Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast, the weekly podcast where Dr. G. gives you the tools you need to boost your health and live your healthiest life.
Dr. Gundry (00:13):
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Dr. Gundry (01:07):
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Dr. Gundry (02:06):
Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast. So if you’re anything like me and you swear by chocolate as a mood booster, you may actually be onto something. That’s right. My guest today says that certain foods like dark chocolate can actually balance our brain chemistry to make us feel happier and more relaxed. But she also says that there are some nasty foods out there that can do quite the opposite. In fact, she says that it may be the cause of negative emotions, and can even lead to anxiety disorders. She’s Liana Werner-Gray, a certified nutritionist and three time bestselling author. She’s also got a brand new book out called Anxiety-Free With Food: Natural Science Based Strategies to Relieve Stress and Support Your Mental Health.
Dr. Gundry (03:00):
And Liana joined me back on episode I think 48 to share her amazing story of how she healed herself from cancer through food. Today, she’s back to discuss how food once again proves to be one of the best tools we have for living healthy, happy, and long lives. So she and I are going to discuss the relationship between food and mood, and identify which foods are working for you rather than against you. Liana, it’s great to have you back. Welcome.
Liana Werner-Gray (03:33):
Thank you so much, Dr. Gundry. I’m so happy to be back.
Dr. Gundry (03:40):
And you’ve got a big fan base, who viewed our podcast, so I know they’re excited to hear from you again just as much as I am. Okay. So the past year has been extremely stressful for most of us. So it seems like the timing of your book, Anxiety-Free With Food, could not have been better. What made you want to write this book in the first place?
Liana Werner-Gray (04:03):
Well, after I wrote the cancer book, I was experiencing anxiety. I was experiencing more anxiety in my life than what I thought was normal or healthy. And so I was curious as to where this anxiety was coming from. And I thought, “Is this anxiety coming from a mental imbalance, emotional imbalance, spiritual imbalance, or physical imbalance?” And I just had a feeling that it was something physical, so I went and did a blood test. And the results came back, and I was shocked. Sure enough, I was deficient in one of the nutrients that if we’re deficient in, researchers say that we will have anxiety. So I was definitely in omega-3 fatty acids. And so I started to take supplements, fish oil supplements, and started to eat more good healthy fats, more wild salmon, more wild fatty fish, some avocados, hemp seed, chia seed. And then within three days of incorporating more healthy fats, I felt way different.
Liana Werner-Gray (05:00):
My anxiety levels went down. I couldn’t believe it. And obviously, I’ve continued to keep my omega-3 fats level at a really healthy level. And so I thought, “Wow, if it’s this simple to fix a physical anxiety like this,” I said, “This is going to be the next subject I want to learn more about, write more about it.” And then I started researching more of what other nutrients we could be deficient in that lead to anxiety. And it was just so fascinating to see that some foods are actually proven to be anxiogenic foods, and some foods are proven to be anxiolytic foods. And I just thought, “I definitely want to put this in a book and tell everyone about it.”
Dr. Gundry (05:42):
Good for you. I’ve long talked about the brain gut connection as it relates to emotional health. So in your opinion, how are our emotions linked to nutrition?
Liana Werner-Gray (05:53):
Food and mood are directly associated. And I actually have 26 pages of end notes in the book. I have so much science studies and research in the book. So PLOS One, they published a study that said, “Consuming trans fats can increase your risk of depression and anxiety as much as 48%.” So that’s one example of eating bad fats and how that can affect our mental health. And eating certain foods can also link to brain fog. And there’s some disturbing research that I included in my book that shows that certain foods, especially trans fats, link to murder, which I know sounds really dramatic and crazy, but there actually is science on this, and it’s also connected to agitated mood and aggressive behavior. It leads to so much inflammation in the brain.
Liana Werner-Gray (06:44):
And so when we eat something, if it is anxiogenic, which means that it’s an anxiety causing substance, then that is going to trigger anxiety immediately. But then the good news is we can eat something that’s anxiolytic, that is an anxio reducing substance, and we can start to relieve anxiety immediate. And so science tells us that in fact, there are certain things that change our mood instantly. And a lot of people are eating these foods all day, every day, and not realizing that it’s affecting their mood so much. And then also, there’s a lot of research that shows that deficiencies lead to anxiety. So certain nutrients can relieve things, can relieve anxiety, like magnesium and omega-3 fats.
Dr. Gundry (07:31):
Yeah, magnesium is really one of the most deficient chemicals in our diet. And it is so great at helping with anxiety, helping with mood. And you’re right, there are a number of studies that I’ve alluded to showing the benefits of omega-3 fats on anxiety. But something you mentioned about trans fats, I talk about trans fats a lot in my new book, The Energy Paradox. But one of the most fascinating studies, you’re probably aware of this, and if you’re not, you need to be, there was a famous study in the Appleton School System of Wisconsin a number of years ago, where they took junior high school, middle school students, and they had an organic café in town start making their breakfast and lunch and delivering it to the schools. And then they would train the parents to try and duplicate this for the evening meal.
Dr. Gundry (08:32):
And what they did was they tracked behavior and trips to the vice principal’s office, and truancy and school performance on tests. And they found that when they switched over to this system, that everything got better, less truancy. The vice principal got bored, he didn’t have to beat up anybody. Grades got better. And then they were so excited that the poor café said, “Look, this is great, but we’re tired of doing this.” They decided to go with a big institutional company, a food service company. And they guaranteed that everything would be the same. As soon as this big company came in, and I won’t mention names, everything returned back to normal. The truancy increased, the discipline problem, and the school test scores went down. And it’s a perfect example of food and mood and behavior that you stress in your book.
Liana Werner-Gray (09:30):
Yeah, I believe it. That’s wild. That’s wild. And it’s very empowering to see a study like that because we know we can have a lot of control in our own hands on how our mood will be.
Dr. Gundry (09:41):
So okay, what are some of these anxiety inducing foods to avoid?
Liana Werner-Gray (09:48):
So the top anxiogenic foods to avoid, I have a list in the book. And these are the number one worst, you could probably guess what it is, is refined sugar, so refined white sugar, corn syrup. That is the number one anxiogenic, anxio producing substance on Earth, and it’s very neurotoxic, and it’s something that people are eating a lot of all the time. And then also on this list are trans fats, so they’re the fats that are found in fast foods. They’re the bad fats. And hidden chemicals in foods, and this includes preservatives, additives, any ingredients that people cannot pronounce, that are created in a lab. Those are proven to be neurotoxic, as well as refined carbs also can cause anxiety, and processed meats and farmed fish.
Dr. Gundry (10:40):
That’s a good list. Now a lot of people say, “No, no, no. Trans fats, the government banned trans fats. There are no trans fats anymore.” What say you about that?
Liana Werner-Gray (10:52):
I don’t know about that. I think the World Health Organization really did try to replace the trans fats, but I do think it’s still in our food system.
Dr. Gundry (11:04):
No, you’re absolutely right. In fact, the way our law was structured, that is if there is a half a gram of trans fats in a serving, that you do not have to list it on the label. Yeah.
Liana Werner-Gray (11:17):
Dr. Gundry (11:18):
You don’t have to put it there. Plus, if you use institutional foods, or big containers that go to fast food restaurants, then you don’t have to worry about the trans fat content at all. You don’t even have to list it. That’s our law. So you’re right, they are everywhere. Yeah, we just don’t know about it anymore.
Liana Werner-Gray (11:43):
That’s crazy. That’s hidden.
Dr. Gundry (11:47):
So you mentioned sugar, and you’re right, sugar is the big Satan in all of this in so many ways. But for a lot of people, sugar addiction is real and difficult to overcome. What kind of tips you got to help people out?
Liana Werner-Gray (12:11):
Well, I can relate to this because I was a huge sugar addict, and this is how I led to having the tumor in my throat many years ago. And I used to binge eat on sugar, so I can totally relate to people who are very addicted to sugar. But first of all, we want to have a mindset of, okay, I know refined sugar, white sugar, corn syrup is not good. So the end goal is to just never eat it ever again. And that might sound really crazy to people, but I do not believe there’s a balance when it comes to eating refined white sugar. And we just don’t need it anymore because we have an abundance of natural sugars that we can eat that are much healthier than refined white sugar.
Liana Werner-Gray (12:47):
So for people, if they have a sugar craving, I use in my practice, the last 11 years with working with people, is the replacement therapy. So if someone has a craving for something, let’s say gummy bears, or chocolate, or cookie dough, and this happens. We’re human beings. We love pleasure and we love the feeling that these foods give us. So it’s not realistic to say, “You know what, never eat this food again,” but that would be ideal. So rather than that deprivation approach, say, “Okay, here is what you can eat.” So if you have a craving for cookies, for example, you can make them yourself at home, and that’s why I have so many recipes in my book. So you could make some cookie dough with tiger nut flour, which is Dr. Gundry approved, yes.
Dr. Gundry (13:34):
You bet. You bet.
Liana Werner-Gray (13:35):
And then you could use a monk fruit, and I use other sweeteners as well, like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar. Those are proven not to be neurotoxic like refined white sugar. So this is a bridge that can help people cross to get away from refined sugar, and that’s the first step. So every time you have a craving, think, “Okay. How can I make this at home using wholesome ingredients? Or what products can I buy that are much safer that don’t use refined white sugar or corn syrup?” And that’s why I’m always promoting and posting about so many different brands because it helps to know the brands so that you have a go to when the craving just hits and strikes. And so this replacement therapy can help you to never eat white sugar ever again. And that’s the first step.
Liana Werner-Gray (14:20):
And then after that, as your body starts to get really healthy and balanced at, and as you start to nourish your body properly with all these nutrients, your sugar cravings will balance themselves out, you won’t be able to eat as much sugar as perhaps now. When I first started this transition, I would eat 20 chocolate balls a day. And now, I couldn’t even do that if I tried because my cravings have completely changed, so the body does get healthier and balances itself out.
Dr. Gundry (14:50):
Wow, 20 chocolate balls a day.
Liana Werner-Gray (14:53):
It helped me. It healed my body, and it helped me to not eat processed chocolate with all the refined sugar ever again.
Dr. Gundry (15:00):
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Dr. Gundry (15:42):
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Dr. Gundry (16:13):
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Dr. Gundry (16:57):
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Dr. Gundry (17:56):
All right. So where does alcohol fit in all of this? It’s also addictive. So what do you do about alcohol?
Liana Werner-Gray (18:07):
Yeah, that is a great question. And I was so curious about whether alcohol does help with anxiety or makes it worse. And after all the research, I ended up putting it in the controversial list. So I have in the book, the definite anxiogenic foods, proven, and then the controversial list. So alcohol’s on that because it is more of a bio individual approach. So for some people, it can relive anxiety and stress and really help to boost the mood. But for others, it can trigger anxiety, especially if they have certain issues in their gut, so it really is a bio individuality. But I found some very interesting research, and actually, majority research said that people who drink in moderation, if having wine, champagne, tequila, vodka, having one or two glasses can actually help with mental health, versus not drinking at all, and versus drinking three or four drinks.
Dr. Gundry (19:03):
Yeah, I agree with you. Those sorts of alcohols have a hermetic effect, where none is not very good, some is good, and a lot is really bad. And you have to hit that Goldilocks effect to find the right balance. Okay. So let’s talk about the good stuff. Nobody wants to talk about the bad stuff. So what are some of the best foods from your research for reducing anxiety and improving mood? You’ve already mentioned a couple, but I’m sure there’s a host of them.
Liana Werner-Gray (19:40):
Yeah. I have a top 10 list in the book, and it starts with dark leafy greens. Also, walnuts are on the list, turmeric, wild salmon, avocado, olive oil, broccoli and broccoli sprouts, coconut oil as well. Cacao is number nine, so real chocolate. And number 10 is ginger.
Dr. Gundry (20:00):
Aha, all right. And in your book, I know you like to really back all these recommendations up with hard research, and I congratulate you on that. It’s not just, oh, have some ginger, it makes you feel good.
Liana Werner-Gray (20:18):
Yes, thank you. Yeah, ginger is an antiinflammatory. And inflammation is in fact one of the causes of anxiety. So having some ginger tea in the morning or at night time before bed can really help to drain out that inflammation, help to get circulation going, help the lymphatic system.
Dr. Gundry (20:40):
Yeah. Now how do these foods, how has your view changed compared to your first, your other book, Cancer-Free With Foods?
Liana Werner-Gray (20:48):
Well, there are some similarities on the list, actually. But this anxiety list is more focused on the good healthy fats and magnesium. So those are the two main components in nutrients that can help to reduce anxiety is the magnesium and the omega-3 fats, whereas the cancer one had a lot more foods with antioxidants like blueberries, also, garlic and mushrooms. And the anxiety list also, dark leafy greens is number one. But number seven is broccoli and broccoli sprouts, whereas that was number one for the cancer book because of the sulforaphane, which sulforaphane, there’s a ton of studies on that for killing cancer cells.
Dr. Gundry (21:31):
Yeah. Okay, so you and I are both huge fans of leafy greens, and they’re good in so many ways. What do you do for people who either don’t like the taste of leafy greens, or they’ve got such IBS, or leaky gut, that leafy greens just tear them apart? What’s your solution here?
Liana Werner-Gray (21:56):
Well, some hacks is people could do some liquid chlorophyll and drop that in water, that way then they’re getting some green, and they’re getting their cells more receptive to this is what greens, receiving greens, so hopefully, one day they can start eating dark leafy greens. And also, supplements is a great way to get some dark leafy greens in. And yeah, that’s another great hack, or a smoothie, or a green juice. And you can really disguise the taste of dark leafy greens in a smoothie. So if I make a smoothie for you guys, it would taste so delicious. It would be creamy and fruity with some frozen blueberries. And you would not taste the greens, so that’s a great way to just get them in there.
Dr. Gundry (22:41):
And I know you’ve got some recipes in the book that do just that.
Liana Werner-Gray (22:46):
Yes, a ton of recipes, over 100 recipes about sneaking all of these really good, healthy foods in for anxiety in our foods.
Dr. Gundry (22:56):
We’ve mentioned supplementation just now. And we’ve talked about magnesium. So what are the best supplements to help calm the mind?
Liana Werner-Gray (23:06):
I have an entire chapter on supplements for anxiety, Dr. Gundry. So when I started researching this book, I started taking all of them. I was taking so many supplements, I was doing a human experiment. And then I decided to formulate my own, so I put together my favorite top 10 ingredients for anxiety. And so in this is actually some, the dark greens, the spirulina and the chlorella. And so I’ve been taking these every day since. The top ingredient is ashwagandha, so this really helps to calm the mind, but also gets us really energized as well. So it’s really good for cognitive performance, so yeah, these are my official favorite. How could they not be? I formulated them.
Dr. Gundry (23:50):
Exactly. Well, good for you. Yeah, it’s interesting. I have never recommended a supplement to a patient that I haven’t tried on myself first. And if a patient asks me what I think about a supplement and I don’t know much about it, or I haven’t tried it, I say, “Just wait. I’m going to try it on myself and I’ll get back to you.” And of course, everything that I make is what I’ve made based on my research, so good for you. Good for you.
Liana Werner-Gray (24:24):
Thank you. And you’re a good doctor. That’s what the good doctors do.
Dr. Gundry (24:29):
Yeah, I often say to my patients who are on 10 prescription meds, “How many of your physicians have actually put themselves on those 10 prescriptions to see what might happen?”
Liana Werner-Gray (24:43):
Yeah, exactly. No, they wouldn’t want to do that.
Dr. Gundry (24:49):
No. We know how problematic they can be. All right. So we mentioned tiger nuts. We talked about tiger nuts last time. Your book contains tons of delicious recipes for mood boosting foods. What would be one of your favorites? And please tell me it might be a low lectin food. How’s that?
Liana Werner-Gray (25:09):
Yes, of course. I looked in my book to find all the low lectins and lectin free anxiety recipes for you, Dr. Gundry. So the cookie dough is probably my favorite one, made with the tiger nut flour. And we love tiger nut flour because it’s lectin free and it’s a prebiotic starch, so it’s great for gut health. And gut health is connected to anxiety. So having a great cookie dough recipe on hand, that way will help you avoid eating processed cookies. If you never eat a processed cooking again because you have this recipe at home, I would be so happy. It would be a dream come true. So that’s one’s great, and then also the mustard greens smoothie and the crusted chicken made with tiger nut flour. And that’s what I made for you last time, Dr. Gundry.
Dr. Gundry (25:54):
Yeah, that’s right.
Liana Werner-Gray (25:55):
We did the [inaudible 00:25:55] one. And then also, the chocolate recipes are really good. The hot chocolate, just boiling some water with some cacao powder, and you’ll have a delicious, healthy hot chocolate. And then you can add different flavors to it. And of course, the pasture raised meat recipes as well, so the beef tacos, the beef burgers are delicious. And also the egg omelet formula I have, so people can make a delicious egg omelet and add some things to it, some vegetables, some dark leafy greens, some turkey, so delicious.
Dr. Gundry (26:29):
Some secret ways to get these good foods into you. Now speaking of ways to do this, you say one of the best ways to find success with this diet, and really any diet, is to use the food upgrade approach. What did you mean by this?
Liana Werner-Gray (26:46):
So this is the approach that I used to break my addiction to fast food and sugar. And so the food upgrade approach is a great chapter in the book. Some people go straight to that chapter and start there. And this is really for people who struggle with addiction or cravings. And so one example is: Okay, what is your biggest obstacle food? For some people, it could be candy, it could be chocolate, it could be cheese. Let’s say, for example, it’s gummy bears. So let’s start with gummy bears. So what do you do? Okay, a craving strikes. I really need to have gummy bears. So you start this thought process, this mindset of: Can I just kill that thought and it’s gone and go about my day? Great, that’s the best way to do it.
Liana Werner-Gray (27:30):
But for some people are not able to do that, so then it’s like, “Okay. I’m going to have gummy bears anyway. I’m set on it. What am I going to do?” So there are, you could buy Smart Sweets, for example. It’s sweetened with stevia, and they don’t have any corn syrup, any white sugar. It’s a remarkable product by a very young lady, so that would be a product that you could buy. Or you can make it at home. And I have a recipe for elderberry gummy bears in this book. And that way, you’ve got your own homemade gummy bears, made with fruit, just fruit puree. And they’re delicious, so that way, you’re fulfilling that craving. And that’s one way to do the food upgrade approach. And you can do that with every single food. So the idea is that all of your food eventually is upgraded, and you’re not eating from the old age food, or the food industry that created all of these really toxic foods. And you’re eating all these new upgrades.
Dr. Gundry (28:25):
Yeah. And that’s important because for any successful program, it cannot be about deprivation. That will always, always fail. So that’s good, giving people choices of the things. What I talk about having you eat, the food you love that loves you back, is what drives me.
Liana Werner-Gray (28:48):
I love that.
Dr. Gundry (28:50):
All right. All right, now, I ask everybody. If listeners could make only, only one change to their diet, what would that be?
Liana Werner-Gray (29:01):
I would say cut out the refined sugar. That is the worst one, so start with that. And then add in a green drink every day, whether it’s just the liquid chlorophyll in water, or a greens powder in water, or a green juice, or a green smoothie. Have one of those every day as your foundation.
Dr. Gundry (29:19):
Very good. All right, well, it has been great seeing you again. Last time, it was in person, but hopefully next time, it’ll be in person again because you always bring us great things to try and eat. And I’m disappointed that you can’t pass one of your cookie doughs through the screen to me.
Liana Werner-Gray (29:38):
Yes. I wish.
Dr. Gundry (29:39):
But where can listeners find all about you? Where can they find Anxiety-Free With Food?
Liana Werner-Gray (29:48):
It’s available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, any bookstore really around the world. And you can find me online at Liana Werner-Gray on Instagram, or my website.
Dr. Gundry (30:01):
And are you on Instagram?
Liana Werner-Gray (30:02):
I am on Instagram at Liana Werner-Gray, so L-I-A-N-A and then Werner-Gray, W-E-R-N-E-R, Gray, G-R-A-Y. No hyphen in the Instagram account.
Dr. Gundry (30:15):
Aha, very good. That’s right. Okay, well, it’s great seeing you again. I wish you much success with this because we’ve got anxiety everywhere that we need to combat. And this is a great way to do it.
Liana Werner-Gray (30:28):
Thank you so much, Dr. Gundry.
Dr. Gundry (30:31):
All right. Take care. Okay. It’s time for our audience question. Raven’s Roll Top on Instagram asked, “If the genetic diversity of seeds has been greatly reduced because of modern farming practices, does that mean our ability to have a diverse microbiome is also reduced? Do we limit the types of bacteria by eating less diverse food?” That is a great question. And it actually goes even beyond the genetic diversity. But we quite frankly, unlike a hunter gatherer, who may encounter and eat 250 different plant species on a rotating basis, and those plant species may be very different from one season to the next. Studies with hunter gatherers such as the Hadzas, or the Aboriginals in Australia, have shown that their gut microbiome, number one, is wildly more diverse than a typical Westerner’s. And number two, that their microbiome changes dramatically with the seasons, depending on what compounds that they are eating, and how quite frankly, those compounds were grown, whether they were grown in six feet of loam organic soil, or whether they were grown like we do in basically dead soil.
Dr. Gundry (32:00):
And I go into a lot of this and why it’s so important in The Energy Paradox. So you’re right, our current farming practice have basically produced a barren desert in our soil and a barren desert in the soil of our intestines. And you’re going to learn all about how you got to have good soil to keep your roots happy. So thanks, Raven’s Roll Top. That’s a great question. And now it’s time for the review os the week.
Kimberly Snyder (32:35):
Welcome to the Feel Good Podcast with Kimberly Snyder. My goal is to help you develop a holistic lifestyle based on our four cornerstone philosophy, food, body, emotional wellbeing and spiritual growth. This holistic approach will help you feel good, which I define as being connected to your most authentic highest self. And this is the place from which your energy, confidence, creativity, true power, and true beauty will start to explode. Every week, we provide you with interviews from top experts in their field, or a solo cast from yours truly, to support you in living your most beautiful, healthy, and joyful life. I’m your host, Kimberly Snyder, found of Solluna, New York Times bestselling author, and holistic wellness, nutrition and meditation teacher. Let’s get started.
Speaker 5 (33:27):
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Dr. Gundry (33:54):
This week’s review comes from Howard Cohen, who watched my interview with Dr. William Li, and said, “Great, interesting video with hundreds of mindset expanding, well presented facts, especially good for people like me, who are rethinking about how diet affects health. Thank you, Drs. Gundry and Li.” Well, thank you very much. It’s why we do this. As you know, I’m open to other people expressing opinions that I either agree with, or may not even agree with some parts of it. But I want you to have the ability to get facts presented to you in a timely fashion. And we’ll let you make the final decision, so thanks a lot, Howard Cohen, for liking that podcast.
Dr. Gundry (34:48):
Now it’s time for the review of the week. This week’s review comes from Courtney [Chapatoe 00:34:55], who watched my interview with Dave Asprey, and said, “You guys are two of my favorite people to listen to and learn from. Thank you both for all the insights. Dave, reading your book now. Dr. Gundry, can’t wait for your new book,” with lots of clapping hands. Well, thank you very much, Courtney. Dave and I always have a good time when we get together. He likes to give me so fun bio hacks that I might not be aware of. And luckily for me, I give him a couple of bio hacks that he’s not even aware of, so thank you for watching that. And keep watching because every week, I’m going to bring you something new because I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you.
Dr. Gundry (35:47):
Disclaimer, on The Dr. Gundry Podcast, we provide a venue for discussion, and the views expressed by my guests do not necessarily reflect my own. Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast. Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. And if you want to watch each episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast, you could always find me on YouTube at YouTube.com/drgundry, because I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you.