The Missing Piece:The Integrative Approach

Autumn 2016, Living Well Magazine

DeeDee Maltman, an Integrative Doctor from the small yet cosmopolitan city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, recently attended our Eat Well : Live Well Retreat, having learned about our work through The Connection DVD (1).

DeeDee has been a family doctor for 31 years. She loves conventional medicine but always had a sense that something was missing from her medical tool kit, especially in regard to chronic illness.

The ‘integrative seed’ was planted at a young age, as her mother explored different ways for her father to manage his arthritis; but it was DeeDee’s own experiences in working in acute care, watching her patient’s age, being a mother to four children, as well as a growing cultural interest towards complementary and alternative therapies, that propelled her into investigating this area more thoroughly.

Through her research she came to understand that most chronic disease has an underlying inflammatory condition. Wanting to undertake detailed training in this area, DeeDee visited Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona in 2006 –“the Disneyland of health and fitness,” she says, where she met with integrative medicine specialists for the first time, and was inspired to learn more about this field of medicine.

In 2010 she started detailed integrative training through the Fellowship program (developed by Dr. Andrew Weil), at the University of Arizona, Centre for Integrative Medicine, and graduated in 2012. “It was the most interesting, fabulous training by master trainers, and it transformed my personal and professional life.”

Today she practices Integrative Medicine, consulting with her patients to develop an evidence-based integrative health plan to suit their individual needs. She is also the Medical Director of the Center of Integrative Medicine, at the University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, giving annual lectures, conducting research projects, and teaching within the college.

“When I teach young medical students, it’s experiential. I bring healthy food and green tea to lectures – once you’ve experienced something, you really understand it” says DeeDee. 

Recently DeeDee took her passion one step further. “I remembered Dr. Andrew Weil saying that he believes if people would get back into their own kitchens and cook their own fresh food, there would be 50% less illness but we have to meet people where they are, and people eat out.” Having grown up in the restaurant business, it seemed a convergence of her skills were at play. “I had been thinking about a gluten free restaurant for ages (my daughter and I have Celiac disease) and we even had a name – Leyda’s, my daughter’s middle name – so in June 2013 Leyda’s opened.

Leyda’s is a whole food, gluten free, nut free and experiential restaurant. “We have a fantastic executive chef who shares our vision of wholefoods. In the kitchen there is no deep fryer, no non-stick pans, we use organic produce, the right oils. We have an eclectic bunch of diners who show up and they are serious about eating delicious, healthy food.” At the restaurant DeeDee also runs education sessions and is currently running her 26th 30-day Anti-inflammatory Challenge which guides people on how to reduce inflammation through a program combining demonstrations, recipes, food tracking, mind/body/spirit practices and exercise. Her aim is to provide easy, accessible and inexpensive tools to help people live healthier and more balanced lives.

DeeDee believes that the most pivotal piece of information in health is the results coming from the Microbiome Project 2007 – 2012 (2).

“This is a whole new approach. Your gut microbiome is as individual as fingerprints – let me introduce you to 100 trillion new friends! We have lost diversity in our gut microbes through low fibre diets, antibiotics, birthing processes, stress etc. Our bodies are burdened and inflamed. We need to nurture the health of our microbiomes!”

“Fibre is key. I say to my patients 8-12 servings a day, and more vegetables than fruit. Every time you eat or drink you are shifting the potential microbiome, which in turn causes the expression or not of certain genes; lifestyle affects it!”

So it’s not surprising that when DeeDee heard about the Yarra Valley Living Centre through The Connection DVD, and about our approach to plant-based wholefoods and the lifestyle practices that we promote, that she was drawn to visit…

“I was fascinated with Ian Gawler’s story and the centre… when my son had the opportunity to study in Australia I said I’d love to come and see what they’re doing in health and healing.” Both she and her 24-year-old son attended the Eat Well: Live Well program.

“The setting is spectacular, the whole flow of it, the little library, the main building. It was lovely. I’d go for walks around the property and see all these kangaroos.”

“To experience the Eat Well: Live Well program was such a fond memory. The world is becoming smaller and smaller: I watched The Connection DVD and then I too was doing Qi Gong on that lawn, and I thought how fun is this, to experience it firsthand.

Attending retreat programs like that is part of a puzzle synthesis: we learn from teachers, classmates, reading and conferences. We can merge these experiences, pull all that information together and educate people by sharing that knowledge out into our communities.

That’s my key message with every talk or lecture: please share this knowledge.”

For more information on DeeDee’s restaurant, visit www.leydas.ca