In this episode -
𝐋𝐞𝐭'𝐬 𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐤 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐞 𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞.
🔵 It's an interesting topic as people say to me, why didn't you study the male brain?
And I say; "because I don't have one yeah!"
I don't know what the male brain feels like when it's stressed. So I think people get a little bit irritated and I know there's a whole idea to speak about the male and the female brain being similar. And you know, just to lay the foundation first, the male and female brain are mostly similar.
🔵 That is true, but where the differences occur, they're very noticeable. So there may not be huge, but they're very noticeable. And anybody that has been in a relationship with a male will know the woman will be going on about an issue. You know, something that's bothering them and the male will find the solution. Then a couple of weeks later, the woman will again, bring up the same thing and the male will go haven't you finished that? I thought you dealt with it. And then women will go, well, I've thought about something else related to that.
And do you know if I do this, then ... ➥
🔵 Delia McCabe (PhD) shifted her research focus from psychology to nutritional neuroscience upon discovering nutrition’s critical role in mental wellbeing. Delia’s research into stress has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, she’s a regular featured expert in the media, and her two books are available in four languages.
➥ To Follow Delia, she says; "I've just completed testing of my first online course so if anyone wants to keep abreast of when I open enrollments again they join my mailing list here: www.lby.life AND my publisher has given me a special link to use for podcasts that will allow the listeners to purchase my 1st book and get the second done for free: https://exislepublishing.com/fyb/
➥ Download & Listen for the Rest of the Story!
💎 How to Support the Mission of the Show?
Speaker 0 (0s): Coming up on this episode of the MD and shift team show,
Speaker 1 (8s): You can't make energy because you don't have enough of the nutrients they're being used for adrenaline. Then you drink coffee. Guess what? Coffee dopamine gets converted into adrenaline using up the same nutrients. Guess what? Serotonin, doesn't get a look in because the same nutrients aren't available for serotonin synthesis. So we have this vicious cycle going on when women aren't making sure they get enough of those nutrients to support both adrenaline synthesis, cortisol, synthesis, and serotonin and melatonin synthesis.
Speaker 2 (39s): Welcome to the show from DMDs chef team. I'm Dr. Isabel medical doctor here at the MD and chef team. And who are you? I'm chef Michael Coleman nutrition expert. I'm the chef, the kid. And what are we going to talk about bad. Now I can see that cause he's my husband. We'll be talking about marriage, relationship, parenting intimacy. Talk about mindset, success overcoming depression, anxiety. I'll be getting into functional nutrition, recipes and tips from the kitchen.
And we're going to both get into how to live a long, healthy, vibrant life. Yes, I love it. Our mission is to help you prevent and reverse disease and give you hope in the process. Oh yeah. We like to have fun. So let us get on the show.
Speaker 3 (1m 33s): Hello Delia. How are you doing
Speaker 1 (1m 36s): Well, Isabella, across the pond. How are you?
Speaker 3 (1m 39s): Very good. Now I'm in New Zealand and you're right Australia. What part of Australia?
Speaker 1 (1m 47s): The gold coast. The beautiful sunny part. Yes.
Speaker 3 (1m 51s): I love that part of Australia. How's the weather today?
Speaker 1 (1m 55s): Amman. Goodness. You've had a bit of a cold snap, which is very unusual for us. So we've all been complaining, but today's beautiful again in the sun's out. So yeah, we're having a bit of a real winter. Yeah. For a change.
Speaker 3 (2m 6s): And what's a cold snap for you guys
Speaker 1 (2m 10s): Look seven or eight degrees Celsius in the morning.
Speaker 3 (2m 14s): Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's cold for us too.
Speaker 1 (2m 19s): So we not too bad. They're not, we're not such a worm.
Speaker 3 (2m 23s): No, no. Do you still, are you close to the beach at all?
Speaker 1 (2m 26s): Probably about eight, nine minutes to the beach and yeah, it's not far at all. And, and really in the middle of the day of being on the beach is still perfect in the middle of winter. Really gorgeous.
Speaker 3 (2m 38s): And do you go walking on the beach?
Speaker 1 (2m 40s): Yeah, I do. I've done some at this time of year, but I do still go walking on the beach.
Speaker 3 (2m 45s): Yes. I love my husband and I love walking on the beach as much as possible. If so good for us. Do you do it barefoot?
Speaker 1 (2m 52s): I do have to do it by foot. I'm not interested in the sand in my shoes
Speaker 3 (2m 58s): Either. Hey, may I share with our listeners a little bit about you so we can start talking about what's so important on your mind with pleasure Isabelle? Well, Delia Mackay is a PhD. Now you're a PhD in
Speaker 1 (3m 16s): Well, it's interesting because I had to search for a number of universities before I found one that was interested in allowing me to cross three disciplines, which was neuroscience, psychology and nutrition. And so I got my PhD from Adelaide medical school and the title of my thesis was, or is the neuro logical effects of specific nutrients on female stress. And I did a huge systematic review to look at the evidence available and found a huge knowledge gap.
And then I did two primary research project. So it took me five years. Isabelle.
Speaker 3 (3m 53s): I love it. You're a go getter that's for sure. So I am going to address you as doctor do the McCain and with that background. Okay. And sh cause there was all sorts of doctors and there's nature, fat doctors, medical doctors, chiropractic doctors. And there's you doctor and Delia shifted her research focus from psychology to nutritional neuroscience upon discovering nutritionals nutrition's critical role in mental wellbeing.
It plays such a huge role. And Delia's research into stress has been published in a number of peer review journals. She's a regular featured expert in the media and her two books are available in four languages. Bravo what, four languages,
Speaker 1 (4m 45s): English, Italian, Czechoslovakia, Levaquin, and Poland.
Speaker 3 (4m 49s): And do you speak all those languages? No. I just speak English. It's great to have translators isn't that her psychology background combined with her nutritional neuroscience knowledge and neurological perspective supports stress, resilience and optimal brain function via online courses, workshops and tailored events internationally. I love it. And now that we're doing all this telemedicine, we can go anywhere at any time.
Speaker 1 (5m 21s): We can. It's actually really the only blessing in the curse that COVID provided really did a fast-forward for this kind of communication. Yes,
Speaker 3 (5m 31s): Absolutely. That's been the blessing for all of us. So you had talked about women and stress. Let's, let's dive into that because we're both about the same age training to be a hundred plus good and healthy. So let's talk about stress and women and how that affects the whole picture.
Speaker 1 (5m 55s): It's an interesting topic. Isabelle people say to me, why didn't you study the male brain? And I sit and because I don't have one yeah. Stressed female brain, but I don't know what the male brain feels like when it's stressed. So I think people get, you know, a little bit irritated and I know there's a whole idea to speak about the male and the female brain being similar. And you know, just to lay the foundation first, the male and female brain are mostly similar.
That is true, but where the differences occur, they're very noticeable. So there may not be huge, but they're very noticeable. And anybody that has been in a relationship with a male will know the woman will be going on about an issue. You know, something that's bothering them and the male will find the solution. Then a couple of weeks later, the woman will again, bring up the same thing and the male will go haven't you finished that? I thought you dealt with it. And then women will go, well, I've thought about something else related to that.
And do you know if I do this, then that will happen. And so we have the tendency to ruminate more than men. They tend to think something through, decide on a plan of action and move past it. Our singular gyrus, which is the part of the brain where we kind of like relay thoughts, our thoughts kind of get stuck there sometimes. And then we find that challenging to move on. So that's one of the ways that women can stress them. Some stress themselves out by having that looping thought go on and on just because of the way our limbic system is set up.
So it seems that our limbic system, the emotional center of the brain is a little bit more tightly wired versus the male limbic system. And this is simply because we needed to be able to be more astute in picking up non-verbal cues from our offspring and picking up cues from men in the group that maybe we didn't know too well. And we of course were smaller. We needed to be just a little bit more on top of these nonverbal cues. So it makes sense that our limbic system is really tightly wide and very much attuned to our environment.
And that leads to us reading into things as well, you know? Yeah. Oh, we know what this is luck. Yes. And when we stressed, we unfortunately these tendencies of ours, which are great for collaboration and cooperation and intuition get a little bit too fine tuned. And then we ruminate, we read into things, we don't solve a problem. We sit on top of it. And so those are the challenges. But I think the interesting thing is about for women to realize as well, is that our hormones also impact the way our brain functions because progesterone and estrogen, as you'll know very well are tied up with the neurotransmitters, serotonin and GABA.
Now these are very important and powerful neuro-transmitters and men's testosterone only fluctuates across a lifetime. Our estrogen and progesterone fluctuates every month. And then when we go into perimenopause and menopause, then those hormones go wonky. And this is why I'll have women say to me, I feel like I'm losing my mind because I just can't feel calm anymore. I feel anxious all the time. I go and sleep. My appetite's really crazy. And that's because the challenges with estrogen and progesterone across this, this time space leads to challenges with serotonin and GABA.
But then there's something else that women have as well. Apart from this talky wired limbic system and these hormones that fluctuate, we also have more psychosocial stresses than men. And any woman will be able to translate that into we juggle more than men. Do. We try to live into the idea that we can multitask and especially young mothers really battle because they having their children that they care about. They want to look after them well and keep them healthy. They want to pursue their own dreams.
If they're in a relationship, they want to keep that a priority as well. So they have all these conflicting thoughts. And then as we get older, we may have older parents that we now concerned about and teenagers, and be at a different stage in our career. So women are continuously carrying all these extra things and we don't have the capacity like men do to shut down thinking about them. We keep them all in our mind all the time. It's no wonder woman wake up at one and two o'clock in the mall.
Speaker 3 (10m 26s): I was just going to say that the one o'clock the two, o'clock the three o'clock you get up to go to the little and you're wishing you go back to sleep, but do we, do we go back to sleep or do we start thinking, figuring things out? I know for me, I know for me that still happens. You know, how about you?
Speaker 1 (10m 49s): Absolutely. It happens to me as well, but now I have some strategies that are used because I know that I've built up. You see, this is the problem. And this is where the psychology and the neuroscience comes into this. Isabel, because if you have a certain personality that tends towards perfectionism and conscientiousness and doing things right, and ticking all the boxes, then you more likely to wake up at one and two o'clock in the morning, aren't you? Because there's something you forgot to add to the list, you know? So we can't get away from the fact that who we are intrinsically, as people impacts our capacity to put our, our thoughts on hold.
The other challenge is the more you do that before you realize it's happening, you actually build a neural pathway for that. So then when you wake up, you go, oh, damn, yeah, we go again and you get yourself into the mindset of awe. This is when I allow I can ruminate. So we need a neuro science based strategy to cut across that neural pathway and that habit and our tendency in terms of who we are from a personality perspective to just cut through it and actually just go back to sleep.
And one of the funniest things I read about the other day was that if you use your name, when you instructing yourself to do something it's more effective. And I found that so interesting, because now I say to myself, Delia, you've got everything that you need on a piece of paper, your body, and your brain really needs you to go to sleep, go to sleep Delia. And that just breaks through that rumination. What else do I have to do? And it's getting easier to do, Isabel. I don't get it right every night, but mostly I do, which I
Speaker 3 (12m 30s): Love that you gave that tip. Thank you so much for giving the audience that tip, because I know that there are women out there that are just, they want to give you a big hug for thanking, you know, for giving them that Isabelle. You've got everything you need on paper. It's time for you to go to sleep. Thank you. So that's tip number one, everybody tip number one. I hope you're writing it down.
Let's talk more about the woman's brain and stress.
Speaker 1 (13m 5s): Well, the other interesting thing is about is that when women are running on empty and putting everyone else ahead of themselves, they're actually using up more nutrients than men do. And this is just because we need nutrients to make hormones, which you know, as well. And if we thought on those nutrients, we can't make the hormones and the hormones don't work with the neuro-transmitters. And so we have this downward spiral, the challenges as well is that very few people really think about, and this is a bit of a, of a metacognition issue.
We don't ever think about the fact that being stressed, all the neural activity that goes with those feelings actually uses nutrients because adrenaline and cortisol, don't just disappear out of the ether. They are made from compounds that are in our body. So just as much as we consider that thinking occurs across this huge network made up of cells and chemicals and membranes and molecules, stress uses up many of those components to be able to be generated.
And if you're experiencing stress 24 7, you end up becoming depleted in those nutrients because look, let's face it. Nature said, look, if there's a tiger after you, it's more important. You get away from the tiger, then snuggle down and feel comfy and go to sleep. So your body will naturally make adrenaline and cortisol first. And if there's a little bit leftover, guess what? You'll make some serotonin and then melatonin. So that's another one of the reasons that women can wake up at one o'clock because look, this is what's happened, not enough nutrients to make serotonin and to make melatonin from the serotonin.
So it's very important for listeners to understand that stress is very expensive from a nutritional perspective. One of the slides that are using the presentations that are give shows, all the nutrients that are used to make adrenaline. Then I have another slot to show all the nutrients that are used for an ordinary energy process. You know, just what the mitochondria needs. And then I have another slide, which unfortunately shows the nutrients, that coffee users, which are exactly the same as adrenaline.
And you know, then you look at what the nutrients required for serotonin and you see, wow, most of them are the same. So if you exhausted, you can't make energy because you don't have enough of the nutrients they're being used for adrenaline. Then you drink coffee. Okay? SWAT coffee dopamine gets converted into adrenaline using up the same nutrients. Guess what? Serotonin, doesn't get a look in because the same nutrients aren't available for serotonin synthesis. So we have this vicious cycle going on when women aren't making sure they get enough of those nutrients to support both adrenaline synthesis, cortisol, synthesis, and serotonin and melatonin synthesis,
Speaker 3 (15m 58s): Have you from your story. And you don't have to answer this if it's too personal, but have you ever experienced adrenal exhaustion?
Speaker 1 (16m 6s): Absolutely. That's why I can speak to it. Yes.
Speaker 3 (16m 10s): And I have to. So I'm really glad we're talking about this. I never, you know, it's just, it's the same for you. We don't really know it until we've experienced it. And then we help, we climb out of that deep dark hole. So could you share with the audience, what did you do? What was your cortisol levels? Like? How did you get them checked? Because people want to know what their cortisol levels are. They want to know how to repair their, their energy stores.
Speaker 1 (16m 38s): The challenge for me is about when I speak about adrenal fatigue, is that actually from a medical perspective, it isn't generally believed that adrenal fatigue exists. And that's interesting because there's enough
Speaker 3 (16m 50s): We do here. And we did here. Yeah. And we call it adrenal exhaustion. Instead of adrenal fit, functional medicine has caused it, calling it adrenal exhaustion. So our team here in this room understands where we're coming from. So we believe we believe in a dream. Yeah. So take it from there.
Speaker 1 (17m 13s): And what I like to say to people, and they generally get shocked when I say this to them, I say to them, first and foremost, adrenal exhaustion is a personality disorder and they go, what are you talking about? And I say, only certain people get adrenal exhaustion. And now the kinds of people that are driving ambitious, focused, proactive people. These are women who aren't sitting and waiting for the world to hand in anything. These are women that are standing up stepping up and exhausting themselves in the process because they're trying to do too much at once.
And they're not asking for help. So I can recognize this because that was me. I was very, I thought I was 10 foot tall and Bulletproof, because I've always been very healthy, very capable, but you know, didn't need vast quantities of sleep could get by and guess what are burnt out? I
Speaker 3 (18m 10s): Get you. I get you. You're my sister
Speaker 1 (18m 15s): Absolutely is about. And you know, when women realized that it's actually part of their personality, that's driving them to this. They realize why they can get adrenal exhaustion over and over and over again, because they're not addressing the core, the foundation of why they getting it. So the first thing I do is ask people that question, can you recognize within yourself the tendency to push yourself when you know that you're exhausted and every single woman in the room always raises their hand.
We know, because we said to ourselves, we say, you know what? I am tired and I could do with a little wrist or I could do go and do a little meditation, but guess what if I just do this one more thing, I'll feel better. And that's the scenario that goes on day after day until eventually we can't get out of bed. So the challenge is really to first look at ourselves from a very personal and very honest perspective, because unless we solve that problem, all the cortisol tests, all the dietary supplements, all the listening to experts speak is never going to change anything.
You have to get to the point where you become proactive in stopping yourself to having this natural tendency, to overextend yourself and burn your burn. The candle at all ends just in its entirety. So I'm wondering how many listeners are going to resonate with this because I find in the work, I do many, many, if not most women recognize this.
Speaker 3 (19m 40s): And do you mind sharing with when, with the audience, your story of, of this, of adrenal fatigue slash adrenal exhaustion, what happened to you that you were like, holy moly, this is
Speaker 1 (19m 56s): When my children were younger and I was busy writing up my book and I was looking at where to do my PhD. I've I ticked off the box of my, of my masters and I was not accumulating all the evidence related to nutritional neuroscience. And my children were busy at school. My husband was traveling overseas and I really got to the point where I just kept on feeling exhausted. I just, I just couldn't stop this feeling of exhaustion. And, you know, because of that, the problem is when you, when you're informed to a degree, you kind of like talk yourself out of things you said to yourself, well, you know what, I'll feel better if I just have a good rest this weekend.
But the problem was that the rest of the weekend didn't help me. So I eventually went to a functional practitioner and I said, look, I have a problem. And they did all the bloods and I'll also, I've just immigrated as well in this whole process. So that was also a challenging time. And she looked at me and she said, I've got good news and bad news. And I said, well, give me the good news first. I'm a good news kind of person first. And she said, you don't have chronic fatigue syndrome. And I said, well, that's great. I never thought I had that. And then she said, but you do have adrenal exhaustion.
And I said, oh, that's the good news or the bad news where in this is it good? Because I couldn't actually accept the fact that I had burnt myself out. I just thought that that wasn't possible. So then I had to start the process, Isabel, of actually sitting down and being very honest with myself and asking myself some tough questions, because I knew that I was a driving person. And I knew that I didn't like to say no. I didn't like to put things off. I like to do everything. I have to take the whole list of everything I needed to accomplish every day. And I had to sit down and ask myself the hard questions.
And I now know what I'm heading towards that again. I've never had it again, but when I'm heading towards it again, I know what the dangerous songs are. So I did what was required. And that actually led to me doing my PhD because I saw all these dietary supplements that women were using. And that I myself had used in the pursuit of having a calm brain. And I wanted to know if they really worked. And this is an interesting thing, but 2025, this stress management dietary supplement industry is going to be worth over $16 billion.
So we know we dealing with a challenge when we look at that kind of number, but there's very little evidence to support, oh, the huge of dietary supplements that women and men swallow there just hasn't been enough research funding to investigate it all. And some of the research as you well know, is, is animal studies haven't been done on actual women that are battling. So are that's one of the things that led me down that path. So not only use dietary supplements that are evidence-based to give them to give me the balance that I need.
And I'll look at myself very carefully from the psychological perspective, because I understand that underpins everything else. That's basically the foundation. So in short, that's my story. I am really aware of the fact now that during that time when I was so stressed and I didn't stop, I did build up neural pathways that didn't serve me. And now, unfortunately, I've got them to counteract as well as my natural inborn tendency. Because as you well know, neural pathways never disappear.
They just, oh, I'm just going to make new ones. You got to make new ones
Speaker 3 (23m 29s): And make a nicer deep. So you keep going into them like a train track.
Speaker 1 (23m 36s): Absolutely. So, you know, the more women don't acknowledge the fact that they're pushing themselves, the more robust those neural pathways become. So any advice is to stop yourself in your tracks right now and address the core issue behind that driving. It's actually a senseless driving and it's a, it's a driving that doesn't isn't self-compassion
Speaker 3 (23m 60s): No, absolutely it does not. It's not a self-loving, it's a self-sabotaging it's, you're killing yourself and you don't even know that you're killing yourself, but you are slowly making yourself disintegrate. And then all of a sudden you don't have any more cortisol and you need cortisol to survive to get out of bed. So it is a good journey. I'm glad you haven't gone back there. That means you've learned your lesson. Well, and I always say to people, look, when you fall down and when you get adrenal exhaustion, you have fallen into a deep pit of fatigue.
I encourage you to stay there for a little bit and do the hard work of looking introspectively and say, why have I done this to myself? Absolutely. It is a personality disorder because we bring it upon ourselves. And, and I say, stay there, don't get back up right away. Because if you get right back up, you know, and you just start taking care of it, then you haven't learned anything and you'll get back in there. So I, I say, live in there, just stay in the muckiness and, and feel the pain and learn from the pain and then get back out.
And I'm just like, yeah, driven. I can tell you and I could be besties. And it's just, it's a good thing, but it's also a way to commit suicide while you're living. Yeah. Yeah. And it's really,
Speaker 1 (25m 31s): You don't serve anybody else by doing that because you become a husk of your former self. And you know, when you have a child, I have a daughter and I have a son. And so that my daughter saw me push myself. And luckily she was young enough not to internalize it to the point where she's now carried it forward, which I'm really grateful for. But part of the problem as well is about, and I think we need to acknowledge this is that society has told women that we can have it all. And I found that to be a very disturbing message because nobody can have it all depending on what your all is and what you know, what society has told us are all is, is, you know, we have to be physically perfect.
We have to have perfect families, perfect homes, perfect careers, perfect meals. There's no way that anybody can have perfection every way. It just is impossible. And that ideally is also what drives a lot of women who haven't yet realized that it's, it's actually a myth that we can have it all.
Speaker 3 (26m 30s): Absolutely. Absolutely. I agree with you a hundred percent. So back to let's skip back. Sorry. I took you off the train off the track, but I just, we have to, we had to talk about that. And just before we get off this topic, do I want to give everybody hope that you can get back from adrenal exhaustion? If you don't have to be there forever, there is repair. It takes work. I don't know about you, but it took me a lot of work to repair it, but you can do it and you can come back and you can stay far, far away from that pit.
You don't have to go back in there.
Speaker 1 (27m 7s): You don't have to go back. And it is a hard, hard come out of that. Put to when you decide to finally get out of it, as Isabel says, rest there for a while and actually feel the hardness of it so that you never ever get into to go back. But the thing is, you also emerge wiser and that wisdom is hard earned, but it really does serve you going forward.
Speaker 3 (27m 27s): Absolutely well said. I like that. Okay. So let's talk about nutrition and the impact on stress
Speaker 0 (27m 37s): Calling all women. Are you feeling depressed, lack of energy, anxious. You're thinking as foggy, poor sleep, or maybe even hopeless, you know, there is a better you to present to this world. Hey, it's me, Dr. Isabel. And wow. If any of this sounds like you, I get you. I have been in this place and I've overcome those negative feelings. That's why I've created the free and private Facebook group called the bossy brain solution.
Yeah. Would you like weekly coaching to help you become your best self come and see for yourself and be empowered by the other women who want to shine their best light in this world? The link is in the podcast description, or you could search for the bossy brain solution in Facebook groups, it's private and free. So come and join us today and know that there is hope.
And I encourage you to remain on stoppable. And now back to the podcast,
Speaker 3 (28m 56s): How does the way we eat affect our stress level? Because you and I both know, the world is angry and that's got a lot to do with our nutrition. So could you kind of like expand on that?
Speaker 1 (29m 11s): The two things that are just want to point out Isabel, cause this is a huge conversation, but the first thing is blood glucose. You know, there is no way to store energy in the brain. We can see that clearly. So unless the brain has a pretty consistent supply of energy, it runs out of energy and then it will send adrenaline into your bloodstream to force you to go and find food. It's just the biochemistry of how it works because food means life it's survival.
So when people are emotional and when they are uptight and when they're angry, as you say, it changes the way blood glucose operates because all of those emotions drive adrenaline. And when adrenaline goes up, it then goes down and blood glucose follows suit. So you have this feeling, this constant feeling of, I need to find food. I'm not satisfied, I'm irritable. I don't feel good. And it drives unfortunately into my second point, which is processed food eating.
Now, why does it do this? There are a few reasons. This happens. We learn that with processed foods, we'll get a quick energy high and we feel good, but there's other something else very much more subtle, which most people don't understand. Processed food also allows the body to synthesize, synthesize what we call indogenous opioids, which lower the HPA response temporarily. So when people eat highly processed foods, they get a slight dip in that HPA response, they actually get a feeling of stress relief.
The anxiety drops even just for us for a very short period of time. And then of course, blood glucose dips again. And then we start the vicious cycle. What we do as human beings, we are very good at learning. What makes us feel good? And we like to pursue those feelings. Cause many of them are linked to our survival. So when people learn subconsciously that these processed foods are actually helping them feel calmer for a short while afterwards, guess what happens? They then develop a habit to eat those kinds of foods. So it's not just the blood glucose on its own.
It's the endogenous opioids as well that are driving this kind of eating. And of course we know that those kinds of foods contain very few. If any of the nutrients that we need to keep the brain functioning, optimally, they're not nutrient dense. So we may get some carbs from them. We may get some damaged fats. We get a whole lot of sugar, which are carbs, but they don't contain all the other macronutrients that the brain needs to function optimally. So those are two main issues that people are not aware of in relation to how the brain feels and emotions and our thinking process.
When we address blood glucose and the processed food separately and they interaction, we then find solutions
Speaker 3 (32m 9s): And poor people are, their emotions are just going up and down and up and down. And their brains are saying when, when Delia was talking about the brain, when she said, HPA, just replace that with brain juice because the HPA system is in your brain. It's your hypothalamus and your pituitary. And those two talk a lot all the time. And so when HPA has mentioned just the brain juice, they're talking all the time, your brain is constantly saying, I want to balance my blood sugar.
So it'll do whatever it's got to do to get your blood sugar up or balanced, you know, and it's got, what is the number? Is it blood sugars? Five? Is it four or seven? I think it's five. And anything below then your body's like, I'm freaking out. I need to get my blood sugar back up above five. Is it five or seven? I forget.
Speaker 1 (33m 0s): I think it's, I think it's between five and seven. And I think it also depends on the person. Isabel. I think some people tend towards needing a little bit more and I'm not sure I think has to do with athletes for example, but that's, that's the broad figure. I think I like to ask people, how do you feel? Because they can't always do a blood glucose test. So I said, how do you feel? You know, do you feel calm? Do you feel that you can think clearly, can you make a creative decision? And I ask that question because if they can make a creative decision and solve a problem, that means their prefrontal cortex is working, which is the executive functioning part of the brain.
Speaker 3 (33m 38s): Explain what executive, explain what executive function, give them examples. Yeah. Okay.
Speaker 1 (33m 46s): Excellent idea. The executive functioning of the brain is the part of the brain that takes all the information that you've been given about a situation and sums it up and says, okay, I can see we've got X, Y, and Z. And therefore we need to do the next thing. It looks for patterns. It looks for what happens after you do something. So it's involved in consequential thinking. It's the most sophisticated part of the brain. That's going to pull together all the skills and knowledge and experience that you have and apply it in a creative way to a new challenge.
That's the prefrontal cortex in a nutshell, well said when the prefrontal cortex can think clearly and creatively and you are calm. That means your blood glucose is great. If you feel jittery, you can't think clearly you can't settle down. You don't know if you want to sit down or if you want to walk, if you want to eat or you want to sleep, that's a clear sign that your blood glucose is all over the show. So I ask people just, you know, how do you feel? And when they have that irritable, cranky, don't feel good feeling.
It tells me that their brain is back in because that means the prefrontal cortex isn't getting the nutrition. It needs to be able to function because Isabella, it's interesting. The brain as a whole uses 20% plus of all the carbs we eat. It's the most group. It's a gradient organ, which you will know. But what a lot of people don't know is that the prefrontal cortex uses 20% of that energy. It's a, it's a small, smaller part of the brain, but because of its sophistication and its sensitivity, it's the greediest part of the brain.
It hasn't yet got any automatic workarounds. Like other parts of the brain have evolved to have. So everything it's doing, new, everything it's doing is calling on a new connection to be made between a whole lot of neurons. And that is why it's so greedy from an energetic perspective. So when people tell me that they're not thinking creatively, they're really backing, apologies. Do you think clearly they're really battling to find patterns are no, then that their brain is actually starving.
So that is something to keep in mind that really, really greedy executive functioning center needs even more nutrients in the rest of the brain.
Speaker 3 (36m 11s): So on that note, because we want to keep our prefrontal cortex ticket away and figuring out the world and how we're going to do our best. Let's talk about macro nutrients and how they need to be on a play to keep this part of our body and the rest of our body in tip top form. What, how, what do you recommend for eating?
Speaker 1 (36m 37s): Well, the first thing I recommend that people get to understand is the difference between starch and carbohydrates starts are kind of like a subcategory of carbs. And when you are very active, very energetic, when you're very young, you can eat more starch, then you can, when you're older. So I say to people, focus on the green leafy vege, which are cob versus the starchy carbs, unless you need to put on weight, the minute you aren't focusing on the right kinds of carbs, you will actually end up carrying your energy versus using your energy.
So that's the one thing that I suggest.
Speaker 3 (37m 15s): And what kind of starches are you talking about? What kind of starches?
Speaker 1 (37m 20s): Things like grains, things like rice, things like white potatoes, things like sweet potatoes, even things like Keanu and mullet. Keenwah, isn't actually a grain, but we use it as a grain. Those are the kinds of, of, of carbohydrates that we can eat more of. If we very active and we're not putting on weight, if we are, we need to cut down on those and eat more of the green leafy veggies like broccoli and even things, not cauliflower, which on green, lots of leaves, things like kale, Brussels, sprouts, cabbage, even the lettuces they're wide varieties of lettuces.
And of course, you've got your yellow foods as well, like carrots and butternut as well and pumpkin. So those are the focus. And of course you've got capsicum and tomatoes. I'm thinking more winter foods now because I'm sitting in winter. Yes. But colorful and fresh is the way we should be going as far as carbs go. And then you add the other starchy carbs. And if you have the need for them, as far as protein goes, all those foods also contain protein. And I know that there's a tendency now to be following things like paleo and keto, which are very much more animal food focused, but there's no long-term evidence to suggest that those diets are better for the brain.
Truly. There is no long-term evidence. I'm busy writing a, a blog post at the moment about those different dietary approaches and the evidence to support them. So I think if people are wanting to eat animal products as a form of protein, that's perfectly fine, but they should be organic because pesticides are accumulating fat and that fat goes up the food chain to us. So making sure that it's organic grass fed straight to table is the way to go. If you're choosing to eat animal products and talking about fat, that's the third macronutrient.
The fact that oil story is such a complex story. And I often tell people that when I give a lecture on it, my lecture is three hours long. So it's a very complex topic. And it's the one that I fell into when I first decided that clinical psychology wasn't for me, because I'd read that 60% of the dry weight of the brain is made up of fat. So I thought, oh, well, I'll just investigate fat a little bit. Then I'll, I'll, I'll have it covered. And Isabel, I can honestly tell you, 20 plus years later, I am still learning about fats and oils because it is the most complex discussion in nutrition.
And that is why there are so many myths and misconceptions about the fat and oil story, because it's very easy to confuse people when the subject is complex. So as far as fats and oils go third macronutrient, we need to be consuming many more of the fats that our body cannot make, which are called essential fats. That's omega-3 and omega six. Our bodies can make saturated fats. Our bodies can make mono and saturated fats, but they cannot make polyunsaturated fats, essential fatty acids, omega three, and omega six.
If you want to eat more saturated fats, then you need to eat more essential fats because the ratio in the cell membrane needs to be the right ratio to keep that cell membrane specifically neurons now flexible and malleable. If you eat more saturated fats than you do essential fats, what happens is that cell membrane becomes inflexible. It becomes harder. And then you also need to make more cholesterol to keep that cell membrane flexible.
So the way to solve the problem is to just eat more essential fats so that you can eat more saturated fats. So
Speaker 3 (41m 4s): I guess like the bottom line for the listeners is each plate of food needs to have your good carbohydrates, your good fats and your good proteins to keep your blood sugar nice and stable. So your prefrontal cortex doesn't go down the two. Is that safe to say
Speaker 1 (41m 23s): Absolutely Isabelle. And if people are getting hungry between meals, I suggest that maybe just increase their meal size a little bit or choose a very nutrient dense, good carbs and fat snack.
Speaker 3 (41m 35s): Absolutely good. Did everybody hear that? Listen to what Dario just said. Whenever you eat something, make sure it's a carbohydrate protein and a fat all three together. Do you know why? Because that keeps your blood sugar nice and stable. If you just eat a carbohydrate, guess what? You'll go up and you'll crash down. Okay. So that's like the big number. Tip number two, tip. Number one was tell, say your name when you're in the middle of your sleep and you're still wide awake.
Talk to yourself and mention your first name and tip. Number two is make sure you're eating every time you eat. It's a carbohydrate, a good carbs, protein and fat together to stabilize your blood sugar. Yes or no.
Speaker 1 (42m 24s): I think that's fabulous. You summarized it beautifully.
Speaker 3 (42m 27s): And I love it. Giving snackable bits of information, people understand it faster. You know, they need something to take away.
Speaker 1 (42m 37s): Absolutely. Isabel, and I think one of the secrets about the FET, it does keep our blood glucose stable. But the other thing which very few people realize is that flavor, molecules, disperse, optimally infect versus water. So that's one of the reasons the low fat diet was so unpleasantly unpalatable, because there was no fat in any of the foods. So they had to add extra fillers and additives like MSG to the food to make a tasty, whereas it needed to be tasty to have the fat in it because that's how flavor molecules disperse.
So whenever people try and cut out fat, they always end up putting on weight because they never get that satiated feeling because the flavor molecules don't
Speaker 3 (43m 20s): Disappear. Right. Cause fat fills you up. Fat tells your brain. Oh, okay. I got it. I'm full I'm. Okay.
Speaker 1 (43m 28s): Absolutely. And the food tastes better when you've got fat in your mouth with the other flavor molecules.
Speaker 3 (43m 34s): So do you have any, do you have a third tip before we land this plane? Do you have a third tip? You want to give our listeners, you've got a tip for sleeping, a tip for eating correctly, every meal, another tip to help them with their brain and their nutrition.
Speaker 1 (43m 52s): It's a good one. I've been working on a list of tips and there's so many Isabel. I think I'd read a lot of people just to take a moment and think about how precious and sophisticated and sensitive their brain is. Because everything that we do every day, our brain is changing shape, you know, from what's happening internally, it's changing shape and from what we providing from the environment. So I think the third tip would be that we need to take care of what we exposing our brain to.
And that means that, you know, you want to have communication and conversations with people in real life that support you and are positive. You want to read the kind of books that do the same thing. You want to listen to people on podcasts, you know, with this, for example, people that have got helpful ways to live a better life. When you spend yourself surrounded by positivity and by ways of improving your life, your brain changes shape in a positive direction. That's the plus side of neuroplasticity.
The dark side is if you do the opposite of those things, you actually end up building neural pathways that make you more negative, where you don't feel like you can actually do much with your life. So I think the third tip is to surround yourself with positivity and the things that you can do because laugh is tough. And we do live in a complex, complicated world today and surrounding ourselves with negative news and negative feedback. And you know, those echo chambers that just speak about doom and gloom don't serve us. And our brain is picking up every single one of those little nuances.
So protect your brain. Look after it, not just in terms of your sleep and your food and your exercise, look after it in terms of what you're exposing it to.
Speaker 3 (45m 41s): Exactly. Cause everything you listened to infects your brain. So like Delia said, do you want to infect it positively or infect it negatively? It's up to us. Do you watch the news? I mean, are you, do you ever watch the news or do you watch it first?
Speaker 1 (45m 58s): I'll pick up something that I wanted to watch. For example, you know, with Melbourne, how many COVID cases there had, but I find that are I try and focus and I've been doing this for many years is to focus on the things that I have control over because the minute the brain is faced with something, it doesn't have control over our cortisol spikes. That's just unfortunately, a natural repercussion. So watching the news leaves you feeling, I have no control and that's a bad feeling. And I don't block to cultivate that. So I'll really like watching Ted talks.
There's some Netflix shows that are fantastically positive and uplifting. So I'll watch those. And I read a lot. So I really try and avoid the news. And I have friends that send me snippets, you know, about the news. And I go, thanks.
Speaker 3 (46m 43s): My mom lives in wa my mom is 96 years, young living independently. And just as like the beacon for our doctor on a mission here and she lives at Gina, she's got her finger on the pulse. So she watches I've helped her. She used to watch the news like three or four hours a day. And she's like, I worry a worry person. And I've got her down to just, we're watching it for a half an hour. So she keeps me abreast of anything. I need to know about, like when I talked to her, I called her yesterday and I go, mom, what do you need to let me know about the world?
And the biggest thing was that the queen mother cut her birthday cake with a sword. So that's the way, that's the kind of news my mom, me now, because she knows it's just not good for us. Absolutely.
Speaker 1 (47m 33s): And I'm glad that you try and go down to half an hour. I'm sure you're going to train her down to even less than that.
Speaker 3 (47m 40s): Well, 96, you know, that's pretty good. I wanted to ask, could you please let our listeners know about what you've got to offer and how they can reach you and stuff. And just so everybody knows, all of this will be in the show notes.
Speaker 1 (47m 57s): Isabelle, thank you for asking, because you are in New Zealand, any of your listeners that are New Zealand in New Zealand will be able to access a special link that my publisher gave me for my books. So if they bought the first one, which is the science-y one, they'll get the second one, which is the recipe one for free. So I will send you that link. So you'll be able to use that in the show notes. If people want to follow me in what I do, they can find me on Instagram. They can find me on Facebook. They can find me at my website as well, and they can download a three-day brand food menu and recipes to go with that.
They'll then get onto my email list. And I send all sorts of interesting things to people about brain set and stress and food and so on. So they can do that as well. And I look forward to answering questions and engaging with people on social media. So thank you.
Speaker 3 (48m 48s): Thank you. And thank you for all the research and the hard work you're doing. I can tell by your passion and your wisdom that you're going to help. A lot of us make it over the hundred years, mark healthy and happy and joyful and peaceful and making love. Yeah, because that's important for our brain. My kids were like, oh mom, please. I don't want to talk about it. And I go, your father and I will be making love even when we're a hundred. Cause I'm married my best friend.
And they're like, so if they're listening, oh, well, all right, well thank you so much, Taylor, you've been a blessing and I encourage you to remain on stock. Thank
Speaker 1 (49m 31s): You. I'll look forward to that. I look forward to walking over that a hundred running over that hundred hundred year long with you. Is it helping?
Speaker 3 (49m 38s): Yes, let's do that together. Have a wonderful day. Thank you so much.
Speaker 4 (49m 46s): Hello, chef Michael here. If you enjoyed today's episode, we would love it. If you subscribe to the podcast and left us a review.