The Flourishing Experiment

Dr. John Ratey, expert on the correlation between brain activity and how it’s important for us to move our bodies, discusses seven ways to take control of your life, along with the link between depression and sugar, being responsible for our own well-being, and the benefits of exercise. Serena Marie, RD, talks about foods that are great for brain health.

Featured Guest: Dr. John Ratey

Harvard psychiatrist and foremost authority when it comes to the brain and exercise, Dr. John Ratey, discusses the correlation between sugar and depression/other diseases, being proponents for our own well-being, and the benefits of exercise. He has been on TRLS in such episodes as “John Ratey” (Episode 53), “Dr. John Ratey” (Episode 59), “Optimize Your Brain With Dr. John Ratey, Part 1” (Episode 74), and “Optimize Your Brain With Dr. John Ratey, Part 2” (Episode 75).

  • Companies work with people to find better ways to accommodate health in their lives, like startups working with the elderly to get them moving and to get them out into the community more.
  • We’re near a tipping point; people recognize that we have to be more responsible for ourselves and our own health. We’re empowered by Google medicine and also knowing how to be healthier and how to increase our well-being.
  • The biggest thing that Kari read recently is that our genes account for 5% of what can happen to us (from Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being by Deepak Chopra, MD, and Rudolph E. Tanzi, PhD).
  • Our genetic inheritance can guide us to that wisdom that’s impacted in our genes—to be in the moment, to eat right, to get the proper amount of sleep, to connect with others, and so on.
  • He’s excited about two different Silicon Valley firms that he’s working with who recognize that small tribes are the way to promote a better sense of well-being.
  • He’ll be talking with an artificial intelligence group and another group that has proven that successful entrepreneurs have a passion for taking steps in helping the elderly try to improve their lives and getting them connected with others through exercise and the community.
  • If you have been following him on Facebook, you’ll know that he’s recently been interviewed by Larry King, and to his surprise a group in CA put together a song called “Ratey-O-Active” on YouTube (like “Radioactive”).
  • The “Super Seven” Commandments include eating right, being outside, being with your tribe, meditation, getting enough sleep, exercise, and mindset.
  • Question: Can you get the same tribe feeling from a Facebook group that you can from meeting in person? Answer: It can be a starting point, but it’s never going to be the same. But there are a lot of different mechanisms being developed and that are already in existence (like Meetup).
  • He talks about the November Project and walking or running up and down the stairs at Harvard Stadium.
  • The “dopamine squirt”—the surprise or novelty of an e-mail
  • Using our past history and our biometrics (blood pressure, pulse) as well as what we’ve felt and what we like in the past is called affective computing so that we can be guided to prompt ourselves to move—it increases your state of well-being.
  • You do not need sugar if you are burning fat. Dick Manning is a trail runner in Montana who has eliminated sugar for years from his diet. He’s lost weight and gotten out of depression. He is using fat as his fuel (via a ketogenic diet). High concentrations of sugar lead to inflammation and putting on weight/fat.
  • Ratey cautions jumping on the probiotics bandwagon (meaning purchasing probiotics in pill form rather than eating foods with probiotics) because we know very little about it. We’re on the cusp of learning. Serena Marie, RD, talked about probiotics on “The Hottest “Living A Running Lifestyle” Trends With Kalyn Rozanski” (Episode 118).
  • The first prescription for someone who has gastrointestinal problems is to eliminate sugar from his or her diet.
  • For an injured runner, try to avoid depression by doing things like upper-body aerobics (Conductorcise), boxing, kettlebells, use the elliptical, or some alternative to staying active. Exhaust yourself other ways; when you do that you are raising your heart rate.
  • Kari has been getting in the pool to do aqua running while dealing with her back injury.
  • He mentions a New York Times article called “Learning a New Sport May Be Good for the Brain” written by Gretchen Reynolds. It helps grow your brain.
  • He now starts off his lectures talking about neuroplasticity. That means putting ourselves in a state where the brain cells are the most liable to grow and change.
  • The more depressed/stressed you get, the less plastic your brain gets—the less it’s able to grow and respond to the environment.
  • When it comes to sleep, during the stage of early sleep at night is when you’re more liable to get into restorative sleep where your brain and your body get the best kind of sleep. It’s the early morning where we get into REM sleep. In the late morning is when we dream the most, and that’s very important.
  • In Go Wild, Ratey talks about Dr. Beverly Tatumn of Spelman College (President from 2002–2015). She shut off her e-mail at 9 p.m. to prepare herself to go to sleep by 10:30 or 11 a.m. so that she could get eight hours of sleep. She helped Spelman College put an emphasis on students’ health and fitness.
  • When you go to some gyms/health clubs in northern California for an entire year, you actually get your money back/can go for free!
  • Ratey’s latest book is in process! He and Dr. Hallowell are doing an update to Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood. Dr. Ratey is also doing an update to Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.
  • Exercise and Parkinson's—people are raising money for boot camps for recently diagnosed patients that will help to prevent the onslaught of the condition. Norman Doidge recently wrote a book called The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity Itself, and he talks about “walking off” Parkinson’s disease.
  • When we exercise, we change the chemistry of our brains and our bodies.

Serena Marie, RD
Go-to, real-food dietitian, Serena Marie, RD, talks about fat and sugar as related to brain health.

  • Serena talks about omega-3 fatty acids--which are anti-inflammatory, polyunsaturated fatty acids that are most bountiful in fatty fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies, tuna), in seaweed, and in nuts and seeds (macadamia and walnuts). Grass-fed meat is another good source of omega-3s. The version of omega-3 fatty acids that you receive from meat is very bioavailable. When we’re getting it from nuts, seeds (chia or hemp seeds), the conversion is very low, so it’s harder to get the appropriate amount from a diet void of fish. Aim for 1,000 milligrams a day or so.
  • Over half of the brain’s weight is made of fat. To keep our brains healthy, we need to be eating the thing that they’re comprised of.
  • Our brain is made of DHA. Studies show that having DHA intake during your lifetime is going to help with cognition. It’s shown and correlated with having better memory and executive function. Studies recommend one to four servings per week.
  • Some research says that DHA helps with depression as well.
  • Insulin is the hormone that your body needs to run through the bloodstream to holla, “Let me in!” to your cells. Studies have shown that those people who are insulin resistant have been associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease. The proposed pathways are complicated, and there isn’t one that’s well studied or understood. Because insulin is unable to do its job and sugar is hanging out in the blood stream, there’s increased oxidation of stress and contributes to deleterious effects in memory.
  • Studies have shown that less than 20 grams of carbohydrates a day is a great way to combat memory problems and dementia.

Gratitude Jar (Woot! Woot!)

Kari is grateful that integrated health professionals exist, that the science exists and is being talked about, and that people are trying to live healthier lives. Serena is grateful that Siggi’s yogurt started making 4% milk fat yogurt. She’s obsessed with the strawberry rhubarb flavor (but they also have plain). It has 9 grams of sugar. People with a lactose intolerance can sometimes handle yogurt and hard cheeses.

Next week, Kari talks with artist Ann Rea who runs as a form of relaxation and to help her be an even more beautiful artist.

And don’t forget that on Sunday, April 17, Kari and Dr. Marjorie Dejoie will be at Philadelphia Runner in Center City at 9 a.m. leading a vision board workshop. You’ll leave the event with your very own vision board!


John Ratey:
Facebook: The Ratey Institute
Twitter: @jratey


Serena Marie, RD:
Facebook: /SerenaMarieRD
Twitter: @SerenaMarieRD
Instagram: SerenaMarieRD


Kari Gormley:
final unedited 2 (1 of 1)
Facebook: The Running Lifestyle Show
Twitter: @KariGormley
Instagram: @KariGormley

Direct download: john-ratey-04-07-2016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT