In this installment of the Thrive Questionnaire, we're hearing from artist and filmmaker Max Lugavere.
Lugavere's newest film Bread Head recently celebrated a successful Kickstarter campaign, earning more than twice their funding goal. A Current TV veteran and Huffington Post contributor, Lugavere is known as a young thought-leader.
We caught up with him to ask about his latest venture and why this particular film is so important.
1. What inspired you to make Bread Head?
My mom began showing symptoms of memory loss 3 years ago, and because she's not old, nor do I have any kind of dementia in my family tree to my knowledge, I had the sense that there had to be some external influence on her brain health. At the time, I thought that memory loss was a normal part of aging, or that dementia was sort of like a genetic Russian roulette. What I've learned since is that these are all fallacies and our diets and lifestyles have tremendous impact on brain health. I also learned that changes begin in the brain far earlier than symptoms. So I created Bread Head to document my journey to get the latest insights from leaders in the field, for my mom, for me, and for the rest of us.
2. What will this film investigate? Why is this so important?
It will investigate the impact of our diets and lifestyle on brain health. It will look at the "low fat" guidelines of the past (which many people still abide by) and see how they may have affected our brain health. We'll see how we can optimize our cognition starting today, to minimize risk for America's most feared disease.
3. In the trailer, you mention that neuro-degenerative diseases are like "Type 3 Diabetes." Can you explain this more?
Type 3 diabetes is a term coined by one researcher to highlight the similar kinds of metabolic dysfunction seen in brain cells of Alzheimer's patients as are typically seen in people with type 2 diabetes. That is, insulin resistance. This is a powerful insight because it alludes to the underlying pathology, which may be preventable by promoting insulin sensitivity (the opposite of resistance) through diet and exercise.
4. What conventional ideas about health do you hope to challenge, if any?
That we're impotent to the onset of these horrific brain disorders that rob us of the essence of who we are. People typically don't think about their brain health when they make dietary choices. I want to try to change that.
5. What is your personal health philosophy? Has your work influenced this?
Definitely. I now eat a low carb, higher healthy fat diet. I used to believe that the more grains I consumed, the better my health would be and I've come to realize that is simply not the case. I eat them sparingly if at all, have upped my vegetable intake, only eat meat now if it's grass-fed, and have markedly increased my consumption of healthy fats from sources like grass-fed butter and coconut oil.
Photo credit: Max Lugavere