Eat Superfood, Create a Super You with Dr. Josh Axe
Dr. Josh Axe
JONATHAN: Hey, everyone, Jonathan Bailor back with another bonus Smarter Science of Slim podcast. My jaw is sore from the amount of smiling I’ve been doing, getting to know our pre-show segment our guest for today, just a great man. If he was here in the studio, we would have had hugged at least three times if he was amicable because he is just a good guy. He’s got a great heart in his chest and head on his shoulders. He’s here for the right reasons. He’s on a mission to transform the health of millions all across America. He is an author, a radio host, and a physician. He has worked with some of the top athletes in the world and he’s always got a smile on his face and I can understand why because he knows he’s here on this earth to save lives and he’s doing that and that’s worth smiling about. Dr. Josh Axe, welcome to the show, brother.
JOSH: Hey, thanks Jonathan. Thanks for having me on.
JONATHAN: Josh, tell us a bit about your journey and how you ended up on this crusade to save lives.
JOSH: Well, sure. I think for a lot of people, they decide to kind of pursue kind of a health career because of a health crisis in their own family or for themselves and for myself actually happened with my mom.
I remember I was in junior high and my mom was diagnosed with cancer and this was crazy for my family because my mom was actually my gym teacher at school, she was a swimming instructor and so she was always really fit and active, but yet at 41 years old, diagnosed with cancer. We went through all the traditional medical systems and treatment at the time. She went and had a mastectomy and she went through rounds and rounds and rounds of chemotherapy.
Jonathan, I can still remember to this day seeing my mom’s hair fall out. I remember looking at her at one point and thinking she had aged 20 years in 2 weeks after going through chemotherapy and just really saying to myself, I never want to see anyone have to go through this again and praise God she was brought through it and she was diagnosed as being cancer free and healthy. Honestly for the next 10 years, she was sicker than ever, she had chronic fatigue, she struggled with depression, really no quality of life and then this went on for 10 years after she was diagnosed as being cancer free.
Then I actually got a call from her 10 years later and at this point, I was actually living in Florida. I was working as a nutritionist in a clinic there and I was chiropractic college and she calls me and says, Josh, I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer again, what do I do and I flew home and we really prayed together and we really just felt like God was leading us to take care of her all naturally.
I had formed with relationships with some of the top doctors around the world at this point and really reached out to them for advice and so we started taking care of her all naturally. We started juicing vegetables every single morning, started consuming bone broth. We started driving an hour out in the country and buying goats milk kefir for all the probiotic benefits and had to really just start eating this way and reducing stress.
We followed this program for four months and after four months we went back to the oncologist and re-did a CT Scan and he calls us up and he says, I’m shocked by this, but the tumors have shrunk in half. So, he said, keep doing what you’re doing and we went back to him about a year later, almost in complete remission and today my mom is in the best shape of her life.
It’s been about eight and a half years since then. In fact, I was at their house. They recently moved to Florida and she was water skiing, she’s actually ran 3 5Ks with me in the past three years and she’s got second and her third in her age group in all of them and just has amazing health. She turned 60 two months ago and she says she feels better now at 60 than she did when she was in her 30s, so really, it was that experience of my mom being sick, wanted to help her, wanted to help people like her that really kind of gave me the sort of passion that I want to help as many people as I can get healthy and well.
JONATHAN: Josh, I so appreciate you sharing that story and I can imagine at moments it was tough to recount, but that it’s fundamentally a story of triumph and that is so miraculous and Josh so in hearing this story and nowadays with the wonderful Internet, people sharing this great new nutrition information we hear transformational stories like this all the time. There’s still this stigma around health where even if we go back in our history depending on your religious traditional, Judeo Christian history, we know our body is a temple, we know that health is good thing, it is an enjoyable thing, we’re here to manifest the glory that’s within us and if we’re not healthy, we can’t do that, but health is almost thought of as a task or a burden by so many. Why this paradox?
JOSH: This is a fantastic question and I have a few thoughts behind it and I’ll say right up front, I don’t have a perfect answer for it, but it all really has to do with what our society places a value on.
I was teaching a seminar recently and a lady threw up her hand and she said it’s too hard to eat healthy and it takes so much time and really she was saying it took a lot of time and I was telling her my number one recommendation if somebody is just looking to start something as to eat a superfood smoothie for breakfast. Throw in some blueberries in there and coconut milk and grass fed whey protein and maybe some other superfoods, some spirulina, some maqui or whatever and I said just do an easy smoothie. It takes 40 seconds and she says, well, I don’t know if I even have time to eat breakfast.
I said, if you look at about 80 or 100 years ago, 40 percent of people, their profession had to do something with farming. Today it’s less than one percent and even if you read back in biblical times even 100 years ago, the majority of men were out working all day and actually doing something to get food and the women were actually preparing food all day.
I remember my grandmother spent all day in the kitchen. Every single day she was making food for just our really larger extended family and that’s just how we grew up and we really placed a really, really high value on the family sitting down at the dinner table eating quality food together that was nourishing, preparing us to go out and work and honor God with our body and as you’re saying in this sort of Judeo Christian culture, a lot of times it’s honoring God with our body, but we’ve really lost that.
Today our value is not about family as much. I mean a lot of the family is being broken down at this time. Not to get into all these other topics, but just to say, we don’t value family as much anymore. We don’t value our health as much.
My wife and I took a trip over to Italy last summer. I had the great honor of working with some of our Olympic athletes and going to London. Afterwards, we went to Italy and when we were in Italy, we noticed they had pictures of family members on the wall, their dinners lasted about four hours over there so for somebody like me who loves food I was in heaven. It was like a dream world. Red wine and all this amazing organic food, but that’s the value in certain areas of the world. What are the values in America today where the value is on being labeled successful and on earning a certain amount of money and keeping up with the Joneses. So my answer to that, Jonathan, is why there are still a lot of people who haven’t caught on to this is because their priorities is with this sort of American sort of culture today and it’s probably not a priority. Their values and priorities probably aren’t where I believe they should be.
JONATHAN: Dr. Axe, I love that and even adding to it more there’s this idea of prioritization, but this concept of – it’s hard – I think is a copout. I bet it was hard for you and your mom when she didn’t have her health. I bet that was pretty doggone hard and I bet it’s pretty hard for an overweight grade schooler to get bullied on the playground. That’s pretty hard too. So life isn’t easy. I think we understand that at this point. So the question is, like you said, it’s priority. There’s going to be challenges. It’s do you want to pick those challenges intentionally, or do you want to have those challenges thrust upon you? What do you think about that?
JOSH: I think that’s a great point to bring up and one of the things I’ve told my patients for years, Jonathan, is I eat like I have cancer every day, and I don’t do it out of fear, I don’t do it because I have to because I’m a doctor. I do it because it’s what I want to do. It’s how I want to live my life.
One of the other tips I have for people, Jonathan, is I’ve got a friend here in Nashville, his name is Dave Ramsey, and he teaches people principles on getting out of debt and living a debt free life and getting free financially and I really kind of take a page out of his book. I know, Jonathan, there are a lot of people that come to us and ask our advice and follow our work. I think a lot of people kind of want the baby steps because I understand that a lot of times when you jump into the health realm, one of the other things I’ve heard is why some people don’t jump into it full bore is that they don’t know what to do. They’ll get online and if somebody searched the word dairy and they’re wondering, should I eat dairy or not, it’s everything from white poison to liquid gold, it’s really hard to know what to do today. I kind of say, you’ve got to follow the baby steps. Don’t try and be perfect at first. I look at my own health journey. I’m sure it’s the same with you, but it’s been a journey.
When I was 13 years old when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t know anything about health. I mean honestly, almost nothing. I had this small hint that soda was bad for me and I just decided I’m going to stop drinking soda at 13 years old and I still ate pizza for a while. I still would go to Arby’s and get five for $5. That’s how our family lived and that’s what we did, but again, it was a journey.
That was my first step into being healthy and trying to be the best I could be and so my recommendation for people is don’t feel overwhelmed. I recommend do the best you can possibly do, but know it’s an educational process and if you’re going to start somewhere, just change your breakfast. Listen, if you can make that one simple change, it’s not a baby step, that’s actually a giant leap forward. You’ve changed one third of your diet 33 percent massive change so every morning for breakfast do a superfood smoothie with just something simple, coconut milk, berries, organic protein powder — something like that if you can make that one simple change, you’re well on your way and understanding it’s a journey.
JONATHAN: Dr. Axe, you mentioned priorities and I love this and I know you are a man of faith and I’m curious – I know you live a purpose driven life and when it comes to priorities, it’s one thing to say change your priorities. It’s another thing to have a deeper motivation and drive that almost organizes your priorities for you. Let me give you an example. If you want to run a marathon, the question of do I stay up until 3:00 a.m. partying and drinking the night before the race? You don’t even need to think about that, right? You have this other deeper thing.
So, if you’re an individual that does believe they are here for a purpose and that by definition unless you are healthy, you cannot live your purpose, you’re essentially operating in first or second gear when you’re intended to be operating in fifth and making a difference. Can tying this back to just being purpose driven and manifesting the glory that’s within you help to give us the motivation to make those priority switches?
JOSH: Jonathan, I really like this question and I’ll kind of dig into it a little bit, but I think purpose is a big deal. In fact, before I tell my patients what they need to eat, how they need to work out, what they need to do, I always like to ask the question, why? Why is it that you’re going to eat healthy and really dig into that.
I remember back in undergrad I went to University of Kentucky and back then the reason why we worked out is to look good for one week a year. That was spring break. That’s why everybody worked out at the time at undergrad and so that was their why and I tell people listen, today in today’s world, we have to have bigger why and a bigger purpose and why we’re going to eat healthy and one of my mentors used to always say this and it really stuck with me. He said, when you’re doing anything in life, especially eating, he said you need to act like you’re pregnant and not just pregnant for one, but pregnant for two. He said, we use the term when a woman is pregnant that she is eating for two. He says, for myself, I always try to tell people that I’m eating for three. I’m eating for God, I’m eating for my family and the friends and those I serve and then I eat for myself and the truth is, human nature is, take care of yourself first. That’s really what human nature says, but people of integrity, people with character, those people say, I’ve got a bigger purpose and calling than myself I’m serving – again, I use the term God, someone may use something else, but I’m here to serve God and the world, I’m here to serve my clients and my patients or my family. Again, I really try and keep that in my (Inaudible 00:14:30) is that what I’m eating, I’m eating for three, I’m eating for the people I create my programs for. I’m eating for my mom. Again, if I wasn’t around where would my mom be today?
I really try and think through those things and so when somebody is writing down and trying to make changes, I think it’s vitally important that we write down our why in life. Why are you going to stop smoking?
One of the stories I had heard years ago that I love, Jonathan, is there was this man and he tried to quit smoking. He tried the gum, he tried the patches, and he tried everything. His little girl was in watching TV and this man was eating breakfast in the kitchen and his daughter, who was five years old, came running in the kitchen and she said, Daddy, Daddy, I don’t want you to die and he said, well, I’m not going to die. Why are you saying that? She said, well, I know you smoke every day and I’ve been watching these commercials and I know it causes cancer and she just said, Dad would you quit smoking for me? He said, yeah, I’ll quit smoking. He said it was shocking because he actually never really had a major craving for a cigarette again. He said it was hard at that time, he had such an emotional change in his mind because he said before that he was doing it – he was trying to quit smoking for all the wrong reasons and again when you have a big reason, a big why, a big purpose, it really makes this sort of changing your diet thing simpler.
JONATHAN: Dr. Axe, that is so powerful and for a long time I scratched my head and I wondered – people say eating “healthy” and we can certainly talk about how that term might be misused in certain context, but eating healthy is so hard. Then there’s this other set of 2 billion people that are either diabetic, kosher, halal, vegetarian, vegan or orthodox. There’s 2 billion people in the world that restrict their diet in a more challenging way than eating foods found directly in nature and they don’t struggle with it. Someone who’s halal doesn’t wake up in the morning and they’re just like why am I halal, it’s such a struggle. Vegans aren’t saying, oh, my gosh that steak, I really want to eat it and it seems like you really hit the nail on the head as to why that is.
JOSH: It’s no doubt. It comes down to our convictions. Are your convictions bigger than your appetite and I think you’re right. I think that no matter who you are, as we had talked about when I had interviewed you in the past, Jonathan, is that there are certain things that we crave. We crave creaminess from fats, we crave the taste of sour and sweet and salty. We need many of these different things and macro and certain micronutrients.
Again, I think it all comes down to it’s how big are your convictions, how big is your purpose with this and I want everyone to know if you’re a person now listening to this thinking, well, are you saying I’m a bad person or having guilt. Listen, this isn’t about guilt, it’s about hey, we really want to support you in being the best you could possibly be and like I said, I’m not perfect. I think I eat about as healthy as anybody that I know. Here’s the other thing, Jonathan, I know you’re probably at the same place. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve learned how to eat healthy and do it in a fun way and learning anything can be a little bit difficult at first. It’s like riding a bike. It’s like learning to shoot a basketball. It’s like any of these things. At first, it’s like okay, you’ve got to get over that hurdle of learning how to do it, but after a week or two of doing it, it’s automatic and it’s easy. So, just know, hey you’re going to through a week or two where it’s a learning process, but after that it gets a heck of a lot of easier and remember baby steps, start where you can, there’s no guilt. Sometimes Jonathan, I’ve told people, hey schedule a vacation meal this week. Take a night off every week and we don’t say cheat meal, we say vacation. It’s okay to take a vacation now and then. I found that I still eat pizza. I just buy myself a sprouted brown rice tortilla and my wife and I get organic tomato sauce and chicken and fresh basil and raw goat cheese and that’s how we make our pizza. I still eat chocolate and I still satisfy my sweet tooth. I just found to do it in a healthier way.
JONATHAN: Brilliant Dr. Axe. Listeners, I know you can tell that Dr. Axe is a wealth of information and positivity and purpose, which are three things that every single person could benefit from so I would encourage you to check out his website, if you haven’t already because a lot of people have, a very popular dude and that’s draxe.com, and Josh I believe you also have a free eBook available for folks. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
JOSH: Yeah, sure. I’ve recently written a book, it’s called, “SuperFood, Super You,” goes over the top 20 superfoods everyone should be adding in their diet and it kind of has four tracks. We have a track for rapid fat loss, how to lose 20 lbs. in 30 days, a track for detoxification, one for muscle building and another one for anti-aging and having healthier skin and getting rid of cellulite. So, this is a book, it’s a $25.00 value for a limited time right now. We’re giving it away for free on my website. It’s draxe.com, which is D-R-A-X-E.com just like you’d chop an axe, so draxe.com, but it’s a free eBook in the right hand corner, $25.00 value, “SuperFood, Super You.” I actually really love the cover of this book. We put a picture of broccoli with a cape on it, but it also has 20 free recipes in there. We’ve got some dark chocolate covered strawberries and blueberries, just some really great recipes that I think everybody loves so you’re free to check that out on it, draxe.com.
JONATHAN: Brilliant. Well, Dr. Axe, what’s next for you on this mission to save lives?
JOSH: I think what’s next for me is really partnering with people like yourself, Jonathan, in creating programs. I really believe that somebody can transform their health in just 30 days. When I say 30 days, sometimes it can be even less than that. That’s a maximum amount of time and I think if people can really get into the habit of in a 30 day period doing something that’s really all it takes. So I would encourage everybody — you don’t need to commit to a year, you don’t need to commit to the rest of your life, but if you’re moving forward and getting healthy, just commit to changing your diet for 30 days and your lifestyle and if you can do that, you’re going to see some major improvements.
I’ve got a program online, it’s called BurstFit, it’s an interval training program that comes with a nutrition guide and so we have a 30 day program, you’re welcome to do Jonathan, I know you have an amazing 30 day program. If you’re looking to get started, just get a couple of tools. Again, we have this “SuperFood Super You” book that you can check out on my website or again, find a 30 day program that fits what you do. Like I said, we’ve got an exercise program. Jonathan has a fantastic 28 day nutrition program. Get started with that first 30 days. So, again, what’s coming up for me — really trying to partner with more people and create more of these sort of life changing programs. Actually, one of my other programs we have now is called the Secret Detox and really kind of unveils the secrets of how do you detox for weight loss and to reverse chronic illness and that’s something else that we’re excited to be releasing here real soon.
JONATHAN: Lots to be excited about and for good reason. Dr. Josh Axe. Thank you so much for joining us today, brother, it’s been a pleasure.
JOSH: Hey, thanks Jonathan.
JONATHAN: Listeners, I hope you enjoy this wonderful conversation as much as I did. Again, our guest today is Dr. Josh Axe, or as he’s known online, Dr. Axe. You can check out his website at draxe.com, lots of wonderful free resources and remember, this week and every week after, eat smarter, exercise smarter, and live better. Chat with you soon.