I am so excited for this episode. My guest is Amylee Amos MS, RDN, IFMCP founder of the Amos Institute. Amos Institute’s focus is using the power of nutrition to optimize brain health. Utilizing nutrition as a powerful point of leverage to express the very best of a person’s genes.
In this episode we will cover:
- Using Nutrition as a leverage
- Brain Health starts in the gut
- What diets should look like
You can find out more about the Amos Institute on their website and get free resources on their blog. Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest
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Episode 182: Transcript
Andrea: [00:00:03] Welcome to the Legalpreneur Podcast. I’m your host, Andrea Sager, founder and CEO of Legalpreneur, Inc. As a serial entrepreneur and someone that works exclusively with small business owners legally protecting their business, I’m dedicated to covering common legal issues faced by business owners, providing you with the business knowledge you need to catapult your businesses growth and showing you just how some of the world’s most elite entrepreneurs have handled these legal and business issues themselves in true attorney fashion. The information in this episode is not legal advice. This is for informational purposes only, and you should always consult with your attorney before implementing any of the information in the show. Hello. Hello. Welcome back to the Legalpreneur podcast. I have a very special guest for you today, Amy Lee Amos with the Amos Institute. And I’m so excited for you to hear, for you to hear from her today because she is talking about cognitive health and really our brain health, which as entrepreneurs, this is something that is incredibly important, which I think a lot of us tend to ignore and not even ignore, but we just don’t think about it until it’s too late. And so I’m really excited to have Amy Lee on here today to talk to us about brain health and how we can make sure it stays healthy before it before it’s too late. So, Amy Lee, thank you for joining us today.
Amylee: [00:01:26] Yeah, thank you. I’m so excited to be here.
Andrea: [00:01:28] Yeah. So tell us get started. Like, tell us, how did you get to where you are today with the Amos Institute?
Amylee: [00:01:34] All right. Gosh. Well, it’s been a crazy journey. Let me say. I spent. Yeah, right. I spent my early twenties managing restaurants and cocktail lounges in London and in Las Vegas and then in LA. In that line of work, you hear a lot of stories from people, everyone everyone wants to talk. You talk to a lot of people, which is great. And, you know, I heard so many stories about people who were either suffering from disease or they loved someone who is dealing with a chronic illness. That seemed to be something that I was hearing about all the time, a really common trend. And yet so many of these people were the first to admit that they weren’t doing anything to keep themselves healthy or to prevent disease, to ameliorate their symptoms. And, you know, these conversations were normally occurring in the very, very early hours of the day or late, late at night after that, patron had a couple of drinks. And, you know, long story short, that was kind of how the seed was planted, that I wanted to be part of the solution and help people stay. Well, meanwhile, my own grandmother was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, so that really piqued my interest in keeping the brain sharp and preventing cognitive decline and neurodegeneration. And she eventually died from the disease. And it took a toll on my family, certainly. And so I started doing a lot of research and eventually decided I needed to go back to school. And so I got my master of science in nutrition, healthspan and longevity from USC. And that really primed my skill set to focus on preventing chronic diseases and reversing biological aging, which is we all want to stay as young as possible. So it was just like it was an incredible field to to get into.
Amylee: [00:03:30] And I became a registered dietitian since then have spent a lot of time focusing on functional medicine, which is identifying the root cause of dysfunction. So rather than where we are bombarded in the media with all kinds of quote unquote solutions, but really they’re just Band-Aid approaches. So functional medicine is really looking at what’s underneath all of that and how do we stop something at the root. So I got certified in functional medicine from the Institute for Functional Medicine as part of my postgraduate training, and I’m now getting my PhD in integrative and functional nutrition. So that’s, that’s my educational background in a nutshell. And now at the Amos Institute. So we’ve been in business going on six years, so we’re still a newer company and our focus is using the power of nutrition to optimize brain health. And kind of our philosophy, if you will, is looking at looking at food. And food is a lot of things. It’s culture and it’s expression, it’s creativity, it’s fuel. But most importantly, food is information, and it’s information that instructs the expression of our genes. And we have this finite genetic code that we’re born with. And a lot of people tend to think when they think about their health, they tend to kind of use that that genetic information as a crutch. Well, in my family, we have X, Y or Z condition, but the fact is that we control what we express in our genes, and that’s what we’re doing at the Amos Institute. We’re using nutrition as a powerful point of leverage to express the very best of our genes so that we get to the healthiest we’ve ever been. So that’s what we’re doing at the Amos Institute.
Andrea: [00:05:27] That sounds really interesting because we all hear about, Oh, you have to eat right and you have to do this. And some people do want to blame their genes for, you know, every misfortune that they have. But the way you’re explaining it makes so much sense. Like we do have these defined genes, but. We can use nutrition to express those in the healthiest way possible.
Amylee: [00:05:51] Exactly.
Andrea: [00:05:52] That. That’s really cool. And I would love to hear your perspective about different countries, because I know you said you were in London and then here in the US, but so for the first time I went overseas last year to Italy and. I. Have you ever been to Italy?
Amylee: [00:06:11] I have. I love it.
Andrea: [00:06:13] So that was the first time that I really could see the differences in the body types. And like, I could just see a person like, oh, they’re from Italy or Oh, they’re from the US. Just not even hearing them speak, but seeing their body types. And I’m curious if you have like any perspective.
Amylee: [00:06:33] Yeah. Oh, my gosh, it’s such a great subject. So first, there are something really interesting that we know from the science is that there are these areas of the world called blue zones. Yes. Yeah, right. So these are the areas of the world for anyone listening who isn’t familiar with this term, areas of the world where we have the greatest density of centenarians, meaning people who live to 100 or older. There are these little pockets, one of which is in Italy, in Sardinia, where people are living just a crazy long time. They’re they’re scattered all over the place and one even in the US in Loma Linda, California. But anyways, the point being, we’ve got these areas where people are living a very long time and they’re not just living a long time, they’re living very healthy lives throughout that time. So they’re active until until they die more or less, which is amazing because that is not the case in most certainly in most of the US. So you would think again, well, they probably have good genes, right? You know, they’re those they live in all the same area. So they’ve got great genes, but they’ve done these studies where they’ve looked at people who have been born into the blue zone. So their families from the blue zone and they’ve moved out of the blue zone into like so for example, there’s one in Okinawa and then those people move elsewhere in Japan and they do not have the same longevity. So it is the lifestyle of being in that blue zone. It’s not when they follow these people who genetically have that blue zone in them. If they’re not in the blue zone and living that lifestyle, they don’t have that same health span and longevity, which is really hopeful, actually, because for those of us who are thinking, well, I don’t have I didn’t win the genetic lottery and I don’t live in one of those places. That’s okay. Because if you implement some of the lifestyle and diet and lifestyle interventions that we see in these areas of the world, you can reap the benefits.
Andrea: [00:08:36] Yes. So can you talk about some of those lifestyles? Like what what goes into that?
Amylee: [00:08:43] Absolutely. So, I mean, again, we’re focused really we are focused on brain health at the institute. And but the fact is, when we are doing these these kinds of healthy lifestyle interventions and diet changes, they’re helping all body systems. So even though our focus may be on the brain, all of these things that we’ll talk about are going to help all of your body systems, which is amazing that it works that way. But from a brain health standpoint, if you want to optimize the functioning of your brain, you have to start with the functioning of your gut. So over 75% of our neurotransmitters, which are the chemical messengers that tell our brain cells what to do, are produced within our gut. So we have more of these neurotransmitters in our gut than we do in the entirety of our central nervous system, which is just absolutely astonishing, if you think about it. So the the first thing that we want to do and the first thing that we recommend the Institute is to start caring for our gut. And that means so many different things. There are a lot of different ways that you could go about doing that. But the great thing is you can start really small. This doesn’t have to be for your listeners who are thinking, My gosh, am I going to have to change everything about my diet and lifestyle? No.
Amylee: [00:10:00] You can start with just one or two little things that can kind of have a snowball effect. And to give you some examples of what that might be from a gut health perspective is increasing our intake of prebiotic fiber. So those are fibers that are gut microbes. Everyone’s heard of the microbiome. This is a trendy term. Prebiotic fiber is what those microbes, those healthy bacteria that live in our gut feed off of. And we find those in plant foods, all plant foods, but in particular certain vegetables like jicama and onions, garlic, asparagus, those types of foods are really high, but all fiber is helpful in this regard. So we want to feed and nurture those gut microbiome. So that’s a really small thing that anyone can do. We also want to consume the bacteria themselves, that that would be the probiotics, the term that more people have heard of probably than prebiotic. And you can certainly do that in supplement form, but even better to do it through food sources. So to consume fermented foods like fermented vegetables and fermented beverages like kombucha, which is. Super trendy these days.
Andrea: [00:11:10] I tried it once. I was like I was like, Oh, this is going to be great. Oh, I couldn’t. I could not. Oh.
Amylee: [00:11:17] The great news is you don’t have to force it. So if that one doesn’t work for you, you know, fermented vegetables, that’s normally my go to so versatile. Yeah. But also other foods that for some people might be really common like miso, which depending for different cultures, that’s something that’s used all the time. Tempeh, which is a fermented soybean product that some groups of people like to eat a lot. There’s a lot of ways of doing this. And of course, yogurt as well.
Andrea: [00:11:46] What what do you think is the biggest driver in the differences, like looking at Italy, people in Italy versus people in the US? Like clearly there’s a big difference. Do you think it’s just the culture differences and what like is the basis of our foods here versus in Italy?
Amylee: [00:12:02] Yeah, I mean, unfortunately, more and more of the Western world is what we used to call the standard American diet, which is our high refined carbohydrates, sugar, high salt, high fat diet. That’s now the Western diet because it’s consumed in so many other areas as well. But I think in the United States specifically, we have a problem in our food industry. It’s it works actively against us to keep us on. Well, the big food manufacturers in this country, certainly, they have very smart people who work endlessly to create processed foods to keep us addicted to them. You know, it’s so unfair. But I mean, that’s a whole nother conversation about, you know, and even like government subsidies for subsidized crops, we should be we should be working to make fruits and vegetables affordable to all people, not not processed foods affordable to all people. But I think that’s part of it. Not all countries have that type of system in place where, you know, depending on where you live and your socioeconomic status, it can be very difficult to come by fresh foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, which is should be the basis of everyone’s diet, regardless of the specifics. You know, so many diets are trendy these days. It’s not so important how you categorize yourself, whether your paleo or your keto or you’re vegan, you know, the basis of everyone’s diet should be lots of plant foods is unfortunately a challenge for a lot of people because of accessibility.
Andrea: [00:13:44] Yeah, I see that all the time. So if you know, whether they’re an entrepreneur or not, but they want to have a healthy brain besides the fermented foods, what and like going into the plant based foods like what would you say like would be a normal like perfect healthy day diet wise for yeah.
Amylee: [00:14:04] Wow anybody. So I think, first of all, I want to stress that there’s a lot of ways to do it. There is. What we learned from those blue zones is that there isn’t one healthy diet. There is a healthy diet for you and a healthy diet for me. And those might not look the same. And that’s a good thing. We don’t need to follow, just like a cookie cutter prescription diet that must have, you know, you must have this for breakfast. And that’s part of why we hear such contradictory information and nutrition science. Like we hear one study that says, you know, you’ve got to eat oatmeal is the best breakfast because got fiber and it’s got this. Then you hear someone else is like no eggs is the best breakfast because it’s the most absorbable protein. But, you know, every day it just it’s different every single day, which can be so confusing for the consumer. And the fact is, it can be a lot of things. There are different ways to do this. But what we know from a brain health standpoint and from an overall health standpoint is that we need more plants in our diet and exactly what those are. I encourage clients when I work with them to choose the ones that they like because as I mentioned earlier, food is more than just fuel. Yes, it’s fuel, but it’s also enjoyment and it’s connection with people.
Amylee: [00:15:23] So I think the number one thing is to increase our our plant food intake. So that could mean non-starchy vegetables like all of the green leafy vegetables or colorful vegetables, the sulfur rich vegetables, like all of those cruciferous vegetables, all of those different categories are important, in particular the colors. And I think this is a fun place to start, especially for your listeners who are parents of young kids. Maybe this is a fun one where you can kind of get the whole family involved. Just try and get more color on that plate because the different pigments contain different phytonutrients. So these are classes of nutrients that are even smaller than vitamins and minerals. And so the red colored. Vegetables and fruits have different phytonutrients than the orange and then the yellow, and we need all of them. So you’ve heard, I’m sure, eat the rainbow. And it sounds so simplistic and like, how can that actually be an important thing when it’s just so basic? But it actually is unbelievably important. So I would start there and again, like, rather than trying to force yourself to eat these types of vegetables, because broccoli sprouts are the best, they have the best nutrition, that might be true. But is that necessarily what everyone enjoys? Maybe not. And so better to just try and find the ones that work for you and work in the cuisine that you like.
Andrea: [00:16:52] Yeah. So. So if somebody is like, och, I know. The best diet for me is different than what’s the best for somebody else. How do they figure out what actually is the best for them? Is that what like is that where you guys come in or is like what goes into that?
Amylee: [00:17:11] Absolutely. So that is where you work with a functionally trained registered dietitian who is a specialist in helping you figure that out based on a number of factors. So that’s based on preference. Like some people, for example, we were talking about like vegans versus paleo versus all these different trendy diets. If you don’t want to consume animal protein for ethical reasons, I mean, that’s going to change things than somebody who doesn’t have an issue with that. So we would look at your preferences. We would look at any kinds of symptoms, in particular digestive symptoms, but also certainly for us, we’re looking at brain health symptoms. So a lot of things that people have is just what they call brain fog. So this is not a diagnosed disorder or disease. This is just, you know, we just feel like not as sharp as we should be or forgetful, those kinds of things. Right. And certainly people in business, we’re busy. We have a lot going on. You know, brain fog is a really common one. So we’re looking at that because that can be related to our diet. So we take those types of things into account as well as someone’s genetic information. So even though I said it’s not all about genetics, that’s true. But it helps us with predisposition, what someone might be predisposed to. So we take all of those things into account. And with most of our clients, we’re also looking at biochemical data, meaning their lab work, so basic labs that their doctor might have run for them and we help them create the perfect diet for them. Nice. Yeah. And you know, I have to say, it can be really liberating for someone also who is just tired of all of the contradictory information that we’ve spoken of. And then to decide this is best for me. And so it doesn’t matter what what all of the other noise.
Andrea: [00:19:00] Said, because one thing that I personally have been like working through is restriction, whether it be like dieting or anything. And I just feel like dieting is so restricting. And so I’ve, I mean, it’s been, you know, a long time since I’ve tried to quote unquote diet on anything. But and the reason is because I’ve learned, like through my whole, like, healing and spiritual journey, through that whole journey for me, I’ve just learned restriction does not work for me and I think it’s the same for many people. So just finding out like, hey, you don’t have to be restricted, but this is what’s best for you. I think that like you just said, it is liberating and freeing to know like, Hey, I don’t have to restrict myself from anything, but knowing this is what’s best, that’s that’s wonderful. And I’m curious what so I know you guys have the cognitive your cognitive health program. Is that like what goes into that? Are you combining a bunch of different like methods or what what goes into that?
Amylee: [00:20:09] Yeah, great question. So our cognitive health program is a it’s hosted on our virtual platform and it is a series of lessons that include video lessons that we’ve produced and meal plans, in some cases, additional resources and instruction that help walk someone through kind of the basics of a healthy eating plan. And from there, it needs to be personalized. And we help with ways of figuring that out, like how you might personalize it based again on your genetics or on your family history of certain diseases and so on. So that’s our primary service. That’s what I love about it, is that it’s it’s highly affordable, it’s $365 and then you have access to it for life.
Andrea: [00:20:56] Oh, wow. Just a one time fee.
Amylee: [00:20:59] One time fee. So I like to say, if you just use it for a year, like let’s say you just only want to use it for a year, it’s a dollar a day, so really nice and affordable, which was important to us. And it’s important to kind of our mission of trying to disseminate this life saving information to as many people as possible. Because functional medicine is unattainable for a lot of people, it’s often outside of the insurance model. And so cash pay is not not an option for a lot of people. And we wanted to kind of fight against that. So that’s our cognitive health program. And that also comes with and I think this is arguably one of the best parts about it, access to our office hours, which means all of our clients who we see were currently throughout the US and in 13 countries, and people have the ability to write in questions. And a couple of times a month I host office hours and just answer questions that people have have submitted. So you have access to a dietician, a functionally trained dietitian to, you know, who can answer the questions. For you. So that’s our cognitive health program, which is our primary service that we’re super proud of. But then we also offer one on one consultations for people who do really want to dove deep. They want to talk specifically about them. That’s another a service that we offer.
Andrea: [00:22:18] Amazing. That’s incredible. I know once we first got introduced, I was like, this is incredible. Like, this stuff is fascinating to me and it’s crazy, but I’m so glad that we got connected. And so one thing that I like to ask every single guest that we have on the podcast is what is your number one business? Tip doesn’t have to be related to health wellness. It can be or anything business wise. But you’re a rock star CEO, and I think it would be amazing for the audience to hear like, what is your number one overall? Just business tip.
Amylee: [00:22:53] Okay, gosh. So my dad, who is also a business owner, he turned me on a long time ago to Seth Godin, who I’ve looked at for inspiration throughout the years. And I think it’s his quote. And it’s if failure is not an option, then neither is success. So in other words, you know, we hear a lot like failure is not an option, like I will be successful. But the fact is, in business, at least from my experience, there are ups and downs. I’ve done so many things that in hindsight it’s like, I wonder what I was thinking when I made that business call. You don’t want to be so afraid of making a mistake that you don’t try because you’ve got to try if you want to be successful. And I think that’s what has sort of been like a mantra for me in my experience in business, knowing that every step of the way, even if it doesn’t work out exactly as I had planned, it’s progress. Yeah, yeah. So just keep keep plugging away. That’s been that’s been what’s keeping me going.
Andrea: [00:23:56] I love it. I love it. Well, tell the audience where can they find out more about you? The Amos Institute. Give them all the things.
Amylee: [00:24:04] Definitely so our website please go to our website www.amosinstitute.com. We have all of the information about our program and we also have a blog that we are really proud of with tons of free resources, and that’s at www.amosinstitute.com/blog. So check us out there and then follow us on social media or at Amos Institute on Instagram, at the Amos Institute on Facebook or on Twitter or on Pinterest. So check us out because we’d love to have you awesome.
Andrea: [00:24:34] And everything will be in the show notes. You guys and Amy Lee, thank you so much for this. I’m so glad we got to do this.
Amylee: [00:24:40] This was such a fun conversation. Thank you for having me.
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