Listen to Learn:
Arkansas Native Jason Beck MD graduated UAMS in 1999. He did his residency in Diagnostic Radiology at the University of South Alabama in Mobile where he was Chief Resident during his final year. In 2004, he returned to Little Rock and in 2006 opened Arkansas Specialty Radiology, PLLC. In 2010, Beck and his sister started Onsite Imaging Solutions. Their business started with the purchase of a small mobile radiology company in south Arkansas, and along with expanding services, they created proprietary software that allows for the management of a mobile business. By 2015, Onsite Imaging Solutions had 65 employees across the state providing onsite radiological services to 85 percent of the long-term care market in Arkansas.
He once again partnered with his sister, Monica, in 2015 to found Tricore Capital, LLC. They leveraged their prior success in the business world to help other businesses grow and succeed. Since Tricore’s inception, they have invested in and consulted with a number of start-up and growth state companies. They are third generation entrepreneurs.
With all his success in the business world, Beck present focus is on Lifestyle Medicine and using a whole food plant based diet to prevent and heal chronic diseases. He has recently become board certified by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.
[00:00:08] GM: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling and conversational interviews, this weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners an insider’s view into starting and running a business, the ups and downs of risk-taking and the commonalities of successful people. Connect with Kerry through her candid, often funny and always informative weekly blog. There, you’ll read, learn and may comment about her life as a 21st century wife, mother, daughter and entrepreneur. And now it’s time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.
[00:00:41] KM: Thank you, son, Gray. Before we start, I want to let you know, if you miss any part of today’s show or want to hear it again, share it, there is a way, and Gray will tell you how.
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[00:01:12] KM: Most of us are either predominantly right brain or left brain users, but my guest today, radiologist and nutritionist, Dr. Beck, is a user of both. Dr. Beck, do you call yourself a nutriotionist?
[00:01:26] JB: Probably the better description is a lifestyle medicine doctor for that side of what I do.
[00:01:33] KM: Okay. Along with being a book smart academic, Dr. Beck is a creative entrepreneur, having founded in 2006, Arkansas Specialty Radiology. In 2010, Onsite Imagine Solutions. But it didn’t stop there. Being a third generation entrepreneur, Beck couldn’t resist helping and learning about other business opportunities. So in 2015, along with his sister Monica, founded Tricore Capital LLC. If I had the money, I would do that, because you get to learn about these businesses. That’s the creative part that we were talking about. Business is so creative.
But that’s not even what I find most interesting about him. Today, we are going to spend a lot of time talking to the good doctor about his passion. His passion project for spreading the healing powers and nutritional benefits of a plant-based diet. Dr. Vegan, as his friends call him, believes so strongly that most chronic illnesses, diabetes and cancer can be prevented and often cured with healthy life choices. And he is now board certified by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.
It is a pleasure to the welcome to the table, the creative entrepreneur, hardworking radiologist, and vegan and lifestyle expert, Dr. Jason Beck.
[00:02:55] JB: Appreciate you having me on the show.
[00:02:56] KM: Thank you. Thank you for coming. You’re a third generation entrepreneur.
[00:03:02] JB: I am. I come by this very naturally. So my grandfather was an inventor, and actually brought the technology to the United States from Japan that debones chicken back before there were chicken nuggets. My father was a computer software company owner. Developer of software, and I’ve followed in those footsteps, as has my sister. So it’s been an interesting journey.
[00:03:27] KM: So radiology software, you think it is? That’s why you started these companies that are called Arkansas Specialty Radiologist. It’s a lot of computer technology.
[00:03:36] JB: Right. Arkansas Specialty Radiology is my radiology practice group that I started to basically allow me to have time to explore all of my interests while practicing medicine. The two groups here in town that were available at the time did not offer part-time spots, and I wanted to be able to practice medicine part-time and explore my other interests part-time. So I founded my own group, and there’s now six of us that all part-time doctors and part-time entrepreneurs. So I’ve got a partner that owns a company that does internet service out in Idaho called MooseBytes and I’ve subsequently founded a couple other companies myself. So it’s given us all the opportunity to do what we love in medicine as well as do the other things we love in life.
[00:04:22] KM: That creative part of being an entrepreneur. Did you grow up in Arkansas?
[00:04:25] JB: I did. Born and raised here.
[00:04:26] KM: Where? In Little Rock?
[00:04:27] JB: Little Rock.
[00:04:28] KM: And your daddy was a software engineer. Must have been very far back.
[00:04:33] JB: Well, yes. He was back when PCs first came about.
[00:04:37] KM: When there were mainframe?
[00:04:38] JB: Yes. Actually, when he started his company, everything was on a mainframe. He had not trained in software, but had an idea for a software that he wanted to make. So hired software architects to engineer that for him.
[00:04:52] KM: How did he even know about that?
[00:04:54] JB: He was in the insurance industry and just came up with an idea on how to provide a better service in that industry. Actually, that’s where he did it out of.
[00:05:02] KM: A mainframe is pretty big.
[00:05:04] JB: It is. It takes up an entire room.
[00:05:06] KM: And he had engineers working on it, and I guess he was doing data scrubbing to figure out the life expectancies of his clients so he would know how to ensure them?
[00:05:16] JB: His was more – They were collecting data from companies to provide personalized employee benefit reports, which was all done manually at the time and he wrote software to basically automate that process.
[00:05:25] KM: Personalized what?
[00:05:27] JB: Employee benefit reports. So if an employee has life insurance and health insurance and retirement contributions and things like that, basically an annual summary that allows him to kind of see all that to understand everything that they get in addition to their income.
[00:05:45] KM: Oh! So it was like your employee package.
[00:05:45] JB: Correct.
[00:05:47] KM: It’s like come to work for me, and don’t just get this salary. You get all these things that add up to a certain amount.
[00:05:53] JB: Correct.
[00:05:53] KM: It doesn’t seem like you need a computer to do that. Just give me a calculator. Of course, they didn’t have calculators when he was doing this.
[00:06:00] JB: They were very archaic.
[00:06:02] KM: They were ten case.
[00:06:03] JB: They had little red numbers on them.
[00:06:04] KM: They had ten keys, because I went to college and learned how to use a ten key, and I am not that old. All right, I love this story. So you decide you’re going to be a radiologist.
[00:06:18] JB: Yes.
[00:06:18] KM: Did you always know you wanted to be a doctor, or how did that come to be?
[00:06:22] JB: I did from a very young age. I just always had a lot of respect for them and what they did and just always something I want to do. I love the science behind it. I love taking care of people.
[00:06:35] KM: And your uncle made the device that debones chicken so that –
[00:06:39] JB: And my grandfather actually.
[00:06:41] KM: Your grandfather.
[00:06:41] JB: Yes. He was the one that brought that technology over from overseas to the United States.
[00:06:46] KM: Did he learned it in the war?
[00:06:48] JB: No. He just saw an opportunity and heard about it and realized that it didn’t exist here yet, and went over and bounded and brought it here.
[00:06:59] KM: Jason. I want to tell everybody that this is Dr. Beck’s first time on the radio, and I didn’t know you had a stutter, and you are very brave to come on the radio if you have a stutter.
[00:07:07] JB: It’s like the King’s Speech. The only way to get past it is to get past it, right?
[00:07:11] KM: Oh, I bet you love that show, don’t you? I love that show. That was a great movie. I watched it a couple of other times. All right, so then you decided you’re going to college. Where did you go to college?
[00:07:19] JB: Hendrix College, Conway, Arkansas.
[00:07:20] KM: All right. You’re going to be a doctor and you’re studying to be a doctor, and then all of a sudden you go, “I think I’ll do radiology and get exposed to radiation every day.” No, really, how did that happen?
[00:07:30] JB: Well, it was a combination of things. I love the technology behind it. I’ve been in computers ever since I was a little kid, inspired by my dad. So in college, worked at the Med Center as a network person. So that’s always just been a strong appeal of mine. Radiology is all very computer-based. CT Scans are computers, MRIs are computers. So that certainly drew me into it. Then it was kind of a constantly evolving technologically advanced field. So I figured it would kind of keep me interested through my career with everything new coming out.
[00:08:05] KM: People that are smart and that are inquisitive and creative like that have a hard time staying stimulated in their jobs. You were smart to recognize that early on.
[00:08:13] JB: It’s definitely kept my job interesting through the years.
[00:08:16] KM: So then you decide you’re going to start Arkansas Specialty Radiology in 2006, because you want to be able to work part-time and there were no job opportunities to be able to work part-time.
[00:08:27] JB: Correct. I basically wanted to create a new model of radiology practice, where radiologists could work kind of how they wanted and when they wanted and as much as they wanted. So I’ve kept that balance through the years and have a very happy career right now.
[00:08:40] KM: Lifework balance is extremely important today. When I started Arkansas Flag & Banner 40 years ago, people wanted – They wanted a base salary and they wanted to know every month exactly how much money they were going to make. Then it went to they wanted to have some flexibility, so they went to hourly. Then now, when people come in and apply for jobs with me, one of the things they ask about is lifework balance. That was never a conversation 30 years ago.
[00:09:11] JB: Right. I think that’s a new thing that we know now that that lifework balance is what keeps people happy and healthy throughout their life. So, unfortunately through the process of medical training, we go through many, many years where we’re working way more than we need to work. They actually had to make a rule. It’s about the time I finished training where they could not work more than 80 hours a week, because everybody was working more than 80 hours a week and they didn’t feel like that was healthy. So now the residents only work 80 hours a week.
[00:09:41] KM: I still don’t think that’s healthy. I don’t feel like the care you get is that good. I know they can sleep there at the hospital. Is that considered part of their 80 hours?
[00:09:49] JB: It is not.
[00:09:51] KM: You are awake for 80 hours a week, and I had a brother-in-law who’s a doctor, and he did not look well.
[00:09:58] JB: It’s definitely taxing.
[00:10:00] KM: I promise you, he was not given as good a care as he should have been. Why do they do that?
[00:10:04] JB: I think part of it is trying to fit all of the training into those number of years just requires kind of double duty to get everything that you need to know to take care of patients well when you get done.
[00:10:15] KM: I don’t know how you can remember anything. I mean, your brain – Anyway, the next business you started in 2010 was onsite imaging solution. Again, I think you saw a niche.
[00:10:28] JB: Correct. This one was inspired by my mother actually. He’s a Ph.D. nursing researcher and spent her career learning how to take care of elderly patients better. My sister and I though some exposure to the nursing home environment recognized that there is a big need nationwide for different and better level of care in those nursing homes particularly when it came to imaging.
So what was happening was patients were – Say somebody fell and they thought they broke their hip. They would put them in an ambulance, take them to the hospital, x-ray them. Realize it wasn’t broken. They take them back. Now these patients, they have things like sun-downing, where they get out of their normal environment and they struggle.
So what we did was around the country, those x-rays normally took 2, or 3, or 4 days to get done and get the reports back. What I did was figured out a way to basically make that happen in 15 minutes. So I basically aggregated a bunch of technologies that already existed using cellular broadband, voice recognition software, cloud-based computing and put them together to make a system where we were able to get images done and reports back quicker than anybody else could do it. So we started that company within two years, had most of the market in the state. I’d say we started that with my sister as well. Yes.
[00:11:51] KM: So you go to the nursing homes and you can perform the necessary test there.
[00:11:58] JB: Correct. Right there on site. Then the image data is actually uploaded through a cellular broadband connection to a cloud computer system that I read from and then use voice recognition to dictate reports that are immediately sent back. We developed iPhone apps so that the ordering doctors could see everything right there on their phone and right when they came back and everything.
[00:12:16] KM: Thank you, dad. Does dad help you with that?
[00:12:18] JB: My dad?
[00:12:18] KM: Yeah.
[00:12:19] JB: He helped early on, mainly more in the mechanical side of things, because we had to kind of invent how to put these machines in the back of vans. The digital machines had not been done before. So he helped kind of engineer some of that.
[00:12:32] KM: I bet your family dinners are so interesting.
[00:12:36] JB: They are.
[00:12:39] KM: I think I would be – I bet anybody that marries into your family just feels so intimidated. They’re like, “I’m not going to talk, because I’m going to sound stupid.” Then you’re doing – I just want to say that I actually had problems with my mother when she was alive, and that is a big deal moving elderly people around to get to them to services.
[00:13:00] JB: It is.
[00:13:00] KM: It’s a big problem. Sundowners is a big deal.
[00:13:05] JB: It is.
[00:13:07] KM: Which for everybody listening, it just means they get – I think they call it sundowners because it usually happens at sundown. Is that correct?
[00:13:12] JB: It does. Yep.
[00:13:13] KM: But you can also get it when you move them around into a new location. They get confused and –
[00:13:20] JB: It exaggerates any current problems that they’re having.
[00:13:22] KM: Well said. In 2015 you decided I’m so good at making businesses. I’m going to start Tricore. With your sister again, you said, “I’m going to start Tricore Capital LLC with my sister.” That’s just been four years ago.
[00:13:37] JB: Correct.
[00:13:37] KM: Do you love it?
[00:13:38] JB: I do.
[00:13:39] KM: How many businesses have you helped?
[00:13:42] JB: Quite a few. We predominantly operate in the space of private lending. So we help people that want to do real estate, to have the capital that they need to make those deals happen. We’ve also done some angel investing with some Arkansas companies and also companies outside of the state.
[00:14:02] KM: I think angel investing would be so much fun.
[00:14:04] JB: Yeah. It’s fun to see small businesses grow and help them grow.
[00:14:07] KM: Then you started some of our your own businesses?
[00:14:10] JB: The private lending business is one that kind of was born out of Tricore Capital that we started and have actually written software to make that all automated.
[00:14:18] KM: You’re listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy, and I’m speaking today with Dr. Jason Beck, radiologist, inventor, even though he would say he’s not an inventor. But I think you’re an inventor. Entrepreneur, vegan and lifestyle medicine expert. He’s a smart guy, and everything we’re about to talk about now is not going to be pie in the sky, I promise you. He has done research, research, research. He often, even with his stuttering, he gives speeches on this. This maybe his first time to be on the radio, but he gives speeches. He is passionate about the subject of your health. Jason, how did you become so interested in diet and wellness?
[00:14:55] JB: My journey was a personal one. It happened very organically. At age 35, I was 70 pounds overweight, and I went to the doctor for a life insurance physical and my blood pleasure was a little bit high and my cholesterol was a little bit high. So he said, “So, well I’ll just put you on low dose blood pressure medicine. Put you on a low cholesterol medicine.” I came home that day and I thought to myself, “I’m a pretty active guy. I go and ride my mountain bike with friends and I go on hikes and I try to watch what I eat and yet I’m not right.”
So I was fortunate at the time to be married to somebody who had explored a plant-based diet and gave me the window to start to look into that. So her offer to me was, “Why don’t you just try it for three months and see what it was like?” So I did, and three months later I had shed quite a few pounds. My blood pressure is back down to normal. My cholesterol was back down to normal. At that point I thought, “There really must be something to this.”
So I began about a two-year process of self-education and I devoured every journal article, every podcast, every expert in the field just to learn everything that I could about it. At that point I got very into it where I’d transitioned my diet to a completely wholefood plant-based diet and had gotten my family onboard with this. My sister, my brother-in-law, who’s an interventional cardiologist, my father and my mom and just saw dramatic changes in all of them. I mean, my parents over the course of a few years got off all of their medications and now have normal numbers.
[00:16:25] KM: How old are they?
[00:16:26] JB: In their mid-70s.
[00:16:28] KM: Because of a plant-based diet. Wholefood plant-based diet. They take no medicine.
[00:16:31] JB: That is correct.
[00:16:32] KM: Do you know how many people die – And you probably didn’t know. I don’t know. That a lot of people die from drugs.
[00:16:40] JB: Absolutely.
[00:16:41] KM: From overmedication, or side effects really, not overmedication, but from side effects.
[00:16:44] JB: Absolutely. One of our type killers actually.
[00:16:48] KM: Is side effects from medicine?
[00:16:49] JB: Yes.
[00:16:51] KM: All right.
[00:16:51] JB: yeah. Over the course of the last decade of maintaining my ideal body weight, and my numbers were all normal. I check my blood pressure a couple of days ago when I went to work out. It was 100/65. So being 10 years old and having the blood pressure of a child just reinforces to me like I’m doing the right thing.
There’s a new medical specialty that has emerged called lifestyle medicine, and I was made aware of that a couple of years ago and so excited about that. I went and got board certified in it. It is a medical specialty that focuses on lifestyle changes to prevent and cure chronic medical problems. So they focus on the things that we all kind of know to be true, which are if you eat healthy and you sleep well and you don’t smoke and you don’t drink too much, you will live a better, healthier, happier life, right?
So what their shift is, instead of a patient coming to the doctor and taking vital signs of blood pressure and labs and everything, prescribing them medications to fix your problems, your vital signs become questions about their lifestyle, right? “What do you eat every day? What’s your stress level like in your life? How do you sleep? How is your social support network? Do you take time every day to relax?” Things like that.
So it really gets engaged with what we know from these blue zones around the country, which are these areas in the world where people live long, happy lives. We can learn lessons from there and then apply that to our medical practice where we take care of patients. That’s what got me really excited, because I think as we are in healthcare in this country where we’re spending three to four trillion dollars a year taking care of everybody, we know that can’t persist, right? So the average healthcare expenditure is growing I believe at a 12% rate per year, which means it’s going to double very quickly.
So we’re on a trajectory right now where the last time I looked at, 7 years from now, the annual household income will equal the annual household healthcare spend unless something changes. So you’ve seen people like Berkshire Hathaway and Amazon and J.P. Morgan Chase get into the healthcare arena, and I think that’s why. So they see that we’re on a crash course or something that will destroy our country from an economic level, and it’s got to be fixed. So I believe lifestyle medicine is the way to do that, because most chronic problems, most cancers, most of the things that we treat can be prevented with lifestyle changes.
[00:19:30] KM: Diabetes.
[00:19:31] JB: Diabetes, absolutely. Diabetes is a curable disease in most people.
[00:19:35] KM: For the most part.
[00:19:35] JB: Yes.
[00:19:36] KM: Or probably 99% of the people right there.
[00:19:38] JB: Correct.
[00:19:40] KM: People make a choice every day what they put in their body, what they eat.
[00:19:44] JB: They do, three times a day.
[00:19:46] KM: Probably one of the biggest decisions you make a day.
[00:19:49] JB: Absolutely. It’s also the largest interaction we have with our environment. If you think about, the air that touches us, the water we drink and the food we put in our body is really all that happens to us every day. So that food that we put in our body is a predominant director of our health outcomes and on certain terms. The genes may load the gun, but the diet pulls the trigger, right?
[00:20:14] KM: I watched a TED Talk getting ready for the show, and there was a Danish twin study, and only 10% of our health comes from our genes. 90% of our health comes from what we eat in our life.
So you talked about the blue zone a little bit, and I never heard of the blue zone till I started this interview today. The blue zone – Tell everybody what the blue zone is and about that man who started it.
[00:20:42] JB: Sure. The blue zone’s concept was by Dan Buettner. He basically traveled around the world and identified the places where people led the longest, healthiest, happiest lives and looked at the common characteristics of what those people that lived in those places did, right? The idea is you want to like live until you die, right?
So in the United States here, people kind of live until their 60s and then they’re going to the doctor every week and they got a bag of medications they carry around with them and they don’t feel good and they just taper from there, right? Whereas in these other areas that people are living vibrantly into their 80s, 90s, 100, right?
[00:21:24] KM: Then most of them die in their sleep.
[00:21:26] JB: Yes.
[00:21:27] KM: Which is the way everybody wants to go.
[00:21:28] JB: Right. You want to like live long and die short, right?
[00:21:31] KM: Yes.
[00:21:32] JB: Basically, what he did, which makes complete sense is let’s just look at some of the characteristics of how these people live and let’s see if we can see what the common threads are and apply those to our life. So, some of the common threads that he saw were a predominantly plant-based diet.
[00:21:50] KM: Meat only like once a week.
[00:21:52] JB: Meat is a celebration. Very small portions.
[00:21:56] KM: Three or four ounces once a week.
[00:21:57] JB: Correct, yes. Lot of natural movement. A lot of good social support. Living in close contact with loved ones. Let’s see –
[00:22:10] KM: Sense of purpose.
[00:22:12] JB: Sense of purpose is very important.
[00:22:14] KM: And they don’t even have a word for retirement.
[00:22:17] JB: They do not, most of them. The ability to downshift every day at the end of the day is one of the key things. That’s where –
[00:22:24] KM: Reduce your stress through a daily ritual.
[00:22:26] JB: Right. Whether you do it by stopping and having a glass of red wine or whether you do it by going and doing something that you enjoy doing with friends. That key I believe is to downshift every day and remove kind of the stress from the day and move on into your pleasant evening, and those are just some of the characteristics that carried through all of those cultures.
[00:22:46] KM: Prayer, meditation, walk in the woods.
[00:22:49] JB: Correct. All the things that we as Americans don’t do near enough of in general.
[00:22:53] KM: We feel guilty, or at least I do. I’m like, “Oh! Downtime? I couldn’t have any downtime.” I like the one, the 80% rule.
[00:23:03] JB: Yes. Eat till you’re 80% full. Very good rule.
[00:23:06] KM: That was a great rule.
[00:23:07] JB: Right. I think sitting down in a meal, we pray oftentimes, but I think you can also – In addition to praying, give some consciousness to the food that you’re eating. Where it came from? How it was prepared? I think when you stop and do that, you’re much less inclined to kind of overeat. You eat in a much more conscious way. So it’s easier to appreciate the food that you’re getting. Eat till you’re comfortably full and stop.
[00:23:38] KM: The 80% rule is because it takes 20% for you to feel the food you – It takes 20 minutes for you to feel the food you ate.
[00:23:47] JB: Correct.
[00:23:48] KM: So if you eat till you’re 80% full, you are actually 100% full within 20 minutes, because it gives the time to register to your mind that you’re full. They have smaller plates in most of these countries.
[00:24:01] JB: They do.
[00:24:03] KM: I think that’s a really simple solution or exercise that all of us can do, is eat on a smaller plate.
[00:24:10] JB: It makes your food look like it’s bigger.
[00:24:13] KM: I’ve never thought about giving a thought and gratitude to my food. But I’m going to start doing that. I believe giving gratitude is one of the examples they use for reducing stress as a daily ritual of gratitude. Kind of listening, “Thank you for being born in America.”
[00:24:34] JB: Absolutely.
[00:24:34] KM: I mean, does anyone ever give a gratitude for that one? That’s a big one, especially when I watch the news. I’m like, “Oh! I’m glad I’m not having to cross the border right now.” The diet, eat lots of beans.
[00:24:47] JB: Yes. Beans are actually a common thread among the blue zones.
[00:24:52] KM: I don’t like beans that much. I mean, they’re okay, but aren’t there a lot of varieties?
[00:24:58] JB: Oh, there’s hundreds of varieties of beans.
[00:25:00] KM: So maybe I just haven’t tried them all, because I only think of the five beans that are in the grocery store in the cans.
[00:25:05] JB: Right. So even at Walmart, they’ve got probably 20 or 30 kinds dry.
[00:25:12] KM: Really?
[00:25:11] JB: Some beans you might not have never heard of right there on the 2% aisles.
[00:25:15] KM: Walmart knows. Another one was belonging to a faith-based organization, and it doesn’t matter what it is. I mean, it can be AA. It can be a club or an organization or even a book club, but having that connection of being in a club and having friendships.
[00:25:33] JB: Right.
[00:25:35] KM: Then another was family. Caring for another person.
[00:25:43] JB: Very important. It goes back to that sense of purpose. I think in the United States, people tend to be very separated from their families oftentimes. There’s other countries in the world that actually give you tax breaks if you live close to your parents, right?
[00:26:00] KM: You’ll get a tax break, Gray. He lives in the backyard.
[00:26:03] GM: Gee! Thanks mom!
[00:26:05] JB: I actually live next door to my parents and my sister as well. We have our own little village, if you will, which is wonderful for raising children.
[00:26:13] KM: Oh, it’s great.
[00:26:13] JB: Social support and it’s important when you’re having troubled times and everything else. It’s just a wonderful way to live. Some people see it, and this American culture is kind of odd.
[00:26:22] KM: I think so too. Our family has actually talked about that. Why would you not want to stay with your tribe and support yourself as a tribe?
[00:26:33] JB: Agreed completely.
[00:26:34] KM: It only changed like in the 50s. Somewhere around the 60s or 50s, everything began to be like, “Kick your kids out of the house and put your parents in an old folks home.”
[00:26:46] JB: Right. Most other cultures in the world still live that way, and even people who have immigrated here in the United States from these cultures oftentimes still live that way. I think we need to look to them to set an example of what we should go back to.
[00:26:59] KM: I agree.
[00:26:59] JB: Rather than progressing forward of more isolation, more separation. Those are things that don’t promote health and healing and happy life.
[00:27:09] KM: There’s something called the grandmother effect on children.
[00:27:13] JB: Which makes complete sense to me. I mean, I don’t think there’s anybody better equipped to contribute to a child’s life than their grandparents. They’ve got all the time in the world. They’ve got the resources. They’ve got the life wisdom. I mean, it almost bring a tear to my eye because my little girl goes –
[00:27:28] KM: You’re about to cry.
[00:27:30] JB: Yeah, my little girl goes down in my mom’s garden every day with her, and it’s just a wonderful experience for all of them. So, absolutely. It’s very important.
[00:27:39] KM: It really is, and my grandkids, I tell people all the time when they have children. I said, “Well, you’re really just having the children so that you could one day have grandchildren.”
[00:27:47] JB: That’s right.
[00:27:48] KM: Because that’s really all you want. Then I love this one. Have a glass of wine, if you can. If you can’t, I think you can have apple cider vinegar probably.
[00:28:01] JB: I think it’s so much the glass of wine, but I think it’s the shift that comes with the glass of wine, right? Science now is pretty clear that there’s a linear relationship between alcohol consumption and the detriments of alcohol, and zero is best, one is next, two is next. When you get past that, you might get in trouble.
I think it’s more so when people tend to stop and have their glass of wine. What do they do? They sit down. They watch the sunset. They gather their friends around. They talk. They visit about their day. They decompress, all those things. Wine is the kind of conduit that brings people together to do that. I think that’s why that runs through those cultures as a common thread. I don’t think it’s necessary to do that. I mean I, personally, like a glass of wine every once in a while.
[00:28:51] KM: Sometimes people take it too far.
[00:28:53] JB: That’s right.
[00:28:53] KM: I mean, they absolutely do. Some people are like, “Oh! A glass of wine every day. Well, let me see how big a glass I can get.” This is a great place to take a break. You’re listening to Up in Your Business with me, and then we’re going to continue our conversation with Dr. Jason Beck, radiologist, entrepreneur and certified expert on lifestyle medicine. I love talking about this subject. I love helping people. He loves helping people. We’re going to expand on this healthy life choices and the implementation of them into your life even if you just do one of them, it’s an improvement.
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[00:30:35] KM: You’re listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy, and I’m speaking today with Dr. Jason Beck, radiologist, entrepreneur, vegan and lifestyle medicine expert. Before the break, we talked about the blue zone and the people that live in the blue zone. That was discovered by a National Geographic explorer, journalist. He wrote a book called The Blue Zone.
As he traveled around, he noticed that there were four communities that lived to be a hundred and just had these great healthy lifestyles all the way up. Actually one in 5,000 people lived to be a hundred no matter what you do. That’s not a whole lot. So you’re probably not going to live to be a hundred, but what you could do is live to be 87-years-old and have a really good, productive life all the way up there instead of living to be 87 and spending the last five years in bed or sedentary, and that’s really what we’re trying to get to. Don’t you think?
[00:31:29] JB: Absolutely. We want to try to live until we die.
[00:31:32] KM: Live until we die. Like more years to your life, instead of life to your years. Did I say that right? You want to add more – You don’t want to add more years to your life. You want to add more life to your years. Something like that. Okay. I got that.
[00:31:45] JB: There you go.
[00:31:47] KM: All right. This guy, David Buettner that we’re talking about who kind of founded the blue zone. This is his quote, “The calculus of aging offers us two options. We can live a shorter life with many more years of disability, or we can live the longest possible life with the fewest bad years. As my centenarian showed me, the choice is largely up to us.” So we’re talking today about how to do that. What’s vegan versus vegetarian? I always get that confusing.
[00:32:21] JB: Sure. Vegetarian excludes consumption of animals. So you exclude the meat and fish. Vegan excludes the consumption of animals as well as all animal products. So they exclude eggs and dairy as well.
[00:32:41] KM: And you’re a vegan.
[00:32:42] JB: I am for the most part. Yes.
[00:32:43] KM: Does it matter? Does it really matter?
[00:32:46] JB: The 90% in what matters.
[00:32:49] KM: What do you mean?
[00:32:49] JB: Well, our bodies tolerate 10% of whatever we put in it pretty well, whether that’s [inaudible 00:32:53] Big Macs, or Oreo cookies, or whatever, right? If the other 90% of what we’re consuming is coming from very health-promoting foods. I think that there’s – The diet that I follow as closely as I can is a wholefood plant-based diet. So it’s a diet where most all of my calories every day come from whole plant food. Plant foods as grown, right? Not processed. Not added oils and sugars and salts and chemicals and flavorings and all these things that come in our packaged foods.
So basically everything I eat every day does not have an ingredient list. I look at it and I know what it is. This is a banana. This is a sweet potato. This is a bean. I don’t need to read the ingredient list what I’m putting in my body, and I think that’s the key. I think if people can aim for 100% on that, they’ll probably hit the 90% mark, because our food environment in this country is so backwards, right? Where there is unhealthy food on every street corner and every convenient store and occupying most of our supermarkets, right? The healthy food is hard to come by.
[00:34:06] KM: Ain’t that weird?
[00:34:06] JB: You can’t go into a fast food restaurant and get health food for the most part, right? You have to really try to pick out the right kind of salad with the right kind of dressing, or you go to McDonalds and get a salad and an apple, but it’s very outside of the norm. So we live in this food environment where we’ve bombarded every day with advertising for all these ultra-processed food and these things that we know do not promote health in our bodies, right? So it makes it harder for us to eat a really health-promoting diet.
So I think when people can aim to do it nearly completely, they’ll probably hit about the 90% mark. If we can hit the 90% mark, I think most of us will just be fine long-term. So people ask me like, “What do you do at Christmas? What do you do at Thanksgiving?” I said, “I eat whatever I want to eat on Christmas and Thanksgiving.” It isn’t what you do between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s what you do between New Year’s and Christmas, right?
So it’s those choices every day. If you’re making great choices 9 times out of 10, 99 times out of a 100, you’re going to do great. For people, I think most of them have this fear of not eating or fear of deficiency, this fear of protein deficiency. The supplement companies that didn’t exist 70 years ago have now suddenly convinced most Americans they need to take something to be healthy.
[00:35:27] KM: How do you feel about that?
[00:35:29] JB: I feel like it’s one of the bigger forces propagated on the American public.
[00:35:35] KM: So I don’t need Vitamin D?
[00:35:38] JB: Vitamin D is made in your body by the sunshine.
[00:35:41] KM: So when someone says you have a Vitamin D deficiency. You just go sit in the sun?
[00:35:44] JB: You go sit in the sun, yes.
[00:35:46] KM: How about B12? [inaudible 00:35:48].
[00:35:49] JB: Yes. In our current environment where everything we buy, special bases, triple wash, sanitized, ready to eat, you do need to take a B12. If you were picking vegetables in your garden and brushing them on your leg and eating them, you would not need a B12.
[00:36:07] KM: Do you have a big garden?
[00:36:08] JB: That’s not big. It’s probably 100 feet by 50 feet.
[00:36:13] KM: That’s pretty big.
[00:36:13] JB: It’s amazing the amount of food it produces. Unbelievable amount of food.
[00:36:17] KM: That is a problem with gardens. It produces so much food sometimes.
[00:36:20] JB: It does. Yeah, we’re fortunate, there’re a lot of us up there to eat it. But, yes.
[00:36:25] KM: I think sometimes people are exactly like you said. They’re afraid of not getting enough food. So they eat just anything.
[00:36:38] JB: Right.
[00:36:39] KM: Sometimes I think it’s better to not eat than to eat the wrong things.
[00:36:43] JB: Absolutely. I’m currently at the end of day four of a five-day fast, which I try to do every quarter, and that’s just to reset my relationship with food. Kind of reset my body. Boost my immune system.
[00:36:58] KM: Because you’re fasting?
[00:36:59] JB: Yes, absolutely.
[00:37:01] KM: Do you eat at night? When do you eat?
[00:37:04] JB: What I do is called a fasting mimicking diet, which is basically you consume 300 to 400 calories a day of the macronutrients that your body would get if you were purely fasting on water. It kind of tricks your body into thinking you’re water fasting, and it promotes all of the things, the changes in your body that are beneficial when you do fast,
[00:37:25] KM: Which are?
[00:37:25] JB: Which are recruitment of stem cells from your bone marrow that help heal your body, elimination of older cells from your body, elimination of a lot of the antibodies from the immune system that cause autoimmune diseases and allergies. There’s good signs to show that when we – As humans fast, our bodies do all these things to get ready for when we can eat again, right? So it’s almost like a reset.
[00:37:57] KM: I saw where we have 35 trillion cells that turn over every 8 years in our body. When they turnover, they’re not as good. When you turnover every 8 years, they’re kind of like recording on a cassette tape. Every time you make another tape off of a cassette tape, it gets a little bit muddier sounding a little bit muddier sounding. So that when your cells turnover every 8 years, you’re turning over from a little bit muddier group of cells. So the next group is – Is that –
[00:38:29] JB: There is some truth to that, but most of that can be abated by lifestyle changes. I’ll give you a great example. I guy named Dean Ornish, who was President Bill Clinton’s physician when he was in office and actually got him transitioned over a plant-based diet at the time did a study where he took men with prostate cancer and looked at the telomeres, which are the caps on the end of our DNA. When you say they kind of muddy, the telomeres shorten as we age.
What he did was looked at people that he put on a lifestyle intervention of a plant-based diet, daily meditation, and looked at the telomere length over time, and they actually are able to lengthen their telomeres to stop that aging process to some degree.
[00:39:19] KM: Through fasting or through the diet?
[00:39:20] JB: Through a wholefood plant-based diet combined with meditative practices, combined with good social support [inaudible 00:39:27] study.
[00:39:29] KM: Okay.
[00:39:29] JB: Yeah.
[00:39:30] KM: The guy that talked about these blue zones has written a book.
[00:39:36] JB: He’s got two of them actually. He’s got one called the blue zones, and then another one where he looked at happiness. Basically did the same study with happiness.
[00:39:44] KM: And laughing I would think would be a good one.
[00:39:46] JB: So he wrote a summary book on that as well, and there’s a lot of crossover with the blue zone actually as far as location and such and lifestyle.
[00:39:53] KM: Oh, really?
[00:39:53] JB: Yes.
[00:39:54] KM: So if you’re laughing every day and being happy and eat right, you’re going to die in your sleep when 100 years old without any health problems. Oh! I got it. I’m doing it. [inaudible 00:40:04] cartoons from now on out.
Do you ever eat meat and is there anything that you’re going to miss out if you just completely quit eating meat. I feel like if I never ate meat again, there’d be something I’d be missing. Because I don’t do anything to extremes. I don’t do anything completely extreme.
[00:40:22] JB: Right. I think in the last 10 years I’ve probably consumed 4 ounces of meet maybe.
[00:40:27] KM: You’re pretty extreme.
[00:40:29] JB: I’m pretty extreme.
[00:40:29] KM: You don’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving.
[00:40:32] JB: Sometimes I’ll have a nibble if it appeals to me, but most of the time it doesn’t appeal to me.
[00:40:36] KM: And you’re not tired? You don’t think there’s any – You’re a doctor. You’re a scientist. You’re everything. So you don’t think there’s anything that you’re missing by not eating meat. Why do I have these two things right here on the front of my mouth? I’m not supposed to eat meat.
[00:40:53] JB: Well, if you’ll notice, your fangs look more like a cow’s fangs than they do a tiger’s fangs.
[00:40:58] KM: Oh! Do cows eat meat? No? Grass only.
[00:40:59] JB: They do not. Grass only.
[00:41:01] KM: Eat a lot of corn?
[00:41:02] JB: Yeah. I don’t know that it’s the fact that if you do eat meat or don’t meat. I think the biggest problem we have is the quantity, right? If you look back over history, people would take a small serving of meat, use it as a garnish or a flavoring for their meal. So they may take a four ounce serving of meat and split among six kids as a garnish or flavoring, right? Whereas now we think we need a four ounce serving of meat with breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7 days a week. I mean, even carnivores don’t do that, right?
[00:41:31] KM: Right.
[00:41:31] JB: Carnivores get a piece of meat every couple of days and they’re good. So we’re just eating in ways that we’ve never eaten before.
[00:41:38] KM: What about a variety of food? I end up eating the same things over and over and over and I’m so bored eating them. So do you have a big variety and is that important to this lifestyle?
[00:41:48] JB: I mean, I do think it’s important to say. What I say is eat the rainbow, right? So just start with your yellows, orange, reds, greens, purples, everything. I think if you eat a variety of all those foods every day or every week, you’re fine. But if you look at most of these blue zone’s cultures, like there’s one of them where 80% of their calories comes from sweet potatoes. I mean, it’s most of what they eat every day is sweet potatoes.
[00:42:13] KM: How boring is that?
[00:42:16] JB: I think they’re one of the healthiest cultures out there. So, I don’t think – You have to have some variety to get the nutrients that you need. But most people I think actually do better from a long-term weight control standpoint eating a smaller variety of foods.
[00:42:32] KM: It can really just use the 80-20 rule. Just do proportion control to start off with. I mean, I’m going to put all of these 9 things you can do in the blue zone. I’m going to put them on Flag & Banner. You make speeches around town.
[00:42:45] JB: I do.
[00:42:46] KM: Where would we find out about your talking about this stuff?
[00:42:49] JB: There’s a Facebook group. It’s a plant-based club. Probably the best place for information dissemination on that.
[00:42:56] KM: What’s the name of it?
[00:42:58] JB: Oh, I have to get that to you, but you can put it on your show links.
[00:43:01] KM: Okay. I’ll put it on your share links.
[00:43:03] JB: It’s called The Plant Strong Club.
[00:43:06] KM: Plant Strong Club, and we’ll put it on the Up in Your Business Facebook and share it.
[00:43:14] JB: While we’re on the topic of blue zones, I’ll mention, the founder of the Plant Strong Club, the two cofounders of it are interested in trying to make Little Rock a blue zone city. The blue zone’s group has basically allowed cities to implement their ideas, right? So, the city promotes kind of blue zone’s concepts and there are cities around the country that have done this, and I think there’s one down in Texas somewhere, which should be about the last place I would think would be ready to eat a predominant plant-based diet, right?
[00:43:47] KM: That’s beef country.
[00:43:49] JB: So, it takes kind of a movement to get that done. So I would welcome the listeners to educate yourself about the blue zone’s concepts and begin to think about how to implement some of those things into their own life.
[00:44:03] KM: Arkansas needs it so much. We have obesity problems here, and we have childhood obesity is really bad, and I feel like that’s really unfair to the children of Arkansas.
[00:44:12] JB: Absolutely. It just breaks my heart when I see these moms checking out in the grocery store and they’ve got a cart full of hyper-processed food and their kids are overweight and they’ve got childhood onset diabetes. I mean, I grew up a chunky kid. It’s miserable. It’s absolutely miserable. People make fun of you. You can’t go play sports like your friends. I would love to see that change more than anything.
[00:44:38] KM: Well, if we all rally behind this blue zone, start educating people. A lot of it is educating people. A lot of it is knowing how to order when you go out to eat. When you go out to eat these days, there’re a lot of more options. If we become a blue zone stage, I would imagine that’s going to change and make more options for people eating –
[00:44:54] JB: Yeah, and there’s been a huge pendulum swing as well. I mean, you’ve got – Tyson just announced their plant-based line of foods called Raised & Rooted. Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger are within the next few years will be in like 7,000 Burger King locations around the country. Subway is offering a plant-based meatball sub.
[00:45:16] KM: But I don’t want to eat those processed –
[00:45:19] JB: No. They are not health-promoting foods necessarily. But I think that they are a good transition food to get people over the hurdle of I don’t have to eat meat every day to live. So I think if you can say, “You know what? I’m going to take the next, and when I go out to my fast food meal, I’m going to try these plant-based options.” Then they realize at the end of the week, they didn’t actually die.
[00:45:39] KM: Yeah. You can eat good and it’s still tasty.
[00:45:41] JB: Exacxtly, yes.
[00:45:42] KM: But there are a lot of vegan options out there for hamburger patties and stuff that I just don’t think are any much better for me than meat. They’ve got way too many perspectives and artificial flavorings.
[00:45:51] JB: Right. The thing is to – In order to sell them in the American public, they have to make them taste and feel as close to meat as it can. So the composition of them is very close to meat from a health standpoint. So, I do think they’re better alternative, because they don’t have the cholesterol and fat that the meat have in them. But –
[00:46:10] KM: Dr. Beck, we’re down to the wire. I can talk to you all day. This is for you. It came from Arkansas Flag & Banner. It’s to Dr. Jason Beck. It’s a nurse and here she sings. I’ll be there. Stop. I’ll be there. That’s where Dr. Beck’s going to be for all of his patients.
[00:46:31] JB: Thank you very much.
[00:46:32] GM: We told her not to play it on the radio.
[00:46:35] KM: I couldn’t help it. It’s good! Thanks again for coming. I want to say to our listeners, thanks for joining us today. If you have a great entrepreneurial story you’d like to share, send a brief bio or your contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you all for spending time with us. We hope you’ve heard or learned something that’s been inspiring or enlightening, and that it, whatever it is, will help you up your business, your independence or your life.
I’m Kerry McCoy and I’ll see you next time on Up in Your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
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