with Dr. David Hilden


Eating through the ages. Let’s talk about food!

In Episode 20 of the Healthy Matters Podcast, we talk about something that’s of interest to everyone on the planet: food.  We take look at the relationship between food and health in ways that maybe you haven’t thought about before. Dr. Kate Shafto, an internal medicine physician, joins me for this delicious discussion.

“Food has become really complicated in our world,” she explains. “Today, we have a global economy – a global food system. There are a lot of layers to that food system that we aren’t seeing day-to-day, and it’s made food become more complicated – and that’s impacting our health.”

The “layers” Dr. Shafto is referring to is how a hundred years ago, the points of access to our food weren’t as complex as they are now, and we had products that were sold or accessed very close to where they were made or produced. Our food wasn’t part of an industrialized food system. For example (and pardon the pun) these uncomplicated “layers” may have been a couple of hens you had in your backyard who produced eggs. Your milk, cheese and meat came from the farmer down the road, and you probably had your own vegetable and herb garden. In addition, someone in your family likely hunted for meat. Fresh, unprocessed food was available and uncomplicated – without the involvement of preservatives, pesticides, or transcontinental road trips.

Why does this matter for our health?  Dr. Shafto explains.

“Now, when food is harvested in Argentina and flown, shipped, and transported all the way to Minnesota, it has been picked at a point in its life when it wasn’t ready to be picked, or it was picked when it was ready to be picked but by the time it gets here, it is not in good shape and then it is wasted. And so that contributes to food waste because of all the transportation and production issues all over the world.”

Dr. Shafto also adds that it’s estimated that a third of the food produced in the world is wasted, which contributes to all kinds of disruptions to the environment that also impacts our health.

Our gut has an environment of its own that requires an amazing collection of microbes that play a major role in our overall health. This of course led us to the natural conversation of poop, bacteria, and the diversity of what we eat to keep everything in balance.

“In addition, if the good bacteria and microbes are exposed to pesticides and other toxins or plastic residue that end up in our food, then it kills off these good bacteria and the pathogenic or harmful bacteria can start to take over,” she said.

Are you having a gut feeling that there might be a strong connection between your food and mental health? If so, you should pour yourself a refreshing glass of clean water, relax, and take a listen to Episode 20 of The Healthy Matters Podcast. You’ll hear how you can develop a satisfying, healthy new relationship with your food that will have benefits to last a lifetime.


Gender-affirming care and why it matters

In Episode 19 of the Healthy Matters Podcast, we talk about transgender health issues with my colleague at Hennepin Healthcare, Dr. Haylee Veazey – who in my opinion is a leading physician, not only in clinical care, but in education about transgender health and gender health in general.

During her second year of training, while the rest of us are usually trying to figure out how to write an order for Tylenol, Dr. Veazey was developing a whole new clinic model for those seeking care for gender and sexual health. Overachiever?

“We started our first day of clinic in 2016 and started with one single patient showing up,” she said. “And since then, throughout the rest of my time as a resident, and now as a faculty for the last few years, we’ve got a full panel of patients and we’re booking months out.”

Dr. Veazey sees patients with a variety of care needs in the Adult Gender & Sexual Health Clinic.

“We have patients that come to us for just regular primary care – for blood pressure management or to have their blood sugar and lipids checked every year, but we specialize in gender-affirming care. So we do gender-affirming, hormone replacement therapy to help people align their physical body with their gender identity. We do referrals for gender-affirming therapy for mental health and surgeries. We help people with pre-exposure prophylaxis to try to prevent HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing and treatment. We also help with some limited family planning as well. It’s a great place where people who are members of the LGBTQ community can come and get their normal primary care but also take care of gender and sexual health.”

Throughout this podcast, Dr. Veazey used some terms that I’ve become familiar with, but only because I hang around with people who use them a lot. I asked her to explain, “what is ‘gender’ and how is it different than the sex you were assigned at birth – and are they different?”

“They’re very different,” Dr. Veazey explained. “It’s kind of like talking about a house. A house has plumbing and electricity and they’re separate systems, but they’re still part of the same house. And when we talk about sex assigned at birth, that’s the physical structures that we can observe with our eyes that tell us that a person has more masculine or feminine physical structures to their body. And there’s a huge range of that. That’s one part of someone’s identity and personhood. That’s an example of extreme diversity in the human species – and it’s like everything in nature. It’s not binary. There’s not just black and white, X and Y. It’s a huge range from the most maleness that a body can have to the most femaleness that a body can have. And it’s completely separate from someone’s gender identity.”

We sort out many questions you may have about what it means to be transgender, providing gender-affirming healthcare, and addressing health disparities related to people whose inner concept of themselves does not align with the gender assigned to them at birth in Episode 19 of the Healthy Matters Podcast.


Sit Up Straight – We’re Talking to a Chiropractor

We’ve all experienced back pain, and I’ll venture to guess that a few of us have even had a headache or two. These are some of the reasons patients seek help from my guest on Episode 18 of the Healthy Matters Podcast, chiropractor, and colleague Dr. Richard Printon. He explains what patients can expect at a visit to his clinic:

“We start by taking a history. How did you hurt yourself? Did you sleep wrong? Did you bend and lift something? Did you fall? Was there some sort of trauma involved? At Hennepin Healthcare, we’ve got the access to all the different types of treatments that the patient has already had. For example, if Dr. Hilden refers a patient, I can see his assessment, find out what happened, and what’s already been done to help me determine a plan of care.”

That’s right – Dr. Printon’s practice is embedded in the same place where I work at Hennepin Healthcare, and he sees patients on the 3rd floor of our Clinic & Specialty Center – alongside colleagues in physical therapy, occupational therapy, massage therapy and more who work with neurosurgeons and all the other specialties related to physical medicine. Talk about convenient care! It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Dr. Printon and I discussed the many things that can affect neck and spine health and I mentioned how my wife is concerned that humans are going to suffer permanent damage from always being hunched over cell phones. I learned this is already a condition called “tech-neck.” He also mentioned how neglecting neck and spine care isn’t new.

“Posture is the biggest underlying cause of back pain,” he said as I sat slouched in my chair. “And one of the best ways to prevent back pain is movement, exercise and correct posture.”

Dr. Printon answered a question from Kim in St. Paul (as I dutifully readjusted my posture). Kim said she was playing tennis and in a twisting motion, seemed to have pulled something in the inside muscles of her back. She asked if she should use ice or heat to help relieve the pain.

“Start with ice,” he advised. “Usually, those types of conditions will resolve within a couple of weeks, but if it persists more than two weeks, a chiropractic evaluation would be recommended. In that situation, especially tennis, it’s a twisting type of motion of the back so you could have strained or rotated a joint in the back.”

Dave from Eagan asked about a shoulder injury, which led to a conversation about this amazing joint and its miraculous range of motion. From being able to comb one’s hair to throwing a baseball at 90 mph. Seriously! We also talked about the warning signs that accompany back pain to be aware of that would indicate the need to go seek care immediately.

So sit up straight – and enjoy Episode 18 of The Healthy Matters Podcast where we break down the benefits of chiropractic care.