We discuss in this interview:

  • Adam’s incredible journey through adversities of any kind until he has become a lifestyle coach
  • Self-image, acceptance and anxiety
  • OCD and ADHD
  • The onset of an addiction and its causes
  • How an addiction can affect life choices and sacrifice meaningful bonds
  • Bad food habits and food addiction
  • Plant-based diet and its effect on our physical and mental state
  • Dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Diet and evolutionary psychology
  • How Adam reversed diabetes and other conditions through a plant-based diet
  • Building an effective system to be consistent with our diet

Clint – Ladies and Gentlemen, today’s guest is all the way from Austin, Texas, United States. Weighing in at 350lbs. Well, hang on a second, hang on, he’s dropped that now to 175lbs. Our guest today, the amazing and inspirational Adam Sud. Good day my friend!

Adam – Hey, thank you so much, that was great. I’m excited to be here. So it’s Friday where I am, and it’s Saturday morning where you are, correct?

Clint – Correct. Saturday morning I’ve still got the sleepy eyes. The kids are upstairs playing quietly, hopefully so you can have a chat.

Adam – Yeah. My little man right here is going to be asleep for all of it. This video right here.

Clint – Yeah fantastic. My announcer’s introduction didn’t wake him up.

Adam – No, no, he’s good.

Clint – To frame this a little bit for people who are wondering about why we’re casually chatting and having some fun here. Adam and I met several years ago and we met at plant stock, which is put on by the Esselstyn family. It’s a wonderful, amazing event with some great speakers. I know, Adam, you’ve spoken there before, in the past, I spoke that year. And we connected, we both got mutual friends, The Mastering Diabetes guys are Cyrus and Robby, great guys. It’s taken me a long time to invite Adam on this podcast, but it’s well overdue. Adam has an incredible story, he does not have rheumatoid arthritis, he doesn’t treat rheumatoid arthritis. He’s not a medical doctor, but he has a transformational story that will touch your heart and also inspire you. Adam You’ve overcome type two diabetes, obesity, depression and suicidal thoughts, food addiction, and drug addiction. Now you’re a lifestyle coach and you’re about to publish a book. You’ve got tens of thousands of followers online. And it’s just incredible to see just what a transformation I want to hear all of that my friend.

Adam – Yeah, thank you. I remember that was a great year at Plant Stock. It was like the new tribe had shown up at plant stock. There’s a lot of young, exciting new stuff that now some of these guys like yourself and Robby and Cyrus, they’re mainstays. But at the time, we’re like, you’re here, we’re here, we’re here to show our stuff, it was pretty awesome. Yeah. So I am currently in Austin, Texas, and I grew up in Texas, so I am actually the sixth or seventh-generation Texan, and so that means I was raised on burgers and barbecue, that was just part of the way of life. I was also raised Jewish, so that also means bagels and blintzes. And so what that means is I had two cultural heritages that no one would consider had any understanding of how to eat in a healthy way. Right? And I grew up this way, a lot of my friends were Jewish, not all of them, but all of them were Texans. So we all ate this way, we saw our parents eat this way, we saw our friends eat this way, we saw our teachers eat this way, we saw everybody. And so, that’s just the way it is. Growing up, it was fine, I actually was a little overweight as a kid, but I didn’t struggle with my self-image. I played sports, I was really into sports because my dad was really in a very awesome way engaging in me with the coach of my Little League baseball team, basketball team. We would play neighborhood football games, all the friends and my dad was the quarterback for both teams so it was fair. And but I remember, I think I was like 11, ten or 11 years old, so this would have been like 1993. Summers in Texas, as you can imagine, they’re not cold. So when you’re ten, 11 years old in Texas, in your neighborhood, you just run around from friend’s house to friend’s house in a bathing suit. Everyone’s spraying each other with hoses and water balloon fights, and that’s what it’s like. And I came to my parent’s house. I was running, I don’t know, I was doing I was either going to go get something or I was going to put something away because it was summer, all my friends were playing. And I get stopped by my parents and they asked me point blank, Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait. Why do you already have love handles? And I was kind of stunned because I didn’t know what they were talking about. I’d never heard the term before, and so I was confused. I knew they were looking at me and I asked them, what does that mean? They like the extra fat around your stomach there. And I said, I don’t know, some of my friend’s dads have it and they go, Yeah, but you shouldn’t have it at your age. And it was like, boom! All of a sudden, I went from this kid who, without concern, was running around with a shirt off, having fun, fully accepting of himself physically and emotionally, to now being convinced that there were conditions upon which I was allowed to accept myself. Right?

Clint – Oh, man that moment.

Adam – That moment, it was like, whoa, wait. I’m not acceptable. I’m not okay, I thought I was. And that was the shocking experience in that way of expressing. It’s like I thought it was okay, because if there’s one condition I didn’t know about. Well, are there others? Why do I not know what they are? How am I going to find out what they are? Am I a problem here? And so I develop this kind of anxious hyperawareness, I was trying to be very hypervigilant. Notice that is someone looking at me in a weird way. Are they looking at something about me that’s not okay? Am I not talking right? Am I not acting right or am I not eating right or am I not doing things? I developed a sort of obsessive, hyper-anxious state, and this really was, I think, the beginning of my ADHD diagnosis because this OCD and ADHD do kind of tend to go together. I was very, very, very afraid of not being acceptable to other people, especially my parents, because, you know, when you’re ten years old, your parents are kind of your entire world. And, hey, if you’re not acceptable to your parents, basically feel very alone. Later that year taken to a doctor because I started to to to behave differently in school. I started to kind of not be able to focus. I started to have this kind of self-conscious concerns about myself, and I started to feel, I would say, not shy or anything, but where I was very, very concerned about what other people thought about me. This presented like ADHD, you know. So they took me to a doctor, they took me to a doctor and they had me diagnosed with ADHD. Not saying that my parents took me to get diagnosed, but the doctors diagnosed me with ADHD. And so here I have another person of authority whose opinion about me, my parents are going to take very, very seriously. And this person, this is not the words that the person used, that this doctor used. But essentially what I heard was we’ve found something else. Oh, we’ve discovered something else about him, that isn’t okay. That other people, that the world does not want to deal with. We do not want to deal with ADHD kids. This is a big problem that we found out about right now. Oh, my goodness. Thank God. We know because it’s not okay that he’s this way and we’re going to solve this problem right now. We’re going to solve this problem with a pill called Ritalin. And so Ritalin was a very popular medication being prescribed in the early nineties to treat ADHD in children and adults. What I sort of took from that was, oh, my gosh, this is my solution. When there are things about me that don’t work, there’s a substance that can hide what is not okay about me. That there is always going to be some solution that isn’t me, that’s where it comes in.

Adam – At about the same time, I started to engage in closet eating behavior because I became very concerned about my weight, I became very afraid. And so I was always concerned, does my stomach stick out with my clothes? And I would restrict eating. Then what I would do is I’m getting really hungry and I didn’t want to eat a lot of food in front of my parents, so I grabbed from my kitchen, I’d run into my bedroom and I closed the door and I’d eat alone in the dark. And all of this anxious energy of trying to fix, stop, resist, exert all of it, just trying to finally solve this really confusing problem of how do I become okay, enough. And we moved to Austin from Houston, Texas, right before I started high school, which was a huge blow for me because I had amazing friends and I was really excited to go to the school I wanted I was going to go to in Houston. We ended up going to the school in Austin that was is known for its big football program, very, very cliquish, and I was an awkward freshman anyways. So my freshman year of high school, I was bullied so badly. I mean, I got rocks thrown at me, you know, I didn’t know anybody. So I didn’t have anyone that I could confide in other than my twin brother who was also having the same problem. At about this time, my prescription for Ritalin changed to a new medication called Adderall. For those of you who don’t know, it’s simply another stimulant-based medication used to treat ADHD. And I didn’t know that it had quickly developed into a very popular study, drug, and party drug. That’s what had the rise of what Adderall is known as today. Really quickly, as soon as people saw me taking Adderall in class because I had to take one in the morning and then halfway through school, the word kind of got out. He’s got it’s got Adderall. And all of a sudden overnight, those kids that I would look at and avoid in the hallways, they were coming up to me with their arms around my shoulder. Hey, Adam, we’re so glad you’re here, man. And there’s a big party tonight, I hope you’re coming. I’m like, you guys don’t want me there. You just want my Adderall. I didn’t say that, but that’s what I’m thinking. There was no confusion about this. And I was so excited that I had found the solution to a problem that I was unable to solve on my own, which was, how do I stop being bullied? How do I finally get these kids, who were the kids that you wanted to like you to stop hurting me and start liking me? I found it and so I did that, I supplied them with whatever they needed in order for me to not be the bullied kid anymore and it worked.

Adam – I remember going to parties, and I hadn’t used it as a recreational drug until about my summer of my freshman year. Man, I do remember the first time I used it as a recreational drug. It was as if, I wasn’t hooked to the substance. I was hooked to what it offered me. I was slightly overweight as a freshman, I probably had an extra 30lbs on me. I had very poor study habits because I was afraid of going to school. So I had no interest in being good at school. Right? And I didn’t have any friends and I was shy because I was bullied. The minute I took Adderall, the recreational drug was like all that was fixed because Adderall is an Amphetamine, that’s what the stuff is. So it’s a medically pure form of amphetamine, this is why it works very, very well. And I’m not saying Adderall is good or bad, I’m just explaining what it is. And so your metabolism goes through the roof, right? You have no hunger drive and it’s very easy to lose weight. Problem solved, right? Not only that, I get invited to parties. And when I’m on Adderall, I have unbelievable confidence. I feel like this superhuman confidence and I’m able to engage with people. Not only am I now fun, I make everyone else’s experience more fun because I supply the thing that makes it better, right?

Clint – Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Adam – My study habits get better. Exactly. My study habits get better because, hey, if I’m on a lot of Adderall, it’s a lot easier to study. So I lose weight, I make friends, my study habits get better, which makes my dad happier. Here’s what’s really attractive about it, this is why this is really important. This is what people I really want people to hear and understand. I wasn’t hooked on the drug, I was hooked on how easily and repeatedly I could solve that problem with unbelievable ease and unbelievable repeatability. Very painful problems in my life were immediately solved. That’s so attractive. That’s so attractive to someone who is dealing with issues that he cannot solve on his own, doesn’t feel like he has permission to say, I don’t like it here. We had just moved, I didn’t want to make my parents feel bad. I didn’t want to tell teachers I was being bullied and wanted to look like a weakling. Right? Toxic masculinity type of thing. And so when you don’t know how to solve a problem, when you don’t know, it’s okay that you can’t solve it and you don’t feel like you have the ability to safely share that you don’t know how to solve it. When something can solve it that easily and that repeatedly. Wow, you will bond with that very, very tightly, and that’s exactly what happened. And it worked, the stuff really worked. I mean, I lost a lot of weight, I had friends, girlfriends. I got a scholarship to the college that I wanted to go to, and that’s really where the story turns. Because like with every drug story at a certain point in time, it goes from being an unbelievable solution to an overwhelming problem. Right? And it really became an overwhelming problem in college. More was never enough anymore, not enough was the constant daily issue. And I was beginning to sacrifice meaningful bonds in my life in order to supply that need, because it was starting to not work well. But you don’t know how well it worked when it did. You can’t tell me how great this stuff works. I just have to figure that out again. I’m going to get it to work again, trust me, because I’ve never experienced anything that has fixed my life as well as this drug. That’s the mental thinking. That’s where you start heading down a road where in a very slight, subtle and imperceptible way, you end up making some very poor decisions. But it feels like you’re trying to solve the problem. It feels like, No, no, you don’t understand, like I’m actually doing the right thing here. I’m actually trying to make it work again.

Adam – I ended up having to drop out of college. I ended up back in Austin, Texas, where I was really ended up just being on the street as a drug seeker, drug dealer. I was buying and selling, I was scamming people, I was stealing from people. I had a job for a very short period of time, but it didn’t last. And so I ended up very isolated and alone. As I mentioned before, I started to sacrifice meaningful bonds in my life for the sake of trying to figure out this drug riddle. And my friends were gone, my family was there only when I needed them. Right? Not that they weren’t trying to be there for me, but I didn’t let them. So I would go to them for money or things, or to get really angry at them because I didn’t know why I couldn’t stop my life from falling apart. And I was going through so many so much drugs so quickly that fast food became a substitute for me. All right. How do I again? Ease the discomfort of a disconnected and painful life. And by 2010, I was 350lbs. I was eating about 5000 calories of fast food a day for 6 to 12 days, and then I’d get drugs. And the average prescription for Adderall is about 10 to 20 milligrams for every 24 hours. So some people get on 10, 20, but it’s usually between 10 and 20 milligrams a day for every 24 hours. I was doing anywhere from 450 milligrams to 1000 milligrams a day for six straight days. And I wouldn’t sleep for those entire six straight days. I would end up in a beginning stages of a drug induced psychosis where I’d start to get very paranoid. I’d hear things and see things. I’d kind of just lose touch of everything, and the only way that I could get out of it was I would just pop opiates like oxes in order to force myself to fall asleep, wake up about two days later, binge on fast food for 12 days, get more drugs and do the whole thing over again.

Clint – My God.

Adam – Yeah, it was. It was pretty miserable. I was at a very low point in my life when my dad approached me with an opportunity. He said, Hey, listen, so my dad has been involved with Whole Foods Market since its founding and he said, we have started doing this thing with a guy named Rip Esselstyn and he’s written this book called The Engine 2 Diet. And essentially it’s a diet centered around plants. It’s like a vegetarian vegan thing, but he calls it a plant-strong diet and it really helps people feel better. And we offer these retreats for Whole Foods Market team members to go to, and we send about 100 people and we’re about to do the second one and we have a few open spots, I would love for you to go. Just go and find out what’s going on and listen to them. But you got to come to meet Rip Esselstyn first, he wants to meet you first.

Adam – So we go down to the Whole Foods headquarters and look. I’d never heard of Rip Esselstyn, I didn’t know who he was, I didn’t want to know who he was, I didn’t know what a plant-based diet was, and I sure as shit didn’t want to do a plant-based diet. All I wanted to do was say all the things I needed to say to this guy so that he would say, Yeah, come and do it. And then I could convince my dad that I was trying to take charge of my life and then I could convince him to give me money and then I could buy more drugs. Right? It was all about, what can I do? I don’t care what happens to you. I’ll scam you off, fool you. I’m a bullshit artist. Just get me the opportunity to get more drugs. And so I said all the things. Rip says, Come on. I show up to this seven-day retreat. I’m high, I’ve got drugs in my bag, I’m very diaphragmatic, right where I’m flushed red. I would sweat through about two or three shirts a day because you can imagine being 350lbs always high in Texas where it’s 100 degrees. It’s not really good pairing. And I went to every lecture, I went to every lecture with him, his dad, people like Dr. Michael Klapper, Jeff Novick. Right. Chef A.J. was there and I was like, Man, this stuff makes sense.

Adam – I have this really reasonable thing that they’re putting out here that fact, that the story that I’ve been told that people get sick because they get old doesn’t make sense. That what’s really happening is that people are getting sick because that’s the most reasonable response the body could have to the way that these people are living their lives, that their diseases make complete sense. It’s not genetic bad luck, draw the cards type of deal. This is exactly what’s supposed to be taking place here in the Western culture when you live this way, this makes complete sense. And if you just do this other thing, which is a plant-strong diet, it’s very reasonable to assume that you’ll have a very different response. You likely restore your health and you’ll start feeling better. And I wish I could tell you that, that was all I needed to hear, you know? Okay, good. Good going. All right, I got the message, here we go. But, man, you know what? Here’s the thing. It can make as much sense in the world to you, and it did. But I wasn’t ready and willing to give up what was allowing me at the time to escape a life that was too painful a place to be. On the gamble that in six months to a year, this deal would pay off. That’s a really scary thing to look at because what that means is right now I feel really bad. My life is painful and I have this thing and I know it’s making my life worse, but every day it makes my life less painful for several hours. Now I have to let that all go, which means my life is going to feel more painful in the hopes that six months from now it actually gets better, I can’t do that. I can’t do that I’m too afraid to do that. That was what was going on. And so I didn’t. And. Very reasonable thing happened, my life worse. My life got much worse. In fact, in 2012, by August of 2012, I was two weeks away from being homeless and I was 30 years old, I had erectile dysfunction for reasons I didn’t understand. I had developed these infected cuts on my legs because I would scratch mosquito bites and they wouldn’t heal and I didn’t understand why. I had been living like a hoarder. So I wasn’t brushing my teeth, I lived in filth. And so I had all these sores and rashes and I was practicing self-harm. I would beat myself regularly, I’d hit myself as hard as I could. I would do that in front of the mirror. And as I hit myself, I would say to myself, I hate you, you’re worthless, you’re fat, you’re disgusting. And I did this because my belief was, man, you know what? If I could just hate my life enough? If I could just hate myself enough, maybe there’s a point where I could hate it enough that I don’t want to do this anymore, that was my belief.

Adam – I’m going to tell you why that doesn’t work. The reason why that doesn’t work is because it doesn’t matter how much you hate yourself and it doesn’t matter how hard you can hit yourself. You can’t hit or hate yourself enough to start loving yourself back to health. I’ve never hated anything enough that I started loving it and taking care of it. It just doesn’t work that way. And so, every day up until August 21st of 2012 was the hardest and most painful it had ever been. And on every one of those days, I lived in full belief that tomorrow was going to be worse. And when you live in that state of mind long enough, tomorrow is not something you want to be a part of. And so on August 21st of 2012, I tried to end my life by suicide. And I hadn’t planned it, I didn’t write a note or anything like that. I just got to a point where I just didn’t see any other way. And I intentionally overdosed, I can remember the feeling because I’d been a drug addict for about 10 or 15 years at that time. So it wasn’t my first time experiencing overdose experience. I hadn’t fully overdosed before, but I’ve been very close. I remember trying to stand up and it felt like I got stabbed in the right side of my body with a hot knife in my entire right side of my body, cramped. And as that happened, I see my vision starting to go black. I’m getting very, very dizzy and feeling very, very nauseous. And I know I have this almost unwavering certainty that this is my last moment of life. And I had that moment alone, separated from everyone and everything that had ever meant anything to me. Not because they didn’t want to be there, not because the purpose and wonderful things in my life were taken from me, but because I made sure they couldn’t. And that was the most painful thing I’d ever experienced. Not the physical feeling I’m talking about the emotional feeling of this moment. And the next thing I know, I’m waking up in a puddle of vomit, in a pile of fast food, garbage surrounded by empty pill bottles. And after several minutes of realizing what happened. I was overcome with immense relief, an unbelievable relief. The moment before I blacked out, horrific amounts of regret. And the minute I regained consciousness, overwhelming feeling of relief. And this was the thing that I had to come to terms with.

Adam – See, I thought that what I was doing was trying to end my life. But the reason why I felt regret right before I blacked out and the reason why I felt relief when I realized I hadn’t been successful is because there must be something about myself in my life that I loved enough. Something about myself in my life that was meaningful enough that even though today was going to be the hardest day of my life, I still wanted to be here for it. And so suicide isn’t someone wanting to end their life, it’s someone wanting to end their pain. Someone wanted to end a pain that they don’t know how to solve on their own. Maybe they don’t know how it got this bad. They don’t know that it’s okay. That they don’t know how it got this bad. And they don’t know that it’s okay not to know what to do. And typically, that pain is cloaked in enough shame and stigma that they don’t feel safe enough to say, I don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t know any other way to do it, and I’m really scared. I’m in a lot of pain and I need help. And so for that person in that situation, the way to end that pain, unfortunately ending your life seems like a very logical thing to do. And believe me when I tell you, I was the guy, like, you know, if you had known me, then you are a friend and you love me. If you’re a family member, you love me. At some point during those last few years, you would have come up to me and you said, Man, don’t you see what you’re doing to yourself? Let me see what the food and the drugs and all of this is doing. Don’t you see what you’re losing, what’s being compromised, what you’re damaging? Why are you doing this? And I would have looked you in the eye. And I know this because I said this to people and they said that to me. I looked at her and said, Fuck you. You don’t know me. You don’t know how hard my life is. You don’t know how hard it is. And you don’t know the relief I get from the drugs and the food for one hour. So don’t come up here and tell me just to not do it. And if this cost me five years of my life, if this cost me ten years of my life, fine. I’m okay with it. I don’t want to do it differently. And I think about that now, I’m like, Man, I used to just throw those numbers out there like it was nothing, 5 years, 10 years. If it cost me ten years of my life, I’m okay with it. I have never said anything so selfish in my entire life.

Adam – I mean, 5 to 10 years, for what? I think about that as a person who survived suicide. And I think about that from the perspective of the people who love me. What if I had been successful that night and ended my life? What would my family not give up for 10 extra years with me? What would my friends, my family, the people who love me not do for 10 more days with me 10 hours. Think about the person in your life who you’ve loved, who’s no longer here. What would you not do for ten more minutes with that person? And yet we say these things as a way to excuse our behaviors. Oh, if it costs me 5 years, if it cost me 10 years, you have no idea the gravity of that statement. You have no idea the consequences of what you choose to believe. They’re huge, and they’re not just about you. And I told myself that day, man, you know what? I don’t know how to do this and I don’t know any other way to do it. I picked up the phone, I called my family and I begged them for help and I didn’t need to beg. They were ready to go, they were ready to help.

Adam – I checked into treatment two weeks later, and within 72 hours, you know, I had to go through medical testing, psychological testing and stay in a quarantine kind of detox area and found out that I had very advanced type two diabetes. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, which I knew about. And then I was diagnosed with a whole host of psychological conditions. And you know what? It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. The two most important things that have ever happened to me were surviving suicide and getting sick. Here’s why. Surviving suicide told me that I needed to figure out a new way to live my life and getting sick told me that just not using was not going to be enough to reconnect to a meaningful experience of being alive. Because I was a walking cliche, I walked into rehab high. I was like, here’s what’s going to happen. I know this drug use thing got out of hand, this is my internal thought. I had this drug use got out of hand, so what I’m going to do is I spend the next 28 days away from it. I’m going to get a handle on things. And then what I’m going to do is I’m going to go back and I’m going to use it responsibly. Right. I’ll just figure it out. Right. But Sitting in that doctor’s office, A1C of 12, cholesterol over 300, blood pressure of 210 over 150, resting heart rate of 115. They put me on 15 medications. I was sitting here going, Wow, my biggest problem might not be drugs, you know? It called into question like if I really want to do this thing, if I really want to be a part of this world, I have to fundamentally change everything about the way that I move through it, everything. And I was kind of transported back to the seven days with RIP. I’m sitting here with a doctor who’s telling me, hey, you’re diabetic, you’re going to be diabetic for the rest of your life, your heart disease you’re going to have for the rest of your life. And I’m like. And I don’t believe that story because I heard a completely different one. And I said, Here’s what I’m going to do, I don’t understand this addiction thing. I don’t understand it, I didn’t. And I didn’t understand the mental health part. But one thing I was very good at doing was putting food on my plate. So what I’m going to do is I’m just going to put these plant-strong foods on my plate and see what happens.

Adam – So I checked out of rehab after 37 days and moved into a sober living facility because I wasn’t allowed to change my diet and rehab. And it is a sober living facility, which is like a halfway house. You live with other people who are getting sober. Your house is managed by staff members and they observe and they make sure you’re safe. And the way it works is you go up to the house manager and you write a list for groceries that you want. Me and the ten other guys are living at the house, and then they would send a driver out, they would grocery shop and they bring it all back to the house. So everybody got what they asked for. And I’m sitting here like, Man, I got to do this plan strong thing. But at the time the only Greenes are like eight was the occasional piece of lettuce that they didn’t take off my burger. So I had a very short list of just things I just thought back to the plants, like, what do they have for breakfast, what they have for lunch with after for dinner? So I wrote this very short list and I walk up to the house manager and this is not a joke. The house manager’s last name is Hamburger, and I ask him to get me all these plant-strong foods and he comes back and he starts a fridge. And this is where it gets really interesting. I get up the next morning and I go to the pantry and I open it up. And they put the oatmeal that I asked for right next to a box of Fruity Pebbles. And I mean no disrespect to rip and the Big Bowl, but Fruity Pebbles is the best cereal ever made in history, period. I’m not here to argue with anyone because you’re wrong. Fruity Pebbles is the best cereal ever. And what I didn’t understand was I knew what I wanted to do and I knew why I wanted to do it. So why was this decision hard? Why was it still hard, right? Why was I so tempted by the Fruity Pebbles that literally I was in tears, angry? Why couldn’t this just be a matter of intellect and will? Why couldn’t I know what to do, want to do it end of story. And so I had to figure out this problem, I had to figure out this riddle. And I came across a TED talk called The Pleasure Trap by an evolutionary psychologist named Doug Leone. I got really into it like what he talks about in this, and I highly recommend everyone listening to go watch this TED Talk. It talks about the biological mechanisms of compulsion. Essentially if we’re going to try to solve a riddle of if we know what to do to be happy and healthy, why is it so difficult to do it? There’s actual biological reasons why it’s difficult to do that. And it’s all about cues from your environment that stimulate genetic expression that enable us to behave one way or another. We’re responding to the environment in very specific ways, for very specific reasons. And it’s all driven by dopamine. Dopamine has become a buzzword in modern culture, like, oh, don’t do that it stimulates dopamine. That spikes your dopamine. That’s bad. No, no, no. Dopamine is phenomenal. Dopamine is a phenomenal neurotransmitter, right? Dopamine is unique because it’s a reward, Pleasure chemical. We have a lot of there’s various other neurotransmitters that give us an excited euphoria we call pleasure but dopamine is different. Dopamine gives us the sense that whatever we have just done has statistically increased our likelihood of survival and success. That’s very important to understand. In environments of scarcity and competition, Dopamine allowed us to figure out how to get the most for the least, that’s why it’s great. If you and I were to travel back in time right now, 30,000 years ago, where food is very scarce, it’s not obviously available in the environment. Not only is it scarce, but it’s competitive. Right. We’re not the only people going for the few calorie sources there, and it’s also dangerous. So when it’s scarce, competitive, and dangerous, we have to be efficient. We have to figure out a way of understanding what food in the environment has the most calories per bite so that we can be efficient and get as many calories as we can because they’re not guaranteed to be there tomorrow. So we need more calories per bite. Dopamine is how we figure that out. If we have no Internet, if we have no Google go, is the banana more calorie dense than the blueberry? Dopamine makes it very obvious when you biden the banana, you actually get a 300% greater dopamine lift in your circuitry than you do with blueberries because there’s about 300% more calories per bite and it feels 300% better.

Adam – Your body now has a very clear understanding. I’m not going to waste time on those blueberries right now, these bananas are the smart choice. I get more energy for less energy. More for less, the biggest bang for your buck. But within the last 100 years of our history, there’s been a phenomenal shift in the caloric environment. Now there are foods with far more calories per bite than have ever existed in human history. And the ease that we can get and repeatedly get those calories is greater than it’s ever been. That dopamine, which I like to call it, guidance system, has no understanding that the shift has occurred and it’s still operating as if it’s trying to help us out compete scarcity. This is where you see why people are making the decision that they’re making and why it’s so hard to stop making those decisions. I felt all this shame lifted from me when I understood this that my dopamine circuitry had been spun 180 degrees against a problem that is designed by nature not to be able to figure out. Right. When you put our dopamine guidance system in an environment of abundance and ease, we’re going to make really difficult. We’re going to end up in really difficult situations. Right? When you put it in an environment of scarcity and competition, we thrive. Okay. So it’s reasonable that this would be hard. So what I told myself is essentially Doug Lyle is asking me to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I have to say, I know that the Fruity Pebbles feels like the right decision to make. But what I know the right decision to make is the oatmeal, even though it doesn’t feel right yet. So let me be comfortable being uncomfortable long enough so that my dopamine circuitry, my dopamine receptors regain sensitivity and they can understand the environment better and they get a better sense of like, hey, you know what? We can now sense the amount of pleasure, the amount of calories better in these oatmeal than we did two weeks ago, because before we needed to get that many calories per bite in order to feel like we were making right choices. And so why would I be willing to do that? This work comes down to your why.

Adam – If you met me, then you’d go, Oh, this is obvious. It’s 350lbs, He has diabetes, heart disease nearly died from substance abuse and he’s got erectile dysfunction. Like what more wise could you need? And here’s the thing. It’s true. I was dealing with every one of those, and none of them were my motivation. Because negative consequences have never motivated anybody for long-term change. Let me tell you why. Negative consequences do one amazing thing. They let you know that there’s something in your life that you love enough that you’re willing to do something difficult. All right. They highlight loving and meaningful bonds in your life that are being threatened. The reason why you’re going to do what you’re going to do isn’t because there’s negative consequences, is because those negative consequences could take something incredibly important from you. It’s an act of protection, you’re trying to protect and maintain loving, meaningful and important bonds in your life. That’s what you need to focus on. That’s your why. Your why is the loving and meaningful bonds. I’ll give you an example really quickly. Let’s say you have a son who’s like eight years old and he’s like, hey, listen, Dad, I really want to start learning how to skateboard. You’re like, fantastic, that’s great. You get outside fresh air, it’s exercise. Here’s the deal, though. You have to wear knee guards and shin guards and elbow pads and helmet, and he’s like, fine. I mean, they look goofy, but I’ll do it. Then you go out the next day and there he is, coming down the street with none of the protective gear on. What do you do? Your natural tendency is to get angry and people will say, Why are you angry? And you’ll say, Well, he’s not wearing the protective gear. Yeah, but that’s not why you’re angry. Why do you care if he’s not wearing the protective gear? Yeah, because he could get hurt. Yeah, but you don’t. Why do you care if he gets hurt? Because he could end up in the hospital, like, seriously injured. Why do you care about that? Because I love him. There you go. The reason why you’re motivated to change something is because something loving and meaningful in your life was threatened. So the intention now goes to, How do I make him safe? How do I stop him from not wearing pads? How do I make him safe? Same thing goes for your health. Think about this. I spent my entire life leaving my body was my adversary. That it was just like always going to be slightly overweight and then later on very overweight. And all I could do was try to outcompete my body through restriction and overexertion so that I could maybe win a battle on a scale every now and then, but essentially, my body was out to get me. And what I had to come to understand was that my body has been my biggest ally my entire life. The reason why I survived 15 years of substance abuse. The reason why I survived suicide is because my body never gave up on me. It has been fighting for me since the day I was born. And you need to understand people who are listening, who maybe are in a situation like I was.

Adam – We don’t need to defeat our illness, we need to be caretakers of our health. When you’re a caretaker for your health, you have to be very clear about what you need to do to take care of it. When you want to stop being unhealthy, what you are going to do is and say, What do I need to stop doing? That doesn’t work. You can’t not do something. You actually do something else, right? Clint and I are both sitting down right now, not because we chose not to stand, but because we decided to sit. Your job is not to avoid meat, eggs and dairy. Your job is to figure out how do I, in a loving and meaningful way, choose to eat fiber, rich, whole, intact plants? Why am I willing to do that? And so that’s what I ended up doing in about 4 months, after moving into sober lane. So 5 months after the diagnosis, my diabetes was completely reversed. My heart disease was completely reversed. My erectile dysfunction was completely reversed. Within 10 months, I had lost nearly 150lbs, and within one year I was off of every single medication that was put on rehab antidepressants, mood stabilizers, sleeping medications, anxiety medications, ADHD medications, all of it. And I’ll tell you what. The key to this, the key to all of it was leveling the playing field. And this is what I like to tell people when I first got started, people think that the key to success is a variety of recipes. I want to tell you right now if doing it with five recipes feels hard, doing it with 20 doesn’t make it easier. The modern environment outside of your doors has done an incredible job of making it very easy to be very unhealthy. So your job is to figure out how you can make these new healthy habits take less time and less energy than your old eating habits. If you don’t do that, you are likely to engage in your old behaviors more often than you want, and it won’t be your fault. It’s because the environment is designed to make it the easiest thing to do unless you alter it. When I got started, I wrote out a meal plan for myself. It was oatmeal in the morning. Rice and beans, bowl, microwavable rice, canned beans, frozen veggies, oil free sauce, potato dinner with beans on top, right? Microwave the potato, put the beans on it, Oil free sauce, frozen veggies on the side that I heat up and I’d snack on fruit.

Adam – I wrote this out for my first day of my weekly meal plan, and then I looked at the rest of the week. I was like, Oh my God, this took me 20 minutes to write this. So I just took my pencil. I drew an arrow from day one to day seven and wrote the words repeat above it. And so I just ate the same meal every day for breakfast, the same meal for lunch, and the same for dinner every day for seven days. And at the end of the seven days, my blood glucose was down 150 points. I wasn’t weighing myself at the time, but I felt better and I was like, this is fantastic. Seems like I figured something out here. Seems like for the first time I figured out how with ease and repeatability I can start to feel better. Now I’m motivated, right? Day one I was inspired, but after seven days of effort, I got some feedback. Seems like I might have figured this thing out. Now I’m motivated to find out if that’s true, so I just ran the experiment again. I did the same meals again for another week, similar results. Oh, my gosh. I think I’ve got it here, and now no one has to do this but I ate those same meals every day for ten months. Now you don’t have to do that. But what I ended up doing, and I didn’t know at the time, was that I made it so simple and so obvious that it was nearly impossible not to do the healing thing. If you can organize your life around that idea, making it so simple and so obvious that it’s nearly impossible to not do the healing thing you are likely to win. If you don’t strategically try to refine your system so that it takes you less time and less energy, you won’t fail because you’re not good enough, that’s not what’s happening. People think, Oh, I’m just not disciplined enough, bullshit. People are incredibly disciplined creatures. Look at the things that we do every single day, we’re incredibly disciplined. The thing is that the things that we do really well without knowing it, you’ve probably spent years refining it down to a point where it’s so simple and so obvious that you don’t even know you’re doing it anymore. Right? You have to be take on a kind of a scientific mindset of not what’s right or wrong, what’s accurate and inaccurate, which is likely to lead me towards the excess in an easy and obvious way and what’s likely not to. I always tell people there’s no good foods and bad foods, there are foods that are aligned with your goals and foods that aren’t. And what you need to do is you need to make sure that at least 90% of the time your decisions are aligned with your goals. And so you need to make your environment look like those goals. If you don’t do that, it’s just going to be hard and it won’t be your fault. You’ve made it too easy not to do it. So make it easy on yourself. And like I said, you don’t have to do the same meals every day for ten months. But I’ll tell you, it works. So go ahead.

Clint – I did that exact same thing myself with my rheumatoid arthritis when I worked out that there was a certain combination of foods that are now in our program called the Baseline Foods.

Adam – There you go.

Clint – I ate those same foods for 12 months. It was just absolutely identical every single day. And the reason why is partly because, yes, it was easy in the outside world was just felt like a very, very dangerous place to be with oils in everything and uncertainty with my food sensitivities. And beyond that as well, I was seeing progress almost identical to what you experienced with your weight loss and diabetes and measurements and so on. I was seeing that I was very slowly and steadily having less inflammation, and for me that was the dopamine response that you talked about, the guiding principle. And I just stayed on it and thought, it’s working. Why change it?

Adam – Why change it?

Clint – Yeah.

Adam – And I understand the need for novelty like I get it. Like every now and then you’re going to be like, Oh, I just wish that I could have that one thing that’s fine. Know, twice a month you want to pick a recipe from the Esselstyn cookbook or from Dean and his book or from Will’s work for any of these books? They’re great. You want to pick out a recipe and you make that’s fine. But 90% or more of the time, it’s got to be so simple and obvious that not doing it is very hard. Right? You’ve got to do this for yourself. Don’t don’t allow yourself. Because what people think that it takes is grit and determination. No, no, no, no. You cannot rely on grit and determination to be successful in the long term. Leave that up for when you’re at the airport. Leave that for the time when A it’s your friend’s birthday, and so you’re going out to a restaurant and you’re going to a restaurant. And now what you have to do is you have to employ grit, determination and willpower to outcompete that menu or outcompete that airport. Don’t be doing that at home, don’t do that to yourself, it’s unnecessary. You want your home to be where 90% of your choices look exactly like the kinds of foods you need to be eating to be successful so that you’re not going, Oh, all right. I’ll have a little bit of that right now and then maybe some. If you’re doing a cost benefit analysis on your food choices in your own home, you’ve got some work to do. You need to refine your environment. Okay.

Clint – I love it, man. Look, it’s just mesmerizing listening to you talk. It feels like I’m often I’ll be at a conference and there’ll be a keynote speaker and they’ll give a talk like this. And at the end is a standing ovation and any questions, and everyone’s just staring at the speaker like it’s very much like that. So if you have, have more to share as to what happened after that, I mean, you’ve done 10 months of this sort of simple diet that funnily enough, has like quite a nutrient coverage to it with your beans, potatoes, you’ve got your oats in the morning, which are absolutely a superfood. So without really having any nutritional knowledge, I wouldn’t say it’s probably going to show up on a nutritional analysis as completely nutritionally complete, but it’s not bad.

Adam – It’s not bad. And the thing was, I was overfed and over and undernourished anyways. Right? So, you know, being in a place where I could eat the same foods every single day is fine, you know? And I went back to school, I actually studied nutrition and I’m actually really passionate about understanding nutritional biochemistry. That’s what led me to be working with Robby and Cyrus was really understanding why we end up in this situation as we do in regards to diabetes, and then applying that same system to understanding why we end up in the situation we do with mental health or mental health and mental illness have become a very have been for a while a very big passion of mine. Like I said in day 1. I didn’t understand this addiction thing, I didn’t understand this mental health thing. And while I don’t claim to be a leading authority on it, I do believe that I have a very firm grasp of what is actually taking place. So we have a story that’s being told about what mental illness is. And then we have real-world observations about what’s actually taking place. And the two don’t line up, unfortunately. We have a story about addiction, what addiction actually is, and then we have what we observe in the real world and the total lineup, that’s a problem. So when we talk about addiction, we have to understand that when we’re trying to solve this quote-unquote problem, we’ve been asking the wrong question.

Adam – People have been asking the question, how do we get them to stop? How do we get them to stop using their drugs? How do we get them to stop eating that food or drinking that alcohol? How do we get them to stop? That’s the wrong question. But we need to be asking, why does their use to them make sense? We have to understand why for them, it’s a reasonable and obvious choice. And this comes down to understanding what I talk about when I say loving in meaningful bonds in life. So human beings are wired for connection, we’re wired for meaning. We want to have an experience where we have a loving and meaningful relationship with ourselves, both physically and emotionally, that we want to show up and be present for every single day. We’re creatures that want to have a loving and meaningful bond with people in our lives, that we want to show up and be present every day. We want to have a loving and meaningful bond with a purpose beyond ourselves that we share in a community of shared respect, that we want to show up and be present for every single day. And we want a loving and meaningful bond with a future that feels safe. That we want to show up and work for every single day and for various numbers of reasons, for a lot of people, those bonds get severed. And once these bonds are severed, we’re going to bond with anything that relieves the pain of this disconnection.

Adam – Let me give you a story. Let’s say we were to go, you and I were to go and meet myself. 10, 12 years ago. I’d have to be further than 10 years ago and 10 years sober this year, so let’s say it’s 15 years ago. There I am, I have no loving and meaningful bond with myself, physically or emotionally, that I would like to be present for on a single every single day. Not that I don’t have one, but it’s not something I want to be present for every single day. I no longer have meaningful relationships with people that I can be present with every day. I’ve lost a meaningful and loving relationship with a purpose beyond myself that I can share within a community of shared respect. I don’t have that to be present with every single day, and my future feels very unsafe and uncertain, so I don’t want to be a part of it. Now, if we were to go and sit with this person and say, hey, I see you’ve been drinking that water, you don’t know this, but when we gave you that water, we slip some heroin into it. And what’s going to happen now is that that person myself then would have an incredibly euphoric experience, and he would feel unbelievable relief from pain. He would be disconnected from his reality to such a degree that the pain of his reality is no longer present. And after a few hours, it would wear off and we’d say, Hey, how did that feel? And I would say, That feels amazing. How did you do that? I go, don’t worry, I can get you more. Do you want more? Now, in that state of disconnection and with no sense of safety, to ask somebody for anything else and with no understanding of tools that can get him the same kind of relief, but without the destructive potential side effects. It’s very likely to say, absolutely, this is what I need. Now. Let’s go to me today. Let’s just say that someone came over and while I was drinking water, they slipped heroin into my water. I’m going to have the same euphoric experience, I’ll feel very disconnected from my reality, I’ll be flooded with a sense of euphoric pleasure. And when it wears off, I go, Man, what the heck was that? They go, Oh, that was heroin, wasn’t that amazing? And if I had no idea what heroin was, I’d say, whatever that is, that’s incredible. And they go, I can get you as much as you want. Would you like it? Now, here’s the thing, myself today I have an unbelievable loving and meaningful bond with myself, both physically and emotionally, that I want to be present for every day. A bond with people in my life, a purpose beyond myself, within a community, shared respect that I want to be present for every single day and in my future feels safe, loving, and meaningful. And I want to be a part of it in this state of connection, I’m going to say, you know what? Not right now. The likelihood of saying yes is far less. That’s important because when people are in substance abuse, or recovery, what they’ll say is the reason why you’re using is because you’re an addict, you’re an addict, you have an addict’s brain. And so as soon as you use the chemical hooks in the substance to hold and now you can’t not use, that’s why that’s why you’re an addict. Here’s the problem with that. When someone says that to someone, they’re telling them that their pain means nothing. It’s of no consequence, it has nothing to do, it’s not a single variable in this entire equation. The reason why you can’t stop using is because you started using. That’s why. And when someone says their pain means nothing, they’re also saying that what you love means nothing. What we need to do is figure out, Hey, why does it make sense that for this person, using heroin is incredibly attractive? Why does it make sense that this person knowing what heroin is, what heroin is likely to do? Why would they want to do this? They’re looking for a way to escape a life that’s too painful a place to be that they don’t know how to get out of.

Adam – So their future isn’t somewhere they want to be a part of anyways. So at least for today, they don’t have to be present with it. That’s what we’re talking about, We’re talking about addiction. That’s also what we’re talking about when we’re talking about depression. People think that depression is a result of a chemical imbalance. And in fact, there was a systematic review that came out of London this year that reviewed all the literature on the serotonin story. And I say story in theory because that’s what it is, the idea that low serotonin is the cause of depression has never been credited by science it’s always been a theory. It’s been a theory because what we know is that when you raise serotonin levels in people, they tend to feel happier. And so the belief was, oh, people who are depressed must have low serotonin levels. It’s never been credited by science, and the systematic review on the research has essentially come to the understanding that the story of the serotonin low serotonin doesn’t make sense. It’s not the cause of depression. And so what we have to ask ourselves is why does their depression make sense? Why is it for what I would like to say and there’s an amazing British author named Johann Hari, who wrote a book called Lost Connections. What if depression is simply a form of grief for your life not being as it should? What if it makes unbelievable sense? What if it’s not this chemical imbalance? What if like for example, someone who’s been living with their partner for 20 years and their partner dies and they spend the next year experiencing what people would call extreme depression? How dare they say that that’s due to chemical imbalance? How dare you diagnose this person as mentally ill? Why does their grief not make sense to you? Why are we not saying wow this feels really hard? If I were you, I would probably be hurting just as much. We need to understand that for the majority of people, I don’t say for everybody because that’s very important for the majority of people, their pain makes sense. It’s important to understand that addicts are not criminals, they’re humans in pain. Depressed people are not crazy or sick, they’re humans in pain. Suicidal people are not crazy or sick, they’re humans in pain. And maybe if we stop trying to define people by what they struggle with, it’ll be easier for us to listen to their needs. And then we’ll see that their pain makes sense. We’ll see that they’re human beings with unmet needs. And that’s what’s happening, that’s what Johann Hari says. Human beings are not sick. They’re not crazy. They’re people with unmet needs, and we need to help them meet those needs. And that can be a very hard thing to do, especially when we have the systemic issues that we have going on.

Adam – But my biggest thing right now is, is again helping people change the way that we ask these questions instead of how do I stop my blood sugar from being? What medications do I need to get my blood glucose down? Why does it make sense your blood glucose is high? Why does this make sense? Why is it reasonable? If it’s reasonable, it’s reversible. Just like what you do, why does it make sense that your joints hurt? Why is it reasonable? What’s the reasonable explanation for this? What’s the most obvious and simple way that we can understand this? Not Why is it so? Not What is the reason why we have to be on medicine for the rest of our lives? Now, what’s a story that we can create that gives us an excuse to be sick forever? And I know that there are people who are going to be in pain. They’re going there are those small, very, very small percentage of people who, no matter what we do, they’re going to be sick. And it’s a very low percentage, like less than 1%. But for the majority of people, there’s a lot of hope, there’s a lot it makes very, very it’s almost obvious from the outside looking in. Know why? This isn’t a riddle. Yeah.

Clint – I love it, man. I think this is the definitely the record for me of a podcast where I’ve said the least words, but it’s it’s also up there with one of the most enjoyable hours that I’ve spent recording with a guest. Thank you. And, you know, I was thinking about in terms of questions to ask at the end, I think that it almost in a way sort of undermines the beautiful package and message that you’ve put through in the way that you’ve presented this information. To pick one thing out, to drill down on or to sort of have some minimalistic takeaway that I could share back with you feels like it feels like an injustice. And so what I’ll do instead is ask you, first of all, how can people work with you? Yeah, I know you reach out on Instagram and offer that you do have services. What do they look like? How can people contact you? And then I’ll have one last question for you.

Adam – Yeah. So I tend to do I do one on one private coaching for people who want to understand how they can make it easy and obvious to change their life. That’s my whole thing is like, how do we create a system of ease so that success is simple, right? There’s a great quote from James Cleary he says, People don’t rise to the level of their goals, they fall to the level of their systems. So likely the reason why you’re having a tough time isn’t that you’re not good enough to win, it’s because your system isn’t strong enough to make you successful. So how do we make it simple for you to be successful, whether it’s with weight loss, whether it’s understanding why it’s obvious that food is difficult for you? So if you struggle with food decisions, that’s what I like to call it, food addiction, we talked about this before the call. Food addiction and eating disorder is a very obvious and very extreme behavioral states. Most people aren’t food addicts, most people don’t have an eating disorder, but they do have disordered eating patterns and they do have behavior patterns that they’re not aware of. And they’re not aware of why those patterns are obvious. Right. So I help people understand how do we make fundamental shifts in their environment. How do we create simple strategic goals that allow them to be successful over time? Not, how do we change your life forever? How do we make you feel better?

Adam – So what’s interesting is the human brain actually can’t conceptualize beyond like 4 weeks. It really doesn’t have the capacity to understand the time, energy and resources to accomplish a goal longer than that. So when someone says, All right, I’m giving up sugar forever, now your brain hates that, it hates that you did that. Because what it’s trying to do is figure out what it’s going to eat instead of sugar for the rest of your life. And it can’t understand the time and energy and resources to accomplish that goal. But if you say what I’m going to do is I’m going to eat 80% less sugar for the next two weeks. You’re brain goes Okay. All right. I know that’s like this for breakfast and therefore, okay, we can do that because it can conceptualize time, energy and resources. So understanding how to form a realistic goal for success rather than this overwhelming. Because likely You don’t need to eliminate refined sugar entirely to be successful. People want to be big and bold, right? And that’s great. But what’s likely to be successful rather than what do you think you need to do so you can reach out to me on plantbasedaddict, that’s my Instagram account and reach out to me and I just send you a link and we book a call and it’s a lot of fun. My two main focuses are eating issues, insulin resistance, and weight loss.

Clint – We do, as a community, have a high incidence of I want to use the word depression or low self-image. Would you feel comfortable and be able to help people who ring just because they want to talk about that aspect of their life because they’re in pain and it’s relentless?

Adam – Yeah, absolutely. The thing is, number one, first and foremost, I’m not a counselor or a therapist. Right? So if I get on a call with somebody and they’re trying to understand how to better understand their emotional state, and I feel like, hey, look, this is not safe for you and for me to be having this conversation. I will typically say, hey, this seems like something that you would likely need to work with another professional about, but it’s usually in regards to behavior changes that create greater self-esteem. So I actually just completed I told you I completed a research study. It’s the very first study on the effects of nutrition on early addiction, recovery and mental health outcomes. First controlled trial ever done on the effects of nutrition and early addiction and mental health outcomes. And what we found is that in this ten-week intervention that by week ten individuals who had a higher dietary quality score, meaning more greater percentage of calories coming from whole plants. Your self-esteem and resilience increases. This is huge to have your self-esteem and resilience increase. These are two of the most important factors for sobriety in terms of relapse prevention and one of the two of the most important factors for regaining self-worth. So it’s really incredible the difference between the lowest performing groups in terms of self-esteem, resilience, self-compassion, spiritual healing, and the top performers, there was a 500% difference in fiber. So this is really interesting that we’re finding that, hey, you know, plants really are quite a remarkable thing. Obviously, we did all the other biomarkers, the blood biomarkers, we did a microbiome as a full microbiome study. But what I found to be really interesting was that self-esteem raises. And one of the best ways I like to think about self-esteem is your self-esteem mechanism, Doug Lyle talks about this. Think of it as an internal audience, and this internal audience is responding to your behaviors as if it were the world watching you do it. Now think about this. You go into recovery and most people say recovery is to learn how to not use drugs, I want to call that passive recovery. Now to your internal audience this really isn’t worthy of applause, because what your internal audience is based upon is your idea of how the world would respond to it. And the world that, you know, when you look outside your window, it doesn’t seem like people are really struggling with substance abuse, the average person that you see. So their response, you would be, well, good for you. I don’t use it ever. But if we go into recovery and instead of using you eat a healthy diet, look outside your window, not a lot of people seem to know how to eat a healthy diet. And if you can do that long enough, the world is going to go, Wow. Seems like you figured something out that the average person doesn’t know how to do while giving up drugs. Now, giving up drugs is worthy of applause. Now, also, being sober increases your self-esteem, not just eating healthy. I really find that fascinating.

Clint – Oh, me too. That’s fantastic. That, in a sense, of public applause is just.

Adam – Yeah, it’s pretty it’s a sense of value that you could share with others if they needed it and that they’re likely not to have.

Clint – Oh, I love that. I love that. What is that sort of term in our body? Is there a specific term for it or did you mention it and I just missed it?

Adam – I like to refer to it as what Doug Law calls it. It’s the internal audience is a self-esteem mechanism. Your self-esteem is a sense of value, the knowledge value that you could share with others that makes you valuable. So think about it from a stance of evolutionary psychology 30,000 years ago, the value that you offer to the group would be the amount of skills or knowledge that keeps everyone alive longer. The more of those values that you possess, the more esteem you have in the tribe. Now, why is that important? If something was to happen like another tribe was to attack or some kind of event was to happen, seeing as how you keep everyone alive longer, they’re more likely to spend more energy keeping you alive. This is why this is the sense of esteem. Like how valuable am I to people that matter? And so when you seem to have figured something out like getting healthy, reversing rheumatoid arthritis or reversing autoimmune conditions or reversing diabetes, if you can seem to do that with relative ease, people are going to go. Whoa, how do you do that? How did you do that? And if you can do that while in recovery. Oh, my goodness. Now, also not using becomes one of those things. How did you do that while also getting sober? I don’t know how you did that. I’ve tried that before and I don’t understand it. These words that you hear literally raise your self-esteem because what is being imparted to you is that it looks like you figured something out that the average person has been struggling to figure out their entire life. Now, that’s your knowledge you can share if they need it.

Clint – From a financial point of view, Anthony Robbins says, your success will match the degree of value that you provide to other people’s lives. I also just had an insight when it comes to just one on one communication with friends and family is if you can empower them in conversational terms to say, wow, that’s something I didn’t know. Could you explain that to me? It looks like you’ve become really knowledgeable in that. That really sounds like the sort of bull’s eye kind of statement to help their self-esteem also.

Adam – That’s exactly what it is. That is the world telling you you’ve figured something out that other people have been trying to figure out. That is exactly what will raise someone’s self-esteem. If you can do something with enough seemingly enough ease, people are going to go look like you even try it. How do you do that? I don’t know how you did that. How did you lose 100lbs? I tried to lose 10 it was really hard. But I saw you 6 months ago, nw you’re 60lbs less. How did you how you did that? Just hearing those words is going to raise your self-esteem, whether they agree with the system, or how you did it or not. Okay. Whether they go, oh well, but I do keto. Okay. I figured something out, you don’t know. And when you want to know, I’m here. Yeah.

Clint – That’s awesome, man. Yeah. Can we talk about the potential book coming up?

Adam – Yeah. So I’m writing a book, the working title is Plant-based Addict. That’s kind of my brand. And so really it’s a memoir about my story, and then mixed into it is the research study that we did that sort of gives scientific explanations for why things happen the way that they happened. Like, why did we see? Obviously, we know why we reversed diabetes and why we lost 175 to 200lbs, why we saw the blood pressure and we know all that. But. Why was my sobriety and mental health impacted the way it was along this timeline of recovery? And what do we know now from the research that we’ve done? I’m also really proud of the research study because for the first time ever, we’ve shown that a plant-based diet is in no factor less valuable than an omnivore diet for mental health recovery. There’s never been a study showing that there’s not one aspect of recovery physical, emotional and psychological that did worse on a plant-based diet. In fact, they were equal in most except for these other ones, where the plant-based diet did better. And people would say, Well, wouldn’t you want your study to show that the plant-based diet did better in everything? I was like, No, because if we do just as well, meat is not necessary. You know, if we can show that it’s not necessary, and in only a few, even just a few, it’s better. That’s it. It’s fine. We’ve done something here, right?

Clint – Congratulations, man. I understand the scale of trying to get these studies done, which is why there’s never been a study on our program. Because it always the mountain to climb always seems too be great with everything going on in my life. To pull it all together.

Adam – So, so hard. Yeah.

Clint – Congratulations.

Adam – Thank you. Appreciate it.

Clint – We just published in the International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention a survey-based study which showed the relationship between people taking certain types of medications and their response to the COVID vaccine. So an association between the COVID vaccine and inflammation for rheumatoid factors and even that process where we were just collating data and submitting it, even that took me about four or five months. So I totally appreciate it.

Adam – Our study took four years. Yeah, yeah.

Clint – Exactly. Yeah. So congratulations, my hat’s off to you. Once again, what you shared was just totally engrossing. And I was just so into the way that you speak, your articulation, your passion, and everything. And the last thing I want to ask you before we wrap this is. And I’ve asked this of guests before. If you’re on a plane, it’s time to get off the plane. But you’ve sat there for a half-hour short flight between a couple of domestic cities, and then the person next to you looks to you and says, Look, I’m never going to see you again, Adam. Like, what’s just some simple takeaways that I can have because I’m just in a sad place in my life and I’m depressed? What are just some key things to close out with?

Adam – I have one quote, and it’s not mine. I wish it was. And I’m actually glad to say it’s my friend David Clark, who is no longer alive. One of the things about getting in recovery is you lose friends. Fortunately, David was a successful person in recovery, was a 320lbs alcoholic turned vegan, ultra runner. And unfortunately, he went in for back surgery and there was complications to surgery and he didn’t make it. But David Clark used to tell people. We all know the same, If you want to be happy, you should live like it’s the last day of your life. And here’s the issue with it. If it’s the last day of your life, you’re likely not to engage in the things that the small things that give you the experience of being alive in a meaningful way. You’re likely not to go to the gym, you’re likely not to go to work, you’re likely not to call that friend who maybe you talk to every day, so it’s not that important. It’s not that consequential to call them. Right, because you talk to them every day. You’re likely not to do those things. So this isn’t really applicable to everyday life. But if you really like to be happy, you should treat everyone else as if they were living the last day of theirs. And if you do that, you’re likely to allow people to be different than you are and be okay with it. If you knew someone who had one day left on earth. It’s their last day of their life. They said, I really want to go out to dinner with you, Adam, and I want you to come with me to this keto steak place. I’ll be there in a minute. I’d be there in 5 minutes. And I’m going to eat. But I’ll be there and I’ll let you enjoy the shit out of that meal because it cost me nothing to treat somebody with dignity and grace regardless of their currently held beliefs. People are more than what they present themselves to be. And if you give someone permission to be as they are, then they have the capacity to receive a message of being different if they’d like to change. So I’d say just treat everybody as if they were living in the last day of their life.

Clint – I love it. Adam, thank you so much, my friend.

Adam – Oh, my pleasure.


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