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This is part 2 of a 4 podcast series on Dr. William Li’s New York Times bestseller, Eat To Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself and his online course of the same name. This springboards from our interview with Dr. Li, which was episode #3. In that interview, we learned that Dr. Li hosts free masterclasses on the topics covered in his book. In this work, Dr. Li invites us to fall in love with food again – and choose the right foods to support a long, happy, and healthy life.
If you are new to this series and this podcast – and if you haven’t heard Dr. Li’s guest appearance on Nutrition Without Compromise, I encourage you to go back to episode 3, give that show a listen, and come right back here to this series. For your convenience the episodes are listed in our show notes for this episode – so if you’re listening to this show on your favorite podcast platform, you can go to the show notes, click the first link, and get started.
Outline of this week's coverage
02:42 About this course, including a summary of the 5 health defenses
03:38 Week 2 - How Dr. Li eats
05:20 Examples of "Food Dosing"
07:43 What to eat - 10 distinct foods to make sure you get plenty of to support your body's 5 natural defenses
14:45 What not to eat - 3 food types to avoid at all costs.
15:50 Shopping for healthy food, methods and foods to choose
21:23 Are you ready to get cooking?
22:00 What weakens our health defenses? 12 things to avoid / minimize
Other Episodes In This Series:
Interview with Dr. William Li: https://orlonutrition.com/blogs/podcast/eat-to-beat-disease-how-your-body-can-heal-itself-with-the-right-nutrition-with-dr-william-w-li-physician-and-nyt-bestselling-author
Part 1 of 4: https://orlonutrition.com/blogs/podcast/dr-william-lis-eat-to-beat-disease-course-5-health-defenses-and-5-surprises-part-1-of-4
Part 2 of 4 (this episode): https://orlonutrition.com/blogs/podcast/dr-william-lis-eat-to-beat-disease-course-10-foods-to-bolster-your-5-health-defenses-part-2-of-4
Part 3 of 4 (coming soon)
Part 4 of 4 (coming soon)
About Dr. William Li:
William W. Li, MD, is an internationally renowned physician, scientist, and author of the New York Times bestseller “Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself.” His groundbreaking work has led to the development of more than 30 new medical treatments and impacts care for more than 70 diseases including cancer, diabetes, blindness, heart disease, and obesity. His TED Talk, “Can We Eat to Starve Cancer?” has garnered more than 11 million views. Dr. Li has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, CNBC, and the Dr. Oz Show, and he has been featured in USA Today, Time Magazine, The Atlantic, and O Magazine. He is president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation and is leading research into COVID-19.
Sign up for his masterclass: https://drwilliamli.com/masterclass/
Sign up for the paid course: http://eat-to-beat-disease.
About this course:
Throughout this course, Dr. Li covers the five groundbreaking health defense systems of the body that he identified in Eat To Beat Disease. To refresh your memory, they are:
He talks about the foods that activate your health defense systems, sharing research from studies -- on human populations – and every week he supplies insights and provides ideas for how you can incorporate life supporting foods into your diet as he invites you to fall in love with food.
So… Let’s get into week 2!
This week kicks off with a 25 minute video in which Dr. Li shares how he eats. He considers food an exploration of things he enjoys and which will stimulate his 5 defense systems. We learn about the bounty of foods and beverages that he enjoys including the tea he drinks all day long, and coffee that he drinks black. He focuses on mostly eating plants, but admits that he eats a little bit of everything. The one thing he avoids at all costs is processed meats like hotdogs, pepperoni, and other… let’s just call them meat-like substances, similar to the food-like substances we talked about last week.
When dining out, he counsels us to eat foods we easily recognize, with a wide variety of nutritious elements that feed the body’s 5 defenses. He notes that salads that include bitter, leafy greens like arugula or kale, all sorts of mushrooms, and a simple stir fry or Mediterranean meal with lean protein and loads of veggies are all great choices when dining out.
He also notes that breakfast is not the most important meal of the day, and that skipping that meal can be OK. But he points out an interesting fact that may have colored our opinion up to this moment. Did you know that it was breakfast cereal companies funded the research that told us breakfast was most important meal of the day? Perhaps they were motivated to produce certain results.
How much should you eat, over what period? In his book, Eat To Beat Disease, Chapter 15 covers food dosing. Dr. Li distills the research he has read into this work. He shares optimal food doses – and he shares a similar chart with those taking the course in our workbook.
He again echoes that he consumes 4-6 cups of tea a day, and often drinks it all day long. A question you often hear is – whether that should be in addition to water – because tea can be a mild diarrhetic. He doesn’t worry so much about that, because it is such a mild effect.
Here are some simple dosing recommendations as it relates to food:
It’s when we consume a wide variety of foods that we truly support our body’s natural health-promoting mechanisms, activating our 5 health defenses. But still, too much of a good thing can actually be a bad thing too… It’s just really hard to get to that point with certain foods, like green tea.
The term for this is hormesis. This is the point of diminishing returns and even lessening positive effect when you eat too much of a good thing.
What to eat and what not to eat.
What to eat:
Diversity in what you eat is really important. If you slip or enjoy an occasional hotdog or soda, your 5 health defenses can protect you. Try adding these 10 foods to your diet in abundance.
What not to eat:
That’s it. The list is not long, which should inspire you to choose more of the healthy, and cut out more of the unhealthy.
How do you shop for healthy food?
One thing I have always recommended is to shop local, and shop at farmers markets if you have one in your area. This enables you to reduce your carbon imprint, promote local economies, and ensure you are eating a variety of foods that are in-season. You can take a picture of the healthy foods listed in your course guide or in the book Eat To Beat Disease. By keeping this list on your phone, you can easily reference the list as you shop. I like to shop farmer’s markets once or twice a week to buy my produce, then head to the grocery store for items I need that I wasn’t able to find locally.
If you head to the grocery store, start with produce, then move on to other areas of the market. Buy what you plan to consume over the course of one week or less. That way you keep your food stock fresh and don’t overload your refrigerator. Shopping this way will reduce your food waste too.
Fish & Seafood: If you consume meat, fish and other seafood provide a healthy protein source. Fresh fish should not smell fishy. Wild sources are usually best, especially when it comes to salmon. Consider shellfish like mussels or clams, and if you buy fish, select fish that includes the skin and cook it whole. This ensures the omega-3 in the fish skin gets into the flesh as it cooks. Be aware that larger fish have higher levels of contaminants so you will want to limit exposure to them. If you are a frequent fish-eater, you may want to have your heavy metal levels checked, particularly for the heavy metal, mercury.
Dr. Li loves razor clams, oysters, and softshell crabs. Consuming 3 ounces of seafood 2-3 times a week is supportive of health overall. The less you do to a fish, the better it is. Simple cooking with lemon, garlic, basil, or your favorite herbs is best. Don’t fry your seafood. You negate some of its goodness in so doing.
My favorite fish to cook are whole wild salmon and whole wild trout. I simply coat them lightly in olive oil, sprinkle with pink Himalayan salt or sea salt, crack pepper over them, put lemon wedges inside their bodies with a few fresh basil leaves and call it a day. I cook them in the oven at 350 degrees until their eyes turn white, check the flesh for finish and let it rest before serving. Personally, I rarely eat fish these days – but when I do, I want to make sure I do it right. I agree with Dr. Li here. Less is more. Preserve as much of the fish as possible and enjoy every morsel.
Breads: Breads like sourdough and pumpernickel contain lactobacillus which supports gut health, even though it has been cooked. You will receive benefits from eating these breads in moderation.
Dairy: While some are dairy sensitive, and while Dr. Li has advised against adding milk to your coffee or tea, dairy isn’t necessarily a bad food to consume. If you aren’t intolerant, it contains protein, fat, and other nutrients. Yogurt is a fermented dairy product that has a lot of healthy gut bacteria supports your overall health. Try to keep to the versions that are not sweetened. Get it plain, add fruit, cacao nibs, and even dried fruit. Adding a little honey is also a great way to sweeten it up and make it a delectable treat.
Cheese: Vitamin K2 is present in cheeses like gouda, Swiss cheese (Emmentaler) and brie. It’s anti-angiogenic, reducing the risk of several cancers.
Did you know that vitamin K2 It is a critical fat-soluble vitamin that helps your body use calcium where it’s needed in your bones and teeth, keeping it from your soft tissues. If you consume extra vitamin D3, it’s a good idea to also ensure you’re getting plenty of vitamin K2.
Back to Dr. Li.
You may have heard that you need to avoid the center aisles of the grocery store. Heck, I know I’m guilty of advising the same. To his point, you don’t need to avoid the middle aisles – just be sure to go for the good stuff. Olive Oil, Tinned fish / sardines / anchovies / dried spices. Use your shopping list from Eat To Beat Disease. What you will want to avoid is buying foods with artificial ingredients, chemicals you can barely pronounce and artificial sweeteners. They are bad for your gut health and bad for you.
When you get all your groceries home, don’t forget to wash your fruits and veggies to remove harmful bacteria and pesticides. You can wash them with running water for 60 seconds, or you can even use a produce wash. Some people simply add a bit of vinegar to create a food soak that they then rinse off with clean water, drying their produce on a towel. Washing to remove debris, soil, and harmful bacteria is a good idea.
So… Are you ready to get cooking?
If you listened to last week’s episode, you’ll remember this. Dr. Li reminds us that microwaving is not great, especially for starches and carbohydrates, as they turn into polymers when microwaved. That’s right. Plastic. He advises us not to over-boil our veggies unless making a soup as most of their nutrients will end up in the water that’s then thrown away. Steam your veggies or boil them briefly for around 60 seconds, removing them when they are bright green or vibrant in color.
What weakens our health defenses?
Remember, our 5 health defenses are angiogenesis which is our ability to build blood vessels, stem cells which help our bodies repair and regenerate, the microbiome which helps us digest our food, DNA protection which keeps our genetic code from mutating and our immune systems which ensure we can fend off bad bacteria and viruses. When they are weak, we become sick. So, what factors in our lives harm our health defenses?
Now it’s time for our speed round, summarized from Dr. Li’s office hours this week.
You can read his book for greater detail, but this list supplies a 1-2-3 quick punch-list of things you can do to reduce your health risks in a variety of ways.
So, if you made it this far, I want to encourage you to open your mind to discovery, subscribe to this show so you’re sure to be alerted when the next episode in this series drops, and be sure to reach out with any questions you have about what I’ve shared thus far. You can reach me via email by sending a note to email@example.com.
And in the spirit of Dr. Li’s work, I’m going to ask you to raise a single glass of wine, a beer, or a cup of black coffee as I say my parting words.
Here’s to your health!
William W. Li, MD, is an internationally renowned physician, scientist, and author of the New York Times bestseller “Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself.” His groundbreaking work has led to the development of more than 30 new medical treatments and impacts care for more than 70 diseases including cancer, diabetes, blindness, heart disease, and obesity. His TED Talk, “Can We Eat to Starve Cancer?” has garnered more than 11 million views.
Dr. Li has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, CNBC, and the Dr. Oz Show, and he has been featured in USA Today, Time Magazine, The Atlantic, and O Magazine. He is president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation and is leading research into COVID-19.