Today, we are extremely excited to share our interview with Dr. Keith Kantor!
Dr. Keith Kantor is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and public policy consultant with an undying passion for helping people live healthier lives.
With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Science, a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and a doctorate in Business Entrepreneurship, and over 30 years of experience, Dr. Kantor is a veritable treasure-trove of practical knowledge about nutritional, lifestyle and preventative medicine!
Here, Dr. Kantor answers all our questions about his path into nutritional medicine, his current work in nutrition and addiction, his take on the current American healthcare system and the simple lifestyle changes that everyone can take to effectively improve their health!
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This is part of Nutrishatives’ Ask an Expert Series, where we chat with movers and shakers in health, wellness, nutrition, and medicine about their careers, their current work and their expert opinions on… well… their area of expertise!
CEO, entrepreneur, author, speaker, and public policy consultant — all in the name of promoting healthy living! You clearly have a passion for lifestyle and nutritional medicine! Could you tell us a little bit about how this passion developed? When and why did you become interested in health, nutrition, and naturopathic medicine? What has kept you motivated and interested in these fields over the course of your impressive 30-plus-year career?
I have always valued health especially when I was younger and active duty in the United States Marines. I have always worked out regularly and valued the health benefits of exercise.
Later on in my life, I owned an all-natural food company before mainstream grocery stores offered all-natural and organic food options like they do now. I wanted to provide a product that was healthy and chemically pure because we were/are being deceived by huge companies that pump food with chemicals to increase profits while increasing the risk for disease and chronic illness.
The deeper I delved into the food business, the more I wanted to make it more personal and educate the public about how to live a healthy lifestyle. That is why I went back to school to obtain my Ph.D. in Nutritional Science and Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine.
I want to help people, that has always been my motivation. We have several health epidemics including obesity, diabetes type 2, and addiction which can be managed and treated in conjunction with nutrition therapy, which increases their success rate.
Scanning your curriculum vitae, we were struck by how focused your work has been on helping people get their hands on healthy food and healthy meal plans. What inspired you to concentrate so much of your energy and attention on this particular aspect of healthy living?
I truly believe that food is medicine and if we do not consume healthy foods our health will fail, eventually. The processed foods that are so readily available are killing us.
I have made it my mission to educate and provide people with strategies that will help them live an energetic and joyful life free of debilitating diseases that are affected by obesity, stress and poor nutrition.
Your current project, the NAMED Program, doesn’t break your “help people access truly healthy meals” mold — but it does put a slightly different twist on it! Could you explain a little bit about what the NAMED Program is and how it works?
NAMED stands for “nutrition addiction mitigation eating and drinking”.
NAMED Program is the only nutrition program that specifically focuses on suppressing the opiate receptors, which, when stimulated, lead to addiction cravings of all forms. The program also aims to reduce inflammation, created by acidosis (low PH). Acidosis causes large insulin fluctuations, resulting in sugar cravings and stimulation of the opiate receptors. Specifically-designed menus and natural hydroxide alkaline water are used to drastically reduce these symptoms.
NAMED also provides programs that are geared towards specific mental illnesses and most diseases. The CDC says 85% of all diseases are nutrition related. NAMED Program’s goal is to mitigate all health problems with proper nutrition, hydration and lifestyle changes.
We are so fascinated by the role of nutrition in regulating mood, behavior, and addiction. Why do you think the food we eat has such profound effects on our brains?
Our bodies are incredible machines when fueled properly. The problem with today’s times is we have too many unhealthy options available. So, we become malnourished or deficient in certain vitamins and minerals.
Years ago it was obvious when someone was malnourished. Now we have become overweight and malnourished and so out of tune with how our bodies are supposed to feel that we tend to have negative outcomes: physically, neurologically and emotionally.
It’s only been recently that research has begun establishing the complex links between nutrition, gut health, and brain function. Nevertheless, it has already revolutionized the way we look view mental health disorders. Are there any other medical conditions that you suspect are far more dependent on nutrition than we currently think?
I believe that almost all medical conditions are extremely dependent on nutrition. Our bodies thrive on antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, which kill free radicals that can otherwise manifest into cancerous cells. We also need plenty of healthy omega 3 fats to reduce our risk of heart disease, hypertension, and inflammation-mediated disease. Quality protein also keeps our immune system strong, maintain lean body mass and controls hunger and cravings.
Since the evidence for the nutrition-gut-brain axis is so new, mainstream medicine doesn’t entirely recognize nutrition as important for mental health. In general, how have you found doctors’, hospitals’ and rehabilitation clinics’ response to your efforts at the NAMED Program? Has there been push-back? Was it more fervent than you expected? Less?
I have not received much push back from the medical community at this time. In fact, most of them are excited to implement this nutrition component into their treatment plans.
Nutrition is the missing link in most programs, even though it is really important for addiction. Food is addictive and very emotional but is necessary to for us to live.
I believe the research and scientific evidence. And I think when I show the medical community the evidence for increased success rates with proper nutrition, they are excited to add it to their programs.
Speaking of doctors and healthcare institutions, you wrote a great book — What Matters: Leadership Values That Just Might Save America — in which you explore a variety of problems with the American healthcare and health insurance systems and propose using nutrition and lifestyle medicine to solve them. We love the sound of that!
Could you explain, briefly (we know you could literally write a book about this!), how healthy living and healthy food could help establish a sustainable, functional healthcare system in the US?
It is easy to see that our country has a reactive approach to healthcare and the medical community does not support a proactive approach.
I mentioned in my book that if everyone in this country would take an omega 3 fish oil daily it would decrease our disease risk tremendously. Unfortunately, it is not covered by insurance or in many cases not recommended by mainstream health professionals, despite the scientific evidence that proves its health benefits.
Healthcare has more incentives to push profitable and expensive pharmaceutical drugs that will make them more money and, in most cases, only suppress symptoms rather than reverse the diseases. And this despite the fact that, in many cases, cures are possible with proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
The bottom line is the medical profession is not paid to prevent disease. They are only paid to try to cure or control it.
Is there a lifestyle habit that, if adopted nationwide, you believe would be particularly effective in getting America’s health and healthcare system moving in the right direction? If so, what do you think makes this habit so important?
Cut out processed sugar.
Sugar in all forms has created a health crisis for us. It has created our:
- obesity epidemic
- type 2 diabetes epidemic
- non-alcoholic fatty liver disease epidemic
- and (according to new studies) cancer epidemic, just to name a few!
A simple goal that would change America’s health is aiming for 10 grams or less of added sugar per day.
People would have more energy, move more easily, healthcare costs would drop tremendously and, of course, the number of people suffering from chronic disease would decrease dramatically.
If you could get everyone — American or not — to make a single healthy lifestyle change, just for their own personal health, what would it be?
Drink one half your body weight in ounces of water per day (preferably hydroxide alkaline water). This would have a drastic positive effect on health, helping with detoxification, over-eating, and dehydration.
What impact would you like to have on the world?
I would like to inspire people to be their best selves through living a balanced and healthy lifestyle that brings them peace of mind and joy throughout their day and overall life.
What is one question you’ve never been asked in an interview that you’ve always wanted to be able to answer?
Question: Do you really believe that “food is the best medicine”?
Answer: Yes, if everybody followed good nutrition, proper hydration, and a healthy lifestyle, we would not have a health crisis.
We couldn’t agree more! Lifestyle medicine for the win!
If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Kantor’s take on healthcare and healthy living and all the latest health science, check out his website or follow him on social media! (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram)
And if you’re a health professional interested in working with Dr. Kantor’s NAMED Program, be sure to head over to the program’s website!
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