Like with so many wonderful people out there, I met Carrie Rubin, M.D. on Twitter. I was fascinated by her witty repartee, thoughtful responses, and overall sweet demeanor. I’m happy to bring with you an exclusive interview with her today on the Wonderland Organics blog!
Wonderland Organics: Hi Carrie! Tell the readers about your background.
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: I’m one of those people who believes every experience is worthwhile even if our paths deviate from where we started.
After high school graduation, I spent a year as an au pair girl in Paris, France. I was young, broke, and homesick, but ahhh, I was in Paris, so none of that mattered. Upon returning home, I got a degree in French and Natural Science and then went on to med school, followed by a pediatrics residency.
Clinical pediatrics kept me busy for fifteen years, during which time I pursued a master’s degree in public health. Off and on during those years I wrote fiction, and during a transition from clinical to nonclinical medicine a few years ago, I switched to writing full-time. I keep up to date with all my medical and public health requirements—we never know what tomorrow holds—but for now I’m enjoying the life of a medical thriller author.
Wonderland Organics: I love your books! What made you want to become a pediatrician?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: I loved the generally healthy nature of kids. Nothing compares to seeing a toddler ride a Big Wheel down the hospital corridor four days after having open-heart surgery. What adult can do that? Plus, I was drawn to the pediatric diseases—children are not just little adults; they have their own unique set of illnesses and challenges.
But mostly? I love kids. I love their smiles, their honesty, their wonder. We can learn a lot from them.
Wonderland Organics: Best of all, they’re our future. What are some baby steps that people can do to improve their health?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: “Baby steps” is the perfect way to describe how we can improve our health. Humans are creatures of habit, and those habits are tough to break. A drastic change is doable (for example, cutting out all sugar at once or telling ourselves we’ll exercise at six am every morning), but we’re setting ourselves up for failure. On the other hand, we’re pretty good at handling small changes, things like:
- Taking stairs instead of the elevator
- Consuming one less soda a week, then two, then three, then switching completely to tea or carbonated water if we still crave those bubbles
- Adding a fruit to our evening meal one week, an extra vegetable the next
- Taking a ten minute walk every day until ten becomes fifteen becomes twenty becomes more vigorous exercise
- Gradually reducing our take-out meals and switching to homemade ones instead
- Cutting down red meat to twice a week, then once a week, and then not eating it at all
- Phasing out the purchasing of processed food found in the center aisles of the grocery store
- Going to bed fifteen minutes earlier, then thirty, and so on until eight hours becomes the norm
The list goes on and on, but the beauty of baby steps is, once we make a small change and feel the positivity that comes with our achievement, we start taking bigger and bigger steps toward a healthier lifestyle. Does that mean we have to cut out everything sinful? Of course not. But it does mean learning to enjoy these delights in moderation.
Wonderland Organics: I agree, it’s almost impossible to cut out junk food 100%– but it’s great to take small steps every day! Since it’s wintertime, do you have any tips on keeping away the cold and germs?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: It’s easier to catch viruses in the winter because some viruses thrive in the cold and we tend to be closed in with the windows sealed, making it easier to breathe in pathogens. Also, there’s evidence cold weather suppresses our immune systems.
One of the best ways to stave off illness is through frequent handwashing. Our hands travel everywhere, including our faces. It’s easy to spread those germs. Taking that a step further, we (and those around us) should sneeze into the crook of our elbows, not our hands. Less risk of contamination that way.
We also want to make our immune systems as healthy as possible by eating nutritious food (particularly those high in antioxidants), exercising, getting adequate sleep, and limiting stress. All easier said than done, for sure.
Wonderland Organics: Yes, washing hands frequently with non-antibacterial soap is a good one. What are your recommendations for healthy lifestyles?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: It all comes down to respecting our bodies and treating them well, from diet and exercise, to sleep and stress reduction. If it takes us baby steps to get there, so be it. We’re never too old to start.
Wonderland Organics: Although the younger that we start, the better shape our bodies will be in! What do you think about supplements? Do they truly help our diets?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: Theoretically, a healthy diet should provide us with all the vitamins and minerals we need. But sometimes we fall short, particularly when it comes to calcium and vitamin D. Also, since animal foods are the main source of vitamin B12, vegans might have inadequate intake. As such, those are some vitamins and minerals we might need more of. But we have to be careful: we can overdo supplements and end up with side effects. Therefore, it’s best to get our vitamins and minerals from our diet and not a pill.
Wonderland Organics: Well put, Carrie! What are your top healthy foods picks?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: We should all strive for well-balanced meals with whole grains, healthy fats, lots of fruits and veggies, and minimal red meat and added sugar.
A wide variety of fruits and vegetables tempt me: roasted vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, squash) with a bit of olive oil and garlic is an especially flavorful way to cash in on vitamins and minerals, and I love a bowl of yogurt and anti-oxidant-rich berries in the morning (but beware, some yogurts are high in sugar).
Hot tea is another good source of antioxidants, and if you’re a non-coffee drinker like me, it’s a nice way to get your caffeine fix without resorting to soda. And while we’re on the subject of antioxidants, count me in for dark chocolate!
I’m not a red-meat eater and could probably be a vegetarian were it not for raising two sons and wanting to make sure they got adequate protein. So I make a lot of meals with chicken breasts or ground turkey breast. My teenage sons joke that when they have meatloaf or spaghetti and meatballs at school, it’s with “real meat” (meaning red meat). To which I respond: “Your colons will thank me later.”
Wonderland Organics: Greek yogurt with no added sugar with fruit is usually my go-to breakfast! What’s your favorite Wonderland Organics product?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: I’ve always been a frequent handwasher, especially working in health care, so a beautifully scented, pampering lotion is one of my favorite staples!
Thank you so much for having me on your site today, Alice. It was an honor to be here!
Wonderland Organics: Thanks so much Carrie! Where can we stay in touch with you on social media?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: