Hey there, it's Emma Cooksey here and I'm your host, so I one of the things I love most about having a podcast is you guys, you know, sending me emails and messages on Instagram saying, you know where you're following me from.
And like there's.
So many different countries that people write to me from and I just.
Love that part of it.
So my new favorite friend on Instagram is Mark Partipillo.
Quite sure how to pronounce your last name.
Mark and I don't want to mess up, so Mark seems like the German version of me, honestly.
And so often times I'll get people asking me like, you know, I I like your podcast, but English isn't my first language and and or you know people that don't speak English, they they're kind of asking for resources in their own language.
And I'm kind of like, oh, I don't really have any.
So whenever I find people in different countries.
I always want to, like, really raise.
Awareness about what they're doing so you can find Mark on Instagram.
It's Marc and his last name is PARTIPIL.
O so I think I'm also going to link to his website in the show notes for this episode.
So if you're in Germany and you want to connect with Mark and he has an Instagram account, but he also has a website and it looks like he has a book.
And so I just was really excited to learn about him for any German listeners and go and find Mark and you guys can hopefully all connect with each other.
So the other thing to let you guys know about is I've started working with Aeroflo Sleep to write a monthly blog post for them.
So if you're not familiar with Aeroflo Sleep, they help people in the United States and use their insurance to get their CPAP supplies.
So they're like an online company where you call them or go online and you can you know have them set up recurring deliveries of your CPAP supplies where you just kind of set it and forget it and they're they seem really helpful.
And and they're really making a big effort to raise awareness about sleep apnea, which is why I.
Love working with them, so I had my first.
Blog post went live last week, so I'm going to put a link to that in the show notes.
And it's a little bit about how to advocate for yourself, like in the doctor's office or in general like to get your diagnosis of sleep apnea.
So I feel like it's the kind of thing that a lot of you listening are already past that stage.
But if you have someone in your life who doesn't yet have a diagnosis and they suspect they might have sleep apnea, it could be a great article to share with them.
So that brings me neatly on to today's guest.
So I actually find today's guest doctor Monique May, and because she is on the medical advisory.
Board for Aeroflow sleep, so she's known as the Physician in the Kitchen Doctor.
Monique May is a board certified family physician who specializes in addressing comorbidities through a healthy lifestyle, and she also hosts the blackdoctor.org Show Veganish on Facebook.
So she recently also released a new book entitled Doc Fix My Plate.
Further ado, Here is my conversation with Doctor Monique May.
Thank you so much for joining me.
Thank you, Emma, for having me.
And so I first learned about you through Aeroflow Sleep, And so I was kind of talking to them about doing some blogging and.
I kind of looked at some of the other content creators and you know experts that they they had on their team and so I noticed some of your blog posts are are different content and I thought I want to be friends with her.
It's for people that are not familiar with you at all.
Do you want to take us a little bit through your background, so getting into medicine and then what you're doing with physician in the kitchen?
So again thank you for having me.
Thank you to your listeners and your viewers for spending some time.
But my name is Doctor Monique May.
I am a Board 25 family physician and do my brand physician in the kitchen.
I help busy households enjoy healthy plant based eating without impacting the acting schedules.
You know how?
Let me give you the short version, right?
Because I, you know, been around.
It is a big job.
But as far as my path to medicine, I think it was just my life experiences.
As a little girl.
I actually had a chronic medical condition that required me to be in the hospital quite a bit.
So I was in and out of hospital, so kind of learned the lingo, got the, you know, kind of the the procedures down.
And then when I was in high school, I took a or middle school.
Middle school actually.
I took a a Health Science class.
And I was, I was, I was hooked.
We learned about the human body and I remember learning about the eye, I believe the kidney, the skin and one other organ, I think it's the heart.
And I was hooked.
I was like, I need to learn more about this.
So pretty much from 9th grade or so on, I knew I wanted to be a doctor and so went on to medical, went to college, Med school, graduated and, you know, honored top temperature in my class.
I was in the honor of Medical, National Medical.
Modern society went on to do my residency and family medicine where I was also, you know, outstanding resident and then practice clinically for about 20 years, 2020 or so years in a variety of of settings.
Office, hospital, telemedicine, you know, you name it.
And then as far as how I've become physician in the kitchen, I mean just.
You know, one of my fondest memories of childhood, other than being in and out of the hospital, was actually spending time with my grandmother.
She was a school cook.
She had ten kids, so nine that that that lived.
So she, she gave birth to 1099, survived.
And so she had to feed a lot of people a lot of the time.
And so I just remember.
You know, be in the kitchen with her and and even being long distance.
I was in New York, she was in Alabama.
She would send me these care packages with this sweet breads called sweet breads and plain yellow cake, No icing, no, nothing.
But it was delicious.
And so when she was, she would send that to me and I would just feel so, you know, warm and loved and so forth.
And then unfortunately we lost her to complications from high blood pressure and the stroke at the young age of 67.
And so going through that made me really, you know, kind of put all that together and just.
The years telling people how to, you know, what they need to be doing.
But then really taking a closer look at that, what does that mean?
Like, how can we start with something that's as simple as what we eat?
So it all kind of evolved and came together as physician in the kitchen, and the name just kind of stuck because it's literally, I'm in the kitchen if I'm not, and I'm a physician and I'm in the kitchen because I love to cook.
I love to experiment.
So yeah, that's kind of it in a nutshell.
I always find people that are total overachievers have to talk really fast because you're like, then I did Mexico, then I did the sort of thing, and it's like, it's like so much stuff.
Anybody to sleep?
I wouldn't get it all ready for their attention.
So here's the thing I feel like on my podcast I've done more than 100 episodes.
And we really haven't talked a lot about this whole like weight loss and sleep apnea like we we have from a couple of different angles.
But I think one of the reasons it makes me nervous is that talking to so many.
People with this diagnosis of sleep apnea, so many of us have had a pretty shaming experience of going to our doctor and being told, you know.
You need to lose weight.
That's a factor for so many people, right?
Like it's it's one of the biggest things that you have some control over and we're not given like the how to do.
That so often times I think that sometimes, you know, it's not that helpful to tell people.
You just need to lose weight and and that's going to help and it does for some people for sure.
Like I've I've interviewed a number of people who have managed to reverse their sleep apnea or radically improve it by a significant weight loss.
So it's not that like we get that, it's just the how of how to get from that conversation about that we would like to lose some weight to improve our symptoms and to improve our.
Daily life, right?
The quality of our life, but it's the has.
So do you have any suggestions for where people can start?
If they've had that kind of conversation with their doctor and they want to lose some weight to improve their sleep apnea, but they just don't know where to start.
And first, let me start at #1.
That's an excellent question.
Number two, let me start by apologizing.
I hate to hear when people say they've had negative experiences in a doctor's office.
You know, I told for.
That being said, I do apologize.
You know this?
If it were easy, nobody would be overweight or obese.
Nobody wakes up and says, you know, I want to pack on 100 extra pounds for no reason, right.
No one does that.
And the more I kind of talk to people and with my clinical experience is over because I used to be one of those doctors.
I used to be that said just, you know, lose weight, right, Go exercise, stop, cut, you know, cut back on your calories.
And yes, that is you know the basic price right, which we.
But how do you get there?
And what I think we sometimes.
Select is really it's mindset.
I really think we need to start, which is why mental health and and counseling and all that stuff is so supportive and so helpful because again, you can tell somebody I want you to go walk for 30 minutes, five times a week and so forth.
But until they a kind of dial in and recognize or identify there.
Why, Why do you want to lose weight?
Yes, the doctor is telling you, but.
Is there a personal reason?
Do you want to prevent something happening to you like your grandmother at age 67?
Or do you have young children you want to see grow up?
So when people start to kind of, I think, internalize that, they are more likely to take ownership of it.
The other thing too is making sure like we do a lot of like self doubt and negative thinking.
And we compare ourselves to other people so much, right.
And that can be extremely harmful.
So indetrimental, right?
It doesn't get you anywhere because you don't know what that other person is dealing with.
You don't know.
So why are you even comparing yourself to them?
Look at what you're dealing with.
And the other thing I I tell people is, you know, it's a process.
Give yourself some grace.
You know you didn't gain the weight overnight.
It's not a perfection thing, right?
Because I feel like.
That is sometimes what sets people up for failure is they think I've got to, you know, exactly stick to this plan and by day seven if they, you know, have a day that doesn't go as planned, they just give up.
Whereas it's really that constant going back to what your goals were and.
Yeah, keeping on.
Going exactly and and setting realistic goals, I think that's that's kind of what you're getting at is realistic goals when when patients will come in and say I want I need you know my high school reunion is coming up in in six months or not even you know three months and I need to lose £50.
Not going to.
It's not realistic.
It's like you're already setting yourself up.
You're already obligate before you've even given yourself a chance.
You're setting yourself up for failure.
So I I encourage people to take kind of small chunks that small goals.
So what is it that you, number one, are capable of doing?
So any conversation needs to start with the physical exams if you're at your doctor's office, right?
So if you have joint problems, if you have heart problems, you know, whatever kind of underlying issues you may have, make sure those things are as well controlled as they can be.
And then if it just it could be something as simple as walking, it could be something as simple as chair exercises.
You know if your mobility is not the best you can, if you can move your arms, you can do some some actual significant calorie burning.
So one of the people that I interviewed quite early on in the podcast was a man called Gary Knight who's in England, and he had some issues which made it really impossible for him to kind of walk and run.
But he was able to do the elliptical machine and he started off like, I think what was inspiring to me about him is that he just kind of started off from where he was, which was maybe being able to do one mile, not quickly.
And he built up over time and just kept adding.
Distance and the time that he was doing every day and that's how I think in the end he he lost like 70 pounds over like a year.
You know and I think that a lot of his is also to do nutrition which will come on to and.
But I think for him he was just like he just decided like.
No more excuses.
I just want to, you know, I can do this.
So this is what I'm going to do and I'm going to keep working on it, setting new goals.
So that was really inspiring to me.
And I I think too, a couple of things that reminds me of is setting up or doing a food diary a lot Because again, it kind of goes back to the mindset.
Food plays a lot of roles.
It's not just nutrition, right?
It's not, oh, I'm hungry that you eat.
Food can be a comfort food can be a crutch, food can be, you know, homey, lover, friend, right.
A distraction, boy.
And so, if you're not recognizing those things, your triggers, what makes you reach for, you know, the not healthy snack or what have you?
You're not going to be successful, right.
And then so keeping a two week food diary, when you just write down everything you eat and drink and and remember the calorie, you know calories can be liquid too, right.
So anything other than water is going to have some kind of calories associated with it.
So keep a two week diary and you know just write down not only what you're eating, what's going on at the time, you know, were you hungry, were you sad, were you, you know what is what is all going on?
Were you standing over the counter eating your food versus sitting at a table?
Having a conversation, putting your fork down between bites, you know, think all of that stuff kind of adds up.
And then with something else you mentioned about where he kind of set the small goals and he said, you know, I can do this, I would say make we we make time for what's important.
And so if you decided okay, today is day, I'm really going to do this.
I want to lose weight.
I'm tired of huffing and puffing when I walk or whatever.
Put it in your schedule.
Don't make it an afterthought.
You know, if you say you know your your feet hit the floor at 5:00 o'clock in the morning and you're going to be running until, you know, eight night, 10:00 o'clock at night.
Schedule that workout and perfectly probably earlier in the day before your day gets away from you.
Because guess what?
As the day goes on.
Particularly if you're a parent busy work, you know, worker like.
You know who isn't?
Other things are going to fill up your time.
And then you what?
You fall into the chair in the bed the other day exhausted and you didn't work out.
So I think for a lot of us, particularly some of us moms or working moms or working working women who work outside the home, I'll put it like that, dads.
Anyone who who's a caretaker, we put other people first.
But you know, women, we tend to do that more and so.
It's okay to be selfish.
And by selfish I mean set aside 30 minutes, 10 if you just need, if you're 10/15/20 whatever it is.
But to say you know unless the house is on fire, do not bother me while I get my work out and I go for my walk or what have you.
Because you you know you can't pour from an empty cup and by taking that time for yourself you've you've you're saying your actions match your words.
Your words are I want to lose weight.
I know this is healthy, but your actions.
May not be supporting that.
So when those two match up, I think you're more likely to be successful as well.
And again, starting where you are is so important.
Yeah, that's great advice.
So when it comes to the food part of it, do you want to talk a little bit about?
So you trained as a chef?
So yes, I went to vegan culinary school.
Online culinary school.
Yes, it was very exciting.
So I'll probably cut it all out.
But my friend, so I just was reading a bit about your background and I was like, she should be friends with Don Hutchins.
So my friend Don Hutchins is this woman who has like an after school cooking, like vegan after school cooking program for kids.
And she also does a bunch of stuff with the Boys and Girls Club.
And like, she's just a great woman.
And so she was looking for people to help.
You know, she expanded to lots of different schools in our area.
And I was like, this is before I started podcasting.
And I was like, that sounds really interesting.
Let me do that.
So it was so fun.
We had the kids like plant gardens and and you know, like grow their own food that we could then cook.
And just like they loved it.
It was so.
So, so tell me about what the reasoning behind the plant based vegan part of that like was it the health benefits of that or or what was it the dream to that?
Pretty pretty much so.
In 2020, we all know what happened.
But during right as it kicked off, I turned 50.
I turned 50 in May of 2020.
And I've got a scary family history.
I've got cancer on both sides.
I've got it's mentioned my grandmother, my that's my maternal grandmother.
My proternal grandmother died of heart disease.
Obesity in the family.
So you know, as a physician, as a 50 year old, I just was like, OK, taking stock, you know, of what I can do to improve my health because I'm claiming another 50 years.
And so how do I go into those next 50, as healthy as it can be because I already have high blood pressure.
My mom has it.
So, you know, I have a I had a 5050 chance of getting it and.
You know, the coin, the coin fell not in my favor.
So, you know, just trying to control when I can't control.
And then I started just reading and educating myself because unfortunately when I was in Med school and residency many, many years ago, we didn't really do a lot of nutritional medicine.
I mean, we learned some of the basics, don't get me wrong, but as far as like using food actually treat or prevent.
Or treat diseases was not really taught.
And so I just became, you know, interested.
As a physician, I'm used to being a lifelong learner.
And so I just went kind of into that direction and I started watching certain documentaries about how food is made, like meats and so forth are, you know, grown and processed.
And I was like.
It's not very appealing so and just wanted to be and and but for me it was kind of an easy choice because I never was a real big red meat eater you know chicken and fish you know sometimes so but for me it really wasn't that hard of the sale and so and then it it it taps into somewhat of my little bit of a creative side because you get to be like okay well how do I replace that with this so how do I make it taste good and feel the same in my mouth and things like that so.
And for for a variety of reasons going plant based was was easy and easy sell for me.
Can we give people some steps of changes they can make to the food that they're eating to be more healthy?
Like are there, are there swaps people can make?
Are there specific?
Like, I I feel as though not everybody listening is going to become completely plant based, especially here in America.
But are there any particular, you know, ways that people can improve their health with what they're eating and not necessarily, you know, make the rat like some people?
My husband would think it was really radical to become a, you know, vegan.
And so, have you got any ideas about that?
And again another great question because that's this is one of the things I talk about is.
You know, never going to tell anyone to go and throw everything out of your pantry, freezer and cabinets, that's not realistic.
But as you are shopping, as you're replenishing, I do encourage people to be mindful about some of the substitutions they can make.
And so one thing that I, you know, I have become aware of and I I admit I've kind of been sleeping on them for years.
Our legumes, your lentils and your beans, those are a wonderful source of protein and fiber and B vitamins and calcium and iron and and even fill children right up.
Cuz I'm in the middle and they they summer here.
It's home from school and I'm just like, how much can these people eat?
Definitely and it's and they're so they they they are really just little powerhouses and they they check a lot of boxes they're so doggone economical and particularly dried over can.
If I I admit I didn't buy more can because I want something quick and you know, easy.
What I did, I just want a bag of dried lentils the other day because, I mean, they're shelf stable.
They can stay in your, you know, your pantry for quite a while.
And they're versatile.
People eat beans all around the world from anywhere from breakfast to dessert.
So if you are looking for something that can really be like your kitchen workhorse and you just want to maybe just replace one meal a week, you know if you want to do a meatless Monday or you know for lunch one day you are not doing any meat, I I highly recommend that I just made-up a lentil lentil loaf recipes instead of a meatloaf loaf made out of lentils.
Delicious, delicious and so I would recommend starting with that.
I also recommend if I had to say just one thing that people could do is cut out a lot of the processed foods because you talk about inflammation.
That has been those foods have been linked to inflammation.
So what do I mean by processed?
The further away from the ground it is, that's processed right, so that you have a lot of ingredients as well.
Like if something has 25 ingredients, it's.
Probably quite process if if the ingredient list reminds you of your 10th grade chemistry class, that is highly processed, right?
And you're exactly right.
So you know you want to get whole grain.
Whole Foods, whole unprocessed foods.
Because again, even if it's going to be one or two meals a week or one or two, you know, a day or so forth, if you start there, those are again going to give you fiber, They're going to fill you up.
And what happens when you're full, you eat less, right?
And so a side effect of that is weight loss because you're you're full, you're suppressing that the the grand, the hormone.
The hunger hormone gremlin which is like I, I it reminds me of the word gremlin like somebody just wasn't eat everything up.
So that hormone, you know it's kind of turned off when you are full versus?
I mean if that's the hormone that drives hunger and then, you know we have leptin, which is a hormone that that is a satiety that tells us okay, stop eating.
So you know when you fill your body up with and staying hydrated, staying hydrated.
I cannot say enough about drinking water or you know, unsweetened tea, coffee without a lot of Creamer and sugar.
Because a lot of times we mistake thirst for hunger.
And so we think, you know, we were, oh, I'm hungry and I'll they'll wait for something as opposed to actually maybe drinking 8 ounces of water and waiting about 15 to 20 minutes and then seeing what happens.
So by the time they say that by the time you actually recognize first, you're actually probably about 10% dehydrated.
So particularly in the summer months where it's hot, I'm in Florida, it's so hot.
Goodness, my dad is right now in the family reunion in Alabama.
And it's like 105 degrees.
Yeah, it was 100 degrees yesterday.
It's so hot.
Yeah, so we're just inside drinking water.
And wear your sunscreen when you go outside.
But yeah, it's it's, it's so I'm staying hydrated.
I think I cannot under under.
Like they're realizing how important it is to stay hydrated.
So people who, I think one of the things that I think is really interesting about sleep apnea is this disruption to your hormones like growlin and leptin, like if people have undiagnosed, untreated sleep apnea like that can get disrupted, right?
Did you want to speak a little bit to that?
Because I think one of the big things that people with sleep apnea is finding a treatment that works and getting your sleep disorder treated and and then it's it becomes more straightforward to kind of do the other changes just because you're not exhausted all the time.
That kind of goes back to what I was saying earlier about whatever underlying issues you have, getting those addressed and and and tweaked and fine-tuned is definitely going to be.
The way to go, like, just think about it, if you're about to take a long car trip and your car needs new tires and you know your transmission is sputtering, and then you want to go get that stuff taken care of first before you go on the trip.
So else you're going to be on the side of the road probably before you get to the first exit.
So you want to do those things.
But yes, you know, cities have shown six to seven hours of sleep.
Is is that is that that?
Kind of that golden nugget that you want to hit.
And what happens with sleep apnea is that you you're sleeping, but it is not quality sleep at all.
You're waking up.
There are many arousals throughout the night because you stop breathing and your body is constantly kind of just rereading, trying to, you know, get oxygen in.
So those disruptions definitely can affect your, you know, your circadian rhythm, which is your.
Day, night cycle, your melatonin production, the hormones that we've mentioned because you know your body is is a very fine-tuned machine and when something is not working like it should, things are going to get thrown off out of balance basically.
So yeah, I mean, I think.
Addressing the underlying sleep apnea will then help to correct some of those hormonal imbalances, which will give people more energy, which will allow them to be more aware of their body cues as well, and then be able to do the things they need to do to be successful in their way.
I think sometimes people have it backwards, right?
They'll kind of say I don't want to go to the doctor.
I'm pretty sure I have sleep apnea.
I'm just going to lose weight and that's going to help my sleep apnea when to me.
The first step would be go to your doctor, get a diagnosis, find out how severe your sleep apnea is and get an appropriate treatment option.
And then once you're doing that.
You're going to just hopefully feel better, and when you're feeling better, doing exercise and addressing nutrition and all of that becomes a lot more doable.
I think if you're trying to do this from extremely sleepy during the day and just exhausted from the fragmented sleep, like it's it's just almost impossible.
You know, people are fighting an uphill battle.
I agree, I agree, and it's important to to get a diagnosis #1 to make sure it is.
Just sleep apnea.
And I and I say that with air pools just because the majority of sleep apnea we see is obstructive sleep apnea, which is obstruction, meaning that upper airway the the back of the throat is, is blocked and it's either blocked by a thick tongue or excess fat tissue in the upper airway.
And so when you're asleep and those muscles relax even more, the airway becomes destructive and you can't breathe and you snore and that whole cycle starts.
But there is a small percentage of patients who have central sleep apnea where the brain.
Doesn't think of fire.
The connection between the brain and the muscles of the diaphragm, the breathing muscles don't fire and so that is treated differently from from sleep apnea.
And then a small percentage of people have both.
So getting a sleep study.
Getting a full evaluation.
Getting a sleep study.
And also the thing about sleep apnea because you know people do, people can die from sleep apnea.
It can cause heart arrhythmias you know, irregular heart rhythms it can cause.
High blood pressure it can cause.
Heart attacks, It will be related to heart attacks.
So it's not just, oh, I need to lose weight, yes.
But again, go get checked out.
Make sure there's other things that don't need to be tweaked and and and ruled in or ruled out your thyroid hormone.
You know, are you diabetic?
You know all these things.
So I agree with you.
I think I first stop should be at a doctor's office and someone you can partner with.
You know someone who you can have a good rapport, good relationship with.
That's so that's so important that that is important, important to have that that good relationship.
I just found a wonderful primary care physician.
And not to say anything bad about doctors that I'd had before, but when I went to her, I was like, oh, my word, she's amazing.
And so I think sometimes like you.
And she's very much like my partner in the whole thing.
And I'm really like motivated and want to be as healthy as I can be.
And I feel like together we're just like figuring out solutions.
And you know, whereas I think my daughters before were just, you know, they don't have a lot of time, which a lot of these things are kind of structural, right?
So they're kind of like they have 6 minutes.
So they're kind of like, hey, how's it going?
You know, like, I just think it's difficult to to really get excited.
But I love her.
I thought it's really cool.
Oh, all I was going to say was it's worth just saying that although weight can be a huge factor for a lot of people with sleep apnea, there are plenty of people who have a structural issue going on that isn't related to weight.
So I think that sometimes people get this message like just lose weight and it will take care of your sleep apnea.
But I really want to encourage people to go to their doctor because I feel as though, you know, people are who, it's not necessarily that they need to lose weight, it's that they have some sort of structure like they need their tonsils removed or something's going on.
So tell people where they can find you, like what kind of things you have going on that people can join in on.
Again, thank you so much.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this, but I'm on all social media as physician in the kitchen.
So that's Insta, that's TikTok and Twitter everywhere you can find there.
My products and services you can also find listed on my Instagram bio.
But I have a a best selling cookbook doc, Fix My Plate, The Physician in the Kitchen, Prescriptions for Your Healthy Meal makeover.
It hits over 50 vegan recipes.
Tips and tricks on how to set up and and maintain a vegan or plant based kitchen and little snippets from my own personal journey toward a more plant based diet so I highly recommend it.
Ioffer cooking classes one-on-one or group and I am working on releasing my vegan whistle for salt, so that is on my website as well.
So Oh my God, that's how exciting.
Yeah, that's cool.
I'm glad I asked.
So they can find the product next.
I was just gonna say they can find my products and physician in the kitchen net so and I'm gonna link to all of these things in the show notes below this episode.
Can check them out there and so where are you physically located?
So if people want to work one-on-one with you, where can they find you?
Well, do I can work with anyone, anywhere.
Cuz I'm Yeah, we don't think about that.
Yeah we do.
We do everything virtually.
So yeah you you can go to cookingwithdoctormonique.com that's the link for the cooking classes.
The link for the book is Doc Fix My Plate book.com.
But yeah, I my cooking classes does that can be one-on-one.
We do the weekly.
You have a subscription, you can have access to them at any time the the recorded ones and then.
Yeah, we just get in there and I I, you know, send you the menu beforehand or the recipes beforehand so you can prep and then we get in there and we cook and then you have delicious plant based meal afterwards.
I want that.
OK Well, thank you so much, Dr. May.
This has been awesome.