The Importance of Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Health

November 21, 2022



Rebekah Kelley: Welcome to the Humanized podcast, all about personalizing your health. I’m your host, Rebekah Kelley, and today our topic will be The Importance of Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Health, with Dr. Susan DeLaney. Before I introduce Dr. DeLaney, I want to remind everyone to subscribe and get all our variety of casts in audio, video and transcription at I’d also like to thank our lead sponsor, Village Green Apothecary, at

A little bit about Dr. Susan DeLaney. She’s practiced naturopathic medicine in North Carolina for over three decades. Over the years, she has observed that the health of many people, including children, has greatly declined while the number of prescriptions has dramatically increased. By using a natural approach to healing, she’s able to help people become less dependent on prescription drugs and improve their health and vitality. In her practice, as well as in her lectures, Dr. DeLaney inspires people using up-to-date nutrition science to take personal responsibility for their own health journey. Dr. DeLaney is passionate about educating individuals and their healthcare providers about the benefits of advanced nutrition therapy for balancing biochemistry, as well as the nutritional value of eating real food and healthy fats. Dr. DeLaney’s latest project, Your Health is No Big Thing, It’s a Million Little Things, provides links to 13 educational videos to help people learn more about healthy fats and the importance of fat soluble vitamins, as well as simple changes individuals can make to improve their health.

Dr. DeLaney, thanks so much for being here with us.

Susan DeLaney: Thank you so much. It’s always a pleasure to talk with you guys.

Rebekah Kelley: So, personal responsibility and health is kind of exactly what Humanized Health is about, right? It’s about really customizing our health to fit what we need. And you’re the perfect person to ask this. How can we take personal responsibility for our health care?

Susan DeLaney: You’re so right. I think we’ve had this tradition in our culture that you get sick and you go to the doctor and you get a pill. And then some of my clients have 14 pills they’re taking – this for sleep, and that to help them wake up, and this for that. It’s a chronic problem that we’re dealing with. And so I think that we should switch the way we think about our health to the way we think about our car. That’s pretty simple. It’s time for your oil change. It’s time for your tires to be changed. And then we go in and prophylactically, or preventively, take a look at these things. Oh, my windshield wipers need changing – the guy at the shop will do that for you – instead of waiting till you’re in a rainstorm and you can’t see a thing.

And that’s where we are in healthcare, that we are not paying attention.

Rebekah Kelley: What percentage of chronic diseases are preventable?

Susan DeLaney: 80% of chronic diseases are preventable. That means eight zero. And that means illnesses like obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease – all of these are preventable. And in this country, we are just not paying attention to this. Our healthcare system takes us up to… using expensive tests, and treating, as we call it, all these diseases downstream. And we have some wonderful drugs and some wonderful tests that will help people, but not live the quality of life that they really, really should. In this country, our health is drastically declining.

Rebekah Kelley: So, since you brought up this country, where does the USA rank in health and healthcare expenditures next to other countries out there… considering we’re considered a very developed country, right? So we’re supposed to have this together.

Susan DeLaney: Yes. We rank 68th amongst all of the other countries in the world, despite spending in excess every year of 1.5 trillion dollars. Every year, a trillion dollars. Currently we are spending 19.7% of our gross national product on healthcare. And we’re not making any progress. So we looked at a study of 36 high-income countries. In the top 11 nations, we spent twice as much on healthcare. We had the lowest life expectancy, and the highest rate of chronic diseases, and twice the obesity rate. So we are spending all of our money downstream instead of upstream. And I say naturopathic doctors try and go a little higher and go to the headwaters of where these issues are beginning.

There are lots of reasons that these chronic illnesses are part of our life now. And the main one is our nutrition. We are consuming tons of processed foods and also sugar in this country – I think it’s about 150 pounds of sugar – but enormous amounts of processed foods, and that is what is really contributing to this obesity rate. Things can be done.

Rebekah Kelley: I really do find that, I think when people start talking about processed foods, right? Because you say the word “processed foods” and it’s like, well what is a processed food? And I know that seems very simplistic, but what is a processed food? I have to ask you that because I know what my conception is of it. So if that’s the thing that you think we need to make a change in, what does that actually look like?

Susan DeLaney: It looks like cereals, it looks like chips. It looks like a lot of crackers, white flour crackers, it looks like breads, white flour breads instead of whole grain breads. And let me tell you a quick story. So when we started refining flour back in the early 1900s, or maybe even 1800s, taking out the wheat germ and taking out the oils in the bread just using white flour, people warned against the nutritional deficiencies of this food, this white processed flour. It takes out the minerals, it takes out the vitamins and all the healthy things that are in that grain, if you eat the whole grain. But if you put a bag of white flour next to a bag of whole wheat flour in your pantry, it turns out that the cockroaches will not eat the white flour. They get in the bags of the whole wheat flour and will not eat the white flour, so you can keep it around for years and years and no roaches or bugs will get in it. However, if you have a whole wheat flour, you should either eat that up fairly quickly, keep it in the refrigerator, some people put it in their freezer, to keep the bugs from getting into it, the cockroaches, because they will eat it. The same is actually true of eating butter and margarine. A squirrel will take a stick of butter off your deck, the railing, and it will just leave the margarine butter, again, a processed food.

So we are so accustomed to processed foods, it feels really weird to eat a whole food. And if you’re interested in what diet may be possible, that you could follow easily online, the Whole30 is a really good food, potential diet. It’s easily accessible, it gives you some recipes… and there are lots of other ones. This one does cut out potatoes and beans and things like that. But if you try for 30 days, I think you’ll really see the health benefits of it. And then you can add those things back in. But that’s a good way to get started so you can notice how you feel on the better diet.

Rebekah Kelley: So when you describe processed foods, obviously if it’s going to be in a package, then it’s probably processed, right?

Susan DeLaney: Yeah, if you read the label, it’s processed.

Rebekah Kelley: So that can be an indicator. But I think whenever I hear you talk about the difference, like what animal would eat something versus something else, it sounds also like you’re describing nutrition density, right? There’s more nutrition in this than that, but yet the calories might even be the same. So you’re getting more calories, but you’re not getting that nutrition that is going to nourish your body. So if you’re doing the packaged foods, that’s how I’m thinking, you’re getting some things you might not want, right? Because they’re not really so good for you. And then you’re also getting something that’s shelf stable, but it also means it’s not going to be able to break down and nourish you. Would that be kind of an easier way of looking at it? Because, you know, an egg is not an egg is not an egg. Like the difference between an industrial egg and an organic egg or egg that was free range on a grass farm is very different, right? If you look at the nutrition value. And that’s what I’m kind of hearing you say.

Susan DeLaney: Exactly, we need to move towards foods that are real foods and that are nutrient dense foods that contain the minerals and the vitamins that your body needs. I think that when people think about nutrition, they go protein, fats, carbohydrates, and that’s about like this [motions with hands underneath chin] thinking that’s what you are, is a protein or carbohydrate. But actually you’re a real body. And in our next podcast I want to talk about fat soluble vitamins and how they’re really important for us, and the importance of getting real foods in our diets. Those are really important. And having full fats, as well.

So I wanted to give you a short story about Dr. Wendy White from the University of Iowa. She did a salad study where she looked at the same salad, all three groups got the same salad, and then she gave them a no-fat dressing, which we’re told is really “the best” for us. And then a low-fat dressing, and then a full-fat dressing. And then she drew blood every 11 hours and analyzed the absorption of these nutrients from your carrots and your tomatoes and lettuce. What she found out was that if you have a no-fat dressing, you can’t even absorb those nutrients. You’re just going to flush them down the toilet. If you have a low-fat dressing, your absorption is somewhat better, but the best absorption came from a full-fat salad dressing. So you can’t even get what you’re eating if you don’t put fat on it, and that’s another problem with this low-fat, no-fat salad dressing, and low-fat foods. It is a huge problem.

And so it’s gone so incredibly cattywampus that now we have what they call fat replacement, and the fat replacement market is expected to be 3.5 billion dollars in sales per year by 2031. It’s a growing, booming market. So we think we have to replace all of this fat. So my encouragement, the two things you can do that are easiest are eliminate processed foods – that means those fake pizzas that you get in the frozen food section and all those things – and then avoid sugar as much as possible. And one of my colleagues said, you should do that 355 days of the year. So those other 10 days, enjoy that coconut cake that your grandmother made. But those two things will be the most important things that you can do to prevent chronic diseases in your life.

Rebekah Kelley: I love that. That’s very simple and that’s easy to follow.

Susan DeLaney: Yes, it is.

Rebekah Kelley: Thank you so much. Thank you so much for being with us. Thanks Dr. DeLaney, those are really valuable insights. Dr. DeLaney can be found at I’m going to spell that. That’s T H E W E L L N E S S A L L I A N C So let me remind you to subscribe and get access to all Humanized videos, podcasts and transcriptions from all of our thought leaders on personalized health at I look forward to our next podcast session with you, Dr. DeLaney.

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