Episode #129: Deanna Minich, PhD- Nutrition Tips to Increase Mindfulness, Meaning and Purpose

by Mike Mutzel


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 About Deanna Minich, PhD

Dr. Deanna Minich (www.drdeannaminich.com) is a wellness expert and author of five books. Having had health issues in her teens and twenties, she looked for solutions to feel better and understand her relationship with food. She embarked upon a scientific path to study nutritional biochemistry, while at the same time, explored other disciplines like psychology, spirituality, and philosophy. Her journey to find answers ultimately led her to combine her studies to develop an integrated, complete, lifestyle system called Food & Spirit™. Currently, she offers training to practitioners of all types to learn this color-coded method for full-spectrum
health (www.foodandspiritprofessional.com).

Connect with Deanna


Books and Products Discussed in this Episode

Whole Detox: A 21-Day Personalized Program to Break Through Barriers in Every Area of Your Life

Show Notes

00:35 Colors in Detox and Health: During college, Dr. Minich began painting wildly with colors.  She began seeing people as color. She then started looking into the science of color. Everything she now does has color attached. She believes that the colors of food, colors that we wear and colors that surround us have an important physiological and psychological impact. She brings that into her book Whole Detox.

03:01 Color in the Standard American Diet: A study of about 1,500 people on which colors they were getting in their food showed that 8 out of 10 people had a “phytonutrient gap”. They are not getting the full array of colors. Each color in food correlates to different parts of the body and certain functions. In that study 88% of people were deficient in the color blue/purple.

04:43 Color Orange Correlations: Orange correlates to beta carotene, one of the many carotenoids which we find in carrots, papaya, or mangoes. Green foods contain a great many carotenoids. They play a role in ovulation and sperm quality and quantity. Beta carotene is a precursor to Vitamin A. We need fat to help with the absorption of carotenoids, to help with fertility and help reduce inflammation.

08:24 Color Purple and Blue Correlations: Blue/purple compounds in food are not just antioxidants. They also make their way into certain parts of the brain that are responsible for learning and memory. They change cell signalling patterns as it relates to brain activity. It is more than protective. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is affected by the blueberry compounds. Extrapolating from animal models, we would need ½ cup of blueberries per day to receive positive effects on learning and memory.  Purple/blue colors upregulate certain pathways that relate to detox.

10:54 Eating Soups vs Smoothies:  Dr. Minich believes that variety is very important. We don’t need to consume smoothies every day of our lives to be healthy. Soups are somewhat pre-digested for us through warmth and the breaking down of some of the fibers. There is synergy in the food compounds coming together. When we eat soup, we tend to eat less food than the same food as a non-soup. This may be because we eat it slower and allows the brain time to process the satiety signals. We tend to gulp our smoothies rather than interacting with them with our mouth microbiome. This means that we are not breaking down the green pigments into nitric oxide. Chew your smoothies in a very mindful way.

12:00 It’s Not Just What We Eat. It’s About How We Eat: The truth system is around the mouth area. A study showed that when people lie, they tend to have to go brush their teeth or do something else that would purify them.

14:03 Spiritual Purification and Detoxification: For as long as humanity has been in existence, we have had some sort of cleansing mechanism. It is part of human nature to want to be renewed. Ancient medicines used clays, saunas, herbs, blood-letting and other cleansing practices. Spring is a time of renewal and that is when we do spring cleaning. Nature guides us.

15:25 Upregulating/Supporting Detox: Phytonutrients, parsley, cilantro, teas, pomegranates, and greens are good for upregulating detox.  Sesame is good for people with fatty liver. There are many metabolic issues today and the liver takes the brunt and becomes fatty and detoxification function is impaired. Bitters are great for purging the liver of toxins.

18:23 Bitters: Dr. Minich was traveling in Nepal. She noticed that foods and sauces were in little bowls with different flavors: sweet, sour, and bitter. It was very satisfying. In our culture, we gravitate toward fat, salty and sweet. In traditional medicine bitters were used to help with detox and help quell inflammatory pathways. In more recent science, we have discovered that we have taste receptors for bitter all over our bodies, including our guts, our airway, our reproductive tract, and even in our brain. We all taste them differently. Children have sensitive taste buds and cannot tolerate much in the way of bitter.  When we are super-tasting bitter (as opposed to people who are not sensitive to bitter taste) it connects to our metabolism. Super-tasters tend to have lower body weight, lower fat mass, and in general, be more metabolically flexible.  For super-tasters, it would be challenging to consume dandelion greens or long-steeped green tea, hops from beer, or isoflavones from soy.

22:09 Taste Changes in Detox: When people go through Whole Detox, especially in the first 7 to 10 days, taste perception changes. Things become sweeter, bitterer, or sourer. Be in tuned with your body. Get a variety of different tastes.

22:50 Metabolic Flexibility: It is the ability of the body to switch back and forth its metabolism of fat and carbohydrates. As we become less flexible, we are less able to burn carbohydrates. Those carbs go straight into fat and we get fatty infiltration of liver and muscle, insulin sensitive tissues. The key to successful aging and being vital is being fluid and flexible in the brain with neuronal plasticity, in the heart with increased heart rate variability, and in the gut for metabolic flexibility. Berberine, ginseng, and cinnamon, help us with metabolic flexibility by tapping into individual cell signally pathways that allow us to burn fuel correctly.

25:08 The Importance of Being in an Alkaline State: The cells in your body need to be at the right pH to eliminate toxins. We need acid and alkaline. The body has its wisdom to make different compartments in our bodies in those ranges. The stomach likes an acidic ph. The blood is on the border. Dr. Minich has been working with Dr. Bland to figure out how taking in certain foods changes our alkaline status as assessed through the urine. Saliva and urine have a broader pH range than blood. We want a bit of alkaline urine for the release of certain bio-transformed metabolites. Green leafy vegetables do this. You can purchase test strips at a pharmacy or on line, eat a plate of steamed bright green broccoli and for about 4 hours thereafter, don’t eat anything or stress yourself, and take the pH of your urine throughout that time. Your pH will probably go up. Urinary pH is usually about 5.5 to 6.5 and you may see increases all the way to 8. It returns to normal pH after the 4 hour window, so eating good foods throughout the day is better than once a day.

28:05 Intuitive Eating: Be connected to your sense of intuition. Rather than go to a protocol through your life, be in tuned with that moment, assessing what you need to eat, if anything, and knowing when it is time to stop. Many of us with chronic diseases are out of that sense of intuitive eating. It might be better to do a program that brings balance prior to starting this.

29:09 Intermittent Fasting: It is about letting go of some food. It is at the end of the Whole Detox program. Dr. Minich talks about a 14 to 16 hour fast. Not everyone can do this. If that is the case, a 12 hour fast is good too. It is good to give our bodies a break from the continual processing of food. It is best to work with a practitioner with intermittent fasting. A few times a week, Dr. Minich does a 14 hour fast. Xenohormesis is stress to upregulate pathways. A detox gives people a little stress so they can withdraw from things, but it is good to have them feel nourished as well during the process.

32:08 Optimizing Mind Body and Spirit: Science tells us that there is no separation between mind and body. If you are eating nutritious and delicious food, but thinking negative thoughts, then you are not getting the full benefit of the meal. Eating junk, but having great thoughts, still does not complete the picture. Body and mind should operate as one to achieve the best synergy and healing potential.

33:50 Steps to Clear Your Mind of Toxic Thoughts: We all have limiting thoughts like “I am not worthy” or “I am not _______enough”. We need to replace those thoughts so we feel alive and complete. It is a lifelong process. Dr. Minich has had affirmations on sticky notes all over the house and car to reprogram her subconscious. Most of our actions are from our subconscious.

34:50 Steps to Reconnect: In her book, Dr. Minich has a quiz to determine which color is imbalanced and uses that color to determine the needed modality. For Dr. Minich, it was art and yoga. Toxicity is anything that stands in the way of our growth, health or potential. Find something small to work against that barrier.

37:15 We Need Community: Make a list of the communities we have in our lives. Think about how often we interface with them. Do you feel nourished when you are with a person or group? Assess your nourishing communities and unsupportive communities. The term sociogenomics is society influencing our genome. Evaluate all of your connections and make an effort to reach out. Social isolation and being lonely, according to science, will lead to chronic disease and inflammation in the body.

39:55 Resources on Dr. Minich’s Website: You can go to whole-detox.com and take a quiz. It will provide you a graph on where you stack up. You can download a report that will help make sense of these different areas. The book Whole Detox can help you to understand on a deeper level.

40:45 Dr. Minich’s Morning Routine:  She makes sure that she gets enough sleep (8 to 9 hours per night). As she awakens, she does a body scan to become grounded and centered. Her routine is variable. She could do email, eat, shower, or walk outside. Variability helps to keep neurons plastic.

42:12 Dr. Minich’s Favorite Herb, Nutrient or Botanical: Dr. Minich believes that we should not take any one supplement all the time, maybe 3 weeks on and one week off.  But if she were stranded on a desert island, she would take probiotics because they are pivotal to our entire physiology and psychology. Studies are now showing that probiotics can help with the detoxification of heavy metals.

44:12 One Health Recommendation for America: Every one of us should eat a full array of clean colorful foods, especially in schools and hospitals. Get rid of toxic chemicals and GMOs.


  1. the weaving together of effects of visual colors, the rainbow of phytonutrients and their unique supports, relevant scientific citations from research studies. mind/body balance,
    and SO MUCH MORE…. ! An impressive memorable inspiring interview, thank you Mike and Deanna, inspiring me to ‘share it forward’, keep learning, incorporate in in my practice….

  2. Deanna, you are an amazing woman! So full of vibrant energy with a wonderful open smiling face. About your comment on toxic thoughts – Christy Whitman has a little video on TRUST. She talks about trusting others but what really resonated was trusting yourself. For example trusting yourself to exercise. If you don’t exercise you beat yourself up and have this relentless negative internal dialogue = toxic thoughts. You have let yourself down and ultimately you are not trusting yourself. Here is the link to the short video: http://christywhitman.com/magnetic-monday-how-to-create-trust/
    Thank you for taking the time to share this information as always Mike.

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