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TMHS 791: Eat Like This To Boost Your Energy, Prevent Disease, & Live Longer! – With Dr. Casey Means

Have you ever considered what actually creates energy in your body? We often chalk our daily energy up to how we slept the night before, but there are so many more components that allow us to feel good and reach optimal health. On today’s show, you’re going to learn about how factors like your relationship to the sun, your time outdoors, and the health of your microbiome can impact your energy levels.

Dr. Casey Means is back on this episode of The Model Health Show to share more powerful insights from her new book, Good Energy. She’s here to unpack some of the major causative agents of our chronic illness epidemics and simple, practical solutions we can all implement for better metabolic health, mitochondrial function, and energy levels.

You’re going to learn about the link between circadian rhythm and whole-body health, how to eat in a way that supports your cellular health, and how metabolic dysfunction underlies every health crisis our citizens are facing today. This interview is full of empowering stories, cutting-edge science, and tangible lessons you can use to optimally power your body. So click play and enjoy this interview with the brilliant Dr. Casey Means!  

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • Why humankind is experiencing an energy crisis. 
  • What percentage of American adults are metabolically healthy.  
  • The importance of respecting your circadian rhythm 
  • How to heal your relationship with light and the sun.  
  • Three specific ways to retrain your clock genes.  
  • How much time the average American spends outdoors.  
  • The surprising science behind spending time outdoors and BMI 
  • Why we must recognize our place in nature to find true health. 
  • The connection between food, structure, and function. 
  • Why consistency in your eating patterns matters.  
  • How your cellular activity influences your overall health.
  • Why freezing food is beneficial from a nutrient standpoint.
  • The critical role of the microbiome.
  • What it means to match your cellular needs with oral inputs.
  • Five things to incorporate in every meal.
  • What you can learn from your cravings.
  • The power of eating whole, unprocessed food.
  • How to find awe in our food.
  • What insulin resistance really is.
  • How to eat for good energy 

Items mentioned in this episode include:

 

 

This episode of The Model Health Show is brought to you by LMNT and Organifi.

 

Head to DrinkLMNT.com/model to claim a FREE sample pack of electrolytes with any purchase.

 

Organifi makes nutrition easy and delicious for everyone. Take 20% off your order with the code MODEL at organifi.com/model. 

Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!

Transcript:

 

SHAWN STEVENSON: If you've ever wondered what creates energy in our bodies, if you've ever wanted to have MORE energy to do the things that you want to do to live the life that you want to live. This episode is for you today is an absolute masterclass on how food gets converted into human energy. Plus some things outside of food that fuel our energy processes, our metabolic processes in our bodies that a lot of people don't think about and you're gonna hear all of this from the one and only Dr. Casey Means. Now keep in mind our nutrition and certain environmental inputs are of the utmost importance when we're talking about energy, but when you boil it down and certain components of real foods, but also things that people are utilizing in supplement form as well. One of the things that allow energy exchange and communication between the cells of our bodies, and that includes our brain cells and our brain cells being able to talk to each other, that is based on key minerals called electrolytes.

 

Now, electrolytes are minerals that carry an electric charge. And researchers at McGill University found that in particular, sodium functions as a quote on off switch in the brain. For specific neurotransmitters that support optimal function and protect our brains against numerous diseases. Another electrolyte Magnesium was noted in a fascinating recent study that was published in the journal Neuron ,demonstrating that magnesium is able to restore critical brain plasticity and improve our cognitive function rapidly. And a double blind, placebo controlled study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that improving magnesium levels in adult test subjects, and these folks were between the age of 50 and 70, can potentially reverse brain aging by over nine years.

All right, getting that younger, flyer brain from utilizing key electrolytes. Now, we want to eat foods that are rich in these electrolytes. Absolutely. Absolutely. But if you're looking for an electrolyte supplement. In particular for sports performance, for boosts in cognitive performance, I had it before the show today. I had it before the show today. I utilize the electrolytes from LMNT. Go to drinklmnt.com/ model and with any purchase of electrolytes, you're going to get a free bonus sample pack to try out all of their incredible flavors. There's no refined high glycemic sweeteners. There's no. Ridiculous food colorings that are associated with all manner of neurodegenerative conditions.

Just the highest quality electrolytes in the right ratios backed by hundreds of thousands of data points to fuel your performance. Again, go to drink LMNT.com/ model, get a free bonus sample pack to try out all their flavors with every electrolyte purchase. And now let's get to the Apple podcast review of the week.

ITUNES REVIEW: Another five star review titled I'm the fittest I've ever been by PSL bear. The Model Health Show is truly one of a kind, but I love that there's always a new twist and someone else that can offer a new health related tip in a quickie. I love that the show isn't just about what you're eating, but little tweaks you can make to improve your overall health. I get excited when I see new episodes and what their topics pertain to. Thanks so much for keeping it real.

SHAWN STEVENSON: It's my honor. Thank you so much for sharing your voice over on Apple podcast. I truly do appreciate that. And if you get to do so pop over to Apple podcasts, leave a review for the model health show, leave a review for your guy. I appreciate that so much. And without further ado, let's get to our special guests and topic of the day. Stanford trained physician, co founder of Levels, an author of the brand new book, Good Energy, out today, out today. We have the one and only Dr. Casey Means. She received her bachelor's with honors and her MD from Stanford. She was president of her Stanford class and has served on Stanford faculty. She then trained in head and neck surgery at Oregon Health and Science University before leaving traditional medicine to devote her life to tackling the root cause of why our citizens are sick. She's been featured everywhere from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Women's Health, the list goes on and on and on.

Let's dive into this incredible conversation with the one and only Dr. Kasey Means. As of this release, Good Energy is now out in the world. Congratulations, my amazing friend, Dr. Casey Means.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Thank you so much, Shawn.

SHAWN STEVENSON: It's my pleasure. It's my pleasure. We're gonna, We're gonna kick this week off. Now, we already had an incredible episode with you and your brother, Calley, which crushed it, impacted so many people. A lot of people were saying it was the best podcast episode that they'd heard in a long time, and they listened to tons of different shows. Which, by the way, If you're listening to other shows. No, I'm just kidding. Let me chill. Let me chill. There's one model health show and to have you here is such an incredible honor because you're one of my favorite people in this space.

And today we get to dig in and some of these principles. You know, we did really an overarching episode and talking about some of the behind the scenes issues with our culture that's leading to our epidemics of poor physical and mental health. But today we're going to talk more about solutions and some practical things we could do. But for folks that happen to have not listened to that episode and maybe for some strange reason they've been living under a rock and they Don't know Dr. Casey Means. Can you share a little bit about the energy crisis that we're experiencing in our world today? and this doesn't have to do with oil and the energy crisis of our bodies.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Yes, the chronic disease epidemic that is decimating the human capital of American children, adults and the elderly is fundamentally in an energy crisis. This is a concept that everyone needs to understand. We know that over 93 % of American adults are metabolically dysfunctional, and metabolism, simply put, is the conversion of food energy to cellular energy. And that process right now is broken in the majority of people in our country. And it's broken because the machinery inside the cell that does this conversion process of potential energy in food to human energy in the form of ATP, the mitochondria, it is getting synergistically damaged by every single aspect of our modern industrial Western diet and lifestyle.

And when you look at the research and you look at the physiology that is leading to almost every top killer in the United States. Almost every chronic disease that's torturing and shortening the lives of Americans, they are rooted in metabolic dysfunction. So if you think of a tree with all these different branches, the trunk of that tree is metabolic issues caused by diet and lifestyle that's creating underpowered cells in our body. And an underpowered cell is a dysfunctional cell, and dysfunctional cells will lead to symptoms and diseases. So, that is the biggest blind spot in American health care, because instead of focusing on that trunk, we're focusing on all of the branches individually as separate things in a siloed, reactive, whack a mole health care system. And because we're just focusing on those branches and the downstream symptoms, and not the core physiology that connects these. This is why the more we're spending on healthcare and the more investment we put in healthcare, the sicker we're actually getting because we're not focusing on the true cause of the issue.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. And in the book, you and your brother also detail all of the different industries that are profiting from our collective sickness and being unaware of this energy crisis within our bodies. And again, it makes so much sense. You and I both had multiple biology classes and we learned about the mitochondria, but it's not in the context of like, Dysfunction here can lead to depression. Dysfunction here can lead to cancer. Dysfunction here can lead to all manner of dysfunction.

DR. CASEY MEANS: That's right.

SHAWN STEVENSON: And we're looking at the root cause, truly, finally getting to the roots when you mentioned that the tree trunk, the roots of the issue, and also having the ability to create more fertile ground.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Yes.

SHAWN STEVENSON: For health to spring. And Getting into some of these principles today. I want to talk about we're going to talk about food Of course because it's what's making up all of the cells of our bodies and the energy exchange that whole process And what our bodies are running on but one of the best parts of the book is when you talk about respecting our biological clock.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Yeah.

SHAWN STEVENSON: And this new paradigm which has been it's Just because we are now paying attention to it doesn't mean it has existed forever, but circadian medicine and how important that is in developing good energy.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Yes. So I think one of the most overlooked aspects of health is chronobiology. It's the, it's the light and time sensitive aspects of our cellular health and things that are normal in culture today. Like the fact that. We're okay, maybe sleeping five or six hours a night, and we think that's okay every once in a while. The fact that we have artificial light on 24 hours a day in our homes. The fact that we even get up to alarm clocks, like some of these things that impact our sleep, our wake, our relationship, our wake, our sleeping, our waking, our relationship with light. They are so important. Incredibly modern. They are so new in the course of human history. The light bulb was invented in the early 1800s. It's a, it's a fraction of a second of human history that we've had artificial light. And then it's even a smaller fraction of human history that we've had blue light emitting screens in our hands. This is like 15 years old and the human body It's a diurnal organism, meaning that we have certain processes that happen during light.

That's usually when we're active and we're digesting and we're producing a lot of energy. And then at nighttime, we have a second phase with totally different biology, hormonal, genetic cell signaling, where it's much more about repair and rest and rejuvenation and clearing out waste products from the day. There are nocturnal animals and they have flipped biology, but we're diurnal. And with our relationship with artificial light and our move towards the indoors, the vast majority of our time, essentially we've put our bodies into a state of mass confusion because it's essentially. It's light, it's daytime, 24 hours a day according to our bodies with all this artificial light. And I think a key concept that's really helped me is realizing that the inside of our body is dark. It's kind of always night time inside our body and the way that we help let the body know what time it is in the diurnal phase is by exposing our retina cells and our skin cells to photons to light energy. And literally those photons travel 92 million miles through space and through our atmosphere, and they interact with our cells to create conformational shifts that change our biology.

And so this is why it is so important for us to really Focus on light hygiene in our health journey, because as those photons hit our retina, they send a message to our suprachiasmatic nucleus that literally tells the body it is morning. It is time to do this specific set of genetic activities, cell signaling activities. And that's what sets us up for a really good day, a healthy metabolic day. And then when we protect our retinal cells from that light energy in the evening time, it's a signal that tells our body it's time to do these nighttime activities. And we are basically, we have completely eroded that relationship with light and let ourselves be exposed to light all the time. And that is creating mass cellular confusion. You look at, you know, the fact that so many Americans are chronically inflamed. It's like, well, If a body is totally confused about what time it is and doesn't know which pathways and expression to do, that is a threat signal to the body. And so this interrelationship with sleep and inflammation and hormones, you know, really comes down to, in many ways, uh, us giving our body clear signals about what time it is. And there's just so much overwhelming data to support that when we have a better relationship with light, i. e. giving our bodies light during the day and darkness at night, it is so much better for our health.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. We don't think about this at all. We have two completely different modes, right? We have our activity mode and we have our rest mode.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Yeah.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Right. And as you just illuminated for us. That's a little sunlight pun there illumination. Shout out to the minions. As you just illuminated for us. During these different modes, we have completely different activity going on with our biology, right? So we're producing a lot of, quote, daytime hormones, neurotransmitters, our digestion is different, our heart rate is different. Our mitochondria are doing different things, right? And when we go into this other mode, which they're both equally necessary for survival and thriving, not just survival, thriving as a human being, we've got totally different activity with all those things and more. All of our cells are. Tissues or organs and organ systems are doing different things in these different modes Now when we are not participating in one of these modes, Naturally or effectively. We're gonna have some again what we would label as disease Symptoms start to show up.

That's giving us a warning, you know that we need to alter our behavior but instead of that what we do is. We turn to symptoms treatment, but we're looking at the root cause here and with this being said. What are some of the fundamental things that we can do to better associate, to engage with healthy circadian Medicine, healthy circadian rhythms. So you just mentioned this exposure to sunlight for example. Is there like a Minimum effective dose that we want to target?

DR. CASEY MEANS: Yeah, there are three main things that I think are so important to recognize in terms of how we literally target tell our body what time it is in this 24 hour cycle, how we entrain our clock genes to really be synchronized with the diurnal biology. So the first is exposure to light. This is more light during the daylight hours and then less exposure to light during the nighttime hours. The second is actually. Consistency of our bedtimes and wake time. So actually putting the body on sort of a schedule in terms of bedtime and wake time. We think about this for children, but we forget it as adults.

So helping the body know when we are going to bed and when we're waking up as a second piece of entrainment. And the Third is meal timing, actually having more consistency around our meal times and having somewhat of an eating schedule can help tell our bodies that it is daytime versus nighttime. But the average American now is eating over a 15 hour period during the day. So they're eating in the daylight, they're eating at nighttime when we're not supposed to be eating. We have over 11 eating events per day. And so because eating is something that would happen during the daytime phase of the diurnal cycle, that's essentially telling the body. you know, a confusing signal about what time of day it is.

So, you know, eating during the sunlight hours, having consistent bedtimes and wake times night to night and getting more light during the day and then protecting our bodies from light essentially at night. And I think something really astonishing that I read that I learned as I was writing this book that is really disheartening to me is that the average American now is only spending seven % of their time outdoors in a 24 hour period. Now we spend 93 % of our time outdoors. In the four walls of our home or in a car. So we have chosen voluntarily to essentially imprison ourselves in these boxes that separate us from photons and from light energy during the vast majority of the day. So not only I think, is that basically a spiritual crisis because we're physically separated from our source energy, which is the sun. But on a very practical level, we are essentially super confusing our bodies because we're not giving it the light energy that is the light switch to turn on certain daytime metabolic activities. And then of course at night we're blasting the body with blue light from our devices and really flipping our biology. And a fascinating sort of statistic is that if you're indoors, even if you're by a sunny window, you're likely getting less than like 100 lux, which is a measure of light intensity.

So even if you're sitting near a window, that window is blocking those photons from getting to you to activate your biology. If you're outside, you could be getting over 100, 000 lux. 

So it is a massive difference between indoors in a sunny room and just stepping outdoors. And so from my perspective, one of the things we really want to focus on our health journey is actually how to just spend more time outdoors during the day. 

Not only again for our spiritual health and just to be able to revel in the awe of nature and think about something bigger than ourselves, which is what automatically happens when we're outdoors, but also to really entrain in our bodies that it is daytime, which is what light can do for us. And so, What's fascinating is that if you look at research, more epidemiologic research, you find that people who spend more time outdoors, that tracks with lower BMI and lower risk of metabolic disease, even controlling for activity. So just being outdoors has an impact on BMI and our metabolic health risk, and it doesn't even mean moving outside.

So I think a big call to action for people I would say is, you know, it's being indoors in a chair that's killing us in so many ways. One of the things that we really can do to accelerate our health journey is to take honest stock of everything we are doing every day that is indoors and seated, and find a way to take some of those and make them outdoors and standing or moving. That is an active revolution in our society that wants us just crunched up in these chairs indoors, scared, feeling small, you know, with screwed up circadian biology that we can then medicate. And so that might look like, you know, your list might look like, oh, hey, I get up, I make breakfast, I chop some fruit, I go grab the mail, I drink some coffee, I chat with my partner. So we're, this is all before 10 am, right? So, okay. Get up and like you got to get creative and part of being healthy in this modern culture is just getting really creative. Can you put a little table outside your front door and chop your fruit outdoors? Like that's a possibility. Could you drink your coffee walking around the block with your partner instead of sitting inside and drinking your coffee? Could you take your first call of the day walking around instead of doing it indoors? But basically how do we move more activities from indoor seated to outdoor moving? And that is going to be incredible for our circadian biology and our metabolic health generally.

SHAWN STEVENSON: I love that. And it's like doing things that you're already doing, but just changing the location, right? So what jumps to mind for me is if you are, you know, maybe you're avid exerciser, but you work out in the gym every day, maybe half of your workouts during the week, maybe you can do them at home or do them outside, you know, or maybe at least a couple, at least one. And this is something that funny enough, I've made that alteration in my training the last year. I work out a lot more outside at home because I just feel like it gives me more. Right. And of course, over time, just being able to accumulate the knowledge and the resources to be able to great, get great workouts in at home, but it's just stacking conditions. I would love to throw in, regardless, even if it's a cloudy, overcast day, the lux is so much stronger outside than indoors.

It is not even close. And so, something that I do, and I did it today, I do every single day. I get up and I, before I do anything, right, so I have my morning water, I do some reading, but then I go for a walk, at least five to ten minutes. 

Every morning I just go outside, even if it's cold, regardless of the conditions, but you know, living in California, we gotta be honest, it is different. It is different. But even when I was in Missouri, I would take my a** outside. There's even a video that we posted before, you know, even when it was snowing, you know, my son and I went outside in our underwear. You didn't know this was going to make this turn, did you? My oldest son ran outside, did some snow angels.

DR. CASEY MEANS: I'm listening.

SHAWN STEVENSON: We did some snow angels and came back in the house. You know what I mean? But we, it's one of those things where when you said this, It makes sense that our health is going to be better when we spend more time outdoors. We all know this. But having dr Casey means to give us a little bit of the science. Give us a little encouraging nudge. Give us some options for us to think about is super helpful.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Yeah, and and I think something that people might say is like well I live in a place that's dark and I get up in the dark and you know It's snowing and all these things and it's like do not major in the minors. The sun is our life source and our source of energy, and we are locked inside four walls 97, 93 % of the day. And this is, this concept of indoors is literally a new concept in the entire spectrum of human history. It's unprecedented. And so don't worry about the minutiae. Try to find a way to move that number from 93 % to 60%. Find a way to spend more time outdoors. Don't stress about the minutia.

Kids these days are spending one to two hours per day experiencing a lux of greater than 1, 000. So this is basically saying kids are indoors. Like almost all the time and this is directly related to metabolic issues in children This is directly related to obesity But it's also directly related to vision problems in children which have been skyrocketing because they're not seeing long distances. They're not getting the relationship with light that they need to for eye development. So that's really important. So I'd say don't worry about the minutiae. Just find ways to spend more time outdoors during the day as a way of being so compassionate with your body to let it know it's daytime. We are on a beautiful planet, you know, let's do daytime activity right now while we're awake.

And then on the flip side, it's of course creating a dark environment as night at night as best you can. And of course there's, there's strategies for this. The red light is going to have a much less of an impact on disrupting our circadian rhythm. So if we can do things like Where the blue light blocking glasses that have the orange lens. You know, get some red light bulbs in our house. There's so many on Amazon actually that you can control from your phone. So just at night, instead of having to like have different light bulbs, you can just put a few little lamps around your house and just control it with your phone. So that's what we do every night after dinner.

We basically turn off all the lights and with the phone, just turn on several red lights and then you can turn your phone to read really, really easily in the accessibility settings by basically changing the phone tint to red. And then you just press three times on the side of your phone and it turns red. You can turn your computers to dark mode. All of that is really helpful, but I was really astounded by a study that I came across while writing this book that basically said that if they looked at older adults and they found that the people with higher light intensities that they were exposed to at night had an over 50 % chance higher risk of having type 2 diabetes or developing type 2 diabetes. So it's a real impact. And then they also did a study that looked at people who were exposed to 200 lux of light after the sun went down versus three lux, which is basically like super, super dim light. And the people who were exposed to 200 lux experienced a 90 minute push back on when melatonin peak was secreted.

So basically melatonin is this hormone that is not only an antioxidant, it's an anti cancer molecule, but it helps us feel sleepy. And just being exposed to 200 lux, which is not very bright, pushed back the melatonin peak by 90 minutes. So for people who are out there who have insomnia and they feel like they can't sleep, they can't get to bed. These things actually do make a difference for our hormonal secretion. So really trying to get the bedroom as dark as possible can be really, really very helpful.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Yeah. And I just want to reiterate this point as well, because, you know, we've got people who are listening all over the world. I want to refrain from what we tend to do when we hear stuff like this, like, yes, I want to do that, but we get into the, what about isms we get into the, you know, I've got a problem for every solution. I was born and raised in Missouri. All right. Extremes of all of the different seasons, but I found a way, and this is not necessarily again to say every day, if you're in new England and you got, you know, three feet of snow, I'm not saying to get some snowshoes and you know what I mean, but it's putting this in context, but just making it a mandate to do the best that you can to get outside more often and to cultivate a culture for yourself where this is a part of your, of your day and your structure as much as, as much as you can. And we want to be mindful of, again, people are living in different places, different times of the years, but I just watched this show on HBO max. It was true detective and it's the newest season is called Night Country and they were up in Alaska, right?

 

Jodie Foster making the return. She did her thing in this. And I don't want to spoil it, you know, no spoiler alerts, no, none of that, but, you know, just seeing that there's this culture where there's endless night at some parts of the year, you know, an endless day at some parts of the year, but seeing still that the people who are like the indigenous cultures, they had. It started off, the series literally started off with a guy out hunting, in the snow, right?

So regardless of where humans are on the planet We found ways to hang out outside and as you mentioned this concept of outside and indoors is a new thing right. We evolved as part of the environment and we've As we've become “sophisticated”. We've cut ourselves off more and more and wondering again why our health is suffering. We need to get more reconnected and one of the subheads you have in the book in this section is we are made of sunlight. We are made of sunlight.

DR. CASEY MEANS: I mean, we literally are made of sunlight. It's so ridiculously incredible. But these photons that travel 92 million miles through space and they get both absorbed by our retinal cells, our skin cells, but they also of course get, they get absorbed by the chloroplasts in plants and through photosynthesis, that solar energy is stored in the carbon carbon bonds of plants. And then we either eat those plants or we eat the animals that have eaten those plants. And I think what people don't realize is that metabolism and all these fancy words, we have Krebs cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. What is it really? It is us ultimately liberating the sun's energy in our own bodies to create human energy so that we can think and feel and move and love and spread light in the world and reach our highest purpose.

And what's so wild is that our mitochondria are essentially cousins to Chloroplasts that do the photosynthesis structurally, they look very similar. They both have an electron transport chain and ATP synthase, or they both have an electron transport chain. And then in the human mitochondria, when we do liberate that energy and create ATP, they actually also emit photons. So we are actually photon light emitting organisms. And there's a measure for this, which is like the bioluminescence of our bodies. And when we are more mitochondrial healthy and more metabolically healthy, we are able to produce more light energy. So it's not just a metaphor, it's actually real.

And it's just so, so beautiful to think about that. We're in this constant conversation with plants around us. Not only taking in the stored energy and the carbon carbon bonds of the essentially food they make for us, but also, in the sense that in their process of building that for us, they're also creating oxygen, which then we take in which creates the oxidative phosphorylation. And then we produce the CO2 from that process. Which goes back to feed them in an endless, literally lifelong conversation with all plants. From the moment that we take our first breath to the moment we take our last breath. And so understanding that interconnection, like what you're speaking about, of like, we are part of nature.

We are nature in every possible way. And so I think meditating on that more. And realizing that like anything we do to separate ourselves from nature that we are constantly in flux with. Sun, soil, water, air, plants, animals, everything, anything we do to separate from that will generally hurt our health, because we are a part of it and we are in conversation and a cycle with it, and so when we sequester ourselves from it, we will get sick because we break a cycle that is life giving. And so that's what we're really seeing. The chronic disease epidemic is very much one about isolation and disconnection from the greater interdependent environment that we are a part of. And a lot of healing this, this chronic disease epidemic is actually going to be finding ways to reconnect in a really functional way with, with all these different sources of energy and matter that we exist with the environment.

And so any, any kind of healthcare solution that doesn't address that, that disconnection from every aspect of the cycle that we're just, inextricably interdependent with is not really going to solve the problem because you can't fudge your way through that. You've, you've got to get back in touch with it. So we've got to be drinking clean water. We've got to be eating real food that came from the soil recently, highest nutrient content. We've got to be outdoors more. We've got to be breathing, you know, fresh air. And it's unavoidable as much as certain entities would like us to make us think we can game our way out of it. But Bill Gates, Appeal, ultra processed food are fine, it's, it's not real, we, we have to actually redevelop the cycles. We cannot outsmart them.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, we're not going to be living in a Spaceballs paradigm where, you know, you get your can of oxygen. Have you seen the movie Spaceballs?

DR. CASEY MEANS: Oh, it's been a long time.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Well, it gets to a place where, you know, the oxygen is getting deprived from the environment and you open up your can and have your can of oxygen. That's not a real thing. But in our environment right now, we have the opportunity, we were seeing so much. Abnormality, but we have the opportunity to change that and that's what this is about.

And you mentioned earlier that. I'm still thinking about space balls. That huge helmet. I actually went on a tour at Fox movie studios before. Shout out to my guy Jim quick. So I got to see Dark Helmet. That's the name of the character played by Rick Moranis in person and it was this guy. He had this, he's probably, he was a smaller guy, but he had on the Darth Vader thing. But a massive helmet and he was trying to get on the elevator was a whole funny scene. But you know, we're not living in this reality and that movie is a parody, right? And that's what we're seeing with the healthcare system. It's like a parody of real life. It's not real. And one of the things that you mentioned earlier that is Controlling and really setting the Pace of our kind of internal clocks our internal pacemaker is when we're eating.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Mm hmm.

SHAWN STEVENSON: And by the way, you mentioned that our Circadian clock genes, right? So these are genes that are controlling the production and function of other Proteins and genes. It's like a top tier influence if you could let's dive more into food Yeah, because in our culture if we think about anything related to energy we think about our food and And One of my favorite sections of the book, you share the six principles of good energy eating.

We actually get into the, the nooks and the crannies, the nuts and berries. And I want to go through these principles since we got everybody here today, who's already ran out and grabbed a copy of Good Energy. And if you haven't, make sure to do that as soon as this episode is complete, grab your copy of Good Energy. We got to make this a massive, massive bestseller. Principle one, food determines the structure and function of the body. of ourselves and microbiome. Let's talk about that.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Yeah. So I think that, you know, a big message with this book is that we have to get out of the diet wars. We have to transcend this ridiculous culture of dietary dogma that has gotten us more confused than ever. The more dietary philosophies we have, the more people are confused about nutrition. So how do we actually just start with, like, first principles? What is food? And what are our cells made of? And what do they need to function properly? And then how do we match those needs with food. And when we do that, you know, you ultimately will get great health and you can meet the needs of cells through a lot of different dietary strategies.

You can get most of the core things the body needs from a vegan diet or a keto diet. If you're thoughtful about getting the right molecules in the body and ideally not molecules that are covered with toxic synthetic pesticide poison. Um, so the first principle is really like, let's think about what food is. It controls the structure and function. of our bodies and our microbiome. So it's kind of a four quadrant thing. We think about structure. We take in 70 metric tons of food in our lifetime, which just is a statistic that completely astounds me. One metric ton per year, two to three pounds per day on average. And this is molecules that we are going to use for two purposes. One, to build our body. It's the literal building blocks and bricks of all of our cells. Every atom in our body is made from, it comes from food. That's the reality. We're 3D printed from food in our mother's bellies. Food is the complete, structural building block of our bodies.

So that 70 metric tons is constantly re 3d printing our bodies throughout our lifetimes. The body of today is molecularly completely different from our body a year ago. And so the food that we're continually inputting has the potential to either build a well functioning body every single day, we make this choice, or to create dysfunction if we don't give it what it needs to build the right structure.

So it's like a metaphor. It's like if you're, if you're building a building out of poor quality materials or out of missing materials. Obviously, That building is not going to be structurally sound or protect you. And somehow we miss that concept when we think about food, which is literally the structural materials of building our body, which we have to do every day. This is why consistency with eating patterns matters, because we're rebuilding our bodies every single day. And I love, I love this Daoist statement that the human body is a process, not an entity. In the Western world. We think of the body as a thing that is here and is alive and then it dies and I'm Casey and you're Sean and we're separate when in reality if we had just had better vision or we had microscopic vision. We would actually see that we're just swarming hives of matter that's constantly in flux with everything around us, air going in, carbon dioxide going out. Food going in, rebuilding our bodies, excreting, shedding skin cells, shedding gut lining, etc.

SHAWN STEVENSON: And there isn't a place where I begin and you end.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Not, there isn't. And it's just, I'm taking in, you know, carbon dioxide that you just exhaled, and it's a conversation. And so, We've built the whole healthcare system literally based on the idea that the body is a thing rather than a process, which is why we've built it on a false foundation, essentially. And food comes into this because food is the way that we keep interacting with that process every single day to make it more functional. The body is a process. So food is both the structure, it's the building blocks. And the body needs new building blocks every day, high quality, the correct ones to build a functional body, but it's also about function because these molecules in that 70 metric tons of food are also chemical information that changes our gene expression, our epigenetics, our cell signaling pathways, our enzyme function. It's so incredible. So the micronutrients from the food are going to act as lock and key cofactors on key enzymes in our body. They're actually doing the chemical reactions to activate them, turn them off. There are chemicals in food that are going to literally bind to transcription factors on the DNA to tell a gene to be expressed or not to be expressed. It's literally a conversation with those molecules between your cellular activity and Your cellular activity is what determines your health. Like I say, there's no symptom or disease that arises in a vacuum. It's all related to cellular function. And this food is telling your cells how to function.

So some examples of this. You think about, you know, the curcumin and turmeric, which literally binds to transcription factors inside the cell and changes measurably the gene expression of the NF kappa B pathway, which is a key inflammatory pathway in the body. You can literally change the gene expression of our key inflammatory pathway. You look at isothiocyanates from cruciferous vegetables. These go into the cell and they upregulate the NRF2 genetic pathway, which creates antioxidant defenses from damaging free radicals. The list literally goes on and on and on, but food is key. is the structural building block and the functional messenger that tells our bodies what to do and when. It is miraculous and there's no getting around that we have to eat high quality food. And this is why the conversation about soil is so important because it's the soil, the healthy thriving soil that injects our food with as many nutrients as possible. And I used to think that like, Eating locally was frivolous.

I was like, Oh God, that's like, just seems like an elitist thing to say. And as I've learned more, I've actually realized that almost nothing could be more important than actually eating locally, like buying food from the farmer's market. And part of the reason is because every day that a food is separated from its life source with the, which is the soil. I mean, the second that plant is pulled, it's actually dead. Every single day it's out of the soil, its nutrient composition is precipitously declining. And the average piece of food travels 1, 500 miles from soil to our plates today. And of course that burns lots of fossil fuels and whatnot, but it's also essentially putting a piece of food on your plate that has vastly less molecular information for your body. And so when we talk about eating locally, we're potentially buying from a farmer who, most likely, is going to have better farming practices if they're bringing their food to a farmer's market. So the food will not have the toxic pesticides on it most likely, but also the food was picked that day or the day before, and then we can either eat it immediately or freeze it, which can really maintain a lot of the nutrients and get so much more bang for our buck with every bite that we're taking.

And there was actually a really interesting study. It's 1991, but it looked at vitamin C content. Vitamin C is a very important functional messenger in our body. And it looked at essentially, essentially days one through 14 after the food being picked, and they looked at spinach, broccoli, peas, a couple other vegetables, and they found that after two to three days, You get like a 50 % or more reduction in vitamin C content in those foods unless it's frozen Immediately upon picking and that can actually maintain a lot of the vitamin C levels. So freezing is often a really good option. The second thing they saw was that keeping foods at ambient temperatures like on the counter you will lose nutrients quicker than if they are in a cooled environment. And so better vitamin C composition if you cool it. But one of the most astonishing things that that paper showed was that if you look at spinach fresh from the soil so garden fresh is what they called it.

Let's say that's a hundred % vitamin C composition Verses about a week to 14 days later in the grocery store. The grocery store spinach had zero % of the vitamin C that it had when it was, when it came from the garden. So, this is, that was the most extreme example. But when we think of what food actually is structural and functional messenger for all aspects of our biology, we realize why it matters to buy the highest quality food. This is not just about calories and energy. This is about our form. And how that form is functioning. And then of course we could go into microbiome, which I'll just touch on briefly, which is that that food, you know, we have about 40 trillion cells, human cells, but we have like a hundred trillion bacterial cells.

So it's very possible that actually the bacteria are in charge and we're just kind of along for the ride. But that bacteria, I, I like to think of the bacteria sometimes as like our soul because the bacteria are. This invisible unseen force within us that in many ways controls what we think, what we do, how hungry we are, and the quality and happiness of our life, who we're attracted to, all sorts of things, it's kind of like our soul. And when we protect the, when we protect the microbiome and we feed the microbiome, the things that it loves. It literally produces a whole pharmacy of medications, i. e. just postbiotic chemicals for us that make us happier, healthier. live longer, make life easier, make us more content. And so the food we eat directly shapes the composition of the microbiome and shapes the function of the microbiome, what they will produce on our behalf to either hurt our lives or help it.

So I like to think of like We're not only eating for our own human cells, we're eating for our bacterial cells within us. And when we love those cells with the food choices we're making, they will help us just feel incredible. They will help us not have cravings and they will help us live our longest and happiest lives. So that's really the key points around food being the structural and functional messenger for our, our own cells and those of the microbiome.

SHAWN STEVENSON: I love that. I love that last tie in as well. We're not just eating for ourselves. We're eating for our microbes. And it's our responsibility to create a great environment for that ecosystem within us. And that spills over to every part of our lives as well. And we get to choose. We get to choose what we're making ourselves out of, what we're making our energy out of, what we're feeding our microbiome. And you know, you mentioned turmeric. I was thinking like, what's something similar that might not be as good? Cheeto dust. All right, what if you're using that as fuel or trying to build some. And the thing is again, we've got all these great studies now, but we're looking at this. 

Let's look at what happens with Cheetos, you know with Cheeto dust I guarantee these inflammatory factors are gonna be doing the opposite of what they're doing with turmeric.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Yeah. I mean, Cheetos literally have red 40 in them, which we know is essentially neurotoxic. It is associated with, and not even in fringe circles, in major medical research, with attention, ADHD in children and other behavioral issues. And so that's a, that's also a functional signal for your cells to say, be screwed up, you know, to the cellular function to not function properly. And so these are, these are words that we have, the, the, the molecules we choose to put in our body are words that we get to speak to our bodies with to tell them what to do. And when we, when you eat the highest quality natural foods, we're speaking a language the body can hear and that empowers it to do its best work. And so that's just, you know, it's, it's a, it's a very actually. We think of healthy eating as difficult, but it's actually a pretty straightforward input that has some of the greatest ROI that we could possibly imagine.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, you want to think about a three little pigs paradigm when it comes to nutrition. There's some new stuff being birthed right here. All right, you see where this is going. And we get to choose what we're making our structure out of, right? We could do, sticks, we could do, you know, something, you know, in our culture, it's, you know, again, Cheetos and, and, and Hot Pockets and all these different things. I would eat a box of macaroni and cheese for dinner sometimes, right? We can make our bodies out of these things, or we'd be the smart little piggy and we're making our bodies out of sustainable materials, right? And the other little piggies end up coming to hang out with us and we get them educated and protected from the big bad wolf, who is Calley would share, that's the pharmaceutical industry's big food. And again we get to choose now part of this Education is the awareness that we get to choose because Casey when I was eating a box of macaroni and cheese for dinner I didn't know that I get to choose. I didn't know that there was a difference, number one, and also the accessibility to these different foods in the environment that I was, that I was in. But when you mentioned a farmer's market, for example, for nutrient density, you know, even when I lived in Ferguson, Missouri, there was a farmer's market.

Yeah, that was just, you know, five, ten minutes from my house. I just wasn't aware of it. Because I didn't have this education, but as soon as I became attuned to it I could find a way humans are so resilient and creative and We are so powerful But part of it is when we don't feel well when we don't have good energy all these things become these they seem to be so much harder. And So as you guys have been sharing with this project, we want top down change for accessibility But we also need bottom up change. Where we're taking responsibility and understand that we're powerful.

Got a quick break coming up. We'll be right back. If you're anything like me, you grew up drinking Kool Aid, Flavor Aid, Gatorade, Powerade, all these different aids. No, that doesn't even sound right. But the truth is many of us have grown up in this culture of being inundated by these crazy sugar dense products. Some of these products can have 20, 30, 40 grams of sugar and it is not necessarily per serving, but how much we would drink of it because I know that I drink a lot of Kool Aid. I was actually the Kool Aid chef in the house. I would take different packets of that artificial goodness, combine them together with, you know, a cup and a half of sugar per pitcher and make that up for my family.

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We're going to move on to number two of these principles. And number two is eating is the process of matching cellular needs. With oral inputs. What does that mean?

DR. CASEY MEANS: Yeah, so, you know, we have these 40 trillion cells and they're each like little cities. And they're cities that are doing thousands of chemical reactions and activities per second. And the result of all those chemical reactions just, you know, Bubbles up into our lives. That's what our life is. It's the accumulation of all these incredible chemical reactions, these 40 trillion cells. So each of those chemical reactions has different requirements, like inputs and molecules that need to be built to do it. And so since we're entirely 100 % built from food, we have to match the needs of the cells with the. It's the stuff we're putting in the mouth because that's ultimately going to, um, allow for the generation of health, which is a matching between the needs and what goes in. We don't learn this in middle school.

It's so crazy. Like this is should be foundational for what we learn. So in some examples of this, and actually this is really what led us to the good energy eating plan, which is the non dogmatic, simple first principles approach to what we recommend for people to put in every meal, which is five things in. Ideally every day and in every meal, which is a healthy protein source, an omega 3 source, an antioxidant source, a fiber source, and a probiotic source. And if you can basically make a little mental list, of you, few of your favorite foods from each of those five categories and then have your kitchen stocked with them and essentially make creating a meal a mix and match between a few of the foods from each of those categories, you are so far on your way to meeting the needs of the cells.

And then how do you know if you are meeting the needs of the cells? Well, we have the incredible. Well, the biggest thing is do you have symptoms? How are you feeling? The absence of symptoms is a sign of optimal function. And so part of the journey is actually creating the space in our lives outside of the distraction industrial complex to set the boundaries to be able to be still enough to hear what our bodies are saying. We're all moving so damn fast, eating in the car, eating on the staircase, you know, walking upstairs that we don't even really know how we're feeling. We're so disconnected and disembodied. So it's slowing down hearing what the body is saying. And if, if you're feeling incredible, If you're feeling great, you don't have symptoms, you're waking up feeling energetic and joyful every day, you're probably meeting the needs of the cells with your food and not gumming up the system with a lot, lots of extra toxins and things that it doesn't need.

So that's a great sign. And then of course there's biomarkers as well. as well. If you're meeting the needs of the cells consistently day in and day out, your biomarkers are going to look great. 

So that's why, you know, I certainly recommend testing some of the key biomarkers associated with metabolic health and core foundational cellular health every three to four months. So you can have a sense of like, are you meeting those needs? So let's just give a concrete example of this. There's several proteins in the body that require selenium. So these are called selenoproteins. So, high school biology, you know, you, Express the DNA into mRNA and then there's the ribosome that reads the mRNA and produces a protein by grabbing amino acids and building the protein.

There's certain proteins where the cell has to reach out and grab a selenium molecule to actually incorporate it into that protein that's being built. And so, there are selenoproteins that are so critical for biology. Glutathione, a master antioxidant in the body that protects us from oxidative stress. It's a selenoprotein. There's many others that are impacting immunity and all sorts of things. Well, if we're not eating selenium, how are we going to have selenoproteins to allow the cell to defend itself from oxidative damage? So, meeting, matching the needs of the cell with that input, which is like a Brazil nut, right?

Is a way that we're going to generate function. And we could go through a laundry list of these types of inputs, but it's like. What's really interesting about the body and where it gets a little bit complicated is that our needs are dynamic. If we're under a lot of stress, you know, we might be burning through our B vitamins in our production of stress hormones and things like that or depleting certain micronutrients. And so, you know, sometimes we're, we're going to need to adjust, you know, that strategy, but I would say by and large, if we're eating whole real unprocessed food that came from the earth recently, um, and animals that ate really high quality food, like grass fed meats and pasture raised eggs, we are going to have the best shot of meeting those molecular needs for ourselves. And then you got to couple this with. Eating slowly, sitting down to eat, creating enough spaciousness in our life to hear the signals from our body so that we can adjust accordingly. And here, sometimes we will have specific cravings for things like red meat when we're anemic because the body will tell us what it needs. And so, having the space to actually really hear those signals.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. There's an intelligence there, you know, and I love this because this is an expanded look at post ingestive feedback, right? Having this experience with food and seeing the outcomes with your body and with post ingestive feedback, for example Specifically looking at cravings, right? This is something that in our culture today cravings are bad, but we evolved having that capacity to have a craving as a natural feedback where our bodies have had an interaction with the real food in the real world. Say for example, you know, we are dealing with a lot of stress. Vitamin C is another one of those things depleted right?

And so we know that our body is our cells now, before the label of vitamin C was a thing, you know, our ancestors ate a bunch of, we'll say, strawberries and they got a nice fraction of vitamin C from that. And we'll say we're under stress, maybe there was a rival tribe we were concerned about or an interaction with a wild animal or something, and we develop a craving for the strawberries, right? Maybe we haven't had them for a while, but they're, you know, maybe it's been a few weeks and there's still a nice bushel over there. Yeah, and we would have a craving to go eat those things. Today, however, these natural inputs, this post ingestive feedback, the system has been hijacked. Yeah, because we have all of these newly invented flavors, really, but they're not really newly invented because we can use a gas chromatograph, for example, and isolate that strawberry flavor here.

Right? We get the chemistry of that. Now we can add that strawberry flavor to ice cream, to candy, to soda, to waffles, without strawberries being necessary anymore, right? And so it really muddies up this truly innate healthy feedback in our cravings and now we don't know what the hell to eat, number one, and also we're craving all these things that could be potentially harming us. But here's the thing, at the end of the day, we're still hungry. That's the thing. We're not meeting those needs that as you're talking about with principle number two And so our body is expressing more hunger. Yes, trying to get those things in.

DR. CASEY MEANS: And I think principle number three Is cravings are a sign from the body that we're giving it mixed messages. This gets to what you're talking about. This is so important for people to realize. We are literally in America eating ourselves to death. We are eating ourselves into a grave. We are eating ourselves into a totally modern obesity epidemic because our bodies are so wise that they are pushing us to eat. uncontrollably, literally into an early grave because they are trying so hard to get their real needs met, which is the nutrients that they're expecting that the cells need to function.

So when we give the body what it needs, expects, wants to function properly, our satiety mechanisms are exquisite and they kick in and we stop eating. We are the only species in the world with an obesity and chronic disease epidemic, and we're the only species in the world with ultra processed food, which strips our food of its nutrients, is hyper palatable, and isn't actually meeting the needs of our cells.

And of course, because of that, our bodies will drive us relentlessly to keep eating. to get its needs met. This is why whole, unprocessed food from good living soil is so important because it is the best way of meeting your body's needs and therefore cuing are exquisite satiety mechanisms that work in every other animal in the world, right? There's no obese giraffes, right? There's not obese gorillas because they're eating whole, real, natural food. 

And, and so I think that this is just a really, yeah, just such a key point is that this, this is why ultra processed food is a problem. And people will say like, oh, it's not the ultra processed food that's the problem. It's the fact that people are eating too many calories. The reason people are eating too many calories is because of the ultra processed food. It's not cuing our satiety mechanisms, of course, it's, you know, there's a whole other reward circuitry that it's activating.

But there was such an interesting study that was done by Dr. Kevin Hall at the NIH a couple years ago, where they basically took, like, a bunch of participants and literally locked them up at the NIH for four weeks, like prison like, and they measured and weighed every single piece of food that they ate. And in two weeks of the study, they ate exclusively ultra processed foods. And in two weeks of the study, they ate unprocessed foods. And what was so fascinating is that if you look at the pictures in the supplementary materials of that paper of the ultra processed diet. You'd actually think that, this actually looks like a pretty normal- like, healthy American diet. It was like a turkey sandwich on white bread. And maybe some peaches that were in like a little bit of syrup and juice. Maybe one cookie, you know. It was like what you would see at a school or a nursing home or whatever.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Or prison.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Or prison, yeah. Like french fries. But like nothing that was like, oh god, this is like inedible. It was like normal American food. And then they had the unprocessed versions, which was like a turkey, a whole turkey breast that had been cut up, roasted and cut up on whole wheat bread and just sliced fruit and milk or tea. So totally similar looking, but just one was ultra processed and one was minimally processed or unprocessed. In that study, in the two weeks That people were eating and they had that people could eat whatever they wanted as much as they wanted. And then the researchers would basically measure how much food they ate. On average, the participants ate 500 calories more per day when they were eating the ultra processed food and 500 calories less per day when they were eating unprocessed food.

And this translated over the course of the study into like a five pound difference. So they basically gained five pounds and then lost five pounds on the two different sides of the study. So it is the ultra processing that is the problem. And so this is, this is why the whole foods are so important because a lot of us, you know, are so stressed about our cravings. I couldn't possibly get off this food. I need it. I love it. I'd rather die than give it up. But on the other side of a short period of eating high quality, unprocessed food is a lack of desire, freedom because your microbiome changes and you're literally giving the cells clear messages that you have gotten what you need and then it will regulate your hunger like every animal species on planet earth other than humans.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Amazing, amazing. So that was principle number three. Food is how you communicate with yourselves. We are the only species. As a matter of fact. In our culture, we have this epidemic of obesity, and yet we're starving, right? An individual can be obese, apparently carrying a lot of extra energy on their frame, but they're cellularly starving. Their mitochondria are lacking good energy. This is making, making more and more sense, making, making. So moving on to principle number four, and really principle three and four are combined, which principle four is extreme food cravings or feedback from your cells. that you're giving mixed messages. All right. So nobody wants to deal with mixed messages. All right. We're going to move on to principle five here. Principle five is ignore diet philosophies and focus on unprocessed food. You mentioned this a little bit earlier, but just Reiterate what you mean by that.

DR. CASEY MEANS: The more nutrition research that we're publishing, the sicker we're getting, the more nutrition influencers that exist on social media. The sicker we're getting, the more the NIH does these large scale studies on nutrition, the sicker we're getting. We do not need, I believe, more research on nutrition. Go back to the animals. They don't have PubMed. They don't have experts. They don't have the NIH. They don't have chronic diseases and obesity.

We need to start getting back in touch with common sense about food. If you poison a food system with You know, millions of, of, I'm sorry, billions of pounds of synthetic toxic pesticides. And you then take it all to a factory and strip it of all its nutrients and then feed it to a population, we're gonna, we're gonna get sick. It's pretty obvious. And so we're really missing the forest through the trees here, debating minutia. And I think what people need to realize is that, you know, Our confusion about nutrition drives the industry. Like, the confusion is the product. It benefits so many industries. Nutrition, processed food, healthcare system, for us to just feel like, I couldn't possibly figure this out.

It's so complicated. And, you know, debate, you know, the minutiae of individual amino acid levels and how you should space them out throughout the day. Like, This is not the problem. The problem is that 70 % of our calories are coming from a factory and the food that goes into that factory is covered in toxic pesticides. You know, so it's, it's like we just need to load more of our plates with natural unprocessed foods and that for the majority of people listening and in the world will get us a huge percentage of the way there. Of course, on the margins for performance, longevity, potentially. Some of these things can be interesting to talk about, but the confusion we need to realize that us being in a washing machine of confusion about nutrition and doubting our choices and flip flopping between different strategies is, is to drive industry.

It's not for our benefit. And so if we can just focus on first principles, like I just talked about, get the molecules your body needs, get the fiber, get the healthy protein, get the omega 3, get the antioxidants, get the probiotic sources, get it from real food that is clean. That if you're vegan, do all those things. If you're keto, do all those things. If you're paleo, do all those things. If you're on a Mediterranean diet, do all those things. Like, we will, we will do a lot better than we're doing right, right now. So I think that's the, really the message with that principle is, is just to help people realize that it's not as confusing as, as we're led to believe on nutrition and we, we really should not be missing the forest for the trees here.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Love it. Love it. All right. We're at principle six here. Principle six. I love this one already. Very curious. Mindful eating. Finding awe in food. And finding awe. In our food. Talk about that one.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Well, this is one of my favorite sections of the entire book, and I think it's actually probably more important than all the others, which is that we have such a. sort of desanctified, sterilized relationship with food, totally by design. You know, for the sake of convenience, we've basically accepted that food, which is this thing that will create our bodies, and create the function of our bodies, that it's okay that we have no idea where it's grown, we don't care how long it's been dead, we don't care if it comes in plastic in boxes, and in that sort of disconnected relationship with this thing that is going to become us and allowing that to be covered in toxins and you know, have chemicals added to it.

Like, we've lost this sense of awe about food. And awe, I think, needs to be foundational reverence. Reverence for this process of incorporating the environment into our form in a daily process to build a structure That can reach its highest purpose and there are so many elements of, you know, of food that inspire me. I mean, one is like we talked about with sunlight, like that literally solar energy is stored in the food and we liberate it after we eat it. The fact that there are, you know, You know, trillions of microorganisms in a tablespoon of soil, of healthy soil. Our American soil is dead, literally no organisms in it because of industrial agriculture and pesticides. But healthy soil has trillions of microorganisms in it that are all working to create the perfect little environment to create food that will help you have an optimal form and function. And, you know, just the fact that our gut lining, which is, you know, this tube. We talk about microbiome and intestinal permeability and all these clinical words, and it's like, back up.

Like, this, this beautiful structure of our GI system that runs from our mouth, you know, to our butt. It is fundamentally the boundary between us, and everything else in the cosmos. It is a tube and a barrier that allows us to take what serves us and leave what doesn't. 

And I think, you know, in therapy we learn about how boundaries are what make good relationships, but we barely talk about how important it is to support the boundary of our gut so that we can interact with food in a way that's most beneficial to us. Right now, that gut lining is tattered and destroyed because of overuse of antibiotics, excess sugar in our food. All the synthetic, pesticides and colorings and preservatives and emulsifiers in our food. So we've, we've literally just put all this trash in our mouth, which is hurting the gut lining, which has created a poor boundary, a key boundary, between us and those 70 metric tons of food that go into our body in our lifetime.

So because of that, just like a bad emotional relationship. We have this bad physical and energetic relationship with everything around, with this huge amount of stuff that's coming into our body. And I think part of our chronic health crisis is basically representing a very poor boundary between us and kind of the stuff that's going into us. And so this is why supporting our gut lining and just really realizing like if I can build that boundary and make it strong, I can interact with everything around me that I'm putting into my body through food three times a day or 11 times a day as Americans. in a way that serves me and isn't overpowering me and isn't, you know, putting things into me that I don't want.

And so there's just so many elements of the food conversation that we could just sit and like think about and meditate on the true nature of what's really happening. The fact that we are these 3D printers of our body every day and, and I think when we sit in that sense of awe and appreciation. It helps make the health journey so much easier because it's, it's not all clinical desanctified. It's actually much more like, like filled with like joy and filled with this, this bigger picture sense of what we're actually doing when we sit down at a table. So, that's kind of the awe piece and I think one other thing that I love thinking about is just, you know, our mitochondria, as I'm sure you know, all of our mitochondria come from our mother, and when the sperm meets the egg. The sperm's mitochondria basically melt, and the mother's mitochondria in the, in the egg are what persists.

So your mitochondria, mi mitochondria, male or female, both come from our mothers. And so with food, we have this opportunity. They're hurt or help the mitochondria. So everything we do with food that supports mitochondrial health, the micronutrients that are mitochondrial, co-factors that let us create energy and avoiding the synthetic toxins that in p mitochondrial function when we do these things like in a way we're honoring the mother we're honoring the the creative feminine life force that's in all of us. And so I think sitting with some of these concepts just, you know, it makes the health journey easier in my opinion. And then when we talk about mindful eating, like this gets much more into, like things that we can put data to.

And, and your book is so wonderful in this regard that the Eat Smarter Family Cookbook, cause you talk a lot about, like, it's not just the what of what we're eating. It's the how of eating that actually makes, It's a huge difference. So there has been research that has shown that when you eat with sitting down at a table with loved ones slowly, we digest the food better. We metabolize the food better. And there's actually been studies in people with type two diabetes that if you sit in a state of gratitude for your food and experience the sensory element of your food. Which so many of us are not doing, right? We're just shoveling it in, but actually really see it and appreciate it. They have a lower glucose response to the food, and then you look at speed of eating, and this one hits home personally for me, because it's one of the hardest things on my health journey, is eating slowly, because like as a surgeon, I was just literally shove, shoveling food into my mouth in between cases to just try and get calories in.

Of course, I got very sick, but there's actually been research that's shown that people who eat the fastest compared to the slowest eaters in a study have a two times higher risk of type 2 diabetes and a four times higher risk of metabolic syndrome. So just eating slowly and thoughtfully, even if you're eating the same stuff, can slash your risk of metabolic syndrome and type two diabetes. So, so mindful eating, finding on food, I think is just such a gateway to health. And in my sort of spiritual view, which I certainly respect if it's different than anyone else listening, everyone's got their particular view. But for me, I think about there was this wonderful thing that I heard from a spiritual teacher.

That part of what this life is, is each of our forms as a body is just a way of the field of consciousness that is eternal and infinite and pervades the entire universe. It's our body is a way for consciousness for, for, for the field to experience itself. So I'm an experience of the field. I'm an experience of the universal source energy as Casey. In there somewhere is this fact that the form that I am, the material and energetic form of Casey, which has never existed before and will never exist throughout history. And the Casey of tomorrow is actually different structurally and molecularly of the Casey of today. That's an opportunity for the field to experience itself.

And when I'm eating, I'm essentially determining what the structure and energetic capacity of this structure of Casey is. I'm determining what, you know, I'm a bunch of atoms, but actually in between 99 % of the space in us is, is, is just empty space, like if you look on the molecular level. And so just thinking about, we identify so much with the material of the person, but like actually thinking about, like, think about the infinite side of us. You know, that, that field experiencing itself. So when I'm eating, I'm literally thinking about how do I build a structure. And honor a structure that can allow that field to experience itself in the most beautiful possible way that in some way improves like the frequency of this huge energetic thing that we're all a part of.

And so, like, how do I honor this miracle and statistical near impossibility of being alive as me by building a form that is, you know, can channel energy and, and, and maximally, which is metabolic health that can. You know, create more light from my mitochondria. And, you know, that can, in some maybe mystical way create an experience for consciousness that is, or for the field that is wonderful. So that's, that's the awe of food, I think, for me.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, you're wonderful.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Thank you.

SHAWN STEVENSON: You're wonderful, you know, and just that can even be part of your intention or your prayer going into your food, into your meal. Thank you for this food. And for giving me great health and allowing this infinite wisdom, this infinite source to express itself through me. And I'm saying this prayer right now is something that I do before I eat.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Me too.

SHAWN STEVENSON: You know, I take a moment and I just set that intention. And it's really remarkable that this incredible, Stanford trained, remarkable, brilliant, I'm just going on and on here, scientist and physician is talking about the importance of our mindset as far as good energy and good health when it comes to our food because our bodies are going to interact with that food differently. Again, this is something that would be obvious in certain contexts, but it has been forgotten in the larger culture scape around health and your We're putting it back as far as our conscious awareness of it, but it's never left. And so for us to invoke and to enjoy that process, and I love this one especially because I feel like in the last year of my life, I've had the most amazing food experiences I've ever had.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Amazing.

SHAWN STEVENSON: And I've been doing this for a long time, you know, over 20 years and I've had some amazing experiences, but it's just like. Is it because I'm having the most amazing food that I've ever had? No, it's because I'm living in awe And paying attention to those moments more often and they're just sticky. It's recency.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Yeah.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Right and they're so They're so beautiful and just paying attention to those moments and, you know, but also, of course, it's your intention in putting yourself in the environments for these magical moments to happen, but just really appreciating these experiences, appreciating the people that I'm around during those experiences and, you know, that's what it's all about.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Yeah. I think sometimes about like the conversation right now about health is so dominated by longevity. There's such a focus on. eating for longevity. And something about that, it's never sat quite right to me because even with the longevity conversation, there's still an attachment. There's an attachment to an outcome, which is a long life. And I think this kind of what we're talking about is a little bit of a different lens about eating for something. We're eating for deep presence and deep appreciation and deep awe, which I think ultimately will lead you to make choices that may result in longevity, but it's a different intention. It's an intention that doesn't have a sense of attachment and fundamentally attachment is the root of suffering. So many spiritual traditions say that. And so how do we like move our goal away from something that's, you know, a thing that we're striving towards versus just really allowing it to be about our appreciation presence now, which of course may have the totally the same outcome, but I think it's a little bit more joyful in a way.

 And then also, you know, I think one thing that I think about a lot with insulin resistance, which is fundamentally like metabolic dysfunction as insulin resistance, is that insulin resistance, which is affecting well over 50 % of American adults right now, pretty new phenomenon, majority of our country now. If you think about, if you step back and think about insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the cell in its infinite wisdom, blocking the signal of insulin that lets glucose into the cell because it knows it can't process it effectively because the mitochondria is broken because of our toxic diet and lifestyle. So our mitochondria is broken. It can't process the glucose. So the cell puts up a block to have more glucose coming in because it knows it can't handle it. Well, that glucose has that light energy stored in its carbon carbon bonds that we ultimately want to liberate. So fundamentally it's like insulin resistance on a different perspective, in a different perspective, is the block of kind of cosmic energy moving through us in the way that it's meant to. And so when we eat, and we eat in a metabolically healthy way, you know these clinical terms, it's like when we eat in a metabolically healthy way, what we're really doing is increasing the capacity of our mitochondria to be converters of, cosmic energy to human energy.

DR. CASEY MEANS: We're increasing flow through a system, which is our birthright. It's what we do. It's what we're meant to do is be a flow transformer of energy. That's the body. Insulin resistance represents, in a sense, a block to that because our bodies cannot handle our environment. And so again, this is something I think about as I'm cooking, as I'm Choosing what to serve my family and friends as I'm going to the farmers market and talking to farmers and touching the food is that I want to be, I want to have energy flow through me.

I don't want to be the end stop for energy. I don't want to block it. I want to let it flow because ultimately flow I think is healthful in so many ways. You know, it's like when we. When we don't, uh, when we sit too much, we block lymphatic flow and that predisposes us to, you know, to, to health issues. When we don't sleep enough, we block glymphatic flow and we get neurodegenerative issues earlier. When we are insulin resistant, we block that energetic flow. You see this in nature too. When we put up dams, it can screw up, you know, whole ecosystems behind it. So how do we eat in a way that allows us to flow and in doing so be part of this sort of miraculous flow and cycle of energy that I think leads to the world we want to see. So just things to meditate on as people are eating that definitely make the health journey easier for me because it's about that. It's not about longevity. It's not about, I don't know, preventing prediabetes. It's about our true nature and what we're like, what our beautiful, incredible bodies and how we can support that natural process that we are able to do if we, if we put the right inputs in.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. And you had the audacity to create that roadmap for us with good energy. And again, I share this before we got started. I'm so proud of you and I'm so happy for you. And I'm so grateful for you, you know, because I know obviously what it takes to create something of this magnitude, but you know, to really create something that is going to live. You know, outlive you, you know, your life and kind of struggling to say this, you know, but this was a catalyst for this was, was the story with your mom and you shared this in the book. And in the last conversation with you and Calley and, and to see something so beautiful to come from it and for you guys to work together to create something that's truly going to change things. You know, something like this can't be created and not change what is happening with the prevailing paradigm. It's really special.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Thank you.

SHAWN STEVENSON: And if you could. Please share where people can pick up a copy because it's out nationwide right now and also where they can connect more with you.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Yes. So the book is everywhere. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, small bookstores, highly encourage buying at small bookstores because that's just so great for that beautiful ecosystem. And I, I'm at Casey means. com and that's where basically everything I have lives, all my social accounts and everything like that. I'm on Dr. Casey's kitchen on Instagram, but Casey means. com is the main hub for everything I do.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Awesome. We're family in this.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Yes, we are.

SHAWN STEVENSON: And I'm just so, I'm just really grateful for you, truly.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Thank you, Shawn.

SHAWN STEVENSON: So, good energy out everywhere. Books are sold. Pick up a copy. Get a copy for a friend. Let's create more good energy.

DR. CASEY MEANS: Boom.

SHAWN STEVENSON: Dr. Casey Means, everybody. Thank you so very much for tuning into this episode today. I hope that you got a lot of value out of this. This type of education is absolutely priceless, and I highly recommend running out and grabbing a copy of Good Energy.

The collaboration with Dr. Casey Means and her brother, Calley Means, and his food advocacy is remarkable. It's such a great resource to have and to share, and listen, we've got to take this into our own hands. We've got to empower ourselves with education and our families. And we have the ability to truly transform the health of our society. Things have been going in a dark direction recently. But truly I believe that we can turn this situation around. But we've got to take action. We've got to stop sitting on our hands and do something. Now that of course starts with us and being empowered and taking better care of ourselves, our close family, but also sharing that education.

And whatever way feels right for us. You know, whether that's sharing a podcast, whether that's sharing a book, whether that's a conversation, whether that's calling up a friend and saying, Hey, instead of meeting up, you know, for lunch, let's go on a hike together. You know, there's so many different ways that we can spread wellness. We can make wellness go viral. And again, I appreciate you so much for being a part of this mission. We've got some epic masterclasses and world class guests coming your way very, very soon. So make sure to stay tuned, take care, have an amazing day. And I'll talk with you soon.

And for more after the show, make sure to head over to TheModelHealthShow. com. That's where you can find all of the show notes. You can find transcriptions, videos for each episode. And if you got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome. And I appreciate that so much. And take care. I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.

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