Podcast

Ep 112. Can our diet make us happier? With Dr Rupy Aujla

June 29, 2020

As you may already know I always enjoy having doctor’s on the podcast. I think you are going to enjoy this as much as I did speaking with him. Also a Sunday Times bestselling author, Dr. Rupy had two cookbooks published by Harper Collins – “The Doctor’s Kitchen” and “Eat to Beat Illness” and often appears […]

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As you may already know I always enjoy having doctor’s on the podcast. I think you are going to enjoy this as much as I did speaking with him.

Also a Sunday Times bestselling author, Dr. Rupy had two cookbooks published by Harper Collins – “The Doctor’s Kitchen” and “Eat to Beat Illness” and often appears on BBC and ITV and is an accomplished TEDx speaker – you can view Dr Rupy’s talk here.

In addition, he is the founding director of Culinary Medicine, a non-profit organisation which aims to teach doctors and medical students the foundations of nutrition, as well as teaching them how to cook. 
In his role as clinical adviser to the Royal College of GP’s and more recently being accepted as a fellow on the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme, Dr Rupy has big aspirations to bring this concept to the profession globally

We chat about:

  • The controversial aspects of talking about diet and illness (and one topic that makes Rupy angry!)
  • Can what we eat really make us happier? 
  • Rupy shares how he looks after his mental health and what he’s struggling with right now

Dr Rupy Aujla, MBBS,BSc, MRCGP,  is an NHS GP working in Emergency Medicine and completing a Masters in Nutritional Medicine. He is the founder of ‘The Doctor’s Kitchen’, which strives to inspire and educate everybody about the beauty of food, diet and medicinal effects of eating well. Can our diet make us happier?

Transcript

Chloe Brotheridge  Hello, and welcome to the Calmer You podcast. This is your host, Chloe Brotheridge. I’m a coach, a hypnotherapist, and I’m the author of The Anxiety Solution, and Brave New Girl. And this podcast is all about helping you to become your calmest, happiest and most confident self.

On today’s episode

Thank you so much for joining me. Today I am joined by the wonderful Dr. Rupy Aujla, AKA the Doctor’s Kitchen. We get into a lot of different topics in this conversation. We start off talking about the controversial aspects of talking about diet and illness. I have really noticed a lot of Twitter arguments going on about what you can and can’t say.

What is diet misinformation, what is truth when it comes to how much of our diet affects our health, our mental health, and our physical health? We just dig into this and it’s something that you can tell Rupy’s really passionate about.

We talk about whether what we eat can actually make us happier. I felt really inspired after what Rupy shared. I love hearing about the scientific side of things. There are different studies that have been done in this area. It really did inspire me to look at my own diet and make some changes.

He also shares about how he looks after his own mental health and the things that he is struggling with right now and how he’s overcoming those.

Free resources

If you love this episode, let me know on Instagram come on over and find me at Chloe Brotheridge I also just want to invite you if you haven’t already to come and visit me at my website www.calmer-youcom/free. I’ve got loads of free resources for you. Hypnotherapy recordings, affirmations, worksheets. Things to set you on a path for becoming your Calmest Self.

Welcome Dr. Rupy

Let’s get into the interview with Dr. Rupy of the Doctors Kitchen. Thank you so much for joining me today. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say today. Can you hare a bit about you, what you do, and how you got to where you are today?

Rupy  Sure. Thank you so much for inviting me along. We’ve met a couple of times before and it’s good to be able to have a full-on conversation with you. I’m a medical doctor for about 11 years now. A General Practitioner but I tend to work in A&E. I started The Doctor’s Kitchen about five years ago. Where I create recipes and talk about the clinical benefits of diet, food and ingredients.

Atrial fibrillation

Expect an evidence-based approach to eating well and feeling better in yourself. My story sort of started over 10 years ago, when I became a doctor. I got ill myself. So I used to suffer from something called atrial fibrillation, where your heartbeats exceptionally fast and irregularly. What I thought was going to be a one-off episode that occurred to me whilst I was working on a shift, actually was the start of continual episodes. My heart would go up to 200 beats per minute to three times a week and be there anywhere between 12 and 36 hours. That was the start of my patient journey as well as my clinical profession.

Deep dive into nutrition

Over the next couple of years, I saw multiple cardiologists, I saw lots of medical colleagues, I got loads of advice. I was going to have a procedure called ablation which is where you put a wire into the heart and you’ve got an area to stop the misfire. It was my mum and my family suggested, that I need to look at my diet, my lifestyle. It was otherwise fine, you know, just eating a normal ‘diet’ with sandwiches in the canteen and cereal for breakfast or whatever. And it was me taking a methodical approach to healthy eating. I actually did a deep dive into the literature that actually led me to understand a lot more about nutrition and ultimately overcome my condition as well.

Since then, I’ve just been having more open honest conversations with patients. That led to the idea of The Doctor’s Kitchen. I didn’t muster the confidence or the courage to talk about food as medicine until a lot later.

diet

Culinary Medicine

I’ve written a couple of books, run a podcast like yourself and I started a nonprofit called Culinary Medicine. That is where we teach medical students the foundations of nutrition as well as how to cook. We’re at Bristol and UCL medical schools at the moment with a view to getting this as part of everyone’s compulsory medical curricula.

I’m also in the process of developing a digital platform that helps you do your shopping with online grocers delivering the goods to your door and allowing you to cook doctor’s kitchen meals every day, every week with a view to supporting specific health conditions as well.

The value of nutritional medicine

Chloe Brotheridge  That sounds amazing. I notice a lot of people on Twitter having polarised discussions with people saying you cannot recommend someone to eat a certain way or diet that’s gonna protect their immune system, or you cannot say this or that. What are your thoughts on that? And how did you find the courage to speak about these things?

Rupy  Yeah, I think it’s a mixture of my anecdotal experience, as well as my anecdotes from clinical experience. Supported with decades of research that really demonstrate the value of nutritional medicine and diet. I think people like to be angry for being angry sake. There’s a lot of rage across social media. I think we’ve become this highly politicised community that don’t really appreciate other people’s views and take their own views or what they’ve heard as gospel.

Food as medicine

When I talk about food and diet as medicine, my understanding and my belief in this and it’s not really a belief, I think it’s just, it’s what it is. Medicine is the use of substances and interventions to prevent and treat ill health. If you were to regard medicine as just the prescription of medications and the performance of surgical interventions. It’s a hugely naive and simplistic way of looking at what I do and what my colleagues do up and down the country every day.

You know, the simple act of me having a conversation is medicine, the simple act of me, encouraging someone to go for a walk every single day is medicine. And the simple act of me suggesting that someone should improve their diet is medicine because you’re changing the very foundations of our complex biochemistry that promote health and prevent illness. Every aspect of my books have really tried to not overuse and sensationalise food as medicine. But really bring attention to a clinical tool that has largely been ignored. across my profession for decades.

Don’t find out the hard way

I had to find out the hard way, and I think a lot of other people have had to find out the hard way. What I believe we need to do is democratise this information and give people a lot more control and empower them to make these diet decisions themselves.

Chloe Brotheridge  I studied nutrition at university. And we were often told, you know, doctors or doctors are only given 20 minutes of nutritional diet information in their training. Even when I was training, I did a module about food and cancer. That was quite a kind of controversial thing, I think. And we were often talking about healthy eating advice. There’s still things like oh, swap a normal coke for a diet coke and that sort of thing. Does that miss out a lot of this scope that there is this work do you think?

Rupy  I think it’s basic. And it’s under the pretence that we shouldn’t give people false hope. Otherwise we might upset them. I think that’s wholly patronising. I think it’s rude. You know, someone said to me, you might improve, if you improve your diet, your symptoms might go away, but I don’t really have much evidence for that.

But if you want to try it, go for it. I’d be a lot happier with that than saying, well, I’m going to protect this person’s psychology by not recommending something that may have an impact. I have the autonomy to do so. I think that’s the right thing to do, and I think that’s really paternalistic.

Why was I not taught this

You can tell from my voice it, there’s not very many things that anger me, but that really does. I just find it so so patronising. I’m currently completing a Master’s in Nutritional Medicine. COVID has put a spanner in the works for my project. I’m mixing it with everything I do in the Doctor’s Kitchen. But everything I learned about during my Master’s Course, and is split across different modules, looking at brain health, diet, and gut health, there ware even topics on pediatric nutrition, etc. Why was I not taught this?

Making it mainstream

It’s just not fair to not have the basics taught to people that. I will see 10s of thousands of patients. And this is why I think you know, it’s less about me and everyone else giving information but it’s about encouraging a culture that encourages people to take proactive measures about their diet. To look out for unhealthy eating food and every other tool that we have. All the other lifestyle features and just make it the norm. So when I talk about food as medicine or nutritional medicine or whatever the vernacular you want to use, it’s really about making it a mainstream, recognisable concept. That distinguishes itself from the overt and central sensationalised charlatans out there that have used similar terminology to sell an alkaline pill or, you know, a green powder or whatever, you know, insert substance that will radically improve your health.

The patient’s experience

I think you know, we need to talk about this a lot in a lot more sort of open fashion. I’ll be honest, like we in the UK are really far behind this, like the Americans have got diet and calorie medicine as part of almost 50% of their medical education. Sorry, 50% of medical schools have a chronic medicine programme. And a lot of the research coming out there is really looking at how we can use food as an adjunct tool as well, alongside a treatment so it’s not either or, it’s and. I think people who are outraged by whatever it might be, just need to have a little bit of a wider perspective and, and really look toward the patient experience rather than what their interpretation of patients experiences might be.

Chloe Brotheridge  That’s so interesting. I think we need to distinguish between the evidence-based advice and the kind of snake oil related to our diet. Like turmeric gummy that’s gonna cure your cancer, whatever it is. But I’ve been reading a lot about when we’re anxious or scared or stressed, our brains are much more likely to think in terms of black and white, because we need to be able to make quick decisions. Yet if we’re thinking in black and white, that’s not very helpful for life because everything is nuanced and more complicated than just kind of these two binaries. If we are calmer when we’re considering these things, then we can be more rational about them anyway.

Rethinking a diagnosis

Rupy  Yeah, I think we have a propensity towards binary opinions and binary behaviours. And I try and, you know, rationalise, even myself, you know, the objective and the characteristic of a good scientist As someone who comes up with a hypothesis and tries to disprove it themselves. So constantly I’m encouraging myself to instead of looking at, let’s say, inflammatory bowel disease instead of looking at an autoimmune protocol.

Pragmatic approach

Maybe that can have some benefit to a patient. A hypothesis should be an autoimmune protocol diet improves IBD symptoms over a 12 week period. Let’s disprove that. Unfortunately, because of a number of issues within which are distinct to the nutritional world, there isn’t enough evidence to refute or prove. There is a difference in ideology and how people choose different sides. That leaves to sort of like idealistic views of what we should be saying to patients and what we should be initially referring.

I like to take a pragmatic approach. Proving a diet is most likely going to lead to benefits as proved across different scenarios. So even if it doesn’t improve that particular aspect of your conditions or your symptoms, you’re most likely gonna be looking after lots of other things simultaneously. Yeah, so there are a lot of nuances to nutrition. As I’ve discovered over the last five years, it’s one of those tricky scientific topics to navigate particularly publicly.

Chloe Brotheridge  What advice do you give people? What other interesting things do make a difference, you know, in your opinion to our health?

Principles

Rupy  I try and simplify it into principles rather than giving people dogmatic dietary advice. That isn’t to say that a low carb diet, a vegan diet, paleo diet, ketogenic diet might be appropriate and might be effective in a therapeutic way for some people. But majority of us just need to think about principles of healthy eating, and as eating colours, quality fats, lots of fibre, mostly plants.

This is what I’m trying to do with the next book. I think you know, I love talking about diet, genetics and the microbiota and you know, polyphenols and phytonutrients, and all these different things that have an incredible impact on multiple different pathways, not in our human physiology.

Making healthy eating something that we all do

I think people need more advice about how to make that habit stick, and actually how to make healthy eating just something that we all do. That the next book I’m writing at moment is called Three Two One. It’s three portions of fruit and vegetables per person, two servings per recipe using one pan. It’s streamlining recipes to make it just something that we’re able to do every single day. Three portions is really what we need to aim for in our diet.

Three Two One

When people initially heard about the Imperial College research that came out that stated we need about 800 grams of different fruits and vegetables every single day for optimal health. It sounds wholly unrealistic. That that is 10 portions of fruit vegetables per day. That’s why I thought, well, let’s break it down into different meals and how you’re actually able to do this. It can be quite simple.

Add one more fruit or veg at mealtime

If you put in place a structure that can make it easier for people to do on a daily basis. If there was one thing I would say to people, it’s don’t worry about calories or macronutrient proportions. Just think about adding fruits and vegetables to your plate. And, and the TED talk that I did for beginners says to add one more every mealtime, just one more fruit, vegetable nuts or seeds every mealtime. That over the long term, the combination of all those different habit changes and those additions to your diet can be super game-changing for a lot of people. It’s certainly the way I took it. When I think back to it 10 years ago when I started eating better, I started to add inn things to my diet, rather than just focusing rather than restricting myself.

Chloe Brotheridge  I think that’s such a healthier mindset. To think about what we can add rather than taking away and having principles rather than dogma.

Opportunity and costs

Rupy  Exactly. I like thinking of things in terms of opportunity and cost. What is the opportunity/cost of having a load of fries, which I indulge in every now and then. I try to promote that across my social media because it just gives a layer of normality to know everyone’s eating habits. But you know, if you’re going to be having that all the time, then the opportunity costs. Well, you’re not going to want to have your variety of different colours and vegetables and the rest of it. And so, you know, just thinking about it in that way. I’m gonna have a lot of this stuff and I can have less of the other stuff. Or maybe I won’t even feel like having the fries or the donuts or whatever.

I think we’ve put too much emphasis traditionally, historically on restriction and low fat this and low carb that. We just need to pick the fruit and veg to eat more of that will naturally replace the other stuff.

Chloe Brotheridge  Do you think that what we eat can help us to be happier?

Happier by healthy food

Rupy  Yes, I do. Happiness as it pertains to mood as it pertains to the spectrum of different mental health issues that we have. I want to say we all have mental health issues. Some days we feel low. Sometimes we feel happy or sometimes we undulate between those different emotions. The degree and the spectrum by which people experience those different things is very, very wide.

Food and mental health

On one end of the scale it is subclinical, where I feel low, I feel tired, I feel fatigued, I feel apathetic. But it doesn’t disrupt my daily ability to go out and engage. On the other end of the scale, the more extreme end of the scale, there requires pharmaceuticals, hospitalisation, psychotherapy, you know, a whole bunch of different issues that we need.

We are all along that spectrum. What’s going on right now with a pandemic. We’re all in this together. We all experienced this and we can in some ways, change ourselves along that spectrum. I think discussing eating for mental health issues has the same complexity. And I take it with the same trepidation as talking about food in the ecology field, because it’s highly emotive. It can spark reactions.

Underlying everything that I put in is an evidence-base and underlying it. I really want people to be aware of potential tools that can help them. It will serve us better as a as a community. To answer your question, can we eat to be happy or improve our mood? Absolutely, yes, we can. That isn’t to say that’s a silver bullet and it’s, you know, negating all the other interventions that we have like psychotherapy. engaging with people or uplifting and trying to heal past traumas, you know by by having more long form conversations without distractions, improving sleep, etc.

Improving our microbiota

Food is particularly unique in that it changes so many different variables for us. So the way I look about food, and I had to preface everything I say, because I don’t want to just say, Oh, just, you know, eat some beans and you’ll feel better. So, food can can impact our microbiota, this population of microbes that live in your own body, and improving that population leads to benefits in a number of ways.

Plants, fibre, colour

The way you improve it is, like I said, principles of healthy eating lots of plants, lots of different fibres, colour, variety, etc. Quality fats. By improving that microbiota, they perform their function a lot better. And their function are as immune modulators as bonuses of inflammation. Also as producers of different types of amino acids and neurotransmitters that can impact the brain and direct and indirect mechanisms.

Our brains are not alone

Inflammation modulation, we used to think of our brains as completely distinct from the rest of our body. We now know that that’s not entirely true. Inflammation particles can cross the blood-brain barrier and cause localised inflammation that can lead to brain defects and mood disturbances.

We know that our immune system is potently modulated by our gut microbiota that can be supported with all the different foods that I mentioned. Also, there’s this stat and swings between 60% and 90%, depending on which article you’re reading, about the amount of serotonin that’s produced in your gut. The serotonin in your gut that’s produced along with a whole bunch of other neurotransmitters can directly impact your brain and there are potential mechanisms behind.

Vagus Nerve

Rupy: Also indirectly by the autonomic nervous system. Your vagus nerve that communicates with your brain by saying everything in your gut is absolutely fine don’t worry about it. That leads to calming sensations in your brain as well that can ease mental anxiety and ease depression. There’s been some small scale research looking at the impact of diet where they actually put a small number of patients on dietary changes for about 12 weeks.

Exploring diet

Rupy: In some cases, people actually came off medications, but the vast majority of them a significant proportion of them actually reduced their mental health symptoms, which is, for me, absolutely incredible. You look at the suite of different pharmaceuticals that we have. And the efficacy of those is actually quite low. It isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be introducing them or people should be taking them. But if there are things that could potentially help, even in a small way, we need to explore that.

This whole umbrella term of nutritional psychiatry is definitely garnering a lot of interest amongst conventional traditionally trained psychiatrists. They are really spearheading this. Food as medicine movement in the US as well, which is very, very encouraging to hear about.

We all eat poorly from time to time

I think so. I think most people even if they don’t have a diagnosis of anything, or they don’t feel like they have a mental issue, will appreciate that. If you eat poorly for a few days on the trot, you’re not gonna feel great in yourself, either. And I think, you know, we’ve all done that. I do that every now and then.

Chloe Brotheridge  I’m so glad you said that and feel very motivated now to really improve what I’m doing. Aat the beginning of lockdown, I got well into cooking and I was cooking different things every day.

Motivating!

We all just want to be happy really at the end of the day and knowing that by improving our diets, we can potentially you know, improve our mental state, I think that’s the most motivating thing.

Getting confident in the kitchen

Lockdown led to this huge flourish of people baking stuff, which is great because I think the first thing people need to learn, it’s not necessarily like healthy eating. It’s not necessarily like if they cook in a certain way, it’s just learning how to cook and becoming a lot more kitchen confident because you can utilise those new skills and apply it to whatever way of eating that you want.

Obviously, I’d want to encourage people to eat well, but you know, I actually love seeing people making banana bread and sourdough and all this stuff is great. It’s great to see and hopefully coming out of this lockdown period, we can encourage a more productive population or more in tune with self-care, family connection and food. And it’s, it’s it’s happiness. It’s just the joy of being with people.

Chloe Brotheridge  

Yeah, absolutely. It is so much about confidence when it comes to cooking, just believing that you can. Sometimes I find myself doing this. I feel like I don’t believe I’ll be able to follow a recipe or something. And then I do it. And I’m like, yes, actually, I can. I can need to remember this. Yeah, I was really interested to hear about what you do personally to support your own mental health.

Mental health and pets

Rupy  

I’ve got a puppy now. Which is the best thing ever. Yeah, he’s fallen asleep right next to me. She’s so cute. Apart from eating well. I think I have a super healthy diet generally like I’m that person that will, you know, go to a restaurant and purposely order a couple of the sides of asparagus or spinach or whatever just to supplement my meal because I always crave quality greens.

Caffeine free days

A couple of things I do to improve my mental health, I have some coffee-free days, because I know excess coffee actually makes me a bit anxious. I’m quite sensitive to caffeine. He says as he drinks a coffee and so I have caffeine-free days that improve the tolerability and actually mitigate against poor sleep. So definitely do that.

Tracking our sleep

The other thing I do, definitely making more of an effort with is my sleep. I’m tracking my sleep and I have done that for the last couple of years now. It’s incredible insights. It can give you wearables not for everyone because I think it can, again, almost on par with calorie counting, it can get a little bit overwhelming for people. And for me, I find it exceptionally motivating.

It’s that gamification of my sleep that’s actually kept me on the straight and narrow. So I try and improve my sleep using tracking technology.

Breathwork

The other thing I do is breathwork and meditation and I don’t do it enough. I was meant to do it this morning and I got distracted with the puppy and had this podcast to do.

Social media and news diet / fast

And the fourth thing and the wildcard is on social media fasting. Try not to look at the news. Try not to follow toxic people. I’m very good at not engaging in debates online. I generally, you know, even if someone says a snarky comment or anything like that, I thank them. I appreciate them. And I let it go. I think that whole process of letting go even in a simple way is not replying to a comment or replying in a very civilised, overly kind way, is something that hopefully trickles down into my general life and how I react. Yeah, I think I’ve definitely become a little bit calmer in that respect in terms of my reaction to things that annoyed me.

Chloe Brotheridge  That’s such a good thing to do. An emotional response can actually just make you feel worse or it can escalate things. And actually, the best thing to do is just take the higher ground and reply really nicely, and then just let it go. Best for everyone involved, I think,

Letting go

Rupy  I think you should be doing that. You’re right. It’s part of like that meditation practice. It’s like recognising how you feel in that moment. And accepting it and then letting it go. And it sounds very simple to do and reality is exceptionally hard. Particularly when it’s happened a number of different occasions where someone insults or questions, your professional authority, someone questions, your life’s work, essentially someone questions, something you’ve been practising day in, day out for 15 years. Your core has been antagonised or criticised, it’s very obvious and very acceptable and understandable to feel some anger, some rage, feel hurt, feel vulnerable, embarrassed, etc.

The practice that I’m trying to entertain on a daily basis is understand that and you’re allowed to feel that. That’s absolutely fine. It’s okay to feel that. But then just let it go. Recognise the rage, recognise the anger and then let it go as far as you can. Hopefully that comes out in you know, social interactions thereafter, or in any context.

Chloe Brotheridge  Yeah, and I’m sure that’s relevant for people listening as well. I think particularly now. My Facebook feed is obviously different from others but mine is extremely polarised with all sorts of things about conspiracies and vaccine vegans and nonvegans. It’s like quite an overwhelming place. If you have a certain view, then there’s going to be people that disagree with you. So try not to get kind of caught up in it and trying to be kind and the way that you’re responding rather than unkind.

Don’t engage with toxicity

Rupy  Totally I mean, social media is designed to reflect the weaknesses. I think where you choose to spend that will dictate the landscape and the virtual environment, but also your physical environment going forward. And so what I like to remind people of is the toxicity that you engage in, whether it’s the president of a particular country, or whether it’s someone you disagree with, because of your idea about what people should be eating fuels, a negative landscape that I think we should be more aware of, and we should take more control. We should be dictating to people what they should be doing. It’s up to them at the end of the day.

I mean, if I went on a rant, let’s say, if I was to go on my social media and I was to rant about the conspiracies about pandemic or anti-vaxers need to get off their high horse or anything like this, I’m sure it would generate so many comments, both positive and negative, so many nights over.

If I’m that person that needs to get more and more followers because, again, that’s been sold to us. Fortunately, I feel like I’ve got a little bit more insight. I’ve been on this platform for so long, I know not to engage in that kind of behavior. It’s not good for anyone and the whole purpose and the whole reason why I started this project is to help people live healthier, happier lives.

Don’t give power to the unkind

Chloe Brotheridge  Katie Hopkins is not a very nice person to put it mildly. But I suppose she is deliberately being divisive because that’s why she has a job.

Rupy  I don’t particularly like anything she puts out nor do I don’t follow, comment or ‘like’ her. The people who play the game properly, are now in positions of power. And we sit around asking ourselves, how and why that was allowed to happen. Because you engaged in it, and you added fire to that you added fuel to the fire. It’s helpful to go on a social media diet.

Attention is currency

The reason why there are certain people who are on pedestals like the person you mentioned, like presidents of certain countries, etc, is because we’ve spent our currency on them, and that currency is our attention. It’s our comments. Hopefully, we can exercise some restraint, because that’s essentially what is going on. In today’s day and age, we have to wake up and realise that our reality is, you know, it’s a lot more fragile and it’s a lot more moldable with our engagements.

Chloe Brotheridge  I think we do need to be careful where we put our attention.

Rupy  I love that where you put your mind you put your energy,

Chloe Brotheridge  I think it might actually be where the mind goes energy follows where the mind goes energy follows.

Rupy  It reminds me of a Bruce Lee quote, he must have got it from some of those ancient teachings as well. About you know, your energy flows.

External factors can’t change your reality

I was having a conversation with someone the other day. He is a sports psychologist. He’s worked with Premiership footballers and all the rest of it. And he told me, you know, one of the most important things people need to realise is that external factors can’t change your psychology. External factors can’t change your psychology, you change your psychology, you change your mindset. So many ways to do this including diet.

If something angers you, you have the choice to let it anger you or not let it anger you and you are that filtration you are that barrier right there. The more control we have over our internal reactions, we shape our external environment. AIt’s easy a lot easier said than done, but I think that’s quite eye opening. And it’s definitely been eye opening for me. It’s definitely been something that I’ve tried to put into practice. A social media diet is helpful.

Chloe Brotheridge  Yeah, so interesting. AIs there anything that you are struggling with at the moment? How you do you handle it?

Lockdown

Rupy  I’m struggling with my puppy at the moment, but I’ve never looked after a baby. She definitely needs a lot of attention. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been a lot more irritable with the lockdown situation. I’ve actually realised that I’m quite introverted. In a weird sadistic way I quite like lockdown. The reason why is because I tend not to go out on the weekends anymore. I tend to like being inside and working on my computer, and yada yada and the knowledge that no one else is doing anything.

FOMO I found that quite excessively. But I think that speaks to one of the things that I am struggling with. And it’s working too much. Pre lockdown, I have a general guide with myself not to work after 6pm and forget about work afterwards. But because of my increased clinical pressures and writing a third book at the same time as finishing off my Masters as trying to start this digital product, a lot of things were getting on top of me, and I thought the way out of that was to work my way through it. That has led to you know, disagreements with people I love. Also issues like attention, all that kind of stuff.

It comes down to self-discipline. So I think that’s definitely something I’ve been struggling with over the past couple of months. I’ve struggled with mindset motivation, and I generally keep to a healthy lifestyle. So I think it’s that deeper psychology stuff. Whereas I guess for a lot of other people, you know, it’s habit formation. It’s making sure that they’re keeping their physical bodies and diet well, within an idea of, you know, getting down to the root of how their psychology improves, as well. So, yeah, I think those are the things that I’m struggling with at the moment.

Overworking in lockdown

Chloe Brotheridge  Thank you for sharing that. I think a lot of people can relate to that in terms of introverts being kind of glad that they don’t have to go out.

I suppose most everyone is working at home. Then there’s no off point, you don’t kind of have a 5:30pm or 6pm kind of go home. The day it’s much more fluid so work can just continue off into the evening. Often our body shows us when we’re overworking.

Rupy  I’m also struggling with the thought that for many people things are pretty shit right now and appreciate that not everyone can have that eternal optimism that I seem to have. I practice gratitude. I’m a very positive minded person anyway with a healthy diet. That’s just because of my upbringing because of my position in work. Though, things can be worse for other people.

But I think sometimes, if you constantly portray a positive image on what is a less than desirable situation, you risk trying to cloud it and sugarcoat your situation for the sake of being positive. That’s something I need to work on going forward as well. That isn’t to say that, you know, we shouldn’t have a positive mindset, I think, you know, there’s a balance to strike there. I mean, everything was coming down to balance and homeostasis and equilibrium.

The middle way

This is why I’m fascinated by those ancient concepts of, you know, just the middle way, the middle path, not being happy, not being sad. Just being in an ebb and flow. Accepting that everything changes, happy moments change to sad moments, moments change to have a purpose, etc. Everything ebbs and flows with the transition of life.

Chloe Brotheridge  Yeah, I think I suppose accepting the the quote unquote negative feelings helps us to process them. I know from lots of people that I speak to that there can be this pressure to be positive. Subsequently, everything is a positive meme on Instagram and you know, hashtag positive vibes and we don’t allow ourselves to feel things or we stay so busy that way we block out the negative feelings. A healthy option is giving permission to feel them and let them move through means that a better experience overall because that stuff will come up to bite us if we suppress it.

Rupy  Yeah, exactly. Exactly. You’re right. It’s like that. I don’t feel like I suppress things if I’m honest. By constantly portraying a positive perspective on things, I’m at risk of suppressing true feelings.

Chloe Brotheridge  The answer to everything is it’s complicated. It’s always shades of grey and nuance.

Where to find Dr Rupy

Thank you so much for everything you’ve said. I’ve loved this conversation. Many of us are very interested in our diet.And where can people find out more about you? When is your new book out? And yeah, what else are you offering?

Rupy  The new book is not out for a while. You can pre order it on Amazon, but it’s not available until January 2021. The book is called the 321 diet portions of fruit vegetables proportion, two servings per recipe using one pan. It helps to make healthy eating a habit and just something that we do every day.

The Doctors Kichen is really where people can find out about my books and I publish two new recipes on the newsletter every single week. The podcast is is where we interview people talking largely about nutrition and nutritional medicines and discipline.

The Doctor’s Kitchen Website

Book: The Doctor’s Kitchen

Book: Eat to Beat Illness 

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Chloe Brotheridge  You have been listening to the Calmer You podcast with me Chloe Brotheridge.

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