Community Food Health

Di Tran’s Eye-Opening Experience at Rotary Club of Louisville: The Gut as the Second Brain

When Di Tran attended the presentation on “The Future of Alzheimer’s Disease” by Dr. Greg Cooper and Dr. Shirish Barve at the Rotary Club of Louisville, he was hoping to gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies of brain health. As an author and small business owner with a keen interest in health, Tran was seeking confirmation for his beliefs on wellness. The session, however, turned out to be more than just informative—it was transformative.

From the onset, Tran was captivated by the revelations shared by both doctors, particularly the assertion that the gut significantly influences the brain’s health. During a Q&A session, Di Tran posed a question that had long intrigued him: “Is it true that the gut is the second brain?” Without missing a beat, Dr. Barve responded, “Absolutely, you are right on point.”

For Tran, it was a eureka moment. He gleaned that our lifestyle, especially our dietary habits, plays a pivotal role in our cognitive health. Wanting to know more about dietary specifics, Tran inquired about coffee’s benefits. Dr. Barve’s answer was both simple and resolute, “It is great, but without sugar. BLACK ONLY, OK?”

Proudly, Di Tran shared his recent lifestyle changes, emphasizing his reduced intake of sugars and carbohydrates. “I’ve been relying on coffee, vegetables, chicken (white meat), and whole fruits as my primary sugar source. The positive difference in how I feel is undeniable,” Tran commented. Moreover, recognizing the importance of gut health, he also highlighted his consumption of probiotic-rich foods like Kim Chi and yogurt.

Dr. Barve, clearly impressed, responded, “Great way to go, keep doing it.” He elaborated on the significance of incorporating live bacteria from natural food sources like yogurt and Kim Chi. “The good bacteria from these sources is far superior to what you might get from pills, which often contain dead bacteria. For optimal health, we need these live bacteria to establish a robust ecosystem known as the microbiome.”

Before concluding, Dr. Barve touched upon the undeniable value of physical activity. “Exercise and being active are critical elements in maintaining not only your physical health but also your cognitive health,” he emphasized.

For Di Tran, the session was a reaffirmation of his beliefs, proving that his journey to better health was on the right track. The knowledge he gained from Dr. Cooper and Dr. Barve’s presentation reinforced the idea that a holistic approach to health, encompassing diet and activity, is the key to a sharper mind and a vibrant life.

Dr. Greg Cooper, MD:

  • Behavioral Neurologist at Norton Neuroscience Institute.
  • Holds roles as Chief of Adult Neurology and Director for the Memory Center.
  • Has 25 years of experience in memory disorders and has led numerous clinical trials.

Dr. Shirish Barve, PhD:

  • Chief Research Scientist at Norton Neuroscience Institute and Professor at the University of Louisville Medical Center.
  • Expertise in gastroenterology, hepatology, and pharmacology/toxicology.
  • Focuses on the microbiota-gut-brain axis, aiming to reduce the impact of neurological diseases using a mix of basic, translational, and clinical approaches.


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Two Awesome Hours by Josh Davis – An Insightful Guide to Peak Productivity

In “Two Awesome Hours,” Josh Davis, Ph.D., showcases the compelling idea that we can be incredibly productive in short bursts of time if we learn to harness our body’s and brain’s natural rhythms. Instead of striving for eight-hour workdays filled with relentless efficiency, Davis proposes that our best work can be achieved in just two hours with the right strategies.

Core Concepts and Actionable Key Items:

  1. Recognize Natural Energy Cycles:
    • Elaboration: Our bodies operate on natural circadian rhythms, leading to fluctuations in energy and focus throughout the day. Recognizing and leveraging these rhythms is essential for optimal productivity.
  2. Prioritize Tasks:
    • Elaboration: Instead of juggling numerous tasks simultaneously, prioritize the most crucial ones. Work on the most important task when your energy and concentration are at their peak.
  3. Nurture the Right Environment:
    • Elaboration: Your physical and mental environment significantly influences your productivity. Declutter your workspace, eliminate distractions, and surround yourself with stimulating elements like plants or soft music if they help.
  4. Mindful Decision-making:
    • Elaboration: Avoid making decisions on autopilot. Take breaks to reflect on your choices and ensure that you’re taking action based on purpose and priority rather than habit.
  5. Embrace Breaks:
    • Elaboration: Rather than pushing through fatigue, take short breaks to refresh and recharge. These intervals can boost creativity and focus, preparing you for your next “awesome” burst of productivity.
  6. Physical Health as a Pillar of Productivity:
    • Elaboration: Exercise, hydration, and nutrition play critical roles in brain function. Taking care of your body can lead to more productive hours.
  7. Mindfulness and Presence:
    • Elaboration: Engage in practices like meditation to cultivate presence. Being fully present in the moment enhances concentration and the quality of work.
  8. Acknowledge Cognitive Limitations:
    • Elaboration: Multitasking and information overload can hamper productivity. Recognize these limitations and create strategies, such as dedicated focus times or information sifting techniques, to counteract them.
  9. The Role of Emotions:
    • Elaboration: Emotions can either hinder or enhance productivity. Recognizing and managing emotions, like anxiety or excitement, can help channel them productively.
  10. Limit Decision Fatigue:
  • Elaboration: Every decision we make drains a bit of our cognitive energy. By reducing trivial decisions (like what to wear or eat), we can reserve our cognitive resources for more crucial tasks.


“Two Awesome Hours” by Josh Davis, Ph.D., challenges the traditional notions of an eight-hour workday and posits that with the right strategies, our peak productivity can be achieved in just two hours. By understanding our natural energy cycles, creating conducive environments, prioritizing tasks, and taking care of our mental and physical well-being, we can optimize our productivity and achieve more in less time.