Listen to Learn:
Dr. Amy Beard runs a completely online Functional Medicine practice, Amy Beard MD.com. She is one of only four MD Dietician Certified Functional Medicine Practitioners in the country. Dr. Beard states: Much of my education and training focused on using pharmaceuticals and procedures to treat symptoms. While treating symptoms is necessary and much appreciated by patients, what’s more important is treating the underlying root causes that are contributing to those symptoms. Functional Medicine doctors with Dr. Beard's qualifications are normally in only the largest cities and can be very expensive. Her online model was created to make Functional Medicine accessible to the whole country, as well as some patients outside of the US. She uses video conferencing which allows her to consult with patients anywhere in the world. This allows her to achieve an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients to address the underlying causes of disease and address the specific manifestations of disease related to a patient’s genetic, biochemical and lifestyle factors.
Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com
[00:00:08] GM: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling and conversational interviews, this weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners an insider’s view into starting and running a business, the ups and downs of risk-taking and the commonalities of successful people. Connect with Kerry through her candid, often funny and informative weekly blog. There, you’ll read, learn and may comment about her life as a 21st century wife, mother, daughter and entrepreneur. And now it’s time to get all up in your business with Kerry McCoy.
[00:00:41] KM: Thank you, son, Gray. This show began as a calling. After four decades of running a small business called Flagandbanner.com, also known as Arkansas Flag & Banner, I felt I had something to share. I wanted to create a platform for not just me, but other business owners and success people to pay forward their experiential knowledge in a conversational way. Originally, my team and I thought it would be this easy, informative, one hour a week interview, and boy were we wrong. As with every new endeavor, it’s harder than first thought. Once again, I find myself at the onset of starting and running yet another new business, this podcast, and doing exactly what this show is about, taking risks, embracing change and working hard.
After interviewing over 150 successful people, I’ve noticed some reoccurring traits among many of my guests; belief in a higher power, the heart of a teacher and creativity, because business is creative. Whether you know it or not, people. To build a business is creative.
Before we start, I want to let you know if you miss any part of today’s show, or want to hear it again, or even share it, there’s a way, and son, Gray, will tell you how.
[00:01:56] GM: Listen to all UIYB past and present interviews by going to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy’s YouTube channel. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette’s digital newspaper, flagandbanner.com’s website, or subscribe to our podcast wherever you like to listen by searching Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. If you would like to receive timely email notifications of each week’s upcoming guests, go to flagandbanner.com, click Radio Show and join the email list.
Back to you, Kerry.
[00:02:23] KM: Thank you, Gray. My guest today, Dr. Amy Beard, is not your atypical MD. Sure, she’s trained in western medicine at the University of Arkansas College of Medicine and went to work in the ER after her residency training, but she’s a lot more than that. At too young of an age, she became a patient herself, struck with a chronic illness that sent her into a life of despair and hopelessness until happenstance meeting with a woman changed her life, her health and her career forever.
Today, she has added to her list of credentials by becoming a board certified dietician and functional medicine practitioner. Functional medicine is a term we’re all going to be hearing more about as chronic illnesses and pharmaceutical costs rise and patients look for alternative treatments. We are lucky to have had Dr. Amy Beard reach out to Up in Your Business. She is passionate about spreading her learned medical and firsthand experience with fellow chronic illness sufferers.
In addition, she is an innovative entrepreneur, Dr. Beard runs her functional medical practice entirely online. Making her knowledge and scientific diagnostic techniques accessible to everyone no matter where they live. This, people, is the future of medicine.
It is a pleasure to welcome to the table the problem solver, the survivor, compassionate healer, entrepreneur and healthy lifestyle proponent, Dr. Amy Beard, and we’re lucky to have had her husband join her today, Paul. Say your last name.
[00:04:02] PB: Buch.
[00:04:03] KM: Buch. He’s not Mr. Beard. He’s Paul Buch.
[00:04:07] PB: She wouldn’t take my name.
[00:04:08] KM: He is an organic farmer. So he is a special guest that just happened in today and we’re lucky to have him here too. So we’ll speak with him a little bit. But first, we’re going to talk with Amy. It’s a fascinating story and a fascinating read for everybody to go read, amybeardmd.com. When I read it, you said your classmates called you Nana at the medical school you went to. Why is that?
[00:04:37] AB: I was one of the oldest ones in the class.
[00:04:40] KM: You weren’t even old.
[00:04:40] AB: I was 32. I was in a class. There was one girl in the class, she wasn’t even old enough to drink yet.
[00:04:48] KM: In medical school?
[00:04:49] AB: Yeah, I was going to take everybody out for drinks after our first test and she wasn’t even legal.
[00:04:56] KM: Wow! Medical school.
[00:04:57] AB: I think she graduated high school or something early.
[00:05:01] KM: And is brilliant.
[00:05:01] AB: Yeah, she was a smart one.
[00:05:04] KM: Tell us about how you decided to become a doctor. Is your family – Is it a legacy family thing?
[00:05:10] AB: No, not at all.
[00:05:11] KM: What do your parents do?
[00:05:12] AB: They’re salt of the earth people. My dad worked at a power plant in Philips County. My mom was a stay-at-home mom and neither one of them have gone to college.
[00:05:24] KM: So you decided to go to college. What did you graduate under?
[00:05:27] AB: I was a dietician first. I was a registered dietician before I decided to go down the path to go to medical school and become a physician.
[00:05:37] KM: Did you already gotten sick?
[00:05:38] AB: I had gone through a lot. I mean, hindsight is always 20-20. So now looking back on my life as a child, I can see all the chronic issues that I was dealing with were just leading up to more and more problems that had the same root cause. They were just presenting as different things my entire life. I was always very active, very interested in healthy lifestyles and becoming a dietician was part of that.
Then I realized that I only knew kind of one part of what made us really healthy. So I thought going to medical school would help me, of course, learn more about how the body works and how we can keep healthy and prevent all the chronic issues that was plaguing our country at the time and still becoming worse.
[00:06:24] KM: It seems like as a dietician and your interest in being healthy that you wouldn’t have had any health problems, because as we were saying before we came on the radio, food is medicine.
[00:06:38] AB: Well, at the time you realize that as a dietician –
[00:06:41] KM: You’re just counting calories.
[00:06:43] AB: Well, a lot was bad information. We were pushing diet colas on diabetics telling them to eat margarine instead of butter. It’s just a lot of bad dietary advice. The food pyramid was real big and I’m like, “This doesn’t make much sense.”
[00:07:05] KM: This is what you said at amybeardmd.com, “Inflammatory diets, devoid of nutrients, too little or too much physical activity, chronic stress, lack of sleep, high toxin burdens are major contributors to chronic disease. Unfortunately, these things were barely covered and outright neglected during my medical school education and residency training.” You went on to say, “Much of my education and training focused on using pharmaceuticals and procedures to treat symptoms, while treating symptoms and necessary and much appreciated by patients. What’s more important is treating the underlying root causes that are contributing to those.
[00:07:56] AB: Yes, that’s what we do as functional medicine physicians.
[00:08:00] KM: You also said the conventional medicine approach does a very poor job of uncovering and addressing root causes of disease . As many of you know and have experienced, a typical visit is around 10 to 15 minutes and usually ends with a doctor handing the patient a prescription to treat a symptom, and then new symptoms typically develop as a side effect from the pharmaceutical prescription.
[00:08:24] AB: I see it over and over again in my own life and those in patients that will come to see me.
[00:08:32] KM: On your website you said, “I wanted no part of the pill for your ill approach to conventional medicine.” I love that. Did you make that up?
[00:08:44] PB: I think that was probably you.
[00:08:46] KM: Did you write all of these that I just read before you went to medical school or after you went to medical school and worked in the ER and then began to formulate all of these ideas?
[00:08:57] AB: Oh, that was afterwards. It was a culmination of all my experiences and of course the chance meeting with a functional medicine physician that got me on this path, and it saved my life and it’s helping me help other people overcome their chronic issues.
[00:09:14] KM: So you become a dietician. Diet is not fixing it. You go and become a doctor. You’re going to get science to back you up. Go to work in the ER after your residency training. You’re working in there and then –
[00:09:27] AB: My health is deteriorating the entire time, and I’m a physician and a dietician.
[00:09:35] KM: And you can’t fix yourself.
[00:09:36] AB: And I can’t fix myself.
[00:09:38] KM: That’s right. I’m speaking today with Dr. Amy Beard and her adorable husband, Paul, who is an organic farmer. Amy is board certified online MD, functional medicine practitioner, dietician and a chronic illness survivor. Let’s just call her a patient at one time, and I think you’re cured, aren’t you?
[00:09:59] AB: It’s a battle still because of some of the things that have happened to me.
[00:10:01] KM: Okay. We’re going to get to that. Why did you quit the ER?
[00:10:05] AB: The stress.
[00:10:06] KM: You thought it was what was making you sick.
[00:10:08] AB: I mean, it’s erratic sleep schedules, shift work. You work nights, you work days, high-stress demands and I wanted to – I kept seeing people come in for chronic illnesses on 15 and 20 different pharmaceuticals, and you see them all the time and you’re like, “I’ve got to go help some people.” I was helping people in the ER, but I thought there’s – I wanted to empower people to take better care [inaudible 00:10:38].
[00:10:39] KM: So let’s talk about your illness and why the hopelessness. You’re diagnosed with possible MS and you were treated for many chronic problems horrible, and you put horrible in all caps and in parenthesis on your website and you say, “I mean, HORRIBLE,” constipation. IBS, reflux, depression, neuropathy, spastic bladder, restless leg syndrome, vertigo and rashes. Paul, were you married to her?
[00:11:05] PB: Not at that time. No.
[00:11:06] KM: I wouldn’t have been either. Yeah, that’s a lot right there. So let’s talk about your illness and how did it first began.
[00:11:19] AB: Looking back, I was a child who was hyperactive. Literally I was told that I could climb walls. I had repeated strep infections, lots of allergies, and then that progressed to as a teenager issues with depression, anxiety, acne, but a lot of people get that, but mine was really bad. Then it was restless leg syndrome, dizziness, orthostatic hypotension. I was passing out. It just kept getting worse and worse no matter what I did. I’d been to all kinds of specialists.
[00:11:53] KM: Even as a young child.
[00:11:54] AB: Even as a young child.
[00:11:55] KM: Did you mother believe it could be diet related?
[00:11:58] AB: No.
[00:11:59] KM: Nobody ever connected those dots.
[00:12:01] AB: No. No one ever mentioned that ever. Not that I have asked mom about it, but no, that was never mentioned.
[00:12:10] KM: You had surgery? How old were you when you had your first surgery?
[00:12:16] AB: My first surgery was the abdominal, the colectomy, the partial colectomy. I was third – Gosh!
[00:12:24] KM: Were you in medical school?
[00:12:26] AB: I was in my residency, my first year residency, and they did not like the fact that I had to have that done, because I got knocked out of a resident. But it had to be done and it reached the point where I was just extremely sick.
[00:12:42] KM: Do you think being a patient has made you a better doctor?
[00:12:44] AB: Absolutely. Yes, I can relate. I felt like an experiment for most of my life.
[00:12:51] KM: Paul is nodding. So you’ve quit the ER. You’re at home sick. I’m just trying to paint me this picture. You’re at home, sick.
[00:13:01] AB: Well, and you have to go back. I was in residency when I had my – They took all but 18 inches of my colon, because it just basically did not work anymore. I had seen all kinds of gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons and what have you, and that cured the chronic constipation, but then it was replaced with chronic diarrhea. Then my health really started to deteriorate. The symptoms that I had prior to the surgery remained, got worse, and then others started to develop. So it got rid of the constipation, the one symptom, but everything else remained the same.
[00:13:37] KM: Because you haven’t found the root cause of it. You’re just treating the symptoms.
[00:13:41] AB: Yes.
[00:13:43] KM: So you’ve quit the ER and how did you meet the woman that would change your life?
[00:13:49] AB: I’ve been to a concierge practice in the Greenbrier Conway area, and it was just this weird chance meeting.
[00:13:58] PB: I found her and I started telling Amy about this person. I said, “She does – ” Because since she was a dietician, I was hearing a lot –
[00:14:05] AB: I was already on this path.
[00:14:06] PB: But she does didn’t know what it was yet.
[00:14:07] AB: I didn’t know what it was called.
[00:14:08] PB: I said, “You may want to talk to her, because it sounds like what you want to do, but there’s training for it.” Then Amy met her.
[00:14:16] AB: She started speaking to me about things I’d never heard in medical school, at residency. I was like, “What are you talking about? What is this gut microbiome you speak of and alpha-lipoic acid and all these things?” She told me about her training in the Institute for Functional Medicine and she said, “You got to go try it, check them out.”
So I did. I signed up for a conference, attended it. Did not know what to expect, but was astonished at the amount of information that was presented to me that I’d never really heard. I was surrounded by other physicians. So that made me feel comfortable that this wasn’t just a group of quacks and that they had science-based, evidence-based research backing up what they said, and I was sold. I signed up for all their conferences.
[00:15:04] KM: Was it online or did you have to go somewhere.
[00:15:06] AB: Initially, you had to attend physically the locations, but then they started opening them up – They would stream the modules so that you could attend from your home.
[00:15:17] KM: What is functional medicine?
[00:15:19] AB: Functional medicine is not a specialty. That’s what everybody wants to think. It’s just a different approach to uncovering and treating chronic disease. They’re looking for root causes and not just treating symptoms.
[00:15:39] KM: You said on your website, “The root cause of my problems was a very unhappy microbiome, major –”
[00:15:48] AB: Dysbiosis.
[00:15:49] KM: Thank you. She wrote it, she should know, major dysbiosis and leaky gut, which is a term you’re hearing all the time these days. You said, “I discovered that I had intolerances to wheat, whey and eggs, and those diet Cokes,” that you just described you were telling people to go from a regular Coke to a diet Coke weren’t helping either. That as a dietician, you’ve been told that was a solution. I made sure I got rid of toxic exposures. I discovered I had elevated mercury levels, and a regular sleep schedule helped too.”
[00:16:27] AB: Yes, tremendously.
[00:16:29] KM: What did your doctors think when you came in and told them that –
[00:16:33] AB: I didn’t tell them anything. Are you kidding?
[00:16:35] KM: Well, okay. So something had to happen to make you a believer. Was there a turning point?
[00:16:40] AB: I treated myself. I started applying the functional medicine principles that I was learning on myself, and it was working.
[00:16:49] KM: What were those?
[00:16:50] AB: First of all, I did an elimination reintroduction diet and found out –
[00:16:53] KM: What does that mean?
[00:16:55] AB: It’s something that we do in almost all of our patients if they’ve never done one, because it’s first and – You have to do that. You have to find out if you have any foot intolerances. You remove the most common ones, and then –
[00:17:11] KM: The ones I just listed, wheat, whey, eggs, dairy.
[00:17:14] AB: Dairy, corn, soy.
[00:17:15] KM: Corn?
[00:17:16] AB: Yes.
[00:17:16] KM: My favorite thing.
[00:17:17] AB: A lot of people who cannot tolerate corn.
[00:17:21] PB: This gets real complicated real quick.
[00:17:21] AB: It does. It is sometimes not just the corn. It’s the GMO corn. There’s all kinds of things to consider here.
[00:17:29] PB: Sweet field corn is still good for you.
[00:17:31] KM: Sweet what?
[00:17:31] PB: Sweet corn. On the ear that you’re eating, that’s not the issue.
[00:17:34] KM: Oh, that’s the same. That’s okay, because that’s my favorite.
[00:17:36] AB: Yeah, we all love that stuff.
[00:17:37] PB: It’s the GMO processed corn that’s almost in everything. It’s a thickener.
[00:17:42] KM: Like the corn syrup?
[00:17:43] AB: Oh, yeah. The high-fructose corn syrup and things like that.
[00:17:46] KM: That stuff. Yeah, everybody knows. Don’t eat corn syrup. This is corn syrup. Please don’t eat corn, sir.
[00:17:50] AB: Yeah. So I did that.
[00:17:52] KM: You did an elimination diet. How long did you have to do that?
[00:17:58] AB: It’s about a 60-day process. We do ours kind of differently, because we rehab people’s GI tracts the same time when we start the reintroduction phase to see if you react to certain foods, because it takes about – It can take up to three days to know whether or not you have a problem with a particular food.
[00:18:16] KM: It takes me two days to give a reaction to wheat.
[00:18:18] AB: Yeah.
[00:18:19] KM: It’s always a two-day. I marked it a million times.
[00:18:21] AB: Mine immediately causes restless leg syndrome and some GI pain and headaches, and joint pain.
[00:18:29] KM: Aha! If I’m going to call you up and say, “Okay, help me, Dr. Beard.” First thing you’re going to do is you’re going to Facetime with them and you’re going to talk to them an elimination diet.
[00:18:42] AB: The process is quite intensive and it’s a good way to rule out or to weed out patients who are not going to be very good candidates for us, because –
[00:18:53] KM: You got to be committed.
[00:18:53] AB: You have to be committed, and you have to be committed to making lifestyle changes, because those are going to come. So if you’re not at that point, you’re probably not a good fit for us.
[00:19:02] KM: You’ve got to be miserable to be willing to do that.
[00:19:04] AB: Well, come to us before then, because it’s much easier to help you.
[00:19:10] KM: Are you cured?
[00:19:12] AB: For the most part, yes, unless I fall off the wagon. I’m human too.
[00:19:17] KM: Sometime you fall off the wagon accidentally. You eat something that you don’t realize.
[00:19:22] AB: Yes, I have done that where, “Oh, yes. This is wheat free, and it’s not.”
[00:19:26] KM: I took the communion wafer for a year and couldn’t figure out why every Tuesday I was inflamed, and finally my husband said, “I bet that wafer is wheat.” I said, “Oh! It’s so awful. It’s got to be just a piece of rice paper.”
[00:19:42] AB: It was enough to –
[00:19:43] KM: It was wheat. Every 48 hours, like clockwork. Yes, you can take it accidentally.
[00:19:51] AB: Absolutely, you can.
[00:19:52] KM: You can eat cheese dip that has wheat in it and you don’t think is going to have wheat in it.
[00:19:55] AB: There’s wheat in cosmetics, lotions.
[00:19:59] KM: Cosmetics?
[00:19:59] AB: Yes!
[00:20:00] KM: All right.
[00:20:03] AB: This stuff is everywhere.
[00:20:04] KM: Yeah. You could get way down this rabbit hole real fast. So how long do you think it takes to start finding out though before we go to the break? How do long do you think it takes to start finding out what you’re allergic to? Two weeks?
[00:20:17] AB: Yes. I think people notice real quick within about two weeks. Sometimes shorter.
[00:20:22] KM: When we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Dr. Amy Beard, board certified MD, functional medicine practitioner, dietician and chronic illness survivor. We will find out – She’s cured. She told us. We will find out how she makes diagnosis, recommendations and monitors your wellness all in the comfort of your own home and get some easily attainable lifestyle tips. Maybe not so easily attainable, but let’s do it in bite sizes.
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[00:21:31] KM: You’re listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy, and I’m speaking today with Dr. Amy Beard, board certified online MD, functional medicine practitioner, and dietician, and survivor, and her adorable farmer husband who’s is a – What is that kind of farming you do?
[00:21:46] PB: Organic.
[00:21:47] KM: Organic. There you go.
[00:21:51] KM: He’s cute. He can talk. So he’s an organic farmer, which is just so cool and so hard. Don’t anybody fool you. I can’t believe you can grow anything organically. Don’t the bugs down here in Arkansas just eat it up?
[00:22:03] PB: It’s tough.
[00:22:03] KM: I mean, how do you not put pesticides when you live in Arkansas? Everything grows in Arkansas.
[00:22:10] PB: It’s tough.
[00:22:11] KM: Even bugs.
[00:22:11] PB: When I first met Amy, I rented out my greenhouses to some people from California, and it was hilarious, because they’re used to growing at a desert without the bugs.
[00:22:21] KM: I know. That’s why we grow stuff in deserts.
[00:22:23] PB: They went back in California.
[00:22:25] KM: That’s right. That’s exactly right. You’ll love this. My son’s an horticulture major and he did his master’s degree at New Mexico in the desert. I said, “Honey, why in the world would you grow stuff in the desert?” He said, “Because you got sun year round and there’s no bugs and you can bring water in.” I never thought of it. He’s getting his PhD in horticulture in Ohio State. You guys will have to talk when he comes home.
[00:22:52] PB: Absolutely.
[00:22:53] KM: Okay. Before the break, everybody, if you’re just tuning in, we talked about Amy’s life. Her first degree was as a dietician and then she was sick though. So she would try to modify her diet to make herself well, and it never worked. So she thought, “Well, I’ll go to medical school.” So she goes to medical school. She works in the ER when she comes out and she ends up losing most of her colon, because they still can’t get her well. Then her guy she’s dating, who’s with us today on the show, who’s now her husband, introducer her to a functional medicine doctor that changes her life and starts her down on a healthy path, and she’s well, and she’s innovative and an entrepreneur, because she runs a medical practice online, which is going to be the deal before long. I’ve been hearing about this for years.
Amy, you run a medical practice online. How did that come about?
[00:23:55] AB: We tried to do this in a brick and mortar area. Of course, with what we do, we don’t take insurance. We tried it and it about near bankrupted us and it was such a headache. We’re like, “I’m not doing that again. That’s awful.”
[00:24:12] KM: Really?
[00:24:12] AB: Yes.
[00:24:13] KM: Why?
[00:24:14] AB: Because you get paid per patient, and we spent a lot of time with our patients, because you have to know your patient to help them and you cannot get to know a patient in 10 minutes.
[00:24:24] KM: You said that on your online, Amy Beard MD, online that you can’t solve a patient in 10 or 15 minutes.
[00:24:33] AB: No. We’re seeing our patients for an hour at a time multiple times.
[00:24:36] KM: But the insurance company will only pay you for a 15-minute doctor’s visit.
[00:24:41] AB: Well, the reimbursement, that’s why doctors see so many patients per hour. It’s based on volume.
[00:24:47] PB: You need a fulltime admin person just to handle those claims, because they deny them and they kick them back. It’s a racket.
[00:24:53] AB: Yes.
[00:24:56] KM: I think so. Yeah, it’s broken. Absolutely.
[00:24:58] AB: It’s definitely broken. So Arkansas is not the hottest market for functional medicine. So we decided to take it online to reach more people. We utilize a lot of health coaches, and that I think is super important.
[00:25:14] KM: What is a health coach?
[00:25:16] AB: These are the people that make sure you carry out my plans accordingly to the tee and that you don’t – They’re also supporting you. They’re motivating you. They’re making sure you stay on track, providing accountability. Making sure you understand everything, and they’re really a crucial part of your success.
[00:25:37] KM: Do they live by the person?
[00:25:38] AB: They are also online as well. We do Zoom meetings.
[00:25:43] KM: So you diagnose people.
[00:25:45] AB: I don’t diagnose. They already come to me with their diagnosis. I’m just looking for the root causes. So many of them, and a lot of people don’t want to hear it, but it’s lifestyle-driven. But at the same time, a lot of people are happy to hear that as well, that they don’t need a pharmaceutical. We just need to tweak some things in their diet, their sleep habits, their stress, some toxin exposure issues and then all of a sudden they start feeling better and they start coming off their medications.
[00:26:14] KM: So you find these life coaches online with you and you do conference calls together, and then they are the ones that check up on them.
[00:26:21] AB: Yes. My patients spend the majority of the time with a health coach. So they’re really the main point of contact. I’m there looking over the initial things, getting them set on the right path.
[00:26:32] KM: Do you have them send their urine samples and feces and –
[00:26:36] AB: Yes, we do stool studies.
[00:26:37] KM: Stool studies.
[00:26:38] AB: We do testing that does require urine and things.
[00:26:40] KM: So the life coach can’t do that?
[00:26:43] AB: I have to sign off on those things and look over the results and stuff like that and then base my – If there’s any changes that need to be made with what we’re currently doing for them. I’ll sit there and talk with the health coach about what needs to be done and they will relay that information. But my patients can certainly choose to see me face-to-face as well.
[00:27:03] KM: Oh, they can.
[00:27:04] AB: Yes.
[00:27:04] PB: Online. We use Zoom, which is a HIPA-compliant meeting room. It’s still visual. It’s not a phone call.
[00:27:14] KM: HIPA-compliant means?
[00:27:15] PB: That we’re government compliant and we’re doing –
[00:27:18] AB: We’re protecting your health information.
[00:27:20] PB: Yes, it’s all about protecting that. Functional medicine, you’re a medical detective. So you ask when they see results. It’s depending on what Amy’s – She’s looking at their timeline.
[00:27:30] AB: Because every initial patient goes through what we call a health and medical investigation. We are all up in your business, seriously. We want to know everything. From the time that you were born up until now, what has gone on in your life? Because it often provides a lot of clues as to what is going on. What are the mediators of your issues? The triggers? The antecedents? Things that are contributing to your problems.
[00:27:56] KM: The what? The antecedents?
[00:27:57] AB: Things that have gone on prior to your current day situations. Were you a Cesarean baby? Did your mom have a vaginal delivery with you? Because that alters your GI microbiome.
[00:28:10] KM: How does it do that?
[00:28:11] AB: Because if you go through the vaginal canal, you were exposed to your mother’s vaginal flora. If you’re a C-section baby, you get skin flora inhabiting your mouth and your GI tract.
[00:28:24] KM: What is that [inaudible 00:28:23].
[00:28:24] AB: Yeah, that alters your GI microbiome, and your GI microbiome is a huge part of your immune system.
[00:28:32] PB: C-section babies, their immune systems may not be as strong sometimes.
[00:28:36] KM: Oh my gosh! It’s unbelievable.
[00:28:40] PB: Antecedent for Amy, a functional medicine doctor would have looked at that she grew up in the delta and exposed to arsenic and mercury from the herbicides and pesticides and the agricultural.
[00:28:50] KM: Is that how come you got it, because you ate a bunch of sushi?
[00:28:55] AB: Actually, I was consuming a lot of tuna fish, right? Because it’s healthy. I also had silver fillings in my mouth.
[00:29:03] KM: Get the white fillings, the porcelain. They’re prettier ayway.
[00:29:06] AB: Yeah.
[00:29:07] KM: I’m still stumped over the vaginal delivery and the C-section. I’m just in shock. Give me some more like that. I love that. Cool, right?
[00:29:16] AB: I mean, it’s that detective work. Yeah, I know.
[00:29:19] KM: Yes, it’s very, very cool.
[00:29:20] AB: We’re looking at stressful events that might have – Because often those are triggers, death, divorce.
[00:29:26] KM: Don’t young people who have – One in three girls is sexually molested.
[00:29:32] AB: Yes, we have a lot of that.
[00:29:33] KM: A lot of that.
[00:29:33] AB: We ask about traumas.
[00:29:35] KM: Traumas, and that does cause eating disorders.
[00:29:38] AB: Yes, I had one. Not that I was abused or anything like that, but that was a part of I think my altered microbiome, because I had been on tons of antibiotics for strep throat and other things, for acne. I was still eating whey and eggs and had no idea. That had something to do with me developing an eating disorder.
[00:29:57] KM: What else would there be? Your birth canal, your trauma, your –
[00:30:07] AB: Your toxin exposures. Like you said.
[00:30:06] KM: Your fillings. Toxin exposures. Those are everywhere. I mean, I hear it’s in your carpet. I hear it’s in your –
[00:30:12] AB: Yeah. Babies are now born with I think they said an average of 230 different types of chemicals in the umbilical cord.
[00:30:20] KM: What?
[00:30:21] PB: But our bodies are really good at detoxing. We’re resilient.
[00:30:22] AB: Yeah. Our bodies have detoxification systems. They’re just getting overwhelmed.
[00:30:28] KM: Do you drink that detox tea?
[00:30:30] AB: I do either way. I mean, there’s all sorts of different ways that you can help your body with this detoxification system. You get to put good things in and get good things out. But diet, stress, all of those things impact the way that you detox.
[00:30:42] KM: So I love the detox tea. I think it really helps.
[00:30:46] AB: Yeah, if it’s supporting your liver function and detox pathway. Well, that’s the first point of detoxification is the aligning of your GI tract.
[00:30:54] KM: Help better. So your web address, I keep saying this, is amybeardmd, but that’s not really how you get to give if they want you as a [inaudible 00:31:04] doctor. How would they contact you?
[00:31:06] PB: That is the first step.
[00:31:07] AB: That is the first step. I mean, you’re –
[00:31:08] PB: amybeardmd.com. Then you can click on become a patient, and that triggers us to send you the health investigation forms. It’s typically a couple hours to fill those out.
[00:31:19] AB: Because we are asking a lot of questions. Then you meet with our health coaches too. They’re even gathering more information. We really want to know everything about you, because it’s important. A lot of times, people don’t think it’s important, but we do.
[00:31:35] KM: I love getting to talk about myself. I may just go down there and spend four hours filling out the –
[00:31:42] AB: I will analyze the hack out of you.
[00:31:45] KM: So I’m just going to go fill that form out, and I will send it to you just because I want to just think about all of that real good. You are one of only four MD dieticians certified functional medicine practitioner in the country.
[00:32:00] AB: That was a couple years ago.
[00:32:02] PB: It may be five now.
[00:32:03] AB: Maybe. It may be five.
[00:32:04] KM: That’s a big deal, and we’re a small state with a small town. To have you here is kind of a big deal.
[00:32:12] AB: Well, maybe.
[00:32:14] PB: Were both Arkansans that’s why we want to stay here.
[00:32:18] KM: Medical colleges are talking more and more about this problem of solving rural America’s lack of access to medical care. Is that how you got the idea to do all of this online?
[00:32:29] AB: Well, we’re not handling acute issues. We’re handling chronic issues. So a lot of this can be handled via the computer with a Zoom meeting. We’re going to talk about a lot of lifestyle interventions, and you don’t really need to see me face to face for that.
[00:32:50] KM: You say online. You’re one-on-one allows you achieve individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients to address the underlying causes of disease related to the patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors. I think we should add to that trauma.
[00:33:13] AB: Yeah. It’s a big deal.
[00:33:16] KM: So I think you’ve already answered this question how it’s different from an office visit. It’s a lot of self-reflection and a lot of times spent. Do you sometimes just want to go, “Come on, guys, You know what this is.” Snap out of it.”? I mean, if I stop people over and over and over and over with the same –
[00:33:36] PB: It never is the same. Diet is underlying but it’s many things. I mean, she’s thinking that it’s all just diet cokes and quit this and you’ll get better. But it’s –
[00:33:46] AB: It’s much more complicated than that, and there’s lots of things to consider, because the same symptom can have different causes in different people. Or you could have somebody that’s exposed to the same thing, but it presents itself differently in different people. This person may develop depression because of a food intolerance. This person may develop chronic arthritis. So it’s just that we’re all very different, but it’s the same root cause.
[00:34:14] KM: So if you have an immune problem that comes from a C-section, how do you fix that? That’s not diet.
[00:34:20] AB: Well, I mean, that’s just usually – That’s one of many things. I like to tell people, look at your life as a cup. Over the course of your life, it’s steadily filling up with all types of what we call insults like you took antibiotics. You were a C-section baby. You were started on this medication. You went through a divorce.
You were exposed to this while you were overseas or something. Or you developed some type of – You went to Mexico and you got some type of really bad virus. Your cup fills and fills and fills. Then one day, it just overfills, and that’s when you really start seeing people who start developing all kinds of symptoms. Like their body was doing really, really well.
[00:35:07] PB: They thought.
[00:35:08] AB: They thought the body’s really good at adapting and trying to keep it all together. Then one day, the wheels just fall off and it’s usually a triggering – Usually, it’s a stressful event that does it but not always. Sometimes, it can be a medication. Sometimes, it can just be, “All right. I have dealt with this food intolerance long enough and boom! I’m going to start developing some autoimmune problems.”
[00:35:30] PB: Sometimes, it’s so hidden. One time, it was wheat in a retainer was the trigger. It could not be figured out.
[00:35:35] KM: What did you say? Wheat?
[00:35:36] PB: Wheat was in the –
[00:35:39] AB: This teenage boy’s retainer and he was a celiac patient. He couldn’t figure out why he was reacting, because he had completely eliminated wheat from his diet. It was in his retainer.
[00:35:52] PB: Another one was latex gloves. The lady was a nurse and developed an allergy to latex gloves through repeated use, which happens. She had a penchant for tomatoes when she was eating them year round. The GMO tomatoes have the lectin gene of latex inserted into them in order to make them more shelf-stable. You know those waxy tomatoes from Mexico? That’s latex.
[00:36:15] AB: That’s the latex gene that they’ve inserted.
[00:36:17] KM: Do you eat those?
[00:36:17] AB: No.
[00:36:17] PB: No. I won’t eat them.
[00:36:19] KM: Grow our own tomatoes.
[00:36:20] PB: When they talk about foods and are you allergic to them, a lot of it’s are they vine ripe and are they local? Are they GMO? This person could not figure out – We could not figure out what was going on, but she was eating tomatoes year round and that was the latex exposure. She had no idea the latex was in those tomatoes.
[00:36:40] AB: A lot of cross-reactivity to consider. Seasonal as well.
[00:36:45] PB: It really is a medical detective. It’s lifestyle. It is exasperating everything. You still got to correct it, and that’s where the health coaches come. Our health coaches are very different – A health coach is a broad term. It can be really good or really bad. Ours are excellent. Yeah, they’re fantastic.
[00:37:00] AB: They’re constantly being mentored by me and they’ve also had a lot of training and they’re very empathic and very gifted, I would say.
[00:37:09] KM: I think you need to go to your website and put medical detective on there. You use that word a lot, and I think it’s exactly what functional medicine –
[00:37:15] AB: Sometimes I just want to go to my patient’s homes and like take a look around and see what’s going on.
[00:37:19] KM: Clean up their cabinets.
[00:37:21] AB: Yeah.
[00:37:22] KM: All right. This is our last break. When we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Dr. Amy Beard, board certified MD, functional medicine practitioner, dietician, and her husband Paul, an organic famer right here in Arkansas. We’ll be right back.
[00:37:37] ANNOUNCER: Friends of Dreamland are proud to sponsor Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. Dreamland Ballroom, located on the 3rd floor of the blagandbanner.com building in the historic Taborian Hall is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing back the music, the history and the party of the Dreamland Ballroom.
Our annual fundraiser, Dancing into Dreamland, will be a tournament of past champions to celebrate the 10th year. Mark, Friday, November 15th at 7PM on your calendar. The night will include a dance competition, where audience members text their votes for their favorite acts, a silent auction, free horderves, cash bar and your opportunity to experience the magic and imagine the music of the legends that played on the Dreamland stage, like Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong and many more.
Tickets available at dreamlandballroom.org for the 10th Annual Dancing into Dreamland. Be a part of the history of Dreamland.
[00:38:31] KM: I’m always impressed with Tom when he says [inaudible 00:38:33]. You’re listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. I’m speaking today with Dr. Amy Beard, board certified online MD of functional medicine. I like to call her. We’ve decided to rename what she does as a medical detective. She’s also a dietician and she was once a patient who’s now well, and her husband, Paul, who’s an organic partner. Where are you, Paul? Where’s your farm? What country.
[00:39:02] PB: We’re in Sailing County.
[00:39:03] KM: Where is that?
[00:39:04] PB: Due west.
[00:39:05] KM: Okay.
[00:39:06] AB: Peron.
[00:39:07] KM: Peron.
[00:39:09] PB: The metropolis of Peron.
[00:39:09] KM: What do you grow down there?
[00:39:10] PB: Right now we’re just cattle farming. When we talk about what I used to do, I was farming fulltime when I met Amy.
[00:39:16] AB: In Eureka Springs.
[00:39:17] PB: Yup. I had a 500-acre farm up there with cow, calf, goat, and I had dream houses, but I wanted to help her fulfill her dream. I have a strong business background. I was an engineer and worked the corporate life for 20 years and then I saw what she wanted. I said, “I can help you with this.” I’m the business side to help her achieve – Being a doctor is already so complicated. As a team, we do the business.
[00:39:42] KM: What a good mate you’ve found.
[00:39:45] AB: Oh, I know. I hit the jackpot.
[00:39:46] KM: You’re perfect for each other. So you left Eureka Springs to come be with Amy. You must love her.
[00:39:52] PB: Oh, I do.
[00:39:53] KM: For everybody who doesn’t know, Eureka Springs is like a little paradise up there. Let’s talk about leaky gut. It’s a term we keep hearing about all time that leads to so many problems. What is it?
[00:40:08] AB: It’s another word for gut permeability. So the cells that line –
[00:40:16] KM: Whatever that means.
[00:40:17] AB: The cells that line your GI tract will start to kind of loosen and not be so tightly joined together and food proteins and toxins will start leaking across.
[00:40:29] KM: Say that again.
[00:40:30] AB: The lining of your GI tract, there are cells that line it and are joined together very tightly. Those juncture can start to come a little lose so that food proteins and toxins and other things can start leaking across your GI tract. Then they encounter all these immune cells that lie along your GI tract and it sets off systematic inflammation.
[00:40:55] KM: That’s how it gets up into the bloodstream.
[00:40:57] AB: Yeah, it goes all over your body.
[00:40:59] KM: That’s why you end up with inflammation.
[00:41:01] AB: Yes, and inflammation presents itself as many, many different things. It can be arthritis. It can be headaches. It can be depression and anxiety. It can eczema. It can be psoriasis. It can be autoimmune diseases, such as MS and lupus and Hashimoto’s. It’s Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It’s an autoimmune thyroid condition that a lot of people have.
[00:41:26] KM: Some people you had MS.
[00:41:28] AB: Yes, they did, because all my symptoms fit that.
[00:41:30] KM: But it was just inflammation.
[00:41:32] AB: It was a leaky gut with some major dysbiosis, an imbalance of my GI microbiome, all those bacteria that inhabit our GI tracts.
[00:41:41] KM: Do you eat meat?
[00:41:42] AB: Yes. It’s really well-sourced. I don’t eat a lot of it. We raise our own beef. Eat a lot of fish. Can’t eat eggs, unfortunately. Love them, but they do not love me. It’s one of my food intolerances, and he knows all about that one.
[00:42:01] PB: She was her own worst enemy, and this is a problem we have a lot with the patients, is compliance. She does not like to cook, and I think I’ve helped her a lot there, because I’m going to cook every night. I’m not going to eat processed food.
[00:42:13] AB: He does a fantastic job too. Cooks very healthy. Always has since the time I met him. We got along great with that.
[00:42:19] PB: Yes. It’s the way I learned from my mom and it’s the way I always ate. I just need not to get you in trouble. Vegan patients are some of the hardest patients to help.
[00:42:27] KM: Why?
[00:42:27] AB: For a lot of different reasons. Vegan patients often make bad food choices, because they’re just trying to stay away from animal.
[00:42:35] KM: Oh! So they just eat a bunch of cheese.
[00:42:37] AB: Yeah. You eat a bunch of processed stuff.
[00:42:40] KM: That’s very true.
[00:42:40] AB: That’s what I find a lot. They’re some of my sickest patients, but they’re probably doing it wrong. If you’re a vegan, you’ve got to really watch it and make sure that you’re doing it correctly to meet your nutrient demands.
[00:42:58] PB: I’ve cooked at a vegan restaurant and the people that I would cook – They eat volumes, because it take a lot to get the nutrients you need.
[00:43:07] KM: And they’re probably craving. They probably got some kind of body cravings, because they’re not getting the protein they need. So they continue to eat more and more because, like you said, it takes volumes to get the nutrients you need.
[00:43:17] AB: I do better with meat.
[00:43:21] KM: There’s a book called OMD diet by Suzy Amis where you just gave – Where all you do, she’s a vegan, but she’s just trying to get the world to do one meal a day with no meat. Just one meal a day.
[00:43:34] AB: That’s easy.
[00:43:34] PB: That’s easy.
[00:43:34] AB: We do that all the time.
[00:43:35] PB: We do a lot of meatless meals.
[00:43:36] AB: We do a lot of tofu.
[00:43:38] PB: We’re not anti. It’s just balanced with everything.
[00:43:41] KM: So for people out there that think they’ve got to have a meat for everyone, you don’t have to be meat with every meal or give it all the way up. There’s just a balance in there. I thought this was interesting when I was listening to her talk about her book. Since you’re an engineer and you’re a doctor, you may like this and you can fact check me on this. If you miss, if you eliminate one meat meal a day, you save 200,000 gallons of water and the carbon equivalent of driving from New York to L.A., because that one piece of meat to raise that animal or whatever the life was. So you’re a cattle farmer.
[00:44:23] PB: That’s such a narrow ignorant view. I’m sorry.
[00:44:27] KM: She’s a vegan.
[00:44:28] PB: Right.
[00:44:30] AB: Oh, Paul have a lot to say about this.
[00:44:33] KM: Paul, we don’t have that long.
[00:44:34] AB: I know.
[00:44:34] PB: I can make an alternate argument that running your animals properly will increase water savings, because 1% of organic matter in the soil can hold over 200,000 gallons of water per acre.
[00:44:51] KM: See? It’s the difference between industrial farming –
[00:44:56] AB: That’s it right there.
[00:44:58] PB: Industrial farming is horrible, and they want to fill the baby out the bath water. We’re saying, “No, there’s a balance between the two.”
[00:45:02] KM: That’s right. So limiting the amount we eat of meat could reduce the amount of industrial farming we do to meet the demand.
[00:45:10] PB: And buy from good farmers. We deal with Rabbit Ridge. They’re a wonderful organic farm in Arkansas and they are improving their land. They’re doing it right, and there are lots of – The Louis’ in Greenbrier do a great job.
[00:45:24] KM: Before we end, sleep patterns. You said that that was important. Do you need to stick to a specific sleep pattern?
[00:45:30] AB: Your body likes a schedule.
[00:45:31] KM: It wants a schedule.
[00:45:32] AB: Yeah, so try to do that. Sleep is everything. Without sleep your body isn’t going to work right.
[00:45:37] KM: So the bullet points we’ve talked about, sleep patterns, diet. We’ve spent a lot of time on diet, leaky gut. Exercise, you can exercise too much.
[00:45:44] AB: Yes, you can.
[00:45:45] KM: Meditation, we talked before we came on about meditation and prayer. Some people don’t like that word.
[00:45:52] AB: Downtime.
[00:45:52] KM: Some don’t like the word prayer. Some people like the word meditation. We talked about leaky guts and we talked about toxins. They could be in your fillings.
[00:46:00] AB: They’re everywhere.
[00:46:01] KM: They’re everywhere. Is there a way to find them, to look for them?
[00:46:05] AB: Yes. There are websites that you can go to that can help you use more natural products as far as cosmetics, cleaning agents and things like that. We just do that as a part of educating our patients on where they might be going wrong and how they can just eliminate as many –
[00:46:22] KM: Cleaning agents.
[00:46:23] AB: Yeah, getting rid of the chemicals in your home, and you’d be surprised.
[00:46:26] PM: A lot of it is job related.
[00:46:28] AB: Yeah.
[00:46:29] PB: Mechanics.
[00:46:29] AB: Mechanics, welders.
[00:46:30] PB: They suffer.
[00:46:31] KM: All right. We’re having to leave. He’s about – I know. I got the 30-second buzz. Boy! I have enjoyed talking to you. I could spend another 30 minutes talking to you. Thank you very much, Amy Beard and husband, Paul.
[00:46:40] AB: Thank you so much.
[00:46:41] KM: Thank you so much.
[00:46:42] PB: Thanks for having us.
[00:46:42] KM: Go to arkansasflagandbanner.com to get a link to Amy Beard’s website so you can learn more. Thanks for being with us.