3 Steps To Your Whole Family Loving Whole Food #SANE

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Real-Life Insights and Takaways

  • Complex carbohydrates cause peaks and valleys in your energy levels. Consequently, it will be difficult to have mental clarity if you are eating the standard American diet.
  • Aim to have stable amounts of energy in which you have energy, but you are not wired.
  • When eating the right amounts of vegetables and proteins, or in other words, eating SANEly, you will have even amounts of energy.
  • SANE helps to maintain a steady mood and a steady life, which in the end protects and safeguards our relationships with those we love.
  • Our eating habits can elevate our setpoint or baseline to a healthier and stable level.
  • In order to determine if something is a beneficial for your body, you can ask yourself if the substance is being chemically altered or not.
  • Whey protein is a component of milk and some may consider it a whole food, while others may not. It digests well and can help to fuel your body.
  • Pay attention to what is in the protein powder you are using. Avoid isolates and hydrolysates as they are chemically altered protein powders.
  • Your body does not want to be underweight or overweight. It wants to automatically regulate itself and its composition.
  • Your body will do what it needs to do to be at its’ proper state of balance. A SANE diet will help your body and your children’s bodies to achieve a healthy state.
  • We don’t know why some people smoke cigarettes and don’t get lung cancer while some people do. Likewise, children can eat the same foods and react differently.
  • We should prioritize our children’s health, just as we prioritize their education, interests, and activities.
  • Our children are learning eating habits now and even if they seem to be able to eat inSANE foods without immediate consequences, the effects of making poor eating choices will eventually manifest itself in some way or another.
  • We can teach our children to live in a way that is different than that of the cultural norm, including avoiding sugar and processed foods.
  • In the morning your body is in an optimal state to burn fat. Rather than eat high-fructose fruit or other food high in sugar, choose vegetables which will stabilize your blood sugar levels.

—NEXT ACTION—
Think of each situation in your life as a learning experience and consider how you might apply SANE principles to each situation. Ask yourself, “What is the SANE thing to do?” Focus on making SANE choices as much as possible, rather than worrying about your choice being right or wrong.

SANE Soundbites

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  • 1:42 –  2:07, “If we’re eating the standard American diet, or even what the USDA has told us is healthy – do you remember the bottom of the Food Guide Pyramid, 6-11 servings of grains?  Or even what we see now on My Plate, which has a big, chunkier plate coming from “complex carbohydrates” which are still going to be released into your bloodstream as sugar, which are going to get our peaks and valleys of energy, and therefore, you’re never really going to have mental clarity.
  • 2:08 – 2:41, “If you’ve ever noticed, when you’re wired, you might not be really mentally clear.  You might have energy, but your mind might be going all over the place. And then when you hit that valley, you’re also not fully mentally clear because then you’re feeling groggy.  What we want to do is have that middle spot where you have energy but you’re not wired, and then you can really dial in your mind. When you’re getting the majority of your calories from whole food fats, and then, of course, eating your veggies and your proteins, you’re going to have that even keel energy.  And that’s going to allow you to unlock that mental clarity.”
  • 2:51 – 3:16, “When your blood sugar spikes, for example, the hormones insulin and glucagon are also going to spiking, in accordance, to address that blood sugar.  So any time those hormones are going peaks and valleys – really, anything with your body, we want to avoid peaks and valleys.  We want to kind of keep it even keel.  So, as we go SANE we’re going to have that even keel of energy. That’s going to make the mental clarity a lot easier.”
  • 4:22 – 4:46, “I’ve noticed as I’ve gone SANE, I don’t have the meltdowns I used to have.  I don’t feel like I’m super-overwhelmed.  I’m not exhausted from exercising when I should have been sleeping.  And I just feel like, overall, my life has just become so much more even keel, which has enabled me to, then, start reaching my goals with greater speed and clarity, overall.”
  • 5:07 –  6:03, “It only takes one time of being drowsy behind the wheel of a car for that to forever alter the course of your life.  So, it’s not so much that we never want to have highs.  Highs can be very nice, and I don’t mean highs in the term of a drug high. But what we do want to avoid at all costs is those lows.  That doesn’t mean that we never want to feel bad, but the idea of crashing, because even when we crash from an interpersonal perspective, it only takes one moment of, “I’m stressed and I’m frazzled,” to say something to a child or a partner or a spouse or a friend, that can forever negatively impact that relationship, right?  It’s so much easier to break down what we’ve built up our entire life in a matter of seconds.  As long as maybe we can go from medium to high versus from high to really low, we can protect ourselves from the downside.”
  • 6:07 – 6:41, “In past episodes we’ve talked about set points and we talked about your body weight and your set point there.  We also talked about kind of a stress set point, and how as we become better at handling stress then all of a sudden we’re able to be stronger that way.  I think this is another set point as far as mental clarity.  Instead of having a lot of the highs and lows, I feel like I am just living at an elevated state – not elevated like I’m just better than everybody else, but better in the fact that I feel happier in general most days than I did in the past.”
  • 11:30 – 12:01, “Whey protein is uniquely beneficial with relationship to exercise because it’s digested differently, and faster, so it can help to fuel you.  So, you do want to be very careful about your protein powders.  You never want to go beyond a concentrate because then if you get into isolates and hydrolysates, that’s a chemically altered substance, but a concentrate can be a good addition to an otherwise pure, really, really whole foods way of approaching protein.”
  • 12:57 – 13:13, “Your body doesn’t want to be underweight or overweight any more than it wants to have cancer, or any more than it wants to get diabetes.  Your body wants to automatically regulate itself and its body composition just like it automatically regulates its body temperature.”
  • 13:59 – 15:01, “If you provide your body with an optimal set of nutrition through a SANE lifestyle, your body will do what it needs to do to achieve its proper state of balance, and your child’s body will do what it needs to do to achieve its proper state of balance.  So, a child’s body will naturally react differently to SANE eating than yours would.  If your child is underweight, a SANE diet will help your child’s body to heal itself, and healing in its context would be to grow, and to synthesize new bone tissue, new muscle tissue, because it’s a growing human being, Whereas in your case, if you’re struggling with overweight, your body’s form of healing would bring you down to a more pre-baby weight, because that’s where you’ve deviated from your set point up, possibly your children have deviated from their set point down, and we need to facilitate the body to achieve that midpoint, and SANE eating will do that for both of you.”
  • 19:22 – 19:58, “Parents will sacrifice everything to make sure their children can go to the best schools, they have the best teachers.  I watch parents in the principal’s office just going to bat for their kids to make sure that they can have the best experience for their children in school, in athletics, in everything.  But then when it comes to food, we’re so quick to say, “The best thing for you is what makes you happy in the moment, and that’s going to consist of a ton of sugar.”  I think if we can just help this conversation to be able to get out there more broadly and help parents to see, just as you would go to bat for your child in every other of their life, health must be a priority.”
  • 20:09 – 20:58, “Let’s say you have a child that doesn’t seem to react negatively now to inSANE foods, what I can guarantee is that your child is learning habits, and those habits of eating, maybe when they’re 30, or 40, or 50, at that point will, without a shadow of a doubt, catch up to them.  Because while they might now, when they’re seven years old, be able to eat this way, and they’ve only got three years of eating this way under their belt, when they start to get 30, 40, 50 years of eating this way under their belt, that’s when diabetes, that’s when cardiovascular disease, and that’s when, otherwise, other hormonal changes may manifest these changes, and at that point it’s a little bit hard to change 40 years’ worth of habits and 40 years’ worth of consequences.  So starting early can be very helpful.”
  • 27:00 – 27:36, “The chances that this child will get diabetes and will have negative impacts in their life from the sugar, actually, with what is happening now in the United States, it’s a good chance that this child is going to be negatively impacted by sugar. This is where, though, I think as a parent you’re thinking, “Well, I don’t want my child to feel weird,” or, “I don’t want my child to think something is so different from the culture.”  But I feel like that’s what we need to get really good at, teaching our children how to live in a way that’s completely different from the general culture, because the general culture is falling apart.”

3 Steps To Your Whole Family Loving Whole Foods

April: Hello, this is April Perry and Jonathan Bailor, back with another episode of the SANE Show. We’re here with another mailbag. I’m super-excited. Are you ready, Jonathan?

Jonathan: I’m ready. And as a quick disclaimer, I think this is the first time I’ve actually recorded our shows after about three hours of sleep. So, I’ve got a little bit of jet lag, so anything I say cannot or will not be used against me in a court of law. How about that?

April: Okay, I think that sounds wonderful. Today I think the mailbag questions, there’s a variety, and I actually have a few more I want to add in, but I think that the exciting thing here is that we’re going to basic principles. We already know about SANE, but we’re just learning a little bit more about how to apply it to our lives. I think you could do this even in your sleep, so we’re excited.

Jonathan: That’s good, because I’m half there. I’m half there already – I’m already half asleep (laughs).

April: All right. Let’s start with the first one. We’re going to talk about mental clarity which seems like an awesome topic right now considering your current state. Here is the question: They were talking about they read a post, I think, in the Facebook group about mental clarity and behavior changes with SANE eating. I just want a little bit more information about that. I know we’ve talked about sleep in a past episode, and several times about how sleep is essential, and so clearly, that’s one thing that will help us with mental clarity. But what is it about eating SANEly that is going to help our minds to just work better, and help us to feel better in general?

Jonathan: The biggest, and I think simplest, to understand, has to do with hormone levels, and specifically, our blood sugar as that relates to hormones. If we’re eating the standard America diet, or even what the USDA has told us is healthy – do you remember the bottom of the Food Guide Pyramid, 6-11 servings of grains? Or even what we see now on My Plate, which has a big, chunkier plate coming from “complex carbohydrates” which are still going to be released into your bloodstream as sugar, which are going to get our peaks and valleys of energy, and therefore, you’re never really going to have mental clarity.

If you’ve ever noticed, when you’re wired, you might not be really mentally clear. You might have energy, but your mind might be going all over the place. And then when you hit that valley, you’re also not fully mentally clear because then you’re feeling groggy. What we want to do is have that middle spot where you have energy but you’re not wired, and then you can really dial in your mind.

When you’re getting the majority of your calories from whole food fats, and then, of course, eating your veggies and your proteins, you’re going to have that even keel energy. And that’s going to allow you to unlock that mental clarity.

April: I’m guessing that hormones might play into this, as well, where maybe there are more hormone spikes with certain foods, as well? Or, I don’t know.

Jonathan: That’s exactly right. When your blood sugar spikes, for example, the hormones insulin and glucagon are also going to spiking, in accordance, to address that blood sugar. So any time those hormones are going peaks and valleys – really, anything with your body, we want to avoid peaks and valleys. We want to kind of keep it even keel. So, as we go SANE we’re going to have that even keel of energy. That’s going to make the mental clarity a lot easier.

April: This is reminding me of a conversation that my husband had with a mentor of his. This was a few years before he and I met. The mentor said to him, “As you’re looking to select a spouse, you want to pay attention to her highs and lows, because if she has some really, really high highs, you just need to know that there is some counterbalancing that’s going to go on – she’s going to have some pretty deep lows. You want to try to find someone who is generally even-keeled, or at least, the highs and lows that you can handle.”

I thought that was really good advice because I’ve see that in my own life, in my children and friends, that when somebody has, either because they’re eating a lot of sugar, or because maybe there are just some personality issues, or whatever – but where there are really, really high highs and lows, that’s where – we have family members who have suffered from bipolar disorder. We see that happening all the time. And I love this goal of SANE to help me, personally, and my family and loved ones, to be able to maintain just a steady mood, a steady life.

And I’ve noticed as I’ve gone SANE, I don’t have the meltdowns I used to have. I don’t feel like I’m super-overwhelmed. I’m not exhausted from exercising when I should have been sleeping. And I just feel like, overall, my life has just become so much more even keel, which has enabled me to, then, start reaching my goals with greater speed and clarity, overall. So, I’m guessing I’m not unique in that way.

Jonathan: You’re not, and it’s really important that we do focus on eliminating those highs and lows. I think one of the reasons is, not so much because the highs are a problem, but because I think we all know life and health is very fragile, so it’s the lows that become troublesome. Let me give you just one maybe silly example. It only takes one time of being drowsy behind the wheel of a car for that to forever alter the course of your life. So, it’s not so much that we never want to have highs. Highs can be very nice, and I don’t mean highs in the term of a drug high.

But what we do want to avoid at all costs is those lows. That doesn’t mean that we never want to feel bad, but the idea of crashing, because even when we crash from an interpersonal perspective, it only takes one moment of, “I’m stressed and I’m frazzled,” to say something to a child or a partner or a spouse or a friend, that can forever negatively impact that relationship, right? It’s so much easier to break down what we’ve built up our entire life in a matter of seconds. As long as maybe we can go from medium to high versus from high to really low, we can protect ourselves from the downside.

April: One final thing I’ll say about this is that in past episodes we’ve talked about set points and we talked about your body weight and your set point there. We also talked about kind of a stress set point, and how as we become better at handling stress then all of a sudden we’re able to be stronger that way. I think this is another set point as far as mental clarity. Instead of having a lot of the highs and lows, I feel like I am just living at an elevated state where – not elevated like I’m just better than everybody else, but better in the fact that I feel happier in general most days than I did in the past. Sound fair?

Jonathan: It sounds fair, and it is, in fact, backed by science, where we’ve seen, just like you said, the happiness set point is a real thing, the stress set point is a real thing, and we will see neurological changes as we go SANE, and with baseline levels of things like serotonin and dopamine, we can actually elevate that baseline. There are other things like relationships which can elevate that baseline. But sometimes relationships are a little bit more out of our control than what we eat and how we move our body so it’s cool that we have those two elements that we can change and alter that baseline set point of happiness, for sure.

April: All right. Are you ready for question number two?

Jonathan: I am. I am.

April: We’re now going to talk a little bit about the whole foods mindset.. We love SANE because I think it makes sense to most people that we want to eat foods that are natural. When I talk to people about SANE, I say, “Hey, we eat a lot more fruits and vegetables, we’re doing nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats, and eating the best foods for our bodies.” That just makes sense to people, and it makes sense much more than any other diet where I’m saying, “I only eat foods that fit in a yellow container this big,” or something like that.

But here’s a question, and we’ve talked a little bit in the past about protein powders, but this is one of those kind of delineating things about SANE versus some of these whole foods diets, or people who say, “Never eat protein powder, never bring anything into your system that isn’t a whole food or natural.” As we talk about SANE, we do sometimes talk about protein bars or things like that. So, maybe even though we’ve talked about it before we can just clarify it, because the fact that this question is coming up again, I think it’s worth addressing.

Jonathan: Not to get too metaphysical, and I actually don’t have an answer for this. Maybe this is something the community could help us with. But what do we mean by a whole food? Let me give you a specific example. When we say the old nursery rhyme, Little Miss Muffet, sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey. Curds and whey – the whey they are referring to in that rhyme is the whey you would find in whey protein. Milk, which most people would define as a whole food, has two primary proteins in it – casein and whey. Now, if you, for example, have curds and whey, and you just ate the whey, is that not a whole food? Do you see what I’m saying? Or, let’s say you have an egg, and you have the egg yolk and the egg white, and you’re making Hollandaise sauce, so you only eat the egg yolk. Is an egg yolk a whole food or not?

April: I would say yes.

Jonathan: That’s right. The reason I’m saying this is that whey protein, whey protein concentrate – all whey protein concentrate is, is whey, which maybe let’s assume that that is a whole food, because it’s just part – it’s a component of milk which automatically – maybe it contradicts myself because I’m saying it’s a component of a whole food, but anyway, let’s use the egg white/egg yolk mindset. We take the whey, we put it through a filtration process, and the whey molecules are bigger than the other molecules, so now we’re left with just the whey, and we eat the whey. Some people – myself – I would consider that a whole food, like I would consider an egg yolk to be whole food.

Now, if we then take that whey and chemically process it to create a whey protein isolate or a whey protein hydrolysate – you don’t need to know what those terms mean, but it is going through a chemical process rather than just a physical process. At that point I would consider those things not to be whole foods. So maybe the distinction is, “Are we chemically altering the substance versus are we just physically eating part of this?”

If you were to eat broccoli, hypothetically, and you only ate the tops versus the bottom, you’d probably say that’s still a whole food. So when we say whey protein concentrate, it’s a little bit like separating an egg into its component pieces rather than synthesizing a new non-food. Does that make sense?

April: Yes, I think that, actually, is really clear. I think the answer, then, is what’s in your protein powder? Is that right?

Jonathan: That’s exactly right. First of all, it’s a pop-up, even, to a higher level – whole food, in the traditional sense, like nutrient-dense meats and fishes, humanely raised, wild caught, those are always going to be preferable in terms of just what you’re eating throughout the day as a source of protein. However, from a convenience perspective, protein powders can be optimal and they can actually be optimal in different contexts, as well. A whey protein is different, right? Just like we say a calorie isn’t a calorie, protein isn’t protein. So whey protein is uniquely beneficial with relationship to exercise because it’s digested differently, and faster, so it can help to fuel you. So, you do want to be very careful about your protein powders. You never want to go beyond a concentrate because then if you get into isolates and hydrolysates, that’s a chemically altered substance, but a concentrate can be a good addition to an otherwise pure, really, really whole foods way of approaching protein.

April: Okay, that satisfied me. I feel like that was great.

Jonathan: I’m not going to sleep anymore before our shows. I seem to get to the point better (laughs).

April: You do the best mailbags when you’ve had no sleep. No. Please, please. Okay, number three. “My SANE goals are different than I want for my family, but I’m preparing the same food for everyone.” I think this is great, super-important. This individual wants to lose post baby weight, so her goal is, “Let me burn fat. But I want my children to gain weight because they’re growing, they’re developing physically and mentally. Should I be doing something different for me and for them?” I love that question, because you’re thinking, okay, the SANE food is on the table, but I don’t want to put my kids on some weight loss program when they’re growing. So, here we go, Jonathan.

Jonathan: This is where the beauty and brilliance of your body will come into play. Specifically, your body doesn’t want to be underweight or overweight any more than it wants to have cancer, or any more than it wants to get diabetes. Your body wants to automatically regulate itself and its body composition just like it automatically regulates its body temperature. Now hold on, you’re like, what the heck is this guy talking about?

Let me give you a specific example. Let’s say your child just got in from playing outside and is really, really warm, and is sweaty. And let’s say that for some reason you keep your house at 65 degrees, so you’re chilly, and you don’t have a sweater on, but your child is still warm. Now, both of your bodies are going to do everything they can to establish, or to get back to, a homeostatic, or a baseline, sustainable temperature. So, in one context, your body is going to try to go up in temperature, their body is going to try to go down in temperature.

In an eating context, what we’re talking about here, if you provide your body with an optimal set of nutrition through a SANE lifestyle, your body will do what it needs to do to achieve its proper state of balance, and your child’s body will do what it needs to do to achieve its proper state of balance. So, a child’s body will naturally react differently to SANE eating than yours would. If your child is underweight, a SANE diet will help your child’s body to heal itself, and healing in its context would be to grow, and to synthesize new bone tissue, new muscle tissue, because it’s a growing human being, Whereas in your case, if you’re struggling with overweight, your body’s form of healing would bring you down to a more pre-baby weight, because that’s where you’ve deviated from your set point up, possibly your children have deviated from their set point down, and we need to facilitate the body to achieve that midpoint, and SANE eating will do that for both of you.

April: So, that’s almost like magic, what you’re talking about. That’s pretty amazing that you can serve SANE healthy foods and the body will do what it’s meant to do, what it needs to do, to keep you healthy. I love that.

Jonathan: When you say it’s like magic, it is. The body is, in some ways, magical. How is it that if you were to break your arm and then you just set your arm in a cast, your body knows to heal it? And how is it that your body knows to stop growing your arm hair?

April: (laughs)

Jonathan: Right? Your hair on your arm just doesn’t keep growing until it hits the floor, right? Your genes are a blueprint for health. When we get in their way, they go a little cattywampus, but when we can facilitate them to do what is baked into them, which is, for us, not to die, right? That’s the point. It’s pretty miraculous what our bodies can do.

April: A followup question that just came to my mind is, let’s talk about the converse, when you’re serving a whole bunch of junk food to the whole family. Because right now, if I went downstairs and I got to have lunch with my sons, and I served a whole bunch of chocolate cake, and we had bunch of fried foods, and we just ate complete inSANity for lunch, that food would really negatively impact me physically. I would be able to see it almost immediately. One thing Alia and I have been talking about is how she notices her skin will be so clear, and if she eats anything inSANE, all of a sudden she’s like, “Mom, I’m breaking out!” And I just say, “Eat more spinach smoothies,” and it solves it.

But it’s so interesting about the younger children who don’t struggle with their weight at all. I don’t see any impact on them immediately and physically. So, can we just talk for a second about what’s happening under the surface there? Because I think this is one of the key reasons why parents think it’s not a big deal when your kids eat inSANE foods.

Jonathan: Two really important distinctions here, and the first is going to be more of the Jonathan Bailor style answer. The second will be more helpful (laughs). The first is – and these aren’t literally true statistics, but they’re pretty close. 90% of people who smoke cigarettes don’t get lung cancer. That doesn’t mean smoking cigarettes isn’t damaging their lungs. So, just because we don’t see a physical manifestation of damage immediately doesn’t mean damage isn’t happening. We don’t know why some people can smoke cigarettes and not get lung cancer, just like we don’t know why some people can not smoke cigarettes and do get lung cancer. But what we do know is that smoking cigarettes radically increases your likelihood of getting lung cancer.

This is why childhood obesity really breaks my heart because if you go, for example, into a school in a low income area where the vast majority of the children are all eating the same foods and the foods are the low quality inSANE foods that are provided for free, not all of the children will react that same way. Some of them will be chubby and overweight and some of them will be slim.

We don’t know why that happens. All we know is that for some of us, our vision deteriorates over time, and for some of us, it doesn’t. A little bit seems to be a genetic lottery. The non-answer is that we don’t know, but what we do know is that there is no context in which those foods will reduce your likelihood for disease or challenge, so maybe don’t test fate would be the best way I could describe that situation.

April: I think that’s fantastic, because if I can commit to serving my family healthy foods that are going to enable them to live long, healthy lives, as much as I can control that, that’s a beautiful way to live. That’s what I want my children to be able to experience every day. And sure, I can say, “Well, it’s probably fine, let’s just fill you up with junk food. I bet you’ll be okay.” But at the end of the day, I’m going to sleep better knowing that I did everything that I could to give them a healthy start.

And the thing is, you’re watching this with parents. Parents will sacrifice everything to make sure their children can go to the best schools, they have the best teachers. I watch parents in the principal’s office just going to bat for their kids to make sure that they can have the best experience for their children in school, in athletics, in everything. But then when it comes to food, we’re so quick to say, “The best thing for you is what makes you happy in the moment, and that’s going to consist of a ton of sugar.” I think if we can just help this conversation to be able to get out there more broadly and help parents to see, just as you would go to bat for your child in every other of their life, health must be a priority.

Jonathan: Everything you just said is 100% true. And, if you need additional ammunition in your brain to motivate you to – let’s say you have a child that doesn’t seem to react negatively now to inSANE foods, what I can guarantee is that your child is learning habits, and those habits of eating, maybe when their 30, or 40, or 50, at that point will, without a shadow of a doubt, catch up to them. Because while they might now, when they’re seven years old, be able to eat this way, and they’ve only got three years of eating this way under their belt, when they start to get 30, 40, 50 years of eating this way under their belt, that’s when diabetes, that’s when cardiovascular disease, and that’s when, otherwise, other hormonal changes may manifest these changes, and at that point it’s a little bit hard to change 40 years’ worth of habits and 40 years’ worth of consequences. So starting early can be very helpful.

April: One quick story – habits. I don’t like to chop vegetables all the time, and sometimes I’m not able to, and especially peppers, I’ve found, I can eat them like apples. You just eat them upside down, you don’t have all the seeds, it works really well. So, I was eating a pepper – this huge pepper at the Farmer’s Market, seriously they were like 12 inches long, they were enormous – and I’m eating this pepper as I’m driving this car. And Alia says, “Mom, you should see the family next to us. They’re all looking at you and just shocked that you’re eating this pepper.” So, it was kind of this joke and everyone was laughing at me as I’m walking around with these big peppers, or when I’m driving the car.

But then, I was watching my daughter, Grace, who loves peppers. The other day she went and grabbed one out of the frig and started walking around eating the pepper like an apple. I was just feeling like, okay, this is just fun, because what kids go grab a bell pepper and just eat it like apples? That’s not really something that you do. But this is becoming a habit in our family, and I love that. I love knowing that just these little things and maybe my kids might laugh at me about, or maybe might seem a little weird – “Mom, why are you so about vegetables?” I know that it actually does make a big difference.

Jonathan: And, that’s a super-important story because it also shows how some of our unhealthy habits are completely arbitrary and easy to change. Why is it that it is not funny and strange to walk around the house and eat an apple like an apple? Who defined the appropriate way to eat a pepper?

It actually reminds me of a quick story. I think this story is from Wayne Dyer. Just speaking of societal norms, the story is that two people go out to eat at an exotic restaurant, let’s say, and they sit down, they look at the menu, and one of them says, “Oh, interesting, there is a tongue sandwich here.” A sandwich that’s made out of tongue. The other person say, “Oh, you’re going to order a tongue sandwich? That comes out of an animal’s mouth. That’s – oh, man.” The other guy is like, “Well, I want to try it. It’s new.” The first guy says, “Are you sure? It comes out of an animal’s mouth. Do you really want to eat that?” He says, “Yeah, I’ll have a tongue sandwich.” So the server comes over and says, “Okay, sir, what would you like?” He says, “Okay, I’ll have a tongue sandwich.” The other person says, “Man, I’m not going to do something crazy like that. I’m not going to eat something that comes out of an animal’s mouth. I’ll have an egg salad sandwich, please.”

April: (laughs)

Jonathan: So, we say this is really weird, and this other thing isn’t. Maybe we should take a step back and say, “Where did those beliefs come from, and they may or not be arbitrary?”

April: So funny. I love that. I think these are great conversations that we can have with our families as we’re making these habits better. Okay, all right, I think that was a good one for that. Love that.

Now here’s another question, and this is probably one of the harder ones. “What is a good approach when treats are offered everywhere all the time to my children? Not just holidays anymore, literally, everywhere we go we have an opportunity for something inSANE. I teach my children, they know what’s good and not good, but they don’t have the motivation I have. They don’t have the full understanding to say no on their own.”

This is the question. She’s trying to always have something to replace it with, “but ultimately, others are so influential on the poor quality food my children consume. What would you do?” I read this question a while ago and I’m thinking, I actually want to hear from Jonathan on this one. What would you do? SANE is a huge part of your life. This is something you’re devoting your whole life to. I have no doubt that when you have children and someone is trying to influence them to do the opposite of what you stand for, you’re going to come out on it, this is going to be a big deal for you, I have no doubt. But I want to know what you would do, because it’s hard. It’s really hard. We’re trying to change things mid stream, and I know your children will get it from the get-go, but what would you do?

Jonathan: Here’s a creative solution, maybe, that I kind of just thought of.

April: Group force (laughs)?

Jonathan: Group force. For example, I have a dear, dear friend who was adopted, and their parents did not tell them that they were adopted until later on in their life because based on where the child was mentally, they wanted to be very strategic about when they shared that information. Now, this might be a crazy idea, but if you told your child that they have a peanut allergy and they legitimately did, quite a few treats have peanuts in them, but my understanding is that children who are aware of a peanut allergy actually have a pretty high success rate, even when they’re on their own, of not eating peanuts.

So if you told your child that they were pre-diabetic – because they are, they don’t have diabetes yet, so you’re not even lying to your child – I wonder if there was – what I’m trying to get at here is, there does seem to be a way that even a five-year-old child has – I like to look at – let’s look at a case study. A case study is peanut allergies. There is a context in which a very common food is “easily avoided,” even by very young children. I’m wondering if we can learn from that, and if there is a way – if you could take your child to the pediatrician and ask the pediatrician to tell your child that they’re pre-diabetic, which is 100% true, your child…

April: Can we do that to the whole nation? Can we decide the entire nation be told that? I agree.

Jonathan: I think so. So, if you told your child, if you told the birthday host, or whomever, “Hey, my child is type 1 diabetic, if you give them sugar and they don’t take an insulin shot, they’ll die” – now, that’s a lie. But all I’m saying is that, I bet they wouldn’t serve them sugar.

April: Hm. I think what you’re bringing up brings up so many points, and this could be a whole podcast, in itself, because this is so counter-culture, and I think that’s what makes this so challenging. What you’re saying is totally true. The chances that this child will get diabetes and will have negative impacts in their life from the sugar, actually, with what is happening now in the United States, it’s a good chance that this child is going to be negatively impacted by sugar.

This is where, though, I think as a parent you’re thinking, “Well, I don’t want my child to feel weird,” or, “I don’t want my child to think something is so different from the culture.” But I feel like that’s what we need to get really good at, teaching our children how to live in a way that’s completely different from the general culture, because the general culture is falling apart.

And this isn’t just with food. This is morally, this is in language being used. My whole life, everything that I’m teaching my children, for the most part, is counter-culture. It’s counter what my kids are learning in school. And of course, I’m teaching them how to be kind and respectful and these general principles that I think everyone agrees on, but we’re really deliberate in teaching children that we’re not here to just be lazy and live in mom and dad’s basement for 20 years after you graduate high school. We want you to be independent, we want you to be strong, we want you to be healthy, we want you to make wise choices, we want you to be spiritually strong.

All these things that we’re doing for our children, I just think so many times we carve out the health element and say, “Well, it’s just sugar.” Or, “It’s just junk food.” Or, “They’ll get over it.” And I know that because that’s how I was raised, and it wasn’t because my parents didn’t care about me, it was just that they didn’t know. So, I feel like the more I’m learning from you, and the more I’m learning about SANE, and the more we’re looking around us and seeing people suffering with obesity and diabetes, the more I just think, “We’ve got to change this.”

Jonathan: Couldn’t have said it better, myself. I love that. Beautiful.

April: Do we have time for one more?

Jonathan: We do.

April: Okay. Last question. This one is something that my mom taught me. She read it in some book. She had all these books, and they never helped her lose weight, and she was always frustrated. But she had all these books, and she would quote them. So, I feel like, in my mind, I have dozens of quotes that completely don’t make sense when they’re all put together, but on this one I had a question for you, and it’s a little bit random, but a fun way to end.

My mom always told me that fruit was a broom, and when you wake up in the morning, the first thing you should do is eat some fruit, and then wait a few hours because it will sweep you out and clean you like a broom, and then you’re ready to eat other foods. What do you have to say about this? Is there anything that even makes sense here? Anything you could add?

Jonathan: I think there is something that makes some sense here, and that is, first of all, there is a conflation between fruits and vegetables. We’re told, eat more fruits and veggies.

April: Right. Make them one group.

Jonathan: Exactly. A lot of people would equate fruits with vegetable. Now, I would 100% agree with that vegetables are a broom. For example, starting your day out with a pure veggie green smoothie would be absolutely fantastic, but that’s very different than starting your day out with a bunch of grapes, which are extremely high in sugar, and in the morning, spiking your insulin levels like that is actually not a very good idea at all because you’re walking up, you just fasted for a while, your body is in an optimal state to burn fat if you can keep that going. If you spike your blood sugar, it eliminates that. So, in terms of eating a nutrient-dense low-sugar plant, first thing in the morning, AKA a vegetable, I would say that’s a great idea. So, I think your mom was on the right track, she just fell victim to the eat more fruits and veggies, it’s one food group, mindset.

April: Okay. All right, well that’s my questions for today. I think we’ve had a very fun, successful mailbag. We will look forward to the next one, as well. Any kind of final thoughts or encouragement or next action on your part, Jonathan?

Jonathan: The next action for me, I think, is to keep trying to apply a SANE mindset throughout your life. Every time we get one of these mailbags, we get one of these questions, I love them because they allow us to take, like you said at the beginning of the show, the general macro SANE principles, and we are teaching ourselves how to fish versus just giving ourselves fish. The more you can try, even in your own life, take each situation and see it as a learning experience rather than a value judgment or a place for me to either succeed or fail.

It’s like the very popular phrase, WWJD? What would Jesus do? So you would say to yourself, “What is the SANE thing to do?” There may not be a clear right or wrong, but just going through that thought process, making it conscious, I think will inevitably lead you toward a SANEr life.

April: Love it. All right, thank you so much, Jonathan. And thank you, for those of you who joined us today for our mailbag. We hope that you enjoyed this podcast and can apply it to your life. Enjoy SANE living – the energy, the happiness, the mental clarity you’ll experience, and we invite you to always remember to stay SANE.

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