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February 13, 2024

How to rewire your brain and body for more resilience with Dr. Aditi Nerukar

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On episode 629 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we meet Dr. Aditi Nerukar and discuss her book, The 5 Resets: Rewire Your Brain and Body for Less Stress and More Resiliance.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:25.960] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:01:27.340] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:28.990] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Back in January, I started talking about having some big dreams and big audacious goals. I've been talking about this on the Facebook group. If you haven't been a part of this, you should join our Facebook group at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. But I set a goal for myself this year, an objective. Again, big dreams don't have to necessarily be actionable things, but it's something I want to accomplish this year. That was to help people lose A grand sum total of 10,000 pounds. We're starting to make that happen. People are getting involved, and we're starting to see it happen. I want you to be a part. I'm part of it. I realized coming into the new year that I was a little heavier than I needed to be. Someone takes a picture and you're looking at it, it's like, Oh, okay. Because sometimes you just don't see it when you're looking at yourself. But I was like, Okay, I could use to lean up a bit. And so I started doing some things to lean myself up. So I'm a part of that 10,000, and I want you to be a part of the 10,000.

[00:02:38.810] – Allan

So it's like, Yeah, get out here, join our group, message me directly if you just don't want to be a part of Facebook. So you can email me. Go to the website. You'll find my email address there. But message me and let me know you're interested in this. It's not that you have to be a client. I'm opening it up to anybody that's basically taking what we do here at 40 plus fitness and using it as a lifestyle driver. And with that lifestyle, if you're losing weight, I'd like to add you in and have you as a part of the 10,000. So that's what I've been up to.

[00:03:10.940] – Rachel

That sounds like a lot, Allan. That's wonderful.

[00:03:15.110] – Allan

So how are you doing?

[00:03:16.750] – Rachel

Good. My New Year's resolutions this year were to spend more time in the gym, and I'm working on my plan and lifting more than I'm running, which is a really big mindset shift for me I really love running. It's what I do. It's what I love. And so changing up my attitude and working in the gym a little bit more, it's been a little tricky, but I'm really enjoying what I'm doing now.

[00:03:42.170] – Allan

Yeah. Well, what I think the key is To look at the reasons why you really enjoyed running. I know for you, it was very much a social thing. It was a personal push. So you're looking for PRs and you're doing some different things, different distances. You turned some of it into travel destination stuff.

[00:04:01.260] – Rachel

Always fun.

[00:04:02.730] – Allan

So I think the more you can incorporate what you liked about running into these other activities, like lifting or whatnot, I think there's an opportunity there for you to find your way.

[00:04:13.890] – Rachel

Yeah. You know what's really fun is I've got a really nice home gym. My husband lifts as well. So we have a lot of really fun equipment. And so I'm making a point to use all the equipment that I have in the gym. I have different bars, different kettlebells, smash balls, medicine balls. I can't do everything all in one day, so I make it a point to pick a piece of equipment and use it. To me, it's like playing with it. It's playing with the kettlebell. It's something different. That's what's keeping it interesting. The more I dive online to different lifts and different ways to move weight, there's so much out there, and it is fun to learn something new. I'm pretty excited by that.

[00:04:53.600] – Allan

Well, good. That's what will keep you motivated is making it fresh, making it exciting, and seeing progress.

[00:05:00.840] – Rachel

Yes. We did one rep maxes at the beginning of the year. And so from that, I'm building different lifts, different ways to enhance that. So by the end of the year, we'll see how much stronger I could hit.

[00:05:15.620] – Allan

There you go.

[00:05:16.660] – Rachel

Sat down on my calendar. It's my goal.

[00:05:18.720] – Allan

Excellent. So are you ready to talk to Dr. Nerurkar?

[00:05:22.740] – Rachel



[00:05:56.320] – Allan

Dr. Nerurkar, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:00.490] – Dr. Nerurkar

Thanks so much for having me, Allan. Such a pleasure to be here.

[00:06:04.210] – Allan

Now, your book is called The Five Resets: Rewire your Brain and Body for Less Stress and More Resilience. And this time, we're actually recording this early. This is going to come out in February. But we've just gone through the holiday season. There's all kinds of things going on in the world that just really fire us up all the time if we let it. I know I've personally gone through a significant amount of stress in my life, and that's part of the reason why I live where I live now is to try to have less stress. But even then, sometimes I just find it a little difficult. And so I like what you've done in the book here, giving us really 15 different ways that we can go about working on improving our resilience and/or letting some of that stress go.

[00:06:47.200] – Dr. Nerurkar

Yeah, the Five Resets offers five small but mighty mindset shifts that are science-backed, along with 15 strategies. And really, the key of each of those strategies for me was that they are cost-free so that they have zero dollars associated with them. Because as a clinical physician for over 20 years, it was really important to me. I saw lots of patients from all walks of life with all varied amount of resources. So having something free and accessible was really important. Secondly, low time cost. So not something that's going to take an hour of every day to do, because again, that feels very unattainable and it's not accessible to everyone. And of course, practical and actionable to build into your messy, overscheduled life. When you are feeling stressed, the last thing you need is to add something to your life that is going to cause more stress.

[00:07:42.400] – Allan

Yeah, that was the thing is you tell someone, Okay, well, you could do this breathing practice, or you go take this yoga class, or you go do this thing, and they're like, That's just more stuff. At that point in your life, you feel like you just need less. You talked in the book about resilience, and then another word that you used was toxic resilience. And I think the reason that resonated with me was as I went through my career, and I went through a lot of really stressful times in my career and in my life, with a lot of change, divorces, the whole bear, all that stuff. I just feel like as I've gotten a little older, that my resilience has weakened. And as I got to reading in the book, I was like, Okay, we need to define terms because what I think of as resilience was actually toxic resilience. Could you talk a little bit about those two terms and how they apply?

[00:08:34.280] – Dr. Nerurkar

I would argue, Allan, that because of your life experience, your resilience, your innate and true resilience isn't weakened at all. And likely, it's been strengthened by the many things that you've gone through and come through and come out of, but simply that you have increased your awareness for what toxic resilience is. And so toxic resilience is essentially what our modern society is built on. It's hustle culture. It's really propagated by hustle culture. Many years ago, 5, 10 years ago, you would hear the word resilience, and it had a positive connotation. The true definition of resilience, the scientific definition, it is our innate biological ability to recover, adapt, and grow in the face of life's challenges. For resilience to itself, you need a little bit of stress. Not too much stress, just right stress. However, in recent years, particularly with the global pandemic, let's say, that word has been overused. Now that we're in this post-pandemic era, it continues to be overused, and it's almost morphed into this dark connotation of what true resilience biologically is. Now, we're seeing much more a manifestation of toxic resilience. Toxic resilience is when it's a mind over matter mindset, when you push past human limitations, when you don't give yourself clear boundaries, and when you have a sense of needing to have productivity at all costs.

[00:10:11.170] – Dr. Nerurkar

You've heard this term many times. You're maybe a demanding boss has said to you, Oh, you can take on a project, an additional project. You're resilient. Or someone has said to you, You need to meet this deadline. Oh, come on, you could do it. You're resilient. Even in parenting, for those of us who are parents, you might say, Oh, there's lots of messaging. Someone might say to you, Of course, you can handle all of the work demands and parenting. Come on, you're resilient. So you've heard these toxic messages over and over and over again. So it's not your fault if you think that's true resilience. That is not. That is toxic resilience. Really differentiating the two is important because resilience, true resilience, is your innate biological ability. It is defined not by those things I mentioned that mind over matter, mind mindset and productivity at all costs and not understanding our human limitations. It is true resilience is defined by understanding our human limitations, creating strong boundaries, celebrating when to say no, and most importantly, leaning forward through the lens of self-compassion, giving yourself grace through difficult times, understanding that your brain and your body is particularly during times of high stress need space, rest, and recovery to function optimally.

[00:11:36.660] – Dr. Nerurkar

Only then can your true resilience shine through. And the Five Resets was developed, the book, the approach, simply because I would see these patterns over and over again. So your story really resonates with me because so many of my patients would say, I just don't feel resilient, Doc. I don't know what's going on. And in fact, they were plenty resilient, true resilience. They were just in that hustle culture mentality of toxic resilience. And the first step is to dismantle that and debunk that idea of toxic resilience. It's like the energizer bunny. We all know what that analogy is like. It's like the person who just keeps going and going and going. But the energizer bunny is a fictional character. It is not a human being with need for rest and recovery. And these are biological needs. No one is bionic. We are just mere mortals. And really honoring that part of us and really creating boundaries and limitations through a lens of self-compassion is what true resilience is all about.

[00:12:40.600] – Allan

Yeah, that was what was so hard, is learning that sometimes you just have to say no, and you don't want to say no because you're driven to perform. And so it really was difficult for me. And it still is. I still find these from time to time. Even what feels like smaller stresses will pop up, and I'll be like, Why am I so freaked out about this little thing? But I do. That's why I like this. Can we briefly go through the five resets, what they are and how they work together?

[00:13:07.820] – Dr. Nerurkar

Sure. So the five resets are five small but mighty mindset shifts, and they've been developed by me over decades of clinical work. Initially, when you're a doctor, pattern recognition is how we diagnose conditions. So if someone comes to see me and they're having abdominal pain or they're having chest pain or headaches, these are vague non specific symptoms. But when you dig deeper and ask many questions, you figure out that there's a pattern. So not all headaches are created equal, not all chest pain is created equal, not all abdominal pain is created equal. And when you ask the right questions, you get to the bottom of what that issue and that diagnosis is. Pattern recognition. So you might ask about lots of different clinical things. When patients go to see their doctor, there's lots of questions that doctors are asking because we're trying to create a sense of pattern. We're trying to see, okay, Does this person exhibit the pattern of this? And therefore, it would be that diagnosis. The five resets were developed because I had a clinical practice in Boston at a Harvard hospital. I was the medical director, and I taught people, patients, stress management techniques.

[00:14:17.940] – Dr. Nerurkar

Patients would come to see me, specifically asking for help with their stress. What I started to see over and over and over is that there was a pattern to stress. Stress wasn't just this vague, mythical, magical thing out there. It was quantifiable and it was concrete to me because I had seen hundreds and hundreds and thousands of patients, and I was able to have that sense of pattern recognition. The five resets are five simple small mindset shifts that anyone can make when they are feeling a sense of stress. The first reset is get clear on what matters most, M-O-S-T. It's an acronym for one of the strategies in the book in that reset. And that is essentially laying the groundwork and helping you figure out where you are and where you'd like to go. Because once we have that destination, we can close that gap. You know, many of us, with every single one of my patients, they all knew what they wanted to achieve, whether it was decrease stress, they want to stop smoking, lose weight, get healthier, gain mobility, sleep better, eat better, The list goes on and on. But from where they were to where they wanted to go, it seemed like there was a big gap.

[00:15:36.720] – Dr. Nerurkar

Because there is really… People know what they need to do, right? So there's no lack of information or knowledge. The gap is between having that information and knowledge and taking action. And the five resets helps to close that gap. So the information and knowledge you have, taking that action to get there, that is what the first reset is all about, creating a roadmap. And that is what helps you get there. The second reset is to find quiet in a noisy world. This reset has several science-back strategies. The purpose of this reset is what we talked about earlier, creating a sense of spaciousness in your brain so that you have the ability for your brain and body to create a little space and reset and recharge. From the minute we're awake till the time we go to bed, and sometimes all night, we have lots of things competing for our time and mental bandwidth. And this second reset is really about how to manage your mental bandwidth. And there's several strategies there, focused on many things, including sleep and the digital space and social media and scrolling, and we can talk about that.

[00:16:48.170] – Dr. Nerurkar

The third reset is to sync your brain to your body. The foundation of this reset is the mind-body connection. And that might sound like a very woo- woo term to those who haven't heard that term before. But in fact, it is scientifically sound, and there is plenty of research to support, robust research, in fact, to support this idea that your mind communicates with your body, and your body communicates with your mind, and vice versa. We've used the mind-body connection our whole lives, like butterflies at falling in love, or before a meeting, your heart starts racing, or an embarrassing moment and your face gets flushed. All of these are the mind-body connection and action. The good news about this is that you can learn to sink your brain to your body and tap into that mind-body connection to help you overcome your stress and increase your resilience.

[00:17:41.520] – Dr. Nerurkar

The fourth reset is come up for air. In it, there are several science-back strategies to help you learn some relaxation techniques, breathing techniques and other techniques to help you tap into that mind-body connection so you can apply it to your everyday life. It has, particularly with the breath, we talked about this, Allen, earlier. You know your breath is the only thing, the only physiological process in the body that is governed voluntarily and involuntarily.

[00:18:15.190] – Dr. Nerurkar

Our hearts don't do that. Our digestion doesn't do that. Even our brain waves don't do that. The only thing in your body that has voluntary and involuntary control is your breath. So we can sit here and just talk and breathe. We're not We're focusing on our breath and our bodies are still breathing because of our brain and body connection. And then we can influence our breath. So that is also really part of that reset.

[00:18:39.240] – Dr. Nerurkar

And then the fifth reset, the final one, is to bring your best self forward. What that means is it's a culmination of all of the resets. It's how do you bring all of this science into your everyday life? What can you expect with the timeline of less stress and more resilience? I typically say it takes eight weeks to build a habit. So as you move through these resets, this whole book is designed to be a roadmap. And so starting with the first reset, building upon that to the second, third, and fourth, and then the fifth is really the culmination. And most importantly, to celebrate your wins. That's a huge part of the fifth reset. Similar to what we were talking about, about toxic resilience, true resilience is understanding your boundaries and limitations, the very real human limitations we have, and celebrating every single win, both big and small.

[00:19:30.540] – Dr. Nerurkar

Because human beings, typically, as I've noticed with many of my patients, we are bad historians when it comes to ourselves and our own victories. We are great cheerleaders for others, but we don't give ourselves the same sense of self-compassion. Those are the five resets in a nutshell.

[00:19:47.060] – Allan

Now, I want to dive into the first one because I think you talked about setting as a foundation, and I think that's important. But it was Uncover your Most goal, M-O-S-T, and it's an acronym. Can you go through that acronym and and what that means?

[00:20:02.390] – Dr. Nerurkar

Yes. The reason that is the very first strategy of the very first reset is because of what we talked about. There is this wide gap between knowing and having information and taking action. It is not your fault if you feel like the gap is wide. It's a schism for many people. My job as a clinician and as a doctor with all of my patients has always been to help close that gap. Having a most goal can get you there. In the five resets, in this particular strategy, I offer lots of examples of how do you figure out what your most goal is. Patients have said, I want to learn how to throw a baseball with my grandson this summer. Someone else said, I want to go to my reunion and feel really good and confident. I want to… One of my patients, one of my most favorite most goals was a patient who was going through cancer therapy. And when I asked her what her most goal was, she said, I want to write children's books. I've always wanted to do that, and that's something that's really important to me. So having that most goal, it's your North Star and your why.

[00:21:08.730] – Dr. Nerurkar

When you create your most goal, it's a very step-by-step process written out very concretely in the five resets. And the reason it's concrete is because when you are under stress, your brain is governed by the amygdala, which is a small, almond-shaped structure deep in your brain. That amygdala is focused on survival and self-preservation. It can't think ahead. That part of your brain that's thinking ahead, strategic planning, organization, memory, all of these things that are needed for you to get out of your stress struggle, it's governed by the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of your brain right here behind your forehead. The most goal in all of the strategy in the first reset, get you out of that amygdala mode and into that prefrontal cortex mode. You can't do it on your own because when you're under stress, your brain is just governed by the amygdala. But with this reset, you can slowly get get out. You'll just feel yourself getting out of that mode simply by doing the exercises. So the key question when you're developing your most goal and figuring out, what is my most goal? It's not so much, what's the matter with me?

[00:22:14.900] – Dr. Nerurkar

It's what matters to me most. And so M stands for motivating. What is something that you would like to do? I've given you several examples: writing children's books, playing baseball with your grandson, or going to a reunion. I've had many patients say that they want to go on a hiking trip or a biking trip or go on a cruise or something to look forward to that is motivating. O is objective. Can you concretely measure progress towards that goal? There are many strategies on how to do that, but is it objective or is it something out there vague? It has to be objective and concrete. S is small. Is it something that is manageable for you? We talked about this gap between knowledge and information to action. If it feels too big and unwieldy and aspirational and out there, it's not going to feel within reach for you to accomplish it, which then doesn't make it very motivating. So is it small? Is it something concrete and small that you can do? And finally, the T is for timely. Can you achieve your most goal within three months? I mentioned this before, it takes about eight weeks to build a habit.

[00:23:30.390] – Dr. Nerurkar

So give yourself three months because you want to include some of the other strategies to get to that most goal. We're going to talk, hopefully, about the rule of two and other ways that our brains respond to change. But as you build in these 15 strategies, you don't have to build in all 15, certainly. But as you build in one, two, or three strategies, it takes eight weeks to build a habit. So you want to give yourself enough time to be able to build in and incorporate into your life one, or two, or three strategies so that they stick. So is it timely? Can you achieve this within three months? Typically, with my clinical experience, three months is about that sweet spot of what I've seen for my patients who are able to decrease their stress and resilience. So this most goal is a way for you If you are feeling that sense of overwhelmed, anxiousness, lethargy, hypervigilance, or many other ways that stress manifestsends for yourself. If you are feeling that right now, just know that you're not alone and it's not your fault. It's just your brain responding heading to current events and the way of…

[00:24:32.360] – Dr. Nerurkar

And we can talk a little bit about why we're all feeling this way right now, including you and me, Allen. No one is immune to this sense of stress and burnout right now. But the Most Goal can help you get clear. It can help you figure out where you need to go. It's like a Waze Map or Google Maps. You need to see that destination, and then you can map out the plan. And then the rest of the strategies within that first reset help you make that map. So creating that roadmap to get to your most goal, because from where you are now to where you'd like to be is actually a much smaller distance than you think.

[00:25:09.030] – Allan

Yeah. I'm such a fan of action. It's feeling like you're moving towards something versus away from something. And that's why I really like that concept of setting a goal for the different strategies that you're going to implement and what that's going to mean for you. It wasn't in a way that I would have thought about stress before I read your book. I The other thing that I was really glad you had in the book, because I think it's overlooked a lot, is using gratitude. Can you talk a little bit about gratitude and how that's going to help us deal with stress?

[00:25:42.400] – Dr. Nerurkar

Gratitude, often when people hear the word gratitude. If people are data-driven, I speak to audiences all around the world, and when I talk to audiences who are data-driven in their scientific or they're action-oriented, they hear the word gratitude and they think, Oh, no, this is like a teenage girl's journal. I'm a grown adult. I'm a grown woman or a grown man. I'm not going to sit and write in a journal everything that I'm thankful for. Like, not for me, thanks. Gratitude, in fact, scientifically, it's cognitive reframing. Essentially, what happens when you focus on gratitude, and I'm going to talk about the difference with the five resets and gratitude versus out there in the world when you hear, Oh, just be thankful. Just be thankful. What does that even really mean? So gratitude in scientific terms, is cognitive reframing. Essentially, what you focus on grows. The same amount of negative and positive things are likely happening to you throughout a day, any given day, an average day. But when you are under that stress mode governed by your amygdala, your focus is on survival and self-preservation. So negative experiences are heightened and you are just more…

[00:26:57.440] – Dr. Nerurkar

There's a sense of red alert and hypervigilance for negative experiences. Positive experiences are happening, too, but they're just flying by the radar, not really getting tracked. The reason gratitude is so vital for brain processing and creating neural connections, so connections in the brain, is because it makes you, quite concretely, focus on these good events as well. Rick Hansen is a psychologist, and he calls it moving from Velcro to Teflon. So negative experiences become less sticky in the brain, away from Velcro, and they become like Teflon. But the alternate thing is that positive experiences go the other way. Because when you're under periods of stress, you're not really focused on the positive experiences. It's not you, it's your biology, it's not your fault. It's just how the brain works. And so when you actively start focusing on the positive and with the gratitude practice that I teach patients, it's to write down five things every day that you're grateful for. And why? It's a 60 second exercise. This is not a deep thoughts journal entry. Keep a pad of paper and a pencil or pen next to your bed. Do it first thing in the morning or at night.

[00:28:09.110] – Dr. Nerurkar

And it's only five things. Some days you'll be able to think of three things. You have to write five. Some days they'll be 15 things. You can only focus on five. And when you write quickly, put the date, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, write down those five things, call it a day, 60 seconds. Over time, this gratitude practice, this written gratitude practice, has found demonstrated benefit in mood, energy, stress, and resilience. This is just a few of the ways that it has been found to be beneficial because of what I talked about, cognitive reframing. So why do you have to write this down? That's often a question I get. We live in the digital world. Why can't I just use my iPhone and type it in? Because our brains use a different neural circuitry to type versus writing. So think about a grocery store list. You write it on a Post-it, you go to When you're in the grocery store, you lose the Post-it. But you still remember everything you've written down on that list. Contrary to typing up something, and let's say you're supposed to present or you type up your grocery list, and then you leave your phone at home.

[00:29:13.680] – Dr. Nerurkar

You're more likely to forget what It's on that list. Writing that gratitude practice down every single day does something different to your neural processes and to your circuits in your brain to help you remember the good. When you start focusing on the good through this very simple exercise, this is not like this aspirational, just be thankful, just be grateful. Because often when you're feeling a sense of stress, you don't feel very grateful. It doesn't feel authentic. It feels disingenuous to feel grateful because you're undergoing a period of stress. And often that leads to more stress if someone says to you, just be thankful, just be grateful. You should feel so lucky. Look at people who are not eating in certain parts of the world or who don't have a roof over your head. That doesn't feel very good when you're feeling stressed because it defeats the purpose. Instead, a concrete gratitude journal where you have to write it down every day. And some days, I've had patients who said, Well, I couldn't think of anything to write today, so I wrote, I have two arms and two legs. I can breathe. I sleep in a bed because I think there are people who might not sleep in a bed.

[00:30:25.850] – Dr. Nerurkar

You know, like very concrete things. I was able to have access to clean water today, and I got a little bit of food today. And that's all I'm grateful for, and that's enough. It's not huge aspirational things that you have to be grateful for. It's simple everyday things. The more simple, the more concrete, the more mundane, the better. And over time, at 30, 60, and 90 days, you'll notice that your stress gets decreased because it's simply a brain process that's happening.

[00:30:57.470] – Allan

And they can't occupy the same space at the same time. You can't be grateful and stressed at the same time. You forget the stress for even just those few moments. And if that just shifts that off for a little bit of time, I think that's just tremendous. So I was glad you put that in there because I think that is a really important step in understanding how well off we actually are in the grand scheme of things and how our brain, the way it's wired, is making something seem worse than it actually is. And so I think that's just a good practice.

[00:31:28.880] – Allan

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

[00:31:37.740] – Dr. Nerurkar

What a great question, Allan. One of the first things I would say is to get enough rest. So prioritize your sleep like the vital resource it is. It actually has a clear correlation to fitness over 40 or at any age, but particularly as we age. Sleep is one one of the hallmarks and foundations of everything because it's truly a therapeutic intervention. It helps every cell, tissue, and muscle in the body, including the brain. It helps your brain process difficult emotions. Our immune system is the most active when you're sleeping. And so there are many strategies in the five resets to help you get the sleep you deserve. So sleep is something that is a non-negotiable. And often the first sign of something, awry, when you're feeling a sense of stress or mental health issues, sleep is often the first thing to go. And so getting yourself back on track, lots of strategies in the book to help you do that. I think the second really important piece in your equation is some form of daily movement every day. So it doesn't have to be something big. Even five minutes of stretching or walking can make all of the difference.

[00:32:53.980] – Dr. Nerurkar

But a little bit every single day can go a long way. And lots of data in the five resets, but also you can do your own research to learn that it's not about one hour gym sessions at all in terms of mental health and fitness. It's not about weight loss. Our culture is obsessed with weight loss, but in fact, taught bellies and muscles never inspire people to lose weight. That's all cosmetic. That's like a cosmetic promise. What actually inspires people to get fit is doing something that can give you more energy to get to that most goal, for example, all of those things that you want to do. So it's never about weight loss or I want a six-pack or I want this or that. It's never motivated, even one of my patients. What has motivated patients to get out and start walking 5, 10 minutes a day is like, Oh, I'm going to sleep better. I'm going to be less stressed. I'm going to feel a little bit more energetic. I'm going to be productive. I'm going to be able to have good relationships because I'll be more present. Okay, I'll do it for for those reasons.

[00:34:01.340] – Dr. Nerurkar

Then finally, I think the third really important thing is to feel a sense of community. We know that there is a loneliness epidemic. The surgeon general has talked about this, a US surgeon general. He happens to be one of my childhood friends, but he's really focused on the public health crisis that is loneliness. Loneliness isn't just a nice to have. It can actually have impacts, not just on our mental health, but physical health. Being lonely increases your risk of stroke and heart disease by 30%, and it can shorten your lifespan. It's equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day for non-smokers. It has that same impact in health risk and risk of death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. So creating that sense of community, even if you are an introvert. This is not about being a social butterfly. This is simply about feeling that sense of connection and tribe with a few people. So I like to say anywhere from two to five people, feeling that sense of connection that you're 4:00 AM friend. So if something were to happen to you at 4:00 AM, are there a few people in your life that you could turn to to help you?

[00:35:06.570] – Dr. Nerurkar

And vice versa. So feeling that connectedness, social connectedness, has huge benefits on mental and physical health and fitness. Those are my top three. And then if you were to give me a fourth, if you would be so kind to give me a fourth, it would be to decrease our reliance on… It would be to decrease your reliance on this little device, your phone and screens and social media, because that is doing lots of things to your brain to worsen stress and health and a lot of the Five Resets, an entire half of a chapter focuses on the importance of creating a digital boundary. We have boundaries in every other relationship in our life with our spouses, with our children, friends, coworkers, but we do not have a boundary when it comes to the relationship we have with our phones. It's a porous boundary. And so this is not about renouncing your phone and becoming a digital monk. Of course not. There's actually no health benefit to that. What has been shown to be beneficial for health and well-being is to decrease your reliance on these devices simply because it has an impact on your brain and body and stress and resilience in the long run.

[00:36:27.700] – Dr. Nerurkar

Thank you. Dr. Nerurkar, someone wanted wanted to learn more about you or your book, The Five Resets, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:36:35.410] – Dr. Nerurkar

You can go to 5resets.com, that's number 5resets.com, to order the book, learn more. There's videos, there's lots of tools there for people to really dive into the meat of what The Five Resets is. And you can follow me on social media at draditinerurkar. That's at D-R-A-D-I-T-I-N-E-R-U-R-K-A-R.

[00:36:59.480] – Allan

All right. Thank you very much. And thank you for being a part of 40 plus fitness.

[00:37:04.670] – Dr. Nerurkar

Thank you so much. I love what you're doing and really think it's so important.

[00:37:10.070] – Allan

Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:37:12.150] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:37:13.690] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. Again, another fun interview about mindset. It's like my favorite topic of discussion. Her five resets are really basic, but actually really easily implemented in your daily life. I really like those tips.

[00:37:30.160] – Allan

Yeah, I think one of the course for this for me was that when I was younger, you just grin and bear it. My upbringing was just, Suck it up, buttercup, and keep moving on. I don't care that you're upset. I don't care that you're stressed out. Just keep going. Yeah, that's good. And then because that was my behavior pattern, pretty much I would be stressed out. I would do other stressful things.

[00:37:58.590] – Rachel

Oh, no.

[00:37:59.970] – Allan

You know, like going in the gym and having a really hard workout that just wore me out was a way for me to deal with stress. And going through this book, it has me rethinking, was that just a distraction? And and not actually a cure? Because sometimes you put yourself out there and you're doing something, so you're not thinking about something else. Some people will turn to alcohol for stress, and some people will turn to drugs for stress or sex or whatever. And it's really just a function of covering up for a short period of time the stress they're feeling. Now, like some of those things, a heavy hard exercise is stressful, and you're adding stress, even though it could be a hormetic effect stress, a good stress, where they define it. What I basically was doing was just creating too much stress and not having that willingness to step back and say, whoa, that might have been too much. And I think that's the other thing of it. I was trying to do, we're going into the holidays. There's the shutdown in this country. So really struggling to try to keep our business afloat and thinking, okay, great.

[00:39:12.620] – Allan

I don't want to go through having to close down another business, especially when this big… Like I did the gym almost exactly a year earlier. I was like, Is this going to happen again? And so I was going through a lot of stress, and I was trying to do the crush the holidays challenge, which was daily videos. And I was like, if I'm not feeling well, I don't like recording, I don't like getting on camera. I don't like doing a lot of things because it really takes a lot of energy. So I kept waiting, when am I going to find a time when I feel good? And they weren't. So that just added more stress to it, which is why I wasn't good at it. It's why I wasn't doing my job on that challenge. And the other side of it is with that, I was filming videos, but I wasn't seeing the faces or the people. So it wasn't like that. When I do an interview for a podcast or like this part, we see each other. We're on Zoom, but we see each other. So there's a social interaction there. When I'm coaching a client, I see the client.

[00:40:17.250] – Allan

We're talking or messaging, that thing. With this challenge, I wasn't getting any of that. This was just me putting out without any feedback, hardly any feedback of interaction. And so it just felt hard. And that's why I kept putting it off. And I put it off and get late and be like, Okay, now is not a time either. My energy is low. And a couple of times I did. I got on the video, my energy was really low, and I was like, Okay, I hate that. So that's why I quit it. That's why I dropped it and did the refunds, because if I can't do it right, I'm not going to do it at all. That's how I feel about it. So it's a shame, but it was just one of those realizations that when I feel stressed, I need to recognize it. And then beyond that, then I need to, instead of just trying to cover it up with another activity or alcohol or anything else, is just to step back and say, breathe, work through some of these five resets, show gratitude, and move on. And that's one of the things. I didn't do it exactly like this, but a lot of the things that were in this book were things that I was considering as I went through that process.

[00:41:29.870] – Rachel

Oh, for sure. Well, and breathing is one of the things that she was saying. Come up for air and take that minute to reset your system, and maybe you can think more clearly. It's a similar concept in the running world, too, Allan, is that a lot of people run to escape their problems. We're technically running away from our problems. But I guess I think of it more like if you in the gym or me on a run, burn off that level of energy and then come back to the problem and you've got a better mindset, a better attitude towards tackling whatever is ahead of you. But I mean, sometimes you just have to say no. Sometimes you just got to take some things off your plate, especially if your cortisol is very high. Like at the end of the year, I say this every year, December is the most stressful month of the year. There's just too many obligations, too much going on. You're not taking the time for yourself, and something's going to give, and it might be your attitude. I think we need to go back, circle back to ourselves with some of these mindset tips and just calm, take a minute.

[00:42:35.100] – Rachel

At this age, Allan, like you were saying, when we were younger, we would just grind through, push. You've got a job, you've got young kids. What is your option? You have no other option. You've got to be successful at the job. You got to be successful and take good care of your kids. But now that we're a little bit older, I think in the 50 above bracket for me, we've got a little bit of breathing space to better organize our lives and the time that we need. One of her other mindset tips was to find quiet in a noisy world. When you're overwhelmed and stressed, sometimes you just need to get away from it. Take a break, go somewhere where it's nice and quiet and just take a minute to breathe. And to think.

[00:43:17.030] – Allan

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

[00:43:21.460] – Rachel

Great, Allan. Take care. 

[00:43:22.960] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:43:23.930] – Rachel


Music by Dave Gerhart


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– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Leigh Tanner
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Another episode you may enjoy


October 14, 2019

Adaptogens with David Winston

Adaptogens and nootropics are becoming much more popular as the flaws in Western medicine become more and more apparent. David Winston has spent over 50 years studying herbal medicine. Today we discuss his book, Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief.

Allan: 01:02 David, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

David: 01:05 Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here.

Allan: 01:07 You know, more and more, in the last 10 years. It just seems like it's a, it's kind of a building thing, which I think is really good, there's more discussion about some of the natural healing properties of plants and herbs. Looking back at some of the Eastern medicine, Chinese medicine, Ayurveda from India, and actually adopting some of those now as treatments and protocols and not going with the chemicals. So your book Adaptogens really kind of gets into the history of this and to what they are and how we can use them. It's fascinating to me how much as out there and we're just still just kinda scratching the surface.

David: 01:56 Well, that's true. You know, it's interesting. This year is the 50th year since I started studying herbal medicine. And I joke a bit, but I'm not entirely joking when I tell people after 50 years, I now consider myself to be an advanced beginner. There is endless amount to learn whether we are talking about traditional Chinese medicine aryuveda, the middle Eastern Teb Al Nabawi, Kampo from Japan, et cetera, Tibet Medicine, American eclectic medicine, physio medicalism, all these traditions are rich in the use of plants for medicine. So these traditions in some cases go back at least 3000 years. Plus you then combine that with the vast amount of plant, medicinal plant research that is occurring throughout the world.


Very little unfortunately in the United States, but extensive amounts in China, India, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, France, Germany. So all around the world there is a tremendous amount of plant research and in many cases, this plant research, this modern plant research is confirming, although sometimes going well beyond the understanding that people have had for thousands of years of how these substances can help us to live healthier, better lives.

And one of the things that's really important to understand, a lot of people have this idea that it's sort of an either or situation. It's either Orthodox Western medicine or it's complimentary alternative medicine, herbal medicine, natural medicine. And honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. Where Orthodox medicine is strong tends to be where things like herbal medicine aren't that effective and vice versa. Where herbal medicine is really strong, tends to be in areas, especially dealing with things like chronic degenerative disease where Orthodox medicine often has little to offer.

So when it comes to the individual, the patient, the client, the real win-win is understanding which is appropriate in a given situation. Herbs are not the answer to everything. Adaptogens are not the answer to everything, but then nor does Orthodox medicine have the answer to everything. So understanding which therapy, which treatments are most effective, most appropriate for a given situation, for a given person is essential.

Allan: 04:36 Now an adaptogen is not just a chemical compound they're pulling out of a plant to, to make a new medicine with its, it's actually using the whole plant. Right? Can, you can talk about adaptogens, what they are and what they do?

David: 04:50 Absolutely. And this is going to get slightly complex. Um, but I will do my absolute best to keep it as simple as possible. So initially, you know, in all these ancient systems of medicine, there are tonic herbs. So in Ayurveda they're called Rasanayas, in TCM, in traditional Chinese medicine, they're known as Chi Tonics or kidney youn tonics or blood tonics. But these traditional definitions of a tonic remedy do not necessarily equate to what we today call an adaptogen.

An adaptogen is a modern scientific concept developed initially in the Soviet Union. The initial research was done by Professor Lazaroff starting in the late 1940s. If you think, wow, they must've been very, you know, forward-thinking to do this kind of research. The reality was this was initially military research and the Russians were, the Soviets were trying to do what cruise chefs said, and that was to bury the West. They were trying to find ways to make better soldiers, better cosmonauts workers so that they could outdo us and literally win the cold war.

Basically what happens is the research eventually goes from the initially started looking at chemical substances and with Dr. Breckman who is considered the father of adaptogenic research. He switches over to looking at plants and they eventually settle on a plant called, at the time in the United States, we learned about it known as a Siberian ginseng, but the proper name for it is Eleutherococcus senticosus and that's where the initial research starts. And what they did is they first promoted a definition of an adaptogen using a very simplistic three parameters.

Number one, the plant was nontoxic in a normal therapeutic dose. Alright, so that's, that's fine. The problem with that is that describes almost every herb in the material Medica. I mean they ask, there are some toxic herbs, but most herbs are relatively benign in a normal therapeutic dose.

Secondly, they decided that these herbs would create what was called a nonspecific state of resistance to stress. So that means they help you to resist stress, whether that stress is psychological, physiological, or environmental. But the problem there is that other categories of herbs including nervines, which we think of as nerve tonics, things that are common also help you to deal with stress more effectively. So that doesn't really mean that is absolutely an adaptogen.

And thirdly that they would have what is called an amphoteric effect on the body, helping to normalize function of multiple systems, especially the endocrine system, nervous system, immune system as well as the cardiovascular and digestive systems. So that was the initial definition. And that last started, I think that was, that definition came out around 1969 so after that and the intervening where now 50 years later, the definition has changed.

Now those first three parameters are all still true, but they have added to the definition. So in the 1990s they determined that adaptogens work primarily through two master control systems in the body. One is called the HPA axis, that's the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. This is the master control system of almost all endocrine function, much nervous system function, immune function and what also what deals with chronic stress in our lives. And then the second system is called the SAS, the Sympathoadrenal System. And this is your fight or flight mechanism, which deals acute stress. So in order for an adaptogen to be an adaptogen, there has to be evidence that it is primarily working through one or both of these two master control systems. Further research showed us that adaptogens also work on a cellular level.

So what does this mean? It means that they do several things.

Number one, they help reduce stress hormone production. So that's especially cortisol, norepinephrine, and they help prevent cortisol induced mitochondrial dysfunction. So for instance, some of the conditions associated with stress induced mitochondrial dysfunction include things like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome, which is one of the reasons adaptogens can be so useful as part of a protocol for treating those conditions because underlying those conditions is basically elevated levels of stress hormones, specifically cortisol, which shuts down the mitochondria, which are the engines of yourselves. So if your mitochondria are not working, you are going to have all sorts of problems with fatigue, with muscle weakness, with muscle pain, uh, with cardiovascular issues and et cetera, et cetera.

And they do this, not only do they shut down the excessive production of cortisol, but they do it by up-regulating certain stress modulators in the body. These are noticing heat shock proteins, fork head proteins and something known as neuropeptide Y.

So in order for an herb to be an adaptogen, it has to do every single one of these things. Of course the ancients had no idea about any of these things. So when they are talking about a Rasanayas or a Chi tonic, you know, those things, some of them actually turn out to be adaptogens, but of course, many of them do not because they don't meet the parameters of today what we know is an adaptogen.

Allan: 11:02 Okay. So kind of my key takeaways from this is that that one, adaptogens don't just address one part of the body. Like I think in the book you talked about how tumeric actually supports the liver, a single organ versus actually supporting the whole body through the, you know, HPA and through the SAS Yes. Right. And then the other piece of it is it doesn't just push us in one direction. It's sort of a balancing, getting us more towards homeostasis than pushing us in one direction just because we're stressed trying to push us unstressed. It's literally just kind of trying to find that balance.

David: 11:42 Correct. Now I will say that turmeric by the way of course is not in adaptogens. The turmeric, it just doesn't work on the liver. A tumor has much broader implications. In fact, the majority of herbs have a wider sphere than just working on a single organ. But adaptogens you could, yes, I think your, your definition, think of them as almost systemic remedies, but they're primary effects are on endocrine nervous system and immune function. That is where, because that's of course what the HPA axis and the SAS, those are the things that they are affecting. Now of course the reality is is that the SAS also and the HPA axis also affect skin function. They also affect circulation. They also affect reproductive function, both male and female. So again, very wide ranging effects.

And at the same time you'd mentioned homeostasis. Adaptogens work in a really interesting way. So think of it this way. We, we, anybody who has had anatomy and physiology learned about homeostasis, where the body tries to maintain its normal balance. So some things are maintained in very, very tight, like your serum sodium levels, your blood serum, serum levels of sodium have to be maintained with a very, very narrow range. And so the body will work exceedingly hard to make sure that it stays there. And the idea of homeostasis is everything's tries to stay the same. Well, in reality, there is a second process known as allostasis that the body uses to maintain homeostasis and adaptogens also enhanced allostasis.

What is allostasis? So any of your listeners who have ever gone surfing, and you don't even have to be a surfer, you could go skiing, you could go ice skating, skateboarding, anything where you need really good balance. So if you got up on a surfboard and you stand absolutely still, as those waves are moving you in every direction, you're gonna stay on that board for about a second. In order to stay on the board, you start moving and shifting your body weight to compensate for changes. That is allostasis. Allostasis is the body's ability to change in order to maintain balance and adaptogens help in that process.

Allan: 14:16 Okay. So most of the book we're talking about stress, so we're talking about our body is going through, it'll can go through acute stress, which just basically means, you know, I see a bear and Oh, I've got run, versus chronic stress where my CFO is the bear and he's on me every single day. And so that stress just sticks with me and my fight or flight is basically every waking moment. Adaptogens can kind of help us with that. Right. So can you kind of talk through the stress reaction process and then how adaptogens can support us as we deal with chronic stress.

David: 14:53 They're working on multiple levels and that's where it gets a bit complicated because, just to give you an example: I mentioned earlier that among these sort of molecular chaperones or stress chaperones that adaptogens affect, we have what are called heat shock proteins. These are molecular chaperones. And so these molecular chaperones heat shock proteins protect, mitochondria from stress induced damage. Then they also regulate a chemical called FOXO. It's a fork head protein and basically FOXO basically is a neuro. FOXO is upregulated and it promotes the synthesis of proteins that inhibit the effects of stress. It helps detoxify cells. It also has been shown to enhance longevity. I also mentioned it basically up-regulates in neuropeptide Y, which is a neurotransmitter which has been shown to relieve anxiety.

It's been shown to inhibit pain perception. It lowers blood pressure, it inhibits addiction, it inhibits cortisol release. So those are just some of the compounds that it is affecting and having a broad ranging effect on the body. So when we are under stress, there is a whole cascade of cellular and organ response in the body. And adaptogens are saying to the body, think of adaptogens as sort of like a stress vaccine. Some people call it a stress memetic. In fact, what adaptogens do is they say to your body, stress is coming. So let's get ready for stress. In that sense, it's a little bit like going to the gym. So many of your listeners probably work out, maybe some of them are runners. You did the first time you ran, you didn't run a marathon, at least not if you were smart the first time you start running a short distance and then the next day you run again and again, or you go to the gym and you start off with a low amount of weights and a small amount of repetitions and you gradually work your way up to where your muscles become stronger. We are more stamina, more strength and the ability to do more

Adaptogens work very similar to this. They basically say to your body, stress is coming yet ready. And so the body builds up so that it is more prepared to deal with stress when the actual stress comes, whether that is an acute stress or a chronic stress. The one difference between adaptogens and say going to gym is that if you go to the gym and you don't go to the gym for two weeks, you may lose a little bit of strength and stamina, but you still have a significant long-term effect adaptogens to be taken regularly because the effect doesn't have a long term effect. So these are things you would take on a regular basis. And of course, which adaptogens and individual takes are going to depend on the specifics of that person because it's important to note that adaptogens are not a one size fits all phenomenon.

A lot of people think, Oh, you need an adaptogens, just take any one. Well, that's not true. There are stimulating adaptogens. There are calming adaptogens. There are heating adaptogens, cooling adaptogens, drawing adaptogens, moistening, adaptogens, nourishing adaptogens. And so the key is, and that's more of course, one of the reasons I wrote my book, is that I wanted people to understand what I would call the personality of each of these adaptogenic herbs so that you can figure out which one or ones, because remember, traditionally in all of the great systems of verbal medicine, herbs are never taken as simple as meaning one herb at a time. They're taking in complex formulas.

Why? Because we are dealing with complex people with complex problems. And so the idea is which adaptogens or adaptogens and the sort of supportive herbs or companion herbs for adaptogens such as nervines Nootropics, we'll talk about this more later, or restorative tonics that you take with them to help create something that is actually going to be beneficial and work for the individual. Great herbalists don't treat diseases. We treat people.

Allan: 19:17 Let's go ahead and jump ahead then and let's have that conversation about the nervines and the supporting components and, and, and the Nootropics. Let's get into those. Just a little bit so they know what we're talking about.

David: 19:29 Okay. So we just, we've defined what an adaptogen is and we'll talk more about them. But there are other, and I include this in my book, there are other herbs that I would call companion herbs to adaptogens. They work really well with adaptogens.

And so the three categories of these, and the first is nervines are nerve vines in England and these are calming herbs. I mentioned that briefly before and they basically helped restore the emotional foundation. So for people who are especially type A personality, for people who are emotionally labile, for people who have number ten reactions to number one problems. Nervines can be really useful along with perhaps calming adaptogens. For a person like that.

Then we have water known as no a tropics. Now I have to define this because nootropics, some people call them smart drugs.There are three different categories.

There are the chemical smart drugs, which are often designer drugs created in the laboratory with no history of previous use and no record of safety. Uh, I am very leery about these substances.

Then there are the supplement, nootropics and these include things like L-carnitine and things like that which have a very good safety.

And then there are our herbal Nootropics and there are a wide variety of herbal nootropics. These herbs tend to be neuro-protective. They are anti-inflammatory on neuro anti-inflammatories. They enhance cerebral circulation, they enhance memory, focus, concentration. And there is some evidence that at least some of them may help at least slow, if not possibly help prevent something like dementia or Alzheimer's. But that is a very, very preliminary.

Then we have what I would call restorative tonics. And these are basically herbs that are nutritive. They help to enhance overall function, but they do not meet the definition of an adaptogen. So now I'll mention a couple specifically.

We have herbs like the goji berry. Very, very popular herb. And the Chinese herb astragalus. Herbs like this are wonderful nutritive herbs, but they are not adaptogens, even though a lot of people tend to throw them in that category, unfortunately, they just don't meet those definitions.

Allan: 21:58 Okay. If I came to you as a client and generally, okay, you're just a general description, over 40 and high chronic stress and you were going to kind of put together a general protocol, what are some of the things that would be included in that protocol?

David: 19:17 Well, unfortunately, that's not enough of a definition, a description that I could come up with something because I need to know everything about you.

You know, as is somebody who is a patient of mine. I need to know not only their age and their weight and their blood pressure. I need to know their medical history. I need to know, I need to know everything I can about them, you know, and they would bring in their blood work from their physician and their diagnosis is that they have from their doctor. And you put together a protocol that is specific to the patient.

Because remember as I said, great herbalists don't treat diseases. Medical men, Western medicine focuses in on disease. We don't focus in on disease. We focus on creating protocols to help people be well, to help people prevent disease. To help people to gain maximal health, strength, longevity, et cetera. So, but what I would look at is, for instance, if you were somebody who was deficient and depleted, I might include some stimulating adaptogens and stimulating adaptogens would include things like, perhaps, Asian Ginseng or Rhodiola.

On the other hand, if you were really depleted, deficient, exhausted all the time, then I want to make sure I include some of the nourishing adaptogens. So there may be something like American Ginseng. If you were a type A personality, you know, you can't shut your mind off, then we might consider some of your calming adaptogens such as Ashwagandha or Schisandra. And so there are different ones that we would use.

And by the way, not every single person gets an adaptogen. And I don't want people to think that adaptogens are panaceas. Adaptogens are incredibly useful. Don't get me wrong, I do use them a lot, but I'm using a broad spectrum of herbs. Adaptogens are just one part of that. And I need your listeners to understand. Adaptogens are not a replacement for the foundations of health.

Foundations of health are adequate, good quality sleep, a good diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle choices. So if you are eating fast food three meals a day, only getting six hours sleep, running yourself ragged, training for a marathon, working in incredibly stressful job, and smoking, I don't care how many adaptogens you take, it is not going to make up for the fact that you are abusing yourself. And in fact at best it's going to simply allow you to abuse yourself a little bit longer until you finally collapse.

It's kind of the whipping the exhausted horse. You can make it go a little further, but it's going to collapse. So adaptogens are not a replacement for the foundations of health, but for the average American who is overfed under-exercised, not getting enough sleep, especially when it's a situation where, for instance, you're actually trying to take care of yourself, but maybe there's a new baby in the house.

You're not getting enough sleep. Or maybe you just graduated from a law school, passed your boards and you just hired on to a new law firm and they're expecting you to work 70 hour weeks. Or maybe you are in college and you're having to pull all-nighters and study, which I do not recommend as it reduces comprehension dramatically.

But you know, adaptogens under those circumstances where you mentioned the example earlier where your boss is on your case all the time and it's incredibly stressful and maybe you don't have the option to change. Maybe you're in a situation where you live in a small town where there's only one employer and you don't have a lot of options. Adaptogens can be incredibly useful. Again, helping to prevent stress-induced cortisol elevation, helping to reduce the stress-induced anxiety, helping to reduce the stress-induced elevation of blood pressure and the resultant of course, mitochondrial dysfunction that comes with elevated cortisol levels.

And I will point out that elevation of cortisol can come from lack of sleep, obesity or stress And chronically elevated cortisol levels not only basically shut down the mitochondria in the cells. Chronic elevation of cortisol is proinflammatory and of course all of our chronic degenerative disease is inflammatory in nature. It raises blood pressure, it interferes with sleep, it interferes with digestion, it decreases the immune response, and increases the growth of tissue including skin tags, benign prostatic hyperplasia in men, fibroids, uterine fibroids in women cancer, chronically elevated cortisol is really not good. And so anything we can do to help our body to reset and be at a, you know, a healthier baseline on a regular basis is going to a long term have profound positive implications for our health.

Allan: 27:31 So I guess the way I kind of take this, as you know, you can't just say, okay, I need ashwagandha. I need a Chinese Ginseng or Asian Ginseng root. I need American ginseng root and everybody needs that. The reality is you're going to have to kind of put together a protocol for yourself based on your own personal needs.

David: 27:51 That's actually true. You know, they're there. First of all, as I said, not everybody needs adaptogens, period. But if you do feel you need adaptogens, and again, that's one of the reasons I wrote the book is so that each herb has its own monographs. You can read about it and say, wow, does this make sense for me? And I often mentioned like, I often use it with this or that so that people can kind of get a sense if they don't have access to a clinical herbalist or a naturopathic physician who's trained in botanical medicine or a medical doctor who knows herbs. If they don't have access to someone like that. They can at least educate themselves so they can decide which of these things may, would be most appropriate for them. And again, not everybody needs them, but I would say that, you know, discounting cultures where they're either people are actively starving, suppressed or at war, Americans are some of the most stressed out people in the world.

Allan: 28:51 Absolutely. That's why I moved to Panama.

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?

David: 29:07 Well, three, let's go back to the foundations of health that I just mentioned. In 1910, the average American slept slightly over nine hours per night. Now, the average American sleeps less than seven hours per night. In the intervening 100 plus years, we have not evolved to need less sleep. We're just chronically sleep deprived.

So number one, make sure that you get minimum seven hours sleep at night. Eight is definitely better. If you're sleeping more than nine hours a night, that suggests some issues. So somewhere between seven and nine hours is probably ideal. But the key important thing is when you wake up in the morning, do you feel refreshed? Do you feel rested? Because even if you're getting 12 hours sleep at night and you wake up in the morning and you feel tired, you're exhausted, then you have some type of sleep issue. And so it is absolutely essential that you figure out what that is.

Because, no matter what you have, if you have sleep issues, your chances of having a heart attack increase. If you have sleep issues, your chances of dying from cancer increase. If you have sleep issues, your blood pressure's going to increase. It gives sleep issues, your cortisol levels are going to increase. So sleep is foundational.

Number two, move and move a lot. We sit too much. We are not active. And of course some people are not as capable as you know, heavy exercise. I'm not talking about you have to run marathons, do what you can, whether it is swim, whether it is dance, whether it is practice yoga, move

Number three (I'm going to go beyond three). Eat a healthy diet and I'm astonished at what people think is a healthy diet. I have my patients fill out a three-day diet diary and I'll just sit there and scratch my head sometimes. Because people tell me, I think I eat pretty well. And so of course, food is foundational.

You know, they say as computers, garbage in, garbage out. Well, the diet is the same way. Garbage in, garbage out. You are dependent on your food for what Chinese medicines called the Gushi, the Gransha, the nutrients of that food to feed every cell in your body. And so eat healthy.

I am not a big fan of fad diets. I think that you need to figure out what works for you. And some people can be very healthy vegetarians and I've met people who just can't do that diet. So it's not like there's one diet that is good for everybody. You have to figure out what works for you. But what I can tell you very clearly is fast food, for instance, fried foods, a heavy, heavy meat diet, things like that are generally not good for almost anybody.

Then number four, emotional health. Emotional and spiritual health are, in my opinion, again, foundational. Having loved ones, whether it is anything from a companion animal to friends, to a life partner, to community, social networks. these are incredibly important. And I am a big believer in the power of a higher power, of having some type of spirituality in your life. I am not necessarily talking about a specific religion, but having something that you realize that you are a small part of something greater than ourselves. So having a meaningful ceremony, whether you think of it as the Gaia, the power of nature, God, or Allah, that to me is not as important. Of course for individuals I'm sure it is very important. Their spiritual and religious beliefs and that's great, but find something that works for you and works within your life.

And so for me, those sorts of things are absolutely foundational to health. And then we have other things that can add to that. And some of them, like nutritional supplements can be useful. Although I am much more interested in using herbs because I think they are more, much more bioavailable. And in a form that people can actually utilize more effectively. Those kinds of things. Stress reduction techniques are sort of built based on that foundation.

Allan: 33:49 Well thank you David. You know, one thing I'll say about the book is if anything and everything that you want to know about adaptogens, this is the book, that's called Adaptogens, but it literally you, you covered the history, you cover what they are, how they work. You know, all the different types. Cause there's, there's lots of them. You said there was 250,000 plant species that we've identified and we're just starting to learn how those can help us. But this book really, I think you could have called it the encyclopedia of adaptogens or the complete book with androgens. It really is comprehensive. And so if you're interested in adaptogens, I strongly suggest you check out David's book.

David, if someone want to get in touch with you, learn more about the book or things you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?

David: 34:33 Well, couple things. Number one, if anybody is interested in the book, they can get it. You know, simply from Amazon, if they like or their local bookstore. It's widely available. You can also contact me or reach me through to websites. There is my school, I have a two year urge studies program for people who want to train to be clinical herbalists and that is herbalstudies.net and then I also have a website which is an educational website where people can download free articles, information articles from my library, which is one of the largest private herbal research libraries in North America. Information on my classes where I'll be teaching around the world. I teach all over the US, Canada, Europe, occasionally central America, and that a website is herbaltherapeutics.net and those are the two are places that people can get additional information or contact.

I also have through, I believe it's herbal therapeutics website. I have a Facebook page where I do posts about every two weeks so people can tune into those posts and read the old posts every on thing. I'm mostly on the topic of herbal medicine and my travels and things like that. And so hopefully people will avail themselves. The book, Adaptogens, herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief. This is the second edition and I think anybody interested in the topic will hopefully learn quite a bit and be able to make better choices for themselves in their use of adaptogens, nervines, nootropics, and restorative tonics.

Allan: 36:27 All right, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/403 and I'll have the links there for the book for David's sites and all that.

David, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

David: 36:39 Thank you Allan. It's been a pleasure. Thank you for having me.


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Another episode you may enjoy


October 11, 2018

Meditation for a better life with Dr Daniel Siegel

In Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence, Dr. Daniel Siegel teaches us how to use meditation for a better life, better relationships, and stress reduction.

Allan (1:07): Dr. Siegel, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Siegel (1:12): Allan, it’s great to be with you.

Allan (1:14): You told a story in the book Aware how you had, I guess, someone who was a student or someone that was listening to one of your talks, and she came up. And due to where her head was, her awareness and the way she looked at the world, she misconstrued your name, Dan Siegel, to Dancing Eagle.

Dr. Siegel (1:34): That’s right. Dance Eagle.

Allan (1:37): I thought that was interesting because a very similar thing happened this morning, or a story my wife was telling me that happened yesterday. We’re traveling to Hattiesburg for a tailgating event this weekend for football. I’m going to go to the football game. And as we were planning that trip, I wanted to know if she was okay with us leaving early Saturday morning. So, I typed a text to her real quick, “Are you okay to go to Hburg (Hattiesburg) early Saturday morning?” And I sent that to her. Now, what I didn’t know and what happened was, because she had forgotten her lunch, she had gone over to Whataburger to get a burger, and they talked her into upsizing to the fries, so she was a little disappointed in herself. And she sees the text and she sees the term “Hburg” and she immediately reads “hamburger”.

Dr. Siegel (2:27): Oh my gosh.

Allan (2:33): We sometimes see reality one way and it’s not actually what’s happening. It’s just shaped by all these other things that are in our heads.

Dr. Siegel (2:41): Totally. You get primed, your mind is ready to look a certain direction when actually the things going around you are going in a different direction.

Allan (2:50): One of the reasons I reached out for your book in particular was, I haven’t talked about meditation, so I wanted to get someone on who was a real deep thinker in this topic. And I was really glad to see your book come out so we could have this conversation. You took me on a journey that I was not expecting. When I’ve looked at meditation in the past, I’ve always thought of it as more of a stress management, Zen kind of activity, but there are a lot of other benefits that we can get out of meditation.

Dr. Siegel (3:26): Absolutely. And meditation is a word that sometimes gets people confused, or they have certain emotional reactions to it. It just means some practice to cultivate your mind, to develop your mind in a positive direction, to strengthen your mind really. When you look at it that way, there are different aspects of the mind of course, like focusing attention or how you have certain kinds of intention, and you can actually strengthen those abilities. So, in the book I wanted to really review what does the science tell us of meditation, and then how can you actually learn to do what science says is really helpful for your mind, your body, your relationships? That’s why I wrote the book Aware, to put all that in one place.

Allan (4:12): I actually think the human brain is fascinating, and the way that we do things, like, Hattiesburg and hamburger. You went really, really deep on this, but to start the context of it, you gave me what I thought was a very brilliant tool to manage this practice, and you call it “The Wheel of Awareness”. Do you mind going through and briefly defining The Wheel of Awareness and how we can use that to, in a way, better structure a meditation practice? I know I’ve gone through walkthroughs with people, or the guided meditations, but this one was one of the, I guess, most comprehensive, but easy to understand methods I’ve ever seen.

Dr. Siegel (4:56): I’m so happy to hear that, Allan. My daughter will be happy to hear it too because she helped me with the drawings in the book. She’s in her 20s, she’s a meditator. It was really important for me in setting up this book, and for Maddie, my daughter as the illustrator, to try to make things as direct and clear and understandable as possible, while at the same time not leaving out anything about the incredible richness and depth of what we know from science and what you’re going to experience in your own meditation practice. So, The Wheel of Awareness is a really simple and accessible tool. It’s an idea that’s also in meditation, where you take two scientific concepts, which are really foundational in the work I do, and bringing them into one approach. Those two ideas are this – health and wellbeing come from a process that we can simply name “integration”. And integration is where different things are brought together, where you link or connect differentiated or specialized things. If you think about walking, your left leg and your right leg need to be different from each other, but to walk smoothly, you need to link them – left, right, left, right. That kind of thing. In a relationship like with your wife, when you’re going to go tailgating, you want to know, “I would like to leave early and I need to check with her to see what her needs are.” So you were right there, Allan; you were differentiating your needs. But in reaching out to her and asking her, even though she interpreted “Hburg” as “hamburger”, she was being linked to you. So you were offering an integrating experience, knowing she’s different from you. That’s the differentiation. But then reaching out with compassionate, respectful communication – that’s the linkage. So, whether it’s an integrated relationship or an integrated brain and body, that seems to be the basis of wellbeing. It’s remarkably simple, but incredibly supported by science.

The second scientific statement is that consciousness, being aware, is needed for change. When you want to intentionally try to change something, like the plans for when you’re going to the tailgating thing – you both have to be conscious of what you’re doing. So I thought, what happens if you integrate consciousness? And there’s a table in my office with a glass center, and I said, if consciousness is simply defined as having the knowing, like if I say “Hello”, you know I said “Hello”, but there’s also the sound “Hello”. If we put the knowing, called “being aware” in the hub of a table, in this case that’s called a wheel, a hub of a wheel; on the rim, we would put the knowns, like in this case the sound that we know from hearing or sight, which is basically light coming into us, or smell, taste and touch. So you have the first of four segments of the rim, which would be the outside world coming into you that you touch, you smell, you taste, you hear. Then you move the spoke of attention over, this singular spoke, and then you explore the interior sensations of the body, like the feelings in your muscles or your bones or your organs like your lungs, for example. You move this spoke over again to the third segment of the rim, which is all the different thoughts and feelings and memories, your images you might have, mental activities. And then you move this spoke over one more time to your sense of relationship, like your feeling of connection to your wife, or your friends who are going to be at the tailgating party. Those are interconnections in the relational world in which we live, and we can open up to sensing them in this fourth segment of the rim. And then in a little bit of a more advanced step, we actually take that spoke of attention and bend it around and just explore the hub itself. Pure awareness. I did this with patients and they started getting better from anxiety, mild to moderate depression, dealing with trauma and dealing with some issues just to finding meaning in life. It was really helpful. And then I did it with my students who are therapists. They found it helpful. So I started doing it in workshops, and then as a scientist I just decided to do it systematically. So I did it with 10,000 participants in workshops. I had them take the microphone, and for those who took the microphone, recorded those results, and then saw universal patterns around the planet, because I did it all around the world, and then tried to explain from a scientific point of view, what does the wheel do for us that can bring such health benefits? And then, what does it tell us about the nature of our minds?

Allan (10:07): I think that’s where at first, sometimes it’s a little easy to get lost on this. But to recap, the way I interpreted this was, if I think of a wheel – a top of a table, or a wheel – I’m in the middle and this is my current state of awareness, my current knowing. And then there’s this other stuff coming in. I’ve got what my eyes, ears, nose and everything is telling me about my world. I’ve got the information that my body is giving me about what’s going on – pains, aches, stiffness, soreness, itching or all that’s coming in from my body. And most of the meditations I’ve done had been there, and I never really turned around and say, “Let’s talk about my state of mind. What am I thinking and what do those thoughts mean? Am I interpreting from a place of goodness and good intention?” That to me was a next step. Then you get to that fourth level or fourth part of the circle on the outer rim, where now you’re thinking about what other people mean, can I emote and understand their perspectives and their communication and those kinds of inputs, awareness that’s there? And as you do this, you didn’t say this so much in the book, but I kind of felt like you start to try to expand that hub in the middle, that the hub actually would feel like it’s getting bigger.

Dr. Siegel (11:40): Yes, exactly. That’s an analogy, like if your hub is just the size of an espresso cup, it’s small. And if life dishes out a challenge, like a tablespoon of salt, and you dump it into that small container of awareness, let’s say it’s like water – it’s too salty to drink. But if you expand, just like you’re saying, Allan – if you expand that hub so it’s like a 100–gallon size, which you can do with The Wheel of Awareness practice – then when life dishes out a challenge, which is the analogy of a tablespoon of salt, you’d dump it into 100 gallons; it’s fresh to the taste. So, it’s really important that we cultivate that hub of awareness, and in the book, you learn how to do that.

Allan (12:25): You based this on what you call “three pillars of mind-training”. I think it’s really important for us to understand that, because if you use these three pillars, I really do believe this gives that practice, the energy to make it succeed. Do you mind going through the three pillars of mind-training?

Dr. Siegel (12:44): Absolutely. This is what scientists have stated are the three, and there’s probably going to be more in the future, but right now these are the three that are foundational, because they build the structure of a really solid meditation practice. The first of these three pillars is “learning how to focus attention”. You’d be surprised how accessible this is for children or adolescents or adults even, to strengthen their ability to focus attention, notice when a distraction is there, and redirect back to their intended target of attention. When people learn to focus attention, you strengthen those areas of the brain, of course, that you’re using for attentional processing. That’s the first pillar – focused attention. It lets you see with more clarity, depth and detail, because you’re stabilizing your ability to hold attention.

The second pillar is called “open awareness”, and this is where you are basically learning to sit in the hub and invite anything in from the rim. It’s a kind of “bring it on” attitude, and this amazingly has a different kind of impact on the brain, but it allows you basically to distinguish a spaciousness of awareness in the hub from the particular things you could be aware of on the rim. So instead of like the focused attention thing where let’s say you choose sight for your particular focus at that moment, or hearing, instead now what you’re doing is you’re saying, “I’m not going to choose a point on the rim. I’m actually going to rest in the hub.” And that further differentiates hub from rim, which is very important, as we can talk about in a moment.

The third pillar beyond open awareness and focused attention is, I call it “kind intention”. Other people call it “loving kindness” or “compassion training”. If you think about the mind, the mind can have a mental set, kind of an attitude, if you will, and that attitude can be angry and hostile, or can be kind and caring. When you cultivate a kind and caring attitude – we’ll just simply call it intention – it really sets the whole tone of the day. It sets your emotional responses to things, it sets your responses to yourself and others, it sets your responses in terms of how you’re going to behave. And the research is really clear. The more kindness you have in your life, the healthier your body is, the healthier your relationships are, and overall the healthier your whole life becomes. So, kindness is not just icing on the cake, and it’s not even the cake. It is the main meal. You can cultivate it. And when you put these three things together, I call it “three pillar training”, research shows it’s going to do a number of really, really positive things in your body and your brain, that if we name them, if you hear this list, you would say, “Oh my gosh. If there’s a vitamin that would give me that, I’ll take it every day.” And it’s not a vitamin, but it’s a very simple practice, just like you brush your teeth every day. You can develop a regular practice of doing these three pillar trainings, and they’re all embedded into one practice of the wheel, fortunately. So, if you run around finding different practices, you could just do one practice; you get all three of the pillars.

Allan (16:23): Yes. One of the reasons that I’ve had a renewed interest in meditation in the last couple of years is stress levels. Right now, that’s one of my core goals in life, is to do some things that help me reduce and/or manage stress. When I got into the book, as I said, it really took me in an entirely different direction to understand the true value of meditation. I really related to the story you told of Zachary as he went through, because he, like me, was working in a kind of environment where he couldn’t necessarily be himself or didn’t feel like he could be himself and be real. As a result, he had a lot of relationship issues with work and otherwise; he had pain even. And using the practice, it really did change him. I’d like for you to, if you don’t mind, go through and tell us a bit about Zachary’s story.

Dr. Siegel (17:26): Absolutely. Allan, thanks for pointing that out because first of all, in terms of your first statements, a lot of people turn to meditation because of stress. I think it’s a most common view that you hear people say is, meditation or mindfulness is a stress reducer. And while that’s true, as you’re pointing out, it is so much more, and Zachary’s story is a beautiful example of that. I started doing The Wheel of Awareness in workshops, and there was one center, Ed Bacon’s Episcopal Church in Pasadena, where Ed is the pastor. He wanted me to do a Wheel of Awareness seminar. So we did a 3-day workshop, and it was filled. We had 300 people come, and one of the participants was a fellow we’ll just call Zachary. When Zachary came, his brother brought him. He had just a little bit of a restless feeling at work, like maybe it wasn’t exactly as fulfilling as he hoped it would be. He was very successful financially, had a spouse and several kids. The family life was great. His wife was very happy with him, he was happy with her. Everything was going fine, but as he told later on, something just wasn’t quite right. And so his brother said, “Let’s see what happens. Come to this workshop.”

So, he comes to the workshop, and when he’s doing the wheel practice, two things happen in the workshop. We do the wheel several times. The first was that he had had a pain in his body, and I remember where it was in the actual person, but I don’t remember how I changed the pain in the book. Let’s just say it’s in the shoulder, chronic pain in his shoulder. May have been his knee or his hip or something. So he has this chronic pain, and during the wheel practice, as he’s going through exploring the signals from the outside world in the first segment, the inner sense of the body, becomes aware of his shoulder of course, because you go through the whole body. When he gets to exploring mental activities and opening awareness, suddenly the pain hugely decreases in intensity. And then when he bends his spoke around, something shifts and it’s kind of a tingling sensation in his body. He does the wheel a second time – same thing. And at the end he comes up to me and says, “I don’t know what happened, but I’ve had this pain for like 15 years, and it’s gone.”

And if it was just Zachary, I would have been like, “Oh my God, what a weird thing.” But this happens an every workshop I do. When you do it with 10,000 people, you get a lot of data. It turns out that there’s a whole set of research studies on this, where practices with the three pillars that some people call “mindfulness practices”, other people wouldn’t put the kindness in there for that. It’s a big debate in the field. Don’t worry about that. But anyway, we’ll just call it “mind-training practices”. They do have not only a decrease in the subjective feeling of pain, but when you put a person in a brain scanner and you look at how pain is registered in the brain before and after the meditative practice – sure enough, there are far less signals in the brain registering pain. So it’s not just like a person’s ignoring it; it’s actually less pain. That was remarkable, and that really affected him that you could do something with your mind that affected you so powerfully.

The second thing that happened was when he bent the spoke around into the hub itself and just explored the hub, he said what quite a few people have said actually. It’s hard in this context just to say it, but he experienced a feeling of love and connection to other people, and this interconnected feeling of being a part of a larger world, of nature, of life, that he had never felt before. And it brought tears to his eyes, and it gave him this, in his words, feeling of meaning that he then began to realize was missing in the kind of work he was doing. So, a year passed and Ed Bacon asked me to do the workshop again. And this fellow came with his brother to a lunch we had right before the start of the next year’s workshop. It was amazing, because we all had lunch together, and he said that that first workshop gave him such a powerful experience of losing the pain and gaining a sense of meaning and connection, that he felt he really wanted to pursue more about that and had made plans to switch to a new career, where he could involve The Wheel of Awareness and practices like that, that could get you in touch with a deeper sense of purpose in life. The second workshop had the same kinds of results for him and others as well.

And he’s not alone. People find this clarity when they distinguish hub from rim and integrate consciousness, where they realize you could live a life of meaning and connections, life with purpose, that research shows is actually a fabulous way to bring more fulfillment to life, bring a feeling of things being really powerfully significant. So, rather than what he was doing before, which was good – he was successful financially, bringing in financial resources for the family – that’s important. But he really felt something had been missing. And now, years later of course, he is pursuing this career where he can make this a part of his life, and he’s thrilled about it. Even the way he holds himself, you can tell when you speak with him, is just very different. He’s very alive, and every day feels like an incredible gift for him.

Allan (23:56): That was what resonated with me with this story, that he wasn’t necessarily looking for these as he got into the practice. But by following a set practice like you’ve put together here with The Wheel of Awareness and using the three pillars, it opened him up to release those things and find more meaning, and the pain went away. Those to me are magic, when you break it down. But it’s founded in science. I’ve had other authors on, like Dr. Tatta and his book Heal Your Pain Now. That’s one of the things he was saying, that you’ve got to get your mind as a part of the solution for the pain, and it works. But again, the book was really, really deep. It goes into the way the brain works, it talks about a lot of the science, which I thought was fascinating, because I really do enjoy kind of geeking out on some of these things. But to take this back down, The Wheel of Awareness and the three pillars – that is a basis. I was fortunate I bought the audio book, so I was able to listen along as you talked us through the practice. I know you have some of that on your website as well. If someone wanted to learn more about the book, learn more about you or get the information you have on the website, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Siegel (25:20): I think going to the website is a great idea. Allan. It’s DrDanSiegel.com. There you’ll find free resources. So you can go to the Resource tab and do The Wheel of Awareness practice if you’ve never done a practice like that. You could do the Breath practice first for a little bit. The videos we have up for free, and all sorts of stuff, are really intended to let people get familiar with these ideas, because just as you’re saying, there is a practice you can start doing that’s going to really help bring health and connection and meaning in your life. If you’re interested, like Allan is, and as you said, geeking out of really learning about this stuff, the way I divided up the book is, the first part you learn the practice, and that’s it. You don’t need to read the science. But the second part you learn some of the science if you want to learn it. You don’t need to learn it at all, but if you do, you realize how. And when you get into the third part of the book, how did Zachary change? Where does meaning and connection come from? I’m an educator and a clinician and a scientist and a father and all sorts of things. I really want to know how these things happen. So, if you’re up for it, in part three, you explore the life situations of five real people and how when you understand the science, you do get to a really deep clarity about why Zachary was able to change and what the wheel meant for him. And then in part four, it basically says, “Let’s see how you can weave this way of living essentially with an expanded hub. How can you bring that into your life in a regular way?” We have things called “dedicated” or “formal” practices that we do 10 minutes, 20 minutes a day. But the real integration happens when you weave the learnings from that time into how you live your whole day. That fourth part of the book says, “Let’s talk about that. Here’s how you can do it.”

My hope is that the book will be a very practical guide, including the science for people who want to dive into it, but you don’t need to dive into it, so that you know. As Louis Pasteur, the scientist, once said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” So, even if you just get a glimpse of what the science is saying, get a feeling for it, workshop participants have told me even though they didn’t understand all of the science, and no one does, even people presenting it – you get a glimpse of it, and that glimpse gives you a clarity about what something like the hub really means and why accessing and expanding it is so helpful for you. You’re integrating your brain. Literally, you’re going to strengthen the structure of your brain. You’re going to make your immune system function better, reduce stress, optimize your cardiovascular functioning. You’re going to reduce inflammation. This blew my mind – you’re going to even optimize an enzyme that repairs and maintains the ends of your chromosomes. And when I turned the book into my colleagues who had written about that, Elissa Epel – one of them – wrote me back. She said, “Dan, this is a great book and everything’s accurate, but you left something out.” And I go, “Oh my God, I have to write another chapter. What did I leave out?” And she had written a book called The Telomere Effect with the Nobel prize winning Elizabeth Blackburn. So Elissa writes me back and she says, “You need to say that these trainings that the wheel has, slow the aging process.” So I wrote back to her and I said, “How can I say that?” She goes, “Because that’s what it does.” And this is the world’s expert on aging.

Allan (29:27): I’ve had her on the podcast. We talked about The Telomere Effect, and yes, it actually does.

Dr. Siegel (29:32): It’s amazing.

Allan (29:33): But the cool thing is – and this is a bad analogy for me to use – is that you’ve lit a fire under my butt to really ignite and start doing my meditation practice. And I know I should pick a calmer analogy, but nothing comes to mind.

Dr. Siegel (29:47): No, that’s good. We’ve got to light each other up, Allan. That’s what we’ve got to do. That’s a good analogy, I love it.

Allan (29:52): Alright. If you want to find that website, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/342, and I’ll be sure to have a link there to Dr. Siegel’s website and to the book. Dr. Siegel, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Siegel (30:08): Allan, it’s a pleasure. Thank you.

Allan (31:17): If you enjoyed today’s episode, would you please take just one moment and leave us a rating and review on the application that you’re listening to this podcast right now? I’d really appreciate it, and it does help other people find the podcast, because it tells the people that are hosting these podcast episodes out there on their apps that you’re interested and they know that other people like you might be interested. So please do that. If you can’t figure out how to do that on your app, you can email me directly and I’ll try to figure it out for you. Or you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Review, and that’ll take you to the iTunes where you can launch that and leave a review there. I really appreciate the ratings and reviews. It does help the podcast, it helps me, so thank you very much for that.

Also, I’d really like to continue this conversation a little bit further, so if you haven’t already, why don’t you go ahead and join our Facebook group? You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group, and that’ll take you to our Facebook group where you can request entry. It’s a really cool group of people, likeminded, all in our 40s, all trying to get healthy and fit. I’d really love to have you out there and have you a part of that conversation. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group.

October is really shaping up to be a busy, busy month for me. As you know, we did the Ketofest a few days ago, and that turned out really good. Really enjoyed spending time with folks there, and I hope you enjoyed it if you were there. Of course, I’m putting out the extra episodes each week; I hope that you’re enjoying those. I know I enjoy the conversations. I’m recording a little bit in advance just to keep up with it, because it’s a lot of work putting on a podcast episode. And then of course there’s the work on the book. Even though we finished the manuscript and it’s going into the phases of getting it turned into a book, and now an audio book, there are still so many moving parts to that. I want you to be in the forefront of that. I want you to be on the team with me, please. So, go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and join the launch team. I’m not going to ask a whole lot from you there, but you’re going to get a lot of bonuses, a lot of extra content, things I can’t share with anybody else, things I won’t share with anybody else. You’re going to be on my select team to be on the forefront of launching this book. I think this book is going to do a lot of good for a lot of people, and I want you to be a part of that team. So, go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com. Thank you.


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