Life After Your Breakup With Bad Food

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

Dr. Daniel Amen’s new book Feel Better Fast and Make It Last is packed with tips and tiny habits for changing your quality of life quickly and permanently. Perhaps the most effective of all the strategies mentioned in the book is the elimination diet. In this episode of the podcast, Daniel and Tana tell the remarkable story of Jeff, whose life was changed forever after seeking out and eliminating the one culprit in his diet that was attacking his mind and body.


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Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to The Brain Warriors Way podcast. I'm Doctor Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. Here we teach you how to win the fight for your brain to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD and addictions.
Dr Daniel Amen: The Brain Warriors Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we've transformed lives for three decades using brain spect imaging to better target treatment and natural ways to heal the brain. For more information visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warriors Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceutical products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information visit
Welcome to The Brain Warriors Way podcast.
Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome back. We're in our Feel Better Fast and Make It Last series.
Tana Amen: What is this week?
Dr Daniel Amen: This week we're going to talk about nutrition.
Tana Amen: Ah.
Dr Daniel Amen: Which is food and supplements, and this is so important.
Before we get there I want to read one of our podcast reviews. Thank you, we love when you send these in. This was just submitted this week by three Wiley girls.
Tana Amen: Oh cute.
Dr Daniel Amen: And it's titled, When Mama's Happy the Whole Family's Happy.
Tana Amen: Is that true?
Dr Daniel Amen: I have deep experience with this. Yes I do.
"This podcast was the first podcast I started listening too nearly four years ago and its changed my life and my family. My husband had severe acid reflux and allergies, he no longer had to take medicine."
Tana Amen: Wow.
Dr Daniel Amen: "My two girls, 13 and 14, are now eating healthy food as a choice."
Tana Amen: Awesome.
Dr Daniel Amen: "Not because they have too. I'm a middle-aged woman with midlife issues and I'm happy to report I run circles around women half my age."
Tana Amen: That's fantastic.
Dr Daniel Amen: "I've also learned how to love my brain, which in turn taught me how to love myself."
Tana Amen: That's fantastic.
Dr Daniel Amen: When Mama's Happy the Whole Family's Happy.
Tana Amen: So true.
Dr Daniel Amen: I love that.
Having a 13 and 14-year-old eat healthy by choice.
Tana Amen: Well and that's always our goal.
I mean, when they're little you have to make their choices for them but pretty soon they start to make their choices for themselves, even if you don't want them to because when they're at school, when they're with their friends, whether it's nutrition, sex, drugs. I mean, I hate to say that but if you've got kids in, you know, that are ...
Dr Daniel Amen: Now how did we get from food to sex and drugs?
Tana Amen: Because it's ... Because we're talking about decision making.
So what you really want to do is teach ...
Dr Daniel Amen: I'm like, what happened?
Tana Amen: Because what you really ... Maybe because I've got a lot going on right now with my daughter and her circle of friends, it's just crazy.
Dr Daniel Amen: Ah.
Tana Amen: Anyways, TMI.
What you really want to do, and what we have done and why we've had such good luck with our daughter and nieces, is you want them to start to hear their own voice. You cannot be the voice in their head when they're teenagers and you're not with them, and their friends are putting pressure on them to do things or when they're in college, you need them to hear their own voice. So that's what, that's the goal. That's the goal.
So let's talk about nutrition and how to do that.
Dr Daniel Amen: Wow, and when you and I wrote The Brain Warriors Way together we created this statement that is more powerful today then ever.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: The real weapons of mass destruction are highly processed, pesticide sprayed, high glycemic, low fiber, food-like substances, stored in plastic containers that are destroying the health of America. I'm not okay with that. I think we need to do better.
Let me start with a story that we have told before but it's so powerful, Jeff 53 suffered with anxiety, depression and insomnia for decades. He'd seen endocrinologists, psychiatrists, cardiologists, and sleep doctors with no relief. He tried multiple medications after a suicide attempt but none of them helped him.
Now, in medical school, and I went to, what I would consider, a progressive, healthy medical school
Tana Amen: Yup.
Dr Daniel Amen: In medical school I had to get aerobic points.
Tana Amen: Me too.
Dr Daniel Amen: I had to exercise.
Tana Amen: We did too.
Dr Daniel Amen: Isn't that interesting?
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: Two Christian medical schools.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: ORU for me.
Tana Amen: [inaudible 00:05:04]
Dr Daniel Amen: Oral Roberts University and Loma Linda for you.
Tana Amen: Loma ... Well Loma Linda, Seventh Day Adventist believe in living a life of temperance. So similar to our idea of the four circles. Right? So it had to be, you had to work on all aspects of your life. It had to be ...
Dr Daniel Amen: Biology, psychology.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: Social circle.
Tana Amen: And you had to temper all of those.
Dr Daniel Amen: Spiritual circle.
Well, when Jeff came to see us we had him see our nutritionist and the first thing she did was put him on an elimination diet. He sort of bucked it and didn't want to do it but she convinced him to do it. Within three weeks his depression went away, and as we often do, once you do an elimination diet, which is basically you just get rid of things that can hurt you and eat things that will help you.
Tana Amen: Yup.
Dr Daniel Amen: So you end up eliminating ...
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: Gluten, dairy, corn, soy, sugar.
Tana Amen: Sugar. Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: Artificial dyes and sweeteners.
Tana Amen: Okay, so you just freaked everybody out. So, we call it an elimination diet and I, I'm convinced there's a better word for it, but it's, it sounds awful, it's sounds like you're eliminating anything that you normally have in your diet, everything in your house, but really what we do is is we have you replace those things. We want you to take them out for a short time and we give you the things to replace. We give you delicious recipes, easy things to replace them with. It sounds hard, it's not that it's hard, it does take some thought, okay? But it's worth it because if you're not feeling well, what we want to do is, is we want to figure out what's causing it, okay?
So it's not that we're like, "Oh, we're just like going to like change your life, ruin your life forever," that's not the ...
That's what it feels like.
Dr Daniel Amen: See, see I didn't go there at all with it.
Tana Amen: But that's what people think. I hear them. They write to me, "There's just no way, Doc. There's just no way." I mean, I hear this all the time.
Dr Daniel Amen: Oh my God, there's 10,000 things you can eat.
Tana Amen: Right. Right. And that's what we need to focus on.
Dr Daniel Amen: What we just want you to get rid of are the things that potentially could hurt you, they don't hurt everybody.
Tana Amen: And the first thing I tell people is, "Look ..."
Dr Daniel Amen: Let me finish this story.
Tana Amen: Wait. Just give me two weeks. Okay, just ...
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, you have a new cookbook and if they pre-order the book they can download, for free right now, the 10-Day Brain Boost.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: You order our new cookbook.
Tana Amen: Give me 10 days.
Dr Daniel Amen: Exactly.
Tana Amen: If you don't feel better in 10 days go back to feeling like a slug and sitting on your couch.
Dr Daniel Amen: All right. Anyways, Jeff did this and begrudgingly ...
Tana Amen: Like many people.
Dr Daniel Amen: Got rid of the potential allergens or toxins in his diet and he felt better. I mean it's unbelievable. He'd been suffering for decades and no one had ever talked to him about getting his food right.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: So his depression goes away and so the nutritionist added back gluten. Nothing happened.
Tana Amen: He was fine.
Dr Daniel Amen: He's fine.
Tana Amen: Which doesn't happen for a lot of people but he was fine.
Dr Daniel Amen: Then she added back dairy and nothing happened.
Tana Amen: He was fine.
Dr Daniel Amen: And he was fine. Then she added back corn and he said within 20 minutes he had a vision of putting a gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger.
Tana Amen: And it's not ... I mean, corn is like ... it's pretty, it's pretty common.
So I just want to tell quick story.
Dr Daniel Amen: Wait, I'm not done.
Tana Amen: Oh dear Lord. Okay.
Dr Daniel Amen: So he broke up with corn.
Tana Amen: Oh, I see. That's good.
Dr Daniel Amen: Nobody knows this.
Tana Amen: If someone pulled a gun on me I would breakup with them. Actually I would do more then breakup with them but ...
Dr Daniel Amen: I can't imagine what would happen if I pulled a gun on you.
Tana Amen: You can't, no, you cannot imagine. No ... Yeah, you wouldn't want to imagine it. But anyways, yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: So he decided that it was a bad relationship even though he loved corn chips, corn tortillas, popcorn, they obviously didn't love him back.
Both you and I have been in bad relationships in the past.
Tana Amen: Well and I want to point something out.
Dr Daniel Amen: And I'm not doing it anymore, and I'm damn sure not paying for it.
Tana Amen: I want to point something out. We live this way and I'm just going to be honest. I mean, there are periods in your life where you struggle a little more then other times because for us we keep each other on track, we keep each other accountable and it makes it a lot easier. But I had surgery this year, I had a hysterectomy in April, and something really weird happened, sort of unlike I think what happens to a lot of people, I lost a whole bunch of weight, like right away. It was bizarre. I mean, like I got underweight, I was like 116 pounds.
Dr Daniel Amen: That's because your uterus was a baby.
Tana Amen: Yeah, it was crazy. But anyways, I got down to 116 pounds and I didn't really know why. It was ... I was started like, I'm like, "Oh yeah, I get to eat whatever I want." So I was eating like crazy to try to put weight back on because I actually looked emaciated. So I'm like eating like crazy, trying to put weight back on and I sort of used it as an excuse for a couple days. I thought, "Oh, in a couple days it'll start to reverse and go back to normal." All of a sudden that didn't happen and so I'm like, "Oh, okay, well I'm going to keep eating a lot to try to put on ..."
I was eating really fatty stuff and healthy fats at first, and something started to happen. I all of a sudden I'm like, "Well, bring me a bean and cheese burrito," and then I'm like ... I did that and then I'm like ... I forget what I asked for next. I think it was gluten free pizza or something like that.
But then all of a sudden within a couple of days I started to feel sorry for myself for having to be in bed. Right? So I couldn't workout for six weeks and I started to feel a little bit sorry for myself. So then I'm like, "I'm feeling sorry for myself," so I'm like, "Bring me some other weird thing." I don't remember what the weird thing was. I started having cravings and I'm like, "Bring me ..." and I didn't even realize what was happening at first.
I really convinced myself that it was because I was underweight and I had to lay in bed and not exercise so I deserved it. I do this for a living.
Dr Daniel Amen: You gave yourself permission to hurt yourself.
Tana Amen: And I do this for a living and I was absolutely, 100% convinced that it was fine, that I was, it was justified. So the next thing I know, within about a week, I didn't, I was sort of down and glumy and just funky and foggy, and I didn't feel good.
I'm just trying to point this out to you because this happens. We get in these cycles but you got to be able to catch yourself and pull yourself back.
So I immediately was like, "All right, this is ridiculous. I need to get my energy back so I can get healthy. I need to heal." So I just, I started going right back to the basics, right back to what we tell you to do here, you got to start from ground zero and then go back and do this elimination diet. You'll start to feel better quickly. 10-Day Brian Boost.
Dr Daniel Amen: Coming up, we're going to talk about how to get your attitude right, about food, the Feel Better Fast Food Rules.
How timing matters and which foods to choose if you want better energy, if you want a better mood, if you want to be more flexible and reasons to avoid high protein, low carbohydrate diets.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: Stay with us.
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