#91 Sugar, Anxiety and Connection | Sarah Wilson

#91 Sugar, Anxiety and Connection | Sarah Wilson

#91 Sugar, Anxiety and Connection | Sarah Wilson

In our society, collective anxiety is a given. We’re constantly looking for instant gratification, and don’t handle it well when it doesn’t happen. How do we channel all that energy into good?

WELCOME TO THE DARIN OLIEN SHOW

Sarah Wilson quit sugar. Then she channeled her anxiety into connection.

Former journalist and TV presenter Sarah Wilson has always lived with anxiety and mental health struggles. Once the editor of Cosmopolitan Australia, Sarah is now a best-selling author and founder of the largest website in Australia, IQuitSugar.com. She advocates for mental health and climate issues and is ranked as one of the top 200 most influential authors in the world. decorative image with the quote “Life is uncertain. We need to build resilience around that.” by Sarah Wilson

We’ve never covered anxiety explicitly on the show before, which is surprising considering what a relatable topic it is. I don’t know a single person that hasn’t struggled with anxiety at some point in their lives. I love Sarah’s take on anxiety as something we can use as fuel instead of letting it hold us back.

In this episode, Sarah explains her journey with an autoimmune disorder that led her to completely cut sugar from her diet. Quitting sugar led to a more comprehensive understanding of how her diet affects her mental health as a whole. And that understanding led her down a completely new path in life. Now she sees every obstacle as an opportunity for connection. If you want to learn how you can turn your fear and anxiety into action, you’re going to want to listen to this episode.

ALSO IN THIS EPISODE:
  • Sarah’s backstory
  • Quitting sugar and how it changes your body
  • Using fear and anxiety as fuel
  • Action into activism

The Darin Olien Show is produced by the team at Must Amplify. If you’re looking to give a voice to your brand and make sure that it’s heard by the right people, head to www.mustamplify.com/darin to see what Amplify can do for you.

Episode Transcript

Darin: You are listening to the Darin Olien Show. I’m Darin. I spent the last 15 years exploring the planet looking for healthy foods, superfoods, environmental solutions, and I’ve had my mind blown along the way by the people, the far off places I have been, and the life-altering events that have changed my life forever. My goal is to help you dive deep into some of the issues of our modern-day life, society’s fatal conveniences. The things that we do that we’re indoctrinated into thinking we have to, even though those things are negatively affecting us, and in some cases, slowly destroying us and even killing us. Every week, I have honest conversations with people that inspire me. My hope is through their knowledge and unique perspectives they’ll inspire you too. Together, we’ll explore how you can make small tweaks in your life that amount to big changes for you, the people around you and the planet, so let’s do this. This is my show, the Darin Olien Show.

Darin: Hey, everybody, welcome to the show. Thanks for tuning in. I appreciate you. I am stoked for you to be inspired by my next guest. The phrase that comes to my mind is she is a force of nature, Sarah Wilson in Aussie. I didn’t even meet her when I was in Australia but I met her after the fact. And man, she is a former journalist, TV presenter, and now activist. She was the editor of Cosmopolitan Australia, was a host of Master Chef Australia, and founder of one of the largest wellness websites in Australia, iquitsugar.com. And in May 2018, Sarah closed the business and gave all the money to charity. She now builds and enables charity projects that help humans, help with activism, help with health, help with climate issues. Man, we had a lot to talk about. We knew several of the same people in this space. There was a point in there where she said, “Listen, we need to scare ourselves every day. It keeps us on our toes and all of that stuff.” Well guess what her idea was, she literally started swimming, wasn’t a great swimmer and started swimming in shark-infested areas in this channel in Australia. I’m not even going to do that. Like what? She obviously didn’t get attacked by a shark, but she is committed. She lives a minimalist lifestyle. She traveled around the world for 8 years with a backpack, she lives it, she breathes it, she’s happy, she’s healthy, she’s charging on. Man, I was inspired by this force of nature, Sarah Wilson. She has I Quit Sugar, and she has her point of view about how to do that. I think there are also plant-based ideas of keeping fat low, but that wasn’t even something we got into. I just want to make that point that you can do that with fresh fruits and vegetables and fiber-rich foods and do it that way as well and my good friends, Cyrus and Robby at mastering diabetes, but that’s not the point. The point is that we got into a lot of things that were synergized on and stoked about. So I’m really excited that you’re going to get introduced with this incredible woman from Australia that has no bounds, no limits, and just kicks ass. Sarah Wilson, here you go.

Darin: I’m stoked to have you and getting to know you. I was like, wow, this is a human that I need to understand and need to know. You’ve been in the iquitsugar.com space. I’ve been very powerful in the health space. And kind of like me, you realize that there is no separation between what we’re consuming, what we’re doing in our relationship to the whole, the planet, and what we’re doing. And so I really am excited to kind of dig into this. So why don’t you unpack just a little bit for people that don’t know because you’re obviously a badass and doing a lot of things powerfully in Australia, but I would love for people to know how you got started, how did I quit sugar, how did that start? You are an author, activist, all of these hats that again, I understand because it kind of fits under one advocacy of health. But how did it start? And how did you then transition to being the giving away more and more profits to more and more powerful changes?

Sarah: How did that become an old lady sitting here in a wild feminist tub talking to you? So I was a journalist for 20 years actually. I worked for Rupert Murdoch. I studied or did my cadetship under him. And I was very mouthy. I was the token left-wing, feminist voice at the age of 23. And I had an opinion column at a very young age. Off the back of that, I became the editor of Cosmopolitan Australia and it was the largest magazine in Australia at the time, and I had no idea what I was doing, Darin. I was 29, I’d never worn makeup in my life, I will flat shoes, I was a feminist, a minimalist, I rode a bike, never owned a handbag in my life. And I still have it to this day, and I’m now 47. I then at 34 got very unwell. I developed an autoimmune disease, and this is a common story, as you would know, from speaking to lots of people in this space. We have our own health collapse and that forces us to go down deep into some truth around what’s made us unwell. So I developed Hashimoto’s, but I got a very aggressive form of it. And it kind of tore away at me layer by layer until I wasn’t able to walk or work. And so you’d be familiar with Byron Bay in Australia, sort of like a Santa Cruz esque-type place. I actually studied in Santa Cruz when I was 21, feminism and philosophy of the universe, which are probably courses you could only study in Santa Cruz, California, right?

Darin: Absolutely. That’s kind of the birthplace I think.

Sarah: Yeah, I went there also just to do mountain biking, it was a two-fold thing. But I went up to Byron Bay, I lost all of my possessions. And by this stage, all of my possessions were reduced to about two suitcases. And I lived in an army shed in the forest. And I got myself well, and it was a journey. I supported myself by writing a column for a local newspaper on how to get well. So it’s sort of a two-fold thing. And gradually, I got better. And quitting sugar was part of that experiment. It started off as a new blog post, and then a column in a newspaper. And then I kept investigating and going to obesity conferences, and nerding out on everything. And I also have bipolar. And one of the wonderful benefits of it is that it means you can go down rabbit holes and you generally do not emerge until you’ve come out with everything. And that’s what I did for two years. And I eventually came out and create this program that I taught myself how to do an online book and then it turned into a print book and went around the world. But from there, I had a business that was doing a digital version of the program with 25 staff, but I felt that I needed to look into anxiety a little more. So I went on a journey then of living on the road and I lived on the road for 8 years, I’ve reduced all my belongings down to eventually one backpack. So it was a 35-pound bag or 15-kilo bag, that was everything in my life. And it was simply because I just found it easier to live lighter. I could get off in a country, a foreign country, and get straight onto the bus and then get straight on to a hire bike when I landed in Paris or New York. And then I do my work and things like– I wrote my book researching around the world. I interviewed His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, Oprah’s life coach, trying to work out a theory that went a lot beyond the sort of the medical paradigm, so more into the spiritual and philosophical realm. But again, it took the stuff from I Quit Sugar and brought it into this space. And I just kept going and going and going. And then I wrote my next book, One Wild and Precious Life. First, We Make the Beast Beautiful was my book about anxiety. It was a really deep dive into all of that and became a New York Times Bestseller. And then I moved into this One Wild and Precious Life, which was taking that journey, the anxiety that we feel internally, exploring how that anxiety is now playing out globally for all of us at a planetary level. And, of course, that is playing out as the Black Lives Matter movement as sort of gender disintegration, political fragmentation, but most importantly, the climate crisis because that kind of overarches everything and in the hope that I could pave a path forward through it all of hope, a radical hope. So yeah, that was a very long explanation, but when you’re as old as I am, it takes that long.

Darin: I totally get it but you know, I just turned 50 and it’s still trippy.

Sarah: It can’t be true. It can’t be true.

Darin: But you have birthed a lot of things, and I don’t know about you but the insatiable as you kind of dig at more things you realize, number one, the old adage, you don’t know much. The more that you look, yes, you’re learning, but also you’re just pulling the string. And there’s more and more there. But I really love that because yes, there are some pragmatic things to literally quitting sugar and getting your health under control. And the fact that you just put yourself in the woods, give it a go truly, that attitude, the Aussie wild attitude of just going for it. And it does take that commitment to get especially health under control. So there are so many things I want to unpack there. I mean, the first thing that kind of pops up is, especially now, as people are just everyone, globally. And mental health is such a massive, massive thing because we have stability that used to be there on several systematic levels, even stability in our perceived government, stability in our perceived health and our health care, all of this stuff, our jobs, what we think about life, where we’re going, everything, and more is on shaky ground. And how does that not then translate into instability and who I am, what I am, where I’m going, what do I do? Those bring up big questions, whether you’re ready to ask them or not on a spiritual level. It’s kind of been forced on us to explore those things. So what are some strategies that you’ve looked at that people can maybe start taking on to garner a little more understanding? 

Sarah: I can see what you’re asking me there. It’s a really important question because of course, the definition of anxiety is an inability to sit in the discomfort of uncertainty. And of course, life is just nothing but uncertain. And so apart from the fact that we will die, which, of course, is another aspect of anxiety, the existential kind of anxiety. And of course, as you say, that’s all ramping up in the external world. There’s incredible chaos and instability, and that is making us terribly anxious both internally, but also as a collective. So I think the techniques that you can use for managing or modulating your own anxiety can be used externally, and that’s what we have a responsibility to do today. So the first thing is, I think getting caught in uncertainty, life is uncertain. And so we need to build resilience around that in all kinds of ways. And there’s a lot of discussion in that area. I talk quite regularly about the fact that we don’t– it’s not so much an anxiety pandemic or epidemic that we’re facing, particularly amongst young children, it’s a lack of resilience epidemic. And this needs to be discussed particularly around children. We’ve created this cocoon around ourselves and our children where we don’t want the discomfort of not knowing. 90% of technology is geared towards getting rid of the discomfort of not knowing, so creating certainties. The technology over the last 30 years hasn’t been about solving world peace, it’s been about getting rid of inconveniences. We don’t have to delay gratification, we don’t have to not know for a while and suck it up and patience is a virtue and all this kind of thing, which our grandparents used to teach us, right? We don’t have that mentality in our culture today. So we are, I describe us as almost like, as a scab gets removed, we are an open wound with no ability to defend ourselves. So a discussion in and around resilience, and also practicing it ourselves, delaying gratification, going without sacrificing, being of service, all of those kinds of things not only get us personally strong for what’s ahead, but we are then helping the rest of the world. So it’s a two-fold thing. The other probably the primary strategy that I use for sort of everything, and it’s sort of a catch-all, believe it or not, is walking in nature. And it sounds so [00:14:43] and too simple to be true. But I sort of come across it about a third of the way into the book where I hit this absolute dark spot. I was sitting down on Bondi beach with my meditation teacher, which just sounds so very Bondi. And I just said, I don’t know how I’m gonna do this. The subtitle of the book I’ve promised my us publisher, my Australian publisher is a path forward, a hopeful path forward, and I didn’t have one. And he said to me, Sarah, you love living this way. You ride a bike everywhere, you leave off the smell of an oily rag, but you do it because you love it, so show us the charm, show us how to do it. And so I did what I always do. I got on a train down south to the National Park, and just threw myself into bushland and just ran through the bush for several hours. And that’s what I always do when I need to knock something out. And it’s been my strategy for dealing with my bipolar, with my anxiety, my insomnia, everything. And it all started to gel, and I started to break it all down. I remembered all the science I’ve been researching. And I went, this is so much simpler, we’ve got to go back to our nature. We need to go and find the congruence that we feel in nature. And so you might know the science, I mean, our retinas are made up of fractals, these beautiful repeating patterns. And when we see it in nature in a firm front, or in a wave pool, or in the petals of a flower, or whatever it might be, we get this recognition. There’s this congruence or attunement, which are beautiful words, right? And we go straight to our connection. There’s something like 40,000 studies that have been done to show how both hiking or walking, but also being in nature, and the two combined in hiking can actually modulate anxiety in many cases more so than medication. In Japan and South Korea, in particular, the science around this is used to inform health policy. There have been studies around the world that show how all this works. So as a strategy for personal anxiety, it’s great, but as a strategy as a collective to reconnect with nature, right now, when the climate is in peril, to be reminded of what we love as a human race is so important because when we love something super hard, we bizarrely, it’s one of the beautiful quirks of human nature, we fight like nothing else to save it. You know those images of mothers that can lift a massive car off their child, the toddler, you know, the car rolled over it, and they can find this herculean strength out of nowhere. That’s what we as humans do. When we love something hard enough, we will do– we get into Kamikaze mode to say that. And so my strategy is just to get out into nature and just be in it, it’s as simple as that. So it’s one of the strategies. I’ve got several in the book, soul nerding, a whole range of different things that can just get us closer and closer and fired up. And of course, you’d know this, when we engage in action and of course, activism, climate activism is the best kind of action, it downplays our anxiety. We can turn fear into action. And that not only gets rid of our anxiety, it also means we can then get on with saving the planet and doing what’s required, and breaking out of this numbness and overwhelm that the planet seems to be in right now.

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Darin: You know it’s funny you mentioned that radical love that we can have, the insatiable love, the strength that we have in that. I just literally saw a video on social media of a bear in the backyard of the house going after this–

Sarah: I saw it too.

Darin: Did you see that?

Sarah: And the woman runs and pushes it.

Darin: Yeah, so it was about to kill her dogs eventually. And the mom came out of nowhere and knocks this big ass bear off this ledge. And it’s like she didn’t think of– she wasn’t sitting there thinking, she just acted. That is I believed in congruence also with nature, right? So what you’re saying is so true. And we don’t have to get cerebral about this either. But the instantinct–

Sarah: Isn’t it a relief to actually to defer to our human nature because I think we’ve all got a sense that our rational brains have got in the way, do you know what I mean? They’ve put their grubby fingers over everything, and it’s caused problems. And so I use the George Costanza theory of life, when things are not working out for you, do the opposite. I know that there’s quite a lot of spiritual truth to that. The idea of I think in Sanskrit, I can’t remember what the phrase is, but it’s to the effect of do what you’re not doing as a radical spiritual practice. And I practice that, and what we’ve been doing has not been serving this. Now we’re all trapped in it, of course. We’re trapped in that neoliberal cycle. But when I start to break it down with people and show that that individualism, the fact that we’ve got rid of what I call these moral umpires that used to keep us in balance with our needs to be part of a collective, so we’re talking, even the church, you know, I’m not a religious person, and certainly spiritual, but churches used to serve the purpose of ensuring that our individualistic tendencies didn’t get out of control and that we did practice service, and we did attend to the poor, and so on and so forth. And we need that to survive. We got rid of all of those over the last 30 or 40 years with neoliberalism and in your country, in my country. And so all these things that used to keep us in balance have gone. And so we need to find ways to rebalance that again because our intuitive sense is that things aren’t right. We’ve gone too far. Individualism is not serving us. The rational mind had is not serving us, we’ve got limitations there, that our knowingness can drive us to where we need to be. And the science can now back a lot of that intuitive sense of where we belong, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Darin: Yeah, it is. And there’s this thing we’re in context of everything, like if someone’s not feeling well, like literally in their body, and they’re not eating well, and they know that, it’s hard. It really is hard to step outside of yourself because it collapses you in. If your body’s not doing good, it’s hard to get up, it’s hard to do anything. And I love the fact that what would you say to people because you were at that point where you literally had to do something about that. And I want to make sure that people, you got to fill yourself up, you got to take care of yourself. And that’s why I say like, listen, I never set out necessarily to promote health, it really is to promote people living their life powerfully. And if you don’t kind of steward your self-care, then that self is so limited at contributing to infinitely more. Why would we want to control ourselves into kind of a collapse-down version of our life when our bodies are broken down? And it’s always going to happen. So what was it for you that got you to the point of like, listen, I have to shut everything down and get myself together and healthy? And then from there, I want to hear what happened after all of that.

Sarah: Well, I can mention I was 34 and I was hammering myself like I was a square peg being hammered into a round hole. And this was because I was not living in congruence with my truth as the editor of a magazine that was peddling shit that nobody needs to young, impressionable women, although ironically, women sort of my age. I was also in a toxic relationship. I hadn’t got caught up. I never bought a handbag. This whole time, I’ve never bought a handbag and I’m still riding my bike to work and so on, but I wasn’t living my truth. And the stress and the friction and the inflammation built and built. You know, James Hollis, who I interview and write about in my latest book This One Wild and Precious Life, he has a wonderful phrase and it pertains to the individual and the collective. And he says, “Our souls are calling us to an appointment with life, and it’s our duty to turn up to the appointment.” So I felt that my illness and I’m not going to say that every illness is this because everyone’s got to work it out for themselves, but my illness was the perfect illness to actually get me to my appointment with life. It was my soul crying out because we get it, you know, James Hollis says this, he says, we get it as we stop, our souls or [00:25:26] and then it’ll be a poke, and then it’ll be a prod and then a sharp and then a slap down, and I’ve got all of those and then I had to get slapped down before I got the message. Maybe some of you listening out there will understand that it actually gets comical. It got so comical where in one day, the phone line, the internet went down, my car was stolen. I eventually had a car. My bike was inside, I was rendered still. And then my hair fell out, I put on weight, thyroid disease, this is what happens. I got the ultimate disease to slap me down, take me away from my vanity, take me away from any connection to possessions, and I was a shell of a human. And I got depressed, I went down into the darkest, darkest place. And I write about this in First, We Make the Beast Beautiful, I was suicidal. And I went very, very close to that moment. The moment after, sort of three days of no sleep where I looked in the mirror, you know where those mirrored wardrobes, I’d been on the floor in fetal position. And I looked and I couldn’t see myself any longer and I’d left, I’d left myself. I just had a moment where I just went, okay, I can either go this fail that way. And what I chose was to live. And I went, alright, I’m gonna live like a mofo. I’m going to do this my way. I’m going to do it with just the clothes on my back, which is pretty much all I was left with by this stage. So I just sort of realized as well and the sugars thing was a great place to explore this because one thing we need to realize is that no one is going to come and save us. I think everyone was looking around waiting for the food industry to change their ingredients. The government to come in and do a big mandate, but they’re all in bed with the sugar industry. And so my big thing was, no one’s gonna come and say this, the best thing we can do is take charge of things ourselves. And that in itself is parallel with my climate fight now, that action emboldened me, and that in itself started to lift me. I was doing something and each day that I went without sugar emboldened me. Now, the way I did it was I treated it as a gentle experiment. So my book was called, I Quit Sugar, then the business was called that. And it was never a you must quit sugar. It was, well, I gave it a go. I went down the rabbit hole, I investigated it, I ran the whole program for free for two years. And now that I’ve got some assets that I can share with you, you can pay me to get the information, save yourself all the time and give it a go yourself. And I set it to an eight-week program because that’s how long it takes generally, to reverse an emotional habit, which sugar is in many ways. And I basically educated people that fructose is a food that is not meant to be eaten at the level of speed to that. It is one of the very few molecules we do not process through our gene, through our cells. It’s processed predominantly through the liver, as we would process alcohol or toxins. And of course, when our liver gets overtaxed, it stores it as visceral fat to protect our organs. And visceral fat is the most dangerous kind of fat, very difficult to lose. So there’s a whole range of things. And it became the one thing that could actually cascade into other things. Because when you quit sugar, you’re quitting processed food because 80 to 90% of processed food contains added sugar. When you quit processed sugar, you’re then forced to actually eat real food, which, of course, means you’ve got to cook, which of course means you get closer to the food chain, and you open your eyes up to all this other information. And the cascading effects on your health, mentally and physically just keep going and going and going. So it’s a really great starting point for anyone wanting to go on this journey is to do this one thing. And men in particular, really liked it because they only had to do one thing. But you know, and it was literally just, you just quit sugar, and then it just necessitates this whole kind of trajectory. And what was really interesting is that the mental health space or the science there started to shift. And it came to see that mental health was essentially inflammation of the brain. It wasn’t so much what was happening– and in the gut. So the gut inflammation and all this stuff that sugar was causing then comes up, crosses over the blood-brain barrier, and affects our mental health. So most of the serotonin that we will talk about in terms of mental health is produced in the gut, not the brain. So we started to get a different picture of things. And my mental health shifted, big time. I came off bipolar meds in this process. I also reversed my infertility. So 34, I was told I’d never have children and I was going through premature menopause, 42, I suddenly had multiple pregnancies. And I had all, I mean, unfortunately, I had mercury poisoning so I lost the first one, another one I lost because she tied herself in a knot in an umbilical cord. So a bunch of different things happen. And turns out, motherhood wasn’t for me, but I reversed all the markers. And I was told I was two weeks from heart failure at one stage, and that all of my organs were severely damaged. Not anymore.

Darin: It’s it’s just so shocking to just hear that, but so powerful. The ability for nature, i.e. your body to repair, restore. I’m always amazed. I’ve done cleanses throughout my life in a million different ways and it’s always astonishing. And this is so powerful that you just stop this added poison that we’ve fatally created as convenience of starting our complete addiction, and you stop this molecule. And the body’s ability, its innate nature, we’ve stepped out of the way and allowed it to restore itself and the pleomorphic effect that it has. Yes, it helps the hormones, it helps the pregnancy helps the brain stabilization, it helps the serotonin and dopamine. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard anyone say that, but it’s just so glaringly obvious, Sarah, that when you take charge, and I love that because this is the single greatest thing, I think, that’s from perpetuated in our society and marketed to us all the time. And you know it firsthand from Cosmopolitan, we’re trying to as our feeble brains, we reduce things down, we want an answer, we want the thing, we want the way. And yes, I think this is pretty close, just eliminate this thing and it will naturally take away all of these foods that have added it in there and are fake anyway and over-processed. So yeah, just focus on that, and it will largely steer you towards–

Sarah: Everything else.

Darin: Exactly.

Sarah: I mean, I ended up having very little plastic in my household as a result. I also don’t diet. So if some people might say that I Quit Sugar program’s a diet. It was a diet of abundance. So as we took sugar out, we replaced it with heaps of fat and protein. You know, I made sure that we worked within the caloric guidelines for the US and Australia. And if anything, it was slightly over, but everybody lost weight. My weight has not shifted by even one kilo since then. And I’m not super skinny. I’m the size I’m meant to be. I also don’t restrict like people watch the amount I eat. I eat I suppose quite, and this is what I say that quitting sugar is about going back to the way we used to eat as children where our ghrelin, you know our appetite hormones, our ghrelin and our leptin actually work as they’re meant to. We get hungry, we eat, and then we get full and we stop eating. That is the fundamental bonus of quitting sugar is that our appetite hormones and all of our cascading hormones that you know ripple off that just fall back into place. So as I said, I don’t diet at all. I don’t restrict my eating. I eat dark chocolate, 90% cocoa are dark chocolate every day. That is my breakfast with a bunch of nuts. I reckon I would eat a quarter to a cup of olive oil one way or another every day in some form or another. Yeah, I eat an abundance of food. I have a glass of red wine every night. And the [00:34:29] program allows for glass of red wine because the health benefits are great and red wine contains very little fructose because it’s what ferments to become alcohol. Again, you don’t want to overtax your liver, one glass, not five. So yeah, it’s created an elegance and a flow to my life. And that’s how I’ve translated that story then into the way that I live my life in general, less is more. When you consume less, you got less clutter. Wou can join the congruence of life, you can flow. And I use the example of how I know people who get in the car each day, they collect their Fitbit and their drink bottles and everything, and then they drive to the gym. And then they go and sit on a stationary bike for 45 minutes. Then they get in the car, drive home, have a shower, then drive into work. And that just blows my mind because why wouldn’t you just get on a bike and ride to work and be done with it in a quarter of the time. Seriously, and I suggested this at a talk some time back and the moderator she went, “I do that. I’d never thought of it that way.” But really, there’s some elegance that we can learn by simplifying and kind of saying no to the more, more, more capitalist model and move towards less, and being humble. You know, having humble expectations, there’s a beauty to that. And of course, abundance comes from that true abundance.

Darin: Many of you who follow me know I’ve spent most of my life searching for the healthiest foods on the planet from the Amazon jungle to the Andes of Peru, to the Himalayas and Bhutan, to the deserts of Africa, and everything in between discovering hundreds of plants and herbs and superfoods like this is my passion. Things like sacha inch, an Incan treasure, wild [unintelligible 00:31:41] mushrooms, things like Maya nuts, another Aztec superfood, wild cocoa moringa, many adaptogenic herbs and on and on and on. If you look hard enough, there are a few unknown extraordinary foods around the world that people still don’t know about. And a few years ago, I came across my favorite superfood discovery of all time, barukas nuts. Why is that my favorite? Well, when I first tasted them, my eyes lit up. I was blown away. They’re so delicious with notes of popcorn and cocoa and chocolate with peanut butter, and with this amazing crunch, so the taste alone just absolutely blew me away. But after sending them to the lab, which I do, and getting all the tests, I realized they’re the healthiest nuts on the planet. No other nut even compares. They have an unusually high amount of fiber, which is critical for healthy digestion. We’re all getting way too low of fiber in our diet and it’s good for the healthy bacteria and microbiome. And they’re off the charts in super high antioxidants, and have few calories than any other nut. It’s jam-packed with micronutrients. And what they don’t have is just as important as what they do have because they’re found in the forest in the savanna what’s called the Cerrado biome of Brazil, not grown on a plantation or a farm. They’re untouched by industrial pesticides, larvicides, fertilizers. They’re truly a wild food. But they’re not just good for you, they’re really good for the planet. Most other nuts require millions of gallons of irrigated water, not to mention, using bees and shipping them across the United States and just horrible sustainable practices just to grow certain nuts annually, but Baruka trees require no artificial irrigation. At one time, the Cerrado’s forest were made up of millions of these trees. These trees are incredible. They’re nitrogen fixers. They give back to the other plants in the forest. Their grandfather of sacred trees, but most of them were chopped down to make way for cattle, soy, and corn production. When you’re down in Brazil, it can be absolutely shocking. And actually, I’ve cried several times with miles and miles of deforested land filled with soy farms. This beautiful Savanna filled with soy farms and cattle grazing. Our mission is to reverse that. And the long term goal is to plant 20 million new baruzeiro trees throughout the Cerrado. And if that wasn’t enough, we are also providing highly beneficial and fair jobs for thousands of indigenous people so they can stay on their land and they can thrive with this consistent income every year forging and working with Barukas. Barukas are truly good for you, good for the planet, and good for the world community. It’s a win all the way around. I really think you’ll love them, so I’m giving all of my listeners 15% off by going to barukas.com/darin. That’s B-A-R-U-K-A-S dot com backslash Darin, D-A-R-I-N and using the code “Darin” at the checkout. I know you will enjoy.

Darin: It’s something glaringly obvious when we are in Australia, and we met many of the Aboriginal people and their ethos of their consumption was take what you need. That’s it. And so unfortunately, they’re getting hit with overconsumption in this way, overfishing, taking over, all of that stuff, and now they’re being impacted where they have the lightest impact. So it is powerful, and it can take on so much of that. And I love that. So it’s like when you eat less and don’t stuff yourself, you also live longer. So there are so many biological and chemical benefits, but at the same time, like living that. I never really consumed that much, but when I lost everything, I got forced to a suitcase that I had with me, thank God my dog was okay, and I had a car. And it really is that moment in life where it’s like, okay, this isn’t happening to me, this is happening for me. And you naturally have an opportunity to reassess everything, and it’s so powerful. And you put yourself in those positions, and I’m just so impressed that you just threw yourself into it full on.

Sarah: It’s a really interesting point, actually, because I continue to do that. And you know, because your life can get a bit stable after a while and be comfortable and you talk your stick and everybody asks you the same questions and interviews and all this kind of thing. And again, nobody’s going to come and shake up your world for you. Every now and then you’ve got to do it yourself. So I have a chapter in my book called Go To Your Edge, and I actively go to my age or get myself into trouble to bring myself back online again. So I took up ocean swimming in sharky water. And I’m a really weak swimmer like really bad. And you know, various people said, why don’t you just try correction class? And I’m like, no, I like being bad at this. So I took up ocean swimming where one day I was right, I need to get myself into a bit of trouble. I jumped off the rocks out where I lived, just literally across the road, and just swam across the bay, a kilometer across the bay, just within out beyond the surface within the shark radar, on Bondi Beach. And I sort of just do things like that, like I’ll go off on a hike where I push myself to some sort of edge where I know I’m not going to get back before dark, and I know I’m gonna have to find a way to do it. And usually, I hitchhike or something happens, or I take a shortcut where I’ve got to use the compass on my phone. And I’m not saying everyone at home should go and hitchhike, you do you, you find your own edge. But that is something I definitely do. And this is why I think just to bring it back to the climate movement at the moment, I have found speaking to a lot of people with high anxiety, this is almost our moment. So Greta Thornburg, just as an example, she was a kid that was at home in fetal position on her bed, self-harming, unable to talk for a year, paralyzed by mental and by anxiety. And then when she started the climate movement process, it alleviated her anxiety, basically became herself, and I have felt exactly the same. I have never felt less anxious in all of my life because I also think that our anxiety where it’s been building and building and building collectively, and we’ve been wondering why we feel this internal angst that things aren’t right, now we have an answer. And now we have a cause to turn our fear and anxiety into action. We can throw it at this movement. And it’s the same as the sugar industry or the sugar issue. No one’s gonna come and save us. We’re gonna have to do it ourselves. And so when we roll our sleeves up, all of a sudden, this nebulous sense that things aren’t right has an outlet. And that is how I live my life now. I feel purposeful, I’ve got so much energy, I just get healthier and healthier and stronger and stronger. And it’s the wonderful thing about getting old, isn’t it? You get quite mindful and purposeful about how you move your body. And it becomes a joy, it becomes a mission. I am vigilant now, and I’ve got a cause. It’s not just vanity. Vanity is a very empty kind of endpoint or carrot. But saving this one wild and precious life, that feels pretty good.

Darin: Yeah, you line yourself up with that. It seems to me that it pulls you in a much deeper and more powerful way. And then as twists and turns happen, you’re aligned with that bigger purpose and it will pull you through. Whereas, if it’s literally just about losing weight, it’s probably gonna wax and wane pretty easily when life throws you challenges because it’s not anchored in some of those things. And I really love the challenge yourself. I had a good friend, Laird Hamilton, who I would say speed and take chances. So it’s finding that wild. And you named your podcast that too, right?

Sarah: I’m wearing the top. Somebody bought this for me as recognition. I’ve had a reputation for being this way all my life. I don’t think of myself that way, it’s what I do, but even as a kid, I was feral.

Darin: Sometimes the things closest to us we don’t even recognize until people recognize it in us and it’s great as we’re continuing to gain our wisdom in life that you’ve owned it. And then owning that, it’s kind of like that spiritual, like listen, this has been you and this is a super power and clearly, you have gained and garnered and listen to the whispers and continue to listen to those whispers, and that’s the superpower. And I love what you said because I echo it all the time that there is no answer of something or someone coming to take all of your problems away. We have to take, we have to find solutions. And it’s like the fact that you know Yoast, the fact that you know the people we met in Tasmania, the fact that you probably know Simon Hill, it’s like all these people, it’s a tribe of people moving in that same direction. Now, is there legislation that people want to do to help? Yes, of course. It’s a part of it but man, I think government largely fail. Big business don’t have their focus on bottom lines, they’re not focused on our bottom line of nature and health. And people like you and others and us coming together, that’s what creates change. And I just love what you’re doing. It’s just so awesome to me.

Sarah: Do you want to hear the funniest thing?

Darin: Please.

Sarah: I’m actually meeting out with Simon Hill in about 10 minutes. I’ve got to ride my bike across the other side of Bondi because I’m doing a campaign to make Bondi the first takeaway coffee cup-free place in the world. And he said he will lend the support with a photo. We’re about to go and get photos and t-shirts, isn’t that hilarious?

Darin: Well, of course. Tell him hello.

Sarah: I will.

Darin: We just had a conversation. So people need to tack this book that you’ve created, The One Wild and Precious Life. Who doesn’t want to read that? And especially getting a hint in your spirit and your dedication to yourself and to the life itself and to nature, I can’t wait to unpack the book myself and dig in to it and I hope everyone grabs it and devours this and takes a bit of your wisdom and your spirit and takes that on and says yes to their whispers. It’s been such a pleasure. How can people get a hold of you, find you, support you, and follow what you’re doing?

Sarah: Well, my website’s sarahwilson.com, and my Instagram which is where I tend to do my stuff is _sarahwilson_, but if you just write Sarah Wilson, you’ll find it. And then my book I think is in most bookstores around the US and Canada and so on. It’s very generous of you, and I do hope we cross paths in some capacity down the track, all of you listening as well.

Darin: I have no doubt feeling the force of your nature, I have no doubt. I went through all challenges myself and deeper and committed and you have to say yes at a certain point to the dharma.

Sarah: And the tribe we find each other. It just happens. I’ve got so many stories of people who have been curious about will cross paths a week later. This happens to you once you open yourself up and you go to your edge and you find your congruence. And it all just starts to make radical sense. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. Just start is my adage.

Darin: Hundred percent. And maybe some people are thinking like okay, where are the sharks that I can swim with and really that’s so gnarly that you literally– because obviously, Australia is known for having a lot of shark activity. But there could be so many little things that you know how we drive the same way to our work, we walk the same way, grab the same groceries. It literally can be those little edges of going about our life differently because it will give us new information and open us up to receiving other bits of what the world maybe is tyring to tell us.

Sarah: Certainly about connection, Eleanor Roosevelt said do something that scares you every day and that might be talking to somebody in the coffee queue, talk to a stranger, reach out to somebody, even eye contact, do eye contact for a day. Whatever it might be, your edge can look in like all kinds of different things, say yes to a party invite you’d normally avoid, ask somebody out on a date when you’d be sitting back normally and waiting for them to do it. Whatever it might be, do something that scares you because living at the edge, going to the edge and start to fend, you’d come on line and [00:48:54] stuff kicks into gear.

Darin: I think that is perfect. So everyone listening to that, I want you to write down 3 of those inspired by Sarah, and I want you to go do those this week. Let’s go, because that will give you new information. And in the comments when we send this out, write what happened. Literally, I want people to do that.

Sarah: I’d love to read that.

Darin: Yeah, come on, let’s see what happens as a result of life meeting you there when you challenge yourself because I guarantee my life and I know your life, Sarah has shown you and met you in those places and create an extraordinary in your life. And so I want to hear it from you guys and I want to hear the inspiration that Sarah has bestowed on us today and take some action and let it rip and give it a go, and let’s see what happens.

Sarah: Thank you so much, it was a joy to meet.

Darin: Such a pleasure.

Darin: That was a fantastic episode. What was the one thing that you got out of today’s conversation? If today’s episode struck a chord with you, and you want to dive a little deeper on a variety of topics, check out my live deep dives on darinolien.com/deepdive. More episodes are available on darinolien.com as well. Keep diving my friends, keep diving.

Darin: This episode is produced by my team at Must Amplify, an audio marketing company that specializes in giving a voice to a brand and making sure the right people hear it. If you would like or are thinking about doing a podcast or even would like a strategy session to add your voice to your brand in a powerful way, go to www.mustamplify.com/darin. That’s www.mustamplify.com/darin.

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