Brett Podolsky’s passion for health and wellness really all began with Jada, his dog. Jada was dealing with chronic illness and Brett couldn’t figure out how to get her well again. "Finally a vet recommend I try home cooking her meals. And all of her symptoms disappeared.”
Brett credits that moment as both the start of the idea for his company and the start of his personal wellness journey. After realizing he didn't trust the dog food brands on the market, he decided to create a trustworthy brand. The brand he wished had existed for his own dogs. And The Farmer’s Dog, a subscription service that makes freshly-cooked dog food, was born.
Naturally, all this research into dog diets caused Brett to reflect on his own diet too. So while Brett’s been changing the dietary landscape for dogs, he’s been going on a personal wellness and health journey of his own.
He gave Hilma a glance inside his new wellness philosophy and a peek at the products and practices that keep him healthy.
How natural remedies factored into his childhood.
My grandfather had his own health food store, called Gramercy Natural in New York. It was a small store and many people weren’t into it. He was far ahead of his time. When I was a kid, he was giving us almond milk, and soy milk, and alfalfa sprout sandwiches on whole wheat pita. I remember thinking it was so weird. But my grandfather is now a super active 80-year-old guy and he’s been meat free and eating super healthy foods his entire life.
Brett’s biggest health concerns.
I’m prone to diabetes, it’s in my family. I’m also generally concerned about cancer because who isn’t?
Brett’s medicine cabinet.
I have a little toiletry travel case that I carry around with me at all times. That’s really my medicine cabinet. I keep a few things on me always: I don’t know everything that I’m allergic to, but I know I’m allergic to a couple of things, so I carry non-drowsy Benadryl. I also carry an electrolyte powder because I get dehydrated often and strongly believe good hydration is the key to feeling good.
How he manages his meals.
I don’t eat breakfast, I try not to put a lot of calories in my body in the morning. I drink water, but no calories until midday. I have two good meals a day. My first meal is plants, a salad or something like that; my second meal is typically where I lose my decision making ability, but in a perfect day I’ll also eat plants (but sometimes I end up eating pasta). Never meat, I try to avoid dairy, and when I do drink I’ll have like a drink at dinner, but I really don’t drink much. Even if I go out I’ll have two or three at most.
How he integrates exercise into his lifestyle.
I don’t play sports, as a kid I loved it, but now I just get injured. I think certain parts of sports are great, but with most sports you just really beat yourself up. I’m more a fan of me and my dogs getting exercise together, so we’ll go on really long walks. Big, concussive, hard, movements are not things that I’m into. I’m more into light, easy walking, consistent slow movement.
One part of his day that he never sacrifices.
Sleep is really, really important. I always make sure to get 7-8 hours. If not, I’ll be a zombie by 5pm.
The wellness philosophy he lives by.
Keep it simple and think about what people have been doing for thousands of years. Many people want to take a shortcut these days — they want to take some supplement that’s going to cut their body fat, or curb their appetite. But I like to think back to what people were doing for most of human history and that’s how I like to live my life. That’s how our bodies evolved to thrive. Exercise, companionship, your relationships are all extremely important for our health and well being; and then, of course, eating foods that are easy for human beings to come across without the tools we’ve developed more recently. For instance, there is no reason why we should be eating meat every day of our lives, it’s just not realistic that human beings were eating that way. We should be eating plants, things that grow. I don’t think humans were meant to eat animals, especially like how we do today. Have you ever been on a hike and saw some berries and your mouth started to water? Have you ever seen a live cow, chicken, or pig and thought they looked delicious? I doubt it.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
This information is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult a physician before treating any disorder.