Sharon Prentice, PhD

Transformational Psychologist and Author

A Conversation with Dr. Carey White: Reset and Renew!

It has been said “life sometimes doesn’t get you to the people you want to meet but always gets you to the people you need to meet.” Dr. Carey White is that person. Dr. Carey is a licensed physical therapist and an Orthopedic Certified Specialist.  Carey, because of her healing skills across the continuum of health and well-being, has often been referred to as “gifted.” Because of her empathic and compassionate demeanor, she is one of the most sought-after healers in the Metropolitan Washington area.

Reset your “simply soul-full” self in 2020!

Have you been feeling just a little more of a “crazy hot mess” lately and a little less of the Simply Soul-Full beautiful “you” that is aching to get out and play?  Have you been overindulging since November and feel extra sensitive, emotional, or out of sorts? Your diet and lifestyle could be attributing to some or most of this. 

What are some of the best things to focus on to reset yourself in 2020?

The most important thing to understand about improving your health through nutrition is not to view this reset as being “just another diet.”  Diets are meant to be short term and are not usually sustainable for most of us. Real change happens slowly, over time, when we actually change our patterns of behavior. It is through this renewed, resetting of our habitual behavioral patterns that we actually build life-long sustainable changes that last and create long term benefits for our health and wellness.

You like to work with your clients on reducing systemic inflammation in the effort to improve health. Why is that important and what can others do to bring about the desired outcomes for their own health and well-being?

Our bodies are amazing factories that know exactly how to keep things humming along for optimal functioning!  They want to be operating at their very best!  They can respond… and do respond… immediately… to the things the environment or any infection throws our way. The body is naturally equipped to heal itself…if we give it what it needs!!  

 When we sustain an injury, our bodies respond by signaling a series of events to bring in certain cells to start healing. This cascade causes temporary inflammation that we can see and feel. This is a necessary and normal response.

 Our bodies, however, can become inflamed in areas that we can’t see. Those areas are experiencing injury from poor quality food, food sensitivities, pesticides, poor quality fat intake, medications, increased body fat and stress. All these, taken together, can cause a low grade chronic inflammation in our tissues. It has been discovered that this can be, and quite often is the cause of many chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, dementia and cancer, to name a few. 

There is a singular blood test your physician can perform to see if you are at risk or if low grade inflammation is “stewing” somewhere in your body.  It is called CRP or C-reactive protein. Studies have found CRP levels high in those with Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis, acute infections and after physical trauma. Most Functional Medicine Physicians will perform this test, but your PCP may not. The drawback is that it is not a specific test for any specific disease but is one that can indicate your body is quietly working on overdrive to heal itself before the stew is done and ready to be served up as disease!  It is a simple blood test well worth asking for- one that can provide the information you need to help you “reset” your health and your life.

The Standard American Diet (SAD)… well known by its acronym…is, indeed, sad! Most processed foods are too high in omega 6 vegetable fats such as soybean oil/canola oil/corn oil, partially hydrogenated oils which, as research is showing us, all contribute to the inflammation that may be the cause of many chronic illnesses. Our bodies need, but do not get enough of the omega 3s which combat those so “pro-inflammatory” compounds that are released when we consume those “bad” oils. It’s the Omega 3’s that help us win the battle with inflammation.  I once looked at the ingredients of every loaf of bread in Safeway and was not able to find one that did not contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil.  Thankfully, the tide is changing… slowly… but food companies fight us every step of the way-they now know that consumers are getting smarter, so their response is to simply change how they label their ingredients. We can respond with our dollars and simply refuse to buy their products until they comply with consumer demand.

What are some foods that can increase inflammation? 

Sugar, processed foods, gluten, dairy, soy, corn and alcohol are the main culprits in inflammation.  I run a 21-day Real Food Reset where you slowly remove all these foods… one day at a time… and then continue for 21 days. At the end of the Reset, you reintroduce the real foods, one at a time, to see how your body responds and how you feel. The larger goal is to crowd out the processed food and sugar by crowding in real foods as your “go to” choices. To be successful in this challenge, you will learn to meal prep, have healthy real food available in the fridge for “grab and go.”  A little time spent prepping in the kitchen 1-2 days/week will set you up for success!  Reintroducing you to your kitchen and the power of preparing your own food is generally the biggest challenge. Most say they are simply too busy. So, oftentimes, a client will start with the goal of preparing a home cooked meal 1-2x/week and build from there.

The foods selected on this challenge can be some of the biggest causes of inflammation to our systems so removing them for a short time is key to better health and longevity. You can try this challenge on your own, but it can be more helpful to do this with my support and a group of believers to lean on. The good news is that getting back to real whole food can help you remove this low-grade inflammation from your body and potentially combat aging and poor health in the future. 

I know you also like to help your clients with their gut health. You have had your own struggles with this. why do you ask your clients to listen to their guts? 

There are many ways to listen to your gut, right?  There are physical “feelings” we get when dealing with emotions…just as there are emotional reactions when dealing with physical issues.  There can also be a lot of discomfort one can “feel” while digesting.  Getting people to really tune into how they feel after they eat is a main goal of mine when dealing with my clients.  Temporarily removing the foods mentioned above is a good start.  I look to see how they “feel” as their digestion changes when eliminating these foods from their diet and crowding them out with real food options; fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins; then comparing that “feeling” with how they feel once these foods are added back in. You may have a sensitivity you never knew you had!  There are also other ways to address gut health such as having a GI maps stool test done, speaking with your physician about a good probiotic or possibly taking digestive enzymes if appropriate for you.  All these things together can help reset your gut. 

As a health coach you like to talk to your clients about other things besides food. What are some non-food ways to reset this year?

I am sure this is not a surprise to anyone but trying for a “digital detox” would be another way to reset this year.  Instagram, fb, ranting people on twitter…all these are a “time suck” and such a distraction! I have fallen prey to this myself. Studies have shown that the IG effect is not only an issue for teens and tweens but adults as well. Forgetting that these are nothing more than “fantasy lives” can lead many to feeling inferior to others that present themselves as having the perfect relationship, life, house, new car, dream job, etc… I find taking these apps off your phone for a while can help break the habit. Another positive alternative would be to use parental controls on yourself! If you have an iPhone, you can set these or, at the very least, check these to discover just how much screen time you have had, or how many times you have picked up your phone to merely “check” on the world outside.  It can be very surprising! The only catch here is that you may “catch slack” from others. I find when I make an effort to be away from my phone, others get annoyed that I didn’t respond right away or was out of the loop.  It might be fun to get others you communicate with regularly to do it with you. 

Lastly, you speak often of detoxing yourself of harmful ingredients that can be found in all of our self-care products. Why is this important and how can we go about doing this?

This is such an important issue for me!  When I started reading food labels for my infant son because of his severe food allergies…especially to nuts… I learned a hard lesson about self-care products. For instance, we used an “off the shelf” moisturizing lotion on his eczema that, unbeknownst to me- contained macadamia nuts. I had no idea of the reaction he would have.  I mean, who would ever believe that a skin cream for eczema would contain nuts?  I had never before delved too deeply into reading the labels of personal care products..searching for nuts! But he had a reaction- indeed, he had a massive reaction. From that moment on, I started reading labels and discovered the tremendous amount of chemicals that were actually present in everything we put on our bodies and our biggest organ- our skin. That realization was, for me, simply astounding!  It was then that I found and gained some insight into what would be considered “safe.”  So many products contain chemicals that are “endocrine disruptors” and these can mess with our hormones on a daily basis. Many products contain Phthalates, and plastics as well. All these can, and do, disrupt our bodies natural rhythms and flow and can potentially contribute to inflammation in the long term and, thereby, affect your health. Look for products that disclose ALL their ingredients. Avoid anything that has “fragrance” as they can hide hundreds of ingredients under that term. The words “Natural” or “Dr. recommended” have no real significance and are not regulated by anyone…they are nothing more than marketing ploys. Check out to see if what you are using is safe or to find safer options.  

Dr. Carey White practices as a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and through this training, Carey was exposed to and was under the tutelage of physicians who believe in the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” philosophy of healing. Dr. Carey is a member of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties as well as a member of the American Physical Therapy Association. She is also a member of the International Association of Health Coaches and practices in the Metropolitan Washington area.

Dr. Carey White is a member of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties as well as a member of the American Physical Therapy Association. She is also a member of the International Association of Health Coaches and practices in the Metropolitan Washington area.