Science has been part of my life since high school. It was something I fell in love with and has been around for a while now. Science, Health/Healthcare, Cancer research, Eco,… are topics that are part of my daily life. Science, going from the basic topics like Biology, Chemistry, Physics to the more specific topics; Immunology, Toxicology, Organic Chemistry,… are topics that I’ve studied during my education. There was never a doubt about which direction I wanted to grow in. Cancer research grabbed my attention during high school and has turned out to be part of my job. It is so complex, but very interesting at the same time. Research is such a small word for something so big and diverse. There isn’t a day that goes by without learning something new. Lifelong learning is so important. I don’t want to stand still, I want to keep evolving on personal level but also on professional level. I need to be challenged every single day, I want to be part of the solution. When you’ve achieved something, it is so satisfying and motivating to continue. And that is what I love about research. It never ends…

Since I joined twitter, I’ve been able to talk to people who share the same interests. Doing research on Healthcare and ‘being ecological’ is something I love. That interest is growing every single day. There are so many people out there who actually have a message that you need to hear. I got to know some people who I really respect and admire. I’m someone who likes to have conversations about these topics and learn from people who want to share their wisdom. Even though I’m still young, it’s great when they, your inspirations, take you seriously and are open to discussions and conversations.
I would like to introduce you to Dr. Alan Greene.

Dr. Alan Greene, received the Healthy Child Healthy World Award for Prevention for his outstanding work. He is a Pediatrician, author (Feeding Baby Green,…), speaker, children’s health advocate, father of four and a husband. Dr. Greene is someone you should know if you are interested in healthcare, being green,… In 1995 they launched DrGreene.com. It has been cited as “the pioneer physician Website”. In my opinion it’s definitely one of the best websites I’ve ever seen that deals with our health and our children’s health.There are amazing blogs, Q&A’s, top articles, recipes,… everything you would want to know about healthcare is available on DrGreene.com!
Because I’m not US based I never thought I would be able to really learn from him, but I did learn quite a lot from him. He is definitely one of the few who gives real (to-the-point) answers to all kinds of questions. He is really inspiring, he wants to share his passion and you can see how much he loves what he does. Alan has inspired me from day one and even motivated me. I had the opportunity to have a blog interview with him. He was immediately open to it and I’m eternally grateful for that.

What was your motivation to become a pediatrician? “In medical school it became clear to me that most medical conditions have their roots in childhood. By helping kids lead healthy lives, I can help set them on a trajectory for a long, healthy life.”

When I was reading lots of articles and books about healthy living, being green, I noticed that Dr. Alan Greene was always praised highly by his colleagues and he has been selected as one of the most influential forces in healthcare IT. Dr. Greene is really grateful for these recognitions. “Recognitions like these are very encouraging. I love my work already, but these give me an extra boost of energy to press onwards.”

TedX is getting more and more popular worldwide. Dr. Alan Greene was in Brussels (Belgium), my home country, in 2012 and he talked with lots of passion about Ticc Tocc. This was his opportunity to introduce the idea of  ‘Transitioning Immediate Cord Clamping to Optimal Cord Clamping’ aka Ticc Tocc.

ticc tocc

During my education I’ve been able to go to quite a lot of scientific talks and the most important thing is that the speakers need to be able to grab your attention from their first words. Those are critical for their speech. I wasn’t able to personally attend Dr. Greene’s talk at TedXBrussels which is a shame, because the video of his talk is literally amazing. Ticc Tocc is a simple idea, as Dr. Greene himself says, that can improve the health of billions worldwide.  Ticc Tocc is a simple solution that has been shown to be both safe and effective at significantly reducing the risk of iron deficiency. Iron deficiency is the leading cause of anemia but iron deficiency has also been linked to damage of the developing brain.

“The idea of Ticc Tocc started when I was trying to change the way babies are fed. Ultra-processed white rice flour cereal is a 20th century mistake that I’ve been trying to correct (The White Out Campaign). The most common objection from pediatricians, at first, was that babies need processed white rice flour cereal for the iron. So I started considering how babies got the iron they needed before this product was invented. It’s sometimes hard to see common, unquestioned practices in a fresh light.”

Being green/eco/organic is something you read about every single day. It’s a long road, but even little changes can make a big difference. What would be the best to change first?
“Unhealthy chemicals get in our bodies in three primary ways: 1) Through our mouths (what we eat and drink), 2) Through our skin (and the lotions, make-up, and other personal care products we use on it), and 3) Through our noses (primarily fumes and polutants in our homes and workplaces). Considering any of these is a good place to start. It seems to me that most people start by choosing better food.”
In the past Dr. Greene said: “Feeding children organic foods is something simple and practical parents can do right now to protect their children and help them build healthy bodies.”
But not everyone is open to organic food, just because it’s more expensive.
Dr.Greene: Food isn’t an expense, it’s an investment. We are going to end up investing time and money and attention in our bodies, one way or the other. How much better to do it by enjoying great food? And it may save money in the long run. Also, it is certainly possible to eat great food on a budget.”

Christopher Gavigan, author of ‘Healthy Child, Healthy World’ described you as a green pediatrician. How would you describe yourself as pediatrician?
“Many medical conditions in children are rapidly increasing today: allergies, asthma, autism, high blood pressure, diabetes, some types of cancer. With all of the rapidly increasing conditions, it’s not our DNA that has changed, it’s our environment. It’s how kids eat, how they move, and the chemicals they are exposed to. This means that there are environmental solutions to our most pressing children’s health problems. I try to take a step back and see the bigger picture when addressing specific problems.”
Alan said the following about Christopher Gavigan: “Christopher is great! A colleague and friend, Christopher is passionate about protecting children from unhealthy solutions, articulates his deep knowledge clearly, and is helping to provide parents with practical solutions. Yes, Christopher is instigating change. I am excited about what The Honest Company is doing. Providing clean, safe products for families is a real gift.”

Dr. Alan Greene and Christopher Gavigan

Dr. Alan Greene also has his own inspiration and motivation: Cheryl Greene. Co-founder and Executive Producer of DrGreene.Com but above all his wife. “My wife Cheryl has been an incredible inspiration and motivation. Shortly after we started DrGreene.com in 1995, she was diagnosed with cancer and told she wouldn’t survive the year. Her commitment to helping to change the world throughout her illness still keeps me focused on big change.” Cheryl was diagnosed with Stage III, High Risk, Inflammatory Breast Cancer in 1996. She wouldn’t survive but Cheryl did and was declared NED (no evidence of disease). Cheryl’s story of survival can be found on: http://www.drgreene.com/perspectives/breast-cancer-story-survival/ Definitely worth reading!
Cheryl Green about her husband Alan: “Alan has a great big heart, almost unlimited energy, is the smartest person I’ve ever met, and an inability to say ‘no’.”

To end this blog, I would like to thank Dr. Alan Greene for taking time to answer my questions, to motivate and inspire me. It’s an honor to know you and to have you as a friend. And thank you to Cheryl Greene, for sharing your story of survival. I was speechless and I think you are an admirable woman, an inspiration to every single woman. You both inspired me to actually start making a change and be part of the solution. Thank you!