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Episode 584
The Doctor's Farmacy

Special Episode: Get To Know Dr. Mark Hyman

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Today, as part of my Masterclass series, I’m answering personal questions my team put together from the Let’s Get Closer card deck by Intelligent Change. I am joined by my good friend and podcast host, Dhru Purohit, to give you a peek into my personal life as I answer questions about my greatest struggles, what I’m addicted to, the best advice I’ve received, and much more.

This episode is brought to you by Rupa Health, Thrive Market, and Comvita.

Rupa Health is a place where Functional Medicine practitioners can access more than 2,000 specialty lab tests from over 20 labs like DUTCH, Vibrant America, Genova, and Great Plains. You can check out a free, live demo with a Q&A or create an account at RupaHealth.com.

Thrive Market is an online membership-based grocery store that makes eating well convenient and more affordable. Join today at thrivemarket.com/hyman to receive an extra $80 worth of free groceries with your first order.

Comvita offers the most premium, pure, well-researched, and sustainably sourced Manuka products available on the market today. You can learn more at comvita.com, and enter code Hyman25 for 25% off all Manuka honey and bee products. (This offer does not apply to bundles or sale items.)

I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

Guest

 
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

 
Dhru Purohit

Dhru Purohit is a podcast host, serial entrepreneur, and investor in the health and wellness industry. His podcast, The Dhru Purohit Podcast, is a top 50 global health podcast with over 30 million unique downloads. His interviews focus on the inner workings of the brain and the body and feature the brightest minds in wellness, medicine, and mindset.

Show Notes

  1. Let’s Get Closer by Intelligent Change
  2. Inner.U
  3. How to Conquer Your Mind to Live Your Best Life with Colin O’Brady
  4. The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire by Deepak Chopra

Transcript Note: Please forgive any typos or errors in the following transcript. It was generated by a third party and has not been subsequently reviewed by our team.

Speaker 1:
Coming up on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The truth is we’re all needing to find our own way to belonging. And that longing to belong is such a key part of being human and finding your tribe is really an important part.
Hey everybody, it’s Dr. Mark Hyman. Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy. Now, instead of our normal masterclass series, we’re going to do something a little lighter today in honor of summer break. Because everybody’s kind of chill and I’m a little chill. So we have something really fun for you. My team has put together a list of questions about me. Little personal questions that they offered to me in hopes of letting you get to know me a little better. So I can’t really wait to see what they’re going to ask me. I’m a little nervous, but anyway, I’m going to pass it to my friend, podcast host, Dhru Purohit.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah, Mark, this is going to be a fun episode. I think a lot of your community feels like they know you really well, which they do. You put out thousands and hundreds of thousands of hours of content over the years. You’ve written so many books, 14 New York Times bestsellers. But I’m hoping that some of these questions that I’ve put together or pulled rather from a deck of cards, it’s actually a gift that was given to me by this company called Intelligent Change.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, no.

Dhru Purohit:
And no affiliation with them, just friends with the folks that started it, Alex and Mimi. And so this is their deck that’s called Let’s Get Closer. So Mark, this deck of cards has three types of cards in it. So it has, the first deck of card is a green color and it says Close. So these are questions that are like, okay, you’re kind of getting to know somebody. Then the second deck of cards is a yellow color and it’s called Closer. And then the final deck of cards is a red color and it’s called Closest. So that’s some of the more juicier questions.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, okay.

Dhru Purohit:
That we can get a chance to get into.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We’ll skip the red ones for now.

Dhru Purohit:
So I’ve mixed them up. I’ve shuffled them up. So let’s jump into it. I’m not going to look and I’m just going to pick from one of these and we’ll start off with the first question that’s there.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh boy. Okay.

Dhru Purohit:
All right. You got a yellow question over here, closer. It says, when was the last time you’ve asked for help? And before you answer, the whole idea of these deck cards, and there’s a lot of different ones that are out there like this, our friend Esther Perel put out a deck of cards too called Where Should We Begin? The whole idea is that often, we think that we’re close to the people that are in our lives, but we’ve not asked some of the most interesting questions that could foster a deeper, more meaningful relationship. And that’s tough for people to do. Not everybody is as a great of an interviewer as Mark Hyman is and can get the best out of folks. So these prompts are a great way to bring connection. And you can use some of these questions in your own life at home with your partner or your friends or your loved ones.
All right. So Mark, I’m going to repeat the question for you. When was the last time you have asked for help? And a little bit of a dig deeper note there, are you comfortable with asking for help when in need?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s a great question because the truth is I don’t really like to ask for help. I feel like I can do most things myself, I can deal with things, I don’t really need anybody’s help. And I think that’s not a good thing. And this morning, actually, I’m having a little procedure on my back later today and I’m in New York and a friend called me, haven’t talked to in a bit, who I love, and she was in New York. And I was like, “I don’t know how I’m going to feel after. I probably can’t get too busy.” But she kind of offered and I really invited her to come and hang out with me in my hotel after just to keep me company.
And I realized I was like, “Wow, do I really deserve that? Is that okay?” She’s got to come all the way from Brooklyn. And I realized my own head was telling a story about it. So in some ways I really don’t like to ask for help. But in this case, I was really glad I did. And I’m really happy to look forward to having someone come home to after I get out of the procedure.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah. That’ll give a little background context for why you’re laying down right now and taking this podcast episode kind of perched up against the bed. We’ve chatted about it in her previous podcast episode that we recorded on the same day, but your back has been acting up a little bit. And I said, “Mark, do whatever you need to do to be comfortable. Everybody in your audience would want you to be comfortable.” So if that means laying on the bed, then lay on the bed.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For sure.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark. Let’s continue on with the list of questions and thanks for entertaining our team’s choices with all these. This is a green question. So it’s close. So can you remember a time in your life when you felt the most alive, and can you share that with our audience?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I definitely get to feel alive a lot and I’m really lucky because I put myself in situations and places where I do feel alive, when I’m with community and friends. And the most recent, I think, well I’ve had so many, but the most recent was when I was in Antarctica. And I mean like the most alive. I feel alive a lot, but I was in Antarctica and I was at the end of the Earth and we were on this trip to raise awareness around the melting of the Arctic ice sheets and the impact on climate and the environment.
And it was kind of staggering. We had five, I think, of the hottest days in a row down there. The ice sheets were melting in front of us. We could see them capping. But it was so beautiful, but also, the land felt so alive. It felt so incredibly beautiful. I felt so ecstatic to just be able to be there, the planet, hanging out with the penguins and hanging out with my friends down there. It was really one of those special moments of life. So I tend to have a lot of the moments, but that one stood out for me quite a bit.

Dhru Purohit:
What are the common themes for you? On that trip, I’m hearing a few of them, but what are the common themes for you-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, nature and community. Nature and community nature and community are things that, to me, activate me the most. Beautiful, beautiful nature and deep connections and friends. Those are the things that make me most alive.

Dhru Purohit:
A few years ago you turned 60. Would you say that you’ve reprioritized the importance of those couple things in your life?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For sure. I definitely always make time to be in nature. I always built community. I always make sure I make connections to the people and have fun. And so I even in Washington I have friends there and I am friends with a couple of those senators and congressmen. So we had those epic lunches and really bonded. It just creates a context of belonging. And in fact, one of the senators said to me, they were really lived busy lives or running around, they’re always going back and forth to districts. It’s hard to build a stable life. And he was sharing how he really noticed how isolated he was becoming, even though he was a very prominent national figure and how important his social network was and how important his community was and how important it was to meet on a regular basis and for people to show up together and help and support each other.
So I think you used to see people on television, you see famous people, or you think about our leaders and that they got it all together. But the truth is we’re all needing to find our own way to belonging. And that longing to belong is such a key part of being human and finding your tribe is really an important part. And I just came back from Korea and I was in Sardinia last summer. And I finished my book on longevity called, Young Forever. And the key theme there is really about building this social fabric, this connection, people you have deep meaningful relationships with. how many people can you actually just call up when things are bad and talk to them, and they’ll be there for you? Somebody else wrote a book called Refrigerator Rights, which is basically how many people in your life can you go over to their house and eat out of the refrigerator and just be welcomed to do whatever you want. That kind of measures the depth of your social circle.
And I was at a friend’s house and there was no problem eating from the refrigerator, but I took it to a new level. I took it to the car rights where you can just grab the keys and take the car without asking. So they were asleep and I wanted to go to yoga classes. I’m like, I just grabbed the keys and take the car, went to yoga. And they were like, “Oh, no problem. That’s great.” So I think those kinds of deep connections and friendships where you really have that in your life, make a huge difference in not only your mental and emotional wellbeing, but also in your health and longevity.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah. There’s another variation of that question I think the New York Times talked about, which is if you’re going through a really tough time in life how many people do you feel comfortable calling at 2:00 AM in the morning? And if you don’t, that’s a good reflection of like, okay, is there something to work through over there, your own vulnerability and closeness with people. But also number two, do you need to re cultivate relationships in your life? So that one of the best ways to know that somebody is going to be there to pick up the phone for you at 2:00 AM in the morning is also to remind them that you are there for them. If they were ever going through anything, that you would be there to pick up their call at two in the morning and that sort of mutual reciprocity and the feeling of like, oh, wow, you’d do that for me. Wow. That’s amazing. I would actually also do that for you. That’s a beautiful way to think about things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For sure.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark. We’re going to go to the next question. It’s red, so it’s closest question. Let’s see what it is. When you are sad or upset about something, how do you, Mark Hyman, like to be comforted?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow. Well, how do I like to be comforted if I’m sad? You mean other than chunky monkey ice cream? And the truth is I call my friends. I call my best friends. I’m really blessed. I have cultivated and nurtured really deep connection and community over the last 40 years of my life. And I reach out to the closest people I have in my life. And I have a friend for example, David, who I’ve been friends with for 44 years. We’ve been on top of mountain in Canada, and we just have this really deep bond. And we can say anything to each other, we got each other. I have immense group that I have, of friends, that I’ve had for 40, 35, 25 years that are really deep soul connections. And we meet every week. It’s really a way for me to keep my own emotional health good, and to connect with the people I love the most. And so I find I’m really blessed to be able to have that and do that on a daily basis.

Dhru Purohit:
That social fabric, coming back to it, is so key. Mark I’m leaving for a trip later on today. And actually the first week of the trip taking a vacation is with my close men’s group. There’s a men’s group that I’ve been meeting with in LA. We call it man morning, man morning Thursday, because we may meet up on Thursday mornings and we go for a walk. And much like this interview over here, there is somebody that brings a question of the day to create a deeper intimacy with the group. And we get a chance to talk about business and life and relationships and just everybody opens up. And one of the things you notice is that you never know the battles that people are facing. And the goal of the group is not to solve each other’s problems, but just to be expressed and to hear each other. And there’s this shared sense that when somebody’s hearing about what you’re going through, even if they don’t have the solution or the answer, you immediately feel more connected and more supported in the world because you know you’re not on this journey alone.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For sure, for sure. Totally.

Dhru Purohit:
Okay. Mark, let’s go into a next question over here. We’ve got another yellow over here. And the question is, what are you addicted to?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh God, what am I addicted to? That’s a great question. I don’t really think I have a lot of addictive quality than. Oh, I know, work. I am a workaholic and I’m a recovering workaholic.

Dhru Purohit:
Tell us more. Where’s that come from? Where do you think that comes from and how did that become a key pattern in your life?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, I’ve been doing a lot of social lately, but the truth is I’m nuts. I basically had my own practice. I was chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, running around the world speaking, wrote 20 books in 20 years. Just, it’s crazy. And all the other things that I’ve done, political work and I realized a lot of it had to do with trying to counteract what my father and my stepfather’s life was like, which was you very much kind of sad in a way. They were both really not very successful despite really trying hard. And they had a lot of financial struggles, a lot of financial troubles. And so I kind of just said, I’m going to make sure I don’t end up like them because it was really sad.
And that’s really, I think, what drove a lot of it also. Just to be very frank, both of my fathers, my stepfather and my father, were very disapproving of me. I think they meant well, but they didn’t know how to parent. I don’t think anybody gets a parent instruction manual when their kid’s born and they certainly did not. And for me, they were very judgemental about my lifestyle and my things I wanted to do and what I believed in and it was really challenging for me as a kid. So I think that also drove me to get recognition, success and work too much. So I’m definitely way better than that. I’m a recovering workaholic, but I don’t really have like sugar or alcohol, drugs. None of that really kind of grabs me. If I have one drink, I’m like, whoa, that’s way too much. And I know, my Oura Ring tells me I’ve been a bad boy if I drink. So I don’t don’t really drink too much.

Dhru Purohit:
What have been some key experiences or insights or aha moments that have helped you kind of step away and say, wow, okay, this drive for achievement has been fantastic, it’s allowed me to create a lot of things, I’ve been successful, I’ve been able to provide opportunity for a lot of people, I employ a lot of people and I need to pull back a little bit because when I’m too much into it… So yeah. What have been some of those distinctions that have helped you kind of see it a little bit more in context and not just be driven by that addiction to work?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I think a couple things. One, I’m just getting older, you get smarter.

Dhru Purohit:
I know a lot older people that are not getting smarter. That the hope, that’s the hope.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s true. That’s true. I would say that’s true. I think my real aha was when I got very sick about five years ago and I was like, I can’t continue to do this at this pace. I can’t keep pushing. And I really had to peel back and I limited my practice more. I helped create a program at Cleveland Clinic that I’ve really been able to now move to a more senior role and advising and strategy. I’ve definitely taken a lot more time for myself. And I realized, when I was about to turn 60, I needed to design a life that I didn’t have to recover from that I wasn’t exhausted. I remember just going to Cleveland Clinic every month and going to my practice every month and running around the country, lecturing, teaching, doing all this stuff, writing books, and I was burnt out and I just needed to pause.
So in a way, COVID forced me to do that. And then I got to reevaluate what I wanted to do afterwards and how I want my life to be, what matters to me, what I want to think about, who I want be with, what I want to do. Someone said, “Oh, you want to start a clinic in Florida,” I’m like, “Not really. I want to change the world.” And so I want to go to Washington and change policies that will affect every practice in America that will get food paid for by insurance companies and change medical education and change our dietary guidelines and change food labeling and change the staff program and encourage regenerative agriculture and do the things that I think are going to have greater impact than me just one on one patient care, which I love and I still do, but instead of doing it all the time, I sort of refocus my efforts.

Dhru Purohit:
I think that’s fitting for the next phase of your life. Sometimes there was a, it sounds a little crazy, but there was a psychic medium that I met many years ago and he saw something that I posted, and I’m not like seeking out psychics or anything like that, but I’m not like closed off to it. I’ve seen a lot of different things. One of my friends had a really great session with him, so I said, “Okay, great. Let me try it.” And it was really insightful.
And one day, fast forward many months later on, he saw me write something on social media where I was talking about, oh it’s important to something, something, like make it happen. The theme of the post was about making it happen. And he sent me a DM and he said, “Hey brother, I just want to let you know that sometimes in life it’s make it happen. Other times in life it’s watch it happen. And other times in life it’s let it happen.” So it’s like not everything has to get done by us rolling up our sleeves and always putting in the work. Sometimes we’re putting out an inspirational message that leads to transformation that other people are causing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s really true Dhru. I’ve noticed that. I think the less I try to make it happen and let it happen, the more things are happening just automatically as a result of me really focusing on just being in the world in a way that encourages things, but I don’t got to force everything anymore.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah, absolutely. And actually, I misspoke on the last part. So it’s make it happen, let it happen, watch it happen. And life is a combination of all those things and not too much emphasis on one of them. All right, Mark, we’re about halfway through this podcast. We got a few more questions that we got for you and this one’s a fun one, another yellow. And it is, what do you miss about being a kid?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, wow. You know what I miss about being a kid is summer vacation was this time when you had no responsibility. There was no work, there was nothing you had to do. You had to play. It was like, play was like an acceptable behavior. And essentially, I just love that. I loved going to camp, I love riding my bike. I loved going on canoe trips. I loved just the sort of abandonment of all to-dos. And I think nobody’s going to say on their tombstone, Dr. Hyman got everything done on his to-do list today before he died.

Dhru Purohit:
And so what does it look like for you right now? Because I know you talk about this a lot. What does that look like for you to tap back into that? How do you incorporate play into your life in today’s world?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I do a lot of things. I definitely dance a lot, friends, we have gatherings. For example, next weekend there’s a gathering with bunch of friends at a farm up in upstate New York. And it’s just a beautiful group of people that love to hang out and do theater and music and dance. And we do saunas, we go swimming and we just hang out and have fun. It’s really very intentional about just being present, not on our phones, not really just focused on kinds of things that are really not really enlightening our souls. So I feel really excited about this time in my life when I can actually start to cultivate these times of our real play.

Dhru Purohit:
At the beginning of the year, I made a list of the things that bring me joy that are pretty simple and straightforward. It’s just that I got to be more intentional with my schedule and planning and also putting it out there to the people that I want to do it with. And one of the things that brings me the most amount of joy is that typically, every year my family would go on a vacation together. And I have a pretty big family, and I’m talking about my immediate family, like parents, sisters, their husbands, their nephew, nieces and my wife. And some of my most magical experiences would be the dinners that we would all cook together. And before we would start cooking, everybody would grab their cell phone and the kids would go around in a little basket and they’d put their cell phones, iPads in there and they’d go lock it up and put it away in the other room.
So we have this entire meal that we’re getting a chance to prepare together and not only cook together, which is a bonding experience in its own, but also eat. And then at the dinner table, again, much like these questions, I’m big into questions, which is why I was super into today’s theme for the episode. We just go around the table and ask something. It’s amazing how even your own parents, there’s basic stuff about their life that you’ve never thought about asking and their answers will continue to surprise you. One of the things that I often try to think about is I try to make sure that I don’t think that I know somebody too well. Like even you Mark, you’re my business partner. But I try to always imagine, what is there something new that I can discover about you? Because the second that I say that I already know you, I’m less curious about wanting to get to know you.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, for sure.

Dhru Purohit:
On that note, we have a few more questions here. So we’re going to go to the next one. What characteristic do you most admire in others?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Honesty, integrity. That’s just like straightforwardness. I think a lot of times we are taught, and I was certainly taught to just kind of, and not always tell the truth. And when it can be subtle, it could be either overexaggerating, under exaggerating, it can be not meeting things. It can be not being direct and honest about your feelings and experiences and emotions. So people who can just be fully themselves, be transparent, honest, and be kind, that’s very attractive to me.

Dhru Purohit:
I had a few more questions over here, Mark. This one over here. What is the greatest struggle you’ve overcome?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think in the context of my whole life, the thing that I’m really proud of that really helped me do the work I do was succumbing to this horrible disease called product fatigue syndrome. For me, was caused by a host of things from mercury poisoning to mold, to tick infections. It could have taken me down. I could have just quit my job. There were times when I thought I was going to go on disability and I was going to kind of go on disability for the rest of my life because I couldn’t function. And I just felt like my life was over. I felt suicidal at times just because you’re just like imagine like not sleeping for two days and feeling like that all the time. Never, even if you sleep, you don’t feel better.
And then you’re achy, tired, brain fog. My gut was a mess. And really, I’m most proud of sticking to and being tenacious about learning about functional medicine and learning how to unpack it, learning how to heal myself, where before I was just so struggling with this condition that most people would’ve given up on.
So I’m really proud that I stuck with it and now, it’s really become my whole life and I’ve really been the advocate for functional medicine because I saw what it could do for me, I saw what it does for my patients. And I really want to get out there in the world and I can tell you, it was just so exciting to be in Washington this week, Dhru, talking to the White House senators, congressmen and really hearing people talk about food as a medicine. And I had them lobbying me, and it was hysterical. There were a couple of senators or congressmen who just wouldn’t stop talking and all they wanted talk about food is medicine and what we need to do. I’m like, wow, okay. So all that hard work, all that effort I think that has paid off and now it’s really become part of healthcare and part of our national conversation.

Dhru Purohit:
There’s a lot of work to be done there and I appreciate you dedicating a huge portion of your life and your energy right now to it. We’re all going to benefit from the progress that’s made there. All right, let’s keep on going with the themes of some of these questions over here. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think the best piece of advice was I grew up in a family where my stepfather was very angry, rageaholic. He went through his own childhood trauma and there’s no blaming here or anything, but it was a really tough environment. And my mother really taught me to lie. She taught me to manage people’s emotions by not telling the truth and by avoiding conflict. And so I met a friend in my 40s who really encouraged me to tell the truth about everything and to be integrity and to have straightforwardness and honesty to myself first and then to my friends and my partners, my community. And that really has changed me because before, I thought I had to manage people’s emotions and manage people’s reactions and not get the blow back of someone who got upset.
And so shifting that has really changed a lot about how I believe in what I’ve done and has really helped me move forward in a way that allows me to have more integrity and be more straightforward. So that piece of advice about being honest and integrity I think is hard. It’s hard to do for many of us and they’re white lies, there all kinds of lies, there’s like there’s seven to eight different kind of lies. There’s omission or exaggeration or under exaggeration or outright lies or whatever. I think we are really in a moment where we can start to move into a state of more truthfulness society in the way that’s kind, it’s honest and direct. That’s really one of my life lessons that’s really helped me have better relationships, be better at work and be better in every area of my life.

Dhru Purohit:
For anybody who’s listening, who wants to take a step in that direction and wants to get better at that, are there any resources that you would share with them?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Sure. My friend Ms. Lauren Zander, and she created a program called Inner.U, which is available online. It’s like Inner, with a capital U. You just Google it, you’ll find it. We’ll put it in the show notes. But essentially, it’s a self-guided curriculum on how to build integrity in your life, in every area of your life, whether it’s your health or money, your relationships, your kids, spirituality. And that really makes a huge difference for people.

Dhru Purohit:
That’s great. Amazing. All right, Mark. A couple more questions over here. We have another yellow and that is, what is your biggest fear in life and why does it frighten you?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
My biggest fear in life is not being able to do what I want to do, having physical limitations, my body as I get older. So I try to stay fit, active. But when something happens to me, like my back, I definitely feel fear come up and then I kind of manage it. But it’s really the sense of as we get older, can we still do all the things we love to do? I want to go skiing, I want to go water skiing, I want to hike mountains. I want to do all kinds of fun stuff, biking. And I don’t want my body to not let me do that. So I think that’s probably my biggest fear. Because you mentioned about addiction. I think I’m also kind of addicted to being active. So I really like it and it makes me feel good and I want to do more of it. And so if I have a vacation, what I want to do it is like exercise three hours a day. So that’s the part that scares me the most.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah. Well just a follow up question because again, we start off at the top of the podcast talking about you’re taking this podcast laying down in your bed, your back has been acting up. You had a little injury from scuba diving. Were you feeling any sort of sense of fear coming up with this recent injury?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, I really look forward to a summer being very active. I’ve had to just calm things down. So yeah, I have fear that I won’t be able to do the things I want to do and go where I want to go and you know just be the leader I want to be in the food space, just because I have to kind of chill more. So yeah, I think it’s come up, but I’m pretty good at listening to my own head. I think my friend Daniel Amen talks about ANTS, automatic negative thoughts and how we kind have to manage those and also about how not listening to every stupid thought you have, because we have a lot of stupid thoughts. So this morning, actually I managed it. I woke up early, I wrote. I had a journal. I kind of talked it out with myself and ended up feeling a lot better.

Dhru Purohit:
And going back to one of our other questions that we had, which is how good are you at asking for help, well, maybe now will also be a good opportunity for you to practice that a little bit more in this interim while you’re getting on the mends, to feel better again, to be active. You can ask for help and count me in that corner of somebody that you can rely on.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, I have so many. My partner, Brianna and my friends, my kids, you. I have so many people. So I don’t feel isolated alone at all in that. And like I said, I don’t like to ask for help, but I know if I need it, it’s there.

Dhru Purohit:
What is your definition of success? You mentioned earlier, you were talking about some family members who you were looking at their life and you were feeling like from your perspective, again, they were living a life that maybe wasn’t taking advantage of their full potential. So when you think about success and living a successful life, what’s your definition of it?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For me, it’s being fulfilled in integrity in every area of your life, right? Physically, emotionally, spiritually, your purpose, meaning, contribution, love. At this point in my life, I think it’s really, success I define is the degree to which I can express and give and receive love in my life. So that’s kind of a different definition than most people think about, but it’s definitely right up there for me in terms of what I care about now. So, I don’t need to write another best selling book, I don’t need to make more money. I don’t need to like have more kids. There’s none of the check marks that a lot of people have at different stage of their life I have to do anymore.
And so to me, it’s really about the quality of my community, the quality of my health, the quality of my life is how I define success. And it’s very, very disconnected from money. Taking a walk on the beach costs nothing, and maybe I have to get to the beach, pay for the gas. But it’s like basically, the things that I love to do are more or less free and there’s things that nourish me in terms of nature and community. And that’s the most important thing we can cultivate for long term health and happiness.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark, here’s a fun question. What is the most miraculous thing that’s ever happened to you? Miraculous.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Miraculous? That’s a big question. Miraculous, like how do you define miracles?

Dhru Purohit:
Define it, it’s your question?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What’s a miracle? God.

Dhru Purohit:
Being born. That’s one.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, I literally was going to say that. That was what I was going to say. Actually, honestly, that probably was one of the most miraculous things that happened to me. And it wasn’t that long ago where I’ve been running for decades since I’m 20, just driving hard, working hard, going to school, being a doctor, being a father, spreading the world of functional medicine out there. And I decided to take a break and I went for a month by myself to this cabin. And the miracle that happened there was I realized I was just happy with nothing. I didn’t have my phone, computer, barely any books. Just nature, me and myself and I got to sit with myself and I told a bunch of people I was doing that. I’m like, you’re crazy, I’d be terrified to go sit with myself for a month.
Actually, what happened was the opposite of what you might expect. Rather than being lonely and isolated and disconnected, I felt way more connected, way more in deep relationship with myself, way more connected to life, way more connected to nature. I was up at a little house in Vermont at the business mountain, and I just felt so ecstatically alive and that I didn’t need anything. And to me that was a miracle because most of us think we need so much to be happy. We need money, we need this, we need people, success. And the truth is that there’s a place inside of each of us that’s whole. And so for me, getting that place where I didn’t need anything and I could just be in this incredible miracle of being alive and being in relation with creation, that actually was kind of a miracle. I was like, wow, this is so good and then I’ve just been on a high ever since.

Dhru Purohit:
That’s beautiful. I remember you telling me about going on that adventure and it sounded like the perfect time in your life. And it also sounded like one of those things that everybody says that they would love to do, but genuinely brings up a lot of fear for them. So how many people actually end up doing it?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, just to be honest, the first week or so, it was hard. I was like, where’s my phone, we’re on my people, how come I’m not getting messages? Who loves me? I don’t like being alone. It’s like, all this stuff came up but I kind of settled through it. It’s like when you do meditation, you sit there and first five, some 10 minutes, your monkey mind is going crazy. And then you settle in and you get in this deep peaceful state in serenity. And that’s kind of what happened.

Dhru Purohit:
What was the inspiration? What was the thing that you watched, read, saw, heard about that prompted that?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, I don’t know if you know this, but I actually was inspired, most of my beliefs or the framework for how I thought about how I wanted to live my life, most of my inspiration when I was younger, came from a book called Walden by Henry Thoreau, who’s a transcendentalist in the 1800s. And he went to a cabin on Walden Pond and lived there for two years, I mean two years not a month, by himself with nothing, with a pen and paper. They didn’t have phones, they didn’t have TVs, they didn’t have anything. He just wrote about it and he wrote, he just wrote beautifully about life and about the importance of being alive and the simplicity of life and the benefits of that simplicity. And that really kind of influenced me.
So I think always sort of dreamt of doing that. I had once lived in a little yurt when I was in college and had a lot of that time. But I also felt inspired because I wanted to kind of reset my life. I wanted to get away from the fact of this need for achievement or the need for success or the need for recognition or the need for anything, anybody, a partner, a friend, anything just, how am I enough by myself? So I got to this place where I just got to be enough and that was it. And now, everything in life is gravy. So it’s kind of good.

Dhru Purohit:
I love you sharing that, Mark. And I think the version that’s the takeaway for people who are listening is that your version of that this coming weekend could be just, hey, maybe go for one day without your phone. And if there’s anything urgent, you can check your messages every once in a while. But largely for most people, you can get by without a phone. And if you have a phone in your house, then people can call that for an emergency and just try to go one day, just one day with no phone and not watching the news and see how that starts to feel. That’s a little mini Walden retreat for anybody who wants to do that, a digital detox.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well actually, it’s interesting Dhru you say that. But on the podcast, I don’t know if it’s released yet, but I did a podcast with Colin O Brady who by himself skied across Antarctica. It was like 54 days, carrying everything unsupported. And he talked about that experience. And then he wrote a book called The 12-Hour Walk, which is inviting all of us, whether you can walk or not, you can sit, you can ride your bike. It’s being alone without any kind of input, just yourself for 12 hours in nature. What that does to you is really remarkable. And most us never give ourselves that moment. We’re constantly putting inputs from our phone, from the TV, from the noise, this, that. Just giving yourself that time to be human is so transformational. And on September 10th, he’s inviting the whole country to do a 12 hour walk. And it can be 10 steps where you sit half the time, but it’s basically just being in that space with yourself in that sacred solitude.

Dhru Purohit:
Beautiful. Okay. One more fun one and then a last concluding question. So this question is, have you ever seen something you cannot explain or you could not have explained?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, yes. Yes. This is a great story. I was 20 years old and I think we all sort of tend to have some type of spiritual beliefs, most of us. Some people are atheists and don’t believe in anything, but most of us feel connected to something greater than ourselves. This isn’t just all there is. And a lot of us believe, because we don’t have a direct experience of it. Now, some of us do, and there are mystics that do and I can’t talk for anybody else. But I certainly had. And then I went to this conference, I think it was called the School of Spiritual Healing. And there were all these different characters there. There was this rabbis and priests and Sufis and Buddhists. And one of the guys was this guy, Wallace Black Elk, who was a Native American medicine man. He was the grandson of Black Elk who was a very famous Lakota medicine man.
And I was 20 and I kept learning how to make sweat lodges. And I volunteered to help build sweat lodges and to keep the fire going on the sweat lodges. And so we basically did all this prep and we heated the rocks and the fire. And for those that don’t know what a sweat lodge is, it’s like basically like a, like a tent in the ground with a big pit in the middle. And then you cook rocks up really hot in a fire and then you bring the rocks in and you put water on them. It’s like a sauna, basically. It’s a Native American purification ritual.
And so at the end of the night, it was like two in the morning. And I had been helping all night and I built the sweats. I knew what they were made of and all that. And there was a gourd that they used, like a rattle. And it basically is a gourd, which is like a squash. And there was some dried beans inside and it’s on a stick and you kind of shake it. It’s a rattle. And then we basically went in this, after everybody was done with all the sweat lodges, they invited all the keepers of the fire, which was me, and a few other guys to go into a sweat lodge with all the other leaders of all the other four sweats. So with all the Native American medicine men.
And then I’m sitting in there and all of a sudden, it’s pitch black, you can’t see your face if you put your hand in front of your face, you can’t see your hand, I mean. And they started to shake the rattle and singing in Lakota and all of a sudden the rattle starts glowing and lighting up. I’m like, wow, that is crazy because there is no battery in that one. I had it in my hand, I know what it is. And so that was very… Couldn’t explain it.
And then a few minutes later he’s talking, but not in English, in Lakota. But he is not talking to anybody in this way. It seemed like he’s talking to somebody else. And then he stopped and he translates. He says, well, I was talking to the thunder spirits and they said, it’s going to thunder four times and then it’s going to rain. I was like, yeah that’s a little farfetched. But then it was like, boom, boom, boom, boom, rain. I’m like, oh my God. I don’t understand everything going on in the world. I definitely don’t know what’s happening, but I cannot explain this and it’s got to be something else. That kind of got me to just kind of have a deeper sense of relaxation about being in the world because I kind of got that there’s more to the world than the eye can see. And it’s probably a deeper spiritual story here that we’re all connected to.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah. Wow. What a wild story, experience and also kind of like mind blowing in the way of not being so confined to what our mind thinks that the world is and isn’t. I super appreciate that story.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And different people have different experiences. And there’s been coincidences and there’s things that you can’t explain, that seem like, wow, you think of somebody and they show up or you think of somebody and they call, or just like the right thing happens at the right moment. That happens to me all the time. But you can go, well, I don’t know, maybe there’s something bigger sorting everything out. But that thing with the thunder and the rattle, I could not explain it. I couldn’t explain it away.

Dhru Purohit:
Well, there’s a fun little book that’s written by one of your friends, Deepak Chopra. And honestly, it’s one of my favorite books of his. It’s called The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire. And inside the book, Deepak goes through a lot of the world of quantum physics, but also he does it through storytelling of his life and all these coincidences that happened throughout his life that led to him doing everything that he does. And it’s just told in a way where you hear his story and you’re like, wow, I’ve had a similar experience to that. And then he tells you a little bit about some of the mechanisms and the things that could be going on in the background. It’s a fun little book. If anybody wants to dive deeper into this area and read a little bit more about it, that’s a book that I’d recommend. We can link to it in the show notes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Very fun.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark, last question over here. It’s a red, that means closest. That means these are the deep questions. You’re writing a book on longevity. You got many, many years, knock on wood, and all those things that are there. You have a long life to live with a lot more best selling books, podcast, all that other good stuff. So this question is very much for the future, which is, how do you wish to be remembered?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it by not dying, or I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen, I want to live out of my apartment. The reality is I feel like if I just… Common, which is a rap singer, has a beautiful song and there’s a lot in there that basically says, where are you going to put your one grain of spiritual sand on the universal scales of humanity? And for me, I think this week was an example for me of where I put my grain of sand. And I don’t have any illusions that I’m going to change the world or do anything dramatic, but if I can just make the world a little bit better place, just help one more person, it’s just like just make somebody’s life a little bit better, that’s how I would like to be remembered.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark. Well, that’s it for today. And I super appreciate you being willing to go on this. We had this crazy idea of like, let’s do something fun and get your audience to get to know you a little bit better.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, boy. It’s a bit crazy. You’re kind of ambushing me.

Dhru Purohit:
You did well, you did well.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I didn’t know this was coming, you ambushed me. But it’s okay.

Dhru Purohit:
So I’ll pass it back over to you. And another shout out to our friends, just super appreciate it. Let’s Get Closer deck of card series by Intelligent Change. If you’re interested in it and you want to do it with your loved ones, you can find in the show notes below. No affiliation with them, just fans of what they’ve created. I love questions and I love using them as an opportunity to get to know people better. And I learned some stories about you, Mark. We’ve been working together for seven years, we’ve known each other for almost 10 years now. I learned some new stuff about your life and I really appreciate you opening up.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You did. Thanks for asking. Okay. I don’t think I’ve shared a lot of this stuff with anybody publicly before. So you got me going here. Anyway, thank you all for listening. Really, that’s all for this week’s episode. I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little bit better. Make sure you subscribe to Doctor’s Farmacy and we’ll see you next week on The Doctor’s Farmacy.
Speaker 1:
Hi everyone. I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. Just a reminder that this podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. If you’re looking for help in your journey, seek out a qualified medical practitioner. If you’re looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit ifm.org and search their find a practitioner database. It’s important that you have someone in your corner who’s trained, who’s a licensed healthcare practitioner and can help you make changes, especially when it comes to your health.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

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