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Episode 130: (Rerun) How to Eat to Beat Disease with Dr. William Li

Brief summary of show:

In this episode, I’m bringing back one of our most favorite episodes on the podcast, How to Eat to Beat Disease with Dr. William Li.

Dr. Li shares with us his best tips for using food as medicine, and how to empower ourselves with a balanced diet.

William W. Li, MD, is an internationally renowned physician, scientist and author of the New York Times bestseller “Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself.” His groundbreaking work has led to the development of more than 30 new medical treatments and impacts care for more than 70 diseases including cancer, diabetes, blindness, heart disease and obesity.

His TED Talk, “Can We Eat to Starve Cancer?” has garnered more than 11 million views. Dr. Li has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, CNBC and the Dr. Oz Show, and he has been featured in USA Today, Time Magazine, The Atlantic and O Magazine. He is president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation and is leading research into COVID-19.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • [3:10] Food as medicine

  • [4:40] Examples of foods that are medicine

  • [7:50] How specific foods impact the health defense systems

  • [9:25] Are supplements, proteins and Keto diets actually good for us?

  • [11:25] What we should be cutting and adding to our diets

  • [15:20] The types of diseases we can change with the help of food as medicine

  • [18:50] Dr. Li’s research on COVID and how to heal from it

  • [26:00] What a typical day of eating looks like for Dr. Li

Notes from Natalie:

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Connect with Dr. William Li

Connect with Me

View Transcript for this Episode

Natalie: The power of food as medicine what to eat and why when it comes to your well being.

Natalie: Hi everyone. It's Natalie It's fall. It's starting to cool down and sure enough within the first few weeks of school. My son and I got sick I just so happened to have a COVID test from two years ago stuffed away in the closet And although it felt like we just had yucky colds.

I was curious and guess what? It was COVID. We recovered within the week and we're all just fine now, but it got me thinking about fueling our bodies with the right foods so we can fight off illness. So much of our health is how we take care of our bodies each and every day, like building a strong foundation to your house, but in this case, your body.

So you're able to ward off and fight the storms or fight the germs and illnesses that come our way in this special episode. I am thrilled to have Dr. William Leon. You might remember him as this is a prerecorded episode from last year, early last year, but. I want to readdress the information and the topics that we can learn from by hearing it all again.

That's why I bring people back in some of these special episodes. His insights were incredibly well received by all of you, immensely valuable. And let me tell you a little bit more about him. Dr. William Lee is not your run of the mill physician and scientist. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Eat to Beat Disease, the new science.

of how your body can heal itself. His work is groundbreaking. Having paved the way for over 30 innovative medical treatments. These treatments have had a profound impact on more than 70 diseases ranging from cancer and diabetes to blindness, heart disease, and obesity. Dr. Lee's Ted talk. Can we eat to starve cancer?

It's gone viral. Maybe you've seen it. It has at least 11 million views. And I'm sure more by now, you might've also seen him on good morning, America, CNN, CNBC, Dr. Oz, all of the big shows out there and, uh, many magazines and articles as well. So grab your headphones, tune in as we have a very informative chat today with Dr.

Lee, he's going to be exploring the fascinating idea that food. Is medicine and how very specific foods can boost your body's defenses. And we'll even dive into the truth about supplements, proteins, and keto diets. Let's get started today with Dr. William Lee.

Dr. Lee, thanks for taking the time today. I love what you specialize in and I have so much, I want to ask you,

but let's start with this idea of food as medicine. I spent many years as a health reporter, and I think a lot of people think I need a drug or I need a specialist, but there are things we can do in our everyday life that are some of the best forms of medicine out there.

Dr. Li: Yeah, well, Natalie, let me tell you as a physician the natural, go-to bag that we all reach for in healthcare. Speaking as a doctor is to go for the prescription or to go for the referral to the specialist. But I think that's really a kind of a view of the rear view mirror because now what even medical doctors are beginning to understand is that diet and lifestyle plays a tremendous role in shaping how we feel and how healthy we are inside.

Because one of the questions that I think food as medicine gets to is what is health. Itself health. Isn't just the absence of disease, which, you know, that's how we normally think about it. But in fact, health is a result of something and the health is a result of our body's own defenses that protect us against diseases, everything from.

Kohl's to COVID cancer to cardiovascular disease. Those health defenses can be fed by the foods and influenced by the foods that we eat. And that's really where the food, the world of food as medicine is going. It's not about a super food. It's about the super body and what foods we can feed that those hard wired health defenses that can allow us to actually be not only healthy, but to resist the diseases that we fear them.

Natalie: Are some of the foods you've talked about that can be used as medicine universal, because it does seem like certain, certain things are better for certain people. But is that, is that marketing, is that something that we've learned? I shouldn't have gluten or I should have more proteins or give me an example of, and when you talk about food as medicine, what are you talking about?

Dr. Li: Right. Well, you know what you're, what you're asking me to explain is exactly what people need to actually reframe their own thinking. When you talk about food as medicine, the first thing that you want to think about it. Well, so tell me the top three foods that I should be eating. And, and, and then, then, and then the question is, is that true for everyone?

Let's talk about truths for everyone. All of us, when we were in our moms. We're developing as a ball of cells. And when the same time our chins formed our ears formed our hearts, livers, spleens, and brains, all got put together. So to we're formed our body's health defense systems. And I'll tell you there's five of them that that I write about in my book eat to beat disease that are so fundamental.

Number one is a defense called angiogenesis. It's our circulation as adults. We have 60,000 miles worth of blood vessels in our body and our, and these are the highways and byways. The air, the oxygen we breathe and the food that we eat, the nutrients to every single cell and feeds them. And so that's one of our health defenses, our stem cells.

These are the leftover cells that formed our body parts that when we were born, we had extras, overage kind of like extra cans of paint. After you finished painting a room, you put them in the garage. Well, in our box our extra stem cells got packed away in our bone marrow to be called out when we need to repair ourselves from the inside in foods can impact that as well.

Our gut microbiome, we all hear about gut health and how important that is tip of the iceberg. From a research perspective to know just how important our gut bacteria is to our brain or emotional health, mental health inflammation, metabolism, our ability to heal our ability to resist cancer. Our gut is another health defense system.

Our DNA, not more than a genetic code, it's actually protects us from the environment, both sort of the outdoor environment. And and also the things that we feed ourselves that might not be so good. And our immune system over the last couple of years, everybody has gotten a better appreciation of how important it is.

So those actually are the hardwired systems. Again. You pick a food, we can talk about any food or if you can, you want me to actually throw a couple of foods out there and I can tell you how they actually, how they impact the health defense systems? Hey everyone. It's Natalie. I am excited to let you know that I'm opening up spaces for collaboration and advertising and sponsorship on this podcast. And on my YouTube channel, if you're a brand looking to grow in the wellness family or mindfulness spaces, I would love to collaborate with you. You can find the link to get in touch with me in the show notes, and you can always find out more about what I'm up to on Natalie

Well, let's, let's

Natalie: pick a few then. I always think if I'm eating a nice colorful salad, I'm doing my body.

Good. Am I

Dr. Li: absolutely. Plant based foods. Actually most of them contain chemicals. They're called bioactives. And these bioactives are mother nature's pharmacy with not with a pH, but with an F because when plants were developed, evolved, they develop these chemicals that were actually helped the fences for the plant themselves.

For example, They allowed the plant to repel insects as an insecticide, a natural pesticide, or they were able to help protect the plant by attracting pollinators bees and MAs so that they could actually have sexual reproduction and they could be fertilized and the seeds dispersed elsewhere. Okay.

When humans started to eat these plants in a colorful salad, these natural chemicals. Which could be, I mean, I can name a bunch of them. The carotinoids the lycopene in a tomato or the sulforaphane and a broccoli or the anthocyanins and a blueberry, the actual chemical names are not so important, except for people to know, we're beginning to discover what these things are.

When we, when humans started to eat these plants, those natural chemicals had another job description. They found another job, and that is to work in a side, our body. And many times they activate one of our health defenses, better circulation. Help us regenerate, help our gut health, help us protect against the environment, help our immunity.

And that's really the exciting part is the discovery of which foods do what

Natalie: are there things in our modern culture that we have been programmed to think are good for us. And they're not, there's so much in the supplementation world or proteins, or are there some things scientifically where you're from, or like we've been told these are good for us, but they're really.

Dr. Li: I'll give you like the simplest popular notion out there, which is that, you know, Quito is the way to go. I will tell you that, you know, Aquino diets. Okay. It's really unsustainable. And actually it's not that healthy for you in the long run by any means. Every medical student learning to become a doctor learns that ketones in the body are sort of a desperate attempt for your body when it's in diabetic crisis, to make sure your brain doesn't die and has enough fuel.

And so when I first heard about keto and of course there are some. There are some adaptations that might be useful for treating cancer, for example, in some cancer patients, but in general, you know, for a young, healthy person to say, I'm going to go keto because I want to actually get as many ketones in the body as I want to me.

I, I, what I basically tell people, you know, That's like a crisis and for people in diabetes, that's not what your body wants to do. We can leverage that to a lesser extent, but any concept like that, that becomes popularized and then turn into an extreme tends not to be particularly good for you actually.

What health what's really better for health Natalie. Things that are more mainstream that people can get behind. That is, that is more moderate in nature and yeah. Does involve eating mostly whole food plant-based stuff, but not exclusively. You don't have to be vegan to enjoy healthy food.

Natalie: What about things that are working against us?

Or as I like to say to my kids, like, that's just like sugar food or dead food. Like you're just, it's not, it's not doing any good for your body. What are the things you would say? We should start cutting out or try

Dr. Li: to avoid.

Okay. So, so I, most of my research is actually focused on what are the good things we should add to our diet because there's so much attention has been paid and what the cutout that said there are some core.

Foundational things that everyone needs to know about. You need to cut down or cut out and I'm not, again, I'm not, I'm not about deprivation. I'm just sort of saying, look, we all have the agency to actually make better decisions for ourselves. So here's some things that I would say should be red flags when they actually appear in front of you on the table.

Number one, soda, very popular you know, every kind of soda, regular soda has like 10 teaspoons of refined sugar added to it. So here's what I tell people. Go ahead and pull out, you know, your, your sugar jar and take out a teaspoon and an empty glass and just put 10 of those things in there. Okay. Now fill it up with water.

Do you feel like drinking that? Probably not. Okay. That sounds disgusting. And yet that's actually, what's in a typical can of soda. So what does. Look, our body needs sugar. Our body generates sugar. We need it for energy. So sugar isn't universally bad, but overloading on sugar, which anybody can realize I can't have soda would do is bad because it's overloading your body.

How do I help people understand that? Look, gasoline is good for your car. If you drive a fuel car, so you go to the gas pump and you actually put the nozzle into your tank and you click it and you're filling it up. Now that's filling up the tank. We need sugar in our tank okay. In our body. But imagine if there wasn't that, mechanism that stopped the filling of the tank when it was full.

Okay. Imagine if the thing just kept on running and fuel spill right out of your car, right down your pant legs, around the wheels, and it'd be a dangerous flammable mixture. And that's what added sugar does to way overload on. Sure. That is actually harmful to your gut microbiome. It poisons your circulation damages, your blood vessels, stuns your stem cells lowers your immunity.

And so all your defenses get taken down. It's like lowering your shields for health. Another thing that I think, you know, that people need to know about is ultra processed foods. What's an ultra processed food. I mean, first of all, I want to make a distinction. Processed foods is anything that we take from its native state and put it into a mixing bowl and, you know, do anything to it.

So I'm not talking about processing foods, we all process foods, cooking it, processes it. What I'm talking about. Ultra processed foods, we're where some factory someplace is taking. Perfectly good ingredients, reducing them and turning them into a form that we wouldn't recognize and then extruding them through a machine so that they're in a form that then is pound pounded with chemicals, for preservatives and coloring and flavoring and stability.

You know, a pet, an ultra processed food is what you go into the middle aisle of the grocery store for it comes in a box, comes in a bag, comes in. And you open it up and you look at the side and I tell people, you have to look at the ingredients. So anything you buy and this got like 20 or more ingredients and half of them, you can't pronounce and you don't know what they're there for.

That's an ultra processed food. Ultra processed foods have been linked to higher rates of diabetes, higher rates of obesity, higher rates of cancer. Okay. And what we do know from research from food as medicine research, as they wreck your health defenses, They take them down. So cut those down, cut them out.

We're all human. We're all gonna kind of munch on something every now and then, and that's okay. But if you spend most of your time shoring up your health defenses, you're going to be in a better way.

Natalie: And it's a habit for so many people. If we can cut the soda habit or some of those other habits we'll do ourselves so much.

Good. So, okay. I want to dive into a couple of other things. First of all, you talk about. Preventing and being able to truly change your life in not having diseases. And you give an example of many of those.

Can we really, even if we're genetically predisposed to say, are there's a family history of certain diseases, can we really change that?

And what types of diseases can we change? Given food as medicine?

Dr. Li: Absolutely. Let's, let's go right for the throat on this and talk about cancer. Okay. Cancer is a word that strikes fear in anyone even healthy people. It's become sort of this monster presence for us as humans, when we think about health and disease, and yet most people don't know that.

In fact, we're forming cancers all the time. Everyone watching this. Tiny little microscopic cancers forming in their body like pimples. And that's because our bodies are made of 40 trillion cells, healthy cells, and they have to divide and reproduce themselves. Copy paste function you know, on a word document every single day.

That's why we're still around tomorrow. We're copying pasting ourselves. But if those that copy paste makes even one mistake. One or two mistakes. You got a microscopic cancer. And so these are happening 10,000 times a day. You got a mistake. We all have a mistake making happening in our body. That's 43, 40 trillion times.

So we've got to re reproduce 10,000. That's actually, that's actually not that much. the good news is our body fixes those mistakes. Okay. And but when they form, they form these little microscopic cancers that cannot grow beyond the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, because they don't have a blood cell.

They're tiny they're they, they just can't get any bigger. And what happens is that then our immune system swings by like cops on a beat. I say that that abnormal cell, which is like a pimple look, if you saw a pimple on your face, You might pay attention to it. If you had a pimple on your back, you wouldn't even know it's there.

But the immune system knows that these little pimply, microscopic cancers are lurking around there, like cops doing surveillance in a neighborhood that they see a little microscopic cancers, like somebody that looks like a drug dealer on the corner, they don't even have to permit a crime. They're getting in the Patty wagon and immune system takes them away and gets rid of them.

And that's how that's, that's actually how we deal with these microscopic cancers all day long. Even if you're genetically predisposed to develop cancers, colon cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, even brain tumors. The reality is if we can help our bodies prevent blood vessels from feeding those cancers, it's going to be a lot harder from the grow up.

If we can shore up our immune systems. So the cups on a beat can clear them, put them in a Patty wagon and take out the small cancers more quickly that tips the balance in our face. Against the cancer, the risk of cancer. And that's really what cancer prevention is all about. Diet and lifestyle can take odds that you may be born with that seemingly are against you, but here's where we can fight back.

We can live healthier lifestyles to tip those scales are no absolutes. And that's where foods like that, that we can eat. You can actually help. So, what I'm

Natalie: hearing you say is building up our immune systems, the cops on the beat, the Patty wagon, that's the key because all of these things. And so I want to get into another topic to about cancer.

Talk about anything. If our immune system's working as it should. Should be fighting those things. So the topic I want to get into, because I know you've done a lot of research on COVID-19 and when it first came out

and tell me about some of that research and what you discovered and how building up our immune system can help us with this fight, that it seems like we're going to continue fighting in our society.

Dr. Li: Yeah, and it actually goes way beyond immune immune system, because when I'll just tell you the snapshot of the story. COVID is a new human disease. Just two years old. I mean, think about those textbooks that medical doctors memorize in terms of their whole careers. All of a sudden doctors knew nothing.

Uh, We all were at ground zero, like with no knowledge at all. And so what's been remarkable is the researchers, myself and others diving in to try to figure out what can we understand about what is going on with this disease? It's a respiratory illness, but one of the things that I discovered along with my team, my research team, This Corona virus gets into our lungs and our airways.

And not only does it damage our lungs can, it's set up in our lungs. It can crawl into our blood vessels and damage our circulation. And because our circulation is a 60,000 mile a system of highways and byways that bring blood everywhere, it can, it can allow the virus to affect our brains. Our kidneys, our hearts, I mean, even our testicles.

And so this is one of the profound things that not talked a lot about. Uh, You know, most people don't are so fatigued with the pandemic. They don't want to think about it anymore, but for those of us who are doing the research, what we want to say is that, you know, we've learned a lot about the vulnerabilities of the human body.

And one of the things we want to do is protect our blood vessels. So. The Corona and also boost our immune system to try to resist as much as we can, the risk of infection. So now what I'm doing, what I've been doing is looking at long COVID now long COVID is sort of the you've recovered from the acute COVID long ago and it's months, maybe even a year or more where you're still struggling.

Brain fog, trouble, breathing, weakness, racing, heart. I mean, there's a hundred different symptoms. We're finding out that that is also the residual, the long tail of COVID. Even when you can't find any more virus, your blood vessels have been damaged. Your you've got auto-immunity and chronic inflammation and your nerves have been damaged as well.

Here's an opportunity from a research perspective to figure out how to fix them. Now, there will be in the future drug companies that are going to come up with ways to repair it. In the meantime, food is medicine may be an early rescue. They may be the EMT is to this, you know, and, and the EMT is, are bringing foods that can, we know can help to repair blood vessels can help to lower inflammation can um, mitigate CRA uh, auto-immune.

Those are things that actually might be really helpful for those of us who are suffering and don't know what else to do that we can actually take some steps that are practical, that, you know, open the refrigerator and there might be a solution right there. It's so

Natalie: interesting. I, every day I hear more people who are saying, you know, I have this issue, maybe it's long, COVID the memory you said, or, I mean so much.

So people who have said. dry skin or nervous system issues or all kinds of things. I think now we're all looking for a reason for some of those things, maybe they are COVID related. We don't know. But again, what I'm hearing you say is the food can help us with all of those things and any potential issue we might have in the future.

Be it COVID or, or something

Dr. Li: else. Yeah. Well, I mean, and just to build a little bit on what we were talking about earlier, I remember I told you, your, your blood vessels are a health defense system. We know COVID can damage that. So let's repair, let's use foods to repair that, to whatever extent we can. I told you that COVID obviously can damage your immune system and cause some auto-immunity that's that's for sure.

You know, auto antibodies. It's it's almost like a disease that tries to give us lupus. Okay. we do know that there are foods that can sort of help to turn down the volume of our immune response and lower inflammation. Let's take a look at how we can apply those to help repair as well. We also know.

That we know there is organ damage, and we know that there that our body repairs organ damage from the inside out. And this is through our stem cells, those extra cans of paint that we were talking about earlier, when you're painting your room in the garage, that's the, instead in our bone marrow, there are foods that can call out.

Those repair cells to speed things up. And by the way, some good news, some of the, one of the most powerful foods that can do that is dark chocolate.

Other nature's actually imbued into dark chocolate, at least two things. One is a natural chemical called an anthro cyanic in, and it actually calls out stem cells to help affect better repair. And that actually causes better circulation. And the other thing is dietary. So if you go for dark chocolate, 80% or more there's fiber from the cacau, because you know, a candy bar is a convection, but dark chocolate is mostly the plant-based stuff.

That's got fiber in it. Feed your gut microbiome, the gut microbiome. When you feed your bacteria in your gut, 39 trillion bacteria in your, in your, in our gut, most of them are good bacteria that take care of us. By the way, I'll tell you when I was in medical school, right? The professors. You know, we're going to learn about bacteria now, and then we're going to tell you about antibiotics to kill those bacteria, because we want to get rid of all the bad bacteria in the body.

We spent years memorizing what bacteria you want to kill with what antibiotic. And it turns out. In today's world. Most of the bacteria that we have in our body are good bacteria. And so we don't want to destroy those with, we don't want to kill them. We want to keep them around. And when you feed your good bacteria with dietary fiber, okay.

Cacau is one of them, but there's other things, dark leafy greens, Kiwi bok choy, all great sources of dietary fiber. The bacteria are actually eating the dietary fiber. and when they're fed, so we provide our bacteria room and board we've let them live in our gut. And then we feed them after we absorbed this stuff, everything else goes down to the bacteria.

They eat seconds like the kids stable. And so then, then they, they eat. And when they're happily fed, they produce our gut health, healthy gut bacteria produced substances in our bloodstream that lower inflammation help our metabolism. And so here's an example of how a single food and I just use chocolate as one pleasant example can actually activate our health defenses and start to effect repair.

And so this idea of, long COVID and what's causing we're beginning to get to the bottom of it, we still got a long way to go, but at least what we. Fixing blood vessels, lowering inflammation and an autoimmunity and, and trying to get organ repair. These are things that we know foods can actually.

Natalie: Yeah, it's so fascinating. And I love the idea and how you paint this picture in your book and everything you do that we should be consuming to help ourselves, not just to have an immediate gratification. We are a society of immediate gratification, right? Like I, I want that junk. So I, I just love that.

Can you give me an example of what a typical day for you or your patients might look like? What your. Meals and snacks. And I just like to give people an idea. We've said a lot of good things. I think generally we know we should reach for the healthier things, but paint a picture for me an example of a day.

Dr. Li: Yeah. Well, listen to man. I've had to do, I get asked all the time. Hey, Dr. Lee, what do you eat? And I will be very. Honest with you. First of all, I'm, I'm not an extremist, so I'm not a vegan, I'm not a carnivore. I'm an omnivore and, and I, and I, and I'm also a foodies. I appreciate food. I love to explore food.

I love great tasting. But I don't overheat. Okay. I don't stuff myself to the gills. And I would say the basic principles of how I eat really fit well within kind of the Mediterranean pattern of eating and the ancient pattern of eating and all of those of those are based on eating lots of plant-based foods.

Although some other things like seafood and occasionally some mates and some dairies eating seasonal. And Lee eating regionally, meaning what's going around me where, wherever I live, where what kind of food is nearby and whatever time it is what time of the year is it where the stuff is going to be freshest.

And then I go for what I want to eat, what I feel like eating, not, not sort of from a impulse perspective, but really from a, I guess, you know, a little bit of a gastronomical perspective by that. I mean to say. What am I going to feel really satisfying to eat right now? And to take the time to think about that.

So I'm not, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm not just reaching for a bag of chips, cause I want to have something salty and crunchy in my mouth, but like what's going to be, and then finally I lay in like, okay, based on my knowledge of food as medicine, what, what could be healthy? So I literally. Go through that thing.

And I, and I never stress out about my food. I think people who stress about foods are doing themselves a disservice because we should lean into our food and love our food in order to love our health. That's my motto. Love your food to love your health. So what's my typical day. Like, listen, I get up and I'll drink.

I'll usually I used to live in Italy, so I love to have a a cup of. Sometimes a double espresso and and I'll show you, I wind up the day with a cup of tea, usually green tea. And I know that they're in coffee. There's something called chlorogenic acid that actually slows cellular aging. It's also good for the immune system.

It also improves my metabolism. So I drink that. I don't add sugar to my coffee, nor do I add cream to my coffee. Why? Because the dark. Well of sugar. For the obvious reasons we talked about the dairy, those soap bubbles from fat dairy fat will wrap themselves around that clergy and a gas acid, the good stuff from mother nature.

So when you swig it, when you down a cup of coffee, for example, the good stuff, the nice chemical chlorogenic gas is trapped in the soap bubble, and it just rolls right down through your gut and you don't absorb it. Into your

Natalie: bloodstream. Oh, interesting. That might be a hard one for many people, including myself to cut out.

Dr. Li: Like that's fine. Almond milk is fine. It's fine. Nut milks are fine. It's just that dairy fat.

Natalie: Okay. Well that's good. Yes,

Dr. Li: I try to have some fruit for breakfast, a Kiwi. I love, I love to eat Kiwi seasonally, if it's in the winter time or coming out of it, you know, I'd have.

You know, one of those oranges you can just peel open and easy and eat. I, I try to eat lightly in the morning. At lunch, I will sometimes have leftovers from dinner, but the night before, which I then thought through what I'm going to have I don't use the microwave by the way. I don't like to use the microwave to nuke my food.

And for the following reason, it turns out that the microwave can. Especially for starches can heat the sugar molecules, the carbohydrates, and starch to a temperature that shouldn't exist on earth. So it was a really high and at that high temperature it's like your microwave becomes a factory. Turns the starch in carbohydrates into a polymer, into a plastic.

I mean, think about pizza crust in the microwave, right? It's like, yeah, you've turned it into a plastic. Now, when you eat that, you've kind of created a forever chemical from food that your body has a hard time getting rid of. So I will eat liquid in the microwave, but not really. I try not to eat solid food or, you know, chunky stuff like that.

Yeah. So again, you know, these are, there's so many tips and then at dinner, I'll tell you how I design. I like to cook, but here's how I designed my meal. And there's no. Like, I, I don't fall into a box. I'm not a robot when it comes to how to eat. I plan my meal, starting with the veteran.

Natalie: Okay.

Dr. Li: So instead of saying, you know, like people go like, what's your protein and say, well, it's going to be salmon or it's going to be a steak or it's going to be chicken.

I go for the vegetable first. And I try to think what kind of vegetable I can get. That's going to be healthiest. And it doesn't have to be the main vegetable, but I want to focus my plan first on that vegetable. If it's going to be by choice, it's going to be spinach. If it's going to be kale, if it's going to be fennel.

And then I try to build the rest of my plate, my, my meal.

Natalie: That's a great way. I, for my family, my husband in particular, it's like, what are we having for the meat first? And then I'm just trying to fill in the gaps. So I like this idea of a main vegetable

Dr. Li: first. Yeah. And you know, what I tell people is that, you know, the way I wrote my in my book eat to beat disease, I created effectively shopping lists.

There's lots of tables and charts in there. take out a Sharpie, go straight for the tables and charts, you can rest assured I put only healthy foods in there that activate your health defense, and start circling the ones that you already love. Then I tell them, take out your cell phone and take a photograph of those, of what you circled.

All right. And then go to the store. Or when you're a restaurant pop up in your phone and take a look at what you circled and you circle the things that you like that are already healthy for you. So you start there you're way ahead of the game.

Natalie: So you mentioned, you mentioned your book a few times. I'm going to put the link in our show notes so that people can get straight to that, but where can people get some more information and follow you for these tips?

Dr. Li: Oh, well, look this is a swiftly changing river of information and knowledge. And one of the things that I do as a food, as medicine, researchers to kind of curate that critically, look through it. And then uh, if you want to learn more about it, you can come to my website. It's could follow me on social media handles. Dr. William Lee and I, you know, sign up for my newsletter. I put out new information all the time from the latest research that's out there. And I also teach these masterclasses. I told you I started during the early days of the pandemic because I wanted to, I just felt like a sense of mission there's information that people can use.

It needs to be out there. What should I be choosing? Why should I be choosing it? And what does it do for me? And so, you know they're interested. Please sign up. It's always a pleasure to be able to do it. And I what's really cool is that I've had people from all around the world. I probably had 50,000 people so far from more than 40 countries.

Attend my masterclasses. And for me one of the upsides of the last couple of years is we've learned how to communicate virtually and digitally. And this is a way that everyone can learn something and here we

Natalie: are doing it. This. The pandemic for myself as well. I love your mission. You have such a great way of describing these things and giving examples and just appreciate you taking the time.

I learned a lot today. I'm going to implement some new things and I hope everyone else does as well. Let's stay in touch. Okay. Dr. Lee,

Dr. Li: thank you for having me. All right. Great to see you.

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