Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning

BONUS Episode “A Deep Dive into the Top 5 Health Staples” and Review of Seasons 1-4

December 11, 2020

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, with a special episode, recorded for Podbean’s Wellness Week.

When I first launched this podcast, in June 2019, using Podbean as my host, of course, it was a bit by chance, as I had just purchased a new template for my website that had a podcast theme, and the developer who helped me to build the site said “you can delete the podcast section if you don’t want to host a podcast” and I thought about it for a minute, and was already conducting interviews for the programs and services I was offering in my membership area, so I told him, “let’s just keep it” and I went over to Google and searched for “what is an RSS feed” and “how to launch a podcast.” I had no idea at that moment just how powerful that one decision would be, leading me to launch something that would connect me to leaders around the world, be downloaded in over 100 countries, become my biggest learning opportunity I’ve ever had,  and open up many doors, all from just one decision.

I also started this podcast because I saw a serious need in the area of social and emotional learning that was being implemented in schools around the country and the world, but many educators didn’t know the best way to begin their implementation.  We all know that “success in life, and in college and career specifically, relies on student’s cognitive, (the core skills your brain uses to think, read, remember, and pay attention) social and interpersonal skills, (including the ability to navigate through social situations, resolve conflicts, show respect towards others, self-advocate and learn how to work on a team with others) and emotional development (including the ability to recognize and manage one’s emotions, demonstrate empathy for others and cope with stress)” but what are these skills, and what exactly is the best way to implement them?[i]

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In the corporate world, these skills aren’t new, but they are “newly important” and of high urgency to develop in our future generations. A recent survey showed that 58 percent of employers say college graduates aren’t adequately prepared for today’s workforce, and those employers noted a particular gap in social and emotional skills. This is where our goal with this podcast began—to close this gap by exploring six social and emotional learning competencies as a springboard for discussion and tie in how an understanding of our brain can facilitate these strategies. Hence the title of the podcast, Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning. If we want to improve our social, emotional and cognitive abilities, it all starts with an understanding of our brain. 

Season 1: Consists of 33 episodes that begin with introducing six the social and emotional competencies (building a growth mindset, making responsible decisions, becoming self-aware, increasing social-awareness, managing emotions and behavior and developing relationships) along with an introduction to cognitive skills that I call Neuroscience 101 where we introduce some of the most important cognitive strategies, or the core skills your brain uses to think, remember and pay attention.

CONTENT: In this season, you will learn about understanding your mind vs your brain, mindfulness and meditation, the 3 parts of your brain, achieving peak performance, and improving awareness, mindsight, rewiring your brain for happiness, and experiential learning. We interviewed Ron Hall from Valley Day School who talked about how he launched his neuroeducation program into his school, Jennifer Miller on “Building Connections with Parents and Educators,” Helen Maffini on her Mindful Peace Summit and “Launching Mindfulness and Meditation in our Schools,” Greg Wolcott on “Building Relationships in Today’s Classrooms,” 14 year old Adam Avin on “Improving Our Mental Health in Our Schools,” Clark McKown from xSEL Labs on “SEL Assessments” and how we can actually measure these skills, Sam Roberts on her experience of “Winning a 4 Year Prestigious Scholarship” using these skills, Donte Winrow on “Breaking into a Challenging Career Path” with the application of these skills immediately after graduating from high school, Dr. Lori Desautels and Michael McKnight on “The Future of Educational Neuroscience in Today’s Schools,” Harvard researcher Jenny Woo on “The Latest Research, Brain Facts and Myths, Growth Mindset, Memory and Cognitive Biases,” Psychologist Dr. Kenneth Kohutek on his new book “Chloe and Josh Learn Grit,” Psychologist Bob Jerus on “Suicide Prevention and Emotional Intelligence Training,” Spencer Taylor on his “Death of Recess Educational Documentary” featuring Carol Dweck and Sir Ken Robinson, Marc Brackett on his powerful book “Permission to Feel,” former Superintendent Dr. Jeff Rose on “Leadership, Innovation and the Future,” Mick Neustadt on “How Meditation and Mindfulness Can Change Your Life,” Friederike Fabritius from Germany on “Achieving Peak Performance with the Brain in Mind,” Dr. Daniel Siegel on “Mindsight: The Basis for Social and Emotional Intelligence,” my mentor and neuroscience researcher Mark Robert Waldman on “12 Brain-Based Experiential Learning and Living Principles,” Nik Halik on “Overcoming Adversity to Create an Epic Life,” and John Assaraf on “Brain Training, the Power of Repetition, Resourcefulness and the Future.”

Season 2: These 33 episodes build on the strategies from Season 1, with high level guests who tie in social, emotional, interpersonal and cognitive strategies to increase results in schools, sports and the workplace. You will learn about the power of repetition, challenge, creativity, using your brain to break bad habits, how the brain ties into mindset, self-regulation, and self-awareness, cognitive rigor, thinking, learning, brain rules for schools and the workplace, the theory of mind, brain network theory, personal leadership, taking initiative, resiliency, the science behind mindfulness/meditation and your values.

CONTENT: You will hear from Chris Farrell on “Strategies for High Achievers,” James Nottingham on “The Importance of Challenge with Learning,” Dr. John Dunlosky on “Improving Student Success,” Todd Woodcroft on “The Daily Grind in the NHL,” Stefanie Faye on “Using Neuroscience to Improve our Mindset, Self-Regulation, and Self-Awareness,” the Co-Founder of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Frank Shankwitz on “Lessons from the Wish Man Movie,” Erik Francis on “How to Use Questions to Promote Cognitive Rigor, Thinking and Learning,” Dr. John Medina on “Implementing Brain Rules in the Schools and Workplaces of the Future,” Dalip Shekhawat on “Life Lessons Learned from Summiting Mount Everest,” Dr. Jeff Magee on “Managing Fear, Focus and Strategy During Challenging Times,” Tiffany Krumins on “Life After Shark Tank,” Kelly Schmidt on Easy to Implement Fitness and Nutrition Tips,” David Adams on “A New Vision for Education,” Torsten Nicolini on “Working Smart,” Dr. Lori Desautels on her book “Connections Over Compliance,” The Wise Emotional Fitness Program delivered via virtual reality with James MacDiarmid and Natasha Davis all the way from Australia, Suzanne Gunderson on “Putting the Polyvagal Theory into Practice,” Maria Natapov on “Building Autonomy, Self-Confidence, Connection and Resiliency Within Our Children,” Casel President Karen Niemi on “Tools and Strategies to Enhance and Expand SEL in our Schools and Communities,” Hans Appel on “Building an Award Winning Culture in Your School or Organization,” Greg Wolcott on “Making Connections with Neuroscience and SEL,” Dr. Barbara Schwarck on “Using Energy Psychology and Emotional Intelligence to Improve Leadership in the Workplace,” and an Introduction to my first mentor, speaker, Bob Proctor on “Social and Emotional Learning: Where it All Started,” where I share how I began working with these skills over 20 years ago,  along with a deep dive into some of the lessons learned from Bob Proctor’s Seminars.

Season 3: These 14 episodes tie in some of the top authors in the world who connect their work to these social, emotional and cognitive skills, with clear examples for improved results, well-being and achievement within each episode.

CONTENT: You will learn about the neuroscience of personal change with a deep dive into Dr. Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” (that’s currently the most downloaded episode) Self-Regulation and Behavior Change with David R Hawkins’ “Power vs Force,” Self-Regulation and Sleep with Dr. Shane Creado’s “Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes,” Chris Manning on using “Neurowisdom” to Improve Learning and Success in Life, Horatio Sanchez on “Resilience,” Maurice J Elias on “Social and Emotional and Character Development,” Michael B Horn on “Disrupting Education” and the future of education, Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey on “High Quality Distance Learning.” David A Sousa on “How the Brain Learns,” Eric Jensen on “Reversing the Impact of Poverty and Stress on Student Learning” and Samantha Wettje from Harvard on “Mitigating the Negative Effect of ACES.” I conclude this season with a solo lesson from me, on critical thinking and the brain, after being asked to create an episode on this topic for the corporate space.

 

Season 4:  These 14 episodes (82-96) that begin to tie in health, and mental health into the understanding of our brain, productivity and results. The shift to health on this podcast became apparent when we started to see how important our brain health is for our overall results.

CONTENT: Everything that we do starts at the brain level, and we dive deep into this with our 3-part episodes on “How a Brain Scan Changed My Life” with a look at what we can learn from looking at our brain using a SPECT image brain scan. The interviews of this season mix in the power of education with an understanding of health and wellness. Dr. Sarah McKay agreed with Dr. Shane Creado (from Season 3) that sleep is one of the most important health strategies we can implement. It became apparent that there were 5 health staples that emerged as so powerful they were showing an impact on Alzheimer’s Prevention, so this season became a deep dive into these top 5 health staples (daily exercise, getting good quality and quantity sleep, eating a healthy diet, optimizing our microbiome and intermittent fasting). You will also hear from Dr. Andrew Newberg and his episode on Neurotheology, Dr. Erik Won and his ground -breaking technology that’s changing the future of mental health, Luke DePron, who is stretching the limits with neuroscience, health, fitness and growth, Sarah Peyton on “Brain Network Theory, Default Mode Network, Anxiety and Emotion Regulation,” Momo Vuyisich on “Preventing and Reversing Chronic Disease by Improving the Health of Your Microbiome,” Jason Wittrock on the Ketogentic Diet and Intermittent Fasting, and Dr. Sandy Gluckman on “Reversing Children’s Behavior and Mood Problems.” We also hear from behavior experts Drs. Jessica and John Hannigan on their new book “SEL From a Distance” that offers simple strategies for parents and educators who are working on implementing these SEL skills into their home or classroom, during the pandemic.

When Season 4 took the direction of health, mental-health, and wellness, I began looking for guests to dive deeper into the Top 5 health staples that seemed to continue to emerge with each guest.

Health Staple 1: Daily Exercise  (Luke DePron)

Health Staple 2: Getting Good Quality Sleep (Dr. Shane Creado)

Health Staple 3: Eating a Healthy Diet (Dr. Daniel Stickler).

Health Staple 4: Optimizing our Microbiome (Momo Vuyisich)

Health Staple 5: Intermittent Fasting (Jason Wittrock)

On this episode, that we are releasing for Podbean’s Wellness Week, I’ll take the Top 5 Health Staples from EPISODE #87 and offer additional tips, strategies, and ideas based our most recent interviews, that you can implement immediately for improved health and well-being. You can see EPISODE #87[ii] on the “Top 5 Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Prevention Strategies” that I wrote after watching Dr. David Perlmutter’s Documentary: Alzheimer’s the Science of Prevention[iii], that inspired the change in direction for the podcast towards health and wellness in addition to social, emotional and cognitive strategies for improved results.

The case is clear that in order to move the needle the most with our health, there are some important areas that we can come to a consensus that are crucial to pay attention to. We know that Alzheimer’s disease now affects “more than 5 million Americans and is the most common form of dementia, a term that describes a variety of diseases and conditions that develop when nerve cells in the brain die or no longer function normally.”[iv]

I was interested in learning more on this topic, since it was one of the reasons, we did scan our brain in the first place. The pattern of Alzheimer’s can be seen in the brain years before signs and symptoms show up, so when I saw Dr. Perlmutter’s Alzheimer’s Prevention series, I watched every episode to learn what brain experts across the country are saying about the top ways to prevent this disease, that currently has no know or meaningful treatment but I was given some hope when I learned that “you can change the direction of your cognitive destiny” (From Max Lugavere,[v] a Health and Science Journalist and NYT Bestselling Author, Genius Foods). Here is how we can take control of our health and future, with the TOP 5 health staples that I think we should all know, how they play a role in Alzheimer’s prevention, with added TIPS from our most recent health interviews.

Health Staple 1: Daily Exercise: This seems to be the solution for every single brain problem, so I think that this is the most important strategy, and the reason why I block out exercise time on my schedule as non-negotiable. If we can incorporate 30 minutes of brisk walking every day, we will be miles ahead with our brain health. It wasn’t until I started to measure my activity, that I started to see that 30 minutes of walking really did make a difference. I didn’t need to be running or working really hard (like I used to think I had to do) to notice a difference, but I did need to put in some effort to move the needle.  The benefits  of daily, consistent exercise “come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.”[vi]  If for some reason, this whole idea of exercising still doesn’t sound the least bit interesting to you, you might be surprised like I was, that household activities like vacuuming, or raking leaves, or anything that gets your heart rate up, like shoveling snow (something I haven’t done in years since I moved from Toronto)—but these activities can also fall into the category of moderate exercise. The idea is whatever you choose, that it remains consistent, so it eventually becomes something you do habitually.

ALZHEIMER’S PREVENTION THOUGHT FOR DAILY EXERCISE:

If exercise reduces insulin resistance and inflammation, it would make sense that it also reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s. Studies show that “people who are physically active, have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and possibly have improved thinking.”[vii]

DEEPER DIVE with LUKE DEPRON:

On episode #90, I interviewed Luke DePron on “Neuroscience, Fitness and Growth” Luke is a Men’s Health & Performance Coach[viii], and graduate of Exercise Science, Kinesiology. Luke has done everything from personal training with 100s of clients, to working alongside Drs of Chiropractic as a corrective exercise specialist, training Olympic level athletes, to performance work with world champion mixed martial arts fighters. Currently Luke works as a Men’s Online Health and Performance Coach—learn more at http://www.livegreatlifestyle.com/ where he helps men step into a lifestyle approach of exercise and nutrition to transform their physique, energy, and confidence. 

He’s also the Host of the Live Great Lifestyle Podcast[ix] where he’s interviewed former Navy Seals, Mixed Martial Arts world champions, New York Times best-selling authors, personal development speakers, and many more….

LESSON LEARNED FROM LUKE ON DAILY EXERCISE:

I learned from Luke that “most people start a fitness or nutrition journey with a physique goal in mind, but it’s how you feel at the end of it.” What’s inspiring Luke says “is to see someone who might not be in that great health to begin with, create daily and weekly habits or standards that they follow, that creates energy and confidence that comes along with these habits.” That’s what the journey is all about.

Health Staple 2: Getting Good Quality Sleep: Making sure we are getting at least 7- 8 hours each night. I think that we have seen the importance of sleep with our interview with sleep expert Dr. Shane Creado, on episode #72[x] and with Dr. Sarah McKay on episode #85.[xi] It is clear that sleep deprivation causes poor health and performance because it’s not allowing enough time for the brain to wash and clean itself. With less than 7 hours of sleep each night, the “trash”[xii] builds up in our brain, that leads us farther away from health.  I learned from health expert Darin Olien from the Darin Olien Show[xiii] --he’s the one who did the Netflix Docuseries with Zac Efron called “Down to Earth with Zac Efron[xiv]” that studies show that “almost all neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, are created when protein waste accumulates in the brain, which in turn slowly suffocates and kills the brain’s neurons.”[xv]  We also know that the brain shows lower functioning to important areas when it’s sleep deprived.

ALZHEIMER’S PREVENTION THOUGHT FOR THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP:

Dr. David Perlmutter, on his Alzheimer’s Science of Prevention Series, made a clear case for the fact that “sleep deprivation is directly linked to developing Alzheimer’s disease” and that “sleep plays an important role…impacting our risk for developing this condition.” He went on to remind us that “from a medical perspective, we cannot afford a bad night’s sleep” and that “sleep is essential if we want to retain optimal function of our body and our brains.”[xvi]

DEEPER DIVE WITH DR. SHANE CREADO

On episode #72 with sleep medicine physician, sports psychiatrist and author of the NEW book “Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes: The Cutting-Edge Sleep Science That Will Guarantee a Competitive Advantage”[xvii] Dr. Shane Creado

Shane Creado[xviii] is a double board-certified sleep medicine doctor and psychiatrist. He practices functional sleep medicine, integrative psychiatry, and sports psychiatry, putting all those skills together to uncover underlying factors that sabotage the patients, comprehensively treat them, and help them achieve their goals.

LESSON LEARNED FROM DR. CREADO ON SLEEP:

Dr. Creado mentions that “Sleep is a key pillar of brain health and it’s modifiable, which is what’s beautiful about it. We can’t really change our DNA, well, we could talk about epigenetics and how the environment influences our DNA but sleep is something that it modifiable and we can correct it.” When working with a patient, Dr. Creado looks at the brain using SPECT image brain scans and based on what he sees, he determines the treatment plan. When Dr. Creado looked at my brain, he suggested that a change in my sleep pattern of adding just an additional half and hour to make 7 hours of sleep, would improve my results. He also reminded me that a 20 minute nap in the afternoon would boost my productivity and is not lazy, to incorporate this habit into my daily routine, and that Google and many high level corporate environments offer sleep pods to help their employees to gain the rest needed in the afternoon to boost productivity.

Health Staple 3: Eating a Healthy Diet: Eliminating sugar and processed foods. We hear this all the time and know intuitively what feels good when we eat it, and what makes our body feel tired, lethargic and just plain bad. The goal is to eliminate “the brain robbers that steal our energy and do what helps it, not hurts it.”[xix]  There are two specific moments that I remember were life-changing when it came to my diet.

The first was around 2005 when I was seeing a foot doctor, Dr. Richard Jacoby, for foot numbness after exercise, and he asked me to eliminate sugar completely from my diet.  I was looking for solutions to why I couldn’t feel the top of my foot during exercise, and I didn’t show any signs of diabetes, but this doctor was writing a book, that is now released called Sugar Crush: How to Reduce Inflammation, Reverse Nerve Damage and Reclaim Good Health[xx]  and he was convinced that sugar intake was at the root of most health problems. He suggested that I take fish oil, and learn to avoid higher glycemic foods, and the results that occurred were so impactful, that I wished I had done this sooner. The benefits of cutting out sugar from my diet only snowballed my health for the better down the road. When I was ready to have children, I was a bit worried that I would have some challenges here, as I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) in my late 20s and told that I might need to take fertility drugs to conceive,  but surprisingly, after some tests, my doctor told me that I no longer had this condition, that it appears to have reversed, and she asked me what I had done. The only thing I did was exercise, take fish oil and cut out sugar.

The second life-changing Aha Moment around diet was focused around intermittent fasting, that I talk about in point #5, but it was also eye opening when I started to follow Dave Asprey, the author of the NYT bestseller The Bulletproof Diet: Lose Up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Focus, Upgrade Your Life[xxi] and creator of Bulletproof Coffee[xxii].  Who would ever have thought that putting butter, coconut oil or MCT oil in your coffee would help you to increase your energy and stay lean? I heard this idea first from bodybuilder and fitness expert Jason Wittrock[xxiii] from watching his YouTube channel where he explains exactly what goes into a keto coffee, and why it’s good for your energy levels. He explains the science behind the keto diet and was a great resource for me when I was learning that eating fats, won’t make me fat. Thomas DeLauer[xxiv] is also a great resource for anyone looking to learn more about intermittent fasting, or the ketogenic diet.

ALZHEIMER’S PREVENTION THOUGHT FOR EATING A HEALTY DIET:

Did you know that sugar in the brain “looks like Alzheimer’s” in the brain,  and that “60% of cognitive decline is related to how you handle blood sugar?”[xxv] There was a study that followed “5,189 people over 10 years and found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar—whether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline.”[xxvi]

Did you know that with Type 2 Diabetes, you have almost double the risk for Alzheimer’s Disease, that has no known treatment? If you have type 2 diabetes, your goal would be to do everything that you can to manage your blood sugar, by eating good carbs[xxvii] (complex carbs with fiber),  eat lower glycemic foods[xxviii] that balance your blood sugar levels, instead of throwing them off balance with high levels of sugar.

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Above is an image of a healthy brain, from Dr. Amen’s Clinics, showing even, symmetrical and smooth blood flow to all areas in the healthy brain, and the Alzheimer’s brain shows a drop of blood flow to the important parts of the brain.

DEEPER DIVE WITH DR. DANIEL STICKLER

On episode #96 with Dr. Daniel Stickler, MD, a former vascular surgeon who concluded that traditional medicine is not the best route for ideal health. He is now the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of The Apeiron Center for Human Potential (Apeiron meaning Limitless) and is the visionary pioneer behind systems-based precision lifestyle medicine, which is a new paradigm that redefines medicine from the old symptoms-based disease model to one of limitless peak performance. A few minutes of looking at Dr. Stickler’s work and your level of awareness will expand.

LESSON LEARNED FROM DR. STICKLER ON NUTRITION:

Dr. Stickler talks about a skill called interoception or the ability to listen to the signals within the body that we have spoken about in a few episodes on this podcast (whether it was with Dr. Dan Siegel and his Wheel of Awareness meditation[xxix] that strengthens this awareness) or personal trainer Jason Wittrock who talked about the importance of listening to your hunger cues to gain control over your eating habits.

Dr. Stickler mentioned interoception as a skill used by pro athletes to achieve results with their athletic career, or with those in the special forces who must learn this skill since they are often faced with life vs death situations. If we can learn to listen to the cues our body tells us, whether it’s with the food we are eating, or when we are eating, we will be miles ahead with our well-being.

Health Staple 4: Optimizing our Microbiome: Did you know that your gut is made up of trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microbes. This microbiome plays an important role in your health by helping to control digestion and benefitting your immune system. Taking a probiotic daily, remaining active, eating a healthy diet and avoiding foods that disrupt our microbiome[xxx] (processed fried foods, sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners, are important for our gut/brain health.

ALZHEIMER’S PREVENTION THOUGHT FOR OPTIMIZING YOUR MICROBIOME:

There does appear to be a hidden relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and the microbiome in our gut and that “an imbalanced gut microbiome (dysbiosis) could lead to Alzheimer’s disease and wider neuroinflammation through the gut-brain-axis. Promoting ‘good bacteria’ relative to ‘bad bacteria’ in the gut may be important in maintaining good digestive, immune and neurological health.”[xxxi] This is still a developing field but taking prebiotics and probiotics[xxxii] are the best way to promote a healthy gut/brain balance.

DEEPER DIVE WITH DR. VUYISICH

 Our recent episode #93 with Dr. Momo Vuyisich, the co-founder and chief science officer of Viome[xxxiii], a healthcare disruptor that’s using IA to analyze your gut microbiome to make personalized nutritional recommendations, we learn about the importance of the gut/brain connection and how we can take control of our own life and health by optimizing our gut microbiome with personalized nutritional recommendations using Viome testing. 

Dr. Vuyisich’s research focused on applying modern genomics to the areas of gut microbiomes, host-pathogen and microbial inter-species interactions, pathogen detection, cancer biology, toxicology, infectious diseases, and antibiotic resistance.

LESSON LEARNED FROM DR. VUYISICH

Dr. Vuyisich believes that “Today we have 100% of the science and technology needed to cure every chronic disease and every cancer.” He urges everyone to learn more about ways to optimize their gut health by understanding what damages our gut health, and what is good for it. Since each person’s microbiome is different, his company offers microbiome testing, and the result is that people learn what foods they should avoid, minimize, enjoy and those that are superfoods for them. This has opened up a whole new world for him, and it begins with each person taking charge of their own health by understanding our gut/brain connection.

Health Staple 5: Intermittent Fasting: Has many health benefits[xxxiv] that you might have heard of, like the fact it reduces belly fat. I started intermittent fasting around 3 years ago when I was looking to take my health to the next level, and was following some of the well-known body builders, to see what they were doing for their health and fitness. I started the 16-8 program where you fast for 16 hours, and only eat foods in an 8-hour window. I just picked 4 days a week (Sunday to Wednesday) to do this, to see what happened, and the results were obvious. I was able to quickly get down to my goal weight, where I was stuck, and not able to move the needle with exercise alone.

ALZHEIMER’S PREVENTION THOUGHT FOR INTERMITTENT FASTING :

Intermittent fasting has so many other health benefits tied to this practice, like the fact it “fights insulin resistance, lowering your risk of type-2 diabetes, reduces inflammation in the body, is beneficial for heart health, and may prevent cancer.”[xxxv] If it is fighting insulin resistance, then it is also fighting your risk of Alzheimer’s.

DEEPER DIVE WITH FITNESS TRAINER AND MODEL JASON WITTROCK

On episode #94 with personal trainer and fitness model, Jason Wittrock we learn more about intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet that go hand in hand.

I first found Jason Wittrock late 2016/ 2017 when I was searching for answers with my diet. I was at a crossroads with my health, and knew I needed to do some things differently, I just didn’t know exactly what to do, and I had heard some friends in some of my online groups talking about how they were drinking keto coffee, and experiencing health benefits, like increased energy and weight loss.  So I went to YouTube, and typed in “how to make keto coffee” and Jason Wittrock’s video came up called “Keto Coffee”[xxxvi] and my journey began here, taking my health to a whole new level, and have never looked back. I’m sure there are thousands of stories just like mine.

LESSON LEARNED FROM JASON WITTROCK

Jason says it just like it is. He talks about the fact that eating fats, won’t make you fat, which is a whole new paradigm for anyone who is used to counting calories.  He says “You can’t get mad at the butter for what the bread did” and is one of the leaders in the fitness industry who has built a career on helping people implement the ketogenic diet. Many people on this diet notice that they stay full for much longer, and intermittent fasting becomes easier to implement.

REVIEW AND ACTION STEPS:

Wherever you are with your current health, there is always a way to take your results to the next level. You also don’t need to get bogged down with implementing these ideas in a rush and stressing yourself out in the process.

To get started, pick one area that you want to improve, and work on that one area for the next 90 days.

Remember what Luke De Pron suggested, the end results should be how you “feel” not what you look like. How you feel will spill over to your confidence levels, helping to improve your daily productivity and results.

WHERE TO BEGIN WITH DAILY EXERCISE:

If you want to improve your daily exercise, but have no idea where to begin, I would start with walking.

Beginners: I remember after a surgery I had that I could barely walk to the bottom of my driveway and remember thinking how frustrating that was. Listen to your body and start with short distances.  I would wake up early, at 4am (since I didn’t want the whole world watching me struggle to walk short distances) and I could walk from the bottom of my driveway to the end of the street. I did that every day for a week and then added a longer distance that lasted 15 minutes. After a few weeks, I was walking longer distances and longer amounts of time, showing me that progress is possible, with regular, consistent activity.

Moderate to Advanced: If you have plateaued with your current exercise routine, have you tried working with a trainer? Many are available for zoom/video calls during this time if your gym is still closed, or if you don’t have one. The key is to do something that you have not done before, to get new and different results.

WHERE TO BEGIN WITH GETTING A GOOD QUALITY SLEEP

  1. Watch the interview with sleep expert Dr. Shane Creado, on episode #72[xxxvii] and with Dr. Sarah McKay on episode #85?[xxxviii]
  2. If you are waking up and feel tired, or not rested, have you considered getting a sleep study to test the quality and quantity of your sleep?
  3. Take inventory of your sleep. Are you getting at least 7-8.5 hours/each night? Remember that Dr. Creado said that the beauty about sleep is that it is modifiable. How can you adjust your sleep to make improvements? Even just by adding an additional half an hour each night, along with an afternoon nap, can yield noticeable results.
  4. Have you ever used an app to measure your sleep? Dr. Stickler in episode #96 measures all of his clients sleep using a Garmin device, and he has noted that someone doing all the right things EXCEPT for sleeping enough, were able to lose weight only once they improved their sleep.

WHERE TO BEGIN WITH EATING A HEALTHY DIET

  1. Do you avoid processed foods?
  2. Have you ever thought about cutting out sugar?
  3. Do you choose healthy carbs and fats?
  4. Do you choose whole foods vs processed foods?

WHERE TO BEGIN WITH OPTIMIZING YOUR MICROBIOME

  1. Do you take a probiotic? A prebiotic?
  2. Do you know what foods help/hurt or damage your microbiome?
  3. Have you considered microbiome testing like Dr. Vuyicish’s company offers so you can pinpoint the foods that you should avoid, minimize, maximize, or foods that are superfoods?

WHERE TO BEGIN WITH INTERMITTENT FASTING

  1. If fasting for 16 hours with an 8 hour eating window seems too much, try 12 hours fasting and 12 hours eating to begin. Try it for a few days a week, and just see if you feel better fasting than when you eat like you normally would. If you feel better, you can always experiment with different fasting methods, and see where you feel best.
  2. Remember Jason Wittrock explaining that when you are eating a diet that is higher in fat, that you will not get hungry the same way you do eating a high carb diet.

I hope you have found this episode helpful, and I that you did learn something new. Please do send me a message on social media and let me know what you think.  I really do believe that if we want to improve our social, emotional and cognitive abilities, it all starts with an understanding of our brain, and these TOP 5 strategies seem to move the needle the most, especially when it comes to preventing Alzheimer’s and other diseases that I know we all want to avoid.  I hope you have found the additional interviews helpful, and begin to make small changes in one area at a time. It’s these small, daily habits, that when repeated over and over again, yield outstanding results.

See you next episode!

REFERENCES:

[i] (Integrating Social, Emotional and Academic Development: An Action Guide for School Leadership Teams) page 4

[ii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning EPISODE #87 on the “Top 5 Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Prevention Strategies”

[iii] Dr. David Perlmutter’s “Alzheimer’s: The Science of Prevention” https://scienceofprevention.com/

[iv] 10 Early Alzheimer’s Symptoms That You Should Know https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/10-early-alzheimers-symptoms-that-you-should-know/

[v] Max Lugavere, Health and Science Journalist and NYT Bestselling Author, Genius Foods. https://www.maxlugavere.com/

[vi] Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills by Heidi Goodman, April 2014  https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

[vii] Alzheimer’s Disease: Can Exercise Prevent Memory Loss April 2019  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/expert-answers/alzheimers-disease/faq-20057881

[viii] http://www.livegreatlifestyle.com/

[ix] Live Great Lifestyle Podcast with Luke DePron http://www.livegreatlifestyle.com/podcast/

[x] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast Episode #72 with Shane Creado on “Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes” https://www.achieveit360.com/self-regulation-and-sleep-with-a-deep-dive-into-dr-shane-creados-peak-sleep-performance-for-athletes/

[xi] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast Episode #85 with Neuroscientist Dr. Sarah McKay on “High Performing Brain Health Strategies That We Should All Know About.”

[xii] Darin Olien “The Sleep Position to Detoxify Your Brain”  https://darinolien.com/detoxify-your-brain/

[xiii] The Darin Olien Show https://darinolien.com/podcasts/

[xiv] Down to Earth with Zac Efron (co-host Darin Olien)  https://www.netflix.com/title/80230601

[xv] Darin Olien “The Sleep Position to Detoxify Your Brain”  https://darinolien.com/detoxify-your-brain/

[xvi] Dr. David Perlmutter’s “Alzheimer’s: The Science of Prevention” EPISODE 10 on Sleep  https://scienceofprevention.com/

[xvii] Dr. Shane Creado’s Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes: The Cutting-Edge Sleep Science That Will Guarantee a Competitive Advantage (March 15, 2020) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085YFP9YW/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

[xviii] www.shanecreado.com

[xix] Dr. Daniel Amen “7 Simple Brain-Promoting Nutritonal Tips” https://www.creativityatwork.com/2011/01/10/dr-amen-seven-simple-brain-promoting-nutrition-tips/

[xx] Sugar Crush: How to Reduce Inflammation, Reverse Nerve Damage and Reclaim Good Health by Dr. Richard Jacoby (April 2014)  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KPVB4OA/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

[xxi] Dave Asprey The Bulletproof Diet https://www.amazon.com/Bulletproof-Diet-Reclaim-Energy-Upgrade-ebook/dp/B00K8DSTWU/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3EQ3XAEBNVQKS&dchild=1&keywords=dave+asprey&qid=1600893573&s=digital-text&sprefix=dave+asprey+the+%2Cdigital-text%2C210&sr=1-2

[xxii] Bulletproof Coffee https://www.bulletproof.com/recipes/bulletproof-diet-recipes/bulletproof-coffee-recipe/

[xxiii] Fitness expert Jason Wittrock on “What goes into Keto Coffee”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzLwqBDMgGc

[xxiv] Fitness and Health Expert Thomas DeLauer https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC70SrI3VkT1MXALRtf0pcHg

[xxv] Dr. David Perlmutter’s “Alzheimer’s: The Science of Prevention” EPISODE 5  https://scienceofprevention.com/

[xxvi] The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer’s by Olga Khazan Jan. 26, 2018 https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/01/the-startling-link-between-sugar-and-alzheimers/551528/

[xxvii] Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/good-carbs-bad-carbs

[xxviii] Lower Glycemic Foods https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/low-glycemic-diet

[xxix] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning EPSIODE #60 “The Science Behind a Meditation Practice with a Deep Dive into Dr. Daniel Siegel’s Wheel of Awareness Meditation”  https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/the-science-behind-a-meditation-practice-with-a-deep-dive-into-dr-dan-siegel-s-wheel-of-awareness/

[xxx] 11 Ways Your Life Can Disrupt the Gut Microbiome https://atlasbiomed.com/blog/11-ways-your-life-can-disrupt-the-gut-microbiome/

[xxxi] Alzheimer’s Disease and the Microbiome by Oman Shabir  https://www.news-medical.net/health/Alzheimers-Disease-and-the-Microbiome.aspx

[xxxii] What is the Difference Between a Prebiotic and a Probiotic https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323490

[xxxiii] https://www.viome.com/

[xxxiv] 11 Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

[xxxv] 11 Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

[xxxvi] Keto Coffee with Jason Wittrock Published August 2017 on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzLwqBDMgGc

[xxxvii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast Episode #72 with Shane Creado on “Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes” https://www.achieveit360.com/self-regulation-and-sleep-with-a-deep-dive-into-dr-shane-creados-peak-sleep-performance-for-athletes/

[xxxviii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast Episode #85 with Neuroscientist Dr. Sarah McKay on “High Performing Brain Health Strategies That We Should All Know About.” https://www.achieveit360.com/neuroscientist-dr-sarah-mckay-on-high-performing-brain-health-strategies-that-we-should-all-know-about-and-implement/

 

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