Dr. Darya and Kevin Rose Talk Meditation Retreats, Diet, Seasonal Eating, and More
Posted on January 3rd 2016 (about 3 years)
In this episode, Dr. Rhonda Patrick chats with Dr. Darya Rose and husband Kevin Rose.
Dr. Darya Rose is a Ph.D. neuroscientist, author of “Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting,” and creator of Summer Tomato, which was featured in TIME magazine’s list of the web’s 50 best websites in 2011.
Kevin you may know from TV, the investing world, or any of a wide variety of things he’s well known for (founding digg.com, just for starters). More recently, Kevin hosts a podcast where he's had guests ranging from titans of industry like Elon Musk to notables like his buddy Tim Ferriss, multi-time New York Times best selling author, investor, self-experimenter and fellow podcaster.
Here's a little bit of what gets covered in this episode...
- Darya's fascinating experience on a 10-day silent meditation retreat where she spent around 7 hours a day doing seated meditation, intermingled with another 6 hours a day of walking meditation.
- The biological significance of mindfulness while eating.
- Unlocking the mysteries of blood glucose by actually testing your response to foods, or, in Kevin's case, alcoholic beverages.
- Kevin talks about his experiments with a ketogenic diet featuring large amounts of vegetables combined with fats to drive his ketosis.
- Some of Kevin's ideas and projects he's been working on.
- How intermittent fasting functions as a beneficial hormetic stressor that activates gene expression changes that can actually make you more resilient to biological stress.
Rhonda: Hello, my friends. Today, I'm sitting here with power couple, Kevin and Dr. Darya Rose. Kevin is an internet entrepreneur and Angel Investor. He has co-founded many companies like Digg, Pownce, Milk, and others. He was a TV personality. He also was a former venture partner for Google Ventures. Among many other things, he also hosts a popular podcast along with a mutual friend of ours, Tim Ferriss, called "The Random Show." Dr. Darya Rose has a PhD in neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco. She's an author and also host a popular blog called the Summer Tomato. So, what's up guys?
Kevin: Thanks for having us.
Darya: Yeah. Great to be here.
Rhonda: Yeah. Super excited. So I hear like, Darya, you had a very unique and interesting experience, like, very recently.
Darya: Yes. I just came from a 10-day silent meditation retreat at Spirit Rock up in Marin.
Rhonda: Ten-day silent retreat. That's, like, super crazy intense, like, can you explain?
Darya: So, to clarify, so no talking like I feel like it's a bit of a misnomer. Because it's like, yes, it was silent, but like that wasn't the hardest part. Like, it was, I mean, I was meditating, just sitting meditation over seven hours a day. And then also like probably six hours of walking meditation plus instruction, you know, there was time off for meals. I had a little bit of time to exercise. But, you know, it's a vegetarian diet. You know, you actually couldn't even really...you weren't supposed to make eye contact with anyone.
Rhonda: Was there like...when you're sitting and meditating for seven hours a day, was there, like, light? Was it dark? Was it...
Darya: Well we start at 6 in the morning when it was very dark. But usually there was a meditation hall where we would all gather and, you know, you sit on your cushion. And it was never a stretch of more than...it was usually either 30-minute stretch or 45-minute stretch and then we'd switch to walking meditation or switch to a guided meditation or something. But, yeah, it was...
Kevin: I did not go on this.
Rhonda: Yeah. That sounds like super...
Kevin: It sounded way too intense for me.
Rhonda: So, what was it like? Were there like, were you totally, you know, introspective and just sort of analyzing your own behavior and stuff like that?
Darya: Yeah, yeah. So, I mean, I wish I could say the whole time that I was sitting there and just like having epiphanies. But like, it was... I think the best analogy I've heard is it's kind of like getting a deep tissue massage. Like, it starts out you're like, "This is gonna be great." And then you're like, "Oh, my God, oh, my God, this sucks, this sucks, this sucks. How can I keep doing this? It hurts." But then you're like, "Oh, no, no, that's good, that's good, that's good." And then so, it's like a mixture of like awesome and torture. And then by the end you're like, "That was something else," but like I'm really glad I did it because now I feel amazing." But it was not easy, not easy. No.
Kevin: Well the crazy thing is you didn't do a ton of meditation prior to going into this.
Darya: Zero, pretty much. I mean, I did a little bit.
Rhonda: What? So, from 0 to 10 days, like silence meditating.
Darya: Yeah. Anybody who's ever tried to meditate, like meditating for 10 minutes is really hard. So, yeah, I'm kind of crazy, but I was working with the founder of Spirit Rock, Jack Kornfield, and a friend of mine, Adam Gazzaley who's a scientist at UC, San Francisco. And we're sort of piloting an app to train meditation. And I was one of the beta testers. So, like my whole experience of meditation started there and...but I didn't know any, I mean, this was a Buddhist like, Vipassana meditation retreat. So, I like... They were saying words I had no idea what they're talking about. And I had to like, you do actually get to meet with the teacher every couple days, and in one of my first meetings I was like, "What does dharma mean?" Like, "What is enlightenment? Is that real?" So, yeah, I have a lot to learn.
Rhonda: So, you're working with a neuroscientist there and were they like measuring brain activity and things like that when you were meditating or was that...
Darya: They're working on things like that. The first part was just behavioral. So, they were basically trying to train our attention to just focus on the breath and just to see if that's possible. So, I was part of that study and they're continuing on that.
Kevin: But that wasn't part of this 10-day.
Darya: No, that was just my introduction to meditation.
Rhonda: Okay. I see. Yeah. Meditation is something that I've been talking about a lot recently. Mostly, because I'm very interested in... You may know Elizabeth Blackburn, she works a lot with Elissa Epel, I think I'm saying her name right, at UCSF. And they do a lot of work looking at the effects of buffering the negative effects of stress with meditation, you know, they measure telomere length as a biomarker of aging. So, they'll like, you know, they'll look at the effects of meditation, stress, and things like that. So, I've become sort of, you know, interested in buffering some of the negative effects of stress because, you know, I do experience chronic stress.
Kevin: Have you tried any apps like Headspace or any of the others?
Rhonda: I downloaded Headspace at the recommendation of Tim.
Kevin: Headspace is awesome.
Rhonda: But I have yet to use it. You see, because I'm always making excuses because I have so much to do.
Kevin: So, it starts off with 10 days, 10 minutes a day. It's their 10-day challenge.
Kevin: And it's really easy to do. It's all guided. So, they walk you through from the get-go. I found it was a great way to get started for the first time.
Rhonda: Yeah. I've made one step, I downloaded the app. So, I know it's there on my phone. I just need to start doing it. I did yoga this morning and so, I think that yoga, you know, sometimes... And I was having a conversation with another doctor that I had met. He's a professor emeritus. I met him in Amsterdam when I was trip traveling recently and, you know, he talked about meditation. It's something that he's been getting into recently in his emeritus, you know, years, whatever you wanna call it. You know, he's been talking about how it changes gene expression, like 100 different genes change when you start to meditate. And you probably might know more about this. But he was mentioning like immediate changes in blood flow to the brain, brain activity just like immediately, not to mention the long-term benefits that occur. And so, but then he went on to say, you know, meditation, a lot of people make a big thing about it, like what you experience is like that's work. I mean, that's, you know, real...you have to dedicate, you have to really practice, you know, doing something. But he was talking about meditation in the sense of just taking some time and being now, here, right here, like looking at whatever some nice tree outside of your window, listening to some music, not thinking about what you're planning an hour from now or what you did last night, but just being here now. And so, not everyone has to like sit there and om or whatever, you know? Not everyone has to sit there and focus on their breathing. Maybe focusing on your breathing helps if you have a wandering mind which I do. So, I think I probably would have to focus on my breathing. But...
Kevin: Yeah. There's like... Sorry.
Darya: I was gonna say, there's definitely a lot of styles of meditation and a lot of them are eyes open, focusing on something you're looking at or an active... I mean, there's even like movement-based meditations. Like, we did some Qigong practice while we were there.
Rhonda: What's that?
Darya: It's kinda like Tai Chi, but it was very much like, it was like full body breathing, you know? So, you focus on your breath, but it's also your entire body, you're embodying meditation. So that was really fascinating.
Rhonda: So, someone like coaching you and telling you what to do while you're doing?
Rhonda: Okay. So, there is some like...you're having... It's not pure silence like forever.
Darya: It's not pure silence.
Rhonda: But... Okay
Darya: Right. Yeah.
Rhonda: And so, like, when you're doing some of these techniques, were you experiencing any sort of feelings of happiness or calm or...
Darya: Yeah. So, there was a couple like big takeaways. I think my first big question when I got there, I was like... So I had tremendous benefits from meditating just after using the app, I meditate like 20 to 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week. Totally helps with my insomnia, really helps me focus at like work stuff. You know, I'm much better at not switching between e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, blah-blah-blah. And like, that has helped dramatically. And while I'm there I'm just like, "Dude, we've been meditating for 11 hours." Like, "Why do I need to do two more hours? Can I just like, go to my room and read?" And they're like, "No." And the reason was because when you're in retreat it's not the same as meditating at home. When you're in retreat it actually... So, I would say it took three to four days before I really felt like I wasn't completely at the mercy of my compulsions to like check e-mail, check Twitter, check those things. It takes that long to relax. And so, the first day sitting in the hall, everybody was like, you know, we'd be like, "Okay, quiet time." And people, you could hear them wrestling, and sniffling, and coughing, and adjusting. By the last day, you could hear a pin drop in that room of 100 people because we'd all actually chilled out.
Rhonda: I know that when I'm standing in line to get some tea I'm like, "I can't just stand here. I gotta pull out my phone and do something," you know? So, that's... So, do use Headspace also with Darya?
Kevin: Yeah. I use Headspace a lot. I just started using it more... I go in waves. I think all of us we get busy and get caught up with life, and then all of a sudden you're like, "Wow, I haven't meditated in a month." So, I just started getting back into it. There's a great book called "The Miracle of Mindfulness" that I recommend and it talks about applying meditation to everyday life. And have it being just outside of sitting, but actually doing other things. One of the things it mentions in there is washing the dishes for the sake of washing the dishes. And the whole practice is about the fact that when most people are washing the dishes, they're thinking about e-mail, they're thinking about a thousand other things they should be doing and they're not actually focused on the task at hand. And this is about meditating while you scrub, and really being like mindful about what you're doing.
Darya: You should definitely do more of the dishwashing meditation.
Kevin: Yeah. Exactly. I wash a lot of dishes, by the way. I do most of the dishes for the record.
Rhonda: Well, talking about being mindful while you're washing dishes, I was reading Darya, like one of your posts. You were talking about being mindful while you're eating.
Kevin: Yeah. That's hard for me, that's the hardest one for me.
Rhonda: And I found that very interesting. Do you wanna talk a little bit about that?
Darya: Yeah, yeah. I think actually, so my whole thing is I'm really interested in, I mean, we're sort of in the same subject like, nutrition, neuroscience, and health. But one of the things I've come up against over, and over, and over again in my work is that a lot of people want to do this stuff. But it's practicing it, it's doing it, that's the hard part. And so, I've really gotten into psychology and behavior change in terms of like getting people to eat healthy. And mindfulness came out to be like a huge one. Because so many people don't think before they eat. They don't think about what they're eating, they don't appreciate what's in their mouths while they're eating so they don't know when they'll stop eating, they don't make the best decisions. And practicing mindfulness in day-to-day eating practices is actually tremendously effective. Because what happens, what the science shows is that you enjoy your food more if you eat mindfully. And what that means is sort of stopping and instead of like multitasking, looking at your phone, watching TV, talking on whatever, talking to your friend, roommate is just actually, you know, turning everything off and just focusing on the flavor of your food, God forbid chewing and swallowing before you put another bite in your mouth.
Yeah. And we actually went through a formal mindful eating meditation practice while we were at the retreat. It's pretty intense actually. You're supposed to like look at your food for 30 to 60 seconds and, like, smell it. And you realize it looks really weird. And then you're supposed to figure out like where the hunger is in your body. Like, is it in your stomach or is it in your mouth or is it in your head? And like, what you want to eat first? And then instead of just being a zombie and eating your entire meal sort of like in slow-motion because there was a lot of slow motion zombie movement while we were at the retreat. It was like, your first couple bites, eat really slowly, close your eyes, feel it, feel the texture, feel the warmth, feel the flavor, and then you can eat like a normal person. But it's actually... I recommend everybody try that because it's a...it doesn't take that long if you'll only do a couple bites at the beginning of your meal and it really changes your whole experience.
Kevin: Well, that and we have a friend, Matt Mullenweg, that started chewing while he was eating just as a practice, like actually chewing 50 times before swallowing.
Kevin: Twenty times before swallowing each bite, and he lost a bunch of weight just by that one change. Just by chewing it and slowing down.
Kevin: Just by chewing it and slowing down.
Rhonda: He didn't make any other changes?
Kevin: No other changes. Just you get full.
Darya: You naturally eat less. And the other thing, the last part of our training was, yeah, when you start to get full. So, you start to realize you get full, but then there was like there were... It was funny, they're like, there's this committee in your brain. It's like, "Well, yeah, you're full, but that was really good. And so, you should maybe have another bite of that." And then like, another one is like, "No, no, no. You're trying to lose weight." That's like another voice. And then your mom comes and is like, "You shouldn't leave any food on your plate. There are starving kids in Africa."
Darya: And he was like, what you should really pay attention to, and this is Jack again, Jack Kornfield, is who wins that conversation for you, you know? And that's a really important insight that most people never think about, so.
Rhonda: What I thought was really neat and Kevin sort of alluded to this, was that...and I read this on your cool infographic that you have on your blog, that it takes around 20 minutes for the signals, you know, satiety signals to hit your brain and register, "I'm full." And part of that has to do with you're not making as much of the hunger hormone. So, ghrelins, you know, being toned down a bit. So, you're not like hungry, hungry. So, if you do chew 20 times or something like Matt was doing, you are gonna eat slower and then 20 minutes go by, and that signal gets to your brain where you're full. So it's like, "Oh," you know, you don't need as much food to get full.
Rhonda: But it's just people are so quick to eat.
Kevin: Right. I can eat 2 meals in 20 minutes. That's no problem.
Rhonda: So, are you practicing some of this mindful eating?
Kevin: Yeah. I try to, but it's still difficult. It's really hard. It's hard to slow down.
Darya: You do it on autopilot.
Rhonda: Yeah. Totally.
Kevin: Yeah. That's the one thing I need to improve on.
Darya: Yeah. Otherwise you're perfect.
Kevin: I know I've done all kinds of other crazy stuff in the diet realm and this is...which drives her nuts. But it's the part of the problem with being friends with Tim Ferriss, is you try crazy hacks.
Rhonda: Well, you were talking a little bit about some experiments you're doing recently with your diet, right?
Kevin: Yeah. I mean, so, here about four, five months ago, Tim started getting into ketosis. And so, you know, we get together and he's like, "You gotta try this. I'm monitoring my blood." And so, I go out and buy a glucose monitor and ketone monitor from Amazon, and I'm pricking my finger five times a day.
Darya: And he's like...
Darya: Like blood all over the house.
Kevin: And I'm keeping detailed logs in Google Spreadsheets of everything I eat. I would test before my glucose levels before I eat something 30 minutes after and 60 minutes after to test and see what spikes it, what doesn't. And if there's anything, like, weird things like agave and other things that are like, mysteries and whether they actually spike your glucose. And what alcohols actually spike at versus not because I like to have, you know, a glass of wine. So...
Rhonda: You're impressed by this, right? This is very scientific.
Darya: It was actually the most impressive I've ever been with one of his crazy harebrained "I Love Lucy" schemes he does.
Kevin: I've done some crazy stuff, like I figured out that... So, I've done a modified ketosis kind of diet where I do very high-veggie, but also extremely high-fat and low-protein. So, I would do six to nine cups of veggies per day, but always combining them with lots...like extreme amount of fat. So, a lot of coconut milk, like really dense coconut milk.
Rhonda: With low sugar.
Kevin: Yeah. But not the stuff that you see at Whole Foods. Like, the stuff you see at Whole Foods is typically like, you know, the stuff in the tall boxes and you go in there and it has like four or five grams of fat per like half cup to cup of coconut milk. I get the like cooking coconut milk. Do you know what I'm talking about?
Rhonda: Yeah, yeah.
Kevin: The really, really dense stuff that typically comes in a can. You can get it on Amazon and that has 13 grams of fat per cup...no, per half cup.
Darya: Half cup. Yeah.
Kevin: Yeah. So, super, super fatty. And then I would take all these steamed veggies that have been frozen and then put them in a blender along with all that coconut fat, and just blended up along with some coconut oil on top of that just to give a little bit more coconut flavor.
Darya: And like four blueberries.
Kevin: And then I would have that breakfast. But that's like way more carbs than you're supposed to have to keep you in ketosis because if you go more than 20 grams of carbs per day, they typically tell you to stay under that to stay in full ketosis, but I was doing that per meal, 20 plus grams per meal.
Rhonda: Was this the same... You were eating the same meal? So, it was just the blended...
Rhonda: That's all you were eating?
Kevin: If you can combine it with...
Darya: No, no, no. He was eating... That was just his breakfast.
Rhonda: That was...
Kevin: Just breakfast. But if you combine it with that much fat, it slows down the digestion and then there wasn't that huge spike. So, I'd stay in ketosis if you combine it with the fat.
Rhonda: Did you test that?
Kevin: Yeah. Absolutely.
Rhonda: So, you did it without the coconut milk and then coconut oil?
Kevin: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. And it kicks you out without it.
Rhonda: Interesting. What were the steamed vegetables you were using?
Kevin: So, I'd use kale, spinach. I'd use almost everything, like I use sea vegetables. Gosh. What else did I use? Anything that I could find at the store.
Kevin: Chard, cucumber. It wasn't really for flavor because all that stuff blended up just tastes nasty.
Darya: It's really gross.
Kevin: So, it was just...when you add the coconut, you could cover up most of it with the coconut. And if you steam ahead of time though, it actually turns the veggies into like ice crystals. So, you don't need to add ice. So, it kinda makes it a really...almost like ice cream-like thing the you have every morning.
Darya: Green coconut ice cream.
Kevin: Green coconut ice cream.
Rhonda: Okay. So, that was breakfast.
Kevin: Yeah. Throw some avocado in there as well.
Kevin: Any extra fat that you can get in there.
Rhonda: Yeah. I make a smoothie somewhat similar to that, I don't... It's raw vegetables, chard, kale, and then I do carrots, tomato which are more high in sugar.
Kevin: I'm confused at why you add banana to yours though.
Rhonda: I don't always, you know?
Kevin: Because I saw that on there, I was like sometimes I wouldn't...
Rhonda: Originally, I added it because I was adding a lot of really nasty vegetables. I was doing mustard greens, I was doing kale. Yeah. I was doing broccoli sprouts which are really potent and like disgusting in a smoothie. And, you know, sometimes it helps with the texture of it. But I like the avocado now instead for the texture. So, I kind of occasionally put the banana and we share it. So, it's like half of a banana.
Kevin: Yeah. So, half a banana. Yeah.
Rhonda: Yeah. So then lunch you're eating...
Kevin: Lunch is just full on salad with as much fat added as possible. Sometimes, I know this isn't really good, in that I try to stay away from processed meats, but I would do bacon at the place on top of that to get a lot of fat. And then just, you know, really high-fat dressings on top of that. Mostly olive oil, stuff like that.
Rhonda: Yeah. And then.
Kevin: And then dinner was just...dinner was a free for all.
Darya: Steak and veggies.
Kevin: It was like steak and veggies.
Darya: Cheese, lots of cheese.
Kevin: You know, but grass-fed meats, things like that. We're not going crazy and do anything industrial.
Darya: Oh, yeah. If you're eating that much fat, you have to eat high-quality fat.
Rhonda: But you were doing it with him? Were you?
Darya: I did a two-week experiment which is totally not characteristic of me.
Rhonda: Ketone bodies and everything.
Darya: Yeah. I did the stabbing just because he was like, well, I've never seen him with so much energy. So, that was one of the reasons he was doing this.
Kevin: I was in full on ketosis.
Darya: Waking up in the morning like coming...going to work all day, coming home, running 5Ks. I was just like, "Who are you?"
Kevin: It was really kinda crazy.
Darya: I've never had fatigue problems. I'm generally really healthy and don't do diets ever. But he was like...I'm like...He was like, "You should know what this feels like." And I was like, "Okay." So, I did a two-week experiment. I felt pretty good for the most part. I gotten to pretty high ketosis.
Kevin: You had one day where you were just like, "I have insane energy."
Darya: I had one day where I had insane energy.
Rhonda: So, what were your ketone levels like when you're measuring them?
Kevin: Two and a half, something like that, 2.5.
Darya: I got up over at almost three and a half once.
Kevin: Yeah. Yours were really high.
Darya: My blood sugar...that's the thing, I already have pretty good blood sugar control, you know? So, for me it was not life-changing. I didn't lose a single pound. I got really sick of butter. But it was interesting, yeah.
Kevin: I found out tricks on how to get myself back in pretty quick, though. So, if you get kicked out, it's sometimes really difficult to get back in.
Kevin: It's really hard to explain, but like have you done any of the stuff yet?
Rhonda: I have not.
Kevin: Okay. So like, basically what happens is, you know, I have to do a lot of entertaining, and events, and things like that at night. And so, sometimes like, you have either more red wine than you should or things like that, and that will kick you out of ketosis. You'll go home at night and I'll measure myself, I'm like 0.3. And I'm like, "Oh, I'm pulling out right now." That's like, you know, anyone can be 0.3 if they just try it for a few hours of not having sugar. And so, you know, to get back in the next morning, I would fast a lot. I've been big into fasting.
Darya: Back in is like over 1.0, right?
Kevin: Yeah. Over 1.0.
Darya: Yeah, yeah.
Kevin: So, I would just like...I would fast a lot and then I would typically try...if I fast for 16 hours, so I do a lot intermittent fasting as well, then that would get me back in right away. And especially, if my breakfast was...I would do grass-fed butter with coffee, kinda like bulletproof coffee, but I don't like believe in all that modified MCT stuff that he does. But I would just do straight up coconut oil with butter in coffee, blend that up, and drink it down. And just have so much energy. It's like the best thing ever in the morning. It is insane.
Rhonda: Okay. So, have you looked into some of the like beta-hydroxybutyrate and the effects on the brain? Apparently, it's like not only being used by the mitochondria as a really, you know, easily accessible source of energy, so it shunts right into the TCA cycle and is used to make energy, but it also increases BDNF, like it's a signalling molecule. I just... I think recently...no, it wasn't that. It was Eric Verdin at UCSF, you may know. He's at Gladstone. Published it a couple years ago. I kept thinking recently, but it's been like two years now, so.
Darya: I have that same problem. I graduated recently, five years ago.
Rhonda: Yeah. Like, it just goes, right? So, but, yeah, so the effects on the brain are very interesting. I've, you know, I do a lot of intermittent fasting where I won't eat for like the day and then I'll eat dinner.
Kevin: I've done the 24-hour fast as well. What do you think about that new study that came out about the simulated fasting? Did you read about that?
Rhonda: Valter Longo at UCLA.
Rhonda: Yeah. It's, you know, I read it when it came out like a few months ago. I don't remember exactly what the diet was composed of.
Kevin: Just a little tiny bit of food to keep you in a slightly fasted state. They didn't release what exactly was, but they were saying broths and thing things like that. I downloaded the paper.
Rhonda: I reached out to him, I think. I mean, I have to follow up because I don't think he got back to me. Because I was curious and I wanted to talk to him about it. I'm actually curious a lot about it. He does a lot of work on fasting and the effects of fasting on IGF-1 levels, and the effects protein on IGF-1. And their relationship to aging, and age related diseases. It's all very interesting, but, you know, there's a lot of benefits from the intermittent fasting. I'm actually gonna meet with Ray Cronise tomorrow. He's doing a...he just is wrapping up a 20-day fast.
Rhonda: Doctor supervised. Yeah. Exactly, right? That's crazy, 20-day fast. Like, I'm super excited. Like, I don't even know.
Kevin: With what, though? What...
Darya: That's like biblical.
Rhonda: It is.
Rhonda: I don't know exactly. I don't know the details. I'm gonna talk with him tomorrow about it. He's doing some sort of medically supervised 20-day fast where it's like he's not doing it. As far as I know it was like water.
Rhonda: But I could be wrong and I'll find out the details soon.
Rhonda: Totally crazy. But the intermittent fasting is more what I'm like...that's more doable. Like, as Darya mentioned, you know, the problem is people need to like have these procedures and protocols that they can actually do.
Rhonda: That's like, you know, it's reasonable. It's not like crazy like, who's gonna do, you know, a 20-day fast?
Kevin: So, it's also really good for weight loss as well.
Kevin: I don't know if you've seen... Intermittent fasting.
Rhonda: Yeah. It works for me.
Kevin: Did you see Hugh Jackman, you know, who plays Wolverine?
Rhonda: Yeah. I know who he is, but I didn't see him.
Kevin: So, he has a video on YouTube where they interview him about Wolverine and he talks about the fact how he was able to get shredded was through intermittent fasting, 16 hours everyday.
Rhonda: Oh, really? For how long?
Kevin: Right. Just during shooting...leading up to shooting and then during the film.
Rhonda: So, the thing with that is... So, was he like skinny and just like muscular?
Kevin: I'm sure he was already pretty muscular and skinny, but he just used it to shred up a little bit.
Rhonda: A lot of people like men...or like for females, it's kinda like...
Darya: So different.
Rhonda: ...we like to be thinner. Like, intermittent fasting for us is like super easy, but like, you know, my husband who wants to have more muscle mass, it seems like it's a little bit more of a challenge because you need more...
Darya: You need the protein.
Kevin: So, you should check out the fasting twins on YouTube as well.
Darya: The fasting twins.
Kevin: They're crazy, they're bodybuilders that fast. And so, they were able to put on muscle. It's a whole rabbit hole that you probably don't wanna go down, but they're funny, they're funny. And they also it's...they call it like bro science. They're not really scientists.
Rhonda: Okay. So they acknowledge it.
Kevin: But it just... They acknowledge it. They're not doing that. But they figured out little hacks. It's like all these people that are in this world, like 90% of them aren't scientists, but they're just like to hack and try out different little things. There's little insights there to be found.
Rhonda: So, question for you, since you've done... How long was your ketosis experiment?
Kevin: Few months. Yeah.
Rhonda: Few months. Wow.
Kevin: A couple of months, I would say.
Rhonda: Okay. So, you've done and then you've also...you practice intermittent fasting. Like, how frequently?
Kevin: I did it when she was on her 10-day retreat for 2 days. I try to do it I would say six days a month would be ideal, I think.
Rhonda: Six days a month. And is this a 24-hour fast, 16-hour fast?
Kevin: Sixteen-hour fast.
Rhonda: Sixteen-hour fast. All right. So, what would you say like if you compare the brain benefits or the changes? And, I mean, this is totally subjective, you know...
Kevin: Yeah. Intermittent fasting for me has never give me any type of cognitive kind of boost. It's always been more about weight loss and just trimming up. I've never felt... If anything, like, you know, I find there's this really weird state where when you intermittent fast it throws you into a kind of a temporary ketosis really quickly, but it's a bad place to be. Because I feel like your body is not sure what it should be doing. It doesn't know whether it should be like burning carbs or fat, right? And so, in ketosis, like they talk about this keto flu that's during the induction phase, like the first few days are hell. Because you're just like...you're not in full on ketosis, you get this kind of sick feeling where you don't have enough energy, you just wanna lay around a lot. And so, intermittent fasting for me is difficult in that it kinda puts me in this temporary state, especially if I do it two days in a row. And so, my body is not in full on ketosis mode, but it's not, you know... So, it's... I don't like it. I do it because I keep reading the papers and you keep writing about how fasting is good for you, and that's why I keep doing it.
Rhonda: Well, have you actually measured your ketone levels after an intermittent fasting, compared them?
Rhonda: So, what are your levels like?
Kevin: You know, I haven't in that I've always been doing ketosis when I've peppered it in. I should probably do that.
Rhonda: It'd interesting to see like how they compare.
Kevin: Yeah. Absolutely.
Rhonda: You know, but you're mentioning your body doesn't know what to do. That's actually part of the stress response I think, you know, that has positive benefits, right?
Rhonda: So, you're stressing your body. It's like, "What do I do?" And what it does is it starts to like change gene expression. That's one of the main things it does, where it starts to turn on all these genes involved in, you know, helping your body deal with stress.
Rhonda: Because you're stressing it and it's like freaking out. It's like, "What do I do?" It's like, "Okay. I'm just gonna like...I'm gonna do this like whole thing where I just go around and turn on all these really good genes that help me deal with everything until I figure it out," you know?
Kevin: Right. So, it can be beneficial is what you're saying.
Rhonda: Yeah. Absolutely.
Kevin: So, you said that turmeric does something similar, I think in one of your...
Rhonda: Yeah. So, there's...this process I'm talking about is often referred to as hormesis, right?
Darya: Hormesis. Yeah.
Rhonda: Like, the hormetic effect where you're putting a little bit of stress on the body and the same goes for exercise, the sauna, cold shocking.
Kevin: So, high-intensity interval training is another example of that.
Rhonda: Exactly. High-intensity interval training and also some of these plant polyphenols. So turmeric, EGCG from green tea, quercetin found in like, onions.
Kevin: So, do you intermittent... So, my question that I had... Sorry, I have one question for you. I know it's your show. I feel bad. On the turmeric side, like is that something that you would do intermittently then or would you...because some people take it daily as a supplement. And I was thinking, well, if you're doing that every single day and your body gets used to it, is it gonna turn on those gene expressions then?
Rhonda: That's actually a good point, but yes, it does because it is slightly toxic to our body. Our bodies don't like turmeric. Some of the compound, some of these curcuminoids in the turmeric are made as a response to the plants to fend off like insects and, you know, fungus, and things that are gonna kill the plant or the root, I guess. It's not really a plant, right?
Kevin: It's root.
Darya: It's a root.
Rhonda: It's a root, right? Yeah. So, our body doesn't like it. It's slightly toxic. Just like, you know, alcohol is slightly toxic. But as a consequence it activates all these phase II detoxifying enzymes which are involved in preventing your body from converting something like nitrite in your bacon to nitrosamine which are carcinogens.
Rhonda: So, we have all these enzymes in our body that are capable of detoxifying...I hate the word "detoxify" because it's like a lot of woo-woo people use it. But we actually do have enzymes in our body called phase II detoxifying enzymes. And so, they do serve a purpose. But not only that, turmeric also...so, there's two really interesting compounds in it. One is the one that most people are familiar with, right? So, that is the curcumin.
Rhonda: Right? And that's the one that turns on all these anti-inflammatory genes, these phase II detoxifying enzymes, all that good stuff. But there's also something in it called aromatic turmerone which is why specifically I like to get turmeric or make turmeric tea, not just curcumin. Because aromatic turmerone has been shown actually just in the past year to cross over the blood brain barrier and increase, I think it was in the subventricular zone, increased neural stem cell proliferation, and it affected like memory and performance in mice. And so, this is like all preliminary, you know, but...and it was like very robust. Like, it was like something very robust. I'm not gonna say the number because I don't remember, but it was pretty significant increase in new neural stem cells...
Rhonda: ...which is kind of your... But yeah, very interesting.
Darya: Yeah. That was what my thesis was on.
Rhonda: Oh, cool.
Darya: The SVZ stem cells.
Rhonda: Oh, the subventricular zone. Okay. So, you know more about that than I do. But the fact that this aromatic turmerone is in turmeric, it's also very interesting.
Kevin: Do you add black pepper to your tea?
Rhonda: Yeah. So, the piperine, the component in the black pepper can... So, our bodies like to get rid of these polyphenols and a lot of them like EGCG, a lot of them are on the same class. There's certain enzymes in our liver, the CYP enzymes that get rid of it. So, that's why their half-life is very short. When you get turmeric in your body, it's immediately...your body is immediately trying to clear it out because it's toxic. It's like, "No, get rid of this," you know? But the piperine stops that enzyme from working. So, you really have to be careful for people, like you guys are very health conscientious and probably don't, you know, take prescription drugs or things like that, but a lot of people do. And prescription drugs are also metabolized with that same pathway. So, if you are taking a prescription drug, probably best to avoid piperine because that will extend the half-life of whatever drug and God knows what effect that's gonna have, right?
Kevin: Oh, crazy.
Rhonda: So, that's always something to keep in mind. But I kind of was, you know, Darya's got this whole academic, you know, she brings academics to your relationship. And I suspect that Kevin has influenced your entrepreneurial side, you know, you're not slaving away in a lab right now.
Rhonda: So, I'm kind of curious. Is there some sort of...was there like an influence of Kevin on you choosing the path you've taken or something else kind of...
Darya: I mean, for sure. But when we met I already had a pretty popular blog and was like getting, you know, book agents, like, interested, so. But he was definitely, obviously, a huge help in figuring out how to monetize my site and figuring out... I mean, definitely helped finding me developers, and designers, and stuff like that.
Rhonda: Oh, cool. So, you had already like decided to take a different path.
Darya: Yeah. I was in my second year of grad school and I had just finished my qualifying exam. And I was just like, "So..." I was like, "I don't know if I wanna be this when I grow up anymore." And, you know, funding was getting really low back then, you know, just from the NIH, and NSF, and stuff. I had an NSF grant. I was really lucky, but... Yeah. I just... And I was interested in this other stuff on the side and I had been struggling with dieting my entire life from like the age 11 all the way up till I was like 25 or whatever. And when I solved it for myself it was such a life-changing experience because not only did I finally stop struggling with weight, which like that alone is huge, but I discovered I loved food, and like that was... Food was my enemy for like 15 years.
Darya: So, that was so life-changing for me, I discovered farmers' markets and cooking, this whole new community of people. And so, I just started my blog, started writing. I started writing for the UCSF paper actually.
Rhonda: Oh, cool.
Darya: I was like writing for the school paper. I was the science and nutrition editor. And, yeah, so I just, you know, being here in Silicon Valley, I just...it was so easy to go online. I was able to market for free on Twitter and Facebook. And, yeah, and it just sort of took off. People really resonated with what I was saying about not dieting and not using willpower all the time, and not having to suffer to be healthy, and look the way you want. So, yeah, I was already pretty... That's how we met, actually. We met on Twitter.
Rhonda: Oh, that so cool.
Kevin: We met on twitter. She retweeted me one time and I saw her little profile. And I clicked to zoom in on the photo, I was like, "She's kinda cute."
Darya: He was stalking me for a while.
Kevin: Yeah. Right. You're the one that followed me first, so.
Rhonda: That's so cute. Yeah. Your book, in your book the "Foodist," you do focus a lot on eating real like whole foods, something that you call like a healthful lifestyle. And that really...and eating a broad spectrum of it, and that really resonates with me because it's something that I also think is very important, eating whole foods, real foods, and broad spectrum of it.
Darya: Well, that was the one thing that I kept coming up against because what I did was I was like, "Okay. This is a problem I've been struggling with for a long time." It's not neuroscience, but like I have been studying biology for a long time now. And so, I just...I was like, "What is the best diet?" That was like the question I went into. I just dug into PubMed for like months, and I discovered that there's no best... Because I was like, is it low-carb, is it, you know, like I was trying to figure out that. Turns out they all don't really work for more than six months, definitely a year, they don't. They're all the same. And... But then I was like, "Well, there are people that don't struggle with this. What do those people do?" And it came down to they eat real foods, they don't...turns out they don't have SlimFast and, like, protein bars, and stuff like that I was living off of, and like diet soda. And then, yeah, and then they eat...they have habits around these foods. And then they have a broad spectrum of foods. And that's generally...to me just generally means eat with the season and don't be a picky eater.
So, I just started doing that. It was terrifying because I was assuming I was gonna just gain weight because I hadn't eaten carbs or fat or anything for so long, but I didn't. And I was not... And the biggest thing for me was when I started eating that way and actually nourishing my body, all my cravings went away, all my, like, skin problems went away, like, all my hair started growing in all thick. And I was just like, "What is going on? This is amazing."
Rhonda: I'm healthy.
Darya: Yeah. And like, I'd never experienced that before, you know? I'd been like...I thought I had to suffer, and then all of a sudden, I'm having this...eating this amazing food and all my problems went away, so.
Rhonda: So, is that something that, Kevin, you're like...you adopt now? Do you help out with the cooking and like...
Kevin: I cook certain things.
Darya: He's amazing. He's amazing.
Kevin: I push us in certain directions. The cool thing now is that she's taught me to eat seasonally which I didn't know about before, which I actually look forward to things being in season because they taste better. And then also, I read about all this stuff. And so, I'll push us in different directions, like for example, she talked me out of it, but I was gonna make my own fermented natto at home. I do a lot of the fermenting in the house.
Kevin: I do all of our sauerkrauts and all of our...
Darya: He's the crafty one.
Kevin: Like, I go and buy the turmeric and make our teas. And like, I was big into traditional tea for a long time and like studied that whole area for a bit.
Darya: He's difficult, though. Like, I've been trying to talk to him into eating more organ meats for like years.
Kevin: I've been doing that. I'm on board now.
Darya: But just somebody...some other scientist said it and finally he was like, "Oh, let's start eating organ meats."
Kevin: Well, Tim also was doing more of that.
Rhonda: Yeah. Because it's also high in K2 then you don't have to do the fermented natto, right?
Kevin: It's fun, though. Natto is fun. Good natto is pretty good.
Rhonda: I've never tried natto.
Kevin: Oh, really?
Rhonda: I take a K2 supplement, but I've never tried natto.
Kevin: You can make it yourself at home. Just ferment it. Just buy some soybeans and you get the starter.
Rhonda: I think I'm gonna try eating it first, like maybe at a Japanese place.
Darya: You go to a good restaurant, like a really good restaurant. It's really nasty.
Rhonda: Is it really nasty? I've heard.
Darya: Yeah. You need a lot of flavor on it.
Kevin: Have you made your own almond milk?
Rhonda: No, I haven't.
Kevin: Oh, that's the easiest thing to do.
Rhonda: Yeah. I know.
Kevin: It takes two seconds and you can use it in your smoothies.
Darya: But you can also get a lot of K2 from like, Parmesan cheese and Asiago, and stuff, right? Hard cheeses.
Rhonda: I wouldn't say a lot. There's some, but not a lot. I think that some people overstate that that if you compare like to natto, it's like nothing.
Darya: But you can only eat like one bite of natto and you can eat a lot of cheese.
Rhonda: Oh, really? Okay. Yeah, so there's that.
Darya: And we eat all the organ meats.
Rhonda: When you're talking about eating seasonally, if you walk into, for example, Berkeley Bowl which is where I shop, how do I know what's seasonal and what's not? I mean, I kind of know just from knowing, but like, is there...like, someone who doesn't now.
Kevin: I've been trying to tell you make this app forever. I want her to make...
Darya: It exists.
-Kevin: ...an app that tells where your location is and tells you exactly what's the... Does it really exist? I haven't seen it.
Darya: There are few. None of them are very good, but they exist. When you... I mean, I like to sort of really generalize it. So, yeah, if you walk into a grocery store, it's really confusing because there will be strawberries all year, there will be oranges all year.
Rhonda: Right. Tomatoes.
Darya: There will be apples all year, tomatoes all year. And then they all sort of taste the same all year which is terrible.
Darya: But when you shop at farmers' markets and places, Berkeley Bowl is actually pretty good. I mean, one good... If something's from the southern hemisphere, it's not in season.
Darya: If it's in season down on the other...like if it's spring here, it's from the southern hemisphere, it's fall there. So, if you're eating Brussels sprouts in April, they're not from here. And vice versa, if you're eating tomatoes in January, they're not from here. But generally, the way I like to think about it is early in the springtime which is the most exciting time because it's been a long winter. And in the winter you're getting things like root vegetables, bitter greens, hearty greens like cabbage, turnips, beets, things like that. In the spring, all the grasses start coming up, right? So, you get beautiful lettuces, chives, asparagus, like all the light, crisp, delicate greens. As summer progresses, it gets hotter, you start to get more sweet things like stone fruits which are cherries, apricots, plums, peaches, berries, and, you know, things like tomatoes, and the more ripe, rich, more dense fruits and vegetables. As fall progresses, it gets even sweeter and then also you start to see a little bit more robustness, like things like winter squash start showing up, you know, hot peppers, things that are a little more robust. And then in the winter you start to get..the citrus is like sort of the ripe fruit of the winter, but otherwise you get more into the kales, and cabbages, and things like that. And actually root vegetables, something people don't know often is that they can be really, really spicy and kinda hard to eat, in the winter though, they get sweet. It get sweet and mild and really delicious.
Rhonda: Why is that?
Darya: I think it has something to do with the cold and how it shocks the plant. But they get really delicious that time of the year, whereas earlier in the year they can actually be kinda hard to eat, so.
Darya: Yeah. And so, you sort of learn by experimenting. To me it's one of the most delightful things about eating healthfully is because you never get bored. As soon as you're sick of corn, it's like squash season, you know, and you don't have to eat corn anymore, so.
Rhonda: I, you know, I tend to cook the same meals where I stick to these almost kind of a low-carb dieting where Tim talks about, just, you know, you have these meals and it's the easiest thing and you keep making them. And for me, I'll have these core meals that I make, you know, I eat a lot...a very plant-based diet, a lot of vegetables, a lot of fruits as well. And then I eat a lot of fish like, wild salmon, wild cod, and a little bit of chicken. I don't really cook red meat often. I mean, it's once in a while, like we go out to dinner. So, I have all these meals that I like, and a lot of lentils, I like beans. I like high-fiber foods. So, but I know, I know my husband, Dan, get sick of it because I just, you know, rotate between the meals. And it's easier for me because I work a lot, and I'm trying to like also exercise, and meditate, and enjoy life. And it's just like trying to book it all in, you know?
Darya: So, we do something similar. I call it my home court recipes. They're sort of like my basics that I sort of go to. But what I'll do is I'll take basically the same cooking technique and just swap out a new veggie, you know? So, and then I have...basically, I have home court recipes for every season that way.
Darya: So, you just sort of like...like I have a roasted cauliflower dish that's like pretty popular. I do that.
Kevin: So good.
Darya: Cauliflower usually in season, it's usually pretty good. But, you know, in the winter...in the fall like I'll start rotating in Brussels sprouts, delicata squash. And then, you know, in the springtime, I'll just move towards salads, you know, less roasts, more salads. And it's just...it's not that hard. It's basically the same idea though. It's just it's a little bit more cycling for us.
Rhonda: No, it sounds great. You know, I often will shift in different vegetables and stuff when I like am not...I don't have what I need. And so, I'm pretty good at like improvising and experimenting, and like I'll throw together stuff that I have. And all the sudden I'm like, "Oh, this is really good." So, that makes sense, you know, doing something like that. Do you have recipe... You have recipes on your blog and stuff, right?
Darya: I do. Yeah. But, I mean, I only put those on there by, like, popular demand. Like, I don't really cook from recipes. I'm a big big advocate of cooking from instinct and cooking without recipes.
Rhonda: Okay. Yeah. Cool.
Darya: I have a whole program where I teach people how to do that because I feel like if you're forced to cook from a recipe on a regular basis, it gets daunting and overwhelming. Whereas if you have like the instinct of like, "Oh, you know what, I have these ingredients, I bet it would taste really good with some garlic and some parsley," that it's just you've lowered the barrier to being able to cook.
Rhonda: Totally. It's what works for me.
Darya: I think that's so important because when you're exhausted after work or whatever and like you just need food in your mouth, like you really need it to be as easy as possible. Otherwise you're just gonna order a pizza or whatever, so.
Rhonda: Yeah. No, that's such a great point. That's definitely what works for me, where it's like, yeah, I don't even think I ever look at recipes. And every time I've tried it's been...it has to be like a, okay, I'm hosting a party or a Thanksgiving or something.
Darya: Exactly. Yeah. They have their place.
Rhonda: But it still becomes daunting, but, yeah, other than that, you know, so.
Darya: I use them for inspiration sometimes too.
Rhonda: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. So, Kevin, I know you like to, you know, drink wine and talk about random things a lot. So like, what's going on in the tech world, like anything cool?
Kevin: Oh, boy. That's a good question. You know, I think that for me technology is just a little overwhelming. I'm trying to find my time to find breaks, and so this is a period where I've decided to do less tech in my life. We moved to New York. So, that was a big shift for us. I was at, you know, we're here at Google Ventures. When I was here I used to probably see 10 new entrepreneurs per day, and you talk about bad diets like...
Rhonda: Oh, yeah?
Kevin: Oh, yeah. Entrepreneurs are worst.
Rhonda: Did they tell you what they eat or how do you know?
Kevin: I mean, they just... I mean, it's just the classic.
Darya: It's just all pizza all the time.
Kevin: Yeah. All pizza...
Kevin: ...fast food. Things like that.
Rhonda: Is that because they just have no time, they're working?
Kevin: Exactly. So...
Rhonda: Doesn't that affect their brain function though?
Darya: I could go off on that.
Kevin: Not that age, not that age.
Rhonda: You should...
Darya: It does, it does.
Rhonda: There should be some kind of like... Really, it does. Yeah.
Darya: I mean, you're less effective. You're more foggy if you're eating crappy constantly, and not sleeping, and, like, living on coffee and pizza. It's not good for your thoughts.
Kevin: Yeah. But for me I've been trying to spend actually a lot of time figuring out how to develop technology to force us off of technology. So, I'm kind of working on some anti-tech ideas right now.
Darya: It's called the 10-day silent retreat.
Kevin: No. It's that too, but like, for example, one of the things that you'll notice is when you're sitting at dinner and you're like drawn to these devices. If there's ever, you know, a pause in the conversation when you're with someone, especially it's horrible when you're with your wife or husband or boyfriend or girlfriend or whatever, and you wanna look at your phone. And you flip it over, and you start doing your phone thing. And it's really rude, but you're kinda drawn to it. So, I have this really weird thing in my head where I envision like aliens looking down on us and they see us with our heads in our phone. And it's especially apparent in New York where you walk around and everyone has their heads in their phones. They're like just like this. Like, almost getting hit by traffic. And so, I have this idea of this technology fast, a software that I wanna create that will force fasting on cell phones. And you'll actually use some gamification to get points by going long periods of time without using your cellphone for certain activities. So, blocking text messages, something like, let's say you sent me a text, you get a automatic reply saying, "Kevin is in a tech fast. If you need this to go through, respond with one," and it would allow that text through. Some of these things you could only do...
Darya: But he will hate you.
Rhonda: Interesting, interesting.
Kevin: So, some of these things you can only do on Android because you have full access to the like, all the...right APIs to be able to do all the messaging stuff. But on desktop as well, I feel like multitasking is really hurting us. Like, I don't know if you've ever been in a situation where you have 20 tabs open.
Rhonda: A hundred.
Kevin: And then you go back to one tab, and you're like, "Wow, I wrote that e-mail five hours ago and just forgot to hit the send button."
Kevin: So it's like, I'm trying to figure out what we can build. I know this is horrible, but to like kinda dial us back from technology.
Darya: I haven't checked my e-mail since getting back from the retreat.
Darya: I'm so scared.
Darya: But I'm also like...I'm so happy. It's like it's really hard to wanna go read my e-mails.
Rhonda: No, totally.
Kevin: It's the weirdest thing. I feel like I'm at the age now where we need to like have less of that in our life. Technology is amazing for so many things, but there needs to be a balance.
Rhonda: So, this point, this sort of gaming aspect to it, is there gonna be a competition between people?
Kevin: Oh, for sure, for sure. Like, I wanna be able to see your score, Tim's score, and everyone else's score and see how we're doing on the fasting front.
Rhonda: And then you're gonna like...social media, like, to talk about it. Like, you're gonna see...
Kevin: Potentially. But that helps spread the word which leads to less tech use which is ultimately pretty good.
Rhonda: That's very interesting. It's a interesting concept, kind of neat.
Kevin: We'll see. We'll see if I ever build it. It's one of the thousand ideas that I have in notebooks in places, so. But it's fun to think about.
Rhonda: I know that, you know, Dan, he's also very techy and he has a problem with not looking at his phone. Like, when we're out to eat and sometimes I won't bring my phone with me. And so, I'm sitting here and it's like, I feel like, well, if you're looking at your phone, you'll feel pressured then to take your phone out too.
Kevin: Right. Totally.
Rhonda: Otherwise I'm just sitting here. I guess I could be mindfully eating and, like, enjoying food. But, you know, it does...
Darya: I just smile at him until he notices.
Kevin: Yeah. No. But it's a big problem. It's getting worse, I feel. That's the scary thing is I feel like we're getting more and more involved. The Apple watch I think is a horrible invention.
Rhonda: What all does the Apple watch do?
Kevin: It just...it brings all that stuff to the forefront and it gives you all that stuff right in your face. You don't have to pull out your phone. You can just look down at your watch. I don't know. I don't think it's... I shouldn't say horrible invention. There's certain...like the fitness aspect in tracking your steps and things like that are very positive things. But I think that it's leading to more distraction which is worrisome.
Rhonda: It's interesting to hear someone like you to talk about this. I'm used to hearing like my father's generation complaining. In fact, he constantly, him and his...my step-mom constantly complain about how everyone's always on their phone and there's no social interaction. But it's rare to hear someone that's in the tech world, you know, of that generation and known for it to actually...
Kevin: Well, I think when you've been through the acceleration that is the tech world in Silicon Valley and it spits you out the other end, you all of a sudden be like, "Wow, I just like lost a bunch of years in my life to like this really intense life." And there are really good pieces of it. But we just have to be careful. We have to be careful there's the balance.
Rhonda: You should go try this 10-day silent retreat...
Kevin: I should.
Rhonda: ...and then see how you feel, if you still feel the same way.
Darya: Do you wanna hear something crazy? So, we were allowed to talk for like the first couple hours and then we had one group meeting. And then like... Within the 10 days . And I'm normally terrible remembering names and faces. Like, I'll have had an hour long conversation with someone and, like, not remember who they are, not remember their name. It'll come back if I get, like, a click. But I remembered everybody's name on this, everybody. And people that I met for like two seconds on the first day. I was like "Oh, hi, Dana. How was you retreat?" when we were leaving. And I've never had an experience like that. The only main difference was no tech.
Rhonda: That is incredible. I have a similar problem. Were these like female only, male? Was it like...the separation?
Darya: It was co-ed.
Rhonda: It was co-ed.
Darya: Yeah. I mean, our building were...
Rhonda: Were there a lot of people there?
Darya: It was almost a hundred people
Rhonda: Did you start to like smell people's BO and stuff like...
Darya: Oh, my God.
Rhonda: Because, you know, your senses get heightened like when you're not talking.
Darya: I literally had to move seats once because I was like, "Someone needs a shower." It's so funny because they're like...they make you use fragrance-free shampoo, fragrance-free soap. But I'm like, they should at least require functional deodorant if they're gonna make us do that because, like, I'm sensitive. I'm sensitive to your smell. It's really bad. Yeah. There's a couple people like that.
Rhonda: That's crazy. All right. Well, you know, I think that's been a very interesting conversation.
Kevin: All over the place.
Rhonda: Yeah. Totally all over the place. You guys have it, the power couple here, Kevin and Dr. Darya Rose. Super cool individuals. If people wanna find out or follow more of what Darya or Kevin is doing, where can they find you?
Kevin: I'm just Kevin Rose. I'm pretty much every social network thing. So, you can just find me on the Instagrams or Twitter.
Darya: If you're really interested in my stuff, the best thing to do is go to Summer Tomato and sign up for my newsletter because that's where you get all the...that's where like I actually interact a lot. I'm also Summer Tomato on Twitter and whatnot, so.
Rhonda: Awesome, guys.
Rhonda: Really, really enjoyed the conversation.
Kevin: Thanks for having us.
Darya: Thank you.
A chemical produced in the liver via the breakdown of fatty acids. Beta-hydroxybutyrate is a type of ketone body. It can be used to produce energy inside the mitochondria and acts as a signaling molecule that alters gene expression by inhibiting a class of enzymes known as histone deacetylases.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)
A type of protein that acts on neurons in the central and peripheral nervous systems. BDNF is a type of neurotrophin – or growth factor – that controls and promotes the growth of new neurons. It is active in the hippocampus, cortex, cerebellum, and basal forebrain – areas involved in learning, long term memory, and executive function. Exercise in combination with heat stress increases BDNF more effectively than exercise alone.  Goekint, Maaike, et al. "Influence of citalopram and environmental temperature on exercise-induced changes in BDNF." Neuroscience letters 494.2 (2011): 150-154.
Beneficial stress that can be psychological, physical (e.g. exercise), or biochemical (hormesis) in nature.
Fasting-mimicking Diet (FMD)
A diet that mimics the effects of fasting on markers associated with the stress resistance induced by prolonged fasting, including low levels of glucose and IGF-1, and high levels of ketone bodies and IGFBP-1. More importantly, evidence suggests these changes in the cellular milieu are associated with a sensitization of cancer cells to chemotherapeutic drugs while simultaneously also conferring greater stress resistance to healthy cells. Evidence also continues to emerge that properties of the fasting-mimicking diet, particularly its ability to cause immune cell turnover, may also make it useful in the amelioration of auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis.
Fasting-Mimicking Diet Breakdown
- Day 1 - consists of 1,090 total calories (10% protein, 55% fat and 34% carbohydrate)
- Days 2 through 5 - consists of 725 total calories (9% protein, 44% fat and 47% carbohydrate)
 Cheng, Chia-Wei, et al. "Prolonged fasting reduces IGF-1/PKA to promote hematopoietic-stem-cell-based regeneration and reverse immunosuppression." Cell Stem Cell 14.6 (2014): 810-823.  Choi, In Young, et al. "A diet mimicking fasting promotes regeneration and reduces autoimmunity and multiple sclerosis symptoms." Cell Reports 15.10 (2016): 2136-2146.
The process in which information stored in DNA is converted into instructions for making proteins or other molecules. Gene expression is highly regulated. It allows a cell to respond to factors in its environment and involves two processes: transcription and translation. Gene expression can be turned on or off, or it can simply be increased or decreased.
A hormone produced in the gut that signals hunger. Ghrelin acts on cells in the hypothalamus to stimulate appetite, increase food intake, and promote growth. Ghrelin’s effects are opposed by leptin, the “satiety hormone.” Sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger, which can lead to weight gain and metabolic dysfunction.
The term for generally-favorable biological responses to low exposures to toxins or other stressors such as exercise, heat stress, fasting, and xenohormetics. Examples of xenohormetic substances include plant polyphenols – molecules that plants produce in response to stress. Some evidence suggests plant polyphenols may have longevity-conferring effects when consumed in the diet. Compounds like polyphenols are beneficial, in part, because they trigger mild cellular stress that induces beneficial stress response pathways.
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)
One of the most potent natural activators of the AKT signaling pathway, stimulator of cell growth and proliferation, potent inhibitor of programmed cell death, primary mediator of the effects of growth hormone, and has been implicated in contributing to aging and enhancing the growth of cancer after it has been initiated. Similar in molecular structure to insulin, IGF-1 plays a role during childhood for growth and continues later in life to have anabolic, as well as neurotrophic effects. Protein intake increases IGF-1 levels in humans, independent of total caloric consumption.
A period of fasting between meals that can last several hours to days that increases the production of ketones due to the use of stored fat as an energy source. Intermittent fasting also activates some of the same genetic pathways as caloric restriction.
Byproduct of a reaction between two compounds (glucosinolates and myrosinase) which are found in cruciferous vegetables. Isothiocyanates inhibit phase I biotransformation enzymes, a class of enzymes that transform procarcinogens into their active carcinogenic state. Isothiocyanates activate phase II detoxification enzymes, a class of enzymes that play a protective role against DNA damage caused by reactive oxygen species and carcinogens. Examples of phase II enzymes include UDP-glucuronosyltransferases, sulfotransferases, N-acetyltransferases, glutathione S-transferases, and methyltransferases.
A diet that causes the body to oxidize fat to produce ketones for energy. A ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrates and high in proteins and fats. For many years, the ketogenic diet has been used in the clinical setting to reduce seizures in children. It is currently being investigated for the treatment of traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer's disease, weight loss, and cancer.
A hormone produced primarily by adipocytes (fat cells) that signals a feeling of satiety, or fullness, after a meal. Leptin acts on cells in the hypothalamus to reduce appetite and subsequent food intake. Leptin’s effects are opposed by ghrelin, the “hunger hormone.” Both acute and chronic sleep deprivation decrease leptin levels.
Long-term meditation is a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or develop a desired mental state. It can range from 20 minutes to an indefinite amount of time. Long-term meditation is associated with increased gray matter density in the brain stem.
The term "mindfulness" is derived from the Pali-term sati which is an essential element of Buddhist practice, including vipassana, satipatthana and anapanasati. It has been popularized in the West by Jon Kabat-zinn with his mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program. Large population-based research studies have indicated that the construct of mindfulness is strongly correlated with well-being and perceived health.
Phase II detoxification enzymes
A class of detoxification enzymes that play important roles in the metabolic inactivation and/or biotransformation of endogenous compounds, xenobiotics, and drugs so that they are more easily excreted from the body. Phase II enzymes are typically transferases, such as UDP-glucuronosyltransferases, sulfotransferases, N-acetyltransferases, glutathione S-transferases, and methyltransferases. They are involved in glutathione synthesis, reactive oxygen species elimination, detoxification, drug excretion, and NADPH synthesis. Reduced phase II enzyme capacity or activity can lead to toxic effects and increased risk of certain diseases, including cancer.
Any of various alcohols containing two or more benzene rings that each have at least one hydroxyl group (OH) attached. Many polyphenols occur naturally in plants and some kinds, such as the flavonoids and tannins, are believed to be beneficial to health.
Subventricular zone (SVZ)
A paired brain structure situated throughout the lateral walls of the lateral ventricles. Along with the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, the SVZ is one of two places where neurogenesis has been found to occur in the adult mammalian brain. It harbors the largest population of proliferating cells in the adult brain of rodents, monkeys and humans.
A region of repetitive nucleotide sequences at each end of a chromosome that protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from fusion with neighboring chromosomes. Over time, due to each cell division, the telomere ends become shorter. They are replenished by the enzyme telomerase reverse transcriptase.
A Buddhist practice of meditation which literally means insight into the true nature of reality. Vipassanā-meditation uses mindfulness of breathing, combined with the contemplation of impermanence, to gain insight into the true nature of this reality. All phenomena are investigated, and concluded to be painful and unsubstantial, without an immortal entity or self-view, and in its ever-changing and impermanent nature.
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