Guest: Dr. Emily Deans
Hi emily it's dave hi. How are you? I'm well thank you for joining us today it's been a while since you were on the bulletproof executive podcast and I'm really grateful that you took the time today to present to our audience about happiness but before you get going sorry I wanted to just let the audience know uh doctor dean's runs evolutionary psychiatry dot com or is it psychology? I just think psychiatry dot com I did have it right which is an awesome bog looking at the intersection between what we eat and what we do with our bodies and how our ancestors did it with how we behave in a modern world. So emily right before you joined we were just talking about nature deficiency disorder and happiness so I was hoping that you could share some of your findings and your research on happiness and where it comes from and how people can increase their happiness that that would be awesome. Well, um it's interesting because in psychiatry in general we actually study a lot about misery and depr...
ession and the opposite of happiness. So uh to focus on actually normal and being resilient and being happy is good and it's what? I worked with patients every single day really trying to work with how can we take you from this situation and improve your resiliency? Improve your serenity, improve your ability just be functional in the world and you know I agree with you I was listening in earlier how you said you know, everybody has the capability to be happy to improve their lives and I would absolutely agree with that and that's what I do every single day I do have an advantage one of my professors when I was in residency it was dr george valiant who is a pretty famous psychiatrist who wrote a book called happiness and he followed a bunch of men from harvard who were picked from the graduating classes I think of nineteen thirty nine and it is two hundred sixty eight men that he followed for you know, all of their lives until I'm half of them are still alive many of them are in their late eighties at this point and included actually john f kennedy was one of the people a lot of them are still they've kept them anonymous but there are many, many very successful people in this cohort that he followed it what do you found along the way what brought people happiness? What brought these men sustained happiness was love it was actually relationships and being involved in being part of families and it wasn't work it wasn't you know it wasn't the pursuit of you know we think we get this car we're just prettier we have more money that will be happy and a lot of the research in other elements also bears this out for example while there was a one new study that sort of says, maybe this isn't true, most studies say that once you have all the food and the water and shelter, basically, that you need more money doesn't necessarily make you more happy that it's, actually there becomes a problem, you know, if you think that you're going to be happy because you're skinnier because you were wealthier, because you have the better car, the problem is that there's always going to be someone who's, wealthier or skinnier or happier who looks better than you're gonna look, so you can't really focus on those kinds of western measures of happiness to succeed. So what I intend to work on with people is what you were talking about a lot in the bio hacking sphere of things, that we don't talk about it in terms of bio half hacking, necessarily, but it's really about being ok in your own skin, it's about tranquility, it's about more of an eastern definition of of happiness, which has to do with again, sort of dietrich tranquility, a serenity, and you can kind of marry that with a western definition of happiness from the greeks, which is about using all of your capabilities to the best that you can, and then also being basically comfortable in your life, so that's sort of where I come from from a clinical perspective and happiness what are some things some specific practices that you might recommend for people who aren't suffering from a major pathology but and people who are interested sincerely in pursuing happiness skills what do you do well I mean I would have to say I would try to make your present space um comfortable and also optimize your brain chemistry and I would do that the proper sleep proper exercise proper diet on dh then I also like to add in a meditation for people to really sort of helped them not be too anxious and be able to just exist in their own skin for a while and get some practice with that because it's not a whole lot of we don't get a whole lot of practice that in our modern lives were all about what's happening next what's in my phone what's going on you know how it's my calendar you know I have to worry about this appointment that appointment or you're worrying about the mistakes that you did yesterday oh my god you know my boss he thinks I'm stupid or my boyfriend doesn't like me or whatever it is and we don't focus on the now and all are our entire lives are actually siri's of nows that happened one after another so you know I really focus on just really concentrating on being okay in your own skin right now and not being carried away by this constant dialogue that goes on in her head all the time. Are there any tricks for getting in control of that dialogue in your head? Well, meditation is a good trick for that. Some people are so type a that is very difficult for them to go there for them to sort of sit there. So I'll do very, very brief meditations with them, really focusing on your breathing, doing this. Some people also like the power yoga because they get a good workout at the same time where they can'tjust stand to just sit in your own skin. There has to be something else going on at the same time. So we do work on that, thea other things that we talked about you with people who are depressed, they often have a lot of negative self talk going on, so we try to isolate that talk. Where does it come from? It's? Hard to talk about without getting into too many specifics, but people will have thes internal voices that will tell them it basically that they're worthless, that they're not pretty enough, that they're not good enough and you talk about repairing those that negative self talk and and not listening to it and just saying look you have this counter to it to say you know what that's that's just the way my brains always been thinking you know I am who I need to be right now I and, um working on various things like that it tends to be very personal so it's hard to talk about a specific hack that I might use for everybody that's ah really not surprising answer because a lot of what we've talked about with every one of the bio hacking techniques so far is that your mileage may vary it's about you even from optimizing say optimizing your nutrition are their basic principles there that you found work best for you people just to general support their happiness and their their neurological health a lot of people aren't really ready to go for, say, a full scale really clean paleo style diet I find the most important thing to cut out our your refined carbohydrates I'm the refined carbohydrates can lead you on a roller coaster of you know he's you get that sugar high and then you get that crash a few ours later so you get irritability and not feeling well and if you can eliminate those from your diet people's, irritability and betweens throughout the day they're alertness everything about how they function during the day can really change quite dramatically so if I had one you know trick or a tip I would say would be to eliminate those refined carbohydrates that doesn't necessarily include things like baked potatoes or parsnips or carrots rock era's things like that carbohydrates had come with their cell walls and tax and sort of whole real food that you eat in combination with proteins and fats are really quite different, but those refined sugar carbohydrates, gummy bears, potato chips all sorts of things like that can leave people in trouble would wise and metabolically as well definitely refined carbs without gluten. How big of a role does that play? Some people are pretty, you know? I think they can eat tolerant you knew they khun you always know this happy ninety five year old guy right who smoke cigarettes his whole life and yeah, and he ate a biscuit every day and he's a good he's in great health and he's a happy guy. Some people are really tolerant to gluten, but I have to say I've had some really surprising results for people not only mood wise with cravings and issues of that nature, but also you know their skin improves their asthma gets better things like that if they take lewton out of their diets it's a big sell for people balloons everywhere so you know what? I'm just approaching someone from the general population who might come to see me for a psychiatric consul I think you get the most bang for your buck from the refined carbohydrates and the people are willing to go farther the next thing to live in it with me that would definitely be the nest and then make sure you're getting nutrient rich food's getting all your minerals minerals are really important for the central nervous system to decrease inflammation all the the biochemistry of happiness as as you might call it is in serenity is entirely dependent upon mineral such a zinc and magnesium so making sure that you have a plentiful amounts of that what do your colleagues think from traditional branches of psychiatry when you tell people stop eating sugar and take more zinc and you'll be happier I mean do they laugh? You know it's like I address on an interesting bunch because we're really dealing with chronic illnesses tough illness is sick I just really care about their patients because we spend a lot of time with them we talked to them for a while hopefully you're doing it right. So for the most part I've really had very, very positive experiences from psychiatrists we had I did a recent a presentation at the american psychiatric association actually in san francisco back in may in our room was totally packed people were lined up outside the door, they were sitting on the floor, it was about, you know, moving and food and and people with psychiatrists are very very interested in a whole body approaching a holistic approach it fits into the template of sink psychiatry very well because we have to think about all sorts of medical illnesses and we have to think about exercise nutrition's lied so so the holistic approach really fits I have to say it's one of the I would say it's one of the easiest medical professions to introduce the sort of evolutionary psychiatry this and a paleo uh question into that is encouraging news because in my experience which is certainly pales in comparison to yours the changes in people's happiness when they get rid of those offending foods is is so overwhelming and so fast that it must be even bigger and people who have really deep seated problems it depends because there's so many elements of life that can be related to happiness food is a huge component but it's not the only component so well I'll have people who are under such acute stress at the moment it wouldn't matter if they were eating they could be eating the cleanest diet on the planet and change the fact that you know horrible things were going on their lives and their partner's dying there their children are in trouble or whatever is going on but it can make an enormous difference and I do think that in the conservative medical sphere and the conservative psychiatric sphere that the contribution of food and nutrition is definitely under appreciated I think part about us because it was overblown for a while you know, you might have heard of linus pauling he said you know, vitamins he could cure the world and of everything of cancer of every little last thing you know this about full like this about that and when you go into each individual mineral or vitamin they don't you know, if you really look at the studies you get a whole lot of nothing no whole lot of mixed studies not doing very well it's really the combination you know, having your right omega threes having your full aid having enough again sink and magnesium and all of these important minerals the coloration is extraordinarily powerful and it means more than the sum of its parts but the problem nutrition research is that it's tend to be done piecemeal because it makes the variables easier teo to take apart our audience has some questions they'd love teo to ask of you do you mind if we, uh we move on to some q and a from them? Sure, no problem it is john I'm actually one of the co host here it creative life we got a lot of questions coming in from our internet audience and then I'm sure we'll have some from our live audience as well we have ah internet follower called in emperor of ice cream a great name and he's saying he knows you've talked about sinking he's heard you talked about sink before to help with some aspects of depression he's asking are there any supplements and prevent a caffeine crash related to depression? More caffeine you mean thus to prevent a caffeine crash? Uh, I haven't even thought about that before, because normally I would say probably takes less caffeine just like you. We use stimulants for a d h d and stimulants produces a similar crash, and sometimes you can change the nature of the stimulant. How is released so that you get sort of a slow release from the body and so to prevent a caffeine crash, I would say just from a sort of pharmacologic biochemistry perspective, less caffeine all at once and sort of titrate your dough, so it goes more slowly. How about magnesium salt and adrenal gland dealers? I don't know about the adrenal gland jewelers magnesium can certainly help you chill out at night and relax. I would also try to time your caffeine so usually it's in the body for nine hours there. For some people it could be fourteen to eighteen hours, so some people are very, very sensitive to caffeine it's not coming out of your system before bedtime, even if you have that cup a nine a m but uh for other people magnesium was a great man easy was one of my go to because it really helps with restless leg syndrome it really helps with sleep I have a lot of people are constipated and I have to say one of the quickest ways to make people happy is to help constipated people go again helping people lose weight and helping constipated people go there it really improves there just life so magnesium is great for that a meditation again can also you know if you're caffeinated mine is going lala lala la lala must do all the things right now uh meditation can kind of help you let go managing your light at night you know, not getting on twitter and not getting on actually starting to get dark here ironically enough but as you mentioned earlier putting the flux the influx on your computer so you get the forms light at night I found that that's really, really helpful in helping people settle down at night and I recommend that too most of my patients when we talk about sleep hygiene thank you so much. Good question do you have cool orange glasses ideo they're not very sexy oh that you've explains I have those at home too you know if they want to look at something on the ipad at night my kids were foreign six and they think they're really cool so don't wear though they don't want their son to be effected it's also we have some questions in the audience, but I like this question from the underst underscore stoic are sorry from georgia for how does a person know when to get professional help as opposed to just working on dia and supplements on their own? Well, I would say dodge, this is from the almost everybody could benefit from therapy probably if you get somebody who's really wise and kind of help you be it learned a little bit off about your life, your timid burnt, your temperament yourself, your defense mechanisms and how they're not working. And if you don't wait where you were suicidal thinking that you're not, you know, life isn't worth living that that you don't really want to go on you wake up in the morning and you think crap, I woke up again. When is this going to stop? Those are obviously very telling warning signs you keep making same mistakes over again if you keep getting in the wrong relationships with people if you keep getting fired from jobs if you keep ifyou're functions really impaired and a sort of very a parallel way that happens over and over again that those are other clues that you may need someone else to kind of but take a lens and look at your life and help you untangle some of those threats well we do have some questions from our live audience who were here with this damien I think your hand was up I'm sorry no first hi dr emily money is forest I'm sitting in the crowd I like your wallpaper by the way I think it's a little bit but I have a question I reached recently read on article that talked about treatment for ptsd I'm with the silly side with mushrooms and m d m a and I don't really quite understand it could you do you know anything about that can you explain it well I don't I don't know about the study that you were referring to there's some very interesting studies into mushrooms in india ketamine certain different receptors changes the nmda basically trauma causes inflammation and it causes it via calcium flux is which is via the nmda receptors india glutamate so we can do a number of things that can modulate those nmd receptors and can possibly help with ptsd mushrooms for example are highly they highly activate the serotonin receptor they can cause a pretty crazy hallucinations obviously but people when they do experiments with mushrooms um something like a large number of the people said that this experience whether it was positive or negative could some of them had pretty negative scary hallucinations or others they felt that sort of from a spiritual level it was very one of the most important experiences of their entire lives so with someone with ptsd or someone trauma bringing in us that's spiritual level bringing in that some of the elements of forgiveness of the world at large of being one was with the world in nature I think could be very helpful but it's it's pretty out there experimental um research at this point okay, we'll get back to our internet doctor dean's ryan talking is asking have you noticed a trend away from the typical farmer approach to the profession? I wish um you know, we're sort of caught between a rock and a high place because a lot of the research and pharma basic farmer and rats and mice and things like that really shows that depression in particular that's where there's the most recent research depression, schizophrenia, their chronic neurodegenerative diseases so you're left with this idea that if you don't treat and you don't treat aggressively that you're left with people who are getting sicker and sicker and sicker and get harder and harder to treat, so that sort of leads to thinking no let's throw, you know, tons of zoloft in people you know, but nobody is born with the zoloft efficiency some people could be helped by ss our eyes are not as helpful, I think is the original research and a lot of psychiatrists feel betrayed by the fact that a lot of the negative research wasn't published things like that and so we're sort of in a rough spot in between, you know, we got to do something and people are asking me, you know, I'll have therapist calls they know this person's suicidal do something with your magic pills and help them so we're caught between this very desperate situation really wanting to help people and some some good research and farm and some corrupt research and farm and really trying to figure out, you know, how do we help people the best we can without being corrupt without hurting people were following up from that stephan from zurich in switzerland is asking question that maybe for either dave or for emily on how about happiness and a dhd what are the key recommendations I would say for my recommendation for people with a d h d is to outsource with a phd you have you will have some talents and you will have some things that you're not going to be is good at you're not gonna be good at the boring things you're not gonna be good doing your taxes baby in zurich eat um it's all taken out at the beginning and don't have to worry about as much as we do in the us you're not going to be good at a really wrote things you're going to be excellent, creative, some things you're going to be excellent at last minute deadlines, your but don't build your life on that so it's really important with a phd to outsource the boring stuff and concentrate on the things that are going to be good because I'll see a lot of people with a d d who didn't realise they had it and they actually present with anxiety depression because the frustration is so great because they think I should be doing so well. But, you know, why am I why do I keep failing? And again and again so it's figuring that out and outsourcing the things that you're not good at? Dave, you have any thoughts on that since the questions for both of you? I think that that's really important advice number one you know, whether you have or don't have a d d there's a specter for people who are like the opposite of a dd two people who are, like severe a d d and then kind of even going into like asperger's and, you know, other things like that, but it's a spectrum. So whether you technically have this or don't have it, you should understand. How much return do you get from putting an injury into detailed work? So whether you have a d d you don't have a d d if doing your taxes makes you stressed out and it's boring and you hate it and it sucks the life out of you for god's sake investing money and having someone else do that stuff for you and if it's something you really don't mind then do it but the internal awareness you can cultivate about what sucking the life out of you is something you khun generally quantify and you can look atyou white always procrastinate why I'm always late on this well, some part of me doesn't like doing it and accept that what especially men will do because we're indestructible and driven to be perfect quite often because that's part of the testosterone thing is seo those are my weaknesses I better do even more of the boring things to show I'm good at that which is totally like emily said you're going to make you depressed and sad and unhappy and certainly have been guilty of doing stupid things like that. So what works really well is exactly that if someone else could do it if if you're not adding the most bio to yourself or to the world around you and someone else could do it and it's feasible heck yeah outsource I think that's the most awesome advice ever so excuse me, a question that came in from bob in seattle what is a good source of trip to fan since it is one of the amino acids that humans do not synthesize um eat oysters vegetarian diets are fairly low interest a fan uh but your seafood and your meats are going to be good sources of that some people supplement outside of that I don't know that you necessarily need to do that of all your biochemistry is running appropriately should be able to get enough trip to fan from foods on the stoic is asking what about specific foods that support mood will have a great influence on brain chemistry? Well, you're definitely gonna want to get your omega threes you're gonna want to get your long time to make a trees which are epa and d j all the studies in psychiatry particularly in depression have appointed not teo just th ey d j alone will not be helpful though you'll see algae d j given out as a supplement you need epa in combination with d a j so your fish oils will help april oil has your epa your deejay and added possible lipids which are helpful organ meats are really really rich in minerals so your magnesium yours ink that I was talking about again zinc is another one of those minerals it's going to be very low in a vegetarian diet so I'm a big fan of whole real foods including your organ meats including your seafood's on you should be able to get everything that you need for your brain to work healthy our brains are kind of like the canary in the coal mine we have to really high energy output systems and our bodies our hearts in our brains and a cardiology gets, you know, is a really sexy profession and make a lot of money with all the procedures uh, you know, psychiatry we don't have any procedures. We don't make a whole lot of money just talking to people, but the brain is really high energy output, so you need all of your minerals working well, you need to correct long chain and make a three fatty acids for the for the neurons to work properly for correct signaling. And then you need your protein, your amino acids to make sure that you make those neural transmitters so things were going well and cholesterol that's the other thing you need, fat that's, a that's, a big important thing. Your brain has twenty five percent of the free cholesterol in your body. It's only two, two, five percent of your body weight, so you need a new fact coming in in a in a good system working to make sure that all your neurons are firing correctly now mayor is asking that some people just seem to be happy all the time is there a happy gene or is this just their life experience? You know, I don't really see those people because they don't come in to see a occasionally I'll see those people who, um particularly I'll see it uh, older people who have just lost their spouses so they might be depressed for the first time in their life, but they tend to have a very in general, a very positive outlook I'm talking about it's great talking to these people because really, from every experience they get no positive, something that they learn from it know whether it was positive or negative and, you know, maybe losing that spouse of sixty two years or whatever has caused the depression for the first time in their life but event you know, they come out of it and they're very resilient uh happy positive people, you know, I wish I could bottle it, but it's part of temperament, I think they're definitely people who are just born temperamentally happier than others but mostly it's this element of being able to look at that glass and say it's half full meanwhile, the question from our audience mark, I know you have a question for dr emily I was just wiggling sorry five a question from from ash site how much should you focus on changing your environment versus yourself, for example, of the workplace is negative, is it you or them? That's an interesting question, because, you know, I was a psychiatrist through a lot of people through this recent recession, and I have to say some of the happiest people I ever talked to were the ones who are just laid off because they were in these horrible situations, waiting for the layoff, waiting for it to happen. And when it finally happened, they were so relieved, and then they recognized all the things that about that space that were negative. I'm in a lot of our stressors. A lot of issues in our lives can be very environmental. However, some of the things you take with you, so if I moved to georgia or I moved to timbuktu or wherever it is, their son, issues of how I cook with things of how I process of how, how I maintain my relationships, that could be problematic, and I will definitely carry that with me, and that could be the difference between having a boss who is a psychopath. We're continually going to different jobs where your boss is a psychopath, then then you have a problem other times, it's it's, your boss, if that's the problem. I think it's always the bosses the problem my dear anyway cooper is in london is joining us online what does emily think about ketosis does she think it's optimal to spend most time in ketosis you know I actually I don't think it's optimal to spend most time in ketosis for many people though some people or benefit a great deal for me and ketosis and everybody should spend some of their time in ketosis anybody with appropriate metabolism and a metabolic flexibility will wake up in the morning in ketosis and we need that time for a new origin generation and repair I think there are certain athletes across that athletes people who need quick like a gin sprinting athletes who really did their glycogen stores topped up for that amount and they can get pretty miserable if they try to do a lot of that in akita jinich diet endurance athletes might have a different experience certainly I think there's a lot of research to be done but I'm very optimistic about it neurodegenerative diseases like schizophrenia and dementia I think they could benefit a great deal from ketosis there's a new product coming out kito esther's that they're studying now that makes a deep ketosis a lot easier to teo obtain because the diet could be a little bit challenging for many people so I'm very excited about that that's my stance on ketosis some is essential all the time probably not for everybody dave's nothing his agreement with that as well. All right, a question that we find it again, that came from polk larue, and this is kind of for both of you, um, and maybe kind of wrapping it together on a little overwhelmed by all of this. Where do I start? It all sounds so juicy. What would be the first best steps? And that was that question came earlier with regard to a lot of what we've been talking with over the course of the course. But what would your advice be, dr mili teo, your first steps towards happiness, I honestly, I would focus on two things sleep, making sure you have good restorative sleep and getting one of those refined carbohydrates. Philosophically, you can work on all these other kind of tips and tricks along the way, meditation being more positive, learning from mistakes, wisdom, those kinds of things we learn along the way, but you're shoveling sand against the tide if you're not sleeping, and you're just adding all sorts of extra stress to your life, if you're going on that roller coaster where there were flying her ba hydrates possum, I think that that seems to be a theme, right, tio dave, do you have any thoughts on that as well? I think that that those air excellent excellent first steps if if you don't do those you've sabotaged your recovery so whatever you're trying to do you have some effort but you don't have the time to rebuild that for that and if you're doing the high sugar high starch high grain diet same problem you don't have enough glucose because you keep banging up and down with your insulin so great advice but for people who feel overwhelmed by this you have to also ask yourself okay what part of you is feeling overwhelmed and why because honestly you have the resource guide's it's all written down you don't have to do it all at once you probably feel like you have to but you don't you could close your eyes take a dart throw it at one of them and wherever the dart hits start there there's a lot of discreet small behaviors and one of the things that we talked about a lot in the bulletproof perspective on things is small changes you don't have to eat a perfect diet eat less sugar you're getting there right you might not get to zero sugar today but at least you moved in the right direction so don't obsess over perfection don't obsess over doing everything do something that's all it takes well we're going to move on but thank you so much dr emily food for joining us today do you have any parting thoughts for our audience if you'd like to share I would just thank you so much for having me, and you just remember that nutrition is really important and be kind to yourselves and you can always, you know, every day's a new start and think about it that way and please, by almost share with our audience how best to contact you. S o my block is evolutionary psychiatry a block spot dot com, and then you can also go on the psychology today website, have a block there and there's contact information there as well. And emily it's time to have you on the bullet through podcast again, so I'll be reaching out. Okay, I love you, and your wallpaper has been a wonderful hit. Thanks for joining us today, emily, but his best things so I just want to say I haven't talked to dr deans and ah, year and a half my team emailed to get her set up for this, and we didn't prep any of that, so her answers were off the cuff. I had no idea what she was going to say. I had no idea she even owned orange glasses, but it's kind of cool that she does, isn't it? Like the advice lined up a lot, which is which is really neat and especially her point about don't be in contos is all the time I could not agree more and this is a mistake that some people make on the bull tripped eyes that they feel so amazing once they get into it that they don't do the re feed once a week with start and over time your sleep quality degrades when you do that, so all of a sudden you got the no sugar thing and you had the sleep thing and then you start to lose the sleep thing, so be aware that you know, your body is meant to be a dynamic system that changes so in and out of ketosis is better the the other thing that came up with dr dean's that was particularly cool. Well, she talked about a layoff and we're talking about gratitude recently in my career I fortunately did really, really well early on, so people always remember that and I think you know, davis set for life and all that and I always tell people the same thing. Yeah, I made six million dollars and I was twenty six then the company that gave me those stock options went bankrupt two years later, and so everyone I knew including me lost the vast majority of what was basically funny money anyway, which in and of itself is a huge dresser, but since then I've worked hard and I've had lots of job its makers done well, but I've been laid off and they have been outright fired. No just laid off, but enough times under enough circumstances where it totally wasn't cool. So what you should do if you get laid off? First thing is gratitude and god, who'd khun b. I get to sleep in tomorrow, and I get to do something else. But the most important thing is I have a party. Have a layoff party, invite all your friends, celebrate your newfound freedom in the chance to at least take a nice long vacation. Even if you're stressed about money, it doesn't matter. You won't starve, and that one thing will totally change. The way you look at your laugh is an opportunity to do all this stuff that you weren't doing because you were giving so much to your company, so keep that in mind. This is a piece of practical advice as you go through life and you build your career.