Dr. Chris Chlebowski is the founder of Ashland Natural Medicine in Ashland, Oregon. He’s a homeopath, naturopath, and chiropractor and he’s working on a book called The Virus And The Host: How To Get And Stay Healthy In The Age of Novel Infectious Disease. Dr. Chris has the perspective that a good doctor should have a big heart, an open mind, a ton of curiosity and an endless supply of creativity, which sounds an awful lot like the criteria needed for being a better person, and I’m excited to talk to him today about how taking better care of your own health makes you a better person, and the world a better place.
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Dr. Chris Chlebowski, thanks for being here!
I think a lot of people think being a good person means being selfless and giving to others first, and that can lead to getting rundown and neglecting our own health. How do you see health as part of being a better person?
You know, it’s one of my core tenants of my belief system that we all came here to Earth to do our own individual work. And inside of that work is really the mission to make the world a better place. Right? So, you know, and what does that mean? It means to sort of spread the love that is that unifying force in the universe that animates all of us. So I feel that it’s my job as a natural medicine doctor to get people as healthy as possible. So they can do their work. Whether that is as a teacher, a banker, a lawyer, hosting podcasts, whatever it is. If you’re not feeling good, you can’t go out into the world and do the things you need to do.
And I literally think about every day when I sit across from patients is how can I help elevate them so they can shine, you know. Because you know, if you don’t feel well, Kate, how good are you at your job? I mean, can you help people write books or run this show effectively if you’re feeling run down and not good? So, you know, keeping yourself healthy and functioning at a high capacity allows us to do our work here.
I love that. And I love hearing about how you’d like to empower people to do the work that they were put here to do. And speaking of that, I’m curious about the work that you feel you were put here to do. did you end up becoming a natural medicine doctor? Was there something in your own story that got you to want to work with patients in the way that you do?
Well, when I was in an earlier phase and going through a different career, I was thinking about shifting. And I spent some time with my uncle, who’s a medical doctor. And he’s a really good medical doctor. I mean, he cares deeply about his patients. He spends more time with them than the average one does. And yet still I watched as these people came through and it was just a drug, after a drug, after a drug. And I knew without knowing how that there had to be a better way to do it.
So I searched and I found natural medicine and I realized inside of that, that that’s really what natural medicine offers is customized care. And I really believe that’s where we’ve gone off the rails in medicine. Is that a one size does not fit all. I mean, we’ve seen that in the pandemic. We’ve seen how people have suffered because we’re just putting people into boxes when really, I mean, every single person is different. We’re all unique beings. And the medicine that works for me, won’t work for you. You know, the plant or the remedy that will help cure you can actually harm me.
So I really think our only way through this, out of this healthcare disaster and through the pandemic is through individualization. And that’s really what I talk about in my book, The Virus And The Host. Is how we’ve gotten toxic and that’s led to all these deaths. And if we take care of ourselves individually and we really make it a concerted effort to get healthy, we can avoid things like this from happening to us. And that’s what I want to do for the future. You know, cause I’m concerned about what else is coming down the pike.
So let’s bring this back to our listeners. How does taking better care of your health help make the world a better place?
That’s a good question. I really think that this world we exist in this sort of 3d matrix is really an energetic construct. I love that expression. You know, that we’re energetic beings having a physical experience. And I really believe that if we want to raise the collective consciousness of the world, that there’s really only one place to start.That’s with ourselves. That we can’t expect the ship from the sky or some mythological superhero to come save us. But instead we have to do the work ourselves every single day. Both physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And that’s the only way out of this cycle. So that in and of itself, Kate makes the world a better place as we all do the work.
Hm. Oh man. I love I could talk about this energy stuff and how we’re connected all day long. I wonder though, if you have a practical takeaway for us that we can put into action, no matter where we are in our health experience.
Well, let me answer a question with a question is how do you eat an elephant
One bite at a time?
So I say this every day to people, you know, give yourself some grace because healing takes time. Most chronic health problems take several years to resolve. And they do so by taking one little step at a time. The miracle cures are very uncommon. It is much more likely that someone comes into a practice like mine and they spend several years flipping over rocks and investigating and making changes with small behaviors.
And so I often ask people to just do little things, you know. Do the three push-ups today that you didn’t do yesterday. Skip sugar for the day. Take a weekend off of alcohol. You know, look at judgment in your life, do these little things. And if you do them enough, they become habits. And that is really the way to elevate your health and therefore your consciousness and therefore help the planet be a better place.
If there were one thing you wish everyone knew about health, what would it be? (I know it’s hard to choose!)
You know, the thing that I think I see the most commonly in people working with folks for so long is that most people don’t realize that everyone is suffering to some degree. That everybody is dealing with some health or emotional or spiritual issue that they’re working through. And I think it brings people comfort to know that they’re not alone. You know, they think, gosh, I’m the only one who gets kidney stones or I’m the only one that has plantar fasciitis or I’m the only one that’s having a spiritual crisis know everybody’s going through stuff. And so I think once again, to have grace with yourself to recognize that we’re all going through this together and we can lift each other up by trying to help one another.
I love that. And that also reminds me that you said something earlier about one of the practical things you could do is maybe look at where you’re having judgment in your life. And, I just, I wanted to come back to that because that’s not something that I would expect a medical doctor to talk about. Right. Can you talk about how I think it ties into this idea that we all feel sort of isolated and special in our own health experience? I don’t know. How does the way we think about how we’re connected to others or not reflect itself in our health?
Once again the idea that we’re energetic beings and our thoughts help shape and mold our reality. That our physical ailments can be born out of repetitive patterns of thoughts and habits in our mind. And they reinforce this reality. So if we’re having judgment all the time about ourselves or someone else that can set up in our physical form and that can turn into digestive issues, for example. Or if we’re constantly critiquing or getting angry, those things set up in our bodies.
And so if we can look at that stuff every day, we can help remove the reinforcing idea that will then allow us to heal. And I can tell you Kate, with working with thousands and thousands and thousands of people, the people that get well are willing to look at the emotional component of their health. The people that are blind to it or unwilling to they often stay sick.
And for folks who want to connect with you, or are interested in getting your book when it comes out, where can they find you?
Daily Tiny Assignment
I love how Dr. Chris talked about the power little things have to improve health–things we might dismiss as not being important enough to actually do. So, right now, just do a little gut check. What’s one aspect of your health that you at least kind of know could use some shoring up. Is it exercise? Hydration? Diet? Sleep? And then think of one tiny thing you can do today, right now, as soon as this episode ends. Is it 5 jumping jacks? Filling up a pitcher of water and putting it on your desk so that you’ll be more likely to drink it? Eating a vegetable or a piece of fruit? Tidying up your bedroom so that it’s more conducive to sleep? Got it? OK, good. Go do it.