How to optimize your health with Emily Gold Mears
Emily Gold Mears, author of Optimizing Your Health: An Approachable Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Chronic Disease, was a practicing lawyer prior to moving into the area of research analysis in science and medicine. She's a citizen scientist, biohacker and, health and science advocate and activist.
Her research is focused on the intersection of functional medicine and allopathic medicine and the critical requirement for all individuals to become their own healthcare advocate.
On this interview, we dig into many of her science-backed findings.
Let's Say Hello
[00:02:38.830] – Allan
hey, Ras, how are things?
[00:02:41.040] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?
[00:02:42.900] – Allan
I'm doing all right. I just got back from a fairly long walk, and I'm trying something different. I've actually given myself a challenge this month, and it's a good one. I think it's sustainable. It's something I can do. A lot of people will think I'm insane. You're a distance runner, so you look at it and say, oh, well, I do that in a weekend, but I'm challenging myself to do 500,000 steps in 30 days.
[00:03:16.510] – Rachel
And what would that equate to in miles?
[00:03:18.700] – Allan
It will equate. Well, right now I'm thinking, that okay. I didn't break it down. The whole I'll look at that. I actually don't know that number. But to kind of give it to you in context is, okay, 10,000 steps for most of us works out to just under 5 miles.
[00:03:36.570] – Rachel
[00:03:37.690] – Allan
So what I'm going to have to do to hit my number is about just under 17,000 steps per day. So you're talking about steps and you should get at least ten. So this is really I'm not saying steps above that. It just means that consistently I have to be well above the 10,000 if I have a slow day. And so it's got me thinking, okay, so how do I structure this and make sure in the past I've had moderate days and long days. It's just now that I'm getting myself ready for the Tough Mudder because that's really only numbers we're recording this. It's less than three months away. So as this goes live, we're really looking about two and a half months. So as I go into this challenge, like, okay, I've got to get myself into the basic condition of just being able to go and go consistently. And so I figured, yes, the whole trip thing I'm doing for the Tough Mudder shouldn't be more than nine and a half, maybe 10 miles. And it's going to have obstacles. So there's additional physical stuff. It's not a lot of running because if there's 25 obstacles within that 10 miles, I'm stopping quite frequently, almost never running much more than a mile.
[00:04:54.110] – Allan
And one of the obstacles they have is called the mud mile. So you're really just walking through a muddy trench for a mile. Not fun, but it is what it is. But it's just kind of one of those things. So I don't expect I don't need to worry about so much about the distance of any or being able to run any kind of speed or anything. But it was just okay, I want to keep consistent. I want to have a goal, and then I'm thinking about and I'm in the process. So Cisco's Live, you may have heard that maybe you heard an ad right before this episode went live. We'll see if I get everything planned out and it works. I actually want to run a challenge like this for everybody that's listening. So probably, yeah, for the month of July, we'll run a 30 day challenge where it'll be maybe, I think, pick 5000 steps per day, 10,000 steps per day, or let's bump it up to 16,667 steps per day on average. And then that way again, just on average over the course of a month to try to either get what would be, I guess at that point, not quite 500,000, but 300,000.
[00:06:05.630] – Allan
And I think that one works out to 150,000 steps. I didn't keep up with the miles because I'm like, okay, I'm not going to count the miles because it's a step challenge. So right now I have this step challenge, and I'm playing with this app and I may use an app or I may use a Google sheet, I'm not sure, but I'm considering putting that out there as a kind of a month long challenge starting in July. So you may have heard an ad before this show, and if you did, yeah, this is me kind of going through the planning stages of that. So you'll hear more next week. But yeah, I've been looking at that, getting into my training, just doing my thing.
[00:06:46.520] – Rachel
That's awesome. You know, I love your challenges. I enjoyed the squat challenge. And what else did you have? Another one?
[00:06:53.440] – Allan
Yeah, I've done the squat challenge. I've done a burpee challenge. I know, alcohol challenge. I've done a functional fitness challenge. And I think there might have been a couple more out there that I did. So yeah, the challenges were great. Very time intensive. I'm doing every single day. I'm there, I'm answering emails, I'm in that. And so it just got to be a point where it's like, okay, if I'm going to do a challenge, I have to use it to pay bills because I'm spending all my time doing this and I'm not doing the things that pay the bills. It got to be a problem. I couldn't I was doing it every month. I was doing a challenge and I was like, okay, I actually have to do work. I can't keep doing all my time and working this hard for on a challenge. So I did have to stop doing them only because I couldn't pay the bill. So if I do a challenge, they're probably a little price tag to it, but it's not going to be this crazy thing and you break it down for the number of days and the interaction and other things that are in there.
[00:08:03.460] – Allan
The value, it's nothing really. And particularly if we did the sugar challenge, if you just stop spending your money on sugar, you pay for the challenge. 1000 sold. So there's been a lot of challenges out there, and I'll probably rerun those at some point, but it probably will have a small price tag to it.
[00:08:24.100] – Rachel
That's great. The great thing about being in a group, like you have a little community on your Facebook group that do these challenges and it's fun. It's great to have the accountability. It kind of makes you stick with it. If you pay a few Bucks, then you've got skin in the game. So there's a lot of benefits to that. I think that's fantastic.
[00:08:43.160] – Allan
Yeah. And the step challenge, there's actually cost on my side. So this is not free to me that I'm just saying, okay, I'm just here's emails and my time. Actually, if I do this step challenge, the way I'm thinking about doing it, it's a substantial investment for me. So I would need people doing it and paying a little bit just to make it happen.
[00:09:02.630] – Rachel
Sure. That sounds awesome. Really great.
[00:09:05.140] – Allan
How are things up there.
[00:09:06.540] – Rachel
Good. It's beautiful weather. We're enjoying the time we can outside.
[00:09:11.530] – Allan
She's wearing a tank top. She's wearing a tank top.
[00:09:14.080] – Rachel
I am finally.
[00:09:15.390] – Allan
I wear a tank top. Every time we interview. I'm wearing a tank top and she's wearing a tank top.
[00:09:22.090] – Rachel
I'm Michigan pale. That's the pale white skin because I haven't been outside too much. But yeah, it's great. Great weather. And I mentioned my son graduated. We'll be moving him out. We're planning and buying furniture and doing all that to get him out. So very exciting times here. Very busy.
[00:09:40.700] – Allan
Okay. Are you ready to have a conversation with Emily?
[00:09:44.060] – Rachel
[00:10:25.510] – Allan
Emily, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:10:28.290] – Emily
Thank you, Allan. Thank you for having me.
[00:10:30.510] – Allan
Now your book is called Optimizing Your Health: An Approachable Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Chronic Disease. And as I got into the forward and forgive me, I forget who wrote your forward, but he was really impressed with your diligence and your investigative and your curiosity and thoroughness. And I have to say, every single bit of that came out in this book. He nailed you with that. This could have been 18 books. It's not that long. So it's approachable. Approachable is in there for a reason. It's not 18 books long. You've literally taken 18 different books that I may have read over the last six years. And you put everything into a concise, beautiful chapter. And all the chapters interrelate because our life is a system. We're holistic. We're not just one system, but you've put it together in a way that you could read one chapter. So if you're like, look, I want to know more about supplements or I want to know more about this cold thermogenesis. There's a chapter there that you can go there and really, it gets deep, but you just make it easy to swim.
[00:11:44.360] – Emily
Well, thank you for saying that. I mean, my objective was to do exactly how you described. I happen to love research and love reading. And I've read several books on almost all of the topics that I hit. But what I tried to do was to take the salient aspects of each of those individual topics, break it down so that it was digestible and accessible to the everyday health consumer. So they may not be as inclined to read five books on sleep or four books on nutrition. I thought, all right, I'm going to take the most important aspects and break them down.
[00:12:22.170] – Allan
And you did a beautiful job.
[00:12:23.730] – Emily
[00:12:24.680] – Allan
Now, the first thing I want to talk about, if this isn't top of mind, after the last two and a half years of every single person out there, then I don't know where you've been, but it's about the immune system. This is such an important system that gets ignored a lot, and there's a lot out there. And I think from my perspective, we always talked about germ theory, and if we can kill the germ, we can save the person. But in the book, you introduced a thing called terrain theory, which was somewhat new to me. I think I've probably read about it somewhere sometime. Can we talk a little bit about what is our immune system? What is it doing for us? And then how does germ theory versus terrain theory really kind of blend into that conversation?
[00:13:13.510] – Emily
Sure. So our immune system is really quite remarkable, as is all of the other systems in our body. It's really brilliantly designed. And the immune system is broken into two different factors. There's the innate system, which is what produces the killer cells or the T cells, and that fends off pathogenic attackers. Usually that moves in when it senses something is wrong and it does its job. If it can't effectively do its job on its own, then the adaptive immune system steps in. That's part two, and that works on memory or what we've all heard antibodies, and those are B cells. And the key to all of this is that first the innate system works, and if it can't complete the job, then the adaptive comes in, and the key is to turn it off when they're done fending off the attacker because the problems result when it doesn't get turned off. And that's when the cytokine storms occur, which we've all heard about.
[00:14:15.070] – Allan
So what exactly is terrain theory versus germ theory? Because when thinking of just killing the germ and solving the problem. But this might be a little bit more complex than that.
[00:14:25.370] – Emily
So germ theory is attributable to Louis Pasteur long time ago, and it is the most widely accepted theory all the conventional doctors rely upon germ theory, and basically it says germs invade the body and cause disease. And the focus of this theory kill all the germs, which in my opinion may be an overzealous approach because we're made up of germs, and you have to be very selective in which Germs you kill because you don't want to kill the good ones along with the bad ones. And terrain theory also a very old theory, but not as widely accepted, despite I think it's logic base. And that's attributable to a man named Antoine Bashamp. It's also referred to as cellular theory, and it is focused on the concept that our internal health is responsible for how we react to invaders whether or not we will get sick. And the theory goes on to state that disease is the result of a weakened immune system, and therefore, the approach should be to optimize your immune system to create really good resilience so that you can fend off as many invaders as possible.
[00:15:45.070] – Allan
And then the final topic I kind of wanted to get into with regards to the immune system, because, again, it's just all these things, you turn it on. If you have a good, strong immune system, you're in good shape. I did get covid, and I got over it, but I got covid before I could get the vaccine based on where I live and my age. But I have a strong immune system and it got me through it, and I'm good. Same with my wife. Obviously, when these things are happening, there's an inflammation response, and we want that to be acute and done, solve the problem and move on. If we don't, we end up with something that you document in the book. I've read it before a few times called inflammaging. So can we talk about what inflammation is doing if it sticks around and becomes chronic and what is inflammaging?
[00:16:34.340] – Emily
Okay, so inflammation is an immune response, and we all have it, and we would actually die if we didn't have acute inflammation. By way of example, if you cut your arm, the result is inflammation. Your body wants to cure that cut. And so it rushes to the site of the injury and creates inflammation as a healing process. And ideally, it then turns off. So we need acute inflammation. The problems begin when the acute inflammation is not turned off and turns into chronic inflammation. And chronic inflammation is the precursor of all chronic disease and truly all bad things. So inflammation is a term. I love the term. I'm not sure who coined it, but it's a great term, and it really relates to age related inflammation, and it's a low grade, constant inflammation. As we age, our immune cells become less effective, and we have a harder time fighting off pathogens. Both our T cells and our mitochondria begin to lose function.
[00:17:42.070] – Allan
Right. Some of the other chapters you get into leaky gut and how that's going to cause some inflammation. We talk about toxins and how that's going to cost them. So it's not hard to imagine that inflammation is going to be a regular part of our lives if we have these exposures and these things we're doing. And so as we mentioned earlier, one of the reasons I kind of like almost taking these two theories of the Germ theory and the terrain theory together is to think in terms of, yes, sometimes we have to fight the bug, and our immune system has to do that. But if we're doing the right things to have the right body and the right strong immune system, we're in a better position to do that in a good way versus setting ourselves up for a problem.
[00:18:27.310] – Emily
Exactly. I mean, we'll never be able to resist everything because that's just unrealistic. So of course we will be invaded by certain germs, and ideally, we want to be able to fight them off as best as we can. And I believe that's done by achieving resilience.
[00:18:46.150] – Allan
I like that word.
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[00:20:49.770] – Allan
So the next one I want to get into, and I know it seems like I'm jumping around a bit, and I am, but it's because with 18 chapters, there's a lot to get into here. So I did pick and choose and I picked and choose some things that I thought right now might be really important for someone that's looking at improving it and then really kind of almost interested in these newer things because I think we all know if you eat well, if you sleep well, if you exercise, if you manage stress, and all those are in your book, if you're doing those things, then now you're saying, okay, what's next? What am I going to do next? And one of the interesting ones is talking about breathing.
[00:21:31.830] – Allan
Why is breathing so important?
[00:21:34.350] – Emily
Well, how we breathe directly impacts our overall health, everything. Our stress, our cardiovascular system, our neurological system, our hormones. It affects our sleep, our endurance, our immune system. If they're all impacted by either proper or improper breathing. And many of us don't breathe properly. We breathe through our mouth as opposed to through our nose, and we breathe shallowly through our chest as opposed to deeper in our belly. And it makes a giant difference. How to breathe.
[00:22:09.330] – Allan
Now in the book, you went through several different methods of breathing. I was familiar with box breathing and of course, Wim HOF and some of the others, but there's a lot in there. Can we talk about these techniques for breathing and why they can be valuable for us?
[00:22:28.020] – Emily
So as we age, we lose lung capacity and lung function. And as we go on about our daily business, we don't focus on breathing. And so it has to become a priority and a habit to do so properly. And there are a lot of different methods. And by the way, breathing has been a focus of yoga and Chinese medicine for centuries. They realized quite a long time ago how very important that it is. Box breathing, I go into because in my opinion, that's the easiest to adopt. You'd breathe in for a count of four or five and you hold for a count of four or five, you exhale for a count of four or five, and you hold the exhale. And if you're particularly anxious or something has happened, it stressed you out. If you lengthen your exhale, they have shown that that will calm your nervous system and that's kind of an easy, harmless way to calm yourself down.
[00:23:29.310] – Allan
I used box breathing when I was working in corporate. My boss called me up to his office. It was never a good thing. There was never a good okay, come to my office. I'm like, oh, this is good. I was in the elevator. It was the only time I ever took the elevator was when he called me up there. I would walk the stairs. Otherwise I would get in the elevator. Just so I had more time to do some box breathing before I walked into his office. So I can definitely tell you that the breathing techniques that you have in the book, maybe not Wim HOF, because that's kind of a specialized type thing, but they will help you with anxiety. They will lower your stress level, and they'll teach you a little bit more about the difference of how breath feels when it gets deep and when it goes out. And also that you don't necessarily have to be afraid of not breathing. Your body is going to do it automatically. But I can tell someone that wants to try box breathing, for example, you might want to start with 3 seconds because that hold when you've breathed out.
[00:24:31.520] – Allan
Sometimes it's a little uncomfortable if you're not used to it. But again, all these breathing methods that you have in the book are really great for someone to practice. There was one thing you had in there that I appreciate that I had never seen before. And first I was like, I don't know if I want to do that, but it's called a tape called Sauna Fix, and it's basically where if you realize you're sleeping and maybe breathing through your mouth or snoring and you don't have an obstruction, you can tape your mouth shut to teach you to breathe more through your nose.
[00:25:04.290] – Emily
Yeah, it does sound barbaric. And I think I had to discuss this at length with my Editors at the publishing company because they were concerned about me, including this, which, by the way, I have a Disclaimer. I am not a doctor, and everyone should consult their healthcare practitioner before trying anything. You need to be in a certain state of health before you try some of these lifestyle adjustments. But I tried the tape method on my son. He snores and is a mouth breather. And the result of that is that he wasn't getting effective sleep. He would wake up tired and groggy. And it turns out that a lot of people either have obstructive sleep apnea or they snore, and that prevents oxygen from getting to your brain. So you don't have as restful of a night's sleep. So what this does is tape, and you can use any tape. I just included that in the resources because I wanted to include it.
[00:26:00.160] – Allan
But you could literally say duct tape. Don't use duct tape. Right.
[00:26:04.630] – Emily
That seems a little extreme. It's true. And my suggestion I can't remember if they made me take it out or not. It's possible that they did was to start slow, which I think one should do with everything. And that is around the house during the day, not while you're going to sleep, but you practice. You put either the sound effects, it's the shape of your mouth or a little piece of tape. And you get used to breathing through your nose because it's a really important habit to establish. And it's probably best to start during the day. And if it works and you're not too uncomfortable with it, you can do it in the night time until you've established a habit where you automatically will breathe through your nose and not through your mouth.
[00:26:44.400] – Allan
Yeah. I had a dentist on Dr. Haas not long ago, and he talked about mouth breathing in his book and how it's bad for the PH and the microbiome in your mouth, which you got into microbiome in the mouth. Like I said, this is a very complete and comprehensive book that I could tie back to just about every interview I've ever done. But yeah, you mentioned that. You did say and you also mentioned don't try these breathing techniques while you're driving. Don't try them while you're in water, because that's important. Breathing is important to keep us alive, and we could pass out. But at the same time, teaching yourself to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth is really important. And I've seen it over and over again so again, that's why I wanted to get into this is just as people are looking at the next level, so you're doing the right things with your food, with your sleep, with your movement, with your stress management, and you're saying, okay, what's the next thing? What's the next thing for me? It could very well be a breathing practice. It will help you sleep better, and particularly if you are snoring or things like that, if you can learn to breathe through your nose, avoid that, you're going to sleep better and everything's going to work better.
[00:27:58.830] – Allan
So the next topic I want,
[00:27:59.960] – Emily
I include Wim HOF.
[00:28:01.660] – Allan
Yeah, you do. Go ahead.
[00:28:03.880] – Emily
And the only reason I did, because that's on the extreme spectrum of breathing. But he's such a fascinating individual. He really is. His story, his background, what he does. I've seen him speak in person a couple of times, and I just thought I couldn't do a chapter on breathing without him, including him. But having said that, people need to do that with care and caution, despite his objective that respiratory control will improve your resilience.
[00:28:34.590] – Allan
From experience of what he's gone through and some other people I know that have worked with his methods, then the answer is absolutely yes. But he's, in effect, level nine, and most of us are starting at level four. So breathing is a technique, the box breathing, and that works for you. Some of these other breathing strategies, they work for you. After you've done this for a while, you can consider a Wim HOF kind of thing. And then when you're looking into Wim HOF, another thing that's going to come up to is getting cold, because he's invariably famous for climbing a mountain in just shorts and boots, running a marathon. I guess he was in the snow barefooted. He does some pretty crazy things that could be great for you if you're at the right place. But for a lot of people and for a long time now, there's been this kind of move on the edge. I want to call it biohacking edge because for most of us, we're in this mainstream and then these bio hacking things are going on that people are trying. This seems to be one of those things that's going stepping towards the front, it's starting to hit mainstream.
[00:29:44.390] – Allan
You can go to a gym now and find a dip pool to do cold thermogenesis. What is cold thermogenesis? And why is this something we should consider for our health?
[00:29:57.330] – Emily
Well, this is a great way to reduce your inflammation when your body is exposed to extremes in temperature. There's a concept that I find fascinating called corniesus. And what that means is if you are exposed to extremes really of anything cold, hot exercise, your body adapts. Now, it has to be a short period of time. It can't be an extended time because you can do harm if you do any of these things for an extended period of time, but short burst of cold. There are people who get into a cold plunge or they swim in cold oceans. But a very easy starter method is when you take a shower, you turn the water from a tolerable temperature to an intolerable temperature, a cold temperature for the last 30 seconds of your shower, and then you can build upon that. Now I do that, though I continue to find it highly unpleasant. It does give you a burst of energy, and the studies state that it does reduce your inflammation.
[00:31:02.010] – Allan
Now another thing that it does is it has the potential to create a thing called Brown fat. Now, babies are born with Brown fat. That's how they manage to stay warm as babies, because they don't carry as much general fat overall, at least for the most part, because they need to be a certain size to make this all work. But most of us are with the white fat. We're trying to actually get rid of this white fat because it's unsightly and it's heavy and it's not serving us. There's no energy usage. It's just this thing hanging on me that I want to get rid of. What is the difference between Brown fat and white fat?
[00:31:39.550] – Emily
Well, quite simplistically. Brown fat is more metabolically active, which is why you want Brown fat, not white fat. It increases your metabolism and is a better type of fat.
[00:31:53.500] – Allan
Okay. Basically, we talk about cold thermogenesis some of the basic benefits that we're taking away from this conversation is that it's going to lower inflammation and it's going to potentially increase your metabolism. And so those two things mean if you're trying to lose weight, it's going to help. And if you're trying to get healthy, lowering the inflammation is going to help.
[00:32:14.320] – Emily
Yes, I think it's supposed to help you sleep better, too. And who couldn't benefit from some additional methods to improve their sleep?
[00:32:23.490] – Allan
Cool. Now the next one I want to get into because it's a question I get all the time. What supplements should I be taking? And I like that in your book, you were pretty clear that we should be trying to get our nutrition from food. I appreciate that. But then there is a time and a place for supplementation. So why and when should we be looking to supplements?
[00:32:49.770] – Emily
So this is a favorite topic of mine because most doctors will tell you just get your minerals and vitamins, central fatty acids and amino acids from food. And at one point in history, we probably could have done that effectively, but we can no longer do that. Our soil is so depleted of minerals and our food supply is so very tainted that we have to look to supplements in order to compensate. But I've learned the hard way, which is kind of how I learned everything, doing everything wrong and then learning, which allows for the lesson to remain. But the supplement situation I used to read articles that would talk about they would recommend a supplement, and they would say, take this supplement and it will improve your mitochondrial biogenesis. And I would think, well, I'd like to get some more mitochondria. I better take that supplement. And I was so susceptible to everything that I read that before I knew it, I was up to about 50 or 60 supplements a day. And I thought, all right, wait a minute. I need to do further research and get a clear understanding of how all this works.
[00:33:59.140] – Emily
And I learned along the way that everything is synergistic. The old adage that the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone is really true. Everything that we do, everything that we eat, everything that we take, we may take it for a particular purpose, but oftentimes we're unaware of how it's affecting the rest of our biology. So, for example, during COVID, everybody was recommending zinc. Take zinc because it's antiviral. And yes, zinc is antiviral and that it's an important supplement to take. But one shouldn't take anything without first testing, because if you take too much zinc, zinc is synergistic with copper. And when your zinc levels rise too high, it can throw your copper out of balance. This is something that I had to search for, and it wasn't readily available information. And that's true for everything. D and K should be taken together. A lot of these vitamins and supplements, they work synergistically together. Some of them work opposite. But above all, my kind of rule of thumb that I learned the hard way is it's not a good idea to take any recommended supplement until you test yourself. It is worthwhile to get blood tests to test your mineral status, your vitamin status, pretty much everything, because at worst, you'll be supplementing with something that you already have a sufficient amount of.
[00:35:32.700] – Emily
But you also may be doing some harm. You don't want to overdo these things. So it's good to find out what your baseline is before you add anything.
[00:35:43.170] – Allan
Yeah, every day I think if you walk into a Walmart or you walk into a GNC or you look online, these supplements, there are hundreds of thousands of brands, and this and it's like, okay, so you literally walk there's just a wall, a wall of supplements. What's wrong with that? If someone started saying, okay, well, I know I need a vitamin A. Not getting enough vitamin A. My eyes are not what I want them to be. Someone said, take some vitamin A. And I walked into the Walmart. Am I getting good vitamin A? How would I know? Synthetic versus natural, where it came from, how it was made, what are some tips of us trying to figure out these supplements and which ones we should be taking and shouldn't.
[00:36:29.870] – Emily
So chances are you're not getting good vitamin A. And the reason for that is there appears to be many different brands, but the reality is I think there are five big corporations that own all of the supplement brands, which people don't know about that. And there are synthetic brands or vitamins which are made from things like coal and tar and formaldehyde and many other chemicals that you really do not want to be ingesting. And that is in addition to the exceptions and the fillers and all these other added binders and things that you don't need. And they do that to compensate because you're often not getting the dose that reads on the label. It's not in the capsule or the pill, and they fill them up with these other things that at best are not doing you any favors, but at worst could be harmful. So people think that natural is a better approach. But unfortunately, while it should mean that there are no added synthetics, it doesn't mean that the law that governs a label with the word natural only requires that 10% of the supplement contains plant derived ingredients, allowing the other 90% to be synthetic.
[00:37:49.950] – Emily
So what I advise is there's a couple of different things. One, there are some doctor only brands that only doctors are allowed. You can only get them through your doctors. I think pure encapsulations may be one designs for health is another. I list a lot of them in the research chapter, Chapter 19. But there are definite brands that you can rely on with a little bit more confidence. But then there are labels. There's the GMP certification, which stands for good marketing practice, QAI Quality Assurance International. There's USDA organic, which is a great label, and fish oil, which a lot of us are told to take. Pretty much all of us are, and it is important to take. But the problem is a large amount of fish oil supplements are ranced. And so you can go online. There's a website called the International Fish Oil Standards, and you can search for the brand that you bought or you were told to buy and determine its toxicity level. So there are ways to combat the nefarious consumers practices.
[00:39:02.310] – Allan
But I want to go back and say what you said at the beginning is we should be trying to get our nutrients from food. And if we do think that there's an issue that we would need to supplement with something or we're interested in supplementation for one reason or another. Like you said, zinc vitamin D was another very popular thing for people to consider back when code was the strongest. And maybe now as we start going into apparently another season of it, you might want to look at vitamin D, but get yourself tested, find out what your vitamin D level is. I will say that from what I've read, most people are deficient from vitamin D because we just don't get outside with enough sun exposure and we're not getting enough from our food. But that said, you don't know till you test.
[00:39:51.720] – Emily
Exactly. And then, of course, there's absorption issues. You can take high quantities of all of these, and if your gut isn't optimized, you won't be absorbing them.
[00:40:02.310] – Allan
So again, going back to take care of what you eat, take care of your movement, take care of your stress. It's a system. It's a big system. And you give us a lot of opportunities here to understand why things are the way they are. And then some things particularly I love at the end, you give those just the high level actions do these five to seven things. And if you really want to optimize your health for this particular area. So I love those quick actionable tips, which is why I ask my next question.
[00:40:33.030] – Allan
I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:40:41.160] – Emily
So as I just briefly mentioned, and this has taken a while for me to come to this, I think the number one thing that everyone should focus on is to fix their gut. When one has gut dysfunction and most of us do have gut dysfunction, it affects every other system in our body. And it's hard to optimize the other systems when your gut is not tip top. So first and foremost, get your gut as optimized as possible and other things will fall into place. But probably the other two things that I focus on are effective sleep habits. And it sounds a lot easier than it is. And as I mentioned in the book, there are a lot of different things that you can do to improve your sleep habits, but it makes a difference. I think we all know that if you wake up and you haven't had a good night's sleep, you're less productive and you're not quite as cheery. So I think it's really important to get good sleep. And then the third one, there's so many, it's hard for me to limit it to just three. But the third one would be nutrition.
[00:41:48.630] – Emily
And nutrition is tricky. It really is, because there is no greater conflict in any area of science than there is in the nutrition space. But if you can eliminate processed foods and try and eat as clean up a diet as possible, organic where necessary, which is not all foods, you can go to the EWG website to find out which foods you really need to get. Eat organic because they're spray with so many pesticides, and that will make an enormous impact on your happiness and your well being. We are what we eat. And sadly, it took me most of my life to appreciate that I never did before. And when I changed my eating habits dramatically, it had such a positive impact on every aspect of my life that I would definitely have that my top three.
[00:42:43.710] – Allan
Thank you, Emily. I appreciate that. If someone wanted to learn more about you and learn more about your book, Optimizing Your Health, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:42:54.990] – Emily
Well, my book is sold wherever books are sold online. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, Walmart, and I have a website, emilygoldmears.com, and I have an Instagram, and I have Facebook all the same name, making it easy, at least for me, so that I don't forget.
[00:43:12.510] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/542 and I'll be sure to have a link there. Thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:43:22.770] – Emily
Thank you, Allan. It was a thrill to speak with you.
00:43:32.170] – Allan
All right, Rachel, how did you like that conversation?
[00:43:35.120] – Rachel
Oh, that was really awesome. Any time I get the chance to hear how I can optimize my overall health, I'd like to try any tip I can get. And this is an interesting discussion.
[00:43:46.710] – Allan
And it is Emily is a very interesting individual because, well, she's an attorney. She's not a doctor. And she didn't approach this from the perspective of trying to be a better doctor or figure out a way to have conversations with people. As a personal trainer, this was something that was really important to her. Her health was really important to her. And the answers that she was getting weren't adding up. And as someone who's kind of wired like that, my father is an attorney and my stepmother's an attorney. I was an accountant. We want to see everything lined up. Everything needs to kind of function and make sense. And it was I guess the same thing with me is like, okay, I'm over 40, and I used to be able to do these things that would get me healthy and fit. And now I go in and I buy a magazine like I did 25 years ago. And the stuff that's in that magazine is not even close to what was in the magazine. And then I'm getting through and I'm like, I just paid $4 for this magazine, and 75%, 80% of it is just ads for supplements and this and that.
[00:45:04.690] – Allan
And there were eight articles and five of them were also ads for something. And I'm like, so I read this whole magazine cover to cover, and I learned nothing. And I was buying books, and it was kind of the same thing. I just bought this book. And all it really is is an ad for this guy and his service for me to go over to wherever spend thousands of dollars at his little fat for him. And I'm like, okay, there's got to be more of this. So that's why I went through my journey. That's why I'm selective about the guests I bring on the show. So Emily, even though, again, not a doctor wired very much like that, this has to make sense. And so within her book, what she's basically done is gone through each of the systems of our body. And she's talked about, okay, what's there? And what is the thing that I'm reading? What are the studies that are out there. And it's exhaustive the amount of time and effort. She probably spent years and years self-educating and collecting all these resources to then be able to put this out there.
[00:46:15.460] – Allan
And it's a reference book. I mean, it was a full at this point in time reference book of what we know about our bodies and how to optimize our health.
[00:46:25.800] – Rachel
That's pretty amazing. Is there any big key takeaway that really jumped out at you?
[00:46:32.120] – Allan
Well, there's the germ theory versus terrain theory, and I think I'm not going to say versus. I said versus in my notes when I was writing about this and talking to her. But reality is, I think they're both overlying theories that say the same thing. Germ theory basically says if you can avoid a germ or at least maybe even immunize yourself from a germ, then you won't get sick or you won't get as sick of finding out. And so the CDC says, okay, wash your hands. Best advice they did give, wash your hands. Why? Because that keeps the germs off of your hands. And if you touch your face, which there's a second thing they said, don't touch your face. But if you do, if you wash your hands, then you're not exposing your face. Now if you touch your face again, wash your hands again. But those things, the germ theory tells you those things. And that's what they followed. It was like, okay, here's how you avoid this. Then once they had the vaccines like, okay, now you could get the vaccine, and that should reduce the likelihood you're going to get it or reduce the severity Stuff's coming out.
[00:47:39.740] – Allan
I'm not going to talk about other than to say, maybe not, but it is what it is. It's all following germ theory, and it was what we were taught in school, and it all made sense at the time. But terrain theory is where we're talking about the capacity of your body to fight this thing off. So if you're thinking in terms of, okay, I have a strong body, and here comes this bully that I'm now going to have to get into a fight with. If you're strong and your immune system is strong, you win that fight. It might take you a while. You might get a little beat up. You might be sick for a while, but you beat it. I had covid I had a good, strong immune system. I beat it. Okay? My wife did it. And so if you have a strong body, that now what happens, though, is if you're fighting another bully, so that bully could be cancer, it could be diabetes, it could be heart disease or any other type of chronic disease. And then the second bully steps in, well, now you got two. And I don't know about you.
[00:48:48.120] – Allan
If you've ever been in a fight with two people, chances are you're not going to win that fight. Okay. And so that's where terrain theory kind of comes in and says, okay, the stronger you make your body holistically, your whole body, everything about you. So this is your health, this is your fitness, this is your happiness. This is the whole bundle of wellness. The better you are, the more well you are, the better your immune system is going to function. And so you don't have other bullies. It's like, okay, we've gotten rid of them. We've gotten rid of the diabetes, we've gotten rid of the heart disease. We don't have these things now we're in a better position to fight the bully, the single bully, when they show up. So that's where the terrain theory kind of comes in. And I think it's really important. So the reality of it is it should probably be a little bit of both, but the one you have the most control over day in and day out is your body.
[00:49:47.690] – Rachel
For sure. Yeah. I've known several people to have had a hip replacement, knee replacement. And every time that they've shared their journey with me that all of these friends have said that their doctors told them that they were strong and athletic before the surgery and they were more likely to recover better after the surgery. And in every case of my friends, that was held true. So the stronger you are before something happens, the more likely your ability to get through it faster without side problems or other complications.
[00:50:26.830] – Allan
When I walked into therapy for physical therapy after my shoulder surgery because I kept training, I didn't take months off and keep myself in a sling or worry about, well, if I move my arm that way, it's going to hurt. It just hurt. And I was like, okay, I'm going to move and I'm going to do my things. Now I couldn't do any pushing movements, so no overhead presses, no side laterals, no bench presses, no push ups, none of that. Almost none of that. When I went in, I had nearly full range of motion under control, which I think I'll talk about with another person, but another interview I've done recently. And if you're moving and you have full range of motion with your body, you're moving your body through full range of motion, then you've got a good base. And so when I went into therapy, my therapist was like, wow, we don't usually see someone your age that's capable of moving like this after an injury and surgery you just had. So we're much further along. Now, what did that mean? In the grand scheme of things? It meant that my therapy progressed very quickly.
[00:51:40.640] – Allan
I was into strength training a lot faster. I was back in the gym sooner. And at $375 a pop for each of those therapy sessions, which I was on the hook for 20% off, I cut a lot of those out. So the projection for my therapy was that I would be going three days a week for six weeks, and I only needed four weeks of therapy.
[00:52:05.750] – Rachel
That's awesome. It's fantastic.
[00:52:08.080] – Allan
So that's money in my pocket, it paid for more than my gym membership and my personal trainer combined. Just by being in a better position coming out of that surgery and going into physical therapy, my medical bills were lower. I was kind of shocked on a solid 375 an hour because I didn't know that's what it was going to be. But it came out through my insurance and they're like, okay, you've got to make your deductible, which is more than I more than did that. And with the surgery. But then so we come into this, I'm thinking, okay, I just got to pay 20% of this and 20% of 375 three days a week. It starts adding up pretty quick. But those are the things, the better your body's condition, the better you're ready to deal with issues stronger you are. If you fall, the less likely you are to break.
[00:53:02.600] – Rachel
[00:53:03.120] – Allan
Yeah. That's just how it is.
[00:53:07.450] – Rachel
That was awesome. That was interesting. And she also mentioned breathing. Are you guys both discussed breathing and box breathing and how used it to go speak with your people at work?
[00:53:22.030] – Allan
Yes. I breathe a lot different here because I don't have the stress I had there. So I haven't found myself in a situation where I've had to do that type of breathing. The breathing I do now is like I said, I go for these walks and it's sunny as I'm walking. My mouth is closed. I'm not breathing through my mouth as I'm doing my walks. I'm just going at a pace where I'm comfortable. I'm breathing through my nose. I'm watching the beautiful surf. I've got a good bit of sun hitting my skin. Also got eaten up by chitras today. Yeah. So I'm not going back on Public Beach. Sorry. This is the third time in a row that the Chitras have just eaten me alive. So anyway, if you come here, we'll tell you where the Chitras are so you can stay away from them.
[00:54:15.550] – Rachel
[00:54:16.930] – Allan
But yeah, breathing is really important. And there's a lot of advice in there. And there are ways that when you find something like this, a book like this is good because the breathe of not breath of the topic, there's bits and pieces of everything in there. So cold thermogenesis, supplements, she gets into a lot of things in there. And so to be able to go through and say, okay, I want to learn a little bit about this, a good bit about this. She's got a good paragraph on it being a good chapter on it. And she's telling you, okay, I read this book, I read that book there's reference this study. So she's kind of giving you the platform for saying, okay, I think this cold thermogenesis is important for me. It's one of the next things I want to not me personally because no, I get cold. But if you just say that to yourself this is interesting to me. It's a good platform to get the basics down, to understand what the current science says and then from there you can expand your knowledge and practice.
[00:55:25.440] – Rachel
I love it. Sounds like a great book to help have on the shelf.
[00:55:28.700] – Allan
It is a really good book. I think we had Alan Aragon on last week and that was probably one of the best training for performance eating for performance books. Eating for performance books I've ever read. This is a good companion even though the two of them go together and say you write that you write that just looking for books. I would say if you want a library that really helps you dive in deep to these two different areas. So physical training and what you eat for physical training and then the other things you do to just optimize your overall health again, optimizing your performance, optimizing your body fat composition and here you come over here optimizing your health. They fit together very well.
[00:56:16.950] – Rachel
Perfect. That's great.
[00:56:19.360] – Allan
All right. Well, Rachel, I guess I'll talk to you next week.
[00:56:22.440] – Rachel
Sounds great. Take care.
[00:56:23.960] – Allan
Okay. You too.
[00:56:25.030] – Rachel
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