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How To Turn Your Food Into Fuel Right Now, with Darin Olien

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

SuperLife author Darin Olien has travelled the globe researching the science behind how different types of food are processed in the body. One of his biggest takeaways from this journey is that there’s no reason to buy into the everchanging cycle of fads and diets out there. In the third episode in a series with Darin, he and the Amens discuss some simple fixes you can integrate into your food strategy to help optimize the way your body processes nutrients, and help it to fight off toxins.

For more info on Darin’s new book “SuperLife: 5 Simple Fixes That Will Make Your Healthy, Fit, and Eternally Awesome”, visit https://www.amazon.com/SuperLife-Simple-Healthy-Eternally-Awesome/dp/0062297198

For more on Darin’s new Netflix series “Down to Earth with Zac Efron”, visit https://www.netflix.com/title/80230601

Read Full Transcript

Daniel Amen, MD:

Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.

Daniel Amen, MD:

The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.

Welcome back to day three with Darin Olien. We’re having such a good time talking about food. You know that gets us excited. We love this idea. I’ve often said everything you put on the end of your fork matters because food is either medicine or it’s poison, literally. And you Darin have spent your life, not about your whole life, but you spent a significant portion of your life now studying the effects of food. And I love what you said about alchemy, combining. How do certain combinations of foods really affect us and how they heal our bodies, and today we’re going to talk about five simple fixes that will just make you healthy and fit. So welcome back, Darin.

Darin Olien:

Thank you. It’s great to be here. Yeah. I mean, it’s ironic that we say it’s simple. And it is in terms of that, because I think we’ve gotten out of our instinctual way of living, too. And so I try to break it down into a foundation that people can understand. One is this nutritional understanding, that we don’t have to buy into fads. We don’t have to buy into that this is bad, not as bad all the time and this carb phobia and this fat phobia and everything else. And so I just kind of make it very simple in the sense that, eat a diversity of plants. I’ve been plant-based for 17 years. I’m not also on that advocate saying everyone needs to do that, because we’re all individuals. However, I do believe that we need to eat more of the plant kingdom and it really comes down to the diversification of those foods. It’s so easy for us to just eat the same 10, 15, 20 foods every day.

And we really have to break that bad habit and get back to some of our ancestry who were eating 300 different types of foods throughout the week. So they were naturally foraging and finding and what that’s doing is that’s filling in the gaps of some of the nutrients that we need from the minerals to the vitamins to the enzymes to the antioxidants, the polyphenols that are helping us protect from free radicals. So I just really make a case in the book for a whole, healthy, plant-based, focused way of eating with a diversity of foods and colors are your best friend. So those are diversity of colors, it’s kind of that easy cheat, where those colors are representing different polyphenols and different antioxidants.

So you definitely can look at those bell peppers and you can see all the different kinds. Well, actually the red ones and the green ones have a huge amount, sometimes five, six, seven times more vitamin C for example, than the one next to it. So you really have to create diversity of eating. The other thing is I really started to talk about oxygenation from the standpoint of when you have an acid… Well, there’s a couple of things and they all relate. There’s alkalinization, where that is really the balance of acids and alkalies in our body. And that’s really a way of saying health is really through voltage. So pH is an indicator of conductivity when it relates to what you’re putting in your mouth. So it’s really voltage. So we really need to understand that our body’s healthy when it’s able to the batteries in their cells and everything. And we have enough water that we can conduct electricity.

And that electricity is really at the core of the body’s ability to heal or at the dampening of its inability to heal. So alkalinity, if you’re eating meat all day and processed foods all the time, and that’s a huge amount of acidity that you’re building up and your body will have to spend time and energy and resources to try to balance that.

And then I go into oxygenation. The more your body’s balanced from an acid-alkaline perspective, the more your body’s able and has the ability to receive more oxygen. So I also get into why that’s important. High oxygen environment creates this terrain where it doesn’t invite anaerobic bacteria and pathogens in it. So I get back to that essentially germ theory versus terrain theory, and that it really is your micro environments will push out bad bacteria or viruses and tell them that this is not a healthy place for you to survive as a bacteria. So the more we take care of ourselves, the more the oxygen is raised in our body, the more we have balance in so many other systems.

And then naturally through all of those principles, there’s a natural detoxification that happens. There’s a autophagy and senescence that naturally happens. You can definitely amp that up through fasting or intermittent fasting, but naturally when you have these other balances in place, your body starts to gobble up the garbage as senescence in your body. And then there’s an incredible other pillar I talk about, and that’s hydration. We talked about that in the episode, it’s one of the most favorite episodes. We’ve talked about the importance of water. And this is the astonishing to me that nearly 10% of all Americans don’t even drink an ounce of water a day.

And when you realize that 90% plus of your central nervous system and your brain is water, well over that of your blood and the overall body is 70% water, that when you’re under this kind of duress from the lack of water, that you’re suboptimal in your thinking process, your thought process, your ability to detox. Think of water as your greatest detox. It’s going in and out of the cell. It’s able to pull the garbage out and get it out of your body through your kidney and colon and things like that. So I really talking about these systems that people need to be aware of as they’re in this modern day world. And when these systems are imbalanced, you’re imbalanced. And that again, when we’re aware of all of that stuff, then you can really start bringing in some of the power foods and the superfoods as well to amp up. And especially now, the adaptogens to help stress, we’re all dealing with a level of stress right now because of our society problems and adaptogens are a great way to help improve the stress levels.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

One thing you said that I love, really helpful for me when I was first starting my journey into health, so many people think, well, as long as I’m putting food in my body, it’s fuel. But I love what you said about making sure the environment is not friendly to microbes and germs and things that make you sick. And that was something that I learned and my way of thinking about that to me was when we were in Paris one time. There was a strike and there was trash on the street. They weren’t picking up the trash, right? So all of a sudden you see critters coming out to get the trash. When there’s no trash, there’s no critter. So I started thinking, oh, wow, that’s so interesting. If I don’t take care of my internal body, I’m literally not taking out the trash. So the rats and the germs and everything else can come and invade.

And I’m very vulnerable and very susceptible. So I got to keep that environment ultra clean. I got to keep that trash picked up and that detox system working really well. And you can only do that if you’re doing the right things to support them.

Darin Olien:

And that’s so funny that you say that, because I used that exact example in my book. The trash example, exactly what you just said. And that’s if we are lacking the ability to take out that trash, then what has to show up as a part of this natural ecosystem? That’s exactly-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Got to go somewhere.

Daniel Amen, MD:

That’s one of the reasons why sleep is so important. People don’t understand that when you sleep, your brain cleans or washes itself, it has a whole other glymphatic system that opens up during sleep that was only discovered recently, that getting less than seven hours of sleep at night, the trash begins to build up. In our clinics, we have eight, soon to be nine clinics around the country. We do brain imaging studies, and we just see people have sleep apnea or chronic insomnia, they have significantly lower function to really important areas of their brain.

And so just the pillars that we totally agree on. Eating right, exercise.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Hydration.

Daniel Amen, MD:

You just mentioned in passing sunlight, but the dermatologists won, they made us afraid of the sun. And now 80% of the population is low in vitamin D. And if you’re low in vitamin D, you’re more susceptible to die from COVID-19. Low vitamin D is a universal risk factor for so many different things, including cancer. So getting these foundational strategy critical.

Darin Olien:

And none of it is hard. Being sick is hard.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Having cancer is hard.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Having cancer is hard. Well when we come back, we’re going to spend our final session with Darin actually answer your questions.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I love this.

Daniel Amen, MD:

We have a group of questions that we’ll have Darin help us with. His book is Super Life. Down to Earth is his new Netflix show. We are grateful to Darin so we could introduce him to our Brain Warrior audience. So what did you learn? Write it down, post it on any of your social media sites, write it down, take a picture. Post it.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Share it.

Daniel Amen, MD:

#BrainWarrior’sWayPodcast. We would be so grateful. Leave us a comment, question or review. We’ll enter you into a drawing to win either The Relentless Courage of A Scared Child or my new book, The End of Mental Illness. Stay with us.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

If you’re enjoying the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll always know when there’s a new episode. And while you’re at it, feel free to give us a review or five star rating as that helps others find the podcast.

Daniel Amen, MD:

If you’re considering coming to Amen Clinics or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from BrainMD, you can use the code podcast 10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com or a 10% discount on all supplements at brainmdhealth.com. For more information, give us a call at 855-978-1363.