As a filmmaker, sought-after speaker, health and science journalist, and the author of The New York Times best-selling book, Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life, Max Lugavere knows a thing or two about brain health and performance.
With a clear passion for sharing his knowledge to educate the masses, Max has made regular appearances on The Dr. Oz Show, Rachael Ray, and The Doctors. He has contributed to Medscape, Vice, Fast Company, CNN, and The Daily Beast, has been featured on NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, and in The Wall Street Journal. We were excited to hear him speak at our Future of Fitness and Wellness event, and now, he’s sitting down with us to discuss diet, nutrition, and his personal goals for 2019.
What is the biggest misconception when it comes to diet and nutrition? Conversely, what is a great tip?
I'd say the biggest misconception is that eating healthfully has to be expensive, complicated, and unsatisfying. But by sticking to a set of nutrient-dense foods, which I call “Genius Foods," you can eat to satiety! Think dark leafy greens, avocado, berries, fatty fish like wild salmon, grass-fed beef, and eggs. And by using simple cooking methods, as is done with Mediterranean cooking, you cut down on additional ingredients, which allows you to focus on higher-quality foods.
How do you navigate trends in nutrition? Who do you go to for trusted advice?
Everything I stand for has to make sense from both common sense and evolution standpoints, and must also be coherent within the larger body of research. I spend a lot of time reading studies, interviewing experts for my podcast, The Genius Life, and interacting with people on social media. It ultimately has to make you feel good, because if it doesn't, then what's the point?
What was your least favorite nutrition trend in 2018?
There's this trend on social media of calorie counting, which is a part of a larger movement to free food from moral valuation. It's meant to show that for purposes of weight maintenance, you can eat whatever you want so long as you're achieving your daily calorie goal. It argues that there's no such thing as "good" or "bad" food. Though that may be true in the short-term, it's ridiculously bad advice for long-term health.
What’s a personal goal you are looking to achieve in 2019?
To continually up-level my content game. To learn more, reach more, and share more.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
"Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself." –George Bernard Shaw.
You do a lot of public speaking and television appearances. Do you have any rituals to help you feel prepared and confident beforehand?
My ritual for a speech or TV appearance begins the day before. I love to get a great workout in, eat a healthy dinner, and then I make sure to get good night’s rest. Moments before the event, I always drink a cup of green tea because it’s packed with L-theanine, which supports focused relaxation, and the small hit of caffeine also helps with focus.
How has your personal style evolved over time?
I have started to recognize that there's a lot of nonverbal communication that happens through the clothes we wear. Having credibility when standing in front of an audience is important to me, so even though I prefer to wear gym or street clothes most of the time, I've started including dress shirts and jackets in my wardrobe.
Do you have a work uniform?
I love to wear workout clothing because when I'm physically comfortable, I'm mentally comfortable as well. On the other hand, when I'm writing from home, it can be easy to just stay in my pajamas, but I find that "getting ready" also helps ready the mind.