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Dr. William Li: Eat To Beat Disease

Dr. Li is an internationally renowned medical doctor, researcher, President and Founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation. His groundbreaking work has led to the development of more than 30 medical treatments, has impacted more than 50 million people worldwide and covers more than 70 diseases including cancer, diabetes, blindness, heart disease and obesity. His TED Talk, Can We Eat to Starve Cancer? has garnered more than eleven million views.

Here on the Get WealthFit show, we talk about money, investments, entrepreneurship. Without our health, it's all for naught because you could have all the money, wealth in the world, all the businesses, all the investments. However, if you don't have your health, you have nothing.

We will talk about how to eat to beat disease. We will talk about how to put the right foods in your body. There are 200 of them. We will have a little sample of the right things to be eating. Dr. Li reveals why the fork is the most powerful tool for health. We also talk about discoveries of how the body actually works to rid diseases. However, if you do things wrong, you compromise that and put yourself at greater risk. I guarantee that you're going to want to hear that.

For this show, I want you to forget about everything you think you know about your body and your food. I want you to pay attention to the science of how the body heals itself.

Dustin
Dr. Li, you've asserted that we all have cancer growing in our body. You, me, all of us and that most certainly grabs one's attention. How concerned should we be by your statement?
William
I wrote my book, Eat to Beat Disease. We do all have cancer forming in our bodies all the time. In fact, that's true when we're young and even when we're old. How do we know? This comes from research studies looking at people who died in car accidents. Here's the startling fact. Women who tragically died in a car accident when they do the autopsy, 40% of those women between the ages of 40 and 50 have microscopic cancers in their breast. It’s harmless but they're there. When they looked at men between the ages of 50 and 60, 50% of the men had microscopic prostate cancer. In older people, 70 and above, almost virtually 100% of the people have microscopic thyroid cancers. Microscopic cancers are very common. They're forming all the time. They come, they go, they're like pimples in our body. The reason that they formed is that cancers are caused by mutations in our DNA.
We've got trillions of cells in our body that are dividing, few of them make mistakes and bingo, you have cancer. Most people feel that cancer is this sudden scary death sentence that gets handed to them and you imagine that I hope I never get that. The reality is that we all have cancer, and that's a wakeup call that says, how come we don't die of cancer more often? What does our body do to actually help resist that disease so that it becomes silent and invisible? That’s what I believe everyone needs to know. Our body is hardwired with health defense systems that are firing on all cylinders from the day we're born to our final breath. Those health defense systems help us resist, battle and overcome everything from cancer to obesity, to diabetes, to all the scary diseases that you can think of and we can use diet food to activate those health defenses.
Dustin
Dr. Li, there are so many different directions I want to go to. Let’s define cancer. You had said that it's mutations by our DNA. Is that the definition or is there something more that should be said about defining actually what cancer is?
William
I could define it for the medical community or I would define for your audience. Basically, cancers to the average person are essentially not normal cells in a body, but abnormal cells in the body. They are abnormal, meaning that they misbehave, they take things down the wrong track. They turn into what we call malignant cells that can invade our bodies. They can spread and cause all kinds of damage. If you're an entrepreneur, think about a good entrepreneur being somebody who's got a great idea, writes a business plan, it gets it funded, prototypes, and succeeds. That's a normal healthy cell. If you think about a bad entrepreneur, it's like taking a criminal idea getting funded and then going off and doing dastardly acts, going on the dark web, doing all things you don't want to do, weapons deal, drug deal, that's what cancer is like in the body. You've got the good, you've got the bad. They all do similar things, but one winds up just being bad for the ecosystem in which is behaving.
Dustin
Dr. Li, you mentioned as we get older, the percentage of microscopic cancer cells found in different parts of the body increases based on those stats that you shared. It begs the question in my head, are humans only designed to live a certain amount of time? I'm even hesitant to say that because it seems like longevity is increasing with all these advancements. It seems like the older we get, the more cancer is likely to be in our body.
William
Cancer is always in our body. Cancer is like pimples, they disappear because our immune system wipes them right out. It's one of our defenses. One of the messages I'd like to leave your audience with is that, we shouldn't be scared of cancer because they’re always forming in us. What we need to do is prevent cancers from growing. That's the key thing. You asked how long should we live. I think most of the researchers of science tells us, our bodies probably can live about 120 years, but it doesn't mean that we can't longer. Most people don't even make it to 100. The reality is what makes a difference between somebody that gets into a healthy old age versus somebody who doesn't make it very far at all.
We all know people that wind up gotten sick and passed away when their 40s, 50s or 60s, even 70 is still quite young. It’s the failure of our health defenses. If you look at your body, it’s a fortress and is protecting yourself all the time. There are five health defense systems that I write about in my book. If one of those fails, it's like a breach in the security system. It allows the marauding invaders to actually penetrate the fortress a little bit further. When you've got more and more failures in your defenses, that allows the enemy to swarm it. The goal is to keep our defenses as strong as possible. It turns out that many things that are related to lifestyle, sleep, exercise, good social networks, all those things actually boost our defense. Perhaps no defense booster is more powerful than the food that we eat every day.
Dustin
Dr. Li, you mentioned the five defense systems and I know they're in the book. To be mindful of our entrepreneurial audience, can you give us a little preview of what those five systems are? If one goes down, then we’re more susceptible to getting disease and cancer.
William
Let's talk about it in entrepreneurial terms because I’m also an entrepreneur. If you're setting up a business, you need key players in place to help everything that you're doing. You need your CEO, operations person, marketing, you need somebody to be managing the money. You need to have your team in place. Our body's defense has its own team as well. I'll tell you what they're called. Some of them you'll recognize, some of them will be brand new. One of the health defense is called Angiogenesis. That word means how the body grows blood vessels in the body in our circulation.
It turns out we've got 60,000 miles’ worth of blood vessels packed inside our body. That's an amazing amount of blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to every single cell in our body. Think about that as our distribution networks. If you don't have enough supply of blood vessels, your cell actually suffers. If you have too much supply, this overage also causes a problem and it can actually feed disease. Angiogenesis is one of those defenses and foods can boost that. Another one is regeneration. When we were kids, we were all taught by our grade school teachers that salamanders and starfish could regenerate but people can't. Science has turned that upside down and inside out because we do know that people do regenerate. We regenerate slowly but from the inside out through stem cells that live inside our bone marrow.
One of our defenses even as we age, our body replenishes, repairs and regenerates our cells. Think about it as the night shift coming in to replace the day shift and then the day shift replacing the night shift. There's this renewal system that is happening in our body to keep our health defenses, our tissues and organs strong. The third defense system is our microbiome. Here's the crazy thing. You go to the airport or you go to some public place and you have your hand sanitizer. You’ve got to get rid of those bacteria. I think everybody knows because the word microbiome is becoming more common, that we have healthy gut bacteria but not many people know that we have 39 trillion healthy bacteria in our bodies.
They’re almost as many as cells that we have in our human cells we have in our body. Those bacteria are not harmful. They're helpful. They live in an ecosystem that talks to our immune system. It helps us heal faster. These healthy bacteria that live in our gut also speak to our brain. They help our brain release social hormones, other things that actually command and control how we behave and how we think about things. That's how powerful this microbiome system is. Anyone who's had an upset tummy or has digestive problems or says like, “I've got irritable bowel.” Almost certainly the problem is inside that bacteria community. You've got some bad guys mixing with the good guys and they’re spoiling the neighborhood. There goes the neighborhood. What we're trying to do is to try to use food to actually fix that microbiome.
DNA protection is another defense system. We all think about DNA is our genetic code and it is indeed a code, but what if I told you that the unsung action of DNA is to protect us against the environment. Think about that. You go out to the sun at the beach, you get bombarded by radiation. The DNA has to fix itself. You don't smoke somebody else smoking. You're breathing it in. That cigarette odor is actually causing DNA mutation. Fortunately, your body can fix that or we were filling up your car with gas. Do you stand upstream or downstream at the pump? If you smelled those fumes, you are downstream. Smelling those fumes are causing DNA damage. The good news is that your DNA can fix itself and foods can speed up that process to fix things better.
The fifth defense system is our immune system. Every grandma has told her grandkid that a good healthy immune system protects you against infection. We now know that the immune system is more powerful than we ever thought and it even protects us against cancer. Foods can boost the immune system as well. Five defense systems, including the immune system all can be boosted by foods. We all tend to encounter food about five times a day, breakfast, lunch, dinner, a couple of snacks, so you have the 5x5x5 way of thinking about how to protect your health.
Dustin
I definitely want to get into that framework. My big question is do we get in the way of ourselves primarily through food? Is that the biggest thing that we're doing to ourselves to prevent our body from being in great shape throughout our life?
William
I have a completely opposite way of thinking about it. Most people think about the food that we eat damaging our body. There are lots of crappy things that we put into our bodies and there's a lot of crappy stuff that being sold out there. What if I told you the opposite could be also true? That's what I write about my book that makes it so different from every other food and health book. The discoveries that we have about how our body protects itself allows us to use signs to identify the foods that boost that we can add to our system so we don't have to worry so much about what to take away. Let's figure out what to add to our system to boost our defenses. The stronger your defenses, the more able it is to resist a couple of violations so to speak.
Eating more good things allow you to resist a few bad things, which we all encounter every and then. Even more importantly, our environment and our lifestyles are probably the biggest insults into our health. When you ask about something that takes away our health, I think being a couch potato is terrible. Smoking and drinking in excess devastate the body and poor sleep as well. Being isolated, not having social networks. Those are all things that eat into our health defenses. Of course, our disrupted environment with climate change, pollution and all those things. When you add those things up, they are much worse than a twinkie.
Dustin
Dr. Li, your TED Talk, Can We Eat to Starve Cancer? has been viewed over eleven million times. I'm always curious as to the story behind the talk in this case. How did that talk come to be for you?
William
It was interesting because when I was invited by TED in 2009 to give a talk the following year, most people don't realize that TED speakers are invited about a year in advance. It takes that long to actually prepare a TED Talk, which is only eighteen minutes long. It is probably the most stressful in a great way preparation I ever did. Usually, what the TED organizers like to do is to find somebody who's top in their field, but it has taken their work to a high level and then gone beyond that level to realize that there's something bigger that could be done. For me, I'm a medical doctor and a scientist and I've been for twenty years. I’ve been doing what I was trained to do, which is to diagnose disease and write prescriptions to chase down and try to cure those diseases.
We all know that there are many diseases that don't respond very well and there are some people that don't get cured. I realized that there was something much bigger that we could be doing and that's preventing disease in the first place. When you're thinking about prevention for disease, you can't talk about drugs. You've got to talk about something else like food. My TED Talk was about the story of my career in discovering that there was a common denominator of many diseases, cancer, heart disease, stroke, blindness, arthritis, obesity and Alzheimer's. I had imagined that you could pull the bow back and send a single arrow through 70 diseases. Think about the economy of scale that we can actually achieve with that. Using that approach, I was telling you the arc of TED stories. I described how I was able to help bring about 32 FDA approved game-changing drugs or devices for cancer, diabetes, even stopping and reversing blindness.
That in itself is quite a set of goals to be able to achieve, but then I realized something else, which is that if we're going to prevent disease, we could use the same serious science that is used to drug development and we can study food. Nobody had ever thought about that before. Using pharmaceutical development techniques, the R&D of pharmaceutical companies but dumping in food. I used to talk about you could take chemotherapy, you can order online overnight and throw it into a research lab the next day. Within a couple of days, if the magic powder that you ordered online the chemo would actually kill the cancer. You have the answer instantly.
I used to joke, you call a pizza and it will be delivered in fifteen minutes. A researcher wouldn't be able to study that. That's what I hacked into, which is how do you actually study food using these systems. When we did that, it was eye-opening and jaw-dropping. We could demonstrate for the first time side by side how powerful food is when you compare it to medicines in the same test. That’s the arc of my TED Talk and this part of what led to me writing, Eat to Beat Disease.
Dustin
Did you know the talk would strike such a chord?
William
I don't think any TED speaker knows how well their talks are going to go because we're so focused on preparing and delivering the talk. I can tell you there's nothing more rewarding than to get a standing ovation at TED, and to see the people who weren't present there better watching it afterwards. It's word of mouth. We're in that digital world where when you see something cool, you pass it onto your friends. I think when I gave my TED Talk in 2010, TED was still just becoming known as a major force, and now everybody knows about it. It becomes unstoppable. They call it ideas worth spreading. I've got lots of TED Talks that I spread to my friends and community as well. I'm grateful and delighted that people think the same of mine.
Dustin
Your work, the talk and including the book has been endorsed by lots of different people like Bono and The Edge from U2, Cindy Crawford, Dr. Oz, and so many other influencers and celebs. How did these come to be? Did they see the TED Talk or get the book or did you have relationships with these people? How did that take place?
William
I would say all the above. I have developed I would say a social entrepreneurial career. I'm a medical doctor. I wanted to do more than see patients and do research in the lab. I didn't want to work for a drug company. I created my own institution, an entity that was about developing the future of medicine and the future of health. I think it’s that audacious idea, which a lot of my professors that brought me through medical school had no idea. They were scratching their heads and thinking, “Why would I do this to myself by going off the rails when the road for a medical career is so clear and I was very well trained?” I think that a lot of exceptional celebrities, the people you mentioned that are my friends and supporters, people like Bono, Edge, Cindy Crawford and others have gone and taken their careers.
The reason that they're so well-known is they went beyond or they were among the pioneers of what they do. I think pioneers attract each other. People hear about my work. Many of them have approached me to try to get to know how I approach my work and why I approached my work that way. There's this natural curiosity that I think we all have. Once you get to know them, you realize they're just regular people that are pretty cool. They are cause and mission oriented. Particularly, there's a social aspect to what they're doing. Something to improve society. I think we all band together and that's how I got to know a lot of these people.
Dustin
I want to take a step back. I'm curious as to your why in terms of getting into becoming a doctor, in terms of being a scientist, coming into your work around food and how that can help us. Is there a why behind there? Did someone in your family pass a little early in their time? Was it something that you were just consumed with at an early age? What drives you?
William
My mom is a musician. My dad was a biomedical engineer, so I grew up with arts and sciences in my family. I became interested in medicine because I had a neighbor who was a doctor, who was always at our doorstep at a moment's notice if anybody got hurt or sick. That influenced me. I always felt comforted. I felt confident that this neighbor doctor always seemed to have the answer when everybody else was uncertain or scared, so that I think is what drew me into medicine. I love the sciences. I excelled at them but I also love creativity. I draw, I did printmaking, I play the piano. There are a lot of things that I love about the arts as well.
As I develop my career, what I realized is that science can answer a lot of questions accurately. That's what science is all about discovery. There are so many things when it comes to health, disease or medicine where science hits a brick wall. We run into a finite end to the pool of knowledge. What I realized with my own background is that I could then switch into the other side of my brain whenever we hit a scientific break wall and go creative. I find a way to get around that brick wall. What could we do to create an answer, use research, use science or think beyond the problem to find a solution? That's what led me to medicine. I wanted to care for people. I love science but then I realized that just prescribing medicines wasn't enough. We needed to come up with more better treatments. I got into figuring out the common denominator of disease and then I created an organization.
I helped to develop more than 30 FDA approved drugs and as it relates to food, I realized that we could not as a society keep on chasing diseases that could be prevented. We cannot use super expensive new medicines that are not going to be available for everyone, just simply on the basis of economics. That's not fair. Health should have equality. I began thinking through what can we do to prevent disease and how do we address the social justice of health by having something that most people should have access to. The answer was food. That's how I turned my career around to begin looking at this. I’m still full fledge. I believe in modern medicine. I'm a medical scientist. I've seen what medicines can do to cure disease, but I know that foods can prevent disease in the first place.
Dustin
This is a perfect time to come back to that. In your book, Eat to Beat Diseases, you give us a little hint of it, that 5x5x5, a framework as a means of eating to beat disease. Can you give us a little taste of that?
William
Actually, it's so funny you used the word taste because in fact what I emphasize in my book is that, let me do all the heavy lifting when it comes to science and the research. When it comes to food and health, it's not just about the food, it's about how our body responds to the food that we put into it. Those five health defense systems are the key defenses that actually keep us healthy and prevent us from being sick. When I started to write about foods, I decided very deliberately that this is not a diet book. This is not about a book that tells you one size fits all. I tell you what to eliminate from your diet because that's what a lot of diet books do.
What I say is let me show you a list of 200-plus foods that all activate one or more health defense systems. When you look at that 200 some foods and you look at what they are, they're fruits, vegetables, beverages, even chocolate, fish, seafood and nuts. All whole range of foods that people love and that you like to eat. All of a sudden you have the joy of leaning into your diet. What I say is, first look at the foods that you enjoy. What tastes good to you? Once you find among those 200 foods the things that you like, you should know that eating those foods that you like are going to help your body defend itself. How do you put this into action? I wanted to make it super easy for people and I call it the 5x5x5 framework, just to give people something easy to think about. Remember, you've got five health defense systems. Remember that eat at least five foods a day, one that activates each of your defenses. We encounter foods five times a day. Make sure you're making a healthy choice each time. We can lean into our diet, we can start with the things that we actually enjoy. The biggest feedback I've gotten on my book so far is that, “You've written a book that I can get behind because I can sustain this healthy diet because it contains the food that I already love.”
Dustin
Dr. Li, in your list of the 200 foods, I'm very interested to know what were some of the most surprising ones at least to you, that you found in that list of 200?
William
The things that get me are the non-obvious foods. One thing that surprised me was chocolate. It turns out that dark chocolate activates your stem cells. There are big businesses being built around chocolate. I read about a study in which older men who have heart disease were given hot chocolate made with dark chocolate. This is fortified dark chocolate, and they drank the hot chocolate twice a day. The researchers measured their blood at the beginning before they drank hot chocolate and at the end of 30 days. They have two cups of hot chocolate a day for a month. They measured their stem cells in the beginning and in the end. They found that the dark chocolate actually doubled the number of regenerative stem cells in their bloodstream. That's the only thing they did is to drink this hot chocolate. It’s quite amazing and then you say, “So what?” They actually tested their blood flow because these stem cells contribute to growing circulation. The people who drank the dark hot chocolate had twice that improvement in their circulation as well. That was a real surprise to me. I didn't expect to see that thing.
There are some other things that are more fun to me, as somebody who enjoys exploring diet. For example, squid ink. It’s incredibly tasty, if it’s cooked properly. It’s made from squid or cuttlefish. That’s the ink that cuttlefish uses to defend itself. When we eat it, the other animal defenses tend to help us as well. It turns out that squid ink helps us starve cancers by cutting off the blood supply of cancers. It activates and protects our stem cells. It feeds our microbiome. It helps healthy gut bacteria, protects our DNA and boosts our immune system. That's a real surprise to me. There are some other surprises that I found were quite amazing. Olive oil is a healthy oil. You still want to have it in moderation. We know the exact molecules in olive oil that are healthy. There's one called hydroxytyrosol. What was surprising to me is that not all olives were created equal. Of all the olives that are used for olive oils, there are three olives that are by far more potent in terms of the good stuff. There's an Italian olive called Moraiolo from Umbria. There is a Greek olive called Koroneiki, and there’s a Spanish olive called Picual. You can even get the most potent version of something like olive oil.
Dustin
I know you're big on what to focus on to eat but it begs the question, are there some categorical no foods that we should not put into the body?
William
My emphasis is on what you should add, not what we should subtract. Being asked that question, I do have some clear answers. Processed foods categorically are not as good as whole fresh foods. Life's not perfect, so we will always wind up dealing with some processed foods. If you have a choice, go for the fresh versus the process every single time. I think that the World Health Organization has identified processed meats, especially in the big factory processed meats like salami and all those things as carcinogens, not probable carcinogens but real carcinogens. Those need to be viewed cautiously. You shouldn't speed either.
Every now and then, you've got to get into the fast lane. Think about driving 70 in a 40-mile zone, danger abounds. Another thing that most people don't know about is putting starchy things into a microwave. Everybody has encountered that if you were new to pizza, back in the day you know that the crust turns into cement. What happens is that microwaving starches turns the molecules in starch into a polymer that your body can't digest, so you wind up feeding yourself stuff that stays in your body. Those are a few examples that I give.
Dustin
I appreciate you sharing that, especially the microwave of the starches. I hadn't realized that. I've been waiting to ask this question for quite some time here. I knew we had to set this up right. I've come across these things called blue zones. For people that know that term for the first time, these are places on the planet where people typically live longer around the globe. They've been identified all over. Dr. Li, based on your research and coming into understanding blue zones, do you believe that these pockets of people around the globe that are living longer naturally eat these things?
William
The concept of the blue zone was developed by this amazing journalist named Dan Buettner. He discovered that they were naturally. I think there are about five places around the world where people routinely live older than 100. They're super healthy people and they're all over the place. They’re in Italy, Greece, even in California, Japan, even in Latin America in Costa Rica. When you take a look at their diet and their lifestyle, you see a lot of similarities. When it comes to lifestyle, they're all lower stress people with great communities, tight communities. They tend to exercise a lot. When it comes to their diet, you're absolutely right. They tend to eat whole fresh foods that are naturally prepared. They tend to not eat processed foods.
Many of them tend to have a plant-based diet more than eating meats or even fish. If you take a look at the foods that are in my book, the 200 some foods, many of them are the same foods that are eaten in a blue zone. Leafy green vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, olive oils, the Mediterranean diet is one of those areas with healthy amounts of fish, especially smaller fish that are lower in the food chain. They have Omega-3 fatty acids without the mercury. It all makes sense. My book is not only about what foods are healthy but also the whys. It starts to answer the question, how does somebody live this long? The blue zones are a great example. Many of them are eating these eat to beat foods.
Dustin
Inflammation is such a hot topic if you want to call at that or a lot of people like to point at it. It's becoming a thing that's talked about. I was curious as to what your view on inflammation is in the wake of your research and is it related?
William
Almost every disease that afflicts us, whether it's a short-term disease that we can get over or a chronic disease like diabetes, Alzheimer's, obesity, cancer and heart disease. Every single disease is associated with inflammation. The public attention on it is warranted. When our body is unhappy and our defenses are down, the consequence is inflammation. Think about those marauding armies invading the fortress. What they're doing is setting that place on fire. That's inflammation associated with the disease. One of the things that we want to do is not only shore up our defenses but anybody that gets in, you want to make sure that fire is put out. That's the interest in lowering inflammation.
A lot of the foods that I listed in my book, Eat to Beat Disease, are anti-inflammatory foods. That said a little bit of inflammation is good because if you cut yourself, you notice there's a little bit of swelling around that while your wound is healing. That's inflammation. It's your body ramping up its immune system to clean up any bad guys that are there. The key thing is that inflammation goes away after a couple of days. A little bit can be good in the right place at the right time, but every single chronic disease is loaded with inflammation. That is these marauding armies setting your house on fire.
Dustin
Dr. Li, I imagine you welcome debate as a scientist because at the end of the day, debate strengthens arguments that reinforces research or causes additional research. I'm curious because logically this makes sense. We get it at such a high level. Put the right foods in our body and it will help us. I'm curious not knowing what the other side is to know where your work or maybe you if people aren't thinking clearly and are coming after you. Where has this been criticized? What's the opposing viewpoint to this? Is there one that exists?
William
As a scientist, healthy debate, critical analysis, kicking the tires is very much the beating heart of science, and I'm all about science. It's like writing a business plan for your entrepreneurial audience. You want to come up with a great idea that you think is a great idea. Put it down in a plan. Use your community, your friends and your mentors as a sounding board and invite them to kick holes in it in the idea, because you want to know that what those holes might be so you can short them up. That’s what good research is all about. I will tell you 30 years ago, this idea that blood vessels grow to feed cancer was considered controversial because we didn't know very much about it. It was criticized as somebody’s folly imagination, pipe dream, crazy idea. I was one of the researchers set off and we basically said, “Fair enough. We need to know more. Let's generate the data to show exactly how blood vessels grow.”
Fast forward 30 years, we know exactly how blood vessels grow. It's uncontroversial and that's the nature of critical debate in science. It’s something that raises eyebrows, even gets criticized at one point in time. It might become self-evident as the truth. Don’t forget, the world was once flat and now it’s round. We used to treat infection with leeches. Nobody does that anymore. We used to think all bacteria were bad. We've changed our mind. There are good bacteria and we got to protect them. The reason that I welcome debate is everything that we know evolves and our knowledge over time. When it comes to food and health, when the medical community would just laugh when you talked about nutrition and health.
The answer was in your prescription pad. Nobody's laughing anymore. People are seriously looking at the science that has advanced to give us these answers. There are a ton of questions that are out there. When I wrote about my book, I have 600 references in it. It's like a super referenced book. It’s state of the art. I'm looking forward to seeing how things are going to evolve over time. I'm one of these guys that welcomes debate, welcomes critical analysis because that's the only way that we advance everything that we do and everything that we know.
Dustin
You brought up my next question, which is the perfect lead-in. I'm curious, what are you most excited about? What research are you working on that you could share that puts a smile on your face and gets you excited?
William
There are a couple of things I'll tell you about that are super exciting to me. One thing is we're defining health for the first time. Think about it, if you were to ask most of your audience what is health, they'd probably tell you, “It's the absence of disease. If I'm not sick, I'm healthy.” We are finally able to define operationally what is our health. These defense systems that are working on our behalf. What's Homeland Security? It means that we get TSA, it means that we check our airplanes, we have a screening for our border control. We're beginning to define the health of our body in that way. That's very exciting because it means that our health is more than juicing, jogging and yoga. It means that we have an operational way of thinking about health, which means that we can innovate on it and innovation, I'm sure as your audience is reading that stuff.
Anybody who's an entrepreneur wanting to get into health, we are at the beginning of this bright future where there are a ton of things that can be done. That's one thing I'm super excited about. A second thing that I'm excited about is we held a research conference in Washington DC looking at space travel. Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos are all thinking about how to get us humans to travel into space. I've met with a few astronauts. Think about this, people have come to me asking the question about how we will actually maintain our health and space. Let's assume space travel becomes possible one day.
We know it’s possible into near-Earth orbit to the International Space Station. There are people up there all year long, but once we get beyond that, how are we going to stay healthy? You don't have 911. You're not going to have your primary care doctor. Some of these questions about health are no longer going to be trivial. It's not going to be like, “We’ll just work out.” In space, one day when humans become extraterrestrial, we're going to have to protect our health actively every single day. One of the things that I challenged myself to think about is what we're learning something that one day be critical for helping the human race itself survive. One day we're going to be able to do something as we even leave the planet. There’s a blue sky out there. It's pretty inspiring to think about that's the importance of the research.
Dustin
Dr. Li, I appreciate you, what you're doing, the research and making it a palatable to many different communities and digestible, taking the complex and making it simple for us. I applaud you for what you've accomplished and what you continue to do. For people that want to continue the conversation, pick up a copy of the book, see your TED Talk, where's the best way for people to keep tabs with you and what you're up to?
William
First of all, my book, Eat to Beat Disease, is available anywhere books are sold. I'm also on social media. You can find me at @DrWilliamLi and I'm on Facebook, Twitter. Here's something cool for your audience. I have taken the 200 some foods in my book and I've created a shopping list for people because I went to many grocery stores. I figured out, what is that you can find in buying? I organize a food list, healthy foods according to how you would encounter them when you go shopping. The best way to get that free list is to come to my website and sign up for it. You can download it and you can print it or you could have it on your phone. You come to www.DrWilliamLi.com and you can get a shopping list.
Dustin
Thank you very much for making things even simpler and easier. I want to applaud the work that you're doing. I appreciate you moving humanity forward and making us better. I appreciate you doing that here on the Get WealthFit show. Thanks so much.
William
Thanks, Dustin. It’s a pleasure speaking to you.

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