I’m here today with my dear friend Shawn Stevenson who is always such a joy to talk to. Shawn is the author of the bestsellers Eat Smarter and Sleep Smarter. He’s also the host of the Model Health Show, the number 1 podcast in the world. His background is in business, nutritional science, and more and he’s become a very important voice in the wellness conversation.
And today’s topic is all about the importance of family meals, connecting with each other, and why it’s so statistically important. Eating a meal together (with the TV off), even if it’s just a few times a week is actually one of the most important things we can do for our family’s health. Shawn does a deep dive into the data behind this and why family meals have a profound effect on childhood obesity, mental health issues, and overall longevity.
He mentions a meta-analysis of 148 studies that looked at how our social ties influence our health outcomes. The researchers found that people with healthy relationships had a 50% reduction from dying early from any cause. And one of the biggest ways we can develop these social connections is through family meals (doesn’t matter if it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner). If you’ve ever looked into the Blue Zones (pockets where people live the longest and healthiest lives), the underlying thread in these areas is social connection.
We also cover some practical tips for how to make family meals happen, even with crazy schedules, and the minimum effective dose to see results. I really enjoyed our conversation today and I can’t wait to share it with you!
Episode Highlights With Shawn
- How he didn’t eat a salad until he was 25! And what led to his nutritional shifts
- What led to his massive health transformation
- Fascinating data about how our social connections impact our health
- Science-backed reasons that family meals are so important
- People who have healthy social ties have about a 50% reduction in all-cause mortality
- Families that eat together only 3 times a week have a reduced risk of obesity and disordered eating
- Up to 80% of doctor visits today are from stress-related causes
- Cravings are cultural and we can shift them
- Tips for actually implementing family meals to get the benefit
Resources We Mention
- The Model Health Show – His website and podcast
- Eat Smarter Family Cookbook: 100 Delicious Recipes to Transform Your Health, Happiness, and Connection by Shawn Stevenson
- Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success by Shawn Stevenson
- Real Plans
- Wellness Mama’s Bulk Cooking Guide
- Staying Sane in an Insane World by Greg Harden
More From Wellness Mama
- 089: Shawn Stevenson on Why Sleep Is More Important Than Diet & Exercise
- 405: Eat Smarter: How to Use Food to Reboot Your Metabolism With Shawn Stevenson
- 589: Shawn Stevenson on 80/20 of Health, His Non-Negotiables, and What He Will Compromise On
- 532: Camila Alves McConaughey on Picky Eating, Importance of Community and Balancing It All