Let’s say you’re the richest person in the world. You have anything and everything you could ever want! You’ve started companies, written books, gone on tours—you name it But you’ve been pretty busy, and more often than not, you haven’t paid enough attention to your body. Listen to this Dr. Mark Hyman podcast for some help.
We’ve all been there. You gotta work late, so you skip that workout. You’re too tired to cook when you get home, so you hit the drive-through at your favorite fast food place. You swig soda to stay up late, and then you do it again the next day. But now your body isn’t in the best shape. You’ve put it second to your career goals, and now, it’s starting to show.
Maybe you’ve started having headaches or backaches more often. Maybe you just feel too tired to get through your work day. Maybe it’s more serious, and you’ve been diagnosed with a disease like diabetes.
Or maybe you just have what my guest today refers to as “FLC” or “Feel Like Crap” Syndrome.
Your health is a different kind of wealth. Working hard, doing your best at your job, and taking care of your finances are incredibly important, but so is taking care of your body. If you neglect your body, your body will neglect you. And as you age, this only gets harder. You won’t be able to enjoy life because you’ll feel tired, sick, or miserable.
Of course, exercise is vital to maintaining good health, but so are the foods that you eat. Our food choices have the power to make us feel energized and ready to take on the world. Or they can make us feel sluggish and sick. The food we eat has a huge impact on our brain chemistry and our physical health.
And not only that, but our food system also has a massive impact on our community, and even on climate change. Truly, the way we make and eat food is a huge deal. It’s easy to keep eating the processed food that’s so easy to get every day, but if we want to start investing in our health and in our community, it’s time for a change.
If there’s one person who knows how to help, it’s Dr. Mark Hyman.
This Dr. Mark Hyman podcast episode is one of the most helpful health episodes of The School of Greatness.
Dr. Mark Hyman is leading a health revolution—one revolved around using food as medicine to support longevity, energy, mental clarity, happiness, and so much more.
Dr. Hyman is a practicing family physician and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in the field of Functional Medicine. He’s the founder and director of The UltraWellness Center, is the Head of Strategy and Innovation of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, AND is the Board President for Clinical Affairs for The Institute for Functional Medicine.
Somehow, in the midst of all this, he’s a twelve-time New York Times bestselling author. He’s also a regular medical contributor on several television shows and networks, including CBS This Morning, the Today Show, Good Morning America, The View, The Dr. Oz Show, and CNN.
And, as if all that weren’t enough, Dr. Mark Hyman hosts the leading health podcast The Doctor’s Farmacy. On his podcast, he shares a wealth of information about how our food choices are affecting our health and what we can do about it.
Needless to say, he’s an expert. Dr. Hyman is one of my favorite people to learn from about health because he is so honest about what’s going on. He’s really got humanity’s best interest at heart.
“I think what’s frustrating for me is, Lewis, that I see so much needless suffering.” – Mark Hyman.
Dr. Hyman has a lot of compassion for his patients, and over his career he’s seen a lot of suffering. People are getting sick left and right. One day, Dr. Hyman asked the question “Why are my patients sick?” And a lot of that sickness is totally because of the way we eat. In fact, 80% of his patients are sick because of food-related illness. That’s a HUGE percent.
And that’s not the only shocking stat he shared with me.
We’ve all heard that things like obesity and heart disease are on the rise, but I had no idea how bad the problem was until I talked with Dr. Hyman. According to him, over the last 40 years, the obesity rate has jumped from 5% to 40%. Not only that, but 6 out of every 10 Americans have a chronic disease. Those are diseases like heart disease, cancer, depression, and even dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Another chronic illness that is just having a massive impact on the American population is diabetes. Dr. Hyman explained to me that there are two types of diabetes. Type one is part of a group of diseases called “autoimmune diseases”. Essentially that means that it’s a disease you can’t really help getting. Your body automatically attacks your pancreas — which keeps your blood sugar right where it should be — so you can’t regulate your blood sugar normally.
The second type of diabetes — the one Dr. Hyman is the most concerned about — is the same thing, but it’s not an autoimmune disease. Basically, there is so much sugar and fat in the American diet that our bodies can’t keep up. We can’t regulate our blood sugar, so we’re diagnosed with the disease, and we have to get medical treatment.
I remember when I was a kid — maybe 9or 10 years old — I used to spend my summers drinking Dr. Pepper. I would drink several a day, and I thought it was no big deal! I was also running around being a kid — and later training as an athlete — so I avoided a diabetes diagnosis. But for many people, daily sugar intake is a huge problem. Our bodies just aren’t meant to have that much sugar.
Today, 1 in every 2 Americans has Type Two diabetes or pre-diabetes. Half of all Americans. Truly, this is a health crisis.
And this problem is having a huge impact on our country economically and politically, too. Dr. Hyman told me that because so many people suffer from this disease, one-third of Medicare spending is on diabetes. That’s a lot of tax money being spent on one food-related sickness! On top of that, Dr. Hyman said that 7 out of 10 kids who apply for the military are rejected because of sicknesses like obesity. Too many kids have grown up eating over-processed sugary foods, and now they’re too overweight and suffering from health complications. Because of this, they can’t be considered fit to fight in the military.
Clearly this is a much bigger problem than many of us realized.
And unfortunately, the problem doesn’t end there. This isn’t just a personal problem, though many individuals are sick. And it’s not just a national problem, though our national economy and military security are being affected by this crisis. Our food system is affecting our globe as well.
Dr. Hyman, in addition to being a medical expert, is kind of an expert when it comes to our national food system, too. He’s done a lot of research into the way we farm and how it affects both the quality of our food and our changing climate.
He explained to me that way back in the 1950s, we just didn’t have enough food. So, we learned how to grow food that was cheap so we could grow a lot of it. We had a lot of corn, wheat, and soy, which kept us from starving. But now those starchy foods are processed into the unhealthy stuff that makes up most of our diet. That’s what causes diabetes and other chronic, food-related diseases.
But those farming methods we started using? They’re also really dangerous for our globe.
It’s a little more complicated than we had the time to go into, but Dr. Hyman told me that the way we farm our food is really bad for our soil. In fact, we’ve destroyed about a third of the top soil that we use to grow our food in, because of things like pesticides and other chemicals we use for farming.
Now, according to Dr. Hyman, normal, healthy soil is really good at absorbing carbon dioxide. That’s the stuff we breathe out when we exhale. So we breathe out carbon dioxide, the soil absorbs it up and uses it to grow plants. Except we destroyed a lot of that good, healthy soil with our farming. So that carbon dioxide is just bouncing back up into our atmosphere. And that causes — you guessed it — global warming.
“… of all the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, the loss of soil, organic matter, like healthy, rich soil, is responsible for 30 to 40% of all greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution.” – Dr. Mark Hyman
So not only is our food system causing a lot of sickness, threatening our economic stability and national security, but it’s also contributing to climate change.
Okay, so we’ve been pretty doom and gloom so far. But Dr. Hyman has a solution to this problem.
“… I plan on creating a good fix campaign which is a non-profit, along with an advocacy organization to start to literally lobby senators, congressmen, key people in the administration around these issues and start to drive policy change.” – Dr. Mark Hyman
Dr. Hyman believes that the way out of this problem is through policy change. And that’s gotta happen in government.
Now, it’s not going to be easy. Dr. Hyman explained to me that lobbyists who represent the food industry and agriculture actually make up the biggest lobby group in the country. Not even the oil industry has a bigger lobby group. Because of this, it can be hard to create change.
But it’s not impossible. For example, Dr. Hyman says that in Massachusetts, there is a law that says if you produce a certain amount of food waste — if you’re throwing away too much food — you can’t just toss it in the garbage. You legally have to compost that garbage. And that’s awesome, because a lot of farmers there have these special incinerators (they’re called “anaerobic incinerators”) they can use to burn food waste and produce energy.
We can literally take our garbage and burn it to produce energy. In fact, Dr. Hyman says one farm could produce enough energy for 1,500 homes, just like that.
But it’s going to take some policy change to get congress to make these things mandatory.
“Right, so we need to actually create a grassroots effort, and everybody needs to be empowered to do this …” – Dr. Mark Hyman
So how can you get involved?
At this point, you’re probably wondering what on earth you can do to solve this problem. I definitely was!
Turns out, there’s plenty we can all do.
First of all, we can make better food choices. Like we’ve talked about, A lot of our sickness is food-related. So, making healthier choices about what we eat can cure or prevent a lot of disease.
“So it’s all about eating stuff in complex amounts, and a complex variety of foods.” – Dr. Mark Hyman
By choosing to eat healthier foods and a much wider variety of foods, we can totally make our bodies healthier. For more information about how to do this, you can totally check out Dr. Hyman’s podcast, The Doctor’s Farmacy and his book, Food Fix. You also head over to Dr. Hyman’s website GetFarmacy.com to get in on his 10 day reset program, which will give you a ton of great information about making healthier food choices and help you feel a lot healthier.
And what about that policy change Dr. Hyman talked about? You can help with that, too. “… the people you elect do care about getting re-elected,” he pointed out to me, “and they want your vote, and if they know you care about stuff, they will change things.”
So you can vote on issues related to the food and agriculture industry, like those incinerators Dr. Hyman told me about. You can “vote with your wallet,” too, to borrow Dr. Hyman’s words, by buying healthier foods and supporting local farmers who use healthier farming techniques. If Congress sees that this is important to us, they can create the policy change we need to create a healthier food system, fix our economic problems that result from this health crisis, and even start to fix climate change.
“You know, some things we can’t change. You know, we can’t change natural disasters, I can’t end war, but this is a solvable problem.” – Dr. Mark Hyman
Despite all the problems caused by our food system, Dr. Hyman really believes that we can create positive change, and I agree with him.
“Depression, obesity, chronic disease, it limits our productivity, our ability to engage in life, like we all wanna feel good, we wanna have energy, we wanna be able to love the people we love in our life, to do the work we want, have the mission we want, to be energetic and engaged and not just wanna sit around all day and binge on Netflix, right?” – Dr. Mark Hyman
We’ve all felt this way from time to time… it’s all too easy to slip into bad eating habits. But sooner or later those bad choices catch up with us, and we end up feeling tired and sick, so if you’re wanting to invest in your health, look no further than this episode!
Maybe you’re also really interested in the ways we can improve our policies and create positive change not only for ourselves but for our environment, too. Trust me, Dr. Hyman has plenty of great information to help you learn how we can do just that.
So join me on Episode 916 with Dr. Mark Hyman to learn how eating the right foods can make us all healthier and happier.
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