What are the foundations of well-being and mental health? It’s a subject to which this week’s mind mover, Loui Blake, has given plenty of thought.
In this week’s episode, the entrepreneur shares thoughts on using plant medicine to heal trauma, the value of adversity and why there is only one person who really matters.
Loui also challenges listeners to ask: “What would happen if I lost everything today?”
Search deep, and the answer might just surprise you…
In This Episode
01.09 – Meeting Loui
03.38 – Retreats, trauma and healing
13.52 – Systems Vs goals
18.39 – Systems, goals and purpose
27.27 – Challenge and adversity
38.44 – Entrepreneurship
43.54 – Foundations and solutions
54.58 – Veganism and the man in the arena
01.03.15 – Proudest moments
About Loui Blake
Loui Blake is an entrepreneur, investor and public speaker.
He is the founder of the award-winning Erpingham House vegan restaurant and several casual restaurant concepts.
In 2020, Lui co-founded Gamechangers Investments for the hospitality industry and, in 20022, became CEO of Miami Foods.
Hello everyone, and welcome back to another episode of Mind Movers. So as you all may remember, we’re doing a special mental health series to help dentists across the board that may be suffering over a lot of topics. And today I have an amazing guest, Louis Blake. Louis is a very good friend of mine and he is somebody that really helped me massively in what I would call my healing journey. He’s a plant based entrepreneur and he’s a speaker and an angel investor. He started out in football and then in nightlife and then switched to a plant based diet in 2015. And this whole change caused Louis to refocus attention on businesses that make positive impact on the world through food. He’s also a founder and an award winning entrepreneur. And in 2020, Louis and partners set up game changers investments designed to provide opportunities to the hospitality industry. With a portfolio of brands operating across the UK, USA and the UAE. So he’s a very impressive individual, but also very open and just amazing. So I’m very excited to have him here today.
Welcome, Louis. Thank you. How did you guys meet?
So it’s a bit of an interesting one. I think that just shortly after lockdown, something within me told me that I needed to make some changes in my life to help my mental health. And it’s funny because when people look at me, they’re often like, Well, there’s nothing wrong with you, Rona. As in like, you don’t have any addictions, as it were. You know, like we just talked about me being teetotal, didn’t we? And they thought, What’s wrong with your mental health? And I just knew that I always found myself in a really anxious state or I had a real sense of imposter syndrome or this sense of impending doom. Now. Once. That’s once I could have hit rock bottom. I didn’t really know how to navigate it. And I’d met two guys that own a company called Dirty, and they’re like the mushroom coffee, I think. Yeah. Did you buy it? What do you.
Think? Yeah, Like it? Tasty. He’s an.
Investor. That’s why he’s asking. Yeah.
So brilliant. Yeah, I bought it twice now.
Yeah, because you were like, My God, my brains again. My brains.
Getting better. I bought the brain, the brain health one and the other time I bought the immune system one.
Yeah, yeah. You know, the marketing works. Yeah. Yeah. So anyway, I had reached out to one of them because they were developing the product at the time, like developing the kind of marketing around it. Talk to me a lot about how good mushrooms were for your mind, etcetera, talking about their products, etcetera. And I said, You know what? I really want to find a community that can help me. And I always said that I really wanted to do the work, but I didn’t really know what doing the work meant. And I was like chasing this thing. And I think as a dentist, because we’re academics, we’re like, Right. We know if we revise this for the exam, we can put this input, we get this output. And I was like, I want to input the work to be better, to feel healthier, to have my mind in a space where I don’t feel like I’m going crazy, essentially. So they got me in touch with another guy called Alex, and Alex runs a retreat and he runs the retreat with Louis, and another guy called Luana and I decided to go on the retreat and that’s where I met Louis, and I found him to be one of the coolest kids. I can’t remember Peter Pan in some way. Visually. I was like, He looks so cool. And I learned a lot from Louis. And I think what’s been interesting is because we’ve been friends now for just over a year, I think, and he’s watched me grow, as it were. And I think that, like, I attribute a lot of my healing to things that he’s put into place for me and help me. And I think that’s because he’s been through his own journey and that’s why I really wanted him to come on this podcast so he could help people in the same way he’s helped me.
Amazing. Thank you. So this retreat, was it a business as well?
No, it was entirely accidental. It was born out of, I guess, my own journey. Um, and reaching a point where, you know, like probably many people can relate to reaching a point where it was probably in my mid 20s. On the surface it achieved a lot of the things that I thought I was you were supposed to do to be happy, right? I followed the societal narrative of what happiness was, had a nice car, had a nice house, had a business, was going out and partying and all of the things that, you know, you were kind of told to aim for, shall we say. And I was just grossly unhappy and unfulfilled. And at the time I was probably overindulging in alcohol, in drugs, in partying and spending money and and not finding any kind of solace or any kind of feeling in any of those things. And I just got to the point where I was just completely numb and I went on quite an extreme retreat, shall we say, uh, with plant medicine. And I spent a week.
Was that ayahuasca?
Did ayahuasca? Yeah.
No, I did it in the UK and the first day was the week itself was really the first time I’d sat with myself and held a mirror up to who I really was. And I think I believe you can get there without the the the aid of plant medicine. But in the state I was in, I wasn’t I didn’t feel I was able to do that. And the first day, I was absolutely disgusted with what I saw. I was really able to take a look at myself and the way that I’d been behaving, the the way that I treated myself, the way I treated other people. And I saw that it came from a place of just not liking myself. And that energy was then reflected in the way that I treated treated others. The next day was just pure compassion for myself and other people. And some of the the tools that I was given on that retreat, I was able to then implement back into my life. And I knew that I needed to make a change. And it coincided with some other lifestyle changes that I’d made. I’d recently adopted a plant based diet. I’d recognised that perhaps the the work I was doing wasn’t the most beneficial to my physical or mental health, and I’d made a lot of changes and that had been the catalyst. Um, and a friend of mine who Ronan mentioned Alex had been on a similar journey. Um, but ayahuasca is quite extreme. You know, I, I don’t think it’s for everyone.
And it’s the second time we’ve heard it actually on this podcast. Yeah, it’s, that’s why Payman is like.
Wow it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s extreme, right? And I wanted to be able to help, continue to help myself but also help other people around me that I saw were in a similar position to me. I had a number of friends that were, you know, making great money that had businesses that, you know, on the surface looked like they were doing really well. But I knew from the private conversations that we’d had or I could see in them the same things I saw in myself. And I wanted to find a way to to help them, but perhaps not as extreme as I as ayahuasca. So Alex and I started just going away ourselves on a weekend would go out to the countryside for two days. We’d get an Airbnb loads of nutritious food, you know, we’d go on long hikes. And then one of our friends came that was a meditation teacher then, and a yoga teacher came. And then all of these kind of accidentally turned into this very organic thing that was never monetised, but was purely a coming together of people that were all had a similar intention for, for, for for healing themselves and each other. And six years or so later, it’s now become more a thing. But still the the the kind of the the the DNA of it is still very much in how do we and what modalities can we bring to people that can help them heal. And different people are going to resonate with different practices. But it’s about making these practices available and and giving people a start on on their on their healing journey. And that’s kind of what it’s it’s become about. And we still go on it ourselves to help ourselves in the same way that we did. So we say.
You said it before that healing word and you’re saying heal. Are we saying that everyone needs healing? Is that is that the the way. That’s a deep.
Yeah. I don’t think I think that the for many of us and and when I say many of us I, I think about the the world that we live in. We live in London in a busy urban environment. And what we’ve experienced over the last 3 or 4 years, um, as a result of a lot of those experiences and the way that we’ve been, we’ve lived, I believe, yeah, there is a lot of healing that needs to be done. And when I say healing, you know, we and these words are thrown around a lot, healing, trauma, etcetera. And I think it’s important that we, we have a clear understanding of what exactly we’re talking about. And trauma can be something as simple as your five years old. You form a bond with with your favourite teacher. And at the end of the school year, that teacher leaves. When you look back, when you reflect on that as an adult, it’s always just a teacher. And she left whatever. As a five year old, that’s your first experience of abandonment. There’s there’s confusion. There’s uncertainty. There’s a a bond that’s been broken unexpectedly. Your response to that situation could be to protect yourself.
Could be. For example, you don’t form tight bonds with adults anymore. Right. And then over time that is compounded. It’s a behaviour that’s learned. It becomes a subconscious behaviour and it becomes part of your personality. And so when you enter your adult life, this is a behaviour that may have served you as a child but now is no longer serve you as an adult. But it happened so long ago that you’ve forgotten about it. And until we can reflect on our trauma, right, free from the the, um, I guess the, the connotations of the word and the confusion around the word. When we can reflect on our experiences, we can start to understand sometimes why we behave the way that we behave. And this is what comes up a lot of the time when we go into these kind of retreats or work with plant medicines, we’re able to revisit traumatic experiences that happened in the past, understand our response and look upon them from a different perspective and form a new response. Um, and I think being in London, even the time for reflection in these busy urban lives that we live just, just isn’t there.
I think that’s really important. And I think that, you know, it’s what I found such a disconnect in dentistry for me is that people, the behaviours that are learned, as you said, are very much in an environment that is very strict. Like a lot of the dentists that I met were felt that pressure to become dentists or pressure to do medicine and they don’t necessarily want to do it. And there’s a lot of like as you describe, learnt behaviours. Now the problem is as well is that when I try to like, as I’ve been speaking more and more about my journey, people like, Oh my God, this is so relatable, this is so great. But as you talk about trauma, as you said, it could be a little trauma that behaves makes you behave in a certain way. An interesting thing that someone said to me yesterday and I’m going to put it out there is that he asked me, he said, we have the luxury to have mental health in our modern world because someone.
That’s mental health problems.
Mental health problems, he said, Because actually, if you’re in India and you’re on the road and you’re like, you don’t even know when you’re going to eat next, you don’t have the luxury to be depressed in the same way you do. And I was like, No, I don’t agree with you, but I want to know what you make of that as well, somebody that has explored the notion of trauma.
I think it’s, uh. We live in an overly we live in overly complicated existence from that which the existence that people live maybe a hundred years ago, 200 years ago. Right. It it’s overly complicated. I think we we have a poverty of choice as it relates to almost everything in our lives. You know, people were very happy with four TV channels 30 years ago, and now we can’t find anything to watch. And we’ve got Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, etcetera. Right. So this poverty of choice actually prevents us from being able to choose anything. And there’s an anxiety that goes with that or a perceived choice. Let’s say you see it reflected in relationships. We’ve got a dating app with thousands of people, Instagram of thousands of people. So I think there’s a luxury in the sense of perceived choice which can bring on feelings of anxiety, etcetera as well. And as it as you speak about maybe someone on a road in India, there’s not the same degree of choice that goes with that. You are in the situation you’re in. I also think it’s a lot to do with challenge and discomfort. We have a society that, you know, quite rightly is has evolved to be incredibly safe, incredibly convenient. But with that, when we lose, when we lose challenge and opposition, we become very comfortable. And then when challenge and opposition meets us, we find ourselves unprepared to meet it. Unless we opt in to those challenges. And we we choose situations where we can contest ourselves. So I, I, I think it’s an interesting, uh, theory. The there has to be there’s, there has to be a, um, a reason that we’re experiencing such high rates of suicide, depression, anxiety in this modern culture, despite the degree of comfort and convenience and choice that we have.
But also, I think the thing is and following on from that, I think there’s a degree of guilt because when people do have mental health issues, because we still have those labels and stigmas to say, Well, you have everything, you have the perfect life, you have a social life, you have a good job, you have parents that love you. You can’t have mental, you have everything going for you. And I think that’s the problem. And that’s what leads to.
That’s a problem. Yeah.
And you don’t have the conversations and then that can lead to problems like suicide, you know, where people feel like I don’t have a way out. I feel guilty living in the fire of my mind. Do you see what I mean?
It’s contextual, right? Yeah, it’s. It’s it’s contextual. Uh, our, our baseline is, is independent to us. And the way that we’ve grown up and evolved, you can say that one person has it better than the other, but it’s relative to that person.
Yeah. So this is I was gonna actually ask you this, Louie. You’re. You’re definitely a very ambitious person, right? I mean, you were just telling me you’ve got 14 brands that you franchise amongst all the other things you do. Maybe I’m seeing it now with dentists too. To become a dentist these days, you have to be straight. A top of your class that starts at 12 years old. Yeah. Yeah, it really does. Because you’re not going to become that straight-A guy overnight, you know? And then I see these younger dentists now who are really stressed out about something, whether it’s we’ve got problems with people suing us or time management or burnout or all these different things. And I think to myself sometimes that it’s like your perceived position of where you thought you would be compared to where you’re at. And that disconnect between those two. So if you thought you were going to be a Nobel Prize scientist, it doesn’t matter. You could achieve a hundred times more than me and Rona. But if you didn’t get your Nobel Prize, you could be depressed. And this is what kind of what you’re saying, the context of of where we are. Where did you think you would be?
Context is important. Yeah. For me, one of the things that I’ve learned recently and, you know, I’m I’m not saying that I’m someone that enjoys perfect mental health. I, I don’t think anyone does. Right. I, I, I would say that I’m certainly in a in a in a better position today than I was last year and the year before that and the year before that. So it’s been a progressive thing. And I, I, I feel happy most of the time, if I’m completely honest. Um, that being said, one of the things that I’ve learned and that’s helped me the most in the last two years is to prioritise systems over goals. Because when we set goals and aspirations as ambitious people, we attach all of this meaning to this future thing that we’re going to achieve takes us out of the present. We work towards this goal, we actualise it and we’re like, Ah, it doesn’t feel how I thought it was going to feel.
Yeah, so true. And dentists are all the time.
And it pulls us out of the experience of where we’re currently living and that’s all there is. We only have this present moment. There’s nothing outside of that, that the future, the past, they don’t exist. We are where we are, right? So what I’ve learned to do more recently is what are the and I actually physically write a list for this. What are the things that if I could have the perfect day. What would go into that day. And how can I systemise it? So for me, it’s like I really enjoy meditation in the morning because it keeps me still first part of the day and it allows for me to be present and wake up nicely. Okay. I love going for a sauna in the morning. I love having breakfast with with my friend. I love reading for 15. Just little things that I love doing that if I’ve done them in a day, I can feel happy about it, right? And then you start to think, well, okay, let’s remove any kind of restriction on that. What does it look like? I want to see my parents every day. I want to have lunch with my friends every day. I want to work on a creative project every day. Okay. What is a perfect week look like? Because I can’t do everything in a day. I maybe I want to go every week. I want to take two days to go for a weekend away somewhere or I want to go swimming once a week or whatever it might be. It’s going to be specific to the individual, right? And then you say, Well, every month I’d like to go on holiday once, wherever it might be, and I map this out.
And then what are the system? How can I systemise this so that this shows up every day, week and month, and then each day when I go to bed and I journal, I reflect on the day and how many of those things are shown up in my day. And invariably, if if 80% of those things have shown up in my day, that’s a pretty good day, right? As opposed to here’s this goal in six months time or 12 months time, let me work towards it. And it’s very difficult to refocus on that goal every day. I’d be attached to that goal because what you’re doing day to day doesn’t necessarily always relate to it. But creating these systems has been the kind of cornerstone of me being in a good mental space because I’m doing things that move me in the right direction and not not backward from that. And I think you have to do some playing around to understand what that’s going to be for you. Journaling isn’t something that I’ve ever done until this year. I tried to do it in the mornings. I tried 3 or 4 times, did a day, two days, didn’t get anything from it. This year I bought a guided journal for the evenings. Game changer. Before I go to bed, I pour out all of the stuff I’m carrying around onto a page.
And that was actually something I did. So when I, Louis told me that and I actually wrote down, I don’t know if you remember me telling him the first retreat. He said, What would your perfect day look like? Would your perfect week look like? Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera. And then you don’t see as goal driven because it’s like it’s not about what I want. It’s what I already have in a way, but need to spend more time doing because the things that I enjoy and I think that takes the pressure off things as well. It makes it more.
The the journey rather than the destination or whatever that, you know, that sort of cliché in the end. But, but, but there’s a good reason that you talk about that. And you’re also right insomuch as. The destination often isn’t what you think it’s going to be. What you have. You do you think that, you know, you’re in this sort of purpose led. Businesses that, you know, around veganism and all of that. Would you say that that that’s part of the reason why you spend time on it, that that you want that purpose and that whole world to grow? And, you know, when I think about it, okay, I’m in the world of making people’s teeth whiter. Does it inspire me as much as getting rid of plastic inspires you or getting the world to become vegetarian or vegan inspired? Is it an important part of.
Spending your day like not everyone’s in the purpose. Some people build this. Yeah.
I think that when you say purpose, it doesn’t necessarily have to be related to the outcome of what you’re doing, right? It could be you love making furniture because your purpose, the purpose of you making furniture, is to do something where you’re present for long periods of time for you. Doesn’t have to be for anyone else in the moment. In the moment. Right. The purpose is and and and equally, I think there’s a lot of pressure at the moment for us all to make impact, especially among young people. And whenever I do, um, do talks and there’s a young audience, it’s all about I want to make an impact, I want to make an impact. But I encourage people and this is one of the, I think the important things of self, self introspection and self reflection is why, Yeah, why do you want to make an impact?
And that’s exactly.
One of the things I realised early on was it’s just the ego shifting, right? I wanted to I my, when I first started in business, I just wanted to do something that I loved. It was like, What do I love doing? What can I get paid for that’s fun? Rather than having to sit in an office or anything. And I used to love football and I found a way to get paid from from football. And I was like, Well, I’m not really making enough money. What else do I like doing where I can make more money? And then it became about the money and. It wasn’t that. It wasn’t that. Um. I didn’t enjoy it, so to speak, but it became very money driven. And there that lack of purpose for me. There needed to be something there where I could find a value beyond just me getting something from from the exchange. So but then when I went into the, the whole like the vegan thing for, for a while I didn’t recognise it, but it was just my ego shifting. It wasn’t that I wanted to make an impact, particularly as I wanted to be seen to make an impact by the people.
And did your plant medicine journey? Sort of. It showed.
Me that you can’t hide from that kind of.
Separates your ego from you.
Of course it’s ego, dissolution and you have to and this is where I say it’s it’s one of the most challenging things you can do because you can lie. You think you can lie to other people and you think you can lie to yourself because you don’t sit with yourself. If you’re distracted 24 over seven, you can lie to yourself. You know, you wake up, you’re straight on the phone, you go downstairs, you’re having a conversation, you walk to work, your headphones are in, you go to work, you’re talking to people all day. You come home, you watch TV, you’re talking, you go to sleep. You haven’t had a moment of introspection at all. But the minute you spend time by yourself or you’re forced to. And especially when it’s assisted by something that’s really showing you yourself. That’s when you can’t lie and that’s when when it comes up and you and you and you’re forced to face it. And it’s why a lot of people have a difficult time with it. It’s because it’s showing you who you who you, who you really are.
I think one of the other things that just came up whilst you were speaking is that people also what I find really difficult, and particularly like in the Dental arena, but not even just in the Dental arena in general, and I hate to generalise, but particularly with Gen Z is like they say, I want to make an impact, I want to be at the top, but they don’t want to do the stuff in between or recognise how there’s sometimes a struggle. And I think you guys saw me recently talk on a podcast about how people try tend to avoid struggle. One of the big things I learned from Louie as well as to lean into discomfort. It’s very difficult in dentistry to do that because you’re used to being the number one. You are conditioned to be number one. And actually if you show weakness, it’s not something that’s celebrated at all. It’s something like, well, this has been flagged up. Work on it to be better next time. And that’s where I think the shift in my own mind, because of the things that you’re showing me, is that sometimes the struggle, sometimes you’re weak. And actually now when I go through those struggles, I’m like, It’s not great. It’s uncomfortable, but sit with it and sit with it alone. Like carrying on from what you said, just be okay about sitting with it, you know? And I think that when you change that and don’t go into panic mode straight away, it’s a really powerful thing. It’s difficult, but it’s self-regulation.
Yeah, right. It’s like when something comes up and you can you observe the response rather than being the response. So if something happens and you need like your heart starts beating and you tense up, you can you witness that the space between. Exactly. And there’s ways that you can train that again systems can train you for that. I know that, for example, if I get up early and I do my meditation and I walk to the gym and I do my session, I do my sauna before I do my first call, that person on the call is getting the best version of me because I’ve been present, I’ve exercised, I’ve put myself in a very uncomfortable position in a sauna where I’m fighting, I’m resisting, resisting, and I’ve started my day in that way. So I’m primed. If I wake up late and I’ve eaten before, I’ve gone to sleep and I’ve had a bad night’s sleep and I get on the phone, it kills me. This person is getting a different version of me, right? So it’s creating systems where you know that you’re going to be the the best version of you is going to show up for that, for that experience. And, and when you’re not recognising that as well, right? It’s like we’re not all perfect all the time. I’ve certainly like even today I got a message from someone that works for me and I snapped and I caught myself and I was like, Oh, interesting. I didn’t hate myself for it. I didn’t say, That’s now who I am. I’m like, so took the I apologised, so I’m sorry, that was me. It wasn’t you. How can I help? What can I do? You know, catching yourself. We’re all going to do. We’re all going to do it. Yes.
I’m catching behaviours has also been something, you know, like literally just two minutes before Louie came on, I got a message from one of my colleagues and it triggers me when I’m triggered. I’m really reactive. I’ve been and I get really defensive. You’ve probably seen it with me as well. But now and you even commented recently, I’m like, Oh, this person wrote this because of their own issues. And I’m projecting because I still have to work on some of mine. So actually don’t respond for 5 to 10 minutes. I never used to be able to do that, but it’s about creating that awareness. However, the way that you’re speaking now is incredibly empowering, incredibly inspiring. But there are some people I still believe that just cannot make those changes. They cannot create those systems, like you said, because for them it’s too difficult.
Just it’s this and this is the thing. It hasn’t got to be in it. It’s so funny where we where we go as a culture, isn’t it? Like you look at people, we talk about the need to to to improve mental health and then you have a wave of people putting out content that that’s supposed to be helpful. That’s helpful and it’s empowering. And then you get people that put out content that mocks that content. It’s like I wake up, I ice bath and then and it mocks it and it and it moves people away from it. But actually, it’s not about doing everything or about being perfect. And and it’s also not about comparing yourself to other people. It’s can you compare yourself to what you were doing? So if you’re not doing anything at the moment at all and tomorrow you can say, do you know what, I can spend one minute and I’m going to write down ten things that I’m really grateful for, and I’m just going to reflect on that for a minute. That’s better than yesterday. Sure. Okay. If you can do that for a week, you’ve you’ve done that for a for a whole week.
See how it feels. Does it feel? Of course it feels good. Yeah. Can you then think about. Okay, each day one of my systems is going to be I’m going to find an opportunity to do something nice for someone today. Yeah. Yeah. If you’ve got fear over, let’s say you’ve got finance, you’ve got financial fear. Yep. You’re worried about never having money. Having enough money. Actually, the solution to that is give money away. Yeah. Energetically. You’re sending out a signal. I have enough, right? That feeling of doing something, even if it’s a pound to someone on the street. That feeling of doing nights, of doing something nice for someone, it feels good. Reflecting on what you’re grateful for, it feels good. When stuff feels good, we’re more inclined to do it again and repeat it. But it’s habit stacking. It’s doing one thing at a time. So we’re starting with one thing finding the things that you find beneficial right now. Everyone’s going to enjoy doing ice baths or get anything from it. Now everyone’s going to enjoy doing it.
Know cold showers, cold.
Showers are great, absolutely great. But there’s a feeling with that. If I’ve done nothing else today. Yeah, I’ve had a cold shower and I didn’t want to do it, but I did it. Yeah. And there’s a feeling of achievement that goes with that. And step doing stepping into discomfort is an antidote to reacting when uncomfortable things come up because you meet it prepared as opposed to stuff happening to you. And we talked about victimhood before, right? Stuff happens, happens to us. We’re the victim. We’re not ready. Whereas if you’ve actively sought the discomfort in your day already and discomfort comes, you’re like, I’m prepared for this.
Do you know what else it reminds me of? Do you remember the sunscreen song with Baz Luhrmann? Have you guys heard it? You must know it. And then and I’m not going to sing it, mate. I’m not going to sing it anymore. One of you. So I will. You would have heard it before. But he basically talks through it and he does do one thing every day. That scares you. Yeah. Yeah. Do you know the song? Right. So I think that that is true. And I think that relating it back to dentists again, thinking about that, they always think they might see the shiny image on Instagram and they’re like, She’s done it through. Just doing it fell out of the sky. She got lucky. She got lucky, you know, and I’ve talked about this where I’m not into luck, I guess last week was like, I do believe in luck us. I don’t I really don’t believe in luck. Luck. I will stand by this when preparation meets opportunity. And like you said, it’s doing those small changes every single day, being prepared and then something will happen. But for me, I, I just put in so much hard work because all I knew is that I did not want the life that I was living at that time. I didn’t enjoy the practice I was working with. I wasn’t making good money. I wasn’t giving patients the best care. I did not like my life. No one would give me a job. I used to apply for jobs I’d drop. No one would because they were like, Who is this like absolute joker in these clothes? Like thinking she’s going to be a dentist? So I changed it like you said, because I was like, okay, so no one wants to do it, what can I do? And it was by looking at people who had achieved things through adversity and struggle.
Is it fair to say that that’s a catalyst then, and that without coming to that bottom point, you would not be where you are now? There’s a, there’s a book I, I bought for a few people recently, um, called Courage is Calling. It’s one of the where is my copy. Ryan Holiday Ryan holiday writer series. But it’s fantastic but it’s a collection of historical examples of people that have achieved amazing things but the consistent theme is they’ve achieved them as a as a result of incredibly challenging things and that nothing essentially it shows that through numerous examples throughout history that nothing is achieved without struggle and suffering. And often, very often the extent of the struggle depicts the extent of the achievement that that follows it. And so it’s been able to train ourselves that when we’re in uncomfortable situations or challenging situations, that this is what we actually need to then go out and and get what we want. And just to just to extend that is that very often when we think about what we’d like, the first thing that happens is things that are seemingly things that we don’t want to happen. But often that’s clearing the way for that stuff to come in, right? It’s like, I really want this, and then you lose your job. You’re like, Oh, I’ve lost my job. But you said you wanted that. You have to lose the job to create space to go and go and get that. And it’s training ourselves to step into the unknown, step into the fear without having to have everything figured out. But there’s a trust that needs to be built in, in, um, in the process, in the process. In the, in the process. Which is, which is. I know how scary that is. Right.
What, what things have you gone through that, that are like that. And I mean you must have been through so much through business and all that.
Oh I’ve got some good ones.
Yeah, go on. Nothing’s off limits.
Tell us some of your darkest days and what you learned from them.
Okay, I’ve got. Okay, so, um, I, I’ve, I can use. I can use a few examples. So I opened a restaurant. And when I opened the restaurant, I had enough money to pay the rent deposit. The first three quarters rent. And that was it. I needed another 270,000 to actually build the restaurant and open it, which I didn’t have, but I signed a 15 year lease anyway because I thought energy and tension momentum. I’m gonna figure it out. And I did figure it out. But a lot of that investment came from extra work that I went off and did family, friends, etcetera. So I’ve put all the money I have in the world in. I’ve put friends and family’s money in. I’ve moved back home at the age of 26, and I’ve built this restaurant. And went really, really well. Super busy all over Instagram, press, whatever. 12 weeks in I thought, This is great. I’m going. I’m going on holiday for a week because I’ve worked 12 weeks every day straight, get to LA, get a phone call. I get the chefs quit, the sous chefs quit, and in the middle of service, people are walking out. What do we do? Fly back. Haven’t got a chef. You try finding a specialist vegan chef six years ago.
Very difficult. Um, and so for three months, we barely traded, and the cashflow just went like this. Ran out of money. I was in there every day, morning, lunch and evening. I had another business that I was working in, so I was going between the two businesses. I wasn’t paying myself. Couldn’t find anyone. And I got to the point six months later where we’d gone through a few different chefs and my accountant said to me, You need to think about winding this business up. You’re in a huge hole of debt. Um, and, you know, it’s getting to the point where you need to think about liquidating. But I had 30 odd staff, friends and family’s money on the line, all of my money on the line. And I’d put this thing everywhere and on the surface, on Instagram, on everything. It looked like it was killing it. And, uh, I just remember just thinking. If this wasn’t such a mess, if I wouldn’t leave such a mess, I don’t want to be here because it’s such a mess. And it’s I. I don’t know what I’m going to do after this. And at that point, you know, I’d I’d had different companies and it was like I felt like I had all this potential but never actually realised it.
And this was the thing that was going to make me realise it. And it was, it was dead. And so I had a week about feeling sorry for myself and moping around. And then I was like, you know what? If I if it’s going to fail, it’s going to fail with me. Like. Go in for it. Right. So let me see how far What is the worst that can happen? He’s already told me I have to liquidate. Like, what’s the worst they can turn up? Take the debt. Collectors are going to take stuff like, fine, I’ll get it to that point. So basically I coincided with I found a chef. I took a chance on a really young chef. Um, I promoted some of the other guys. We got in, we got super creative, just brought a new energy to it, and it started working, but we couldn’t catch the money up quick enough to the debt. And I think I’ve ever said this on a podcast before. So operationally, we were then trading in profit, so we were profitable each week, but the backlog was we couldn’t pay it down quick enough. So I say I’m going to open another one.
Cause I know it works. I’ve got the model. I figured it out. I knew how to what days to open, how the the shifts would work, how to run it efficiently enough for it to make money and be profitable. Um, and I had the, I simplified the menus to the degree that I could have a wider, uh, spectrum of potential staff that could work. It wasn’t as specialist. And when I dialled down the menu slightly, I’d dial down the labour cost, I’d improve the food cost, I had more staff that were available. We got busier. So I had a good model, but I just had this backlog. So I announced the second opening. I went out to the market, I raised the capital to open another site. I used part of that capital to pay down the debt to the first site and ended up with two. Private investors.
Friends and family.
Again. Private investors Wasn’t friends. Angels? Angels? Yeah. And I. I made a case for. I said, look, this is how we’re trading.
Specifically, tell me if someone wants to raise some money from an angel. Where did you go? Did you go to. To a place where these guys, like an incubator type place where they get together? Or.
So we started with a crowdfunding campaign. It didn’t really work because you have to bring with crowdfunding, you actually have to bring 60% of the investors on board before it goes live on the platform. So if you raise in 300 grand, you need to raise 180 or so by yourself. So I just went went out on LinkedIn, I went out to investors that I knew I had a fairly good network. So I went out to people that I knew and I just started out.
At Chelsea gyms and dodgy saunas. No joking. Yeah, but at.
This time you were what, 28 or something?
Yeah. Yeah. It’s amazing. Oh, my God.
And but the, the point being that when you said about being in those dark positions, it’s like you’re sat there and like everything that you’ve built and worked for, you see, is about to crumble. And then the same thing happened with Covid, right? I opened a restaurant. Two days before. Two days after. No, Sorry. Two days before the first lockdown. Oh, my God. I’d just signed a 15 year lease on a warehouse to build an indoor football centre. So I had two commercial leases that I’d underwritten as the personal guarantor. With all of these star like people that were working in the businesses and again, investors money which I feel responsible for and which, you know, I feel responsible for to the degree that I underwrote the lease, which I’m now still paying for years later, because I because I felt so bad about anyone else taking a risk on my my idea. Right. And so so yeah, I’ve those positions you you get yourself in and it’s tough.
It’s really tough in the time between. We all felt it in the time.
Well, the lockdown.
In between lockdown and.
I signed my practice. I bought a completed a week before national lockdown. I can and honest to God like the loan had gone through and all of a sudden I had all these responsibilities and the practice shut down. And the thing is, is Louis said. But then you pivot and you’re like, okay, cool. I’m in this situation now. What do I do? And by the way, there is no shame in packing things up either because sometimes you’ve got to do things for you. So when it’s reached the end of the line, it’s reaching the light. In my case, I was like, I’ve just bought this practice. I’ve built it up for five years. I’ve just bought it, so I’m ready to go. And I pivoted. And then when we could open, I’d been the busiest I’d ever been. Didn’t dentistry boomed during lockdown? You know what I mean? Who would have thought that? Because if you were the kind of person that was doing things out of love and purpose and love and purpose for me is always my patients. Always, always, always. I was like, okay, give them the free advice, Help them do the consultations. They wanted to come to me. So I actually had ability to build rapport with them on digital platforms like Zoom, you know what I mean? Before they came into the chair.
Look, from my perspective, right? I look at I look at you, Louis, and you’re clearly a pure bred entrepreneur. You really are. You know, the just your attitude on risk and optimism and multiple businesses. You maybe. I don’t know whether you you class yourself as one or not, but you definitely are really? 100%. 100%? Well, I don’t. It doesn’t have to be a thanks thing, does it?
It’s it’s also to that point, if I can just add, entrepreneurship has been glamorised in our culture in recent years, right? It wasn’t. It wasn’t before. But it’s this. It’s this. It’s this glamorised. There’s. And I think the the problem with that is that it’s put on a pedestal. You think, oh, what an aspirational thing to be an entrepreneur. It’s cool. But but I would probably have a much more peaceful life if I didn’t have that. If I didn’t want to be that. Yeah, probably would. Right? It’s you have to understand, it’s so clear that it’s so you have to understand.
In different places. Yeah.
Which but that, that in itself can be a problem right. Because you know, you end up not having a social life, a personal life. You end up putting that stuff in front of other things which maybe you shouldn’t. It goes in front of your health if you’re not careful and so the, the the outcome is very often that you’re the last person to get paid. Yeah. You carry all of the risk. You carry all of the weight of responsibility.
The attitude to risk, you know, how do.
You feel about risk? Do you feel like high risk, high return kind of guy?
But I think the reason I feel like that and I guess the reason I feel like that is because I’m young enough and I’m free enough of responsibilities for it to not matter. And this is one of the things I can honestly say that I’ve got from psychedelics and from using psychedelics in, in, in an in a therapeutic setting. And I don’t want this to come across a wrong way. And it may be unrelatable, but nothing matters. Nothing matters.
Nothing actually matters. So let’s say, for example, everything that I currently have and I’m doing fails tomorrow. I lose everything. I’m bankrupt. I’m on zero. It’s never that far away, let’s be honest. Right? Cause that’s the game that I play. I’m high risk, high reward. Let’s say that is. It doesn’t matter. In fact, there’s a sick part of me that kind of wants it to happen just to see if I could come back and just for how much I’d get from it, of the humility of going to nothing, because I do genuinely believe that I would build up again even better than where I am now. And very quickly, because all of the things you learn on the way you don’t unlearn them, you don’t lose network, you don’t even really lose any kind of kudos or um, or reputation really, because if you look again through history, you look around. The best entrepreneurs I know have had massive failures, massive, massive failures. It’s part of the process. It’s part of the way of learning. When I when I invest in companies, I very often like to see the founders background. Have they failed? When have they struggled? When have they had their backs against the wall and how have they reacted to it? And if they’re failed. But out of that, they’ve started another company that’s been brilliant. That’s someone that I can back because when it gets difficult, they keep going. And I think that’s an important attribute when it comes to mental health, not even as an entrepreneur as anyone. Can you put yourself in positions to fail and when you do fail, which you invariably will, how do you come back from it? Can you use that as an opportunity, as a lesson and as a way to learn about yourself and come back up? Because we’re all going to go through it whether you like it or not. You’re better off choosing it than having it happen to you.
And you know, dentistry is a career where we’re literally every single thing we do, even if you’re at the top of the top, will fail As And that’s the guarantee we can make, you know, because patients come in and one of the things they think is like they expect a filling to last a lifetime. They expect the root canal to last. They expect everything. And dentists, they get such strong anxiety because the thought of failure is so soul destroying to them on every aspect, the academic level, the patient level, the clinical level, everything. But actually, like you said, the one thing that we can guarantee, especially in dentistry, is going to fail. It’s going to fail at some point. So you have to learn to flip that narrative in your mind. Can you can.
You get comfortable with the worst outcome? And this is this is I do this during Covid. You know, I do this during Covid, Right? It was like.
I was thinking when you were talking about it, you’re obviously not paying school fees.
This is the thing. Challenge him, but challenge him.
I’m saying, can you get comfortable? But I said that I have the luxury of not having not having dependables. Right. I do have dependables because I have commercial leases that I’m personally guaranteed on that I have to pay, right? Or, you know, you know, which is probably the equivalent. That being said, can you get uncomfortable when things are particularly on top? And I had this drink during Covid when I was looking at everything and I’m like. You know, in in your head, you start to think about what what could happen. And I’m like, well, what if I just ride it out? What is the worst thing that could happen? I could lose that. I could owe this money on that because of guarantees I could own that owe that because of loans that have guaranteed these people could hate me. When you actually look at it. It’s not that bad.
Is it that bad? Really? Is it that bad? I’ve got an eye again. I’m. I’m currently. I’ve not mentioned this yet. You and I talk about this a lot. Foundational to mental health. My belief. Foundational to mental health is is is spiritual physical health physical health in in the sense that if you are eating bad foods so foods far removed from their original state. Heavily processed foods not exercising. You are not, um, you are not assessing your health. And this could be through, you know, testing, whatever, not getting enough sleep, which is probably the biggest one. I love my sleep. Probably the biggest. The biggest one. Not managing stress, etcetera. If you are not in a state of physical health, it is very, very, very, very, very likely that you will suffer poor mental health because it’s it’s near impossible to have good mental health in a poor physical form. Near impossible when you’re ill. I was I was ill for the first time in about ten years, uh, the other week coming back from Mexico. There’s nothing that I wanted more in that moment of being nailed than just to feel better again. I would have given anything. I felt horrific. I didn’t care. I don’t care about anything else. And I really thought in that moment I was like, wow, I take my health. I put a lot of effort into my into my health and well-being. And in fact, it it supersedes anything I do in business, my own physical health. But for, wow, I would give anything that I have to feel healthy right now. This is horrible.
I totally agree. And I feel exactly the same way in terms of health. But one thing that I want to carry on from is, like you said, we have the luxury to be able to invest in certain things, but there may be some people that think, I’m a single mom, I’ve got three kids, I’m really depressed and I can barely make it through the day. And she’s on minimum wage. Right. And it’s a different circumstance. I appreciate I appreciate. But there have people been in those situations. What do you think they can do? Or do you think that this is a completely different conversation for people, a different conversation?
It’s like most of the things that. So let let’s look at lockdown, for example. Yeah, we are all in that position during lockdown. You couldn’t go and use fancy gyms, couldn’t go and use fancy saunas, couldn’t go and do whatever. It’s grass roots. We have to look at what are the what are the thing, what are the resources that we all have time probably in that situation isn’t the isn’t the most available resource because you’re taking care of somebody else for long periods, but can you get out for a run or a walk? Can you, uh, get yourself into cold exposure? Can you spend ten minutes focusing on your breath? You know, can you exercise at home all of these things? Can you get eight hours sleep? All of these things which are foundational from a health perspective are are free. You can enjoy free of charge. Can you journal.
Plus plus write some of the happiest people I’ve met or seen in my life or people with no finances at all. I mean, could just go to the third world and look at the smile on people’s faces. You haven’t got anything. And then some of the unhappiest people.
I know have everything. They got.
You got loads of money were born into millions of pounds of. And that thing you said about leaning into discomfort and discomfort, immunising you sort of against life’s challenges. I don’t think, you know, these foundational things that you’re talking about, the number of hours you sleep. Good and bad food is an element of when you know you can’t afford to buy fresh food. I get that.
But have you ever been to Aldi? I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never been. I went to my I used to.
Go all the time.
I went to I.
Went living in Kent. It was my local.
I went to my, um. I went to my my parents live in Norfolk. I go to go to Aldi. The quality of the fruits and vegetables is incredibly high. Serious, Seriously. And I know a bit of vegan, a lot of veg, very, very high quality fruit and veg I bought. I had to go and get I had a I had a, um, I had a, uh, was, I needed like a gin. I have ginger every day. Most mornings I was like, I need to get ginger and lemon.
I got, like sprigs of.
Ginger and a bag of lemons for, like, £0.90.
This? It’s a it’s amazing, right? So, like you to to your point, you could eat and people I get to hit with this with the vegan argument all the time. I’ll be in vegan vegans. Really expensive. Yes. If you go and buy beyond meat burgers or you go to whole food or whatever. But if you’re buying Whole foods, which natural foods, it’s not expensive.
But also the other thing is I think it goes back to the same thing over and over again. There is a huge system problem because all the things that you’ve talked about, which are basic and free to help people and their mental health is not really given as part of education. Do you know what I mean? Like not even you think like, wouldn’t everyone know? No, they don’t know. I didn’t know Breathwork could help you. I did not know. Breathwork and breathing could literally help you with anxiety.
You two are in that world much more than I am.
But this is what I’m saying.
It’s interesting how. But today.
Today I had. I had it today. Really. I had really stressed. I had a stressful moment earlier. Like, you know, we just get a little bit overwhelmed sometimes. Like I had two calls happening back to back. That invite hadn’t been sent to that person for that call. They missed it. The next call, the notes had said so. And I just when that happens to inhales through the nose and a long inhale through the mouth a couple of times and I’ve just reset.
Wim Hof style.
I just I just downregulate the.
System and it’s amazing how quickly that it works. And this is something that, again, you think, you know, it’s free, it’s there. And if I knew that knew about this earlier, I could have responded it in a different way. But I think it’s about spreading awareness of these tools. And this is where the this is the kind of the DNA of the retreats. It was like, wow, I’ve learned these four things and I know these people that would love it, who don’t know about it. Can we bring them together and maybe we can share some different reactions to it. Maybe they’ve got things to share and you kind of create this co-created space, which is why what you guys do on the podcast is great because you can have people reach out and say, Well, that really resonated with me, that bit. And what do you think about this? And it starts conversations. It gets people sharing things and through different experiences we discover different, uh, different tools. And if we can share those tools, everyone gets the benefit.
The reason why we did it, or particularly you came to me, but the reason why I did it was because it’s become quite fashionable to talk about mental health.
But, you know, a Payman can vouch for me in the fact that I’ve been trying to say this for like a few years, but there was still such a stigma. People were like, Well, we don’t really talk about it. Do you know, I, I.
Feel like the stigma we’ve almost gotten over these days, but that still leaves me in a position where I’m just talking about it and I haven’t got actual solutions. And you’re talking about solutions.
That’s what I’m.
Saying. This is this is the this is the this.
Is the problem, right? It’s like it’s become fashionable to talk about people want it. And I, I and again, whatever the reason people talk about it because it’s it’s fashionable. It gets them views, it gets them likes but it’s the the narrative tends to be let’s talk it’s good to talk talk to someone. I’m sorry but when I am in a position where I’m at the on the brink of losing everything, I can’t tell my girlfriend because that’s going to put her in into into a dark place. I can’t tell my parents because you can put them in a dark place. I can’t tell the people that work with me. Who do I speak to? Am I going to call some random person? And there isn’t. So for me personally, the talking thing has never worked. It hasn’t. And I think we’re guilty of having this one, too. If you if you’ve got mental health problems, talk, talk to someone. It doesn’t doesn’t work for me, but it doesn’t work for me. But I found things that do. And these are the tools that I have used that have worked for me. And I think if we all were able to say when I’ve suffered, these are the things that I’ve I’ve helped one, some of them may work for you, some some won’t. That’s where we start moving the conversation forward. It’s actionable steps, not, Oh, let’s talk about mental health. I had this. I had that. It doesn’t.
But you know what the thing is like when we when we went to the global collective thing, do you remember there were so many conversations and people were like, This is all great, but help. And some of them like went as far the dentist, they were like, Can you not talk to the governing bodies that cause us stress? Because like one big thing, for example, the worst thing that a dentist fears is either like being under the scrutiny of a patient and having some kind of like, litigious claim, or they’re worried about the the sort of the, the the regulator like coming down on them and their public image being tainted. But like you said, if you become comfortable with the worst outcome, which I’m not saying you have to be happy about it, but if you somehow come to terms that a possibility in your career. Yeah.
Let’s say let’s say you get yourself sued and you get a GDC situation and you can’t work as a dentist then. Have you gone through that?
Yeah, I. You know, I think most dentists what’s know I think most dentists have gone through that sort of thing. But one thing that I’ve always thought to myself, you will, even in the worst case situation, you will somehow get through it. Now, I am the kind of person to completely lose it in the moment. Like as in like I will break down on my hands and knees. I will scream and cry and be like, I can’t get through it. That happened during lockdown. I had a practice. Here’s your loan, pay, here’s your rent, pay here’s furlough, sort this out, here’s this. And I was like, I’m not going to get through this. My practice is going to go bankrupt. But I did get through it. Do you see what I mean? And I think like there is something in, in the whole like the worst thing for me that holds me back is still like, But what are people going to think? What are people going to what’s everyone going to think of this if it becomes public? Does that make sense? You know, you’re.
Very, very, very high profile now in in the world of dentistry. Right? So it’s almost like you’ve got more to lose. How do you feel about that? I mean, you said you’re up for high risk, high reward. What about when you start a new business?
Do you feel at this point? I don’t care.
At this point.
I don’t care.
So so. But, you know, but there’s in your industry, there’s people who think of you as as a, you know, like a player.
Not. But at this point, I, I honestly don’t care because I’ve proved in, in my mind, I think the, the value. It used to be, and I think it often is for people when they start, they have something to prove to everyone else. Yeah. And they’re so concerned with proving to other people they neglect to prove anything to themselves. And no one else can make us feel any way about ourselves other than how we feel about ourselves. Right? So for me, I’m like, if I told myself at 22 I’d be doing what I’m doing now at 32, would I be happy? Yes, I’m happy if the next thing I do fails terribly and everyone gets to see it. But look, look at all this stuff that I’ve done.
I love that.
I don’t care like I could. I could fail the next five things that I do. I mean, have you have you seen the have you read The Man in the Arena? Quote? No. So I’ve got a I’ve got a football, uh, centre up in Norfolk called the Arena and we’ve got four football pitches, boxing gym, a 20,000 square foot warehouse, built it during lockdown. Really cool space. The quote on the wall as you go in is it’s, uh, I think it’s a Theodore Roosevelt quote. The man in the arena and the the I I’m not going to read it out, but, uh, and people can go and go and look it up. But effectively, it’s the man in the arena that counts, not the ones that are watching, not the ones talking, not anyone else comment on it. Only the man in the arena knows. So if you’ve put yourself out there, if you’ve birthed an idea and put it out for the scrutiny of the world, no one can look on on that and say anything. I’ve put it out there. I’ve taken action. That is an achievement in itself, whether it works or it doesn’t. And if you can then keep doing that after a failure, it’s an even bigger achievement. And what is what’s what’s something working or not working if it works for two years, did it work? If it if it doesn’t, if it struggles for ten years and then closes, did it work? If it’s there for a month and it burns down, then does it work? Like what’s the definition? Right? For me, it’s like you have to set a definition yourself. If I can bring an idea to life, put it out to the world, people get value from it. I can actualise the purpose of what I was intending to do while staying true to my values. And I’m in it doing it. It’s succeeding. And if there’s a point where at some point where I decide for it not to or I want to do something else, then it’s not.
One of your core values obviously is being a vegan. Well, is that even a core value? But you know part of your identity. Talk us.
Through. I’m going to challenge that.
Okay. All right. Right. Right. It’s not part of his identity.
I just don’t I just don’t like I just.
Don’t I just don’t think labels are particularly helpful.
Fair enough. I don’t subscribe. I don’t think anyone can subscribe and say that they do. Everything they do doesn’t harm animals at all. Somewhere along the line, there is some crop that’s getting sprayed. The ivy in that’s killed the beaver, for example. Right. At some point, however, I seek to live a life that is. F that, um, essentially does no harm to animals or humans as as much as I possibly consciously can. So I don’t eat animals, I don’t eat animal by-products. I don’t buy animal products as much as I physically can. I don’t, um, hold myself to a ridiculous high standard. Like if I accidentally eat something or buy something, you know, I I’m also comfortable enough that I’m making a conscious effort to not to if it happens. No, it’s not the it’s not the end of the world for me, but I try to and I think that value system has been really helpful to me in how I conduct myself in other in business and in other situations. I, I just try not to cause any harm to anyone else.
It’s unfair the way vegans get judged. Sometimes it’s almost like you’ve got to be 100% perfect as a vegan. But but if you’re not a vegan, then.
Because it’s a because.
It’s a mirror for people. It’s a mirror for people. They see someone else taking an action that they probably know in their heart is probably the right action to take. And it highlights to them that they’re not doing it. So the easiest response to that is to make a make a joke or say something, right.
The thing is, I’m I’m in no, everyone thinks I’m vegan, by the way. Do you think so? You look healthy. No. Um. I said it lol babe. Lol. So basically the thing is with the whole veganism thing, I completely I’m the sort of person and genuinely I say this with all my heart. I am the kind of person that respects anybody’s decision and anything that they want to do for themselves. I respect even the whole like vaccine argument. Whoever wanted to take it could. Whoever didn’t, could. There was no judgement. I don’t judge people. And the same is with veganism. I tried it. It personally did not work for me for for health reasons. Maybe I wasn’t doing it correctly. I always make a conscious effort to do things correctly. My body didn’t respond that well. I’m Mediterranean. I’ve been brought up on a mediterranean diet. Am I still conscious about where my animal sources come from? Absolutely. Do you see what I mean? So but for me, I’m like, okay. I just feel like my body didn’t feel it as best, you know. And I tried it for long enough and that’s fine. That’s okay, you know, because I believe everybody is different. So that’s kind of my stance on it. But I think, you know, Louis is also Louis is not a preacher, by the way, like he’s never preached to me about not. And he’s been like, you know, in our sort of group, you know, there’s people that are non vegans as well. And I’ve never seen, you know, you sort of challenge anybody on their views.
Again, it’s like we’re.
All on our own journey in our own path, right? So everyone makes their own choice. You can if you want to. I’m not going to tell you something you don’t want to know. So if someone says to me, Oh, why, Why what? What makes you think that’s a good, good thing? I’ll have a conversation, but I’m never going to be like, You should do this because this isn’t this because I don’t have context. I don’t know your body type, your background, your age, all that stuff. Right? I, I just don’t know. So I can say that this is what’s worked for me, same as the stuff we’re talking about. As it relates to mental health, I can only share personal direct experience. I can’t prescribe anything to anyone. I wouldn’t do that. I can only say this is what I’ve been. This is what’s benefited me. This is what I’ve done. Maybe there’s going to be bits of it you can take that will also work for you. And nothing’s really original, is it? Like everything that I do, I’ve taken from someone else at some point and put it together and made it my own thing. So yeah, that’s kind of how I how I how I look at it. But it’s been amazing for me. I’ve been I’ve been on a plant based diet for eight years. Um, I get my bloods done regularly.
Uh, supplement with all the things.
That, um, no, not any more. I supplement Omega three, six and nine, but most people should do that anyway. B12 No, I don’t supplement B12 because it’s in your.
There we go.
He’s a parlour for subscriber. Um.
And no, I just eat a varied whole food plant based diet. And like everyone, I have a treat every now and again. But when I say a treat, I mean like still vegan. But not, not, um, not super healthy. But for the most part, it’s healthy food. And the reason I do it is because it makes me feel great and it makes me feel optimal and it makes me feel that I can show up for for myself and other people as the best version of me. Because what I’m putting into my body is enabling my body to, to, um, to, to have the most energy.
I love that.
Do you. Do you crave meat or not?
Not at all.
I did it overnight, by the way. It was like overnight.
Why do you crave.
Meat at the beginning?
So how did that work?
Did I just.
A complete realisation like.
And what was the catalyst? Did you watch a movie or.
Uh, yeah, I watched.
Uh, do you know what I at the time I was, I had a recruitment company and I was working in. I know, uh, the, I don’t know.
For your age, it’s ridiculous.
I know. So I had a recruitment company. I was working in nightlife, so I was doing recruitment in the daytime and night nightlife every evening, like six days a week. I was knackered constantly, and I was just eating on the go all the time. I’d have. I would eat in a restaurant three times a day, breakfast, lunch, dinner. And I was eating meat with every meal. And I was just I was just feeling sluggish. I was just like I just wasn’t feeling good. And I, I started looking online about diets to, like, like, feel better or whatever. And it kept coming up. Plant based, plant based, plant based. So I watched a, someone did a talk for an audience and everything he said just made complete sense. So I thought, okay, I need to try something and I’m quite a drastic person. I’ll go, if I do something, I’m all in, so let me try it for a month. So went off to Whole Foods, bought loads of tofu and stuff, didn’t really know what I was doing with tofu. And, um. Yeah, after a month I just felt great skin cleared up with sleeping better, recovering faster in the gym. Um, just felt really good. I was enjoying discovering new foods. I’d never eaten quinoa before. Typekit. Amazing, right?
Actually, I would say I’m 80% actually like plant based and like.
Yeah, because we went for that steak once and you didn’t even go anywhere near it. You just like.
Veggies I ordered, didn’t.
See, so I’d say it’s 80%, but I mean, I’m still like kind of into my seafood, so. Yeah, I. Think that this has been one of the best talks that we’ve done, because I really think we’ve had such an incredible amount of information and action points for people. And I think these are action points that every everybody could do. It’s not just in dentistry, but across the board, but particularly because I said dentists find it really uncomfortable. You obviously have achieved so much. And as always, yeah, we only scratch the surface. And, you know, Louie’s the kind of person I think we need to invite back for. Also like a.
Refreshing to have you, you know, answer the questions in such a sort of simple, clear, open way. You know, it’s, it’s refreshing to see that.
But I always like to end these podcasts with a question that I haven’t prepared you with. I haven’t prepared anything anyway, as Louie would never let me do that. But I want to ask you, what are you most proud of?
Do you know what I did? A, um.
It’s a lot for me. It won’t be a lot for some people. But again, we talk about it’s how we compare ourselves to ourselves, not to other people. During lockdown, I saw. Groups of friends go in one of two directions. Some of them. Went into partying, drinking like that way, and others went into sports and exercise. And it seems it was a real like polarising time. Right. But and I. When the health direction and I started running. I’d never been a runner. Never really ran that much. Um, and I ran a ran a marathon, then did an ultra marathon. And then my friend said to me, What could we do that would be scary? And we said, a hundred K without any training. Oh, my God. And I got to about 60 K into it and my knee was like twice the size I was done and I still had it over a marathon to go.
100 kilometre run.
And I got to a point where in that hundred K. I wanted to quit so badly. I’d had enough. My body was battered. I was. It was the most uncomfortable, probably the most physically uncomfortable I’ve ever been.
How long does it take?
About 13 hours.
13 hours. And?
And I managed to.
Keep going and get to the end. And I’m able to look back on that and pull so much strength from it when things get hard because I know I’ve been to like the darkest place I could go and then gone beyond it. And so now when really challenging stuff comes up, I’m able to lean into it and that happens. I can call on it all the time.
Do you think it’s transferable?
Yes, 100% transferable.
You can transfer that.
Absolutely to me. No, no, no, no.
Not to you.
You can transfer.
It, but you can transfer it from different things. So if you’ve gone into like a this is why, for example, if you look at Ironman competitors, the average income of an Ironman competitor amateur in the US, I believe is quarter of £1 million a year salary. And there’s a reason, because the mindset that you need to complete an Ironman is consistent with the the mindset that you need to be a high performer in work. And what you’ll find is that the mentality that you need when you’re in these incredibly hard physical challenges is the same mindset. You need to excel in all areas of life. So what I got from that, being in that very, very uncomfortable physical position was. We’ve got so much more in the tank than we think we have. We can endure so much more than we think we can endure. And I’ve got friends that run a hundred miles, 120 miles. So a hundred K is not a world record by any stretch of the imagination. People do them every weekend. But for me, I’d never ran further than 50 K. I was broken. I was ready to quit and I pushed through it. And I can look back on that and think I did it when when hard stuff comes up, I’ve got that to reflect on and that’s why I would recommend to people again, not s not saying this is what you should do, but I’ve got benefit from it. Try and pick stuff that’s really hard, but that doesn’t require that doesn’t require any skill. There’s no, there’s no real skill in run a hundred K, you just need to be willing to go through it.
Go out and push.
Yourself in that respect because it will cross over to other things.
Um, I’m starting drama school again on that note.
Stuff That’s scary stuff.
But you know why? Because I love drama. And I was like, straight A’s and English lit and drama, and I loved it. And you know what? I was like. It’s going to be scary to go back to drama school. And it’s no pressure because you know what? If I can’t fail anything, you know, like it’s I’m doing it for me and I’m challenging myself. So I think that is that’s a really important message for people to really estimate. And also reflecting on what you said now, you just said as well, it’s about that mental. Well, the I man analogy, it’s the same with Dental school, by the way, because the stuff they make you do, it’s part of it. It’s actually testing your resilience and how you how you perform under pressure. It’s not like you have to know the whole textbook because they literally like make you learn medicine in like two years as well as doing a million things. It’s about your resilience, how you work under pressure and your response. And that’s the key thing that they’re testing.
So the the.
Question about is it transferable? What was the name of that guy, Spencer, that you went.
The sober rave?
Spencer Matthews Yeah, so I heard him on. Was it diversity or someone on a podcast? Maybe it was on maybe it was on dance.
Yeah. And he said something about a marathon in the ice like a for me, it sounded like a nightmare. Total nightmare. And he got Covid in the middle of it and he carried on through it. But but my point is, I then ended up in some train station, half an hour walk to where I had to go to, and it was raining. I would have hated my life. Uber wasn’t working in Peterborough wherever I was, and I thought of him and I thought, What’s this? I could do this.
I’ve got another.
Hundred K coming up.
Eight weeks, actually.
Who do it every.
Uh, there’s, there’s events on regularly. I’ve got one in, I’ve got one in March in, uh, in Tuscany. But it’s a trail, so this one’s going to be harder because it’s, uh. Because it’s elevation. Yeah, but, uh, but the reason I chose Tuscany was at least if you, if you, if you, if it’s really horrible, the scenery is beautiful. And afterwards the pasta is going to be incredible. So.
So such a pleasure to have you.
Thank you. Such a pleasure, Louis. It’s been amazing. Thank you so, so much.