Part I: Tom Dotz
Tom Dotz founded the NLP Institute of California in 1990, growing it in four years to the largest organization of its kind in the U.S. In 1998 he acquired NLP Comprehensive, initiating new programs to keep it at the forefront of NLP. Tom has studied NLP since 1978, and is certified as an NLP Master Practitioner and Health Practitioner.
Part II: Dr. Bob Arnot
Bob Arnot, physician and avid chia advocate, is a New York Times bestselling author and has written fourteen previous books on nutrition and health topics. Arnot has been a medical correspondent for NBC Nightly News, Dateline NBC, the Today show, CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, and CBS This Morning, and he is a health columnist for Men’s Journal. He lives in Palm Beach, Florida and spends his winters in Vermont.
TRANSCRIPTION PART I:
Hello everybody. I’m your host. I’m Caryn Hartglass and we are about to start It’s All About Food. How are you today? Can we talk about food? You know I love talking about food. And before we get started with the main focus of the show today, I wanted to really just talk about my lunch today. It was such a dream phenomenal experience that I really need to savor it a little bit longer so I hope you don’t mind if I share it with you because it was so spectacular. And there are few things in the world that are so, from my point of view, so important and spectacular as when people serve you food, and food that nourishes you, food that is going to energize you and get you through the day and make you creative and feel good but food that’s also fresh, that’s gentle on the planet, and prepared with so much creativity. Now, normally, in order to get lovely vegan food if I don’t make it at home, because I normally make it at home—I’m fortunate to live in New York City, the greatest city in the world where we have access to so many wonderful restaurants and so many wonderful vegan restaurants and I did not go to a vegan restaurant. Today I was invited to a restaurant called Rouge Tomate, and they focus on organic, sustainable foods, and they made a spectacular vegan presentation for us: four courses of incredible, beautiful, colorful, creative foods that were paired with biodynamic wines. Every bite I kept thinking, I wish this for the world. Of course I would love to see hunger removed from the planet. No one should go to bed hungry. Everyone should have enough food to eat, but I don’t believe that it is difficult to prepare food that is such a beautiful event, so memorable. Why can’t we experience that every day? Every bite should be just, “Wow.” That’s what life is about: simple, fresh, lovely pleasures that end up giving us things that will make us better.
Alright. That was my moment of savoring my lunch. Thank you for joining me with that. Now I want to move on to my first guest. But before I do, I wanted to mention that food, which is what I talk about, nourishes our bodies. But sometimes our mind is so powerful that with certain behaviors we may grow up with, certain cultures we may grow up with, it limits us to what we’re able to do. It might limit the choices that are best for us. It might limit or affect the foods that we choose to eat or how we take care of ourselves. And the mind is pretty powerful. So what we’re going to talk about today is how we can work with our own minds to make the choices that we want to make, things that are good for us. And I don’t think it’s that difficult. Not after reading the book that I just read. And we’re going to be talking about that today. I’m going to introduce my guest. Tom Dotz founded the NLP Neurolinguistic Programming Institute of California in 1990, growing it in four years to the largest organization of its kind in the United States. In 1998, he acquired NLP Comprehensive, initiating new programs to keep it at the forefront of NLP. Tom has studied NLP since 1978 and is certified as an NLP master practitioner and health practitioner. He has a new book called NLP: The Essential Guide; Creating the Person You Want to Be. Welcome to It’s All About Food, Tom.
Tom Dotz: Well, thank you very much, Caryn. It’s my pleasure.
Caryn Hartglass: So I’ve read your book.
Tom Dotz: Wow, thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: I read the whole thing and the frustrating part for me was I had to read it by today and I just got it a few days ago. I now have to go back because there are so many great exercises and recommendations. This is a big workshop-in-progress thing that I imagine I can go back to many times. But I just wanted to get through the whole thing and digest it so that we could talk about it. So let’s just start. Let’s just start with neurolinguistic programming. That’s a mouthful.
Tom Dotz: It is an awkward title. It’s really about figuring out what I think of as functional models for how people work. What I mean by that is simply a model or a representation of what people that are really successful at something do that makes their effort produce results that are exceptional. I can apply that to something as basic as my meditation practice. Or I can apply it to, as one of our students did, designing cockpits for fighter jets for the Air Force. Because it touches on all sorts of human behaviors. One of the most, I think, important and fundamental ways that we do go into in the book is choosing outcomes that are really the right ones for you. Because I’m sure you know there have been times that you have wanted to do something and you were completely congruent about it. And you might even have noticed to your surprise how many pathways opened up for you that you hadn’t expected. Yeah, once you’ve really chosen and you were really congruent about that—and maybe it was your course in college, maybe it was a job, maybe it was a relationship—but once you decided, once you were really congruent about that outcome, all sorts of things opened up for you: opportunities and possibilities that you wouldn’t have expected might have come your way.
Caryn Hartglass: Yep. Open and receptive and everything’s flowing.
Tom Dotz: Right. Right. That state of congruence, internal congruence, really has a simple physical effect: it sets our perceptual filters; that is, it sets our mind in a certain form, in a certain format, so that we’re now noticing the things that will move us forward towards that outcome. It allows us a kind of focus that’s easy and natural and it really furthers our movement and really furthers us towards accomplishing our goals. And that’s probably one of the most fundamental elements of NLP. And in the book we go through—well, as you said, it’s virtually a seminar or a workshop in between a couple of pages. We also, of course…
Caryn Hartglass: There’s like 400 pages.
Tom Dotz: Well, we kind of got carried away.
Caryn Hartglass: And it’s not just in the book. There are so many links to get more and bonuses from your website.
Tom Dotz: Oh yeah. I’m getting some really nice feedback on how the website turned out. People really enjoy it. I keep putting up more video examples and demonstrations and responding to what people want more of. Because we do have a tremendous amount of resources and I’m really happy to provide them to people.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, what I like is…I have an engineering background and I like when things are logical and you can explain something and it makes sense and then I can apply it. And that’s what this is.
Tom Dotz: Yes.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s logical. It makes sense. Although I think many of us want to think that there are some things that we’re born with: our personalities, our looks. And that can either be a bonus or a benefit or a limitation. What this is telling me is that we can—like you said, like the book says: creating the person you want to be. You can be anything that you want to be and you spell out how to do it. It sounds kind of cliché. I see how it can work. Now, I haven’t had the opportunity other than one the first exercises in the book that you talked about where you suggest imaging a time in your life when you felt you had all the possibilities and you felt really good and confident and to feel that. I went through the exercise where I created that little button with my thumb and my middle finger to remember that. And that’s a simple little example that really works.
Tom Dotz: Yeah, it does.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s magical.
Tom Dotz: It does seem that way at times. I frequently say that the tough or the challenging part about NLP is that it’s so effective that somebody that is an absolute beginner can just wow anybody else on the planet with what they can do because it is so powerful.
Caryn Hartglass: Now I don’t know if this is—I hate to use this expression of “the chicken and the egg” for which came first but I just used it so I apologize to the chicken and to the egg—but I’ve heard many things, little bit of things I read in your book I’ve heard from other sources: other self-help books or other therapies. I’m not sure who tapped into who first or maybe it all started somewhere and people are building on it. But, for example, there was that documentary film that came out, The Secret, that talked about the law of attraction. A lot of it seemed very fluffy and really sensational and focusing on, “Oh, you can make all of this money if you just believe it.” But this book actually gets into the truth behind it and the work that you can do to really make some of those things happen. You can attract what you want.
Tom Dotz: Right. There’s a…boy, there’s some real slippage there and I really don’t have much truck with the general run of people who are promoting magical thinking. And a lot of The Secret was just that, it was magical thinking. Well, I’m sorry, but I’d like them to show me one example of one person who just sat in their studio apartment in Manhattan, closed the door, turned off the phone, and just waited for money to show up.
Caryn Hartglass: Right. You have to do the work.
Tom Dotz: You’ve got to do the work. And the thing is, work is not the opposite of play. If you’re doing what you’re really congruent about…like Warren Buffet said, he never went to work a day in his life. And he’s been rather successful. Most people would go, “Yeah, that’s a pretty good degree of success.” It’s about really being…I’ll keep coming back to this because it’s a really solid theme: it’s about being congruent and knowing what you want. And if you know what you want and you’re really working towards that, it’s not so much…yeah, you’re exerting effort and in that sense it’s work because you’re making an effort. But when you were a child and you were playing hopscotch or you were playing with your friends, you were exerting a lot of effort. If you were running around the block, you were exerting effort but it wasn’t work. It was play; it was enjoyable. And when it comes to attracting success and wealth, a big part of that is being really clear about your outcome and retaining enough flexibility in the way of getting there so that you see what comes to you as opportunities even if they might not look like one at the time. I remember one startup I was involved with years ago. We were calling on financial institutions and I was one of the guys in the field and I was talking to senior vice-presidents and executive vice-presidents at banks and we were trying to convince them that the opportunity to offer insurance to their customers was a good idea. Well, we had a list of 47 different products and services that we could offer them and there was one we put on there at the last minute because it was a “may be possible.” That was the one they bit on. And we wound up building a 200-million-dollar business inside of 24 months. From zip. Because we listened and we watched and we saw what they wanted and we were flexible enough to respond to what our customers wanted. We had the outcome in mind: we wanted to build a successful, large business in the financial institutions sector. But we wound up, well, we wound up doing what’s now called subprime financing: securitizing subprime financing. Yes, I’m sorry. I was involved with that back in the ’80s.
Caryn Hartglass: It seemed good at the time.
Tom Dotz: It seemed like a great idea. We really felt we were giving people a second chance.
Caryn Hartglass: Right. Sure.
Tom Dotz: And it turned out a little bit differently. But it was an example of having an outcome in mind and moving towards that while retaining enough flexibility and enough resilience to respond to the signals in your environment.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m not someone that uses self-help books very often. I know some people are really into them and I’m not saying that they’re good or not good. But one of the things that normally annoys me in a book is when there’s a worksheet and things that you’re supposed to do because I think, “Oh, this is trivial. This is a waste of time.” I don’t feel that about what’s in your book.
Tom Dotz: Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: I mean, the first thing is: you make it sound so simple. Just know what it is you want to do. And so many people don’t know what they want to do. And so you give an exercise where you make four columns: what you want to have, what you don’t want to have, and what you have but don’t want to have,—and I’m probably not getting it exactly right but it really helps figure out what you want.
Tom Dotz: Yeah. There’s a system and there’s a process for sorting through that. And we included it in the simplest and clearest way that we can. And I hope it works for people because it’s really effective. And you’re right. There are a whole lot of people who say, “Well, gee, I just wish I knew what I wanted. If I really knew what I wanted and if I really knew it was worth having, well, I’d really go for it.” Well, that’s part of the reason why we wrote this book because there are processes that help you sort that out and determine it and know with complete confidence that this really is appropriate for you and it is going to be good for you and the rest of the people in your life too. And one of the things that you probably noticed in there and it may be something that you come back and revisit is that we also consider when you’re thinking about your outcomes what we call your environment. And by that we don’t mean just the planet, although that’s certainly a part of it. We mean your human environment: your relationships, your family. How’s it going to impact them? Because one of the things you’ll notice as you start really changing and moving more into becoming the person you really want to be is that people around you are changing too.
Caryn Hartglass: And that could be good or that could be not so good.
Tom Dotz: Some people may find it real challenging. If you’re someone who’s always been a procrastinator and never got anything done on time and suddenly you’re completing things ahead of schedule and you’re moving right on, people around you might find that kind of disconcerting.
Caryn Hartglass: People may not be ready to change because change is hard.
Tom Dotz: For some people it can be threatening even.
Caryn Hartglass: Threatening. Now, neurolinguistic programming—I don’t think most people have heard about it, yet it’s been around for a very long time. Why isn’t everybody talking about it?
Tom Dotz: Boy, that’s a good question. Yes, it has been around since the ’70s and it was widely heralded when it first came along because it was producing some really remarkable results. And it actually is quite well known…it’s really funny. It’s another one of those cases of an expert as somebody who’s 50 miles from home with a briefcase and a prophet not getting any recognition in his own concrete. It’s much more widely known in Europe and even in Russia. And it is…and here’s the other thing. In America, where it has really transitioned into mainstream is as a component of a lot of grief therapies, training courses, self-help books. A friend of mine was reading this book called Firestarter and she said, “Oh, there’s this wonderful process in there called the Disney creativity strategy.” And I said, “Really? No kidding. Did they mention where it came from?” She said, “Uh, no. It’s just in the book.” And I said, “Yeah, created by Robert Diltz back in the ’70s.” And that’s also in our book too in chapter 8, I think, as I recall. And it’s a wonderful strategy for creativity, as well as for coming up with new possibilities and finding out how they align and really moving them into a workable plan, which is another really valuable function to have. In America, getting back to your question, NLP’s included a lot in management training classes. However, it’s rarely referred to or labeled as NLP. And part of this is because—well, just to be really frank—the people and the consultants who are marketing their services want to market their services. A good friend of mine, Frank Bork, is a psychotherapist in Corning, NY and he’s putting together a program. They’re developing a program to work with veterans on PTSD using a conventional—well, to us it’s conventional—NLP program.
Caryn Hartglass: Post traumatic stress disorder. PTSD.
Tom Dotz: Right. He’s working with the vets to get a grant and they’ve come quite a long ways towards it. In any case, because he’s based in Corning, he’s also frequently invited to Corning Glass to observe various things that they’re doing and one time he was invited to one of their training courses. And he sat there through the morning and at lunchtime went up to the guy and said, “You’re doing NLP.” And the guy went, “Oh my God. Well, yes actually.”
Caryn Hartglass: You gotta make a living.
Tom Dotz: You gotta make a living.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, these skills can be used for an individual to work on themselves. It can be used for an individual who’s having a challenging relationship, either a romantic partner or someone in the family or someone they’re working with. I know that we can only control ourselves but sometimes it can be so challenging when you’re working with people that make things difficult. And to some extent you can use these skills to make a difference.
Tom Dotz: Oh sure.
Caryn Hartglass: And the the larger scale, working in business. And there’s really great things in here. Now I want to talk about some specific cases. So this show is called It’s All About Food and I love talking about food. We’re here, it’s 2013, and obesity is soaring. People are overweight. I think the entire country has a food disorder. And it’s from our culture. We’re being marketed. We have all of these foods that are unhealthy for us. I’m imagining that for some people that are challenged with food that they could actually use some of these skills to help them get to a better diet.
Tom Dotz: Oh yes. Most assuredly. And again, starting with: what do you want to accomplish? What do you want? Do you want a better diet? What does that really mean to you? This is the kind of simple exercises that we include in the book that gently guide you through what’s important about that to you. Because when you can really get in touch with your deepest motivation, then it helps you to roll forward into the new plans and the little changes you make in your daily life that add up to the differences that give you the results you really want.
Caryn Hartglass: Now, I want to help the entire country. To help them change their diet. And I know that there are a lot of people that listen to this show or they hear me talking somewhere about food and they’ll ask me—and it’s great when someone’s interested and they want information that I can share with them; that’s easy. But for the people that need help and they don’t even know what it is they need, the question I have is: how can I change my presentation so that I can get it to more people and help them get to a better place with their food? That’s my challenge.
Tom Dotz: Well, it’s a matter of finding what motivates them, what gets their interest, what gets their attention. So if you want to consider our society as a whole and not one that we fall into, although we certainly do, people want to be attractive. They want to be well liked. They want to be successful. So how can changing a diet to one that is more sustaining help people do that? Gosh, there are a lot of examples. In my personal diet history, I’ve been vegetarian. I’ve done vegan retreats at the (garbled) Institute and stuff like that. And one of the little things, one of the little secrets, that I’ve found out was that the raw foods diet, for instance, is one that Hollywood scarlets will frequently go on for a couple of weeks just before they go on very important auditions. Why do they do that? Because it clears their skin amazingly. It gives them a glow like they were 19 again. And it comes from the inside out, which is real different from the results they get from four hours of expert makeup. And that’s about the only other way they can do that. Yeah. So I think if you want to attract society as a whole to a change in its orientation towards diet and food then you look for what is it that’s attracting them that you would be congruent about using as a way to get attention. So that. And also you’ve got the baby boomers who are hitting that age where they’ve got some real valid concerns about their long-term health, about their mental acuity. Yeah, well you know there’s an enormous amount that diet can do to influence your long-term health, your well-being, and your mental acuity in particular. I think perhaps that’s the greatest trigger for people reaching their 60s and their 70s. It’s one thing to lose your physical abilities but I think it’s even more frightening to consider the possibility of losing one’s mental abilities.
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely. It’s amazing. I always like to say you don’t know how good you can feel. I just want everybody to be happy and not have pain and not suffer. That’s all. That’s all I want.
Tom Dotz: That’s all? Let me know when you come up with a big goal.
Caryn Hartglass: And then you mention that when we make changes we have to anticipate if we can how those changes are going to impact the people around us. And I know a lot of people, when they’re changing their diet in particular, have a lot of problems with their families because food is so ingrained in our culture and tradition and holidays and people get scared and threatened like you said before.
Tom Dotz: Sure. Yeah, I’m part of a large family and I had those experiences at Thanksgiving dinner. My brother-in-law kind of looking down his nose at me like, “You’re not eating turkey?” “Actually, I’m not.” It’s OK with me. I don’t know why it bothers him.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, it’s so threatening.
Tom Dotz: Yeah it’s really funny. You know, I think there’s the feeling that it’s a judgment of some kind. And that could very well be the source of it.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, you know, there is something to it. We may or may not be judging but the person who feels threatened feels judged because I think there’s something internally that is in conflict with what’s going on and they’re judging themselves.
Tom Dotz: Could very well be the case. And my brother-in-law is one hale and hearty guy. There are a whole lot of other people who, in a similar situation, would have some pretty valid reasons for going, “Oh, god, feeling judged.” Because in their minds it’s pointing out in them where they’ve kind of been lacking in taking care of themselves.
Caryn Hartglass: Is there something with NLP that we can use to make the people around us feel more comfortable with our change?
Tom Dotz: Well, rapport skills, which we certainly go into in the book, can go a long ways towards making people feel more comfortable around you and feeling more comfortable around people, regardless of what you’re discussing or what the particular situation is.
Caryn Hartglass: OK. I’m going to have to become a master at this. I have a question. You talk about when you’re with people we all do physical things with our bodies and when we are congruent perhaps with someone we start to mimic each other.
Tom Dotz: Well, that’s…let me back up a little bit. We use congruent in a really technical sense, I guess you could say, in the book. And what’s you’re describing we call matching or mirroring. It’s a part of rapport skills. And in NLP we’ve developed some really fine-grained technologies around rapport. In the general public, rapport is generally thought of as, well, you get along well with people and that’s what’s considered rapport. I remember way back in the ancient history when I went to my first sales training class and the guy said, “Well, the first thing you’ve got to do with your prospect is get rapport.” And we all wrote down, “Get rapport.” And then he want on, “And the next thing is…” And he never went back to what rapport is, how you get it, or how you know if you have it.
Caryn Hartglass: Or how to spell it.
Tom Dotz: That either. So in NLP we make some really, really good distinctions about how to establish rapport, how to maintain it, and how to break it. Because you don’t always want to have rapport with everyone, like that pushy salesman who just can’t seem to get the message that you’re not interested in what he’s got to offer. It’s really handy to break rapport with a person like that.
Caryn Hartglass: So my question is: when I’m with someone and I’ve noticed that we’re mimicking each other…and before I read this book I started to notice that sometimes. And so sometimes I would break it because I thought, “I don’t want them doing what I’m doing.” So what happens when you break it? What feeling does the other person get?
Tom Dotz: Generally they’re not going to be aware of it consciously. It’s very rare that anyone is. And generally they’re just going to feel a little bit of a distance. In a natural interaction with someone when the interaction is drawing to a close, people will stop mirroring or matching each other as closely. It’s just a part of our disengagement process. So when you lead by starting that disengagement process, it’s just a signal to someone else like saying, “Gosh, I gotta go now.” It’s just a subtler and gentler way of doing it.
Caryn Hartglass: OK. Well, on that note I should say, “Oh gosh. I gotta go now.”
Tom Dotz: Whoa.
Caryn Hartglass: I mean, Tom, we’re at the end. And that went fast.
Tom Dotz: Boy, you planned that really well. My hat’s off to you!
Caryn Hartglass: Thank you so much for joining me. I can’t wait to get to work on all of my assignments here in NLP: The Essential Guide to Neurolinguistic Programming. Thanks for joining me on It’s All About Food.
Tom Dotz: It’s my pleasure indeed. Thank you very much.
Caryn Hartglass: OK, thank you. I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’re listening to It’s All About Food of course and we’re going to take a break and then come back and talk with Dr. Bob Arnot and the Aztec diet. We’ll be right back.
Transcribed by Jennie Steinhagen, 3/1/2013
Transcription Part II:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello, everybody! I’m back! I’m Caryn Hartglass, the host of It’s All About Food. Thank you for joining me on this lovely February 19, 2013. And wherever you are, I’m sending out some really energized good vibes, wherever you may be and wishing you well.
So we’re going to talk more about food, my favorite subject. And let’s get right on to my next guest. Dr. Bob Arnot, physician and avid chia advocate, is a New York Times bestselling-author and has written 14 previous books on nutrition and health topics. He has been a medical correspondent for NBC Nightly News, Dateline NBC, The Today Show, CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, and CBS This Morning, and he’s a health columnist for Men’s Journal. He lives in Palm Beach, Florida and spends his winters in Vermont.
Welcome to It’s All About Food!
Dr. Bob Arnot: Boy, what a great introduction! Thank you so much. Very appreciative.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. Now, you are like Superman, are you not? Is there nothing you haven’t done? You’ve been all around the world, climbing everything and …
Dr. Bob Arnot: I haven’t sung so I actually took opera lessons. I don’t think you want to ask me to do it.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, sing with me. I sing opera. Let’s sing a duet.
Dr. Bob Arnot: How about the beginning of Don Giovanni?
Caryn Hartglass: Okay.
Dr. Bob Arnot: (Sings)
Caryn Hartglass: Que bene! That’s very good!
Dr. Bob Arnot: But seriously, I tell you, chia has just remade my life. I ski races 5 days a week during the winter. I do 100-mile bike races in the summer. I did the Molokai-Oahu 32-mile open ocean span of paddling race this summer with 28-foot slopes and 35-knot winds.
It’s interesting that the ancient Aztecs actually went to battle only with chia. They would fight the Spanish for weeks at a time only with chia. Tarahumara runners you hear about are born to run. They’re out there in these 100-miles plus runs fueling themselves only with chia. But the real miracle here really has been in weight loss. I have never seen anything like it. Never. It really does act almost as if you had lap band surgery, in the sense that it fills you up; you just don’t feel like eating. So I’ve never felt better. I’ve never seen a diet where basically you don’t have that brain-strained hunger. And you feel amazingly great and you feel full. It seems to be too good to be true but it isn’t. It really works. We’ve had 2 years of critical trials with real women and real men who’ve had terrible weight loss problems who’ve finally got that weight loss done and have never felt better in their lives.
Caryn Hartglass: Chia is an amazing food. And if you just add water to it you can kind of see how it fluffs up and gets all gummy and filling.
Dr. Bob Arnot: But the big thing about the Aztec diet was to take chia, which is terrific and great on its own; but the fact of the matter is if you just throw it in your burger or fries it’s not going to do that much for you, only a little bit. We really want to take the entire Aztec experience to give people foods that have staggering amounts of antioxidants and totally fill them up and make them feel great. And the big thing is it kills what we know as micronutihunger. In other words, you get a burger and fries all day long; you’re still going to be hungry. Why? Because you don’t have all the minerals and vitamins and antioxidants you need. So it solves these really big problems in a wonderful and fun way. Day one when you start out with these smoothies or shakes and you have staggering information levels that they’re just dropped down into the sewer. You’re able to take down your glucose level, which is the number one reason we’re overweight, and again, just drop it into the sewer. And not have the hunger that …. it’s what kills people, with diet; they just can’t do it that long because they feel so terrible with brain-searing pain.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, it’s very obvious that you’re full of energy. And people probably say that they get exhausted just listening to you. But I want to say something. I am a vegan and I promote a plant-based diet but I love talking to different people who have other ideas about diets and what works. And what I like to do is talk about things where we’re aligned. Clearly, everybody has differences but there are things we’re all aligned on and I think it’s so important that we all come together and talk about the things we agree on because we can all go move faster forward that way. So it’s really clear that here in the United States we have this horrible obesity epidemic. I think … I said this earlier but we all have this “bad food disorder.” We’re marketed to eat all the wrong foods and it’s a nightmare.
Dr. Bob Arnot: And actually, The Aztec Diet over the weekend hit number 9 on the Amazon bestseller list. But more importantly, number 2 on the vegetarian best-sellers’ list. And it’s largely a vegetarian diet; you can be a total vegan on it. I’m, I say, 98% of the time, vegetarian. But the key thing is this: the Aztec range allows you to be vegetarian a very easy way. Why? Because this amino acid score, 100 or above means you have a complete protein. But chia is 115. With 3 or 4 grains, you’re over 100. And by comparison a ground round is only 92 and a hamburger is only 68. So you easily get the proteins you want. You fill yourself up. When I get up in the morning I have kale, blueberries, spinach, watercress, all thrown in into a mixture with chia and a little bit of honey. It’s staggeringly good. I do lots and lots of exercise. I don’t have muscle pain. I don’t have any protein deficiency, largely because the Aztecs figured it out before anybody else, and that is how to get all the protein you need out of a completely vegetarian diet.
Caryn Hartglass: I was very sad to read in the beginning of your book when you were talking a little bit about Aztec history, how they had fields and fields of chia growing and the Spaniards came along and realized that was the secret to their success and they destroyed them.
Dr. Bob Arnot: It was such a tragedy because I think if they kept their chia fields, they probably would have won. That would maybe have found a little gunpowder. But it’s amazing that back in the time of the Aztecs that they lived roughly to the age of 38, where in France and most of European people lived to the age of 28 or29. So they were much healthier, much greater longevity. And women there would have many more children; have healthier children than any place in Europe. So it’s one of the most successful cultures anywhere and it’s because of the foods that they had. The Aztec diet was staggering in terms of its power and breadth.
Caryn Hartglass: The thing is, here we are in 2013. We don’t know everything but we do know a lot more. And so we can take some of the things that were good from a long time ago but we don’t live in that time anymore and a lot of things have changed. But we certainly can use and make a benefit of the things that we know are good and bring it into the 21st century. And things like, you mentioned, kale and blueberries; these are easily accessible foods and they do amazing things. But I think we agree that the key is to get people off of the junk, the high glycemic load, highly processed food and get them to eating more fruits and vegetables, and whole foods, and chia, and quinoa, and amaranth.
Dr. Bob Arnot: And the thing is everybody knows what they’re supposed to do but they can’t do it. The secret here is you start out with these smoothies that are great tasting, like you went to a juice bar and it taste unbelievably great. I think it’s because of the fruits, the honey that makes it tastes great, the chia, Greek yoghurt, if that’s something your diet allows. But then you add all these vegetables and they taste amazingly great. They’re sort of disguised; it hides your veggies so you’re able to get al these amazing nutrients and not feel like you’re gagging on any vegetables. Barbara Rolls, one of the researchers that we point out in the book, talks about hiding your veggies and that’s the way to do it. Hide your veggies and you feel proud of it. I’m not a vegetable eater but now I have 9 servings a day because I put it all in a shake, disguised with blueberries, cantaloupes, bananas, a little bit of honey and it tastes amazingly great.
Caryn Hartglass: Now let’s talk about you not being a big vegetable eater. Now why do you have a problem eating vegetables, doc?
Dr. Bob Arnot: There actually is a gene, apparently, for vegetable eaters; that they don’t mind the bitter kind of taste and they lived longer and it’s a great kind of asset. When I was a kid, my parents almost force-fed me cauliflower and Brussels sprouts and I just … it really …
Caryn Hartglass: Now, I think, I could be wrong, but I think when you start in with these smoothies, which is a great idea because they taste great, slowly your taste buds will change and you’ll start to appreciate these vegetables on their own.
Dr. Bob Arnot: And that’s what we actually do in the book. We have amazing recipes in there so I do that, where there’s a turkey burger now that has kale and amaranth in it. So there’s amazing ways of doing that. If you want to stay completely vegetarian, you can get great, great dishes where you do get to appreciate the taste. And I agree with you. I really tremendously appreciate the nice, crisp, bitter taste of kale now and so I’ll have it in other places. So I look at chia really as a starter drug, starter food. If you haven’t gone this way, you start to go that way. You’re right; your taste buds do change. You do accept these other things. But it’s great to start powerful.
Caryn Hartglass: Now, you started the book talking about a number of different scales or ways to evaluate different foods and I thought that was great. Maybe we can touch on some of them so that people understand how to … well, what’s in their food and what isn’t in their food. The first one is the Andes score, which Whole Foods uses a lot. If you’ve been in Whole Foods you can see them. But what I like about it is it scores kale number 1, with 1,000 points. There’s nothing kale can’t do; it’s amazing. And then all the other fruits and vegetables fall in line.
Dr. Bob Arnot: And it’s great. We’ve looked at all these different scales and there are a lot of very good ones there. I do like the Andes one. The tricky thing is that you take a look at burger, fries, and soft drink meal and on the Andes table you’re going to get a 25. But what’s even more surprising is that if you take what’s known as a healthy, all-American meal, with some chicken, rice, and two veggies, or whatever you only get 320 points, keeping in mind, as you say, that kale gets 1,000 points. So with the Aztec diet, by the time you finish breakfast you get 3,328 Andes points; that’s more nutrition than most people can hold and you get that in the morning. That’s why I feel that people on the Aztec diet just feel the best that they’ve ever, ever felt because on a rollover scale, the average American, out of 100%, is getting maybe 3% is the score for their nutrients. And when we bring them up to 500%, they just can’t ever believe that they could feel that good in their whole life.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, it’s amazing. The question is, how did we get to this crazy place to begin with, where everybody is so sick eating all the wrong foods?
Dr. Bob Arnot: It’s a very interesting … One thing about this book is we go to a lot of traditional peoples and their traditional diet, like the Aztecs, or like the Maoris in New Zealand, like the Pima Indians in Arizona, the native Hawaiians out in Oahu. And they were tall, strong, athletic-looking people for tens of thousands of years. And when we inflict this on them, this Western diet, they tend to have staggering levels of obesity and diabetes, or heart disease. Miserable. So what this book advocates more than anything else is going back to the traditional diets because those traditional diets have cultural values that they embrace. Like the native Hawaiians, they embrace their cultural values as a way of going back to these diets. They want to do it because it’s who they are culturally rather than just going on a diet. I think it’s a very, very interesting sell. A big part of why we have branched into this fast food diet is because it’s fast so we try to solve that problem in the book. I’ve shown a video up online that shows in 90 seconds I can prepare a whole day’s worth of smoothies. With every imaginable vegetable, fruits, and just tremendous stuff in it. Like today, I could’ve even bought one. I make myself bottles full of these chia smoothies and I just drink them all day long. And in that way, that makes it fast, fast, fast and you’re never hungry, which is, I think, the most important part of the Aztec diet book is you’re never hungry.
Caryn Hartglass: Now, do you know the history between … okay, after the Aztecs were gone and now we’re here in 2013, when did chia get reintroduced? How did we get to know chia again?
Dr. Bob Arnot: Back in the 1890s there were scholars who went out across the American West. It grew in places where plants wouldn’t grow. There were couriers who would actually go from the Colorado River, all the way out to the Pacific Ocean there, just taking chias in their fuel. So there were some lure about it but it was a very, very hard crop to grow. So it was only back in 1978 out Bush Way from the University of Maine in the Agriculture Department up there, started researching it and found all these amazing, staggering health facts and slowly, it made its way back into health stores, as you can imagine, out in California in the 60s and 70s, and 80s. Then it really started in 2005. Science swooped in. As we started to see its very, very good strong studies and its competition, and its health effects started to grow. And it’s really only been over the last years when it really entered the public’s consciousness. And for a very interesting reason and that is chia really is an ingredient to survive. Kale’s a food, hamburger’s a food, French fries are a food but it’s an ingredient. So people have to get used to the idea they’re going to add it into something: add it to a recipe, add it to a soup, add it to a cereal, or as we recommend, add it to a smoothie.
Caryn Hartglass: Right. You’re not going to sit down and have chia for lunch. It’s got to be mixed with something because it doesn’t taste like much but it can be kind of gross, especially if you mix it with water it’s a little gooey and …
Dr. Bob Arnot: Well, the interesting thing is that gooeyness, we call it mucilaginous. And what it means is that that gooey substance is what actually sticks in that stomach. We had oatmeal as kids that stick to your stomach; this probably sticks to your stomach 10 times longer than oatmeal. And that’s the secret of it is that the chia stays in your stomach so long that it juts kills your hunger for hours longer than you can imagine. But the best thing about chia is that it doesn’t have any taste. So when you put it into your smoothie, or your Gatorade, or some water, or wherever you want to put it in, it doesn’t have a taste so it’s easy, easy to have. I think it’s the number one food in the world.
Caryn Hartglass: I think it’s unfortunate today that so many people want their food to be easy and as a result, they may make some wrong choices. So it is attractive to know they have some choices that are easy but are good for them and can actually help them lose weight. Just one more thing, one more thing I want to talk about and that is inflammation. So you have … you included some of the foods that have the scores for their inflammation potential. Can you explain some of that?
Dr. Bob Arnot: Sure. One of the most important things in all of health today is inflammation. That is, 50% of heart disease is due to inflammation. Some cancers are grown from inflammation. But I think the number one point is this, if you look at the average woman who’s overweight, she is a cauldron of inflammation: in her blood, in her brain, in every organ and she gets up and she feels terrible every single day. So with this diet, you’re able to take your inflammation levels from a negative 1800, which is a terrible score, up to a positive 3,000 or 4,000, or 5,000. So with that difference of 6,000-8,000 in your inflammation levels, it just turns your brain around. Inflammation in your brain, it’s all the wrong neurotransmitters; it cuts down on the good neurotransmitters and your feel terrible. Again, heart disease, blood vessel disease, lung disease, your whole body really is on fire inside with inflammation, and it’s why people feel so good. There actually is a test for inflammation called CRP, or C-reactive protein. And we tested all of our dieters and the intriguing thing is that CRP came down in every single one of them.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, people probably don’t even realize that that’s a really great marker to test health before you really find out what’s going on, that C-reactive protein.
Dr. Bob Arnot: Maybe the best of all.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, because it can really predict things before it’s too late.
Dr. Bob Arnot: Totally right.
Caryn Hartglass: Because it shows that inflammation. So what are some of the best foods that score high on anti-inflammation that don’t cost …
Dr. Bob Arnot: Well, we have these premium foods in the book …
Caryn Hartglass: Chia seeds?
Dr. Bob Arnot: Chia seeds are very, very good. But also when you look at the veggies, clearly look at them, kale, watercress, collard greens, all are 1,000. You have spinach at 700. You kind of come down form there. But the intriguing idea I learned many years ago from centers and science for the public interest is you don’t have to have tons and tons of vegetables, you have to have the right ones. So you might have a lettuce, for example, which probably has an Andes score of 50 versus kale at 1,000, why not have the kale so you can have fewer better foods? The surprising thing to me in reading and writing the Aztec Diet was that if you take any food group, take a look at the top ten, by the time you’re at the bottom of the top ten it’s not very good. You go from 1,000 points down to probably 200 in the veggie table, by the time you’ve gone from number 1 to number 10. The same thing is true with meats, and fruits, and grains, and whatnot. I’m a big believer that when you diet, if you want to be healthy, you don’t need a huge variety of foods; you need to purchase very few foods that are unbelievably good and stick to those.
Caryn Hartglass: I think most people like to have the same things most of the time anyway. We really don’t like change. So the thing is to do the work, get to the right place, and then find the foods that are really going to work for you.
Dr. Bob Arnot: I totally agree. I totally agree.
Caryn Hartglass: And then occasionally you can go out …
Dr. Bob Arnot: The dull diet.
Caryn Hartglass: A what?
Dr. Bob Arnot: We call it the dull diet.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, but it’s not.
Dr. Bob Arnot: I know, I know, it’s good for you. But you were saying about going out to eat … The great thing about the Aztec Diet is when you go out, you want to try to make the right choices. I try to sit down, tell people not to bring any bread, dig into the main course as quickly as I can to fill myself up. We have holidays, Thanksgiving, we have birthday, we have weddings; we’ve over-rated those. And the great joy of the Aztec diet is the day after you come home, you start the chia shakes again to wake things up and you feel amazing. So it allows you to enjoy your life but at the same time, get right back on the wagon.
Caryn Hartglass: I know that when I indulge myself, the next day that’s all I want to do is to get right back because I know how good it feels when I’m doing the right thing. When you wean yourself off of from bad foods and then you kind of let yourself have them again, sometimes that turns people totally off of them because they see how bad it makes them feel.
Dr. Bob Arnot. Yeah. When I go to a party now, I almost dread them. I’ll actually bring a thermos of the chia shake along with me.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. I like to tell people to eat a lot before they know they’re going into a dangerous event so that they …
Dr. Bob Arnot: Such good advice. Well, all your advice is so good.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, thank you. Well, Bob, thank you for joining me on It’s All About Food. And thanks for telling the world about this miracle super-food, chia. And if you need any more tips on your opera work I’d be happy to help you with them some other time.
Dr. Bob Arnot: Well, buy a copy of the Aztec Diet and I’ll get an opera lesson from you.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, that sounds good!
Dr. Bob Arnot: Thank you so much. What a pleasure.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. So we have a few more minutes left and let’s just digest what we talked about today, okay? I’m still digesting my lunch, which is one of those indulgent things that I had and I can’t wait to get back to my juicing and kale salads.
So interesting things were brought up in this book, The Aztec Diet, that we just talked about: Chia Power: The Super Food That Gets You Skinny and Keeps You Healthy. And as I said earlier, I want to talk about the things that I agreed with but I have to say that there are things in the book that I personally wouldn’t promote. And so I’d like to keep that in mind. I definitely promote chia seeds are great. I think it’s great to mix them up with flax seeds and other foods that give you a lot of mega-3 fatty acids. We don’t know enough about chia yet. I’ve seen all kinds of different numbers about nutritional value in chia and some people like to know, is flax better than chia? Is chia better than flax? I think variety works best and maybe we’ll learn more about chia as time goes on. I know that flax has more lignans and lignans are great for fighting cancer. But I don’t like to look at what’s in food and keep track of the numbers. Now sometimes it really helps when people are making a change in their diet to see what foods are going to give them more good things rather than less. But ultimately, I think it’s really good to land in a place where you don’t have to keep score, you don’t have to be counting. And that’s the beauty of green plant foods, vegetables, and beans. You can just eat them until you’re satisfied, right? And get on with your day.
Okay. I wanted to remind you, and I didn’t say this in the beginning of the program, but I like to hear form you and you’re certainly welcome to call in during the program and ask questions. It’s kind of the end of the program so that’s not really the right time to say it but in the future, please do. And you can always send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. If there’s something you like or something you didn’t like, or something you agree with or didn’t agree with, you can write me and let me know. I really need and love to hear from you. And we are continuing over at my nonprofit, responsibleeatingandliving.com, with our transcription project, which is enabling us to put into text all of these different programs so you can access them, not only in the audio podcasts but read and remember some of the information even better.
Well, it’s time to go. Thank you for listening. I’m Caryn Hartglass. It’s been a great moment here with It’s All About Food. Have a delicious week.
Transcribed by Diana O’Reilly, 3/4/2013