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Natural Health For People and Pets: the Podcast

00:00:33 Glenn:       Welcome to the first episode of Natural Health for People and Pets. My name's Glenn Cooke, I'm gonna be a pilot on this show. I'm not the host or co-host, I'm simply gonna be in the background asking questions, but I am gonna introduce the host of the show, Narelle Cooke.  

00:00:46 Narelle:       Hi everyone. You do play an important role because as I am explaining to our listeners all the amazing information that this podcast is gonna put out there, it's important to have someone to ask the questions that are relevant and what people have in their own minds.  

00:01:01 Glenn:       Yeah so we're gonna have some dialogue back and forth and I'm also gonna produce the show for you, so that's helpful in itself.  

00:01:08 Narelle:       Absolutely. 

00:01:10 Glenn:       So, why are we here?  

00:01:11 Narelle:       As Glen said, my name's Narelle Cooke, I'm a clinical naturopath, nutritionist and herbalist, and I am the creator of Natural Health for People and Pets. The reason this show came about, it's been in the back of our minds for a long time now, but the reason it's come to the fore now is because when I'm on social media, there's so much conflicting information. There's so much misinformation out there and it's really hard for people to know what's true, what's not, what's applicable to their situation and what may be harmful to their situation. I'm really good at sifting through the bullshit. 

00:01:55 Glenn:       I know you don't like talking about your qualifications and so forth, but I think it's important for the listeners of the show to know a little bit about your background, where and how you got started. That will give them an idea of why they should listen to you, because that's a question that people would probably have in the back of their mind, why should I listen to you on this? What's your expertise? So, where did it all begin? Tell people about your beginning. 

00:02:21 Narelle:       I've been a research scientist, research officer for over 20 years now, my whole adult career.  I was one of those kids that was adamant that I was gonna be a vet. I feel every young girl wants to be a vet when they grow up. Started down that path, but ended up fainting every time I saw an operation. 

00:02:40 Glenn:       That pretty much rules that out.  

00:02:41 Narelle:       I quickly found out that that career path probably wasn't the best one for me. Mm-Hmm. It worked out well because I ended up getting a scholarship to the University of Melbourne and I studied agricultural science with the aim of becoming an animal geneticist. I still wanted to stay in that animal field, but life's interesting, and you don't know what you don't know till you know it. When I got to the third and fourth year of my degree, I majored in microbiology and pathology, but with a focus on plants, so I ended up working as a research scientist with a focus on plant pathology. For animal people, that might sound really dull and boring, but a big part of my work was looking at the diseases of the foods that we eat, and also how to reduce chemical sprays on the foods that we eat without compromising the quality of the crops.  

00:03:29 Glenn:       You were working for the government for a while, weren't you?  

00:03:31 Narelle:       Yeah, that was a government job in Melbourne, in Australia. But while I was doing all that research, which I really loved, in the background, I always had dogs. and I was really absorbed in training them. At one point I had two Dobermans and one of them more than the other, needed training at a higher level, so I ended up going to the local dog obedience school. And who do you think I'd met there?  

00:03:54 Glenn:       Surprise, surprise.  

00:03:56 Narelle:       The man sitting over the other side of the desk from me, my now husband Glen Cooke. From there I did the National Dog Trainers Federation course and ran my own business as a professional dog trainer. I took a few years out from my research work, because it's one of those things where you believe if you could do your hobby full time, that life would be a dream. But after a couple of years, and I feel bad complaining about the cold Melbourne weather for all our Canadian listeners potentially .. 

00:04:24 Glenn:       Yes.  

00:04:25 Narelle:       I've got no right to complain about the Melbourne cold, it wasn't for me. I missed the science and the research, so I ended up going back to work for a pharmaceutical company in regulatory affairs and that was pretty intense. I did that for a number of years, and again, just that sense that something wasn't quite aligned with who I was and what I was doing. During my twenties, I'd suffered a few different health issues that the doctors couldn't resolve and just brushed off, as let's wait and see, or there's nothing we can do, or if you don't wanna take this drug then you know, go away, and I wouldn't accept that. I ended up getting in touch with an amazing naturopath and that was the start of it. We did see a gentleman called Michael and he was phenomenal in his skills.  

00:05:15 Glenn:       He did mainly iridology, and to be honest, when I first went along, 'cause you took me along to him, and back then I thought, oh, this is all woo woo and there's no way this is gonna work. But I was desperate and I trusted you and I thought, I need to do something because nothing's working. All the doctors were trying to do was get me onto drugs all the time, mainly antidepressants. 'cause they thought I was just depressed and just felt terrible. But I went along to Michael and he gave me a bit of a timeframe. He said, if you follow this diet and guideline within six weeks, you'll feel like a brand new person. And that changed my stars, that realigned my entire platform.  

00:05:52 Narelle:       Yeah, he's pretty amazing and the treatments are disgusting. They're traditional herbal medicine treatments, so you wanna vomit this from the taste, but they do work. There's an Australian naturopath, Rachel Arthur, and she's phenomenal, she changed my life. My treatment with her was like that light bulb moment, this is my calling, this is what I need to be doing. Not that I want to do it, it's like I need to be doing this and helping other people, the way that I was helped, because it was pretty phenomenal. So while I was still working for a drug company, I studied natural medicine for a number of years because I was doing it part-time. I ended up doing an Advanced Diploma in Naturopathy and Advanced Diploma in Western Herbal Medicine and an Advanced Diploma in Nutritional Medicine. That wasn't enough for me so I went on and did the Bachelor of Health Science Naturopathy just to round off the edges and get that more in-depth understanding of the body and treatment approaches. That was really good. But it's interesting because for most of my twenties and thirties, I was so focused on human health, and I've always had dogs and just fed them, standard kibble from a bag. It took me a long time, and it was only really in the last five years, would you say?

00:07:09 Glenn:       Yeah, it's mainly in the last five years you've really done a complete about turn on feeding and diet  

00:07:15 Narelle:       Yeah, for dogs. I don't know why, I'm embarrassed to say that it just never occurred to me to take care of my dogs in terms of diet and nutrition and health treatments the way that I do for myself and my patients. When I had that light bulb moment, of feeling the need to study this a little bit more. I already had the foundation, all of my human studies were very in depth in what they covered, so I went and did a couple of certificates in dog health and nutrition with some Australian organisation which was great. Now I operate my own clinic in Sydney and that's amazing, all the people and dogs that I get to help. It's really funny because often it can go either way, someone can bring their dog to me for treatment and be so happy with the results that they're like, oh, can I come and see you too? And so they'll book themselves in for a human consult. Or I get my human patients that get to know me and are really happy and then they're like, oh look, this is happening with my dog, do you think you could help? So I treat the whole family..  

00:08:19 Glenn:       It really generated into an overall interest, didn't it? People have come along for their own treatment and then thought, well, while I'm here, why don't I talk to you about the problems I've got with my dog? Or vice versa, and before you know it, you've got both of them sitting in the room.  

00:08:39 Narelle:       Because often my human patients come to me not knowing I treat dogs and it might just happen to come up in conversation, and a lot of people who know me through the dog world know I treat dogs, but may not realise that I have a whole human qualification side to help them as well. I love the mix. And in addition to my clinic work, I've always kept my hand in on the research side of things. I work part-time for a health company doing all of their research and technical writing. It's what I do, it's what I love. Every time I hear people talking or writing something on the internet or social media, I'm like, is that true? Where did that come from? Because what happens, people hear information and they just repeat it.  

00:09:23 Glenn:       And it's baseless more often than not, it's just rhetoric that they're copying from somebody else who doesn't have any backup or science to validate what they're saying. 

00:09:33 Narelle:       You just don't know, either way unless you look into it for yourself. People tend to repeat things without understanding why they're recommending it necessarily, or how what they're recommending works in their body or their dog's body. And that's really important, so a big part of what I want this podcast to be about is to help people understand why you're doing something. Classic example, a health problem, again, human or dog gets posted on social media. Inevitably there'll be responses saying, oh you need to have fermented foods, you need to have bone broth, they're the cure for whatever ails you. Just fermented foods and bone broth, and I understand where that's coming from. Gut health is, you know, the key to overall health, but there are a lot of instances where that will be counterproductive and will make the matter worse. But if you don't understand why you're recommending something, or you are hearing something, you don't know if that's gonna be a good thing for your dog or a bad thing for your dog, a good thing for you, or a bad thing for you. We really need to understand the why. That's why I'm here.  

00:10:37 Glenn:       You talked a little bit about regulatory affairs. Tell people what that actually involves, because I think that's quite interesting in your journey to becoming who you are.  

00:10:48 Narelle:       So regulatory affairs is quite broad. The area that I was in was quite specific to agricultural chemicals. Because of my Agricultural Science Bachelor Degree, I was quite skilled in that field. I was basically getting chemicals registered. It's quite funny because my research work with the government was developing ways to use less chemicals on our food crops, but when I went to work for this pharmaceutical agrochemical company, my job then became getting chemicals registered for use in Australia on our food crops, which is why it didn't sit well with me over the longer term. But regulatory affairs is all about dotting the i's and crossing the T's. It's getting new drugs registered or any new chemicals registered for use in your country. It's changes to those registrations, it's the labels, your medications and your supplements.  

00:11:44 Glenn:       It's basically there to back up what it says it does and also safeguard areas. For example, I remember conversations around the dinner table, you'd come home and say, you know, I'm working on this project at the moment, and the main goal is to make sure it protects the barrier reef when the runoff comes from the crops. And also not to harm bees because of the decline in bee populations. 

00:12:18 Narelle:       Yeah, aspects of it were really fascinating. That side of it is good work and you are ensuring safety for not only people but for the environment as well. That's a really big aspect of the work that I was doing.  

00:12:32 Glenn:       And the reason why I want to go back to that subject matter is because I wanted to highlight how deeply you research things. A lot of people will be listening to this podcast over time, but I don't know if they understand how much effort you put into topics. When you immerse yourself in something, you are very studious in making sure that you get all the information and you reference it properly as well. This compliments your natural side with your scientific side as well, in that you've combined the two of 'em to get the best of what you're trying to do. It's not just, here's an opinion or here's a popular opinion, let's go with that. You look into things and say, here is the treatment plan and I'm gonna reference it with this material. 

00:13:18 Narelle:       Yeah, this is what it's based on. 

00:13:19 Glenn:       Yeah.  

00:13:20 Narelle:       It's funny, because I hear you say that. I'm like, well that's all true, but basically it means I have no life, but it's the life I love. I must say I wouldn't know what to do if I wasn't at my computer researching pretty much anything,  

00:13:34 Glenn:       Which is not far from the truth. I can give you an example of that. When we've gone on holiday and we've been in Fiji for argument's sake, I'll be sitting at the bottom of the ocean looking at sharks and swimming around and I'll come back up and Narelle's in the lounge with a computer there researching a scientific document.  

00:13:51 Narelle:       Well there's always something to learn.

00:13:53 Glenn:       But that's what I'm saying, I guess what I have learned to do is appreciate how much work and effort you put into doing what you do and that you're just not being fickle about it and just brushing it aside and saying, oh, you know, that sounds like it'll work, we'll go with that.  

00:14:08 Narelle:       Yeah, and it's being open to changing your beliefs  

00:14:12 Glenn:       And new sciences.  

00:14:13 Narelle:       Yeah, I was one of those kids that's always, but why, but why, but why? I'm no longer a kid, but I'm still that person, you know, I just wanna know why. I can’t settle if I hear something and I don't understand the why behind it, it's a bit of a curse. 

00:14:47 Glenn:       But that should give people faith in knowing that if they come to you, or they're talking to you about a subject matter, it's not just going to be something that is popular opinion that you've just seen on the internet somewhere and you're thinking, oh well this sounds good enough to go with, it's popular topic at the moment, let's go with that. I know there's times where you've brought up things before where it's controversial to what other people are saying, but the reason you're saying it is because you're researching the science behind it. And even going further into that, I know conversations you and I have had where you've seen things online before and you've said, have a look at this topic, people are talking about this, but it's not right, there is factual evidence that they're not including in the conversation.  

00:15:24 Glenn:       And then you've gone off and found reference material where you've said to me, they started but they've gone askew and the information is not correct. So I think that's important. It really is important, especially in this field where you are treating people who are taking things orally or they need to change things about their medications or diets and so forth. I know you don't tell people to fiddle with their medications without speaking to their practitioner, you specifically work within the science backgrounds of pharmaceuticals and doctors. You're there to compliment what they're doing and to assist people further if they're not satisfied, or things aren't working.  

00:16:03 Narelle:       Yeah, if I could apply a one size fits all approach to all my clients, human and dog, my life would be so much easier. I'd have so much more spare time. That's one of my bug bears with social media and the internet, everyone's pushing the latest thing and everyone's gotta get on board and it's just not the case. I have a very strong opinion that any medicine should be individualised, whether it's natural or mainstream pharmaceutical. Unfortunately it doesn't often happen in mainstream because doctors just don't have the time to sit down. I mean, I sit down for an hour, hour and a half with my patients to get all the history and the information I need so I can tailor it as best I can to them. But you know, our bodies are so different, our dogs' bodies are so different from other dogs, genetically, biochemically, our lifestyles, our social makeup. Everything influences how a treatment will or won't work.

00:17:02 Glenn:       Well, an example of that is that nuts can be nutritional to some people and it can kill others, instantly.  

00:17:08 Narelle:       Another example of that is the keto diet. The keto diet might be brilliant for saving someone's life if they've got cancer, or if they've got a lot of metabolic dysfunction in their body. But then there are people who will go on a ketogenic diet and will suffer quite strong mood dysregulation. They might slip into depression which could be because of their genetics, there's a lot of factors that are at play with such an extreme diet. So that's just one example. I spend a lot of time researching different supplements for dogs and people to make sure it's the right fit. Different dietary approaches, different ingredients. People are trusting me with their health and they are trusting me with their dog's health, that's huge. I don't take that lightly and that's why I do what I do. That's why I research to the extent that I do because it matters to me. When people trust me with their pain and with their health and they're asking me to help them, I take that on board and I take that very personally and very seriously. 

00:18:24 Glenn:       We brushed over it a little bit in the past, but tell people what you achieved when you did your Bachelor in Natural Medicine. What'd you get out of it?  

00:18:33 Narelle:       Okay, one of the benefits of having your husband co-host is that they're your number one fan and love people to know all about you. So with my Bachelor of Health Science, I did get the highest marks in the State. I was generously rewarded for that with certificates and money, which was nice.  

00:18:52 Glenn:       But you deserved it and I'm proud of you for doing it.  

00:18:55 Narelle:       It's always nice, 'cause I do put in the hours. It's nice to be recognized for.

00:18:59 Glenn:       Well like I said, the whole trust issue, and I know I'm repeating myself, but the whole trust issue on this is that people should know that you really put an exorbitant amount of work into this. And I know, regardless of us having a relationship together, we can openly and comfortably criticise each other, in a constructive way. There's one thing that I can comfortably say is that Narelle will give you 110%. You really can't go past a hundred percent, but she will, she would go right up to the final degree. I'm very comfortable when people are speaking to Narelle that number one, she maintains a great level of confidentiality when she's talking to patients and won't discuss patient history with me. I won't even ask her because there would be no point, she's a vault with things like that. She treats things very professionally. I'm just saying that I get to see that behind the scenes, and I'm very critical of people for not doing enough of this.  

00:20:00 Narelle:       It's certainly not that I know everything, that is not what Glenn's saying, because absolutely I don't. But the point is, I will try. If I don't know something, I will say I don't know something and I will try and find the answers. So I'm here to do the best I can with the skills that I have. I think it'll be good, but let's talk about the actual show.  

00:20:19 Glenn:       Yes.  

00:20:20 Narelle:       Stop talking about me let's move on.  

00:20:21 Glenn:       Well this is important 'cause this is the intro about you, who you are and what you offer.  

00:20:25 Narelle:       It is. So this first episode is just as Glenn said, it's all about who I am.

00:20:28 Glenn:       Yeah, why would you come and listen to Narrelle Cooke?  

00:20:31 Narelle:       Glenn's been trying to get me to do this for well over 12 months now, and I've been reluctant. Because there are so many people out there talking, why would my opinion make much difference? But I've had a lot of feedback from people that are really keen, they've got a lot of questions, and I was surprised at how many questions people have that they want answered. So I'm like, okay, well I can do that. I want the format of this podcast to be short and sweet. I'd like to keep episodes to about 30 minutes, so they're really accessible to listen to in short chunks without having to take up much of your day, about what dog owners would like to hear about.  

00:21:20 Narelle:       A lot of questions around kibble, how to select a kibble, how to understand the ingredients in a kibble, what to look for, what to avoid, all those sort of things. Then there's the whole raw feeding side of things, how to get started, how to transition the safety aspects, do you feed by a ratio? How do you determine how much to feed? There's lots and lots of questions that we can cover there. There's plants, bones, grains. There's so many controversial topics when it comes to raw food feeding, which is a big part of why I wanted to do the podcast too, because there's a lot of misinformation in that arena. Supplements are a huge topic. A lot of people with questions about supplements, do they need them? When should they use them? What dosages, what's safe, what's not safe? And again, it's tricky because something might be really safe across the board, but for you or your dog, you might have something else going on that makes it not the right choice for you. And that's hard to cover in a podcast because I'm generalising, but that'll be the beauty of Patreon. 

00:22:26 Glenn:       I was just gonna lead into that, that you are gonna set up a Patreon channel.  

00:22:30 Narelle:       I thought it's really important because I can't really go into the details just in this podcast. I know if I talk about supplements, for example, I might talk about why you might use certain supplements for a certain health condition in your dog. The Patreon platform will allow me, with people who want more personalised attention, to really dig down deep into what brands, what dosages, any other questions they may have. It really opens it up for them to have their personal questions answered. There'll be live Q and A’s, a lot of information handouts, so there'll be a lot of content generated and put into the Patreon forum. But other topics, you know, there's lots of human topics. Mental health is a huge issue with Covid at the moment.  

00:23:15 Narelle:       We can talk about ways that you can better support your immune system and your overall health. Weight management's always a popular topic for dogs and people, weight loss and weight gain. Different life stages, how do we treat our dogs diet and supplement wise as puppies? If you've got a pregnant or a lactating bitch, or senior dogs, could they really benefit from some sort of specialised diet and supplement treatments too? The possibilities of what we can talk about are endless. And it's up to you guys, the listeners, to let me know what you really wanna hear.  

00:23:51 Glenn:       And how would they do that? How would they get in contact with you? What are all your mediums?  

00:23:55 Narelle:       My business page for my clinic is Natural Health and Nutrition. You can Google naturalhealthandnutrition.com.au. The podcast page for Facebook is Natural Health for People and Pets, and that's the same for Patreon as well, Natural Health for People and Pets.  

00:24:16 Glenn:       And if they want to email you.  

00:24:18 Narelle:       hello@naturalhealthandnutrition.com.au. You can do that through my website's probably the easiest way, or through Facebook if you wanna message me there as well. Today was just about getting to know me and what we're gonna talk about going forward.  

00:24:34 Glenn:       If people have got questions, they can contact you on any one of those medium platforms.  

00:24:39 Narelle:       Yeah, people might know me through other forums as well. 

00:24:42 Glenn:       They might have a great idea for a show.  

00:24:44 Narelle:       They might, but it's really exciting, and I'm looking forward to getting the information out there and helping people with their problems.  

00:24:51    Glenn:    Perfect, say goodbye.  

00:24:53 Narelle:       Bye. 

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