The Future of Nutrition Interview with Dr. Mark Hyman

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Interview with Marc David and Dr. Mark Hyman

Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating interviews speaker, educator, advocate, recently now the director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, Founder, and Director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, medical editor at Huffington Post, Dr. Mark Hyman.

In this interview, you’ll hear how policies are changing around funding research to create clinically based programs for Functional Medicine to partner with corporations as an alternative to healthcare. Marc and Mark discuss how food is information that helps modify our biology and gene expression and how more people are opening to old wisdom of what heals and so much more.


Marc: Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Here we are in the Future of Healing Online Conference. I am here with arguably I think one of the greatest guys in the universe, an old dear friend, amazing colleague––even if you weren’t my best buddy in the world, you would still be to me one of the greatest doctors and thought leaders out there––Mark Hyman. Welcome, Mark.

Mark: Thank you. Thank you, Marc.

Marc: Yay! Let me brag about you just a little bit more, and then we can dive in. Mark    Hyman, MD, believes that we all deserve a life of vitality. He’s dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease by harnessing the power of functional medicine to transform healthcare.

Dr. Hyman works with his teams every day to empower people, organizations and communities to heal body and mind, and improve our social and economic resilience. He’s a practicing physician, eight­time bestselling author.

Mark: Nine now. Nine last week.

Marc: Nine time. Yes! Congratulations. Speaker, educator, advocate, recently now the  director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, founder and director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, medical editor at Huffington Post.

Mark: It’s hard just listening to all that.

Marc: I know, man. You’ve been very prolific in your career. Honestly, that’s one thing I love about you is you can place yourself in a lot of different realms when it comes to healing, not only at the clinical end of things, at the teaching end of things, and even dive into the research end of things. What’s got you excited these days?

Mark: What’s really sort of remarkable, and something I actually never thought would   happen, is that I found myself at the center of one of the leading medical institutions in the world, the Cleveland Clinic. I love being on the outside. It has allowed me to take potshots and call things as they were. I figured inside an institution it would be very difficult to create change, to get any excitement about what we’re doing.

What’s really remarkable to me is at Cleveland Clinic, Toby Cosgrove, who is the CEO, is really one of the leading thinkers in healthcare today. He’s completely disruptive, completely innovative. He called for us to come there. I didn’t want to go there. It wasn’t something on my bucket list at all. He convinced me that they could really help us transform healthcare through functional medicine.

They’re funding this to a very big degree through funding research, developing a Clinical Center of Excellence, developing medical school curriculum and postgraduate curriculum for functional medicine, as well as policy work, community work. I was just  in Washington a couple of weeks ago working on all sorts of policy initiatives.

So there’s a tremendous organization that’s behind this transformation. I never thought that we’d actually get this amount of support and money and interest, and it’s happening. This is happening now. It’s not like on the outside anymore, and I’m so thrilled to be sitting there when the directors of all the other institutes are coming to me and saying how do we bring functional medicine into this, how do we get functional medicine into the program.

So I’m super excited about this initiative because we’re going to prove through some very specific kinds of research that functional medicine works better and costs less. That’s a new paradigm for chronic disease. We’re going to build a platform for educating and training more doctors. We’re actually building a clinical program, a fellowship and mentorship, apprenticeship program, for functional medicine at Cleveland Clinic where we’re going to start to really change medicine from the inside.

The directors of the institutes are coming to me saying, through neurology how do we create prostate health? We know so much prostate cancer is related to diet. We know that heart disease is related to that. We know that cancer. We want to bring this into what we’re doing and use food as medicine, and we don’t know how. Please help us. I’m staggered by the open­mindedness and by the interest and by the enthusiasm in Cleveland Clinic, and how it’s an accelerator for everything that we want to do.

Marc: That’s just beautiful. It gives me personally so much hope. To your point, it’s way  easier for us to transform ourselves as individuals or transform our own practice, our own life, coming into a company, a corporation, a clinic, a hospital. Institutions move a

little slow because they tend to be big and lumbering. Here you are basically reporting, wow, this is catching fire, because an institution, it’s just a bunch of people really.

Mark: Yeah, and everybody’s ready for this. The message is trying to ready audience. I’m   just sort of shocked, honestly. I thought there would be so much doubt and criticism  and derision. But it’s been open arms everywhere. Come, please help us. We want more. How do we do this? How do we transform the food system at the hospital? How do we transform policies? How do we do community work? It’s almost overwhelming, the opportunity. I go there and it’s like drinking from a fire hose of opportunity for transformation in healthcare and the future.

Because they know, I think they know that our current system isn’t working. That it’s limited in its capacity to deal with chronic disease, which affects about one in two Americans. Chronic lifestyle preventable disease globally will cost $46 trillion over the next 20 years, and it’s all stuff we know how to deal with if we have the right strategy. I think using the same approach of drugs and surgery, while it’s awesome for acute illness, doesn’t work for most of the chronic problems that we see.

So whether it’s autoimmune disease, whether it’s digestive disorders, whether it’s neurodevelopmental disorders or degenerative disorders, whether it’s chronic  metabolic diseases, whether it’s allergic inflammatory diseases, these are all things which through functional medicine we have tremendous success with and have a new roadmap.

It’s pretty shocking, but it’s actually happening. We’re talking about developing a fecal transplant research center there and looking at the microbiome and doing microbiome analysis. It’s like I’m just blown away that there’s this interest and openness. There’s donors coming and giving money. We’ve raised over $3 million already for what we’re doing.

Marc: When you look into your crystal ball, what do you think is possible? And more to the point, if you could steer it in the direction that you’d want to see it go, and we were in this conversation 20 years from now, what would have happened? How would things have changed?

Mark: I think what would happen is that we would have completely reinvented healthcare to  be a decentralized self­empowered system that allows people, consumers, patients, to

learn methods of self­health and self­care using the principles of functional medicine. We’d have still some tertiary care centers for acute illness and for tertiary care functional medicine problems, but most things would be solved outside the healthcare system, in the community.

Like we did with the church. We used the functional medicine principles and we distribute them through a church, for example. I’m working with Zumba where they have 200,000 Zumba instructors, and they want to create the church of fitness, essentially empowering community health workers to work with their communities to start to transform the way people live and eat and play. These are really radical ideas that I think are going to transplant how we’re currently doing healthcare.

It will be paid for. It will be paid for at first by corporations. It will be paid for by insurance companies because they realize that’s where they’re going to get the most return on their investment. Hopefully it will be paid for by Medicare and Medicaid, who really will recognize that we have to change our reimbursement, and that reimbursement drives care, not science, and that if we don’t change reimbursement  we won’t change practice. That’s what we need to shift to.

Marc: Help the skeptic in me for a moment, because it feels like the drug companies and the lumbering hospital system and how those organizations make money it almost feels  like that’s the impediment, because we’ve been a disease­driven model and there’s so many companies that profit if I’m sick, as opposed to being well.

Mark: A hundred percent, right. So what’s going to happen is that we’re––and this is very optimistic, but I think we’re going to do research that’s going to look at cost of care and really look at the total impact of what we’re doing.

If we can document the economic impact and benefits of what we’re doing, if we can show we can get people off insulin and reverse chronic diseases and make a dent, then payment will start to shift. When payment shifts everything shifts, because if that is what’s driving care, if your drugs and surgery are paid for, then that’s what will be done. If shopping classes and cooking classes and support groups are paid for and  the community health workers are paid for, that’s what will get done. It really depends on what we pay for.

So I’m optimistic that through our partnership with Cleveland Clinic, which is one of the most highly respected healthcare institutions in the world. President Obama asked  Toby Cosgrove, the CEO of Cleveland Clinic, to come run the VA, which is the largest healthcare institution in the world, because he believes that he has the secret sauce.

I think he does too, and I think some of the innovations are tremendous. There’s going to be very disruptive things happening in healthcare. We’re going to be doing things in  a completely different way. We’re going to break down the walls of the hospitals and clinics. We’re not going to be doing things at all in the same way. I think the DNA of functional medicine is the sort of Intel inside that drives big biology change. We know how to do that. I think the question of behavior change, that’s going to come through these decentralized community­based models of healthcare.

Marc: It’s so exciting.

Mark: In fact, this is really what’s exciting to me. This is a book that’s called Turning the    World Upside Down. I just happen to have it on my desk. I wasn’t planning on talking about it. But it’s a book by the head of the National Health Service in England. He was the former head of that. He says we need to put people in communities at the center of healthcare, not doctors and hospitals. So that’s what I’m calling for, and I think everybody’s super excited about it.

Marc: You’ve already mentioned that one of the great surprises for you has been to see that  a place like the Cleveland Clinic, there’s this amazing openness and hunger for  change and transformation. Any other, for you, happy, good, positive surprises that you’ve noticed recently or over the years that really caught your attention in your journey as a doctor, a health advocate, a teacher in this realm?

Mark: Yeah. I think what’s interesting now is that I’m very cynical about government and policy and trying to get things done in Washington. But I see there’s a few people in there who are really trying to shift change, people like Tim Ryan who wrote a book called The Real Food Revolution and A Mindful Nation about mindfulness and food. Right up your alley there, Marc. I love this guy. He’s the meditating, healthy eating––

Marc: I’ve met him, yeah. Yeah. He’s such a sweet guy. Yeah.

Mark: He’s like my best buddy now. Then Cory Booker, he’s just entered the Senate, but he’s really looking at food and food policy. So I think we can look at the dragon and see where the missing scale is on the food industry. We can go after key targets. I think there are policymakers who are really focused on that, where it’s ending antibiotics in food which will transform how we do animal husbandry, or whether it’s GMO labeling which will actually change the way we think about food. It will have indirect effects by transforming the way we look at things and the way we do things.

They seem like little policy changes, but they actually have broad impact. They’re   being fought, but they’re potentially going to come to fruition. I think those will start to shift the culture of food. So I’m super excited about those changes I see. I’m board of the Environmental Working Group, and they are also focused on this food fight, really creating transparency in food, creating clarity around how we deal with these issues of our food system, of our agriculture system.

I’m going to a global food summit where I’m speaking in front of some of the top food companies in the world, talking about the challenges of health, talking about the ways in which our food is causing a problem. We’re having these conversations at the highest level to shift the thinking.

I had dinner with the vice chairman of Pepsi the other night. We had a fascinating conversation about food, and the science behind calories and sugar. There’s cracks in the system. They’re happening. The light is getting in. I think the light will get in. I think the light will prevail.

Marc: So did he drink Coke or Pepsi, or neither?

Mark: He’s a doctor, an endocrinologist and a type 2 diabetic, and he was eating tons of bread and sugar and dessert. I said, you know, do you want me to help you cure your diabetes? He’s like, no, it’s fine. As long as I run every day it’s under control. I’m like, you know, massive denial.

Marc: That reminds me how much one can create a whole philosophy. One can run the Pepsi­Cola company and not think twice about it if one is disconnected from one’s own body and doesn’t see, oh, how I’m treating this, how I’m managing it, how I’m   exercising and how I’m feeding it has an impact on my health.

Mark: They have stories. They live in their own story world, like we all do. They believe their stories. I don’t think he’s a bad person. I don’t think he’s evil. I think he has a certain perspective. It’s biased, and believes that by taking 400,000 tons of sugar out of the food supply it’s a good thing, and by actually formulating products that have less calories is a good thing. Taking six trillion calories out of the food system.

But I think if you have a Pepsi that’s 20 less calories it’s still a Pepsi. Or if you have Lay’s potato chips that are 20 less calories they’re still Lay’s potato chips. It’s still junk, right. So I think the whole idea food is information is not an idea that they actually have embraced.

Marc: Why don’t we pitch our tent there for a moment, food is information. What a beautiful powerful game ­changing concept because normally––previously we’ve been thinking  of food is just a package of finite nutrients, and the value of the food is just given in  what it contains and how much. That’s great and it’s useful and it’s hopeful. But food is information, why do we need to know about that?

Mark: Crazy idea. This is actually one of the fundamental ideas of functional medicine is that we can modify our gene expression through environmental inputs, and the biggest  input is food. So the thing that drives the most change every day in our biology is what we eat. It alters our genes that are expressed. It changes proteins that get produced from our DNA. It alters our microbiome with every single bite. It resets or regulates hormones. It affects our immune system and cytokines that are produced.

It works immediately. It’s not something that takes decades or even days to work. It literally works with every single bite. I don’t think people understand the impact of that and how that affects the way they feel, their brain function, their mood, their energy, their digestion, their metabolism.

So what we use in functional medicine, our primary agent and our primary drug, is   food. The science behind this is just tremendous in terms of how it modifies our   system. I was having dinner with my friend David Ludwig, who’s a professor at   Harvard. We were talking about fat and sugar and carbs. We were sitting with a vegan who’s a friend, and a friend of the vegan was 300 pounds overweight. He was eating a lot of artificial sweeteners and he was having a lot of starch.

We were talking about type 1 diabetics. It was fascinating. We were talking about the role of insulin. If you take a type 1 diabetic and you feed them 10,000 calories a day, they won’t gain weight if they don’t take insulin. They’ll actually lose weight. The first symptom of type 1 diabetes is weight loss and hyperphagia, which means you’re starving all the time because the sugar’s not getting into your cells. So you’re eating 10,000, 15,000 calories a day and you’re losing weight. How does that happen if it’s all about calories in, calories out? It’s not. It’s about what hormones and molecules get produced when you eat.

He said for example if you drank a liter or two liters of olive oil a day for a week, you wouldn’t gain any weight because you wouldn’t produce insulin. But if you have carbs, or even some protein that’s excess of what you need, it’ll produce insulin and that will cause weight gain.

It’s so fascinating when you start thinking about these extreme situations, and what  they imply about the role of food and calories and weight and metabolism. I think the quality of information is fascinating. I’m really interested in creating optimum performance. How do we optimize people’s functioning through food? I’ve been experimenting with myself. I’m 55 now, and I’m actually leaner and fitter than I was   with far less exercise by changing my diet to be very, very low sugar and glycemic diet and eating more fat.

When we met 20 years ago I think I was very focused on more whole grains and more beans. Not a lot of pasta and sugar, but healthier starches. Also very low fat. I even went back and looked at my Ultra­Metabolism book. I wasn’t that much against fat, but I also was restricting some fats. It was fascinating to see the change. Now I’ve shifted my diet, so in the morning I have only fat for breakfast. I have greens and I have fat  with avocados. I have coconut butter and coconut oil. I just feel like a rock star in the morning. My brain is clear. I have tons of energy. Where I used to feel a little sluggish, even with healthier grain breakfast.

I think we’re shifting our thinking about all the role of food in our health, and that’s what’s so exciting to me, because we’re going to be at Cleveland Clinic doing randomized control trials with rigorous design, one of the major medical institutions in the world, and proving that yes we can get people off insulin.

I had a woman who did my 10­Day Detox Diet the other day, and she posted it on the website. She said in three days I was off my insulin, and in ten days I lost 18 pounds. I talked to my dad, because I just came out with my 10­Day Detox Diet Cookbook. He’s like, I did it. He never listens to me. He says, “I’ve been doing it and the recipes are amazing, and it’s delicious and I lost 14 pounds in eight days.”

Marc: Get out of here. That’s amazing.

Mark: That’s pretty amazing. He’s 87. So it’s never too late.

Marc: Wow. I want to highlight something that you said, and it’s so obvious but I think it’s so important, in that we’re living in a time when our thinking is so dramatically changing. You mentioned almost casually like, oh, food impacts our gene expression. That’s an explosive concept because normally––the average person, I was taught, I still remember from junior high school biology, that genetics determines everything.

Nothing else matters. Your DNA is going to make sure that it does whatever it wants you to do. It turns out that genes are being turned on and off, sometimes within seconds, in terms of responding to our environment. That’s just a mind­boggling concept.

Mark: It is mind­boggling. What’s even more mind­boggling is, talking about genes, you’ve  got 20,000 genes which is about as much as an earthworm. But you actually have ten times as many bacterial cells in you as your own cells, and you have a hundred times as much bacterial DNA in you, in your gut mostly. So that’s very fascinating.

We’re learning actually the quality and the type of bacteria that you have in your gut controls everything, because those genes are making proteins and immune markers and hormone regulators and things that alter your brain chemistry and that affect everything in your system. It’s basically your gut flora. What determines your gut flora? What you eat.

You literally with every bite change which bugs you’re fertilizing or which ones you’re killing. If you eat tons of sugar and starch you’re going to fertilize one group. If you eat more fat and protein, those fertilize another group. If you eat processed food, you’ll fertilize another group. So it’s fascinating. We actually see this changing people’s metabolism and changing people’s biochemistry and their brain function. I think that’s fascinating research. We’re just uncovering that.

Marc: We’re true symbiotic organisms. On one level it’s so unsexy to think that I am so interdependent on these billions of little tiny organisms. That they’re a little squiggly and they’re weird and they’re strange, and I can’t even see them for goodness sake, yet my life kind of depends on them. What a shift in consciousness.

You also mentioned caloric theory, which in a lot of ways feels like yet another final frontier of nutritional medicine where we really have to take a look and say, okay, what is it? What’s really going on? You brought up the example of a type 1 diabetic. How should we be thinking about calories these days, in a way that is useful for us as nutritionally experimenting human beings?

Mark: I’m embarrassed to say, I’m working on my 12th book right now, and it’s on fat. It’s on the role of fat in health and disease. What’s fascinating is I started uncovering the research on this and looking at how actually these theories have come up, which is what we call the energy balance theory, which is calories in, calories out. You eat more, you gain weight. You exercise less, you gain weight. The solution is eat less, exercise more. We’ve all been told that and it doesn’t really work.

Then the other theory is the hormone theory of metabolism, which is where the food that you eat creates information that changes the hormones and brain chemistry and everything else, and your metabolism, regardless of the calories.

Here’s an example. David Ludwig was telling me about this study he did with rats or mice. He’s not a super pro animal research buy, but years ago he did this study that he told me about where he took these rats. One group had a diet that was a high glycemic diet. Then there was a high fat diet. So one with high sugar one, and one with high fat.

The high sugar diet, they actually kept the calories the same, so they were exactly the same calories, and watched what happened. When they fed them a high fat diet, the weight started to drop on these animals. So even though they were eating the same calories, the weight started going down.

Then they had to actually reduce the calories to prevent the animals from being different weights, because they wanted them to be the same weight at the end of the study. So they actually had to reduce the calories, and they were still losing weight

compared to the high sugar. They were eating exactly the same, or less calories, and they were losing weight. The high fat group was actually eating, sorry, more calories. They had to increase the calories to kind of prevent them from losing weight. So they were actually eating more calories. I said it wrong. So they were eating more calories.

Then at the end of the study they cut them open. What was fascinating was that even though the rats eating the high fat diet had more food and more calories, and it was more fat, they had much less body fat. They had 70% less belly fat and body fat and everything else, and all the metabolic markers were different.

So the fat in the diet actually plays a fascinating role, because we’ve been all afraid of fat for so long. But we now know that actually fat doesn’t jack up insulin, and it will increase your fat burning, it will increase your metabolism, and it will reduce your hunger. So when that happens you lose weight. Whereas when you eat sugar, even if you restrict calories, you’re doing all the opposite things. You’re slowing your metabolism, you’re slowing fat burning and you’re increasing your hunger. So it’s a triple whammy against weight loss. So that’s what’s fascinating.

Marc: Yet to the linguistic brain fat and food sounds like fat on my body. It’s a hard one to dissociate from.

Mark: Totally. I was talking to a friend of mine. I said, so what’s the word for the fat in the   food you eat and the fat on your body? Is it the same word? He’s like, no. It’s a totally different word. In America, in English, it’s the same word, fat on your body, fat you eat. It’s like you eat fat you get fat. It makes sense, right? That’s what the nutritionists in Europe––you were trained as I was, fat has nine calories per gram and carbs have  four. So if you eat less fat you’re going to cut out more calories, you’re going to lose weight. Seems like total common sense. Except it’s not.

The earth looks flat. Anybody can see it’s flat. It’s obviously flat. If you stand on the top of a mountain it looks flat. Unless you’re in a spaceship, then it doesn’t. But we all now know it’s actually not flat, but we have to kind of go against our perception of what seemed more common sense. The same way with food. It seems self­evident.

Marc: This piece about sugar, we’re talking about its impact on the human body, its impact on metabolism. Here we are. It seems like we’re now living in a time when there’s so much information coming out. The books that you’re writing. The information you put

out. There’s a wave of knowledge about sugar. Yet at the same time, wow, is it a ubiquitous substance. You could blindfold me and I can just walk outside and find it probably somewhere. Is it possible to recreate our diet, our diet system, our food supply chain? Where does it start?

Mark: We have to. I mean there’s just no choice. We have to do it. I think it starts with people getting pissed off, making different choices, and basically rising up to do something different. To talk about it. To do the things that everybody’s doing. It’s having an   impact. I was in the movie Fed Up that came out. It has an impact and people change.

So it’s slow, but I think what will happen is we’ll change agricultural policies, we’ll change the way we grow food, the way we distribute food. I think there will be parallel industries that are rising up to actually combat this. It’s actually happening. It’s slow, slower than I’d like, but I think it’s going to hit a critical mass because this is unsustainable what we’re doing.

Even the head of Pepsi said the government is actually subsidizing us by supporting the production of low cost high fructose corn syrup through the agricultural subsidies. Listen, we’re just doing business. It’s so cheap we can’t not buy it. Right? It’s just bad business not to buy it. They’re making it cheap because they’re subsidizing it.

Marc: Right. But which really means you and I are subsidizing it. It’s our tax dollars.

Mark: A hundred percent. So you look at places like Mexico, where they’re actually bringing Blumberg in because they want to really change their obesity epidemic. Now they  have one in ten kids who have type 2 diabetes. Here it’s one in ten adults. There it’s one in ten kids have adult onset diabetes.

They’re taxing sugar and junk food. They’re eliminating all processed and junk food  from schools. They’re having clearer food labeling so that you know what you’re eating is good, bad or not. Red is bad, going to kill you. Yellow is caution. Green is okay to  eat.

Wouldn’t that be great to have food labels like that in America, so you actually picked it up and you knew what it was? Instead of Cool Whip saying zero trans fat and you    think it’s health food instead of hydrogenated fats and high fructose corn syrup.

Then they’re also end food marketing to kids. So no more junk food or any food marketing to kids that’s not healthy food. Those are policies that have been implemented around the world in various places that are now being looked at as a collective series of policies in Mexico to change this epidemic, which is destroying the country.

I’ve been talking to the queen of Jordan’s team in Jordan. They have one in four people with type 2 diabetes in the Middle East. It’s all over. China’s number one and India’s number two in the world now in type 2 diabetes.

Marc: It seems like these epidemics have to grab our attention. We have to look and we   have to listen to them. There’s another epidemic that I’m thinking of right now, which seems to be autism. It seems like autism spectrum disorder has been on the increase. There’s no official word as to, okay, here’s what we think. What do you think is happening with this?

Mark: We’ve gone from 1 in 2,500 kids to 1 in 50 boys or more. You can say it’s a reporting error or it’s better diagnostics, it’s better services. Maybe some of it is. Maybe half of it is. But what about the other half? Where are all the 30­year­old autistic people running around now? Something happened. So I think it’s a combination of things.

The yellow canaries in the coalmine used to be these birds they would put in the coalminers’ neighborhoods when they were in the coalmine, because if they dropped dead they knew it was time to get out. The air was bad. So the yellow canaries in our society are the autistic kids. They have genetics that make them susceptible to injury from environmental toxins, from poor food, from stresses.

When you look at the combination of the change in our food supply, the increased number of immunizations, the mercury in immunizations, the aluminum, and the  amount of antibiotics used, and the amount of things that are in our environment, environmental toxins, these kids are uniquely susceptible. They have genes that make them susceptible and they can’t unburden themselves.

I’ve treated many of these patients and I see they all have the same pattern.   Everyone’s a little different, but they have these same patterns of genetic    redispositions to being unable to detoxify and they have terrible gut problems. I’ve    seen fecal transplants actually transform kids. When you have C­section rates, now it’s

one in three, you have lack of breastfeeding, you have early use of antibiotics, all  these things affect these kids. This has been an epidemic, this collection of factors from genes to breastfeeding, lack of breastfeeding, C­sections, antibiotic use, the change in our food supply, to increasing environmental toxins. This has collectively  just burdened these kids to such a point where they can’t actually run their normal metabolism and their brains are affected by these changes in their body. They can be improved. They can be dramatically improved.

Marc: It’s all the factors that you just mentioned, talking about food, talking about how we do childbirth, talking about environment, it seems like we’re going back to the future, meaning back to what my grandparents did. They were eating real food from real fruits and vegetables, real animals running around a real farm. It was a different time. All my grandparents lived into their late eighties, nineties. One of my grandparents almost made it to 100. My parents died before they hit 60.

It just feels like our world has become more challenging. Our food supply has become more toxic to the human body. It seems like we’re living in a time when we’re looking   in the mirror and going, okay, time to turn it around.

Mark: Absolutely. It’s funny. I was just downstairs going through some of my books on my shelf, and I pulled out a book that I had from 1979 that I read. I was going through all  my notes in and things I’d underlined, called The Soil and Health by Sir Albert Howard, who’s the father of organic agriculture. He wrote it in the ‘30s, on how we’re depleting our soils, we’re really eroding our health through the erosion of our agricultural system.   I think those are two connected things.

So I’m excited about these conversations that are happening. I think there’s a rethinking. I’m going next week to this global food summit, where we’re talking about the nexus between hunger and obesity and agriculture and how we grow our food. All these foods are connected to the environment. So it’s a conversation that’s starting to happen.

I think I heard Bill Clinton talk about, he says when he talks to these leading companies he’s like, you don’t really want to make kids sick, do you? You don’t wake up in the morning and go, how am I going to do this? But you want to do the right thing. You’re stuck in the situation you’re in. So how can you make changes that actually start to move that along?

I think some things will be hard. Listen, you’ve got a company like Pepsi. It’s $100 billion company. I think every day three billion people in the world have a Pepsi product. It’s a crazy thing, and it’s a monster. They’re trying to think about shifting. I’m optimistic. I think there’s still a long way to go and there’s still a lot of nonsense that’s happening.

We might have to wait until we start to get money out of politics. Maybe we’ll overturn Citizens United after the next president and we get a new Supreme Court. Or maybe  we can end the money in politics because it will show up so dirty one day with the  super packs that are polluting our political environment. Somebody will get caught with their pants down and the shit will hit the fan, and we’ll have to have some massive change in our restructuring and funding of politics.

Wouldn’t it be great to have publically funded political campaigns where people, you pay a dollar for every person in the country for their tax, or two dollars or ten dollars out of your taxes every year, and that’s what funds the political campaigns. We can’t continue to do it the way we do it.

Marc: Clearly. We’ve talked about food. We’ve talked about environment a little bit. For you, and maybe this is a more personal question, what heals? What else heals? Normally we think of food and vitamins and my surgery, maybe that’s going to heal me.

Mark: For me?

Marc: Yes.

Mark: For me it’s just nature, mountains, nature. I just got back from being up in Montana in the wilderness, and it’s like I just feel completely restored when I go there. So mountains and wilderness and wild is my medicine.

Marc: Yay! Anything else? What else heals for you?

Mark: You know, love. Love is the best medicine.

Marc: Right.

Mark: Yeah.

Marc: I sometimes think that if all the food companies and all the hospitals were running on a little more love, the actual strategies that we do and the foods we produce would be very different. If the heart was guiding us as much as the head was guiding us, there’s  a whole different intelligence I think that lives here and that lives here.

Mark: Yeah. I would say the future of health is love plus food, equals health.

Marc: I love it. Good for you. Good for us. Mark, I’m thrilled to have this conversation with you, thrilled to spend time together with you. How can people stay in touch with you and your world, learn more about what you’re up to? What should we know?

Mark: Absolutely. They can go to It’s a great source for all sorts of programs we’re doing, detox challenges, all sorts of community support and programs that help people learn about self­health and empowering themselves with the tools they need to actually transform their lives. There’s no lack of resources on there.

Marc: That’s very true.

Mark: They can get me on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Marc: You’re doing some absolutely amazing work and really leading the charge. I’m so thrilled you’re doing what you’re doing. I’m thrilled that you’re doing it so well. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Mark: Thank you, Marc. Thank you.

Marc: Thanks everybody, for tuning in. I really appreciate your time and effort. I’ve been with Dr. Mark Hyman, that’s Lots more to come, my friends, in the Future of Healing Online Conference. Take care. Thanks, Mark.

Interview with Marc David and Dr. Mark Hyman

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