All posts by David Gottfried

Let’s Celebrate World Green Building Week!

This week we’re celebrating World Green Building Week. For me, it’s a time to reflect, celebrate and renews my sustainability commitments.

It’s hard to believe it’s almost two decades now since I stood on that stage in Tokyo on Earth Day 1998 and proclaimed by vision to found a UN of country green building councils. I figured that since I was there welcoming Japan as the world’s second green building council, that this movement would soon go global.

Fast forward to today, and the World Green Building Council, which I envisioned that day now has more than half the world as members. Many of them have green building rating systems like LEED, Green Star or BREEAM and are actively certifying green buildings as their memberships grow and inspire. Some say we’ve spawned a trillion dollar economy!

Here’s a blog I wrote to celebrate this week and to share some of our history with country green building council members.

When I was about 20 years old and a young engineering student at Stanford University in 1980, I used to sometimes skip my hardcore classes and walk over to the fountain in the central quad of the beautiful campus and read Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse. I had difficulty understanding how all the mathematical formulas and equations would apply to my life and found the problem sessions abstract. Instead, as a salve, I found the story of the young Brahman wandering through the desert and into remote villages as he searched for meaning and purpose more palpable.

I believe we’re here for a higher purpose, one that’s actually divine. But I’ve found that it’s easy to quickly lose focus and no longer hear the calling. Pressures of designing, building and operating our buildings requires diligence to successfully navigate the outcome. Financial pressures, risks and schedule constraints often force the process. But to what result?

>> CLICK HERE to read the rest of my story <<

Episode 49 Dr. Jeff Bland

The world of medicine (and health) is undergoing a revolution. We’re moving from highly specialized towards a new holistic model that is more personalized. This monumental shift is grounded in starting with “root cause”, the logical place to understand the disease. And yet, we’ve moved away from this practicality in standard practice.

There’s a global movement underway in how we treat patients called functional medicine and now being adapted to ourselves in personalized lifestyle medicine. With technology giants like Apple and Google taking on health data collection and beaming it to the cloud, we now have the ability to become what Dr. Jeff Bland calls “citizen scientists”. The opportunities are unprecedented and exciting!

Join me in this week’s Regen360 iTunes podcast show where I interview Dr. Jeff Bland about the advent of function and personalized medicine. He’s the founder of the renowned Institute for Functional Medicine which is setting the professional standard for this new method of practicing medicine, and also bringing the discipline home into our personal lifestyles. Dr. Bland has written 11 books and over 120 scientific peer-reviewed research papers on nutritional medicine and the interface of genetics and environment. He’s been a professor and had the honor of mentoring with two-time Nobel Laureate, Dr. Linus Pauling.

Listen in to learn more about the future of medicine and health, and some organizational concepts for starting or boosting your own movement into your work. There are so many similarities between Dr. Bland’s work and the Institute for Functional Medicine and my work in green building with the USGBC and LEED. Both are movements for health: of people and the planet, and their interconnectedness, which is finally happening.

To understanding that health is personalized, and begins with our lifestyle.

David

Alzheimer’s – finally, a hopeful cure!

This is the first of forthcoming blogs that feature content from my most popular Regen360 iTunes podcast show interviews. As you may know, I select leading global visionaries in health and sustainability who are pushing the envelope and building movements. My goal is to spark all of us into accelerated action that inspires regeneration on a 360 basis.

A few months ago, I had the exciting and inspiring opportunity to sit down with Dr. Dale Bredesen to talk about his encyclopedic knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease and his proven protocol that can stop it in its tracks! This was before his New York Times bestselling book published, called The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline. A must read for all of us.

Here’s a recap of some of the information Dr. Bredesen and I dove into, all of which aligns with my wife, Dr. Sara’s and my Regen360 followers’ awareness of ‘food as medicine’ and the importance of sustainable lifestyle choices. For me, they both fall under the broader category of health, the feature of my podcast show and all of our work.

Dr. Dale Bredesen and his compassionate research team at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging have spent years studying the neuroscience and biochemistry that scaffold the development of Alzheimer’s disease. He has discovered treatment protocols that prevent, halt, and/or markedly slow Alzheimer’s development. The team’s research sheds hopeful light on what is increasingly viewed by the medical field as the world’s number one health issue.

In this podcast, Dr. Bredesen shared his evidence-based, common sense means of preventing this fatal disease.

THE PROBLEM: Alzheimer’s is Becoming The World’s Number 1 Leading Health Risk

Cognitive decline is accelerating around the globe at a rapid rate. While we’re repeatedly informed that “5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease,” the reality is that by the year 2050, 45 million Americans will have full-blown Alzheimer’s disease (that’s 15% of the current American population), and 160 million people will have it worldwide.

Dr. Bredesen says, “…it has become the third-leading cause of death in the United States, after cardiovascular disease… and cancer. This is going to bankrupt Medicare over the next couple of decades…”

Another thing to note is that about 65% of patients with Alzheimer’s are women, and 60% of Alzheimer’s caregivers are women, making it what Dr. Bredesen calls a “female-centric illness.” In fact, according to Dr. Bredesen, “If you are a woman, the chance that you’ll develop breast cancer in your lifetime has now been exceeded by the chance that you’ll get Alzheimer’s during your life.”

The guiding question to Alzheimer’s research and treatment, led by Dr. Bredesen and others, is this: “What is the most fundamental nature… of neurodegeneration? So we can actually use that approach to design an effective treatment.”

Using this bottom-up research approach, they’ve uncovered the most effective methods of Alzheimer’s treatment to date. Our health followers and those committed to sustainable living won’t be surprised to learn that Lifestyle + Balance = The Most Effective Alzheimer’s Treatment.

THE QUESTION: What is the Most Fundamental Nature of Neurodegeneration?

Most people believe the fundamental cause of Alzheimer’s is genetics. While it’s true that genes are strong predictors, Dr. Bredesen finds that “lifestyle trumps genes when predicting whether a person will develop Alzheimer’s.”

How much do genes play a role in developing Alzheimer’s disease?

As you may of learned in my wife, Dr. Sara’s New York Times bestselling book, Younger, genes certainly play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, but not as much as scientists originally thought. The genetic marker for Alzheimer’s is APOE e4. If you’re screened for APOE e4 and results find:

  • 0 APOE e4 markers: You have a 9% chance of developing Alzheimer’s.
  • 1 APOE e4 marker: You have a 30% chance of developing Alzheimer’s.
  • 2 APOE e4 markers (homozygous): You have a 90% chance of developing Alzheimer’s.

Genetic screening plays a significant role in treating Alzheimer’s. This information is critical in determining the future trajectory of your diet, exercise, work, and habits. I did my genetic testing at 23andme.

However, while genetics are an important piece of the Alzheimer’s puzzle, lifestyle has an even greater impact!

Does Lifestyle play a greater role in your chances of developing Alzheimer’s?

According to Dr. Bredesen, Alzheimer’s is more like a syndrome than a disease. It’s not caused by a single agent like a bacterial infection. Rather, it’s triggered by 20, 30, or even 40 different biochemical and metabolic relationships that take place in the brain as a result of your lifestyle.

What you eat, how much you rest, how much you allow stress to impact your life — all of these affect the beautiful, plastic balance that maintains the brain’s healthy “remembering and forgetting” processes. When the balance tips in the wrong direction, the brain starts to forget more than it remembers — and that marks the beginning stages of cognitive decline.

Dr. Bredesen and his team have learned the most effective Alzheimer’s treatment starts with us and our lifestyle choices.

THE ANSWER: 7 Tips That Prevent Alzheimer’s Before it Starts

The following 7 tips can prevent you from getting Alzheimer’s and can notably reverse the effects of existing dementia. Also, they’re fundamental to the idea of Functional Medicine. In other words, as you make conscious choices to diminish Alzheimer’s risk, you simultaneously improve overall health. In Dr. Bredesen’s new book, he calls these steps ReCODE: Reversing Cognitive Decline. In the book, he expands this list to 14 recommendations.

1) Eliminate sugars and simple carbohydrates, as well as gluten and dairy

There is a strong link between insulin resistance, inflammation, and Alzheimer’s. In fact, those with type 2 diabetes more than double their risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Dr. Bredesen recommends eliminating gluten as well. “Make foods with a glycemic index lower than 35 the bulk of your diet,” as written in the book and “avoid fruit juices.” Dairy causes inflammation and contributes to leaky gut.

2) Beware the “Berfooda Triangle

The trifecta of high-saturated fats, high-simple carbohydrates and low-fiber are a horrible, proinflammatory triad — dubbed the “Berfooda Triangle. Think cheeseburger, fries, and soft drink,” as written in the book. Minimize saturated fat intake and always balance it with high-fiber, complex carbs which helps reduce blood sugar

3) Finish eating 3-hours before going to bed

This optimizes the brain’s ability to cleanse itself. In order to eliminate amyloid plaques and toxins — and to recycle old, damaged and broken components — the brain needs extended fasting/resting periods.

4)  Give yourself at least 12 hours to fast each day

Along those lines, Dr. Bredesen says, “You want to try to confine your eating to, at most, 12 hours during the day… then you want to fast the rest of the time.”

5) Eat good fats

Neuronal membranes, myelin sheaths, and other neuro-protective tissue require healthy fats from avocados, nuts/seeds, MCT oil, olive oil, as well as healthy, omega-3s. But those with ApoE4 should eat less saturated fat and switch to polyunsaturated fatty acids like olive oil, instead of MCT oil.

6) Treat meat as a condiment

Think of meat as a condiment. Limit meat intake to sustainably-raised meats and ideally, wild-caught SMASH fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herrings), but avoid the possible high levels of mercury and other toxic compounds. Men need about 50 to 70 grams of daily protein and women about 40 to 60, or no more than 1 gram of protein per kilogram of weight.

7) Prioritize oral hygiene

When scientists examine the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, they consistently find microorganisms not found in control samples. These microorganisms are related to fundamental metabolic and toxic perturbations:

  • Inflammation: Withdrawal of trophic support (depletion of cellular growth, health)
  • Toxic binding: (amyloids bind toxins and kill microbes). Researchers frequently come across p. Gingivalis, a bacteria associated with gum disease, as well as other oral bacteria in the brain. Brushing, flossing, and observing biannual dental checkups are key to keeping harmful bacteria away from precious neural tissue.

The effects of lifestyle changes like these don’t happen overnight. In fact, it takes about three to six months to truly notice an improvement. Then, personalized testing and treatment tweaks are made over time to optimize the effects.

It’s an understatement that the information gleaned from Dr. Bredesen in this info-packed podcast is both exciting and hopeful, and his book, The End of Alzheimer’s, provides much more detail and protocol recommendations that are essential for all of us. Ultimately, it puts the power of Alzheimer’s treatment right into your hands. The power of leveraging what you’ve learned here into real-life action could truly transform one of the world’s leading health issues into a thing of the past.

If your interest wasn’t piqued before, I bet it is now. I invite you to immerse yourself by listening to the complete Regen360 Podcast 22, featuring Dr. Dale Bredesen. He gives us hope for a lifestyle-based and drug-free approach to curing Alzheimer’s, as well as other debilitating diseases.

PS: The goal for all of my work is to not only teach and inspire, but to spark all of us into accelerated action that promotes regeneration on a 360 basis. I encourage you to take my BuildMove Quiz to see if you’ve got the right stuff to build your own movement.

Episode 48 MC Yogi

I grew up blessed and immersed in all that life and school had to offer: sports, academics, close friends and perpetual serving as an elected class officer. I addressed my senior class as its President at graduation and repeatedly lettered in football and track and field (shotput). My hard work led to being accepted at Stanford University…

In contrast, Nicholas Giacomini grew up vastly different. His early resume includes being a juvenile delinquent who was kicked out of three schools, sent to live at a group home for at-risk youth, arrested for vandalism and caught up in a world of drugs, chaos, and carelessness.

However, fate intervened, bringing him hip-hop [he started rapping at age 13], and yoga at 18. Now know as MC YOGI, he is now a world-renowned performing artist on a mission to bring good music and good energy into the world: a path of spiritual wisdom, illuminating the potential for transformation within us all. Last year he finished a world tour teaching and performing to over 200,000. His book was just released, called Spiritual Graffiti: Finding My True Path.

I’ve been blessed to experienced MC YOGI’s divine spirit in concert and on the yoga mat. His words are gripping and deep. Please join me in this week’s Regen360 iTunes podcast interview with MC YOGI. I encourage you to listen to each of his words, as they will not only inspire but motivate. AND don’t miss out on the special surprise ending of the interview — it’s a real treat as MC YOGI gifts us an impromptu regenerative rap!

To rapping with our future in mind and igniting our spirit!

David

What’s your morning ritual?

We’re a bit nuts in the Gottfried household in the morning, which doesn’t surprise many who know me or my wife, also known as Dr. Sara. She’s a doctor who practices functional medicine and a three time New York Times bestselling health author. And as you likely know, I’m a green building nerd, obsessed with not only LEED Platinum buildings, but those that have gone deeper into regeneration of energy, water, and our health.

How we wake up each morning has lasting impact. Do you race out of bed to the kitchen to get your morning caffeine, or do you meditate quietly for 30 minutes as you calm your sympathetic nervous system and lower your cortisol? Do you take the time to eat a nutritious breakfast, or consciously skip it as you rush out the door? And what measurements or supplementation, if any, do you perform or take each morning?

This blog shares the quirky inside scoop of our morning rituals – mostly health based, that help set us up for a fabulous day of energy, mental acuity, and athleticism. Most of them I like, a few are tolerable and one I hate… Continue reading

Episode 47 Vince Sicilliano

Can you imagine a bank where the mission is to promote well-being for people and the planet: An institution where money and banking can do good for the community and its employees can bring their values to work?

Well, that small bank actually exists in San Francisco and is called New Resource Bank. In full disclosure, I bank with them and have had several loans, including one that financed our previous highest rated LEED Platinum solar home.

Learn about New Resource Bank and its unique sustainability values and banking products in this week’s Regen360 iTunes podcast show with its President and CEO, Vince Sicilliano. Vince has an environmental and banking background and he’s passionate about their unique integration of values a full 360.

To banking with sustainability and our future!

David

What’s the benefit of your labor?

On Monday we celebrated Labor Day. Since its first celebration in 1882 in New York City, the holiday has been dedicated to worker’s social and economic achievements that have helped advance the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

This is my first of many blogs to come, and I’d like to reflect a bit on the nature of our labor and its relationship to transformation. I’ve also got a few announcements for you below, including a priority wait list sign up for my new forthcoming BuildMove pilot trainings.

I’ve experienced several epiphanies that not only changed my life but my relationship to labor. Since that first one in 2001, when I’d taken a hard look at who I’d become: fancy Armani suits, Ferragamo loafers and slicked back hair. I’d strayed far from my true nature and could no longer hear my calling. I realized that I could change my work in the real estate field to add greater value, meaning, and health. I no longer needed to solely work on maximizing profit but could embrace a newer definition to include people and planet – what we now refer to as the triple-bottom-line.
Continue reading

Episode 46 Mahesh Ramanujam

The statistics of the U.S. Green Building Council and the global movement that it helped spawn are almost beyond belief, especially for me as its founder and first CEO, going back to October 1992 when I set out to begin working on its start-up in San Francisco.

This week’s Regen360 iTunes podcast features an interview with Mahesh Ramaujam, USGBC’s new President and CEO. He took over late last year from Rick Fedrizzi, who now heads of the Well Building Standard.

In our conversation, we learn of the unprecedented stats of USGBC and about Mahesh’s agenda for continuing to make the organization a global leader and as he says, “relevant.” His three areas for continued excellence include:

  • driving consensus
  • innovative business strategies
  • authentic thought-leadership
  • the business case for a sustainable built environment

During our conversation, I got goose bumps when Mahesh quoted: “If you love something, set it free.” You’ll also learn more about that and how USGBC is now engaging the lowest 20% of buildings to go green.

To boosting triple-bottom-line profitability through our buildings and homes!

David Gottfried