WSJ on Mental Wellness (AGAIN)…

Nice article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday about mental health (on top of their article about mood and gut health last month) – original here =

I’ll be talking about these and related topics tonight in my seminar on how to “Function Better” – please join me?

A Workout for Your Mental Health

Keep stress from the Covid pandemic and other events under control by sticking with these daily practices

Stressed out? Grumpy? Tired all the time?

You need a mental-fitness regimen.

For months, therapists have reported a significant increase in clients who are anxious, worried or depressed over current events—the Covid-19 pandemic, economic woes, civil unrest. And while they can teach coping skills, such as emotion regulation, to help deal with the stress, they say it’s also important for people to proactively take steps to be mentally healthy, just as they would if they wanted to be physically fit. “If you wait until a major stressor hits to try and bolster your mental health, it’s like trying to inflate your life raft while you are already drowning at sea,” says Wendy Troxel, a clinical psychologist and senior behavioral and social scientist at Rand Corp.

Many people turn to talk therapy, exercise, meditation and a healthy diet to do this. Shirlee Hoffman, a 75-year-old retired marketing consultant in Chicago, limits her news consumption to about five minutes a day. Erin Wiley, 50, a licensed psychotherapist in Toledo, Ohio, uses an app to track the things for which she is grateful. Rhonda Steele, 62, a special-education teacher in Sellersburg, Ind., prays and reads devotions. Dwight Oxley, 84, a retired physician in Wichita, Kan., reads and plays the piano. Rachel Glyn, 66, a retired aesthetician in Philadelphia, tries to do as many things as possible for others. Michael Schauch, 40, an investment portfolio manager in Squamish, British Columbia, rock climbs—he says the view gives him perspective. Stedman Stevens, 62, the CEO of an aviation technology company in Wilmington, N.C., takes 15 minutes each afternoon to sit alone without distractions. “I listen to what my mind shows me,” he says. “This restores my mental strength.”

What steps should you include in your mental-fitness regimen? Here is advice from the experts.

Make sleep nonnegotiable. Most adults need 7-8 hours of quality sleep. “Following a consistent sleep-wake schedule sends a powerful signal to the brain that the world is safe and secure, which can help reduce anxiety and foster resilience,” says Rand’s Dr. Troxel, author of “Sharing the Covers: Every Couple’s Guide to Better Sleep.” She suggests setting a consistent wake-up time, counting backward to determine when to go to bed, and creating a relaxing wind-down routine, starting an hour before bedtime. Take a bath, read a book, turn down the lights and the thermostat. (65-68 degrees is ideal.) Disconnect from technology to minimize your exposure to distressing news and light.

Set a routine.Get up at the same time each day. Get dressed! Create a morning ritual—many people write in a journal or set an intention for the day, although just drinking coffee in the same chair works. (I drink a large glass of water first thing, then a cup of coffee, and play with my dog.) Eat meals and exercise at set times. This helps create a sense of predictability in a world that feels out of control.

Calm your mind.You can’t cope with stress well if your brain is on high alert at all times, says Carolyn Daitch, a psychologist in Farmington Hills, Mich., and co-author of “The Road to Calm Workbook.” She recommends beginning the day with 15-20 minutes of yoga, meditation or prayer, then scheduling four “mini interventions” during the day—a two-minute breathing exercise or other quick tension-releasing technique. (One of her favorites: Make a tight fist with one hand, imagine it holding all the tension in your body for 10 seconds, release it.) She says to think of these practices as a “stress inoculation.”

Watch your language.The words we use to talk to ourselves color our outlook. So try to replace “hot” language with “cooler” language, suggests Patricia Deldin, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. (“This is a challenge but I can handle it,” not “I’m overwhelmed.”) And stop “shoulding” yourself. (“I would like to…” not “I should.”) “A simple language change can influence our feelings and, subsequently, our actions,” says Dr. Deldin, who is CEO of Mood Lifters, a mental-wellness program.

Practice compassion. Research shows self-compassionate people are happier, more optimistic, more motivated and more resilient. Yet, too often, we are mean to ourselves. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Start by acknowledging when something is painful. (Dr. Daitch recommends putting your hand on your heart and saying: “This isn’t easy.”) Then talk to yourself as you would to your best friend. And remind yourself that everyone goes through difficult times. This diminishes your stress reaction and connects you to other people.

Move your body.Research shows that aerobic exercise reduces fatigue and tension, and improves alertness, concentration, sleep, mood, and self-esteem, according to Dr. Deldin. And studies show that exercise in nature has even more benefits: It reduces the body’s stress response, lowers cortisol levels and blood pressure, and it gives you a sense of awe, which boosts mood. Dr. Deldin recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, which can be broken up into small periods. (Even five minutes of exercise begins to decrease anxiety, she says.)

‘If you wait until a major stressor hits to try and bolster your mental health, it’s like trying to inflate your life raft while you are already drowning at sea.’

— Dr. Wendy Troxel, Rand Corp.

Create a media diet.There’s too much negative news these days. Decide how much you will consume—think of this as a “news calorie count”—and stick with it. Set aside blocks of time to turn off your phone. Purge negative people from your social media feed. Look for positive streams to follow or articles to read. (My feeds are largely about sailing, scuba diving gardening or baking.)

Choose extracurricular activities wisely. Research shows that pleasant activities, ones that give you a sense of purpose (such as volunteering), and ones that make you feel accomplished or masterful (such as learning a language) improve mental health. So pick up a new hobby, practice an instrument, work on improving at a sport. “The ability to exert control over something provides a sense of self-satisfaction and contentment,” says Brad Stulberg, an executive coach in Asheville, N.C., and author of “Peak Performance.” “And progress nourishes the soul.”

Cultivate supportive relationships. People with strong relationships are emotionally healthier. So make a commitment to connect regularly with friends and family. Set a goal to reach out to one person a day. Ask about the other person and discuss something other than the day’s awful news. And be open about how you are, because vulnerability can be bonding.

Be grateful.Especially for your loved ones. And let them know. Everyone is feeling challenged right now. When I’m annoyed with someone in my life, I think of at least five things I love about the person. Often, I’m surprised that my list goes on and on. I’m smiling before I’m done counting.

Elevate your physical performance…

Please join me tonight at 6pm PST for a discussion about “function better” with:

•Stronger Immune System

•Less Body Fat

•Lower Cholesterol

•Superior Cardiovascular Health

•Better Brain Health

•Successful Aging

•Sharper Mental Fitness

•Enhanced Physical Performance

Microbiome Patterns Related to Health Status

Microbiome connections with host metabolism and habitual diet from 1,098 deeply phenotyped individuals | Nature Medicine

The gut microbiome is shaped by diet and influences host metabolism; however, these links are complex and can be unique to each individual.

We performed deep metagenomic sequencing of 1,203 gut microbiomes from 1,098 individuals enrolled in the Personalised Responses to Dietary Composition Trial (PREDICT 1) study, whose detailed long-term diet information, as well as hundreds of fasting and same-meal postprandial cardiometabolic blood marker measurements were available.

We found many significant associations between microbes and specific nutrients, foods, food groups and general dietary indices, which were driven especially by the presence and diversity of healthy and plant-based foods. Microbial biomarkers of obesity were reproducible across external publicly available cohorts and in agreement with circulating blood metabolites that are indicators of cardiovascular disease risk.

While some microbes, such as Prevotella copri and Blastocystis spp., were indicators of favorable postprandial glucose metabolism, overall microbiome composition was predictive for a large panel of cardiometabolic blood markers including fasting and postprandial glycemic, lipemic and inflammatory indices.

The panel of intestinal species associated with healthy dietary habits overlapped with those associated with favorable cardiometabolic and postprandial markers, indicating that our large-scale resource can potentially stratify the gut microbiome into generalizable health levels in individuals without clinically manifest disease. Analyses from the gut microbiome of over 1,000 individuals from the PREDICT 1 study, for which detailed long-term diet information as well as hundreds of fasting and same-meal postprandial cardiometabolic blood marker measurements are available, unveil new associations between specific gut microbes, dietary habits and cardiometabolic health.
— Read on

How to “Feel Better” in 2021

Please join me tonight at 6pm PST for a Deep Dive on the science of How Gut Health is Related to






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Wellness With Courtney

I am super-excited to congratulate my daughter, Courtney Talbott, on her acceptance into the highly competitive MS/RD program at Boston University (Master of Science in Nutrition & Dietetic Internship).

Courtney is in her final semester of studying Nutrition (major) and Psychology (minor) at CalPoly – and she has been extremely active with the Real Food Collaborative, media work to educate consumers, Amare, and developing her own educational platform at and on Instagram (she has some terrific content and recipes – so check it out).

Last Call for Energy Drink Prototype

Just about a year ago, many of you helped me raise money to rebuild a school in Madagascar. Together, we were successful in raising enough to fund not only the rebuilding of the school, but also a teacher’s salary plus books and school supplies – and we did all of this just as the coronavirus pandemic was starting to spread around the globe.

As part of the fundraiser, I sent a “thank you case” of my prototype “energy drink” to anyone who donated $100 (60 servings = $1.67/serving) – and I asked for feedback on what people thought of the drink. On average, that version was deemed to be highly energizing (everyone loved how it made them feel), but perhaps “too sweet” for some people? A handful of people even thought that the formula was “too potent” at the suggested 4-ounce serving size (including 100mg of caffeine) – so they dialed things down by using only 2-ounces at a time?

Based on this feedback, I have a new (better!) version coming out with Amare Global in the next month or two. This new version uses a somewhat different blend of natural ingredients (from 3 continents – Asia, Africa, and North America) – so we can deliver a very noticeable boost in mood, motivation, and metabolism – without using caffeine and without having to “over-sweeten” to cover the bitter-tasting actives. I am super-excited for this new formula, which goes far beyond anything that exists in either the “energy” or “weight” categories – it really is a new way to optimize mental and physical performance at the high end of the mental wellness continuum.

All that said, I still have some remaining lab samples of the previous prototype – so if you liked the earlier version, let me know. Same deal as before ($100/case), but since the KickStarter campaign is concluded, you can just donate to either PayPal ( or Venmo (@DocTalbott). Unfortunately, when these final samples are gone, they’re gone (but the new version will launch with Amare in a few weeks).

I’m hoping that global travel opens up in 2021 – because how cool would it be to join me on my next visit to Madagascar – or to some of our ingredient farms in Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia/New Zealand, or North/South America (every continent besides Antarctica)!?!? I’m hoping to run a contest or two in 2021 to enable people to join us to see where our ingredients come from, how they’re harvested, and how we support the local people and economy – so stay tuned for news about that (subscribe for updates below)!

Microbiome and Aging

Yet another interesting article outlining the many ways in which the human microbiome governs so many aspects of human health – in this case, the aging process.

Gut microbiota and aging

Zongxin Ling, Xia Liu, Yiwen Cheng, Xiumei Yan & Shaochang Wu (2020) 

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2020.1867054


Aging is characterized by the functional decline of tissues and organs and increased risk of aging-associated disorders, which pose major societal challenges and are a public health priority. Despite extensive human genetics studies, limited progress has been made linking genetics with aging. There is a growing realization that the altered assembly, structure and dynamics of the gut microbiota actively participate in the aging process. Age-related microbial dysbiosis is involved in reshaping immune responses during aging, which manifest as immunosenescence (insufficiency) and inflammaging (over-reaction) that accompany many age-associated enteric and extraenteric diseases. The gut microbiota can be regulated, suggesting a potential target for aging interventions. This review summarizes recent findings on the physiological succession of gut microbiota across the life-cycle, the roles and mechanisms of gut microbiota in healthy aging, alterations of gut microbiota and aging-associated diseases, and the gut microbiota-targeted anti-aging strategies.

Getting “Unstuck” in 2021

If 2020 has left you “stuck in a rut” (like it has for literally millions of people across the country), then please join me tonight at 6pm PST for a discussion about how to get “unstuck” – whether that be with your motivation, your energy levels, your weight, whatever.

This isn’t about “rah rah” happy thinking – it’s about SCIENCE (specifically nutritional biochemistry and nutritional psychology) – and more importantly, how we can USE the new science around gut health, your microbiome, and the Gut-Brain-Heart-Axis to get you moving in the right direction again.

Maybe you’re stuck because of stress (there was plenty of that to go around in 2020 – and more to come in at least the first part of 2021)?

Maybe you’re stuck because of hormones (both pregnancy and menopause are associated with the topics that we will discuss tonight)?

Maybe you’re stuck because of food intolerances or environmental “toxins” (which can include antibiotics, air pollution, pesticides, etc)?

Getting UNSTUCK means that your daytime fatigue is replaced with abundant physical energy and mental focus.

Getting UNSTUCK means that your metabolism starts to move again – and you lose body fat without “exercising” any harder or “dieting” any more strictly.

Getting UNSTUCK means that your chronic stress is more manageable because your resilience is enhanced – allowing you to show up to any given situation and take care of business.

Streaming live on Facebook ( and Zoom ( – password “amare”

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What do you want in 2021?

Please join me tonight at 6pm PST for a discussion about New Year Resolutions.

Streaming live on Facebook ( and Zoom ( – password “amare”

I’ll be discussing the following topics – and answering questions…

Why (most) New Year’s Resolutions Fail?

What is a better approach?

Why Mental Wellness will be a 2021 focus for millions of people? (stress, fitness, finances)

Subscribe for updates at: (blog)

2021 is the Year of Mental Wellness

Nice article in Fast Company – outlining why the #1 trend for 2021 will be “home-based health & wellness” businesses.

Jan 1 will be the start of a new decade – and one that I think will be focused on Mental Wellness – with people finally getting a handle on their stress, mood, focus, and ability to use mental fitness to fuel their physical performance.

There is no physical health without mental wellness…

11.26.20 | WORK LIFE

3 reasons why 2021 will be the best time to start a business

Today, amidst all that is happening in our country and the world, is the best time to launch a business.

For one, I fundamentally believe there’s never really a “wrong” time to start a business. Either way, you’re going to face challenges. Either way, you’re going to have to deal with some level of competition. So instead of waiting for the perfect time, you might as well dive right in.

But more concretely, the economy right now is fertile ground for entrepreneurs and business owners. Interest rates are as low as they’re ever going to get. Millions of people are looking for jobs, which means labor markets are abundant. The rise of “working from home” has opened a larger pool of talent to choose from when hiring. And most importantly, major industries are showing their vulnerabilities—which means opportunity for entrepreneurs savvy enough to invent new, compelling solutions.

There are a handful of trends that have emerged over the past year that will certainly begin to accelerate as we head into 2021. For one, as we get closer to creating a vaccine for the coronavirus, there will be a massive amount of pent-up demand for consumers who have been waiting to travel, go to concerts and sporting events, and even just get back to shopping in retail stores and dining at their favorite restaurants. At the same time, some of these other trends like remote work and leaner workforces I believe will also continue to accelerate—so finding ways to capitalize on both will be crucial for entrepreneurs.

Whether you’re looking to launch a new product or start a business in the near future, these are the three big trends I would encourage you to keep a close eye on in 2021.

1. The rise of at-home health products and remote wellness

Health and wellness products are certainly going through a major push right now.

Over the past year, I have talked to dozens of entrepreneurs in a wide range of industries: supplements, at-home genetic illness analysis, testing, home fitness, you name it. All of these businesses have quintupled in revenue in the last six months. And while I do believe this growth will most likely deflate a little bit initially after there’s a COVID-19 vaccine, I also foresee this trend roaring back with even more sophisticated products not long after.

For example, just in the at-home fitness market, sales of dumbbells and weight plates on eBay increased around 1,500% this year compared to 2019. Private-label vitamin and mineral supplement sales jumped 1,286% compared to a year ago. And according to CNBC and a study done by consulting firm Bain & Company back in May, “Only about 3% to 4% of grocery spending in the U.S. was online before the pandemic, but that’s surged to 10% to 15%.”

If there’s one thing the coronavirus really showed society as a whole, it’s that many of the ways we thought to take care of ourselves (going to the gym, going to the grocery store, etc.) can, in some way, also be done at home. I don’t believe after COVID-19 the everyday person will stop leaving their house and only want to work out at home and have their groceries delivered. But more and more, people have certainly found it to be a convenient alternative on certain days when they need it.

2. The diversification of supply chains

Many businesses outsource manufacturing to other countries: China and Mexico being two of the most common. But depending on how trade wars continue between America and these other countries will heavily impact many businesses here in the states.

That said, there has also been tremendous innovation and investment around manufacturing automation. And so, depending on the product, price point, and consumer base you’re targeting, it could begin to make sense to manufacture here in the United States as opposed to outsourcing those efforts to another country. You can also control all parts of your process a lot more easily than if you were to do so overseas. For example:

Less lag time

Can receive just-in-time inventory

Less strain on company cash flow

The trend that is emerging is that more and more entrepreneurs are beginning to realize how risky it is to have their entire business reliant on one supply chain, or one manufacturing partner. If something happens politically, or even just with their partner in the business, all of a sudden they’re in a tough situation. So, if you’re launching a new product or venture, I would strongly encourage you to at least have other supply chain options at your disposal and know what the possible implications would be if something were to go wrong.

3. The acceleration of e-commerce

E-commerce is quickly establishing itself to be the best and easiest way to launch a product and/or business.

From a testing point of view, it’s much more effective to engage and gather feedback from customers online than if you were to try to do something similar as a brick-and-mortar type of business. Facebook and Google remain the easiest ways to market to broad customers and also end up leading to the highest margins—because you end up owning the relationships you have with your customers directly (as opposed to someone walking into a store, buying a product, and leaving).

That said, I believe it’s important for businesses to maintain as much control over the shopping experience as possible. I would try to stay away from third-party ecommerce sites—including Amazon. A year ago, Amazon was driving 95% of our ecommerce sales here at Hydros. But at a certain point, we realized how much we were leaving on the table by building a business on their platform instead of driving customers to our own website, and actually capturing their information. We pivoted, and today Amazon represents 0.5% of our sales. It’s more of a marketing tool than anything else.

The reality is, the coronavirus has severely impacted both retail and mom-and-pop style businesses. Many have either pivoted to ecommerce, or gone out of business. I am still a believer in retail, and I think long term the category will come back and thrive in new, exciting ways.

But especially for entrepreneurs looking to launch a new product or venture in the world today, you are far better off starting online and then pursuing any kind of brick-and-mortar distribution later on down the road.

Winston Ibrahim is the founder and CEO of Hydros.

This article originally appeared in Minutes and is reprinted with permission.