaking of lymphatics.


As you know, many of us who have been diagnosed with cancer, we do suffer some sort of lymphatic damage, right? Some damage to our lymph system, whether it's through mastectomy, through sentinel node removal things, things like that, of course.


And I had an amazing guest on the lymphedema guru, and I will definitely post that in the show notes. He's phenomenal. It's what he does. He writes his name is Joaquim Zumthor. I'm probably butchering his first name is Joseph Arthur.


And he writes a textbook actually on the lymphatic system that is used in, in medical schools, that being said, from the from your side, are there things that if someone is looking to sort of support lymphatic drainage in a system that is not 100 percent functional because it's had some damage to it, is that something a patient would talk with you about?


Dr. Aminah Keats

You know, when it comes to that, I actually refer to my colleagues for the... you know, in terms of physical therapists that specialize in lymphedema, I often refer out there are certain herbs that can help to stimulate kind of blood flow. But for the most part, I refer out even a massage therapists who do have that oncology background.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I love it.


Dr. Aminah Keats

And I was just going to say that that's another really wonderful thing when it comes to integrative oncology, is that you have the opportunity to refer to different areas of specialty to support patients.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Which is fantastic. And I know that I was very surprised at the number of breast cancer survivors that I spoke with that didn't, that never had lymphedema mentioned to them as even a possibility, especially those that have had sentinel node removal and not full nodes removed.


And so it's sort of like that my own personal advocacy, just to make sure that men and women who have been through this know that it's secondary lymphedema as a possibility for all of us. And it's so great that there are massage therapists, the lymphoedema specialty. There are people that that's what they do. And it's such a huge, huge service.


So before we move beyond hormones, is there anything else that you would want to tackle there?


Dr. Aminah Keats

In terms of hormones? Gosh. You know, I guess I'm kind of speechless because there is so much that, you know, that you can do when it comes to those three kinds of general categories, insulin, cortisol we talked about stress management. You know, I feel like there's always an opportunity to go back to nutrition when it comes to insulin.


But, yeah, without going into too much detail, I think that you know, we kind of did a good kind of general cover of the hormone piece.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Awesome. I definitely wanted to ask because it's not my area of expertise and it's so it's such a huge, huge area of, um, and often misunderstood.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Oh, and the other hormone, how could I not say melatonin.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Oh my God.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene. Yes, melatonin is super important. So and actually in my practice, sleep hygiene is like a prescription for every patient is so important for immune support, hormonal regulation. Actually, it helps with the regulation of estrogens and progesterone. So that is a big one too.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I love that you remember that. That was one of the first things that both the medical oncologist and the naturopathic oncologist said to me was that and I and I'll be honest, I hadn't been sleeping. I it was I had finished my master's in business. I had run for state representative. I was working full time and I was exercising like a crazy person, thinking that was taking care of my stress, not thinking that exercise is also inflammatory.


And so three hours of sleep at night and my body was not able to really deal with it. So all of that was happening just before I was diagnosed.


So with sleep hygiene, definitely want to ask you kind of what your basic recommendations are for that.


And then I do want to talk about inflammation because I think this is another one that that kind of gets I don't know. I want to say there are a few myths around inflammation, but also it's kind of misunderstood what inflammation is.


So we'll start with sleep and then we'll move on to inflammation.


Dr. Aminah Keats

OK, sure. So my general kind of recommendations:


For Sleep one is to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night and consistently dark, quiet room, very important.


No electronics, no TV, no phone, no computer, and really shutting those electronic devices off at least 60 minutes before bedtime. So that can be difficult for many of us, including myself. But trying hard to shut that off because the longer that you keep the electronics on, that actually delays the release of melatonin. So making sure that the patients doing that and also making sure that we're keeping our phones away from our beds. So, you know, some people have to have their phones close by for whatever reason.


So if that is the case, keeping an eye on airplane mode or just turning it off or just putting it in a different room. So those are just kind of my basic things. And then, you know, the other thing is having a routine. So, you know, every night at bedtime, I take a bath with lavender oil, you know essential oil, every night at bedtime. I read a very pleasant book. I do a meditative exercise.


So having that routine so that when you start to do that, your body knows, OK, it's time to go to bed. Your body starts to prepare to rest.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I love that. And so let's talk about inflammation. So as I mentioned, exercise is inflammatory, that it does cause inflammation. And that's not saying exercise is bad. Obviously, we just talked about how exercise is good.


And this is why I think there's confusion around inflammation, surgery, highly inflammatory. That's an inflammatory process. But also part of that inflammation comes through the healing process. And so, again, inflammation not necessarily is not bad, but we also know that high levels of inflammation in the body are not good or long-term inflammation. And so can we talk a little bit about maybe the different types of inflammation and especially the type that's not so good and some either some tools for mitigation or at least some things to be aware of so that we can have that bit of self-awareness?


Dr. Aminah Keats

Sure. So so you make a good point that not all inflammation is bad. Not all information is the same. So when it comes to an acute response, that's our immune system working. That's good. We need that response. Right. The point is that you know, you have this system, you have white blood cells that come and you have these chemicals that are released to do the repair, and then that process is quieted, and then you just kind of move on.


But it becomes problematic when you have chronic levels of inflammation. So inflammation over long periods of time is when that becomes a problem. Now, chronic inflammation can act as a precursor or even and exacerbated when it comes to the cancer process and really any chronic condition that you call cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.. So that's definitely something that's really important to pay attention to. And what's great is that there are actually labs that we can run to track inflammatory levels.


So that's something that I like to do with pretty much every patient is access a wonderful objective marker to follow over time. Now, when it comes to simple practices that we can do that pretty much most of us can do to reduce inflammation would be basic things like sleep. Sleep is like, it so it sounds so simple to do, but it's so hard to actually do it. And I actually struggle with it myself. But maintaining healthy sleep habits, stress management techniques, those enjoyable activities, carving out consistent time for those things from day to day to day.


Nutrition. Right. So making sure that we're eating clean as possible and getting those anti-inflammatory foods. And so that would be mainly your rainbow array of organic vegetables and fruit and spices. And there's a lot that we can do in the diet when it comes to reducing inflammation. And then you have supplements or certain supplements that have anti-inflammatory effects as well. So there's definitely a lot of opportunity to implement anti-inflammatory support. And I probably implement that to every patient's plan, especially as you will see the conventional treatment, because many times chemotherapy, surgery, radiation can actually cause inflammation. So good news is that there are a lot of tools that we can implement to help.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Awesome, and I also want to talk about the power of something so simple, like water. I think that staying hydrated and we kind of overlook that. And I know that for me, green tea was one of the things that was recommended, as well as really bucking up and making sure I'm drinking water.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yeah, totally. Totally. Definitely. Yeah. Water is very important and often overlooked.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Yeah, what do they say if you if you're thirsty, you're you're already dehydrated. Is that true?


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yeah. I mean, you know, they say the general rule of thumb is to consume half your body weight in ounces. There's no kind of science to prove that. But that's kind of the general recommendation. And, you know, the neat thing about water, too, is that we can add things to our water for extra kind of antioxidant anti-inflammatory support like, you know, lemon slices, lime slices, basil leaves.


I've added cilantro leaves to my water before so. Cucumber. So we can be creative with it as well.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Call that my spa water.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yeah, right. I miss those days.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Right? Same here.


Oh, I know that one of the things that I often hear is that it's complicated or difficult to find a FABNO or a naturopathic oncologist in a lot of, especially rural areas. And you mentioned I think you said there's a couple of hundred in the entire United States.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yes, that's right. Yeah. So, yes, in terms.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Go ahead, you're probably going to answer the question.


Dr. Aminah Keats

So the best way to find a naturopathic doctor a FABNO that specializes in integrative oncology is through the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians. So they have a website, it's onc-a-n-p or o-n-c-a-n-p.org. And if you go on to their website, there's a button there, find a provider and it actually lists all the providers throughout the country. And these days with telehealth, even if you are in a kind of a more remote area, there's still an opportunity to to to to meet with a FABNO provider.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Fantastic and so and you do telehealth appointments. And one of the questions I had is, so how does that work when you have like I know, I know I'm not sending you a urine sample in the mail, so so that that you would necessarily end up with it anyway, I'm assuming a lab. But how would that process work?


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yeah. So, you know, when it comes to labs, especially the specialty tests, like whether you could be something like salivary collection or urine collection or even in the stool collection. So so there are different companies that I work within many of us work with where you can actually, they're very detailed directions is a way to collect that and have that shipped to the company for, you know, results in that kind of thing, comes back to the provider and we can review that information when it comes to blood work always have patients go to a local lab or request to have that work done. Those results are sent. So these days with technology, we're able to to to get these things done, even for folks that are far away.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Awesome. And what is helpful for you, if I were to come to you as a new patient, whether it's a new diagnosis or like I'm six years out, what helps you? What type of information would be helpful for you in having a consultation with a patient and helping them establish some pathways to health?


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yes. So the first step, but I always request are laboratory records. So what is the most recent laboratory or blood work? What does it say? What is your CBC look like? What how high is your glucose? What is liver function like? So getting those results are very important prior to the initial visits so collecting that information, collecting any recent imaging studies that have been done, whether that's an ultrasound or a CAT scan or CT X-ray, whatever that might be, and then also pathology report so that I can have a good understanding of the diagnosis and all those kind of details that go along with that.


So collecting that information, of course, looking at the health history intake form and then usually what happens by the end of the visit, we talk about additional labs to order. But it's also it is always very important and helpful to have the the the current ones available before that visit.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Terrific. I want to take this moment and, you know, speaking to the listeners, I use Ciitizen and for my medical records and I'm a six-year survivor, so I'm getting close to seven years.


And it's possible my records could get tossed. My diagnosis was lobular stage 3b ILC. And with lobular, it tends to have a later recurrence pattern. And so I wanted to make sure that I had access to my records forever and always in the event that it came back. And of course, with cancer, it is one of those diseases where you are seeing multiple providers, multiple specialties, sometimes multiple clinics. Especially if you live in a rural area you might not go to a cancer care center where everything is all in one place.


And so citizen, which is C-I-I-T-I-Z-E-N.com/yourkillerlife, just lets them know that you found it here. But oh my gosh, it is amazing because working with you, Dr. Keates, I could literally just send you a secure link to my medical files where you would have access to all of my imaging, all of my labs, all my pathology, all the things in one place where you would be able to look that up, which is absolutely incredible.


And that goes for any provider that I, I feel sorry for the primary care providers because, you know, they look at my age and they're always like, oh, this is gonna be an easy appointment, me and my three-ring binder, which not anymore because now I have a link.


But they're like, oh yeah, yeah.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Oh yeah. I wasn't aware of that. So that Ciitizen. I'm glad you mentioned that.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Yeah, it's amazing. I will send you some information and of course, for the listeners, I'll post that in the link. And I do have an episode where I spoke with them. They also do an amazing thing. A couple of amazing things, actually. It is a patient focus. So you have control of your records and who sees them. And they also cover the costs of getting those records, which can sometimes be an additional cost. And as a cancer patient, that's the last thing you want as you're trying to avoid stress.


You're right. And then the other thing that they do is they create a cancer care summary. And so that cancer care summary for the new provider, it literally goes through all the PDFs and all of its documents and it puts the information right there. You can click it and it will take you to the specific report that you're looking for. And then the other thing they do that is really cool is that clinical trials. So they will match you with clinical trials and they will give you a printout that you can take to your oncologist that will share with them what they based on your information, all your medical information, what they believe would be a good match, and then the ones that might be a match but maybe there's a test that's missing or, you know, a step somewhere. They aren't sure if it would be a match, but it could be. So it's a really amazing tool. And they started saying.


Dr. Aminah Keats

That sounds like it, wow.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Yeah, yeah, I'll send you the information.


It's is absolutely amazing. So. All right. So so if I were to work with you, obviously, I'd be sending you that link and. Yeah. And you do have a couple of different things. I need to go get your tea recipes because I notice you've got some nice anticancer tea recipes there as well. Yes, yes, yes, yes.


Love my teas. But you also have a free like fifteen minutes where if somebody has never been down this path before, they can do a fifteen-minute, I assume, online consult to see if you would be a good fit for each other.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yeah. Yeah. So I offer a free fifteen-minute phone consultation. So you know for people who want to understand how can naturopathic medicine benefit me? What is naturopathic oncology or how do you practice? So I do offer that, you know, so, so that patients were able to ask their questions and I'm able to share our I support patients.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Terrific. I love that. Oh, my gosh, I know that I dated a couple of different providers before I chose my care team.


Well, it's really nice to have the opportunity to meet somebody. And I'll be honest, especially with cancer, you're frickin tired. You're just tired, and you want somebody whose energy is compatible where you feel like you're being heard. And that's just a good match. It is overall. And I was like that with all of my providers from the oncology team to my plastic surgeon. I really and frankly, to my massage therapist and chiropractor to everybody I saw I really needed to be that way for me.


And where can people find you?


Dr. Aminah Keats

So sure. So my website is "DrKeatesND", so that's D-R-K-E-A-T-S-N as in Nancy D and in doctor dot com. And so for folks who want to learn more about how I function, they can find my more information about my website there. If they want to schedule 15-minute phone consultation, they can do that there. And that is where they can also find the free cancer Friday night tea latte recipes. So, you know, again, I'm always so excited when I can use food as medicine, whether it's recommending it to patients or even for myself.


So putting those recipes together, it was a lot of fun. But for those who are interested, that the free recipes are there on that website, drkeatsnd.com.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Fantastic. And you've also you're out on Instagram, you're out on Club House. I see you in all places.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yeah. Yes. So on Facebook and Instagram I'm, I'm a Dr. Aminah Keat and Clubhouse. I'm Dr. Aminah. I'm not used to Clubhouse this new platform here, but yeah, that's my info.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I know I'm still adapting to, but I'm loving it. And I appreciate so much you coming into one of the Clubhouse rooms that I had and having a conversation with women out there. And for those of you who are listening to the podcast or watching on YouTube, just knowing that Clubhouse, which is rolling out to Android soon, by the way, I was just around today and there was an Android user excited rolling out the beta. So that's happening.


But it's a really great way for us to connect and have some nice, intimate conversations where you don't feel like you have to be made up for the camera. You can just listen in and really have community. And so thank you so much for joining us in the room and talking about naturopathic oncology and what the heck a FABNO is. It was so.


Dr. Aminah Keats

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for the invitation.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

Oh, you bet. Thank you for joining me on the podcast. Is there anything else that you would like to share with our listeners before we wrap up?


Dr. Aminah Keats

You know, I think we pretty much-covered everything, you know, I would just emphasize to the people out there that, you know, there is an opportunity to use everything. You know, some people think, oh, I do naturopathic medicine I can't do conventional medicine or do conventional medicine naturopathic medicine is not safe with it. But you can use both of those things safely for a nice, comprehensive, wonderful treatment plan. So I encourage patients just to use all the tools that they have available.


Tammey Grable-Woodford

I love that. Me too. And I will say I feel like I benefited from it and it was definitely a perk for me. Dr. Keats, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast and speaking with my listeners on this really important topic, sharing so much information. And I could totally pick your brain and I probably could have made this go for two hours or more. And by the end, you would have had a book draft.


But I just want to thank you. And again, listeners, you can find Dr. Aminah at Dr. Keats, ND, and that's drkeatsnd.com. All of that will be in the show notes below. And there will be a link to the website. Be sure to check her out, follow her out, and all of the socials. And then thank you so much for listening to Your Killer Life. And if you haven't yet, please visit our YouTube channel and subscribe.


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