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The food you are eating could be making your life less enjoyable. In her book Clean Eating, Dirty Sex, Lisa Davis shows us how to eat to improve our health and libido.
Allan (1:15): Lisa, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Lisa Davis (1:18): Allan, I’m so happy to be here. Thank you so much.
Allan (1:21): Your book is Clean Eating, Dirty Sex, and I’ll start off with saying it’s not so much about the dirty sex; it’s just making sure that you are having some. When we get over 40, that seems to be one of the areas where a lot of folks struggle, be it ED or just libido. I think a lot of it traces down to what we’ve done to either be healthy, to be fit or to be happy, because if we’re not taking care of our body, that’s actually one of the first symptoms. That’s one of the first things that seems to want to conk out on us.
Lisa Davis (2:00): That’s so true. And that’s why I’m so happy with this book, because it’s a roadmap in a way. It helps guide you on finding your “Why” and getting the motivation that you need and figuring it out. I think if we want to make changes, you really have to have a direction, don’t you think?
Allan (2:18): Yes. In my book, The Wellness Roadmap, that’s exactly where I start – you have to have a “Why”, you have to have a direction, and a big part of it is just wanting to have a good, happy, healthy, long, fruitful life. And if we’re not doing the right things for ourselves, then we don’t get there. I like that you start with the eating part because I think so many people want to exercise and continue to eat the way they want to eat, they want to live the lifestyle they’ve been living, and that’s not serving them.
Lisa Davis (2:51): No, it’s not. I struggled with clean eating and I share my experience in the book that I was a dirty eater. My Gosh, the amount of cookies I hid in my room was pretty remarkable.
Allan (3:04): I realize that too. Girl Scout time is now passing us as this is going live. I don’t want to go to the grocery store because they’re sitting out there, basically drug pushers, as far as I can figure.
Lisa Davis (3:19): The ingredients are horrendous. You’d think after all these years, you can’t take out the trans fats? Really? Come on, Girl Scouts.
Allan (3:26): And I can’t not eat a whole roll. Just put them in individual packets or something, please. But I would sit there and open each one, I’m sure. Can you go through the process and explain when you say “clean eating” and “dirty eating”, what exactly do you mean by that?
Lisa Davis (3:45): Clean eating to me is eating foods in their whole form. A meal that I really enjoy is if I get a little bit of organic grass-fed beef, a big salad, a yam, an avocado, some olive oil for dressing, maybe a little balsamic. That’s a really good meal. It’s really satiating. You’ve got the healthy fat that satiates you, you’ve got the protein from the meat, you’ve got the good carb from the yam. There’s nothing processed in that meal, versus if I’m going to go and get some type of Rice-A-Roni or one of those types of things, where I can add my own meat. Why don’t you make your own meat and just have a huge salad with it or something else, rather than relying on the standard American diet, packaged foods, which are full of disgusting things and things you can’t pronounce and things that hurt your arteries. Because when it comes to sexual health, I’m talking blood flow, Allan. That’s what I’m talking about. So I summed it up, clean eating and dirty eating. And when I was a kid, like most kids, they love junk food. My grandmother was the original health food nut, and then my mother became a health food nut. I rebelled in every way possible, and then eventually I thought, “Wait a second. All this junk isn’t working for me, so something’s got to give.”
Allan (5:01): I remember growing up, obviously I’m the generation when this all started. My grandfather and grandmother, great grandmother, great grandfather, all the folks that I knew from the generations before, my mother, never had problems with weight. But when you went to their house, it was corn he picked that day, green beans he picked that day. You recognized everything that was in the meal because it came off of a farm, and in many cases his farm. Today it seems we’ve been introduced to this stuff. If your grandmother walked into the grocery store today, she wouldn’t recognize much of what’s in there as being food.
Lisa Davis (5:49): Exactly. And it’s not. That’s what’s so sad. SAD – Standard American Diet. It’s aptly named. I’m sure you’ve heard that before.
Allan (5:57): I like the term you use, that you’re a wholefoodatarian, because it kind of blanks out the whole mindset of, “I want to be a vegetarian” or, “I want to be a vegan” or, “I want to be Paleo”, because in the grand scheme of things, wholefoodatarian encompasses all of those.
Lisa Davis (6:15): Exactly. It’s funny, because I love that term, I’ve been saying it for years. I should probably trademark it one of these days. If it’s whole food, I’m going to eat it. If it’s processed food, I’m not going to eat it. I’m not Paleo, I’m not vegan, I’m not flexitarian. There are so many things right now. Although I would say I do tend to go more healthy fat, protein and lots of veggies. But my body just doesn’t do well with grains. I’m not telling people to stay away from whole grains. If it works for them, that’s great. For me it doesn’t work. But I am saying to people, stay away from the white stuff as much as you can.
Allan (6:50): I do a thing I call a feasting season and a famine season. During my feasting season I’m okay to have some grains and I drink beer, and I’ll do that during my feasting season. But when I get to my fasting season or famine season, then I cut all of that out. And what I’ve found is that with grains I’m going to gain weight. If I do grains, I’m going to gain weight. If I get off the grains, I lose weight. That’s just an experiment I’ve done for myself and I know that’s how I’m wired. I also know that most of the grains that I’m going to get are somewhat processed. The less processed something is, I think the better it is for you as well.
Lisa Davis (7:33): Definitely. My husband eats a lot of whole grains, but he exercises like a madman, so he stays fit and lean. If I ate the way he did, I would be in trouble. I exercise, but not… It’s been 4 degrees here, and he went running. And I’m like, “What are you doing? You’re going to come home frozen.” Sometimes he can be too dedicated.
Allan (7:56): Well, yes and no. I think there’s this balance in your life and everybody has to find their own balance.
Lisa Davis (8:03): Yeah, I just like to tease him.
Allan (8:06): You touched on something that I think is very, very important: He can, you can’t, I can’t, she can’t. We’re all wired a little different.
Lisa Davis (8:18): That’s very true. If I ate the grains, I just get really tired. And it’s a bummer because I used to love some brown rice and some whole wheat pasta. I’ll have it every once in a while, like if I know that the next day I have a mellow day, because it kind of gives me what I call a “food hangover”. There are a lot of people out there who have headaches or brain fog or sore throats or sinus issues and they’re not really sure. It’s a whole another topic, but I definitely recommend food rotation or just taking things out for a while, taking out the allergenic foods, wait a few weeks and then put them back in. Then when you get a big reaction it’s like, “Okay, so I don’t have to go around feeling foggy headed all the time. I thought this was just me.” That’s what happened to me.
Allan (9:00): So unless you do either a rotation or some form of elimination for a period of time, you’re not going to know those things. It’s not that we’re saying any one food group is not good for you or bad for you. It’s just going to be unique to yourself.
Lisa Davis (9:14): Yeah, I think so. Except for the trans fats and things like that. They’re obvious; I know you know that.
Allan (9:23): I do, I do. Trans fats are not whole food. They were manmade, hydrogenated whatever, so that they stay stable on the shelf for a long, long time. Pretty much if it doesn’t fade away really quickly, if you can leave something on your counter for months and months and months and it’s still good, it’s probably not something you want to put in your mouth, unless it’s salt. Now, you tell this story about Betty, and you have your BYOB, which is “Be Your Own Betty”. Can you tell us that story?
Lisa Davis (9:59): Betty had a friend that she was trying to help. I think this was interesting – she said, “You’re staying with me, I’m going to make you your food. You can still eat what you like to eat, but you have to eat what I make you first.” And he found that what she made him was satiating and that he felt better and lost weight, and eventually moved to that way of eating. I think by being your own Betty, you need to take the time, like we just talked about, to figure out what works for you, first of all. And then find the foods that are healthy, that give you energy, that make you feel good, that perhaps get you in the mood. We can talk about that later. I think it’s so important to do that, because sometimes it’s just overwhelming with everything else we have. So I always say if you can get a little help from a friend or a trainer or somebody, it makes a big difference.
Allan (10:46): It probably wasn’t for him that big a change. The first couple of days probably were a little weird, because all of his food was being prepared for him, which that’d be awesome.
Lisa Davis (10:56): Wouldn’t that be great?
Allan (10:57): She’s a really good friend. And within a reasonable amount of time he starts noticing changes, and then that snowballs because he recognizes that this is working, and now he’s changed the way he eats.
Lisa Davis (11:15): Exactly, and I think that’s the thing, when you feel the difference. When I went from dirty eating to clean eating I felt better, and then when I figured out my food sensitivities I felt so much better. It’s like this cloud lifts and you’re like, “Whoa, I see the light and I can feel good and have energy and want to have sex and just feel better about myself.”
Allan (11:37): So let’s get into that. When we get into our 40s, 50s and 60s, changes are happening. Women probably experience a little bit more of this, but men do too. And most men don’t want to talk about it, because it’s just not a topic they want to bring up around their friends.
Lisa Davis (12:02): That’s so funny.
Allan (12:03): So, we’ve got these things in our bodies, these little messengers called hormones. There are the sex hormones, there’s cortisol and there’s thyroid. Can you talk about how those are interfering with our abilities or libidos and all the different things that are going on, and what we can do to somewhat give them what they need?
Lisa Davis (12:23): Alright. So, when you’re younger – 20s, 30s – your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone are usually going pretty well. If there’s something that’s going on, if you’re missing periods or there’s something erratic, you can talk to your gynecologist. But for the most part you’re doing pretty well. Then you hit perimenopause and I have to say, and I share this in the book – it was like a switch, Allan. It was crazy. I turned 43 and my PMS was insane. Never had it before. I wanted to rip everyone’s head off. And I’m a really happy-go-lucky, positive person.
Allan (12:53): You sound exactly like my wife right now.
Lisa Davis (12:56): My husband and daughter were like, “You are a monster. What happened?” My libido, which has always been really strong, weakened. My face was breaking out with this cystic acne on my chin. I would sweat like crazy. I’m like, “This is absolute hell.” So I went and got my hormones tested and I found out that I had estrogen dominance. Now, when you have estrogen dominance, that’s going to cause problems with your other hormones because again, you want to have a balance. So, that can be a problem. When you have estrogen dominance, this brings in the thyroid. That will affect your thyroid function. It blocks it or slows it down, and that leads to weight gain, depression and other things on top of that – wanting to rip everyone’s head off and, the acne and the sweating. Now I was gaining weight, and I’ve always been thin. Now I’m curvy, I’ll say that. It was kind of shocking. I’m like, “My pants don’t fit. What is going on?” Once I was able to get tested, I was able to get a little bit more testosterone, a little bit more progesterone to balance me out. Now, one thing when you’re thinking about the thyroid – that’s the center of all hormone communication between your brain and your adrenal gland, that has to do with the cortisol. And it manages your stress hormones and your ovaries. So, if your thyroid is out of whack, which can happen to women at perimenopause and menopause, that’s going to make everything out of whack. So you want to get your thyroid checked and get your hormones checked. If you only do one or the other, you might be missing part of the puzzle. Once I was able to get, I actually do take hormones, because when I was 49, I had to have a complete hysterectomy. I don’t share this in the book, but I had a cantaloupe sized fibroid sitting on my bladder and my uterus, and I go to the bathroom enough as it is. It was lucky because I didn’t slam right into menopause, because was already taking hormones just a little bit. Then when I had the hysterectomy, they bumped them up a little, but it was really nice. Now, that’s not for everyone, but that’s something that I do. I know there’s controversy and different things, but they’ve had different issues with that. There was a big women study that said they were bad and then that was contradicted. Again, this is something you need to talk to your own healthcare provider about. For me, it’s been a godsend. But again, that’s just for me; we’re all different.
Allan (15:16): I think that’s the point of it. There are so many things that are in your control, like your food, your exercise, your sleep, your stress response. Those are within your control and those are the things that you should be focused on day-to-day. But there are going to be these things that happen to our bodies as we age that are outside of our control – injuries, hormones and those types of things. So, just recognizing that you’re going to have to make some health decisions on what’s going to be the best path for you and whether you agree with it or disagree with it, that’s your choice to decide how you want to manage your health. Choosing to go on bioidentical hormones is a choice we all now, fortunately, have an opportunity to make.
Lisa Davis (16:03): That’s true. There are some things you can do food-wise. I interviewed over 40 experts. Dr. Steven Masley, I think is fabulous. This is a quote from the book: “Guys on an ultra low fat diet can create sexual dysfunction by dropping testosterone levels 50 to 75 percentage points, because you need healthy fat.” So, if you’re skimping and you’re still doing a low fat thing from the ‘90s, you’ve got to get onboard the healthy fat train because you’re going to be hurting your testosterone. There are also things you can do with not spiking your insulin all over the place, which is why you want to stay away from those white foods to keep your insulin more balanced. Again, where healthy fat is great is things like avocado, olive oil, because they’re satiating. I find that to be incredibly helpful when I’m eating. I’ve been making this really good thing lately of rice, cauliflower, sautéed in avocado oil; leaks and mushrooms. Then I’ll cook yam and I’ll add some chicken sausage or a little bit of grass-fed beef. It’s super satiating and it fills me up for hours. It’s like, “Whoa, I didn’t even have any grains.” It’s really good.
Allan (17:08): You actually have a recipe in the book that I’m eager to try out. I cooked duck last night, so I couldn’t do it this week, but it’s the shrimp with cauliflower mash with garlic kale.
Lisa Davis (17:19): That is so good.
Allan (17:21): That is definitely coming up soon for us.
Lisa Davis (17:23): Good. And the cauliflower mash and the garlic kale goes perfectly with the spice chicken thighs. That’s one of my favorite recipes. Erin Macdonald, who did the recipe, is the nutritionist and dietician for Clean Eating Magazine, and she knows food and spices. When I decided I wanted to do a recipe portion, I didn’t think everyone wants to eat my cauliflower concoction, so I went to her. I knew that if I gave her the foods that enhance your sexual health, she’d be able to do some dynamite things with them, and she did.
Allan (17:53): There are some really, really good recipes in this book, I can tell you that.
Lisa Davis (17:57): Thank you. It was very fun making them and eating them all. My family loved them all too, so that was good.
Allan (18:06): That’s why I really liked this book, because it takes you through the process of saying, “Here’s the definition of clean eating. You can do this, and here’s an approach.” It talks about what the benefits are, particularly as you start getting into your overall lifestyle and your health. It does blend in to the whole concept that I have for the show now, which is, how do we find wellness? So with that, I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Lisa Davis (18:38): I think the first one is finding your “Why”. You’ve got to find your “Why” first. If you think, “I’m going to a high school reunion and I want to look really good” – that’s nice, but how long is that going to last? At this point I’m 51; I’ll be 52 this year. I want to be functional. I want to be moving around and doing stuff. I want to be able to feel active and good in my body, and I don’t want to focus anymore as much… Not that I don’t want to focus on the aesthetics, but I want it to be more about function. I see people in walkers and people hunched over that are like 65 and I think, “No, no.” I want to be like those people you see who are 85, like my father-in-law. You know what he’s doing right now? He’s 85 years old. This is his 10th year at Red Sox Fantasy Camp. He plays baseball for a week with guys half his age. He still rides his bike around town, when it’s not 4 degrees, unlike my husband. So for me, you’ve got to find your “Why”. So that’s my “Why”. I know these are not that original, but this is big to me. You have to find an activity you enjoy. I remember I knew someone who said they hate exercise. And I’m like, “Really? There’s not one thing you can find that can be enjoyable?” Just take a Zumba class, try a yoga class, try Pilates. There’s something called Zynga. There are a lot of different things. And even if you don’t absolutely love it, can you see yourself finding something in it that motivates you enough to do it and that maybe you can learn to enjoy it? So try to do it. And the other thing is to combine an activity that you like while listening to a great podcast like yours. I have an exercise bike, because I won’t ride outside at this point when it’s this cold. And I listen to podcasts that I like while I’m riding my bike. So, if you can do something you like at the same time. Those are my tactics.
Allan (20:25): Those are really cool. Thank you for that.
Lisa Davis (20:28): Sure.
Allan (20:29): If someone wanted to learn more about your book, Clean Eating, Dirty Sex, or learn more about you, where would you like for me to send them?
Lisa Davis (20:37): There are two places, if that’s okay. You can go to CleanEatingDirtySex.com. There you can get the book and you can also listen to my podcast, Cleaning Eating, Dirty Sex, which at point is 99% health, because honestly, you can be celibate and still benefit from this book. And I also have many other shows. I have an NPR show on regional NPR in Texas, and I have a beauty show and a show called Naturally Savvy. You can find all of those at ItsYourHealthWithLisaDavis.com.
Allan (21:12): Okay. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/372, and I’ll be sure to have those links there. Lisa, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Lisa Davis (21:23): Oh my goodness, thank you. It was super fun. I’m excited to have you on my shows.
Allan (21:27): Absolutely. Thank you.
I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Kind of a different topic for us, but I think it’s important for us to have a good breadth of things here that you can be thinking about as far as your health, fitness and wellness. And sex is actually a part of that, so it was good to have that episode and be able to have that conversation with Lisa. If you enjoyed today’s show, I am going to ask you to just do one thing for me. Would you go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AAA, and that will take you to the Author Academy Awards vote page? From that vote page, you can go to the “Health” category and my book, The Wellness Roadmap is on that page. You just click on the cover copy, and that will be a vote for me. I really do want to make the finals.
I think this was a great book. I’m really enjoying the feedback that I’m getting on it. At this point it has more than a dozen reviews and everyone seems to like it. Feel free to go out on Amazon if you’ve read the book, and give me a review. I appreciate that. But I also want your vote for an Author Academy Award. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AAA, go to the “Health” category and vote. 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AAA. Thank you.