About Our Guest- Dr. Valencia Porter- How to Thrive in a Toxic World — Combining Eastern & Western approaches to health
Valencia Porter, MD is a leader in Integrative, Preventive, and Environmental Medicine, combining ancient wisdom traditions such as Ayurvedic Medicine with modern science. For more than a decade she worked with Dr. Deepak Chopra, providing integrative medical consultations and teaching health professionals and the community how to achieve total mind, body, spirit health.
Her book, “Resilient Health: How to Thrive in Our Toxic World,” is a handbook for the toxic age based on her research, clinical experience, and personal healing journey. Her clinical practice focuses on health optimization.
Full Podcast Transcription
Dr. Valencia Porter 01:30
Functional medicine in which I\’m also trained, is a wonderful blend of modern medicine as well as Ayurveda – the principles are so similar. You\’re looking for the root causes of illness, and really to enhancing the health of the body so that the body can do as much natural healing as possible. To me it\’s really important to rebuild the foundations for health and then the medications are able to work better or they may not be needed at all.
Diva Nagula 02:02
Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of From Doctor to Patient. Today I have Dr. Valencia Porter with me. Dr. Porter is a leader in integrative preventive and environmental medicine, combining ancient wisdom traditions, such as Ayurvedic medicine with modern science. For more than a decade, she\’s worked with Dr. Deepak Chopra, providing integrative medical consultations and teaching health professionals and the community how to achieve total mind body spirit health. Her book, Resilient Health – How to Thrive in Our Toxic World is a handbook for the toxic age based on her research, clinical experience, and personal healing journey. Her clinical practice focuses on health optimization. Dr. Porter, thank you so much for joining us today. How are you?
Dr. Valencia Porter 03:07
Thank you, so glad to be with you today. Thank you.
Diva Nagula 03:11
So your is your background is very interesting. I mean, you you did some training in integrative medicine, and then you furthered your training by doing some Ayurvedic medicine. I\’m curious, how did you fall into Ayurvedic medicine?
Dr. Valencia Porter 03:26
Yeah, I mean, it all kind of came simultaneously. I started out my career in child neurology, actually. And while I was doing that training, I was very frustrated by the limitations of conventional Western medicine. Because at that time, all that well, and probably still today, most of what we had to offer was pharmaceuticals that had really not great side effect profiles, and incomplete solutions for many of my patients. And so my patients kept coming to me with you know, I want to try this gluten free diet, I want to try osteopathy, I want to try all these different things. And I really didn\’t have very much background there. Simultaneously, I was having my own health issue with some spine problems and was told at age 25 that I needed a spinal fusion. And that was when I was in medical school and I had already rotated through orthopedics and saw what happens when people get spinal fusion. So at age 25, I\’m thinking wow, am I gonna live a lifetime with this, so I was doing everything that I could to avoid having a spinal fusion. So I was exploring acupuncture and movement therapies and you know, you name it, I was trying that to help my own back to heal. And it got to a point where I was under so much stress from the neurology fellowship, so much stress from this chronic pain situation and being on my feet for, you know, 16/24/36 hours a day, that my mind, body, and spirit broke. And at that time, I did decide to go have spinal surgery, I was involved in a clinical trial and actually got a disc replacement instead of a spinal fusion. I was randomized to that. And when I opened my eyes, you know, the first thing I said was, what did I get? Did I get the disc replacement, or did I get the fusion? I got the disc replacement. And then in my recovery, I remember I was still doped up on pain medication, not able to read, but I had my tapes, and one of my tapes that I was going to was Deepak Chopra. Sound of healing meditations and other mind, body ,spirit to really calm down to focus on mind, body, spirit healing. And then when I got to the point where I could focus and read again, I started reading his books, and I\’m a cover to cover reader. And I got to the back of one of the books and saw, he\’s in Carlsbad, California, which is just down the road from where I live. And so I went to the Chopra center, and at that time, was able to participate in a healing retreat with him and the cofounder of the Chopra center, Dr. David Simon, and there were just eight of us going through this program. It was amazing. And that\’s when I got introduced to Ayurveda. And when I learned about that, I thought, oh, wow, this is what\’s missing in healing. This is what\’s missing in our medical practice. And I, you know, my eyes were opened so wide that I couldn\’t stop. And so I jumped in wholeheartedly. And I just started pursuing all of that information that I could because I really found that Ayurveda has a long history, 1000s of years. And there\’s many branches to Ayurveda. But one of the things that I love about it is its focus on prevention, and maintenance of health. And at that time, I decided to shift, I went back and did a new residency in preventive medicine. So I felt like with child neurology, I was, you know, trying to get the train that has been derailed back on the tracks, again, back running again. And I thought with preventive medicine, why not try to keep the train on the tracks in the first place – it takes a lot less effort to keep the train on the tracks than it is to right a derailed train. So part of that experience for me was exploring all of these different healing modalities from around the world. You know, I got training in acupuncture as well. And then my husband and I just decided to go on a journey to India. And we spent some time with some Ayurvedic physicians over there. And it was just amazing.
Diva Nagula 08:15
So the training that you had in the States, was that a full Ayurvedic medicine program
that you were enrolled in?
Dr. Valencia Porter 08:23
My Ayurvedic training comes from a variety of different places. It really started with the Chopra Center. And then I had some experience in India, it wasn\’t an official program, but I was shadowing some Ayurvedic physicians. And then when I came back, I was in the midst of the fellowship with Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, and ended up getting a job at the Chopra Center again. And then did some deep dives there with David Simon, who was amazing. And then did some training with David Frawley with his Ayurvedic center as well. So and then also Vasand Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute. So I just kept learning from various different sources. And then, you know, became a certified Ayurvedic consultant with the Chopra Center.
Diva Nagula 09:13
It\’s amazing and interesting, because I also finished the integrative medicine program at University of Arizona and they teach you a little bit, more like an introduction to Ayurvedic medicine. And you went all in – you went and got yourself you know, more knowledge and education and so, how has that influenced the way you practice medicine? I mean, you basically course corrected – you went from, you know, Western medicine to preventative, integrative, and Ayurvedic. So, you know, with all the tools, how is your approach different when you see a patient?
Dr. Valencia Porter 09:48
I love utilizing Ayurvedic medicine as a basis from which I practice so, as you know, Ayurveda is really a preventive practice, but it also is a lifestyle. So it focuses on healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, healthy habits, which many of us are missing in Western society. That\’s a wonderful framework as well. And then it focuses on the doshas, the mind, body, spirit constitution, which I find to be fascinating. And when I inform my clients of of these principles and open their mind to exploring some of this, they see themselves in these different doshas – there\’s three major ones – and then they\’re able to resonate with, oh, okay, I understand that, and that\’s why this lifestyle is more suitable to me. And what\’s been interesting to me about these Ayurvedic doshas is that now that we\’re able to look at genomics, now that they\’re finding that it\’s actually validated in the genomic study. So these ancient seers in India could see these patterns, and identify these patterns, but now we\’re able to see like, this actually translates into genomics and into our physiology – there\’s like a scientific rationale behind these three different mind, body, spirit types. And yes, there are blends, we\’re all a blend. But sometimes people have these predominant mind, body, spirit types. So I use that as a framework, from which I\’m able to use – modern medicine, as well as functional medicine. So to me functional medicine in which I\’m also trained, is a wonderful blend of modern medicine, as well as Ayurveda – the principles are so similar – you\’re looking for the root causes of illness, and really to enhancing the health of the body, so that the body can do as much natural healing as possible. And then for me, the rest is where modern medicine can come in. To me, it\’s really important to rebuild the foundations for health, and then the medications are able to work better, or they may not be needed at all.
Diva Nagula 12:11
Exactly. And I totally agree with that. I mean, I want to applaud on on your continued efforts to seek education and tools and modalities to better your patients. And that\’s what it\’s really all about. And I kind of had the same philosophy because Western medicine kind of failed me. And I really think that I wanted to explore other modalities and treatments that are out there for patient care and education. And with Ayurvedic medicine, I understand that you were talking about the three doshas – can you go into more detail about what that is?
Dr. Valencia Porter 12:45
Yeah, so everything in the universe is made up of these five great elements according to Ayurveda, and that\’s air, space, fire, water, and earth. So, all of these different elements have different properties. And the ancient sages saw that there happened to be some specific patterns. So, Vata is one dosha. And that is predominantly a combination of air and space. So people with a Vata dosha primary have more or less air and space qualities, it\’s more of a lightness, dryness, coolness. And when we see that in the physiology, people are tend to be more thin, they are fast talking, fast moving, their minds are very active. And when that goes out of balance in the body that can create things like too much air in the system, too much dryness in the system. So joint pains, arthritis – it\’s associated with movements, so neurologic conditions, all of this mental activity, so insomnia, ADD, anxiety. A lot of people see themselves in that – I\’m just going to simplify one of the approaches to treating Vata and helping with Vata is to ground because there\’s too much air and space, too much movement, everything\’s all over the place. We want to ground things – and what I love about Ayurveda is it can be really harmonious with the environment. So you want to bring balance, so if it\’s too much lightness, you want to bring some heaviness, too much dryness, you want to bring in some oil, you know, some soothing properties, too much coolness, you want to bring in some warmth. So for Vata, you know, these heavier, warmer, oilier things so I think about Vata like fall – I think about fall in New York City. Everything\’s moving, the leaves are dry and crinkly, the winds blowing things are moving around. What are the things that you crave in that type of situation? These you know, comfort foods – warm hearty stews and soups and things like that. So that would be very balancing. And it\’s interesting because oftentimes, you know, our bodies have an intelligence and often they\’re looking for the things that are going to bring harmony back, you know, sometimes these cravings become unnatural and don\’t serve us well. But sometimes initially, at least, the cravings can kind of bring us back into harmony. So in a nutshell, that\’s Vata dosha. Pitta dosha, that\’s heat and fire, that\’s fire and water.
Diva Nagula 15:34 That\’s me.
Dr. Valencia Porter 15:36
Many physicians are Pitta dosha predominant, because it\’s that intensity that drive. And so mentally very acute, very discerning, can verge on being judgmental, critical, irritable, angry, but also very warm and personable, you know, Pitta people are natural leaders as well. Then in the body, Pitta is predominant in the gastrointestinal system, in the small intestine, and the liver, and the gallbladder, it\’s also in the skin as well. And so we see things coming out like heat, rashes, liver issues, digestive issues, ulcers, you know, when Pitta gets too much and you can also have inflammation in the whole body. So then the converse to that would be bringing cooling and soothing things. Food wise so Pitta, you know, the heat, would be summer season. What do we crave to eat in the summer season? Now that\’s coming along here for me. So salads, lighter fair, juicy fruits like tropical fruits, watermelon, papaya, you know, all those things would be very soothing – cucumber, cilantro. Those would all be great for soothing Pitta fire. And then the third dosha is Kapha. And that\’s a combination of Earth, and water. So there\’s a heaviness, a sluggishness, and a stability. So people who are of Kapha tend to be more heavier set, but they\’re also very stable, these are loyal people, these are the friends that will show up for you, no matter what, at worl these are the people you tell them what to do, they will do it, they will make sure that it is done. And when that can get out of balance, it can lead towards a stagnation, a tendency to not want to move, to be more on the couch, to be more sedentary, leading to more accumulation, weight gain, and situations like high cholesterol, overweight, diabetes, and things like that. So the balance for Kapha, for this heaviness is to bring more lightness, more motion. You know, I always say for Kapha, we want to lighten it up, move it and spice it up. So food-wise you want to bring in spices to to balance that and lots of vegetables, lots of lighter vegetables, less you know, those heavy like, I would think like a French dinner with a lot of heavy cream sauce, that would not be great for Kapha.
Diva Nagula 19:36
It\’s interesting, so knowing these dosha and the types, the categories, and understanding their body habitus and their energy, do you go in and kind of define these for each patient that you see and then go into detail about their lifestyle practices, diet, and then kind of adjust their practices and diet according to their specific dosha, what they should be practicing and following?
Dr. Valencia Porter 20:00
Yeah, so I\’m taking all that into consideration when I\’m treating my patients. When I was practicing at the Chopra Center, that was a primary focus, we were very focused on the dosha. and telling them about their mind, body constitution and the things that we\’re balancing. But now that I\’m in private practice, and have more of a functional medicine practice, the Ayurveda is in the background. And when people are open to it, though, a lot of people haven\’t heard of Ayurveda, it\’s a new concept. So for me, it\’s in the background, and I\’m doing it steadily with the lifestyle changes. And then if they\’re open to it, then I\’ll say, hey, you might want to check this out. This is fascinating. And so then I\’ll gauge if they\’re interested in learning more about Ayurvedic lifestyle, and usually people are, but I really try to meet people where they are in terms of lifestyle change. And over the years, I\’ve realized that I can give somebody a list of 40 different things that they need to do to improve their health. But if they can only do three, you know, what good is that list of 40 things. So for me, it\’s more of a framework of my practice, and then introducing people to the concepts. But I was also actually involved in teaching some of the fellows at the University of Arizona program. So I love teaching physicians also about how they can use this in their practice as well and seeing different types of pathologies in terms of these different dosha imbalances.
Diva Nagula 21:34
That\’s fantastic. And obviously, when you are learning all this information, you probably were able to practice this on yourself with your own health conditions. Can you talk a little bit about how you implemented these strategies for your own health issues? And if you don\’t mind, just briefly, I know you briefly went into about your your disc replacement. Talk us through about some other issues that you were facing.
Dr. Valencia Porter 21:54
Yeah. So I went through another health challenge with this. And it was while I was working at the Chopra Center, and I underwent a period of tremendous stress. I had lost my mom, and the cofounder of the Chopra Center also became ill with brain cancer and he subsequently passed. And Dr. David Simon was a tremendous mentor and friend, to me – it was a tremendous loss. And then at that time, it was just, he and I were the only practicing physicians at the Chopra Center, I had just gone out on maternity leave. So we had only just brought in a new physician. So then the burden of the practice was also on my shoulders. So this was a period of tremendous stress. And my health suffered, you know, despite knowing all of these things to do, and despite continuing with meditation, and a healthy diet, and a healthy lifestyle as much as I could, there were also these other extenuating factors that were contributing to a great deal of stress. It was also right after the financial crisis, too so it\’s just coming from all sides. Then I had a mercury amalgam filling that broke off, and I swallowed it. So I ended up with mercury toxicity. That probably was what tipped me over and with my training and environmental medicine is also what I\’ve seen with a lot of people who have some type of environmentally acquired illness is there\’s like a sequence of steps like you\’re, you\’re being edged towards the cliff, and then that one last thing pushes you over. So it was probably the mercury filling that pushed me over. And then I developed chronic Lyme disease, and other coinfections. I grew up on the east coast, I camped all the time, I know I had tick bites, and I actually developed some weird neurologic symptoms in college after a tick bite that they had worked me up for MS at the time and said, well, you don\’t have MS we don\’t know what it is. And then it went dormant for a long time. And then all these weird neurologic and joint symptoms were developing for me again now, and so I was like what is going on? I felt like Humpty Dumpty – was going around to every you know, I had access to all of these wonderful healers, I was going around to every single person trying to understand why am I feeling so poorly right now? And it turned out it was it was Lyme and these coinfections. So I had seen a number of chronic Lyme disease patients and knew what that was about. So I went full court press to get rid of this – I did all of the natural things, I also did all the conventional things I, I bombed my system, really. And I knew the consequences. And I was really bummed because at that time, I felt that antibiotics was one of my only choices now. Yes, I was rebuilding my terrain, my body terrain, but I was a mother of two with this job that I needed to have at the time, and I was like I gotta get back to my health as soon as possible – I have to use everything in my arsenal. And so, I was really bummed because I did not want to destroy my microbiome. I had worked so hard to rebuild again. But I did. And, and now I\’ve come back from that, but it was a journey. And so I used all of these modalities, everything that I had available to me to heal, and it took a full year, maybe a little bit longer, but I did end up healing and I have not quit. I\’ve been doing wonderfully ever since. But that going back to the doshas, and you know, living a life in harmony with who you are and really understanding who you are, your makeup, and what would be the optimal lifestyle for you. So knowing what my underlying mind, body physiology is, I have to keep that in check. And I have to know where my tendencies are to get out of balance. So being a predominant Pitta dosha as well, I know, I\’ve got that drive. And if I see something, I will just go go, go, go nonstop. That\’s not going to ultimately serve my health, though. So for me, it\’s been a journey about letting go, about learning to say no, and keeping those boundaries, and really just honoring and continuing to check in and reminding myself okay, what is for the best in this situation at this time. And what might have been for the best yesterday may not be for the best today. So really, it\’s about you know, living that mindful life and continually checking in, continually assessing what\’s going to be most helpful in this situation at this time.
Diva Nagula 27:42
I guess the overall message that you had to take in was just to slow down.
Dr. Valencia Porter 27:46
Yeah, not drive so hard. You know, that Pitta drive.
Diva Nagula 27:51 I know very well.
Dr. Valencia Porter 27:52
Yeah. And it was funny because I had seen Dr. Vasant Lad is one of the preeminent Ayurvedic physicians in the United States. I had seen him several months before I really started to go downhill and for a pulse practicum. So you learn how to check pulses, these Ayurvedic pulses. And he had checked my pulse. And he he cautioned me, he did caution me. He was like, you got to slow down.
Diva Nagula 28:20
Yeah, it\’s interesting. And then I\’d love to chat a little bit about your book that you wrote. I mean, it\’s it\’s an amazing book and talk to us a little bit about what inspired you to write it and just briefly, share with us the gist of what you wrote.
Dr. Valencia Porter 28:37
Yeah, thank you. So you know, all of this kind of comes full circle. So as I was exploring health and healing, part of that for me is using food as medicine. And so when I was in the process of getting my master\’s degree in Public Health, while I was doing my preventive medicine residency, I went to a food as medicine conference and heard Dr. Mark Hyman speak. And at that time, it was way early on before people were talking about toxins and the Dirty Dozen list and things like that. That was tremendously eye opening for me. So I decided at that time, I realized, as physicians, we don\’t learn a lot about environmental toxicity beyond poisonings, right. We don\’t learn about this chemical soup that were being bathed in. We don\’t learn about the effects of all of those, you know, microdoses of toxicity, we don\’t learn about everyday toxins. We didn\’t learn about BPA and PFAS and you know, all of these chemicals that we are constantly being exposed to, so I decided to focus my master\’s degree in environmental health and learn a little bit more. So I did that. And then when I was at the Chopra Center, and we were doing Ayurvedic detox, which was amazing and gentle. And I saw a tremendous transformation of people\’s health, just within a short time period. They were with us for 6 days, or 10 days doing this gentle cleanse. And I saw amazing results from people and I thought I really want to understand this more from a scientific perspective. There were only a few studies that had been done on on what\’s called punch of karma, five actions of cleansing. But those studies looked super promising. And I thought, wow, there\’s really something into this. And then around the same time that I was getting sick, all these juice cleanses and detoxes were becoming the rage. And I live here in Southern California. So it seemed like there is a detox, smoothie cleanse on every corner. And I saw some of my patients who were getting harmed from doing detoxes in an improper way. I also saw that people were so focused on detoxing the food, but not necessarily looking at what products they were slathering on their bodies, which our skin is our largest organ, you know, it covers so much and us and 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed, and particularly women, we use so many different products with so many different potential chemicals in those products that we\’re taking in. So I saw all of this happening. Plus, I was dealing with my own illness, my own mercury toxicity, my mother had had ovarian cancer, my sister had breast cancer, I was like, you know, something\’s going on here. So I was looking for answers, and I was looking for resources, and just coming across tons of poorly communicated misinformation on the internet that, you know, a lot of people were exposed to, and that we need something, some handbook for people to understand in a simple way, what the potential exposure is, what the potential risk is, and what they might want to do about it, if anything. So that\’s where the book came from, Resilient Health, and it was really a combination of all of this research, all this experience that I had been through. And the focus, you know, the bottom of the pyramid, for me is food – that\’s like, our biggest interaction with the environment, because most of us are eating several times a day. And, you know, we became so disconnected from our food sources too. Many kids, you know, they don\’t know where food comes from, they don\’t know what\’s grown in the ground on a tree, they don\’t know that, you know, they think that chicken is a nugget. So, you know, really getting back in touch with food as medicine and looking at that primarily, and making sure that we\’re eating foods that are good for us, that are promoting our health, and avoiding things that you know, are potentially damaging to our health, like organophosphate pesticides, which are, you know, sprayed all over our foods, glyphosate, you know, that we\’re seeing, you know, some health effects from and I can really put, you know, put a cog, you know, a stick in though in the wheel that\’s going to prevent you from moving forward in your health. So looking at that, and then looking at the things that we put on our body. So, you know, alerting people to there\’s potential dangerous there. I grew up thinking, the government protected me, now the government protects companies – big business. I thought, oh, all of these regulations, things are safe. But you know, we constantly see in the news, this is recalled, this is found to have some unsafe things in it. So really, you know, doing doing the research yourself. And there\’s some great resources like the Environmental Working Group I love. They have wonderful resources and databases. So for instance, like your sunscreen, you can plug in what your sunscreen is and get a score on hazard rating and then they break it out into saying, well, this chemical may be an endocrine disrupting chemical, so interacting with your hormones, this one might cause allergies, this could cause you know, potential cancer causing agents. So you want to know that stuff and be able to choose products that are more healthy, and then looking at things in your home environment and then beyond. And what\’s different about my book, Resilient Health from other detox books, is that it also looks at the mental, spiritual, societal component, which a lot of people deal with mental toxicity, you know, either their own or you know, from their surroundings. We\’ve seen a lot of societal toxicity come to the forefront in the last couple of years as well. So how do we manage that and deal with that?
Diva Nagula 35:06
Yeah, it\’s a great segue. So what are your recommendations for dealing with the many toxicities and toxins that were exposed to, whether it\’s chemicals, as you alluded to, that we apply on our bodies every day to what we eat on a regular basis? I mean, there\’s so many choices, and there\’s so many sources of toxins, but how do you, how does a consumer go through and understand what\’s the best products for their skin? And then also, what type of foods should they be consuming?
Dr. Valencia Porter 35:37
Food-wise, again, to me, that\’s the basis. So for me, you\’re really looking at the plant- based diet, so more plants – it doesn\’t have to be all plants. You know, some people prefer to have animal products in their diet, and some people need animal products in their diet. But, you know, so much research has been done to point to a plant-based diet as being the most healthy. So really incorporating those and there\’s wonderful phytonutrients – so these plant-based nutrients, and plant-based chemicals that help us promote health, that fight disease, that promote detoxification, especially in the vegetable family, those cruciferous vegetable – broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts family, you know, those are wonderful. Nuts and seeds can be wonderful. Low glycemic fruits, you know, a lot of people have to watch their sugar level. But some low glycemic fruits, especially like berries have these superfood qualities to them, they have so much bang for their buck in terms of providing us with nutrient dense foods. And then moving away from overly processed foods and leaning more towards natural whole foods. So that\’s my general dietary approach, and then I tailor it to my client\’s needs. So I don\’t ascribe to any one diet, I believe we have to look at what\’s best for us. People have allergies and food sensitivities and different needs, different stages of life, different health situations, so we really have to tailor that. And then, you know, in terms of what products to use, and what to look for – agaain, I love the Environmental Working Group – they\’ve got these great databases, you can type in your thing, your product, and look and see how it scores. If they don\’t have it, you can type in the ingredients and create your own custom score. For me, it\’s always trying to go back to the more natural products – if you look at the label….one of the things is you want to be a great label reader. For the products, if you look at the label, and there\’s like 20 plus different things, you know, then I\’m like, what is in here? If it has like a bunch of numbers and scientific sounding names, I\’m wondering, you know, what is this? but if you\’re looking at more natural products, you know, that tends to have less harm. But there are some natural products that could cause allergies as well. So you have to look at that. One of the things that one of my biggest bugaboos right now is the term fragrance. Fragrance, which to me means nothing, you have no idea what is in there. And very often, you know, if they actually go and look scientifically at what is in that, what are the chemical constituents, very often it\’s things like celates, and, you know, other potentially toxic chemicals that are coming from this fragrance and they\’re volatile organic compounds. And many people get very ill from fragrance. There are some people that can\’t even walk down the supermarket aisle with the cleaning products because it\’s so overwhelming with all the fragrance. I noticed when I was walking in my neighborhood, I can tell when people are doing their laundry, because the scent is just wafting out and it can be overpowering. So but because of our regulations, these companies are not required to disclose what is in their fragrance because that\’s proprietary information.
Diva Nagula 39:38
I know exactly. And last now before we run out of time, I really want to get into you know, you\’re passionate about organic gardening and farming and a little bit about how you became so passionate about this.
Dr. Valencia Porter 39:51
Yeah. So you know from that early time when I heard that lecture from Dr. Mark Hyman you know, I became really involved in and interested in our food system and what\’s been done to our food system. And so interestingly, my great, great, great, great, great great grandfather was a physician. And in his retirement, he ended up becoming a farmer and it was because he saw that food creates health. Now from his time until now, the farming practices have changed drastically. And so, you know, I look at food and organic food and organic farming for our health, personal health, human health, but also for the health of the world. Because what we\’ve seen now is that organic farming practices not only are healthier for us and creating non-toxic food supplies, they\’re healthier for the environment, our conventional farming right now is destroying our soils, and it\’s causing a furthering of climate change. Because the soils are not healthy, they\’re not able to draw down the CO2, they\’re not able to help where they could be helping tremendously. And the soils also have become unhealthy so that the foods grown in those soils don\’t have as much nutrient density as well. So the foods are not as good as they were 100 years ago, because we have depleted our soils. Conventional farming also requires massive amounts of chemicals, and they\’re pouring more and more chemicals, which are not necessarily helping the situation, they\’re not creating, you know, more abundance of crops. And then they\’re also you know, causing further environmental destruction with, you know, getting into the water table, the water streams, and now our water is messed up, and then the waters that go into the ocean, then they create dead zones as well, because of all the fertilizer, so then they\’re impacting the fish. So organic farming is more than the food that\’s on our table. It\’s affecting our whole planet.
Diva Nagula 42:02
Yeah, I totally agree. And that\’s why there\’s a movement of regenerative agriculture that\’s going around, it\’s not as mainstream as I\’d like to see it, but and it\’s getting some traction, which is great. But to your point, I mean, our soil is so devoid of nutrients. And, you know, regenerative agriculture is all about crop diversity, and creating more nutrients into our soil. Because the topsoil, as we know, today, it\’s just devoid of any nutrients across the board. You know, because as you\’re alluding to, because of the monocrop culture, secondarily, with all the pesticides and, and you know, what we need to do is just reverse that, you know, with regenerative agriculture, with these types of new practices for farming, where we\’re having animals that are there, where instead of putting nitrogen into the ground, into the soil, from artificial sources, as you know, we\’re using natural sources to create that healthy soil for crop diversity. And we haven\’t had this a long time, and our soils have gotten so devoid, as you said, I mean, it\’s causing some horrible issues. That\’s secondarily leading to adverse effects with our climate because we don\’t have any carbon sinks that we used to have and that\’s the problem.
Dr. Valencia Porter 43:14
Yeah, and it\’s really coming back to this holistic approach, and, you know, the animals that are pooping on the ground are providing nitrogen in a different way. It\’s a more holistic way. And, and I love science, and science is wonderful, but there is something about this, you know, tendency for us to kind of want to boil it down to just the one thing, which it seems like we\’ve done with farming, so they just want just the one thing, what\’s just the one chemical that I need to add, just the one fertilizer that I need to add? Similarly, we do that with pharmaceuticals, too. So you take like white willow bark, which is the basis for aspirin, boiled it down to just the one thing, acetyl salicylic acid, and then you have side effects. If it\’s just the white willow bark, which has the wholeness, the intelligence of the whole plant, you don\’t get those same side effects. So I think there\’s something about the intelligence of the wholeness, that perhaps we\’re missing when we are drilling down and boiling, trying to boil it down to this one thing. So to me, it\’s about seeing that one point and then seeing the the broader view as well.
Diva Nagula 44:29
Yeah, I couldn\’t agree with you more. Dr. Porter, really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us today on the show. If our listeners would like to find more information about you what\’s the best way of doing so?
Dr. Valencia Porter 44:42
They can visit my website which is ValenciaPorter.com
Diva Nagula 44:53
All right. Well, great. Thank you so much.
Dr. Valencia Porter 44:55
Thank you, really appreciate speaking with you.