Welcome back gang! This week’s guest is Mazen Baisa. Mazen is the founder of YOUMAXA which are different programs that help supercharge your body, mind and energy. These programs and tools help boost your energy throughout your day no matter how busy you get. If you’ve been struggling with low energy and don’t know why this episode is for you. Enjoy!
Video Version: https://youtu.be/VjtMfArHvlU
Learn more about YOUMAXA – https://www.youmaxa.com/
Chantel Ray: Hey Guys, welcome to this week’s episode. And I’m so excited for today’s guest, it’s Mazen Baisa and I met him at the Leadership Summit, not the Leadership, but the Mindshare Summit in San Diego a few weeks ago. And Mazen is the founder of YOUMAXA, which is so cool because he has different programs that super charge your body, your mind, your energy. And who isn’t looking for more energy right now? So welcome, Mazen. How are you?
Mazen Baisa: I am doing very well, Chantel. Thank you so much and I’m glad to be with you today.
Chantel Ray: So talk about YOUMAXA for just a little bit. What do you offer and how does it help people?
Mazen Baisa: Yes. YOUMAXA is all about maximizing productivity and performance through healthy habits. Because unfortunately sometimes what we do in the way we’re trying to make our success and trying to be successful, we kind of end up trading our wealth making for our health. YOUMAXA’s about making sure that that doesn’t happen, and that as we’re building wealth, as we’re trying to be more successful and as we’re actually trying to do great things in the world, that we respect the fact that we need to be healthy to do all that and it’s a foundation that we need to have. And we do that through developing healthy habits that are doable, practical and sustainable.
Chantel Ray: Awesome. Now I know before the show we were talking about intermittent fasting, and you do practice intermittent fasting a little. Tell us about that and how has it helped you?
Mazen Baisa: Yes. I really think it’s a fascinating topic. Intermittent fasting is one of the areas that is obviously growing a lot in popularity for a lot of people and the benefits that it offers, but the amazing part for it is, for me as a pharmacist and kind of I say, geeky guy in science, I love the science that is coming about intermittent fasting and the tremendous benefits that it actually provides for the body, for the brain, and for longevity. For me, personally, I’ve been doing this before probably this became a big topic… Which is kind of the basic practices that I was doing and I like actually doing intermittent fasting in different seasons differently.
Mazen Baisa: So for example, in some days I would do… In most of my days, I do the 16-8, kind of restricted window intermittent fasting. There’s also an interesting part I’ve learned about that too. A lot of people sometimes feel like the best thing to do, they skip breakfast. Or they may not each lunch and they will eat a heavy dinner. But the data’s actually showing now when we do these kind of time restricted feeding practices, it’s actually best to avoid the heavy meal in the evening and more really actually try to do and eat during the beginning of the day and midday. Because our circadian rhythm just has how our brain has a clock that helps with rhythmicity and helping us with sleep and waking up in the morning.
Mazen Baisa: Like there’s different genes in our pancreas, in our stomach, in our kidneys, and our livers, called clock genes. And these clock genes, they actually work better if we provide food earlier in the day and actually reduce the food intake in the evening.
Chantel Ray: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-
Mazen Baisa: So one of the things basically that I think a lot of people get wrong with intermittent fasting and they may not see any results or become harder for them to do it is that they may feel like, “Oh, great, I want to skip breakfast.” And when I say breakfast here, I don’t mean you have to wait to eat as soon as you wake up, but I’m saying the first meal, right?
Chantel Ray: Right.
Mazen Baisa: Breaking the fast. It’s interesting research right now coming on about the importance of actually following the circadian rhythms when it comes to intermittent fasting because we have these clock genes in every, in most organs in the body, and to optimize the benefit it’s best to not eat much at night and actually eat more towards the beginning and the mid of the day, so… So that’s kind of part of what I do. I try to do mostly the time restricted window and then some seasons I will actually do prolonged fast for a day or two, depending on what’s going on in my life.
Chantel Ray: Awesome. So, you know, it’s funny. I feel like a lot of people are moving to talking about intermittent fasting and changing it to calling it time restricted eating. I was talking, I had a one on one conversation with Dr. Mercola when we were at the summit.
Mazen Baisa: Yeah.
Chantel Ray: I kept saying something about intermittent fasting. He said, “I really prefer calling it time restricted eating.” And so when he said that, so now I’ve started calling it a little bit more on the time restricted eating. Now, let’s-
Mazen Baisa: Yeah, yeah. Good point. Because it really is… The concept of intermittent fasting is very broad, and as you know, there’s different practices, there’s different kind of modalities for intermittent fasting. But what most people are practicing is really time restricted feeding. They’re not truly doing full day fasting or they’re not doing kind of prolonged fasting, so, yeah.
Chantel Ray: Yes, and the other thing is I think it’s really important for you to listen to your body, and listen to when you happen to be hungry. So like for me, in the morning, I’ve kind of changed how I eat, but different times for me around 1:00, that’s when I really start getting hungry and I don’t like to eat late at night, but my perfect kind of hours for me to eat are usually in a four to five hour window, so I like to eat… I like to eat a bigger lunch and I like to eat a very small dinner. So I like to eat around 1:00. Around 5:30, we eat an early dinner. I’m not that hungry, but I might be a little bit hungry so I like to have a large meal at lunch and then a small something at dinner. And those are the two times, so that usually works for me. That’s when my body responds best to food and I think people need to listen to their body and say, “When is it that I’m hungry? What works for me?”
Mazen Baisa: I totally agree with you. There’s one thing that, one of the phrases I use a lot, I say the body is your best reporter. And a lot of time we don’t listen to the best reporter, which is our body and what it’s telling us, although it’s amazing that our body… You know how we have IQ, right? When it comes to the smartness and all that. In the business world, they say EQ, right? The emotional intelligence. But one of the best intelligences we have available to each one of us every day and we have it within us. We don’t even need to read much about it or buy anything for it. It’s really the body intelligence. BQ, we’ll call it, right?
Chantel Ray: Yeah. That’s awesome.
Mazen Baisa: And if we listen and start to understand more about our BQ and really start to be careful. What is our body trying to tell us? What is going on? We could be in a lot better places than just kind of haphazardly following what others might say or some of the diets that may be existing, they may not be the best for our bodies, so, yeah.
Chantel Ray: Awesome. Now talk to me a little bit about protein because I know that you are a big advocate of, about protein and talk about what did you eat for lunch, what did you eat for dinner yesterday, and what are your thoughts on protein?
Mazen Baisa: Yeah, absolutely. Protein is very interesting to me because, to me, as a pharmacist, I could say that after selling over 10 million pills, I’ve discovered there’s really no magic pill. Unfortunately a lot of the patients that I used to serve in the past when I used to work as a pharmacist, they’d start to come to us with maybe one or two prescriptions for some chronic disease, say diabetes or cholesterol or blood pressure or pain, even, relief. And all of a sudden, I’ve noticed over two or three years, they’re on more prescriptions. They’re not on less prescriptions. They’re not actually getting their disease treated. And I’m not necessarily saying prescriptions don’t have value, they do have value and actually we need prescriptions. We need medications. But the reality is lifestyle changes is really what makes the better choice when it comes to optimizing health and longevity.
Mazen Baisa: Now, when it comes to protein, it’s an area that I’ve done a lot of research on because the more I keep reading and researching it and looking into the science of it, the more I really see how many of us misunderstand the benefit of this macronutrients, especially lately, right? There’s a big world of fight and talk about the importance of low carb, right? Low carb diet or high carb diet and then we have high fat diet and the low carb… But one of the macronutrients that sometimes get missed in these kind of, what’d I say, diet wars, is really the protein.
Mazen Baisa: And protein, particularly for anybody that is doing intermittent fasting, it’s very important because as we know, as we deplete our glycogen levels through intermittent fasting or kind of exhaust glucose or trying to get into the ketones. But intermediary step is that we actually a lot of time muscles and to get amino acids because our body need amino acids to survive. And if you don’t have enough protein intake during your day and we’re doing intermittent fasting, we may not be getting the best benefit, especially if we’re trying to use it for weight loss or fat oxidation and actually burning fat.
Mazen Baisa: So protein is a critical macronutrient for anybody. I know sometimes the data out there, and I don’t know, maybe, Chantel, what your experience has been with protein, but I’ve seen a lot of people, it’s like, “Oh, well we don’t need a lot of it. 15 grams of it is enough.” The reality is most of need probably about one gram per pound of protein to have an optimal health. And I’m talking about this is probably about minimal levels for individuals depending on if they’re exercising, if they do athletic activities, or they’re dealing with a lot of stress. They may even need more.
Mazen Baisa: The newer studies are showing that we need about one gram of protein per pound per day to optimize our health.
Chantel Ray: That is a problem for me. I will tell you, I think one of the things is that I realize that I have trouble finding a lot of protein that I love. And so, I’m so finicky. I like grilled chicken but I only like a certain grilled chicken. And I love grilled shrimp, but I’m very finicky about it.
Chantel Ray: So but, I will tell you, especially after your fast, so I like to sometimes have something sweet. I’m going to show you. I have these little candies. They’re called Gin Gins. And they’re pretty good for you. I mean having one, they’re not terrible like if you just want something sweet at the end of your meal and but they have a little bit more sugar than I’d love them to have. But yesterday, I was on a fast yesterday. I had a back to back meetings all day and so around 4:00, these came. They were delivered and I had three of them because I hadn’t eaten anything, and they literally, I think they have, they might have 10 grams of sugar, I think, for each one, which is a lot for this little, tiny thing. I have to double check of how much sugar they have so if I have three of them. But just having that much sugar after a fast, it’s like if I have the protein, right? If after my fast, if I have protein as my first meal, the first thing I eat is protein, it helps me to eat less, I feel better, so I think it’s more important than people realize, just like you said.
Mazen Baisa: You’re right, Chantel. Absolutely. And that’s actually the area that I studied heavily. And it’s like, “What’s the effect of protein when it comes to our satiety or when it comes to really our hunger signals in the body?” Right?
Chantel Ray: Yes.
Mazen Baisa: And protein is one of those nutrients, or macronutrients, that really give us the best… If there was a big fighter for cravings or if there’s a big fighter for actually kind of helping with, you know, us to fight through the day in the sense of hunger feeling or hunger pangs, protein is really our best choice. Because what it helps with, it helps actually manage the hunger hormones better and it also helps with even our brain satiety metrics to be better.
Mazen Baisa: Now interestingly, our body, because of the need for protein, because our bodies cannot make its own protein, right? You actually need to have it from an outside source, especially the amino acids. The essential amino acids. So if we don’t have enough essential amino acids through the day, our bodies start to crave protein. Now most people, instead of eating protein, they go for the comfort food. But what happens is they feel like they need to keep eating or they need to actually go for sugary snacks because that’s just their way of trying to deal with the hunger pang or with the hangry feeling, as you know, for some individuals. And I would say protein is a great thing to have.
Mazen Baisa: These days, it’s easy to get it. I mean, in the past, yeah, it’s probably, “I have to do a lot of cooking.” You have to do… These days, as you said, you can get a chicken, it could be salmon, it could be protein shakes, which I love a lot because to me, we’re all busy these days a lot of times, sometimes in the past, one of my excuses for not getting enough of it was like, “Oh, I don’t have time to go get chicken or get salmon or get beef or something.” Now it’s available everywhere, you know?
Chantel Ray: Yes.
Mazen Baisa: And all type of protein shakes and protein powders that could be added through our day to give us what we need to optimize our protein intake.
Chantel Ray: I love it. And the other thing is, watching people who have a lot of these juices. There’re juice bars popping up everywhere and my suggestion is if you want to a… In my opinion, the only reason I’m having a smoothie, I put a massive amount of spinach and kale and massive amounts of greens in there, and then make sure that I have that protein in there, and then I’ll put a little, tiny bit of fruit. But these juice bars, I mean the amount of sugar that’s in there, and then you’re not having that protein to balance it out, and you could really start packing on the pounds while thinking, “Oh, I’m having all this juice.”
Mazen Baisa: Yeah, I totally agree with you and that’s kind of the challenge, unfortunately, with sometimes things that supposed to be healthy but they’re not really healthy, which is even trickier because you think you’re doing something great by actually having a juice. And some juices are on the healthier side or the healthier spectrum, but most out there really, they’re not. Yes, they do probably contain 30 to 40 grams of sugar which stimulate our insulin. As soon as insulin spike, we know we’re not in fat burning mode anymore, right?
Chantel Ray: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-
Mazen Baisa: It’s not burning fat. And actually the interesting part about juice with no protein or with no fat, that you also get a very quick absorption of that glucose into the blood. And that causes a faster spike in insulin and then it actually drops the blood sugar faster, so people feel hungrier. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but if you go for something-
Chantel Ray: Yes.
Mazen Baisa: Sweet right away and you haven’t had protein or fat before it, you actually feel okay for the next 30 minutes, 45 minutes, but then all the sudden you’re more hungry than you were before. And that’s just because of the whole fast spike in blood sugar and then insulin release and then the drop happens quickly and you go through that roller coaster effect.
Chantel Ray: Yeah. And I just know better, but just like for example, this got delivered, I hadn’t eaten anything all day, and I was like, “Oh, Gin Gins.”
Mazen Baisa: I totally, I get it. And look, I’m a practical person. I mean, I have to say sometimes it’s so hard these days with all the overwhelm of information, Chantel, right? And there’s so much out there, so much information coming. I’m all about practicality. I mean, you asked me what did I eat for dinner yesterday? Yes, I had In-N-Out, trying to go for a healthier option, so I had some salmon, I had a little bit of some potato and, but I did have a little bit of chocolate ice cream. But I did it in a careful amount.
Chantel Ray: Moderation.
Mazen Baisa: Yeah. And I’m all about creating what I call choice architecture. Surround yourself with things that allow you to actually be healthier because it is so easy when you have that bag of candy around you, like the one you have there, it’s so easy to resist to have your hand just reaching out to it, you know? So we call the environment, the invisible hand. So I always say optimize an invisible hand around you and make a good choice architecture to support you.
Chantel Ray: Yes. And I love that you are a pharmacist, so you really understand drugs, and we have a lot of guests. We talk about thyroid all the time, so I want to ask your opinion on this. Now, almost all the people we’ve had on our show, besides one, said that they recommend a more desiccated thyroid, like an Armour Thyroid or a Nature-Throid, versus a Synthroid. One person said, “Well, I’ve seen a couple people do a little bit better on Synthroid than Armour,” but I would say 99% of our experts have said, “Don’t touch Synthroid because a lot of times people have trouble converting their T4 to T3, and so if you’re just getting T4 through Synthroid, you’re going to have a problem.” I’d love to hear your thoughts as a pharmacist, what is your opinion on thyroid… And everyone seems to be having thyroid issues right now. What are your thoughts?
Mazen Baisa: Yeah, sure. That’s actually a very, very good question, Chantel. And it’s true. Thyroid is a big thing these days. And also, unfortunately, a lot of thyroid medication changes happen through the years, right? Either a recall or something, or sometimes there’s a shortage on some thyroid medications.
Chantel Ray: Oh, speaking of shortage, so Nature-Throid here, at our particular area, which I live in Virginia Beach, we had no Nature-Throid. You could not get Nature-Throid. CVS was out of it. Walgreens was out of it. I’m thinking to myself, “Wow, how many people here in Virginia Beach,” they were like, “We’re on backorder for three weeks. We’re on backorder for two weeks,” so a lot of people here have heard from us on our show that are saying, “Hey,” because we had an expert. It’s funny, I wonder how many people saw the show, but they said that it was Elle [Russ 00:18:22], and she is a huge expert on thyroid. Amazing podcast if you guys haven’t heard that one, but she really recommended Nature-Throid. And once that podcast came out, I mean, maybe a couple weeks later, you couldn’t find Nature-Throid if you wanted to. So what’s your thoughts?
Mazen Baisa: Yeah, so overall, here’s what I said earlier and I’m going to go back to that same point, right? I think the body has its own intelligence and I really believe that we all are individuals and we all have individual needs, and depending on where we at, I’m a big proponent of yes, it’s better to use the desiccated or the Nature-Throid or any of these versions where it has the combination of T3 and T4 instead of just a synthetic T4 like Synthroid or basically Levothyroxine, which is the generic name for it because there’s Synthroid, there’s Levoxyl, there’s all these brand names for Levothyroxine. So I would normally say yes, it’s a better choice.
Mazen Baisa: However, I’m not going to completely say, “Never use Synthroid or never use Levoxyl,” because it depends. Some patients may actually have a need for it or they may not be reacting well to having T3 in their preparations and they may need to go the T4 only option, the synthetic T4 option. But for most people, it works really well when they use the Nature-Throid or they use any of these T3, T4 combinations that have similar combinations our body would normally have.
Mazen Baisa: And a lot of time I would say also, with the thyroid medications, is just the consistency of taking them is obviously important, right? And also, when do they take it during the day is important too. And how do they do with it during the day, like take on an empty stomach or just eating right away after it because thyroid absorption changes based on how we eat also.
Mazen Baisa: And then another choice I would say when there’s a big shortage, I mean as a pharmacist, I would say it’s always great to consult with a good compounding pharmacy in the area. Most people these days, there’s compounding pharmacies in the area and they could actually formulate certain things for them based on their need. Because some people might may be allergic to something or specific in the pill that it could actually be compounded without it. Like without lactose, for example, if they’re actually allergic to lactose, because a lot of the pills have lactose in them. So a good compounding pharmacy could actually make that for them without lactose and give them less problematic issues, so.
Chantel Ray: Does Armour or Nature-Throid have lactose in it?
Mazen Baisa: You know, I think actually most of them, no. Because there’s different versions of them, but I think actually, no. I don’t believe that one has… I know they reformulated it, I think a couple of years ago so I’m not really sure what the final formulation came… Actually what was included in it, but I could check into that and probably even send you a quick email about it if you’re going to be posting that somewhere and get you the exact excipient, what we call in the pharmacy world, that Nature-Throid or Armour Thyroid actually have.But I know most of the other, what we call the L4s or the Synthroid Levoxyl, they usually do have that.
Mazen Baisa: Some also have talc in it, which a lot of people sometimes have sensitivity to talc and they don’t really get better, good results with it.
Mazen Baisa: But one other thing too, when we talk about thyroid, and I don’t know how much of this conversation you want to make it-
Chantel Ray: Yeah.
Mazen Baisa: About thyroid, but I would say also, it’s important to pay attention to reverse T3. Because I’ve had some patients, they say, “You know what? I’ve been on this but my T3 levels are just not moving and I’m on Nature-Throid. I’m on Armour Thyroid.” And I would say one area they’re looking to sometimes is the reverse T3, which could actually sometimes be a reason where the body’s not getting the active T3 is we’re making… We’re converting more of the thyroid medication into reverse T3, so… And that has not much activity in the body. A big component of what actually causes the body to convert into what we call reverse T3 is stress and inflammation. The more inflamed the body is and the more the body’s under stress, the more we actually not end up converting into the active T3 thyroid and we actually end up converting into reverse T3.
Chantel Ray: Awesome. I love that. So now I know that… Are you a proponent of essential oils? Do you like essential oils? Are you an advocate of them?
Mazen Baisa: Yeah, yeah. I enjoy essential oils almost every day in my car, in the office, at the house. I think essential oils and I would say, selective essential oils, because it’s a big industry these days, right? And there’s so many hyperboles and frauds and all types of things when it comes to the essential oil industry. So, yes, a good, a high quality grade, therapeutic grade essential oil, it’s a great thing to have. I think I’ve even written an article about that on one of our blogs and we called it The Scent of Success and how essential oils could actually help with productivity and focus.
Mazen Baisa: And it’s really amazing, essential oils… The scents, it’s got like VIP access to our brain. It’s one of the very few sensory kind of nerves and sensory systems in our bodies that have direct and VIP access to the brain, particularly to the part of the brain that supervises our emotions, our experiences, and our memories. And that’s the Medulla part of the brain. And a lot of other senses, like when you, the eye, you go through a lot of processing for the message to get into the brain. The ear, like you hear a noise, you go through… The scents, through the nose, gets very quickly to the brain and people sometimes obviously, they know if you smelled something, you remember a memory. If you smelled something, you may kind of feel hungry.
Chantel Ray: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-
Mazen Baisa: And that is all because scent has what I call a direct VIP access to the brain, particularly the supervisors of the emotions, memories, and kind of good feels or bad feels. So, overall, I love essential oils.
Chantel Ray: Now, do you know Dr. Eric Z and Mama Z?
Mazen Baisa: Yes.
Chantel Ray: So they’re a big proponent of essential oils. They have some great books on it. They’ve been on our show as well. So if you want to learn more about that, go back and listen to one of our podcasts.
Chantel Ray: But frankincense, you know what someone told me about essential oils that I was like, “That’s a good point.” They said, “Well, the wise men brought Jesus frankincense and myrrh when they came,” and I was like, “Yeah, that’s true.” I was laughing. I was like, “Yeah, that’s true. They were wise men, they’re bringing…”
Chantel Ray: So do you have any, if you were going to say to someone, “Look, you’ve got thyroid issues. You’re autoimmune is…” Is there any special essential oils that you say, “These particular ones either help with focus or help with thyroid or mood or autoimmune.” Do you have any specific ones that you could suggest?
Mazen Baisa: Yeah, yeah. Here’s the thing. There are definitely some ones that are probably better than other for different things, but overall I would say the biggest thing a person should look for is really the quality of the essential oil. Because even if there are certain things, for example, if you talk about mood and productivity or even just stress relieving, right? People would go more for the lavender or they would go more for kind of a light scent. A light scent, say if they want more energy, they would go for grapefruit or lemon.
Mazen Baisa: But I would say the most important part, more than actually the scent of the essential oil, is the quality of the essential oil. Because if it’s a low quality, regardless of what scent you’re going for or what type of smell you’re that you’re trying to get, you could actually be causing damage. So I’m more like have essential oils that kind of help to relax the system, especially if we’re talking about thyroid because a lot of thyroid patients, they are already dealing with a lot of inflammation, a lot of stress going on into their life, right?
Mazen Baisa: So I’m more into essential oils that have more calming properties like lavender. And particularly, lavender, it contains one of the bioactive ingredients in it. Or bioactive compounds, it’s called linalool. Linalool is a nice compound to actually help to relax the system, really help balancing what we call the sympathetic nervous system, which is the fight or flight response and the para sympathetic nervous system, which is really the calm and collected type of response. So lavender is one of my go to when it comes to relaxing and all that.
Mazen Baisa: And when it comes to really just mood and energy and productivity, I like usually, I would say, lemon scent or grapefruit scent because I feel like it’s fresh and really kind of gives you that nice activation without overwhelming stimulation of the nervous system.
Chantel Ray: Awesome.
Mazen Baisa: Citrus based smell, basically.
Chantel Ray: Well, let’s jump right in to listener questions. This one’s funny. It’s from Logan in Richmond. Over the past few months, I haven’t been sleeping good at all. I’ve had the craziest dreams and some nights it feels like I dream all night. Other nights I toss and turn and literally can’t sleep. I’ve tried everything from taking melatonin to counting sheep. I started to build up a tolerance for melatonin and even though I know it’s natural, I still don’t want to be dependent on sleep aids. What can I do to get a good night’s sleep and have enough energy to make it through my busy work day?
Mazen Baisa: Got it. That’s a very, very insightful question and thanks for providing all the details or what worked and what did not work. So there’s two pieces to this I would look into. Number one, melatonin in itself, she mentioned, it was a lady, right? That one asked the question?
Chantel Ray: Logan. It probably could be a boy. Boy or a girl.
Mazen Baisa: Yeah, it could be either. Well, Logan. The answer to the question is melatonin itself, yes. Some people, unfortunately, use it in not the most proper way because people could actually develop tolerance to it. And it’s really unfortunate because that’s not what most melatonin supplements tell us in the bottle. They just say use three or five milligrams of melatonin and use it every night. But melatonin actually has an art and science to using it. So if a person is using it every day at a consistent dose, they will probably not get the best benefits from it because the body starts to stop producing our own internal melatonin and will become reliant and we actually saturate the system with melatonin where it doesn’t work as much and as good.
Mazen Baisa: So let’s say if we’re going to use melatonin, it’s actually good to use it strategically where we’re using it more to help a circadian rhythm changes. So, for example, not use it every day but use it in times where there’s already a shift happening in our schedule. Like on a weekend, right? Or during traveling. And a good actually dose of melatonin should not be very high. Most melatonin supplement on the market, they’re three milligrams, they’re five milligrams of melatonin. We don’t really need that much every day. If anything, we probably need half a milligram to a milligram of melatonin. And sometimes we may even need to use it not just before we go to bed, we may even need to use it actually late in the afternoon.
Mazen Baisa: Because melatonin doesn’t make us go to sleep. All that it does, almost if you have somebody that echoing, like an echo in the body that tells the body, “Go to sleep,” or “Start to prepare to go to sleep,” that’s what melatonin does. But if the person is already dealing with a lot of other things, it may not do the work that it needs to do, you know?
Mazen Baisa: So, now, going back into sleep. I would say the biggest research I have seen and there’s several books I have read about sleep and I’ve done actual lot of work in sleep because in one of our digital products that we have, we talk a lot about sleep and one of the biggest changes I would say, is really lifestyle modification when it comes before what to do before bed.
Mazen Baisa: And I’m talking about 90 minutes before bed, that’s a critical period of time of how our sleep quality will be for the rest of the night. The reason why 90 is because, for example, blue light. We’re all familiar with these days with cellphones and iPads and the TVs. We undermine the effect of blue light, but literally, exposure to blue light… For every 30 minutes of exposure to blue light, we could be delaying our sleep by an hour to an hour and a half. So it’s important to really disconnect from blue light effects, like I said, digital devices, computers, and things like that, at least 60 minutes even 90 minutes before bed. And I know it’s hard and I talked before I’m more of a practical person, but if sleep is important, and it should be, then we should really do our best to disconnect from blue light.
Mazen Baisa: So I say, number one, go dark completely in the bedroom. And going dark means you should have no light at all in the bedroom. And I’m saying no light means not a cellphone charger, not an alarm, not a shaver, nothing that emits light because even little light like an alarm, a lot of people sometimes they have the alarm clocks if they’re not using their phone, some of them has that digits kind of showing, that is the light… Our skin could actually see light, believe it or not, which is interesting. So some people say, “It’s dark enough.” But if it’s not dark enough completely, where our skin could see the light, we may actually be still feeling the results of the blue light.
Mazen Baisa: So to me, rule of thumb, go dark where if you raise your hand in front of you at night in the bedroom, you should not be seeing your hand. If you see your hand, that means it’s not dark enough. That’s number one.
Mazen Baisa: Number two, temperature, which is very critical when it comes to the body temperature as we actually go to sleep. Especially during sleep or to go to sleep. Like we normally like to have a temperature of 65 to 68 for night, so anything above that usually, unless the person is really dealing with thyroid problems or something like that where they’re just regulating their temperature, anything above that actually disrupts the sleep and it doesn’t get us into the lower, into the deeper stages of the sleep.
Mazen Baisa: So I would say besides going dark, go cold. If you can and all that, you know? And if anything, maybe just cover with a light sheet or something from that nature just to kind of keep the body warm, but at the same time, you’re not sweating, you’re not actually feeling too warm.
Mazen Baisa: And then the third thing really, for me for sleep, I think it helps to do some meditative practices. Just before to get to sleep because sleep is almost a zone of our life that is so important. And we are a lot of time, get to sleep with a busy mind, right? We’re busy, we’ve got things going on, if we have kids, a lot of things… We’re going back to school right now, right? It’s back to school season. There’s so many things to be jumping into our mind, so it’s so critical to actually get into a meditative state before we get to sleep, so just a few moments of maybe doing yoga practices or journaling your gratitude. And that is so critical, especially gratitude journaling, I personally call my gratitude journaling my [inaudible 00:33:21] gratitude. Because it actually, the more I list, more things I’m grateful for at night, the more I feel better and the more I’m actually to get to sleep with a better mood and a better sense. There’s even some research about that, like gratitude journaling and actually helping to go to sleep.
Mazen Baisa: So these are the three things. I would say, lifestyle, inner changes, there’s definitely some supplements a person could do, like there’s GABA, there’s… But I’m not a heavy proponent of actually supplements for sleep. I think it’s important to fix what’s going on in our life that is maybe preventing us, especially when it comes to light, temperature and the state that we’re getting into before we sleep. Is that helpful, Chantel?
Chantel Ray: Yeah, absolutely.
Mazen Baisa: And hopefully, Logan. Yeah.
Chantel Ray: Absolutely. I love that. All right. This is from Vicky in Cleveland. I’m such a stress eater. Stress at work, I’m eating. Stress about money, I’m eating. I’m definitely not proud about this but it’s how I deal with my stress. I’m really trying to kick this habit but it’s hard. I’d love to quit cold turkey but I know it won’t happen. In the meantime, do you have any tips or tricks to help me with this? Vicky in Cleveland.
Mazen Baisa: Stress eating, yes. Definitely a memory of my previous life. I used to call lunch the productivity thief in the past because I used to feel it was taking time from me and then I end up actually feasting on triple cheese pasta or garlic bread because it’s the reality. A lot of us, unfortunately, sometimes because of the… And it’s really physiological. Our body goes for food when we’re stressed. And if the stress is tremendous, then a lot of time we even end up shutting down from food. We don’t actually wat to be eating. But if the stress is kind of moderate and consistent, we end up usually just going for comfort foods.
Mazen Baisa: I would say my number one thing when it comes to stress and food, is really to go with what we call that choice architecture, means to prepare yourself. You know that you’re a stress eater, and I would say use that term lightly. I should not, I don’t think we should want to define ourselves as stress eaters because then we end up using that as an excuse sometimes to be truth. It’s like, “I’m a stress eater. That’s what I do.” But it’s important to say that it’s more like a phase of a reaction to our body and when it comes to stress eating, I would say preparing the environment around you to support you for not to do that becomes really, really important.
Mazen Baisa: So one of the big tools I use, I call it like a bold cue in front of you that would actually cue you to go for something healthier. So an example for me is I’m always kind of have some protein shake around me somewhere in the room because I feel like if I do feel like I need to grab something, then maybe it’s going to be that and as soon as I do that, it curbs my cravings for a dessert or a sweet or something from that nature, you know? And protein is normally more filling. If you notice probably, Chantel, when you got those three candy pieces, you weren’t full. You got a little bit of satisfaction, but then you probably wanted something right after that, you now? Versus when you actually eat a little bit of a rich protein snack, it’s be maybe nuts or let it be a protein bar or let it be even just some fruit with some peanut butter if you not have sensitivity to that. There’s a big difference of actually having that protein when it comes to stress eating.
Mazen Baisa: And then the other part of it too, what I would say is, ride the wave. There’s a psychological concept where you say when it comes to craving and stress eating, say ride the wave. Means as soon as you think, “I need to eat something,” give it five minutes and a lot of time it actually changes. You don’t want to eat anymore, you know? Especially if that eating was more related to stress means it’s not true hunger. If it’s true hunger, then you’re hungry and that’s a different case. But if it’s not, then riding the wave just will become mindfulness practices and drinking some water, a lot of time that thought passes. So that’s kind of very simple.
Mazen Baisa: There is a lot more to this, Chantel-
Chantel Ray: Yes.
Mazen Baisa: And it’s kind of hard to answer it in a minute. But I actually, on our website, we have a blog and it’s kind of a free blog. We call it How to Win Under Pressure and what to eat under the pressure. That might be an interesting article for this person to actually check out because I get into a little bit more detail on that.
Chantel Ray: I agree and I think the biggest thing for this person to do, is to make a commitment to only eat when they’re physically hungry and to stop right before they’re full, because as soon as you’re stressed, if you even say, “Okay, I’m stressed. I’m going to go eat carrots,” you now are still associating, “When I’m stressed, I’m eating.” You have to break that cycle and say, “When I’m stressed, it doesn’t matter. I can’t even have plain carrots and celery because I’m still teaching my body that I can eat carrots and celery and that’s not okay.” The body, your training your body that the only time you’re eating is when you’re physically hungry. And so if you run to food, even if it’s healthy food, when you’re stressed, it’s not going to give you the results that you want.
Mazen Baisa: Yeah, keep perpetuating the cycle. That’s why I said be careful of using the term, I’m a stress eater-
Chantel Ray: Yes.
Mazen Baisa: Because then you’re putting an identity as you’re that type of a person. And you’re not. It’s important definitely not to have that identity because our identity dictates our actions and our thoughts. So I like what you said, Chantel. Yes, food is really meant to be doing something. It’s not meant to be just substituting for the stress that we have in our life.
Chantel Ray: All right, Michelle from Omaha. I’m a restaurant manager at Olive Garden here in Omaha. Don’t get me wrong, I love our food and I can eat it all day, every day. But I’m starting to pack on pounds and I’m not too happy with myself. The last thing I want to do when I get home is cook. I do that all day long and when I’m at work, of course, I’m just going to eat while I’m there. But do you have any fast meal prepping simple meals and do you suggest that I even do meal prep? Michelle in Omaha.
Mazen Baisa: Yeah, that’s also a very real life question. And I go back into the concept of absolutely meal preparation and preparing your meal. It is one way to actually be in control. I would say that our willpower is very finite. And if we play defense with our willpower, we don’t really serve our best. We always have to play offense when it comes to willpower, right? And just like how we do in business, like we develop a strategy before we execute anything, we almost say that’s the same thing when it comes to our food. We should have a strategy of what we need to do.
Mazen Baisa: So food prep is critical. I think these days with everything going on in the market, there is so many companies are willing to actually kind of have meals prepared in all types of forms and different diets needs could be solidified. But I’m also a proponent of just keep things simple, right? I mean, a lot of time we get overwhelmed with how many food choices we have to make and it’s really amazing because a lot of us, we think we make food choices only two or three times a day. But believe it or not, we make about 200 plus food choices every day. So if we simplify that, for example, to say, great, for breakfast I’m most likely going to be kind of doing something that is all ready like some yogurt, some fruit, and again, if you don’t have dairy allergies, possibly or replace that with a protein shake or a smoothie and add to it some sort of natural proteins like chia seeds or things that has fiber in them.
Mazen Baisa: So, yes, I’m a big proponent of meal preps. I think they help and that could be other outsourced, someone to do it for us, if financial needs is there. They’re not that expensive anymore. I mean, I’ve actually seen some meal prep companies these days, they would sell each meal for five or six dollars which is cheaper than the average quick food places. But I’m also like surround yourself with good food. I mean, probably at Olive Garden, you have a lot of choices. But even Olive Garden, interestingly these days are offering actually some healthier alternatives and it’s not all just pasta anymore.
Chantel Ray: Yeah. My opinion about meal prep and I agree, I was hungry and the only thing I had around me was those little Gin Gins, so-
Mazen Baisa: Yeah.
Chantel Ray: I had that and I definitely think you keeping healthy foods and snacks in your office or somewhere is a great idea. My only thing that I don’t like about meal prep is this, is that I’ve seen… I have one friend and he’s actually my personal trainer. And he literally does meal prep and he makes the same thing for like four days in a row.
Mazen Baisa: Yeah.
Chantel Ray: And he’ll just literally like, chicken and broccoli, chicken and broccoli, chicken and broccoli, chicken and broccoli, and then whatever. You know, it’s the same thing that’s he’s eating four days in a row. And by big thing is, again, you want to eat what your body is calling you to eat. You’re planning four days worth of chicken and broccoli or turkey and broccoli or turkey and green beans? What is your body craving? What is your body calling you to do? And you doing all this crazy meal prep. Now I do think you should have some healthy choices and have different things there, but I don’t like when people too Nazi about it.
Mazen Baisa: Yeah.
Chantel Ray: Because then you’re not listening to your body. Like every day, I kind of ask myself, “Okay, what is my body craving right now?” And your body will tell you. “You know what? I’m craving shrimp,” or “I’m craving a burger. I might need iron.” I love what you said earlier about…
Mazen Baisa: And that’s actually a good point, Chantel. You bring up a good point with the meal preps, which is really a drawback. I agree with the meal prep that’s people go and they become very repetitive in their behavior. And that’s when they hate it. I mean they may do it for a month or two-
Chantel Ray: Yes.
Mazen Baisa: It’s like, “Screw this meal prep thing. I don’t do this anymore.” They give up.
Chantel Ray: Yes.
Mazen Baisa: And I agree. But a big part also about meal preps that is very regimented, like chicken and broccoli, chicken and broccoli, chicken… Using the same food every day is not the best for our body either. We need to have a rotation. That’s how nature rotates.
Chantel Ray: Yes.
Mazen Baisa: We have different seasons. We have different things. Our bodies actually have different rotations that we go through and our needs, even going back to proteins since that’s an area of my expertise, even protein, a lot of people, for example, just eat chicken. Chicken, chicken, chicken. I was like, “Well, you got to be careful because you could develop actually sensitivity because you’re eating it every day.” So it’s important to vary the protein intake. Maybe a chicken, maybe a salmon, maybe eggs, maybe dairy, again if there’s no sensitivity. But, maybe plant based proteins, which a lot of us are actually depleted in.
Mazen Baisa: But, I’m with you. I would say I like to have flexibility and that’s why a lot of time I think we should always try not to complicate things because sometimes it can feel like we need a whole, huge meal to feel satisfied. And all that we really needed probably could have been a little bit of a salad, a little bit of a soup, and that’s what takes care of for that particular meal and not necessarily just to skip it or to scarf something faster.
Chantel Ray: All right, last question. Steve from Chattanooga. I’ve had IBS for years. I fluctuate between constipation and diarrhea. I’ve tried eating yogurt with probiotics, but that doesn’t do anything for me. So one of my friends mentioned taking a daily probiotic which might help me. Should I try it and if so, which one do you recommend?
Mazen Baisa: Very, very interesting question. Now, Chantel, I know you’ve also had some guests on the show that talked about probiotics and talked about, I think, IBS at some level and I know every expert might have their own opinion. When it comes to IBS and probiotics, it’s actually a very controversial topic right now. And the reason I say that because probiotics, depending on what strains they contain in them, and depending on the colony per unit, how much millions or how many billions they have… It actually causes different effect. But with IBS, what we know is normally there could also be bacterial overgrowth or it could also be yeast overgrowth. And if there’s bacterial overgrowth going on, the last thing you want is just to add more bacteria into the system without knowing which bacteria you’re using or without knowing what kind of gas that bacteria’s producing.
Mazen Baisa: I’m going to get a little specific here, but there’s different bacterias carry different gases in our stomach so, for example, there is some bacteria in IBS or in SIBO, they would create methane gas, right? Some will actually create sulfur. And some would create hydrogen. And the type of probiotic with use, you have to be careful which bacteria you’re targeting, otherwise it could be growing more of the bad bacteria that you’re trying to actually avoid or kill or get rid of.
Mazen Baisa: So, I agree. I’ve seen a lot of people sometime just because probiotics are so prevalent these days and everybody’s using them for anything related to the stomach or GI. “Hey, just use a probiotic,” that I would say that when it comes to IBS, actually we have to be a little bit more cognizant and a little bit more cautious about what’s going on first and what type of bacteria we’re dealing with if there is a bacteria overgrowth or if there is a yeast overgrowth and then choose the right probiotic.
Mazen Baisa: And normally my rule of thumb for the probiotics when it comes to IBS or SIBO is that we need to use a probiotic a very selective number of strains, so means if there’s a probiotic that have 30 different bacteria type or 30 different strains of bacteria, most likely that is not going to be a good choice for that person. They should probably first go with a something that has three to four or five strains and take higher dose of it. It can even be reaching up to 100 billion unit or 200 billion unit for two to three months. And then rotate to another strain because what this allows, it actually allows the probiotic to truly inoculate the gut and allow it to grow the better kind and hopefully the kind that is not needed set to die off.
Mazen Baisa: The answer to that is it is a bit of a loaded question to answer and use this particular brand or this particular probiotic. There’s a lot more to it.
Chantel Ray: I’m so glad you said that because at one point, I was taking this probiotic and it was like 100 million gazillion, you know how they have on there?
Mazen Baisa: Yeah, yeah. I see…
Chantel Ray: What value it is? And I was miserable. I was taking it and I was coming in to work like this and I was like, “I just have to stop taking it.” I actually, myself, personally, I have stopped takin probiotics for at least the last six months. It was making me sick. Whatever, I think the dosage was too high I was taking of the probiotic, whatever I was doing, I felt better not taking it and I actually haven’t gotten back on it right now. So, you know, I think sometimes there’s different things that are in the hype and again, you have to listen to your own body. How do I feel? Because it was a couple weeks and I felt miserable. I was like, “No.”
Mazen Baisa: Yeah, you’re right. It’s true. And sometimes you wonder like, “Is there something wrong with me? Why is it not working?” But it’s really not something wrong with you. Your body’s telling you something and it’s definitely critical to listen to that body intelligence.
Chantel Ray: Body intelligence. I love it. Well, thank you so much for being on our show.
Mazen Baisa: My pleasure.
Chantel Ray: That was our last question. But where can our listeners go to follow you and your work?
Mazen Baisa: Yeah, absolutely. So we have our blog, I’ve worked really hard on that blog and it’s kind of coming and we keep updating. We do different things. It’s blog.youmaxa.com. So it’s blog.youmaxa.com and I’m sure we could put up probably a note for it somewhere up there.
Chantel Ray: Yeah.
Mazen Baisa: But they could also find us on Facebook under YOUMAXA or Instagram under YOUMAXA or under YouTube under YOUMAXA. So we have all these channels and, but the blog is kind of my favorite place. I’m kind of extra proud of it because we actually do put a lot of work towards the articles and the details and every blog we have has to have some science and it’s really relevant topic. Like pretty much most of the stuff we talked about today, we have one or two articles about that. Like the stressful eating or the sleep or how to bulletproof your sleep if you have a bad sleep one day and the gut effect and there’s a lot of cool topics there when it comes to the blog. So I would say check out blog.youmaxa.com.
Chantel Ray: Well, Mazen, I feel like I could talk to you all day. You’re super easy to talk to.
Mazen Baisa: Thank you.
Chantel Ray: It was a pleasure having you. And if you have a question that you want answered, go to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.
Mazen Baisa: Thanks, Chantel. Bye-bye.
***As always, this podcast is not designed to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any condition and is for information purposes only. Please consult with your healthcare professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle.***