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The Power of 5- The Ultimate Formula for Longevity- Dr. David & Melissa Bernstein

1:30:58

Natalie Garland and Derek Berkey host a discussion with Dr. David Bernstein, a highly respected physician in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, along with his wife Melissa Bernstein, a certified vegan chef and experienced occupational therapist. They’ve combined their expertise to create the Power of 5 formula for graceful aging and vibrant living.

Summary:

  • Intro to the podcast. 0.00
  • How did you end up working together? 1:22
  • How did you get together as a team? 2:55
  • How long should you expect to live? 10:46
  • Healthspan vs. Life span. 13:30
  • Lack of sleep and its importance. 17:55
  • Food is medicine for your body. 23:06
  • What is good for you and why? 27:51
  • How to use herbs and spices. 34:26
  • How to manage stress. 38:55
  • How journaling can help with stress. 43:43
  • The importance of sleep and sleep hygiene 50:19
  • Your bedroom is for two purposes. 52:48
  • How to get started with exercise? 57:39
  • Monitoring your exercise every day. 1:02:30
  • The importance of intentionality and connection. 1:07:46
  • The importance of having an intention club. 1:13:28
  • Sex and sexual health as you age. 1:19:36
  • Pelvic floor issues and treatment. 1:24:59

Mentioned Treatments:


David  0:00  We decided to put our 80 years of combined experience together to educate people about an aging process and how to age as gracefully and youthfully as possible.

Intro  0:12  Welcome to the Invigor medical podcast, where we sit down with medical professionals and discuss a full spectrum of health related subjects. It all starts in 3-2-1.

Natalie  0:24  Hello and welcome to the Invigor medical Podcast. I’m Natalie Garland this morning. I’m here with Derek Berkey, My co-host. How are you? Derek? 

Derek  0:31  Good. How are you doing this morning? 

Natalie  0:32  I’m doing good. It’s a beautiful sunny morning. Not too ridiculously hot here yet in southeast Washington. We’ve officially reached the time of blistering heat in the afternoons. But honestly, I’ll take it over the cold and snowy weather or any day just getting the shade get in the water and you’re all good. Well, this morning we are really excited to be joined by Dr. David and Melissa Bernstein. So excited to have you guys on. Dr. David Bernstein is a highly respected physician in internal medicine and geriatrics, along with his wife, Melissa Bernstein, who is a certified vegan chef and experienced occupational therapist. Together, they’ve combined their experience to create The Power of 5 Formula for graceful aging and vibrant living. Which are two things that we love to talk about here at Invigor Medical. So welcome in you too. Thanks for being with us this morning.

David  1:20  Oh, thanks for inviting us.

Melissa  1:21  Thanks for having us. 

Natalie  1:23  Yes. Okay, so let’s start with the question that comes to my mind is: How did you two end up working together like this? Was this a vision that you always had from the moment that you joined forces as a couple? Or did you just naturally find that the things where you invested your time and your learning and your interest started to grow just naturally began to bleed together? 

David  1:46  Thanks for asking. Yeah, I liked the second of your two choices. I mean, we had separate careers. I was internal medicine and Melissa did occupational therapy and a lot of consulting, and entrepreneurship and an education on online learning and so forth. And, and as I started to write books, we realized that we had some visions that were similar. And as my career got to a certain point, we decided to put our 80 years of combined experience together to educate people about an aging process and how to age as gracefully and youthfully as possible. So it was kind of a natural fit. And Melissa will have an opportunity, I’m sure to talk about her love of cooking and the eventual healthy cooking aspect combined with one of the major aspects of my power of five formula.

Natalie  2:44  Awesome. I love that. Melissa for you, what was it like when you started to realize that your passions and your work began to overlap with your husband’s? And how fun has that been for you?

Melissa  2:55  You know, it’s really been fun. You know, especially since he’s, you know, retired, it’s been more of a joint effort and doing things together on a daily basis where, initially, you know, as he mentioned, we had our separate careers. And then I started winding down in my career and started working more on his publishing and editing. And then, you know, together, once he retired, we then blended what we’re doing and kind of rethought kind of our brand, if you will. What are we trying to teach people? How are we going to do it? What are all of the social media mechanisms that we need to learn to be able to do this? You know, I kind of come from a technology background because I had an online learning education company. Yeah, so I had over 150 courses online for physical therapy, occupational Speech, Language Pathology, athletic trainers and guardians. So for quite a few years, and it was really a learning experience for me as a clinician learning all about this new technology of online learning, actually was one of probably in the forefront of online learning from my in my profession. That’s incredible. That was exciting. And so that background kind of helped us to do these things together bring each bringing different things to the partnership. 

Natalie  4:24  Yeah, I’m wondering thinking about you’re talking about graceful aging and vibrant living thinking about the fact that Dr. Bernstein, you know, having a specialty in geriatrics, and then, Melissa to think about being an occupational therapist, and I just heard you say the thing about guardian. There must be so many experiences that you’ve had throughout your practice and your careers that have really informed and shaped how to age well and to age with grace and health. 

Melissa  4:52  Yeah, one quick funny thing before before you answer, so I knew Dr. Bernstein before he knew me because I was an occupational therapist in the building that he was the medical director for many, many, many, many, many moons ago. So his signature and his horse came across my eyes many times before we actually met. So we were both kind of in, you know, geriatric around for many years. So fun. Yeah, it was kind of funny. Go ahead now honey. 

David  5:22  Well, you know, kind of put things into perspective. And I was just asked about it today when I was in the dentist office like, when should someone start seeing a geriatrician?

I think the question was asked a little differently. And I said, I think this is this is the question you want to ask? My answer is, well, wouldn’t you want to always see someone who knows how to age, the best possible and what people’s good things and bad things that they did to make it to their 80s and 90s, or hundreds. So that’s what I take pride in doing. And, and in the course of reorganizing my life and everything I had packed up my office, and I found my essay for medical school. And it delineated a whole bunch of things, all of which I’ve now had an opportunity to do in my second career, or in my first career as an educator, and let’s talk about preventive health and how we can age as well as we can. And also in those high school years. Before I even went to college. I was interested in in centenarians. There was a National Geographic article that caught my attention when I was before I graduated high school. And I experienced the fact that I wanted to understand this I wanted to live to be 100. I want to see people live to be 100. And I had the great opportunity to sit down with a dozen or two of my patients on their 100th birthday. So I got I got a chance to ask them all their secrets. Like what worked, what didn’t work? Was this a good thing? Was this a bad thing? So it was always part of the fabric of what I was doing in terms of helping people age well, and sometimes it was like being a juggler, there would be diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, osteoporosis, and, and I love the juggling act of doing all of that. And I love that, that it was a big challenge. And toward the last 15 years of my career, I started writing my first book; “I’ve Got Some Good News And Some Bad News, You’re Old. It was a funny title.

Natalie  7:42  It’s great, I love it. 

David  7:44  It explored what people did in their lives to live this happy, healthy, long life. And we could talk about that if there’s time. But it set me up so that I’d have a catalog of books as I retired so that Melissa and I would then have something to educate the public about. And that’s kind of where we are now. 

Natalie  8:07  Well, which came first the I’ve Got Good News and Bad news, You’re Old or The Power of 5?

David  8:14  Interesting question. I’ve Got Some Good News and Some Bad News. You’re Old came first. However, if you think about it, the Power of 5 is the prequel. They’re two separate thoughts. In my first book, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. You’re old. I asked and got to understand what the secrets of those people who aged well were. And so that was more a retrospective look at what each do what were the secrets to that and, and to make things easy for my readers, my audience, I always relegate myself to five points. So there are five points in aging well, and I use the acronym grace, so people would remember it. So Grace stands for goals, routes, attitude, companionship and environment. And breaking that down. It’s people who had a goal or a purpose in life, whether it was throughout their lives or in their retirement or later years, they had something to wake up to every day. And I had some patients who who were my favorites, retired Salvation Army officers and, and there’s, there’s was a vocation of giving people you know, and helping people and giving to the community. And they have this purpose in their lives and they continued that purpose in their retirement. And then there’s roots are your DNA, whether you have good one good DNA or bad DNA, it’s an opportunity to either take advantage of your good DNA or if you have bad DNA, do something about it. If diabetes cancer, heart disease, run in the family, do some things that you can avoid the consequences of your DNA. A is for attitude, but I’ve learned in the course of time. Attitude is about gratitude. It’s about kindness. Even throwing it being adventurous as part of that A, because having some adventurous in in life is really important. And then there’s companionship, which is a recurring theme for me when I talk to people but having a companion and having companions around you, give you something to wake up to, and something to live for and give you some, some incentive. And  E stands for environment. What is your environment, outside environment and your inside environment and how you take care of your outside environment and inside environment? All of those were the things that help people live long, healthy lives. 

Natalie  10:46  That’s so cool. The reason I asked that question was like, I kind of imagined you were gonna say that, because I thought, well, if you’re sitting, you’re talking to all these people who have lived these long, healthy lives, I can imagine how you then begin to glean especially with your expertise as a medical professional, to be able to, like connect these dots and be like, Okay, what are the overarching themes we’re seeing here? And how can we present this in a way that it makes sense and it’s easy? I love that like, five points thing, because I think that taking care of your health is often so completely overwhelming, where do you even begin to start? So thinking about those five points, I think is fantastic. And all that research years of research to be able to bring together and and figure out how can we make this digestible and something that people can act on to improve their lives? Definitely, you know, it kind of reminds me of that one longitudinal study that was, I believe, done by Harvard that followed people all the way from their 20s, up into their upper years. Essentially, they were trying to determine all the different types of factors that lead to greatest happiness within life. And then also like long term, longevity. And I think that those points that you just touched on, especially companionship, there’s a whole TED talk about this. But this guy was saying that the people that were part of a community that had companionship, they’re the ones that ended up being the happiest and ended up living the longest compared to other people that were ended up being in that study. So I think you’re definitely touching on some amazing truths there.

David  12:15  And you’re right, and and I’ve read about all these things, after I started writing and putting it all together. And the point of the discussing it because we’ll discuss the power of five, or these are things that I observed in people who aged well, that we could all do well for ourselves to work on incorporating them in our lives. And, and they’re much more of the social things, as opposed to the the medical type, eating and exercise stuff. So there are two different things. But it doesn’t mean, we don’t have to work to do that in our lives. Because you wake up one day, and you say, well, I could have lived longer and better. I’d be happier if I had had a purpose and goals. And I had this positive attitude and gratitude. And, and so there are things there that people can incorporate. And I think that’s an important component of this, Derek. And so you’re right. And I love that fact about it, that people can really add that and make their lives better.  So that’s an important component to this.

Derek  13:30   I think that it kind of goes into the larger conversation. And we’ve had this conversation with a couple of guests here on the on the podcast of healthspan versus lifespan, right that that, you know, everyone’s thinking about what can I do to live 10 more years and extend my life out further and further and further, without necessarily thinking about their health span, which is like, how long can I live and be capable to do the things I want to do, because, I mean, you could be at 90-100. But if you don’t, if you’re not able to, let’s say you want to go out and hike or let’s say that you want to be able to go and work in your garden, you know, if you’re if your cardiovascular system or muscular system or any of those things are not doing what they need to be doing, then you know, you’re going to be living your life, but you’re not going to be doing it at all. And so I’m sure that’s probably what the power five is all about is like making sure that you maintain that. So with that being said, Can you give us a brief rundown of the power of five? Sure, and your point is well taken and it fits right in it’s it’s a difference between lifespan and health span.

David  14:31  As a geriatrician, you can be served. I took care of people who retired at 65 and were disabled and live till they’re 85. And how much fun is that that’s not desirable. What people would strive for is what you called and it’s been labeled as healthspan you want to hit 65 and then be able to be all used up when you die when you’re 95. Then you go to sleep and you don’t wake up and and that’s the ideal that one should strive for. So that’s when I transitioned from the power of the old and Grace formula to the power of five. And this one also has five characteristics. And I made it even easier for people because they all begin with the letter S. 

Natalie  15:17  Oh, perfect. 

David  15:18  So let me be fast about it, avoid sweets, avoid stress, get more sleep, sweat, and sex.

Natalie  15:26  And I love that.

David  15:27  And people really love that one, I make sure to include it as part of it. And we’ll we’ll get to each one and we’ll talk about how sex is really important. But the first one is avoid sweets. We know that sugar, carbohydrates, high fiber, high wheat foods, and breakfast cereals, etc. and processed foods are hazardous to our health. They also trigger certain release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, which we get addicted to and, and then we can’t put sugar down and, and the whole formula is related to inflammation. Because inflammation is the key ingredient in the three most frequent things I saw in my practice, heart disease, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia and Parkinson’s. 

Derek  16:26  Would you also say it contributes to metabolic health as well? Because I’m guessing that’s a huge one as people get older as well.

David  16:31   The whole thing has to do with metabolic health and inflammation. So if you have metabolic syndrome, it’s an inflammatory condition. And those inflammatory conditions cause cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative disease. And sugar is a key ingredient in that because it does create this metabolic syndrome, this inflammatory syndrome, and it causes vascular injury. So blood vessels get clogged, they form plaques, the plaques rupture, because of inflammation. And that’s what leads to heart attacks and some strokes. And the inflammatory process is probably related and involved in Alzheimer’s disease, and some forms of cancer. So what you eat, and that’s where Melissa’s concepts will come in and her recipes, but what you eat and how it causes inflammation is such a big deal. And so the second component is stress. And with stress, also an inflammatory event. When our we are stressed our body releases certain hormones like cortisol, which is inflammatory hormone and causes some of the same things vascular injury, and  accumulation of fat in certain parts of our body and liver assent, especially from the sweets and, and stress. And so there’s two things that create this inflammation.

A third thing is sleep. We’ve neglected sleep in our lives in our generation. Sleep used to be oh yeah, I pulled an all nighter or you know, as a as a resident or an intern is as Oh, I went to the hospital at eight in the morning, and I get home on Tuesday at five o’clock at night. Oh, wow, that was really my badge of honor. Some kind of badge of honor. How long can I say up? How fast can I go? You know, how much can I cram in and then I’m measured by my ability to do that rather than celebrated for taking a night of eight hours of sleep, or catching up after a crazy week or whatever it may be. And so many of us are exposed to that. And we think that that’s a good thing. And I have news for you. It’s a bad thing. Science now knows that lack of sleep is creates this inflammatory process. It damages our brain, our brain needs to sleep and rejuvenate itself and clear waste products at night and we need to dream and store our memories. It’s during sleep. So college kids who don’t sleep and pull all nighters, they don’t remain remember anything that they studied the night before. You know, so look, why do that, but but it was like the badge we wore and sleep creates and is one of the things that creates this inflammatory process.

And one of the common things I saw as a clinician was sleep apnea. And I had so many patients toward the end of my career, and I got so good at recognizing it. I jokingly said I can diagnose someone’s sleep apnea before my seat gets warm. I would look over their chart, look at them and look at their neck size, look in their mouth, look at their meds and know that there’s a very good likelihood that they had sleep apnea and there was a lot of refusal for treatment, which would be almost like a death sentence as far as I was concerned. And then there’s sweat which is my euphemism for exercise. And so probably the two most important for me are, what you eat and how you what your activities are like and what your exercise is like. And and exercise is the best antidepressant that’s ever been developed. Exercise reduces the risk of recurrent cancer by 35%. Why wouldn’t everybody wants to do to those? Not to mention the fact is release of endorphins. And we feel good when we exercise, we, the side byproduct is you burn some extra fat and some extra calories and, and if you add as I would recommend some strength training, you get your body looking better, you get better, stronger muscles reduce your risk of falls. I mean, it’s it’s the number one thing that we can all do proactively to make our lives better and longer. Yeah, and when it’s better and longer, it leads to number five, sex. And sex is about really, it’s not only about sexual intercourse, or that’s a really good thing for lots of people. But it’s also about intimacy, like the intimacy Melissa and I have together. 

 It’s about socialization, it’s a connection with other people. And I saw that in my Salvation Army, retired Salvation Army officers, they were all connected to one another, they went out to eat on Sundays after church. And if I were, were lucky, or unlucky, we’d see them in some of the restaurants that they would eat at. And we now know, and this has made it in the literature a lot. And Derek even hit on it is the opposite of intimacy is loneliness. And loneliness is a health hazard. So when we’re talking to people about health, I have to say that we need to avoid loneliness, because it’s as hazardous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day for being obese. And so in my period, now that I’m not working, I’m doing things with Melissa. So we have our connection there. But I’ve made it my business to connect with other people who live in my community, and some beyond, so that I have these relationships with people because it’s good for them. And it’s good for me. And so that was something that I didn’t have when I was seeing 18 patients a day and working from sunup to sundown, but now that’s another way that I take care of my health. And as something that’s clearly important. And you pick up some Newsline once a week or read something about the importance of relationships and connectivity.

Natalie  22:40  Yeah, absolutely. Well, I’m glad that we’ve done a breakdown now with the power of five is our and I would love to kind of take some time to dive in a little bit to each of those points, if you don’t mind and starting with the first one, which was avoid sweets, right. So we’re talking about food, which I think is a great time for Melissa to chime in and talk a bit about how cuz you have a cookbook, right?

Melissa  23:05  I do. It’s called the Power of 5 Test Kitchen Cookbook- Your Guide To Healthy Cooking and Eating.

Natalie  23:13  And now you’re a vegan chef, but correct me if I’m wrong. Your recipes are not just vegan.

Melissa  23:20  That is correct. Yeah. So, you know, following the Power of 5 Formula, you know, and the sweets aspect of the S is really what sprouted, if you will. 

Natalie  23:34  Oh, I see what you did there. Very clever. 

Melissa  23:36  A previous cookbook, which is for caregivers, and we can talk about that a little bit. But this cookbook really was a culmination of years of cooking, and for my family from my friends, and for the number one taste tester over here. He’s my test subject. And it was I’ve always had a passion for helping people be healthier and not only physically because um, you know, my therapist and I all about health and wellness, but also through cooking and cooking and food is very powerful. And what people may not realize is that food is really medicine for your body for your brain, your body, and for your heart. That what you put in your body and Dr. B talks about your body being your internal environment. Your internal enviroment is what you put in that and healthy, good fresh food is what you should be putting into your body because that is what your body needs. It doesn’t need additives. It doesn’t need preservatives. It doesn’t need sugar. It doesn’t need box cereals. You know, it’s really common sense. But some people are just do it quick, easy and cheap and You know, don’t take the time to really think about what they’re eating.

Natalie  25:04  Well, yeah, there’s a marketing machine that’s been going, you know, for dozens of years that sells us the lie of like, when you look at the breakfast cereal and it’s right there on the bottle, like, all the essential vitamins and nutrients that you need. You know, the way these things are packaged and they’re hyper processed. You know, we get addicted to them. And people, you know, really don’t know, there’s been years and years of marketing campaigns. And I don’t think that ignorance is necessarily an excuse, because we also live in an age of information where you can get all the information that you need. But I think that one thing that people don’t really realize is you have to take into consideration the bioavailability of nutrients in the food that they eat. There’s some things it’s like that cereal may say, it’s got this much or this much of this nutrient.. and A:  Are you actually able to absorb any of the nutrients that are in there. And what else is active within that food that is messing up things in your system. I know like for myself, even though I’ve usually eating pretty healthy over the years, and I know a lot about this, I still managed to get into a severe gut dysbiosis or an imbalance in my gut bacteria, my gut microbiome last year. It had such a slow build, right, that it wasn’t like this instant thing that I noticed. It’s just over the course of a year things started happening. One of the biggest effects was my energy. But then the interesting thing that I started to notice was also my mental health, like, I nearly found myself in a state of depression. And I could not figure out why. And I thought it must be my hormones. And I ended up going to my nurse practitioner and did a food sensitivity test and a full blood panel. And turns out, all of my hormones were fine, ever. And we did, we did everything and she knows her stuff. And literally it was it was the health of my gut. That was the issue. And by, you know, by taking some really good supplements to help get that back in balance, but also primarily, taking six months to make sure I was eating foods that would heal my gut and imbalance rebalance that. I felt like a new person. Like I didn’t realize how bad I’d begun feeling during that time. And so I think that’s something that a lot of people miss, because, you know, we may kind of know, oh, well, this is good for my health. You know, eating healthy food is good for my health. But I think it’s missed how much it can impact our overall sense of well being and how we feel and show up in the world.

David  27:39  I think you know, to complement what you said is that, when we expose ourselves to advertisements, we’re being exposed to what they want us to know. They tell us that this breakfast cereal, which is loaded with sugar is good for you. It’s not. Or there’s this, this particular thing is good for you. And it’s not they’re trying to sell their product and, and you can’t blame them. That’s what the advertising company wants them to do. But we need to be cognizant that there’s processing in that food that’s not in a strawberry that you pick off the tree or you get fresh from a market or fruits and vegetables, that that if you wash them, right, there’s no pesticides, or you get organic, and you get these clean products. They’re loaded with not only the nutrients, but also fiber that helps with that whole microbiome probiotic type stuff that’s so important. And you found that that was an issue for you. And people get sucked into that. And I don’t talk about this very much. One day, I was talking to one of my diabetic patients and how he couldn’t lose weight. He was really heavy. And he said, well I eat healthy. I said, well, what do you have for breakfast? And he said, Well, I have a glass of orange juice. I’m thinking, dang, that’s taking the fiber out. They’ve taken all that out. And I have raisin bran. What’s wrong with that, Doc? I said, well, have you read the ingredients? And Melissa talks a lot about ingredients. If you looked at the ingredients, they put sugar on the raisins, and it’s got like 32 grams of carbohydrates, and three grams of protein. I was like how is that good for you?

Natalie  29:22  Well the milk itself has a lot of carbs in it as well, right? The milk is like, almost spikes your blood sugars, which is the orange juice does, which makes sense milk to make babies grow in your own baby cows. It’s like this is all the energy and calories you need to grow right now.

David  29:40  So you have to compliment the advertising industry for getting their point across. We need to be discerning about our health and what’s the right way to eat and I can throw it throw it back to Melissa about some of the things that that you incorporate into your meal.

Melissa  29:57  You know, the important thing is to bring really have fresh fruits and vegetables, fiber kinds of things. Legumes things, again, that are natural, that are wholesome, that are not from a box. And some of the things that are, you know, you might read labels, and I really encourage people to read labels because you know, just if there’s things that you can’t read or that you can read but you don’t know what it is. Don’t buy it. I could spend, I could spend a whole day researching every single one of those items. And it’s horrifying what they are. 

Natalie  30:37  Yeah, absolutely. 

Melissa  30:38  There are different names for sugar. There are different names for corn, corn products, there are different names for carbohydrates. So, you know, it’s very important to eat as clean as possible. And yeah, I mean, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, avocados, you know, things that are going to fill in for your fats. And your carbohydrates that are healthy carbohydrates, and things that may taste sweet, like sugar, but it’s processed in a different way. So it’s not like pouring sugar in your coffee. It’s different. 

David  31:16  And there are there are three words that you can think about. One is sugar, look at that one. Look at high fructose corn syrup, because that’s slipped in and looked at, look at fortified or processed wheat, where the manufacturers basically take all the good stuff out of wheat, and give you this bleached wheat flour. And that’s what’s in the product that you’re eating. And those are three things that are hazardous. And when I talk about inflammation, you know, it’s like you’re taking an inflammation cookie.

Derek  31:50  Yeah. One question I had, or one observation that lead to a question. Anytime you can cook something at home, it’s going to be healthier than anything you can buy at the store. Like that’s the I think that’s, there’s no one that’s going to contest that. I think that one of the big struggles for a lot of people is the skill of learning how to cook is something that a lot of people don’t either have, or they’re not really comfortable with it. In your cookbook, do you have is are they easy recipes? Do you provide any guidance on like people to say like, Hey, this something really easy to throw together? And it’s actually really helpful.

Melissa  32:28  That’s a really good question. And yes, so you know, I called it the guide to healthy cooking and eating because of just that fact is that people may not really understand or are had the experience to relate the cooking a lot. Or the interest, they may not have the interest. And that’s why I think a lot of people gravitate towards fast foods because they don’t know how to cook a basic meal. Yeah, so I have included lots of different resources for basics of cooking. And you know, what kinds of things are good for you what kinds of things are not good for you. And then my recipes, there are a few recipes are a little bit more difficult. And it’s not, they’re not difficult, but they’re just got more steps than an average you choose, you know, which might take you three or four hours to cook. But if you’re looking for a family or you’re cooking for friends, you know, they’re going to be very excited and think that you’re like the best cook in the world for them. But the nice thing about my recipes is that you can eliminate or add things based on your eating lifestyle. And I do outline you know, what are the eating lifestyles, people might be vegetarians, they might be pescatarians they might be vegans, they might, you know, just be whatever they want, you know, during the during the week, they might choose and pick during the week what what they want to eat, but so my recipes are plant based. But in the Melissa’s modification section at the end of the recipe, it gives you alternatives and options. You can add a piece of grilled fish or a piece of grilled chicken or you can not have it all. You can replace the butter with vegan butter or with oil. You can replace using oil with vegetable broth. Saute with vegetable broth versus swatching with oil, so that reduces your fat calories. So there’s lots of different alternatives that are offered in my recipes. And it’s it’s broken up so that each chapter has just kind of an intro of what you’re going to find in the chapter and what you may want to experiment with in that particular chapter. 

So there’s another section that I really like to talk about, which is herbs and spices. A lot of people don’t know how to use spices and herbs in their cooking. I outline the 12 Herbs spices to include in your cooking. And just to name a couple of them that would be cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne pepper, curry, which actually is a combination- kind of a pot pourri of a variety of spices, which I use a lot because it does has all the spices in it, and I use it once. And depending on the type of cooking that you like and the type of flavors that you like. Spices and herbs are very, very beneficial for reducing inflammation. And they provide antioxidants, which are also good for warding off things in the environment and in your foods. So antioxidants are very, very good for your body. And then also, you know, anti cancer, lowering blood sugar. So there’s lots of benefits to these. So there’s a whole chapter about those and how to use that. So that’s available also.

David  36:02  Yeah and let’s not forget to mention Tumeric. It’s kind of top of my list of anti inflammatory spices. And I’m just going to interject one thing as a recipient of Melissa’s great cooking and recipes is that she’ll make big such a big amount. Now we’re really careful about portion size, because that’s another thing that Americans don’t do very well with and restaurants. When people eat food away from home, the portion sizes are much larger than they need. Portions are to two or three meals worth. So portion sizes are important. But the other thing is that Melissa will make these large dishes, and her soups and, and casseroles really great. It’s great for leftovers, I’m a leftover guy. If you’re a leftover guy that that works really well. If you’re cooking for a family, you can say, well, I made this on Monday, but you can take this for lunch on Wednesday. In her soups I’ll take some of the remnants of the soup and put them on a bed of lettuce or spinach. I love spinach and spice it up a little differently so that I’m having the legumes that she made on Sunday on Tuesday for my lunch. And I sprinkle a little extra Tumeric on it and something else. So the flavors are a little different. But I’m still making use of something that was a healthy meal, rather than grabbing something from a grocery store and getting a sub which is has processed wheat in in processed meats and things that are not healthy. So there’s a yin and yang there.

Melissa  37:43  The other the other point is that, you know, everybody has very, very busy lives. Hands down, everybody is just all over the place. And the last thing they want to do when they come home from a long day, or they’re working from home is cook a meal. So I do a lot of bulk cooking on the weekend, like on a Sunday, I’ll make three or four dishes, I’ll divide them up and freeze them. And then I will be able to just pull something out in the morning and be able to make it and defrost it and cook it in the evening. So if you kind of pre plan your menus, that is also another strategy that I use, it’s very helpful for those that you know, may not have the time to cook every single day.

Natalie  38:25  I think it’s important, and I know we’re talking a lot on this point, we’ll move on to the others eventually. But I think this is a really important one. Because as you said, food is medicine. I think it’s important to remember that 10x effort doesn’t always equal 10x results, right? So when people think about like, oh, I want to start eating healthier, so now I’ve got to go and buy all of my food for the week so that I make every meal at home and I’m gonna do some on Sunday and I’m gonna be ready. The truth is, that’s just incredibly overwhelming. And even if you could achieve that for the first week, the likelihood that you’re going to continue that is very low. So wouldn’t you agree that it’s better to just like pick  a night that you’re going to make dinner just do one and then next week do one night again.

Melissa  39:11  And if you feel it’s not so difficult to make. It’s something that’s simple, you know, making a big fuit salad, making a big salad with lots of things in it that is simple.

Natalie  39:21  Burrito bowls is one of my favorite my favorite go tos because it’s whatever protein I have, you know it whether it’s leftover or whether I haven’t prepared yet and by the way, folks making your own taco seasoning is not hard and it’s way better just like Melissa said with how to use the seasonings. Because a lot of ingredients, those premixed taco seasoning packets, but having that and then like you said the beans, the lagoons for my kids giving them the rice because they love rice. I’m a huge fan of salsa. It’s my favorite condiment and I get it fresh made from one of the local taquerias here. You know, but that’s a burrito bowl. Honestly my kids are kind of sick of burrito bowls after all these years. They’re like mom again burrito bowls?  It’s just one of the simplest meals.

Melissa  40:04  Next time call it a buddah bowl. Make a buddah bowl.

David  40:12  What’s in your buddah bowl? Oh gosh, what’s in my buddah bowl? So we have quinoa which has a lot of protein and I make my quinoa. This is my trick with quinoa little, little tip here, I make it with vegetable broth, so that when it’s cooking, it has a really nice flavor, so you don’t need to add a lot of things to that. Yes, edamame is another protein source but I use like to use in my buddah bowls. Roasted tofu is another one you could use. You could do roasted chicken, you know cut up pieces of chicken or even beef if you eat beef. Let’s see what else? Radishes any kind of vegetable that you might..

  41:00  

Ginger, you could put artichokes, I mean you could be really creative. Your kids could make them with you. They can make their own. Put out the little cups and let them make their own.

Natalie  41:13  

Yeah, I love it. I love it. And I just love that you’re helping emphasize the fact that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing and just start somewhere, pick one thing. You know, go order Melissa’s cookbook and just pick one thing from it and when you receive it, and then just this just go from there. Yeah, I love that.

Derek  41:31  

Definitely. So I know the the next S on the on the list is stress, which we you know, in today’s day and age, there’s so much of that going around. You know, between kind of the 24/7 work culture of like, go go go half of your side hustles got to do all these different things, social media, portraying a lot of stressful events around the world. What are the in your Power Five, what are the tools that you provide for the reader to manage and mitigate that stress?

David  42:02  

Well, all components that have power of five weave themselves together. So if you’re eating well, and exercising, it addresses some of the stress things. But when it comes to stress, it’s sometimes it’s putting your big boy or big girl pants on and addressing whatever that stressful thing is face to face. And if it’s in a relationship, if it’s something at work, that you address those things so that they don’t simmer and percolate. And you that you would perseverate about them all day long, and interrupt your sleep and all your activities. And then there’s the things of mindfulness and meditation, be mindful of your environment. I am so lucky in my life, I can go out in my yard, and walk around my plants and put an extra amaryllis bulb in the ground, and put some bird feed and my bird feeder nearby. I get to do that. So being with nature is really good. And being mindful when you’re eating and just chewing every bite and being grateful for those things and slowing down. And then there’s the meditation component where we can take between five and 20 minutes once or twice a day and learn how to do it and learn how to incorporate it and, and when Melissa and I do consultation work with corporations, you know, I would encourage them to put a mindfulness room or a meditation room, in their workspace so that people can get those five or 10 minutes. Not only for their health, but they’ll be better employees for it they have just those few minutes to learn how to do those techniques.

Melissa  43:43  

I was gonna say one of the other things we talk a lot about is journaling. Writing things down, and not only writing your goals, but also writing how you’re feeling during the day, or how you’re feeling during the week. I mean, you don’t have to document every day you can document on a weekly basis, but it helps you to get in touch with what are the stresses and what am I feeling to help kind of go through that. And and I highly recommend that people think about and it doesn’t have to be you know, a journal or it can be a notebook that you start or pieces of paper that you start just writing some thoughts down and putting, you know, pen to paper and then be able to look back at that and say, oh, you know, I took care of that that was bothering me. I wrote it down. I did some integration things. And it really did help. So I encourage that.

Natalie  44:38  

I think also the act of looking back on journaling some time. It’s just a reminder of oh, that that passed. Like it really just passed. You know, it was a season that I was in and there wasn’t a lot to do about about it other than to get through it. And so sometimes for me looking back on things like that it serves as a reminder Like, Oh man, I remember how big and heavy that felt when I wrote that. How completely overwhelmed and sad I felt and now to be like, Wow, I feel so far removed from that. That really did pass. And I think that’s a beautiful piece of the journaling. I’m glad that I’m glad that you mentioned that. It’s interesting, because we brought up food, you know, diet and exercise again. And you know how that really does help with stress. We actually had one of our guests not that long ago, Kailani, who mentioned that with her therapy clients, who’s now going to start a requirement of like, before you even come in, I want to know you’re walking 20 minutes today. Before we even have our first appointment, you know, just knowing what an impact that can have. But talking just a little bit Dr. Bernstein about exercise and how that actually is a stress on our bodies, but it’s one of those like micro stressors, right is something that you’ve mentioned before, I think, are similar to how like, you know, the cold therapy is an intense like, micro stress that actually does good for us. Can you explain a little bit about that?

David  46:07  

There’s a lot of growing evidence on this subject, that stress or deprivation for short periods of time is healthy, it makes our mitochondria basically supports them and come alive. And it’s a good thing to do. And that’s one of the reasons why people talk about intermittent fasting or calorie restriction and some of those societies that I learned about in centenarians, where societies where food wasn’t all that accessible. So they would have their either period of starvation or their period of deprivation. And it’s the same with exercise. And a lot of those communities were also on higher elevation. They were farming communities, and they had to walk everywhere they went. So there was this built in source of helping them live this longer life. So you’re correct stress deprivation can be helpful. Some research is going on where this, this group studied hyperbaric oxygen. They found that providing three atmospheres of oxygen had some impact. But the impact was felt when those people went from three points of oxygen down to three atmospheres of oxygen back down to one atmosphere or normal atmosphere. And that stress that micro stress is talking about that deprivation was beneficial. So cold plunges do that. Extended exercises do that. 

And you know, I recently wrote a blog about the stress associated with it sort of.. being a fan. Like watching the final four championship. That little piece of exhilaration while it’s a little stressful, still gives us that little bit of micro stress that sometimes can be helpful for us. And if I may, I want to go back to one point that Derek asked about, and I’ll compliment Melissa and our our working relationship is that you know how well we work with one another is Derek mentioned something about social media. And the stress is associated with that. And, and that covers such a wide array of things. And even in my practice, when my patients were stressed, I’d find out that they were watching a lot of news on television. And those news cycles just reroute all day long. And they’re incredibly stressed. I encourage people to stop doing that. With social media, social media is full of bullies, full of people getting liked or not getting liked, particularly at a younger age group. Those are such stressful things. We have such an opportunity for such greatness with our technology. But with the technology of smartphones and people’s attention being redirected from a one on one conversation to where they’re distracted by notifications. It’s bad for our brain. It’s part of that stress, but it’s it overworks our brain and that taxes us even more. So Derek, I’m glad you brought that up because it’s an important thing for people to recognize and and understand that as someone who looking at longevity looks at that as as a negative consequence in our society.

Melissa  49:38  

Multitasking. We’re talking about multitasking and how, you know, really people really can’t multitask. You really can’t because if you think about if you’re really concentrating on something, how could you be concentrating on three things at once?

Derek  49:52  

You know, just task switching very quickly. 

Melissa  49:54  

You just can’t.

David  49:55  

It’s been shown scientifically, it’s bad for your health.

Derek  49:59  

 Yes. I have to say I’m guilty. He constantly says turn off your phone. So we can have a conversation like, okay, yeah, because I don’t even realize it, you just don’t realize how caught up, you get in all of it,

Natalie  50:18  

 Yeah, absolutely.

Derek  50:19  

You know, we’re circadian animals, right, we run on a 24 hour cycle with the cycles of the night in the day. I think that, you know, phones are a recent evolution. And our bodies haven’t been able to adapt to that yet. And you know, previously, back in the 1700s 1800s, someone would be working on their farm throughout the day, then they would go home, it’d be dark, and their body would naturally wind down and they’d be able to go to sleep. Nowadays, it’s like, our workday ends, the sun sets, but we have these phones in front of us. And so it’s almost like a signal to our brain saying,  you need to keep working, keep working, keep working. And it’s stressing the body out even more and more and more. And so yeah, I mean, I think those are fantastic points. And then this kind of leads right into sleep. Right, where it’s like, we’re on our phones and the light from those is really just disrupting getting into sleep. So let’s talk a little bit more about sleep. I’m sure sleep hygiene is a big part of what you guys talk about in there. But yeah, let’s dive into that.

David  51:20  

Well, I did see that sleep was a big part of the health problems that my patients had. And again, if you look at those three things that I saw the most, you know, sleep was a component there.  And people didn’t recognize that as I mentioned earlier, how the importance of sleep so let’s assume we’ve already talked about that. What can we do to make sleep better and I’ll hit on the fact that there’s sleep hygiene. That’s avoiding your smartphone within two hours of going to bed and getting off computer screens because the light affects our brain and affects the chemicals, the melatonin in our body that helps us fall asleep and the avoidance of naps late in the day because it does something to your melatonin and then you can’t fall asleep. And then wind down have a period of wind down when you’re getting ready for bed you avoid stressful conversations, Mrs. Bernstein. 

We’ll talk about money before we go to bed. Avoid stressful conversations. Laying down and get the house ready for the morning if your coffee ready or whatever. And then the room, science has shown a cooler room is important. So we turn our thermostat down as frugal as we are with our electricity, we turn our the temperature in the bedroom down make it as dark as possible. And your bedroom is for two purposes and or your bed is for two purposes and two purposes only for sleep and sex. It’s not for watching TV, reading books, eating, smoking, any of those things will disrupt your sleep and your ability to sleep. And the thing that ties it all together that people don’t understand is your brain is really intelligent. And your brain will say, Huh, this place is for eating and smoking and watching TV. And and if I lay around in bed and I don’t fall asleep. It’s also a place where I toss and turn on light. And your body says oh, you’re getting in that little, little bed. And that bed is where you toss and turn and then you’re not going to sleep tonight. And so your body and your brain gets into it. And so one of the things that I learned in my scientific education and medical education is that there are solutions that people can look for and include in their opportunities to sleep better. 

It’s called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT I would go to my medical conferences and and I attend the sessions on sleep. And I wanted to learn like, what is the secret? What how am I going to have my patients do better at their sleep? And no matter which one I went to I heard about CBT and it’s like psychotherapy. Seeing a counselor or someone who’s trained, who will work with the individual and teach them how to sleep better. And answer the questions that are plaguing them at night so that they have this better idea of how they’re going to sleep at night and a big part of it is getting out of bed if you’re not asleep in 20 minutes. Get out of bed, go to another room. Keep it dark. If you want to read something read a book so you’re not getting computer light in your brain and and breaking the the association of that bed is where I toss and turn, and turn it into that is the bed I go to get in bed. I turn off the light and I go to sleep. That’s a real secret that I learned My career.

Natalie  55:01  

Well, one thing that I want to bring up, you know, the whole the wind down period that you said, it made me think that a lot of people make the joke of wine down, you know, like drinking some wine. But I think a lot of people, a lot of people don’t realize that alcohol actually disrupts your sleep. You feel like you’re sleeping better but actually, it’s disrupting your sleeping patterns. And then my other question was going to be, you know, because people are really into these blue light blocker glasses, right? Which block the blue light. The light is what’s stimulating our brains making it difficult for us to sleep, etc. I’m curious, do those actually work when it comes to improving our sleep? Like, is their impact high enough that it’s going to make a difference? If someone’s like, oh, well, two hours before bed, I’m going to stay on my phone or my computer, but got my blue light blockers on. So I’m in the clear.

David  55:49  

That’s like drinking a Diet Coke and eating a doughnut. Just came up with that one. But I do think there’s some science behind blue lights. But if you’re on your smartphone, conversing with people and get not getting the likes you want. It’s been it’s offsetting the benefits of the blue light. So, there’s the brain part of it. That’s doing the thinking that you wanted to just wind down with it. We don’t use them in our house. We try and dim our screens. But there’s some science behind it that that’s worth considering.

Natalie  56:31  

Yeah no, I love that analogy. And I think it’s great. It’s not because the beginning of the devices isn’t just about the light, obviously, is what I’m hearing you say. It’s about so much more now that that disrupts. Is there anything else you want to add about sleeping before we move on to the next? Number four of the Power of 5.

David  56:50  

Only to reiterate the fact that it’s it’s one of the five elements, and it’s really important, and if you’re not sleeping, get help and design a way to sleep better. Because it is a big component in longevity, and how long you live. So it’s not only how well you live, but how long you live is controlled by how much asleep.

Natalie  57:15  

Yeah, good advice. Okay, so on to number four, which was sweat, if I’m not mistaken. And we’ve already talked a fair bit about movement of the body and how important that is. So I’m curious for the two of you, what is your favorite way to sweat?

Melissa  57:34  

We both have our own ways of sweating. I love to walk, we love to hike. So those are ways I we do yoga. We do training with weights, we try to do at least an hour a day of something, you know, whatever it is mix it up. So that’s how I like to sweat. I think I don’t sweat much. My heart rate goes up but I don’t sweat much. 

Natalie  58:05  

See some people just aren’t I didn’t realize that till I started working out with my good friend and neighbor, you know, several years ago, and we’d go to the gym and I’m like dripping within 20 minutes, like on the mat. And just you could hear the sweat dripping on the mat. And she’s just like, not sweating at all. And I’m like, are you okay? Is there something wrong with me?

Melissa  58:27  

It’s funny because my heart rate is up. But Dr. B on the other hand.

David  58:32  

Well recognize that sweat is a useful euphemism for exercise. And that’s how I got my five S’s by making the exercise sweat. Melissa does not perspire, we could be out on a walk together. And I’m pretty soaking wet. It’s hot in Florida. And I love to perspire. One of the important ingredients about Sweat Exercise, is that it’s got to be fun. It’s got to be accessible. And it’s got to be reproducible that you can do it and that it doesn’t have to always be the same thing. Melissa mentioned several that we we enjoy doing. I work out with a trainer and and I do it at my pace and Melissa does hers at a different time at her pace. I enjoy it. The important component is it’s an opportunity to build muscle and muscle is really important in terms of maintaining your fitness and balance and fall prevention as you get older. So there are these really important components of that. 

The cardiovascular part of walking and any other exercise. And it has to be fun. It has to be enjoyable, because anybody can go out there and buy a rowing machine but if they hate it, it’s going to be something to hang your clothes on. Yeah, it’s like find those things. It could be pickleball. It could be tennis, it could be golf, as something that sustains your heart rate and get your heart rate up a little bit. Some people think the cardio component benefits come with getting your heart rate at 70% of its predicted heart rate. And then there’s there’s the amount of time that you want to exercise. So in government recommendations, it’s 30 minutes, five days a week, which is 150 minutes a week. And that would be like walking 30 minutes, five days a week, or some data says that the peak point or the sweet spot is 450 minutes a week, which would be 90 minutes a day, and five days a week. And that would be a combination of cardio, and something that you get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes of that period of time.

And that that’s really where the benefits come in. And but they start really low, they start with 10 minutes, three days a week, gives you some benefit over a couch potato who doesn’t do anything at all. So just starting, Melissa always has an expression of baby steps and minus start slow, go start low, go slow, but gradually increase. And a big component of what Melissa talked about is setting goals and having a goal for how much exercise you want to do. And set targets of maybe it’s your weight target or how many, how many calories you’re going to burn and using a smartwatch or, or using some way of measuring what you’re doing. Measurements are really important. And there are so many ways of measuring your activity. I want to go back to something I think that you mentioned about wine down. And there, there are devices that can calculate how good your sleep is. And when people drink alcohol on an evening, their sleep deteriorates considerably. And their morning, their wake up performance scale would be lower if they consume alcohol before bed. So so it’s just another opportunity to measure something. And measurement is really important. If people go to a doctor, they want to know their blood sugar, their blood pressure, their cholesterol. And the reason is because it’s something to know about and shoot for a better goal. And so the same is true for how much you exercise and, and how much you sleep and how much you eat, you know, have something to measure with your exercise. 

Melissa  1:02:30  

Another column on your journal is to be able to monitor and write down your exercise every day. And how you did and how long what your heart rate was, I mean, if you really, you know, we don’t want people to get obsessed by it, because you might get, you know, overly obsessed about doing anything particular. But it’s really important to, you know, in moderation and to meet some sort of goals for yourself in terms of exercise.

Derek  1:02:54  

Yeah, it sucks to be in that situation where you’re so obsessed with getting your 10,000 steps that when you forget to turn on your little tracker, you’re like that 20 minute walk I just did doesn’t count. And then you beat yourself up about it. And yeah, it’s just it doesn’t make sense.

Natalie  1:03:13  

I felt that way though. Just going to the gym and realize I forgot to put my watch on which I also like it to like, check, you know, my time between sets. But I’m like, might not it might as well not work out anymore. I can’t even like my friends not gonna see I did it because we share workouts because it’s kind of used to be like, Oh, Jessica, her workout and I better go get mine and you know, kind of thing. But I was like, What’s the point? I mean, I know there is. 

Melissa  1:03:39  

The other point is that, you know, different kinds of exercise are are different for different people. So I used to be a runner. So I used to run and do 10 K’s that was my race of choice. But I can’t do that anymore. So I’ve had to adapt. As I’ve gotten older and my knees hadn’t really cooperated. Well, I’ve had to adapt my exercise, and my fitness. And that’s really important for people to understand that as you get older, you do continue, but you do have to do some adaptions based on your physical health.

Derek  1:04:10  

So to touch on that there are some pretty clear studies that talk about like grip strength, and VO to max, that those are really important indicators for longevity and for health. Because, you know, at a certain point and Dr. Bernstein’s head on this point in a couple of times, when your strength declines, your stability declines, and that leads to greater chances of falls and other injuries like that. When you decrease in your VO to Max, you know, the amount of oxygen that’s actually available to your body can get lower and lower and lower. And I think this is pretty clear that as you age those those metrics go down. And so but at a certain point, you know, you’re not able to get enough oxygen to all the different parts of your body that need it. And you know, so is there anything that you do specifically to boost strength training and to track vo to max and help that track up, or is it just kind of like, just like you said, just find something that you can do sustainably and just knock it out.

David  1:05:08  

I’ve never had an opportunity to have my vo to max measured, it’s not the it’s not the easiest.

Derek  1:05:15  

And it’s not pleasant.

David  1:05:15  

 And it’s not readily available. But the other things you mentioned are readily available. Because grip strength is important, it is an indicator of bad outcomes and, and balance is now being used to evaluate people for the risk for dementia. So before you go and get tested, make sure you can stand on one leg for 15 seconds, your doctor doesn’t put a checkmark in the wrong box. But 15 seconds of standing is a balance test is a marker for one’s risk for dementia. So I’ve worked on my balance really hard and my retirement. And it was okay I’ve had some problems with my hip and, and in physical therapy, I realized, after about a year of that I did improve my balance. I didn’t improve it on my entire foot, just the outside of my foot. So I’m working on, on getting the balance completely spread out. And you know, it’s like got a little little testy there. I’m gonna get to my 15 seconds. But I would encourage anybody in the audience who wants to not underperform on that test when they get evaluated is work on their balance. 

Natalie  1:06:30  

Yeah.

David  1:06:30  

It’s been a good marker for fitness, Derek, as you mentioned. I think it’s important to, to work on hand grip, and and we also have to accept the things we can’t change there as part of the 12 step program. But you could work and try and make them better. I think in in the last six months, Melissa, and I have made some modifications in how we were eating. Because my strength wasn’t improving the way I wanted. And I did a little bit more research this weekend after reading one of the sensational type articles that came out this week about taurine. So I you have to measure and know that you can make a little bit of a difference and, and make it enjoyable and set some goals and make some progress because we could all make progress. The people who make the biggest percent progress are the people who are the most out of shape, they can get, you know, 20% improvement in in two months versus someone who’s really good shape and wants to improve their fitness, they may only get five or 10% improvement but higher up on the scale. So you know, it’s one of the things we incorporate in our discussion is it’s never too early and it’s never too late to start the things we’ve spoken about today. Whether you’re 20 or 92, you can always make a little bit of progress to improve your longevity and your health.

Melissa  1:08:06  

And it’s it’s really fun to have a partner, you can exercise with a friend and have have an accountability partner to you know, help you stay on track. And you know, they’re not going to be at my door at 730 in the morning saying okay, well, let’s come on out. It’s not going to happen without intention. That you set your exercise program for your week. And whether that includes people or includes a trainer or whatever works in your lifestyle is really important. You just keep that in the forefront of your mind with you know, the intention of exercise and eating healthy. 

Natalie  1:08:45  

Absolutely. Which leads us to our last point, the fifth s sex, which is you know, important, as you said, and also euphemism for connection and community and companionship. And you know, one of my favorite sayings, I’m pretty sure Brene Brown is who I heard say at first, but probably other people have said it, which is we’re hardwired for connection. You’re known it’s such an important piece. And we live in this age, where you know, connection is also oh, we’re connected on social media on one hand, especially, you know, it’s easier to stay connected, or I would say up with what’s going on in people’s lives. You know, but it’s obviously not a replacement for having conversations and being one on one. And, you know, obviously we’re connected on zoom right now, which is a little different. But still, I would say just having the conversation with you and I’m feeling connected to the two of you and to all the things you’re talking about. But tell us what are some of the ways that you would tell people to combat this lack of connection that we’re dealing with in our society right now?

David  1:09:54  

Well, Melissa, hit on one of the words that we use a lot and that intention. To make connections, it takes intentionality. It’s the same with any one of the other items in the formula. But I have an intention that I am going to have more friends and more connections. So that if someone comes up to me and says, let’s have a cup of coffee, my answer is yes. And at the end of our cup of coffees, let’s get together in two or three weeks, because this was really enjoyable. And I like connecting with you and I put it on my calendar, we do it again. And so I have various different people that I connect with. And I think that’s incredibly important. And it again, it requires intention. Nobody has ever turned me down. And my connections had been very varied. I love talking about it. One of our children lives in Minnesota. And it turns out that my college reunion was fairly recently, and a guy named Ted was from our class who put together some of the some of the stuff for us. I couldn’t make it there. But I wrote to Ted who lives in Minnesota, Minneapolis. And now when we go visit our daughter, I have lunch with Ted one day. And I get together at a town because he’s now my friend in Minneapolis. And there was a college friend of mine in Denver, who I’ve reconnected with there for almost 50 years after graduation. And we’ll be visiting him when we drive through Denver. And so it takes an intentionality to set up those connections. And they’re good for your health. So it’s yeah, it’s that component. And it, it’s understanding that it, it helps someone else’s life, but it helps your own. It does these release these chemicals in our body, that makes us feel good. And it is a component that reduces inflammation. And you know, when you look at the reverse and the impact that loneliness has, either on us personally or in our society, that there’s some things we can do about it. 

Melissa  1:12:01  

I’ve been very fortunate because I’m, I’ve had been a book club with 10 women, for Well, it’s actually was like 12, but a couple of them moved away. But we’ve you know, it’s like 20 years, we’ve been in the same book club. Connecting once a month, not only through our reading, we always have a meal together. And you know, we keep up with each other. And the other thing I do for myself is every week is I play mahjong with a group of people. You know, not only is it the connection again, with the people, but it’s also stimulating my brain to play, which is, you know, I don’t know if you’ve ever played. But you know, you have to use your brain.

Natalie  1:12:43  

A little complicated. Things to remember.

Melissa  1:12:50  

We have a lot of fun doing that. So I’ve been very fortunate I have a lot of girlfriends and a lot of girlfriend groups. And that, you know, and we have a lot of joint friends, couple friends. But I think since the pandemic, people are not quite connected with as many of our couple friends, interestingly enough that we used to, and we used to have this very, very busy, busy, active schedule, but I think, you know, the pandemic, I think it changed people’s perception about connections. It’s interesting.

Natalie  1:13:22  

And it was long enough to kind of break some of the habits of typical connecting.

Melissa  1:13:27  

We’re trying to get back to having dinner out or having dinner club.

Natalie  1:13:31  

Like you said being intentional.

Melissa  1:13:33  

 Yeah, yeah, intention. Exactly. Yeah.

David  1:13:35  

And one of the things we did recently as we went to a college event locally and I met a woman there who recently moved to the area, and it gave me a chance to rehash some of my other thoughts about the subject. That she didn’t know as many people so it’s joining a club working in a civic organization. So she, she’s working to do something in her city in her community. She just sent me an email today. She met a veterinarian who’s single and, and they walk together. But it’s also about joining clubs, like a photography club, or bird watching club or getting into a sport where you can play golf or tennis and meet people who are like minded. Where you can also develop relationships along that way. And if you like to travel, find some travel club. It’s another way to interact with people and see the world.

Natalie  1:14:34  

 SoI’m thinking about something really simple right now too, because again, we’re talking about a lot of these things, how it’s easy to overcomplicate them and feel overwhelmed and not get started. And as we’re talking about connection, I’m I’m realizing that a lot of times when I’m just out and about going through my day, I’m trying to find ways to connect with the people around me. Like anytime I’m being checked out at the grocery store at the counter for my lunch, just down the road here all the time. To take the moment and just say, How’s your day going? You know, because we do the regular, how are you? I’m good, how are you? But we’re not really listening or talking to each other in that moment. It’s just the traditional greeting and response, right? But if after that, if I pause, and I say, How’s your day going, you know, sometimes there’s like, Oh, it’s good, how’s yours, but sometimes they’ll like, it’s kind of like, oh, you see me, and then they’ll start talking. And then I’ll start talking. And then maybe they’re shared something about what’s happened in their day, and I share something about mine. And then we just have this brief, you know, 30 seconds of connection, but I just feel like we’re so starved for it. And the society that we live in, I think that’s just such a simple, easy way that we can foster more connection. And I’m a big believer in the energy that we put out into the world. And you know, the things that we can expand in the world because of the energy we put into it. You know, we talk about that with love and things like that. But I think that connection is one of those things that when we begin to put energy into it, and this small meaningful that might seem like meaningless moments, that that can go a long way and have an exponential effect. And you have no idea what it might mean to that person that you’re engaging with in that moment. Right.

David  1:16:16  

Absolutely. Although Melissa was giving me a hard time about talking to the man. Well, we saw while we were walking out a big doberman. Yeah. And I actually talked to the guy and we had a really nice chat about his mixed breed Doberman/ Great Dane, which was a huge, scary dog. But he was he was as gentle as can be. And we had this chat. And it could have been we just walked past him.

Melissa  1:16:44  

No, I was more surprised. Because normally in our walk, he like walks. I’m thinking like, who is this person? It’s really nice. It was really nice that he’s, you know, he’s trying to meet people in the neighborhood, since he’s around a lot. And that’s it. It was great. But it was, you know, I’m not. I’m not fond of huge dogs, so.

Natalie  1:16:44  

Oh, I’m a big fan of Great Danes.

David  1:17:13  

Yeah she was 100 yards away.

Natalie  1:17:19  

But yeah, making friends with your neighbors, you know, saying hello when people are walking by me. I have a ton of walkers in my neighborhood. And I remember when we first moved into the neighborhood over seven years ago, my daughter, she was three and a half at the time. And we moved in, in the winter. And some of the time spring started happening and people would come outside. I was clearly I mean, we moved from from Indiana to Washington, I didn’t know anyone. I would just like see people walking. And I’m like, hello, I’m new to the neighborhood and introduce myself. And I know a lot, a lot of people have those, you know that personality, but it just cracks me up. Because my daughter, within a few weeks, we just be sit playing outside and she’d be like, Mom, somebody just came out the door, let’s go say hi. And she said she just made those friends. I think it’s important to, to show our kids you know, and our grandkids, how to foster that kind of connection. Because I think especially I worry, you know, for the younger generation, that’s being completely brought up in the age of social media and the electronics that we have. You know, sort of losing that ability to simply connect. And the really simple ways to just go out and say hello, and so I think I love.. I know, you said sex. And we talked about that a bit when you weren’t through the first, you know, the first kind of rundown of the five. And obviously, it is so much bigger than that. But I love kind of the trigger a little bit to be like, Oh, well, why is that one of the five because it is so much more than that. But I think everything that you brought up about how to connect and the ways to do it, you know, is really, really important. And one that’s often missed, I think. And when we’re talking about health and longevity.

David  1:19:02  

It’s incredibly important. And when I think about it, it does weave everything together. The importance of that, and it gets back to some of the stuff in my first book is the connection Do you have a purpose in life and and when you’re connected to someone, you do have a purpose you do have a reason for getting up and seeing us a face and connecting to that person and how it how it takes you through the rest of the day. I mean, that’s the intimacy part in relationships. But you know, not everybody has that and they have their family and if you think of concentric circles, and then you have your BFFs and those people that are always in your life that you can count on, so that that’s all encompassed in sex.

Derek  1:19:46  

Now, that being said, if we if we really dive specifically into sex and sexual health, as you age that there’s a lot of things that can complicate sexual health, you know, for men a big thing in this is is a big time contribution with the conditions that you were talking about earlier with metabolic health, cardiovascular health, you know, all those things can all contribute to for men Edie, and that’s a big thing that we actually do here at Invigor. Medical as we have a lot of erectile dysfunction, medications for anyone that’s interested in that. But it also it doesn’t only affect men, it also affects women with menopause. And that can often times lead to a drop in libido. With all that being said, in your section, do you guys talk about that at all in the power five? And what are your guys’s solutions for tackling those issues? 

David  1:20:38  

I don’t, I don’t talk about it as much, what I might say is what you eat, how you exercise, how you keep your cardiovascular system, as healthy as possible, will enable a longer time of being sexually arousable and being able to maintain erections and, and have satisfying experiences. And then that includes both men and women. So doing eating right, exercising those things. Having a close intimate relationship with someone that’s a healthy, intimate relationship in terms of personality and how they, it goes a long way for that as well. And and I know I’m not answering your question, exactly, Derek, but, but it’s so making sure expectations match in in that relationship. So that it’s not all about.. and I say this about sex, it’s not always about vaginal penetration. It’s about the intimacy in the relationship. And that’s what I learned from my older patients. They’d say, well, you know, I’m not able to do that, but we cuddle a lot. And we spend a lot of time together. And we we have a lot of intimacy, and just how we touch each other during the course of the day. And that’s pretty satisfying. In terms of female health, I think that’s an issue that has gotten swept under the carpet a little bit. Definitely. I think, in my career, the use of hormones has been yay, great idea. Oh, horrible idea. Oh, we think it’s a good idea. And, and it’s a very interesting fact that I read recently that it takes 17 years of after evidence is developed for it to be incorporated into medical care. So imagine me in my life that really pertained it was like, Oh, when I started in practice, estrogen was good, then estrogen wasn’t good. And it took a while for me to catch up to it. By the time I decided, well, estrogen isn’t good. The pendulum was swinging back. And I said on estrogen still good. And hormone replacement is still good. And there were there was a woman’s heart study that was done and the results were kind of skewed. And I never got off the bandwagon of thinking that there’s benefit of estrogen and hormone replacement therapy for heart disease and dementia. And vaginal health for women. Well, women are the only ones with vaginas. Vaginal health is really important. And as I had in my practice, like, we need to do something about that because it’s troublesome in your relationship. And here’s some things that you can do. And I’m joking, but by the way, your husband was here last week, and I gave him a blue pill. So you better get yourself in shape because it’s going to be happening and you need to be on the same page, right? I’m sure I talked to the man and said, you know, if you want this, you’re talking to your wife because she needs to.. or your partner.. she needs to be attuned to what what’s happening here.

Derek  1:24:03  

That beign said there are some really good treatments. One of the ones that we offer here is something called PT 141 I don’t know if it’s Vyleesi, I think is the name brand. It’s actually FDA approved for hypo sexual activity disorder and it’s for post specifically for postmenopausal women. So it’s, it’s an amazing option and we’ve we’ve gotten really good reviews from our patients on it. So if your husband does have the blue pill we have a good solution here. 

Melissa  1:24:34  

That’s very interesting. I’d like to you know, learn more about that but one of the things I wanted to say was that you know, from a woman’s perspective perspective, the communication about in the in the internal knowledge about what’s happening in your body is really important to communicate that with your partner and your OBGYN or whomever your physician have choices regarding your care. You know that you vaginal health is really important. And there’s the whole sector of physical therapists that are specialized in pelvic floor issues. And I have a friend right now who has just been treated by a specialist, so a Doctor of Physical Therapy, who is a specialist in pelvic floor issues. And she had several sessions, and she is feeling remarkable now. So, you know, there are other than taking a pill or other than taking, you know, doing other kinds of methods, physical therapists are a great option for, you know, depending on what the issue is. But then again, that’s something to discuss with your physician.

David  1:25:41  

And you’re correct that there’s a physical component and then there’s a hormonal component. A Physical Therapist doesn’t have much control over. And there, there have been countless women who just said, I got to some point and the kitchens closed, we’re not doing anything. And the husband was my patient, I asked you to, again, I’m kind of frustrated with this. So the fact that there is medication for that, I certainly encourage that. Because it improves that intimacy that we’ve talked about. And use that word, because it really is important for a relationship and couples ship to, to be able to have all of those relationships and connections that we talked about a few minutes ago. But also the one on one between two partners. It gets really important, and so excited to hear that there are these new things that weren’t coming up for me. In my practice. Yeah, but certainly were issues.

Melissa  1:26:44  

Yeah, for women. 

Natalie  1:26:46  

Yeah, absolutely. And I’ve loved this conversation as a whole because, you know, all of these, you know, five, the power of five, that we’ve talked about are just really such important things. And I think people will notice as they listen to the conversation, and kind of diving into each of these points individually, how much overlap there is and how much one thing affects another and another. And then these things affect this one, and that one, and they all come together, because it is one big puzzle that we’re all putting together. But I love the way that you’ve simplified it. Where can people find your book? Both your books. And your cookbook? And where can they find you in general?

Melissa  1:27:28  

They can find us at www.thepowerof5life.com. They can find us on Amazon in terms of our books. We also do have a library, you know, a library where they can purchase books on our site. We have lots of blogs that pertain to each of the power of five, they can sign up for recipes on www.PowerOf5Life.com in the Test Kitchen section under my name.

David  1:27:56  

And I have a free giveaway on the site called notes on living longer. Melissa and I are putting our finishing touches but it’s available now and an online course. If they go to www.powerof5life.com/achieve. They can they can get right to information about our online course. But I encourage them signed up for free recipes for Melissa or my book notes on living longer. And one of the things Melissa talked about, but didn’t mention is we even wrote a journal for people to keep track of their activities. And every day, it’s like, do I have I done all my five for the day. Next day okay, I got a little little pentagon and I fill in my Pentagon every day, make sure I got my five that’s available on our web.

Natalie  1:28:54  

Good visual reminder, right? Because it’s one thing to go and listen to the podcast or read your book and then be like, Oh, I got it. And then it just goes away. Because there’s no there’s you know, nothing there to keep it in your orbit and in applying it every single day. So that’d be a wonderful tool to have to. You can see myself filling out the little thing and like did I get all my marks? I’m a gold star personality too. So I’m like gold star on that. Yes. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today before we say goodbye. Is there anything that you’d like to add?

David  1:29:28  

I always tell people, all of this requires intention. And it’s never too early to start and it’s never too late. And science backs that up and everything we talked about is science backed and science based so that they can rely on the information that is also readily available in everywhere on the internet. I only made it simple by putting an acronym for grace or my power of five all to begin with the letter S. I just made it easy and to have the copies of all of our books and in people’s libraries can be really helpful and healthful. 

Derek  1:30:12  

Awesome.

Natalie  1:30:12  

Healthful. 

David  1:30:13  

And people can age gracefully.

Derek  1:30:16  

Yeah. Well, that’s awesome advice.

Melissa  1:30:18  

And we are in our re-inspirement.

Natalie  1:30:22  

Oh I love that.I feel like y’all should make some t-shirts.

David  1:30:29  

Our reinspirement mode. Yeah.

Derek  1:30:32  

Yeah. Awesome. I love it. Very cool. Well, hey, thank you so much for joining us guys. It’s been a wonderful conversation. 

Natalie  1:30:37  

Yeah, love chatting with you.

David  1:30:38 
It’s been a pleasure for us.

Podcast Guests

Dr. David Bernstein

MD

Melissa Bernstein

OT

Podcast Hosts

Natalie Garland

Host

Derek Berkey

Host

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