Dr. Deanna Minich: Personalised Nutrition, Eating The Rainbow, and Conscious Health Practices for Goal Focused Humans

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In this episode, guest expert, Dr. Deanna Minich teaches us how best to create health practices that can optimise our performance, keep us healthy on all levels, and allow us to cleanse our inner system without creating unnecessary stress. This episode is a must-listen for goal focused, mission driven humans pursuing big ambitions – men and women who are constantly pushed for time. All of Dr. Minich’s advice is easy to implement and will fit in beautifully with our existing routines.

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About the guest-

Deanna Minich, MS, PhD, CNS, Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner (IFMCP), is a nutrition scientist, international lecturer, educator, and author, with over twenty years of experience in academia and in the food and dietary supplement industries, currently serving as Chief Science Officer at Symphony Natural Health.

She has been active as a functional medicine clinician in clinical trials and in her own practice (Food & Spirit™). She is the author of six consumer books on wellness topics, four book chapters, and over fifty scientific publications. Her academic background is in nutrition science, including a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Illinois at Chicago (1995) and a Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Medical Sciences from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands (1999).

She has served on the Nutrition Advisory Board for The Institute of Functional Medicine and on the Board of Directors for the American Nutrition Association. Currently, she teaches for the Institute for Functional Medicine, University of Western States, Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and Institute for Brain Potential. Through her talks, workshops, groups, and in-person retreats, she helps people to practically and artfully transform their lives through nutrition and lifestyle.

Shownotes -

00:55 – Intro

03:45 – How Dr. Minich protected herself against COVID

05:40 – What is the #1 priority when it comes to healthy living

07:40 – Personalising health practices and nutrition

09:50 – What does it mean to put ‘ME’ first and why it’s so key to thriving health

13:25 – How to have it all without jeopardising your health

20:45 – Is junk ever okay?

27:00 – Detoxing without fasting

31:50 –  Eating the rainbow

36:25 – Avoiding sugar crashes

40:20 – Diverse food for better gut

47:00 – Where does supplementation fit with healthy living?

51:10 – The most toxic habit

Resources + Guest Info

00:00 Krati Thank you so much, Dr. Minich for being here. And I have been, as I said, like I told you, I’ve been waiting for this interview for so long, because I have so many questions to ask. And this is like, we’re covering Held, we’re covering how to improve performance, all of these are like super relevant topics right now, especially for people like me who are catering to a growing business, and who are trying to get more than like, more than 24 hours worth of work in a day. Thank you so much for being here.

00:31 Deanna Minich Thank you for having me. Great to be here. And I’m sure we’re gonna have a lot of tips and things to talk about.

00:37 Krati I’m sure I’m sure I’ve heard enough of your interviews to know that you have like you can teach us a lot. But I have to say, like one of the things that really drew me to your content was, as I said, my business is growing. So I’m like putting in more than nine hours of work every day. But alongside, I’m also like, I want to spend time with my family, I want to cook healthy dinners for myself, and like, get enough sleep, workout. So I’m managing to do all of that, because of the fact that I follow a routine. And that allows me to do all those things. And it’s the same thing with my colleagues, with people who are like, not just in this industry, but like just friends who are also facing similar challenges where their work is growing, they want to do more, they want to have more active social life, they want to do all of these things. But there’s only so much that you can do in 24 hours. And there’s only so much that your body will allow. You know, like we often, very often, like the ones that get said in our WhatsApp groups, in our Zoom calls, I wish I didn’t have to sleep. I wish I didn’t have to sleep. So I’ll have more time to get things done. So I always, we are always trying to figure out how we can enhance our performance, what else can we do to be more present, to be faster with the things that we do. So that’s something I definitely want to talk about today. Now the thing that I’m noticing is ever since the pandemic has happened, everyone has become a kind of a pseudo doctor. Everyone’s offering advice, so you have to be very careful of who you talk to. That’s one of the reasons why I’m so glad that I’m talking to you today, because I know I’m going to get the right kind of advice. So let’s start with that. I would love to know what drew you, I’ve told you what drew me to this interview, what made me so, so eager to have you on the show. Now I would love to know what drew you to this field, the field of

02:23 Deanna Minich nutrition, field of health, and what has changed for you since the pandemic has happened? Wow. Well, what got me to nutrition was my mom. So I grew up with a very health conscious mom who, you know, had kind of these, I would say resist authority attitudes about her health and healing. At the time it really wasn’t a trend to be into health, and so I was a little bit resistant to what she was teaching us as we were growing up. But you know, I developed an interest in my health because I started to have health issues. So bringing back some of that nutrition was really important for me. So with the pandemic, you know, just to fast forward, because you know, there’s, there are a lot of years of studying nutrition, being in the clinic, you know, doing all kinds of things with nutrition. But with the pandemic, I think for me, things got even better. You know, things got better in the way of my health. I am one of the fortunate people that did not get COVID, knock on wood. Wow. And you know, I spent time in nature, I ate healthy, I had adequate sleep, I had a job, I, you know, I was still very much engaged, but all of the travel that I would normally go through, through a year, and I was traveling all the time pre-pandemic. But then all of that stopped. And I think that I got healthier as a result. I actually slept better because I was in my own bed. I wasn’t subject to all of the travel stress, the radiation on the planes, the poor water that you typically find in hotels. So I think all in all, you know, for some people, the pandemic probably improved their health, because they just got clear on their habits.

04:08 Krati And then for other people, you know, maybe they were more neutral, and they didn’t have an effect. And then for still others, maybe they got worse. That actually makes a lot of sense. That is true, like when, because it almost put life on this like, halt almost, and you were able to assess a lot of things that weren’t working for you. So that makes a lot of sense. You mentioned a lot of things that like spending time in nature, getting a lot of sleep and all of those things. I’ve always wondered where in like the list of priorities would you place each of these things, like food, some people prioritize nutrition over everything else. Some people prioritize sleep over everything else. I’ve always been very curious, where do you place all of these things on a list of priorities? Like, if I have to choose like one or the other, I know, I know you have to take a

04:52 Deanna Minich very holistic approach to health. But if I have to choose? I put me at the top. So it’s not that I put nutrition at the top, or I put exercise at the top, or sleep at the top, I put me at the top. And I know that I can only be as good as I am in my day to day. So nutrition is essential just because I’ve studied it. So I never, you know, just say, okay, let me just go out and have a hamburger and go to, you know, a fast food place, because I just know how it feels and what the downstream effects of that would be. So nutrition is high on the list. And if we’re eating well, then we’re typically sleeping well. You know, if we keep our stress in check, if we’re eating well, we’re stressing well, we’re sleeping well, we can move well. You know, I do think that food, it provides that bedrock, it provides that foundation for most people. So that’s why I talk a lot about eating the rainbow, because we know that eating the rainbow of whole foods is important for not just physical health, but also mental emotional health. Separately from that, I would say sleep is a big one, at least for me. And if I’m not sleeping well for some reason, if I’m stressed out, or I ate too close to my bedtime, that really impacts the whole next day. The other thing that I don’t think most people think about, but I’m going to mention it, is you have to know your own rhythm. So what do I mean by that? What I mean by that is that I know that I’m a morning person. I’m going to be the most productive. You will get the most out of me in the morning. So that means I’m going to go for my exercise. I am going to answer emails. I’m going to do a lot of my brain trust work in the morning. That’s my rhythm. And then I also know that I have a monthly rhythm. You know, like most women, some of them do think about how they feel throughout their cycles and where they are in their cycle. You know, is it the first half of their phase or the latter half? Where do they have energy? But I think you have to really know yourself. And it took me some time to really get to know myself and then to create a routine that was best for me all around. Like the

07:05 Krati full spectrum of it. Not just one thing, but all things. I’ll add my support to that because I like this interview is happening at 430 a.m. for me and I get up at 3 a.m. every day and I don’t just like get out of bed. I jump out of bed because now I’m eating healthy food. Like not crazy healthy. Like I try to eat healthier. Just making tiny little changes like shifting from white rice to brown rice. That sort of thing. Making like small little shifts. Eating more vegetables, more fruits and my routine. You said it. I have prepared like a very very well thought out routine. It’s not just something that I put together after watching a few YouTube videos. No, it was something I created after observing my body. After observing what works for me. And for the longest time I was working through the night and sleeping during the day. And that never worked for me. But I kept pushing myself to do it because I work with a lot of people in different time zones. So I had to kind of do it. But then I was like, okay, you know what, if I can’t work then none of this is going to help. Like being able to, I won’t be able to show up for all of my clients and collaborators. So I had to stop. And so glad I did it. So I completely get what you’re saying. And anybody listening, I would love to, you know, emphasize on it. And yes, understanding how your body works and then giving it what it needs is very key here. But I would love to go into a few details here. Like

08:30 Deanna Minich you mentioned putting me first. What does that mean? I always go with my health first and my physical health. So if I feel that it’s not healthy to travel somewhere or that’s too long of a journey for me to be gone, I will change it. I won’t enter into a working agreement or go give a talk or go do things. If I don’t think that I have the resources, I really have to have a sense of emotion in me that I want to do something, that it feels good all around. It feels good for me. It feels good for the other person or whatever I’m doing. And from there, make that decision. And saying no more. I really do think it’s important to know what you have passion for and what you have resources to do, what you have the skills to do. And, you know, to really let your emotions lead in many ways. Because if you’re not really fired up about something, you just won’t be driving through it and you won’t do it in the best way. So you have to put yourself first. And many people, they have this complex where they won’t put themselves first or they don’t really make time for self-care. I make a lot of time for self-care. Like I sleep eight to nine hours per night. I definitely don’t skip out on sleep. I do wake up at like around 5 30 in the morning. And those are like my prime hours when it’s quiet, when the house is kind of dark and still. And, you know, I could just get a lot done. My thinking is better. My emotions feel much more streamlined. I go take a walk in the morning after I’ve answered some emails and I come back and I continue into my day. And then I also bring in a little bit of movement throughout the day. So I’m not sitting, you know, sitting is the new smoking, right? So if we’re doing that, then we’re not thinking well. And I think that, you know, this whole culture of working more, working harder, what does that mean? I actually think that the people that work best do schedule breaks. They are more creative. They allow for downtime. They allow for self-care. And some of the best CEOs of companies are the ones that actually do take a vacation. They do check out. They do one plug. Because when you go into that place of not doing and you go into being, sometimes some of the best ideas come out. I know some of the best ideas for me are in a hot shower. I’m under the water. I’m getting the warmth. I feel very relaxed. And then all of a sudden it’s almost like my body is working better. And I can start in my mind, start putting together ideas. And sometimes I’ll come out of the shower and I’m like, huh, I didn’t think about that. Like that amount of time being very relaxed, warm, and just feeling, you know, taken care of. Like I’m engaging in self-care. I’m not stressed out at the computer trying to figure something out. So I think we’re learning. And I think that the pandemic did that for us where we moved away from the everyday and looked at it differently. People started to value different things. They put family first. They put their eating first. They got outside in nature. I wasn’t the only one, but I really did find that being outside in nature had a huge impact on my psychology. I really felt good about being outside, coming back. Yeah. So it’s just a recalibration. I think, you know, we have to find what can work for us. And just because it works

11:56 Krati for me doesn’t mean it will work for everybody else. Of course. Yeah. That’s what we always have to remember. But I will, like, this is worth mentioning because I talked to a lot of my, like my clients are very, very driven women, women with like big missions in life. So we often, the talk is about we got to hustle more. That does come up a lot. We need to work more. We need to work harder. We need to push ourselves harder. But I will say this, that there is a way to create, like, I know it’s hard, especially when you’re like building a business, it can be very difficult to do. But I do believe that there is a way where you can have some semblance of a balance. Like I work, as I said, like I’m doing so much work every day, but I have all of my meals with my family. We talk and when I’m talking, when I’m at my dinner table or the dining table, my phone is not there. I’m fully present, fully available. We chat, we laugh. It is like we’re very loud at the time because they’re laughing so much, which energizes you. And then the like I do more than an hour worth of exercise. I do believe that you are right. And then that is the way you can always take your laptop outside and sit in nature and get some fresh air. There is always a way to, I think, create that balance. You don’t have to give up on your goals or pull back at a time when you’re

13:16 Deanna Minich feeling very energetic and very engaged and focused to prioritize your health. Would you agree with that? I absolutely agree with that. Absolutely. I think you can have it all. And I, you know, if you put the pedal to the metal and you start to like ramp up and, you know, when I created my own business, I actually did work a lot. My husband was asking me, you know, Deanna, you’re working so much. And I said, but it’s not work. I love it. You know, I have so much drive and I have so much passion. And then there comes a time when you feel like, okay, I don’t have as much energy, so I need to be really conscientious about my energy currency. If I have a hundred coins of energy every day, where are they going? Like how much time am I going to spend with things if I don’t feel nourished by the experience? So now I’m in my fifties. When I was creating my business in my forties, my early forties, very different situation. Like I had a lot of energy. I had a lot of momentum. And then when I set everything up and then things started to go, I realized, okay, I laid the groundwork. Now I don’t need to perhaps work so hard and be in that same mentality. I need to receive, rather than to drive. And I think that for women, especially, it’s really important to be in that mode of receptivity, that not everything comes just from pushing and ambition and goals. And, you know, I look at my life and I have been very achievement focused. You know, I was in school, I got numerous degrees. I had certain benchmarks for myself. And then there was another point of like, where I just kind of let go of all of that, kind of like, okay, you know, let’s just see what happens when I just show up for the passion that I have for certain things and how certain things come together and you don’t have to put all that energy into it. Now that said, I do think that people need to take care of their physical needs. Many times what happens is that, you know, when they get excited about something, they start to lose track of their bodies and what their bodies need. So one of the biggest things that I think can help people is not just nutrition, but hydration. So one of the first things I do in the morning when I wake up, I kind of have this little ritual, but I do have water. I hydrate first thing, because hydration, it’s a very simple concept. It replenishes the physical body. But we know that being dehydrated, even small amounts of dehydration can lead to changes in your cognition, how you think, how you, you know, how your brain is functioning. So I think getting that water back after not having water for however long you were sleeping, like eight hours being dehydrated, it’s really important to bring that in. And I use a little bit of, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of sole, but I use a little bit of minerals. I use Himalayan crystal salt in my water, just a little bit just to enable it to be taken up in a different way, in a better way. And I just feel better with a little bit of something in my water to help me with its uptake. So yeah, water, nutrition, all of those things to enable you to have the most energy

16:34 Krati that you can. Okay, so like first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, drinking a glass of water with something in it like lemon maybe or Himalayan salt, you said. Okay, so just in the

16:47 Deanna Minich morning or do you add them to your water all day long? I drink many glasses of water throughout the day, but I start my morning with that water. So oftentimes I’ll get up from bed and then I’ll go and sit in a chair, like a comfy chair that I have in my living room. And I’ll drink that water and kind of like reflect and visualize the day. I’ll just kind of sink into it and still, you know, it’s a little bit dark in the house and I’m just in that mode of like reflection and preparing. And quite honestly, for me to have a very productive day and to have everything happen in a very balanced way, I actually have to be thinking about it the night before. So before I go to bed, I print off and I even have it right here, my calendar, my for the day just through Outlook. And at night I print it off before I go to bed and I write down six things that I’m going to do the next day. I read research somewhere about, you know, that the human mind can really only comprehend or kind of take on six things at once. And I don’t want to overpopulate with things because then I don’t feel like I’ve achieved. So I make sure that the things that I put on my list are actionable. I can actually get them done. It’s not like a project. It’s a task within a project. And when I do that and I am a list crosser offer, you know, that there is satisfaction in that. In fact, I’m looking at my list today and I’ve already crossed off three and I have three more, but I can do these. And yeah, I just think it’s important to set the stage of manifestation for

18:27 Krati the next day by thinking about it the night before. Yeah. This is something I really appreciate about your content because you’re always emphasizing a very holistic approach. Like you’re all about emotional well-being as much as the physical side of things. And I really appreciate that. Something else that is to be noted here is it’s hard to believe that you’re in your fifties. It’s I’m not, I’m just making a note of it because, you know, whenever we see something like that, like, oh, this person is in fifties, they do not look at like at all. We’re always very curious, you know, Oh, I wonder what this person is doing. Let me do those things as well. So just adding an extra incentive here for my listeners to follow your advice. Obviously you’re getting so much done and you’re, I mean, you can produce so much content, your business is doing so well. So we have to like, remember all of that. Like it shows not just in like how you look, but also in your business, you’re getting so much done. So yeah, like this is good advice. And I want to also go into the nutrition bit of things like whole, you can hold foods. What’s included in that. What should people

19:32 Deanna Minich be eating is junk ever okay. Like I wonder about those things. Well, you know, I have this thing with nutrition. You know, I think that when we say like, eat this, don’t eat that. No, yes, right, wrong. You know, that’s really not what nutrition is in this day and age. Nutrition is very personalized. So one of the things that makes me a little bit different in the nutrition space is that I’m not into dogma. I’m not into diets, because I do think that everybody has to just evaluate foods on a case by case basis. But to your question, are there certain foods that clearly like soft drinks that you should just say no to and like not even have a question about them? Yes. In fact, I think that soft drinks and sugar are some of the biggest things that add to inflammation. They lead to low energy, even though it seems like you get energy. It’s always at a cost. So your body is taking on those substances and having to change its function and to give over its energy. You know, so I see that it’s pervasive. So I, if I’m going to have anything sweet, I make sure it’s a monk fruit, stevia, a banana, a piece of fruit. You know, not to say that the sweet taste is unnatural to us. It’s very natural. We were built in with sweet receptors. So we need things that are sweet, but we don’t need things that are over the top sweet, that just keep us craving and wanting more. And then it creates that addiction. So I do think that making sure that we can veer away from a lot of sugar, a lot of processed foods, this will help us. You know, actually our bodies will function better. We’ll think better. Our mental health will be better. So overall we’ll be much more productive, even if we start with nutrition. So when it comes to me, you know, how do I eat? My breakfast is my biggest meal of the day. Just like I mentioned how my morning is like sacred. My morning is like, I get so much done in those first four hours of the day. And then I think of like the rest of the day, it’s like, oh, I’m not as tightly productive with things, right? But the first four hours, it was, it’s almost like a full, full day of work. So I, I definitely have a big breakfast. I have a big appetite in the morning. Like if you’re familiar with Ayurvedic type of doshas, you know, I’m very pitta. I’m very like metabolic. I have that body type. I just highly, you know, I’m not somebody who can fast for a long time. I need food and I especially need it in the morning. So I eat a lot in the morning, which parallels a lot of my activity. And then as it goes through the day, I eat less, less, less, less. So by the time I’m at 6 PM, I’m really not eating anything at all up until bedtime. And I typically go to bed by about nine. I know that that’s going to sound crazy to some people that I go to bed at 9 PM, but I’m already feeling soggy and sleepy and I never want to push my body. That’s why when you ask me like, what, what guides you, it’s me. Like if I’m feeling sleepy, let me go take a power nap.

22:45 Krati If I’m feeling like I’m really hungry, even though I just ate, then I need to eat something. I really honor my body and its impulses with kind of the food, the sleep, the emotions, and just taking care of myself. I really think it’s, it’s essential for us. Yeah. Yeah. I sleep at 9 PM too. And I don’t know if it’s okay. So now it’s three for you. Yeah. I don’t know if there’s something about it, but a lot of like our, I’m a Hindu and our ancestors used to believe that sleeping from 9 to 3, it’s like those hours, there’s something about it. I’ve not looked into it. I’ve not researched that or anything, but they say that like getting up at three, like if you’re up at 340, there’s the energy, the universal energy is different. And especially considering I exercise as soon as I wake up, then I’m meditating, then I say my prayers, like the first two hours are just that. So I, it has created some change in like my energy. I have, things have changed for me ever since I’ve started doing that. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’m very keyed in, like very engaged in

23:53 Deanna Minich a very positive way. So. That’s beautiful. That’s great that you know that about yourself. And you know, there’s something about ancient traditions. I really love all of the traditions. I love Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam. I mean, the whole thing. I really love how everybody, there are common truths. And one of the common truths would be, you know, looking at the planet, connecting to seasons, connecting to nature, connecting to what adds to our positivity, right? And how important that is, even if we can bring that positivity to other people. So I do think that, you know, work and what we bring to our everyday lives through what we’re putting out into the world, there’s a degree of consciousness. There’s a degree of energy. Some people ask me about my social media and if I make my own posts or how do I do that? And, you know, I kind of feel like when I make a post on Instagram, it has my energy. Like I don’t force, just for the sake of having a social media calendar or schedule. And I know for some people, it’s very important to have like regular posts. I do it differently. I just kind of go with like, sometimes I’m taking a walk outside and all of a sudden I get this feeling of like, oh, I need to make a post on this. I need to tell people about this. So I try to bring energy and consciousness into what I do. And I try as much as I can now, not to force as much, not to push,

25:23 Krati but to receive kind of being in that space of yin rather than yang. Or at least trying to balance them. Yeah, that’s actually really helpful. But there are a few things that you in your, like the previous thing that you shared, I would like to go deeper into that. You mentioned, you talked about fasting, that you don’t do that at all. But I know a lot of people have this mindset around fasting and like detox diets, where they would like do some, I’ve never tried it because again, I also cannot fast. It doesn’t work for me. It gives me a migraine. But I know a lot of people really are invested into fasting because they believe that this is the only way to clear the

26:02 Deanna Minich toxins in your body. Is that actually true? I think there are many ways to clear toxins from the body. So if we think of the main organs of the body, we think of the gut, we think of the liver, we think of the skin, we think of the lungs, we think of the kidneys. We can go deeper into lymph and some of the other organs, but those are the main ones. So sure, fasting will, it’s a little bit of a stressor to fast. And so what ends up happening is that the cells, they start cleaning house, so to speak. This is a process called autophagy, or for the mitochondria, it would be called mitophagy, where things start to clean up. Because if we’re eating all the time, we actually create a lot of debris. We create a lot of garbage in that process, especially because most of us don’t have very efficient metabolic pathways and cycles. So there’s inefficiency, we start producing free radicals. It could be very damaging if we continue to eat all the time. So there is that idea that if we’re not eating, that we get to clean our internal house, which makes sense. And I just would say that it probably, for every person, there is a certain duration for how much time they need to clean house. Maybe for you, you go to bed at nine, you wake up at three, six hours is enough. You’re not eating during that time. So you know, and I think as we get older, it becomes less efficient, less efficient. So what are some other things that you can do to cleanse or to detox? Well, ensuring proper bowel movements, you know, one to two per day. You know, for some people, they don’t have bowel movements, or they’re not moving their guts adequately. And then even deep breathing can be very detoxifying, making sure that we have more plant foods in our diet, because plant foods will have more fiber, which can move things through the gut and can help the liver. Things for the skin would be sweating. So one of the best ways to move heavy metals and other toxins out of the body is through sweat. So that’s where exercise or for some people, they like to sit in a sauna. That can also be very cleansing. I mean, the skin is one of the largest organs, right? So whatever you do to the skin, and you know, how important that is for just the release of things that are coming through. So and then urinating, you know, the kidneys, making sure again, hydration, that you’re moving things through. So it doesn’t just have to be fasting, our bodies were built to cleanse. So if we just keep our bodies moving in a way that is good for us, and if we can kind of get our body’s intelligence and kind of key into that, then we can start to be doing the things that help our bodies to function well. And you know, I think just giving ourselves rest is important for detoxification. So one of the most important times of the day for detox is nighttime. So I just wrote a paper on melatonin and looking at when we produce melatonin. Well, melatonin is produced by the pineal gland in the darkest time of the night. So typically between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., we produce a lot of melatonin. That’s when the body, the brain is signaled to produce that. And when we produce the melatonin, melatonin is not just helpful for a circadian rhythm, but it’s also a very potent antioxidant, and it’s helping the cleanup process. In fact, other things within that window of 2 to 4, there are a number of other things in the body that help and that help to clean up the body at the cellular level. So yeah, we can cleanse in a lot of ways. We can cleanse mentally, emotionally, you know, it’s not just a physical cleansing, but sometimes we need to cry. You know, even through tears, we can release inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, you know, it’s a cleansing purging process as well.

30:03 Krati Yeah, this is actually advice that is not so hard to follow. This is stuff that we can all do. I appreciate that because a lot of the time we get held advice that just turns you off because, you know, I can’t follow through with it. Like if fasting for me is like, no, I can’t do that. I need energy all the time. So yeah, this is advice we can follow. Definitely. Any food that’s off limits, like you said, plant food, whole foods, but anything like, I know there are some people who avoid certain kind of fruits. Is that ever true? Like you don’t have to eat certain vegetables or you shouldn’t eat certain vegetables or certain fruits? Is that ever the case?

30:39 Deanna Minich Now that depends on the person. Some people have food intolerances or they have food sensitivities or even food allergies. So they might be allergic to tomatoes where they can get a rash. So many times we hear about tomatoes and how healthy they are, how they’re a part of the Mediterranean diet, but then somebody eats them and then they get swollen joints and they get rashes or, you know, it could be anything. You know, people can be allergic to a banana.

31:05 Krati So it’s really hard to say what is best for everybody. Of course, like putting that aside, you’re not allergic to anything. Like I very recently heard from someone that you, that berries are not great for your health, which is, I eat a lot of berries. I love eating berries. So

31:22 Deanna Minich for me, that was kind of strange. See berries I would think are great for your health. So okay. So if I think about like what can help people to be healthy that is accessible, financially feasible, and it’s good, like it tastes good, I would say tea and spices. So even now I’m drinking tea. Tea is one of the best things because it’s rich in phytochemicals. It’s rich in a lot of antioxidants. I think everybody can do tea because, you know, even if, you know, you look at some of the longest lived cultures in the, in the world, and you can see that many times they’re drinking tea. They’re drinking green tea. They’re drinking brown oolong or black teas. You know, tea is an important vehicle of antioxidants and other phytochemically active compounds. Spices are also really important, I think, for everybody. So when I talk about food, I talk about the rainbow. You probably know that. It sounds like you’ve done your homework. So I talk about red foods. I talk about color. And one of the things that can help to give people energy is to connect to color. So even, you know, what is your favorite color? That kind of a thing. So people thinking of their favorite color, wearing a color that resonates for them, that gives them energy, and then eating all of the colors throughout the day, like red colored foods, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, brown, even black, because each of them have unique plant signatures that are connecting to some aspect of our bodies. So let me ask you, what is your favorite color? Yellow, definitely. Okay, yellow can be the color. So there are many sides to every color. So I’m going to give you both sides of yellow. Yellow tends to be the color of optimism, joy, happiness. There’s a sense of fulfillment, achievement, accomplishment. It’s like the gold shiny star. It’s the fire element. It’s blazing. It’s radiant in so many ways, right? So that’s like the healthy aspects of yellow. Now the downside of yellow, when we have too much yellow in foods, like cookies and crackers and breads and pastas and pancakes and waffles and cereals, I mean, just think of it, a lot of these starchy carbohydrate kind of products that give us energy initially, but then what happens to yellow? It becomes too much. We begin to burn out. So the yellow becomes brown. So for people who are yellow, who really like yellow, those are the go-getters. They are the manifestors. They are the entrepreneurs. They’re the athletes. They’re the CEOs. Yellow is a very popular color. Even children love yellow. There’s a sense of happiness, a smiley face that’s yellow with the eyes, right? But you just have to be careful with every color because every color has its up, its beauty, and then on the other side, what to watch for when you have too much yellow, too much fire, too much of that shining all the time. The sun and the moon have that yin-yang relationship, right? So the sun of yellow

34:40 Krati needs the cooling of blue as well in nighttime. Right. That’s actually a good goal to follow, like eating all the colors in a day. I think that’s… Yeah. Yeah. And that’s easy for most people.

34:54 Deanna Minich Like kids can do that. So I’ve created a number of tools. Like one of them is a checklist where every time you have one of the colors of food, you just make a check on there so that you try to get the rainbow every day. And it’s not about the amount. It’s just that you get the food. Like, did you get a red food? It doesn’t matter how much. It could just be some spices and that

35:14 Krati still will count as red. Okay. Thank you for adding that because that would help. That definitely helps. Going back to what you said about sugar, like removing sugar, you mentioned replacing it with stevia. A lot of online resources say that stevia is not healthy and not a suitable replacement for sugar. A lot of people I know struggle with giving up sugar. I drink… I have sugar in my coffee, but that’s all the sugar that I take in an entire day. I try not to stress about it, but it’s definitely something I know that I’m working on. I know a lot of my friends, my

35:47 Deanna Minich colleagues are working on as well, giving up sugar completely. Is there a danger to that? Like giving up sugar completely or maybe limiting it or replacing it with stevia? Well, and it’s not like I’m a huge fan of stevia either. I think that within stevia, you can have a spectrum. You could have the plant in your house, the actual leaves of the plant that you can crush and put into foods or tea. The more that it becomes refined and granulated, the more it’s been processed. And typically it has other additives in it. So that’s where it becomes not desirable. And also stevia can leave a bitter aftertaste. And when people are doing high intensity sweet foods all the time, like high stevia, high monk fruit, high sugar, high whatever the sweetener is, then it keeps the taste primed for sweet. It’s like you can’t get off of that roller coaster. So one of the ways to get off of that roller coaster is to have whole food sources of sweeteners. So like just this past weekend, I made muffins. I made banana walnut muffins. And it was a very simple recipe and I put no sugar in it. No sugar at all. Like no processed sugar. I had a ripe banana. So I just mashed it up and I put that into the muffin and cooked it in that way. So it wasn’t very sweet. I think Americans especially, because I’ve traveled through the world and in the United States, we have a high threshold. We want a lot of sweet taste. Like we’re up here. In other countries, they’re not as, I would say, high in their sweet threshold. They’re more comfortable with umami or salty or bitter or astringent. Like even when I was in India, the beauty of the Indian meal is that you have many tastes. It’s not just sweet. Yes, you have chutneys. Yes, you have certain sweet things, but you also have sour and kind of complimentary taste. So it’s not so hyper sweet. So if people are wanting to go off of sweet and sugar, what I would say is just find a good substitute. Even if it is stevia or monk fruit temporarily until you move away from the sugar, then you start to move into whole foods. And one of my workarounds with things that are sweet, like let’s just say I take a date. A date’s very sweet, but it has other things in it. But it is very, very sweet. So we have to even be careful with dates. So if I have a date, what I will do is I’ll have nuts together with the date. So the nuts, the fat in the protein in the nuts will help to bring down the glycemic impact of the date in my blood. Okay, that makes sense. So if I have something that’s a little bit sweet, even a banana, I make sure I have protein or fat with it so that the sugar doesn’t spike and then drop.

38:46 Krati Yeah, I hate those sugar crashes like for the momentary burst of energy followed with this complete like you’re drained and that you drained and that’s why it’s a roller coaster. Like now you’re hooked. You’re just going to need something sweet again and then off you go. Yeah. Okay, this is thank you for clarifying that I know that this point comes up a lot in these conversations. So that’s really, really helpful. I do want to talk about like you talked about cleansing a little bit, but I would like to know what we can do for better gut health because I know that it has a far-reaching impact. If your gut is unhealthy, that can derail a lot of things for you.

39:28 Deanna Minich So can we please talk about that? Yeah. The first thing is diversity. So if we can get more diverse foods. So what ends up happening is people get in food ruts. We eat the same thing over and over again and that’s not very good for the gut. You don’t build a good healthy gut microbiome by eating the same foods every day. You need to have a diverse blend of plant foods and different kinds of foods, right? Different kinds of fibers rotating those foods every three to four days having new foods. So what I see happening is that people go to the store and they buy big bags of things because it’s cheaper. But in actuality, it’s a bit better to just have smaller amounts and to change up the brand, change up the kind. So with fiber, I think fiber is good for the gut, right? So in functional medicine, we talk about the five Rs. Removing the whatever’s in the gut that’s causing a problem. Like sometimes it’s a fungus or a parasite or a virus or a microorganism, replacing the enzymes or the acid, whatever is gone in the gut that we need to have more of. And then re-inoculating. So thinking about good healthy bacteria, re-inoculating with good microorganisms, repairing. You know, our gut lining is turning over every week. So we just need to build a better gut lining by having certain nutrients to rebuild it. So things like essential fatty acids and protein and zinc and you know, there are a number of different things. And then the last one is rebalance. So rebalance is more about stress because when we feel stressed, we feel it in our gut. And it’s really essential to, I think if we can harmonize our brain with our gut, then our gut will function much better. This is why when people are stressed, they get all kinds of issues with indigestion, reflux. They have diarrhea, constipation, they get bloated, they’re burping, they can’t sleep well. You know, our gut is telling us that we’re not digesting life. It’s not just that we’re not digesting food, we’re not digesting life. So when we have a gut issue, we need to look at where are we leaky? We may have a leaky gut, where are we leaky in life? What are we saying yes to that we need to say no to? What do we need to have better boundaries so that we don’t overwork, so that we don’t become overtired?

41:58 Krati So all of those key, you know, the things that we started this conversation with are all even relevant for the gut. Yeah. And can you like make your decisions based on how food feels as soon as you eat it? Because this is something else that I read online, like the food that doesn’t feel unpleasant in your gut or that just sort of create like causes constipation or just sort of, do you think that’s ever true? Like if I’ve had a meal and right after having that meal, I feel like tight in my body or uncomfortable, could it be because of that meal? Could a meal

42:34 Deanna Minich have that quick an effect? Yes. Okay. It can have an effect like four to six hours after you eat it, especially that’s when most of the effects are felt. And then by the time it makes it through your intestines, we’re talking sometimes up to three days. So for some people, they might get a migraine on day two and they don’t put it together with the fact that they might have had something that they ate on day one because it seems so far away. But food is within us, traveling within us. We’re going to have the most effect within the first 12 hours or so, but especially the first four to six hours. So I would even back up and say before it even gets into our bodies, connecting with our bodies, with our sense of appetite, what intuitively feels good to eat? What do I need to be going for? Like rather than using the head, really like using the sense of the body, like, oh, I need to be more stable, grounded. I need protein. What’s a good quality protein for me right now? Right? Or, you know, I typically think about it in terms of like people wanting more grounding or more energizing. You know, with grounding, I typically think of like protein and fat energizing. I tend to think of, you know, not in boxes, but in generalities, I tend to think of more carbohydrate. So just balancing that, especially through the day, like I think it’s really nice to open up the day with a good healthy base of protein and some healthy fats, right, to get grounded into the day. You know, especially like for people who aren’t morning people and they need a little bit more help. So, you know, food is calories, food is nutrients, food is protein, carbohydrate and fat, it’s phytochemicals, but it’s so much more. Food has memories. Food changes our psychoneurochemistry. It changes our mood state. It changes how we’re sleeping. It changes how we connect with the world. So I really do think that it’s like an open doorway to our experience. So how do we connect our body with the food experience? Like really paying attention to how you feel before you eat a food, making sure that you’re going with, you know, not something that’s a dysregulated appetite, like, oh, I need sugar, because, you know, that probably means like you waited too long or, you know, your blood sugar is crashing and now you need some something more stabilizing, right. But I think it’s important to really look at like how you feel before you eat, during the eating, and then after the eating, you’re going to learn so much about it. You know, actually we do this kind of program. It’s called the elimination diet through functional medicine, where if people are having a lot of food issues, a lot of gut issues, what they do is for about 21 to 28 days, they go off of some of the common food allergens. So things like eggs and soy and shellfish and gluten, they go off of alcohol, they go off of sugar, they go off of caffeine.

45:47 Krati And then they can see how their bodies operate without anything that could might be, that might be making them more reactive. Okay, okay, that makes sense. And I think it also ties in very neatly with what you said about getting to like know yourself and assessing what is it that you actually need and based on that, deciding what you’re going to put into your body. And where do supplements come into this? Or are they even necessary considering all of the advice that you’ve shared, which is very practical advice and easy to follow, I believe. So where do, are supplements even necessary for people like even for people who are driven, want to do more with their life and with their day? Are the supplements necessary after following

46:29 Deanna Minich all of this advice? Well, you need the foundation. If you’re not eating a good, healthy diet, you’re not exercising, you’re not sleeping well, you’re not moving well, and all of those things, taking a supplement will not override what a good, healthy diet can do for you. So let me just say that. Number two, I think it’s really important to be evaluated by a healthcare practitioner to see whether or not somebody actually needs supplements. Some of the best things would be to test to see. So for as an example, I was just at my doctor and I asked her to do certain lab tests so that I can see how is my magnesium, how is my calcium, how is my zinc, how is my iron, how are my heavy metals, like where am I stacking up, how are my markers of inflammation, how are my lipids, how is my blood sugar? And you can get a good sense of where you’re at. And if you, let’s just say that you’re doing everything right, you know, you’re eating well, you’re doing it all. There might be times that people need more intervention and to bring certain things in like a supplement to help to override some effect in the body. You know, we live on a planet that is bombarded with toxins. There are heavy metals, there’s a lot of plastic in the environment, there’s a lot of pollution, there’s a lot of stress. You know, stress, just psychosocial stress can be very taxing on the body and that can wear away at gut health and where’s your immune system? Most of it’s in the gut. 60 to 70 percent is in the gut. So people tend to get sick when they tend to get stressed. And so I do think that having certain dietary supplements can be, it could be important for helping the body to just fortify its defenses, especially when people are going through a lot. Maybe they’re not eating the best diet, they’re having a lot of travel, they’re not sleeping well, maybe they’re subject to a lot of different toxins in the environment. So I take supplements, but I know why I’m taking them and I’m very well informed about my own body. I think for some people they don’t really know, so they keep buying products and they buy them at the store, they don’t buy them through a practitioner. So then, you know, they don’t always know about how to take them, the quality of the product, all of that is very important and a lot of supplements can be very expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing. Okay, so supplements can step things up, but we need to consult an expert before we take any. I think that’s the best approach. Okay, I think that’s absolutely that, you know, people know different things about their bodies, about products, but I think best case scenario is actually to work with a practitioner who can guide you and streamline your efforts rather than make you feel like, oh wow, you know, maybe I just needed that other turmeric product. Maybe it’s not turmeric at all. Maybe you need something completely different or maybe you just have a simple vitamin deficiency. You know, I think with the average diets that people are on, many times they’re just lacking very simple vitamins

49:29 Krati and minerals. So yeah, I think going to a practitioner and doing it smarter, testing rather than guessing is the better approach. No, yeah, thank you for saying that because I love the internet, but the internet, so far as your health is concerned, can be a very dangerous thing because we Google all of this stuff and then we just, we become doctors and suddenly we know all of this shit that is completely irrelevant to us. So yeah, thank you for clarifying that. Yeah, definitely getting tested before we start putting things into our body that I think is essential. Now for our last fun question. If you had magic at your disposal and you could remove one health related habit, something that people do, and you could remove it all across the world, like nobody would be doing it after you say that spell. What would that one habit be?

50:24 Deanna Minich Wow, well, the first thing that came to me was smoking. You know, even though a lot of people are not, you know, smoking has changed in the United States, but it’s still very prevalent in other places. And the reason I say smoking too is because smoking impacts other people. If you eat sugar, that’s impacting mostly you. I mean, it’s going to change your behavior and it’s going to change your interactions with people, but smoking is impacting babies. You know, I see parents smoking around their children. You know, that’s the first thing, but you know, there’s so many things. But if we can just eradicate something that’s very unhealthy, I would say, you know, smoking. And because we’re also damaging the air, the quality of the planet, and it’s going beyond us. Whereas when we take a substance like alcohol or sugar, it’s impacting us. You know, the other thing I might say is just to get rid of plastic. Plastic is so disruptive to ecosystems, to our bodies. I mean, if we can just drink out of glass and have no plastic whatsoever

51:29 Krati in the world that we are consuming food or beverage from, I think that that can make a huge impact as well. Yeah, that sounds good. Something definitely like these are not very, you didn’t come up with anything too convoluted. This is actually a no brainer. Give up smoking, stop using plastic.

51:51 Deanna Minich No, I mean, it’s really common sense. And you know, I was in Cyprus in October of last year. And you know, if you go to Europe and different places, I mean, there’s still a lot of use of cigarettes and different, even vaping. You know, when I’m talking about smoke and aromatics, you know, I’m thinking of everything that circulates in the air. The pandemic has really shined a light on what is in the air. It’s really hard to block off what is in the air. Whereas the water is more contained, foods are more contained, but the air is pervasive. So the air is really precious. And I do think that if people had cleaner, more quality air, that could change a lot. You know, there’s even a connection between air pollutants and things like risk for cardiovascular disease. So looking at pollution, air particulates, you know, there’s a direct connection to our health. Yeah, yeah, that helps. Sorry, that sounds like I’m ending on a very sad note. I think small things we can do, you know, just even changing our outlook, you know, like what can we control? We can control our outlook and our perspective into life. You know, I don’t want people to get overwhelmed by toxins, even though, you know, we live on a planet that has a lot of them, you know, grow more plants, plants will help us to bring in more oxygen and yeah, help clean it up and give us the phytochemicals we need to get those things out of the body. So there’s always a positive note when there seems like something that feels like, oh, that feels heavy. But there’s also lots of light.

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