Optimizing for a Genius Life with Max Lugavere – Aubrey Marcus Podcast

Check out the Aubrey Marcus Podcast Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, begins in the brain decades before the first symptoms are shown
  • “Today, we’re experiencing a variety of conditions that are brought on by eating poorly, being sedentary, not effectively managing our stress, and not sleeping well. We show up to a doctor’s office and we expect them to undo the decades of damage that we’ve done to OURSELVES.”
  • Avoid exposing yourself to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (i.e., – BPA, phthalates, and flame retardants) as much as you can
    • Use glass instead of plastic when storing food
    • Buy furniture without flame retardant chemicals (flame retardants are also commonly found in children’s clothing)
  • Eating a diet high in produce provides amble antioxidants and minerals that elbow out, in the digestive track, room for the absorption of heavy metals
  • Focus on nutrient density and eat a big salad every single day
    • Eat more dark/leafy greens (which are rich in carotenoids – they protect your skin, eyes, and brain from oxidative stress)
  • With one night of poor sleep, you’re metabolically messed up the next day (your insulin sensitivity drops to the floor)
  • “Trying to change your diet is an exercise in utter futility if you’re not optimizing your sleep

Books Mentioned

Intro

The Writing Process

  • Aubrey, who’s the author of Own the Day, Own Your Life, and Max have the same book publisher
  • “Writing a book is probably one of the least healthy things to do”
    • The stress of the writing process combined with the time spent sedentary – it takes a toll!
  • Max will frequently find himself spending hours on just one sentence
    • “I’ve had to give up on trying to finesse certain paragraphs and come back with fresh eyes. You just get burned out. You only have so much cognitive capacity to focus on the same thing before you lose objectivity.”
  • Max heard some good advice once:
    • “Try as hard as you can to write ‘drunk'”
      • Drunk = whatever state of mind you need to be in to be in for your ego to dissolve
    • Editing however, is best done sober
  • Max is in the process of finishing up his next book – The Genius Life (to be released in 2020)

The Origin Story

  • Max’s mom passed away 6 months back
    • “The reason why I do what I do, why I wrote Genius Foods ,and why I’m writing my next book is because I lost somebody who’s very important to me – not just very important,  but the most important person in my life”
    • ~8 years ago, at age 58, she started to show the earliest signs of what was soon diagnosed as dementia
      • The odd thing was that Max’s family had no history of any sort of cognitive impairment/decline
  • This led Max to roll up his sleeves and start digging into the research
    • One thing that stuck out to him – Diet and lifestyle interventions are NEVER talked about in the doctor’s office
  • The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, begins in the brain decades before the first symptoms are shown
    • But this shouldn’t be surprising – cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease…. none of these conditions bubble up over night
  • “Most medical doctors get an afternoon of nutrition training”
    • “There’s this huge knowledge gap. Where the brain is concerned, we should and can be doing a lot more to protect it.”

Your Health is Up to YOU

  • “We’ve suffered as a society because we like to outsource various aspects of our life”
    • Thanks to food delivery apps few people know how to cook
    • Health gets outsourced to dietitians, doctors, and random celebrity influences selling FitTea
  • “Healthcare begins with YOU”
    • You’re practicing health care when you’re pushing your shopping cart around the perimeter of the supermarket and avoiding the packaged/processed food
    • It’s health care when you’re debating whether you want to go to the gym after a long day, but still manage to get off your ass and go
    • “By the time we show up in the doctor’s office, it’s sick care”
  • We ALL know people that are effected by a variety of health conditions
    • But the thing is – many of these conditions could have been prevented through diet and lifestyle interventions
  • “Today, we’re experiencing a variety of conditions that are brought on by eating poorly, being sedentary, not effectively managing our stress, and not sleeping well. We show up to a doctor’s office and we expect them to undo the decades of damage that we’ve done to OURSELVES.”
    • “It’s asking a lot to think that a single pill will come out and undo decades of siphoning the standard American diet and being sedentary”

Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals

  • “The modern brain is being assaulted from every conceivable angle”
  • Endocrine-disrupting compounds are all around us
    • What are they? – Heavy metals, flame retardants, and plasticizing compounds
      • Plastic compounds such as BPA or phthalates are found everywhere from plastics to fragrances to clothing
  • Your endocrine system is the network of hormones in your body that guides everything from how you feel to your behavior to your development
    • What hormones? – Insulin, ghrelin, testosterone, estrogen, growth hormone, etc.
      • Endocrine-disrupting chemicals mimic these hormones 
      • Most mimic estrogen (they’re called xenoestrogens)
        • BPA is a fantastic example 
  • What’s dangerous about these chemicals is that their toxicity curve is U-shaped
    • At low doses, they can have a negative effect
    • At slightly higher doses, they can go quiet
    • To add – these chemicals are more harmful at different times of life
      • A baby, for example, will likely experience more negative side effects than an adult
  • One study recently found that, upon an examination of umbilical cord blood, there were ~300 industrial chemicals present that shouldn’t be 
  • It’s thought that these endocrine-disrupting chemicals are leading to increases in the occurrence of breast cancer
    • Today, a woman’s lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is 1 in 6
    • 50 years ago, it was 1 in 20
  • So what can you do?
    • Avoid plastic as much as you can, especially when storing food
    • Buy furniture without flame retardant chemicals (flame retardants are also commonly found in children’s clothing)
      • (These chemicals started being added to furniture because smoking in the household used to be common)

Practical Advice

  • Eating a diet high in produce provides amble antioxidants and minerals that elbow out, in the digestive track, room for the absorption of heavy metals
    • As a side benefit – these nutrients also stimulate the production of the body’s natural detox compounds (like glutathione)
  • Vitamin E and carotenoids (like lutein and xeoxanthin) aid brain health
  • Eat organic 
    • Organic food isn’t perfectly devoid of pesticides, but it’s best
  • Focus on nutrient density and eat a big salad every single day
    • Eat more dark/leafy greens (which are rich in carotenoids – they protect your skin, eyes, and brain from oxidative stress)
      • Research shows that people who consume a bowl of dark/leafy greens every day have brains that perform up to 12 years younger on cognitive tests
  • Eat more grass-fed beef, wild fatty fish (i.e. salmon) pasture-raised eggs, cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli), and nuts/seeds
    • Max would consider grass-fed beef a superfood 

Optimize Your Sleep

  • “We tend to romanticize being busy…. sleep is sacred”
  • With one night of poor sleep, you’re metabolically messed up the next day (your insulin sensitivity drops to the floor)
  • During deep sleep, your brain cleans out a variety of proteins/plaques that can build up and lead to Alzheimer’s Disease
    • With one night of poor sleep, levels of amyloid (as measured in cerebral spinal fluid) increase by 30% and levels of tau protein increase by 50% (these are the two hallmark proteins linked to Alzheimer’s Disease)
  • “Trying to change your diet is an exercise in utter futility if you’re not optimizing your sleep

Additional Notes

  • Max is working on a new documentary
  • Genes aren’t destiny, but they influence your susceptibility to a variety of health conditions
    • They DO help determine how the standard American diet and lifestyle will affect you
  • Chemicals in Velveeta cheese have been been shown to cause ADHD
  • Aubrey wears an Oura Ring to track his sleep
    • Purchase a ring using the above link for $40 off
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