Life Sucks – or Life is Great?

Which “life tribe” would you find yourself in?

“Life Sucks” – Stage 1 – (about 10% of people) – have trouble thinking about a what it means to live a great life – we need to work hard to help these folks see a better way

“My Life Sucks” – Stage 2 – (~15%) – may actually be depressed and need help improving mental wellness before moving “up” the life stages

“I’m Great” – Stage 3 – (~50%) – a lot of people (especially many politicians) are in this “look at me” stage of life development – they’re doing great and want you to know about it

“We’re Great” – Stage 4 – (~20%) – groups of people who are united around a cause or mission – they’re excited and motivated to help others close to them to move up to where they are

“Life is Great” – Stage 5 – (~5%) – the pinnacle of life development – these folks are not just “living it” and helping those around them to become better like those in stage 4 – but they’re ready to change the world by helping everyone (global change)

Amare – Aug 30 – Orange County

Hello to all the Family and Friends of Amare Global,

We are really excited to let you know that this Wednesday Night, August 30th we will be holding a short but powerful TRAINING event for those of you who have expressed interest in being part of the future with Amare.

Hope you will be able to make it over to the Home Office in Irvine for this fun and informa ve get together!

Here are the details:


WHERE: 17872 Gille e Avenue Irvine, CA 92614

WHY: We want to train you on the things you need to know for your success as we get ready to open the doors for the first me on Sept 1st.

WHO: Pat Hintze and Dr. Shawn Talbo (Chief Science Officer) will do most of the training for the night but you will hear from Rich Higbee (President of Sales) as well as a hello and welcome from our owner Hiep Tran himself! Should be another awesome night!

HOW: Get there anyway you can!!!!!

Other Details:

– Yes, you can bring a new person! (Have them visit first and look around)

– Yes, we will have some finished marke ng handouts for you there! (They are awesome)

– No, no food this me. Eat before you come over.

– Yes, we will have fun!

And finally,
– Yes, we will end on time!

PDF Flyer = FriendsAndFamilyFlier_083017


Amare Utah Event

Please come visit us tonight (Friday 7-9pm) and tomorrow (Sat 10a-4p) to learn what Amare is all about.

The Mental Wellness Company pre-launches one week from today – and will change the way the world thinks about (and optimizes) mental wellness.

We would love for you to hear about how you can become part of this mission to help people feel their best.

AmareUtah (PDF version)


Tired, Stressed, Depressed?

In my lectures over the years, I often start off by asking the audience three simple questions:

  1. Are you stressed? Of course you are. That’s strike one.
  2. Do you get less than 8 solid hours of sleep a night, or do you consistently feel fatigued during the day? Yes? Strike two!
  3. And what about mood—do you often feel “blah” or downright depressed? Yes? That’s strike three.

In today’s fast-paced, hurry-hurry world, almost all of us are fatigued, under a mountain of stress, and often feeling the blues. In fact, the problem is so bad that nearly 1 in every 3 doctor visits is related to stress, fatigue, or depression.

Yesterday, I visited Salt Lake City’s Fresh Living program (KUTV CBS Ch2) to talk about how rebalancing the “Brain-Body-Biome” can help people to beat feeling “tired-stressed-depressed” with more energy, less stress, and improved mood. You can see the video here.

Video link =

So what’s the problem?

  • Our environment is full of physical stressors—environmental toxins such as air pollution, processed foods, inadequate fruits/vegetables, etc.—that can lead to problems with the balance of the beneficial bacteria in our guts. We call these bacteria the “microbiome” – or Biome for short – and an imbalanced biome is often a primary cause of problems with mental wellness.
  • Every day, we encounter a variety of mental stressors that influence our Brain – such as bills and traffic and deadlines and family issues – that lead to chronic stress, elevated stress hormones such as cortisol, and changes in neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
  • Our overall health habits, such as diet, exercise, and sleep are poor, leading to obesity, lack of energy and compromised health throughout the entire Body, and especially the health or our heart.
  • On top of all of those imbalances in brain-body-biome, our bodies also tend to work differently (and usually less effectively) as we
  • In short, this combination of stress, diet, lifestyle, and aging has led to imbalances in our brain-body-biome balance – causing us to become tired, stressed, and depressed.

The result? A vicious cycle of unending stress, fatigue and depression that can be very difficult to break.

Society’s Solution? A Poor One

Dozens of synthetic drugs have been created to mask the tired-stressed-depressed syndrome. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleeping pills abound. Even so-called “energy” drinks, which claim to help solve the problem, are a burgeoning market. In fact, all of these product classes together represent over $100 billion in yearly sales!

Society and Depression – a Changing Stigma

As little as 5 years ago, most people would feel uncomfortable openly about depression, because it was viewed (wrongly) as a moral failing or a weakness. We might have been OK talking about how “stressed” we were – or how little sleep we got the night before – or of course how “busy” we are – but few of us would admit to not being bullet-proof.

Luckily, this is changing – and people are beginning to open up about being vulnerable –   being human. The list of celebrities who are honest and have recently spoken openly about their struggles with depression include Beyonce, Adele, and Oprah. But it’s not just women – men such as actor John Hamm, “the Boss” Bruce Springstein, and “the Rock” Dwayne Johnson have also talked about how struggles with depression have affected their lives and the lives of those around them.

The Healthy Solution? Restoring Brain-Body-Biome Balance

Over the last decade, my research has been focused on helping people to look better, perform better, and most importantly – to feel better – and all of that research has a central theme of restoring “balance” across the brain-body-biome.

This means a triple focus on the brain (head), the body (heart), and the biome (gut). You’ve heard the expressions to “trust your gut” or to “listen to your heart” – these are common sayings based on the fact that we have different “brains” in addition to the one in our head – and that these “3 brains” contribute different types of intelligence about our health and well-being.

Your 3 Brains – Brain-Body-Biome

Recent scientific studies are showing us the close and intricate links between what happens in the gut (our “2nd brain”) and the heart (our “3rd brain”) – and how our “1st brain” (in our head) interprets those signals to determine our mood, energy, tension, and other aspects of mental wellness. For example, cardiovascular research has shown that more than 50% of heart disease patients will also suffer depressed mood – and those with depression are 2-5 times more likely to suffer a cardiovascular complication such a heart attack or stroke. In fact, depression is more predictive of future heart problems than high cholesterol and more than doubles the risk for gastrointestinal problems such as colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.

Research is also showing us how management of gut balance (with probiotic and prebiotic foods and supplements) can reduce depression and anxiety while also increasing calmness and stress resilience. Likewise, phytonutrients (also called phytobiotics) such as flavonoids from grapes, apples, blueberries and pine bark can simultaneously improve blood flow (benefiting the heart/body), enhance the growth of good bacteria (benefitting the gut biome), and balance neurotransmitters (benefitting the brain).

How to Restore Brain-Body-Biome Balance

There are many steps you can take to achieve better brain-body-biome balance conducive to optimal physical health and mental wellness.

  1. Diet: Eat frequent small meals comprised of complex carbs, lean protein, healthy fats, and high-nutrient foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains. Even a nighttime snack (despite all the popular advice otherwise) can help keep your metabolism up and stress levels down. Be sure to include foods high in prebiotic fibers to nourish your healthy bacteria (artichoke, kale, black beans, oatmeal).
  2. Exercise: Frequent, regular exercise (even mild forms such as gardening or walking) can do wonders to relieve stress, lower cortisol, and improve blood flow. Research studies show a difference between a the microbiomes of regular exercisers (less inflammatory) versus sedentary people (more inflammatory) – so get moving for the health of your brain-body-biome.
  3. Stress-Relief: There are various types of stress-relief behaviors you can incorporate in your lifestyle. These include yoga, meditation, exercise, prayer, dietary changes, and targeted dietary supplements.
  4. Dietary Supplements. Believe it or not, there are specific supplements that can help lower cortisol levels, thereby lessening stress exposure, improving mood and enhancing your body’s natural mental and physical energy levels. These supplements are not stimulants, and won’t result in any kind of “crash” effect. They include:
    1. Brain – Foods such as dark chocolate and hot peppers or dietary supplements containing Kanna (Zembrin brand) – shown to reduce depression and improve cognitive function.
    2. Body – Foods such as blueberries and apples or dietary supplements containing New Zealand pine bark extract (Enzogenol brand) – shown to improve blood flow and neurotransmitter balance to support heart/brain benefits.
    3. Biome – Foods such as black beans and oatmeal or dietary supplements containing guar bean extract (Sunfiber brand) – shown to improve the balance between good/bad bacteria in the intestinal tract and production of anti-inflammatory SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids, good for reducing both cardio-inflammation in the heart and neuro-inflammation in the brain).



Who Wants to Feel Better?

I’ve spent most of my career studying how our biochemistry drives our behavior – how the foods we eat and the activities that we do change the way that we feel, look, and perform.

So, it’s with extreme pleasure that I’m able to announce that Amare Global will be pre-launching next month – and holding a kick-off event in Utah on August 25th & 26th.

Amare Global is “The Mental Health Company” – and our initial products pre-launching next month encompass a wide range of science-based natural solutions for improving vigor, mood, focus, energy, sleep, and overall well-being through balance of the microbiome and optimization of the gut-brain-axis.

See the flyer here = AmareUtah – I would love to see you there!

Here is a message from our Head of Sales, Rich Higbee:

Hello all Utah Friends:

Good news!  We’ve nailed down the location for the Utah Amare pre-launch event on Friday & Saturday, August 25thand 26th.  This is going to be a weekend that goes down in Amare history for sure. 

Details about the event are included in the attached flyer.  We’ve also created an Eventbrite registration link.  Space is limited and the event will likely sell out – so registration will be based on first come/first serve.  Please share this link with everyone you know and encourage them to get registered ASAP so they can guarantee a seat.

We can’t wait for Utah to hear the Amare story and learn about our incredible products, platform and mission around Mental Wellness.  Each Member of our Founding Executive Team will be joining us here in Utah – CEO Hiep Tran, CSO Dr. Shawn Talbott, CMO Mike Brown and myself (President of Sales) and Pat Hintze – our Founding Wellness Partner among other Amare Staff.  We can’t wait to see you and meet the people who join you at this momentous event.

See you soon.


Rich Higbee

President Sales

Founding Executive

Amare Global

Back to School Sleep Foods

It’s that time of year again – the final weeks of Summer have us thinking about getting ready to head back to school.

After a couple of months of late nights and lazy mornings, we need to get back into our rhythm of early to bed and early to rise – and that all starts with healthy sleep.

Maybe you’ve heard some of the advice to turn off electronics and read a real book for an hour before bed, but there are also diet tips that can help you relax and improve sleep quality.

Earlier this week, I visited the set of Fresh Living (KUTV CBS Channel 2 in Salt Lake City) to talk about some of my favorite foods and nutrients to help improve sleep – you can watch the video here.

Here are a few of my favorite foods and herbs that can help with sleep and relaxation:

Dairy: Warm milk’s calming quality is not just an old wives tale. Calcium and magnesium are relaxing. Plus milk has peptides (small protein chains) that, when digested, have direct relaxation effects in the brain. A glass of milk or cup of yogurt can be just the thing to relax the mind and help you slip off into a restful night of sleep

Whole grain carbohydrates: When you choose whole grains instead of refined grains, you maintain blood sugar levels, so your brain and body function better. Plus, the lignan compounds in whole grains are associated with lowered cortisol. Combine dairy and whole grains in a bedtime snack such as yogurt & granola or cheese and crackers.
Oranges: On the psychological side of stress, the scent of oranges and other citrus fruits has been shown to directly stimulate areas of the brain associated with stress resilience – so take a good whiff of orange to shield yourself from stress before you eat it. On the biochemical side of stress, oranges also contain both vitamin C and flavonoids, which are among the most effective nutrients for reducing concentrations of cortisol. In addition to cortisol control, flavonoids also help protect from other biological stressors such as free radicals and inflammatory cytokines that can lead to cellular damage and pain.

Cherries (especially tart cherries): have potent anti-inflammatory effects (to reduce pain) and naturally boost levels of melatonin (the sleep hormone) – making tart cherries one of the most effective foods to help athletes (and everyone) to relax and get a good night of sleep.
Almonds and Walnuts: Nuts are an excellent source of several anti-stress and sleep-enhancing nutrients including muscle-sparing protein, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, stress-fighting B-vitamins and relaxing magnesium (mineral) and tryptophan (amino acid). Nuts also provide you with the opportunity to “crunch away” some of your stress because several studies have shown the chewing action to be associated with lower stress and better moods.

Corn grass: Perhaps the most effective natural herbal therapy that we’ve ever studied for improving both mood (due to increased serotonin production during the day) and sleep quality (due to increased melatonin production at night). Corn grass contains natural compounds that the body can convert into serotonin and melatonin “on demand” – so it won’t make you sleepy like melatonin (which is a synthetic version of your body’s natural hormone), but it will help you sleep when you’re ready (with no “melatonin hangover” the next day). Studies have shown corn grass extract to help reduce depression and anxiety, while also increasing both REM sleep (which rejuvenates the brain) and deep sleep (which restores the body).

Any (or all!) of these natural options can help you to relax and achieve the deepest most restorative sleep possible – which then gives you the clear mind and rejuvenated body to rise to the challenges of “back to school” or whatever life serves up!

Thanks for reading,



Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

(801) 915-1170 (mobile) – Herb-infused tea and cookies that improve vigor (physical energy, mental acuity, and emotional well-being)


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Best Future You – Harnessing Your Body’s Biochemistry to Achieve Balance in Body, Mind, and Spirit

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)

The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)



Psychological Vigor?

When people ask me what I do, I usually just say that I’m a “nutritionist” – it’s easier – and it’s usually enough at a party or networking event to get a nod, a smile, and a “very interesting” before moving on to the important stuff.

Every once in awhile, someone will ask, “what kind of nutrition?” – which allows me to explain that I’m trained in nutritional biochemistry (PhD Rutgers) and exercise physiology (MS Umass Amherst) – so I study how nutrition/exercise influence the body. Often, they’ll assume that I’m a “sports nutritionist” – and while I’m also a diplomate in sports nutrition with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), I don’t really “do” sports nutrition per se.

Rather, most of my research and writing (13 books) centers around how nutrition/exercise can change our biochemistry/physiology – and how those changes make us FEEL (psychology). I guess that makes me more of a pyscho-nutritional biochemist? Or a nutritional biopsychologist? Or maybe just a psycho?  ;^)

At any rate – whatever you call me – the work that I do is nicely encapsulated in the two audio files below. One is a 20-min Keynote lecture that I gave at a Behavioral Medicine conference a few years ago (Stress and Cortisol – Walking the Tight Rope) – and the other is a 90-min Tutorial from the same conference (Vigor 7 Days to Unlimited Energy, Focus, and Well-Being). The keynote is high-level and the tutorial gets into the details of stress physiology/biochemistry, nutrition/lifestyle interventions, and overall impact on psychological mood states such as vigor/burnout, depression, anxiety, and overall mental wellness.

If you’re curious about the inter-relationships between biochemistry, physiology, and psychology, then please take a listen and let me know your thoughts?