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We hear a lot of mindfulness in today’s busy world. With everything ready instantaneously, we often forget to nourish ourselves with the things our body deserves. A heart-centered approach to eating is one of the ways we can tap back into our inner nutrition and refuel our bodies. Integrative nutrition health coach Tia Morell Walden sits with Corinna Bellizzi to talk about her health journey and her approach to mindful eating. Listen in and learn more as they discuss ways you can rediscover health and get back on track to mindful eating.
Thanks for joining me for another great discussion around nutrition and health without compromise. I am joined by Tia Morell Walden, a fellow podcaster who cohosts Obsessed With Humans On The Verge of Change. She is a holistic nutritionist and integrative nutrition health coach who's devoted to empowering others and their discovery of what foods work best for their individual makeup. Tia has a bestselling book. It's called Obsessed With Mindful Eating: A Heart-Centered Approach to Nutrition. In my personal experience, it’s a bit of a page-turner for anyone interested in this space.
While we get to know Tia and learn from her expertise. This won't be the last time you will hear from her on the show. Tia will be joining me as a cohost from time to time. This interview also serves as an introduction to the person who will be a companion in some of our future shows. This includes an interview that we hosted with the amazing Dr. William Li who wrote Eat to Beat Disease, Dr. Scott Fulbright who is a premier researcher in the world of algae, and Dr. Vimal Thomas George who is a physician with a different take on how we can all reach health. Tia, welcome to the show.
Corinna, thank you so much for having me.
I'm so happy you're here with me. I feel like we get to kick off an amazing adventure here together. We hear a lot about mindfulness in our busy world nowadays. You expand on this to talk about that heart-centered approach to eating. I'd like to get a better understanding of what led you on this path. Why did you decide to write a book? What has your health journey been?
Writing this book stemmed from a personal need. The book was something that I needed not only at the beginning of my journey, but I have found out that I also needed it as challenges have come up and life circumstances have changed. I believe that we all start our health journey before it becomes a conscious decision that we invest in. When I was a young girl and teen, it stemmed from external motivation. I wanted to be skinny. I thought that health was solely based on not having disease or illness and being a specific weight and being told by the doctor, “You are healthy.”
I didn't recognize it at the time but as I was in my college years, I was living out the repercussions of an unhealthy lifestyle and habits. I had gained weight and started suffering heavily from anxiety, depression, insomnia, lack of concentration and overall low quality of life. I was prescribed medications from doctors to fix the symptoms that I was experiencing. I was told I would only need them for a short period of time, that they would make me feel better, and that I was perfectly healthy. Yet, as time went on, the dosages started increasing. The symptoms I felt were getting worse and I did not feel my quality of life going up either.
I internally knew that there had to be another option. That's when I decided to take it into my own hands. I was doing research and took back my health. I started on my personal development journey that led me into holistic health and holistic nutrition. I empowered myself through nutrition, lifestyle, habit, and environmental changes that served myself, my body and my inner being. Becoming a holistic nutritionist bridged that gap between nutrition and personal development for me. I now can recognize how interconnected my health is with my food choices and my personal growth. I want to share that with everyone who is willing to listen so they can feel empowered as I have been.
That's the perfect note with which to start this entire episode. I'm not only talking about this show. I'm talking about the whole thing because the resounding theme that people are going to hear from us and the guests that we have on this show are around taking your health into your own hands, and the sorts of things that you can do to live your longest healthiest and more fruitful life. I love that. I love that juxtaposition. Many of our audience members are going to relate to that story of being that sixteen-year-old. When I had the chance to interview you on Care More Be Better, which is my first podcast, I asked you a question that I want to ask you again here. That is if you had advice now to give that sixteen-year-old girl, what would it be?
I would tell her to get curious about what health means to her. Don't listen to the social norms. Just because everybody is doing or following something doesn't mean that it's normal. It could be common, but maybe it's not what fits you. I will look her in the eyes and let her know that she is enough as she is and who she is now.
Your health is interconnected with your food choices and your personal growth.
The reality is most teenagers, male and female, could benefit from hearing that because you're constantly comparing yourselves. Especially with the advent of social media, you see people on TikTok or on Instagram living what they portray as this perfect life. Perhaps even the perfect body that they may have spent some time with some auto-tune for faces on and things along those lines. They're showing you a different picture than reality.
It's important to keep that in our mindset as we even approach how we eat and the things that we do in our daily lives to promote health. I know that as we architected this show, one of the things we talked about was what nutrition without compromise means to us. I thought I would offer you the floor for a minute to express that. What does this mean to you and what do you hope to also gain from being a part of the show?
Nutrition without compromise means taking accountability for my whole person. That means my physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual health without compromising any of those areas for another one, and without compromising the health of our planet. It's so important to be mindful about what our daily choices are doing to the planet that we live on. We only get one of these.
We need to be careful with what we're doing and leave the world a better place than when we came into it. I hope to gain a new perspective and add it to my perspective, hear other perspectives from people that may differ from mine, and challenge the things that I believe in so I can get a broader understanding of what health is. Health is ever-changing. It is not a destination. It's something that is going to evolve with time as I evolve and as I hit different seasons in life.
I know I'm not in the same season of life as you are. I'm a couple of decades ahead. As it stands now, the challenges that I face may be different from those that you face, but guess what? I probably had been there too. One of the things I wanted to talk about is while we also mentioned that you shouldn't necessarily be comparing yourself to everyone you see on Instagram, that doesn't mean you can't learn from other people around you.
We live in an age now where so much information is available online. You can research anything from a nutrition perspective, but a lot of the information out there is complicated. They are not necessarily always presented with complete truth. A lot of people are trying to sell something. They spin it up and create something that may sound like you need it but you may not. I wonder if you have any tools in your experience as far as how you might advise people that you're working with from this holistic nutritionist perspective so that they don't fall prey to some of these like magic pills or bullets that are being sold out there.
That's so important. It comes down to being mindful about what you're consuming, knowing what resources you are using to research, and making sure that your mind is open and curious. Also, have that red flag alert and listen to it when something doesn't hit you the right way. We have to remember that health is individual for each one of us. Something may truly be working for this person you are following on Instagram, but that doesn't mean it will work for you. We're able to keep that in mind. We can be curious about the current behaviors and habits that we have around food, and take in information that we're finding and experimenting with it.
We don't need to make this massive decision and change what we're doing overnight. We can take it into consideration and experiment with it for 30 days or so. See if it fits with us and our individual makeup, and either run with it or ditch it behind. Focusing on going back to the basics is so important in my eyes too. Focus on those whole foods and less processed foods, and be aware if something feels salesy. It likely is salesy and they are likely trying to sell you an end product. They are likely selling you that photoshopped picture of this before and after that may not be an actual before and after. It could be somebody posing a little bit differently.
If we're able to identify that and not judge ourselves for not being where that person is, we can take a look at how I can better my health through these outside resources but still tap into that inner knowing. I do believe that we all have that wisdom within us to know what's going to be better for our health than anybody else.
In your book, I want to point to a couple of things because they will be helpful for anybody reading. While they might not go and get a copy for themselves, they can benefit from this specific suggestion. That is to stop doing these four things, which are comparing, criticizing, complaining and competing. What made you choose these four?
It goes back to that low quality of life that I was feeling for many years. I realized a lot of it stemmed from those four things. I was comparing myself to others. I was either not measuring up or I was trying to make people not measure up to me, which both do not feel good in the long run. When we are constantly looking at what we don't have and complaining about what we lacked, we're not seeing what we have. We're not being grateful for those things in our lives that benefit us and have us thrive in more fulfilling ways if we start focusing on those.
We've done it, Tia. We've covered much of the content of your book and now we can just talk. There are a few things I want to hash out with you and get your perspective on and share my thoughts too. As people are reading this, they have likely read, “I need to be eating right and I need to be paying attention to my whole self.” It’s not only myself that's sitting there and sitting down to eat a meal with my family or solo, I need to be thinking about the whole picture. That's one thing. A very popular diet out there has been the Whole30. I want to get your opinion on what you think about the Whole30. I will also offer some insights that I've had from participating in it for a couple of stretches as well. What do you think of the Whole30?
It's a great way to get in the mindset of eating whole foods again. Our food system has incorporated these food-like substances that aren’t benefiting us. The Whole30 diet is helping us incorporate those whole foods again. It's helping us to take a look at, “What are my vegetables? What are the fruits that I'm getting in? It’s reintroducing that habit. I love anything that reintroduces the habits of going back to the basics that we mentioned before.
They can be problematic for some people when they feel restricted or on this regimented diet because that feels like something not sustainable for life. It feels like I can fall off of it. I can do something that's bad or I can fail at it. Those negative mindsets contribute to poor health overall. It has its benefits and it depends on the person.
Don't listen to the social norms. Just because everybody's doing something or following something doesn't mean that it's normal.
One of the things I like about the Whole30 is they're telling you something throughout the book and throughout the program if you look at their website or subscribe to any of their offerings. I picked up the book because that's easy enough. I have it on Kindle and I have the physical copy because I wanted to share it with my partner.
As I perused it, the thing that they were throwing at you in several different arenas without beating you over the head with it was that you needed to resensitize yourself to sugar. We forget about the fact that ketchup got a lot of corn syrup in it, for instance. Even things like the peanut butter that we might use often have quite a bit of sugar in them.
Also, some things that are not great for the environment, including palm kernel oil essentially homogenize it so that we've got something that's always spreadable. What they do in this book and the whole program is to get back to a whole foods lifestyle. It addresses even those condiments. You might start making your own salad dressing. You might start making your own mayonnaise.
I started making my own mayonnaise. It's easy. My kids like it just as much, if not more. I can choose the acid to be a vinegar that can blend a flavor to it if I want or a lemon. I could do something a little bit different with what oil I might use. I could use walnut oil or avocado oil. I'm not just getting a bunch of soy oil that's bottom of the barrel and GMO. I'm able to address my nutrition in a different way
One of the things that I think the book and the program tend to get a little wrong is this overwhelming focus on getting to a high-fat diet. I wanted to offer my perspective on that. I'm sure that this would be a bone of contention for anybody who supports the Whole30 program. It's essentially a diet that's trying to push you into a keto state more frequently to get to ketosis so that your body burns fat instead of sugar. The problem with the diet as a whole is that it doesn't tell you that you should perhaps limit some of those saturated fats, and not get all your fats from these more vegetative or liquid sources.
What people will notice if they decide to fry everything in bacon fat, for example, is that suddenly, their hands might get a little stiff. Their joints might not feel so good. This is inflammation in the body. When you put yourself in this space where you're consuming a lot more fat but not necessarily the right fats or in the right balance or the right quality, then somehow you get thrown off-kilter. Anybody who decides they want to embark on this diet, it's a good exercise. Try it for 30 or 60 days. Reintroduce foods and decide which foods you're more sensitive to.
Maybe eliminate some of the grains that you embedded in your diet all along for the long-term. It will probably help you be more healthy, but also consider the types of fat you're consuming. That would be my major advice to anybody. I also think you can approach the Whole30 from a vegetarian perspective. I'm not going to go on some plant-based bandwagon on the show. I'm an omnivore. There's a spot for healthy foods from all sorts of arenas. I also think we can do some more responsibly. I would love to get your take, given the context I've provided, of how you might approach something like the Whole30 perhaps a little differently.
First of all, I want to go back to that sugar and the unhealthy fats part of it. Something that I like to teach people is being aware of this pleasure trap as I call it. Through these food-like substances or these highly processed foods, they made their way into our food chain. They're deceiving our nervous systems. These foods have been engineered to be addictive in ways that we were not exposed to generations before. Prior to now, our taste buds were evolved to find the most valuable foods. That was what we were made to survive off of. These highly addictive foods with artificial flavor enhancers, these chemicals that we can't pronounce, and all the sugar added to them are what our taste buds are thinking as the “best food.” We are craving that.
Those are dangerous for our survival. If we go back to what you’re saying about the whole foods’ perspective of nature did set us up for success, it did not set us up to fail. We have to be very conscious of rerouting our taste buds back into craving those whole foods rather than those foods that are highly processed. We can do it if we take that 30-day experiment that you are recommending. Our taste buds will change in that 30 days. We won't find those chemically enhanced foods as tasty. We will start craving that apple over that apple candy.
I'll give an instance from my experience being a mom. I cut up a beautiful ripe tangelo. For those that don't know, it's like a juicy orange. They're delicious. It’s much better than valencia. That's only my personal opinion. I cut it up for my son. He was asking for dessert and I said, “Eat this.” He looks at me and he wants candy. He got some candy in Valentine's and that's what he wants. He took a bite of the orange. He's like, “I didn't realize this is sweet. This is dessert.” I'm like, “That's right. There's your dessert.”
Our bodies do crave these sweets. They do crave these sugars, but they're craving the natural form of that sugar. Our brains just aren't there. We don't realize it until we satisfy it with that orange, but it's hard to get to that point when we've grown up on those artificial flavorings and those highly processed foods.
Even with things like stevia, I think stevia is a much better option as a sweetener. It still sends the same triggers to your brain. Given that though, it does not decrease your leptin sensitivity. This is part of how the brain works to regulate when you're full. If you eat foods that have high fat and low sugar, your leptin sensitivity remains fairly good. Your brain will tell you, “I'm full now. I don't need to eat more.” If all you eat is highly processed foods that have a lot of sugars in them and salt, then the trigger doesn't get pulled. A lot of that comes from eating a low-fat, high-carb diet. That carb could be anything from actual sugars to processed grains.
We all know this. Innately, we know it's less healthy to sit there and eat the frozen pizza than it is to go ahead and make a beautiful salad with some egg. Maybe some other things that are mixed into that to add some protein. You could use tofu. You could create a stir fry. You can make a pasta dish that incorporates all sorts of vegetables into it so it's not only carbs. We get used to eating in this routine fast and easy way, something that comes from a box or comes from the freezer, and calling it done.
By picking up a recipe book or something like the Whole30 diet because they do share so many recipes or your book, which has some great recipes too, you can get back into the kitchen. You can excite your taste buds. You can try something new. You can even start growing some herbs in your garden that you can incorporate into your diet and the cooking that you do. You can get excited about the food that you're putting in your body.
It’s important to be mindful about what your daily choices are doing to the planet that you live on. You only get one of these.
Taking the time to look at how should I present my plate and what I should be eating for a meal. Recognize that 50% of it shouldn't be carbohydrates. Maybe a fourth of it could be some complex carbohydrates that are healthier for us because our body does need carbs. Cutting out carbs is not the total way to go to hit optimal health. We need protein, carbs and healthy fats. Looking at our plate and asking ourselves, “What do I want my plate to look like?” Ideally, half of it or not more should be produce. We want our vegetables, our leafy greens, especially and some fruits, then adding a little bit of protein and adding a little bit of carbohydrates, and not making our protein and our carbs our main source of the meal.
We take the food pyramid that had been the mainstay for decades and we flip it on its head. We don't necessarily go to saying, “Your foundation needs to be fat,” because then you'll end up with gout and you'll have all other problems that are associated with consuming all of your calories from fat. A balanced diet, that's generally the best. We evolved eating a variety of foods. It's changing up your diet and choosing something new. One of the things I like to do now is when I take my kids grocery shopping with me, which isn't every time, I'll say, "Pick something out that you've never eaten before." I tend to do that from the produce section. That's when I ask them that question.
I remember the first time I did this with Benedict when he was about three years old, he grabbed a Buddha's hand, which is a citrus. It looks like an octopus swimming through water. First of all, I didn't know what a Buddha’s hand was at that point. Second of all, I had no idea what to cook with it. I had to then explore. It became almost this adventure with my son about how do we make this thing into something that we eat and enjoy. He was so enthralled with the entire process to find out that all of the little hand-like things coming off were essentially the pith of the lemon.
If you wanted to do something like grate a lemon for its zest, it would be the perfect lemon to zest because it's got so much of that. We ended up making a dish that was a lean chicken. We had enough leftover that we used it again to make a garnish for the sorbet that we had. It became like this whole little adventure with this fruit that I'd had no exposure to before. Putting that adventure in our diets and when we're focusing on our nutrition and our health can make it more interesting and keep you engaged.
That's key to engagement. Being able to enjoy the process of cooking and eating is huge. We can express that creative part of ourselves that doesn't necessarily get exposed to in social media and diet culture in general. We get this black and white, very dry taste of what our diet should be. That's not at all the case. We can have fun with it. We can experiment. We can get our families involved. We can have our kids start at a young age showing interest in it and have their health evolve, and even help the evolving of their health or even help us in the long run. Get creative with it too and evolve our own.
You learned that you don't have to go and get your kid Snickers every time they ask for one because you've encouraged them to be adventuresome with their diet. I think that's critical. I want to talk about something that I'm a little passionate about and hear what your perspective is when it comes to meal kit delivery systems and getting into the kitchen. Share your thoughts.
I have tried a couple of meal kit delivery systems. They don't necessarily work for me. I understand the appeal behind them, especially getting people back into the kitchen and re-exploring that home cooking tendency. I love that aspect of it. A lot of the ones that I have tried anyway, their recipes are intricate. They were not as simple and straightforward as I was hoping they were going to be when I ordered them. They were a little complicated for me to follow. I'm not a huge recipe follower. I like to look at recipes for ideas and go off of them.
They have their benefit, but I firmly believe in getting out there, getting into the grocery store or having your groceries delivered to you separately. You're going to end up wasting a lot less food that way and be able to be more creative. Also, adapt it to your unique taste buds and make sure that you are fulfilling your cravings in a healthy manner.
I've had an experience with HelloFresh, Blue Apron because I wanted to try a couple. I was very curious about the model. Misfits is a different style of market. Essentially, you can buy the not so beautiful looking fruits and veggies. The thing that I had a hard time getting through was all of the packaging that's involved with each of these products. You're getting a box that's filled with ice packs and bedding and other material. Sure, the box is probably made from recycled materials, but you're still incurring shipping. They are bringing it directly to your door and the amount of packaging around each of the condiments was a little ridiculous.
I remember in one particular case, I had ordered a Szechuan-styled meal. They came with soy sauce and each of the soy sauces was in these cute plastic fish. They were squeezable and they had a little green lid. I could take the green lid off and squeeze it a little bit and put the green lid back on. There were six of them for the dish. I'm not talking about a sachet that you would peel. This was how they delivered soy sauce. I'm thinking about the plastic problem that is our existence. I worked to limit plastic in my own home. I felt like this was not the way you should build a subscription program.
You might tell them, “For this recipe, you should have a bottle of soy sauce in your house if you like these styles of meals, and we'll give you everything else that you need to create it." Especially when it comes to condiments, I had a problem with the packaging. Another piece, as we talk about fats, is a lot of the recipes seem to be very fat-laden, but also very saturated fat-laden, and not a lot of the liquid polyunsaturated fats. That was just my experience. It means that people are getting more of the solid fats which are solid so they are less fluid and less flexible in your body. There are less of healthy fats, the Omega-3s and Omega-6s that might benefit your health long-term.
I don't think they are necessarily the healthiest option. I do like that they get you creatively cooking. Sometimes that's the course that people need. Maybe it's a little complicated, but some of them also have one-pot recipes that can teach you to do something differently. I did learn for the first time from one of these meal kits that I could do my pasta differently. They recommended that you take something like chicken stock and some tomato paste, then fresh tomatoes and a bunch of different vegetables. Put it in with the pasta dry in the same pot.
As all these things are sautéed together and all their juices and flavors became one, they became the sauce that the pasta itself was cooking. There was so much vegetable matter in it that I was like, “This wasn't just tomatoes.” Here I am speaking as an Italian who was taught to cook Italian food by her Italian grandmother from Sicily. It was a different way to do it. In some cases, it’s better because it was one pot that was messed up and my food was ready in 30 minutes.
It is important to be conscious of the waste of the packaging, especially in these meal kit deliveries. I do use Misfits Markets. You can set your Misfits Markets ice packs and the cooler container. They come back in and give it back to them to reuse on a weekly basis. That also takes an extra step. You have to do it and I don't necessarily know how many other people do take that extra step.
They did that. I thought it was a waste. I was like, “I don't know if I want to do this again.” I only ordered once. I was able to select a variety of fruits and vegetables from their list because they update the list each week with what’s available at that time in your region. I like the tech and the AI that's going into that because it's serving me something that at least isn't being shipped from New York to California. It's coming from my relatively local environment. It's food that would be near expiration or a misshapen apple or whatever. The food is perfectly good.
My kids enjoyed it. I enjoyed it. We all did pretty well, but the extra packaging to me seemed like, “I'll go to my farmer's market instead.” I'll bring my basket to the farmer's market and I'll get my local fresh fruit. Some of that is misshapen and it hasn't had to go to a Misfits yet. Shop local and get local food that's in a season that grew off of a tree or out of the ground and is hyper fresh in those cases.
A negative mindset contributes to poor health overall.
Going grocery shopping is a chore for people. They don't want to do that, but if you take the time to set up what you’re going to get at the grocery store, get to know your grocery store, and use the same one regularly, you can understand where your staples are. It makes it a lot quicker of a process so it won't feel like such a chore. Recognize that 75% of your grocery store isn't necessarily whole food. You might not even have to shop 75% of it if you are looking for those more whole food-based items.
Except for maybe the spice aisle. I spend a lot of time in that aisle. My particular grocery store, the one I shop at, have different sections for their spices. There's the Asian food spice section, the Mexican food spice section, and the single spice section. It's an entire aisle. It's this buffet of spices that you could buy from any number of regions, which is pretty incredible. What supplements do you tend to recommend that people go to? What do you even have in your own pantry to consume?
Having that recognition that the food we are consuming doesn't have the same vitamin and mineral content as it once did, but knowing that we can use supplements and help boost our health in these areas. My go-tos, especially now, are multivitamins, DHA Omega-3, Vitamin D and occasionally, also getting enough Vitamin C. It depends on the season that you are in and listening to your body for what you need. If you have the opportunity to, you can even go to your practitioner and ask them to do a panel on you to figure out, “What am I deficient in? What would I benefit from taking them?”
Knowing that your needs could change over time, it is worth investing in doing your research to find the highest quality of your vitamins as well as supplements. I know, Corinna, you have a lot more knowledge in this area so I'd like to pick your brain on it. How do we know what supplements to choose? How do we know when the marketing is trying to get us to purchase it versus getting us the highest quality?
I'm allergic to spin. This is something I say in a number of spots. As a salesperson/marketer who's been in this space for a long time, I see through it so quickly. I don't fall prey to some of the practices that I see. You'll see a lot of supplements marketed online as magic bullets. Generally speaking, when you see that, you need to be skeptical. If something says that it's going to suddenly help you drop 30 pounds of stubborn fat from your midsection, it’s probably not true.
There are a few supplements that I like to recommend everyone consider taking as part of their repertoire. The first being an Omega-3. The reason for that is simple. We don't get enough Omega-3 in our diets anymore. Unless you're consuming fish 2 or 3 times a week, you probably aren't getting enough. Even if you consume a vegan and vegetarian diet, and consume things like walnuts, which have a higher level of Omega-3 or flaxseeds which also have Omega-3, they’re in the alpha-linolenic acid form, which isn't how your body necessarily uses it.
It's like eating beta carotene as opposed to getting Vitamin A. Your body needs Vitamin A. I can make some of it from beta carotene, but it's probably not going to get enough. You can go to fish and you get a direct source. You can eat fish to do that, but a lot of people are worried about eating fish because of toxins from our waterways. They don't like the concept of over-fishing. They're worried about farmed fish and sea lice. They hear about all these things that could be getting in the way of wanting to consume fish. They simply might not like eating fish. That could be it too or there’s like, “I'm a vegetarian. I don't want to eat anything with a face.”
All of that is fine, but you're probably not getting enough Omega-3s. There’s this magic supplement available to all of us and that's algae-based Omega-3s. You can get your Omega-3s from algae. You can cut out the middle fish and go directly to the algae. That's where the fish get the Omega-3 EPA and DHA from anyway. You mentioned that you're taking DHA products. DHA is a powerful Omega-3. It's half of the fat in your brain and eyes. This is why it helps to support visual acuity. It helps to support your brain health. People who take enough of this type of fat into their diets tend to worry less about some key issues that some of us might face simply because we're not getting enough.
It's a reality that most of us are walking around deficient and we don't even know it. We're not getting enough Omega-3s. You could go out. You could get a blood spot test for Omega-3s. You mentioned getting tested. It can cost between about $25 and $50 to do that. You can look online for companies that will allow you to prick your finger, put it on a card, send it in the mail, and you will get your notice in a few weeks. They will tell you what your blood lipid levels are of Omega-3s. You're going to find you're not getting enough. That's basically it unless you're supplementing every day.
Örlö, who presents the show, has incredible Omega-3s available to us. Not to be over salesy but these are from algae. They have phospholipids and glycolipids in them, which are the very things that make krill oil more absorbable than fish oil. They get it from algae, so you don't have to take krill. It's awesome and easy and you can know that you're getting a product that's going to support your health.
The next one I always recommend is something in the green space. Most of us don't eat enough vegetables. We might say we do. That 5 or 7 servings a day of fruits and vegetable looks more like two. Let's be real. Even when people are doing a good job, they're probably consuming 2 or 3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Getting a good green supplement is always a good idea. While some of that might come from algae in the future, there are plenty of other products available out there as well.
I like to always point people to probiotics because once your gut is healthy, you're going to get more nutrition from all of the food you're eating. You can be doing everything right and have a gut that's out of balance, you're not going to absorb the nutrients the same way. Our bodies are made up of more microorganisms than they are our own cells, which is a mind-blowing thing. You're an ecosystem. Your body is an ecosystem. It's its own planet. The fact is that you have to feed your gut this healthy stuff so that you can digest the food that you're eating.
If you're not doing anything else for your health, go out and get some probiotics. Make sure that you're getting them in your diet. You can do things like add fermented foods to your diet that will help support the probiotic nature of your gut. I wonder what some of your favorites might be, Tia, because I'm sure you eat some fermented foods.
I'm eating a lot of yogurts and cultured yogurts. In the past, I liked kombucha. My mom makes her own kombucha, so that's my favorite because we are in control of how much sugar is going in there. We know what products are going in because it is homemade. Keep in mind that we do want to keep our guts in check because our guts are linked directly to the hormone levels in our brain. If we don't feel like our brains are working 100% right, it could be a gut problem. It might not only be a lack of sleep or a lack of concentration problem. It could be stemming from our guts. There's more research out there that is backing that up, that the gut may be the first brain, not the second.
Health is ever-changing. It’s not a destination. It's something that will evolve with time as you evolve and hit different seasons in life.
Our brain may be the second brain. There are so many connections between the brain, our nervous system and our gut. We don't know what we don't know and that's the reality. It's pretty incredible stuff. I've read some of the science. I feel like every time I open a new journal and start to dig into the science around the gut, it's like, “My mind is blown again.” It's incredible.
One of the things that I have personally noticed is if I go too grain-heavy in my diet, I will start to feel this disconnection from my gut. I can't explain it in another way. I feel like it's not connected to the rest of my body the same way. As soon as I start to cut my grains back, everything returns to normal. I feel more connected to my gut. This is getting back to something that you had earlier that we need to pay more attention to how we are doing. If we learn to listen to our bodies and our entire being as we're approaching our daily life, that will be more healthy.
We truly are the experts of our own bodies. We have been with this body since birth. We know a lot more than that doctor or practitioner we might be going to. They can run tests on us, but they can't feel what is going on within us as we can. If we take the time to tap into that awareness and listen to what it's telling us, we can achieve that optimal health throughout life and adapt to those changes that come with changing seasons and different circumstances that we may not be prepared for or see coming.
You also mentioned taking Vitamin D. A lot of people are talking about Vitamin D now, specifically for its immune benefits. I also want to share that there is such a thing as getting too much. The reason I want to put that out there is because if you aren't consuming a diet in balance or if you aren't getting enough green leafy vegetables in your daily diet, enough Vitamin K and Vitamin A, and you're taking a lot of Vitamin D like 5,000 or more IU a day, you could be absorbing a lot more calcium from your diet but not having the spot for it to go. It could end up in your soft tissues and that's not something we ever want to invite.
It's a good idea to get your levels checked in your annual physical with your doctor. They tend to offer that as part of health screening to all women. It's part of my standard screening every year. I've generally noticed that I'm a little low. The reason I'm low is because I have a Mediterranean heritage. Even though I'm very pale, I apparently don't make Vitamin D very well. I tan super easily, which is also why I don't spend as much time in the sun because I don't want to damage my skin. I'm not very good at building Vitamin D, so I have to get it from my diet. I take a couple of thousand IUs a day.
Örlö is going to be coming out with an immune spray that contains Vitamin D along with B Vitamins and spirulina to help support your immune system. All these things work together to give you natural energy and also support your immune health, but not so much that you're taking perhaps too much for daily consumption. Check your levels. It's always healthy to check in with your doctor and make sure that you are getting the right nutrition.
I've also gone through and done genetic screening. I don't know if people aren't necessarily open to this, but you can find out certain things about what you're predisposed to. I took the 23andMe test. I didn't know that when I first took it. I chose to take it because I wanted to find out how much Neanderthal I had in me. I was just curious. I'd already taken the ancestry test. The ancestry test didn't tell me that much, but I took the 23andMe. They came back saying that I’m more Neanderthal than 33% of the population. It’s not a surprise because I'm also European and they were in Europe for a long time.
What I found is that they would have all these quizzes based on my genome type to ask for certain health patterns in your life. They have identified that certain people are more likely to develop certain health conditions or they're more likely to be deficient in CoQ10 or Vitamin D or whatever. They tell me that in my health profile. I could then go to my doctor and have an intelligent conversation about, “I found out I'm this genome type and that I might have a harder time absorbing CoQ10. Do I need to supplement with that?”
I can have the conversation with my doctor or even look at my levels and decide, “I'm going to go ahead and take CoQ10 because there's no downside to that.” This is a power of information. We live in an incredible age where so much is available at our grasp. We can take our nutrition into our own hands. We don't necessarily need to always go to the doctor and run to them for every Tom, Dick and Harry thing because we know our bodies too.
Taking it into your own hands like that and jump-starting your preventative care is so important because we live in the age of a disease management system, not a health care system. A lot of diseases are being linked back to lifestyle and food choices. If we know more about ourselves and we are being aware of our lifestyle and our food choices, we can take that power back and make the decision of how I can best empower my health now.
I know this is something we get into when we interviewed Dr. William Li. That will be a great segue for people as they learn a little bit more about what they can do to take their power back and their own health. Tia, we've covered so much ground.
We have. I feel like I could go on.
If I was to simply ask you what you would leave our audiences with, what would you hope that they bring with them into their day from this session?
I would hope that people feel empowered knowing that they do have choices in how their health manifests in their life. I want people to feel the love out of health, and the love out of making food choices, not the guilt and the shame and this heavy negative energy attached to it. There can be creativity, love and excitement when we are taking health back into our own hands.
Go into your grocery store with a creative mindset. You mentioned this word a few times throughout the show. You said curiosity probably 5 or 6 times. This word has been on my mind for numerous reasons. When we're in discovery mode, when we remain curious, when we admit that we don't know everything, we're more open. We're more likely to try new things and give a new recipe a shot or pick up that Buddha's hand and go, “What can I do with this?”
All of that and the power of remaining in this curious state is very health-supportive. My wish for everybody is that they would take that mindset when they go to do their grocery shopping or when they enter their kitchen and decide, “What can I make now? What do I already have in my pantry and how can I use it differently? Tia, thank you so much for joining me and in our future episodes. I so appreciate you.
Thank you, Corrina. This has been wonderful.
Join us each week for future episodes. We are going to be interviewing Dr. William Li in one of our first episodes. He is the author of Eat to Beat Disease. He also shares some amazing assets in that interview and information about future upcoming programs that he's offering for free. Stay tuned for that episode with Dr. William Li, and also future episodes with Scott Fulbright and Dr. Vimal Thomas George. They will share with you key resources for how you can take your health into your own hands because nutrition should never be an either/or. You should never have to compromise your health for your morals or the health of the planet. Thank you very much.