The Natural Evolution Podcast

Season 2

Episode 21

S2E21 – Eating the Rainbow: The Science of Colorful, Plant-based Food and Practical Strategies with Dr. Deanna Minich

Color is an incredible and powerful tool – one you can use to heal your life! Dr. Deanna Minich is passionate about bringing a colorful whole-self healing approach to the table and bridging the gaps between science, soul, and art in medicine. 

You’ll walk away from this episode with a more beautifully appreciative lens of how color impacts us inside and out, why colors should be a part of the conversation surrounding nutrition, how different colors are connected to the benefits they provide to our bodies, and in true Rebel Health Tribe fashion – we go down just a few rabbit holes along the way. 

 And join her Nourish Your Whole Self Community

Head over to https://rebelhealthtribe.com/kit to get a free download of our loaded quick start guide to help you along your healing journey.  If you like us, subscribe, review, and share us with your friends, and come join our Rebel Health Tribe group on Facebook.

Listen to Episode #21

Dr. Deanna Minich walks us through this episode with a beautiful lens that brings appreciation to color! Understand why colors should be a part of the conversation surrounding nutrition and how different colors are connected to the benefits they provide to our bodies.
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About our Guest

Dr. Deanna Minich is a holistically-minded health educator and author with more than twenty years of experience in nutrition, mind-body-spirit health, and functional medicine. She holds master’s and doctorate degrees in Nutrition and Medical Sciences and has lectured globally on health topics, teaching patients and health professionals.

Dr. Minich is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, a Certified Nutrition Specialist, and a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner. Dr. Minich teaches for the Institute for Functional Medicine and for the graduate program in functional medicine at the University of Western States. She serves on the Board of Directors for the American Nutrition Association. Her passion is bringing forth a colorful whole-self approach to nourishment and bridging the gaps between science, soul, and art in medicine. She has published six books on health and wellness, and over forty scientific publications. Visit: www.deannaminich.com

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SE02E21: Eating the Rainbow: The Science of Colorful, Plant-based Food and Practical Strategies with Dr. Deanna Minich

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Podcast Transcript

Michael Roesslein: We’re recording. I am live. Welcome, everybody. I am here today with somebody I’ve wanted to record with for a very long time, and we’re finally doing it. I’m really excited. I am with Dr. Deanna Minich. Thank you for being here.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Thank you for having me. Yes, long awaited. For sure.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. We’ve been social media friends for an eternity and have a million mutual friends and a lot of things in common. Somehow we had never done one of these before, so it’s really going to be a good time. I’ve enjoyed the off-air chat, and we’ll just drag it into the on-air chat. Most of you probably are familiar with her work, but I will do a little introduction for those who are not. Dr. Minich is a holistically-minded health educator and author with more than 20 years of experience in nutrition, mind, body, spirit, health, and functional medicine. She holds a master’s and doctorate degree in nutrition and medical sciences, and has lectured globally on health topics, teaching patients and health professionals.

Dr. Minich is also a fellow of the American College of Nutrition, a certified nutrition specialist, and a certified functional medicine practitioner who teaches for IFM, the Institute for Functional Medicine, and a graduate program in functional medicine at University of Western states. What I love about her work and her passion is bringing forth a colorful whole-self approach to nourishment and bridging the gaps between science, soul, and art in medicine. She’s published six books. Is that current, or did you have another one?

Dr. Deanna Minich:

No. No, no.

Michael Roesslein:

Okay. Then, I’ve lost track. Six books on health and wellness, and over 40 scientific publications. We’ll have links down below in the show notes, wherever you’re watching this, but her website is deannaminich.com, and we’ll talk about that more later. So you have been a busy woman for a while, and we were talking before we went on air. There are some things that you did that you don’t still do that aren’t even on there, like teaching at Bastyr.

So a lot of education, a lot of writing. People have been nudging me to write a book for a while, and just writing one book seems like an overwhelming endeavor. So kudos to you for being so prolific on creation and what you’re putting out. I think those who are familiar with your work, if I see your name anywhere, I almost automatically see it in rainbow colors. It just creates a rainbow vision in my head because everything that I see you post is… and I don’t know if you do the designs or the graphics, but I’ve seen your paintings. Everything is so colorful and…

Dr. Deanna Minich:

That’s all mine.

Michael Roesslein:

So much in this industry is not colorful. It’s almost the opposite of colorful. It’s very, I don’t know, dry, and left-brained, and rigid, and structured, and charts, and graphs, and these type of things. It’s so refreshing to see that, and it’s not just the design though, which we’re going to talk about here. It’s not just the colors and the rainbows, and putting information in pretty-looking things. Usually, I see those, and you’re using the food to make the colors on the things.

Having just recently moved to Italy, a place that is very passionate about brightly colored foods, I’ve noticed at the market in the produce shops and the stands where I go, the colors are more vibrant, there’s a wider range of colors represented than I would usually see in most places in the States, and this isn’t just an aesthetic.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

This is a real factor when it comes to the value of what we’re putting into our bodies. So I guess the first question I have is, why are colors an important part of nutrition and should be talked about?

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah. Well, thanks, Mike. I mean, you set the stage really beautifully. I came into colors during my graduate degree, and I had the opportunity to study with two pioneers in the field, Dr. Maria [Sapunzakas 00:04:19] and Dr. Phyllis Bowen, and they taught me a lot about carotenoids. Carotenoids are plant pigments. They make plants pretty, especially during the fall months when we have the chlorophyll degrading, and then we start to see what’s underneath the chlorophyll, the red, the orange, the yellow. All of those things make the plant look pretty, but they’re also very healing.

I would say that phytochemicals are the underdogs of nutrition science. So much time and energy has been given to what I would call the three musketeers: protein, carbohydrate, and fat. So many nutritionists and people get really fixated on high/low variations of those different macronutrients. Yet, what I was uncovering through a lot of my graduate research, and then even from that point on, working with Dr. Jeffrey Bland and other people who really illuminated the way for me to see that there was more, these phytonutrients, thousands and thousands of different compounds in plants, which are having this really big impact at the cellular level.

So that’s one reason why I think color is important because it’s a guiding light within the foods. It’s showing us what has antioxidant potential, but “antioxidants” is a worn-out, weary 1990s term, right? People used to use “antioxidants” to refer to those colorful compounds, and now we know that there’s so much more about them. Aside from that, and I know that this is your interest as well, is that color is, I would say, yes, it’s healing for the body through medicinal foods that we take in, but it’s also healing for the soul.

There’s not one day that goes by that color is not impacting us. So you moving to Italy and seeing the beautiful colors in the market. Every day throughout our lives, we decide what colors to wear. We decide, looking at that stop sign if we’re driving a car, that that red is alerting us to a message. We are seeing a green light is go, a yellow is school bus. All of the colors in our environment are priming us psychologically. So, to me, color is the dividing rod between the psyche and the body, and I don’t think we pay enough attention to it. Right?

There’s the whole healing arts that we see that medicine has spawned from, from all of the traditional systems of healing and medicine. Now, we move into private practice. So what I’m trying to do is take my science background and marry it to art in such a way that people have an integrated view of the whole rather than just slicing and dicing into scientific bits, that we can slice and dice. At the same time, we can see the artistic whole is more or less my goal.

Michael Roesslein:

Thank you. I have two questions follow up from that. Yes, and I think anybody who hears that, if you close your eyes and picture your favorite color, there’s a felt sense in the body that happens. Anything that you feel, there’s a physiological thing happening in your body also that is, in that case, probably a positive one. So I love the acknowledgement of just like… The first time I saw tomatoes here a few years ago when I was visiting here that were a color that was so red that when I tried to take a picture of it with my phone, it was oversaturated. The phone couldn’t handle the red. The picture was terrible, and I wanted it to send to everybody. It looked like I had put a red filter on a thing that was already red, and there was too much red. I couldn’t get it the right way, and I’m like, “I want people to see this.”

My gazillion megapixel camera literally can’t do it, and I’m like, “It doesn’t matter.” I put the thing down, and I just looked at it. There was an astonishment of like, “I didn’t know tomatoes could look like this.” You mentioned seasons in the colors and that… I know that applies to leaves, but is there a correlation for colors of fruits and vegetables and the seasons that they ripen in? I’ve never thought of that, or heard of that, or noticed that. But I guess the berries come towards the end of the summer, and those are…

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

I didn’t know if you meant more of the leaves and the foliage, or if you were talking about plant like produce.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

I was talking more about the leaves.

Michael Roesslein:

Light does come in the spring, right?

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah. That is an interesting concept of color throughout the year and how that matches the season. One of the things that I noticed just even through my community-supported agriculture. So, every week, I get certain things that are in season and grown locally, right? One of the things that I’ve noticed is that there’s a difference in color in the winter vegetables like parsnips, and rutabaga, and cabbage. The colors are a little bit more dull, if you will. They’re more earthy. Whereas in the summer, when we might have more activity, we might be more prone to UV radiation because of the sun. It’s almost like nature gives us more of its colorful produce, and perhaps that correlates with our need state. That’s probably…

Michael Roesslein:

Interesting.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Not just ours. Anything that eats those things.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah, and that’s true. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah, the whole ecosystem. Right?

Michael Roesslein:

So something like… What is it? I’m not of phytonutrient expert, so I’ll probably butcher some of these, but like astaxanthin is good for sun exposure, right?

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Astaxanthin. Yeah. It’s good to skin. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

That’s in berries, right?

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Astaxanthin is primarily in things like, believe or not, shellfish and different…

Michael Roesslein:

Oh.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah, that.

Michael Roesslein:

The colored ones? Isn’t it the red?

Dr. Deanna Minich:

The colored. Yeah, like the pinkish, like shrimp.

Michael Roesslein:

Okay. Shrimp.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Everything that is pinkish because it’s eating the microplankton in the water that carry those plant compounds.

Michael Roesslein:

Okay. [crosstalk 00:10:37].

Dr. Deanna Minich:

That’s a carotenoid. I was like, “It’s good that you mentioned that one.”

Michael Roesslein:

That’s a carotenoid? Okay.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Because all of those carotenoids, we take in whether it’s lycopene, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene. Lutein is a big one. So a lot of those carotenoids.

Michael Roesslein:

Big heist.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah, they go… Yes.

Michael Roesslein:

Okay.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

There’s an intelligence in the body of where these plant compounds are going, and I write about that in my Whole Detox book, where I talk about the color code. Red is about inflammation. Orange is about reproductive health. Yellow is digestion. Green is cardiovascular, and blue/purple is brain. So that’s how I see the pattern recognition of colors throughout the different body systems, which correlate with the endocrine system, which correlate with the chakras. I kind of see…

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. I just was trying to do that connection in my head really quick, but you beat me to it. I was like, “I wonder if that lines up with…” and it does. That was my other question is all the traditional healing systems, I guess I would call it, like you mentioned, the chakras, which is like a… Well, there’s many different systems that involve chakras, but most people know them from an Indian system in our culture from yoga and that type of thing. But then, there’s First Nations and Native American healing systems. I don’t know if “systems” the right word, but they have the medicine wheel, which is color-based.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michael Roesslein:

Then, the chakra system is color-based, and there’s multiple… I don’t want to call them chakra systems, but I have friends who are highly trained in various forms of qi gong and energy work from far east practices, and those have color systems to them as well. I don’t think that that’s a coincidence, and a lot of them were developed millennia apart from each other in parts of the world where it was completely impossible that there would be any communication between them and people on the other side of the planet. These things do developed in very similar ways with very similar maps, with very similar color schemes.

When somebody showed me that the first time, it was… I don’t know. I got chills. It was like, “Of course, everybody figured it out the same,” and so I just want to… I think you mentioned that, the chakras, but I’ve seen the medicine wheels and all the different things, and colors are involved in every one of them. It’s probably not until this modern, conventional, I’ll put in quotes, “medical system” that we’ve created a healing system that doesn’t have that aspect to it.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Well, yeah. That is a really a good point. One of the things I like to do is to look for what I call the common denominator. In other words, what unifies us rather than divides. Within eating, there’s so much division. So many people sign up for a certain diet, or they have a certain dogma, which is fine, but eating is a universal act. It’s something that we all need to do as humans, and so one of the things that I always look for is, what can we all share in? What can we all partake in? Color is one of those things, and it’s really interesting that you brought up the First Nations and Native… I studied with a shaman some years ago, and yes, there’s color in that system. Color is part of the healing tradition. Right?

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

It is. Even when we close our eyes, oftentimes, we use things like journeying, or dreaming, or visualizing certain states in order to heal. Often, even though we’re not seeing the color, we can visualize the color. All different species of animals are seeing different frequencies, right?

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

The wavelengths that they’re able to key into based on their eyes is very different. So we have cones and rods. The cones in the eye allow us to see, and I’m really lately all about the eye, like the science of the eye because I just posted on Facebook an article that I found, and I’ve known of this connection, but this article did a brilliant job of linking the gut microbiome to retinol health. What do we know about the eye now? The eye receives light. The light is received then by the hypothalamic junction in the brain. The hypothalamus talks to the pituitary. Pituitary talks to the rest of the endocrine circuit.

So, really, one of the major portals of our circadian rhythm, our endocrine rhythm is through the eye. The eye is magical. Whether or not we can see, if we’re nearsighted, farsighted, blind, the eye is still receiving light. There are many ways to look at every organ of the body, I think. I think we can look literally, we can look symbolically. So when I think of the eye, the all-knowing, all-seeing eyes, right? In ancient Indian type of traditions, especially connected to the chakras, you have the third eye, which is often referred to as the pituitary gland. Right? It’s a point of meditation.

Michael Roesslein:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Deanna Minich:

So the eyes can be impacted by, as we’re learning, the gut microbiome, and the eye even has its own microbiome. Right? Like we have…

Michael Roesslein:

I just found that out recently, and it freaked me out for a second, and then I thought, “Of course, it does.”

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Well, and it’s so interesting that everybody is getting so focused on the gut microbiome when it… I’m thinking like, “Well, what about all the biomes?” We have skin microbiomes. We have a nasal microbiome. We have an oral microbiome. We have an ear microbiome, a vaginal microbiome. I mean, the list goes on and on. So it’s like, “Well, how do all those biomes play together?” That’s cool.

Michael Roesslein:

The oral is getting a little bit press lately. I’ve seen that getting more… At least in my little bubble where I follow a bunch of people that talk about health things, there are some dentists doing pretty incredible work pushing the oral microbiome connection.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

We had a recent webinar on SIBO where they talked about how a lot of the non-native bacteria that are found in small intestines when there’s SIBO are oral microbiome species that generally would be killed if adequate stomach acid, and bile, and motility, and all of that was functioning normally.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

But it doesn’t get killed, and then it colonizes in a place it should never be, and it’s oral microbes that they’re finding in the small intestine with SIBO. So it’s starting, but yeah, the rest of them, like eye microbiome and skin microbiome. Jen Fugo is a friend of mine that does Skinterrupt podcast. She talks about skin condition. She’s the only one I’ve heard mentioned that. So, yeah. It’s going to get really interesting, I think.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

It will.

Michael Roesslein:

The gut one is like… They’re just years ahead in that one. That’s the one that everybody figured out first, I think. So it has a lot more research, but the microbiome is a good segue. At least in the gut where the food goes, they like these plant compounds, right? The polyphenols and things like that are prebiotics. Right?

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Other organisms in the gut love the plant compounds that we’re talking about that make the colors.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah, and I call that the three Ps of gut health. Three Ps. So the first P is prebiotics. Typically, that means fibers. Anything that can be chewed up by the microorganisms, and those fibers can be more like soluble/insoluble, but they’re changing the metabolites. Then, you have the probiotics that everybody knows about. But then, there are the polyphenols, which is a totally… There is some overlap with prebiotics, but I think that we’re learning that polyphenols are still pretty unique. They don’t rigidly fall into the camp of prebiotics. They may be creating some other metabolites that are even more active than their mother compounds. So I think that that’s really neat.

Michael Roesslein:

Interesting.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

So that would be the blue/purple compounds, like this skin of blueberries or the skin of grapes.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Resveratrol, anthocyanins, these types of things would be good polyphenol fodder for the milieu.

Michael Roesslein:

All right, or here, they would say wine, but we’re not going to get into the alcohol debate.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

So, we’re learning. Oh, alcohol.

Michael Roesslein:

Here, wine solves everything, and they’ll tell you all the different plant compounds that are in wine that you should want to have a lot of. But blueberries, and grapes, and other darker skin things is what you’re talking about there.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah, and cocoa as well, right, like cacao, cocoa.

Michael Roesslein:

Okay. Oh, good.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Really rich in the…

Michael Roesslein:

That’s a popular answer to give.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah. Well, you mentioned wine. So I thought I would compliment it with cocoa.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

But there’s a reason why these foods have stayed within the trajectory of people’s eating. They taste good, but then there is also some merit to what they’re doing in the body.

Michael Roesslein:

Very interesting. I want to touch on that rainbow a little bit more. You mentioned in the colors, because I got too excited, that they lined up with the chakras, but what… You said green, cardiovascular. I believe yellow, detoxification. The blue and the purple, the brain. Can you give an example or two of how that’s true?

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

What compounds and what colors do what things for what system, I guess, would be the right way to ask that?

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah, yeah. You bet. I have a chart that goes through each of the colors and their foods.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

So, here’s how I see it. So, red. Red is all about survival. It’s all about safety. It’s protection, and many of… You mentioned one already, astaxanthin. That is very protective for the skin. Red gets in there and has some kind of impact in certain body systems, especially like cardiovascular, prostate health, things that would be inflammatory. Red can come in and quell the red in the body. Although there are certain red foods like tomatoes that might be more inflammatory for certain people or even strawberries, which are histamine-containing. Some people are more sensitive to those. So red is a double-edged sword. It can be inflammatory for certain folks, and it can be anti-inflammatory.

Orange is the color of hormones, reproductive health, fat tissue because a lot of the orange compounds are carotenoids and they’re fat-soluble. So they go into the tissues that are a little bit more fatty, and what we know about fat tissue is that fat tissue can also create certain hormones. So there’s a connection there. You also find certain carotenoids localized into the ovaries and even into the head of sperm, and it’s been thought that they play a role in reproductive health and fertility.

Yellow. When I think of yellow, I think of lemons, ginger, prebiotic fibers, and squashes. So when I think of yellow, I think of the catalytic activity, the breakdown effects of things like bromelain, pancreatic type of enzymatic activity. There are so many things in plants that make them just natural enzymes. They help in the breakdown process, right? Bile is yellow. Some of the foods that help with bile would be dandelion. When I think of dandelion as being the yellow flower, but then the bitter greens which are also helpful for that bile production and health of the gut.

Then, green. When I think of green, I think of expansion, openness. We want open blood vessels. So what opens the blood vessels? Naturally occurring nitrates. Things like vitamin K help with circulation and coagulation. Folates help with methylation. So there are certain elements within leafy greens that we see just naturally. Like if you look at a leaf of a plant, I don’t know about you, but I see the vascular system. I mean, I’m seeing the main artery and a number of different offshoots from that main artery.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

It’s beautiful, right?

Michael Roesslein:

I’ve seen a lot of very cleverly made graphics as well that put them side by side, like the tree and the lung, or the leaf and the lung, or the leaf and the nervous system too.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Right.

Michael Roesslein:

I’ve seen some pretty incredible side-by-sides as Photoshop technology has increased that are spectacular to where if you took the color away from them, you probably couldn’t even tell which one is which.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

True. It’s really amazing.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

That’s just an example of seeing food as art too, looking at the sacred geometry of it, the symmetry, the interconnection of it all. When you start to really get into it, it’s like, “Wow,” and then you get to eat that and become that.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. They have a lot of those… What’s that thing called that… They’re not very popular in the States, but they eat them a lot here. It’s related to broccoli and cauliflower, but it’s spirally, and pointy, and green

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Romanesco?

Michael Roesslein:

Yes.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

I think it’s romanesco. Yeah. It’s beautiful. It’s like…

Michael Roesslein:

Okay. Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

It looks like a fractal spiral from above or this way.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

They have them here a lot. They’re in the markets, and they’re at the produce stands.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

I don’t really love it flavor-wise. I buy them once in a while to cook them because I love to look at them and take pictures of them, but I’ve seen recently… I forget what it’s called. When you put sand or liquid on something, and then you make sound, and it makes shapes. There’s a name for that. I apologize to my sound healers out there. I’ve been told this name a bunch of times, but you can play sound frequencies, and then the sand will like vibrate into these insane, perfect, fractal shapes. But then, if you slice like a tomato a certain way, you see the same thing, or if you slice a cucumber the same way, you see the same thing. It implies that sound, and energy, and frequency create the vegetables just like it creates the shape of the sand, that that’s an unseen thing that’s guiding why that thing is shaped like it is in a really oversimplified way. But yes, some of the patterns in fruits and vegetables are… I’m in to psychedelic type art, and nature wins in that competition.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

That is really beautiful to think about that. I was interviewed by a different podcaster, Lachlan Dunn, who’s in Australia, and he was asking me what I thought about shapes, like the shapes of food and what that conveys in a more therapeutic sense, like circles and squares, and just how… Yes, I’m keyed into color, and he was asking, “Well, what about the shape and the design?” I just thought it was an interesting question, right? There are so many layers that we can look at food.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

There’s a nutrition…

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, the shape and the design. I’m not an engineer or a physicist, but I know that some of our most advanced technologies have been modeled after things that exist in nature, like we’re trying to create leaves that will harness sunlight and turn it into energy.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Right.

Michael Roesslein:

Literally, we’re trying to make the things that the tree makes or that the ground makes on its own. I don’t know the right word. The intricacy of it, even with all of our technology that we have now, we can’t make most of it and design it.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Right, it’s…

Michael Roesslein:

It’s beautiful and flawless.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michael Roesslein:

So it almost makes me not want to eat the thing sometimes. But then, I remember it makes more of them, so I don’t feel bad, but it’s like eating a piece of art.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yes.

Michael Roesslein:

I think that’s appreciated more in other cultures too than it is often in the States where food is a thing you need to eat because you have to do it, and you get it at the drive-through, and you eat it in the car, and you do… I think more traditional cultures still have that connection to the beauty of food as art. I always tell people I’m not artistic at all like, “I’m the least artistic person you’ll ever meet. I can’t do anything with art,” and they’ll say, “But you cook,” and cooking is always taught at art schools.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

That’s true. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

So. So I’m corrected on…

Dr. Deanna Minich:

I think we all agree that that seed of creativity, right, it just comes out in our own way.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I just see people like yourself post these incredible paintings and things like that. I love looking at art. I love listening to music. I love watching films. I love all these thing, reading books, and I feel like I don’t create. But then, I create other things that aren’t as colorful and pretty, and then food, but food is art to most of the world.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Food is considered an art more than a science. Where in the States and what is more Western culture now, we have food science, like food chemicals, and food scientists, and food this, and food… It’s like, “Oh, that’s not the way,” but I stopped you though at green. I think we had one more or two more to go to. You did red, orange, yellow, green.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Green, and then…

Michael Roesslein:

This is my ADD taking over, so.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

No, it’s good. It’s good to be… I like the organic. See, that’s your creativity.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Blue/purple. So blue/purple is for the brain. It’s mental health. It’s the color that’s in the shortest supply in the average diet is blue/purple, and that’s just because it occurs very rarely, and it’s very precious in nature. So it’s not often that we see a lot of berries. It’s more common to see leafy greens, and green is in no short supply. But even in the Italian market, I get… Blue/purple, next time you go to the market, it’s just not common. Right?

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Right.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

It’s concentrated, but when you do see it, it’s really a good idea to get as much blue/purple as we can.

Michael Roesslein:

Eggplant is the only one that’s around right now because things are really seasonal here. It’s not the same. I can’t get certain things.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

If I went to the supermarket… There’s a supermarket over there. I could get stuff from there. But anytime I’ve asked that to my… because I’m in school here for language, and I ask them a lot of questions about things that aren’t language because I’m trying to understand stuff. I say, “I saw a mango at the supermarket. Do mangoes grow in Italy?” Then, they got upset that there’s mangoes at the supermarket because the mangoes come from South America. I saw avocados at the supermarket, and I said, “Do they grow avocados in Italy?” They said, “Yes, they’re starting to grow them in the South, but they’re very water-intensive, and they don’t belong there, and we shouldn’t be growing them.”

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

I couldn’t imagine that response coming from a random person I would talk to in the US. But here, there’s this knowing that those foods aren’t… Pineapple. There’s a pineapple at the supermarket. I said, “Do they grow pineapples in the South here?” They’re like, “No, because the South here is not tropical. It’s dry.”

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

So it’s warmer, but… Yeah, and so I can’t get the… Like the berries here, there will be this many berries here in the summertime for a couple months, and then they go away.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Right.

Michael Roesslein:

I think we’re so used to being able to go to the store and get whatever thing we want whenever we want it that eating seasonally really is a lost part, like a lost natural thing that we’re out of balance with.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Right.

Michael Roesslein:

Like in Minnesota, in February, you shouldn’t be able to eat a mango. That just wouldn’t exist ever actually in Minnesota, but berries, you can get berries from Chile in Chicago. I’m from Chicago originally. I can get black berries in January. They come from South America or they come from somewhere really far away.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

[crosstalk 00:31:15] where it was.

Michael Roesslein:

What? What? You’re from Chicago too.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

I am from Chicago. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Oh, interesting. Cheers on escaping, but no, Chicago is a beautiful place. I often run into people who used to live there a lot, but can you speak… What about the time? Like a berry comes from Chile and goes to Chicago. What happens to these colorful compounds and any of that? Once a thing is picked, is that part of the reason why fresh, and local, and seasonal is better is because… Do those things degrade, or go away, or become less abundant?

Dr. Deanna Minich:

They do. Yeah. I mean, a plant is living just like we are, and it has a life cycle. In some cases, what is done, especially when things are picked from far away places is that they’re picked early, and then they ripen in route. Right? So they don’t really have the benefit of soaking up those additional sun rays or getting those last drops of rainwater. Sometimes they’re actually accelerated in their ripening through ethylene gas and other types of applications like bananas. Bananas are very…

Michael Roesslein:

Is that what ripens bananas when you put them in a paper bag?

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michael Roesslein:

It’s the gas, like the…

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yes. Yeah. They start to ripen, and so yeah, you may not be getting the full extent of different nutrients. When you live in a certain place, your body starts to connect to that environment. Right? Your microbiomes start to change, and so then your needs and what you take in start to connect into that. So if we’re constantly… Let’s just say we’re eating oranges, and it’s winter. We’re sending the signal of summer to our body when it’s actually winter, and that we’re in a different hemisphere, which is very incongruous. Right? It’s like what a disconnect for our bodies to be taking in signals that don’t align.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. That’s a super new thing as far as our physiology goes, like the ability to do that.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Right.

Michael Roesslein:

Even 50 years ago, I’m sure you could get mangoes, or oranges, or something in Chicago in the winter 50 years ago, but it probably was difficult and very expensive. Now, they’re the same cost all the time, and they’re there all the time. Winter is actually the season of oranges where they grow like in Florida and in California.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

I lived in California for the last eight years, and citrus season was the winter.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Right.

Michael Roesslein:

“Winter.” I’ll put winter in quotes because California doesn’t have winter, but then the rest of the country gets those oranges at the same time.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michael Roesslein:

Or if you’re eating them later, they’ve been in a… however oranges are stored for four months or something like that.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Right.

Michael Roesslein:

So I’ve had people that I’ve tried to teach eating seasonally and locally to roll their eyes at me as if that’s old-fashioned, or archaic, or some sort of thing, and I’m like, “No, this is a legit.” This legitimately has an impact on your physiology because if you think about it, what percentage of human history and evolution did we eat only the things that were where we were? 99.999999. Now, you have cherries in February in Minnesota, and that’s got to be confusing to some level of systems in our body of like, “It’s cold. It’s winter. I need to shut down. I need to slow down. I need to eat tons of fruit and run around like it’s…”

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Well, it’s not only intuitive. There’s actual science that’s emerging to support seasonal eating, and these studies are primarily in animals, but what they do is they change the day/night cycle for the animal, feed them different kinds of fruits, and in general, what some of those emerging studies are showing is that there can even be greater fat accumulation changes in leptin, which is a hormone that’s connected to appetite. So there can be some metabolic shifts by giving your body a different food that is not within that season. So that, we are seeing in animal studies. For humans, it’s a little bit more difficult to do that because there are so many variables that come into play.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, and you can’t do things that you know are harmful.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Right, right. You wouldn’t to…

Michael Roesslein:

In human study too, there’s ethical things.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Sure.

Michael Roesslein:

There’s such a fine line with this because I love animals, and it’s hard sometimes reading studies that are done on animals because I know that they know what the outcome is going to be to an extent. That’s why they’re doing the study to prove a theory. Usually, that theory’s not going to go so hot for some of the animals in the study. So I want to go acknowledge that, and you can’t do that with people, so.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Right, right.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

In these studies, I mean, I don’t think that they’re doing harm per se. It’s more like just twisting the circadian rhythm a little bit on its head temporarily, seeing how food changes a lot of the hormonal signals. I think so much of us of our physiology is run on endocrine interaction and hormones. This year, for me, is all on food and hormones. I just see such a connection between the hormones that are naturally in food and how they’re changing our hormones, and then the hormones that are toxic in the environment, the endocrine disruptors, and how that’s changing our endocrine system. It’s like this is the age of the endocrine in my mind, and what is the endocrine system? It’s the chakra system, but it’s within the Western context.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

What is coming to light for me is that true integration of seeing what is negatively impacting it, like the endocrine disruptors, the plastics, the parabens, the heavy metals. Then, on the other side, looking at what is bringing it more into balance. Things like maca. Things like adaptogens. Things like the phytochemicals in the skins of foods. Ginger contains melatonin. Rice contains melatonin. Cherries contain melatonin. We don’t realize the extent of naturally-occurring hormones in plants. There’s a name for these. It’s called phytohormones. Just like you would think, plant-based hormones, and people have been doing it with things like wild yam, these lookalike progesterone, but yet…

Michael Roesslein:

Progesterone, right. Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

When they think hormones, typically, they think of sex hormones, but they don’t realize there’s cortisol and the whole mineral corticoids. Then, there are the digestive hormones, the leptins, the adipokines. Now, we know that the liver is a hormonal organ. The heart is an endocrine organ. The thyroid. All of the foods that impact thyroid function. Right? Then, the pituitary. So I do think that we’re part…

Michael Roesslein:

Even body fat like fat tissue is an endocrine organ.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Fat tissue. Absolutely, and the skin.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Deanna Minich:

The largest grain of the body, the skin has its own hypothalamic pituitary access. It has a stress response built in from the receptor perspective. So our whole being is like a walking, talking, breathing endocrine vehicle in the environment, and it interplays with the immune system, with the nervous system, and our psychology. So it’s a beautiful way to portal into our everyday experience, right? Some people are really into the psychology of it. Some people are into the immune aspects, especially now, and then there’s the endocrine, which is really interfacing with all of those systems.

That’s what we know from traditional… Just to come full circle from where we started is that these ancient traditional systems always acknowledge the interconnection of body systems. If you have an issue with your eye, we need to be thinking of the liver and the gut. They could see those patterns. Now, in science, we’re getting granular. We’re trying to understand, “Okay. If the gut microbiome impacts the eye, can we create a certain therapeutic blend of microorganisms for people with age-related macular degeneration? Wouldn’t that be cool?” So you prime the gut then to correct the issues potentially in the eye. I think we’re trying to break it down to help people with these debilitating conditions.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. The interconnectedness is something that, yeah, is universal in all traditional healing modalities. My masters is in exercise physiology, and I had to do… I don’t remember what pre-req it was. I don’t know. Maybe it was anatomy/physiology. Maybe something else. I had to do a report on an alternative healing modality, and I love the word “alternative” to be used to refer to things that are 3,000 years old.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

I know.

Michael Roesslein:

When the drugs are like 70 years old, but anyways…

Dr. Deanna Minich:

That’s why I’ve stopped using it. It’s like, “It’s not alternative. It’s complimentary. It’s like…”

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. No. No. The thing that we’re doing now is alternative, but I chose Chinese medicine, which I didn’t realize when I chose it. It’s literally the most deep, complex thing that exists in the world if you really want to get into it. I went and took a book out from the library that was like 2,700 pages, and I’m like, “Oh my God, the guy said this is the primer book.” But anyways, I took out of that what was really fascinating. I knew nothing about it. I knew nothing about Chinese medicine then. I love it now, but I knew nothing then other than they use needles, and that’s scary for me because I have a phobia of shots. What I picked away from it and I wrote the whole paper about was that they found these patterns that…

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Something I had read when I was writing it was that they found the patterns, and then I compared it to patterns that were found in Ayurvedic medicine and patterns that were found in… I think it was somewhere in Canada, like a First Nations medicine, and then they even brought up a North or some Northern European ancestor medicine. While they acknowledged there were differences, there was an underlying… A lot of the patterns that were discovered between the liver and anger, and certain body systems and emotions, and then certain diseases with certain bodies. I read this thing, and I was like, “Man, I want a do-over and do a master’s degree in this because what I’m learning over there is not as interesting as this.” It’s so compartmentalized.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

We create these hyper-specialists, and you can get a PhD in the gut lining.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Right.

Michael Roesslein:

Then, you know everything out the gut lining, but you don’t know anything about how it interacts with anything else.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Right.

Michael Roesslein:

I’m starting to see things though. Go ahead and go backwards a little bit. By backwards, I mean to seeing the interconnectedness because the compartmentalized is failing.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

It fails. Look at how this medical system handles chronic diseases. It’s a mess. My wife is a nurse. She works in hospitals, but she works emergency. Really good at that relative to chronic disease management, but this modern medical system, the compartmentalization, it doesn’t know how to handle chronic diseases. You look at these overlapping patterns and systems that they have discovered, and then it all ties back… and they all have colors. They all have colors to the systems, and then the foods that go with the system, that go with the pattern. Yeah. It’s more fun too. There’s a feeling that comes with it. We’re smiling as we talk about this because it’s so cool that this is how it works and that nature developed itself like this where, yeah, the cold, compartmentalized doesn’t have that same energy to it, so.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Well, I do think you need both. I think it’s cool that we are macro and micro. When I go into a cell and start looking at its parts, I start to see the macro. I think it’s good to have a specialist in gut lining like Alessio Fasano.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. True.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

That helped us to understand zonulin, which helped us to understand auto-immunity, which helped us to understand the root cause.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

So I guess I see it. I embrace both.

Michael Roesslein:

I don’t want to knock… I don’t want to throw it under the bus. I wish the people would all talk to each other more.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah. Yeah. We need more crosstalk about…

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Sure.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, by putting them in the same room.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

We need [crosstalk 00:44:28] this talking to the English lit majors talking to philosophy…

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

But that’s an overwhelming, beautiful way…

Michael Roesslein:

That’s a lot.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah, it’s a lot.

Michael Roesslein:

It’s a lot. That’s a lot to try to learn. You look at Da Vinci and those people. That was the Renaissance era. People did do that.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

They were the artist, and the scientist, and the mathematician, and the whatever. But with the internet and the proliferation of knowledge now, I don’t think one brain could handle that.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Right.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, more crosstalk and communication. I think that’s happening. I think it’s definitely, definitely happening, especially with younger people in the medical field.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah, it’s happening.

Michael Roesslein:

I think that it’s happening quite a bit, so.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Well, I think we’re about out of time. I’d love to continue this conversation for the rest of my night, but if people want to find more information about your work and what you do, I have a few links we’ll put down below. One is to your Rainbow Diet book, and then there’s a free download that’s an E-booklet that is a companion or a preview to that that we’ll also put the link down below as well. So they can find that. Is there anywhere else that they should ago?

Dr. Deanna Minich:

No. Thank you so much for giving everybody that free download. I have a bunch of downloads actually on my site. So it’s just deannaminich.com.

Michael Roesslein:

Okay.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

It’s just my name, and if you go to… There’s a Resources tab, and then under “Resources,” it will say “Downloads.” There’s just a bunch. So whatever anybody wants to take, feel free to pull from anything you want there. There’s a whole bunch on color, living a colorful life. So just pick and choose.

Michael Roesslein:

Cool. I’ll grab that. Well, I’ll have our team grab that link and stick it down there too to make it easier. So we’ll have a link to the e-book.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

A link to the downloads. A link to the website. We don’t limit how many links we can put on the thing because we talk about a lot of things in the podcast. I’m even going to try to… I actually saved your post on the microbiome in the eye about three hours ago.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Oh, nice.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, because I saw that, and we do a lot of microbiome stuff here.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Okay.

Michael Roesslein:

Our focus is a lot on gut things, and microbiome stuff, and whatever.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Okay.

Michael Roesslein:

Every time I see a new article being published on an angle I haven’t seen, I always save it to discuss on future things, and I save that. So we’ll put the link for that here too if you wanted. Now, that’s a medical journal article. That’s not like a blog post or something, but…

Dr. Deanna Minich:

I’m not just picking that from my…

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

That’s not my research.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

In fact, if you look at that post, you will see in the thread where I list the actual article. So people may want to go…

Michael Roesslein:

That’s what I grabbed.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Perfect.

Michael Roesslein:

That’s what I grabbed.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Okay.

Michael Roesslein:

So I’ll share that. That’s what I was just warning people. You’re going to click into a medical journal.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just open that. There’s [crosstalk 00:47:31] around.

Michael Roesslein:

It has that physiology journal. Yeah, yeah. I like to preface that because people click those, and then it’s like, “Whoa.”

Dr. Deanna Minich:

“Oh, too much information.”

Michael Roesslein:

If you haven’t been through grad school and all those things, and you didn’t learn to read those without glazing over, it can be a little overwhelming at first.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah. That’s true.

Michael Roesslein:

I have to admit. I never have adjusted. I never started to love reading journal articles, but I read them. So I had bookmarked that one before we talked. I didn’t even realize it was you. I just saw and bookmarked it. So that is a funny coincidence.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Well, people don’t even have to read it. Let’s just say that they’ve got eye problems, they bring it to their eye doctor, and then start a conversation then. Right?

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

You don’t have to be the expert in reading those articles.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Deanna Minich:

But if you have a particular issue that you’re working with, it might be a good resource for people that you’re working with within your health team.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Check it out.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Cool. Well, thank you so much.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Thank you.

Michael Roesslein:

The links are all below. Super fun. I love the colors. Please keep sharing your paintings. If you don’t already follow Dr. Minich on Facebook, and I don’t know if you do Instagram or wherever, but I see your paintings on Facebook.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Yes.

Michael Roesslein:

We’ll have links to the social media below too. It’s worth just for the art.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Aw, thank you so much.

Michael Roesslein:

So thank you for putting those out. I’m so… and not even envious, just I admire people who can create beautiful things like that, and I live curiously through those. So please keep doing that, and we will talk again soon.

Dr. Deanna Minich:

Wonderful. Thank you so very much. Enjoy your time in Italy.