Dr. Jonny Bowden – Good and Bad Fats, Insulin, Cholesterol

Dr. Jonny Bowden

My guest is Jonny Bowden. Ex-musician, broadway conductor, a guy who wrestled drug addiction turned author, enthusiastic trainer, and master of nutrition. Jonny is a living testament to his passion for feeling good. We drill down on some of the specifics on health and nutrition such as what should you be asking your Doctor re: cholesterol? Do you know what your particle count is, and if you do, what’s the ratio of large and small particles? Jonny also shares what it was like to be considered an older guy in a youth industry and how he has handled that. The consummate student, and someone willing to say when they got some of the teachings or thinking wrong. A guy who loves love. There are so many great morsels packed in our talk.

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Dr. Jonny Bowden – Good and Bad Fats, Insulin, Cholesterol

My guest is Jonny Bowden, a nutritional expert who makes it easy to understand and differentiate if we’re going vegan or keto. Also, he’s written an incredible book called The Great Cholesterol Myth. He drills down not only about what cholesterol is, thirteen types, but what type of test should we be asking for or someone that we care about and what that means. The other thing I loved about this conversation was we got into movement and nutrition. What are all the elements that feed into good health and happiness? Enjoy the conversation.

Jonny Bowden, thank you for coming. You’re my first in live in several months. I was fortunate enough to do one in live in Hawaii but that was it. What we’re talking about is Dr. Lustig. He has a new group he’s working with called Real Food. They’re working with school lunches.

Best nutritional advice ever. Eat real food, that’s the three words that sum up my entire years of nutritional wisdom.

I always get prepared and I do my homework. For me, what I’ve decided when I have these conversations with people is I always try to approach this like I was a kid and how I want to try to explain it to people even if it’s the most high-tech information or most scientific information. Ben Greenfield or some other people have elements of this covered. For me, it’s reminding people in a simple way how they can make these changes.

When I was doing my homework on you, it’s like preaching to the choir, I was like, “I’m going to talk to Jonny like I want to go through the diagnostics.” We could cover a lot of ground in a lot of different areas because you have quite a lot of experience. We were saying how you travel around the country, you do these morning shows, and it’s like, “You got 2.5 minutes to tell me why I need to do six of these things.” You do that well. You’re from New York. Before it was popular, people were not talking about health, food, vitamin D, or things like that. How’d you get the bug?

I was a professional musician. I came out of the sex, drugs, and rock and roll era of Woodstock. I looked, behaved, and acted exactly like whatever your worst image of a jazz musician from those eras where I was addicted to heroin, cocaine, alcohol, I was fat. I left that behind at some point around 1980 and I started working on Broadway shows.

In what capacity?

As a conductor and pianist. I was a pianist. I did a lot of jazz. I did a lot of groups in New York. Everybody was addicted, it was the thing to do. I came out of that and I started doing more of the pop-type shows like Little Shop of Horrors, Joseph and the Amazing Tech, the ones that didn’t require a big classical background. We did lots of road companies and it got boring. You’d get to these cities and you’d set up and the shows were great but you had the whole day to do whatever.

The actors’ job was to stay in shape. They all worked with weights. If we were living somewhere in a house, they’d have all their equipment. If we were in hotels, they’d know where the gyms were. Out of boredom, I was always fascinated with this, “How do you do these things and stay in shape? Now that I’m not drinking and doing drugs, it might be nice to lose this belly.” I asked them to show me how to do an exercise and it started like that.

I got bitten by the bug. I saw my body change. If you saw me then in pictures, which I don’t have any of, I looked twenty years older than I look now and this was 1982. I started recapturing energy and clarity that I hadn’t had before. Being a New York Jew who was an overachieving academic, it was like, “I wonder if I can get a degree in this stuff.” Over time I decided to become a personal trainer, not professionally. I thought it would look great on the Playbill.

You told me about Robert Lustig. He went to law school. In addition, I figured if I’m reading my bio in a Broadway Playbill and it says, “He’s also a certified trainer,” that would sound cool. I decided to get that and that made me love it more. I did one certification and I wound up with six, all of the big ones, ACSM, NASM, and ACE.

I was in between shows. I was in New York, in my hometown, in 1990 walking down and I saw this big sign that says, “New gym.” It looked cool. It was just opening and hiring trainers. It was Equinox. I walked in and I went, “I’m certified.” I’ve never worked with a client but I’ve been in a lot. I’ve been doing this for over a year or two and I’ve got the certifications and I’m loving it. I bonded with those owners, the Errico’s. They’re still around. They hired me with no experience. I was about 42 then.

You’re a fully formed adult that had other lives and other skillsets.

Also, career.

It’s ballsy.

I was not the only one. There were so many health “gurus,” people in the field who came to this to heal their own stuff. It was a second career. I was one of those. Because I had gone to college, I had a Master’s in psychology, I was well-spoken. In the personal training field at that time, 1990, the bar was low. If you could speak in sentences, they would send you out to be the media representative. I did a lot of speaking on behalf of Equinox.

I was always a writer from second grade, that was my talent. I was in special writing classes. When I was a musician, I wrote about music. Now I started writing about health. One of my clients was the Editor in Chief at Fitness magazine. She brought me over, I became a contributing editor, I started writing, and I got my first book deal out of that and it was published right after 9/11. There was no one in the world who read it but it started a full-time career in writing and teaching about nutrition and health.

For many years, I was still a trainer and all I knew about nutrition is what we had been taught by the American Dietetic Association. I was a true believer in low-fat diets. I was that guy in 1990. It was the heyday of that. We all bought it, lock, stock, and barrel, high carb, low fat. If people weren’t losing weight on it, we figured they were cheating. Mea culpa on that. We all thought no one would think that our advice was boneheaded.

Dr. Jonny Bowden

Dr. Jonny Bowden – Ask the right questions. You can’t get the right information if you’re asking the wrong questions.

When I began to start to look into this a little bit more, it happened because some of our clients wanted to go on Atkins. They’d come in and they’d say, “This stuff is not working for me. I have a neighbor who went on Atkins and they lost all this weight.” We’d freak out. We’d say, “You can’t do that. This guy’s a quack. You’d lose weight if you shot cocaine in the morning but that doesn’t make it healthy. You can’t do this. You’ll get a heart attack.” They didn’t get heart attacks. They came back frequently looking better. Their abdominal bodily fat had shrunk, their eyes looked clearer, and they were getting more fit.

In psychology, there’s a term called cognitive dissonance. It means that two things, a square and a round peg, can’t fit in the same hole. Either one is true or the other. When people have these two conflicting pieces of information, they have to reconcile. One of them is either wrong or they have to find a way. I had cognitive dissonance. We had been taught that eating fat gives you a heart attack, it makes you fat, and eating cholesterol was the worst.

Remember, this coming out of margarine.

Margarine was invented out of this BS. We were taught all that and yet here are people going on this high-fat diet of Atkins, this guy that the medical profession considered a pariah, and they’re not. That’s not happening. One of these things has to be not true and it caused me to start to think a little more clearly about it. If it’s not true, the dietary recommendations for the last decades avoided saturated fat or don’t eat fat at all but don’t eat saturated fat, don’t eat animal products. All of those dietary recommendations are based on the fear that these things cause heart disease. If that’s not true, and it’s appearing to me that it’s not, at least in my limited caseload here, then the dietary guidelines crumble like a house of cards.

As soon as I began to question this, everybody began to question my credentials. I was teaching this stuff and they were going, “He’s brilliant. He knows all this stuff about low-fat diets and nutrition.” I was head of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute. We taught trainers and got them certified. That was the model for how a lot of gyms train their trainers now. Nobody had a problem with my credentials until I said, “I’m not sure about the saturated fat thing.” They go, “He’s not even a doctor. He’s not even a nutritionist. He’s a trainer.” That’s when I went back to school.

They turn on you quickly.

They turn on you like that if you don’t do the party line. When you’re doing the party line, nobody’s looking at you. I did what a lot of people who get frustrated with that do, I went and got the letters. I came back and said, “You’re all wrong.” Now I have the letters.

It swung all around. This is important for anyone now, talking about the party line. You’re an adult. I’m an adult. We got to grow up. We’re only the people in our immediate vicinity who could criticize us and give us a hard time. Imagine if you were 25 or 27 coming up right now or even younger, you think, “The whole party line is saying X but what I’m experiencing or what I’m seeing is Y.” Even the idea to remind people to question things. I always think when it comes to health, even between you and I, fundamentally, we do believe the same things but you still need to understand your point of view enough so you know what’s best still for you.

This has been my mantra for over 30 years that I’ve been doing this. You must cater everything to the individual. My favorite book in graduate school was called If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him! It was don’t follow gurus, don’t follow programs including my own. Ask the right questions. My goal as an educator is to get people to ask them more intelligent questions because you can’t get the right information if you’re asking the wrong questions.

There are going to be people who cannot create energy quickly or convert energy from even high-level animal protein. The skinniest person may not be able to convert. They equate someone who burns a lot with a thinner person versus, how do you convert calories? Some people can get through vegetables or leafy greens as well as someone else and things like that.

The individual difference is huge.

Even in times, maybe what I could get away with ten years ago, I don’t do it now. Maybe I won’t be doing in ten years something I’m doing now. I appreciate that flexible message.

It’s the only message. All the other messages are inherently flawed because they are based on the idea that we’re all the same.

Let’s not forget the industry. I’m not a conspiracist but there’s way too much evidence of people’s interests.

It converges. It may not be a conspiracy but it’s in their interests.

I have chunked it out and I would love to get your take. I want to remind people that this is down the middle. For everybody, there’s always going to be exceptions to the rule and things like that. Overall, it’s what we’re seeing in certain things. I want to start with cholesterol. I read your book, The Great Cholesterol Myth. People get upset about cholesterol and heart disease. I’ve gone to a lecture with Dr. Robert Lustig by the American Heart Disease and he said, “There’s no science that connects heart disease with high cholesterol.”

People are amazed to find that out.

Imagine if you took medication for fifteen years and you’d be like, “Thanks, guys.”

Welcome to my world. I play tennis with guys who are all on this medication. I say, “How old are you?” I play tennis with 12-year-olds and 87-year-olds, the entire gamut, no kidding. Some of the older guys are all on these medications. Some of them are in their 70s. The data is crystal clear that even if you believe in Statins, they don’t do anything. You’re 75 and these doctors give them out. They say, “Do you have symptoms?” “My aches, pains, and stuff.” Now the doctor says it’s not.

There are studies that we quoted in the book by Beatrice Golomb at Stanford, who surveyed this and found that 65% of doctors don’t report the adverse effects. The reason is they have been well marketed by the pharmaceutical companies that they don’t think it’s related to Statin. For example, somebody comes in and says, “Doc, ever since you gave me this, I can’t remember my wife’s name.” “Don’t worry, it’s a little bit of cognitive impairment. It comes with age.”

“Accept that because now you’re this age.”

That’s sad. The converse of this is that people are being undertreated because they’re using this cockamamie, old fashioned 1963 good and bad cholesterol metric, which is mind-boggling to me that this test still exists and that there are people still basing prescriptions based on it.

Sometimes the liver doesn’t process cholesterol the same as someone else. I have high cholesterol.

I wouldn’t worry about it.

Sometimes people get confused, the LDL and HDL. Maybe you can break that down.

Let me tell you the story of how this was invented. Back in the ‘60s, before you were born, we used to have health fairs and you’d go. Cholesterol was becoming something that people were aware of and there’d be someone there with a doctor’s lab coat and they do a little fingerprint and say, “Mrs. Jones, your cholesterol is 210. That’s good.” We only had total cholesterol. Nobody knew good and bad LDL and HDL but total.

After a while, in the ‘60s, they had the technology to look a little bit closer at how cholesterol travels in the blood. Remember, it cannot travel alone in the blood. It has to be contained in a boat, in a container. Cholesterol is the cargo and lipoprotein is the boat. They said, “It looks like two different kinds of boats, one is big and one is small. This one has a lower density, which means if we put it in a glass of water, it’ll float and the high density will sink to the bottom like anything.”

Change is difficult. It's difficult whether it means growing up or changing some aspect of your relationship. All these things come into play, cultural things. Click To Tweet

They named these two things and looked at what appeared to be their functions and they said, “ This is the good one and this is the bad one. They’re not the same thing.” You then got HDL and LDL, which was an improvement over total. Total is meaningless. Even the most conservative doctors don’t look at total anymore.

I don’t know if you remember the first cell phones but they look like a Buick. You have these big black and white pictures that you can look up on Google of people walking and they look weird because they have to rest on your shoulder. We then got the smaller phone and the flip phone. The flip phone is revolutionary. You got this little thing. If you had to text, you have to hit it three times to get a number or a letter. It was a great improvement over the one that you had to rest on your shoulder. Would you use a flip phone in today’s world when you have an iPhone 12 Pro or an Android? It’s crazy, the technology.

We have nuclear magnetic resonance. We can look under the microscope and see there are thirteen different types of cholesterol, HDL2a, HDL2b. There’s LDLA, LDLB, and oxidized LDL. There are thirteen kinds and they don’t all behave the same way. We have lab tests that will look at them and we’re using good and bad. This is like diagnosing people based on short and tall. It’s a metric. It’s useful. We’ve decoded the human genome and you’re going to start to use short and tall as a diagnostic category. No one should get a prescription based on HDL and LDL.

If someone walks into the doctor, let’s say they’re middle-aged and younger and the doctor starts them this process, what type of test do they request to get the real information? Is the doctor willing and able to spend the time to read it correctly?

Those are two different but important questions. The test you asked for is the particle test. All doctors, technicians, researchers all look at lipoproteins as particles. Think of that as a synonym for lipoproteins. The new tests measure the number of lipoproteins you have in your bloodstream. Think of it this way, if you’re running a marina and you’re trying to prevent accidents for the boats, do you care about how many towels are in the washroom of the yacht? You care about how many boats are in the water. The more boats in the water, the more likely somebody is going to bump up against someone else.

If you’re a bouncer in a nightclub, it’s easier to manage a small crowd than a large crowd. With a large crowd, somebody is going to spill a drink or step on somebody’s foot and start a fight. The bigger crowds are harder to manage. There are more accidents when there are more cars on the road. Why do we care about what the car has in its glove compartment? We care about how many cars. That’s the test we need to get.

Interestingly enough, since we’re treating people based on this elementary test, it does not tell us that many people who are on Statins don’t need to be on it. The number of particles is a real risk factor. If you have a high number of particles regardless of if your HDL and LDL are perfectly normal, that’s a risk. I’m a great example of this because I’ve had perfect LDL and HDL all my life. When I finally got wise to this, I started getting the particle tests and I’m one of the people who was undertreated. I had a high particle number even though my LDL is perfect.

What do you do in that scenario?

I can go to a cardiologist who knows what the hell they’re doing and knows what to do and recognizes that as the most important test. I went to the Scripps Clinic in San Diego. The head of the Lipid Clinic was brilliant. He looked at it and said, “We can bring those particles down.” They don’t care about LDL. They care about the particles. Also, the size of the particles tells us a lot.

Did you have more of one?

I had a bad pattern. I had more of the little nasty ones.

Are they sneaky and get to places?

The smaller ones are more atherogenic. They can slip into places they don’t belong and they can take residence. They get oxidized and inflamed and then you get plaques. They’re the nastier particles, the little BB gun ones. The big ones are like fluffy cotton balls. They don’t get stuck anywhere. They don’t do much damage. You got to know that. You can’t just look at good and bad. It’s an antiquated flip phone of today’s technology when it comes to looking at real risk factors. At some point, if we could move from the cholesterol thing, what we found when we researched the revised edition of cholesterol is a risk factor that’s much bigger than cholesterol.

What did you do to treat your high particle count?

I got more strict about my high-fat diet. Because my weight is under control, I got lazy. I was eating more pizza. I was going, “I’m low carb but what the heck?” I was getting sloppy.

A little loose.

When the pandemic came, oddly, it helped me get back on track because everybody was buying out all the junk food. What was left was the olives, the nuts, the fruits. We didn’t have any shortage of those things.

You cleaned up your diet.

I also went to this wonderful cardiologist who said, “We’re going to try to do this without Statins.” I have a lot of cardiologists in my network because of my stuff. Even one of them on our side of the fence said, “This might be a case where five milligrams of statin might work.” Another one said, “I want you to try a 1/4 cup of olive oil for three months every day before you go to the Statins,” which I do.

Do you put it on a salad?

I can drink good-tasting olive oil.

I’ve done a liver flush before with grapefruit.

It’s such a medicinal food. The cardiologist gave me six supplements. I take 50 things a day. You don’t think that’s crazy. I take a lot. He added six. I added them in and I got retested a year later. The pattern had shifted from the bad one.

The big, puffy eyes.

It’s right on the cusp. It’s a good pattern. The particle size came considerably down. That’s an example of treatment that’s missed by using this cockamamie, old-fashioned HDL, LDL.

Let’s say someone’s reading this or their parent is dealing with this. Maybe they’ve been in the medical system a little longer. They’ve already been on Statins, what have you. Can they go and say to their doctor, “I request this type of test.”

They can. I’ve told many of my friends who are caught with these old-fashioned doctors who say, “You got to be on the Statin.” I said, “Would you at least ask for the test that tells you whether you need to be on a Statin or not?

Dr. Jonny Bowden

Dr. Jonny Bowden – The thing you can focus on that everybody agrees on is that sugar is a poison and we should eat real food.

Doctors are busy people and we’re not ragging on doctors. It’s not about what they think or want, it’s what’s good for you. People are intimidated by doctors. They don’t want to bother the doctor. I always say to take either a pushy friend or some of your own advocates who can go, “I’d like to get the particle test.” That’s important. We’ll slide over to when you started looking at it. There were other culprits to cholesterol that are more important.

I’m not saying that this isn’t the player. I’m not saying they’re measured properly. It’s valuable information but it’s one risk factor. We forget with risk factors that they are like astrology. It’s like, “If you don’t do anything, this is where things are going to head.” You’ve got this huge area that you can do something about. They’re not data complex. They’re not your destiny. They’re risk factors. This increases the risk a little but I’m doing ten things to decrease the risk a little. What’s the net?

It’s like epigenetics, you turn it off and turn it on. What switch are you trying to hit? When you’re investigating this, when do you go, “This is important but there’s something over here we need to pay attention to.”

I have such a passion. I’ve done a lot of book tours. I wrote fifteen books. I’ve done a million of these things. We promote the books. Of course, we believe in the information. Also, I want to sell books and all of that. This book tour that I’ve done on this book has been fueled by a passion I have not felt before. I’m sure that this risk factor which shows up ten years before heart disease, we are missing it, not looking at it, and it is reversible with diet and fasting. If you don’t know what it is, I will explain it. It’s called insulin resistance. Your audience already knows what this is.

It’s not about that. This is showing up over and over.

May I point out, we wrote a book, The Great Cholesterol Myth, where we said, “Insulin resistance is the main culprit. This is the predictor.” The same three-month period. Jason Fung, one of my great colleagues and the guru of intermittent fasting, comes out with a book called The Cancer Code. He says, “Insulin resistance is showing up a lot with cancer.” Another guy comes out with a book called Why We Get Sick by Benjamin Bikman. You should have him on. It’s a unified field theory of disease like chronic disease taken as a whole first chapter, insulin resistance.

When COVID came out, I began looking. Nobody denies that insulin resistance is part of diabetes and pre-diabetes. We see diabetes as a pre-heart disease. This is one long path. If you look at it from the helicopter view, it starts with that and it goes right through. They’re calling Alzheimer’s type 3 diabetes because of insulin resistance.

I thought to myself, “all of these conditions that are pre-existing conditions for COVID that they’re talking about, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, all of them. What about liver and kidney diseases? That’s pre-existing.” I started doing a morning’s worth of research in the National Institute of Health Library on PubMed. Every one of them has a statistically significant link to insulin resistance. You can reverse insulin resistance with diet, lifestyle, a little fasting, a little exercise. You can do that without a drug.

Let’s go there. I was thinking about this when I was going to talk to you. Sometimes saying no to certain things that you want to eat is uncomfortable. Exercising when you don’t want to take effort, especially with all the daily distractions that we have available to us. What have you seen? There is real information out there and it does get spelled out for people. What is it in your experience that keeps people from being able to make the changes? Is it their environment?

I’ve even thought about it this way, some of these people are so far behind the health eight ball. It’s almost like you’re sick in a way that you can’t emotionally, mentally, or physically get to this decision-making. I’m talking about your chemistry. What have you seen where it’s like, “I’m going to spell it out to you. I’m going to show you proof time and time again that it works.” Why is it that people can’t get there?

It’s a complex and brilliant question.

I was curious. I’m fascinated.

Dr. Jonny Bowden

Smart Fat: Eat More Fat, Lose More Weight, Get Healthy Now

Drawing on my background in psychology and mixing it with my experience in nutrition, change is difficult. It’s difficult whether it means growing up, changing some aspect of your relationship, your relationship to food, questioning accepted beliefs that you have about yourself, your own narrative, the trust you have in authorities. All these things come into play, cultural things.

Sadly, we are in a post-truth society. In the last couple of years, any version of the truth you want, there is a portal in which you can hear that echo chamber and that exists not only in politics but in nutrition. The vegans talk to the vegans and the carnivores talk to the carnivores. Everybody thinks that they’re right and nobody’s hearing other people. That’s the endemic thing in society that exists with politics. It exists with nutrition.

As an educator, when you’re one verb away from a debate that you will never win, I try to find out what people agree on. What could we all agree on? There are some basic, tiny little things that even the vegans and the carnivores, even the extreme right and extreme left can get some areas of agreement from and that’s what I try to focus on so that we don’t get into the partisan politics of nutrition. The thing you can focus on that everybody agrees on is that sugar is a poison and we should eat real food. The rest of it is details. If you want to go keto, you can eat mostly real fat. If you want to go vegan, you can eat mostly real foods that grow.

Let’s talk about vegan.

You’re going to get hate mail.

Not at all. Vegan or vegetarian, the only thing that people do have to be mindful of is supplementing with foods that are packaged as vegan. When you break down what’s in them, they usually are high in sugar or the wrong kinds of fat. I’m only bringing that up to remind people because the word vegan is put on it, that has nothing to do with food. What I have also seen many times is that whether you are keto or vegan, most of the people that eat real food live pretty much side by side. They’re eating the same oils. They’re snacking on the same things like nuts and whatever. They’re eating lots of vegetables and drinking more water.

Scientifically, we can agree that the only thing that separates them is if people decide to eat animal protein. We always encourage people to eat high-quality protein. You don’t need that much. That’s the other thing. The way I grew up was that animal protein was the center of the plate and then you splashed one starch and one vegetable on the side. That shifted where no one is going to argue that green leafy vegetables unless it kicks your butt indigestion is not a great idea. That’s something I’ve seen. The other stuff, I’m not quite sure why everybody gets so up in arms about it. Real science has made it clear about real food.

Here’s the thing, I would take a ten-degree departure from what you said. When I was a trainer at Equinox, we had a group that we used to call Twinkie Vegetarians.

Now you are going to get me hate mail.

It’s possible to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and eat junk food. These were kids who were saying, “I won’t eat anything that has a face on it.” They’re eating Twinkies, pasta, and Cheerios. It’s important to know that that’s not the spirit of the vegan diet, avoid animal products. It’s also what you are eating. What you described is a wonderful vegan diet with whole foods, rich foods, and good fats. They don’t eat animal protein.

They need to supplement in vitamins.

I’ll give you the list.

Let’s do that because I want to support people to eat in any way that makes them feel good.

Me, too. I don’t want people to eat the vegan pizza at Whole Foods and think they’re eating healthy. First of all, I don’t know if you’ve ever eaten the vegan pizza at Whole Foods but it’s inedible.

You’re a New Yorker, first of all. That probably flies in the face of a small religion for you.

I’m saying if you look at the ingredients, they’re not healthy. Don’t take the label. This doesn’t just go to vegans. I see crappy food in the store. This is now with Omega-3s.

Organic.

When you have that three seconds to make a buying decision, it gives it the patent of health and wholesomeness. Click To Tweet

You got to look beyond that marketing. For example, Omega-3 is one of the greatest supplements in the world. I couldn’t be a bigger fan. You need 2 to 3 grams a day. They will put five milligrams in there and then they put it on the label with Omega-3s. It’s called greenwashing. When you have that three seconds to make a buying decision, it gives it the patent of health and wholesomeness.

It’s a bummer too because people are busy and stressed out. COVID has brought on this awareness of health. I’ve been in the market many times and I see people making an effort and you go, “You’re close because you’re here, you’re looking, and you’re making an effort but it’s still not good for you.” This is important. Let’s talk about vitamins. If someone is eating vegan and they’re eating whole real food, what should they supplement with?

The Vegan Society in Europe is a reputable organization. They have a list and I always use this as an argument when people say, “Vegan diet is perfectly healthy. It’s great.” Why does The Vegan Society give you a list of 10 to 12 things you should be supplementing with? I always approach arguments, which I get into about this, I don’t anymore but I used to.

Before, you knew better.

I learned my lesson. I found that there are two types of reasons for being vegan. One is an honest emotional reaction to animals or living things. I’m such a dog lover. I’m an animal lover. I’m one of you in that regard. I understand the dilemma. There are people who can’t do it for that reason. I never argue with them. That’s like arguing with religion. If you have feelings and you believe that, no problem.

The ones I argue with are the ones who come in with data and they show me China’s study and they show me these things that I can decimate and they go, “This study says this. It’s healthier.” That I can argue with because there’s science on that. I never argue with someone who can’t do it. Eat healthily. It’s not an argument I like to get into. It’s more emotional than it is a scientific argument.

It’s also supporting them where they are. If they could take certain supplements that would only support them greater, what would some of them be?

It’s certainly B12. There’s vegan propaganda out there that there’s B12 on plants. It’s an analog. It doesn’t behave the same way. It’s not the same thing you need. The same thing with the iron, there is iron in spinach. I love spinach. It’s not the same iron. Heme iron comes from beef. It’s better absorbed. I would probably say iron if you’re a pre-menopausal woman or not a man. I don’t like iron supplements for men because we have no way to get rid of iron.

A lot of men are high in iron.

You don’t want that. That’s a real risk factor. Zinc is one of them. I haven’t looked into it all. Omega-3s that are found in plant foods are not quite the same as the ones that are found in animal foods. Ones that are found in animal foods directly affect the brain and the heart. The ones that are in plant foods have to be transformed into those. If you don’t want to eat the animal-formed Omega-3s, you’ve got to double up on the plant ones. You can’t take the same amount.

Is there an algae-based one?

There is a new one. There is an algae-based DHA.

I’m not seeing that.

It’s not EPA but it’s DHA, 1 of the 2 fatty acids that are found in fish.

It’s better. I appreciate that you have a whole message. You talk about sleep. You’re into snoring. You want to help people with their snoring.

I did a couple of TV spots.

I love it though. Men tend to snore more than women.

A third of the book, The Great Cholesterol Myth, is about what we call the other stuff. I do not think this other stuff gets enough traction when we talk about health. I’m talking about your sleep, your digestion, your relationships, your relationship with your community whether you volunteer or you’re engaged in anything that takes the attention off yourself, and how much sun you get. All of these things are connected to your hormonal health, your mental health, your physical processes.

Dr. Jonny Bowden

Dr. Jonny Bowden – The stresses of life, the things you obsess about, and the things that you put psychic energy on have a direct connection to your gut. The gut and the brain talk to each other all the time.

We talked about how the stresses of life and the things you obsess about and the things that you put psychic energy on have a direct connection to your gut. The gut and the brain talk to each other all the time. There are more serotonin receptors in the gut than there are in the brain. If we ignore that other stuff, the sleeping, the digestion, and all the other things that go with it, we shortchange these diet and exercise programs. Look at how many calories you burn on the Stairmaster and what you eat, they’re short-sighted. They’re not looking at overall health.

What you’re saying is the most important thing because people get fixated especially on weight let’s say, which I understand. They go, “The solution is I will join a gym or walk my block and I’m going to go on a “diet.” We know that word alone will kick your ass and you’ll fail versus what I am eating. I used to say, “It’s not that I can’t eat that, I just don’t eat that. I can eat whatever I want.”

The deeper I’ve gotten into all of this in the past years myself is when I am stressed out, that’s when I’m bloated. I know the difference because I’ve been in tune enough with my body. I’ve trained my whole life. If I’m having anxiety about one of my children, that’s when I physically start to break down.

These other things that you’re talking about are almost like a can of worms, you don’t want to deal with it because it is complex. Relationships are complex. If we have childhood issues or traumas, this is complex. If our life is not realized the way we wanted it, we had dreams and it didn’t happen that way, whatever that means, all of this impacts our health. We’re going, “I’m eating well and I’m exercising but I’m still not getting these benefits.” Your point is that’s the bigger first conversation. I don’t know how you package that, sell that, or market that.

Neither do I but it’s what I do one on one and what I write about all the time. Whenever I get a chance to speak or be on a podcast, I bring it up because it is one of the most simple things. I have found that people don’t give that much of a hoot about making $1 million. What they care about is the feeling they think they will get from that. They don’t feel scraped down. They don’t care about weight loss. They care about the feeling they think they will get, being more attractive, being more desirable, being more in the world. It’s the feeling that they’re after.

I always say when I’m in a position where I can offer this is why don’t we work on those at the same time as we’re working on the weight? You don’t have to wait for the weight or whatever it is that you’re waiting to be perfect to have that happiness and joy. Let’s look at what things promote that and maybe we can work on those simultaneously.

When I was in private practice, which I’m not anymore, I used to have people do what we call the wellness wheel where they looked at various aspects of their life. Spirituality, you can define that in many different ways. You can be an atheist and be spiritual. Their community, their relationships, their sleep, their digestion, their weight, and a couple of things. They would wait where they are as far as where they want to go. You’d look at it a couple of months later and maybe the weight moved a little bit but when you saw the other things and how many things had changed, you go, “Something’s going on here. I was only focused on the scale.” That’s important.

Laird always says that they’re all spokes in a tire. He goes, “If one spoke is off, the wheel doesn’t go correctly.” He’s like, “What you watch, what you read, and how you talk, all these things.”

I knew there was a reason I liked him. It’s 100% true. A psychic space has an impact on your life.

It’s mindfulness. It’s what you’re doing too by asking them to go on that flywheel. I appreciate that versus buckets. I used to look at things as grids and buckets. You can’t keep the buckets even. It’s like, “I put 2 chips in there and 3 chips. I’m off. I got no chips in that one bucket.” When you have a flywheel, it’s like, “Today I spent more time working. My exercise was great today.” Everything is feeding it.

I’m stealing it from you.

I’ll send you the book. It was written for somebody. Jeff Bezos put it in and had somebody. Forgive me, I will find it out. Somebody wrote a book whose concept and this is about how everything feeds everything. It’s not the bucket system but the flywheel system. When I read this, I was like, “That makes way more sense.” For example, if I’m going to do a couple of shows, I’m probably not going to spend as much time with my family but I already know that. I was with them before. It’s the flywheel.

It makes so much sense.

It’s everything feeding everything. The other thing that is important about what you’re saying is when you say to people, “We’re going to attack your weight or the scale.” You’re going to be forced to check-in. It’s important. People go, “Do you meditate? Do you do this?” I’m like, “Not too much.” I sometimes have a breathing practice that I’ll do with Laird. I’m a person who’s like, “I have things to do.” I’m always aware and checking in, like, “I need to have a real honest conversation with somebody over here. How do I feel about that? It makes me uncomfortable but I need to do that. How was my behavior? How are my thoughts?”

The other thing is that people think all of these other things are going to make them happy. I don’t think that’s the case. It’s either there for us. I’m not saying that there aren’t people going through incredibly hard times, that’s not what I’m saying. All of these destinations that we’ve put up, not only are they unrealistic but they don’t match our lives. I don’t think it’s what they believe it to be. Once you get there, it’s like, “If you could do it right now…” Having a meaningful meal with a friend, having a good night’s sleep, eating food that gives you energy, taking a walk that makes you huff and puff a little bit, whatever it is, people don’t realize and undervalue that. They think it’s like, “I need a fancy car.” That’s not ever going to do it.

I’ll play the age card. You see that more and more as you get older if you’re looking and if you’re paying attention. There is data showing that older people are happier. Why does that happen? No one knows but some theories exist and one of them is that you get better at knowing what battles to choose, what battles to pick, and which things matter. You get into a headset that they call essentialism. What is essential in your life? A lot of people who were paying attention and not killed by the pandemic had some glimmers of insight about this. It’s like, “What’s important here? How do I make that happen?”

I live in a relatively small artist’s cottage in Woodland Hills. I have friends who have incredible houses. I have come to realize they are gorgeous but I wouldn’t be that much happier with a bigger car or a more expensive car. I can afford any car that there is and none of them would make me any happier than the one that I have.

It doesn’t mean they’re not sexy and fun.

It means that if you carry some of that happiness with you and you see how much it can be self-generated, you realize how free you are of the circumstances for it. I’m not saying that you can live and you can be tortured. Even in the concentration camps, there was literature that came out of there and it said, “Even in this tiny space where we have nothing and don’t have any control over whatsoever, we can find little moments of joy, little moments of meaning.” The ability to generate that is powerful. It makes you a little independent of all the things you think that you need to be happy. One of the great achievements of my older years is that I don’t need that many things to be happy. The fact is I know that people 30 years younger than me don’t know it yet.

That’s also pursued. You bust out of your house, you’re 18, you’re 21, you have to have that thrust to push you into the world to go get and do and it’s a scary world. I understand why it’s there. It’s also what got us looking for water many years ago and what’s over that hill and things like that. It’s an interesting thing where I’ve always felt like I want to have a deeply rooted but expansive life. It doesn’t mean necessarily to get more but maybe continue to learn and expand our thoughts.

The other thing that’s interesting for me is I always say that my kids have brought me this next opportunity where I realized that it could have been set up a little bit like concrete in my early 40s. Your kids come along and either you oblige by getting smashed by them and they go, “Let me introduce you to the way that the world is versus the way that the world was to me.” There’s this next opportunity to be expansive.

That’s why I like it when I see people of different ages involved spending time together because the older people are teaching the younger people things and the younger people are introducing new ideas to the older people. To that exchange, it’s helpful to go through life. Let’s talk about some of the other things. You have a few basic vitamins that you think are pretty important for people to take.

Dr. Jonny Bowden

Dr. Jonny Bowden – You see that more and more as you get older if you’re looking and if you’re paying attention, there is data showing that older people are happier.

I have four. Periodically, I get asked.

It’s confusing.

As we talked about earlier, my entire career has been based on individualizing concepts that may be good but that you want to be able to tweak to make it work for you. I don’t believe in a standard nutrition supplementation program for everybody. Everything has been about, “What issues do you have? What do we need? What are you willing to take? What do I have to work with?”

What’s the pill drop-off after three? It’s an 80% drop-off.

It’s enormous. I have 3 or 4.

That’s perfect.

Everybody differs tremendously. Are you pregnant? Are you stressed? Are you 30? Are you 60? There are a million variables. These four have such a return on investment and almost everybody doesn’t get enough. Those are my three go-to and they are your vitamin D, fish oil, and magnesium. I throw in a multiple as the fourth because I’m afraid that people don’t get zinc and selenium. They’re in every multiple plus some other stuff you probably don’t get. Multiple is good insurance. The three ones that I recommend for everybody are vitamin D, magnesium, and fish oil every single day.

Can we talk about absorption? How could somebody figure out the absorption level? They make the effort, they spend the money, but maybe they were not buying products that the body’s absorbing. Do we know of a place or brand that we can trust?

I buy from dispensaries online that are authorized to sell what we used to call Doctor Brands, the ones that aren’t designed for health and vital nutrients. You would know all of them. It’s all the stuff that you don’t get at CVS. I have something on the website on how to join one of those dispensaries. I don’t push any brands but I like them to be bought from 1 of the 2 authorized dispensaries.

It sounds better, too. You’re buying your vitamins from dispensaries, I like that.

There are artists and companies that have been around forever. They don’t sell to the general public. When they’re on Amazon, the companies don’t like it, they’re not selling it. They’re sold by brokers. They could be expired. These Doctor Brands are the best. This comes back to what I call Citizen Scientists. We are experimenters with this stuff. I’m teaching fasting now. I tell people that we don’t have one human study. There isn’t one that said, “These people fasted sixteen hours but these fasted fourteen. Let’s see who did better.” That doesn’t exist.

We’re all citizen scientists who are experimenting with these things and coming back to the message boards and the communities and saying, “This is where I found. I get nauseous when I fast. I found that if I take a little apple cider vinegar and some water, it’s gone.” I’m going to try that. I don’t need a double-blind study of who put that. My great nutrition mentor, the late great Robert Crayhon, used to say, “The New York City Fire Department doesn’t have a single double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study that shows that water puts out the fire but they noticed that it works.” They’re not waiting for the study.

Sometimes we don’t want to get into our own perceptions because that’s why we have science to see what’s objective and what can be measured independent of your own particular reactions and the baggage you bring to situations that makes you observe it a certain way. That’s interesting but it’s not that we need science necessarily.

We have gone overboard with our worshipping of science that it’s become more scientism rather than science. It’s like the religion of science. I don’t believe it unless I see a randomized, controlled study and we won’t look in front of us and see our own experience. We need to restore the honor of that experience in our computations about what’s good and what’s bad. It’s not all about randomized, double-blind, controlled studies.

For men, you’ve said maybe vitamin K.

Vitamin K2 is essential to be taken with vitamin D. I didn’t mention it separately because I always use vitamin D products that already have K2 in them. K2 works with vitamin D as a traffic cop to make sure that the calcium stays in the bones and doesn’t go into the arteries. You need vitamin K2. I don’t put it as separate because people don’t want to take a million things. There’s a lot of good, high-quality vitamin D products that contain K2. Look for those.

Can we get into the oils a little bit?

Sure. I love to talk about oils.

This is a confession. I have no rules for eating with my children. A lot of stuff isn’t in my house but I don’t want to put voodoo around anything because I don’t want them to have issues later. We cook a certain way. They’re over it. My one daughter is like, “Don’t tell me this is gluten-free.” She’ll go to eat something or whatever. I bought these chips that say on the front of the bag were made from avocado oil. I was like, “Amazing. Avocado oil is good for high heat.” It was at home and I looked at the back and it had sunflower oil.

Nobody wants to hear it. It’s always the best-tasting stuff. It’s important if people stick to it. I’m fascinated. I want to get into this. For high heat, avocado is better and then you have coconut. I always say to people too, “If you’re ever feeling like you need to go to the bathroom, put a little coconut oil in things and that can help you.” Trying even to find the good stuff, unfiltered, cold-pressed, all these things. Maybe you could explain. You talked about Malaysian palm oil.

I love Malaysian palm oil.

It’s loaded in tocotrienols.

They’re good for the brain. It’s part of vitamin E.

It has a bad rep.

Let me back up and give you the overview that I have for oils. Next to sugar, vegetable oil is probably the most inflammatory and unhealthy thing in our diet. It’s one of the things that’s been promoted the most voraciously by the health establishment. Polyunsaturated fats, safflower oil, soybean oil, and canola oil are horrible oils.

That said, I don’t think we should be obsessive that if we see a tiny bit of safflower oil in something that we love, it’s not the end of the world. What I would like to do is take all that stuff out of people’s kitchens. Stop cooking with it. Stop making that be your oil of choice. If something has a little bit of it and you’re eating a drop, it’s not the end of the world.

These are pro-inflammatory oils. These are not good, healthy oils. This is part of what we started talking about, which is the demonization of saturated fat. Talk about a confluence of influences. When we demonize saturated fat, the food industry said, “We got it from this corn. We could sell this stuff as an alternative to saturated fat.” That’s exactly what happened.

You have two of the most popular oils. Canola and corn are 92% GMO, to begin with. Safflower is terrible oil. They contain mostly Omega-6. There are two essential fats in the human body that we need, Omega-3 and Omega-6. One is an anti-inflammatory and one is pro-inflammatory and interestingly enough, we need both because of the healing process. We could get a temperature. Let’s say you get a prick on your skin from a thorn and it swells up.

As a visitor, I was like, “I’ve had a few of those.”

What happens is the area swells up. The white blood cells surround the area and they’re trying to prevent the invasion of a microbe, an infection, and stuff. That inflammation is part of the healing process. You need an inflammatory army in your body and an anti-inflammatory. The problem is they need to be funded 1 to 1. You need about a 1 to 1 relationship in your diet. If you are funding that army with supplements, we’ve got to do it equally.

We have funding and the research is clear, there are sixteen times more Omega-6 than Omega-3. No wonder inflammation is a silent killer. No wonder it was put on the cover of Time Magazine. This all contributes to inflammation. We want the oil to sit down. That brings me back to Malaysian palm oil which is saturated fat and it’s not inflammatory. It’s neutral at worst. At best, it’s beneficial because the reason it’s red is carotenoids and tocotrienols, which are protective to the brain. We want oils like avocado oil. They have higher heat. They stand up to higher heat. Coconut oil has medium-chain triglycerides. More importantly, it has lauric acid which is antiviral and antimicrobial. That’s the main fat in coconut oil. These are good fats that were wrongly demonized.

People are being undertreated because they're using this cockamamie, old-fashioned 1963 good and bad cholesterol metric. Click To Tweet

I wrote a book back in 2016 called Smart Fat with Dr. Steven Masley. By the book, here’s the fifteen-second summary. There’s good fat and bad fat. They don’t divide according to animal versus vegetables. They don’t divide according to saturated versus unsaturated. They divide according to toxic versus non-toxic. The toxic fats are the ones that you eat in restaurants. They fry up something, cool it overnight, and fry it up the next day. You are making cancerous carcinogens out of doing that. They change the oil once a week. I don’t care if you started with canola oil or whatever, it’s turned into a toxic waste dump.

We need to look at what fats are toxic to our systems in terms of inflammation, which are friendly to our system because they don’t stimulate inflammation. That’s the division. It does not break into saturated versus unsaturated. Palm oil is saturated fat. It’s good for you. Coconut oil is considered saturated fat. It’s good for you. Avocado and almond are some nut oils. Olive oil is all good. You don’t want ponderings of Omega-6s in your diet because it contributes too much to inflammation plus the fact that all of those vegetables are processed. If there was anything good in them, to begin with, it’s gone.

You make it clear, which I appreciate. You have opinions about skin, taking care of your skin, keeping hydrated. I like your tire. It has a lot of spokes in it.

The food and the exercise part, of course, it’s a foundation. The main spokes are my relationship with Michelle, my relationship with her kids, and my relationship with the tennis community. The fact that I play tennis with these amazing people every single day of my life for two hours and all of those networks. Also, my dog.

Thing is that you can focus on that because you’ve accepted and agreed that, “If I eat a certain way…” You’re done with that battle, “I know I need to move.” The problem is that people haven’t even created an understanding of the importance of that. You’ve been moved on to get to dive deeper into these other areas.

In a way, if you think about it, food is essential and so is movement. There’s the superficial component of health. What you’re talking about is these deeper practices that you have to first already accept the fact that you’re going to find a way to move around and eat real food. You’ve graduated through that so you can drill down on this. You say that you protect your skin, you keep your skin hydrated, moist, and things like that.

Michelle always jokes that when we go on vacation, I take more products than she does.

Laird doesn’t wear sunblock at all. He lives out in the ocean. He’s like, “What sunblock?” For him, first of all, it burns his eyes. Most of it was toxic. He’s like, “I’m not going to absorb that stuff.”

Let me make a case for that as crazy as it sounds.

I want to hear it.

There’s no science on this. I listened to the chatter of people I respect and there is a lot of talk about whether or not some of these things are less necessary. If you’re loaded with antioxidants and you’re loaded with anti-inflammatories and you’re eating nothing but real food, some of the things that we do may be overstated. He’s probably a great example. He looks amazing.

Also, there are foods like cruciferous. They have said that certain foods have natural sunblock.

That’s true. I can’t tell you the science of it but I’ve read that.

if you’re a red-haired Irish person, please I understand. You need to not be in the sun at 12:00 PM. I get it. Laird is also of Greek descent. It is interesting, he is particular about that. I’m curious, personally. You move through life and you realize the years that you have. Both of us are in a space of talking about self-care. At times, maybe it feels youth-oriented like when I was in sports and what have you. For you, in your inner chatter, I’m curious how you keep refining your place in this space. People create a narrative of like, “I’m this age.” How do you keep that at bay? Do you ever some days go, “I wonder how long I can do this.”

I don’t wonder it in quite that way.

I’m a female, too. I’m saying the brains.

Dr. Jonny Bowden

The Great Cholesterol Myth

I get that. I had a longtime struggle with that because I was working with actors, I was working with glamorous people. I’m at Equinox. I’m one of the head trainers sending the act of celebrity clients. I’m thinking, “All the trainers are 20.” For years, I wouldn’t tell my age. I didn’t think I was successful enough for the age that I was. I experienced all of that, lying about my age, all of those things.

I was in a seminar with Jack Canfield once. We were talking about things. I was talking about something and he asked me how old I was. At the time, I was maybe 57. I said that and the audience looked around and said, “You’re not telling people that. Are you crazy?” I tell people all the time and it gets their attention and they go, “Let me pay a little more attention. He’s 75 and he’s talking like that.” It works for me.

I don’t even try to compete with the 20-year-olds, 30-year-olds, the 40-year-olds, and all the people who have that youthful energy there. I have found that people who like what I have find me. I’m more at peace with that. I don’t feel comfortable competing in the social media environment. I read enough marketing books and I have enough friends who do it to know that it’s a full-time job that I don’t like. It’s putting your stuff out every minute because people have a four-second attention span. If you’re not in their face 100 times a day, you’re never going to be remembered. I don’t care.

I have an audience and I’m grateful for them. People like you put me on terrific shows like this. I get the word out and people want what I have. They find it and I don’t worry about that. I want a life where I can play tennis for two hours a day. I don’t want a life where I put sixteen hours a day into social media saying, “Look at me.” I’ve come to peace with that.

On your social media, you give out a lot of good information. I do want to still encourage people. I didn’t look at how often you post but I do appreciate that you offer a lot of good content. I agree with you, it’s an interesting conundrum when you weren’t raised that way. How do you capture everything when you’re trying to do it?

It’s probably hard for you to shoot yourself with your GoPro if you’re playing tennis with your 12 or 87-year-olds. It’s like, “Hold on for a second, guys.” It is interesting to find a way to bridge the world a little bit. It is important to be out there. I’m not saying your age group. It’s important to represent your experience and say, “I had one life. I made a change. I have this new life.” What about learning? How do you find the time? How do you keep learning? Do you have people that you look to? How do you do that?

I do. I’ve always been a lifelong learner long after I got my degrees. I continued to take courses and stuff. Now, the entire learning, you don’t even have to go take courses. A lot during the pandemic changed for me. I was a news junkie. I was on 24 hours a day, CNN, all of them. During the pandemic when I got more strict about my diet, not even consciously, I was like, “I’m going to pick all the foods that I can snack on all day, olives, nuts, cheese, berries.” I got stricter with that. I also began fasting and meditating, which I’ve been doing for years.

Did you ever practice?

I did.

How did you learn?

I learned through TM. I don’t always do TM.

I’m always curious. I know you’re not supposed to share.

It’s a different thing than concentrating on the breath. It’s a word. I do some kind of practice every day where I either journal ten minutes of meditation. I read some Seneca and some Epictetus and do 1.5 hours of that kind of work every single day. One of the things that happened when I got serious about doing that during the pandemic is that essentialism where you go, “What’s important?” I began when I started fasting to realize how liberating it was to not be dependent on food and to see.

I thought I couldn’t live without eating every two hours. I thought I would die of hunger. You don’t. You start to see a piece of personal power and liberation from an addiction, which is similar to me to the liberation and addictions I’ve had in the past. I was like, “I can live without this food. I feel pretty darn good. What else can I live without? The news definitely could go.” I realized that I didn’t need to listen to all of that. That opened up hours of podcasting, which I am still reeling from.

On the way over, I listened to a lecture on synthetic biology and the creation of viruses like COVID and what is going on in labs and the military. I’ve listened to some of the most incredible interviews with some of the smartest people in the world and I’m thinking, “I’ve been listening to CNN when I can be listening to this.” That is a daily thing. I read a lot and I read outside of my field. I have to read to keep up in my field. I read all over the place. I find that enriches the experience of working with people on health.

I did an Instagram live where I said that I wind up being more than a weight loss coach, more than a nutritionist. This is true for every health professional, we’re happiness coaches. If you scratch the surface, why do people want to lose weight? “I want to look good for my high school reunion.” Why? “I want to look as good as the other people. I want them to think I’m successful.” Why? It always comes down to, “I want to be loved, accepted, and be happy.” Why not work on those things now? That’s what’s coming together for me at this point in my life. I’m understanding what’s essential and what makes me happy. I try to share that as much as possible.

You can't just look at good and bad. It's an antiquated flip phone of today's technology when it comes to looking at real risk factors. Click To Tweet

Tim Ferriss, the podcaster, interviewed all of these masters of industry, Bill Gates and Michael Jordan. Whatever area they were in, they were super performers. He wrote a book about what they have in common, Tools of Titans. You find that 80% of them have a ritual, exercise, and eat real food. Whatever it is, you find these correlations. Those things are important to notice. Happy people listen better. Happy people spend more time in a conversation other than the four seconds it takes to read the headline of an email. Those are habits that we can form and that we can get into and they can enrich our lives as well as good food.

The other thing that you displayed is a sense of purpose. People think, “What can I do?” That sense of purpose is powerful. Yes, I have a family and I have obligations but it’s those few things in my life that give me that purpose that on the days where I’m maybe grayer, I go, “I’m going to pull myself up and we’re going to get after it again.” When you talk about Michelle, the other thing to me is that love feels important to you. When you say her name, I’m like, “Love is important to him.”

I once did an experiment. I asked the older guys that I played tennis with and they’re all married. I said, “How many of you are madly in love with your wife?” They all looked and were like, “My wife’s a good woman.”

That’s like the kiss of death. “She was a great mother.”

I am madly in love with my partner. We’re going over twelve years and I haven’t lost one drop of passion and not one drop of interest. Of course, the relationship has changed. Of course, it has. That’s an important thing. It makes me sad that people don’t have that in their lives. They think, “I’m past it.” No, you’re not.

You have passion for the other things in your life. You’re able to also have passion for your partner. They all bleed over. I’ve been with Larid for over 25 years.

You can probably do it, too. We’re in the minority, the people who are still madly in love with their mates. I always recognize it in other couples and people. Daniel Amen, who you may or may not know, the psychiatrist, has written many books and done many PBS specials. I know them. He’s madly in love with his wife. I recognize it because I can see it. Both of them. It’s a warm feeling. You share a kindred thing and it’s like, “You didn’t buy the stuff about how it all has to dissipate after.”

Individually, you have to keep working on your personal happiness. People think, “We’re going to live together. Somehow, we’re going to make each other happy.” I don’t think that’s what happens. You’re your personal happiness. Hopefully, your partner has the same concept because also you can’t be like, “Listen to me. I need you to go out there and make yourself happy.” That’s never going to happen.

There are days that the way which Laird approaches his life inspires me by his example to be better in my own life. This is true. I’m not saying we can’t enhance each other. I’m here to try to make his life better, that is one of my goals. It doesn’t mean we haven’t had months that we were flat. There are days we’re dancing but we’re stepping on each other’s toes. You go, “What would you like for dinner?” “What do I want for dinner?” Laird will say that. I’ll be like, “Yes.” It’s like you’re glitchy.

I have those days. We have those days all the time.

He’ll say to me, “What’s your plan today?” I’m like, in my mind, “If he asks me one more time what my plan is, this is it.” I’ll be like, “I don’t have a plan today. Do you want me to tell you what my plan is?” You could be like, “I am aggravated with you but I want to talk to you.” It’s like, “Okay, no problem.” There are days where you can’t go wrong.

It’s such a gift when you realize that is the flow. You’re going to have some days when you get on each other’s nerves. We laugh about it. We even recognize it when it’s happening. It’s wonderful, isn’t it?

You better have a sense of humor. Sometimes I see it and I’ll turn and hide in my office. He’ll be like, “Gabby?” I’m out of there. Jonny, I could go on and on. I want to say one thing that I heard you say and I loved it, gluten is either not good for you or neutral.

Dr. Jonny Bowden

Dr. Jonny Bowden – Happy people listen better. Happy people spend more time in a conversation. Those are habits that we can form and that we can get into and they can enrich our lives as well as good food.

How did you remember that?

I pay attention.

I said that years ago. I’m impressed.

I believe in having a little in your diet, especially if you can get high quality. Also, you need to be able to deal with it unless you have somebody who genuinely has celiacs, of which there’s only less than 2%.

it can be urgent. I was telling you about our situation at home. She’s gluten-free. She doesn’t have celiac but we can be sensitive to that inflammatory. It’s not good for anybody. It’s either neutral or bad.

It’s good to remind people of that. What I want to ask you is if you wanted to drop off to someone younger, what would you encourage them? Let’s say these are people who haven’t discovered their set flywheel yet. They’re younger and even middle-aged. Maybe it’s somebody who’s even closer to our age where they’re deep in one way but this idea that’s like, “Today is a new day.” We could do it differently. What encouragement or suggestion would you give to each of those groups?

It would depend on what their focus is, what they’re trying to achieve. Are they looking to be healthier? Are they looking to lose weight? Are they looking to be happier humans? My advice would be geared to that. I do tell people who have a small probability of changing their diet but they’re not going to do that, intermittent fasting might be a good thing to do because you can keep eating. I don’t like people to do this but you can keep eating that junk. It’s better for you if you only eat it eight hours a day instead of twenty.

You’re being realistic.

There are some benefits to giving your digestive system a rest for a longer period of time even if you’re eating crap. That would be my go-to for the average kid that’s like, “I’m going to eat these chips no matter what.” Could you maybe go for hours without eating it?

The eating window.

You could change that. Beyond that, my biggest advice to everybody in the world about anything when I’m asked is to not believe everything you read and don’t believe it because somebody has a lot of letters after their name. The amount of idiotic advice that I’ve heard coming from MDS and PhDs is staggering. The amount of advice I’ve heard from people who are self-taught autodidactic is incredible. I’m not saying that one group is bad and one’s the other. Having a degree is not the defining thing that makes what you say the truth or not. You can lie with science.

There’s a study for everything. Do you drink alcohol?

I don’t but that’s because I was addicted to it. It’s not because it’s a bad thing.

I don’t drink either.

I stopped in ‘82.

When you switched your lifestyle, did you have to hit a rock bottom?

It’s a pretty high bottom. I never went to jail. I was never found unconscious in the streets.

You woke up one day and it was like, “Enough already.”

There were a lot of people in my life saying it’s enough. Finally, you start to listen and go, “If I want this, that, and the other, it’s not going to go with this.”

I’m curious. I was thinking about your parents. When you switched careers, were they around? Were they like, “That’s a great idea.”

My mother was a professional singer. She was on Broadway and she went to Juilliard. My father was a lawyer. They were happy with both and were happy as long as I was successful and happy. I have no resistance to that at all.

Thank you for your time. Thank you for all your work. Thank you for your passion. There’s a lot of people that have all of the same information that you do but your true zeal for this, your real passion for this comes through. It can flip more switches by seeing in you the excitement of vitality and health that you have. Thank you.

Thank you so much.

Thanks so much for being here. If you like, rate, subscribe and leave us a review. All of my music was graciously done by Frank Zummo and Tom Thacker. If you want to see some of the behind-the-scenes action, follow me, @GabbyReece. Remember, don’t miss new episodes every Monday.

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About Dr. Jonny Bowden

Dr. Jonny Bowden

My mission is to help everyone become their own “Nutrition Myth Buster”. I want to help you examine “conventional wisdom” by asking the right questions and making the right distinctions. I want to help you become the leader of your own health care team. I want to help you live in a body you can be proud of and that serves you well, even if it doesn’t belong on the cover of Vogue.

I want to help YOU discover that YOU are unique and that what works for YOU is going to be different from what works for other people. There is no “one way” to do life. That fundamental truth will set you free. And most of all, I want to spread the message that beauty and sexiness come in all shapes, sizes and colors and that the most erotic and sexy organ in the human body is the one between your ears.

 

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