The Amen’s Simple Guidelines For Optimal Nutrition Pt. II

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

In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen wrap up their discussion on nutrition from the Amen Clinics company-wide presentation. Here you will learn the final nutrition guidelines you can use to properly arm you against the weapons of mass destruction out there that try to destroy your health and well-being.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: 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.
Dr. Daniel Amen: 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 personalized treatment to your brain. For more information visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more go to
Hi. This is Tana Amen. This episode wraps up our series on Nutrition from a company event we held here at Amen Clinics. This last episode concludes our guidelines for everyday nutrition. Since it was a live recorded event, you may notice a change of audio quality. We will be back to our normal episodes next week. I hope you guys enjoy it.
This study is so interesting to me. When I was working with the guys at the Salvation Army who were trying to get well from addiction, and they were serving the worst foods is that's why they wanted us to come. I was talking to these guys about eating healthy. They were like, "But, I already gave up drugs. I need something." They wanted caffeine. They want cigarettes. They want sugar. And so, I'm like, "Really. Well, take a look at this study," and they got it immediately.
Oreos, according to this study, which means sugar and processed fat like trans fats are not only as addictive as cocaine and morphine, but it showed that sugar was eight times more addictive. It affected the nucleus accumbens in the brain. That pleasure button you guys have been hearing about. It affected that eight times more strongly than cocaine and morphine.
If you are constantly pressing the same button that the drugs were pressing, and you're trying to learn how to be sober, you can see where this is a problem. These guys just got it. They just got it. I mean I had the most amazing testimonials I think I've ever gotten were from that group of guys.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I have some of their pictures.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Sugar actually wears out the pleasure center in your brain, like we talked last time. You just want to be careful with it.
Tana Amen: When they offered a group of mice cocaine and sugar, they took the sugar every time.
Tana Amen: When they gave them the cocaine first, they liked it, but when they gave them the option, they chose the sugar every time.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We're not a fan of the sugar substitutes because they can mess with your microbiome.
Tana Amen: They also increase hemoglobin A1c, the [inaudible 00:02:50] especially, even though they're not increasing blood sugar.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We're fans of Stevia. It's actually been shown to kill the Lyme bacteria. Erythritol, it's the one that tastes most like sugar, and virtually has no calories. Monk fruit is another good one.
Tana Amen: Eat from the rainbow, so what we've been talking about, foods of many different colors, plants, lots and lots of plants, high fiber plants, low glycemic index, if you're paying attention to that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Medicine, feeding your probiotics.
Tana Amen: Right. It's just so pretty when you make food that looks like this. It's just appealing, boosts your antioxidants, and it helps keep your brain young.
Dr. Daniel Amen: But, not artificially colored because people can actually have a negative response. This is one of our patients who used to get violent with red dye. I mean there is so many reasons why kids have problems that just immediately going to Adderall is insane if you've [crosstalk 00:03:54] never managed their diet.
Tana Amen: Well, if you don't have this information, and you look at the increase in everything that's happening with society, and especially with our kids, and I have the information now, and I'm taking my daughter to school, and I'm watching parents who you can see they're late, they're running out the grocery store, that's across the street, with donuts, and then you're wondering why your kids are in trouble. You've got to start with that stuff and then see what happens. [inaudible 00:04:19] medication. But, at least do the part you know you can do.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I have a quote in my new book from someone from the 14th century that said, "If something can be treated with diet, you must do that first." Isn't that crazy? "If something can be treated with diet, you must do that first."
Do you want to do this one? This is Tana at the spice market in Istanbul.
Tana Amen: Yeah, the spice market was so amazing. But herbs and spices, I mean they really are that boost. Food is medicine. The herbs and spices just gives you that extra jolt. They give you that extra boost. They're just concentrated medicine, right, so the concentrated form of food medicine. Just like the curcumin that we have that helps decrease inflammation. It also helps to decrease the plaques in your brain associated with Alzheimer's disease when it's combined with Vitamin D, so all of this stuff is really important. Garlic and oregano, boosts blood flow to the brain. I trip over that every time. Saffron, lots of studies showing that its-
Dr. Daniel Amen: I had saffron in my tea this morning.
Tana Amen: Yeah, I put it in my tea all the time. It's got an antidepressant effects. Rosemary, thyme, and sage, my favorite herbs for ... I always feel like breaking out into song with that. You don't want me to do that. Rosemary, thyme, and sage are my favorite herbs for cooking. They enhance memory. Ginger, cayenne, black pepper, I love putting ginger and cayenne in warm lemon water in the morning. It's my favorite thing to do in the morning. And cinnamon boosts attention.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's an aphrodisiac for men, so I'm a huge fan of it.
Tana Amen: Apparently that's why his mother has so many children.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Okay. These are not hard rules. It's just you want to be thinking, you also want to limit anything that's toxic, right. We talked about brain health. It's basically three things. Brain envy, you got to care about it. Avoid anything that hurts it, and do things that help it. Food is exactly the same way. You want to care about your body. You do it not because you should, but because you love yourself. Avoid anything that hurts you. Do things that help you. And unfortunately, pizza is the worst.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Right. [crosstalk 00:06:39] If you looked on here.
Tana Amen: How many of you actually had a chance to go through The Brain Warrior's Wake Cookbook? Just looked through it? I would suggest you do that because when I was on this journey, one of the reasons I did those books, people often asked me, "Well, why did you do that?" I mean I'm a neurosurgical ICU nurse. It's not my thing. But, then I took ... started 100 hours in metabolic medicine, and it was really to get myself well. I was tired of doctors telling me, "Oh, you should just be grateful. Maybe you should see a psychiatrist, so you can learn how to deal with all the stuff that you have to take." Okay. I'm smarter than that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That is not how we met. She is not one of my patients. [crosstalk 00:07:19]. She is one of my projects.
Tana Amen: I really went on this quest, this journey to figure out what part food plays? What part not just nutrition, but overall lifestyle plays? That's when I put all that into the Omni diet, and then I thought okay, people are still saying, "It's too hard," so they don't understand. "It's too hard. It's too expensive. I don't know how to do it."
My favorite cookbook that I have done is Brain Warrior's Way. It has the most snacks, the most desserts for kids, if you want to get kids involved, but it's got the easiest recipes. It also has lots of vegan recipes. I would just encourage you to look at it because even if you don't like the foods in there it'll give you the guideline. I'll give you the template of how to do it. It's not as hard as it sounds. [crosstalk 00:08:03] the recipes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I actually like Healing ADD Through Food a lot because it's so many of our patients have such short attention spans-
Tana Amen: It's the same philosophy though.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... that there are a lot of recipes that's only five ingredients, or less.
Tana Amen: But, so does Brain Warrior's Way. I made sure I did the same thing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Sugar and artificial sweeteners, we've covered that. Processed foods loaded with omega 6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory. Gluten, and the problem with gluten is in 100% of people it increases leaky gut, so not everybody is Celiac, and seriously gluten sensitive. 7% of the population is, but in 100% of us it increases leaky gut.
Tana Amen: It also affects the brain though, if you listen to Dr. [Chromeledder 00:08:49], and the studies he quotes. I mean he's adamantly against it for brain function.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Because it screws up their gut.
Victor is a patient of ours in New York. He came to see us after he failed multiple treatments for depression. He'd been depressed for 30 years, actually had ECT 40 times. The scan was not good. He saw Erica, one of our great coaches, and she put him on an elimination diet. Elimination diet is basically, you eliminate all this stuff, and then you add them back one at a time. After the elimination diet, he felt dramatically better.
They gave him gluten as a test. Nothing happened. Then they gave him dairy as a test. Nothing happened. And then they gave him corn, and he said that within about 20 minutes he had a vision of a gun in his mouth holding the trigger. Think about that, all the money, and all of the suffering, not only for him, all of us know this who work at Amen Clinics, it's just not him, right, it's his wife, it's his children, it's his parents. Everybody around the person who suffers with depression suffers with depression. And so, he broke up with corn, right.
As opposed to some of my patients, "Oh, but I love it." Yeah, it doesn't love you back.
Tana Amen: Get over it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: From the Brain Warrior's Way Cookbook, I actually made Tana an almond milk pumpkin pie spice cappuccino this morning. I do that every morning because she has manipulated me into doing it for her. It's also an act of love. Tana make something called [Tanana 00:10:59] pancakes, high in fiber.
Tana Amen: Very low carbohydrates.
Dr. Daniel Amen: There is flour in this, low carbohydrate, tastes amazing.
Tana Amen: And flour less.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And one of her smoothie.
Tana Amen: I love the ...
Dr. Daniel Amen: Sesame.
Tana Amen: ... sesame bars.
Dr. Daniel Amen: There is no suffering in getting well.
Tana Amen: It's not that hard.
Dr. Daniel Amen: God gave you a big brain for a reason. You already have bad habits, right. You already have habits. I usually do this for breakfast. I do this for snacks. I do this for lunch. You just have to make some small tweaks and go, "Does my breakfast love me back?" And if it doesn't love you back then you need therapy. You either need a new diet, or you need therapy to understand why you're in love with this that hurt you.
I love those wings, popcorn shrimp, but that's not with flour. Her lamb chops are to die for, but you live longer. Nutty Butter cups from-
Tana Amen: The lemon squares are awesome.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... from our Brain and Love. These are two ingredients. It's basically, melt brain and love. Put them in these little cups, and put a little dab of cashew butter, or almond butter in the middle. They taste like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, but nothing bad for you.
Tana Amen: I'm gonna turn these into protein cups, protein butter cups because we were talking about we need protein. I'm gonna figure out how to [inaudible 00:12:25].
Dr. Daniel Amen: Dr. [Rishishoon 00:12:28] hopefully [Rishi 00:12:29] is listening. Actually I think he lost more than 57 pounds now. He wrote to me and Tana. He said I was a hypocrite.
Tana Amen: That's just honest.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I was telling people to get well, and I wasn't doing it myself. He set goals, and he stuck to them. He read Change Your Brain Change Your Life and The Omni Diet. On Tana's page 6, there is a grocery list and he just completely changed his body. He was just in Peru, and went 21,000 feet up a mountain. It's incredible.
Tana Amen: What I like about what he said here because this is what we tell people to do, he figured out the tool that worked for him, right. We want you to figure out a couple of tools that help you. For him, it was a grocery list. He didn't know what to buy. He just used the grocery list. We've got that actually on my website. We have a shopping list.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Oh, man is so good. You virtually have all of your recipes.
Tana Amen: Right. Not all of them, but we have a lot. But, just get a couple of tools that help you put it together. On the website, you can actually pick a recipe. Click on it. It'll actually put your shopping list together for you. It's just find those tools that you need. Find the five recipes to get you started.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The little tiny habit, does this behavior love me back?
Tana Amen: This is [Laura Heizelman 00:13:57]. She stalked Daniel for actually a long time. She was really interested in all the brain health, but then Daniel basically told her, if you want to have a healthy brain you have to get healthy. You have to lose weight. You have to start exercising, take care of yourself. He recommended that she take my Omni Diet course. At the time, I was teaching the 12 week course for food, and exercise, and just lifestyle. She lost over 50 pounds, lost her rosacea, her hot flashes. All of a sudden her energy just went way up. She's the director of a chemical addiction recovery program and she realized, if we are not-
Dr. Daniel Amen: For the Salvation Army.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Which is one of the most unhealthy organizations I've been involved with. There the level of obesity-
Tana Amen: Diabetes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... diabetes is horrifying.
Tana Amen: She realized that they were not feeding them well. And if they didn't feed them well they were actually inadvertently, unintentionally contributing to their illness. That's why we got involved. That's the study I was showing you earlier. It's these guys that I really helped through that. By her getting healthy, she got her family healthy. She just got it, and these are the guys. Some of them lost 85 pounds.
One guy Thomas, this is him. The game squad broke his door down. Some of these guys are given a court order to be there. They are not there because they want to be there. It's here, or jail. Thomas was one of those guys. He was a hard core dude, but he just got it somehow. He was really depressed and his words when he first started the program, he was depressed, foggy, moody, had no reason to live.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Failed his GED three times.
Tana Amen: Three times. Couldn't pass the GED. At the end he had lost 85 pounds. He actually lost a little more than that, and he just was on fire. He comes running up to me with his big pants, and he was giving me a hug and he was like, "I just cannot believe the difference." He passed his GED. He just said, "I've never had more energy. I just feel so focused. I'm not depressed. I'm happy," so it was just amazing. He ends his testimonial, and he wrote me a testimonial and he said, "My life was a mess and now it's a message. I've been tested, and now I have a testimony. I was a victim, and now I'm victorious. I went through trials, and now I am triumphant."
Dr. Daniel Amen: And if he can do it, you can too.
Tana Amen: It's pretty amazing.
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Dr. Daniel Amen: If you're interested in coming to Amen Clinics, give us a call at (855) 978-1363.