January 11, 2024
Imagine transforming your family dinners into not just a routine but a cornerstone of health, connection, and joy.
Just like you, I savor those precious moments with my wife and sons gathered around the dinner table. And today, we're delving into the art of family meals with none other than Shawn Stevenson.
You might remember Shawn from our enlightening discussion on “Sleep, Light, Alarms, Caffeine, Night Shifts, Naps, Sleeping Positions & More With Shawn Stevenson.” I've also joined him on his show for the episode “TMHS 133: Accelerated Fat Loss And Going Beyond Training — With Ben Greenfield.”
In an age dominated by the incessant pull of cell phones and the constant glow of television screens, meaningful moments of family connection can fall by the wayside. Shawn's latest book, Eat Smarter: Family Cookbook, transcends recipes, emerging as a guide to reclaiming family togetherness over meals.
Additionally, Shawn is the mastermind behind the USA Today national bestseller Eat Smarter and the internationally acclaimed Sleep Smarter. As the creator of The Model Health Show, Shawn's impact on the health and wellness community is undeniable, holding the esteemed position of the number #1 health podcast in the U.S., boasting millions of listener downloads each year.
A graduate of the University of Missouri–St. Louis with a background in business, biology, and nutritional science, Shawn co-founded the Advanced Integrative Health Alliance. His expertise has garnered attention from Forbes, Fast Company, The New York Times, Muscle & Fitness, ABC News, ESPN, and numerous other major media outlets.
Excited to explore how meals can be more than just sustenance but a source of joy, connection, and well-being for your loved ones? Get ready to revolutionize your family dinners and elevate your health game with Shawn's expert guidance.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-Who is Shawn Stevenson?…05:56
- Shawn was Ben’s guest 8 years ago in the episode “Sleep, Light, Alarms, Caffeine, Night Shifts, Naps, Sleeping Positions & More With Shawn Stevenson.”
- Healed his back problems using nutrition
- Eat Smarter: Use the Power of Food to Reboot Your Metabolism, Upgrade Your Brain, and Transform Your Life by Shawn Stevenson
- Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success by Shawn Stevenson
- The Model Health Show podcast
- Eat Smarter Family Cookbook: 100 Delicious Recipes to Transform Your Health, Happiness, and Connection by Shawn Stevenson
-Why is it important to eat meals together as a family?…07:35
- Researchers at Harvard gathered data on family eating behaviors for years
- Families who eat together consistently consume significantly higher amounts of real food
- Also consume significantly fewer ultra-processed foods, namely chips and soda
- Studies published by JAMA Network and Pediatrics
- A protective mechanism happens when people are eating together with their kids
- Eating without watching TV
- Shawn’s experience in Hawaii
- Another study looked at IBM workers
- Their work stress was handled better when they were able to get home for family dinners
-How are meals with friends and family beneficial to your health?…15:35
- Cortisol is involved in regulating metabolism, reducing inflammation, supporting the immune system, and aiding in the body's response to stress
- When it is out of balance, it can be problematic
- Rest and digest parasympathetic state
- Your ability to assimilate nutrients is better when you're with friends and family
- Oxytocin is produced when you are with people you care about
- Oxytocin appears to neutralize the activity of cortisol
- Your chemistry changes when you are near the people you love
- Kelly Starrett
- You're not hard-wired to deal with thousands of friends on social media
- Comparing yourself with others gives a feeling of being inadequate
- A family meal allows real face time with children
-What are the different inputs of reward when eating?…22:22
- The best time to eat bad food is when you are happy
- Eating lunch while looking at emails
- The problem of staring at small screens
- Putting your nervous system in a place that is not advantageous to interacting with food
- Ben’s family gaming nights during dinner
- Creating different levels or different inputs of reward apart from food
- You tend to eat better when you're with family and friends
- When you purposefully implement cultural pieces around that meal, it makes it even more desirable
-What do family meals in Shawn's house look like?…30:15
- Making coffee and breakfast for his wife while playing music, singing, and dancing
- His wife prepares dinner while watching TV and doesn’t like to be bothered
- On certain days, they cook with children
- While his wife is cooking, he hangs around with his sons
- When they get together, they share 3 different things they are grateful for
- Ben's regular daily routine with his family
- Ben’s sons are usually at home in the evening
- They have different duties in the morning
- They meet in the kitchen at 7, talk about a book they read, play guitar
- Kids thrive on an element of predictability
- Routines and circadian rhythm
- Shawn’s family sings and dances after dinner
- Shawn on Sway's Universe
-How do you handle divisive devices?…45:49
- Just having your cell phone in your sight creates distraction in your brain
- Shawn’s family doesn’t bring phones to the table
- Screens must not replace face-to-face time
- Seeing differences in the personalities of his sons
- His son Braden wants people to be happy and included
-How do you deal with ultra-processed foods?…53:04
- “New Evidence Links Ultra-Processed Foods With A Range Of Health Risks” — The BMJ published an analysis looking at adult Americans’ eating habits
- About 60% of the average American adult diet is made of ultra-processed foods
- Newly invented synthetic additives, preservatives, and chemical food dyes
- Carcinogens and obesogens
- Glyphosate is a carcinogen
- 80% to 90% of grain products in the US contain glyphosate
- A 20-year study — “Trends in Consumption of Ultra-Processed Foods Among US Youths Aged 2-19 Years, 1999-2018″
- Almost 70% of children in the US eat ultra-processed foods
- You need to prepare kids and teach them what real foods are
- Experience of his sons attending parties during a holiday in Mexico
- Alternatives for bad stuff you can find in Shawn’s Eat Smarter Family Cookbook
-And much more…
- Unlock Longevity: February 24, 2024
Join me in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, February 24, 2024, for the Unlock Longevity event where I'll be presenting on “The 5 Elements in Your Environment That Will Make or Break Your Health.” Check out more by going to bengreenfieldlife.com/unlock-longevity (use code Greenfield10 for $10 off your ticket).
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar!
Resources from this episode:
– Shawn Stevenson:
- The Model Health Show
- Sleep, Light, Alarms, Caffeine, Night Shifts, Naps, Sleeping Positions & More With Shawn Stevenson.
- Eat Smarter Family Cookbook: 100 Delicious Recipes to Transform Your Health, Happiness, and Connection
- Eat Smarter: Use the Power of Food to Reboot Your Metabolism, Upgrade Your Brain, and Transform Your Life
- Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success
- Shawn's interview on Sway's Universe
- “The Official Greenfield Family Q&A Podcast: Parenting, Cooking, Traditions, Legacy-Building, Family Game Nights & More!”
– Other Resources:
- “7 Science-Based Benefits of Eating Together As A Family”
- “The Benefit of Family Mealtime”
- “The Power of a Family Meal”
- “Is Frequency of Shared Family Meals Related to the Nutritional Health of Children and Adolescents?”
- “Exploring the Role of Family Functioning in the Association Between Frequency of Family Dinners and Dietary Intake Among Adolescents and Young Adults”
- “Systematic Review of the Effects of Family Meal Frequency on Psychosocial Outcomes in Youth”
- “Study Shows Family Mealtime Helps Parents Too”
- “Study: Family Dinnertime Feeds the Company’s Bottom Line”
- “New Evidence Links Ultra-Processed Foods With A Range Of Health Risks”
- “Trends in Consumption of Ultra-Processed Foods Among US Youths Aged 2-19 Years, 1999-2018”
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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Shawn Stevenson or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!