Kathy Gruver, PhD is the author of The Alternative Medicine Cabinet and 7 other award winning books. She has an excellent TEDx talk that’s a must watch, where she discusses personal growth, evolution, mindfulness, suffering and motivation.
Oh, and she also does flying trapeze 😉
I loved this interview! Dr. Gruver, just, has so much positive energy, a great message, and a zest for life that’s infectious.
She has studied mind/body medicine at the famed Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Harvard, and has been featured as an expert in numerous publications including Glamour, Fitness, Time, WebMD, Prevention, Huffington Post and Dr. Oz’s The Good Life, and has appeared on over 250 radio & TV shows.
Here’s some of the links discussed in the episode:
Experts and authors mentioned:
Watch Dr. Gruver on the TedX Talk stage:
“The more we can stay present, the better off we’re going to be to handle the future no matter what it brings to us.”
“We always had the option of changing our own mind.”
“Mindfulness is the concept of living your life with focus, curiosity in the present moment, and engaging all of your senses.”
“Nobody ever said, man, I am so stressed out. Do you have any Broccoli?”
“We’re all human beings. We’re all spiritual beings. And we should be getting along better.”
“To me, that’s part of the joy of being on this planet is getting to experience so many new and different things. And so I’ve done everything from spelunking and repelling and zip-lining and paragliding and parasailing and scuba diving. And I swam with sharks.”
“Don’t call it a cheat day because has a negative connotation to it. And once you’ve cheated, you just keep on going down that road, have it be a treat day instead.”
“We can’t control the stress. We can’t change the government, the traffic, the weather, the rain on the wedding day. We can’t change or stop any of that. All we have the ability to do is change our reaction or response to it.”
Dave Sherwin: 00:13 This interview with Dr. Kathy Gruver is just outstanding. She is amazing. It was a lot of fun. She’s funny, she’s entertaining and she has got some really outstanding nuggets and make sure and check out her TED talk. You got to watch that. There’s a link to that on the blog… blog.dirobi.com. As a matter of fact, check out all the resources there. There’s so much from this episode worth checking out on the blog. A couple of quick announcements. We’ve created a really cool downloadable PDF on the Dirobi… Un-diet. Something we’ve been testing out. We’ve got a test group of 30 people who are in a Facebook group and using these principles to lose weight. And so far, the results have been nothing short of… awesome. Everyone loves it. Everyone finds it very doable. Everyone finds it comfortable and people are losing weight and I’m really excited about it.
Dave Sherwin: 01:04 And there are seven principles, uh, and, and so download the PDF and have a look at it. You might want to try it out yourself. In addition, our Transformation Packages are going well and is a phenomenal way to dial in the three biggies of health that we talk about here on the show; nutrition: number one, fitness: number two, and then supplements, and getting all those three things in line can really create tremendous success in your health. So make sure and go to Dirobi.com And check out the transformation program and everyone who enrolls is automatically enrolled in that precision nutrition, $250,000 Transformation Challenge. So pretty fun there too. If you do a good job with this, you could actually win a little money, but more important than that is, is just getting in the best shape of your life, which you can do with this challenge. So make sure and check out the transformation packages. Actually we just call them the Dirobi Transformation Packs on our website at Dirobi.com. And now with no further ado, I introduce you to Dr. Kathy Gruver.
Dave Sherwin: 02:07 Hello and welcome to the Dirobi Health Show. I have been excited about this show ever since I saw Dr. Gruvers’ TED Talk. It is phenomenal. It’s something we’ll talk about and something will be in the show notes. You’ve got to watch it, but since I watched it, I just felt like I felt a real connection with her and her story and where she’s coming from and so excited she’d accept my invitation to be on the show. She’s the author of The Alternative Medicine Cabinet and seven other award winning books. Uh, I mentioned her, her TED Talk. It’s a must watch where she discusses personal growth, evolution, mindfulness, suffering, motivation. She studied mind/body medicine at the famed of Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Harvard and has been featured as an expert in numerous publications including Glamour, Fitness, Time, Web MD Prevention, Huffington Post, and Dr. Oz’ The Good Life. And has appeared on over 250 radio and TV shows. Oh. And she also does flying trapeze. So with that introduction, Dr. Kathy Gruver, welcome to the show.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 03:09 Oh, thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.
Dave Sherwin: 03:12 Well, like I said, I, my first introduction to you was watching your TED Talk and it was just inspiring and funny and uh, you know, you go through some, some pain in the talk and, and, and, and yet by the end of it I just said, oh, I gotta I gotta talk to her (chuckles). This is great. Um, so tell us, I’ve done, I’ve done a bio, I’ve read your official bio, but, but tell us a little bit about yourself. Who is Dr. Kathy Gruver?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 03:43 Yeah, absolutely. So I’m an East Coast girl. I grew up in Pittsburgh. I still have a lot of Pittsburgh blood in me, even though I lost the accent, which is, thank God. And I moved to California to pursue an acting career. So my entire life I had this, these dual paths of actor and healer. I learned to do massage when I was in college. It was very accidental. I had no idea that was the path of my life was going to take as so often we just follow the breadcrumbs and we end up where we ended up. But when I got to California, I realized, hey, this massage thing would be a great addition to all those award winning film roles I’m going to be doing. And the massage stuck in the award-winning film roles never came. And I decided that, yeah, let’s go to the healing route.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 04:22 So I’ve been doing massage for about 30 years, which is crazy because I’m only 32, um, and a surgeon doing Reiki and herbs and homeopathics and then added in hypnotherapy and started speaking and writing. And that’s where I got to bring the acting part of me back in. As you know, every time I step on stage, whether it was for the TEDx or for the talk I gave last night for the Junior League or, or corporations around the world, I get to bring that actor part of me back in. So I love that I’ve been able to look to my past and my previous experience and combine all of that to really help people grow and help them learn. And thank you for bringing up the humor in my talk because I try to make all of my talks funny and fun and I think people learn best through humor, you know, anybody can stand up and say, “Blah Blah Blah. Stress was bad.” But to bring those stories in and that, that personal experience, that’s what I love to do. So yeah, I live in Santa Barbara, I still have a private practice here and I travel the world helping people make changes.
Dave Sherwin: 05:18 Well, it’s awesome. And, and of course in your, your TEDx Talk, you talk about travel and a particular trip and uh, you know, use the word meaning. And, I think the word meaning means different things to different people. But a search for meaning is something that’s important to you. Can you describe what that means to you?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 05:39 Yeah, I think everything has purpose. I don’t believe that there are any accidents. I don’t necessarily believe in fate per se, but I do believe in some semblance of predestination and that where we’re supposed to get to, we will. It might look differently just like I always wanted to be on stage. Now I am, it’s just a different outfit in a different accent, in a different character and you know, so I think we get those lessons that we need to get. And, so I think if we can look at those things that happened to us as moving us towards lesson as moving us towards that evolution in that, that higher consciousness, then I think we’re going to be better off. Uh, you know, we can all focus on these negative things, but I don’t think these negative things happen for no reason. So if we’re looking for meaning, if we’re looking for purpose and all that, uh, then to me it’s just, it makes things a little bit easier because really if you look at it, there’s, there’s no positive or negative. There’s just things and we deemed them positive or negative. We what looks negative to me might seem positive to somebody else and vice versa. So it’s really all perception and we just move through this crazy world and we try to make sense of it. Um, and I think, but I think we are moving towards that meaning I think we’re moving towards that purpose. And when we look at it that way, we’re just, uh, we have a different perspective shift at that point and it leads us to greater things.
Dave Sherwin: 06:55 Yeah. And, and like you said, you can’t really prove that you can’t prove everything happens for a reason. And yet, uh, even for the, the most luxurious just to say the hard, most hard-hearted, atheist, scientifically-minded person, uh, it still makes more sense to, to believe in, in that sense of meaning and purpose. Like our lives are better when we, when we think that way. And I, personally, agree with you. I believe that’s the case. I’ve been listening to a lot to Sam Harris lately who is probably one of the most famous atheists. And, and uh, I’m enjoying his stuff and he is really big on meeting. And that’s always been an interesting thing for me because I was raised in a faithful situation. And so atheism was something we were like against all those were the, those were the bad guys who were, who were fighting the good side.
Dave Sherwin: 07:49 They were the dark side. We were the light side. But now that I’m older and I’m more open to exploring different ways people think and try to understand these things, that’s been fascinating to me to be introduced to that, into and yet to see how even a person like himself who, that’s what he’s famous for is really big into the meaning of life. And so that’s an epiphany to me. Now you also talk about mindfulness. Mindfulness is a buzzword right now, but I wish it was more than just a buzzword. And this is something that you’re also, uh, passionate about. Uh, talk to us about mindfulness.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 08:30 Yeah. You know, I think it, I don’t know if I agree with you that it’s just a buzzword. I think it was a couple years back, but I think we’re moving away from that 2016 was deemed the year of mindfulness. And so I think if the whole year was deemed it, I think it’s moving out of buzzword. I hope. That’s the view that I’m taking, but, you know, mindfulness, um, it’s just this concept of doing a task or living your life with focus, curiosity in the present moment, engaging all of your senses. Just really being in the here and now because if we look at stress, you know, stress actually isn’t in this moment stresses behind us and things that we’re remembering we’re dwelling on were regretting we’re thinking about or in front of us in those “what ifs”, those “what ifs” that keep us up in the middle of the night.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 09:13 What if the boss fires me? What if that lump was cancer? What if my wife leaves? What if my kid is bad? What if the bacon catches on fire? What? You know, we have all these, what ifs that keep us up, which is just torture because why are we doing that to ourselves? That comes into the why suffered twice aspect of my TEDx Talk, but I think mindfulness is just being here and being present with whatever you’re doing. And there’s a couple ways I like to practice that. One of which is I either pick one sense and really just experienced that one sense for awhile. So I might close my eyes and just really take a deep inhale and see what do I smell? And I do this often when I run my errands. Uh, my office is right across the street for a coffee shop and I have a little iced tea addiction, so a couple times a day I trek across the street to get my iced tea and I stand on the corner waiting for the light to change and I’ll close my eyes and I’ll just take a deep inhale.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 10:06 And what do I smell? Oh, okay. Someone smoking down the street. Oh, that’s bad. Oh. Oh, fresh cut grass from the park across the street. Oh, I smelled the Indian food that they’re cooking. Oh, I smell fresh, fresh baked bread. You know, these things that we might not otherwise have noticed, uh, are in our consciousness if we just take that pause and let that happen. And if other thoughts intrude while I’m doing that mindfulness exercise, now I just dismissed them without judgment. Oh, I’m okay. I’m not going to think right now I’m doing this other thing that’s more important. Um, sometimes I’ll listen to the sounds that I hear. I’ll see if I can tell when the traffic stops, when the cars go by. Is it a truck? Is it a car? What? You know, what am I hearing in my environment and that trains us to not only be present with ourselves and our own inner being, but also trains us to be present with others and that translates into better communication and better leadership and better relationships because in communication, how often are we not really listening?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 11:02 We’re sure we know what they’re going to say. So we’ve already formulated our response to that or we’re thinking about, oh, oh, my, I have a funny story that’s going to be really great as soon as they stopped talking or we’re daydreaming about lunch or we’re daydreaming about that date, you know, so often we’re not actually present with that communication with these other people and that that’s shortchanges everybody because then we don’t notice things. We don’t notice that body language. We don’t notice that hard swallow. They just took her that their eyes are tearing up or that they’re breathing quicker, you know? And that is the key to, to true and I’m effective communication and then that translates into our work and our relationships and how we raise our kids. So, I think that mindfulness thing that being present, I think that’s one of the keys to all of us moving forward, just healthier and if you want to get esoteric and say, you know, higher consciousness or, or just we were more productive, you know, if you want to, if you want to go the non-spiritual route, we do our job better when we’re present.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 12:00 There’s less accidents, there’s less absenteeism, there’s less conflict. Um, so I think that mindfulness thing, I think if we could all incorporate that a little bit more, I think, I think everyone’s going to up their game. I think it’s, I think that’s definitely our future.
Dave Sherwin: 12:13 Yeah. It seems like many of us, if we’re not mindful, we often, cause that was the second degree of pain or you know, we often want life to be different than it is and a lot of times when we’re not mindful, that’s what we’re doing. You mentioned daydreaming or thinking about the future, what we’re going to say next, or all of these things and, and your experience of just enjoying the smells of your walk down the street. Um, these things just remind us that life is wonderful as it is and when we’re wishing it was different, we’re just causing ourselves unnecessary pain. Right?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 12:50 Uh Huh. Well, and it’s interesting you say that because I studied with Dr. Daniel Brown at Harvard. He’s one of the people that I went and studied with and he was talking about daydreaming and letting your mind wander and how we shouldn’t do that. And my hand shot up. I didn’t even think about it. It’s just this automatic reaction of, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. And he looked. He said, “yes?”. And I said, but I love daydreaming. I said, this is where I come up with my best ideas and what am I going to do in the shower if I’m not fantasizing about my future and planning all this stuff. And I said, how do you, how do you stop doing that? And he looked at me and I, you could see most people in the audience kind of going, yeah, how were you present all the time and still planning the future.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 13:29 And he raised such a good point. He said No. He said, “don’t get me wrong”, he said, “planning the future and fantasizing about the future and those affirmations and visualizations for the future are vastly important, but when are you doing them? Are you daydreaming when you should be listening to the guy in the meeting? Are you daydreaming in class? Are you daydreaming when you’re supposed to be reading that really important paper? Are you daydreaming when you’re making love with your partner or you daydreaming?”. He said, “I think that daydreaming and that looking to the future, we have to do that”. He said, “but do it mindfully, not mindlessly”. And I suddenly had this “Aha” moment of, “Oh my God, okay, I get it”. We’re allowed to daydream, but let’s do it mindfully. Let’s pick a time to daydream about the future as opposed to it interrupting that present moment where we’re supposed to be someplace else. So that was, that was such an eye opening thing for me when he said that.
Dave Sherwin: 14:22 Excellent. And, uh, and who, who else has been instrumental or what books or things have you enjoyed in this regard?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 14:29 Yeah, I love Herbert Benson. He, he’s a Rockstar to me. He also is at Harvard and he has the whole Benson-Henry Institute for mind body medicine there. That was one of my first introductions to it. Um, when I was working on my dissertation, I started doing some research of um, of research, of research of, you know, who is really looking into mindfulness and presence, affirmation, visualizations, meditation, all this stuff. And what popped up was this course at Harvard, um, and unfortunately it was after when my dissertation needed to be turned in, but I still went to the course and I studied with these guys for, for five days. It was absolutely spectacular. So Herbert Benson, huge. I mean he’s one of the pioneers of this field, bring it to the mainstream. But also I love Eckhart Tolle, um “Power of Presence”, “The Power of Now” and I’m, I’m actually doing a course with him right now and I get, um, not only all the online stuff with him, I’ve read all of his books and listen to his recordings, but also I get to study with him in person.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 15:28 So in January, um, I’ll be with him for three days up at Sylmar, which is in Northern California and then there’s a six month online course and at the end of that he’s doing another three day retreat here in Santa Barbara and I thought, okay, he’s coming to my town, I have to do this. So I’m so excited to study with him and I love what he’s doing about, you know, getting stuck and thought forms in this evolution and presence and I just think he’s doing such amazing work in this field. So, he’s, he’s definitely one of my favorites.
Dave Sherwin: 15:56 Wow. Good stuff. The Power of Now was a life changing book for me. We live in Utah. My parents were in British Columbia, which is about, uh, 800 mile drive or if we fly we typically fly into Seattle and then up to B.C. But when we drive as a family, I typically can’t stand it. It’s just, it just, you know, 800 miles is just miserable and, um, about, I don’t know, five years ago we’re doing that drive and I, I just bought The Power of Now and I thought, well, I’ll read this book when my wife’s driving, I’ll read. So, I read the power of now and I kid you not for the first time ever. And I’ve done that drive many, many times because we’ve been here since 1993, uh, ’92. Uh, for the first time I left. I enjoyed the drive. Yeah, it made a huge difference because I, all of a sudden instead of dreading it and wishing to arrive, I understood this principle of The Power of Now it totally got inside me. It just worked and the drive became enjoyable.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 16:58 That’s so great. It’s so funny that you say that because I, I’m in Santa Barbara and when I do my flying trapeze, I drive about two hours south to Santa Monica down in L.A. and I, I love being in the car. I actually wrote two of my books in the car. I dictate the whole thing because my brain works faster than my typing skills, even though I’m pretty good on that, on the computer. My brain goes pretty fast. So, if I’m not talking to myself using that time to daydream or fantasizing about the future or chatting on the phone with someone hands free, of course. Um, I will. I have probably 20 different programs, maybe not that many. 10 different programs in my car of Eckhart Tolle a and I’ll pop the DVD in or the CD in and I listened to him the entire way down and it’s so funny.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 17:41 Inevitably, I get to the trapeze rig and I go to sign in for the class and the person behind the desk says, you look so relaxed and happy today. Like, yeah, I basically just meditated for two hours in the car. You know, his stuff is so great and some people, some people don’t like him, some people find his cadence in his tone really boring. I actually find it to be incredibly soothing and he has a whole hilarious sense of humor. So, if you’ve listened to his stuff enough or if you’ve seen any of his talks, he’s hilarious and you wouldn’t think that, you know, you think you’re supposed to be very stoic and very straight and very, um, but he said some things where he’s told some jokes that just cracked me up, but I love laughing. Um, so yeah, he is definitely one of my favorites. He, uh, yeah, he’s, he’s amazing.
Dave Sherwin: 18:24 And for those listening who are not familiar with Eckhart Tolle, um, do you recommend The Power of Now or would you recommend somewhere else or they’re starting place to get to know his stuff?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 18:34 You know, the power of now I think is what he’s best known for. Um, he also just did one. Ah, if I, if I remember, like it’s called a New Earth, The New Earth. That’s one of his more recent ones and it is really about how we can move forward now as a society. In fact, it’s funny that the book that I’m working on right now is on us versus them and about hatred and dehumanization and separation and how that’s become so commonplace. I mean, it’s ingrained in our DNA anyway to fear other, that’s just sort of how we survived this long, but it’s really being capitalized on now and so I was listening to The New Earth and he’s got multiple chapters on how we move forward, how we come together, how we don’t get lost in these identities, but instead we just recognize that, you know, we’re all human beings, we’re all spiritual beings and we should be getting along better. So he has some really great insight on that. He also has a relationship. I don’t know that it’s a relationship course. Uh, but he has a CD that I listened to. I think it’s only two CD’s, but it talks about being in relation with other people and it was, it was fabulous. Really great stuff. So yeah, he’s got something for everybody.
Dave Sherwin: 19:38 Okay, excellent. And now you got to talk to us about flying trapeze. I don’t know anybody who does flying trapeze. I’m not that familiar with it. I think it’s awesome that you do it and tell us about that.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 19:52 Yeah. So I’m sort of an adventure junkie. Um, I’m an only child and my dad raised me, he wanted a boy and he got me much to my mother’s dismay. She wanted to stay at home ballerina and my dad wanted a football playing boy and my dad kind of one. Um, I do dance but the football was more my thing. So, my motto has always been go for it. And to me my attitude is why wouldn’t I want to experience that? Why wouldn’t I want, I know what that tastes like, smells like, feels like, why wouldn’t I want to have that? To me, that’s part of the joy of being on this planet is getting to experience so many new and different things. And so I’ve done everything from spelunking and repelling and zip-lining and paragliding and parasailing and scuba diving. And I swam with sharks.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 20:33 I swam with dolphins and I’ve done race car driving and you know, all this stuff. And I was speaking to a brand new client in my office and she said, my God, girl, what haven’t you done? Like, what’s left on your bucket list? And I said, well, I don’t really believe in a bucket list. I said to me, if it’s something you can do that you have the time and the money for you, go do it. I said, so often people, you know, rail this stuff down and they throw it in a drawer and they never look at it again until they realize they’ve got some terminal illness. And then they go, oh, I better get on this. Um, to me it’s like live now, live in this moment. And she said, okay, that’s cool. She said, well, what haven’t you done yet that you really want to do?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 21:08 And so I thought about it for a second and my brain went back to that Sex and the City episode where Kerry was in New York City up on the trapeze rig. And I remember thinking, Oh my God, you can go do that. That like, that’s a thing that’s like the public. Do you ever crossed my mind? And honestly, I’ve had so many people say, oh my God, that Sex and the City episode did the same thing for me. Um, and so I literally got out of the session with this woman and I’m on the computer figuring out where I can go do flying trapeze and I found Santa Monica and by the time my schedule jived with their class schedule, it was Easter Sunday, like five and a half years ago. And I drove down to Santa Monica and I meditated at Lake Shrine and then I went and did flying trapeze and I thought it would be this one off thing of, okay, well I did that now and I realize, oh my God, one, I really love this. Two,…
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 21:55 It is so much fun. It’s the best exercise ever. I think this is the best shape I’ve ever been in in my life. It’s a mindfulness practice and I was pretty darn good at it. Like people thought I worked there because I just sort of walked around. So comfortable in that circus space. I’m a total outlier. I’m a total. I’m just a weirdo, which I’m hard in high school now. I just totally embrace it and I just realized I love doing it. And so I started going as often as I could and now it’s been five, five years, five and a half years. I floated rigs around the world, I think I’ve done 10 different rigs. So when I travel I look to see where I can go do flying trapeze. And I’ve sustained three pretty bad injuries, which I still keep getting up and doing it.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 22:35 I suppose one probably if I landed a little bit differently could have killed me, but it didn’t. So you just heal and you get up and you do it again. Uh, and it’s so funny. I was talking to a woman on a. I did it actually. I was a cover story for her magazine. Um, and she was interviewing me for that, about the trapeze and she said, oh my God, girl, do you have a death wish? And I said, no, I have a life wish. Like, I want to experience everything and I don’t want to be known for falling down. I want to be known for getting back up. And that’s one of the things that trapeze does. You know, you missed the trick, you get up and you do it again. Um, and so it’s just, it’s been an amazing experience. And um, for people who are afraid of heights, for people who are afraid of that, letting go that low that I’m relinquishing control thing, it’s, it’s such a great exercise and it’s really incredibly safe. Um, I was doing really hard things when I got injured. So, you know, you’re gonna be, you’re gonna be fine, you’re not going to, you’re not going to get hurt that first class. So it’s amazing.
Dave Sherwin: 23:28 Okay. So here’s the thing. Yeah, we do artwork for each podcast interview that we do. You’ve got to send me a picture of yourself doing flying trapeze. What you sent me is fine, but it’s not flying trapeze. I can do that. I have hundreds of pictures of me doing flying trapeze. Please send me one. Everyone listening to this episode. You can find it at blog.dirobi.com or just go to dirobi.com. D-I-R-O-B-I.com and we will have a picture of this. I am so fascinated. Uh, I didn’t know it was a thing. I’ve never seen the sex and the city episode or anything like that. You’re the first person that I’ve ever, ever introduced me to this concept at all. This is just fascinating.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 24:16 Oh, great. Good. You should try it. It’s amazing. I think there’s a rig somewhere in Utah. I don’t remember if you go to trapeze.net, which is sort of ironic. Um, it tells you where the rigs are around the country and it’s really funny. It is funny. Yeah. So it’s, it’s an amazing group of people. I have family around the world now because of that. It’s such an inclusive and amazing thing. Um, Seattle, actually has one of my favorite rigs. I fly in Santa Monica. There’s a great one in San Diego. Wherever I go, wherever I go, I try to, uh, I try to find.
Dave Sherwin: 24:47 How often do you go?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 24:49 Uh,…
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 24:51 AS often as I can. Uh, if I lived in L.A., still I would, I swear to God I’d be working at the rig. I’d be there every day. You wouldn’t get rid of me. I’m there two, three, four times a month depending on when I can, I’ll be, I’ll be going there this coming Sunday, a little harder with holidays and with my travel schedule, so that’s why I always try to find a rig wherever I’m traveling to. Uh, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I have literally traveled just, just to do trapeze. Um, I hosted a women’s retreat last year in the Dominican Republic. Specifically, because a friend of mine runs a trapeze school there. That’s why I picked that location. And so all of the women we did hip hop dance because I teach that. We did yoga classes, we did meditation, visualization, and we all did flying trapeze. And that was the biggest appeal for everybody that went on this retreat. It was really incredible.
Dave Sherwin: 25:36 That is so cool. And don’t forget to send me that picture. We’ve got upset with that. I love it. Now let’s change gears. You’ve written a book, you’ve written several books, but let’s talk about The Alternative Medicine Cabinet. Uh, talk to us about that principle. It’s a great title. Uh, how did that book come about? Let’s start with that. What, what would you to write that?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 25:56 Yeah, you know, I never thought I’d write a book. Well, actually that’s not true. I thought,… Um, remember that quiz. I guess we all had to do this test in like ninth grade where you had to choose all those different things that had helped them tell you what profession you’d be in. And one of the questions was, do you want to read a book, write a book or sell a book? And I remember agonizing over that question, like I still remember sitting in the cafeteria at one of those tables with the built in bench. That was always so awkward to get into agonizing over that question because I wanted to do all three. I love reading. I was always into creative writing and I thought, well sure, of course someday I’m going to write a book and sell it. But I thought it would be some wacky novel or some collection of mine.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 26:33 Now I look back as really bad short stories. Um, so I thought I’d always write a book just like I thought I’d always be on stage, but again, things sometimes look different. So, I started, um, writing articles as a way to promote my massage practice because I had done a marketing course for the, talked about, you know, advertising versus um, you know, con… contributing as someone. And so I did this very first article in a local magazine here in Santa Barbara and I got the byline of, you know, who I was and how to contact me and I got business from it and so the only started writing more articles and then I was also in class at that time, so I was doing a lot of coursework. So I had all these articles and all this information built up and I was talking to someone about how hey, you know, I’d really like to do some speaking.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 27:15 I have a background as an actor. I feel like I have a lot of really great stuff to share. And they said, well, you have a book, right? And I said, I’m sorry. No. I said I wanted to be a speaker. And they said, yeah, you have a book, right? And I said, no, I have a massage DVD. And they said, no, no, no, no, no, you can’t be a speaker without a book. And I thought, Oh crap! I did, okay. I guess I’m writing a book. So it not only was this sort of dual purpose of it grew out of I want to reach more people and I saw the effect that these articles had because by that point I was doing some national articles for some massage magazines and things like that. Um, and so I sat down and I was going to from scratch, write a book and halfway through a massage I was working on someone and I do occasionally get divine inspiration in that silent moment where I’m with this one other person, we’re doing healing work.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 28:01 And it was almost like this tap on the shoulder that said, “Doofus! You’ve got all this material, you have a book already.”. And I went, “wait, what? Oh my God, you’re right. Why am I reinventing the wheel?”. So, I went through all of my past articles, all of the past that prod… projects and things that I had written, whether it was a handout for a client or an article or a project for school, and I realized I had all this incredible content and all of it focused around this idea of choices and different options and different opportunities. And, so I started to gather all of this. I had this stack of stuff in the living room which drove my husband crazy. And, um, I ended up putting this book together and the reason I called it, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet, is no matter where you open up this book, there’s this little nugget of Info.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 28:47 All the chapters are standalone chapters of standalone info. One of my friends had joked it’s the perfect bathroom book because even if you only have five minutes, no matter where you open it, you learn something. And so that sort of became my thing was this Alternative Medicine Cabinet concept of giving people choices and options. Um, so yeah, that’s why I put that together and it’s, it was my first book. It’s still, I’m still so proud of it. Um, and it’s, yeah, it kind of launched the whole writing thing and then the writing became addictive. I think it’s like tattoos, like, well, you can’t just have one, like you realize you like it so much, you just keep on going. So yeah, I’m, I’m working on my eighth, which just seems crazy to me. You’re working on your eighth right now? Yeah. What’s it about? So it’s about us versus them, that concept of separation and dehumanization. Yeah. Which is completely different than anything else. I’ve written a, but you know, it’s what I, I just, I listen to those urgings I listened to, um, when I get that idea and that idea nags at me. I know I have to take action on it and so I just listen to what I’m told (chuckles).
Dave Sherwin: 29:51 Have you by chance? Are you familiar with Yuval Noah Harari’s work? No. Sapiens. Homo Deus. Ah, no. I’ll have to look that up. I’m listening to Homo Deus right now. From what you mentioned about what Eckhart Tolle is doing and what your doing. I’m throwing it out there is perfect. He’s amazing. I mean, his stuff and he, he’s writing on these topics as a different track than you’re doing and yet his research is impeccable and it’s insightful and wonderful stuff about the current condition of, of sapiens. Right. That’s a good stuff. So you’re reading that book, you’ve got seven already published, including The Alternative Medicine Cabinet. Any, any other highlights in there? I mean, seven’s a lot, but any other that jumps out at you? You mentioned your first is your favorite, but
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 30:43 yeah, you know, I actually don’t know if my first is my favorite. I think my favorite is Journey of Healing. That’s the most recent one I did. I have a couple on stress of good corporate stress books and actually co-wrote a marketing book with, with a colleague of mine on, on how to market your natural health practice because so many people are great healers and horrible business people, you know, uh, they’re amazing. They’re their, their chosen profession, except they don’t look at it as a profession. Um, so we’d like to help people do that. So that was fun working with someone else. But, Journey of Healing is my story through this path. Uh, I lost my mom when I was 18 to cancer, which is one of the things that kicked off why I feel so strongly about giving people options and choices. She didn’t have any at that point in the 80’s in Pittsburgh.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 31:25 There weren’t a lot of cancer choices, a cancer treatment choices. And now we have, we have a lot which makes me very happy. Uh, but it’s my journey of how I discovered these different modalities, how they work, how they don’t work, how I’ve used them for myself, for my clients. And it’s also peppered with these, with these stories, like the England story that I tell in my TEDx Talk. And then there’s a whole chapter on trap and a whole chapter on dance and chance meetings and, and opportunities that have arisen for me. I’m not just for the sake of telling cute stories, but for the sake of finding the lessons in those stories. I love telling stories and the talk that I gave last night. It’s funny, the woman that booked me to to come in and do the stress talk, she came up to me afterwards and she goes, I just love your stories.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 32:08 I could just listen to your stories all night. And, and I’ve had so many people tell me that because I think we learn best through stories, through that personal experience. And as you and I talked before, we got on the air, you know, to share those quote, negative things that happen to us. If we can affect other people through that, you know, that’s, then it’s all worth it. Um, so, Journey of Healing, I think is definitely my favorite book. Um, I’m proud of all of them. They’re all, you know, it’s like, which kid is your favorite? You can’t really pick that and you might, you might, you might in your own brain going and I like Susie best, but there’s a reason that you resonate that Susie’s good. Yeah, she’s a good kid. Um, but you know, there’s a reason you resonate with that. And because this is my personal story that has helped so many others discover and augmented their personal stories. I think that’s my favorites. So…
Dave Sherwin: 32:55 And I wanna, I, want to dive a little bit deeper into that, especially your book, Conquer Your Stress. You’re an expert on stress. That’s a big deal and it’s something that can obviously affect all of our lives negatively. And let me, let me, uh, lay the groundwork for this question with a little story of my own. So, um, I am a health coach and I participate in a private Facebook group where other coaches can come with their difficult challenges and, and, uh, they’re presented with a struggle one of their clients is having and if they’re just really stumped, they’ll come to this group and they’ll paste, hey, this is what my client is struggling with, is anyone got any ideas? And there was one recently that was really interesting because he’s dealing with a, a woman under a very high stress and he is a nutrition coach. So he specifically trying to help her to eat healthier every day.
Dave Sherwin: 33:51 And uh, she’s got certain instructions and, and uh, she’s focusing on, on the, uh, uh, the basics of getting a good balance of protein, fats, carbs. I’m in the right amounts and from the best possible sources and it’s not that difficult what this guy’s trying to do it. It doesn’t. She doesn’t have to be like an organic eater who only buys from a local farm. It’s, it’s you know, it’s doable stuff, but she wrote and she said, “Oh, I fell off the bandwagon. I, my husband and I are doing well. We’re, we’re considering divorce and my work is bad”, and she… she listed all these things giving her stress and what’s sad, of course, you could feel for this woman. You could feel her pain, But there wasn’t a single thing she said that actually should have made a difference as to what foods she put in her mouth.
Dave Sherwin: 34:45 And so, this was kind of the feedback is a that this coach got, as well. You could gently push back and explain to her that she still has to eat and when she eats, if she would choose differently, she, she would actually feel better and then it would help with some of these things. And yet, that’s what, to me, that story is an example of how stress can affect us. It can affect us negatively in other things. So she’s going to have this potential divorce and so she thinks she can’t eat healthy. Now… now why that and how that works, I guess it’s just because we’re human, right? Or the Human Condition. So, talk to us about that… with that type of example, we all can relate to that, I think. Of going through stress and the rest of our life can unravel. He talked to us about that.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 35:36 Yeah, absolutely. So when we’re in a stress response, it affects pretty much every aspect of our being, of our physiology. So we tend to take greater risks. When we’re in a stressed state, we tend to lose our cognitive function, our memory, our decision-making. All those higher brain functions just sort of go to pot because that fight-or-flight response is made to protect us from an external threat. If we’re running through the woods to get away from a bear, we’re not going to stop and do complicated math. We’re not going to remember where we put our keys. We’re not going to make good decisions at that point. Now, there’s an exception to that, which is for a second, everything’s heightened so that we can survive. So we have that glimmer of focus of “I’m going to get this done”, and then that kind of goes to the over long term that that decreases because our stressors are not meant to be long-term.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 36:27 It’s supposed to be the short lived dynamic stressor, and then when that bear moves away and we realized we’re safe, everything goes back to normal. We sleep all the hormones that chemicals return to back to the world we’re supposed to be. When it’s a long-term stress or, and what’s this low grade or high grid stressors that build up over time. We can’t sustain that were not made to sustain that. So, every function or body just kind of goes “Blah” and rewards. We resort back to that. What comforted us when we stressed as kids. And so often that was food. Uh, you know, well, “how did you have a bad day here? Have a cookie” or “Oh, you want pot?”… You know, nobody ever said, “man, I am so stressed out”. “Do you have any broccoli?”, said, no one ever. We don’t go to those healthy things.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 37:08 So there’s a couple things. One is our decision-making is just black at that point. So we’re going to grab whatever makes us feel good and sugars, those carbs, those comforting foods, they actually trigger a response in the brain that makes us feel better. This is why people over-indul… overindulge in drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, all this stuff when they’re stressed because it triggers that feel good stuff in the brain. So, that’s part of it. Um, the other thing is, we figure if we already fell off the wagon, what the hell? Well, of 12, 12 cookies, now. You know, this is why I don’t like to talk about like someone’s like, oh, I’m having a “Cheat Day”. Don’t, don’t call it a “Cheat Day”, because, she has a negative connotation to it. And once you’ve cheated a, you just keep on going down that road, have it be a treat because I think it’s totally okay to give yourself that one cookie every so many days.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 37:58 The problem is when you try to do something all or nothing, which creates stress and you have one, then you go, oh, well heck, I already blew it. I might as well have 30. You know, for that, it’s a shift in mindset. Um, I’ve done so many interviews with financial people about how investing in and stress is a bad thing and shopping and stress because, again, you shop gives you those feel good hormones. You just gathered this new thing that you really, really like. “It’s really, really pretty”. “Look at those shoes”. “I feel so much better”, until the bill comes and then you realize, crap, you’re still stressed, but now you have more shoes, you know. So it’s these external things that we do to try to soothe ourselves, which ultimately don’t work. We end up feeling worse afterwards, typically. Um, so it’s a matter of shifting that perspective inwardly.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 38:42 It’s about shifting that perspective of how we’re responding to things rather than reacting to things. It’s those reactions that get us in trouble. So that was a long winded answer to your very simple question of why do we eat crap when we’re stressed? It was, it was great, and so now what do we do about it? What are your top, uh, I want you to just kind of diagnosed my entire audience and give them all of the magic solution for dealing with stress. It’s um, well we have to recognize that stress is not the problem, first of all, because we can’t stop the stress. We can’t control the stress. We can’t change the government, the traffic, the weather, the rain on the wedding day. We can’t, we can’t change or stop any of that. All we have the ability to do is change our reaction or response to it.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 39:26 I actually prefer response over reaction is to change our perspective on that. We always had the option of changing our own mind. Now, that’s easier said than done and a lot of cases because this is uh, a lifetime of programming, a lifetime of reacting, a lifetime of hearing. You know, grandma say, “oh, she’s two minutes late. She’s probably dead in a ditch”. I don’t know what my grandmother was with… with the apparently is a lot of ditches in Pittsburgh and people are dead in them all the time because that was always her go to have up guests are dead in a ditch and just for the record, no one in my family ever died in a dash. Okay. So I don’t know where she got that from, but that’s just her negative mindset. That’s how she was programmed. That Catholic guilt, that brand through my family.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 40:03 So now I have the ability to make a different choice. I can do that through stopping and breathing and taking that pause, because, in that pause we have the ability to respond rather than react. Um, meditation is amazing. I was never a really good meditator. Little too type A, but now, I can. I can sit on a pillow for a very long time and do amazing, you know, mindfulness, meditation, guided meditation, um, any of that, uh, the mindfulness practice that we talked about of taking those senses, of doing that task with focus and curiosity. Um, everything from like affirmations, visualization, there are so many amazing yoga, gardening, running, trapeze, you know, whatever you can do to bring yourself back to this moment because, even let’s, I mean, let’s talk about the concept of divorce. The divorce is, uh, kind of not scary in this moment. It’s scary and stressful and depressing and sad if you think about, oh, that past that we’re losing, um, or that future that we won’t have or we’re going to have to deal with dividing up the house or oh, we’re going to have to deal with the kids and who they’re going to live.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 41:17 You know, it’s, it’s still someplace else. Um, so the more we can stay present, the better off we’re going to be to handle that future no matter what it brings to us. So there’s, there’s multiple techniques. It’s just a matter of picking the one that works for you and practicing a lot because like I said though, they’re though they’re simple. They’re not all easy.
Dave Sherwin: 41:38 Okay. Excellent. We only have a few minutes left. I do want to ask you a couple other just kind of fun questions, for the record. You are into health and wellness on all levels. I mean spiritually, mentally, physically. I love it. Uh, you are really, you’ve got such a broad resume. This is really fun. And, and you personally, you, you’re, you’re in shape. You’re an example of what you teach. So let’s talk about nutrition for a minute. And you’re healthy. You’re healthy dishes. You really like, what’s your favorite healthy breakfast or do you do breakfast?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 42:11 Oh man, yes. Breakfast is the most important thing. So I have eggs almost every day. Uh, eggs, I live off them. I keep a dozen at all times. Hard boiled in my fridge. They’re the perfect snack. They’re the perfect late night snacks. Like I’m hungry at 11:00 at night. I have a hard boiled egg. Um, you know, but I have eggs almost every morning. I am a huge protein person. Uh, if I would wake up and just have ice tea and a donut. Oh, first of all, that sounds horribly and appealing to me, but I would crash by like 9:00 AM. So, to me, I’m a, I’m a fairly fast protein metabolizer. I eat a lot of protein, not a huge car person. Um, if I never saw another piece of bread, I’d be totally okay with that. Which shocks most people when I tell them that I’ll eat it, but it’s not, might not normally my thing. So yeah, I’m a, I’m a go to egg person. Absolutely.
Dave Sherwin: 43:02 Okay. Lunch. What’s your favorite healthy lunch?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 43:04 I love Salads. I do a lot of salads. I will have a sandwich occasionally, but it’s not my thing. Uh, there’s a deli down the street that makes the most incredible Greek salad ever. So, I have those a lot. Or there’s um, uh, I don’t know if you guys have Trader Joe’s where you are, but Trader Joe’s has these pre-packaged salads and so, as I’m hard boiling my eggs on Sunday, I, um, make sure that I stock up on a couple salads for the week and they’re like, you know, kale salad with some chicken or a Chinese chicken salad or again, I like to throw the protein in, uh, because that keeps me going… But, yup… And I eat about five meals a day. I’m, I’m eating all the time (chuckles).
Dave Sherwin: 43:42 Okay. So meal number three, then what might that be?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 43:46 So, I’ve got to have that snack in the afternoon, especially if I do a whole day of massage. I ended up really hungry. So, I might have, uh, beef Jerky, I might have a couple pieces of turkey. I might get a protein pack from the, uh, the, the coffee shop across the street. Sometimes, I’ll do the cashews or, or an energy bar. Um, Trader Joe’s has these great breakfast bars called, “Strawberry-Walked-Into-A-Bar” or an “Apple-Walked-Into-A-Bar”, and it’s just this little, but it’s got a good. It’s kind. Okay. I’m gonna have protein in it. So I’ll maybe grab one of those, something in mid afternoon. I got to eat definitely.
Dave Sherwin: 44:18 Okay. And next?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 44:20 Dinner. Um, like I said, I’m not really a huge car person so I’ll tend to have some sort of meat and some sort of vegetable. Um, like last night, I had pork loin and arugula salad. The night, I had chicken livers and some artichoke. So, uh, yeah, not a dessert… and wine. I love wine. I got, I got a drink, my wine for health purposes. Purely helpful.
Dave Sherwin: 44:43 Well, along those lines, I love the concept you had about not calling it a “Cheat Day”, but just accepting it as a treat. I agree with that. I love it. I think the same way and so, guilty pleasure. If you’re going to have your treat, what’s your favorite treat?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 44:59 What is my favorite treat? Um, you know, I have ice cream maybe twice a year. Um, I don’t really think about it. I don’t normally have chocolate. I mean I guess occasionally I’ll have a piece of dark chocolate. Um, there’s uh, an ice cream company that’s, I think local here in Santa Barbara called, Rory’s, which has the best mint chocolate chip ice cream ever. Um, it’s made with real mint. I mean, it seriously tastes like you just took it off the plant and put it in your mouth with ice cream. Um, so I’ll occasionally do that, but I’m not really. I don’t know, I just kind of eat what I want. Um, I guess the wine really would be a treat. I might open a nice port or a dessert wine or something like that. Cheese, my God, I love cheese. So I don’t know. I just kind of. I don’t think about it that way. I just, I listen to my body and I eat what I want in moderation. I make sure I exercise enough and that, that seems to work for me. I’ve got good. I’m lucky I got good genetics. I’m a fast, a fast metabolizer, so whatever I’m doing seems to work
Dave Sherwin: 45:54 Well. Not only does it seem to work, but you have so much energy, you just exude energy. And uh, I don’t know. Is that, is that like just how you’ve always been or if you just, like you just come across as a natural live wire?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 46:08 Yeah, I am. I get uh, so sorry, I was talking to a friend the other night and he goes, “have you ever tried coke?” First of all, no, I’m not a big drug doer. Second of all, oh my God, ‘do you want me faster than I already am?” And he’s [inaudible], ‘do you have something that’ll slow me down. Uh, yeah, I love what I do. Um, and so when I get talking on these shows or to a client or on stage, you know, I just, I’m so excited about… I’m excited about life. I mean really, it’s just, I’m, I’m generally a happy person. I love to be. I’m exuberant about what I do. If I don’t like doing it, I find a way that I don’t have to do it or I find a way to enjoy what I have to do, you know. So to me it’s just, I’ve just sort of always been this way. I’ve always been very type a very go, go, go, you know, I was the one doing five dance classes a week plus play practice plus my, my full class load. I don’t know, I just, I want to, I want to do everything and I want to do it right now and I want to do it with fun. So… Yeah..
Dave Sherwin: 47:07 Just take some of your light and have you put it in a glass like in Lord of the Rings… that gift from the Elf Queen and just send it to me so I can put on my key chain. I just need some Kathy Gruver light just with me all the time because this is wonderful. I love it. Hey, um, I know you got another meeting. So one last thing before we let you go. And again, thank you so much. This has been wonderful. I’ve really enjoyed talking to you. I’m so grateful you take the time, but I’d love to ask you for a parting message, parting thoughts for my audience before we let you go.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 47:42 Yeah. You know, I have to go back to my, my, my motto, which has been with me forever, which is “Go for it”. Uh, so often we sit in fear, we sit in, um, inaction when we really want to be moving in some directions. You don’t take that first step, uh, go for it. Figure out what you want and grab the bull by the horns and just try it. And you know what, there is no,… to quote NLP, “There is no failure. There’s only feedback”. So if it doesn’t work, try a different way to do it or try something else or, but keep moving forward. So rather than waiting for that, I’m too old. I’m too young way too. The kids are gone. Wait til this, wait till that you. You never know. What are you waiting for? So just go for it. So that’s my. That’s my parting thought.
Dave Sherwin: 48:25 Okay. Excellent. And for people like myself who also will want to request a small glass vial that they can just kind of capture some of your light, how do they reach out to you?
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 48:34 Yeah, the best you know, that’s going to be my marketing thing next year is a little jar of Kathy. Look ,creepy. Crazy. It would be great. Totally. It’s just kathygruver.com. You can reach me there. All of my books are there soon. We’ll have “Jars of Light” have you can listen to my TEDx and all my, a lot of videos were there. I don’t think I have any trapeze videos up yet where we’re redoing the site for the 5,000,000th time because it’s a constant work in progress. But yeah, it’s just kathygruver.com and I’m all over social media so come find me, friend me do all that and I’d love to connect with people.
Dave Sherwin: 49:08 Well, Dr. Kathy Gruver, thank you so much for being on the show. It’s been wonderful.
Dr. Kathy Gruver: 49:12 You are so welcome. Thanks for having me.
Dave Sherwin: 49:14 And for those of you listening, you can get more of Kathy at dirobi.com. Click on the blog and look for, uh, just do a search for Kathy Gruver. That’s K-A-T-H-Y Gruver, G-R-U-V-E-R. and we will have links to her TEDx Talk and variety of other things, her website or Twitter handle, all that,… on the website. Thank you so much for listening. This is Dave Sherwin, wishing you health and success.
Miranda: 49:37 Thanks for listening to the Dirobi Health Show. Visit dirobi.com. To learn about our “Free Bottle Friday” contest and subscribe to our newsletter to get sweet deals and flash sales. And if you’re sick of shallow, unrealistic fitness plans, check out the Dirobi Transformation Program. See you next time.