The video above is 2 minutes 55 seconds long.
We welcome back Donal O’Neill to the show, the creator of the Cereal Killers Movie with the fantastic message; Don’t Fear Fat.
This time Donal is here to chat about his new movie and sequel to the original; Cereal Killers Two – Run On Fat. We dive into the world of elite athleticism and performance where world class triathlete Sami Inkinen and Dr Steve Phinney challenge the efficacy and safety of “carb loading” for sports performance.
If you like the idea of eating whole foods instead of sugar gels and processed carbs as your main source of fuel, then this episode is for you!
Full Interview: Cereal Killers 2 Movie – Run On Fat with Donal O’Neill
- How two people rowed 45 days straight on a high fat diet
- How to become a ‘healthier’ athlete on top of performance
- The best sporting disciplines that are more suited to a low carb diet
- The steps an athlete should take if wanting to adopt this style of eating
- A glimpse into Cereal Killers Three
- And much much more…
Get More of Cereal Killers Two:
Cereal Killers Two Transcript
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. We welcome back today, Donal O’Neill. Now you might remember we had Donal on our podcast roughly about a year ago discussing his movie Cereal Killers. Now, Cereal Killers actually went on to be viewed several hundred thousand times, which is pretty remarkable considering that it was Donal’s first movie.
It was featured on the world’s largest health website. It’s also been on the BBC, national newspapers and it was deemed one of the top 10 independent movies of 2013, which is awesome. So, if you haven’t seen that and you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can check out our podcast and just type “Cereal Killers” into Google, because it’s a fantastic documentary on fat adaptation. (Let me get my words right.)
So, he’s now back with his brand-new movie, which is Cereal Killers 2, called Run on Fat, and I must admit I was very excited when I saw this because I think it’s a movie that just needed to be made and at least put that into the mix out there.
And it’s exactly that. It’s about fat adaption and sports performance and elite athleticism and it actually follows the progress of Sami Inkinen who is a World Ironman champion and his wife Meredith and they both decide to row from San Francisco to Hawaii nonstop. I think it took them 45 days, of course, using fat as the primary source of fuel, and they were also monitored and given guidance by Dr. Stephen Phinney, of course, who is a low-carb legend himself, so make sure the movie, check it out. It’s a must, and you’re going to thoroughly enjoy the podcast today, because we get to chat on and on about, yeah, everything that’s within Cereal Killers 2, so I have no doubt you’re going to enjoy it.
If you are listening to this though iTunes, just a simple subscribe to our podcast and also a review would be fantastic. Just helps us get found easier on iTunes and spread the word out there, and, of course, if you are listening to the and you want to come over and see our pretty faces on video or watch these in video, come to 180nutrition.com.au, and we’ve got a heap of resources there to include our free e-book, which I’m very proud of which I wrote. Yeah, it’s a great place to start if you find all of this information a little bit overwhelming.
Anyway, I’m going to stop talking and let’s get into the podcast with Donal. Enjoy.
Guy Lawrence: Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined today with Stuart Cooke. Hello, Stewie, as always.
Stuart Cooke: Hello.
Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Donal O’Neill. Donal, welcome back to the podcast, mate.
Donal O’Neill: Morning, guys.
Guy Lawrence: So, mate, it’s good to have you back on the show and obviously talk about the new movie, Cereal Killers 2, but I thought just before we start getting into that, can you just bring yourself up to speed for anyone that might not have heard of you or the first movie, Cereal Killers?
Donal O’Neill: You mean there are people down there who haven’t heard about us?
Stuart Cooke: I think there were two. There were two that I found, last week.
Donal O’Neill: I thought our last podcast had addressed all of that, well for those that haven’t come across us yet, I’m the producer of Cereal Killers, which was a movie I made with a bit of a personal quest into the whole area of health and wellness and particularly metabolic disorders after my dad who was a, sort of, seemingly fit, healthy sports man took a heart attack.
So I got busy researching why that happened and I was stupid enough to think I could make a feature-length documentary about what I found out and that went kind of okay, so…
Guy Lawrence: You did a fantastic job.
Donal O’Neill: We lost the plot… We’ve done it again, so, here we are.
Guy Lawrence: I remember we were talking to you on the podcast last time and you said this thing just grew and grew and grew, and you ended up getting Dr. Peter Brukner and the Aussie cricket team at the end of the movie and everything, you know, it certainly wasn’t a two-week project by any means by the looks of it. What inspired you to do a second one with Cereal Killers 2 – Run on Fat?
Donal O’Neill: Well, a really interesting thing happened when we ran the Kickstarter account in for Cereal Killers 1. Sami Inkinen contacted me after that campaign and, I’m a big believer in the power of the internet, obviously, you guys would be, too, and Sami just contacted me out of the blue from California. I did not know who he was. He said he wanted to help pump the movie in North America, and Sami is also a tech entrepreneur, so he’s very familiar and capable in this biz, but a long story short, Sami sponsored a screening tour of North America for Cereal Killers 1.
The movie was already made, at that point, and I met him really this time last year for the first time, and we hit it off, got along very well. He’s a World Ironman age group champion, phenomenal athlete, so the bulk of our discussion was around sport and performance and whatnot, and then when we hooked up in San Francisco, we talked some more, and I got to understand really what he himself had done, and I realized that he probably has more data than anybody else on the planet in terms of his journey to fat adaptation in an elite performance model, so I was absolutely fascinated by that.
And he engaged Steve Phinney who came to the premiere in San Francisco last year. It kind of rolled from there. I went and spent some time with Steve Phinney who’s a remarkable man, and the idea for Cereal Killers 2 was born because Sami and his wife Meredith had decided they were going to row across the Pacific. It kind of struck me as a nice story arc with a fantastic scientist center stage, because Steve was advising Sami on his dietary aspects. Yeah, it all just knitted together. It struck me, “This is a strong story,” and the guys agreed to participate and, you know, Steve Phinney in particular had never done anything like this and I just think he’s a man whose time has come and Sami was a wonderful manifestation of his principles, so I just thought the story was strong and the people were interested and willing and finally we got it done.
Guy Lawrence: Great job. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Are you expecting any grief from the sports or science fraternity at all?
Donal O’Neill: Well, I absolutely hope so. Yeah, the debate has already started, Stu. Some of them have got a little bit animated, shall we say, about what we’re talking about, and, of course, people look at the title of cereal Killers 2 – Run on Fat and they take that very literally and whatnot, but, listen, what’s going to happen, I have no doubt that Steve Phinney is going to be vindicated and everything he’s been saying for 30-plus years XXaudio glitchXX [0:07:47]
I’ve seen Sami firsthand. I’ve watched this guy train. I’ve watched him go through the motions and this is very, very real, and Tim Noakes makes one comment during the movie which I think it’ll pass a lot of people by but he’s really summed up where sports science could and should be going and it’s certainly where he’s taking it and that’s, the sports scientists in particular, they look at performance from a very acute perspective and that’s if you’re doing a four- or five-minute row or whatever then they’ll assess that particular window which clearly is a very, very short period of time, but note they’re saying that they need to start looking at the performance model much more holistically.
You take an athlete like Sir Steve Redgrave who’s type 2 diabetic, you know, practically while he’s standing on the Olympic podium and it doesn’t make sense and Noakes is saying, “You know, we can do things and we can use the principles of fat adaptation to make athletes healthier.”
And you don’t get the career switch…has a huge monetary impact for many athletes and Phinney touches on that because he knows that a lot of athletes are doing this, particularly older athletes, and they’re using the, you know, the lowered inflammation that they’re seeing in their bodies for quicker recovery and they’re adding one to three years to careers that would otherwise come to an end.
So there’s a lot in this and, obviously, a couple of the Aussie XXrowing? Drill?XX [0:09:21] teams have come out publically that they’re doing it, and one would not really anticipate that, but we can see the switch coming and it’s real and, you know, the argument will be, “Well, you know, fat isn’t an efficient fuel, you know, 70 percent VO2 max performance level.”
But what it’s doing up to that point seems to be creating some pretty dramatic XXaudio cuts outXX [0:09:49] for athletes around the world.
Stuart Cooke: It’s interesting, as well, because where athletes are concerned, you know, power and performance and endurance are buzzwords, but you mentioned healthier, and that just resonated to me for athletes to become better and healthier, as well, because as you said, like, Steve Redgrave being type 2 diabetes is crazy and just hadn’t heard that term before which it just makes you think deeper, I think, into a little bit about what the film is actually about.
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, I mean, I myself, I had a brief and very average international athletics career, but I broke down. I was overtrained and I got very, very seriously injured and, you know, sport at the elite level is, you know, “there’s nothing healthy about race days” is what they say and it’s true, but there’s really not a whole lot healthy about professional sport per se, because, you know, athletes, they get damaged all the time and, you know, we understand that and we’re quite happy to go through that, and if you ask any athletes, “Would you place much emphasis on your longer-term health, or would you rather go to the games?” You know, seven, eight out of 10 are going to say, “I want to go to the games.”
But, you know, that’s the athletes’ temperament, but surely there’s a duty of care there somewhere as well for these sports scientists and nutritionists who are advising them to at least open their eyes to this growing phenomenon because, you know, Sami was contacted by one of the British Olympic rowing team, and one of their mentors, I can tell you, was very vocally against what we’re doing here, but yet there’s somebody on that squad contacting Sami directly saying, “I want to take sugar out of my diet entirely. I can see the benefits of this, etc., etc.” so it’s happening and it will be led by the athletes because there’s XXno defined sightXX [0:11:45]
A vast majority of research comes from carbohydrate interests and, sure the research isn’t there to support this, and that’s what the scientists say, but it’s coming, and it’s coming through some very interesting channels. They’re not traditional channels. The U.S. military are going to be involved in that, and it’ll probably be three, four years down the line because that’s how long these things take before some real heavyweight research hits, but it’s starting to creep out already, and Tim Noakes is on it. He’s, I think, just got some funding for a major study XXhere in ?XX [0:12:21]
It’s coming, but the athletes are getting the benefits and they are not hanging around.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I mean, people are certainly going to have to take notice of what Sami and his wife have just achieved, you know. Had that row been attempted before?
Donal O’Neill: It’s been done, but obviously they broke the world record. The remarkable thing is that it’s not only what they achieved but what happened to their bodies, because we didn’t have time to go into it, but what other ocean rowers have experienced is that they get off a boat and they’re like ravenous animals, I mean, they’re literally just, they’ll eat anything. And in some respects, Meredith’s performance is even more remarkable than Sami’s because we know that he was an Ironman and all of that, but she got on that boat and got off of it at exactly the same weight. She showed no XX?XX [0:13:17] of any sort.
I mean, I saw a picture of the guys at a concert the day after they got off the boat and you’ve got, like, thousands of people in the shot and you’ve got these two, like, health beacons, and it’s just remarkable. That shot, for me, said more than a lot else. It’s not in the movie, but…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I think we should explain for listeners, as well, that it was 44 days straight rowing from San Francisco to Hawaii. Is that correct?
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, 45 days, and they pushed out from Monterey, Guy, and they averaged probably 12 to 14 hours a day, but for the last week, they put in about 20-plus. They weren’t even getting any sleep, but they actually covered…Their best day, in their day they covered more than any other boat in the race, including the four-man crews, and that was in the last week, so it was just astonishing, and, you know, but the test at the end of it, I mean, you’d sworn they come business class to Hawaii. There was no break out on the body. All the enzymes that we see that signal inflammation and breakdown, they just weren’t there, I mean, it was just the protective aspect of the diet was remarkable.
Guy Lawrence: That’s incredible, isn’t it, when you think about that?
Stuart Cooke: We did wonder why you XXaudio cut outXX [0:14:45] as well, Donal.
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, I mean, I was XX?XX [0:14:50]
Stuart Cooke: Maybe CK3.
Donal O’Neill: No, I was behind the camera all the time. I just, I couldn’t come out from behind it, you know, I was, I was, I was with them in spirit. But actually the guy you see in the movie…Sami was due to do it with a buddy of his Patrick Sweeney who was, he rowed in the ’96 Atlanta Olympics. You’ll see him in the movie briefly, and he kind of decided, well, or perhaps Meredith decided, “Listen, I think I should maybe do this with you,” so Patrick he got dumped out of the boat in favor of Meredith for marital reasons, and I’ve met Patrick. He’s about 6-foot-4 or 5 and built like your typical rower, so, probably less interesting, to be quite honest with you, because Patrick wasn’t doing the diet.
Stuart Cooke: I’m just surprised that they managed to stay in that little capsule for that long and go through that amount of exercise and pain and they’re still together. I mean, that’s a triumph in itself. That’s amazing. Crikey!
Donal O’Neill: Well, they’re still together and they’re expecting their first child, so, it’s all going along swimmingly.
Stuart Cooke: So think about sporting industry, I mean, what will they learn from Sami and Meredith’s triumph? I mean, is there, you know, how far reached does this journey touch everybody in their industry? I mean, is it a talking point? Will things change?
Donal O’Neill: They will change through customer demand. You know, we did a lot of research into the energy drinks market and the supplements, these Gu-type supplements, and it’s just a massive industry. They’re not going to go anywhere any time soon, and when you strip all that away, the layers to which they’re involved in sport is quite staggering, because events are sponsored by them and, you know, they’re marketed to just about anyone in the States by Time magazine, as marketed to kids, you know, so they’re very, very aggressive, they’re very, very good at what they do, and if you’re somebody who’s sugar-fueled, you need them.
So you’ve got that magic mix in there, so, it’s something that will take education and it will take time, but you don’t remember that the sports drinks, they’re probably consumed by, 99.9 percent of the people consuming them have nothing to do with sports, they’re probably just a teenager or somebody with a hangover, so, it’s a tough one, and there’s a lot of money, you know…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I was going to mention talking as well with Dr. Stephen Phinney, cause, you know, he’s been doing this kind of work for 30 years and is mentioned in the movie as well and you could say he’s only now starting to get recognition for all the work he deserves. I mean, what do you think? Do you think that will happen for Dr. Stephen Phinney? Is he getting the recognition he deserves?
Donal O’Neill: Well, I think you just need to look at the tour he’s just done of Australia, Guy. I think it’s starting to happen, and I thought it was very poignant when he made one of his addresses in Australia, he said it was the biggest crowd he had ever addressed. I think there were over 600 people there, but to me it’s shocking that he has encountered what he’s encountered, but it’s remarkable that he stuck with it.
I asked him about his fellow researchers on his very first paper and what happened to them, where they went, and they’ve all gone on to have stellar careers in places like Harvard, because they decided a few years into this journey that they weren’t going to get funding and they realized they were coming up against brick walls, and Steve Phinney decided he was going to follow the data and, you know, do what he believed in.
So, he’s a remarkable, remarkable person for that. I think that his time is absolutely upon us.
Guy Lawrence: Yes. Fantastic, and it’s fantastic to see him in the movie. I mean, we met him when he came to Sydney and we had dinner with him on the Friday night before the talk, and one of the first things he showed us was Sami’s achievements. He was so proud and so happy to be a part of it.
And he’s such a nice guy, too. He’s so humble and down-to-earth and…
Donal O’Neill: You just know there’s an astonishing intellect. He’s got…and he reminds me of the first time I met I met Tim Noakes, I mean, they’ve got this child-like fascination, and they’ve got this absolutely cutting edge scientific brain and, you know, Steve, he just…A lot of people have fed off his work and have used it for their own, for their own benefit, but, I mean, he’s the guy. It all starts with him, and, you know, I think Jeff Volek is really going to carry through with the faster study, which is over very soon.
We got a glimpse of that. We could only show so much of that in the movie, but it’s, I believe, it’s been published sometime around now, and that’s the first big study that’s going to really rattle the cages. Keep it going.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, any other sporting disciplines you think that are adopting this way of eating, from what you’ve seen? Have you planted any seeds elsewhere?
Donal O’Neill: Well, the XX?XX [0:20:53] sports were very interesting because they’re, you know, the scientists always refer to cycling trials or runners or whatever the steady-state, endurance-type events, and Tim Noakes says that they’re looking at these parameters in performance in a very acute fashion, because, you know, what about things like concentration? What about the mistake at the end of the game?
I know from playing Gaelic football, you know, after 55, 60 minutes of that, you’re taking hits. You’re knackered. You make a split decision and it goes the wrong way. You could lose the game. Same goes for soccer, Aussie rules, so the athletes in the field sports who are adopting it are, and they’re kind of cycling carbs a little bit, what they appear to be benefitting from as well as physically is an increase in mental performance because their ability to make a split-second decision is enhanced.
Sports like golf, tennis, I mean, Mardy Fish was a great example of this. He used it to lose a considerable amount of weight and extend his professional tennis career at the very top level, so that’s the part that people are missing. I think golfers would benefit enormously from it. Again, one slip up and your round’s gone in that sport, so, I think it’s going to keep up. There are a lot of athletes using it we don’t know about, and I think it’s going up.
Guy Lawrence: It’s mainly just endurance sports, though, isn’t it? Anything that’s long duration. Do you know of any doing high-intensity shorter stuff for this kind of…?
Donal O’Neill: One of the things that the sports scientists have been unable to answer me on is a sport which involves weight categorization or weight-dependence. I mean, I myself was a high-jumper, and if I could’ve dropped even half a kilo or a kilo and maintained physical power, my strength-to-weight ratio would’ve improved, I would’ve been a better specimen for high-jumping, so I XX?XX [0:23:17]
They’ve done this study, one of the studies has shown with a lead gymnast is that over a one-month adaptation period, and this is the problem, you know, scientists point to these trials and say, “Oh, it doesn’t work,” but they don’t fat-adapt the athlete long enough, and that’s a huge, huge issue in this, so with a lead gymnast, they discovered that after one month there was no loss of power, everything was pretty much the same, but their weight had dropped slightly by half of a kilo.
And I know if you do that with a long-jumper or a triple-jumper, you know, pole vaulter, you’re going to have a very significant benefit because those are events where one centimeter is the difference between winning and losing or a world record or not, so there’s something in this for some niche little areas. I know some MMA fighters who are using it, and they’re doing it because when they go to cut they will drop ten kilos plus in some cases to get to their fighting weight, but they can walk around comfortably even one to two kilos less then it means the cut they’re down to losing eight kilos.
Because for them it’s about getting into the ring as powerful as possible after that weigh-in, so it’s a pretty dramatic impact on the body and if they can take the edge off that in the end it’s, you’re talking small margins but that’s what professional sport is, it’s about these really small margins.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah. I think a very foreign concept to think in, to increase your fat to drop your body weight, when you go and, like, it’s a far cry from counting calories. Or do you think an elite, like an MMA fighter or an elite athlete would still count the calorie of the fat that they’re eating, or do you think they’ll just play it by ear a bit?
Donal O’Neill: I think, you know, athletes are so tuned in to their bodies, I think they’ll find their way if they dedicate themselves to it, but there’s also this idea it’s not going to work for absolutely everyone. I mean none of these things are one-size-fits-all, but it’s a tool, but I think the athletes are in a position to listen and understand pretty quickly what’s happening in their bodies, so I think they’ll find their own way.
I don’t know that there’s a computation or a, you know, equation that you can use and just throw it out there. I think they need to listen to what’s happening.
Guy Lawrence: …find their way a bit.
Donal O’Neill: The one guy to watch in this space who I think is going to become one of the biggest names out there is Dominic D’Agostino at the, let’s see, he’s in Pensacola, Florida, and he’s been financed by the U.S. military for over the last nine years researching the whole area of ketones and performance and, you know, the military have gone on a bit of a solo run on this. They’re trying to create the perfect war fighter, and they’re not interested in, you know, double blind trials.
They’ve been using ketones to, Dominic’s been researching, you don’t need to use exogenous ketones to combat some of the interruptions they’re getting during deep diving training maneuvers, so the Navy SEALs, they tend to get epileptic fit-type scenarios, and they’re just worried that there’s something in exogenous ketones that proffer a protective a protective element on the soldiers.
So they’re doing some astonishing research and Dominic himself is a part of it. He’s a huge, powerful man, but he’s looking at ketones in performance as well, so powerlifting is an interesting one because Jeff Volek was a competitive powerlifter who used a ketogenic diet to maintain body weight and, obviously, that strength to weight ratio we’re talking about again, so he was able to compete at a lower body weight without any loss of power.
So in a sport like that there’s a huge explosive element and it seems to me that the explosive part required not such that it depletes the glycogen stored entirely, so they’re somewhere between. I asked Phinney what the, you know, where is the magic number and they don’t really know. They know that it’s not a suitable approach for a 100-meter sprinter, but it works well for your gymnast or your powerlifter and, you know, they don’t know where that ends, but it strikes me that, in its purest form, the very explosive literally split-second events where there’s weight dependency, they can really, really benefit from this type of approach.
Guy Lawrence: There you go. There you go. With the military, will that, will they be releasing any sort of studies on that in the near future or is that something that’s going to be ongoing or…?
Donal O’Neill: Well, Dominc’s doing some research that I know will become publically available in due course, but clearly with the military they’re not going to be putting out posters any time with results, but I spoke to him recently for the first time and he’s a remarkable guy. I think you should try and get him on the podcast, actually, because he’s…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, sounds awesome, yeah.
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, if you want to get to the center of the ketone universe, he’s the guy in the loop.
Guy Lawrence: Another question while we’re on all of this. If an athlete, like a higher-end athlete, who carb-loads stopped you on the street tomorrow and wanted to improve their diet and performance and asked you questions, what would your advice be to him in a nutshell?
Donal O’Neill: Well, that actually happened quite recently with one of the MMA fighters here, so my first advice was, and again, I got back to something that Noakes said. He believes no athlete requires more than 200 grams of carbs a day, respective of what you’re doing, and I think if you can dial back on the carbs that there certainly seems to be longer-term benefits to be accrued from doing so, but if you can take away the fast, cheap fuel in favor of real food and a higher quality fat content, there are benefits in that.
And I think it’s paramount that athletes start to look at the longevity of their careers or rather their coaches do, because it’s very difficult to ask a 22-year-old kid to think about putting another year or two on the back of their career. They’re not interested. They just want to win now. So that’s why I think the whole circle of influence becomes important, but any athlete who pulls out the fast, cheap fuels, I think is going to see, they’re going to see a benefit when they look back on their career.
If that’s going to be, you know, immediate, I don’t know, but for some it is. For others it won’t be, but I know long term there will certainly be benefits to be had from forgetting the conventional carb-filled approach.
Guy Lawrence: I often wonder about, you know, athletes that are prone to a lot of injuries, as well, and how much their diet would be affecting that outcome, as well, you know? And adopting a higher fat diet for endurance is like a preventative measure for injury, as well, you know?
Donal O’Neill: I mean Peter Brukner has spoken about the benefits to some of the Aussie cricketers and he’s told me privately he’s seen things that have just astonished him as a doctor and he’s embarrassed almost that it’s taken him this long to arrive to this conclusion, and again the scientists will say, “That’s anecdotal.”
Well, you know, the L.A. Lakers are one of the highest profile franchises in world sport. And they don’t do things with anecdotal returns. They do things because of return to the scoreboard and the XXbank balls? 0:31:55.000XX. So, equally, the pro Aussie XX?XX [0:32:00] teams that are doing this, they’re doing this because it works. That’s just how it is and that’s how it’s going to roll.
And I think athletes are kind of like, if a member of the general public gets sick all of a sudden they tend to start looking at their diet and get very concerned about it, athletes don’t really give a shit if they’re winning and they’re healthy. They’re not going to change anything, but you get an athlete that is starting to maybe feel the pinch or picking up a few injuries, they will, and that’s why I think the older athletes have adapted and adopted this much faster and I think that’s going to be the way in and it’ll trickle down slowly.
But it’s there, and I think the big term you’ll hear, because the scientists won’t want to stop talking about fat adaptation, you’ll hear terms in metabolic flexibility and this type of thing and the interesting thing for me is that sports science has never defined what a low-carbohydrate diet is, so they’ve done studies where somebody’s on a 150 grams a day and they perceived that to be low-carbohydrate. Now that may be low-carbohydrate against five, six hundred that some athletes are taking at the moment, but I know some of the field sport athletes in particular, they’re doing maybe 50, certainly less than a hundred grams a day and they might go up to 150 on match day. So over a week, you know, they’re taking maybe 20 percent of the carbs they once were or less, and yet sports science says, “That’s not low-carb,” because they’ve gone to 150 or 200 on match day.
And I tell them, “Well, why don’t you XXlay down your markXX [0:33:43] you’ve yet to actually define what a low-carbohydrate diet is, so your research really ain’t worth shit to me.” And that’s how I get, but Gatorade ain’t going to sponsor that research anytime soon, are they?
Guy Lawrence: No, you’re exactly right, you know, but it is great, mate, and I was so excited to see this movie being made and come out, because it’s a topic that nobody seems to delve into. It’s very hard to find and almost considered taboo, but it’s totally not, you know? To me, it makes a lot of common sense, you know? Just to touch on the topic, I remember, you know, working as a fitness trainer at the university in Sydney for a long time, and I got exposed to, like I mentioned before, charity with cancer patients and they were all about using a ketone diet, increasing their fats, and it was the first time I heard about that and it was about eight years ago and I was like, “What is going on?”
And then actually coming back into the sporting facilities and trying to find more information, because I was then lost, I’m like, “Well, how do I apply this?” Because everyone’s all about carb-loading, preparing for these games and sports day and eating X amount of carbohydrates in the week, and it was just like this torture for a while because I was clueless what to do. And then I was slowly chipping away and investigating, so, yeah, I think it’s, I just think it’s excellent, and every bloody athlete should at least watch it and be an open mind, you know?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it’s certainly opened my mind, that’s for sure.
Donal O’Neill: That’s all you can hope for, people to take a look and make their own conclusion, you know? Try it, but…something for everyone. I think it’s a different movie than Cereal Killers. It’s obviously totally focused on performance, but, you know, athletes will drive this. A big-name athlete who’s endorsing real food is an incredibly powerful statement, and too many of them are endorsing Gatorade and Powerade, you know, using whatnot.
It’ll be a big statement when they start to emerge and I think if your cricketers win the World Cup down there, then that would be a great starting point.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Time will tell. How are you eating now, Donal? because on Cereal Killers 1, like, you were, really pushed the high-fat to an extreme where you were into ketosis and saw the benefits from that. Are you still doing that? Or have you dialed it back a little? What are you doing now?
Donal O’Neill: I do cycle in some carbohydrate. I’m probably two kilos heavier than I was at the conclusion of Cereal Killers, which for me is a difference between looking kind of ill. I’m keeping my wife happy, so I’m not somebody who strives to be in ketosis all the time, by any stretch. I cycle in some carbohydrates when I’m training and on the weekends, but it’s still, I still eat a very low-carbohydrate diet with an emphasis on fats. I’ve introduced some MCT oil and stuff like that.
I researched ketogenic diets that bit further on the cancer angle is astonishing for me and that’s something I researching at the moment. When you go all the way back to, I think, 1934 when Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize. It’s strange to me that so many things went wrong around the middle of the last century. We’ve got a duty to open the book on them and, perhaps, revisit them, but I mean, my health since I started eating this way, I haven’t been sick for a day. It’s been remarkable.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic. How long have you been eating this way, Donal?
Donal O’Neill: It’s probably been a good four or five years now.
Stuart Cooke: Okay, and just for our listeners out there, and we might even have asked you this before, but just could you outline what you ate yesterday? Just very briefly so we can get a handle on what high-fat really means to us all.
Donal O’Neill: Yesterday wouldn’t be a typical day because, as you guys now, one of the things about eating this way is that you wake up some days and you’re; you’re just not hungry. Yesterday was one of those days. It was an unexpected fast. I didn’t eat very much at all, but a typical day, so this morning I just had, you know, my coffee with some MCT oil, some coconut oil and heavy cream, so that’ll be my kickoff to the day. We find the good thing about being in Capetown, I mean, it’s like, surely, you’ve got some amazing food resources here which are by international standards are very cheap, so we get some fantastic pastured hen eggs here, and pasture-raised bacon and grass-fed beef and ostrich and all types of stuff, so I’ll have a couple of eggs with avocado.
One of my favorite breakfasts is a little coffee shop across the road. They do an avo breakfast which is going to become world-famous I think, man. They take half an avo, they stuff it with cream cheese and a bit pesto and then throw bacon on top, and it’s magnificent.
Guy Lawrence: Wow!
Donal O’Neill: So, that’s one of my favorite breakfasts, and at lunch time I make quite a few smoothies, but I throw in, I’m just about to throw out a blog on my smoothie of the day, but again I have half of avo in there, an egg, if I’m feeling heavy I’ll throw in a banana, berries, MCT oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut butter, and stuff, a bunch of stuff like that, so that’ll get me through the afternoon, if I’m hungry, and then typically I train late afternoon and then dinner is just, yeah, it’s a high-quality protein source and then lots of veg cooked in coconut oil or butter. Dark chocolate off the back of that, glass of red wine and you’re done.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect, perfect.
Guy Lawrence: Smoothies are a Godsend, right?
Stuart Cooke: They are, yeah.
Donal O’Neill: I got one of those little NutriBullet devices there for Christmas, so I threw in the nuts and everything right into the smoothie and they’re great, but…Great device, but I have to say you should read their dietary recommendations. I think they’re pumping veganism now. You’re only allowed four eggs XXaudio cuts outXX [0:40:25] nutritional advice, but…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, we had a question about eggs, didn’t we, Guy, on Instagram the other day. Do you remember?
Guy Lawrence: “How many eggs can you eat a day?” That’s right, and Shane, who I actually, who I know chipped in, and he said he for six weeks had 180 eggs a week and had his bloods done before and after, and he said they were exactly the same.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. I certainly didn’t expect that answer.
Guy Lawrence: I know. It was great!
Donal O’Neill: I think the self-experimentation has gone the way of the ultra-runner. It’s no good to run a mile, I think, anymore you’ve got to run 100 miles without stopping, I think…
Guy Lawrence: Exactly, yeah, yeah, yeah. So what’ve you got planned for the future? Anything exciting coming up in the pipeline?
Donal O’Neill: Yeah, well, we’ve actually been approached about a third movie. Obviously, every time you do this, you kind of take a six-figure risk, and I’m taking the risk, so you just need one bad day at the office and it’s XXaudio cuts outXX [0:41:33] So we’ve been approached about a very exciting concept for the third movie which is actually cancer-related. So I’m researching that at the moment, and I think it would be…I just lost my godfather to cancer very recently and if there’s something we could do in that space and do it well, I would love to give it a shot It would be a remarkable project, but it’s early days, but that’s something that I’m just getting into researching quite heavily at the moment.
Beyond that, I think it’s just going to be the case of getting Run on Fat out there. We’re going to do the worldwide premiere on February 2nd in San Francisco. So we have Sami and Meredith, and Steve Phinney, and some of the other folks in the movie coming along to that. So that’ll be a little bit of fun, and we’ll drive it out from there. Then we release online. It’ll go through the same channels as before.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Is Sami rowing back from Hawaii to see you in San Francisco? Is that what he’s doing?
Donal O’Neill: No, I’m rowing over. I’m actually in tomorrow, so I’m rowing over to see him, you know…
Guy Lawrence: From Capetown, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, we’ll Skype you. That’s awesome.
Guy Lawrence: So what’s the best…For anyone who wants to check out the movie, what’s the best URL to go to, Donal?
Donal O’Neill: They can go to RunOnFatMovie.com.
Guy Lawrence: Excellent, and we’ll share all the appropriate links and send this out anyway, and, yeah, help get the word out there. You’ve done a fantastic job again, mate, and…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, brilliant.
Guy Lawrence: Brilliant, and really appreciate you coming on the show.
Donal O’Neill: Well, thanks for having me. We’re looking forward to growing the audience Down Under. We’ve had an incredible reception in Australia thanks to you guys, and Rob Taylor, and Peter Brukner, and everybody down there. So, it’s just been amazing, and I think there’s a lot of good stuff happening in Australia, and I think you need to export some of that message to Ireland in a hurry, boys, because the country of my birth is in trouble and nobody’s listening, but I really think there’s something happening Down Under.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. We should do just that.
Guy Lawrence: Awesome.
Donal O’Neill: Excellent.
Stuart Cooke: All right, okay, well, we will talk to you soon, hopefully.
Guy Lawrence: Very soon.
Donal O’Neill: Thank you, guys.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks, Donal. Cheers, mate.
Stuart Cooke: Thank you, buddy.
Guy Lawrence: Bye.
Donal O’Neill: Have a good one.