Dr. Regan A. Stiegmann, a double board-certified physician and former active-duty flight surgeon in the Air Force where she served from 2011-2022, is this month’s guest on the Be the One podcast, a special series that is part of The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima.
During her time in service she witnessed a change among military leadership to embrace her specialty.
“Lifestyle medicine in a nutshell is an evidence-based approach to preventing, treating and reversing some of the most chronic common diseases that we see,” said Stiegmann, known as “Doc Stieg,” who is a former elite soccer player who has been promoting health optimization with physical activity, healthy whole food choices, stress management and mindfulness. “High blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, diabetes, overweight, obesity and some of the diseases that are disproportionately affecting impacting our servicemembers and our veterans.”
A member of American Legion Post 209 in Colorado Springs, Colo., Stiegmann talks about the six pillars of lifestyle medicine that improve overall health and wellness.
“Mental health disorders like major depressive disorder and clinical symptoms of depression can often overlap with serious medical diagnoses like diabetes or cardiovascular disease and that can further exacerbate those diseases,” she said. “It’s a really profound connection that is sometimes lost as we try to work with mental health issues.”
Stiegmann, who has served in several national leadership roles in the American College of Preventive Medicine and the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, offers tips of where to start. Among the recommendations related to diet:
• Eat higher-quality foods that are plant-based and higher in fiber. “These are the foods that are going to de-flame your body.”
• Focus on the wizard brain, not the lizard brain. She recommends choosing a healthy handful of blueberries or an apple over a processed snack like chips.
“You are never too old to start,” she says, alluding to the belief that people are pre-destined to get diseases later in life. “You have to intercept that thinking right now. Let today be that pivotal reflection point or recalibration point in your lives.”
Through this series, The American Legion aims to further raise awareness about its Be the One mission to reduce veteran suicide by elevating the discussion and empowering everyone to be the one in the time of need for a veteran at risk. The series is available at the Tango Alpha Lima web page. Subscribers to the main weekly podcast will automatically receive the monthly Be the One episodes.
If you missed the debut of the monthly series, you can find it here. This episode features Marine veteran Waco Hoover, who led the Be the One Symposium at The American Legion’s national convention. Hoover talks about the next phase for the Be the One initiative.
“We’re doing an extensive amount of research and also looking for suggestions from our community about who we should be aligned with,” he said. “We have to have a conversation about this issue, this topic.”
Looking for more? Check out this episode featuring Be the One host Amy Forsythe, a Marine combat veteran and current Navy reservist. In her episode, Forsythe shares how she busted a case of stolen valor.
There are more than 200 Tango Alpha Lima episodes for veterans, servicemembers and others. The next Be the One episode will drop Nov. 1. All episodes are available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available for viewing at the Legion’s YouTube channel.