Dr. Partha Nandi talks with JJ Virgin about how to set a mindful and realistic pathway to health.
Listen to the full discussion HERE
[2:05] Dr. Nandi is the “Un-diet Doctor.”
[3:06] Dr. Nandi lived in India until he was nine, and his experiences there affect how he practices medicine now.
[6:38] What are the simple things that can make a big difference?
[9:25] How can you find purpose in your life, and what are the benefits of doing that?
[10:30] Symptoms motivate us to take action.
[11:20] Writing down goals is key.
[11:54] What is the biggest hurdle for patients to get past?
[13:25] Even if someone doesn’t have the means to book an appointment, they still have access to so much information.
[14:02] Dr. Nandi meditates everyday.
[15:11] Dr. Nandi has an ebook about mindfulness, available at jjvirgin.com/drnandi.
[17:58] The true cause of weight gain is not calories, it is food intolerance. To learn more, check out JJ’s book The Virgin Diet.
[18:44] JJ answers a listener’s question: “I want to get healthier, I just don’t know where to start. What is the first thing I should do?”
[21:30] You can submit questions on JJ’s Facebook Page. Please also leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher.
JJ Virgin: Hey. It’s JJ Virgin, and welcome to the JJ Virgin Lifestyle Show, where we’ll connect with some of the coolest people in the world. Plus I give you tips that you can put into fast action to up-level your health and your life. Now, today’s show is all about simple things you can do. I like to say, “The little hinges swing big doors,” so it’s all about the little things that you can do that add up to big shifts over time, and I have the Un-Diet Doctor on with me today. He is the perfect blend of east meets west. He grew up … His childhood was in India, and then he moved to the U.S. So he’s had the opportunity to grow up with meditation and yoga, as his normal.
JJ Virgin: He’s kind of looking around now when all of us are like, “Oh my gosh. This new age thing.” We’ll talk more about that, but then also going to medical school here and learning western medicine and just bringing it all together. We’re going to talk mindfulness today, how to really be present, the impact that can have on your health, all sorts of cool stuff. So let me tell you a little bit about who I’ve got on. My new buddy, Dr. Partha Nandi. He is a practicing physician, international speaker, and host of the internationally syndicated medical lifestyle show, Ask Dr. Nandi. Very cool show, I’m looking forward to being on soon. You’ll definitely want to dial into that because he is all about just kind of a no-nonsense approach.
JJ Virgin: But it’s no nonsense, coming from, again, the perspective of bringing in spirituality, mindfulness, and community, all the things that I’ve been really deep diving into over the last years as I’ve been working on the Miracle Mindset. So, as he’s been saying all this, I was just cheering in the background going, “Yes!” More science to back up all of the things that I was just using intuitively when I was in the hospital with my son, Grant. All right, so I am excited to introduce Dr. Partha Nandi. All right. Let’s do it. Dr. Partha Nandi, welcome to the show. I am so glad to have you here today.
Dr. Nandi: Hey, thanks for having me, JJ. I really appreciate it.
JJ Virgin: Well let’s dive into what you call yourself because you’re known as the Un-Diet Doctor. What the heck is that, Partha?
Dr. Nandi: So, what I think is, is lot of people that fail, and you know this that when they get into a diet, they’ve got great, great intentions, but they fail. They just can’t sustain it. So what I try to say is, “Listen, you know what? I like to call myself the Un-Diet Doctor,” meaning that let’s get some simple principles and ideas that you can follow instead of saying, “I’ve got to take a teaspoon of this, put it in that, and then wait for it to boil,” you know, all this stuff that there’s so many diets out there that, people, it’s difficult for them to put their head or even their brain around.
Dr. Nandi: So I think that telling them some simple principle that they can follow, not just after the holidays, but all year round. That’s the idea of behind being the Un-Diet Doctor. Talk about things that you can do easily and not just talk about a “diet.”
JJ Virgin: That will make a big difference. I love little things that that make a big difference. So your whole background’s interesting because you’re, obviously, Dr. Partha Nandi. Now, you’re not Joe Smith, so you’ve got a background of being … Now, where are you from? You’re not from India, right?
Dr. Nandi: Well I was born there. I came when I was nine and then I did all my education here, like in Maine, in middle school, et cetera, and then I’ve been here ever since.
JJ Virgin: All right, because I’ve got another buddy who’s like, “No, I’m from New Jersey.” I’m like, “Oh okay.” But he’s spent a lot of time in India.
Dr. Nandi: Well I was lucky. I was lucky, JJ, that as a lot of things I talk about, with east meets west, is that, I remember when I was a kid that I could remember some of the things that people in India did and that affected me. I was just old enough to remember that stuff. For example, my parents always meditated, so it wasn’t weird and, “Oh this new age thing for me.” It was part of my life ever since I was … I could remember, right? They meditated. They prayed. Spirituality was a huge part in my life. Why that’s important now is because, you know, patients come to me, and especially this time of year they say, “I know what to do.”
Dr. Nandi: I do internal medicine gastroenterology, so they’ve got all kinds of issues that are coming up because they have a physical problem, and stress makes it worse. So they ask, “What pill can you give me? Can you give me something to take the edge off?” What I tell them is, hey listen, you know, Joe or Mary, something that’s going to be a little bit weird to hear from a practicing doctor, is that, “Have you ever thought about yoga? Have you thought about meditation?” Because when you do that, you take away some of that stress and what we call the adrenergic tone or all those hormones that are released that drive your body nuts.
Dr. Nandi: Then they ask me more, and I tell them, “Listen, I do a television show called Ask Dr. Nandi,” and I also do the health news ABC in Detroit.” We actually did a mobile meditation into one of the toughest precincts in Detroit, the Detroit Police Department. We took the meditation unit, the mobile unit there, and we had officers go in and, actually, on their lunch break, do meditation. Within five minutes, their heart rate and their blood pressure was down. So, imagine doing that over time. I tell my patients that instead of saying, “Can I have a little bit more Valium? Can I have a little bit more Xanax?” Or whatever it is that they think that that will help them, I go back to some of my roots, which is spirituality.
Dr. Nandi: My mom and my dad did that for forever. So that’s why it’s important that I was old enough to remember some of that stuff. I remember people doing yoga. I remember some of Ayurvedic medicine that people talk about now and Eastern medicine. It was part of people that are around me. And so, it’s important. When I was six years old, I had rheumatic fever, and I obeyed the doctor that tried to help me. So, I was intimately involved in some of the stuff. Not everything works, but that memory still stayed, and it helps me in my practice today. It helps me in what I talk about in the show. So it was really important for me.
JJ Virgin: Well not everything works in general.
Dr. Nandi: You’re absolutely right, absolutely right.
JJ Virgin: But what you just described with meditation, if that was a drug, it would be the most popular drug on the planet. So that’s always-
Dr. Nandi: That’s [crosstalk 00:06:26]-
JJ Virgin: … kind of interesting. You hear someone coming in and they want a Xanax that’ll help them in like 20 minutes, and they could just meditate and get the same effect in five. You know?
Dr. Nandi: Right. That’s exactly right.
JJ Virgin: And they didn’t have to spend any money. You [hinted 00:06:38] at him, so I’m going to make sure we talk about him. You said you had some simple ideas, simple things-
Dr. Nandi: Yeah.
JJ Virgin: … that could make a big difference, so I definitely want to get our listeners a couple of those.
Dr. Nandi: People talk about, “I want to make a huge change in my diet. I want to lose 15 pounds, 20 pounds,” and they have all these goals that want to fit in the dress. So I tell them a simple change. “Eat until you’re about three-quarters full.” The Okinawans do this. They just say, “You know what? I want to eat until I am not quite full, but just about three-quarters.” This is a simple thing to do, but it’s really difficult to adhere to. Meaning that you can do it once or twice, but we’re kind of accustomed in our part of the world that if you don’t supersize something, it ain’t right that you didn’t get your money’s worth, right?
Dr. Nandi: You can go to a buffet and you don’t finish the entire freaking place, that you don’t have your money’s worth. So, it’s a simple thing, but to do it on a systematic basis is going to be difficult. But if you do that simple thing, until you’re about three-quarters full, meaning that your brain, it takes it a little while to catch up to your stomach. By the time you know you’re full, it’s a little too late because what happens is then you feel bloated. I’m sure you hear this too, because you do the same. You do lots of advice and expertise on this field. But people say, “I feel uncomfortable and horrible.”
Dr. Nandi: So I tell them just do that one thing and that’ll help you to actually lose weight and feel better. The second thing about, for example, is exercise. They’re like, “Doc, I want to do it. I want to get motivated and fit and I can’t do it.” What I told them is that, “Listen, even if you can do five minutes a day,” because you want to start simple, right? “If you can do five minutes a day of anything, just move. Don’t pick a particular exercise. You don’t have to do CrossFit. You don’t have to lift 500 pounds. You don’t have to run around the planet. Just do anything for five minutes besides get on the couch, and that’s a start.”
Dr. Nandi: “If we do that, then that’ll get you to get in the process of being fit, because then once you get five minutes, you can do 10, et cetera.” Then lastly, I tell them … Another simple thing I can tell your audience, is that, have purpose in your life. So what that means, I say, “Listen, when you are doing something, find out why you’re doing it, and if it’s worthwhile, if it fits your goals,” meaning that find out what makes you happy. And then go backwards and say, “Is most of what I’m doing making that process occur? Meaning making what I want to be happy occur?” So listen, all of us do things that we don’t always enjoy.
Dr. Nandi: It doesn’t mean that 100% of the time, but are the majority of your activities going towards that goal? If you have that, if you have purpose in your life, then I think that makes a tremendous difference. Not only just making you feel good, which is the intuitive response, but now, science shows that you actually live up to six or seven years longer, and Dan Buettner, in his landmark, studies show that, and many other people have shown that if you have a purpose in your life.
JJ Virgin: So do you have trouble though? Do you have challenge with people coming in and you say this to them and they have no clue where you even start with that? Like, even if you asked a simple question of, “What are you doing every day for fun?” They look at you like you might be a little bit crazy.
Dr. Nandi: Crazy. What I tell them is that … I tell them, “Write it down.” I said, “Listen. You know what?” I tell them, “This is not an easy thing. It’s not like you just sit down one day, and oh, it takes two minutes and you’re done.” What I tell them is, “Write it down. It may take you a week to write down exactly what things make you happy.” But in general, when I’m seeing them in the medical practice, when I’m … As long as you have a symptom, right? They have something. They don’t come to see me and say, “Hey, how you doing?” And go out. They usually have a problem. So I tell them, “Listen, you have this problem. Besides the medical problem, what do you think is causing some of these issues?”
Dr. Nandi: I get them to understand that there’s more to their problem than just the physical element. Once I get them there, to me, it’s always about the motivation, right? So you got to have a reason to do something, meaning if you’re just having the greatest time in your life, typically, you’re like, “I don’t need any help.” But most people have stuff that’s going on in their life that they want to change. And so, I use that as a motivation for them to use their brain and get some effort into doing what they’re doing. Then it’s not a one-time process. You have to follow up. You have to follow up and say, “Okay, I’ve done this. What happens a week later? What happens a month later?” I help them with that.
Dr. Nandi: I help them start writing down goals and get diaries so that they can figure out what they’re doing and if they’re actually following up. Again, just like you pointed out, nothing really works 100% but it’s a start. If you make use of some of these simple changes, any one of those three can impact your life.
JJ Virgin: But what I’m hearing from you, and I’m just digging it, because there’s so much of what I’ve been teaching, is journaling is key. You know, getting really in touch with the purpose and the why behind things are so key, because, I mean, as you can see out here, we don’t have a shortage of strategies. I don’t believe the real issue with people being so sick now and unhealthy is because of lack of strategy. So what do you see is the biggest hurdle? When patients are coming to you, what’s the big block or the big hurdle? Is it not having purpose? What is it?
Dr. Nandi: They feel like there’s a Mount Everest in front of them. Instead of taking little chunks, most people, by the time they see you, you know, they’re 50 pounds overweight, not just five. So they see a huge mountain in front of them and they feel like, “This is something I cannot overcome.” So, I think once you break it down and say, “Listen, you start off with one day at a time. Five minutes if you can. Just a little bit less. Don’t add sugar. Maybe once a day instead of, you know, don’t add sugar at all.” So if you break it down for them, I think that you take away that huge mountain.
Dr. Nandi: So I think one of the biggest problems that people feel like it’s something that they cannot fix. Some of the solutions that are given … I have to agree with you. There’s not a shortage of strategies, but most of them are pretty complicated. But most of them are given in such a way that they can’t really sustain it. I think that one of the biggest obstacles they have, besides the people, they don’t have access to health care. There’s a big problem there. But assuming that you have access to health care and you have access to see people like me and yourself, they feel like, “You know what? It’s a mountain and I can’t do it. I’m just not even going to start.”
Dr. Nandi: If I can convince them that just … And you know this. Just making that first step is huge. If I can convince them of that, I think I’ve done a great service for them, and including myself.
JJ Virgin: Well in your show … Everything you’re doing, going on TV, everything you’re doing on Facebook is providing the information. What’s been fantastic out here is people might not be able to get to see you, but they can still get that information. I mean, that’s what the Internet has really done for all of us is it’s just been an equalizer, so that everyone has access to the information. So it’s really now about someone deciding that they are going to make the littlest change and build on it every single day.
Dr. Nandi: [crosstalk 00:13:54]-
JJ Virgin: It’s that simple thing.
Dr. Nandi: Exactly.
JJ Virgin: Yes. Now, I’m going to throw a curveball at you too. But let’s turn it onto you, and what I want to know is what you do every day. What is that thing? Let’s just pick one that you do every day that you feel makes the biggest difference in your life.
Dr. Nandi: I really think meditating … I mean, I don’t always do it for 30 minutes a day. But no matter where I am, even if I’m traveling around the world, I take five minutes and I do a couple things. I breathe. I stop and I breathe. I just take a breath and get perspective of what’s going on. And then I just spend at least five minutes trying to just reflect on that and that helps me tremendously. But otherwise, it’s a whirlwind. You know as better than most, is that, you can get caught up in all the stuff you’re doing and forget what it’s all about.
Dr. Nandi: I take about at least five minutes, sometimes more, if I have it, just to reflect and breathe and try to make … center myself to understand why I’m being what I’m doing and that, I call that meditation for me, and that helps me tremendously every single day.
JJ Virgin: Awesome. I know you’ve got something for every day. You’ve got your ebook on mindfulness. Tell us a little bit about that. I’m going to tell everyone how to grab it.
Dr. Nandi: Yeah, absolutely. So I think mindfulness has been something that’s used for centuries. But now, what now, professional athletes and teams are using it to try to focus on getting the best out of [inaudible 00:15:24]. For example, if you’re a star pitcher and you are trying to pitch in the American League Championship Series, and you think about, “Hey, what if I don’t make that pitch?” Well you’re not going to pitch well. So the idea, again, mindfulness, to me, is staying in the moment and understanding the importance of that moment and doing the best you can with that moment. The striking thing to me is not worrying about the consequences.
Dr. Nandi: So a lot of times, we are success driven and we want to perform. So, I think for mindfulness, you take that step out. It’s like you just say, “Okay, this is the moment. Let me live it. For example, I’m talking to you. I’m not thinking about what’s going to happen afterwards. I’m not thinking of what happened before.” I’m just saying, “Okay, I’m talking to JJ. I want to be able to let her listeners know this is what it’s all about.” It’s not so important of how successful I’m at doing it. It’s just taking that moment and making the best out of it.
Dr. Nandi: So that, to me, is mindfulness, and that can really change your life whether it’s you want to be a better performer, whether you want to have better outcomes for your health, because guess what? When you have that statement that you’re in the moment, and you’re not worried about all the outcomes and what comes before and after, your stress level and all those hormones that are ravaging your body actually go down a little bit. And so, that’s why I think it’s important. We talk about it a little bit more in our ebook, and I think, also, we put purpose along with the mindfulness there. How purpose can be incorporated in mindfulness to achieve the goals that you want in your life and your health to achieve wellness.
JJ Virgin: That is excellent. So it’s like being present means finding purpose, which is perfect.
Dr. Nandi: Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly right. Exactly right.
JJ Virgin: Yeah, well, that is one of the biggest challenges I see out there, was for me too, was just being able to be present, not too focused on the future, which makes you anxious or looking back and getting depressed, and it is. You sit in the present and you get unattached to these outcomes. Otherwise, you’re always chasing the next big thing that can make you nuts. So thank you so much for being here. I want to let everyone know how to grab that. And to get that ebook by Dr. Partha Nandi, you’re going to go to jjvirgin.com/drnandi. That is spelled N-A-N-D-I. N-A-N-D-I, and that will be in the show notes as well. Thank you so much, Dr. Nandi, for being with me today. I so appreciate it.
Dr. Nandi: It was a blast, JJ. Thank you for having me. Thank you.
JJ Virgin: Thank you. Now, after the break, I’ll be answering the listeners’ questions, so stay with me.
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JJ Virgin: Welcome back. This is the time where I answer a listener’s question. I’ve been getting a lot of these questions, by the way, off of my Facebook page. You can go to facebook.com/jjvirginofficial and leave me a question there. Today’s question … I always like to pick questions that go along super well with the topic that I’m talking about. So, I saw this one from Barry in Huntsville, Alabama, and I had to bring this question up, because she says, “JJ, I want to get healthier and I just don’t know where to start. What’s the first thing that I should do?” All right. I know. Sometimes I feel like they just write these questions for me, and thank you for that, Barry.
JJ Virgin: So here’s the thing. What’s the one thing that you need to do? Well again, what I was just talking about with Dr. Nandi is, there’s no shortage of strategies out there. You might think I’m going to say, “Oh start the day with a shake,” or, “Go on the Virgin diet,” or, “Do the sugar impact diet,” or, “Get bursting,” or, “Go to sleep,” and see? I just did it and you’re like, “Ah,” overwhelmed. There’s actually something that needs to sit on top of all of that. Here’s the thing. There are no shortage of strategies. But the bottom line is, the reason you aren’t where you want to be right now in your health and your life and your finances, your career, your relationships. Any of those areas isn’t a shortage of strategies. It’s a limitation of your mindset.
JJ Virgin: In fact, when I queried my community last year, and I asked them, “If you aren’t where you want to be in your health right now, why not?” The biggest reason was a mindset issue. They didn’t feel good enough. They didn’t feel worthy. So the first thing that I want you to do is get a big why behind this. Get that big purpose in there because if that’s in there, if you start working on that mindset, you’ll dial in the strategies. Just like Dr. Nandi said, you start with one thing. Maybe it’s starting the day with a shake. Maybe it’s tracking five minutes of exercise. Maybe it’s starting the day with gratitude. You start with one thing, get that dialed and go to the next.
JJ Virgin: But above all of that is, if I want to get healthy, why? What does that look like? How will my life change? What will happen with my family, my relationships, my peers? What’s going to happen with my career? What about my finances? Start to just draw out that whole life and get that real strong why, as to why you want to do this and the purpose behind all of that, because you know, we were all put here to do big things. But you can’t do big things if you’re wiped out, exhausted and in pain, right? So I always look and go, “Gosh. There’s no reason anymore for health to be holding us back. The strategies are there.”
JJ Virgin: So, the first step is knowing that you’re worthy, that you’ve got a big purpose to figure out what that is, what’s your why. Then start with that one thing and build on those health habits every day. All righty. Now again, if you’d like to submit a question, just pop over to my Facebook page, and that is JJVirginOfficial, over at Facebook, and I have a favor. It would help me so much if you could jump on Stitcher or iTunes and leave a review for me. And while you’re there, subscribe and share with your friends. It really helps a lot. I so appreciate it. All right. This is JJ Virgin signing off and reminding you to live courageously, show up, step up. You are stronger than you think. (singing)