Dr. Josh Axe Talks Ancient Remedies and Wellness Today
- Written By:Alexandra Malmed
We're officially a year and some change into the COVID-19 pandemic, so it felt like the perfct time to catch up with the incredible Dr. Josh Axe to talk all things wellness. Dr. Axe (D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C.) believes that the human body is built for optimal health and high performance, but knows that in our modern world, we can often get disconnected from the traditions and nutritional principles that were long honored and celebrated throughout history—the principles that kept people vibrant and well, naturally.
You probably know Dr. Axe from his eponymous website (DrAxe.com), but he's also the founder of Ancient Nutrition and the author of the best-selling books including Keto Diet and Ancient Remedies, his latest release. His wellness mission is simple: restore the vitality, health, and strength of people via ancient natural remedies, specific diet plans and recipes, essential nutrients and foods, mindfulness, and movement.
Read on to learn about how to enhance every element of your well being and life the ancient way, and how to live optimally in our modern world and in the new normal.
We’re now one year into the pandemic—have you noticed any changes in how people are taking care of themselves? What recommendations do you have for people regarding staying fit and immunity?
There’s definitely a drive to support mental and physical health now that our collective vulnerabilities have really come to light. At-home exercise platforms have become more popular, more mental health apps and programs are popping up, and people are more interested in supporting their immune system health. Some small ways to take care of yourself is to get outside for walks and physical activity. This will improve your mood, burn calories, help you to maintain healthy vitamin D levels and promote better mental and emotional health. Taking immune-boosting supplements is also helpful, including zinc, vitamin C, probiotics, elderberry and adaptogen herbs like ashwagandha.
What’s a typical day of meals like for you? Any products that you recommend?
Typically, I have my favorite collagen smoothie most mornings for breakfast, or I’d do oatmeal in the crockpot with things like mulberries, goji berries and collagen. For lunch, I typically have steamed vegetables with hummus and a wild caught fish or grass-fed beef with homemade vegan cheese sauce. For dinner, I usually have a grass-fed burger or chicken vegetable soup, with some dark chocolate for dessert!
The supplements I take the most are mushrooms, like reishi, greens powder, turmeric, and astragalus, as well as a bone broth protein and a collagen protein powder.
A lot of us are experiencing insomnia or poor sleep these days. What are your tips for sleeping well and enough?
Increased stress and anxiety can certainly disrupt sleep patterns, which can lead to fatigue and inflammation – becoming a vicious cycle that can have a major impact on your health. For starters, stick to a nighttime routine that involves winding down with meditation, gentle yoga, an inspiring book or journaling – anything that will ease your mind and body. Get to bed around the same time every night and avoid blue light from the TV, laptop or phone. There are also natural herbs and supplements that can promote restful sleep, including ashwagandha, valerian root, kava kava, chamomile and magnesium. Diffusing relaxing essential oils in your bedroom may also help. Try lavender or bergamot.
You wrote an entire book on, and titled, Ancient Remedies. What are a few simple ancient remedies and tactics that we can incorporate into our daily lives with ease?
I always think the easiest way to start is if you’re cooking, sprinkle in herbs like turmeric, rosemary, cinnamon, ginger, and basil – using more herbs daily will give you a great start to greater health. If you look back into history – if people were ever referring to “medicine” they were always referring to herbs and spices (or some combination of the two). I’m not sure where that message got lost the past few decades, but it is so important for our health to incorporate these healing herbs and spices into our daily diets.
How did working on this book impact your wellness philosophy? Was there anything surprising you came across that shifted your perspective? Did it lead you to discover or re-discover any supplements or superfoods?
I think eating for your Traditional Chinese Medicine Element (there are five types, for which you can find quizzes online to find your type—or talk to your natural practitioner)— is immensely important and is the most impactful thing I’ve come to realize, and I think readers will too. There’s no one diet that’s right for everyone—but instead learning what your element is and learning how you’re uniquely wired and how you should be fueled is such an important thing. Additionally (and this comes with knowing your element) but knowing how different types of emotions impact our health—is always a continued learning for me personally.
Gut health is such a hot topic right now, as it’s our second brain. What are your tips for optimal gut health?
Taking SBO probiotics is an excellent way to maintain a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut and optimize overall gut health. Eating fermented foods is also important, including kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and fermented vegetables. It’s also important to cut out inflammatory foods from your diet, like processed snack foods, and foods containing refined sugars and carbohydrates.
What are your tips for mental health and mindfulness?
Spending time outdoors whenever possible is so important. It’s grounding and boosts mood, especially if you can walk around barefoot for a bit. Engaging in thoughtful prayer or meditation, and reading from inspiring or spiritual books is also helpful for promoting mental health. It’s also key to engage with loved ones, friends and like-minded people who will keep you inspired and help you to achieve your goals. For me, that means spending meaningful time with my family and meeting with my men’s circle every month.
What has been your biggest wellness struggle—and how have you conquered it?
My biggest wellness struggle has been stress, as I’m sure many people can relate. Running a full-time major business, pursuing my own passions and additional missions on the side, spending time with my family and raising my daughter, as well as spending time to create, meditate and think. It’s hard to imagine how anyone does it all! Nonetheless, knowing when to turn work off helps immensely. The pressure of stress can make you feel immensely tired and make it impossible to get anything done. I’ve also found that not watching a lot of TV, going to bed earlier, and disconnecting truly have helped me find ways to deal with the stress and its impacts.
What do you think that the world of wellness will look like as the pandemic fades away and life in the “new normal” resumes?
I have faith that people will continue to put their health first as the “new normal” resumes. Not only have we faced physical health challenges, but mental health challenges too. We need to put preventative care and medicine first, instead of paying attention only when it’s too late. That can be done naturally with dietary changes, increased physical activity, and with prioritizing balance so that Americans aren’t living in a chronic state of stress.