Treating everybody the same doesn’t always create the same results. People’s ethnicity, community, and family lifestyle can all impact metabolic health. So we need targeted solutions for targeted communities. In this candid conversation between serial entrepreneur and health and wellness investor Dhru Purohit and content creator and metabolism mentor Austin McGuffie, they discuss how metabolic health affects their respective communities and how leading by example can influence other people’s lifestyles for the better.
18:51 – Live by example
Everyone has a reason for the way they live, act, and make decisions. So instead of trying to convince somebody how they should live, lead by example.
As my journey started to evolve, and it did evolve before I got deep into functional medicine, I started to realize, “Look, everybody has multiple reasons that they live the life that they do.” And we’re not just talking about food. They have the reasons why they think the way they do. They have the reasons why they eat the way they do. They have the reasons why they surround themselves with the type of people they do. Instead of trying to convince somebody on how they should live, instead, live by example. And if they ask questions or if you have something that you think that could be beneficial, not in a pushy way, but in a way of true education, “the heart of a teacher” is what Dave Ramsey would often call it. Then, it’s a whole different response.
23:21 – Focus on education first
You can’t force people to change their lifestyle. The best thing you can do is focus on education so that people understand why they might want to make a change.
First of all, you can never change anybody. And who’s to say that your idea of what’s right for them, is actually the right thing? Who’s to say that? There’s been plenty of people that had the right idea of how you should live your life, or how I should live my life, and that I shouldn’t drop out of college or I shouldn’t become vegan or I shouldn’t do this. And the truth is, we all need to live and die by our own sword. We have to go through that process sometimes. So you cannot change people, that’s number one. And often when you force it and they sometimes can pretend, it’s not long-lasting. Everybody knows that through relationships. You try to get your partner to change. And it’s like, if it’s not genuine, it’s a fake-it situation. And when you ease up and you focus on education first, people understand why they’re doing what they do. And they’re truly invested in making a difference in their life and others.
24:53 – The benefits of targeted fasting
Food has become a crutch for a lot of people. Targeted fasting can show you what it feels like to have lower glucose levels.
One of the things that I’ve become a lot more bullish on, especially for as people age, targeted fasting. Especially as I’ve dove in deep into the work of people like Valter Longo, and the fasting-mimicking diet. Targeted fasting is an incredible way to get people to start to feel the benefits of what it feels like to have lower blood glucose levels. Which then, if they’re doing it over a period of time, it’s going to lead to lower insulin levels as well, too. They’re fasting, insulin is going to drop. They also get this feeling and sense of, “I don’t always need something in my stomach.” Just like a lot of people just reach for their phone because they’re bored. And they’re in line at the DMV or they’re in line at the grocery store, and it’s like, “Well, I’m bored. Okay. Well, I need stimulation, what do I do? Let me reach for my phone.” In that way, food has become that for a lot of people.
26:08 – Dying from excess
You can just as easily die from excess as you can die from not enough. There are a lot of times when people eat just because they want to, not because their body actually needs food.
There are many people in India that still struggle with food, enough food, and having access to enough. But largely, India’s going through a shift where there are more people that are dying from excess than are dying from not enough. And the not enough is still a problem. We need to sort this out. And that’s mostly a global distribution thing. And thankful for all the smart people that are working on that problem. But in India, they see all these films, they see American TV, and they think we party all the time. We drink all the time. We do all these things. And so, they eat all the time. I know I’m making broad generalizations, but sometimes there’s truth in that. They drink a lot more than we drink over here. So this idea of constantly needing something in my belly, is this feeling that people have unfortunately associated with being satiated, means that you constantly have. And if we can slowly switch that to having energy, having focus. There’s plenty of times where your body actually doesn’t want anything. And actually, eating food takes calories, it takes energy from you.
30:03 – It all comes back to lifestyle
South Asians have one of the highest rates of heart disease. But while genetics loads the gun, ultimately lifestyle pulls the trigger.
South Asians still have one of the highest rates of heart disease, even though they have all this money, they have all this education. But what is it, what’s the gap? And they all have health insurance. So what is the gap that’s having their level of heart disease one of the highest out of any population set in the United States? It’s a few things that all come back to lifestyle. Sitting too much, not moving. I know you’re a big fan of teaching people how to move. So sitting too much and not moving. A lot of those professional jobs come with sitting a lot. Eating a lot of refined foods, processed foods, fried foods. Those foods are a big staple in the traditional Indian diet. Now, there may be a genetic component, but we know today from many people, like Dr. William Lee from the Angiogenesis Foundation, that overall the top estimates are that genetics only contribute to like 5% of diseases. But even the South Asian Heart Center at Stanford is understanding that genetics load the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger. So there is something that would make South Asians maybe a little bit more predisposed to insulin resistance.
34:42 – Talk to people who are on the fence
Don’t spend all your time trying to convince people who don’t want to be convinced. Focus your energy on people who are curious or who are on the fence about making a lifestyle change.
Don’t try to convince people who don’t want to be convinced, but talk to people who are already on the fence. Maybe they haven’t gotten to your side of the fence, but they’re already on the fence. I’m not too worried about people who are on the other side of the fence who never want to leave. I want to talk to the people who are on the fence, because if I can get them educated, if I can get them to also feel good, they’re more likely to spread the knowledge and the message that’s out there. And then everybody can impact their community that’s there.
35:57 – The societal split
Is society getting healthier or sicker? Dhru says it’s both. People who have the money and resources are getting healthier, while people who don’t are getting sicker.
Unfortunately, Austin, what we’re having is we’re getting a little bit of a split. And that split… People always ask me, they say, “Dhru, is society getting healthier or is society getting sicker?” And I say, “It’s both.” If you have resources; which isn’t just money, but resources like time and knowledge and education; you’re getting healthier. And if you don’t, and you’re working multiple jobs, and it’s just not in your wheelhouse, and you’re not paying attention to it, you’re getting sicker. And nothing proved that more than the COVID-19 pandemic. What happened? It was both. People who were really healthy generally were able to tolerate, now that everybody sees that everybody’s getting COVID, were able to tolerate really, really well. People whose metabolic health was not great didn’t tolerate well at all.
36:52 – Why we need targeted solutions
Treating everybody the same doesn’t always create the same outcomes. Different people need different approaches.
We sometimes have national policies where it’s like, “We need to treat everybody the same and everybody needs to do the same thing.” And really what we need are targeted solutions for targeted communities. We need food pharmacies in the most disenfranchised communities. We need education in those communities. We need a wellness coach stipend that doctors can hand out. Doctors are doing their best. They’re overloaded. They can’t keep up with the level of sick care that’s out there right now. They need the help from systems, technologies, individuals like yourself and myself. I don’t have a degree in any of this, but I’m just passionate about it. I want to talk about it. I want to interview the experts, so that hopefully that reaches one person, that one person goes and makes a difference in their community.
38:45 – The add-in method
Instead of removing all unhealthy foods from your diet, just try to add in more healthy ones. Then the unhealthy foods will naturally get crowded out or reduced.
There’s this method, and I don’t know who created it or came up with it, but it’s called the add-in method. Instead of the remove method, it’s the add-in. And sometimes people call it the crowd out method. When you put just so much goodness, and you’re giving people all these different tools that are there, and you’re showing them the foundational things that they can eat, naturally you just focus on adding a lot more good. The stuff that’s not the greatest for them is just going to naturally crowd out. And that even happens with, they tell parents, don’t try to get your kids to focus so much on, especially if they’re a little older, to take out some of the foods that they kind of are biologically addicted to, a lot of these processed foods, let’s just try to add in more vegetables. Let’s try to add in more items. As we add in more, the other stuff will naturally start to get crowded out.
52:09 – Health happens in community
It’s hard to make total lifestyle changes on your own. It’s much more effective to make those changes in community with others.
Health happens in community and relationship. It’s very rarely that people are the lone wolf, unless that they’re super motivated to go down that health journey. It takes too much energy. It takes too much energy. It takes too much digging in. And most people are just trying to provide for their family, manage kids, manage everything. They just don’t have that luxury of time. There are people. I was one of those people that was super motivated, but that’s not going to be most people. They’re going to need to have health changes happen in partnership and in community. Well, if we’re trying to get the world healthier, why wouldn’t we have conversations about how to localize that for different communities?
Dhru Purohit (00:06):
Unfortunately, we sometimes have national policies where it’s like we need to treat everybody the same and everybody needs to do the same thing, and really what we need are targeted solutions for targeted communities. We need food pharmacies in the most disenfranchised communities. We need education in those communities. We need a wellness coach stipend that doctors can hand out. Doctors are doing their best. They’re overloaded. They can’t keep up with the level of sick care that’s out there right now. They need the help from systems, technologies, individuals like yourself and myself, right? I don’t have a degree in any of this, but I’m just passionate about it. I want to talk about it. I want to interview the experts so that hopefully, that reaches one person. That one person goes and makes a difference in their community.
Ben Grynol (00:58):
I’m Ben Grynol, part of the early startup team here at Levels. We’re building tech that helps people to understand their metabolic health, and this is your front row seat to everything we do. This is A Whole New Level.
Ben Grynol (01:24):
As we’ve been building Levels, it’s apparent that culture and community, the two of them have crossed over on more than one occasion. Well, that was very much the case for Austin McGuffey and Drew Pearled. The two of them create a lot of content specifically about health and wellness, even on a deeper level, metabolic health.
Ben Grynol (01:43):
Well, Drew, when talking with Drew independently, he talked a lot about how metabolic health hit close to home, hit close to his community, and it’s something that drives him forward. He’s of south Asian descent. For Austin McGuffey, he’s very connected to the Black community, and he feels intrinsically responsible to spread education and awareness to people within his community who are affected by metabolic syndrome.
Ben Grynol (02:10):
So it was a nice opportunity for the two of them to sit down and talk about how they’re both on the same mission to serve people within their communities and to spread this message of metabolic health, what it is, how people can be affected by it, and what they can do about it. So they sat down, and they discussed each of their respective experiences when it comes to the mission they’re on. It was a great conversation, and it’s always fun having people within the Levels network host the podcast, be part of it, and when it leads to a podcast that not even our team members are on, it’s a very cool opportunity. So anyway, here’s a conversation with Drew and Austin.
Austin McGuffie (02:55):
Welcome to A Whole New Level. Is this your first time on the podcast?
Dhru Purohit (02:57):
It’s my first time on the podcast. Yep.
Austin McGuffie (02:59):
All right. I get to have the honors of being the first to interview you. That’s dope. But yeah, today, man, I was really hoping to just have a really candid, open conversation with you about the intersection between culture and health. I’ve spoken to Ben, and Ben, let me know. You’re a very strong advocate for health in your community, in the Indian community, as am I for my community. Of course, we know the rates for metabolic dysfunction are pretty high. So there’s a lot that we can do to educate our community about the importance of good health and where all that starts. So I just want to know, what is your health origin story? Everybody has one. What was the moment where it was like, “I’ve got to do something about this”?
Dhru Purohit (03:40):
Yeah. So mine started really with vanity. I was in high school, and I had really bad acne from … It was like the moment that I stepped into the high school doors in my freshman year to literally right up until I was going to graduation, my acne in that time period was super terrible. The worst thing about it, too, was that I also had the worst orthodontist, and he kept on forgetting to take my braces off. So I had braces for … which you should usually have braces for a year and a half. I had braces for four years. So I had braces, and I had acne all throughout high school.
Dhru Purohit (04:21):
But right after I graduated from high school, in that gap year between university starting, I went to a conference, and actually, it was here in Los Angeles. I lived on the East Coast. At that conference, it was the first time that I had heard … This is the year 2000, summer of 2000, first time that I’d heard somebody talk about the gut microbiome and that there was something that could be causing … They didn’t even say inflammation. They said irritation. It was a conference for South Asian youth that was around meditation and wellness and stuff, and they were talking about dairy. They were talking about how dairy, for a lot of people, most of the world is lactose intolerant, and they were saying that if you are struggling with things like acne, there could be some gut irritation that’s happening that’s coming from dairy. I honestly was at this conference mostly to meet women and just connect with people, right? Before I go to school, and I perked up. I started listening, and I thought, “Wow. I’ve never heard that before.”
Dhru Purohit (05:27):
So without even having a lot of information, I said, ” You know what? I’m going to take dairy out of my diet for a couple months, and let me just see what happens.” At the time, I was vegetarian, and so dairy was a huge chunk of my diet growing up. Took out dairy. Within two months, my skin completely cleared up, and I was like, “Oh, snap. I think I’ve got to dig into this whole health thing a little bit deeper.”
Austin McGuffie (05:53):
Yeah, and so did that change the course of your undergraduate study? Because that was right as you went to college. Did you choose a degree that was nutrition-focused?
Dhru Purohit (06:03):
I didn’t. I always had a passion for computers, so I knew I was going to go down the path of computer science and a minor in philosophy. But my business partner, who I know you’re aware of, and going back to your wife, she did the Mind Body Green program and had heard about like Kelly Leveck and Dr. Hyman and a bunch of other people. So my business partner is Dr. Mark Hyman, and he has always this great quote that I’m sure he picked up from somebody else. He said, “Don’t ever let your studies get in the way of your education,” right? Don’t let school, rather, get in the way of your education.
Dhru Purohit (06:37):
So I was going to class during the day, but on weekends and nights and sometimes early morning before class at the university, I was doing my true education in health. There’s a gentleman. I’ve got to give a shout out to him. He really showed up as sort of like a Socrates type mentor in my life. He changed his name many years afterwards, because he was really inspired down the spiritual path, but he changed his name to Nature Love, is what he changed his name to, Nature Love.
Dhru Purohit (07:11):
Nature Love, just to describe, right? You’re a super fit dude, right? He’s a super fit dude. Black guy. At the time when I met him, he was probably in his mid-forties and buff, crazy buff, right? Did a little stint in the Army and then came back to Delaware, where I was in university. I remember shopping in the grocery store Austin, and I was in the aisle. The first time I went to this grocery food store, because I was trying to pick up books on natural health and what is inflammation, I just started hearing about these things, and at the time, you really can only get these books from a natural food store.
Dhru Purohit (07:49):
I remember I was in the book aisle, and working there at the store was this gentleman. I looked over, and I just remember the whites of his eyes were so white. I just went up to him. I was like, ” You’ve got to tell me, what is it that you do? How do you eat? How do you live? Because you are exuding this energy of … You just look really well.” That started a friendship, and on most weekends and nights, I was learning from my mentor, Nature Love. So during the day, computer science, during the evening, studying the books with Nature.
Austin McGuffie (08:22):
I love that. Nature Love. That’s funny. You’ll know that you are somewhat of a health nut if you look at somebody’s eyes and that prompts you to ask them questions about their health.
Dhru Purohit (08:32):
The crazy thing was I wasn’t even a health nut yet. It’s just that I had never seen the contrast. I’d never seen somebody with their eyes being that vibrant and white, and it’s not only his eyes, but it was like his skin was glowing. For somebody who just started to get rid of his acne, but had a lot of scar tissue and other stuff that I was trying to heal, I was like, “I don’t know what this guy’s drinking or eating, but I’ve got to follow down these footsteps.”
Austin McGuffie (08:59):
Right. Okay. So you went to follow down the footsteps. Where did Nature Love take you? What was some of the advice that he gave you to get your better skin and some clearer eyes?
Dhru Purohit (09:08):
The biggest thing about what Nature was teaching me, and it was really two lessons, two lessons that I learned from Nature. Number one was processed food, because at the time, I was eating still a vegetarian diet. In fact, I had gone vegan, because I took dairy out. So I had already grown up vegetarian. Then on top of that, now I’m vegan. But I’m the type of vegan that’s eating tofukey and vegan ice cream and all this processed stuff. Yes, my acne is gone, but my energy isn’t there, and my skin isn’t repairing as fast, even though my acne is not there. So the first thing he really got me hooked on is that we have to get back to the source. We have to get back to whole, unprocessed foods.
Dhru Purohit (09:54):
Now, at the time, Nature was also a vegetarian. In fact, he was a raw food vegan. I don’t know if he ever came across that whole craze, but he was really into that at the time. But that actually goes into the second lesson. The second lesson that I learned from Nature was don’t be dogmatic, because as he started to learn and he started to get up and up on the science and read more books and meet other people or he would notice that a diet was no longer working for him, he would modify. So when I first met him, he was a raw food vegan, and then he started expanding and eating other things that were there, still foundational, unprocessed whole foods diet at the base, but he started incorporating things like fish and some cooked food and other things like that. So those are two biggest lessons that I got from Nature, were on the food side is unprocessed and don’t be dogmatic, and I’ve kept those lessons with me ever since that time.
Austin McGuffie (10:50):
So as far as your vegan and vegetarian status, where are you now?
Dhru Purohit (10:53):
Well, going back to that lesson that I learned from Nature, which is just always stay open-minded. At the time, not only was I vegan, but I kind of was an annoying vegan that was trying to convince everybody else to be vegan, too. Listen, I was passionate, because firsthand I have become a believer, right? I had had my come to Jesus moment by getting rid of my acne. So I’m thinking I just found the fountain of youth, right? So I need to tell everybody about it, right? It’s like that classic joke. “Austin, how do you know somebody’s a vegan,” right? “Don’t worry. They’ll tell you,” right? “They’ll tell you. That’s how you’ll know.”
Austin McGuffie (11:26):
That was you.
Dhru Purohit (11:28):
Listen, I’m so thankful for those days and everything that we have when I look back on my journey and everything that I went through. It’s all for a reason.
Austin McGuffie (11:36):
Dhru Purohit (11:36):
Everything we go through is for a reason, and I learned firsthand that, actually, if you really want to help people, going back to the topic to this conversation, which is how do we actually look out for especially certain communities that may not have a level of knowledge around health and wellness, and it’s very interesting. We’ll touch on this a little bit later on, but there are some similarities between the communities that we come from, and there’s also some differences. Yet, they struggle with the same problem, and I’d love to explore that a little bit more.
Dhru Purohit (12:06):
But going back to your question, as I ultimately was in university, realized that I’m actually really passionate about building businesses, I got the blessing from my parents, which is crazy, because I was the first person in my family’s history to drop out of school. I dropped out of college. I started my first businesses, and then ultimately, I made my way into this field of functional medicine on the business side, meeting a few functional medicine doctors. Through that time period, and what I love about this, I love people like Casey, right? Functional medicine doctors, they’re agnostic, right?
Austin McGuffie (12:40):
Dhru Purohit (12:40):
They don’t care if it’s exercise or exorcism. If it works, we’ll do it, right?
Austin McGuffie (12:46):
Dhru Purohit (12:46):
So they don’t care what it is. So having an appointment with a functional medicine doctor said, “Listen, I understand you grew up vegetarian,” and it wasn’t like my parents ever told me that I couldn’t eat meat. It’s just what I identified with my culture. “I understand you’re vegan now, but I want to show you a few things that are going on,” right? “Number one, your triglycerides for your age are off the charts, and I know you are … For all these different reasons, you’ve decided to be vegan or whatever, but let me just show you the numbers, right? Your triglycerides were off the charts,” because even though I was eating a lot more of an unprocessed diet, I still had a huge chunk of refined carbohydrates inside of my diet. I didn’t know what I know now through the work of Levels and continuous glucose monitors and everything like that.
Dhru Purohit (13:36):
The second thing that they showed me, which actually made a lot of sense, is they had me do a test, which I recommend to anybody, right? I have no formal affiliation with the company, no not formal affiliation with the company, just recommend them. It was an Omega quant test. Omega quant test is a $100 test. It’s 99 bucks. You can get it from home, and it’s a prick test. It gives you your Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio, and there’s so much research in this category. She said, “Your Omega-6s are really high, and your Omega-3s are really low. You need to flip that, because your background and your community, the South Asian population,” just a couple stats, that I first had learned from this doctor. They’re about 17, 18% of the total population of the world, right? South Asians, with India having like 1.2 billion people. But they are almost, and I wrote down a set here. I’m just going to pull it up so I remembered it and quote it accurately. They’re 60% of the world’s heart disease.
Austin McGuffie (14:41):
Dhru Purohit (14:42):
So they’re only 18% of the population, but they’re 60% of the heart disease in the world. Another thing that you have to understand is that South Asians have a predisposition towards insulin resistance. So I didn’t even understand at the time.
Dhru Purohit (15:03):
So I didn’t even understand at the time. Honestly, it didn’t even hit me, but that was the first time I can remember hearing the term “insulin resistance” and things like that.
Austin McGuffie (15:09):
Dhru Purohit (15:10):
So, if you are serious about your health, which you are, you might want to consider … I was also struggling with some gut-sensitivity issues. You might want to consider reducing the amount of refined carbohydrates, getting off a lot of the grains that you’re eating. A huge chunk of my diet was grains, rice. I would eat rice at pretty much almost every meal, including even breakfast. I used to romanticize, Austin, I used to romanticize … I was really into Zen Buddhism and monks and things like that. I used to see and read all these books about monks and how they eat rice three times a day. And I thought I’m living like the monk life, right?
Dhru Purohit (15:45):
And I was. I was getting all the diseases that all the monks get, in the monasteries, when I would go visit them in India. And I would go on this tour, around all these Buddhist Jain and Hindu monasteries and I’d realize, “Okay, maybe these monks are at peace, but they actually struggle with really bad health, because their diet isn’t the greatest.”
Austin McGuffie (16:02):
Dhru Purohit (16:02):
So that’s when I started incorporating some fish, started to reduce, started to be first aware of sugar. At the time, I thought, “As long as it’s organic cane sugar, it’s way better. As long as it’s fruit juice, it’s way better than processed sugar.” And it wasn’t until I met Dr. Hyman a few years later, that I understood that sugar is sugar is sugar, right?
Austin McGuffie (16:25):
Dhru Purohit (16:26):
And that doesn’t mean that you have to cut it out completely, but let’s enjoy it for what it is. A recreational drug, rather than something that you’re going to have three times a day. So that was my evolution, but I’ve really got to give credit to nature because he planted that seed that, what works for you today may not work for you tomorrow.
Austin McGuffie (16:45):
Dhru Purohit (16:45):
And what works for you tomorrow may not work in the future. So stay open minded and be willing to try stuff.
Austin McGuffie (16:51):
I love that, man. You said so much. First of all, people are going to see me laughing. There’s nothing about this that’s funny, but the way you deliver these stories, you’re hilarious. So I’m putting that out there. But you said so much I want to unpack. You said, when you went to your parents and you wanted to tell them a little bit more about functional doctor, or just functional medicine in general, was that something that they were aware of? Something that they’d heard of? And just the overall approach to health and wellness, that you brought to them, were they open-minded about it?
Dhru Purohit (17:20):
When I was first vegan, I tried to convince them to be vegan. And how does it feel when anybody’s trying to convince you of anything?
Austin McGuffie (17:26):
Yeah. It’s an automatic “no”.
Dhru Purohit (17:28):
It’s the automatic “no”. We double down. It’s like, we come from this incredible tradition. My family, actually on my mom’s side, comes from the Jain community. And in the Jain tradition in India, they come from one of the longest lineages of vegetarians in the world, going back thousands of years, right? This little pocket. Because a huge part of that philosophy, that religion, is identifying with “ahimsa” which means nonviolence. And in their understanding of it is that, one of those areas that that comes to is not eating animals, right? So that’s a big part of their tradition. So from my mom’s side, it’s like, “We come from one of the longest lineages of vegetarians, and this is our identity and our view. And dairy is the only thing that we have that we have on a regular basis. How are you going to try to take this thing away from me?” Right?
Austin McGuffie (18:18):
Dhru Purohit (18:20):
I don’t know if you know, there’s this financial author, his name is Dave Ramsey, right? Really, really good guy, [inaudible 00:18:25] has a podcast and everything. He has this term, he calls “powdered butt syndrome”.
Austin McGuffie (18:30):
Never heard of that before.
Dhru Purohit (18:31):
He says, once somebody’s powdered your butt when you’re a kid, changed your diapers, they have this sense of like, “What the hell could I possibly learn from you? I used to powder your butt.”
Austin McGuffie (18:40):
Dhru Purohit (18:40):
So I think my dad had a little bit of that powdered butt syndrome, right? It’s like, “Okay, yeah. You’re trying to teach us how to eat and how to live. I’m happy you don’t have acne, but I think we’re okay right now.”
Austin McGuffie (18:50):
Dhru Purohit (18:50):
And then so I backed off. And as my journey started to evolve, and it did evolve before I got deep into functional medicine, I started to realize, “Look, everybody has multiple reasons that they live the life that they do.” And we’re not just talking about food, right?
Dhru Purohit (19:05):
They have the reasons why they think the way they do. They have the reasons why they eat the way they do. They have the reasons why they surround themselves with the type of people they do. Instead of trying to convince somebody on how they should live, instead, live by example. And if they ask questions or if you have something that you think that could be beneficial, not in a pushy way, but in a way of true education, “the heart of a teacher” is what Dave Ramsey would often call it. Then, it’s a whole different response.
Dhru Purohit (19:36):
So when I got into the world of functional medicine, and there was a cardiologist that I was working with at the time, his name was Dr. Alejandro Junger. And we co-founded a bunch of businesses and wrote some books together, including a couple New York Times bestsellers, Clean Gut, Clean Eats. That whole Clean movement, when people were trying to get away from processed foods, and understand the relationship of gluten and dairy on their body and whether or not those foods work. So as that started to build up momentum, and I wasn’t putting pressure on my parents, I saw they came to me.
Austin McGuffie (20:05):
Dhru Purohit (20:06):
And my dad started asking questions, he said, “You know what?” This was a Whole30-type diet, right? Getting rid of processed foods, gluten, dairy, caffeine, other things, for 30 days to see how you respond. Actually, it and Whole30 launched around the same time, both out of the world of functional medicine. My dad said, “You know what? I want to try it.” And so he embarked on that, because I wasn’t putting pressure on him. I wasn’t telling him how he should live. And he had an amazing response. And that amazing response didn’t happen, until … He had a pretty good time. But you know, Austin, that whole frog in boiling water thing? Like gradual changes, we don’t notice them immediately.
Dhru Purohit (20:45):
So his skin was looking better, he was feeling better, he had more energy, he was more up for movement, other things like that. But because it was over the course of four weeks, three weeks, it was gradual.
Austin McGuffie (20:54):
Dhru Purohit (20:54):
So he didn’t quite really fully understand what was happening. Then afterwards, he said, “What should I do? How should I eat?” I said, “Well, we talk about the importance, in functional medicine, about something called the reintroduction phase.” Right?
Austin McGuffie (21:07):
Dhru Purohit (21:07):
It’s where you bring certain foods back in, that you weren’t eating, to see how your body responds. He says, “Well, I feel pretty good. I don’t know if I need to do that.” I said, “Dad, I think it would be helpful. I think it’d be helpful because we know you’re going to ultimately eat those foods anyway. Why not eat them intentionally, and then see how you respond to those foods?” Right?
Austin McGuffie (21:24):
Dhru Purohit (21:25):
Because most people do not have a good sense of interoception, they do not know how their body feels, and they don’t have a sense of how food makes their body feel. And we need to strengthen that connection between what I eat and how I feel. And I thought this could be a really interesting moment for my dad. So he went on that journey, and he started incorporating a lot more gluten and other stuff. He was still vegetarian, he was eating way more vegetables. That’s the classic thing is that, a lot of vegetarians you meet, they tend to not eat a lot of whole vegetables, especially if they’re from the South Asian population. It’s mostly grains and other things like that they’re having.
Austin McGuffie (22:01):
Dhru Purohit (22:02):
He started incorporating gluten back in his diet, and other stuff, bread. And that night, he woke up in the middle of the night. And he told me the next day that this back pain that he had been used to for years, that he had no idea, it just came from being older, old age. It came back. And he finally understood that wheat was maybe agitating him, or causing some sort of inflammatory response, that was triggering and making that back pain noticeable or worse. So that’s kind of how my parents’ journey.
Dhru Purohit (22:31):
Now, today, my parents are the biggest advocate around everything that I do. They both have gone through cycles of wearing CGMs. I just ordered my dad’s full metabolic panel through the Levels app. Because even though he has great healthcare, the thing that I really appreciate that Levels is doing, is they’re making it easy. This is why I invested in it, this is why my business partner invested in it. This is why we’re such huge fans, is that, how amazing to have the phlebotomist come to my dad’s house and actually take his blood work there. And my dad’s busy. He has his community, he has his stuff, he has his businesses that he’s involved in. I need to make this simple and easy. So just this past weekend, when I saw him on my mom’s birthday, I ordered it through the app. And he’s actually kind of excited. He’s excited to get the results and see it right on his app. So, hats off to my parents, because I will tell you, getting people to change, first of all. You can never change anybody.
Austin McGuffie (23:24):
Dhru Purohit (23:25):
And who’s to say that your idea of what’s right for them, is actually the right thing? Who’s to say that?
Austin McGuffie (23:31):
Dhru Purohit (23:32):
Right? There’s been plenty of people that had the right idea of how you should live your life, or how I should live my life, and that I shouldn’t drop out of college or I shouldn’t become vegan or I shouldn’t do this. And the truth is, we all need to live and die by our own sword.
Austin McGuffie (23:44):
Dhru Purohit (23:44):
We have to go through that process sometimes. So you cannot change people, that’s number one. And often when you force it and they sometimes can pretend, it’s not long-lasting. Everybody knows that through relationships, right? You try to get your partner to change. And it’s like, if it’s not genuine, it’s like a fake it situation.
Austin McGuffie (24:04):
Dhru Purohit (24:04):
And when you ease up and you focus on education first, people understand why they’re doing what they do. And they’re truly invested in making a difference in their life and others.
Austin McGuffie (24:15):
Yeah. Gosh, I love that, man. You said something very … You said a lot of important things. One of the things you just said though, was, we have to strengthen the connection between our mind and our body, and understand how food impacts both. Outside of doing things like reintroducing foods into the diet, what are a few other ways that you think can help strengthen that connection, between how we feel and the foods that we’re putting in our body?
Dhru Purohit (24:41):
One of them is a little counterintuitive because it doesn’t really have to do with eating foods, it’s actually about removing foods. And I don’t mean taking out gluten and dairy. I’m talking about fasting.
Austin McGuffie (24:52):
Dhru Purohit (24:52):
And one of the things that I’ve become a lot more bullish on, especially for as people age, targeted fasting. Especially as I’ve dove in deep into the work of people like Valter Longo, and the fasting-mimicking diet. Targeted fasting is an incredible way to get people to start to feel the benefits of what it feels like to have lower blood glucose levels, right? Which then, if they’re doing it over a period of time, it’s going to lead to lower insulin levels as well, too. They’re fasting, insulin is going to drop. They also get this feeling and sense of, ” I don’t always need something in my stomach.”
Austin McGuffie (25:33):
Dhru Purohit (25:34):
Just like a lot of people just reach for their phone because they’re bored.
Austin McGuffie (25:37):
Dhru Purohit (25:37):
And they’re in line at the DMV or they’re in line at the grocery store, and it’s like, “Well, I’m bored. Okay. Well, I need stimulation, what do I do? Let me reach for my phone.” In that way, food has become that for a lot of people.
Austin McGuffie (25:49):
Dhru Purohit (25:49):
And especially in India. In India, they … It’s this weird thing that’s going on in India. They love American TV. At one point in time, Baywatch was the number one show, in India. And the American influence over there is huge. And there are many people in India that still struggle with food, enough food and having access to enough. But largely, India’s going through a shift where there are more people that are dying from excess, than are dying from not enough.
Dhru Purohit (26:22):
And the not enough is still a problem. We need to sort this out. And that’s mostly a global distribution thing. And thankful for all the smart people that are working on that problem. But in India, they see all these films, they see American TV, and they think we party all the time. We drink all the time. We do all these things. And so, they eat all the time. I know I’m making broad generalizations, but sometimes there’s truth in that. They drink a lot more than we drink over here, right? So this idea of constantly needing something in my belly, is this feeling that people have unfortunately associated with being satiated, means that you constantly have. And if we can slowly switch that to having energy, having focus. There’s plenty of times where your body actually doesn’t want anything. And actually, eating food takes calories, it takes energy from you. So getting people to have that little targeted taste of fasting. And the beautiful thing is, in so many cultures around the world, they all have their localized version of what fasting looks like.
Austin McGuffie (27:25):
Dhru Purohit (27:26):
That is one thing that I’ve seen that is a low-hanging fruit. It doesn’t cost anything. But it does take just a little bit of education, to help people understand how to do it the right way for them. Which is why I’m big on interviewing other South Asian doctors that can help people. I heard you say something in the interview that you did with Kelly LeVeque, you said, somebody’s going to listen to you, Austin, who’s talking about metabolic health. And if you’re saying the same thing as a Dr. Hyman or a Dr. Casey Means, but the way you’re saying it, which by the way, even sometimes it means putting in less science, less research, and just talking to them the way that you would talk to your friends normally.
Austin McGuffie (28:06):
Dhru Purohit (28:06):
That’s going to hit them in a way, that it wouldn’t hit them from hearing it from someone else.
Austin McGuffie (28:11):
Dhru Purohit (28:13):
So this is why I’m big on interviewing a lot of South Asian doctors, in addition to everybody, right? Listen, the whole world needs help with this.
Austin McGuffie (28:18):
Dhru Purohit (28:19):
It just so happens to be that I come from a South Asian background. Great. I want to make a little bit of a difference in that community, because that community is actually in a very … Talk about privileged. That community is a very privileged state, here in America. And here’s what I mean by that, right? Most of the South Asians that you meet in the United States, now switching from India, coming to the US. They are often the individuals that could leave India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, because their family, even if they didn’t have money, their family prioritized education.
Austin McGuffie (28:49):
Dhru Purohit (28:50):
So they were able to get out, or get even a degree, and be able to be immigrated over to the US. Or even if they didn’t have a degree, they came to the US and they understood the power of working hard, because again, their families in India and South Asian population in general, prioritized education. Now, that community in the United States, Austin, a lot of people don’t know this. The South Asian community has the highest average income per capita, out of any ethnic minority in the United States.
Austin McGuffie (29:18):
Did not know that, wow.
Dhru Purohit (29:19):
The highest average income. And it’s something crazy. I think it’s somewhere between 13% and 18% of all physicians in North America, are from a South Asian background, right? And often you’ll find in that world, doctors, lawyers, engineers, a lot of degrees that come with education. But the craziest thing is, even with that book smarts, still in the United States, the problem is so bad that Stanford University created a whole division in their medical hospital. I don’t remember exactly what the acronym is, but it’s the South Asian Heart Center. Because in America, South Asians still have one of the highest rates of heart disease …
Dhru Purohit (30:03):
… America, South Asians still have one of the highest rates of heart disease, even though they have all this money, they have all this education. But what is it, what’s the gap? And they all have health insurance. So what is the gap that’s having their level of heart disease one of the highest out of any population set in the United States? It’s a few things that all come back to lifestyle. Sitting too much, not moving. I know you’re a big fan of teaching people how to move.
Austin McGuffie (30:31):
Dhru Purohit (30:32):
So sitting too much and not moving. A lot of those professional jobs come with sitting a lot. Eating a lot of refined foods, processed foods, fried foods. Those foods are a big staple in the traditional Indian diet. Now, there may be a genetic component, but we know today from many people, like Dr. William Lee from the Angiogenesis Foundation, that overall the top estimates are that genetics only contribute to like 5% of diseases. But even the South Asian Heart Center at Stanford is understanding that genetics load the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger. So there is something that would make South Asians maybe a little bit more predisposed to insulin resistance. And they’re actually running a study and a trial on that right now, recruiting people that are out there. If anybody’s listening wants to learn more, you can check out their website. So this insulin resistance, which is really driving all these metabolic health factors, is the reason why the most educated, the most economically well off, the most access to everything, A very privileged group actually has super bad health outcomes.
Dhru Purohit (31:46):
So why I went off on this little bit of a tangent is, this is a much bigger issue than just making sure that everybody has access to healthcare. I’m a big fan of that, I do want everybody to have access to healthcare. And this is a much bigger issue than at the lowest realm, we need to make sure that people are making a living wage, so that they can even afford to buy groceries, they can even afford to buy things that are there. But this is an educational issue, which is why, if we don’t lead with podcasts like this and content that you put out on YouTube, we’re never going to understand how to put all of our resources to work to actually improve our health.
Austin McGuffie (32:25):
Exactly. That’s one of the things that’s been very important to me with the education piece. So just slight background, we have four kids between the ages of-
Dhru Purohit (32:35):
I’ve seen photos. Super cute.
Austin McGuffie (32:36):
Yeah. Listen, thanks, man. They’re between the ages of three and nine, but they’re in what’s called a self-directed learning academy. It basically tailors the learning experience to each of the children. And what we’ve seen them do has been amazing when you give them freedom and opportunity to learn how they want to learn. The thing about health is a lot of the information that’s out there, many people may not be able to relate to it and therefore it can get difficult to digest the information. I want to know if you think that… Well, I’m sure, as you said, that’s why you interviewed a lot of people from your community on your podcast so that people can see a familiar face, familiar accent, familiar lifestyle that they can learn from to improve their health. But what other ways do you think that we can target specific groups with education just in general, spreading the message of metabolic health?
Dhru Purohit (33:25):
As simple as it sounds, I think you just answered it. I think you really did. It’s lifting everybody up from all different groups. And if somebody’s listening here and they care about metabolic health; and that doesn’t have to be a race based group, it could be any kind of group, how do we get more people who are into bowling into metabolic health? So whatever little pocket that you’re in touch with, because we got to lift everybody up. And it’s really, in America especially, it’s a big class issue. And what I mean by that is that the people that do not have a lot of resources that are typically thought of at the bottom of the economic spectrum, those are the people for society to quickly and easily forget about, regardless of what color their skin is or where they’re from or origin or country or whatever. Could be Hispanic, could be Caucasian background, whatever.
Dhru Purohit (34:19):
So those are the communities that it’s easier, it’s out of sight out of mind. So if you live in a nice neighborhood, you have a nice house and you’re just trying to make it and provide for your family and all this stuff, it’s easy to forget about everybody else. So that’s why wherever we have the intersection in our world to get people, don’t try to convince people who don’t want to be convinced, but talk to people who are already on the fence. Maybe they haven’t gotten to your side of the fence, but they’re already on the fence. I’m not too worried about people who are on the other side of the fence who never want to leave. I want to talk to the people who are on the fence, because if I can get them educated, if I can get them to also feel good, they’re more likely to spread the knowledge and the message that’s out there. And then everybody can impact their community that’s there.
Dhru Purohit (35:11):
So any opportunities where that’s an ability where people are inviting me, or my business partner does a lot of advocacy work in Congress, he started something called the Food Fix nonprofit, where they’re lobbying Congress members to understand the importance; bipartisan, Republicans and Democrats; on why food marketing to kids is crazy and out of whack, why chronic disease should be literally our number one focus, because it impacts every aspect of our economy, our national security. Some crazy stat of young people cannot make it into the army because they’re overweight and their metabolic health isn’t good. And the army is having a really hard time in terms of recruiting people. So all across the board, this is a major issue.
Dhru Purohit (35:57):
And unfortunately, Austin, what we’re having is we’re getting a little bit of a split. And that split… People always ask me, they say, “Drew, is society getting healthier or is society getting sicker?” And I say, “It’s both.” If you have resources; which isn’t just money, but resources like time and knowledge and education; you’re getting healthier. And if you don’t, and you’re working multiple jobs, and it’s just not in your wheelhouse, and you’re not paying attention to it, you’re getting sicker. And nothing proved that more than the COVID-19 pandemic. What happened? It was both. People who were really healthy generally were able to tolerate, now that everybody sees that everybody’s getting COVID, were able to tolerate really, really well. People whose metabolic health was not great didn’t tolerate well at all.
Dhru Purohit (36:51):
And unfortunately, we sometimes have national policies where it’s like, “We need to treat everybody the same and everybody needs to do the same thing.” And really what we need are targeted solutions for targeted communities. We need food pharmacies in the most disenfranchised communities. We need education in those communities. We need a wellness coach stipend that doctors can hand out. Doctors are doing their best. They’re overloaded. They can’t keep up with the level of sick care that’s out there right now. They need the help from systems, technologies, individuals like yourself and myself. I don’t have a degree in any of this, but I’m just passionate about it. I want to talk about it. I want to interview the experts, so that hopefully that reaches one person, that one person goes and makes a difference in their community.
Austin McGuffie (37:38):
Absolutely. Man, bravo to everything you just said. I think that one of the things that is difficult is trying to peel people away from their culture that could be contributing to their poor health. I know you just mentioned you had rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it was a cultural staple. I want to know if you’ve been successful at still feeling very much a part of the cultural and the cultural practices, but still optimizing your health at the same time. How are you able to balance both, if so?
Dhru Purohit (38:12):
Well, there’s a couple layers that I’ll touch on really quickly. Number one, I heard you in a podcast previously talk about the importance of metabolic flexibility. This isn’t about being perfect all the time. This is about doing what you need to do and then getting a chance to enjoy here and there. People are always going to have those food indulgences every so often. But the more that I do them, the less good that I feel, especially as I age over a period of time, those things hit you more and more. But additionally, it allows people to understand that it’s not about removing, it’s about adding.
Dhru Purohit (38:44):
And there’s this method, and I don’t know who created it or came up with it, but it’s called the add-in method. Instead of the remove method, it’s the add-in. And sometimes people call it the crowd out method. When you put just so much goodness, and you’re giving people all these different tools that are there, and you’re showing them the foundational things that they can eat, naturally you just focus on adding a lot more good. The stuff that’s not the greatest for them is just going to naturally crowd out. And that even happens with, they tell parents, don’t try to get your kids to focus so much on, especially if they’re a little older, to take out some of the foods that they kind of are biologically addicted to, a lot of these processed foods, let’s just try to add in more vegetables. Let’s try to add in more items. As we add in more, the other stuff will naturally start to get crowded out.
Dhru Purohit (39:33):
So on the topic of metabolic flexibility, as I heard you in the interview, is first reminding people that this space can seem very technical or you have to be perfect, or it’s all about you have to do this at this time and do this and that, and that equals perfect health. But we’re just going to meet people where they are and just give them a couple tips set in there. Even as simple as like, hey, just super basic, eat a salad before you eat your regular meal that’s there. And by the way, instead of that McDonald’s salad that you had, let’s… Fine, no judgment, get that McDonald’s salad, let’s pick up an avocado at the grocery store and some olive oil and maybe a couple olives and nuts, and we’re going to add that to that salad that you had. And maybe we’ll leave off the dressing. That’s manageable.
Dhru Purohit (40:18):
Super simple changes that meet people where they’re at, where it doesn’t feel… You’re not doing what I tried to do with my parents, which is like, “You need to get off dairy right now. It’s the killer. It’s the worst. It’s terrible.” And nobody responds to that at all whatsoever. So I think that one aspect is just reminding them that this isn’t about perfection. This is about just adding in more. And that’s why hats off to two people that I think that do this really well; Casey does this really well, Dr. Casey Means, and also I just recently had on, on my podcast, the Glucose Goddess, Jessie, and she does this-
Austin McGuffie (40:53):
Man, great interview. I loved that episode.
Dhru Purohit (40:56):
Thank you, brother. Appreciate that. Thank you so much. She does a great job of quick little hacks that anybody can incorporate that will significantly reduce their glucose spikes along the way. That’s what people need. If you read Atomic Habits, or if you’ve studied any of the work of Professor BJ Fogg, who is the creator of this methodology called Tiny Habits, the way to get habits to stick are number one, make them tiny to start off, attach those habits to an existing habit. So everybody eats lunch, a lot of people unfortunately eat that three meal structure a day. So take your habit that you want to do, like having that salad before lunch, stack that habit with something that they’re regularly doing, they’re regularly eating lunch. Okay, maybe they’re not eating the best lunch, they’re eating a burger or a sandwich or whatever. Let’s add that new thing, which is just a salad. Salad, no dressing, and add in some more fats that are healthier inside of there. That’s a simple thing that a lot of people can do.
Dhru Purohit (41:56):
Once you have that habit, you’re going to want more. And that’s what all the research shows. It starts to make you feel lighter. You go back to work later on in the day and you don’t have that 3:00 PM slump where people are taking a nap. Austin, I’ve only had one job in my entire life. And that job… I’m not saying that’s a good thing, by the way. That job, my parents actually were like, “You’re going to focus on your studies. You can’t get a job.” I had to beg them for a job finally in high school. And I was an intern at a bank that ended up merging with Bank of America. And at the time, because I was still eating that processed food lifestyle, even though at that time I’d just turned vegan, I used to go to lunch in the cafeteria where they have free food for everybody.
Dhru Purohit (42:41):
I’d get a big bowl of pasta, like a massive double size bowl. I would add a little rice on the side. And then the only vegetable that I really liked was carrots, a higher glycemic vegetable. So I put some carrots there as well and a bunch of balsamic vinegarette on there. Maybe my saving grace was I had a little bit of olive oil. I would eat that. And I knew that I had a couple hours to get my work done before my boss would come back to where our little cubicles were. So I would eat my lunch really quickly, and then I’d go and I’d sleep in my car for like 45 minutes because I had a blood sugar, massive spike and drop. And I just was like, “I don’t know. I just get tired after lunch.” When I realized that didn’t have to happen, that was a game changer for me. So tiny habits that are meant for them and education along the way. So slow education along the way that is accessible, which is why I’m so excited to see so many people are talking about metabolic health on TikTok and Twitter and whatever, meet the people where they’re at. So those are just a couple things that I think about. It’s slow and it’s steady, and then you get technologies that come in. The price of glucose monitors is going to go down. There’s going to be a different type of monitor where it’s not just about glucose. That’s coming, that’s in our future. It’s going to look at uric acid. It’s going to look at insulin. It’s going to look at this.
Dhru Purohit (44:10):
And those technologies ultimately then become a game changer for everybody because they’re way more affordable. Everybody has a smartphone now. That’s a game changer. There’s families that don’t have enough money for a laptop, but they’re lucky because they have a phone and they’re able to do their kids’ homework on there. I wish they had a laptop. I want them to have better paying wages, other stuff. But technology truly helps society leapfrog. It’s not all good, there’s always things that we have to navigate. But generally speaking, technology helps us make progress in the areas that… Because when I hear from people, I get into these debates and stuff and they’re like, “Yeah, well glucose monitors are not accessible, they’re expensive.” It’s like, guess what was also expensive and not attainable to people, and we still worked on it? Plumbing. Water in the house.
Dhru Purohit (45:03):
Plumbing. Water in the house. That’s a privilege, but we kept on working on it. And it took time. So many people dedicated their life. Sewage. Most of the increases in our lifespan in the last hundred years globally have been heavily associated with just better sewage, right?
Austin McGuffie (45:25):
Dhru Purohit (45:25):
I mean, forgetting the last a hundred years, the last 500 years. These are technologies of the time that made everybody healthier. We’re on that path right now with the work that Levels and other companies and other people that are working on. Making food cheaper, more accessible, healthier, and shortening that gap between what you eat and how you feel because ultimately it’s chronic disease that’s the problem for so many people. If we can make a dent in that, it’s a game changer for society.
Austin McGuffie (45:54):
Absolutely. I love that. And in the spirit of continuous glucose monitors becoming more affordable, which I can’t wait for, I think, if I’m not mistaken, I saw on your stories on Instagram, maybe a few months ago, that you had your parents, they tried out … oh yeah, you just mentioned it. They go on and off cycles of continuous glucose monitoring. I actually recently did the same thing with my parents. I’m curious to know when you first started out, what their perception of with their continuous glucose monitoring and whether or not they made immediate changes or did it take some time?
Dhru Purohit (46:26):
Yeah, so let me share. In all honesty, my mom’s … so it’s really my dad whose been on this journey. My mom’s glucose monitor we’ve kind of kept to the side. She’s waiting to start it. And a big part for my mom, and this is something that I talk to Casey sometimes about and the team at Levels, is that there are people who initially might get a little bit scared about the data. Maybe they’re more anxiety prone. Maybe they’re more likely to take a number out of context. My mom sometimes gets her lab work back from the doctor and she obsesses about it over a little while. With my brother-in-law, shout out to him, he’s a cardiologist, functional medicine doctor, Dr. Neil Patel, with my brother-in-law and my sisters we decided, okay, let’s hold off our mom for right now. But the good thing is, my mom is super ride or die and so she sees my dad doing something, she wants to start doing it, too.
Dhru Purohit (47:15):
So for my dad, the thing is I gave it to him and he’s very black and white. He’ll see the numbers, he’ll try different experiments. And again, we don’t pressure him. And if he brings it up, great, I want to talk to him about it. If he doesn’t bring it up, awesome. But I see him doing it. Then naturally, the interesting thing that my younger sister, who just moved down to San Diego, shared with me, and my older sister saw this too, is that she just naturally saw my dad who would let’s say in the evening he’d eat his Indian meal. We’re from this region of India called Gujarat, so we eat this type of food called Gujarati food, right? So Gujarati food is a typical, for any of the Gujaratis that would listen to this interview, they’re going to [inaudible 00:47:52] out about this, but it’s this traditional dish, it’s called [Darbar rotli shaak 00:47:55], which basically means rice with fat inside of it, usually ghee. They do mostly like avocado oil. It’s like rice with some vegetables and some fat inside of it. Maybe some lentils. Shaak, which is some sort of vegetable dish. Often it’s maybe a couple of them. And then roti is like a flat bread.
Dhru Purohit (48:18):
They started noticing a couple things as my dad started wearing his glucose monitor. Number one, my dad, who might have typically like three rotis that you would have for dinner was now down to two. And then he was only eating like one and a half because he was seeing the difference that it would make of not having that full roti.
Dhru Purohit (48:38):
Then he did another experiment. One day my sister came home and saw my dad and she was like, “I’ve been noticing dad is making like a little salad before dinner.”
Austin McGuffie (48:47):
Dhru Purohit (48:49):
He’ll make a little salad and he’ll load in a bunch of stuff and he’ll try it. When the dinner’s done and he goes on a little walk outside, he loves to like check his monitor. These are the little changes. We did share with him initially like, “Hey dad, here’s all these different tools in toolbox.” You can have fat and fiber before a meal. That’s going to slow down the glucose response. My dad loves walking, but he typically does it in the morning before he’s eaten anything. So we said, “Hey, you can also walk after a meal.”
Dhru Purohit (49:20):
By the way, as my dad started to go down this experience and he got really interested, what was really exciting … talk about family business, right? What was really exciting about this is that he started to tell his friends about it. He started to tell his siblings about it. Like, “Hey, I’m doing this monitor.” And I don’t know if any of them ended up getting one, but just through periphery and hearing him, this goes back to your thing, they needed to hear it from him. Not me. Even though we’re both South Asian, they needed to hear it from somebody who was older and a friend of theirs. I started seeing that my uncles and aunts were doing something similar. Crazy. Full circle. Taking it full circle.
Dhru Purohit (49:57):
I shared with my dad, shout out to Kumar, I shared with my dad that, “Hey, I’m really enjoying this glucose monitor. And I’m really loving this company Levels.” I regularly invest in companies. I was like, “If I can get a little bit more allocation, do you want to invest?” He said, “You know what? Not only should we invest, but let’s get the whole family to invest.” So we set up an LLC company in honor of Hindu goddess Lakshmi.
Austin McGuffie (50:25):
I love that.
Dhru Purohit (50:26):
So we call it Lakshmi fund. And that’s the fun that our first investment together as a family was to Levels.
Austin McGuffie (50:33):
Dhru Purohit (50:34):
Our first investment together. How crazy is that? And now my dad, every so often I forward him the Friday forums and the other updates that they sent out to investors, and he loves reading them and he feels like super invested in the whole situation because it made such a difference in his life and now he’s financially tied to the company, too.
Austin McGuffie (50:55):
Man. I love that, Drew. I think that’s so dope that you guys invested together. I think the coolest thing out of all that was your dad found a way to enjoy a traditional meal without having to cut it out all together. I think one of the things with nutrition, and you see this, there’s a lot of fighting on social media about what you should eat, what you shouldn’t eat. If you have a little bit of this, you’ll die. If you have a little bit of that, something crazy might happen, but you really learn how to optimize your habits for your health. Like your dad, he’s having the same dinner, just changing his portions, maybe a walk afterwards, maybe the salad before. What was the last part of … the pita? What’s it called?
Dhru Purohit (51:35):
Austin McGuffie (51:36):
The roti. So instead of three rotis, he’s having one and a half. I think that’s so cool and I think that’s such a huge takeaway for anybody listening who’s seeking to optimize their health. Like you said earlier, it’s not I’m going to cut out, it’s what can I add or what can I change to do things differently? And then naturally the other people in your family follow suit, like your mom, who may not have a glucose monitor to see how it’s impacting her blood sugar, but no doubt she’s benefiting from the experience that your dad is having. It’s just really cool.
Dhru Purohit (52:08):
It’s so true. You know, health happens in community and relationship, right? It’s very rarely that people are the lone wolf, unless that they’re super motivated to go down that health journey. It takes too much energy. It takes too much energy. It takes too much digging in. And most people are just trying to provide for their family, manage kids, manage everything. They just don’t have that luxury of time. There are people. I was one of those people that was super motivated but that’s not going to be most people. They’re going to need to have health changes happen in partnership and in community. Well, if we’re trying to get the world healthier, why wouldn’t we have conversations about how to localize that for different communities?
Austin McGuffie (52:55):
Dhru Purohit (52:56):
To have different ambassadors go out to those groups and talk to them in a way which one background can be your ethnicity. Another background can be age. Another background can be gender. Another background can be whatever. It doesn’t matter what it is, because the truth is everybody’s struggling. Everybody’s struggling. So we all, if we’re motivated by it, we can think in small little ways of how we can make that impact in our own community.
Austin McGuffie (53:23):
I love that, drew. I have one last question for you. I like to ask this question to everyone, especially people who are strong health advocates. I want to know when you walk into the kitchen, if there was this one thing, this delicacy, that you just can’t shut down, you can’t turn away from, you can’t say no to, what is that one thing?
Dhru Purohit (53:42):
Oh man, mine’s easy. Dark chocolate. I’m a big fan of dark chocolate.
Austin McGuffie (53:45):
It’s dark chocolate.
Dhru Purohit (53:47):
Yeah. The crazy thing is it’s so easy and that’s my indulgence and I probably have a couple pieces of dark chocolate every day. Right? After dinner usually is when I’ll have it. Sometimes now I’ve been having it after lunch because I get a little bit of a caffeine stimulation from the cacao. But that’s the beauty, is that the thing that’s my indulgence is actually also good for me, too.
Austin McGuffie (54:09):
Dhru Purohit (54:10):
And your taste buds change over time and your health priorities change over time. I couldn’t think of anything else that is something that I look forward to. I think in that way, sometimes men, again, I know it’s a broad generalization, but you know, men, their hormones are more stable. They’re on that 24 hour clock. Women … We’ve done a lot of podcast episodes about this. There’s a lot of changes throughout the month. They have different cycle. It’s a lot more complex, their infradian rhythm, so naturally their cravings and other food choices should actually match that. Men. It’s kind of like the same thing.
Dhru Purohit (54:40):
I heard you on a podcast. You’re like, “I eat the same thing every day.” Honestly sometimes I don’t even know if I enjoy eating. I would just rather just work and do other stuff. Right?
Austin McGuffie (54:48):
Dhru Purohit (54:49):
I’m probably similar in that same way as you, except I just don’t have big muscles, so I’m working on that. But you know, the last thing I want to say about that point and to wrap it up, so yeah, dark chocolate. And the thing that I want to mention, especially of why I’m so passionate about the South Asian community really stepping into this, is that going back to, especially here in America, right? America, you will not find America as the best of what it really stands for, which is really opportunity and upward mobility. Now I’m the first person to say that isn’t always there for every single group that wants it and there’s a lot of challenges that are there, but this is what America stands for and this is why you’ll find that most South Asian immigrants that have come here, because they’ve also done well within this structure and they couldn’t do that at home, there’s this deep sense of pride for being in America and having the opportunity. And hats off to you guys. As I mentioned before, economically educationally, great. We’ve all done well. I’ve done well. Fantastic.
Dhru Purohit (55:54):
Now, not just for our own community that’s struggling with metabolic health, but we actually have to think about it as America has actually given us so much, who are the other communities that are out there that do not have access to the things that we have access to. We have to double down on the education, the lifestyle changes, not just for us, but to make it more accessible for them because truly, I know this sounds like a patriotic speech but I genuinely mean it. America has given this population so much, we got to focus on giving back. And that’s like a important message that I’m sharing with all my friends inside of the space. If you were given a lot of this goodness that we’ve gotten from being in this country, we really have to focus on giving back and that doesn’t mean just our own community. So I wanted to make sure I got a chance to add that into the mix.