The “Goldilocks” Approach to Getting a “Just Right” Balance

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 2 – Managing Cellular Stress – the Basis for Feeling, Looking, and Performing Your Best

The Goldilocks Approach: Getting a “Just Right” Balance

For many years, I’ve been a huge fan of the TED Talks series of lectures—“Ideas Worth Spreading”—and have always wondered if someday I’d get to deliver one of my own.

Twice in 2014, I was invited to the TED stage to present my ideas about cellular stress and biochemical balance – first in April at TEDxSandy (Utah) and again in September at The 431 Project (Vermont). Both of these events were locally organized TED events focused on stress and health, and can be viewed on YouTube or linked to from my blog site at

Since my main area of research and education concerns the concept that “biochemistry drives behavior,” I discussed in these talks how being in balance—or being “just right”—can help us to become the best version of ourselves (Best Future You). By “best future you,” I mean that the reason we feel, or look, or perform at our best level, is because of biochemical changes in our individual cells. It’s this internal cellular balance that leads us to feel energetic (or fatigued), or to look vibrant (or worn out), or to perform at our peak mental and physical potential (or feel like we’re burned out).

Relationship of Cellular Stress to Health Outcomes

Recall from above that every cell in our body contains an exquisitely designed system of protective enzymes and repair proteins. This built-in surveillance system, called the CDR-pathways, is very much like an internal cellular thermostat for stressors that can damage our cells and ruin our health. The CDR-pathways sense – and respond to – a variety of damaging cellular stressors such as reactive oxygen molecules from sunlight or air pollution. Left unchecked, these cellular stressors cause damage to delicate cell membranes, genetic material (DNA), and mitochondria (our cellular energy factories) – leading to disease, dysfunction, and what we observe as the “aging” process. As cellular damage accumulates, each of the trillion cells in our body works less and less efficiently – and we’re less likely to feel energetic, or focused, or motivated, or even as happy as we could be. However, by naturally triggering CDRs, and protecting our cells right down to the genetic level, we have a built-in “switch” that can help us to feel fantastic, look younger, and achieve peak performance. This scenario of being able to feel our best, look our best, and perform our best, is what I refer to as your “best future you” – and it’s achievable by triggering CDRs.

In January 2015, I delivered a scientific poster presentation at a research conference held at Cambridge University in England. The focus of the 3-day conference was solely on CDR metabolism and the potential health benefits of CDR activation. Some of the most interesting presentations showed how the CDR pathways is involved in protecting cells from a variety of stressors that can lead to cancer, arthritis, heart disease, and neurological problems such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Improving CDR metabolism, especially when we do it naturally with balanced phytonutrients, has the potential to deliver an amazing collection of wellness benefits, including:

  1. Slower Aging (less oxidation)
  2. Reduced Pain (less inflammation)
  3. Reduced Cancer Risk (oxidation/inflammation)
  4. Higher Energy (lower fatigue)
  5. Better Mood (reduced depression)
  6. Younger Looking Skin (fewer wrinkles)
  7. Improved Mental Focus (reduced brain fog)
  8. Less Body Fat and Easier Weight Loss (improved metabolism)
  9. Enhanced Physical Performance (endurance/stamina/power/muscle)
  10. Improved Stress Resilience (less tension/stress)

Thanks for reading – tune in for the next installment about how to Manage Cellular Stress to Feel, Look, and Perform at Your Best

Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author
801-915-1170 (mobile)


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The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy
Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)
About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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