HOS 26 | Becoming Vegan

 

If you are thinking about changing your diet and healing yourself, going vegan can probably be for you. Host Dr. Elizabeth Hoefer interviews Monarch Chiropractic’s Dr. Monica Egan about her love for being a vegan and how she has transformed her personal health, along with her family’s, through the change in her diet. Being in practice for almost nine years in Novato, California, where she practices the Blair upper cervical chiropractic technique, Dr. Egan has more than enough experience to guide you on your journey to wellness. Take a deep dive into veganism and start within yourself in order to influence others.

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Becoming Vegan with Dr. Monica Egan

Exploring The World Of Eating Vegan And The Benefits That Come From It

My guest is Dr. Monica Egan. She and I met at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa when we went to school together. That is the birthplace of chiropractic, if you didn’t know. Dr. Egan has been in practice in Novato, California, where she practices the Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique, as well as NET. She’s also super passionate about educating her patients on wellness and nutrition. We’re going to talk about her love of being a vegan and how she’s transformed her personal health and the health of her family through the change in her diet. Welcome, Dr. Egan.

Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

I’m so happy to be here too. What’s fun is we’re on a little family vacation together and we got to visit the sequoias, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to do an interview together since we’re hardly ever together in person.

It’s such a journey to get down here and to have a family break, especially us taking away from the practice. It’s definitely worth it to come to spend our time with your family.

The kids had been swimming in the pool and I got to check a big thing off my bucket list, which was to see the General Sherman tree. It’s the oldest and tallest and biggest tree in the world. Walking in that forest with those trees and the serenity of it all, it was what my soul needed.

Being in nature is a huge element for me and just being in my element there grounding. It allows us to step back and be humble with who we are as humans and with something so gigantic, the gigantic sequoias.

If you haven’t been to the Sequoia National Forest, it’s something I would highly recommend doing because there’s so much peace in that place. We learn about earthquakes, we learn about fires, we learn about floods. We think these are catastrophes. What I read and what I learned from the sequoias is that the fire is very cleansing and that the sequoias are designed to be essentially heat resistant and they grow and flourish because of fire. We were talking like applying that physiology from a forest perspective to the human body. Our fevers essentially represent fire in our body and it was what kills the things that would make us sick, like bacteria and virus.

A forest fire, while it’s very devastating and there have been so many out of control fires in our state in the last couple of years. From a nature perspective, they’re designed to be cleansing and regenerative and to help things like these giant sequoias grow. It was an interesting thing to learn about. Standing at the base of a 300 tall tree, you feel pretty insignificant. That is a remarkable way to spend a day. Enough about the sequoias, go check it out. I might probably do an episode on the importance of health in going to the forest. I would like to talk about your practice, Monarch Chiropractic. You’ve been in Novato for a few years and I always find it interesting how people choose the name of their practice. Tell me a little bit about Monarch Chiropractic.

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I wish it was something that I always dreamed of but honestly, like chiropractic was a calling to me, I sat and I downloaded pages of practice names. I read through about maybe at least 1,000 chiropractic practice names and not a single one even sparked any joy or connection for me. I prayed about it and I tried to quiet myself and quiet the mind and live within my own space of asking for answers. I set it out and I asked for prayer and I feel like one day, Monarch came and here we are in California. Monarch has more of the migration and they’re beautiful and the transformation that they go through.

I created Monarch Chiropractic, Transform Your Health. I thought, “I love the idea that I want to transform people from the lack of knowledge of health over to being empowered by their health.” That whole transformation can be painful and it’s a journey that you have to go through in order to be free and to be the beautiful, healthy butterfly. That transition from caterpillar to butterfly is why I picked Monarch and when I that came together, everything continued to snowball into place honestly. It picked up from there and that’s where Monarch came from.

That’s a beautiful story and a beautiful metaphor to life because I know how important it is to meet people where they are. That’s my passion and my niche is meeting people where they are, no matter where they are on their journey. Meeting them at that moment and ushering them with love and with kindness and helping them understand that there is something better. It’s not like where they’re at is bad or there’s any judgment, it’s that there’s always more. What I wanted to talk to you about is your passion for essentially becoming vegan. You’ve introduced me to that and I feel like I’ve eaten more vegetables than I have in a while. I feel so much better. Tell me how that journey began for you and why you are so passionate about it. Your passion is contagious and I want to go home and just cook broccoli.

Honestly, I’ve been in the journey of health before when I was young and I have to contribute it to my family. My family is amazing but in any family, they have issues whether they want to recognize them or not. In my family, my grandma had a pretty intense health journey. For her, she was seen as had a lot of mental health. That to me was something that as a young child, I saw my grandma battle with manic depressive, bipolar disorders and she also had other metabolic issues with diabetes and other aspects. Same with my grandpa, he struggled with mental health and also diabetes. In the journey that we hear with the medical model is that it’s genetic, it’s your family. My mom has diabetes and my dad has high cholesterol and I thought, “No, thank you.” Honestly, it was people telling me, “That’s in your family.” I also thought, “That’s not going to be my journey. I’m going to choose a different path.”

I thought that from a very young age and I never was somebody that I wanted to cover up anything. I wanted to heal and I truly wanted to be healthy. Like I see in nature, I think that is something that encompasses me is that nature didn’t get it wrong and God didn’t get it wrong making nature. There is a reason for everything. I wanted to live that and I always wanted to ask why and be that little tiny kid and continue that curiosity. That continues to lead me down a healthier road. Where that led me is now in my present day, I was healthy for a long time. Meaning I was doing what I was told was right. The Paleo, eat fewer carbs, don’t eat sugar, don’t eat too much fat. Don’t eat this, don’t eat that. Here I was healthy. At the age of 35, I’m finding myself fighting. I do have stress in my life. I love my kids, but they do demand a lot from me and it takes a lot. I had to figure out how I balance my stresses in my life. I have to work harder in the health category because if I have stress in my life, I need to counterbalance out with even healthier decisions.

Moving, sleeping right, eating right, but some things are out of my control. I have a three-year-old. She doesn’t sleep the best. My sleep is a bit compromised. I’d get myself adjusted. Having that nervous system alignment was so important, but then I also need to continue to look at all facets of life that help to be healthy. My sleeping may be off because of my children. I need to step it up where something else will pick up. My nutrition is not something we can always be working on. Every day we have multiple choices to put something in our mouth or not. A lot of us become captive to emotional and behavioral habits that literally food is so addicting to us. We just accept it and I hear it all the time and I hear it from my own self honestly is, “I don’t like that. That’s too hard.”

We shut ourselves down immediately to write it off. Health to me is so important. I was starting to get those metabolic breakdowns and noticing it was hard to get up. How do I help people be healthy when I can’t even wake up and I have no energy? Even a pot of coffee wasn’t helping me. I was like, “This isn’t working.” It got to a point where I had to turn it around and look at the places that could help to improve my health. I started to look at the food. I was like, “I’m eating right. I’m doing mostly Paleo.” For most people it’s like, “I’m already pretty healthy.”

Can you describe what Paleo means? Maybe somebody reading doesn’t know the difference between Keto and Paleo and vegan and vegetarian. Describe Paleo.

HOS 26 | Becoming VeganPaleo is you’re getting your protein. You’re doing animals, no grains, no lentils, no carbs and you’re eating low-glycemic fruit like berries and lots of vegetables. You’re still eating meat or proteins or eggs and you might see things like bacon and burgers, but with no buns and a salad, lettuce and some avocado and berries.

You were eating Paleo, but you still weren’t feeling great.

I was having digestive issues. I was always feeling sluggish. I knew I needed to make some changes to my diet probably and I didn’t know where. I had an iridology reading, which someone was looking into my eyes and seeing my lymphatic system. Instead of focusing on blood work, it was looking at the lymphatics and the difference between the blood. The blood is the life and it runs through everything else. It runs to all your cells and all your organs. Your lymph also runs through all your cells and organs. That’s like waste. If your waste isn’t leaving your body, there’s something going on. I noticed my kidneys, my adrenals and my liver were backed up. Same with my digestive system, my intestines. Through these eyes and it doesn’t diagnose, but it does show you weakness. When I think back, my entire life has been backed up.

The iridologist pointed out that you weren’t detoxing very well. Your lymphatic system wasn’t cleansing you because essentially that’s what it does. You did some research and what did you find?

I started to look at where the cleanest people are and where the people are getting the healthiest. What I mean by the healthiest is not just they feel well. They are finding that they’re clearing out things that are impossible like MS and Lyme disease. Typical arthritis and irritable bowel, all these things that are coming up that are so heavy, even aches and pains in your joints. What that all boils down to is your lymphatic system not draining. In life, there’s the balance of alkalinity and acidity in most of the things that we eat. Naturally, our body is alkaline and we naturally need to be more in an alkaline state. What happens that most of the food we eat metabolizes into more of an acidic. Acids are very corrosive, burning, hot and destructive. We need things that are cooler for our body. Most of our diet tends to be very acid-forming.

We put so much acid into our body. I started to follow people that were very alkaline-driven and things like cancers and diabetes and all of these can’t survive in an alkaline body. It’s a healthy place. The environment has so much to do with whether we’re healthy or sick. I realized here I am teaching health and my health is declining. I thought, “There’s more to this.” That’s where I started to cut out meat and focus on meat. I needed enough to believe because we are so ingrained that meat, we need it to be strong, to grow our muscles, all these many things. We needed our iron, we need our B12. I believe that strong and I couldn’t let go of the meat. Someone gave me another conversation and I’m open to it. I’ll never shut that door because only God truly knows what’s built for us and how we’re supposed to be. The greater wisdom of the universe.

I use God interchangeably with the universe as well, so that’s greater knowledge. Someone gave me another argument of, “Your body is 98 degrees. If I was to put a piece of meat outside in 98 degrees and I left it there for two days, would you go back and eat it?” I thought, “Absolutely not. That’s disgusting.” He’s like, “Eating it, you are placing your meat in your system that’s 98 degrees at that high level. It takes about anywhere from a day to three days to fully pass all the way through your system.” I thought, “That’s disgusting.” There is a huge bacterial influx that has to happen to digest. Literally, once it passed out your stomach, your meat starts to need fermentation in order to fully digest and the track of our gut is so long. If we were to take a picture of a tiger or someone that is a true carnivore, their intestinal track is a lot shorter, so it doesn’t have as long to pass through. I thought, “That’s amazing.” The other thing that also helped, so that wasn’t gross enough to get me, and then I watched a documentary that set the fire. It wasn’t just the knowledge that my brain loves to be fed, but it was the experience that when I decided to stop eating meat. Even sitting here now, I feel like I drank a pot of coffee.

Instead of spending so much time on digesting, my body’s working on healing and repairing and I feel so much better. It’s easier to wake up in the morning and my day looks like something that might freak people out. I wake up, I drink celery juice in the morning or I do a juice in the morning. I started to use intermittent fasting, giving my digestion a break. I started doing celery juice. I eat probably a basket of fruit, so being like berries in the morning or I eat a big container of cherries until I felt satisfied. I’ll do a salad without dairy or heavy salts. Sometimes I’ll do mangoes at night and do that for dinner until I’m completely satisfied. I’m eating those tons of amino acids, which are the building blocks for proteins. Instead of eating protein, I’m eating the building blocks of proteins, therefore, my body can take what it needs and then rebuilding. I’ll take sprouts and I eat a lot of variety and there are hundreds of thousands of fruits and amazing vegetables that our body can utilize. We are so depleted in what will nourish us the most. Our stores are very minimal.

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When we were planning our trip and I was so excited because we’ve hung out and our families have hung out before. You even came down for Thanksgiving and we had a feast, included a turkey on the trigger and everything. I was like, “How are we going to eat vegetables all weekend?” I have to confess, I brought chicken and burger for my family because there’s no way. I am not on the vegan train as of yet, but I can be convinced because I also am open. I understand good arguments and there’s nothing wrong with trying something. What I can tell you is these days of hardly having any meat, because even though I brought it, I barely ate it because we didn’t have a lot.

I’m eating more fruits and vegetables over the weekend. Even my kids are trying the spring rolls and dipping them in the hot sauce. It was cool because if I put all the vegetables out on the plate and my kids are like, “What’s for dinner?” It’s a lifestyle change, but it’s important to understand that we were given these fruits and these vegetables to nourish our body from our creator. That hasn’t changed. Something that your husband said was funny. Maybe it was you. “If the largest land animals like elephants, giraffes and cows feed on grass, how come we can’t?” If we’re eating that meat and they’re eating grass, they’re building protein. I’m like, “That’s a good point.” I know that there are all kinds of arguments and I’m not saying one size fits all.

I’m not saying that everybody should immediately become vegan. What I’m saying is this is an interesting conversation. What if you did this for a month or two to give your digestion a break? If you decided to eat meat again, you go back and you make sure that your stuff is clean and organic and grass-fed and all that fun stuff. It’s a cool conversation and I notice that your kids are craving vegetables all the time, which is something that’s fascinating. Most kids in this country want sugar, my kids included. I know that we have the power to heal ourselves with the things that we put in our body. You are what you eat.

I think that’s a good point, is that we can mistake cravings for bad things and sometimes a craving is something where we wake up and we still need it. You go to bed, “I’m hungry,” and you wake up and you’re not hungry anymore. That was more or fewer toxins, probably craving or habits, whereas if you wake up and you still want something like sugar, it’s not for our system. Fruit has fructose in it that is alkalizing that also switches over into glucose that feeds our brain and we’re not feeding our brain enough. That’s where also I could have been depleting my poor brain with doing more of that Paleo and the carbs suppression and, “Be careful, those bananas are too high.” I realize these are amazing fruits that are delicious for our body and it serves us because it’s energy that we’re striving for. We’re going to pay millions of dollars for coffee.

Every other bottle of supplement. Supplements are healthy. God knows I recommend different things in the office when I’m talking to patients. Our nutritionist, Jared, he does this cool scan and it lays it out like what’s good, what’s not good, what you need more of, what you don’t need more of. Everything in moderation and it’s not one size fits all, but why not at least give it a shot.

Even a helping of vegetables, even the fruit. Many people are so scared to eat fruit now and we see it and it’s starting to be like, “Careful of that fruit. You’re going to get diabetes.” I’m walking proof of this whole thing. My insulin and my A1C is definitely improving with more fruit. It’s calming down. We have one stomach, we are not cows. I know that we are thriving since childhood to be like cows and drinking milk every day. We’re not going to be cows and we are constantly making this array and eating so much, but we have one stomach and then breaks it down and then we digest. We need to simplify, honestly.

This time has been about that. It’s been about unplugging. It’s been about getting out in nature. I do my best to stay off my phone, but it’s so hard because we’re all so addicted to the screen. I’m constantly checking updates for my practice and making sure I’m responding to text messages and making sure I’m getting those emails checked. I wish that there would be a day and time where I could feel good about not even checking it. I’m getting there. That will be a whole other interview with myself.

I think you’re doing great. Little by little, it’s not the whole feet, it’s just inch by inch.

HOS 26 | Becoming VeganIt’s been fun learning how to enjoy cooking. Another thing that I was reveling in is the community aspect of food prep. Because with our busy lives, especially us two who work full-time and have practices, unfortunately the practice probably gets the best of us. We have to wake up and give all of ourselves to the patients that we serve, which is the thing that we’re passionate about. We come home and the people who want us the most, our husbands and our children, essentially get leftovers. If we don’t feed ourselves right, we’re not going to have the energy to be able to come home and cook dinner. It’s not like it’s all on us either. Our husbands are super supportive and definitely can step up in the meal prep. What was fun was that we all pitched in, even the kids. I’ve got some cute pictures of the girls juicing and helping cut up the celery and the apples and the carrots to make the fresh juice and learning how to do this together.

I told Monica, “Teamwork makes the dream work,” because we were able to cook dinner, clean it up, put all the dishes away and it was effortless. It was fun because we were having a conversation. I feel like that community aspect of living and doing life together is sorely missed. There’s a reason why people lived in these tight little tribes back in the day. Now I feel like we’re so isolated, even though we’re essentially so well-connected through social media and through being able to connect with just about anybody in the world instantly. The true unification of community and being in the present moment and enjoying time is a lost art. It was fun being able to cook meals together and sit outside, enjoy the sunshine, walk in the forest and learn more about being a vegan. It was fun. Hopefully, all the readers have been enlightened a little bit about why looking into this vegan diet is something that maybe they want to explore. How can people get ahold of you? I know that I refer people to you in the Bay Area. You’re in Novato, which is in Marin County. What’s your website?

I am MonarchChiropractic.co.

Are there any other parting words you would like to say to anybody?

Always keep an open mind and as much as you can, keep a mindful eye on your body. It is talking to you every day and we’ve just got to learn the language of the body. Thank you so much for reading and being here and continue to stay open-minded.

That was a fun interview. We are very comfortable and the best part is the kids are completely well taken care of. They’re all having a fun time in the pool with the husbands and we’re just chilling. I love it. Thank you for reading. I look forward to catching you in the next episode.

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About Dr. Monica Egan

HOS 26 | Becoming VeganDr. Monica Egan grew up in Marin County. She enrolled at the prestigious Palmer College of Chiropractic where she received her doctorate of chiropractic and learned about the power of Upper Cervical chiropractic.

She has attended many continuing education classes to improve and advance her upper cervical, NET, Functional Nutrition, and chiropractic skills. Along with Upper Cervical Care, she utilizes the Palmer package as well.

She is known for her specific and gentle touch. She is very knowledgeable in holistic and natural lifestyle choices. She teaches and practices a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

 

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