Category Archives for "health"

October 25, 2022

The seven circles model of health and wellbeing with Chelsey Luger and Thosh Collins

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Chelsey Luger and Thosh Collins grew up actively engaged with their indigenous cultures. Chelsey from North Dakota, and thus from Arizona. Seeing the deep need for health advocacy, they are actively speaking and teaching across North America. Chelsea is a writer and health advocacy it. She is the cofounder of well for Culture. Thosh is a photographer, board member for the Native Wellness Institute and a cofounder of well for Culture.

On episode 561 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast we talk about their book, the Seven Indigenous Teachings for Living Well.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:15.190] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are things?

[00:02:17.200] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:18.970] – Allan

I'm doing pretty good. I had a very productive weekend.

[00:02:23.260] – Rachel


[00:02:24.410] – Allan

And just came out with a lot of different things that I want to do going forward because I'm closing the gym, which is a sad part. But then I decide, okay, I'm going to make good out of that one way or another. I'm working on some things there that I'm not really ready to talk about until after the gym is closed and I get that chapter closed. But as you're listening to this, you missed this. But this week, the special week, we're recording this in the group, the Facebook group we have, which you can get at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/group. Our challenge this week is called the Braveheart Challenge, and it's about facing a fear, something that you're afraid of, and it's stretching yourself outside your comfort zone and going outside your comfort zone, I've said this before, I don't always live it, but I say it is. That's where things happen. That's where you get better. That's where you improve. That's how you change, is getting outside of your comfort zone. So that's what this week is about. And several people over time have said, well, look, you live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

[00:03:29.440] – Allan

You got a bed and breakfast there got equipment and stuff there. You should do a retreat. And I agree with them. Yeah, I should, but I always have talked myself out of it for one reason or another. But I'm announcing that we're going to do a 40+ Fitness Retreat. On the last week of May here in Bocas del Toro. And so both of our daughters will have been married by that time we'll come back, and we're going to have a one week retreat here in Boca del Toro. The thing is, I can't do it with a lot of people because it just functionally wouldn't work right now. It's not like we have this auditorium or place that we could really host it at this moment. So I got to limit the number of people. So it's probably going to only be about 30 people, and then we'll have to cut that off at some point. Sure, there are a lot of other things I'm going to talk about, and the best way for you to keep up with what I'm doing is to go to 40plusfitness.com/retreat and yes, I'm going to ask you for your email so I can email you the stuff that's going on.

[00:04:36.030] – Allan

So as I start to develop this, because this was just to sit down this weekend and scratch out on a piece of paper, what does this look like? If I do a retreat, what do we do on Monday, what do we do on Tuesday, what do we do on Wednesday? Kind of thing. So I mapped it out for the whole week. Now you're going to travel down here, it's two days down and two days back, so you're going to take off a little more than a week. That's why I wanted to put that out there. A lot of times people say we're doing a retreat next month, and you're like, I don't have time to book airfare and get there next month or two months, and you might even have a passport. So get your passports in order, get on this list, 40plusfitness.com/retreat. I'm going to go first come, first serve, and I'll reach out and I'll say, Are you interested? And if they say they are, okay, here's what it is, and you've got to be on this list because I'm not going to open it up to the public if I know there's people that are interested now.

[00:05:26.950] – Allan

So get on the list, then I'll know you're interested. I'll send you the information as it develops, and then when we're ready to take signups, you'll be the first to know and be one of the 30 people. That will be what I hope is the first annual 40+ Fitness Retreat.

[00:05:42.270] – Rachel

That sounds awesome.

[00:05:43.480] – Allan

Yeah, that's what I've been working on. And I'm also going to redo the Crush the Holidays Challenge.

[00:05:49.480] – Rachel

Oh, cool.

[00:05:50.790] – Allan

Not ready for that yet. I just started on that, so I was kind of brainstorming this retreat, and then I'm brainstorming, and I'm starting to work on getting things together for the Crush the Holidays Challenge. So I've been putting all that together. So that's been a very creative, busy weekend, but I'm doing it.

[00:06:06.760] – Rachel

Awesome. That sounds really exciting. How fun.

[00:06:09.880] – Rachel

Yeah, it would be a beautiful place to have a retreat. That sounds awesome, Allan.

[00:06:14.590] – Allan

Yeah, it'll be right after our busy season. A busy season here runs all the way through Easter, which this year is in April, and then we can finish out our Easter rush, go do the wedding with our daughter Summer, and then come back and have a retreat here with some of our best friends at 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:33.700] – Rachel

That sounds awesome.

[00:06:35.220] – Allan

So how are things up there?

[00:06:36.930] – Rachel

Good, good. Just getting ready for the upcoming holidays. Thanksgiving's around the corner, my favorite eating day of the year. And so we're starting to make our plans for the holiday, and I haven't given an update in a while, probably to the listeners, but as you know, my husband has been battling kidney cancer, and we just found out that his surgery date will be December 8. So he'll have his surgery that he'll lose his kidney that day, and then he'll have some recovery time right before Christmas, so that kind of works out for our family. It'll be nice, a nice, relaxing December for us. So I just want to let you know that that's coming up, and we're pretty happy about it.

[00:07:17.830] – Allan

Yeah. And then he'll be able to go into January and February with the ice fishing and the hunting, and he'll feel a lot better then.

[00:07:24.360] – Rachel

Yeah. Where he's actually making plans. Ice fishing will be great.

[00:07:29.560] – Allan

Yeah. Good for him. I'm glad he's getting this done, and it's working out well for him.

[00:07:35.940] – Rachel

Yeah. Finally. Good news.

[00:07:38.160] – Allan

All right, well, you're ready to talk about the seven circles?

[00:07:41.230] – Rachel



[00:07:43.090] – Allan

Chelsey, Thosh. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:46.760] – Chelsey

Great to be here. Thanks for having us.

[00:07:48.720] – Thosh

Thank you for having us.

[00:07:49.690] – Allan

So your book is called The Seven Circles: Indigenous Teachings for Living Well. And there's so many good things I can say about this book, and we're going to get into some of those. But I think one of the things that really kind of struck me was there's a saying out there about, like, one of the biggest curses is to be the smartest person in the room. And you guys put yourselves in situations where you are not the smartest person in the room. And you did it many times, talking to some really intelligent and people who have just been around and understand the Indigenous life, and they remember the lessons from their grandparents and their great-grandparents, and they shared that with you. And you took all of those great learnings and melded them into something that is beautiful.

[00:08:37.990] – Chelsey

Well, thank you. I'm so glad that that's what you got out of it. And indeed, one of the first things that we always like to acknowledge is that our knowledge is not our own. We grew up in our communities. We grew up amongst our elders, amongst spiritual leaders and political and cultural leaders, and who have just been so generous with their knowledge. And so we just feel really grateful to be able to share it in a new way.

[00:09:05.020] – Allan

And I think the other thing that's interesting is both of you are from different parts of North America, so you bring your own kind of dynamics to it. But you didn't just stop there. You reached out across all the spectrum of what's out there and acknowledged that there's not, like, one teaching, there's not, like, one thing that permeated everything. But you found these threads of commonality, and you kind of use them to stitch up what this whole Seven circles thing is all about. It encompasses bits of all of them, but not any one of them really dominates the way that you approach this, because you saw wisdom across the spectrum.

[00:09:46.690] – Chelsey

Absolutely. So there are seven different areas of our health and of our lifestyles that we feel our ancestors really exemplified in their lifestyles and that Indigenous teachings continue to find unique ways of explaining. And so while much of the wellness conversation is focused specifically on food and fitness, which are two very, very important pieces of it, and those each are a circle, there are also these other pieces that we've identified. And the main point is, though, that all of these are so interconnected, you can't remove one from the other. And when we created the seven circles of wellness, we were seeing that almost every other wellness model or book was organized by lists or by pillars, without necessarily visually connecting these. And so we just found it really important to actually show this model where they were all visually connected.

[00:10:48.400] – Allan

Yes. The word I like to use is matrix. It was really a tight model because I think people know that, as if you have a bad food day, you're probably not going to sleep very well and suffer some other health consequences. So it really does show how all of these work together, Symbiotically, to build a model of health.

[00:11:08.360] – Chelsey


[00:11:09.300] – Thosh

Yeah. And you mentioned that we're from different parts of the country, and my people come from what is now known as Arizona. I was born and raised on the Salt River cuca community. It's a reservation right outside of what is now known as Scottsdale Phoenix area. And a lot of what we put into seven Circles, as Chelsey said, is what we learned from in our community is what we are raised in, and some of it is knowledge and information that we are putting back into practice that we've only heard mentioned and that hasn't been practiced. And that's really happening all across Native communities, native American communities in the United States and also First Nations communities in Canada. We have aspects of our precolonial indigenous life ways that we have revitalized and preserved and are applying it today and to help us to be in thriving health and to reclaim our health. And that's what the seven circles are. Sleep, food, movement, ceremony, sacred space, connection to land, and connection to community and people. So in all seven of those areas, there affect our spiritual, physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. And so we see that those are the seven aspects that have allowed our people in precolonial times to live in thriving hell, to survive the harsh climates that they did, and to really thrive and to pass down the knowledge and information to our generations today.

[00:12:33.180] – Thosh

So we believe it's a model that's certainly suitable for all people from all walks of life to utilize. It's sort of like a template. And people can use whatever cultural context that we raise in to zoom in out these areas, to find out how they can bring balance, restore balance and harmony with their overall health and see themselves connected to the land and connected to the community around them.

[00:12:55.170] – Allan

I do want to dive into a few of these circles while we're on here. We can't obviously get into all of them. That would be a very long episode. But there are a few that I want to touch on because obviously I can't get off of a podcast without talking about movement because I'm a personal trainer and I'm also a nutrition coach, so I can't leave a call without talking about nutrition and food. So there are some others I want to talk about. But there was one thing you brought up. This is a quote that was in the book. And I want to read this because I think this is really important for someone to understand what this model does for you. Okay? “Engaging with the Seven Circles of wellness is not a crash diet or new year's resolution. This is a sustainable, long-term everlasting cycle of seeking health and wellness that you have already been participating in, whether you know it or not.”

[00:13:45.110] – Chelsey

Yes, absolutely. There are so many people out there who are practitioners of health, who are exemplifying wellness and demonstrating leadership in these different areas. But it's just that sometimes we're not seeing that. We're not giving ourselves credit for the way that we're keeping our home and the way that we are taking care of our family members and the way that we are getting good rest at night, really on a good routine with our circadian rhythm. All of these different areas of our I mean, there's dozens of things that people do for their health that they're not even realizing are really important. And so if they can continue to do those and in addition, find a modality of movement or a way of connecting to a good way of eating that works for them, then we're looking at a really nice, balanced lifestyle. And sure, we're going to fall in and out of balance in all of these different areas on pretty much a daily basis. I have a bad cold right now. I have gotten pretty bad sleep the last couple of nights, but I'm not going to sit here and beat myself up over it.

[00:14:56.820] – Chelsey

All it is, is just acknowledging, okay, I see that I have a cold, my health is out of whack, and I know that it's a cycle and that there are steps I can take to get back to that place. And when I have those seven circles in front of me, it becomes very easy for me to identify which of those areas am I neglecting and can I once again address so that I can feel some semblance of balance again? So it's just a constant cycle. It's in and out. It's ebbing and flowing. And we're all participating in that.

[00:15:30.360] – Thosh

Yeah. And we like to share that. Viewing these changes like a change of relationship to food or finding a modality of movement that works for them, we encourage everyone to see this, to view this as these are life ways. It's a way of life that you're finding it. You're constantly evolving. You're constantly learning. And that there's no finish line. Right to healing and health and wellness. That it's never a finish line to where finally you get your A1C down to a manageable range. And then you think.

[00:16:00.600] – Thosh

Oh, I can eat whatever I want now. Or I've gotten my PR deadlift to a certain number and. Oh, that's it. I can just stop training that from there. I've accomplished that goal. And we always try to encourage everyone that we are constantly evolving. And we look at all these aspects. These are a way of life in whatever way we choose as far as our sleep habits to modes of stress relief such as meditation or food waste or whatever modality movement. It should be something that we could adhere to, it can adhere to for longevity. How long can we do this? It should support that, I believe.

[00:16:36.310] – Allan

The way I look at it, and this is some of my background, I was an auditor, so of course this is the way I'm going to look at it is this sort of like a self audit, like you're looking at your life from these seven prisms, these seven directions. Because that's the model's kind of built in a circle around you. And you literally go out, look and say, how is my movement practice? Am I doing the best I can for myself there? How's my food? How's my sacred space? And so you kind of can look at yourself from that holistic way of saying, okay, I'm doing well, here I could do better there. This is not, at this point in my life, all that important relative to some of these others. And so in the book and this is not a test, because I know when you write a book, you wrote this maybe a year or two ago, but you gave an example, and I think it was a really good example, and I'm sure you could come up with something similar. Like, you talked about a man who was 40 years old and where he was in his life at that point.

[00:17:33.330] – Allan

And then you flashed forward to when he was an elder, which I would guess was probably in his 60s or 70s, and everything had shifted in his seven circles, but he was still living the right life because he was still true to where he needed to be. Can you kind of talk about how that works for someone? Because there are folks that listen to this show that are in there somewhere in their 30s, but there's in their 40s, some are in their 70s and 80s. So for someone who's looking at how to apply this to themselves, can you kind of give us some examples?

[00:18:08.060] – Chelsey

So a life of wellness is not something that we only find in our youth. And that's why I absolutely love the concept of your podcast in the first place. I just have to say that because isn't it unfortunate that the idea of 40 plus fitness is novel or unusual to so many people, but in reality, we can continue fitness and healthy eating and connection to land and all of these different circles until the day we die and our ancestors exemplify that, and we can reclaim those practices today. So, yeah, in the example that you're talking about in the book, we share a scenario of a man, you know, that when he's 40, he's really thriving in you know, I don't remember the exact example,

[00:18:57.780] – Allan

That's what I said, but it's not a test. It's not a test.

[00:19:01.160] – Chelsey

He's really thriving, I think, in movement because he's getting his exercise and he's thriving in sleep because he's getting his good 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night. He's neglecting his connection to land a little bit because he's having trouble finding time to get outside. He's neglecting his sacred space a little bit because he's got young kids and it's been really difficult to keep his yard trimmed and to keep his house tidy and stuff like that. But he's aware of that and it's in his mind and he's working toward it. Those are just some examples. And then by the time he's an elder, his food circle has really grown and is really healthy because when he was 40, he started to learn how to plant and how to grow food. And so by the time he was of elder age, he was not only in the habit of that, but he was an expert and a person who others would come to for guidance in how do I re-establish a relationship to food. And so that just shows that we have different seasons of life. We're going to show and exemplify wellness and health in different ways in those different seasons.

[00:20:08.530] – Chelsey

And it's okay that that changes as long as in general we are aware of these seven circles and we're doing our best in those different areas and allowing them to grow and change.

[00:20:20.680] – Allan

Now, the way I think that happens, and you can correct me if I'm wrong is that's a part of the fact that this is a cycle and the cycle is learn, engage, optimize. Can you talk a little bit about how that cycle works and how that allows us to continue to be good at what we're good at and then be aware of where we need to grow?

[00:20:42.560] – Thosh

Yeah. And that's what we've outlined is that as you mentioned, learn, engage, optimize. And learning is that phase of life where learning to implement these new life ways we are exploring, we are talking to people, knowledge keepers. We're maybe reading the scientific evidence associated with each of these circles right here that teach us a little bit more about that and then engages. We are being proactive with implementing this. We're implementing all these practices. We're seeing what works. It's the trial phase. We're seeing what works. Maybe if someone is incorporating different methods of fasting and they are trying different what does it help you to fast for an extended twelve hour window or do you have a small four hour fast? Are you cutting off eating at a certain time? They're discovering, they're discovering various modalities of movement. Maybe they're discovering different things on the land like learning to forge some food, plant, hunt, fish exploring these things right here and finding community, finding a community to be a part of to do these activities with that support this way of life. And then to optimize as they've already discovered that you've done the work and you've discovered what's working.

[00:21:50.160] – Thosh

You're able to experience the benefits of these changes in the lifeways. You're able to experience, you're able to even report changes just anecdotally on how you feel or maybe even it's reflected in all of their biometrics. Maybe their insulin sensitivity improved, maybe their cortisol went down. Maybe their LDL HDL levels have improved because they've incorporated more exercise and changing the way they're eating and maybe experiencing less stress because they found some modality of stress reduction meditation of some sort. So that's that optimize section right there and now they're able to teach that and share and be able to incorporate others into that journey so they can learn as well.

[00:22:31.630] – Chelsey

Yes, and the key too as well is that at the end of the optimize there is no end. So I'm sure you know this very well is the more you know, the more you know, you don't know. So the beautiful thing about that optimize section is now because you've been learning and engaging and practicing all these different areas for so long, you're like, okay, now I want to know even more about this, this, and this. And I want to really hone in and really become an expert in these areas. And after the optimize section, the learning continues.

[00:23:06.460] – Allan

Yeah, and we're changing too. That's the other thing that's going on as we get a little older, the things I did when I was 40 or 30 or 20 aren't in my best interest right now. So it's a relearning of what is it like to be in the mid 50s and how I should train, how I should eat, how I should live my life. And all those different Seven Circles is just you have to be looking at them and understand that you get older, you have to change your ways to fit your new living environment.

[00:23:36.070] – Chelsey

Yeah, absolutely.

[00:23:37.500] – Thosh

We love that. That's your interpretation of that, too. And that's what we would hope for, because we know people probably see us on 40 she's in 30s. People probably see, oh, this is maybe something only for young people. Well, and I'm glad that you were able to view the utility in all cycles of your life, all stages of your life. And that's what we hope for. And that's why Seven Circles isn't a circle, it's circular. Just like everything in our world moves in cycles and circulars, even down some very molecular level that we are made up of. Everything is in cycles, everything is circular. And so we're constantly evolving, and we just each new phase of life, we're finding out how can we adapt this modality to serve our needs here and there.

[00:24:15.750] – Chelsey

Yeah, and I know for ourselves, like, something that's really important is like, we recognize we're in an early season of our marriage, for example. We've been together for ten years and married for three, I think. And we're in an early season of parenting. We have a one year old and a four year old. We know that there are going to be so many changes and shifts in our lifestyle, but rather than viewing it, which unfortunately, so many Americans view when I'm 80, not even just 80, people think that when they're 30, they can't be fit anymore or they can't exercise anymore, or they can't be healthy anymore in the same way. What we see is not that we can't do these things, but that we're going to be doing things differently, and that it's not better or worse, it's just different. And that's great.

[00:25:12.040] – Allan

Now you have one of the seven is movement, and you had a statement in there that movement is not fitness. And I think the reason that that resonated with me is because fitness has kind of become this look. Do you look fit? Do you have that thing? You see the CrossFit? Who's the fittest man and who's the fittest woman on earth. And I'm like, no, they're just the best exercisers. And to me, fitness is like fit for task. And so as you say something so if I want to grow my own food, well, I'm going to have to get down and touch the earth and I'm going to have to get back up as I get older, I don't want anyone to be put on by me. So when I'm 105, I want to be able to wipe my own butt. And so there's this kind of these things that you go through and say. So when you say movement is not fitness, can we kind of dig into that a little bit?

[00:26:12.600] – Thosh

Yeah, absolutely. Movement, we like to use that term because when you do say fitness for people that haven't yet adapted any sort of like movement routine into their life, that can be intimidating for some people. And we find that too, because our work is in within our Native American communities where we are experiencing lots of collective grief and historic trauma. Sometimes that prevents people from moving and then from there we see the prevalence of certain health disparities, which lack of movement is not the symptom that goes deeper than that. But what we see is that maybe some have not discovered movement in a way that appeals to them. Maybe the fitness gym culture is intimidating for many people and I can understand why. I can certainly see why. So we say movement because what we do, what we believe is it encompasses everything from swift walking to dancing, free movement, weight training, functional training, yoga, CrossFit, any sorts of conventional sports, combat sports, working with the horses, canoe culture. There's movement that comes in many different, many different modalities and we always share with people. It's important to discover what's the movement that you're going to be continued to be excited for and that you're going to continue to experience benefit.

[00:27:31.260] – Thosh

You're going to improve muscle metabolism, you're going to improve cardiovascular health, neurogenerative health, and you're going to allow that release of anxiety and stress through all the fuel good neurotransmitters that become present once you start to exercise and put yourself in a little bit of discomfort. We encourage everyone to discover what modalities, one that excites them.

[00:27:53.660] – Allan

Now, as you got through the model and you get into the point where we're looking at optimizing, and I think for a lot of people, they want to know, OK, why is this important? And you went through in each section a section that said, how this section heals? How this.. So in movement heals? There were dozens, so we don't have time to list all of them, but give us just a couple of examples of how movement heals.

[00:28:19.010] – Chelsey

Well, one thing that's a big one for me is mental health. So movement helps, it's a guaranteed boost of endorphins, it's a guaranteed ease of anxiety. For me, I know that when I step into the gym to lift some weights or when I get onto my yoga mat to do some stretches and Pilates, I will experience that boost in mental health that I might need for that day. And it's a way of feeling accomplished. It's a way of feeling like you then I see it almost as a clearing of space in my mind because I've moved my body and I've got my blood flowing and I've got my energy up. Okay, now I can go and be a better mom. I can be a better practitioner of my work. I can get these emails done, I can do these annoying logistical things. I can clean my house. Movement is a big one for mental health.

[00:29:18.040] – Thosh

Yes. And we share that the seven circles, they're all interconnected, meaning that they also overlap so many times. If you are looking at food waste, like the circle of food we have that if you zoom into that, that can be broken down as farming the land. And that's something that where I come from, people in Arizona, that's what we did in pre colonial times is we farmed the irrigated, various melons, various varieties of beans and squash and corn and they forged. So that we meant taking many steps, thousands of steps per day on the land, foraging, hunting, all that kind of stuff. And so if we overlap that circle of food and movement, we will see right there that also comes into play as the circle of community because we are on the land doing things with those that we love. So, like in our family, for instance, we have one and a half acres that we grow food on and it requires us to get out there with our tools, our shovels and picks and everything and go to work. And I like that aspect of it because I'm able to do that and I have motivation and empower to do that because I also exercise for these sorts of life ways.

[00:30:27.930] – Thosh

Like my own personal fitness regimen is to support me, to be doing things on the land that are going to support my lifestyle, such as acquiring a food, doing stuff with family, being able to maneuver on the land. And so there's how we see how movement heals us because we are allowing to be out on the land to do those things, to produce food there to do with people. And it's nutrient dense food and it's cultural significance sustainably sourced. And so the way I see it is that movement should complement all these other aspects of your life. It should make those easier. And that's why I believe that each movement modality or each movement practice will vary from person to person.

[00:31:07.610] – Chelsey

Yeah. And then of course, there's so many of the scientific benefits and the medical benefits as well of movement which are just myriad and touching back to what Thosh mentioned there about community. Like I know even as a family, as a little family of four. Movement is at the center of our recreation. It's at the center of the fun and the joy and the laughter that we have with our two little girls. And we hope that it will continue to be in many ways, it's at the center of our marriage as well. Because while there are lots of sure, sometimes we like to go on date night and go out to a restaurant, but at least as often we like to do, you know, maybe we'll go on a hike together or we'll do some weight training together in the gym. And it's a great way of bonding and having goals and a shared interest in something that goes beyond the superficial. So movement is just such a powerful tool for connecting family and marriage and community and connecting to the land and getting better sleep at night. And it really is medicine. Movement is medicine.

[00:32:18.630] – Allan

Now, I can't leave the movement conversation without talking about the seven basic movement patterns that you had in the book because I do think these are kind of important because everybody is going to have their favorite. My co host, Rachel, she's a runner. She'll keep running and she runs and runs. She also lifts weights and does other things. I'm more of the weight lifter, but I also kind of have my endurance bits, just not like her. So I think people will gravitate to the things they like the best, which are often the things they end up also being the best at. But can you talk about the seven basic movement patterns?

[00:32:53.660] – Thosh

Yeah, and that's something that we just kind of learned from functional training and just from other trainers we've worked with and just our own learning of learning about and what's the best way for us to move the body and that's one thing we learned about is incorporating squat movements, hip hinge movements, lunging, pushing, pulling, rotating in a gate, such as you mentioned running. My thing is I love to sprint. I don't have that much time these days to run distance. I did growing up because I come from a community of runners historically, where people were runners, and we still do today. I just don't have a whole lot of time with our children as young as they are in our work, as busy as they are. So I like to get my cardiovascular endurance in through training on the heavy bag or getting in some sprint intervals. But we always share with people is that if you're looking for just overall longevity and you're looking for just functionality that we can look to structuring your regimen around, maybe I'm doing a circuit where I'm incorporating a lunge movement, a hip hinge movement, and then maybe I'm doing a rotate movement.

[00:33:54.790] – Thosh

And then the next one I'm doing pushing, pulling, and then maybe incorporating a squat movement and maybe I'm ending it with a jog around on the block or whatever, but we always also encourage that. Look at your session. Are you doing are you straight training today? Are you training for power? Are you training for muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance? And I believe that those are good, sort of good little templates to kind of abide by and to help someone who may feel overwhelmed, especially on social media or seeing all these different types of workouts and people who are not as aware of the body at a physiological level may feel overwhelmed at what to do. But I think that the seven basic movements and very specific system of power agility, strength, mobility, flexibility, speed, endurance I think that it's quite simply putting those together and that's a really simple template to kind of keep us on track.

[00:34:49.840] – Allan

And it does sound kind of intimidating if you're not from this space. So I totally get that as well. But that's where your learn, engage and optimize cycle really kind of comes to play. It's like, okay, I'm going to learn more about strength training because I know I'm not as strong as I need to be or I know that my mobility is not as good as it needs to be. So I need to learn more about how to be more mobile. Maybe it's a Pilates class or a yoga class or just some stretching that you're doing off of a video you see on YouTube. But you're learning, you're trying, you're engaging and then you're optimizing. So it may seem big, but they say, how do you eat an elephant one bite at a time, take that bite and try it and then move on to the next one.

[00:35:35.890] – Chelsey

Exactly. What I love is self empowerment. I love the concept of we can teach ourselves to be our own experts. And as beneficial as it has been for me, and as much as I love the fact that I can go on YouTube and copy step by step thousands of different workouts that are out there and available to us and that is how I've built my own movement practice in many ways is by using the Internet and by using books and by going to classes. At the end of the day, there's also going to be a time where I am waking up in a hotel room because I'm at a conference and I've got 20 minutes and I need to move, otherwise I'm not going to get any movement in for that day. And if I have spent a lot of years and a lot of time learning these seven basic movements and having some idea in my head of this arsenal of very basic workouts that I can do without necessarily needing equipment and without necessarily needing a video or a trainer in front of me. Then that makes me that much more likely to engage in a movement practice on a daily basis.

[00:36:42.790] – Chelsey

Or if I'm in the airport and I've got 20 minutes and I'm sitting there at my gate? What can I do without having to break into a full sweat and have my equipment with me? But can I do at least something? And so those are those spaces where I think so many of us could benefit from is incorporating movement throughout our day in a seamless way. And I think that that's where the seven basic movements really helps people.

[00:37:08.440] – Allan

OK, the next one I want to work on is food. Obviously, as a personal trainer, nutrition coach, I have to talk about food. And I'm going to come back to sacred places because I do want to talk about that. Now, you had something in the book. It's one of those things that sometimes you're reading and you're reading something and in your head it's like they're saying something deeper and it's not what's in the words, it's what the words represent. You know what I mean? And so you were saying that you started talking about the term colonization and I was like so I started thinking about them, like, yeah, fast food colonized our main streets and avenues and then processed food, colonized our grocery stores and almost take them completely over. We're at this point where in all this happened not to benefit the people, it was for profit and growth. It's sort of like your stories, your history. We're being colonized now and we're not even where it's happening.

[00:38:06.190] – Chelsey

Yes, that's what we always say for sure is that Indigenous people aren't the only people who are being impacted by colonization, by colonization of the land and of our food systems and of water sources and the infiltration of a sedentary lifestyle. Like, everybody is impacted by this. Today, one in three Americans are diabetic and more than that are on their way to being diabetic in the next ten years. I mean, these numbers are scary and they are staggering. And we are obviously all being impacted by this system. And it's really up to us as individuals and as families to take it into our own hands to try to find some way to improve our relationship to food once again and to take that as seriously as we take going for our annual doctor checkups and any other piece that we do for our health.

[00:39:07.920] – Allan

Now, in the book, you did share seven actions that we can use to strengthen our relationship with food. Could you get into those?

[00:39:16.010] – Thosh

Yeah. Again, we always use a lot of historic reference and when we look at how did our people, as Indigenous people, how do we acquire food? They're really all people across the world. How did they acquire food before the industrialized era, before globalization, before the commodification of resources? How did we acquire food? And that was one is that our people had forged people forged food. People hunted and fished. People had grown food people had planted. Even before industrial agriculture, cultures around the world were farming. They were farming. And that's what we look at with a lot of our native cultures right here in what is now known as the United States is that that's how we acquire food. And in a spiritual sense, our people had always eaten with gratitude. We always had spiritual practice associated with our food waste. So there were ceremonies of giving thanks when the food was harvested, whether it was the plant, whether if it was an animal, even if it was seeds that we planted or we forged from the land. There was always words that were recited to give thanks for that food source because we've always seen ourselves not separate from what they call nature, but a part of the land.

[00:40:24.780] – Thosh

We are a part of this interconnected inextricably connected network of living organisms. As human beings, we are part of that. And we have these foodways that we engage in right there. So there's those four foodways right there. There's the hunt, fish, porch, grow, give thanks. And then today we've added the grocery store. Like shopping smart, being able to navigate the grocery store and find out what foods are right for you that are within the grocery store, what foods are there that you want to support? Maybe some people are conscious consumers and they want to reduce their eco footprint. Maybe they want to support ethically sourced foods so that's where they can make those choices, in the grocery store. And then cooking, getting familiar with cooking if they haven't already cooked before. And we encourage everyone to learn to cook. We love to cook. We're always cooking several times a day in our home. From our cultures, it was always looked at as cooking was like a ceremony that you're supposed to be having a good heart and a good mind as you're preparing this food right here and you're serving that food with love and it's going to nourish people.

[00:41:24.910] – Thosh

And then the other is for breastfeeding, right? And I'll let her talk about that too. Is honoring, acknowledging breastfeeding is the first food of the baby. And that's something that's a big part of our cultural upbringing as native people.

[00:41:36.720] – Chelsey

Yes. And with breastfeeding, we always say we support and encourage any way that a parent is able to feed their baby. So whether they prefer formula feeding or pumping or breastfeeding, it's really up to them. But in general, what we've observed is that those who do want to breastfeed don't always feel safe or comfortable or are given the time and the space to do so in relation to their career in their workplace. And so breastfeeding as a part of those seven actions means just like not only to be a breastfeeding mother, but to support breastfeeding mothers in being able to feed their baby that way if that's what they choose, because there are so many nutritional and emotional benefits to it.

[00:42:17.140] – Thosh

In the way we see it, it's the baby's first food. And that's what gets a child set on a path to eating nutrient dense, whole food. And we always honor the beginning in our cultures, we honor the beginning of that.

[00:42:29.440] – Chelsey

Yeah. So those are the seven actions that folks can take to restore what we say is the relationship to food. And what we know is that not everybody is going to do all seven of those. It's okay if you're not a hunter. It's okay if you're not growing a field of corn, beans, and squash in your backyard. Some people simply don't even have the space for that or the technology or the knowledge that they have to do that. And that's fine. What we hope is that there's at least one in those seven that everybody can connect with. And we know that, for example, we can all center gratitude in our relationship to food. We can all view food as a lifegiving entity that nourishes us spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, and viewing it beyond what it has become, which is sort of this commodification and just this object that lives on a grocery store that has no life outside of that. Really, once we reestablish that relationship to food, we can begin to center it in a way that promotes the improvement of our health.

[00:43:35.860] – Allan

Yeah, well, they process the life out of it. So closer you are to where it's coming from, the better. And so hunting and foraging and growing your own is definitely going to serve you a lot better than being beheld in what the grocery stores and the food industry wants to serve today.

[00:43:54.260] – Chelsey


[00:43:56.960] – Allan

So let's go back to sacred Place, because we've talked about home basically making it a good place for you. And a lot of times we talk about our home gyms. That's always fun. You guys have a home gym as well. You turn your garage into a home gym, but it goes deep. And also we talk about toxins because if we're bringing certain cleaners into our home, obviously that's not serving us. But the term sacred space and the way you use it is a lot deeper than just physical.

[00:44:26.060] – Chelsey

Yeah. So we encourage everybody to view their home as a sacred space or any place where they spend a lot of time really in your office. And what that means is it's not religious. It means having reverence for that space. It means recognizing the ways that your surroundings impact the way that you feel and the way that you're able to perform your duties as a human being. When our space feels right and when our space feels important and put together and that it makes sense, then the whole world around us is making more sense and we're able to again move forward and carry on and do the rest of our duties. The first thing that Thosh does when he steps into that garage gym, as he sweeps it out, he wipes down the surfaces. He makes sure that things are in order before he takes the tears it up and then does his really intense training session in there, and then and so on and so forth. And so, you know, sacred space is making your home a place that facilitates well-being

[00:45:34.060] – Thosh

yeah, anywhere where we learn, where we eat, where we live, where we laugh, where we love, where we do any of these things together, not just solo, but together with people that we love. These are sacred spaces because they contribute to our overall health and wellness, our feeling of connectedness, our feeling of being empowered. And for us, that's what sacred is as native people, when we're using English language, the word sacred, that's what it means to us. Anything that really is important that contributes to essentially our health and wellness. And one of the first things I do in the morning, too, especially in the summertime, the warmer times season, when the sun comes up earlier, is that when I get up, like around five or 530, the first thing I do is open the windows to the living room and intentionally let that morning glow in, the morning light in. And I'll sit there and let that come into my eyes and to kind of help me get started for the day and visualize the day. And sometimes, if I'm not too much in a rush, which I'm working on, I'll do my meditation if my coffee steeps, but sometimes I'll have my coffee and I'm just visualizing the day.

[00:46:35.010] – Thosh

I'm thinking about how I want this day to go, and I'm visualizing everything being executed in that laying down at night again. But I let that sunlight come in. And that's what we do in our home now. We let the sunlight come in. And that's what a lot of our spiritual leaders in our communities have always told us, is to make sure that we let the sunlight come in and let the healing come in. Do positive things in your home, have laughter, play beautiful music of good high frequencies, also sing in the house, have family time, prayer time, ceremony time in the home. And it invites a really positive energy into the home and contributes to our health and wellness.

[00:47:09.640] – Chelsey

What I encourage the listeners to do is think about a person in your life whose home, when you visit that home, or maybe it's from your childhood, maybe it's one of your grandparents, when you walk through that door, you're just at peace. You're just, wow, like there's something rich here. There's something that feels very comforting and just very inviting about the presence and the way that that person keeps their home. Is there a smell? Is it because of the way it's arranged or the colors that are used, or because there's so much natural light, or there's this great smell of food cooking or something like that? Think about that home and try to emulate that. And one thing that you'll notice is it's not necessarily going to be the biggest home. It's not necessarily going to be based on a specific location. It could be anywhere. It could be any size of home. It's really just about the love that goes into it. So we encourage folks to just put love into their home.

[00:48:09.190] – Allan

I think, as you were saying, that one of the things that struck me was I thought about my grandmother and grandfather's house and how safe I felt there. And I'm like if you had measured my cortisol level when I was at grandma's house, right there, you're already got a health benefit just by having that feeling when you're in your place.

[00:48:30.260] – Chelsey

There you go. And you know what? And I do think that some of this, just like anything else, I think that sacred space is one of those pieces of health that inevitably is actually going to improve as we get older. Like, I haven't quite figured out that formula yet for just how inviting and how great my grandma thelma's house felt. Like, I'm still trying to figure that out, and I'm definitely getting better at it as I get older and learning to incorporate these different elements. But, yeah, I think that it is a piece of our health and of our wellness that makes so much more of a difference than what we even realized.

[00:49:05.100] – Allan

Yeah, and I like how you took it beyond just the physical now that we're into the space that we're in with Facebook and Twitter and all of that, and you talked about our digital spaces, and I will say that that was one of the core takeaways from your book that I have incorporated. I have not logged onto Twitter since I read your book.

[00:49:25.460] – Chelsey

Wow, that's awesome.

[00:49:28.390] – Allan

Can we talk just a little bit about digital spaces before we

[00:49:32.810] – Thosh

yeah, totally. That's something that we are learning with and it's something that's very I think it's going to be a complex relationship with everybody based on some people like yourself and us. Part of our work requires us to be on social media to an extent, to share these ideas, to share about the book, you know, to create a more awareness about indigenous life ways for our own communities, and to share these other messages for people outside of our communities. And so we've always seen social media as a tool, but with any tool, you have to have boundaries. And we believe that now we're in that age where social media is required, that we have to facilitate a healthy relationship with social media because it has the means to negatively impact our sense of wellbeing, with what we're seeing on there, with our activity, that we are engaging with certain people. And we have to filter, we have to limit what we are seeing on social media because it could make us angry. It could trigger things, especially in the heated social political climate that we've seen to not be able to get out of in this country, in recent years.

[00:50:36.790] – Thosh

Social media is one that we have to regulate our input. What are we seeing? What are we hearing right here? How does it make us feel? We need to assess that and determine what do I need to unfollow and do I need to create a schedule for myself? Maybe I'm only on social media one to 2 hours a day. Maybe I only post two, three times a week. Maybe I go on social media fast for one week, for 30 days and I don't check into that. And I'm being present. I'm being present with my own self, my own thoughts, my emotions. I'm being present with those that are within my space, that I work with, that I go to school with, that I live with, that I love with being present right there because we are seeing that. And there's scientific evidence too. There's a plethora of studies that come out that have shown that we get a dopamine release even when we receive a notification and that that can create that addiction there social media addiction, we know is a real thing right there. And so the science is there. The emptiness, the feeling of loneliness and emptiness that became exacerbated during COVID-19.

[00:51:33.270] – Thosh

And people were left to really only connect during the virtual world to the virtual world. Now that we're out of that lockdown, people are stuck in that behavior pattern and more addicted than ever. So we see that social media is something that we certainly have to be conscious of our interaction with it. We have to create these boundaries with it. And it's going to be different from everybody for sure.

[00:51:52.500] – Chelsey

Yeah. And that goes for technology in general too. You know, even something as simple as cleaning off your desktop if it gets messy or organizing your emails in your inbox, that can give us that same sense of peace and being able to move forward and clearing that space in your mind so that you can complete other tasks. We need to clean those spaces just like as we need to clean up our table or make our bed in the morning. And those are actions, those are wellness practices just as much as getting in the gym or cooking a healthier meal.

[00:52:23.200] – Allan

I'm going to ask you each one at a time, these questions because I've asked all my guests this since nearly the beginning. So I'll start with you Thosh. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:52:40.390] – Thosh

Three strategies to get well and stay there? I think the first thing I always go into is the mind and I always share with people what is the vision you have for yourself in the future, even tomorrow, ten years, 30, 50 years down the line? Who do you want to be in that time? How do you want to think? How do you want to feel? And how do you want to act during that time? So I always share with people to have that vision of yourself, what is being well mean for you? What does that feel like and what actions do you have to take in order to become that? And I always share with people, we have to visualize it, know where we are going, and every day, every day we have to do something that's helping us to get closer to that. And we have to have things that keep us accountable because we all get off track. We all get off track. We have to have some method or mode to keep us accountable. Some sort of system that keeps us on track with our mission. We have a mission that we've created in life that has to do with health, has to do with family, it has to do with school, career, whatever it is.

[00:53:50.080] – Thosh

We have to stay on that mission there and to visualize how that's going to be and to make every day to step into that. So that's the first thing I encourage everyone. The first strategies, have a vision for yourself. Have a vision for yourself. And the second strategy is to find what modalities, what lifeways are going to assist you in that. And then that's where the learn, engage, optimize comes in there. Learning things, engage with it and then learn to optimize it so it gets you closer to that vision that you have of yourself right there. And then the third I would say is make sure that these are life ways and practices that you could adhere to. They're sustainable for the long run. They're not something that I'm just going to do this until I get at this weight or I'm just going to do this until my, you know, A1Cs at this. It's a continuation. We're always evolving, we're always healing and evolving from something. And so I believe that that's what it is. Have a vision for yourself, find out how you're going to do that and then make sure it's something that we can adhere to I would say.

[00:54:49.020] – Allan

Okay, thank you. Chelsey. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:54:59.660] – Chelsey

I would say the first thing would be to look within and to create a wellness practice and a lifestyle that is true to yourself as an individual. And don't worry about competing and don't worry about being the best or what your neighbor is doing or what's trendy really honestly try different things in food, in movement, in these different areas of health that feel authentic to you, that you can incorporate as sustainable practices. And don't be afraid to be an individual when it comes to those things. So that's number one is really be authentic to yourself. The second one that I would say is surround yourself with a support system and also be a support system because community is so integral and family is so integral to our health practices. We can't put that on the back burner. We truly have to find folks and to align ourselves with friends and relationships and to also be a role model for people like our children or like our nieces and nephews and others who look up to us. Sometimes we get so frustrated, I think, with things that are out of our control. Sure, you can't change society, but you can impact the way that your family is operating.

[00:56:28.200] – Chelsey

You can really make a difference on a daily basis with those things. So that's number two is community. Let's see here. The third wellness tip that I would offer is to expand your mind outside of anything that you've already seen in mainstream wellness and really taking a deeper look at all of these different areas of our health that might be impacting us and being open minded all the time and the lifelong learner to different ways that we can optimize and improve our lives. Taking in teachings from elders, from youth, from parenting, from hardship, from all of these different areas of life that help us grow and create resilience. Rather than looking at those things in life that we try to avoid because we can't avoid them, we're human. Let's embrace those areas of hardship and those areas of struggle and growth as things that teach us. So that would be my third is in just really expanding the way that we think about health and wellness far beyond the typical and just opening our minds a little bit more.

[00:57:45.520] – Allan

Thank you. Now, the book is beautiful. And there were images in the book, you're photographer Thosh, right? But you didn't take all the pictures because you're in some of them. But there's some beautiful pictures and some wonderful stories. Like, I just had an image in my head as I was reading and you're talking about hunting with your daughter strapped to your back bow and arrow and just a whole family there. And the fact that I know when my daughter was about that age, she'd be screaming her head off and I'd have no chance in heck getting her just beautiful stories about how you guys are trying to live this and use this and teach this. And so I encourage people that are kind of looking for just kind of the excitement and encouragement and motivation to make changes in their whole life, not just their health and fitness. To check out your book. If somebody wanted to learn more about you and your book, The Seven Circles, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:58:39.260] – Chelsey

Thank you so much. Yeah, we would love for them to visit our website wellforculture.com, which includes a lot more about what we do and it has links to every other place where you can engage with our content. I would say we're very active on Instagram. My handle is chelsey.moves and Those is thosh.collins. And then we also have our shared page, which is at wellforculture. So those areas where you can definitely, easily and quickly connect with us. And if you visit Harper Collins website, which is our publishing company, you can find our book, the Seven Circles indigenous Teachings for Living Well. It will also be available via audiobook. We narrated our own audiobook and it is available through pretty much any retailer you can think of. And we encourage people to make their own choice there and to support whichever book seller they feel best about supporting.

[00:59:31.870] – Allan

Great. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/561, and I'll be sure to have links there. So, Thosh and Chelsea, thanks so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:59:43.690] – Chelsey

Thank you for having us. It's been so fun to be here.

[00:59:46.230] – Thosh

Yes. Thank you, Allan. We enjoy this conversation. Thank you for your interest in our work. We really appreciate that.

Post Show/Recap

[01:00:00.710] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[01:00:01.960] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was a really neat interview. And, you know, you and I do talk a lot about the importance of sleep and food and movement, but we don't often talk about the sacred space, the connection to land, a connection to community. There is a lot to our lives that need a little bit of balance. So this is pretty important to have a sense of community and to be social and take care of, to have some pride as to where you live and whatnot.

[01:00:27.040] – Allan

Yeah, my whole journey, when I started, I was doing a self audit. I guess this way you could say I was sitting on the beach in Mexico and just doing my crap, but it was a self audit nonetheless, and it was, okay. I'm only doing well in one space, and it's not even really an important space. My career was great, but my health, my fitness, my connection to people, my connection to the world, all this stuff, it was just broken. And so a lot of people talk about, you know, you need to be broken before you can be fixed. I was completely broken, and it took me a long, long time to do this and get an understanding of what I could do to make myself better. And so it's a process, and it's a process that you have to be real with yourself, you have to be honest with yourself. And The Seven Circles is a really good model as you go through the book and say, okay, how am I doing on social connections? And how does that fit in with who I am today? So one of the things that I'm excited about is community.

[01:01:36.300] – Allan

And so we've got the Facebook group, and I've got clients and I've got friends and all that. Well, then, now we've got weddings that we're going to. And so I'm entering a phase with the daughters getting married and everything, where now I'm going to work on connecting and that social thing. And so it's just that back and forth of saying, okay, what's the most important things for me? And then making sure you're not leaving some of these things behind that are important. It's easy for us to sit at our desks and it gets cold and it's dreary outside and so we're going to stay in the house and bundle up and not get out, you know, and so that's that's a problem too.

[01:02:23.520] – Rachel

oh it is.

[01:02:24.570] – Allan

So it's just looking at those as just a consistent reminder to prioritize and understand we have to be doing something almost all the time, doing something in all seven of those areas, but at the same time looking at where we are in our lives and say, okay, this one is more important than that one.

[01:02:45.790] – Rachel

Yeah, well, we go through these phases in our lives, right? I mean, when the kids are young, your kids are your priority. My kids are older and almost out of the house at this point. So now you can focus on some other things, maybe. Well, taking care of Mike as he's struggling with his cancer and taking care of my family. I have a run club that I participate with, so I'm busy with my friends and making sure that we have those social connections. But just like they said, there's one of I can't remember which one who said it, but they said it's not about having a diet or a New Year's resolution. It's a lifestyle change. And the part that really hit me, though, is that it's constantly evolving and we're constantly learning. And just like you said, we need to take the time to have that self check, that self audit. And where are we today? Are we doing good with our food but not with our family? Are we getting good sleep but not enough movement? It's a balance. It's a balance between a lot of different things.

[01:03:47.060] – Allan

Well, the reality of it is this, okay, so if you imagine you're driving down the road and they tell you, have your hands at ten and two, okay, you can take your hands off the steering wheel, the car is still moving forward.

[01:04:02.140] – Rachel

That's right.

[01:04:04.540] – Allan

You can be doing this good or you can be doing everything bad. It's up to you, but you're doing it. That was one of the core things out of that quote that I said, was, yeah, you're doing it, but even if you're not doing it, you're still making a choice to not do it. So you could take your hands off that steering wheel, the outcome probably won't be very good. A non favorable outcome, absolutely. But you kind of get the idea is that you're still moving, you don't have a choice. Your life is still going on and that aging curve is still happening. And your time on this planet with the people you love is still limited. So the time is still happening, the movement is still happening. Everything's still moving. And if you're not engaged in making the most of that, that was a choice. It's still a choice. And so since you know that now, just take a few minutes. This book is pretty good about like I said during the self audit, there are tools out there, but this is a really good one and it's Matrix, so you really can kind of dig down.

[01:05:14.370] – Allan

Why is my sleep suffering? I'm under a lot of stress. I'm not moving enough. I'm not getting enough sunshine to set my circadian rhythm properly. I'm on computers in the middle of the night again, messing up my circadian rhythm because I can't be in my own head and just lay there and enjoy that space. You're doing something. Whether you choose to think you're doing it, you're still making that choice. So this is a good opportunity for you to look for that, find the balance. And find the balance that's right for you now, right? Yeah. It could be different a year from now. A six month period of time when both of our daughters are getting married. A lot of travel, probably not as much sleep. Might eat some things that I wouldn't normally eat because that's what my daughter chose to have as the meal at the wedding. It is what it is. Rehearsal dinners and all that other stuff. And daddy daughter dances and all that.

[01:06:19.990] – Rachel


[01:06:21.260] – Allan

So it's a different time for me right now. Closing a gym and my daughter is getting married and then about to launch something that scares the crap out of me. It's a thing. So just realizing where your focus needs to be and staying focused on the things that matter most.

[01:06:39.120] – Rachel

Yeah, that's great. Sounds like a great book.

[01:06:42.280] – Allan

It is a good book. And it's written from a perspective. Again, this isn't something. The stuff is what they came up with. I mean, obviously they built this model, they built the seven circle model. And so that is something, but it's driven off of what they call wisdom from their elders. This is not new stuff, guys. This is how we've always lived. We've just gotten away from that connection to how we are supposed to live. It's real food, movement, sleep, connection, connection, all seven of them. If you really think about it, those should be they are major components in living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. When I talk about wellness, you noticed I didn't just say health and fitness. There's the other stuff, the happiness, the joy, all that, all that has to be there. At some level, you're going to have moments in your life that are not as joyful as others. And that's just a check. It's like, okay, am I prioritizing and doing the right things for what matters most for me? If you are, then good. If you aren't, then you've got some work to do.

[01:07:56.920] – Rachel

That's right.

[01:07:57.450] – Allan

And guess what? We always have some more.

[01:07:59.070] – Rachel

Always. We are always evolving and learning, too. Give yourself a little grace as these things get out of balance and come right back in balance.

[01:08:10.380] – Allan

Yeah. So, as a general reminder, we've started this month with asking you for a review. So if you can get on your app what you're listening to right now, and leave the podcast a review, it's going to help us grow. And what we want to do is make this fun. So we're going to draw one of the reviewers, and in November, I'm going to send you some stuff. Okay? I'm going to send you some cool stuff. So go to your podcast app. I've got a tool that lets me see those reviews and I appreciate I read every one of them, even the bad ones. They teach me something like a self audit, but you're honoring me, so I love them. Even if it's bad review, it's good. It works out either way. But leave us a review and honest review, and I'm going to pick one winner each month and send you something cool. I'll read your review on air, and then I'll send you something cool. And then again, another reminder. I am looking to put together the first 40 Plus Fitness Retreat. Again, I hope it's the first and there's more, and it's going to be here in Bocas del Toro the last week of May.

[01:09:11.610] – Allan

I think it starts the 29th. You can go to 40plusfitness.com/retreat, and that's the only people I'm really going to talk to. I'll tell people it's happening. But if you want to be in the know and you want to make sure you're one of the 30 that gets to come here and do this with me, you need to be on that list. Again, I'm not going to send you anything to that list directly, but I'll make sure, you know, as I decide and start planning and getting things together, you'll see it come together and I may even ask your opinion on some things. So if you want to help me make this the best thing ever, then I'm all ears. Or I guess eyes, because I'll be reading the emails, but that will be a list. And I'll email you what's going on and you can respond back. I might ask, like I might ask some questions, some surveys, just to make sure that I make this the best event ever. At least the best event I've ever done.

[01:10:04.240] – Rachel


[01:10:05.110] – Allan

Yeah. So, yeah, 40plusfitness.com/retreat.

[01:10:09.490] – Rachel

Sounds great, Allan.

[01:10:10.990] – Allan

Okay, well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[01:10:13.570] – Rachel

You better. Take care.

[01:10:14.980] – Allan

You too. Bye.


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Melissa Ball
– Eliza Lamb– Judy Murphy– Tim Alexander
– Eric More– Leigh Tanner

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


October 18, 2022

How to master diabetes – Dr. Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Dr. Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro both suffer from type I diabetes. Through their research, they've found a plant-based lifestyle is key to managing diabetes. On episode 560 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss their book, Mastering Diabetes.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:23.830] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:02:25.210] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:27.320] – Allan

I'm doing well. I'm back in Bocas.

[00:02:29.710] – Rachel


[00:02:33.890] – Allan

Sometimes it's just hard to know. Okay. There were a lot of incidents where I was dealing with the changes that have happened in the United States since Covid. I've only been back twice since Covid happened, since main point of Covid. And so much has changed to the way people treat each other, the way things work. There's a loss. We lost a great deal. I don't even know how to really say it any different than that, but the country is different than it was before Covid, and not in good ways. Not in good ways at all. But I'm moving past that. I'm like, okay, well, I can control what I can control. We're getting ready to go back up to the States in a few weeks because my daughter's getting married.

[00:03:23.300] – Rachel


[00:03:23.850] – Allan

So we'll be flying back up there for a wedding. Hopefully this will be a non eventful trip other than a wedding, and then we'll come on back. But there's one thing I wanted to say before we get too far into this episode, was that I want to start doing something cool as a give back to the audience. And so the only way I can know that you listen to this podcast is if you go and leave us a rating and review. So whatever apps you're listening on, be it Apple or Google or whatever, one of those that's just kind of a specialized tool, almost every one of them is going to have a way for you to rate and review this episode. So if you take a few minutes to do that, you can probably do it while you're listening to the episode. Just take a few minutes to do that. And what I want to do, I want to start doing is about once a month. So this is the 18th. So why don't we say about the middle of November, we'll take a break and we'll pick a winner out of the reviews that we get.

[00:04:26.680] – Allan

I've got a tool that I can see all the reviews in one place, and I'll go on that and see who the reviewers are. We'll pick a review, and I'll read it in the hello section. And if you hear me read your review in the hello section, you just message us. I'll tell you where to message us at the time, and I'll send you some slack.

[00:04:48.410] – Rachel


[00:04:49.730] – Allan

Okay, so this is going to be a way for me to know you're out there, see a rating and review from you, and then I'll give you a way to message. Just message me, and then I'll make sure you get that swag. I'll need an address, mailing address, but that's about it. And you get some cool stuff.

[00:05:05.700] – Rachel

Neat. That sounds like fun.

[00:05:07.910] – Allan

So how are things up there?

[00:05:09.900] – Rachel

Good. October is the best month of the year, probably for running, and I've got a lot of races on my calendar, so I've been outside quite a bit. We got the Detroit Free Press marathon is coming up. After that, we're doing a 30 hours run called the Cal crasher, so that should be fun. And then my local coffee shop is doing the Java Jog. It's a 5K, and there will be coffee on the course, so I'm pretty excited to run a fork.

[00:05:39.970] – Allan

You're going to get a PR. You're going to get a PR.

[00:05:42.530] – Rachel

I don't know. I'll be pausing a lot to sip my coffee, but I'm pretty sure yeah, right. You know I will. Yes. So I'm looking forward to that. So, lots of good stuff happening up here.

[00:05:55.230] – Allan

Oh, good. So are you ready to talk about mastering diabetes?

[00:06:00.030] – Rachel



[00:06:43.010] – Allan

Cyrus. Robbie. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:45.970] – Robby

It's very great to be here.

[00:06:46.960] – Cyrus

Thank you so much, Allan. I appreciate the invitation to be here today. I think we can have a lot of fun, talk a lot.

[00:06:51.780] – Allan

Oh, yeah.

[00:06:52.340] – Cyrus

A lot of fun stuff.

[00:06:53.200] – Allan

Yeah. And this is a big one. This is a big one. I think you guys said somewhere in the book that people with diabetes, on average are spending over $13,000 a year on health care more than those that aren't. And at some point, a third of adults in the United States are going to have diabetes. That's astronomical. You start putting those kind of numbers together with millions of people, 100 million people paying $13,000 more per year for medical care, that's just insane.

[00:07:31.970] – Robby

It's bonkers.

[00:07:32.900] – Cyrus

It's absolutely bonkers. On one hand, you can look at the statistics, and you can get scared for humanity and think, oh, my God, how do we get ourselves into this position in the first place? But then, on the other hand, you can take a look at it and say, you know what? The food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the sort of, like, general health recommendations that people are acting upon these days don't seem to be working, so let's find another way. And we like to approach it from that perspective and think, you know what? Okay, fine. There may be a problem right now, but the problem is not set in stone. The problem is very changeable, and there's a way to significantly improve your health using your food as medicine. And that's what we can talk about today.

[00:08:14.930] – Robby

The exciting part, which is really the cornerstone of our book, is that the solution has been known for almost 100 years in the evidence-based research. It's just not being communicated to the public, and that's what we're here to do.

[00:08:28.790] – Allan

Now, the book we're talking about is called Mastering Diabetes: the Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. Now, personally, I knew about most of them. I didn't know that there was a type 1.5. So I do kind of want to ask a little bit about that one. But type 2 I've known about. A lot of adults are dealing with it now. Children, prediabetes. Almost every client that comes to me at some level is pre diabetic, if not diabetic. And then I happen to know about gestational diabetes because my wife, when she was pregnant with my daughter, she had that. And so I was familiar with this. But it's kind of mind blowing how many people are affected by these things. Can you kind of talk a little bit about that and then talk about what the different types are and what they mean?

[00:09:26.780] – Cyrus

Sure. Okay, so let's think about it this way. In today's world, there are approximately 30 million people in the United States, plus or minus a few million people, so call it 30 million that have been officially diagnosed with some form of diabetes. So that's basically approximately, let's say, 1/10 of the US population. But of those 30 million people that have been diagnosed, approximately 90% of them are living with type two diabetes. And approximately 10% of those people are living with type one diabetes. So I have type one diabetes. Robby has type one diabetes, and type one is considered the juvenile onset version of diabetes that's actually an autoimmune condition. So 90% of them with type 2, 10% percent of them with type one. But here's the thing. There are 85 million more people who are living with prediabetes, and a lot of those individuals don't even know about it. They don't even know that they have prediabetes, they don't know that their glucose is elevated, they don't know their A1C is elevated, and they don't know that they're actually at an advanced risk for chronic disease. And that's kind of the scary statistic, is that most people who are living with prediabetes are just walking around as a medical liability, but just have never been told about it by their doctor.

[00:10:45.630] – Cyrus

They've never been tested, or maybe they haven't even been to the doctor recently, so the statistics can get grim again. But there are many different flavors of diabetes, and we can kind of like walk into each one of them relatively slowly and make sure that people get a full understanding. Type one affects people who are younger than the age of 30. It's an autoimmune condition, which means that your immune system, for any number of reasons, has been tricked into believing that the cells that produce insulin inside of your pancreas, called the beta cells, are a threat to you. And as a result of that, your immune system actually goes in, attacks and kills and commits programmed cell death to those beta cells. And as a result of that, your insulin production capacity goes from being normal or 100% all the way downwards of less than 20% less than 10%. And some people have effectively zero beta cell function. People who are living with type 1.5 diabetes have a very similar reaction. It's an autoimmune reaction, but it affects people older than the age of 30. So it's an adult onset version of type one diabetes that actually happens to be slow progressing.

[00:11:53.240] – Cyrus

So rather than going from a normal insulin production to a dangerously low insulin production over the course of 12 to 18 months, which is what happens in type one, people who are living with type 1.5 diabetes end up experiencing a gradual loss in insulin production over the course of three to five years. And some people actually never lose full insulin production capacity. It just kind of takes a long, long time, and it's kind of a slow grind all the way down to a dangerous level. So that's type one and 1.5. Now, prediabetes is the precursor to type two diabetes. Prediabetes occurs when your glucose has become elevated. And what that means is that your fasting blood glucose elevates beyond 100 mg per deciliter. So you can think of 100 as basically being the cutoff. If you're less than 100 in the fasting state, that's a good thing. That means you're likely non diabetic. But if your glucose starts to elevate between 100 and 124, that means that you could be living with pre diabetes. Another indicator that doctors use is they take a look at what's called your A1C value. A1C value is basically just a long term marker of blood glucose control, and it measures your average blood glucose control over the course of approximately three months.

[00:13:09.350] – Cyrus

And so a normal A1C value comes at below 5.7%. If you have developed prediabetes, that means that your A1C value is between 5.7 and 6.4%. So you can use one of two indicators either a high fasting blood glucose between 100 and 124, or an elevated A1C value between 5.7 and 6.4%. Okay, the next category is people who are living with type two diabetes. And type two diabetes is basically advanced prediabetes. So basically, people who have crossed through the prediabetes threshold and have now gotten to a more advanced state of the disease at that point, people are living with a fasting blood glucose greater than 125 milligrams per deciliter, or their A1C value is now 6.5% or higher. And finally, you have gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a temporary version of diabetes that affects women who are pregnant. And women who are pregnant often find out about it somewhere around the 28 week marker. And that's when they're screened for predecessor for gestational diabetes. Women who develop gestational diabetes, usually it's the first time that they ever recognize they have a blood glucose imbalance. But what's important is that the lifestyle that they are living has actually set them up for diabetes during pregnancy.

[00:14:33.980] – Cyrus

And most of those women will go on to developing type two diabetes into the future after they deliver their baby. So that's the real sort of the scary part of it is that it's not just a form of diabetes that you develop when you're pregnant. Even if it happens to go away, more than 60% of all women actually will develop type two diabetes in the future. The most important thing to think about here is that prediabetes, type two diabetes and gestational diabetes are all results of another condition. And the other condition is called insulin resistance. And insulin resistance is the baseline condition that can turn into prediabetes that can then progress to type two diabetes and can also manifest as gestational diabetes in pregnancy. So really, in order to understand how you can maximize your health as a person with type one diabetes and minimize your risk for many chronic diseases, rather than worrying about all the different flavors and colors and shapes and sizes of all these different types of diabetes, just think about insulin resistance. We got to hammer home what it is, how it was created in the first place, and if you can really focus your efforts on reversing insulin resistance and becoming as insulin sensitive as possible, then prediabetes fades away into the background, type two diabetes fades away into the background, gestational diabetes fades away into the background, and type one and 1.5 just becomes much simpler to manage.

[00:16:02.960] – Cyrus

And as a result of that, your chronic disease risk can go down significantly across the board.

[00:16:08.150] – Robby

Allan, one thing I want to add to everything Cyrus said there about type 1.5, it's just like a public service announcement is, it is amazing the number of people who come across our offering and our coaching program who have been diagnosed with type two diabetes but find out through a series of tests that they are actually living with type 1.5 diabetes. So if anybody listening to the show, a couple of red flags. Number one is if you are underweight or at an ideal body weight and you've been diagnosed with type two diabetes, that's a red flag. You know what? I got to look into this a little bit further and really check into that's, like, the number one thing. So I just want to share that and make sure people know, because you hadn't heard of type 1.5 and a lot of people haven't, and then they might hear something like I'm saying or Cyrus is saying and like, wow, you can reverse type two. They're trying their hardest, but it's not being reversed because they don't have enough insulin being produced. It's just a really important thing for people to be aware of.

[00:17:10.230] – Allan

Yeah, the interesting thing is I had a client come to me, and we were talking about their doctor visit, and they're like, well, the doctor said everything's fine. I'm like, okay, well, we know that you're overweight. And I said, what was your A1C. And they said, 6.2. And I said, So what did your doctor say? And the doctor says, well, we just want to keep an eye on it. And I'm like, slapping myself in the side of the head. Like, what?

[00:17:37.840] – Allan

What you know what I think it is? Because it's getting so common to see people with pre diabetes that doctors have become numb to it. They're like, I can go tell them to work on their lifestyle. They're not going to do it, so I'll just have to wait until they're over the edge and then we'll start the metformin and the insulin. That's the answer they have.

[00:18:00.590] – Cyrus

I mean, it's such a backwards philosophy because it's like, imagine you have a car and you have a tire that's not fully flat yet, but it's definitely losing air pressure, right? A doctor saying, okay, we're just going to keep an eye on it. We're just going to keep an eye on your elevated A1C value. That's like you driving around a car with a low pressure and saying, oh, you know what? I'm not going to go put air in that tire, which I'm just going to see what happens over the course of time. But you know what's going to happen over the course of time, right? It's going to get flattered, you're going to lose more air pressure, and you're eventually going to have a flat tire. So it's not necessarily the recipe for success. And then secondarily, also, we're not here to talk smack about doctors in any way, shape or form because we love doctors and we know that they're very motivated to try and help people achieve better health. But when I hear this statement of, like, my doctor didn't tell me what to do because my doctor said that most people won't change, right?

[00:18:55.850] – Cyrus

If doctors find that most people aren't changing, chances are they're just not using the right methodology. They're not using the right words, they're not using the right motivational tactics to try and get people to make changes. It is absolutely possible to get people to make some significant changes, but if it hasn't been working for you as a doctor, then chances are you just need to modify their approach. And it's that simple. People want to change. There's no question about it.

[00:19:18.410] – Allan

I look at it more like the car analogy. I love that because that was what I used in my book. I look at it more like you're the passenger. The doctor is sort of like a passenger in the car and sees you coming up and sees that the car in front of you has hit their brake lights and decides not to tell you until you crash the car into the back of that other car. Yeah, that will repair our car rather than not hit the car in front of us. Because diabetes is really that big a deal.

[00:19:48.930] – Cyrus

No question. Great analogy.

[00:19:51.090] – Allan

Now, a lot of people, I've heard it several times, I want to say that Alzheimer's is related and they want to call it type three diabetes. What are your thoughts on that?

[00:20:02.250] – Cyrus

Yeah, this is a great question. So over the past ten years, actually, over the past 15 years, there's actually been a large body of scientific evidence that has made the connection between insulin resistance in your peripheral tissues. Peripheral is a word that you use in biology when you're describing everything that's outside of your head, anything that's outside of your central nervous system. So peripheral refers to your muscles, your heart, your vasculature, your liver, your kidney, your digestive system, your microbiome, and your sexual organs and beyond. So insulin resistance is canonically thought of and talked about and measured inside of your liver and muscles. Those are the two principal organs in which insulin resistance is generally talked about and can manifest easily and can actually be reversed. But insulin resistance isn't generally talked about when it comes to your central nervous system, aka your brain. But this body of research has actually uncovered that there is a very strong association between people who have insulin resistance in their peripheral tissues and people who develop cognitive decline, aka dementia and eventually Alzheimer's disease. And they say, Wait a minute, hold on. Why is there such a strong connection?

[00:21:22.090] – Cyrus

Metabolic dysfunction in your peripheral tissues is associated strongly with people who develop cognitive decline in the future. How is that the case? This body of research has actually gone a little bit deeper to see if there's any type of evidence that they can find for a cognitive decline at a younger age. And they actually find that you can develop insulin resistance of your brain. And this is fascinating information, because insulin resistance of your brain can then manifest itself in the future as cognitive decline and inability to properly process thoughts and decreased spatial recognition, decreased ability to speak. And as a result of that, it can manifest as dementia. And then dementia can, over the course of time, develop into full on Alzheimer's disease in many individuals. So because of this connection, people are the research community has said, you know what? Alzheimer's disease is actually type three diabetes. It is another version of diabetes that actually affects your central nervous system. And there's a molecular explanation for exactly what's happening inside of neurons inside of your brain. So it's a strong body of evidence, and over the course of time, I believe that it's going to get stronger as more evidence comes to light.

[00:22:45.950] – Cyrus

But the point is that insulin resistance, sure, it can affect your heart, it can affect your vasculature, it can affect your liver, it can affect your muscle tissue. But in addition to that, it also does negatively affect your brain today. You just might not experience any symptoms of that for 20 years into the future. And at that point, when you start to manifest symptoms, those symptoms are actually a result of many years of metabolic dysfunction inside of your brain that has accumulated over the course of time due to the insulin resistance pathology. Does that make sense?

[00:23:22.620] – Allan

Yes, it does. Thank you. Now, in the United States particularly, we don't do anything halfway. When they came out with the low fat kind of kick, everything started coming out low fat, and people were terrified of fat. It's like, Stay away from fat, stay away from fat. All these products came out. They pulled the fat out of everything and they replaced it with sugar. And then people were like, well, no, obviously it's not the fat, because we're getting fatter when they remove the fat from our food. So obviously, now everybody's kind of swinging way over to the other side of saying, well, it's carbohydrates, and now carbohydrates are the enemy. And to me, it's just as misinformed because it's looking for that simple rule. We love the simple rule. Why are carbohydrates actually not our enemy?

[00:24:12.990] – Cyrus

Okay, this is phenomenal question. There's so many ways we can go here. So let's go back to this idea that we tried to eat a low fat diet as a community, as a society, and a low fat diet didn't work. If you actually look at the data to try and figure out how low fat Americans as a generality became, americans never actually went on a low fat diet. We think we did. We talk about the fact that we tried a low fat diet as a community. It didn't go low fat. The actual percentage of calories that humans were or that Americans were eating prior to eating a low fat diet was 38% of calories. When they adopted a low fat diet, they went from 38% to 37% of calories. That's no change. As far as huge, massive change, let me tell you, right? So there was really no from a statistical perspective, from a biological perspective, there was no change. And just like you said, even though we think we ate a lowfat diet, we actually started eating a high sugar diet. And I use the word sugar very loosely there, because we actually started eating a high refined carbohydrate diet.

[00:25:23.370] – Cyrus

And what I want people to understand is that this carbophobia that has happened over the course of many years, that's actually been recycled many times since the Atkins diet first came out in the 1970s, it didn't really take hold. It got reinvented in the 1990s and all of a sudden became very popular. So in my head, I think of the low carbohydrate diet as starting in the 1990s, and then from that point onwards, it got recycled into the South Beach Diet, into the Zone diet, into the Paleo diet, and then into the Ketogenic diet, which is where we're at. So we're at, like, version four or version five of a low carbohydrate diet. And the messaging seems to get stronger and stronger and stronger every time it reincarnates itself. And the messaging here is that carbohydrates are bad for you. Carbohydrates will make you fat, carbohydrates will make you more diabetic, they will spike your insulin use, and they will lead you to an early grave. And the problem is that, number one, you can't take all carbohydrates and lump them into one category, because that is just biologically inappropriate and it's biologically inaccurate. I can go out into the woods and I can find carbohydrate all over the place, the trunks of trees made out of wood, that's a carbohydrate.

[00:26:39.720] – Cyrus

I can go into my bathroom and I can find toilet paper. That's a carbohydrate. I can pick up a piece of white paper right here. That's carbohydrate. So we have to be very clear when we're talking about what carbohydrate actually is, because you can't just say, oh, I ate a low carbohydrate diet. Well, technically speaking, I don't eat wood, so I'm eating a low carbohydrate diet, right, but it doesn't really make sense. So we have to differentiate between carbohydrates that are known to increase your risk for chronic disease and carbohydrates that are known to decrease your risk for chronic disease. The two of them are fundamentally different than each other. The ones that we know from a scientific perspective that actually significantly increase your risk for chronic disease, including diabetes and heart disease and obesity, are refined carbohydrates. Cookies, crackers, chips, pastas, sodas, sugar sweetened beverages, pastries things that come in packages and cans. Those are known as refined carbohydrates because they had to go through a manufacturing process in order for them to become edible, in order for them to become presentable for you to put in your mouth. Whole carbohydrates come from fruits and starchy vegetables and legumes and whole grains.

[00:28:01.670] – Cyrus

And those whole versions of carbohydrate have actually been shown by evidence based research time and time again since the 1920s to lower your risk for chronic disease, to lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease and obesity. So any time people say to me, I'm on a low carbohydrate diet, I say to you, what does that actually mean? Tell me what you're eating. What does it mean to you to be on a low carbohydrate diet? Because it's just a subjective thought. And the reality is that what most people will benefit from when they're consuming a low carbohydrate diet is to eliminate not just reduce, but eliminate the processed, refined carbohydrates. I'm in full agreement of that. Robby is in full agreement of that, and every single health professional I know is in full agreement of that. There isn't a single health expert that's going to say, you know what? You should be eating more refined carbohydrates. You should be drinking more soda. The reason why you're not losing weight is because you're not eating enough bear claws, right? Nobody's going to say that because that's an absurd thought. But the truth is that we all agree, regardless of whether you're from the Ketogenic camp or the low fat camp or the plant based camp or the paleo camp, it doesn't matter.

[00:29:17.100] – Cyrus

Everyone agrees, eat less refined carbohydrates. But what differentiates the Mastering Diabetes method and what differentiates the body of research that we have read is that people who come from the plant based world in general recognize that eating whole carbohydrates from fruits, starchy, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains is actually those are health promoting foods. And the increased consumption of those foods actually will lead to a reduced risk for insulin resistance, a reduced risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and that is significantly going to improve your long term health and going to improve your short term health simultaneously. Does that make sense?

[00:30:03.670] – Allan

Yes. One of the things, one way I like to say it is if it comes in a bag, box, jar or can, you need to look out because whole food doesn't. Whole food doesn't actually even have labels on it. You walk to the grocery store and there's the vegetable section. There's seldom labels on there to tell you what's in that food, but you can go Google it if you really want to know. Now, of course, I'm a personal trainer, so as soon as someone gives me a reason to exercise, I'm like, really excited. You talked about insulin sensitivity and how important it is for us as we want to improve our health outcomes. How does exercise play into that?

[00:30:48.060] – Cyrus

Yes, I'm really glad you asked that question because just like you, I love to exercise. I will exercise voluntarily for absolutely no reason, just because it's fun and it's a great way to improve your health. But it's also just I find it enjoyable. Exercise does a lot to improve insulin sensitivity. So let's try and understand what insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity actually mean because those can be confusing contests for most people, and we have to kind of like drill into detail to figure out what it is first and then we can talk about what the solution is. So insulin resistance occurs when your liver and muscle accumulate excess fat. Now, most people in generally don't associate fat with diabetes. They don't associate dietary fat with insulin resistance. And so for a lot of people, they kind of listen to that and they're like, well, what are you talking about? Thought insulin resistance was a problem of consuming too much sugar. And I've been told my entire life that diabetes is caused by the consumption of too much sugar. And the answer is yes. You know what? Again, if you use the word refined sugar, the answer is absolutely.

[00:31:58.460] – Cyrus

You can certainly induce an insulin resistance state and certainly induce a diabetic state by the consumption of too much sugar. And I won't deny that, and neither will the research. But there's actually another thing, another component of your food that's actually going to make you diabetic faster. It's going to increase your risk for insulin resistance faster. And that thing is dietary fat. So I don't want people to misinterpret our words and think of us as being like those no fat guys or the fat police. Absolutely not. What we're suggesting is that we don't want you to eliminate your fat consumption. We just want you to reduce your fat consumption, but particularly your saturated fat intake. And the reason for that is because if you look into the biological research and you look at what happens in human beings who consume a diet that is high in saturated fat, what you will find is that the more saturated fat you consume, the more saturated fat is deposited inside of your liver and inside of your muscle tissue. And neither one of those tissues has a biological design to be able to store large quantities of saturated fat.

[00:33:04.630] – Cyrus

They can store small quantities perfectly normally, but they can't really store large quantities. So when you're consuming saturated fat from the outside world and that usually comes from animal products like white meat, red meat, fish, chicken, dairy products and eggs. When you're consuming a significant amount of those foods, the saturated fat that you're consuming actually comes locked up in this thing called triglyceride. Triglyceride is basically the storage form of fat. So you consume triglyceride molecules. Those triglycerides go into your mouth. They go down your esophagus. As they get inside of your stomach, they start to get processed through basically reducing the PH or a more acidic environment. And then eventually, they get inside of your small intestine. Inside of your small intestine is where it's basically a bio reactor where there's a whole collection of enzymes that are secreted by the walls of your small intestine plus your liver, plus your pancreas. So those three tissues effectively start to put digestive enzymes into your small intestine with the explicit purpose of ripping apart that triglyceride and taking carbohydrates and protein and breaking them down into smaller and smaller units. So the fatty acids basically get ripped off of the glucose or backbone.

[00:34:15.270] – Cyrus

And these fatty acids then get absorbed through the walls of your small intestine and they get put into these things called Kylo micron particles. The Kylo micron particles float around in your bloodstream and have one. Think of them as little spaceships. There's billions of them. And they absorb fat from your diet and they go to deliver fat to tissues. In an ideal world, if I had to redesign the human being from the ground up, what I would do is actually make those Kylo microbe particles deliver fatty acids only to your outermost tissue, which is your fat tissue because that's a safe place to store fat. Most people don't think of fat tissue as being a safe place. But from a metabolic perspective, it is exactly where fat is intended to be. Go put fat inside of your outer post tissue and keep it locked up there for a long period of time and everything's fine. And the reason for that is because the fat that goes into your outermost tissue doesn't go into your liver and doesn't go into your muscle. It's a safe place from that perspective. But when you're consuming a diet that's high in saturated fat, those catalomicron particles end up delivering fatty acids to your adipose tissue and then the spillover ends up going into your liver and into your muscle.

[00:35:18.890] – Cyrus

And that's where the problem starts. So when you have accumulated saturated fat that gets inside of your liver and muscle, then those two tissues recognize that there's too much energy coming inside of them. There's nothing they can do to block it. And as a result of that, they go, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Where is all this stuff coming from? I didn't ask for it in the first place. I'm not designed to be able to store a lot of this stuff, so what am I going to do about it? So their response is to actually initiate what's called insulin resistance. They know that insulin is the single most powerful anabolic hormone in your body. In other words, insulin can promote more fuel uptake and more growth than any other hormone in circulation, period end of story. There is no other hormone, not testosterone, not growth hormone, not IGF one, nothing that can promote more fuel storage and more growth than insulin. And so as a result of that, these tissues say, okay, wait a minute, let's just think this through. There's too much saturated fat coming in here. I didn't ask for it, I don't want it.

[00:36:16.780] – Cyrus

I don't have the mechanisms to be able to store it. How am I going to block more of this stuff from coming inside? And the answer is, well, just ignore insulin when it comes around, because insulin knocks on the door of your liver and knocks on the door of your muscles and say, hey, I got some glucose in the blood. I got fatty acids in the blood, I got amino acids in the blood. Do you want to take it up? And tissues can respond to insulin by saying, sure, give me that stuff, I'll take it. But if you ignore insulin when it comes to knock on the door, then that gives you an opportunity to say, you know what? Don't put that stuff inside of me. I don't want any more stuff. I'm full. And so that's what these tissues do as a self defense mechanism to try and block more stuff from coming inside. And so this insulin resistance mechanism actually starts from the consumption, from the excess deposition or the excess accumulation of fatty acids inside of your liver and muscle. And in that state, that's where the problem really manifests itself. Because the next time that you try and eat something that's carbohydrate rich, like a banana or maybe a bowl of pasta or a piece of bread, those foods contain carbohydrates, like we talked about earlier.

[00:37:26.690] – Cyrus

And the carbohydrate molecules actually have to get broken down into glucose. And in order for the glucose to get inside of your liver and muscle, it requires insulin. So when you eat those foods, insulin goes, knock knock. There's glucose in the blood. Would you like to take it up? And both of those tissues respond by saying, no, I don't want to take it up right now. I got all this fatty acid stuff that came in here yesterday and came in here last week. I still have to get rid of this stuff. Don't talk to me right now, insulin, I'm not open for business. And so as a result of that, insulin accumulates inside of your blood, and you become what's called hyperinsulinemic. And then in addition to that, glucose can't get out of your blood, and you become hyper glycemic. So you have high blood glucose, high insulin concentrations, and that right there is classic prediabetes. I hope I'm making sense here. Where there's a metabolic traffic jam that was actually started from the excess consumption of saturated fat that then resulted in the blockade of glucose inside of your blood that then manifests itself as high blood glucose.

[00:38:31.110] – Cyrus

So the last thing I'll say here is that people who are living with prediabetes and type two diabetes, what they'll experience is that they'll consume literally one banana, and then they'll go check their blood glucose an hour later, and they're like, look, my blood glucose is high. I can prove it to you. The number is high. I guess the banana is bad for me. I shouldn't eat carbs because carbs are bad for me. But in reality, what they're not putting together is the fact that the banana is not to blame. It's everything that you ate before the banana that created the metabolic traffic jam, that made it so that the banana was no longer metabolizable. And that's the real problem. And that's the reason why insulin resistance begins in the first place. And that's how most people get fooled into believing that it's actually the carbohydrate. But in reality, that's not the problem. Does that make sense?

[00:39:17.090] – Allan

Yes, it does. Now let's take that forward and say, well, how is exercise going to affect that process?

[00:39:24.140] – Cyrus

Okay, so exercise can help that process in a number of ways. What exercise does as a sort of generality is exercise forces your muscle tissue. You're voluntarily creating a significant number of muscle contractions and elongations inside of your skeletal muscle tissue. So when you go exercise, whether you're doing push ups or whether you're doing pull ups, or whether you're running, biking, hiking, swimming, playing basketball, you name it, any of those motions, you're forcing your skeletal muscle to contract and elongate hundreds, if not thousands of times. So it's performing mechanical work. And as a result of performing mechanical work, your muscle tissue requires glucose and fatty acids for energy. Those are the two principal fuel sources during exercise. So your muscle tissue is going to basically say, where can I find glucose? And the answer is, it can find glucose in many places. Number one, it can find glucose as glycogen, which is the stored form of glucose inside of the muscle tissue itself. So great, it's going to go degrade glycogen. It's going to pull off those extra glucose units. It's going to then oxidize those units and get ATP for it, which is a good thing.

[00:40:30.440] – Cyrus

Then it's going to say, well, where can I get fatty acids? And fatty acids exist inside of the muscle tissue because like we've been talking about, they've over accumulated over the course of time. So exercise is a way to actually get to those that lipid droplet and start to pull off those excess fatty acids and send them to the mitochondria and turn them into ATP. And that's a good thing because ultimately what we're looking for is ATP. So your muscle tissue can burn, or oxidize, I should say fatty acids, and it can oxidize glucose. And that's a good thing. And what happens is that during exercise, you actually end up with a significantly elevated rate of fuel usage. So that means you deplete your glycogen stores, you can deplete your fatty acid stores. And that's a good thing because then your muscle tissue becomes very hungry after you're done exercising. And when I say hungry, I don't mean that your muscle tissue is basically telling you that you should eat food, but in reality, there are signals that then tell your brain, oh, wait a minute, now it's time to put nutrients back inside of your muscle tissue.

[00:41:27.190] – Cyrus

So what ends up happening is that the next time you eat food, you can eat food. And the glucose and fatty acids that came from that food can actually get put into your muscle tissue using less insulin. And that's the key. Insulin isn't as necessary to put glucose back into your muscle tissue. It isn't as necessary to put fatty acids back in your muscle tissue because in the 3 hours following exercise, there is an increased ability for both fatty acid and glucose uptake inside of your muscle. And that is a non insulin depending on process, meaning that insulin isn't required as much. So your insulin requirements post exercise go down significantly by as much as 50% to 60%. And that's a good thing because that means you can take in food for reduced insulin requirements. And then over the course of the next 24 hours in between your exercise sessions, you're still able to utilize and store more glucose and fatty acids inside of your muscle tissue than under normal circumstances. And at all points, you're using just a little bit less insulin than you normally would. So what that means is that you have now reduced your insulin requirements both during exercise, immediately following exercise, and as a generality.

[00:42:54.640] – Cyrus

And that's a good thing because it makes your pancreas work just a little bit less hard. And that's a good thing because the less insulin you're forcing your pancreas to make, the less glucose I'm sorry, the less work you're going to force your pancreas to do over the course of time. And that's going to preserve beta cell function over time. Does that make sense?

[00:43:14.280] – Allan

Yeah, absolutely. So now let's dive into your Mastering Diabetes method. Can you kind of give us an idea run down of how that works and what someone would be doing? Because there were a lot of really cool things that you do in that I think a lot of people think they're going to go into this and it's like, oh well, now everything changes. Day one and this is really hard, but you guys actually have a really solid way of kind of walking us toward a different lifestyle.

[00:43:43.270] – Robby

Thank you for asking. Allan. We do have a systematic step by step approach, which we lay out clearly in our book. And so just like you said, it could be overwhelming. It could be like, oh, my gosh, I've changed everything overnight. And the answer is, no, you don't have to. If you want to, you can. And Cyrus and I share this in the book, which is interesting that we actually did. That's our type of personality, and it worked out just fine for us. But most people benefit from making changes slowly, one step at a time. So during the book or throughout the book, we encourage people to change one meal at a time. Just start with breakfast, and however long it takes you to really master that and get it under control and be like, okay, I'm confident with my new meals. Then you move on to lunch. It could be one week, it could be two weeks, it could be a month. Whatever is important to you, whatever pace you want to take, it's totally up to you. So the mastering diabetes method includes four components. So the first component is low fat, plant based, whole food nutrition.

[00:44:43.330] – Robby

The second component is intermittent fasting. The third component is daily movement, and number four is decision trees. So I'll start with component number one here. So low fat, plant based health and nutrition. It's very simple. All right, we have created a traffic light system so people know exactly what foods to eat and which foods to minimize and which foods to avoid. So green light foods are fruits. So that's going to be bananas, mangoes, pears, peaches, papaya, apples, you name it, fruits. Then we move into starchy vegetables. That would be potatoes. That would be you put, like, squash in that category, butternut squash, acorn squash. Then we move on to lentils, peas, and beans. All right, it's a lot of different variety in there. And then intact whole grains with intact being the keyword here. So that's going to include brown rice. That would include pharaoh, millet, quinoa. So these are whole grains that have not been altered in any way. Then we include leafy greens. That's going to be lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, then non starchy vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, then herbs and spices and mushrooms. So green light foods are foods you can eat at libitum on our program, which a lot of people think, wow, that's crazy. Are you serious?

[00:46:04.480] – Robby

You tell me I can use as many potatoes as I want, I can eat as many bananas as I want? And the answer is yes, especially as you're becoming more and more insulin sensitive. There are certain nuances when transitioning out of a very insulin resistant state into more insulin sensitivity. And we cover that in the book in detail. But I will say there's a couple of key principles there, which is that on our program we're encouraging, especially in the beginning when you eat these higher carbohydrates foods, you are, number one, simultaneously reducing your fat intake, which Cyrus just covered. Why that's so important? Why that's the cause of insulin resistance. But we also encourage people, when you're eating these foods include greens and non starchy vegetables. That helps blunt the bubbly and spikes you might be seeing when you're insulin resistant. We also encourage people to eat slowly. That makes a very big difference. A lot of people these days are wearing CGMs, and they can see how much of an impact the pace at which they eat their meals actually impacts their blood glucose levels. So that's a huge part. So that's the green light category.

[00:47:10.290] – Robby

Now the yellow light category, these are foods that we suggest you eat in limited quantities. So you want to be careful of how much you're consuming. It's not that the foods in the yellow category are unhealthy or we're saying don't have them. It's that it's the quantity that you have to pay attention to. So, nuts and seeds, fitness category, avocado, coconut meat, olives, and soy products. These are all foods that are whole foods. They're healthy, plenty of research showing the benefits of including them, but they're all naturally higher in their fat content, naturally higher in their calorie density. So the quantity that you consume, you have to pay attention. Whereas the green light category, these foods are all so low in their calorie density, so high in their quantity of water and fiber, that it's very difficult to eat too much. It's almost impossible. They're self limiting, whereas it's very easy to over, to snack on too many nuts and seeds. Okay? Very easy. Avocado is very calorie dense, very high fat. It's easy too much if you want to maximize your insulin sensitivity. Soy products are great. It's just that, again, they're higher in fat.

[00:48:24.110] – Robby

So all soy products are 40% of calories come from fat. Even Edamame, that's the most whole intact form of soy is 40% of calories coming from fat. On our program, we're suggesting that you keep everything under a maximum of 15% of calories coming from fat. Another way to look at that would be no more than 30 grams of total fat per day. And that would include all of the foods that you consume because there is fat in lettuce and bananas and mangoes. So that's the first part of the yellow light category. The next part would be foods that are just a little bit more refined. Okay? So even things like brown rice pasta, there's bean pasta these days. There are lots of new foods. These are great, great alternatives. It's just that they're a little bit more processed and it's better to have, have the whole intact form. So brown rice is going to be a little bit better than brown rice pasta. So we put in the yellow light category. The other food that we have in the yellow light category would be bread. Bread is another example. So even something like Ezekiel bread, that's a really great option.

[00:49:27.830] – Robby

It's one of the cleanest breads you could consume, but we still would rather have you just eat what that bread was originally made out of. There's a lot of really clean millet breads out there. Those are fun, those are great. But eating just whole millet would be a little bit better, especially for those who are looking to become more insulin sensitive. The third aspect of this green light category would be foods that are high in sodium. So fermented foods are great, lots of benefits, but excess sodium contributes to insulin resistance. You can't just eat that food at libitum. Right? So that's really the characterization between green light and yellow light and red light foods. These are items we're suggesting you minimize or just completely avoid, and that is animal products. Cyrus talks about foods high in saturated fat. Animal products are naturally, in general, high in fat. Cyrus talked a little bit about oils, I believe, already. So oils are the most refined foods you can possibly consume. All right. It's the most calorie dense food on the planet. You've taken out majority of the vitamins, the minerals. You've taken out all of the carbohydrate, all of the protein, all of the water content.

[00:50:31.580] – Robby

It's just pure fat. So it's better to have some olives than some olive oil. Again, if you want to keep your fat intake low. We also have generally processed foods, even some of the more modern day, there's like new plant-based burgers, there's all kinds of new plant-based options. And we're not suggesting that people eat processed food, really eat simple, whole foods. There's a lot of coconut products these days. Coconut ice cream, coconut this, coconut that. Processed bars are out there. So all these refined foods, whether they're considered healthy or even the obvious ones, like, we shouldn't be eating Twinkies and stuff like that. So all the processed food fits in the red light category. And so that's really the simple cornerstone of the nutrition component. Low fat, plant based whole food nutrition. Focus on green light foods. Eat those as the majority of your diet, when you're hungry, until you're satisfied. And we provide a bunch of recipes in our book. We provide recipes on our website, new recipe every week. So how to take those ingredients and trim them into something that's delicious, we make that easy for you and provide everything you need.

[00:51:41.550] – Allan

Okay. And then the decision trees, can you dive a little bit into that? Because I think that was pretty good too.

[00:51:47.110] – Robby

I'd love to talk about decision trees. So decision trees, that is our version of a diabetes logbook. All right, so anybody usually diagnosed diabetes, your doctor is going to ask you to write down some numbers so you can see how your decisions are impacting your blood glucose levels. Not very many people actually take the time to fill out their logbook. But the decision tree is so fun. Actually, maybe fun is not the right word, but it's so informative that it becomes worth it. So at Mastering Diabetes, we are teaching everybody the connection between your fat intake and your blood glucose control, all right? Your blood glucose levels. And so the decision tree is a simple tool where you are going to just simply document the facts that happen throughout your day. Okay? So you wake up in the morning, you're going to document your fasting blood glucose, okay? Then you're going to have breakfast. So what did you have for breakfast? You're going to write that down and you're going to include the total carbohydrate intake and the total fat intake. I will say, Allan, the decision tree is a little bit of a trick, okay?

[00:52:54.140] – Robby

Because in order to fill it out properly and put information in each one of the boxes, you have to log your food into nutrition software. So we recommend a software called Chronometer. It's free. And this is really the only way to get an accurate amount, an accurate understanding of how much total fat you are consuming in your diet. And the decision tree really opens up your mind to how much hidden fat is in the food you're consuming. And so when you document that and you say, okay, wow, look at what happens when I have this high fat meal and then my fasting blood glucose the next day. Look at what happens to if you're living with insulin dependent diabetes, what are my insulin requirements when I have that higher fat meal? And so the decision tree also has you log your things, like your activity, your medication use, and you're going to start to see the relationship between how your decisions impact your blood glucose levels, your insulin sensitivity, and it becomes very empowering. So I have done well over 1000 decision trees in my life, but there was a time when I did 365 consecutive days of documenting every single morsel of food that went into my body, and every insulin injection, and every blood glucose reading.

[00:54:12.950] – Robby

And it was so insightful. And once you take the time to fill out these decision trees, you end up taking this knowledge with you for the rest of your life. These are insights that you gain through going through the activity of logging your food, understanding what you're consuming, logging your medication use, logging your blood glucose numbers, and you now know that information and it's yours forever. So for people living with pre diabetes and type two diabetes, it's our goal that you use this tool to understand how to become more insulin sensitive and then you don't have to use it anymore, right? It helps you get to where you want to be and you're hopefully non diabetic. And it's gone. Now, for living with type one and type 1.5, this is a tool that's beneficial on an ongoing basis. Okay. The ratio of how much insulin you need for the carbohydrates you're consuming is going to be demonstrated based on these numbers. Right? And so anybody listening to the show about living with insulin, diabetes, you know that you got to be confident in your dosing if you want to get off the blood glucose roller coaster.

[00:55:22.700] – Robby

And the Decision Tree is going to help you get to that place. So it's sort of like a proprietary tool that we have. We give more details about it in the book, but you can also just download a document free off our website, print it out, and start filling it out, and it's really changed a lot of people's lives.

[00:55:44.000] – Allan

Yeah, I really like the amount of guidance that you put in the book and obviously the amount of research with over 800 studies and resources that you referenced in the book. But one of the cores of this, and this is really important, is you might talk to your doctor about it. They might have some questions about this, but you can find a doctor that will help you. But you guys give them the kind of that guidance to say, okay, because you're on these medications and you're going to start this change. And any time you make this change, you just really have to be on your Ps and Qs, because if you keep taking the same amount of insulin and you don't need it, or you keep taking the blood sugar lowering medications that you might be taking, and you don't start to look at it and say, well, what is actually happening here? So that's why I agree. I think the decision trees are really a big part of this thing, so that you can kind of make sure that you're making the right changes to suit yourself as you go forward, because you're going to change.

[00:56:43.580] – Allan

It's going to be different, and you got to have the tools.

[00:56:46.990] – Robby

Allan, I'm so glad you're bringing this up because this is the truth, and it can be scary. Being over medicated is dangerous, especially with insulin. And I don't know if we touched on this earlier in the show, but there is a type of diabetes called insulin dependent type two, and there are a lot of people who have had type two diabetes for a long enough period of time that their beta cells just got tired. It's not an autoimmune condition. There's been no autoimmune activity that has damaged your beta cells. You have just been producing excess, excess insulin for a long period of time, trying to overcome the state of insulin resistance that you get yourself into, that the beta cells just got tired, and they literally can't produce enough anymore. And so you have to produce. You have to inject insulin to compensate for the insulin production that your body just cannot produce anymore. So there's a lot of people. Who come into our coaching program, and they're living with insulin dependent type 2. And what that means is they still have a decent amount of insulin production. Okay? And when you start following this program, that is truly the most powerful method to maximize insulin sensitivity.

[00:58:04.210] – Robby

Your insulin requirements come down fast between 35, and we've seen 60% in a matter of weeks and actually can begin to reduce in a matter of days. And for a lot of people, this is literally doing the exact opposite what they think they should be doing for diabetes, and it blows their mind, and they're just not that confident. Well, I really should take that small of a dose of insulin, and the answer is yes. And like you're saying, Allan, the decision tree is what helps you understand that and helps you communicate with your doctor about what's happening in a very objective way, because you don't want to be, like, guessing, how much do I need? By documenting what you need, you will understand and become very clear and confident. And like you said, Allan, there's also a reduction in oral medications. There are injectable medications now for people living with type two diabetes, and these requirements come down quickly.

[00:58:56.830] – Cyrus

So, Cyrus, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:59:06.900] – Cyrus

Okay. I love your definition of wellness, by the way, and I would say that my definition of wellness is very similar to that. Number one, find what makes you happy. I think in the world in which we live today, there's a lot of people who are sort of feeling like their daily routine has to be work, and it has to be a job, and it's not fun, and it causes anxiety. But I find that there's the mere act of creating a lifestyle that's actually fun can go a really long way. Number two, move your body on a daily basis. Without question. I find that people who move their body and actually exercise but do it in a way, again, that's fun. They're just happier people. They have better mental health. They have better metabolic health, and it leads to lower chronic disease risk as a whole. And then, number three, I find personally that when I began eating a plant based diet, my mental health changed significantly in a great way. I found that prior to that, when I was living with type one diabetes, and I didn't fully understand what to be eating, I was an anxious guy in general, and it didn't make me feel good because I didn't exactly understand how to take full control of my health.

[01:00:13.880] – Cyrus

When I began eating a plant based diet, all of a sudden, my life started to unfold in ways that I couldn't predict. Not only was my metabolic health center better control, but I did find that I was just a happier guy in general. So that would be my third pro tip for somebody who's actually trying to improve their overall wellness. And it's the gift that keeps on giving. And I find that to be true not only in myself, but also in thousands of people that we've helped over the course of time.

[01:00:39.510] – Allan

Yes. Thank you. So, Robby, now I'll ask you the same question. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[01:00:51.500] – Robby

Okay, so I like to go with some super clear, objective facts, all right? Do this and just watch and see what happens. So, number one, I want your listeners here to try following a truly low fat diet for 30 days. Okay? Give it a shot. What that means is, on every 30 consecutive days, do not consume more than 30 grams of total fat per day. And make sure that you're eating whole foods. We have meal plans in our book. Just follow the recipe. So that's number one. Keep your fat intake under 30 grams per day. And then I would say I have to agree with Cyrus on number two here. It's just so critical is movement, all right? So in our book, we're suggesting that you move a minimum of 30 minutes every day. You lose your breath, you sweat. Like, that's real movement, and a lot of people might be just walking. That's great. That's awesome. Keep doing the simple stuff you're doing, but really bump it up for a little bit, all right? Get in that movement and truly start to push yourself. It is absolutely worth it for your physical health, for your mental health.

[01:02:01.760] – Robby

You'll sleep better. It's great all around, right? And then I would say number three would be to find a way to incorporate accountability in your life, okay? Whether that's going to be a program you're going to sign up for, whether that's going to be a family member, a friend, and say, look, I want to achieve X, Y, and Z. Goal. I'm going to do number one. And number two obviously just said here, and I'm going to do it for the next 30 days, will you hold me accountable on a daily basis? And that is going to help you become the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you.

[01:02:39.250] – Allan


[01:02:39.750] – Allan

Thank you. Now, someone wanted to learn more about you guys, learn about what you're doing over there at Mastering Diabetes and the book, Mastering Diabetes. Where would you like for me to send them?

[01:02:50.650] – Robby

Okay, so the best place to go to would be masteringdiabetes.org/book or just go to the website and click book in the navigation bar. But that's the best place to go and learn and see a lot of the information and quotes and endorsements from a lot of really amazing people. You can get the book everywhere books are sold. So Amazon, Barnes and Noble, if you're living internationally, you can get it from book depository and they actually ship you the book for free. We read our own audiobook, so you can find that on Audible, you can find that on Google Play. Wherever you listen to audiobooks, the Kindle version is out there. The Nook version is out there. So the book is everywhere. You should also be able to get at your library for free. It's in your town's bestselling book. It should be at your library, and that's really the best place to start. And if you want to connect with us other places, we have a podcast as well. Just type in Mastering Diabetes into any podcast platform and you will find us Spotify, itunes everywhere you listen to podcast. We are active on social media, on Instagram, on TikTok, on YouTube, on Facebook.

[01:04:00.140] – Robby

We do Facebook Live every Wednesday and Friday at 01:00 p.m. Eastern. Come and ask us questions. We would love to answer them for you. And our website is just full of recipes, articles, and of course, if you're interested in coaching, you just go to masteringdiabetes.org/start and you can schedule a call with an enrollment specialist so we can actually talk to you and make sure that you are a good fit for our program and that we can actually help you.

[01:04:24.640] – Allan

Well, yeah, I listened to the audiobook version. There's a lot of bonus content in there and updated little snippets here and there. You guys did a great job on that. Thank you. You can go to 40PlusFitnesspodcast.com/560, and I'll have links to all those things that Robby just mentioned. So, Robby, Cyrus, thank you so much for being a part of 40 Plus Fitness.

[01:04:46.710] – Robby

Thank you, Allan.

[01:04:47.930] – Cyrus

Thank you so much for having us be on the show today. I hope that what we described is kind of a simplified approach to finding a path to optimal health. And you're doing such a phenomenal job of trying to get the word out to people to try and significantly improve their health, and for that, I thank you big time. I feel like there's so much confusion in the world of metabolic health today, and you're doing a fantastic job of trying to keep it real simple, real straightforward, and try to get people practical tips.

[01:05:18.450] – Allan

Thank you.

[01:05:19.190] – Robby

Thank you, Allan. It's great to be here. Great to meet you. Keep up the great work.

Post Show/Recap

[01:05:29.150] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[01:05:30.530] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was a really neat interview and very educational for me. I thought I knew a lot about diabetes, but clearly I'm behind on a few things, such as the type One and a Half and some other things that you guys talked about that we need to talk about next.

[01:05:46.570] – Rachel

Yeah, they probably, in my mind, probably should have called it Two and a Half. I understand why they went One and a half is because it resembles Type One more like with type One, you lose the capacity to create the insulin, so your pancreas basically is dying. Type one, basically you're losing it for some other reason. For some reason, your body is not able to there's something attacking the pancreas and the beta cells and you're not able to create insulin, enough insulin anyway, so you have to start taking insulin. Type 1.5 is basically just a progression of type two. So type two is basically where you are able to produce insulin. But because the blood sugar is so high all the time, the insulin levels just go pancreas is killing itself. It should be a bit player in keeping you alive. And you guys have basically made it the superstar of the play, and it's not good at it. So he gets tired and wants to quit because it basically just wanted to be a background player. It didn't want to be the main one. Heart and lung sprain, yeah, they should be the top of the food chain of organs.

[01:07:09.010] – Allan

But now you've made the pancreas that workhorse for your show, eventually it just gives up. You can't keep up. And all of the cells are basically saying, okay, look, we can't take anymore. And it just creates a big problem.

[01:07:26.430] – Allan

now you're insulin dependent because if your body can't create it, you have to start taking it. So really, like I said, they probably should have. Just to me, they just call that a type two A and type two B or something, whatever doctors or whoever, they can call it whatever, they want to call it their profession. And then, like I said, I think there's a type three where Alzheimer's, because a lot of the things, the lifestyle things of 1.5 2.0, and then I'll say three and then gestational to a point. I think gestational is a lot is that okay? You've got that craving for Snickers, Dr. Pepper and a hamburger. True story. And someone has to stop at three different stores and a fast food place to get you what you want. Then you're eating all that sugar and there's cravings, there's the mental reason you're doing it. But yeah, that's where that comes from. You put on 70 lbs in eight months, then your body's got to adapt.

[01:08:29.830] – Rachel

It's going to struggle.

[01:08:31.150] – Allan

That's what it struggles with. So all of those are lifestyle related. But the cool thing is maybe 1.1 might be past the point of lifestyle correction entirely. But you can reduce your insulin dependence. You can reduce your metformin and other medications that you might be taking, and you can prevent yourself from losing a foot or a kidney or eyesight, all the other things that are part of this whole mess called diabetes.

[01:09:03.280] – Rachel


[01:09:04.040] – Allan

But one of the other cool things I took out of the episode was this concept of insulin sensitivity.

[01:09:11.510] – Rachel

Yeah, that's amazing.

[01:09:12.830] – Allan

And it is really important because it is something that's not talked about in the Keto community at all. What a lot of people in the Keto community know is, okay, if I stop eating the sugar and simple carbs, my insulin sensitivity should improve. And that's true to a point. But if you don't eat any carbs or you go very low carb, you're basically setting your body up to where the pancreas says, okay, I'm no longer a key player, and I'm hardly a bit player. I'm that guy that comes on the episode about once every five weeks. You know who I am, I'm funny, I do my little thing and I'm out. But they have such a little role that you go out and say. Okay. I'm full keto. And then you have a bad day. Or you go into a restaurant and don't know how much sugar or how many carbs are in something. And suddenly you feel horrible for having eaten it. And you don't have insulin sensitivity. So you're going through the spike problem of what's going on with blood sugar and all that. And if you do that frequently enough, your A1C is going to look like crap.

[01:10:26.580] – Allan

You basically go into prediabetes because you don't have the insulin sensitivity. So even though they promote a vegan lifestyle, which I understand is perfectly fine way to eat if you want to do that, because they believe the vegan lifestyle allows you to improve your insulin sensitivity and keep it improved and viable and able to handle a range of food. If you have some fruit, you can handle fruit if you have less than you settle down. I think they have a good point there. They weren't entirely anti keto, but they did fall into some of the major probes of this is what the 7th Avenue say and this is what Ornish says. And of course there's all this mercury in fish, and then of course, there's cancer risks and heart disease risks for the meat. And so they fell into some of those tropes. But they acknowledged that in the short term, if you're suffering from diabetes, the ketogenic diet will get you out of diabetes, will not cure you, but reverse your diabetes. But they still believe over the long term that's not a good way to eat. And so therefore, they don't advocate for keto as a way of addressing diabetes.

[01:11:53.510] – Allan

They are looking at it from coming at a plant based whole food way of eating, which goes right back around to the conversation we have every week. Eat real food. Real food, real food. It grew in the ground. It ran around in eight other things via other animals or plants or bugs or whatever, but they lived a natural, healthy lifestyle. And yeah, if you're getting farmed cattle and you're getting milk products and you're getting chickens that are shot up with stuff and in bad living conditions and you're eating sick animals, and sick animals make sick people. Our ancestors, if they saw a sick animal, they wouldn't eat it. They put it down and be done with it. They weren't going to eat a sick animal. We eat them every day. We just don't know they're sick. Because all we see is what the grocery stores are.

[01:12:46.580] – Rachel

That's right. Yes. Well, I appreciate that. We also agree that not all carbs are evil and that the refined carbs are the ones that we want to dismiss. And I appreciated, too, how he described your muscles as holding on to the glucose and the fat for energy. But we have too much of it. We have too much of it in our diet. So absolutely. The real foods, real fruits, real vegetables, real meats, and to alternate them throughout the day or throughout the week, you can't be stuck on the same thing every day. And also not too much. You can't have all that sugar laid in fruit, even in breakfast, lunch, and dinner, because then you still have the same problem, too much glucose and your muscles and not enough energy to use.

[01:13:34.370] – Allan

It in the short run. Yes.

[01:13:36.480] – Allan

But I dare say that if you went out and said, okay, all I'm going to eat for the next month is bananas, oh, my gosh. Okay. Now, if you were keto, your life would suck for a week or so. But if you're not Keto and you say, okay, just, I'm going to buy bananas and I can have bananas and plantains for my month, that's it. Okay. You're going to lose weight. Your blood sugar is going to actually regulate. You're going to get used to that. Now, granted, you're not getting the nutrition your body needs. So over in the long run, you're going to have some nutritional deficiencies, but in the short run, it's actually going to work for you. And here's what you're going to find. At the end of if you marked down on a piece of paper how many bananas, how many plantains they eat each day, you're going to notice at the end of the 30 days, you're eating a lot less. Yeah. And then you're still going to notice that you can't eat as much. So at first, you were eating more than you should have eaten because you were getting over full, and then you stopped getting over full, and you started trying to eat.

[01:14:51.440] – Allan

You ended up eating the calories that you needed. And then your body took the rest of what it needed from the amino acids that were already in your body, from the fat that was already in your body. And basically, you would start losing weight, and you'd probably regulate your blood sugar and maybe even see some other biomarkers that improved. Now, that said, I'm not advocating a banana diet, not at all. Don't hate it after me. I don't want to have anything to do with it. But I just want folks to understand that with whole food, your body is going to regulate how much it will eat. You need a variety because you need the nutrition, particularly today. But I would just say if you've ever sat down with 5oz of spinach and didn't put it through a blender to make a smoothie out of it and just sat there with a fork and maybe put some olive oil on it and a little bit of vinaigrette. But sit down and just try to eat 5oz of spinach.

[01:15:52.810] – Rachel

I think my jaw would hurt.

[01:15:57.790] – Allan

Yeah. It's nearly impossible to overeat whole food. Even if you did it with steak or chicken. You eat a pound of steak, you're full as a tick. I mean you're done. That's why they have that competition, bringing out that 72 ounce steak. And if you can eat the whole steak, the potato and whatever else comes with it fixing oh my gosh. They'll give it to you for free.

[01:16:21.870] – Rachel


[01:16:22.700] – Allan

They have the competitions where they're doing the oyster eating and it was so fun staying in a restaurant. This dude comes out there and they serve him 13 trays, 13 dozen oysters.

[01:16:33.960] – Rachel

Oh my God.

[01:16:34.870] – Allan

And he's like he believed in his mind at the time that he had broken the world record. And the person I was sitting with, the girl I was sitting with, I said, he's not even close. And she's like, what do you mean? I said, Someone's lying to him because twelve dozen is not the world record. But that said, he was not feeling well because I don't know, my best guess would be that a dozen oysters, depending on the base size of them, it's probably going to be a little over half a pound of meat for maybe two dozen would be about three quarters of a pound. So he's eating pounds of oysters that are almost totally all protein and minerals.

[01:17:22.350] – Allan

you just can't eat that much of it. So that's the whole point. Whereas you can sit down and kill Girl Scout cookies.

[01:17:30.710] – Rachel

I don't know about that either. But yeah, I get it.

[01:17:35.510] – Allan

You look at the calorie load of box Girl Scout cookies where serving is two and that's 100 calories. You're like, I could kill three 4000 calories of food with these refined carbs. You're not going to do that with whole food. You'll never be able to do that with whole food.

[01:17:57.620] – Rachel

Oh no. And I also appreciate it too that we've got markers that we can look at. We can look at our fasting blood sugar levels and look at our A1Cs and watch how those progress and then make the lifestyle changes so that they don't get out of control.

[01:18:14.690] – Allan

And you can wake up in the morning and ask yourself, how do I feel? You can go look in the mirror and say, how do I look? And then throughout the day, what's my energy level? And those are the best health markers that you can have. They're not going to pick up some things that are going on in your body. But in a general sense if we're in our forties and fifties and older, if we wake up feeling good and we look in the mirror and say, hey, I look pretty good. And you have energy for everything you need to do that day.

[01:18:46.970] – Allan

You're doing it right,

[01:18:48.160] – Rachel

suing something right, that's for sure.

[01:18:51.950] – Allan

It's fun to simple things.

[01:18:53.730] – Rachel

Yeah, it's funny at this age where eating some of those junk foods, like going to a fast food restaurant, that would just make me feel horrible. There's such a fast response for me when I eat such poor foods, especially fast food or anything like that. It's different now at this age than it was 20 years ago.

[01:19:16.010] – Allan

So you might have picked up on the fact that I was having some connectivity issues when I was having that discussion with Rachel and during our hello segment, not a good day for Internet in Bocas del Toro, so we got cut off. We didn't really talk much longer than that anyway, so I hope you enjoyed this episode and if you did, please do give us a rating review again, we got some prizes coming up for that, so please do give us a rating review. It's right there on your app. Click Rating review, leave us one and I'll be picking a winner in about a month's time. Talk to you then.


Before we close out this episode, if you're not making the progress you want because something seems to be blocking you, you need to check out the free quiz, What's Your Health Blocker at 40plusfitness.com/quiz. It's absolutely free. Self-awareness is a key requirement for lasting change. Knowing your health blocker is a big part of that. Learn what your health blocker is at 40plusfitness.com/quiz. You'll be glad you did.


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Melissa Ball
– Eliza Lamb– Judy Murphy– Tim Alexander
– Eric More– Leigh Tanner

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


October 11, 2022

How to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease with Joseph Keon

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

As we age, Alzheimer's Disease is becoming more and more prevalent. In fact, under the current trend, by the time we're 85, we'll have a 1 in 2 chance of showing signs of this insidious disease. On episode 559 of the 40+ fitness Podcast, Joseph Keon shows us how we can make ourselves more resilient and reduce our risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease. We discuss his book, The Alzheimer's Revolution: An Evidence-Based Lifestyle Program to Build Cognitive Resilience And Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer's Disease.

What's Your Health Blocker?

What's keeping you from losing weight, improving your health, and getting more fit?

You start out great and then bam, something comes along and derails you. Your diet was going great, but that birthday cake on Saturday fired up your sweet tooth.


You were working out every day and you hurt your foot. Your doctor told you to keep off of it for six weeks. Those six weeks have come and gone, and you're still keeping off of it.

Deep down, you know it's not the cake or the injury to blame, right?

It's a mindset block.

And like an invisible wall, each and every time you make progress, you inevitably backslide. Until you address your health blocker, you won't see the success you want and need.

That's why I created a quiz to help you diagnose your health blocker. It's absolutely FREE at 40plusfitness.com/quiz. Take the free What's Your Health Blocker Quiz at 40plusfitness.com/quiz.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:14.350] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you doing?

[00:02:16.050] – Rachel

Good. How are you today, Allan?

[00:02:17.720] – Allan

I'm doing all right. I got quite a bit of sun this week. Maybe just a little too much, but it's been good. I'm not going to say it's a complete vacation, but I did block time out on my calendar to do things to make sure that I went down the pool and enjoyed myself. Like I said, I got a little too much sun, but that's okay.

[00:02:35.420] – Rachel

That sounds good.

[00:02:35.970] – Allan

It's been a good week. Yeah.

[00:02:37.240] – Rachel

Good up here. We're turning to fall. Things are getting colder. We've got one camp out planned, that's where we're heading this weekend. And two races on the calendar. And then it's going to be winter before we know it.

[00:02:52.610] – Allan

And I'll be in Bocas del Toro. Maybe a little humid, but every day.

[00:02:57.850] – Rachel

That sounds nice. I might need a snowbird sometime down there. That would be awesome.

[00:03:04.700] – Allan

All right.

[00:03:05.370] – Allan

I think last week I talked about I'm going to be on that show, that summit, and so that started yesterday.

[00:03:11.470] – Rachel


[00:03:11.840] – Allan

And so if you want to go to that. It's going to be 40 plus fitness ultimate. Just check the show notes for this episode and you can find a link to that summit. It will be in our little hello section of the show notes. But it was a really good conversation I had with her. I think it's going to help a lot of people. So we'll go out there and show her a little bit of love. I think it's a free summit, so you can just go and listen to all the interviews. She should have some good people on the show. It's about longevity and health. So right up the alley of what we're going to be talking about today.

[00:03:36.920] – Rachel



[00:04:34.970] – Allan

Joseph. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:37.790] – Joseph

Thank you, Allan. Great to be here with you.

[00:04:40.080] – Allan

I have wanted to cover this topic for so long. When we start talking about aging and some of the bad things that happen with aging, Alzheimer's is kind of right up there. And in my mind, cancer is scary, but, man, this is freaking frightening.

[00:04:53.790] – Joseph

It is.

[00:04:54.400] – Allan

And your book is called The Alzheimer Revolution: An Evidence-Based Lifestyle Program to Build Cognitive Resilience and Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease. And just one statistic that I took from the book is that in the next 30 years, one in two people over the age of 85 will have Alzheimer's.

[00:05:13.020] – Joseph

Yes. Staggering, isn't it?

[00:05:14.590] – Allan

It is. So just look at the person sitting next to you right now. One of us has that risk if we live till we're 85. And I think every one of us wants to have a good, long, healthy life, so we've kind of got to start doing some things about it.

[00:05:27.180] – Joseph

Well, and not only that, Allan, there's new reports that have come out showing that Alzheimer's is actually trending to younger and younger populations. So 1 may not need to wait until they're 85. It really can no longer be called a disease of the elderly because it's affecting people in their 50s, in their 40s, even now. So I think a lot of times people think of Alzheimer's, they hear that word and they think old age but we need to be doing things at all ages to reduce our risk of developing it.

[00:05:59.740] – Allan

Yeah. Now, one of the interesting things and you shared this quote in the book and sometimes I just like clue on a quote. I'm like, okay, this is actually a really cool and important quote. And it says “maintaining order rather than correcting disorder is the ultimate principle of wisdom. To cure disease after it has manifest is like digging a well after one feels thirsty or foraging for a weapon when the war has already begun.”

[00:06:26.470] – Joseph


[00:06:26.890] – Allan

And we're in that spot. But this is not new. This is not a new quote that someone just came up with a few days ago. This is 5000 years ago. The Yellow Emperor of China shared this wisdom with the world, with his people, wrote it down. So we have it today. But we really have to do this. We have to start maintaining water.

[00:06:44.670] – Joseph

Absolutely. Yeah. The earlier the better.

[00:06:47.890] – Allan

So when we talk about Alzheimer's disease, I think people know, okay, that's a form of dementia. Stuff happens. Can we get a little bit more technical? Okay. What are these things like amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Tangles and those types of things. What does Alzheimer's look like in the brain?

[00:07:04.680] – Joseph

So Alzheimer's is one of numerous types of dementia. It's the most common. It accounts for about 70% of all the cases that occur. And it's marked by a decline in memory, reasoning, judgment as well as spatial perception. And what happens is there are person who's developed Alzheimer's will increasingly need assistance performing things that you and I take for granted. We call them activities of daily living but these are things like bathing or showering dressing, grooming, preparing and eating a meal. Increasingly these things will be challenging and they'll need somebody to assist with it. Now, what's going on inside the brain that leads to these kinds of changes are very distinct pathological features. And a lot of people have heard about plaques and tangles but here's some more about what they actually are. Amyloid plaques are created by a protein called beta amyloid which basically just starts misbehaving. It folds over on itself sort of like deformed origami and it's very sticky. So it clumps together with other beta amyloid. And so these clumps start forming in between the neuron cells in the brain. And that's what we call the amyloid plaques. The other protein that misbehaves is the protein called tau.

[00:08:27.080] – Joseph

Tau. And tau is on the inside of the neuron and it too starts operating in a dysfunctional manner. And if you look at it microscopically it looks like little balls of thread. Now, as these plaques and tangles spread the brain's own immune system tries to eradicate them and it sends out special cells to do that. And part of that is creating an inflammatory response. And so you get neuroinflammation. And as the neurons get inflamed they enter a state of dysfunction and ultimately die off. So what you have is a loss of brain cells and a loss of synapses, which are the connections in between those brain cells. And with that loss, you have a total loss of volume of the brain, and particularly in a region of the brain we call the hippocampus. And the hippocampus is located deep inside the temporal lobe. And this is really the center of memory in the brain, and it's also part of the brain that enables us to perform spatial navigation. So that's why individuals who are afflicted will have difficulty finding their way around even in their own home at certain stages. Or often they'll get lost in the neighborhood or in a shopping mall and things like that.

[00:09:46.450] – Allan

Or worst case, driving. And there's a Silver Alert. You're driving on the road, you get a warning on your phone or a warning on the sign that you're driving under. There's a silver alert. Look for someone in this car, and we don't know where they are exactly. Yeah, I'm in Mexico right now, and I arrived here right as a 7.5 earthquake.

[00:10:05.490] – Joseph

Oh, wow.

[00:10:06.020] – Allan

Okay. And yeah, it's scary, but I'm fine. I'm in a car in the middle of the road, just bouncing around a little bit, that kind of thing. We get to the resort I'm staying at for this week, and there was a gentleman and a wife. Everybody was supposed to be outside, but this gentleman could not walk down the stairs. Okay, so the wife was outside. She was really distraught because is, okay, here was her husband of many years, and she had to leave him because she had to leave and get down and tell them they sent some guys up. But it's just that kind of concept of when you start thinking about these things is if we're not taking care of ourselves, we're kind of setting ourselves up for these types of things where we're not able to take care of ourselves, we're not able to take care of other people. Now, you mentioned something that's really important inflammation. Everybody is kind of aware that inflammation has a reasonable purpose in our body, but oxidative stress and inflammation are really kind of so the amyloid plaques and the tau tangles and all the shrinking of the brain, that's the symptom.

[00:11:09.150] – Allan

But the real cause of this is the oxidative stress inflammation, can you kind of talk about that and how our lifestyle because it's the title of the book, evidence based Lifestyle. What's going on? What's that cause effect thing that's going on?

[00:11:23.780] – Joseph

Yeah, I can talk about both inflammation and oxidative stress because they kind of go hand in hand, and as you said, they really ramp up. They're there from the earliest stages of Alzheimer's, even when someone is experiencing kind of the precursor, which is called mild cognitive impairment, all the way to the very end stages of the disease. And as you said, inflammation is important it's a natural defense part of our process of combating pathogens and infectious bacteria. And essentially healing accelerates healing. But that's acute short term inflammation. Lesser to think of having a cut on the back of your hand, you look down and see it gets red, it gets tender and swollen. There's inflammation in there, and that's helping restore that tissue. And ultimately, when the healing has taken place, then the inflammation is signaled to go off. It's the chronic long term inflammation that is injurious to cells that's associated with elevated risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and certainly Alzheimer's disease. And we know we can look at biomarkers in the blood and we can measure indicators of when elevation is elevated. And when you look at people at midlife, if they have high levels of inflammation, it's often a harbinger of things that are going on in the brain already neuroinflammation, loss of neurons, and some of these characteristic changes we talked about earlier that occur that ultimately lead to dementia.

[00:12:57.840] – Joseph

So there's a way we can address both inflammation and oxidative stress. And I'll tell you a little about oxidative stress because as I say, when you have oxidative stress going on, it boosts inflammation and vice versa. Oxidative stress is a state in the body when there's the production and accumulation of too many of these very unstable molecules that we call free radicals. And they can be likened to a bull in a china shop. Basically, they're bouncing around and damaging cells and tissue, even DNA, and they're certainly contributing to risk of dementia. And our body produces free radicals just as a normal part of metabolism, but when it gets overwhelmed, it can't contend with them. So things like radiation, cigarette smoke, toxins, pesticides, things like this that we ingest or exposed to can ramp up the level of these free radicals that are produced. And eventually the body reaches the point where it says, hey, I can't contend with this. And that's when the damage starts to occur. And it's the same way with inflammation. We can handle the short term inflammation, but it's the chronic long term. So the answer to both of these things is there's a lot we can do.

[00:14:13.400] – Joseph

One of the most important is diet because we know that foods like fruits and vegetables, colorful fruits and vegetables, are loaded with these anti inflammatory substances, or antioxidants everybody's heard that word by now. And these are substances that quench or neutralize the free radicals, so they're not doing the damage to cells in the body. So foods that all these antiinflammatory and antioxidant substances concentrate in foods of plant origin. So we do well by incorporating as much of these plant foods in our diet as possible. There are other things that increase inflammation. Interestingly, if we don't sleep well, inflammation goes up. Diabetes increases systemic inflammation. Alcoholic beverages increase inflammation in the body and particularly in the brain. So we can address some of these other factors high blood pressure. And by addressing those and by making these dietary choices, we can really bring the risk of oxidative stress and excess inflammation down.

[00:15:21.660] – Allan

Yeah, kind of the way you talk about it in the book, which I really like the principle of this case. So you're talking about rust and fire?

[00:15:28.120] – Joseph


[00:15:30.830] – Allan

You could just think about any environment where you're dealing with rust or you're dealing with fire. You don't want that as a chronic existence. And that's what's happening inside our body.

[00:15:39.550] – Joseph

And it's very true. You look at the science of this, how it plays out in the brain, some scientists will actually say, they'll say this brain is on fire. It's an inferno of inflammation and oxidative stress. And so again, what we're trying to do is cool the flames and protect ourselves from the rust, from the degenerative action of these substances.

[00:16:01.860] – Allan

Now to kind of go back to the advice that the Yellow Emperor gave 5000 years ago, prevention is really kind of the key here. Once you have the disease, it moves. It moves at a certain pace. And yes, you might be able to slow the progression, but once you have the disease, you're a little behind the game. So if we're someone who's right now feeling cognitively, okay, but we know we need to do something. We're not living the lifestyle that's necessary for us to live that long, healthy, non-dementia life. I want to talk about some of the prevention. So let's talk about food. Let's dive a little bit deeper into food and how can we approach our food to protect ourselves?

[00:16:38.150] – Joseph

Yeah, there was a really important study that's called the Chicago Health and Aging Project. And what these researchers do is they went into three neighborhoods in Chicago, diverse neighborhoods. And they sat down with the subjects and said, we want to know what you're eating, how much exercise you're getting, how you're living. And they made careful records of that and followed them for a number of years and then watched to see who developed Alzheimer's disease. And they discovered something really important. They found that the people that ate the most of something called saturated fat had more than twice the risk that they'd go on to develop Alzheimer's compared to the individuals who were consuming the least saturated fat. And they also found that those who were consuming the most trans fat had more, almost three times the risk of going on to develop Alzheimer's. So these are two things that everybody can address because saturated fat is really concentrated in foods from animal origin. So meats and dairy. And in the US. When you look at the way we eat, our number one intake of saturated fat comes from cheese and then it's followed by chicken.

[00:17:49.320] – Joseph

So plant foods, fruits and vegetables and legumes are all very low in saturated fat. The exception, of course, is tropical oils. But if we focus on these foods, we're going to slash the amount of saturated fat we're getting. The trans fats used to be in a lot of packaged foods that had something called hydrogenated oil, but that was banned. And so now they're really relegated to foods that have been fried. Things like fried chicken, french fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, donuts, things like that.

[00:18:19.920] – Allan

All the delicious stuff.

[00:18:20.910] – Joseph

Yeah, all the delicious stuff.

[00:18:23.090] – Allan

But honestly, honestly, I say that. I joke. But the reality is, once you start eating a whole food diet, you actually start changing your palate.

[00:18:31.430] – Joseph


[00:18:32.000] – Allan

And strawberry might be one of the most delicious things you've ever eaten when you just start eating whole food and you rediscover the palate that doesn't want the fried stuff.

[00:18:42.970] – Joseph

Exactly. We acclimate to diets that aren't overloaded in sodium or sugar. And discovering new foods, discovering these different flavors that we might not be accustomed to. It can be a wonderful experience just experimenting and learning to prepare some of these meals at home with these protective foods. So we know, studies show that people who consistently get three to four servings of colorful fruits and vegetables in their diet see about a 40% reduction in that age related decline, that cognitive decline, and are much more resilient cognitively and stay sharp. But beyond that, we want that day to day cognitive function, but we want to be also doing everything we can to minimize the likelihood that these pathological changes are going on in the brain. So there are hundreds of anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, and some of these substances actually have been shown to reach in and protect neurons in different ways in the brain. So packing as much of that into the diet is critical.

[00:19:49.860] – Allan

Yes. And one of the cool things about putting more good stuff in, it doesn't feel like you're depriving yourself, because most people will look at a diet and it's saying, well, cut this out, cut that out, cut this out. But the way you're talking about it right now, which I think is a really important thing, is, no, just put more of the good stuff in there and then you don't have as much room for that stuff.

[00:20:11.590] – Joseph

Exactly. And all of the great big long term studies that have been breaking in the last seven to 8, 10 years that are showing these dramatic reductions in risk, it's the same thing. The more plants that are in the diet, the more exercise people are getting. It's very clear what's happening. And so the more that we add in, the more that we populate the diet with color and leafy greens and these protective foods, the better off we're going to be.

[00:20:44.790] – Allan

So let's take that step into exercise. How does exercise help us prevent Alzheimer's?

[00:20:51.170] – Joseph

I was thinking about this the other day just because it's still remarkable how many things exercise addresses with regard to risk for Alzheimer's disease. I mean, it prevents or can reverse, like, ten different risk factors related to dementia. And I devote an enormous chapter to it in the Alzheimer's Revolution.

[00:21:14.280] – Allan

I read the book. I know.

[00:21:15.560] – Joseph

I want to get people excited. When somebody says exercise is good for you, it doesn't get you very excited, right? But when you read about all these different things that are happening, that are protecting, that are serving to protect the brain, it gets exciting. It's like, I want this. I want a dose of this every day. So we know exercise lowers blood pressure and lowers cholesterol levels. It reduces inflammation, it increases our sensitivity to insulin. So we're less concerned with insulin resistance and the risk of developing diabetes, which is a major risk factor for dementia. It actually builds brain matter so people can increase the volume of their hippocampus, the center of memory, in just months of performing regular aerobic exercise. It increases the number of blood vessels that are feeding the hippocampus and other parts of the brain. So you're getting more oxygen, more nutrients to the brain cells. And something that is seldom discussed is that as we age, if we aren't taking these proactive protective steps, generally, by age 65, the average Americans lost about 20% of the oxygen flow to their brain. And so it's like a slow motion kind of choking effect. So anything that we can do to dilate blood vessels, increase blood flow, increase oxygen, transport to the brain is going to be really critical.

[00:22:43.270] – Joseph

There was a study conducted by researchers at Rush University Medical Center, and this is really compelling. They took a group of about 700 people and they fitted them with these little devices called actographs. And it's just something that measures how much activity somebody's getting. And then they sent them out just to live their life as they normally do. They check in with them periodically, and about three and a half years later, they sat down and looked at the total amount of activity all of them were getting. And the people who were in the bottom 10% for physical activity had more than two and a half times the risk that they would go on to develop Alzheimer's compared to those who are in the top 10%. So clearly this is really powerful medicine in terms of preventing dementia.

[00:23:28.570] – Allan

Absolutely. So let's talk about and I want to put these together because in my mind, like brother and sister, if you will, so stress management and sleep. If you're stressed, you don't sleep well. If you don't sleep well, you're stressed. And it's this back and forth thing that just seems to happen. How is stress management and good quality sleep going to help improve our chances against Alzheimer's?

[00:23:51.650] – Joseph

Well, when we're stressed, obviously we don't feel well. One of the things that happens is our levels of a stress hormone called cortisol go up and cortisol constricts blood vessels. So then you have reduced blood flow and oxygen transport to the brain and other parts of the body, but you push blood pressure up as a result. So blood pressure goes up and it's a major risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia. Anything that we can do to help us feel less stressed out. And as you know, we're never going to avoid stress because there are going to be stresses in all of our lives.

[00:24:28.430] – Allan

And you can't stress about stress. That's kind of one of those things, right? You can't lay there in bed like, I can't go to sleep. I got to make myself go to sleep. So this is a harder puzzle for a lot of us to fix, but there's a lot of benefit to really taking the time to structure your life in a way that does manage your risk manage your stress and also help you sleep better.

[00:24:48.570] – Joseph

Yeah, and it's interesting because when we think about it from the standpoint, it's how I'm going to react to the inevitable stressors. I get on the freeway and there all the cars are stopped and I know I've got a 40 minutes trip home that I'm going to sit in this traffic, how am I going to respond? I have Cortisol levels shoot up and my blood pressure go up and these deleterious things happen inside my body and my brain. Or am I going to put on some relaxing music and say, hey, I'm not in control of this?

[00:25:15.210] – Allan

Or 40 plus fitness podcast.

[00:25:17.280] – Joseph

There you go. I learned something on that terribly slow drive home. There are lots of things we can do, and the research is really compelling around things like yoga and tai chi meditation. Each of these things is actually supporting what we call cognitive reserve. It's building and supporting the retention of brain cells and connections to those brain cells, more synapses, so we have a higher level of cognitive function. And so when we practice these things, we know we feel good in the moment. We know we feel good when we're doing them. But the idea is that with practice, it spills over into the periods of time when we're not doing it. So when we do encounter the terrible news, the terrible traffic, whatever the trigger is, we're more likely to remain calm, to not have that negative response. So just making these a part of our program weekly, joining a yoga class, learning how to meditate, studying tai chi, whatever it is, you can do it online, you can do it at your own home, you can do it anywhere. But the science is really showing that it has a tremendous effect in helping protect us from cognitive decline and dementia.

[00:26:36.430] – Allan

Now, last one, I want to talk about, at least from the perspective of prevention, is I kind of feel like there's this tsunami that's starting to really build and more and more people are talking about it. So that's a good thing. But we have these toxins and heavy metals that have been pumping into our environment for a long time now. And despite regulations, despite everything else, it's not going away anytime soon. So we're getting more and more exposed. New stuff is coming on the market. They get rid of an old thing and they're like, okay, we got to get rid of this old thing because we know that's killing people and then they introduce something else. Actually, we find out 10,15 years later was actually even worse. Toxins and heavy metals, let's talk about those.

[00:27:16.150] – Joseph

Yeah, you're absolutely right in that regard. It's actually getting worse. You may have seen just a couple of weeks ago, some assessments found that 85% of Americans are excreting glyphosate in their urine. That's the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup that is in so much of our food today. And pesticides in general are designed to destroy the nervous system of living creatures. So we shouldn't be ingesting them. But unfortunately, they're used rapidly in conventional agriculture. So I always recommend to people, when you have the opportunity to choose organically produced foods, you're going to really minimize your exposure to these kinds of substances. We know that when pesticides get in the body, they trigger inflammation, they trigger oxidative stress and move us more in the direction of risk. So the good news is that studies have consistently shown when people are put on an organic foods diet, their levels of pesticides that are measured in their blood precipitously within two weeks. So the more opportunities we have to make those choices for organics, the better off we are. With regard to the metals, again, this is a huge problem that we don't see them, we don't taste them, we don't smell them.

[00:28:34.570] – Joseph

They're getting in the food chain, they're in our water and some of our supplements and things like that. And a big one for brain health is, of course, mercury. And mercury is a neurotoxin at any level. It creates oxidative stress in the brain, it kills neurons, ramps up inflammation, and the number one source of it today is fish. Unfortunately, fish and shellfish, virtually all of them have some degree of mercury in them and some have very high levels. The predator fish have very high levels of mercury in them. So need or want mercury in the body at all, the best thing we can do is minimize our exposure. Another one's copper. Copper, we need just a tiny amount in our body for our health. And when you exceed that level, this is something that can promote free radicals. And the interesting thing is copper is showing up embedded in those amyloid plaques. And it's unclear whether they're part of instigating them or they have an affinity for the plaque once they're formed. But since they are a promoter of free radicals, we want to minimize our exposure to copper. And a good way to do that is to put a filtration system on under your kitchen sink, your ice cube maker, et cetera, wherever you're drinking water and using it to cook.

[00:29:58.550] – Joseph

Because when water sits in copper pipes, which it does all night long while we're sleeping, the copper leaches into the water, and then when we use the water the next day, we're getting little amounts, but over time it adds up. So copper also was historically added to supplements, but now many supplement manufacturers have come to understand the risk of added copper and they're eliminating it just like added iron, which is being reduced or eliminated from many supplements as well. Another one is aluminum. Aluminum is a neurotoxin. We have no reason to have that in our body. It's coming from water again, so we can filter it from water. There are some things like antacids, which tend to contain aluminum. You can select aluminum free antacids, aluminum free antiperspirants, not deodorant, but the antiperspirants that contain typically choose aluminum free baking powder if you're a baker, because that has it as well. And be cautious about things like frozen pizzas and pancake mixes and muffin mixes because they often contain something called aluminum phosphate. Another source aluminum in the diet. And we got another one that we all read too much about right in the press, lead.

[00:31:16.410] – Joseph

And lead typically comes from drinking water from all lead pipes, and so filtration can get that out. And oddly enough, calcium supplements are contaminated with lead. So you might want to rethink that as well. And there's lead in fish, all these heavy metals, you show up eat fish, cadmium, leg, mercury. So, yeah, that's the metals.

[00:31:39.250] – Allan

Yeah. Now, I didn't put this on the show plan, but I just want to get your opinion. More and more I'm hearing experts and individuals out in the field saying that they feel like Alzheimer's is kind of like type three diabetes. And predominantly because type two diabetes tends to be like almost like not as a precursor, but a very high risk driver. What are your thoughts about is Alzheimer's related to diabetes? Would it be type three diabetes?

[00:32:09.320] – Joseph

I understand why people are making that statement because the association is very strong. We know that when the brain can't access glucose, the brain is an energy hog. It uses 20% of all the energy produced, and if it can't access the glucose, then there's dysfunction, the cells can't function. And so that may be a problem. We know that a lot of people in their seventy's and eighty's who are tested, who have dementia often have blood glucose and insulin levels that are very high, so they're not metabolizing glucose well. I would also say this. There's a lot of ways to arrive at the same place. You can go be a combat veteran, participate in combat and be exposed to an IED, and you can double or triple your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. You can play a few seasons of pro football, and you could substantially increase the risk that you're going to develop Alzheimer's or some form of dementia. And so I don't think we can say that Alzheimer's itself is just entirely focused on our ability to metabolize glucose and sensitivity to insulin. But I think it definitely plays a big role.

[00:33:27.200] – Joseph

We see about doubling of risk for Alzheimer's and people who have diabetes, type two diabetes.

[00:33:32.590] – Allan

Joseph, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are the three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:33:41.870] – Joseph

definitely eating a diet that's chock full leafy greens and fruits and vegetables and legumes and nuts and seeds. That's critical. The exercise we talked about getting 150 minutes of real robust aerobic exercise, critical for all the reasons we touched on. And I also tell people with the exercise, find some other way to inoculate yourself from a negative response to stress, whether it's tai chi or yoga or meditation or a stretching program. Find a way to express yourself creatively. Because we all have those creative juices and we feel better. And when we're being creative, we have positive feelings. We're less likely to experience feelings of anxiety or depression. And so whether it's joining a photography class or painting, sculpting or studying music, taking up a musical instrument or something, and then the final piece I always say to people, we're social creatures and we thrive physically, emotionally, mentally, immunologically when we feel connected, when we have community. And so find ways to get out of your silo, where we all are working and living, and even if it's just getting on the phone or having a zoom call with friends or family members, going out on a walk a couple of times a week, find ways to connect with people.

[00:34:59.950] – Joseph

Join a book club, a choir, go to volunteer.com, just find ways to be with people and feel that connection because it really makes a difference in our long term health.

[00:35:09.860] – Allan


[00:35:10.360] – Allan

So, Joseph, if someone wanted to learn more about your book, The Alzheimer's Revolution and more about you, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:35:18.540] – Joseph

They can visit my website, which is josephkeon.com. And the book, of course, is available at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. And pretty much anywhere that books are sold.

[00:35:30.140] – Allan

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/559, and I'll be sure to have links there. Joseph, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:35:38.530] – Joseph

Thanks, Allan. It's been a pleasure.

Post Show/Recap

[00:35:46.770] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:35:47.950] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What an interesting conversation about Alzheimer's. That is another situation that's certainly getting out of control. I can't believe how fast Alzheimer's is growing in popularity.

[00:36:01.210] – Allan

Well, popularity,

[00:36:03.090] – Rachel

I know. Yes. And the demographics.

[00:36:05.500] – Allan

Yeah, it's just happening. Like you said, it's happening to younger and younger people.

[00:36:08.950] – Rachel


[00:36:09.440] – Allan

And more people. So it is really our face, and it's just going to get worse. And it's really about us adjusting our lifestyle. And I talk about commitment. I talk about why you start thinking about getting older. I've always said the joke, I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105. This is a part of it. This is a big part of it. I don't want my kids or brothers or sisters or anybody to have to care for me. I want to be independent. I want to be there. So it was food for thought having this conversation with Joseph because he did his research. This was maybe the most researched book I've ever read. He had over 1000 references in this book and I had some that have been up to 800. There's over 1000 references. So if there was a study about Alzheimer's, this dude read it.

[00:36:58.830] – Rachel


[00:37:00.330] – Allan

So there's a lot in the book, a lot of advice. But you mentioned it on pre-shows. We were talking through this. It really goes back to the basic tenets of health.

[00:37:08.620] – Rachel

It does, doesn't it?

[00:37:09.920] – Allan

Real food, sleep, stress management, movement. It's the same. And avoid toxins. It's the same five things that you would think. 350 plus interviews, all of them saying the same thing eventually click.

[00:37:25.660] – Allan

Hey, guys.

[00:37:26.750] – Rachel


[00:37:27.320] – Allan

This is a thing. Yeah.

[00:37:29.500] – Rachel

Well, you mentioned you mentioned that this is scarier for you in later life than cancer. And it is true. And you mentioned it's the same statistic. Didn't they say it was one in two people will end up with Alzheimer's over if you live to be over 85.

[00:37:44.710] – Allan

If you're over 85, yes, about 30 years. So about the time because I'm 56 right now. I'm 56 right now, so 30 years.

[00:37:52.450] – Allan

Half the people that are standing around me my age are going to have Alzheimer's.

[00:37:56.790] – Rachel


[00:37:57.260] – Allan

Worst part of that statistic is that there are people in their family that are now going to be suffering as well because of the caretaking and the losing the person before you lose the person. So this is a really big deal. And that needs to be a part of your why, not just what you're doing for yourself, what you're doing for the people around you.

[00:38:16.850] – Rachel

Oh, it is. People with Alzheimer's require so much extra care and you can't literally live on your own at that point. You need to be in the assisted or even a memory care facility. You need round the clock care because like Joseph was saying, you lose certain synapses and you just don't think about it. We have a loved one that suffers with Alzheimer's and one of the things that goes is the ability to make your own decisions. So when we go out to eat, the restaurant waiter or wait staff will ask what you're going to eat and someone will say something and our loved one can't make a decision. So she'll just eat whatever the person before her ordered. And I'm not even sure she's capable of reading at this point, but she can't make those types of decisions and it's very difficult and it just requires around the clock care and it's really hard to watch your loved ones suffer like that.

[00:39:11.120] – Allan

Yeah, it is. And so if you have a loved one in your life, because the reason he kind of got into all of this was he had members of his family that had Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, so they're like, oh, well, we're all bound to get it because it's genetic.

[00:39:24.970] – Allan

And so he did his research. He said, well, there's a little bit.

[00:39:27.440] – Allan

Of a genetic component, but that's not what's causing it. You have a predisposition towards Alzheimer's, and then you're not caring for yourself, and then you enter the disease state. So you don't have to go down that path. There's a different choice.

[00:39:42.130] – Rachel

Well, that's fascinating. And like you mentioned, it's the same thing that we've heard before. It's eating the good food so that these plaques don't develop in your brain. It's exercising so that you're continuing to build those capillaries instead of breaking them down so that your brain can function. And the sleep component, I mean, that's when your body fixes itself. It's in the sleep when all the good things happen to repair functions and whatnot. So it is something that we all should spend a little bit more time focusing on. And like you had said too, just make that simple swap if there's something you're not doing right in your life. Too many desserts. Well, switch it. Maybe add some fruits to your life or some happier, fun to eat vegetables or something and get some more time outside. There's those spots that we just have to be diligent about making, and we're not as active like in the winter up here in Michigan, it's harder to be outside in the cold, but we could push ourselves a little harder to spend a few more minutes outside than we might normally do. Get a little fresh air, get a little sunlighy.

[00:40:51.020] – Allan

and you're going to move. Because standing still in the cold is a lot worse than moving in the summer.

[00:40:55.240] – Rachel

Yeah, you have to move. No standing still in the winter. It's just these little simple things that could really make a big difference over time. And you're right. As we age, we want to be independent and doing things for ourselves that makes a high quality of life. So why not start setting some good habits now?

[00:41:13.520] – Allan

I completely agree with you.

[00:41:16.450] – Rachel

That sounds great.

[00:41:17.850] – Allan

All right, well, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:41:19.960] – Rachel

Right, Allan, take care.

[00:41:21.290] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:41:22.300] – Rachel

Thanks. Bye bye.


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Another episode you may enjoy


How to own your power to serve, fight, protect, and heal with DJ Vanas

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

In his book, The Warrior Within, DJ Vanas teaches us from the perspective of North American indigenous people how to better care for ourselves so we can serve and protect those around us. On episode 554 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we sit down and talk about this and the book.


Let's Say Hello

Because Rachel is on an off-the-grid hike for 8 days, we won't be having the normal hello session on this episode.


[00:04:05.590] – Allan

DJ, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:08.410] – DJ

Thank you for having me, Allan. Happy to be here.

[00:04:10.760] – Allan

Now your book, The Warrior Within: Own Your Power to Serve, Fight, Protect, and Heal, it kind of appealed to me, the one there's, the guy thing. But there's plenty of female warriors out there, so ladies don't tune out because this is for anybody that serves. And if you're a mother, if you're a grandmother, if you're a daughter in some capacities, you are serving, you are fighting and you're protecting just as much as any man or anybody else. So this is everybody and I really want to start telling you there's something you had in the book. And I'm like if I was going to say what is this book about and why this book is important, I would say this and this is from you. Anything that makes us mentally stronger and more true to ourselves is worth investing time and effort. And so reading a book, learning these lessons that you bring forward in the book, that's a great investment.

[00:05:06.610] – DJ

Yeah, well, that's why I wrote it. That's my hope. That was my goal, is to make sure that what I wrote was worthy of everybody's time, focus and attention. We live in a busy, hurry up world and I wanted to share the things that I know have impact, that I know can move the needle on the dial, getting to that level of life that we want to get to where we're a better version of ourselves, we're stronger, we're more resilient and we're more able to serve the people that we love and are with everyday.

[00:05:37.330] – Allan

And that's one of the topics I kind of want to get into early on here, is that I think when we become parents, particularly when we become parents, I think it's just something in your head just because quick, I'm a different person, I got to do something different here. But a lot of people also choose careers where they're serving as a teacher, as a firefighter, as a policeman in the military or even just being a leader in your community.

[00:06:02.530] – DJ


[00:06:03.080] – Allan

I think a lot of us get so involved in that that we miss one of the most important things and that's actually taking care of the warrior first.

[00:06:14.110] – DJ


[00:06:15.040] – Allan

Can you talk about self care and why that's so important and how we can make that paradigm shift?

[00:06:21.610] – DJ

It's critical and I'm glad that you're bringing this up. And by the way, that list that you just fired off. All those people are populated throughout the book. Those examples, those real world impact moments of how these principles show up in the lives of educators, firefighters, people in health care. When we talk about this warrior concept, and again, it transcends race, gender, age, stage of life. So I want to make sure that that's clear. But I put very directly in the book, you cannot be a warrior when you're falling apart. It just doesn't work. Intentions, you can dismiss them. It's execution that matters. And when we talk about this in practical terms, it comes down to self care, taking care of the vessel of all this great service, which is us. And you are the only you that you will ever have or be in this lifetime. We have to act accordingly. And sometimes we wait for other people to take care of us. We wait for it to be convenient and never will be. We wait for something to intervene, to really pull us into that self care mode. And sometimes that thing that pulls us into it is a health crisis.

[00:07:28.690] – DJ

And that's the reality is we need warriors who can sustain in the good fight every day, serving other people well, having a good impact. What we don't need is martyrs. And martyrs are the ones that just go till they fall apart, stand back, look at the debris field and say, how the heck did this happen? And I work with these people and I love them, whether it's a firefighter or educator or people serving in the military who are given their heart day in and day out, but they're not holding anything back to keep developing and protecting themselves. And that is unsustainable.

[00:08:04.690] – Allan

And the worst part of it is we don't get to choose when we fall apart. It's going to happen when it's going to happen. So you might be most needed at that moment when you're most unable.

[00:08:17.230] – DJ

And that's the reality. And that becomes extremely painful for people who have dedicated their lives to impacting others in a positive way. We don't know when it's going to show up. Sometimes we get some indicators, but we really don't know when to make that change until something crisis level happens. And that's one way to learn. I don't recommend it. I went through that same experience myself. Yeah, it was an awful experience, but it also made me a born again advocate for self care. Because I know if you keep doing that over and over again, drawing from the well without putting anything back, not only is your warrior spirit going to be depleted and drained, but you are going to go into a place where you don't want to go, which is that complete apathy, burnout health crisis. And there are better ways to do things in life. And you can learn from my painful lesson when you read the book on how not to wait, but to take care of yourself. Every day in our tribal communities, we talk about medicine. I mentioned that in the book too, as something that goes beyond a pill or a vaccine.

[00:09:22.600] – DJ

Medicine in our tribal communities and our traditions was anything and everything that kept us healthy, mind, body and spirit. So it could be spending time with family, spending time alone, it could be getting enough sleep, exercise, funny movies, hobbies, outdoors, whatever it is. That's your medicine list. We have to incorporate that daily because also tribal, we look at medicine, it's not something we go to when we're already sick and out of balance. It's something we incorporate into our lives to keep us healthy and strong.

[00:09:51.550] – Allan

Now, when we hear the term warrior, I think, and you said this in the book very well, people think of this really strong, almost invincible, against the odds, us against the world, or against the army or against whatever. And we don't realize how much when you actually look at real warriors in action, how they're not ashamed or afraid and they have the courage to ask for help.

[00:10:26.950] – DJ

Yeah. And that's a tough lesson to learn because the reality is you have to ask yourself a question how bad do you want to serve others? And if it is a deep drive, that passionate drive, then you have to set yourself up for long term success. And that's part of that self care idea. And yes, warriors are strong, but they are not invincible. I write in the book very clearly, warriors are not bulletproof. In our tribal traditions, our warriors fought against incredible odds. They were out matched technologically, they were lied to, it every turn. They had all these different obstacles and they still found a way to rally and deliver what they needed to for their people, to protect and defend their people. And if we're going to do that in our roles today, we have to take care of ourselves in the best way we know how. And a lot of that includes support from the outside because we over emphasize this warrior role where it is somebody who always has the right answer, is always strong, never afraid, doesn't deal with pain, doesn't need any outside support or encouragement. And that's all garbage that gets us into hot water quicker than anything.

[00:11:40.750] – DJ

Warriors are strong, but they struggle at times. Warriors are brave, but they deal with fear. Warriors are courageous and action oriented, but they also fall down at times and need help. That's totally okay. As I said, you have to think bigger picture. We all need that. We're all human beings. So that's important to include in our resource list. Yeah.

[00:12:04.500] – Allan

Now, I know from experience in the military, and you can see this in movies, it's a little bit more overdramatized of okay, get on the radio and call in support. It's a pretty common thing in a lot of movies where someone had that drama of we're getting overrun. But in real life that can be something as simple as just asking your spouse to take care of the children for 20 minutes or so for you to just go have a mental health break it's knowing when you need that and asking for that help and not being afraid to communicate that I'm being vulnerable with it. But just saying. Hey. I can't do this on my own right now. I need your help. And that trust that you put in the person that's helping you, well, they're probably a warrior in heart too. So it's a symbiotic thing where you're letting another warrior come in and be there for you just like you're going to be there for them later.

[00:13:01.450] – DJ

That's it. And there's strength and vulnerability. That's the other thing I've learned as I've gone along on my journey is being able to think through a different lens, realizing that sometimes the ultimate strength is actually asking for help, saying, hey, I'm not doing this right, I need some outside support, I need a different answer. That takes great courage and that's sometimes we're all worse than me when we don't exercise that. But just being able to reach out and get that support, that is critical because the way that we're wired, it's really bizarre because the moment that we're going through struggle is the time that we need support the most. But it's also the time where we are most likely to withdraw and go into our bunker, go into our own teepee and just lock everybody else out. And I always share with people, I was taught traditionally we're a lot more like bees and ants than we are like eagles. We need each other. We're better when we're with each other. Or let me clarify that with the right people we become very important to eliminate that. But we become more resilient, we become stronger, we become more brave, we become a better version of ourselves based on who we're surrounding ourselves with at the time.

[00:14:15.050] – DJ

That's why it's critical that we're not only selective be picky on who you tribe up with, who you associate with as a fellow warrior because if they're out there doing that good work at times you're going to lean on each other. And I take great comfort in knowing I'm surrounded by that caliber of folk. The men and women that are in my life that I know will be there for me just as I am for them. That's how you become brave as a group. That's why I say in the book warriors never fought alone. Why? Because that's dumb. You are going to severely limit your capacity to deliver anything good into this world when you try to go solo or lone wolf, it just doesn't work. It looks good on TV or in the movie, but in reality it doesn't work like that and it gets us into trouble more often than not.

[00:15:04.270] – Allan

Even rambo usually has a little bit of help

[00:15:07.930] – DJ

a little bit.

[00:15:09.730] – DJ

It's still mostly him. But that's that imagery, though, that gets us into trouble. And we do that too. Even in our native communities, we over romanticize that warrior role and make it inaccessible. And it's like that warrior role isn't about perfection. It's not about having all the right answers. It's about being strong enough to get yourself up when you get knocked down and continue to serve other people to the best of your ability. But warriors cry. They make mistakes, they stumble, but what they don't do is quit. And so that's the deciding factor there in that dynamic.

[00:15:44.710] – Allan

Yeah. Now, as a personal trainer, I come across people and there's two basic excuses that I get from people when they come. And probably the one that I kind of poopoo away and say, okay, that's not really true, is the motivation part. And I'm like, you'll be motivated when you want to do this more than you don't want to decline. When that balance happens, the motivation will come. But the other one I can somewhat agree with, at least from a perspective of experience, of understanding, when you think, okay, I just don't have enough time in the day to do the things I need to do for the self care, for the this or for the that. And you put something in the book, and I think it comes back to that phrase you used a minute ago, being picky. Yeah. Can you talk about kind of the mindset of what you put in the book about how we can look at time management to make sure that we have the time to do what we need to do?

[00:16:46.690] – DJ

Yeah, great question. First and foremost, there is no time for anything in this world. There's no time to eat, to pray, to play, to work out, to hang out with our families. There's only time for what we make time for, and that is it. If our health and wellness are not at the top of that pyramid, I'll tell you what we've also probably experienced everything we're trying to do may fall short because how realistic is it to go into this world, into this life, into this warrior role and want to deliver 100% of who we are and what we can do on a half charge battery or less? I mean, that's like plant carrot seeds and hope when coconuts grow. That's pure wishful thinking, and it's not reality. And the thing is, with time, it's non renewable. That's the other thing that makes it so precious, is we have to put it not towards everything, which is the temptation of the world we live in, but towards the right things. And if we never learn to delineate which is which, we doom ourselves to chaos. And one of the biggest challenges is learning not just what to say yes to.

[00:17:50.210] – DJ

We're good at that. It's learning what to say no to so that we have clarity of purpose we're able to concentrate our power and focus on the things that really matter because to not do that, we're dividing and conquering ourselves, which is the worst thing a warrior can do in battle. We're spread too thin and my gosh, do we feel it. We feel like too little peanut butter on too much toast, going a million different directions and not doing well in any one of them. So time management is absolutely critical in a busy world, and saying no to certain things, I know, can be painful. But the good news is you're saying yes even louder to the right things. And we're the ones who have to do that.

[00:18:29.780] – Allan

Yeah. And that's important. Everybody is going to pull on your time if you let them.

[00:18:35.740] – DJ

That's true. We live in a world where everybody and everything wants a piece of your time and they'll take little bites here and there and it's almost like you're swimming with piranha. Eventually you got nothing left and you don't know where it went. So that's why you got to get out of that pit or that pool of water and be able to operate on your own and be conscious about the choices you're making.

[00:18:57.010] – Allan

So about nine years ago I did a Tough mudder and then I was going to try to do a Spartan about four years ago or so and I tore my rotator cuff and so it's kind of that setback. And I was training for another Tough mudder that was supposed to do and not much time. It's pretty soon coming up here and I hurt my back and I didn't hurt any training. I don't know exactly how I heard it. It's not cute, but you said something in the book. The phrase you use is what to do when the wolf comes. And it's like, okay, I'm 56 years old. Occasionally I'm going to have some form of injury. It's kind of almost part of it, I'll tell you. Mentally, it's tough. How do we deal with setbacks properly? Because I think all of us are going to experience them as we go. It's never just the happy sailing, everything is good, I'm winning all the battles kind of thing.

[00:19:53.370] – DJ

Yeah. And it feels great when we're winning. Right. But the guarantee is the wolf will come and the wolf is that really huge setback, that heartbreak, that loss, that devastating pain, where we really are kind of reeling and wondering how do I keep moving forward at this point? How do I even stay afloat at this point? And a big part of that comes from who we surround ourselves with, like what we were just talking about, who we tribe up with, who our fellow warriors are. We need to be able to identify that and it's better to know what that looks like before you go into that moment than trying to figure that out when you're there. So that's the first one. The second one is really having a strong relationship within yourself. To be able to ask yourself questions when you're going through emotional turmoil that comes with loss, pain, setback is being able to kind of have a self interview where you're able to talk to yourself. And when you're able to do that and sit down with your emotions, I know it can be scary, but I promise everybody listening. You will not ignite on fire.

[00:20:56.900] – DJ

You will not melt down. You will not die. I know it's scary to do that, because dealing with those emotions makes us more resilient and enables us to get through them versus running away from them, which I know is a temptation. I mean, I've done that in my life, too, where you run away from the bad feelings as long as you can. They still catch up with you. They just catch up with you when you're exhausted now and not in a good position to deal with them. So it's better to face it and deal with it. But being able to ask questions like, are these thoughts useful? Because a lot of times, man, we all do it. We ruminate, we kind of go over the same turf over and over again. We're not making any progress. Why did this happen to me? How is this fair? Why does the world work? Like, we start going through this Rumination process that doesn't serve. The second thing is we can start asking ourselves questions like, what story am I telling myself about what just happened? We all talk about are all familiar with PTSD. Post traumatic stress disorder.

[00:21:56.720] – DJ

But there's also a thing called post traumatic growth. Which there's a lot of great researchers who are working on this now. And one of the big takeaways seligman is one of them who identifies that one of the most important questions we can ask is. What am I telling myself about this story or what I'm going through right now? And is it a story of doom gloom? It's never going to be the same. I'll always be broken or have a wound, or is it this is a learning experience. Yes, this is hard. I can do this. I can do hard things, and I'm going to be better for it and be able to help other people maybe deal with their stuff, too. Same situation, two different stories. But we're the narrator, we're the director, the producer, the actor, so we can recreate it. And then the other question is, is this story real or is this just fear showing up? Am I just really in pain right now? And if so, that's okay. You need to take care of yourself. But when we're able to do that, we're able to assess where we are and then how to move forward.

[00:22:59.230] – DJ

We can't do that if we're just in panic mode or stay stuck in the paint.

[00:23:05.620] – Allan

For me, it was looking at it from the Holistic of this thing really defined me. And it's like, no, this is critically important. I'm not a professional athlete. I'm not getting paid to do this event. I was doing this event because it was fun and it was motivating and the training to know that, okay, I got to build myself stronger than I need to be, to be who I am today, to do the event the way I want to do it. And I was going in that direction, but when I think about it from the longer term, it's like, okay, no, that event, that point in time, doesn't define me. It's upsetting that I won't get to do it, but I still get to be me. I still get to have the future that I'm going to have. I still get to be the warrior tomorrow.

[00:23:58.450] – DJ

That's it.

[00:23:59.480] – Allan

And it won't do me any good to hurt myself worse today for the sake of something that isn't nearly as important as what I want tomorrow.

[00:24:08.110] – DJ

That's it. And you live to fight another day. This is such a great point, Allan. It doesn't define us. That one moment doesn't define us. It's really crazy to me, and not because we're all guilty of doing this, you run into one bad moment. You completely dismiss the track record that you build in your life, in your career, on your journey to get to that point in the first place. We took completely forget it. And that's one of the things I talk about in the book, is recognizing when you exercise courage, when you show discipline, when you face fear head on, is recognize those moments of bravery. Recognize those. Don't forget them. Don't blow past them. Because what happens is we're just looking forward all the time, which is important to look forward, but we never look behind us to see what it took to get here. And the reason why that's so important is when we remind ourselves of who we are and what we've done in the past, when we encounter that fear again or that setback, we can look at that reservoir of courage, and we can draw from it. We can say things like, I've been here before.

[00:25:10.690] – DJ

I've done this. I can handle this. I did it before. And actually, what I went through before was even worse, and I'm still doing this. So it's a process. And the other thing is, with the setbacks, we learn a lot about ourselves. One of the stories I tell in the book was about training for the Wing Open boxing tournament my senior year at the Air Force Academy. And I trained, I worked my guts out, and I broke my nose twice. The second time was two weeks before the tournament, and I broke cracked an eye orbital. So I was done. I was out. I was devastated. But I never looked at that as a defeat. I looked at it as a disappointment, but I never looked at it as a defeat. Just like, what you're saying with your injury, you can only do so much. And at that point, if you fall short, we can beat ourselves up for it or we can honor all that it took to get to that point in the first place. It's not always going to work out in our favor.

[00:26:07.510] – Allan

Yeah, absolutely.

[00:26:09.910] – Allan

DJ, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:26:19.570] – DJ

I love this question. This is a journey where all works in progress, but if we have that as a goal, and basically I would summarize that as kind of being the best version of ourselves and we're constantly evolving, we're constantly transforming, or at least should be. But the way that I see that is, again, having a personal dialogue, having a personal connection, and constantly taking an assessment of where you are. Are you happy with where you are? And if not, what are you doing to progress in that area? So it's kind of like a heat seeking missile going towards a target. There's infinite micro corrections to get to the target, and that's part of life we have to constantly be assessing. Am I doing well in this area and this area? Can I work on this area a little bit here? I'm doing pretty good, but it's a constant assessment and it's an internal thing externally. Again, we have to surround ourselves with the right people. I can't stress environment enough. I had an elder tell me this years ago. He said our spirits are like sponges. They soak up whatever they're around. And we get to define what that is.

[00:27:27.370] – DJ

Are we listening to an eight hour news loop or are we hanging out with our friends who give us encouragement? Reading books that inspire our minds, going through health practices that strengthen our body and minds. We get to determine what we're surrounding ourselves with that's also critical to our success. And then the other thing is celebrating. Celebrating the wins. Gosh, we don't do that nearly enough and we wonder why we condition ourselves just to kind of be humdrum and just on to the next thing. It's like we need to learn to celebrate, do the victory dance. We had songs when warriors would come back from battle to celebrate that victory. We wanted it to be something that people remembered. And how often do we achieve great things in a moment and we just totally blow past and go onto the next thing? How can we be inspired to go onto the next thing when we're not even honoring this thing? It just doesn't work. So we need to learn to celebrate, reward ourselves. Give yourself a break. A pat on the back and make it appropriate too. You don't want to do a good workout, good 20 minutes workout, then have a full chocolate cake.

[00:28:42.630] – DJ

Yeah, it's like you got to balance it out. But even sometimes I find. For me, some of the best rewards I give myself is just permission or kind of an acknowledgment that in that moment I delivered. Just to be able to actually recognize that that's one of the best feelings. It's not about buying something or going somewhere. It's about being able to sit with yourself and have that internal conversation where you hear your own voice telling yourself, you did a great job there, you really delivered, you brought it, and that feels awesome. I mean, we need that. But however you celebrate, we need to do that more because we want to condition ourselves for the next success and the next. We don't want to condition ourselves to go into Burnout faster.

[00:29:27.770] – Allan

Perfect. DJ, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, The Warrior Within. Where would you like for me to send them?

[00:29:36.530] – DJ

Please go to nativediscoverycom. That's my website and it's got all the information on what I do, who I work with, information about the book and where you can get it. It will be available everywhere, also as an audiobook, but really excited to put it out into the world and strengthen the people that read it and appreciate that.

[00:29:58.810] – Allan

It's got a lot of great insights. So thank you for sharing and thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:30:04.700] – DJ

Chimmy Gwetschniji. Thank you very much, my friend, for having me.

Post Show/Recap

[00:30:15.270] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:30:16.410] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was an interesting interview with DJ Vanas. I'm curious to know it sounded like he was a Native American.

[00:30:24.000] – Allan

He is, yes. And very much in the service area, military and now service to people. This is written from a very different perspective of caring about people and being the light for others, the example for others. That's very important to him and with his culture. And so yeah, going through the book you really get a sense that he's a lead by example person.

[00:31:01.250] – Rachel

That's so neat. It was really interesting. There's a lot of good things in your interview, but why don't we talk about having the courage to ask for help? I know that I struggle with that sometimes it is hard to ask for help. I don't want to be a martyr or anything, but I just sometimes feel like it's just better if I get things done when on my own. And I do want to help. I want to be a good mom to my kids. I want to be a good wife to my husband and a good daughter to my parents. And sometimes it just gets overwhelming.

[00:31:34.030] – Allan

Yeah, this is just my opinion, so I could be completely wrong and if I am, just ignore me. But I think men have a difficulty asking for help when it comes to physical things and getting things done on that side. A lot of men will say, okay, I'll fix it myself. And I don't mind. We'll spend a whole Saturday fixing something they could have paid a mechanic $50 to fix, but they just want to do it themselves, and so they will sit there and go through that time and expense of figuring it out to solve that problem. Now, women on the other side, I think it comes to more of the emotional trying to get help with the things that a mother should be good at or a sister or a daughter should be good at. They don't want to ask for help there. But the reality is, regardless of what your hang up is, it's really important to recognize when asking for help will move the needle.

[00:32:40.680] – Rachel


[00:32:41.990] – Allan

And we've talked about big rocks and little rocks and all that. Sometimes your big rock is to ask for help.

[00:32:48.410] – Rachel


[00:32:50.150] – Allan

If you're thinking, okay, I could lose the weight myself, what you're saying is, okay, I lose 1 lb a month doing it the way I'm doing it, and I want to keep doing that. I'll get to my goal weight in three years. That's great if you stick with it for three years, whereas maybe just hiring a coach could get you there in a few months or six months. Same thing. If you want to run a five K, you could start training for the five K, but you might tell yourself, okay, well, we're getting close to the end of the season. They're going to do some fall runs up until Thanksgiving, Christmas, then it gets too cold here, and then it'll be March, April before I'd want to run again. So I'll train for a 5k in April.

[00:33:39.450] – Rachel

Yeah, right.

[00:33:40.320] – Allan

Okay. And knowing that most of that training is going to have to be done on the treadmill, or you could hire a running coach, and you could be running that 5K by November. You can be doing the turkey trot easy. And so just thinking in terms of how much a trainer will help you move the needle is a big thing. The other thing is asking for help elsewhere, and I think this is another area where I think women might have a more difficulty is to say, okay, you're the primary caregiver for children. You're the that, and you want to start training. Well, you can't be mom and train at the same time. And now maybe you're lucky enough to be in a place where they have a daycare at your gym, and you can drop the kid over there, and they can sit there and see mama working out over there, and they can watch their videos and things like that in the little play area, and that's cool. But if you don't have that, then you got to ask for help. Help. I need you to watch the kids for an hour each day while I do this training.

[00:34:45.330] – Allan

Because it's not entirely fair for you to say. I got to wake up at 04:00 in the morning so I can get my training run done so that the training done. So then I can come home and be mom and then go to work and come back and be mom and get everything done for house and home and do it all over again the next day. If something as simple as, look, I need you to get the kids ready for school four days a week, three days a week, and I got the other two. You can get three training days in each week. And for a lot of us, that's enough to move the needle.

[00:35:19.170] – Rachel

Oh, for sure, yeah. It's important to communicate with your spouse or whoever else you have in the household about trading that time off. I'll watch the kids this time so you can do your thing while we'll try it off, where you watch them, where I can go do my thing. And same thing with the chores. If you can't keep up with house chores, you split it up. It's just a matter of communication. But when you do hire a coach, you could, like you said, move the needle, but I don't have a clever way to say it, but the coaches have already done all the hit and miss. They've already done all the research and have seen experience. They can cut you right down to the bone of what you should be doing to move that needle the fastest. When I first started running, I was just learning as I went. But I did hire a coach just recently. The spring I ran a marathon, I was aiming for a PR, and I hired a coach who got me that PR. And so even her techniques, her knowledge, her experience got me to where I wanted to be.

[00:36:24.070] – Rachel

And I'm a running coach. I should know all this stuff, and I do. But sometimes you just need somebody else to hold you accountable, to do the right things at the right time. There's just a lot of value to it.

[00:36:37.070] – Allan

Yeah, and I did that with strength. I can train myself. I've done it before because I had to do it before. When you work 90% of the time, you're traveling 90% of the time. To put that in context, you're home three days a month. Oh, gosh, okay, so home three days a month. And there's no way for me to hire a trainer at the time because there were no online trainers, and specifically were no online trainers that were used to coaching people over 40. The only online trainers I knew were the ones that were like the nutrition coaches for getting yourself ready for contest prep or posing coaches who are getting people ready for their posing for a contest, a fitness or physique contest. And so there really wasn't anybody that was going to say, let's make an old fat man on fat. So that's what I needed, though. I needed something like that. So I went and got certified. I started spending time, I started making sure I stay in hotels with certain amenities, gyms and things like that. And I was able to do that. But I did put a stop. I made it something I had to get done within a certain amount of time, all those kind of things.

[00:37:46.550] – Allan

But when I hired the strength coach, I thought, okay, yeah, this will help me get a little stronger than I was before. No, I got as strong as I had ever been, even as a high level high school player, football player. I was squatting more at 51 years old than I was in high school wow. As an offensive lineman. So that's what my strength coach was able to do for me. And it was little things. It was these little things that he was able to just put into my thought process that pushed me a little harder, a little faster. And even at my age, I was trying to be the voice of reason. It's like there's no reason I should put that much weight on the bar, but I had done just a little less than that weight the day before, a few days before. So I was like, well, let's go. Let's see what happens. And I mean, I would push myself. It's not that you need to be the strongest person you've ever been. It's not that you need. But if you really need to move the needle on something to realize a coach is going to make that happen, that change will happen easier and better.

[00:39:04.220] – Allan

If you have someone there that understands what you're going through, can push you just hard enough and keep you in the game and doing it. So you're not making excuses to not do it. And there's all those things the coach brings. Like I said with my clients, it's like it's direction or guidance. It's support, and it's accountability, and that's what a good coach will bring you. But again, you have to ask for help if you want to go it alone. You might get there, but it might take you a lot longer. It took me over eight years, almost nine years to fix myself, and that was me doing it alone.

[00:39:48.010] – Rachel

Well, the interesting thing about a coach, too, Allan, is that we have the laser focus on what our athletes goals are. We don't have the same distractions that they have. They've got work and they've got family, and they've got outside obligations, and so it's easier for them to change their balance or to skip a workout or something. But as a coach, I'm looking at my athletes every single day. I want to see what they're working out. I will push them to do things, and I know when they do have crazy things coming up in their lives, we'll adjust. But again, we have that laser focused on what their goals are and can get them there. And then two, we've said in the past, you need to have some skin in the game, and when you hire a coach, you're paying for that service, and you're going to take full advantage of what you're paying for. So you get a lot of accountability and motivation just from that as well.

[00:40:45.650] – Allan

You sure do.

[00:40:47.410] – Rachel

Great. Interview.

[00:40:48.560] – Allan

All right. I will talk to you in a few minutes, but everyone else will talk to you next week.

[00:40:54.930] – Rachel

Take care.

[00:40:55.960] – Allan

You too.

[00:40:56.880] – Rachel



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Another episode you may enjoy


August 23, 2022

How to use food for an improved immune system with Dr. Donna Mazzola

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In her book, Immunity Food Fix, Dr. Donna Mazzola shows us how food can be a powerful tool for improving our immune system. On episode 552 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss how food can either lead to chronic illness or lifelong health.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:45.550] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are you?

[00:02:47.220] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:49.410] – Allan

I'm better. Tammy's back from the US. And so I have some help here. Now, I had help, don't get me wrong. My staff we have are great. When there was only one of them, sometimes there was only me. The 18 hours days were just a little too much. And I'm glad that's over. I even told my wife, I said, look, if it gets to be too much, bring in somebody. Go ahead. Let's go ahead and spend a little bit of money so that you don't get as stressed out and beat up as I did. Skip meals. I sent myself to bed hungry some nights, and just because I didn't have the energy to cook. And so that was my week or two weeks, three weeks thing. I had staff for part of it, and then one of them was off completely, and then it's just four days a week. Three days a week. I didn't but I'm through it. And I just told her, don't beat yourself up the way I did, because that was not fair to me. It wouldn't be fair to her.

[00:03:53.390] – Rachel

Sure. Yeah. Well, gosh. Well, good luck, because you're fixing to leave. You're fixing to leave in another week or so.

[00:04:00.680] – Allan

Yeah, and that's kind of the point. As this is going live, I'm about ready to head up to the States for a while. And I told her, I said, don't live my life the way I lived my life. I learned, and it was wrong. We need to bring in help when we need help. And so even if it's just condensed shifts and asking someone, one of our staff that's supposed to be off, if they want to come in, give them a few extra hours, it'd be worth it.

[00:04:27.620] – Rachel

Well, that would be great.

[00:04:29.510] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:04:31.160] – Rachel

Good. You know, we're doing the countdown in a couple of weeks, we'll be doing our trip across the Isle Royal. So we're just kind of weighing our supplies, making sure we've got the food dehydrated and ready to go. And we're stocking the weather right now to make sure we pack appropriately. So, yeah, it's getting exciting.

[00:04:51.170] – Allan

Good. That is going to be a good event. Exciting event. Eight days in the wilderness

[00:04:58.970] – Rachel

eight days unplugged

[00:05:00.170] – Allan

and moving. This is not just sit and camp for eight days. No glamping for these folks. They're going to be out there in the wilderness.

[00:05:11.580] – Rachel

That's right.

[00:05:12.380] – Allan

Hoofing it every day.

[00:05:13.530] – Rachel

That's right. Looking forward to it. I can't wait.

[00:05:15.920] – Allan

What's your longest daily mileage that you need to be making? How does that work?

[00:05:22.130] – Rachel

I think we're hoping to average about four or 5 miles a day, but I think our longest day might have a seven-ish mile hike. We're trying not to do too much of that if we can manage it, but yeah. So it'll be reasonable.

[00:05:37.450] – Allan

Yes. It's an interesting trade off. Your pack is really full when you start because you have all that food you're carrying, and then at the end, you're fatigued. The pack weighs less. Do I want my long miles with a lighter packer? I want my long days with a heavier pack when I have more energy. That will be an interesting one.

[00:05:56.370] – Rachel

It will be. It will be quite the trade off.

[00:05:59.210] – Allan

All right, well, let us know how we're about four weeks away, but when you get back, we definitely want to want to hear how that went.

[00:06:07.690] – Rachel

For sure. Yeah, it'll be great. Thanks.

[00:06:09.900] – Allan

All right, are you ready to talk to Dr. Mazzola?

[00:06:12.860] – Rachel


[00:06:13.800] – Allan

All right, let's go.


[00:07:21.500] – Allan

Dr. Mazzola. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:24.330] – Dr. Mazzola

Thank you. I'm excited to be here.

[00:07:26.060] – Allan

So today we're going to talk about your book, Immunity Food Fix: 100 Superfoods and Nutrition Hacks to Reverse Inflammation, Prevent Illness, and Boost Your Immunity. And one of the things I really enjoyed about the book is kind of the juxtaposition of a pharmacist telling us that food is the medicine, and the stuff that we might be getting at the pharmacy is just a patch to get us over symptoms. I really appreciate that being in the book because it's too easy to rely on pills, and it's not that hard to rely on food if you just take a little bit of time to educate yourself. And I think this book is a great resource for someone that's looking to do that.

[00:08:14.090] – Dr. Mazzola

Yeah, exactly. I appreciate that. I think that's my mantra is balancing nutrition and medicine, and medicine has a place in healing, and there's a lot of great medications out there that have helped and have extended lifespan. But food and nutrition is really at the brink of it. I mean, that's where we need to focus to prevent us from even getting to that point. But certainly you can reverse disease, and we've seen it happen time and time again when we change our diet and focus on those nutritional aspects. But I think where, as you stated, there is a gap is that foundational understanding and how nutrition fits into that.

[00:08:54.280] – Allan

Yeah. When I was way out of shape, way unhealthy, and not living the life I was supposed to live, I had high blood pressure, so I was on a pill. I had issues with my thyroid, so I was on a pill. I'm sitting there, I was 45, 46 years old, and I'm like, I've already got a medicine cabinet full of medications that I take every day. And so as I started fixing my food. My blood pressure came down, my thyroid picked up and started doing what it was supposed to do. And to me, it was so interesting that as I started eating right, my body responded by getting healthier.

[00:09:41.870] – Dr. Mazzola

Yeah. All right, I say this in the book garbage in, garbage out. It's like a direct quote in there. And you're going to get out what you put in. If you feed up the right things and you nurture it, you do a plant. You feed a plant in the right things, and it's nourished and it grows and it's lively. You feed a plant garbage, it's going to die. And there's no difference between us and that plant. Let's just look at it that way. It's a good analogy for people.

[00:10:10.900] – Allan

Yeah. Now, most of us, if we're not paying attention to nutrition, we find ourselves eating the same stuff. It's the fast food. It's what you get in the middle of the grocery store when it's easy, the Hamburger Helper or the fixed meal that's already there ready to go. You just toss it in a microwave and two minutes later, you're eating that boiling hot apple, whatever it is.

[00:10:39.570] – Dr. Mazzola


[00:10:40.210] – Allan

And we call that a Standard American diet. What is fundamentally wrong with that? Why is that not really food? And what are the downstream effects that we're seeing from the sad standard American Diet?

[00:10:54.950] – Dr. Mazzola

Yeah. I mean, the Standard American Diet, as we know, is a highly processed, nutrient depleted diet. And so when you think about the nutrients you need for your body to function, to operate at a cellular level right. Like, we want to go back down to the cell, and if it's broken at that point and we're not giving it what it needs, what is going to happen when it gets all the way up to the actual organism, which is you, and how these organisms are work together? They don't have the nutrients that they need to function in that way. Not to mention we bring in our gut into that and our gut microbiome and how we're destroying that by not also providing it the nutrients it needs, the food, if you will, from plant based foods that it needs to nourish the good bacteria in our gut. So Standard American Diet is ultimately a highly processed, high trans fat, high sugar, high gluten, high alcohol, processed corns, processed soy. Think about if you read any packaging. That's what's in all these packaged foods. And unfortunately, it's because of our lifestyle. So we call it the standard American diet.

[00:12:08.230] – Dr. Mazzola

But the American lifestyle requires that type of diet. Unfortunately, everyone's on the go, nobody has time. Making home cooked meals is not top of mind for people. They just need something convenient, something quick, and food is not necessarily a priority. And so as a result of that, and as a result of consuming these types of foods, we have a dysregulation in our immune system. We're releasing as a result, what's truly happening is you're consuming these foods and your body is responding to them as there's some type of invader. So it's like things that are not recognizable by the body, they're chemicals. I mean, we're consuming chemicals within our foods. And so as a result, you're getting this inflammatory response. So your immune system turns on as it's supposed to when it sees that there's a foreign invader in the body, something that's not supposed to be there. The problem is that we continue to consume this type of food and we never turn off our immune system. We constantly have this inflammatory response going on. And a lot of that is why we're seeing this uptick in autoimmune related diseases that are developing, or even just symptoms.

[00:13:25.830] – Dr. Mazzola

Like people don't even get a diagnosis. They just have these unexplained symptoms of like fatigue and brain fog. And it just the overall inflammatory type symptoms. And a lot of it comes down to the foods that they're eating when people switch their diet, get off of those foods and start consuming just whole foods. Like, we don't even have to make it complicated, just eat real food. And when they do that, that's where they see the change and suddenly their symptoms go away, as you have stated, like they're reversing some of their diseases. They're getting off medications and whatnot. But yeah, the standard American diet, the other big aspect of it to understand as a contributor, inflammation as well, is the ratio of omega six to omega three fatty acids that are consumed. And when you think about it, simply put, the omega three is your anti inflammatory. Omega six is inflammatory. Now, you do need some omega six. It's not all bad, right? But it's the ratio of it that we have to be looking at and where we evolved as human beings, we were at a one to one ratio and thinking about the Paleolithic diet where we've come now, it's like a 25 to one where we're consuming, right?

[00:14:36.430] – Dr. Mazzola

So it's much more inflammatory than it is anti inflammatory. And again, a lot of that is in the food that we're eating and that's leading to a lot of these inflammatory type conditions.

[00:14:46.800] – Allan

Yeah, the way I like to talk about real food is when you know it was alive, because it's really close to the state where it was alive. And it's something that if you left out on your counter for a week, it's probably not going to be edible. If it'll sit in your pantry. I think you even said this in the book. If your pantry is bigger than your refrigerator, you're probably eating much of the things that are in the Standard American diet. And it's interesting because some people will say, well, I must be sensitive to gluten because they eat the bread, but they're not sea lack. It's probably other stuff in the bread, preservatives other stuff. The fact that they basically broke down wheat to a powder. And now so finely processed, your body treats it like sugar. And then they put it back in there and they say, well, since we took all this niacin out of it, we're just going to put some more niacin back in to fortify it. And then we can even put the labeling on the bag. Fortified with vitamin B.

[00:15:49.450] – Dr. Mazzola

Terrible. Right.

[00:15:50.570] – Allan

It's only because they took it out in the first place to make it shelf stable. Yeah. And so I think that's some key things is real food is not shelf stable for a long period of time. Seeds and that will sit for a while, but for the most part, most of the things we call whole foods, they're going to spoil.

[00:16:09.610] – Dr. Mazzola

Yeah, exactly. And I think just thinking about another aspect of it, like we talk about processed foods, think about things like the emulsifiers, the stabilizers, the binders, the sweeteners, the flavorings, the dyes. Everything that's in all of that is causing that reaction in your body, that immune reaction to occur. Really? I refer to it as just this immune dysregulation that we're all suffering from. Like, everybody has inflammation. I mean, I told everybody, I'm like that's inflammation you're inflamed. And it's a result of our diet period.

[00:16:40.890] – Allan

Yeah. Now, your book and your book, you go through 100 foods. I think there were a whole hundred in the guides. But as you go through it, this was a great reintroduction to the variety of what's available to us in the world today. Of all the different colors of the rainbow, all these different foods that probably most of us don't really kind of branch out and maybe haven't even tried. Broccoli is very easy to get here. Cauliflowers, sometimes kale and some leafy greens are really plentiful, but there's a lot of them that were on your list that I won't ever be able to really get my hands on here. So when I go back to the United States, I'm scarfing that stuff down. I'm hitting Brussels sprouts on every menu because I just can't get them down here. Can you talk about plants, a plant based eating style and why plants are so good for us?

[00:17:41.870] – Dr. Mazzola

Yeah, absolutely. And I like to start by stating this is not me saying that against animal protein or anything in that way. So when I say plant based, I get a lot of people, like, backlash on that. And it's really focusing on whatever else you're eating is fun, like other sources of animals, whatever eggs, whatever it may be. But focusing on the fact that you should be eating at least nine to twelve serving of plant based foods in your diet daily, that's where I think I just want to make sure there's not that misunderstanding from people.

[00:18:17.540] – Allan

Well, and the other thing is with the meat is if you're getting the standard meat that we get in the grocery store, that's where that mismatch of omega three and omega six are really blown up. So if you get a nice marbled steak at the grocery store that was not cared for well, as an animal, their omega six is out the roof. You're not going to get to that one on one. It's just not going to happen. If you're eating a little bit more grass fed, humanely managed animals, then yes, they're going to have a higher omega three if you're eating wild animals. So something that was hunted and living in the wild and it wasn't living near something where it was eating something it wasn't supposed to, then it's going to have a really good omega three to omega six ratio. And then now it's manageable with plants and fish and meat to get that right mix. But I think that's one of the reasons why having more plants in our diet is never a bad idea. That's one. The other is I have yet to really find anyone who can overeat plants. It's really hard.

[00:19:31.250] – Allan

I tried going pescatarian and the truth was I was overeating the nuts and I was overeating the fruit. And so that did cause me to put on a little bit of weight. But if you're eating a variety of plants, if you're eating the rainbow, weight loss is just going to be a symptom of you getting healthy. Your body can't help it because you just can't eat enough plants to get fat.

[00:19:54.120] – Dr. Mazzola

Yeah, I would have to agree with that because plants, they're powerful. And I think where we focus on that is understanding that there are these phytonutrients in plants that are responsible for immune modulation, immune boosting, immune supporting properties all around for immune system, for your health, for your gut especially. Right. There's so much that we can get into, like apples. We talk about an apple day. Keeps the doctor away. That's the famous line. But why? Where did that come from? Right? What is the reasoning behind that? And just understanding that the pectin and fibers and how it can alter our immune system, how our gut responds to that pectin and nourishes, it, I mean, that's huge. So it's like, yeah, these little phrases we hear, there is meaning behind them and there's a reason for where they came from. But ultimately, when you think about plants, there's primary and there are secondary metabolites. And so the primary metabolites, essentially they're those substances that are used by the body, the carbohydrates, the proteins, the fats, et cetera, those are essential, obviously, but it's really the secondary metabolites that we are gaining the most benefit from. And when you think about a plant and when it's out there in the wild and growing, it has various phytochemicals and phytonutrients that protect it, right, protect it and stay alive.

[00:21:30.750] – Dr. Mazzola

Like antibacterial properties. Antiviral properties that are keeping the bugs and the other outside natural, I guess, invaders, if you will, from attacking it. And so they have their own protective mechanism. The beauty of that is when we consume that plant, we benefit from those phytonutrients. That's where those properties come alive, is when we're consuming it. And some people say, oh, I can get like, apple pectin in a supplement form. I can just take that. But it's not the same. So what we found and for some, when you look at some of the research, when they have extracted the actual phytonutrient out of a particular plant, they don't see the same response in a clinical study that they've done as they would if we ate the entire plant. And there's a reason for that. And it's when you consume the entire plant in its entirety that's the synergies that occur between, let's say, the stem and the leaf, all of it, the entire thing. And there's multiple phytonutrients in there. There's over 5000 phytonutrients. We haven't even discovered the majority of them. So we have a handful that we know of. But those federal nutrients work together in synergy to bring that benefit on.

[00:22:47.390] – Dr. Mazzola

Then when you start consuming variety of plants together in synergy, then it's just like a magical party that's occurring within your body, right? And so all of these phytonutrients are now working together, communicating with each other, and ultimately giving you those benefits, those immune modulating benefits, the gut health benefits that come from consuming that variety of plants. So that's why I say consumer variety, nine to twelve servings, but of a variety of colors. And you want to keep switching it up. I know you mentioned some people consume the same things, and we were talking about processed foods, right? They may eat the same, but it's the same for real food, right. So you don't only want to eat broccoli every single day. So there's a benefit to have that variety, to switch it up, to continue to bring on various phytonutrients from a variety of colors, as we say, eat the rainbow to gain those benefits.

[00:23:43.230] – Allan

Yeah. And one of the things I like about the book is very clearly you go through and say, okay, yeah, the reason that apples are good for the immune system is the pectin. And when you eat Brazil nuts and I'll tell you, you're not unique, I actually think that myself. When I hear the term brazil nut, I think selenium. So you said that in the book. I was like, I do that too. Just having a better understanding of what's in the food that you're eating kind of gives you an idea of how important it is to mix these. Because if you're just eating one type, yes, you're getting that benefit, but you're missing out on potentially a lot of other synergistic benefits that are going to help you. And just having that variety is going to really help you have kind of a good mix of foods that you eat and have that enjoyment of. We're going to have watermelon as dessert tonight, or we're going to have some of that papaya or oh, look, they've got persimmons available at the grocery store today. I'm going to go ahead and grab a couple of those.

[00:24:44.970] – Allan

And so you kind of see how knowing that these foods are there, and then when you see them in the grocery store, you might even have walked past them before. Like, I remember when I first discovered Dandelion, I was like, walking past the solid. I read something on Dandelion. I'm like, oh, my grocery store actually has dandelion. It's just all this leafy green stuff over on the side. And I started looking around at what was actually there. And then the health benefits around each of those Chickery what is it? Chard, Dandelion, all of them. It's just an opportunity for you to give your body something. And the way I like to say it is food is communication. It's a signal to your body. It's information to tell your body how to function better or worse, depending on your choices. And so choosing a good variety of plant based and good meats to put into your diet is basically going to be communicating to your body here you have everything you need to be healthy, so let's be healthy. And your body reacts and does exactly what you told it to do. Whereas if you're eating a standard American diet, your body thinks something terrible is going on, there's a huge immune response, and that leads to chronic disease.

[00:26:05.040] – Dr. Mazzola

Yeah, it's simple. I mean, like I said, you put in the bad stuff, you get a negative output, and your body is going to respond accordingly. The human body is brilliant. It's amazing. It's just how it functions, and it knows it's going to fight off what we're putting in. We weren't created in this way to be consuming these types of foods, right? We're meant to be consuming whole food, real food, right? Not stuff that's been sitting on a shelf. So, yeah, absolutely.

[00:26:33.730] – Dr. Mazzola

One thing I talk about in the book is to try to keep it simple, is to focus on the colors. And this is not like across the board, but just high level, trying to categorize each color into its benefit. You think about eating the rainbow and having a salad of various colors. You have red foods, like tomatoes, for instance, things you want to think, okay, this is anti-inflammatory. Orange. Like, if you have shredded carrots in there that's hormone regulating. We know that carrots have the ability to detox out that bad estrogen. I've shared this multiple times on my platform just to say if you're experiencing symptoms, estrogen dominance a week before your cycle, consuming raw carrots can actually help regulate that.

[00:27:22.930] – Dr. Mazzola

And like, the response that I've gone because people let me try it, it's a simple, it's not going to hurt. That's the beauty of the ability to use plants as medicine is it doesn't hurt anything. Focusing on yellow for digestion, green for detox, like you're talking about dandelions, Char, all of that. Right. All of those green kale. They're beneficial in liver and detoxing out the toxins that are in the body. We have our own internal detox system. We just have to support it. That's what's missing. And then, of course, antioxidants are that purple color. So thinking about those colors and what they do, you can look at your plate and ensure that there's a variety so that you're at least gaining some of those benefits to kind of balance out each process.

[00:28:07.550] – Allan

Yeah. Now, the next thing I want to talk about is nuts and seeds, because this is one area where I find I tend to eat the same kinds of seeds and the same kinds of nuts all the time because they're just easy to obtain. But I did order some Brazil nuts and have them shipped down here. At one point, I think I bought like 10lbs of Brazil nuts, and I ate it in about three weeks. But let's talk about nuts and seeds and why they're so valuable to our diet. And again, as part of eating more plants for these health benefits, nuts and seeds are a great way to get more of this in your diet.

[00:28:52.150] – Dr. Mazzola

Yeah. So you think about a seed. A seed grows an entire plant. So that's how I try to simplify, even in the book, is when you think about the benefit of a seed, they are truly the superfood, because you can take a seed and grow an entire plant out of it, so it actually holds tons of nutrients concentrated in there and so absolutely consuming. And then, of course, the nuts are the fruit of the plant. So as a result of that so having the two of them is essential. And there are so many benefits that come from we just start with seeds. I know I talk about in the book, like even seeds for, again, going back to balancing hormones and what's been found there, and the ability to utilize flaxseed or pumpkin seeds at certain days in your cycle versus sunflower and sesame seeds at other days in order to kind of gain that balance in your hormones. It just speaks to how powerful they are and the benefits that exist within them. And there's a multitude, and people often ask, well, then, what seeds should I consume? Again, it goes through all the different benefits in the book, but I think you can incorporate all seeds in various ways.

[00:30:11.190] – Dr. Mazzola

And so for me personally, I probably eat them all. Flaxseeds are my egg alternative when I'm baking. Sesame and hemp are easily added to salads. It gives you added fiber, added protein, and a small amount. You can also add pumpkin seeds. So, I mean, you can't go wrong, right, with what you're consuming there. But yeah, ultimately they are the super food because they're so concentrated in the benefits that they can bring from a phytonutrient standpoint.

[00:30:45.550] – Allan

And one of the. Things I really like about nuts and seeds are they are the snack that if you want that something that's savory or salty and you find yourself on the chip aisle, these can be a great substitute. You won't miss your chips. Some roasted pumpkin seeds, some sunflower seeds, pistachios, other nuts. They're a great opportunity for you to get a lot of good phytonutrients because they have those too, and they've got healthy fats.

[00:31:16.870] – Dr. Mazzola

Right. And Protein.

[00:31:19.480] – Allan

Yeah. And protein. And they're going to give you kind of that salty, savory flavor if you spice them that way. And so they can make a great snack to get you off of the standard stuff you're going to buy in a grocery store.

[00:31:34.100] – Dr. Mazzola

Exactly right. So it's like the fat and protein content in them is going to create that satiety. But you're also benefiting in a lot of ways. I mean, they're so anti-inflammatory as well. We talk about Brazil nuts and selenium, but Brazil nuts are also extremely anti inflammatory as well. And so there's more to it than just the minerals, and that goes across the board for all of them. So I think that's critical. And as we talk about the omega three omega six ratios, these are your good fats in these nuts that you're consuming. And so that's a good way to ensure that you're getting the appropriate omega three fatty acids in your diet, as you said, as a great snack alternative.

[00:32:20.710] – Allan

Dr. Mazzola, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:32:30.670] – Dr. Mazzola

So I'm going to move away from food for this answer because I think that's, to me, a no brainer, and I think some things that are not thought about, and I feel like we should put a lot more focus on them, especially with the American lifestyle, are movement, sleep and stress mitigation, that's what's killing us. Yes, our food, we need to change it. But if you can sleep 8 to 9 hours a day, if you have opportunity for breathing, exercise, meditation to mitigate stress, going for an afternoon walk in nature, whatever it may be, and then finding something you enjoy and moving for 30 minutes a day, people ask me, what's the best exercise for me? Should I do high intensity? It doesn't matter. Whatever you like. And if you like it, you're going to do it and just get at least 30 minutes of movement a day. And those are low hanging fruit to me. Like, for some people, it might seem like, oh, my God, I have to overhaul my whole diet. All right, well, then move 30 minutes, sleep eight to 9 hours, and have some type of stress mitigation. Start there, and you'll be on the right foot.

[00:33:35.650] – Allan

Great. Thank you. So what I like, again, about this book is you've really done a good job of defining these foods that we should have in our diet. Or should try to get into our diet eating the rainbow and not just, okay, here's 100 foods, so put them on your grocery list. This is why this food is good for you. This is what it gives you and this is the benefit you're going to see from it. So it's really good. If you want to get educated about some of these foods, this is a really good book to kind of really walk you through it in a very conversational way to understand your food better. And when you understand food better, you make better choices and your body's going to thank you.

Dr. Mazzola, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book Immunity Food Fix, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:34:24.370] – Dr. Mazzola

Yeah, so they can number one, check out my website, drautoimmunegirl.com, and there you can find an entire page about the book to better understand what you're going to get out of it. Also, I have a blog on there. I have a newsletter. On social media, you can find me at drautoimmunegirl on Instagram and Facebook where I share regularly various nutrition hacks, what you can do. And it's all evidence-based. It's all backed by science referenced. Same with the book. We have over 150 references there, so it's nothing I'm making up and it's not opinion based. It's all factual and science.

[00:35:03.130] – Allan

Great. Doctor Mazzola, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:35:08.440] – Dr. Mazzola

Thank you. It's been my pleasure.

Post Show/Recap

[00:35:17.150] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:35:18.680] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was another great interview about food is medicine and garbage in, garbage out, all the things eat the rainbow, all the colors of food have that variety, all the things we need to hear on a periodic basis and things that I'm even guilty of doing. I get stuck in a rut. I get to eat the same foods over and over and then I wonder why I'm so fatigued or just not feeling great or whatever. It's just my choices.

[00:35:48.440] – Allan

Yeah, well, it's easy. And then one of the things that we always going to come and gravitate to is what is the easiest thing to do now? Our ancestors easy was what was in season. Sure. You couldn't store food for months and months and months or you couldn't have other people transporting it from around the world with the seasonal there. So we didn't have a lot of the foods except for certain seasons. So pumpkin and squash, those are fall nuts or fall berries are in the spring. So you start looking at when food would be available and not available. And even if we're moving around a good bit to kind of follow the food, if you will, there's a lot to be said for eating what's seasonal.

[00:36:36.890] – Rachel


[00:36:37.580] – Allan

And we don't do enough of that. And as a result, it becomes very easy to say, okay, I'm steak and potatoes, steak and potatoes, hamburger potatoes, hamburger, potatoes.

[00:36:51.170] – Rachel


[00:36:52.250] – Allan

And that just becomes what we eat. And it's like, okay, well, what other vegetables do you eat besides potatoes? It's like, well, I eat french fries. I eat mashed potatoes. Every once in a while.. But you kind of get the idea. It becomes very easy to kind of get into the I like these foods. They're simple, they're comfortable, they're cozy. But taking the time to have a variety in your diet is a challenge. But it's a challenge worth taking. And the kind of the beauty of this book is it will give you those ideas about which of the foods you should also be including. And I only say they're super foods because I don't think there's really such thing as a superfood. But they're called superfoods because they're not standard in the diet. Most of the time, the standard American diet doesn't have these. So you're saying, okay, I'm adding this food, and I'm having pomegranate, or I'm having a kee berry, or I'm having beets. And if those are not something that you eat on a regular basis, then what we're ending up with is it's a superfood, because the nutrients that were in that food, you're never getting otherwise.

[00:38:04.830] – Allan

And so having a good variety and understanding what's in the food is good. Like, we talked about Brazil nuts and selenium, I've known that you actually have to be careful with Brazil nuts because selenium can be dangerous if you get too much of it. So I ate a lot of Brazil nuts when I had them, but that's not something I would do all the time. It's just I managed to be able to get some down here, and I ate the crap out of them until they were gone. But I know that's not something I should do all the time because the selenium is good. I need it, but I don't need it all the time in the quantity I was eating it. So getting good variety, not thinking of any one food as special. All the food a whole rainbow all the way across are good, and she identifies, like, 100 of them in here. And so there's something that you're not getting. This is a good pick list for you to add some foods to your repertoire.

[00:39:05.670] – Rachel

I think that's a great idea because, like I said, I get stuck in a rut. I don't do a lot of the cooking in my house. Mike does, actually, most of the cooking. And my daughter even does a lot more cooking than I do because I get bored with the same recipe over and over again. But maybe flipping through the pages of her book or just browsing the produce area of the store a little bit longer, maybe I could pick out a new vegetable to try and have that highlighted in a couple of days worth of recipes for the week. But trying new things would be helpful for introducing that variety that I don't often do when I cook.

[00:39:41.990] – Allan

And a lot of us would go autopilot. We walk into the grocery store we always walk into, and we go right to the same place and pick up the same things. And we might say, oh, they've got fresh raspberries. I'll grab those. That might happen. But if you slow down when you're in the produce section and you go over where they have all that green stuff that's not just lettuce, there's all kinds of stuff over there like dandelion greens and mustard greens and greens, things like that. Things that you're not typically eating that you can add. And it's easy enough to go online today with the internet and just look up a recipe, okay, they've got dandelion greens and they've got collard greens. What's something I can make with those that I would enjoy? And then you just try it. And it takes effort, it takes the money. And to break through your channel the way you are kind of grooved, that takes effort. It's not something that just happened. So just making that point of slowing down when you're thinking about food and realizing it's nutrition, and when you have proper nutrition and you're getting enough protein and enough fat and all the things your body needs, it feels good.

[00:40:57.070] – Allan

And when your body feels like it's getting everything, it needs things to start working better. Your hunger signals and satiety signals work better. You stop eating when you're full because you're not needing something. You're not having all the urges that you may have been having for something. I need something salty, I need something sweet that tells you right there and maybe you don't need something salty or something sweet, but that's your body telling you for one reason or another, it's lacking in nutrition and not necessarily calories.

[00:41:28.930] – Rachel

And to look for the food that has the nutrients that you're needing. It was interesting how she went through the rainbow and was highlighting. Red foods are good for the antioxidants, and green foods are good for gut health and whatnot. I just forget about things like that when I'm staring at the produce in the grocery store. But I have those side effects. I do feel gut health every now and then. And I know I'm not eating a whole ton of greens right now, so maybe I need to hit the grocery store and pick up some greens.

[00:41:58.410] – Allan

Yeah, that would be a plan. And slow down and just walk around and see what they have there, because I think you'll be surprised with the variety. It just looks like a bunch of green stuff sitting there, and you're like, it's just all of it's just lettuce. And it's like, no, there's a lot of other stuff over there. And so just taking your time, getting a good variety of the foods, different colors, and then yeah, having a book like this or going through and at least understanding the nutritional value of some of these different foods that you don't get regularly, knowing that your body needs some of it and you're not having other foods that have it. It's like, okay, maybe I need to go ahead and get some more Brazil nuts, or maybe I need some oysters when I travel back to the United States. And I'm going to eat the crap out of oysters when I'm up there.

[00:42:47.710] – Rachel

Yeah. Get it when you can.

[00:42:49.230] – Allan

Yeah. And so that's kind of the concept. And unfortunately, our food companies, they try they iodize our salt, and it's bleached, terrible salt with iodine. And we need the iodine because we're not getting it from the other foods. And it's really because you can't get the foods anymore the way that we used to be able to, so now they have to supplement it. And so supplements, there's a time and place for them. But if you're eating the variety and you understand why she's calling this, why people would call these superfoods, it's because it's a nutrient that's not available in a lot of other foods in the quantities that you're able to get it from this food. So incorporating it in regularly is something that's going to make you feel better, function better, and lose weight, if that's what you're into doing.

[00:43:37.200] – Rachel

Sure. That sounds great. Sounds like a great book.

[00:43:39.760] – Allan

Yeah. All right. That's a pretty book, too. Lots of pictures of food. Eat before you go with it and start looking at your grocery store.

[00:43:52.570] – Rachel

Good point.

[00:43:53.840] – Allan

All right, well, I'll talk to you next week, then.

[00:43:57.080] – Rachel

Take care. See you.

[00:43:58.420] – Allan


[00:43:59.310] – Rachel



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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


August 16, 2022

How to simplify your health with Dr. Lucas Ramirez

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

In his book, Simplify Your Health, Dr. Lucas Ramirez and I discuss several easy ways you can drastically improve your health and we break through a few myths.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:25.750] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are things?

[00:03:27.770] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:29.980] – Allan

I am tired. But.

[00:03:33.490] – Rachel


[00:03:34.930] – Allan

Tammy took our granddaughter back to the States. And since we're on reduced hours for our staff and one of our staff is on her month long vacation holidays, they get paid vacation for one month. And we opted to not have them here for that month rather than just pay them a 13th month, which is what some people do. So that was me by myself this morning doing all of it. But I was late getting on this call because I was actually folding guest laundry. We have a laundry service that we do, and so guests turn in laundry, and I was like, okay, I got to get this done, got to get that done. So we make certain promises like wash, dried, and folded by dinner if you drop it off at breakfast time. So I do have a deadline. But also something pretty interesting happened. One of our guests was going out to a chocolate farm, and when I reached out to the guy who was running the chocolate farm to get information and my guests were just about to leave, he said, look, I got this animal that is hurt, and someone brought it to me, and I can't take care of it.

[00:04:34.900] – Allan

It's got problem with its jaw. And can you ask the taxi driver, the water taxi to bring the animal back? And I said, well, let me ask my guest, because they'll either be willing to do it or they won't. So I ask my guest and they were. So they brought the animal back in a box. It was a tyra, which is like a type of weasel tyrant thingy, just cute. But we got it back here, got it into the local rescue. They tried to do some surgical work on it. But not knowing the anatomy of a tyra, I don't know anybody that does, but they knew some people in David, which is a town about 5 hours drive from here. And so they got the animal to David. And I tried to get a catch up on what happened, but the guy that runs the rescue, he's got dengue, so he's out for the count. Dengue is not dissimilar from what you would deal with any other kind of virus or anything like that. So it's almost like the flu or as it's like a flu. Most people get over it fairly simply, but, yeah, he has dengue, so he's not answering his messages.

[00:05:48.410] – Allan

So I don't know exactly. But we do know that we got it somewhere where they can take care of it well. And it seems healthy. It just struggles a little bit with eating, but it can't eat. But it wouldn't be able to hunt for itself or do the things that it would need to in the wild. So it will have to be taken care of. But they told me it was a baby, but it was pretty much full grown. Now, when they're bringing you an animal you're like, well, I got to know what this is. So I started doing all the research on Tyra.

[00:06:18.650] – Rachel

How fun, man, that's so interesting. You guys have some really interesting wildlife there.

[00:06:24.430] – Allan

Yeah, Michigan has their fair share, too, but you've got snakes and turtles and frogs, and sometimes you don't have the frogs because there's a snake.

[00:06:36.830] – Rachel

Yes, we still have our snakes hanging around. Not too pleased.

[00:06:42.050] – Allan

Yeah, well, there's a cycle. There's a cycle.

[00:06:45.250] – Rachel

That is true.

[00:06:46.730] – Allan

So what's going on up there?

[00:06:48.650] – Rachel

Just enjoying the summer. It's going by way too fast. July went out, like, just too fast. So much going on, and I feel like August is going at the same rate. In a couple of weeks, we'll be on aisle royal, and then it will be September. So just trying to eat up as much as I can, just sunshine and get outside and do what I can when I can.

[00:07:10.530] – Allan

Yeah, well, good. All right. Are you ready to talk to Dr. Ramirez?

[00:07:14.660] – Rachel



[00:07:53.870] – Allan

Dr. Ramirez, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:57.170] – Dr. Ramirez

Allan, thank you for having me.

[00:07:58.660] – Allan

So today we're going to talk about your book, Simplify Your Health: A Doctor's Practical Guide to a Healthier Life. And I can say two things, really right off the start is I like simple. I think everybody likes simple. We're always looking for simple and then practical, and your book delivers on both of those.

[00:08:18.660] – Dr. Ramirez

Thank you. I appreciate that.

[00:08:20.160] – Allan

Now, you had a quote, or it's just not a quote as you said it, but I'm going to quote you in the book just to kind of put this together, because I think this is really the crux of someone must understand what this book is all about. And you said, “by targeting a few simple lifestyle choices, one can make a world of difference in overall health by decreasing the risks of stroke, heart attacks, cancers, and more.” I think this is an approach that a lot of people are not familiar with. I mean, I think anyone that's listening to me is, but a lot of us wait until one of these things happens and then we get the care versus your book is saying, okay, we have an opportunity here to make sure these things actually don't ever happen.

[00:09:15.760] – Dr. Ramirez

Absolutely. I'm a stroke neurologist, and I can say first hand it's much better to prevent rather than to treat.

[00:09:22.510] – Allan

Yeah. Now, when we talk about staying healthy, because I think a lot of people look at their ancestors and they say, okay, well, my grandfather died of lung cancer, geo cancer kind of thing. My grandmother had a stroke when she was in her late 30s. This happened to that family. This happened to that family. Some of us just feel like our genetics are cursed. So how much control do we really have over these things?

[00:09:53.130] – Dr. Ramirez

Yeah, I'd say for the vast majority of us, we have a surprisingly a big amount of control. I mean, obviously, there's inevitability in life, at some point in life, we're going to get sick. That's life's journey, and like they say, there's only two guarantees, is taxes and death. But within that journey of life, there are some things we can definitely control. We can separate risk factors into two broad categories the non modifiable things we cannot control, and the modifiable the things we can control. Some examples of non modifiable are age. Obviously, somebody who's 90 is going to have more risks than somebody who's 30. And things like genetics are rare conditions that, unfortunately, is difficult to manage. For example, african americans have more chances of sickle cell disease. Caucasians have more chance of cystic fibrosis. These are realities of life. But outside of those small genetic variations, we have a lot of control over what we do in our lifestyle habits. For example, globally, 87% of strokes are due to modifiable risk factors. So these are things that we can change simply by adjusting our habits. And it's not just strokes. There's a lot of conditions that are due to modifiable risk factors.

[00:11:40.770] – Dr. Ramirez

Eight out of ten COPD deaths are due to smoking. About 90% of lung cancer deaths are due to smoking. About 30% to 50% of cancers can be prevented by lifestyle changes, including not smoking, managing weight, and doing screenings. And in terms of accidental trauma, car accidents are major portions of accidental trauma, and about 40% are due to alcohol. So we can see that of these five top causes of death in the US. Many of them are preventable by lifestyle changes. And in terms of stroke, 80% can be prevented by targeting just five specific habits, and they are not smoking, managing high blood pressure, managing your weight, so avoiding obesity, eating well and exercising. And there's some data that these five underlying causes are actually, quote, the true causes of death in the US. It's pretty hard to find up to date data looking at the specific topic, but in 2005, there was a paper that looked at the, quote, true causes of death in the united states, and the leader was smoking, followed by high blood pressure, followed by overweight/obesity, then physical inactivity, and a combination of poor diet. So these are true causes, and they are modifiable causes that we can really adjust.

[00:13:10.890] – Dr. Ramirez

And I look at these things as the big five, the foundational principles of health. Everybody's house of health will be different, but you want to build a good foundation and then you can put your modify your own house on top of that.

[00:13:25.560] – Allan

Yeah. Now, you mention smoking a lot and if anybody's missed that memo, I mean, in the UK, they actually stayed on the side of the pack. Smoking kills. They don't play around with it. In Malaysia, they actually have pictures of babies, like black tar babies that have died in childbirth because of smoking. So it's pretty clear. And if you're smoking, that's the first thing. Just quit. Whatever you got to do to quit, make it happen, because this is probably the big one, smoking. The cancers associated with smoking kill almost half a million people a year in the United States alone. So this is a big one. But I think a lot of people will then say, well, these E-cigarettes, they have to be safer for me because there's not the tar and the chemicals, it's not burning something. And you talk about that a little bit in the book. Can you talk about why E-cigarettes might not be the savior we're looking for?

[00:14:24.610] – Dr. Ramirez

So it's a great discussion. Just like you said, it's a little different because you're not burning, you're lacking that combustion that we have with smoking and other forms of inhaled smoke. Now, despite lacking combustion, there are some negative effects that we're starting to see. Now, this is a relatively new product, so we don't have all the information, and it's going to take some time to see all the long term effects. We didn't see, or at least we didn't clarify the severe negative effects of smoking until the 1960s with the Surgeon General report. So it's going to take a while. But what we do know so far is that there are higher odds of strokes and heart attacks with Ecigarettes. Maybe it's related to impaired endothelial function, but we do know there are higher odds of strokes and heart attacks. There is an association with seizures and other neurological problems, and this I've seen personally in the ER. There is associations with chronic cough, phlegm, bronchitis, possible increased risk of some cancers like bladder and lung, but again, these are not completely solidified. For sure there is a really bad entity called Evaly the Ecigarette or vaping associated lung injury.

[00:15:38.290] – Dr. Ramirez

Now, the more robust data I've seen was back in 2020, where at that time, it was over 2700 people hospitalized and 60 confirmed deaths. And this was just as the pandemic was starting. So COVID, I think, kind of put this on the back burner. We do see in related to COVID, there's worse culvert outcomes than people who use e-cigarettes. And a lot of it may be related to nicotine itself in terms of some of these overall poor outcomes because of the association with nicotine and the potential promotion of cancer, metastases of plaque progression, some adverse effects of reproductive health, and of course, acute toxic effects and high amounts of nicotine, in severe cases, seizures, which again, with e cigarettes. I've personally seen this as well, but some of the substances within the e cigarette liquids, some of the vitamin E, and other things were thought to be the causative factors of this Evaly entity. And of course, it's addictive. That was the main reason on the explosion of ecigarettes, particularly amongst the youth. But thankfully, it seemed that after 2019, some of the rates of ecigarette use in the youth have decreased. But even in 2021, still 2 million high schoolers and middle schoolers were using e cigarettes.

[00:16:57.160] – Dr. Ramirez

And the problem there is that you're more likely if you use ecigarettes to smoke traditional cigarettes, seven times as likely to try cigarettes, and eight times as likely to be current cigarette smokers if you have a history of vaping. And the problem with that is, if you smoke as a teen, three out of four times, you're going to also smoke into adulthood. So that's just increasing the risk there, and so much so that in June of just this past year, FDA banned Jewel products, one of the big makers of ecigarettes.

[00:17:26.770] – Allan

Yeah, they have a big portion of that market. And I guess the thing is, the base point of this to take away is that e cigarettes are not necessarily safe. But you talk in the book about how and I know this is a strategy one of my friends used about how you can use these cigarettes as a kind of a bridge along with maybe gum and patches to get off of cigarettes.

[00:17:50.410] – Dr. Ramirez

So there's definitely some evidence that e cigarettes can increase the rate of smoking cessation, but there's also evidence that the majority who tried to quit using ecigarettes end up using both. So it's a little bit difficult. But what I can say is, if you have nicotine gum, nicotine patches, if you have other medications, probably better to do that rather than using e cigarettes, because it seems like e cigarettes are going to have some other potential side effects. But others will say if you had to choose e cigarettes or smoking, probably ecigarettes is safer, though ideally we would use alternative products.

[00:18:35.760] – Allan

Okay, now the other one that comes up a lot, and it's more and more because it's becoming legalized in a lot of our states, in the United States is marijuana. And it's interesting to me how many people think that marijuana is just completely safe. No one's ever died of it. No one's ever. And obviously, because it's been illegal for so long in the United States, this isn't something doctors could go out and just study. Well, let's study how safe it is. And look at people who are traditionally long term marijuana smokers. It's not like someone can show up for that study, because if they did, the DEA would be sitting right there around you up. So can you talk a little bit about marijuana and some of the data we have on how safe that might be.

[00:19:24.660] – Dr. Ramirez

Yeah, so I'll connected to a prior comment about lighting. So the combustion, combustion occurs anytime you kind of like a carbon containing product. It could be a tree part of forest fires, it can be coal when you barbecue, it can be tobacco with cigarettes, or it could be marijuana. And when you look at combustion, the smoke byproducts of combustion have toxic effects. And two specific chemicals within it are free radicals and particulate matter. I saw a piece of data that I really liked to bring to light. And in terms of particulate matter, when we look at air quality, the WHO rates good as less than 25 micrograms per meters cubed. So that's good air quality and hazardous is greater than 250. Now, if somebody is smoking and you are the back seat or a backseat passenger within the car, the particulate matter will exceed hazardous levels by 100 times. That's 2500 particular matter per micrograms per meter cube. That's 100 times hazardous levels. And that's if you're a passenger of somebody who is smoking in the car. So imagine if you're directly smoking, that's just a lot of particular matter. And free oxygen radicals, one could look at it as oxygen that we breathe is in o2.

[00:20:53.140] – Dr. Ramirez

You have protons, neutrons, and you have electrons that are typically paired. When they become unpaired, they become highly reactive. They are damaging, they are damaging to fat, to proteins, to DNA, and more. So, the combination of having free radicals and particular matter are damaging to arterial walls. They modify cholesterol, they cause secondary inflammation. And all this can lead to plaque build up. And if you have plaque build up in the heart, that's heart disease. Plaque build up in the neck or the brain, you can get elevated risk of strokes. Obviously, if you have damage to DNA, you have risks of cancer. And is there a great connection long term or early studies that correlate marijuana to these risks? As of now, there is nothing great to say with a guarantee. But similar to Ecigarettes, it's going to take time to see some of this data. But this is what we can say for now. One, marijuana in and of itself smoked is not healthy. That's just a misconception. But chemicals within it, if they're purified concentrated, can have beneficial effects. We do know that it helps for certain types of seizures. We know for Dravet syndrome, for Lennox Gaston syndrome, FDA has approved CBD specific CBD for the treatment of that.

[00:22:20.980] – Dr. Ramirez

It seems to have beneficial effects in pain management, for nausea and vomiting, especially if chemotherapy related, for spasms, for appetite and weight gain. And there's some interest in Parkinson's, interest in migraines that they're studying. But the delivery method is not smoked in these. They can be in pills, they can be vaporized, they can be powder, they can be nebulizers, but they're not smoked because you don't want that combustion by product. Now, clearly there's negative effects. There's emerging evidence of increased heart disease and stroke potentially related to inflammation of the blood vessels, which makes sense because of combustion. There's some association with chronic bronchitis respiratory symptoms unclear of asthma or lung cancer, but again, this may take time to solidify. Now, most profoundly, there are clear cognitive and psychological effects, and there's substantial data with temporal association between cannabis use and future psychosis. In general, roughly, we can say you have more than two times the risk of future psychotic disorder with use. It's worse when you're younger and worse with more frequent use. For example, daily use in general has a three times increased risk of psychotic disorders in the future. And higher potency THC increases it five times.

[00:23:42.120] – Dr. Ramirez

And there's other mood consequences such as depression, anxiety, and cognitive consequences. And there's even MRI evidence of atrophy in the hippocampus. And the hippocampus is the center of learning and memory of the brain. Now, with all this said, the reality is most adults are not going to develop these conditions with occasional use. But one thing I do clarify and reiterate is occasional and adults. Now, schizophrenia affects only about 1% of the population. So I would say only adults who are psychiatrically healthy, who use it occasionally and who use lower THC content unlikely to develop any of these side effects. But for somebody who has smoked before and they've had the effect of some type of psychotic issue thinking that cops were after them, or if they have a family member with schizophrenia or anybody who is young, I absolutely would worry about continuing to use. And obviously I would choose forms that are not smoking gummies, cookies, other type of forms.

[00:24:49.890] – Allan

Okay? Now, I want to shift focus to food because I actually think this is even though, again, we look at the data and we see, okay, it's smoking that's killing us the most from a practical perspective of what we can measure. Were you a smoker or not? Food is a little harder because we all have to eat, we can't cessate food. And you had a quote in the book that I think it's probably my favorite food quote ever because it's perfect. I couldn't even think of a way to improve this, but it's by Michael Poland and it says eat food, not too much, mostly plants. And that's kind of the approach you're taking in the book as you're talking about how we should eat and again, to avoid some of these diseases.

[00:25:36.010] – Dr. Ramirez

I love that quote as well. I read Michael Poland or two of Michael Poland's book, the Omnivore's Dilemma and the In Defense of Food, and I love this approach. It was simplified in an era where there are so many different diets and things can be confusing. And I think just simplifying it to build a foundation that again, one could build upon is the best way to approach it. So that quote has seven words and those seven words, I think, can really guide somebody in terms of how to eat. And just like you said, eat food. Not too much, mostly plants. And that translates to eat less processed foods, portion control, more fruits than vegetables. So we can talk about processing of foods. In general, highly processed foods have more calories, more sugars, more sodium, less protein, less fiber, less vitamins, less minerals. And aside from having the actual nutritional products that are less healthy, there is data correlating more highly processed foods to health outcomes. Eating more and high amounts of highly processed foods does increase your risk of heart disease or stroke and just higher risk of overall mortality. The second part of that is portion control.

[00:26:56.170] – Dr. Ramirez

The average daily calorie intake in the US in the year 2000 was about 300 calories higher than in the year 1985. And just mathematically, that's the equivalent of 31 lbs of excess calories. In general, just food portions have gone up. Plate sizes are bigger. The actual area of plate sizes are 44% bigger now. So Portion control is just one of the underlying recommendations. And lastly in that part is eat more fruits and vegetables, and only one in ten US. Adults get enough vegetables, two in ten adults get enough fruits. And both vegetables and fruits are filled with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, flavonoids, which there's over 5000 bioactive compounds there. They're nutrient dense. They have less calories, they're low in fat, they're high in fiber, and they're just products that are just extremely good for us, and we don't get enough of it. So rather than trying to get specific diets, just this overall concept of portion control, eat more fruits and vegetables and trying to have less processed foods is the underlying message of how one can kind of adjust their habits rather than dieting. And we can go into more data if we wish there too.

[00:28:14.420] – Allan

Yes. The core of it is this. You want to eat nutritionally dense food versus calorie dense food. And this succinctly puts you on that trail to avoid the diet traps and everything else. You just know, okay, is this real food? Do I know what a portion is? And am I not overeating it so I know I'm full? And then finally, yeah, just plants and some proteins. And what I found is that I can tell someone is you can't overeat fruits and vegetables. It's physically impossible. Try to eat 5oz of spinach. Just try make a salad with 5oz of spinach and try to eat it.

[00:29:00.400] – Dr. Ramirez


[00:29:01.020] – Allan

Sweating. You'll be sweating. I promise I do it. I do it all the time, but you'll be sweating. You can blend it and process it again. And then, yes, drink it down with other stuff, and it just seems to go really easy. And you can cook it down and eat it, and it seems to go really easy. But eating whole foods and paying attention to what you're putting in your mouth is really important. So I do appreciate this opportunity. And you went into the book. I don't really want to go deep into it because it's an important issue. And that's why I encourage people to get the book, is you do also talk about obesity, the connections to some of these diseases. And then, of course, we have the whole concept of how people feel about this word and the way things are. And I appreciate that discussion in the book. And so I encourage someone to get the book to go through that because I think it's really important. But I want to step out for just a minute because there's one area that you highlight in the book is maybe beyond the other things that we can control, that maybe is one of the more important ones that gets ignored because it has no outward symptoms until it does.

[00:30:08.450] – Allan

And that's our blood pressure.

[00:30:11.090] – Dr. Ramirez

Yes, for me, blood pressure is probably the easiest thing you can do and the most impactful thing you can do because it doesn't really require, let's say, running 5 miles a day. It requires sitting down, putting a cuff on your arm, noting if it's elevated or not and seeing your physician. And this is something that could completely change somebody's life. It's the leading contributor to preventable death in the world. In the US, it contributes to 500,000 deaths per year. It's the leading cause of stroke in the world. And it's not just stroke. It's the leading cause of brain bleeds. It's a leader and burst aneurysms of heart disease, of chronic kidney disease, of a subtype of dementia called vascular dementia, of heart failure, of atrial fibrillation, of much more. And the higher the blood pressure, the higher the risk. And it causes all these things because it has such potent effects on both the large and the small arteries. And the large arteries, it can lead to plaque formation. And in the small arteries of the body, it can lead to thickening of the small arteries. And in the large arteries, again, if it's in the heart, there's heart disease.

[00:31:24.920] – Dr. Ramirez

If it's in the neck and the brain, there's strokes in the small arteries. There's a lot of small arteries in the head that could also cause strokes and vascular dementia. But some of these small vessels are also present in the kidneys, and that leads to chronic kidney disease. You have increased resistance. So when the heart is pushing on the resistance, it can thicken, and you get left ventricular hypertrophy. You can get diastolic heart failure, you get remodeling of the heart, which could lead to atrial fibrillation. So it's just a lot of negative effects on it. But the good thing is that some of these effects in the arteries start really early in life. And one would say, why is that good? Well, if the fatty streaks start in our teens and we have an opportunity to prevent this very early on and try. To halt the progression early on before it causes damage. And the problem here is that about a third of young adults don't know they have high blood pressure. So by checking early, we can really prevent some of the devastating consequences that has long term. And just like you said, we don't have any external showing of high blood pressure.

[00:32:35.630] – Dr. Ramirez

It's silent because it has so many effects. It's deadly. And that's why the very famous kind of saying it's, the silent killer, exists. Now, if you have blood pressure, going to your physician treating you either medically or lifestyle changes drastically improves outcomes as well. By decreasing your pressures by five points, you decrease the risk of cardiovascular events by about 10%. So not just prevention, but treatment, if you have it, is paramount. And for anybody who may not know what's considered high, normal blood pressure is 120 over 80. Typically, they say high is 140 over 90. So target at 140 over 90. And below certain individuals, we aim for less than 130. But if you're seeing readings near the one forties or above, just reach out to your physician and see what plans you can make. I would emphasize I personally have a lot of patients who don't like medications despite having strokes. And I really try to tell them, don't fear medications if they are necessary. Yes, you want to change your lifestyle, and I would change your lifestyle while starting medications if that's what a physician recommends. And you can work your way off medications.

[00:33:53.170] – Dr. Ramirez

There's some data showing that with diet modification, like the Dash diet, managing weight and exercise, only about 15% of patients still need these blood pressure medications. So I would just think of it as the most important supplement you've ever had or needed in your life, and maybe you can come off of it.

[00:34:12.180] – Allan

Yeah. When I first started my reversal of my health, trying to get myself back together, yeah, I had high blood pressure, so my doctor put me on medication to get it down. You go into a doctor's office and they kind of expect an elevated blood pressure because you're in the doctor's office. So that's why they're going to say 140 over 90 is probably fine, because there's an expectation that when you go home and you're in a better environment, that your blood pressure drops. And what I can say is, if you're in a very stressful job and you have a very stressful life at home and other things are going on, it might not drop as much as you think it does. And so you're going to be happy to hear that I just put a blood pressure monitor in my Amazon cart, so the next time I check out, I'll have one of those. And you talk in the book, it's like, don't just wait till you do your annual check up. These are not expensive. I think my unit I went for a slightly higher price unit it was still, like, less than $60.

[00:35:13.250] – Allan

And it's there. Or you can walk into a drugstore or go over by the pharmacy. And Walmart, they typically have one of these little machines there. And I believe you said in the book that the differential of what they have is not significant. So you can kind of rely on that to see if there's at least a problem, if there's a trend, and know that you need to go talk to your doctor. But I completely agree with you. Take the medication until your lifestyle changes allow you to get off the medication, which is the path I took.

[00:35:43.250] – Dr. Ramirez

Good. And I'm thrilled to hear that you bought yourself one. That's the main thing. Just something so easy. We want to monitor themselves at home. So if I impacted one person, I'm happy.

[00:35:55.450] – Allan

Well, I'm 56 years old. So as you start looking at your health, you're like, I'm not invincible. I may have felt like I was invincible when I was in my 20s and maybe well into my 30s, but there's a point where you realize it's like, okay, data can be valuable. And this is a data point that, quite frankly, is easy to measure. It takes less than five minutes. You just sit down, you rest for about five minutes. You put the cuff on, it blows up, and then it shows you a number. If you don't like the number, sit there for another five minutes and do it again. But it's not like the scale. This is actually telling you how healthy you are.

[00:36:30.530] – Dr. Ramirez

Yeah. It's non invasive, it's quick, it's cheap. So I would tell everyone and anybody, get yourself a cuff or go to your local store and measure it there and just write down the trends and reach out to your physician if it's elevated. So this is extremely important. I would emphasize it to anybody. And I'm thrilled that you purchased one.

[00:36:52.210] – Allan

Yeah. And another thing that you had in the book that I think is really important is don't get the finger one or the wrist one is get the one that is a cuff and make sure that the cuff is the right size for your arm. I have a slightly larger arm, so the cuff I got goes up to 17 inches. So I'm safe for at least the next few months unless I decide to bulk up a little bit. And I'm not going to get my arm to 17 inches again. I'm pretty sure my age. But that said, make sure you're getting a good thing, and the book will give you some details on how to select. Make sure it's a cuff and make sure it's the right size. And there's a whole lot more in there.

[00:37:27.240] – Allan

Dr. Ramirez, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:37:36.950] – Dr. Ramirez

So I think that's a great definition. I define it as kind of longevity, quality and the control of risk factors. If we just want to break it down to just solely three, obviously there's more. But three specific tactics, I would say one, nutritional changes. I don't endorse dieting, I endorse an overall change in how we look at what is on the plate in front of us. And like the quote we discussed, eat food, not too much, mostly plants that would go for smaller portions, eat more vegetables, less processing, water over other drinks, try to lessen the juices, soda, so water over drinks. Within the umbrella of nutrition, I would go for less alcohol. So alcohol in moderation if you already drank, but there's no need to drink if you don't do so already. And even within that we can say if financially one is able to try to add more organic products. There may be some benefit in organic products grown in better soil. So overall nutritional changes as one the second more physical activity. Find an activity you enjoy, one that you love, one that's not a job to try to do and build from there.

[00:38:56.500] – Dr. Ramirez

Even five minutes of moderate activity a day has health benefits. So just try to do it as much as you can, even if it's only a small amount, and work your way up to minimum goals. The minimum quote guidelines is 150 minutes a week. So 30 minutes, five times a week. Try to add some resistance, exercise at least two times a week, but find what you like. I like calisthetics, that's my base and then I build outside from there. For anybody who has some physical limitations, you can still be more active. Something as easy as walking as benefits. 6000 steps a day has been shown to have benefits, especially people over 65 years old. And even if Ambulation or walking is difficult on YouTube, there's plenty of exercise regimens for people who can't walk seated exercise regimen. So try to stay active as much as you can within your limitations. And I would try to add balance as well. That's something I included in the book since balance at training can reduce falls and falls as a leading cause of traumatic injuries in the elderly, leading cause of hip fractures leads to 800,000 hospitalizations a year.

[00:40:07.660] – Dr. Ramirez

So adding a little balance, especially as we age, can minimize the risks of falls and the health effects that come from it. So the first two nutritional changes, more activity. And the third, I would just use the broad saying of check your numbers. One, blood pressure. I think within that number, that's the key thing to know and two your BMI. So you're seeing where you land in the context of obesity. Are you healthy? Weight, are you overweight? Are you obese or above? I know BMI is not the perfect number, but it is one that does correlate well with adipose tissue and more importantly, with health outcomes. So check your numbers and within that discussion. Obesity is the second leading cause of stroke worldwide, one of the leading causes of preventable death. So it is a very important number to know right there with blood pressure.

[00:41:05.870] – Allan

Thank you for that. Now I want to close with one more thing. You said this is kind of your core message of the book, and I love this, “Longevity and quality can allow one to enjoy life and all the beautiful things it brings.”

So thank you for sharing that. Doctor, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book Simplify Your Health, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:41:29.740] – Dr. Ramirez

Again, thank you for having me. I would have anybody go to Simplifyyourhealth.Live. There's more information on the book, where to get it. There are other links to some of my social media pages. I have become more active on Instagram based on recommendations of others. It's Dr.RamirezMD for Instagram and Twitter, and I give some health facts, some health tips, some quotes, and other things for benefits. But it would be simplifyyourhealth.Live for more information on the book, okay.

[00:42:05.310] – Allan

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/551, and I'll be sure to have the links there. Dr. Ramirez, thank you so much for being a part of 40 Plus Fitness.

[00:42:15.210] – Dr. Ramirez

Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.

Post Show/Recap

[00:42:24.090] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:42:25.480] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, wow there's a lot of really great information in that interview, but let's start with the Simplify. Simplify Your Health. I love it. We make things so much harder than we really need to.

[00:42:37.230] – Allan

Yeah. That's why when I was looking at doing it, when I created the kind of a temperature check and I was looking for, okay, what are the things I know that work, and what are the things to try to put together something when you want to check in with yourself, what is the most valuable takeaway? And it isn't, okay, here's three areas your movement, your nutrition and your self care. And it's not sitting there saying, okay, what are five things I can do for all three of these to move the needle? It's like, what's one intention? Just one thing next week? And you kind of start with that. That's just the one thing. And what you find is once that one thing kind of becomes automatic for you, then yes, adding another one thing and then another one thing. And it's not just one plus one. I think that's what a lot of people think. That's just slow. No, each one of those is an exponential of the thing you did before. So if you've improved your nutrition this week and then next week you add additional movement, that's an exponential shift. That's not just a one plus one.

[00:43:43.170] – Allan

And so if we just realize that those simple one step, things that are the next big rock, then that's what's really going to move the needle for you. And it's going to get you where you want to go a lot faster than you thought you could.

[00:43:58.850] – Rachel

Oh, for sure. I also like too, for people to choose the thing that resonates the most with them. Some people can easily swap out a soda pop for water, and that could be their one thing. Or some people might be more comfortable going for a walk in the morning before work. You just need to choose the one thing that really resonates with you, something that you can stick with, something that you look forward to doing, and that would really give you the most traction to get that ball rolling.

[00:44:30.540] – Allan

Yeah, it will.

[00:44:33.510] – Rachel

And you guys spend some time talking about blood pressure. That's the one metric that I often overlook myself, because my blood pressure is always normal when I go to the doctor's office. But you're going to get yourself a blood pressure cuff?

[00:44:47.130] – Allan

Yeah, I've got it. It is actually on its way.

[00:44:51.700] – Rachel


[00:44:52.460] – Allan

Yeah. So I put it in my car, and it's kind of one of those things because I do live on an island, I try to order two or three or four things at one time, and then I do the Amazon ship it all together. So I'll wait an extra week kind of thing just to have less packing material, less weight as I pay by the pound for what they bring here. And so it's just trying to get them to put it all in one box and make it easy. So it shipped. And right now it's probably in Miami or somewhere in between. Here in Miami.

[00:45:25.320] – Rachel

Oh, good. Well, I'm glad you're getting that because I think that's probably one of the best metrics for heart health.

[00:45:31.950] – Allan

It is. Well, even brain health and all of it, because if your blood pressure and kidney, if your blood pressure is high, it's putting pressure on your kidneys, it's putting pressure on your brain, it's putting pressure on your heart. And so stroke and heart attack and kidney failure, they are directly related to you having high blood pressure. And as you said, it's the silent killer because you don't necessarily know when your blood pressure is elevated. And it's the one thing I can say that more than anything, walking away from my career lowered my blood pressure down to normal. I was having to take medication when I was working full time for a corporation, and the stress level, my blood pressure was always elevated, so I had to take medication to get it down to the normal range, and I could not get it down. Even after losing all the weight, even after getting myself really healthy and fit, my blood pressure was still elevated until I got laid off and I told my wife, I'm not going back. And my blood pressure dropped down to normal. And I've been to the doctor several times since then, and it's always normal when I walk into the doctor's office.

[00:46:49.910] – Rachel

Now, that's fantastic. I'm glad to hear that. I don't think that we really realize how detrimental stress can be on our bodies.

[00:46:59.970] – Allan

It can beat you up. And so just that self awareness. I had worked on nutrition, I had worked on movement, I had worked on sleep. I didn't set alarm. So I was getting plenty of sleep. I was eating well, I was moving well, but I couldn't get the stress done. And then I went through a period of time just before the layoff where I did like three or four episodes on stress because I wanted to read their books, my own stress.

[00:47:30.110] – Rachel

Sure, absolutely.

[00:47:31.580] – Allan

And they all had different spins on it. And yes, the breathing techniques helped a little, but that was a temporary fix, because as soon as the next fire, the next problem, the next phone call, even the next phone call, was enough to send my stress level up. And then, of course, I was laying people off and there was just all that turmoil of that. My stress levels were really high at that point for my health. The next big step, the next big rock. We talked about simplify, sounds like a big move, but that was figure out a way to not go back to corporate.

[00:48:12.660] – Rachel


[00:48:13.130] – Allan

And so, yeah, it was a big step, but it was the thing, it was the big rock. And until I could get the stress thing done and you know, some people have great resilience and they do great with stress, but I just found the older I got, the less resilient I was with stress. And that was just me. I'm fully put it out there. It's just stress beat me up more as I got older. And so I wasn't going to get healthier no matter what. No matter what.

[00:48:43.240] – Rachel

You checked all the other boxes, eating, exercise, sleep and all that, so I'm glad you were able to find a solution for that.

[00:48:50.390] – Allan


[00:48:51.870] – Rachel

And then you guys talked a lot about marijuana.

[00:48:54.930] – Allan

Yeah, I haven't covered that topic. And there have been some books that came out. I reached out to the authors, but I guess they were off getting high or something because they didn't respond because they're not really driven.

[00:49:12.370] – Rachel

They get back to you because I think it's in the emerging stages.

[00:49:17.230] – Allan

It is. I will say, based on the titles of the books that are out there, they're very pro marijuana. And I knew, of course, reading this book and he gets into it, that he was not going to be pro marijuana, and he's not there are uses for it, and they're studying for more uses for it. But he said the vast majority of people don't need to be smoking marijuana. It's not healthy. People say, well, it's healthier than I'm like, okay, so getting hit by a motorcycle is healthier than getting hit by a car. You can justify anything as healthier than because there's always something less healthy. And if you want to compare ourselves with something that's less healthy, same thing with e cigarettes. We know that they're not healthy, you know they're not healthy. And so maybe edibles are healthier than smoking it. And if that's the case, then tell the does not equate to healthy. And, you know, so that's just the takeaway from that. I have tried edibles and one of two things happens. I just go to sleep and then I feel like I wasted a whole lot of money on an end or I eat everything in the kitchen.

[00:50:45.070] – Allan

I mean everything. And so, yes, if I had cancer and needed something that would make me hungry, yeah, that would do it, because I'll eat everything in the kitchen and so it's not a substitute for anything and it wasn't enjoyable. And so from that perspective, I don't value it. And I know that some people use and they love it and they feel like it does the right things for them, but there's a health downside to it until you really acknowledge that you're fooling yourself.

[00:51:20.530] – Rachel

I think here in Michigan, it is legal both medicinally and recreationally. And I'm not sure how many states we have now that have approved it for either or. I'm not sure what the current state is.

[00:51:33.100] – Allan

It's a growing number, and I would say probably the majority of states now at least approve it for medical use. But let's just be honest. Doctors will write you prescription for anything you ask them for. So if you want medical marijuana recreationally, just get a doctor to write a script and you can go get it. So it's not like it's really controlled like that. Maybe in some states a little bit more so than others, but for the most part so the vast majority of people in the United States can either get marijuana legally as a recreational drug or as to a doctor. And then again, it's hard to get if you want it. You probably know the dealer guy down on the corner or wherever. It's not hard to find someone to give you this stuff if you want, but that's it. If you're looking at improving your health, yes, substitutions are a way, but not a permanent way to say I'm healthy because I do these things.

[00:52:38.390] – Rachel

Sure, I'd like to see more science come out on marijuana and the use. I'd actually like to see it be a good competitor to big pharma. I'd really like to see something different going on. We have some experience right now. My husband Mike has kidney cancer. He's taking some chemo drugs. And the side effects of these chemotherapies are just ridiculous. They're just ridiculous. If you've ever watched a commercial on TV for literally any medicine out there, the side effects are ridiculous. So I'd like to see if medical marijuana has a leg to stand on in alleviating some of these symptoms that people are experiencing as compared to the big pharma alternative?

[00:53:26.170] – Allan

Well, the odd thing is probably I remember this from when I was younger, is that they always called marijuana, like for glaucoma.

[00:53:33.170] – Rachel


[00:53:33.630] – Allan

And Dr. Ramirez says there's actually no evidence that it helps with glaucoma.

[00:53:39.610] – Rachel

I've not heard that. I don't know.

[00:53:41.680] – Allan

Yeah, but the whole point is they will, because more people are using it now and it's easier to get then scientists are more likely to study it. It is very hard to get a study approved when you're using a class one narcotic. It just is. They don't want this out there. They don't want people using it. And so getting it approved and getting it through the FDA, federal against the law, is just going to be really hard. And unless you have a really compelling hypothesis for it, it's just going to be hard. But that said, more people are going to be using it, there'll be more anecdotal evidence, and then with the anecdotal evidence, someone will say, okay, look, I run all these places here in California that sell this medical marijuana. I will fund the study for this and they fund the study. Now, will the FDA then approve it for that use? Maybe not. But if the study is done and it's done right, at least at that point, doctors have some form of evidence to know, okay, I can do a counter indication for the marijuana for this thing. And over time, the doctors will finally go to the FDA and say, hey, we're doing this because we legally can counter indicate a medication for somebody else.

[00:55:06.810] – Allan

And since this is medical marijuana in our state, we've been using it for this thing and it's working. And if the FDA does the right thing, but they're pretty close to pharma, but if they were to do the right thing, then they would say, okay, provide the evidence from the studies, do more studies, and we'll consider it. And at least at that point, you got a toe in the door.

[00:55:34.370] – Rachel

The one last thing I want to mention on marijuana is that I'm allergic to it. And I'm not the only one out there. And I see an allergist and we've talked about it. I have an EpiPen because I've had some really poor reactions being surrounded. I've never even used it outright. I've never smoked it or ate it. I don't even use hemp and I'm afraid to use CBD. I just don't want to be near it because I have such a terrible reaction. And I know I'm not the only person out there. So if anybody's going to use it, just be smart and keep it in your own home because I can't even smell it. I can't even walk by it.

[00:56:12.870] – Allan

Yeah, all right, well, Rachel, stay away from pot.

[00:56:19.010] – Rachel

You know I will. Yeah.

[00:56:21.870] – Allan

All right, well, you have a great week. We'll talk next week.

[00:56:24.700] – Rachel

Okay, take care. Thanks.

[00:56:26.340] – Allan

Okay, bye.

[00:56:27.360] – Rachel



The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


July 26, 2022

Supporting your lymphatic system for better health with Dr. Loretta Friedman

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

In her book, Lymph-Link, Dr. Loretta Friedman shows us how important it is to manage our often neglected lymphatic system to improve our health.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:25.150] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:03:26.370] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:28.110] – Allan

I'm doing all right. How about you?

[00:03:30.560] – Rachel

Good. Very good. Mike and I went backpacking again the other weekend and increasing the weight in our packs and testing equipment again. And we had a good outing. So we're getting closer and closer to Isle Royal and getting closer and closer to finalizing our list of things we need to bring.

[00:03:47.600] – Allan

Yeah, that's got to be a lot of fun to try to figure all that out, particularly when you're doing it on test runs so you're not out there figuring it out.

[00:03:55.580] – Rachel

Right? Yes, for sure. So how are things with you?

[00:04:00.250] – Allan

Just trying to keep everything moving and doing, obviously, to the gym. When they built the building, there was a few things that they could have done differently. So the back patio on the house, the apartment above us, they didn't build that like it was going to be the roof of another building. So they built it like they would build a deck so it was okay for water to flow through it. Problem is that's my roof. And so the water runs through it.

[00:04:33.230] – Rachel

That's not good.

[00:04:34.480] – Allan

We get a big heavy rainfall and the wind coming in from the south, and there's a ton of water coming into the gym through the ceiling, which is basically sheetrock wet sheet rock is not cool. So then they decide they want to build a stairwell because they're building some of their apartments. They got to move the stairwell that they have, and they want to build another one. So I had this air conditioner installed, and they come back and say, well, we need to move that air conditioner because it's in our way to build this stairs. And I'm kind of like, how much of this stuff did you not know before you started building? And then I was talking to the air conditioner guy. He's like, yeah, they just called me up on Saturday. They were already drywalling and going on. They said, maybe we ought to have the air conditioner guy come out before we build this thing, just to see where he needs to put the air conditioners and stuff like that, because he's doing the air conditioners, too. And he's like, they had no idea. And so he was out there trying to say, well, now we're going to have to drill through this wall and drill through that wall.

[00:05:39.730] – Allan

Things that they wouldn't have had to do, they now have to do because they got too far into their building. It's Panama. It's a third world country. You just kind of have to shake stuff like that off. But it's a lot of work when you want you're worried about your gym collapse, the roof ceiling collapsing, particularly if someone was in the gym when it was happening. And then you got all that equipment in there, which most of it is made out of iron and metal. It rusts. It's just been this thing. And so they moved my air conditioner two days ago, three days ago, and there's just a little bit it's almost like there's always construction going on inside my gym. I know the members are kind of like, will you please, for the love of God, finish building this gym? We open in March, and here we are well into July, and we still aren't open. We are open, but there's always workmen and then there's always sawdust and something happening here, something happened in there. So it's going to be good. If they can I think they're going to get that thing done upstairs.

[00:06:50.000] – Allan

When they do, then I can make sure my ceiling is done right, because they have to redo that. And then after that's done, then I can paint my gosh and all that. So it seems like it's going to be a constant work in process, at least for a couple more months. But yeah, that's just one job, one thing. I still got this online personal training. I still got the podcast, I've still got Lula's running Lula's and Tammy is about to head back to the States for another two and a half weeks, coming up here a little bit later in the month. So when she leaves, it's like I can't leave Lula's in the middle of the day sometimes, but I've got clients, so it's just going to be very interesting how I manage running a bed and breakfast and a gym that is basically 0.6 miles away from each other. And I have no automobile, so I have to walk or ride a bike, though. So if I have to be at one place, I have to be there. And then it's going to take me eleven minutes, roughly, give or take, for me to get back to the other place and back and forth.

[00:08:00.990] – Rachel

My gosh.

[00:08:02.170] – Allan

I'll do it. But it's kind of one of the things that I need to get as much done now on other things so that I'm not running crazy during that two and a half, three weeks. And I can't get podcast guests. They're like, sure. They send me a copy of the book and like, okay, here's the link. Book it, nothing. Crickets and I message them again, hey, go ahead and book it so we can get this recorded so that we have an episode. Crickets and so I'm like, okay, well and then once I'll reach out and their books aren't coming out until late August, and one guy, I think, October. And so you're like, okay, that's great. I'll get that interview done, but that doesn't really help me till October. And I've got some episodes that we need to be working on to get next week. Not October. Not August. Anyway, so yeah, just a lot of moving parts in my life right now.

[00:08:57.690] – Rachel

No kidding. Are you able to squeeze in time for your tough mudder coming up?

[00:09:02.320] – Allan

Yeah, I'm sleeping a little less.

[00:09:06.870] – Rachel

Oh, gosh, that's not good.

[00:09:09.120] – Allan

It's not, but it's just kind of one of those things is saying there are this many hours in a day, and the only way I can squeeze something in and really make it meaningful is to add hours to my day. So I am sleeping a little bit less, and I'll do that until I'm ready for this time, and then I'll do the tough mudder and enjoy myself for a little while and then go back to my normal schedule of sleeping, but also tammy will be back here, and so that'll make it a little easier for me. So as I said, I'm really pushing hard right now, and I want to get my clients in the door and all that because there's a week that I want to take off in September, and I don't really want to have a whole lot of clients that I'm having to work with at that point, particularly not towards the front end of their six weeks. So if you're interested in my be fit for task program, go ahead and get on my calendar now for a discussion, because there will be a point here in the next few weeks where I'll say, okay, here's where my six weeks lines up, and I'm going to stop taking clients, and that's just going to be the way it's going to work.

[00:10:15.000] – Allan

And last year I said I was going to take a couple of weeks off. It turned into a couple of months. So I don't know that it wouldn't happen that way again this year. So if you're interested in the program, at least reach out to me right now. Let's get you on a call. Let's talk about what it is. And maybe this isn't the right time for you to start, but at least you'll know what's there and we can plan on doing something when I get back from the US. And my tough mudder and family and vacation and all that. So if you're interested in it, hit me up.

[00:10:45.980] – Rachel

Sounds great.

[00:10:46.910] – Allan

All right. You ready to have this conversation with Dr. Loretta?

[00:10:49.780] – Rachel



[00:11:23.710] – Allan

Dr. Loretta. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:11:26.790] – Dr. Loretta

Thank you, Allan.

[00:11:28.060] – Allan

So today we're going to talk about your book, Lymph Link: Solving the Mysteries of Inflammation, Toxicity, and Breast Health Issues. And I think this is a really timely episode. We've talked about the lymph system and the importance of movement to make sure that the system operates properly, and we'll get into that again a little bit later. But inflammation and toxicity are epidemic in not only our country, but around the world every day. I think I read a statistic, 5000 new chemicals are introduced to the world and all our government can really tell us is right now we think they're safe. We don't have enough data to say they're unsafe and we don't know the downstream effect of those toxins. But we already know some of the toxins were exposed to every day in our everyday life are already causing us some significant health issues. So I really appreciate the opportunity to have this conversation today.

[00:12:24.910] – Dr. Loretta

Thank you. Me too.

[00:12:27.490] – Allan

So the lymphatic system is kind of an interesting system to me. How it works, what it does. What exactly is this system? Why is it important? Because it's sort of ignored. Everybody knows. OK, well, cardiovascular system, heart disease, we had covid. People are talking about lung health and breathing. So we know these other things can kill us, but the lymph system can kill us too.

[00:12:54.440] – Dr. Loretta

Yeah, the limp system is extremely important and as you said, it's mostly ignored. That's one of the things that I'm very much trying to change. The lymphatic system is what gets produced from your immune system. When you have a sprained ankle and your ankle swells up like an orange or a grapefruit, that's all lymphatic fluid. If you get a cut or you get an illness, it's the lymph that goes to that area to try to mitigate any further damage from recurring. And that's the body's innate intelligence. You know what I mean? It does that automatically. The interesting thing is lymphatic system doesn't have, unlike the heart, lymphatic system doesn't have a pump. There is no mechanical, internal mechanical moving this fluid except for your muscles. Okay. Movement every time you take a step, every time you get up and sit down, that is what moves the fluid throughout our body and hopefully through the ducks so they can be removed.

[00:14:02.570] – Allan

We're using that. But beyond the swelling, beyond the immune system, what exactly is this fluid for? It's okay. Obviously we swell and most of us then hurt our ankle. Our doctor's going to probably tell us to use RICE, which is the rest, ice, elevate and compression. Yeah. And so we're going to compress this. We're going to put ice on it. We're going to try to get the swelling down. Seems like we're fighting the lymph while the lymph is trying to fight for us. But what is actually that lymph there for other than protecting?

[00:14:40.560] – Dr. Loretta

That's it exactly. The lymph is there to prevent further damage from occurring to whatever the injured area is. Like the people who got sick from covid. All right. The lymphatic, the immune system did exactly what it was supposed to do. It made lymph to send to the lungs to fight the virus and to prevent the virus from getting worse for having any further hold on the person who is sick. The problem is that because of toxic, I believe because of toxicity, the fluid got into their lungs and they couldn't get out. Okay. And they literally drowned in their own fluid. But the lymph system is designed as a protective system for us, and it will hinder further damage from recurring or an infection from spreading that kind of mitigation.

[00:15:37.620] – Allan

Okay, now you talk a little bit about the toxins, and I want to dive into some of the bigger ones later. But the lymph system is also a really important system as far as us getting toxins out of our body, right?

[00:15:51.190] – Dr. Loretta

Yes. The lymphatic system, again, is supposed to move freely throughout the body. What happens is our exposure to toxicity in the world the air we breathe, the water we drink, the foods we eat, unfortunately, all have toxicity in them, and sometimes the liver can't get rid of all this toxicity. Okay. And toxins attach themselves to the lymphatic fluid. It's this fluid that's walking around and moving around like water. And the toxins are free radicals, and they're looking to attach themselves to something, and the lymphatic fluid is that something, and the toxins start traveling through the body along with the lymphatic fluid. So if you get an injury or you have some trauma to your body, the lymph fluid goes to that area, and toxins stagnate and block the fluid from retreating. So normally, let's say that ankle should heal up in four to six weeks. You may still have swelling and inflammation in that lower leg. Six to ten weeks later, that's now, lymphedema, that is not supposed to be like that, but the fluid becomes stuck because of toxicity and stagnation caused by the toxins.

[00:17:21.690] – Allan

Okay. So I understand that from an injury perspective, we're going to have some swelling. That's an expected thing. And I've turned ankles many times over the years and dealt with major swelling at times. But other people suffer from lymphedema when they're going through other situations, like diabetes or just other fluid issues in their body where there's just tremendous amount of swelling in their legs, and it's quite painful. Can we talk about treating that pain? Because I think we're a pain medication nation. Everybody wants to pop a pill to solve pain problems, but that might not always be the best answer for this.

[00:18:06.270] – Dr. Loretta

No, absolutely not. The heaviness and the tightness and the fullness and the lumbering that people have in their limbs from the lymphedema is what's creating a lot of discomfort. Unfortunately, prescription pain medications don't really help that much. They don't change the situation at all. And it may take the edge off for a slight period of time, but it still comes back. That's the problem. I utilize a three part lightweight with an oscillating frequency to remove lymph fluid from the body. This is a pleasant treatment. Basically, you just sort of lie down and I move electrostatic charge over the area of involvement, and it creates a sympathetic response. That sympathetic response squeezes the lymphatic fluid.

[00:19:07.000] – Dr. Loretta

Okay. And then squeezing the lymph vessels. It moves the lymphatic fluid, and it also helps to remove toxicity from the body. There's an oscillating frequency that literally chop, chop, chops the toxins right off the lymph fluid so they can be dumped into the ducks. One of the problems with lymph massage is that it can remove some of the circumference. You know what I mean? It might be able to make a big leg a little bit smaller or big arm a little bit thinner. But the problem is that underlying heaviness and fullness and tightness is still there that they can't get rid of. And they also can't remove toxicity from the body with just moving the fluid from point A to point B. It has to be directed into the ducts very specifically. And that's what I do. People get relieved very quickly, especially from those under like symptoms, as I explain.

[00:20:05.190] – Allan

Yeah. Now, sometimes we don't even realize that this is a lymphatic system problem. You talk about pain in the jaw or pain in the back or something like that, and I think many of us understand it. We've heard that could potentially be inflammation, but this is actually the underlying cause. Right.

[00:20:25.920] – Dr. Loretta

It doesn't matter what the disease looks like or what the symptoms are. It all starts with an inflammatory process in the body. All of it. Doesn't matter what you call it. It all starts with inflammation. So, yeah, inflammation is, again, one of those things that we're so used to it, you know what I mean? It's like you're always bumping into something, like you said, sprain an ankle or smack something. And look at swollen hurts. It's red, so people ignore it. What I see, what I think is very interesting is I've been seeing more what I call systemic lymphedema, where people are swollen all over, just all over, their arms, their chest, their legs, their backs, just whole body fluidity. And sometimes they're walking around with 10 lbs of fluid in them. That is you want to call it water weight, but it's not. It's really lymphatic weight. Again, inflammation is key to health.

[00:21:40.990] – Allan

These toxins then can clog up the system, gum up the system and cause the problems, because, like you said, they're connecting to the lymph fluid that would normally be flowing around that gums thing. I can imagine that this way. I could say it is in my perspective, it gums things up.

[00:21:57.060] – Dr. Loretta

Yeah, absolutely.

[00:21:58.340] – Allan

And you get the swelling. Can we talk about some of the big players, some of these big exposures? Because I'm always a fan of preventative. So if you know these things are in your life and you can stop introducing them, then that's the better answer than the treatment. Obviously, most of us are already somewhat inflamed, if not completely inflamed, like I said, systemic inflammation. But can you talk about some of those big players?

[00:22:24.370] – Dr. Loretta

Well, first of all, you have PVCs, okay? So plastics are huge pesticides like things like roundup. Okay, we know that roundup has been causing breast cancer and lymphoma for 20 years, and yet it's still on the market. The senate was having a talk last week about, like, a fosse because it's dangerous, and every park, every playground, every golf course uses it. So you think that you're taking your baby to the park to walk around on the nice green grass, and the baby's got no shoes on. Baby sits down and puts his foot in its mouth. Well, there you go. Okay, so we're all exposed to this stuff. There's all kinds of endocrine disruptors that are out there, but it's in everything. That's the problem. You can't run, and you can't hide from it anymore. There are 68 distinct cancers that were caused by the twin towers collapse of 911, 68 distinct cancers that they've been able to track back to all that toxicity and people working on the pile for months at a time. So this is real. This is not some fantasy or, like, maybe a nice thing to do or a good thing to do.

[00:23:57.460] – Dr. Loretta

People need to take this seriously. People need to start testing themselves for toxicity before something happens.

[00:24:04.930] – Allan

Yeah, I mean, in the book, I think you did a really good job, as you went through these, of saying, okay, here are some of the products that you may not expect would have these things cleaners, make up, different things. I do know that the environmental working group.org, they have an app you can actually screen. You can just do a picture of the barcode on the products that you're using to kind of get an idea of what might be in some of these products that we're using to try to at least somewhat reduce your exposure. Because if you're getting it in your air, you're getting it in your water, you're getting it in your food, you're getting it in your cleaners, you're getting it on the skin care and health care products that you're using. You're just really battering your system. And that's what makes the system, the lymphatic system so important, is if it's not functioning well, we're not getting rid of those toxins as effectively as we need to.

[00:25:05.680] – Dr. Loretta

And people are getting sick. That's the thing. People don't feel well. And because the lymphatic system is so pervasive in our bodies, the symptoms are subtle. You know, headaches, eczema, digestive problems, poor sleep, there could be lots and lots of small little things that add up to, you know what? This is all toxicity, and it doesn't matter what the doctors keep throwing medications at them, and they're not getting better. Nothing is changing because it's toxic. They don't feel good. Low energy. The spells are in the toilet. And like I said, people need to start recognizing this and acknowledging yeah.

[00:25:50.500] – Allan

And to me, that's one of the reasons why fatigue is probably the symptom that is reported the most. It has to be because every single disease, every single illness out there, that one of the first symptoms, is fatigue. As you go through, and you're thinking about, well, how do I fix this? Well, fatigue is not going to help you fix this. We talked about some treatments and things we can do, which can help but to stay healthy as much as you can avoid these toxins. But then the next step is, and we mentioned it before, or you mentioned it before, was that the only way to move this Lymphatic system, to get things flowing through your system properly, is for your skeletal muscles to contract and then basically release. And so your muscles then become the pumps. And therefore, the only way that that happens is movement. And we could call it exercise, we could call it training, we could call it whatever we want to. But I think everybody knows movement is a big part of staying healthy and fit. You mentioned in the book some techniques and things like rebounding and fast walking and things like that, because you kind of talk about some of the movement patterns, things that would help, really help move Lymph and help someone stay healthy and clean up a little bit faster.

[00:27:16.650] – Dr. Loretta

It's possible if they're able to do sort of calisthenic type moves, because you want to go up against gravity a little bit, you want that little bit of force against you to help squeeze the Lymphatic flu. So, calisthenics. I love the rebounder. Some people fall off, they have to be careful, but it's a good way to exercise.

[00:27:42.470] – Allan

But the good thing about a rebounder is it's going to take all of that stress of landing if you land and you have joint issues, or just if you're carrying a little extra body weight and you just don't feel comfortable jumping and leaving the ground and landing back on the ground. If you're not comfortable with that, a rebounder can really be a good way for you to get that bounce and get things moving.

[00:28:08.410] – Dr. Loretta

Yeah, I love to be bound. People can do yoga. Yoga is very good. A lot of flexibility, a lot of movement. Like you said, fast walking is a good idea. Breathing, breath work is very important. You really need to keep your breathing going. It also helps to move lung fluid if you're limited as to what kind of physical activity you can do. And hot and cold showers. If you want to alternate contrast therapy, start out heat, always end with cold. And that also helps to contract the muscles. Again, if you're not able to do some physical activity, you can do it with your feet and your legs in the shower.

[00:28:59.240] – Allan

Yeah. And so most of us with office jobs, we're sitting for eight to 10 hours and just not moving much during the day. That lymph is just sitting still. If you're sitting still, it's sitting still. So people talk about getting up for five minutes every 25 minutes or getting up five minutes, even five minutes every hour is going to be so much more beneficial than just grinding through and getting your job done in that 8 hours because again, it's helping you keep your body healthy.

[00:29:32.690] – Allan

So Dr. Loretta, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:29:43.910] – Dr. Loretta

my philosophy is I work with working people. So you need to make things manageable. Okay? So you need people who are happy or optimistic. They want a better future for themselves. They want better health. And I can't think of the third one. I'm sorry.

[00:30:07.010] – Allan

That's all right. Those are important. And I think sometimes it's easy to overlook what optimism and joy and kind of the hope look into the future of knowing. Okay, and I've said this before, but if you can take another breath you can do something positive for your health and fitness. So it's just that knowing you have a future and expecting a future and then living the life now that you need to do so you can have the best future that you can possibly have. So those two were really important. Don't poopoo if there were only two.

[00:30:41.440] – Allan

Now, the book again is called Lymph-Link. And I'll tell you, beyond just really giving some good information about what the Lymphatic system is and how we can do some different things to make sure that we're staying healthy and the things we can avoid to also stay healthy, there are also some recipes and I'm really interested in trying that apple chicken that looks really good. So I will definitely be doing that soon, I'm certain. So Dr. Loretta, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:31:16.360] – Dr. Loretta

You can go to Synergy with an S, health Associates also with an s.com, that's the website. You can order the book. There's a link right there where you can order the book. You can also go to Amazon and order it lymph link on Amazon. I think we're the best seller new release book, something like that. And you can certainly I think it's going to be in Barnes and Noble and I'm not sure about the other brick and mortar type of places, but Synergy Health Associates is probably the best way.

[00:31:52.000] – Allan

Okay, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/548 and I'll be sure to have a link there to all of that. And again, congratulations on making a best seller list.

Thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:32:07.920] – Dr. Loretta

Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:32:16.950] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:32:18.340] – Rachel

Hey Allan. That was a really interesting conversation. The Lymphatic system is something that most people don't think about. We're always concerned about our heart health, our cholesterol, but the Lymphatic system is pretty important.

[00:32:31.470] – Allan

It is a very important component of our immune system. And it's kind of funny. How our immune system kind of gets this third class citizenship in our body. We don't think about it until it fails us. You get sick and then you go into the doctor and you notice they're probing around your neck and they say, oh, your lymph glands are a little swollen here. Your lymph nodes are a little swollen. But what they're telling you is that you have some kind of infection. It's a viral or a bacterial infection, but that's one of the core symptoms, is that those things start swelling up, and it just means you've got a lot of stuff to get out of your system, and your body is fighting to do that. But there's some such simple things to just keep ourselves, keep that system healthy. And it comes down to doing the lifestyle things that we should already be doing. One is trying to limit the amount of toxins and bad stuff that's in our body in the first place. If the liver doesn't have to clean it up, kidneys don't have to clean it up, and it doesn't have to go into the lymph to be removed.

[00:33:35.850] – Allan

That's one thing, is figure out where your toxins are coming from and try to eliminate them and where you can, and then understanding of your body and what it does. So if you end up with too much toxins in your system, your liver has this really ingenious way of kind of shirking its duties, if you will. It's still going to do what it's got to do, but if it sees that it's like getting a little overloaded, it will just start storing that stuff in your fat cells, particularly the fat around your liver, the fatty liver and the gut. We all have that's where it's storing that stuff. So if you get into a weight loss program, particularly something like Keto, or you go into low carb or some fasting and you start losing body fat relatively quickly, all that stuff is hitting your system again really fast. And at that point, you're not adding fat. So the liver has to process it, the kidneys have to process it. And that's when it's really important to focus on the lymphatic system to get that stuff out. You're going to feel like crap. And a lot of people think that's the Keto flu part, and most of the time it's not.

[00:34:41.090] – Allan

It's just those toxins. You're going to have a headache, you don't feel good. Your energy level is a little low, and what you want to be doing is making sure that you stay hydrated. Because all body fluids, if you're dehydrated all body fluids kind of reduce their liquid form so they get a little bit more viscous. If you want. Your blood does it, your lymph does it, and you might notice you don't sweat as much. If you're dehydrated a lot of your systems that rely on moisture, they're not going to function very well. Your brain doesn't function very well. And then so staying hydrated, but then also moving because there's no pump. There's no pump like a heart or lungs. That muscle that makes that happen. The muscle that makes Lymph move through your body is skeletal muscle. And so walking, running, hiking, resistance training, rebounding, a lot of people enjoy the rebounding. That will all help. And then you can try other techniques like the dry brushing your skin. That's supposed to help, but to me, just go for a walk.

[00:35:52.890] – Rachel

Yeah, that's an easier thing to do. Just head outside for a little while, get a little fresh air and move your body. It's important.

[00:36:00.010] – Allan

Yeah. And this is part of the reason. It's part of your body's overall functioning to stay healthy. And if you're moving and doing the right things with your Lymphatic system is going to work well, you're going to be getting those toxins out of your body more timely, quickly. And that's just better. Less exposure is better.

[00:36:21.160] – Rachel

Yeah, for sure. Oh my gosh, chemicals are everywhere. This summer, my daughter and I are looking for a sunscreen that has fewer chemicals in it. Just the zinc oxide type things that aren't readily absorbed into your skin. And it's not easy finding some replacements for the usual products that we have.

[00:36:40.880] – Allan

Yeah, not at standard stores. No. You almost have to order that stuff specialty online to get something that's better for us and better for the environment.

[00:36:52.480] – Rachel

Yeah, but it's well worth it for sure. In the long run.

[00:36:55.080] – Allan

It is. We do these things and then we don't think about it. But if you're really trying to improve your health overall, it's easy. Yes, you pay a little bit more, but you buy better stuff. And there's all kinds of tools. The Environmental Working Group has their app that you just shoot the barcode and it tells you what the rating is. The body wash that I use is actually pretty good. It's rated yellow only because it talks about allergies that might be in my body wash, but it doesn't bother me. It's not a problem for me. But if I sat there and flashed on something I was going to use as a cleaner or use on my body or use if I had hair, then I would pay a little bit more attention to those things and see if there's not an alternative product. It's a little thing. The furniture, we buy it off gasses and so just lots of opportunity. And I've done an episode before on toxins and on each Show Notes, for each episode I do put another show that's important for or at least similar to what we were talking about.

[00:38:15.320] – Allan

So it kind of carries on the topic and I'll make that episode part of what this one's going to point to. So if you're interested in learning more about that, diving deeper into that, there'll be a Show notes link. If you go to the show notes, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/547, and that will take you to the show notes. And then at the very, almost the very bottom of the show notes, you'll find where I've linked to another episode, and I'll make sure that episode is about toxins. So if you're interested in that topic, you'll be able to find that there.

[00:38:47.680] – Rachel

That's great. That would be super helpful.

[00:38:50.010] – Allan

All right. Well, Rachel, anything else you want to go over today?

[00:38:52.610] – Rachel

No, this is great. Thank you.

[00:38:54.310] – Allan

Okay, I'll see you next week.

[00:38:55.970] – Rachel

Take care.

[00:38:56.810] – Allan

You, too.


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