We all know that eating the right foods plays a HUGE role in how we feel, but we often forget that our bad eating habits make it much more likely for us to continue to make poor decisions, thus enabling us to choose to eat more bad food. In the fourth and final episode of a series with “Brain Wash” author Dr. David Perlmutter, the Amens and Dr. Perlmutter give you tips for breaking out of the cycle of bad habits.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We are going to start your new year, your new decade off with a bang. Tana and I are going to do a six week live class. Starting January 21st, every Tuesday we're going to be with you for an hour. At the end we're going to give away over $20,000 in prizes. We look forward to helping you kick off this new year by becoming brain health revolutionaries.
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 personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
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 brainmd.com.
Tana Amen: Welcome back. We are still here with our friend and my mentor, Dr. David Perlmutter, and we're talking about his new book Brainwash, which I'm really excited about picking up. It's just been so interesting, all the things that affect us in an adverse way, and now we're talking about what we can do, some of the strategies we can use to take back control.
Tana Amen: Why don't patients do what you tell them to do if they know it's going to help them? Well, it's not just on them, it's because of the society we live in. I love what you've been saying. So we're talking about how to take control back and I love that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Let's talk about food. I know you have thought about food for a very long time. In Grain Brain and Brain Maker, you discuss it at length. You're also a professionally trained nutritionist. We would agree, and we talk about it on the Brain Warrior's Way podcast.
Tana Amen: We totally agree.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That you're in a war for the health of your brain. In fact, we say that ISIS has nothing on our food industry, that the real weapons of mass destruction are highly processed, pesticide sprayed, high glycemic, low fiber food-like substances stored in plastic containers that have been raised with antibiotics and hormones. I looked at your book, I'm like, "Oh, that sort of fits what David talks about."
Dr David Perlmutter: Sort of.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So talk about your interest and then how Brainwash can help people take control over their food because their nucleus accumbens, their pleasure centers, have been purposefully hijacked by the food industry that hires neuroscientists to get foods to be the perfect crunchiness, meltiness, saltiness, to just take over your pleasure centers, where cocaine and heroin work.
Dr David Perlmutter: Well, it's even worse than that. They're now using functional MRI to determine in fact what it is about food that lights up areas like the nucleus accumbens.
Tana Amen: Oh my gosh.
Dr David Perlmutter: That's readily available to the food industry.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Oh no. This has been happening since the early nineties. Home Depot was doing that for... And I'm like, I get criticized because I want to look at the brain function of my complex psychiatric patients. I mean, I've been called every bad thing you can imagine. I'm like, Home Depot gets to use it. Pepsi gets to use it.
Tana Amen: Food scientists.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And I don't. this is not fair.
Tana Amen: Gosh, I didn't realize that. That's crazy.
Dr David Perlmutter: You know what? Don't you feel good though anyway? You've just gone through that. I remember, this is off topic, but several years ago I was attacked as well. Somebody wrote this scathing article in a national magazine saying that, "Oh, Dr. Perlmutter changes his messaging because he used to tell us to eat a low fat diet and now he's telling us that some fat is good. There are such a thing as good fats." They wrote this scathing article and I remember the next morning I had an intervention from my publicist and editor and everybody and publisher and they said, "What are you going to do?" I said, "God bless him."
Tana Amen: Right. Nothing.
Dr David Perlmutter: That's the best he could do. So we let it go.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr David Perlmutter: Years ago I became interested in nutrition and the brain. I mean those things sound like they are completely disparate. But even to this day, there's very little discussion about the effects of our food choices on the health of our brain. Who knew? That's where Grain Brain came in. We talked about the damaging effects of sugar and refined carbs on the brain. Now that's certainly part of the discussion.
Dr David Perlmutter: But now as we move forward with Brainwash, we're realizing that our food choices affect our mood and affect our decision making. That's the news, that what we eat helps us decide in the future what we will eat. That if you choose badly today, if the evil ruler influences you to such an extent that you make bad choices, that fosters continued bad choices moving forward. So our message then is one of recognizing the fundamental role of inflammation in allowing us to either access the prefrontal cortex or not, how important it is then to choose wisely, to choose foods that do not foster inflammation. In fact, foods that will tamp down this process. Being careful of the oils and fats that we consume, recognizing that some fats are actually good, to eat foods that are rich in prebiotic fiber, fiber rich foods in general. Foods that are colorful, pretty much a reduction in animal based foods.
Dr David Perlmutter: We actually, believe it or not, from the Grain Brain author, our advocates now of OMD, one meal a day, being entirely plant-based. We chose to do that because of the fact that that is associated generally with reduced inflammation. As a matter of fact, it seems to be environmentally a good recommendation as well. That raised a lot of eyebrows, especially from those who would say that Grain Brain was simply the Atkins diet redux, which it was never intended to be nor was it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah, I was never a fan of the Atkins diet.
Dr David Perlmutter: But I think there's great value in recognizing that most of the food that we consume should really be plant-based and as such will help to reduce inflammation. Food affects our brain wiring, the hard wiring of our brains, allowing us to either remain in contact with our gift, the prefrontal cortex, or locking us into the part of the brain that is causing us to be narcissistic, losing empathy, having decisions that are impulsive and shortsighted and fostering fear. That's what food does to us. When we look at foods through that lens, then again, what's happening to food globally becomes a very intriguing story, doesn't it?
Tana Amen: It sure does. The people that I coach and even myself, I mean I can totally relate to that. You go through one negative event, whether it's like with your health or something and all of a sudden you're down. Then you're down, so your mood changes and so then you start making bad decisions. Then as your mood changes, you want to be down more. You don't want to get up and go do stuff. It's just this vicious cycle that all of a sudden just takes control.
Dr David Perlmutter: You are so correct. What we're offering then in Brainwash, and in fact we have a 10 day plan at the end of the book, and you don't have to do each part of the 10 day plan. If you leverage a better night's sleep, if you leverage just deciding to dramatically reduce your refined carbohydrates and sugar, or if you leverage the part about reconnecting with nature, for example, it's going to then foster better decision making moving forward.
Tana Amen: And your mood.
Dr David Perlmutter: And therefore, help you welcome in the other parts of the program. We didn't mention connection to nature. 87% of our day in America is spent indoors with another 6% spent in our cars, leaving very little time for connection with nature. I'm not saying anything here that we don't all know. We know we feel better, we have a better mood when we're in nature, when we're taking a walk out in nature. We know that from a scientific perspective, our inflammation markers go down, our cortisol levels go down, we reengage the prefrontal cortex. We tend to calm down the impulsive amygdala. Nature exposure is something we have undervalued, at least in America. We know in Japan, for example, there's tons of research going on, which was something called shinrin-yoku, means forest bathing. But it doesn't even have to be that you go out to a national park. Just put a plant in your kitchen or a photograph of a nature scene in your workplace has been shown to, for example, lower the stress hormone cortisol.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You bet.
Dr David Perlmutter: These are simple on-ramps to better decision making.
Tana Amen: Yeah. What-
Dr. Daniel Amen: So we're going to have to stop. But what I want you to tell our audience, David, is how can they connect with you. Obviously they can pick up Brainwash, which I gave you a quote because I love that book. How else can they connect with you? I know you have a newsletter, I get it every week and it's loaded with helpful information. How can our brain members [crosstalk 00:10:21]?
Dr David Perlmutter: I would say if people are really interested in this information, go to brainwashbook.com. A great resource I feel is DrPerlmutter.com, DrPerlmutter.com. One of the things in addition to the blogs that both I and Austin write, video blogs, written blogs, is we have a very vast resource of scientific literature, entire PDFs listed, not just the abstracts and the science part of Drperlmutter.com is fully searchable by term. Just to go to the magnifying glass. So I would direct people there to learn more information.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Great.
Tana Amen: Excellent.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Wow.
Tana Amen: Thank you so much.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We adore you and are grateful for the work you do in the world and grateful that you're our friend.
Dr David Perlmutter: I love you guys and when I see this time together on my calendar, I always really look forward to it. We said this off camera. I'll say it on camera. We need to connect more often and have these amazing conversations.
Tana Amen: We do. For sure.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We'll look forward to it.
Tana Amen: Thank you. 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. While you're at it, feel free to give us a review or five star rating as that helps others find the podcast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you're considering coming to Amen Clinics or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from Brain MD, you can use the code podcast10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com or a 10 percent discount on all supplements at brainmdhealth.com. For more information, give us a call at (855) 978-1363.